Monday, 29 December 2008

Manuka, Honey.

I think I'm going to feel it, hard, when I'm not working fewer days in the week than staying home. It's taken me four days to forget how to do my job and reaffirm how much I don't want to be there. To the point that I wonder why these people keep coming up to my little glass screen and asking me for things. This morning was haaaaaaa-a-a-ard, in a bewildering sort of way. I was slow, yes. Today, I was the definition of the bare minimum. And I'll only get through tomorrow knowing that I'll be off again for five days afterwards... the strange thing is, that when we were back up north I couldn't be happy about it. I didn't want to be back at work, but when you only have to choose your outfit two days a week and it's already been determined what you'll do for five, suddenly having lots of time to fill becomes... a bit frightening, really. It reminded me of being a student, with the fake freedom of all that time, but the reality of the work hanging over your head like a black leather bound cloud. Totally kills off any inspiration to do anything worthwhile. Hence three years wasted on drivel I wouldn't show to my rabbit. (He'd probably eat it out of pity, so I might relent and allow him access.) But at least with days of unadulterated time on your hands and NO work to do, there's no pressure... but then without the pressure, there's no frantic scribbling at half past midnight. And without the scribbling, there is no meaning... I used to wonder why I bothered writing. I didn't really believe it kept me sane. It doesn't. But it gives you a sense of getting closer to the gem in the middle of a dense block. A little cloud sweeping for your brain. And the harder it is to start with, the more important it is. Which is why, although I'm aware that I'm creating a fairly meagre post right this minute, I'm keeping on with it. (Just thought I'd let you know, there is something to it, even if it is just stopping me from talking to myself and grinding my teeth all the way home.) It might even help me make sense of the limbo between the two major days in December. That was how the whole writing lark started, after all, with the gift of a notebook and some serious time stretches... it would be appropriate.

Tomorrow will be a wasted day, but there will be things in it worth getting up for. And in a few days, who knows... I might hear from someone about a job, and I might have a little more time to make myself write in the afternoons. But hush, someone might think I'm being presumptious. Ah, fuck it. What can we be, if not quietly optimistic? 

Saturday, 27 December 2008


Better get one in before 2009, no...? 

I've joined Twitter (faintly disturbed at how much of my movement may be accessible on the internet through my own doing) and I'm not sure what it's all about really. I know two people on there, one of which hasn't posted since about the time of the election (Kate) - who, as always, I bumped into last night. It's impossible, now, I've determined, not to see Kate at Christmas. We weren't close at college and we never speak at any other time of year (last time I saw her was in the train station in Newcastle, on her way to London, and a new job with the Beeb, which I think was about a year ago too) but every Christmas our paths collide. Ordinarily it's at a Simon Whelan Christmas Party, which I suppose isn't too strange, since we're both always invited. I'm the other half of one of Simon's best boy friends and have gradually been accepted (once it was determined that I'm not a lesbian, and not an evil either, and have managed to get that thing with my temper under control), and Kate's a musical delight, and a bit of a treat generally. We all went to college together; Kate and Si were at school too, I think. This time, it was at a Billy The Kid gig (Richard's brother plays guitar and sings with the band) and Simon was nowhere in sight. Probably in bed after a late cold day into evening's average climbing (I'm allowed to say that; I did NO climbing). We chatted for a good while, which surprised me. I like Kate but never thought we'd have masses to talk about. Read: I work in a bank, not even a proper bank, minimum wage, dull fare, and generally get a bit of a mind blank when people ask me what I've been up to; also am superstitious about talking through ambitions in case I change my mind and someone asks me how tree surgery worked out... 

And the other was Dan. Dan's on bloody everything. But apparently he has to conserve power this Christmas due to a gas leak near his home. So I'm guessing, he'll not be online too much. (I was certain gas and electricity weren't the same thing. Times are changing so fast. . . .)

Rich got 'us' a camera for Christmas. I fell for the whole "My mum forgot to wrap something before they went away, stay out of the living room a while will you?" line. True to the laws of nature, the first couple of pictures on there were the best, and theres a lot of fannying about in the other 500-odd pictures from the last three days that I'm going to have to be brutal with some time soon. Must get to grips with photoshop too, since I've been told I can 'create an action' to resize them all for uploading. 

I'm still touched by how sweet Richard's brother can be sometimes, as he was last night, very simple gesture that wouldn't be noticed by anyone I don't think, and I proably can't describe without accusations of being a romanticist/psychologist/loser. Mostly he's tired or a bit stressed or has a cold or is running about bluebumflystyle due to impending gig. Makes me wish I knew he and Rich when they were kids together. He's the younger of the two (27?) but is big child with two small childs and wife (who was drunk last night, but very sweet.... her friends all run away when they see me coming, can't imagine why) and loves his big brother very much. But has to hide it whenever he can for unfathomable reasons. I do like those two. And I'm using their children as a barometer. Soon as I can comfortably sit in the house with the two little ones without feeling like I've walked into some parallel land where my powers of calm are tested in unexpected multidirectional ways, I'll know I'm ready to babysit. Probably. 

Happy winter weekend. I might see whether grumblegums wants to come and play on the beach yet... :D

Friday, 12 September 2008

Comedy amidst the coppers


Gaps again. I decided it'd be productive if nothing else to try and write in here every time anything makes me laugh, or I see something of note, or have a dead good thought. The laughing stuff is easiest (and the most fun, I reckon) so I'm starting with that today... If I can think of anything funny that happened today to penetrate this bank cashier's bullet-proof screen of depression and poor arithmetic.


Ok. Well, the other day I did a laugh when I saw Leah Crane having a little dance in the Works. Multi talented, that one. Oh, and before that, I was in a supermarket in... Firth Park, and the woman in front of me was paying for her stuff while a little girl, who wasn't hers but was with her, made a racket like two- or three-year-olds do. The woman (who was younger than me I reckon - woman maybe isn't the best description, but anyway...) explained to the cashier that the little girl was always itchy, always covered in big red rashes. (That'll be the Starburst. Can I pay for my dinner please?) The cashier's reply was 'Well, there's a lot of them flying ants around, isn't there?' 

Oh yeah, Them Flying Ants can be a bastard. I may be displaying my ignorance here, do educate me if this is the case, but I don't think ants can fly. They're pretty fast, they're of many numbers and they ate through my windowsill and deposited half a garden's worth of soil into my kitchen no problem, but i'm pretty sure they carry out all their missions from a land-base.

The two events are pretty non-related. I don't discriminate. You've got to get your laughs somewhere. For the record, the first just made me smile, it's nice to see someone enjoying themselves, but the second... well. You can't beat S5 for the 'would-be-funny-if-they-weren't-depressing' anecdotes.

Yesterday I had to laugh at James singing Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves but I'm not sure I can elaborate tooooo much in case it backfires on me. I might get cursed. Thought my sandwich was going to have a toad in it today. Mind, it would seem old Gypsy women just threaten to get their sons to beat you up these days. Ho hum. Today the woman on a mission to do her CHRISTMAS SHOPPING and ARRANGE THE FLOWERS AND PHOTOGRAPHER FOR THE WEDDING, plonking her scooter helmet on in a most serious, lets-get-down-to-business style. The reconstruction for those who missed it was funnier. I won't attempt a re-reenactment here at the risk of destroying a moment of quality, but lets say it was enthused and ridiculously entertaining. Not as funny, however, as the attempts made not to laugh when the woman donned that helmet of determination. I used to be the king of comedy til James showed up. Curse the man. 

I've finished Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I'll miss it, it brightened many a dreary lunch hour in The Ghetto. Fortunately I've got plenty to read to take my mind off it. If I find anything else worth a mention, I'll be sure to - well, to mention. Probably a good time to say, any good recommendations, you can reply to this and let me know. I'll maybe get round to reading them in a few years after my entire collection of charity shop literature has been slowly eaten up, similar to the way Rita is attempting to get her entire head around that ridiculously large 'baby' rodent that I believe to be a rat baby. Rita is a snake; I get distracted easily.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

So I actually DO have girl best friends now, don't I?

Bag Loser

I need to note down somewhere that I saw an AHED lorry today. As if they're even still around... AHED was one of the company names that used to be on the pads my Grandad brought home. You know when you don't see something for years and years and years...? Sat at work today, there was a big traffic jam (somebody on a bike was knocked over, I think; I'm all for cycling to save the planet but there are just too many cars about, talk about catch-22) and this big truck just plonked itself in front of the window, plain as daylight, for me to see. Well hello, big fat message, I can see you...

Been out for some drinks with my long lost Sheffield sisters, thrown together during the hardship months (we worked together at Vodka Rev; day shifts, you have no idea) - My little brownie is off to South America 'til September and we've swapped all sorts of things in fear that we might forget each other... which is silly, considering how close we are and how quickly that all came about. Ali and Elinor, my petal juice pots. Silly billies.  

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

A shameful waste of time...

As if it's been six months. 

I'm sat appreciating the analgesic effects of bonjela, waiting. Waiting to see whether my stomach can handle the meagre bits of toast I've partially consumed. Dressing-gowned and coal-eyed, surrounded by last night's dessert bowls, the Red Book, some chamomile tea in my special mug, a pen, and the aforementioned gel and its discarded box. Also, the orange and pink shoes that have some fans and bidders. Maybe I will make some money after all.

Today is downtime. After the funeral yesterday, I think it's needed. Two people now have attributed my illness (physical, don't be like that now) to the stress and or upset of the last few weeks. Personally, I think the fruit cider was evil. I only had one bottle (!) ... I don't know. It's probably not something that's possible to find out. But again, I have some time out from - well, just people, really. People and sameness. Time to remember my Nana's garden in summer and the books I read there, the ivy and the holly (no wait, let me finish) and the rhubarb in the secret part and that shed. The mini shrine to my Grandad's hands and thoughts. I wonder whether my nana's been in it lately. I remember that smell, the projects, the Things We Weren't Allowed To Touch but sometimes were given demonstrations of, in that lecturing but overwhelmingly proud loving concerned way he had, wanting us to be competent, able to deal with the demands of life, a different life to the one he had, but one that required the same moral stability and forthrightness he posessed and dearly hoped he could instill in us. And later, the dominoes, beggar my neighbour, paper constructions, silly jokes, the smell of tobacco and tea and the sound of radio blip-blip-blip-blip-bleeep news in the background, the orangey kitchen, the newspaper stains on the table, the huge pads with the logos of companies we didn't know anything about, but that were part of our visual everyday, brought home for us to draw on. The smell of permanent chunky markers, the ones that were really bad for your health. I remember a song on the radio making me cry once. Thunderbirds and mixups on a Thursday, and fish and chips once a week. Tea at Nana's every Saturday. Makeshift sprinklers for us to run through, constructed by resting the garden hose on a spade embedded in the lawn.  He had cultivated it, but didn't care about swingball holes and clefts made by garden tools, as long as we were laughing. The bits of watches and things belonging to my brother, placed like very important talismans on a table next to the bed in the small room, 'his' room, home to many others before. And although these things haven't been routine for a long time, they're still very present in the way I think... summer is always the garden there. Permanence is symbolised by his seat in the greenhouse. Every time I'd go round, he was there, with the radio again - until later on, when he didn't go outside any more; it took too much physical effort. 

Lucky really that my dad threatened to tell my nana he was still smoking, or we wouldn't have had him as long as we did. Still. Hard to accept that someone would still be around, had it not been for a habit he had. I remember his frustration, briefly showing sometimes, when he remarked that he used to walk miles in the lake district, his legs were fine, his appreciation of the outdoors was fully formed - just his lungs weren't up to it. He used to just refer to it as 'this' - "if it weren't for this". 

I'm glad I saw him in the end, glad I went back on the Sunday again, with my dad and my brothers and my Nana. We talked, Dad remembered a daft story about chicken breast and chicken legs, but he'd remembered it wrong, so he and my Nana sat and untangled it together - I have no idea whether my Grandad was aware of any of it, but he probably wasn't. I think if I hadn't I wouldn't have accepted that there was no turning back, his body wasn't capable of keeping his mind alive, and all those thoughts, and memories and skills, all the things we didn't know yet, the ones we never could. But we all have pieces of him to take away with us. My brother said, the day he died, that Grandad taught him so much. My little little brother, who's taller than me now, and better at things too, and braver. That recognition helped me a lot. I have a desperate need to make sure we hold everything, now, I keep reminding him of little things. I can't do it on my own, I'm terrified of forgetting. But there are others, lots of other people who knew him too, so it'll be alright. I think now it's my responsibility to gather together everything I can from people, about him, so it doesn't get lost. 

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

One Cup

Oh, ok, it got dark without me noticing.

Apologies for not writing for a while. (Who am I apologising to?) Not a single T-shirt slogan was created, that night. Not one. I managed to sit and write some very depressing things at about half past three, but no slogans, unless I cheat and pick some words from that particular spiel, which I won't, because it wasn't very inspiring. (Needless to say, by the time the sun was up and I was home, I'd shooed away most of the fears that the loneliness of night shift o'clock rouses in me. As if I give a shit that I don't have a female best friend. Really, Natalie...)

I have been writing quite a bit though. And smiling on the train, at the swans that adopted a huge field puddle as their home, like they'd been there forever (Yorkshire is very wet again, poor Yorkshire) and the man in the uneventful, plain black coat with that amazing rainbow block scarf. I hope he was a scientist, his (don't be offended, man) greying exterior hiding rainbow sciency thoughts. And then laughing at other things, too, things that made me want to laugh so hard that I was crawling into the window frame next to my seat (I got a window seat!) so the other passengers couldn't see me struggle to keep my lips from repeating the whole story, luxuriating over the funniest parts, to myself... I can't be the only person that does this. I've seen other people talking and laughing to themselves. Before the invention of bluetooth cast a protective shadow over my fellow mumblers. Sometimes they're frowning, churning out the clouds in their heads for the rest of us to see. We do do it, but it doesn't mean any of us are less hard on each other when we see it occur. It's just embarassing, isn't it? Anyway, this time it was worth the risk of being seen. Even if, right at this minute, I can't recall what was so funny... It's amazing how quickly it fades when I come away.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Having had a think..

I used to have a list of all my favourite things. And I was thinking, what with not knowing where to start, that I would think of a favourite thing every time I write on my new blog. (I feel like a right new one. Normally I can't shut myself up, but it would appear that the limelight has taken away my edge temporarily..)

So. Last night it was the fact that Hollyoaks have a token Emo so they can mention AlexisOnFire and appeal to a 'wider audience' (thought of whilst cleaning the bath at work last night). And also, the terrible portrayal of aforementioned emo. Beautiful.

Today, it's probably the Dresden Dolls' diary suggestions for T-Shirt slogans (and the fact that dear Liz likes the Dresdens too. This can never be a bad thing). I do think though, that if I walk around now with 'WHY DON'T YOU LOVE ME I'M AWESOME' written on my top that I won't feel quite as good as I would if I'd thought it up myself. Which leads me to my new favourite thing today. Thinking up things to write on T-shirts :) me something to do at work tonight.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

First one...

I know, it's particularly late. Or early. Not that I haven't been awake later (or earlier), but I'm considering retiring soon, at least to try and sleep...

This isn't an insomniac blog, mind. I just happen to be awake right now and in the mood to play around on this laptop, which isn't mine... typing is preferable to writing with the scratchy pens I brought with me.

I think I can hear snoring.

The animals are sleeeeeping...

And I am full of acid and dryness, and and. Yuk.

Tired now.