My Shop (work in progress!)

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Strictly Scandalous


It has been revealed that John Sargeant is pulling out of Strictly because everyone thinks he's rubbish. Whilst I agree that he is entertaining I am a bit annoyed that people keep voting him in because it means that people that can dance better than him have left the competition. He said even he was scared to be in the final as that would be "a joke too far".
I will be slightly sad to see him go as nobody dances as badly as he does, so we won't get so many disparaging comments from Arlene Bitchface, Len Old-man, Charles Breville-Sandwich Press and Bruno Tortelloni.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Bad weather!

Photo by Chris Sellick from BBC Cumbria site.

On Saturday I braved the weather to visit my friend Amanda in Seaton. She picked me up from Workington train station and we went to Tesco to get some supplies. "Get whatever we need now because I don't want to leave the house again!" I said.

We were really bored so we did some art work. Then we watched Merlin and some DVDs, stuffed our faces full of pizza, Doritos, popcorn and Galaxy chocolate. We were occasionally disturbed by her cat Ash jumping on us straight after he'd been outside and was soaking wet and covered in mud!

On Sunday morning we decided to go down to the river Derwent to see how high it had risen. We were very pleased to see that it had swollen and burst its banks (see photo above). Sadly neither of us had cameras with us but Amanda did take some footage on her mobile phone. We got a bit muddy and fairly cold as there was a strong wind but at least we didn't get wet. We even saw a young cormorant sat on the bank.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Down turn



Having a bad spell at the moment and struggling with chain of thought. No blogs for a while, and probably won't be reading anyone else's due to lack of motivation.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

News that made me smile today

Long time followers of my blog will know that I have had a bit of a love-hate relationship with the NHS with regards how they have treated me during my employment with them through an agency.

Last year I applied for my job permanently and was told that I couldn't have an interview because I didn't have the correct typing qualifications. The person that did get the job started in December and left in March - she thought she was moving to Cyprus but she didn't in the end. If they'd employed me they wouldn't have had this trouble and I still would have been here.

So after the secretary that took over from me and left in March, I returned as a temp in April. It has taken them until the end of September to advertise the position. I joined the NHS admin bank so that I could apply for the job internally. The closing date was last Friday. I was told by the senior secretary today that my application was accepted by the HR department and that I was in fact the only applicant.

This means that I have the job but I think they will still have to go through all the bollocks of interviewing me for equal opps. Then to get me "free" from the agency they have to give them four weeks notice. So it will probably be November before I get onto the NHS payroll but in these troubled financial times I am happy just to know I will be in permanent employment.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Apology


Last weekend I slagged off Katy Perry and called her a vapid pop act. Well she was on Jools Holland on Friday. OK I'm not going to go out and buy her album on the strength of her performance but she did impress me. She rocked!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Public service announcement


In case you're wondering where my mum, known to a lot of you as Gill, has gone and why she is not blogging it's because she is currently admitted to West Cumberland Hospital with gallstones and infected gallbladder. That is all the news I have but I will keep you updated.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Damien Rice



I then went on to watch the beautiful Damien Rice make equally beautiful music. I really must insist that you watch this too. OK so I have already potentially taken an hour of your life if you watched all of the Jools Holland show I linked in my previous post, so why should you spend another hour watching this video? Well I'll tell you...

I have been lucky enough to see Damien live twice. Both were gigs were in the same venue in Liverpool. The venue was small and intimate, perfectly suited to Damien's style of performance. Both gigs were brilliant but were completely different.

Gig 1
This venue was seated and my then boyfriend Tim and I managed to get seats on the second row. The support act was brilliant, a young lady called Elisa who sang alone, accompanying herself only on acoustic guitar. Her voice was absolutely amazing and brought me to tears a couple of times. Don't bother with her albums though, I bought one and was very disappointed to find it was nothing like her live performance and had gone all europop and totally over-produced.
O had come out in 2002 and still not many people had heard of Damien Rice. There can't have been more than about 200 people in the auditorium. On this night Damien played alone without the band members that helped flesh out his songs on the album. Far from it sounding dull and weak, it was vibrant and exciting. Damien uses lots of pedals and effects on his guitar and voice, even layering them all up to create a wall of sound that even Phil Spector would be envious of.
He was chatty, playful and knocked the audience's socks off! He managed to weave Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" into one of his songs and did the same with Radiohead's "Creep". I think he even threw in a little Jeff Buckley.
Gig 2
A hell of a lot has changed since the last gig. I have split up with Tim and was hoping to go to the concert with a rather handsome pHD student that I'd become friends with. Alas over the summer he decided not to go back to uni and coming all the way from south Wales was too much of a trek. Luckily one of my flatmates buys the ticket from me and borrows my copy of O so she can get to know his music.
Things are different at the concert too - it's the same venue but this time we're standing. People are still milling around while the support act is on so we manage to get near the front. This time Damien is accompanied by his band but minus his co singer Lisa as she is full of cold. She manages to put in an appearance later on though much to the delight of the crowd. People know who Damien Rice is now, he gets played on the radio and there are adverts for his album on the TV. People know the words to his songs and sing along.
In the video linked above you can see that they have lots of candles and joss sticks on stage, and it was the same at our gig. Damien asks for the lights to be turned down just before they play "Cold Water". As the performance is being recorded they can't turn down the lights completely. But imagine what it would be like to be at a concert with a few hundred people and it is completely black apart from the glow of a few candles and joss sticks, which is what it was like at the concert I was at. It was so atmospheric and made the hairs stand up on the end of my neck. Then at the climax of the song, when the drums kick in, they whacked all the lights up again. It was such an overwhelming moment.
Watching this gig online didn't compare to actually being there as I didn't get to fight with my friend as to which one of us Damien was looking at! But it did capture some of the energy and vibrancy of his performance, which sometimes doesn't come across in a recording.
So if you think that his music is wishy washy coffee shop music please watch this video and see how wrong you are. The man is inventive and creative, makes an acoustic guitar makes sounds that a lot of electric guitar players would give they plectrums to be able to make, and has the voice of an angel. Playing for an audience is where his music really comes alive. I was sat there with tears rolling down my cheeks with the beauty of it. Unfortunately I have yet to read this book which I bought last weekend so I can't tell you why I did that.

Jools Holland





Firstly this afternoon I watched the extended version of Jools Holland on BBC iplayer. This show had one of the best line-ups I had seen for a long time since I enjoyed Radiohead, Cat Power and Mary J Blige on the same programme. I really must insist that you watch it, so follow this link. It features such bands and artists as Kings of Leon (pictured above), Metallica, Nicole Atkins, V.V. Brown, Carla Bruni and Sway.


I normally watch Later... after it has been aired on television so I can fast forward through the performances I don't like. This week the only casualty was the one song performed by Sway, a rapper. I'm not a massive fan of Metallica but I was impressed by their performance of "Cyanide", enough to make me want to hear the rest of their new album. Be warned though, "Enter Sandman" which is no doubt one of their best known songs gets cut off part way through. I was outraged! Until I checked out the Later website and found the full performance there for all to see.

Kings of Leon are one of my favourite bands at the moment and I loved seeing them play "On Call" as it's one of the best tracks on "Because of the Times", and a couple of tracks from their new album which is out on Monday. Something tells me I will be taking a slightly extended lunch break to buy it. It's so refreshing that they're number one instead of some vapid pop act. It's been a long time since I felt the need to buy an album on the day it comes out, a privilege normally reserved for Radiohead and possibly Elbow. It makes me even more excited that I'm going to see them in December!!!

I'd never heard of V.V. Brown or Nicole Atkins before but their performances on Jools certainly warrented further investigation. Carla Bruni was pleasant enough, but she sang with an expression her face which annoyed me and didn't make me want to buy any of her music particularly.

Do you like

the new look of my blog? Or should I go back to how it was before?

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

D'eath by D'urbevilles

Image taken from Metro, who also have this opinion of the programme.

I have never read any Thomas Hardy. Most of my readers may now be gasping and thinking "philistine" as you either are my mum or are old enough to be my mum (with the exception of a couple of you) and have a passion for the classics.


I am rather fond of period drama from time to time, my all time favourite being the BBC's most recent Jane Eyre featuring the fabulous Ruth Wilson and equally fantastic (not to mention hunky) Toby Stephens. So as the nights are drawing I do like to spend a Sunday evening on the sofa under a blanket watching a good serial drama.


Sadly I was disappointed. I don't know if the fault was with the BBC's adaptation or with Hardy's story itself. It seemed to me that there was rather a lot of fictional cliches.

1. Poor family think they have aristocratic connections and send a member of their family to ask for money.

2. Head of said aristocratic family turns out to be mad old woman so affairs are dealt with by her son.

3. Son is a "bad 'un" and has his wicked way with poor innocent young maiden.

4. No longer innocent but still young maiden runs away. And yes it turns out she is up the duff.

THE END

Only it seems that there are three more episodes! What could possibly happen... so no doubt even though I thought it wasn't much cop I will watch it again to see if it improves. Of course these fictional cliches could actually be original in Hardy's work and everyone has copied him.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Where were you when...

From JJ's blog:

Princess Diana died - 31st August 1997?
I was 14 years old. It is a scientifically proven fact that teenagers need more sleep so I wasn't too happy when my mum woke me up around 9am on a Sunday morning. "Princess Diana has died" she told me, having read this in The Observer. She obviously thought it was big enough news to wake me. My first thought was that she'd been shot so I was surprised to hear that she died in a way that "normal" people die - in a car crash. My mum, grandma and I were going to go down to London and camp, just so we could say we were there as none of us are royalists, but sadly I had to go back to school a few days later. I was painstakingly putting the music of Kula Shaker's song "Hollow Man" into my music notation software on the computer. I had to do it almost note by note and played it many times to see how it was sounding and to see what it sounded like so far. Therefore I always associate that piece of music with the death of Diana.

Margaret Thatcher Resigned - 22nd November 1990?
I was seven years old, and I'm guessing this was a weekday, so I would have been at school. I vaguely remember it being on the news that John Major was going to be leader of the Tories but it didn't mean a lot to me. I should imagine that there was a massive party in Cleator Moor, a nearby town, as they used to burn a Maggie Thatcher guy every bonfire night. It wouldn't suprise me if they still did...

The twin towers were attacked - 11 September 2001?
I was 18, taking a year out after finishing my A Levels and had yet to find a job. My mum, grandma and I were shopping in Carlisle. We were having a bit of an Indian summer so we decided to sit outside at a cafe called Deli France and eat baguettes. Near the seating area was a Radio Rentals shop and soon there was a crowd gathering outside the window. We wondered what was going on as we couldn't remember hearing in the news that there was a football match that day. We finished dinner and went over to the window to have a look ourselves. It was showing pictures of the Pentagon and saying that part of it had collapsed. We wondered what could possibly have happened for part of the Pentagon to collapse. We carried on shopping and when we got back home my grandad was waiting to pick up grandma and he and my dad were sat on the sofa glued to the TV. That is when they told us about the Twin Towers. I remember getting fed up of the constant news coverage because they could tell us nothing new and wondered why they kept broadcasting. I remember having to go and lie on my mum and dad's bed so I could watch Star Trek: Voyager as dad wanted to keep watching the news. They had to change the episode they were going to show in light of the events of that day, so I wonder what happened in it.

England played in a World Cup Semi Final against Germany - 4 July 1990?
Again I was seven, so I would have been at school. If the match was on in the evening then it is entirely possible that I watched it as I remember seeing some of Italia 90 as my dad was watching it. I remember singing "Anchovieeeeeees, anchovieeeeeees!" along to Nessun Dorma.

President Kennedy's Assassination - 22 November 1963
I was but an undeveloped egg in my mother's seven year old ovary.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Black holes and revelations?


Pretty picture is a particle collision, courtesy of CERN.
The Large Hadron Collider is set to be switched on on Wednesday 10 September. There is talk that it might cause the end of the world if it creates a black hole. Scientists are trying to reassure us that we're not at threat, but I still can't help but feel uneasy. The point of the experiment is to discover hitherto unknown secrets about the universe.
So just in case... nice knowing you all!

All Quiet on the Northern Front

Art nicked from my mum!

You will have noticed that I haven't blogged for some time. This is because I am going through a big period of change and haven't felt much like blogging. Even though I've had plenty on my mind I'm sure you lot won't want to hear all the outpourings of my heart, so don't worry I'll keep it brief!

Vince moved out a few days ago and my new housemate Phil moved in. We're all going through a period of readjustment and it'll take us some time to feel normal again. What I realised through Vince moving out was that I still loved him and still want to work things out. I haven't really had a chance to speak to him about this since he's moved out yet but I will soon. There are things he has done or said which make me think he might change his mind about us but I am trying not to get my hopes up.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Disturbing Orangina Advert

Now I am not normally a very prudish person, but I find this advert far too weird even to be funny. In fact I am just plain disturbed by it. No doubt there will be loads of complaints about it so will be removed from the airwaves. God bless YouTube so I can inflict it on all of you!

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Book List


Over at JJ's blog Life is All Cobblers (please see links) she posted about the average person having only read 6 of the following books. Now I think that I have read 30 of these, which makes me sad that I have not quite read a third. But I suppose it's not bad going considering I'm only 25! I thought I'd have a go at doing this as I am very bored with nothing to do at work, and my boss isn't in to see that I'm not doing any :)


1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 The Harry Potter Series - JK Rowling

5 To Kill A Mocking Bird - Harper Lee

6 The Bible (only ever read parts of when forced to at school and have no intention of reading any more)

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare - I want to read some but don't want to read them all!

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger (I thought it was rubbish)

19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger (one of my all time favourite books)

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy (life’s too short!)

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky (again life is too short)

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll (not sure I have ever read this all the way through)

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens (not that into Dickens so just a couple of his will do)

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34 Emma - Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden (100 million times better than the film)

40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (Oh the shame! Pacey plot, vaguely interesting but awfully written)

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52 Dune - Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time - Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses - James Joyce (again life is too short)

76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray (again life's too short)

80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - like Shakespeare I would like to read some but not all

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad (have heard it’s pretty dull)

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks (take that you wasp fuckers!)

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo


Key:

Bold - I have read this book
Italic - I intend to read this book
Underlined - I especially like this book
Red - I have no intention of reading this book

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Lovely walk


Image from flickr.com

Normally I am a bit of a couch potato of an evening. Phil and I had decided that we should do something last night depending on the weather. Should it be horrible we would go and see Hancock, the film where Will Smith plays a rubbish superhero, or should the weather stay nice we would go for a walk.

By the time that Phil arrived at my house to pick me up we decided it was too late to drive somewhere to go for a walk as it would be getting dark soon. So we decided to go for a wander around Rickerby Park, one of the beautiful parks that we have in Carlisle as you can see above.

For an evening walk I thought we walked quite a long way but Phil said he didn't think it was that far (but then he is an outdoorsy sort of person)! We walked from my house to the park, through the park, back through the park and up to The Beehive pub for a drink and then back to my house. It must have been a couple of miles at least.

It was a lovely evening and I enjoyed being out in the fresh air. I also enjoyed the random group of drummers that had set themselves up and were playing tribal rhythms just for the fun of it.

After our drink we headed up to Tesco for a quick shop and I picked up my raffle prize of a box of Gordon Ramsay chocolates which look very nice. It as even nicer as I had forgetten I'd entered. We were amazed how many people were actually shopping considering the fact that it was almost 10pm!

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Action packed weekend #2


On Thursday my future housemate Phil came round for tea and then we went to see The Dark Knight. We can both highly recommend it, plenty to laugh at, loads of action, a few cringey "ewww" moments and shovelfuls of darkness. Even though it was a bit slow to get going and was a bit long (2.5 hours) I could definitely sit through it again. Heath Ledger's performance was spellbinding. I used to think he was a bit of a cheesy actor but not after this.
Friday I headed out on the town with Hazel, Zoe, Iqbal and Ignacio, and later joined by Phil. We frequented a couple of bars before ending up in Concrete. It was a bit rubbish though as the DJ was playing very shuffly indie that was boring to dance to, so Phil, Hazel and I left early.
Saturday Phil, Emma and I headed through to Maryport to attend some of the blues festival. We baked ourselves sitting on the hill amongst the hoardes to watch the bands, ate chips and curry sauce, sat on the marina and enjoyed the sea breeze, found a pub down a back street and enjoyed the best band of the day "Blues Positive" (in our opinion), commented on the amount of scary men and women in Maryport (think dodgy tattoos, muscles and a fuck off attitude), got the train home and chatted at my place for a while drinking cups of tea. Very rock and roll.
By the end of the evening I could no longer speak. I thought this was because I had spent the last two nights in loud places and therefore had to shout into people's ears, but no. I woke up this morning feeling like I'd been hit by a bus, stiff neck, runny nose, and sounding like a blues singer.
Today I have sweated all the water out my body carrying two bags of shopping back from Tesco in the intense heat, recovered and then just about had enough energy to change my bed clothes. Not all excitement then.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Action packed weekend - Sunday



Image from http://www.oak-treefarm.co.uk/

Sunday was a much more sedate affair. Phil, Hazel and I sat chatting drinking tea and coffee, all in a vaguely zombie-like state. They headed off to their own places to have showers. I mooched around the house for a bit and had a bit of a doze on the sofa with Marwood.

As it was such a nice day, and there hadn't been very many of those of late, Hazel and I decided to go for a walk. I despair of not having a car on days like that as I can't get out into the countryside. I found out that Hazel also despairs as she often doesn't have anyone to go for a walk with so hopefully a Sunday jaunt could become a regular occurrence.

We walked all the way round, looked at the craft exhibition they had on in a boathouse, bought a delicious ice cream and then decided to walk all the way round again! There were a million cute dogs being walked around, especially two puppies which I think were Irish setters.

All in all I had the most fun and sociable weekend I have had in a long time and I hope to have many more like it!

Action packed weekend - Saturday

Sadly I didn't get much of a lie-in on Saturday morning as Marwood wouldn't let me sleep in much past 9am. Irritating but I still love the little bugger! I bummed around for most of the day until I met up with Phil, Hazel and Zoe to head through to Brampton for the live folk festival.

When we arrived it pissed it down. Zoe dropped off her car at her parents' house whilst Phil, Hazel and I got a delicious burrito from a Mexican food stall. We sheltered in the beer tent and the shower soon passed. The sun actually came out then!

The first band we saw were called 3 Daft Monkeys, they were a lot of fun and probably my favourite band of the night. A guy on bass, another guy playing acoustic guitar and doing lead vocals and a lady on fiddle and backing vocals. I'm surprised they played so well as they had been at another festival in Dorset and their set had been at 2am. They'd had to drive through the night to get up here in time for their slot at 7pm. They went down really well and had everyone dancing. Sadly their set had to come to an end and we headed off to the other tent.

After dancing around like idiots the other tent was much more sedate and genteel. The age of the audience was much higher in this tent as there were seats. There weren't enough seats for us to sit together so we huddled along the side of the tent. We were glared at a lot by one woman as we weren't listening to Thea Gilmore in rapturous silence. She sang lovely songs and had a beautiful voice but we had been up and dancing so it was a bit of a downer. It was almost time for the next band to start in what we had nicknamed "the dance tent" so we headed back there in the hope of being near the front again.

Little did we know that Bellowhead were quite so popular. We managed to get a spot fairly near the front but not nearly as close as we had been for 3 Daft Monkeys. The tent became absolutely packed eventually, although I wasn't as crushed as the time I saw Red Hot Chili Peppers on Glasgow Green. Bellowhead had a much more confident and polished performing style to the Monkeys, and as such they lost something. They seemed to play with a bit of an arrogant swagger which didn't endear me to them much. Having said that though they had the whole tent dancing and were jolly good fun. They were hotfooting it up and down the country too as on Sunday they played the Folk Proms!

This is turning into quite an epic post! Special mention must go to the strange group that we enjoyed commenting on. There was an older man with a fairly large group of teenage boys. We decided that he was teaching them the ways of debauchery and nicknamed them the Gay Scouts. Their motto? Come Prepared of course.

When the evening came to an end around midnight we had to try and get a taxi back to Brampton. No mean feat but fortunately it was third time lucky and we eventually got back to Carlisle just before 1am. Zoe headed straight home as she was drunker than we were. Phil and Hazel decided they would crash at mine as although we were knackered we were all wide awake.

We all sat huddled in my front room wrapped in several blankets, put the fire on and watched Hot Fuzz on DVD. By the end of the film Phil looked as if he could fall asleep anywhere and I wasn't far behind him. Much faffing later we eventually managed to get the sleeping arrangements and airbeds sorted.

A fantastic evening was had by all!

Estimated time in bed: 3am

Action packed weekend - Friday

It was Phil's birthday on Friday so I met up with him, Hazel, Zoe and Iqbal for a night out. Hazel was meant to meet me at my house around "8-ish" which in the end turned out to be 9!

Fortunately when Phil, Hazel and I got to the pub the band hadn't started yet and Zoe and Iqbal had managed to get a good table near the front. The band in question were the Olly Allcock Band, who I had never heard of but are apparently quite famous in Cumbria. Olly is meant to be the blues guitarist in Cumbria.

The band consist of Olly on lead guitar and main vocals, Roz on sax and backing vocals, Ed on bass and backing vocals, and "Harry" on drums. They are all excellend musicians and the pub was packed. Harry is fairly new to the band so he had to pass the audience test, which he did with ease by performing a stonking drum solo which lasted a good three minutes at least.

Lots of drunk people did embarrassing dad dancing and we had a bit of a boogie round our table but there wasn't much room as the pub was so packed. When the band finished we were all up for more of a boogie. Therefore we went to a bar called the Gilded Lily as you can get your hand stamped to get into a club called Concrete for free. Friday nights are best in there as they play lots of indie tunes rather than the banging dance stuff they play on a Saturday.

Iqbal and Phil wanted to go at about 2am and as I wanted a lift from Iqbal I sadly had to go too. I don't think I could've danced much longer anyway!

Estimated time in bed: 2.30am.

Feeling better

Things between Vince and I are still going well. I am surprised at how little it feels awkward that we are still living in the same house but not together. I think that we will be able to be good friends once we've dealt with everything and have a bit of distance from each other. I have actually taken a big step forward this week where our relationship is concerned, and although I still have feelings for him I no longer want to try and work things out and am happy to be just friends. I haven't quite got to the point where I'd be happy if he started seeing someone else yet, but it is still early days!

He is going to be moving out at the end of August and I was worried that I was going to end up living on my own and be Mad Cat Lady but fortunately my friend's ex boyfriend doesn't get on so well with his flatmates so is going to move in with me. So that's another load off my mind!

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Where I am From Photo Gallery


From Whitehaven Harbour looking up to Kells. The chimney used to vent gases from the mines. It once got struck by lightning and the gases ignited so now has the nickname The Candlestick.


The same view but from Kells looking down to the harbour.

Jonathan Swift Cottage. Apparently the view of the harbour from here inspired him to create the Liliputians (but tthis could just be an urban legend).





Fishing nets on Whitehaven harbour.




Buttermere on a cold summer's day.




The view from my childhood home in good weather.



The view from my childhood home in not so clement weather.
Please click on the photos if you would like to see them bigger.
All photos taken by me.
















Sunday, 6 July 2008

All change


100!
My blog has finally reached three figures...

I have not been in a blogging mood of late. I have been a bit preoccupied with real life to get bogged down with cyberspace.

Vince, my long term partner, broke up with me three weeks ago. The bottom fell out of my world and is only now starting to be fixed again. I am hopeful that we can sort things out but I am not that optimistic as he doesn't seem to want to try.

Also I found out that I have polycystic ovaries, which at least explains why I am spotty, hairy and have been putting on weight quite rapidly. Doctors orders are to do more exercise, but as I am so knackered by the end of a working day I am struggling with the motivation for this.

Not much else to report. I am still temping, secretary to a lovely consultant psychiatrist and hopeful that my job will become permanent eventually. The NHS never do anything quickly so I am not holding my breath.




Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Where I'm From Poem

My second mum wrote a poem following these guidelines so I thought I'd have a go myself. Here is the first draft:

Where I Am From

I am from marbles and Marmite, new leather
suite, cat hair and sloe gin.

I am from the extensions and pine kitchen,
rugged mountains and bleak coast.

I am from dainty cherry and protecting elder,
wind singing in the pylons.

I am from Sunday dinners and blue eyes,
Clatworthy, Powditch and Flegg.

I am from talking too much, long baths,
baking, Grand Prix and Doom.

I am from tarot cards and physics -
the cold light of stars and the Land of Faery.

I am from Whitehaven, Wales and Norfolk,
trackless fens, fells and bottomless lakes.

I am from Peking duck, stew, leek and
potato soup and chutney.

I am from Esme's naked budgie,
the missing train and ookum flookum.

I am from the red photograph box, the out
of tune piano, the cupboard under the stairs.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Monday, 2 June 2008

"Tagged" by JJ

JJ had a bad experience the last time she tagged people to do a meme, so I have selflessly nominated myself to respond. Again I won't nominate people but if you fancy having a go then feel free.
This is what you do - list seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to.

1. Main Theme to Indiana Jones by John Williams - one of the most instantly recognisable pieces of cinematic music. I went to see Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull recently (I will pass judgement in another post) and in anticipation of this Vince and I have been singing the theme a lot. Unfortunately it's now got completely stuck in our heads and if we start singing it we curse the other!!

2. Canonball by The Breeders - this song from Kim Deal's band (formerly of the Pixies) came out in the 90s but I never heard it until I got a DAB radio and started listening to BBC 6Music. They played it A LOT in early 2007. I'd been trying to buy the album for ages but they didn't have it in any shops in Carlisle; now they have a new album out they finally had Last Splash in for £5. If only I'd heard the album when I was about 13/14 as I would have thought it was amazing and in fact I can't believe it wasn't on the Ladykillers album I had at that time. I love this song as it's catchy, a bit grungy and has the best bass intro :)

3. All I Need by Radiohead - taken from their latest and most controversial album In Rainbows, this is actually quite a sexy song for Radiohead. The best bit for me is the crescendo at the end (from about 2.45 onwards) with Thom Yorke singing a repeating rising melody which sounds a little out of the ordinary, which I am told is because it is in the Lydian mode. There is an official being played on MTV but I picked the other one because I liked the juxtaposition of the images of the natual world with the music, especially the rainstorm with the crescendo mentioned earlier. If you want to see the official video, which is also good, then you can find it here.

4. One Pure Thought by Hot Chip -
Hot Chip are probably the band that I've most recently got into. It all started with 'Ready for the Floor' which I blogged about earlier as it sounds like they're singing "Numberwang guy". This is their current single and if you're not singing "I won't be on my way" after watching the video then I want your brain because you are immune to the evils of repetitive tunes! What I love about Hot Chip is that a lot of their songs are jolly and sing-a-long but they quite often go a little bit bonkers and sometimes have a dark melodic underbelly.

5. Where Is The Line by Bjork - since seeing her in Blackpool on 01/05 I have developed a bit of a Bjork obsession. This track is from her last album Medulla and has quite a dark feel to it. When she played it live I had a vision of what the music video would be like, or a section of a film it was used in. You can see the official music video that was made here (pretty weird, much like the song itself). The one I imagined would be a cross between a Chris Cunningham video (warning - not for the faint hearted) and er, well, porn. But it would be arty, the lighting would just create shadows and just show outlines of things and not details, and because of the glitchy way in which it was edited (see Chris Cunningham video) you wouldn't really be sure what you were seeing.

The story would be based around two lovers (they could be of any sexual persuasion but as I am straight I imagined a male/female coupling) getting into a more and more experimental sado-masochistic relationship. I think the idea for this comes partly from the lyrics "I want to be flexible/I want to go out of my way for you/But enough is enough... I want to have capacity for you/And be elastic, elastic, to be elastic for you/Where is the line with you ?", and me mishearing "I want to hurt you" when in reality it is "I want to help you" (in reality the lyrics of the song are about being annoyed by someone borrowing money all the time). Also I think it comes from the sort of violent, pulsing energy the song has. I think my favourite element is the big bombastic choir. Quite why I divulged all that in such detail online I am not sure...

6. The Perfect Me by Deerhoof - I had never heard of Deerhoof before I went to see Radiohead and Beck in a double headline concert in Edinburgh as part of the fringe festival in 2006. I quickly became a convert however. This song encapsulates the true Deerhoof spirit I think, a bit bonkers, fun and lively with amazing drumming. That is why I love this song - the drumming and the weird time signature. It almost sounds as if Animal from the Muppets is playing (but if you watch the video you'll see he looks more like Shaggy from Scooby Doo). In fact when we saw them live he was playing so hard he snapped a stick but was able to carry on! I become periodically obsessed by this song as I have it as a ringtone on my phone so it depends how many people ring me.

7. Sex And Drugs And Rock 'n' Roll by Ian Dury & The Blockheads - Vince and I quite like to listen to the Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show on BBC 6 Music as we love a good slice of funk. I listen to it when I'm getting ready to go out and putting my make up on; it's also bloody good first thing in the morning when you're finding it hard to get up. Having bought this album incredibly cheaply we found that a lot of the songs are a bit cheesey, but you can't beat this one! Listen to it and I defy you not to dance...

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Bjork Earth Intruders Misheard Lyrics

Now tell me if I'm wrong, but does she sing Dalek College around the 1.55 mark?

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Tagged!

JJ kindly tagged me about a million years ago, so here is my response to her meme challenge at last:

1) What was the last 1980s song you heard?
I don't remember what the last one I heard was, but I recently had Get Into The Groove by Maddona stuck in my head when a drug rep told me she was going to a fancy dress party as early Madonna.

2) What was the last thing you saw on Youtube?
Part 2 of 7 of a documentary about the making of Bjork's Medulla album. It has had to be cut into several chunks because of Youtube's 10 minute time limit.

3) What was the last entry on Wikipedia you viewed?
ICD10 diagnosis codes for mental illness at work.

4) What was the last computer/video game you completed all the way through?
I think it was possibly Diablo II on the PC, although it is possible to continue playing it once finished so in a sense you never complete it, but you have finished and repeat the same storylines.

5) What did you last pig out on?
Homemade Chinese meal of spare ribs and whole Peking duck and pancakes, shared between Vince, my dad and I on Saturday night. Followed by lemon roulade. Stuffed!

6) What is the last undeleted text message on your mobile phone?
Sent from Vince on a train from Sheffield Midland to Manchester Picadilly "The guy next 2me on the train has the phrase 'flange lubrication' on a work related document on his laptop screen! x" This is a private joke between Vince and I but I am sure you can guess what a flange is.

7) When did you last have a conversation with someone other than a family member?
As I walked out of work talking to one of the other secretaries. We talked about the hot weather, about how it was daft she got a parking ticket because she forgot to put the sign up in her car that enables her to free parking, and I can't remember what else.

8) Aside from where you live, what is the last village/town/city you visited?
I visited my home village so I could see my grandma before she has heart surgery tomorrow. Very sad. Hopefully it won't be the last time I see her.

9) What was the last competition you won?
A year ago I entered a competition run by Any Questions Answered, the text based service where you pay £1 for them to answer any question. I asked them about Lottery numbers and then sent them the story aboout how I won a tenner with the numbers they sent me. I then went on to win £100 for having the best story that month!

10) What are the last three blogs you visited?
Life is all Cobblers, The New Garden and The Dark Blonde - see my links section

I now tag my mum, Manda and Ruth!!!

Monday, 21 April 2008

Birthday walk









I turned 25 on Thursday and to celebrate I asked my parents to take Vince & I for a trip in the countryside so I could take some photos with my new camera. They took my took me to Caldbeck and a very small sample of the photos I took are above. I am especially pleased with the macro shot of the fungus.
We had lunch in this lovely pub, went for a potter around the interesting little shops in Caldbeck and then went along the river to the ruins of the old bobbin mill and the gorge carved out by the river known as the Fairy Kettle.
That evening we went out for a meal and stuffed ourselves full of delicious Italian food. All in all a pretty good day, especially as the weather held out until we were in the car on the way home.

Family chest

Photo from bravissimo.com - an excellent site for lingerie, swimwear and clothes for ladies with chests on the larger side.



According to a sign in Debenhams lingerie department 70% of British women wear the wrong bra size. Earlier on Saturday I could count myself amongst these deluded masses.


Bravissimo have some further facts: 60% of women wearing a C cup should actually be wearing a D cup - my bra faux pas was worse than this. They also think the national average of 36C is probably more likely to be 34DD. How do they know these things?


You would think with so many fashion programmes with clothing gurus such as Trinny & Susannah, Nicky Hambleton-Jones, and my personal favourite, Gok Wan extolling the virtues of correct cups we would all get measured. The effect of wearing the right bra works miracles on the women appearing on these programmes - both aesthetic and psychological - so why are there still so many wearing the wrong size?

My grandma bought me my first bra, a 28AA - so small there probably wasn't much point in me wearing it. The woman in M & S asked my grandma if it was the right size, obviously eyeing up her rather sizeable bosom. I remember the first time I was measured for a bra. I was about 14 and my mum thought it important that I wore the correct size as I was growing up. I don't mind telling you that I was a 32B.



I have been measured a couple of times since then so have stayed in the right size. However, I was measured last year by a lady in a certain high street store, I won't name and shame. I didn't think that her measurement was right but I gave her the benefit of the doubt as that's her job not mine. Unfortunately there isn't a Bravissimo shop in Carlisle so I went to Turnbulls, an independent shop with a great reputation, and in fact the place where I was first measured.



The service in there was fantastic and when the lady thought she had my size correct she got someone to check it. Considering I was only measured about 6 months ago, and I haven't changed in size since then, I can't believe that the high street measurer got it so wrong. Three whole cup sizes wrong! It looks as though the family chest is starting to develop, as ours tend to be on the larger side.

Unfortunately they didn't have the bra I liked in my size so I went round to Debenhams and M & S and ended up getting 4 bras and 2 pairs of matching knickers. I am pleased now as before I could only admire Bravissimo's bras and buy their clothes - now I can look at the bras with the intent to buy them.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Moonpig

The first time I saw this advert I though I was hallucinating. Vince had gone to the corner shop to buy a lottery ticket and he came back just after it finished.

I explained the advert to him and said that I wasn't sure it was real, and knowning my luck it would be an advert that was never on TV again. Fortunately it was on later the same evening so I could prove to myself, and to Vince, that I hadn't imagined it.

I don't what it is about this advert that makes me laugh so much. It must surely be one of the simplest and cheapest on TV. I think it has something to do with the cheesy 50s style harmonies.

I have yet to use their services but I know I will one day. What I want to know is why the fuck is it called Moonpig?!

Sunday, 30 March 2008

What's the significance?

800

As I left work on Friday and was walking along one of the many soulless hospital corridors I came across three elastic bands on the floor.

Big deal I hear you say. I see loads of elastic bands everyday.

But have they fallen, apparently at random, to spell out 800?

Does anyone know of any significance of this number in mythology etc? Like 7 is a lucky number for some reason and 13 is seen as unlucky. The Wikipedia page is a bit dull and doesn't contain anything like that.

What could it mean?

Scientology is Gay

This is an experiment to see if I can get the hang of this adding a YouTube video to my blog.

If you like this video please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAzjwN_Ht0o and rate it, and even favourite it if you like it that much!

A bit of advertising for my friend who made the video and sings. Also check out his band page linked on the right.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Marwood film #1

video

Quite dull really, this was me literally testing that the camera worked as it only arrived in the post yesterday. Quite funny though and I love m'kitty! I made a personal best of power walking from my house to the Post Office as it shut at 6 and I got in from work and found the delivery card at 5.53. Got there just in the nick of time.

New camera!


Oooh I love a bargain. I asked for a new digital camera for my birthday and I've been a bit naughty and bought it already. I decided to go for the Fuji F50fd and it is brilliant compared to my old camera. (Adopts old grandma voice) "Ah the wonders of technology!"
I managed to get in on eBay for quite a bit cheaper than I would in other shops - it is used but it's in very good condition. I'm sure there will be many photos and films posted here as I play with it!

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Misheard lyrics



I don't know how to put a video link in to YouTube so I'm afraid it's just a boring link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AW94AEmzFhQ.


I'm sure Hot Chip are singing "You're my Numberwang guy" around the 2 minute mark.


If you haven't watched That Mitchell and Webb Look you won't know what I'm talking about.

Only on Wii/Only Ennui


Only ennui the woman on the advert says. What do you mean "only ennui"? I think. If you've ever suffered from it you wouldn't dismiss it so.

Ennui is awful. I'd rather have a Nintendo.

Neville is from The Gashlycrumb Tinies, one oof the best books for "children" ever. Edward Gorey is a genius.




Sunday, 23 March 2008

Amusing sign #3


Not sure why I find this one funny. Taken in the ladies' toilets at Talkin Tarn.

Knitting for a good cause


I am a keen knitter but I never seem to get anything finished. I always get bored, start a new project and now I probably have about five unfinsished things on the go at the moment.
This is why I am so pleased that I got some baby socks and trousers finished in time for my friend Vik's baby boy Django - and finished in time for him to be able to wear them!
So when I checked my emails this morning there was an email from Oxfam asking for my help. They want to make a giant baby blanket made up from lots of different squares. They need 250,00 squares by September 2008. This is to represent the number of mothers who have died during pregnany or childbirth because they were unable to access appropriate medical care.
So if you can knit at all - whether you've been doing it for years or you're a novice that drops lots of stitches - please visit the site and take part. I know this is one project I will definitely persevere with.
Image from jupiterimages.com

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Amusing signs #2


You might have to enlarge this a bit but it says "U + JESUS = ENOUGH".
This too was taken in Thanet, Kent, possibly in Ramsgate.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Spam




My mum has a post about email spam, so check it out (sorry mum can't be arsed to link it).

I just received one that was called something like "now that they have found love" or something like that, but it sounded a bit more pretentious and interesting. So I opened the email and this is what it said:

"He yearns to find a dragon's lair,,he fights without remorse..rxib9816.greatnow.com he fights without remorse.,he fights without remorse.,Sword held high above the ground,. "

Rather poetic for spam I think and I might try and turn it into a poem!

Sunday, 9 March 2008

St Bees in March

I was a little disappointed with this photo as on the LCD screen of my camera there was an almost solid beam of light. But I'm actually quite pleased with the image, especially the little footprints in the sand. I think I could have a lot of fun playing about with this image. No colour fiddling on this image.


I love this image as although it was taken in colour and I have not treated it in any way it looks like it is in black and white.


A fleeting moment of sunshine! It was a very odd day and we caught the best of the weather whilst on the beach. The little people in the photo are mum and Vince.


Looking south down the coast towards Drigg and Ravenglass there was an odd mist. I think the person in the right of the photo is mum.

St Bees Head is the most westerly point in Cumbria, and indeed the north of England. These photos were taken on 1st March and the month certainly came in like a lion. I don't know if it's because I grew up near desolate beaches such as Drigg but I prefer them that way. Seascale and St Bees are all very lovely but I do prefer them without a promenade and isolated from any town or village.
However, I wouldn't get rid of the cafe at St Bees for love or money! After a bracing walk on the beach Vince, mum and I went into Hartley's cafe for a toastie and a drink. They have secondhand books with the proceeds going to the local lifeboaft station and it's always good for a ratch. Mostly there are the inevitable Danielle Steele, Jackie Collins, Barbara Taylor Bradford and Mills & Boon books but you never know what gems you might find. We bought Forrest Gump, a book on pizza toppings and a rather pretentious sounding novel called Ella Minnow Pea.
Later in the day we met up with my grandparents for a meal to celebrate my mum's birthday, Mothers' Day and my grandad's birthday. We go at least once a year to the Cumbrian Lodge in Seascale as it is handy for my grandparents and the food is lovely. I had a tasty turkey, ham and leek pie and banoffee pie. Vince was adventurous and had ostrich which he now claims to prefer to beef steak!

Amusing signs #1



"A dirty place to live"

After living in Scotland for just over a year I picked up some choice phrases, some of which I still use, mostly when sharing in-jokes with Vince (who is kindly modelling the street sign above).

For those of you who haven't lived in Scotland and don't know any Scottish slang the word mauchit (as it is normally spelled) means dirty, grubby, filthy etc.

Should you wish to visit this beautiful street Mockett Drive is in St Peters, Broadstairs, Kent.

I'm back!



I now have home broadband so I will be able to blog once more!

*tumbleweeds*

Oh well.

I have to go shower before my landlord comes round so I'll leave a more interesting post later.