Wednesday, December 30, 2009


We went to Sweden for Christmas - was wonderful. Loads of snow (but I'm told there's been nearly as much in the UK anyway so not much to brag about!) but not all that cold. No less than minus 10 I don't think.

The flight back was terrible. We cheaped out and got a connection in Amsterdam. The one inch of snow in Newcastle as we were leaving did however close the airport for three hours. So of course we missed our connection... Got to Schiphol, and queued for two hours or so to get booked on a transfer flight - and then the transfer desk closed. Fun fun. So, we had to go down to baggage claim and queue for another two hours to get a pass to a hotel room. It was now well past 2am. We then waited half an hour to get a coach to said hotel - before boredom, frustration and cigarette cravings got the better of us and we left. The next flight to Stockholm was at 7am and not knowing whether we'd be able to get on it we thought it better to wait by the ticket desk which would open again at 5.30am than to go to a hotel, sleep two hours (or, oversleep...) and then come back.

Mike dozed on the floor for a bit while we waited for the desk to open. We were second in line when they did - and they told us we'd already been transferred onto the first flight! It was a relief obviously, but still frustrating to not be told anything and having to worry all night.

That plane, too, was late setting off. About an hour. But we finally made it to Stockholm (12 hours late?)!

Just one more problem... you guessed it! Our bag was lost. So, another queue to report that. And then home - baking & socialising, 20+ people over in the evening and then - SLEEP! And the bag arrived the next day. Lucky, all the Christmas presents were in there!

That's all for now, folks.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

on Snobbery.

It's so amusing. I find myself reading blog/forum posts around the net filled with British snobbery. Well. Let me explain.

They moan about posh people, about people with money - how awful anyone with a good upbringing or who was lucky enough to be born into an upper/middle class household is. They moan about those at the other end of the spectra - those without anything, those on benefits, those on the verge of desperation or on the periphery of society. Nothing and no one is good enough for these moaners, the worst snobs of them all.

If you're not brought up in a family who are/were struggling financially; if you didn't go to a crap school; if you can afford to go to uni without working at least 20 hours a week to earn your keep; if your family is actually supportive and help you out (financially or otherwise) to help you achieve your goals and - worst of all - if you actually accept their help: well then you're posh. You don't deserve good things, no matter how hard you work, because you've 'always had it easy'.

This little moan would make a lot more sense if I had some quotes to illustrate - but I'm not interested in starting Blog Wars 2009 (or, 2010 nearly...), and I'm not interested in hurting anyone's feelings, in case they happen to come across this post.

I'm just... I'm part amused, part annoyed by these people. Why shouldn't I embrace being born into a reasonably well off family; why should I have to be ashamed of that? I've got massive student debts - from the very generous Swedish government - and paired with my parents'/great uncle's generous gifts at Christmas and birthdays etc I've never *had* to have a job whilst studying. But for most of it I did - not a lot of hours, and not throughout, but the implication that everyone with a similar background to myself are strangers to working is insulting.

Don't get me wrong - I admire those that have come from a more difficult background who have worked so hard to be able to go to uni (or, who's parents have worked so hard to enable their kids to get a better future). But I resent the snobbery from some of these people.

It reminds me - somehow, I'm not 100% sure how - of 'old' vs. 'new' money. But the other way around. In that situation, the fact that 'new' money has obviously worked hard to get where they are is ignored - and the focus is on the lack of history/heritage...

I've rambled on enough now - and as always, completely forgotten where I wanted to go with this post. You're used to it by now, I'd have thought...


Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I'm torn.

As I was walking home, headphones on, walking quickly as it was so cold, a man approached me asking something. I took my headphones off and stopped to ask him to repeat himself. He asked for some change.

I told him I was sorry, but I had no cash on me. He asked again, 'it's for the phone'. 'I am sorry, I've got no change' I repeated.

He then proceeded to get a bit aggressive with me, he came up close and raised his voice. Like he's entitled to my money, and I was being unreasonable not giving him any. I repeated, again, that I really didn't have any cash, and I walked on, putting my headphones on and walking away. He did shout something after me but thanks to Silverchair I didn't hear him.

Now. I actually didn't have any cash, but that's completely besides the point. I don't like feeling forced or guilt tripped into giving money. Blablabla. I give a lot of my time to a charity of my choice, and I'll always donate pennies etc to the charity boxes in shops. I don't want to be approached and asked for money. If I'm approached in the street by people asking for donations (I don't mean beggars - by charity representatives) I always say I'd love to - but I only have a Swedish bank account so unfortunately I can't. A white lie - I don't want to give out my bank details on the bloomin' street. It is, incidentally, a nice way of getting people to tell me they love me. It's often the only sentence charity fundraisers (especially in Nottingham?!) can say in Swedish.

I digress.

So, one part of me is annoyed and frustrated at being approached by someone asking for change. Not at being approached per se - but at being hassled.

The other part... well, I don't think people would do it if they weren't desperate. It doesn't really matter if this guy was actually wanting change for the phone or if he wanted it for drugs - it was obvious he was desperate for 50p. Or however much he was asking for.

I don't know.

Charities struggle. People struggle. I don't know and don't care if it's because of a recession, because of people letting themselves get into debt or hooked on drugs. The point is, they're struggling. And I'm all for helping people but I believe it needs to be done through the appropriate channels. If nothing else to stop people being taken advantage of.

You see it everywhere. People are so vulnerable and blind, especially where love is involved. I worked with someone who was a complete pushover at the mercy of her son - she was cajoled into babysitting several times a week so that the son & girlfriend could go out. And of course, she loves her grandkids so she does it. And she doesn't moan. But she was being treated so badly - taken for granted. I'm not sure how that relates to the previous paragraphs exactly but nevermind.

I had an idea - partly thanks to Nathan - as I do flexi time, I could technically work 8-6 four days a week and have one day off to focus on house work + my charity work. I may run this past my boss. Not sure it would be allowed though!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Toe seems to be healing nicely. Still hurts but it's no longer blue. In fact, it's nearly back to it's proper size and colour!

Watched some interview with Russell Brand earlier. I'm not a fan. But he's very articulate and I have to admire his intellect. Will I write more about this another day? Stay tuned kids.


Saturday, December 05, 2009

Because you're interested.

..I should probably let you know that my contract working in IT with the council has been extended until 8th Jan for now. All thumbs up!

I also met Paul's baby today. She's lovely :)

I wanted to stop and listen.

When I was walking home the other day, I overheard two blokes talking:

A - 'well it keeps her fucking sweet, stops her fucking whinging anyway...'

B - 'but we just had a Dominoes'

..that's all I heard. I was intrigued. Sadly there was no way to stop and listen without being really obvious about it.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Ask me anything


Yep, the toe is broken. Funfun!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Toe owwie.

A few months ago I wouldn't stop moaning about my sprained ankle. I got over that. And what did I do last night? That's right, I tripped on a cable and stubbed my toe. Big crunchy sound. It's now blue, twice the size and I can barely walk. Kept waking up from the pain, and have been feeling quite sick today. Should probably get it checked out... but I'm sure it's not broken so all they'll tell me is to just walk on it. Feel like I'd be wasting their time.

Oh I do like a good moan!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Swedish music

Months and months and months ago (probably about a year ago actually!), my friend Nathan made me a cd of Swedish music. I know, that sounds a bit backwards, surely it should be the other way around? Patience, my dear, it will all be explained in due course.

Oh - and Nathan, if you're reading this, please don't. Cos it'll ruin the surprise.

N used to give me lifts to and from uni every day the first few months of the MSc. Being the only two people who lived far away from campus (apart, obviously, from the Dutch guy who actually lived in the Hague) it made sense. And he'd always play this really cute, cheery music. Not something I'd choose to listen to normally maybe, but nice enough. And I'd ask who it was, and invariably the answer would be 'it's the Swedish band XYZ. Don't you know them?'

So, one day I got a cd with loads of them on! The cover was the titles written out in blue and yellow, shaped as the Swedish flag. Y'kno, in case I ever feel homesick ;)

Edit: I just realised I never explained the Swedish connection. There's a club in Newcastle that do/did a Swedish Popklubb every month (I think?). So it's not completely random!

Such a sweet thing to do!

So, I promised I'd return the favour. And me being, well... me. Lazy. I still haven't.

I made a playlist to burn onto a cd ages ago. But since then I've reinstalled Windows. And of course lost the playlist. And forgotten about it. Again. And again. And again. I'm so useless!

So today I finally remade the playlist. Well, some of it. There's some music saved on the server I want to add but it's not shared at the moment.

But the point is, Nathan shall get his cd. Soon.

In the mean time, here are some highlights. The best of Swedish music, some would say... (ignore the rubbish videos...)

Magnus Uggla - Första Gången

Ted Gärdestad - Jag vill ha en egen måne

Docent Död - Bakom mina solglasögon

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Another project.

Couldn't post this earlier, partly cos I forgot to take photos, and partly cos they were for a swap so couldn't post them before in case my partner saw them!

 (both images from her Craftster post)

The swap was a 'junk jewellery' swap, so basically using bits from old/broken pieces of jewellery to put something new together. I hope she liked it - she claims she did ;)

This is what I received from her - I love it!!



Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Some projects...

Originally posted at Craftster

After I finished my project for the Junk Jewellery Swap 2 I was inspired - stayed up all night giving some old broken jewellery new life...

The first one is beads from a cheap old necklace (H&M I think) which was threaded on elastic which obviously snapped. Not sure if you can see it from the pictures but 8 of the beads are slightly larger and more pinkish, they're from a broken necklace I got from my grandma's collection. The closure is new.

Second one is made mainly from a necklace from grandma, some glass bits - just added parts of a broken chain to a part of the necklace. I know the closure isn't centered but I like it...

The next necklace is parts of the same necklace I took the chain above from. I put all the beaded parts together and added some chains to the bottom.

And a bracelet to match...

They're not very special but I quite like them!


Cliques and chavs.

I looked out my window earlier and saw this beautiful golden retriver on the opposite sidewalk. Sorry, pavement. I forget.

The dog stopped, sat down and scratched itself vigorously for a long long time. It looked nice. I caught myself thinking that's what animals do. If there's an itch, they scratch it. Humans are much more discreet.

Then I thought, 'Hang on, that isn't true.'

You see young men with their hands permanently in their pants all over the place in this country. I once asked a mate why chavs do this, and he said it's probably to keep their balls warm. Nothing like a bit of body heat on a cold day. And with the added bonus of self-affection, I bet it feels a little bit less lonely?

It almost sounds like I'm comparing chavs to animals here. I'm really not. And I'm even going to avoid all the stereotypical jokes about that comparison not being fair on animals (oh look at that, I couldn't. But I wanted to preempt it so no comments do...).

I've nothing against any group of people. But some groups do seem to have a worse reputation than others. Does that mean some groups are actually worse? Nah.

I do wonder if a certain type of people are drawn to certain groups for a reason. No, I don't wonder, I'm sure of it. It's probably a well established fact. Not that I've ever read any such studies.

You get cliques everywhere. Online. In school. At work. On the bus (cool kids in the back anyone?). In any gathering of people really.

I don't know. I don't like it. It's a natural thing to an extent, of course you'll be drawn to the people you agree with/who hold similar values/share your sense of humour etc. But it becomes too big a thing too often. People worry too much about stuff.

I'm rambling. Back to the job hunt!

Blogger blogger blogger...

The other day I read in the Blogger Buzz Blog about how they've improved the 'next blog' function so it brings you to blogs similar to the one you're reading - and in the same language - and will roll it out over the next week. Ok, I might be impatient, but it's now been a week... Whenever I click 'next blog' various Portugese blogs pop up. Don't get me wrong, they look wonderful! And I'd love to read them. But my year of Spanish 8 years ago (and lunchtime catch up course last year... but we shan't count that!) has unfortunately not given me the skills to decipher Portugese.

I'm waiting in anticipation...

Impatiently yours,


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Feeling hungover.

No, I didn't drink or do anything silly last night. I just feel odd today! Slept about an hour Friday night (got carried away making some jewellery - pictures later - and had to get up at half past 4) and had a very long day with lots of travelling yesterday. Slept a good amount of hours last night though, so will be caught up soon.

I'm really not very good at staying up all night. Yesterday I was alright as it was such a busy day, lots of people around etc. But the couple of times I've done all-nighters recently I've fallen asleep in computer lab whilst typing. It makes for interesting reading once you wake up, I'll tell you that for free. I think I fixed it all before handing in my dissertation though ;)

Joanna was here last weekend. She left on Tuesday and I miss her already. It was so nice to see her and have her all to myself for a while! We did a lot actually, I never normally do things! Went to the Castle museum which was great (thanks for the tip Paula!) - all three of us got in for £6.50 even though I'd left my York resident's card at home and Mike doesn't actually have one. Normally it's £7.50 per adult, but Joanna's Swedish student ID worked (it also worked in Outfit, score!). Thank you, nice lady on the till!

There were some great exhibitions, about cleaning and household appliances (sounds odd, I know...), they'd built up a Victorian street and loads of rooms from different time periods... The prison part of the museum was alright but I'd expected more - especially with all the hype about the e-fit of Dick Turpin. I'd been looking forward to that but it was actually only mentioned once, one tiny paragraph as part of a massive board display of other things. Oh well, I've seen some presentations of how they do it in general and the technology they use anyway so perhaps I'll survive.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Film review: An Education

I've not written a film review in a very long time - probably since school - but I wanted to give it a go.

This was a really good film. Went to see it with Joanna when she was visiting this weekend. I thought I knew how the film would turn out; it seemed predictable. But there were a few... well, not twists as such, but events and actions that I didn't expect. Which was great.

The story encapsulates humour, love, hate and hope as well as hopelessness. It's all so grey - but when Jenny meets the older man it's suddenly all in colour, all alive. She's a very strong character, Carey Mulligan. Alfred Molina gave a brilliant performance as the confused, worried and rather pathetic dad.

But my favourite part is the clothes. I wish I was a 60s girl - just have a look at these... (click on the images to see sources).

Definitely go see this film. I very much enjoyed it.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

It's all about the who.

I'm very interested in how people react to things, how they approach situations and how they respond differently to similar things.

I remember reading a story about this man who was reminiscing on his childhood. Or maybe it was a piece on the radio. Either way, it was a few years ago I came across this so bear with me. He told of how whenever anything broke, stopped working or happened in their household, the response from his parents was always the same - 'who did this?'.

I don't remember anything like that from my childhood. Ok, my sister and I would probably jump straight in with 'look what Joanna/Julia did!' before our parents even had a chance to ask. Little tattle-tales we were...

This emphasis on 'who', on the blame is the interesting part. He described it as something that coloured his whole childhood. Of course, sometimes the 'who' is important. But isn't a response focused on how to fix things more practical?

I think I very much focus on the fixing rather than blame. People - especially kids - make mistakes. And there is no use in wallowing or worrying about stuff.

Of course, then there's the mistakes you just can't take back. But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm on about
silly things, like breaking a vase or spilling your cornflakes.

I'm not 100% sure where I was going with this. This is what I get for taking a break from blogging and watching some Criminal Minds...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's nearly November now.

This is disgraceful. I'm so bad at updating. Got plenty of half-written posts waiting to be finished, bear with me please!

Am half way through my POVA training, it's quite interesting. And I like the format, it's all online and quite easy to use.

Going to Mike's parents for the weekend - yay! Lots of sweets and nice food, and good company, obviously. I've said I'd make apple & cinnamon muffins. I did consider Hallowe'en-ifying them but I'm now thinking that might get a bit.. icky. Hmm.

I'm about to fall asleep so had better get going. Not been to well lately so need to get myself better for work tomorrow. Wish me luck ;)


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Horsey Horserson + friend.

I don't know if I've mentioned the horse I walk past to/from work? It's stood in this ditch by the side of a big road. It's fenced in, so I don't think the horse has been in any danger from the traffic. But the ditch is full of rubbish, and there's not a lot of flat space for the horse to walk on. I also thought the grass looked really dire. I was slightly concerned, and decided to go up there at night to check if it was being kept there after dark. Now there were two horses!!

So, not knowing the first thing about horses (or any animals, at all) I decided to ring the RSPCA. I was slightly disheartened by the response I got - it was pretty dismissive, and the lady told me it's not illegal. She encouraged me to phone the council instead. Understand I'm not complaining about the RSPCA, I know they don't have the resources to check out everything reported to them and I know they do a great job. But as someone who doesn't know anything about horses, I'd have appreciated someone to take the time to actually talk this over with me, you know?

So I rang World Horse Welfare. The lady sounded concerned - she said they may not be able to do anything, but could I email them some photos and they could evaluate it from there? I did, and a few hours later another lady phoned me back and gave me a good 15 minutes of her time, explaining that whilst they would not recommend a horse to be kept like that, there's nothing they can do at this stage. She explained to me how to see if a horse is under/overweight and asked if I was able to check every now and again - and also to let them know if there's glass or any other rubbish the horses could hurt themselves on. She said if I wanted to phone the council that might be a good idea but unless it's council land they prob won't do anything - and even if it is they still might not. She also pointed out that it's good the horses are in such a public area (big roads, cycle and walk path going past, big supermarket across the road) cos if they were being mistreated someone would report it.

I'm pleased she gave me some of her time, and that they listened to my concerns even if it was clear I had no clue what I was talking about.

My friend Horsey Horserson.

Horsey Horserson's friend

 Where they're kept.

Zoomed out a bit.

 I did feel like a bit of an idiot for being so worried but am glad I did pursue it. If nothing else I now know not to be worried, you know?

...and if the owners read this (haha - doubtful!) I'd like to apologise for being so suspicious ;)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Quick catch-up.

Today feels like a Sunday. It's kinda nice to have a second Sunday tomorrow!

Have been busy this past week, work 4 days and Lincoln on Weds for a research meeting. Not going to bore you with it but I really enjoyed it. Met some lovely people too!

I've plenty of things to write about and I will do over the next few days. At the moment the blog posts are being formulated in my head.

It's very sad about Stephen Gately. I wasn't ever a big fan but it's sad. And if you haven't already complained about it - the Daily Mail story is absolutely disgraceful. Most complained about newspaper story in the history of British newspapers, apparently. I'm not surprised!

Off to spend money. Catch you later :)


Monday, October 12, 2009

On the road.

I like walking home. Not only is it over 7000 steps (lol) but you get to see so much.

A couple of girls were walking in the other direction, and one of them was swinging this rope (I know...), slapping it against the fences as she walked along. I had a feeling she wouldn't stop as she walked past me so I made eye contact with her as we were coming closer to each other. She slowed down her rope swinging. But still hit me with it. I got a half hearted 'sorry' as she stomped off. Lovely people.

Not five minutes down the road some chav started shouting at me from across the road. I ignored him (as you do) until he did an Ali G impression. Not to bad, either. I stopped, smiled and waved at him. I think that confused him cos he hesitantly waved back and went bright red. Fun times.

One of the horses is still kept in that ditch behind Morrissons. I don't get why. Took a photo - not sure if I should contact the RSPCA or something? I've seen it a few times now - and I don't profess to know a lot about how animals should be kept but I'm pretty sure that a ditch full of rubbish is not the proper place to keep a horse? Please correct me if I'm wrong...


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Bad night..?

Spotted in Nottingham. Must've been a fun night.

All the ducks are swimming in the water.

There always seem to be a lot of ducks around to photograph...

These two seem to be debating whether to jump in or not... And sure enough, jst as I put the camera away and started walking off the male did jump in. Darnit!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Kipper tie, m'dear?

I cannot stand fruity teas. They smell lovely but they taste like plastic. Mint tea, I do like.

Twinings Mint Green tea is very nice. Better than their 'normal' mint teas. It smells - and tastes - more like the proper mint teas you get in Northern Africa. Or, if you're less lazy than I am, make yourself from mint you grow in your garden.

I'm not sure if I had a point to this post really. I'm just pleased to have found a nice tea!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Sneaking a peak at the Metro.

I promise, writing about celebrities won't become a habit. But I was reading the Metro over some girl's shoulder and it mentioned Madonna and Lady Gaga having a cat fight, dressed in some skimpy leather outfits.

A couple of years ago, Madonna tried desperately to shock by snogging Britney Spears at some award or whatever it was.

I'm sure there are more examples.

It's sad. Madonna has a great voice, charisma and she's a good performer. I say all this, and I'm not even a fan. She doesn't need to do these things in order to get attention or to sell CDs. She needs to get some decent songs again and not try to compete with Britney et al. - she doesn't need to compete with anyone. She's friggin' Madonna!

End rant.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

And I feel the way that every child should.

In the past few days I've realised how beautiful the campus is. Typical, isn't it - I've been a student here for pretty much exactly a year and now that I've finished I see it's beauty. Actually, there's probably something quite obvious about that...

I love how the tree just ends a couple of decimetres (or so?) above the water. It makes me want to go down there. Don't worry, I won't - there's bad bad algae blooming in the water.


I tried to catch the amazing green on his head but failed. It was the exact colour of my prom dress in year 9. In case you were interested!

Going to Nottingham tomorrow, got a few meetings. Quite excited!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It's a mad, mad world.

I love my job. It's only temporary but it's great. Editing a book for a European project on high altitude platforms (electronics...). I don't understand much of it but it's fun to learn. I think I'd be quite happy to be an editor/proofreader.

Walked home today, was a lovely afternoon. Half way home I was walking past these three young lads who were raking leaves. One of them was sat in (under?) a big pile of leaves, leaning down into it so you couldn't see his face. The other two were raking and kept looking at me, giggling. Cue paranoia ;)

As I came past the lad sitting down he jumped up, wearing this scary red mask thing. And they all burst out laughing. I wish I'd been quick enough to take a picture, it was funny.

That's the sort of fun we used to have (back in my day...heh). Most groups of kids/teenagers seem to have as their aim to be as annoying as possible. No. That's not fair. Not most. But they're the ones you notice, sadly...

Anyway. I did take a photo of this outside Morrissons:

You might not be able to see it very well. But the mini behind our car has a jolly roger flag on top. I thought it was awesome...

Speaking of awesome:

Yes. Yes, I really am sad enough to upload a photo of my finished dissertation to my blog. You'll survive, I'm sure.

Over and out.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sleep is.. is...

I'm nearly done. A few more hours to go. A few more hours of worrying until I start worrying about what mark I'll be getting.

I am sorry that I go on and on about this dissertation. Not only on the blog, but in general. I'm bored of it. Not the topic, as such. But the deadline. The assignment.

I want to go to bed but I don't think I can. I'm one of those annoying people who whinge and moan and worry, I'm afraid. Especially when I'm this tired ;)

Am working tomorrow. Fingers crossed it'll be a fun job! It's only for a few days. Am actually quite excited though.

After work I'm planning to either go swimming or go straight to bed. I'm afraid I know me this well: I'll wager it'll be bed.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I've always relied on the kindness of strangers.

The other day I was waiting for the bus up to uni. It was one of those crisp, amazingly sunny September mornings. This man kept looking over at me. I didn't think much of it, but after a while he was just staring... So I looked back at him, you know the way you do when you really just want to say 'what the hell are you staring at?!'

He came over, and said 'I'm sorry - you have a bee on your head'

Eek! Instinct tells me to run squeaking away from bees. Or freeze. I froze.

He said 'Can I.. do you mind if I touch your head?'

I said of course not. He proceeded to waft it from one side of my head, over across the top and near my ear on the other side, and then give it a little slap so it fell to the floor. He then said 'it's there, can you see it? I'm really sorry, I don't like killing living things.' I said that's fine, and we concluded that it was probably too cold for the bee to start flying around any time soon.

It strikes me how you can jump to conclusions about people like that. He was only trying to stop me getting stung by this bee, and I'd already started to conclude he was a weirdo, and wondering why on earth he kept looking at me.

I don't like judging on first glance. But I know I do it. I'm not the worst kind though; I'm open to having my mind changed radically.

I'm actually not sure if it was a bee or a wasp. Either way - I didn't like it sitting on my head. And I would've liked getting stung even less. So thank you, nice man.

I wanted to share this photo I took on campus that same morning. Lovely, I thought.

Friday, September 25, 2009

It's that pondering time o' the night.

It's 4am. I've not been up all night in a very long time. It's odd, I used to do it all the time. Dad used to get up at 5 or 6 and I'd try to turn off computer quickly and quietly and rush into my bedroom, hoping he'd think I'd been asleep all night. I don't think it worked. NB.- if it did work: Dad, I'm making all this up. I slept a good 8 hours every single night!

In my first year of uni I didn't sleep much. And when I did it was usually in day time. It wasn't just that I was 'turning the day around', I'd be up for a few nights/days and then get overwhelmed by sleep.

I remember sitting on that scratchy blue chair by the window looking out at the courtyard, the other windows... it was a depressing sight. I did some of my best writing sat on that horrible chair, wrapped in my blanket.


Here's one. Don't judge too hard; I was a creative writing student after all...


I stood still, staring into the headlights
hypnotized and full of fear
but also, admiration.
And I put another pound coin into the slot,
pushed hold, hi and lo a couple of times
   just to make sure I'd unlock all possible features
and gently, slowly, with as much confidence as I could gather
I pressed start.
Start, again.
Hi, re-spin,
lo, unlock megafeature
another pound coin
still hypnotized by the lights
  "Nevermind The Jackpots"
I couldn't move
     another pound coin in
press start, push nudge, and again
Hi or Lo, Continue or Lose?
  And suddenly it all went black.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's a lonely, lonely night.

Well, not really. I've been in the lab a large number of hours today and am getting quite a bit done. Was hoping to get a draft finished today but might not happen. Finishing the chapters on AR/SR and disfluencies tonight though. Tomorrow is all about the voice quality and conclusion. And other fun bits.

Don't worry - all of these bits I'm doing are virtually done. VQ needs a lot more work but it's all starting to look hand-inable. Not writing anything from scratch now, lol.

I've also done all the fun bits like abstract, acknowledgements...

It's all coming together. And I'm so damn hungry. But don't think anything is open on this end of campus still, still Summer hols really... Oh well. Mike'll have to make me something.

Took some photos of the sunset through lab window - it was really pretty but the photos look so depressing. I guess after being here this long you start seeing past the ugliness of most of the buildings... Will upload the photos later when I get home.

Over and out.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Joanna films Czarinna.

Make Up Store launch of Autumn range at Berns in Stockholm. Click the link and enjoy Joanna+colleague's handiwork!


I'll fill you in on a little secret. I'm bored. I'm lazy. I've zero motivation. If things don't work the first time I tend to give up. If Mike didn't push me to keep trying I'd quite happily just not.

Actually, I don't know if that's true. But it sure feels like it.

Didn't get to sleep til very late again last night. This morning there was a massive spider in our bedroom. Not what you want! But I suppose it being alive and well in the morning means it didn't creep into my mouth overnight and I didn't chew on it.

3 weeks til the big ball & fair now. World Mental Health day is coming up! If you're in Nottingham on 10th October come check it out! Nottingham CVS on Mansfield Road, 11-3!

I've no idea what to wear to the ball. Not going to buy something new - if I manage to gather some motivation I might make something. If not, I'll wear the green dress I wore to Mike's cousin's wedding. Not very ball-y but it's a pretty dress!

In just over a week it's my great uncle's 90th. Amazing. Most of that side of my family have lived to be nearly - or around - that age. Some time I'll write about them. But for now I just have to remember to send a card. A nice one.

Today I'm sat in the lab again. It gets boring. Not so cold today though! The plan for the day is to look at voice quality. And figure out why my VSA&VAI results are so messed up. Stupid things.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Nim Jiom, Kan Jang and other lovely things.

I've been sorely missing Kan Jang here in the UK. Nowhere seems to sell it. Granted, I hadn't tried the Chinese supermarkets and health shops...
It's a herbal type thing you take a spoonful of every day to prevent colds. It works quite well - plus it's yummy... Here, people suggest cod liver oil as an alternative. I'll tell you right now - it's no substitute. Ok, it may be immensely good for you and I know it can cure oncoming colds, but it tastes foul. Even just writing about it I'm almost heaving. So - I take cod liver oil in capsule form, and save the liquid stuff for when I'm actually ill/getting ill.
Cod liver oil capsules...

...and the liquid gold...

I was complaining to the lovely QQ that I couldn't find my Kan Jang anywhere. So, what does she do? Goes out to buy me some Nim Jiom!

It's like Kan Jang but honey based - so it's thick and very very sweet. But from taste (and my very limited knowledge of Chinese ;) ) it's exactly the same herbs - something liquorice-y is overwhelming. Tastes lovely. Though it says to take 3 spoonfuls a day! Not been doing that - 1 or 2...

Great substitute for sweets. I can see myself getting addicted to this stuff. Thanks QQ! <3 (for picture sources click the pics!)

Work, blog posts and the... future.

Work is finally going really well. It's a pain finding appropriate sources but I'm working on it.

I've lots of blog posts in my head but not the time to think them through, work them out. So the ideas are scribbled in my polka dot notebook, to be written out properly in time.

Am looking forward to starting work. Where is the only question. Applying for some stuff...

Am pondering doing a CELTA course. Got money to do some sort of qualification but not sure whether to do the 5 (?) week full time one or the evening one which lasts 20 weeks or so. It's hard to decide before I know more about work... If I start the 5 week one and then get a job offer I'll miss out on that, but if I don't do it full time I bet I'll be unemployed for a while. Just out of spite - the universe is funny like that.

However - doing the full time one would mean I could do some temping as a teacher and it'd probably help in getting TA type jobs at all levels.

Oh I don't know. Not a fan of decisions.

In other news, people are so lame. I hate having to interact with people who are hell bent on being difficult, and people who don't think before they speak. A bit of niceness never hurt anyone, right. The world's not going to do you any favours so if you want something for nothing just suck up a bit and be nice, usually works for me. There's a difference between being assertive and aggressive. I'm getting better and better at the assertiveness (yay!) but some people see it as weak to not be on the aggressive side.

I'm rambling. But I don't feel like explaining - the above is an amalgamated rant at several different people who have pissed me off in the past few weeks. 'nuff said.

Righty-oh, I'm off to write a bit more before bed. Toodles!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cold thoughts and cigarettes burn.

It's so cold. I'm sat with heating blasting and my coat on. Am in the lab so of course there are no blankets, no duvets and no cups of tea to warm me. Stupid autumn.

When I was waiting for my bus this morning a lady sat down in the bus shelter and lit a cigarette. Fairly rude to start with, enclosed space etc. But it gets worse. She flicked her cig and some glowing ash flew at me, landed on my sleeve. I had to brush it off quickly to make sure it didn't ignite my jumper. She was looking at me, fully aware of what had happened but said nothing. Had that been me I would've jumped up to make sure I hadn't burnt the poor girl or the poor girl's sleeve.

Oh well.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Ill. For a change.

Today has been a weird day.

Went up to the lab for about half past 8. Got a fair bit of work done. By half 1, 2pm I was feeling so rubbish and feverish I couldn't stay. It was terrible, and kind of sudden (tickly throat + ears all day though). So I went home and have been curled up on sofa trying to do work since. It's not the right time to get ill. I wonder if the air-con in the lab is making it worse...

Mike's gone to ASDA to get something for dinner. My head's so fried I couldn't even think of what I fancy eating - that's not a good sign. Will see what he comes home with.

I'm doing another 1000 words tonight - flu or no flu.

The weather has been weird too. Cloud, rain, beautiful sun... and very hot throughout.

Lovely Mike and photos of the home.

Mike decided to rearrange the office so I can work better in there... look how great it turned out! :)

The walls do look a bit bare in the photos but it honestly looks better in real life...

We've also moved living room about a bit - new sofa cover, new TV (finally!), desks in the office (as you saw above...) and it's a much more relaxing room now!

That's all from me for today. I'm feeling rubbish, feverish and clammy with a sore throat. Not the right time to be getting ill...


Friday, September 04, 2009

Rainy thoughts and trash TV.

BBC Weather says it's going to rain today. Lots. At the moment it's nice and sunny.

Doesn't matter; it's not like I've time to go out and enjoy it.

Our new TV arrived the other day. It's good to have a proper one finally, after a couple of years of only having a tiny on or one that constantly flickers...

There's too much in my head at the moment - can't write just now. Tune back in a week.


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

I'm a dissertation monster.

New plan!

By close of business Wednesday: Lit Review + section on undershooting articulatory vowel targets will be done.

End of Thursday: Section on non-fluencies will be done.

End of Friday: Section on consonant durations will be done.

End of Sunday: Intro, conclusion will be done.

Please hold me to this!

Bitty writing.

8.46am. Busy day ahead - am on just over 4000 words and will get to 6000 today. At least. Not been sticking to my plan at all (no surprises there!) but that's ok. This is manageable. Or is it managable?

The presentation went well. Am quite pleased.

Tomorrow is Mike's birthday. We've bought each other a TV as birthday present - it will arrive tomorrow. Our old one gave up (imploded!) just before we went to Sweden 6 weeks ago. It was rather undramatic really - the light kind of went smaller and smaller dead quick, then there was a pop and it wasn't working. So we've been using our old little one. Looks ridiculous in our rather large front room.

I miss sewing. When I've handed in my dissertation I've got a number of things on my to-do list... Sewing. Format my hard drive and sort out all files/programs. Find a job. And so on. Probably in that order as well.

I've been reading Pauline's blog and it makes me want to write more. But every time I do it ends up like this. Bitty. Not very interesting.

Oh well.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Bus thoughts.

I seem to be spending a lot of my times on buses. A few... stories - though not all that interesting I'm afraid.

#1 but nearly ran over an elderly lady the other day. Granted, she shouldn't have tried to run across the road when the light was red, but the bus didn't slow down at all. It's not like he didn't see her - it was on a looong stretch of road with no traffic, and he found the time to beep his horn for about 10 seconds before getting to the stop.

#2 since the bus has rerouted due to roadworks, it seems men on the buses are even friendlier than normal. In the past week I've been chatted up - or well, something to that effect anyway - twice. Don't get me wrong - I like that Brits are friendly and chatty. But it gets a bit much sometimes. If I have a book in my hand, only reply to you in single syllables and keep looking back down at my book - then I don't want to talk to you.

#3 whilst waiting for the bus the other day I made a new friend. This lady was chatting to me about all sorts of things - mainly her grievances and complaints. But I enjoy complaining so I joined in (damn council! I didn't tell her she was talking to a council employee...). She was telling me how she had been owed some money back (from overpaying council tax, I think it was) so she went to the council and refused to leave until she got her cheque. Sounds like a lot of effort.

#4 we already knew that York traffic is bad. But yesterday afternoon was awful. First bus - roadworks. Second bus was very late. Then it took 20 minutes to get out of town. Then the bus stood still 20 metres from my house for at least 10 minutes because some genius had decided the whold road needed closing because of a bust pipe. And bus driver couldn't let us off cos of 'health and safety'. Love it.

A couple of my lovely plants :) I've got greenish fingers...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's raining today. It always rains when I'm geared up to walk to uni.

Presentation is coming along nicely. It's tomorrow, so that's good... I've restructured the writeup though, it didn't seem logical to do the different sections and then have to talk about the different aspects I'm looking at in each section - so now there will be a section all to do with articulation rate, one on voice quality... etc etc. It is fun work actually, I am rather enjoying it. Despite all the pissing and moaning I've been doing recently, and will be doing over the next two weeks.

So - it's raining today. The sky's a sheet of grey and there's a steady stream of tiny drops against my window. It doesn't really encourage going outside. Well, I do enjoy the odd walk in the rain. But not when I'm going somewhere.Esp not getting there and having to sit there soaked for hours. Like in Amsterdam - one morning the skies just opened up and we had a bit of a trek to/from the tram to the uni. We were completely soaked for most of the day.

But that's enough about rain.

Monday, August 24, 2009

On the bus this morning a little old man was studying his shopping list. I had a glance (as you do), and it said:


  1. Pen refills
  2. Matches


I just wanted to hug him. Things like that make me happy - I want to be that organised. I love lists.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'm in the middle of writing. Of listening, of reading, and of writing. It's going slow and I'm rather stressed.

So! In true procrastrinator style, I'm sharing my to do list/plan with you. Actually, it's in the hope that I will get my arse into gear. Perhaps if someone is reading this and expecting me to meet my targets I'll be more inclined to do so? Yeah, right. It's worth a try!

Current goals:

End of today: reach 2500 words (currently on 1400). Finish Lit Review and send to Dad & Joanna to look over.

End of 25/8: Finish listening & write up Results section

End of 26/8: Have presentation sorted, powerpoint done etc.

End of 30/8: Finish Analysis/Discussion. 7000 words

End of 1/8: Finish Conclusion + Introduction. 9000 words

...looking at it like this, it doesn't seem so bad. But keep your fingers crossed for me, just in case.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A long time ago, we used to be friends
But I haven't thought of you lately at all
If ever again, a greeting I send to you,
Short and sweet to the soul is all I intend.

Come on now, honey,
Bring it on, bring it on, yeah.
Just remember me when you're good to go
Come on now, sugar,
Bring it on, bring it on, yeah.
Just remember me when.

It's something I said, or someone I know.
Or you called me up, maybe I wasn't home.
Now everybody needs some time,
And everybody knows
The rest of it's fine
And everybody knows that.

Come on now, sugar,
Bring it on, bring it on, yeah.
Just remember me when you're good to go
Come on now, honey,
Bring it on, bring it on, yeah.
Just remember me when.

We used to be friends a long time ago.
We used to be friends a long time ago.
We used to be friends a long time ago.
We used to be friends, hey hey

A long time ago, we used to be friends
But I haven't thought of you lately at all
If ever again, a greeting I send to you,
Short and sweet to the soul is all I intend.

We used to be friends a long time ago.

[the Dandy Warhols]

Monday, August 10, 2009

My gorgeous Scotch Bonnet :)

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Some Sweden photos...