Not long now until Christmas. I'm heading to London and then Cheltenham tomorrow. Probably not much blogging over the next week or so, although I might do a 2006 roundup at some point.
Have a wonderful and blessed Christmas, whatever you get up to.
I'll see you in the New Year.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Not long now until Christmas. I'm heading to London and then Cheltenham tomorrow. Probably not much blogging over the next week or so, although I might do a 2006 roundup at some point.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Currently stuck in my head, Victoria by the Kinks, or more likely the version by The Fall since that's the one I've heard most recently. All the fault of this post about Christmas traditions on 'Tis the Season. Which is far more entertaining than my wittering, so go and read that instead.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Monday, December 18, 2006
Christmas services at church, including a carol service in the evening when I sang in the choir. We had a houseful of people round for lunch and spent the afternoon chatting and having fun. Then after church, a bunch of us went to The Snug, where there's a guy with a piano playing jazz-ish stuff on Sunday nights and someone gave us light sticks to play with.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Good day: I had a meeting with someone who does a vaguely equivalent job to mine in another organisation and got all inspired about ways I could do my job better and things I could do.
Bad day: Lots of the things I could do involve doing scary things I don't like, like networking and phoning people up and there's only little old me to do them. This is probably why I've achieved nothing since I got back from the meeting and feel all worn out and daunted by the whole thing again.
Other news: This is now the longest lasting job I've had. Which ought to be celebrated in some way.
This is my least favourite time of year because I have to get up in the dark, go home in the dark and generally never see my home in the daylight during the week. It's also a fun time of year because it's nearly Christmas.
I'm going to a party on Saturday and the theme is 'The Twelve Days of Christmas'. Any ideas what I should dress up as? Preferably something easy and non-embarassing. If I had unlimited time, money and bravery I'd make something like Bjork's swan dress (scroll down), but in the real world, that's never going to work. Might manage a swan beak I suppose. Or borrow a recorder, convince lots of other people to find recorders so we can be 10 pipers piping.
*It's a cryptic crossword clue. See if you can answer it in the comments.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
On the bus coming back from the garage this morning, I overheard a lad in a baseball cap talking on his mobile. He had a deep voice and a way of Enunciating. Every. Word. so that whatever he said sounded terribly sinister.
"You. Sat. On. The. Bench.
I Know You.
You. Did. You. Were. On. The. BENCH!
You Stayed. At. Your. MUM'S. Did. You? At. Your MUM's?"
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
From the society's webpage: "The Athanasius Kircher Society was chartered to perpetuate the spirit and sensibilities of the late Athanasius Kircher, SJ. Our interests extend to the wondrous, the curious, the singular, the esoteric, the arcane, and the sometimes hazy frontier between the plausible and the implausible — anything that Father Kircher might find cool if he were alive today."
Apart from the objects themselves, I'm fascinated by the variation in the comments from readers. For instance, most posts seem to get half a dozen comments or so, if that, like this one abut the largest flower in the world or The Museum of Scientifically Accurate Fabric Brain Art. Yet this post about a cat piano (admittedly a rather cruel idea) had gathered 129 comments when I last looked (some of them offensive, be warned). Worth a look, although some of the exhibits are a little on the macabre side. Perhaps not a website to browse while eating.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Friday, November 24, 2006
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Monday, November 20, 2006
Not a great photo, but representative of a surreal interlude yesterday. The gospel choir I sing in performed at the turning on of the Cambridge Christmas lights (I think we sounded good. I had a solo, which is always fun). Beforehand we warmed up inside the Guildhall, where someone found a reindeer costume hanging around. Soon after this was taken, a pearly king arrived to claim it. We wondered along the corridor, past people with bunches of balloons, giant instrument cases and people dressed up as a fairy (very brave, it was cold) and a duck (or maybe a goose). We waited in the cold for a brass band to finish and gave them a huge round of applause as they trooped past. Then we squeezed onto the tiny stage, sang our songs to a friendly, but not overly enthusiastic crowd, trooped off again, and dispersed. Fun, but a little surreal.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
I first noticed him at night, when he looked lonely and sad. But this morning, I discovered he has a friend, if only in daylight.
(I tried to post this yesterday morning, but blogger wasn't co-operating. Yesterday was beautifully sunny, but today is wet and grey and gloomy.)
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I have a picture to post, but blogger's playing up. Perhaps tomorrow it will co-operate.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
This is the bell on my (t)rusty bike, Gertrude.
It's very useful when cycling across Parker's Piece, especially in the dark, because otherwise pedestrians can't hear you coming up behind them.
Wellington Womble* reminds me of my friend Kate from university, who had a Womble rucksack. The red thing is a squashed berry from the tree which overhangs the bike racks at work.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Monday, November 06, 2006
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Turk got bashed. :-(
It wasn't my fault, he was parked and someone went into him. I think all that's damaged is the running board on the driver's side and some scrapes on the paint. Fortunately, the person who ran into him was honest enough to own up and was very apologetic. Still, I could have done without that news last night after a long and frustating day.
It's only a thing and it's fixable. It's just it's one more thing that needs doing when I've no time to do anything about it.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Monday, October 30, 2006
We (Mel and I) made a spontaneous decision to invite people back for lunch after church. So we invited people, and some of them invited other people and we ended up with 14 or so people for lunch. It was great! We cooked a couple of curries, rice, naans and salad. There were plenty of willing helpers, some people brought drinks or contributed ingredients or did the washing up and I loved it! Definitely to be repeated soon. After lunch we sat around and chatted, then a small remnant (6) went for a short expedition to Magog down. We just about had enough time to wander around, confuse some sheep and admire the sunset before the carpark closed. Then back home to watch gattaca, down to 4 of us, then finally 3 of us ate toast and humous for tea. I do like days full of people and fun.
This weekend's extra hour was spent sleeping. Which was a Good Thing. And now it's getting dark and it's not 5pm yet. Winter is approaching. Time to knit more jumpers.
Friday, October 27, 2006
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
I've wanted to read this since seeing Bladerunner and finally got round to it a few weeks ago. It's a quick read, only took me an evening, although I'll go back and re-read it more slowly when I get to studying it next year. Like most things where I've seen the film version before reading the book, it's hard to get the visual images out of your head, especially when they're as stunning as Bladerunner. Putting that aside, and attempting to take the book on its own, the things that struck me were the way in which Dick draws you into his world. The first chapter or so is mostly exposition of who and what this world is about, but it doesn't feel like it. The description of Rick and his wife Iran and Rick's need to have a real animal, feel real and human. There's a certain amount of noir-ish detective work, but also, unexpectedly, opera and art. The other strand that surprised me was Mercerism, a sort of religious mysticism based on empathy with a real or simulated man walking up a hill. It's a recurring theme, the real versus the simulated. How do we know who's human and who's an android? What about the 'specials', humans so affected by the lead-polluted earth that they can no longer reproduce and are considered sub-human?
It's an odd book which ends with many things left unexplained. It's a day in the life of Rick Decker as much as anything. I've not read much sci-fi, so I don't have much of a feel for how it fits or doesn't fit the genre. The stereotypical conventions are there - advanced technologies, other worlds, mind-altering machines. (Query, why so many mind/mood altering machines in sci-fi? The only example that springs to mind immediately is Brave New World, but I'm sure there are more. I expect someone's written a paper or two or on 'Mind and Machine in Technological Dystopias'). It wasn't a bad way to spend an evening and it's always very satisfying to read a novel in one sitting, but I couldn't help finishing it with a feeling of dissatisfaction at the things left unsaid. Plenty to discuss when I come to write an essay on it, I suppose.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
It reminded me of my A-level days, although with some obvious differences. There were girls at our school, obviously, or I wouldn't have been there, and I don't think anyone propositioned their teacher post exam results. Noone in my year anyway.
It was the theme of an unrequited crush that brought it all back. Especially one so publicly displayed. Though I'd never have had the guts to sing the song that gives this post its title so pointedly to the object of my affections. But there was a letter, that shouldn't have been sent and was. (NB, if you're in the habit of writing letters you don't intend to send, don't let anyone, however well-meaning, let you think that sending them is a good idea. Especially not if they're mad, rambling, intertextual outpourings with survey tickboxes, Venn diagrams and smiley faces. I wish I still had it, to serve as a warning.) And for a while it seemed the whole world knew my heart. The letter was answered, negatively, but in the spirit of my original. (I kept his reply for a while, but I think it was burnt in a purge of teenage angst-ridden scribblings). I was disappointed, but hardly surprised. It blew over in the end. It always does.
The last verse, not sung in the film, although some characters could have done with hearing it. Perhaps Hector's advice to Irwin is in part encapsulated by the final stanza.
Wise at last, my eyes at last,
Are cutting you down to your size at last
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered - no more
Burned a lot, but learned a lot
And now you are broke, so you earned a lot
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered - no more
Couldn't eat, was dispeptic
Life was so hard to bear
Now my heart's antiseptic
Since you moved out of there
Your chance, finis.
Those ants that invaded my pants, finis.
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered - no more
Monday, October 23, 2006
Other stuff was less exciting. I think I've just grown out of surrealism. It mostly seemed very silly, where once it looked profound and exciting. Perhaps it's just familiarity. Once you've seen Dali's Lobster Telephone once, it becomes an old joke, there's not much to it. But then I still love seeing Duchamp's The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even. It's fun, if not particularly profound.
Also definitely in the fun category, are Carsten Holler's slides (Test Site). There were ENORMOUS queues for the lower ones. The taller ones are on a timed ticket system, so the queues look shorter, but they were so booked up, we couldn'e got on them. So we queued for 45 minutes for one of the lower slides and amused ourselves with I-spy and watching small children running about and/or having tantrums. I think it was worth it, just about, for a short, twisty slide. You do whizz pretty fast, even on the short slide.
We met up with my mum for dinner, and then went on the National Theatre for The Life of Galileo. I hadn't read the play beforehand, although I'll be studying it next year. I think I'd rather see plays before I read them, it makes the reading easier if you've got a mental picture of a stage and actors to move around. I liked the production, although the two song and dance numbers didn't sit very well with what was otherwise a fairly naturalistic setting. Simon Russell Beale was a wonderful Galileo, transforming from loveable shabby academic to passionate seeker of truth to broken old man. Seeing the play made me want to know more about Brecht and to see more theatre. It's relatively easy to get from Cambridge to London and there are good theatres in Cambridge too. Must have cultured weekends more often!
UPDATED to say: The Gender Genie thinks the writer of this entry is female. I don't notice much difference between this and my usual style. Interesting.
Friday, October 20, 2006
To come soon, a couple of book reviews/assorted thoughts. I've read (as in read and finished) two books this week, they couldn't be more different. I'm reading Middlemarch at the moment as my just-before-going-to-sleep book. At a chapter a night, it's slow progress, but I'm enjoying it so far. I love Eliot's gentle style. She's very fair to her characters, managing to show their faults without mocking them. I watched the BBC version of Middlemarch years ago when it was on. I don't remember an awful lot about it, but I keep being reminded as new characters appear. Ladislaw in particular is quite hard to separate from Rufus Sewell's smouldering portrayal. And last night I got to the first mention of Rosamund Vincey, which made me remember her wheedling "Tertius...". She always made it sound more like "Tashus" and she was usually trying to manipulate Lydgate into doing something unwise.
Provoking squeals of delight this week was the news that Torchwood starts on BBC3 on Sunday AND is going to be repeated on BBC2 on Wednesdays! Hoorah! I love the way the BBC marketing department creates websites to go with its programmes. There's this Visit Torchwood website and this slightly less subtle page.
Oops, better get back to work. Have a lovely weekend!
Monday, October 16, 2006
And now it's Monday and I'm back to work. And that's good too.
Look at this: slides! I'm going to London on Saturday to see a play (The Life of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht). I think I know where I'm going to be during the day!
Friday, October 13, 2006
Thank you to all the people who left encouraging messages and birthday wishes. They were all much appreciated. September was a bit of a rubbish month. Too much to do, too many mini existential crises. I needed to stop moaning on the blog and sort myself out a bit.
Anyway, I'm back. Normal service should resume. And it's my birthday, so all is good!
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Pigwotflies is going on hiatus to do some growing up. I'll be back on my birthday, 13th October. Do leave me a comment and say hello or ask me a question and I will answer.
Pigwotknits will still be open for business.
Monday, September 18, 2006
This weekend was good. I went knitting on Saturday, made pear loaf, cut up many pears and froze them, cooked paella. Yesterday I went to church, which was brilliant, went to a birthday lunch, ate yummy roast dinner, sat in the sunshine, knitted, went to church again (St Barnabus) which was pretty good, went to the Cambridge Blue and made plans.
And then it was Monday and I had to go to work. And I said entirely the wrong thing on the phone this morning through trying to be helpful. And yet again I've been avoiding things I need to do. And then got some sad news about some friends. So, um, not really a good day. Perhaps Tuesday will be better.
Trying to remind myself that God is big. And my complaints and fears and I are really rather small.
Friday, September 15, 2006
Thursday, September 14, 2006
But seriously, most of the things I'm stressed about at work involve phoning people up and I'm tying myself up in knots trying to figure out how to cope. What on earth am I, the phone-hating, not much of a people person if the people involved are strangers and I've got to ask them for things, get on with stuff quietly in my little corner person doing in a job that's supposed to involve lots of phoning people up, with a large helping of cheek and networking. I'm bad at networking. I'm bad at phonecalls. I'm bad at about 70% of my job. What am I doing here?
Trying to remind myself that I'm excited about the big picture of what my job does and there are things I love about it and God's put me here for a reason and maybe this is time to conquer my fear and learn something new. But right now, I just want to crawl under the desk and cry until all the scary things I have to do have gone away.
Aren't you supposed to get more mature and sensible and maybe confident as you get older? Not working on me right now. No confidence in my ability to do anything, feeling very immature and not very good at anything.
Stopping now. Really will cry if I go on much longer.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Monday, September 11, 2006
And some people might be having a rather worse day, for rather more serious reasons.
Apologies for my bad mood.
Five years ago today I was unemployed and at home. I remember hearing on the radio that a plane had crashed into a building in New York. And then a second. I went and turned on the telly and saw the footage, endlessly repeated, of the second plane crashing.
Debs says we saw the planes crashing when we were in Argos. I remember going to Argos later in the day and seeing the aftermath. One of us must be wrong. Memory is an unreliable elephant.
Did we realise then how much the world was going to change?
Is it Friday yet?
Thursday, September 07, 2006
*Sophia has a cello because a friend of hers is trying to teach her to play it.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
I've had my cameraphone for about a year now and sometimes I remember to take photos on it and sometimes I don't. Up to now I hadn't found a way of getting the photos off it. I have the right USB cable and the software, but not owning my own computer meant I couldn't install the software anywhere. Now I found a way to get stuff off my phone by Bluetoothing it to the office Mac. Some of the results are on my flickr and I'm rather pleased with them.
Overall, it's a bit hit and miss. Too bright or too dark and everything looks terrible. But it seems to be quite good at taking snaps of people in daylight at not too far away. I'll have to do some more playing and see what I can do.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Just a few pictures of Scotland on flickr at the moment, more to come when I get my films developed. This cow is walking along the road North of Gairloch towards a lighthouse, the name of which escapes me and which we never got to.
Scotland is beautiful, the weather wasn't warm, but it wasn't too wet either. We saw few midges in our first week (on the West coast, so plenty of sea breezes to blow them away) but rather a lot in our second week (on Skye). We walked, we picnicked, we drove about, we paddled in the sea, we sat on the beach and read, we knitted, we took photos, we ate curry rather a lot.
A good holiday, I'd say.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Last night I went to see Twelfth Night in Trinity Gardens with my housemates and a couple of Mel's friends. It was a lovely evening, if a little windy. We took a picnic and munched away before the play and during the interval. Watching Shakespeare outside feels like a very English way to spend a summer evening. Lovely.
On the way home, we cycled through the centre of town, down little alley ways, past King's College and over Parker's Piece. "We live here," I said, "Isn't that crazy?" And it's true. I'm growing to love Cambridge, it's odd and old and pretty. Last night, under clear starry skies and a full moon, it was beautiful.
Off to Scotland for a while, so most likely no blogging for the next couple of weeks. Have a good summer!
Monday, August 07, 2006
Yesterday was gorgeously hot and summery. After church, my housemates (Sophia and Mel) and I ate lunch in the back garden and then stayed there all afternoon, reading (Mel), sleeping (Sophia) and knitting (me). And it was good, so quiet and not too hot. There are three big trees next to the shed that provide a green canopy over about half the garden (dunno what sort of tree, must look it up). It's not a big garden, but it has a small lawn and buddleia and a passion flower plant and rosemary and lavender and other nice things AND we don't have to mow the lawn because our landlord's friend's son comes and gardens.
Wish I was there now.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
It seems I'm not the only one enjoying shipboard adventures. Geoffrey Chaucer has been living a piratical life.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Too much to do at work.
Yet in so many things I seem to be wasting time or finding excuses for not doing things. Like making friends, joining things, cooking for other people, making the most of where I am.
Time is precious, but I need to learn to be generous with it.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
It's still hot. It rained last night, but today is blazing hot again. Actually the sky is hazy today, not bright blue, but it feels like it should be.
The end is in sight of my busy fortnight. two and half more days and then I can go home and sleep. And go to a wedding. And then sleep some more.
The conference is going well. People are getting lots of out it, although it's pretty intense and exhausting, especially in this weather.
Soon it will be August. How did that happen?
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
It's going well so far, apart from a minor disasater on Sunday night when we turned up at the place we were going for dinner to find they weren't expecting us at all. Completely my fault. I thought I'd made the booking, but apparently had only asked for a quote and never confirmed it. We ended up in a restaurant instead and people had a good time and probably better food than they would otherwise have had, but it was an expensive mistake to make.
Hopefully the rest of the conference will go more smoothly.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
I've been laid low with a stomach bug which has pretty much wiped me out. I'm back in work, but not really back to normal. Loads to do, the next two weeks at work are super-busy. Not really the best time to get ill. Nothing I can do about it though, just get on with it.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Once upon a time, this was part of my daily commute to work. London has its beauties and the sun streaming through Stratford Station is one of them.
Then I moved from London to Cambridge and switched from being part cyclist, part tube-rat, so being a mostly cyclist and now an everyday cyclist. My new route to work is much quicker on a bike that it would be in a car, so I'm not tempted to drive and there isn't a useful bus. This morning I cycled past cars, people on their way to work or school, green spaces and historic buildings. There are things I miss about getting the tube, having time to read and knit on the way to work, mostly. But there are things I don't miss too, like black bogies, underground confined spaces and the smells that linger in them.
I don't think I've left London forever, but I like living in small city for a change.
Friday, July 07, 2006
This week has been just what I needed. I wasn't really prepared for it. Monday I was wondering why I was going and for most of Tuesday I was still stressed and angry. Something happened through Wednesday, I'm not excatly sure what, except that it was God and I just relaxed, caught my breath and got into the swing of the conference and more importantly started to listen to God and experience him like I hadn't in months.
I've still got lots to process, the questions I had at the beginning of the week haven't gone away, but I've put them into perspective. The best bit of the week has been spending time with people, the students from City I was staying with. I didn't really know any of them at the beginning of the week, but by the end, we were praying for each other and encouraging each other.
I've got lots of notes to go through and make sense of and I think what I really need is people to talk to, most of all, someone to meet up with and talk stuff through with. I'm not too good at that. Too independent and fussy about who I talk to. But I need to do it because I'm too good at bottling stuff up to myself and trying to think things through alone. Yes, that can be good and God does help, but when the problem you're trying to think through alone is 'Why do I feel so far from God?', you just drive yourself deeper into misery. or at least I do.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Monday, July 03, 2006
I don't feel ready at all. Too much to do at work, really bad timing as far as things to do making me feel like I shouldn't be running off and leaving people in the lurch right now. It's hot and I'm irritable. I'm sort of looking forward to it and sort of not. Staying with people I don't know. Good because I get to know new people, bad because I'm feeling sort of delicate and like I might cry lots this week. I don't feel spiritually ready for this week at all, just cross and confused and tired. Maybe that's why I need the break and time out with God. But it's such an intense knackering week, it doesn't feel like time out.
Anyway, I'm going and I hope it does me good.
It's Histon Feast week, lots of fun events round the village - most of which I'm missing by being away. Yesterday afternoon was a parade. It was blazingly hot, all the ladybirds and flowers and hippies and marching bands must have been melting. Looks like they had fun though.
Friday, June 30, 2006
Not the right way up, but I can't work how to rotate it.
Today is my last day of cycling my current route to work. I move a week tomorrow, but I'm away most of next week. I have too many things to do before I go and I know I'm not going to get all of them done. Feeling a bit stressed, but at least my feet are happy in new silver sandals.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
I've only got a few weeks left of my current cycle route to work and I'm trying to make the most of it and enjoy it.
This horse is in a field near the big roundabout I have to cycle round. I can only really see into this field on the way home, so seeing the spotty horse is cheering because it means I'm about halfway home.
There's lots of wildlife and livestock on my cycle route. Horses in fields, birds flying overhead and yesterday I saw a small baby rabbit scrabbling into the undergrowth on the grass verge. There's also lots of traffic, major roads and roadworks which mean the lanes change about once a week and you're never quite sure where you're supposed to be. My new route to work will have more grass, less traffic and more historic buildings, but it's unlikely to have horses.
Friday, June 16, 2006
Concert tonight. Still coldy. I can sing, but everything resonates oddly and I can't hear very well. I'll just sing on regardless and hope there aren't too many wrong notes.
Challenge - write a blog post without using the letter i.
Why are they so many dead squirrels around?
Going home now.
Have a good weekend.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Go away big black clouds. You're not really that big and I can do without the extra blanket cover.
It's raining. This is good because it's no longer boiling hot. I was hoping for thunder, but I'll settle for drizzle.
Monday, June 12, 2006
My neck and throat hurt. This is silly. I keep on being sort of low-level not quite healthy. I'm hoping it's just a combination of hot weather, tiredness and having an exam tomorrow and I'll feel better soon.
Sorry, this blog seems to veer between moaning and hooray-ing with not much interesting content in between. Is anyone still reading who isn't related to me?
The most exciting part of my weekend was seeing the underside of my car when I went to pick it up from the garage. It was like being underneath a whale skeleton.
It's getting too hot to knit wool. Perhaps I'll have to knit cooler fibres like silk, cotton and linen.
Over the last week I have burned, labelled and packaged a large stack of DVDs and CD that I made for work. This is very satisfying. I still have another, slightly smaller stack to make.
Debs is a far better blogger than me. She tends to have things to say.
I'm trying to work out what it is I don't like about football-based masculinity. That peculiar sort of English, beery, lary, loud, blokiness that completely sets my teeth on edge. I can't work out if it's snobbery or fear or just sheer opposite-to-me-ness. If I ever turn my thoughts into coherent sentences, they'll appear here.
In the meantime I shall be hiding somewhere with books and knitting and paracetamol.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Apparently there's some sort of contest today. Anyone know what all the flags are about? :-)
I'm planning a quiet afternoon reading poetry in the garden.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Monday, June 05, 2006
This is how it happened. The sermon yesterday was on Matthew 6 v 24-35. "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?" (v25) Afterwards, there was prayer for people who were worrying about things and needed to trust God. So I went up for prayer and rattled off a list of things I was worried about, including having nowhere to live in a month. One of the women praying for me said "I'm looking for a housemate". She's someone I know vaguely, having met once or twice before. So they prayed for me and I felt better and then we talked about the house. After lunch, I went and looked at it. So many things are just right. It's in the area I wanted to live in, down the road from more friends from church, the rent's right, there's a gas cooker (little thing really, but I do like cooking on gas), there's a garage I could keep my car in (luxury as far as the bug's concerned!), plenty of book shelves, the timing for when the current occupants are moving out is right. God's good!
It's not completely finalised yet, I've got to speak to someone at the letting agents to start the official paperwork side, but looking at the way it's all just come together, just at the right time, just right, I think it's going to be OK.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
I've been to Exeter for the weekend to stay with HP. It was lovely. I think I walked more and up more hills in a weekend in Exeter than I do in a month in Cambridge.
Yesterday we went for a walk with Nathan and Hannah along the canal towards the estuary. It was windy, but we stayed dry, apart from the sea spray on the ferry across the estuary to Topsham, where this pic was taken. The thing you can't see is just how cold it was, the wind was blowing and we huddled together in the boat to keep warm. The sun shone too, and once on shore again, we soon warmed up.
Now I'm back at work again, but feeling the benefit of being thoroughly de-cobwebbed. Thanks HP!
Thursday, May 25, 2006
I don't think I'm very friendly when I'm ill. I get all sorry for myself and grumpy. Will save blogging until I'm in a better mood.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
I cycled home in the rain afterwards on the edge of tears. This is the flipside of my habit of going to the cinema alone. Yes, you get to chose exactly the film you want to see and where you want to sit and whether you stay until the end of the credits or not, but there's no-one to discuss it with, or to pick you up and give you a hug afterwards.
I went home, had a shower, chatted to my housemate a bit and then want to bed, still feeling drained. Not much better now, although more rested. Going to buy petrol this morning and leaving my wallet at home didn't help. (Sorted now, I went back and paid once I'd collected my wallet from home).
I'm meeting knitters tonight, perhaps that will cheer me up.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Actually it's rather good. Usually we get someone trying to play 'When the Saints go marching in' very badly. Today it sounds more like a concert pianist rehearsing.
Not doing my sleepy head much good. I shall try to stop moaning and appreciate it, because it's actually good. They're playing straight through and not stopping to go over mistakes, until just now, I think it's got to a tricky bit.
Wish I knew what the music is. It's something famous and I ought to know it. I've got a sneaking suspicion it's the Tchiakovsky I was hating on Monday. hmm.
Monday, May 15, 2006
The word 'faculty' used as a collective noun, in a similar way to 'staff', but always 'faculty' never 'the faculty'.
Professors whose title is Dr.
Everyone has a middle initial and uses it.
A sort of lack of departments. Maybe they just call them something else.
My head hurts. I'm listening to a horrible classic fm type radio station viw i-Tunes on the office mac. The music's OK, but it's all chopped up into little bits, like someone's taken a selection of classical and baroque CDs and put them all into one big shuffle. Which is probably what it is. With a teeth-setting-on-edge computerised voice in between tracks telling you what each one is.
What I really want to listen to is Radio 3, but I can't make Safari find the plug-in to make realplayer work. So I'm stuck with this.
I think I'm stressed because I know I've got to write an essay tonight, but first I've got to do some work and what I need to do is fairly uninspiring and mindless and involves negotiating US university websites which are unfamiliar and therefore irritating.
Better stop and get back to it then.
Friday, May 12, 2006
...is not so little, now I come to think about it.
...is going home soon.
...worked late last night, so is taking time off this afternoon.
...has to write an essay by Tuesday.
...wants new sandals.
...needs a new place to live.
...will be back on Monday.
...wishes she had interesting things to say.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Monday, May 08, 2006
I've had a couple of good weekends though. Bank holiday weekend, a friend from Oxford, Chris, has in Cambridge, so we did lots of touristy things, went up the tower of St Mary's, found St John's (he's doing a DPhil at St John's in Oxford) and went to Evensong at King's, which was beautiful. Sunday night I sang in a concert in the village to celebrate the opening of the new recreation ground. That was a surreal experience. We were on between Ten Sing (local teenagers doing pop songs and drama) and the local village college (more local teenagers doing pop songs and some cringe-making comedy). So obviously we were singing opera choruses which fitted in nicely. Bank holiday Monday, I went to Ely cathedral. Ely's gorgeous and there was a choir rehearsing Rutter's Mass for Children for an evening concert, filling the space with sound.
This weekend: On Saturday I went to HipKnits in Sawbridgeworth (see knitting blog). The car refused to start when it was time to come home. It's been doing that a lot of late. Usually I just wait until it decides to start again but this time I called the AA, which turned out to be a good thing as the patrolman found and tightened a loose connection to the battery. So now Turq should behave himself. Yesterday was a very good day. I went to lunch at Ruth and Liz's house and stayed there all afternoon. Ruth and I went to St Barnabas for the evening service and ran into a couple of people I knew from Oxford. It's so long since I spent Sunday afternoon chatting with friends. Lovely!
Operation find Bekki-a-new-place-to-live needs to start in earnest. I'm feeling so isolated where I am at the moment. Not that I don't get on with my landlords, it's just that sharing a house with the owner is very different from sharing with other people who are also renting. It would be great to be nearer the centre of town, ideally lots of other people my age. It's a bit scary, but it needs to be done.
Friday, April 28, 2006
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Olivier's Henry V is deliberately theatrical. The first few scenes take place on an Elizabethan stage, complete with groundlings, basic scenery and rain. Later scenes expand to take in fleets of model ships sailing to France and landscapes filled with tiny castles and houses. The whole thing has an air of unreality and staginess, which fits with the form of the play. Any piece of action too difficult to stage is narrated by Chorus, reminding the watching audience that they must "Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts" (Act 1, Prologue).
Branagh's version is equally clear about its unreality. Chorus, played by Derek Jacobi, starts on a film set. The first half of the film is almost entirely interior shots, only moving outside with the first battle at Harfleur. The look is cinematically dramatic rather than stagey. At the battle of Agincourt though, the blood and mud and rain look all too real. It's clear that Henry's men are exhausted and outnumbered by the fresher French and their victory is hard won.
There's a difference in tone between the two films. Olivier's version, especially in the theatre scenes, is played for laughs. Branagh's, from the very beginning is more serious and more tense. Olivier's battle scenes are in full daylight with vibrant colours and flashing swords. Branagh's battle scenes are a bloody, muddy mess. Henry begins the battle of Agincourt looking suprising clean, but by the end of it, he's as mired in grime and gore as any of his men.
Both films pack an emotional punch. Olivier's film, made in 1944, was partly a deliberate exercise in morale raising during the war. Henry's rousing speeches are as much for the audience's benefit as for the characters'. It reminds me a little of A Matter of Life and Death and other Powell and Pressburger films of that era. There's a seriousness to it, but it's all a little unreal and disconnected from real blood and suffering. Branagh's version on other hand, almost moved me to tears. At the St Crispin's day speech, I was totally carried along with him. At the end of the battle, the battle worn king and his men carry the bodies to be buried in a gritty and moving scene that would be out of place in Olivier's film.
I could go on and on. I'm glad I watched these films in quick succession. Both are brilliant, in their different ways and true enough to the text to make them useful for someone studying the play. Go and watch some Shakespeare!
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
A grass snake wiggling through the grass at Ivychurch
A dinosaur by the M5
A field full of identical white Shetland ponies
The sun setting over the A406 on Tuesday
A pheasant running up the steps in HP's halls of residence
A swallow (possibly) flying over our heads
Red fields amongst the green of the Devon countryside
I've had a nice little break. Not long enough to do everything I planned and now I'm back at work I wish I was till at home. Perhaps these remembered moments will help.
Friday, April 21, 2006
It feels like this week's gone far too quickly. It's been a good little break from work though, even if I haven't done all the things I wanted to do this week.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
But that's not really the sort of re-reading the programme was about. What are the books that you re-read again and again? For me, there are several. The Bible, obviously, although that's a different sort of reading. But for escapism, Pride and Prejudice is pretty high on my list. Nancy Mitford's The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate come to mind as comfort reading, the familiar books I go to when life is a little scary (I last read them in January this year just after moving to Cambridge.) It's about familiarity and (mostly) happy endings. A Room with a View fits into that category too. I suppose all four are partly about romantic dreams and wish fulfillment. Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time is a re-read for different reasons. I've read it twice so far and I can see myself returning to it at different points in my life. I think I've blogged about it before as a sort of measure of life, of where one is in relation to the progression of the various characters.
I've just looked around my bookshelves and I can't see many books I've loved reading that I haven't subsequently re-read. I'm currently re-reading The Once and Future King by T H White, in a paperback edition I used to carry around in my blazer pocket at school, as I later carried around The Name of the Rose. Both books I read and re-read countless times, because I loved them.
I think that's my verdict. If a book's really worth reading, it's worth reading again. There have been books I've finished and never wanted to read again, indeed books I wish I'd never read. But many books, oh so many books, that I come back to again and again and again.
What are yours?
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
It was a fun day, as much good for talking on the journey as for the things we saw.
Edited to add: We found stones with holes in too. HP wondered if there were any. As she said it, I saw one at her feet.
Monday, April 17, 2006
If you want to know what I've been up to over the Easter weekend, go and look at Deb's blog. She has pictures and everything.
Did anyone see the Manchester Passion on Friday? Possibly the most interesting bit of the BBC's Easter programming. It was a bit like a modern Jesus Christ Superstar with songs by Manchester bands. Some of it worked ('Love will tear us apart' at the Last supper, Judas lamenting what he'd done with 'Heaven knows I'm miserable now', Jesus appearing right at the end at the top of the clock tower singing 'I am the resurrection and the life'.) Some didn't, quite, like Pilate and Jesus singing 'Wonderwall' as a sort of duet/duel. Sounded a bit silly. And 'Angels' should just be banned under all circumstances, even with the words changed to "He offers me protection". There were interviews with people in the crowds carrying a giant cross interspersed with the action which were kind of what you'd expect, a cross section of people from different backgrounds and religions saying why they were there. A couple of good, clear as you can be in a snatched 30 second interview quotes from Christians though. The whole thing was probably not to everyone's taste, but it was certainly innovative.
Monday, April 10, 2006
The weekend went really well. The speakers were good, most things went smoothly and I got loads of positive feedback from people on the course. I'm going through the more formal feedback survey now and so far it's all postive.
I got back about 6 Sunday evening and had very little brain power, so wallowed in a bath for a while and then sat in front of the telly with some mindless knitting and watched The Princess Bride (ooh, and managed to catch Belle and Sebastian on TOTP. That still seems a very odd thing to happen. They've been on twice in the last few months. This time they were all dressed in denim and sounded vaguely like T-Rex, but also unmistakely themselves.) and then a repeat of The Christmas invasion episode of Doctor Who on BBC Three. (Yay! New Doctor Who on Saturday! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I'm a bit overexcited at the prospect. No other TV programme ever in the history of the world is as exciting or as eagerly anticipated.)
Debs has been documenting her weekend in pictures. It looks like a very typical family weekend chez ma famille.
I'm aware this blog is becoming little more than a record of stuff that has happened to me. Hardly riveting stuff. I'm frustrated by my own decision not to blog about work stuff. There's so much cool stuff happening, but I can't blog about it because that would inevitably reveal my workplace and I don't really want to do that. I've been so busy with workstuff lately that there hasn't been time for anything else exciting to happen. I'm taking a some time off next week, so perhaps I'll manage to have some interesting thoughts. Or at least go to new places and take pictures to show you. Would you like that?
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Monday, April 03, 2006
I had a fab weekend. Went to a friend's house Saturday night, met her housemates and some other people came round and was all good. Sunday, went to church, gave someone a lift home, sat in the sun in her garden for a bit. That was a first for 2006. Sun! Sitting outside and not freezing! Cooked myself lunch, aubergine and tomato sauce. Don't quite knw what I did to ruin it, but the aubergine wasn't very nice. Went to the same friend's house to watch the boat race (Oxford won! Cambridge looked like they might sink!), went for a walk, came back and ate fondue with assorted housemates.
It's the first time in ages I've actually had a social life at the weekend. Hurrah!
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Basically the words are amazing, the music's sublime and it's a generally fabulous piece to sing or listen to. Probably more fun to sing. And this isn't the fabulously eloquent post I wanted to write about it, but I said I was going to write one, so here it is.
Monday, March 27, 2006
aka the leaders of the new 'Kidz Klub' (ack, can't stand deliberate bad spelling, but if said 'kidz' like it, so be it). Anyway, they took over the service and we played silly games and sang songs and Debs and I had fun doing all the actions and giggling all the way through. The idea was to give the church a taster of what's going to be happening on Saturday mornings once a month in a new outreach to the area around City Church.
After singing Handel on four out of the last six evenings, I still have bits of the Messiah buzzing around my head. This is mostly lovely, except when you're trying to go to sleep and get a fugue-like bit (most often And with His stripes, or worse, He trusted in God) stuck in your head and it goes round and round unrelentingly for hours.
Ah, yes, I was going to rave about how great the Messiah is, wasn't I? I'm a bit too tired and feeling the effects of the missing hour (oh, has anyone read Mason and Dixon , no? Oh well, I'll spare you the riff on what got lost in the missing hour, like the horse and dogs that didn't make it, or maybe did and went the long way round, I really can't remember. It's a very long and odd novel and that's one of the more coherent bits. There's some really odd stuff about giant plants and things that I just gave up on. Either I lost the plot about halfway through, or Pynchon did.) and as you can tell, not really in a fit state to write sensibly. But it is great, and the music is sublime, even the bass arias. Although I wish there was another really good bit like the Hallelujah chorus at the end.
I'll stop now.
Or not. There's a novel by Stevie Smith which I love, called Novel on Yellow Paper. I wanted to quote some lines from it, about going on and on, but don't worry, there's a 10,000 word limit (something like that), but Google won't give me the quote I want. So I'll give you this one instead. Perhaps an apt quotation for all bloggers.
"For this book is the talking voice that runs on, and the thoughts come, the way I said, and the people come too, and come and go, to illustrate the thoughts, to point the moral, to adorn the tale."
Friday, March 24, 2006
It's been a long week. Today I've been to Milton Keynes and back for a meeting. Tonight and tomorrow night I'm singing in the Messiah and I really want to write something about the amazingness of Handel, but I'm too tired. I'm going to go home and have a shower and get ready to sing, so I'll leave you with this beautiful sunset.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Monday, March 20, 2006
Monday morning rolls round again. A new week, a blank slate, to fill with plans and activity and business. Except, like this wall, it's never totally blank. There are routines, grooves to slip into, things that must be done. Some good, the structures that keep you safe and on time. Some bad, the bad habits you can't shake.Looking at this picture reminds me of a metaphor for sin, the memory of which puts me back in the school playground. I think it was a powerful idea in my head when I was younger. Our conscience, our soul is a white sheet. Sin stains it black and grey and muddy. So matter how much we try, we can't wash it away. Jesus comes and takes away our stained sinful sheet and gives us his spotless white covering.
I'm not sure it stands up to detailed theological analysis, (What is the sheet like to begin with? It can't be spotless. What happens to the thrown away sheets?) but something abut the metaphor obviously gripped my primary school-aged mind. I think it's the idea of a new start, washing away the past and being given a new righteousness from God.
So what does that mean for my patterns, habits and grooves? Do they get renewed too?
Well, yes. But how? Still working on that one.
Friday, March 17, 2006
Notable events of this week:
A giant Frankenstein's monster (Boris Karloff-esque) in front of the car show room I pass on my way home. Now replaced by an equally large and angry looking Octopus on the roof.
Looking out of the window to find my nextdoor neighbour's washing line was full of stuffed animals, pegged up to dry.
I videoed Tuesday's lunchtime seminar all by myself. I haven't watched it all yet, but so far it looks OK.
Snow on Tuesday. It didn't settle, but it looked quite impressively blizzardy for a bit.
Yesterday I wore a wrapover dress over trousers which caused my two office mates to comment, independently, that I looked smart. Does this mean I'm not usually smart or just that it was an outfit they hadn't seen before?
Make-it-up-as-you-go-along curries are sometimes odd, but sometimes delicious. This week's, which was actually a half-remembered Jamie Oliver recipe with chopped tomatoes and cream of coconut, but without half the crucial ingredients, was towards the delicious end of the spectrum.
I still need a haircut. Does anyone know any good hairdressers in Cambridge?
Monday, March 13, 2006
That's how I feel today. Not sure why. Too much caffeine? One too many anxiety dreams? I haven't exactly been sleeping well.
Not much else to report.
I wake up, I go to work, I go home, I eat, I knit, I sleep.
Except it's just been the weekend. Which was different.
Sorry, nothing sparkling to say today. I'm feeling a bit flat.
I did manage to find and stay on the A14 yesterday, so that's an achievement. The secret seems to be to remember not to be put off by the twists and turns and weird bifurcations and forget what the map looks like and the fact that usually when I'm on this section of road I'm going to Melton Mowbray and just follow the signs. Why this doesn't work in the dark, I have no idea.
Can I go home now?
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
In the country, it's a different story.
The Cambridgeshire countryside is very pretty. Flat fields stretching off into the distance, long straight stretches of road raised a few feet above the level of the surrounding ground, beautiful views with lines of trees marching off into the distance.
None of this is of any use whatsoever in the dark.
The other crucial point about Cambridgeshire roads is their casual approach to signposting. You're looking for a village, let's call it Groundwater. You come to a cross roads with a pretty fingerpost pointing you towards Groundwater, Ely and Cambridge. "Oh good," you think, and poddle along in the direction of Groundwater. You come to the next crossroads. There are directions to Ely, Cambridge, Watertree and Soggy Oak, but no directions to Groundwater. "Oh well," you think, and decide Groundwater must be in the opposite directions to Watertree and you'll go that way. Next crossroads, no directions whatsoever. "Oh dear," you think, "Perhaps I should turn round." You drive along the long, straight dark road with a 3 foot drop on either side desperately hoping for a side road or gate in which to turn round. Suddenly, with no warning, you see a turning to Groundwater and you have to brake abruptly and swing round the corner, sending everything on the back seat flying onto the floor of the car.
Then there's the A14. Me and the A14 have a difficult relationship. It looks like a very useful road, running roughly East-West across the North side of Cambridge. There aren't many East-West roads on that side of Cambridge, so it should be very useful for getting to places. Er, no. The A14 is elusive. Despite the fact that I can get on it a mile and a half from my door, I inevitably lose it again. Unless I'm trying to get on the M11. Otherwise I end up heading to Bedford or Ely or Newmarket when I wanted to go somewhere else entirely.
Perhaps it knows. Perhaps it's a conspiracy of country roads to send me and my bug hurtling back to the city where we belong. Perhaps the signposters of Cambridgeshire want me to be lost.
Perhaps I just need to look at the map more often.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Essay writing did beat knitting, so I didn't finish my Olympic cardigan.
Tuesday and Wednesday I was in London on a course on publicity and promotions which was very useful, if quite intense.
Today is a busy day at work since there's a big public lecture this evening, followed by a posh dinner and discussion. And I seem to need to be in about three places at once for most of the evening. I do get to eat yummy food though, so it's not all stressful.
Friday, February 24, 2006
Have a good weekend, whatever you do.
And just so there's something interesting for me to find on Monday morning, tell me your plans for the weekend. What exciting things does your life contain?
Gosh, I sound like a Radio 1 DJ. Sort of.
ta ta til then.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Meme instructions: Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you might read, cross out the ones you won’t, underline the ones on your book shelf, and place parentheses around the ones you’ve never even heard of.
The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby – F.Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger Currently re-reading this one. It's good.
His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman Not sure whether I want to read this or not. I saw the first half of the National Theatre production and it rather put me off.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J. K. Rowling
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story – George Orwell
Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies – William Golding No, I still haven't read it.
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
1984 – George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K. Rowling (family copy)
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez I started it once.
(The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini)
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
Slaughterhouse 5 – Kurt Vonnegut
Neuromancer – William Gibson
(Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson)
A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgesss
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C. S. Lewis Well, technically it's a family copy.
Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
The Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Good Omens – Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
Atonement – Ian McEwan
(The Shadow Of The Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon)
The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
Dune – Frank Herbert