Sunday, November 30, 2008

ooh look

It's the last day of November! And I managed to post at least once every day. Yay me!

Though I don't think every post was exactly wonderfully contentful, I have enjoyed the challenge of finding things to write about. I'm going to aim to continue blogging regularly. Maybe not everyday, but more than the once a week or so I have been doing.

There's been rather a lot of soul-searching/moaning going on in the last month. That's because that's rather the way life is at the moment. Good things are happening too. I'm moving house sometime after Christmas. This is because my landlady's leaving the country next year, which is both exciting and sad, 'cos I'll miss her. I'm moving to my church small group leader's house, which feels like home already since I've been there at least once a week for the last 2 years or so. I have a temporary job at least until Christmas, possibly on into next year. It can't last forever though. I need to find something more permanent. I'm unlikely to go back to my MA in January. At the moment I'm assuming I'll restart it in September 2009, unless there's a good reason not to. My GP suggesting starting to limber up for study again by trying to read useful things for half an hour a day, or maybe half an hour a week at first to get my brain back in the habit of studying. There are lots of exciting changes happening or about to happen at church. Even if I don't know what I'm doing careerwise, I think I'm in the right place at the moment with church and friends.

I don't know what 2009 is going to bring. I hope it's going to be good.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

independence / get over it!

HP said "And we always thought you were the independent bear!!!".

Yeah, maybe I was once. I'm so used to doing everything myself. It's partly fear, I think. Fear of explaining myself to someone else, so I do it myself. Trusting someone else is scary, and involves having to think clearly about what I mean and communicating it.

Sorry, this doesn't make any sense, does it? I'm trying to untie a knot (a particularly Gordian one) in my head. I don't want to be lonely anymore. Specifically, I'd quite like not to be single any more. I don't know what's a legitimate thing to do about that. Where do I look? What do I do? It's as if I'm not allowed to be independent in looking for a man. Not allowed by whom? Myself, mostly. If I'm looking for someone to lead me, I don't want to take the lead in finding him. I want him to find me.

I'm almost cross with men in general. It's as if we women just have to wait in line until the guys get their act together, chose their woman and woo her. Nothing we can do but wait to be picked. And if no-one picks us? Tough! Nothing you can do about it, but feel inadequate and unattractive.

I think that's what's been making me tearful and irritable this week. I'm not quite sure of the way out. If you're the praying sort, please can you pray for peace in my head and heart and for me to trust God on this one.

And if you've got any advice...


And Saturday's rushing past me. Not in a bad way. I helped move Rachel across town, read the paper and went to a choir rehearsal. Suddenly I'm feeling very tired. I think it's the light - as soon as the sun goes down I get very sleepy.

Tonight I'm off to have dinner with Liz. Yay!

Friday, November 28, 2008

friday night

It's been an odd week. I've been happy, sad, exhausted, well rested, busy, bored and everything else in between. This afternoon I've been feeling homesick, for what I'm not exactly sure, but like something's missing. I think I just need a bit of being with friends time. Soon, friends will arrive for dinner. My housemate and I have made a lasagne and it's about to go in the oven. The oven wasn't co-operating and decided not to work for a while, but now it seems to be OK again. Most odd.

Tomorrow, I'm helping a friend move house and going to a rehearsal. Probably lots of other things too. It's the weekend, it's mostly unplanned. I hope good things happen.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

solos and duets

I've been singing again, so it's on my mind. Indulge me.

I rarely sing alone. Even if I'm singing solo, there's generally an accompanist with me. The relationship between singer and musicians is key to how good the music sounds. There's always an element of uncertainty singing with somebody new - will we get on? Will we understand each other? Are they any good? Am I any good? What if it all goes wrong? But when it's good, it's great. There are some people that I love to make music with - they know what they're doing, we trust each other, even if it goes wrong, we'll have sorted ourselves out before the audience has noticed. I especially love singing duets and improvising harmonies. When you don't quite know what's going to happen, but you weave melodies round each other and it just works. It's so much fun! (And I think people like it.)

In music, and in other things too, I work better when I've got a starting point and and a structure. I love singing jazz because you take the tune and fiddle with it, ornament it, play with the rhythm and the melody and the words and sometimes just end up with wordless noises, but it's all fitted into the progression of chords and the pattern of verses, choruses, bridges and middle 8s. I'm not good at designing knits from scratch, but give me a pattern and I'll change it as I go to make it fit better or look different. Essays work much better when I've got a starting point to argue from or a statement to disagree with.

Yes, you can read into this that I would love to have a duet partner for life. Someone to do life with, to bounce ideas off, to argue it out and improvise with. My own accompanist and fellow troubadour. And yes, I would love for him to be a fellow musician. But also, I don't work well alone, no-one does. I need people around me to relate to and have fun with and to be loved by and to love.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

sing sing sing

I like singing. I love singing. I will sing anywhere, anytime, for no reason whatsoever. Singing makes me happy. Occasionally I get paid to sing, but I'd do it for the fun of it anyway.

I'd love to sing more. I sometimes wish I could make a career out of it. I haven't got a clue how. I don't know where to start and the world is full of young women who think they can sing, most of them prettier than me.

Still, if you're in the Cambridge area and looking for a singer; I'd love to.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


shadows, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

I've been to the woods again. The leaves are almost gone and the trees are bare.

Monday, November 24, 2008

nothing much

sillhouette, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

I've got nothing much to say today. I am (guess what) very tired. I went to Rev and came home again after two songs. I hope a good long sleep will sort me out.

Here's a photo from a couple of weeks ago. I was playing with my camera and using the colour highlight setting to pick out the blue of the sky and put everything else in black and white. It's a little hard to tell since the trees are almost monochrome anyway.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

sunday night

It snowed in London today. I didn't take any photos though. In fact I didn't take any at all over the weekend. Sorry.

I did have fun being with my family and friends. I knitted lots, did crosswords with my mummy, mixed Christmas pudding, drank coffee, ate pork chops and fajitas and sausages (not all at once), and generally enjoyed myself.

Now I'm back in Cambridge. I was going to go out this evening, but it's cold and I'm tried out. Early bed, I think.

How was your weekend?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

E17 Saturday

I've been enjoying being at home. My mum and I went to the Jubilee church prayer meeting this morning, which is always brilliant. I went to a craft fair at St Mary's and then wandered down the market, looking for (and failing to find) some material from which to make pyjamas. It was cold! I love the fact you can buy almost anything on Walthamstow market - fruit, veg, clothes, toys, pots and pans, tvs, dog leads, jewellery, you name it, it's there somewhere. Except, apparently, interestingly striped cotton suitable for Bekki pyjamas. Ah well.

This afternoon I've been knitting and watching Henry V (the Branagh version). If you're interested, there's an old post of mine about the Branagh and Olivier films of Henry V. I'd like to finish the jumper I'm knitting so I can show it off at church tomorrow, but I doubt it's going to happen.

Back to Cambridge tomorrow afternoon, but I'm enjoying this E17* interlude.

*E17 is the postcode for Walthamstow. As made famous (for good or ill) by East17.

Friday, November 21, 2008

off to London

I'm making the most of a long weekend (I worked Monday to Wednesday this week and will probably do Wednesday to Friday next week) by going 'home' to London. Well, to the house I grew up in, which is still sort of home, but sort of not anymore. You know how it works.

I'm taking my knitting and my camera. I hope there will be knitting progress. I expect there will be photos.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

how to tell if you're dreaming

If you're flying above a beautiful coastline on a white melamine piece of furniture which is not readily identifiable as table, chest of drawers or bookcase, which keeps bucking and threatening to throw you off.

This may be a dream. However convinced you are that it's white melamine, furniture in the real world tends to have an identifiable form and to stay in one place.

If you're in a aeroplane on the edge of space with hundreds of other people and are being shown a system of intelligent radio stations which can play you just what you want to hear and are labelled with words like 'amazing', 'mellow' and 'super'. And then you notice that each one also has a shape label of 'rectangle' or 'diamond' or 'oval'. And you naturally wonder if this is for synaesthetes, to identify the music by its visual shape, but the manual reveals that this is merely the name of the server the radio station is using at the time.

This may be a dream. The radio stations are all in overhead boxes with speakers that play outloud simultaneously and that would be of no practical use to anyone.

If you're in a therapy session, but you're not exactly sure how long it's been going on and the clock is moving faster than usual and outside the world seems to be spinning round and you decide this must be a dream and start screaming to make yourself wake up and the other people are looking at you like you're mad and eventually, they change places or names or haircuts and even though you're still shouting, you haven't woken up yet, so you just give up and go with it.

This may be a dream. No-one would actually bat an eyelid if you did start shouting in therapy.

If you've got up and out of bed, but five minutes later find yourself still in bed, so get up and out of bed, but five minutes later find yourself still in bed, so get up and out of bed, but five minutes later find yourself still in bed, so get up and out of bed, but five minutes later find yourself still in bed, so get up and out of bed, but five minutes later find yourself still in bed, tired and confused and feeling like you've been wrestling a bear.

This may be a dream. There are no bears in Cambridge.

I think I'm awake now. The furniture's not moving, the room isn't spinning and there aren't any unexpected people or bears about.

Still, you can never be too sure. What will happen if I start screaming to wake up now?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

...and zonk!

I think yesterday's wooziness was caused by tiredness. Today I am just as tired and about to have an afternoon nap.

I'm frustrated with getting so tired. I've worked three mornings this week. I did have a relatively late night on Monday, but in theory I've had enough sleep and mostly it was good sleep. I'm tired of being tired. I don't know what to do differently. Most fresh air and exercise? Different food? Go to bed even earlier?


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I am not ill! I am not ill!

Repeat until convinced.

I'm tired, my head hurts, my throat hurts, my neck is achy, I feel floaty. I hope some sleep will help.

How do you feel today?

In case you hadn't guessed already, last night I went to the Flying Pig. I liked it. There were pictures of pigs all over the walls and ceiling, interspersed with concert posters and silly things. I tried to take some pictures, but the ambiance was impossible to capture (i.e. it was too dark). We sat around and chatted and drank our various drinks and played with balloons until someone batted one at a glass and caused a loud crash. (Not me, I was engrossed in the Guardian crossword with Poppy). Although I suppose I did provide the balloons. Does that make me (ir)responsible?

Monday, November 17, 2008

no dead mice on the lawn today...

...just a mushroom. I suspect my housemate (whose lawn it is) will be unimpressed.

The weather feels very late autumnnal, almost wintry. The trees I've been admiring on my way to work have almost lost all their leaves and look woebegone and naked. The sky is overcast and everywhere is damp and drizzly.

Still, today is also the birthday of one my Cambridge friends (Happy Birthday Lizzie!) and tonight we're off to a wonderfully named pub which I probably should have visited before now. Can you guess what it's called?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

sociable sunday

Today I...

...went to church

...had lunch at CB2

...sang in a mini concert

...chatted with friends

...drank port for the first time in ages wet in the rain

...was startled into giggles by Marge and Homer Simpson

...ate ice cream

...went to bed before 10pm

Saturday, November 15, 2008

dead mouse

dead mouse, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

It says something about my state of mind this morning that all I can think of to post is a picture of a dead mouse.

I think it's a rather sweet and pathetic dead mouse. A memento mori perhaps.

I am tired.

Friday, November 14, 2008

the stuffness of stuff

In just over a month, I'm going to be moving house again. (Not very far). I'm looking around my room and wondering about all the accumulated stuff around me. How much of this stuff do I actually need? How much is just sitting there? How much is still in boxes from the last time I moved? (Quite a bit, I've realised). Part of me would love to travel light. Part of me can't bear to get rid of anything, especially books.

As I pack, I'm going to try to think critically about my stuff and get rid of some of it. Some to the bin, some to other people, some to charity shops. I don't think I need all this stuff.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

musings on Morse

Last night I was watching Inspector Morse on catchup. I had very vivid memories of this episode (Cherubim and Seraphim), from the opening image of a girl dancing in front of flashing lights to the final rave scene in a country house. As I watched, I tried to work out why I remembered it so well. It was originally aired in 1992, when I was 12, nearly 13. I think it represented to me a teenage culture I didn't like the look of and which scared me. Rave culture and acid house was frightening to me. Loud music, too many people, drugs. Not that I actually ever experienced it, but it was in the air. Or perhaps it's just in retrospect that I project what I know now onto my memories.

Rave is just as baffling to Morse. It's amusing how naive the ordinary policeman seems about dance parties in this story. Even the drug squad are under-resourced and short of information. But there's also an innocence to the ravers. They just want to dance. The drugs are about having a good time, feeling blissed out and loving the world. The tragedy of the story is that the ultimate high leaves people feeling empty and pointless, as if after they've experienced the most wonderful thing in life, there's nothing left to live for.

Perhaps the episode is a snapshot capturing a particular moment when rave was young and innocent, when the police were interested, but not concerned, before the crackdowns and mass arrests. Or perhaps Julian Mitchell and Danny Boyle who respectively wrote and directed the episode were painting an overly innocent picture. I don't know. Raves have never been my thing, though I can see the attraction of just losing yourself in music and dancing for hours.

I was happy to see this episode again and see different things in it: the fragments of baroque music sampled in the dance tracks stood out more, I could appreciate the subtleties of Morse's musings on parents and children. Marilyn, the girl who commits suicide, isn't his child (though I did spend quite a lot of the episode wondering whether it was being hinted that she was. Since her mother is Morse's step-sister or half-sister, that seems unlikely), but she is the nearest equivalent he has and his recollections of their conversations about literature suggest a close relationship and shared personality traits.

Some TV programmes I enjoyed when I was younger don't stand up to repeat viewing or only serve as nostalgia triggers. Morse is an exception. Even if I've seen it before and remember who did what to whom, there's usually something I didn't notice the first time around or a new subtlety to be appreciated.

(I have never, however, been able to spot any of Colin Dexter's Hitchcock-like cameos.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I'm supposed to be not rushing around too much. I am failing to do so. I was going to go to the cinema tonight to see Quantum of Solace but instead I shall be staying in and going to bed early. Oh, the excitement.

I am getting better at stopping to be. This year I've noticed that I've noticed autumn in a way I'm sure I haven't for the past few years. I was excited about waiting for the leaves to change and about watching them shade into different colours. I allow myself longer to get out of bed, dressed and breakfasted and out of the house which means I've got much better at finding time to read my Bible and pray in the morning. Sometimes I'm managing to take time to hang out with other people and not do much, just breathe the same air and chat. I'm doing 3 mornings a week at work, which I can manage. I'm not sure whether I could manage more. That feels strange. I used to be able to work a full week, do lots, miss out on sleep and eventually recover by collapsing in a heap. I can't anymore. Maybe that's a good thing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

soft things

I've never really thought of myself as a soft toy person. Well, not since I was very little. Apparently my cot was so full of toys there was hardly space for me. But when I moved from a cot to a bed, the toys stayed behind. (Instead, there were books under the pillow, but that's another story). Some toys got adopted by my sisters (notably Baby Teddy who was re-christened Teddy David by Debs) and others drifted into boxes or disappeared. Some still survive. Today in my room live:

Piglet, who for a long time wore a knitted dress belonging to a doll (I don't know why) but now wears a natty jumper I knitted from sock wool a couple of years ago.

Alexander, a small jointed teddy bear (3.5 inches high) who occasionally gets worn as a brooch, who is wearing a yellow ribbon and a miniature cashmere scarf.

Growlie, a very ancient growling teddy with a slightly intermittent growling action. He's a very old friend. The growling mechanism stopped once when he fell (or was pushed) downstairs. A repeat fall brought it back again, but he sounds more like a cow than a bear.

Donkey, a very recent addition. I think he's supposed to be the donkey from Shrek. I keep meaning to mend the seam in his back which is splitting.

Also around at the moment are a camel and a small knitted boy who are just passing through en route to a story sack at church.

Perhaps I'm more of a soft toy person than I thought. I don't want any more though.

Monday, November 10, 2008


It's raining, it's pouring
I don't like Monday morning.
I want my bed, my eyes are red*
Why did I get up this morning?

*Actually they're not, but it scanned nicely and they are sleepy.

Big yawns! My arms ache which I suspect is due to lugging chairs around yesterday. Or knitting. Or both. I've been doing admin-type things. I'd like to get out of the house, but it's raining and I don't feel like getting wet. So I'm staying in and yawning and grumping.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

windy evening

It's one of those autumn nights when the wind is howling around outside and I'm warm inside with a blanket and a hot water bottle. It's been a good weekend, lots of time chilling with friends and just being.

Right now, I feel good about life. I'm enjoying the lack of deadlines and stress. I have work, but I can just turn up, do it and go home again. I've got lots of time to think and sleep and knit and pray and be. Perhaps I haven't got as much energy as I'd like, but I'm trying to be sensible with the time and energy I do have. I have good friends and family who love me.

There are lots of uncertainties too. I don't know how long this particular stage of life is going to last. My job is temporary and life feels equally temporary. I don't know what I'm doing next. This past year hasn't quite been what I expected. Since I haven't a clue what's going to happen next year, that will be equally unexpected!

Still, right now, I'm alive and OK.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Saturdays are for...

...friends: I invited myself round to a friend's house to spend the afternoon knitting and then invited another friend to join us.

...knitting: actually I was outnumbered 2:1 by crocheters. Much fun was had by all as we chatted and created and did crosswords. Large quantities of tea and Battenburg were consumed, curry was cooked and eaten.

I like Saturdays.

Friday, November 07, 2008

brown and gold

brown and gold, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

I've been wandering in the woods again.

The colours are beautiful, breath-taking. I met someone else who was wandering round with a camera, trying to capture the beauty of the brown carpet, golden canopy and connecting grey-green trunks.

Beechwood has two parts, one older than the other. The younger part was golden before the older, but now the leaves are gone and it's in its winter bareness. The last time I was in the woods, the newer part of the wood was shut off for work, so I hadn't seen it for a fortnight or so. It was a shock to walk through the gate from one part into the other and go from rich golds to stark greys. Everything changes.

As I walked, I thought about how I've changed since I discovered these woods early this year. It's been a tough year. Nothing exactly went to plan. I'm still waiting for life to resolve somehow and make sense. I've been waiting for autumn to come to my woods and make them beautiful and now it has. That gives me hope that life will get better; change has come and will come and is coming.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

winter of a dormouse

I feel like a dormouse today. No, not for dinner. I feel like curling up somewhere warm and cosy until it's spring again. Actually I like autumn, and cold weather's OK when you've got heating and warm duvets and a hot water bottle, but it's so dark and gloomy I don't want to do much.

This week I have managed to do three mornings (10-2) at work, which feels like an achievement. I've also been out doing things on Monday night, Tuesday night and Wednesday night. All of which might possibly be contributing to feeling the need for hibernation.

I'm staying in tonight, where it's warm and cosy and snuggly.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

hearts in the sky

hearts, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

I went, I saw fireworks, I ooh-ed and ah-ed. I took pictures. This is my favourite. More on Flickr.


It's bonfire night! I'm off soon to meet up with friends to watch the city firework display. I will take my cameras and see what interesting photos I can take.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I made a hat.

sily pink hat, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Started yesterday, finished today.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Who am I?

This afternoon I've finally got round to opening What Colour is Your Parachute? and making a start on some of the exercises and some online tests. So far, I've discovered that my interest colour and usual style are blue (Princeton Review Careers Quiz) and my Myers-Briggs type is INFJ. Which doesn't really tell me anything I didn't know before. The jobs suggested by some of these tests include writing and editing, teaching, counselling, clergy, musician and actor. An article by Marina Margaret Heiss suggests that "overall, INFJs can be exceptionally difficult to pigeonhole by their career paths." Clearly that's the problem; I don't know what I want to do, because there are too many options. :o)

The thing is, I think part of the problem is I'm scared. I'd love to write for a living or edit books or research in libraries all day, but I'm not convinced I'm good enough and I don't know where to start.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


Well it appears I have at least 2 readers. Thank you guys!

I've just spent the afternoon sleeping which is a terrible waste of a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon. My excuse is that having heard Dave Devenish speak at church this morning, I really want to hear him again at Blaze (our 18-30s evening) and I knew I wouldn't be awake enough if I didn't have a little nap first.

Some of us were talking over lunch after church about faith and plans for the future and about Psalm 37v4: 'Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give the desires of your heart.' The verse seems ambiguous. Is it that God gives us the desires or what we desire? Not that that's really the point - the point is the first bit, 'Delight yourself in the LORD', not in anything else. But sometimes God does give us things we desire, even silly little things. I remember thinking at one point in my life how nice it would be to live somewhere where I could cycle to work, which was small enough not to have to spend ages on the train to get anywhere. I never pursued that dream consciously, but that's where I've ended up. Funny. :-) So if God can give us the small desires, He can be trusted with the big ones too.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


What does this blog say about me? I'm not too sure. There's not been much intellectual content to it for a while. Mind you, there's not been much intellectual content to me for a while either. I'm reading, but mostly silly things (in the last couple of weeks, The Vesuvius Club by Mark Gatiss and The Titian Committee by Iain Pears). I put so much of my identity into being clever and reading intelligent literature that when I can't do either, I don't know who I am. How sad is that? So, right now, the blog's not a book review page or a place of cultural comment.

I am taking and posting photos. I've got a new digital camera, so I expect there'll be a lot more of that happening. They aren't brilliant photos, just OK, occasionally good by a fluke. I like speaking in visuals.

I am endeavouring not to moan too much on the blog. It's boring and achieves nothing. Sometimes there are happy things to say and I say them.

Blog readers (anyone out there?) what would you like to know? Maybe if you ask me questions I'll answer them (no promises, mind).