I had a lovely holiday, ta. Great company, Garlic Festival, much cake, a Chumbawamba gig and time spent looking at the ocean, walking on sand and feeling the warm wind whip my skin.

It has made me more than a little reflective though - only in a very private, personal and selfish way. As such, I have decided to maybe cut down my blogging- it's not an addiction, but it is a distraction at the moment and I have things I need to do.

Anyhow, if I've gone quiet, I haven't disappeared or come to some tragic end - I'm just doing stuff, thinking stuff and being stuff.

The Wight Stuff

As from tomorrow - at some ungodly hour of the day - I shall be taking a brief vacation to see my sis and bro-in-law in the Isle of Wight. I love my sis and wish that everyone had someone like her in his or her life. She manages to be supportive, non-judgemental, impassioned and interesting without ever seeming egotistical or overbearing. She can be a little intense at times (and please don't get her talking about education, it can trigger apoplexy... having said that, we often do- but then again, it is something we have in common...) but that would appear to be a family trait.

Now, I'm a big fan of the Isle of Wight and I make no excuses for it: great cake, pleasant climate, delightfully quirky, slow-paced, red squirrel-only zone surrounded by sea. Sure, it's old-fashioned, certainly, it isn't trendy or a "must see" destination - indeed many folk mock when I say I like it- but it is a very relaxing, comfortable and indescribably English place to go.

I've been missing England. I can't quite put my finger on it - I love Scotland, midgies, fuck-awful weather and all - but there is an embarrassed shrug of Englishness, a hoppy bitter-beeriness, an inbuilt cringe of England of which I need to get a fix from time to time. Even having been in Scotland for over seven years, apart from the odd "aye", "ken" and "get tae fuck" I still sound and speak like a very English Englishwoman. I could probably live here the rest of my life and still sound as though I have somewhat strangled estuary English with nary a trace of a Scots accent to be heard. Englishness is written through me like a stick of rock and every now and then I need to be taken out of my wrapper and sucked for a while in order that it can be more clearly seen: England sucks - but it makes me easier to read...

Anyhow, changing the subject, I still don't know how my Highers students got on with their exams. Rumour is that one of mine-maybe even two- actually got an A. If so, I am chuffed as a chuffy chaffinch - and can happily stick two veryEnglish fingers up at my former employers for not recognising that I am actually an idiosyncratic, unruly, unorthodox yet effective bloody lecturer who really would have done the college a lot of credit. Bollocks to them for not giving me the job. Their loss.

*ahem* I'll be back after this brief break...

"out of the strong came forth sweetness"

(for explanation see this...)

We can never know what is around the corner. No matter how sure we think the route, there are surprises and epiphanies and revelations. Even the most familiar street can be made new. I am seeing new streets, maps and journeys everywhere I turn.

My life is in revolution. I am doing, being, feeling things that I haven't felt in a long time: unexpected joy, positive anxiety, sheer out-and-out joy, edge-of-the-seat thrill of the unknown -and curiosity, tenderness, grinning longing, smiling silent contentment in the moment...

I have had an emotional week - I have cried harder and snottier than in a long time. I have felt regret and remorse, reprieve and renewal. A line from The Winter's Tale keeps singing to me: "It is required/You do awake your faith."(Act V, Scene III) And I do, Paulina, I so do!

Tactfully, I'll leave things open, indistinct and free to all interpretation. As day follows night, you will doubtless find out more soon. For now, I'll keep it selfishly to myself.

I love my chaos - I'm a mad muppet that way!

Indulge me...

(Sonnet CXVI)
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.


I snapped yesterday. It was over something trivial but sore, I'm not even sure I remember what, but I picked up my coat, stomped out and strode purposefully through the door - only to collapse in tears and slump on the kerb for a moment before struggling my way back home.

I felt foolish before I had even got to my own front door: why couldn't I just block out the negative voices in my head? Why did I have to be so immature, so melodramatic? Why couldn't I say, "look, I'm feeling as though my thick skin has been scraped away by sandpaper and you have just suggested a dip in the North Sea" or even "I just want a hug and to be told it'll all be all right, even if I don't know that I believe it." A simple "just let me be quiet until this feeling passes" would have been better that walking out and making myself look like a petulant fool.

People think that I am "coping" really well, that I am taking to my new life with seamless ease. Fact is, I have some days that I do feel positive and hopeful, that the future is mine for the taking, I rush through those days with with my head down and charge, knocking people flying. Others feel as though I am so trapped and confined by my past that I will never escape, never be entirely myself. I am overwhelmed by some of the new people I am meeting, intimidated by others: I have no idea why they would want to have anything to do with someone so obviously emotionally volatile and self-absorbed. There are times I feel I have nothing to give, that all I am doing is taking - and taking too much and too freely. I get drowned by a feeling of entropy and inertia- and have no real space to get my bearings, not really. Everything is still too strange.

I lurked in my flat for half and hour or so -balling my fists into my eyes and telling myself that it will pass, it will- before slinking back to a place where I received a needless apology, wordless comfort, a cup of tea with a saucer no less, and no reproach. When I returned home again ("home" -I have to keep telling myself that this flat is home, I will believe it soon, I hope) I stroked my fridge goodnight and collapsed into bed.

Some days I just go "ping", others I seem to stretch endlessly. I can't explain it, I can only wish it would stop.

venal pleasures vs spiritual wholeness (part 3)

I have hugged my fridge freezer today. I hugged it yesterday too. I might hug it tomorrow - its silvery doors lead to a world of edible opportunities for me. It stands tall and proud in my kitchen. I need to give it a name - it is my new flatmate and companion. The happy gurglings and hummings remind me of a contented alpaca. Only rectangular. And a fridge. And brand spanking new.

I already have some crumble mix (made myself last night) and ice-cubes sheltering in the freezer compartment. The fridge itself is a little less spartan - inside I have lovingly placed my opened jars, my vegetables and whatever precious ingredients I considered would benefit from being chilled - but I hope to remedy the emptiness soon. I dream of ingredients and my mouth waters, my hands make unconscious chopping and stirring motions... I long to cook properly again.

Blinking at me to my left is an object of strangely crass beauty. Badged with the Ferrari logo, and glinting black and red is my new laptop, made from carbon fibre and very slick. It made me gasp to see its compact technological beauty. It holds the suggestion of speed and power. I'm slightly in awe of it and wonder if my slow fingers are worthy of it. I'm almost afraid to switch it on.

Of course, my drooling over new objects of desire comes at a price. The fridge freezer (oh, I can tell we are going to be friends!) is a "divorce" item - it is bittersweet and, for all the joy it will bring me, still has a hint of sadness. The new laptop is due to an accident with my much loved older one which now cowers in its case, incapable of powering up.

It doesn't sit well with me that these objects, these things, these mere possessions make me so happy. I struggle to accept that I am as swayed by simple goods and chattels as everybody else. I try to kid myself that they are means for me to become more creative: a resource for devloping new epicurean delights; a tool for writing and expressing. Who am I trying to kid? They are simply lovely, lovely things! Ooh! Things! Stuff! Possessions! My possessions... It would seem that the "new" me has a more than a touch of the acquisitional. Probably the old me did too, I just didn't notice.

Until I have overcome my slight distaste at my own materialism, you will find me hugging my fridge and planning meals for friends. And occasionally stroking my new laptop and wondering where my Ferrari will take me...

Vroooooooom! *belch* Oh, the adventures we are going to have...