Tuesday, 28 June 2011

when I'm not blogging....

I'm having far too much of a good time.  Since my last blog I have several entertainments to confess:

- a night of Simple Minds at Westonbirt Arboretum (slightly damp but very entertaining - the audience was a certain age - middle yet slightly infantile and prepared to dance with gay abandon)

- a visit to the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy (hot, airless but very entertaining - the gallery goers were a fascinatingly mixed bunch from the fedora-ed to the hoody-ed)

- a night in Hyde Park with Kings of Leon and Paul Weller (great gig - shame about the audience although that might just be my middle age talking.  When did grown women start taking their shirts off whilst sat on wobbly boyfriends' shoulders?  Did we always throw beer (or worse - yuck) and how much warm Jaegermeister does it take for men to start fighting - not a lot it seems).  Thank God for KoL

- did a bit of armchair Glasto with friends, had the annual discussion about buying a van and going next year (ha, ha, it's not on!), accompanied by my ever-growing projectforty reasons for NOT going EVER:

the sound is better via satellite
you can make a cup of tea whilst you're waiting for the headliners
there's no one throwing beer
you don't have to walk to the back of a crowd of people and watch a screen, you can just watch a screen  under a blanket with a nice glass of merlot
tent erecting is not required
the beer is cooler at home
you can watch it with people  you like
you don't have to engage in banter with fellow festival goers
you don't get welly-rub (or trench foot, or sunburn)
you can see the dancing better (I'm having a Beyonce moment)

I know this list makes me sound ever-so-slightly curmudgeonly but I don't care.  I think anyone over 40 should really think about whether they want to put themselves through the grief and trauma of potential long-term neck twisting.  I'd rather have a nice city-break to Morocco or a weekend at a spa.  I may have the odd timewarp moment and think I can trip off to this gig and that but the time has come - I know my limits.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

guilty secret...

...in between buying wellies, discovering how many syns are in a Costa Coffee stem ginger biscuit (I'm still in denial) and promoting my upcoming craft workshops, I caught half an hour of 'The Holiday' on Channel 4.  I had a feeling I'd seen it before - Cary Grant, Kathryn Hepburn and another fine-boned lady starred.

The bit I saw featured Grant talking about taking a kind of retirement or sabbatical while he was young so he could understand what it was he was working for.  I liked that idea and, having thought about it for oooh, about an hour, I think I might be doing something similar.

I have worked on and off since I was thirteen - Saturday jobs, part-time jobs, full-time jobs but always (until recently) simply to pay the bills and enjoy what was left of my free time.  I've always liked most of the people I've worked with and enjoyed the environment or office that I found myself but it's safe to say I've never really had the experience of waking up and looking forward to going to work.

I hadn't really thought about it much before today but what I've finally arrived at is a point where I think I might, one day, have a career.  My degree (hopefully) will give me the credibility to have a grown up job (which will be nice when I'm pushing 50) and I think I'm going to need it with tuition fees, car insurance and teenager-dom rearing their expensive little heads at our family.

Let's hope I enjoy it.

PS:  Half a stone down.

Friday, 10 June 2011

fete accompli

Every year on the 2nd Friday evening in June, members of the parish and environs gather for our village fete.  It is always a wonderful occasion and I'm looking forward to seeing people I haven't caught up with during what's been a pretty busy year.

I've also been promoted from White Elephant to Trinkets which has made me very happy, not least because T, who usually runs trinkets, appears to have collected everything I need and all I have to do is set it up and hope the weather stays nice enough to make everything sparkly, sparklier.

I'm going to take my umbrella so then it won't rain but I think warm shoes and a folding chair will be needed.  Even if the rain stays away, the evening isn't promising to be balmy (or barmy, I should add!).

Updates (and maybe sunny photos) shortly.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

where'd you rather....

My view last week.  You may have gathered that I've become a bit of a 'conyurt' (ha ha!). I wish I'd taken more pictures.  Today I'm looking out on a damp, rainy lane, trying not to wish I was back at last Tuesday when we were all on holiday, looking forward to a few days of sunshine.

I've tried to be a good homebody today - I walked the walk this morning, lifted the weights that I hope will stave off wings of the bingo variety, I ate my very healthy lentil and sweet potato soup and dusted the living room - that took longer than I thought.  I wrote a few things, tore beautiful and interesting bits and pieces from my magazine stash (now recycling) and generally did pottery, domestic things.

Tomorrow I'm back to college to discuss a couple of books and I realise as I'm writing, I've misplaced the actual assignment.  It's also the degree show private view tomorrow night which I'm looking forward to.  The fine art students finishing this year are the ones I started my access course with all those years ago.  I'm interested to see how their work has developed and what they're working on now.  I imagine there's quite a lot of nervous energy both positive and not so positive flying around.  Somehow I wish I was part of it this year.

I've been listening to artists' Desert Island Discs recently.  Today was Rachel Whiteread and Sam Taylor-Wood.  Last week I downloaded Grayson Perry's collection.  You can search the archive by profession which I find very interesting.  RW and STW both chose Nick Cave.  They're also running a 'choose your own' DID project which I keep reminding myself to do.

My initial 'top of my head' list, looks like this:

In the Ghetto - Elvis Presley
Forever in Blue Jeans - Neil Diamond
Mad about the Boy - Ella Fitzgerald or is it Etta James?
Say a little Prayer - Aretha Franklin
Under Pressure - David Bowie
Something by Faithless
There's a track by Primal Scream on the Trainspotting album whose name I can't remember without looking up
Star Guitar - Chemical Brothers
Use it up and Wear it Out - Odyssey
Ain't no mountain high enough - Diana Ross
Miss Sarajevo - US/Pavarotti
Driving on 9 - The Breeders
Something by Nirvana

Apologies for the randomness.  I'm not nearly high-falutin-enough.  I need to work on it further.  Perhaps you'd like to do yours too?  That's what rainy days are made for, surely?

Monday, 6 June 2011

branching out

This tree reminds me of my head and the thoughts within it.  Two distinct themes sprout in opposite directions (i.e. chores v. enjoyment) with ever-numerous branches of ideas and activity sprouting in a variety of different directions but with a dense clod of tanglement at the top.  I am forever following a certain path or making a particular choice only to become either distracted or somehow prevented from following it through.  These inevitable barriers can be self-constructed or somehow just pop up out of nowhere.

I don't say this in a 'woe-is-me' kind of way, it's just the way I find things to be.  I often feel as if I'm circumnavigating icebergs or obstacles.  If I decide to do one thing, then something else pops up either to distract me or prevent it from being an uncomplicated issue.  I find myself, post-forty, being quite the dab-hand at compromise and flexibility.  I like to think that all these mini-challenges make for a more interesting day to day life.  I try not to resent the diversions, I like to think of ways to either embrace them or manoeuvre around them.

You can probably tell that I've now got too much time on my hands.  Pontification seems to be the order of the day.  College has finished.  I'm working but not as much as I'd like/need to and all the jobs that I should be doing aren't nearly as interesting as having a bit of a ponder.  I should, of course, be houseworking, gardening, allotmenting, cleaning bits of the house that aren't normally investigated.  I'd rather, of course, be writing and drawing and visiting wonderful places of inspiration.

Decisions, decisions.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

what's occuring?

I've got a touch of blogitis.  I think it might be a seasonal thing.  Like hayfever.

Nevertheless, here I am, keystrokes at the ready, not really knowing what to write about beyond listing what I/we have been up to in the last fortnight.

I finished my assessments and find myself quite pleased.  I'm now confident that I've chosen the right degree (unlike the first time) which reassures me that I'll be able to complete my course (unlike the first time).  I'm a little bit worried that the summer break will make me feel as if I'm starting again in September but I've decided to enter a couple of competitions and draw something every day (as recommended by all our tutors last September).

Despite my (mis-placed) horror of slimming clubs, I've signed up here.  I'm on my second week and about 4lbs down.  I decided that finishing college would leave me some free time that I could use to focus on getting a little healthier and a little lighter.  If I'm being really honest, I just want to look better - pure vanity.  There is still a little part of me though that rails against the pressure to be thinner - why should we conform, why should we be judged and judge each other that way?  I suppose there always has been a part of me that thinks that and that's why I've always got slightly bigger!  So, we'll see.  I'm going to go along until the summer holidays and see how I do. 

I did a little of this to help with the above and, as always, enjoyed it thoroughly.  I've never been part of a global fitness phenomenon before and it amazes me that Zumba has reached our tiny village halls.  I don't know why but there's something very enjoyable about doing a little mambo at 9.30am in deepest Wiltshire.

We went here and stayed in this:

It was fantastic.  We were given a great welcome by Thea, Laurie and their lovely children, with a basket of produce and a tour of the facilities.  With only five yurts on the site, we felt the to-dos and lists of home, work and school just disappear.  Solar power, composting loos (much better than you'd think) and running water were all we needed.  We were also provided with an intriguing outdoor fridge which worked amazingly without electricity.  I think it uses some kind of evaporation science and was originally developed in hot countries to keep food cold.  The nearest description I could find online was this.  Ours was encased in a crate with a wooden door and mint planted on the top - very lovely!

While we were there we visited New Quay and saw some of these:

I was amazed to see dolphins off the UK coast.  Thankfully, the worker ran back to the car park to get the camera.  We had fish and chips afterwards and a sunny afternoon back at the yurt.

We left quite early on Friday to get to the beach at Penbryn which was beautiful.  We made our way home via here.  I had a lovely time!