Sunday, 27 November 2011

let the countdown commence

Our first 'proper' assignment is due to be handed in at college at 10am on Monday 12th December.  Yes, two weeks and a bit away.  I'm aiming to have it all done and dusted by 9th - the Friday before so that I can kick back and relax for the Christmas break. 

I apologise in advance for stressy, student-type wails about deadlines and art-related dramas if I manage to post anything during the next fortnight.  Please forgive me.

I am coping with this deadline through the medium of lists.  Lists for everything.  I have always made lists but usually I lose or ignore them.  This time, I need the lists. 

I make a big one every Sunday of where everyone has to be on each day of the week.  I have a hand-drawn calendar on the fridge which takes us up to Christmas Day - just in case.  I have my paper diary.  I have alarms and notes on the computer and my phone.  I have shopping lists (daily) and shopping lists (Christmas).  I make a list every day based on my big Sunday list.   I have a list of all the things I'm not doing now that I'll be able to do after 12th December.

I haven't dared to look and check how much time I actually have to devote to my actual assignment.  I suppose, instead of blogging, I could do this and make myself panic slightly more.  I am expecting my recurrent college dream to re-surface.  The one where I've decided to fo back and get my degree but still *&$^ it up.  Oh no, that could be reality in a couple of weeks time. 

I am hoping that I will be able to do enough to allow myself not to dwell on the 'what-ifs' over the holidays.  We don't get our feedback until mid-January.  It's a long wait. 

Singalong everybody......"All I want for Christmas is my 2:1, my 2:1, my 2:1."

Saturday, 26 November 2011


Tonight I am to add another string to my bow - that of bingo caller.

How did this happen?

Well, a few months ago, the idea was mooted of a school bingo fundraiser.  One of the pupils' father is a butcher and makes award winning sausages - the evening became 'bingo and bangers' - you can see where we're going with this.

I spent a great many of my childhood holidays with my Nan in and around Blackpool.  The major form of entertainment was - you guessed it - bingo.  She would sneak me and my sister into the proper bingo halls and give us a card or two to mark but mostly we visited The Rainbow Rooms and the other amusement arcades in the vicinity.

The best one was up on the promenade where for every win you could choose a record token.  I remember buying all sorts of singles with my tokens from Cleveley's premier music shop.  Each bingo hall had a special booth crammed with all sorts of finery just waiting for some lucky winner to come with enough tokens to bag a gift box of Tweed (25 wins) or packets of Rowntree Fruit Gums (1/2 a win).

You can probably guess that I'm quite excited about being the actual caller with the balls and everything!

I've printed out a list of rhymes - two little ducks, 22 etc but I'm not sure I'll be calm enough to make much of a performance of it.  This throwaway idea has turned into a much bigger affair with almost 100 tickets spoken for.

I have a microphone, apparently, but what to wear? I have a Saturday sartorial dilemma on my hands.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

things to be thankful for...

(Apologies to any North American readers if I have the wrong day).

I am thankful for many things, not least and in no particular order:

the husband
the children
the rest of my family
friends, near and far
our health
enough wealth (see husband)
our home
our history
my sense of humour (although I appreciate no-one else may appreciate it)
willingness to try anything once (except any form of competitive sport - it's too late for that)
willingness to read the first 10 pages of any book and confidence to reject it
ability to fall asleep on a washing line
interest in learning new stuff

Not exactly a ground breaking list but a few reminders.   My Nan always used to tell me that she said a prayer for everyone every night.  I'm not very religious.  I don't pray but every so often, it's a good idea to make a list of things to be thankful for.  Just for the record.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

the rhythm of life

I know it's been a while.  Believe me, this blog is not the only thing that's languishing unattended at the moment.  Don't be alarmed, this isn't a post about being busy.  We're all busy.  You don't need to know how busy I am.  You're probably busy and you've popped off for a bit of blog-browsing for a bit of downtime, not to read a list of things other people need to be doing.  I imagine you've got your own list.


I've been thinking about how the years seem to develop their own kind of personal rhythm (now I type it, it looks like a typo), beyond the usual Christmas, Easter, summer holidays routine that's imposed upon us.  I started to think about this when I read a 'top tip for surviving Christmas' in one of those interminable lists that magazine editors foist upon us this time of year because all the writers, editors and magazine folk are working on their spring issues and started thinking about Christmas in July.

The 'top tip' was, and I quote 'have Christmas when you want to have Christmas'.  I think the list had been made up from readers' suggestions.  The blurb underneath the suggestion explained how you could, actually, have Christmas whenever you liked.  Now, is this a sign of sanity or complete madness?

In our house, we have 3 birthdays in October and November, with the last one, exactly a month and a week before Christmas day.  Every year this results in a great deal of entertainment, joviality, happiness and the accompanying festive panic directly afterwards.  I'm aware that others are planning Christmas and have been doing so since the school term started.  I think about it and then tell myself that it's OK, I can think about it after E's birthday. 

Today is the day after E's birthday.  I find myself ahead of the game.  I have bought 6 Christmas presents, including one for myself.  I feel organised.  The alternative would be to have our Christmas in March - I don't think it would be quite the same with a view of daffodils in the garden.

My year goes something like this....

January - make resolutions, don't keep them, sit on the sofa quite a lot

February - think about doing something useful in the garden

March - do something vaguely useful in the garden, look forward to the end of the football season

April - decide to start doing some exercise, wonder what the point of Easter eggs is and wouldn't we all like a proper chocolate bar instead

May - do a bit of exercise, give up after a couple of weeks

June - flop after finishing college for the year

July - wonder what to do with the kids in the summer holidays

August - enjoy not doing very much in the summer holidays (although 2012 will be a pain as I'll have to look as if I'm interested in the Olympics)

September - get excited about going back to college, think about new boots

October - wear new boots when it's still too warm and enjoy the birthday season

November - demand a fire every night, wish I'd done more exercise in the longer days

December - think about getting more organised for Christmas next year

On another matter,  I heard this great programme about Malmesbury, The Philosophy Town this morning. 

Thursday, 3 November 2011


I'm taking a trip back in time with this pie.  It was baked just over a month ago by J, not me.  My pies never look quite as magnificent.  J is taking home economics for GCSE.  I'm learning a lot.  I now get instructions on how to wash dishes, grease baking trays and chop onions.  All this is delivered in a deep voice which I haven't quite got used to yet.

I have to say I'm feeling a little unsettled at the moment.  This time of year is always tricky for me.  There are  celebrations and sadnesses - good memories and sad memories on almost every day from the beginning of October to the end of November. 

I think, also, the changing nature of our own, immediate family is bringing back memories for me and stirring my emotions from pride to panic, anxiety to joy as everyone is getting that little bit older.  We're definitely in the thick of family life.  We're in the middle between childhood, adulthood and independence.  As no-one really tells you the truth about childhbirth, no-one tells you the truth about how to handle the changing relationship with your children as you start to become the background to their own lives and the choices they want to make.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

let there by light

'Happy Diwali', The Promenade, Blackpool