Wednesday, 25 February 2009


Where does the time go?
It does more than fly, it moves at some sort of Star Trek warp speed.
I have no idea what that means, I've never seen Star Trek, but I think it's quite fast....
Anyway, I have a cold. I'm happy to share it around if anyone would like one. It comes complete with my usual hacking cough and I'm willing to also pass that on. My generosity is a weakness.

So, the last time I was here I got my interview questions from Sleepydumpling and now that I have a moment to breathe I'm going to answer them.
This is such a brilliant idea, I love it!

Q1. What was it that got you started with blogging? And what keeps you blogging?

I remember way back in 1998 reading The Diary of V and absolutely loving it. It was a fictional diary and the word blog didn't really exist back then - or at least I never heard it, but I'd go and religiously check for a new entry to see what was going on with her, it was like reading a really long book and I loved the idea of it. It stopped being written back in 2006 and I think it was around then that I started reading some of the other blogs that were around, both fictional and real, slowly finding more and more and being a little envious of how funny people were! But I also really liked finding a group of people that wrote without resorting to txtspk and also knew how to spell.
I wasn't sure that I had anything to say, or even that I would be entertaining, or amusing, or in fact not fickle enough to give it up after the first week.
I started a blog on myspace, but found it really limiting and moved on over here where I could do a little more.
I enjoy the interaction with other people around the world, which isn't something you get to do everyday in normal life. I was always a little awed by other bloggers and really nervous of commenting on their blogs! But I've braved that this year and it's probably that which keeps me blogging, getting comments, knowing what I've written has been read and possibly enjoyed!

Q2. What did/do your parents think of your tattoos?

I think it's safe to say that in this case, actions would speak louder than words and the action would be a large frown! My body is mine to do with what I please but I think there was always a concern I would regret my decision to be tattooed. Maybe not today or next year, but possibly in another 30 years. I don't believe that I will but I also think that I can't hold off on doing something today because of an effect it could possibly, maybe, perhaps have when I'm elderly - so long as it's not bad for my health!

Q3. What would you say the greatest inspiration has been in your life?

That's a really hard one. I've been through psychotherapy and I think the realisation that who I am is just fine. I can be eccentric, unreasonable, angry, happy, wild, adventurous, loud, quiet, tattooed, scarlet-haired, ditzy, organised, opinionated etc, etc, etc, has inspired me to be whatever I want to be and not apologise for not being mainstream. That said, I've always rather revered those that didn't follow convention in some way. Back in my school years I remember learning about Albert Schweitzer and being amazed by this man, who gave up what could have been a very prosperous life to train as a doctor to go out and help with medical care in Lambarene. He was a vegetarian who reportedly lived surrounded by animals and this undoubtedly appealed to me. As did his work 'Reverence for Life'. I remember trying to memorise quotes for my examination essays and one with I think has been paraphrased through history is:
"I am life that wills to live, in the midst of other life that also wills to live, when I acknowledge and respect all life, then will to live becomes will to love"
Those words have always resonated with me, respect life.
Have courage to go your own way.
Great lessons and certainly an inspiration to me.

Q4. What is your earliest memory?
It's always been the same thing, my Dad coming to collect me from my Mum's house, usually quite late (by a small child's reckoning), I'd be wrapped in a blanket and put into the back of the car to head off for the weekend. I remember just feeling so sleepy, but warm. Always makes me smile!

Q5. You clearly love music. What would you say would be the songs that most define you?

You realise that this question makes my brain start to bleed a little? It's an incredibly hard question, there are so many songs with memories attached!
I think Lady Marmalade by Patti Labelle is almost the quintessential song. Although I don't use that name here, I've been Lady Marmalade online since back in 1996. I used to go to a good number of internet group meets and would be often introduced as Lady M. I swear Lady M almost became a different persona!
It was understood that if that track was ever played in a club my friends were obligated to go dance with me! By the way, I hadn't appreciated, when I chose Lady Marmalade as a screen name, that she was essentially a prostitute. That is definitely no reflection on my good self!
The song Black Betty by Ram Jam will always remind me of being a nanny, driving down the road, playing it loud, windows open with the kids screaming "BAM-A-LAM". (I can't tell you how my eyes are watering as I laugh remembering that!)
I suspect I've said this before but I think the band Oige was my first introduction to folk music and the first moment I heard them, I knew what I'd been missing from the music everyone else was listening to on the radio. It was like coming home, there was fiddle, bodhran, tin whistle and pipes combined with beautiful, beautiful songs. Cara Dillon was the singer in Oige and do have a listen to P Stands For Paddy which will forever remain one of my favourite songs.
Folk music was really such an awakening, I'm slowly trying to draw more people into it and there does seem to be a real movement towards it. When I started going to the Cambridge Folk Festival tickets took weeks to sell out, now it's hours.
Oh my god, as I was thinking about music and this question, a memory surfaced, I clearly remember putting this vinyl single on and then I had to jump around for the length of it. I wonder where all that energy went?

I swear I could go on and on with songs... but I'll restrain myself!

So I guess it's time... if any of you are reading and fancy a five question interview, just say so and I'll pop over (once I've had some inspiration) and interview - minus the overhead spotlight obviously.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Song Of The Week XXXXVIII

I was busy doing my washing up this evening and this guy was being featured on TV, I have to admit I danced into the lounge, turned it right up, danced back into the kitchen and danced while I dried up.
He's awesome, there's no two ways about it!

Seasick Steve - Doghouse Boogie:

I had the opportunity to see him play a year or so ago and am really disappointed we arrived late to the festival and too late to see his gig.

You should totally check out him playing the one string guitar too!

Anyway, this week, my nose has been so close to the grindstone I have friction burns. Only slightly less attractive than a huge boil.
Nothing has happened. Which is really boring.
No exciting snow related dramas.
I haven't received any injuries.
Quite the mundane week really.
Well, with the exception of coming dangerously close to running out of oil and going without heating. When it's been particularly chilly... that wasn't a whole lot of fun!

Here's a thing, and I'm curious if anyone else feels the same way. As I'm living with my new tattoo and becoming used to seeing it there, it rather feels not as though something has been added, but instead as if something has been revealed.
Does that make sense?

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Going It Alone

On Sunday I went out on my own. I mean to a gig, not just leave the house alone, I do that every day, I'm very capable of being alone!
I've just never gone to an event on my own, never gone to the cinema alone, no festivals.
I found a surprise store of courage that I wasn't sure really existed and I drove on over, all the time telling myself I could just leave if it felt weird.
I parked a five minute walk from the venue and strolled over, when I got to the venue and went to find a seat, it was absolutely packed, if it wasn't sold out, it can only have been a half dozen seats from being so. Which made me a little nervous about finding a seat as they hadn't been allocated.
I followed a couple of women up the stairs and as they moved along a row a solitary seat was left at the end of the row and as I moved to ask if it would be taken someone grabbed my arm.
I looked up and saw a friend of a friend.
It was the strangest thing, I'd gone to a gig alone, run into someone I knew and suddenly felt like I wasn't a billy-no-mates. I felt as though I was confident enough to go to things alone, that I didn't need always need the company of someone else.
There's something quite wonderful in that.
I really enjoyed the gig, I'd gone to see Drever, McCusker & Woomble but they had another three guests and it was a really good night. Until the interval, when they came back and informed us the snow had started up again. I cursed my last minute decision to ditch my hiking boots and go with ballet pumps instead. With the weather being so horrid, I'd grown sick of living in boots.... that'll teach me!

After the gig I nervously headed to the exit, wary about exactly how much had fallen. The world was white. But maybe only an inch deep. Which would have been fine in my boots. I started walking, slowly, towards my car and felt my socks grow wetter and wetter until I began to wonder if they'd actually become liquid as they sloshed inside my shoes. It was a delight. I wondered about frostbite. After having just read Songbird by Sebastian Faulks, my mind flitted off to the images of war and men living in permanently sloshing socks.

I finally made it to the car without falling on my ass once and in fact only having one close call. Which is almost as great an achievement as going to an event on my own for the first time!

The roads were white and the journey home was slow as it was almost impossible to judge, on the country roads, where the road and verge were.
It was beautiful though, we were a day away from a full moon, the sky was absolutely clear, the light of the moon reflected from the snow in a way I've never seen before. It was so bright it made almost no difference whether the car lights were on full beam or not.

I chuckled as I passed a temporary sign, on which the only visible words were 'Diverted Traffic', the arrow indicating which way you should go had been obliterated by snow.
When I was almost home, a barn owl swooped up over a hedgerow, then low over the road before swooping back up and over the hedge on the opposite side of the road. They're such incredibly beautiful animals, they take my breath away.

Tonight I'm going out alone again. To see a band called Moishe's Bagel, whom I know almost nothing about, other than that I'll be listening to a bit of Klezmer with a twist. Should be an interesting evening!

I was out last night too, at the same venue I was at on Sunday and the same one I'll be at tonight - the Drill Hall. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that they're running a world cinema season, this time the theme is obsession. A couple of weeks ago I went with Rachael to see A Zed &Two Noughts, and it's safe to say I had to look at the IMDB when I got home to try and understand what the hell it all meant. I just don't think I really enjoy Peter Greenaway movies. I know he has a number of fans and maybe they'd say I just didn't understand what he was trying to say. They'd be right.
Anyway, last night we watched Black Cat, White Cat and I absolutely loved it. I always like going to the IMDB after I've seen a movie as someone is always going to disagree with my point of view and there's something in that that I like. That we're all so different. There are, as always, lovers and haters, but to be honest I enjoy watching something that's outside the realm of Hollywood but is fun and doesn't require a degree in film-making to understand!

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Song Of The Week XXXXVII

It's not really a song this week, rather a beautiful piece of music.
Every time I hear the opening notes I feel like I could just drift off somewhere. I get lost in the memories of the movie, remembering the scenes and how powerfully acted they were.

Michael Nyman - The Piano - The Heart Asks Pleasure First:

I can't quite believe this came out in 1993. 16 years ago. I was a teenager and that really blows my mind. I still love this movie, haven't watched it in a while and I'm going to have to rectify that!

Friday, 6 February 2009

It's Hard To Photograph Your Own Arm

Today's title would definitely come under the heading "Things I Have Learned Today". I had no idea it would require a degree in contortion to photograph your own wrist, well that's my reason for the dodgy nature of my photographs. And I could not get one of the band that wasn't distinctly bleached by flash.
I'm going to need the help of a lovely assistant at some point to get a better picture I think!
So there it is, my new tattoo, a Claddagh with a Celtic band.
I know a Claddagh doesn't usually come with stars, but that was part of my design and it was important for them to be there.

I do hope you aren't suffering with some kind of blindness after looking at the last one!
I'd had this planned in my mind for ages and as I sit here, newly wrapped, again, in clingfilm (apparently you don't scab if you clingfilm and I am scab-less so far) and I love it. It's exactly what I wanted and makes me smile every time I see it. Which has got to be what a tattoo is about, right?

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Ice & Ink

The snow is still hanging around, it seems perfectly at home on everyones front lawn. The only thing is that the roads are instead covered in ice. It makes for an interesting driving experience on the unsalted roads.
I went out to my barn today, I was a bit nervous about it because I wasn't sure I'd be able to get out again as the ice was pretty serious and I was preoccupied with that as I drove out. Then a hare darted across the road a short distance in front of my car and over into a field. I glanced to my right and the world was absolutely beautiful.
The field which is the barest example of a hill was absolutely white from the covering of snow, with only a few hare tracks across its surface. Sitting on the horizon with the sunset behind them were the silhouettes of two more hares. Absolutely still. It felt like the universe was screaming 'photo opportunity'!
My breath caught. I know I'm a big soft lump, but it was just beautiful. In that way only nature can be, you know?

I got a new tattoo today. Had I remembered I would have taken a photograph before I got wrapped in clingfilm and tape. A picture of that might just detract from the tattoo I think...
Anyway, I'm really pleased with it, but it's like any physical change and feels like an absolute surprise every time I catch sight of it. I remember when I had my nose pierced, every time I touched my nose or caught sight of it in the mirror I was almost shocked to find it was pierced, until it becomes a part of you.
The same was true when I had a gem attached to my tooth, the first few days if felt like someone had stuck a football under my lip. These days I have to run my tongue over to make sure it's still in place.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009


I have to note two things.
Well maybe three.
The first is that it's only just gone 9.30am and I have already had two achievements.
I'm a high achiever. For today only.
Anyway, I went for a blood test this morning and you know what the nurse got that vein first time. First time I tell you! That never happens!
Normal events are like this:
"Sharp scratch coming up, oh no, I didn't get it/the veins collapsed/I'm sure I felt it, etc, etc, etc"
Repeat 4 - 5 times per arm.
Then attempt back of the hand.
Then send to County Hospital to let the phlebotomists there have at me.
See 1 or 2 or 3 (occasionally more) phlebotomists who attempt to take blood.
At this point I think they start to believe I am some kind of scientific miracle that exists without blood. (If only I didn't have so many injuries to disprove that theory!)
The worst, worst, worst place for a blood test - the inside wrist. Horrible.
Anyway, first bloody time! I'm so happy.

So happy in fact that I came home and the second thing was achieved.
I went up a ladder.
Nothing major I know, I mean people are up and down ladders every day!
It's just that since the time I went up a ladder and came back down without using the rungs, I have been a little afraid of them.
I did break into a cold sweat it's true, but I did it.
Check. Me. Out.

Word to the wise. Always use the rungs. Don't land on the ladder after it slips and leaves you to fall from the attic. That shit hurts. And breaks your ribs. I got a totally awesome ladder-shaped bruise though!


I have some things on my mind as well. Not important things, but maybe if I share them they'll stop going round in my overstuffed mind.

Mascara adverts. Somewhere in fine print during the ads are the words "Filmed with lash inserts and enhanced in post production". What? Why? Is your mascara so terrible that the product on its own is not worth seeing?
This bugs me. I mean I can't be enhanced in post production. Oh, I wish.....
But seriously. I don't have time for lash inserts, I want mascara that doesn't need lash inserts damn it.

I bought some drawing pins the other day, when I got them home I noticed that the back of the packet had this note:

Apologies for the terrible photo, but really, now we're being told drawing pins have sharp points? How idiotic as a society have we become that we need to have this spelled out to us? I'm only surprised some of those words have more than one syllable.

Yesterday I logged on to AOL and was greeted with the headline "Wildcat strikes set to increase".
I thought it was referring to incidents like this but was disappointed to discover it actually meant this. Which is not nearly as exciting.
I mean it's serious and all, but it's just not as exciting.

Lastly, I wanted to illustrate why so many think I am a picture of elegance and grace.
Mum & Tim were packing up ready to leave their house in the village and as I had a sudden unexpected free day I went to help. I found a number of small poles and I thought it would be a good idea to keep them all together so found some elastic bands which I placed round my wrist as I gathered the poles in my hand. Now, these were quite large poles and I could only just hang onto them, being small of hand. I carefully held them with one hand whilst (cleverly) slipping the bands from the wrist over the poles, in what was designed to be one fluid motion.
Except I had the poles a little too close to my face.
And gathered a good portion of my hair into the elastic band, thus joining the poles to my wrist, hand and hair.
Oh yes, this is no simple skill.
I'll have you know, in my time of need, Tim laughed from the back of the trailer.

Wait, this is the last thing. I've started chitting my seed potatoes.
Oh yes, check me out, I know the lingo and everything.

Monday, 2 February 2009

World of White

The predicted Arctic blast arrived yesterday and although it's not really that cold it is prettily white out there. I looked out of my window this morning and this was the view of the road. I have a love of virgin snow and leaving the first footprints, but someone or something beat me to it this morning.
Maybe they're walking round an invisible car? They're tiny footprints though!
By the time I got out there for a closer peer the snow had completely covered them over.

Look at my poor Beastie, all covered in snow, but she still started first time. She's such a good girl that way!See that virgin snow? On the path there?
I cannot tell you the willpower it took not to drop and make a snow angel right there. I wish I had now.
I'm thinking about making a snowman in the garden, but last time I was in there I found the deflated corpse of a mouse, thanks to one of the local cats, and I'm a little concerned that if I roll the snow around I'll suddenly be faced with said corpse. Which would be pleasant.