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Sunday, 29 May 2016

A Library Theatre Performance

You know how much I love libraries; but you may not know I also love theatre. I do love acting and performing, but even more-so there is little I find as thrilling and magical as watching a performance. When I was younger I remember my dad taking me to amateur theatre productions quite often (I believe it’s one of the main reasons I love Shakespeare as I was watching it long before I had to study it at school), and pretty much every performance inspired me and made me think about or reconsider something important to life.

I didn’t ever expect these two passions of mine to come together (though admittedly where I used to live, the only theatre was in in the upstairs of the library, but they were still separate); so when I saw a theatre company was visiting a library near me, I jumped at the chance (and it’s a testament to my family that a few of them wanted to come with me). I didn’t really know what to expect as didn’t really know anything about the company Librarian Theatre or anything about the performance ‘The Book’s The Thing’ beyond that it is a retelling of Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’.

I was blown away. 

With a cast of just 3, this incredibly innovative company reminded me just how much I love theatre. As it was in a library, it was a very intimate performance, with the cast directly addressing members of the audience (and giving props and clothes to those unlucky enough to catch their eye), and taking inspiration from their surroundings. This created a very strange and unique experience but really made you feel like part of the performance. Personally I just loved everything about it (and my family seemed to, too). The cast are incredibly talented, so it was easy most of the time to differentiate between characters. And while most of the script keeps the Shakespearean language, it was reworked in such a way to easily follow the story-line without as much back story babble you usually have to sit through. In short, I loved it (in case you couldn’t tell!), and I came away feeling inspired and excited.

The fact it was performed in a library was really the icing on the cake. I love going to the library and browsing the books (and undoubtedly borrowing a few despite the never-ending TBR piles around my home), and hate that due to cuts libraries are becoming more and more likely to shut. As a future (fingers-crossed) librarian, I do worry by the time I’m able to work, there either won’t be anywhere to work, or the entire job will be done by one or two people and the rest by machines, so that this theatre company has chosen to support local libraries by performing in them, really speaks to me. Libraries should be places of community, safety, and inspiration, where everyone is welcome and anyone can find something, and I strongly believe it is through companies like Librarian Theatre that libraries can reach their potential in offering so much more than books (not that there’s anything wrong with books of course).

‘The Book’s The Thing’ is currently in London I believe, but regardless if you missed this play (it’s now coming to the end of it, unfortunately I didn’t know about it for most of the tour), If you are in the UK I strongly recommend keeping an eye out on this new and unusual company Librarian Theatre as I can only imagine what they will come up with next.

[I was not asked to review this performance and I paid full-price, just wanted to share my views on it.]

Tuesday, 16 February 2016


Today I was in Oxfam looking for some gifts and somehow I got talking to the woman on the register about money/rent/benefits - I am currently having difficulties with all three. Anyway, as I was getting my stuff ready to pay she announced she was going to treat me to a couple of the books. I'm not in a position to argue over something like that right now, so gratefully accepted. However, as I left I couldn't help but wonder, am I that pathetic that an old woman who works in a charity shop feels that bad for me?

Usually I am on the giving end, or at least the offering end (if someone doesn't have the right change or a couple of quid short or needs a carrier bag, I almost always offer to help). Until now I’ve never understood why so many people refuse to accept my RAK (Random Act of Kindness); to me it’s always been a way to spread love and hope around. But it seems

So yes, I accepted the gesture, as I wish others would accept RAKs from me (whether they need it, or it is just a gesture of kindness), but it wasn’t without the nagging feeling that I shouldn’t have. Now I have a better idea of why others don’t want to accept it, as our society has made it so we treat every RAK with suspicion (especially if from a stranger), and when it involves money, even just a few pence, it mutates into creating shame and awkwardness. That won’t stop me from offering as I believe this world can always do with more kindness and love, and if I can do nothing else, at least I can spread a smile.

Have you ever RAK’d someone? What RAK will you give this week?

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Babies are Cute ??!

The first baby I found cute - my baby brother (2008)

I have never been a fan of children. I think even when I was a kid I didn’t really like other kids - partially due to bullying, but most likely because I preferred the company of a book. The worst though are definitely babies and toddlers. To be honest, I don’t fully understand why anyone would want one - they make a lot of noise, can be really annoying, and in general just look deformed as their features are all out of proportion (in my mind anyway). So yeah, there are very few babies and toddlers I would classify as ‘cute’.

The other day, though, I was out eating lunch and there was a baby looking at me and he was cute (the dad was quite yummy as well), to the point that I waved at him (the baby) and he broke out in this incredible smile which in turn made me smile. The more I thought about it, the more I realized this has been happening more often recently - me finding babies cute! Okay, so they stop being cute the moment noise comes out of them, and they have to have hair to qualify, but it’s weird for me to imagine wanting to be near anyone that young for any amount of time (hence being a Scout Leader and not a Beaver or Cub Leader).

Perhaps it’s just a hormonal thing (which is easy for me to believe as my body has been doing weird things these past couple of weeks), or perhaps I’m just growing up. Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t want to have a baby, and I still find the majority of young children really irritating.

But finding the occasional baby ‘cute’ gives me hope that I’m not such a terrible person after all; and believe me, the looks I get when I say I don’t like children you would think that I’d just told them I was going to kill all babies (which is ridiculous as I have no idea how I’d go about that without them starting to scream and I don’t want to be near that).

Anyone else out there who don’t usually find babies and young children cute?

Monday, 11 January 2016

Into a New Year

While I’m not making an official goals or resolutions this year, I am hoping to live with a little more intention while still focusing on improving my health.

I was lucky enough to stay with my parents over Christmas, and without doing so I doubt I would have realized just how far I’ve come over the past few years. While there, I was able to go out most days using only my walking stick. Of course I didn’t walk particularly far on any day, but it was simply that I was doing so much almost constantly that astounded me. I know I did way too much and am still dealing with a lot of the side effects, but a couple of years ago I wouldn’t have made it past a couple of days being so active without causing a severe crash.  

Since I’ve got home I’ve realized just how long a day can be when it is not filled with constant activity (whether that be going out or talking to someone). While at my parents I was so busy spending time with family and friends I barely had time to open my laptop, let alone find myself wasting days watching something on Netflix (and as they also don’t have television I never found myself flicking through channels), inspiring me to try harder to do that little bit more and slowly push myself into a more productive pattern so I don’t feel I am just wasting time.  The only question now is where I want to put my focus as there are still many things I enjoy doing (but I know I can’t improve my health if I try to be productive with all of them).

Have you made any resolutions this year? What inspired you to do so (or not)? 

Thursday, 31 December 2015


For the past week I’ve been thinking how I need to write the typical end of year/new year post; but the truth is I didn’t know what I wanted to write. While I believe we can start again at any moment, I am not above being pulled into the hyper-awareness of past and future our society seems to perpetuate as the clock strikes from December to January.

This year hasn’t been great for me, in that other than writing plenty of letters, I haven’t achieved any of the goals I set at the beginning of 2015 – some of them I haven’t made any progress towards at all. It also hasn’t been a great year for me blogging-wise which you’ve noticed. After many attempts to get my book blog up and running, it has been left to melt from existence as this blog has for most of this year, which is a bit of a blow for me.  And since going to Holland with the Scouts in August, I haven’t been able to find the stability in my life (both physically and mentally) I depend on to manage my health.

So far it seems all dreary, but it isn’t. The past few weeks seeing my friends and family for Christmas made me realize just how far I’ve come this year. I went abroad. I can sometimes go about shops etc using a walking stick instead of a wheelchair; I can go out more than twice most weeks; and just in general I am doing so much more than I was a year or two years ago and I need to remember to be thankful for that.

So with all those thoughts running through me, today I watched Cloud Atlas for the first time. I have read the book a few times and it is definitely one of my favourite books of all time.  The film was a completely different experience and it left me feeling a great sense of calm but also hope for my future, for everyone’s future. It brought to mind how everything is connected in the past, the present, and the future. I’m not sure if I believe in fate, but I think that’s what I was feeling as I absorbed the film – that I can put my faith in fate and everything will turn out how it’s supposed to.

This is possibly one of the best things I could be feeling as we enter a new year. Not hope exactly, not excitement or panic or any of the multitudes of feelings we are told is what we will feel, but peace. So for tonight, and hopefully tomorrow and into the new year, that’s what I want to take with me and allow myself to radiate. Peace.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Honour not Glory

Last year I wrote about how war is just as devastating forthe other countries that fight, not just our own (particularly during the world wars) which was my reaction to the Padre at the Remembrance Sunday Parade Service. This year, my thoughts are once again a reaction to his sermon.

Mostly he talked about how we should honour and appreciate soldiers – those who’ve fought and those who are fighting right now. It seemed very important for him to tell us how noble they are, how they have chosen the right profession, how we should give ourselves to the service of peace in the same way.

I agree with the last part to a degree – I believe everyone should be aiming for peace in the world, though not through becoming soldiers (though if that’s what you believe is right for you then that’s up to you). For me that is little things like sharing love and hope and smiles (mainly through snail mail), but also things like signing petitions I believe in and, when I have something I feel is important to say, sharing it online.

I also agree we should honour those who have fought for our peace, despite the fact peace has never fully been realised (we can all live in hope).  But there is a fine line between honouring those who have died and suffered through war, and glorifying them and the act of war itself.  That is why I am a big believer in Remembrance Day – I think it’s important to remember how millions of lives were lost in the first and second world wars, as well as the losses people still suffer due to war. It’s important to remember and teach young people because it should never have happened but, maybe if we learn from it, nothing as bad as that will ever happen again (got to be honest, I don’t believe we as a species will manage that though). But I don’t think it should ever be held up to be a good thing. Pointless suffering and death, especially in those numbers, can never be seen as a good thing; it is actually one of the few times I will say the end does not justify the means (okay, if war had ever created worldwide peace and acceptance I might feel differently, but the truth is it hasn’t).

So I wear my poppy to remember, and to remind others of, the atrocities of our past; and not to uphold war as something to be impressed by, or even supported. I am no longer naive enough to believe we will ever not have war, but I live in hope we might find other ways of creating peace.

How do you try and share peace in your daily life?

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Give it UPtober

So it is already October (I would say, where does the time go but unfortunately I know for me most of it has gone into using my little energy to battle illness and depression), and having come across GIVE IT UPtober on Facebook, I thought that it'd be a good idea to kickstart my month by joining in.

The general idea is to give up one luxury for the month and donate the money you would have spent to Invest in M.E. which is a great charity that uses most of its funds to do research into M.E./C.F.S. as so little is still known about it. Or you can just donate in support of those giving up things such as Facebook, or just because you believe in our cause.

I will be giving up Coca-cola. A few years ago I switched from diet cola to regular (I now mainly drink coca-cola life), and then cut it out of my life except for the occasional one at the pub. Somehow over the past few months it has slipped its way back into my life to the point of having mini bottles of the sugary stuff in my fridge. I need to stop drinking it as it's not really benefiting me in any way, and we really need research done so myself and the thousands of other sufferers can start living our lives again.  Despite the fact that both of those things are completely selfish, I am making myself feel extra virtuous by giving up a bad habit and supporting a charity by joining in to Give It Uptober.

If you wish to donate simply go to Just Giving, or text GIUT88 (£1 to £10) to 70070 E.g. GIUT88 £5