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Sunday, 31 January 2010

Sunday Shout Out

This week I bring you yet another writer's blog - well what do you expect from someone like me? Anyway, you should definitely check out Natalie's blog Between Fact and Fiction. It's regularly updated with her writing life, sketches of her characters and other random posts which I always enjoy (though I'm a little jealous of the fact that she can write AND draw - no fair).

Friday, 29 January 2010


The other night I was out dancing which was a real treat for me as thanks to my M.E. I'm not really able to induldge in this passion much anymore - anyway, this post is not about the fact that I went dancing, or the fact that I can't often. It is about the random stranger who made my night.

It was that time of the evening when you find yourself alone - all your friends have managed to disappear at the exact same time to get some air/go to the toilet/make a phone call; I'm sure you're familiar with it. Normally when this happens to me, I quickly find myself getting a little depressed, particularly when you add in the factor that I had had a little more than a little to drink. But this time, before I even had the chance to really realise I was on my own, a random woman came over to me, held out her hand and pulled me up to dance with her and her friends. It was only one dance but I (almost) enjoyed that more than any of the others simply because I felt accepted by these strangers.

And for the record - it was a brilliant night out and totally worth the pain of physical movement the next day on top of the hangover.

Monday, 25 January 2010


The other day as I was watching documentaries on the second World War; I was overcome with a sadness - it was not for all those who gave their lives; nor for the many thousands of innocent men, women and children who were killed (though we cannot forget); but it was for my Grandad. More specifically for the fact that I cannot remember all the stories he told me when I was younger about his experiences of being a prisoner of war.

I am pretty sure he wrote down some of his stories, but I don't know what happened to them - are they in our loft or have they been accidentally thrown away, never to be seen again? The thought that the latter may be true fills me with sorrow as it is heart-wrenching to think that his story will be lost. And it reminded me to listen harder, and remember more from whoever wants to share a snippet of their past lives (meaning their childhood - not previous incarnations). I feel it is important that these stories are remembered, especially the stories of those nobodies that create the majority of the world - they are our link to the past and their memories can only live on through us if they are not written down.

Every life is special and deserves remembering, even when it cannot be understood.

Sunday, 24 January 2010


Ok, this isn't really a shout out but as I know many of my readers are as avid book readers as myself, I just had to point out this site (which I found through another blog but can't for the life of me remember which one). BookMooch is a site where you can send other readers your used books and, using a point system, you can have books from other users sent to you. I have signed up but as of yet haven't sent any books but am loving the idea of it. Enjoy!

Friday, 22 January 2010


A while ago I wrote about how I thought it was a shame that so many places seem to be opting for the use of self-service machines. Today, I found myself on the opposite of the bench - I had waited for over ten minutes to post my items and when I handed them she pointed out that I had done something slightly wrong with the parcels. Instead of offering to help she spoke to me as if I was a total idiot for making that mistake and implied that I was wasting her time. Thankfully I had a friend with me who helped me sort it out but after that I chose to use the machine to pay to send it - there was no queue and I knew it couldn't upset me or be rude. I will say that one of the people on the other tills was lovely and very helpful when I wasn't sure what to do with the package as it wouldn't fit in the slot by the machines.

Overall, I will say I still prefer being served by live people rather than me having to navigate lots of buttons on a screen; but I also think that it wouldn't kill people to simply polite rather than assume that everyone who isn't them is stupid and/or wasting their time.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Hey Tenth Follower!

As you can see I now have 10 official followers. This has left me feeling very chuffed in a time when my life isn't going exactly how I'd like to. I actually looked up my latest follower and discovered that she has over 400 followers herself - this actually made me feel even better as that means that she has access to plenty of blogs but it was mine that she has chosen to follow (I'm sorry if this is putting you off reading my blog in future).

Of course, blogging shouldn't be about the number of followers we have but I know better than that - it is always about how many people are reading what we are writing. I know that there are many people who read this blog who aren't followers on here, so hello to all of you as well. As much as I'd like to think that writing is solely for me, I know that that would be a lie - it is about reaching out and making an impact, however small, on someone's life. Of course, the more lives it impacts, the better and the more we feel defined as writers and people in this world where everyone is shooting for their 15 minutes of fame. I don't think that should effect what we write, but it's always nice to know that the readers are out there.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

A Comment on Tidyness

I am not a tidy person. At the moment you cannot see the floor of my bedroom. But I have the want and the need to be tidy (the only reason my room is SO bad at the moment is that I haven't been able to do much at all in the past week due to M.E.). So I end up being a very organised person but clearly, not a tidy person. I find that this usually works...

Until I am stressed. Take today for example: I was trying to print and organise all my assessment work but thanks to the mess in my room I was getting increasingly agitated especially as I had to climb over every thing whenever I needed to get to the printer. And then, just to top it off, all the plastic folders fell out all over the floor, on top of the mess and I just wanted to scream. All I can say is I'm thankful that at least I'm organised or I think I may have gone into meltdown. So just be aware that the state of your surroundings can have an impact on your life - mess goes hand in hand with stress; though I definitely wouldn't say that all stress will go away if you tidy, but tidying and cleaning can be a good stress-buster. So I'm planning on having a thorough tidying this week, now that assessments are out of the way - at least for now.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Technology and Us

It cannot be denied that we are living in a digital age - the chances are you have a computer, access to the internet (if you don't then I'm impressed that you're reading this), a mobile phone, television, a microwave and the list goes on. I am in no way saying that these are bad for us, I just want you to stop and think for a moment about how they effect you and your life. I live on my laptop, literally and figuratively. All my work is stored on my laptop and I have many online personas - these are part of who I am and how I relate to the world. Obviously that's not the only way I relate to the world but it is a very large part of it. I honestly don't know what I would do if I didn't have facebook to take up a majority of my time, probably time I could spend better, but I don't see the harm in taking some time off to feed my fish and prove I can get the best bejeweled score. But I am doing that instead of doing exercise. Granted, I do it because I cannot physically exercise when I'd like to (thank you M.E.) and I try to make sure I spend some time away from the screen (reading, cross-stitch etc) but I fear that others don't bother to take their eyes away from the glare in front of them and actually see the rest of their world. Everything becomes about what you are doing online - not in the physical world, and this is what I think we should be aware of. But as a tool to learn, relieve boredom and convenience technology has and is making leaps and bounds in the way we live.

I haven't even really begun to touch on the subject really in this post as there is simply too much to talk about, perhaps a series about individual little things? Something to think about in the future but for now I'll just leave you with: Don't knock technology but don't take if for granted either - any day you may find yourself without electric so it's always good to have a back-up.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Sunday Shout Out

For this week, I'd like to point you all in the direction of Ashley's blog It's Only Life. I discovered this blog when she held her first Blog Party - you may remember me turning up via time travel (I blame my memory). Anyway, I strongly advise you pay this blog a visit and have a good snoop around - it is bright and eye-catching as well as having some of the most random and interesting posts I have ever read and they always bring a smile to my day. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, 11 January 2010


Today I was sitting in my living room, just hanging out with my housemate, when the subject of Scouting came up. This isn't much of a surprise as it's what brought us together and is the main thing that connects us - we are both leaders at the same group although she is a Cub leader and I am a Scout leader. But everytime we start to talk about Scouting itself I remember the fascination and obsession I have with it. I remember what drew me to it as an adult. It was the family, the knowledge (everyone knows what Scouting is and probably knows someone who attended at some point in their lives) and, most importantly, the potential.

I became a Scout leader because I truly believe that these children are the adults of our future. That may seem a really obvious statement. But what is included in that statement for me, is that it is my chance to have an impact, it is my responsiblity to teach these children that, although they may not go to the best schools or have anything worth mentioning, they have potential. They are special. They can achieve.

Needless to say, from this conversation of potential came the reverse subject, that of peer pressure and how it can undo any seeds that you have planted. But my flatmate told me a story that filled me with hope, of one of the Scouts at her previous group. There were two best friends; one had been to jail numerous times, the other escaped it simply by luck. Neither had much of an education and facing the adult world they were turning to crime. A few words from one of the leaders, to the second lad (in hearing of the first), gave him the courage to decide to change his life. Not only that, but when his friend challenged him, he had the guts to stand up for himself and say 'I don't want to be like you.' Soon after that, the lads enrolled in college and got themselves an education and found a decent way of living in the world. This just goes to show that peer pressure doesn't necessarily mean something bad - it can happen in reverse as well.

This story proved to me how profound an effect it can have on a young person's life, to have someone say 'I believe you can do it.' I know this won't always work, but I'm going to keep trying, in the hope that somewhere down the line, one of them might remember, appreciate and payback that belief. Just because someone is labelled a good for nothing, doesn't mean they can't change their lives.

This post has turned in a direction I wasn't quite expecting. I was originally planning to write a post about Scouting but looking back over it, it still earns that title as that what Scouting is about - believing that we can make a difference, and proving that an organisation, or someone placed within that organisation, can change lives for the better. That is what Scouting has enabled me to do - make lives better, including my own. I have seen first hand the potential these children have and am doing everything in my power to maximise it.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Sunday Shout Out

Today I want to point you all in the direction of Julie's Quest. I have only recently found this quaint little blog but I am hooked. This is the blog I would recommend to anyone who likes to read about writing but also, for non-writers, it often has something to ponder within its words. Well written and regularly updated with varying length posts, this is a blog I'd recommend to anyone, but it probably leans to the more feminine of us. Happy Reading!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010


I have been very busy for the past two days, not doing work (though that's probably what I should have been doing) but reading blogs. I like following blogs but at this time of year - yes, the beginning - the blogoverse goes mental. There's all those people who are starting a new blog for a new year (ok, so I haven't gotten around to those yet); there are those joining in the memes of looking back and favourites of the past year etc; and there are those that have made resolutions to keep to their blog better (you know who you are).

I personally have never really been able to understand the whole New Year Resolutions idea - to me it's just a chance to make you feel like crap in a few weeks when you don't stick to the ridiculous, over-the-top resolutions you promised you would do (you know - go on a strict diet, be organised, generally be better). So I haven't made any New Year Resolutions but I am kind of bending the rules by undertaking the photo a day challenge. But I don't see this as a resolution, simply a chance to do something different and make myself more observant (ok, so that last bit is a bit resolutiony) but in fairness I feel that any time of year is as good as any other to start resolutions - if you're that type of person. The only reason I'm starting now is it's an easy date to remember but my point is - any date is good enough; don't always wait for the New Year, if you get the desire to do something during the year start it then and there (or else, it won't ever happen, believe me), don't put if off. I guess this is kind of a strange time to be posting this particular post but now is when it is in my mind simply from the sure quantity of blogs I have read over the past few days. Anyway, Happy New Year/New Decade/New You (if applicable).

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Suspending Time

Every year at about this time I come out of the bubble I realise I've created for myself. The holiday period is one of family, friends, food, late mornings, late nights and wasting time. Because I am at uni, coming home this time of year is like going on holiday. Everything that is usually important - buying food, doing the washing, washing up, doing coursework, researching - gets put to the back of my mind; I no longer have to worry about it. But then the new year hits, and I realise that I have nothing to show for the past two weeks. I have been enjoying myself and doing everything that I don't have time for normally. I have to concentrate to work out what day it is. The bubble has popped and I'm back in reality but rather than worry that I'm slightly behind in my work; I am rejuvenated and motivated, ready to start getting everything sorted and catching up.

Taking time out from our lives is important if we remember to go back into them and as long as we don't let the bubble overrun its course (often this happens in summer and returning to uni is a nightmare). We all need time to remember who we are and what we enjoy with the people we love, and hopefully, it will leave us ready to start life with more colour and enthusiasm. Eventually this will go and we'll be stuck with life again, it'll be time for another hiatus (even one day can make a difference).