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Surrey, United Kingdom

Sunday, 28 December 2008


What is it about a new year that suddenly makes resolutions seem achievable? Or Mondays for that matter? There is something about the prospect of a slate being wiped clean that is just irresistable. I get the same feeling when I come back from a holiday - even if it's just a weekend away. Suddenly I am all geared up for making a new start. I don't think it's because my actual life is so unbearable that I want to change it all. It's more like a challenge - can I change and become all those things I want to become? Can I have the lifestyle that I aspire to? Of course, the problem comes when what you have aspired to doesn't quite make the grade. And for me the thought of failure or making the wrong decision will more often than not prevent me from trying. It's the wrong attitude I know. We should never be afraid of trying. What, after all, is the worst that can happen. Ah, yes; the worst-case scenario approach. Strangely this is one that I am rather too fond of, although I usually find that even the absurdly worst-case scenario is not one that I fancy risking. It all boils down to a lack of confidence. If I do something and fail then won't that just knock my confidence even more? Well, yes, but at the same time, sitting on your tush never doing anything won't get you any further either. Surely one step forward with potential two steps back is going to get you somewhere quicker than never moving at all? And so, as we approach the new year, I am thinking that I will begin this week as I mean to go on. Treat this week as a trial run. Take pleasure in being a skinflint and enjoy trying to find healthy, low calorie, low fat foods. Look at it as an adventure - there are so many foods out there to try! And exercise can be fun too. Maybe I'll finally find the activity that I love. Who knows?

Saturday, 27 December 2008

New Year's Resolutions

  • Run a 5k in under 30 mins (and run all of it!)
  • Have a piece of writing published
  • Eat five portions of fruit/veg a day
  • Drink eight glasses of water a day
  • Reduce caffeine and refined sugar intake
  • Be more considerate (includes managing my temper!)
  • Lose three stone
  • Take better care of appearance
  • Be more active
  • Make better use of my free time
  • Write daily (and publish on blog!)
  • To clear my book backlog - buy no new books (although second-hand allowed)
  • Stop hoarding - clear the clutter


White Stone Day by John McLachlan Gray
A Question of Up-Bringing by Anthony Powell


Sitting on the sofa watching hubby completely engrossed in his game of Star Wars Lego I began to wonder, why do we hanker after imaginary worlds so much? Every form of entertainment seems to be about escaping our real lives, our real personas and becoming someone else, or living a different life. Why don’t we just get up and become these people that we want to be? I know that in many cases the problem lies in the fact that we are not living in Victorian Britain, or the outer reaches of the Barnard star complex (or whatever it is in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy). But you just begin to question the sense in playing tennis on the Wii. Why not go out with your friends and play tennis? I appreciate that escapism has to play a part in our lives. I for one am never happier than when snuggled up with a historic novel, or reading about people from bygone eras and for my brother-in-law the same is true of science fiction. The thing with that is that it is forward looking, so perhaps a less dangerous form of escapism? With science-fiction, where so much of the writing is about predicting the future and imagining how things could be. And in many cases science fiction writing leads to genuine research and development of new technology. I'm sure if I could be bothered to do the research I would be able to find many examples of mobile phones, laptops and GPS in the pages of science fiction novels, long before they were a reality. I have heard many people say that Star Trek suggested many modern day realities. So, it's not this kind of escapism that I object to. It's the virtual reality that I have trouble understanding. Many people would cite shyness, or lack of confidence as the reason for their inability to show the same personality in real life as they do in Second Life or any of the similar online worlds. Fair enough, but isn't it time that we began to embrace who we actually are, and found ways of improving ourselves (if that is what we want) and grabbing opportunities in the real world? Maybe I'm full of new year hope and joy. Maybe I'll feel differently in a couple of weeks, but right now I want to make the most of myself and be the very best that I can be in this world, not in a virtual world.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Books Bought

Barchester Towers - Anthony Trollope
The Warden - Anthony Trollope
Still wading my way through The Way We Live Now, but always good to be prepared...
Hardy (selected poems by Thomas Hardy)
I guess you can just about imagine how excited I am about the new BBC dramatisation of Tess of the D'Urbervilles...?

Saw the trailer for the new Bond film Quantum of Solace yesterday. It looks absolutely fantastic and I'm sure will be as big a hit as Casino Royale. Hoorah for Daniel Craig!

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Jack The Ripper

Went to see the Jack the Ripper exhibition at the Museum in Docklands yesterday. The museum is wonderful, housed in one of the old quayside buildings down in Docklands. The exhibtion was great, although as someone who has read a lot of Ripper books over the years I didn't really learn anything new! What I loved was seeing all the official documents from the time, as well as the infamous 'Dear Boss' letter. If anything, there was too much to take in on one visit. I may well have to invest in the Jack the Ripper and the East End book with intro by Peter Ackroyd. The other other exhibit we spent ages looking at were the Charles Booth poverty maps which re-awakened my love of all things cartographical!

The Duchess

Went to see The Duchess during the week, taking my Mum (couldn't help remembering that Jimmy Saville used to refer to his mother as the Duchess...)  Anyway, I thought it was fantastic and has got me itching to learn more.  I sometimes despair of ever learning about all the things I want to know about!  Keira Knightley was not as irritating as I usually find her (Atonement was quite hard-going thanks to her) and was totally convincing as the young duchess.
Have read quite conflicting reviews of the book on which the film is based, so think I might just borrow it from the library.  Annoyingly I have quite a backlog of books at the moment.  Trollope is great, but so LONG - I'm on page 530 of nearly 800 so imagine it will be another week before I'm done.  Then there's A Dance to the Music of Time which I desperately want to get started on.  Obviously I need to take a book reading holiday! 

Giles Coren

Damn you, Giles Coren. I've been fighting this crush with all my might, then you let BBC iplayer show episodes from Supersizers Go... and I have to see you dressed as a Regency dandy, looking HOT, leading me to search YouTube for MORE clips of you, culminating in finding out that you are left-handed which for some reason I find insanely attractive.
So thanks. The crush is now fully developed. Great. Now get yourself a website so I can stalk you officially.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Cryptic Crosswords

After some initial success with The Times Saturday Jumbo crossword this week, it all descended into nothingness. I think its time to start analysing answers rather than actually trying to solve the clues!

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Books Bought

Books bought - second hand from the Marie Curie shop in town:
North & South - Elizabeth Gaskell
In a sudden attempt to diversify from Dickens, this seemed too good an opportunity to miss!
The Crow Road - Iain Banks
The Business - Iain Banks
(I listened to a podcast featuring Iain Banks the other today and he came across as such an interesting and likeable person. I read The Wasp Factory a few years ago and found it fascinatingly different to anything I'd ever read, but then never read any others. I've decided its time to change that!)
The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood
(I read The Blind Assassin on my honeymoon and really enjoyed it. Whenever I think of the story it immediately reminds me of the holiday and the beautiful place we stayed by Lake Michigan, so this will be one of my holiday reads this year)

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Fresh Start

Well, here it is. The new blog. Wow. So, now I need to think of all those things that I wanted to blog about. I suppose I should also think about what type of blog this is going to be. I don't want it to be a navel-gazing solipsistic exercise, but more a sharing of all the things in life that I find fascinating and exciting.
Yes. A sharing of dreams and delights. Hence the title. Y'know, sometimes I even surprise myself.

So, welcome. I hope we'll become good blog-mates!

Current Read: The Way We Live Now - Anthony Trollope & Bright Young Things - DJ Taylor