Friday, 23 July 2010

Sorry, too busy!

I just really don't have time for posting every day at the moment, I'm far too busy playing. Sorry.

Trip to Levens Hall yesterday. We've started to make a tradition of this, and usually go at some point over the summer. This time I thought we'd visit straight away, so that we might get chance to go again before September. We love it a lot. It's such an open and free and gorgeous place. The boys can just run and run and run, and laugh. We didn't get there until after lunch, but we stayed until it was almost closing time. We had so much fun, it was the best time we've spent there. We chased each other around the lawns and hid behind trees and inside hedges and under shrubs, and it was all very exhausting, but super ace :)

This morning I took Thomas swimming, and am determined to get him swimming properly by the end of the holidays. I'm going to try and take him twice a week when James and Matthew are at nursery. That was also much fun :)

This afternoon we had my friend Sarah round for a visit, and her lovely boys Joshua and Nathan. That was very nice indeed. Sarah and I had such a laugh all afternoon, and the boys all played beautifully together. They were all quite shy, so we hardly heard a peep from any of them, bless 'em. But Joshua didn't want to leave in the end, and they promised to come again next week :) Oh, Sarah and I did play a little tennis with the boys, so it wasn't all just laziness! What a glorious day it was today - I think I'm a little burnt.

The cutting of the ties with the computer and the books (during the day - I'm not superhuman, are you kidding!) has been fantastic. I've got so much patience, I've got lots of energy (despite Matthew waking in the night with random high temperatures at the moment), I've got this very pleasant desire to be with my kids all day, and to play with them, and to chat to them, and to laugh with them, and make up silly stories with them. I'm trying to teach them to juggle at the moment, which is hilarious! But they're really responding to my good mood as well, and I've never known them to be so beautifully behaved. Matthew keeps running up to me and grinning, and then hugging me for no reason! Was I really such a horror when I was choosing my books and my computer over my kids?! Oh dear. Well, I feel a little like a recovering alcoholic at this point - a recovering webaholic, a bookaholic. I could fall off the wagon at any time, so I need to be careful and not be tempted by my current book. I could just say to the kids that I'm going to read for half an hour and then before I know it three hours will have gone by and I'll've wasted half the day. Don't want to do that anymore. So I'm not going to. I've managed to pretty much give up actual alcohol, so I can give up anything I want to :)

Might not post again for a while - got Peter Pan in the Park tomorrow. Then don't know what our plans are for next week, but it's likely to be more playing and exhausting things.

Have fun y'awl :)

Monday, 19 July 2010


That should be fine now. I've done it. I've had this fine, fine figurative length of imperceptible scart-type cable* (or perhaps a HDMI**, or possibly USB***, or maybe even more of a Bluetooth**** sort of scenario) connecting my brain and my computer for the past few weeks. The connection is made without my awareness from time to time, quite possibly in a Matrix type of way. I think some race of being with superior intelligence is trying to get me to be on the computer as much as possible, and keeps plugging me in and making me addicted to applications such as Facecloth and *gasp*, Blogger! Perhaps they feed on my brain waves when I'm in the catatonic state that I slide into when the MacBook hums into life.

*SCART (from Syndicat des Constructeurs d'Appareils Radiorécepteurs et Téléviseurs, Radio and Television Receiver Manufacturers' Association) is a French-originated standard and associated 21-pin connector for connecting audio-visual (AV) equipment together

**HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is a compact audio/video interface for transmitting uncompressed digital data.

***Universal Serial Bus (USB) is a specification[1] to establish communication between devices and a host controller (usually personal computers), developed and invented by Ajay Bhatt while working for Intel.

****Bluetooth is an open wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances (using short length radio waves) from fixed and mobile devices, creating personal area networks (PANs) with high levels of security.


I'd noticed that I'd been using any feeble excuse, lately, to stick children's telly on and plonk my little 'uns in front of it, just so's I could play on the computer all day. Really, there was no sense in it at all - sitting around, waiting for people to respond to my comments on Facecloth, browsing on various Spend-Money-On-Stuff-You-Don't-Need websites when none of my friends seemed to be online, checking my email every few minutes even though I wasn't expecting any messages. Very silly waste of time. And what the hell was I thinking? My James is now in his last few weeks of being-at-home, and he will be at school very soon. And I was sitting on the computer ignoring him? I could have been spending this time with him, just doing anything we wanted to do, anything at all, not even preparing him for school, just enjoying his company. It's not surprising that he's been so grumpy lately, is it?! Rotten mother I've been.

So, I've done it. And I feel very good, released you might say. Are you wondering what it is that I've done? Is it annoying you that I haven't got to the point yet? Ha! Well, I've done it, as I said. I've cut the tie that has been binding me to the computer. Got a figurative pair of very sharp and very pointy dressmaking scissors (they're always very sharp are dressmaking scissors - they have to be to cut through wriggly fabric), and snipped right through that two-way connection with my beautiful MacBook. I've placated it with a promise to check in with it every evening, and it's agreed to leave me alone during the day. I'm pleased.

I've done this for the sake of all of my boys, not just James, because it's the summer holidays the day after tomorrow, and none of us are going to have a very nice time if I'm constantly thinking about what I could be doing if I didn't have them with me. And I know what I'm like - I can't allow myself five minutes on the computer during the day, because it won't be five minutes, it'll end up being an hour, and then two, and so on... And it's even more important that I don't pick up a book while I'm with the kids - a book for me (my very favourite pastime) equates to a day of dullness for the boys. I become a zombie when I'm reading and they have to shout 'Muuuummmmmmaaaaaaayyyy' right in my face to get my attention, and then they get shouted at for interrupting me, and then they get shouted at for whatever mess they've made while I've been in my literary trance. See, I can be a rubbish mother at times.

This is the biggest bit of preparation I needed for the holidays: putting myself in the right frame of mind for being with Thomas, James and Matthew for the whole of the day, every day. So that's what it is that I've done really. What we actually do together isn't so important, because even if I don't stick to my list of things-to-do-and-places-to-go, it doesn't matter as the boys will have my attention for pretty much the whole holiday. That's the most important thing. Now I'm looking forward to chatting with them, talking complete nonsense, doing some tickling, playing with light-sabres, building with Lego, getting waterproofs on and splashing in puddles (there might well be a lot of that!), possibly some baking, lots of drawing and colouring and painting, maybe a little clay-modelling, definitely some dancing to Chris Evans's expertly spun tunes in the morning, and hopefully some general outdoorsy walking and stuff when the weather gets better. We're going to have a good time, it's all in my hands :)

Plus, an extra special bonus prize - we get Kev back, when this hated overtime finishes!! Yay!

Oh, I almost forgot, Jessica (Noomski's fiance) asked me to write this on my blog (to be read in a Geordie accent):
'Terry is so lucky to have this fantastic woman in his life. Not only does she have beauty, but she has wit and charm on her side, along with the talent of playing a good game of pool,' by Jessica.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Wasted day, but that's alright

Another one. I do try not to waste days, but sometimes it just happens and there's not much I can do about it. The photo shows what the living room looks like right now. Jumping-on-sofa-cushions-on-the-floor is guaranteed to be the default game on days when the boys are stuck in the house. I used to go mad at them, and make them put everything back, and then we'd do something civilised like jigsaws or another equally dull activity. Now I'm mostly a nice mummy, and I let them bounce off their aggression and frustration as much as they like - until someone gets seriously hurt :D And it saves me having to ever plump up the cushions as well - there's usually a laziness motive behind every decision I make, so don't be under any illusion that I always put my kids first: I don't, I always put my selfish self first.

We had visitors today, unexpected ones. For me this is nice, to see Noomski and Jessica, and my dad as well. I like when they all come and have lunch with us, and lots of cups of tea. But the boys do get bored, bless them, because the grown ups are all talking about their week, and the trip to Holly Farm that was promised for the afternoon starts to look less and less likely, and no-one's listening to what they've got to say, and no-one's playing with them or watching their stunning new tricks and moves, and no-one's getting them a drink when they ask for it, and no-one wants to come outside and watch them ride up and down on their bikes, and it's just not fair. I think it goes to show that kids are not so different from grown ups - having toys (for toys for adults read laptops, iPhones, gadgets of all kinds) is all very well, but really what you want is company. I get a bit lonesome at times, but I don't realise that until someone comes to visit and I enjoy their company and slightly more adult conversation. But it pays to remember that kids are good company too - especially mine :D They've always got so much to say, and they can be wise and witty and wonderfully insightful. Really the only time my kids annoy me is when I'm being the selfish and lazy one, and I'm trying to do something that really I should be doing in the evening. Then they get all whiney and irritating, and they start fighting amongst themselves, and they break stuff and throw toys and generally just vie for my attention - well, who can blame them? I can't, because it's not their fault, it's mine. Did I decide to stay at home with the kids to be lazy and to play on the computer and read books? Or did I decide to stay at home with the kids because I wanted them to have a wonderful few years of playing and fun and learning, and to ensure that they were being brought up the way I wanted them to be, the way that they couldn't be brought up if they were in nursery every day (no judgement on anyone else's decisions, definitely not - we all have to do what's best for our families, not for anyone else's!)? Priorities, lost them for a while, got them back now :) This is supposed to be my job, I should start working! These few years were never supposed to be about me, they were always supposed to be about my kids - time to refocus, on them :)


The summer holidays start in three days. *Long and deep steeling intake of breath* I'm ready for it. Well, I haven't done a plan in my diary of possible activities/trips/picnic sites/visits/walks/games to entertain us for the six weeks yet, but I'll get it done. But I am all prepared to stop being lazy - I've given myself a talking to, and long lie-ins and leaving the kids to find something to eat for their own breakfast is not allowed. Getting up nice and early and filling the day with fun things is allowed. Reading/playing on Facecloth/writing blog entries is not allowed until the boys are in bed at night. Watching my own DVDs on my laptop while they watch something of theirs on the big telly is not allowed. Fobbing them off with promises to do something nice tomorrow so that we can do something of mine that's boring today is not allowed. Being grumpy with the boys for no reason that has anything to do with them is not allowed. Being grumpy with the boys because they're being naughty and grumpy is not allowed either - they'll never get out of a bad mood if I just keep throwing it right back at them. Being cheery and making an effort to enjoy every single day of the holidays is allowed - this works, I've tried it before, and the boys end up following my lead. Watching kids DVDs is allowed, as long as I watch with them, and only on rainy days (of which there may well be many).
I've written the rules down now, so I have to stick to them! You are my witnesses. I will be honest, and tell you if I break them.

Time for myself is in the evenings, and there's plenty of it if I just use it wisely. Now, I just need to find the batteries for my camera, so that I can document all of the FUN we'll be having over the next few weeks!

Now I think I have set myself one hell of a task - staying cheery for a full six weeks? I don't think it's really possible, but we'll see.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Memory loss. And also memory loss.

It's finally happened, and I have proof that I can never be as clever as I've always hoped to be. My brain is leaking. I've always thought that I had plenty of space in my brain, that I could just keep filling it up and that it wouldn't overflow, because I had never really put all that much into it. But it seems that I was wrong. I've filled it up right to the top, and now it's overflowing. Everything I've learned up until this point still seems to be there, but all of the new stuff is just skating around on the surface for a little while and then dropping off the edge pretty quickly. It's very disappointing, because I was expecting to reach genius level in about fifteen years time, but it looks like I'll be stuck at marginally-cleverer-than-some-people level for the rest of my life now. *Deep sigh* I was looking forward to learning a lot more words, some nice big juicy ones to put in my writing. But there's no point in trying to expand my vocabulary now, since I'll almost instantly forget what I've read.

Lately, I've been really stupid, quite a lot. I can make a mental note to myself to remember to take something with me when I leave the house, I can write it down on a list, I can put the item in question right by the front door so that I can't leave the house without seeing it, and I STILL forget it. And I forget it completely. I don't remember that I'm supposed to have it with me until I've reached the place where I needed it, and someone asks me for it. I am forgetting that I've already done things, so I'm doing them twice! I wrote a letter to a penpal, and sent it, and then the next day started writing the same letter again. And another example is that my friend Sara lent me her Twilight soundtrack CDs. I was all excited about listening to them, and then this little germ of a memory that was still clinging by its little finger to the edge of my brain caught my attention, and I remembered that I had downloaded these soundtracks a few weeks ago! With all of my obsessiveness about Twilight, how could I forget that I had already bought this music?

I blame Noomski for this early onset of senility. He's given me too much responsibility, by asking me to be his Best Man. Usually I thrive on organising things, I do love it. It makes me nervous, but it's a good kind of nervous, and it has adrenalin to go with it and make it more palatable. The organising of the Stag Do, and the composing of a speech for the wedding is all fine, and I am enjoying it hugely. But the thing that's tipping me over the edge and using up all the spare disc space in my head is the knowledge that I am required (by law I think) to act like a bloke for the weekend of the Stag! It's too much! I suddenly feel terribly feminine. Noomski has suggested that I wear a fake moustache - I think this will help.

I will go and make a new list now. I think, but I'm not sure, that I have a lot of things to remember to do today. But maybe I don't. I just don't know. I can't remember.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Headaches and misunderstandings

Well really, I mean, how rude! There I am, being a perfect mother and spending quality time with my kids (doing some drawing, talking about some important things like somersaults and toy cars, pretending to be X-Factor contestants), and then BAM! - the headache that's been lingering somewhere in the less sensitive part of my brain suddenly slams into the front of my head and turns me into DRAGON WOMAN. Dragon woman eats her own young. She roars at them, and then she bites their heads off, and devours the rest of them whole.

But children are forgiving, even after they've been chewed up and spat back out.

Adults are less forgiving.

I suppose it's understandable, because a headache cannot be seen, and it manifests itself as pure aggression in the early stages. Adults don't respond well to aggression, so they find it difficult to sympathise with a dragon woman who is scowling at them and snapping at every word they say. I can understand that. I think I have just annoyed and upset Noomski and Jessica with my growling and grumping, even though I was trying very carefully not to say the wrong things. But headaches make our words come out all twisted and snarly, and what I thought sounded like 'hello, y'alright?' quite possibly came out as 'RAAAAAAAAAOR'! So sorry about that Noomski and Jessica. I really didn't mean to be mardy with you - I was not in control of my face or my vocal cords.

I'm alright now - I took my magic headaches medicine, and it went right away within ten minutes :)

Isn't it funny (not at the time) how headaches have different flavours though? Actually, isn't it weird how anything that exists in the mind has different flavours? And smells as well? This evening's headache had an aura of fruit. Like a banana and strawberry smoothie. Sounds quite pleasant, but really it wasn't, because it had a kind of metallic edge to it that made it kind of rusty. But sort of related, how is it that we can remember what smells smell like, and what sounds sound like, in our head? If I think of the smell of a packet of mints now, in my head I can smell them. But I can't actually smell them, I just know what they smell like. Where is that smell? Where is it in my head? What am I actually experiencing, on a physiological level, when I remember the smell of a packet of mints? And the same when we remember a piece of music, for example. We can hear it in our mind, but yet we can't actually hear it. Where is it? There's sound in our brain, but yet it can't be heard. And when we see things in our mind, where are they? I am now picturing my own face, but where am I seeing it? Where is that image? What's it made of?

I think I am bringing on another headache.

That'll do eh?!

Monday, 12 July 2010

Life is Full

I have spent a lovely morning, firming up the details of Noomski's Stag Do. It's been very enjoyable. Kev found an excellent website for activities in Nottingham, so we're going to use that. I phoned up and spoke to a lovely man first thing, and he was very reassuring about it all. All I have to do is go away and collect definite numbers, and money, and then phone him back and he'll sort it all out for me. It's all very flexible, all very convenient, all very cheap. I'm very pleased. Of course, it was Kev's finding, so he gets the credit for that. But I get the credit for doing the phoning and contacting of Stags. The tricky bit is getting in contact with everyone that Noomski wants to invite - not everyone's on Facecloth, and I don't have a phone number for all the rest. But you can only contact who you can contact right? I'm doing my best. It's so much fun! We're going to go paintballing, and off-road karting. But aside from that it will be two full days and nights with a load of fellas! I'm a little nervous, but I'm pretty sure it'll be good. Maybe some of them will end up as my friends too, and I'll invite them on my next birthday adventure :) (I'm fancying an obstacle course for that actually.)

We had a little adventure yesterday. It was idyllic :) Kev had a day off and we took the boys to Silverdale. I don't remember ever having been to Silverdale properly before. I know I went to one camp there with Brownies, but that was just a day that was spent making papercrafty things in a hut. Not sure why we had to go to Silverdale to do that. Hmm. Anyway, yesterday we didn't stay in a hut, we went out in the fresh, fresh air. It was very fresh! Not cold though, just blowy. On Saturday night we had watched The Bridge to Terabithia, which had quite an influence on us. In that film (adapted from a book), two only-slightly-annoying kids let their imaginations go free, and they invented a fantasy world that only they could see. We didn't intend to do that when we went to Silverdale yesterday, but that is what we ended up doing - so successfully that James got rather nervous and said that he didn't want to go there again because it was too scary, lol :D Kev and I are not usually all that great at playing along with these games that the boys try to start off. Thomas is always excellent at pretending he's on a quest, and that he's pursuing or being pursued by some baddies. James gamely follows after, but keeps coming back to check we're still with him. Matthew usually tries to follow, but can't keep up, and ends up being carried because he's tired. But yesterday the setting seemed to bring out the warrior/explorer/adventurer/discoverer/hero in all of us, and no-one got tired or bored or whiney or grumpy or bossy. The photo I've posted shows the coastal bit of the territory we claimed for our kingdom, where we scrambled on rocks and tried to find seafood in the pools left by the retreating tide. (We found two seagull wings, and one bare bone - so in the end we had to go back to the farm for ice-cream instead.) But up behind the treeline that you can just about see, there is grass, and gorse, and fern, and trees of all kinds. It's quite an amazing place to walk with kids, and I can't believe we've never been before now. It's very hilly, and as you go over each rise you don't know what you're going to see, which made it perfect for adventuring :) There are lots of forks in the path, and Kev kept taking a different one to the rest of us and trying to sneak up on us further down. We kept imagining that we could hear our enemies up ahead, or gaining on us from behind. And we thought we saw signs of a giant once or twice. (I have photos of us at the Giant's Seat, but Kev is fishing today and has the camera with him!) While we were at the Giant's Seat James started to whimper a bit, and when I asked him what was wrong he said that he was ready to go home because he didn't want the giant to find us. It's a shame when you have to tell your kids that it's only a game, and that the giant isn't real - but sometimes, when their distress is so acute that you can see their rapid heartbeat through their t-shirt, it's necessary, lol! Matthew is not old enough to find these games frightening yet, and he bounced around the countryside shouting 'Yarrrr, we're going to find you and get you Giant Master, haaghh haaghh!'

All these walks we keep discovering. Ahhhh, perfect. We do live in a wonderful place for kids. There might not be much in the immediate vicinity of our house, but we don't have to go very far in the car to find somewhere beautiful to play. Next weekend I think we might head off towards Milnthorpe, and see if we can find the way in to the park where we always see deer from the road. That looks like a great place to walk - though I've never seen anyone walking there. I hope it's allowed. Matthew had no problems with walking this weekend, and in fact, wanted to run most of the time. The days of giving piggy-backs may well be coming to a close - and I can't say I'm sad about that!

Busy, busy. Have fun today :)

Friday, 9 July 2010

Alright, I'm going to read it! Back off!

I believe there is no God, no higher consciousness, no omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, omni-everything kind of being. Believing there is no God is not quite the same as not believing in God. The way I see it, the first position is an actual belief, and is more of a decision that a person comes to, after weighing up both sides of the argument and planting themselves firmly on one side. The second position is not really strong enough to be a belief at all, it's a lack of a belief, and is perhaps more of a passive position, as far as I can tell, one that comes from just never having seen anything that might make one believe there is a God. I would imagine that someone who doesn't believe in God would be easier to convert than someone who believes there is no God. I suppose I'm an atheist, though I don't like labelling anyone, and I still keep an open mind. I keep an eye out for signs and evidence that I might be wrong. I hope to be wrong. But only for very selfish reasons, because I don't want to miss out any potential kind of afterlife - I don't want to die and for that to be it. But I do believe that I will die, and that will be it. The end. Nothing else, in terms of my consciousness at least.

But there is only one strange phenomenon that makes me really wonder whether I might be wrong about God. It's a very superstitious thing, and I'm amazed that it makes me question my own deep-seated beliefs so easily, when other magical things in the world, such as the mysterious internet, the wonder of the mobile phone, the astonishing miracle of solid man-made objects being made to fly do not make me consider the possibility of God being real. Nothing beautiful on Earth, or the wider Universe, ever makes me think 'wow, I wonder if God made that'. But when things happen in threes ... well, it just makes me pause and have a bit of a think.

A couple of weeks ago I bought To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. It was on offer in Asda, and I remembered that it was on my chunky metal bookmark with the list '50 books to read before you die'. I put it on the ever-increasing pile of books to be read. Yesterday I made a list of books that I have to read before I can allow myself to read the trash that is the Twilight Saga again (it's working a treat - I've barely put a book down since I made the list, I'm ripping right through it already!). I added To Kill a Mockingbird to the list, in about fourth place. Thought no more of it. Carried on with Milkweed, finished that this morning, and started The Lovely Bones. Went to Waterstone's bookshop. Picked up The Passage, by Justin Crone. Opened The Passage, to have a little read of the first paragraph, and there leaping out of the page at me were the words 'To Kill a Mockingbird'. Okay. I laughed to myself, and thought, that's weird. Bought the book, and went off to Costa Coffee to read a bit more of The Lovely Bones. Okay, now, if you've read The Lovely Bones you will know what's coming next! (Yes, alright, I know: even if you haven't read The Lovely Bones you will know what's coming next, because I've built it up so much, and have already revealed the punchline anyway!)
I was enjoying an innocent read, minding my own business really, when I was chucked forcibly out of the world of the book, The Lovely Bones, by the words 'To Kill a Mockingbird' on page 24. I had to re-read the sentence, to check that I hadn't just dozed off and dreamed those words. Nope. Of course not. The words were still there. Weird. Two mentions of the same book, the book that's on my list, within the space of about an hour. But if I thought that was the end of the weirdness, NOTHING could have prepared me for what would happen before I'd even eaten my lunch of a hot chicken sandwich from Birketts!
I left Costa Coffee about an hour later, figuratively patting myself on the back for having read about a quarter of a book in a couple of hours, and headed for my car. I innocently turned on the car radio, to have a bit of company while I ate my hot chicken sandwich from Birketts, and Jeremy Vine was discussing the whereabouts of the deranged gunman who's on the loose in the North East at the moment. Before I had even taken a bite of my hot chicken sandwich from Birketts I almost choked, as Jeremy Vine climbed out of the radio and smacked me in the face with the words 'To Kill a Mockingbird'!!!!! I have no idea why he was talking about that book, or what he said afterwards that connected it to the current news story, because I was too busy checking for hidden cameras in the car and in the car park, and feeling suddenly paranoid about being watched! Well, we don't have 'Beadle's About' any more, I said to myself, so it must be God.


I mean, I can't think why God would think that it's so important for me to read this bloody book, but since He's obviously so keen for me to move it up the list for His own divine reasons, I have done so. It is now next on the list, right after The Lovely Bones. There's either something in it that I need to read sooner rather than later, or He just wants to punish me for some transgression or other by delaying my reunion with Twilight's beautiful hero.

I still believe there is no God. But I believe there is no God in the same way I believe there is no Edward Cullen - they both exist in my mind, and I talk to both of them fairly regularly. I talk to Edward Cullen much more than I talk to God. Actually, I talk to Edward Cullen quite a bit more than I talk to Kev. Edward Cullen has brought on some kind of mental illness.

I wonder if there are any other atheists in the world who actually talk to God in their mind. Anyone know? I'm sure it's not normal atheist behaviour. Sometimes I roll my eyes at God, when something horrible happens in the world, and I think to him 'what the bloody hell did you do that for?'. He usually answers in the voice of Michael Palin, (but sometimes Morgan Freeman - of course) and makes me laugh, and then we exchange a wink and both go about our business.

Err ... I might have just revealed more to the world about my private and personal thoughts than I should have. Hmm. Well. Fine.

(Milkweed was a truly excellent book by the way; compelling, breathtaking, beautiful, heartbreaking, stunning. I recommend it to anyone who thinks their life is crap - it's about the truth that there's always something to smile about, no matter how awful life can get.)

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

What a lovely day

It's rather ironic that the hosepipe ban in the North-West of England has come into proper effect now that it is raining during the day. When I heard the rain on the windows this morning when I woke up, I was a little dismayed because I'd been hoping that we'd get a little more sunshineyness soon. I don't like it too hot and sticky (at this I imagine my friends in America scoffing derisively, and saying to each other things like 'man, she doesn't even know what hot is'! I know this. But I am an average person, who enjoys average things, such as average temperatures, and average weather. Mmm.)

But I went out into town this morning - on an errand for my dad; doing errands in town for other people always give me a good excuse to go to Starbucks (you're welcome for the free advertising Starbucks) for a couple of hours, and then just nip in to Waterstone's (Waterstone's, you are also welcome: any time) to perhaps buy a book; it's not really my fault that I have so many books, it's the fault of the people who send me into town. I was wandering around, eating my chicken and shish kebab wrap, and the light rain was swirling up around me and making me think that I would probably need to put more wax on my hair when I got home. I heard myself having grumpy thoughts about needing an umbrella, and wishing for the sun to come out, when I suddenly realised that I was lying to myself. I slowed down my pace, and had a look about the street I was walking down, and noticed that it is actually a really lovely day today. It's warm out, it's not chucking it down, the drizzle is really very pleasant indeed, and I right fancy going out for a longer walk this afternoon. That may well not happen since James and Matthew usually come out of nursery stumbling over their own feet and looking all bleary-eyed after a hard morning of playing. But maybe I can persuade them with a promise of puddle splashing with wellies on.

It was nice to wander about, rainy or not, with nothing much to think about. My brain's a bit mashed at the moment, because I seem to have a lot of things to organise all of a sudden: a Stag Do for Noomski, a birthday party for Thomas, a new cooker for us, a wedding trip to pay for and a holiday to confirm, and I have several bits of admin and letters to get done. It's very strange that life can be quiet for a time, with nothing pressing on the horizon, and then all of a sudden there's a glut of urgent things to do. I always feel like shutting down and waiting for deadlines to pass me by. I think this stay-at-home lark has made me very lazy, because all I want to do now is read and write and be left alone most of the time!!! That's not true actually - I'm very much enjoying spending time with friends at the moment (but that's because being with friends is something that's easy to do and allows me to be more lazy with cups of tea and biscuits!) Anything that takes me away from my book, my computer or my pen and paper makes me grumpy. This does not include my children. That's a relief. I'm being patient with my children - although I am looking at them as if they might be potential characters in my next book. Oh dear.

Waffley, waffley post! Sorry. This post reflects the ramblingness of my thoughts today. Up and down and all over the place. Probably need an early night.



Monday, 5 July 2010

Busy weekend

Yeah, yeah, blah-di-blah, nice weekend with the boys and all that.

BUT, I went to the cinema with Sara, to see Eclipse. Aaaaah, it was lovely :) Lots of lovely Edward, and lots of lovely Jacob. I would love to see it again, and will certainly buy the DVD and play it over and over again when it comes out.

Time to be objective though. I've had a sleep, and that has given me a little thinking time. This is what I think this morning. As we know, a film is never as good as the book it's based on, and this film was no exception to that rule. I think what's lacking in the films is the passion that is ever-present in the books. The characters in the films are much more two-dimensional, and don't have anything like as much depth to them as their counterparts in the books. They do the best with the scripts they have I think, and they almost get it right - but not quite. I always feel like there's something missing. It's as if the directors of the films are a little afraid to let emotions be as intense as they need to be. There was a glimpse of the passion we were waiting for in Eclipse, after Bella had broken her hand off Jacob's jaw, and Edward looked like he was going rip Jacob's head off - now that's what we like to see, proof of how strong his feelings are. But we're not treated to that level of intensity as often as I think we should be. It's there a lot in the books, and that's what keeps you wanting to turn the page - there are hormones and threatening looks and smouldering passions all over the place, but we only get a light dusting of them in the films. Not fair really. But they do their best, and I admire them for trying! It's not the actors' faults, but the direction makes them look as if their hearts are not really in it and as if they'd rather being making a much more gritty and intellectual film. Shame.

But what the films do nicely, is stick to the story. I hate when films go right off track, and even have plot elements added that have nothing to do with the story in the book. Eragon was a bit like that. I was very disappointed with that movie, as so much was left out, and certain characters were unrecognisable. That was a real shame, because the book is one of my favourites, it's truly excellent and I will read it again - I won't watch the film again though. It just didn't cut it! Anyway, I'm going off track here :) The Twilight movies do well to include as much of the story as possible, and really don't miss much out at all. It's mostly pieces of dialogue that are missing - not really missing either, just précised*. When you read a book, some parts of the dialogue can be so beautiful, that when you see the film you might be eagerly waiting for a certain line to appear - and when it doesn't, or when it's changed, it can be disappointing. But this is how it has to be with films - otherwise they'd all be four and five hours long, and that would be impossible. I think we have to understand that, and just work with what we're given, and love it (or hate it if it's truly awful) for what it is. Lord of the Rings did ever so well to keep as much of the story intact as they did, but even that movie couldn't retain every scene and word of dialogue. You can't dislike an otherwise great movie for having time and budget constraints!

nouna précis of the report summary, synopsis, résumé, abstract, outline,summarization, summation; abridgment, digest, overview,epitome, wrap-up.verbprécising a passage summarize, sum up, give a summary/précis of,give the main points of; abridge, condense, shorten, synopsize,abstract, outline, abbreviate; archaic epitomize.

But of course, we don't watch movies such as Eclipse to be astounded intellectually! We're not really bothered that they fall short of our expectations, because pretty quickly we grow to love them more than any other films we have ever seen or will ever wish to see. We become teenage girls again, and we slobber over the beautiful leading men, and we go all giggly and fluttery and want nothing more than to be able to stare at them for as long as possible. It really is completely pathetic, and I think there is something wrong in the brain of every woman over thirty who falls in love with this dazzling Edward Cullen, as if he were a real person whom they would stand a chance of winning! But I am one of these women - I have caught this terrible and debilitating disease, and goddammit, I wish I'd never heard of Twilight! It's ruined my life!

But enriched it at the same time.


Oh, I almost forgot. We got a good fight at the end of Eclipse. I meant to say that earlier, as one of the film's positives (there were many positives, don't get me wrong, I did really love the film - it's just easier to point out the negatives sometimes, because they can be more obvious). Because a love story's all very well, but when there are plenty of vampires and mega-wolves just milling around you need to have a good fight in the end. It's a good fight in the book, so I was hoping that there were would be some decent roaring and baring of teeth and ripping off of limbs and heads and such. I wasn't disappointed there at all - the effects in the film are great. I like the metallic crunch that you hear when some part of other of one of the vampires is forcibly removed from the rest of their body. Very satisfying.

Oh, continuity, film to film though - I'm a bit of a stickler for continuity, and this film let me down on a couple of things. Considering that vampires are supposed to be frozen in their bodies as they were when they were changed, there was an awful lot of vampire hair growth, colour change and weight loss! Esme's hair had gone from red to black, Jasper's and Emmett's hair had grown noticeably, and Rosalie had lost quite a lot of weight. Hmmm. Continuity should be strictly observed, in my humble opinion, because when there are noticeable differences, it makes you aware that you're watching a film. Once I'm in the world of the film I don't like to be brought out of it until the credits roll.

I am aware that this post is rather negative, and doesn't really reflect the mood I was in when I came out of the cinema last night, bouncing and feeling in love and giggling and suppressing little screams of joy and hysteria! That's how I really feel about this film - it makes me feel seventeen again, and that can only be a good thing :) Who cares about little imperfections in the details, when a film can strip away years and give someone back their teenagerness - miraculous. Gets my vote.

Anyway - boring post for those who don't like Twilight. Sorry :D No more, until the release of the last movie, which hasn't been filmed yet.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Why can I never think of an excuse quickly enough?!

rounder |ˈroundər|noun1 a person who frequents bars and is often drunk. (This definition is more like me!!!!!)2 Brit. (in rounders) a complete run of a player through all the bases as a unit of scoring. (I am not likely to do this!!!!)rounders |ˈroundərz| |ˈraʊndərz|plural noun [treated as sing. ]a ball game similar to baseball, played chiefly in British schools. (For 'ball game' read TORTURE!!!!)

Why have I let myself in for this torture?! Why am I such a slow-brained idiot that I could not think of a simple excuse when asked to play?! I knew immediately that I did not want to play rounders. I knew immediately that the morning before the game I would be filled with absolute dread that would make me sweat and have palpitations and feel nausea to a most alarming degree. Idiot! I even had a get-out, presented to me on a silver platter. The lady who asked me to play began with these words: 'do you have your little ones with you all the time? Would it be possible for someone to look after them for an hour?' Why did I not just say 'no, there is no-one to look after my children, very sorry'? Why did I not just say that? And a fabricated excuse would not even have been necessary, because I could have just said 'no, I do not want to play rounders, thank you very much'. That would have been fine.
Now I am sitting here with sweaty palms, with no food in my stomach, and a heart rate of about 120 bpm - I'm tachycardic!!!! Get the crash team, I'm going into VF, bring some platelets and cross-match 50ccs of O+ (I have no idea what my blood group is, just bring a bit of everything), and someone pick up my kids from nursery!!! I'm dying - I can't possibly play rounders now, I'm sorry.
Possibly a slight overreaction there. It's only a bit of fun, eh? Just playing in front of the WHOLE school, and do not want to embarrass my son who has a hard enough time being accepted by his friends as it is! But it'll be fun. So I'm told. By someone I don't really know very well. She said I could trust her. Oh my god. This is insane. I do not want to run on the field. In the blistering heat. With my Skechers that will probably slip off while I'm running. I'll probably go over on my weak ankle. I'll probably hideously break my ... leg bone. I'll end up in hospital for a week. Hang on - this could be a good thing, I could get a week's rest! I could have nurses looking after me. I could have my meals brought to me in bed. I could get a lot of reading done.
I'm feeling slightly more okay now. I think I will go and eat some lunch. Need some energy if I'm going to help the parents beat the teachers-and-kids. Oh, and I'd better read the rules as well. Yes, there are rules to read - I don't remember reading rules when we played at school. I do remember being rubbish at the game though. I don't think I ever hit the ball (who can hit the ball, with a bat the thickness of a cotton bud?! Ridiculous game!), and don't think I ever made it to the last base (are they called bases? I really don't know), and I'm pretty sure I was always on the losing team. I'm pretty sure my team always lost because I was in it. SO, I will go there this afternoon with very low expectations, and hopefully I will at least come away satisfied that I was right about my lack of skill, and my ability to embarrass myself horribly. This is very unlike me, I know, to be so pessimistic. But please, who in the world could be positive under these circumstances? That's right, not even His Holiness, that fine old Dalai Lama himself could feel cheery about this.
Later I will post an update about the game. Maybe I will draw you a little cartoon of our game - if Noomski has brought me his Tablet to try out. If not you will have to be content with drawing your own mental images from my vivid descriptions of the hell that was the Parents vs TeachersandPupils Rounders Match 2010.