I think I just rambled, Life

these days

Work is no longer a car journey away. It’s at the desk at the end of my bed. It’s hard to switch off sometimes – work and its worries have a way of attempting to follow you around. I think I’m doing better. I know I’m fortunate to be working – even more so to do it from the comfort from my home.

I’ve finished a scarf. It is a bit too short (even though it is taller than me) and is wibbly and wobbly, full of holes, different colours, and dropped stitches. I love it. I’ve worn it to the dentist today.

(Yes, the dentist. I have been to a different place and seen different people!)

Sometimes, I go for a walk in the park. The grass is growing muddy there now – too many footsteps of people not allowed to go far from their homes. The river was swollen, and the trees bare of leaves.

this is VERY MUCH MY LOCAL RIVER IN ENGLAND. YEP. IT IS THIS. THIS IS IT only: no hills, no chalet, no snow, wide, brown, some beauty, such cold / Photo by Rhiannon Stone on Pexels.com

It is cold and it snows now and then. It rains too.

I’ve plunged into editing Project If. No. Wrong verb. ‘Paddled’ would be better. It’s two years old this month. Had a year to marinate. It’s on my calendar in big, bold letters scrawled across each week: X Character Must Die it says for one week. Dark Knight of the Soul is across another. (The ‘k’ is crossed out. I am very good at spelling.)

A Suffragist Abroad is with her editor. I am tempted with the idea of putting a care package for them. They’ll need it.

I’ve read a lot this past weekend. Recharged my batteries. There’s a short course in hieroglyphs I’m taking. I’ve realised that Turkish Delights are delightful. The birds sing earlier in the morning now. The days are getting longer.

Sometimes I catch myself – when I’m walking, masked and avoiding passing people too closely, when I read the news and see headlines with death tolls and vaccines and fishermen’s woes, when I’m talking with my family and wondering what the world will look like when it’s over and saying ‘Uncle X has had the vaccination’ – and I think: wow, this is bizarre. If I time-travelled and told past-me, she would have gaped.

literally haven’t seen one of these for years. but I’M PUTTING IT HERE BECAUSE IT’S PRETTY. let me have this okay? / Photo by Annika Thierfeld on Pexels.com

I haven’t been to church in a year, I miss it, but God is not confined to a building. The world keeps spinning, and life keeps moving onwards. It doesn’t wait for us, and yet we can steal moments – in the garden, beneath the stars, or wrapped up warm, with a book in our hands – to breathe.

happy reading!

Story Time, Travel / Living Abroad

travel despatches: a tale of ice and snow

This was going to be called ‘despatches from a broad’ which would have been a HILARIOUS word-play but I have contained myself.

ice

Moldova has snow. I am acquainted with the idea of it – Canada dunked me in the deep end and taught my British nerves to deal with lots and lots … and lots of snow. But Moldova has ice and the pavements are covered in it.

This is the formula:

  • It snows
  • Pedestrians compact the snow
  • The temperature rises
  • The snow becomes slush
  • Night falls
  • Temperatures plummet
  • Slush turns to ice

I haven’t seen a single Moldovan slip. Not. A. Single. One. I am rather certain that they have superpowers. Extreme balance. Exceptional grip on their shoes. Underhanded understanding with gravity. That, or they’re waiting for me to clear off and get out of sight and then they all slip over magnificently.

A fellow teacher and I made a bet – the first one to slip buys the other a coffee. Now, I was in no way hoping that she would slip over first. But gravity exists and if she were to prove it … well, no harm no foul.

We were crossing the road. I was slightly ahead of my fellow bet-ee (?). She was explaining the terms of our little wager to a mutual friend when her explanation suddenly halted with a sort of sliding plop.

I turned around and there she was, sprawled along the centre of the road. The brilliant red of her coat looking very picturesque against the dark ice. Fortunately, it wasn’t a bad fall. Unfortunately, I was not going to remain unscathed …

pride comes before a fall

I was hoping to avoid slipping. I had visions of lasting through the entire winter with nary a spill. ‘I lasted an ENTIRE winter with VERY icy pavements,’ I would say with great modesty. ‘I didn’t slip ONCE.’

Ha. Haha. Hahaha.

One evening, we were warned that the ice would be exceeding treacherous the next morning. As we gingerly walked back from school – warily looking at the ground as if it was going to snatch at our feet and maliciously laugh all the while – we pointed out patches of the pavements to each other.

‘That bit,’ we’d say, ‘is going to be VERY icy.’

‘This stretch of the road,’ we’d agree, ‘is going to be INSANELY icy.’

‘Tomorrow,’ I said, eyeing a piece of paving in front of me, ‘this is going to be really ic-‘

Up went my feet. Down went my bottom. It was a moment of exquisite irony. My fingers were a little grazed, my behind was slightly bruised but all I could do was emit a stunned laugh.

since then …

We’ve had freezing rain. It’s become slush now but everywhere had a layer of ice. Walking to school reminded me of skiing really fast. (Which, for some people, must be great. But for me? I was never very confident in the stopping part of skiing. Consequently, skiing wasn’t my favourite thing. I was moderately terrified.) My heart was in my throat. My steps were tiny. My prayers were many.

ice. lots and lots of ice.

But so far, God is good and I have survived. I’ve slipped since but that was to do with a glorious and honourable puppy rescuing mission. (This feat of derring-do might become another despatch from a broad … )

(I’M SORRY BUT IT MAKES ME LAUGH.)
I think I just rambled, Life

tales from a past icicle: layers. lots of layers

In keeping with the theme of the season (the theme? It’s cold. The season? Winter.) here is a little something I wrote whilst living in the wilds of Canada …

As much as I very much wish I was an early bird, I think I’ve come to the hard conclusion that I am not one.

I wake at 5:00 am, four alarms later and I’m stumbling out of bed and into the bathroom. Cleaning, teeth brushing, make up applying follow in very. slow. order. (In this, I can safely say that I will never be accused of being too fast) and then I’m dressed and downstairs at 5:35 am for breakfast.

And then I have to apply more layers than rock layers in geology for venturing forth to catch my bus – which leads me to a Very Important Issue that I will a-dress (ba-dump) here:

ON WEARING A JOLLY BIG AMOUNT OF LAYERS

by A BITTER ENGLISHWOMAN

I used to think that I had to cover up (oh! the irony!) the amount of layers I wear. That I should be ashamed of wearing more clothing than a charity shop possesses. That I should tough it out and be a brazen:

‘Is it minus forty? HaHA! Gee! I didn’t notice. This t-shirt and coat is making me feel a bit overheated actually.’

(A breezy laugh ending with an accidental snort accompanies this announcement.)

WELL NO MORE!!!

I am finished with this self-imposed shame. I am no stranger to the damp winter cold of England, but the deep, deep depths of cold here in Montreal? No. I am not used to it. But, I’m adjusting to it. Slowly.

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(And I’m very proud of myself when I don’t have to wear gloves and it’s minus ten and pfft? What is this? A mere chill breeze, mortals!)

(I was wearing a heck of a lot of layers at the time. And the sun was shining.)

(So it probably doesn’t count.)

Things I’m used to:

  • Watching the rain
  • Living with the rain
  • Dodging puddles of rain water
  • Discussing the rain
  • Singing in the rain
  • Scurrying in from the rain

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Things I’m not used to:

  • Snow
  • Ice
  • Freezing rain
  • VERY VERY COLD COLDNESS

A little part of me wistfully longs to wear a beautiful coat with shape, elegance, and style, but right now? I wear a gazillion amount of clothing when I bus to work. It’s cold. I want to be warm. Being a human icicle is not a life goal.

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I will always be a tiny weeny bit embarrassed. It’s hard not to be. (COME ON, I’m wearing one coat, one hoodie, one fleece, one top and one vest – and that’s just for my top half.) But, I’m not going to apologise.

Nope.

Because yes, I’m wearing snow pants when literally no one else is … but if the wind blows sharply or the heavens sends its sparkling dandruff down … I shall be prepared.

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I think I just rambled, Life

tales from a future icicle: boots, buses and THE PHANTOM!!!

Well, it’s been over a month now. I’m still here. I’m still alive.

WINTER PREPERATIONS

In my head I’ve been keeping a ‘clothesometer’; if it’s ten degrees outside, I wear this. If it’s zero degrees with a wind chill factor, I wear that. I think I’m going to write a book containing my Vast and Very Wise Knowledge.

So far I’ve acquired:

  • Winter boots – expensive but oh so comfy
  • One of those sleeveless jacket down things (I excel at technical terms. Clearly)
  • A hoodie
  • An under jacket thing.
  • Two winter coats

I bought some winter wear with me, so I think – with a few more additions – I just might survive. Ha. Probably.

freezing-gif-8
Future me. But without the beard.

BUSES

There is nothing quite like the feeling of watching your bus disappear into the distance. Or arriving at the bus stop to have someone tell you that your bus has been and come and gone.

I’ve run after buses, I’ve waited for buses, I’ve missed a bus because I was reading, looked up and ‘oh that’s my bus, whizzing past like a sprinting ostrich.’

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All in all, buses and I have a complex and codependent relationship. On my part. They don’t care whether I come or go. It’s a harsh and cruel, cold (heh) truth.

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

Dun. Dun dun dun dun dunnnnnnnn … I can cross ‘Watching the Phantom of The Opera’ off my to-do list. I SAW IT FOLKS!! I saw it. That moment when the music thunders and the lights flash and the chandelier bursts into life? Shivers. Genuine shivers.

I grew slightly irritated with the younglings who were chatter-whispering behind me for did they not know how important and incredible this show was!!

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Like, for real. I’m glad you are here and seeing this wondrous thing but honestly. Shush.

My tears wanted to roll at the Phantom’s last sung words; all that longing, and all that heartache. Even though I was seated in the second from last seats (32Z, instead of 32ZZ. There’s a difference) it was wondrous.

They did some sound wizardry at one point AND THE PHANTOM’S VOICE CAME FROM BEHIND MY HEAD. (Please add squealing and a multitude of exclamation marks after that.)

I could probably ramble on and on about my theories regarding Erik and how he was never taught regular human behaviours and how Christine isn’t right for him (well, as she is in the book and play) and how he needs some real help and professional therapy etc etc etc. But that’s for another time and another day.

phantom cry

For years, I have been a Phan. (Aw gee, that sounds cheesy. But I stand by it. So. Pfft.) And now I’ve revisited the story, the movie, the music, the play, and the phanfiction (seriously! there is some great phanfiction out there.). The only things lacking are:

  • a reread of Gaston Leroux’s book
  • watching some of the older movies

And now I’ve seen the play. Live. As in right there. In front of me. 

… and now I need to go back and watch it again. But a) the play has left Montreal and b) I have a budget to stick to (HAHAHA. I mean. Yes. Yes, I do) and so I will make do with a movie.

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Preferably the anniversary edition

Books, I think I just rambled, Life, On Writing

Books and Monstrosities [February’s Flutters]

I can’t spell February. It’s a really awkward word and is off my ‘what I’ll name children/pets/inanimate objects’ list. (Rejoice, Future Thingies! I’ve spared you a lifetime of misspellings!)

Also: I’m sorry, but this post is a little long. I planted the seeds and boom! the words just leapt upwards.

books read

thegoldenbraid

The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest was my least favourite read this month. I’m sorry. I just couldn’t get along with it. The writing didn’t click with me, nor did the main characters – we just didn’t get along well.

The Golden Braid was actually one of my favourite reads. Same author, different book, better reading experience. Rapunzel rocks. ’nuff said.

The Wrath and the Dawn was beautifully written. However, if you set out to kill an evil ruler – and have evidence of his evilness – then you really ought to finish the business. Even if he is handsome. And haunted.

Here’s a truth for you, my dear heroine:

Very Nice Faceiness ≠ Innocence*

*I’d like to add that haunted looks are not a sign of character depth. The Evil Bloke could just be suffering from indigestion.

The Three Musketeers the post is here. Unexpectedly funny. Made me want to don a sword, kidnap someone’s friends, and dash off for adventures.dissolution

Whose Body? The audiobook of which made me check the bath for bodies for years after hearing it. I’ve now read it. I haven’t checked the bath. Progress has been made.

The Shardlake Series are about a hunchback lawyer during Henry VIII’s time. I’ve read three, so far. Immersive writing, characters you grow to warmly like and gruesome murders. Sounds perfect (though I could do without the sprinkling of Certain Elements).

words written

It’s been bad, folks. Clearly going through a month which I can’t spell has badly affected my writing. I’ve managed a little on Our Intrepid Heroine The Third or It Could Be Two Point Five .

“Bluebells!” burst out Bob. “I’d understand it if he bunged his ears as you do sometimes. It’s perfectly understandable that some ears cannot cope with melodies-”

Your melodies,” muttered our Intrepid Heroine.

“-but this-” Bob gestured wildly about him “-is a bit of an overreaction.”

HOWEVER!

It turns out that by some strange twist of fate, my jaunt in the 1920s was placed in the top ten of the Rooglewood Press’ Five Magic Spindles contest. I give hearty thank you to the judges. Expect to hear more of this tale for I am going to a) butcher it excessively and b) read lots of Wodehouse and Thirkell (for research. Obviously.)

life lived

IT’S GETTING LIGHTER! So long, Winter! Your back never looked finer. Hello, Spring! It’s awfully nice to see you.

I’ve finished crocheting a blanket for my bed. It’s a relaxing hobby and the results tend to look far better than my attempt at knitting a scarf. ‘Wonky and holey monstrosities’ are the words that come to mind when recalling that fated attempt.

have a splendid week – nay! – a splendid month, my friends!