Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Firstly, the freezer broke. Not a big thing in the scheme of global warming and Romanian orphans (BBC, stop it. I cried into my tea last night). However, my Haagan Das melted! Catastrophe! I never fill the bloody freezer. Never! Except at Christmas....so my contribution to the food waste mountain hit skyscraper proportions today. Still narked about that ice cream. Strawberry cheesecake it was. Grrrrr...
Went out playing Santa. Came back to discover a missing parent. Missing parent, with alcoholic partner somewhere in the depths of the NHS barfing on the staff. Litre bottle of gin a day anyone? I can be smug up here on alcohol free pinnacle (though admittedly I am awaiting the delivery of twelve bottles of fine red wine...). Anyhow, as the old goat is in sheltered accommodation, they called me when his fire alarm went off. He'd set his kitchen on fire in his panic to go to the hospital with Ennui....then vanished into the ether for the next five hours. Naturally I gave them permission to kick his front door in. He's not best pleased with that to be honest, but hey! Saved the rest of his house.
Being English, I resorted to a good cup of tea when in a crisis. Then the kettle blew up. Perhaps one cup to many? Then spent two hours trying to buy one in Whitley Bay this morning. When did the Co-op stop selling kettles?! I could buy wool, cake decorations & sugar craft, Weight Gain 4000, picture frames, muffins, pretend fireplaces, an entire banquet in Iceland, gob stoppers and black bullets (sweets for the uninitiated), free range olive oil....but not a sign of a bloody kettle. In the end I had to brave the hell of Sainsburys. But at least I am now caffeinated.
So. Cheer is somewhat lacking and I've hit the toblerone in despair. But never fear! this isn't all gloom, and doom. Following some tests worthy of the Third Reich, my local hospital gave me permission to drink 'in moderation'. I have no structural issues with my heart, but I do have kangaroo blood pressure (more tests in January, sigh...).
But really: Whoooo Hooooo! Alcohol's back on the menu boys! And this the day before work's party (last Friday). Thank the gods I was allowed to self medicate that night....Newcastle was a sea of angry sequins. Several of the large, structurally unstable sequins wanted to fill me in. Seriously, what is that people don't like about small redheads in black and lace (I was rocking the Goddess Paloma look that night)?
But now for this moment? The wine has just arrived. The tree lights are on, and a dog is sleeping on my feet. My father has been located (well, his body has but there is some discussion regarding the whereabouts of his brain). P is out buying me pressies. All is well, my good readers. All is peaceful. May it all be peaceful with you.
GD xx: listening to random YouTube stuff (Eden House, Paloma in particular); considering the merits of blue nails versus purple; quite content really!
Monday, November 30, 2009
I got an 'ology'! Well, possibly maybe an ology...and a P2 murmur just for extra special benefit! Nope, I have no idea what it all means either...Apparently the fainting episodes are linked with vasovagal syncope, origin as yet undetermined. Have just had the cardiac tests with the results pending - once through I can hopefully rule out cardiac issues as the cause.
It's a bit spooky, seeing inside your own heart. Well, for the first five minutes it was fascinating. The technician was excellent - she talked me through everything on the screen and showed me all the valves - as my heart was going at 130 beats per minutes, the sight of my flappy valve thingies going at speed was just a little bit too much...I decided to close my eyes for the rest of the test. Either that or barf...
I then had a 24hr ECG. Simples? Nooooo, oh no. Who knew I could be allergic to the sticky chest pads. I spent twenty of the twenty four hours desperately trying not to rip my skin off. Needless to say, sleep was in shot supply and my temper even shorter the following day. Even the ECG technician was shocked when the gaffer tape came off - red, bubbling welts all over my chest. I looked liked I'd been attacked by giant mutant suckers, probably attached to some hideous sea monster with crunchy inner teeth...
Ahem. Enough about my eel issues. Tilting tables and possible projectile vomit next - what fun!
GD: happy as a pig in muck (hmmm...actually a pig in muck?!); listening to Buffy! The Musical!; lamenting the loss of Borders UK - fecking global capitalism really doesn't work.
Friday, November 06, 2009
Paloma Faith - Broken Doll (takes a minute for her to start so bear with it)
First round of tests yesterday - not so bad apart from the vomiting pensioners all about us. Positively streaming green bile. Modesty sent flapping into the breeze as usual, with them sticky little ECG pad things. They then dumped a tea towel over my salient assets - really, I wouldn't have bothered. They'd withered with the cold already.
Heart rate: excited. Heart murmur status: still present but presumed innocent. Actually, the registrar was wonderful, very thorough considering I'd lost my voice completely and had to suck soothers throughout the examination in order to squeak on demand. I have to go back for an echo cardiogram, 24 hour ECG and the topsey turvey tables but they already suspect they know what it is. And it's nothing majorly serious which is a relief. No formal diagnosis until the tests are complete but naturally the advice still precludes me from having beer, chips or chocolate (though I was so thoroughly sick of myself today I had a skinny latte and ginger loaf cake from Starbucks when I got sent home from work yet again...ok, so I'm probably infectious but I'm also lonely. My germs are lonely!).
I'm positively fed up, if you can be such a thing. I think I need to write my manifesto and a new design for life. I'm going to end up sacked if my health doesn't improve, and whilst my manager is absolutely wonderful about everything, I am genuinely concerned.
Still, it's the weekend. I am getting marginally better, and I have had cake. I bought tickets to go see the lovely Paloma. I'm slightly obsessed and would quite happily swap my scraggy old bones for hers. Doubt she feels the same somehow...
GD: in bed but still managing to have cold feet; listening to Paloma, Eden House and Incubus Succubus (eclectic mix but hey! I'm bored). Lonely.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Apology for Absense, by Julia Darling
Look, it's as if my heart is a damp cupboard
filled with old brass that needs polishing.
Or I must cover myself with moss, damp down,
try to establish new growth in the rotting.
Sometimes I am ripped for shreds by the North wind
and must curl up beneath a counterpane.
I need to practise dying, to imagine health,
to eat tinned pears, light unecessary fires.
And love can be tyrannical, so sweet, yet edgy.
I am overpowered by its fragrent red roses.
Sitting rooms are too vivid. Things get torn.
I have to disappear, to darn each rip.
Forgive me, brave daughters, for the questions
that I have failed to answer. And my love,
please don't say I malingered,don't be
angry later, when you add up the ticks.
This is from a wonderful collection of poems written by Julie Darling during a period when she was dying from cancer. I cannot recommend these poems enough, though some of my liking for these is due to my familiarity with the places and the streets depicted within.
I have a heart murmur and have to have more tests. The advice is all:
So I guess that's what I'll do, until they tell me other.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I passed out twice last week. Passed out is probably the incorrect description - I retained consciousness but couldn't respond to my body's strange mind bending propensities. Fell on my knees, the first time, in a crowed shop and felt like a complete tit. Felt OK afterwards so didn't really think about it. Second time the world distorted and buckled, and when I regained control it had taken on nightmarish qualities - everything was rolling, curved - like a world you'd find at the top of the Magic Faraway Tree. Topsey Turvey World. I stayed there for 24 hours, which made for an interesting return home on public transport.
I'll be honest - I haven't been treating this rather fragile body of mine well recently. I've been drinking too much, under a great deal of stress and devouring cake. A day hasn't been complete without cake. And I've had a chest infection and antibiotics. And my acquaintance with vegetables remains remote. I guess I forget I'm 37 and technically middle aged (SHRIEKS HOLLOWLY IN OWN SKULL!).
Then you realise the doctor thinks you may have a heart problem and everything inside of you ends up in your mouth, soaking it with fear. I should never have googled 'blood test crp', honestly, I should have just sat in blissful ignorance until the results come back next week. But I'm curious...
So, four vials of blood later, I have to wait a week for the results (I should add in the interest of balance that I'm also being tested for diabetes, thyroid problems and calcium deficiencies), I'm thinking 'Hmmmmm...'. I haven't had cake for five days (a big deal in my world!), or alcohol (even bigger, sadly). Apples are my only fruit. I have strict orders to go direct to hospital if it happens again (Do not pass go, do not collect £200...).
Probably a storm in a teacup. But I'm scared, sad though it is, because I know exactly what heart disease does to people. Have done since I was thirteen and my step-dad had a massive coronary event that has blighted his life ever since. So I'm drinking lots of herbal tea and reading obsessively to switch my brain off.
Oh, and don't google 'blackout cause' either. That one really freaked me! The Internet is a two edged sword and sometimes it cuts deep.
GD: morose, a fan of True Blood, thinking she better get a step on finishing the magnum opus before she karks it! And listening to the Cure and Kasabian. And a little bit of Billy Joel - we all need cheery cheese!
Saturday, September 12, 2009
- I am listening to Clannad
- I am currently teaching myself, through various You Tube videos, to crochet a granny square. And I'm doing it badly.
- I am wearing a Celtic t-shirt with a gold knot work ring and bright green dragons and I don't care who sees it
- I have red hair
- I don't like Twilight
- Conversely, I do love Charlaine Harris's 'Dead' series and have just bought another three volumes; upon which purchase I was laughed at by the shop assistant
- I like Starbucks skinny lattes, even if they are all froth and no coffee
- I'm indoors hiding, when it is probably the most glorious day of the year so far
- I have never stopped wearing thick black (occasionally ribbed) tights all year, and now it is the season, I am contemplating moving into my woolly versions
- I like proper hot water bottles without novelty covers
- I have a Peugeot 206 that is covered in dog.
- I write bad poetry
- I love Dr Hook and Billy Joel, and I'm playing 'Innocent Man' just a bit too much these days
- Just as graphic novels gain some credibility I find I'm going off them. C'est la vie
So there we go. Not cool. Not bothered.
GD: emotionally screwed and thinking she's about to break (I'm not kidding - I ran away from home today for three hours and ended up in Starbucks. Some rebel, I). Physically crippled but unable to get a doctor's appointment because the crones beat me in the 8:30am stampede.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
I am dreaming of face eating zombies, which is also affecting the quality of sleep I am achieving. In recompense, I have also dreamt about Sean Bean in (and possibly out) his Sharpe uniform, a dream so filthy I was actually blushing when I awoke. That I most definitely am not complaining about!
There's so much going on outside of the virtual life that I can't post; it's not myself that is suffering most but there are times when you wish for the worst, because the increments become ever more difficult to endure.
So I sit here in twee land, listening to Buddy Holly sing True Love Ways, I drink cappuccino and eat toast and I read Charlaine Harris obsessively (which incidentally may be where some of the more extreme elements of my dreams may be stemming from...!). Not great literature perhaps, but certainly great escapism.
I will be back sometime soon, indelibly changed and most definitely older and sadder. Until then, be well virtual world.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Well, I haven't bought a shack - WE have (or at least are currently awaiting the bank giving us the cash...) to purchase a woodland shack. They call it a chalet on the details - they lie. It's a wooden hut with bedrooms and the occasional running water. There are holes in the cladding and the insulation is shot. One bedroom is a fetching mix of lime and dark greens. And for 6 weeks of the year (high summer), it's off-limits for me thanks to my screwed immune system.
But it's beautiful. It's in an ancient woodland near the banks of the Tyne. You have to drive through a corn field to get to the car park. You think you're in gnome-y, twee hell as this is surrounded by (admittedly very pretty) chalets that are populated with the old folk who don't retire to Spain. Cuprinol skin is popular. So you park, and then you see a small path twisting off into the trees. Following it you step into the heart of the wood, and then you step onto the veranda and....
It's positively beautiful. There is a terraced open space, coolly shaded by deciduous trees, through which a small rivulet of water has been trained to create a small pond area that teams with tiny silver fish. If there is a heaven, I'm actually able to buy it....(well, lease it seven months a year!).
So we gave in, offered, offered again and are now undergoing security checks to ensure we're not going to go Blair Witch through the trees in the near future.
It's a step. Step one of us changing the way our lives work (and in P's case, don't). Step two will be to downsize Albatross (our house. The name is self explanatory: if not go read the Coleridge poem).
I can't afford to bugger off to Rio or Tuscany to write my magnum opus. But I can bugger off to our shack in the woods, with it's open fireplace and seclusion. I can sit dangling my feet over the veranda and watch my silver fish play. I will be able to lie under the canopy of trees and stars and look to an uncertain future with a smile.
It's a step. A very significant step. And I for one am so very glad that for once in my life prudence and common sense didn't hold me back from having something of very little practical value but of immense beauty.
GD: listening to Depeche Mode's Playing the Angel; very snotty and hungover (only myself to blame!); eating cake. Too much cake!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Well, why not? After all, I am on a steady diet of trash at the moment, why not share! So we'll begin with Laurell K Hamilton's Narcissus in Chains, one of my current bedside 'classics'. Purchased from my local library's slush pile, this cost me a whole 10p. It's number ten in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter novels, when we've gone from Anita being a straightforward zombie raiser and vampire killer to full on vampire / werewolf slut. Some parts are making blush. Really blush.
Selection One, for mass consumption (page 131):
He had a perfect imprint of my teeth in the right side of his neck. The
wound was still seeping blood, so the circle of toothmarks was filled with
So, our heroine was playing rough with little Micah, was she? Now that wasn't all she got up to with him, particularly in the shower...
Selection Two (page 303):
I was reminded of the scene from the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy puts oil on the
Tin Man's jaw after he'd been rusted
GD: is tweaking her website for inspiration (hence new blog colours), listening to Turin Brakes, coming back to life
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
My mother reckons I'm too laid back. I've been inclined to disagree with her. If I'm honest, mainly because it's HER opinion. From others I may have considered it a bit too close to the truth, but from Hyperactive Harridan I've never really given it much credence. Perhaps I should: even though I feel like I boil away under the skin, I'm not hugely proactive about dealing with the things that I should. I have no real drive - ambitions are fine, but they remain intangible when in fact, with a bit of a push and hard work they're probably more achievable than I think or assume.
I think shyness holds me back considerably, coupled with deep rooted fear that I'm just not good enough. I'm trying to overcome this by joining new groups and challenging myself to participate and some of it's working. Its just that there's so much going on outside of ambition at the moment I'm not sure what to choose. My personal relationships exhaust me to the point of illness - do I cauterize the wound and cut the dead flesh free?
I have mental goals but they don't drive me. I'm all ad-hoc girl. I expect my *brilliance* to shine through with the smallest snippet of effort. It won't (and I'm not brilliant). I watched my father holding court from his bed like a fuhrer yesterday, looking for mischief and expecting to be treat like the god he thinks he is - where did he get that confidence from? Why don't I have it? Then I watch him treating people with a lack of basic respect and think 'OK, that's why we differ so much....'. But you can be over deferential.
So what do I do? I'll set some goals, here now, in my next post perhaps. I expect failure at the very most. I'm stuck in stasis and I'm afraid I'll be moored here for ever.
I'm very sad today.
GD: Mopey sod; skint and about to be skinter thanks to Suicide Boy; no ambition; a spark that's fading; thinking that 'What kind of Fool' by all About Eve sums it all up perfectly.
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
His girlfriend is making my life a living hell by telling everyone when he lives what a shitty daughter I am because I haven't had that close a relationship with him (funny that, after all he's the one who chose alcohol over his family!). But its that point in life when things come swinging round and suddenly you are no longer the child but the responsible adult who has to take care of their every need.
I looked at him yesterday, in his hospital bed, blue top and green bottoms all askew. You can trace my genealogy in the lines of his face, particularly the curve of his forehead and the dark eyes. Translucent skin, peppered with freckles. It's all there, in the blood. It doesn't matter about those missing years so much anymore: what matters is what's best for him.
My Dad is a relatively nice person who will help out anyone with whom he isn't related to by blood. He hasn't drank for over twenty years, but he is extremely demanding and has a complete lack of common sense. He has provided a very nice cash flow service to his girlfriend and her children for the past four years, plus a free taxi. I've turned a blind eye to it because they've taken good care of him, looking out for him which has helped set my mind at rest knowing that he's not alone.
However, it is now time for me to step up. Be responsible. Make sure his best interests are taken care of. I don't know how to tell him he'll have to forfeit his driving licence for the foreseeable future as being able to drive is basically his whole existence (whether or not he's fit to drive is a debatable point - he's 72 and a little bit erratic). It came home to me at the hospital that I'd not even been registered as his next of kin (his girlfriend was mysteriously down as his 'wife'). I have changed this, but the nurses were very embarrassed (not their faults) and my irritation levels rose sharply.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
This is a good thing - in theory. Charity benefits from my hard earned cash, I buy cheap and with pleasure in a bargain well found.
But is it? A bargain that is. In theory - I have made certain purchases this week that certainly have a monetary value greater than that which I paid - therefore (provided the market bites) I am a winner!
Girl annuals Vol 2-7. Toy optional
These rather special girls annuals - I picked up number 2 through 7 for a whole £2 each, when their actual value is about £5-£8 each for those in a condition that is 'fair to good'. The first was published in 1952/1953 and holds practical advice on crocheting a special summer bag and preserving wildflowers,plus some wildly implausible literature about 'gals' and 'horses' and hockey sticks.These are lovely books. However, they have a history and a name. A previous owner. They were not created to become items of sale for a crafty thrift shopper. Nor to make a small but quick profit. They belonged to Christine McLennan of 41 Queens Drive, Whitley Bay. She cared enough to put her full name and address in, and they've been kept for over fifty years. They were a gift from Grandpa (I can't make out his name unfortunately) around about 1953/54.
They've kind of caught my heart a bit. The earlier volumes are well thumbed; the later books less so. Was Christine growing out of childish things? Becoming a woman? Too polite to tell Grandpa not to buy her these books anymore? Or did she still love them? Enough to keep them together for over fifty years.
I keep coming back to the fifty year point. The person who owned these books has parted with them. One can only hope that they still walk the streets of Whitley Bay, healthy and happy and with their own grandchildren to pamper with gifts and kind words.
Which brings me to this:
Lace detail on peignoir / nightdress
This is part of a beautiful two piece nightdress / peignoir set I picked up at another shop. Pale peach, reaches the floor, that then emergent new fangled fabric nylon, this was made by Saxon Lingerie and is in immaculate condition. The nightdress is simple and pretty, but the peignoir is absolute blowsy overkill, with row upon row of lace and peach bows over the press studs. Wearing it makes one feel quite the laaaaaydee! Even if my height is a distinct disadvantage!
But then the mind gets going and you start to paint a past. Like a wedding night outfit, kept evermore in pristine condition and taken out on special occasions. To the best of my knowledge this is also 1950's / 60's and you do wonder why after fifty years (always fifty!) it ended up stuffed behind the door of a charity shop.
It's beautiful. It's also fairly useless, but I can't help but look at it and wonder who it was made for, who floated about with their hair loose and a come hither smile. It's demure and then you move in it and...! It comes alive with a beauty that modern day nightgowns frankly just don't have.
So the initial plan was to sell these (probably on etsy). But I don't think I can. Not with so much history breathing down my neck. Not with the shackles of this imagination that brings these objects to life. I bought them because I saw a thing of charm, of beauty. Now I have them, I think I'll keep them.
Fifty years will make me a very old woman. Then the cycle can start again.
GD is: pensive. Having her feet warmed by Fat Dog (whose reindeer is proudly displayed above). Listening to Within Temptation. Supposed to be editing a competition entry.
And watching the rain fall on a quiet town.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
I have decided to forgive Aunty Beeb for killing Guisbourne (YOU BASTARDS!) because they are giving the world another chance to appreciate the beauty of one of the screen's rising stars - Aidan Turner aka Mitchell in Being Human, the hottest vampire on the box since Spike in Buffy (sorry, Angel never really did it for me...)
The lovely Mr Turner will shortly be gracing our screens as Dante Gabriel Rossetti in Desperate Romantics. Set in and among the alleys, galleries and flesh-houses of 19th-century industrial London, this follows the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a vagabond group of English painters, poets and critics as they basically charm and screw their way into the history books. With a redhead as their muse! Makes this redhead very happy – we always need positive press. Also goes to prove that once again I was born out of time (though thankfully in an age of medication).
If I am ever unfortunate enough to have a boy child, that’s his name sorted. No more Guy or Aragorn: Dante Gabriel it is! Though given that these loins are no more likely to spawn man flesh than mermaids, he’ll probably have to remain confined to the more salacious corners of my imagination.
In other news, the reading campaign continues. I have just finished MFW Curran’s ‘The Secret War’ which I rather enjoyed. This is a first novel (I think) and occasionally shows it’s greenness with some very basic language, but it has a good tale to tell, with demons and warriors, set just after the Napoleonic Wars. The flow of the book really kicks in about halfway through and I’m looking out for the sequel as a good commuting pot-boiler.
I’m currently reading Jacqueline Carey’s ‘Santa Olivia’. I am a fan of Ms Carey’s Kushiel novels, which are off world fantasy written in the first person with a bit of a perverse kick to them. I’m not yet sure about this, which is on world future and written in the third person. I’m just coming up to the part where the protagonist gets going and it’s an interesting story, just not quite as fluently told as I expected. Still, I’ll keep going.
I’m listening to the Mummers, Bat for Lashes and La Roux respectively: it’s a bit of a girl thing going on here at Whitley central. I have also joined a writing club at Borders Books locally and have discovered that a new character called Cherry wishes to come out and mess with my head. She’s narrated by a bloke, but I can’t quite define who he is yet…she’s basically a force of nature leading him astray!
I’ve been having some perturbing dreams: last night I was twisting in pain when I realised my torso had been pierced with hundreds of suspension needles that were being pulled for other peoples’ pleasure. I’m pale: the blood was vivid, red against my ribs. I’m stealing this dream for Caitlin’s story, I’d been thinking about what she could have suffered at Cain’s hands for the next part of her story. The dream was beyond what my waking mind could conjure: why waste?
GD: repenting excess on Friday night when rather worryingly a work colleague kept saying ‘I’m seeing a complete different side of you tonight’…this is not good; thinking ‘does my new frock make me look like Rosie Webster?; drinking Como Sur red wine and sad the bottle is empty; laughing at the fact my ‘hip’ sixteen year old niece will not add me as her Facebook mate because I’m no longer her ‘cool aunty’….!
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Here's the rub - I do that too. I read the papers in the library (and Q / NME) on a regular basis. I borrow books and CDs that I have no wish to buy but I'm happy to visit. Try before you buy (because if I like the bloody things I then have to buy them and all their constituent sequels). The library itself is a microcosm of local life which I'm only too happy to observe from my lurking spot in an armchair by the window. If they only sold coffee I'd be there all day; as it is I have to make a detour to Costa to read the Telegraph (Costa for some reason has either super high brow or super low brow - The Sun - in terms of papers for customers. I'll be honest and admit that on low brow days I dip my toes in the murky waters of the tabloids with some guilty relish).
But nothing beats the actual act of choosing, smelling, examining a book for purchase. Nothing beats getting it home and weighing up the promise inside. It doesn't matter that the best book I've read all year came from a charity shop (David Mitchell's Black Swan Green, if you're interested) - it's the thrill of the chase. Maybe I need to get out more. Or be seduced by a dark handsome Spaniard (someone pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease take Rafa's spectacular arm muscles off the telly - they are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to distracting for this failed author). The books I purchased yesterday hold that same promise. Each was chosen to fulfil a different need - humour in comic form, high fantasy by a tested and trusted author, light hearted biography and naturally the war between heaven and hell, featuring daemons.
Thus we have:
Nemi Vol 1 by Lise Myhre. Fabulous, irreverent take on the 'modern life is rubbish' theme, narrated by a feisty goth girl basically making the same mistakes I made at the same age. have managed to read half of this already, need vol. 2 already. Pah!
For our biog, we have carefully selected a serious tome by the title of 'If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-Movie Actor'. Bruce Campbell. Elvis impersonator. All round chainsaw wielding hero of the Evil dead movies. Cast staple of Xena: Warrior Princess and close friend of director Sam Raimi. I love this man. I love this book, peppered with pictures and anecdotes, and I'm rather fond of this actor and his humour so this purchase makes GD a very happy doll indeed!
For the fantasy channel we went for good old Robin Hobb, author of the Assassin's Apprentice etc. Good old fashioned fantasy, swords, sandals, dragons, cretins etc. I've only read six of her books, so I'm now starting on the Soldier Son trilogy which I'm a bit wary of, due to poor reviews. But what the hell - I'll give it a spin anyway.
Finally we have the Secret War by MFW Curran (thought I had a lot of initials...). I'll nick the Amazon blurb as this is a new author for me: "For thousands of years a secret war has been fought between Heaven and Hell. Daemons and angels, vampyres and knights, clash for the future of mankind, and as the two sides wage war across the world, innocent people are caught up in the conflict". So there you go!
I'm still finishing The Black House (Stephen King and the other fellow), only 400 pages to go, before I can start properly on the above. This is actually the best King / Straub book I've read in eons, I kinda grew out of him but life's sucked a bit recently and I needed some good old fashioned child disembowling with supernatural elements.
Gods! Life is a peach, even with gummy eyes!
And now it's Costa Time! My cup overfloweth...
GD is: self indulgent, listening to radio 2, snotty and gooey, and a cake monster.
Monday, June 15, 2009
It's a queer day in other respects. I'm used to having Monday as my chill down day without human intervention, but the boy is on holiday working on his dissertation. Whilst not unpleasant to have company, its company that's looking for distractions that can be blamed on me and not on their reluctance to commit words to paper: thus we are heading to Borders in the next thirty minutes for books and coffee indulgence. Plus a substantial amount of people watching through my gummy eyes. Which will frighten small children from ten yards. Bollocks to lying in a dark room with a damp cloth over my eyes - I want book porn!
The credit card is burning, mine eyes are yearning. God, I'm a bloody awful poet and don't I know it?
Enough! Desist, woman! It is enough to look upon the glory of the face of gothic Guisbourne (aka Richard Armitage) and know the pain is worth it (gratuitous hot man shot alert):
GD is: mooching, salivating at the prospect of book excess and coconut cake, repenting red wine and having really fun mental conversations that involve being rescued from wet graveyards by strapping men in black leather trouser. And listening to Bats for Lashes.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Un-inclined to blog or write, I’ve mostly been lurking in coffee shops, in dark alleys in Edinburgh or drinking copious amounts of red wine in the back yarden. Naturally on our trip to Edinburgh it rained torrentially, whilst the sun was apparently streaming down on Whitley Bay. Naturally…
Still, Edinburgh was not without highlights, namely visiting the Titians in the National Gallery. They’re quite spectacular in their own right but I did find the Gallery overwhelming in it’s sheer content. Everything is on display. Everything! The building itself is gorgeously over the top (poshest toilets I’ve been in in a long while) but it’s all a bit too much. I found the prominence of the European painters over the Scottish painters (stuffed in the basement) somewhat displeasing. Some of the Scottish stuff was great – I particularly liked the Quarrel of Oberon and Titiana by Paton (below), with the multitude of fairies and strange animals spilling out at all angles of the painting. The He got rather upset with viewing all of the family portraits (dead people).
They also take the prize for the worst service ever in their fancy restaurant overlooking Princes Street Gardens. It was particularly shaming how badly one man in a wheelchair was firstly ignored by the staff and then rudely sent the wrong way to a place where he couldn’t get a seat. Not recommended.
Rain persisting, we hid in the Writers’ Museum and marvelled at the low doorways (which incidentally did not pose any kind of threat to my head at all) and then trolled off to the Black Rose in search of gin. There are some very drunken pictures of me splatted out on the cushions in there: they won’t be on here anytime soon!
I have also managed to read the following: Masquerade by Terry Pratchett; The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry; The Room of Lost Things by Stella Duffy; and the cruddy next volume for the book club – Welcome to Life by Alice De Smith, which is a witless meandering through the blandest of teenage lives in the 1980’s. Chick lit at its most horrific. Burn after reading, I say. Read Barry or Duffy for some absolute pleasure. Next on the pile is Sarah Waters Affinity, Late Gothic Short Stories and Wilkie Collins The Woman in White.
GD is: currently stuffed full of pasta and aubergine, listening to the dreadful new Green Day album (off cuts from American Idiot and Warning…), itchy of nose and restless of mind.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Actually to be fair, it was pretty decent of them to write back and give me some very constructive criticism about how to improve the submission, which I have duly noted and taken on board. I then trolled off to the library to pick up a short story submission form to allow the pain and humiliation to continue, within whose warm confines I had an encounter with the Swamp Donkey**. Perhaps my story should be entitled 'Weasel plays Swamp Donkey High Notes'. Or perhaps not.
I seem to recall I spent one day this weekend rather drunk and lairy in Whitley's premier biker bar on the rather dubious terrain of South Parade (had to restrain P. from verbally abusing the chavs that live in the B&Bs down there, no expense spared at the working populace's cost, and who spend their days hanging out of windows spitting on passersby. Mind he calmed down when I gave him some bike porn and Southern Comfort in the pub. The words 'Kawasaki Ninja' have an amazingly soothing effect on him).
Anyway, I'm idling away time here when I should be working on my magnum opus. Which isn't an ice lolly with chocolaty bits, like I'd hoped.
GD is: Listening to Blondie and Altered Images; crippled with neck trauma and about to become £32 poorer at the osteopath's; snotty; eating too much lemon cake from Costa.
** Swamp Donkey = failed actress = my ex next door neighbour from hell. I've seen her die on Holby City AND League of Gentlemen! Whoooo Hoooo! The Weasel is her 'lover' Eric 'The Groovemeister'. Avoid at all cost, particularly if you hate the sound of drums at 3am.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
The decade that I can't seem to let go of is the 1980's. Start to finish, I'm still caught there with people, places and my evolution carrying on it's own merry dance behind my eyeballs and it just doesn't appear to want to let me go.
This isn't helped by the constant reminder of the decade that are splurged out across shops - namely the '80's trends that are cluttering up our clothes shops (Topshop, I blame you!). It's like stepping into a weird machine that reconfigures time and takes you back to the decade that gave us Pretty in Pink, the Cookie Monster, Back to the Future and...erm...Def Leppard. You can buy all of these things (plus Slayer, for gawd's sake) emblazoned on Topshop / River Island t-shirts. I did note the time machine failed to return me to my much missed size 6 (US2) figure but we can't have everything!
But then I came across style nirvana. Admittedly it was adorning my much skinnier, trendier sixteen year old niece, but it came in the stylee of the student cardigan. Namely, that staple of university students world over at the end of the eighties, the Marks and Spencers Grandad cardigan (in dark grey, russet or dark green) available from their men's department and worn by student women with their doctor martins and rolled up jeans the world over (well, probably just the UK, but you get my gist).
I succumbed. And wore it naturally enough with my shiny new doctor martins (I am proud to say I will never, ever roll my jeans up a la Tiffany ever again). HE laughed and accused me of becoming retro queen. He's probably right. What with soaking up books based in either the 1980's, academia or both (The Secret History, Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now, Black Swan Green) I'm becoming a little obsessed with the past. Not helped by sodding Facebook, which is like a labyrinth of all those faces you'd hoped had been squished into oblivion (there's something strangely comforting in seeing that the evil bitch that hit you with her white stilettos on the back of the 631 has developed into an ugly grog monster with 6 kids and no teeth).
I've been so hung up on myself recently, just falling down this avenue of self loathing and disillusionment at the fact I am so CRAP at everything. I realise this is a perfectly normal human state of mind but I really want to stop the turntable and get off this trajectory. I've been unable to write for weeks, it would be too self regarding to call it writer's block, but I've come to a very slow and dim realisation that what I actually need to do is write what I know. And then let it go.
And that's the decade that style forgot. The nineteen eighties. And I have her here in my head and I'm using this post to tell myself its OK to let her out, so that I can ultimately let her go.
GD is: listening to Kate Bush's Hounds of Love on vinyl, trawling charity shops for vinyl because it feels better even though its big, clumsy, easily broken and just not cool, reading Persepolis by Marjane Sartrapi which is superb (thank you Husband!). And being obsessive but weirdly non productive. (note: by the end of this I'd finished with Kate and how now moved on to Nik Kershaw's The Riddle. The video linked here is a complete homage to the '80s and the lips poking through the wall are just a bit freaky...Which I will not apologise for loving!)
Saturday, April 04, 2009
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Grab your current read. Let the book fall open to a
random page. Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12. You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book
recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given : ) ! Please avoid spoilers!!!
From Andrew Collin's 'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now (My Difficult '80s)'
Now this is a good, lightweight fluffy book if you wish to read it on public transport. But it probably is only interesting if you were a teen in the '80s (like me!).
I thought I'd do the same with Per Petterson's Out Stealing Horses, this month's book club choice. But each sentence is about a page long so I abandoned that swiftly. I have managed a total of 27 pages in three weeks. Panic reading starts in about twenty four hours.
GD: is stuffed (with food that is!), trying to balance on a computer chair on which the back has just fallen off, about to be technically a whole year older in 5 and a half hours time, listening to Radio 2 and wondering why....
Monday, March 30, 2009
Guess I need to go find something productive to do with my shambolic life.
GD: miserable, ancient crone of doom. Awaiting the arrival of an even more miserable crone (and my father). I'm beginning to resent the fact that I can't actually have any 'alone' time with my dad anymore because she always comes and then inevitably complains about everything. Down to the smallest detail. No more chemical conversations about the poisonous properties of plants (the old man was a chemist), no more politics talks...no all we're allowed to talk about now is why I don't have 'babies', how much I earn, why don't I eat more (she's the same height as me and 13 stone heavier...), and how I'm not normal. Oh! and how much money she's managed to do my dad for this week....
Think I perplex her because I ask for nothing. No money, no emotional support. Because that's the way its always been and always will be. If he couldn't pay for me as a child, he doesn't need to pay for me as an adult when he needs me more than I need him. Life does things like that.
Er, this post digressed somewhat. Oh well. Time to go paint on a smile and fake nice.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Part of the issue is that as I approach another birthday, I'm wondering quite what it's all about. I can't claim teen angst as a spur anymore, but perhaps middle age is as good an excuse as any.
I'm also suffering the shock of realising that how one views oneself doesn't necessarily reflect the views of others. namely, in my 1-2-1 with my manager (who can be the Queen of Sharp when she wishes) I was a little shocked to realise after my hour long rant that she actually feels sorry for me. Worse than that, I get the feeling she's concerned that I am an abused / controlled wife in thrall to some monster of a man (OK, maybe we should have just stuck to work issues!).
If it had just been the one time she'd implied this it may not have sat so heavily on my psyche. It's not though...and that's what worries me. Is this what my friends think? I'm too scared to ask them...
Perhaps it's my representation of P as a person to them that is the issue. I don't vocalise my whinging often, but when I do it's like a torrent of slurry that pours over my tongue with a particularly bitter aftertaste (much like the wine is leaving now). Its also a very unfair representation of him as a person.
But when your hard ass boss offers you a room to move into if things get too hard, well, I look back at the conversation and wonder when she got the impression that I need that level of care?
Oh well. Perhaps I should accept that I have special needs. I am very thankful that someone cares enough to look out for me. But I'll be honest and say that it's left my platform of self image somewhat rocking.
GD: drinking red wine + wrapped up in a cream blanket = bad combination. Listening to Elvis Costello. Waiting anxiously for news from a number of publications that will not doubt line up to say 'NI!'
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
So no coherence, just some thoughts:
- My dishwasher was on fire. I now need a new circuit board and it's hideously expensive. Yay for shitty workmanship!
- Beer is bad. I spent three days drunk at the weekend. I sang in public. I did disco karaoke. Nuff said
- I'm having a midlife crisis, it's official. I joined a book club, which apparently only women in search of men or an affair do. Hmmmm....
- People are idiots. Especially the posh twats on Tynemouth beach who insist my dog must be in heat when she tries to tear the throat out of the idiotic male dog that keeps trying to shag her. She's been spayed. I think they need an anatomy lesson.
- I learnt that teenage boys can actually be quite nice creatures at the weekend. Teenage girls however are extremely high maintenance. Two baths a day?! And they only eat cheese and chocolate and leave a trail of sweet wrappers in every room.
- The sun is shining. Time to hibernate for the summer.
- Whitby is still gorgeous, even though I was allergic to the cottage (cats had been staying prior to us). And if you do your best puss in boots impression, the pub landlords will let you in even with a big stinking lump of dog. However, the locals aren't happy when you disturb their Countdown viewing with the Rolling Stones and Iron Maiden. They retaliate with Britney and Lady GaGa. JukeBox FaceOff commences!
- Note to self: do not buy DVDs from strange men in Whitby pubs that have heads and a strange 1980's fuzziness to them. Especially when said man is later spied wielding large knives in the local Chinese take away...
GD is: awaiting the full horror of the cost of fixing her electrics to come through; engulfed in a fury of spring cleaning but unfortunately breaking everything she touches, reading Twilight by Stephanie Myers, as it was given to her by the aforementioned teenage boy as a thank you, and a bit unsure as to how I feel about it. Oh, and listening to Guns and Roses' Appetite for Destruction because she loves Mr Brownstone.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
But the worst thing? The poor little bugger was still alive, despite being dragged out of the waves, caught up in the winds and then dumped in my garden on the shale just in time to be inspected as a tempting doggy snack. Thankfully Miss Sally was under close supervision (she currently thinks the clematis stems are breakfast and is biting them all off a the bottom. The cow.) so I caught her before she could do anymore damage.
So I chucks it in a bucket of water and it comes back to life, it's hideous maw opening wide and giving me nightmares that will continue to haunt me for decades. Dog lead in one hand, jug on the other I sprinted for the sea, specifically the shale beach just across the road. Of course the tide was coming in, but in long shallow runs rather than deep pools. I didn't want to throw the critter in just to get damaged on the shale so I made a run for the deeper part of the sea when the flow went out.
The inevitable happened. I went arse over tit and ended up plonked ungraciously on my butt as the sea swirled around me in all it's Arctic glory. The dog was thinking it was a great game and throwing herself on top of me, I couldn't stand up or even think coherently for laughing. And then I saw I had an audience of rather gobsmacked dog walkers ringing the top of the walkway down to the beach...
Naturally I was wearing jeans. Squelching home I must have looked a complete loon because I couldn't stop laughing. Ain't hysteria great?
But at least I let it go, even if the poor thing dies ten minutes later. I did my best.
GD is: on the settee in her jimjams warming her butt up under several blankets; reading lots but finding very little satisfying after finishing David Mitchell's wonderful Black Swan Green; listening to Radio 2 which is currently playing the dreadful Madge yowl. I could flick the switch and change the station but I'm just too damn comfortable..
Monday, January 19, 2009
How did an eel get in there? Enquiring minds wanna know...
GD: thinking about torture and mind control; channeling my inner Shirley Manson through excessive YouTubing of Garbage videos; highly frustrated because the sodding Java plug ins that Firefox needs won't load properly and I can't work out why and I have no patience so I'm losing my temper. So I've deflected to delightful buggy old Explorer. Oh, and the weather outside is grotty, and I think I have a friend crush on the boy in Costa coffee house along the road. I just want to pet him.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Sibling differences aside, we do have some similarities. We don't suffer fools, we enjoy good times (wine and live music we have in common, plus art but he has the cash to indulge in his artistic tastes, whereas I have downloads!). Plus we are both very careful of what we say to our mother!
I have no desire to be like him or emulate his lifestyle; the same goes for him, yet we both recognise that we enjoy our respective lives immensely and we can take pleasure in what the other has achieved. Despite this, parental forces claim that we're jealous of one another...which leaves me somewhat astounded. My brother has had great economic successful, a wonderful house in a wonderful estate (mortgage paid), and won Welsh Manager of the Year (I'm not kidding...!). He has a fabulous daughter. He also works like a Trojan and has a highly stressful, non secure job, which involves making people redundant on a regular basis, something that bothers him very much. In short, he's successful because he works like a dog and does the crappy jobs.
I, on the other hand, don't work like a dog. I'm lazy. I have a nice, part time lifestyle with time to indulge in my hobbies which suits me nicely. I like my house even if my mortgage isn't paid off and likely never will. I really haven't maximised my potential earnings by ramping up my hours because I get so stressed that I think I may pop. Literally. I have no desire to take up the thankless task of managing my fellow human beings with their little hidden agendas and petty arguments.
However, I'm doing my best to be more like him this month. Hence opportunity no. 2. Submission no 2 is ready to go, all bar a summary about me and the posting. People ain't going to come to me if I don't give it my best first. I can dream about a three book publishing deal, but if I don't actually write something of publishable quality AND take the time to submit it properly (which is harder than it may seem at first) when opportunities arise then I have no right to whine about being an undiscovered genius.
So I'm currently doing the truffle shuffle bum dance on the envelope for luck (ask my friends...) and sending off my wing and a prayer...
GD: dreaming the impossible dream; thinking her editing is getting better because she's getting more self critical; listening to Garbage and worshipping at the altar of Shirley (Manson); reading Moab is my Washpot by Stephen Fry, which is great. Who knew he was a tea leaf?!
Monday, January 05, 2009
I didn't make any resolutions this year - it seemed rather pointless given I don't know where the hell I'm going right now, or where I'll be in a year. However, I can dither over things for the rest of my life of take a chance. So chance 1 of January 2009 has now been completed and is awaiting just me to leave the house and shove it in the post box. Short story comp + mslexia magazine + £8 = a probable confirmation of the fact I'm a crappy short story writer but what the hell! I sent it anyway.
Chance 2 of January 2009 is a bit more substantial, in that it's another submission with prizes, but it's the start of the aforementioned novel which I want to tweak in line with initial reader feedback. It's tricky because the first chapter is either loved by readers or hated, there's no in between and it does have a different tone to the rest so I'm unsure as to whether it stays or goes....
Hmmm...forgive my rambling. I'm just trying to orchestrate my thoughts and get my fingers going, which is quite difficult these days. Perhaps its the switch of laptop. Perhaps it's habitual laziness! Eeeeh well, whatever. New year, new challenges and all that. Have to think two years ahead for when job contract ends. Wouldn't it be nice to have actually published something?!
GD: listening to Bon Jovi (naff is great sometimes!), having a closet clearance and getting rid of anything that makes me feel dowdy or fat regardless of it's social history, anticipating Saturday when we're promising ourselves a Grand Day Out.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
From the best film and the best soundtrack of 2008, Juno has etched its way into my cultural desert along with the best of them (Little Miss Sunshine, American Beauty) as a duvet day film classic. I'm having a bit of a splurge on duvet days at the moment, which is somewhat indulgent. Although my reasoning is that if I venture outside the confines of my living room I will infect the nation with the bloody awful chest infection I picked up somewhere (lord knows where - public transport, hospital visits, nursing home bacteria...).
So it's probably time to write off 2008 and say Hola! to 2009, which in all fairness would have to go some to be as crap as last year (I shouldn't say that...tempting fate and all). So here's my hastily cobbled together Hi's and lows, joys and terrors etc for my delection:
Woman of the Year: Duffy
Peerless. Beautiful. Elegant. Talented. A dead ringer for Stifler's Mom (albeit twenty years younger). For writing Distant Dreamer (favourite song of 2008). She may seem an odd choice for someone who usually loves goth / rock, but I love Rockferry, and saw her live at the Academy last month where she was without doubt the best female singer I've ever seen. She owned that little podium. And my husband's heart in her hands for the whole 90 minutes, but hey! I'll overlook that fact...
Honorable mention: Britney, for clawing herself almost back together but still being endearingly partially splattered; Katy Perry, for the zebra, and Hot n' Cold, which I absolutely adore to kitchen dance to (along with, inevitably, Womanizer...) Yes, I really embraced my pop tart side this year.
Man of the year: Undecided
Men haven't impressed me much this year. I could be obvious and go for Barack, but 101 thousand other bloggers will. I could be banal and go for Eric Bana, but The Other Boleyn Girl was absolute trash. David Tennant's abandoned the Doctor for higher planes. Richard Armitage is a tad too thin in Spooks. In fact, I think I'll plump for my undisputed weird crush of the year, Michael C Hall, aka Dexter Morgan, aka David in Six Feet Under (aka DVD box sets of the year times 5). He's slimy, he's ginger (though I admit that's pot calling kettle black), he's either a raging gay love machine or murdering pyscho and boy do I find him hot....
Event of the year: drinking £35 bottles of wine in Mal Maison on Newcastle Quayside, December 2008
I have to thank my brother for this. We needed somewhere warm to hole up on a very cold afternoon which had started in the Hilton (where Bro & GF were staying) eating all the salmon sandwiches in the hospitality lounge, and the Mal is a homage to gothic decadence. I adore it. I could live there, with it's subdued lighting, thrones and purple velvet furnishing. It's pure heaven, albeit at a heavy price. Bro started it, he ordered the wine which was a beautiful South African red, that just flowed down like water. We continued it, ordering a second though I did see Bro wince slightly (we didn't know how much it was because he wouldn't tell us until we wrestled the bill out of his sticky little mitts to give him some money). Then we got loud and leery in a very posh space, singing AC/DC songs. Oh, and that line in SOAD that goes 'My cock is much bigger than yours...'. Probably the best afternoon I had all year. And the most expensive!
Honorable runner up: Whitby Goth Festival, October 2008. Would have won, if it hadn't been for the excessive bitching on the WGW Forum beforehand which tainted the air somewhat, and the even more excessive posing and constriction of gothic terms of reference. Next year we'll just do the pubs. And Edinburgh (Feb 08) was pretty damn good too.
Film of the Year: Juno, which I already mentioned...!
That's this afternoon's DVD. I also loved Batman: The Dark Knight, Hellboy 2, Wall-E. But I really didn't like Indiana Jones or Iron Man. Indy was just...limp, and Iron Man pushed even my love of comic book movies that bit too far. Haven't seen Quantum of Solace yet (shameful). However, I have spent a great deal of time wallowing in 80's brat pack movies - Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, St Elmo's Fire, and the peerless Lost Boys. I've also been trying to source Pump Up the Volume (Christian Slater film, when he was still fit) on region 2 DVD and it's very, very hard to get hold of...
Can I also say I am very pleased to be one of the 2% of women in the UK to have not seen either Sex in the City or Mama Mia?
Music: Soundtracks all the way..
Juno, Deathproof (Chick Habit by April March is just AWESOME!), Hedwig and the Angry Inch. I loves a good singalong, and these have provided great pleasures previously unknown. Also loving Trivium, which has filled that sad vacant hole in my soul that System left (though they'd benefit from the mad Ukrainian harmonies). Other than that I've been a bit lacklustre with music. Sorry!
Crappest event: OMG CREDIT CRUNCH!!!
Will ya all stop going on about it, already? We can't do right for doing wrong - pay of yer debts and the government howl because you ain't putting money into the economy. Well, bog off Gorden, thanks to the interest rate cuts I can now afford to pay back some capital off my mortgage and reduce my liabilities, so that's what I'm doing. Sod spending on my credit cards (paid off). Sod buying that new settee (the dog sleeps on it so it would smell). My purse is buttoned up and the high street a faint siren call. I'm not buying, I'm reducing, and loving every penny of it..
Additional trials: P's mum being so ill, obviously. Marriage woes, hopefully settled but here's watching 2009...
Can't be bothered to do books. I enjoyed The Color Purple, Watchmen, but nothing else really excited me. Pah.
Happy 2009 everyone!
GD is: on the settee with a stinking dog, trying not to let the fire go out, listening to BBC 6 Music, reading the Sunday Times and attempting to learn how to age proof my face...