Tuesday, 31 July 2012

About me

I wish I was one of those people for whom sleep is a respite and an escape from waking life, who can sleep through anything. But im not. If theres something on my minds or something bothering me or I dont have a completely clear conscience then im up all night, tossing and turning and running whatever is troubling me over in my head. I always wish id not left things unresolved.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Fishing Lures pt. 6

This one is another present, a good bye (for now). 

It was given to me by my boyfriend on the last day of semester, the morning we both went home for summer. We didn’t know when we would next be seeing each other. If indeed we would even meet up over the summer was uncertain and as such it has served as lovely reminder of him. It’s from, I believe, Mauritius, and although it’s a bit too big for my wrist, I tie it on safely with one of the other bracelets I’m wearing. Before realising how precarious it was to wear it unsecured, I lost it. I was visiting a friend at the time, got changed for bed and headed to bed. I was using my phone when I realised it was no longer on my wrist. Mild panic ensued while I hunted up and a house in the throes of redecoration! Turns out it was inside my clothes all along, tucked in a corner of my bag. Well, I needn’t have worried too much, I’d have found it eventually but still, I was glad it turned up when it did. Hasn’t stopped me wearing it, I just tie it on very securely now.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Fishing Lures pt. 5

This is a fairly new bracelet. 

It’s actually an advertisement for one of my recently graduated friend’s campaign to become VP Sports at my Uni. She made hundreds of the things and had everyone wearing them and handing them out. I literally have about 20 at home; I think she was getting rid of them by the end! Sad to say she didn’t win. If fact, a couple of days before the results were announced she was hit on the head with a sports trophy and ended up in bed for the end of her campaign. I remember wishing her luck on the results evening and her giggling away manically, still under some pretty strong drugs! It’s such an entertaining memory and makes me smile every time.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Fishing Lures pt. 4

Another bracelet that takes me back to the summer I left school is this one.

Again it’s part of a set, albeit this time a slightly smaller set. In that summer, I went to Albufeira, Portugal, with 4 friends from school. These girls weren’t my best friends but we were certainly friends and all but 1 I had known for 7 years. As such, it was a slightly daunting holiday for me. I was flying some 1000 miles and was going to be living in very close quarters with these girls who I’d never even had a sleepover with! Sure, with my best friends that would have been fine. We all know that She snores, She can sleep till gone noon and She still sleeps with a teddy- but these girls I didn’t know those things about! Any worries were in vain. When your aim is to have a good time and you’re amongst friends, these little things don’t matter. Everyone rallies round, pitches in and gets along. That was especially true when I fell unexpected ill. I was not a pretty sight and despite my insistence that I’d be fine, I just needed to rest, they rushed me off to the local hospital. Cue innumerable problems of language barriers, out of date health cards, foreign currencies and hospital systems. I can’t really remember that night; I was half asleep and slightly delirious from dehydration but those girls were so good to me. We each had a bracelet made with our name on it, all in the same colours, the Portuguese flag. It’s a great reminder of an amazing and eventful holiday and also of friends I rarely see but still consider myself close to.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Fishing Lures pt. 3

This bracelet was a present from a friend. 

She bought it in Venice and gave a one to each of the girls in our friendship group, so that we all had matching bracelets. The remind me of all the girls I used to be friends with, indeed all the people I used to know, as we received them in the summer we left school. The remind me of all my teachers, my old sixth form, my best friends and those I hardly knew. The make me think of all the trips and meals and nights out we took that summer, vowing not to lose contact even as we went our separate ways to universities up and down the country. It’s a bracelet with a lot of memories and a lot of symbolism. I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I lost this one.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Fishing lures, pt. 2

Next up are a couple that I made myself. I enjoy Pinterest rather more than is probably healthy and coming up to the summer, I saw loads of bead and friendship bracelets being pinned. I repined a ton thinking that I could easily do that and I’d have lots of time over the summer to fill. Well, they were just too tempting. Right in the middle of my exam period I cracked open my sewing bag, drew out lengths and lengths of embroidery threads and beads and got to knotting. 

Inevitably they turned out nothing like the pictures I drew my inspiration from but I love them, maybe even more because of how unique they are. And because I know just how much time and effort went into them, time I maybe could have been using to revise. None the less, they’re here to stay.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Fishing Lures

I wear a lot of bracelets. I have a wristful of woven, plaited, wrapped and strung adornments on my right wrist and just one on my left. They’re bright and colourful and they all mean something to me. They’re either from somewhere special, someone special or I made them myself- but all of them are important and significant to me. So I thought I’d introduce them, tell a bit of the story linked to each one.
The first is my newest bracelet, the stork. My Mum was given this bracelet as a thank you present from a patient and, as it’s not really her style, she said I could wear it. It’s a delicate silver chain with a stork pendant attached. Hanging from the storks beak is a little baby wrapped in swaddling cloths. Wondering why you can’t see a hanging baby in the picture? I’d only been wearing it a few days when I noticed it had fallen off. That meant, as my sister gaily informed me, that it was a sign I would never bear children, I was barren! I’m just going to believe that it means my womb is empty right now. Even so, she’s refusing to ever wear the ‘accursed’ object.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Barca then bath and bed

Can you guess where I am? Well, not anymore but I spent the day there. I’m now in my apartment, running a bath and planning nothing more this evening than to soak and then crawl into my bed; I’m exhausted!
 I spent all day, on a tour bus, in Barcelona. I’m not joking about the ‘all day’. From arriving in the morning to leaving after 6pm, the only time off the bus was an hour and a half for lunch and a quick stroll down Les Ramblas. It doesn’t sound like a lot of work but with the sun beaming down and so many sights to see, my head was whirling to and fro all day just trying to take it all in! If you’re ever in Barcelona, don’t think that you can do both tours in one day. Stay for a couple of days, get the reduced, 2 consecutive days ticket and really enjoy the city.

We saw hundreds of amazing sights but there are hundreds more hidden just around the corners. There’s a chocolate museum! I’ve been to Cadbury world but going to one in Barcelona would have been amazing. There are museums dedicated to the lives and works of the modernists. There is A LOT about Gaudi. If Gaudi doesn’t interest you, the bus tour probably won’t either. Not only do I know where he was born and lived, the town houses he built, the museums he founded, the gardens and residential areas he dreamt up, I also know about the lamp posts that he didn’t design (although you might be fooled into thinking they were) and the street corner on which he was hit by a tram, the hospital he spent three days in and the time until his burial in the crypt at his most famous piece of architecture, the Sagrada Familia. Despite seeing all the places along the way perfectly, I only caught a glimpse of the Sagrada Familia, the church that Barcelona is most famous for. Stuck, at that time, on the downstairs of the bus, on the wrong side of the aisle and trapped next to a mother who was guarding the window with her sleeping infant, I saw only the lower portions. But those, I can tell you on good authority, are spectacular!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Carnivores playground

Ive been a vegetarian for around 7 years now. Despite some reluctance on the part of my mother, claiming it was unhealthy, difficult to cater for, a fad, etc, everyone in my family adapted pretty quickly. My mum started buying quorn and beans and stopped cooking the potatoes in goose fat. When I went to uni it was even easier; I was fully in control of my own diet, I didn't have to make any compromises. I could choose. Even going out for dinner in England is fine, there are lots of options and where there arent, its easy enough to just ask them to whip something up. The problems start when you go abroad. Europe just doesnt have a vegetarian culture the way that the UK does, theyre a continent of carnivores and theyre proud of it! The menus showcase local hams, fresh fish, speciality meats, the list is endless! Spain I find the hardest. At least in France and Italy there's pizza, in Greece, salad, but Spain? Last night we went to a nice restaurant, browsed the menu and I picked out 3 veggie tapas dishes. Nothing is that simple with my family. They start ed asking questions to the waiter who brought out the chef. 'Sin carne' 'Vegetarien' The words were spoken over and over amongst a confusion of spanish and broken english. 'I'll sort it' the chef eventually declared and stalked off with our menus. NEVER AGAIN will I put that much faith in a chef without more clear communication! Course after course of ham, octopus, shrimp, scallops, beef, chicken, all beautifully served on slates, folded atop.crostini, delicately wrapped in crisp pasty or artistically arranged on skewers. And for me? Fried green chili and mange tout with salt.and a plate of cold, roasted peppers, tomatoes, onions, aubergines and olives, swimming in herby oil. A small amount with other foods would have been nice but as the chef came to ask if I was pleased, I wondered if he realised it was just veg, not even balan with carbs or protein. Ah well, next time I'll make sure to order for myself. The chocolate truffles for desert certainly helped. Amazing!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Roadtrip madness

In driving 1000 miles through Europe, in just over 24 hours you can go from standing on the drizzly shore at dover to the sun soaked beach in biarritz, toes being caressed by the ocean. Another few hours and you're deep in rioja country where the sun beats on the ochre land, everything radiating a residual heat that only hot climates bestow. In the past couple of days the importance of a good road trip soundtrack has really been hammered home. Its all very well pleasing the fussiest person in the car but really, there are only so many times you can listen to 'hot and cold' and skinny love'. Apparently The Daily Mail's summer collection isnt as easy listening as the slip cover would have you think; well you can't please everyone! The perfect compromise, for me, was having juliet and mum asleep, dad navigating for my drving with the tones of UB40, ace for long stretches of empty road.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Night siren

Driving through the night feels almost like a fairytale. It's surreal.

Things happen in a blur, are obscured by the inky blackness and appear in the stage of your headlights, only to disappear as suddenly as they came.The road falls away on all sides and you surrender to the unknown. Then out of the blue, a rabbit, petrified in the limelight. A jolting stop enables its frantic sprint to safety. With no road ahead the night feels like a lie, a temptress, luring you, lulling you as you feel your eyes droop and your head heavy upon your shoulders.

The dawn races to meet you and you're released from the nights clutches as a lightening on the horizon signals the time to find a bay and put your head down.

Until, of course, the rising sun warms your face and pierces through your eyelids, rousing you for another few hours of patient travelling through an unending countryside.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

I just want to feel soppy for a second

Grrr. Want this now!


Living at home over the summer is such a change from uni life, and yet it is very different from living at home during my younger years.

My parents afford me some freedoms that I would never have been allowed before; coming and going as I please, not having to give times that I'll be back or say who I'm meeting an where. I can turn around and say 'in 12 hours I'm going to travel across the country and I'll see you in a few days time' and that's alright.  But at the same time, I can't use the house like it's my own. I can't just invite friends round or use the ingredients in the cupboard to do experimental cooking with. The things I do here are monitored, even if that monitoring is not expressed verbally.

It's an odd situation to be in, being used to living independently and then being back and part of the household. Being expected to contribute equally and act in line with the traditions and customs that are established here after having forged my own ways of doing things that I'm comfortable with. It's hard but it's good practise for sharing the house with the girls next year where we will all have to agree on cleaning and washing up and drying our clothes. Anything involving the communal areas we will have to navigate together. Only in my own room can I have control.

And I've started imagining it. The key phrase I shall be channelling when organising my room is 'oasis of calm'. I'm thinking very zen, very white, blue and light wood, nautical, minimal, tidy and clear. I don't want clutter everywhere, bits and bobs with no homes. I've bought a few little glass jars and am going or get some under-bed baskets for me to organise things into so I can have clear surfaces and space. A tidy room is a tidy mind.