Tuesday, 29 September 2009

New Hair for New Beginnings!

Yesterday I had all of my hair cut off.

And I mean, all of it - shears were involved!

My beautiful hair is all gone! It is in a bag under my bed, waiting for some clever person to turn it into a wig.

Until very very recently, I absolutely loved having such long hair. I loved having it down, plaited, pony tailed, scrunched up, anything! It felt like my trade mark and I was really proud of it. But very suddenly, this all changed.

I stop finding it feminine, instead I felt like a little girl. I stopped feeling creative with it, instead I felt like it was lank and old and uncreative.

In little over a week I went from loving it to having it chopped off. I love making rash decisions like this! I love the risk, the excitement, the whim! I know that a few people (maybe a lot of people) don't like it. I know I look like a completely different person without my hair. But I don't care; I couldn't care less what other people think, and if what I do makes them talk, then all the better!

I don't feel like a new person, but I do feel that I have been reignited - suddenly I feel full of life again, everything has changed with such a minor adjustment, and I can experiment a bit with who I am and what I do. Fun stuff! And just in time for a new degree, with new people and a new lifestyle. Everything around me is changing and I can't resist changing with it!

I'm not putting photos up on here just yet. I hate 'fake' photos of myself, I can't look natural unnaturally, so you must wait until I have photos of me in the real world! Until then, think Annie Lennox.

A sexy woman, that's for sure :-)

Tomorrow, 6am, we head off to Ilkley to start out Dales Way adventure! So no updates for over a week, and then there will be no doubt a lot to say! Tonight we are going to Fibbers to see Fanfarlo and First Aid Kit supporting a band I've never heard of - can't wait!!

Here is a sneak peek of my scarf - not long til completion!!

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Sharing my Solitude

I came home from work on friday to find this on my doorstep

I had been helping Daniel move his belongings from his University accommodation to his new house - not an easy task when you remember that he is an English student with boxes upon boxes of books! - so he had left me a small suprise for my return. It made me grin a lot and numbed the aching arms slightly :-)

His new house is currently a building site, so he is temporarily living with me until the place is in working order. It's a mix of fun and excitement with nerves and pressure to not be too pernickerty about everything. My own space is something which I value above most other things; I don't like company for an extended period of time, and I was sure it'd be tough having him around all of the time. In a way I was right; as soon as he left this morning to fix up the house, I suddenly felt much more relaxed and at home. This all sounds so misanthropic, I know, and I can't deny that I am defintely a misanthrope in a lot of ways. However, I like the mechanics of having him here all the time - I like working out how we can work together; how we can arrange our individual lifestyles to meet somewhere in the middle that suits us both. Finding harmony with compromise and tolerance has been quite tricky, but already I feel like we're learning.

Yesterday afternoon we chilled in town for hours, and it was brilliant to have him back out of the depths of South African poetry. We read for a few hours in the Habit and I topped off my hangover with wine on an empty stomach, then we wandered the walls in the evening light. Underneath the green of the trees, York Walls provide such an escape from the city hoards in the evening light. It's one of my favourite things at the moment.

We then got takeaway broth and corn breads from El Piano and sat on benches watching the Saturday drinkers. So relaxing! I love Saturdays! Especially when they are rounded off with pizza and beer and an early night!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

A Sense of Space

Daniel handed his dissertation in on Monday morning - what a tense few hours that was! Suprisingly, even for me the sense of relief was amazing. I think I'd been going through the motions of it all next to him. Knowing that someone you love is that passionate about doing something makes you just as passionate about it, and my heart was pumping quite audiably as I sat in the reading room waiting for him. We'd planned to spend the afternoon doing what we'd been putting off (due to the dissertation) for weeks - an ascent of the Minster and tea and cake in Bettys!

I've climbed York Minster a good few times before; each time I expect that it won't impress me, and gladly, each time so far I've been wrong. What we found wonderful about it was the space it gives you from everything else. The Dales on one side, the Wolds on another and the Moors on the other; a life far from this one really isn't that far away. Though it was murky and grey, Yorshire expanded out before us and I felt as if I was able to leave the city behind while still with my feet on top of the tower. We were the first to get to the top and the last to leave; it was magical standing there with no one else around.

Daniel had ordered up a day at the seaside to follow the hand in day, so on Tuesday we took the train to Filey. It is my favourite of the East Coast towns, moreso than Scarborough and even Whitby. I love how peaceful it is, how there is nothing to do, no crowds. Just old people and a lot of sky. There isn't enough sky anywhere else. Everything was closed, even the Fish & Chips bar on the seafront. We really did have Filey to ourselves.

We spent the day walking and climbing and scrambling, searching the rockpools for exciting marine life. I was looking for a starfish, but had no success. We did spot plenty of anenomes, though, and small fish, and lots of lovely shells. We spent a long while perched on a rock on the Brigg, looking out to sea. It was so blustery, the wind was bracing and it really did blow all the stress of the past weeks right out of us. Again, the sense of space and solitude was welcome, and it gave us opportunity to reflect on what the past weeks had brought, and what is to come in the coming weeks.

After lunch (involving some amazing Danish pastries, which were very welcome after a morning climbing hills and over rocks) we built a sand castle. I was hoping to create some sandy dream home, fit for only the most beautiful of mermaids. However, I found myself involved in a sea-side history lesson, learning about Norman invasions and typical castles from the period. I spent most of the time crafting small sand turrets to protect our citizens. The most serious sand castle I have ever built, for sure!

The next few days, weeks and months have a lot in store. I am busy most of the time on most of the days, and I like this a lot. It's the kind of busy that I'm happy to be; preparing for the next step in my life, earning money to pay for it, reading to prepare my mind for a seriously hard year. And then there's the Dales Way! Sheer, physical effort, rewarded by the things I too often take for granted, like a hot shower, a comfy bed and a great meal! I also can't wait to walk for 5 days by Daniel's side. I'm sure we'll have more than one moment where we want to push eachother into the nearest river, but I can't wait for the stories and the discussions and also the silences that long walks always provide. Bliss!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Creativity Gone Mad!

As promised, this post is purely an account of absolute indulgence in the world of craft and bakery! It has been awesome, being at home, as I have had bags of flour, millions of varieties of sugar, and all the condiments known to man available to use at leisure! And so I used them, in abundance! I love baking, it is probably my favourite rainy day thing to do, and it is transferable to sunny days, windy days, foggy days - any days at all! All I need is my parent's kitchen and lots of things to experiment with.

So on Thursday Jenfer came over for bake-therapy. Of course, we didn't want to jump straight in without a warm-up, so she curled my hair!

I'm lucky to have straight straight hair that needs no extra attention, but I want a waaave! So I got a waaave and felt extra sleek and girly for the day :-)

Then, we scoured the recipe books for something to suit our tastes. Of course, scones were a must, since they are my favourite. But we fancied something a bit stickier too, needing a bit of technique and providing a gloopy mess to clean up.

Et voila!

An extra sugary sticky ginger cake!

Here is Jenfer modelling our artwork!
And here we are consuming it!

In fact, I didn't enjoy the ginger cake that much. I don't have a particularly sweet tooth (I still have all of my easter chocolate in the cupboard, nevermind a whole collection of birthday/other chocolate!), so I had one slice and left the rest for my brother.

On Saturday the baking resumed. I created some awesome sugar-free egg-free banana muffins for Daniel, to celebrate him finishing his dissertation. We like, a lot! They were consumed in bed with tea - surely the only way to eat muffins?

Then, for Mum's birthday pudding I made a rhubarb and ginger crumble. There are no photos of this to tempt you, as we gobblwed it up without regard for anything else. I had 2 massive portions - greedy but unavoidable. Woah good.

I am also KNITTING A SCARF. It is so warm and wooly and wintery - I can't wait to wear it! I will put some sneak preview photos up soon. All I have to say about this is that my knitting skills are better than ever, though I go for speed rather than neatness. It will be scruffy but looong!

Lastly, yesterday evening called for DIY. I was scraping paint and pulling out nails at Daniel's new house. So much fun! Today we're celebrating his freedom with a trip to Betty's and a trip up the Minster tower. I'm so excited for everything :-)

Friday, 18 September 2009

Afternoon Office Space

Roll on the weekend!

I've been working for my parents this week. Sitting behind a computer, adding data adding data adding data. Repetitive but quite rewarding to prove myself to my two harshest judges! I enjoy the routine it has provided; ready in smart clothing with packed lunch and glasses, to be at my desk for 9:30. Oily men everywhere, greasy kitchen spoons and UHT milk. Noise and clattering while these hardworking men (they are all men, which means I share the ladies' loo with one other person - my Mum. Awesome!) create parts that help the world work better. Purpose - I like it. Trains are chuddering towards London, houses are being illuminated and entertained, cogs are ticking and alarms are ringing because of this building in a corner of West Yorkshire. So inputting the machine timings felt RELEVANT. The first really relevant thing I have ever felt myself doing!

Now, I'm ready for the weekend. To change into PJs and splodge on the couch with junk food and trashy TV. I doun't doubt that these cravings come from busy work days.

Next time I will update on bakery and craft. Because life hasn't been work, work, work! I've been outputting hoards of creativity!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Gifts from the Postman :-)

Recieving letters from old friends - could this be the most magical thing in the world?

Now I have a long, indulgent activity for my afternoon; picking all the most important and exciting ins and outs of the past 5 years and putting them into letter form, for a friend living by the sea in Northern Scotland to open in 2 days time. When I get a letter from a friend, I like to prop it up by my fruit bowl and let it tease me for a while first. Then, when I have a good couple of hours to spare reading it and replying, I make myself a mug of tea, sit somewhere comfy, and enjoy the whole process; from opening the envelope, to re-reading it and replying. I need more letter paper!

The letter also prompted me to get in touch with 2 other friends who are often on my mind but who I haven't spoken to in too long. I am adamant that I won't loose touch with these important people.

I haven't updated in a while. Mainly because I've been DOING as oppose to THINKING. I bought a sumptious dictionary-theasaurus set, so now I can look up words whenever I please:

Sesquipedalian - adj. polysyllabic, long-winded. Origin: C17 from Latin 'sesquipedalis' - 'a foot and a half long'.

There you go!

So that was a sunny day, so I took Dr Johnson to the pub and we got drunk in the sun until Nick and John came along to help. We then ate luscious luscious honeycomb ice cream in Minster Gardens. I don't like ice cream usually, but this was truly amazing, in a Bridget Jones sort of way.

I also made a scrummy spiced carrot soup. I love making soup. I love raiding my cupboards for inspiration, chopping the veg into even chunks, and then stirring a pan for half an hour or so, until I can be bothered to squish it up into a soupy consistancy. And the lovely lathargic way you can eat it, slurpy and noisy, with soggy bread and too much salt. Perfect Sunday supper!

Last night called for a return to my drunken' pirate days. Stumbling back from the pub and attempting a midnight snack, struggling to unwrap the bread and fill the kettle. In my state I managed to pour boiling water all over my wrist. I miss these days, I hope they will make some sort of return in the year to come!

Saturday, 12 September 2009

The Love of Language

Mamihlapinatapai (from Fuegian, a language spoken in Argentina) n.

Two people looking at eachother without speaking; each hoping that the other will offer to do something which both parties desire but neither is willing to do.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Flowers, Fruits and Flies

This weather has turned me into the wierd woman smiling to herself in the bank queue.

After a nastily monotonous day at work and a divine cycle through York's rush hour streets, Daniel and I went to the Yorkshire Terrier's spoken word night. It was unusual but comfortable. Often I feel quite awkward in these places, but that was impossible here, maybe for the wrong reasons! We listened to Irish folklore told to a drum-beat, poems of the Yorkshire Wolds, and one poet comparing his "literary cock" to Camus' "absurd cock". It was absorbing, but we wanted alcohol and chat, and so we exited discretely when the opportunity arose.

Today I woke up too early - one of my favourite ways to start the day, as a matter of fact! Again the weather is amazing, and it filled me up with sunshine and energy. I arrived at Morrison's shortly after opening (I've started to compete with myself - how early can I get there this week? Today's effort is the reigning arrival time) and went mad in the fruit and veg section, plenishing my trolley with so many different colours and shapes in an effort to reflect my current delight in September.

I chose to buy a pear purely for it's aesthetic attributes. And figs that felt they would burst in my hand!

I made a trip into town for the mundane necessary tasks of the week - namely cheques and envelopes. But I couldn't resist the BOGOF offer in Borders. No no no. I had promised myself: no more books until I've read all the ones I already have. So I bought Ulysees, as I have been meaning to read it for ages (and will continue to mean to read it for ages to come, no doubt!), and some short stories by Oscar Wilde. The cover of the Wilde book is gorgeous, I am impartial to a red-headed woman, and I think this image may be ordered to hang on my wall.

It's from a story titled A House of Pomegranates, which sounds no less than magical and well-suited to my tastes! I also purchased The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Coleridge, as I have been meaning to buy it for a while. I fell in love with Kuble Khan while watching Pandemonium (a film about the crazy times of Wordsworth and Coleridge from the BBC - highly recommended when taken lightly), and have been chanting it outloud to myself this afternoon. The images it conjures aren't yet clear enough in my head, and I enjoy this mystery!

Frivolous spending continued when I spotted some beautiful dahlias at the flower market outside Borders. I love walking through town holding a bunch of flowers; it made me think of Mrs Dalloway. They are sitting in a vase on my table, observing me and my day in a very dignified manner, I must say.

On today's run I inadvertently found myself taking part in an army training exercise. Running accross Walmgate Stray, I heard some fast steps sprinting up behind me, and then a swift officer in khaki sped past. Not long afterwards, more steps were heard, and I realised that there was some training taking place. Not wanting to appear slow and inept around a herd of fit (they were fit) men, I picked up the pace a little. Looking back, there was a line of perfectly-spaced army officers running along behind me, with me leading the exercise at the front! When I reached the head officer man, shouting orders about speeding up and whatnot, I was quite tempted to continue with the exercise (especially after spotting a rather lovely dark-haired man sporting a black beret). Anyway, while giggling to myself on the last leg I came head-to-mouth with a rather beefy fly. Gross.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Eking Out the Last of Summer

Today was another beautiful day! I am in love with this city, and on days like this it is amplified everywhere I turn.

Too often I find myself living inside of my head rather than in the real world. Today was one of these days. On such occasions I need external stimuli to bring me back out - I need to pay even more attention to my surroundings than usual, and the best cure for this is the beautiful Rowntree Park.

Though the weather was all summer; sunshine and a warm wind - I was wearing a vest and sandals! - the colours of the park are turning red and orange in a sort of seasonal spectrum.

But some things are still very much alive, it's not time for everything to hibernate just yet!

In other news - love, love, love. It's everywhere. Even when they're over, relationships somehow continue to be so difficult!

Monday, 7 September 2009

Blue Skies Again!

Today is absolutely my ideal weather. I am full of the autumn! The sun was glaring through my curtains this morning; I don't mind waking up early when my wake up call brings such good news!

So I am full of autumn fruits and their colours!

My Mum and Brother came into York today for exciting family shopping, something I always enjoy! Will and I had good long chats about things only we understand, and I drank my favourite apple and ginger juice, awesome!

I also sampled a City Screen pizza, which was pizza in the most sumptious of forms. Oozing cheese, chunky veg, tangy tomatoes - woah tasty! Here are some photos to make you jealous!


So now my bones ache in a satisfying, post-shop way. No good shopping trip ends without pleasant agony, that's for sure! As usual, I was tempted by pyjamas and undies and comfy wolly additions to my wardrobe. I never need the things I want the most, but I do get the most use out of them.

I am falling in love with blue this autumn, but of course, my lifelong affair with purple remains.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Already Feeling the Chill

We haven't even seen past the first week in September and I have already dug out my vests, wooly Dales socks and am (shock horror!) toying with the idea of turning on the heater. I hate feeling the cold so easily - people are still walking about in shirts without a coat, and I'm sat in my house with thick socks, a vest and 2 jumpers. Bring on the misery!

I love Saturdays. Today has been slow and lazy, lots of tea and reading and radio. I'm about to start a new book which is always scary but exciting territory, I will spend the next hour acquaining myself with it.

Too much daydreaming is causing confusion in my Life Plan. It keeps changing - since this time last year I have lived hundreds of different futures for myself. I'm settling now into two main ideas, one involving books and one involving food; obviously the next year will help in deciding which one suits me the best. Hopefully my absolute enthusiasm for this MA is a good sign that it is the right path to be taking.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Rainy Friday Blues

The weather has been abysmal for what feels like weeks now. Until about an hour ago I didn't mind - autumn is coming and you can feel it in the air, the rain and wind just add to the excitement, sweeping leaves off the trees and causing you to apply full autumn attire before leaving the house. I love autumn; it is, by a long way, my favourite season. I love the colours, the fruits, the weather, the freshness, the cosy feeling, dark mornings and dark nights. This morning I went for a delicious run, straight into the weather. The rain is so cooling that jogging isn't necessary, and I had a great sprint through Walmgate Stray, the cows a lovely orangey contrast against the green, the wind bustling me along in its path.

After lunch the wind was howling around my flat, rattling the ventilators and lashing the windows, and I could hear the rain outside - I really had no will to go out, but Post Office duty called. Town is horrid in umbrella season (is this an official title for this time of year, or have I stolen it off Adam? Either way, I like it (and if you could send me a copy of the poem, Adam, I would be grateful!)), everyone knocking everyone else - I become what I hate: an ignorant pedestrian! But actually, I got that mushy, warm feeling that only comes with silvery wet pavements and an unusual lure towards frothy Starbucks warmth, and I had quite an enjoyable mosey through town. The flower markets looked fantastically vibrant, I was tempted by the sunflowers but just about managed to resist, likewise the marzipan pears and harvesty cakes in the Bettys window, and good deals on exotic wines in Evil Eye. I didn't resist the jewellry sale in Shared Earth, however, and I returned home with a lovely set of wooden beaded earrings and a wooden bead necklace :-)

After some research into my article topic, I realise that it is NOT by any means what Women's Committee is looking for, and in fact Women's Committee isn't what I thought it was. This fuels my writing further, and what was an attempt at an objective view towards feminism is now an angry 'third-wave feminist' rant, which I doubt will be published, but which I will submit in any case. It turns out that WomCom is in fact the sexist, one-sided organisation that I was attempting to prove it wasn't - who would have thought?! It gives me some great ideas though.

This afternoon calls for reading into linguistics with a dive back into the world of the Piraha Amazon. I can't wait to start, I'm impatient and itching for more knowledge. I'm also cooking healthy grub for Daniel and myself tonight - brown rice and butterbean stir fry. Now I'm in training for a half marathon I need to pay serious attention to what I eat - no more nimbly salads and no cheesy stodge or sugary highs! Not exactly a problem when the closest I got to a sweet as a child was a raisin ;-)

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Nous les gourmands

Time to report back on my evening of glorious grub! For those not in-the-know, El Piano is a vegan and gluten-free tapas restaurant in York. It's one of the most exciting restaurants I've ever eaten in - so colourful and rustic, and the food is just amazing, perfectly-suited to my tastes at least! The chairs are simple kitchen chairs, painted different colours and decorated with pictures of water melons or cherries or something similarly lovely. It feels like a food lovers' treasure trove, the Aladdin's Cave of gastronomy!

So it's easy to understand how the food lover can be seduced upto greed-induced agony, and last night ended in such a situation for me! I rarely feel full; in fact, most of the time I am at least a little bit hungry. So we ordered 6 bowls of Racion (large) tapas [note: the table of 5 behind us ordered 6 meduim-sized bowls...].

This included:

Onion bhajis
Pea and potato curry
Aubergine bake
Cabbage slaw
Corn breads
Tortilla chips

And then there was a bowl of rice and chutney provided.


So we made it through most of this, no problem. And I couldn't resist a pud!

Honestly the most delicious carrot cake to ever pass my lips. Made without flour, butter or eggs. Joy of joys! We then hit Evil Eye for a tough 7% cider to aid indigestion.

No suprises, today is a groaning, stick-to-soup day. So worth it!

In other news, I have tough decisions to make this afternoon: I said I'd play flute in the orchestra for a production of Patience by Gilbert and Sullivan (a proper public performance, so exciting!) but I unknowingly have made other commitments for 3 of the performance days. I also intend to write more of my feminism article for the Women's Committee magazine (I am wearing my glasses and so in a productive, intellectual mood!) and a letter to a friend. I recieved a letter from an old old school friend today, which was the most wonderful thing. I still write letters, but not as often as I would like to, and recieving this has reminded me exactly how good it feels to read and write letters. So this should be a good, pen-involved afternoon.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Entering the Blogosphere!

I have decided to create a real-life blog. Maybe a reflection of my life at the moment - I have a reasonable amount of spare time and a lot of thoughts, ideas, daydreams buzzing about in my mind. I am the sort of person who spends at least 50% of life daydreaming, moreso when given space for an unoccupied mind.

I am sitting in my favourite location (my lovely sturdy round table).

With my favourite mug

(A favourite character from my childhood -probably unsurprising that it's one who loves to eat!)

I should be cleaning. I must clean, indulge in my favourite obsession. And then I will spruce myself up with painted toenails and my pretty new top for a meal at El Piano this evening! Today it is 6 months since my first date with Daniel, and we shall celebrate in style with vegan tapas and probably some ale of sorts. In many ways it seems tacky to count time in such a way, but only when you think too hard. I don't intend to be cynical or off-hand in the matters of love and tasty grub!