Monthly Archives: July 2012


I like books. Who doesn’t? I like reading satisfying, long, thought-provoking books. I like reading old books, I like reading new books. I like reading books that are no better written than I could write. I like reading things which are crafted rather than written, finely-wrought and intriguing and leaving a deceptive taste on your tongue. I like reading books set in times and places I know, and in times and places long ago or far away enough to be equally foreign to me. I like reading books set in times that have not been and never will be and times that have not been and might be. I read all kinds of things and there are some books that I definitely enjoy for the story rather than the words, or the words rather than the story. I don’t think either of those is wrong.

What I do do, and I don’t think anyone knows this about me (Dear Frank at PostSecret, are you listening?), is I remember the music that gets mentioned in the books I’m reading. I love books which mention the music their characters are listening to. Sometimes I write down the musical score of a book: keep whole lists of every artist and track – or composer, piece and movement – mentioned. Sometimes by some miracle it just sticks, and I remember.

I like how the atmosphere conjured by an enjoyable book can be enriched by listening to the right music. If music isn’t mentioned, I tend to gravitate towards music in my collection that seems to ‘fit’. I never read and listen at the same time – too confusing – but I will listen, and read, in the course of the day, and it all fits together so that the one influences my thoughts about the other, and vice versa.

I know some people who mainly listen to music for the words. The obvious and trite thing to say next would be that I read words for the music. I don’t, that’s nonsense, but they colour each other, and if an author has given you fully rounded characters complete with their thoughts about music, I think that tells you more about what the author is trying to convey about that character.

And some of my favourite musical discoveries have been made thanks to stealing ideas from the characters in the books that I read.



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So I made it out the other side and got to spend a day in a hat and a gown, flapping about and having a high old time.

The ceremony was lovely. It started with a short video on why my university is generally fantastic at everything, be that academic or social or sporting or welfare or more or less anything else you can think of that a university might or should be good at. So that was pretty. Then in processed all the various staff members in their robes and hats and so on, looking like the assembled cast of The Tudors, but smiling a lot more. Plenty of smiles all round really.

Then we all graduated. My family were watching from the congregation, S was watching via the video live-link from India. I don’t remember much from being up on stage. My family whooped for me which was nice! I remember giving a big smile to C, one of the chaplains, my mentor, and in fact my boss this year – and being very grateful and smiley and bobbing and grinning as I shook the hand of the VC conferring my degree. Then I beamed wildly at the camera which was transmitting to India (as it happened the cameraman had zoomed out at that point so S couldn’t see me clearly), walked around the hall and sat down again.

Then there was a warm, witty, fun, wise and moving speech from the VC. Very glad about that though it made me cry again…! Then we all processed out – I wanted to go past the videolink camera again in case S was still watching, and missed the chance to go past my family and high-five my dad, but we think they’d started diverting everyone out of the hall ‘my’ way so I wouldn’t have had the chance to high-five my dad while wearing a gown anyway which is a shame.

Then there was milling and photography time, both professional and casual. Had a lovely chat with C and it was great to finally introduce her to my parents. Then over to the departmental reception to go and obsessively fangirl over all the various lecturers who have inspired me and made me want to keep working at this thing over the last couple of years. It was really good to get that opportunity and I very much enjoyed that. Also a chance to say goodbye to some familiar faces among the student body. I never had many friends in the course, at best just a number of acquaintances, but it doesn’t mean I won’t sometimes think fondly of the friends I didn’t quite have. And there are some I’ll definitely stay in touch with, so that’s nice. Heard some talking wistfully about how they’ll miss living in Uni City next year, how difficult it was coming back and seeing it all again. It’s very nice for me to know that in a few weeks I’ll be back here again, obviously having much less involvement with the university, but around and about in this city that I have come to love and still haunting my old haunts. The difference for me has always been that my friends are rarely in my year or on my course and that many of them are in fact no longer students at all, so I already have the beginnings of a life in the city and outside of the university.

So one long, happy and emotional day. With jazz, and love, and enthusiasm. And I don’t really feel like this is ‘goodbye’. I’m going to see all the faces that matter most over the next year, and ongoingly.

I also knitted a sleeve.

Everything is wonderful.


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New Favourite Advert

You know what a sucker I am for adverts. Not for the products they sell necessarily (I’m not going to try and contend I’m immune to marketing – after all, what twenty-something really needs two different kinds of moisturiser to put on her face depending on whether it’s night- or day-time?) but for adverts themselves. You’ve seen me weep over John Lewis and Waitrose adverts and giggle at bizarre Japanese-themed shower-gel adverts (this is where me bothering to use tags would be really handy, because there’s a bit of me that feels obliged to trawl through my archives to link back to those posts (I won’t, sorry, but try Decembers passim for particularly rich pickings), and if I used tags, I’d simply tag this (and every other similar post) ‘Adverts’ and Bob would be your uncle (realistically I probably don’t have that much influence on your ancestry, unless…hello future children. This is awkward).

Anyway. This advert for a car (see, I didn’t even remember which car until I Googled the advert – turns out it’s a Peugeot 208 (fun fact – I used to think there were two brands of car manufacturer beginning with P – ‘Persio’ and the one spelt Peugeot which I pronounced ‘Pewgot’)).

It’s silly, fun, features a likeable ‘everyman’ character who’s clearly a bit shy but has an inner self who wants be a bit more outre – and when his inner self – ‘Body’ – turns up in yellow boxers and starts doing all of these things that our main man never quite dares to do, Mr Shy Everyman is clearly, quietly, pleased. It’s adorable really, and a bit of a giggle. Watch out for ‘Body”s giggle when they go bungee jumping. Squeee!

That’s all :).

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Flexible Tiger

Today, I am feeling thoughtful.

Disregard the title, it’s irrelevant, it’s merely that those two words make me smile every time I think of or hear them, and I always think of one of my cat, who really is more like a panther (the other one is more like a dumpling, she’s gorgeous). ‘Flexible tiger’ quotes from an English translation of the libretto to Haydn’sCreation, which work utterly delighted me quite recently, partly for moments like the above, and partly for the utterly wonderful painting with words and music that Haydn does in recreating for his audience the Creation. It’s so much more fun than other oratorios, all cursing and damnation and what have you. This is all animals and plants and birds bursting to life in sound and colour in your mind. Wonderful. So that was good.

I did say disregard the title, didn’t I? Never mind.

In other news, have some All About My Life As It Is At The Moment. Despite the fact that this blog is not hidden and anyone who knows what they’re doing can probably google me and stalk me to this point, there’s no harm in talking about the things I am up to.

I am enjoying my job. The first couple of weeks were frustrating. I’m doing more or less what I was doing last year, which, for the layperson, is effectively baking lots of cakes made of plastic. It feels like baking – lots of mixing and waiting and putting things in the oven, combined with the finicky frustration of putting things just here or just there and it not all going quite how you want it to go, and then hoicking the things you’ve made out of the oven at the end only to find that for reasons you were unaware of at the time (you put plain flour in instead of self-raising, that was bicarb not baking powder, the eggs were too small, you know the drill) your cakes haven’t come out quite to plan. Well in my case the things that go wrong aren’t mistakes as such so much as the ‘plastic’ I’m using hasn’t cured properly so I need to spend longer on curing stages time round, or I thought the things I were using were entirely clean, dust- and bubble-free but no, they’ve gone into the oven and mischievously developed dust and bubbles without me doing anything…

…anyway, don’t speak too soon but the last couple of days it’s started to go right. I’ve made a few tweaks here and there and I’m back in the game. And my production levels are way up as well, thanks mainly to making obsessive ‘to do’ lists in order to juggle cooking times and times when I have to do things so that actually I can overlap the whole process loads and effectively make two sets of my plastic cakes (‘devices’) at once.

Does that all make sense?

So that’s good.

Outside of the job I am supposed to be proofreading for a journal I work for. It’s OK, I’ll get it all done, but right now I’m blogging. The house is cold, the cats don’t understand me (or at least, they don’t seem to, and they certainly don’t talk back) when I talk to them, my family are still on holiday, and there are still two weeks until S gets back from India. Two and a half. On the other hand, when I’m not trying to proofread, I am doing fun things like knitting, and I have got loads of photos from our family holiday that I’m looking forward to editing, and life is basically quite good. Apart from the cold. A good friend is coming to stay for the weekend which will hopefully feature cinema trips and window-shopping and maybe a walk or two and watching films and cooking and the house being warm, please. But before that I have to finish this proofreading and maybe, just maybe, unpack from holiday.

I want to talk about how I miss S, how I start to forget what it feels like to fall asleep beside him and how I’m half-tempted to start talking to myself the way I always talk to him, rather than keeping my inner monologue, well, inner, but that I won’t do that because actually I don’t want to seem insane even though I’m pretty sure the cats wouldn’t judge and half my colleagues talk to themselves in the lab anyway so I could probably get away with the odd spate of muttering, even if my colleagues are probably talking about the work they’re doing and I’d be wittering on about who knows what. But that’s all really. He’ll come back, and then I’ll steal his passport so he can’t go away without me again… *cough*.

Not really :).

I think it should stop being so cold and rainy now. This isn’t bloody Sweden. Our knitwear’s not cool enough for that yet.

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My phone has been stolen!

that’s it really. otherwise having a lovely time and off to the beach today. will have same number as they are already sending me a new sim =) and i will call you when i get back to uk. will try to get back to an internet cafe in the next couple of days but it’s quite hard as i don’t want to disrupt holiday plans! love you loads though and talk soon =). xxx


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