Category Archives: Beginnings

Infants' School

It’s in the name. I think four is far too young to be at school. You barely know your own name, your hands aren’t developed enough to hold a pen, and it isn’t fair to expect you to play nicely or sit still. Frankly I don’t know why we even try at that age. I’m moving to Sweden, or Denmark, or Norway.



Filed under Beginnings, Family, Happenings, Life, Society, Thoughts, World

What I Like About The Future

I have no idea what’s going to happen. I have no idea, either, what I’m going to want, and whether what I want this time next year is going to be the same as what I want now or somehow entirely different. And so it doesn’t matter that I don’t know what’s going to happen, because I also don’t know how I’m going to feel about it, so I basically have to assume that whatever it is it’ll be fine; because even if you could tell me what’s going to happen, how I feel about it now and how I will actually feel about it could well be two entirely different things.

So actually, yes, it’s all OK. Even though sometimes I would like someone to drop out of the sky and whisper in my ear, tell me about my future, promise me it contains Nobel prizes and a real-life Daniel Craig/Mr Darcy hybrid and a car that drives like an Aston and runs on solar power or the breath of fairies or something. It’s not going to happen (the sky person thing, I mean, not the Aston thing, that’s a definite). I don’t know what’s around the corner and, if I’m honest, I’d rather not find out too soon. It’s like reading the last page of the novel when you’re still only just getting up to the dramatic bit. You really don’t want to spoil the ending or know about twists in the tail, they’ll surprise you soon enough.

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Twitterblogging III

Two people for whom I have more respect than I know how to put into words (really, I don’t) are getting married. In some ways I barely know either of them but, well, we follow one another’s fortunes and misfortunes and I can honestly say that their news has made me a very happy woman.

Now I’m going to go and swim in a millpond. A very good day, I think.


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Mr Fox! I Hate This Game, Sir. This Game Makes My Tongue Quite Lame, Sir.

So, for nearly twenty-one years of my life, I couldn’t say the letter ‘r’, at least, not in the context of words like ‘red’, ‘really’, ‘green’ or ‘cream’. No, it’s all ‘Where’s Wodewick’ and ‘weally gween cweam’, except with the merest hint of ‘v’ thrown in for good measure. Seriously. Fail. And my friends and housemates have all over time found this hilarious and even once made me record myself singing the rainbow song. Honestly, I sounded like a creepy Dr Who Evil Child kind of a character, which must be really scary to have as an alarm waking you up but there we go, it takes all sorts.

And then one day quite recently I worked it out, how to do it properly, so it’s neither a ‘w’ or a hard rolled ‘r’ but somewhere tidily in between, a real ‘r’, like most people manage. And it’s easy, and natural-sounding, and normal. But actually it still takes concentration, a lot of the time, to catch those ‘r’s as they approach, and make sure you say them properly. And it takes practice and when I’m tired or I’ve got a lot to say, I struggle to remember or think it important. But hey, I have to keep remembering and doing it right or I’ll never learn and my children will be just as bad at it and so it goes on.

Anyway. I was proud of myself. So I just thought I’d tell y’all. Enjoy…!


Filed under Beginnings, Cloudlife, Endings, Introspection, Life, Thoughts


Tomorrow (this morning as you read, I expect) I’m starting my main summer placement, straight away followed in the evening by my first shift at our local pub. It’s going to be a long and tiring day, logistically demanding, and I will probably be catnapping on the train. I am excited. I will tell you more when I’m wearing my glasses and not actually already in bed with the pillow looking all plump and enticing.

Oh, yeah, and I’m cycling. Please no-one run a book on how many of my own rules I break in the first day?!

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Eternal Sunshine

If you haven’t seen this film and want to, look away now. It’s not really about the film as such so much as the concept. But what I’m going to say in this post will almost certainly tell you everything you really didn’t want to go in to watching the film for the first time knowing.

Right, you’ve had your warning. Basically it’s about memory, and about a service which removes peoples’ memories of a certain person or event. So of course it is primarily used by distressed ex-lovers trying to get their beloved ex-girlfriend or -boyfriend out of their head in order to move on with their lives. And as you know, I hope, two characters erase one another and then one way or another discover that they have erased one another, discover where all their old memories are, and fall in love again. I can’t remember whether they actually regain their old memories of each other, or merely discover that they had them – it wasn’t made clear, and I wasn’t concentrating. Anyway, there you go. I was watching this recently whilst doing some boring room-sorty thing, and it made me think a bit. One obvious question: if there’s a reason why you broke up, surely if you can’t remember anything about your entire previous relationship history is basically doomed to repeat itself and you’ll end up going through the same break-up and then probably discovering this memory-wiping service again… and so it goes on.

But the other thing that really troubled me was this: every time I’ve really fallen for someone, they’ve usually had a big influence on my life, as a friend or a partner, whatever. I’ve learnt a lot from those people and experiences about myself, and I’ve learnt some valuable lessons and changed a lot as a result of those relationships. Anyone you’re close to like that, be they a best friend or a boyfriend, will change you in some way, not necessarily in a bad way, just in that everyone we meet affects the course of our lives and the way we think about stuff in one way or another. We learn valuable lessons from the people we encounter all the time. So if you wipe the memories of that person, who or what do you become? If, as a result of your relationship with a person, you’ve become more confident and trusting, say, do you carry on being more confident and trusting – or, with no known reason to have those characteristics, do you lose them because they no longer tie in with your personal narrative, do you forget those lessons because you no longer have the memories of having learnt them and therefore to all intents and purposes never did learn those things? To be honest, I think the latter is more likely, though I couldn’t say why.

I wouldn’t change a second of my life, really. I’ve made some stupid choices and I’ve met people who have hurt me a lot and whom I have allowed to hurt me. I’ve had bad days and good days, bad years and good years, I have regrets, we all do – but in a world where all of those things hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be who I am today. So, given the choice, I’d keep those memories. What do you think?

P.S. I’m getting confirmed today. So that’s the subject of my next post, when I get the time… .


Filed under Beginnings, Film, Friendship, Happenings, Introspection, Life, Relationships, Sex, Society, Thoughts


Say what you like – about people who ride motorbikes, about how dangerous it is, about the clothes and the culture and all the rest of it – you’re basically almost entirely wrong. I’ll admit that if you ahve an accident on a bike you’re more likely to end up horribly injured (I would have thought) or perhaps it’s just that you’re more likely to be involved in an accident because of all that leaning and wheeling about you do on corners.

So let’s forget all our preconceptions for a few minutes. The other day I rode on a motorbike for the first time. A friend (confusingly, A – although a different A from the A I’ve usually mentioned before under that initial) came over with cookies and strawberries and prosciutto and bread rolls, and I provided some leaves (well, salad, actually), and we headed over to the park and had a picnic in the sunshine (why have I never done this before? it was beautiful). We spent the afternoon there, my face burnt, there was an adorable baby in view for several hours although that said I also realised how much hard work is involved in even having a pleasant family day out for four when two of you are still less than two foot high – you can’t just relax around the barbecue, there’s constant chasing and cleaning and entertaining and feeding and soothing to be done and it didn’t look like either parent got much time just to sit and stare. So maybe I won’t have children just yet… .

So we had a beautiful afternoon, and then I had somewhere else to be going, and we had arranged that A would take me to the pub which was where I was going, but if needs be I could take the train and be picked up by another friend if I wimped out on the bike front. I didn’t wimp out. We did a little test drive – out on the main road to the edge of the city and along to the next small village, mainly sticking to quite slow speeds, a route that took in a few experimental roundabouts so I could get used to cornering, which is quite hard – if you’re riding pillion, don’t move your head, it’s the heaviest bit of you. Sit on the back of the bike like a sack of potatoes, don’t lean one way or the other but just follow exactly what the person you’re hugging is doing – basically, deliberately, don’t do anything. Ignore everything your instincts try to tell you about Physics – they’re wrong.

The scariest bit, actually, was the helmet, just because I’m a touch claustrophobic. As I put it on I kept thinking, oh god, what if I want to take it off? what if I need to take it off? despite not having any good reason to wish to do so. I don’t like pulling things over my head that are so tight that I have to take my glasses off to get them on.

But then once on the bike, in the sunshine, speeding along, engine thrumming seemingly all around me, children gawping, adults glancing out of their traffic stopped cars in obvious envy, wild and fast and, well, wow. So we ate some more of our picnic, had a few cups of tea, got a bit more sunburned, and set off.

Faster, further, the sun setting and the scenery stunning, more envious, amazed children, and the fantastic revelation that you can get TomTom on your iphone and listen to the directions through earphones, which was pretty cool. For A, I mean, not me, and obviously it was kind of standard to him, but there we go.

And finally, having got a little lost, we pulled into the pub, a bit late, and there was everyone else in the pub garden, and me waving from the back of a motorbike, and the complete amazement of at least some of my friends because who would have guessed in a million years that secretly Jenny Mohan had kind of always wanted to ride on a motorbike, and now she had, and perhaps her hair was flattened but her grin most certainly was not.

Sadly given the way I live and the things I do it makes a lot more sense for me to have a car than a bike. But I’m definitely up for riding pillion again, at least.


Filed under Beginnings, Friendship, Happenings, Life, Relationships, Society


I wasn’t sure if it was him, walking towards me. He had the same arrogant lumbering gait, all testosterone and shoulders, and the friend with him also looked familiar, and I was somewhere where I would not have been surprised to see him. For a few seconds all I was aware of was how my heartbeat seemed to be making time slow down, every sound muffled, my mouth drying out. I nearly turned round – wanting to run I would instead have just walked, fast, in that way you do at school because you’re late and you’re not allowed to run in the corridors. But I thought, no, don’t be daft, and I kept on walking, and it wasn’t him, and gradually the rest of the world flooded back into focus.

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So This Is Where We Are

Home now – building works. A three-storey tent (C and I both independently coined this description so it must be true). A loo in the attic, cold tap in the kitchen three floors below, brick dust everywhere, shoes on all the time, cats traumatised, tempers fraying, and a vanful – all my wordly goods – on the front room floor, no route to the piano even, until they’ve put my new skylight in and me and my room are left in relative peace.

Shadowing researchers round the university. Labs, day old mice pups, killed quickly though I won’t tell you how in case it makes you squirm. Microscopes, centrifuges, familiar technology, techniques (Western blotting, cell culturing) heard about and now to be seen and learned, Nanotechnology, collaborations across all kinds of fields of expertise, building condemned though to my eyes stunning. Showers (and thank goodness – options at home = washing-up bowl, kettle, what a performance) in the basement, splashy, motion-sensitive timer-switch controlled and a little chilly but heaven as far as I’m concerned), day flashed past. Sister, tears, tension, fear, homecoming, guilt; I never tell her how proud I am of her, how I tell all my friends about all the things she does, how much I love her – but I never say these things to her, it’s not my way, I suppose.

American quilts, trains, buses, food, drink, pubs and friends and plans and hopes and sunshine which I am rarely able to go out in. New year, I feel, every summer, not winter – I mean, here it all is, being new.

I’m mainly just glad to have clean hair.

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Procrastinating Rather Than Sleeping? Fail.

Oh post-scheduler, you save my life once again.

Anyway. Procrastinating found me this quiz. It shows you the percentage of votes one way or the other for each individual question rather than giving you a breakdown at the end, so look out.

Basically I am apparently abnormally naked. There is nothing I will not do, or have not done, whilst naked – with the exception of cooking. Somehow that seems to me just a bit weird. Also I’m convinced I would scald my stomach or get hot fat spat at me or something, somehow. So logistically it’s stupid and it would feel very odd. But skinny dipping, sunbathing, night swimming, sleeping, check check check check. I enjoy and will happily do all of those things, at least, on my own or in the presence of similarly-minded friends. I will get naked in the pool changing rooms, which are communal, without a qualm, though there are cubicles if you want them but the floor is wetter in there because they’re nearer the showers and they’re dark and I’m too blind when I take off my glasses.

Don’t go thinking I wander round naked all the time. I don’t. I just don’t have a problem with it.

Apparently I will happily talk about me being naked on my blog. Oops. Whilst I’m at it, I’ll also tell you about my new stockings…

(jokes. I have no stockings. I have no idea how to wear them without looking like a goth, or one of those people who thinks vintage clothing is for actively recreating a sort of 1950s-fakery-arcadia, or a prostitute or something and I am none of those things. It’s a shame because I think they’re kind of sexy but they’re probably a nightmare to take off in a seductive (or at least not actively off-putting) fashion especially if like me you’re about as dexterous as a mentally challenged goat).


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