Woken Up

I recently had a moan about all the meaningless (and prolific) ‘inspirational’ posts that clog my Facebook feed, when all I want to do is have a quick and peaceful nosy into what people are doing in their lives.  I’m sure some find such slogans helpful and positive but stop to give even a brief thought to the actual content and it quickly becomes irritating.

After posting a somewhat, ‘grumpy’ status about the situation, (and having no one really react which, perhaps, tells its own story) I came across another nettlesome post on Instagram, that was originally a Tweet.  I’m assuming some of you came across this statement over the last week or so,

You’re not well read if all you read is white authors. 

It didn’t take long to analyse the flaw in that statement.  Whilst it is probably (hopefully) a well-meaning encouragement to people to read widely, the stench of identity politics is overwhelming. Substitute the word white for fantasy, people of colour (or your group of choice), gay, women, or men, and the point could still be taken.

White is the word that will get the most traction in terms of comments though and is most likely the reason behind the wording which will guarantee the fifteen minutes of internet viral fame so craved.  On reflection it strikes me as lazy, picking an easy target. Like Trump or George W. Bush jokes back in the day, for example, it lacks finesse and plays only to the easily pleased crowd. Continue reading “Woken Up”

House About That!

At last we have the internet connected!

Having moved house this time last week (not the one above, which is our holiday home, Hardwick Hall), its been a torrid time with the usual accompanying stress and chaos.

The most important thing to do has been to order the books, this was achieved by placing them in a haphazard arrangement, as I rather enjoy browsing through the collection these days, rather than going straight to where I know a particular title will be.

Next up has been to explore the local library, which is adequate, and to sample the closest Chinese takeaway. They made a decent effort but it wasn’t overly impressive, except for the reusable containers. Continue reading “House About That!”

New Editions

To keep in theme with the blog, a book pun is always welcome start.  After going into hospital on a Tuesday, we got to see our Amelia Cyrene three days later when she finally arrived via C-section on a Friday at 4.22am and weighing 7 lb 14 oz, in old money.   It was a long ordeal but we got there in the end and have been well supported by friends family and all the workers, midwives and phalanx of other helpers from the NHS.

Before we went to the hospital we just has to time to find out which of those two Michelin star chefs had made the most accurate Kit Kat on that TV show, and then it all went a bit mad.  There was inducing, sleeping through contractions, a Tikka Masala, random bleeping alarms, and finally with baby refusing to come out, some surgery, just to make sure that our stay in hospital didn’t get too uneventful.

Having been surprised with the speed with which baby was extracted, I had the ordeal of walking around Crissy’s still being operated on body to get my hands on little Amelia.  I admired the painted walls intensely so I wouldn’t see anything to make me pass out. I had in mind a vision of the surgeon with Crissy’s intestines slung over his shoulder as he worked to pop everything back in.  In my peripheral vision I did see the surgical team hurriedly moving things like instrument tables out of my way as I keep my eyes firmly on the lovely white paint and blundered about.

Its been a hectic week.  We are still extremely dishevelled (the photo below is pretty much how we look now, minus Crissy’s sexy hospital gown) but elated to be well into day six, with our hungry, bundle of joy.  Amelia has already been enjoying the cool breezes and the sun, as well as discussing when she is allowed a boyfriend and in which order she will be accomplishing her career goals, which are: model, astronaut, ninja, spy, and pilot.

Left Foot Forward – Garry Nelson

The sheer amount of dull football autobiographies on the market is staggering, and most are beyond bland and utterly predictable.  Nelson’s effort is different as he never attained the millions or star status, and the book is much the better for that.

A journeyman professional, Nelson played for lower league teams throughout his career but is appreciative of his position in sport, and the wider context of life. He’s aware that he is living a dream many never come close to achieving.

Told in a diary format over a whole year (the 94/95 season), the author finds himself in a precarious position, at the tail end of his career. He isn’t expected to be a first team start, his contract runs out at the end of the year, injuries are a worry, and younger players are challenging for his position.

The fans applauding  the neat one-two, the snap shot going close from twenty-odd yards, don’t stop to consider the man who on a bad night, thinking his first-class career is almost at its end, lies awake at night worrying about his mortgage.

As carpools are set up to get to training and to save the player’s petrol costs , the weighing up of the risks of declaring themselves fit too early after an injury is an all too real and worrying problem, and the wider problems of the sport are discussed, this is a fascinating look back at a sport which has changed so much off the pitch whilst remaining relatively unchanged on it. Continue reading “Left Foot Forward – Garry Nelson”

What Was Lost – Catherine O’ Flynn

A lost little girl with her detective notebook and toy monkey appears on the CCTV screens of the Green Oaks shopping centre, evoking memories of Kate Meaney, missing for twenty years. Kurt, a security guard with a sleep disorder, and Lisa, a disenchanted deputy manager at Your Music, follow glimpses of the girl through the centre’s endless corridors – a welcome change from dealing with awkward customers, colleagues and the Green Oaks mystery shopper. But as this after-hours friendship grows in intensity, it brings new loss and new longing to light.

The first time I read this book I did so in a twelve-hour single sitting, the writing style and the with the all too familiar take on retail, which I spent years in, were both compelling and moving.  What Was Lost is a  gritty and melancholy read with touches of humour that really hit the spot for those looking for a bit of mystery set in an all too familiar locale.

The story itself switches between two different threads, those of Kate Meaney (private investigator), and Kurt and Lisa, set twenty years later.  The story’s strengths lies in the wonderfully well-written characters and the differences in attitude, both in terms of the time periods and the characters within them.

The Green Oaks shopping centre is a character in itself, much like the island in the TV show Lost, it pulls people into it and changes lives.  It’s a monument to the staggering waste of time, heart and effort spent in these places for both workers and shoppers. Continue reading “What Was Lost – Catherine O’ Flynn”

All the Drama

It’s been a while since I last wrote, in the meantime my head has been filled with new systems, many acronyms, and more knowledge than I actually need to know but which hovers at the periphery of my vision, a teetering tower of figures and facts poised precariously waiting for my brain to freeze up.

This is pleasantly offset by the relaxing atmosphere and access to the internet when I manage to get in early.  This is, naturally, complicated by the fact that I have been firing off emails to all manner of accounts with blog post drafts and am now confused with where all the different parts are.

To sum up, normal service will be resumed soon. In other news, I had my hair cut so now I don’t resemble a homeless Belgian man, and have recently discovered the delights of Korean drama, of which soon there will be a review, once I finish it.  Visiting your blogs will happen soon as well, the usual assurances apply.

To Start the Day

Having found my bearings (just about, as the wealth of information is so detailed and sprawling) in the new job, I was delighted to find that the old haunts of which I used to frequent (pubs, supermarkets, the local chippy comically named The cod’s Scallops) – handily near the Open University campus – have been supplemented with a new cafe, so having arrived stupidly early for one my shifts, I can sit back with a book, a coffee and a generous bacon cob and watch the world go by.

I always like to see a place wake up, the bleary eyed people (not me, I’m already on my second coffee), the workers, school children, the build-up of traffic and general early morning chaos.  From my vantage point looking out onto the main road I can take it all in and feel slightly smug that I beat the rush, even if rolling out of bed early is a challenge for the moment.

As you have probably noticed I haven’t been visiting your blogs much of late and now due to my workload, I will probably only be able to visit once a week but will endeavour to be around more. I am also writing blog posts on my breaks at work so I can keep some form of regular posting going. Continue reading “To Start the Day”