Thursday, December 01, 2005

In No Particular Order

Favourite Smells
1. Cut grass
2. Fresh coffee
3. Baked bread
4. Jean Paul Gaultier Cologne for Men
5. Christmas – Cinnamon/Orange/Spice

Favourite Sounds
1. The snow crunching underfoot
2. A Child’s laughter
3. The song Mississippi by Train
4. The waves crashing on a beach
5. A cat’s purr

Favourite Tastes
1. Chocolate!
2. Red Wine
3. A Good Curry
4. Orange Juice
5. A good fresh cup of coffee

Favourite Sights
1. Home
2. The Coronado Bay Bridge
3. The quilt my Mom made me
4. The stars on a clear night
5. My friends and family

Favourite things to feel/touch
1. My silk/satin blanket
2. Anything soft and furry
3. Someone else’s hand in mine
4. Soft sand running through my fingers
5. The mud between my toes!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Comfort Zones?

Once again, I apologise for the lack of blogging here. I've been really busy at work, and then I don't really use the internet much at home. So I've just not got around to it. I keep seeing things that I think I could write about then, I forget what they are when I sit down at my computer!

As I've mentioned before, I've been taking Tai Chi classes every week, which are going really well, and I totally love it. Although each week it's getting more and more complicated. But the other week it struck me that we all stand in the same place. It's as if there's this unwritten rule that you have to stand where you did the week before. I guess it's just a comfort thing, we've become used to our own little spot in the room, and to step away from that, would be something new and scary! I think that if anyone stood on the other side of the room, they would get a funny look from the other people, as if you didn't belong there, a "what are you doing here?" kind of look! I started to think about similar situations where this happens, and I realised that it goes on all the time. In my office, we don't have set desks, but everyone always sits in the same place. Everyone knows that all the computers are the same, and it doesn't really make a difference where you sit, but again, it's just what we're used to. It even happens in our living room at home. the three of us have our usual spots on the sofa. we seem to migrate to our little individual spaces. It amused me to think that a space in a room could hold so much comfort to people, especially when around people you don't really know so well.

On a different note, the weather here in Derby recently has been just wonderful. It's absolutely freezing, but sunny out, so you get that wonderful crisp air that catches in the back of your throat the moment you step outside. The grass is all frosty and crunchy when you walk on it, the puddles are starting to freeze over, so that when you walk to the shops you have to be careful where you stand so as not to fall over. The people you pass are all wrapped up in scarves, hats and gloves (or mittens in my case!!!). The sky is probably more blue now than it was over the summer, and the sunshine takes a little bit of the bite out of the weather. it's perfect walking weather - not going anywhere, just walking. Also, the Christmas lights are being turned on in Derby tonight, which means that Christmas is just around the corner! I'm so excited...i can't wait! Christmas is my favourite time of year, it's so beautiful, with the lights all around the city, and in people's houses. On the whole people are that little bit cheerier around Christmas, after the gloom and doom of September and October when everything is just grey. Oohhhh, it's just too exciting! I become like a little kid again, the magic of Christmas is just too much to take! YEY!

Well, that's enough from me right now, I'll try and update a little more regularly, I do miss blogging!

take care everyone!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Waiting and Hoping

I spent all evening watching the door
Always waiting, hoping for more
Than just a promise of your company
But once again you let me down
Once again it slipped your memory

I’m not sure how more I can take
So many words you say so fake
You raise my hopes and keep me expecting
The happiness that may arise
From our overdue adjoining

When will you realise how good we’ll be
When we’re together, why can’t you see?
This one union of two lonely hearts
Could be the most amazing thing
Never again to be apart

But as it was you didn’t arrive
Are you too scared to take that dive
Into something new and unmapped
You don’t have to worry I’ll be right there
Alongside you to help you adapt

It’s just as strange and new to me
Just do one thing and promise me
I’ll never have to watch that door
And sit here surrounded, alone
Waiting and hoping for that little bit more

Monday, October 31, 2005

Regrets?


I apologise for the lack of posting here recently, but my lack of computer at home is really starting to get to me! The only chance I have to do this is at work, and we have recently been warned about the use of the Internet and especially the updating of blogs at work. So I guess I have to be quite careful when doing this!

Anyway, I have a few bits of news to report. This weekend I went to Somerset to visit my friend and go to the most amazing Halloween party ever! Over here in the UK, Halloween isn’t as big as over in the States, although I’m sure every year the shops are becoming more and more ‘Americanised’, and are stocking the shelves with pumpkins, and outfits, ghosts and ghoulies to fill the need of any imaginative person! But anyway, I digress. This party was incredible. The guy who owns the house takes the week before the party off work to decorate and get things ready. He didn’t have the biggest house, but absolutely everywhere that could be decorated was. There were skeletons that talked monsters that groaned, and Ghouls that squealed hanging on the walls. Spider webs adorned every surface and corner, complete with spiders (ick!). There was a buffet, and a BBQ, homemade cocktails consisting of Vampire Blood, Green Gloop and biohazard. My friends and I went dressed up as witches, with wigs, hats and cloaks, with my friend’s husband as a Ghostbuster. He’d spent about 6 hours making the proton pack and the box to contain the Ghosts in. He looked awesome! All in all it was just an amazing night, we spent the evening standing and chatting, having a good catch up, then mingling with some of the other guests, have those random conversations that only happen with strangers after a few drinks. I met this one guy and we had a very in depth talk about destiny and how to approach life! I love those types of chats! Then as we were leaving the party to walk home, the heavens opened, and it absolutely poured down with rain. But it didn’t matter to any of us; it was just a bit of fun! Splashing in puddles like we were six years old again! Soaking wet but full of giggles, we stepped into the house, and put on our pyjamas, then proceeded to dance around the kitchen like mad people! Listening to The Killers Hot Fuss album, and Tenacious D, we were head-banging around the kitchen floor! My neck is now very painful! :-)

My journey back from Taunton, however, put a bit of a downer onto the whole weekend of fun. It took me 5 ½ hours to get back to Derby, due to the train services being cancelled. I had to take a coach for most of the journey, which is just so slow. However, a plus to this is that I met the greatest guy. We were sat on a coach from Gloucester to Birmingham for about 2 hours, and we just started to chat. It was so easy to talk to him. He’s a French and German teacher in Birmingham, teaching 11-16 year olds. He’s been to South America, Canada and New Zealand, been sky diving, bungee jumping, skiing. He’s into similar kinds of books and films as me, and had the same kind of opinions on many things that we talked about. I think the longest we went without talking was about 5 minutes when we were just arriving into Birmingham Station. We parted ways at the train Station and I didn’t even find out his name. At the time I quite liked the anonymity of it all, to have such an in depth conversation with a total and utter stranger, but as soon as I got on my bus to get back to Derby I regretted not finding out his name. We got on so well and as far as I was concerned there was a little bit of chemistry going on there too. I was tempted to ask him if he wanted to go and get a coffee before setting off for home, but I chickened out! I guess it’ll just be one of those regrets we have that we can’t change. I am a believer in fate, and if I’m meant to meet my mystery man again, then I will, if not then the whole experience will just be a story to tell the new people I meet instead.

On the train on the way down to Taunton though, I finished another book, The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shrieve. It wasn’t the best book that I’ve ever read, but it certainly wasn’t bad. I got so sucked into the book again that when certain things happened (I won’t go into what in case people want to read it) I felt the same emotions as the characters. I always think it quite silly talking about that, because it is essentially just a book! It’s not real. But I still can’t help becoming part of it, and going though what the characters go through too. I do recommend other people to read this, it’s quite an easy going book, but has lots of intrigue that will keep you turning the pages, right up until the very last sentence.

My T’ai Chi is going well, I’ve had two lessons now, and I’m loving it. It’s much harder work than I thought it would be, but it makes you feel great after. You feel so chilled out, centred and relaxed, but totally energised at the same time. As if you could take on the world! I am looking forward to lesson number 3!

Well, as I’m at work, I should probably go. I hope every one is well, and that you all have a safe but wonderful Halloween!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Just some random thoughts from the past couple of weeks…

I’ve finished Harry Potter. WOW! I need the next one now, but it’ll take forever to come out, like the last ones! I was reading it on a train, and at one point, I was sat at a train station platform trying very hard not to cry! I was getting some very strange looks from passers by. But the book was wonderful, one of those that you really can’t put down. I would start reading as I got into bed, thinking, "I’ll just read for 10 minutes or so." 2 hours later, I’d still be going, only just able to see the words, because my eyes want to sleep!

Derby is looking so pretty at this time of year. The leaves are all changing colours, and as I walk down the street towards my house, it’s like walking through confetti. The trees are shedding their leaves like rain. I love the variety of shapes and sizes, there are big star shaped ones, small heart shaped ones, middle-sized arrow shaped ones, in brown, yellow, red and orange. It’s beautiful. Hopefully in the next couple of days I’ll have the software I need to be able put photos on here, so you’ll be able to see for yourself what I’m talking about.

I am starting a T’ai Chi class this week. I went to an introduction class last week and have decided to sign up. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for so long now, and what’s more, is it’s taking place just down my road. The introduction class was awesome. There was a fair amount of people there, and we all sat and listened as our teacher gave a quick talk about the WuTan School of Martial Arts, and how it was set up. Then he told us about the different forms of T’ai Chi, and which one we’ll be learning, (which I’ve forgotten already!). After that, we all got up and did the warm up, and then he taught us the first section of the form. It was amazing; my fingers were tingling with the energy. The whole room was filled with the energy being emitted from us all, and by the time we had finished I was so relaxed it felt amazing, but at the same time I was totally energised. I am really looking forward to this Thursday for the first proper class. It’s a 16-week course, by the end of which we will have learnt the complete form. After we had done our little bit, the instructor and his intermediate class performed the full form for us. It’s so graceful and peaceful; I can’t wait until I can do that too. I’ll keep you updated as to how it’s going.

There are so many movies out right now that I really want to see, but I have no one to go with, or even the money to buy the tickets with. I know, I know, get out those tiny violins for me! But I love going to the cinema, that suspended animation, and I haven’t been for so long. Unfortunately, here my nearest movie theatre isn’t close enough to walk to, and as I don’t have a car, I either have to rely on other people, or get a taxi. I don’t really like to do either, so I just have to wait until one of my friends with a car suggests that we go! I guess I’ll just have to wait until they come out of DVD. Anyway…rant over.

As I touched on earlier, I should hopefully have the means to download photos from my phone onto the computer sometime this week, which means I’ll be able to illustrate my little blog with a few photos from here and there. Everywhere I go, I see things that I want to take pictures of, and now that I have a camera phone, I’m able to do it. However, the quality of the pictures is not amazing, but it’s better than nothing. I have a theme that I’ve been working on for a little while, that I think will make a lovely blog entry, but you’ll just have to wait for that I’m afraid!

Well, I’m at work, so I should probably get back to it. I hope everyone is well, and looking forward to Halloween – I know I am!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Rach's Book List

I have been asked what is in my current pile of books, and what else I would recommend to read. Well, right now I'm reading the latest Harry Potter Book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. When the books first came all those years ago, I was determined not to get sucked into the whole Harry Potter mania that came with it. I didn't want to just jump on the bandwagon because everyone was raving about them. It took me until the 4th book had come out to start reading them, and only then it was because my older sister had read them all, and she literally threw the first one at me saying, "READ IT...YOU'LL LOVE IT!" So I did, and she was right...I read all 4 in about 3 weeks, which is good going for me! And that was it, I was hooked. I've read them all almost as soon as they were released, with the exception of this one because of my addiction to the Dark Tower series! But now that I've started it, I can't put it down! I think one of the reasons I like the Harry Potter so much, (and one of the reasons J.K. Rowling was criticized for it) is because it's not always good winning over evil; bad things happen, and yes, people die. She was slated for it because it was upsetting to children, her primary audience. But I disagree, I think it prepares them for the life ahead, when evil things do happen, and the good people don't always win.

After that I have list of books to read in no particular order that include:-

Lucia Lucia
- Adriana Trigiani. I have never read any of her books before, but both my mom and my sister have and say that they are just lovely. This one was given to me by some very good friends, who pretty much ordered me to read it, because they think it will change the way I look at life. So when I've read that one, I'll let you know what I think.

The Devil and Miss Primm
- Paulo Coelho. I absolutely love his books. The first one I read was The Alchemist a few years back, and that really did change the way I looked at life. It was the kind of book that I couldn't put down, no matter what time of the night it was, and when I had finished I just sat there on my bed and couldn't think of a thing to say. I love the way he writes about religion and the like, without preaching, and without stuffing it down your throat. Last year I read The Fifth Mountain which is about a small town's struggle with differing religions, having been introduced to Christianity with the arrival of a stranger. It was very much about there being just one God to worship (which I am not a big believer of), but it never felt like I was being told that I must believe it. Veronika Decides to Die is also a life changing book. Although the title suggests a depressing subject matter, and in parts it does touch on it, the basis of the book is actually very uplifting. I'm looking forward to reading this next one.

The Pilot's Wife
- Anita Shreive. Again, this one was given to me by my sister, who as already read it, and raved about it. I haven't read any of hers either, but I'm told that this one in particular is very good. I don't even know what it's about, so I can't really say much about this one, but once again, when I have read it I'll let you all know what I think about it.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven -
Mitch Albom. I started to read this ages ago, but surprise, surprise the next Dark Tower book became available, so I need to finish this one off. Most of my friends have read it and say it's lovely. So I'm looking forward to finishing that one off!

The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy
- Douglas Adams. I read the first book years ago having listened to the old radio show as a child. I loved it. It was normal enough to relate to, but out there enough to be absolutely hilarious!!! For Christmas last year my friend bought be the complete series, so I have all of them to read now!

Books 5 and 6 of the Anita Blake - Vampire Hunter Series - Laurell K. Hamilton. However, its been so long since I read the other 4 that I think I might have to start from the beginning again! These books are amazing. My friend in America gave me the first one to read telling me that I would be hooked within the first 30 pages...Boy was he right! They are full of excitement, thrills, a bit of a love story going on in there too! They're awesome! I'll have to pick them up again when I have a load of time to re-read the first 4!
I think that might be it for the time being, but there are always books that I want to read, and everytime I go into a bookstore I have to restrain myself from buying more!!!

As for books that I recommend - that I have already read...Anything by Nicholas Sparks. He wrote The Notebook, Message in a Bottle and some others. They are wonderful feel good books. They are so beautifully written too, the descriptions are so detailed you're in the book with them! Or the three books by Nicholas Evans - The Horse Whisperer, The Loop and The Smoke Jumper. All three are wonderful books that again, I could not put down. I cannot recommend these highly enough! For those of us who are science fiction/fantasy fans, David Eddings' books are fantastic. The Belgariad a series of 5 about a small boy who discovers he is actually a very power wizard is the first set, followed by The Mallorean - same characters, different story. I have read them over and over again, and they never lose their magic (excuse the pun!!!!)

Well, I think that's probably enough about that....Thanks for sticking it out if you've got this far....lists are never fun to read!

I hope I've inspired some of you to check out some new stuff!

Happy Reading!

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Journey has ended

Well, finally, it's over. After about14 monthss, Roland and his Ka-Tet have reached the end of their journey. And as I predicted, I miss them already. Sitting here at work all I can think about once more is the seeming endless toil they (and I) had to go through to reach the end. All seven books had me captured by the end of the first paragraph, if not even the first sentence. I won't go into much, as I seem to have done that quite a lot recently, but I just wanted to urge you one more time to go out and read The Dark Tower series if you have not already. They are quite easy to read, even though the last few are just HUGE and would work better as doorstops than books, (not the best thing to read in bed, for fear of knocking myself out if I drop it!), and full of excitement. I have to say they do go a little strange here and there, with a typical Steven King twist every now and then. There is one part where the characters actually meet Steven King, and talk about him writing the story, that totally spun me out, and I kept having to tell myself that it was all fiction, and not real. But a part of me wanted to think that maybe that had happened...Roland had met Steven King and told him that he must go on writing. It grounded the fiction a little, and made it almost real.

Basically, as you can probably tell, I just loved the whole thing, and one day, I'll get around to buying the whole series, and re-reading them, because as readers will know, "Ka is a circle" and keeps rotating until the end of time.

Now I guess I have to start on that great pile of books I have by my bed...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A love never spoken of

Arm in arm they walked down the long dark road. This would be their last night together forever. He was leaving her to go back home, and although he said they’d stay in touch, she knew differently. During their brief but incredible time together she had come to know him well enough that she realised as soon as he got home, he’d probably never think of her again. From her point of view however, she would think of him so often, that he would hardly vacate her mind.

They had met one night, by complete chance. He just happened to come over and talk to her, and she just happened to talk back. It didn’t happen much to either of them…they just clicked. From that night onwards, they had been inseparable, spending all day, everyday with each other. Getting to know each other so they could read one another like an open book. Finishing sentences that had hardly begun, answering questions that hadn’t quite been asked, and just by looking into each other’s eyes, they could read exactly what was going through their mind. This type of connection was so rare that neither of them wanted to give it up. However, he had to go back home. It was the end of the summer, and their affair had to end. He had taken her out for a romantic meal and then a walk along a moonlit beach before heading back to their special spot underneath the weeping willow tree. The road before them was dark and winding, "Just like my future" she thought. Not knowing what was going to happen to her without him in her life was the worst part about it. They wound their way through the small wood until they reached that spot where they had spent so much of their time together. As they sat down, he presented her with a beautiful silver necklace; it was comprised of tiny silver roses linked together with the most intricate of chain. She immediately knew the reason behind this particular choice, because she had told him months ago, when they first met that she had never been given a bunch of roses. This was infinitely better that a bunch of flowers, as she would have to watch them wither and die, whereas this would stay with her forever. He put it around her neck and smiled as he looked at her, this would be the picture he carried with him in his mind, for she was wrong about him. He would think about her, maybe not as much as she thought of him, but he would look back at the summer and remember the most wonderful summer of his life. He had met the one person around whom he could be himself; he didn’t have to hide any longer, as she knew him inside out.

They spent the night looking at the stars as they followed their silent trail across the heavens, and when the morning light began to break they headed back for the last time. When everything was packed up and he was ready to go, he looked her in the eye and told her for the first and last time that he loved her, truly madly deeply loved her as he would love no other. As his car pulled out, she stood in the road and cried as if her heart had imploded in her chest. Then she felt for the roses around her neck and knew that, even if he never did think of her again, she had become a different, better person because of him, and would remain so from that summer onwards. She only wished she could have thanked him for making her this way, but she never found the words to say it.

They never saw each other again, or even spoke. It was too painful for either of them at that time. But who knows what the future has to bring…if it was truly meant to be then their paths will cross one more time and maybe even intertwine forever more.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The End of an Era?

I have been reading Stephen King’s The Dark Tower Series for over a year now, on and off. All the books have come from the library, and I’ve had to wait for them to come in, so in between I’ve been reading other books. But for the majority of that time, Roland and his Ka-Tet have been a major part of my life. However, I’m now about 2/3 of the way through the final book, and as much as I want to be finished, to see how he fares, I don’t want them to be gone from my life. It may sound really silly, but I get so into books that I often wonder what the characters are doing when I’m not reading it. I’ll sit at work and find myself thinking about Eddie and Susannah, wondering what they’re up to, and how they’re doing. Then I have to have a reality check and remind myself that they are in fact just characters. But for those who have read the series, you’ll know that the characters turn up in New England to pay Steven King a visit. It is very strange, and quite hard to explain to people, but it grounds the whole story, and makes me wonder if in fact Steven King did have a vision of the protagonist and his friend.

I really can’t wait to finish and for the past few nights I’ve been up until stupid o’clock in the morning, because I just can’t book the brick of a book down. But then what do I do when I’m finished? I have a whole pile of books to read, but they won’t be about Jake, Oy and the gang. I’ve read books before where I wonder about the characters when I’m not reading, but never to this extent. It’s never taken me a whole year to read a series pretty much non-stop. They are just the most amazing books. I was reading a passage last night about 2 of the characters (I won’t mention too much in case there are people reading them!) travelling through a very dark tunnel. There are lightbulbs overhead that turn on as you approach and dim as you walk away. King mentions the shapes that their shadows make on the floor, as they walk. This adds nothing to the story line, and as I read it I thought it quite a pointless sentence, but then the description added a great amount the whole atmosphere of the passage. I’m afraid of the dark…I’ll admit it, I’m 22 and afraid of the dark, and the way King describes this tunnel absolutely terrified me. It was almost as if they could touch the dark, and as for me, well I was right there with them, in the pitch dark, just running.

I guess that once I’m done I’ll just have to move on the next book that I have in my list, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I started to read it while waiting for The Dark Tower to come into the library, but I had to stop. So I’ll start that one again, and move from Out-World to Hogwarts. That’s the wonderful thing about books, the constant changing scenery.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A Homage to a Great One!

I forgot to mention before, last week I went to Alton Towers, a big theme park just up the road with my friends from home! It was an awesome day, full of adrenaline and giggles! We went on all the major rides and in a homage to Wil Wheaton, I had to "Throw the Goat" on every one! In all the photos there’s me \m/ -ing away! I don’t have any of the photos to show you, I’m afraid, because they’re always so expensive at places that like, but I just wanted to let you all know! So Wil, keep rocking!

Dreams will come true

I have to apologise for the lack of postings recently; I have been wicked busy at work recently, which is the only time I had for updating. However, hopefully now things will change! Thanks to my sister’s boyfriend, my laptop at home went from being pretty much dead, taking forever to load anything, with absolutely no hope of connecting to the internet to being almost like brand new. It’s faster, and he managed to reconfigure stuff so that I could install the Internet on it again! YEY! So now I will be able to blog from home as well as ‘illegally’ from work!

I can’t believe that it’s the 13th September already. This year is flying by, I’m sure I say that every year, but this year has just disappeared. Recently I have been thinking a lot about various anniversaries. The 4 years it has been since 9/11, which means that come September 17th, it’ll be 4 years since I first started University. We’re coming up on a year since I moved to Derby after graduation, and of course that 1 year it’s been since I finished University. I guess time just flies by when you’re having fun huh!?

Every now and then I have random reality checks…not only did I start university, I finished it! I’m now a graduate; I have letters after my name! My time at Uni was amazing, I loved every minute of it, especially now that I can look back on it, and not actually do it! I’m sure that were parts that I didn’t enjoy, like all the essays and presentations we had to do, but hindsight is a wonderful thing, is it not? Anyway, I digress, the thing is, its now been over a year since completing my studies, and just under a year since I decided to move back up to Derby in order to find a job that I really wanted to do. Now that I’m here, and have been for a while, I’m still not sure what that is. I’ve pretty much always known that I wanted to work in films (except for a brief period when I was younger when I declared that I was going to clean space shuttles for a living – somebody has to do it!!!) but as I have little to no experience, finding a job is proving very difficult. But I’m a firm believer in the though that if you want something enough, it’ll happen. I know that belief alone is not enough, and it takes a great deal of groundwork to get where you want to be. My mom is always telling me that I’m waiting for Steven Spielberg to come and knock on my door with a job for me. And it’s true I guess, I haven’t done a huge amount to get myself on the track of my perfect job, and I think it’s because I’m scared. What if I find somewhere to gain the experience I need, and find out that I’m not suited for the job, or more importantly incapable of doing the job? For years now, I’ve had my heart set on working on film sets ultimately to end up as a script supervisor, but taking that first step to make it happen is proving harder than I thought it would be. But I’ve come to the stage in my life right now, where I’m bored of working in the same job, that I only started as temp, to fill the time until I found what I really wanted to do. So I’m going to send out CV’s to as many places as I can, and I’m going to find my dream job!

Just on a side note I’d like to congratulate the England Cricket Team for regaining The Ashes yesterday! For those who don’t know, The Ashes Tournament takes place between Australia and England – notorious rivals when it comes to cricket. The Tournament winners get to keep a tiny urn containing the ashes of some stumps burnt after a game many years ago. I won’t bore you all with the details here, just in case you’re not cricket fans, but basically, we won The Ashes back after the Auzzies have had them for 16 years! This year’s team will be remembered for many years to come! GOOD JOB BOYS!!!!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Random Musings from an Awesome Week!

Wow, what a week and what a weekend. I have a lot to catch up on! I’ve had a mega busy week at work, which has meant that I’m way behind on all my regular blog reading! I need a weekend just to catch up on that! But I wouldn’t have changed by week at all. Last Monday I took the afternoon off so that I could travel down to London to watch Weezer! WOW! I think that’s pretty much all I can say on that one. They were incredible. The band were playing at the Hammersmith Apollo, which was much smaller than I was expecting, but it wasn’t a bad thing, as it meant that my friend Beck and I got a wicked good view of them all! We were far enough way from the front so that we weren’t totally squished in the mosh pit, but close enough that they were all still fairly big and not tiny dots on the horizon! They played all the classics from The Sweater Song, through to Photograph and then some of their new ones from the new album. For the encore everyone was watching the stage as expected, but then we heard a small voice saying, "Hello, Helloooo", so we turned around to see Rivers Cuomo sat on the balcony amidst the crowd with his guitar. He kicked off the encore by giving us an acoustic rendition of Holiday, (Hip Hip!). It was amazing! This is the song that really got me into Weezer a couple of years ago, and whenever I hear it, I can see my friend Eddie from the States and it brings back the wonderful memories of my time at college there. I absolutely love it, and so to hear it sung acoustic while stood there with one of my closest friends (who was at college with us) gave me goose-bumps and make the hair on the back of my neck stand on end! They then finished their set with Hash Pipe and You Take Your Car…I’ll take My Board. A thoroughly amazing night to say the least – one of the best gigs I have ever been to.

Then Tuesday night was a leaving do for my friend Jon from work. He’s heading back to university in a couple of weeks, so we had a night out. It was a lot of fun, spent drinking cocktails and chatting for the last time as big group for probably a very long time. I have to say although I’ve only known Jon for a few months; it feels very strange at work without him. I’m just so used to sitting at my desk and then seeing Jon rushing in the door a few minutes late, and wondering what coloured shirt and tie (he was the ONLY guy in our office to wear a shirt and tie every day without fail) he had on that day. I’m sure I’ll see him again, but work just seems different now he’s gone.

Then on Thursday night I went to the movies with my friends Sarah and Emma, to see Crash. Yep, it’s only just reached us over here in the UK. But it was incredible! A truly honest film, it was so hard-hitting that when it finished we didn’t really know what to say to each other, but also at times it was very touching, making me cry on more than one occasion! In my personal opinion, some of the acting could have been better, but it didn’t distract from the film’s crucial message. The movie was not really what I was expecting, but it was very clever. I loved the way all the central characters were linked to each other, by one means or another. I urge you to go and see this movie if you haven’t already.

Then on Friday I went down to Letchworth, near London to stay with my older sister and her boyfriend. They have just recently installed surround sound into their living room, to go with their 110" screen and projector. Now for me, the ultimate movie to watch on a big screen with surround sound is Top Gun! It is my favourite movie, and I’ve never been able to watch it in cinema surroundings…but now I have!!! It was the main reason for going to stay with Liz, apart from to spend time with her of course!!! At one point we thought there was a leak in the kitchen, but in actual fact, it was just the sounds of the showers coming through the speakers behind us. I loved it! We spend most of the weekend relaxing, watching movies and the England Cricket games against Australia – which we won by the way! YEY!

Then on Monday I met up with Beck again, and we went to a place called Belvoir Castle (pronounced Beaver!) for a day of jousting! I love anything remotely Medieval, and jousting in particular. When I was about 9, my family went to Las Vegas, and stayed in the Excaliber Hotel. Underneath they had a large stadium where they put on jousting shows, while you eat dinner…with your hands. For a 9-year-old, it was a major treat to eat with your hands, and the show was incredible. It really felt as if we had gone back in time. The same thing happened on Monday. When we first arrived we had a picnic on the grass next to the car, which consisted of olives, hummus, chips, salad and a few sandwiches. Then we headed up to the castle, the present building dates back to the 18th Century, but there has been a castle there for many hundreds of years. The architecture was beautiful, with large gothic windows, turrets and an enormous grand entrance. Again, I love things like that because I have such a vivid imagination I can imagine all the people that would have lived here. Walking up the driveway towards the door I could see all the carriages bring guests to the party being held that night, the horsemen navigating their way through the entrance archway to the front door. I could see the ladies in their gorgeous flowing dresses being helped down by their men dressed smartly in their suits and tails. The tour of the inside was just as vivid. The rooms were so ornate, and spacious, and each had a card mounted so that you could read just what went on in each one. There was a ball room with a high ceiling and wooden floor, perfect for dancing the night away, then next door was the State Dining Room, complete with tables laid up with the finest silver, and candle sticks. My favourite room however, has to be the Kitchen. In almost every stately home/castle I’ve been to, the Kitchen has been the best room for me. I think its because I enjoy cooking so much, and also because it conjures up the most images in my mind. I can feel the heat from the large ovens and fires, smell the delicious meals being created, and see the Head Cook in her white apron running the staff. The kitchen at Belvoir was huge! I think you could have fitted almost my entire house into that one room. There was a large sturdy wooden table at one end with hundreds of dents and marks in it that just showed its age. The walls were lined with copper pots both tiny and giant. Unfortunately we didn’t get to spend as long in there as I would have liked, because we had to make our way outside for the jousting.

We found a spot on the hill, overlooking the tilt. Then just as the excitement was getting too much to bear, in came the knights on their magnificent horses. There were 4 in total, 2 from the Belvoir camp and 2 from the camp of The Black Knight, and these were the ‘bad’ Knights. There was the Black Knight, who rarely played to the rules and liked to make his own up, and his noble right hand man. Then in the Belvoir camp there was the Tournament Champion, and his noble sidekick Sir Frederick – the Drunken Lord! The Tournament consisted of sword fights, with 2 handed swords, 1 ½ handed swords and the regular 1 handed swords, axe fights, and of course the jousting. The crowd was fantastic, especially the children, who would jeer at the Black Knight, and cheer when the Champion won a fight. The whole competition lasted for about an hour, but it just flew by. It was so much fun, even when it started to rain a little bit; no one really battered an eyelid. At the end we were told that the Knights would be available for photos and autographs on the top courtyard, so Beck and I headed up that way and sat for a while looking over at the tremendous view of the valley beyond the expanse of the castle grounds. I had about 3 photos left on my camera, so I decided that I wanted a photo of the Black Knight, so I fought my way through the mass of 7/8 year olds so that I could stand next to the man himself. I did feel a bit silly, being nearly 23 and wanting a photo with a Knight, but I figured, "what’s better than pretending to be a kid again?" So I did it! The whole day was just great, and I’m hoping to go to Nottingham at the end of October to see the Knights in action again!

Well I think that’s about it for right now, I’m sure I’ve got so much to catch up on, but I’m afraid It’ll have to wait!

Take care everyone!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Girlie Drive 2005 (Pt. 2)

Still no photos as yet I'm afraid, you'll have to wait for those! I will try and get them on though!

Wednesday was a wicked day, again, we woke up early so that we could make good time to Dover, to catch the ferry over to France…FOR THE DAY!!! A day trip to France…I guess that’s the luxury of living so close to other countries. The drive took about ½ hour, and then we had a little wait for the ferry, but before long we were driving into the wide-open mouth of the ferry bay. The journey over took about 1 ½ hours so we had plenty of time to look around the ship, and shop for duty free! We took a turn around the top deck in the sunshine, and imagined ourselves to be on the first class section of the Titanic (obviously hoping not to come to the same fate!). We then arrived into Calais where I took over the driving to get us to the City Europe shopping centre. We were in our element; a haven full of clothes shops, shoe shops, gift shops, a food court, the most Enormous hypermarket. We didn’t quite know where to start! So we headed straight for the H & M! We spend quite a long time in there, trying on countless tops, skirts and trousers. However, because we didn’t have much money, it was just browsing and not buying. From there we just wondered around, looking in the little gift shops, and seeing so many beautiful things that we could we have bought. All that shopping had worn us all out, and we were ready for some food. We headed to the food court to try and find somewhere that we could agree on to eat. We settled for a nice authentic French meal, served by a real French waiter, in a pub called The John Bull Pub. How ironic is that? It certainly made us giggle! Before we knew it, it was time to go and we hadn’t even done our alcohol shopping yet! So we literally ran around the Hypermarket, picking up some wonderful French Brie along the way, to get to the wine section. We found a box of red wine in the shape of an old wooden keg that held 5 Litres. That’s 6 ½ bottles of wine, all for 10 Euros (about £7/$12 (I think!). That’s sooooo cheap! Having acquired our stock of wine etc, we hotfooted it back to the car to make it back to the ferry on time. The journey back was less exciting, as we were all tired out from our day’s shopping. We spent that night watching the TV and chilling out relaxing, before our long drive across the country from Kent to Cornwall the next day.

We started the day with a good breakfast of bacon and egg sandwiches, then packed up the car and said our goodbyes once again. We made pretty good time to get to Stonehenge by lunchtime. We pulled off the main road, and could feel the serenity and energy in the air. Stonehenge is a very spiritual place where many Ley Lines cross. The stones themselves are ancient and I find it very hard to fathom that somebody actually built it. I wish that there were a definite answer as to what it actually is, and why it was built. There are so many different theories. When we got there, I was totally disgusted to find out that you now have to pay £5 to walk around the stones. People go there to find peace and it is very popular with the Druids on this country, but now you have to pay. For some, it would be like having to pay to go into a church. The thing that really annoyed me about this is that there would be no upkeep of the site, as it is just stones, but they have built a cafĂ© and a visitors centre etc. and that it what your then entrance fee goes to pay for. I voiced my disgust very loudly indeed! Anyway, rant over! After lunch in the sunshine we got going again, and after a few more stops to change drivers, we finally made it home at about 5.30pm. By the time we got home, we were shattered, so just sat in the garden with a nice Gin and Tonic, and played some childhood games for a few hours. I live in the middle of nowhere and the peace and quiet is something I cherish whenever I’m home. Sitting my garden, for the majority of the time, you can hear no manmade noise at all – its wonderful! That night we enjoyed a lovely dinner of fish fajitas…mmmmm! The next day we all had breakfast around the table together, and then headed off to Looe, a small fishing town in Cornwall. We went and played on another beach, then because it was so busy there, we found some secluded rocks and watched the sea rolling in and out, taking in that amazing sound of the waves crashing over and over again. With the sunshine out in full, we could very easily have fallen asleep to that sound, but as it was we all decided it was high time for some ice cream! And boy, was it delicious! Proper Cornish Clotted Cream ice cream is something that is not matched by any one (the only ones to come close, in my mind are Ben and Jerry!). However, we were careful not to fill ourselves up too much, as were going out to dinner that night at the Pub/Restaurant where I used to work last summer. It was nice to catch up with all the old staff again, and although I love my life in Derby, I do miss working there. The food was amazing, as usual – I started with tiger prawns wrapped in filo pastry with a sweet chilli dip, that had just enough of a bite to it to make your tongue tingle. That was followed by a swordfish steak with red pepper sauce and new potatoes, with seasonal vegetables, the colours looked wonderful on the plate and the flavours melded together in perfect harmony. After that, I was pretty full, but the Tiramisu at the Rifle Volunteer is to die for, so I just HAD to squeeze a little in! It was a great night spent with my friend Ania from home too, and the 4 of us chatted the night away and did a great deal of giggling. We were so stuffed after all the food and drink that when we got home we went straight to bed to sleep it all off!!!

Saturday it decided to RAIN – ALLLL DAY! An old friend of Daisy’s that she hadn’t seen for about 3 years was getting married in Plymouth that day, so we all got dressed up and trekked into town. We managed to find the registry office in plenty of time, so we had about ½ hour to sit and watch the people coming and going. Eventually the bride appeared and so we all headed into the room in which the ceremony would take place. The service itself was beautiful, but the thing about registry office weddings is that they are very much one in one out…we could hear the people outside waiting to come in for their wedding, which spoiled it a little bit. Also, because the weather was so gloomy, it dampened the mood slightly. Daisy managed to speak to her friend briefly, but as they had 3 years worth of stuff to catch up on, neither of them really knew where to start, so we didn’t stay long. The rain was getting to us all so we decided we would head to the old part of Plymouth, the Barbican (where the Mayflower steps are, I love it there!) and get something to eat. We were going to have a wonder around, as that part of Plymouth has a much nicer atmosphere than the city centre, but it was just too wet and cold, so we headed home to a nice hot cup of tea! That night there was a Barn Dance in my local village hall. It was the perfect way to end a wicked week. There was a mixture of people there, but the majority of them were either parent aged or very young. Daisy, Kim and I were the only ones in our early 20s, but that didn’t stop anybody having a lot of fun. To start with we were a bit apprehensive, but then once the first dance was over and we could see what was what, Kim and I were first up on the dance floor for the next one. One by one we all joined in, with me dancing with my dad and Daisy and Kim together. There was laughter bouncing off all the walls, and smiling faces surrounding the dance floor. It was just wonderful. We left feeling very tired, but buzzing with excitement and energy. A good night’s sleep was had by all that night. On Sunday, we had a lie-in until about 10.00, when we woke up to the smells of bacon, eggs, sausages etc. Brunch was being cooked in the kitchen, and smell of it all drifting down the corridor couldn’t get us out of bed quick enough. We had the works, tomatoes, beans, mushrooms, black pudding, white pudding, bacon, eggs, sausages, fried bread, hash browns and toast. It set us up perfectly for the long drive back to Derby. Saying goodbye was sad, once again, but it won’t be long until I see them again anyway. The drive back was very easy, only getting stuck once because of an accident further up, but we made it home in fairly good time, and rewarded ourselves with a nice glass of French red wine.

A great trip was had by all, and I can’t quite believe that we are all back at work again now. It was so interesting to see how each of our parents vary, and what each other’s home lives are like. We are all very different, but we manage to get on so well. It was wonderful.

Finally, I have finished the report of our trip, and I would just like to apologise in case it is very much "then we did this," "then we did that", but as very much an amateur writer, I’m not too sure of any other way of writing stuff like that. If anyone has any tips, I would welcome them openly. Thanks for reading! Take care!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Girlie Drive 2005 (Pt. 1)

Well, I’m back safe and sound after a very successful road trip. I am currently sat at work on my fourth day back, and wishing I were still on vacation! We set off from the house at about 6.30pm on Friday evening. All was a bit rushed because we were desperate to get on the road. We ended up leaving bits and pieces (including the sleeping bags!) behind, each thinking that the other had them. As it turned out, we didn’t need them anyway! We found some good tunes to listen to, including Jason Mraz, James Blunt, John Legend, KT Tunstall, Weezer and many more, and we hit the road to Norfolk. The journey was pretty easy, except for a minor hitch about 1-½ hours away from our destination when Daisy (who’s house we were going to I hasten to add) couldn’t remember the way home! We had to drive around a roundabout about 3 or 4 times before we knew the way to go. I think we successfully managed to confuse all the drivers around us by doing so, but it sure did make us all giggle! We eventually arrive into Wells-next-the-Sea at about 9.10pm, to be met by Daisy’s parents who had prepared a wonderful feast of salami, pastrami and sausage, with salad and boiled new potatoes and the best bit…the bottle of red wine! We sat around the table, taking in the sounds, smells and sights of our new surroundings. We were all ravenous, so the food was devoured within minutes, all the while Daisy’s mom was trying to ask us questions about the drive, but our mouths were too full of delicious tastes and textures. Then after we had managed to successfully drain a bottle of wine, we headed out to meet Daisy’s bother and friends in town. As it was Carnival week in Wells, there were a few bands playing on the Village Green, so we moseyed on down to spend the evening catching up with old friends. We stood laughing, chatting and drinking copious amounts of Gin! It was a wonderful start to our trip. We woke up on Saturday – CARNIVAL DAY! Daisy had told us all about the Wells Carnival, how amazing it is, with people dressed up galore, floats decorated in all sorts of themes and the general community feel. You could hardly contain our excitement, and then to top it off, we started the day by going to a Maize Maze! It was amazing…if you will! We ran in like little kids, and got totally lost but managed to find ourselves back at the start…not at all where we wanted to be. I had heard that if you keep the hedge/barrier on your left-hand side at all times, you will eventually find your way out. So we experimented with that, and lo and behold, we managed to find the exit. It was so much fun; we were messing about, and acting like young children all morning! I think it’s good for to be silly every now and then! Then as 3.00pm approached and the start of Carnival drew nearer, the excitement stepped up a level. We found ourselves a spot on the high street, armed with a pint of beer. Then, all of a sudden the beat of the drums from the marching band came drifting down the road towards us. Then about 20/25 minutes and 4 floats later the Carnival was over! I have to admit I was expecting a lot more than that. There was an Austin Powers float, with people dressed as many different characters from all the movies, an under the sea float, with children and adults alike dressed as sea creatures, a pirate float and a dance float all trying to raise money for their various clubs/charities. In between each float there were groups of people walking the route, again dressed up in all sorts of multi coloured, gaudy outfits. It was a lot of fun, but just a lot smaller than I was expecting! Then after all the Carnival excitement, we went home and had an afternoon nap to prepare ourselves for the late night partying that was to come! So that evening after a meal of quiche and chips from a lovely little pub, we headed back to the village green with another bottle of red wine to watch that evening’s band. We ended up at a house party chatting away until the wee small hours of the morning! Sunday was a recovery day spent lazily wandering around town, and then sitting on the quay gillying. This is crab catching for those who don’t know – we managed to get 4 of them, one with just one claw, so we called him Claude! But then it got far too windy and cold, so we took refuge and had a nice hot cup of tea. Then Monday was the start of the second leg. We went down to the beach in the morning, where we were totally blown away. Literally. It was so very windy, we were pretending to be super heroes in the wind! Then we came home to say our good byes to Daisy’s family. Then we hit the road once again. The drive down to Kent was really easy, with no problems at all. And we managed to make it in about 4 hours. Kim’s house is lovely, with a wonderful back garden complete with pond, inhabited by 4 frogs and some fish! I have some photos, but you’ll have to wait for them! We had a scrummy dinner of Beef stew with potatoes, and got to know Kim’s parents, as I had not met them before. Then after dinner, we walked along the beach to Kim’s local pub to meet up with some friends. It was a very local pub, with not many people in it, but a nice beer garden that we sat in until it got too cold. Then we headed home after a good catch up, via the nearest Indian takeaway to cure our hunger pangs. So a feast of chips, samosas and popadoms was enjoyed on the walk home. Tuesday we woke up fairly early so that we could get a good head start into Canterbury for a day’s shopping. Canterbury is a very pretty old city, with little side street dotted around all over the place. We did see the odd large chain store, but most of the shops were small independently owned stores with lots of lovely little goodies that you really don’t need but just have to buy! We found a very old pub called The Cherry Tree for lunch, where we found out it was about 700 years old – mind boggling! When we were all tired out, and shopped out, we headed home to go and play on the beach. Kim’s beach wasn’t as windy as Daisy’s but it did have a strange phenomenon of dead crabs. About half way up the beach for a good 300/400 meters there was a line of washed up, empty shelled spider crabs. It was horrible! I’m an arachnaphobe, so therefore ANYTHING with 8 legs gives me the creeps. Walking over these empty lifeless eight legged creatures sent shivers up my spine! But I managed to ignore them for long enough to get the water where we spent a great deal of time paddling in the freezing Channel water, pretending to surf on bits of driftwood. Then we moved up the beach further away from the evil crabs, and spent a good few hours drawing the sand, and making pretty patterns, writing stuff and taking pictures. We just about made it home before falling into bed exhausted!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Hip Hip!

Hooray! I'm going on holiday today! My housemates and I are going on a road trip to each of houses around the country. We're setting off for Norfolk this evening, and staying there over Carnival weekend and leaving on Monday for Kent. While there we are hopefully going to head over to France for a day, as it's so close, but we're not sure about that yet, we'll see. Then on Thursday it's the big one...from Kent to Cornwall. We think it will take about 6/7 hours or so to drive pretty much the width of the country, from the East Coast to the West. It will be a long day, but an adventure in itself, as we're not entirely sure of the route, so we'll be stopping off here and there along the way to give ourselves a bit of a break. When down in sunny Cornwall, we'll be visiting the Eden Project, which some of you may have seen in the latest Bond movie Die Another Day. It's wonderful down there, like visiting another planet. We might be able to make it to a beach, but I'm not sure about that one. Then on Sunday, it'll be another big drive back from there to Derby, which will also take about 6/7 hours we think. I've never been on a proper road trip beactuallyre WE actaully do the driving. I've been across countries and stuff, but never with me behind the wheel. I'm so excited, and can't wait for the last 2 ½ hours of work to fly by! However it does mean that I probably won't be posting next week, it depends how sociable I'm feeling! I will update you all on how everything went when I get back though.

I'd also just like to say Congratulations to Purple_Kangaroo and family on the birth of her new baby daughter! YEY! Welcome to the world little one!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Memories to Music

Isn’t it great how songs can transport you to another place and another time? I’m sat at work right now, listening to my MP3 player, and Dave Matthews and his band have just come on singing The Space Between. For the duration of the song, I was no longer sat in my office threatening to stick my head through my computer screen, but back in Virginia, where I worked on a Summer Camp for 12 weeks back in 2001. The song and album had just been released, and it was EVERYWHERE. As soon as that introduction starts, I can visualise the green trees, the blue sky, the tents, and all my friends. I can feel the unbearable heat and humidity, (which makes a change from the once again rainy England!) I can hear the kids laughing, enjoying being kids! Then when that trip down the lane of memories is over, I am transported to a club in Derby and it’s heading towards the end of my last year of University as Incubus’ Pardon Me (acoustic version) plays through my head. We go the Open Mic nights, and in a previous post I wrote about the old days. There was an elite, and some of them played this song. I can see them on stage, with the lights shining down on the stage surrounding the players with a bright white light, the crowd captured by the rhythm of the guitar, and harmonies, my friends are all around, some chatting, some watching intently. There is a pitcher of beer on the table, half-drunk – but still half-left! Then crowd applauds as the song draws to an end. At last I’m back in the office, but only for a swift moment as once again I’m travelling down and away from this florescent lit, silent room and I’m 8 years old sat in the back of my parents car in San Diego. A song comes on the radio by a male singer who I do not know, and he’s singing about some kind of a vessel, and a river. I later find out that this song is called The River by Garth Brooks. I fall in love with it, the words, the ideals, and the melodies. This song will be a great turning point in my life as I become one of the biggest Garth fans in the world (frowned upon by my friends up here, apparently he’s cheesy!!!!). From hearing The River we buy Ropin’ The Wind the album from which is it taken, and our collection grows from there. You know how they say that people have a theme tune; well I think that one is mine. It was the first song I learned all the way through off by heart, and if ever I’m bored or lonely with no music, it’s the first song I sing in my head. It has got me through so many times, good and bad.

Memories are one of the most important things in my life, as I have had so many experiences that I’ve loved beyond belief. And now the only thing left of them are the memories. Also, because I have such an active imagination, the memories replay themselves in my head like a movie. I can lose myself completely in them, and get away from the totally monotonous routine that is my working life. I love the fact that I have music to help me along too, I think without it, I WOULD have gone completely and utterly stark raving mad by now!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Art of Poi

When I was in Georgia on Spring Break back in 2003, I had a few lessons in Poi - The Art of Fire Spinning. It was something different that I had never even heard of before. The woman who was teaching us (I can’t remember her name anymore) was amazing. She had entered into many competitions and won a few, I think. As we were only there for 1 week, I only really mastered the basics, but I bought a set of Poi from her and went back to college and kept practising. It was so much fun, but as I didn’t know very much, it got quite boring after a while. So as so many things do, the poi got shoved into the back of a drawer to become friends with the spiders and dust. Then as I was sorting through my room last summer to redecorate, (oooh, that’s just reminded me of another post I could write!) I came across them. I took them out into the garden and had a go, I could remember pretty much everything that I had been taught, and managed to impress my parents with my very limited skills! I figured I might as well bring them back up to Derby with me, and have a play around when I get bored, and boy am I glad that I did. We have just recently met this guy called Iain, who is incredible at poi. I haven’t really met anyone else over in England who had heard of Poi, let alone able to do it! It was so exciting. The other night he came over, and we had a bit of a mini lesson out in my recently patio-ed back garden, and he taught me so many new moves. I had forgotten what it was like to have a teacher and trying to learn out of a book, or off the Internet. It always makes things so much easier when you an actually watch somebody doing it. He taught me the basics of how to a ‘Backwards Weave’, which I was struggling with and couldn’t get my head round. But that night, it just wasn’t working, so I gave up on that one. Then last night, I was a bit bored, and needed something to do to get rid of the excess energy I had. I picked up the Poi, determined to figure out the ‘Backwards Weave’. So I stood there, and played around and then after countless bruises to my back, ribs, hands and yes, even my ears, I DID IT!!!!! It was incredible! There are so many more moves you can you once you know this one. I was so excited, and just kept doing it over and over again! I didn’t want to stop, in case I couldn’t do it again! But I tried doing some other moves, and then went back to it, and I could still do it. I am proud of myself for sticking with it, and overcoming the urge to just give up, and I’m proud of Iain for showing me how to do it.
As I sit at work and write this all I want to do is go home and play some more! Only 6 hours to go!

Monday, July 18, 2005

What a Week!

It’s been a while since my last post, in case you hadn’t noticed! I’ve been a busy little bee! First of all, however, I would like to put out my condolences to the families and friends of those involved in the London Bombings. The whole country was in a state of shock, followed by complete amazement at the speed in which the emergency services and others got London back up and running. It was incredible.
Last week my friend Eddie who I met whilst at KCS came over to visit. It was the first time I had seen him in over 2 years. It was just so much fun. Everything was a little tainted by the events of the Thursday before, but we were both just so glad to see each other. When we were at Keene there was a small tight knit group of us who were always together. We would eat breakfast together if our class schedules allowed us, we would meet up again for lunch, and then we would ALWAYS have dinner together. Any other free time we had in between was usually spent with each other, playing cribbage, chatting or as usual, giggling! I will get around to writing more about my time at Keene here at some stage, for me, if nothing else, so that I have some sort of record of it. This was Eddie’s first trip to the UK, so we wanted to make it special. He came over for 2 weeks, and spent the first week in Hemel Hempstead with Beck, another of our ‘group’. Then last Saturday, I surprised him by turning up in London and we presented him with tickets to see the long running show, We Will Rock You, the Queen Tribute musical. He had wanted to go and see this, but we told him that the shows were all sold out and we wouldn’t be able to make it! Little did he know! J Now, I wouldn’t exactly call myself a Queen fan, I knew all their main songs, and most people do, but I don’t own any of their albums, but this show was absolutely heart-stoppingly amazing! It sends shivers down my spine just to think about it. The story was clever, but a little silly in places, it didn’t matter though, because the actors and singers were incredible. The first solo was by the lead character, Galilleo Figaro, who sang I Want to Break Free with the clearest, most haunting voice I have heard in a long time. He broke out into song with no note of a warning, and you could almost hear the audience gasp. From start to end we were captivated, losing ourselves in the story, egging on the protagonists, and booing the enemies! One of the last songs to be sung was We are the Champions. During which the entire audience had their arms in the air, with the exception of Eddie, who was in too much shock, so could only hold his hands about level with his ears, not really too sure what to do! Beck and I had to grab an arm each and hold it up for him. The look on his face was the highlight for me, because he was totally blown away by the whole experience. It was awesome.
Then the three of us ventured up to Derby on the Sunday to begin week 2 of Intro to UK! The weather in the first week had been less than nice, in fact it was downright miserable. It was grey, cold and rainy pretty much every day. We were so hoping for even the slightest bit of sunshine to show Eddie that we DID in face get some sun over here! Thankfully Sunday pulled through for us. The sun came out, and made everyone that little bit happier. You gotta love the sun, eh? It was almost too hot actually, but having complained all week about the rain, we didn’t feel we could complain about the sun too. When we got up to Derby after a 2 and ½ hour train ride we were ready for a drink (or many as it turned out!). Eddie had his first taste of what was to come, as many an hour was spent in the Derby bars! We fell into the house and pretty much collapsed that night, ready for some sleep. Nope, didn’t happen…it was just far too hot, and with three people sharing a room, it was even hotter. My window does Nothing whatsoever, so the night was spent complaining, with some chatting in between! Monday was just as hot, only this time we had the humidity added in with it. Yey! We spent the day lazing around, then going down to the park to teach Ed how to play Cricket. Now, I’m not sure if anyone reading this knows the rules of the game, but they are extremely complicated to learn. Once you know them, the game is simple, (like everything else in life!) so about mid way through, we got bored and turned it into baseball with a cricket bat instead. Huge amounts of fun! On one day in the week we took a trip to Nottingham, our nearest big city, to go to the Castle, which was built in the 1400’s. We wanted to show Eddie some structures that were older than the modern culture of the States! He was stunned by it, until we got inside and discovered that it was a museum. We wanted it to show how the rooms would have been were it still a castle, but no, there were modern lights, carpets, cabinets full of bits and pieces that really had nothing to do with castles. There was even a Noah’s Ark on the wall, with little doors which children could lift up to find the animals. Now tell me please, what does that have to do with 15th Century living in Nottingham? We were most disappointed, especially as we had paid to get in! However, we made up for the disappointment that night when we hit the town once again, and went on our very own haunted pub-crawl. Derby is reputed as being the most haunted city in Derby, and there are many haunted pubs and buildings around. It was a lot of fun, and luckily (I think) we didn’t get accosted by any ghosts. We ended the night with a trip to Bluenote, a rock club, where they played decent music all night, and had drinks offers on. So the three of us drank and were merry for a good few hours, made all the better with the thought that we didn’t have to get up for work the next day! The whole week was just a great deal of fun, and I miss them both terribly already, and it’s only been 3 days! They left on Friday afternoon, and when we got back the house, it felt empty and very quiet.
But I was only there for an hour before I had to go and catch a train and head down into the Westcountry, to Somerset, where I went to my first boarding school. We were having a mini reunion. I say mini, because there were only going to be 4 of us there. My friend Louise, who I have kept in good contact in the 10 years it’s been since we’ve left. Heidi who for the first 3 or 4 years after we finished, would meet up with us for a week in the summer. But then I lost contact personally, and only heard how she was doing through Louise until a couple of years ago, which was also the last time I had seen her. And Gemma who I hadn’t seen since the summer after we left in 1995. It was so exciting to catch up with people again. We headed to Burnham-on-Sea, where we went to the pub for some lunch, and had a good old catch up, reminiscing about the old days! Then we went for a walk along the beach, all the while chatting away, there was no awkwardness whatsoever, the conversation flowed easily. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, there was hardly a cloud in the sky, but there was a gentle breeze to take the harshness of the heat away. After our walk we drove to our school, we were so excited! Even though we knew that the school had closed down, and that some of the grounds had been built on, we couldn’t wait to explore what was left, and look through all the windows into the old house. However, when we drove up, it was surrounded by boards and behind them was a new structure, half built with scaffolding all around it. Our fabulous school, so full of history and memories was gone, the old chapel, which was tiny but so full of meaning, the hall, the fields the adventure playground, the tennis courts, the small wood at the end of the field where we used to make dens, and horse jumps. The place where I had spent 5 years of my life from the age of 7 to 12 was just obliterated. They were building new houses on it, and it broke our hearts. None of us knew what to say we were so close to tears. We wished we had never gone back, and kept the memory of the old ivy covered house in our minds. I couldn’t believe it. I am going to write a letter to the housing company who is building on it, just to let them know what I think about it. I know its it’s too late to change, but I just want to tell them that I don’t agree with what they’ve done. Before it became a school, it was a house, which was used as a hospital during both World Wars, the history in that building went back a long way, but more importantly (to us at least) it was the memories attached to it that felt like they were demolished. I was so looking forward to showing my grandchildren (if I have any) around, because it was a real quaint little place, that in hindsight, we all loved.
The week on a whole was fantastic, and I hope you’ve enjoyed my rather long winded rendition of it!
Hope all is well with everyone.

Monday, July 04, 2005

A Plea for Help!!!!

I don't know if any of you are familiar with a TV show called Ed, but it is one of the best things on TV!!!! Well it used to be, I'm not sure that its on any more. But this post is a plea for all people who had even a vague interest in the show, and even those who didn't to please follow this link and put your e - mail address into the box. By doing this you will be requesting to be informed when a DVD will be available, but more than that, you are demanding a DVD be made! The show apparently does want to produce a DVD box set, because they would have to pay out too much in music rights. Now, if enough people sign this to show their interest in the show, therefore making it worth their while to produce the DVD, we may be able to sit with Ed on our TV's worldwide! Please please please please sign this!!! For me if not for yourselves!!
thank you guys!
Happy 4th July to you all!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Keep at it...

One night last week, I was stood outside my back door on one of the clearest nights we'd had for a while. The plethora of stars out astounded me, as I live in the middle of a city, so usually, the only ones visible are those of the major constellations. However, this night they were out in abundance. I was determined to find a satellite, as I normally do when I'm out star gazing, no matter how long it took me to find it, I was not going back in until I'd seen one. So while I was contemplating 'Life, the Universe and Everything' staring up at the distant life that could be, I was unaware of time slipping past. Stars totally baffle me, I just can't comprehend the distance them, and the time. Also, who's to say that there's not a set of planets similar to our circling endlessly around one of those stars looking at our sun as part of a constellation, as we look at theirs? Then just when I wasn't expecting I found not one, but two satellites, continuing their lonely journeys around the earth, exploring and reporting. They were both going in different directions, and just as their paths crossed, a huge bright shooting star shot across the sky! As soon as I saw it, I made a wish, (as you do on shooting stars!), then I started to think about how if you want something hard enough, if you believe in it happens for long enough, it will invariably happen and not only that, but you'll get an added bonus with it. So, never give up your dreams, keep believing and good things will happen. It was just what I needed right then, as I was (and still am to a certain extent) having a minor crisis about what to do with my life! But it spurred me on, never to give up, to keep going no matter the cost, and the sacrifices I may need to make, I WILL keep at it, and one day I'll get to where I want to be.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Just a Quickie!

I used to update my blog as often as I could at work! Cheeky, but I was getting away with it...Until last week that is. I was called up on the amount of time I was spending on the Internet, and so now I have to cut back, A LOT! So I am afraid that until I can afford a new computer at home my posts may be a little thin on the ground. I am hugely upset by this, but there is nothing I can do I'm afraid! Not that I really have enough regular readers to mind, but hey...
So, I shall update as often as I can, without getting caught at work!!!!!
hope you are all well,
take care

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Lost for words

I've been trying to think of something to write here for the longest time, but I've been bitten by that evil bug of blankness. I was going to say writer's block, but as I don't consider myself a writer just yet, I can't say that. Maybe one day! No....No maybe's about it! Definitely one day.

I have been trying to work out what it is that I actually want to do with my life, and its proving very difficult. At the minute I'm working in a job that I don't enjoy all that much, but it's quite easy and the pay isn't that bad. It's keeping a roof over my head and food on the table. But one my biggest fears in life is ending up in a job that I've just settled for; one that's easy to do and pays ok, but means that I'll be stuck behind a desk for the rest of my life. I couldn't cope with that at all. I'm not the most active of people, but I have been working in the job for about 5 months now, and I'm more than ready to push my head through the computer screen that stares back at me for 8 1/2 hours a day, 5 days a week. I would really love to work in the film industry, as a Script Supervisor. That is my DREAM job, but I have no experience with working with films, and only a very limited amount of experience in theatre. I know its not really about what you know, and more about WHO you know, but I just can't help but think that a little experience could go a long way to getting me my dream job. As a back up, and maybe the experience that I need, I think I could work in Radio. I hate being on screen or stage, but I love talking about rubbish (as you may have guessed by this site!!!!!), so radio seems the perfect option. I think in a couple of months time when my contract at my current job runs out, I'm going to have a serious re-think of my life, and see where I am, and more importantly where I want to be. I just wish somebody could come along and tell me that everything will be ok, and I won't end up wearing my computer monitor as a hat, but that's not what life is all about, so I'll just have to wait and see.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Anyone for a drink?

I went out with my friends last night on an impromptu drinking session! As I was walking home from work, I was so looking forward to putting on my PJ's which are my favourite clothes in the Universe, curling up on my sofa with my quilt and a good movie, then going up to bed to read my book. (I'm reading Stephen King's Dark Tower Series at the minute, and I'm on Book 6! I just want to get it finished...I'm gripped.) But when I got back I was informed that our friends Ross and Gaz would be coming over for dinner, and that after that we would be going out to listen to them sing and play at a bar called Ryans, where they have another open mic night. So my plans of complete vegging were ruined. I know I didn't HAVE to go out with them, but I wasn't going to go and let them have all the fun and leave me behind! So, after a delicious dinner of Toad-in-the-Hole (which you American's might not know about and I suggest you find out, because it is the epitome of British dishes and scrummy!) I grumpily and quite loudly went upstairs and got myself ready. However, when we got there we had a large glass of red wine that went down a treat. That sorted me right out! Grumpy Rach was replaced by "wahoooooo lets get drunk" Rach! One glass of red wine turned into two glasses, which turned into 3 glasses, which basically meant that we had had a bottle of wine each! hhhmmm...Needless to say I was more than a little wobbly when leaving there. Daisy, Gaz and I decided that we would venture down to our local haunt The Friary to the Cheese night they were having. Now, I'll have to stop you there, because I know what you're all thinking...Cheese night in a club? hhmmm? By cheese I don't mean the average Brie, Cheddar, Mozzarella cheese, I mean the Build Me Up Buttercup, Eye of the Tiger, Baywatch Theme Tune kind of cheese! It was wicked cool! There were just enough people there to make it worthwhile going, but not too many so as you couldn't move. While there we drank copious amount of beer, on top of the wine, which didn't really do to much for the whole wobbliness, but we danced away, making ourselves look very silly, but really not caring!

Now, the point of this post is to tell you that when I finally stumbled through the door, trying to be quiet becuase of our housemate, who had left us earlier to go to bed (sensibly!), and made it into bed, I thought of the perfect topic to write about here. It was thoughtful, deep, inspired and just plain amazing! I worked out exactly how I would word it, and just how it would read. I fell asleep praising myself for my Geniusness. Then when I got into work today to type it up, I had completely forgotten what on earth it was about. I have been racking my brain all morning, but to no avail! aaagghhh!!!!! I'm wondering if getting drunk again will jog the old memory, or just make things worse? I guess I'll just have to try it and find out!!!!! I have the lyrics to Tenacious D's Tribute going through my head, where they write the Greatest Song in the World, and then forget it! tee hee Oh well, I'm sure it'll come back to me at some point. I think the lesson I need to learn from this is: STOP DRINKING! We'll see! :-)

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Real or Facade?

I was e mailing Warren the other day, when I started to think about celebrities and other famous people. You see I am a complete and utter Tom Cruise NUT! I just think he is amazing! It all started when I was 7 years old, (7 years and 11 1/2 months to be precise!), and for some reason my Dad gave my Mom a photo of Tom Cruise for Christmas. Even at that age I thought to myself, "Oohhh, who's that?!?!" My parents said in unison, "That's Tom Cruise, star of Top Gun" Being that young, I didn't have a clue what they were talking about, so for my 8th birthday two weeks later, I was allowed to watch the movie! My parents edited bits of it however, as it is actually a 15 rating! I was stunned....I immediately fell in love with this man Tom Cruise. My former crush of Jason Donovan, (who most Americans will probably not have heard of) was forgotten about and my new man had taken over. Ever since then, 14 years later, I'm still in love! :-) I worship the man - to a certain extent - which I find completely baffling. After all he is just a man. So he's got more money than I could even imagine, and his face is always in some magazine or another, but he goes to sleep just as we humans do, he bathes just as we do, he has a family he cares about, but for one reason or another he just doesn't seem REAL. As I was thinking about this the other day, I was wondering how much of what we see of these people is actually them. Do they put on a facade for the cameras coming across as one thing, but then when they got home and away from the press do they change completely? Tom Cruise comes across in interviews as being such a nice guy. I read once that when he was at a premier, a nurse got hit by a car; he stayed with her until the ambulance came then paid her $15,000 hospital fee for her. Then the other day I heard that while he was filming War of the Worlds, he took the cast and crew out to Dairy Queen, and on the counter was a jar raising money for a young girl who needed an operation, and apparently he put $5,000 cash in it! How much of this is really true, and if it is, is done out of selflessness, or just for publicity? I would love to believe that it was an act of kindness with no ulterior motive involved, because I want to believe that he is the 'perfect' guy.
But I guess that everyone with an ounce of influence on society is the same. They have to be so careful of what they say and do in public because they are aware of the following they have. The slightest thing could damage their whole career, or on the other hand, give them that much more better publicity that their influence then becomes greater. It would be nice to think that what we see on our screens and magazines etc. Is an exact representation of their true personalities, because otherwise I think I would feel a little cheated, as if I was being lied to. But on the other hand, I can understand why they would hide their true selves from the millions of adoring (and no so adoring) fans, to protect themselves. It must be hard to live such a public life!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Hanging with Hippies

As I mentioned in my previous post, I went to Georgia for my Spring Break when I was at Keene State College. It was the most amazing week ever, where I met some wonderful people who changed my life, but I doubt if I'll ever see again. My friend Beck had been a couple of years before and persuaded us to make the 30+hour bus ride from Keene to Brunswick, GA. I'm so glad that she did.
When we arrived to the Hotel in the Forest, all backpacked up to the ears, we were taken straight to the hub of the hostel, where we paid up for our week's stay. As soon as you walked into the gates of the hostel, the whole atmosphere changed. People changed. The noises changed. It was incredible. We were then shown to our 'treehouse'. It was really a Hut on Stilts, with 8 bunkbeds on the top floor, and hammocks slung from the ceiling on the ground floor. We put our stuff down and decided who was going to be first in the shower. There were only 2/3 showers, so we had to take it in turns. Especially as they were outdoor showers, with very little shelter. Luckily they were quite deep into the forest, with many trees to camouflage you. Our nearest Shower was called the Angel shower, and there were a few angel statues dotted around, and a huge full length mirror. The shower spout was attached to a tree surrounded by boardwalk, so that you could stand underneath the water looking out onto nature herself. It was so peaceful, with hardly a sound at all, other than the running water. Once we were all clean and dressed again - without shoes I'd like to add...There had been quite a bit of rain the week before, so all the paths were quite muddy and sandy, so you just didn't wear shoes, I didn't see a pair of shoes all week - we walked back to the main part of the hostel, where we were given a quick guided tour. Beck remembered most of it anyway, and she was thrilled to be back again. There was a certain serenity to the place that just took over, and I think we became very different people. We were just in time for the free dinner that you get every night, and we walked into the dining room to see everyone standing in a circle around the room holding hands. We duly joined in, not really too sure what to expect, when one of the managers informed us that at this time every day, everyone gathers to say their name, where they come from and what they are thankful for, for that day. At first we all felt slightly awkward, not really too sure what to say, I think we all managed to stammer out our thankfulness for our safe journey, and our friends and family back at home. By the end of our stay, we were so relaxed in our surroundings that we were thankful for the birds and the trees; the sky and the lake; the incredible people we had met there...I could go on. I think that was one of my favourite parts of the Hostel.
As I've just mentioned we met some unbelievable people during our stay in the forest. There was a group of people touring the states in a Camper Van named Georgia Peaches! One guy was called Ralf and he was as big as a bear! He was huge with broad shoulders with long dark hair and a big beard! He was slightly grizzled with age, but still had the glisten of youth in his friendly eyes. You would have expected him to have a great booming voice, but he didn't, he spoke quite softly, as if not to disturb the nature that surrounded us. He wore a long thick poncho, and gave the best hugs I think I've ever had in my life. Because of his great size, he just enveloped you in his arms and for those few moments in that embrace, you knew that if the world collapsed around your ears right then, you would not be harmed, because you were protected from everything. I would give anything to have another of those hugs. I remember one night, a small group of us had been talking until quite late, and when it was decided that it was time for bed, the 4 of us stood up and had a 'group hug' with Ralf being the 'centre'. We must have stayed like that for a good 5 minutes, but it didn't matter, because once again the world was right. No one felt the need to talk, the silence was not awkward - just peaceful.
There was another man whose name was Colonel Jack Cornflower. (How cool is that?????) He was phenomenal. I swear he saw the world in numbers! He taught us all about the Mayan calendar, and that numbers were the basis of the Mayan Culture. (There are loads of great websites out there if anyone's interested. I won't link them, as there are just too many.) We would sit and talk for hours and hours about all sorts - the UK, travelling, stars, the universe, culture, food....You name it - we talked about it! He knew how to read people, how to discourage their insecurities and encourage their inner self to be true. There were many other amazing people staying at the hostel, from families with small children, to more spring breakers like ourselves, to people with busy day jobs who just wanted to get away from it all. What struck me the most was how these people would come down to Georgia and live the ideal (to me!) lifestyle of being close to nature, recylcing everything, living off the land etc, and then inform us that they were IT Consultants in Detroit, or Piano Tuners in Boston, or Photographers in New York...It was almost as if they, and us to a certain extent, were leading a double life. It was fascinating to me.
The week we were there was the week in which the USA declared war with Iraq, but because we were so cut off from all civilization with no TV or radio, and just one telephone, most of us didn't have a clue. To be honest, I liked it that way. On the Wednesday night the owner of the Hostel came had held a meeting on the porch of the main building. It was then that he broke the news to us - obviously the mood changed, and went from being a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere to very somber, withdrawn. As the gathering broke small groups just drifted away to discuss the topic at hand, until later on when nature seemed to take over again, as if she was telling us that there was nothing we could do about what had happened, so just accept it, and go with our lives. And after all - who are we to argue with Nature!?
It was just the most incredible week ever, and I WILL be back at some point. There are so many people I want to take there, because they have heard so much about it! I just can't wait for the time to come when my opportunity arises, I'll snap it up in an instant! And if any of you are ever in the Georgia area (!) pop on down to Brunswick (well just outside) and stay at the Hostel in the Forest!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I've been Tagged!

Thanks to Lorianne I've been tagged for the latest Book Meme for the first time! It's sooo exciting! She tagged me because I'd had to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig whilst at Keene State College, and as she wrote, "lived to tell the tale". I loved that book, where as many of my class mates couldn't finish it. I read it whilst on spring break in a hostel in Georgia. I think it was the perfect situation to enjoy such a book, being surrounded by forest, sleeping in hammocks, swimming in lakes. I think that's one of the main reasons I loved it so much. Anyway, that's not what I'm talking about...I'll save that for another time.

1. Total Number of Books I've Owned: Oooh, that's a real tough question...Too many to count I would think. I recently had to sort out my room at home, and I came across so many books that I had forgotten I owned, that go all the way back to when I was learning to read. I had to give most of them away, but I kept hold of the real important ones, like
Mrs Merryweather's Letter and Katherine Paterson's Bridge to Terabithia. Along with my childhood books, lined up on my bookshelf are the many text and literature books from my university course. American Studies entailed a great deal of reading, and many of the texts we had to read were actually quite good (as far as compulsory reading goes!!!!), so I kept most of them. Counting those, I have a goodly sized bookshelf full of books of all genres, styles and ages!

2. Last Book I Bought: To be honest, I can't remember. I know that the last book I got out of the Library was Stephen King's Wolves of the Calla - Book 5 of the Dark Tower Series. I have a feeling the last book I bought was
Cinderlily by David Ellwand. It's the most beautiful book, telling the story of Cinderella, but by using flowers as the characters. The photography and the colors are just so stunning. David Ellwand has also done a book called faerie-ality, which is a catalogue of clothes...For FAIRIES! He has made them all out of feathers, leaves and petals etc. Again, the photography and illustrations are breath-taking. I love it!

3. Last Book I Read: William Langeweische's
American Ground - The Unbuilding of the World Trade Center. It was one of our course books, for our module on 'The American Apocalypse'. I didn't read it at the time...*ooops* but decided that I would read it now. It was amazing. I can't really say that I enjoyed it, because it's not really the sort of subject matter than you can enjoy, but I'm glad I read it. William Langeweische was the only journalist allowed unlimited access to Ground Zero during the unbuilding. He delves into the details of the whole process from day 1 until the day the Foundation Hole was totally cleared, outlining the key players, from the Firemen, the Police and the Engineers to the crowds of public that poured out in the early stages, as the 'bucket brigade'. The imagery Langeweische creates is incredible, at one point he describes in great detail remnants of Building 7, The Banker's Trust Building, and the state in which it was left; there were briefcases still on tables, the plates of breakfast left exactly as they were, forgotten in the immense panic, covered in a layer of grey dust, unifying everything as one. It sent shivers down my spine. I'm not sure it's the sort of book that I could read again, but I'll keep hold of it anyway, just in case.

4. Five Books That Mean A Lot To Me:
There is a quote from the movie Ever After, when Nicole is asked to chose a book from shelves and shelves full, she replies, "I could no sooner pick a favorite star from the heavens." This is just what I feel at having to pick 5 books. I thought it would be quite difficult, as I started to get into reading a quite a late stage, but actually, I keep thinking of more and more....So here they are as I feel at the moment. They could possibly change before tomorrow!
Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransom
This was the first book I read where I was actually there in the story with them. Instead of it just being words on a page, I was taking part in the action, I was a part of their group. To add to all this, I read it while we were on a family holiday in Norfolk, on a boat! It was perfect. I could not put it down. When I was growing up, my older sister ALWAYS had her nose in a book, and it would drive me nuts...All I wanted was for her to play with me, which she would do at the insistence of my parents to shut me up!!!! But that summer when I was about 11 years old (I think), I didn't pester her once. I just wanted to sit and read my book! Ever since that summer, MY nose has always been in a book.
Listen for the Singing - Jean Little
Over the years since that summer, almost every book I have read has been on the recommendation of my sister. I had a good 5/6 years to catch up on! One year, she gave me this one to read. It is about a young German girl who's family re-locate to Canada during the war. Anna Solden is 14 years old, and has to adjust to life in high school after years of special classes due to her bad eyesight. When her older brother is called up to fight, and returns blind, the whole family has to come to terms with the tragedy. But it is Anna who helps him come to terms with his blindness, and the bond between them becomes stronger than ever. I chose this book because it was the first book to affect me so deeply that it made me cry. I remember sitting on my bed, and not being able to see the words properly because they were all blurry! Since then, I've become a complete Sop, and I cry over all sorts! :-)
The Alchemist - Paulo Cohelo
This book comletely blew me away. There was so much in it that I could identify with, but at the same time, it brought up new points of view, and subjects that I had never thought of before. Cohelo's writing style is so different to anything I had read before, it was quite simple and easy to read, yet dealing with the most complex of ideas. If anyone hasn't read this, I urge - yes that's an URGE - you to read it!
The Smoke Jumper - Nicholas Evans
This is written by the same guy who wrote The Horse Whisperer - his first novel. The Smoke Jumper is about 2 friends who have grown up together, and work together during the summer months working to prevent and attack forest fires in Montana. Having read this book (and Evans' others) I have vowed that I WILL one day live in Montana. He manages to paint pictures with his words of the mountains, the plains, the forests. The story was amazing, and I was hooked from the first sentence. There is so much emotion in this book, the pain, the love, the hurt, the forgiveness. I could not put it down at all. I finished it at about 3am, and just sat there in complete awe, and I guess a little bit of shock. I couldn't think of a single thing to say (that was coherent anyway!!!). I don't know if anyone else has done anything similar, but while I was reading it, I was listening to Norah Jones' Come Away With Me, and to this day, when I hear any song from that album, I can see what's going on in the book.
My final book isn't actually a book, but a series - if I can get away with that.
The Belgariad - David Eddings
It's a series of 5 books which tells of a young boy's journey of self discovery and growth from a farm hand into the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Yep, this is where my love of science fiction/fantasy novels began. Again, it's all because of my sister, who threw the first book Pawn of Prophecy into my hands and told me to give it a try. Which I duly did with a great deal of encouragement from her, because the opening was very tough going and I so nearly gave up. I'm so glad I didn't and ended up reading all 5 books in about 3/4 weeks, which for me, was huge. I remember one Sunday morning sitting at the dining room table waiting for breakfast, and my mom walking in and being stunned by the fact that I was sat there with a book! Although it's obviously a fantastic story, the characters are believable, and likeable, which means that once they are introduced, the whole saga takes off and is totally gripping! Because of this series, I've read pretty much everything that David Eddings has ever written!

5. Tag five people and have them do this on their blog:
Because I do not know many other bloggers yet, I'm going to have to put the people who's blog I read regularly:
Smithee - I would be interested to read what Smithee has to say as she is an English teacher! (I think!)
Jeckles - Who's blog I have recently found and been loving completely! You should all go and check out his post today! It's wicked! I know he was battling "The White Space" earlier this week, so this should sort that out!
Richard Lawrence Cohen - I found his blog totally by accident, but it turned out that I read one f his books for my dissertation last year! How strange is that? The first post I read had me hooked completely, and now I'm a regular visitor!
Brian - again, I think I found his blog by following links here and there, and was honoured when he left a comment on my blog. His posts are varied and entertaining! And keep me going through my week at work!
and finally,
Batonga - who is jetting off to Hawaii soon, and I'm very jealous. I hope you'll find time to squeeze this in before you go!
I hope you all enjoyed that! I certainly did. Thanks Lorianne!