Saturday, December 08, 2007

Last temp tango

Well I haven’t blogged for ages but that’s not, er, really unusual for me. However, I did have high hopes for this month. After attempting National Novel Writing Month, (I got to 9000 words rather than 50000 but still my heart was there) I decided that December would be my National Blog Writing Month. That actually hasn’t happened yet but I’m going to make a start from today, and keep posting daily to 8 January.

So a quick update – after 3 years of temping hell (Addecco, Pertemps, Hays I’ve had them all) I now start a fixed term job on Monday. I’m so temp institutionalised that I can’t get round the idea that I’ll get a salary – that I won’t have to do a timesheet every week feels very strange. Plus I have a pension, sick pay, holiday pay, and money off at the gym. Hurrah!

What else? Still no whisker of a love life but I did finally break my 18 month ‘no relations’ spell with an old friend from university. To be honest , there aren’t many gentleman callers on the scene but I can see some possibilities.

So I’ve just been hanging out, going to the cinema, reading, and clubbing at Edinburgh’s new gay club GHQ. Edinburgh’s gay scene is small so it was about time for a new venue. GHQ is swanky, and big but still lacks something. It still hasn’t settled in and the music policy seems to be playing Britney Spears ‘Gimmie More’ in several different versions several times.

Blog wise I’ve still been enjoying my craft blogs, and I was so inspired that I made a small yellow bag. Although using easy webbing instead of sewing together probably wasn’t the best idea. I’ve also been enjoying book blogs. Dovegreyreader – a nurse by day, and a voracious reader at night and at the weekend is fascinating. I’m always impressed by how many books she can read (she has 6 on the go at all times) and can read any style, and any book from any time or country. I’m also secretly jealous of all the free books she gets – ooh I love a free book.

God, this entry is dragging so I’ll finish it up. But as we are getting nearer to Christmas – I’ll ask ‘What would you like for Christmas this year?’

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

My Friend Flickr

My new favourite internet hobby is to go on to flickr and type in various random stuff to see what comes up. Well perhaps not so random. A few months ago I needed a bookcase, I did not know what kind and I wanted to know the best way to display my books. In went bookshelves, and I literally got tons of bookcases and bookshelves in various lounges of the world – some bohemian, some posh, some grungy and others just plain weird.

I realised that by typing in the most banal thing I could find the most unusual things and some great blogs. So far I’ve searched for desks, writing spaces, notebooks, moleskine, reading, shopping, and er, coffee. And strangely I’ve been able to find all these objects with cats on them, near them, and indeed with them.

From a bookshelf search I found the website of Wendy who blogs about her knitting and life. (Incidentally, they have a very impressive bookshelf.) The other intriguing thing about Wendy is her participation in internet swaps. One of which is knitting socks and then sending them to her sockret pal. Off I went to the Sockret website where there are 100 women who all blog about their lives, their knitting and their various parcels they receive through the post. My other favourite sockret pal is Chelle who writes ‘Knits and Knotes’ and has two cats, lives with her ex -military husband who secretly cross-stitches and whose truck has just been taken out by ice. I lost her blog - it took me three hours to find it again but find it I did.

All this makes me want to learn how to knit and be involved in a knit. I want to get hot chocolate, skeins of wool, and soaps. Not only do the women send each other wool, but soap, knitting books, notebooks, pencil cases and all wrapped up in co-ordinating bright paper.

An other flickr search on desks led me to the pool on Moleskine notebooks. This took me to a blog written by a girl in Virginia, Anita Rose, who is obsessed with dead malls, collecting and tasting fizzy drinks, and recording adverts of old videos. She’s a genius but I don’t think she’s realised it yet.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I grew up in a small town where there were two small supermarkets. Tesco was on the main high street and felt cosy and warm. The cashiers wore pink dotted tabards that looked like they should be hanging off a peg in a farmer’s house. The other supermarket was Safeway tucked away in an arcade of covered shops so dark it felt you were going underground.S afeway’s was a lot slicker than Tesco’s. Bigger and fancier – it had a large mural of fruits and vegetables looking down on you in colours so bright that they would you make you sweat. My mum and I would court the shops, walking up and down the aisles, looking for 'something for tea’, and ‘something for lunch’. I liked being close to my mum. I would sit in the trolley, my piggy legs bursting through the leg holes and I would feel safe as we collected food. I would be so close to her that I could smell the softness of her skin, a mix of a French perfume and her hot metallic smell. She would wear a dress that was covered in yellow flowers and I would want to snuggle in close to this meadow of my mother.

However, the first time my mother lost me was in a supermarket. There was a sale on of plates in Safeway. A mini stand had been erected selling beige plates with a dark brown plant growing its own indentations as it stretched across the plate. They were popular. Groups of women were standing round collecting them off the stall. My mother left me with a shop assistant. She had big hands with knuckles like the lamb joints she sold. I could smell dried blood off her. Deserted by my mother, I began to cry, my cheeks burning as if they had been pinched, the shop assistant’s large hands tried to comfort me but still I yowled. Finally my mother came back with a plate in her hand. It was the first time I did not receive sympathy for crying.

The second time my mother left me I was two years older. I was beginning to read so. My Mum would leave me in the small book section of Safeway, there were only four rows but to me it was a library of beginnings. Dahl and Enid Blyton were well represented. I was left to read. I managed to read about five pages more than normal. Something was wrong. I had been by myself for a long time.

Slowly a strange noise came round me, a pounding in my ears that sounded like a giant’s footsteps. I heard this before at night in my bed – the same giant’s footsteps that got louder and louder that went away when my Mum would tuck me in. I felt a strange taste in my mouth, a dirty taste of sweat. Once I had had a toothache and my father has placed his hand in my mouth to soothe it. His hand left a sooty sweaty taste in my mouth and later I vomited in the car on the way to the Barber’s.

I felt sick, but the books were still there. The covers shone and looked happy, but I could feel the need to cry. Suddenly I saw a neighbour head towards me. Sharon. Sharon lived across the road and would stand in her window on a CB radio all day talking to people. She had long blond hair that immediately attracted me to her. When I was five I loved women with long hair. So much so that I would fling myself at unsuspecting women and hug them tight. Sharon's long hair looked as blond as ever. It was probably dyed but it looked like gold.

‘Are you alright Edward?’
‘I can’t find my Mummy, I’m lost’

Or perhaps more worryingly my mother had got lost. She wasn’t in the shop, Sharon looked. She finally left me in the shop with an assistant. Five minutes later my mother came back embarrassed and slightly annoyed.

‘I forgot I had you’

She had disappeared into the arcade to her favourite shop – a chandeliers that sold gifts and toys.

I couldn’t be forgotten. And again my cheeks hurt as if bees had wrenched themselves on me. I can’t remember if my mother said sorry but I kept an even firmer grip on her. Years later she would tell me that around the time I was five ‘her nerves has been bad’. My father risked unemployment. He had been asked to write an article for a newspaper that was against his morals. He then staged a one man strike in his office in protest. This worry was not good for my mother. She wouldn’t answer the phone, or the door, but she would clean her new kitchen bar everyday. Finally she went to the doctors who gave her some tablets and everything was alright again. She also told me how Sharon had had an affair with my best’s friend’s father, my mum best friend’s husband, and how nobody in the street spoke to Sharon again. When Sharon found me it was the rare occurrence in which my mother did speak to her. Even now twenty four years later, there seems to be a no man’s lands around Sharon’s house.

But finally I felt found again by my Mum. She, for her part, didn’t let me cross the road until I was 11. But that day changed something. I remember a strange conversation at primary school that explains it well. George Booker, a boy with a piggy nose and curled hair like snappy pig tails, who smelt damp, and had unusually small handwriting was showing off about his mum.

‘You think your Mum knows everything don’t you? But she doesn’t’ said Shona Moore. Shona lived in a big house and unlike George’smother did know everything.

George's face looked smashed as the words fell into his brains like shards of broken glass. And I too felt a change – a movement of my heart down into my stomach as a truth was uttered and once again that strange taste in my mouth appeared.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A fairy tale

Is it wrong to have a fantasy about going down to the local bakery, picking up fresh blue poppy seed baps, putting it in my bicycle’s front basket alongside a bunch of fresh wild flowers, and a slim volume of poetry? Is it so wrong? I can see myself riding through the village, enjoying the first day of spring, with that fresh smell of new season air. I would be greeted by all the villagers. Indeed I would stop, listening to a funny story or consoling someone.Finally when I got to my cottage, I could finally have a well deserved cup of tea and a slice of home made cake. There I would open the diary my husband and I share and sort out our busy week. From there I’d study and then move onto a little writing. (Three years later I would be blinking into the bright lights of a camera saying ‘I never thought I’d win the booker’.)

Getting up, a little bit stiff, I’d walk down the path at the end of my garden, taking care on the steps, to the beach for a quick swim. Soon dusky light would dim my arts and crafts cottage and the familiar sound of my lover’s footsteps would come through the window. He would look tired from his day, but still ruggedly handsome. An hour and a half later, after supper, we would be snuggling, taking turns to read to each other in a Bloomsbury style manner. And then... and then he’d shag me senselessly until I was dumbfounded but perfectly happy.

My fantasy seems to be based on either being a vicar’s or doctor’s wife living in a village in England. Unfortunately, I am a 30 year old bald, hairy chested, homosexual.

Although in some ways I am 30 going on 65. I like Lesley Garrett, I get excited at the thought of making a scrapbook, and I do like old ladies. I also like Lavender shower gel (ahem), stately homes and cream teas. And I haven’t had sex for a year. (Although in saying that I read that 55+ people are enjoying a sex life and getting the clap!)

So perhaps I am 65. Although I haven’t had the clap. But I do have to pee a lot.

The lady on the hill

I was walking home from work, slightly stumbling because I have a blister right on the ball of my foot. Just as I was passing Holyrood House, its tall iron gates like those out of Willy Wonka’s factory, I saw an elderly lady in a wheelchair.

She mumbled at me. I smiled. And to my shame I was ready to keep walking.

‘Can you help me? My taxi hasn’t come and I need some help’

I realised that she meant she wanted me to push her wheelchair. Part of me wanted to keep going, the other couldn’t believe that I wanted to say no to an elderly woman who was stuck. As I was thinking, and still painfully shuffling along, she turned the wheelchair around and followed me backwards.

‘OK, how do I handle this thing? How do I get off the kerb?’ I asked.

‘I’ll give you help’

So she directed me and a few moments later I was pushing her up a hill. I saw a group of four mildly amused students watching as my body crouched over in the effort.

‘I’ve got a sandwich for my tea and cold meat for the cat’
What’s your cat’s name?’

An image of a chocolate coloured cat sprang into my mind, excited by a slice of ham, or even better potted meat.

‘Where are you from?’ I asked.

She mentioned a distant part of Scotland and starting to talk about her husband. It was at this point I couldn’t work out if the cold meat was for the cat or her husband. I couldn’t hear her properly for my own breathing and the busy road.

‘Sorry’ I apologised for nearly pushing the lady into an overhanging branch.

‘Don’t worry about me. This is good, this is good. I like talking to trees, I like talking to twigs, and I talk to everyone’

I looked into her plastic bag that was open. It seemed full of milk cartons, perhaps for Coco. She seemed to be well packed and organised. Everything she needed for a day out.

We were now going down a hill, and I could feel the wheelchair tugging at me, my hands beginning to cramp in their tight hold. Worryingly the wheelchair started to veer towards the right, but I managed to pull it back.

Again we went down a kerb, the lady telling me to turn the wheelchair round and go backwards.

She laughed ‘I’m teaching you things today’.

Finally I got her home.

‘I’m going to have a sandwich and he’s going to have cold meat’. She said as she went through the electronic doors of her sheltered housing.

Five minutes later as I was getting closer to home my blister started to sting, nagging me to stop. I realised then that it hadn’t hurt at all when I had been pushing the lady up the hill.