Saturday, October 1, 2011 Three aspects of my new favourite place, in the last rays of the setting October sun
Monday, March 31, 2008 Think about it
It is not what the book is really about, and it is not even the thing that struck me the most about it — but it is the the thing that struck me the most, on so many levels.
Thursday, March 27, 2008 Three things
From the other day:
From sunbeam, a meme:
Post lines 6, 7 and 8 of page 123 of the book that is closest to you:
The book in question is “A journey through time in verse and rhyme”, also known as the essential Waldorf teacher’s poetry cheat-sheet. (Just kidding.)
I’m not sure how many people I need to tag, and Marianthi is already taken (damn!), so it’ll have to be Martijn, Christos and Laura. Also, the Pinefox, if he wants to use my comments’ box for this purpose.
Finally, from the addictive Spell with Flickr:
Monday, December 24, 2007 Fragments of another season
The funny thing is that I still think of myself as a writer. Because I think of writing nearly every day. Because I think of this blog –of the handful of people who read it and the things I want to put into words and the chemistry that occasionally arises between them– and my heart beats a little faster in gratitude. Because I remember the day that I called it ‘a very nice wall indeed’ and I smile proudly. My little corner of the world.
And so I went to Derbyshire and on the way there I saw the sun setting over fields, between trees and factories, through the mist Ã¢â‚¬â€ and it looked so perfectly round and orange-and-pink, a sight ever so unusual and wintery, that for a moment I just had to hold my breath and be thankful for the six-hour train journey from Exmouth to Derby, without which I wouldn’t have found myself there in that moment in time.
And then I spent two weeks walking through Shipley Country Park, one-and-a-half mile either way, twice a day, always early in the morning and often late in the afternoon, and it was mostly a chore, except for the morning when there was frost on the ground and (what looked like) frozen airplane trails in the sky, or the night when we saw the night sky reflected on the waters of the reservoir and for a moment it looked like it was raining stars. And there was also a long conversation under a tree, and Ilkeston market on a windy Saturday, roast parsnips and sweet potatoes, and a ten-year-old that held my heart like no child has done before Ã¢â‚¬â€ a child that felt ferociously, inexplicably mine, and who said “I want you to stay forever and ever” on my last day. Which still breaks my heart when I think about it.
And yet, I left; of course; gladly even. The words ‘Tiverton Parkway’ on the departures board in Derby station on yet another Saturday morning made my heart rejoice, just because Tiverton happens to be on the right side of the Somerset-Devon border, and Devon feels, strangely, inexplicably like home in a way nothing has before. Back in Devon the rain fell softly as I walked through the big park and the big trees in the opposite direction this time, and I got to sit in the middle of somebody’s kitchen while they were cooking and chatting to me which, really, is not far from my idea of heaven.
And then I went for a walk on the beach and I picked up three shells and I came home to put one on my bedside table, one on a bookshelf, and one in my coat pocket, where they proceeded to spend the following month looking and feeling utterly at home. And the sun shone on some days while heavy clouds weighted down on others, and there was even a day when the wind blew and the sea shone in a metallic blue, and the sky was so grey it made the yellow leaves on the pavement look positively bright. And despite the horribleness of the weather and the sleeplessness of the nights before I bounced down the street in the wind and the rain, almost singing that “we’re everything brighter than even the sun/ we’re everything righter than books could plan”, because there was something that glistened and shone inside me too, something like happiness.
And there came rainy days too, and sad days, empty days, and days full of tears; days of feeling lost in the world and wondering what went wrong and whether I will ever get my happiness back; days when I didn’t even notice the weather. But then the term ended and with this a fine mist descended over Exmouth, turning it into a poem about winter. And on Friday night, two days ago, I stood on the edge of Exeter’s Cathedral Green, and said “I’m glad, too,” to somebody at the other end of an invisible phoneline, and then I looked up, at the Cathedral shining in the light and in the mist, and two things happened: Exeter seemed like the most exciting place in the world, and winter started.
Sunday, November 4, 2007 To find poetry in the littlest things
And with this, my friends, I am off to deepest darkest Derbyshire for two weeks. I wish I was around to do NaBloPoMo like last year, I really do. I also wished I carried my camera on me more — and that I used it more. And I wish that there was a way to capture days like Friday –the sunshine, the company, the perfect joyfulness of everything– or moments like the one yesterday evening, when I walked through the big park amongst the big trees and everything was quiet and misty and simply walking felt like praying. Or rather, scratch that: simply existing felt like praying. Which, I find, is the best kind of prayer.
Saturday, November 3, 2007 The 26th of October and the weather in Thessaloniki
Friday was one of those few days of the year I spend wishing I were in Thessaloniki. (There are a few more, mostly in the week preceding Easter.) You might not know that, but Thessaloniki is my hometown; and Friday was the day the Greek Orthodox church celebrates the memory of Saint Demetrius. And you probably don’t know that, but Saint Demetrius happens to be the patron saint of Thessaloniki as well as the saint associated with my name. Which means that the 26th of October is not only my nameday, but a holiday where I come from, too. In a way, the whole of the city is celebrating along with me — even if it is only for the fact that they don’t have to go to work for a day. But it is not only that, not really. There are banners on the streetlights, chrysanthemums in the centre’s flower beds, phonecalls for wishes across the city, and the occasional old lady walking down the street dressed in her Sunday best, carrying sweets wrapped in shiny paper.
And the weather. There’s also the weather. If you think of the year as having four seasons, the last week of October is unremarkable; but if you think of it mostly consisting of two, summer and winter, this is as good a time as any to admit that summer is well and truly behind you — just as Easter is the perfect time to celebrate finally having got rid of it. And the weather in Thessaloniki seems to know that, because it usually takes this chance to bring the winter down from Russia, all bitterly cold northern winds, tumbling the sparse city leaves and rubbish on street corners, and occasional foggy days on the seafront that take the edges of things away and make them melt into each other — the city and the sea, too.
Really, these are the things that make me say Thessaloniki is the sort of city that looks northwards more than anything else — that it belonged to the Balkans before it even thought of belonging to Greece, that it still does for that matter. Little old sleepy Exmouth’s sea winds seemed almost gentle in comparison, the town almost Mediterranean at this time of year as I walked down Rolle Street, among the fallen leaves and the blooming flowers, under blue skies and fluffy grey clouds.
This was going to be the first part of a longer post, but I never got round to finishing it and now it is too late. By the way I would like to say thank you to everyone who sent me wishes for my nameday, especially sunbeam. Oh, and another thing. Any resemblance between this post and Wednesday’s XKCD is entirely and utterly coincidental. Stop sniggering at the back, William.
Friday, July 20, 2007 An exercise in honesty
I’ve been tagged! And it made me so happy I couldn’t think of anything to say for two weeks. But never mind — better late than never and all that. I think I have to tell you eight things you don’t know about me… or eight weird things… or was it random things? In any case, here are eight plain old things about me.
1) It turns out that, despite what I thought, I am not made out of blogger material. (You have probably figured that one out yourself.) Part of the problem is that when I dreamed this blog up, in the spring of 2004, I literally lived half my life, if not more, in the computer. I worked on it, played on it and talked to my friends on it. By the time I actually got round to making a blog, however –the summer of 2005– my life had changed in a way that meant that I had a lot less energy and computer-time, and the blog fell by the wayside. I do think of it nearly every day, though. Honest.
2) I am still, constantly, ceaselessly amazed by the ways in and the extend to which my family is dysfunctional. (A polite word for fucked up, in this case at least.)
3) I find it very hard to talk about this. Not because I think one shouldn’t talk about such personal things in public –I’d shout it from the rooftops if I could– but because I am worried it will look like I am feeling sorry for myself too much. Oh, and because I wouldn’t know who would want to listen to this stuff.
4) This was supposed to be a blog about ‘growing up, being in love with the world, and indiepop’ after all. Yes, this is its official tagline. No, I didn’t know I had one, either. I filled this in without thinking when I first set wordpress up –in the summer of 2005, in case you’re not paying attention– and then forgot about it until this spring, when I accidentally discovered it again.
5) I was amazed by how accurate this description was, on retrospect. My whole life is about loving the world, growing up, and indiepop.
6) Despite this, and the entry bellow, I remain as ambivalent about indiepop as I have ever been.
7) For example, Horowitz‘s ‘Popkids of the world, unite!’ makes me smile and cringe at the same time. I mean, it is sweet, and catchy as fuck, and –I hope– a reference to Nixon — what is there not to love? Except it has been such a awfully long time since all I wanted was “a happy, happy heart and your cutesy hand in my hand,” and it sounds silly and shallow. And yet, there are moments. There are moments. Like the evening of the Spiral Scratch All-Dayer when we ran away from the Manhattan Love Suicides –too much noise for my liking– only to go stand on the side of the street opposite Electrophonvintage and they looked cuter than anything I had seen in a long long time, and so Swedish that I was instantly transported –with my head spinning and my heart beating fast– to the wondrous summer of 2004. Or those nights like tonight — when the Pines nearly move me to tears — when the way Joe sings ‘somewhere, there were tears that held everything that I wanted to say’ seems to speak of every single ache that has ever resided in my heart.
(The Pines are, in a way, the band that got me into indiepop. It was a gradual process, really, but somewhere in there there is a Pines 7″ that changed my life in ways that it could never had imagined.)
8) Speaking of which: some stranger told me a while ago that the Friends of the Heroes fanzine –which I made, nearly single-handedly, in the summer of 2004– changed his life, in ways that I could never ever had imagined. And to think I have spent the intervening years thinking no one had really cared about the damn thing. And when I think back to it, I feel honoured more than anything else. Humbled, too — that someone opened up their heart to something I made that much. It makes it all worth it. I’d do it all over again in a moment, if I could.
And, as he said, life is very pretty sometimes. Even though –as evident from the list above– mine seems to have stopped sometime in late 2004, early 2005…
PPS Oh and thank you sunbeam for making me feel loved!
Thursday, June 7, 2007 A picture of me
Tuesday, April 17, 2007 There’s always a song playing in the background #2
Do you know how specific songs seem to have been locked together in your heart with specific moments and always seem to remind you of them? I particularly love the small, random ones. Like Glo-worm’s cover of ‘Friday I’m in love’ seems to instantly take me back to a certain sunny evening in my tiny yard in Athens, because I was listening to it while handing my laundry. It brings back the exact feeling of what it was like to stand there surrounded by wet colourful pieces of cloth and the early summer breeze.
Thursday, April 12, 2007 Cause the little words say everything that I need but there’s still a thing or two
As you probably don’t know but perhaps do I have developed an interest in drawing trees this spring. There is a sweet, heart-warming story behind how this happened but telling it is not what I intend to do tonight. Tonight I want to talk about the bus ride from Exmouth to Exeter, or rather about the trees contained within.
The bus ride from Exmouth to Exeter takes a long time: forty, perhaps forty-five minutes to the train’s twenty-five to thirty. The fare is more expensive, too (£4.50 to the train’s £3, which can be reduced to £2 with a student railcard). Still, I take the bus sometimes. Partly because I just like buses, especially double-decked ones (and, even more especially, needlessly doubled-decked ones) and partly because it gives a slightly different picture of the south-east Devon countryside, and it is one that I love.
Another thing to take into consideration is spring, and how fast it has arrived here in south-east Devon; it’s funny; I always wait for it all winter long, and when it does come, it’s always unexpectedly. So, even though there had only been a couple of weeks between the last bus ride and this, the changes were impressive to say the least. Brown trees had turned pink, sometimes even fuchsia — a plum colour, nearly. Green fields had turned yellow — ‘a dash of yellow’ someone said next to me. The flowers in the flowerbeds had changed colours too, hyacinths replaced by tulips perhaps, like in the one I walk by every day on the way home.
All this to try and explain this: there is an imaginary line of trees that I would like to draw, joining Exmouth and Exeter through Lympstone, and Topsham. (It is the line that is imaginary, not the trees; the trees are what I would like to draw.) Sitting on a bus as it zips by past them, even at the not-quite-zipping speed in which it does it, I feel a pang of regret — a longing — and every tree I will never get round to drawing reminds me of a friend I never got round to having.
All those colourful could-be’s but were-nots.
Saturday, April 7, 2007 But it is
I never knew that happiness could be lying on the kitchen floor on top of a pile of dirty laundry, watching the bubbles that form and burst on the surface of a jam tart as it is being baked.
Wednesday, April 4, 2007 Who would have thought
The day has come when I will, almost voluntarily, link to a myspace site — and one that doesn’t allow you to download the songs at that too! The reasons behind that are called the Sunny Street and to be honest I know nothing about them other than a few pop kids with immaculate taste have been listening to them. And that they sound like a cross between Galaxie 500 and Friday Bridge. And that this is oddly touching.
Saturday, March 24, 2007 Twenty-six
Wednesday, March 21, 2007 My fondest wish
When I sent out the last Sprinkled Pepper newsletter, I got an email back touchingly entitled ‘there’s always a song playing in the background’, which instantly made me think of Comet Gain’s ‘You can hide your love forever’ and the way it instantly makes me feel like I am standing in the middle of a field in the middle nowhere in south-east Sweden. Ever since that phrase keeps coming back to me whenever I think of a song that distinctly reminds me of someone or something. It sprung to mind yesterday when I came across this ILX thread where someone had quoted a line from a Big Star song that distinctly reminds me of someone (the song — not the line):
“I loved you, well, never mind”
I have to admit that my first thought was that ‘September Gurls’ would never even cross my mind if I was looking for the saddest line. Today, I suddenly see his point.
By the way, I have no idea what I’d say the saddest line actually is. I’ve been thinking about it but I can’t seem to come up with anything. Something off ‘I started a joke’ perhaps? Something off ‘Suzanne’? Dear Nora’s “and I’ll think about it all / including how you never call / even though I sit waiting by the phone on any given night”? Laura Watling’s “what would you say if I told you I always look for you when I’m walking down the street”? Can it be that I really can’t think of anything else?
And what do you think? What is the saddest line?
Tuesday, March 20, 2007 Sometimes if seems I’ve waited here for half my lonely life
One thing I love about life: those nights (or afternoons, or weekends) when I get a real, beautiful, deep connection with somebody. When for a while it seems like we are not really as separate as we had thought all along but merely two sides of the same one thing.
And one thing I hate: when in the days (or weeks, or years) that follow it feels like it has never happened.
Saturday, March 17, 2007 Sometimes he is so funny
Thursday night, and Rob and I are sitting on the beach —or, to be precise, on the steps that lead to the beach. It’s the sort of thing you dream of* doing when you dream of moving to Devon. We’re watching trains go by on the other side of the river and talking about songs about sandcastles, when Martijn calls to say goodnight — quite naturally assuming I am at home.
“Is Rob still there?”
Meaning, are you jealous we’re on the beach in Devon when you’re in your room in Oxfordshire, about to go to bed because you have to get up early tomorrow morning’? Except Rob gets it a little wrong.
“Martijn, it’s not what you think it is!”
Tuesday, March 6, 2007 More
I’ve been unwell. Unwell, and buried under a pile of difficult things to think higher than me. And in a way, I’m still under it (in another way, I always am). But today the sun was shining properly –it was warm– and the wind was more playful than cold and I felt alive more than I felt like crying. I wanted to go out and draw trees more than I wanted to crawl under the duvet and hide for the rest of the week. And I wanted to write more than I wanted to stay silent.
And, of course, as it happens in such cases all the things that had been waiting inside me —waiting for a chance to be talked about— rushed out all at once. And, as it happens in such cases, they all got stuck at the door. Currently they are arguing with each other about what I should write about. The way the indiepop community still seems to be the best place to make friends after all these years? Athens and how my memories of it occasionally come back to haunt me? Or that old, half-forgotten project on ‘the beauty of the way that we are living’ and all the things that make me want to pick it up again? The opening lines of the poem Joan gave us and how they describe a land I sometimes visit in my dreams?
Or, perhaps, how sometimes every raindrop that lands on my window feels like a kiss on my soul, and I don’t hate the rain anymore.
Thursday, February 22, 2007 Staring at the sky
Saturday, February 17, 2007 There are three kinds of people in the world, those who can follow instructions and those who can’t
Trevor started our session today by asking if anybody in the room was twenty-two. To my surprise (I thought everybody is twenty-four) two people said they were; he asked one of them to be twenty-three and the other one to be twenty-one. Then he asked all of us to write our age down. Then, to reverse the digits. Then, to take away the smaller number from the bigger number. And then to add the digits of the number we got. As you can imagine, much confusion ensued.
In the end, he went around the circle asking everybody what they have got.
Friday, February 16, 2007 True, it may seem like a stretch, but it’s thoughts like these that catch my troubled head when you’re away, when I am missing you so
One of the songs I played last Friday – goodness, is it already a week ago?! – was ‘Such great heights’ by Postal Service. Martijn turned to me and said that he would never have played it himself because he thought it is a bit of a clichÃƒÂ©, is it not? And it’s not quite indiepop either, at least not anymore. But I had shown him he was wrong, he said. “If you play it at the right moment, it still sounds perfect!” I nodded. It was all true. But my reason for playing it had been simpler, much simpler.
It’s just that sometimes I need to shout out ‘I’m thinking it’s a sign that the freckles in our eyes are mirror images, and when we kiss they’re perfectly aligned’.
Saturday, February 10, 2007 Well I hope I have been able to be of some help!
Wednesday, February 7, 2007 Individuality
“And that it is also the beauty inherent the human state: no matter what comes our way, we always have a choice of what to make of it; and what we make of it will always bear the imprint of our individuality”, I found myself writing last night. And then I got a little sad, because I couldn’t quite write the next thing I wanted to say, not in the essay, anyway.
[Sign you might be getting addicted to your blog #5: you post first thing in the morning, and you fully intend to post last thing before going to bed too even though you have spend most of the time in between trying to write an essay, and it hasn’t been easy. Sign you might have more common sense than you think #1: you don’t post. You just go to bed. It is past midnight after all.]
What I wanted to say is that there are a thousand lines in a thousand songs that make my world go round; that there are hundreds and hundreds of little things that leave me wide-eyed and open-mouthed and make my heart beat faster; that there is a handful of people that can move me to tears just by being themselves; and that all are things that would probably passed unnoticed by the vast majority of people. And I can’t think of a single thing that talks about individuality more that this list of things.
Tuesday, February 6, 2007 I blame the essay, myself
So I read this and what was my first thought but ‘and what is a skeleton? And imprint of the spirit. And, in this case, an imprint that a spirit left behind a long, long time ago.’ Then I realised what I was doing and started laughing at myself. And I decided to announce that I give extra points to anyone who manages to have a conversation with me without me mentioning the word ‘spirit’. I can’t seem to stop thinking about it! Not that I mind that, mind you, it is fascinating and I love of the way the focus on it is transforming my life, but… I do think I might be scaring people.
Monday, February 5, 2007 Isn’t being married exciting?
It’s 8 am. Half asleep and three quarters awake (I know it doesn’t up: that’s how it felt) I stumble into the living room, where Martijn is getting ready to catch the train to Oxfordshire.
“Hey. You look cute today!”
“I’ll tell you a secret,” he whispers. “I wear them all day every Monday, too!”
Friday, February 2, 2007 That’s sorted then
It’s a beautiful, sunny afternoon; it’s been a week of good moment after good moment at school; I’m happy. And I would quite like to me be out there with my camera, drinking coffee, thinking of my friends, having things fall into place in my head and feeling ready to take over the world. But, on the other hand, it is also the beginning of a weekend and I haven’t had a proper night’s sleep in over ten days now, and I would love to have a nap too. I was going to agonise over that –because I really want a nap but I would also really worry I was missing out on better things– but the weather has decided it for me. In the time it took me to have lunch and write this big grey clouds took over the sky.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007 Colours
Once upon a long ago a boy took me for a walk on a beach somewhere in the middle of England, where the sea was brown — nearly as brown as the sand, it was. The rest of the day was blue and red against a grey background of clouds and winds and middle-of-winter blues: those were the colours of the buildings and of my hat and of my heart, and, on the bus ride home, of the blurry world outside the raindrop-stained windows. And in its own quiet, understated way this day became one of the best things in my life — a little like watching the rain from that train station shelter in Kalmar was (what I called ‘the living equivalent of a poem’ back then) but mostly like nothing else in the whole wide world.
Last Sunday I took the same boy on a walk on the other side of the river from here in an effort to bridge the gap that not talking for most of the time in between had created. The sea was a hundred different shades of blue, and, when we came back, my heart was a hundred different colours too.
And so now I am as in love with Dawlish as I was with Cleethropes all that time ago. And, somehow, this is all that I could have asked for.
Monday, January 29, 2007 Reason #24 why you should like the Lucksmiths
Someone once told me (in Stockholm, on a bench, as dusk was ever so slowly falling all around) that the Lucksmiths are the quintessence of life. I must have laughed, and thought it touching –and, I suppose, rather true– and that would have been the end of that, were it not for days like today. Days when I spend the morning listening to them (each new song bringing forth a torrent of memories and feelings, all of them making the world look full of possibilities) and then I spend the afternoon nostalgic for the morning and all the while I wonder whether they have, after all, managed to distil at least half of the essence of life.
And then bottled it in a song, preserved forever and ever for the likes of me and you.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007 And still, I hate January #2
And then Martijn left and Pipas came and they played in Athens and 67 people bought a ticket to the show which meant that not only did we not lose any money but we made €15 and had the best weekend of our lives up to then — and, quite possibly, in general. It was really the end of an era even though at the time it felt like a start, and what a perfect one it was too: a dream come true, and one that turned out to be better in reality too.
Somewhere, I have a brilliant photo of that moment, with all of us standing above Athens under bright blue windy skies and looking very happy, but it is locked somewhere in the hibernating computer so I can’t share it with you. You’ll just have to imagine it.
Thursday, January 18, 2007 Even if I say so myself
Martijn has often said that the golden rule of blogging is never apologise for having been quiet — or something like that anyway. It is true that there are few things that are as boring as bloggers’ excuses and explanations, but even so, I want to say something that sounds suspiciously like an excuse or an explanation. When I am not writing it is more likely that I have too much to say than that I have nothing to say. Having too much to say means I need to write a long entry; writing a long entry means I have to be in the right mood and find the right amount of time; and those two tend to not come together very much. Having nothing to say, on the other hand, means I can idly sit down with the laptop and write ten lines about any old random thought that has happened to catch my fancy on any given evening.
On a completely unrelated note, tomorrow we have to go for a short walk and come back with a small story about two or three things that we really saw having a conversation with each other. Things that are alive are preferred but we are not forbidden from using the odd fencepost or bus ticket. My first reaction when I heard this was along the lines of “oh god no, not more stories” and “that sounds hard” until I remembered I have already written one of those:
So I went back and read it and I marvelled at myself for ever having forgotten about it in the first place — and I nearly fell in love with it, too. It’s not as well written as it could have been, by any means (I remember I was in a terrible rush that evening) but even so, it’s pretty good.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007 Overexcitedness
I seem to be up to a million things, lately, too many things, and it is driving me crazy, and… you don’t care, do you? Because I don’t either. What I wanted to say is that one of these things seems to be rediscovering the Chills’ ‘Heavenly pop hit’ and listening to it a lot. I only thought of it because I was feeling positive (along with positively overexcited — in fact it seems that overexcited has become my default mood, but never mind that) and wanted something positive to sing along to. And you can’t get much more positive than that:
I used to feel like this, once upon a time — that “once we were damned, now I guess we are angels”. Honestly. It only lasted a few weeks, two or three or so, but I remember it clearly as one of the best times in my life. Perhaps singing this is going to bring it back. It is true, after all. Daylight and sunrise are brighter in our eyes, and we did pass through the dark and eluded the dangers. It is even quite possible that we have awoken with a start to startling changes. It would explain a few things…
Like why the darkness suddenly seems to sparkle and gleam.
Sunday, January 7, 2007 Aurora
Sometimes I love the world so much I think I am going to cry. Do you know what I mean? It only takes two sips of wine, an unbelievably exciting weekend, an empty flat and the Pines covering a Cat’s Miaow song, and I am about to burst from… from… something. I don’t know what, but it is good.
Saturday, January 6, 2007 Turning (half-)English
I was walking down Portobello Road this
That is from the same girl who found all this sorry-ing a little ridiculous three months ago. You’ve got to laugh.
Thursday, January 4, 2007 Questions
What do you do when all you want to do is lie on the floor, with all the lights out, and listen to music, but instead you have to write an essay on the implicit and explicit values of science? It it wrong of me to want–to expect– to be able to forget about the essay and do what my heart is asking for? And, if it is not wrong, how does one ever achieve anything?
I understand we can’t always get our way, of course I do, but then there’s a lot to be said about following your heart and what it needs. And right now I need a lot of quiet, space, and time.
Monday, January 1, 2007 Wishlist
When other people make resolutions, I demand.
[I don’t see the point of making New Year’s Resolutions, and that’s not only because nobody sticks to them. Not even because they tend to be a reminder of what you don’t like in yourself, and I think we could all do with liking ourselves a little better. It’s just that January is such a random time to place the beginning of the year. My years start around the third week of September, a time ripe with plans, ideas and resolutions; alternatively, Spring Equinox would be an acceptable time for new beginnings too (not least because it is three days before my birthday). But January? What were the Romans thinking of?]
This, by the way, is a mix of things I want now and things that I realise might take a little more time to happen — in which case getting them within 2007 would be nice, and much appreciated. (The sooner the more appreciated, of course.)
Saturday, December 30, 2006 Today the sun came out for a minute or two
And what did I do but grab a camera?
Some people say that Christmas Trees look their best in the dark but I quite liked mine with the blue-sky background. It started to rain again soon after that. In fact “pissing down with rain” would be a more accurate description of what is happening outside our windows… And, try as I might, I don’t think I can bring myself to like winter.
Feel free to tell me how wrong I am, and why. I’d like to like it, honestly, I would.
Thursday, December 28, 2006 Ten things I learned from NaBloPoMo
(This post has been long overdue. As has been removing the NaBloPoMo logo… It is a little like keeping your Christmas tree up until the middle of January, isn’t it?)
Wednesday, December 27, 2006 Another one of these things I see when I look up
Of course once I go and write that the grass is greener we go and have an argument in the middle of the night two days in a row which makes me wonder. (It also makes me tired and grumpy, which is probably the main reason why I wonder.) But it’s the way things go, isn’t it? I go and write I don’t mean to go silent and what do I do then but go silent, buried under a pile of homework taller than myself, and before I realise it it is Christmas and I seem to need some time off the computer to wander around Totnes when it is freezing cold and bake gingerbread biscuits. Totnes, by the way, is very beautiful. It makes Exmouth look plain in comparison. Which, in a way, is another reason why I love it. Little, grey, out-of-the-way and somewhat run-down Exmouth, looking charming only if you are looking at it from the right angle.
Monday, December 25, 2006 So this is Christmas, and the grass is greener
As you probably know, Martijn finally has a job. (In Oxfordshire. But that’s another story.) As you probably also already know, we have a newly-arrived Christmas tree, and it looks great. What you might not know is that after three days of ‘shop till you drop’ with my mum (where she did most of the shopping and I did most of the dropping) we managed to stay in for three days of preparing for Christmas, and, well, Christmas. It definitely made for a good change.
Late last night was definitely my favourite moment of the whole week: the cake was baked, the chicken prepared and in the fridge, the house nearly tidy, and we were out on the street on the way towards the church. (I wanted to see what it was like.) For a moment I knew what “god’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world!” means. (I know there are people to whom this is anathema, but I think that if only more people felt all’s right with the world, more would be right with the world. I once was a Friend of the Heroes, after all. That’s the sort of thing we
Now all the food has been eaten (and I have received a fair number of compliments for it), a fair bit of alcohol has been consumed, the friend we invited has gone home and Martijn is playing random selections off my 7″ collection while composing a blogpost with pen and paper (we have only one computer). And I have, to my surprise, realised and feel compelled to admit that I seem to be having the sort of time I always thought I would have when I grew up and settled down. I don’t know why most people seem to dislike growing up, around here we are finding it pretty great. As I have always said (once Architecture in Helsinki said it): the grass gets greener once we get to the finish line.
Thursday, December 21, 2006 A reminder
The longest night of the year, and the first frosty day of the winter too. And good things are on the way.
Sunday, December 3, 2006 First London weekend
(And we need somewhere to stay. Offers more than welcome.)
Friday, December 1, 2006 Self-portrait with husband on Exeter High Street
Thursday, November 30, 2006 Sometimes I look up and I see the most wonderful things
Tuesday, November 28, 2006 Goodbye and thank you, dear Class 5
Second day of school experience, and I find myself falling in love with the class, hopelessly. (I am already thinking I’m going to miss them at the end of the two weeks.) They’re the sweetest bunch of 10-to-12-year-olds you could come across, I promise. And it helps that at the end of the day their teacher has them say this, all together, in an awesome rhythm:
“Brave and true
And you’d be amazed at how great eight 10-to-12-year-olds can make it sound. Even though I know for a fact that some of them don’t even realise what they’re saying. And then she has them say that:
“Goodbye and thank you, dear Dimitra.”
And I tell you. It made me melt yesterday. It made me melt today. And it’s going to make me melt each and every one of the eight days I have with them. I promise.
Monday, November 27, 2006 Raindrops and rainbows
Sunday, November 26, 2006 Long lost tape III
I wonder if I’ve been making this sound like a bigger deal than what it is. There’s not much suspense to it: Rachel convinced me to write Joe an email telling him how much I missed the tape and asking him for a new copy of it, and I did just that, even though it took a fair bit of courage and a couple of hours. Once I had done it I wondered whatever had been holding me back from doing so all this time. It wasn’t that hard. Joe wrote back, and so did I, with another story; he sent a tap complete with sleevenotes, and that made me very happy; then he sent another one, which I wasn’t expecting, and that made me even happier. I listened to the first one nearly all the time until I got the second one, and I’ve been listening to that ever since I got it, three days ago. I’m listening to it now, for that matter: singing along, wondering what it is that makes these song speak to my heart in a way very few others do, and – dare I say it?– feeling blessed to own a copy of these recordings again.
Needless to say, I’ve broken off the write-protection tabs already.
Thursday, November 23, 2006 A reason to be thankful
I thought of using “You should all be murdered” as the title of this post, but I just couldn’t bring myself to it, even though I know they didn’t mean it literally. (I can’t quite imagine Harvey Williams planning to murder people.) Even so, I don’t like the sound of it. I do like the song, though. I love its indiepop-angst-ness and the guitars and the drumbeat and the fact that it was probably recorded in a shed, or something. And I love the lyrics:
The people who were cruel to those that don’t deserve.
There’s something so right about them, in all their wrongness. And here’s mine (even though it doesn’t rhyme):
The people who have no faith.
I’m not sure what got me thinking of that, though I do have my suspicions; what I do know is that it is not because I came across one of these people recently. In fact thinking about it made me realise that I am surrounded by people who think there is a reason for this madness — and how great that is!
The people who think that we come from somewhere, and we are on our way to somewhere.
The people I like.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006 Three weeks in November
Tuesday, November 21, 2006 Updside-down
Thursday, November 16, 2006 The door to the alley next door
Saturday, November 11, 2006 There’s more to life than popsongs, but…
Who is Sally Shapiro, and
I never thought I’d see the words ‘Pitchfork media’ and ‘Nixon’ in the same sentence — it just had never crossed my mind, but there you go. This morning I did, courtesy of the indiepop list. It felt really strange. In a way I am very happy that such a great tune will get a wider audience, but in another, my inner
It doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t. But
Friday, November 10, 2006 O is for the Hardware Shop
Thursday, November 9, 2006 “And/ even if there really is no place/ where dreams come true/ my heart is still with you”
Because there’s water dripping down our kitchen ceiling, and it makes the smoke alarm go off (update: the water has just stopped, but the alarm won’t shut up). Because my head is spinning from a busy –and lovely– day. Because my camera ran out of batteries so I couldn’t take the photo I’ve been wanting to take since Tuesday. Because I came to truly love Rose Melberg this summer. Because ‘Cast away the clouds’ did exactly that, help cast away the clouds. Because ‘Each new day’ is priceless, and I spent he first two weeks of living in Exmouth singing it to myself. And just because it sounds lovely and it’s a nice something to have:
(Also, because Martijn wants the laptop so he can email Alistair and I need to play my recorder and empty my head before going to bed — but somehow those don’t quite have the same ring to them, do they?)
Tuesday, November 7, 2006 Public Service Announcement: Not cheating!
To K., and anyone else who might be interested: I am not not cheating. I just wouldn’t do that sort of thing. Honest. (Ask Martijn!)
There are two reasons why it might have appeared that I was. One, because the (photo) post I posted on Saturday had been, mistakenly, marked ‘private’ until last night, and therefore didn’t appear until then. And two, because on November 3rd I realised two things: my blog was still on Greek time, two hours ahead of Greenwich, and so the post I had posted at 10:03 the night before appeared to have been posted on (shock, horror!) 00:03 of the next day. So I changed the time settings and edited the time-stamp of all existing entries to make them reflect the actual time of posting.
I hope that
Monday, November 6, 2006 British-ness too
And one very talented 13-year-old, it seems… I think Google looks very pretty today!
Saturday, November 4, 2006 Another thing I love about Exmouth
Friday, November 3, 2006 The essence of certain things
The last thing I want is to turn this into a month of diary entries. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing whatsoever against (good) diary entries; this site is (supposed to be) a sort of diary anyway. It’s just that I think that telling you that today I got up at six forty five even though I didn’t have to be in at university before ten or that I had a lovely conversation with one of my classmates during lunch break is hardly the point of this months project. Even though that conversation was really lovely –a calm, quiet, fleeting moment of togetherness, dappled in sunshine– and the memory of it brings a smile to my face. Even though it is one of the reasons why tonight I think I like my new life. So I’m not going to tell you much about the early mornings or the sunshine and the mist, the vegetable box, the missed buses, the boring sandwiches, the puppetry workshop, the toddler, the walk home, the ring around the moon or the stories about fireworks.
Because I’ve just told you all there is to say about them, haven’t I?
Thursday, August 17, 2006 All the things that make me keep on trying to be good
That’s a line from a song my friend Georgie wrote, by the way. (A talented boy, that Georgie, even though he won’t admit it.) It’s called ‘Coastal ride’ and it has that Fairways feel about it, with just a dash of Belle and Sebastian. I just love it to bits. But anyway, that’s not what I was meaning to say. I was meaning to say that I didn’t know what to post about today, and then I thought I wouldn’t post, because we have been to the pool today, which was dysregulating fun and also made me feel very tired, so I was very tired, and I didn’t know what to talk about. But then, very late at night, and while I should have definitely been in bed, I came across this (via this). You have to go read it, but I also just have to quote this bit:
(Aaaah. Those post-midnight revelations, they’re second to nothing — and one of the reasons why I don’t like going to bed. But I digress.)
I sighed. Because isn’t this why I’m doing everything? For the love of it. The writing, the indiepop clubnights, the wanting to become a teacher, and, in a way, even the putting-up-with-a-lot-of-Martijn-crap. (Trust me; I do; he thinks so too.) So that someone, somewhere (a reader whose day I accidentaly brighten; a stranger who will discover a new favourite song; the children; Martijn) can share that love with other people.
That is probably the single most wonderful reason for loving anyone, anything, ever.