Archive | March, 2011

What I’m reading

31 Mar

Finally finished the White Queen by Philippa Gregory.  But I’m taking a break from reading about the Tudors.  I plan to read Alison Weir’s book about the fall of Anne Boleyn soon.  But not just yet.  I’m reading an interesting book at the moment about a witch and a vampire.  It’s been okay so far.  I’m holding judgement until I finish the book though!  The book is called A Discovery of Witches and it’s written by Deborah Harkness.  I’ve been wanting to read this book for ages and thank goodness I’m finally reading it!

Goodbye Durham!

30 Mar

The conference is finished and my long, protracted journey back to my lovely little flat is finished.  I’m back enjoying home comforts.  After a wonderful dinner of beef stew and dumplings (yum! yum!), I’m enjoying the quiet comfort. There’s something infinitely comforting about coming back to something wonderfully familiar.  I was tired but it was as if all my stresses just melted away the minute I stepped into the flat!

And to be quite honest, I was looking forward to sleeping in my own bed.  I was sleeping in student accommodation.  Now mind you, minus the TV, I think it could give the nearest single occupancy Premier Inn room a run for its money.  I’m not necessarily complaining.  But the walls were thin and there were far too many strange noises in the adjoining rooms.   And, let’s face it, there’s really nothing like sleeping in one’s own bed.

The conference seemed to be a success, although I wouldn’t suggest that venue again.  While I got a much-needed work out going up and down the hills of the University of Durham, it can be quite a chore.  It wasn’t a good feeling, feeling already tired before the day actually started.  A majorly major disappointment was that I didn’t get to see the Durham Cathedral.  I love visiting churches.  Every chance I get, when there’s a church or a small chapel, I go and look at it.  I don’t know why I’m so attached to churches   I only got to see the cathedral from afar.  I promised myself that I’d be able to visit the Durham Cathedral soon.  I would love to see this beautiful building up close and personal.

On the way back, I had to change trains at York.  I loved looking at the train stations on my way to Durham because the train stations looked beautiful with their tall arches.  I’m not sure what style the train station in York was, whether it Victoria, Georgian or Edwardian, but I loved the quaintness of it.

Anyway, while I was waiting for the train that was going to take me to London King’s Cross St. Pancras (where you can find Harry Potter’s Platform 9 3/4—if you’ve never been, there really is a Platform 9 3/4, with one half of a trolley still stuck to the wall!), I happened to look up and noticed the beautifully decorated arches.  Mind you, if I hadn’t just finished reading Philippa Gregory’s The White Queen, it wouldn’t have held as much significance to me.  It was the white flowers that caught my attention.  Then I noticed the coat of arms.  The white “flowers” were a representation of the white roses that the Yorkists wore during the War of the Roses (the war between the Yorks and the Lancasters).  I had to laugh at myself because there I was, clutching my little trolley case, smiling up at train station arches.  I must have looked so strange to the people walking past; this little weird Filipina (not that they would probably know I’m Filipino) smiling bizarrely at the train arches!  There is something to be said about reading books.  They make your surroundings come alive and become even more significant.  This is one of the reasons why I love living in England.  It is quite literally living in history.  I hope everyone in England appreciates how fortunate they are to be surrounded by so much history!

 

Fading into the background

29 Mar

I am finally back in my room, nearly ready to turn in, make up removed, teeth brushed.  Today was quite the full day.  It was tough because I couldn’t sleep last night.  I kept waking up every hour.  Maybe it was the unfamiliar sounds—my next door neighbour seemed to have a bladder problem as the flush kept going!  But I never really sleep well in unfamiliar surroundings the first night, so I guess a restless night would’ve been expected.

Breakfast was nice enough.  I did want to act all hermity though and sit alone in a corner and enjoy my scrambled eggs but better judgement dictated that I take my plate and sit with the clients.  After all, I wouldn’t be here in Durham if it weren’t for them!  But I find that the more I’m in these social situations, the more I feel gawky and awkward!  I feel slightly bemused at this change in my personality.  I seem to have retreated into a bizarre half-shell (and bizarrely I am hearing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in my head: “Heroes in a half-shell!  Turtle power!”)!  I seem to be turning into a very willing wallflower.  AND I HATE IT!

I’m not the most vivacious of personalities, but I used to like to lead from the front!  I think I have a healthy amount of shyness, but it was never this crippling!  I was the girl who lead worship singing in church and during youth group fellowships, I was one of the people who lead during youth camps and youth get-togethers.  I spoke in church as a layspeaker.  I hosted events at work.  I loved theatre and performing.  So what’s happened to me then?  It’s like I shun having to stand up in front and lead that way these days.  I seem to be developing this stand-in-the-sidelines-and-work-furiously-outside-the-limelight attitude.  I find myself completely confused because there are times when I feel completely inept in social situations.  I seem to be developing this really uncharacteristic lack of confidence and I keep asking myself WHY?!?

I probably need to think about why I’ve suddenly become the way I am.  I was never a shrinking violet, but I think somewhere, somehow, I started evolving into one!

I need to get a grip on this.  I’m not going to let an intrinsic part of my personality wither away.

But first, I need to get some much needed sleep!

Me, my bed and I

28 Mar

Are you like me?  I’m the person who can’t seem to sleep in unfamiliar surroundings right away.  If I’m not in my own bed,under my own duvet, in between my own sheets and in my own flat.  If I’m in a different environment, sleep is the most worrisome part because it takes me a few days to feel that I KNOW my surroundings (which is a little worrying as am only here for a couple of nights and it takes me at least 3 nights to get acclimatised!).

I’m away for work for a few days.  My day started  at the usual time, but I had a nearly 5-hour journey to lovely Durham.  I was under no illusions about how busy it’s going to be.  I should be sleepy now, and I know that I’m tired.  But I can’t seem to adjust to not sleeping in my own bed, in familiar surroundings.  I should start getting used to it.  But it’s not like I’m in a hotel at the moment.  It’s student accommodations.  Granted, it’s an ensuite and I have the room all to myself.  It’s still going to be a hard adjustment tonight.  I don’t think I’m going to sleep well.

I should stop complaining really.  It’s hardly spartan living conditions.  Apart from the lack of TV, I reckon you’d think you’d be in a Premiere Inn 🙂  Same decor!  Oh well!  It’s only for a couple of nights.  I think I’ll cope!  Well, I hope I can!

 

Thank you Julie Powell!

27 Mar

I fell out of love with blogging and writing for a while.  I seemed to have lost the drive to indulge in my favourite of past times: printed verbal diarrhea.

It wasn’t until  I watched the movie Julie and Julia that my blogging bug bit again.  It wasn’t enough to make me start writing again, but it started things ticking in my head.  I received the wonderful gift of the book Julie and Julia: My Year Of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell.  Then I was well and truly hooked.  I felt the compulsion to write again.

I first tried journalling, but soon, I wanted to start blogging again.  I mean, I had no illusions about anyone really reading my musings, but somehow, tapping on a keyboard again, and hitting the “publish” button for the first time in such a long time was such a fulfilling exercise.  I’m not sure how many people read my blog, but to you who have subscribed to the blog, liked my posts, posted comments, THANK YOU!  You always make my day and your visits and comments make me smile.

And to Julie Powell, thank you for inspiring me to write again.  I may not become a bestselling author like you, but knowing that I can still put together sentences that make sense (to me at least) is a boost to my self-confidence.

Sometimes it just takes a quiche…

26 Mar

If you had asked me 5 years ago if I had the courage to make a quiche, I probably would’ve laughed at you and then ran away as quickly as possible.  But now, I can’t believe I ever worried about making quiches.  It’s one of the easiest things in the world to make! 🙂

And one of the best food comforters as well!

Ocean…well, not quite

25 Mar

The photo challenge was for the ocean.  I looked through my photo albums for a suitable picture to put up.  I’m lucky enough to be living near enough to the North Sea and we have a beach that’s a 10 minute leisurely walk from my doorstep.  Mind you, it’s more pebbly beach than sugar-fine sand, but hey, we can’t all live in Boracay now, can we? 🙂  So I thought I’d put up this picture.

But then I thought, hey, “ocean” doesn’t have to literally mean a large body of water.  So here’s another picture, of an ocean…of people, all watching West End Live, 2010.  The group performing are the amazingly talented cast of Avenue Q London.  The show closed in October 2010 but I loved it so much that I went to see it three times (I’m sure there were people who saw it more times than that!).  I even got to see Stephen Fry up close and personal at one of those nights!  I miss seeing the Avenue Q signs on the Wyndham theatre, but, as they say, all good things must come to an end.  But Avenue Q is touring, so if you’re able to, go and see it!  It’s absolutely brilliant!

West End Live 2010 - Avenue Q