Forwards and backwards

Posted in Books, Journal, Musings with tags on 28/04/2017 by Jen Healey

So phase erm… 2? of the move to Redditch is well underway.  The one item of furniture I own has been transported over to the new place already, making room in my Stratford ‘cupboard’ for me to empty out the bed storage.  Where the majority of my beloved books (and a few other items) have been stowed away/neglected since I moved last time.

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This was a task I was not looking forward to, but it was not as taxing as I had anticipated.  It even had the unexpected side-effect of prompting me to think about all the subjects I used to read, research and indulge in.  In essence, part of who I used to be.  Those things that fire our imaginations and fan the flames of our individual passions, that can sometimes be put away, intentionally or not.  In my case, I had little choice but to store away these precious resources, due to the incredibly close quarters that I have called home for the past almost 2 years, longer even, as my room in Leamington was not much more spacious.  I do find it curious though how easily these things which I held so dear, were so easily forgotten.  Almost shameful in fact.  But when handling these books and other items from my former life, I was reminded of how it felt to immerse myself in these interests.  I was reminded of who I am.  Much like my starting to write blogs again, it is energizing and restorative to feel passionate and engaged in such edifying activities.  I actually feel more hopeful and content, on an individual/personal level, than I have for a considerable amount of time.  It’s refreshing and intoxicating.

Right now I’m resisting the cynical urge to say something like ‘now watch something fuck it up’, as tempting fate is a concept I’m achingly familiar with.  That dread when you begin to feel positive and happy, almost not allowing yourself to feel too happy for fear of something dreadful happening.  Or is that just me?  I doubt it.  That being said, life is not quite ideal.  Of course, like you I’m sure dear reader, there is sadness and external stresses that can cause anxiety and threaten our perceived resilience.  Those emo mos that are to our minds silly and uncharacteristic in comparison to the image we may have of ourselves.  But hey, we’re only human after all.  That being said, I always take solace in knowing that nothing lasts forever.  Things change.  I feel a very definite shift is only a few days away and I’m looking forward to starting the next chapter, where I will be ‘taking back’ those things that I used to find pleasure in.  For instance, over a week ago I put myself on the waiting list for an allotment nearby to my new address.  As readers of my other blog will be aware, I used to have a few allotments years ago, but circumstances changing radically, meant that I had to give up that particular occupation.  I need this back in my life, along with my books.

The move will also give me the opportunity to get cooking and baking again, in a kitchen that I can call my own… oh the wonder of that!  I can’t wait to enjoy time in the kitchen again, almost as much as the boyfriend can’t wait to be on the receiving end of said culinary adventures, or so he says.  Which reminds me, I need to clear out the cupboard in the kitchen of my current house share, wrap up the crockery I treated myself to last year and hope it makes it to its new home intact.  Not to mention the cleaning and hoovering I need to do in my ‘cupboard’ so the next tenant (the lovely Agnes, who is moving from her room above mine) has a nice, clean empty space.  Also, for myself, a little purging of my lost years here in Stratford.  I refer to them as such because, whilst I found new interests and friends here, I also lost/forgot the things that were stored away about myself.  In doing so, I have made my time here harder than it perhaps could have been.  Focusing on other people and activities, at great personal cost, in more than one way.  Which kinda made me feel a little more lost than I might have done, had I made time and head-space for myself.

I have often said that I don’t believe in ‘finding yourself’, the concept of being lost (and having to search for yourself) is an uncomfortable one for me, as I have always thought that I have a strong sense of who I am at my core.  I would prefer to think that I have been attempting to ‘create myself’, which is a more constructive concept I think.  In retrospect, I forgot about some of the things that I enjoyed, projects started but not finished, and things that I have some knowledge and skill with.  Reminders of which may have been a welcome mode of self-support along the way (although some things were and remain a little too difficult to give attention to, at the moment).  Not that I haven’t had good, true friends there supporting me along the way, I have some of the best friends anyone could ask for.  I am speaking about myself here though, surely the main purpose of a blog is to do so.  I have not been a good friend to myself.  I’ve kept myself isolated from many things which may have been helpful, lost focus, and hidden from one pain by replacing it with others.  Hindsight is a bitch, but also illuminating.  I hope to retain the lessons I have learned and plan to work harder to steer my life in the direction I want it to go in.  Let’s face it, life isn’t a rehearsal and I’ve wasted too much time already.  The path is illuminated in many ways, especially now that I am drawing a line under so much that has gone before, but taking the important things forward with me.

 

 

 

 

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Wordy nerdy

Posted in Journal, Notes, Wonderful Words, Writing on 30/03/2017 by Jen Healey

Hello there patient reader!  How have you been?  Good I hope.

Well, it’s been a very long time since I wrote here, I’ve missed it.  I have however done a little blogging lately, which can be found here.  But if you don’t have time to look at that right now, it begins with me stating that I’m easing myself back into writing gently.  Although, it would appear that the words are flowing swiftly and easily at the present moment in time, happily.  This is a good thing, as I have many projects that have been shamefully neglected for a rather excessive, yet necessary amount of time.  Sometimes things are unavoidable.

That being said, I think phase two in my return to writing should be nurturing my love of the wonder of words.  So a little wordy nerdy business…

  • vulpine: 1. of or resembling a fox.  2. cunning or crafty.
  • coze: noun 1. a friendly talk. verb 1. to converse in a friendly way; chat.
  • mumpsimus: noun 1. adherence to or persistence in an erroneous use of language, memorization, practice, belief, etc., out of habit or obstinacy (opposed to sumpsimus).  2. a person who persists in a mistaken expression or practice (opposed to sumpsimus).
  • orogeny: noun 1. Geology.  the process of mountain making or upheaval.  Also called orogenesis (am I the only one who thinks this is a massive innuendo??!)
  • throttlebottom: noun 1. (sometimes lowercase) a harmless incompetent in public office.
  • ort: noun 1. a scrap or morsel of food left at a meal.  Usually, orts.
  • anthophilous: adjective 1. attracted by or living among flowers.  (are we on the right blog?) 2. feeding on flowers, as certain insects.  Also, anthophagous.
  • vaunting: adjective 1. having a boastfully proud disposition; a vaunting dictator.  2. marked by  boastful pride; a vaunting air of superiority.
  • smaragdine: adjective 1. emerald-green in colour.  2. of or relating to emeralds.
  • code-switching: noun 1. the modifying of one’s behaviour, appearance, etc., to adapt to different sociocultural norms: For many female Muslim students, code-switching from their home environment to that of school requires forgoing the hijab.  2. Linguistics. the alternating or mixed use of two or more languages, especially within the same discourse: My grandma’s code-switching when we cook together reminds me of my family’s origins.  Bilingual students are discouraged from code-switching during class.  

These words and definitions come from here.

That’s enough for today, but this was fun.

Pottering in the garden

Posted in Food, Homemade, Journal, Nurturing Nature with tags , , on 30/03/2017 by Jen Healey

What follows is an unfinished post from 4 years ago, when I had a garden to potter about in.  Sure I could delete it, but I think I’ll post it instead… I just did.  For myself more than anything. Shows just how different my life is now.

4 years ago…

“Over the last couple of months I have discovered enjoyment in gardening, I know, how old am I?!  Previously I would not describe myself as having ‘green fingers’, in fact I would’ve gone so far as to say that I had ‘black fingers’, being the kiss of death for anything green.  Although, I have managed to not kill a cactus for over nine years, his name is Sweaty Bill and has survived my neglect.

I started with buying some vegetable propagator kits from a couple of 99p shops, some were even 3 kits for 99p, which I figured was a low risk investment.  If I got a couple of cucumbers I would have made my money back.  I also gratefully received some free plants from a couple of friends of mine and picked up the odd cheap plants that had been marked down for clearance.

Within a couple of days I had some cucumber seedlings popping up – I was genuinely amazed.  Not long after this they were potted up and flourishing, some ended up being donated as I had loads.  Likewise with the courgettes.  At that point my porch (substitute greenhouse) looked like this –

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There is Sweaty in the corner with his new little friend.  Donated tomato and pepper plants down the right hand side, cucumbers on the left.  The lupin has been potted outside the front door and seems to be surviving, so far.

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Below are donated plants, coriander and French beans.

 

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Little, young plants which needed somewhere to spread out, so I had to start work on the garden.

These are the before pictures –

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As you can see, lots to do!

Here are some donated mint plants, these are also ‘before’ pictures.

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This is a 99p Chocolate Mint plant below, next to the lamp, which smells AMAZING!

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I am very proud to say that my Beth and I enjoyed our first harvest on Tuesday, fresh French beans, they were delicious (for beans) and it was a strangely magic and satisfying experience.  I guess it is the little things that matter –

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Admittedly, Beth only ate two, but that’s better than none.  I used the rest to top my ‘packet pasta’, which looks as ‘meh’ as it tasted, improved immeasurably by the addition of my beans – not that I’m bragging…”

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…and there we have it.  So strange to look back, it feels like another life now.

England made…

Posted in Uncategorized on 27/10/2014 by Jen Healey

With Halloween coming up and my recent crazy-busy life, I’m gonna cop-out and reblog ‘something I wrote earlier’. Perhaps in the hope it will motivate me to write more…

Type B Negative

Whilst going through my bag of paperwork, which I’m not embarrassed to say has been overflowing for months, I found a list of bands born in the UK.  I can’t claim to be much of an anorak when it comes to music, so I cannot take the credit for knowing that the following bands were British, that belongs to the comedian Steve Hughes and his amazing rant about the X-Factor (urgh).  I had to write the list down (thank goodness for Sky+) but these are all from our little island –

  • Black Sabbath
  • Judas Priest
  • Iron Maiden
  • Venom
  • Motorhead
  • Def Leppard
  • Deep Purple
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Rolling Stones
  • The Who
  • The Beatles
  • The Smiths
  • The Cure
  • The Damned
  • The Jam
  • The Police
  • The Sex Pistols
  • The Clash
  • Peter Gabriel
  • Kate Bush
  • Jarvis Cocker
  • David Bowie
  • Queen
  • Pink Floyd
  • Radiohead
  • Supertramp
  • Chemical Brothers
  • The Prodigy

Now I don’t enjoy all of these performers…

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Get your weird on

Posted in Uncategorized on 22/10/2014 by Jen Healey

recovery network: Toronto

This piece is a response to Louise Gillet’s So, How Can I Tell If My Kids Are Weird?  [see link below] in which she is responding to parent calling their kids “weird”.

There are no weird kids 
There are no weird kids – what is weird is growing up in a world where adults call kids – especially their own kids -names like “weird”.

I’ve been called “weird” a lot – especially when I was young. It used to hurt – a lot.

Nowadays I realize that when someone says to me:

“you’re weird”

It just means :

“you’re really not like me”

so I say:

“thank you”.

Weird is just:
Wired: differently.

– and we all are: wired differently. If you’re not weird then you’re either boring – or else dead.

When it comes to children and weird, Hunter S Thompson had it about right:

“Weird behaviour is natural…

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Clockwork Angels: a Rush Classic

Posted in Uncategorized on 21/09/2014 by Jen Healey

Well put!

World in Motion

Rush – Geddy Lee (Gary Lee Weinrib), Alex Lifeson (Alex Zivojinovich) and Neil Peart have been together as Rush for four decades.   During that time they have released 19 studio albums, the latest being Clockwork Angels.    To be blunt: it is a stunningly poignant, powerful and entrancing album.

For their first album in five years the trio go back to the prog rock standard of having not just a concept album, but an album that tells a story.   Rush did that in the seventies, but after Hemispheres came out in 1978 they rejected long stories and overt concept albums.    Clockwork Angels is a story told by an older man looking back at life in a dystopian steampunk world.

A youthful Geddy, Alex and Neil

For Peart – the lyricist and story teller, the album is personal and reflects a kind of bookend to the 1976…

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Lots to catch up on…

Posted in Uncategorized on 06/07/2014 by Jen Healey

Writing takes a bit of a back seat during the growing season…

Hearthside Ramblings

Wow! It’s really been a long time since I wrote anything here! So much for my good intentions, again. Ah well, let’s have a quick catch up. The header, as you have probably noticed, is no longer a winter scene, but a more seasonal one. Okay so we missed out spring, so this is what I was up to at my ‘tiny-holding’ back at the end of March –

I had propagated more seedlings than my other half could tolerate, not only had they filled up the front porch (which I use as a mini greenhouse), but they had encroached upon the conservatory too!

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Ooops!  So they had to go out, but they were far too tender, as it was the 24th of March.  Something had to be done.

So it was time to dig over the sorry remains of my first veg patch (in the back garden) from last…

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