Archive for the Journal Category

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

The first step

Posted in Homemade, Journal, Nurturing Nature, Reblog with tags on 06/12/2013 by Jen Healey

What’s this?! A new blog! 😉

Hearthside Ramblings

This blog has been an awfully long time coming, I have been mulling over the concept since July (2013), trying to settle on what it’s purpose should be, what to call it and, of course, what to include. Well, the answer to the latter is simple – warts and all!

It’s title… that one would not leave my mind, despite many wonderful ideas from my quiet (journey) partner. There it is, at the top, encapsulating my genuine feelings about what we are doing in our quiet little corner of the Warwickshire countryside! Highlighting the fact, which will become pretty obvious in time, that I am NO expert! Just someone who is learning and exploring things that are new to me, and wanting to share the simple magic and wonder of it all.

So, we light upon the purpose, about which I will be absolutely upfront, there is more than one…

View original post 229 more words

It’s been a while…

Posted in Comedy Genius, Journal, Mental Morsels, Music, TV with tags , on 22/07/2013 by Jen Healey

I haven’t so much as checked my emails for a few weeks, let alone checked on the blogiverse.  I’m actually dreading opening my emails, as I fear it might take a huge chunk of time out of my life that I’ll never get back.  There have been two things that have motivated me to actually open my netbook tonight, one of which is my wish to organise myself to get to the ‘David Bowie Is’ exhibition at the V&A before it ends.  The other was watching Russell Howard’s Good News, which has inspired me to debase myself and share a funny animal video.  I know this is not something that my friends will expect from me, but hey it made me smile, which was much-needed this evening.  Check it out –

I know, childish, but I don’t care.  Life is too short to be so fucking serious all the time.  Share some smiles, it’s the best medicine.

 

Bowie-ist

Posted in Books, Films, Journal, Music, Reviews, TV with tags , , on 23/05/2013 by Jen Healey

As Marc Spitz coined the phrase ‘Bowie-ist’ (see my currently reading shelf ) I thought it would be a fitting title for today, following on from the last post, a much more pleasant ‘ist’ and a pretty accurate description of myself at the moment.  I am, of course, very much looking forward to watching/recording the programme on Bowie this coming Saturday (Five Years).  Not to mention the smile I have when I see the cover on the current Radio Times in all the shops.

aladdin sane

Happily, for me, he is everywhere at the moment – even in the copy of the Big Issue I bought last week and whilst I was doing a bit of shopping today (‘China Girl’ was playing in the supermarket – as I was leaving).  I’m not sure if the term Bowie-ist is meant to imply that those describing themselves as such are anoraks, as I am not.  Only owning a meagre two of his albums (so far!) and being a paltry 30 pages into the biography, does not an anorak make.  I am well aware of that.  I don’t even have his new album, unfortunately.

next day

 

Having said that, his songs do heavily feature on the soundtrack of my childhood, which did make ‘Hunky Dory’ difficult to listen to for years.  Whilst reading the Spitz book, I did read a part that has stuck with me.

The Inchworm“… became five-year-old David Jones’s favourite.  Simply, it made him feel safe and hopeful when his increasingly discomfiting family life and shyness filled him with guilt and wariness.  The record was never far from his gramophone.

” ‘Inchworm’ is my childhood,” Bowie said in 1993… “It wasn’t a happy one.  Not that it was brutal but mine were a certain type of British parent: quite cold emotionally and not many hugs.  I always craved attention cause of that.  ‘Inchworm’ gave me comfort and the person singing it sounded like he’d been hurt too and I’m into that, the artist singing away his pain.”

Amazing that we are all so different and yet the same, I feel that ‘Life on Mars’ is my childhood, in a similar (bittersweet) respect.  Not that I gained comfort from it, or would have been listening to it by choice as a child, but I remember it repeatedly from my childhood.  I still struggle with that song, as it tugs at something deep down, where I don’t want to go.  So I usually flick past that one (and ‘Changes’) onto ‘Starman’ then ‘Ziggy’ – yes I’m listening to a ‘best of’ CD.

On a more uplifting note, the film Labyrinth is also ‘my childhood’ – hurrah!

I found this on YouTube yesterday, and I know at least one person who (if they aren’t aware of its existence already) will enjoy it almost as much as I did –

God I love that film!

Did you see one of the choreographers?  Yes, that is Dr Beverley Crusher from Star Trek – The Next Generation!

Nazis: a warning from history

Posted in Journal, Musings, Philosophy, TV with tags , , on 18/05/2013 by Jen Healey

nazi prog

The title of this blog is (more or less) the title of a series of three programmes that I had recorded quite a while ago on my sky+ box.  Over the last couple of weeks I have watched them and thought about them.  Of course there is the obvious reaction to the actions (and inactions) of those involved in the atrocities that were perpetrated against the Jewish people at the time – horror and disgust, coupled with a, perhaps unbecoming, fascination with how the hell people could treat others in such an ‘inhuman’ way.  I put that word in quotation marks because remembering that humans are capable of such things, leads me to question what it is to be human?

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The holocaust is not easy subject matter for pleasant conversation, some people would say, perhaps because it is a real conversation.  I am bored to death with having dull, platitudinous conversations about the weather and other such inanities.  Talking about what idiot was on television being paid to play the idiot last night – no thank you!  Why is it that, generally speaking, people shy away from discussing ‘heavy’ subjects?  Are they so afraid to learn something about history, or themselves?  Frankly, I am terrified that such an unwillingness appears to be rife.

jews

 

Please don’t think that I am any kind of authority on this subject, far from it, I have so much to learn about everything – there just aren’t enough hours in the days of the weeks of the years of my life to accumulate anything close to the knowledge that I wish I could.  Perhaps that is why I don’t wish to waste any more of my time on this planet on meaningless, unimportant, brain-dead shit.

nazis

 

That said, after watching all three programmes, I was struck by the testimonies of some of the German people, who grew up at the time.  They were taught that they, the Germans, were superior in every way and that the Jews were less than human.  I understand that.  I don’t agree with it, but I can understand it.  As children, young people, even impressionable adults, we tend to believe that with which we are presented, don’t we?  I don’t think that excuses murder/mass genocide, of course, but then denial is a powerful thing.  How much did people ‘look the other way’?  We can probably never really answer that question.  But, if we are not talking about such things, how can we realise that we should question things.

camp

 

I don’t want answers from someone else.  I want to question things for myself and raise my children to question things for themselves.  It is probably a bit frustrating for my daughter when she asks me questions that are tricky, because if I don’t know the answer I either help her read about it, or I tell her as many sides to the argument that I do know.  Usually starting sentences with ‘some people think… other people think…’  Then I ask her what she thinks.  Annoying, I’m sure, but I think it’s important.  I try not to sugar-coat things either, not that I don’t have fun and make-believe with her (Santa, Tooth Fairy etc.), but I don’t want her to have such unrealistic expectations of people that she will be set up for a lifetime of hurt.  She is growing up in this world, our world, which is full of scary people.

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That’s another thing I am fascinated with, accounts of serial killers on CI (Crime and Investigation Network), ID and in books.  Ewwww!  How morbid!  I hear you cry.  No.  Real.  Making yourself aware of what people are capable of, I think, is important.  Also, interesting when thinking about basic societal concepts like morality, which is brought into focus by watching such programming, and shown to be not such a basic or clear concept really.  If you really think about it, really talk about it and really question it.  From where do we learn morality?  Is it from religion?  (If so, see Nietzsche.)  Is it innate?  Or is it something passed down through generations?  (If so, what makes that ‘right’?  See Socratic questioning).  Why don’t we discuss such things?  These are interesting to me and more than worthy of my time and attention, when I can give it.

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Keeps my mind busy when I’m stood at the checkout anyway – beep, beep, beep.

Questions?  Abso-fuckin-lutely.

 

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