Tag Archives: reading

Gardening & writing plans & books – oh my!

I have only written about one page towards a novel this week, because of sickness, but also because I am reading a little more than normal – mainly magazines based on gardening and permaculture.  I have no energy to garden yet and it is actually quite unlikely I will do much in the garden this year, but I am learning as much as I can whilst I am out of sorts.  I have reinjured my leg twice in the past two weeks and so mobility is now getting affected, I have an old break that never healed properly and the two separate injuries were heavily on this old break.

I have written approximately 5 pages towards the plans of a new novel for April’s NaNoWriMo as I do intend to participate this year.

I have also started writing a non-fiction book based on my current knowledge of gardening and self-sufficiency, hence the extra research too, I want to be thorough as I realised there is not enough of the kinds of information I want out there readily available and I wanted to make it easier for others like me to find.  So far I have written approximately 10 pages towards that.

All of this whilst sick with a chest infection, injured leg, ear infection and the extreme depression caused by the harassment I am getting from my neighbour, which is actually making me scared to go into my own back garden these days.

I am planning to start selling my artwork around the end of the year; there is a local opportunity for me to take up positions in the local art gallery and I am going to snap those up.  I won’t be ready until autumn.

I have also done four half done pieces of artwork this week, there are plans for 6 more, I am trying to do them fast, but they require a lot of layers and drying time so that can be frustrating!

I am also starting a junk journal for the first time.

Whilst I am updating you all, I may as well tell you about some of the books I have read this month.  I have read “Conversations with God” as a non-believer in mainstream religions; I found it refreshing, because to me, it proves all the instincts I had about God growing up are true and valid.  But I had all those ideas beaten out of me because my family can be quite radical about this sort of thing.

I have also read “The library of the dead by T.L Huchu” which I absolutely loved, it was about ghosts and it is a mystery, a sort of detective for the dead sort of supernatural thriller/fantasy.  I found some parts of the story very gory, but it was a fun read and I look forward to reading more from this series – as I think I heard it is a series now?

I read “The Spooks Apprentice” by Joseph Delaney, which I felt was not really suitable for children under the age of 14.  I found it too disturbing in some parts and my son and his entire classroom had this read to him during school lockdown online and most of the children were asking the teacher not to read it to them because of nightmares!  So there you go!  I enjoyed it, but I found it too quick paced.

I am currently reading two other books I got from the library, so I will update you all on those soon.  The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey and Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor!

So this is a condensed down and short as possible update for you all, hope you all are well and I will hope to post again in a few days’ time.

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March reading pile

Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson – as I didn’t finish reading this last month!

Entangled by Merlin Sheldrake – for the same reason as above!

Little Book of Wonder by Bernadette Russell – again for the same reason as the above!

The Spooks Apprentice (book 1) By Joseph DeLaney

World War Z by Max Brooks

The Library of The Dead by T.L Huchu

I am trying to read more fiction than I am known for; because I tend towards non-fiction more than fiction.  I am trying to broaden my horizons.

Since becoming ill I have become a very slow reader; but I am blessed with bouts of OK days and therefore my reading can speed up again to how I used to be.  This happened around January, but health has meant that I have slowed painfully down again.  It is frustrating because I get a sense of achievement for every book I persevere with and read to the end and I feel great about it when it’s finished!  But instead of finishing more than one book per week, when I am ill, I am lucky to finish one book a fortnight!

Will the above list be shown again for April’s list?  Probably, because my glands are getting swollen again and that usually means six weeks of health hell!

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Reality is hitting home

Paul and I have agreed that I can’t write like how I used to anymore because I am just too tired and ill a lot lately, especially with sleeping problems occurring. 

So, it has been agreed to cut my usual word count down by a thousand words per day.  Making my word goals 2k a day, because I am struggling to get past 2500 words and I am finding myself in consistent writing debt of 400 to 1350 words on a bad day. 

Like today, I was meant to write no less than 4458 words before tomorrow, because yesterday I was lagging behind as my auto-immune condition has decided to step up its game.  So today I am even worse and needing to go to bed again at any minute (it is nearly 6pm) and I am only just at 2300 words today – so the debt tomorrow would be even greater. 

Before all this crappy ill-health stuff started to happen I would easily vomit out 3k to 10k words per day, depending on how much time I had spare to write.  I felt that I could force myself to fart out 3k a day as an average but I think I have to sit back and realise I am not as healthy as I used to be and I have to learn to manage my health and disabilities better, instead of literally flogging myself to death, just so I don’t – whatever… You know, right? 

I am exhausted emotionally and physically a lot of the time.  I think I have to reside myself to finally realising that I am never going to be how I used to be anymore and I should just learn to make do with what I can do.  Stop pushing myself as hard, especially as stress can make your health worse, I already have enough stress I can’t control, and I may as well cut out the bits that I can.

Not only this, but I am starting to resent my writing today, because it is taking me around three to five hours to do my goals and that meant that my time for other things, such as reading, playing games and just chilling with my family was getting less and less.  So I can’t start resenting work I love doing, because that is not good.  I need to always stay in love with my writing and art, since I found out I have fell in love with it again.  Writing should be a pleasure, not a bind.

I have just got to manage myself better around my illness, better than I have been doing.  I have to start being kinder to myself; as I have been a right bully to myself recently.

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What I hate reading

From my previous post of the other day I should mention that there are certain subjects I just can’t read in literature and I will list them here;

I cannot bear to read dogs and horses being killed, or seeing this on movies – it was one of the reasons why I never got past the first 5 minutes of the movie Hulk 2003.

I cannot read about revenge killing of children – It’s strange because I can read horror where revenge killing of children is not a factor – they are just senselessly killed as part of the story and I read those. 

I cannot tolerate vivid descriptions of eye removal etc.

I cannot read sappy romances.

Also recently I have found with much amusement that there is only so much masturbation in a book I can read before I think it’s a bit much – thanks Caitlin Moran, for opening my eyes to just how prudent I think I might be!  I would never have thought that about myself until reading two of your books!  Lol

I struggle with historical fiction as it makes me think that those things happened and it confuses the hell out of me – which is funny because a lot of my dark fantasy is loaded with historical fiction!  So yes, I am a contradicting myself on that part.

But other than that I am pretty much open to reading anything.

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Just couldn’t read more…

Because I found a certain sentence indigestible in one of my previous reading books, I had to stop reading it.  So, I added another to the reading pile and I hope that it will be finished by the 1st march too – the newly added book is called “The library of the dead” by T.L Huchu.

The book was “The Prophets”.  I was finding the book very enjoyable and had rated it 4 stars until I read just one simple sentence which I felt did nothing for the book or the writer other than causing racial provocation.

The whole book is racially provocative anyway, because the subject of slavery can’t get any more provocative than that, but in my mind – there is a fine line between what is acceptable to write and what is acceptable to keep to yourself.

Coming from an ancestry where my many times great grandmother was a slave in Boston USA, I can appreciate books like these, but I cannot endorse something which could talk of revenge killing an innocent baby – that is just not on.

My ancestor was raped by her master’s son and her daughter was raised by her white grandfather and educated, both he and she had problems within both communities, especially when my great great grandmother was being educated as a governess – nobody wanted a “mulatto” for a governess in Boston in the early 1800s.   So rejected by the American community my great great grandma moved to Gibraltar and a couple of years later met an English sailor who took her to London to be his wife, she had to live a life of pretence in London, pretending to be of Spanish descent just to fit in with the locals and they bought it. 

I just can’t visualise these people in my ancestry who could bring themselves to sneak murdering a white baby in cold blood, just because of their situation.  I just can’t.

This little rant of mine will probably fall on deaf ears because as the years has gone by the family have got whiter and whiter and I am white, but I have black slave ancestry too and that is something that some people don’t realise – they don’t realise that some white people have black ancestry too and quite recent!

The book definitely touched a nerve and I know it really should, because slavery is just horrible, it is more than that, it is utterly disgusting!  But still, there are some things that should be said and other things best unsaid to prevent further racial division in the world!

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February’s reading pile

  1. Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson
  2. How to build a girl by Caitlin Moran
  3. Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake
  4. The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr
  5. The little book of Wonder by Bernadette Russell

I very rarely read fiction in comparison to my friends from goodreads.com; I consume mostly non-fiction books and self-help, so my monthly updates will rarely show that I have fiction on the list.

I am fascinated by the structure of language and its origins, all languages worldwide, not just the development of the English language.  I definitely consider myself a philologist, hence why Mother Tongue is on this month’s list. 

I have a life goal to become fluent in 5 contemporary languages and one ancient by the time I am eighty years old – hopefully I’ll live that long!

I am not yet fluent in anything other than English at the moment, but I can understand small bits of French and Italian.  If I were able to travel, I suspect that I could feed myself and ask very basic questions in France and Italy, I would say my Italian skills are better than my French skills at the moment.  I would also say that the main problem would be hearing conversations if they are spoken fast because I am deaf – totally deaf in my right ear and with only a half working left ear.  People ask me why bother learning then if you know that eventually you will lose all hearing altogether?  Because I believe that tomorrow there will be a cure for me – I believe that science will provide, so why not live with what I have and make the most of it now?  Basically – why give up on something I love, just in case I can’t?

I’m not really sure how I got spoken into reading Caitlin Moran’s books this month either, this is the second book I have read in the last couple of weeks by her and I can see a consistent theme, a theme which is getting eye-rollingly boring to be honest.  I shan’t be reading anymore from her, there is only so much masturbation you can read about!

Entangled Life is on my list because I have a weird fascination for microbiomes, fungi, bryophytes and subterranean lifeforms in all its forms.  I have no idea where the fascination came from but I can say, that if I lived my life again, I would run away from home, tell social services everything that ever happened to me and study maths and biology hard, because if I could live my life again I would like to be a microbiologist or something along those lines.

The prophets look really refreshing and I was just lured to it, I have no idea why, but at the moment I am enjoying the read.  I love learning about Afro American culture ever since I found out my nan was right about her great grandmother being mixed race and from Boston USA.  I believe this is fiction, but not sure to be honest. 

The little book of wonder is being re-read with fresh eyes and new perspectives; I am redoing all of the tasks in there and enjoying it again – especially as I have different ideas these days about things. 

So with any luck, all of these books in particular will have been finished by the 1st March and I might write up the reviews of how I feel about them all.

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Top 10 fantasy books

Top 10 Fantasy Books that I enjoyed and that influenced me the greatest are;

Alice’s adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I have always been a big fan of the inane and very abstract.  To me this novel is enchanting to the most profound sense of the word.  I love how it shows us that entertainment and our imaginations do not have to make sense in order to inspire us to do great things and beauty and fantasy doesn’t have to have a defined set of rules. 

This book makes me feel liberated as a creator and much of what I write reflects just how much Carroll has influenced me as a whole, it shows you how to think outside of the box; which is a wonder really, because I have never really been considered by people who know me as someone who thinks outside of the box, regardless how innovative they also say I am! 

The wizard of Oz by Frank L Baum

Very similar to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, this novel and the entire fourteen book series has also expressed to me how fantasy and the imagination comes with no rules, that in the throes of your own mind you can do anything – because only you are god to the worlds you are imagining, the only rules that exist are the ones you determine! 

You decided what makes sense or not in your world, but you have to make sense in those worlds and not have contradicting ideas that make the world come across as unbelievable.  It can be as silly as you want it to be, but there must be some kind of order and to me this novel and the previous one I mentioned does that excellently!

Gregor the overlander by Suzanne Collins

Comedy is a big part of my fantasy writing and to me there is a lot of that in this book as well as cute little moments and emotional rollercoasters galore!

This books shows that even the most disgusting things in life can be somewhat endearing if you choose to switch the way you think.  I mean I would never have felt compassion, sympathy and a sense of love for a cockroach for example, but this novel debunked that! 

The Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

Once again the comedy aspect is here and that I absolutely love – also it shows that every world needs to have traditions and stories within stories and a sense of belonging and festivities.  I love how there is a familiarity to our reality reflected within this book, our Christmas and their Hogswatch and I try to do this in most of my novels.  Each world has a different ideology, customs and holidays and I think this is the biggest thing I love about story writing!  I love creating absolutely new customs and cultures!  Especially when I have conflicting cultures in the stories, each trying to explain the reason behind the things that they do to each other.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

I love this book because it makes you as a writer think about consequences of the things you choose to do to your characters and it forces you think about being consistent in your actions which precede the characters problem because of it.  It makes for good reading because there is a problem the character wants to resolve – a disability if you like, to overcome.  Also, once again, there is a comedy element to the novel and there are strong female characters, something which is rare in fantasy I have noticed.

Troll Fell by Katherine Languish

I love place descriptions and descriptions of movement, this book does that well.  I love the landscape and flow of the novel and I love the traditional sense of fantasy too – the old style fantasy, based on old folklore.  This novel has Vikings as well as house elves (nisse) and trolls.  I love Scandinavian folklore a lot and that can be reflected in some of the stuff I write, even if the location is not recognisable as Nordic. 

Smoke and mirrors By Neil Gaiman

There are many little gems in this book, lots of lovely prose and I do love novels that have a prose like feel to it; most people find prose hard to digest, but I love it.  I think there is a huge snobbery against prose and I find that hard to understand.  I love “descriptive dribble” as some people call it and I often find it offensive listening to people who put down prose like works. 

A major part of my lack of writing in recent years is due to the snobbery from my readers who dislike the prose that often gets interjected into my stories.  I am not overly descriptive, but I do borderline poetic.

According to my previous beta readers, my work is too old fashioned – it is at best Edwardian in style but, usually Victorian and I have to bring myself more up to date; that is the usual complaint I have ever had as well as having too much of a broadsheet vocabulary.  They felt that my readers would be a niche and narrow in margin purely because a vast majority of readers have more of a tabloid vocabulary and I feel that is actually insulting to readers of the world!  I did allow these comments to dictate my style a lot for a while and it started to kill me as a creator somewhat. 

I love how Neil Gaiman seems to be older than he is in some of the works in this book, some of the stories look as though it has been around since Queen Victoria and I love that about him and this book!  A lot of my stories are based in the Victorian era which is one of the reasons why I could never understand the problem my beta readers had with it – am I to have modern day urban language at a 1850s lord of the manor’s dinner party?  My work is certainly not contemporary usually. 

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

I love the rawness of the novel.  I love how the horrific realities of life are imbedded within its pages; the girl doesn’t merely hunt the deer but straddles it and slices it to a perfect death for her and her fox’s food in the winter time.  Some might say that is overly descriptive and disturbing but life is disturbing anyway, so why shield from it?  It is good writing! 

I have been described by a home school tutor as being a very gory writer so perhaps I share in Ivey’s violent descriptions of life and the world?  Perhaps when I eventually approach the publishing agencies they may want to censor a lot of what I write, but I have seen many books which go beyond what even I think is acceptable, so they might leave me alone on that matter? 

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

I can’t talk about this book to many people as they often reject it as being too awful and the subject matter really is!  However, they often overlook the beautiful prose and philosophy that is hidden in the pages which makes it an absolutely delightful read for me!   I love the aspect of the afterlife and how emotionally connected this novel gets to become with its readers.  It makes you feel what the characters feel. 

It is very intense and I can understand why many people cannot tolerate that, but if you can push through the horror of this book and concentrate on Susie’s afterlife you will find that it is incredibly lovely, it is incredibly beautiful the things she does in the “before heaven” as I call it.  I love the pages where the author gets lost within Susie’s playtime in the afterlife, that is my favourite, despite how weird and distasteful I found a couple of the subjects, such as experiencing a kiss whilst possessing her sisters body, that was too strange for me. 

I write a lot of books about the afterlife and ghosts, as well as vampires. 

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien

I find it a fun all-rounder – there are comedy elements and basically a little bit of everything from above in the novel too, as well as being a traditional and classic version of epic fantasy.  I love the mix of creatures in this novel and there be dragons too, I love dragons, one of my top five favourite creatures to write about!

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Monitoring depression with reading status

I haven’t read much for several months due to illness and chronic depression.

When I read it usually means I have an interest in the world around me and a zest for life, so I am more likely to read a lot and quite quickly, but when I don’t it usually means my depression has set in again and I am thinking dark suicidal thoughts again.  It is easily monitored if you know me, you will notice a drop in my books read pile and won’t get to see me reading much during those times because I get into the mind-set of what is the point?

Although tragic I suppose it is a funny idiosyncrasy of mine.  You can tell how depressed I am by how slow or fast I read and whether or not I read at all – just check my goodreads activity if you are curious about what is going on in my mind at the time!  I will add you as a goodreads friend too, if you want.  https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8725823-tina

The past two weeks has been pretty good in comparison to the past several months.

During a mentally stable time I can read 3 to 7 books in a week and about 3 or 4 magazines, during a bout of depression maybe I will read approximately 30 – 70 pages a day, but during really dark times I struggle to read 50 pages a week if anything at all!

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Self Isolation Experience

As the world is forced into self-isolation, many aren’t coping, both physically and mentally; but there are some (introverts not included) which to them, it is a way of life; many not by choice or design and I am one of them.

It has taken me a time to write this, because I was not sure what to really say on the matter until now, purely because up until now, I didn’t think much of the world would understand the frustrations and things that I do in self-isolation before this moment in time.  Now I think or rather hope, that I would become crystal clear in what I am about to say and with a depth of understanding from those who are now forced into a similar situation by forces not of their own design too.

The isolation I have been forced into throughout my life by my mother, is entirely different to this pandemic, there was no fatal disease which could have affected me during that time, nor was there any government ruling set about to enforce my mother’s commands, though saying that, to me (at the time I was living with my mother) her word was law and any deviation from that law was harshly punishable.

My life in isolation day to day was like this;

There was no real schedule outside of dinner time, my day to day life was higgledy-piggledy and often turned upside side with the craziest stuff going on most of the time, there was in a word (insecurity), there was no predictability in my day.  The only things I could rely on to be part of my day were, cleaning and eating dinner at 4pm on the dot.  I was taught there was no comfort or security within the home, because nothing would remain the same day to day – in a literal sense.  My mother suffered from OCD which meant she cleaned everything thoroughly and demanded that everyone in the house do her crazy cleaning rituals too with her, with the exception of dad because he worked – even if I went out to work occasionally on the times she allowed me to, it didn’t apply to me.  Cleaning wasn’t so bad, but her obsessions to have a constant supply of household projects were both wasteful and sometimes downright silly.  She would move the furniture around the house a lot, just for the sake of it and often she would end up putting the furniture back in the same way it always is by the end of the day unhappy with her new lay out – sometimes those lay outs would last for weeks, but often it would go back to the same old design.  It wouldn’t be so bad if it was a table now and again, but it was entire rooms being moved in one day!  You was never warned when this would be, sometimes it would have started before I even woke up in the morning, sometimes it would start after dinner and there were even occasions she started it around midnight!

She would also have decorating projects, where she would re-carpet, or laminate a room and expect it to be done in a day maybe two days at most, painting walls was very popular with her, we did this more often than we should have.  Redesigning the garden was another love of hers, constantly moving plants around and then wondering why her favourites die so easily.  She never liked to leave the house more than three times a week herself for shopping or visiting, but would often insist in going out every day even for 20 minutes for walks.  Funnily enough even when we had dogs, the dogs would usually be left behind whilst we, the owners go for a walk without them – which was something that never made sense to me – as a consequence our dogs were usually classed as obese by the vet.

When going for walks, other than the neighbourhood gossipers, mum wouldn’t talk to anyone no matter how friendly they seemed.  Often she couldn’t be bothered with the neighbourhood gossipers and would literally drive to another street within a 3 mile radius and walk around there, so she didn’t have to talk to anyone.  But one or twice she would walk the same places so often, their own local gossipers would come out and talk to her, thinking she was another neighbour from nearby, when that happened, she would avoid the area for several weeks.  My mother never liked me standing with her when she was talk to other people, even when I was an adult, she would often require me to walk away and come back occasionally and she would give me secret hand signals to tell me roughly how long she will tolerate this person and what the conversation might be about.  She had her secret codes to talk to me, so others never knew how she was controlling me and my actions and even my own conversational input.

I was taught this by her aggression after events happened, she would tell me what she did and how I should have reacted and often told me that other people in the world would understand what she did, but because I don’t go out and is active in the world, I haven’t learned these basic social instincts.  I learned through my therapist that what she said was bullshit.

Sometimes mum would catch herself out, if we had a visitor sometimes she would absent-mindedly call me into the room, give me her secret signals which were both hand movement, sitting positions and various snorts which could be mistaken for her clearing her throat but I was taught that was a sign of displeasure and to please steer the conversation for her.  Sometimes people were so used to the idea that when they visited I was the tea maker that if I was called in and mum didn’t say anything to me about the tea or spoke to me at all, that they felt they had to remind mum to prompt me to make more tea for them as obviously, that was the reason she called me in, wasn’t it?  As rude as it may seem, they often did this; most of our visitors were family or rarely long-standing friends and Jehovah Witnesses.

Although we had visitors and talked to neighbours my life was socially isolated in that I was only allowed minimal conversation with them and was often shooed away with mums secret language to me, we would visit one person a week on average, sometimes we would visit more depends on either what mum wanted from them or what the person was going through at the time.  Again, we could be sitting at another person’s house for several hours and during that time I would probably have said less than ten sentences in all of that time by mothers prompt.  It was usual though that she would encourage me as entertainment occasionally, where I was made to play spiritualist as it were.  As I have a clairvoyant talent and I also do various readings, such as tarot and things.  This was the only time I was allowed to talk as much as I liked to whomever I was supposed to be entertaining.  Another thing I was allowed to do was to talk as much as I liked about philosophy, religion and spirituality; but even there, there was a limit to how much I could say and for how long.  Sometimes mum would give me permission to mock her, be cheeky to her to liven things up and make it seem like I had a personality of sorts.

It all may seem very strange to those who have had a normal life and upbringing, but to me at the time, I thought it was normal stuff, because my mum would often tell me, that this is how the world is.  Everything is finite, there is a finite way about people that as someone who is not worldly, doesn’t understand and that is why, when I socialised independently I got myself into embarrassing situations because I misread the person.  Often I reacted to other people based on how my mother interacted with me and the other person, obviously being unaware totally misread me or felt I had a split personality as I would often drift in and out of conversations quickly, thinking I have displeased them in some way, but no one understood what I was on about and to be honest, they shouldn’t have as it isn’t normal.

My activities also included gardening, I gardened a lot, I would garden a small collection of flowers but most of the florals I wasn’t allowed to touch or even learn about as my parents were possessive of them, as strange as it is, they would not teach me a thing about them at all, not even their names.  My main gardening duties were the fruits and vegetables that my mum wanted for that year, I was also allowed a small area entirely of my own which included herbs and a couple of small tightly controlled trees, which at the time I never knew would have been called a bonsai version – which generally just meant heavily pruned and small in size.  I wasn’t allowed to tell anybody that I did the gardening as much as I did, I was only allowed to mention my designated section, not the other work I did for my parents – that was their glory and they fiercely protected their reputation for being amazing gardeners.  So I had learned from an early age that I had to swallow my pride and see all my hard work as the credit to someone else other than me, I even had to lie for my parents to make them sound amazing and even praise them for the work.  Basically I knew, that I was praising myself but mum was prompt in reminding me when visitors had gone that I was not to feel proud of myself for what they had said, because I would never have done it if it weren’t her wishes for me to do so, so I had no right to take pride in my work because it wasn’t really my work.  I just cared for it for her that is all, the credit will always be hers.

My dad was very sweet, he would occasionally tell people that I did it and taught them whatever about certain things, but mum would often attack dad for it when visitors were home as she felt shown up.

I was taught to cook for my family from the age of seven, everything from full English breakfast, lamb stew to meat and potato pies.  I would cook the main dinner for the house approximately three times a week, sometimes more, but I mostly made lunch which would be anywhere between 11am and 3pm depends.  Come what may, main dinner was always 4pm, except for Sundays and special occasions, where it would then be a 2pm dinner.  Some Sundays I would visit my paternal grandmother and would have to consume two full roast dinners in one day, one with gran around noon and another when we get home to see mum around 6pm, because mum would anticipate we were fed at grans, so would knock Sunday roast dinner back by 2 hours.

My other gran didn’t have a specific day for being visited, because she was a fully mobile and energetic old lady who would quite often visit us and stay the night, or sometimes she would manage to steal me from my mother for the day or for a night at her house; which I loved, despite the very different and contrast environment of her home compared to my mums.  My gran was the total opposite of my mum, not house-proud at all, just saw home as a place to sleep and store stuff she liked.

When I was with my gran, she demanded total independence from me.  I had to be responsible for myself and as she was elderly, I had to help her, which meant going out alone and fetching things for her, walking her dog called Star and giving messages to other relatives around the area as they were all more or less neighbours within 10 streets of each other.  I had to make her tea too and occasionally she felt that if I had a problem with how messy and unclean her house was, then I should deal with it how I see fit – which meant I was housekeeping for two people – my mum and my gran.  But with gran, it was a choice, it wasn’t expected.  At least with gran I got recognition and whenever I finished anything she would comment that I am such a good girl, now how about treating yourself to something from the chippy and getting me something to eat too?

I liked it when gran stole me from mum, because sometimes it would be for a few days at a time and gran never liked staying indoors for long.  She was an early riser and out the door within half an hour of waking up, going to random places, visiting other relatives on a whim, going to car boot sales and whatever, wherever, anywhere within a 4 hour car drive one way, was doable in a day!  Life was an adventure with this gran.  Where my mother was obsessed with not going out much unless necessary and cleaning and decorating her house, my gran (her mother) was obsessed with going out, living day to day and avoiding housework full stop!

I think my gran had such a carefree attitude to life because she nearly died on several occasions throughout her life, she was born with a heart condition, lucky to live, had her first open heart surgery when she was 14 and has a new operation approximately every 2yrs throughout her whole life, more heart attacks and deep vein thrombosis than you could count along with haemophilia because of warfarin use.  To say my gran was a very lucky person is an understatement!  This includes finances too, she wasn’t rich, but she was never put in a situation of being too needy as she had the luck of the devil as she calls it.  At her direst she would often feel it is time to go bingo-ing and would often win big prizes, sometimes she didn’t even have to leave the house, as she often did government bonds and would get letters proclaiming big prizes, once for 20k!  I was one of the 5 grandchildren gran offered to take to Florida’s Disneyland but mum wouldn’t let me go, so she chose someone else, gran was angry about that as I was more into Disney than the other gran kids.  But what made gran more pissed off was the fact that mum put it about the family that she never even asked me!  Mum often lied, but was rarely caught out.

It is hard to stomach hearing someone slag off at every opportunity someone you know to be almost super hero like in quality to you, always spilling nasties out about them to someone who doesn’t know them.  Mum absolutely hated my gran, but only tolerated her because of a promise she gave to my grandad on his death bed, when grandad begged mum to look after my gran for him.  Grandad knew the hatred between gran and mum, mum never forgave grandad for putting that on her.  As mum said, if it wasn’t for what he said, she would have abandoned gran the moment he died.

People often asked why tolerated gran mum if there is so much contempt, but mum would never answer them, she used to use me to steer the conversation to something else.  The contempt was plain to everyone, because mum constantly spoke down to my gran and I think gran only tolerated it because of two things, she knew I needed a break from mum occasionally and stayed for me, and secondly, nobody else would tolerate her either as they were too busy.

Sometimes mum would try and stop my relationship with gran for a while, by sending me away to other relatives to live, so our relationship stalled.  Gran caught mum out a couple of times as she would drive all the way from Burnt Oak, North London, to Market Drayton in Shropshire to visit her daughter and to see me, just for the day, which is why mum decided to concentrate more on dads family.

When I wasn’t required for entertainment, cleaning or companionship, my days consisted of playing games on my PlayStation or the internet, writing vampire stories and reading horror books and books on spirituality.

Basically, I was kept too busy to harp on the fact that I was both lonely and stuck indoors most of the time, which I think is a key thing for self-isolators to learn.

As my mum often did, she did a spring clean of the whole house once or twice a week, gardening, if you don’t have a garden do window box or window sill gardening.  Read books, knit, sew, make your own clothes, draw, paint, write something, read magazines, play your with pets, do something with your kids, re-arrange your furniture.  There is always something to blooming do, so do it. 

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Other hobbies

What do I do when I am not writing?

Quite a lot actually, because I don’t write much at all these days; I have lots of ideas for things to write but I think illness has made me lose focus and passion for it.  I was a lot more passionate about writing than I am nowadays.  It is simply because pain distracts me and makes me lose where I am heading – coughing fits and a severely runny nose are the biggest contributors for throwing me off course, yanking me out of the zone, as it were.  As I have said before in many posts, I live with a perpetual chronic cold, with ear, nose and throat infections thrown in.  It isn’t just a sniffle, I wish it were, but I can get through five hundred individual tissues on a bad day, two hundred being the norm for me.

Since the 21st December 2019 the only things I have written are what are on the blog and approximately 5000 words of non-posted works of other things, but nothing contributing to my novels.  Hand written notes of other ideas are not included in this, I am spending more and more time in bed these days as I can barely move.  All these problems are giving me severe insomnia and hypersomnia.  What do I mean by that?  Well I don’t sleep at night, I seem to sleep better during the day, for some reason my chest and sinus is worse at night.  When I do eventually sleep during the day I sleep between 7 and 16 hours in a stretch, to wake up for 2 hours in a choking fit with a dry crusted mouth.  Not a pretty visual I know.  I can go 30 to 40 hours without sleeping, purely because I am too busy clearing mucus from my system.

So it isn’t any wonder why I lack focus and concentration really.

Basically, everything I do when I am not writing, are things I can do at home, in the bedroom.  Primarily with my desktop computer, as I have recently had it moved to the bedroom due to the fact I am often too sick to get downstairs these days and I have moved my laptop downstairs for the rare occasion I am down there for more than an hour.  Because my legs swell a lot sitting at the computer desk, I can only sit here for an hour before I have to rest with legs up for thirty minutes, to get the swelling down, so even if I am on a roll, my ankles start burning and that throws me off course and I have to go and put my feet up.

I read approximately 30 to 80 pages of a book per day and about half a magazine too.  The types of things I read the most are fantasy, sci-fi and comedy fiction with a lot of non-fiction thrown in; the non-fiction I enjoy are self-help books, nutrition books, history books, theological research, mythology, folklore and cultural studies.  My current reading list is Time Song by Julia Blackburn, The Toll by Neal Shusterman and Roy Vickery’s folk flora. 

I do puzzles such as codebreakers, arrow words and gardening magazine crosswords – before my chest got too bad I used to love doing 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles, but it is frustrating having a coughing fit and losing pieces across the room all the time!

If I am not too busy fighting mucus, I get to knit, crochet, sew or practise my recorder and keyboard. 

I watch TV only if there are documentaries I am interested in, I mostly watch Smithsonian and BBC four with some Drama channel thrown in.  I will watch anything with Lucy Worsley, anything about the history of jazz, soul and classical music, nature and wildlife documentaries, documentaries about farming and country life.  I like science too, so I will watch sky at night and space science programs as well as things in the past such as time commanders, gladiators and the occasional wrestling show.  I love comedies, I only watch the comedies on the Drama Channel, but I am picky about which ones to watch.  I like only connect and some quiz and puzzle shows like Countdown, but I don’t watch them all the time.  I have to be in the mood to watch TV and before I was sick I watched around three hours of TV a week, these days it’s about two hours a day.  We never miss Michael McIntyre’s Big Show if we can help it, nor do we tend to like missing gardeners world or shows such as the RHS show, cruft’s and BBC Proms.  I’m pretty old fashioned I suppose for someone who is thirty seven.  I dislike soap operas and drama llama stuff – yes I mentioned the drama channel, but there are three hours a day where it is strictly comedy and I tend to only watch that channel (at the comedy times) or food network when there is nothing else on.  Sometimes I put on a DVD and I will often choose vampires or family animations and comedies. 

The main things I do these days are play games online.  I don’t even socialise that much online anymore, because I lose concentration and people who know me are starting to think I have memory problems.  Because a coughing fit will make me forget what I have said or what I was on about.

The online games that grip me are… Roblox, yes Henry got me onto it and to be honest, Roblox has saved my relationship with my son!  Because I find his kind of games hard to do since becoming sick – Roblox has opened a whole new world for us and we play hide and seek and various other games together.  When Henry is at school, I still sneak onto the site and play bee swarm simulator, Ripull mini games and fairy simulator.  Bee Swarm simulator especially!

Other online games I play are ovipets it is a cute breeding game on facebook and I have been addicted to that for nearly 5yrs. 

Flightrising is another breeding game, but I go in and out of phases with that.  Primarily I have played this for a whole eight months without a break, purely because Henry wants to see what dragons I breed and he loves to name them and do what we call “Dragon Lottery”.  Dragon Lottery is where I look through the offspring possibilities scrying menu to see what will happen if I pair certain dragons up, sometimes I can’t decide, so I make a list of all the best ones that go with my chosen female that day and I number them, then Henry, Paul and I will choose a number from the list and put it through random.org and sometimes someone gets the number right, in which case that person must get a treat of some kind or get to choose to do something; I breed five pairs of dragons every five days, because that is how long it takes for the eggs to hatch and we have a limit of five breeding nests on this game. 

I used to play online scrabble but I have got accused of cheating because I know too many unusual words.  I don’t cheat on that game, I don’t see what purpose that serves other than the joy of creating misery on another person who loses and I am not a vindictive person like that.  I really do have a broad vocabulary, though I rarely use it outside of scrabble and I love doing anagrams for fun, so I see a lot of seven letter words and I am a dictionary and language addict, so I know words that are weird to normal people.  Here is a list of words I know for high scoring on scrabble, which have got me accused of cheating when used previously – plus, I have read books written by scrabble champions.

ZEBU – QAT –  QUARE – SEQUIN – AWK – EUOI – AIA – QI – KIMCHI – VEX – VAV – TAV – EAU – UVEA – AEON – OXIDE – POXY – QIN – QINTAR – FATWA – QABALA – QADI – SJOE – KHAKI – EUOUAE to name but a few.  I have to admit I was shocked when SEQUIN was considered a questionable word, the others I can understand, but I was sure almost everyone knew what sequins were?

I love words and word play so much I have considered about having a word of the week thing, but I am unreliable with keeping to things like that, as you can clearly see from past efforts or lack of.

Other than sketching with pencils or sharpies in bed and/or colouring in and story planning, I don’t do much else on a bad day.  On a good day I can add about an hour of light gardening to the list but not much else anymore.

I’m pretty boring I suppose, by my peers.  I can’t even cuddle the rabbit lately because I cough too much it terrifies the poor thing!  I suppose I sound like some big barking bear or something to the poor creature.

I have gone out to the doctors and walked past dogs when I am like this and the dogs think I am barking at them, they react accordingly, it is embarrassing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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