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I never left.

I've been remembered! Very kind, but I log into Livejournal every day. I just don't post any more because, well, who's reading? But I was promised one months free membership if I posted and goshdarnit, I expect a months free membership.

Thanks for remembering me.

Merry Beltaine to all.

Have you ever stood in the April wood and called the new year in?
While the phantoms of three thousand years fly as the dead leaves spin?
There's a snap in the grass behind your feet and a tap upon your shoulder.
And the thin wind crawls along your neck it's just the old gods getting older.
And the kestral drops like a fall of shot and the red cloud hanging high
come a Beltane.
Have you ever loved a lover of the old elastic truth?
And doted on the daughter in the ministry of youth?
Thrust your head between the breasts of the fertile innocent.
And taken up the cause of love, for the sake of argument.
Or while the kisses drop like a fall of shot from soft lips in the rain
come a Beltane.
Happy old new year to you and yours.
The sun's up for one more day, to be sure.
Play it out gladly, for your card's marked again.

Have you walked around your parks and towns so knife-edged orderly?
While the fires are burned on the hills upturned in far-off wild country.
And felt the chill on your window-sill as the green man comes around.
With his walking cane of sweet hazel brings it crashing down.
Sends your knuckles white as the thin stick bites. Well, it's just your groaning pains.
Come a Beltane. Come a Beltane.
Come a Beltane. Come a Beltane.
Come a Beltane. Come a Beltane.
Come a Beltane. Come a Beltane.

(c) Ian Anderson


I love tea. I have boxes and boxes of various different types, and when I visit hotels I always nick the teabags. I like to try different flavours; they don't even have to be tealeaf tea. I am happy enough to drink herbal blends (except mint and chamomile. Bleh), or try really odd blends. My favourite is chai. I spent a happy hour in a tea shop in Paris sniffing various blends and brought home two gorgeous ones.

The only problen I have is that, because I have so many different sorts, and my kitchen is ridiculously cluttered, I end up with escapee teabags. I have no idea what flavour they might be. So the Russian Roulette Tea Jar is an excellent idea. I just need to find a jar big enough now. :)

I also like coffee, but since my mystery illness last year I can't drink it without suffering mightily. Pity.

She's alive!

Its been a while since I did a proper update. I don't know why, as I do pay to have Livejournal. I'm not going to leave just because the latest update looks a bit off, and often wonder why people threaten to, or even do so, when any Facebook update with its potential to spread our personal details far and wide usually goes without a murmur. However I respect anyones choice to leave or stay here as they decide. You just don't need to announce it.

Work is chuntering along as usual. My boss left last year so I am now all alone in York. I do still have my equivalent in Scotland but for how long, who knows? We are not told anything, but I assume no news is good news. That might be incredibly naive but what's the alternative? Ellie dropped a year for 6th form for various reasons so I can't leave York for at least 18 months, and I still have a year to go with my course anyway.

Talking of my course, I have now started the second year. I passed 4 out of the 5 exams from last year (still waiting for the result for the 5th) so fingers crossed. Illness wise, I had an endoscopy and colonoscopy in the Autumn which was quite frankly the least hilarious thing that has ever happened to me. Nothing obviously wrong was found and, apart from the odd attack, it all seem to have gone away now. My final outpatients appointment is in February. I also managed to get mumps just before Christmas which was not fun, especially because I'd had it when I was a child. Be warned - you can get it more than once!

2012 is looking like it might be fun. I'll be off to Norfolk for Easter, Greece in the summer, and a short trip to Seville in the Autumn. If I can just sort out my future at the MoD I'll be happy. Until then, all things seem to be running nicely.

Writer's Block: Merry Christmas

What is the best present you received this year?

I has a Kindle. :D

Writer's Block: Leaping from the page

Which comic book character would you like to see on the silver screen? Who would you cast to play the role?

It would be my dream come true if Halo Jones or Slaine were to be made into films, although knowing Alan Moore that is incredibly unlikely. Also they'd probably only end up being butchered.

I think DR and Quinch would do well though. ;)

Writer's Block: Apocalypse now?

It's the beginning of the end, according to Harold Camping. How will you spend what could be your last day on Earth?

I'll be seeing Rush in concert at Newcastle Arena tonight! \m/ So it will be touch and go whether we actually hear the end of the world anyway. Having said that.....I'll be in Newcastle. How will I tell?

And in other, more usual news, neo-pagans are starting to argue with Professor Hutton again regarding the origins of Wicca. Interview linked in the Wild Hunt blog here.

Good to see some things never change. *sigh*

The Lenski Affair

I shouldn't post this out loud but we are not hugely busy as work so, before I slope off for some well earned leave, I am spending some slack time on TV Tropes (aaargh so addictive) and Wikipedia. Thanks to the former I came across The Lenski Affair.

Professor Richard Lenski had been working on an experiment to study how evolution works for 20 years (as of 2008) with the help of several students and other professors, and published the results on the article "Historical contingency and the evolution of a key innovation in an experimental population of Escherichia coli". Andy Schlafly, infamous editor of Conservapedia, sent him an e-mail asking for all the data about the experiment and casting aspersions on Lenski's character. The professor patiently and respectfully directs him to read the article, and also corrects several misconceptions Andy had asked about in the first letter. Schlafly then replies with yet another request for all information and data, again making the same misconceptions and even implying that Lenski may have engaged in fraud. Lenski's next answer becomes, as Lenski says, "less polite" in answer to Schlafly's lack of politeness. In a very long and comprehensive letter, Lenski completely shows that Schlafly isn't acting in good faith, completely pwns him and teaches everyone who reads it a bit of what he did, and concludes it with a P.S, a P.P.S, a P.P.P.S and a P.P.P.P.S. which show that, indeed, Lenski is far more open minded than what Schlafly has ever been in the Real Life sense of the word (note that, in Conservapedia, "open minded" is Spy Speak for "I completely agree with Schlafly's opinions, even if they are the most stupid ones possible").

The postscripts were particularly satisfying, especially the last two. I have often wondered why a religion that embraces an omnipotent god cannot embrace the fact that that god can do anything, including evolution! Indeed, one of Schlafly's supporters states that the changes could have been put in the bacteria by God to be revealed when He decides. Although I am an utter disbeliever in Monotheism, surely that would be a better position to take than utterly refute that God maybe likes to tinker?

Ah well. This is why I love the internet. It teaches me things. :D


Happy Birthday to squirrelboiler, who is hopefully taking a break from crushing fluffies and snake oil salesmen beneath her perfectly pedicured feet and reclining gracefully while being waited on hand and foot.

Have a most excellent day! :)

Writer's Block: Toys in the attic

Did you have a favorite toy as a child that you took with you everywhere? If so, what was it and what happened to it?

I had a large orange teddy bear. Not a Steiff or anything special, just a squashy bear. I took that bear everywhere apart from school. My younger sister had a squirrel. We visited northern Europe when me and her were very small and stayed in a guesthouse in Denmark (I think). Me and my younger sister left our bear and squirrel behind and my father had to drive about 100 miles back from Germany to fetch them.

Funnily enough I have no idea where he is today. My father had a bit of a moment before he moved to China and disowned us, and emptied the entire attic of all our childhood things, so no doubt he ended up in a landfill somewhere. Luckily I am not very sentimental.

It's been too long!

Holy cow where did the last month and a bit go? It's not that I am not up to much, or just not talking to you lot. It's more I am up to far too much and just haven't got the time or spoons to update this thing. My Facebook friends will know that I occasionally post choice non sequiturs but thats really no good for the rest of you.

Biggest time sink is my new course. I am studying level 5 of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (see, I've grabbed your interest already!) which involves travelling down to Bristol every month. I do love Bristol and luckily an old college friend/ex moved there and has been showing me the various and numerous watering holes in the city. His partner is a hoot too! And thanks to him I have been able to get in touch with someone else from my Leicester days so all good there! I had my first exam at the end of January and thought it wasn't too bad, although I don't get my results til April. Another exam next month though! D:

Very busy at work as my other assistant left for pastures new at East Riding of Yorkshire Council. Not that there will be much difference in workload of course. But it does mean that I can't get anyone to do filing or background work while I am fending off pointless tasks from HQ. Also I keep getting dragged over to Catterick for pointless meetings. Very annoying when they then complain that I haven't done some work.

Good weekend this weekend. I got back from Bristol late Friday thanks to an accident on the M1. Then Saturday was my friend Sarah's Blessingway. I did the guided meditation for it which I hope went well. Then we ate, and she had cooked plenty! Lovely stuffed potato skins and quiches, and lovelier cupcakes and lime meringue pie for pud! Then a most enjoyable evening with M. Today, as I still had the car, me and Mum went to Beningbrough Hall for a quick stroll around the Portrait Gallery and gardens. A load of washing tonight and I am feeling very virtuous. Obviously, that won't last. >:)
Love stuff like this.

Do you like to hear about your partner's exes? Does it make you jealous or forge greater intimacy?

I always think of the scene from Four Weddings and a Funeral where Andy McDowell's character is going through all the men she's slept with and it takes a while. If I did it you'd all be nodding off to sleep! I have had first hand experience regarding how jealous my past sex life makes men, so I'll not poke the bear by asking them about their exes.

This seems a perfect time to segue into my (sort of) annual post about my love life, or lack of it. Last year I was in a relationship so didn't bother. We all know how that turned out! Also, last year the only man I would ever consider marrying, or at least living with, or maybe sharing a bed with on a semi-regular occasion got married. Yep, of all the people Charlie Brooker could marry, he chose sweet ex Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq. I'd love to be a fly on that kitchen wall in the mornings.

However, I suppose it has saved me from a fate worse than (to me) death. I am not dissing relationships in any way. I know several of my friends list are in one, and some of them are successful! However I have decided that I am crap at them. I hate the feeling that I ought to behave in a certain way because society has dictated that a couple should behave thus. I hate having to accommodate people's likes and dislikes, when they don't accommodate mine. I spent several years with Bill and wasn't able to eat meat for most of it. I spent two years with Paul and wasn't able to eat fish because he didn't like it. I can eat what I want now. I can watch what I want, listen to what I want (of all the traits I hate in men, the compulsion to police people's music choices is the worst!), and wear what I want.

It may be complete coincidence but since I became single I have stopped smoking, cut down on my drinking drastically, and lost nearly three stone. And my sex life hasn't suffered a jot. I would be lying if I said there weren't downsides though. I spend far too much time online. I do miss adult conversation. Going out for a drink has become fraught with unreliability and bad blind dates. I am in serious danger of becoming a crazy cat lady. On the other hand I have met some fantastic people, people I would never have met if I wasn't single. So I think, on balance, I come out on top.

Eyes full of tinsel and fire.

The fudge and truffles are made, the chutneys and jams are wrapped. Panacotta for an alternative pudding and cranberry stuffing for those of us who don't like celeriac (damn you HFW!!). The champagne is nestled between my clothes in the suitcase and the patés are packed. I reckon that I might, just might be ready to go to my mother's for Xmas.

Both the sisters are coming, and together with one of the nieces and me and my daughter it's going to be a squeeze. But I reckon I can stand the family til Boxing Day. Then I have many nice things planned.

The taxi is here in an hour and even Ellie could be ready on time. I hope you all have a lovely merry Xmas and a boozy new year. :)

Simon's Cat.

This is why I don't have a Christmas Tree.

Stuff and nonsense.

Hm, it seems I have neglected this LJ for a while! I’ll do a quick round up so you know I haven’t suddenly started hating you all. :D

I went to the Wakefield Beer fair with Daz at the beginning of November and had a most excellent afternoon. Most the time at beer fairs we drink thirds so we can try as many beers as possible, but at Wakefield it was halves or nothing so I was most jolly by home time. Then the sisters came up that weekend. We had a nice look round the shops and had a good bitch about the mother. Very cathartic. We got a little tipsy at tea time and I laughed so much my face ached.

Not long after that I noticed my tongue was sore, so I went to the docs. She thought it might have been vitamin B deficiency so I had to have blood tests to check that out. They were all clear but I still have the sore tongue, although not as bad as it was. Yeah, yeah, too much talking*. I know.

Last week me and Ellie went to see Kevin Bridges at the Theatre Royal, and this week we say Dara O’Briain at the Leeds Grand Theatre. Dara was definitely funnier but I guess he has been at it for longer. Kevin Bridges was also funny but he seemed to have a tough time with the audience. I have noticed this before as when we went to see Stephen Amos he remarked on it too. Then Dara O’Briain commented at how tough the audience was at his York gig, not knowing of course that there were stealth Yorkies in his audience. :D Oh well, they were both excellent.

As we were going to Leeds and I owed Ellie a new dress (I shrank hers in the wash) I proposed we go in the afternoon, not knowing how much of a complete mugging my wallet was to take. We did manage to get two dresses relatively painlessly, so Ellie dragged me into the Victoria Quarter to drool at the posh shops. While we were in Vivienne Westwood we noticed a film crew going backwards so had a nose and it was Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen being filmed for something. He looked over to see which plebs were gawking at him so we waved and he was nice enough to wave back. As Ellie said, at least we were in Vivienne Westwood. Imagine if we had been in Primark! The shame!!

Of course, what do I then do after having my wallet seriously depleted? Deplete it some more! I have the Rush band info on my Facebook and noticed they were touring the UK next year. They don’t do that often! Tickets went on sale today and I got a right good seat in the Newcastle Arena. Very pleased with myself but again, not cheap!

Tomorrow I am at a cookery session in the morning making preserves then meeting Daz in the evening for Turkish food and beer (mmmm beer). I have a visit to Bristol planned next month for my course, so that should be good. I always enjoy Bristol. And then it’s Christmas! Everyone is getting jam this year!

* Or something ;o)

Back to the fold.

I was out last night and stayed up far too late for a school night, so am feeling a bit detached today.

One conversation had last night was about paganism and witchcraft. I have noticed that recently it is coming up often in my chats to various people and last time I spoke about it I realised that deep down, I am still a pagan. I know I give every intimation of being a godless atheist hell bent on dissing everyone else's spiritual path but I think deep down I have always been a pagan, and always will be. I don't mean the 'lets get naked and dance round the livingroom' type, nor the 'lets get our somewhat grubby faces on TV' type, but more the 'walking through the countryside and marvelling at nature' type. I didn't really do anything uniquely pagan for Samhain (although I did do something uniquely 'me') but I am thinking it would be nice to start celebrating the festivals again, in a small way.

I think the main reason I backed away for so long is the internet pagans. I read back through my LJ and wonder why I put myself through such anger for a group of self indulgent fuckwits. Although I don't want to give them any reason to think I like them at all, my RL pagan friends are a world away from the argumentative brats on UK Pagan and Pagan Network. Maybe I had to go cold turkey to get away from their kind.

Anyway, I guess I am back. I would have liked to resume my reading but, with my usual impeccable timing, I have just enrolled for my professional qualification at work and it looks like I'll be very busy for a while.

Paris je t'aime

So last week was my trip to Paris with my mum, Ellie, and Ellie's friend. The weather was lovely, the food was great, and my French was not the laughing stock of the whole city.

Paris pics - sort of image heavy.Collapse )
On the Eurostar back to the UK I actually did watch Paris Je T'aime. It was really good to recognise some of the names and places. And I have fallen in love with Paris, and I will be going back. Not with my Mum and daughter though. I'll take a lover next time. :)


Not much to write about. I just wanted todays date as a post header. :)

I am supposed to be in Paris next week but it looks like the French have other ideas. I guess it's a case of n'importe quoi* but Mum is wittering about it. Luckily she booked everything with her credit card so she'll probably get the money back but it's a bit of a pig when you think you'll be gawking at Notre Dame to be stuck at home twiddling thumbs instead. Oh well.

*see what I did there?

Writer's Block: Dynamite with a laserbeam

Is there a specific song or band that makes you yearn for the past?

Not yearn per se. Nothing makes me yearn for the past, because I wasn't keen on my life as a child and teenager and wouldn't want to ever repeat them. However there are two songs that will have me back in the sixth form in South Notts in no time. The first is West End Girls by Pet Shop Boys, which was played every time me and my best friend Eleanor went to Orchards, a pub/night club in Nottingham. That's where she met her boyfriend and I was ignored by the male population of Nottingham. I was not an attractive teenager.

The second is Alive and Kicking by Simple Minds. They were popular in the late 80s and so that and 'Don't You Forget About Me' were played pretty much everywhere, all the time.

I might not have enjoyed my 6th form years much but the music was pretty good.