christmas surprise

My entire life, I’ve offered the same response whenever anyone has asked me what I’d like for Christmas: books. Big books, little books, good books, trashy books. Just books. However every year I’m met with a sack full of Christmas present disappointment. Maybe it’s under the socks? No, that’s a nail file. It could be hiding under that low fat cooking magazine? No, that’s just a book shaped body wash.

This year, I must have done something right because Santa heard me… well it was actually my mother in law but hey, Santa / mum – not much difference right? Those of you who follow me on Facebook will know that I was ecstatic to find on Christmas morning that I had received both the DVD and the book of The Bridges of Madison County. I must confess, ordinarily it would never be a book that I’d pick up to read / buy for myself but because it was a gift (and my MIL had raved about the film) I figured I’d give it a go. Continue reading

the (dying) art of letter writing

Yesterday I met Postman Pat’s wife. While writing away at my usual hideout, a middle aged lady walked in, sat down opposite me on the communal table, ordered a long black and then proceeded to work her way through the 5 inch (at least) wad of mail that was accompanying her. I kid you not. Plastic wrappings and envelopes strewn across three seats and all.

image by hellojenuine

Even more disruptive and un-communal-table-esque was this lady’s constant chattering – to her mail. No, I promise, I’m not having you on. She conversed with every single piece of paper / card / stamp that she came across – including the Myer catalogues. Ah, isn’t that lovely, Oh, how nice, Oh my God. Oh my God! (this was in response to what look like a cheque so I’m guessing her weekly lotto purchase paid off). My response to her was torn. I honestly didn’t know whether to wedge one of her catalogues up her ass or bless her dear little soul for reminding me of the forgotten joy of letter writing. Continue reading

respect: not a large / meaningful / great enough word

The term ‘hero’ today means something vastly different from what it meant back in the era of the Ancient Greeks (think Hercules) or – if you don’t fancy stretching your mind back that far – even not so long ago, in the era of my parents or grandparents. My grandmother’s hero was her mother; my grandfather’s his father; my aunty’s her father. In fact, even my hero growing up (and I think it’s safe to say my sister’s also) was my aunty. All a far cry from today’s Shane Warnes, Lady Gagas and Justin Biebers don’t you think?

image by Ben Northern

The values that ‘hero’ encompassed prior to the Facebook-Twitter-Myspace revolution were far more primitive and real than those that it encompasses today. Mobile phones were scarce or even non existent, and the internet was still a far off thought way, way, way in the back of someone’s mind (I know, can you imagine?). And so, all my grandmother’s and mother’s generations had to model themselves on and look up to, were the other people who they knew and saw frequently; the people who they were surrounded with. Their heroes were people of a similar calibre (and life form!) to them. Continue reading

unplug with something classically basic

It’s so easy in this  Facebook – Twitter – iPhone – Google+ – crazy world of ours to forget the simple things in life. More often than not I find myself too busy or just plain ol’ too apathetic and disinterested to take the time to appreciate those little gems that should make me go “ah”, like the tomatoes in my sandwich (handpicked by grandpa from his garden – YUM!), or the flowers that have just bloomed in my neighbours’ front gardens (magnolias). I seem to rush around my days wearing blinkers a good 70% of the time and then being too exhausted that other 30% to notice anything constructive to my wellbeing. What is this?

Whatever it is, it goes further than just not noticing flowers and not appreciating sandwich fillings. It’s something that’s taken over our lives (not just mine) and a teeny piece of me fears that it’s what others seem to (happily) call ‘progress’. Is it? It can’t be! Oh dear…it is… Continue reading