Tuesday, 31 July 2012

A Celebration is in Order.

This goes out to whoever just looked at my blog...

You were my thousandth page view! Hooray for you!

Thanks to everyone who reads my ramblings, and a special thanks to all of you who leave comments. It's as exciting as getting mail in the post!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

5 ways to win your heart.

So here's the thing; I'm not really sure how I feel about the name of today's blog challenge post. It makes it sound a little like a recipe to be followed. An ounce of this folded in with one whole that with a dash of the other thing and bing, bang, boom, that's it. So instead I'm going to look at it in terms of 5 things I appreciate...

1. Intelligent conversation. I like being able to hold a conversation with someone beyond the weather, sports, or last nights TV. I like being able to discuss the podcast I listened to and found interesting. Having an opportunity to talk about the book I'm reading and read the really good bits out loud. The flip side of this is that I also get to listen to all the interesting things and read all the really good bits.

2. The appreciation of oddness. This is ever helpful if you want to spend time with me. I'm not one of those people that tries to be weird, it just comes out. Sometimes even I'm surprised. It doesn't really come out that much in my posts. It seems I can get it together in writing. Toben frequently tells me that I am the weirdest person he knows. He also makes it clear this is in no way a bad thing. It works in my favour, so why question it?

3. Clinginess; a lack of. It is very nice be wanted and needed. I do need to be able to leave without a performance every time though. I like that not being an issue. When I get home there is always a nice level of 'Yay, you're back' that doesn't cross over into 'I thought you were never ever coming home so you cannot leave ever again'. I'm very independent, so I do need to be able to come and go a lot of the time. It applies to other things like reading a book. When I'm reading a book that I'm really enjoying I probably won't hear you if you shout my name. You need to not take that personally and understand that I'm in Hogwarts right now, which is a long way away so I can't hear you. Luckily Toben does, which is happy.

4. Silliness. Cracking dumb jokes and awesome puns with geeky references is brilliant. Rolling around laughing uncontrollably is equally brilliant. I like having somebody around that will do this with me. It just makes the day so much better.

5. Achievable expectations and standards. I don't have to try to be anyone but myself. I don't have to look like anyone but me. You would think that is fairly simple as a concept, but in reality so many people miss this. I'm happy being me, and I like being with someone who is happy with me being me. Isn't that the whole point?!

Saturday, 28 July 2012


Now, I bet you're all interested in how this post is going to work for me, being an only child and all. To be quite honest I've been wondering the same all day.

I've been asked before if I ever got lonely without siblings around, and I have to say the answer is a resounding no. Instead I think I have a very healthy ability to amuse myself and be quite comfortable in my own company. I've spoken to many who find it hard to be by themselves, especially when quiet or silence is involved. I have a friend who can never be alone without having the TV or radio on to simulate having other people around. I find this hard to understand; I would go stir crazy without some quiet time.

In fact I sometimes find it goes to the extreme of getting 'peopled out' when I've been around lots of people for a few days in a row. I really need my space after that. I love having people to visit, to go do fun things with them. I'm always super excited to see people when they get here. But there is something glorious about the day after everyone goes home. That first day I get to myself is just delicious.

I think that goes back to being a kid and having my friends over for the weekend. We'd have enormous amounts of fun and then they would go home at the end. Then I'd be by myself. I would bring out all my alone time things that I didn't want to share (not because I was selfish, but because they were precious to me) and spend some time doing the things I had missed doing. I still do that now. People leave and I can get my book to read it without interruption, or settle in to a proper craft session when I can think clearly without feeling like I should let them join in or amuse them.

I just like having little pockets of time where I can decide there and then what I want to do with them. I've gotten used to the luxury of that with there being no siblings occupying the same space as me. Nobody there to say "But I don't want to watch that". It may sound very selfish to some of you, but it isn't that at all. I just enjoy being by myself. I enjoy pottering about doing my own thing. I enjoy the freedom of it. Of course that isn't my entire life. I live with Toben for a start; being alone isn't everything to me. I just like having time to myself when it comes.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Best concert ever and one you want to attend.

This is a hard one; I've been to some pretty amazing concerts.

Admiral Fallow in Tobermory were awesome to see live in such a tiny wee room. That was pretty good. But not the best.

The Kris Drever, John McCusker, Roddy Woomble, Heidi Talbot and Boo Hewardine gig was great, as I got to see all those talented people play together. Eddi Reader showed up too and was dragged up on to the stage. Then I MET HER and that was AWESOME. But technically I met her after the gig, so that doesn't count. So, not the best.

Newton Faulkner was incredible. He does some mind bending things with his guitar including using it as a drum kit at the same time as playing it normally. So confusing but so wonderful to watch. Also, we were this close.

But the best? Well, you might think this is kind of cheating. Eddi Reader wins. Always. Every time I've seen her it's been the best. I love going to see her do concerts on her own. When it's her gig she can really let her hair down and have fun, dancing around the stage like a lunatic. I've seen her at Phil Cunningham's Christmas Songbook too, and that is always a great night. Phil Cunningham, John McCusker, Kris Drever and Karen Matheson help it along too. The same selection of people (minus Kris Drever) did a one off show called Monumental Scott celebrating Sir Walter Scott. That was a really amazing show. Eddi Reader had us all spellbound when she sang Ave Maria. I would pay to see that over and over every day for the rest of my life.

And that brings us neatly to one I would like to attend. Of course, I will continue to want to attend Eddi Reader concerts in all their various guises. But is there one I would really want to go to other than that?

Why yes, there is. And what luck! They are playing in Iona soon. So come one and all and see Boggy Boots with me! My lovely friends Margaret, Tom and Jane will be serenading us sweetly in the very near future. I can't wait!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

My Middle Name.

Sarah May Macdonald.

As with most middle names mine is a family name. On my granny's side there are the May family. They hail from Cornwall originally, making it up to Edinburgh eventually via London. My granny herself carries the middle name herself. Elizabeth May Macdonald. Also my Dad was very close to his granny, whose maiden name was May.

I'm not sure there is a huge amount more to say... Other than that I think I got off lightly! My Nana was Margaret Jesse Newall Robertson Hazlewood. Phew.

Monday, 23 July 2012

A picture of yourself.

This is what happens when you let Squarahs play with make up.

In fairness, I was dressing up as "80's disco' for a fancy dress party... I back combed all of my hair. I couldn't actually brush it out afterwards, I had to wash it out. Even then it was challenging! The hair bobble had to be cut out my hair...

I chose this picture because I don't often wear lots of make up, and a lot of you may not even have seen me out of jeans and wellies. So here I am, after having raided my mum's make up box (no joke) and having borrowed her original 80's jewellery that she just couldn't part with. Oh, and sequins don't forget the sequins.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

A letter to anyone.

Dear Lego man,

How are you, my yellow headed friend? I hope you are well. Have you made a new friend? I hope so. I imagine you sitting on a windowsill, or perhaps a shelf beside someone else's books.

Where did they find you? Did you leave yourself outside a shop again? Just waiting for somebody to see you in the long grass? You looked like you had been there a while when I found you outside the Community Shop. You were all wet and a little bit muddy from being out in the rain. But then we went inside and got you all dry, before you explored my room for somewhere to sit. You ended up on the little shelf under the mirror. I think you liked it; you could see everything from up there.

You came with me when I left too. We had a few houses to live in. I have to admit, your spot in Knock Na Cross wasn't very good. I was surprised you picked it, beside all my hair clips on the dresser. I wondered if you used them as skis when I wasn't looking. I bet you did.

Where did you go when we left Knock Na Cross? I know you came to Edinburgh with us. I remember you choosing a spot in the dolls house in my room. But then you weren't there. I came to tell you we were going to Bishops House next, and you had gone. I know you don't like goodbyes, so I do understand. I get curious though.

I hope you are with somebody nice, who will look after you. I hope you still have your little broom too. You always held on to it so tightly that I presumed you must be very fond of it.

If you ever find yourself on Iona again, do come and say hello. I'll always have a little shelf space with your name on it if you need it.

Sarah Squarah

Thursday, 19 July 2012

10. Dislikes

1. You have no idea how true this is. When I'm out somewhere, usually round at someones house, and I am offered biscuits I will just about always head right for the chocolate chip cookie. But sometimes I end up with a raisin cookie flavoured with cardboard while everyone else noms on a bourbon. This is not acceptable.

2. I cannot express how sad crocs make me. There are so many pairs of beautiful shoes in the world, and that was seriously the best option for you? Worse is the whole family matching croc combo. With those stupid little pins through them to make them look 'pretty'. Urgh. I know someone with hiking crocs. I kid you not. Hiking. Crocs. We aren't close...

3. I really don't know what to add to this. When I was 11 nothing was complicated. That was what being 11 was for. I just... don't understand.

4. I love the English language, so when people can't use it I get kind of sad. I am the kind of person who types out numbers just because I like words. Also, I cling to this so at least I know that somebody somewhere knows how to spell thirteen. Sigh.

 5. All over the country ducks are saddened and ashamed that their beautiful beak like exteriors are being abused in such a fashion. I appeal to you, oh reader of potential sensibleness, to never make the face. Please, for the ducks.

6. I'm looking at you Dad. Right at you. And only you. Mr leaves one biscuit in the pack and shapes it like it is full before walking away feeling like a boss. Not ok.

7. This is not what facebook is for. Neither is it for hourly weather updates. That is why we have the Met Office. If this leaves you with nothing to say that is ok. Really, it's fine. Nobody reads it anyway.

8. I have fat hands. They are disproportionately chubby to the rest of me. This means eating pringles is a bit of an ordeal for me. Wearing bangles, also an issue.

9. This is another English language nerd pet peeve. Inappropriate O usage. Examples: 'to funny' and 'I don't want to loose it'.

10. I really think I have this. It works with tiny repetitive movements too. Like the leg jiggle. Nothing drives me more ballistic than the person next to me doing the leg jiggle. I just can't handle it. If I have ever given you the full on Squarah glarey face while you were eating; this is why! Mouth breathers and tea slurpers beware!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012


1. HARRY FREAKING POTTER. Ahem... Now I've gotten that out, I think I can continue.

2. Books. How they smell when they are new. How they smell when they are old. How they smell in between. Reading them. Looking at their shiny covers. Looking at their shiny words. Happy.

3. Colours. I love colour. I love seeing wonderful colour combinations that I wouldn't have thought of. A colourful world is never boring, and what luck, I live in one!

"You were full of living colours and such a sense of wonder"
This Could Be My Last Day - Duke Special 

4. Wool. This has something to do with the colour thing I think. Wool comes in so many different colours, textures and patterns. Finding great wool is always happy making, particularly in a certain charity shop in Craignure where the woman only charged me 20p a ball. I liked her.

5. Buttons. I have already confessed my love of buttons in an earlier post, so this should be no surprise. As with wool, they come in so many colours, textures and patterns, and can often be found cheap in charity shops, just waiting for someone to come along and love them. I volunteer myself for that job a lot. I really like that they can be used for so many things too. The number of crafty uses I've found for them is astounding. I have/have made button earrings, a button necklace, button pins, button hair clips, button rings, button cards, buttons on slippers, buttons on scarves... the list could go on... and on. My friend Margaret and I even decorated the Abbey with buttons for a service.

6. My Mum's post card writing style. It just makes me laugh. Short, to the point and vaguely informative. An accurate description of both the postcards and the one that writes them. Here is an example:

"Dear S+T,

Having a lovely time + we are having fun. Walked along a coastal path near here. Oh + the Race was okay too.

Love Mum +Dad 

7. Brambles. This is my little kitty cat who lives with my parents in Edinburgh. But everyone knows she is mine really. She is adorable in a fluffy, soppy, talks-to-you kind of way. No really, she actually tries to hold conversations with you. Smart cat.

8. Barley. This is the other kitty that lives with my parents. He is adorable in a fluffy, drooly, pat me ok now feed me ok now pat me ok now feed me kind of way.  Technically he is Mum's cat, and if you've ever seen the Barley and Alison cuddle extravaganza you'd probably agree. Though I bet he feels like he's partly mine too... we did have some pretty extensive playtime with the dolls cot when I was little. And he will always sleep on my head when I'm there. Which is... nice.

9. House. As in the tv programme. I could watch it for hours, and often do when I'm crafting. I got a little tired with all the medical dramas on tv, but House is so refreshingly different and clever. Also a little weird at times. Good weird though.

10. My bed. Ok, so this is a completely unoriginal thought. I like my bed. I really do. We have a really cosy duvet with some epic covers. I like it when I get in at night because it's all cold and lovely compared to the rest of the flat which accumulates all the heat from the laundry room over the course of the day, making it a bit too hot for me. I like it in the morning when I'm still in it because it is much warmer and cosier than the rest of the flat which is a bit chilly from having the window open all night. I don't really like getting out of it though. But who does?!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Best Compliment Ever.

The first thing that came to mind, rather oddly, is something a guest said to me while I was the Housekeeper at the Mac for the Iona Community. As I was leaving to go home she said "Wow, you're much less scary without an apron on!" I'm not entirely sure why that was the very first place my brain went to...


A Community Member told me (several times) that I'm the best Housekeeper he has ever seen in his many, many years visiting the centres. That made me pretty happy. Not sure it's the best ever though. Especially as I don't want to be a housekeeper.

Somebody once told me "Your eyes are very... expressive." They did mean it as a compliment, even though it didn't come out like one! I will admit that they are though. Everyone can see what I'm thinking at all times! Even if I get the rest of my face under control my eyes will still be looking at the person saying "That is the dumbest idea I have ever heard" or something similar. I am also quite good at getting other people to crack up laughing in awkward situations just by giving them a look. I must say, I really do brighten up meetings and social functions I attend for my friends.

Another compliment(?) along the same nature came from Jeni. "Your face is hilarious." I was telling a story and making all the right faces to go along with it... which she seemed to appreciate. In particular the face that goes with a strangled cry...

In short, the compliments that seem to mean the most to me appear to be the ones that express my oddness. Curiouser and curiouser...

Monday, 16 July 2012

What are you looking forward to the most in the next 6 months?

This is where I will be going in October. Lovely, sunny Mallorca.

I need to clarify that this will not be a post filled with longing to the point of negativity, "I wishes" or the need for escapism. It's not going to be 800 words on why "I really need a holiday!!!!!" The first reason is because I believe very firmly in grammar and punctuation, and the over-use of exclamation marks is one of the reasons I would like our current 'culture' to go die quietly in a corner. The second reason is that I am very happy with my life and do not want to escape from it. A holiday is a chance for me to go somewhere different and experience that place.

Which is what I love so much about going to Mallorca. I've been so many times now that I really do feel that I experience it. I haven't been in a few years though, so I'm expecting a few things to have changed. I like that I will notice that they have changed. I like that I am that familiar with it. It's lovely to know your way around somewhere like that; to be a tourist but a knowledgeable one. To know which are the best restaurants, cafes, shops, places to visit but to still be able to wander round them with my camera out taking hundreds of pictures. And I do mean hundreds of pictures. Sometimes thousands.

I'm also excited to take Toben along and show him all the things I talk about a lot. I'm excited that Toben is excited. I've told him about the traditional Mallorcan train that still runs the length of the island so the five year old inside him is, of course, dying to go on it. We've talked about the long afternoons cycling around all the little back lanes in the sunshine, stopping for photos or ice cream where we may. Splooshing about in the sea... which is warm! Visiting the markets and buying fresh watermelon, mango, pineapple or any other kind of fruit that Toben has missed now he lives in the inhospitable climate we call Scotland. Most of all, I think he is looking forward to being a sun worshipper. I have to say, that doesn't sound too bad myself.

I'm looking forward to some good food too! I love knowing that the fish on my plate was probably caught earlier that day in the bay, or at least the day before. Not eight weeks ago somewhere off the coast of Japan. This is going to sound silly, but all the food very noticeably tastes like food. Anyone who has ever shopped at a Supermarket and been disappointed will know what I mean. Oh, that would be all of you.

Mostly, I'm excited to go somewhere where this can happen.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Best Day Ever.

This is going to sound really terrible, but I don't think I have a best day ever. I don't want you to think that my life is sad, because it really isn't. It's quite the opposite. I have so many good days that I can't pick one out of them all. So instead of giving an in depth description of my best day ever, I am going to give a taste of some pretty great days.

  • The day I left school. That was a GREAT day. If you've read my post on my school life you'll know why. After I walked out of that ugly entrance hall that last time I walked all the way home with two of my dearest friends (who I did not go to school with and came down to meet me specially for this occasion). We didn't go straight home though. We wandered past a shop and bought sweets, crisps, juice... general tasty things. Then we went to the swing park. I remember swinging so high on the swing I felt like I was part of the sky. I felt as free as I suddenly realised I was. I saw my feet walking up the sky; thinking I could do anything.
  • Any day any that the Harry Potter books/films came out. Bouncing. Off. The. Walls. Particularly the last film, which I waited for ages to eventually make it to my tiny end of the world. But the Screen Machine came to Mull, and I found myself inside a truck with 25 other people staring at the back wall in awe as He Who Shall Not Be Named was finally named and shamed. Brilliant.
  • The day Toben and I were considered islanders. We went to catch the ferry and got a lift in the staffa boat to Mull instead. Yes!
  • All the days I've seen Eddi Reader live. Magic has happened on those days.
  • The day I met Eddi Reader. She turned up to a Drever/McCusker/ Woomble gig I was at and I spotted her in the audience. Naturally I did the awkward fan thing of hanging around while everyone else left and got to go talk to her. She chatted with me, signed my ticket and gave me her cold when she hugged me. Then I went for chips with my (very patient) friends. Happy happy happy. 
  • The day I met J.K. Rowling. Back when she wasn't famous, I went to the release of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in a tiny bookshop in Edinburgh. I stood in line with my parents behind the other nine people there feeling excited. I had never been to a book signing before, and this felt like a great way to start! When I got to the front of the queue I was delighted. Not only was J.K.Rowling right there in front of me; we were wearing the same jacket. We simultaneously looked at each other, looked down, looked at each other, looked down. Yes, it was the exact same jacket. After a brief chat I left the shop elated, with a copy of her new book signed "Sarah, I'd like a coat like that. Love, J.K.Rowling".
  • When my Dad got a book signed for me. He went to a book signing held for Jasper Fforde and as well as buying a copy for himself, bought one for me. Long story short; I have a copy of One of Our Thursdays Is Missing that reads "Sarah, I'd like a coat like that. Love, Jasper Fforde." Apparently, Mr Fforde was "fair tickled" with the idea.

There are many more wonderful days in the life and times of Squarah, but that feels like a nice place to leave off. And long may they continue!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

A great book that you see yourself in.

As a child my Mum always told me I was a certain character from a book. She thought this because of my dreamy, big eyed innocence. I was a little girl who bounced around in sunshine, blue skies and smiles. I wore lovely blue and white little dresses (along with the compulsory Disney jumper), and most of the time I wore an Alice band.

 There I was, all eyes and blonde hair; a born dreamer.

 Alice: If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary-wise; what it is it wouldn't be, and what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?

 That's right. Mum thought I was Alice in Wonderland. What is really funny, is the way I never grew out of it, but grew more and more into it. Most of my life is nonsense. Lovely, lovely nonsense. I tried to be 'normal' (whatever that is) and here's how that felt to me.

 Alice: It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.

Normal did not seem to make a lot of sense to me. Conforming was not to dream. When you have to live like everyone else the things that are special to you and make you who you are go ignored, and then you walk around for the rest of your life unfulfilled and frustrated. Not me. My 'contrary-wise' brain made the switch a while back. What is normal to the world is nonsense, what is nonsense is normal. This is maybe why I fit in so well on Iona.

"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here.”

Ladies and gentlemen; the Iona Community! My first delve into madness being the everyday, run-of-the-mill occurrence. In the number of years I worked with the Community I was exposed to some gentle crazies, and also some out and out nut jobs. I like to think I skipped gentle crazy and landed somewhere in the middle at delightfully bonkers, thanks to all my previous training from my parents.

“Do you think I've gone round the bend?"
"I'm afraid so. You're mad, bonkers, completely off your head. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are.” 

I couldn't agree more. Now I live quite happily on Iona, doing my craft stuff, living in a retreat centre with Toben as Warden. In an out-of-the-way place, on an out-of-the-way island, doing an out-of-the-way job. With all the other delightfully bonkers people here too, of course.
“Alice had got so much into the way of expecting nothing but out-of-the-way things to happen, that it seemed quite dull and stupid for life to go on in the common way.”

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Thoughts on God

This has been an interesting thought process for me. When I first thought about what to write about for this post I thought about a range of things. Traditions, churches, the bible, certain practices like communion or blessings, prayer... in short, religion.

But that is not what day six of this challenge asks me. These are all things that stem from God, but are not in actuality God. I'm not surprised that I thought of these things first. They are the representation of God that surrounds us. They are some of the most widely publicised, not to mention badly publicised, things in the entire world. But to write this post correctly I feel I need to put them aside and thinks some undiluted thoughts on God.

First of all, as with anyone else, you start with a name. God. Elohim. 'Elaha. Brahman. Gitche Manitou. I AM. El Shaddai. Allah. Yahweh. Adonai. The list is endless and spans many faiths. Big Man Upstairs is my favourite.

Next you would go for a visual. Now this is a tricky one. There is a thought that as man is made in God's image, God might look like us. I don't know myself. And if I wake up on the 22nd of December this year and nothing happened then I may never know until I shuffle off this mortal coil. I do have an image that comes into my head, which now I think about it is a projection of the God that I myself would have been made in the image of. This person sits on the clouds with bare feet dangling over the edge watching the world. The feet are swinging happily. I have to admit that this person looks entirely like Dumbledore. Not because I believe God is male, but probably because Dumbledore is the most clever, the most wise, the most all-knowing personality I can conjure up. Though saying that, God pissed off must look a whole lot like Professor McGonagall.

Now, what does God sound like? For me, God sounds like me most of the time. My own voice in my own head telling me a thought that makes so much sense it's incredible. Almost like the voice of reason in my mind. When a brilliant thought comes to me as if from nowhere, like it has just been dropped there, I'm willing to think that maybe it was. I find that often when my brain has been rejecting this thought it gets bounced off to someone else who shares it with me, and in those instances, God sounds like the people I meet. There is certainly no big booming voice. Not in my experience.

You'll notice I talk about God in close connection to myself and my experiences. That's because first and foremost I think that God is different for everyone, and is incredibly personal to that person. God is whatever guidance, encouragement and love YOU need to make the best of YOU and YOUR life. That may be why my God sits on a cloud swinging his feet. I'm really good at taking the hint. "Oh that way? Sure, I'll go that way. I need to be on Iona? Oh, ok." Not for one second do I think that I'm perfect at this and need very little help, but I do think I'm good at listening for direction. Myself, my plans and my life are so laid back that maybe God has time to sit around in between fixing stuff for me. If I ran around crazy, hectic and constantly busy God might pace around on his cloud instead.

Most importantly of all, I keep this as an image and only an image. An image dreamt up by my understanding, which in truth is quite little. Even the most learned mind doesn't have much of a clue.

Unlike many learned minds and religious fanatics, however, I am willing to admit I may be wrong. The important thing for me is for my mind to remain open.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Write a few 6 word memoirs.

It is thought that Hemingway was asked once if he could write a story in only 6 words. Turns out, he could. "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

Now for my turn.

Dream big; eat the whole cake.

Little person, little memoir, big life.

I told you I was ill. (Spike Milligan's epitaph)

Remember, remember, remember you're a womble! ( I laughed out loud when I thought of that!)

Tea half drunk, Nick was here...

Little hairy bloke steals weirdos ring. (The Hobbit)

When parents suck, find a library. (Matilda)

Wrote a book; magically fixed everything. (Atonement)

Hamlet mad. Hamlet not mad. Dead. (Hamlet)

I think I could go on all night with mini memoirs of fiction characters... But that might get a bit much so I will stop here. I'm counting everything I say now!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

What's an article of clothing you're deeply attached to?

This is a story about a girl and her wellies.

The girl lives on an island where it rains a lot in winter, so she made friends with a pair of wellies. Soon they were inseparable. They would go for walks together which made them both very happy. The wellies liked to get very wet and muddy; the girl liked to stay dry and clean. It was a perfect match.

Sometimes her wellies would whisper to her. "We want to go in the sea," they would say. "Ok," the girl would reply, "But we'll need to walk for a bit to get there." So off the girl and the wellies would go, all the way to the beach at the north end. As soon as they saw the sea the wellies would start to run, taking the girl with them. Into the waves they would go with a splish and a splosh. Stamping back and forth. Jumping up and down. Kicking water up. The wellies would play and the girl would laugh.

Then they would both stand for a very long time in the water looking out to sea. They would look at all the islands on the horizon and think of the places they could go, all the other places with beaches and waves. They would watch the boats going past and think what it might be like to be fisherman wellies and to be a fisherman. They would look at everything and nothing and think of all the puddles they could jump in on the way home. One time they stayed there so long the tide came in and the water rose so high it went right over the top and inside the wellies. It was a bit wet and cold, but the girl and the wellies only laughed.

Soon they would be on their way back, stomping and splashing through all the puddles. And then they would be home, where the girl and the wellies could sit in front of the cosy fire to dry off. Contentment settling on them as the wellies thought about how lovely and wet they got in the sea and how nice it was of the girl to play with them there, and as the girl thought about how lovely and dry she stayed and how glad she was to have her wellies.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

If you could have dinner with 6 people, who would they be?

I spent a long time thinking about this one, and I had a lot of difficulty getting it down to 6 people. Not because there are so many people I had to choose from but because I was having a dilemma about the actual question. My dilemma has caused me to make two lists. One is my ideal dinner party, the other is limited to those not dead and not fictional! But of course, they overlap a bit.

List one: The Ideal

1. Billy Connolly. Funniest man alive if you ask me. Why wouldn't I want that at my dinner party?!
2. Jimmy Stewart. Actor of old hollywood classics fame. I'd love to talk to him about the filming of Harvey (one of my favourite films). Also, I'm fascinated by his voice/accent.
3. Samwise Gamgee. Yes, the hobbit. I loved his character, more so in the book than the film if I'm honest. Though they weren't too far apart. I found Frodo kind of annoying, and I'd like to ask Sam how he put up with that. His character just makes me smile and go all heart-warmed, particularly at the "Don't you leave him Samwise Gamgee, and I don't mean to" moment. "I ain't been dropping no eaves" is another great one.
4. Jane Austen. The wonder that is. I'd like to know how she found being a female writer in a time when they were few and far between. Also, I'd like to give her some Daphne du Maurier books to read. Female leads that meet unfortunate circumstances that all make blissful happy endings getting everything they desire... I think she would like them.
5. Hugh Laurie. He's hilarious, insanely clever and could delight us all on the piano after dinner. Why wouldn't you invite him?!
6. Eddi Reader. Saving the best till last. I think this woman is incredible. A complete lunatic of course, but the best people are. She opens her mouth to sing and I'm spellbound. You just can't help it. I reckon she'd be great at a dinner party; she'd have us all in stiches. For example, this exchange when she was purchasing a christmas tree. Salesman: "Are you going to put it up yourself?" Eddi Reader: "No, in my living room." Brilliant.

List two: Being Realistic

1. Billy Connolly.
2. Hugh Laurie.
3. Eddi Reader.
4. Stephen Fry. I could just copy and paste what I said about Hugh Laurie, just leaving out the music part. I would love to see these two together, to sit back and watch magic happen.
5. Jasper Fforde. If you like books and haven't read anything by him please put down whatever you are doing and go and get them all. You can thank me later. Well written, intelligent humour. I think he'd be great to have around.
6. Julie Walters. She's in so many of the films that I love. She is brilliant in Calendar Girls, and she makes Mamma Mia bearable. Plus the woman played Molly Weasley. Sold!

So there we have it. I think I'm happy with that. I have to admit to being a little bit sad now that none of these people are actually coming to my house. But I'll live.

Just in case anyone is interested here are the people that so nearly made it:
Marilyn Monroe, Kenneth Williams, Elizabeth Bennet, Duchess Georgiana of Devonshire, Hermione Granger, Dame Maggie Smith and Beatrix Potter. J.K.Rowling was a really close call. But after much thought she would come round to my house for tea and cake by herself so I could geek out all afternoon. If she was at dinner I wouldn't be able to tear myself away from Harry Potter land to talk to anyone else!

Friday, 6 July 2012

15 Fun Facts About Me

1. I have an incredibly sweet tooth, but I'm not hugely fond of chocolate. I mean, it comes and it goes, but most of the time I would rather have cake or sweets. I do love me some malteasers though.

2. I'm a huge geek. I may flounce around in pink, frills and flowers but ask me anything about The Lord of the Rings and I will be able to answer you. Or Harry Potter. Or Jasper Fforde books. Or...

3. After the last fact you may be a little prepared for this one. I play computer games. I'm also really good at them. My original PSone is back in Edinburgh and I miss it and all of its bad graffics. Sad socks.

4. I collect buttons. Mostly to use in craft projects but sometimes because they are so pretty I can't not own it.

5. My second and third toes on each foot are bigger than my big toe. Thanks Dad.

6. The only plant I don't seem to kill is a cactus. My current cactus is called Milligan, after the great Spike. See what I did there?!

7. I can't cook. I have tried and I have failed. But I'm ok with it, because I can do other things. I have a wide and varied skill set that just doesn't include making delicious things. We can't all be good at everything.

8. I am surprisingly strong. Most people see this tiny little girly type and try to take heavy things from me so I don't strain my tiny little arms. Then I lift a bazillion things at once and leave them standing dazed and confused.

9. I don't really get cold. It's more that I feel that it is cold, but not actually feeling my own body temperature drop too. I always seem to radiate heat and keep myself warm. I don't know how or why, and I've been like that as far as I can remember.

10. I quite like murder mystery books. Ok, correction: I like GOOD murder mystery books. Agatha Christie mostly. So what if the plot is a little thin in places and the big reveal can be a bit far fetched? They make me happy.

11. I am a jigsaw puzzle master! Seriously, I can whizz through 1500 pieces in one night! I think this is a result of my many summer holidays spent with my Nana and Popa, when a jigsaw was a tool used to keep little Sarah quiet!

12. I have an issue with the word 'honorary'. I can't seem to wrap my mouth around it. Whenever I do attempt it it comes out more like 'honononononory'.

13. I have the disney rabies. I love it. A disney film will make me better when I am sick. There is no situation a disney quote will not fit in. There are few better things to watch while crafting (Harry Potter and LOTR excluded). Yes, they are unrealistic in terms of life style, decision making, and how swooshy a womans hair can be, but who cares? They are wonderful. The End.

14. The thing I miss most from my childhood is being allowed to play with the toys. Now when there are toys you are expected to just sit there all adulty and let the kids play with them. This annoys me because they play with them wrong, and I would like to enjoy myself too. One of the biggest lies you will ever be told as an adult is that you have to be serious.

15. One of the things I like most about myself is my ability to blurt out the truth. If you ask me a question I will just tell you. A lot of people do not like me for this very reason. They expected a white lie and instead were told that they were in fact out of line when they said *insert inappropriate comment here* to whatshisname. I can't understand this line of reasoning. Don't ask if you don't want to know!

The Challenge

I have taken up a challenge. *insert dramatic music effect here*

Having been inspired by Lauren (a friend of a friend who likes all the same things on Pinterest that I do and whose blog I find myself reading and thinking "YES!"... so a person who in fact looks a lot more like a friend than a friend of a friend...), I have decided to undertake a blog challenge. The same one in fact, that Lauren herself is undertaking. 30 blog posts, 30 topics to cover, over 30 days which may or may not be consecutive depending on whether I remember every day.

Here are the topics:
1. 15 fun facts about yourself.
2. If you could have dinner with 6 people, who would they be?
3. What's an article of clothing you're deeply attached to?
4. Write a few 6 word memoirs.
5. Thoughts on God.
6. A great book that you see yourself in.
7. Best day ever.
8. What are you looking forward to the most in the next 6 months?
9. Best compliment ever.
10. 10 likes.
11. 10 dislikes.
12. A letter to anyone.
13. A picture of yourself.
14. Your middle name.
15. Best concert ever and one you want to attend.
16. Siblings.
17. 5 ways to win your heart.
18. How could you improve your prayer life?
19. Top 10 songs for you now.
20. Something or someone you miss.
21. Your fears.
22. A quote you try to live by.
23. Improve your relationship with God.
24. 5 items you lust after.
25. Favorite blog posts since you started your blog.
26. Somewhere you'd like to move.
27. What you've learned in the past year.
28. Only two brands of clothes you could wear for the rest of your life.
29. Shuffle on your iPod.
30. Favorite photos of you.

Thanks to Lauren for coming up with this fun list that, as you say, is free of the teenage craziness that dominates most of these lists. If anyone wants to see the original post, or follow Lauren's hilarity you can find her at http://faithandmacaroni.blogspot.co.uk/

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

School's Out

I've been thinking a lot recently about what a great steaming pile of fail high school was for me. There is quite a limited list of what I got out of it, which I'm sure was not the intended result of my attendance. But I've also been pondering the irony of that, because I really do love to learn.

Today I had a breakthrough in this line of thinking. It was such a failure because I love to learn. It sounds daft, but let me explain.

To do this I need to start way back. At four, I had already been taught to read by my parents through bedtime stories and the like, and I pretty much told my parents that I would quite like to go to school now please, thank you very much. And so I did. And then I came home... crying. I was distraught that this magical place where they would teach me shiny new things sent me home with a picture book. The bottom fell out my tiny world. Where were the words, the new thoughts, the interesting things I had been looking forward to? I quickly realised that I had a year of colouring in to do before we actually got started on the good stuff.

For the rest of primary school, once I got proper books, I loved it. I was learning new things every single day, and that made me happy. I was always pretty much at the top of the class, not because I was the most clever, but because I paid the most attention. I was interested in what they were teaching me. Then came the opportunity of moving schools to what was considered a better school. I was excited, and continued to be for the next three years at that school. But then it happened. In my second year of high school there was a slight change, only noticable to me now as I look back. In order to succeed I no longer had to learn; I had to achieve. It became a game of A's, B's and C's and what you had to do to get them. Learning all but went away entirely. By my fifth year all the focus was on what you were going to study at university... which subjects you had to take for which courses and the grade you had to get to get in.

I have a big issue with this way of thinking. I wasn't allowed to take the subjects I was interested in if I only got a C the previous year in that class. I couldn't have cared less about the grade, I just wanted to study that subject. Take history as an example. I love history, I always have. I'm fascinated by other periods in time, and in other people and their lives. I love Mary Queen of Scots, the Tudors, Duchess Georgiana of Devonshire... and so many more. Instead I had to sit and read about "The Voyages of Exploration". Basically, how they built the boats that they discovered America in and how many potatoes they could fit in them. Dull, but fine if I was learning. I wasn't. I was "evaluating sources" written on how well you could determine what happened.

Source A - "We sailed in wooden ships and returned with 100 weight of potatoes" - Englebert 'Seaweedface' Bradbury, sailor on The Great Lump.
Source B - "They had these huuuuuuge boats made of chewing gum and brought back green stripey giraffes" - Wee Jimmy from down the street.
Which source do you think is a more reliable example of those great voyages?

It was idiotic, and not always as straight forward as you'd think. I came close to failing, but my ability to make stuff up as I went along really helped. I think I might have failed all but English if I couldn't do that. I would have done much better if I was called in to a room to have a conversation about the topic with the examiner and marked on my knowledge in general on the topic, and the number of questions I had myself as a demonstration of curiosity and interest.

Since leaving school I have begun to learn again. I've taught myself all the things I expected to learn before. I listen to the most fascinating podcasts, read articles and books that spark my curiosity and generally soak up information like I always wanted to. The school system did nothing for me, other than show me why Uni was a bad idea. On my own I can pick and choose my own topics. And really enjoy learning again.