tajasel: photo of me with a rainbow hat and big scarf on (Default)
When I moved from London to Manchester in 2011, I asked a friend to help me with a project I was beginning, and as time passed, I found myself growing closer and closer to him. At the time, the idea of he and I dating was impossible, though we did become very good friends, and when a destructive relationship came to an end in late 2012, he was the one who came to rescue me, sit with me, hold me and let me cry.

In a way, it seemed quite ironic that at the same time as my world was being outraged by the concept of Mr Nice Guy, I began to develop feelings for him: he'd been on the periphery of my social circles, just generally being an outstanding person, for about two or three years, and then when I needed someone to look after me, he appeared and supported me, but of course, he wasn't the trope Nice Guy: he asked for nothing more than friendship in return.

He gave me some rolls of film and we went shooting together. He reminded me how to develop my own films, and helped me find my passion again. He bought me coffee and gave me hugs and listened whilst I talked, and he didn't offer advice or try to fix me; he was just there. He took me to a goth night on New Year's Eve, to take photos and dance the year away, and when he asked for a kiss at midnight, I remember feeling like nothing that had been bad was important anymore.

We talked the next day; I confessed that I had feelings for him, but that I didn't think he liked me in that way, but of course he already knew, and he did, and the kiss was his way of letting me know. But he reminded me that I needed time to heal, and said that right there and then, he wanted to be my friend first and foremost, to help me through the shitty time I was going through, and we agreed that we shouldn't rush anything. Over the next few weeks, he became one of my best friends, and somewhere along the line, we fell in love.

As the months passed, he inspired me to take more photographs. He pushed me to join the ranks of the Apocalypse Girls photographers, and helped me arrange my first shoots. He passed the role of ArA's photographer onto me. He looked into my eyes and without any words at all, he made me feel like one of the most important people in his world. He helped me learn, and grow, and change. He encouraged me to find love with others. He taught me to make an incredible curry, and made me laugh until my sides ached.

When he told me on November 1st that he wasn't in love with me anymore, I stared into my lap and tried my hardest not to cry, as my heart split into hundreds of tiny pieces. He sat next to me with his arms around me, and I knew he was being completely truthful as he told me that he did still love me and didn't want us to break up, but all was not as it had been. I somehow managed to keep my composure as I said that maybe, if both of us wanted to be together, we should keep trying to make it work. He agreed, but as the days passed, I came to accept that the disparity in our feelings for each other was too great, that trying to force a relationship would be too painful, and a week later, we agreed to go back to being "just friends".

I fucking hate that phrase. There is no just about our friendship, and there never will be.

Last night, I went dancing again, and we wrapped our arms around each other as the midnight bells tolled and people sang Auld Lang Syne, before he ran away to his decks to play the perfect track to open a new year, and I followed to dance with all the energy I had.

And then it hit me, like a punch in the stomach, the bittersweetness of the moment winded me. From a kiss full of hope, to a hug with an air of finality. I slipped off the dancefloor and into the little room at the side of the church, knowing my absence would be noticed eventually, but that I needed a little quiet time to myself first. A few people dropped in, chatted, and left again.

At the end of his set, he came and sat next to me, and when he told me he'd noticed me slip away, I explained through my tears what was going on in my head. That I was mourning for what we'd had, yes, but that I felt so lucky to have been his partner at all. How our relationship had helped me to grow and become a better person, strengthened our friendship, and helped me rekindle my passion for photography. He told me he was proud of me for finding my way in life again, and it took everything I had not to fall apart. I thanked him, and told him I couldn't have done it without him, and he hugged me tighter.

With impeccable timing, the PA boomed out the opening bars of a tune I knew, and I looked into his eyes.

"Let's dance."
"Yeah, let's dance."

So we did. I closed my eyes, and I danced, and when someone cursed at me for dancing too wildly, I laughed, because this time last year, I stood awkwardly at the side of the room admiring those who had the confidence to let themselves move so freely. When VNV Nation seamlessly transitioned into Bad Romance, I cheered and sang along and danced more. After I'd been dancing a while, my feet began to object to the weight of my boots, and noticing people milling around where I'd been taking photos, I returned to my camera to snap and chat. The Cure came on, and he danced with me again. We ran into the side room again to deconstruct the mini studio I had set up, and we finished just in time for the final song.

He shouted "CONGA LINE!", and Kolyn grabbed hold of him, and I grabbed hold of Kolyn, and Laura grabbed hold of me, and we went snaking around the revellers, collecting more dancers as we went, laughing at a group of vampires who stood at the door mocking us even as our line grew, and then when the lights went up and the music faded, I stood in the middle of the dancefloor, clinging onto him with one hand and the stitch in my waist with the other, and I laughed and laughed.

We loaded up the car with the photography gear, I called shotgun because my poor feet were aching from the dancing, and Laura hopped in the back, then we all chatted together about love and relationships and how we're all slaves, to feline creatures and deadlines, and we each resolved to take on a new project for the coming year (mine: Project 365). When he pulled up outside my house, he turned to me and wrapped his arms around me again.

"You did great. Do 2014 even better."
"I will. You too. Together?"

He kissed me goodbye, and it felt different this time. I'm not in love anymore, either.

I let myself into the house, where I remembered that I am alone for the next several days, and I cried for three hours, until the birds outside began to sing, and I had nothing left.
tajasel: photo of me with a rainbow hat and big scarf on (Default)
1. Was 2013 a good year for you?
YES! I mean, I've had a bad few days here and there of course, but for the first time in a very long time, I actually think it's an been overwhelmingly positive year.

2. What are some of the things you did in 2013, that you'd never done before?
Scored over 80% in an academic assessment (and not just once, but three times - out of three!)
Worked on a mental health impatient ward, as both a nursing assistant and student nurse.
Gave someone an injection.
Went indoor skydiving.
Co-organised a BiCon, which was attended by manylots of peopel (more than any other non-international BiCon, as I understand it)
Knitted an ENTIRE (baby) BLANKET. Out of double-knit yarn. Took foreverrrr. (But reminded me how much I love knitting, so yay!)

3. What was your favourite moment of the year?
I think when I rolled over the morning of January 28th, and did the first bleary-eyed scan of my overnight mobile notifications, to find that I had an offer for my first choice university. This trumps just about everything (although brilliant assignment marks and placement experiences come very close.)

More more more!. )
tajasel: photo of me with a rainbow hat and big scarf on (Default)
Good bit of having a seen exam: I get to see questions in advance.
Bad bit of having a seen exam: the questions.

(Well, not the questions, because I know what I want my answers to be - it's just remembering those answers...)

The questions were released at 10am on Friday, I got to see them at 11am. By 11:35, I was on a train to the library to acquire books.

At 12:10, as I walked up to the library, I realised that my wallet, containing my student card that gains me access to the library, and permission to remove books from the building, was at home on the kitchen table.
By 12:30, my distinctive rainbow coloured hat had gained me access to the building, and agreement that I could leave any books I wanted in a locker for a few hours, whilst I went home again to get my card.

After a few hours of revision, at 15:30, I went to put the books in a locker and discovered I needed a £1 coin to do so. I had a £1 coin... in my wallet. On the kitchen table at home.

I managed to persuade a friendly librarian to leave the books behind the counter for me to pick up:
Librarian: "But you're asking to hide books from other students so that they can't borrow them. I can't let you do that."
Me:"If I had my library card with me, I'd be hiding them IN MY HOUSE and they wouldn't be able to borrow them then."
Librarian:"Oh, I suppose you're right..."

I returned home, with books, at 18:00, had dinner, and revised for another couple of hours before going to bed. At 05:30, I was up again, so that I could be on the 06:35 train to uni and get into the library. Strangely enough, a university campus is like the zombie apocalypse at 7am on Saturday morning. I had the entire three floors of the library to myself, except for the snoozing security guard.

Got home again at 08:45, did another couple of hours revision at home, had brunch at 11, went to work at 12, got home at 20:50, reheated Friday night's leftovers for dinner, did more revision.

...woke up drooling into a textbook at 09:30 this morning, because the cat was trying to eat my foot.

No, really.

Fed the cat actual cat food, did more revision. Still feel like I'm remembering nothing.

I should probably take a break sometime soon. Lunch might be a good idea.


Sep. 23rd, 2013 10:05 am
tajasel: photo of me with a rainbow hat and big scarf on (Default)
You know that thing where you get off a bus and there's 55 minutes until your train and there's a bookshop right there? And the train station's only about a 10 minute walk, so having a look can't do any harm, right?

So you wander in and kneel in front of the shelves holding the books on the reading list for your next module and...


I am on my train, thank expletive. Not awake enough for this, this morning.
tajasel: photo of me with a rainbow hat and big scarf on (Default)
Today, the free paper Metro handed out to commuters who are too tired to say "no thanks" published an interview with Star Trek actress Eve Alice, which included the following two gems of questions:

Did you consider yourself a geek before you landed Star Trek?
This has become a bugbear of mine: the difference between geek and nerd. The derivation of geek from the ancient Greek is people who would do weird things to their faces. It’s sort of an external expression of internal angst. A nerd is something really not good. Simon Pegg told me the etymology the other day. It’s basically someone who’s specific in their knowledge and knows a lot about that particular thing. So I am a nerd, not a geek.

What are you a nerd about?
Clothes, shoes, nails and jewellery. That’s the female version of nerdy, isn’t it? Our depth of investigation into the minutiae of nothing is Sex And The City.

Potted summary: geeks just do weird things to their faces, nerds are "really not good" and, despite that, she considers herself a "female nerd" because she really likes clothes, shoes, nails and jewellery.

I mean, what.

Didn't the nerd vs geek war die already? I thought xkcd successfully summed the whole damn thing up in no. 747?

Alt:The definitions I grew up with were that a geek is someone unusually into something (so you could have computer geeks, baseball geeks, theater geeks, etc) and nerds are (often awkward) science, math, or computer geeks. But definitions vary.

And "female version of nerdy"? What is she trying to achieve here, making the "fake geek girl" accusation seem socially acceptable? I mean, OK, one can be a geek/nerd about those things but the only pre-requisites to being a female geek/nerd are identifying as female and being interested/passionate about something, whether it be photography (hi!), gaming, or indeed fashion.

I thought, as a society, we had moved on from this stuff? I mean, honestly, I give up.
tajasel: photo of me lay in the grass, warm light. (summer)
I appear to have successfully circumnavigated an entire sun 26 times. Go me!

A small but wonderful collection of friends came round yesterday to celebrate by way of a barbecue, and we basically just chatted and played board games until midnight, a very chilled and wonderful party.

I also made a truly marvellous raspberry and mint cheesecake, which lasted all of about 10 minutes from cutting to the last slice being enjoyed.


I'm not generally in the habit of gift-bragging, but I was most pleased by the books about photography, a set of neutral density grad filters, trips to Alton Towers and photopit access at a VNV Nation gig (in September and November respectively), and new headphones.

Leftover barbecue notmeat was enjoyed for breakfast, and then [twitter.com profile] maznu and I did some CSS hackery for my soon-to-be-relaunched photography website, finally finishing the structure and layout, leaving me with photoshoots to get published (for Apocalypse Girls) and some street photography to do at Manchester Pride in a couple of weeks. (For this, I have acquired some super-saturated colour film from the land of eBay, made in Fuji's factory by Fuji but sold with a different label on it for half Fuji's price - success!)

James and I then went climbing, because our usual indoor wall allows people to climb for free on their birthday, and [twitter.com profile] maznu observed and took photos (with some hilarious results that will of course make it onto the internet in the next few days). Then we came home, did more website hackery, ate more leftover notmeats, cuddled and watched TV, and then he went home and left me to make soup to take on placement with me the rest of this week.

In short, a happy weekend, hooray :)
tajasel: photo of me with a rainbow hat and big scarf on (Default)
I've been thinking this week, about being a Londoner.

I wasn’t born there, and I no longer live there, but I experienced a weird feeling of being home when I stepped off my coach at Victoria on Saturday. I first declared that city my second home half a decade ago, and it feels like nothing and everything has changed.

I was so engrossed in my book that I hadn't noticed our pace slow as we left the motorway, and I looked up and out of the window somewhere near Finsbury Park, and seeing a familiar red bus, and roundels everywhere, and I felt this sense of happiness and calm.

And when I think about what people say "makes" a Londoner, it's the daft things like knowing where to stand on the Tube platform, so that when you get off the train again you can make your escape quickly, and instinctively knowing where your Oyster is at all times. It's knowing that if you want to change from the Victoria to Northern line, you should avoid Euston at all costs and go for Warren Street instead. It's looking at the lights lining the Thames after the sun has set, and loving them like you would stars in the country. It's having a favourite indie coffee shop. It's being defensive about which side of the river is better - south, in case you hadn't realised. It's the comforting rumble of the Tube trains you profess to hate (and your Twitter app remembering the hashtag #TfaiL, for ease of making your friends in other cities cringe and sigh...)

I will always be a Northern lass, as I put it over the weekend, a Mancunian even. ([twitter.com profile] tomscott remarked, somehow surprised: "your accent has got so much more Manchester while you've been gone!", as if I'd only really left for a holiday...)

...but I reckon I'm still a Londoner too, in a small way.

Even if I do make eye contact with people on the bus now and again.

tajasel: photo of me with a rainbow hat and big scarf on (Default)
Nursing degrees don't quite work like normal degrees. Instead of studying for most of the year (bar a couple of weeks mid-winter) and then getting almost three months off over the summer, the academic year runs March to March (for my cohort) and I'm allotted 7 weeks annual leave per year (a generous 3 extra weeks on top of AL given to newly qualified nurses working for the NHS). So when I found out when my weeks off for the year were, I planned this trip to Oxford, having promised myself a weekend off from the rest of life when I last visited back in December. (At the time I made myself that promise, I didn't know I'd be studying already, or even at all, which has made the weekend away even more valuable.)

So it's been great! We kickstarted the weekend with a return to George & Danver, because what trip to Oxford is complete without G&Ds ice cream? I had a coffee waffle sundae topped with nuts and hot chocolate fudge sauce, to celebrate my exam results (85% hellyeah!) and reaching my goal weight (mmm, delicious irony).

It was incredibly tasty, and even bigger than it looks in the photo. I struggled to finish it. I may have to go back to brownie next time...

On Saturday, Dan and I went geocaching, intending to cycle down the road to the cyclepath along the river and grabbing part of a new series that have popped up called "On yer bike". After the first cache, Dan said "before we go, it looks like there's another one not too far from here..." and that turned into another one, which was a multicache that we had to abandon our bikes to retrieve because... well, off-piste wouldn't do that particular adventure justice, and then we finally got "On yer bike 1" ... on foot.


Somewhere in the middle of it all, we found a caterpillar whose face bore a slight resemblance to that of a badger.

So then we had to explore the woods again, to find our bikes. By this point, all that was on either of our minds was a delicious cold drink, so we headed home for dinner. I made curry for everyone, and we played Charades, Articulate! and Cards Against Humanity.

Today, we had a lazy morning and I asked Dan to be my good conscience and stop me buying my red dress. His attempts to do this could be summed up as: "when I'm looking at sale items, if I know I can afford it soon, I'll buy them whilst they're cheap" and at the point at which I realised I'd already worked the hours I needed to to pay for about 75% of not just a beautiful red glitzy dress but a bright purple petticoat to wear underneath it as well... all that stood between me and my debit card was checking with the store which size I should probably be wearing. And they were very helpful...

I then went out geocaching again, solo this time, and picked up another four (bringing my total, both this year and for the weekend, to nine) and remembered how much I really enjoy it, and that I should do it again. I got to explore some more of Radley, and hoover up the others within a sensible circular route of Earth, as my hosts are buying a house on the other side of Oxford at the moment, which means I almost certainly won't return here again. At one point, my GPS literally led me into a tree, and when I looked up upon emerging (having found the geocache buried in its bowels) I felt bizarrely like I'd come out in rural USA rather than Oxfordshire:

Anyway, I am back on Earth now, and thinking about packing my rucksack up again ready for the train home, as the weekend appears to have passed far too quickly again, but also about all the other exciting things happening soon:
  • Several photoshoots this week, both as photographer and model
  • London next weekend! (Pembury, 6pm, Saturday, be there!)
  • Two parties the weekend after - one for Stockport Beer Festival volunteers, and one for Simon's birthday
  • Edinburgh the following weekend
  • Shooting with Apocalypse Girls in Nottingham at the end of July
  • The day after that, I go out on placement again, for two months this time... fortunately Monday-Friday 9-5!
  • First weekend of August: my birthday BBQ, and climbing at Awesome Walls on the day itself
  • Then Alison's wedding party
  • St John Ambulance training weekend (which is probably unexciting in and of itself, but it does mean I will be able to go on duty again soon, which I haven't done for many many months!
  • After that it's Pride weekend, and photography opportunities galore...
  • And then James turns 17, and we're having a birthday BBQ for him too

...which takes us to my next free weekend, the 7th/8th September (which may find me in Oxford for a housewarming...)

I like to keep busy :)
tajasel: photo of me lay in the grass, warm light. (summer)
OK, confession time.

Weight-loss discussion and photos )

I'm still very much in favour of the Health at Every Size and fat+ movements, only now I've discovered that I wasn't as healthy as I thought when I was bigger, and now that I am healthier, fitter and leaner, I feel wonderful.

I've achieved a hell of a lot for myself and my health, and I wanted to finally share it. So to those who have known what I've been up to and have supported me, thank you. I couldn't have done this without you <3

Wearing a corset in Maz's kitchen studio today Studio portrait from today's after shoot
tajasel: photo of me with a rainbow hat and big scarf on (Default)
Yesterday, I arrived home from my night out at 5am, slept for five hours curled up in the armchair downstairs, and then went out cycling with my mum. MADNESS.

It was actually quite relaxing - apart from the new traffic system in Poynton, where a motorist took pedestrians, cyclists and cars having shared priority to mean "if I have to wait, then you have to wait too" and suddenly pulled over as mum tried to (entirely legally) filter past his stationary car - causing her to stop just as suddenly, and me (having just clipped into my step-in pedals) to fall over sideways... he then drove away the moment the traffic cleared, leaving me lying in the road trapped under my bike as my leg spasmed with cramp, and mum and a kind stranger trying to unclip my foot from the pedal.

I love motorists, I really do.

Other than that, though, it was all lovely - we got to Pott Shrigley with no further bruises or bashes, and I made it up the hill to Green Close chapel without stopping, which has always defeated me before now.

We met Dan there, had coffee and a baked potato each (well, coffee cake in the case of mum) and then shared a mahoosive bowl of fresh juicy strawberries.

Then, I said to mum, "why don't we take a different route home?" - so she fished out her A-Z and said, "well, there's always the old brickworks..." and Dan said "isn't that Kettleshulme way? It'll be a bit lumpy..." but I said "that's fine!" figuring I fancied testing myself.

So we turned the other way out of the Coffee Tavern car park, and headed for the brickworks, and mum began to tell me about how it was a popular training ride amongst Manchester cyclists, and one which she had avoided for around 20 years. I began to feel full of confidence (and a hint of sarcasm).

The route completely redefined "a bit lumpy" with one climb alone gaining us over 1000 feet - and yet I managed to do all the climbs without stopping to walk once. (We won't talk about how many times I hopped off at summits to sit down and wait for poor old mum.)

It was hard, hard work, but so worth it, for the view as much as getting to the top and looking behind me and seeing what I'd achieved. Fitness: I has it!

On the way back down from the summit, there was a hill that I was zipping down at 36mph (with brakes on!) and then I saw the climb back out of the valley on the other side and began to pedal... and there was no friction. My chain had slipped off, and I'm still going at 30mumble miles an hour thinking "oh shit oh shit oh shit" ... I managed to freewheel up about three-quarters of the other side before I had to unclip to avoid a second tumble. (OK, so that was one hill I walked up part of.)

By the time we got home, we'd covered 22 miles and 3008.5 feet of ascent. (The extra six inches is vital when you're talking these kind of numbers, evidently.) We're both a little sore today - surprisingly my arms and back the most, presumably down to standing on some of the climbs to power up them faster. In fact, I was going to go swimming this morning, but have decided that perhaps I should nip into the pool on the way home from my work induction tomorrow instead... :)

tajasel: photo of me with a rainbow hat and big scarf on (Default)
Cynical brain: so that's how Yahoo are financing Tumblr - by screwing over photographers.

Rational brain: so before, I paid $25/year for unlimited space with no advertising. Now (because my pro account lapsed without warning) I get to pay double for less space, and as an added bonus, the pleasure of providing Yahoo with an advertising platform. Forgive me if I don't understand which bit I'm meant to be impressed by?

I guess the time has come for me to finally redevelop thisiskatie.co.uk as a portfolio website rather than a photoblog. (In the copious spare time I have between exam revision, doing a full-time work placement, helping to run a conference and getting enough sleep, of course.)
tajasel: photo of me with a rainbow hat and big scarf on (Default)
In October last year, a skydiver called Felix Baumgartner leapt out of a helium ballon and did a 4 minute 20 second freefall through space, before parachuting to Earth. In a genius marketing ploy, indoor skydiving company Airkix offered the equivalent amount of time in one of their windtunnels for £42. (I don't recall seeing a reference to the life, the universe and everything in the publicity - either I missed it, or they missed a trick. Anyway.)

Yesterday, I finally got round to cashing in my voucher for some flight time, and it was truly amazing :D they broke my voucher down into two lots of 1'15" and one super long 1'50" flight (the third one being almost the equivalent to a tandem skydive) - and on the last one, I was given the chance to spiral to the top of the tunnel with the instructor, and then freefall to the bottom again. It was AMAZING.


[twitter.com profile] maznu is now talking about us doing a bungee jump over Salford Quays :)
tajasel: photo of me with a rainbow hat and big scarf on (Default)
Favourite moment of university so far is my anatomy lecturer's scathing criticism of vampires seen on a TV documentary:
"These self-described vampires, they use anti-clotting agents when they phlebotomise their mates, so that they don't end up like flat-cap wearing Lancashire blokes chowing down on a black pudding... the mix of intelligence and sheer stupidity is astounding."

Student life continues to be excellent. The workload is intense but manageable, I'm maintaining a social life both in and out of uni, and I'm utterly knackered but still very excited.

Tomorrow I find out where my first placement will be, which means that although I'm on a self-directed study day, I will probably be awake at an ungodly hour so that I can type up last week's lecture notes continuously hit refresh on the Blackboard site.

tajasel: photo of me with a rainbow hat and big scarf on (Default)
Last night, I was cooking something, and suddenly, it caught my attention that a bunsen burner over the stove had set fire to a salt pot on the shelf above.

I calmly commented to my mum that a pepper pot was on fire, and she said "no it isn't", to which I replied "no, you're right, it's the salt pot", and then I started trying to blow the salt pot fire out. Of course, as soon as I extinguished the salt pot, the bunsen burner beneath it started the fire once again. I'm not sure why, looking back, I didn't think to remove the fuel source from the bunsen burner - instead, I just kept blowing. And blowing. And blowing.

Unfortunately for poor [twitter.com profile] maznu, it was the early hours of the morning, and moments earlier he had been sleeping peacefully next to me, but in my unconscious state, I thought his face was the fire, and he was brutally woken by the full force of my lung capacity.


Mar. 18th, 2013 06:21 pm
tajasel: photo of me with a rainbow hat and big scarf on (Default)
So, I found out today that Salford received 783 applications to the mental health branch this year, and they only conducted 150 interviews. Of the candidates interviewed, 60 students got a place. I'm one of 8% of applicants to be studying this course this year.

I feel pretty fucking awesome right now.

PS, being a nursing student is ace!

so it goes.

Mar. 1st, 2013 01:24 pm
tajasel: photo of me with a rainbow hat and big scarf on (Default)
"The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist."
Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse-Five

I had this tattooed today, the fifth anniversary of my stepfather's death, as a memento of him and his time in my life. The words "so it goes" appear in the book 106 times, whenever death or the unexplainable are touched upon, and are such incredibly powerful words, a reminder that life will always go on even after our bodies have expired, in the hearts and minds of everyone we touch; a reminder that we are infinitesimal and yet everything to those we love.
tajasel: photo of me with a rainbow hat and big scarf on (Default)
My granddad died quite suddenly at some point in the last few days. He was found by his neighbour yesterday, who went to check on him because he was feeling "a bit funny" last week, and we got a phonecall this morning giving us the news.

We used to be close, but since he emigrated, he's been a distant part of our lives in more ways than one - and because of a petty family feud in 2007, I can't even remember when it was I last saw him, or talked even. (I told him where to stick his bullshit claims that homeopathy and ionised water would cure my terminally ill stepfather, and my mum refused to tell me off for it. He spent 2½ weeks ignoring us before finally going back to Spain and has hardly spoken to mum or I since.)

It came as something of a surprise - as far as we knew he was fit and healthy - but the general feeling is that a cantankerous 80 year old man who survived two heart attacks (including one from the top of a ladder) and 60 odd years of smoking had a pretty good run at life, and we're just glad this didn't follow a long drawn-out illness. It was time to give up, so he did.

RIP Norbert Michael Lynham, 1932-2013.


Feb. 21st, 2013 11:13 am
tajasel: photo of me with a rainbow hat and big scarf on (Default)
This is heartbreaking, and yet beautiful.

I don't look back on school with terribly fond memories. Kids are mean, meaner than anyone can imagine, unless they've experienced it themselves. Teachers seem to forget how downright horrible they were when they were at school and few can see past the innocent faces with just a hint of a sly grin, few realise the jibes and cruel comments flying when their back is turned. I didn't have visible bruises, so they told me I was just too sensitive.

My school life was 12 years of constant reminders that I was not worth friendship or love because I was smart, because I wear glasses, because I wore a size 14, because I did my homework, because I worked hard. I was laughed at because, at 15, I had not yet had a boyfriend, and I was told I would never have a boyfriend, because I was ugly and nobody wanted girls who liked books more than people anyway.

It was depressing. There is no other word for it.

I helped in the library so that I didn't have to go outside at break and lunch. The librarians let me break the no food rule as long as I didn't tell anyone. I buried myself in the books, because I think a tiny part of me knew that nothing I could do would make the bullies like me, and that even if I could, I didn't want their friendship anyway.

By the time I left school, I'd made a couple of friends - other "misfits" - but we fell out of touch again when we moved onto other things, and the last I heard, one of them was working in Japan, and the other was raising wolves in Romania.

When I went to sixth form, the bullies did other things, but I still didn't know how to be friends with people, and that continued through three years of further education until I went to university. It was only when I started spending weekends in London during my first year that I really began to make friends, and yet I don't have a cover photo for Facebook of me and my peers laughing and throwing graduation caps into the air. Maybe next time.

I'm getting the hang of it now, the friendship thing, but I still wonder, sometimes, when I'm lying in bed with the arms of someone I love wrapped around me, just what I've done to deserve them, and, ten years after I left that wretched school, I still ask myself if I'm worth it, if I'm good enough, and if all these thoughts will ever just...

tajasel: photo of me with a rainbow hat and big scarf on (Default)
Because of my mum's cancer last year, I've been referred to the local family history clinic, and I'm now in the process of filling in an exceedingly long form about the various things that have ailed and killed family members up to great grandparents, aunts and uncles.

I've just had a chat with my aunt on my dad's side, who told me that my great aunt died of kidney failure. This isn't such a big deal in itself, except it turns out that her doctor's attitude was apparently "people can survive with one wonky kidney so we're not going to put you forward for transplant".

This attitude probably wouldn't have ultimately caused her death if her doctors had found out before the post-mortem examination that she only was only born with one kidney...
tajasel: photo of me with a rainbow hat and big scarf on (Default)
My houseguest just walked into the kitchen and said “Katie, can you think of a good reason why there might be a dead fish in your toilet?”

I replied, "Well, it wouldn't be the first time. I assume whoever put it there intended to flush it away, so I would just... go about your business, and flush, and..."

...and then I couldn't continue talking, because we were both laughing too much.