Mind the Gap

Found this hilarious website today - the lady who does all the announcements on the London Underground has recorded some spoof announcements. Some of them are very cutting indeed - Londoners and Americans take note! And I think my favourite one is the one that goes:

"Passengers should note that the bearded gentleman's rucksack contains the following items only: some sandwiches, a library card and a picture of a bare ankle and is no cause for concern."

Subtle and highly topical! It would be so funny if one day they just played some of these messages to see if anyone actually noticed - at least it would make people smile - and as the lady reminds passengers - a smile is actually a friendship signal, not a sign of weakness!

There are some interesting and unusual links from the website too - I find the history of the Tube fascinating, especially the abandoned stations, the ghosts and how it was used during the Second World War. And the person who thought to look for animal images in the Tube map is either crazy or a genius... or both!

Shopping Nightmare!

Aaargh! Never again! I have made the mistake of going to Tesco on a Saturday afternoon. I should have known from the packed car park that it was going to be a mistake. Unlike the usual weekday evenings when I visit, there were few spaces left. Inside the store there were people dawdling around at a snail's pace, children running around or wielding trolleys stuffed with e-numbers that their parents had mistakenly let them push. Two people bumped into me; only one said sorry. Some of the items I had gone to buy had sold out. There was a queue at all the checkouts - and not just people buying a few things in a basket - no the deepest trolleys piled high. And to top it all off - no lovely Tesco lady because she doesn't work on Saturdays.

I won't be going again on a Saturday unless it is an absolute emergency!!!

Jury Service

This week and next I am undertaking jury service. When I first received the letter I really didn't want to go - I thought it would be disruptive to my normal schedule. However, this week my view of it has completely changed.

On the first day we arrived at the court and were taken up in a special lift to the Jury waiting area. It is a very large area with nice seats, a few books scattered round and a few TVs. We were shown a video which outlined our role and what we would be required to do if we had to go into court. After having filled in our (rather generous) expenses form, we just sat around chatting, reading, watching TV. I'm hoping to get to do a bit more of that next week - I'm planning to bring in some work I need to get done and it would be the perfect opportunity!

Then, towards the end of the first day (after having had a fairly impressive lunch in the Jury dining area) I was one of the chosen few to go down into court. It was quite nerve racking as we were led in and the charges were read to us. We then had to identify if we knew the defendant or any of the witnesses. Then 12 of the 16 were chosen at random and sworn in.

Over the last few days the trial has proceeded - we have heard evidence from both sides now and tomorrow I expect we will start to deliberate over our verdict. I must say that the court experience of it has been less formal than I expected. Yes, at times they have been very formal, but then at other times, the judge and barristers have used quite colloquial language and have been quite friendly towards the jury. In fact, at times, they have treated us pretty much feel like royalty and have made us feel like we are the most important people in the court.

I don't know what will happen tomorrow when we retire to discuss our verdict. I was pleased to find that there don't seem to be too many Chavs or unintelligent people doing jury service - everyone seems to be fairly respectable. And the people on my jury are nice - in fact I've become quite friendly with a few of them.

Hopefully I'll be assigned to another trial next week (though would like some time as well to get some work done). But I am really enjoying it - I like the short days, the nice lunches, the sitting chatting and watching TV, the being treated like royalty and the interesting trial. I won't want to go back to work at the end of it. Is there any chance of me becoming a professional juror?!

Which religion should I choose?

Did a belief quiz today to find out what religion I should believe in. Here are my results:

1. Bahá'í Faith (100%)
2. Jainism (100%)
3. Liberal Quakers (100%)
4. Mahayana Buddhism (100%)
5. Neo-Pagan (100%)
6. Orthodox Quaker (100%)
7. Secular Humanism (100%)
8. Taoism (100%)
9. Theravada Buddhism (100%)
10. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
11. New Age (81%)
12. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (75%)
13. Nontheist (75%)
14. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (50%)
15. Eastern Orthodox (50%)
16. Hinduism (50%)
17. Islam (50%)
18. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (50%)
19. Orthodox Judaism (50%)
20. Reform Judaism (50%)
21. Roman Catholic (50%)
22. Seventh Day Adventist (50%)
23. Sikhism (50%)
24. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (0%)
25. Jehovah's Witness (0%)
26. New Thought (0%)
27. Scientology (0%)

Think I will have to research what they mean - some of them I haven't even heard of. You can do the belief-o-matic quiz for yourself here.

In love...

Yes, I'm in love... with Makka Pakka from 'In the Night Garden'. How can you not just feel so sorry for him? Not only does he look like a bland mis-shapen teletubby but he lives on his own in a cave and doesn't have a teddy bear - he takes a stone to bed instead. And I can't stop singing his little song either:

Makka Pakka, Akka Wakka, Mikka Makka moo!

Makka Pakka, Appa Yakka, Ikka Akka ooo

Hum dum, Agga Pang, Ing, ang, ooo

Makka Pakka, Akka wakka, Mikka Makka moo!

He's just so loveable - definitely my favourite, though I love the Pontipines too - they seem like the cleverest creatures in the garden, even the children (who cunningly rescued Makka Pakka's Og Pog the other night by stopping it running away by throwing a stone in its way). And the Pontipines' beds are fab too - if they were a bit bigger they could invite Makka Pakka round for a sleepover so that he wouldn't have to sleep on his own. I don't like Upsy Daisy though. She loves herself too much, especially in this clip. Makka Pakka and the Pontipines are great dancers though... and the Wattingers even make an appearance too!

How could you not love it? I know that 'In the Night Garden' is designed for a target audience of 1-4 year olds, but I'm hooked - I love the songs, the beautiful scenery and the simplicity of it all!


Love the pictures over at Untitled Love Project. Some of them are quite sad, some are quite hilarious, and others are just plain weird. This one inspired me to write a short little poem...

The girl with a hole in her heart wept
The girl with a hole in her heart slept.
The girl with a hole in her heart sighed.
The girl with a hole in her heart cried.
The girl with a hole in her heart died.

The Little Prince

Have you ever read The Little Prince? It really is the most lovely book. It tells the story of a pilot who lands in the desert and meets the Little Prince who asks him to draw a sheep. It turns out that the Little Prince is a traveller too - he has travelled from his home - asteroid B-612. On his home planet he takes care of a flower, a rose, and he believes it is the most special flower, even though it can be a very demanding flower. But it is the Little Prince's love for his flower which is perhaps the most touching aspect of this book.

Whilst it may be a fable, some may say a book for children, there is much for adults to appreciate in The Little Prince. The illustrations are beautiful, the storyline is fantastical and many profound truths are spoken about life, love and the way people relate to themselves and each other.

And I know that once you have read this book, then the next time that you look up at the stars, then you will think of the Little Prince and his flower on asteroid B-612. An online version of the text can be found here, though really you should buy the book - it's not the same reading it online, and I promise that it's a book you'll want to read again if you've got any heart at all.

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes it so important.

If one loves a flower, of which just one single blossom grows in all the millions and millions of stars, it is enough to make him happy just to look at the stars... He can say to himself: 'Somewhere my flower is there'.

The stars are beautiful because of a flower that cannot be seen.

To me you are nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you on your part have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me then we shall need each other. To me, you shall be unique in all the world. To you I shall be unique in all the world...

You become forever responsible for what you have tamed.

There is a flower... I think that she has tamed me...

Grownups never understand anything for themselves and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.

In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars are laughing when you look at the sky at night.

Road Trip

Am quite excited - last night me, B and C planned our road trip around America next summer. We plan to fly to New York and spend a few days there, then spend 4 days going to Niagara Falls, Cape Cod and driving around New England. We will then fly to Vegas (take me back there - I must go and see Phoenix at New York New York - they are such a fantastic band), spend a few days in Vegas, go to the Grand Canyon, then drive via Palm Springs to Los Angeles (taking in the Extra Terrestrial Highway en route). We will spend about 4 days in LA, then drive up the coast to San Francisco. After spending a few days there we will fly back to New York and then home again. We have worked out it will take us just under a month and even though it won't be cheap, when we phoned up to ask about prices, it won't be as expensive as we thought it would be. Am very much looking forward to it! Need to start planning what music we will listen to in our (hopefully) Thelma and Louise style convertible!

X Factor

I really enjoyed watching the X Factor tonight. It was so so camp! Apart from my bizarre attraction to Simon Cowell, I was also feeling it for Rhydian tonight. Now that is surprising because a few weeks ago I couldn't bear him. But he certainly is very talented and his uber camp rendition of 'Go West' was great fun. He seemed to like it too, especially with his comment about enjoying the male dancers! Is he gay? With a performance like that you would think he would be, but then he also seemed to enjoy meeting Girls Aloud.

I'm also loving Beverley loads. She can certainly belt out a song, and whilst I like Niki, I'm preferring Beverley at the moment.

And again, the fact that I like Hope surprises me - normally I hate manufactured groups... but Hope are good. (And I must confess to having Girls Aloud Greatest Hits so I can't hate manufactured groups all that much.) Tonight they were much better than Same Difference. I like Same Difference for their cheesiness and I know they will appeal to the High School Musical loving tweenagers, though the fact that they are brother and sister freaks me out a bit - they like each other a bit too much. Do they ever argue?!

I have to say though that I really don't like Alicia. She is just a bit too bland still. I love Sharon and don't want her to be left with no acts, but Alicia and the rollerskating kids just weren't good tonight (though I agree with Louis about Young Hearts Run Free being a fabulous song). And Leon is just too bland and forgettable.

Who do I think will win? Strangely enough I hope for Rhydian, though I can't ever imagine myself buying his CD. I would also be happy if Beverley won - she's good. Out of all the acts though, I can see Hope being the biggest commercial success, following in the footsteps of Girls Aloud. I guess we will just have to wait and see!

The last few days...

Gosh, I have been so so busy over the last few days. Marking seems to have taken over my life - I am so sick of it - it's all I have done for the past few nights. I definitely think that teachers should be paid more or should have fewer classes to teach. Surely the focus should be on quality and there's no way that a tired stressed out teacher can deliver the very best quality lessons day in day out. But now I'm very pleased because I'm off on jury service for the next 2 weeks. I think it will be really interesting to see how the courts work, and hopefully I'll get an interesting trial. The kids at school are all really fascinated and want to hear all about it when I get back. And if I don't get picked, then I'll still be able to get done all the marking I still have left to do or perhaps even do some reading - I'm reading Queen Camilla by Sue Townsend at the moment. It's hardly intellectually stimulating but it's very funny.

In The Night Garden

It all began many years ago with Tinky Winky, Dipsy, La La and Po a.k.a. the Teletubbies. I was about 18 at the time, but I loved watching them and joining in with eh-oh, tubby toast and tubby custard.

Now there is a new successor - and I encountered it properly for the first time tonight. People - yes, intelligent adults - have been telling me for some time now about the joy and pleasure that is 'In the Night Garden'. It is a strange surreal land inhabited by characters such as Iggle Piggle, Upsy Daisy, Makka Pakka (who seems to have both Tourettes and O.C.D and lives on his own in a cave), the Pontipines (who have 10 little beds that they jump into), and their next door neightbours the Wattingers - they live in a tiny semi-detached house at the foot of a tree. There are also the Tombliboos with their short stumpy legs and striped tops, the Haahoos, and not forgetting the Ninky Nonk ( a train) and the Pinky Ponk (an airship that makes farting noises as it flies).

Apart from the obvious appeal to young children, and the educational aspect of it (the Pontipines were counted many times!) this is a really fabulous programme. With its quirky loveliness, when all the toys go to bed, and the lights fade to leave just stars shining in the sky, it took me back to a more carefree time and relaxed me so that I wanted to hop into bed and say goodnight as well. The perfect programme to chill out to after a long day at work! And, if you have kids, even better I imagine!

Find out more here.

Get Me Out of Here!

Oh my God! How funny is this year's I'm a Celebrity already?! To be honest, the only ones I have the faintest idea who they are are Gemma Atkinson (who played Lisa Hunter on Hollyoaks), Cerys Matthews of Catatonia fame and Anna Ryder Richardson, best known for 'Changing Rooms'. The rest... no idea! The man who decided to not go in at the last minute just made himself look so stupid and pathetic. And the Janice woman is so annoying but so hilarious. She completely lives up to the brash American stereotype. And I'm loving the way her and Lynne (Lynne who? She looks like Pippa from Home and Away) fight about everything. I think though that if we can tolerate her for more than a couple of days, Janice will be one of the stars of this series and that we'll all grow to love her - if not, we'll love to hate her instead.

Unfortunately I was attempting to mark some work during I'm a Celebrity. I marked 3 exam papers - and they were all during the adverts - oh dear!

The Killers: Sawdust

Bought the new Killers CD today and am liking it lots! I really like their new song Tranquilize - it's very much in the style of their older stuff. A few of the songs are their older ones but they're still fab. Have only listened to the whole CD once so far, but know it's going to be one that will be played lots in the car!

On the subject of songs I like... one of my favourite Muse songs is Knights of Cydonia. I found the video today on Youtube - it's amazing - it tells a dramatic, fantastical, and at times hilarious, story and fits well with the song! Think I might buy some of Muse's earlier CDs - I really love Black Holes and Revelations.

Fly Bite Update...

Oh I'm not impressed! I have big red bites where the fly bit me yesterday and I have been itching them all day. I really didn't know that flies could bite so much, but I have just been reading up about them here. They really are quite disgusting creatures really.

However, I got my revenge... I managed to swat it with a blank CD eventually last night and then whilst it was crawling around on the floor stunned, I dropped the CD onto it from a great height - death by crushing. And it is truly dead because I checked before. I do feel a bit mean... but it shouldn't have bitten me!

Amazon Prime

Should I buy Amazon Prime or not? Is it worth £49? I do buy an awful lot from Amazon, though usually either wait until I have enough things to make it more than £15 so I can get free delivery, or add other things to my basket that I impulsively decide I want. And if it's cheaper on then I get it from there with free delivery... but then Amazon Prime would be quicker... I'll wait until I want/need to buy something and then will decide then.

Pesky Fly

For the last couple of hours I have been sitting on my bed marking some essays (rather boring and tedious). And I have been bothered by a pesky fly that has been constantly been landing on me, trying to bite me. I think it must be quite an intelligent creature because it seemed to figure out that if it landed on my jumper or socks it could bite through - I know this because I felt its bites. However, when it was on my jeans I couldn't feel it.

A further thing that annoyed me is that it was seemingly indestructible. Whenever I tried to whack it with my hefty mark scheme, it seemed to know and flew away just in time. Spraying Impulse on it didn't seem to have any effect (I didn't have any fly spray handy - thought Impulse might choke it, but no...), and when I stood in the middle of the room, mark scheme poised, it went and hid until I had sat down again, at which point it tried to bite the back of my arm, presumably where I couldn't see it.

Why is it here anyway? Surely flies don't like cold weather - don't they all die, or migrate to warmer places? Or maybe it just doesn't like the cold weather outside and though it would come in and annoy me instead. I wonder how it got in - the window hasn't been open... it has probably got some crafty fly entrance and will be bringing all its friends once it tells them how it managed to outwit me. Grr!

Today's artistic offering

I should really be planning lessons, marking and doing other school related stuff. But that's too boring and instead I decided to paint yet another picture. This one was intended to match my bedroom, though don't know whether I'll actually put it up! Again, like my last painting, it's not very technically advanced, but I quite like it for its simplicity!

Art Attack!

Whilst shopping this morning (buying yet more pretty pyjamas among other things) I had a sudden urge to do some painting. So I bought some small canvases and some paints. Then when I returned home, I spent the afternoon painting this little painting, which was inspired by a print I have seen recently. I'm quite proud - it's the first time I've ever painted onto a proper canvas. I might do a few more!

Take That Loving

Take That are just the best! The ultimate boy band! Every song on their Greatest Hits CD is a classic - and going to watch their comeback tour last year was amazing - funny how 90% of the many thousands there were women though! However, I'm also liking a lot of their new stuff too. Shine was an amazingly upbeat and happy song with a marvellous video:

And I'm really loving the new song - it's very beautiful and I love the idea of people riding round on stars together. I did a lyrics page in my Moleskine of it:
And here's the lovely song too:

Children's TV Memories

Ooh have been having fun watching children's TV programmes here. They bring back many memories. Think one of my favourite themes for singing along has to be Mysterious Cities of Gold. I remember when it was on that it was one of my very favourite programmes ever!

Another programme, from a few years earlier that is pure class is Pigeon Street. I remember watching it as a small child at lunchtime - it was on just before (or just after?) Rainbow, and as a special treat I would be allowed Dairylea sandwiches on the little orange picnic table that we had, and would watch Pigeon Street, Rainbow and Words and Pictures (the one with the talking pencil). Oh and Bric a Brac - I really liked that programe too. But Pigeon Street was the very best and this clip shows just why. Even now I think the theme is excellent and the animation is lovely!

And another couple that I remember being on almost every day... Jimbo - I loved it when he crashed into the control tower...

And Superted - I always felt sorry for him because he was the reject teddy bear from the factory...

Fantastic stuff - if only they made kids TV programmes like that now! Would keep me happy for hours! Instead, it just means I spend far too long watching old ones on Youtube instead!


Moleskines are my very favourite notebook - and as a consequence moleskinerie and notebookism are two of my favourite websites because they give me so many different ideas and much inspiration.
What is it that I like about my Moleskines so much? I think that one of the first things that drew me to them is their history - the Moleskine legend. Inside every notebook you get a little leaflet telling you about the history of Moleskines:

Moleskine is the legendary notebook, used by European artists and thinkers for the past two centuries, from Van Gogh to Picasso, from Ernest Hemingway to Bruce Chatwin.
Originally produced by small French bookbinders who supplied the Parisian stationery shops frequented by the international avant-garde, by the end of the twentieth century the Moleskine notebook was no longer available. In 1986, the last manufacturer of Moleskine, a family operation in Tours, closed its shutters forever.
“Le vrai Moleskine n’est plus,” were the lapidary words of the owner of the stationery shop in Rue de l’Ancienne Comédie where Chatwin stocked up on the notebooks. The English writer had ordered a hundred of them before leaving for Australia: he bought up all the Moleskine that he could find, but they were not enough.
In 1998, a small Milanese publisher brought Moleskine back again. As the self effacing keeper of an extraordinary tradition, Moleskine once again began to travel the globe. To capture reality on the move, pin down details, impress upon paper unique aspects of experience: Moleskine is a reservoir of ideas and feelings, a battery that stores discoveries and perceptions, and whose energy can be tapped over time. . The legendary black notebook is once again being passed from one pocket to the next; with its various different page styles it accompanies the creative professions and the imagination of our time. The adventure of Moleskine continues, and its still-blank pages will tell the rest.

Now I quite readily accept that much of this is marketing and hype. I agree that current Moleskines may be a million worlds apart from those that Van Gogh and Hemingway used. However, somehow, somewhere, this whole legend inspires me. It makes me want to write, it makes me want to draw. It makes me want to be part of that tradition. The whole point of me keeping a notebook is to allow myself some outlet for my creativity, and if the notebook itself inspires me to be creative, then that has surely got to be a good thing, right? Additionally, seeing what other people have done with their Moleskines then inspires me to do cool things in mine. It's not just Moleskine's famous users who influence how I use mine, but the millions of everyday users who love their little black notebooks just as much as me.
I'm getting quite a stash of them now. I carry a pocket plain around with me everywhere - it has replaced all of the post it notes and bits of paper that I would otherwise jot down information on. And I also have drawn out a calendar inside it - very useful, and use it if I have a sudden attack of creativity! I have a large ruled Moleskine which I use very much as a diary, then a large plain which I use as an art journal. My large squared is for drafts of poems, stories and other writings. My Paris city Moleskine was invaluable whilst in Paris over the summer (it even earned itself its own little identity and the nickname Moley). I haven't used my London one yet, nor the extra large cahiers and soft notebooks. Oh and I have an address book, which is slowly filling up too.
Yes it's an expensive "hobby" but the notebooks are lovely - I like the minimalist black appearance, the creamy yellow pages with their rounded corners, and the elastic and the pocket at the back are very useful. I even love the fact that there is a section where you can fill in a "Reward" if your Moleskine is lost and found. I think the things that you can't put money on though are class and creative inspiration. That's why I love my Moleskines!

What Your Music Says About You

1. Put your music player on shuffle.
2. Press forward for each question.
3. Use the song title as the answer to the question

  • What does next year have in store for me? Love (The Beatles) - oh yes please!

  • What's my love life like? Eyes Open (Snow Patrol) - don't think I always do have my eyes open!

  • What do I say when life gets hard? You Sent Me Flying (Amy Winehouse)

  • What song will I dance to at my wedding? Biology (Girls Aloud)

  • What do you want as a career? Wooden Boat (Take That) - interesting career choice!

  • Famous last words? Call Me (Blondie)

  • Your favourite saying? Listen Up (Gossip) - indeed, something like that when I'm teaching

  • Your favourite place? Disenchanted (My Chemical Romance) - yes I am there sometimes!

  • What do you think of your parents? Never Know (Jack Johnson)

  • What's your Pornstar name? X&Y (Coldplay) - ooh sexy name!

  • Where would you go on a first date? Stop Me (Mark Ronson)

  • Drug of choice? Hold On (Razorlight)

  • Describe yourself: Invincible (Muse) Really?

  • What is the thing I like doing most? I'm Still Standing (Elton John)

  • What is my state of mind like at the moment? Piece of my Heart (Melissa Etheridge)

  • How will I die? Might Tell You Tonight (Scissor Sisters) Oh gosh - thanks for letting me know!

Dead in my Mind

Hmmm you may be thinking - what has happened to my sparkles?! But this picture by larafairie at deviant art really caught my attention. It sums up how I sometimes feel... Not often, but sometimes. She says about the picture:

It basically describes how I have been feeling. That silent gaze - even though something as beautiful as the butterfly comes my way - my feelings are unchanged and are deep in thought. The mask describes how I've tried to hide myself from the world, when I hide I feel better in myself, no one can judge me and I can't hurt anyone.
Some pretty powerful stuff - check out the rest of her work - it's pretty amazing too.

Lovely smily images!

Am loving these images that I found by celsojunior at deviant art

They are just so smily and happy. Could look at them all day and be cheered up by them - makes a welcome change from the cold, dark weather outside.

Nirvana Nevermind

Have just listened to Nevermind on Zane Lowe's Radio 1 show. I've heard odd songs from it previously, but have never listened to the whole album. And I have to say I really enjoyed it! I can see how it has influenced so much more recent music. A possible future purchase? Now I'm going to find myself another CD to listen to whilst I get on with some boring exam paper marking!

Cadbuy's Wispa

Whilst buying petrol today I decided to treat myself to a Wispa. I'm so happy that they have been brought back - Dairy Milk Bubbly just didn't have the same chunkiness or length. Indeed, some time ago I even wrote a letter to Cadbury to ask if they would be bringing them back - looks like they have finally listened to their customers!However, I would really like them to bring back Wispa Mint. They were my very favourite. The chocolate part was slightly thinner than a normal wispa, then there was a layer of solid mint fondant on top. Once, at university, we went to the cash and carry and all chose a chocolate bar to buy in bulk (box of 48!). I chose Wispa Mint and munched my way through them whilst reading the 'His Dark Materials' series by Phillip Pullman. Even now, just looking at that book brings back Wispa Mint memories. I discovered that there are many different ways to eat them: big bites of the whole bar; eating either the chocolate section first or the mint section; dipping them into tea; sucking them like a lollipop - there are endless possibilities - far more than a regular Wispa would allow. So Cadbury's, if you chance upon this page, then firstly thank you for bringing back one of my favourite chocolate bars. But please can we have the mint version too?! (I was never overly keen on Wispa Gold though - somehow the caramel smoothness didn't seem quite right with the bubbliness of the chocolate - but I won't go into that right now!)

Cath Kidston Lovelies

Am loving my new Cath Kidston writing paper:

It is so pretty, like so many of her products. I love the whole retro feel about it.

I guess I'd better get writing some letters again now!

Life Mask

Today I finished reading 'Life Mask' by Emma Donoghue. It has taken me about 6 weeks to read it - quite unusual for me because normally I speed through books. However, it's a book that you really have to think about - not one to read when you are tired. So that really cut down on my reading time!

What is the story about? Well, it tells a true story set amongst the upper classes of London in the late eighteenth century. Its three main characters are Eliza Farren, an actress, the Earl of Derby, and a well-connected female sculptor, Anne Damer. Emma Donoghue states that she was inspired to write the story after reading some gossip from the time, linking Eliza and Anne romantically:

Her little stock of private Fame
Will fall a wreck to public Clamour
If Farren herds with her whose Name
Approaches very near to Damn her.

Obviously, at this time, "Sapphism" was something that no woman would admit to or want to be linked to. "The World" i.e. the social circles in which the women mixed would be scandalised at such a notion, even though many of them were conducting extra marital affairs themselves.

It is an interesting book for many reasons. Firstly, the fact that it is based upon a true story and people who actually lived and loved, pretty much as described in the book. It is interesting to see pictures of some of the paintings and sculptures featured in the story.

Secondly, the whole book is based pretty much on the political aspect of my history A-level. When I was doing my A-levels I found it all deathly dry and boring. But somehow this book has brought many of the characters to life, in particular Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and Walpole, who I grew quite fond of in the end (couldn't say the same about studying his foreign policy though!)

The third reason I enjoyed this book is that it gives a really good sense of how people conducted romantic relationships in those days. If you're looking for a bodice ripper of a book then you're not going to find it here. It's all very gentle and proper. Yes, there is some "action" towards the end of the book, but even then it's quite restrained. It really highlights how much people have changed in their attitudes to love and sex, and also, thankfully, to gay and lesbian relationships. It's interesting to note that there *were* gay and lesbian people around at that time. But it was all very hidden.

Bonjour et bienvenue!

Okay, so I really wasn't going to do this! I have done blogs before and they take up lots and lots of time. And I already spend far too long online - chatting with various people, Facebooking, browsing other people's blogs! And I also spend a huge amount of time doing cool and creative stuff in my Moleskine notebooks. But I have been inspired over the last week reading so many other blogs. Perhaps it's time to return!

One cool thing I have come across recently is where you put your name and then "needs" into Google. So I tried it... Quite funny results...

1) Skye needs to have a good reason or incentive to participate
2) Skye needs to start acting like an adult
3) Skye needs to suffer and besides what it the point of holding your cards if you don’t reveal them at the most opportune moment
4) Skye needs bass and guitar
5) Skye needs to come to Illinois
6) Skye needs Canadian stamps on your letter for her to mail it back to you because they are mailed from Canada
7) Skye needs her red hair back
8) Skye needs musicians to Live band
9) Skye needs U
10) Skye needs to be in PV whether RC is in the role or not

Some interesting suggestions for me! I didn't know I needed so many things!

By the way - I'm not really Skye - those of you who know me will know that! But Skye is my online alter-ego - means I can write more of the things I really want to say without everyone knowing it is me! Everything else is completely real though!

Happy reading... enjoy the blog! Hope to see you back soon xx