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Friday

Cleaned the kitchen. Went for a 40 minute walk. Spoke to Emily who encouraged me to visit Jane in Southsea tomorrow. Sung Paul Simon. Arranged to meet Jane tomorrow at 3pm.

Emily told me off last night for bringing Simon back to mine. She talked about a murder story she heard. I fell asleep and had a weird dream. A girl I knew at school had her ear knived. Most people in the class stayed put. The attacker turned the knife on himself. I ran towards them to go past to get help and then back the other way. The first person I asked didn’t want to help, but the second did. There was an assembly and they wanted me to be visible at the front, to show that we are not afraid. But the other people at the front of the assembly turned away from the audience. I faced them alone, sat on the floor. I felt calm because it was what I had been told to do and because I thought it really might help. The girl who had been attacked was there and the speaker spoke openly about what had happened. Her ear had not been detached, but there was a wound nearly all the way around it.

I had also been playing a Who’s the Painter game on my IPhone, so that’s why there’s a Van Gogh reference in my dream.

Bit nervous about making the journey to Southsea tomorrow, but I ought to be able to make it okay. Maybe I’ll get a taxi back. It will be nice to see Jane again. Think it was a decade ago that I last saw her!

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Wednesday

Chatted to Simon and agreed to meet up the following day. I got an early night, managed to sleep okay. Woke up at 9am next day, before my alarm! Felt tired but strode out to the shop and got some bits. Thought about him coming back to mine and got chocolate icecream (which one of his profile pictures shows him eating), grapes because they are sexy and popcorn in case we watch a film together. Didn’t get any booze because it’s heavy. Enjoyed being out in the morning for a change. It’s a nice time of day I ought to visit occasionally!

Back at home had a bath listening to Natalie Imbruglie perhaps a little loudly for the morning, but I reasoned that I needed to wake up. Decided to wear my black and green patterned dress with green and white birds flying on it. Put on make up for the first time in a long time. Attempted a smokey eyed look but went for brown eyeshadow all over in the end. Was a bit concerned that my mascara might run in the light rain but wanted to wear it, so did. Happy with the result, wandered about my room trying to find the best light for a selfie. Got one I liked.

I asked him to call me to make sure I was up, and he called at 1pm. He sounded nervous and I was a bit worried that we would have nothing to talk about on the date. Walked to the bus stop, then headed back home put some playing cards in my bag (he’s a professional poker player) in case he was as nervous as he sounded on the phone.

Got the bus to Cosham, arriving at the pub an hour early. I had been umming and ahhing about whether or not to have a Propanlol which I had been prescribed for Restlessness, which also has other effects. Good – reduces social anxiety. Bad (on a date) – reduces excitement. It was really busy and noisy in the pub, and I felt a bit intimidated and distracted by the noise, though not uncomfortable with it. I just felt like it was a bit too much for me and so it was an easy decision to take one. Had a hot chocolate which was like a square chocolate lollipop to stir in the hot, frothy milk from the machine. And then a cup of tea. By that point the pub noise was received by my ears in a much more pleasant way. Walked to Poundstretcher and got a tube of toothpaste, which I forgot on my earlier shop. Passed time smoking rollies and found the cutest place to sit so I would have a Christmas tree behind me. Decided to get a glass of Merlot to be drinking when he arrived to further enhance the charm of the scene and because its delicious. It was the nicest Merlot I’ve ever had and I wondered if it were a Christmassy one or if I was imagining it.

A bit late because of a train delay (which he texted me about) he arrived and recognised me. He had been caught in the rain and his short hair lay flat. I stood up and he asked if I wanted a hug. I had previously messaged him saying I’ld be disappointed if he doesn’t hug me, and he obviously remembered this and didn’t want to make that mistake! So we started the date with a hug, which wasn’t that awkward at all.

He drank Magners then Strongbow dark fruits which he joked was mixing drinks but as his level of risk taking. He was very chatty, and so he’s probably just not a phone person – something I can relate to.

He was eccentric, funny, very bright and talked with his hands in an comical way which delighted me. He told me straight away he thought I was prettier than my photos and I thought to myself the make up is working! He talked about genius characters on the TV and how often their way of working things out isn’t realistic and jolts him out of the programme. I said it’s more like they can predict the future sometimes then and teased him that thinking like that was only a way to enjoy programmes less. He was delighted that I was listening to everything he said, and wasn’t bothered that I was quiet, because I was listening.

He had been on a date with a girl who was into obscure sci fi programmes which he had watched, though he wondered why those rather average ones were her favourites. Despite enjoying her geeky interests he was disappointed that she started looking at her phone during the date. He concluded that sharing interests isn’t always a good thing and doesn’t mean you will connect. I agreed with him on this one, and told him what an All Illustrator Party consists of – everyone very much in their own little world, having their own private party in a room full of other people doing much the same thing!

He surprised me by talking about how he had thought a great deal about how to optimise the first date experience. But he was charming enough to get away with this. He talked away for 3 hours and asked if he could kiss me. He came over for a little kiss and sat next to me. His hands were a little smaller than mine and much more feminine, but nice to hold. He was excited to feel my bra strap through my clothes. I felt lots of little jolts of excitement during our conversation, so the Propanlol wasn’t making me less excited as I had thought it might.

We got a taxi back to mine, and he talked about playing poker at Amsterdam airport and not really seeing the city. But how on another trip he had pot brownies. I wondered if he felt that this was a similar, enjoyable but one off experience.

We sat in the front room, I with a Diet Coke, he with water and kissed some more hearing the sounds of other residents bumbling about. Decided to go up to my room. I showed him my CDs and we had the latest Chilli Peppers CD The Getaway, followed by Avril Lavigne and Garbage to chill out to. Wouldn’t be my first choice for a chill out CD but he was enjoying it so I let it play. Had a really nice time. He had an uncharming way of flattering me which I put down to his age even though he’s only 4 years younger than me. Actually it was my first time with a younger man. It went really well, and had a bdsm element which I really enjoyed. He had a sexy way of biting his lip and knew what he was doing with his slender fingered hands. He started to fall asleep but hadn’t eaten yet. Gave him macaroni cheese which he ate in bed.

Felt like I could fall asleep holding him, which I never normally feel. Stayed like that for a long time but in the end I went to my half of the bed.

Saw Anthea in the morning, dressed in my date clothes again because I didn’t want him to see me in the Emily clothes I normally wear. Had a catch up and my antipsychotics jab, didn’t even feel a scratch. She can see I’m doing really well and so the visits will be every two weeks.

Then brought him toast up to bed. He has minus 8 vision and paced my room for a minute, thinking and joking that he avoids doing pacing in other peoples rooms without his glasses on in case he bumps into something. Put 80s radio on and Easy Lover came on which annoyed me but I was too proud to change the station, so let it play. It was long and annoying in a funny way though. I enjoyed my hook up but I wouldn’t choose that as the music for it!

Shortly afterwards I walked him to the bus stop and waited with him, asking about poker. He thinks it’s not inconceivable that he should win the one million pound prize. He’s been researching on YouTube and has won big competitions in the past. Doesn’t know what he would do with the money, but that doesn’t bother him too much.

The rest of my day has been quiet and reflective. Watched some tele with Alex, divers again and all animal, dark grey green coral found in the depths. They were drilling 40 year cylinders out of some huge coral and getting a long record of what the weather had been like. Using UV light to see white bands on the coral more clearly. One thick white band represented a year of heavy rain though I don’t know why.

Ran the Bonne Maman under the tap to get it open and had a nice jam sandwich, some grapes and a cup of coffee. Support staff Holly visited and had a little chat with her about me and Phillip having broken up. She paused halfway down the stairs to talk some more. ‘Keep swiping!’ she cheerily ended with, which I found funny because of last nights adventure.

But I have been looking on dating sites today. There’s a long haired fellow with a nonsensical profile who I might meet soon. He is funny and talks to cats. Simon, (I’m calling him Simon here) is great but ultimately I’m looking for a boyfriend and I don’t see him being that.

Since then I’ve been writing this blog post. I like the idea of being old and being able to read about my adventures in detail. I sometimes have trouble remembering what I did yesterday, so writing this blog good for keeping my memories safe.

Just received another message from a man who doesn’t want to date me because him finds me physically unattractive and doesn’t want to date a smoker. Felt a little bit weird about that for a while, but feel properly restored now. Not that I need a man to convince me of how I look, but I’ve got in touch with my sexy self again after his attentions.

Also another reason to end this blog post here is Paul Simon came on the radio and I’m thinking that’s an artist I haven’t tried on Smule. Might be fun to try. Glad I’m establishing a routine of waking up earlier.

No sleep over at Emily’s because they all still have colds, and no visit today because she’s out Christmas shopping with Annie. Simon slept under the starry side of the unicorn duvet she gave me. I otherwise use it as an extra blanket for my feet, because I don’t want my life to resemble hers too much. And because it’s so cosy!

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Tuesday

A drawing inspired by one I drew in the past.

Toast and marmite for breakfast. Alex helped a bird stuck in a drainpipe. Walked to the shop and got milk, cola and chocolate with the last of my money. I get my ESA through tomorrow. Watched some Blue Planet and had a cup of tea and a Twix. Didn’t think I would get into it, but I did. The dolphins were lovely to watch, playing at dropping pieces of coral and following them. David Attenborough commented that some coral fell fast and some slow. They are practising their skillz like kittens do.

Sung on Smule. Played rummy with Alex. Video chat with Dan and Adam. Adam has a new toy, a wrecking ball. Then chatted to Emily. She’s very amused by my rendition of A Whole New World and liked my duet of These Boots Were Made For Walking.

Didn’t realise she spent Christmas alone when I was in hospital.

Chicken, chips and peas for dinner.

Here’s a duet of Itchycoo Park with a man who used to live there.

https://www.smule.com/p/1831423511_2593203805

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Thursday

Crunchy nut cornflakes with soya milk for breakfast.

Went for my blood test in the morning, which was fine.

Back at home I got the Smule singing app and enjoyed singing some songs.

In the evening watched a bit of tele with Alex. A documentary about divers after giant limpet creatures in shark infested waters. Quite interesting. A man told a true story of his close encounter with a shark. Suggested we watch a film together, but he wanted to go to bed.

There’s a Smule widget for WordPress but I haven’t yet worked out how to use it. I’m ideakitten on Smule if you want to follow me there too.

Here’s a photo from the last day with Phillip. I like his frog air freshener. He was called frog at school on account of his unusual toes.

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Wednesday

I’m writing on my IPhone today. Maybe that’s a good way to keep the blog going.

Woke up at 1pm to the fire alarm test. Support staff Karen commented that every time she visits I’m still in my nightie. Think she thinks I’m lazy. I’m not really, I just wake up late.

Anthea came round and I chatted to her in the kitchen. She says people are normally on antipsychotics for at least 2 years and that gives the best results. I’ve been wondering about a lower dose, but apparently there isn’t much range in the dose they give people these days anyway.

She left saying what a nice day it is outside and I decided that I would go out today.

Called the doctors to arrange blood test for tomorrow. Palpitations are possibly caused by my thyroid gland so need the test to check. For breakfast had some of the jalfrezi that Philip made, whilst waiting on the phone for the job centre. Will made a rare appearance to ask for Rizlas (fag papers as he calls them) and I got through to JCP at the same time. I’m not on PIP like I thought so perhaps I won’t be able to get a bus pass after all.

Went for a walk into town listening to Lily Alone. Went to the charity shops. I had a dream last night about swimming to an island and finding marshy land around the coast. There was a jigsaw puzzle and a hairdresser also in the dream though I can’t remember what the context was. Maybe I should write dreams down upon waking. Anyway I wondered about jigsaw puzzles but I don’t think I would be able to enjoy or complete it. Found an Angelina Ballerina children’s Uno for a pound and bought it in the hopes of getting Emily to play. She’s quick with numbers though she can’t read much. Or maybe I’ll use the mice illustrations as inspiration.

Went to the library and got a couple more joke books to share with Emily. I remember how the library used to feel to me, a universe of possibility. Now I read with less interest for shorter amounts of time, it has a different feel to it. But that’s okay. Got the bus back.

Had a little chat with Susan when I got in and had a mircowave pizza and a cider. After she left for her nighttime walk I decided to do something about the horrible, very bright bare lightbulb that’s been bugging me ever since I moved in. Took down the lampshade in my room – I can always use the small light. It was difficult to put on and it’s actually sort of balanced there but I’m quite pleased with the result. I find it very weird that no one else in the house seems bothered by it at all.

Had a bubble bath and listened to a Thriller instrumental. Set my alarm for tomorrow’s blood test.

Here’s some photos –

A sunset in the park from a couple of days ago.

Crane and knitted poppies from today.

And a drawing from yesterday.

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Placemats

In my parents kitchen table there are two drawers. One of these is rarely opened. It contains the placemats we traditionally used on Christmas day.

As a child I loved these placemats. They had various paintings of animals and people on them- just my kind of thing! However I did notice that for Christmas guests they had a very mixed reception. Some guests even refused their placemat and didn’t want their plate to sit on it at all. How rude!

The placemats had paintings of fox hunting on them.

I have never been foxhunting. I think my mum went foxhunting once. My family love old, unusual and beautiful things. Also my dad loves to shock people.

Christmas was a very difficult time for my dad growing up, because his mother was often suicidal. He could be a little withdrawn at Christmas because of this past trauma, but would happily discuss placemats, with any shocked guests. His therapy, I guess!

Anyway, I remember debating at school about animal cruelty. I would be the girl who said ‘Hang on, isn’t foxhunting *VERY* traditional?’. It was an unpopular opinion. Truth is, I would lose myself in the paintings on the Christmas placemats. Every Christmas I would look forward to which scene I would get. When I was given my Christmas food, I was a little bit disappointed that my nice placemat scene was covered up. I couldn’t understand the upset guests who rejected their placemat’s scene. If you aren’t having it, I will!

I love animals, and I knew the sport was cruel on the fox. But I also knew that nature is cruel and animals tear each other apart as a matter of course. Mostly I was swayed by the beauty I saw in foxhunting. I loved the uniforms, and the whole dramatic look of it. It seemed like a way of being closer to nature, rather than an aggressive move towards it. I think a lot of foxhunters feel like that, and they are not otherwise cruel to animals. Foxhunting is an exception they make.

In recent years, my family has stopped using the placemats. However we also have a plate with foxhunting on it. Oddly it often gets stuck at the top of the pile of plates. This suggests that people prefer not to eat off of it, but no one will admit it.

Recently I have been learning about clean boot hunting. This is foxhunting where the hounds follow the scent of a human runner. No foxes are harmed. I still see foxhunting as beautiful and traditional as well as cruel. Clean boot hunting seems to be the perfect solution.

The idea of a clean boot hunt, is attractive for debaters, but it’s another thing to get hunters out there doing it. People need to be shown that it is a viable proposition in the modern world. I have a lot of respect for the people who are really making it happen. People take time to adjust to change. The clean boot hunters are met with opposition from both sides, but hopefully this will decrease as people get used to it, and understand it is different and that’s okay.

Here are the placemats –

 

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History Teacher

My secondary school history teacher won Teacher of the South one year.

You might expect such bureaucracy to fall outside of the radar of the playground but you would be very wrong! We were all genuinely excited for her. I was also moved by how sweetly she responded to all this sudden attention and praise.

Her talent had been recognised officially by the mysterious powers of The Guardian. It was definitely something to celebrate! It felt well deserved too because we really were learning a lot, and it really was a lot of fun.

Every lesson she had invented new ways to make information memorable to us. If we were on Native American Indians, and had to remember the importance of red and yellow ochre paint, she helped us. She turned it into a song, with the lyrics ‘Red-ding Yellow Ochre’. Yellow Ochre was now the name of our beloved pony! Pronouncing ‘riding’ as ‘red-ding’ was some silly fun, but cleverly made sure we didn’t forget the red ochre too. She put her heart and soul into helping us learn and do well, and wasn’t afraid of making a fool of herself in the process.

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I think for that reason, her classroom felt like a place where we were free to be silly too. Although my classmates were the same people I saw in other lessons, I didn’t feel intimidated by them there.

When we entered her classroom, we were taken on a journey. I think no one wanted to bring average classroom idiocy into it, because there was always an unspoken deep respect and need for the escapism she offered us, and invited us to be a part of. No one wanted to break that spell, and I wonder if it would have even been possible to!

It’s weird to think that I almost missed out on having her as my GCSE teacher at all.

It was parent’s evening. I was sat with her and my parents. She asked what I was going to chose. I solemnly said ‘I think I might chose geography.’ She looked heartbroken. My parents were surprised by her reaction, and reassured me ‘Oh geography, that’s nice. Mum took geography…’ Mrs Tingley took a long pause, straightened herself again, then looked deep into my eyes and said ‘It’s totally up to you what you chose, Rowan, but, PLEASE, PLEASE, *PLEASE* take history. *PLEASE* take history.’ To know I was so wanted in her classroom, was easily enough to sway me! I was flattered and felt that I was important to her. It also made a deep impression on me, that she would behave so unprofessionally just to keep me in her classroom!

I agreed to continue with History then and there, and enjoyed two fantastic years of her lessons. She taught us about the Native Americans, the holocaust and the history of medicine. Her lessons were definitely the best thing about school.

 

 

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Je Suis Charlie

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I read about what happened in Paris to the cartoonists.
I care a lot about comedy, satire, illustration, freedom of speech. I like the message of solidarity that the Je Suis Charlie is sending out.
The worst thing would for people to get scared and try to tame their art.
It surprises me that there are people in this country who don’t believe in freedom of speech, and who still have a ‘Well, they asked for it’ attitude.
Culture isn’t a given – it is a thing that is created, and maintained because people believe in it. Otherwise our culture will be like the Tricorn Centre in Portsmouth- no roads were built leading to it, and it was neglect to the point that the mob wanted to tear it ALL down rather than repair it.
So I think this is a time for people to think about what culture they want to live in, and how much they care about it.
It’s the job of artists to help people to re-imagine buildings and cultures. Even neglected buildings can be rescued and reimagined. I think similarly – people who live in our culture, and who don’t care about freedom of speech – can be helped to re-imagine it. Some new lighting, some planting, a glass lift to the top floor. Plus people will appreciate the building more if they see how hostile anywhere else is!
We need our creative culture, so we have to make it a brick house. People were shot, and it is awful. The important thing is to keep the building secure. Art is our power, and they know it too or they wouldn’t be attacking it.
The men with guns probably don’t know what satire is. It would be really difficult to explain to them, because the cultural differences are so vast. It’s a problem. People are really angry because of the war, and I guess that has motivated the reaction.