Ode to Yesterday – Raining Water, Not Work

Yesterday morning I woke up with a yawn and a stretch to brilliant sunshine and a dog on my head.

I proceeded to do what every Norman does: I had a shower, fought over the electric toothbrush with my significant other, and returned to the bedroom to get dressed.

The sunlight brought with it this level of warmth that screamed: “Thou Shalt Not Wear a Jumper!” And so I didn’t. I dressed for the weather.

Mistake No. 1: Forgetting that I live in England. (more…)

The Wonders of Online Dating – Part 3: The Gift of Blah

It seems oh so very long ago, and now it’s something you only read about in the classics. A man would set his sights on a woman and it was pretty much assumed that they would marry and have kids, the whole caboodle.

Far more recently, romance entered the equation. A man would show up at his date’s door with a bunch of flowers, a box of chocolates, who knows what. He would take her out for dinner, they would make polite, possibly awkward small talk, the night would end with maybe the gent walking his bird (“lady friend”) to the front door and offer a polite handshake or a goodnight kiss. Following the date there would either be a massive nothing or the flowers, the occasional phone call, more dates, yadda yadda, blah blah.

The Wonders of Online Dating – Part 1: The Not-So-Weird

Let’s start with the previous men in my life:

One of my first boyfriends was a chap by the name of Neville. He wasn’t the sharpest tool in the box, but he was nice. Sweet. Treated me like his little princess. We met one sunny afternoon in Stratford. We walked for hours, talked for ages, and that was us, joint at the hip, for a majority of the following three years. Our relationship, which had been a rather big secret – much to his disgust – fizzled out when my parents made sure that I was never to receive another letter from him once he was sentenced for car theft. A Mercedes-Benz, no less. Some people have no taste. (more…)

Can Plagiarism Hurt So Much?

Plagiarism is the “wrongful appropriation” and “stealing and publication” of another author’s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions” and the representation of them as one’s own original work. The idea remains problematic with unclear definitions and unclear rules. The modern concept of plagiarism as immoral and originality as an ideal emerged in Europe only in the 18th century, particularly with the Romantic movement.

Plagiarism is considered academic dishonesty and a breach of journalistic ethics. It is subject to sanctions like expulsion.

Plagiarism is not a crime per se but in academia and industry, it is a serious ethical offense, and cases of plagiarism can constitute copyright infringement.

And all three paragraphs above were hijacked from Wikipedia. (more…)

Wedding Vows & Atheists

My parents are, in little over two weeks, renewing their wedding vows after their 40 years of marriage. Quite a nice touch, really.

My younger brother’s marginally opposed to the plan which the vicar has in mind of demonstrating the Offspring Skill-set. His reason: sound’s a little bit Von Trapp. He’s not wrong.

Big Brother will be playing the guitar. Little Brother might be dancing (I don’t actually know because I never really pay attention and this is what led to the Von Trapp statement) but he’s definitely doing a reading. I am … carrying a candle. (more…)

World War II – Won by a Woman (Specifically Lady Lucy Houston!)

The Tomboy Beginnings

If you’ve read about my relationship with Wicket, my gorgeous owl, you may have gathered I’m not the most feminine of women.

From a young age, my parents tried their hardest to create the perfect girlie. It didn’t really work out that way. My personal interpretation was that when you have a Catholic grandfather who has nine brothers and almost all those brothers have sons (only one daughter among them), and those sons have sons, it’s a scheme that’s bound to fail.

So there I was, four years old, stealing my brother’s Transformers, stashing them in a Barbie satchel, and heading out to find the nearest climbable tree so I could sit in its branches and play for a while without my brother moaning that I’ve nicked his stuff again. And, of course, before my mother could start shrieking about either her missing daughter, or the daughter up the tree who was about to kill herself. The latter is always foresight, in her case. It would go something like this: “She’s going to die! I can see it, it’s going to happen!”

I was young and the only thing I could think was, “Oh my god, why didn’t they tell me this morning I was going to die? I would have taken Starscream too!”


Owls About That!

A Falconer’s Apprentice

On and off, for about a year, I worked as a volunteer for a falconry centre. My first outing was somewhat memorable.

The birds lived a two hour drive south. The show was to be a two day event, about an hour’s drive north. Our logic told us that we should take a couple of sleeping bags and camp out to save ourselves getting home late and up early. When we asked the event hosts, they exchanged worried looks and slowly nodded. We didn’t understand why the reluctance; not until we went for an evening stroll after being locked in for the night and discovered we were sleeping in a cemetery. (more…)

A. N. Wilson and the Silver Spoon

I’m making a sweeping generalisation in my suggestion that the Daily Mail’s favourite spiller of bile and guts is a a Tory-supporting little tosser born into money. I’m very much aware of this.

I’d like to think I’ve at least been raised the right way by my (Tory-supporting) parents. Like the average run-of-the-mill newsy-type with zero actual news or sports to report on these days, I’m Circumstantially Prejudiced. (more…)

RIP 30, Hope, and my Feminine Right to Trousers

Okay, so I’m not a character in a DC comic. I guarantee if I were, it’d be the most boring character in the storyline. Check out Wonder Woman – she comes from Paradise with no formal qualifications yet immediately gets a position of relative power. And she has an invisible plane. Even I have better qualifications. Maybe my chances will increase if I get a lasso…

Yesterday was my birthday. This time last year I was being asked, “Have you managed to achieve everything you wanted to by the age of 30?” I hadn’t thought about it until that moment. She perhaps thought that was a really awesome and enlightened question. I ended up beneath my desk, rocking like a lunatic as I sucked my thumb and shed a tear while the candles burnt down into the chocolate cake. (more…)