Category Archives: Random musings

A Year of Food and Selfies

I’ve never been very good at keeping a journal, but over the last few years I’ve enjoyed doing a little something different to record the year in some way. In 2014 I did a word-a-day journal, in 2016 I did views from my bedroom window on the last Sunday of every month, and…wait, what happened to 2015? Didn’t I do something like that in 2015? I guess not.

Well 2017 might have been a very poor blogging year for me;  I haven’t blogged since April (eek!), but I did maintain something over the year to present on here now. On the first of every month I took a selfie pic, and also wrote down everything I ate and drank that day. I know that might seem very random, and it is. There’s no particular reason for it, it just came to me as something to do.

Here are the results:

On 1 January 2017, I looked like this…

Vanessa Chapman

…and I consumed this:

BREAKFAST: Bran flakes
LUNCH: Nothing
DINNER: Spaghetti with a sauce made from prawns, chorizo, tomatoes and garlic.
SNACKS: Dried banana and pineapple, left over Christmas chocs
DRINKS: Tea, coffee, water, Prosecco

On 1 February 2017 I looked like this…

Vanessa Chapman

…and I consumed this:

BREAKFAST: Toasted bagel with cream cheese
LUNCH: Crayfish and rocket leaf sandwich
DINNER: Baked pesto chicken, with broccoli
SNACKS: Dried pineapple, Berry flavour Trek Bar, bowl of cornflakes, Cadbury’s creme egg.
DRINKS: Tea, coffee, water, tequila

On 1 March 2017 I looked like this…

Vanessa Chapman

…and I consumed this:

BREAKFAST: Croissant
LUNCH: Chicken noodle soup, with rye bread
DINNER: Chicken, chorizo and vegetable soup
SNACKS: Salted caramel and peanut protein bar, popcorn, grapes
DRINKS: Tea, coffee, water, beer

On 1 April 2017 I looked like this…

Vanessa Chapman and Neil Aplin

…and I consumed this:

LUNCH: Baked chicken thighs, baked potato, salad, coleslaw. Ice cream with fresh strawberries and chocolate chip cookies
DINNER: Nothing
SNACKS: Popcorn, apple
DRINKS: Tea, coffee, water, red wine

On 1 May 2017 I looked like this…

Vanessa Chapman

…and I consumed this:

BREAKFAST: Waffles with sliced banana, shredded coconut and whipped cream
LUNCH: Nothing
DINNER: Chicken wonton soup
SNACKS: Carrot sticks, almonds
DRINKS: Tea, coffee, water, beer

On 1 June 2017 I looked like this…

Vanessa Chapman

…and I consumed this:

BREAKFAST: Soft boiled eggs, toast, an orange
LUNCH: Roast pork, roast potatoes, yorkshire pudding, carrots, green beans, gravy
DINNER: Nothing
SNACKS: Olives
DRINKS: Tea, coffee, water, beer

On 1 July 2017 I looked like this…

Vanessa Chapman

…and I consumed this:

LUNCH: Bubble tea (well starch bubbles are food, right?)
DINNER: Roast pork belly, roast potatoes, greens, broad beans, onion gravy.
SNACKS: Nothing
DRINKS: Tea, coffee, water, sparkling lemon and lime drink, gin & tonic

On 1 August 2017 I looked like this…

Vanessa Chapman

…and I consumed this:

LUNCH: Chicken and salad sandwich
DINNER: Purition pistachio protein shake
DRINKS: Tea, water, beer

On 1 September 2017 I looked like this…

Vanessa Chapman

…and I consumed this:

BREAKFAST: Fried egg and tomato sandwich
LUNCH: Nothing
DINNER: Grilled halloumi and salad wrap
SNACKS: Prunes, quinoa chips
DRINKS: Tea, coffee, water, beer

On 1 October 2017 I looked like this…

Vanessa Chapman

…and I consumed this:

BREAKFAST: Cold pizza
LUNCH: Pad Thai, prawn tempura
DINNER: Black bean noodle salad
SNACKS: pear, avocado
DRINKS: Tea, coffee, water, pink cava

On 1 November 2017 I looked like this…

Vanessa Chapman

LUNCH: Quinoa salad
DINNER: Spicy chicken wings and salad
SNACKS: Left over Halloween candy
DRINKS: Tea, coffee, water, martini

On 1 December 2017 I looked like this…

Vanessa Chapman

…and I consumed this:

BREAKFAST: Bacon and brie panini
LUNCH: Tuna melt panini
DINNER: Asian spicy chicken and Chinese vegetable noodle soup
SNACKS: Little oranges
DRINKS: Tea, coffee, water, beer

And there you have it, a glimpse into my year through food and selfies. I will admit that two of the photos are a couple of days out of being taken on the first (simply because I forgot to take them on the first), but literally only a couple of days out, so close enough. The food and drink is all totally accurate for those dates. I found it particularly interesting looking back on what I’d eaten and drunk. I was surprised that alcohol featured on each of the twelve, I did consider removing a few of those before posting, but hey, if I’m not going to be honest with it then there’s little point in doing it.

I feel so out of touch with the blogging world, this is the longest I haven’t blogged since I started. Hopefully doing this will kick me back into it. So, what’ya all been up to then?



Do you have a spare 5 million? If so, I have a bargain for you

And I’m not joking. This really is a bargain (for those who have around £5M). For that, you could bag yourself Bleak House – the former summer home of Charles Dickens, and the very place where he wrote David Copperfield.

Bleak House

Imagine what a wonderful and inspirational place this would be to live in and run writers’ retreats at. I know this sounds like something that is going to lead to a punchline, but it isn’t. Plus it’s in a great location, right by the sea, so has wonderful sea views, and the icing on the cake is that it’s only about 20 minutes away from where I live, so I can come and visit you, (Yay! Right?).

Inside of Bleak House

I spotted the article about it in our local online newspaper (KM’s KentOnline) this week…

Article about sale of Bleak House

I would certainly dispute the last line on that snippet though – one of the most renowned, yes, but one of the most expensive, certainly not! There are plenty upon plenty of more expensive properties in the country. Take this example, a fourth floor apartment in one of London’s most prestigious areas, £25m, nearly five times as much as Bleak House…

London flat for sale

A very nice apartment, yes, a very nice location, sure, but does it come close to living in somewhere like Bleak House in Broadstairs? With its history? As I say, Bleak House is quite a bargain by comparison. Direct trains from Broadstairs into central London only take 1hr 20mins too, so it’s really quite perfect in every way.

And look at these other excerpts from the news article…

Excerpt from news article

See the bit in bold? A mere 3 years ago it was only £2m, and now it is £5m, wow! How much could it be worth in the future?

I genuinely can’t understand why millionaires aren’t racing to snap it up; it’s been on the market since October. And I’m also really surprised that it is just available for general sale for anybody to buy like that.

And look at this bit…

Excerpt from newspaper

It’s already operating as a business, geared up for bed and breakfast, so perfect for running those writers’ retreats, right? So who wants to come in on it with me? And when I say “Come in on it with me”, you need to put in all the money and I’ll…erm…help run the writers’ retreats. Ooh and I can make cakes too; writers need cakes.

Long term followers of this blog may just remember that I did a short video about this very house a few years ago when I was part of Limebird Writers. Here it is again… (sorry that it’s really hard to hear me during part of it because of the wind.)

So I did a video about it, and now it’s up for sale, that means it’s destined to be mine, right?

Would you buy this house if you had the money? Can I visit?

Nobody Wants to be Tuna

Drawing of a tuna by Vanessa

Yes, I drew this tuna

Is it too late to do a New Year’s Resolutions post? It kind of is, isn’t it. It’s just that one of my New Year’s Resolutions was going to be to blog more regularly, and I haven’t posted on here since early January, so you know, we’re doing well so far.

    • If it wasn’t too late, I was going to resolve to go back to posting once a week, and return to regular visits to the blogs I follow.
    • If it wasn’t too late, I was going to resolve to pick up that list of challenges  you all set me that I was supposed to do over the year, last year. I did a few of them, but not many.
    • If it wasn’t too late, I was going to resolve to finish some of my writing projects before starting new ones. Well, not just writing projects, many things.
    • If it wasn’t too late, I was going to resolve to exercise regularly throughout the year, and not just in the few months leading up to when I’m going to be seen scantily clad on a beach somewhere.
    • If it wasn’t too late, I was going to resolve to do some mass de-cluttering at home. There is far too much stuff around that simply isn’t needed. I hate clutter, I aspire to minimalism, but it constantly clashes with my fear that I will regret throwing something away.
    • If it wasn’t too late, I was going to resolve to do some other stuff that I simply can’t remember now because I’ve left it too late to note them down.

Alice in Wonderland's rabbit

In any case, I’ve previously mentioned how goal-setting really doesn’t work for me. I subscribe to the problem-solving approach to getting things done, rather than the goal or target setting approach. Thing is, I keep forgetting that, and keep setting myself goals; I don’t actually call them goals, but that’s what they are. And then I don’t achieve them. And resolutions are the same thing too, heck I didn’t even get as far as setting them, THAT’S how bad I am at achieving them.

But whatever we call them, and however we approach things, it’s generally a good idea to have some things to aim for. Otherwise we’re just tuna chunks sitting in a can of brine, waiting to be mashed up with mayonnaise, some freshly ground black pepper, maybe a squeeze of lemon, some chopped up pickles if that’s your thing, and placed between two slices of fresh crusty bread, ready to be eaten. And NOBODY wants to be tuna.

It’s not that I lounge around not doing much, it’s that I try to do too much (I’m fairly certain most of you can relate to that one). I have been really busy this year, both with work, and personally. I always imagine I can fit a lot more in than I can, and I forget to factor in some down time. I actually did write a book proposal for a cookery book I’m writing, and sent that off to a couple of publishers – I’m not going to say what the book is about yet, so don’t bother asking. But I was very pleased with myself that I got my act together on that one. And if that gets a positive response then I’ll definitely be focusing all my attention on that. I’ve also been doing some proofreading for a magazine which I’ve really enjoyed.

Additionally, Neil and I have been songwriting together and singing at a few open mic nights in pubs. Here’s a picture of one of those – you can see how the audience is totally engrossed in our performance; they’re glued to their seats…otherwise they’d have left (yes, I stole that joke from Dennis Pennis).


Vanessa and Neil at open mic nightAnyway, I hope you’re all well and I really will attempt to pop around and see what you’ve all been up to. Happy March everyone!

The Wrong Bowl

Four coloured bowls on a kitchen counter

Our four lovely cereal bowls on the kitchen counter (mine is the red bowl)

I’m rather prone to accidental crockery breakage. The consequence is that our kitchen cupboard is full of random mismatched half-sets. I pretend it’s a style choice. A year or so back, when we were down to two cereal bowls between four of us, I went to buy some replacement bowls. The rather lovely bowls you see above caught my eye in Matalan (for those of you in the US, Matalan is something like the clothing and homewares sections of Target).

I couldn’t decide which colour to go for, and then came up with the fabulous idea of getting four different colours, so that we could each have our own colour bowl. I was thrilled to bits. I arrived home and proudly showed them my purchase. Everyone agreed that they were indeed very lovely cereal bowls.

Right, I said, Who wants which colour? No fighting now!

They looked a little confused, and I’m pretty sure there were some sideways glances between them. Unperturbed, I turned to my son,Ok, well because your special plate when you were little was yellow, I thought you might like the yellow bowl? Yes?

Um, ok,” he said.

I was a little disappointed by the lack of enthusiasm, but carried on. I turned to Neil,I don’t know why, but I just thought of you for the green one, is that ok? I smiled broadly at him.

Fine with me! He said, clearly feigning some enthusiasm to please me.

Just two bowls left, who would end up with which one?Right, I said to my daughter, Do you want the purple one or the red one?

I really don’t mind mum. Ok, there were definitely some sideways glances now.

I ignored the glances. Well I really like the red one, I said, So if you don’t mind, I’ll have the red one, and you have the purple one?

Sure, whatever.”

I was a little perplexed by their reactions. I checked again that they all liked the bowls, and they assured me that they definitely did. Oh well.

The next day I caught Neil eating cereal in the red bowl. MY bowl.Oops! I said, You’ve accidentally got the wrong bowl! Yours is the green one, remember?

Oh, er, yes, sorry.”

Over the next several months, there were many more oopses from me, not just with Neil, with all three of them. Oops, you’ve taken the green bowl out, let me get you the yellow one…, Oops, the red bowl is in the washing-up, but I haven’t had any cereal, who was it?, Oops, yours is the purple one remember? I couldn’t understand it. How hard was it to remember a colour?!

And then one day, after a particularly harrowing morning of three bowl errors, it hit me…

Words saying NOBODY CARES

Nobody cares about the colour allocations! I sought my son out for confirmation, Tell me honestly, do any of you care about the bowl colour allocations?

He shook his head, No.”

Not at all?

Not the tiniest bit.” He hesitated, then took a deep breath, Why does it matter what colour one we use?

There, he had said it. Wow. They weren’t a bunch of numpties who couldn’t remember their colour. I was the numpty for thinking it mattered. I guess they didn’t want to hurt my feelings by telling me outright, so they left it for me to figure out. It just took me a really long time. I was so set on the idea that we each needed to have our own colour bowl that I hadn’t even considered there might be another way of doing it. A random way, where it doesn’t matter which one we use. I had to laugh at myself for being so slow to cotton on. And I’m now laughing at myself for suddenly realising that there is a life lesson in this post; I thought I was just writing about bowls.

I wonder why it might be that allocating colours mattered to me, but not to anyone else. I’ve always felt like my life is fairly chaotic, and I think I try to bring in little bits of order where I can to compensate, so maybe it’s that. Or maybe my head is still in the zone of thinking my kids are little, because I’m pretty sure you’d have a colour allocation with small children. Or maybe something else. Since that moment of revelation I’ve stopped trying to enforce the colour allocations with them, but I can’t get past it for myself. I still always feel a little disappointed when I see them eating out of the wrong bowl, especially if it’s the red bowl, because the red bowl is MY bowl damn it!

Next time I’m buying four bowls of the same colour.

I’m not convinced however that I’m alone here, so please help me by voting in the bowl poll below…

Last Week My Children’s Dad Died

Candle and flower

We married in Las Vegas in 1997, eight days after we met. I was 26, he was 50. Twelve years and two children later he was sentenced to ten years in prison for a violent attack on me. He served half the time and was then deported. He carried out what I can only describe as a hate campaign against me, beginning in prison, and continuing from afar following the deportation. Last week he died.

I finally understand what people mean when they say “I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel.”  The usual response to that is “There is no supposed,” and of course that’s true, but it’s nevertheless an accurate reflection of where I’m at.

This isn’t a post where I want to say bad things about him – I was just giving the background so that you can understand why I would have conflicting emotions about this. My overriding emotion of course is for my children; I know what to feel for them, but I don’t know what to feel for myself. I’ve tried to focus on the fun times we had during the early years in Vegas, before everything went very bad, because holding on to negative feelings helps nobody. What’s the point in any bitterness now?

My children have been through such a lot. They were 9 and 6 when it happened, they’re 17 and 14 now. While he was in prison here in England they visited him many times, but since he was deported they’ve only seen him once. They still kept a close relationship though – emailing, messaging, speaking, a few times a week. Whatever he did, he was still their Dad and this is incredibly hard for them.

The news came early last Tuesday morning. We spent most of the day just sitting on my daughter’s bed watching the TV, interspersed with me messaging people to tell them the news, and leaping up to do little bits of housework which is my default when I’m not sure what else to do.  Every so often I would ask them a question, or share a memory about their Dad, just to give a prompt if they wanted to talk about him.

During that afternoon my daughter decided she wanted to go out with her boyfriend that evening as a distraction. So I asked my son if he wanted to go out too. He did. He chose the cinema. I took him to Five Guys for a burger first, and we were served by an extremely friendly and enthusiastic young man. After taking our order, he looked at us with a huge grin and asked “So, have you two had a good day?” and then stood there beaming at us, waiting for an answer. My son and I stared blankly at him for a couple of seconds and then both instinctively laughed. In my family we’ve always had the ability to find humour, even in the gloomiest of times, and it was nice to have that lighter moment then.

Saturday was the funeral. He had been living in the Philippines after remarrying a young woman there, so there was no way we were going to be able to travel out there. Instead we lit a candle for him at home.

It was crazy marriage from beginning to end. I wasn’t simply a blameless victim, I made plenty of mistakes too along the way, and at times I behaved badly. But we have two wonderful children out of it, and that’s the most important thing. As you can imagine there’s far more to the story than I’ve summarised here. But right now there is nothing more to say.


My Daughter’s Cake on TV, Plus, What the?…Ewwww!!!!

Ewww gif

The reaction GIF relates to the second item on my post today. You’ll see.

Couple of things for you today. First up, last Friday, a cake my daughter made appeared on the BBC’s “The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice”, in their failed bakes section. Yep, our motto is – if you fail at something, don’t hide it away, put it up for public ridicule! We’re highly delighted by the appearance of her cake on the show, as I’m sure you will be too when you watch it. Here’s the clip:

Next up, and let me make it perfectly clear that is second thing is in no way whatsoever, whichsoever, or howsoever, related to the first thing. Have you heard of the UroClub? It’s been around for a few years apparently but I hadn’t heard of it until I was unfortunate enough to encounter it on my Facebook timeline. At first I thought it was a joke, actually I’m still hoping that it is, but I have a horrible feeling it isn’t…

Apparently, not having anywhere to pee while you’re on the golf course is a big problem. It turns out that running off to pee in the woods is frowned upon (well I wish someone had told me sooner, not that I play golf, but I mean in general). And so some bright spark has invented a golf club that you can pee into. Yes really. Or that men can pee into at least, so far there thankfully isn’t a female version. The top half of the club is a hollow tube with a screw cap on the end. It even comes with a handy clip-on privacy towel to cover over your crotch area. They describe it as discreet. Discreet? I don’t think so, it’s bordering on obscene. Here it is in action:

Uroclub being usedAnd here are the instructions from the website:

Uroclub instructions

I can’t help noticing they’ve missed out quite a vital stage in the instructions, the stage that would go in between step 2, and step 3. I’d like to see a golfer doing that part discretely; hands fumbling around under the towel. Well I wouldn’t ACTUALLY like to see it, but you know what I mean.

The website tells us “The UroClub™ is intended to eliminate anxiety and any feeling of uneasiness on the course” Right, because peeing into a tube while people are standing around watching, waiting for you to take your shot and wondering why you’ve just clipped a towel over your crotch, is totally going to make you feel at ease. The website also says “Imagine, giving the appearance of taking a practice swing, while both privately and confidentially, you are able to relieve yourself without any embarrassment” Wait, so now they expect you to be swinging it while you’re peeing too. Really, I would rather see someone go off into the woods to pee than this. To clarify again, I wouldn’t ACTUALLY like to see it.

And here is the link to the website itself in case you can’t quite believe it and want to see it for yourself and if you really want to see more, you can seek out the commercial for it too on YouTube. I did.

Have you seen any surprising inventions lately? Or have you tried to bake a cactus cake that didn’t go to plan and was subsequently shown on national television?

Did You Know That 1 in 113 People in the World is a Refugee?

Gulwali Passarlay and Vanessa Chapman

Gulwali Passarlay with me (read on to find out more!). Photo credit: Ollie Gapper

I’ll say it again, 1 in 113. Pretty shocking right? The numbers are unprecedented. When they talk of a refugee crisis, they ain’t kidding (I’m using the word ‘refugee’ as a catch-all word which also includes asylum seekers and others forcibly displaced through war or persecution. It doesn’t include economic migrants). Around half of those refugees are children, many of whom are alone, either separated from their parents or orphaned.

I haven’t been blogging for a while, and that’s partly because of refugees, let me explain…

I organised a conference at work in June, and I booked Gulwali Passarlay as our keynote speaker. Gulwali is author of ‘The Lightless Sky: My Journey to Safety as a Child Refugee’.

The Lightless Sky book cover

Gulwali arrived in the UK as an unaccompanied asylum seeking child at the age of 13, after having spent a perilous year, travelling 12,000 miles alone from Afghanistan. I read his book prior to meeting him, and I’m really struggling to put into words what this book did to me. It was so shocking, and moving, and heartbreaking, but also uplifting and hopeful. How he survived the journey, and made it to the UK is incredible. His strength and determination, which shines through in the book is truly humbling.

Since arriving here nine years ago he has gone on to achieve so much, a Degree in Politics from Manchester University (he barely spoke a few words of English when he arrived), he has done a TEDx talk, he carried the Olympic torch in 2012, he is an activist and campaigner for refugees, and of course the writing of his book. He has appeared widely in the press and on television; if you Google his name you’ll find plenty.

In person he is strong and charismatic, as well as warm, friendly, kind and funny. He is undoubtedly brilliant, and yet underneath it all he is you or me.

“It wasn’t my fault I wasn’t born in Europe. My home was a war zone, did that somehow make me less human?” Gulwali Passarlay, from The Lightless Sky.

Also in June we had the EU Referendum. I’m not going to say much about that right now, but suffice to say I was hugely shocked and upset by the result. And I continue to be hugely shocked and upset by the racism that the result appears to have triggered. It’s frightening. I can’t even articulate how abhorrent I find it.

The combination of those two things – Gulwali’s story, and the Referendum made me feel unable to blog for a while. I mostly write about silly trivial things on here, and a lot of the blogs I follow are fairly lighthearted, and suddenly I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to write about significant and important things, and yet I felt dwarfed by the size and importance of the issues and didn’t feel I could really do them justice. I wanted to make a difference but didn’t know how.

I now feel ready to return. I might not be able to change the world, but right now I’ll be happy if I can get a few people to read Gulwali’s book (available on Amazon and in many high street book stores!), and other personal stories like his. Those individual human stories are so important for changing attitudes. Statistics and media headlines are faceless. I fail to see how anyone could read his book, and then still come out with hateful “Send them home” type comments about refugees and asylum seekers. Maybe I’m naive, but I don’t want to lose that hope and optimism that things can change.

When No One Is Looking…

Black cat on fence

A few days ago I was eating some chicken wings at home. Before I could say “I love this hot Nando’s sauce”, one of my cats (the one in the picture above – you can see the sneaky look on her face), leaped up from nowhere, seized one of the wings in her mouth and attempted to run off with it. I managed to grab her and extract the wing from her mouth, phew.

I then looked down at my plate of wings, realised that I had put the wing back on the pile, and had no idea which was the one that had been in the cat’s mouth. So what did I do? Well nobody was around to see, so I just shrugged and carried on eating. Had anyone else been around, I may well have made a big dramatic gesture of throwing them all away in disgust, saying “Ugh! Well I can’t eat ANY of them now!”

Truth is I’ve been sharing food with cats ever since that first grubby little fistful of cat food I shoved into my mouth from the cat bowl as a toddler. I’ve never worried too much about that sort of thing. It builds immunity right? Right?! Remember I spent a year living self-sufficiently up a mountain as a child, with no plumbing or electricity, drinking raw milk straight out of goats, and eating goodness-knows-what straight out of the ground. I figure I have a pretty strong stomach. I feel the need to clarify here though, I’m actually very meticulous with food hygiene in my kitchen, so you don’t need to worry if you ever come to eat at my house. I guess I’m careful for other people, but if it’s just something for me (and nobody’s watching), I’m a lot more relaxed.

Are you horrified by my chicken wing story? Or are you thinking – yeah, I’d probably do the same too if nobody was looking…or maybe even if people were looking? What things have you done alone lately that you might not have done if someone was looking?


Panda Bears, Bloggers, and Poolside Wisdom

Three unrelated things…

1) Sorting through some photos on my computer I came across this picture I had taken of an article in a newspaper a while back which had given me a good laugh, so I thought you might like to laugh too. I think I shared it on Facebook at the time. It says:

“A Sanctuary worker dresses up as a panda – even smearing himself in real bear poo and wee for authenticity. The unusual uniform is an attempt to stop the pandas seeing a human so they can be released into the wild.”

Now I’m no panda bear, but if I was, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be fooled into thinking that some guy in a cheap, and frankly terrible, panda costume was actually another panda, smeared in bear poo and wee or not. What makes me laugh the most though is the expression on the face of the real panda looking in, he’s clearly thinking “What the…?”


2)  A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting two fellow bloggers, Mayumi from Even More Bonus Parts, and Beth, who used to run the Limebird Writers site I wrote for, and now does Beauty in Beta, and  The Olive Fox. Mayumi was a regular follower and commenter on Limebird, so it made sense for her to meet myself and Beth at the same time when she took a trip to the UK last month. We had such a lovely afternoon chatting and laughing, well Beth and I did most of the chatting while Mayumi sat sweetly and listened, and then later when I commented that we hadn’t really let her get a word in, she very graciously said that it’s fine because she likes to listen. Phew!

Mayumi, Vanessa and Beth

3)  You may recall back in December I wrote about a conversation I overheard in the swimming pool showers, where a man was talking about how he had taken a decision to give everything 10 minutes more. Remember that? How much we all liked it and said we would think about taking that approach ourselves? Well I’ve recently gleaned more wisdom at the pool. I go three times a week, and on several occasions, I had noticed a woman on the benches, just watching the swimmers. Last week I overheard her talking to someone in the lobby. She said that she had recently had surgery and wasn’t allowed to swim for a couple of months, but she still comes to the pool at the same times as she would have swum, and just watches, so as to keep the habit of coming. I thought that was great, it’s all too easy to break a good habit, and it can be really hard to get back into it again. I decided I would remember that because I’m sure there might be other contexts where I can apply that approach in the future.

Who knew the swimming pool would be such a rich source of wisdom? I shall continue eavesdropping on everyone’s conversations, and report back if I glean anything more worth sharing…

Vanessa in swimming pool

Yes, this is me in the pool, not looking my best!

What unexpected place have you gleaned wisdom from? Have you met any other bloggers recently? Do you think the guy in the panda suit was actually a new, young and naïve, employee, and the others said “Well you’re going to have to dress in a panda suit and smear yourself with bear poo and wee. It’s all about helping reintegrate the pandas into the wild, and not just because we all want a good laugh at your expense”?

The Prime Minister’s Wee Wee

Blue dinosaur in snow

This isn’t me, but it could have been if someone had challenged me to dress up as a blue dinosaur and run through the snow (which is no more random that some of the other things you all suggested)

Don’t worry, this isn’t a post about the Prime Minister’s tax affairs. No, yet again I’m prepared to make a fool of myself in front of my blogging audience for the sake of…what AM I doing this for the sake of again? I’m sure I had a good reason. Anyway, yes, it’s time for another one of the challenges I was set by you guys at the end of last year. This one came from Pete Denton. He suggested that I vlog a Victoria Wood style skit about recycling…er…sure, that’s a perfectly normal thing to do, really easy…gulp. I actually wrote the skit in my head very soon after he set it, but it’s taken me this long to get up the courage to record and post it.

I’m not sure if Victoria Wood is very well known outside of the UK – she’s a British comedian who has been on TV since the 70s. I was particularly a huge fan of hers in the 80s, but she carried on doing plenty more after that too. She’s done a mixture of sketch shows, stand-up comedy, sitcoms, theatre, as well as drama, and has covered a range of different characters and styles, so it’s quite hard to define what would be a Victoria Wood style skit. One of the things she does in her stand-up routines is become different characters and just tell a story about something as that character, so it’s that kind of thing I’ve gone for. I don’t actually think the end result is anything like any of her stuff, but oh well, you can at least appreciate my bravery in giving it a go right? Especially you fellow introverts. I know I love to do a bit of acting, but this is somewhat out of my comfort zone.

Well here goes…

photo credit: Loch Ness Monster via photopin (license)