Thursday, 30 October 2008

I'm still alive.

Everything is fine; I'm just crazy-hectic-busy with deadlines hitting me left right and centre.

If you're missing your B-fix, you can always pop over to newcastle daily photo. I'm managing to post there six days a week (Cassandra posts on Wednesdays) with the judicious use of the pre-post facility.

Otherwise, I'll be recovering from the TMA (tutor marked assignment)-writing frenzy over the weekend, and posting again from the beginning of next week. Hopefully.

(Cross posted on both blogs)

Monday, 20 October 2008

Well done to

Stephen, for walking ten miles at midnight in aid of the local hospice. He's still accepting sponsorship and definitely deserves it.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

I have won an award!

Yes, the very lovely Leigh (and I don't just say that because she loves my blog!) has given me this very lovely 'I love your blog' award! Now I have to answer the questions! They have mostly been single answer questions, but I've decided to buck the trend and give myself two words. I'm a rebel like that!

1. Where is your mobile? Not sure

2. Where is your significant other? The lounge
3. Your hair colour? Brown; red
4. Your mother? Never still
5. Your father? Nearly retired
6. Your favorite thing? White wine
7. Your dream last night? Don't dream
8. Your dream/goal? Get published
9. The room you're in? My bedroom
10. Your hobby? Drinking wine
11. Your fear? Losing loved-ones (is that a cheat?)
12. Where do you want to be in six years? Home, happy
13. Where were you last night? At home
14. What you're not? Tidy. Slow.
15. One of your wish-list items? Enough money
16. Where you grew up? North West
17. The last thing you did? A363 exercise
18. What are you wearing? Big-necked top
19. Your TV? Second hand
20. Your pets? Occasional interlopers
21. Your computer? Compaq/Dell
22. Your mood? Not bad
23. Missing someone? My sisters
24. Your car? Shiny silver
25. Something you're not wearing? Thigh-high boots
26. Favourite shop? Waterstones, Borders
27. Your summer? Parisienne, Cumbrian
28. Love someone? Oh yes.
29. Your favorite color? Silver, Red
30. When was the last time you laughed? Earlier today
31. Last time you cried? Week-ago Friday

I think most people who do awards have had this already, so I will just tell you that some blogs I love are: Janette (for having goals), Caroline (for sharing her dreams), Lane (for being generally lovely), Jen (for being a fan of wine), Nik (for being amusing and coming to pub quizzes... Nik, not his blog) and of course the aforementioned lovely Leigh (for being lovely and knowing who I was when I didn't really know who she was!).

Thursday, 16 October 2008


I came across this article yesterday when looking for something for my boss.

It says that the further north men live, the more faecal bacteria can be found on their hands. In Newcastle, more than half the men's hands they tested were contaminated. And these were commuters, professional people (I assume but it seems reasonable from the article) that you might expect to, maybe, wash their hands after they use the toilet.

And the weirdest thing (or maybe the most unsurprising) was that it only applied to men. Not women. There was no north-south divide with women's hand cleanliness.

It makes me want to scrub my hands after every time I shake hands with a man.

Scrubs them with bleach.

Monday, 13 October 2008


The weekend before last, I went to meet the new coursemates in Morpeth for a coffee.

On the way back, my eye was caught by electricity pylons, and suddenly I realised how long it is since I've seen a pylon. Since I've really looked at those huge complicated metal structures and really thought about how immense they are. How scary. Wondered if the cancer link really is true. Thanked my lucky stars that I don't live near any.

I had a whole post planned out in my head. About how you don't miss the things that you saw all the time in childhood until you see them again and realise how long it is since you last looked at one. About how it related to my recent post about belonging and how sometimes it's the little things that you don't even realise that you miss.

The next day we drove to Asda.

There, in the field behind my house, half way between us and the Asda superstore? Much less than a mile as the crow flies?

Electricity pylons.

Please don't put me down for any tests of my observation skills, eh?

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Stolen from mysty twilight who I found through the blog widget.

If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now,(even if we don't speak often or ever) please post a comment with a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL memory of you and me.

It can be anything you want - good or bad - BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE.

When you're finished, post this little paragraph in your LJblog and see what your friends come up with.

(go on. i DARES ya!)

Friday, 10 October 2008

(sings) Happy Birthday, dear Tyne Bridge

I didn't realise until this morning that this morning is the Tyne Bridge's 80th birthday.
When it was opened, it was the largest single-span bridge in the UK. Have a look at this article, too.
I don't think I'd known before that trams ran across the bridge until 1950. Neither did I know before reading the linked article that the north tower now has the largest inland breeding population of kittiwakes in the UK. It does explain why the bottom of the tower is covered in quite so much bird shit, though....
I also found this article from the 75th birthday of the bridge. The men who worked on constructing it worked 80 feet over the river without any safety harnesses or ropes. It's amazing that only one man died during its construction.

(Don't forget to check out the new blog. New post soon!)

Thursday, 9 October 2008

I'm not really sure what to say.

Back when the words have returned.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

This is for Nik

Never again will you forget how many sides a stop sign has.

Friday, 3 October 2008


I was reading Caroline's archives last night, trying to remember what the alternative title for Black Boxes could have been. And I came across this post about belonging. And it made me think.

I'm not a Geordie. I wasn't born here, so I never will be. One of my friends has lived here since he was four, sounds as Geordie as they come, but he's not a Geordie. (Strangely enough he identifies as Scottish, even though he's barely lived there.) So B the girl who didn't move here til she was in her mid 20s
(18-21 aside) definitely doesn't count.

However, belonging is a different matter. I've written about this before, but I feel slightly different now. Now, I feel that maybe this place doesn't belong to me. But maybe that doesn't matter.

I wasn't born here - - but I had my formative years here.

My family isn't here - - but the family of the man I chose is - - my in-laws.

I don't have the accent of the place I was born - - I don't sound Geordie either (not even to those who don't live here), but some of the words have filtered into my lexicon.

I belong here, even if here doesn't belong to me.

Do you belong anywhere? If so, where? If no, are you OK with that?

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Magic of the metro

there are many reasons that i love the metro.

one of them is the fact that because the metro lines don't go straight from a to b, and because there are various offshoots of tunnels that aren't used by the passenger trains, when I'm in the city centre I'm never sure whether or not trains are rumbling past beneath my feet.

and when you look closely in the dark at the walls of the tunnels, you can sometimes see these dark offshoots. i'd love to be able to explore. with big lights and protective clothing, and weapons. just in case creatures or madmen haunt the darkness.

i love that the huge slope from the top of town (the haymarket end) to the bottom (central station and the quayside) means that the stretch of metro line running between south gosforth and central, the train station, starts outside and - even though it seems mostly flat - goes underground at jesmond. by haymarket (the next stop) the station has one of the longest escalators on the metro system. there's another long one at monument, but then - because the ground slopes away - one of the shortest at central. even though the ground drops away so steeply from central that the metro comes out and crosses the tyne very high over the river.

the fact that at haymarket, you turn left to go north and right to go south. at monument, you turn left to go south and right to go north, causing potential confusion for anyone who isn't concentrating (me, on more than one occasion).

i don't love everything. i hate the fact that they got rid of the cheery 'stand clear of the doors please!' and replaced it with a strangely-accented 'doors closing'. this was supposedly to make it clearer for non-english speakers, but i don't see how.

i don't love that i don't live near enough to use it to get into town. the bus system is pretty good, but it still gets stuck in traffic. the metro doesn't have that problem.

all in all, it's a pretty great system.

some photos are going onto flickr, if you're interested.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

OK, it's time. I need a new office.

This place is home. This place is the view from my window. But now, this is where I write.

I need somewhere separate.


I also hope that those who shouted taunts to this poor kid, that those who had nothing better to do with their afternoons than film footage of him jumping off a building, never sleep peacefully again. I know that some people can be evil, that crowds can sometimes provide protection for saying and doing things that you'd never normally do. But I still can't believe what they did. And I'd rather live in a world where I find such things hard to believe than be able to expect them.

I didn't know the boy, but it still hurts that one of the last things he heard was people taunting him, telling him to jump. I know he made the choice; I understand informed consent, but who knows if they tipped him over the edge - almost literally.


update: Cas's comment about the lack of heroism these days reminded me of this equally tragic story. It makes me want to cry that the crowd turned on this man and killed him.

It was a homeless man and his girlfriend that Frank McGarahan was trying to protect. Not someone that he had to stand up for; a friend, a family member... a work colleague. Just someone who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

He tried to help, and he died for it.

What the hell is wrong with our society?