Monday 21st February - Deep Musings

Coasting. That's what I've been doing. Just watching life pass me by.

Photo credit to Chaton75

I'm constantly convincing myself that I'm fine but the reality is that I'm far from it. It's been a year and my feelings have not changed. What hope do I have if this is the case? To be perpetually preoccupied by thoughts that no one can do anything about is a pain to say the least. It's mentally exhausting and is an immense distraction.

It's been so long since I was truly happy. I've tried everything. I've tried burying my head in the sand; I've tried suppressing it all; I've even tried talking. Nothing works.

I don't want to just get married, have children and grow old with someone. I want to do those things and be happy. At this rate this doesn't seem possible. To give up your dreams and desires and end up simply just 'settling' because it's 'easier'. I mean, what kind of life would that be?

I'd like to think that there is a reason for all of this, that God knows what he's doing and that he has a happy ending in store for me but I highly doubt it.

I'm usually quite realistic about things, even to the point where I'm sometimes considered a sceptic. But when it comes to this one thing, this one aspect of my life, everything goes out the window. My feelings take over, my ability to rationalise becomes non-existent and it all comes back - hitting me hard in the face like a cold winter breeze. It permeates my every thought and every action and there's little anyone can do to stop it.

These feelings are supposed to feel good, but why do I feel like I'm suffocating? I can't see beyond the immediate future and I'm tired of being 'patient' and waiting for time to heal things. When do I get to start living again? I should just admit it: I'm just not strong enough to deal with it.

Thursday 17th February - My Feature Piece

So today was the first time my name was in print for hundreds of St Andrews students to see. The feature itself was ok, although it was cut down for the final edit due to 'space restrictions'. Therefore I'll post the original and the image, but if you think I've made the whole thing up about being published in a newspaper I'll put a photo up of the actual article. Hope you like it!


British etiquette from the 1900s is a rare find in today’s modern society. As said by Sir Patrick Moore, the height of Englishness is ‘good manners’. Many would like to think they are quite polite: holding the door open for others, and veiling one’s uvula whilst yawning. Yet, still, with the ushering in of the technological era, the British etiquette we find in films such as Brief Encounter and Breakfast at Tiffany’s has long deteriorated.

According to a survey carried out by Future Inns, 41% of British businesspeople consider it to be acceptable to regularly use their phone whilst in a meeting. Despite this, 70% of them surprisingly believe it to be rude when others do the same. Another survey found that a third of Britons think it is acceptable to eat with their fingers.

Society is lackadaisical when it comes to etiquette. Too lazy to show some manners, and yet too busy ‘blackberry-ing’. Is it really too much to put your phone away when with a friend? ‘It’s called multitasking. Look, I’m not even looking at the screen whilst texting … Anyway, you were saying?’ *taps away staring at the other person in a zombie-like state*

Wouldn’t it be a pleasant change to revert back to the old-fashioned manners from when horses roamed the streets and moustaches were the ‘new black’? So creating a Facebook event takes less than 10 minutes. It is much more exciting to find a handwritten invitation being slipped through your letterbox. Chips are great to eat with your fingers but why not avoid looks of disdain and use a fork instead (even if it is one of those pathetic little plastic ones).

In the early 1900s it was frowned upon to be noisy in public. Making the least amount of noise was a trait appreciated by society. You just need to walk down Market Street to hear: ‘HEYYY! I haven’t seen you in aaagees! How ya been?’ (This encounter, although occurring in close proximity, continued at a volume registering over 80 decibels on a decibel-reader). Whatever happened to ‘How do you do?’ or a simple ‘Hello’? Often in conversation, swearing too is commonplace. It shows a ‘lack of control over your language’. Unless one is inebriated there is no excuse really.

Deberret’s, ‘The authority on Etiquette, Taste and Achievement’, has a good site where one can brush up on their manners. One noteworthy example includes a man standing up when a woman enters the room. However, there is no need for him to act like a Jack-in-the-Box every time she decides to ‘apply some lippy’. Fashion: ‘Baseball caps are … a 'youth' fashion. They should never be worn back to front.’ I.e. People over the age of 12 should not wear said item. To do so is an extremely inexcusable British faux pas. It doesn’t matter if you like/play/watch Baseball.

Good manners are an asset to have. They make you feel as if you are part of a well-mannered society. Being nice also makes you feel good about yourself. You could argue it is an ego boost but if so, where is the harm if one is making the world a more hospitable place? Perhaps the lack of hat-tipping (apart from the lack of hats and the fact that trapper hats are not really ‘tippable’) is due to our increasingly passive lifestyle. With social networking there’s no need to RSVP, just send a text or @ someone (twitter). Having a dinner party? Create a Facebook group.

If anything this shows how we’ve changed as a society. How we’ve developed – or as some would argue – have relapsed back to being prehistoric humans. Either way we are living in a different time to that of the early 20th century. ‘Everyone for themselves’ seems to be the mantra nowadays. This is not to say that British etiquette no longer exists, just that only a small percentage still practices it. Manners cost nothing to give, are a pleasure to receive and are even better when there is an equal exchange. Perhaps we will see less people outside The Tailend eating chips with their fingers. Who are we trying to kid? At least the art of queuing still exists.

Sunday 6th February - Raisin String

(I'm 90% sure he doesn't read this blog, otherwise I'm in trouble....)

As a mother, I was supposed to give my son a Raisin String on Raisin Weekend. But due to various things like work and procrastination I never got around it it.

If you raised an eyebrow at reading 'Raisin String' here's a quick explanation (more information can be found at the link above):

Raisin Strings

If you are an academic mother, you have the task of making your kids' Raisin strings. These can be purchased from BESS (the Students' Association shop, at the front of the building) or if you're feeling creative, you could make your own! Just remember:

3rd Year Mothers: use only THREE strings, red, blue and yellow.
4th Year Mothers: use all FOUR strings.

Twist the strings together rather than weaving them - Raisin strings should be decorated with fun items that represent your children, and you should be rewarded with a gift (customarily a bottle of wine, which has come to replace the traditional pound of raisins!)


BUT here it is! I've finally made it!

Ze raison string

A calculator: My son is a Physics student and this device provides him with a lot of help working out equations and other Maths/Physic-y things.

I actually disassembled the calculator so I could pinch the strings between the back and the motherboard(?) for a more secure fit. Also, guess what? It actually works!

Meet karate glove. My son does karate, but there's more. This glove was used as part of his Raisin costume when I dressed him up as Edward Scissorhands:

In the process of sewing I actually lost a needle in my rug. Not found it yet :\

A little flame pendant, because he's a bit of a rock star. He likes to wear leather cuffs and things so I thought I'd attach it to his string.

Finally, a light bulb. He does Physics, so self explanatory really. Newton + apple + gravity = light bulb moment

Saturday 5th February - Scotland and Colour

I'm finally back in Scotland ready (well kind of) to start the new semester. My modules seem really interesting: Scottish Spirituality and Theology and Pastoral Care (not much 'Catholic' choice). I'm looking forward to getting stuck in and reading all about Medieval mysticism in Scotland.

Last year I studied monasticism, the Scoti and the Picts, and St Columba. Completely loved it. My kind of thing. Anyway, I'm hoping for something along the same line for Scottish Spirituality. I was even thinking of perhaps doing something monasticism/heresy related for my dissertation ... I'll think about that when I get to it shall I?


I followed this link on twitter. It's a colour quiz that tells you about your personality. In my case, it's amazingly accurate (save one or two points):

Your Existing Situation

"Organized and detail-oriented, she has a very precise and methodical manner. she needs relationships which offer her understanding, respect, and approval."

Your Stress Sources

"Wishes for freedom and independence, free from limitations and restrictions except for the ones she choices to give himself."

Your Restrained Characteristics

Open and emotionally involved in relationships and easily finds satisfaction through sexual activity.

Giving more than she is getting back and feels misunderstood and unappreciated. Feels she is being forced into compromising and even her close relationships leave her feeling emotional distant.

Is bothered when her needs and desires are misunderstood and she feels there is no one to turn to or rely on. her self-centered attitude can cause her to be easily offended.

Current events have her feeling forced to make bargains and put aside her own desires for now. she is able to find satisfaction and happiness through sexual activity.

Your Desired Objective

"Feels stressed due to her current situation or relationships, and needs to make changes. Looking for a solution that will increase her chances of fulfilling her current hopes and dreams."

Your Actual Problem

"Feeling held back and restricted from moving forward, looking for a solution that will give her more freedom and less obstacles."

When I was younger, so much (well not that much) younger than today

Earlier this week I went for a walk. I'm trying to make sure I leave the house at least once a day for a bit of 'fresh' air. This time I wandered into the local park, or as it is known to most of the schoolchildren the 'Teletubby park'.

I remember when the Teletubby park didn't exist; all that was there was a small rubber mound and three little rocking riders (those things on springs). Fifteen years later and there's an elaborate area where you can clang a tune, or whisper into a tube only to hear the voice of your friend. There's even a sandpit.

The place is looking a bit worn out. Funded by the National Lottery, the playground's been taken for granted. The swings look like they've been used as chew toys, and the rubber flooring more akin to a road littered with potholes. I remember when I was 15/16 I used to spend a lot of my spare time there. When I wasn't doing my homework or watching Keenan and Kel, I was skateboarding and jumping off the swings as if I was Superman. Things were so much more easier then.

I used to skateboard down the 'hill' on the right (pictured above). It took a good couple of tumbles and grazes before I managed to skate down it standing up. It looked much bigger when I was only 4ft tall.

The swings were my favourite. I used to swing to my heart's content. One time I even swung so high and jumped off I thought I was flying. Only to land with a thud ... and a sprained ankle.

I have only have a few memories of my primary school days. It was so much fun being that young and innocent. It was there that I found my love for art and all things educational. Doing my homework and having the neatest handwriting was something really important to me (clearly I had my priorities straight). It's funny when you think about it: when you're younger you want to be a 'grown-up' so you can go out by yourself and do whatever you like, yet, when you have finally 'grown up' (I'd still like to think I've not reached this point yet) you spend your spare time reminiscing about your younger days.

Feeling something I've not felt in a long time

Yesterday I was walking in West London when I noticed a church a friend from secondary school mentioned to me. I remember her saying that it was the local church to her primary school and is one of the largest churches in the area. It didn't look very big from the outside. But anyway, before I knew it I found myself pushing one of the glass doors that had humilitas (humility) beautifully engraved into it.

The church was empty. It saddens me when I walk past a church I'd like to go into only to find it closed. My local church is never open outside Mass times because, as my priest has told me, there's no one to 'watch over the place'. It is a shame because sometimes, like yesterday, one feels the urge to enter a church to perhaps pray, light a candle or just sit down in silence.

I haven't been to church since being in London. I've been struggling with a couple of things that has meant altering my day-to-day activities. I'm not trying to make excuses, just highlighting a few flaws I'm fully aware of. Things are looking up though. I've just got to hope - and pray - for the best.

Thursday 3rd February - Walking

This morning I went for a nice walk down by the Grand Union Canal. It was a nice surprise to finally see the sunrise after a few days of low cloud in the capital. It wasn't too cold either, so I sat on a bench and read. What a nice way to start the day.

Wednesday 2nd February - Writing

Sorry for the lack of posts. I've been busy writing an article for a newspaper (exciting stuff I know). I've not written a feature before or had my name published in a paper - crediting me for something I've written anyway - so hopefully this is the first of many more opportunities. Another step up the journalism ladder, too, I guess.

Photo credit to jinkaining9