Ignore Me

I made one promise to myself before the start of this academic year. Just one.

In the months building up to September it looked like I'd be able to stick to it. Little did I know that the universe would thwart my attempt and impede my progress. I don't blame unseen forces, but stray moments of happenstance that drastically alter life paths make more appearances than I'd like. They're becoming as frequent as being shat on by a bird.

Not only did I break my promise but I entertained the idea that I would be ok with it. I make myself laugh sometimes. Until now I thought I'd grown out of my naiveté: The little girl who looked at the world with innocent wide-eyes, believing that dreams could come true, and that happy endings were not just myths of classic novels.

I need to grow up. Accept the muck that is our world, the darkness that is reality, the broken record that is my emotions, and the hole that is eating away at me.

I need this year to be a good one. It's my last one in this special place and I can't have it marred by stupid feelings.

My Week

This is another one of those really long posts. But like previous posts, it's littered with photos to make sure you don't doze off. Who says I don't think about my readers?

Thursday 22nd September

I finished the feature piece I was writing for The Saint. Unfortunately, I didn't get to interview enough people so had to include myself. Not ideal, but if I get children as a result, it won't be so bad I guess.

I advised for the philosophy of religion module, only to find that we have a presessional task. I'm surprised to admit that I was willing to get on it straight away, only to find that the reading wasn't available online or in the library. Well that's rubbish. I wanted to try and read the stuff now so that I could at least realise and foresee my failure of the module. In other news I spent £80 on books - for one module. Still, it's money well spent. In another life that wouldn't be enough to fund my drug habit.

I was cutting it fine getting to my dissertation session because advising was taking too long (the girl in front of me had been waiting for nearly two hours!). An hour and a half about dissertations. Yay. It was all very useful but it just made me panic. I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know what I'm writing. I don't really think I know anything.

Back home for my friend's birthday. Good. I need a drink or two. Oh and cake. Yay, cake!

He didn't have an apron....


Friday 23rd September

Went to the doctors. Veins decided not to play nice, fancying a game of hide and seek instead. The result?

Went to go and view venues for our society's ball. The hotel was pretty standard. Dance floor and circular tables. Payment included a set three-meal course and stewards. We would have to hire bouncers security though. MUSA (Museum of the University of St Andrews) was our next stop. Lovely  space. I liked the idea of spending the evening amongst old gowns and university antiques. But, alas, they said they wouldn't be able to cater for a sit-down mean. How disappointing.

Went to The Bop. Gosh did I feel old. All these Justin Bieber lookalikes, as young as 17 with their fresh baby faces. I didn't know anyone there - and that's saying something for an event in the union at St Andrews.

I was disappointed that there wasn't enough cheesy music BUT, I did come home with a huge balloon. On another note, our house is slowly being invaded by slugs. We found this little bugger on the kitchen worktop.

"I'm quite worried about you standing in the middle of the road."

I am super hyper. Perhaps I should act my age more often.


Saturday 24th September

It's our college barbecue today. Spent most of it handling raw meat and chatting to freshers. I also adopted a son,who's strangely older than me. But that's all part of the quirk of academic families! You'd think at a barbecue that the theologians would give themselves a break with the deep discussions, but no. More often than not I seemed to walk into the middle of a conversation that was going something like, "Do cigarettes have feelings? Who's harming who more? Is the cigarette harming me because it's slowly killing me, or am I harming it by smoking it so ruthlessly?" We are an odd bunch.

"Teddy bear rolls workshop"

Someone asked me about my dissertation. It was bound to happen some time over the course of the day, but I was hoping the whole "Well semester's not started yet so I don't want to think about it" excuse would do. Wrong. Anyway, I couldn't answer them. An because I couldn't answer what my dissertation was on I panicked. If I think about it properly - I don't know what I'm doing. For most things in life I'm quite capable of coasting and blagging my way through - whether it's essays, an interview or some kind of social event. But this is important. Really important. And it's all down to me to work out what I'm going to write about. I'm screwed.

Leonard our JCR (Junior Common Room) seagull

I'm supposed to be meeting my supervisor this week to "discuss" it. I don't have anything to discuss. I haven't done the reading or the research I should have done before semester. Ground, please open up and swallow me.

After cleaning up the barbecue I met up with a friend. It's always nice to catch up. She came over for dinner and we watched David Attenborough talk about mudskippers. Those things are funny.

Out again this evening for some live music. Admiral Fallow were just brilliant. I'm not much of a music person but you can't go wrong with live music.

I was actually a bit disappointed to find that the support act were better than the main: Jose Gonzalez. The set didn't finish till about 1am which I thought was quite late considering it started at 10pm. I think I was just tired. I *may* have nodded off halfway through one of Jose's songs....


Sunday 25th September

Lectures start tomorrow *groan*

Slammed my alarm off only to realise I had texts and missed calls. They were angry ones. Something about how we wouldn't be having a stall at the Freshers' Fayre and for other reasons, were not going to go and publicise ourselves. Shame. It would have been a really good place to plug our society. What a missed opportunity. Also, a little birdie later told me that people were blaming me for the cock up. Yay to being blamed. Anyway, I was peeved. What a great start to the day!

Had a lazy brunch then wandered over to the Freshers' Fayre. It was absolutely packed. Home for a spot of Tea and then our opening service at St Leonard's Chapel. T'was lovely, and such a great turn out - the best in years apparently. Dr Ian Bradley's address mentioned the need to listen more to the silence. I smiled.

The social in the SCR (Senior Common Room) afterwards was good. I usually don't feel comfortable in these situations but conversation seemed to flow easily enough. Four years and it was the first time the principal of the college spoke to me. He seems like a nice guy. Good sense of humour, but he looked a bit worried when the topic of my dissertation came up ... And oh dear are the freshers funny. I made a few silly faces because these girls didn't know who Frank Bruno and Terry Wogan were. Terry Wogan!

God am I glad Freshers' Week is over.


Monday 26th September

I had my first philosophy of religion lecture today. It seems i didn't need to worry so much as we started off with Alston's argument that CMP is a doxastic practice that cannot be judged by external models, such as, arguing that what a religious person believes is false because it cannot produce philosophically compelling arguments to prove their beliefs to be true is not true. According to Alston, we can only judge a CMP doxastic practice within its own constraints. That is, not the individual experience, but the collective social experience/practice (CMP). Too heavy?

In the two-hour lecture our lecturer managed to drop in a reference to Bulletproof Monk. This is going to be a good module. I can sense it.

I went into the new library for the first time this semester. My first thoughts were, "Where the hell are the stairs?" The carpet's nice though and the area is a lot lighter and more open in general. I'm not sure about the cafe name Cafe 1413. I don't care if that's when the university was supposedly founded - it's really unoriginal. The same goes for if it was called Cafe 600 (which apparently was a contender for the title).

My day was going well up until i stepped into the library. I tried to pick up books I had requested, only to be told that they were in St Mary's Library (King James) where the main library was moved to during the renovation works. I wandered over there to find that they had just packed the books and sent them back over to the main library. This was becoming a joke. So I went back to the main library to find that they couldn't find the book in question *sigh* I gave in and thought i'd print off some reading instead. Tried to print them off only to be told that the printers weren't working. WHAT? So where could I print my stuff off? The Bute. And where is the Bute? BEHIND BLOODY ST MARY'S LIBRARY. I could have killed someone there and then. So I went to the Bute to print off my stuff, except online readings didn't want to open. I wanted to cry. Instead, I trundled home defeated and deflated by my unproductive, waste of a morning, heavy books in tow and no readings for the upcoming philosophy seminar. Boo.

I managed to get a bit of reading done before I remembered that I needed to be in town again for the weekly pub night for our society. I also remembered that i was off to attend an LGBT traffic light party. How fun! The rules are supposedly: Red for "I'm taken", amber for "It's complicated," and green for "I'm single". I didn't talk to many people at the party. To be fair I wasn't really there for myself but as "wingwoman" for my friend. I did meet a nice bi guy though ... very cute.

Anyway, once we got bored we went back to the pub where we sang songs and laughed at each other till closing time. I was buzzing and tired at the same time. How long am I supposed to keep up all this socialising business?


Tuesday 27th September

I don't feel so good. I have a committee meeting later. I'm staying in bed.

*Several hours later*

I went to the committee meeting and left early. Apparently people were worried about my abrupt departure. Aw, it's nice to know they care. Bed it is.


Wednesday 28th September

I've lost my voice. My body aches. I feel rubbish. I think I'm ill.

I'm also missing out on this beautiful weather. It makes me sad. I'm going to go and cycle later to make myself feel better.


Thursday 29th September 

Feeling a bit better. Woke up early to do some work (Thanks for the pats on the back guys) and then went into town, only to cart back 20 or so books. That's the downside of living in the Badlands (the area of St Andrews that's south of the main streets - it's the area between town and Morrisons), carrying books home is a work out in itself.

People were handing out The Saint today. I must say, I'm a bit disappointed. A shoddy job was done of my feature piece and they spelt my name wrong on the photo I submitted *sigh* I'm sure by now readers will know that I'm not responsible for how my articles look in the final print, but you have to agree that this is just poor workmanship:

It really doesn't take much to skew a photo properly

My photo: Top centre

What's the origin of your name?

It's of Hebrew origin and means "ewe" (not eww *tuts*) which is a female sheep. It's also biblical; Jacob's wife is described as being "beautiful in form and countenance". And, according to my mug:

Your natural zest for life enables you to charm and impress.
You expect the best from yourself and never settle for less (i.e. an OCD-ridden perfectionist).
You radiate an inner peace (boll***s), with a spirit that is bright (I think "dimmed" is more accurate).
Every relative and friend you meet, you positively delight (Sure....).

Don't you suspect that you could eat a seagull if you had to? That'd qualify them as being edible...As for the hover thing, I can't do too much about that.

Sure, but it was an "or" question, not an "If you had no other choice ... or ..." question. Well, I don't expect you to. I don't think anyone can do anything about it, to be honest.

Fine! Pancakes or seagulls?

Ooh, a toughie. Pancakes. Definitely. One, they're edible and two, seagulls do that terrifying "hover" thing.

Tuesday 20th September - Single Parents and Breaking Hearts

I have so many things to do I feel a bit flustered - like a headless ostrich.

Yes, I know these particular ostriches are not headless

I've written up a list but I don't know where to start. There's research and writing up notes for dissertation, publicity and events to attend for the society, gigs and cheesy parties to attend and more. I'm not complaining about being busy - I love it. But after a couple of weeks of epic laziness and Spooks boxsets, my body's beginning to feel the strain a wee bit. Ah well.

Monday 19th September - Freshers' Week

Today was painful. I had to be in town for 9am to fulfil my duties as a committee member. Note, I normally get to bed around 4am which made trying to sleep early a feat in itself. Also, once I had managed to doze off, I had a brain wave about my dissertation and had to get up and jot down my thoughts. The only thing that made my morning bearable was wearing my gown.

How to wear the academic gown at St Andrews: (L-R) First year, Third year Arts student, Possible second year

Now in my final year, I've come to the end of the academic strip tease. The idea is that as every year passes, students are slowly let their gown slip off. Wearing it differently each year has been fun, but the way fourth years wear their gown is certainly my preferred option.

This isn't a reflection of my incapability to wear a gown properly. I do know how to dress myself. Honest. Although friends would argue I look like I get dressed in the dark. It's debatable.

Catching up with everyone was good fun. So was meeting freshers - all wide-eyed and innocent to the corrupt world of pedantic tutors and strict footnoting. I envy them. Anyway, I spotted someone I knew at the subject talk. I was the only person in my year from my last school to come to St Andrews, so to see someone I knew made me instantly go, "Such a small world!" We briefly spoke about our time at sixth form. It seems nothing has changed since I left. Teachers are still as wacky as ever, moulding young bright minds to make future politicians and ... caricature artists.

Also, I came home with a daughter! Huzzah!

P.S. I didn't just steal a child, I adopted one ... An academic one. Still don't know what I'm talking about? Click here.

EDIT: I came across my daughter's blog, and it seems she's not my daughter after all *sighs* Back to being a single mother.

What is the square root of 100 divided by 0?

At first glance I thought "Why the hell is someone asking me a Maths question?" till I realised that no one really knows what x divided by 0 is. I'm just going to say ... infinity?

Friday 16th September - An Evening of Wine and Discussion

Hello, I've been busy ... watching the boxsets of Spooks in time for the last series on Sunday.

I also enjoyed an evening of fervour discussing the future of the Church with a friend's dad. It was interesting to see that he felt it needs to be more progressive. According to him, if the Church doesn't change, more and more people will leave. He argued that the hierarchy are completely out of touch with the laity and that without change, the future looks bleak. My friend and I on the other hand were in disagreement with him, saying that the Church is the Church because of the 2,000 years of tradition, apostolic succession, and biblical authority it has behind it. The usual apologetic waffle.

Thank God I was in good company though as I'm sure I said things that most faithful papists would consider "controversial". It was probably the wine talking.

Article in the Westminster Record

This is my second article in the Westminster Record. I had a lot of fun writing this parish profile, probably because it was on my local parish.

It's one of those rare pieces where I really felt like I was able to inject a little bit of myself in the article. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing it.

Here's the text:

On a pleasant afternoon I am welcomed into the presbytery by a cheerful Fr Shaun Church. The parish priest of Kensal New Town, Fr Shaun has been at the parish for four years and has just recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. The parish is located in the north of the borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and is only a stone’s throw away from the famed Portobello Market.

Tuesday 13th September - First Semester

This is my timetable for the first semester. Two hours. TWO.

What was the best concert you went to?

The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Hyde Park in 2004. And their supporting act? None other than the Godfather of soul, James Brown!

What do you plan to do after you finish your degree?

I'm convinced that I'll go and end up being a caricature artist in Leicester Square. I'd like to go into journalism, maybe become a religious correspondent for one of the broadsheet newspapers, but I'll just have to see how it goes. That said, I think I'd be quite content being a carpenter or something where I get to be quite "hands on".

Sunday 11th September - Crying Chapels and Children

I have to say, I was quite pissed off this morning. I entered church and seeing that it was quite full went to go and sit in the crying chapel (where parents with young children sit so as not to disturb other parishioners during Mass). Now, I'm not sure what to make about crying chapels. In theory they make sense but I think they just foster separation. I'll come back to this later.

Anyway, I sat down and a steward came up to me.
Steward: "There are plenty of seats at the front."
Me: "I'm fine here thanks."
Steward: "Well this is for young children."
Me: "Well if parents want to sit here then I'll move."
Steward: *shaking his head, tuts mumbling* "Yes but it's for children ... You shouldn't be sitting there...." *walks away*

My patience and anger was seriously tested. If I wasn't in church - and in the presence of a young boy - I think I may have told him to p**s off. I felt like the steward was judging me and he didn't even know me.

Saturday 10th September - Possessing the Patience of a Saint

One of my flaws is my lack of patience. But to make this, about the size of a small bottle of water, takes the patience of a saint.

I spent two days meticulously cutting and sticking 150 little pieces together, finishing around 3:30am last night. It's not that bad actually.

It's all in the detail

Who knew paper could contort like this?

I nearly gave up making this. This silly, little chimney is made up of 16 pieces!

Ok, so I had a little help

Thursday 8th September - Moaning, Modules and Matriculation

Postcolonial theology. I don't even really know what that is. Sure its theology after the colonial period, but what exactly does that mean? To be honest, I don't really care, but it's the only feasible module I can take in first semester. There are biblical studies modules but I gave that up in third year. Sad, but it just was not my forte. Even my enthusiasm to study Greek was not enough.

Doesn't Greek look fun?

Wednesday 7th September - Back in St Andrews

Second night in a row I've not slept very well. This time it was more the smacking-my-head-against-the-wall/rolling-off-the-bed reason than anything else.

It's not a good sign when you search "monastic spirituality" in the online library catalogue and no directly relevant books appear. So much for starting work straight away.

St Ignatius Bobblehead

This is me attempting to vlog. Well, not really. It's nothing really and I'm not sure about making a habit out of it (I detest videos of myself), but I had to share with you the amazingness of St Ignatius bobblehead's actual bobble.

Tuesday 6th September - Migrating for the Last Time

I didn't sleep last night. I wanted to, I like my sleep. I was also quite tired, but my overworked brain was having none of it. It wanted to remember, to digest, to understand and futilely try and rationalise.

Note, what I want is completely different to what my mind strives for. When I refer to "I" I'm talking about my soul. It's a complex thing the soul. I don't really have the brain energy to try and explain what I mean exactly but this quote by Dostoyevsky sums it up well:

"The living soul demands to live, the living soul isn't obedient to the laws of mechanics, the living soul is suspicious  the living soul is reactionary!" ~ Crime and Punishment