Living in Crewe

Hello bloggers.

I have taken a short break from blogging. No, I haven’t. I just have not blogged for a while. I haven’t been busy, as such. Well, I suppose I have, in the grand scheme of things!

I have edited (finally) my husband’s 24,000 word dissertation. I even did some research on the history of cars, from the designs of Leonardo Da Vinci to the Model T created by Henry Ford. As a non car-enthusiast, I can honestly say I found it all immensely fascinating. What really stood out starkly for me was the revolution in all economic systems that was created by cars. Traffic control systems had to be created from scratch through trial and error, 60% of the deaths caused by careless driving and speeding, at a time when speeding was a concept nobody had ever heard of let alone contemplate, were children. The growth of the car industry was a tragic and nostalgic business. However it sure has saved us a LOT of time and hundreds of feet worth of horse manure! (I speak very literally here when I say hundreds of feet – in the year 1900 the horse population outnumbered the human population in New York city!).

I have also been working on my own dissertation, which is far less fascinating and a whole lot of nonsense, really. I am taking a creative analysis course, where I have to analyse creativity in language. All the theories are entirely subjective, so it’s a little tedious to hear somebody’s opinion on something and quote it as fact. In all honesty, I don’t think much of it at all. But shhh, don’t let my lecturers hear you say that! It would be a travesty and might potentially affect my final grade! The grade which determines the outcome of my degree! Huzzah! It could NOT come sooner, I tell you.

Britain is sunny, the dogs are barking cheerfully and sometimes suspiciously, and the small town I now live in is a piece of literal crap. *insert taped laughter*.

It’s called Crewe, in England, about an hour South-East of Manchester and two hours East of Liverpool and three and a half hours North-West of London. I could cycle the entire town in about fifty minutes, and walk it in around two hours. The people are remarkably racist and treat me as a second class citizen because of my olive complexion and my dark black hair. I know this because they give me English looks of disapproval (I do it myself so I KNOW) and they also make comments about ‘immigrants’ and ‘they shouldn’t let them in’. I am not an immigrant. My maternal grandmother was. So was my paternal grandmother. I am just a very diluted English person. Even if I was an immigrant, one oughtn’t to treat immigrants like that. It’s rude and unwarranted and plainly ignorant. Also inhumane. When I open my mouth they are often taken aback by the British accent. They are uneducated, pro-Brexit and against Islam, brown people, and immigration. They are also remarkably poor, and very uncivilised, often leaving their homes at 3am in their pyjamas (oftentimes without) shouting at each other and toppling bins over.

It isn’t all negative, though. The shop ladies are lovely, and my neighbours are a sweet Polish couple with a bubbly little blonde daughter. Once I was cycling on the road and my long cardigan got stuck in my chain (fashion over logic, in this case, ha ha!), so I had to stop and yank it out on the road. While I was thus occupied, a woman darted out of her house and asked if I was okay and did I need any help? I was mighty touched, thanking her for her kindness. Another time I got my chain caught (on nothing, this time), a couple of really shifty looking young men came up to me when I was trying to fix it. I panicked because they did look menacing, but one of them said, as they drew close, ‘You alright, love!? Need any help?’

I was pleasantly surprised by their helpful kindness. I suppose it isn’t all black and white, and there is some ying in this yang. Or was it yang in this ying?

 

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On the production of books.

Here are some things I am doing recently;

 

  1. I am finishing my last module towards my English Language and Literature degree. It is called ‘Creativity in Language’, and examines the different approaches in the analysis of creativity in language, and also in other modes of storytelling and performance. It raises interesting questions about the originality of creativity, and whether or not creativity is fundamentally political – whether that be intentional or unintentional.
  2. I am also writing a book about a girl who stops growing. I am trying to make it a masterpiece, but it is hard to make a masterpiece when your brain feels like an empty room. I am noticing that I waste a lot of time not gaining knowledge, and I mean to change this by consuming more books and exploring different parts of the world. I have acquired a cover designer for my book, someone who is also willing to do some small illustrations for me. This is spurring me on to finish by my deadline in October.
  3. I have signed up to a website called AgentHunter. This website is one where you can find a suitable agent in order to get your book published. I am aiming to submit my manuscript to several agents by October 15th. I will be writing a review about this website in the next few months – just in case anybody is interesting in hunting for a suitable agent online.

That is all, really.

What have you been up to, recently?

 

On Buttercups and Balance

Two years ago the sun was shining and buttercups rippled across the field I could see from my window. I could watch the sun rise, and set, and then rise again, throwing its magnificent morning rays over the world, through a film of atmospheric cloud. There were no buildings to start and stop the process, and watching that orb climb slowly up the horizon was a bliss I could never miss.

Hazy mornings turned into stunning afternoons, every colour highlighted and illuminated by the bright summer sun.

I was not happy then, even though I had everything I’d dreamed of growing up in an Arabian desert. I dreamed of blue skies to replace my dusty brown ones. I dreamed of vivid greens and the smell of freshly cut grass, to replace my fake grass and the dismal beige weeds that decorated the sand sparsely. I was not happy, though.

And I ate my feelings.

I am not happy now, either.

I just can’t seem to find a good balance in life.

Back then I had no car and no job and was stuck in the middle of nowhere with no neighbours and and no way of getting away unless I spent a fortune on bus fares, which I couldn’t afford because I had no job.

Now I have a job but I have to travel away from home to go to it and it is causing a raucous in my family life.

I suppose it is in the human nature to always want more and never be satisfied with what they have.

I suppose it is also a matter of finding balance. And being content, and making reasonable decisions.

Also there is an element of faith here. Maybe my faith is weak at the moment. In fact, I know it is. And that is why I feel so lost and discontent.

 

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This was such a beautiful day. I walked for hours and hours with nothing but the silence, the wind, the sunlight, the soft swish of swaying grasses to keep me company. 

Nine Days

Cats have nine lives. Maybe I could be a cat, and each day could represent a life. A life is a very long time, folks. It is certainly long enough to revise for a final exam comprising of several literary books from several different eras.

The rest of the lives I could use for much needed revision.

Nine days is not enough, how do cats do it.

Speaking of cats. Oh sigh. Such a big big sigh. I am miserable.

My inlaws got a cat on Thursday. She is a beautiful little thing, around five years old, and we’d got her from a lady who is travelling for two years. They say you shouldn’t let cats out for the first two weeks because they need to settle, and they would only just try to find their way to the home they know if they are let out.

So we were terribly vigilant about keeping doors and windows shut.

The darling little creature stuck only to the front room, where she hid under the sofa at first, but then gradually began to come out and lounge on the window sill and meander around the room, letting us tickle behind her ears and stroke her soft, warm fur.

We tried to make her go into other rooms but she would always race back to the front room. She still needed to get used to the place.

This morning at 6am I opened the kitchen window, closing both kitchen doors so she wouldn’t come in. I knew she wouldn’t anyway, she never left the living room! But, you know, just in case.

I accidentally left the window open when I left. It was only a sliver. But I am sure enough for any kitty to get through.

I got a text from my sister in law when I was in another city at around 8am asking if I had seen the cat.

She is missing.

I feel so so awful and terrible and weighed down because I think it is all my fault. My husband thinks it might not be me, because his dad went out late at night and left the front door open. But it might be me. And everybody thinks it is me. And the cat is missing, and her old home is more than 20 minutes away in the car.

I am so worried that I can’t focus on my revision for my exam in nine days, and I know everybody will blame me and the kids will hold a grudge against me (because they are the kind of kids to do that, at least one of them is) and the poor cat wandering about all lost and scared in new surroundings and it’s all just awful awful awful.

Poor kitty.

 

Drayton Manor

Today is promising to be a great sunny day just like yesterday, when I left my assignment to go on a trip with Year 1 to Drayton Manor. The heat was incredible yesterday. The kids peeled off their layers one by one and guess who was stuck with all the jumpers, ey? That’s right. It was moi. It wasn’t too bad, though, I enjoy kids, they do have some insightful information.

One six year old told the man who manned the ride that she was half Egyptian (she goes around telling everybody that, I don’t know why, and her voice is so loud that she demands to be heard. She doesn’t half make us laugh, though) and then he started speaking to her in broken Arabic! They got on like a house on fire, which was hilarious.

A Teaching Assistant and I escaped for a moment to go on one of the crazy adult rides, while the kids were having lunch. I reckoned we deserved it. We wanted to go on Apocalypse but the teacher i charge of Year 1 was really strict and made us all stay together even though each teacher was responsible for four kids so it would have been alright if we separated.

She made us go to the zoo where we wasted two hours, and got really angry when the other two teachers and their charges wandered off to go on the rides again. School politics.

Needless to say we were disappointed, and the whole point of Drayton Manor is the RIDES, of course! Well, I hope next time we go with somebody who will let us have some free reign and allow the kids to have fun.

Also, perhaps I should have been more assertive and taken charge, especially when I noticed my kiddos acting up out of boredom.

I did suggest that we split up but she said no, and obviously I did not want to risk any damage, so I stayed silent after that.

Anyway. It was a good day, the kids were tired out and fell asleep on the coach home and it was difficult to wake some of them up, but we managed it in the end. One of the kids grabbed my hand with her sticky little paw and exclaimed, ‘Miss, this is the BEST TRIP EVER!’ and I thought, well, kids don’t let things bother them half as much as adults do!

Anyway, my sister in law and I were thinking we would drive our mums and siblings (excluding the older boys such as my husband and brother) to Drayton Manor one fine day in June. We reckoned we would make the mums let the kids have a day off school but the mums seemed dubious about that. If we go on a regular holiday day it would be too packed! And I would definitely go on Apocalypse and G Force and all those crazy scary roller coaster rides that I could only stare at longingly yesterday. Yaaaas!

When I got home it was around 6:30PM and I worked solidly until 11:57PM when I submitted with only three minutes to spare! Whew. That cut it close.

Now I have to keep my nose to the grindstone because I have a day school tomorrow, a submission on Monday and plenty of exam prep! I am pleased, though, the summer is looking enticing. I will be away from D a lot, which is sad and I don’t want to think about that too much, but my father and I are going to Morocco to see his mother (who I don’t know very well because I’ve only seen her about eight or nine times in my whole life!) and I am looking forward to that. I shall get quite brown, which is a lovely change, and shall get to know my father’s side of the family a bit better.

Adieu, and I hope you have a great weekend!

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Rainless.

Once upon a time everything was fine.

People did what they had to do, wrote their assignments on time, and submitted excellent essays brimming with poignant points with legitimate quotations and impeccable referencing. They researched on time, and read all the books they needed to well in advance.

They did not stress eat chocolate until they were too sick to move, their sticky fingers flying over the keyboard at a thousand miles a second, and they certainly did not forget to brush their teeth two days in a row and wear a STAINED dress to work.

They also studied very hard for their exam not one week in advance, but five. They were nice to their husbands and made an effort to not look like a plastic bag with greasy hair, and they were not anxious and did not have separation anxiety when their husband told them he was staying in the next city for a month because this travel is getting too hard.

They did not silently cry in secret and fume over not going with said husband.

They did not miss the gym for three weeks despite paying £25, and they also understood everything perfectly and didn’t speak rubbish.

They were good and clean and tidy and healthy and mentally well equipped to handle life.

They were not named Lenora Sparrow, but some other name that was nice and sensible and did not reek of late submission and missed personal deadlines and/or goals.

That reminds me, I need to call my dad and discuss flights, write that amazon review I promised to write and read a tonne of things, also clean this place and myself up and lesson plan for this afternoon as well as finish 1200 words by tonight and make sure my car has petrol in it for tomorrow.

 

Time Soars

Just finished reading the Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon for my next assignment. When I logged onto the university website I realised it was due in five days, and my 4k word assignment in seven.

Where did time go? WHERE?

The book was mighty eye opening, and I didn’t understand why they didn’t go home even though they were lonely and unhappy. I mean, sure the money was an issue, but even those who raised it didn’t go home.

That is curious, see? It’s the idea of an illusion that they are still chasing, even after ten years (in the case of Moses). And I was suddenly gripped with the fear that what if I end up like that, always chasing my dreams but never quite getting there.

Well, the first step would be, of course, to ace this assignment, and then ace my exam.

‘Tis a sweltering day, folks, and the masses have left their humble abodes to parade about the city slowly peeling off their layers to reveal the pasty skin they have kept under wraps for the majority of this confusing season. But the temperatures have soared, and roofed places are stuffy, so sitting in this glass library which is acting like a green house is punishment enough.

Although I have to say I am enjoying dissecting Lonely Londoners.

Adieu, and happy Saturday, and Happy Mother’s Day to those celebrating today. We had ours back in March 🙂

 

I’m Failing.

This is the criteria to get a ‘Pass 1’, in the ‘A’ range: (I have rewritten the criteria in accordance with Open University Copyright rules)

“Knowledge of texts: Excellent choice of texts and in discussion of said texts you have highlighted their literary features.

Presentation and scholarly methods: Your argument and evidence related well to each other,and you used literary terms consistently and in the correct place. Quotes were accurate, and you referenced well and provided a correct bibliography.

Argument and response to assignment: Organised argument, used insight to expand on argument beyond the limits of the presented topic.

Understanding of the issues: It is clear that issues raised by the assignment were understood, correct use of study material was demonstrated, use of own material coupled with study material showed your understanding of their importance in this topic.”

 

I can’t supply all this. I want an ‘A’ grade, of course. Who doesn’t? But I am not insightful when it comes to choosing good texts and suitable quotations, especially when I have to quote from the entire novel. I read to enjoy, not to study. In fact, as I reread, I am finding it so hard to focus on the words and their context, because I am just seeing images and am avidly following a story even though I already know what is going to happen!

Damn these good writers. Damn them.

I am going to fail if I don’t buck up.