Friday, 30 November 2012

“You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.”

I'm not sure why Andy Warhol said this - I mean, in what context...

...and he looks a bit bemused himself, to be honest.

The reason I found his quote this morning was to do with yesterday. I felt really unwell with the cursed earache but had a very long to do list.

I just COULDN'T write. Well, I could use a keyboard, but it would have been plodding awful drivel that emerged on the screen.

So instead, I took on all the little tasks - those ones that so often get pushed to the bottom of the list because they seem tiny and insignificant but are nonetheless essential.

I can't honestly say they suddenly thrilled me BUT...

 My to do list is a whole lot shorter!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

'This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays.'

Arthur Dent, galaxy hitchhiker, couldn't, but I can.

I don't know quite how to explain this, but Thursday is my favourite day of the week.

It's hard to explain something you don't understand yourself. Think about every one of the days of the week and it's Thursday that has the best feel about it. For me. Don't ask me why.

Perhaps I'm a Thursday's child who has far to go? Except I was born on a Monday.

(Far to go? Does that mean I'll go a long way or does it mean I've got a long way to go before I get anywhere?)

I'm wondering if it was the best day on my school timetable and the positive vibes have simply carried on from there. I still remember double maths on a Wednesday afternoon. Oh, deep joy.

There IS one thing I know about Thursday, though...

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

“A thought, even a possibility, can shatter and transform us.”

Flaky post alert!

by Haggis Chick
 Oh, that quote was from  Friedrich Nietzsche...and SURELY he can't be accused of being even the slightest bit flaky, even if I can?

"Nietzsche's key ideas include the "death of God", the Übermensch, the eternal recurrence, the Apollonian and Dionysian dichotomy, perspectivism, and the will to power. Central to his philosophy is the idea of "life-affirmation", which involves questioning of all doctrines that drain life's expansive energies, however socially prevalent and radical those views might be."


But, life-affirmation...

Yesterday, I felt quite rubbishy really, and today I know better why because I've developed my winter earache thing, curses. the spirit of flakiness, I decided to create my day in a life-affirming way and wrote in large blue letters on my whiteboard above the desk:

Who I am is gentle nurturing and peace

Then, whenever work got a bit too much and I was getting frazzled, I stopped and took a few deep breaths and concentrated on that affirmation.

I have to report that it worked.

Yep, Nietzsche, transformed but not shattered by a possibility

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Believing six impossible things before breakfast

"Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said; "one can't believe impossible things."

"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

Here are the six impossible things I believed before breakfast today:
  1. That it wouldn't rain until I got home from the yard
  2. That I will find time today to get on with the re-write of 'Of Night and Light.'
  3. That Roly the Muddy Labrador won't burrow down under my duvet before I've had time to towel him dry
  4. That this afternoon I'll get a phonecall from DreamWorks saying they really want to make 'The Melting.'
  5. That there's still a blueberry buttermilk pancake left  in the fridge
  6. That pigs might fly

Mind you, I did have breakfast ridiculously early.

There's still time...

Monday, 26 November 2012

Fifty thousand shades of hooray!

I was whooping with delight, yesterday, when my total page views reached 50,000...

and then Peter said 'What, fifty thousand a day?'

Anyway - this page is on the theme of fifty thousand and I love it!

First, a helpful statement from Wikipedia:

50,000 (fifty thousand) is the natural number that comes after 49,999 and before 50,001.

Now we've established that - I discovered THIS which made me laugh A LOT.

There is a book called Fifty-Thousand Shades Of Grey by someone called S.C Ashen.

It costs £6.97 on Amazon and people are buying it...

Here is the description:

"Romance. Intrigue. Domination. Control. Subservience. Clarity. Epiphany. Release. EUPHORIA. This book contains absolutely none of those things - it is literally the words "Shades of grey" repeated 50,000 times, and is a practical joke."

If you don't believe me - here is a page:

 All hail to S.C. Ashen and his sheer quirky, irreverent BRILLIANCE!

Oh - here is a tweet from him, dated September 24th.

"Holy shit- Fifty-Thousand Shades Of Grey is actually available from Amazon. If you want a copy, buy now before I figure out how to remove it." 

Brilliant marketing? Who cares! It made my day.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

“Few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus than housework, with its endless repetition...

the clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day.”

I wonder if a man wrote that?

I'm joking. It was Simone de Beauvoir, feminist and writer and, evidently,  housework-hater. She and I have a fair bit in common.

Here's Sisyphus, anyway. Not looking much like me cleaning my study:

(Sisyphus had to push a rock up a hill and just when he reached to top it rolled back down and he had to start again)

My study is looking scarily pristine. Tim has helped me to tame the cable spaghetti at the back of my computer. Superfluous furniture has been moved out. Cobwebs have been observed and admired.

I'm wondering if all this will make any difference...

The difference between me and she of Fifty Shades of Grey fame (infamy?) is that...


Saturday, 24 November 2012

"Close your eyes and turn your face into the wind. Feel it sweep along your skin in an invisible ocean of exultation. Suddenly, you know you are alive.”

That's all very well, Vera Nazarian...

But I'm also soaked to the skin, freezing cold and wishing I hadn't spent all that money at the hairdresser's...

by Chris Arrowsmith
In all honesty, I LOVE wet and windy weather. A lot more than most people. And horses.

I can say that, because I can come home, change out of my wringing wet clothes, jump into a warm, soaky bath and, after I'm dried and dressed again, snuggle up in front of a roaring fire.

(I'm not advocating this for Poppy and Alfie, honestly...)

There are millions of people across the world who aren't as fortunate.

My thoughts are with them today.

Friday, 23 November 2012

" matter what you write, it requires being honest with oneself, and you have to pull yourself out of the whirlwind of daily life,"

said Iris Chang, sadly now departed historian and journalist.

Whirlwind is right...

by Ginny Gaura
That was yesterday. Frantic work, peppered with several long business phonecalls and, in the background, my son moving furniture around me...which included getting a double bed frame jammed in the doorway outside my office and having to take it apart with a mallet!

I felt quite sorry for my poor little brain by the end of it.

by Darryn James Rae
This is my vision for how today will look:

Yeah, right...

Thursday, 22 November 2012

When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete, everyone will respect you.

I should listen more closely to the wise words of Lao Tzu.

And immediately, I'm aware I should change the should to could. Or rather, I COULD change the should to could - because I do it all the time...beat myself up...and that's SO unnecessary.

Yesterday, I got into a bit of a state about my workload. You noticed?

It all started when I received an email from a client saying that a 4-way conference call was required to discuss an article I'd written - so I immediately went into 'I'm not good enough. What I wrote must have been a pile of crap. When am I going to find the time to do a re-write?' - which wasn't exactly conducive to the effective writing of OTHER pieces of work.

Wibble wobble...

It got better when I received positive feedback about other articles...

It disappeared altogether when a client contacted me about a piece of work which was equivalent to summarising War and Peace into two paragraphs.

"I know," she said, "but you can do magic!"

I think I should use these special powers...

to make my ridiculous need for constant confirmation from others...

that I do a good job as a writer...


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The busy have no time for tears.

Okay, Byron. No, NOT okay, actually. Sometimes I DO feel like crying when I'm too busy.

 If you must know, at the moment...

Only...obviously, that's a lie.

This is how I know I'm too busy:
  1. When I get back from the yard, I don't change out of my jodphurs before I start work
  2. My hair is WILD and CRAZY and I'm thinking I have no time to get it cut
  3. I've run out of lots of things and can't spare a single moment to go shopping
  4. All meals come from the freezer and are not lovingly prepared
  5. I feel rubbishy and over-sensitive
And on top of all that...I'm...

(NOT because I'm on a beach with a good book and a box of chocolates.)

Today, must do better looking after myself.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.

Ha! More evidence that I'm not so bad after all - see yesterday - only this time from Oscar Wilde, my hero - at least, one of them.

The last refuge of the unimaginative - by Matt Hempel
But...oh dear. In the spirit of balance, just take a look at THIS:

"Why Consistency Is King
The ordinary person surfing on the Internet is bombarded with a ton of information. The majority of it, they will forget in a couple of minutes. It is a real challenge in this information overloaded environment to make yourself remembered. This is where consistency comes in.

What consistency basically means in personal branding is that the information you send reinforces the same key messages about yourself." (from a guest post by Eduard Ezeanu on

Personal branding? Oh well, the key message I am reinforcing about myself is that I AM INCONSISTENT!

(oh, if only this T-shirt had the question mark at the end of the text!)

Monday, 19 November 2012

"The only completely consistent people are the dead."

Thank you SO much, Aldous Huxley.

Via Nihility
 I just love these quotes which make me feel better about myself and my (generally) chaotic mindset.

I am happy to report that I'm very much alive - and, therefore, very much inconsistent.

Alive and kicking and inconsistent.

Very busy with loads of work to do, too. But am I complaining?

No! by David McPhail
Alive and kicking and inconsistent and busy and uncomplaining.

That'll do for a Monday morning.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

The effectiveness of work increases according to geometric progression if there are no interruptions...

said Andre Maurois, French novelist, who died in 1967...

and therefore knew not the perils of internet surfing, emails and Facebook...

"According to Gloria Mark, a leader in interruption science, the average knowledge worker switches tasks every three minutes, and, once distracted, a worker takes nearly a half-hour to resume the original task."

I am not interrupted that often by anyone other than myself.

That burning need to check my emails...and Facebook...or the compulsion to Google some red herring in the guise of essential research...

...the sudden desire for a cup of tea and a cheese scone...the paranoia that makes me check for errors on my blog - yes THIS blog...and look at my stats to make sure people are reading it...that burning need to check my emails (again - after all, it's been at least five minutes since the last time)...and Facebook...

...and ...and so it goes on.

It's a wonder I produce any work at all really.
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Saturday, 17 November 2012

“Middle age is when you're sitting at home on a Saturday night and the telephone rings and you hope it isn't for you”

Ogden Nash...and me.

Yes, I know I wasn't going to moan and I'm not going to start but really I am very, very tired.

(That's not moaning, by the way, that's just a statement of fact.)

Tonight, I would love to curl up in front of the fire and not watch X-Factor on the TV.

Either that or I'll not watch Strictly Come Dancing.

Shall I tell you why I won't? It's because I know I have an addictive personality and if I watch ONE episode of either of these shows, I shall feel compelled to watch EVERY episode for the rest of the series. I don't like that feeling so I'd rather not start.

By the way, I'm not knocking either of them - I've enjoyed both over the years - but how much richer my life could be...

Friday, 16 November 2012

“Strange is our situation here upon earth.”

Hmmmm, it sounds almost biblical but it was in fact Albert Einstein...

Such a beautiful image when the strangeness I'm going to talk about isn't AT ALL beautiful.

Poppy and Alfie, my horses, live along a beautiful lane in rural Sussex. Beautiful, that is, apart from the litter that people throw out of car windows, and I have to say, without wishing to be stereotypical about van drivers...mostly it's from vans. (They use the lane as a shortcut.)

Also - I was thinking earlier, rubbish left by cyclists as Perrymans Lane seems to be on a route for bike races.

So today - my Little Act of Kindness was to walk Poppy back from the sandschool and pick up all the litter as I went. Thank you, McDonald's, Costa coffee and Ginsters Pasties...

Then I spotted a poly bag...a Ziplock bag...and picked it up only to find it was full of urine which splattered all up my arm.

I was thinking to myself that it was maybe cyclists racing so didn't want to stop - but couldn't quite work out the whys and wherefores of the operation so I thought I'd research on the internet to see what they did. (I take all those thoughts back - they simply pee themselves as they're riding along.)

BUT - here's the strangeness. I Googled 'pee in Ziplock bag' and there is actually A FORUM for people who like to pee into a ziplock bag.  which has 22 members.

"Do You Pee In Ziplock Bags? Join friendly people sharing true stories in the I Pee In Ziplock Bags group," - with a warning that the site may contain adult content...

Oh. My. Giddy. Aunt. I. Am...

Well, don't ever say you don't learn things when you read my blog...

Thursday, 15 November 2012

"You CAN have it all. You just can't have it all at once."

Okay, so one day I had to use a quote by Oprah Winfrey. I don't know why I'm so reluctant to admit it - I think it's because I'm still relating to her as the host of a tabloid talk show on daytime TV

...when she is so much more than that now, such a positive force for good.  Mea culpa.

This week,  I've been making a noble attempt to have it all at once. That's quite exhausting.

Bearing in mind that I am a person who likes to go to bed early - by which I mean 10 o'clock at the VERY LATEST...

...for which I can exonerate myself by explaining I get up at 6.30 a.m. to see to the horses, the evenings this week, so far, have gone like this:

Monday: To Brighton to participate in a Living Powerful seminar (yes, I can see the irony...) - home after 11

Tuesday: To London to coach on a Self Expression and Leadership programme - home at 12.45 a.m.

Wednesday: To London to the O2 arena to see Andrea Bocelli in concert (a surprise invitation) - home at 12.30 a.m.

Even though every one of those activities was entirely my choice and thoroughly enjoyable and fulfilling  I know it would be EXTREMELY easy to fall into the mode of moaning about being over-tired.

So I'm not going to!

And if I do, you have my permission to send me to bed early without any supper.


Wednesday, 14 November 2012

“The rate at which a person can mature is directly proportional to the embarrassment he can tolerate.”

...said by Douglas Engelbart, most notable for the fact that I've never heard of him - oh, and he co-invented the computer mouse.

I have plainly matured at a very slow rate.


After yesterday's revelation about believing, for years and years, something silly my father told me when I was very young (scarred for life, me!) - it brought to mind an incident that DID actually, in its way, have a huge impact on my life.

I had to check the I was 13 years old. 13 years old and as innocent and naïve as they come.

At school...Northampton High School For Girls...yes, an all-girls school.

Here's a picture of one of the buildings:

44 Derngate
In class, we were playing some sort of quiz game like Twenty Questions, where the answer had to be the title of a pop song.

The song that I chose was...I shudder to mention, even now...a reggae number, popular at the time called...gulp...  

Wet Dreams by Max Romeo...

...which I thought had a lovely, lively beat.


This is what happened. All my classmates sniggered and talked behind their hands and I didn't know why. The teacher was furious and thought I'd chosen the song on purpose to cause a stir.

(Actually, at first I think my classmates thought I had too and were full of admiration, until they realised I didn't know anything about nocturnal emissions...)

Incidentally, the song was subsequently banned by the BBC.

See that rock? It's the one I wanted to crawl under.

Or, alternatively, I hoped the ground would open up and swallow me.

It didn't.

SO - after that, I took the decision, subconsciously or otherwise, that I would NEVER put myself in that position again. 

I would just keep quiet and then I wouldn't risk further humiliation.

So that's what I did, pretty much. For years and years and years.