Welcome to this week’s hodgepodge. You know the drill by now, but just in case you don’t please click on the button above and join in with Joyce’s brilliant meme on her side of the pond. Toot toot!!
1. The NFL playoffs were held this past weekend and this year’s Superbowl will feature the New York Giants versus The New England Patriots. How do you define ‘patriot’?
Being English, the word “patriot” means two things: first, if you are from another country it is an honourable sentiment, one that is full of pride and accountability for your country and your fellow country-men. Second, if you are English, it is a dirty word. For some reason it has come to be associated with racism and extreme right-wing politics, meaning that if you are “patriotic”, ie, sticking up for your own country, you are automatically “a racist bigot” because you don’t include people of other nationalities with your support. Crap isn’t it? We are at the mercy of political correctness in my country that we are made to feel ashamed to admit we are English. It’s a pity that these do-gooders who lay down these invisible laws can’t see that English people are a mixed race of people anyway, and being ENGLISH has nothing to do with the colour of your skin but about the country your allegiance is with. Gah!!! It really REALLY annoys me that Englishness is considered a form of bigotry and is exclusive in some way. At the risk of going off on a rant here, the Scottish people are currently deciding whether to have a referendum on whether they should be independent of England. They want to exclude themselves from our government, currency, laws etc and want to be known as a country in their own right (by and large…I am well aware that not all Scots want this, but I’m illustrating a point here). They are considered to be PATRIOTIC because they want to have their own identity and be self-supportive, which is great. But how about we turn the argument round on itself and say that the English want to be independent from Scotland… We want our own currency, the right to govern our own people and the right to be known as ENGLAND as opposed to BRITISH. There would be an outcry. We would be flamed for cutting ourselves off from the rest of the country (ha!); we would be considered right wing; we would face accusations of extremism just because we wanted to be a single country on our own. So how come it’s commendable for the Scottish but not the English? Just sayin’….. (I sense another blog post stemming from this one at some point…haha!)
2. What’s something in your life right now that feels like a ‘giant’?
Pain. No, seriously. As some of you may know I have been in constant pain and unable to work for the past two years (yes, it’s two years already…) and even though it can fluctuate between bad enough to be hospitalised and not too bad where I can manage it and get on with other things for a while, by and large it is something that I have now accepted is part of me and I live my life carrying it round with me and just get on with things as best I can. But, at the moment, it is huge. Huge in the sense that the pain is bad and I’m thinking along the lines of being hospitalised again if it doesn’t improve in the next few days, and huge in the sense that I can’t seem to see past it, or round it, or over it, or beyond it. It is like a huge roadblock in my life at the moment. If you have been reading my blog regularly you might have noticed that the quality has dropped off a bit recently. As much as I can, I am trying NOT to refer to my pain and the effect it has on my day to day life, but I think you can see from my writing that it is most definitely having an effect. If you think that writing is just about the only thing I can do even when the pain is at its worst then you can perhaps appreciate how GIANT it is just at the moment. If my writing is suffering – the last thing on my “capable to do today” list – then it’s bad. I’m not after sympathy or anything I hasten to add. I’m just illustrating the giant-ist thing in my life at the minute.
3. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think back to being 18?
Skinny!! I think I started to put on weight just after I turned 18, but up to then I was like a rake. I didn’t think so at the time (I always thought I was a “big” girl) but when I look back at the photos and see how skinny I was I realise just what a misconception I had about my body image back then. Now when I think about my body I think I’m smaller than I am. It’s a complete reversal and I continually get a shock when I look in the mirror and see this fat, forty year old female with wrinkly eyes looking back at me.
4. Coconut-mashed potatoes-vanilla ice cream-mayonnaise…which white food would be the hardest to give up?
Ice-cream without a doubt. Not that I eat a lot of it, but I’m not a big fan of any of the others.
5. Describe an incident or a day you remember as being the coldest you’ve ever experienced.
Being a hardened camper I can remember quite a few times where I’ve been so cold I didn’t think it was possible to keep breathing, and one time was worse than most. We were planning a summer camp for the kids at brigade (Church Lads and Church Girls Brigade) later in the summer and we decided to do a recce camp in the Spring to get the lay of the land, find out what was going on locally, plan the expedition etc. We made so many mistakes – such as pitching the tent in the “shade” of the trees, which meant when the sun sank behind them at around 7pm we had no warmth whatsoever. Remember, this was April… Also, it was in the early days of our camping experience so we didn’t take a huge amount of equipment, and we certainly didn’t think about extra bedding other than our sleeping bags. Ethan was a toddler, maybe 2 or 3 years old, and it was so cold overnight that when we woke up in the morning his face was blue. There was frost on the groundsheet INSIDE the tent, and our shoes were frozen to the groundsheet in the doorway. I don’t know how we did it, but we certainly learned some lessons that trip!!
6. You’re hosting a brunch….what’s your favourite dish to prepare and serve?
I’ve never hosted a brunch, but I do like the idea of it. I would serve Kedgeree, sausages, bacon, scrambled eggs, toasted bagels and mushrooms.
7. How do you combat negative thinking?
I have two ways:
1) fight it for as long as you can, don’t let it take hold, don’t give it the attention it craves, actively look for the positive in any situation.
2) if it does manage to get past your defences and gets a hold of you, give in to it and wallow for a while. Allow yourself the misery that negative thinking brings because when you start to feel better you will appreciate the good more because you have experienced the contrast.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
I have been taking tramadol for the past few days to try to control my pain levels. As you may know, tramadol has the capacity to bring on hallucinations. I won’t give you the details, but suffice to say waking up to find a tarantula on your pillow isn’t the best thing to experience in the middle of the night… *shudder*….