Monthly Archives: August 2010

It’s going to be such an exciting week..

Post title to be read very sarcastically.

In theory, (the official deadline for this work is Wednesday Morning) I need to get more work done in the next 48 hours than there are hours available. In practice, (the real deadline is Monday week) I’m probably spending the next five days being very stern with myself, and reminding myself it’s my Own Fault I will be working almost non-stop for the next five or six days.

I have done a fair chunk of it this afternoon and evening, though, and have more confidence that once I get down to it tomorrow, that it should be fairly straight forwards. Extremely boring, though.

Fast forwards three days!

In the meantime, I am feeling remarkably smug that the hard slog part of the work has been done, and I am just taking a break from putting it into one format, and doing a bit of creative messing about with the form to go with it all..

It’s amazing how urgent the need to wash the kitchen floor became during the worst of the hard slog. I valiantly resisted, and have only just succumbed to the lure of domesticated procrastination. It’s nice and shiny now.

But, I am really sitting down to recover from the Health and Safety Hazard Awareness Course my house has become over the last three days. Honestly, you’d never believe I have a Certificate telling me I’m Very Good at this stuff… not now I have just had to go and change my coffee sodden jeans,  put jeans and the slightly less sodden throws from the settee into the wash, had to wash the carpet, and make a fresh cup of coffee. Oh, and put clean jeans on.

  • I have two or three chairs in my kitchen with sticky-out bits on the legs, to enable said chairs to be linked together.
  • I moved said chairs to the doorway between the kitchen and sitting room to enable a clear kitchen floor.
  • I duly washed floor, and decided to sit down to enjoy my coffee, but it involved wriggling past the chairs in the doorway, and trying not to trip on the various wires of computer, printer, and ethernet cable also in the doorway – I have moved all this stuff temporarily to the kitchen/dining area as it’s the biggest table to work at, and still be connected to the internet. (I’ve not got wireless…)
  • I avoided cables, they were all neatly tucked up off the floor, and against the door, but failed to avoid the sticky-out bits of chairs.
  • This is because being shorter of leg than most jeans manufacturers are prepared to admit exist, and lacking in enthusiasm for sewing, jeans are turned up!
  • Turn up on jeans, meeting sticky-out bit of chairs, confused Japes, hot cup of coffee…

Sighs. It’s been a while since I’ve had quite such a dramatic moment. Which will teach me to be sarcastic about the excitements I thought this week was going to contain.


I am making the most of being in a getting on and getting a life mood, so as I am not satisfied with the work/life imbalance, I am seeking a new job! So, that’s four job applications gone in the post now, and I will keep on going until one of them yields a job.

As a little light relief, I am indulging myself in a task I’ve been meaning to do for years, which is a grand cross referencing of my hymn books. OK, I’ve made a start! I’ve played for several churches regularly over the years, and have in that time acquired a large number of hymn books, of all kinds.

I’ve also dreamed of making a Japes “Preferred Version of Hymn” book.. I seem to have at least ten (or more!) different versions of some of the most popular hymns and songs, and it’s just getting too unwieldy to cart around five  hymn books for six hymns. (I’m a deeply mistrusting organist…I’ve been caught out too often not to be.) I am amenable, and will play whatever I’m asked, as I’ve no truck with temperamental musicians who can but won’t. The Lord knows, and understands my inner dark mutterings at having to play songs I’d rather were cast into the pits of darkness for ever more and purged from the collective memory, but which are still sung! Occasionally I am rewarded with more than one per service from the Japes’ Ideal Hymn Book.

Japes’ Ideal  Hymn Book? Not yet in existence! It would be somewhat idiosyncratic. I am nothing if not eclectic in my musical tastes. We might not agree as to it’s contents, and it would be an on-going work in progress.

Now, do I think I need to liberate my laundry basket for it’s intended purpose, rather than it’s current purpose of keeping all my books being indexed together? Or just buy another laundry basket?

Another Travel Conundrum

Having had a few weeks off, the thought of doing a train journey for pleasure is not as daunting as it is when I’m travelling by train every work day!

So, a friend and I are going to meet in a mid-way town, with a charming Abbey church, and things to see and do this week.

The sensible thing, in the Japes mind, is to take the rare direct train from my dear little local station – which would be £19.00. Same price as the more frequent train route going via a smaller city to the north of the town. But, in my perusing of the train ticket site as I also need to go to small city next week, it occurred to me that checking two different tickets, one from here to small city, then one from small city to mid-way town. £7.10 each. £14.20 in total. £21.30 for my week’s outings as opposed to £26.10.

Another small victory in the Japes’ constant battle to keep travel costs to the minimum!


More decisions? Oh yes…

Except, they’re mostly in the pending pile! So, I’ve spent today thinking about them, musing on possibilities, and have shoved them back in the mental in-tray to be dealt with in about three weeks time. Because, actually, I can’t do anything about implementing them just yet, anyway! I am, however, extremely glad I decided against the possibility of returning to being a student for this year.

I had a delightful time this morning chatting with a former work colleague, and then visiting some others. It was lovely to see them all. It was a world I enjoyed working in, but am glad to be out of now.

Then, next week, I will be seeing more friends and people who talk sense!! Yippee!! That might also aid the decision implementing process.

On the not such fun side, I really must settle down to the pile of work I have to do before returning to work. It may well mean a few days of No Internet! Certainly a few days of fierce self-discipline. It’s not onerous work, but it will be boring work, and of a kind I thoroughly dislike, but am resigned to the fact it needs doing. Still, if this rain continues that won’t be such a hardship.

All things are relative, it would seem.

I do not consider myself to be particularly domesticated, or particularly tidy. So, it’s been a bit of a surprise to discover my landlady considers me a paragon of virtue in these departments!

Most of the four and a half decades of my life have been spent in circumstances where almost every thing I did or didn’t do domestically was commented on, or criticised.. at both ends of the domestic scale. There’s rarely been any moderation! I’ve lived with people who considered me excessively domesticated, and who were forever telling me to sit down and relax, I’ve lived with more people who have considered me a complete slattern, and would re-do anything I’d done. I particularly recall a period of time when what I did in the way of household cleaning was checked up on, as it was doubted I could be cleaning “properly” in the time I was spending on it, and my reputation had, apparently, gone before me.

It has, I’m afraid, made me hyper-sensitive to anything that may be construed as criticism of how I tackle domestic tasks… it’s not something I like about myself, and it is something I try to retain a reasonable perspective about, and at times, I fail. It’s led to several incidents of Bother this year. The Great Personality Clash of the past year started over an incident of telling me how things “should” be done…

For me, one of the  joys of living on my own has been the pottering around in my own space, being as domesticated or undomesticated as I please. Creating my own home, for the first time since my early 20s is being a real joy.It’s been a very big part of what has helped… it’s helped me to realise that what I needed most of all was a place to call home, not just somewhere I was living for a time, not somewhere I was sitting lightly to, ready to move on to the next thing, or place, but somewhere where I belonged. Not somewhere where I was creating a safe space for other people, but somewhere where I was creating a safe space for me.  Because, so often over the last twenty years the two haven’t gone together. In creating safe environments for others, I had failed myself.

It’s meant I’ve been deeply possessive of my physical home for a spell… I’ve not wanted to let other people into my space. Either mentally, emotionally, or physically!! Something about not being able to be at home to other people until I was home to myself… which has only really begun happening in the last month or so.

So, now I need to start the next step of letting other people across the threshold…


I think the phase of crying in church at any hymn with any significant memory attached to it may be over! I was singing most enthusiastically  one that only a month or so back would’ve reduced me to tears, and was also moved to stop being an anti-social whatsit and stayed for coffee. I merely smiled at those who thought I was visiting for the first time.. and just pointed out I’d been coming regularly since Christmas.

I have a new High Score in the BBC Proms Quiz. Given I’m appallingly bad at identifying conductors and performers, which make up a higher proportion of the questions than I like, I do seem to be averaging at least 7/10 on most attempts. But, getting my answers clicked to get me at least 900 per question (you have to answer in under a second for that!) is beyond my capabilities, methinks. I shall be content if I get a High Score of 8000 before the end of the Proms Season. (7283 is my current score, for the curious).

The sun has been shining.

Proper butter on my toast.

E-mails sent round those who might have copies of the books I’m after!

Time for a snooze…

The Room I Do Not Like and The Rearranging Thereof…

I think I’ve come up with some solutions for myself. It’s to do with work stuff being visible all the time – I seem to have an awful lot of work stuff at home.  I am needing some way of making it accessible, but invisible…at the moment it’s accessible and all too visible.

Anyway, for now it’s much tidier and is bothering me less than it was – and some of the solution might well be to utilise the one piece of furniture that is currently under-used. The sideboard.

I also need to be making the music book case for just that. Music. Then… after a year with little or no music in it, which is a first for me, (I looked at the music category of this blog – music scarcely gets a mention this year! Unlike other years.) moves are afoot to rectify that. Which has involved some seismic internal re-thinks.

Whilst I’ve been settling into a complete new way of life, all my energy has gone into work, the minutiae of daily living and dealing with the emotional consequences of my decisions… there’s been no energy left over even for the things I love doing or even the people I love being with! None what so ever. I don’t think I’ve ever been such a recluse, or so lacking in interest in things that formerly I loved doing.

Now I seem to have come up for air, and have begun to Get A Life again, the things I’ve put on hold this last year are beckoning to me again. Reading, writing, creative liturgy, music, and friends!

One of the worst bits of all the church difficulties I’ve been having has been the lack of even wanting to play or sing in a choir in church… in fact, the times I did just exacerbated the problem. But, then I got into an interesting (well, it is to me now) downward spiral of “If I don’t want to play in church, then I don’t deserve to be playing at all.” Mad, but true.

With a bit of perspective, what’s more accurate is that I’ve had little time to practice, (due to aforementioned Work and Daily Living and Lack of Energy for anything beyond those essentials) and I’ve not been playing at the church I call “mine”. It would appear when it comes to church, I don’t make a good jobbing musician. I need to play at my home church, or only occasionally somewhere else. Not be off every other Sunday elsewhere. Too frustrating on too many counts… especially when finding both church and music difficult! (It’s still not a good idea to go back to the church I used to go to,where I’ve done quite a lot of  occasional Sundays until recently, for complicated and new reasons.)

So, I’ve been playing again. But without putting the pressure on myself to be practising to be a useful musician. Just playing for the joy of it. Not pieces I’ve been able to play in the past, and not pieces that need a full size piano (as I only have a keyboard – but a good one) – they will have to wait until I can afford a piano again.

So, have I created a prayer space? Yes, I have.

Am I getting a social life back? Definitely.

Do I like That Room any more… possibly not, but I’m making friends with it!

Domesticity reigns, temporarily

Sits down carefully.

OK, not slipped.

It’s safe! I will continue.

After a bit of a fright yesterday, (fears of having to move sooner rather than later sharply raised, then quelled) and as a household cleaning items replenishing session had taken place in the “Keep Japes Calm”  few hours between the raising and quelling of such fears, a bout of deep-cleaning domesticity hit the Japes’ residence this morning.  After the headache from hell had subsided. (I am half wondering if I have had the first migraine for many years? Mmmm… not happy if that’s the case.)

I currently am the custodian of some items of furniture I’d never give house room to by choice, but as I have them, caring for them is part of the deal. So, a little TLC of the leather furniture has taken place. This is all well and good, and I am proud of my efforts, but they aren’t half slippery now! I have also polished all the wood.. and have been reminded why I’d not done it before now. Am I one of the few people in the world who hates the smell of polish?

I am about to tackle the Room I Do Not Like. There seem to be several reasons for this dislike; some of them are deeply silly, and others more understandable. I’m making myself spend more time in there, though, and think I’m coming to some conclusions about why I dislike it so.

  • It needs a bit of re-arranging to see if I can make it less like the room I lived in where I was so deeply unhappy.  And the room I used to spend far more time in hiding from everyone that was good for me.
  • I need to bring the musical sides of my life out of hiding. (That may be a whole series of posts…)
  • I need to decide where my prayer space is going to be… for a dedicated prayer space is required! But, I’m loath to have it in a room I don’t like. But would that help make it a room I do like?

Come on, Japes. Time to go…

Redefining relationships

That is what this past week has been all about, really, not filling skips, moving furniture, and deciding what was for recycling or not.

I’ve helped fill two skips with a mixture of things that should’ve been ditched many years ago, things that no longer conform to current H&S standards, and can’t be accepted by charity shops, or things that can no longer be used. I’ve packed up stuff to be scattered to numerous new homes. I’ve sorted through piles and piles and piles of paper and books and, um, rescued some things…

I’ve done a lot of talking whilst getting these jobs done. A lot of catching up on what’s been happening for others, and a lot of realising of some truths that I’d been reluctant to face, but now have done so.

I’ve done a lot of praying, and quiet sorting things out with God. So many times this last year, when I’ve been praying or in church (or refusing to pray or be in church) I’ve felt like an extremely bad tempered small toddler with no way of expressing myself other than yelling, stamping my feet, sitting firmly on my bottom and refusing to co-operate… it feels much more now as if my inner world and outer world are in line with one another again. I now have  a sleeping, contented peaceful inner toddler!

I’ve done a lot of accepting that things really have moved on and there is no going back.

I think I put a huge amount of emotional rubbish in those skips as well!

So, yes, I’ve done a huge amount of both physical work and emotional work… no wonder I over-slept this morning with such flair and ease.

Dear Lord,

I know I said it was time for me to get a life… but, did you have to take me at my word quite so quickly? It’s been non-stop all day!

And, um, about this on-going, low-grade bubbling up incredibly easily at the least provocation temper tantrum that seems to have been constantly with me for months? I’d be really quite glad to see the back of it, as it’s a tiring companion, to say nothing of making me not the nicest person to be around when it’s at higher than simmering point.

Yes, yes, yes… I know what it’s all about really, and yes, I will do something about it… well, OK the several “its” that I’m scared of. What – what would I do if one of the kids came to me with these scenarios? (Japes squirms… folds arms and glares at feet… and mutters “Yeah. Well. But.”)

Can I change the subject now? No, I won’t forget. No, I’m not “just saying”.

Whilst I’m here, a word about the next week. I’m not sure right now it was a good idea, and I’d quite like to back out… what do you mean, no?

(Japes stomps off to pack rucksack, steel toe cap boots, and emergency cho….) WHAT DO YOU MEAN!! No emergency chocolate…?!

Pah. I hate it when you’re right. (Japes’ sense of proportion is restored, grin back on face, rucksack packed, no chocolate..)