Thursday, 30 December 2010


Two girls I knew as children and who are about my age are married. Just heard about the second one this morning. I find this jolly interesting a vague sort of gosh aren't they young to be making such a huge commitment, they will will be missing out on so many things now way but also in an envious they have found someone who loves them so much they married them way.

I don't want to get married so young, although I would certainly love to meet the man I want to marry one day, so I am not jealous of them for actually getting married. But I do envy them the being with someone who loves them so much and who they love so much.

I think as humans we are all lonely and spend a lot of time, effort and money in trying to escape that fact. Richard Yates, who was terribly lonely and wrote about it so brilliantly, said that "Most human beings are inescapably alone, and therein lies their tragedy". I think he was right.

Being home over Christmas I have been jolly bored and also there have been the odd times, typical of family life, where there are cross words and fractious moments. During these times I have longed to have someone who was always on my side and who I could rely on to be there for me and to understand. A partner to go through life with. I think deep down that is what everyone wants, and some people find, and when it boils down to it is the reason people get married, they wish to go through their life with another person to share it with.

Tomorrow is the last day of 2010 and I have been giving a lot of thought to my resolutions. Typically I want all the usual things: good grades at uni, to go to the gym and eat healthily all year long rather than Bridget Jones style in fits and spurts, and to date more. I really need to come up with a proper plan to meet the sort of men I want to date rather than my current situation of meeting men who many want to date me but who I find unattractive!

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The power of creation.

A great favourite of mine, and one of the best modern classics, is 'Cold Comfort Farm' by Stella Gibbons. It is a delightfully whimsical book which manages to subtly combine wit, humour and beautiful insights into what darling Miss Marple always referred to as human nature. Stella Gibbons is rightly remembered for this masterpiece and highly praised for it but her other masterpiece, 'Nightingale Wood' tends to be totally dismissed and forgotten yet for me although not absolutely reaching the great heights of genius that 'Cold Comfort Farm' gives us, the former is probably my favourite.

'Nightingale Wood' is a delicious modern fairytale in a way that reminds me very much of another great favourite of mine, 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day'. It has wonderfully true and poigniant insights into the human character, has an achingly romantic soul without being in any way cheap or maudlin about it, and by relating the character's lives in such a way as to incorporate their boredom and their longing for more it strikes a deep cord within me. It is the delightful story of a young widow called Viola (named after Shakespeare's for her father was a great devotee of the great man) who goes to live with her desperately dull in-laws and harbours vague and unlikely dreams about the local handsome young squire. It is perfectly splendid and so much more than a silly romance, though it always sounds suspiciously like one when one relates the general plot, but it is filled with such sharp insights into the characters and their desires and ultimately whether when they do all get what it is they thought they wanted, whether their previous desires give them fullfillment. I adore it and it fits delightfully inbetween my love for 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' and the books of Nancy Mitford whose 'Don't Tell Alfred' I am also re-reading, along with 'The Provincial Lady in London' by E. M Delafield. Though sadly the latter is pretty awful and the poor woman only wrote one good book, 'Diary of a Provincial Lady' which she then attempted to ruin by cashing in on her creation and writing another four books about, all of them  perfect rotters.

I love the feel of Stella Gibbon's books, or rather of the two already mentioned s I have not read any of her others since they are so hard to get hold of and not meant to be much cop. And the specific feel she creates is why 'Cold Comfort Farm' works so well for in one's ordinary live you can imagine what the protagonist would advice and instruct you to do and even hear her voice imperiously suggesting to you. In 'Nightingale Wood' the feel is also there and one becomes totally submerged in the characters and their lives, to such an extent that the feeling and the people live on with you for some time after the book has been read. It is not often that an author makes me feel like that, but the most powerful and memorable time was after reading 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' which lived with me for an age afterwards and is one of the most powerful books I have ever read. Interestingly there seems to be no particular type of book or author for this to happen as the only other example that was striking enough for me to remember off the top of my head is 'The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring'.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas...

Totally rubbish festive period but am the happiest I have been all day thanks to being on my own ensconced in my bedroom with pretty macbook, large glass of rich red tanniny wine, having listened to 'Just William at Christmas' on audiobook and with 'Have I Got News for You' on the iplayer.

As a rule I adore Christmas but sadly my family don't care about it much added to which we don't have family visiting on the day and so there is no need for them to go to any trouble. But what makes everything rather ghastly is my sister is back visiting from Madrid and has morphed into a cross between a sickeningly enthusiastic games mistress (of the strictly a-sexual variety) and a pious prig. She is insufferable and annoying me constantly to the extent that I want to scream or witheringly put her down so I have to spend a lot of time biting my tongue and sitting in silence. Why oh why are there so many lovely people currently stuck at airports where as her flight was able to take off?

Single for Christmas for the first time in years but haven't noticed except rather longingly missing the lover's tokens I have in the past been given on Christmas day.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

My hero, Becky Sharp.

What is it I wondered that we are all searching for? We spent much of our free time and most of our daydreams thinking about meeting the right person, falling in love and spending the rest of our lives with them. In reality all we are so desperately rushing towards is the boring toil of domesticity and the trapped feeling of co-dependency.

I am now properly single, properly as in yes I still hate him but am much less bothered in general and have even started going back to the gym which is a definite sign that I am actively over him and am much more interested in looking good than being sad and cross. Anyway now that I am properly single I am jolly, indeed horribly, keen to get a new boyfriend. But why am I so keen to get embroiled with a new chap so soon?

Is it because I don't like being single? No, certainly not. I am having lots of fun with friends, love being able to do what I want whenever I want, enjoy flirting and looking at lots of men and there are are so many hidden benefits like being able to eat onions in salads and put spring onions on lots of dishes (oh the delights of onions and yet the bad breathe!).

Is it because I think I can only be completed and defined by a man? Nope, not that either. I am very happy and am very independent. I find great joy in my good grades at uni, have very good and fulfilling friendships and relationships with my family and have a good friend as a flatmate. I don't have dreams of being a housewife but want a fulfilling and exciting career and although it might be nice to have children one day I am in no rush and would only ever have them if happily married rather than want them enough to use a sperm bank or something like that (not that I think there is anything wrong with other people doing that).

Is it because I am lonely? Another no. I am very busy with coursework, friends and if I feel a sudden urge to talk to someone then I can always call my parents or sister or knock on my flatmate's door. Plus I have always been good at spending time by myself, my motto being that one is never alone with a good book.

So why do I so actively desire to have another boyfriend?

I think I, like others, have been sold down the river of believing in all the books I read and movies I see where there is romance. I have been sold the dream that being in love is the best and most desirable thing in the world. That being in love is the most perfect state and that meeting the man who truly loves me will be the most defining point in my life. That no matter what I achieve it will pall into nothingness when I meet my true love. I want to meet my Mr Darcy, my Rhett Butler, my Aragorn... Maybe even through all this outside influencing deep down I still know how to protect myself against it for it is surely not for nothing that I am drawn to 'Vanity Fair' as my favourite book for Becky Sharp needs no man and never relies on a man.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Oh the mystery that is man.

I have been horribly busy these last few weeks and so have been jolly lousy at updating this lovely blog. Actually still stuck in the depths of essays and exams but gosh do I need a break so I thought what better than to do a spot of blogging. Nothing tremendously ground breaking has happened these last few essay crammed weeks except that for some reason my fat tory chum has radically changed his attitude towards me...

We were getting along together so well and I really believed he had given in and just wanted to be friends. He is shockingly bad at attending lectures where as I am rather a swot about that sort of thing and go to them all, even if I do then sleep through them, so I didn't see very much of him for a while and still am not seeing him at all often. But over the last two weeks or so when we did happen to bump into each other his manner was very different indeed. Not exactly cold but researved and uninviting and distinctly different to the fun chummyness of before. Nothing has changed as far as I am am concerned and nothing has happened to make things different. I had said absolutely nothing to his disfavour behind his back, he had not asked me out and been rejected, I havent started going out with anyone else or told him that I rather fancy one of his friends (a yummy almost pretty boy who sadly has a girlfriend). Mystifying. The only thing I can come up with is that he made up his own mind that I don't find him attractive or, sadly more likely, is that one of friends said something cruel, probably along the lines of "Why are you following her around like that, she is never going to go out with you". Too cruel but quite likely, his friends being fab but a little inclined to that sort of hardness.

Also weeks and weeks ago, at the same tory dinner that I discovered the wet fish who I had turned down a date with for the same night, I was asked by one of my fat chum's friends what there was between us. I, of course, said we were friends and what fun he was. The chap asked again in a slightly different way and was assured that we were just good friends. I rather wonder now if he had been asked to find out from me what my feelings were and now my poor friend is feeling rebuffed. I must say though he is being jolly silly about it. We were at a party thrown by mutual friends over the weekend and he completely ignored me... but one of his lovely friends decidedly took a shine to me and very sweetly walked me home (sadly nothing doing as he is even more corpulent than the other though rather a honey).

I have started reading two new books recently; 'The Kreutzer Sonata' by Leo Tolstoy and 'Interview with a Vampire' by Anne Rice. My reading really does suffer hugely during term time but it is blissful to be reading brand new books once again. The former is most intriguing and so enjoyable in a deliciously thought provoking way. I adore the style with which Tolstoy wrote, the words slip over the eye like butter. While the latter book I have heard of and always vaguely meant to read, plus everyone but me seems to be buying into all this vampire stuff so I thought I should give it a shot.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Oh what a web we do weave when first we practice to deceive.

After my last post where I bemoaned the unattractiveness of that boring Tory boy and announced that I had bailed out of going on a date with him over the weekend, I have news! I had told him that I was going to spend the whole weekend in the library writing an essay, however, I really just didn't want to see him and so when I was invited to a Tory dinner by friends I happily accepted. Unfortunately it did not occur to me that my turned down date would be there!!!

I know that it being a Tory event and him being a Tory should have given me the hint, but it was a student dinner and he is not a student, so it really did not occur to me that he might turn up too. He did look rather surprised to see me I must admit but we were in a group and neither of us made any mention of his asking me out or why I declined and thankfully we were sitting at different tables for the dinner. I was friendly and nice to him and because the nature of the evening confined all to their respective seats I didn't need to have a proper chat with him. I found it rather amusing if truth be told.

Yesterday on facebook I was chatting to a mutual friend on the perfectly horrid facebook chat that always distracts me from my essay writing (if it makes any different the story of the essay was perfectly true) when he revealed that the boring boy, encouraged by our friend, had not given up hope! Now really, after a non-date, her ignoring your phonecalls (at least 6) and then her rejecting going out with you with an excuse that turns out to be false, how can you possibly still have hope?! I think he is nice but I am totally not interested and so have been trying to let him down gently, clearly a big mistake.

And low and behold last night I got a phonecall (carefully ignored of course - well actually I didn't hear it as I was having dinner with my friend who is involved with the married man) and when I got home there was a facebook message asking me on a proper date. When I say proper I mean proper because he actually told me that while he would never use the phrase 'Would you like to go on a date with me?' that that was his meaning. He phrased it all so incredibly badly, saying thinks like he had decided to ask me in 'a less beating about the bush sort of way' and that he was not going to 'be wet about it any more' and in his P.s. he told me that if I wanted to wash my hair instead that evening that that would be alright... I laughed long and hard which was perhaps a tad cruel as it is always nice to be asked out, but really?! If he had simply asked me to dinner and the theatre which is what the message boiled down to (you had to really boil it down, he uses the English language in a horribly convoluted sort of way, I think he thinks he sounds like Wodehouse but he is far off the mark) then that would have been fine and not at all pathetic.

Poor chap... Gosh but now I have not idea how to reply and his message came to me last night so I have to reply soon... A friend earlier suggested I simply message back that I would indeed be busy washing my hair that evening but I did think that cruel if succinct!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

The power of physical attraction.

Stuck deep in essay season which I enjoy complaining about very much indeed. In fact although it is jolly hard work and my essay topics seem to be incredibly difficult and insurmountable I am really loving being busy and constantly on the move. Even when I allow myself breaks they are glorious and sleepy and highly enjoyable in contrast to the indignities of essay writing. The only downside is that as I have so much reading of textbooks to do for them that I am shamelessly neglecting the reading of fiction, bar the odd forage into a Nancy Mitford and my wonderful discworld audiobooks (just bought Monstrous Regiment from itunes).

That boring Tory boy did indeed ask me out again, for this Saturday night, but I have turned him down and pleaded my latest essay as an excuse. I truly find him physically repulsive... I feel rather bad about that as he is not particularly unattractive: normal height, dresses quite well, unremarkable looks but nothing hideous and so on. But for some reason the very idea of kissing him (well kissing I could probably manage but certainly the notion of anything else) makes me feel rather disgusted... I would so much rather kiss my chubby lecture buddy who I can perfectly well see is a lot less attractive... most odd. Like most of us I am vain and so I am very pleased he wants to go out with me, but all the same I think I would probably rather he didn't ask me again. Being physically attracted to someone is so important, I am not prepared to sacrifice something like that just to get a date.

Meeting up with a couple of good friends tonight, the one with the married chap and our mutual male friend. Things became weird between myself and my male friend after I split up with my horrid ex-boyfriend. He started to behave slightly differently and I was a little freaked out by it although thankfully he didn't do anything and clearly because of how he felt he avoided me for a few months after that. I like my male friends to be nice and safe, to know for sure that no matter how drunk we get nothing will happen between us. My flatmate, until her boyfriend, always seemed to end up sleeping with or kissing her male friends when very drunk. These incidents were almost always one offs and left her in uncomfortable, I like him but what does he feel and we are friends and this is very messy territory which I personally wish to avoid. Anyway he and I seem to be pretty much back to where we were before.

This is the day on which my other friend sees her married chap. She is meeting us for drinks and dinner and then going to see him. I wish she would change her mind and not meet up with him. She is being messed about by him and no matter how hard it is for her now it will be so much worse when they eventually have to stop seeing each other, and she will clearly be the one to have to end it some day which will be dreadful for her, he won't even have the guts to do that. She does still have her actual boyfriend but from what she told me earlier in the week when we met for lunch she seems to be tiring of him, and were they to finish I am sure she would start up a proper affair again with the married man. I don't want her to get hurt and I can see her gliding along towards a horrid breakup. I really need to come up with literary names for her and my flatmate and others, especially now I have named Moist... I will consider naming them after discworld characters but am concerned that that could spoil the books for me!

Sunday, 31 October 2010

The fictionalised champagne reformation.

One of my specialist subjects in history is the reformation and so I was thrilled when I found a second hand copy of a novel called 'Q' in the Oxfam bookshop yesterday. It is set during the reformation and is full of the church schism that was the ultimate result of the 95 Thesis of Martin Luther. It looks jolly exciting and I  can't wait to delve in. I have read very little historical fiction though 'The Name of the Rose' is waiting in my bookshelf. Indeed the only historical fiction I can remember reading is one of Philippa Gregory's books about the Tudors, but they are so light and frilly and jazzed up by sex that I don't think they really count, though I was very surprised recently to hear her on the radio and find her very intelligent and incredibly highly educated. Wonderful Oxfam bookshop, I also found the novel 'Seeing' by Jose Saramago which won the Nobel prize for literature. It is about a world in which only an increasingly small percentage of the population turn out to vote at the polling stations... bit close to home after the last election here.

Went out to the boring Tory boy's birthday drinks last night (lovely art deco bar he chose as well). He was very interested to chat and after several drinks I got carried away by the attention and rashly agreed to see him at least twice more. Oh the horror of remembering it now! He was a honey and did buy me lots of glasses of champagne so the night was rather amusing, though nothing going with his friends who were a nice bunch but not wildly exciting. One of the things he has suggested we do together is attend a ceilidh this weekend... I do love a good ceilidh so I expect I will accompany him... especially if I think he will supply more champagne!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

In Pursuit of Love.

Like Lydia of "In Pursuit of Love' I feel I have entered the cold years at home during which all I can do is play endless games of cards and greedily watch the minutes tick by on the clock. But I need to realise that that is far from being the case. I am perfectly able to find a wonderful man, I just need to look.

Still having a very yummy and fat making time following my Bridget Jones diet and as I have essay deadlines it shows no signs of stopping yet, though I really should try going back to the gym...

The boring Tory chap I went on that one date but not a date with is having his birthday party on Saturday night and I have decided that I absolutely must attend. I predict lots of men to meet! Plus they are jolly likely to be nice conservatives which is even better. While it would not bother me in the least to date a non-tory, it does at least show you from first meeting that you might have things in common and I find it a useful starting point. The now much hated ex was one when we first met (he later defected which just shows how spineless he is).

Had a very long chat with my friend about her situation with her married man last night. Although I don't think she can possible know she wants to be in a relationship with him based on only a few hours one day a week and a few snatched nights together she is sure she is in love with him. It makes it impossible for me to judge her (on that issue, I might add I do not think it right to continue with her boyfriend while she is in love with someone else) and just makes me feel sad that she is so sure and yet can't have him. The married chap is very good looking, much older and seems intelligent and nice enough, but he is cheating on his wife and has no intention of leaving her. He tells my friend often that he loves her but can't leave his wife, but refuses to break all connection with my friend. I think he is treating her very badly and that she is allowing him to do so based on her belief that she loves him.

I feel shameful about the following confession but it is the truth: I am jealous of her situation even though it involves pain because it also involves love and because she has the love of not one man but two. She has both devoted boyfriend and her affair. She is cheating on her loving boyfriend (technically he has not told her he loves her but it is very obvious) but admits to feeling no guilt over it. Oh it is petty of me and I am aware that I am also jealous of her having two men and me none, but I still think she is behaving badly to the boyfriend and just on a moral base level I don't like it and don't belief (although who can ever say for certain) that I would ever do that to someone. It is bad enough to have an affair with a married man but to do so while also cheating on your boyfriend is just being greedy!

Monday, 25 October 2010

The Bridget Jones guide to life.

After the big emotional event last week I cried until my body was physically incapable of expressing another drop of liquid. I then picked myself up, shook myself down and told myself that I hated him and he wasn't worth it. My friends and family have been just wonderful: very supportive and kind but in a no nonsense non-indulgent way. I had a long talk with my mother the morning after, then went to my one lecture of the day where my lovely lecture buddy could see I was upset and so gave me a great big hug, followed by lunch with my affair-with-married-man friend then I got take-out with my flatmate who canceled plans with her boyfriend in order to spend time with me. I cried in front of all of them all and by the next day felt ready to stop crying in public.

Since the event I have stopped going to the gym (I was doing wonderfully and was a committed gym buddy, going almost every day up until that point) and am comfort eating to a delicious degree. Good old Bridget Jones would have heartily approved! I am keeping very busy indeed and eating exactly what, and as much of it, as I feel like. Oh gosh it is so much fun to eat kettle crisps every day and have too much yummy cheese with every meal! Not totally going down the alcohol root as I am in the middle of essay season and can't write when drunk or badly hungover, but I am indulging in yummy glasses of wine with meals and the odd bottle of organic cider. Bridget Jones knew what she was on about, it makes one feel so much happier for one just focuses on the food side to life which never disappoints if one eats whatever one wants!

I know it will have to end soon and I will no doubt be back at the gym pounding away before long but in the meantime I am completely letting rip and all sense of proportion or portion size has gone out of the window and I am loving it.

I do hate him now. He never deserved me and had a lot of faults. I am better off without him and will soon be able to say that and really truly mean it.

Life is good, happy and very busy, and I am vaguely on the look out for a lovely new man.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

It is over and my heart is broken.

After almost 4 months (4 months this coming Monday) of missing Germanicus desperately and getting upset about him often yesterday afternoon I thought about it long and hard and came to the decision that I didn't need to wait for him to come to me prepared to make the changes necessary for us to get back together and to tell me he loves me but that I was so miserable without him and so tired of waiting for him to come to me that it no longer mattered and I wanted to be with him so much that I should just go to him.

I was sure he wanted us to be back together as well. For the last month or so he has been very affectionate every time we have met up. Lots of cuddling, trying to hold my hand, sitting through films with his arm round me and making comments about things we would do together in the next few months. I was very aware that I had hurt him badly when I split up with him and believed that to be the reason why he had not said anything about getting back together, because he didn't think that was what I wanted.

I sent him an email in the early evening saying I needed to see him urgently and we met up after his lecture. I wanted to go back to my flat immediately and talk but he was hungry so we went to a nearby pub where he had chilli and I got nervous. It felt so good sitting next to him and chatting and feeling like we were back together already. It was all I could do to stop myself kissing him right there and then but I thought that it would be better to have the getting back together talk first, and after all there seemed to be no reason to hurry.

After leaving the pub (where I intentionally limited myself to one glass of wine, I didn't want him to think I was spurred on to make a decision because I was tipsy) I couldn't wait any longer but as he tried to put his arm round me I stopped us in the middle of the street and asked him what he was doing and then why he was doing it. He said because he liked me. I coyly asked him what he meant by that and he smiled and looked embarrassed but wouldn't answer even after prompting. The obvious assumption was that he still adored me and so I laughed and said we should walk back to my flat but that when we got there I wanted him to answer the question.

We got back and I asked him again, he gave the same answer but added that I was his special friend. He refused to be drawn further than that so I just went for it and asked him what he now felt about me. After ages and lots of manly embarrassment at having to talk about his feelings he said liked me as a friend. I was sorry that he couldn't tell me the truth which based on his behaviour was clearly that he still had feelings for me and that he would like for us to get back together.

I told him how I felt... and he said he didn't want to get back together.

He told me that he loves me but that he feels I betrayed him by splitting up with him and so that is that.

I don't think he ever did really love me, and he certainly doesn't now. I did not betray him, if anything he betrayed me by the whole living together debacle but while I can understand how he might feel betrayed and so on he totally lacks empathy and doesn't seem able to comprehend how I felt and why i split up with him. He seems to think I did it for no reason and so he now can't trust me. Where as I did it due to his pulling out of living together and because of the cruel and cowardly way in which he did it.

Since we split up I have secretly believed we would get back together and have really wanted us to. I now have to accept that we never will. I will not see him again and have deleted him on facebook. He has been such a huge part of my life for over 3 years and I am devastated. I don't really know what to do.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Ode to Becky Sharp.

I want to become Becky Sharp. She is completely independent, strong, capable, knows what she wants and goes for it, brave, beautiful, cunning and never falls in love or is a slave to love in any way. 'Vanity Fair' by William Makepeace Thackeray has been my favourite book of all time since I read it at the tender age of 13. I have ever since admired and adored its anti-heroine Miss Sharp who used her wits and her cunning to get what she wanted. Admittedly she is ruthless, cold and even heartless upon occasion but rarely without cause. She rose from nothing and created several lives for herself as she rose upwards in society. I always thought Thackeray might have allowed her to rise again after her tremendous fall from grace at the end but instead he gave the mld mannered and totally characterless milksop Amelia the more rounded ending. Although even there he was not above sticking the thorn in as he described her final family setup.

I met Germanicus for lunch a few hours ago and it was monstrous. I feel more confused than ever. I don't know what I want but I suspect it is him and that suspicion does not please me. I need to be more like Becky and simply pursue a nice chap who will take me out for lots of dinners rather than allow myself to be hung up over my ex. Onwards brave girl and find yourself another beau! I am even considering going on another date with that boring boy... I am attending a flat-warming party tonight so I think I will wait and see if I meet someone else before getting in touch with that chap again!

Meanwhile one of my close friends is clearly falling for her ex-lover the married man and my flatmate spends every single evening and night with her boyfriend. She met him a grand total of three weeks ago today and they have literally been inseperable ever since. I haven't met him yet but he sounds very nice though he is clearly a serial relationshipper and after only three weeks is already trying to make their relationship all official and proper girlfriend/boyfriendy. This wouldn't matter much with most girls but my flatmate has never had a proper relationship before (a good number of dates and a whole bunch of one night stands) and seems to be sending him commitment freak signs while he sends in love signs!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

The significance of socks.

Tremendous party last night and got the grand total of 3 hours sleep before having to roll out of bed and into the shower thanks to the joy of morning lectures! Had a wonderful chat about graphic novel film adaptations with a friend of mine. He agreed with me that 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' films sucked but I was surprised that he liked the film version of 'Watchmen'. He claimed to prefer the ending to the film over that of the book and thought the film was a fine portrayal. I have not yet seen the film but loved the book so much that so far I have avoided it.

Sadly I did not avoid Wall Street 2 which I saw last weekend with Germanicus. It was totally my fault as I suggested it (we watched the first one together and I loved Gordon Gekko). It turned out to be very long indeed, had no plot, no likeable or believable characters and was dull beyond all sense or belief! But strangely I loved every minute of it because G's arm was across me with his hand resting on my knee (not holding it but resting on it). He sort of just put his arm across me when we sat down (holding hands in the cinema was always what we did) and I wanted him to keep it there too much to tell him not to. Feeling the lovely weight of his arm and loving being so close to him I almost burst into tears several times but this time I didn't but just let myself enjoy it and being there with him.

We went for thai food after the film (pad thai being one of my favourite dishes) and I stupidly got upset and had to excuse myself and run to the loo. It was all to do with his socks... For his last birthday I bought him very expensive beautiful designer socks which he loved. Every time since I have seen him since we split up I have at some point gently asked what socks he was wearing (lovely colourful ones is the answer) and never has it been one of the three pairs I got him. It has become some sort of symbol now and I got upset when yet again he wasn't wearing the socks I got him. I think I had it built up in my mind that he would realise I wanted him to wear them and do it to please me and that when he did it would show he wanted to please me and was willing to change even such a little thing to make me happy and that that would indicate he would change other little things and that if we gave things another shot then it would be different to our relationship before.

I am meeting G for lunch tomorrow (yummy sushi). His parents are visiting him this weekend and I didn't want to have to wait until next week to see him again. I would really like to have some sort of arrangement whereby we met up every week, I would like very much to know for sure every time we say goodbye that I will be seeing him again soon. A friend of mine was having an affair with a married man and only got to see him once a week. It was always on the same day and she has since told me how reassuring it was to know for sure that while other aspects of their relationship were in doubt (he wouldn't leave his wife, even though he claimed to be in love with my friend) that she knew she would be seeing him on that day every week. Sadly she is still in love with him even though she has a boyfriend and although she is not sleeping with the married man she is currently back to that one day a week meet up.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Sam Vimes and Lady Sybil?

I adore Terry Pratchett's discworld series. In it he has created a whole world and populated it with peoples (one has to say peoples as not only are there humans but also trolls, dwarfs etc) who are both an ironic take on other nationalities and also a loving homage. His characters are both funny and yet are so well formed and characterised that they can also be heart-breakingly real and poignant. I am always iritated by reviews of his books and articles about them where it is assumed that their sole audience is spotty teenage boys, I am an avid fan of the great man and know many other adults who also revere him, just because some hacks fail to appreciate his more subtle and very clever charms they dismiss him out of court.

Such perfect homages and ironic takes are found in Pratchett. He has based some of his characters on historical characters, one of my favourites being Lord Vetinari who is based on Niccolo Machiavelli. Vetinari is tremendous and so wonderfully cold blooded and so similar in my mind to his counterpart that recently when I re-read 'The Prince' I found myself picturing him as the august ruler of Ankh-Morpork. And there is another great homage, for the capital city of the disc is based on the classical Rome and all roads do indeed lead to Ankh-Morpork.

To my mind the best of the discworld series' (there are several different series within the many discworld books, each different series focusing on a particular set of characters) is without a doubt the city watch books. There is nothing to beat the glorious Sam Vimes and if he were not so perfectly matched to Lady Sybil I would feel quite jealous!

I was thinking of Sam Vimes earlier for some odd reason and it got me thinking about love. He had a very brusque sort of courtship and yet one never doubted the great love behind it and then behind his marriage. I have always sought the hearts and roses type of courtship but while I adore the fuss with Germanicus I still felt the solidity of his feelings and of our relationship. I miss him very badly indeed and it is starting to overwhelm me. I think of him every day and often throughout each day. Were he to want to get back together and to promise that certain of the things that split us up would change then I would throw myself into his arms and stay there. But as it is we continue to meet up (sadly I am still the one to always suggest we meet up, he seems wonderfully happy to see me each time but I think my splitting up with him has made him less eager to suggest meetings to me) and I have started to cry when we do.

The last time I said goodbye prematurely as I knew I was going to cry and so goodnighted and then walked off, but he followed me. I cried and didn't say why and after once telling him I was fine he didn't ask again. The time before I went over to his flat to watch a dvd and I cried almost the whole way through but in a silent sort of way and as I have long hair and he was next to me he didn't notice. I cry when I am with him because it is just so nice and reassuring and contented being with him, like it used to be. My life is very happy and full of other things but I still miss the contentment and perhaps the safety of being with G.

Do I want to get back together with him? And at what cost? Would I be prepared to initiate it? To the latter at least I am still saying no. If I were to, in effect, go back to him then our relationship would just slip back into what it used to be and that is certainly not what I want.  I so want him to love me enough to try and get me back, but it didn't happen when I split up with him and it just isn't happening now. I do believe he may still love me but G is very wary about letting people get properly close to him and in his mind I can see I rejected him. I miss him so badly it hurts and I never seem to forget about it.

I used to really believe that G and I would go the distance and remain the loving and happy couple we were until the end of our days. It did seem incredible but while with him I felt so happy and was never the least bit interested in anyone else. We knew each other well and enjoyed so many of the same things. Even now when I have been single over 3 months and met lot of men since I haven't yet kissed anyone else, I have liked a few boys but somehow getting close to them feels weird and makes me panic.

But I don't know if I still love him. I was unhappy due to his lack of commitment and other things and the relationship soured as a result but when I split with him I still felt love. Sometimes I wonder if I have persuaded myself that being apart is for the best and that my heart is trying to tell me otherwise. 

I really thought we could be a united front like Sam and Sybil... Well Sam Vimes would not sit around moping and I am not either! Went to a terrific party last week and have another splendid sounding one tomorrow night. Always possible I might meet a new chap. The boring date guy keeps calling me... I wonder what he wants?! Must make myself available to men and just be happy and confident and not over think things!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Capturing the moment.

I miss Germanicus very much indeed and it is with great effort that I have not been in touch with him over the last few days. I often look at his facebook page and today while doing so noticed that there are now only 10 photos in which we are both tagged. There used to be many more. Why he has only untagged some of them seems rather odd to me. Of the 10 that remain 6 are of us on our own while in the rest we are in a group of people. I feel really mixed up about it. Part of me wants to untag him in the 10 that remain but I don't think that would achieve anything. He has significantly untagged all the pictures of us together on our last holiday together from over a year ago. Maybe it indicates he is is also hurt and thinking of me? But if so why not untag himself in all our pictures together? It is also possible that he did some of this ages ago and that I have only just realised. He was always keen on untagging himself from some photographs I put up of us together anyway (I might add that he always looked fab in them and never understood why he didn't like some of them).

I finished my re-reading of the last Adrian Mole this morning in bed. I adore his diaries, they always sum up their time period exactly by a clever combination of pop culture references, politics and general public feeling. I do hope there will be another book but Sue Townsend is very ill and so it does seem unlikely, but then I never thought the last one would be published so fingers crossed that in another four years (they are published every four years typically) I will get a new installment.

I plan to move onto another Zola next, the first in his 'Les Rougon-Macquart' series which spans 20 books. I am very excited as if I enjoy it I will have another 19 wonderful books to plough through for my biggest sadness is coming to the end of a literary tale.

Thursday, 30 September 2010


The Tory chap I went on the rubbish date with over a week ago called me last night, I ignored the call. I saw no point in answering it as I don't want to start dating him and answering the phone would probably have led to him asking me to sort of event or to meet up with him and when confronted like that over the phone I am not always able to think up a good excuse not to, emails and texts are much easier as one can think about the reply first. Having him call did make me realise that I had given no thought to him since our date of over a week before, which threw into sharp contrast my frequent thoughts about Germanicus and his lack of contact.

We last met two weeks ago today and since then we have facebooked a couple of times and texted several times, although no contact at all since the weekend. I would really like him to get in touch and suggest we meet up as I have promised myself that I will not be one to suggest meeting up again. I suggested all of our previous meetings bar the first one (probably about 6 or 7 in all) and so it seems important for it to be him the next time. Sadly I will probably have a long time to wait! I have been jolly busy myself recently what with being back at uni and out with friends, but I do still find I have a lot more free time than I used to. I am filling this gap by working more and going to the gym. I only discovered going to the gym last year and now adore it!

In fact not only have I been the one arranging us meeting up but I even engineered my sleeping over at his flat a few weeks ago which I have previously failed to admit to anyone, even to this blog. It was a Saturday night and my flatmate was out of town, after going to see 'Tamara Drewe' at the cinema (which I enjoyed very much even though they mucked up the ending) I walked back to my flat and after stuffing some crucial overnight items in my bag I called G and pretended that I had locked my keys in my flat and that as my flatmate was away I was stuck... He was lovely and offered me his spare bed which I happily accepted. I went over to his flat where we stayed up stupidly late watching Star Trek and having a lovely time chatting. Nothing at all inappropriate happened but in the morning we did indulge in some fleeting cuddling in his bed before I left. I had really wanted to spend time with him and was also lonely in an unrelated to him fashion. It was really comforting to see him and to be in his flat again was nice. I had spent a huge amount of time there while we were together and it was so cosy to be there with him again. He didn't suspect that I was fibbing and even when mentioning the fact I stayed over to a few friends I also lied to them and pretended I really had lost my keys. I was also inspired to act out my little scheme because I knew that once uni started up again I would be busy and less desperate to see him and so allowed myself to indulge my wish to spend time with him as I anticipated that this wish would die down.

That wish has lessened. I still think about him an awful lot but not in the desperate way I felt before. I am now able to think of him a lot without mentioning his name constantly to others, without getting in touch with him for days on end and without feeling angry and hurt that he has not been in touch with me. I am learning to accept that perhaps he didn't feel as passionately about me as I did about him and that while I have had to work through lots of things since we split up he has found the adjustment to a single life much easier.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

I know from my statistics page that people are reading my blog but as yet nobody has commented. Please feel free to do so. I am also on twitter under loveandlit where I comment on general things and often on what I am reading.

Comfort reads and Richard Yates.

I have a stinking cold and so have been hunting out my most comforting reads. For some reason amusing diaries are tremendous favourites of mine in times like this and so good old Adrian Mole has been looked out, as has 'Diary of a Nobody' and Bridget Jones might even make an appearence. Nancy Mitford is another great standby and her 'Love in a Cold Climate' is my most re-read book of all. I just adore the way she writes and think her one of the most under-rated authors of all time. That title used to belong to Richard Yates. I discovered him about 7 years ago when my mother bought me 'Revolutionary Road'. I adored it and went on to read his full back catalogue.

Richard Yates specialised in writing of the bursting of the American bubble post World War II and the enemy in all of his novels was the dreaded surburbs. His use of words is incredible and there is never a superfluous word, his style is so sharp and precise. He was much lauded by fellow authors and by some critics during his life but his books did not sell and he was very hard up. He used a lot of his own or friends experiences in his books and the one criticism I have ever agreed with about his work is that there are many aspects from different books that are hugely similar.

'Revolutionary Road' was his first book and I believe his best, although 'Easter Parade' is rypically recognised as being his best work. The former was made into a film a couple of years ago by Sam Mendes and staring Kate Winslet and Leonardo Dicaprio and all of a sudden Yates' legacy altered beyond all recognition and his books were stocked everywhere and most of them were republished. I thought the film a fine adaptation his the book although I disliked the way the ending was handled and subtly altered. I do feel sad that Yates did not gain the profile he so sorely desearved and also craved during his lifetime for he was very much overlooked and had rather a horrid time of it. To anyone interested in reading about the man himself there exists a terrific biography of him by Blake Bailey called 'A Tragic Honesty'.

I think there is great skill in being able to match your mood with an appropriate book to suit it and as demonstrated above I find humour and light reading best for times of ill health and feeling sorry for oneself. Reading Richard Yates if hihgly inappropriate for such times! His books I rate very highly indeed but their tone is depressing and I keep them for periods of contemplation. I would certainly never read them at a specially fun time where I wanted my mood to be light and happy such as a holiday or Christmas. But for times when one is at a crossroads or feels like doing a lot of thinking about life, the world and other people they are very insightful for they do make one think. For me 'Revolutionary Road' always makes me consider the Paris of our imagination, and how most people are simply too scared to break free to ever try for their particular Paris. Also it makes me consider what it is to be female and how few men are really male. 'Easter Parade' is quite different and I find it darker for Yates wrote women terribly well and it follows one woman through her unsatisfying and ultimately empty life. It is a dark portrait of being alone, single and above all female.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

The killer question.

Now that term has started I have been meeting lots of lovely new men and to all of them I ask the same question: Do you read? and it's follow up questions about what exactly they read. The question of books is all important and, for me at least, a wonderful way of seperating out possibly interesting men from the less than interesting.

On Tuesday night I was out at a drinks thing and met several rather charming chaps. One in particular I found very attractive and so I lost no time in asking the deal breaker. Thankfully his initial answer was yes, he does indeed read. But sadly for us both when asked what work of literature he was currently enjoying he said he was reading a Dan Brown... A Dan Brown of all things! Good grief! I was horrified and not a little put off. He made back some of his lost ground by commenting on his liking of Joseph Conrad books, but since I don't much care for that author I wasn't overly impressed by that either, but at least his books are classics. Dan Brown, and to admit to it so casually!!!

I often find that people react oddly when asked about their reading habits, almost as though it were a school test on something they should have revised. They get all flustered and I strongly suspect many of them of fibbing about what their favourite book is as they often chose literature considered difficult. Once I was told that their favourite book was 'War and Peace' which at first delighted me and I launched into a discussion about it, only to find they had very strangely forgotten basic plot details!

I do hope I meet that attractive chap again even if he does read Dan Brown for he was rather nice. While out last night I was asked for my number by a rather sweet German student who like me adores swimming. I am not much interested in him but he was okay and if asked out for drinks I would probably accept. My fat and pompous friend has invited me over to his flat for port and cheese this afternoon. It certainly sounds like a friendly invitation but sadly he rather obviously fancies me. We know lots of the same people and also have some lectures together and whenever I leave to go home he springs up and walks me back. He is very nice indeed but desperately unattractive physically. It would really be much easier if he were just to ask me out so that I could say something kind about liking him as a friend so that we can put this awkwardness behind him. Were he not friends with so many people I know I might have gone on a few dates with him but were I to do that and then end it it might make things very uncomfortable to be around him and I see him at four lectures a week plus at least one social occasion weekly as well so friends it must be.

Looking forward to a cosy night in this evening. Three months ago tonight I split with Germanicus and I have decided to celebrate by eating my favourite junk foods, drinking a really good bottle of wine and watching the best television show of all time: Arrested Development.

Monday, 20 September 2010


I have just realised that the three month anniversary of me chucking Germanicus is not this Wednesday when I will be out with people but instead this Thursday for which I have no plans... maybe I should see him?!

A dating resolution.

There are some nights when I really miss Germnacius. I am successfully not reading anything more into this than that we were together for so long and that I am still getting used to his not being an almost constant physical presence in my life. Although sometimes I do wonder if my thinking about him so often and wanting to see him more often means something deeper. He is a lovely, wonderful person and i am still achingly fond of him and although he does have his annoying habits and all the things that used to annoy me so much are clearly still there he still compares very favourably to the other men that I am meeting and considering dating. To such an extent that although I do not mean to compare him with other boys it does happen.

When I was out at the weekend on that sort of a date but not quite I looked over at my companion and thought how uninteresting and dull he was compared to Germanicus. He didn't treat me the same way, talk about the same things or even look as good. I am not back at university after the long summer break and today in one of my classes the previously mentioned pompous fat chap sat next to me. He is great fun and jolly nice but as it suddenly occured to me that he might ask me out I felt a wave of mixed feelings. I am not sure I want to go on a date with him where as with Germanicus I was always sure I wanted to.

Oh I am just still adjusting to single life. Wednesday is the 23rd and it will be a whole three months since I ended things with G. I am out that night with friends for a proper dressed up night and intend to throw myself into the dating scene by flirting with lots of cute boys and maybe even getting asked out, even if only by the pompous chap, for I have made up my mind only to say no to date offers if I truly loath the person asking, I need the practice and after all one need not go out with them on a second date if the first goes badly.

In fact I hereby make the resolution to accept all date offers unless I detest the chap asking me.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Rather a bust.

Yesterday's date was rather a bust. The Tory boy was more interesting than I thought he would be and turned out to have lots of lovely interests such as collecting vintage champers and being obsessed with Doctor Who, but despite my repeated attempts at book chat he just isn't good at talking about books. I found him to have the same problem as many of my acquaintence: he has read a good deal but when it comes to actually discussing the books he has read he falls way short. So there was a little Wodehousian talk (the only author I could find that we both adored and so I fell back on him a good deal) but mostly we chatted of other matters.

The date lasted into the evening but eventually I just became bored of him and called it a night. Like all good Tory boys he walked me home but I did not invite him in. He clearly likes me a lot and would like to see me again but I will not be agreeing to a proper date for three good reasons.

1. He expected me to pay half during our date! I do not like that sort of thing in the early dating stages and certainly not in the way he did it. He is well off and so it was not about economy but rather seemed to be part of his lets kind of go on a date but not entirely do so strategy to avoid him asking me out in any official way in case I turned him down. We went to three different wine bars and had we taken it in turns to buy drinks I would have objected far less but each time we had to split it. Such behaviour is messy and annoys me. While actually in a relationship I don't mind us taking it in turns to pay for things etc but when a boy asks you on a date I strongly believe he should pay the bill.

2. He is not charming and while I could accept that he was so graceless that on a couple of occasions he was practically insulting. He referred to us having known each other several years ago by exclaiming towards the end of the evening that he had had no idea I was so interesting and knew so much about whatever we were talking about. Ever so subtly screaming out that I had seemed jolly boring and not worth bothering about two years ago. Not a big deal but hardly appealing. He could have erased this by an easy compliment but instead just apologised a fews times which made it rather worse and just led to me remembering the incident.

3. He bored me. My one over-riding rule of dating is never to be with a man who bores me. To his credit Germanicus managed for years to avoid doing so, so it is possible. I find that some men have the ability to bore me within the space of an hour let alone a whole date and anyone who bores is never to be dated again.

So that particular boy is not going to be seen much of again except in group situations. Ironically I think he may have enjoyed our date rather more than I did for I have just been invited to his birthday party!

Friday, 17 September 2010

From old to new.

Met up with Germanicus last night. For the first time we hung out properly as friends, well except for him having his arm around me as we watched movies and my falling asleep on his chest.... So not quite black and white friends territory but still I think of it as good progress for there was no awkward talk of our previous relationship and we just had a relaxed time. I did have rather too much to drink which is perhaps why I kept dozing off event though it wasn't especially late, but I really enjoyed being with him. He seems to be discovering his uber geeky side now that he is single again and plans to start war gaming and playing 40k. I love geekiness but am jolly amused at his only getting into it after we split up. Clearly he is using it as a way to fill his time. What I am v keen on, however, is his holding some diplomacy evenings as I long to play it again. We have only played it once (a wonderful evening of red wine, diplomacy and geeky chatting) and I am desperate to repeat it. I very enarly nearly won against some very experienced players and it made me feel like Lord Vetinari!

Currently trying to compose a reply to that chap who asked me out over facebook. I wonder what I should call him... I am finding it very tricky to come up with names to use for my friends and acquaintences on here... I would call him Tory boy but I know so many of them that that just won't work. In fact I will not be naming him because this chap, nice though he is, is not going to become a fixture in this blog.

Gosh I do feel rather weird about going on a date, especially when I am unattracted to the boy... but I need the practice, we can talk about books which I will adore, and I can pretend that I thought he was asking me to hang out as a friend if neccessary. Actually that last is not entirely true for when I turn down a boy I always like to leave the door slightly open and before Germanicus my line always was 'I really like you but I don't feel I know you well enough... etc' which I found very successful in retaining their uinterest and yet also saying no gently. Now I think a good line would be 'I like you a lot but I have just come out of a long term relationship... etc'.

Oh well at least he reads books! He is particularly interested in classical literature, as in the classics (Livy, Suetonius, Tacitus etc) rather than classic books whichb suits me wonderfully as I am very into the classics, he also loves P.G. Wodehouse and so I anticipate lots of chummy chatting about Blandings and Jeeves and Wooster.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Dating offers.

Is it wrong to go on a date when you have zero interest in the other person? Well zero interest is not quite true; he is really nice and actually quite interesting but it is true that I am not the least bit attracted to him... I plan to accept, it has been too long since I went on a date and we are bound to have some good chat about books. We used to vaguely know each other in a crowd and then I bumped into him again last week after not seeing him for a couple of years. Perhaps because I am now single he seemed a lot more interested in me than I remembered and we had a pretty good time talking about the P.G. Wodehouse, classic literature and graphic novels and their big screen adaptations. He then added me on facebook and today, a week after reconnecting with me, I got a long message asking me if I were free on Saturday afternoon to wander and go to a yummy sounding wine bar.

Admittedly Saturday afternoon is not a usual sort of date time and he did not exactly imply in his message that it is a date but that is certainly what he wants it to evolve into. I found his message jolly sweet although  he seemed to be trying far too hard to write in the manner of a Wodehouse novel in order to impress me. Gosh it is rather exciting to be asked out again after being in a relationship for so long, especially as it sort of happened yesterday as well! A lovely pompous fat chap sort of asked me out yesterday afternoon and was going to later on get my number but his friends were with him later on and he chickened out on getting my number. He added me on facebook last night though so I do hope he asks again!

What I would love is to do lots and lots of dating of lots of boys, stay with none of them for too long and just have a huge amount of fun. Finding another longterm boyfriend is not at the top of my agenda, I plan to have a wonderfully frivilous and decadently exciting single life first!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Far from the madding crowd.

'Far From the Madding Crowd' by Thomas Hardy inspired the wonderful graphic novel 'Tamara Drewe' which is being released this week and I am overwhelmed with eagerness to see it. The graphic novel (I really quite like still calling them comics but the sort of comic I read always seems to be referred to as a graphic novel these days) is by Posy Simmonds and is absolutely smashingly good. Vaguely based on the Hardy book which I have not read (not a fan of his) it tells the tale of Tamara Drewe's return to her girlhood village following a nose job and her successes as a hack journalist. It is tremendously funny and frightfully middle-class, indeed the latter characteristic is a common theme throughout Simmonds' work which is perhaps why I find her so amusing an author. 'Tamara Drewe' is Simmonds' best work, though 'Gemma Bovary' (inspired by Flaubert's Madame) is also jolly good.

The film stars Gemma Arterton who also played Hardy's Tess from 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles' in a BBC adaptation a few years ago. She seems like the perfect choice for Drewe, as does Roger Allam as Nicholas Hardiment, but I remain unconvinced by the choice of Tamsin Grieg as Hardiment's wife as in the comic book she was most plump and that weight fit the character to such an extent that having her on screen as thin literally seems to detract something from Beth Hardiman. I plan to see it this Friday after it's Thursday release and am so looking forward to it! 

For those who wish to see the trailer:

The graphic novel was originally serialised in the Guardian newspaper just as 'Bridget Jones' first appeared in installments in the Independant. I wish newspapers still serialise books but the only example I can think of is '44 Scotland Street' by Alexander McCall Smith which was in the Scotsman, and sadly I do not enjoy his work. When his books first started appearing I bought 'The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency' and disliked it so much that I didn't get much beyond the first chapter. 'The Diary of a Nobody' which I mentioned in my last entry also first appeared in serial form back in the glorious days of Punch magazine. I do so wish Punch was still in existence for I have often thought I would adore it.

Graphic novels get a funny wrap from society in general but I have long been a fan. I am not at all into what I refer to as superhero comics but adore the work of Daniel Clowes who wrote 'Ghost World' (also an excellent film) and 'Ice Haven', Alan Moore who wrote 'Watchmen' and 'V for Vendetta' (both truly dreadful films) and 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' (a horrendously bad film). I think most other girls are put off reading them due to the emphasis on superheros but they really should give them a second look. Posy Simmonds' work is particularly easy to get into as her books feel like pure books due to the large amount of text she incorporates. I very much enjoyed seeing 'Scott Pilgrim vs the World' last week and am rather interested in comparing the film to the graphic novels of the same name which  good friend assures me are much better than the big screen version.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Bonjour bonheur.

Having rather a jolly time of it today which is due in no small part to having started a new book. Technically it is not new but one I am rereading but I am always so desolate without a book in my hand that being plunged back into one is perfectly heavenly. I am reading 'Bonjour Tristesse' by Francoise Sagan which is a smash book about a young French girl named Cecile and her interventions in the love life of her charismatic and decadent playboy father. It is a wonderful little novella and Sagan was but a mere 18 years of age when she published the book which is quite extraordinary when one considers the complex nature of the character development. The voice of the narrator and main character Cecile, who is the same age as the author when it was written, is marvelously accurate and it is solely on that head that one might guess Sagan to have been so young a literary queen.

I also continue with my Blandings novels but as they really are very similar and all in the same style one also needs at least one other book on the go. Indeed I mostly reserve my P.G Wodehouses to be read with meals and to take around with me in the bag for spot of reading on trains and so on. One needs to very careful with them though for a often find myself giggling aloud as I read them and have attracted some interested looks!

Not only an I great devourer of the written word but I adore and am utterly and completely dependant on audiobooks. Currently my ears are enjoying 'Diary of a Nobody' by the bros Grossmith. It is one of my all time favourite books and I just can't listen to it too often. I have the Martin Jarvis version on my ipod and he is the perfect compliment to Pooter. I was first introduced to the brilliant and second to none audiobook work of Jarvis as a child when I heard his versions of the 'Just William' books which incidentally I think are some of the very best childrens books ever, they are right up there with 'The Wind in the Willows', 'Winnie the Pooh' and my personal favourite 'The Hobbit'. Jarvis is masterful at humour in his voice acting and I can't recommend him strongly enough. Selecting audiobooks to listen to is a fine art for one is not merely looking for a ideal book but a book ideal for listening to (they are very much not one and the same, I once owned 'The Wings of the Dove' as audio and it was truly dreadful) and also the perfect narrator for that work. I tend to avoid dramatisations as I find they have changed lots of things about the book to made it right for dramatisation and almost always severely abridged it, although an exception to that rule is the terrific BBC dramatisation of 'Lord of the Rings' which includes lots of splendid music written specially for Middle Earth.

I have a huge collection of audiobooks and my hot tips are 'Paul Temple' - but only the Peter Coke versions which are utterly splendid, Agatha Christie Poirot or Miss Marple books - Hugh Fraser and Joan Hickson versions are particularly good and Terry Pratchett novels - only the Tony Robinson versions. I normally always go for the unabridged version and my one exception to that rule is for the Tony Robinson Terry Prachett audiobooks. They are heavily abridged but it is skillfully done and Tony Robinson is such a perfect choice as the voices of the characters that it is more than made up for. He is to the Discworld what Martin Jarvis is to 'Just William'.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Encounters with the past - Antonia Minor

After my earlier entry today I found myself feeling so sad that I decided on the spur of the moment to go home and see my family. Wonderful decision and I am currently loving being at home and cooked for! It proved to be an even better idea after a littler encounter I had on the way...

I went into Waterstones on my way to the train station as I wanted to find out if they had any of Emile Zola's 20 novel magnum opus ' Les Rougon-Macquart' which I am desperate to get my hands on (I have since ordered the first two in the series from Amazon marketplace as Waterstones had none of them!). Who did I spot as soon as I had walked in the door but Germanicus' mother! (As I have called him Germanicus I shall call her Antonia Minor, Antonia for short as that was his mother in real life, I particularly like the idea as in 'I, Claudius' she was rather horrid. To be fair G's mother is not horrid but was not terribly good to me and jolly cold and we were not kindred spirits) I was horrified and my knees immediately began to shake (my body's typical reaction to my old public speaking and competition days so it was a bit of an odd reaction in the circumstances). She was facing a bookcase by the door and I was so taken aback and nervous that I made for another bookshelf nearby and tried to compose myself (and stop my hands shaking, for my knees seemed to be passing on tips to them) by flicking through Tony Blair's memoirs. I moved on to read the blurb of a recently published and very interesting sounding book about a Nazi dentist as written by his grandson or son. By this time I was in control and ready to face her and so I turned back to the shelve she had been browsing to find her gone. I thought she must just be in another section and so after arranging my skirt and smoothing my hair into position I slowly walked round the whole shop to find her absent.

We had been standing very close together. I could genuinely have not seen her due to the way the shop was laid out, but it is highly unlikely that she missed spotting me. I am convinced she saw me and to avoid an awkward hello, she left intentionally. 

I texted Germanicus and asked if it was possible that I had just missed Antonia in Waterstones (his parents life a long distance away and so are only around when they visit him). He said she was in town and so I might have done. I replied that she I had seen her and before I got the chance to say hello she had gone, and that I thought she might have been avoiding me on purpose. I was really hurt by her behaviour. I was her only child's love interest for over 3 years and she couldn't even bring herself to say hello and make a little small talk. He must have asked her for a while later I got a one line text telling me that Antonia had not seen me and that if she had she would have said hello. I don't believe her, though I am sure he does. While I love my parents I can see lots of their faults and along with loving them we have the odd disagreement and so on, as healthy relationships do. He has always thought his parents perfect in every way so if she told him she didn't see me he won't even question it or wonder if she was lying.

I am so sad about it because it acts as a reinforcement of the fact that the life G and I built together filled with the things we did together, our habits and routines formed over such a long time, the friends we met through each other and our two different families and so on, that it is all over. We have both gone back to having seperate lives. As Will spoke of in 'About a Boy', people are all islands, we are all alone, and only sometimes linked to other islands. I am finding it a big adjustment being my own island again but it is over 10 weeks now and things are without a doubt looking up. Roll on term time!

Grey areas.

Last night was really weird. We started off in a vaguely argumentative mood, or to be honest I did and he was cheery, then as dinner progressed things were lovely which led to me getting all sad thinking about what might have been. After that I didn't feel like sitting through a movie and so we went to my flat and sat chatting for hours. We got onto the subject of our breaking up repeatedly and we both got sad. By later on that evening I was desperate for him to kiss me as that sort of felt like it would magically solve everything that had happened but luckily he didn't, although at the time I wished he would. We sat really close on the couch but nothing happened bar a brief hug and then in a wild moment that I am trying to forget I sort of invited him to stay over... he was really sleepy and I did add just as friends, but I still regret it, thankfully he rejected my offer and left. Afterwards I cried for a long time and then spend a sleepless night thinking about him and about us, but not coming to any conclusions.

I know it was for the best that nothing happened but I feel ghastly today and miss him so much. But I must try and focus on what is best in the long run and getting back with Germanicus is not what is best. And earlier in the evening lots of his old habits resurfaced and annoyed me just like they used to, and he talked about all the same sort of things he always did, he was not very interested in what I had been doing and wanted to talk about himself all the time etc.

Over our current situation he is being very passive which is agrivating. In answer to several questions from me he freely admitted he still didn't think our splitting up was for the best, he referred to me as wonderful and said he didn't want to date anyone but me. And yet even though I intentionally sat v close to him he didn't try and kiss me, he didn't open up a 'i love you lets give it another shot' chat and yet he made it clear in so many ways that he wants us to be together again. I hate that passivity. If he wants me back he should do something about it and if he doesn't then he shouldn't throw out such hints. In the earlier portion of the evening I said that now we are learning to be friends we must not have grey areas of him saying things like that and trying to hold my hand etc, and although I too allowed lots of greyness later on I think my original plan of just black and white was better and intend to work hard at it now.

I really want us to be friends as I can't bare for him not to be in my life. But it will be unfair on him as well as me if I allow myself to try and encourage him to make a play fopr me again, for in all honesty that is what I was doing. I have been very hurt at the way in which he has so easily got on with his life after we split up but as I have decided that the split is for the best I must stick with it and not allow myself to give in to the loneliness and sadness of it by letting anything happen with him. It would spoil any chance of our becoming and remaining friends.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Dinner and a movie.

I am meeting Germanicus later for dinner and a movie. Gosh it does rather sound like a date when one puts it like that but I fully intend to meet purely as friends. I feel a bit nervous about it but mostly just calm and I have put a lot of effort into putting together an outfit and using makeup that looks casual but terrific at the same time. It will be lovely to hang out and talk to him again, I still love talking to him.

Started  'Pigeon Pie' by Nancy Mitford but it is rubbish! I was so shocked as I adore all her other books but this one stinks! It is full of characters that appear in her later books in a better written form and this totally spoils it for me. Currently deciding which book to read next and so am continuing with some lovely Blandings books as I do so.

Went to see Scott Pilgrim vs the World yesterday and thought it jolly good. Loved all the in referrences to American tv shows, comics and video games, particularly the Seineld jokes.

Going to have a big glass of wine with my book in preparation for tonight, perhaps I am a bit more nervous than I care to admit!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010


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Monday, 30 August 2010

Passion... or the world well lost for love.

As I read Therese Raquin earlier today (about 3/4 of the way through and loving it, though I do think the translator has over used the word egotism) I got to thinking a lot about passion. One of the reasons Germanicus and I split was that I considered him to lack passion. He never seemed to be passionately in love with me, was never carried away on the wings of love to do anything remotely wild and exciting in the heat of the moment and always refused to kiss me in public. As regards the latter I also consider making out in certain public places inappropriate but I was not asking for wild kissing in an expensive restaurant but merely to kiss my lover on a park bench or as we strolled through moonlit streets at night and so on. He lacked passion for me in general and although he did love me I found that love became a little muted with the passion absent.

In Therese Raquin the lovers get so carried away by passion that they commit murder (I am not really giving anything away here as unfortunately nowadays book covers have the perfectly horrid way of telling you the whole plot). I can't imagine Germanicus so much as insulting someone let along carrying out an act of violence due to passion. Perhaps he was a bit too staid for me? And yet I don't actually want a wild passion crazed man, not really my style at all, rather I want someone who is passionate in love and lust. Germanicus, oh Germanicus... you are not one who considers that the world would be well lost for love.

While discussing the matter over with a friend recently I commented on his lack of passion and there was a little pause in the conversation as she clearly prepared herself to say something she had been wanting to tell me, she replied to the effect that it was much better to have ended the relationship for to be with someone who doesn't care madly for one is not enough and that I deserved more. My other close friend and flatmate (should I give close friends names out of literature as well since I will be bound to mention them sometimes... I shall but will take some time to think of appropriate ones ) has also on many occasions since the split implied strongly that it is for the best, and my mother has also. They none of them seem to have anything to say against Germanicus, simply that the split was a good idea. In fact they have all been so adament on that point that I have only told my flatmate and no one else that I have met up with him since splitting.

Love should be passion filled and have its crazy wonderous moments that carry you away. Unfortunately Therese Raquin is not a great example of this for although they definately are carried away by their passion it does not benefit them in the end and instead destroys them. However, as I am not looking for a lover to be so wild about me that he has to murder someone, I think I can still quite safely look for passion!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Having a perfectly charming Sunday filled with good food, the Sunday Times and a Blandings P.G. Wodehouse. I adore Blandings and it always makes the world seem a better and happier place. In my mind I am still alternating between wanting Germanicus back and deciding that I am better off single. Recently I have been picturing what it might be to find someone else and I am growing rather fond of the idea. I long to find a man I can discuss books with, enjoy good food and wine and perhaps go to the opera with also. It is quite exciting thinking about the marvelous men I might meet and date... It being a long and pretty boring summer I expect I have allowed myself to dwell on memories of Germanicus and day dreams about us reuniting. But more and more I am getting myself used to the idea of a fun dating life with other men.

I feel I need to find a book I can really sink my teeth into and become totally absorbed by. But it is so hard to find such a treasure. The last book I read like that was 'War and Peace' but the one that most enthralled me was 'Nineteen Eighty-Four'. I got so sucked into it that for months afterwards I could remember the feel of it in my mind. It was the love story in it that captivated me most, especially the haunting little poem at the end. I find a large proportion of my life is spent in search of the perfect book or in a state of abject mourning because I have just finished one.

Saturday, 28 August 2010


Thinking a lot about the way in which a relationship can develop from love to friendship and vice versa. The ex and I might be classified as friends now, and he certainly used that term to describe us the first time we met up after splitting. I would like to be his friend if we aren't going to get back together, he is lovely and sweet and so nice and I love having him in my life. On that theme I spent this morning re-reading 'Anne of the Island' in which Anne Shirley finally realises she and Gilbert are meant for each other. I adored the Anne books when I was younger and this one became the most re-read for some reason. Not really sure why as it is not the best, but perhaps it is because Anne is still young and lovely rather than immature and silly (which becomes rather a pain to re-read when one is older) and is still not yet sold down the river to motherhood. Commenting in my last entry about poor old Natasha getting a raw deal at the end of 'War and Peace' reminded me very much at the time of Anne Shirley. She was terrificly wonderful, popular, intelligent and had aspirations to write books, but she hankered after Gilbert Blythe and as soon as that wedding ring was on her finger she became boring and dull, had no career or life of her own and started to pop out lots of children. Said children she didn't even really bring up but had a full time nanny and indeed in the later books Anne is only a shadowy sort of figure in her children's lives. I hate this about old fashioned books: we want our heroine to marry the hero but after the bells have finished pealing I for one would like them to remain intelligent and interesting and not just some sort of facet of their husband and am empty vessel about the home.

Anyway I think my original point was that relationships can alter and become something quite different. The ex and I were not friends before we got together but I really hope we can become friends now. It is best that I get myself used to this idea in fact as I don't think we are going to be anything else and I want above all for him to remain in my life. Let us go with the notion of friendship. About time I moved on properly, it has been over two months now, but the summer vacation is so horribly long that I think I will allow myself these additional two weeks until term starts again before I make myself pursue other options and other men. I am also already sick of referring to him as me ex, I don't like that term and so I have decided to give him a name out of one of my favourite books (and of course of the real list historical figure) and so I have gone with Germanicus, out of 'I, Claudius'.

Thursday, 26 August 2010


A few weeks ago I started writing emails to my ex-boyfriend by instead of sending them to him I have saved them all in my draft email folder. It feels really cathartic and cleansing to be able to tell him all the things I feel about our split and about him, and yet for him not to know or respond. While we were together I used to tell him about how I felt and he used to not properly listen/ change the subject/ totally forget what I had said a few minutes later and so this way works even better as it means there is now no reason for me to get cross with him for having failed to listen to me.
I used to think that men in real life were not a patch on men in books and while this remains largely true I must add the caveat that men in books also fall short of the ideal. I know think that ideal men are probably best illustrated by film rather than fiction. Mr Darcy in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ was a cold fish who was very rude to Lizzie Bennet and his only redeeming feature was his wealth, Anna Karrenina and Madame Bovary had a rotten time with men, Rhett Butler only amused himself with Scarlett O’Hara and then left her for merely being the same person she was all along and I can’t think of a single book in which the man both beautifully professes his love and then manages to live up to it afterwards. 
My ex and I have been split for slightly over two months now, two very long months in which I have not had nearly enough to occupy my time and so I have brooded rather while he has made himself very busy indeed and underwent no period of mourning where you don’t stir out of pjs all day and eat way too much while watching a lot of Murder She Wrote… We met up a couple of weeks ago to exchange our things which I found weird but he seemed to like. He wanted to see me again, in fact was most eager to do so and on Monday we did. We not only had lunch together but then met again in the evening for dinner and drinks. I am not being vain, I truly am not when I say that he wants to get back together. From some of the things he said, the way he tried to hold my hand several times etc. He does. And yet he doesn’t. He is not the kind to make any great romantic running after me, he is the type to sit back and see me lots of times and just wait for something to happen without planning anything romantic and without even thinking to himself that he should dress up, take me somewhere special and say wonderful things before kissing me. He will have no plan because that was the way it was when we got together in the beginning, he just kept asking me out and eventually things progressed.
I don’t want to sound bitter, I am not. In fact I was the one who split up with him. I am only confused and unsure of what I want. He is lovely and although there were other things behind the breakup the catalyst was definitely his pulling out of our plans to live together. That is what makes it so confusing: I split up with him because I loved him enough to live together but because he didn’t and I felt a great need to protect myself by not staying with someone who didn’t love me as much as I loved them.
What makes it all more confusing is that I can’t think of a single book where there is the same dilema! Even the torrid romantic life of Natasha in ‘War and Peace’ did not encounter this problem. On a side note I was frightfully disappointed by the way she ended up. She was stunningly beautiful and charming and catnip to men and yet she ended up with the most boring chap in the whole book and turned out frumpy, fat and a complete housewife. I was horrified! I saw the opera of the same book last year and thought it rather marvelous although in it for some ridiculous reason they missed the whole ending and Natasha actually didn’t end up with the bore which I found rather amusing!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Pullman and Mitford.

I am currently nursing a broken heart and waiting not so very patiently for the next university term to begin so I have turned to blogging with some vague idea it will make the time pass faster. Reading books is my now my one great love. My other used to be my boyfriend but sadly that is no longer the case so love can now be devoted solely to the wonderful world of fiction.
Feeling that there is nothing quite so good for cheering one up as new books I spent a wonderful hour in Blackwells last week. My purchases were the new Philip Pullman ‘The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ’ and Emile Zola’s ‘Therese Raquin’. I have always adored Pullman right back to my childhood days when I read the entire ‘Ruby in the Smoke’ series and ‘His Dark Materials’ I consider to be a modern masterpiece. Though I must admit to being a lot less keen on the third book in the trilogy for reasons I have never quite decided upon but suspect it has something to do with Lyra not being the total focus as the first book where she is the main character I find most compelling. I also disliked the way in which she allowed Will to take over so easily and felt it was a subtle implication that while a strong woman is good up to a point as soon as a strong man appears she gives up her power unto him, rather like the old fashioned view of marriage. Zola I only very recently discovered and this is my first book by him. By all accounts it should be very good and it is jolly exciting to go to the classics section in a bookshop and actually find there books I have not either read or dismissed! I reckon I have read or dismissed about 70-80% of all books in any good bookshop’s classic section (the emphasis being on read I might add, perhaps I have now read about 60% of them). While commendable this is not entirely down to my devouring good literature but also to the bookshops in question filling at least one shelf with different versions of Jane Austen’s books and another with the complete works of Charles Dickens who though terrific is not a terribly enjoying author to read.
Just finished ‘Highland Fling’ by Nancy Mitford who is a huge favourite of mine. I have had it on pre-order for Amazon for months as though it was originally published in 1931 it fell out of print and copies were impossible to get hold of until this new re-run. Earlier in the year they also republished ‘Wigs on the Green’ which was smashing and roaringly funny. ‘Highland Fling’ was rather fun but although very much Nancy it lacked the spirit of even her next book ‘Christmas Pudding’ which was only published a year later. The fling was her very first book and it is worth reading but mostly for Mitford fans like myself and I fear it might put others off reading more of her work were they to start with this one. I did adore its highland setting as I myself an Scottish, and the marriage of Walter and Sally (which also pops up in ‘Christmas Pudding’) was beautifully painted, but I did feel the love story of Jane and Albert didn’t ring true. I have now read all of Nancy’s fiction bar ‘Pigeon Pie’ which seems to be the only one failing to get republished but I have ordered over Amazon Marketplace and am very much looking forward to it. Her best books without a doubt are ‘Love in a Cold Climate’ and ‘In Pursuit of Love’ which I have reread more times than I would care to admit and like my Adrian Mole books and ‘Diary of a Provincial Lady’ are my constant standby choices.