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.