Monday, 3 September 2012

A Beginners Guide - Sleeping on commuter trains.

As a fledgling commuter I have been carefully observing train sleepers, sleeper haters and the insides of my eyelids. To help other AM train newbies, here's a simple guide to making it to London alive and dribble free.

1. Before attempting the morning sleep complete the following steps.
 a. Analyse your past sleep behaviour. Are you a walker or a talker? Call your ex and ask them if you snore. Have a snooze on the sofa and establish whether or not you are likely to sprawl. Check your pillow for drool. Categorize the above behaviours from 1-5 where 1 is never and 5 is always/severe. If you score more than 8 points you should never attempt to sleep on the train as you are likely to be clubbed to death with a briefcase by that banker you snuggled, dribbled on and called mummy. At the very lest you'll end up dribbly and ashamed at Charing Cross as death-stares follow you all the way to the Bakerloo.

b. Work out when you need to wake up for your stop. Set an alarm. Without this there will come a day where dreams of  showjumping bunnies will carry you all the way to the end of the line, avoid at all costs.

c. Drink water, not juice. Juice will make you dribble, dribble will make you ashamed. You'll also feel about 8 times perkier when you wake up again. Needless to say espresso is also not your sleep buddy.

d. Make up a good sleep excuse. If you are a hugger and end up overly intimate with a fellow assenger, a heartfelt story of a night in emergency vetinary surgery, or a child with croup (that still happens right?) is much better than trying to explain that you just couldn't not watch the latest series of Toddlers and Tiaras.

2. While step one relates to humiliation avoidance. Step 2 is all about practicality. Which side is the sun? Avoid it. Sit by the window as occasional head bumps are much less embarrassing than toppling in to the aisle (field test #15 21/08/12). Dress appropriately, sleeping you is much less concerned about keeping her knees together and shirt pulled up, and no-one really wants to see that. Also, train air-con is cold, so don't get all trigger happy with the British summer and wear a chiffon shirt in September.

With all the above in place you may now enjoy a stress free, mildly refreshing and only occasionally bumpy train-sleeping career.


Thursday, 30 August 2012

New Beginnings

As the mourning/post-university/summer season comes to an end, I'm turning over a new virtual leaf. And that means dispensing with the melodramatic prose which has accompanied my third-decade breakdown.

Instead I will now document my attempt at being a grown-up, until that gets boring.  I hope you enjoy reading my 'Very Important Opinions'.


Hello virtual (and likely non-existent) reader.
Welcome to my newly revamped blog - read below this post at your own peril.
I’m going to keep things simple here, because lets face it, I spend too much time online and so, probably, do you.
I’m a graduate, eg. A naive, inexperienced, fairly sheltered, hardworking, occasionally drunk and well intentioned new adult with big plans and absolutely no idea where to start.
The first thing I have learned about adulthood, is the importance of having a point of view. It enables more in control adults to figure you out, aids conversation and most importantly gives the impression that you haven’t just spent three years in the heat magazine lined bubble better known as university.
The problem is, you’ve spent 17 years in education being told if not what to think, at least how to present it favourably, and to add difficulty to difference you’ve lost your audience. Post-teaching, past parental tolerance of long winded philosophies and pre enforced audience in spouse/offspring, all these thoughts and opinions are floating around my newly liberated headspace with nowhere to go.
So where better than the Internet. Between the cat videos, naked women and angsty teenagers, I’m filling one more remote server with the barely formed opinions of an as yet untested adult.
There will be typos.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Back in Black (but not for long)

So I've been missing awhile and then some, as life rather got on top of me. A lot of good has come from these silent months, sadly tempered by a little tragedy and this is to clear my mind for my future, which after I graduate University in June, will finally be my own to shape. As a result this post is not flowery, verbose or grandiose. These are just simple words to try and do justice to a very complex sadness.

  For anyone who has followed a while, you may be aware that my grandfather was unwell. Sadly he passed away on Feb 29th (an individual to the last dying on the leap day!) and we celebrated his life with family and The Inkspots, the java jive will always make me think of him singing while making coffee, a cuppacuppacuppacuppa cup.

It's been hard on all of my family, we're a close bunch and see each other most days, so it's still sinking in really. In the weeks since I've had a lot of time alone at uni to think over what his life has meant to me, and how I have been changed by his presence. At first I mourned the idea of living without him, of my wedding without him there, not knowing what he would have said about my agrees, kids or haircut. It took a while to realise that I will never have to do these things. My grandfather is present in everything I do, in every decision made, he has shaped me and I know exactly what he would say. Every time I ask myself how I will live without him, I just have to remind myself that I'll never have to.

 My only regret is being stuck hours away from the family as they knit back together. I thought I'd found surrogates to help me pick up the pieces but have found that as I crumbled, so to did the friendship I'd been counting on. It's hard to tell someone that you need them especially when you know that saying as much will make them feel awful, but if you don't ask you don't get. The problem is that when you ask and you still don't get you begin to realise that that relationship, whether out of disinterest, busyness or spite on the part of the other person, is not a true friendship but a support structure for them. It's hard to withdraw the support,but sometimes you have barely enough left to keep yourself standing.

 So when you fall, they can fall with you or just let you go. And if it's the latter, especially when barbed by poisonous words which to be spoken must first be thought, drunk or otherwise, it is all you can do not to throw poison back and to resign yourself to the fact that to keep being the person you want to be, you have to lose someone else who matters to you, and all of the things which you shared.

 In the last two months I've lost a father, a best friend, the respect of many, the freedom to enjoy my last months as a dancer and the opportunity to say many goodbyes. I'm holding on to my new beginning and getting through this last month in a dark place.

 Some people can never be forgotten.
Some words can never be forgiven.

 Right now I'm lonely, scared and miserable, but I know that it's got to get better. Last dark post. Promise. XX