Okay folks, I'm going to keep it brief. It's nearly 10.30 and I've been sat at my computer on and off all afternoon working on some job applications and I'm pooped. But I couldn't go another week without saying hi...
Last weekend I was in Dublin. it was only the day before I departed that I realised I was going to be in Ireland during the Referendum on Gay Marriage. It was a really exciting to be there at such a defining moment, and after a rather challenging conversation from the airport to the hotel with my taxi driver (who also wondered why he couldn't ask for a n****r coffee and why Muslims were taking over the world, I got into the full spirit of "Ta," shouting it at anyone wearing a badge asserting the same (NB: There was Guinness involved). Needless to say I was chuffed to bits with the outcome and hope that it helps the world understand that, when it comes to your sexual preference, it really isn't anyone's business other than the couple in question - and they should be free to express their feelings for each other the same as everyone else.
Anyway - rant over. I shall shut up now and share with you some of my photos from my trip. I admit, it's a heavily edited collection, but some of the evidence is best deleted....
Yes, I know that sounds selfish, but this weekend, it's just been me, myself and I. After a manic week at work and a busy out of hours schedule seeing friends and family, come Saturday morning I was more beat than I've felt in a long while and sent most of it (read: all) in bed. And whilst I did spend the rest of the weekend more productively, I decided to resist the temptation to fill up my diary and instead pottered around the flat getting on top of my chores and mooched around Walthamtow on me tod.
This afternoon I dedicated to some "me" time - as in, rather than doing stuff that was in some way useful or expected, I decided I should do something purely for my own enjoyment. I admit it's a craft I've not practiced in a while and it took we a while to figure out what I really wanted to do. After some soul searching I ended up in Walthamstow Village, where I checked out Gods Own Junkyard ( a.k.a. Europe's biggest neon sign junk shop!) and perused The Independent on Sunday over a pint. It really was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and one I intend to repeat very soon.
So whilst it might be a bit late for you to do so this weekend, I recommend that you block a day or two out soon to do your own thing, and practise getting that balance between doing what is beneficial and what is purely enjoyable. Okay, so next weekend is fully booked - and one I'm really looking forwards to - but I'll be spending a weekend going my own thing again soon.
Well, it's been a funny old week. In several ways it's been great - I've been off work so have been able to indulge in checking out some exhibitions and museums (The Institute of Sexology; very interesting. The Canal Museum; a bit disappointing.), getting outdoors (courtesy of London Fields Lido and the Regents Canal towpath) and, of course, a bit of editing and painting. I FINALLY finished the painting below and made a start on a couple of others - hopefully I won't stall so badly over these ones....
But then, of course, we had the general election. I make no secret of my disappointment at the result, which I put down to fear felt by the general public following a lot of scaremongering over the economy. Whilst economic stability is important, I firmly believe in helping those at the bottom of the social pile rather than feeding the fat cats at the top, and it worries me immensely that the services that support these people will be further squeezed - and those with next to nothing will end up with even less.
However, as my yoga teacher pointed out, whilst I felt like crying on Friday when the result was confirmed, it is important to look at the situation with clarity - and, rather than stress about it, I should either put my worries to bed - or do something about them. So, whilst I am worried about what the future holds for the people I serve at work and myself as a public sector worker, I am going to focus on what I can do to alleviate the problems we face.
So, whilst there is part of me that wants to wallow in grief, I'm not going to. I'm going to pick myself up and take action. What action that turns out to be has yet to be decided, but, when I feel my resilience wavering, I'm going to remind myself of the words of Maya Angelou. And, if you ever feel the world is starting to get to you, I invite you to keep them to hand as a little self-affirmation.
Still I rise.
Still I rise.
Still I rise.
So, as the Bank Holiday draws to a close, I hope everyone is feeling as smug as I am. I've had a lovely weekend thanks to my friends who joined me for a belated housewarming. In true Shelly fashion, I couldn't resist but go all out on the catering, providing food from the east - as in winkles from East London, Pork Pies from the East Midlands, and, sat firmly in centre stage, ham, stotties and pease pudding from my birthplace in the North East. I cooked the ham and the stotties myself and was really pleased with the results - will definitely be making those again!
Of course, it being a house warming party, I wanted to get my flat as pretty as possible - and managed to finish my second book case with half an hour to spare before my first guests arrived. Cutting it fine? Moi? Okay, maybe a bit...
So yes, I'm in my happy place this evening, and will be staying firmly put throughout the week, courtesy of a few day's annual leave I managed to sneak in. Of course on Thursday I will be voting, and encourage everyone to do the same. Last week I went to a talk by Owen Jones and George the Poet, and left feeling really inspired that, if we all pull together to work towards a better future, anything is possible. Not sure who to vote for? Take George's advice: think about all the things that really annoy you on a normal day and look at what the different parties are going to do about them. Pretty sound advice if you ask me...
I shall leave you with a quote from George - one for life and the election:
As long as you're gonna be courageous
I promise you you're gonna see some changes.
Here you will find my latest news, including what I have been up to and what I have been writing (and making). Hopefully you'll like what I have to say - and perhaps I will motivate you to get creative too...