31 December 2005

Oh, and PS ...

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

May everyone who reads this have a happy new year, with much joy and blessings.

xxx

Knit happens ...

Well, some of you will know that I started learning to knit this summer, once my exams were out of the way. Since then I have knitted two scarves - one with garter stitch, the other one much funkier with garter, stocking and reverse stocking stitch, and tassels!

I'm now very excited because for Christmas my Mum bought me two knitting manuals - 'How to Knit' by Debbie Bliss, which is very informative and clear, and 'Stitch 'n' Bitch', which is not so clear but has better projects. So here are all the things I want to have made by this time next year:

Mittens (I have some leftover wool from the funky scarf, which I gave to Mum, so I'll be making her matching mittens)
A bag
A sweater
A blanket
A kerchief (to put in my hair)
A hat
A hot water bottle cover

Over the last few days I've learnt how to increase, decrease, cast on extra stitches mid-piece and bind off some stitches mid-piece too, make buttonholes (although that needs practise!) and how to do single rib, double rib and moss stitch.

I'll try to keep my progress posted on here, with pics of my projects. Maybe I'll inspire somebody else to knit! (Soosh, if you read this, go on, you know you want to!!)

30 November 2005

The Feeding of the 100

Jesus fed 5000 people with five loaves and two fish. I have calculated that, if he were the caterer for our wedding, all he’d need is one tenth of a loaf and just 1/25th of a fish. The rate we’re going, we may need to call on his assistance.

Let me recount to you the caterer saga so far. We start looking at least 18 months in advance, and find a good and reasonably priced company, which for legal reasons I shall call Wembertons. We met the head of the company, who promised to send us more details, but it was ages before we finally got the up-to-date menus in July. And guess what? The prices had gone up, but the food was no better – if anything, it sounded more boring. It was like ‘101 things to do with a chicken’.

So, I posted on a wedding planning messageboard asking if anyone knew of a decent caterer in or around Lincoln, who wouldn’t rip us off. Somebody suggested a company that I shall Cimply Satering. These people don’t have glossy leaflets because they promise to create an individual menu using the ideas of the couple. So we met with the manager (by the way, each time we met a caterer they had to come to the village hall, which meant trying to find a time when it was free and that the secretary could give us the keys). He was very nice, plenty of jokes, slagged off other caterers saying that they shouldn’t charge extra for serving wine you buy yourself, making fun of their ludicrous prices, saying they didn’t adapt to what the customer wanted. We went away excited – until we got further details. Not only had he almost entirely ignored our menu ideas, not even providing a vegetarian main course even though I’d stressed that I am a vegetarian myself, and expected us to pay around £4000. No chance.

With around nine months to go before the wedding, cutting it very fine, we started our search again. This time we got somewhere. Now I can name this company, because I won’t be slagging it off – Jossals. They’re everything we were looking for - lovely food at a very reasonable price, local, and very accommodating to our situation (us being in Leeds and everything). With less than seven months to go, we have all their details, and are ready to book, except for one little hiccup – they might not be able to provide hot food, as the kitchen is too small. We’re currently in negotiations with the hall over the possibility of hiring ovens and putting them in the side room, but we don’t know if we’ll be allowed to do this until nearly Christmas.

If you’re reading this and you’re coming to the wedding, bear this in mind – if you say one bad thing about the food, even if it is bread and fish, I will cry. And you don’t want to be the horrible person who makes the bride cry, do you?

25 September 2005

Our house, in the middle of our street …

Well, no photos as yet because my camera’s playing up a bit, but just so you all know what sort of place I’m living in these days, I’m going to give you a description of the house I’m living in for the next 9 and a bit months.

It’s a little back-to-back terrace, near the end of a row of other little terraces, in the nice end of Beeston. There’s a chippy nearby, and a cheap hairdressers, and plenty of fast food places, so I’m happy. It’s also very near a huge park, so if there’s any more sun while I’m living here I’ll have to explore it.

Our front garden is currently a little messy. It’s very small, mainly paved, with the unfortunate reminder that the former owner had rabbits to one side. Climb up a few steps and come through the front door (which I’ve just about got the knack of locking) and you’ll find yourself in a very pretty living room, in a pale green and cream d├ęcor, currently furnished with a two-seater cream sofa and a rocking chair. We’ll be getting another sofa soon, as the current sofa is really only big enough for one and a half people, so if Chris visits someone invariably has to sit on the floor. Anyway, on with the tour. To the left of the front door is the doorway into what I’ve labelled the ‘oojamaflip’ room – quite small, currently used as a storage room but will eventually become an office. Go through this room and down some stairs and you’ll get to the spacious kitchen, with a mahoosive oven that makes me feel bad for only ever cooking pasta and sauce. The kitchen still needs some work, but is in a pretty good state.

Back up, through the living room and up some more stairs, and you’re faced with a choice of three doors. Take the one in front of you and you’ll find Emma’s room, still a work in progress but she has a lovely bedspread. Take the one to your right and you’ll be in the bathroom – the less said about that the better. The other door will lead you to yet more stairs, at the top of which is my room. Spare a thought for my tortured legs. Simply decorated in white paint, with a cream double bed (currently with lilac linen but that will change). Bauble fairy lights are hung around the room, which makes me feel like a six-year-old. A spare mattress is set up to one side for Chris, although the mattress isn’t great so I’ll have to inflate the trusty airbed someday. Other work to be done is the need to hang the beautiful mirror Chris bought me as a housewarming present, and to get rid of the broken TV which the former owner kindly left for us (along with a wide array of other crap, apparently).

So that’s where I’m living for now. If you want to visit, let me know, I’d be very grateful to see some friendly faces. Think of it as a leg-toning weekend!

17 September 2005

Things that annoy me about jobhunting ...

1. Application forms that tell you to refer to the employee specification when you haven't been sent one.
2. 'Please send an SAE' - please let me save my money, not pay out for three envelopes and first class stamps!
3. People who don't even call to let you know you were unsuccessful. Manners cost nothing.
4. People who invite you for an immediate interview then treat you rudely because you're not the 'ideal candidate'. If you're that picky, why didn't you give me a form to fill in first??!
5. The ArtsJobs mailing list - useful at times, but why don't the people mailing out vacancies state where it is? The amount of times I've worked it out from telephone area codes ...
6. Not getting anything through, so making other plans, then getting a call from your recruitment agency saying 'There's a full-time job starting tomorrow ...'
7. Five words. "So what do you do?" Well, I watch This Morning then Neighbours, then stare into space until my housemate gets back from work.
8. The fact that you have to wear a suit to interview. When you're unemployed you don't want to spend money on clothes you'll only ever wear for interviews!
9. Buying the local paper to discover there are barely any good jobs and you've just wasted 35p.
10. As above, but swap the local paper with the Big Issue, and swap 35p with £1.20.
11. Feeling guilty for buying sweets. Or cheese. Or peanut butter.

Any other suggestions, post a comment!!

04 September 2005

I'm not dead ...

... I'm just in Leeds. Sorry it's all gone quiet, I've moved into my new home for the next 10 months, and have no internet. So whenever I want to use the net I have to nick Chris's PC.

I'll give you a more detailed run-through of the joys/perils of moving up north when I've settled and have some pics of my new place. For now I'll let you know what I've been up to since my last post:

- Finished knitting a scarf
- Seen my best friends Beth and Soosh for the last time in months (boohoo)
- Moved house (obviously)
- Pretended I'd be happy with a data entry job to a bloke in a recruitment agency
- Watched 'The Karen Carpenter Story'
- Painted a wall
- Eaten a whole bag of Swedish Fish
- Made cauliflower cheese

And many other things ... watch this space ...

24 August 2005

I like big butts and I cannot lie ...

Yesterday was a day of mixed blessings. On the good side, I got rid of a load of old stuff to charity shops and second-hand shops, so that's one more job done that I had to do before moving. And I saw my friend Beth, and it's always fab to see her cos she never fails to make me laugh! But on the down side, I'm getting a cold (in August! Unfair!) and, when crouching down to check the answering machine, I split my trousers in an unfortunate place. Mum tried to convince me tat it was because the trousers were fairly old, but this is the second pair I've split recently. There's only one possible cause: first name Hugh, surname Jass.

Of course, I reacted to this revelation with suitable horror, what girl wouldn't? But the ironic thing is, I'm actually quite pleased about it. I'm happy with my figure as it is, as I'm blessed with a slim figure, but to tell you the truth, I'm starting to hanker after some curves. Cut my head off right now and I'll look like a boy. Even if you put me in a dress, I'd look like a boy with a penchant for cross-dressing.

The question is, is this just a personal decision to do with my own sense of femininity, or is an ample posterior the new fashion must-have? It seems to work for J-Lo, and I heard recently that Nike are going to use curvy women in their adverts from now on. Is the reign of the skinny supermodel soon to end?

Well, whether or not this true is pretty irrelevant. Women have curves, it's how we're designed. What's wrong with that? Why do we want to look like boys anyway?!! I say we women should all stick pics of Marilyn Monroe on our walls and say to ourselves 'I love my wobbly bits!'

To finish, I once again quote what is fast becoming my anthem. Baby got back, one more time from the top ...

17 August 2005

Ambitions II

I have 4 sparkly new ambitions to add to the list! Yippee!!

1. Go to India
2. Shave my head for charity
3. Do VSO
4. Own a house

There we are, that's it for now, nothing new to report.

05 August 2005

If you're sick of jobhunting clap your hands *clap clap*

If I were to count up the number of job applications I've filled out, they probably wouldn't amount too that much. I think they're in the region of 10-15 at the moment. But it feels as though I've been jobhunting forever. It's not just the applications themselves, it's the trawling through e-mails, websites and newspapers in the desperate hope of finding a job worth applying for. It's the dreaded question 'so what are your plans now?' It's facing up to the fact that I won't be getting the perfect job for a while yet.

The thing is, I know I'm never going to get the perfect job. I started uni wanting to be an actor. I would probably have still pursued that had I not met Chris and realised that, if was going to be with him, I'd need to have a more stable job. So I compromised, and eventually decided that drama work with young people is probably the better option. But now I've left uni I've discovered that, actually, even that is too hard to get into. So I'm compromising on a compromise - I'm looking for anything relating to drama, education or young people. Recently I've applied for admin jobs at a college and a Young Offenders Institute, a learning support assistant job at a high school, even a visitor assistant at Kirkstall Abbey because it's vaguely related to the arts. None of which are exactly what I want to do, but they're jobs at the end of the day.

I'm fed up especially today because I got an application pack through for an admin assistant for a youth theatre company - as close to perfect as I'm likely to get, so what's the problem? They want 1 years office experience. AAAARGH!

Any employers who happen to read this, take heed - graduates, by nature, have little to no experience. How are we meant to get that experience when you all ask for experience?? Have pity on us, we've run up debts of £10,000 only to discover that we can't get jobs as we should've spent the last three years working.

I'm tempted to set up my own theatre company. If I do, I will insist on having plenty of graduates in it. We may be lacking in experience, but we make up for it in enthusiasm and drive, I promise!

21 July 2005

The Graduate!!

Well, as of last Friday, I am officially a graduate! (I'm also officially unemployed but let's not go into that) I'll give you a quick rundown of the day, my memory's already hazy as I've been too busy to post since, but I'll try to remember it all.

Well, we set off before 9am so we had plenty of time. I went down with Mum and Chris, Dad was going to come down later. After a long, hot and boring journey we got onto campus. I had to do a bit of banking so thought I'd pay one last visit to the Warwick Uni branch of HSBC, then we went to get a spare ticket for Chris, as I was only allowed to prebook two tickets for the ceremony.

We went to a drinks reception in my department, faced all the inevitable 'so what next?' questions, managed to dodge them pretty well I think! I'm never good at making conversation when milling around so I didn't stop for long, but I did stop to chat to a few people. I got into a conversation with my former personal tutor, Prof David Thomas, and he talked about how I could use drama to help with the situation in Leeds now, told me about varioud drama projects which bridged Christian and Muslim communities. It was all very interesting and gave me food for thought (I have been pondering these ideas since, but I'm not going to say in what way, I don't want to jinx it!)

Then I went to get togged up, boy do graduation robes make you feel like a pillock!! I ended up with a mortar board that was too big for my head, and my robe kept slipping and pulling my shirt up (not attractive!) We had lunch outside by the piazza where I saw Tom Mort (my old housemate) and Peet, who proceeded to make sure Tom and I had our robes on properly (apparently he used to be a dresser for Burtons!) Chatted to them for a bit then decided sitting outside in the sun wearing an enormous robe was not the best of ideas so went into the arts centre.

There I saw Jenny 'Jampot' Malenoir, my best friend on the course. She was bubbly and mad as ever, complained that the mortar board made her hair look silly! She's going to work as a classroom assistant for a while before doing an MA in children's literature - I think it's just an excuse to postpone growing up, and I think she'd agree with me!

Well, after waiting around for a bit, I had to go register and get in the hall. You could tell there were theatre students in - my word were we rowdy! We were doing mexican waves before the ceremony, then wehen we went up for our degrees, we all cheered each other! Well, we have spent three years learning to be expressive ...

Out of the ceremony, straight to the piazza for the group photo, which I'd been organising. I managed to get most people there on time, unfortunately Kate and Julia, who I was quite close to, didn't make it in time, which I was very sad about. It would have been nice to have the lot of us on the photo so I could remember everyone. Anyway, we stood in the piazza, squinting against the sun, threw our hats in the air, then that was it.

Dad took a few photos of me, as he hadn't arrived until I'd already gone into the ceremony, then I dropped off my robes and we went to the Phantom Coach for a meal with Charlie and Rachel (Charlie's our best man, Rachel's his girlfriend, they're both very good friends of ours). It was a nice meal, Charlie and Rachel seemed to get on well with my parents, and it was good to see them again. The food was standard pub food, neither terrible nor great!

Then i went back to Lincoln, reflecting on the day, on the fact I have a degree even though I still think of myself as 18, and on my need to get a job ....

09 July 2005

Ambitions ...

Well, up until now my main ambition has been to become famous, but I'm beginning to realise that that's gonna be trickier than I thought when I was 5! So I've decided to compile a list of things I want to do in my lifetime. So far I have:
1. Have a gig (where I'm one of the main artists!)
2. Go to Africa
3. Give blood
4. Get up close to an elephant
5. Really master a style of dance
6. Become a mother (probably the biggest challenge there!)

Hopefully the list will expand with time, I'm sure there are many things that deep down I know I must do in my life, just need to recall them to my memory!

I'll keep adding things to the list on here, so keep watching!

08 July 2005

Sending my prayers to London

I'm still trying to get my head round what happened in London yesterday. Thankfully I didn't hear anything about it until I rang mum at work and she immediately said 'Phillip's OK.' (Phillip is my big brother, he works in the city). So I knew straight off that he was fine. Didn't think much to it (knew there was a bombing in London, but they seem to get bomb scares all the time) until I got an e-mail from a friend who works in the city saying 'I'm fine, I didn't go into work this morning.' Then I saw a message about it posted on the chat room I was browsing and it dawned on me that this wasn't a minor incident. Switched on the TV in time to see a an being taken out of an ambulance on a stretcher, being given CPR. It was a moment before I realised what I was watching - a man on the brink of death.

I'm still waiting on e-mails from friends in London to say they're OK, I doubt any of them were involved but I worry about these things. There's nothing else I can do after all. I spent a lot of yesterday praying, I know one day good will overcome evil but I really hope that we get a glimpse of that final victory in this situation.

If any Londoners read this, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Don't let the bad men win.

04 July 2005

Musings on uni ...

Well, I have nothing to do at the moment, I'm back in my family home, waiting for a job and a place to live to appear in Leeds, so I've been thinking about my time at uni, what I'll miss, what I've learned, what I regret.

I'll obviously miss my friends. There are people at uni who have really changed my life (you know who you are), and it's sad to think that I won't be able to them regularly anymore. And I'll miss seminars. I know you'll all think I'm a loon for saying that, but seminars in my final year especially were great - sitting around talking about theatre, history, politics and all sorts, I loved it. I'm sure when I start a job I'll miss lie-ins, and I'll definitely miss student discounts and long holidays!

What have I learned? Apart from a bunch of (probably useless) bits and pieces about theatre that is. I've learned not to judge a book by its cover; some of my best friends are people who, when I first met them, I thought I'd have nothing in common with. Equally, people who I thought I'd get on well with sometimes turned out to be the exact opposite. I wish I'd learned this simple fact much sooner, but then if I had I wouldn't be where I am today.

I've also learnt that I'm not exceptionally intelligent. I always subconsciously believed this, had this niggling feeling that I was something special, something different, so assumed this must be to do with my brains. Getting a 2:1, while it was a great result, did humble me and has made me see that, yes, I am different, but I'm equal to everyone else - no higher, no lower. From now on, 'Different but Equal' will be my motto.

Regrets? I've had a few! I regret not getting much arts experience for a start, and, connected to that, I wish I hadn't spent so much time doing 'Christian' things in an attempt to earn brownie points with God. It never occurred to me that, as long as it wasn't plain wrong, He'd value whatever work I did.

I especially regret not getting to know my coursemates better; yeah, I have different views to many of them, but in my final year it really dawned on me that I'd been put on a course with 37 other people, everyone one of them special. I made the decision early on, when I was struggling to make friends at uni, to focus on befriending other Christians - after all, then I was guaranteed to have one thing in common with them. This provided me with brilliant friends, but meant I cut myself off from most of my coursemates.

But, what's done is done, and if nothing else, uni has made me more open-minded, and I know myself far better now. Pity I couldn't have achieved that without running up a £10,000 debt!!

30 June 2005

Welcome!

Oh no I've succumbed to the world of Blogs!! See, I always try to resist pressure, but never succeed. Although I still haven't seen a Star Wars film all the way through, get me!

OK, what shall I put? Hmmmm ... well, I'm in the beautiful village of Reepham, near Lincoln, right now, just left university (sob sob) and waiting until I have somewhere to live in Leeds before I move up there and hopefully get a job!

I thought I'd create this blog to keep people updated on my life, seeing as I'll be away from pretty much everyone I know when I move to Leeds. That's a scary thought ...

Anyway, I have very little to say right now, cos I've done next to nothing since leaving uni. Oh apart from making spring vegetable risotto, which I'm very proud of. For somebody who can't cook, that's a big achievement!

Well, I'll stop boring you guys. I'm sure something exciting will happen to me soon, and then I'll tell you all about it. Promise.