30 July 2007

This Week I shall mostly be ...

... recovering from Race for Life (not too achy!)
... trying to get 'Persuasion' finished - falling behind!
... hoping that now Rihanna is no longer number one the rain will STOP
... eating healthily ... occasionally ...
... going to Lincoln to wish my dad a happy birthday!
... counting the working days til I go on hols

29 July 2007

Generous Journal part ... something!

OK I've lost track of the 'parts' but on the plus side I've been pretty darn generous this week! Especially today when I participated in the Race for Life to raise money for Cancer Research UK (will post on that sometime this week) and donated three bags of stuff at the donation station - including a fair chunk of my 'Friends' video collection! Boohoo!

Other generous things I've done this week:
Bought fruit and vegetables from a local greengrocers
Started looking into ethical banking (or at least more ethical than my current bank!!)
Signed a petition to start charging tax on plastic bags - it's reduced use in Ireland by 90%
Bought a jigsaw from Oxfam - although I did also take a carrier bag from the over-eager shop assistant!!

Right, must keep this up for the next week ...

23 July 2007

This week I will mostly be ...

... Eating whatever I like in celebration of only putting a pound on since coming off the diet
... Reading 'Persuasion' still (finding it a bit hard to concentrate on!)
... Crocheting
... Sulking that hubby is off work
... Preparing for Race for Life on Sunday (unless it's rained off again!!)
... Jobhunting (still ...)

22 July 2007

Generous Journal part eight

Great news! Having requested a green bin back in April, it's finally arrived! (How ironic, some councils are charging to collect and reducing collection to encourage recycling, ours won't even give you the means to!) Anyway, now we can finally recycle again, hurrah!

In other generous news ... my attempts to have a generous day yesterday were, I believed, sabotaged by the hubby! We went to Otley, a nearby town with a good market and plenty of independent shops (in Guiseley there's not a great selection on account of the massive Morrison's in the centre of the town) and charity shops. We got veg from a greengrocers, fruit from a market stall because it looked nicer than the stuff in the greengrocers, and I got a belt, a cardigan and some work trousers from various charity shops.

BUT ... I'd managed to persuade hubby to go to an independent bookshop and pay out a bit more for his Harry Potter, but when we got there they were sold out. Not his fault, you say? Well, after other happenings, I'm suspicious. For instance while he went to the bucthers to get some bacon he asked me to go to Ainsley's to get bread. I was a bit confused but assumed there were no independent bakers around. Actually there are a few. As we walked on he suddenly said 'I suppose Ainsley's is a chain really.' Well, yeah!! Then, as I was buying my belt from Oxfam, hubby prodded me and pointed out some cheap knitting needles which I couldn't buy anyway as I don't know what sizes I need, and when I turned back the lady had put my belt in ... A PLASTIC BAG!!! NOOOOO! AND he bought Harry Potter from Morrisons for less than a fiver. Not happy.

My efforts to get someone to join Generous aren't going well, maybe because I'm rather shy of mentioning it ... I don't want to seem pushy or militant about it! Humph, must find a way of promoting the site without people thinking I'm scary ...

16 July 2007

This week I will mostly be

... Reading 'Persuasion' by Jane Austen
... Fending off the bout of sinusitis I can feel brewing in my skull
... Trying to get back into crocheting
... Making a list of jobs for hubby when he goes on summer hols next week
... Weighing myself to discover the damage caused by my post-diet bingeing
... Enjoying the last youth club for six weeks! Hurray!

15 July 2007

Generous Journal part seven

Victory on the bag front! Armed with my lovely flowery Next bag, I have confused shop assistants in Next (yes I am obsessed with that shop) and Boots this week by insisting they put my purchases in it. The girl in the Next shop actually asked if I wanted a carrier bag to put my bag in!?! I think she was very confused, bless her ...

Well, with 'Stop Taking Carrier Bags from Shops' on it's way to achievement, I've changed it's status from 'Currently focussing on' to 'still doing.' This means I can focus on another activity ... what shall it be? My two 'lapsed' actions are 'Perfect your Pasta' which I can't really focus on as I don't do the cooking (although hubby assures me that when he's not in a rush to get tea ready he does switch off the hob to let the pasta cook itself) and 'Get someone to join the Generous community.' Well, I managed to persuade hubby but that doesn't really count. If I can get just one more member then that would be good. So I've switched that to 'currently focussing on' and the pasta one to 'still doing' (even though technically hubby is doing that, not me). Now how to get a new recruit ...?

11 July 2007

250 word review: 'Shadowmancer' by GP Taylor

I got this book when it was first published because the Christian press went mad over it. Having finally read it, I can see why - it's so evangelistic, it borders on brainwashing! The story is about Thomas, an orphan living in a cave, his friend Kate who is abused at home and a mysterious African called Raphah, trying to find and protect a magical statue which bought by priest-turned -sorceror Demurral. They must overcome many hurdles and creatures to get hold of this statue and attempt to return it and Raphah to their homeland, as Demurral tries to overthrow God and take over the universe.

It’s a gripping story, full of the swordfights, monsters and magic you’d expect in a children’s novel. But not very far underneath it all it’s about the supremacy and love of God. Even as a Christian I found it rather heavy-handed. The statue is a Keruvim (cherubim), Raphah constantly talks of ‘Riathamus’ (Jesus), Thomas has a prophetic vision, and Bible verses are unsubtlely thrown in everywhere. I thought, “Well maybe it won’t be that obvious to a child,” but at points I knew I was kidding myself. I believe children should be taught about Christianity, but this book implies that it’s all about heroism, visions, supernatural fights and tangible closeness to God – which is a confusing and misleading message.

That said, this was a really good read, although the end was a bit rushed. But nobody knows how to end a book these days!

10 July 2007

Ten things I hate about my commute

1. Slow walkers - Picture the scene. You're running a little late. Your watch isn't very accurate so you don't know whether you'll catch the train. You speedwalk half a mile, turn into the narrow alleyway leading to the station and, oh, there's someone walking right in the middle, not allowing you past, at a frustratingly slow pace!

2. Day trippers on commuter trains - there they are in their jeans, planning their nice day out shopping, and saying 'oh look at all these people stood up, wouldn't you hate to do that every day?' Well there'd be fewer standing passengers if PEOPLE LIKE YOU WAITED UNTIL AFTER 9AM TO START SHOPPING!!!!

3. Seat hoggers - on my train, you get rows of three seats, facing each other. So what do you get? Two besuited middle-aged men in the window seats, two in the aisle seats, and two empty seats in between. And when they see more people coming on, do they move to allow you to sit easily in the aisle seat? No, you must push through the hard kneecaps if you dare to take a seat.

4. People having conversations really loudly on the train - I read on the train to and from work. It's my chance to escape from the fact that I'm either heading to a day of boredom or returning from one. So don't distract me from my escapism by talking about who walked into your hotel today!!

5. Annoying ringtones - Some I don't mind. But it's when it's a real tone of some awful song that only gets three bars in and gets stuck in your head for the rest of your day, and then is rammed home when the owner of such an irritating device keeps getting calls and hanging straight up. Just answer the phone and say, "Sorry I can't talk but there's a fellow commuter nearby who looks like she wants to kill me."

6. Unhelpful station announcements - "We are sorry to announce that the 0819 Northern service to Leeds is delayed." OK, well it's 0830 now, I'd spotted the delay, any idea when it'll bother to turn up?

7. Overexcited young people - One or two can be endearing. But when it's a gaggle of teenagers going to some school trip, and they think it's hilarious to shout 'tickets please' whenever the conductor passes through, now you're just taking the mick.

8. The 'bit wet' effect - OK fair enough, when the majority of Yorkshire was recently flooded, I could understand the cancellations. But surely we are a sophisticated enough nation to keep the trains running to schedule when it's just a normal amount of rain? Clearly not ...

9. Getting a bus - Usually linked to the 'bit wet' effect, which also makes buses run ridiculously slowly too. And you always, always end up sat near a smelly person.

10. Leeds station - I almost forgot, but it didn't entirely escape ... It's 8.40, I'm tired and probably a bit dizzy from being stood up or squashed between two businessmen, the last thing I need is to breathe in the stench from the various food outlets in Leeds station. Seriously, that smell can't come from anything edible. I'm never going near a Subway ever again.

09 July 2007

This week I will mostly be ...

... Eating what the heck I like!!
... Trying out Darcy Bussell's exercise book
... Finishing off 'Shadowmancer' and trying to choose another book
... Looking for jobs
... Sulking over my lack of Facebook at work

08 July 2007

Generous Journal part Six

I have victory! After trying to find a cheap bag that isn't from an evil shop (to find out which shops are evil, take a look at the Clean Up Fashion link on this blog) I gave up and went for a pricier option. It's from Next (my fave shop and quite ethical) and cost £8:

It's the bigger bag at the back. BUT two days later I was flicking through an old copy of Look magazine that my friend Fi (Shoegal) donated to me and discovered that accessorize are doing an even bigger and more ethical canvas shopper bag - at £5!! Unfortunately I can't find a picture to put on the blog, but I'm very annoyed at paying over the odds for the bag I did get! Oh well, I may just have to buy another bag, what a shame ... Anyway, the bag I did buy came in handy when yet again we forgot the big canvas bags we supposedly use when going to the supermarket, although we did take about three more carrier bags as a result of our forgetfulness.

On other generous news, I've signed up for another action - Put a Save-a-Flush device in your cistern - which will reduce the water used when we flush the loo. We've ordered said device from Yorkshire Water for free, and apparently lots of other water companies offer similar freebies, so if you're reading this, look into getting one yourself!! It's just a brick-type thing, nothing scary!

I also supported a loval library this week, well - I tried. Went to the local library on Saturday to get an exercise book only to find it shuts early on Saturdays. But hubby kindly got me some books from another library, so we supported one anyway!

So, pretty darn generous. I should keep this up!

02 July 2007

This Week I will mostly be ...

... Shifting that pesky last pound
... Trying to summon up the will to continue training for the postponed Race for Life
... Continuing to read 'Shadowmancer'
... hoping that our boiler is fixed soon so I can have a shower
... fantasising about all the foods I can eat next week if I finally finish my diet
... recovering from the start of a cold (I hope!)

01 July 2007

Generous Journal part five

I'm not doing very well on this ... the carrier bag boycott is proving more difficult than it sounds. I tried to find a decent sized tote bag to fold up and stick in my handbag when I go shopping but to no avail. What's worse, we went shopping yesterday and forgot our big canvas carrier, so had to take four carrier bags! Not very generous ... bag-finding efforts to be renewed this week.

Another matter foiling my generous efforts this week is the flipping weather. Today was supposed to be Race for Life day and I've raised loads of sponsorship money ... but because of the flooding earlier in the week and the forecast bad weather this weekend (which judging from my view from the living room window wasn't quite true) the race has been postponed to 29th July. This equally foils my plans to donate two bags full of books and clothes in the donation bins at the racetrack. I'm now not sure whether to hold onto these till the end of the month or to just find another charity shop.

Another matter of shame, linked to Race for Life ... I bought some rather hideous jogging bottoms from Asda yesterday, mainly because they were pink and white which was the 'colour scheme' of preference among my colleagues who are racing with me. However I've just been reading a report on Clean Up Fashion to say that Asda are among the worst clothing retailers for protecting their workers in other countries, particularly Bangladesh. I've not removed the tags from the said hideous item and will be returning them.

I think everyone should look at the Clean Up Fashion website to make an informed decision on where to shop - I am no longer going to shop for clothes in Primark, Asda, Tesco, Matalan or the Arcadia stores ever again having read this. So I am planning a bit of generosity by omission ... hmm, maybe a bit of active generosity is called for!!