Do Not Pass Blog. Do Not Collect 200 Views

Gosh, I realised this morning that I went straight from doing the crossword to writing my novel without first composing a blog post. So here I am. The good news is that I have now finished Nanowrimo; my novel passed the 50,000 mark and slid to a halt at around 50,049 or thereabouts. It came to a conclusion as well, which is always a plus: OH hit 50k the other day and is still writing because the story isn’t done.

So here’s the deal: a woman wakes up in a cell or bunker of some kind with no memory of how she got there. The only thing she can remember is falling down a well or tunnel which seemed to be lined with sandbags but these on closer inspection turned out to be bodies, either dead or sleeping. She’s utterly alone but as she begins to explore her new environment unexpected things happen; she meets other people who are also in the bunker and like her have no idea how they got there or what this place is. Together they try to find the way out, but when they eventually do, they discover a truth none of them would never have expected.

So that’s the novel – and that’s the good news. The bad news is that I woke feeling grumpy and depressed having slept badly and with a headache of the kind that feels like a scalpel scraping out the insides of your skull. I know these headaches of old; in fact I’ve become quite an expert on the different types of mal de tete which assail me. There’s the tension headache which begins in the back of the neck and strangles the head, there’s the fuzzy headache caused by poor sleep, alcohol or being emotionally overwhelmed; there’s the banging headache which beats a tattoo against the old frontal lobes – and then there’s the one that visited today, the scouring headache. I have a theory that some of these headaches stem – literally – from one part of your mind blocking information from another part, producing tension in the neck which restricts blood flow and produces the headache. It’s really frustrating and I don’t know what to do about it. I feel like this guy:

Ah well. I feel some more yoga and meditation coming on. Meanwhile, where did I put the chocolate?

Oh right. In my stomach. Yeah.

Happy Mondays. Stay safe out there.

Kirk out

O Brave Chocolate!

Mark reminded me this morning of his childhood self and how he was constantly misunderstanding things.  I know all children do this, but Mark had his own way of misunderstanding, as you can well imagine.  And one of the things he thought was that the Toblerone advert was about chocolate being isolated.  It didn’t occur to him that this was an improbable way of selling chocolate (viz. the infamous ‘Strand’ campaign):

he just thought that the phrase ‘out on its own’ meant that Toblerone was, well – literally ‘out on its own.’  Like a young child being out on their own; that this was something vaguely disturbing and that the viewer was being encouraged to, as it were, keep the chocolate company.

The mind of Mark!

But today is Friday and so we shall turn the mind of Lizardyoga to higher things; namely to book reviews.  I have now finished – as did Jill Paton Walsh – the final ‘Lord Peter Wimsey’ novel ‘Thrones, Dominations.’  It’s an odd title which I suspect is a quotation from somewhere, but the book is interesting because it was begun by Dorothy L Sayers and completed after her death (quite recently) by Walsh.

Wimsey is an attractive, if anachronistic character who is not so much modernised as translated here, via the agency of his wife.  He has recently married the writer Harriet Vane in a union which is more a marriage of minds than a sexual passion, although they seem fond of each other; and it is Harriet who translates Wimsey for the modern reader.  She is very much her own person and pursues a writing career in the teeth of opposition from the local community who are united in trying to persuade her to produce an heir.  So if you enjoy gently anachronistic crime fiction and are able to resist gnashing your teeth when confronted with class privilege, then give this a go.,_Dominations

Apparently the title is a quote from Milton.

Looks like we’re going to be moving soon.  If anyone knows of a 3-bedroom house for rent in Leicester, let us know.

Kirk out


A Hard Fact to Swallow

We had a great night last night at Yesim’s where it was the first anniversary of the group.  Yesim herself baked a cake the size of an occasional table which was cut into twenty brick-sized slabs and washed down by an enormous bottle of Rioja – one of the better brands.  I don’t know what year it was, but this was the make:

At the end we sang my Yesim’s Music Circle song with two extra verses specially written for the occasion!

And so to bed…

Then this morning, one of Mark’s little mini-lectures was on enthalpy (there’s no way to avoid these, so I just sit through them and groan softly from time to time, which he interprets as encouragement) or the measurement of calories by exploding food.  Apparently you bung your food in a microwave-sized explosive device and blow it up.

‘And then what?’ I said.

‘Then you know how many calories there are in it!’ he said.

‘What good is that?’ I said.  He looked aghast.  ‘I mean, if you’ve exploded your food you can’t eat it, can you?’ I pointed out.

‘That’s just a sample!’ he said.  ‘If you’re Cadbury’s or someone you test a sample of chocolate – and then you put the number of calories on the packet.’

‘Or not.  If they put calories on the packet nobody’d buy it,’ I said.

He had no answer to that.

I’m against the calorie-counting method of dieting anyway: having tried it myself in my youth I know that as soon as you impose a daily limit on yourself you instantly want more.  What has worked instead for me has been adopting a vegetarian diet (far fewer calories, always supposing you don’t live on cheesecake) and practising yoga.  The practice of yoga tends to give you a certain distance form impulses so that you can control them rather than them controlling you.

Overeating often stems from frustration.  In my youth I was horribly frustrated because I wasn’t able to express my thoughts and feelings: now that I’m writing full-time, that frustration has largely gone.

Yes, contrary to what Wallis Simpson said, you can be too rich or too thin:

– but you can never be too happy or too fulfilled.

So there we are – that’s my thought for today.

Today I shall be mostly… philosophising then socialising then Drinking and Thinking.  Join us tonight at the Ale Wagon, 8 pm, for a discussion on ‘Are We Becoming a More Cruel Society?’

Kirk out

Another Cross You Have to Bare?

So, what’s the best way to show people you’re a Christian?  Hmm, let’s see… could it be showing you care?  Giving a listening ear?  Helping out when needed?  There was a guy on Facebook who gave up his house to a homeless woman so that she could be with her son – that seems like a good way, doesn’t it?  Or you could – oh, I don’t know, raise lots of money for good causes or give blood or buy Fair Trade stuff or just hang out with people and be a good friend.  Huh?  Some of these?

But no – apparently according to one person at least, the best way to show people your faith is to wear a big dangly cross at work and then take your employers to court for discrimination when they ask you to remove it on health and safety grounds.

Now, I would be the first to acknowledge that Health and Safety has Gone Too Far: I also admit that there are sometimes double standards in this area.  For example, it would be unthinkable to ask a Sikh to remove his turban whilst at work – and that’s a comparable thing, isn’t it?  On the other hand there have been cases where Muslim women have been asked to remove the burqa at work – and quite right too.  The burqa is an instrument of oppression: a person without a face is not a person.  But, hey! you can be a Christian without wearing a cross: it’s not an essential part of the practice.  In fact, most Christians don’t wear crosses.  More importantly, you can show people your faith in so many ways – much better ways – than just wearing the symbol.  Don’t you think?

Here’s a parable for today:

There was once a preacher who got up in church and preached the word of God.  He preached against sin – and in that sin he included homosexuality.  Now in that congregation it happened that there was a woman, and that woman was upset by what the preacher was saying and so she got up and went outside.  And on the porch steps she found a man crying because he was gay and the sermon had hurt him badly.  So she sat beside the man and comforted him and showed him he was not outcast.

Now, which of those two do you think showed the love of God to that man?

(Btw, that actually happened.  The church was Holy Trinity and the woman was me.)

One way to show you care is by buying Fair Trade.  And here’s a link to a petition you can sign to make sure Harry Potter chocolate is not being made by house-elves: 

And here’s the video Alex Day made about it:

I’ve signed it – so go on, now you sign the petition.  Go on!

Kirk out