Leaving & Arriving

I am leaving for America tomorrow….so I really should be checking I have everything ready and then trying to get some sleep because I have to wake up at early tomorrow…however I am actually just doing pointless things like refreshing my facebook page every five seconds and trying to beat my highscore on Snake (which is really the only reason I have mobile). I am also looking up pictures of Karl Urban. (because he is kinda hot) (he is also 21 years older than I am. I am going to have to try and remember that). (yeah…kinda been trawling through some Live Journal stuff lately and i’m worried it is rubbing off on me. I said “karl urban is hot”. Not stuff like “need like burning”, “MOAR URBAN!”, “Karl is a total BAMF” or anything accompanied by a photo of a beaten up and collared Karl Urban from the film “The Irrefutable Truth about Demons”. seriously if i ever do that hit me)

I know I will have internet access in America, but it just feels like I wont because it is like a whole other country….and the total flight time around 14 hours (because of a stopover in Cincinnati. I don’t mind that because I love saying the name Cincinnati). Lots of packing. The only difficulty was which books to bring. I am only taking one CD, which is a mixtape Imogen made for me specifically for going to America with (because she is just awesome like that) (it is also just a really good mixtape) (…mix CD? I just prefer mixtape)

Which Imogen gave to me last Friday when we hung out in the Starbucks in Borders (rasperry+peach muffin=awesometacular) before going to all the children’s toy stores/departments in town. I love Fun Learning, the shop assistants don’t think it is weird for two teenage girls to be hanging out there. We both bought some dice and then ran around trying to find books on dice games (one day we shall become masters of Bidou! but for now we have written it off as too complicated). I also bought a Reboot!Spock action figure which is the most adorable thing ever. I love how I can just buy nerdy action figures with Imogen.

(speaking of being  a nerd: i’m going to update you on my Star Trek viewing. Sorry. Summing up:

  • “And the Children shall Lead”: Nooo! I hate creepy children! Have to agree with Nimoy that “Miri” was a way way better episode. Plus, the whole “these children kinda killed their parents” thing- just a bit too weird and creepy.
  • “Is there no truth in Beauty?”: possibly the beginnings of the rave scene with those awesome glasses and the flasy green light effects. Plus it always fun to watch people telepathically communicating with golden trash cans.
  • Spectre of the Gun: you have to be kidding me. “Hey- lets make Kirk and the gang re-enact the O.K Corrall shoot-out!” (again: just how american can this show get?!) is just a crazy idea (plus they so should have been made to wear western outfits!) and the writers have by this point forgotten the whole “mindmelds- totally personally, really don’t want to do it on humans” thing. But I am loving the Chekov in this episode- totally adorable
  • Day of the Dove: arrh! Chekov not so cute in this episode! Fair enough because that stupid alien entity made everyone go all crazy. Liked it a) because of the cheesy sword fighting b) Sulu really knows Chekov! Love! and c) it was ultimately an episode saying “racism sucks!” which is always good (Rodenberry was all “in the future shit like sexism and racism wouldn’t exist” because he was totally awesome)

Oh hello: I am actually in America now (see- i couldn’t post that blog because the internet is crazy) and trying to get used to using a Mac. Ridiculously tired throughout the trip because i decided to stay up and read Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban again (because I’m giving my spare copy to Tookey to give to people in Ghana). The flight over wasn’t that bad- the stop over in Cincinnati was nice (and by “nice” i mean: i got to eat Chili Cheese Fries. Cincinnati, according to some dude’s shirt, is the Chili Town of the USA). I did get to watch “Dragonball- Evolution” on the way over which was wonderfully awful (hopefully on the flight back i will get to watch Star Trek again because the magazine said that is one of next month’s in-flight movie) and listen repeatedly to such classics as the Ghostbusters Theme Song, Super Freak, Like a Virgin and, my personal favourite, Hoedown Throedown (okay i am listening to Chameleon Circuit right now to make up for the Miley). Uneventful day here- swimming in the pool and trying to read some more of Gulliver’s Travels (I am so bad at understanding 18th century political allegory dammit) and eating lovely lovely corn. Yes, corn. American corn is simply amazing which is one of those small things i always forget. Everything else is ridiculously familiar, it actually just feels like home. Nothing has really changed except now there are some Deborah Oropallo pictures (photos?) up on the walls where she has superimposed an image of a go-go dancer onto famous pictures of men, so they line up. It is sort of weird thing for my grandfather to like, but whatever. Ooh another nice thing is my grandfather has pretty much finished putting together his 1926 Model T Ford which he has been doing since like forever (he owns another one, but it is a smaller kind).

As soon as anything interesting happens, if it happens, i will update you. I also have to try and think of stuff to put in letters to my friends, but unfortunately I think my grandmother no longer has her awesome typewriter (not like I am any good at using it- it was just really exciting when i was younger because of the tapping noises) so they might have to be handwritten. Might try and get some sleep now…

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My Musical (featuring Killer Robots!)

Happy Easter! Or, the more awesome holiday being celebrated today, happy Cosmonautics Day! I was not actually expecting to have a particularly good easter this year because my parents are masters of deception and had convinced me that i was to receive no eggs this year (it is particularly painful when they do this at christmas, or when it turns out they weren’t actually lying). Although because our garden is currently flooded and overgrown the easter egg hunt was limited to the conservatory and stone-outsidey-place-where-the-washing-line-is. I got 3 eggs and an easter bunny- which was reason enough to do a little celebratory dance to “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer and spend the rest of the day wearing a scarf tied around my head and hoop earrings pretending to be a pirate (i was re-reading Lord of the Flies today, which explains why i needed a distraction). I hope everyone else had a good easter! (its weird how even when i was younger and went to a CoE primary school and had to go to church etc. easter was never about Jesus. Ah well.  Enjoy your candy!)

Other than chocolate it has been an amazingly boring time recently. Still pretending to revise. Still reading What is the What which is as depressing and also as amazing as ever. (actually so bored i stopped blogging to try and beat my high score on Snake Extreme 2 on my phone. gah).

In an attempt to beat the boredom i have been listening to The Aquabats, which is weird because i don’t usually listen to ska/rock…people pretending to be superheroes. Though i think more people should dress up as superheroes! I would personally enjoy it if they weren’t so tight and made of spandexy. I was thinking earlier about trying to make up a very cool super villain and ended up just deciding that if anyone was going to take over the earth i would want it to be Jonathon Coulton in a top hat and monocle.

(okay: this is future me writing when reading over this post. this next bit goes a tad crazy. my sincere apologies)

See, i was listening to ABBA earlier (yes. i am slightly ashamed) and decided that the songs could have been used to make a way cooler musical!. One about…killer robots. As in, Super Troopers.  And i decided to chuck in songs by Jonathan Coulton and the Silver Jews as well (because…i am not sure why). And then i remembered the song Super Trooper was all about how someone loved and was comforted by them so i decided that maybe some poor woman made them to be her husband substitute after he was murdered. And JoCo steals these robots and reprogrammes them to be evil world taking over robots. Thus twisting “Does Your Mother Know” from a cheesy and slightly pervy pop song to a threatening refrain sung whilst shooting teenagers who break curfew. It would also be fun to choreograph a dance to “Todd the T100” and of course, those who disobey are sent to Chiron Beta Prime (i love that song!).

Anyway. David Berman, our hansome-ish anti-hero, and his wife Cassie are hanging out past curfew (cue: Punks in the Beerlight) and are surprised by killer robots who steal Cassie to take back to JoCo (cue: Skullcrusher Mountain) and David Berman mourns (cue: The Winner takes it All, then lots of other songs as his mourning progressess. I guess Sometimes a Pony gets Depressed and then maybe when hes more suicidal My Pillow is the Threshold). So he decides he will defeat and gathers up some sidekicks! He gets Code Monkey (cue the song) who decided to hand in his resignation to boring manager Rob and become a superhero in order to win the heart of the secretary, he saves Tom (from Re: Your Brains) from hordes of zombies and gets  Leonard Nimoy to try and stop him mourning over his short lived affair with Bigfoot (Under the Pines). So he gathers them all around, explains his plan (by singing Take a Chance on Me obviously) then decide to make their headquarters on the party barge (…cue Party Barge).

So now they need to find JoCos hiding place. They happen to come across the crazy lady who started it all who tells them where to find him (cue: There is a Place). So they make their way to Skullcrusher mountain where Cassie is still imprisoned (i can’t decide what song this should be! maybe she could have befriended one of the guards who sings Chiquitita to her. Or maybe she sings Candy Jail in bitter tones!). David Berman and his sidekicks manage to defeat the hungry mountain wolves, though one manages to bite David’s hand off (cue: SOS)….

Okay that is as far as i got. It is just a rough outline of this…musical thing. It probably doesn’t make that much sense if you don’t know the songs, but even without that knowledge i believe it could be awesome. Especially since it has killer robots in (which makes anything pretty awesome). And seeing as David Berman said he might go into writing screenplays…

Lost in Textbooks

I’m on holiday. Holiday. It is actually ridiculous how much time i am wasting pretending to revise (okay- i did some actual chemistry revision today because that was my worst mock result because my amazing, wonderful, patient and kind friend Hannah has done all my work for me throughout pretty much the entire two year course). I am reading What is the What by Dave Eggerswhich is actually so amazing and painful and is informingme about what happened in Sudanese Civil War (which i know very little about) and i think that learning about human suffering in the modern world is much more important than the things my chemistry book tells me when it is trying to relate chemistry to everyday life (like omfg! by turning up the heat when cookingfood i am increasing the rate at which chemical reactions are occurring!?!?). It’s almost as bad as our physics textbook which is a most depressing read, and i quote: “next time you look at the stars, remember the Universe is now mostly cold and dark” and “Now we accept that Earth is an insignificant planet orbitingone of the countless stars in one of the countless galaxies in the Universe”. Thank you textbook, thank you for beingso reassuring(its worse reading these things with Alice Cooper wailing “one down, one to go just another bullet in the chamber…” in my ear. It is such a depressing song! why are you in love with this cheating whore bitch Alice?!). Okay- I’ll end this rant with a quote from the biology textbook which cheers me up: “deers may look cute and cuddly- but they kill trees!”.

Aside from that i have been amusing myself by playing The Sims. Specifically by making Alice Cooper on The Sims which is quite amusing because the woman he is living with died in a fire (cue: House of Fire!) and turned into a zombie, as i have Sims Superstar he has won some music awards (he is currently Number 9- Player Alice Cooper on the “Who’sHot” list), has creepy fans outside his house and just produced a rock music video and i also have Sims: Makin Magic which gives him sexy, satanic powers. Yes, i am actually just that bored. (oh, by the way my new favourite Alice Cooper lyrics is “If I’m too rough tell me/I’m so scared your little head might come off in my hands”. Actually, you could just pick any line from that song. “Rubber little lady, slicker than a weasel…”  .  I only have a live version, so listening to the studio version is really weird. I can’t tell which versions i prefer- the live version sounds better, but the studio version is simply hilarious because of what sounds like various attempts at a British accent. Oh Alice. *shakes head*).

(Oh okay whilst we are talking about Alice: the title is a reference to the song Lost in America because it sums up…something with the lyrics “Well, I live at the 7-11/ Well, I’m tryin’ to play this guitar/Well, I’m learning “Stairway to Heaven”/Cuz Heaven’s where you are”. Not like those are meaningful lyrics but that is kind of the point. Aimless teenage activities and being stuck in stupid cycles…only obviously i don’t need a gun to go to school…)

Oh, i did go out with Imogen on tuesday and we went around town, took some photos (for a secret nerdfighter project. so i wont elaborate). Otherwise i am not going out until Fia’s birthday party- which by default makes it The Hottest Party this Easter! hell yeah! Well, even if there were more parties, fia’s will be especially  awesome anyway because we are bowling and watching 80s movies! But it seems like aaages away. I have just been reading, sims-ing, watching Grey’s Anatomy (since when did it get so dark!? no one is happy anymore 😦 ) and drinking far too many cups of tea. (it is not good when i get this bored. I start thinking that Cuba is a snack food. mmm, thats good Cuba. Just a really tasty country. Which is somehow edible. It almost makes sense!)

(some Santogold just came on shuffle and it cheered me up 🙂  yays)

Into the…memories?

I have just watched Into the Wild which my brother has been trying to make the family watch for ages now- an amazing film based on the book which is the true story of Chris McCandlesswho decided to just hitchhike and live withoutmoney or security. I need to read the book. Its an amazing film. Chris has been criticised as being careless, without maps or compass and just a stupid idealist who had been born into a wealthy family but hated materialism etc. partly due to a having a messed up family life and that sounds so cliched but obviously that isn’t what I was thinking. I was just feeling an incredible yearning to just go and be on the West Coast Trail and visit Slab City and just to go do something and i hate myself because i am not going to. Ever. Ever ever. I’m hoping this is going to change one day. I’m hoping i can do it, and maybe find someone to do that with. Because Chris is all alone. And i think he eventually realised that he needed the other people to be really happy. Also it would probably be a bad idea for me to be travelling across america alone. America is just this big dream place for me. I don’t mean like magical, I’ve driven across too much of it and have seen way too concrete for that, but it never really feels that real when I’m there. Because its a holiday, because its really sunny and because the America i want to know is the America which is more wild, and i know my blog has been sounding very cheesy lately but you are just going to have to bear with me because i have been feeling very awfully painfully nostalgic these past few months which is something i am just not used to.

When i was 4, my family went to America for six months and we drove across an awful lot of places. I had my fifth birthday in the desert somewhere (i have the two presents i got that day on my desk right now: a dream catcher and native american sand painting. its okay when we got back to my grandparent’s house we had a real party and i had a chocolate cake. In the shape of a cat). We saw dinosaur footprints and visited Navajo Camps, just went around Indian Territory. We climbed Yosemite Falls (i remember that day we had a big bag full of really good chocolate chip cookies and so my main concern was that bears were going to steal my cookies). We went rafting in Moab and ate at this great diner (Moab diner i have just found outis “world famous”…well there was an awful large queue) and my brothers ate malted milkshake and i had freakin’ superman ice cream. Actually that river trip is mentioned all the time in my family because our boat was the best at what we called “swashbuckling” i.e getting in water fights with all the other boats which was so fun. We also went white water rafting down the South Fork of the American River- which i was just old enough to do. I didn’t even do anything i just got to sit in the front of the boat and enjoy. We went camping in Big Bend, Texas and almost got sprayed by a skunk (the guy camped next to us was trying to attack it with a frying pan), had to attend a talk on mountain lion safety (“no, once again i would like to say they are not going to eat you”…poor park ranger, everyone asked her about that) and we had to stay zipped in our tents to avoid some kind of wild boar…tusky thing. We even went to Las Vegas and stayed in the Circus Circus hotel. It was pretty awesome because of the big Adventure dome, which is the first place i really remember ever liking pirates because being so young the only thing i could really ride was one of those big swinging boats, so i would be sitting there talking aloud to the Captain, and i was first mate. My first lesson in not talking aloud to yourself in public which has become extremely useful. Though i do wonder what happened to me and Captain. I don’t remember what i said, though i believe it weas vaguely apologetic and the parrots were very rude about our sailing skills. The scurvy dogs. It mentions the boat on the wiki page! Sand Pirates: Zamperla swinging pirate ship. Zamperla’s version is known as the Galleon, and has 4 sizes available, which can hold 33, 42, 54 or 84 passengers. Awesome. I could actually buy one off the website. One of these days…

So yes. In conclusion i loved that trip, which will always seem like a dream to me because it just wavers in and outof my rain. And i want to run away. Sometimes anyway. Sometime maybe. I’m really worried about ending up in Coral Gables…which is apparently a real place. After reading one of David Berman’s poems i got really freaked out that i was going to be one of the peoples in this place called Coral Gables which i thought was a pretty good name to sum up that place he was describing. Well i look up today at my pin-board, to my map of the Nerdfighter Tour, and see Coral Gables. Its in Florida. Well good because i have some irrational hatred of Florida anyway. And now have a physical manifestation of my fears. But anyway. Unless…you’re me or telepathic, you won’t understand my fear of Coral Gables which isn’t your fault its my failure to communicate. Lets just say i’m worried the place will make me dead inside.

But speaking of running away… I was talking about this earlier. With a friend. And i don’t know if i get to call her my friend or say she means a lot to me because sometimes i don’t understand her at all but i really want to. I do. I was planning on making you chocolate cake with tracker bars on top this weekend. Because I’m not entirely sure what to say, and apparently actions speak louder than words, and so if it doesn’t seem like i care i honestly do which is what I’m trying to say by making cake. Though maybe not in the shape of a cat. Sorry.

Recovering from Italy

I would really like to write a big long blog about my trip to Italy, but somehow i can’t right now. I have managed to work myself into a state of a-feeling-which-is-almost-panic-but-isn’t due to reading David Berman which always puts me into this weird mood where everything i think is actually a poem and is therefore thought in a very slow, broken way because its all on different lines with stupid punctuation. And I’m listening to “Call Me” and its like “yay, this is a happy song…or maybe it isn’t because isn’t it rather desperate and full of unrequited love and just so much *wild hand gestures* longing no matter what that does to her self-esteem and dignity? oh god she’s me. only i don’t even have anyone to sing this song to. i should just sing it on the street and see who will call me. gosh, i hope its someone nice”

Speaking of nice, OBAMA. Elections! Whilst in italy i became très distressed whilst reading a newspaper, which unfortunately was in italian, turned to my friends and said “guys, i might be wrong but i think someones tried to kill obama”. Yes, yes they had. I’m rather worried for him because if he doesn’t get elected i’m worried that i’m going to still believe he is president because that’s just how it has to be. And i see his face everywhere. And i wave. And yes, occasionally giggle. And think about how much i just want to live in the White House with Lincoln, Clinton, Washington, Teddy and Franklin, Kennedy and Obama and be like…their snow white. Though they obviously aren’t dwarfs (but there are 7 of them).

Italy was lovely, very much so. Yet now i except everywhere i go to be a ruin, to observe ancient frescos and keep turning this way and that to see which angle would be best for a picture. My favourite things? Why- the excellent company of Hannah and Ellen and all the new people: first and foremost Namrata who excellently adapted to our funny ways. Then, though not really new, Nicole and Min Young. Countless others (okay there were 42 people on the trip including me but i am very lazy). And special mention goes to Zara and Vithya. These people may not read this but thank you for your conversation, for being bad at bowling with me, for the snacks, taking photos together, being tired of walking, being excitable, not telling the teachers i broke one of the hotel beds (it was a little camp bed with wooden slats…we were jumping up and down…), for someone else saying it was like they had a little tv show inside their head, the new discoveries, just for everything.

(ah…have just snapped out of weird mood. excellent)

Places (in no real order…this probably isn’t all the places we went to):

Colosseum: Isn’t it big and fantastic? We got followed around by some italian boys outside using hilariously awful chat up lines. Its odd to be outside it, it feels like a picture. Inside, everything has been stripped away and depressing….

Ostia Antica: So ridiculously beautiful. Not the most interesting of ruins (best preserved toilets of the ancient world!) but so magical. You can wonder for hours without seeing anyone through these ruins overgrown with grass and the sun was setting and it felt so, to use a word much overused by hannah that holiday, quaint. For example, we stumbled across some boy scouts receiving communion from a priest, some small children walking along singing in italian accompanied by guitar, we sat in the theatre which is just arranged so perfectly and, best of all, climbed up the stairs of a three story building with the most beautiful view across the whole place.

The Pantheon: Yes, it may just be a big ol’ concrete dome, but its seriously impressive. I didn’t understand until i actually saw it. We stumbled across it really, its not really that advertised although there were so many people. We sat staring at that dome for ever, in not-actually-that-silent awe.

The Vatican: I didn’t realise it was so…museumy. Wondered around lots of Egyptian artifacts and statues. rushed through the rooms leading to the Sistine chapel, was slightly surprised at how small The Creation of Adam is. much preferred The Last Judgement, that fabulous shade of blue. I think this unimpressed tone comes from having to run through rooms of disgusting modern art to see the chapel. Ooh! We did get free headphones at the Vatican from the audio guides, they tell you you can keep them because they’ll throw them away otherwise for hygiene reasons.

Monte-Cassino: The courtyard…the view…we were up their literally in the middle of the cloud and it was just such an awe-inspiring feeling. The actual tomb where St Benedict is buried is, I’m afraid, horrible. Very tacky shiny gold. But the whole building is only around 60 years old because it was bombed during World War Two and then rebuilt. We saw a Benedictine Monk! I know they aren”t technically tourist attractions but still…

Mount Vesuvius: The top was closed due to poor visibility!!!! Damnation. Bought some tacky necklace made to make up for disappointment.

Herculaneum: I guess going down into the city is impressive because its so far below its surroundings…and i might only think this because it was too hot a day…but i really hated this place. It is so boring, there is not that much to see, the place has no feel to it, you can see all these modern buildings surrounding it, it isn’t looked after properly (seriously, if you want to steal some ancient ruins go there. Flimsy, waist-high wooden gates aren’t much of a defense system) and the cool places were closed. Gah.

Pompeii: Waaay more impressive. Its so big and sprwaling, you can imagine what it was like because you can tell people actually lived there. AND OMG I SAW CAECILIUS’ HOUSE! It was right there!!! Unfortunately, you cant go in or even touch it because its being restored. But still. I did get to go into the Lupanare, literally The House of The She-Wolves, i.e the brothel. With some rather interesting pictures i must say. You can wonder around and always find some impressive house to see. I recommend a visit. Though please do not take pictures of the dead bodies, this seriously distresses me. Particularly in the Garden of the Fugitives, when one figure is looking over the rest, probably his family, and probably had to watch them die before dying himself. And there you people are snapping photos of him and being all “ooh-better turn off the flash or else the light will reflect off the glass”.

On a lighter note, we went bowling on Halloween- i did make several people scream with my zombie get up. Hee hee. We also spent two girly nights watching Dirty Dancing- i am now constantly listening to the soundtrack. So that is around it. It was fantastic. and now i have to go back to school. Wish me luck. No seriously, i have a physics test on Thursdayand history coursework to do. I need some luck, or at least someone to slap me and go “stop singing you fool!”.

Swanage 08 and some um yeah thoughts

Swanage: Rocked. It was surprisingly sunny (i actually got sun burnt and looked at bit stupid) and i forgot that places in England could actually be insanely beautiful. The soundtrack for the start of the journey was supplied by Imogen, so it was wizard wrock christmas songs. Which was pretty awesome. I hated the walking. It wasn’t a very long walk (around 2 hours?) but the heat made us all a bit suicidal and start wishing we could jump off the cliff into the sea and damn the consequences. I wished we could have stayed up on the cliff next to Old Harry’s Rocks for longer, it was so nice just to be up there reading.

Swanage itself: If you ever go there, go into a shop called La Tienda. Try on all the hats and take photos. 😛 also try Fortes Ice Cream. Its standard taste wise, but it has a dinosaur logo (!!!!!).

uber cool ice cream

uber cool ice cream

I also became slightly obsessed with counting all telephone boxes. There were i believe 7 “real” ones (i.e proper red boxes), 1 fake one (not red! modern!) and 1 miniature one (i believe it was a moneybox).

We also went bowling! They played us a song (Low by Flo Rida. oh yes, I got low. until i got low onto a bench). I didn’t win but it was just so fun to be out and bowling. Also only two close friends were on the trip, so i got to know some people better. Everyone in my bedroom (we had the biggest and the nicest bedroom luckily) was amazingly nice and we had a great bonding session with our midnight-ish feast.

Anyhow. This week has been a bit mneh. Pretended to be ill (well, i have a cold…) to get off school to do geography coursework- actual went insane whilst drawing in a chloropleth map and listening to M.I.A on repeat. I missed my practice biology ISA (well okay that isn’t that important but still). I finished The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and im now just confused and depressed (which is how everyone in the book is feeling at the end). History was fun though- today we were arguing about the prohibition and my team had to argue the case for prohibition and we ended up saying that encouraging organised crime was a good thing because Al Capone spent $30,000 on a soup kitchen which was more than what the government was doing for the people. So in your face people against gangsters!

My pterodactyl impression makes me put on an irish accent. I hate Britney’s new song. The people in my head have been in a taxi for hours now because i can’t find the time to get them to their destination and so they’re freaking out. Real life people have been acting like their imaginary counterparts which makes me upset and confused because this could get my hopes up only to be brutally crushed. I still haven’t read Deathly Hallows. I wish i could wear sunglasses more often without feeling ridiculous. I have a poster on my wall of a Toulous-Lautrec painting of a prostitute pulling on her stocking and i’m wondering if i should take it down. I don’t think i’m in anyone else’s facebook picture albums of swanage and its pathetic for me to worry about that. I actually didn’t feel like dying in french today. I ought to stop typing nervously. Yeah.

Back again

I am back from France with a vengeance pirate flag. I’ve been to Val Andre several times before staying at the same house so its all pretty familiar. The beautiful beach, the other beautiful beaches to drive to, the wonderful ice cream place and the restaurant with the pirate figure outside. This pirate always creeps me out, not because hes scary, but because i’ve seen him in England (outside Radio Jackie headquarters, though i believe it has been replaced with a skeleton pirate now). It was cloudy most days (except the day we had to drive back, how typical) but we still went down and swam every day despite the occasionally screaming when i got into the water.

Two different things this holiday: We visited St Malo (where i got my pirate flag!) which is mainly famous for having ramparts all the way around it. But more exciting we went to the circus! Okay, it wasn’t like an amazingly exciting circus but it did have a lion tamer which was so awesomely awesome. I can actually feel the RSPCA giving me evil looks for going to a circus just to see the animals, however i couldn’t resist. There was a lion cub (which wasn’t in the show, but they had all the animals outside before it started), it was the most adorable thing ever, especially when it tried to roar which the larger lions did (everyone stepped away from the cages when they did that). There was also: a bison (not part of the show again! which was a shame because it was surprisingly cute),two very tiny ponies, a beautiful black horse, a random billy goat (im not sure if he was with the circus or was just in the field for jokes) and a camel. The other impressive thing was a balancing act (so convinced he was going to fall and die) by the twin of the lion tamer.

I am very glad to be back so things can get on with being normal. I didn’t read so much this time- though it was all french themed: Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky (which was amazing, though i was surprised by her plans for the future books), Jules and Jim by Henri-Pierre Roché (which is weird, slightly disturbing at times and ultimately just plain sad) and Germinal by Emile Zola which i haven’t yet finished because my father stole it off me and is reading it, but so far is amazing. Unfortunately, i know how it ends because i have seen the film(which i think is quite true to the book, and as i have said before i find the existance of Gérard Depardieu very reassuring) which is the case with too many good books because if my father hasn’t got time to reread a book he has to teach we end up watching the film (or watch it to see how much it has ruined the book).

I continued reading the Mitford letters, which made me think an awful lot about John F. Kennedy. I was happily reading thinking “oh how nice, Deborah is friends with JFK!” then i realised these letters were dated 1963 and that if i continued reading Kennedy was going to die. This also happens if i happen to see the footage of him getting shot (“oh no! Kennedy watch out!!!”) and i get rather distressed even though this happen 30 years before i was born. Later i was discussing it with my mother and she seemed rather upset that George Washington was dead. I have decided i get this weirdness from her (oh: people in my head are talking about George Washington and Clark Gable and whether or not they were actually giant wooden puppets…which is a long story) I also began to read Tess of the d’Urbevilles because i had nothing else to do (this quite ruined by french theme).

Homecoming

Back from holiday and have almost recovered thanks to several cups of tea, sneaking a few oreos and listening to Noah and The Whale’s album on myspace. Special thanks to Suga for getting me their CD (is it signed? oooh i hope so), she rocks and i now have to be her groupie for a year.

Before going away to France it was my hastily organised party. Which was weird- how many girls get together and do physical representations of Shakespeare’s sonnets and mini-versions of his plays (expertly read by Jess) for fun? We also watched allllll of Gone with The Wind (i love! so much! even if it is over 3 hours long!) and i forced people into watching The Princess Bride (i mouthed along to all the words…) and we also watched V for Vendetta for no real reason other than we love the bit when V is making breakfast whilst wearing a frilly apron (he looks surprisingly hot in it).

 France. Ate lots of good food (apparently my hair now smells of cheese?), slept a lot, attempted a fly genocide (failed unfortunately), swam (in pool and the river Tarn), noted geographical features (“oooh- look the steep sides of that v-shaped valley!” etc.), tried to drown my brothers in endless kayak vs. canoe wars (we almost broke the kayaks my continually ramming into each other, they were actually held together with scotch tape anyway), visited Albi cathedral (looks awful on the outside- very crazy gothic on the inside, went to Lourdes (got some holy water for jokes) which is so depressingly tacky, visited the Toulouse-Lautrec museum (which was awesome, though i became distracted by making up stories about my favourite paintings/prints) and the whole family read and read.

Books read by the Payne Family:

  • 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez (on the whole, i thought it was awesome, though became confused by everyone having the same names etc.)
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (okay why have i never read this before? Pure genius, though i got really annoyed with the whole St John thing. The last words of the book should be about Jane and Rochester not that jackass!)
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (okay- this house had very few good books so i just read this because its some kind of classic, enjoyable despite the horrible preaching)
  • Effi Briest by Fontane (meant to be amazing German literature- either it lost a lot in the translation or i am right in thinking it is just mediocre)
  • The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (I’ve never actually read it before because i used to listen to it on tape so much when i was younger)
  • White Fang by Jack London (good if a little repetitive at times. I read it because its mentioned in Love in a Cold Climate according to the internet though i think its actually in the Pursuit of Love and my isn’t this a long bracket, Uncle Matthew says “I have only read one book in my life and that is ‘White Fang.’ It’s so frightfully good I’ve never bothered to read another”)
  • The World according to Clarkson by duh (they don’t say its by Jeremy Clarkson anywhere on the book. it was funny but i went around all day with his voice replacing mine in my mind)
  • The Poetry of Ovid by Ovid suprisingly enough (all his poems on Love, very good actually)
  • The Mitfords: Letters between Six Sisters edited by Charlotte Mosley (unfinished because it is long and I don’t feel the need to read it all in one go, you can just dip in and out)
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville (unfinished as we left that house)
  • The Brothers Karamzov by Dostoevsky (unfinished because its too bloody long and my father, the person reading it, thinks Dostoevsky isn’t as interesting to read as Tolstoy. The rest of the family longs to see what amazing works of literature he comes up with)
  • The Short Stories of D.H Laurence (the H stands for Herbert!? so disappointed)
  • Dubliners by James Joyce
  • Collected Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot (which took forever for my brother to read)
  • More? I am not sure. My mother was reading a few books which i do not remember the names of.

On the last day we decided to drive through Paris and go to the Musée d’Orsay (the one which used to be a railway and has that awesome clock) which we rushed through but was fun anyway. I probably should have been more excited to go into Paris, but it was a Sunday and the streets were deserted and the day was so grey so it looked surprisingly drab despite the beautiful buildings etc.

It is summer. England is all horrible. But at the same time amazingly amazing amazing even if i actually do not do anything this summer but sit at home and read or just lie about in bed (people in my head: in a cafe discussing fencing and pretending to be characters from Bel Ami which i have just started reading) because i just felt so happy to be home last night/early this morning.

(Please note: not actually true will probably tire of doing nothing at around 4pm tomorrow)