So much pub food

July 21, 2008

but not much walking, so physical health levels down while mental health levels raised by not having to do anything strenuous. I think we covered all the holiday staples: we visited a seaside town, a local attraction, a wildlife, and a historical building. We also had many kinds of cakes to the point where my partner got sick of them and started refusing dessert. He and I also came across a slight problem with second-hand bookshops and I have now shored up my to-be-read avalanche-waiting-to-happen with even more fine quality reading materials. The best part was seeing the joy in the old shop-owner’s face when we made our purchases and feeling like we’d bought his lunch that day. The worst part was when I decided I was eighty but conveniently without arthritis and should take up quilting. Soon I shall be queen of all that is twee. We narrowly avoided going to the cat pottery as that may have tipped me over the edge.

Does anyone know the link between Hornby/Steam trains and gollywogs? No this isn’t an off-colour joke and I don’t actually know the answer. All I can say is that when we went for a ride on the tiny steam train all the stations stocked many sizes and styles of gollies. No one seemed bothered either. My mum even suggested I get a little one to clip on my handbag. It was at this point I realised that there are no black or ethnic minority people in the British countryside. That’s a lie, I saw a black man in a UV jacket the day after the steam train incident, but noticing these things made me feel weird and out of place and I’m white and British. I feel uncomfortable in areas where there are only white people because it feels like there is some kind of unspoken exclusion being practiced and it makes me suspicious of the local population. Perhaps it’s because I’ve always lived in cities that it feels a lot more normal to me to have a mix of people around.

I think if I voiced that opinion to the Daily Fail (or half the papers around) I would be labelled the hapless victim of the evils of multiculturalism. But that can’t be right because most non-white people I see day to day are British, just as British as I am and part of the same culture as me. I saw a news report yesterday that there is a possibilty of creating a regulation that would prevent potential parents adopting children of a different race to themselves because the child might lose their culture, but if the child was born here chances are it would have been raised in British culture anyway. They will have plenty of time to research their biological heritage when they are older, besides which they are hardly likely to get any better cultural impressions from being stuck in a care home. This double standard is simply a way of ensuring that white children get a better chance of being adopted while leaving ethnic minority children without family support that could help them get a better education or ease the transition to adulthood.

Brace yourself: sparks reigniting

July 11, 2008

Today will be a day of sad for the three people who accidentally read this blog – next week I will be on holiday. This means radio silence until at least the 21st. I am going on a peaceful holiday and look forward to walking in the woods, on the beach and to the pub for dinner.

In other news I have been geeking out. Having observed a resurgenceof interest in Magic:The Gathering among the housefolk I dug out my old cards and went through them with my partner. As a teenager I had enjoyed the collecting aspect more than playing as I had few opponents and found self-teaching a little awkward as there was no one around to correct my misinterpretations. Since then many intimidating new rules have been made but I may make an effort to learn them on a rainy day next week – after all it is far more stimulating to play a game than watch TV.

So: ten years ago I was an avid collector, and probably had about two thirds of that particular set. My interest waned when too many different sets started coming out too often and I found my pocket money was better spent in the pub. Going through the old cards with my partner last night was a joy. He was pleased to find a couple of cards ‘from his list’ that he was planning to track down on eBay. He found numerous other cards that he wanted to steal for their general awesomeness. He told me that one of my cards could be worth up to a hundred pounds. For the first time I felt some pride in my collection, and a sudden reluctance to share them as much as I had been offering to. Knowing that I have good cards may reignite my interest in the game.

I am reminded of at university when a group of friends bundled into my room when I was with my partner and the heavily ironic Southern Belle exclaiming: “You’re playing magic? That is so much worse than being caught having sex. I’m embarrassed for you.” She’s a fantastic woman.

It has occurred to me that I can use this blog to track the lengths of my hobbies, interests and projects. In my estimation I arbitrarily decided some time ago that my interest could not possibly be held for longer than three weeks. The only thing I can think of that I have actively pursued for longer than this is cross stitch. I suppose my card collecting phase should count too, which probably lasted about a year before subsiding into occasional three week revivals. This week I have been mentally preparing for a fit of writing. Preparing for my holiday has left me little time to put pen to paper apart from one sketch of foreshadowing with which I was delighted. I am a little concerned at present by my current reading material (a novel inhabiting the mind of Henry James) which has made my writing style incredibly verbose. I am sure it will be fine under stricter conditions but I can see it here quite clearly. It also seems to have swallowed my point. Not helpful at all – although reading about the trials and tribulations of an author does tempt me to have a go.