Wednesday, 21 October 2009

I'm not sure about this whole Cambridge thing.

I wish today that I was different or that I was in a different place. I'm not sure Cambridge and I are bonding as well as we might. I don't yet know if this is irreconcilable.

Why am I doing this? I just want to write my novel, but all the time I'm going to lectures on science and maths and 'professional studies'. I am confused as to how I got here, and why. I feel that I'm making a big sacrifice of who I am as a person.

Summer was fantastic. I don't know if I should have stayed in Finland for winter, too. I thought I needed a 'career'. Maybe I really do need a 'career'. And maybe the reality of teaching will fit me better than the course. It's sort of hard to know in advance. But I feel frustrated because I think writing is what I'm best at and it's what I should be doing.

I'll be in Finland in under 48 hours, stay 10 days, and then back for 6 more weeks. After that I'll be 1/3rd done.

Friday, 18 September 2009

So I moved to cambridge.

I live in Cambridge. Not just in Cambridge, but in Cambridge University. Homerton College, pictured above. Here are my observations from week one:
- we are allowed to read alot of picture books and play musical instruments and play ball games during lesson time
- no bottled water in the library
- 'the buttery' contains only an average amount of butter
- there are a lot of Japanese tourists in the town
- even when I only live a five minute walk from bed to lecture hall, I still possess a remarkable capacity to be five minutes late
- more often than not, lectures start 5 minutes early and finish 10 minutes late. maximum value for money then!
- everyone ive met is serious about studying
- the poetry scene is good
- on campus, no one walks on the grass, drops litter or is noisy. people hold doors and say hello when passing strangers. no one rushes.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Living in Finland

Things which are popular in Finland:
- Licorice
- Sausage dogs
- Frowning
- Walking Poles
- Sitting opposite strangers on the train when there is enough space not to
- Weather (it is the whole front page of the newspaper each day)
- Coffee
- Kebabburgers and Kebabpizzas
- Raindeer meat
- The truth
- Visiting one's relatives
- Rye Bread
- Empathy
- Precision
- Moomins
- Forests
- Plaits
- Renting
- Second hand stores

Things which are not:
- Vegetables
- Facial expressions
- Interrupting
- Spontaneity
- 'Trend' fashion
- Talking on public transport
- Flashiness/ boasting
- Short skirts
- Exaggerating
- Sandwiches

Friday, 8 May 2009

Vivat Sunningdalia

Tonight at showers:
Vincent: Your mum sat on a tv and the tv broke because she was so stupid
Joe: Your mum was the tv but then she gave birth to you by accident
Vincent: Not your mum, my mum, i mean, your mum, your mum was the one that did that
Joe: Your mum was wearing a yellow t shirt and all it was was just a yellow t shirt with all her fat hanging out, all her fat hanging out at the bottom and out the sleeves
Vincent: Your mum was doing that except she turned into a taxi and everyone ran after her and tired to climb into the t shirt but her fat was taking up all the room, wasnt it
Joe: I'm better at the high jump
Vincent: I'm better at waterskiing I'm better at waterskiing I'm better at waterskiing
Joe: You're annoying
Vincent: You're annoying and I wish you would go away
Joe: You're a fart
Vincent: Your mum tried to fart but she couldn't
Joe: Yeah, well. I know what you are.
Vincent: No I'm not
Joe: You are
Vincent: No I'm not
Joe: You're a... you're a pube
Vincent: No I am not
Joe: You're two pubes
Vincent: You're pubes. What is a pubes?
Joe: It's really like a wanking. They're practically the same.
Vincent: What are they actually though, tell me
Joe: You're one of them. You should know.

Next thursday I'm leaving these boys and moving to Finland and having a new job and a new life. It breaks my heart to leave them. I don't know how I'll ever be able to tell them I'm going.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Today and Yesterday and Tomorrow

A boy wakes me in the night, afraid of monsters.

His breathing rattle rattles.

I lay down in the bed beside him

And point out the night-shapes

Of towels and blankets and other boys.

The window panes press in on us

But his lungs are louder. The cabinet

Stops us seeing each other’s faces:

I lift my arm so he can tell I’m still alive.

He coughs and struggles, perhaps asleep,

Perhaps not. I think of dialling 999

But something of the darkness stops me.

In the morning, the boy tells me goodbye.

A man I nearly know dies in transit. I strip

100 sheets from 100 beds, thinking of nothing.

Monday, 16 March 2009


I saw my first bumblebee of the season today, by the canal in Reading. It looked pretty sleepy. I had forgotten how beautiful they are. Perhaps by autumn I will have forgotten the beauty of conkers?

Saturday, 7 March 2009

I don't want to go to stupid cambridge.

I have a place this september. I'm being so ungrateful about it.

I'm tired of fresh starts. I've had eight jobs and lived in six places in the past year. I don't want to move, and make new friends, and buy more blu-tack for the stuff I stick on my walls. And I don't want to have to file things.


Today on the way to Longleat (sp?) I saw some mulch for sale. Me and Vicky once spent much of our free time sitting by the pool and saying 'mulch'. We'd create silences just so we could break them with 'mulch'. We'd lie in bed and not go to sleep, just to say 'mulch'. It was the funniest thing, the word mulch, that summer. We'd laugh every time we said it. It was how we said it, perhaps, and the pointlessness of both the word and mulch itself.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

I graduated.

I think I might stay.

I don't know what happened. Somewhere along the way I got used to being a matron in a boarding school. In just two weeks. How surreal. The rediculous number of hours and I feel calm and in control and even happy and mostly quite relaxed. I feel like staying. I can't say I feel like this every day, but I have only been here a couple of weeks, and I have felt it consistently for perhaps 48 hours, and it feels warm. For the first time since coming here, I've felt able to work on my novel.

The boys are pretty much like boys anywhere. Money doesn't make any difference, but lack of free time and parental contact does, I think. They become much more adult and self reliant. The twelve year olds talk to me about insurance and university league tables. The seven year olds don't want help with anything, if they can help it. My time here has expanded my world view.

Monday, 12 January 2009

So I moved in to a boarding school yesterday.

It's nothing like Harry Potter. I'm scared and homesick, and I'm 21. I'm not sure why people subject seven year olds to that.