I am very short on time and was dreading writing this really late at night, so I am going to give myself five minutes to write non-stop for the c500 words about anything and everything that’s in my head:

I am drinking tea, it’s a really good, strong mug of Assam and it’s given me that “Ahhh, that’s better” feeling.

I am meeting a friend later this evening for our “January 4ths”. Every few years (it used to be every year but we got realistic) for the past c19 (gulp) years, ideally on 4th January, we have written down things we want to do over the next year or more, some predictions for ourselves and others and we always open our old ones, talk and laugh about them, then write new ones on the same day. We are just over a year out of date doing these. I love it, sometimes I read the old one (which my friend keeps possession of, and likewise I hers) and can’t even remember writing or thinking certain things. It’s always satisfying when we tick them off, having achieved certain things or been right about something!

I think five minutes was a little ambitious, maybe ten is more realistic.

I walked along the seafront this afternoon and took great delight in there being a cold wind, it made me feel wide awake.

I bought some chemicals today. A friend’s cleaner had given him a list of the products she wanted to use. She’s got his bath tiles spotless. They were far from spotless before she attacked them. I am on a mission to get clean shiny bath tiles.

I got a note from an Australian friend today from Japan. I should’ve been in Japan meeting her and two others last week. In the end none of the four of us got to meet up in the town where we all originally met. It fascinates me that the four of us, all friends while we lived in Nara, now live on different continents: Europe, Australia, Asia and North America. If I won the lottery I would go on a tour and visit them all. The four of us have not been together for the past c12 years. But two and three of us have met a few times, the most recent being when I met up with Ms USA (she’ll love that!) in Denver.

Denver has made me think of Colorado snow. Today it sort of snowed. I wished I could be somewhere snowy.

Would you look at that, ten minutes is up and I could’ve kept going!


{30/01/2012}   Astrology Chart

I had just finished writing about relaxing and unwinding on my mobile wordpress app. I tried to add a photo but all I did was delete my post for today. I am not feeling the love for writing on the same theme again or on my mobile.
So I am going to write about astrology charts.
A friend rang me earlier, having just spent an hour and a half with someone I put her in contact with about doing an astrological chart. Like me and a few other friends who have also seen the same person (who is now a friend, having previously been a friend of a friend), she feels really positive.
I don’t understand how someone can elicit as much information as he does about you based only on your birthday, birth time and location of birth. Before I ever met him, he had written down all he’d found out about me from the birth information he’d been given. We met as strangers, other than how much he knew about me from my chart. For almost two hours I sat with him and had an extraordinarily therapeutic session talking all about me. The disbeliever in me could see some things could apply to most people. Yet largely what he told me were random yet specific things.
It was strangely enlightening being told what you are like. It made me realise that I, and indeed every single person, is different, which means we all have so much to offer our friends, work, family, everything. No one else will ever share my exact thoughts or ideas because they all come from me and only I am capable of coming up with those ideas etc.
Speaking to him and reading his notes again over the time since I met him got me thinking how much of our sense of self comes from some kind of destiny that I will never get my head around. It must exist, how else could a chart come up with a description of me?
I felt an almost overwhelming sense of knowing myself and seeing how other people might see me. There are some things about me I didn’t really used to understand, now I feel a sense of comfort in knowing they were in my chart. There are some things about me, about my life, that I struggle with. I feel more confident than ever that I can address them and deal with them now.
Over recent years, I have often contemplated who I am, what has made me into the person I am. I know more now than I ever expected, and to an extent I have some thoughts on how I can figure things out further.
Having my chart done, and particularly by the person who did it, was one of the most positive, character enhancing and inspiring things I’ve ever done, even though I really find it crazy that all that information comes from not even having met me.

Could you cope without your mobile phone?  Do you know anyone who doesn’t use a mobile phone?  A friend and I had a discussion about how life was when none of us had mobile communication.  We both agreed there were a lot of pros and cons.
At 18 a friend and I went Inter Railing.  We had no phones or internet.  Our parents didn’t know where we were, even what countries we were in until they got a postcard or the odd brief phonebox call.  I can’t imagine how worrying that would have been for them.
Had we had mobiles with internet access, we’d have been taking photos, posting them on Facebook, smugly texting and updating our status from exciting places, texting and emailing from the trains.  But we had adventures away from a public forum, part of the excitement was the unknown, we looked out of train windows, we took photos with 35mm cameras, months before we’d ever see our photos.  As it happens, our
cameras got nicked.  I expect our phones would’ve gone too (now that would’ve been a major panic!).
Nowadays, I think we miss a lot that goes on around us because we have our eyes on our phones.  I also think it makes people lazy.  How many texts do you get along these lines: “Running 20mins late”.  Which you receive when you’ve arrived on time at your meeting place.  It’s been a long time since I’ve made an exact plan – meet you at 11 by the clock tower – because plans can be vague – c u Charing X @ 11.  There will then b 1105 texts – Soz, running late – then – I’m by platform 6 – then – just thru plat 1 barrier – so she by platform 6 will head to platform 1, by which time platform 1 has read previous text and, eyes to phone, heads to platform 6 … You get my drift.
I used to go out without my mobile.  I would often get complaints that friends I was meeting couldn’t get hold of me … to tell me they were late/what was I wearing/should they bring a brolly.  Admittedly, it would make me feel alone and disconnected, and I’d have no phone to play with while waiting like Billy-no-mates.  But once the evening was in full swing, I’d be glad of not having distractions.
I have been out with friends and had a shock awakening that all of us are on our phones.  Once upon a time non-smoking pubs were a novelty and there were people who wanted that unsmokey environment.  I want to go out to a pub that has no mobile phone reception.  In London or whichever town/city/village I’m in.  I want to have and give undivided attention to the friends I’m with who I always complain I don’t see often enough.  I want us to forget the name of a childhood TV presenter, spend ages going through names of other presenters, laugh about our memories, or, “Oo, oo, I think it begins with an M”, and two hours later someone shouts out “Marti Caine”.  It’s great that we can race each other to Google it (is it?), it gives us that, “Oh, of course!”.  But I like the shared experience of trying to remember it.
I know I often moan about mobiles and people being out and focussing more on their beeping, flashing, ringing phones.  But I would feel lost and lonely without mine.  And it does mean I am in contact with friends more.  I just wish we turned them off more.  And for my next holiday, I want to leave my phone at home.

English Cheddar cheese on white toast. Simple. Bloody marvelous. But grated cheddar, grated apple and a bit of Worcestershire Sauce is a very close second.

For a while I felt slightly embarrassed about my unwaivering love of Cheddar cheese when there are so many other amazing cheeses. I love all cheese. Well, apparently there are more than 700 named cheeses in the UK alone so there’s no way I’ve tried even a tenth. But there are some things for which only Cheddar will do: cheese on toast, jacket potatoes with melted cheese, tuna melt, cheese straws, cheesy baked beans and cheese and pickle sandwiches. I am now happy to embrace what has been referred to as “mouse trap”.

For a long time, around the time I was at university, I was obsessed with eggy bread cheese sandwiches. I made them recently (and actually felt quite guilty about their being buttery, cheesy and fried – but it didn’t stop me eating them!) and they were still amazing:

Eggy Bread Cheddar Sandwiches:

Butter white bread on both sides

Make a cheese sandwich

Cut sandwiches into quarters

Beat two eggs in a large shallow bowl or deep plate (a bit of thyme can go some way to addressing the lack of greenery/vitamins) Add whatever seasoning you fancy (but go easy on the salt as you’re using butter and cheese, both a bit salty)

Soak each sandwich in the egg mix

Heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan

Add the sandwich quarters and fry until golden brown and the cheese is melted

So, so good.

As I find myself with only half the amount of words I should be writing, I am now going to write everything that comes to mind when I think of Cheddar cheese:

Yellow-ish. The stronger the better. Pickle. Pickled onions. Pineapple and Cheddar chunks on cocktail sticks. Cheddar and apple. Shepherd’s Pie with Cheddar on top. Macaroni cheese, but not the packet one that’s bright orange. I get cheese sweats from strong Cheddar. It turns out that not everyone experiences this. I get sweating under my eyes and tingling cheeks when I eat strong Cheddar. Marmite on toast with Cheddar on the side. Both these things give me cheese/Marmite sweats, it’s a bit of an overload on my senses but with a mug of tea to knock it back, it totally rocks my boat. I always have a packet of Cheddar in my fridge, it’s one of my store cupboard/fridge necessities. I missed strong cheese when I lived in Japan, most cheese there was really bland. Cheddar cheese was one of the first things I ate when I came home. Sometimes when I am hungry, I raid my cheese stock. I always cut blue bits of cheese and still eat the cheese. I don’t like Cheddar cheese crisps. I doubt there is much cheese in them anyway. I used to eat steak with melted Cheddar on top. If I grate Cheddar, it is as difficult as not licking your lips while eating a donut to not eat the cheese. If I have limited cheese, I will grate it at the last minute to attempt to minimise pre-cooking cheese consumption. I am, however, a bit disappointed when I get Cheddar on a cheese board in a restaurant, Cheddar is a home cheese; I like to experiment when I go out. If I had to live without Cheddar and without tea, the quality of my life would diminish enormously.

Today I saw a deli announcing it sold “Panini’s”. This is wrong on three levels, which is outrageous, particularly as they claimed to be an Italian deli. Panini is the plural of panino, in which case the ‘s’ is so wrong it pains me to contemplate. As for the apostrophe? Hello? Where is the belonging in a list? Oh, unless [Mr] Panini owns the cafe and it’s [Mr] Panini’s sandwiches (interestingly no apostrophe necessary for that “s”.

Why can’t people get the apostrophe right? There are far more difficult things to learn than the simple use of an apostrophe. And why don’t the people who make signs correct the English? If I were making the Waterstone’s sign, there would be a bloody great apostrophe there. Harrod’s? Same.

Why would I sell apples, banana’s, strawberries and orange’s? It’s a list, they’re plurals, be consistent even. Just add an ‘s’.

An idea: An apostrophe song to the tune of O Christmas Tree [it turns out this is less than 500 words but a song doesn’t consist of sentences so it’s also a lesson in, erm, abbreviation?!]:

Apostrophe, Apostrophe!

Why are you used so dreadfully!

Apostrophe, Apostrophe!

Why are you used so dreadfully!

The sight of thee on signs around

Misplaced and added lib’rally

Why are you used so dreadfully!

Apostrophe, Apostrophe!

Thou serves a wond’rous purpose:

Thou dost make plain a thing that’s mine

Good use of me makes it is it’s!

Apostrophe, Apostrophe!

Thou serves a wond’rous purpose.

Apostrophe, Apostrophe!

I love you used correctly

Apostrophe, Apostrophe!

I love you used correctly

A letter’s missed, you take its place

But when plural you have no place
Apostrophe, Apostrophe!

I love you used correctly!

Apostrophe, Apostrophe!

Don’t put me in your apple’s

Apostrophe, Apostrophe!

Your presence there ain’t welcome

For seeing signs with you misused

Is oh so wrong it pains me so

Apostrophe, Apostrophe!

Don’t put me in your apple’s.
Apostrophe, Apostrophe!

Your misuse is a travesty!

Apostrophe, Apostrophe!

Your misuse is a travesty!

On lists of things you should not be;

Mine, his, yours, its, one’s not required!

Apostrophe, Apostrophe!

Your misuse is a travesty!

I’ve had a dog-turd-on-the-shoe-discovered-half-way-across-your-carpet kind of work day.  And I’m now sitting here trying desperately to think of something light and lovely to write about.  Frankly, there was little of wonder and joy about my day and now I’m just on the white wine awaiting a roast chicken dinner (a bit of salvation!).  But, damn it, I will think of something.

[Bloody big pause]  I am increasingly finding it very difficult to write every day.  I know, I am going to have a rant to let off steam about commuting.

I think it’s safe to say that commuting is horrid and expensive.  I usually commute on the high-speed train from Folkestone to St Pancras (56 minutes, $153 (that should be a pound sign but I don’t have a pound sign on this laptop!) a week including Tubes).  That is cripplingly expensive (but conversely my rent is cheap for a lot of space) but the train part is, honestly, a joy.  I usually sit by myself, the train is usually on time, it’s comfortable and I get things done.

This week I’m back in Peckham.  It takes 7 minutes to get to London Bridge by train, a further 8ish minutes to get from London Bridge to Charing Cross, then, for this job, a c15 minute walk.

But before I cottoned onto the second train and walk option, I had used the Tube for a few days.  It was hell.  I had built up a sweat from standing on the train.  The Tube was even hotter.  I had a wheelie case (full of equipment) and a handbag.  People are so hideously tutty about your having big bags on public trains.  Do you know what, I bet I hate it and have an even worse time of it than you, Mr/Ms Pushy-Pushy-Tutty-Tutty.  Grrrr.

Unlike other countries, we pay more for the – privilege?  Really? – of travelling in rush hour.  Yet the odds of sitting down unless you wait for the fifth tube (which I have done before and not got to sit down still) are so slim it’s a safe bet you won’t sit down.  And if you did, you would have bags resting on your knees, people would trip over your feet, bags, etc, and people no more worthy than you to have a seat would look at you like you should let them sit down instead.  Guilt-sitting is not much fun either, though I see merits in altering my mind-set to it being smug-sitting.

I have been on tubes and trains with pregnant friends.  They don’t always get a seat.  People on crutches or otherwise obviously in discomfort aren’t guaranteed a seat.  Elderly people aren’t guaranteed a seat.  People tend to look down to try and pretend they haven’t noticed said people in the hope they can retain their seat, relatively guilt free.  I guarantee you’ll feel far better if you offer someone in need your seat.  And you can smugly watch as other sitters lower their heads in deserved shame.  But really, we should all have a bit of comfort and space.

I used to live in Japan and, yes, I did experience the legendary passengers-onto-train-shovers.  It’s their job to cram everyone onto the train.  Being taller than the average person there made it a little more tolerable but it does rate higher on the unacceptability stakes than the London Tube.  Just.  And largely because you have the indignity of a gloved hand literally shoving you into a space you feel sure you shouldn’t fit into.  Then, zip, you’re in.  And off.  And it smells and you can hardly breath for bodies embedded in you.  But at least there’s air conditioning so it’s not as stifling as London Tubes.

One of these days I do worry that someone will drive me to a punch up.  I’m not proud of this character flaw where my patience is concerned but, really, some people are rude, obnoxious, smelly, unreasonable, intolerant and should shut up and get a taxi instead of pressing their sweaty body against me, especially if it’s apparent they also have a cold, the germs of which I can almost see flying my way.  Ugh.  *shudder*

And then you get to do the same going home.  Except it’s kind of worse really because people are far less fresh, if you get my meaning!

It’s a friend’s birthday.  I wish them happy birthday by text, then I see people have wished them happy birthday on Facebook, so I leave a comment there too.   I wonder if I should phone and/or email.  But I am seeing them this evening for drinks.  Facebook pressure.

Through another Facebook friend I realised I’d been de-friended by someone.  I felt a surge of upset and left-out-ness.  Then I had a reality check, after a little bit of but-why-would-she-want-to-defriend/dump/cull-me soul searching.  I don’t blame her for defriending me.  We barely knew each other the 12 or so years ago we last worked in the same place, we didn’t keep in touch for a reason (I think it was Facebook that suggested we should be friends because of a mutual friend), we didn’t once comment on the other’s Facebook and I did feel like a bit of a voyeur in her life.  I didn’t and I don’t know her, just over this surreal cyber world.

I find I am subjected to schoolgirl feelings through Facebook, “Oh no, [X] has more friends than me, [Y]’s comments get more likes or comments than mine, [Z] has a better photo than me”.  It goes on.  And it’s not pretty.

I was “friends” with someone I was at university with for my first year.  I sent her messages a few times, one saying that I’d be in her home town for a week and did she want to meet up.  We once had that sort of friendship.  Clearly it was a contrived “friendship” on Facebook because she never once replied to me.  I actually felt quite good for culling her on Facebook.

There is no reason to feel guilty defriending someone and no need to feel upset about being defriended.  There is usually a reasonable explanation, not that either side is ever likely to find out what it is.

I have found things out about people I genuinely do call friends on Facebook, from moving house to the birth of babies.  I think friends should be treated as friends, ie not told things over a very public medium; that’s for Facebook friends, who are two different sets of people.

I also find it bizarre that I and my friends share little nuggets of information from our daily lives that we wouldn’t otherwise have known.  I also know the whereabouts of most Facebook friends on a regular basis.

I bumped into a colleague once at work.  We hadn’t seen each other or spoken in about three years.  Yet we both knew things about each from Facebook, which actually kind of freaked me out, not that I didn’t appreciate the fact we were in touch, albeit in an artificial and random way.

I have probably missed some amazing Facebook-worthy events, strange things, funny signs on doors, etc, because I’ve been too busy walking along or sitting in a cafe, for example, looking at Facebook.  I am disappointed if I check it on my phone and discover there have been no new updates in the past minute or so since I last checked it.  It’s compulsive reading and it keeps you company and fills time when you’re sitting waiting while your drinking companion goes to the loo while you’re out together or while you’re on the train.

But sometimes I think that the me on Facebook isn’t quite the same me my friends see and know.  Sometimes my daily life can seem exciting when I put it in the right way on a short Facebook update.  Sometimes, I smugly check in somewhere exciting or post from abroad while on holiday.  Sometimes, dare I say it, I’ve even posted witty (I think!) comments while I’m away in an interesting non-UK destination … when in reality I’m on a really horrid job and that one event worthy of a status update was the highlight of my day, along with the fact I’ve just published something that makes it sound like I’m having a fantastic time in Paris.

And I haven’t even mentioned the minefield that is exes as Facebook friends!

{24/01/2012}   Childhood Food Memories

Leftovers curry with apples, sultanas and banana slices on the side.  I believe it was surrounded by a moat of rice.  I wasn’t a big fan.  But I really quite fancy recreating it one day.  I reminded my mum of it recently and she declared that was the way to make curry and that she’d had it for lunch at an (older) friend’s house for lunch recently.  I recall only once eating more conventional Indian food with mum.  I’m surprised she didn’t ask for a side of bananas!

My mum was amazing, she made pretty much everything, including puddings.  So a ready meal was actually a luxury to me.  My favourite used to be Vesta chow mein.  I remember not liking it hugely because it was very salty but those crispy fried noodles, I LOVED THEM!

I only ever had a Viennetta at a friend’s house.  She wasn’t at all excited as that was her usual pudding, but for me this was truly the height of sophistication.

We would regularly have steamed ginger pudding, lemon meringue pie, various fruit pies and crumbles, Dorset apple cake (didn’t like that, it was hard and dense), my favourite, lemon layer cake (known as lemon surprise to others, the surprise being the delightfully runny, lemony bit hidden below the sponge), treacle tart and baked apples (bit boring).  I didn’t appreciate the time and effort that went into creating homemade meals every night.

As for dinners, one thing I really disliked was (as I remember it) dry slices of leftover chicken with lemon juice and coated in breadcrumbs and fried.  Always dry and made me cough.

I didn’t like vegetables, but mum always got them on my plate and usually hid them under cheese sauce because I actually liked that.  I believe a few vegetables got consumed this way.  I think I objected most to spinach under the cheese sauce.

We hardly ever ate out, only special occasions.  I have extremely fond memories of dad driving us to Hyde Park, where we parked, under some trees in the midst of the park, and walked to Harrod’s.  We would look at the food hall in wonder and mum loved going to the sale and the Christmas shop.  We would then go through an alleyway that led between the park and Harrod’s.  There we would have take away sandwiches, the fillings chosen from bowls or tubs behind the counter.  We would pretty much always have packed lunches so this was a massive excitement.  I eat out quite a lot now.  As a rule it’s for going out purposes or if I’m out and get hungry so need fuel.  I often feel guilty about how much I spend/waste on eating out.  I also wish I still felt like it was a treat, which is what it should be.

Another treat, interestingly one that was Folkestone-based, where I now live, was to go to Garfunkel’s for a salad bar buffet lunch.  I guess it must’ve been what is now the Garfunkel’s chain but it didn’t seem like a chain then, and it probably wasn’t on a grand scale.  Can you imagine how exciting it was to not only eat out, but eat as much as you possibly could?!  Then it went down hill, then it was taken over and we never went again.

The final food memory I think I will share is to explain why childhood escapades led to my enormous dislike of sweetcorn.  One day I was “made” to eat sweetcorn with my dinner.  I didn’t like it.  So I swallowed the pieces whole so as to minimise tasting it.  I had a friend round, we ended up under the dining table (because that was a funny thing to do).  I then laughed so much that I was sick.  You can probably see where this is going.  All I remember is being in great discomfort as pellets of sweetcorn were forced out of my nostrils (and my mouth) as I was violently sick.  My vomit was a pool of dinnery fluid with chunks of whole sweetcorn and my nostrils were sore!  I have never been able to get rid of that memory, or even dulled it with the passing of time!


About 6am she will sit outside my door (I am asleep at this point) and meowl until she’s let in.  I succumb and she’s on the bed curled up in my arm and is soon snoring.  I am uncomfortable and don’t sleep again.  Izzy has her usual killing/hunting dreams and twitches furiously.  Then, as if she’s just remembered something she should be doing, she leaps up and is gone.  I adjust myself in anticipation of a bit more sleep.  Within five minutes, Shaun the Sheep is next to my pillow and Izzy is by the bed awaiting sheep throwing action.  For about fifteen minutes, I throw Shaun across the room, she pelts after him, rolls on the floor, grabs  him and bunny kicks him (tenderising her kill, I can only assume).  He then gets either thrown back at me or deposited next to me if I’m a little slow responding.

I get up, Izzy wanders around, occasionally returning to the killing fields.  I go into the kitchen, she stands by a drawer where her favourite treats are (a tube of 100% freeze dried chicken) and does the odd meowl.  She will meowl quite a lot.  I feed her, she’s not interested.  She reminds me that she knows what’s in the cupboard.  I ignore her.  It’s more fun to get the treats out and shake them when she’s far away because she will always come running, no matter how deep asleep she is.

While I am moving around, she will gravitate to the nearest rug, flop onto it and put her head under her arm pit, as in this photo.  I think this is her I-am-adorable-so-stroke-me pose.  It usually works.  She will then shed her blond fur over everything I’m wearing.  If she’s really lucky she’ll get groomed with her dog slicker brush.  She goes crazy over this.

She will then, seemingly at random, select one of her many sleeping areas in which to take a rest.  Right now she is curled up in a duvet.  She also sleeps in a cardboard box, a huge plastic bag with an old pillow in it, and any duvets she can crawl under.

The rest of the day will proceed as above unless I cook (for me) chicken or lamb.  These are the only food things that I cook that she loves.  She will also show an interest in porridge or yoghurt if she happens to be passing while they’re being consumed.  By about 9pm, she’s up and about. There is more Shaun throwing, a lot of racing about, a fair bit of meowling and attention seeking and the odd lap-sit.

By the time I am ready to go to bed and shut her out, she is wide awake.  I will close my bedroom door and see her forlorn face as she sits outside my door.  I will soon hear the sound of Shaun’s plastic eyes hitting the wall or floor as she vigorously throws him about, the odd Scooby Doo scrabble of claws on laminate flooring … and then 6 o’clock will come round …

{22/01/2012}   Charity Scrooge

I may be laying myself open to Scrooge comments by saying this but I hate giving to charity. Charity chuggers ambushing me on the street get a harsh scowl from me, I give a wide berth to people with collection buckets and charity post goes straight into the bin. Not only that, it makes me angry. And feeling guilty.

However, I have donated a lot of stuff to charity shops (and I don’t give them flea market fodder, I will only give what I consider easily resaleable clothes, books and bric a brac). I occasionally sponsor friends. I always “buy” a poppy and I occasionally “buy” a badge/flower/ribbon from charity boxes by tills in shops.

When I put my head down and charge through supermarket entrances that are flanked by collectors, I feel a mix of annoyance and guilt. I suspect the latter pulls in a fair bit of money from some people. I do feel bad every time I am forced to ignore or say no to a charity collector. I also feel bad when friends I am with give money but I don’t.

I do want to give money to good causes and, yes, I do choose charity shops that have/do/could affect me and those I know. When a friend’s young son was diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer, I did a massive wardrobe and stuff clear-out and took six bin bags to a related charity. Yet I still feel bad that on an almost daily basis, I refuse to hand over cash to collectors.

Maybe I like to think that if I gave to one then I’d feel I’d have to give to them all. I suspect that’s not it. I can afford to donate a bit of money to a charity. I just don’t like being made to feel it’s an obligation. I guess I buy poppies and other badges occasionally because I like the concept of buying something. But that isn’t exactly a charitable mentality. I am confident I don’t buy such things to wear as a look-at-me-I-donate-to-charity type statement. But why do I feel comfort in getting something tangible for my donation, for sponsoring friends doing challenging activities (marathons, long walks and triathlons of late) and giving things away that can be sold to generate money? I really don’t know, but if anyone has any suggestions, I’d find that interesting.

I would like to do something physically challenging and get sponsorship. But I’d hate, hate, hate asking my friends to sponsor me and I’m self-employed so don’t have the opportunity to also raise money through my company. I also think that doing something I’d love to do (I’m thinking an arctic trek, walking across the US, something really big) seems strangely selfish. Maybe on that basis I should do something like a marathon because I hate running, I hate crowds and the thought of all that training to do something that fills me with dread and loathing would make it even more of a challenge … so my sponsors would feel they were getting value for money. Hmm, I seem to be placing a lot of emphasis in getting a tangible or visible return on my money, again not in the true spirit of charity.

I am trying to think of things charities could do that would make me more inclined to donate cash for no return other than knowing my money is helping someone or something. There have been a lot of adverts on television asking for donations for charities helping with, for example, famine in Africa and saying how £3 can make a difference. That helps. But I would like to see a programme or video or something that takes my donation and tracks its progress to the point I can see how it has been spent. So maybe I just don’t trust the workings of charities, which sounds awful. But I don’t know that it’s entirely unreasonable to wonder how my £5 in a charity bucket helps the people or research it’s intended for.

I don’t know the answers or why I think how I do but I do wish I could find a way to use my time and energy to promoting and helping with charity work in a way that satisfied my many reservations about charity. For now I will continue having regular clear-outs and taking the clothes etc to charity shops and running away from chuggers and collection buckets.

et cetera