How hard can it be to set aside 30 minutes a day to read a book?  I even chose a holiday month, knowing I’d have time on the beach/by the pool to read.  Two one-week holidays in August, four books packed for each and no books started for holiday one and I made it through three chapters over holiday two just because I felt really bad about not having read anything for a fortnight.

What went wrong?  If it’s day time, I’m not in a particularly comfy chair or on a train and I’m not distracted by eavesdropping other people’s conversations, I can read.  Oh, and if I’m not too hot, not too cold, not too tired …  But trying to read on a sun lounger/beach towel is nigh on impossible for me as a nap is so much more of a pressing and inviting need.  Likewise, once ready for bed, my eyes get heavy and if I can manage to hold the book up for long enough to find where I want to read from, I only seem to re-read the same paragraphs, knowing not a word of it has been absorbed.

I love reading, it just seems that I need very specific circumstances to achieve half an hour a day devoted to reading.  The most I read was, annoyingly, on 1st September at a near empty airport (I sat a long way away from everyone else) while my flight progressed from delayed to cancelled.  Conditions were good.  It was quiet, the seat wasn’t particularly comfy and the wait was so long that I’d already reached saturation levels emailing, Facebooking and using my phone to complain about being stuck at a barely-used airport in the middle of desert, ie no phone distraction.

So, yes, a round the houses way of admitting a second consecutive challenge fail.

Surely my September challenge will be a success, with even a possibility to overachieve.

Recipe BooksI have a lot of cookery books (uh oh, just registered that I am maintaining an ill-fated book/reading theme), many of which I have merely looked at but never used, for no obvious reason.  I have selected ten that I particularly like and I am going to set myself the challenge of following recipes in at least five of them over September.  See, that’s got to be realistic … right?!


{01/12/2012}   Evenings without a TV

I have a TV but don’t that often watch it for something specific, other than on for the news in the mornings, but staying with my friend in London at the moment there is no TV.  Well, there was one but now it’s all fancy digital, it doesn’t work!  So I’ve spent the last two weeks without any TV.  I didn’t have a TV of my own for years and it doesn’t bother me not having a TV, not least because they take over a living room and any likelihood of conversation.  These two weeks have been fine, but I realise that I haven’t seen or heard any news.  I don’t often read a paper or look at online news but I do listen to the morning TV news and I like it.  But as for the evenings, it’s quite refreshing being TV-less.

When I’ve been home, we’ve sat and chatted, taken longer over dinner and sat at the table to eat, we’ve read and/or emailed and there’s been no TV noise.  Nice.  But I do annoy myself that every now and then I think how nice it would be to sit in front of the telly like a zombie and watch mindless drivel.  Sometimes escapism in the form of rubbish telly is just what you fancy.  Ideally with, in my case, a lap tray and dinner.

I can stay up far too late sometimes absorbed in rubbish TV and it’s very unsatisfying.  I rarely switch on the TV to watch something specific, though I was obsessed with the first series of Homeland (almost completely lost interest in series two, and indeed have missed the last three episodes) and quite enjoyed the telly being turned on for 9pm on a Sunday night.

I know there are some people who watch hours and hours of TV.  I don’t get it because I think so much of it isn’t properly absorbed, it just seems like a way of killing time and I spend far too much time complaining I don’t have enough time to then waste hours staring numbly at a screen.  I went through a few phases of playing Scrabble of an evening, which sounds strangely middle class c1985.  It felt almost like a luxury to be doing an activity like that of an evening.  The more I think about it, the more I think how easy and wasteful it can be to watch TV for the sake of sitting down and convincing yourself you’re actually doing something, when in reality the odds are high you’re watching drivel, often interspersed with dreadful adverts which are both noisy and intrusive.

Also, with the advent of digital TV stations and 24-hour TV, there needs to be more repeats and cheaply made programmes (don’t start me off on reality TV … again!) to keep the stations going .  But, really, I wish I could turn a TV on and find choices of decent, well-made programmes, then I wouldn’t mind so much turning the TV on in the evening and watching a few programmes just for the sake of watching a bit of television.

As for my return to life with a telly, I may intend to fully appreciate the quietness of the evenings, maybe enjoy some music and chatting and, well, just appreciate that there is life without TV, but I know with certainty it will be on at some point every day!

{09/08/2012}   Hobbies

I go through phases with hobbies.  Sometimes I have them in abundance and sometimes, like now, I don’t have hobbies.  But I always feel I should have hobbies; I have a belief that hobbies make you interesting because people generally know what your hobbies are and it’s a way of shouting, “This is who I am”, which we don’t really do otherwise.

In recent years my hobbies have included photography, squash, kayaking, book binding, lino printing, reading, writing, going to auctions and cooking.  After I spent last Saturday making a pair of trousers (sewing is not and never has been my hobby though!), I had an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction at having completed a project.  It really struck me how having hobbies is a pleasure, something you regularly do because it makes you feel good.  So why deny myself such a feeling by abandoning all hobbies for periods of time?  I have no idea; I guess it’s all about your mind set at a particular time.  I think I have recently gone through a spell of lethargy and apathy.

In the past week, I have done four lots of baking, having not done any for a good few months.  It felt good, not only because it meant I had cake and cheese straws to eat but also because one of the reasons I love cooking/baking is because it is a pleasurable distraction and enables me to forget about anything serious or pressing that’s otherwise on my mind.  It’s escapism, I guess.  Then you get an excuse to make a cup of tea, for it would be wrong not to sample freshly baked, still warm cake.

I enjoyed maybe eight months of playing squash with a friend, it was sociable and I love squash.  But we both moved out of London and I have no one to play with now, and anyway I enjoyed playing with her in particular.  As for kayaking, I don’t like doing activities that are on specific days at specific times, that’s just not how I work.  I would also prefer to do something that I don’t need to be in a formal lesson environment for, so if I had my own kayak (which is not something I want) and were a lot more competent, I would like to be able to paddle on my own when I am free and the sea is calm.

I often moan that I don’t have time for hobbies, but in reality I have chunks of time when that is a genuine reason and other times, like now, when I have plenty of time.  I feel slightly lost when I get home and either have nothing to do or don’t feel like doing anything.  In such situations, I often just sit and/or watch television.

As an EFL teacher, a common icebreaker question was, “What are your hobbies”, to which the students and I would be forced to list exciting hobbies or think of something, anything, we did regularly.  I would say the most common hobby was watching television.  I suppose it is a hobby really, but I always used to feel quite despondent that, on pushing them to detail other hobbies, they would announce that they didn’t have any others.  But really the purpose of a hobby is not to get your knickers in a twist about thinking up a cool or interesting pursuit to make you seem more interesting than you are, rather it’s supposed to be something you do regularly that gives you enjoyment and if it is a geeky pursuit, it should be embraced because at least you have interests.  But sometimes, when you’re really busy, there genuinely is no time for hobbies, which is a shame.

There is much talk during the Olympics of inspiring young people to do more sport, to try more sports and to believe that being an Olympic athlete is possible if it’s something you think you might want to pursue.  This is a wonderful London Olympics legacy but it’s made me contemplate my childhood of sport and whether schools (clubs is a different matter) really do have the capabilities and facilities to let children experiment with sports and encourage and support them where necessary.

I am well aware that things have changed a lot since I was at school but I am not convinced that your average state school can nurture sporting talent.  Private schools have more funds and access to more facilities and fewer students per teacher, and that appears to be reflected in the educational backgrounds of Team GB every Olympic Games.  And therein, probably, lies the problem: too few trainers/teachers to give individual attention and not enough access to different sports.

As I recall, at school we did running, shot put, javelin, high jump, long jump, gymnastics, swimming, hockey, netball (girls), football (boys), handball, badminton, squash, cricket (boys), possibly tennis, rounders … there must have been more.  Oh yes, there was a bit of dry slope skiing as there was a dry slope near our school.  Squash we did at one school in the sixth form by virtue of there being a squash club next to our school.  Swimming we did at a school that had a tiny outdoor pool, shot put and javelin were, as I recall, rare novelty PE sessions, likewise long jump.  A whole group of children of varying abilities in a sports hall or field seems more merely passing the time than nurturing and encouraging.

Unexpectedly, I developed an ability to do high jump at the school I was at from 13 to 18, though I don’t remember “having to” do it after 16.  I recall consistently being able to jump the highest and with a very, erm, unique style, namely running and jumping (no flops or scissor jumps, I would just jump and land on my feet and walk off).  I was never taught how to jump or that perhaps I could jump even higher if I did the Fosbury Flop, which I didn’t know how to do.  Then came county championships and, as the best high jumper, I was, as I recall, told I would be going wherever they were held and would be competing to represent Kent.  As a virtually mute, painfully shy child, this did not appeal at all.  As I remember it, and I could be wrong, I was taken to a place I’d never been before (an athletics place) and basically pointed in the right direction by a PE teacher who took us all to the try outs.  I remember feeling completely alone and thoroughly confused.  It was an unmitigated disaster.  All the other competitors for the high jump were smartly kitted out and Fosbury Flopping all over the place.  I might as well have whinnied and set off for the jump with my mane flying.  I was so nervous and overwhelmed I couldn’t even do the practice jump.  I can’t remember if I even competed.  I just remember it was a horrendous experience.  I also don’t recall doing high jump again after that.

It was only in my past-it adulthood that I registered that my mum had done hurdles and I was an acceptable short distance runner and did high jump straight on.  To this day, I desperately wish I could have tried hurdles but I’ve never even seen hurdles other than on the television.

I think if you are exceptional at a sport that happens to be taught at your school, you might end up at a club, where you should get the support and coaching necessary.  I do think schools should have greater access to different sports.  I never did water sports beyond swimming at school, cycling was just something you learnt to do.  I think it was through Brownies or possibly the odd Venture Scouts (?) activity that I tried canoeing once.

I hope these London Olympics do give children greater enthusiasm to try new sports and that they are given such opportunities.  I also wish there were more PE teachers and it wasn’t just, as I recall it, two PE teachers, one taking a big group of boys, the other a big group of girls.  We played a lot of rounders – it’s easy to set up and fun – but a lot of children don’t like or feel confident playing team games; it’s not even an Olympic sport, it’s just a game you play as a child.  I believe that schools and clubs should be attached so teachers can direct pupils to places they can go to improve on their specific skills, if they want.  There is a lot more that could and should be done to nurture our future athletes, sports people and Olympians.

{05/08/2012}   Making your own clothes

From about 10 am to 7.40 pm yesterday, by some miracle, I made myself a pair of trousers.  I had never made an item of clothing before, had no idea how to use a pattern and had only ever used my sewing machine for botched trouser length alterations.  I am unbelievably impressed with myself and very excited about the prospect of wearing a pair of, ahem, couture trousers.

I have never been a competent sewer, I never took my mum up on offers to teach me to use a sewing machine and I have never looked at a dress making pattern.  I didn’t think I had it in me, but I for years now I’ve wanted to make my own clothes.  If I can do it, anyone can do it.  I only had to unpick one thing as well!

As the pattern was full of little symbols and a high error risk, I decided to “make” the trousers out of paper first.  When I realised that I would have to cut out ten pieces of (very baggy) trouser leg, I began to see this was not the three-hour start to finish I had in mind.  The paper part took two hours, though it took a while to stick the newspaper together to make the “cloth”.  I then had a chalk related incident whereby my dressmaking chalk wand thing wouldn’t leave a mark on the material so I hit the town on a quest to find one of those triangular chalk things that my mum always used.  I went in every possible shop: haberdasher, craft shop, stationer, supermarkets, dry cleaning shop, Wilkinson’s, 99p stores, etc.  But no chalk triangles.  I then decided, a bit laborious, to cut around the pattern.  This took ages and was tedious.  Plus, the material was black jersey and collected all my cat’s blonde fur as she came to investigate and walk across and sit on the material.  I reiterate: laborious.

Then all of a sudden, all cutting out was done and I was on a roll.  I ironed a bit, pinned a lot, sewed a lot (machine), took ages threading the elastic through the waistband (this was a Vogue “easy”, no tailoring or anything too complicated!) and tried it on.  Fail.  The waist was far too big.  At this point I was on the verge of calling it a day, but I know what I’m like and I knew it wouldn’t get finished if I didn’t carry on.  So I decided on a drastic course of trimming and re-stitching.  It only went and chuffing well worked!!!!  You really have no idea how proud of myself I was!  The one bit of unpicking occurred after I had sewed the elastic together, one end the wrong way giving it a twist.  I contemplated leaving it and embracing its quirkiness but, again to my surprise, I spent ages unpicking it (I had done three rows of four ups and downs to secure that elastic!) and re-did it.  And it fits a treat and it’s so my style and exactly the kind of trousers/culottes I would buy in an instant if I saw them for sale.

I bought the pattern and material up to a year ago and I had written a to-do-in-2012 list, which had included the making of these trousers.  I had written it down because I really didn’t think I’d ever do it.  I am so pleased with them and with myself.  I have no idea if I’ll ever make anything again but I hope I do as it is extraordinarily satisfying to complete a project in a day and to be able to wear a pair of trousers that fit really well.  I also doubt there are many other people who have bits of cat fur sewn into their trousers either!

My mum has a habit of cutting out newspaper articles that she thinks will be of interest to me.  I often roll my eyes and pretend I’m not interested, harking back to my youth when articles were usually ways of educating me about sensible things that I didn’t want to be educated about.  But in actual fact, they’re always well-chosen and of interest.  One of my friends also has a habit of doing this.  I have just cut out some recipes from a Sunday newspaper and I am poised to put them in my newly established cuttings folder.

My cuttings folder is thing of fascination to me.  Well, I have one for recipes and another for everything else.  Prior to the introduction of these files, I would find scrunched up bits of newspaper and magazine pages shoved in a variety of illogical places.  I love it, it’s becoming like a magazine designed just for me, it’s full of relevant and interesting information and articles.

The other day I cut out an article that I really enjoyed reading.  A friend gave me some information about an RSI hand exerciser (which looks like a torture device!), my mum gave me an article about Oxford, Mississippi, where I lived for a semester’s study.  There are nostalgia articles, health articles, some pieces that I think are well written/funny/interesting and a lot of recipes.

I have found myself tearing things out for people as well, but I don’t think they’re always that well received.  I think there has always been a sense of, “Ah, thanks for thinking of me”, but bits of ripped or cut scraps of paper can be a nuisance.  Maybe it would be different if I’d emailed them?

I guess sometimes, you read something and it piques your interest or you want to act on it, because you are in the right mood.  But sometimes, you are just not in the mood to absorb information, however interesting or relevant it might turn out to be.  Some of the articles my mum gives me, I don’t read straight away.  I have been known to unearth them years later and read them with interest.  I find it bewildering that I am not always open to digesting information.

Back to my clippings file.  It’s got clear pocket pages and I love flicking through it.  It returns me to a long-held interest I have in having my own magazine.  I like random things, I would love to create a magazine that doesn’t have regular topics or columns but is varied and haphazard.  That is how my life is and how my interests, conversations and thoughts flow and I know there are a lot of other people out there like that.  Magazines always seem to be quite niche: hobbies, interests, fashion, gossip, news or trade; it’s only really weekend supplement magazines that are varied, but each week you know what subjects will be covered and often by whom.

I wonder if my clippings folder will ever become the start of my magazine publishing empire.  Meanwhile, anything I might be interested in, cut it out and pass it on, you will then see it in my clippings folder, which is currently the bathroom read!

{05/05/2012}   Bank Holiday Weekends

Raining?  Check.  So there you have it, simple, it must be a bank holiday weekend, woo hoo!  I am soon to be kayaking (second lesson, this time most likely in the rain) and this afternoon a friend is coming to stay through to Monday.  She will be getting the train from Brighton, which somehow manages to take about 2 and 3/4 hours, so I feel there should be some excitement to the day to make the cross country train journey worthwhile.

Over the latter half of Easter a friend came to stay and the rain was so bad we hardly went out.  There was also the Easter Sunday confusion as to what if anything would be open.  This weekend, Sunday should be normal and Monday, at worst, should be like Sunday in terms of opening times.  So what to do when it’s raining?  You’d think we would all have bright suggestions for rainy bank holidays because there are so many of them, but when it rains it seems I have in mind outdoor activities.

Shopping.  We could go shopping, but that never strikes me as a great activity unless you’re on holiday.  Museums/galleries etc.  This part of Kent is not South Kensington, though I am sure there are some.  But they will only be open on Saturday and would most likely be busy.  Zoo.  There are two zoos near here but they are very much outdoorsy places and any animal in its right mind, especially considering few come from rainy climates (or at least hot when there is rain).  There are lots of National Trust/English Heritage places, but dreary weather stops me appreciating such places as it brings back memories of being a child feeling that I was being dragged around historic buildings etc on rainy days.  It must have been a parental weather plan b.  It’s not exactly warm so a bbq or picnic under the wee-filled arches by the sandy beach probably isn’t a fantastic proposition.  There is cake and tea that can be sought out, but that’s hardly an all day activity that you would travel almost three hours for.  See, now I’m struggling!

Indoorsy things.  We could play Scrabble but right now that seems too serious.  We could drink tea, bake things, eat things and lounge about.  Hmm, that doesn’t seem too dreadful and idea but, again, worth travelling for?!  There is always the cinema, and there is a lovely independent one in Folkestone, but she’s visiting so we can chat, so watching films doesn’t seem right, but that could be an option.  I wonder what’s on, think back a few months!

And there endeth my current thoughts on bank holiday fun!  I suppose sometimes – “usually” of late – you just need to embrace the rain and time indoors, perhaps venturing out merely for supplies.  Who knows what we will end up doing and maybe I should just appreciate the fact we have two days of good quality catch-up time and accept that this is how it swings with bank holidays: rain, tea and cake!  See, I feel positive and enthusiastic about the bank holiday weekend already!  So come on rain, do your worst, we will overcome and have a memorable and enjoyable long weekend in true British weather style.  Ooo, now there’s a thought: a picnic in the car overlooking the sea, complete with steamy windows from a flask of coffee!  Oh yeah!

Kayaking is fun, tiring and my new hobby! Outfit-wise, by the time I was encased in a life vest and spray deck (skirt thing!) it wouldn’t have mattered how stylish (or otherwise in my case) I was. Exercise-wise, previously unknown muscles are making their presence felt.

As the sea was choppy, my first kayaking experience was on a canal, which was perfect. It didn’t rain for the c1.5 hours we were out, it was just my friend and I with two instructors and for that we paid £20 each. Our kayaks were heavy duty plastic, each one weighing 27kg. We shared carrying both at the same time, which was the most strength-demanding thing we did. In total we probably carried them 150-200m, so a fair way. I didn’t disgrace getting into the kayak, to my immense surprise, in fact by my standards my transition from land to water was quite smooth!

Then the four of us paddled, not in the desired straight line, along the beautiful Napoleonic canal. It was delightfully idyllic and I felt a bit Jerome K Jerome, though “One woman in a kayak” rather than the three men in a boat!

My waterproof trousers saved me a lot of leg splash and, unusually, minus the hoodie, I had on the right clothes for warmth levels.

The kayaking itself was both relaxing yet satisfyingly challenging. I am definitely more weedy with my left arm and I didn’t paddle with the smooth left-right action of the instructors. I was more left-right-left-left-left-right-paddle in water to brake and start from straight. Though I did have a very satisfying few burst of straight line speeding along.

As for the 360 degree turns, it took me an absurdly long time to grasp which direction to lean and when to paddle which way. But on finding myself at the end of a complete circle without having encountered canal bank or rushes was quite an achievement.

There is more to be aware of and moves to learn than I probably expected. I like the idea of getting to grips with them and I would very much like to be a proficient kayaker, and in particular to go on kayaking holidays. However, I have yet to capsize and this worries me slightly. Hopefully, that will first occur in a nice warm, clean swimming pool!

As a form of exercise, my arms and inner thighs are feeling it most today. My thumb/forefinger area, ie where the paddle pressure is exerted, is a little tender and my waist and shoulders have a mild exercised feeling. My legs were all aquiver when I got out of the kayak, but that soon abated!

All in all, it was fantastic to be outdoors, exercising, admiring the scenery, being on water and not being aware of time or usual stresses. I really, really enjoyed it and I feel very smug and satisfied by the kind of aches I have this morning. I had expected to write today about incidents and capsizing, but no. Maybe they will come! Having a flask of tea and some caramel waffles on the beach afterwards was a genius reward, despite the fact we were both cold by then! I wonder if we’ll be on the sea next week, surely it won’t be possible to be incident free again?!

Later this morning I am going sea kayaking for the first time. It is raining and windy and, I strongly suspect, quite cold. I have a list of clothing to wear in lieu of a wetsuit. I realise I don’t really know what to expect so thought I would write today about what it might be like and tomorrow about what it was like.

For my bottom half, I have very thin silk long johns, nylony tracksuit bottoms (I am not expecting or even hoping to look good!) and waterproof trousers with a pair of sort of trainers without laces. On top I have a thermal top, maybe a t-shirt over it, a hoodie and a waterproof jacket. There is a slim chance I could actually look better in a wetsuit and that really is saying something!

Progressing from fashions, I am prepared for incidents getting into the kayak. I feel that clawing back dignity after everyone has seen my outfit will be well and truly scuppered during this process. I have some uncomfortable flashbacks to a teenage day or two canoeing where similar problems surfaced!

I think we will be on or by the water for two hours. If the sea is choppy, which I think is likely, we will be on the Royal Military Canal (onto which more members of public can view our escapades!). This may be a good thing for a complete novice. We are told to bring a change of clothes as we might get wet. I am actually envisaging full immersion and being cold and wet, albeit in an adventurous, heroic kind of way! I also assume we will have to be able to exit the kayak in the event of overturning. Believe me, I will take every measure to not get wet/overturn. Again, there was an eskimo roll series of incidents in my canoeing experience. Writing this is making me wonder if kayaking really is for me!

When I lived next to someone with a selection of sea kayaks in Seasalter, I decided then that I liked the idea, just never did anything about it. In October, swimming in the sea at Folkestone, hot though that weekend was, the water was still icy cold and I looked on in envy (the kind which makes you contemplate how you can have what they have in a theft kind of way!) as a few people got into their kayaks and floated on the beautiful calm sea. They didn’t get wet and, to my mind, had a better deal than me as I never warmed up while swimming in the sea (but I did enjoy it in the sense that it woke me up and there is always something exciting about being in/on the sea). But it’s thanks to a friend who did all the research and organising that I am going, so I might not be the only one to disgrace myself in some novice way!

I figure if I enjoy it today, in the rain on a canal with possibly inappropriate clothing (might be too hot, too cold, too wet, too restricted), this could be a great new activity for me. Physically, I am expecting a lot of sitting in a kayak for this first lesson and I predict the most cardiovascular exercise I will get will be from getting in and out of the kayak. If I do get to paddle any great distance, I suspect it will shock me how difficult it will be to paddle smoothly without dousing myself and anyone near me in water. All this said, I am very much looking forward to it!

It would appear that I am becoming more cynical. I think in part this is because I realise that not only have I rose tinted certain events or periods in my life, I have bigged some things up, whether in conversation or on my CV. So I guess I assume other people do the same thing.

Not so long ago I heard myself telling a relative stranger I was going to be a professional tennis player when I was younger but I just hadn’t been commited enough to the training. I think I blurted it out without considering he might be interested enough to quiz me on it. I excused myself before I could get myself in deeper lying water by bringing my Annabel Croft “connection” into it (I know, I know, not a hugely successful tennis player but my dad did meet her and got me a signed poster – see, I could’ve drowned in the deep water of lies about our playing tennis together, etc, a massive leap from the truth!) The reality was I did a tennis summer school while I was about 11 and I was unexpectedly proficient so the coach had offered to give me extra coaching. He phoned my parents quite a few times to convince them to convince me to do it but I was painfully shy and not remotely enthusiastic about the prospect of being singled out so it never happened.

Likewise, there are people in this world who think I used to do high jump for my county. In reality, I was good at it but I was so nervous during the county selection trials that I couldn’t even do the warm up jumps and was so horribly embarrassed at not even jumping the first jump that I don’t recall ever doing high jump again.

I sometimes think these exaggerations, which usually develop while under the influence of alcohol and/or socialising with over-achievers, are purely to make you sound like a more interesting, skilled and rounded character. My problem, I now realise, is that I can’t go beyond a slight exaggeration because I am rubbish at lying convincingly with authority. A little exaggeration is probably fine, there’s just a danger of ending up out and out lying then getting rumbled, usually by a friend who overhears and utters the death knell of, “yeah, right”, without realising you’re in the throws of trying to impress someone and are now reduced to looking like a bit of an idiot. I have so been rumbled like that before and it’s not pretty, especially if you’re trying to woo or impress.

But is it ok on a CV for example? I decided to update mine about a year ago; you’d be impressed, perhaps a little surprised, by some of my skills and achievements, but if I shuffled the chronology and collated all one-off (some maybe two-off!) experiences, it’s certainly not fabricated.

I mean, if photoshopping celebrities in magazines is acceptable, surely tweaking my skills and experiences to make me more appealing is perfectly ok. I quite like the idea of “upgrading” the truth! I expect one day my childhood experience of winning a story competition to watch jousting will be upgraded, in over-achieving company, to, “Oh yes, I used to joust, it was most thrilling”!

et cetera