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Category Archives: Alphathon

Day 26 – Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay!

Sorry for the blog overload today folks, am on a bit of a roll! So this is it, the last post of the Alphathon and later will be my last entry for Three Things February…what a leap day huh? I’m already thinking of a good blogging idea for when I’m travelling, I was thinking maybe a ‘best bit, worst bit’ blog every day (or whenever I have internet access) but if you have a better idea please do let me know!

So the last three options are…

Katy S – (time for bed said) Zebedee! What’s your favourite thing you’ve finished? A book, a craft… anything!
Katy P – Zoooom…we’re in 1998, describe you and your life.
Peg – Zero gravity – what do you think it’d be like floating in space? Would you like to try it?

In 1998 I was in my final year of primary school, we’ve had a few blog themes that centre around that age so I’ll give this one a miss. Peg, honest I think zero gravity would be fun for about 5 minutes and then I’d get bored and annoyed that the pages of my book kept floating and I couldn’t pour my tea. So, Katy…Zebadee it is!

I can’t think of my ‘favourite’ thing (as previously mentioned, I’m awful with favourites!!) so I shall tell you my most recent. This time last year (almost exactly actually) a group of ladies and I started a Circle Journal. This is a craft project where each of you decorate a page of a book for someone else on a particular theme, There were six of us in our circle, the general theme was Glastonbury, and within that people chose topics such as Hidden Glasto, Tell me a Glasto Story and Glasto Bucket list. It’s been really fun to receive a new project every couple of months and have an excuse to get creative, share a story or advice and see/read what others have done. Last week I completed my last page and received my own journal back! It’s so pretty!! It’s really nice to think that I will forever have it as a reminder of a fantastic summer, good friends and generally, fun times in a field!

Actually I’ve just thought, that’s not my most recent at all. Last night I finished a chevron friendship bracelet for a friend of mine. I haven’t made a friendship bracelet since I learned at summer camp in 2007 and even then only made half chevrons so I was really pleased with myself. It’s not my neatest work, but it was well received and proudly sported, what more can you ask for eh?

So that’s it! Alphathon complete, I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have, and thank you to my fellow bloggers, as always, for taking part and helping to keep me entertained! As soon as Fiona has caught up and Katy finishes I shall update you on the scores on the doors, but for now, adieu!

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Day 25 – Young people today!

Katy S – Yo yo? Hula hoops? What was your favourite toy as a kid?
Katy P – (A) Year ago today…
Peg – Yesterday – what three things did you like about yesterday?

So today I wanted to do my own theme, but today didn’t exist last year (stoooopid leap years!) so I shall have to choose another. Miss Pegs theme has already been covered by my Three Things February post, so, by process of elimination I guess I’ll be talking about toys!

I always wonder what ‘as a kid’ means, do you mean when I was a toddler? Still in single figures? Or maybe just pre-teen? I’m pretty sure my idea of a good toy changed over the years. Four year old me favoured a doll named Rebecca; she had brown curly hair and eyes that really opened and shut. Even when I was given a new Baby Born which cried and could be fed, Rebecca was the favourite. Prior to that I was a fan of Mickey Hoops, a stack up hoop game with a Mickey Mouse head to go on the top…is this the kind of story you want Katy?

After we moved to Wales my Aunts Cindy house came to live with us and I would spend hours playing with Barbie’s and Polly Pockets (they were Borrowers, stealing cups and buttons from the Barbie’s). I remember so many times when I’d come home to find my nephew and his friend Rosie playing in my room, sticky fingers on my toys, arrghhh!!!

As Josh got older, I grew out of Barbies and he Cowboys and Indians and the pair of us moved on to Lego. Honestly, I wasn’t very good at ‘playing’ with Lego, I’m too anal. I’d spend hours sorting the bricks out by size so I could find everything easily only for Josh to come in and tip the whole lot onto the floor the second I’d finished. Drove me crazy! I remember my brothers and I building a giant (about a foot tall I guess) Lego man one Christmas though, that was fun.

It’s funny how you spend so many hours playing, and yet when you ask me what I did for those days and weeks on end when all you had to do was play I seriously couldn’t tell you! I didn’t watch much television, only really played video games when my brothers visited during the school holidays and wasn’t very outdoorsy. I did love to read though, maybe I spent most of my time doing that! Once the teenage years hit computers were far more popular and I discovered Monkey Island, The Sims and Lemmings, friends would come over just to sit and ‘go on the internet’ till it was bedtime. In a world where every teenager has a laptop, psp, iPod touch, facebook and skype it seems weird to think I was the only kid with a computer! How quaint!!

What was your fave toy as a kid? Leave a comment below!

Day 24 – xXx wish you were here!

Katy S –  eXtremely idiotic, how did I forget x?! What’s the most important thing you’ve forgotten?
KatyP –  X marks the spot – blindly point at a map, write a postcard as if you were there!
Peg –  X-rays – have you ever had an x-ray?

Day 23 – Who? What? When? Why? Where did the Alphathon go?

I’m not sure what’s going on alphathonwise at the moment. I know we were not blogging last week as Katy was off work and planning to be very busy…then it all went a bit quiet! So I thought I’d kick start it today and see what the other two do!

So, day 23 and the letter W! Our options were:

Katy S – Where you at? How are your to-do-lists for life coming on?
Katy P – Who inspires you?
Fiona – Words – what are your favourite words? Both in English and in any other languages.

Katy to be truthful I have never had a ‘to do list’ like others do, or at least no discernable timeline (you know, degree, job, mortgage, house, husband…in whatever order that should be in). The only think I have ever really had on my list was travel, and we all know where I am with that! As for inspiration, I have NO inkling! Actually that’s not true, I have a vast list of people who inspire me, but not in the way you’d anticipate. Most of list comprises of ‘for the love of God don’t do what they did! which wouldn’t make the most stimulating blog.

So, words it is!

We were chattering about this at lunch the other day. Some folks understood instantaneously how you can take more of a fondness to some words than others. Others were of the attitude that a word is a word, how can you ‘like it’ more than another? I am in the former group. Some words sit better on the tongue, others have negative undertones which make them disagreeable (like moist…ugh!). I’ve already shared some of my favourite Welsh words, so today I’ll stick to English, which I quite like as a language really; we are spoiled for choice with several words for everything. For example are you sat on a chair right now? Or maybe a seat? Is it a couch or a sofa? Then we have words which seem too ostentatiouly flamboyant for their own good, like these

Have you ever read ‘The Chaos’ by Dr. Gerard Nolst Trenité? I blogged about it once. It’s a brilliant poem illustrating the English language and just how complex it is. If you have time I suggest you have a read.

Yet, for all its complexity and numerous linguistic synonyms, English is not all encompassing. Here are some words I believe have been omitted from our language;

Esprit de l’escalier (French)Literally translated as “The spirit of the staircase”, which refers to all the things you realise you should have said after a heated conversation has ended
Wabi-Sabi (Japanese) – Basically means “a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay.”
Hyggelig (Danish) – Literally translated would rely on your ability to word that feeling that comes from sitting in your cosiest place with your best friends and favourite food or beverage. It’s like cosy, but so much more!
Pena Ajena (Spanish) – With the Bristish love of cringe worthy situations we should definitely adopt this word! It describes how embarrassing it feels to watch someone else be humiliated.
Tartle (Scottish) – To hesitate while introducing someone due to having forgotten his/her name
Iktsuarpok (Inuit) – To go outside to check if anyone is coming

There are more, but I can’t find it on Pinterest (too many pins!).

This isn’t really relevant to my ‘favourite words’ but this was one of my favourite poems growing up:

The Word Party

(Richard Edwards)

Loving words clutch crimson roses,
Rude words sniff and pick their noses,
Sly words come dressed up as foxes,
Short words stand on cardboard boxes,
Common words tell jokes and gabble,
Complicated words play Scrabble,
Swear words stamp around and shout,
Hard words stare each other out,
Foreign words look lost and shrug,
Careless words trip on the rug,
Long words slouch with stooping shoulders,
Code words carry secret folders,
Silly words flick rubber bands,
Hyphenated words hold hands,
Strong words show off, bending metal,
Sweet words call each other ‘petal’,
Small words yawn and suck their thumbs,
Till at last the morning comes.
Kind words give out farewell posies.
Snap! The dictionary closes.

Have you heard of words we don’t have in English that you particularly like? Or are there any English words you’re particularly partial too, or dislike intently? You are only limited by your own vocabulary…come on readers, teach me something!

Day 22 – V for Victory!

Katy S – Virgo? Do you believe in star signs?
Katy P – Victory!!! Tell me about a time you ‘won’.
Peg – Van Gogh – show us your artistic ability or tell us about it.

I was completely torn between Katy’s theme and mine today, so I asked twitter (1 or 2?) and received unanimous votes for 2…Victory!

I’ve never really been a winner, mainly because I didn’t ever compete. I’m not particularly sporty, I went to college before there was an option to be a prefect or head girl and when I went to my local youth theatre every Sunday I was more concerned with seeing my friends than landing the lead role! I was Mrs Bedwin in Oliver, Gloria Growlie in the Wizard of Oz and various chorus parts within other shows that we did and that was fine with me. It was probably fine with the choreographer too as I have two left feet!

However at university I found something I was passionate about and also rather good at. In my first year I was elected to be a student rep for my course, acting as a liaison between the students and university. In second year I ran for election onto a few higher committees and won, and in third year I decided to run for one of the full time Presidential positions within the Students’ Union. I was terrified, but determined. The decision came after overhearing a conversation from a previous winner. It was the day after the election results, and the new President elect was sat in the canteen telling their friends how they hadn’t written their own manifesto, had no intention to work past 3pm any day and aimed to have every Friday off. I had voted for this candidate and was furious. Pretty much from that moment I decided to run the following year, to fix everything I was sure was going to go wrong under this person, and many more university issues besides.

Election week is still one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced. The prep is a whirlwind of campaign ideas, designing posters, decorating t shirts and for me writing on pegs. I had the most amazing flatmates who gave up their time to help me talk to voters, hand out sweets and most importantly ensure I ate something other than maoam every day!

My flatmates helping me put my campaign together.

My parents helped by sewing banners, dying t shirts and cooking up a storm of meals which could just be microwaved. I’ll never forget the support from friends, family and thousands of people I’d never even met who offered me encouragement during the week. Oddly, some of my best supporters were two of my rivals. By mid-week Gail, Sanjay and I had become firm friends; we labelled ourselves Team Vice (as we were all running for the VP role) and I honestly meant it when I wished them luck before the results. They’re amazing people and I would have been happy to see either of them succeed.

Friday 7th March, 2008 was my 21st birthday. I started it on the UWE roundabout waving at buses and cars as students arrived at university for the day. The next few hours involved running round talking to students and trying to secure the final votes. At midday, just before voting closed, all the candidates were gathered outside the library; we hadn’t slept in a week and were all running on sugar highs from our own sweets. As last seconds past I played the countdown tune on my phone and we all cheered before heading off to clean up the campus and have a well-earned drink.

The crowd were gathered in Escape Bar, and to my horror I was called up on stage first as the crowd sung me happy birthday. I had to wear a cake hat. Cringe!

Then it was time. Nerys Neath took to the stage and called up the candidates for Vice President. Gail, Sanjay, Sam and I stood with our arms round each other trembling.

I survived the first round, I survived the second…it was down to me and Sanjay. Those seconds felt like a year, but suddenly my name was called and it was over. I’d won. I was the new SRC Vice President of UWESU.

Wow.

The thing no one can prepare you for though, in a situation like that, is how close you become to your fellow candidates. Gail and Sanjay were gutted, and there was nothing I could do. The following year Gail ran again and won, and proved herself to be the most flipping fantastic SRC Vice President that Union has ever had. I was SRC President by then and honestly don’t know what I’d have done without her.

After the elections my flatmates took me home, ready to go out and celebrate my win and birthday! In reality I fell asleep on the sofa (I’d tried to nap in my room but after the buzz of the week it was too quiet for me to sleep, that shows you how out of it I was!) and was woken up at 11pm, fed lasagne and told to go to bed. The next day we celebrated in style, but that day I was just exhausted in the way which only elections can exhaust you. However, if I could go and do the whole week again I would, in a heartbeat. It was amazing!

You can see the videos of the results here and here.

And to my abolsutely fabulous Team Vice… you’re awesome! Thanks for everything and where the hell is Sam Jones?! xx

Scores after Day 20:

Katy S: 17
Katy P: 20
Peg: 18

 

Day 21 – Underground, overground, wombling free!

Katy S – U are wonderful, never forget it! What are you really good at?
Katy P – Unusually, I don’t…(finish this sentence)
Peg – Underground – if you could live underground what would your home be like?

Nope, I’m not really good at singing, or rubbish collection, though making good use of the things that I find would probably be on my list of pros about it…I’m not choosing your theme today Katy, I’m going with Pegs!

Are you on Pottermore? I was one of the first to try it out. I love all the extra information it offers fans, background stories about the characters, descriptions of parts of the castle and grounds we hadn’t already seen much of, and obviously the chance to be sorted. How.e.x.c.i.t.i.n.g! As I worked my way through the story I actually became quite nervous about the sorting ceremony…which house would I be in? I’m not particularly brave or cunning, and would certainly not describe myself as ‘unafraid of toil’, so that left me with Ravenclaw…those of wit and learning. That’ll do! I can’t describe to you how dismayed I was when sorted into Hufflepuff, the house which, throughout the books was suggested to be the ‘duffer house’. The next page though made me change my mind, it was the common room!

The Hufflepuff common room (for those who haven’t seen it) is a rounded, underground burrow, with earthy walls and circular windows which offer views of rippling meadows and sunflowers. The room emphasises comfort, with burnished copper lamps casting a golden glow akin to sunset. Overstuffed sofas and arm chairs fill the day room, while patchwork quilts cover each four poster bed in the dormitories. If I were to live underground I imagine I should like a house like this; something between a hobbit house and a badger set. J.R.R. Tolkien paints a picture of rounded rooms with arched roofs, circular wooden doors and curved windows. The light would reflect that of the setting sun, warm and golden, with honey wooden floors, window frames and mantelpieces, deep red and brown furniture and of course a crackling fire.

I would like my house to be in a hillside. If you were to come from behind it you could walk straight onto my grassy roof, and sit in the shade of the old oak that grows on the meadow without realising my house was underneath you. In front of my hillside borrow would be a bubbling brook with a nice bridge across it. Yes, I think I could live there quite happily for a time!

 

It looks a little bit like one of the pigs from angry birds, haha!

I have to say also, that since researching it I have to admit Pottermore got me spot on when they put me in Hufflepuff. It’s the house for the non competitive and impartial, those which don’t really fit in any of the other houses, for people who will accept anyone and not judge. While I’m not particularly patient, I can be determined (that’s a nice way of saying stubborn right?), have been called loyal and believe whole heartedly in fairplay. If that’s a Hufflepuff then yup, that’s me!

Scores after Day 20:

Katy S: 17
Katy P: 19
Peg: 16

Day 20 – The Birthday Party

 Katy S – Turning over a new leaf – can people really change?
Katy P – Teleport yourself somewhere – where did you go?
Peg – Tweet – Share some of your favourite tweets from your feed.

Bsshhhhoiiiiingg…..bsshhhhoiiiiingg…..bsshhhhoiiiiingg. The metal cylinder around me seems to pulsate with light, up and down, up and down, faster and faster as the circular walls spin clockwise. My wristporter contracts slightly and I brace myself for impact. It’s so tempting to close your eyes, but best not to if you can help yourself, it only enhances the feeling that you’re falling without a parachute!

Porters like these have been around for years, invented for military use at first but, as with everything the benefits were too vast to be hidden from the world for long. After a few years they became a crucial part of the media world as politicians, celebrities and royalty alike adopted them as a swift and secure mode of transport. It was only very recently that the technology became affordable for the everyday citizen and transport pods have been appearing in front rooms ever since. The sensation takes some getting used to, somewhere between the Waltzers and taking off in a 747, but as long as you take the preport nausea tablets the effects usually wear off within a few minutes.

As the walls stop spinning and the lights dim I swallow the postport tablet and exit the pod. The heat causes my breath to catch in the back of my throat and I can’t help but lean, like a sunflower towards the light source in the sky. This isn’t my first flight, working in New York and living in Melbourne I use the port twice a day, 5 days a week, but it still fills me with wonder. Stepping in from the Manhattan blizzards only to emerge, seconds later, in the midst of an Australian summer is really something.

A delicious scent distracts me at that moment, and with delight I realise my flatmate has picked up Thai food on the way home. The spicy aroma sets my stomach rumbling

‘Don’t come in here yet!’ a voice calls from the kitchen as if reading my mind ‘you need to change! Your outfit is hanging in the bathroom!’

Zoe…amazing, but a control freak. Grinning to myself I head through the second door to my left to change. Awaiting me is a gorgeous white dress, complete with flip flips and a box of glow bracelets. It doesn’t offer much in the way of clues. What’s she up to?

‘Come in the kitchen when you’re ready!’ Zoe yells. Obediently I slip the dress over my head, tie my hair into a loose braid and follow my nose.

‘SUURRPRRRISEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’ the call from the crowd makes my jaw drop,  ‘Happy birthday!!!!!’ they yell again as I’m showered with party popper ribbons, hugs, kisses and have a glass of something bubbly pressed into my hand. I try to take in the faces around me, family, friends and even some co-workers who had been suspiciously absent during the last hour of work are all grinning at me like idiots. Zoe really went all out!

‘Were you surprised?!’ she questions, dancing round me ‘Mark said you had figured it out, but I didn’t think so! You had no idea right?! We surprised you!?!’

‘You surprised me!’ I laugh ‘I honestly had no idea!’

‘Haha! I knew it!! See Mark…total success!!!!’

‘Well how else was I supposed to wind you up?’ Zoes boyfriend shrugs nonchalantly before giving me a peck on the cheek ‘Happy birthday kiddo! Hungry?’

‘Starving!’ I say ‘Especially as I smell my favourite!’

We head out into the garden, which has been decorated with long trestle tables and such an assortment of chairs and cutlery I can only assume everyone brought their own. Within no time at all we’re slouched in our seats amazed at the amount we each managed to consume. The sun is slowly sinking over the horizon and I take a moment to pause and look around me at the smiling faces of all those I love.

‘Can you imagine the cost and time it would have taken to organise something like this before?’ I say ‘It would have been impossible. Aren’t we lucky to live in a time when we can do this kind of thing?’ My family and friends smile in agreement just as the garden lights up with a thousand twinkling fairy lights. This has been the best birthday a girl could ask for. Lucky lucky me!

Scores after day 19:

Katy S: 17
Katy P: 17
Peg: 16