Summer’s Lease…

It’s the first of June so that must mean it’s time for another Calendar Challenge and this month, Simon Drew offers a pictorial take on the words of the immortal Bard to kickstart our days of Summer…


To my mind, I think ‘not to be’ sounds rather drastic so I’m voting for the former. But in any case, this quote (from Hamlet in case you were wondering) does make me think about William Shakespeare’s influence in our language

I took literature both at High School and then as my minor at Uni, and I remember how surprised I was at the proliferation of quotes that were already familiar to me. Just sticking with Hamlet, I had heard of both to thine own self be true and neither a borrower nor a lender be despite never actually studying the play itself. 

And while I’ve never gotten around to seeing As You Like It, my theatre forays here on Gidday from the UK are tagged with all the world’s a stage. Imitation is, after all, the sincerest form of flattery.

What I did study was Macbeth – three times. Not for me the dark romance of Romeo and Juliet (who was the sun) nor the comic delights of a Midsummer Night’s Dream, where the course of true love never did run smooth

No, after wading through this tragedy as our compulsory Shakespeare in Year 11 English, taking English Literature in Year 12 found me double double toil and trouble-ing again with the teacher thinking it would be better to do something we already knew. And then I went to Uni to broaden my horizons and such-like only to find that rather than bear[ing] a charmed life, fair was foul and I was in the hurly burly…again.

Thanks goodness we did The Merchant of Venice in second semester and I got to learn all about pound[s] of flesh. And I did finagle a spate of Twelfth Night. With wonderful lines like ‘Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them‘ it is little wonder that this remains one of my favourite plays.

I have since seen quite a few of the Bard’s back catalogue here in London, most recently Measure for Measure, King Lear and Much Ado About Nothing. And I love them but I’ve noticed a peculiar pattern emerging. The norm is that I struggle to keep pace with the language in the first half, then google the story again in the interval to see whether I have managed to gain any sense of what’s going on. The answer is almost always yes and I invariably return and just relax into the language, trusting that I will get all of the points that must be made and having a much more enjoyable time as a result. 

And speaking of enjoyment, today is the first day of Summer here in the UK. It has been sunshine-y and warm and the roses are out in force at Gidday HQ – who needs all the perfumes of Arabia [to] sweeten this little hand?

And with that, it seems to me that the only fitting end to this post lies in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18:

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date”.

Here’s to a fabulous Summer!

ps…and just in case you are struggling with the translation of the pictogram

To be or not to be – that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep–
No more

——————————-
Calendar Challenge 2014 – Back Catalogue
Keep Calm And Carry On
Sour Grapes
Water Water Everywhere

On The Shore

What Lies Before Me

What lies before me

Here we are at another 1st and this time it’s the first of May…

Ooops! This is what happens when good intentions get waylaid and a person gets laid low by a hideous migraine.

But I’m back, albeit a little overdue, which means it’s time for another Calendar Challenge… 

There are the obvious ‘lush’ perspectives here (although in the last few days, I have never felt less like a drink in my life). There’s the social glue of getting together with friends and putting the world to rights. The importance of a cracking red with a new ‘local’ pizza at the end of countless moving-house-again days. The virtual Cheers! across the miles with Lil Chicky via WhatsApp or Facebook. In fact, the sheer necessity of such an indulgence if one is to have a balanced outlook on life.

And this brings me to an important point, one which a friend and I were discussing a few weeks back over…you guessed it…a bottle of red. We have both come to realise that, at this point (we are in our mid-forties), we are at about the halfway point in our lifetimes. (All going according to the statistics of course – as an Aussie sheila, it’s expected I’ll be popping my clogs at 85.6.)

Anyway, it made for some interesting discussion about what we would do and in fact what the world would be like for the next 40 years or so. Will our jobs still exist and if they do, what are the chances of us wanting to do them? And for how long? Where will we live? What things will we do to inform, amuse, educate, indulge ourselves? How do we shape the years that stretch ahead of us before they shape us? How much planning do we do and how much should we leave to serendipity, chance or spontaneous gut feeling?

I have no answers, this being a new and slightly unsettling line of thought for me. My life right now feels really full and fabulous, like the work of the last 44 years has come to fruition and given me the life I always dreamed of. Even so, I found myself picking up Investors Chronicle magazine with my Saturday paper this morning and over the last week or so ‘google writing courses’ keeps popping up on my mental to-do list. And I swear there’s that brine-y cloying smell of the sea in my future somewhere.

It’s not that I’m racing off into the wild blue yonder – breaking the glass in an emergency so to speak – with any of this yet but this recent twist of the kaleidoscope has made me wonder what would make me happiest in my future and how I give myself the wherewithal to be there, wherever there turns out to be.

My move to the UK was driven by that deep-down feeling in my gut that this was what was right and next in my life. And it was sudden so it makes me wonder what the next catalyst for change in life as I know it will be. I sincerely hope it won’t be anything tragic. Perhaps it will just sneak up surreptitiously, moving me along a gentler path until suddenly I look around and say, ‘Aah yes, this is exactly where I am meant to be.’

Life has a funny way of showing us a path when we least expect it but to my way of thinking, I need to take a few more steps off the beaten track and forage about in the undergrowth a bit to understand what I might really like to have in my future.

Who knows what I might find.


Calendar Challenge 2014 – Back Catalogue

Keep calm and carry on

Sour grapes

Water water everywhere

On the shore

 

On the shore

This month’s Calendar Challenge inspiration comes from waiting around for hours for something to happen – also known as fishing.

I went fishing once. I caught a small reef shark off Mission Beach in Queensland (Australia) when I was in my teens and having shrieked with fear and promptly dropped the fishing rod for someone else to deal with, I decided that perhaps the whole waiting patiently deal was not at all worth it.

I played golf once too. Surrounded by advice at the first tee, I wiggled and kept my eye on the ball and swung the club as instructed. And I smacked that little white ball right down the middle of the fairway to achieve a birdie (that’s one less than par for the uninitiated). Nothing to this I thought as I collected my ball from the hole. And things went downhill from there, with both my beginner’s luck and my patience running out by holes two and five respectively.

Apparently patience is a virtue and good things happen to those who wait.

I tried to apply these guiding principles to skiing in my mid-twenties. I’d been when I was twelve and after three days of valiant effort graduated to the next class, promptly hurt my ankle and spent quite some time sitting in the snow waiting for help and then sitting around the chalet waiting for everyone else to come back. I was twenty-five before the opportunity arose again (how’s that for patience!) and this time it only took an hour before it was ski-do to the rescue again.

So I’ve decided that there are times when it’s infinitely preferable to be the idiot standing on the shore.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – March 2014

 

Amsterdam, The Netherlands – October 2013

Cottage Lake, Washington USA – June 2013

Paris, France – May 2013

Frankston, Australia – January 2013

 

Langkawi, Malaysia – December 2012

And let me tell you, waiting on the shore is absolutely fine with me.


Calendar Challenge 2014 – Back Catalogue

Keep calm and carry on

Sour grapes

Water water everywhere

Water water everywhere

It’s the first of March and Spring has sprung. In the last week, our mild winter has melded softly into more blue sky days and some double digit temperatures. Bunches of green pointed leaves have broken through the soil and the anticipation of bright bursts of yellow daffodils lies hopefully in parks and gardens. It would appear that unusually, the heralding of Spring has corresponded with its calendar counterpart.

It’s come after months of storms and torrential rain which has put something of a dampener on the start of 2014 for many in the UK. And waging a watery war with this, one of the harbingers of climate change, brings us to this month’s Calendar Challenge from Simon DrewI was reading an article about the impact on rising sea levels this week. A report from the Institute of Mechanical Engineers released five years ago suggests that areas like London and the Norfolk Broads could be consigned to a watery grave if society’s impact on the environment continues unchecked. Images source: http://www.carbonmanagers.com

Ecologically speaking, one could argue that this small island nation has good reason to worry.  And yet on the other hand, a large – or certainly larger than it should be – proportion of the world’s population has no access to water.

A recent campaign by Water Aid UK shows a young girl walking more than two hours to draw ‘life-giving’ water from a muddy pool, dirty water that could kill her or her family. How often each day do we simply turn on the tap – to fill the kettle, brush our teeth or even take a drink of cool, clear, safe water?  Even with all of our efforts at limiting water waste, we live in our Western ‘bubble’ where having no access to a flushing toilet or a morning shower occurs not as a part of everyday life but rather as a short term immersive ‘experience’ in the realms of adventure travel.

So this year, I’ve started donating to Water Aid UK – as little as £10 per month is enough to fund a well to reach clean water far underground.

There are a myriad of ways to contribute more to the world we live in and this is my small step into this battle alongside the elements. But every journey starts by putting one foot in front of the other and along with my monetary contributions, I’m also hoping that tuning my environmental antenna to such a cause will lead to more opportunities to educate myself and understand how I can make a difference.

Oh and I’ve also resolved to stop grumbling about the rain.


Calendar Challenge 2014 – Back Catalogue

Keep calm and carry on

Sour grapes

 

Sour grapes

It’s the 1st of February. Where did January go for heavens sake? It’s only just begun and the year is already whizzing by.

As promised, with the heralding of the new month comes the next instalment of the 2014 Calendar Challenge and February’s funny finds inspiration in the language of our childhood…

Image Source: Simon Drew’s Famous Phrases Calendar 2014

Now come on admit it. Your pre-school world was full of moo-cows and baa-lambs wasn’t it…

Anyway the sketch of these woolly warmers gassing over a vino or two reminds me that today is National Pisco Sour Day.

I know. Who knew?

Pisco is a powerful grape brandy created by both the Peruvians and the Chileans and forms the basis of the potent Pisco Sour cocktail. Each nation has a slightly different recipe but Peru pay homage to their national tipple on the first Saturday in February – today. And if you are in London, the kind folk at Londonist have published a list where you can sample the best/most authentic manifestations of this South American delight – just click here. If not, you’ll have to google your own list.

I first discovered the joys of pisco during a girls night out at the then newly opened Ceviche Peruvian Bar and Kitchen in London about 18 months ago but rather than sour grapes, it was passion that I found at the bar. Or rather Pasion de Ceviche: A delicious blend of ginger-infused pisco, passionfruit juice, prickly pear liqueur and honey that was so smooth and delicious I had four that night, firstly transferring from an early allegiance to Toro Mata (a cocktail combo of coffee, pisco and sugar syrup) and then duly convincing my three cocktail-ing compatriots to join me.

Unsurprisingly sour grapes were in short supply at our table that night.

Note to self: Must go back. Soon.

In other alcoholic news, just yesterday Lil Chicky posted this on Facebook…

It’s chocolate port…in a glass shoe-boot.

*Excited squealing*

What’s a girl to do? It’s just leading this ‘sweet’ Aussie lamb to alcoholic slaughter.

Baaa-mmer hey…

 

Keep calm and carry on

Gidday peeps and welcome to 2014. I hope you found something to celebrate and be inspired by as one year ended and another began.

In between getting out and about, I’ve been sorting stuff at Gidday HQ over a restorative nine days off before facing my first day back at work on January 2nd. And life’s bright shiny distractions meant that a further two days passed before my first 2014 post.

So here I am at last –  better late than never – four days in.

Today has been a bit of a personal maintenance day (the ladies out there will know exactly what I mean – looking good takes a little effort) but the other important thing on my to-do list was to find Gidday HQ’s 2014 calendar. I had ventured out a couple of times over the Christmas period in an effort to have something ready to go come January 1st but had not found anything sufficiently inspiring, heart-warming or engaging to take pride of place on my fridge…

…until today. 

This is part of the front cover of the Simon Drew‘s Famous Phrases calendar.  You can probably see why I was drawn to it…hic!

Anyway, each of his sketches is accompanied by a particularly witty twist on a well-known phrase. This one was also on the cover…

Core Jets / courgettes…geddit?

Anyway, it made me laugh in the shop so I bought it and brought it home, filled in all of the important dates and events I already know about and stuck it on the side of the fridge. And to celebrate its comic contribution here at Gidday HQ, I thought I’d take on the Calendar Challenge again, last seen in 2012 and featuring the irreverent bunch from Violent Veg.

The Calendar Challenge means publishing a post on the first day of each month using the corresponding calendar page from that month as my theme / inspiration. And look at this, it’s the 4th and I’m late already. But January has some good advice…

…although I’m not sure who ‘Ron’ is.

Anyway, I reckon there’s only one thing left to do – let’s get stuck in to 2014 and see what happens.

Hope you enjoy the ride.