Category Archives: Life

Look who’s back!

Hello! It’s been a while! Apologies for not posting for quite a few months, but I’m back for the moment. Since I last posted back in January, quite a few things have happened on a personal level. However, in good news, we actually moved house in February! We never thought it would happen, but it did! We are far happier where we are now, as we are on the edge of the City looking out on some lovely countryside- the smell of cows wafting in through the open windows… The only things that I still haven’t got round to unpacking yet are all my novels, as we don’t currently have enough shelves. That’s a job for over the summer. Archaeology, anthropology, astronomy, music, history, etc. etc. are all shelved, but not poetry or novels. Once everything is in it’s place though, I intend to get some shelfies up on here!

I’ve also been buying more books. I’ve definitely slowed down, so they are trickling rather than flooding in, but they are still slowly coming. As such, there’s too many to do new book posts for the past 6+ months, and I can’t recall what I bought when.

Any other news? Oh yes- we’re expecting a baby girl! Still trying to recover from the shock and take it in at the moment, as we really didn’t expect that it would be a girl, but we’re happy. Very happy. More on that later in the year!

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Life update #17: Happy new year…?

Well, we’re nearly a month into the new year, and I can honestly say that it’s been fairly shitty so far. I didn’t make any resolutions in a drunken haze this new year, as my wife and I thought instead it would be better to just be more general, and aim as a family to actually make something of this year, and to not sit back and let life just pass us by. Embrace an American, anything-is-possible attitude rather than being reserved and English and a little bit timid. However, before we’d even really got it into our heads that it was January and no-longer 2015, things started going tits up. Not going into it too much, but we had a family bereavement, I had the after-effects of the tragedy from just before Christmas, and other things started going generally quite shit. So I apologise for the lack of blog posts this month. I will rectify this soon. I’ve still got a new books post to put up from September, plus a big ‘un for October-December, and some sad news about independent bookshops, which I will do soon. I promise. Reviews, I’m not so sure about. Archaeology may make a reappearance, too. About time if it did. One good thing is that I’ve got back into reading more lately, and am ploughing through my ‘to read’ pile at a steady rate- even if this does mean more things to never get round to reviewing.

Anyway, for now I think I’ll hit the bottle and get rat arsed. Oh wait. It’s work tomorrow. Maybe another night. I’ll settle for another post or two and a few more chapters…

Happy New Year 2016!

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Image: hdwallpapers.in

Life update #16: Star Wars/Christmas/New Year

Hello! I’ve been absent from here for a while, haven’t I? Apologies for that. I’ve got a book post from September that should have gone up months ago, but it still hasn’t. However, I will get it up over the next few days, along with a combined Oct/Nov/Dec books post, and one highlighting a recent bookish obsession of mine. However, all to come in the NEW YEAR, for it is indeed the last day of 2015. No look back at this year of blogging, as I haven’t really done that much on here this year. Work has just been manic, and sleep/general lethargy caused by being emotionally brick-like and feeling shit has called me more and more often when I would usually be blogging.


However, this holiday I’ve actually managed to spend the nights reading, so I’ve got a good number of books to add to my ever-growing list of things to review. But it’s been good.


Now, I was going to do a post a few weeks back excitedly counting down to the new Star Wars film, but I never did. However, I managed to go and see the new film on the last day of term before Christmas, and loved every moment of it. I picked out a Sarlacc Pit of references to bits in the other films (Easter Eggs, I think they’re called*), and also a wonderful homage to the opening sequence of Raiders of the Lost Ark when Harrison Ford is being chased by a rolling alien creature down a ship’s corridor. I almost cried when Leia returned, and sat agog when [SPOILER]. I still haven’t quite got over it now. A nice point though was when Rey defeats Kylo Ren**, as the entire cinema of Y7-11 students erupted in whoops, cheers and applause. I didn’t expect that reaction. I like to think that it’s due to the school’s entire student body being staunch flag wavers for feminism and ‘girl power’, but something makes me think not***. A wonderful, wonderful film though. I didn’t dislike the prequel trilogy (they were my ‘era’ growing up), but love the way these build on the classic films in their aesthetics. Truly wonderful.

star-wars-force-awakens-official-poster

Image: starwars.com

 


I suppose I should also say a belated “Merry Christmas!” or rather that I hope anyone reading this had a good Christmas. I found on Christmas Day that a work colleague had died suddenly that previous week, so the joy was quickly soured. What a note to leave 2015 on.


*Appropriate in a film released at Christmas. I’ve already started moaning about the Easter chocolates that are out in the shops now, but at least I haven’t seen anything to rival the brazenness of the Tesco Metro in Summertown, Oxford, back in 2011. Crème Eggs on Boxing Day. I kid ye not.

**Autocorrect changed that bit to Roy and Kyle Ren. I think the whole film would be more amusing and yet somewhat less impressive if that were to be the case.

***Perhaps the fact that there was more wolf-whistling during scenes of Roy ascending a flight of stirs, filmed from below, than I imagine there would be if a builders convention had attended the recent Miss Universe 2015 awards ceremony and sat in the front row. I exaggerate, but not much.

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Life Update #15: Lost opportunities and new beginnings

I like sleep. I’ve begun to realise that over the past few months, as the ability to stay awake in an evening and blog or get work done has got less with every passing day. The dark nights aren’t exactly helping either. There’s been lots of blog posts that I’ve been meaning to do, but which won’t be that apt or relevant if I post them now. However, there’s just as many that are, which is nice. There are a few posts that I can mash up with this life update and the new book posts from the past few months as well, which means less random and very short posts. Anyhoo. I may as well get on and update, rather than witter on about how and why I will do things. Better to just DO.


The summer was a welcome break from work and the general stresses of the school environment, and gave me some much-needed family time. I also begun to realise over this time that my two eldest children are ever-so-slightly keen on ‘Star Wars’. Granted, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it did mean that every day of the holiday, I spent some time having a lightsaber duel with the two of them, using ancient Jedi weapons crafted from the finest K’nex. And invariably they beat me.


The summer was also meant to be the time that we moved house, but the best laid plans, as they say… We got to the point where we were so drained and down through all of the searching and failing to find anywhere (or indeed hear back from landlords) that we decided to take some time away from it and reassess things. We were hoping for the October Half Term as the position of the altered goalposts, but this isn’t likely now either, as we lost the perfect house that we were so close to putting a deposit down on. We’re currently still looking.


Work hasn’t been too kind at the moment either, as it seem to have been GO!GO!GO! from the first day back. What with travelling to Manchester and Birmingham one week for conferences, then two nights of parents’ evenings back-to-back the following week, and having to flit between the school and our new Sixth Form several times each day, it’s been pretty mad. I’ve also become a form tutor for the first time, which is fun but an extra thing to think about. At the moment, I need to write everything down or it won’t get done, as my brain is acting somewhat like a conveyor belt. I think there’s a ‘Simpsons’ Clip about that somewhere.


Sticking with school, our eldest began reception class this term too, and so this had added an interesting new dynamic. He seems to have settled in well and has made several new friends, so our fears about him starting have been somewhat calmed.


One of the conferences I attended was with a number of Y10s, and revolved around Russell Group universities. There was a speaker from Oxford there, and it was during her talk that I begun to think about my time there. I don’t ever think that I really took full advantage of the opportunities that were on offer, especially the Tutorial system. At Oxford, students meet once a week with their tutor either individually or in small groups, and discuss the essay or problem sheet that they’ve been given, and its associated reading. The lady at the conference suggested that these Tutorials were opportunities to discuss, debate and question the Tutors on the subject, and to throw ideas out in a process of scholarly tennis. However, I can’t say that that was ever my experience, as I always found myself too worried about saying something wrong, and so often didn’t say anything. I never voiced any real opinion, and failed to ask really deep, probing questions, as I’d often got too many other things on my mind. It really was an opportunity missed, and I think now if I went back I’d be far more vocal and inquisitive. I can’t alter it, so that’s just how it was and how it is, but it did make me think.

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Life update #14.5

I’ve just realised after typing that last post why I’ve been feeling so morose. That bloody election result. It’s still bugging me, and it made me realise that I hate people. Five years of crap, and so what shall we do? Vote for five years of the same crap again. Why thank you very much.

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Life update #14

Why hello! Fancy you reading this! I suppose I’d better apologise yet again for the lack of blogging that has gone on this past month. For one, I haven’t had a lot to blog about, but also life, work (it’s GCSE time again!) and sleep seem to have taken over. We’re looking to move house soon (have I already mentioned this?), but are having real issues finding somewhere- in part because landlords and estate agents don’t actually seem to get back to us when we inquire. We did have a viewing arranged for last weekend at the most perfect house, but then it turns out to have been let before we even had chance to see it. To say we were (and still are) pissed off is putting it mild. This is dragging us all down at the moment, and sleep seems to win out over staying up late at night and worrying/fretting/typing on a temperamental keyboard that takes five times longer than it should to type a sentence on. However, it’s half term now (the joys of working in a school!), so this has provided a small window for catching up on some much-needed posting time. I’ve had to borrow a laptop from work though so as I can get some work done and get these posts typed up more quickly.

Talking of work- I may be going to Oxford next month on a conference, which should be pleasant, and which I’m secretly looking forward to. Neither my wife nor I have been down since my graduation in September 2013, so we’re both pretty homesick for the place. We’ve been wanting to go down for a few days every holiday, but haven’t either had the time or the train fare. I’d feel a bit bad going without the rest of the family, though. It’s bad enough for them that in July I’m going down for two days with work to stay at my college, St. Hugh’s.

What else is happening in my life? Oh yes- it doesn’t seem as though my poetry submission has got anywhere, as I still haven’t heard back and it’s been a number of months now. Is that how long it usually takes to hear back, or will this silence be a permanent thing? I s’pose I may as well bite the bullet and just send them on mass to as many publishers as I can, but I am still fearful of rejection. I know all wannabe writers go through it, and that I’m just being a wimp, but- my work’s shit, and I don’t need other people’s rejection to tell me that. I’d intended over Easter on beginning the next book of poetry (I’ve got the odd line, poem title and fragments scribbled down ready from when I wrote my first collection, but haven’t yet worked them into some sort of order), but despite buying a brand new notebook, I didn’t get anywhere. Not so much as a word written in it. I’d also planned on getting some more of those short stories and fragmenty/sceney/vignettey things down on paper, but to no avail. I’ve got these planned alright- I’ve got two novellas and a full-blown novel planned- I just can’t be arsed to actually write them. Okay, that’s not strictly true. It’s more like I’m scared to write them as I don’t feel as though I could write them either as well as they seem to be as they are at the moment in my head, or as though I will be able to write enough and quickly enough. It usually takes me a long time to write prose. I can bang out a poem (on a good day) in about ten minutes; some of my best are written like this. But prose has to be teased out at the rate of about a line a day. I think I need a big kick. And some coffee. That usually helps.

Anyway. Back to the blog. I’ve got a not-so-new-by-now book haul to post next and a few other oddments that I’ve come across, so hopefully I can get these up soon. I also intend on making headway with my book reviews soon, as I’ve got books that I read at the start of 2014 to still review…

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Where should I live?

I’ve just done a test on the BBC website to see where in the UK I should live, based on my personality, and the results were rather interesting. Firstly, here are my personality results:

Screenshot (19)

…I don’t know whether to be happy with those results or not. Here’s how suited I am to Stoke:

Screenshot (17)

The best place locally for me would be:

Screenshot (18)

I can’t complain- Newcastle-under-Lyme is a nice place. Nationally, the worst place would be:

Screenshot (16)

I’ve never been to Carlisle, so I couldn’t possibly comment on this one. However, based on my dubious personality, the best place in the country for me to live in order to be happiest would be (drum-roll please…..)

Screenshot (15)

Can I really complain at that? It’s true!

If you want to have a go at the test, here’s the link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/z3g487h

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Preparation for rejection

…I still haven’t heard anything either way regarding my poetry submission. Perhaps no news, as they say…

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A bad week, World Book Day and other things: Life update #13

Nope, I haven’t blogged enough recently. I’m just too tired to, to be honest (the only time I usually get to blog is at night). This post is also going to be rather scattered, as I’ve a couple of things to say but no real need to make them into separate posts.


Firstly, my prat-fall last Monday. And I mean that literally. I was running for my second bus in the morning on my way to work when I slipped, fell and smacked the right side of my face on the paving slabs, knocking chunks off two of my teeth, splitting my lip and generally battering myself up. An ambulance came out, I was checked for concussion, and I ended up having to have two days off work. I’m now incredibly wary about rushing about anywhere, but at least the cuts and swelling are going down now.


That was the start of the week. To end the week, yesterday I managed to loose £20 by not looking what I was doing and managing to drop a note when I went to put it in my pocket- only realising afterwards. I think my head’s in a weird place at the minute, what with one thing and another.


The middle of the week, by contrast, seemed to go okay. Thursday was World Book Day, and at work lots of us staff dressed up as literary characters, with me going as Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby. Predictably, none of the students got it, with most thinking I was Bond due to my Tux and black tie. However, my eldest son came out with the best comment of the day. In the morning, he decided to tell me that I looked like Basil Fawlty, from Fawlty Towers. Fine, as my wife has likened me to John Cleese’s character once or twice. It wasn’t until I got home and he said it again that I begun to think about what he’d said.

“But Basil Fawlty doesn’t really wear a bow tie. He only wears a dinner jacket and bow tie in one episode…”

“No Dad, you look like other Basil.”

“Other Basil? Oh…”

It then dawned on me that “Other Basil” meant that lovable yet ever-so-slightly-stupid Spanish waiter Manuel. Harumph. Owned by a four-year-old.


I’ve still got about a dozen book review posts to write, with my reading from pretty much the past year, but I just thought that I’d mention that I’m nearly finished reading J.G. Ballard’s novel Crash. Let’s just say for now that it is certainly the most painful book to read that I’ve ever come across. I’m not cut out for that sort of thing…


I’ll leave this post with something thought-provoking. I can’t remember where I found it, so apologies for the lack of image credit.

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Cartoon bandages: Life Update #12

I’ve got a couple of posts to get up over the course of tonight, in part to make up for my lack of presence recently on the blogging front. However, first I thought I’d share this:

Poorly toe.

Poorly toe.

I currently look like someone in a cartoon when they hit their thumb or toe with a hammer and it balloons up ridiculously. Since about October last year, I’ve had an ingrowing toenail that has proven impossible to wangle out, and I’ve been to the doctors several times for antibiotics and advice over the pat few months. I thought I as going to have it removed about a month back when I went to a podiatrist, but it turned out it was an assessment to see what needed doing. Then, I stupidly asked for them to make the appointment for its eviction in the half term rather than mid-term time, as there would have been no convenient time for me to have off work. However, in hindsight I should have had it done a.s.a.p., as it has been bothering me for weeks now. Thankfully, now is half term, and yesterday was the day for it to be sorted out. I’d never been under any kind of anaesthetic until this, so that was a novel experience, and the administration was more painful than the nail has ever been. Also new to me was the experience of having to wear sandals, as I obviously can’t wear shoes for a few days. I refuse to sit round and stick my foot in the air for three days, however, as if I do then my wife would be left with the same workload as she is when I’m at work, and she would get very little break this holiday. Let’s just hope I can wear proper shoes by next week when I’m back at work!

When I saw the size of the pieces of nail that were removed, it’s unsurprising that I was in pain, and I did ask to bring them home, but don’t think you need to see a picture of them…

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Shrove Tuesday advice

Image: facebook.com/innocent.drinks

Image: facebook.com/innocent.drinks

One resolution down! Life Update #11

Well, it’s often the case that resolutions made at New Year never seem to last much past January, and indeed it seems that the first resolution I made has already been broken. You may notice that this is only my third blog post this year, and I still haven’t got any more book reviews up. Sorry. However, there is one that I have already done- the tattoo. No I’m only joking. Last weekend though I did submit some of the poems from my completed book to a publisher. If you’ve been reading this blog since I started it, you will know that this is quite a big thing, as I have up until now never had the courage to actually take the plunge and do this. I don’t think I’ll actually get published, but still- I’ve actually submitted something, which is further than I’ve ever got with it before. Wish me luck!

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Resolutions 2015

Image: facebook.com/lego

Image: facebook.com/lego

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

I suppose these should really be made on New Year’s Day, but they’re not too late.

  1. Get more blog posts up on here! I’ve got about 12 book reviews to get written, so I’d better get cracking!
  2. Bite the bullet and submit my book of poetry to publishers. That’s the one I finished editing in January 2014.
  3. Finish writing the book of short stories and random prose pieces that I begun in early 2014.
  4. Begin writing the novel I have planned.
  5. Return to archaeology in my spare time- it’s become a bit neglected of late. It may help that we’re planning on moving to a different (nicer) part of the city soon, which should enable me to actually get all of my Arch & Anth texts (and my uni notes and essays) in some sort of usable order and actually on SHELVES, which they are still without at the moment.
  6. Get my ear pierced and have a tattoo. Okay, maybe I’m joking with that one…
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A quick look back at this year

Image: maroonweekly.com

Image: maroonweekly.com

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve, and I’m waiting expectantly for Queen and Adam Lambert’s live concert on BBC1 just prior to midnight. This is the time to look back over the past year, and to remember what’s gone on. At the end of last December, I did a lengthy post with links to a variety of my previous blog articles. I’m not going to do that this year, though- I’m just linking two posts:

I think these sum up the year pretty well. Now, on to 2015! I hope you all have a very good. prosperous and happy new year.

Hello! A touch of class for the classroom: Life Update #10

Imagine this entire post being read in Stephen Fry’s voice for maximum enjoyment.

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It’s been a while. My first post for October, and we’re already plodding nicely through the month. Sorry about this. Life just seems to have been happening lately, and blogging has taken an unplanned backseat for a bit. I’m back now, though, for the time being. There’s been too much happening of interest into the world of archaeology for me to leave this any longer. That means there should be a nice handful of archaeology-related posts coming over the next few days, which I’ll try and fit in as best as I can around my work, and my body’s current craving for sleep. I think it’s this cold my family has got at present.

Anyhoo. Good job I haven’t decided to embark on that daily blog idea I had a while ago, isn’t it, as I’d have failed rather spectacularly by now.

Work’s going quite well, in case you were wondering (what am I saying. Of course you weren’t.), and I’m attempting to bring a touch of fanciness into the school through my rather snazzy navy waistcoat/black jacket/floral tie combo of late. It’s purely for utilitarian reasons though, you must understand- it’s very chilly at present where I have my desk. Well that explains the waistcoat. I’ll keep thinking of an excuse to account for the tie…

I’ll end here and get on with the archaeology!

 

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The best (slightly late) birthday present possible: Life Update #9

Hello. I’ve been away from the blog for a bit, but there is quite a good reason for it. My birthday was on the 29th of last month, and two days later, on the evening of 31st, my wife gave birth to our third son. I meant to post at the start of the month, but with him being here, little sleep, the start of the new academic year and intermittent paternity leave, I haven’t really felt up to blogging. But yeah- he’s here, and absolutely, sublimely perfect. I’d forgotten just how small and delicate newborns are, but it is interesting just how quickly you adapt to handling them and how quickly you treat it as second nature. It all comes back to you, and after a day or so it felt like he had been here for months. We’ve now got his feeding sorted, and this is proving a lot easier than I’d expected it would be, and even the night-times are fairly straight forward now, as he is only waking up a few times at fairly set intervals, and doesn’t really cry that much. When he does, he’s quite quiet. To be fair, we probably couldn’t have asked for a better baby. Then again, I suppose we are slightly biased in thinking that he’s perfect. But hey. I love my children, and if I think that they are perfect, then they are. I wouldn’t change them for the world.

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Marriage!!! Life Update #8

Well, after nearly six years together and (almost) three children, my partner and I finally got married last Saturday (16th).

wedding figures

We had planned to have both our current vicar and my family vicar to do the service as a symbolic way of showing the two of us coming together in a spiritual sense, but we found out a few months back that my vicar was to be with a group of his parishioners at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham for the Feast of the Assumption, which was the previous week. However, we were able to use his church hall for the reception, which still allowed us to include the two, and we are hoping to have a blessing there in the coming weeks.

We didn’t have as many guests as we’d hoped, but this made for a more intimate and private affair, which was a joy (if rather nerve-wracking) from start to finish. The choir and organist did a wonderful job, and by the end of it my partner and I were married, which was the most important thing. I love her more than anything on this planet (except my children), and cannot put into words how happy I am that we are now married. It also seems to have been a long time coming, as we were ‘officially’ engaged in 2011, and had planned to have the wedding last summer, but weren’t able to for various reasons. I’d never have imagined a decade ago that by now I’d be married and have children, as to be honest I never felt as though anyone would want me, but I was wrong, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Now for the next chapter!

wedding ducks

 

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Coke is not for me (a sort-of ‘Life Update #7’)

I say sort-of life post, as this is just a few random rants and so forth, and there’s nothing of particular note in terms of key life changes- that’s for another post. Now, first off. It’s currently the start of the sixth and final week of the school summer holidays (one of the perks of working in a school- long holidays!), and for the past five I’ve had the best of intentions to stay up at night to get a fair amount of work done. However, despite having been able to keep myself up various nights over the past few weeks and getting a small way through my pile of jobs, I’ve got nowhere near the amount done I’d intended. This is partly because I’ve got side-tracked into doing other things, or because I have been awake enough to not sleep, but not cognitively awake enough to actually focus on lesson writing or anything more strenuous than researching William S. Burroughs on Wikipedia or posting images of chocolate Lego or toilet roll origami on this blog. I blame the 8 cans of this energy drink I bought a few weeks back and which I recently finished:

KX cola can

In the course of doing that, I’ve realised just how much I can’t stand coke (by which I mean Coca-Cola, Pepsi, or any other cola-flavoured beverage, which this happened to be. I don’t mean the drug). I used to like it, but now it just leaves me a bit “bleugh”. I still quite like the little gummy bottle-shaped sweets, though; they are still quite palatable.

Anyway- this all means that over the next 7 days before the start of term, I’ve got quite a bit to do and will need to inspire myself to have several late nights. I’m writing this quite late (or rather quite early), having just watched the first episode of the new ‘Doctor Who’, but still can’t bring myself to do any deep thinking. I don’t think the worry that we’ve got at the moment is helping, though, to be honest.

I mentioned in a previous post that my partner and I were expecting another child, and we had thought that he may have been here early, around the middle of the summer. It was even touch-and-go whether he’d make last Saturday awkward for us (see my next post), but as it turns out, we are still waiting, and are now several days overdue. We just really don’t want him to decide to come next week once I’ve started back to work, as I can’t have paternity leave off, as I haven’t been there long enough to get this paid enough to be viable for us. However, this added pressure really isn’t helping my other half, as you can imagine. All very stressful.


Also, is it worrying to find that at the tail end of being 21, you are slowly becoming more and more like Victor Meldrew by the day? I can see that by the time I (hopefully) reach pension age, I’ll probably go out raving and partying, and have the youth I’ve never ever wanted.


A VM rant coming on here. My other half ordered me several books off a well known auction website (eBay) for my birthday, and one of them- a silver Penguin Modern Classic edition of John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids– came the other day with a note inside saying that it had a ‘minor flaw’, but as it was the only copy left, the seller had sent it anyway. Now, my idea of a ‘minor flaw’ would be a crease to the cover, a tear, or maybe a loose page. Not water damage to the three open edges, and a peeling spine. I’m hoping that they will replace it for me when a better copy comes into stock. Personally, I can’t help but feel that it would have been so much better if they had simply refunded us for that and said it wasn’t in stock, or if they had left it and sent a copy later when they got more. Anyway. Rant over.

 

 

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One year on WordPress! Happy birthday Electric Puppet!

cake_and_candle_clip_art_13455

Well- today is my 1st anniversary on WordPress, and to be honest I never thought that I’d stick with it for a few months, Let alone a whole year! I can’t say that my reach has been that far, but I’m happy, as this blog has been something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while, as it provides me with the opportunity to just share things I find of interest, and to get things off my chest at occasional intervals. Also, I no longer keep a diary, and so it’s nice to be able to look back over it to see my first thoughts on various texts and to keep a track of my intermittent ‘Life Updates’. I’ll come back to this point at the end of this post, but for now will steal a bit from my New Year post, where I referred you to the best of Electric Puppet in 2013, and add some of 2014:

I think that’s enough links to my other posts to be getting on with for now. Anyway- check some of these out if you haven’t already, or have a browse of the blog and see what you come across. Also, you can follow Electric Puppet on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/electricpuppetblog

Lastly, I’ve got quite a few more book reviews and posts to get up on here over the next few weeks, but am toying with the idea of doing slightly more regular random life-post blogs, a bit like a daily blog. Feel free to comment if you think that this would be a good idea or not.

Life update #6 (several months late) and a look to the summer

You may recall that I put up a brief post a month ago advertising the fact that I’d got some EXCITING NEWS to announce in the following days. If you want to look back at it, then ta-dah. It’s here. Now, I think it’s about time I actually told those of you who are interested what that news is. Well: my partner and I… are expecting our third child!!!!! She is actually due in a few weeks, which just shows how late this post is, but better late than never, I suppose! We’re expecting another boy, which is nice, a we’d always envisaged having three boys, but didn’t imagine that it would have happened. We’d have been just as happy to be having a girl, I will add though- we wanted three children first and foremost. I’ll be sure to post when he is born, but sadly there won’t be any pictures.


Next life point. Working in a school means that I’m lucky enough to get the 6 weeks summer break off, and for us, school broke up today. This means that not only should we have the whole of the summer with a new-born before I have to go back to work, but also I should be able to get slightly more posts up and with some sort of regularity. Should be nice. Also, my partner and I are hoping to get our book-filed box room sorted tomorrow, so as we can clear out some of the crap that has been living in there since we moved in just over a year ago, and also so as I can finally get my books (poetry, archaeology, anthropology, music and novels- this last category are still piled high in our kitchen at present) sorted out onto cases and shelves. I’ll take a few snaps as we do this, so will eventually get a post up showing the transformation, allowing me in the end to indulge in some book-porn with a few shelfies.


Quick point about work- next academic year should double my workload (which is always fun) but will also see me teaching archaeology and ancient history to some knowledge-hungry Y7’s- which I’ve never done before. I even get my own desk- I’m moving up in the world! (Although after a couple of days at work scavenging desks when no-one was looking, eyeing up filing cabinets, and testing out comfy chairs, and then the influx of bookcases that should be coming our way in the next few weeks, I think I’m overwhelmed with furniture at the moment).


This summer also sees my partner and I FINALLY get married, which I’m ridiculously exited about. The only thing that puts a dampener on it is the attitude of certain members of the family, who don’t seem at all interested when they should be, and are happy to indulge themselves with all of the trimmings, and yet unprepared to help us with one aspect of our big day. It comes down really to them being too selfish and self-absorbed to give a shit. Then again, it would be nice if these same people cared about the fact that they will have a new baby in the family, rather than seeing our happiness as an inconvenience.

Anyway. I’m getting ranty. Let’s not forget that WE’RE HAVING A BABY!!! I really cannot put into words how excited I am about this, and cannot wait to hold him and keep him safe and never ever let him go. I never used to see myself as a baby person, or even someone who would have children, but after our eldest was born, I really couldn’t imagine not being a dad, an it just felt so natural and right, and all the other clichéd things that fatherhood makes you think.

 

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EXCITING NEWS!!!!!

All I can say for now is that I’ve got some VERY exciting news to announce soon in a very special ‘Life Update’, which I should have really put out a few months back, but am going to post over the next few days. WATCH THIS SPACE!!!!!!!

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A busy time of year: Life Update #something-or-other

Hello. You haven’t heard from me in a while. I write the occasional blog post on this site, about literature or archaeology. I’ve been noticeably absent from the blogosphere (or whatever it’s called) for a few weeks now, and I can only blame this on work. Anyone reading this and living within the UK will know that this time of year is exam season, with the GCSE’s in full swing, and as such my days have been pretty hectic, trying to get as many 15- and 16-year-olds through their coursework and revision as possible. I’ve had every intention to stay up at night to blog, but after busy days of handling students and getting incredibly pissed off with public transport, sleep and the desire to recharge has often taken me by surprise, and left me groggy-eyed at half past four in a morning when I’ve been nudged awake, still fully-clothed and slobbering away where I sat. I haven’t forgotten those few of you who read this blog whenever I get around to posting things (I do appreciate it) and will endeavour to get a handful of posts up before this month is past. I’ve got book reviews to write up covering my reading from the past five months, as well as a life update or two, and a few images of my Penguin Classics collections that I feel I may as well share. Please bear with me- I am still here, and haven’t forgotten this blog. I’ll say hello again quite soon. Promise.

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April is the cruelest month…

Hello! I am still here! You may notice that this month has been dire for blog posts from me. My April blog list had a tubleweed pass over it as I glanced its way earlier. This is not due to a lack of subject matter to type about- far from it: I currently have six ‘Thoughts on…’ posts to write regarding books I have read recently and not-so-recently (i.e. several months back), a rather important life update, as well as several archaeology posts about stories and findings that have caught my eye recently. By the time I post on them, some may be rather old news, but- better late than never, I suppose.

No- the reason for my general tardiness and absence from the ‘net is due to having a rather tempramental laptop, which has prevented prolonged use of the internet and indeed prolonged use of it for anything for any real length of time. However- and I type this whilst gripping tightly to a wooden chair at the same time- it seems to be working okay now, and so I will endeavour to get some of these posts up before this month is out. Poor workmen and all that, but… anyhoo. Please bare with me!

Oh- a belated Happy Easter to everyone!

The Scale of the Universe — 100th post!

I’ve been wondering what I should do for my 100th post (I feel like this is a milestone I’ve reached, and an achievement that I’ve stuck with this blog for this long), and then remembered an animation that a physics teacher showed at work the other week to a class of Y10 students. I don’t know if they really appreciated it, but my mind boggled when I saw it. It really puts into perspective the position of the Earth within the wider universe, and genuinely surprised me just how incredibly small things are, as well as illustrating very well that size is only really relative. I’ve got very little else to say about it, as it speaks for itself really, but I urge you to click on this link and have a look:

The Scale of the Universe

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Rob Pointon: A Stoke-on-Trent artist in Oxford

As you may know if you have been reading my blog for any length of time, I originate from Stoke-on-Trent, and have moved back here with my partner and children following three years studying in Oxford (which I now consider to be home). Well, before going to uni, I was aware of a local artist working in Stoke named Rob Pointon, whose artwork I greatly admire for its skill, Impressionist style, and fantastic distortion of images to create effects akin to a fish-eye lens. However, it seems that in these three years, his career has really taken off, with exhibitions being hosted in many cities across the UK and abroad, his artwork being displayed all around Burslem (my hometown within the City of Stoke-on-Trent), and canvases owned by HRH The Prince of Wales and the Her Grace Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire. Well, I recently came across an image that he produced at the top of the Saxon church tower of St. Michael at the North Gate in Oxford, and a few days ago another, painted inside the Divinity School of the Bodleian Library.

View of Cornmarket Street from the tower of St. Michael at the North Gate, Oxford, by Rob Pointon

View of Cornmarket Street from the tower of St. Michael at the North Gate, Oxford, by Rob Pointon

Interior of the Divinity School, Bodleian Library, Oxford, by Rob Pointon

Interior of the Divinity School, Bodleian Library, Oxford, by Rob Pointon

I just thought that I’d share these, because I think they are wonderful images, and blend nicely the two places that have made my family who we are. You can follow Rob’s most recent projects here: www.robpointon.co.uk

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Interesting stats

I find it rather interesting that in January of this year, I only published 4 posts on this blog (my fewest so far) and yet I had almost double the views compared with December 2013. That puts a bit of pressure on myself to improve on this over February, and so I’d better get posting to increase my chances of getting more views! I think I better get those book reviews sorted, as I’m WAY behind on these! Expect some content soon!

views jan 2014

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1,000 VIEWS!!!

OH YEAH! I know that for many bloggers, this may not be a big deal, but for me, the site of this a few moments ago on my stats really excited me:1000 views

The idea that this blog has hit 1,000 views is truly mind-boggling, and as I said a while back, some of the countries that I’ve had views from has really surprised and astounded me. The other interesting thing is that this month, this will only be my fourth post, and yet I’ve had twice as many views this month than December 2013, which has previously been my best month.

Anyway- THANK YOU for your support, views, comments and likes. I do really appreciate each and every one, and am just glad that other people are interested in the random literary and archaeological things that I bother to post. I promise that I will get more posts up in the next few weeks than I have recently.

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2013- Electric Puppet’s first 5 months in review

2014

Well- it’s New Year’s Eve, and time to reflect on what has gone on over the past year. For my family, this has been a big year, as we left the comfort and splendour of Oxford to return to our home city of Stoke-on-Trent; I graduated from university; I got my first job; we decided where we want to go with our life in the near and more distant future, thanks to an American man and his family on YouTube; I completed my first book of poetry, which had been languishing prior to this summer; I took the plunge and begun this blog, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a while; and have got back in contact with several family members that I haven’t seen for the best part of a decade thanks to Facebook. It has been eventful, and had also been emotional and tiring for all of us. Also, with any luck, next year should be just as eventful- beginning work; trying to get my book published; endeavouring to write the novel and short story collection that I’ve been planning for a month or so; and getting married. Yes: my partner and I are getting married next year!

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In terms of this blog, I will be getting up several ‘Thoughts on…’ posts for the books I have read recently- the first two Adrian Mole books, Penelope Lively’s ‘Heat Wave’, Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’, and Tove Jansson’s ‘Finn Family Moomintroll’- in the new year, and hopefully will get the first few up on New Year’s Day. For now, though, I thought that I would highlight a selection of posts from this blog that have proved popular, may have been overlooked, or are of relative interest for me.

I think that’s enough links to my other posts to be getting on with for now. Anyway- check some of these out if you haven’t already, or have a browse of the blog and see what you come across. Also, you can follow Electric Puppet on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/electricpuppetblog

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Lastly, here are a few fellow bloggers that I’ve come across in the past few months that you may find of interest:

Don’t Bend, Ascend

These Bones of Mine

Bones Don’t Lie

A Corner Of Tenth-Century Europe (written by one of my Anglo-Saxon lecturers from Oxford; he has since moved on to work at Birmingham University)

Museum Postcard

Prehistories

Interesting Literature

I hope you have a very happy New Year, and that 2014 will be good for you.

Image: The Telegraph

Image: The Telegraph

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It’s Christmas!

Nativity by Francis Ashton Jackson (1868-1946)

Nativity by Francis Ashton Jackson (1868-1946)

Just a quick post to say MERRY CHRISTMAS! to all of my viewers and followers, and I hope you have a wonderful time over this festive period.

I have several posts in progress, including an archaeology post and several ‘Thoughts on…’, as well as there hopefully being some Christmas book acquisitions to include, and so I should be posting again several times before New Year. For now, though, MERRY CHRISTMAS again!

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The Matilda Project

Bookish Adventures

Penguin Blog

Thoughts and ideas from the world of Penguin

Women of Mongolia

New Media Research Expedition Through Altai and Ulaanbaatar, Summer 2015

Triumph of the Now

How To Read, How Not To Live

Pretty Books

Fiction, Young Adult and Children's Books & Reviews

A Medley Of Extemporanea

Books, books and more books (and libraries too)

Great Writers Inspire

Learning from the Past

"Broken Glass"

Quietly contemplating female characters in English and American literature

Deathsplanation

n. 1. The act or process of explaining about death 2. Something that explains about death 3. A mutual clarification of misunderstandings about death; a reconciliation.

A Bone to Pick

by Scott D. Haddow

Asylum

John Self's Shelves

Anthropology.net

Beyond bones & stones

Tales From the Landing Book Shelves

The TBR Pile: Stories, Poems, Arts and Culture

bloodfromstones

A great WordPress.com site

SARA PERRY

The Archaeological Eye

Prehistories

Adventures in Time and Place

Don't Bend, Ascend

Something Different

These Bones Of Mine

Human Osteology & Archaeology amongst other things...

History Echoes

History, Archaeology, Anthropology, Technology, and Mythology

archaeologyntwales

archaeology in wales cared for by the national trust

The Feast Bowl

The Wordpress blog for the National Museums of Scotland

History Undusted

The dusty bits of history undusted and presented to the unsuspecting public.

Stephanie Huesler

My ponderings, research, tidbits & the nuts and bolts of good writing.

Nicholas Andriani

Adventure Travel and Gastronomy, Passionately Explored

Stoke Minster

the historic & Civic Church of Stoke-on-Trent

Interesting Literature

A Library of Literary Interestingness

The World according to Dina

Notes on Seeing, Reading & Writing, Living & Loving in The North

Museum Postcard

Reviews and thoughts on museums explored

Bones Don't Lie

Current News in Mortuary Archaeology and Bioarchaeology

Ancient Bodies, Ancient Lives

How can we use material traces of past lives to understand sex and gender in the past?

Grow up proper

A raw view on life

A Corner of Tenth-Century Europe

Early medievalist's thoughts and ponderings, by Jonathan Jarrett

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