Writing in Progress

Hi guys,just a quick post to show you a link to my new facebook page called ‘Writing in Progress.’ It is handy to jump to older blogs linked with their pics and also to see other extracts of my writing that I will be posting.

https://www.facebook.com/writinginprogresssamanthagray9

Cheers,

XSXS

Advertisements

Good Vs Evil

Last night, I went to see Jekyll and Hyde, a production put on by the Burton Operatic Society, and it was fantastic! This is not really a review but I will encourage any of you that live in the midlands to go and see it. The leads were amazing with very strong singing voices and the portrayal of the story was brilliant. All the cast, band and people backstage did a wonderful job. I always enjoy these shows and it is great to see one of my good friends come alive on stage… not that she doesn’t seem alive the rest of the time, but you know what I mean 😉

I loved the depiction of good and evil within the production like where Dr. Jekyll’s fiancée was up high getting ready for bed in her angel like nightie and in contrast at the same time, Lucy was down below being amorous with a man…very devil like. And Jekyll himself, at the end, was torn between his two selves and kept rapidly turning his head from ‘Jekyll’ to ‘Hyde’ and this was shown by his change of hair (half up for Jekyll and down for Hyde, which I thought was very clever!) and the colours of light blue/red. The language too… when Jekyll says to his fiancée ‘Night, my angel.’ and she replies ‘Night, my devil,’ very good hint at the future!

The production got me thinking about the idea of there being Good and Bad within all of us. Do we agree with this? Nobody is perfect so we all have good points and faults. But would we go as far to say that there is evil within us? If the evil within you became a person in their own right then would they be as sinister as Mr Hyde in the story? Would they go around killing people? It is an interesting thought that there are two sides to us. But I am not sure it as simple as that because like we are all different then surely we have different amounts of good and bad too.

Do we get murderers, rapists and paedophiles because they have more evil in them than good? I think probably so. I think it is a battle between the angel and devil we always see on TV but not literally. We have these two urges in our mind that represent good and evil and one will win. This explains why bad things get done and whilst some people are mostly ‘good’ but have their moments of nastiness…. human nature I guess. To back up with a little solid psychology theory: Freud’s structural model of the psyche can help us a little here. He believes that there are three parts to our brain to make up our personality structure; the Id, the Ego and the Super-Ego. The Id is what controls our instant gratification driven by what Freud calls the ‘Pleasure principal’. So when you just ‘need’ that chocolate bar then it is your Id that is winning the battle there….. I wish mine was a little more strong-willed! The Ego is based in reality (Reality Principle) and what should happen according to the situation but still getting what you want in the end. The Super-Ego is related to our morals, fighting the Id and acting on what is right for what we believe in. That is very simple summarising of it and I’m sure there is more to it. But if we take this and think of a situation where we really dislike someone and want to shove the ice-cream they are eating into their face… the Id will be all for this and doing it there and then, the Ego would want to punish the woman but maybe through another way? Or nick her ice-cream when she goes to the loo? The Super-Ego would then rationalise it all and think there could be a better way to deal with it as shoving food in her face would be wrong. So imagine these three battling it out and depending on who we are, how we have been brought up and what morals we have then who knows who will win? Someone with a bigger Id could be more evil maybe, every nasty, negative thought is acted on impulsively. This is just a thought of mine anyway, it could explain a lot.

I also think, that as humans, we are all capable of killing someone. This thought first came to me years ago when I studied Shakespeare’s Othello and Othello is a calm, gentle man and is driven to kill his own wife because doubts and rumours are planted his mind by the villain Iago that his wife has been unfaithful. Can we all be driven to killing someone? I’m not saying that if our mates tell us our partners are cheating when we will go and murder them but this example made me think about it and how a calm, gentle man was pushed to the limit. If we had family members who were killed, would we not want to kill the killer? We could all be in a situation where we want revenge and could be pushed and driven to acting in this evil way.

And yes we all have some good in us too… as hard as it to believe with some people as they keep it very well hidden! Tell their Id to go away 😉

A nice topic that ties in nicely with Halloween! Happy Halloween everyone… hope you get treated and not tricked this evening!

XSXS

Problems with Children

Evening everyone… oh wait it is still afternoon but it is so dark that I keep thinking it is way later! Honestly, I have my lights and heating on already!

I have occurred a few problems relating to children today…. and I’m on half term away from kids! This morning, I went to town with my friend (dressed in normal ‘muggle’s’ clothing – not Harry Potter attire may I add!) and we had a wander round the shops. I had my flu jab… partly because I have asthma and partly because I work with kids and all the lovely germs that come with them… so to protect myself from this I feel the flu jab helps! Immunise yourself against the youngsters = good plan! My arm hurts and I can’t raise it up but I’m hoping the pain will be worth it. Anyway, when we were in a charity shop before heading home, a woman came in and complained she couldn’t fold her grandchild’s pushchair down. She wanted to leave it there to pick up later. We, plus the charity shop worker all had a go at collapsing this pushchair to no avail. This is a problem with having children… all the accessories that come with them! She needed it to take the kids out but couldn’t fold it down. It was a right fiddly thing and she ended up leaving there (because it wouldn’t fit in her car boot upright either). My friend pointed out another thing too; the fact that she wanted to leave it in a charity shop, saying she couldn’t ‘think of anywhere else to leave it.’ Is  this another problem? That if you have big contraptions or toys, then the only place you can trust to leave them is charity shops?  She didn’t opt to leave it in one of the big chain shops but a shop that sells second hand goods for charity (in other words where her pushchair could have easily been mistaken as goods and been sold to a customer!). It does make you think that there are few people you can trust. I am assuming her thinking was that, ‘Oh they must be nice people to work in a charity shop, so they will look after my pushchair.’ I bet many elderly people would say, ‘Oh in the olden days, you could leave anything out in the open and it would still be there hours later!’ If only…..

My other problem with children today was that one wanted to come and live with me! My friend, an ex work colleague, came round for the afternoon with her two little boys. The youngest, as soon as he came in, exclaimed, ‘Can I stay here Mummy?’ I felt a bit like the witch from Hansel and Gretel, having a home that attracts children! His Mum explained that they had moved house, moved out of one and then gone to live with their gran for a while and also been on holiday a few months ago and he had been attached to that house too. So a lot of houses for the little one to get used to!

We had a great afternoon, Smarties and juice for the kids, tea and biscuits for us grown-ups and lots of Wii playing. So much that the youngest boy didn’t want to go home! I joked about finding him a bed and then started to worry that I actually might have to! Haha. He was most distraught when we turned the Wii off and didn’t want to go 😦 It was very sad. I said, though, that I was glad he was crying because he didn’t want to go and not because he wanted to go. So that was nice in a way but not nice for Mum! Maybe my Smarties, that I gave him, made him hyper. I hear that is another problem with children and sweets!

This evening, it is just adults… me, my sister and a friend of to watch another friend perform in a version of Jekyll and Hyde!

Have a good evening and remember if you have toys or push chairs that you don’t know how to take down, then don’t take them out 😉

XSXS

A Little Magic at the Weekend…..

I don’t know if there are any Harry Potter fans out there? But yesterday I was Harry Potter. My boyfriend’s sister had a Harry Potter themed party (well it was actually Harry Potter, Merlin, Disney, Percy Jackson and randomness but let’s stick with Harry Potter to keep it simple!) I painted some house banners, you know of Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff and Slytherin to decorate the house and I wore a Daniel Radcliffe mask….. that I had to add a red lightning scar to make it authentic….. a wand, a cloak, a scarf and tie. Very funny.

Me in my Harry Potter gear………….Expelliarmus!

There was lot of activities supplied by my boyfriend’s Mum. We had to go and do a treasure hunt yesterday. This involved looking round our local town for random things such as flowers, bus tickets, leaflets, newspapers etc and ticking them off as we went! Bear in mind that I was dressed as above (though I must confess that I left the wand and mask at the house and in my long, black winter coat I looked quite normal… well for me!), my boyfriend’s sister and her mates were dressed as random Harry Potter students and Bellatrix Lestrange and my boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend was dressed brightly as Luna Lovegood! So yes, we looked a right sight and it made me think that it could be real. Like in the books where the wizards visit the muggle world. That is what it could have been! A group of people at one point were getting into a car dressed as witches (for a Halloween party I assume!) and they said,’Oh look, we aren’t the only weirdos about!’ I said to my boyfriend’s sister that it would have been really funny if they had exclaimed, ‘Err we aren’t in fancy dress… we are actually witches and just visiting your muggle world for the afternoon!’ That would have been really funny and an attempt to bring Harry Potter and the world of Hogwarts to life for the afternoon!

Anyway, the treasure hunt went well. The other team consisted of my boyfriend, his twin, their brother and his mate. So girls vs boys. They boys won, sadly, but I was really pleased with how we did because we didn’t spend a penny (on getting items like Macdonald’s wrappers… we hunted the floor…. or a bus ticket…. one of us charmed the bus driver to give us a stub.) We also went on foot, whereas the boys went in the car. This meant we were slower but not by much! So I think we did very well in that case. Shame we didn’t have actual broomsticks to use like in the film!

I want to end this post byexpressing my ultimate envy for J.K Rowling. Not for the money and the fame. If i was going to be famous, I would want it to be for writing a book and she just has it so good having written a great series of books that have appealed for years to all ages. And then eight great films get made too! It is just such an original idea (even though there was some controversy over her getting the idea from another book about wizards or something?) She not only created great characters but a whole new world, language and culture. I am in awe. I would love to come up with such an idea that I could write seven books about. Maybe it is in me somewhere!

Have a magical evening!

XSXS

I found some a lot of these points very useful so just had to share. XX

Cristian Mihai

It’s Blogging Week here at Cristian Mihai blog (yeah, I don’t have a fancy name for my blog). We’ll talk about blogging, different tools that make blogging easier, and other stuff. The other stuff is mostly related to some of the do’s and don’t of blogging, what works and what doesn’t.

Everything you’re about to read is common sense. So, please, don’t expect some 3 step tutorial to gaining a billion followers.

And now for today’s post. 7 Golden Rules of Blogging.

View original post 1,249 more words

Time to Write

I actually felt really excited to write tonight. That is the reason for writing a blog, I realised. The want to write. That yearning to get your ideas out there. I mentioned a few days ago that I had been thinking about rejigging my blog or starting a new one. I am not going to do anything just yet as I am going to follow some advice that I read in a fellow blogger’s post. It is important to read blogs as much as write them. The advice that I read in Christian Mihai’s post ‘The 7 Golden Rules of Blogging,’ that said no matter what you write or how often, you should stick it out for a year. So that is what I plan to do and then decided on an extra blog or whatever. I will reblog his post actually after this as there are some great tips for bloggers in it.

The reason that I get excited about, well words really, at this time of year is because the clocks change. Time changes. It reminds me of one of my favourite lines from a poem. Carol Ann Duffy’s poem Mean Time:

‘The clocks slid back an hour

and stole light from my life’

I love this and it shows how that one hour can make such a difference. Every year when we put the clocks back I look at this poem. I go into my study and dig out my poetry collection also named Mean Time. I studied it at A level and it is a great collection of poetry. I sometimes get it out when the clocks go forward to and remember the reverse of how we gain light. I always remember which way round with the old saying ‘Spring forward, Fall back.’ Using the Americanised word for Autumn of ‘Fall’ helps me to remember that along with the leaves falling off the trees, the clocks fall back an hour. Yes, they slide back as Duffy so brilliantly puts it. They steal light from our life. The nights get darker. Funnily enough, the Britons always think of the positive in this case of ‘oooh we get an extra hour in bed!’ The bright side of a situation?! Mmmm very unlike us!

Duffy’s poem is quite depressing really but has some very interesting ideas about life and time. She says ‘these are the shortened days’ meaning that in general life is short and her references to death; ‘we will be as dead, as we know’ and ‘endless nights’ tell us that death is forever. It is life that has the time limit. Very depressing thought in one way but makes sure we make the most of life, I guess. She also talks about if the sky could lift one hour away from her life then that hour could have been full of angry words to her lover and that could have been the hour that was taken away; ‘If the darkening sky could lift/ more than one from this day/there are words I would never have said.’ It would be great if we could choose which hour of life got taken away… or which hour we gained. At A level we looked at the different meanings of ‘mean time’. Like it can mean ‘mean’ as in average. Average time. Life is just average. Or it can mean ‘mean’ as in cruel and that life is cruel to us. Very interesting poem and I recommend you take a look.

But in the mean time, what will you do with your extra hour?

XSXS

More Cheese Please!

I don’t know if any of you out there have heard of raclette? I only ask because I never had until we moved into our house and were given a Raclette grill. Raclette is the type of cheese. The grill and way of eating it seems to come from Germany/France/Austria. My boyfriend first had it when he was snowboarding in France and Austria and when we were offered this grill he was most excited! It is quite good actually and a very social way of eating.

Ours is like a teflon, round grill plate (some are made of marble/stone) – this is where you cook meat. Raw chicken, beef, pork etc. I know it is a bit weird to have raw meat on the table but the idea is to cook it together. Then underneath you have these heat elements and you put in little triangle trays full of the hard cheese and it melts. You then serve the melted cheese with your meat and we usually have cooked meats like salami, chorizo, parma ham etc with small, salad potatoes, salad and french stick. Yummy. If you break it down, I guess it is just potatoes, meat salad and melted cheese! But is the idea of cooking together and keep eating little bits. My boyfriend has boy’s nights and they get through nearly a wheel of cheese and have various rounds. They claim to get the cheese sweats! My boyfriend also claimed to have cheese ‘giggles’ once and he came to bed giggling uncontrollably…. it was the cheese, no not the beer of course 😉

This is the picture I found that is most similar to ours. Meat on top and cheese below!

 

You can be more adventurous too. I actually bought my boyfriend a Raclette book, which has ideas for social gatherings and different ways to use your grill. You can prepare vegetables/mushrooms/prawns and cook certain things in a pan before so they are a little cooked and finish them off with the cheese in the little trays after. Last night, I put some potatoes onto the grill to brown them and also peppers. So you can do what you like really.

We had Raclette on our French holiday in the summer. It was a little different though. you get a stand that holds the cheese (below) and then you scrape the cheese of either side. You get the cooked meats, potatoes, salad and bread but don’t cook raw meat. So not sure if that was something they added when they made these grills or what. It was still good though and nice to try it in a restaurant.

The raclette in France…. the cheese comes off either side….

The reason we had one last night, just us two, was that my workmate’s husband had been to France and bought us a pack of Raclette cheese back. So we thought it would be nice for a Friday evening. Sounds like we are getting old….. having a cheese evening! Haha. The cheese can actually be quite difficult to get. We have arranged to have 8 people come for a raclette evening before and then not been able to buy the cheese! Once, I was running round Lidl (who only seem to have it certain times of year), Sainsbury’s (who seemed to suddenly stop selling) and Aldi who didn’t have it at all! This may have been the time my friend bought some back that evening from a bigger Sainsbury’s in Conventry so the party could go ahead! At times. my boyfriend has gone to a cheese shop in a town 40 minutes away and then to Waitrose in another city! We are dedicated to our cheese!

You can actually use different cheeses in the grill and the book I bought shows this. But we just think that for how often you use it, you might as well use the proper stuff!

Hope, I’ve given you some new ideas for your Saturday tea. A tip: if you have a teflon one like ours, make sure you use plastic cutlery to put the meat on/take it off.. (my girl mates love making fun of my boyfriend who is the ‘fun police’ with his plastic on teflon!) Haha

Have a good day,

XSXS

Previous Older Entries