Thursday, 27 November 2014

Yorkshire Lass (Honest)

As mentioned on the About page of this blog: I am from Yorkshire.

As also mentioned on the same page: Some people are disinclined to believe this.

The first time I met one of my best mates in person, he remarked: "If I didn't already know that you were, I wouldn't have thought you were from Yorkshire."

I drink cider rather than ale; coffee rather than tea. I've spent a bit of time in the Peaks and Lakes but have never been to the Moors or Dales. (Though, in my defense, some of the Peak District is technically in Sheffield)

And to top it all off, I have what keeps being referred to as "wandering accent syndrome"*; so half of the time, my Shropshire boyfriend sounds more Yorkshire than I do.

But I am a Yorkshire lass. Honest.

I could show you my birth certificate, talk pointedly about how I moved back to Yorkshire after 6 months in Lancashire even though it meant a 100-mile round commute to uni, or explain how I come from a long line of very broad people.

I could mention how I used to be broad until I went away for uni - and only tempered my accent because people couldn't always understand me in seminars.

I could admit that I fit the old stereotype and that, yes, my dad and grandads worked in steel mills and down the pit.

I could point out that I grew up in a mining village, and went to school in another mining village down the road.

I could talk about how I used to eat bonfire toffee, which had the sweetest taste and a texture like tough glass - and how when I showed it to my Southern friends, they'd never seen anything like it.

I could remember with a sad smile my Grandad Jack's flatcap and how he was so broad my Leicestershire ex couldn't understand him. Or how my Deedar Nan would command me to"gerrup them stairs n gerra wesh".

Or how, when I asked her why she said "tha'"(thy) and "thi'" (thee) even though that was "bible talk" (I was quite young) she calmly and matter-of-factly replied with "Well, Yorkshire's God's country".

But I won't... and not just because I just did then anyway.

It feels like something you just know. Something that's in your bones. That if they cut you in half you'd have "Yorkshire" running right through you like a stick of rock.

Maybe I'd feel exactly the same if I came from somewhere different. But I don't; I come from Yorkshire.

Daughter of a former pit sparky. Grandaughter of a miner and a steel worker. User of "yar'reight?". A very nesh person.

As my amazing birthday present from my best mate (pictured at the top) - declares to the world - and quietly reminds me:

I'm a Yorkshire lass.


*In short, my accent seems to be an amalgamation of South Yorkshire (where I'm from), South London (where I went to uni originally), Hull (this is particularly rare but does crop up; I think it's from my best friend's altered accent from her time at uni there), and "no accent", which is apparently a thing. At this point, I'm just waiting for a Mancunian twang to find its way in.

So often, I will talk without much of any kind of accent and then randomly start dropping "the", mispronouncing 'getting' as "gerrin", and saying the word "reight/reyt". The London usually finds its way in with words like "water" and "forty", and massively annoys Sam when it does.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The Birthday List

Here's the sad truth: Yesterday, I turned 26.

I am gutted about this, I'm not ready to be in my late twenties, to be the age where I'm supposed to act like I have my head screwed on properly... Then again no one ever really is, at more or less any age - nonetheless, being 26 feels like the line in the sand.

I realise that I'm lucky. Not everyone sees 26. Even in the West, where reaching your 70s is basically taken as a given, the sad fact is that there are people who just won't reach the age that marks the end of adolescence*. Take on board that fact, and the facts that I'm in a happy relationship, doing a job I love, that I'm surrounded by awesome people, and that I have my health - well I should basically stop whingeing and be happy. One big point of the Birthday List is to help me do just that.

The other is to make sure I have a slightly less pointless year than my 25th (which involved a lot of ace stuff, but also involved a lot of me being a bit lazy and generally rubbish).

So here is my Birthday List: 26 things for my 26th year**....

1. Get My Driver's Licence
This was supposed to be my birthday and Xmas present from my Dad for 2012, but as all of his money was sunk into property at the time, it was a nonstarter. Now he's sorted and happy to pay for the lessons when I'm happy to start them (awesome Dad is awesome). A quick googling on the matter suggests that the average number of lessons needed before passing the test is around 40 (at one hour each), so at two a week, that should take around 5-6 months. So should then be accomplishable in a year.

2. Keep a Gratitude Jar
Like keeping a gratitude journal, but a little more visual. The idea being you have a jar and each day you write down something that you're grateful for or that has made you happy that day, pop it in the jar, and then at the end of a year (or when the jar is full), you take an evening to sit and read through them. Which sounds equally cheesy and lovely - so right up my street.

3. Go Abroad
I haven't been abroad for years. Last time was 2009 for Inferno Festival in Oslo, since then I've just been in England (well, bar one day in Wales last year). I don't really mind where I go, just as long as I get to use my passport.

4. Complete the Gala Darling Courses.
Seriously, I've had these sat in my in-tray for the longest time.

5. Fill Two Scrapbooks with Happy Things.
I have boxes full of train/gig/cinema/etc tickets languishing in boxes and on cork boards back home - it would be nice to do something with them.

6. Go To At Least Two Gigs (of bands I actually care about)
I've been crap for gigs this last year. Sadly, living up north means that gig opportunities aren't hugely forthcoming, but I'm aware of at least one that I could go to in the next 12 months, and I will just have to be on the lookout for the second.

7. Try One New Pub/Restaurant Each Month
I live in Sheffield which is great for this sort of thing; I need to start making the most of it.

8. Read 10 Novels Not By Terry Pratchett
I have a slight Discworld addiction, I need to spend a bit of time with some other books before I find myself attempting to leave the round one.

9. Go Rock Climbing
Preferably before the end of 2014 so that I can also mark this off my list of hiking resolutions as well...

10. Go Camping Somewhere Other Than The Lake District
I feel a bit disloyal putting that, but it would be nice to do. Plus I'll probably still end up camping in the Lakes at some point as well anyway.

11. Make a Meal From Scratch Every Month
I can't cook, which at 26 is bloody embarrassing. I need to get on that.

12. Join a Gym
This isn't exactly earth-shattering as resolutions go, but I've very quickly grown bored of the bike and I don't have the time (or indeed money) to go up hills every day. Turns out that the student gym near us is cheap and open to the public. I may have to pop down when I get paid.

13. Do a Wardrobe Clear Out.
Apparently the Gala Darling series on this is quite handy...

14. Lose a Stone.
Enough said.

15. Take on More at Work
Applying for teaching, additional research work, etc. I want to focus as much as I can on my thesis until the summer, but the 2015/16 academic year is my last full one of my PhD, a few months after that I will need to start looking at job-jobs so I need to start taking on more responsibility and padding out my CV. I've already started on this a little this: this morning I put my name down to help out with something we're trying to organise for autumn 2015.

16. Spend a Weekend in London.
I didn't get chance to in 2014, and cutting across London on the way to/from a conference in Southampton doesn't count. It's sad: I love London, I have friends there, I did my BA there; so I'm making a point of going back before I hit the big 2-7.

17. Go Up 10 New Hills
I'm a bit stuck in my ways, I find a hill I like and climb it fairly often... OK that's not entirely true (if you ignore Side Pike and the Mam Tor circuit, anyway) but this has been a painfully quiet year on the hill front (harhar) and I'd like a livelier one next year.

18. Drink More Water (and Less Pop)
And in doing so maybe look slightly more like an adult.

19. Blog Better
That is, update more regularly, learn more about blogging well, and look into academic blogging.

20. Keep a 1-Line-a-Day Journal
Just ordered it this afternoon. I like the idea of seeing my notes from days gone by in the same book I'm working in at the time. I've got a habit of procrastinating by looking at old blog posts, Facebook statuses and tweets, this would be a more meaningful way of nosying at the past while also thinking of the present.

21. Complete the Couch-to-5k Program
Even it I hate it, it'll be a bit of an accomplishment. And if I don't hate it, it will be an ace new way to keep fit.

22. Visit a Different Country in Great Britain
I have lived all my life in England and I have spent a whopping 3 days of my life in Wales. I need to have a nosy at the other places around these isles.

23. Take Sam on a Sushi Date
The man has never tried sushi. This needs to be resolved. Plus I can have loads of miso soup, which I haven't had in far too long.

24. Save at Least £500 in an ISA
I know this isn't exactly exciting, but it makes sense to try to save some money while I have an income. I also try to put a fair bit aside into my savings account, but that's more a piggy bank thing, where I can get monies out if I'm a bit short or where I can put money to one side to save up for things like holidays. The ISA would be something more long term. Again, more "grown up".

25. Make More Time for Friends and Family
This one is a bit open-ended; a resolution rather than a measurable goal, but one that's still very important. For a lot of 2014 I hardly saw anyone. I went around 4 months between seeing some of my closest friends - even longer in some cases. Moving to Sheffield has helped a lot: I'm closer to my loved ones and so I get to see my friends and family far more regularly than before. This resolution is basically an attempt to improve even further on this and - above all - to try to make sure I don't fall back into crappy old habits again.

26. ....
As of yet, this one's blank. I've been racking my brains trying to come up with something but nothing has really come to mind. But a year is a long time, I daresay that something will occur to me.

This is how scared I looked about turning 26... God help me next November...

*I'm basing this on a talk I saw by someone researching into adolescent trauma, who marked adolescence as being from the ages of 10 to 25.

**These are actually traditionally called something like "26 before 27", but I can't even think about turning that just yet....

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Fake Birthday & Joint Celebration in Leeds

As I mentioned previously, while I've never lived in Leeds, studying there for 18 months and working there ever since has given me a soft spot for the place; I have a lot of time for the city.
And now that two of my best friends live there, I have even more time for it.

So when my best friend Robyn - who has recently started working as nurse in Leeds, invited me up for a few day I wasn't going to refuse. Not least because we both had something to celebrate (I've just passed my first year of my PhD with "highly positive comments" from the reviewers - and Robyn's not only just cemented a very high First Class for her BSc in Nursing, but that very morning she'd been officially registered as a nurse!) and just to top it all off it's my birthday next week - but as everyone's working on the day (typical), I figured that this would serve well as a fake birthday.

Cue two days of catching up, shopping, gossiping, drinking, eating fancy food, girly times, and - in my case - dying horribly in one of my most favourite bars in the city (I'm glad I'm not going back to that bar for a while... but let's not think about that).

It was so lovely to see they'd got the birthday decorations up in time... ;)
I arrived into Leeds at 11am having gotten the Edinburgh train from Sheffield. I love that train because it's so quick (gets to Leeds in 40 minutes!)... but it also annoys me because, well,  in 6 weeks of catching it, yesterday was the comfiest journey yet:

I dropped my stuff off at Robyn's and we hit the shops, admiring the incredible Roxymas Christmas decorations as we went. It also quickly became apparent that our visit had landed on the day that they were switching on the lights... which did not help my theory that they were clearly all for me. (I'm kidding. Obviously. Kind of... ish).

After spending a small fortune on beautiful clothes at New Look, Robyn took me to a lovely little cafe/restaurant by the City Hall: 2 Oxford Place. It's a gorgeous, quaint place to eat and drink and boasts a menu that's entirely gluten free. We each had a Rekorderlig with lunch (I was not expecting the pear one to be that delicious) and ordered our food: Robyn had aubergine curry, while I had a broccoli and Stilton risotto... which was bright green:

After lunch we mooched around a few more shops before giving spending money on actual things up as a bad job in favour of spending it on drinks. So we headed over to Carpe Diem. I've been there once before last year with Sadie (my best friend from uni) to celebrate getting my funding offer from Manchester. It reminds me of a bar that we used to frequent in Rotherham before it shut down to be reincarnated as a nightclub down the road. I used to love that bar - so I do rather like Carpe Diem.

So Robyn and I took advantage of the 2-for-£7.50 deal and had a few drinks. After the first round, we were in full celebratory swing, as it was then that Robyn had her First Class grade for her degree confirmed online. Here's the very moment...

So we had a few drinks there, meeting up with my other best friend in Leeds (Patrick), before heading over to North Bar to have some incredibly expensive (but incredibly delicious) cider. We were met there by Robyn's partner Moz and Robyn and I were able to confirm what we'd always suspected: That - political leanings aside - Patrick and Moz are essentially the same person.

Then around 11ish I managed to die horribly. I won't go into details, but massive thanks to the wonderful Robyn for looking after me, and also to the two women working at North Bar who were looking after me wonderfully as well. I really don't know what happened as I really hadn't drunk all that much over the course of the day, but I'm grateful to everyone who looked after me.

Robyn got me home and after a fitful sleep and one more bout of the poorlies, I was right as rain. Ish. Well, I didn't want to die anymore at least.

So Robyn and I had a lazy morning in, which included her very kindly painting my nails and us both having a good gossip and catch up ...and Robyn (and even Patrick over whatsapp) teasing me for dying horribly in a bar - though as Robyn was shocked to hear that that has never happened to me before, we agreed that it was good to get that milestone covered before I entered my late-twenties (gah) next week.

We then did a bit more shopping (I finally got a new handbag!) and had a carb-licious lunch at Pizza Express before I took an unbelievably crowded train home.

So dying horribly aside, this was a pretty awesome couple of days. While I don't think we'll be doing quite so much in such a short space of time again anytime soon, I'm certainly going to be making a point of going up to Leeds far more regularly than just when I'm working. Besides, it's quite nice to have a city where there's so much to do that's not all that hard or expensive to get to from Sheffield, and where two of my closest and funniest friends live.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The Bearded Tit Market in Leeds

I did my MA in Leeds and, while it took me a while to admit it, I have to say the city is actually pretty cool. I never lived there, but I still work there on occassion and the fact that two of my best friends now live there means that I am going to be spending even more time there in the future.

What I know to be particularly ace about Leeds is its sheer volume of awesome bars. I suppose that that can be said about many cities, but having had celebratory cocktails in Carpe Diem, relaxed on the massive armchairs in Foley's, and sunk one too many bottles of Original Sin (best cider ever) in North Bar, I've got a bit of a soft spot for the city and its haunts. (Though of course my heart still belongs to The Red Deer in Sheffield... and Monroe's in Manchester).

I'm also very aware how ace the city is for shopping. Uni bestie Sadie and I had a wander around Leeds Trinity a few weeks after it opened and were more than a little gobsmacked. And considering that we'd spent nearly three years living rather close to Westfields White City, that's no mean feat.

There's a side to Leeds that I never got particularly involved in, but it radiates from the city: It's Full of Artists.

And now, all three of these things are coming together.

The Bearded Tit Market is coming to Crowd of Favours this Saturday (15th Nov) and will be a Market in a cool-as Bar, filled with hand-made Arts and crafts. And we're not really talking your Great Aunt Sylvia's doilies.

So basically, you'll be able to *Shop, *Drink, and - this just in - *Get cupcakes from my brilliant Leeds-based bestie Robyn.

Just click these words to find out more about this ace-looking event that I'm kind of miffed to be missing (though I'm missing it for my birthday cake party, which softens the blow at least).

Disclaimer: I'm not sponsored for this, I'm not getting anything for saying these words, it's a thing that my mate's helping out at that actually looks rather ace. So go to it so I can live vicariously through you.


Spot the Sam
Inspired by this post (ok, with the questions slightly stolen), I thought I'd give you a brief catch up, especially as things are still more than a bit hectic right now.

Reading: Currently re-reading Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett (I’ve spent the last few weeks re-reading the Witches of Discworld arc), and, increasingly, articles and textbooks. With regards to fiction, one day I will read something that isn’t a Discworld novel… it’s just that today is not that day.

Watching: Sam and I have recently gotten into Gogglebox… as in we caught up with all of it in the space of two evenings and now feel bereft. I’ve also gotten him into Coronation Street – which led to us visiting the studios (and him never being able to live it down).

Sam is slightly easier to spot here.

Eating: Too much pizza. I’m putting myself on a ban.

Drinking: It’s my birthday soon – and the party this weekend – so I foresee a lot of cider, Amaretto, and pop in my future…

Using: The hell out of my fuzzy blanket. And, to a lesser extent, the heating. The temperature shift from the end of October into November was ridiculous.

Recently: Stressing, napping, gaming, reading, travelling, dealing with early mornings (ow), planning for Halloween and now birthday and jingly, decorating, refusing to take down Halloween decorations, spending time with the family, watching things, grieving, making to-do lists and then ignoring them.

Wearing: New skinny jeans – and new top. Oo-er. It’s also that time of year: my beloved parka (or, as my friend calls it, my “oasis coat”) has been moved out of the wardrobe and onto the coatrack.

Listening: To ‘Waterfall’ by the Stone Roses (blame Corrie…), ‘Spooky Scary Skeletons’ by Andrew Gould (blame Halloween), and I've finally joined the Actual Cannibal Shia LeBeouf party…

Trying: To get myself excited about the paper I’m working on at the moment. The fact of the matter is, thanks to a recent conference talk, I’m more excited about one of the papers I’ll be writing next year… and it doesn't help that my supervisors made it a bit clear that they feel the same.

Purchased: Games, seasonal sweets (fiendish fancies!), clothes, lip stuff, Crown and Glory stuff, tickets to the Coronation Street Tour (don’tjudgeme).

 Crown and Glory Custom pieces are gorgeous things

Working: on my first proper paper. Terrifying stuff. I've also recently finished my first lot of med school teaching for this academic year, which was… interesting.

Enjoying: Living with Sam (still!), making birthday fortnight plans, reading the Witches of Discworld arc (I always forget just how brilliant those books are), and – overall - The Season: Halloween followed by my birthday, followed by Jingly. YES.

I'm going to try and queue a few posts for the next few weeks... there's a lot to catch up on.