Archive | January 2012

# 31 The Nesting Instinct

Like most creatures on this earth, as spring approaches I get the urge to nest. I take this as being the last vestiges of what I consider my maternal instinct. It never goes any further. I am not encouraged by plants sprouting in the garden, new born kittens or any other cute baby animal, to embrace motherhood. But I do the nesting thing and I do it with boundless enthusiasm.

For me, as well as the urge to spring clean in the house intensely and begin an attack on the ravaged remains of my garden (post winter and bantam hen assault), I want to move all my furniture around.

This despite having little room for manoeuvre since de-cluttering would be far more effective than simply moving it into more manageable shapes and having a good hoover. However, moving it around is currently where I am at and so yesterday it happened.

I managed to shift quite a lot and had I been throwing things out my house would now be considerably emptier. Sadly this is not the case but at least this now gives the illusion of de-cluttering, which in the short term at least helps to keep me sane and enables me to compartmentalise the bits that need dealing with – since compartmentalising everything is my way of coping with most things.

Life is very complicated and it has a lot of different areas that need dealing with on a daily basis. Shoving it into small boxes and representing it with a number of neon post it notes in my bulging filofax means I can methodically work through it all.

So this week I have moved an Edwardian dressing table and a bookshelf into my bedroom, moved the costume rails around upstairs so that the lengthening days of light can finally penetrate the room and I have moved several bookshelves and a dining table about downstairs.

Everything feels bigger, cleaner and a bit different. It’ll do for now. Now for the garden…..


# 30 The Progressive Reader

I read some fascinating statistics on Friday about how although book sales in their traditional form have been struggling during the recession, that e-books are as strong if not stronger than ever.

Something like 1.33 million ebook readers were sold in the 6 weeks leading up to Christmas and something in the region of 500,000 ebooks were bought on Christmas Day alone – no doubt to populate all those gifted Kindle’s fired up on the big day.

Kindle – books on the go – source

Like vinyl the hard copy book has slowly gone out of fashion to a degree, but reading hasn’t and this is the good news. The format has changed that is all. The internet has been a godsend in many respects. Access to digitalised hard to find books online using sites such as GoogleBooks has made the internet revolution enormously useful to both readers and researchers. I have lost count of the number of obscure foreign or out of print books I have gained access to through Google that I would otherwise never have found.

Vinyl of course, is now coming back into fashion and there were those that never stopped using it. It will be the same for the hard copy book. So what I found particularly interesting about these statistics was the demographic group buying into this new way of reading. It isn’t, as you might expect the younger, technologically savvy generation, but quite simply those who were already reading real books in the first place. It is thus that the technology is not encouraging a new generation to take up reading, but the former to read in a new way.

Progressive publishers are producing new works in multiple formats these days – hard copy, e- books, even audio books and it seems that if the book buying public are happy to embrace this new way of reading, then publishers shall have to bend to meet demand and remain in business.

# 29 Positive thinking

When I was young I was quite negative. I always thought the worst and I never tempted fate. I got into the mindset that if I predicted that the worst was going to happen, then I would be pleasantly surprised if things went well or not disappointed when they didn’t. But when you’re young, you don’t know yourself or your strengths and weaknesses and you doubt so much.

Years later I realised what a pathetic waste of energy this kind of mindset was. Very often if you think the best will happen it will. But negativity breeds negativity. If you think the worst will happen, it probably will.

Now that I am older, wiser and self assured I know what my strengths are. I have learned to accept compliments and I know that having a positive attitude and coming across as confident and strong is inspiring to those around you. If you tell everyone you’re no good at something, that you’re bad looking or fat or ‘can’t do’ they will believe it and so eventually will you, no matter how untrue it may be. And re-enforcing the negativity to get people to pay you compliments will eventually lose you friends because they will get sick of always bolstering you and telling you the opposite of what you keep on saying.

I have in recent months come across several people who perpetually encourage this negative mind set and I really haven’t got time for it any more because it’s pointless and just plain annoying and I don’t want to surround myself with it. It’s always thin girls complaining how fat they are and fishing for compliments and negative whingers who really haven’t got anything to complain about in life who wonder why their friends drift away and why they are left alone. Worse still are the ones who get slated behind their friends backs because of their negative attitude.

There’s nothing wrong with being a positive person. People prefer it, those who don’t probably wish they were like you and had your confidence. The more positively you think, the more people will believe in you.

If you have negativity issues, get help. It’s not right and it’s not healthy and it’s very damaging to your relationships. No one likes a know it all or a self congratulatory snob, but if you are a confident and happy person you will attract the right sort of people and eventually become that happier person.

# 28 A Question of Character

Friday night was ‘Supper Club’ night at the Gainsborough Constituency Conservative Association at The White Heather at Caenby Corner. I attended primarily because its guest speaker was Rupert Matthews – author, historian and political activist.

Rupert Matthews – Editorial Director at
Bretwalda Books

Rupert is a very capable orator who gives fascinating talks in an interesting and informed manner on a variety of subjects. Tonight he gave an insightful overview of the Euro and a history of the European Union which was most definitely food for thought. If he’d been my history teacher at school, I think it would have been a whole different education.

To be honest, my friendship with Rupert has over the last few years I have known him, been sporadic to say the least since he is in Surrey and I am in Lincoln. It comes from, in more recent months, his association with Bretwalda Books as Editorial Director and it is to him I owe my thanks that my own book ‘A Most Faithful Attendant’ will at last be published.

Unfortunately Rupert has recently found himself the centre of press and media attention due to the resignation of Lincolnshire MEP Roger Helmer, whom Rupert would have succeeded as next in line had it not been for the intervention of Baroness Warsi. I am not going to go into a political discussion here however, that is not my motive for this write up.

I have however been intrigued and bemused at the nature of some of the press reportage on this situation and the way in which Rupert has been portrayed. I realise of course that anything involving politics is like treading on eggshells and that whatever you do or don’t do will be scrutinised and criticised depending on who is reporting and the motives behind their attention.

That Rupert is an author with many wide and varied interests in history, the paranormal and the world of UFOs and aliens cannot and is not denied but it should not brand him in a bad light or make him unfit for his position. And whilst this is apparently not the motivation behind questioning regarding the validity of his candidacy as Roger Helmer’s replacement you can’t help but wonder if there isn’t some sort of witch hunt going on as it keeps coming up time and again in press reports.

A prolific author on a variety of subjects

Reading recent press coverage you would be forgiven for believing Rupert to be of slightly questionable character, perhaps a little odd even – that is if you had not met him and only seen these misguided articles. If you met him you would realise that he is quite simply an interesting, educated and enthusiastic individual with a broad spectrum of interests that make him good company at the dinner table, an entertaining speaker and above all a trustworthy associate who is politically ambitious whilst wanting to do right by his party and to our country. And who wants their MP to be a boring, characterless politician in any case?

I would rather have someone who is passionate about the things that interest them, good company to be around and in it for the right reasons. It makes him human, down to earth and personable. I’d rather that than some of the corrupt individuals we’ve had to put up with in recent years.

# 27 The Harbour Masters Building

The Harbour Masters Office

There is a building in Lincoln on the Brayford Pool called the Harbour Masters Office that I suppose has been hanging on for dear life for some time now. I think it was still being used as an office, but it was basically a remnant from the old dock days when boats would deliver goods to Lincoln.

Since then Brayford Wharf has become something of a promenade lined on one side by the Marina and on the other by a succession of faceless branded restaurants. And now that the Doubletree by Hilton hotel has opened up at the end, curiously next to the Holiday Inn, the area has more of a foreign resort feel to it than a functional town that is about as far from the coast as you can get in these parts.

But last week the demolition men moved in and now only an outside wall and some interior features remain. It’s going to be yet another restaurant apparently – a small one I don’t doubt. But sitting right opposite ASK, Zizzi’s and the Lincoln Odeon cinema I’m sure it wasn’t a necessary addition.

We accept the demolition of our heritage with resignation these days, that we know eventually everything is going to look modern and built in concrete. I remember thinking this in days of old when I used to go to London a lot and saw old Victorian streets flattened for Sainbury’s or modern apartments. I guess it’s a sign of the times. You can’t stop progress. Unfortunately however, once these places have gone, they’ve gone. You can’t get them back and it’s a shame that so often progress cannot meet with the past.

Brayford Pool – Victorian times
The same view now