Monday, 23 June 2008

Henman and a hen party

It's Monday! It's the last week of June! It's Wimbledon baby!


Apologies for that tennis related outburst of joy. I just love these two weeks of the year. I get everything that needs to be done out of the way in the mornings and then settle down for some glorious afternoons of sport. This year I shall mostly be supporting... Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Mario Ancic and Jelena Jankovic. Plus of course all those plucky unseeded Brits that make Wimbledon so special, for the first week at least!
This is of course the first Wimbledon in 14 years not to feature Tim Henman in the draw. The legend retired last year and although it is of course sad for such a career to come to its end, there is also a part of me that is relieved not to be faced with the prospect of another emotionally draining Henman epic. Much as I like Andy Murray, he doesn't inspire quite the same amount of heartache. Henman is of course not entirely absent from SW19, he's joined the BBC commentary team. I say team, it's more like a squad these days. Just how many commentators does a broadcaster need? Before I move away (no doubt only temporarily) from my Wimbledon love affair, I should probably stick my neck out and make a prediction. So here goes: Nadal for the men's title and Ivanovic for the women's.

I had a lovely day on Saturday at a friend's hen party. Despite not knowing most of the girls there I still had a great day. We went to a craft place and painted ceramics, had lunch in a little tea-rooms and then headed back to the bridesmaids' house for more food, chat and a DVD. It struck me as to how much more enjoyable it was than any pub'n'club crawling hen night. I think it's sad that it appears to be the norm these days for hen parties to be accompanied by drunken antics and hangovers. Ladies, I say we vote no to this 'new' way of celebrating and revert back to the good old days. I mean honestly, can anything beat a good cup of tea, a piece of cake and a natter? I rest my case.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Science-y sport stuff!

Give me an O! O! Give me a U! U! Give me a... oh wait, that's it actually. I am officially an Open University student and I'm strangely excited about it. It's been almost 6 years since I last did any form of studying but I think I'm ready to get back on the bike. At least I hope it's a bike, if it's a horse then I'm doomed because I never learnt to ride one of them.

I made the decision not to dive headlong into one of the 9 month courses. That was my mistake 6 years ago which led to my M.E. enforced withdrawal from the OU after only a couple of months. Instead I am doing what they call an Openings course. It's only 5 months, with less pressure and more focus on getting back into studying, both practically and mentally. There are a wide variety of Openings subjects available but I have chosen this one.

Sport! Woohoo! I honestly think that this course was actually created for me! I'm particularly excited about the science-y aspect of it (although I don't think they'll be too impressed if I use the word 'science-y' in any of my assignments). I have a huge gap in my general knowledge where science should be. Having to leave school at 13 meant that my science education stopped right there. Although I managed to get English and Maths GCSEs and an Economics A-level, they aren't much use when it comes to explaining why plants are green or the moon can sometimes be seen during the day. Actually, I know that the green plant thing is chlorophyll (but I did have to stop myself from writing chloroform just then!). Now I'm not saying that a sports course is going to help me out with those scientific conundrums in particular, but it should be nice and informative about the biology of the body and nutrition etc.

Here's hoping that this is the start of an exciting scientific odyssey!

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

"So what do you do?"

I hate that question. It's the king of small talk questions. It's quite a strange one really. The vast majority of people don't seem to enjoy their work and yet it's the topic that always seems to end up being discussed. Society defines people by their jobs. I suppose it's because we spend so much of our lives working.

Whatever the reasons for the popularity of the question, I still hate it. I know exactly why I have such a problem with it. It's because I don't have a job! There's no easy answer available to me. Just saying, "I'm unemployed" doesn't cover it but giving a decent explanation takes far more time than the questioner really wants to spend on the topic!

For some reason I always begin my answer with, "Well, it's a bit complicated I'm afraid...". I'm pretty much apologising for the awkwardness of my answer from the get go! On the upside it has become a little easier over the last few years as far more people are aware of M.E. as a real illness. Whereas 5 years ago I used to get vacant looks from small talk perpetrators, at least nowadays I get an, "oh yes, my brother's wife's second cousin has that". Although that can actually cause more problems in itself. At least the ignorant usually knew they were ignorant. These days everyone is an expert.

Following on from the apology, my well-rehearsed answer to the evil question usually takes the road of ill 10 years-dropped out of school-no uni-can't work-do voluntary stuff when I can. I'm not one to brag but I like to think that I've refined it to a near perfect answer after all this time! I do the 'I'm struggling on through head-nod' - copyright G.Licious - and smile understandingly to let the question poser know that they don't have to be embarrassed. But let me make it clear (at least in this blog, if not to the big wide world); just because I can answer the question, doesn't mean I have to like doing it!