- My new obsession with Postcrossing (a sort of postcard/international pen-pal club (http://www.postcrossing.com/). I have gone a bit mad and found myself corresponding with 14 people worldwide from Finland to Malaysia. I now get about 3 postcards a week from people all over the world. My husband thinks the postman might start charging to come to our door and deliver the mail. 'They will think you are crazy!' he mutters.
- My new obsession with making envelopes. I just cannot get enough of envelope making. And the many types of paper you can use. I am seriously looking at all paper in a new way now. (can I used it to make an envelope? Will Royal Mail accept it? Is it weird to make an envelope out of the paper my takeaway kebab has been wrapped in?)
- Work. Pah! Pesky old work was taking up valuable time and energy! But more on that in a different post another time when I feel like explaining what I do.
- Cooking. Yes, I have been trying my hand at cooking! Two days ago I made a lamb stew and a rhubarb and banana crumble. My husband was the lucky recipient of a homemade breakfast in bed yesterday, consisting of cinnamon french-toast with maple syrup, blueberries and crème fraiche. Oh, and the obligatory cup of English Breakfast tea.
- House of Cards Season 2 - which was rather ironically released on Netflix on Valentine's Day. Probably the most unromantic TV series ever. But compulsive and obsessive viewing none-the-less. Damn Netflix and their way of showing you one episode immediately one after another! This means you can go through four straight hours of TV watching without fully realising what has happened and suddenly find that the sun has set, you are desperate for the toilet and your stomach is rumbling due to a lack of sustenance. I am sure people have lost whole days to this hypnotising website.
- The Truly SHIT Weather of England in February 2014 - yep, it is officially the wettest winter in Britain for 250 years (250 years ago - which was the pretty uneventful year of 1764, unless you come form St. Louis, which was founded in Feb of that year). I heard this fact revealed with relish by a DJ on Classic FM last week as I was preparing to depart the house on a work trip into the City to visit an asset management company. Asset management is kind of boring at the best of times. It is even less interesting when you are dripping all over the floor because you got caught in yet another torrential downpour that your umbrella was too feeble to defend you against. Is it just me or all umbrellas sold in England too feeble to cope with the English weather? Yep, we live in a land of a thousand shades of grey (no erotic novel jokes please). Grey skies, grey clouds, grey rain, grey puddles, grey icy slush, grey hail, grey mud, grey flood waters (for some very unlucky towns in the UK. Pretty much everywhere actually as this warning map shows - http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/142151.aspx), lots of swollen fast-moving grey rivers and grey crashing waves on our grey beaches. This winter has been one long shade of grey.
This of course reminds me of the rhyme: 'Rain, Rain, Go Away, Come Again, Another Day! Which has so far been proved to be some sort of depressing prophecy since the rain just comes and comes and comes. My husband, who went to university in Lancaster, once told me that during his first term on campus as a fresh-faced 18 year old, it rained every day, all day for an entire month. All he could do was study. And drink beer. And play video games. Indoors. The international students who lived on campus and who presumably came from countries where the weather was better (in other words: pretty much ANY OTHER country in the world), grew so depressed that a few of them even jumped off the tall residential tower block next door to the student pub. The dorm became known as the suicide block. Leaving home when you are 18 years old is hard. Leaving home in ongoing torrential rain when you are 18 years old seems a little cruel.
But it is not all doom and gloom! Yes, we British are hardened to our shit weather. We don't let it get us down. We may grumble, we may moan. But we do that anyway. Moaning is what makes us British. It helps us connect with each other and feel as if we are connected through common miserable experience. It is the way we 'bond.' The rain is actually also a great equaliser. It rains on the rich as it does on the poor. The rich probably have better umbrellas and chauffeur driven cars, but they must get wet sometimes. The weather breaks down our class system...sort of...in a wet, rather chilly way. In fact our weather has been so typically stormy for so long now that companies have started using it to advertise their products. It is as if Britain has been re-branded as the famous 'stormy sceptred isle.' We are not going to hibernate, no! We are going to get out there in the rain and the wind! We are going to: 'hibernot' as LandRover UK puts it so enthusiastically in their new TV advert:
For those of you on a mobile device (you know the drill!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qmMo9mDgOs
Supposedly, according to the old myth of 'Borrowed Days' we have somehow borrowed all the crappy weather of March and experienced it in February instead, so March should be lovely and Spring-like and rain-free. Don't ask me how this works, I just heard it repeated at a concert recently. The lady who insisted on this story being true was standing on stage, holding a tambourine and drinking beer and I don't think she held a degree in meteorology, but she drew such a riotous response from the audience that people raised their glasses to drink to beginning of Spring and cheered loudly.
The beginning of Spring....well.....I WILL drink to THAT!