Posted in Family, Personal life

Votes for Minions

This post was written on 12th October, the day of the general release of the film Suffragettes, for the November edition of the Tetbury Advertiser.

Lucienne Boyce and Debbie Young wearing the official colours of the Suffragettes
Lucienne and I show our true colours

Today I did two things I’d never done before: I went to the cinema alone, and I saw a film on the day of its general release.

Though I’d wanted to see Suffragette for ages, I don’t usually get round to seeing films until they’re out on DVD, unless they’re children’s movies such as Minions, whose bright yellow and blue merchandise is everywhere just now. Continue reading “Votes for Minions”

Posted in Personal life

Seeing the (Traffic) Lights

In my latest column for the Hawkesbury Parish News, I’m taken aback by the sudden appearance of the trappings of urban traffic in our quiet Cotswold village.

Traffic lights and diversion outside Debbie's house
Stopping the traffic outside my house for the last couple of weeks

“Sorry I’m late, I was held up by the traffic lights outside The Fox.”

When I first spotted them, I very nearly crashed  my car in surprise. Continue reading “Seeing the (Traffic) Lights”

Posted in Family, Personal life

What are The Mall’s Fashion Show Organisers Trying to Tell Us?

Fashion show bag
Oh goody, a goody bag!

A trip to the Bristol Fashion Week Show (Autumn/Winter), staged at our nearest out-of-town shopping mall, The (imaginatively named) Mall, at Cribbs Causeway near Bristol, has become a twice-yearly treat for my sister, my daughter and one of her friends. But the contents of the goody bag we brought home this time has set me wondering whether they organisers are trying to send a secret message to audience members about their own appearance and demeanour…

Continue reading “What are The Mall’s Fashion Show Organisers Trying to Tell Us?”

Posted in Writing

I Dream of Dancing

photo of shadows dancingA post about my strange dream to do with work, dancing and self-knowledge

What a funny dream I had the other night! No, don’t click away yet, this is interesting, honestly…

My Strange Dream

I dreamed I was in my kitchen doing chores, and as I was pottering about I noticed my reflection in the window, doing, not surprisingly, the same thing that I was.

Then I realised that a couple of feet away there was another reflection of me, but this one was having a good time, dancing about, waving her arms in the air, completely absorbed in having fun.

My Initial Interpretation

photo of little girl walking down a long path into the distance
Just following my dreams

On waking, my immediate thought was “Pah! I’m so transparent! My subconscious is obviously trying to tell me to stop doing so much work and to have more fun.” I know I have a bad midnight oil habit, and being self-employed and freelance, I have the worst boss when it comes to productivity demands.

To start my morning sociably, I shared this thought with my friends on Facebook, where I’m always happy to make a joke at my own expense. “I’m such a simpleton!” I concluded.

Then I attacked my to-do list, suppressing the thought that actually I’d been really looking forward to starting back to work this week after the school holidays. Surely I couldn’t be that jaded already?

The Truth Outs

Only later, when my friend the author Nancy Freund stopped by to comment, did I realise how foolish I had been. Her view:

I think it means your work IS your fun. I imagine you’re dancing most of the time.”

RapeseedNancy is an insightful writer, possibly as a by-product of her synesthesia, and as soon as I read her comment, I had to bow to her wisdom. Yes, my work is indeed my fun – my writing and editing and publishing projects, and all the social networking (both online and in real life) that go with it are so enjoyable. Having spent nearly 30 years as an office-based wage-slave before going solo, there are days when I cannot believe my good fortune.

I may not be a bestseller (yet), but today and every day, I have plenty of reasons to do a happy dance. Thank you, Nancy, for making me realise I’m not such a simpleton after all.

If you’d like to experience more of Nancy’s insights, check out her novels – I reviewed Rapeseed, which features a synesthete, here). 

Posted in Writing

Coloured Judgement

A post in praise of colouring

cover of colouring for calm
More effective than Prozac but much more addictive

One of this summer’s publishing sensations has been the adult colouring book. In this context, “adult” doesn’t have the same connotations as in “adult films”. They are simply colouring books designed to appeal to grown-ups.

Why colouring? Why now?

In a culture characterised by quick response times and a general desire for instant gratification, any activity that cannot be hurried, from colouring to crochet, from needlepoint to knitting, provides a welcome excuse to slow down and savour the moment. The regular activity of rubbing a pencil back and forth to fill in a defined space without going over the lines can no more be hurried than knitting can ever be a speed sport. Colouring relaxes the brain into a meditative state.

But what I don’t get is the need to create special colouring books for adults. I’m happy colouring children’s books, filled with mermaids, unicorns and other distractions from the stresses of daily life.

cover of Lady Chatterley's lover
Literary colour

Just as J K Rowling’s publishers brought out special editions of Harry Potter books to facilitate unembarrassed reading on the commuter train, I think they should simply camouflage the covers of children’s colouring books for adult consumption.

So if you spot me any time soon hunched over a book covered in brown paper, wielding a blue pencil, it doesn’t mean I’m personally censoring Lady Chatterley’s Lover. I’ll just be colouring in Bob the Builder’s dungarees.

cover of Bob the Builder colouring book
“Can we colour it? Yes, we can! “

This post was originally written for the September issue of Hawkesbury Parish News, the local community newspaper serving the village in which I have lived for nearly 25 years and for which I write a monthly column on any topic that takes my fancy as the deadline approaches. (There’s nothing like an imminent deadline for focusing the mind.) If you enjoyed this column, you might also like these recent articles: