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Being topical, accidentally or otherwise

19 Nov

One of the worries when you are writing for magazines is that your article will already be outdated by the time it’s published. It takes longer than you might think to put an edition of a magazine together, and articles are usually commissioned weeks or even months in advance. When I wrote my latest article for Christianity magazine about the effects of Covid-19 and associated lockdowns on vulnerable children throughout the world, we were in lockdown. By the time it was published, we were in that beautiful period of semi-normality between the first and second waves of the virus.

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A paean to Peppa Pig

2 Jul

This post is about one of my many niche interests, specifically that gentle satire on the English middle class: Peppa Pig. You might think that this is just a children’s cartoon about a family of pigs but you would be wrong. It is laugh-out-loud funny in its dissection of human foibles and frailty through the medium of stylized animal drawings.

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Esperanto is fun, ĉu ne?

4 May

If you so much as glance through the old posts of this blog, you’ll notice that I have a fair few interests and hobbies, from the domestic to the arcane. There’s crochet, of course (the temperature blanket is coming along beautifully) and baking, which under lockdown has got a bit out of control. I suggested baking some biscuits today and my sister looked at me in horror. “But we’ve already got crumpets, potato scones and flapjack!” I think the problem is that people aren’t eating fast enough 😉

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Life in Lockdown

3 Apr

Here in the UK we are approaching the second week of ‘lockdown’. It’s not a real lockdown because you can still go out for exercise (once a day), shopping (ideally once a day) and many people are still going to work. In Azerbaijan, you now need permission from the government to even step out your door, I’m told.

But still, it’s fairly restrictive, and it has altered my life as I expect it has yours. I’m actually on the third week of lockdown because I’m in one of these ‘vulnerable groups’ and so was able to go the supermarket during one of their restricted hours and wrestle pensioners for toilet paper. Heroism is not dead.

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Bible Hit Parade

27 Jan

I’m a bit scattered at the moment (rather than scatterbrained, as I always am) because I’m trying to learn Dutch for my research trip to Leiden; carry on writing the novel that the research trip is for; organise the next stage of my asylum seekers craft project; pitch my alchemy book to a publisher who showed a vague interest; interview people for an article I’m writing; and do my usual interpreting and translation on top. But I don’t see why I should neglect the poor blog – what’s one more plate?

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A game of patience

5 Dec

The inspiration for this post was my rather splendid new Christmas jumper, which you can see in the photo below. Christmas jumpers have become a bit of a thing in recent years (I know they were around before that, but they were mocked rather than mandatory) and I didn’t have one last year, so I decided to make one for this Christmas.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…
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By hook or by crook

23 Nov

Anyone who has seen me out and about in Glasgow recently may have spotted me, hook in hand, working away at a large blue and white object. This is my Christmas jumper which I have been crocheting for what feels like aeons (since last winter, actually, with a big break for the summer) and which I intend to finish before I go carol singing on the 7th of December.

YARN WITH CROCHET HOOKS
Image by Davina Harrison on Flickr

But crochet hooks aren’t only good for giving me repetitive strain injury, they also have a variety of household uses – so much so that I think every home should have at least one.

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Can’t do right for doing wrong

9 Nov

Those of you who follow this blog will know I’m quite into my eco-friendliness. I wrote an earlier post about my efforts to reduce plastic waste in my life, by doing things like using natural materials, switching to solid shampoo and carrying a shopping bag in my handbag. However, as with many things, being eco-friendly is much more complicated than it at first appears.

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Drowning in a tsundoku

12 Jun

There is a word in Japanese, they tell me, that means letting books pile up without reading them: tsundoku. I don’t speak Japanese, but it sounds appropriate, reminding me both of sudoku, something stressful and time-consuming, and tsunami, which is what happens when your to-read pile becomes unstable.

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Let’s play Hyndland bingo!

26 Apr

It probably says a lot about the neighbourhood of Anniesland, in Glasgow, that after spending a month here I am writing a post about Hyndland. Anniesland is a bit betwixt and between, both in a literal sense (its main landmark is Anniesland Cross, a major junction between roads that run west out of Glasgow and south to the Black Hole and the Death Star (as I like to call Govan and the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital) and also in terms of character. It’s kind of west end but not posh, a bit down at heel but not cheap, not that far the city centre, but not actually close. Continue reading