A blog full of randomness; about anything and everything.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Something other than Pirates

Yes I have been neglecting this place. Not entirely sure that matters as I'm pretty sure that no one actually reads this but still I waffle far too much and so writing to no one is just as good! I have been far to busy with work and too lazy to update this plus it would all be on pirates anyway and frankly even Mr Nobody would get bored!

This post is mostly going to concern Wuthering Heights and Turn of the Screw and is mostly for me to collect my thoughts and decide what essay to write. Either one on gender in Wuthering Heights or one looking at if Turn of the Screw is a ghost story or a story of madness.

Heights is full of gendery stuff - with both Cathy's transgressing gender roles as fulfilling gender stereotypes. There is even a theory that Heathcliffe is a woman (not literally of course!). But then again I would also have a lot to say about Screw and if the ghosts are real or not. I personally don't think they are and the governess is just a bit crazy! (Inflicted by sexual hysteria through repressed sexual lust according to some theorists :p).

I think I will probably end up writing about Heights simply because I love the book (mostly because I'm weird and like to hate all the characters!) but then I have quite a bit of love for Mr James and Screw. Coincidentally there is an adaptation of Turn of the Screw over xmas - I must watch it although I see differences already. First off they have given the governess a name when she has none in the book. I also wonder if they will show that the story is being narrated by someone who is narrating what it is being narrated to him by another man who is narrating what the governess told him. (Yes makes your brain hurt! Even more confusing that the Heights which is narrated by a man who is narrating what the housekeeper tells him!).

Monday, 9 November 2009

Piracy and other assorted things that form a general update

I haven't actually posted here for ages - haven't really felt like it to be honest and besides I've had nothing interesting to say. Still not sure if I actually have any incites that are noteworthy but still.

My life seems to have been consumed by the big blob that is work and spend most hours of the day working meaning I have completly negelected all of my hobbies for quite some time! But work has at least been relatively interesting. The essay on Hamlet was quite tedious but it is done and handed in now!

Most of the rest of work has focused around either reading Shakespeare (and watch Shakespeare based films!) and Pirates. Two documents have been analysed. One a proclomation from the King offering Pirates a pardon in return for their surrendour and the other the infamous Captain Charles Johnson's 'A General History of Piracy' (shortened title). Johnson was the first history book on Piracy and it portrayed an exciting world of adventure and dastardly deeds making it an instant best seller. However the content is often exaggerated to excite public opinion and because of its vast influence it has shaped modern day perceptions of Piracy - as the romantic hero. Despite this no one actually knows who Johnson is - he doesn't show up in a single record and many have speculated about his true identity - is he real person who just flew under the radar, others have suggested that he is the playwright by the same name (minus the Captain bit :p) simply becuase he wrote a play about pirates! But the most popular idea is that Captain Charles Johnson is in fact Daniel Defoe - author of 'Robinson Crusoe'. Defoe wrote many histories that explored piracy and this wouldn't have been the first time he had attempted to pass off a fictional character as the author of his works - when 'Robinson Crusoe' was first released it was sold as being a true account.

Next came a book review - looking at three books on the topic of Piracy and focusing on the 'what is the reality of Piracy?' All three books were interesting and I was particularly interested in a book on Women Pirates named 'Bold in her Breeches' which leads me to think that for my masters I could expand my study of Piracy and look into Women and Piracy. I'm sure there is a lot to explore - how many women were involved in piracy, how pirates viewed them, why there is so little evidence and sources including women and piracy?

Waffled enough now I think. I will be back...

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Mostly Shakespeare

Having a bit of a Shakespeare fest at the moment with one module dedicated to the great man and studying Hamlet in the other.

Having re read Hamlet I still don't like it but this time had much more fun as I imagined David Tennant as Hamlet :) I do think that it would be much more enjoyable if it had been written as a comedy instead of tragedy. Gertrude is a bit of a cow frankly, not becuase she remarries so soon after her husbands death - that bit is more understandable - she would have lost everything if she had not - but she is rubbish at Mothering; calling Hamlet 'fat', not even recognising him in the scene with the gravediggers and also she basically drive Ophelia to suicide and is unfeeling. Just after Hamlet kills Polonius her and Claudius are just like 'oh well'. Also all the 'alas I am dead' makes me giggle. I can imagine my last words 'alas I have been hit by a bus' or 'alas I should have worn my seat belt' - the first one being more likely!!

King Lear on the other hand is much more enjoyable as a tragedy (although I have awful visions of the time I saw a RSC performance with a nude Gandalf!). Although I feel that he is mean - calling his daughter Goneril!! He also has a bit of a Gollum complex - with frequant uses of 'our' in relation to himself.

I also would like to sing the praises of my local library and world cat. Worldcat.org is a database of all books in publication and lists every library that holds a copy. Very useful for tracking books for my dissertation - seems like I will be doing a fair bit of inter library loaning!! However several of the books I were keen to get hold of apparently are in my local library - I wasn't even sure they had much other than Jackie Collins books!

Wednesday, 30 September 2009


I realise that I have been neglecting this place a bit recently due to a mixture of being back at uni and my grandpa dying :(

Helpfully, to make my mind off things I have started lectures today :) Five hours worth in a row!! But I love learning and so I was perfectly happy although a little frazzled by the end (but a cheeky Starbucks soon revived me!).

First off was a meeting with my History Special Subject Group - my speical subject being the subject which I have to base my dissertation around. Mine is Trade in Early Modern Europe which to most people sounds like a very boring subject but to me it looks amazingly interesting!! We discussed our proposed dissertation ideas - 2 other people are looking into doing piracy as well - grrr stealing my idea :p But they don't seem to be focusing on the same thing as me - in other words I think that they researched their subject by watching Pirates of the Carribean!! But now I have a more definate idea of what I'd like to do - not much of a change from my last update! I'm going to look at the relationships between the piracy, the state and trade. And possibly expand out from the Carribean so I can compare types of merchant and cargo in different areas and different methods and ways of selling the booty. Like the pirate havens in the Carribean that housed illegal markets. I will also look at how the state encouraged piracy with privateers and their letters of Marque and whether they were always followed. Then how piracy was dealt with when they were acting illegally. Now onto hard core research - library day tomorrow!

Next was theorizing texts - theories surrounding Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte), The Turn of the Screw (Henry James) and Hamlet (Shakespeare). It was just and intro so hopefully I will find out more than this next week!

Finally there was Shakespeare and Co. Studying Shakespeare, what his inspirations were and how his texts have been transformed over time.
We discussed how Shakespeare was shaped by the fashions, audience, contemporaries and the players in his company. We also discussed whether a play is the actual text written down or the performance. If it is the latter then a play will always be in a state of constant transformation - each performance will be different with every new performance due to actors, fashions and the social background to the time of performance. Plays will take on different meanings to different audiences.

In other news my c button is being annoying and also I love Ewan McGregor - he is scottish and can sing and has a moterbike :D

He may be added to the list of numerous people I have said I would marry recently. The list already includes Poirot, Chaucer, Anton Du Beke and Brian Fortuna!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

New Home!

So eventually I moved in to the new house. I feel that my resentment for the place is due more to resenting being made to move when I liked the old house so much. It's also not helped by the fact that when I walked in the only word appropriate for the place was shithole. The house has been empty for a year after a very bad set of students. The house clearly hasn't been cleaned for about 2 or 3 years and so only now, after several cleans, is it looking slightly more habitable. I took my dyson in hand and Frank my mop and a whole host of other cleaning products and am hopefully now feared throughout the realms of spider-dom (instead of the other way around!!). I think possibly the worst thing was the discovery of a headless rotting mouse corpse!

But now my room looks great :D And I'm liking it - although I keep falling off my bed despite it being a double one!! However, the freezer does not work leaving one small freezer shelf in the fridge for four students!! Also the gas oven is old and frnakly dangerous. You have to hold the flame in the back of the oven for at least 3 minutes while gas purs out at you before it will light and when it does a flame leaps out the front right where your arm is!! Then you have to hold the gas on knob in for a good five minutes to make sure it stays on!!

Oh well in nicer things. I have made more mini plushies :D I will also have a cross stitch to show you very soon and just because:


Friday, 11 September 2009


I have decided, should all other career plans fail or maybe just as a side career, that I shall make muffins. I love making muffins. Muffins can be made in any flavour you can possibly think of. I'd set up a little muffin shop - like the little shop in Chocolat apart from mine would be with muffins. It would be like muffilat! I would even be able to tell what kind of muffin you are just by you spinning a plate or telling me what you see in Rorschach test! My mum, for example, is a maple and pecan muffin or an espresso muffin and my sister is a carrot cake muffin. According to my Mum I'm a Rocky Road Muffin!!

Tomorrow I shall make Fudge Muffins :D The world is a better place with muffins!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

'That Little House in the Hill'

I couldn't find out how to tidy stuff away so it doesn't take up so much room so here is a link to my latest work of fiction(!!) which is over on Livejournal (the blog used for pointless quizes and not a lot else anymore!).


Not sure how good it is as I wrote most of it between midnight and 4 am!! But I'm never a very good judge of these things!! I always think my essays are way better than my fiction but very few people would stay awake reading essay after essay!! So I hope this entertains at least a teeney bit!! It was inspired by a holiday cottage I stayed in in a little village in North Wales. Which wasn't made of Oak, wasn't abandoned and didn't have a basement. But it was called Oak!

Friday, 4 September 2009

Pirates (of the Caribbean)

So after much research I think I may have come up with a working title for my dissertation :D Which means I have had to discard half of what I was researching! As my 'special subject' is trade in the early modern period I have to somehow answer something to do with trade and piracy - so I first decided to focus on how piracy impacted upon trade and how it was dealt with by those in power. So then I had to decide on place and a time period and other associating factors.

After having a search for what was out there in the way of books, journals and primary sources I decided foucusing on Colonial America and the Caribbean was probably the best idea. So then I had to pick what time period. Two major time periods stood out as the most interesting to me - The Buccaneers of the late 16th and early 17th century. Mostly privateers for the governments of the warring powers in the Americas (Britain, Spain, France and Holland) and the pirates that made Tortuga and Port Royal famous. Secondly there was what is commonly termed as the 'Golden Age' of Piracy (a term thought to have been used for the first time by Raffeal Sabatini author of Captain Blood etc). This is said to stretch between approximatley 1700 and 1730 and was a period of increased pirate activity in the Americas and West Africa. It is also the time of Pirates such as Blackbeard, Jack Rackham, Charles Vane and Anne Bonny. The increase in Pirates can be seen as a product of the governments. Wars had stopped and letters of Marque removed leaving many privateers without a legitimate job. Many turned to piracy. After lots of research I bhave decided to focus on the 'Golden Age' as it seems to have a lot more association with trade whereas the Buccaneers are more strongly linked with war.

Now i have to try and decide whether to focus on one country - say Britain - and their approach to dealing with Piracy as focusing on all four of the main powers may be too broad. If I was to focus on one country, I would pick Britain becuase I already know a lot about how they dealt with piracy - the installment of a British Governor, Woodes Rogers, in the Pirate Haven New Providence, King George's 1718 proclomation which pardoned any pirates who surrendoured themselves to the British and the tactics used to capture many of the famous pirates such as Charles Vane and the resulting mass executions.

I would also like to try and fit in something about the perceptions of the general public and how this effected how piracy was dealt with. Many people had and still ahve a romantic (Jonny Depp style) image of Piracy that just wasn't that accurate!

Other than having my head stuck in a book I have finally got round to doing some more sewing! First time I've felt up to it in days :) I've finished two mini plushies - a cat and a dove and am going to embark on making another dove and a sock monkey head next!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

100 Years

I realise that I haven't actually updated this for ages!! So here I am back to waffle again after my holiday, Brownie camp and general other horrible mind occupying stuff!

Just in case you don't know Guiding is about to celebrate it's 100th birthday with year of celebrations. It's been 100 years since several girls turned up uninvited to Robert Baden Powell's Boy Scout Rally at Crystal Palace. After the girls demanded to join the Scouts Baden Powell created the Girl Guiding movement with his wife Olave Baden Powell at the head of it.

And after 100 years of adventure and fun (I sound like some kind of advertisment now!) the movement is still going strong and is every bit as good as the Scouting Movement.

I joined Guiding when I was about a year old. My Mum started helping out at a Rainbow Unit and I came along with her every week and even had my own name 'Raindrop'! Eventually I was old enough to be a Rainbow and then a Brownie and a Guide. I left Guides aged 15 (you're supposed to leave at 14 but me and a friend wouldn't budge!) in 2004 after a trip to Our Chalet in Switzerland and had nowhere to go. We didn't have Rnager Unit and there hadn't been one in the area for a number of years. I stayed in touch with Guiding through the Brownie Pack that I was a Young Leader at - the pack just happened to be my Mum's unit! Whilst at the same time me and the aforementioned friend set about the task of bugging people into setting up a Ranger Unit and eventually in 2006 we got what we wanted :D The Ranger Unit was fantastic - we went on Barge Trips, Camps to Denmark and have recently attended WINGS international camp. Just before I turned 18 I started my Guider Permit so that I could become a Brownie Guider. Now I have two Brownie Packs :D

So I'm pleased to say I'm part of Guding during the Centenary (it also means lots of exciting badges for my blanket!) and have lots of adventures! I will be taking part in Adventure 100 Challange completing 100 challnages over the year - from climbing mountains, sailing and camping to learning about the past and planning for the future.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Books are like Magic

I like books. No in fact I love books. Just as well considering the English and History degree requires me to spend half my life with my head in a book. I can't remember a time where I haven't had at least one book on the go (currently I have three 'Blood of Elves' by Andrzej Sapkowski, Neil Gaimon's 'Smoke and Mirrors' and Henry James' 'Turn of the Screw' and that's not including all the Pirate History books I am using for dissertation research!) and I can't remember a time when books haven't formed a big part of my life.

I use books as an escape - somewhere to disappear to when the world gets too much which is why it is mostly fantasy and classical (Austen, Bronte and the like) stuff although I will read just about anything (with the exception of Twilight and other soppy teenage fiction!). Books are amazing - they can take you away from things or get you closer to them, let you travel the world or visit fantastical worlds. And most of all share in the brilliant imagination of the authors.

I choose what I read based on reviews, reccomendations, browsing the shelves or Amazon's frankly creepy mind reading 'Reccomended for You Section' (which is far better than the Youtube one which frequantly suggests I watch either porn or High School Musical - neither of which I have ever looked at on my account!). From here they all go on my 'To Read' list which just gets longer everyday! I chose 'Blood of Elves' from Waterstones as it was by a Polish author and I was about to go to Poland plus it was part of a 3 for 2 offer and my Mum needed to find a third book for the offer!)

I first got into fantasy when my Dad read one of his favourite books to me and my sister when I was five. It was 'The Hobbit' and I loved it (especially when he did the voices!). I read 'The Lord of the Rings' when I was eight (with only a little bit of help!) and it hasn't left my bookshelf since although the books around it have. The large collection of 'Animal Ark' books have gone and the trilogy has seen the likes of Meg Cabot, JK Rowling, Garth Nix, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaimon share a shelf with it at some point or another!

On a completly different subject I had a fantastic time camping :D Lots of activities were done, large amounts of Cider was consumed and Orange Stilt Men were hung out with (yes I did try my hand (or legs) at stilt walking). Although no wenching was done!!

Today I'm working on making myself a new bag and looking after my poorly kitty.

Friday, 31 July 2009


Today I think I should waffle about the sheer awesomeness of Camping (only briefly as I have to get on with packing!). The first reason is the tent. It's lke a pod of awesomness. A bed where you won't get injured if you should fall out of it. A bed that you can just launch yourself into when drunk without climbing being involved. And a bed that most certainly doesn't creak! And if camping in winter you don't need a fridge to keep your strongbow in - the tent will do it for you!!

Next is being outside. You can hear the birds singing and have an excuse to get covered in mud without getting complaints! And it is incredibly satisfying to sit in your tent listening to the rain hammer down outside!

Also you have legitimate reason for smelling and looking like you've been dragged through a hedge backwards!

Then there are campfires, toasting marshmallows and midnight feasts. And lots of other awesomeness that I have not got time to spout about!
Also I have now finished the plushie mentioned in the previous blog and he has travelled many miles across the country and is now happily in his new home with his new owner. So here he is doing a headstand!! (Although I shall probably get told off for mentioning that now!!)
Next I shall be making myself a handbag :D And also fill up my new crafty bag so I can reclaim my bedroom floor from all my kit!

Monday, 27 July 2009

Wuthering Heights

So I was just browsing the teenage fiction section of the Book shop, as you do, when I spotted 'Wuthering Heights'. Yay, I thought, finally getting teenagers reading something a little more cultured than the normal drivel contained within the pages of Twilight and other such books. It had been re-covered - fair enough teenagers aren't going to read something that looks like it's just dropped out of the 19th century (unfortunatly).

It all went down hill from there. I spotted a little red sticker proclaiming it to be 'Bella and Edward's favourite love story'. Ugh. First off, why would you want to love the romance in the book? And second poor old Emily Bronte must be turning in her grave to have her masterpiece reduced to the favourite book of two fictional charctaers (and not very good ones at that).

Then on the back the blurb stated, in large letters, that it was 'The Greatest Love Story Ever Told'. Yeah right. That suggests its a story of romance whihc is something that there isn't really much of in Wuthering Heights. I would have described it more as a story of passion - love and hate and how similar the two emotions are.

Describing it as a love story almost makes it sound like they are justifying the evil mind games, violence and death that fills the books as being what love is. But mind you it is liked by the Bella and Edward who come from a book that seem to think that a relationship that would appear to be borderline abusive is good. What sort of ideas is this giving teenagers about life?

On another less ranty note I finished my plushie :D and have a bag of watercress as the packet said it was a superfood and I imagined it would be wearing capes and it's underwear outside of it's tights but I am sadly disappointed!

Friday, 24 July 2009

It's alive...

Normally the moment one of my Plushies comes alive is the moment I attatch the eyes. The eyes, I think, finish it's personality and tells you exactly what kind of Plushie you have. The cute little smile and the way one of the tentacles is a little shorter than the other seven all help make the plushie an individual but it's not alive until it can see you and make you love it using it's big round soppy eyes. Usually the eyes are the last thing to go on so they symbolise the little creature truly being a whole creature like it's being born!!

Today I got to the point with my plushie where I realised the eyes would have to go on now or never, however the plushie is still in two halves and is unstuffed. It felt odd stitching eyes on to an empty sack and even weirder pinning the two parts together with these two round eyes staring up at me!

The title of this blog, I realise, suggest pictures should be involved however I'm not sure a plushie in two parts would make a good picture and I don't want to ruin the surprise for it's future owner! So I'll let you're imaginations run wild for now and leave you with the knowledge the plushie is made out of a bright pink pashmina and a purple fluffy pillow case.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Testing 1,2,3

Woooo! I have a blog :D And set up all by myself (well not quite all by myself!!)
Mostly I started this blog as an act of prcrastination - I should really have my head in a book researching for the dissertation which, even though it is on Pirates (the most exciting subject ever!), still drives me to procrastinate.
The main point of my blog was to waffle on about some of my favourite things. Such as my strange addiction to buttons (as in ones you get on shirts not the chocolate ones!), making plushies and handbags and cooking.
I aim to start selling my plushie and bag creation at some point when I start being a bit quicker with the production however it's still a bit slow due to the whole having to do uni work and stuff thing! The majority of my creations are partly, if not fully, made from recycled materials such as old clothes. Thanks to the Summer Holidays I've been able to do a lot more creative things - last week I made an Earless Elephant:

And Now I've started on a purple and pink fluffy tree monster!! Although got distracted by making Smarties muffins for cheering up purposes :D

Now I think I've waffled enough for today, I shall return with more from the wonderful world of Rocky soon :D