Learning the guitar and writing.


Since about September last year I have been learning to play the guitar. I don’t think I’m doing very well but then I never do. But it has struck me how much like writing learning the guitar is.

Firstly, progress is always painfully slow. I sincerely wish I could pick up the guitar one day and play like Hendrix the next but that’s never going to happen. It’s endless hours of practise that improves one’s playing and nothing else. I have heard rumours that if you go down to the crossroads and sell your soul to a tall dark gentleman with horns and a tail, then your ability can drastically improve very quickly but that’s too high a price to pay in my book. But there are so many other things to do in life and so many times when the last thing you feel like doing is writing or practising the guitar.

And when you’re learning anything new is can be so disheartening. As someone who suffers with a lot of self doubt, I never think I’m doing enough or doing it properly. I feel guilty if I don’t practise the same as if I don’t write. At least I have a guitar teacher to give me a small sense of perspective. He’s always a lot more enthusiastic about my playing than I am. But with writing, it’s much harder to get perspective and I’m sure all writers are familiar with the feeling that every thing they write is probably garbage and how they feel they’re probably wasting their time doing this.

However, when a break through does occur and something goes well, the feeling of achievement is monumental. Music, writing and creativity in general is, despite the difficulties and setbacks, such a joy. With the guitar, my aim is to be good enough to be in a band. With the writing, I want to be a successful published author. What I really want is some sort of public vindication. Yes, a best selling novel or a grammy awarded album would be great but what I really want is for people to like what I do. I want my creativity to be appreciated. Surely that’s not too much to ask?

Image from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

On Shampoo and Stereotyping.


Yesterday I was in the supermarket and I saw this product which is labelled as shampoo for men. I instantly thought ‘do men really have different hair follicles or different dandruff from women or is this just a sales ploy?’ There has been a lot of fuss on the net recently about the Bic pens for girls, which is basically just a pink pen; I can understand with some things that men and women might need different things but for pens or shampoo? So in the interest of scientific experiment I have just gone upstairs to the bathroom and washed my hair in this men’s shampoo.
I shall let you know if my hair falls out or I start gazing lovingly at drill bits and hogging the remote control!

My big bit/little bit theory.


I had to share this video because I think it is really special!  And it chimes with what I call my big bit/little bit theory.  What I mean is that if you separate your rubbish for recycling then you’re doing a little bit to help make the world a better place and it’s easy to think that that little bit doesn’t matter but if everyone in the whole world does that one little bit then it becomes a great big bit.

I think we have to remember that it’s hard for one person to do a lot but collectively we can change the world.  It’s the small acts of kindness, the little meaningful things we do that really can create change.  The cynics we say that things are getting worse and there’s nothing we can do about it.  But I think that as long as people do small things to make the world a better place not just for the environment for the people who live on this Earth then things will get better.

And when we help others and the planet, we are helping ourselves.  By improving things around us we improve as people and that can only be a good thing.  You don’t have to try to change the world on your own but collectively we can and do move mountains.

What do you think?

Another day in the Bongle house.

We actually managed to get out of the house today for the first time since last Friday!  Did a load of food shopping and spent £89 (that’s about $120 for the benefit of the Americans) but at least we’re stocked up with milk and bread and eggs and all sorts of other things.  Did it just in time as well because we got home and it immediately started snowing again!

Managed to pop into the Central Library in town and got four more books out!  So much for my idea about reading the books I already have lying round the house first.  Still at least the library books aren’t costing me money.  Now the library have my e-mail address, they send me e-mails when my books are due back so I don’t forget about them and that means I’m not paying a fortune in overdue fines anymore either!

The bad news is that our roof is leaking.  Mr Bongle, otherwise known as lovely hubby, rang the insurance people and they’re sending out a surveyor to look at the damage and decide if our policy covers it.  We’re both praying that it does because otherwise it’s going to cost us a lot of money.  With all the rain we’ve been having and now the snow as well it’s hardly surprising that the roof is suffering though.

And that’s my exciting life!  What about yours?

Say no to the thought police!

Ben Franklin quote

As ever, the world seems to be full of people who think they have a God given right to tell us what to do.  We get told that we can’t get married if we’re gay or that we can’t have an abortion if we want one or that its a good idea to let a load of armed guards into schools (and what happens if one of the armed guards has a bad day and goes beserk?)

There are always people who think that they know better than you do.  But don’t listen to them.  Only you can live the life you want.  If you’re gay and you want to get married, go ahead.  You want an abortion; have one.  You don’t have to listen to what I say but you do need to listen to your own heart.  Live your own life by your own rules.  As long as you’re happy and you’re not breaking the law or hurting anyone else; what difference does it make?

The Saga of the Washing Machine

About four weeks ago our old washing machine finally gave up the ghost.  I wasn’t particularly worried because I thought ‘we’ll just get a new one’.  It was under a service guarantee by British Gas and after an engineer had come round and pronounced it dead, they gave us a £90 coupon towards getting a new machine with the specification that we had to buy it from Comet.

So Gary and I went online and looked at washing machines, and particularly the customer reviews and I chose a model.  The one I liked the look of was a Candy machine so we bought it and arranged an installation date.  On the appointed day two Welsh engineers turned up, took one look under the sink and said they couldn’t fit the machine because the taps under the sink were too old and there was a water leak there.

So disappointed we called out DynaRod, all still under the household insurance, and they came out.  The man from DynaRod said the taps under the sink are fine, in fact the old taps are better than the new ones and there was no leak under the sink.  Now I was starting to get annoyed because I believed (and still do!) that the Welsh engineers lied to me and I do not like being lied to!

So we called Comet again (on their premium rate line at ten pence a minute) and the same Welsh engineers came back and installed the new machine.  They also took away the old machine.  They didn’t stay long but it was Saturday afternoon and I expect there was a rugby match on that they wanted to get back to.

So when they were gone I tried our new machine but…I could not get the dratted thing to work.  Gary had a go too and he couldn’t get it to work either.  To say I was livid does not start to cover it.  And then the dishwasher went on the blink as well.  By now I was beside myself and ended up in tears.  I was also amazed that the Welsh gits did not test the machine before they left to check it was working.

So we went back to the Comet store and insisted on speaking to the manageress.  She was very nice and she refunded our installation fee of £30.  She advised us to get an engineer from Candy to come out.  He’s supposed to be coming this Monday.  In the meantime a different engineer came out to look at the dishwasher.  As soon as he looked under the sink he discovered why it wasn’t working.  The stupid Welsh gits had disconnected the hot water supply to the dishwasher!

There was no reason for them to do this as the hot water supply to the washing machine is on a separate feed!  The engineer also discovered a water leak behind the dishwasher where a washer had come loose.  It took him about ten seconds to replace the loose washer and fix the leak.  He thought the Welsh gits had disconnected the water supply to stop the leak but why didn’t they just change the washer?  He also said that the Welsh gits should have tested the machine to check it was working before they left which was what I thought and what they conspiciously failed to do!

The hope is that on Monday the Candy engineer will finally fix the washing machine but both Gary and I are not that hopeful.  We expect he’ll say it needs a part and we’ll have to wait another week for that to come.  I thought we’d just get a new machine quickly and easily.  I didn’t expect it to turn into a saga to rival Gone With The Wind!  Nowadays it seems that nothing can ever be simple!

I hate dogshaming!

There’s a new craze on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter for something that’s called dogshaming.  It consists of posting a picture or video of your dog with a sign next to them saying something like ‘my farts are smelly’ or ‘I wee on the carpet’.

A lot of people seem to find this hilarious but I’m sorry but I don’t.  I think that for the love, loyalty and total honesty that you get from a dog the occassional widdle on the carpet or smelly fart is a small price to pay.  A dog is one of the most beautiful animals on this planet and I just don’t think its amusing to want to reward their love by humiliating them.

If any animal should be shamed; it should be us.  Dogs don’t start wars.  Dogs don’t chop down the rainforest and pollute the whole planet.  Dogs are infintely better behaved than most humans (apart from the bum sniffing!)  As far as I can see dogs have nothing to be ashamed of but we have!

The Sunshine Award


Ooh I’ve won another award!  And so for my acceptance speech…sob,sob, I’d just like to thank everyone…sob,sob.  Oh stop it!  This isn’t the Oscars!  I’m very pleased to have won another award for my blogging.  Considering that I think I don’t blog nearly enough its gratifying to hear that some people out there are obviously liking something I do.  Like many people I struggle with low self-esteem sometimes so its nice to know I’m doing something right!

So firstly thank you to Ayslyn’s Corner for nominating me for this award.  http://ayslynscorner.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/sunshine-award/

The rules are:

1. Link back to the person who nominated you.  Done that.

2. Answer the ten questions below.

3. Nominate ten fellow bloggers to receive the award.

1. Nominate your favourite philosopher – Don’t really have one.

2. What is your favourite number? – My favourite numbers are 29 and 11.  29 is my birth number; its what you get if you add up all the numbers of my date of birth.

3. What is your favourite animal?  How many hours have you got?  I love almost all animals but especially, dogs, cats, wolves, bears, crows, ravens and badgers.

4. What are your Facebook and Twitter URLs?  Sorry I don’t understand the question!

5. What’s your favourite vacation?  Our honeymoon in Las Vegas.

6. What’s your favourite time of day? Dusk.

7. What’s your favourite physical activity?  Getting jiggy with my husband!

8. What’s your favourite non-alcoholic drink? Earl Grey tea.

9. What’s your favourite flower?  Roses and wisteria.

10.  What’s your passion?  Magic and stories.

And now my ten nominess are:











Congratulations to all of you!




A Visit to the Launderette

Today Gary and I went to the launderette.  Not the most exciting activity I admit but as our washing machine is broken and the new one isn’t coming until next Saturday, it was essential.  While I was at the launderette I thought I’d use the time, of which there was plenty(!), to do some writing.  Here is what I wrote.

“The washing machine chugs and whirrs.  A middle aged lady in a bright pink jumper bends over to shove her laundry in the dryer showing off her pear shaped bum in its black stretch trousers.  Olive skinned young lady is also wearing pink, a short sleeved top with grey jeans rolled at the bottom and turquoise flip-flops.  She wears a pony tail and glasses and looks like a student to me though strictly speaking its the wrong time of year.

There’s a clack-clack from one of the dryers as something metal, probably a zip, keeps hiting the side.  The clock is behind a wire cage; it is hanging off the wall and only the presense of the wire cage stops it from falling.  There is a camera but that’s no surprise.  The only things on the walls are instruction notices telling you stuff like how to operate the machines and what time the lauderette closes.  One of the dryers has a St. Andrew’s cross on the front, done in grey masking tape, making it look like a target.

Huge vents are lined with years of dust.  The beige tiles of the linoleum are flacked with dirt and some sort of pattern, almost indistinguishable from each other.  Strip lighting bleaches everything a yellowish-white.  I’ve just realised I forgot to change the programme number and so I’ve done a cold wash by mistake.  Its actually stopped raining and the sun is trying to come out but the clouds are still battleship-grey and pregnant with yet more rain.

Gary and I take turns to grab an armful of washing and lug it over to the big dryers at the far end.  Naturally a pair of my clean knickers end up on the floor!”

And that’s my launderette piece.  I have tidied it up a tiny bit but mostly, I just left it as it came out.  Enjoy!

Good Times, Bad Times

The title of this post is from a song by my favourite band in the universe, Led Zeppelin.  I was tempted to slot in a You-Tube video of them here but I’m not sure about the copyright laws and I don’t want Jimmy Page suing me because he can afford a lot more expensive lawyers than me.

Anyway, I digress.  This was not a great day for me because I got an e-mail this morning telling me I hadn’t made it on to the M.A. course in Creative Writing that I wanted to do.  I was very disappointed and had a good cry but when I’d calmed down I thought ‘sod it!’ and decided to keep going with my novel anyway.

In the interest of accountability I have decided, for now, to post progress on my writing everyday.  No excuse for goofing off then!  I did about five hundred words on Emily Swann today.

I’ve also booked a place on an Arvon course and I’ve decided I will sign up for NaNoWriMo in November as well.  I am a writer and with continuous determination and effort I will become a successful writer.  So there!

Meanwhile back to my favourite band!