So…

Posted: August 11, 2012 in Writing

Apart from my rant the other day, you might’ve been wondering where I’ve been. Actually, I went through a period of depression. Yes, you read that right. Normally I would never get hit by something like that, but this time I was.

The reason? I lost a year’s worth of work in seconds.

You see, I thought I was being very clever having my entire novel on an external backup drive and nowhere else. After reading so many horror stories about people losing their work through hacking or not being backed up, I thought that having everything on one backup drive was the height of cleverness. Until I dropped it.

I tried in vain for a couple of weeks to retrieve my novel and even took the drive to experts but it was no use, it was gone. All I had was my original outline and that plunged me into a period of darkness.

I’ve managed to pull myself out of that now and am working from my original outline again. Needless to say, I’ve e-mail myself a copy at the end of every day, as well as backed it up to a plug in USB drive and the main computer drive.

Let this be a warning. It doesn’t matter how clever you think you are, sometimes you qualify for ‘Idiot Of The Year’ award.

I know that you hate statutory consumer rights, truly I do. Why else would you only allow only 24 hours to return a mobile phone if it doesn’t work? I am willing to accept that flaw though because, in general, I love how you help those with no money to sell what little goods they may possess.

I have to ask you though, why would you abuse my love by refusing to honour the 24 hour rule you have in place? It’s not like it’s a big thing, losing £65 pounds when you have little spare money to begin with, is it?

I love your ‘batteries not included’ clause for returns, especially as it must have superior ninja skills considering I can’t find it anywhere on your very own website. If you could teach me those ninja skills, I for one, would be very impressed as then perhaps my dear children would behave a little better for fear of not knowing where or when I may turn up right behind them. But I digress.

I also have to say, I adore the helpfulness of your staff when, on hearing that the Blackberry Storm 2 I purchased from yourselves had a battery and phone fault, they promptly went deaf. Never mind that a Blackberry, once it starts rebooting randomly, is little more than a fancy brick, oh no, your staff go that one step further and display an awesome aptitude for selective hearing and focus on the battery itself, invoking that dreaded spell, ‘batteries aren’t included in the cover’.

Now, most people would cower in fear from that dreaded spell, but not I for you, dear shop worker, are merely an apprentice magician and I have talked to your master, The Head Office. I have been informed that the magician who taught you the spell of ‘Batteries Not Included’ (the regional manager) will be told of your awesome ninja skills and will get back to me as soon as he is able. I shan’t hold my breath.

Instead, I have a spell with even greater power known as, ‘Trading Standards’ and shall invoke that just as soon as I can catch the sacrificial chicken that appears to be hiding under my bed.

In case this letter has gone above your heads, I shall merely say that, you sirs, are idiots and I wouldn’t expect you to be able to sort out what trousers you’re wearing for the day, never mind the problems that you yourselves have caused.

Kind Regards,

Emma.

Just testing!

Posted: March 19, 2012 in Things I find interesting

I’m just testing out the WordPress app for my Blackberry to see if I can finally post on the move.

I’ll be writing a proper post shortly, promise!

Happy Mothers Day!

Posted: March 18, 2012 in Things I find interesting
Tags: ,

Dear Mum,

I know I haven’t always been the best daughter, I know I haven’t always made decisions that you agreed with and I know that sometimes, I’ve annoyed you beyond all endurance. I want to thank you though, for letting me make my own decisions and my own mistakes and never once saying, ‘I told you so’. Goodness know that there are times I’ve looked back at some of the things I’ve done and wondered how you managed to refrain from saying anything. 

Growing up, I always wanted to test every boundary, push every limit and go further and higher every time. I hated it when you stood in front of me, an impenetrable wall that I couldn’t push past, stopping me from being truly stupid. I didn’t understand why you kept trying to spoil my ‘fun’.

Now that I have children of my own, I understand now. It wasn’t because you were being mean, or horrid. It was because you loved me. All those stupid, hateful words I would spit at you because I thought you didn’t understand? I take them back. Each and every one of them. 

Thank you for putting up with me when other people would have walked away. Thank you for all the things you bought me, even when you really couldn’t afford it. I didn’t appreciate them then, but I do now.

Thank you for listening to my irritating teenage rants when others didn’t have time. Thank you for helping me learn how to be a parent myself when I had no clue and most of all, thank you for being my friend.

You are the strongest person I know, you’ve been through more than I care to imagine and you’re still here, still smiling and making silly jokes.

You know what mum? I hope that I grow up to be just like you.

Love Me.

As you read this, I’m currently running around like an idiot trying to get everything ready because I’m off to a concert tonight to see one of my favourite bands, Rammstein. I know heavy metal isn’t to everyone’s taste, but I love it. Bands like Rammstein give me inspiration when I’m hit by the dreaded block, and to be able to see them live is fantastic!

I’ve seen them live once before at the Manchester Evening News Arena and that was an experience I’ve never forgotten (Well, it’s a little hard to forget when one of the band members goes crowd-surfing in a rubber dinghy). There was a ton of pyrotechnics and the energy in the crowd lit up the place. This is where I’m going again.

I’m going to be staying out all night so I’m having run around and throw an overnight bag together. I know, I know, I should have done this a while ago, heck, yesterday would’ve done, but I got caught up in editing and housework and now I’m running to catch up. Oops. Still, I’ll manage to get it done, I always do, and then I’m gone until tomorrow.

Who’s your favourite band? Have you seen them live?

As the title says, I’m looking for something new to read. I’m hugely into fantasy and books with a paranormal bent and I’ve exhausted my library, so I’m turning to all you wonderful people in cyberspace to ask for your help in choosing something new. To give you a clue (because that always helps), I love Stacia Kane, Kelley Armstrong, Laurell K. Hamilton and similar.

If you know of anyone I should put on my kindle immediately, just leave me a comment!

In December, I was lucky enough to go swanning around Rome with my mother and a noticeable absence of children. This was thanks to my dear husband who very kindly said he’d stay at home with the children so I could have a holiday without them.

In the airport, I began to get really excited about the trip. I was off to a foreign country! Without my minions! And best of all? There was going to be history absolutely everywhere I went. That’s a dream come true right there. I got even more excited when we had to actually walk up to the plane instead of being ferried across the airport. I love walking by all the big jets, wondering if they’ve just come in, or just going out and where the people on those planes might be going.

Here’s a picture I took as we walked up:

We were on the plane that has 'Yorkshire' in massive letters all over it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, soon enough, we were in the air and my mum started getting as silly as I was, and we started trying to play I Spy. There’s not a lot you can really use for that game on a plane, so eventually, we gave up and started reading the brochures. That got silly too, when we started rating items out of ten and trying to decide other possible uses for the things we saw.

Thank goodness it wasn’t a long flight. I think we began to annoy the flight attendants with our silliness.

Around 9pm Rome time, we got to our hotel. I have to say, the Hotel Trevi is one I would recommend to anyone and everyone (actually, writing it here is doing just that, isn’t it?). The staff were absolutely fabulous and couldn’t do enough to make sure we were happy and best of all, it was only a two minute walk from the Trevi Fountain.

Hotel Trevi on the night we landed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next morning, we set off on a mission. We were going to see as much as we could, as fast as we could because we only had four days in which to cover just about everything we wanted to see.  Our first stop was the Pantheon. I loved it there, even with all the people milling around, there was a sense of tranquility there that faded all the background noise out as we sat on the benches. We even had a chance to help some Italian children with their English homework and received a Christmas card in return.

The Pantheon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our next stop from there was the Piazza Navona, which is a marketplace of sorts and of course, had some wonderful bits of history floating around it such as the Egyptian Obelisk.

Piazza Navona with the Obelisk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After hitting a couple of the stalls there, we headed back to the hotel. That’s something that took a while to get used to. In Rome, there’s a couple of hours where everything slows right down and a lot of places close up until about 4pm so that they can have an afternoon nap or get something to eat themselves.

That evening, we tried the Chinese restaurant around the corner from the hotel. It wasn’t too bad, so we agreed that we’d go there again the next night. After food, we headed out to look at touristy type shops for a while until about 10pm when we headed back to the hotel once more.

It was at this point, I became very well known to the reception staff. You see, I’m a smoker. I’ve tried and failed to quit but have yet to achieve that. Anyway, as you’re not allowed to smoke inside the hotel, I traipsed downstairs in my pyjamas, my coat and bright pink beanie hat and sat on the bench outside to enjoy the night air. This became a routine for my entire stay and all the staff said hello and asked after us every single time. God, I love that hotel. Eventually, I fell asleep.

The following day, we went to the Colosseum. What can I say? I love history, and the Colosseum is one of the most famous places on the planet so I wasn’t going to miss that for anything. On the way, we stopped by Trajan’s Column and my father and I (he’s a Roman History buff) discussed all the various adventures of Trajan while mum took time to rest from all the walking we were doing.

Trajan's Column.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we got to the Colosseum, I was amazed. I shouldn’t have been, but I was. When you see it on TV, it looks large enough, but not really monumental. When you’re stood in front of it though, it’s a different matter entirely. It dwarfs you and you can only look at it in awe, wondering how on earth they could build something so huge, that has lasted for so long. Inside it is just as good although, I’m still wondering how on earth they held mock naval battles there without losing all the water from the arena.

Outside the Colosseum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside the Colosseum, including the recreated arena floor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We spent a good few hours looking around there before heading back to the hotel once more. I do have to say at this point, the underground system in Rome is superb. It’s way better than that in Britain. It’s something like four Euros for a ticket that lasts for 24 hours, and you can go anywhere in Rome on it. I think Britain could learn a lot from them about how an underground should work.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, going back to the hotel. We had our afternoon nap and once more headed towards the Chinese restaurant around the corner from the hotel. We definitely chanced our luck that night.

The next morning I woke up and I could barely move. I was doubled over with horrendous stomach cramps and I was upset because I was jeopardising our chance of going to The Vatican. I tried to go the breakfast buffet that is held every morning on the terrace of the hotel, but I managed precisely one spoonful of cereal before bolting back to the room.

My mum, my other mum (long story), and my Dad were beginning to get very worried at this point and didn’t care about the Vatican any more. They were busy making sure I had my European Health Card and my passport ready so they could take me to the doctors when I silenced them. I told them I would visit the pharmacy that was helpfully located by the side of the Trevi Fountain and, if they couldn’t help, I’d go to the doctors with them.

I managed to stagger down to the seats by the fountain before the cramps hit again and then spent ten minutes trying to breathe through them. The police (who are just about everywhere in Rome and all armed) came over, full of concern and asked me if I wanted them to take me to hospital. I managed to explain in broken Italian about going to the pharmacy and they offered me a lift if the pharmacy couldn’t help.

When I finally made it through the door of the pharmacy, the wonderful, wonderful pharmacist took one look at me before saying food poisoning and telling me what I needed. I paid for something that looked like an Alka Seltzer as well as acted like it, and staggered back to the fountain. My mum grabbed a bottle of water from the nearest shop and dropped one of the tablets in it.

I have got to say, that tablet was the foulest tasting thing I’ve ever come across in my life. I’m not even joking about that. The taste alone made me want to vomit my guts up there and then in the street. It was however, a life saver. Within 45 minutes of drinking that godawful mix of tablet and water, I was myself again. No pain, no temperature, it was if the poisoning had never happened.

It seems strange to me now that this whole escapade had lasted less than two hours, but it’s true and we still had time to go to the Vatican.

The Vatican is a place I can’t even begin to do justice to.  St. Peter’s Square alone is huge, and on the day we arrived, there were women everywhere in wedding dresses. We couldn’t understand why until later on, someone explained that novitiates were taking their holy orders and that as they were becoming ‘Brides of Christ’, their families paid for astounding wedding dresses to symbolise that wedding. That alone was worth going for.

St. Peter's Square from the doorway of the Vatican.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside the Vatican was breathtaking. I truly didn’t realise it was so big inside there. There’s so much to look at that at first, your eyes can’t take it all in and they dart everywhere, trying to capture as much as possible, as though it would disappear if you didn’t. The thing that surprised me most, was the sense of peace that pervades. It’s unreal. There were hundreds of people in there, all clicking away on their cameras and yet, it was strangely muted. You find yourself responding to that by talking in hushed whispers yourself and you can feel all the tension you feel, begin to drift away.

I know it sounds strange, silly even, but it’s the truth. It doesn’t matter what religion you are, what you may or may not believe, in the Vatican, everything is peaceful. A visit there is better than any spa day.

Inside the Vatican.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pope's Altar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was strangely reluctant to leave the Vatican, but leave I had to and so, slowly we wound our way back to the hotel once more, cutting through the Jewish quarter as we did so. Our last night was spent wandering around, not really looking at touristy type places, we walked the back streets and the alley ways and eventually, ended up back at the Trevi fountain where we followed custom and threw in a few Euros to ensure we would return again some day.

Our last day was spent packing up our things and the things we’d bought (which involved me sitting on my suitcase and praying the zip wouldn’t split) before heading back to the airport, ready to come home. Mum was right. I didn’t want to leave. Rome had captured me and I felt a little like I was leaving a piece of myself behind. There hadn’t been enough time to do every single thing we wanted, to see everything there was to see, do everything there was to do and now, it was too late.

Sitting here at home now, I still feel a little like Rome is calling me back, whispering in the night that I need to come and see more of its wonders, share in its secrets, but I can’t. Not yet, anyway. So into the night I whisper a promise that I’ll return soon, and that next time, it can show me the things I missed.