Wednesday, 1 May 2013

READING: Innocent Traitor - Alison Weir

When did I become so old?!! 

Last weekend I was RAMBLING in Hastings and this week i've been unable to put what is essentially a History book down. It'll be Gin and Tonics with my slippers on in front of the fire before I know it. I often wondered when people 'got old'. You know that time when they stop wearing trainers and heels and instead buy shoes from the back of the Sunday paper and all their clothes, miraculously turn various shades of brown. Well I can see it happening to me.. WTH?! Next weekend i'm out on the razz come hell or high water. I will not go down without a fight.

Anyway back to the subject in hand (I also lose my chain of thought really easily, another sure sign pf age). Innocent Traitor is the true story of the Great niece of Henry VIII. Since reading this I have set my Virgin Tivo box to record the TV series The Tudors, testament to not only how old i'm getting and how quickly it's happening, but also to how bladdy great the book was! I hated History at school and remember absolutely nothing from it. But am now fully immersing myself in it. Deary me... *flicks to back of sunday paper* May as well embrace it.

Lady Jane Grey was dealt the most unfortunate hand and suffered greatly at the hands of her social climbing parents. 

A historically factual work of fiction. I wasn't even aware that was possible until now, but i've learnt and i've enjoyed so 2 birds with one stone :-). Highly recommend it. Was reading another book at the same time and it doesn't even warrant a mention as this was hands down the better of the two. Even if you aren't that interested in history I think you'll enjoy it.

PR xx

Monday, 29 April 2013

1066 Ramblers... BATTLE!!

So a random suggestion made at the end of last year finally led us to Hastings. On a "Ramble". Am I 60?! What the hell has my life become? I consciously left the comfort, shops, pavements, street lights and bars of London at 9am on A Sunday morning to drive 2 hours to Hastings to go for a WALK!! Honestly, I no longer recognise myself. 

Other ramblers, looked at us as if we were lost and had wandered a little too far East of Soho. This could be due to the fact that one of us was wearing a white sheepskin/fur jacket, one of us had bright red Nike's on (it was my way of proving I was trendy and not a 60 year old who liked walking on cliff sides), one of us was wrapped in a picnic blanket with a staff, clearly channeling Moses or Gandalf and one of us had a quiff and a leather jacket. All in all we were ill equipped for the trip (although we did have a stash of Brandy for emergencies). The side glances we got from seasoned Ramblers in hiking boots, rucksacks and hi-vis jackets was testament to this fact.

Did we have blast? Errrmmmm Yah! The most amazingly unexpected time was had. Who knew a cliff side in sleepy Hastings could bring so much joy?! The company obviously had a lot to do with it, but the views were AMAZING! The challenges some of the cliffs presented often had me wanting to turn back, especially as it meant getting my Nike's dirty. But we persevered, through slips and cliffs and nudists and were rewarded with the most exhilirating experience. Who knew walking could be so much fun?! Well, obviously those people who have been rambling for years knew.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Confessions of a shopaholic...

I'm writing this while sitting on the floor in my very cluttered bedroom, while bidding frantically on a Topshop jacket on eBay... I have come to the realisation that I have issues... Or even ‘ish-shoes’... In regard to shopping... They have come to a head this week, well right now to be honest... As I sit looking at the laundry that is waiting to be put away, the shoes wondering why they have been discarded, millimetres away from their boxes - but not quite inside, emails that are waiting to be opened, toiletries looking for lids and projects waiting for completion... I realise that something must be done... By me... The past few evenings have been a whirlwind of neglected duties... Other then putting mini-me to sleep and eating (which has been done in front of the computer) I have done nothing but sit on my beautiful MacBook and trawl through website, after website of clothes shoes and bags.... HELP!!

Twitter has been unable to distract me, phone calls have gone unanswered, TV programmes unwatched, Haagen Dazs uneaten (this is what worries me the most), fingernails unpainted and hair un-brushed, as I sit in front of my laptop in a clothing, bag and shoe induced coma. I fall into bed weary and blurry eyed in the early hours of the morning. With the satisfying glow of accomplishment… A job well done. This is not normal... It can't be normal; do I have no self-control? Errrr...

Asos, Topshop, Warehouse, Office, Mango, Irregular Choice, All Saints, Zara and others that were found along the way, but none so addictive or all consuming as eBay... None so treacherous, perilous or hazardous as eBay... The high I get from bidding and winning on eBay must come a close second to gambling. I'm sure the ridiculously, excessive excitement I endure is similar to that of a hyperactive child. I am currently bidding on a jacket and I am tense, anxious, and slightly panicky as if performing naked on stage in front of thousands, with full knowledge that I can't sing or dance or even speak for that matter... HELP! This week I promised myself I would have early nights Mon-Weds as i'm out the rest of the week. To the best of my knowledge shopping online from the comfort of your bed (or in my case floor in corner beside bed) does not constitute an early night. Nor is it a normal way to spend 3 evenings. So I am making a call of action. An intervention if you like. For myself... They say admitting you have a problem is the first step right? Well i'm admitting it. To you. Hi. Yes, you. "I am PurpleRamblings and I have a problem". There I did it. I'll be back in a sec, just have to check the progress of my jacket... So, back to the intervention. If you've read my blog before you'll be aware of my challenges, if not check them out. I failed the 5 fruit a day one miserably by the way. But I digress. I challenge myself starting the 1st of May 2013 to no shopping… (Until the end of each month and then a budget will be set) Except food and toiletries.

No buying of shoes, bags, clothes, hairbands, earrings, cd's, iphone or blackberry cases, make-up, socks, dvd’s, anything... Nothing. Nada. Naught. Zilch. It shall be hard. I shall be te
mpted. I shall have withdrawal. I shall cry for ASOS and eBay. I shall talk myself into buying that thing that I must have and for some reason or other doesn't count and then I shall talk myself out of it. I shall give my debit/credit cards to a trusted third party. I shall avoid window-shopping. I shall be depressed. I shall once again find time to eat Haagen Dazs. I shall mourn the weekly parcels I will no longer receive. And I shall wait excitedly for the postman to deliver all the delicious parcels I have ordered the past three days and will be ordering until 30th April ☺

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The sea is a cruel and unpredictable mistress...

Here's something I wrote a little while ago whilst on holiday in Portugal and just never got round to posting.

The sea is a cruel and unpredictable mistress.

You know when the day starts off well and you're having fun until you find yourself in the middle of the ocean, in what can only be likened to a rubber dinghy....  

And you realise your fate, your life, your every movement from this point forward is in the hands of a guy who's name you don't know and who speaks very bad broken English as a 3rd language.... 

Other then you being in Portugal no-one knows exactly where you are. You gave them no resort name. No hotel name. And definitely no day to day itinerary. 

Shite!! The water's are pretty choppy, perfect for surfers, not so perfect for a barely 10metre swimmer with a very confident non-swimming 5 yr old. When, scratch that. If, you make it home swimming lessons are definitely on the agenda. The water is so choppy that your sprayed every time the stupid under equipped dinghy moves. 

You can feel the salt water drying and crusting on your skin. This was NOT a good idea. You did NOT think this through!! 

There comes a point when calm takes over, a resigned to your fate, (that fate being death) type calm. It settles easily. Calmly even. 

The ocean is beautiful. The colour like nothing you've ever seen. There could be worse ways to go then being claimed by the cool, salty, raging teal of the med. 

And then there is a rainbow. With every lift, splash, spray and additional salt crust a rainbow appears. Just as you are able to see again through the stinging of salt water in your eyes a rainbow lays just on the rift of the tide. Is it like an oasis in the desert? A mirage? Sent here to distract you from the imminent death? 

Sunglasses removed to double check? It is there.. Actually really there... With every rip curl (that's what surfers say right?) forcing you to hang on for dear life a rainbow appears. 

A sign? 

Rainbows promise gold... A happy ending... Life!!!

I put my life in the hands of the rainbow. 

Despite everything we made it back in one piece, Portugal is beautiful and I recommend it highly :-)

PR xx

Thursday, 7 March 2013


Assignment 3b: Prompts 

We were given a snippet of text. A prompt. And had to write a piece starting with it.

I thought I saw a Unicorn. From where I sat, legs swinging in the breeze it was perfectly reasonable to imagine. It was the kind of place where you could believe. Where anything was possible. It smelt of summer. Of sunshine and flowers. Where Bees, crazy with the intoxicating smell of pollen didn't know where to land first. It smelt green. Of greens made with oil paints from tubes, smeared on brushes and applied thickly. Flowers all the colours of the rainbow dotted with small fingers until the paint ran out. It felt magical. A place where Unicorns could roam free, dusty white like icing sugar. Candy cane horns twinkling in the sunlight. Flowers smiled up at the sun, basking in its canary yellow glow. The cloudless expanse it sat in, like a blank canvas. Stretching as far as the eye could see. Like a lid. Blue joining green at the edges. Containing. Keeping this enchanted place secluded. Keeping the Unicorns safe.

This is where I belong :-)

PR xx 

Thursday, 21 February 2013

CREATIVE WRITING: The Most Boring Journey

Assignment 3a: We had to rewrite a text that described in journey, but had to include detail and description.

The golden hues of the sunrise, waking the pale blue sky is comforting. But standing in a deserted market at 7am, after travelling 10 hours the previous day is not the best way start to the morning. I have to make this journey though. I sit on my rucksack and feel the sun's warmth begin to penetrate the still sombre air. In a few hours it will be loud, bustling and fragrant. But for now the cool night air still lingers on the periphery. My converse, although scuffed when i'd left London had already taken on the dusty look of the Caribbean. Shrill American voices pierce through the stillness of the dawn, destroying my peaceful contemplation. The smell hits me first, enough insect repellent to ward off a swarm of mosquitoes. Fanny packs, thongs, too tight shorts, rucksacks and baseball caps, in an eruption of clashing neon colours waft toward me all toothy smiles and sun cream. Please be going elsewhere. "Hey there! I'm Bob and this is Midge" outstretched hands and more teeth. "Hey, hey" I nod. "Nice to meet you". I look down to avoid further eye contact and pointlessly brush sand off my shoes. I root around in my rucksack for my headphones and put them on just in time to nod a greeting to 2 more travellers.

The sound of tyres on gravel and a cloud of dust announce the arrival of the bus. I dust off my shoes and head to the back away from the others. I've made this journey before and can do without the drivers attempt at being a 'tour guide' or the social prerequisite to make small talk. After what feels like a day of dozing, with the soothing tones of The Script singing about lost love and trying not to slide off the hot torn leather, the bus pulls into a rest stop. Stretch. Yawn. Descend. The piquant smell of ackee and saltfish revive my senses after the musty, claustrophobia of the bus. My stomach rumbles but I know I can't handle it. It’s way too early. What I really need is an extra hot, wet, soya caramel cappuccino, whipped cream on top. Not very likely. A strong black coffee will have to suffice. The smell of nutmeg wanders lazily into my reverie. Alerting me to the... Too late! The nauseating scent of porridge punches me in the gut, forcing me back onto the bus. Clutching my coffee and engaging my gag reflex I pray we leave soon.

I see Wesley jostling the other passengers back on to the bus and relief washes over me. I settle back into my seat, dig out my sunglasses and prepare to take in the sights. I love this part of the journey. Ever since I was a child. Even Wesley's 'tour guiding' and the inane chatter of Bob and Midge can't ruin it for me. I hadn't got the names of the other passengers, but their accents suggest that one couple was from Australia or New Zealand, maybe even South Africa, i'm rubbish with accents. The group of four were definitely Brits though, if nothing else the socks and sandals solidified this. There was one other solo traveller, she was quiet and impeccably dressed, she seemed out of place, almost as if her chauffeur driven car had broken down and this was her only alternative.

As we round the corner into Fern Gully I fumble for my camera. My Grandma loves it as much as I do, but can't make the journey anymore. As ever, it is epic! The bus descends into silence. It has a way of doing that. No matter how many times I passed through it I was always in awe. If an earthquake could create this they couldn't be all bad, could they? The long, winding road. The dense forestry on either side. The Ferns towering up to the sky and joining at the top to form a luscious green tunnel. It was beautiful. My stomach grumbled pulling me from my thoughts. Was that the time already? If I remember correctly we'd be stopping again soon. I put my headphones back on, get as comfy as the worn leather seats will allow and prepare to wait out the hunger.

The jerk of the bus wakes me. We've stopped. Everyone is already half way off the bus. They must think me very anti-social. Like a brooding teenager. If only they knew. The brightness of the sun momentarily renders me sightless as I step off the bus. But my taste buds are fully engaged. The aroma of jerk chicken has me on the verge of drool. My stomach somersaults in anticipation. Nothing else gets a look in. Since landing jerk chicken has been the only thing on my mind. Well not the only thing but pretty high up on the list. We sit and eat as a group. I don't engage in the polite chatter taking place, I have nothing to contribute. I've never been good with small talk. I decline the offer of a walk and just sit. Licking jerk chicken off my fingers. Enjoying the breeze. The smells of the Caribbean. The warmth in my bones.

The final part of the journey takes us onto much smaller roads. Narrow roads. Precipices my Grandma would call them. Where too much acceleration, or a corner taken too sharply could see us crashing into the sea below. I can almost feel the bus hold its breath in suspense. Praying we make it onto safer roads soon. I know that Wesley won't let us down. He has that seasoned look. Of someone who has lived these roads. Who knows them well. It begins to grow dark. The sun waves a lazy goodbye as it sinks into the sea. The other passengers begin to doze. I watch the sky change from pink to orange to black with the sound of Saxophones in my ears. I see the car waiting before the bus stops. I thank the driver and set off to start the real journey.

Hope you like it.

PR xx 

Thursday, 7 February 2013


Assignment 2: Describe a scene

I was given the Airport...

Bumping, bustling, tears and goodbyes
Queuing, shopping, lounging and sighs
Heels on laminate
Flooring scuffed
Wheels over toes
Apologies rebuffed
Screens not updating, never ending waiting
Croissants and coffee
Stomach anticipating
Flights boarding, passengers missing
Music playing, no-one listening. 

Grandparents ambling
Presents in tow
Suit trousers, perfume, hats, gloves and coats
Early arrivals
Nowhere to go
Duty free beckons, more presents perhaps?
Tea, Scones and Papers. Much rather relax. 

Tannoy announcements
Again and again
Names go unheard
Panic sets in
10 minutes to make it
It’s pretty absurd
Attendants with clipboards
Awaiting the word 

Guy in the corner
Checking the time
Hours left waiting
Hours in line
Wrappers discarded
Trainers untied
Sleeping bag laid out
Battery died 

Stainless steel seating
Rigid, Hard, Cold
No comfort, not for long stay
No pleasure to behold
Apprehension on faces
Will they make it in time?
Last passengers to board
One more look down the line 

Groups of girls shouting
Midriffs exposed
Flip-flops and sun hats
Already not cold
Fragrances mingling
Shampoo, perfume, smoke
Biscuit on the periphery creating skin of gold 

Children cause obstacles
Randomly paced
Oblivious to the day 

Hopefully you got the feeling of a busy airport from my poem. Not really sure why it was a poem, I started writing and it  just turned out that way.

Hope you enjoyed it.

PR xx