Sunday, 30 December 2012

Not Really Resolutions 2012 - The Results

How different things are from last year. 

My Not Really Resolutions of 2011 were, on the whole, successful and I was chock-a-block full of hopes for this year when I made my Not Really Resolutions for 2012. My goodness if I had known then what was coming I don't think I'd have bothered at all. In fact, if I knew what was coming this year I think I would have just found myself a cave and hidden until it was all over.

So needless to say, this year's Not Really Resolutions are not quite as successful as 2011's, but I've done the best I can and I actually think that this gave me something to at least aim for in what has been a shitty year.

Without further ado - this is the round-up of the Not Really Resolutions 2012.

1. Complete my France trip of 2010 album 

This was a hangover from last year's Not Really Resolutions so there was no way in all good faith that I could avoid finishing it this year. It was going to be a bit of a close call but I pulled my finger out and finally got it finished on the 14th October. 

I'm pleased I did it although it definitely would have been easier to just print the photos out and stick them in an album, I feel like I made life unnecessary difficult for myself.

But I'm pleased I did something that was a bit different by stitching on the photographs, it has made it that little bit more special. I took it home with me at Christmas to show my Dad and he really appreciated the effort I've made.

2. Furniture makeover

The idea here was to makeover/upcycle/whatever the trendy word is, two charity shop purchases that I'd made the year before - one a table and one a small chest of drawers.

I've only half completed this one - by performing a huge make over on my table which you can read all about here.

I have even bought the stuff to upcycle the chest of drawers but unfortunately time has run away with me and there's no way I'll get it done before the year is out. Guess I've already found the first thing to go on my list for next year...

3. Run 10km

Done and done - I ran the Preston 10k at the end of September and managed to fall back in love with running all at the same time. 

4. No buying of physical books for one whole year

Completed - read all about it here.

5. Learn how to do French knots and use them in an embroidered piece 

French Knots have been the bane of my life since I started dipping my toes into the field of embroidery. I looked at the instructions, I asked people to show me, but it just resulted in frustration and anger and a lot of throwing things across the room.

My salvation came in the form of the Feeling Stitchy blog - which is awesome by the way, you should read it - they had a link to a tutorial video on the Needle 'n' Thread website and after a few views I decided to be brave and give it a go.

And it worked! After a lot of swearing, and having to open a window because I was sweating, I managed to put the final touches to a Christmas present for a friend. 

 They are definitely something that requires a lot of practice. Even after practicing on a spare piece of evenweave and moved on to the real piece, there were still angry words and a few broken pieces of thread but by the time I'd done a few I was definitely getting in more of a groove and they were looking a little tidier and more uniform.

My best tip? Tension is important when making the knot, but don't get too over-zealous and  pull too hard once you've passed your needle back through the fabric - that's when you'll start swearing.

6. Use my alpaca wool 

Unfortunately not even a peep on this one. I'm still suffering from the fear when it comes to using it. I've decided to put two strands together to make it thicker to crochet with but I'm now panicking that I won't have enough to make a full blanket.

To be fair I've hardly crocheted at all this year - 2012 has been the Year of Cross Stitch - and I'm itching to get going with my hook in 2013.

7. Sell something at a craft fair 

Big fat no to this one. But I don't feel too badly, I guess you could say this one was cancelled due to life circumstances. What with losing my job, moving to Preston, being unemployed, having a crappy job, getting a new job and preparing to move out, I didn't really have time to source out a local craft fair, let alone make things in order to sell at one. 

Heck I haven't even registered at a GP yet.

8. Read 12 Classics 

Done - although you probably wouldn't know, given that I dropped doing my book reviews in 2013. I'm basically just not that good at writing book reviews I decided, I'd far rather leave it to the pros.

The list of Classics for this year then has been:

1. Northanger Abbey, 
2. The Magic Toyshop, 
3. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, 
4. Gone With the Wind, 
5. Cold Comfort Farm, 
6. The Virgin & The Gypsy, 
7. Brighton Rock, 
8. Heart of Darkness, 
9. The Turn of the Screw, 
10. Of Mice and Men, 
11. I Capture the Castle, 
12. Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde.

Worst Classic of 2012? The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - I don't even know how I made it through that dirge. Absolutely awful.

Biggest disappointment of 2012? Cold Comfort Farm - I know people will be going apeshit at me saying that, maybe I just had too high expectations because everyone loves it so much but it just didn't do it for me at all and it certainly didn't make me laugh.

Biggest surprise of 2012? Gone with the Wind - I've never even seen the film so didn't know what to expect at all and I was pleasantly surprised, I absolutely gobbled this book up, couldn't get enough of it, and although it might appear a little daunting given its size I would definitely recommend it.

Scariest Classic of 2012? The Turn of the Screw - I was chilled people. Chilled.

Favourite Classic of 2012? Toss up between I Capture the Castle and Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde. Two very different books but both totally absorbing.

9. Cook/bake something new every 3 weeks 

Yeah this never happened either. probably actually did. What happened was I stopped keeping track of everything new I was making. Admittedly I stopped caring after the bad news and I found solace in eating just a whole load of crap as a way of dealing with my redundancy which was not good at all.

However, moving in with The Person re-invigorated my love of trying new things and making new things and together we've had a great time going through all my cookery books and finding new things to make - Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food has been well devoured. I know there have been weeks where I have made new things almost every day...

So I don't know - I reckon I probably did this one, but in the interests of fairness, I'll leave it unticked.

10. Keep a diary with photos for one whole year

Yeah this one was cancelled too. I'm going to say life circumstances again. In some ways maybe I should have, this year would have been interesting to document, but at the same time, I don't think it needed documenting for me to remember it.

I think I made it too difficult for myself by wanting to do photos as well - I couldn't write without the photos and when I got a backlog of photos I couldn't remember what happened. It just all got too complicated.

This one was inspired by doing Project365 in 2011 - I think I'll go back to that next year.


So there we have it. I make that Five-and-a-half out of 10 (I'm giving myself a half for number 2 as I did upcycle at least one piece of furniture) which I'm counting as a win. Anything over 50% is a win, right?

I'm giving myself a pat on the back as well - there were a few times when I thought about just surreptitiously deleting the page listing the resolutions on and pretending that I'd never really set them, hoping that no-one would call me out on it. But I'm glad that I took a deep breath and decided to plunge on regardless, it makes me feel like I've at least achieved something this year.

Now, bring it on 2013.....

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Crazy Cat Lady Part 21: The Fred & Lily at Christmas Edition

As I mentioned in my last post, a lot of Christmas travelling has taken place over the last 15 years or so. This has meant that poor Fred and Lily haven't spent a Christmas at home and have instead been farmed out to spend a festive few days at the cattery.

Now some might say they are cats and this doesn't matter to them because they have literally no idea what Christmas is but that kind of logic holds no sway with a Crazy Cat Lady and one of the things I was most looking forward to this year was having not just Christmas with the Mumsie but with Fred and Lily.

Mum has a Crazy Cat Lady friend - who would very much fit the image in your head right now of a CCL - who is lovely and looks after Fred and Lily when Mum goes away. She got Mum/the cats a Christmas present in the form of a Cat DVD. As in a DVD that you put on when you leave the house to keep the cats company - featuring tweeting birds and mice and ducks and other cats and various sound effects.

How's that for a CCL present?

We were sceptical but thought we'd put it on and were amazed when it actually worked - Fred was captivated...

Lily was watching as well, but from a more sensible distance and Fred actually got so excited about what was happening on the screen that he needed to take a closer look and eventually ended up behind the TV at one point, in an attempt to find the ducklings that had wandered off-screen.

We also buy our pets toys. Christmas is for cats too you know. And the presents are even wrapped. This year I got them an educational toy - a ball that you can put treats in and then when they hit the ball the treats will eventually come out.

Unfortunately it would appear that Fred and Lily are dim cats. They didn't figure it out at all, despite my efforts to show them and instead chose to sit and stare at the ball, in the hopes it would magically dispel treats.

Fred was obviously tired after his DVD watching and ball-staring and went upstairs and slept for most of the afternoon. Lily however seemed pretty keen to be involved in all aspects of Christmas - including Christmas dinner...

It was amazing to be back at home with these guys. I have missed them more than I can say. It's tough being a Crazy Cat Lady without an actual cat in your life. Given my crappy salary I've not been able to get home as much as I would have liked to, the train fare has been out of my reach, and it's been rubbish not being able to spend time with them.

They are just so good at being relaxed. Take this picture below of Lily on my legs on Boxing Day...

Look at how relaxed she is - look at that leg draped over mine.

What you can't see, is that at exactly the same time as Lily was relaxed to the max on my legs, Fred was relaxed to the max on my lap and chest...

And finally. It would be a post about Fred and Lily if there wasn't a picture of Lily looking totally demented. I don't know how she does it but seriously, look at her face..

Friday, 28 December 2012

Mother and Me

What I really like about Christmas is listening to other people talking about their traditions. I find it so amazing that just one week or so can result in so many different ways of doing things. From when people put their trees up, to their rituals on Christmas Eve, everyone has just a slightly different way of doing things, meaning that their Christmas is special to them.

After my Dad left when I was 16, Mum and I have only spent 2 Christmases at home. We've always ended up going to my sister's or brother's houses. Whilst this has been lovely, it has more than it's fair share of stresses and means that although it's lovely to be with family, it's never felt like my Christmas because when you're in someone else's house you're living their Christmas instead of your own.

The past 6 years or so have seen Mum and I travelling on Christmas Day down the motorways to wherever we were spending the holiday period, after years of the stress of travelling of Christmas Eve made Mum too nervy to drive when the roads were so busy. Nothing quite takes the shine out of Christmas to have to get up ridiculously early, not to open presents, but to load up the car and shoot off down the motorway (and let's not talk about Christmas 2010 when the weather was so horrific we had to stop because we couldn't see and I had a stress nosebleed all over my new Christmas oufit).

After last year's Christmas at my brother's which saw us being starved by my sister-in-law (Christmas Day is surely the one day of the year where you're not allowed to be hungry?!) Mum and I decided enough was enough - Christmas 2012 would be spent at Mum's house, just the two of us - not because we hate everyone, but because there's no room for everyone at Mum's shoebox.

There was huffing and puffing from both sister and brother but we stuck to our guns and this Christmas saw me genuinely excited for the first time in a long time for the big day. There would be no having to go to church, we would be able to open our presents when we wanted, we could get dressed or not get dressed, watch whatever we liked and eat as much as we could, when we wanted.

Christmas Eve saw me perform my own Christmas ritual - a Lush bath (Dragon's Egg - I can recommend, although it should come with a glitter warning) before slipping into new pyjamas and having a cup of tea with a mince pie.

Christmas Day passed wonderfully - presents were opened, new outfits were put on, some TV was watched, there was no stressing over the cooking of the dinner and most importantly everything was done at our own pace.

Don't get me wrong, it is nice at times to spend the day with family, especially with the wee ones, but this was one of my best Christmases in a long time. Life in general is stressful and it seems to me that at this time of year you should take some time out and really do what you want to do.

To be honest I needed it this year - as much as I look forward to Christmas, the fact that my life is going to be thrown up in the air again so soon has been looming on my horizon and has made it difficult to concentrate lately. I needed just this one day to enjoy and not have to think and worry about the rather uncertain period that's coming for me. I needed to just savour the certainty that Christmas with just Mum and me would be lovely.

And the best news? A bottle of champagne goes much further when there's only 2 of you sharing it...

Friday, 21 December 2012

Crazy Cat Lady Part 20: The Odd Socks & Pretty Frocks edition

I would never normally have called myself a particularly lucky person when it comes to competitions.

This is solely based on the fact that in all my years I never won a Blue Peter badge despite entering countless competitions - drawing endangered species to go on stamps (a Golden Eagle if you're asking), designing a Green car, etc etc - which is perhaps a perception I need to leave behind.

The scars run deep though let me tell you.

There is one person though who is doing her best to dispel these notions I have regarding my luck - her giveaways are single-handedly changing my point of view.

This person is the marvellous Alex from Odd Socks and Pretty Frocks whose December Giveaways seem to hold some kind of magic for me - as every year that I've entered for the past 3 years, I've managed to win something.

This year's giveaway was the most spectacular to date - and every day I found myself checking her page to see what new delights might be on offer for me to try and win and there was one prize in particular which caught my eye - the words Crazy Cat Lady tend to draw me in like that.

Finding out I won made a pretty crappy day bloody amazing and even better than winning was the speed with which my prizes arrived - this girl is not only generous, she's organised!

So my haul includes this gorgeous bag which not only includes cats, but includes tassels - meaning I have something to fiddle about with, namely tying knots in the tassels and then un-tying them.

I'm easily amused. It is also roomy beyond belief - there's definitely room for a book in here should I want to put one in. And why wouldn't I?

Bag detail

Second up is this ring which has pretty much been on my finger permanently since it arrived in my post-box. I like having my Crazy Cat Ladyness in a subtle form. No-one will realise just how crazy I am you see.

And last but not least is a copy of Puss in Books, featuring anecdote and stories about....well.....cats in books! It's made for dipping in and out of and whenever I fancy I pick it up and find out something new, occasionally keeping it to myself or more likely rabbiting on at The Person about my latest discovery.

If you are looking for another blog to add to your list (and even if you're not) then you should probably pop over and give Alex a visit. You should especially visit if you like, the colour green, cats, books, clothes, Irregular Choice shoes and blog posts written by a no-nonsense lady.

But if you're going to enter one of her giveaways just know who you're up against, 'kay?

Thursday, 20 December 2012

How I went a whole year without buying any books

So when I wrote my Not Really Resolutions of 2012 there was kind of mental one on there that might have seemed a little weird, namely that I was not going to buy any books in 2012.

Say what?

Basically I had far too many un-read books on my bookshelves to justify spending any more of my money buying new ones. Not only that, I just felt bad for all those books that were sitting un-read on my shelves - they were meant to be read and I quite frankly felt mean not reading them, meaning that they were unable to fulfil their purpose in life.

I managed to insert a couple of loopholes - buying books for my Kindle would be allowed - obviously they're not taking up any room - and other people were allowed to buy me books, I just couldn't spend my own hard-earned cash on them.

It proved to be easier than I thought, I just stayed clear of bookshops which put me out of temptation’s way. However, the first time I went into a bookshop in April I was floored. The smell of books nearly overwhelmed me. I am a dirty great big book sniffer and it’s the first thing I’ll do upon getting a new book off the shelf. Being in a whole shop full of books nearly knocked me out and I hurried out of there as quickly as possible so as to avoid succumbing to temptation.

Being unemployed meant that this resolution was fairly easy to stick to – I didn’t have any money to buy anything, let alone books, and I didn’t go out an awful lot – so buying books never really came into it, I just enjoyed being in reading the books I had available to me.

I have to be honest though. I managed to invent find  a couple of loopholes which allowed me to sneak a couple of books on to my shelves throughout the year.

Stephen King published a new book this year called “The Wind Through the Keyhole” and his UK publishers ran a competition – the back cover of the hardback copy of the book was going to be made up entirely of photos of SK fan’s faces. All you had to do was submit a picture of yourself and then see if you were lucky enough to be on there.

I forgot all about it until I got an e-mail with a link on it – I popped my name in and whoosh it took me to a picture of the back cover, zoomed in and in and in and boom THERE I WAS.

Now of course, you can’t see me when you look at the back cover, these photographs are obviously veeeeery tiny in order to make up the picture but I know I’m there, and given a magnifying glass, I can point myself out to you. So obviously I was allowed to buy that book – right?!

The second book to sneak on to my shelf was a result of my inability to not get suckered in to a ‘deal’. I went to buy my Dad’s wife a birthday present – she wanted Anna Karenina and it just so turned out that it was part of a buy one get one half price offer. I mean how could I not? But I cleverly got round it by roping in The Person – asking him if there was a book that he wanted as part of the offer.

When I say “asked” I mean I shoved “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” under his face and said “Oh my god, don’t you totally want to read this book?” He knew better than to disagree and so a Classic snuck on to my shelf – although really it’s not for me, The Person said that he wanted it, remember?

So I reckon only 2 books on the shelves is a win, am I right?

I know some people will read this and go “How did you do this, you call yourself a book lover?” but to my mind, I did this because I’m a book lover. I have owed it to some of those books who’ve been sat on my shelves for far too long. They needed to be read and forcing myself to read all those books has meant that I’ve discovered some books that have been sat there for a long long time. Ken Follett is a brilliant example - I’ve had The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End sat on my shelves for well over 2 years now - I've never tackled them, most probably because they’re pretty intimidating in size but I finally felt able to give them a go.

I picked up The Pillars of the Earth and did nothing for the next couple of weeks but read – and read and read. It is exactly the kind of book I love – great sweeping dynasty of a book, lots of detail, lots of character development – amazing. As soon as it was done I reached up and did the same with World Without End.

Goodness knows how long they’d have stayed on my shelf as I picked up “easier” reads in favour of them and I’m so pleased that this challenge has meant that I’ve now discovered a new author. And it also means I now have more books to add to my wanted list!

So yes it’s been rough – I walked around Waterstones the other day going “Oh my god this book is out. And this book….and…and……and…” – but I’m pleased I did it.

And no. I haven’t read all the books on my unread list, there’s probably enough on there to keep going for another year, but I don’t know that I’m that dedicated….

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

One of the worst house-sharing stories you'll ever hear.

I'm kind of gutted that I fell into a hole when all the redundancy stuff was kicking off. This is mainly because it meant that I didn't blog about The Housemates in the shared house anywhere near as much as I would have wanted to.

This is a shame because there were many stories I could have told at the time which now have either been forgotten or are just not worth telling when it's not in the heat of the moment.

However one story will unfortunately stay with me forever and I only feel it's fair to pass the horror on to you.


This story is kind of gross and I feel you should be prepared for that. If you're of a sensitive disposition there's a chance you might not want to read on. And you definitely can't blame me if your interest is now piqued so much that you read it anyway and then feel ill.

By far the most entertaining housemate was Peter Pan. When I say "entertaining" I mean, "fucking irritating". His childish, boyish ways quickly went from endearing to irritating - from saying "Oh you" and slapping him playfully on the arm, to saying "Oh you" and wanting to plant a knife very firmly in the middle of his head.

One story which effectively showcases both his total irresponsibility and complete disregard for fellow human beings goes a little as follows.

And when you read this story - please bear in mind that this person is 32 and a secondary school teacher.


It was a Thursday night. I had just spent the night cleaning the house in preparation for The Person who was coming for the weekend. Peter Pan had gone out for the night as it was the beginning of half term and that, to him, means going out and getting hammered (the same could be said for every Friday and Saturday night, staying in for the night was literally the worst thing he could think of).

I got up on Friday morning to go to work and immediately knew something was wrong. Instead of smelling clean and fresh, everything just "seemed" a little grubby in a way that I couldn't put my finger on. I got downstairs and knew that something was most definitely up. The washing up bowl was in the living room which wasn't a great sign, although it was mercifully empty.

The kitchen showed further signs of destruction - a polysterene box of chips was on the floor, and all the jars on the sideboard where strewn about.

And all the time there was a distinctly unclean smell about the place...

I knew what it was. The little shit had got so drunk that he'd been sick when he'd come in and hadn't cleaned it up properly. I immediately began the hunt, checking the kitchen sink and bin first but couldn't find the source of the unpleasantness.

And let us take a moment here to remember that this is happening at 7.15am and I am not a morning person at the best of times.

I was at a bit of a loss. And then I heard it.

The unmistakeable sound of the whirring of the fan in the downstairs toilet, meaning that the light was switched on.

"So help me god, if he's passed out in that toilet, I'm leaving him in there" I told myself.

I took hold of the door handle, bracing myself for the sight of not well cleaned up vomit, and pushed the door open...

Not vomit.

Not vomit all over our toilet.

Not vomit that was the source of the unclean smell.

Not vomit.

Do I need to say what it was or have I hinted enough? If I said that the source of the grossness was not the mouth but an orifice further down south would that be enough?

Yes really.

And the reason it was so horrific? It was not isolated to the toilet bowl. Oh no. It was all over the toilet bowl. And on the floor. And on the walls.

All this was taken in in the 2 seconds it took me to open and then shut the door again.

My first reaction was to go upstairs and literally drag him out of his bed and come and sort the mess out but two things occured to me;

1) Someone who gets so drunk they shit themselves, is not going to be in any fit state to clear up said mess at 7.15am, and
2) If this was the state of the toilet, what on earth might I be faced with in his room?

I settled for leaving the house immediately, meaning I was 45 minutes early for work because I literally could not stay in the house any longer, and leaving that bastion of housemate communication - The Note.

"I don't know what happened here, but I'm not cool with it. Someone needs to literally clean their shit up and it needs to be done by the time I'm back from work."

All day I seethed at work with the outrageousness of the situation and the unbelievable depths of disrespect that Peter Pan had shown his fellow housemates. I kept checking my phone but didn't hear word from him all day which I thought was strange, I expected an apologetic text of some kind but nothing appeared and I started to wonder if he had even got up that day to face his responsibility.

I opened the front door with some trepidation and walked through to the kitchen. Everything appeared restored to normal and the toilet was once again clean. "Well at least he's sorted it" I said to myself and decided that no more would be said about it, he must have been mortified after all.

And then I saw The Note.

My note was still lying on the table, although now, underneath it was scrawled, and I am literally quoting here,

"Like OMG Sorry!!"

Astounding. If I ever needed proof that I was living with someone with absolutely no regard for his fellow human beings this was it. He didn't even realise the enormity of what he'd done.

And where did I see him later that night?

At the pub.

For reals.

Monday, 10 December 2012

The commute

I should really be used to it by now. Complaining about it for the first couple of weeks seemed permissable, but now, 4.5 months in, I shouldn't really still be complaining about my daily commute.

But I do. Every. single. day. Don't get me wrong, I don't complain about it out loud, I don't talk about it with other people, but every morning, as I pull open the door to go outside I quite dramatically let out the biggest sigh known to man before beginning my daily trudge.

There are 2 things that people say when they find out that I walk 5.5 miles each day as part of my commute;

1) "What the fuck? Isn't there a bus you can get?"

Prompting me to bite my tongue and not say, "Oh my god I totally hadn't thought of that, I just do this shit for funsies."

2) At least you're getting lots of exercise.

This just makes me internally sigh again. Indeed it is exercise. It is exercise so thorough that I can no longer face doing what I really want to do for exercise, which is run. It is exercise which has thoroughly fucked up the trainers that I would be running in because they were kind of old to begin with and now I've walked something like 490 miles since I started my job they are well and truly knackered. It is exercise which has fucked up my back from carrying an ill-advised shoulder bag across my front each day. This is not the kind of exercise you want to do.

The only way I feel I can get through my commute is to split it into Parts - Three of them each way...

Part 1 & 6 - from The Docks to Preston Station 

Part 1 isn't that bad. Apart from the fact that I'm going to start another day in the hellhole I can mostly get through it by focusing on something else and making my brain focus on whatever podcast I'm listening to.

There's always a brief moment when my hopes get raised and my breath quickens slightly. This is at the prospect that I might see Jesus, my cat friend who lives on Christchurch Street, but he's rarely there and that means that the excitement is followed by a double whammy of disappoinment - no Jesus and I now have the walk up the mega hill that is that street.

I have a process for getting up it now. I count my strides and I'm not allowed to slow the pace - the strides can be smaller but the timing must remain the same. It means I'm a dab hand at walking up that hill now, extra incentive is added if I have someone to try and over-take. I try not to think about the parallels that could be drawn between walking up the hill and my feelings about the day ahead.

The return journey, also known as Part 6, is a doddle. It's the home stretch and it never ever feels like it takes that long. It always passes quickly and I'm happy to bob along until I get home. There's no resentment for Part 6, it means the end. It helps that I get to bounce down Christchurch Street after the daily trudge of going up it. I play Beat the Bus which helps me to feel smug about walking - if it passes me anywhere after the Ford garage I have officially beaten it, meaning that walking home hasn't really taken any longer which is a win in my books.

Part 2 & Part 5: The train

The best bit about my commute is the train. I get to Preston train station and walk up the stairs, my hand automatically reaching into my bag to pull out my pass to show to the staff at the top of the footbridge. For some reason they're the only people that I recognise after my 4.5 months of commuting. I should recognise people on Platform 2, I can't be the only person commuting, but for some reason I never see a familiar face.

It's only a 12 minute journey but I savour every moment of it. Each minute costs me 19p and I want to make sure that 19p counts for something so as soon as I'm sat down, the earphones are removed, the book comes out and I bury myself for the entirety of the journey. It is bliss, but is so shortlived and when I feel the train slowing to come in to Buckshaw Parkway my resentment levels start to rise, exacerbated when the train finally stops and the doors open to a sea of blank faces who crowd around the door even though common sense must tell them that until they let me off the train, they cannot come aboard.

The return journey, Part 5 of the commute, is almost the part that I don't think about that much. The train is always delayed, and I mean always. I officially started keeping track of it 1 month ago and in that 1 month the train has been on time...never. Actually never. The delay might only be 5-10 minutes, but when you're coming home (and you still have Part 6 of your commute to do) it is difficult to keep the sighing to a minimum.

I'm faced with the same blank sea of faceless morons when we come into Preston. Crowding round the doorway leaving no space for you to get off, only these people are now angry "I want to get home" commuters, rather than tired "I hate going into work" commuters.

I should be used to the stairs to the footbridge - which aren't quite high enough to comfortably walk up but aren't shallow enough to allow you to take two at a time - but I still haven't found a way of walking up them comfortably. I weave in and out of the people at the top of the bridge, fumbling around for their passes. I already have mine in my hand and again I wonder why I don't recognise any of the people, maybe I'm just too focused on starting Part 6 of the commute?

Part 3 & Part 4 - Buckshaw Parkway to work

Hell. These Parts are hell. Always. Every single day. Even though it's roughly the same distance as Parts 1 & 6 and doesn't take any longer, it drags. I feel like I'm walking and not getting any closer. When it's Part 3 it sucks because I'm tired of the commute now and yet I know I have 8 hours in the hellhole ahead of me. When it's Part 4 it sucks because it's just the beginning of yet another long commute home when all I want is to be at home already.

There is no more to say. It's just awful, the worst parts of my day.


But in 4 more days I will do it no more and I can't tell you how that makes my heart sing.


I know I'm not the only one that has to walk a lot each day. I know I'm not the only one that spends 2.5 hours of each day commuting. But this commute is my own personal hell and like some kind of feverish Groundhog day it has been haunting me for too long.