What’s in a Name (There is no Jane in Accounts)

I’ve always had a bit of trouble with identity.  What defines me and how do I describe myself?  I don’t want to describe myself as “an Accountant” because that gives people a set of preconceptions I don’t feel I belong to.  Same with “a Mum”, I have given birth to children whom I love and look after but that is something I do, not something I am.  “A gamer”?  I play some games but only some, I pick them up and put them down.  Same with knitting and crochet.  Same with my Bullet Journal, much though I wish I was more consistent with that!

On a deeper level, I’m a cis female but that doesn’t cover my “male” side, the part of me which wants to be the one to change the light fittings, drill the holes in the wall, grab a beer and play video games, plus I’m rubbish with makeup and often forget to pull a brush through my hair.  As for sexual preferences, “not straight” is the closest I’ve got to being able to define that.

So, that’s a nice long list of what I’m not.  I’m also not a Jenny, I haven’t been a Jenny since I was around 13.  I tried to get people to call me Jennifer but the people who already knew me stuck with Jenny and the new people just followed on.  At 16 I changed schools and took advantage of the opportunity to rebrand as Jennie but that still didn’t fit.  Next time I moved on, two years later, I thought new town, new start.  With a whole new set of people, I started again as Jen.

So this is me.  I am Jen.  I am a Jen.  I Jen*, it’s what I do.  It’s how I define myself.  I’m sure a Jen by any other name would smell as sweet but I wouldn’t feel as comfortable in my own skin, I wouldn’t feel as authentic***.

I feel more defined by my name than I do by my profession;  my family; my hobbies or my style (or lack thereof).  I feel an irrational connection to other Jens, most of the blogs I follow are written by people called Jen.  This isn’t intentional – I’ll do a bit of searching and start following a few blogs; a little while later, I’ll stop following some of the ones which didn’t pull me in and most of the ones I have left are by people called Jen.  Cake Wrecks and Epbot; I Heart Organising; The Bloggess.  These are the people who inspire me and whom I admire.

So I’m a Jen.  It seems a Jen is a wonderful thing to be.  But, if you’re trying to get hold of me, there is no Jane in accounts.  There’s no Jeanette either (we sacked her fictional arse just so we had someone to blame for all the little whoops moments we find).  If you’re replying to an email from someone who signs their name Jen from an email address jennifer.p……, best not to start with “Dear Karen,”.  And there is absolutely no Jenny!  Although there is a Jay and she is lovely.


*  I also create verbs out of people’s names**.  To Jen is to carefully prepare everything for an email or letter then just forget to send it.  Yes, I Jen.  A lot.  You should see my Drafts folder!

** To Daniel (eldest son) is to throw food down oneself while eating; to Phillip (youngest son) is to need the bathroom the moment someone asks you to do something; to Rob (fiancé) is already a verb, but not an apt one.

*** I do have an alter-ego called Jessica.  She’s more of a people person though and has hair like Merida from Brave.


Finding Happiness

Happiness is all I’ve ever really wanted.  I suspect it’s all anyone ever really wants.  The problem is, surely, how does one actually find happiness.

I have lots of things which make me happy.  I’m a lucky lady!  I have my wonderful boys who (rightly or wrongly) adore me.  I have my fiancé who is as crazy about me as I am about him.  He has two lovely sons, in the same age bracket as mine, (we have had a couple of clashes over the years but we have worked through them and come out stronger on the other side) believe me when I say I love them too, and they love me.  I have both parents and a brother, alive and in fairly good health, along with an extended family, plus I have been welcomed into the wonderfully open arms of my fiancé’s huge extended family.

People are the most important things to me but, beyond that, I live in a wonderful house, in a beautiful area.  I work doing a job I love for a caring company which sells products that make people happy.  My boss is wonderfully understanding and I consider both him and my assistant to be two of my closer friends.  I don’t have all the latest technology, but I have enough for my needs and our children are real enough to know the toys they have are a privilege, not a right, so they aren’t always chasing the latest technology either.

I have had health problems.  I am ADHD, which makes everything SO HARD.  After years of fighting though, I have care and medication and can finally see myself through the clouds of butterfly thoughts.  I’ve recently been diagnosed with back problems, which is a relief because it means a) I’m not faking, the pain is real and b) I’m getting treated.

So, with all of the above, why wasn’t I happy before?

I thought that to be happy I needed to be healthy.  By healthy, I meant slim, of course.  Not the sort of slim which meant I could fit into a size 8 dress, the kind of slim which meant I looked in the mirror and thought I was slim.

You know as well as I do that was never going to happen.

I’m bad at diets, guys. Really bad. First time I try a diet I may do pretty well on it, maybe even to the point where I’ll start thinking I’m nearly there… Then I’ll give myself a weekend off. Then the weekend will leech into Monday. Then, because I’ve already spoilt the diet week on a Monday, I’ll take the full week off; I’ve earned it anyway! The next week it will be too hard to start again and the diet is as good as over. I may well manage to start it up again, but never with the momentum of that first time. Evenings are my Achilles’ Heel – my meds have worn off and I have no impulse control left.

Then there’s the guilt eating! Guilt eating because I’ve messed up my diet day; guilt eating because I’ve messed up my diet week; because I’ve given up on the diet; because I’m not on a diet and I think I should be; guilt eating because I’ve been doing so much guilt eating!!

What I was looking at was a lifetime of feeling miserable because I was fat and not doing anything about it; a lifetime of yo-yo dieting with all the guilt that entails or a lifetime of depriving myself of all the foods I consider fun while still not thinking I was quite slim enough. If this paragraph isn’t depressing, I don’t know what is!

I’ve found option 4. For this, I need to thank the F*ck-it Diet.

I came across the name in a comment on a post on a Facebook group and, as you do, I googled it. It’s not a diet, it’s a way of life. Not in the same way other diets are “a way of life” but an actual different way of life. I signed up for a link to the first 10 pages of the book (10 actual pages, not including preface, authors note and table of contents) then I bought the audiobook. Now I’m thinking of getting a paper copy too.

To summarise, the daily calorie requirements we’ve all been told are arbitrary and completely unrealistic. The reason we are so obsessed with food all the time is that we don’t eat enough because the amount we’ve been told we need is ridiculously low. So, if we’re not eating enough anyway, why aren’t we all always losing weight? Because our bodies have slowed down our metabolisms because they think there’s a famine, so they’re trying to preserve energy while, at the same time, making us obsess about food so we will prioritise getting more food over other, less important things. It’s also making us tired so we rest more to try to save what energy we do have. Tired? Not losing weight? Thinking about food all the time? I don’t know about you but this pretty much summed me up!

So I’ve stopped caring about what I eat. Fancy a little something when I get into the office, despite having had breakfast an hour ago? Go for it! It’s bedtime but I really want some ice-cream? Why not! Seconds of mash at dinner time despite everyone else declining? Yes!

Yes, I went a little wild, but I didn’t pile on nearly as much as I was expecting, and now when I fancy ice cream at bedtime, it’s just a couple of spoonfuls. I can go into a shop and not want to buy up the whole chocolate aisle. Or I can buy up the whole chocolate aisle and not hate myself! I’ve always wanted a better relationship with food but I’ve now realised what I really want is to not have a relationship with food, just like I don’t with my shampoo or my coffee table. Sometimes I go hours without thinking of food, sometimes I get hungry and I can either eat something or wait for the next meal. Sometimes I see something I love eating and think, “nice, but I just don’t fancy it right now.”

I’ve caught myself in the mirror and thought, “my cheekbones are looking good!” Or, “my eyes are really sparkling today!” I haven’t disliked anything I’ve seen in the mirror for nearly two weeks now! I see the same bulges, the same saggy or chubby bits I’ve seen all my life but, I don’t know, don’t mind them any more, I don’t hate myself for having them any more than I would hate someone else for being chubby. I doubt I’m any slimmer than I was when I started, probably heavier, but I really don’t care any more. My mental health is more important and, mentally, I’m healthier than I have been for as long as I can remember.

I’m now looking forward to growing old with my fiancé (hopefully husband by that time), holding hands in the park together, watching our boys grow up, make mistakes, have triumphs, laughing, living, learning and loving.


ADHD – Flickering Thoughts

I have been meaning to write a long post for a while now about my battle to get a diagnosis for ADHD, a battle which started 18 years ago and is still going on.  The GP appointments; the referrals; the knock-backs; the self-doubt and depression; the feeling that I’m fundamentally useless**.  Long story short; my current GP finally managed to get me a referral to a consultant psychologist for an assessment as to whether I should be referred for assessment for ADHD.  It’s all terribly vague but I finally feel like I am in the hands of people who care about my welfare and are happy to take me seriously.  The psychologist said that, while he isn’t an expert, he completely believes I have ADHD and has pushed my referral on to the next step.

**I don’t think of myself as “fundamentally useless” anymore, now I call myself broken.  My boyfriend hates this, saying I’m not broken and he loves me just the way I am.  Of course I love him for this but he doesn’t understand that seeing myself as broken gives me hope that I can be mended and is so much better than seeing myself as useless.

Anyhoo.  I am now quite happily referring to myself as ADHD and it helps.  It helps me understand myself and it helps me feel less ashamed when other people are confronted with the results of my symptoms – wildly untidy house; inability to remember directions; overactive chatter gland (I just made up that organ); forgetting what people do for a living, why they were in hospital, the names of their children and so forth.  So instead of trying to write huge long articles I’ll never finish I’ve decided to start typing up smaller anecdotes illustrating my symptoms and how they affect my life.


On Friday morning I was cycling into work.  It’s a 25 minute journey and, as there was little traffic that morning, I started thinking about my lunch.Soup  A quick mental tour of my rucksack revealed that I did have my purse and it did have money in it.

A little while later I started thinking about my lunch – I had a tub of soup in the fridge,  I had intended to eat it yesterday but had made alternative plans.  Lovely!

Shortly after this I started thinking about my lunch.  With the current event on at work, at the moment lunch is being provided for staff on Fridays.  That makes things nice and easy.

A short distance up the road I started thinking about my lunch.  Fortunately I hadn’t eaten that tub of soup in the fridge from yesterday so I could have that.

I mentally scrolled through each option at least twice, never associating the thoughts with each other until, just a few hundred yards from work, I realised what I had been doing.


On this occasion the damage was limited because I was not in a position to act on any of the options but, had I been in a car, there is a good chance I would have stopped off at one of the shops along the route to work to pick up something for lunch; a sandwich perhaps, or a roll to go with the soup.  While I was there, I would smell the bakery and, without my diet crossing my mind, or the porridge I keep at work, I would grab a pain au raisin for breakfast, or should I have a cinnamon whirl?  I would’t be able to decide so would buy (and eat) both.

Sometimes the thoughts in my head are like butterflies, never resting long and so ethereal as to leave no trace of ever having rested their wings.  I do stupid things, not because of any conscious decision to but because at the time the reasons I shouldn’t do them do not exist to me.

Do you have challenges like this?  Are you an adult with ADHD or do you have friends who are?  How do you view them or yourself?

More anecdotes to follow (I hope).



My Terry Pratchett

Equal Rites

When I was a young teenager, my Dad lent me Equal Rites; an hilarious tour-de-force of sexual inequality and stereotyping which planted the seed of my lifelong love of the Discworld.  He didn’t say why he lent it to me; he never does, he just quietly does little things like that which influence the entire course of my life.  Since that day, the works of Terry Pratchett have featured through my life and relationships, pinning down memories of people and places which otherwise might have slipped through the colander-holes of my brain, and I am a little sad knowing that a brilliant spirit who has brought joy and laughter to so many people has moved on from this world.

I would like to share with you some of the ways Terry Pratchett has touched my life.


I met Nadia when I was 16. I had just changed schools for my A-levels and was alone, in a new school, in a new county, among strangers. She had been away at boarding school for a while and was returning to a school where the cliques had formed without her. Neither of us seemed to have much in common with the rest of the girls but we quickly discovered a shared love of Terry’s books. And playing cards. Out of lessons (we had none together) we were inseparable and we were each other’s link to the rest of the world. Once, when we had found out that Terry was signing books at Waterstone’s in a nearby town, we snuck out of school at lunchtime, having brought in with us a good supply of Terry’s books in our school bags, and headed to the station. In the shop, we waited in the queue for so long before we finally reached the front.  We probably played Cribbage – we usually did. Having listened to Terry’s opinions of people with bizarrely spelled names as he signed the books of the people ahead of me, it was in a quiet voice that I spelled my name for him.

Nadia is my oldest friend and one of only four people I know I will be friends with until we die.  Of the other three, two had large TP collections already when I met them and the final one (my Prince) has loved the TV adaptions of Going Postal; Hogfather and the Colour of Magic he’s watched with me (with added commentary on the bits they missed out, but he’s used to that) and is currently borrowing my well-loved copy of Small Gods.


Here’s a memory I wouldn’t trade for anything.  On the same day Nadia and I were queuing in Waterstone’s playing Cribbage, my Nan was there too (not that any of us knew that).  She had made the trip into town just because she had heard that Terry was there and she knew her Granddaughter read his books.  She had no idea which books I had and which I didn’t but as it turned out, Mort was pretty much my favourite, to the point where I already had around three copies.  In a lifetime where I have mislaid and replaced so many of my books, this is the only copy of Mort I still have.

My Nan was a wonderful woman who loved me more than I ever deserved and I still miss her deeply fifteen years after she passed away.

Reaper Man

When I was younger, my parents would often take my brother and me to France to stay in caravans or campsites.  One year, when I was a teenager, my brother went to Corsica with his school so my parents invited one of my cousins to come with us.  We went to the south of France and the weather was gorgeous almost solidly for two weeks.  The exception was one day when we left the campsite to go to the beach.  When we got back at the end of a long day, it was obvious that it had been raining.  Hard.  All day.  Having been used to the fabulous weather we had experienced for most of the fortnight we had left the rainflaps on the windows of the tent rolled up to allow some ventilation and the interior was flooded.  I can’t remember the full extent of the damage but Reaper Man, along with my (other) signed copy of Mort had been on the floor of the tent by my sleeping bag.  They were saturated.  I guess Mum must have taken the sleeping bags to the laundry to tumble dry them or something; all I remember was Dad arranging my books open at various different pages to try to help dry them out.  He put them in the microwave when we got home.  They remained my favourite books for years afterwards and I have read each one a number of times.

Raising Steam

I still haven’t read this book.  It has been sitting on my bookshelf for months while I have been reading other things and that makes me feel a little guilty, as if I have been unfaithful to Terry with other authors.  This has just jumped to the top of my reading list.

My Top Bookshelf

There are so many more moments I could write about, so many more books I could photograph.  Looking at this picture I’m thinking Small Gods is upstairs by the bed; Good Omens is in a case I haven’t finished unpacking from my summer holiday and I really, REALLY need to replace the Carpet People.

I wouldn’t call myself a super-fan.  I’ve never been to any conventions, I don’t have Nanny Ogg’s Cookbook and I’ve never finished reading any of the Science of the Discworld books, my shelves do not have any models of Discworld characters on them.  Terry Pratchett’s writing is just so much a part of my life that it feels like I have lost an uncle.  It’s sad to think that some day my collection of his novels will be complete and will stay that way.

What memories do you have of this wonderful person?



Mondays Like These

Well, that was an interesting day.

I’ve had an absolute ‘mare of a weekend!  There didn’t seem to be anything in particular going wrong but I was just depressed through the whole of it; with four children in the house that was a recipe for emotional disaster for me.  Monday rolled around and it felt like a potential turning point; this was the moment when my week could either continue downhill or start climbing back up towards some level of emotional stability.

The first thing I did on Monday to influence this was eat a banana before I left the house.  My commutes last week had been hard, I was running on empty all the way in and by the end of the week I was shattered.  The difference in my commute after a banana was impressive and I got into work to have my breakfast feeling energised rather than drained.

The second thing was the arrival of my Teapigs Matcha kit, about which I will write a full post soon.  I’m not sure if it’s coincidental timing with other things falling into place but, after drinking a matcha shot at lunchtime, my afternoon was so much easier than it would normally be.

A pleasant ride home was followed by Board Games Monday with my boys when we played Lost Valley of the Dinosaurs, a game which used to belong to my brother when we were the age my boys are now.


Expedition Disturbs the Undergrowth

Pteranodon Swoops!

Pteranodon Swoops!


Considering his next move





The little guy won this one, being the first to get two gold coins from the temple out of the valley, which made for a nice, quiet evening!

An excellent start to the new week; things may be starting to look up for me.



My Quiet Places

I suffer from anxiety and depression.  My head gets filled with a jumble of voices; images; songs; numbers; words; worries and so many other things. They build up and up, like hair in a plughole, further and further restricting the flow of energy inside me, disrupting my concentration and creating a stagnant pool of frustration as I try to battle my way through the day.

I need quiet places.  I don’t mean audibly quiet, although that certainly helps, just somewhere which inspires my inner peace, somewhere I don’t have to worry about anything for a couple of minutes.  Not all of my quiet places are places; some of them are activities or even people.

My favourite quiet place is in the arms of my boyfriend or holding his hand as we walk.  There’s something about his touch, about this wordless reassurance of his love and acceptance of me which calms the crazy of my mind like a summer breeze wafting through an Audrey Hepburn movie.

Watching a movie is often good for a bit of escapism but the effect is transitory, with the exception of Audrey Hepburn (see above).  Unless I’m watching them from within my boyfriend’s arms.

Books are wonderful escapism too but I seldom seem to find an opportunity to settle down with a book uninterrupted and I dislike having to snatch a paragraph here and there without time to immerse myself in a story.  I love having an hour or more to really sink into the book to the extent that the feelings, emotions and background of the hero or heroine linger after I’ve put the book down, leaving me frustrated, sad, scared or teary with happiness.  Far more so than movies, books take me out of myself and into the mind of someone whose problems I can understand, problems which will probably be solved by the last chapter, which is preferable to the ongoing chaos inside my own mind.

My sanctuary while I’m at work is the ladies’ room where, for just a few minutes at a time, there is nothing in my day more pressing and the peace, when there’s no-one else there and the extractor fan is off, is cleansing.  This works less well at home, where the children have no respect for the sanctity of the bathroom and the meaning of the closed door.

At home the study, which we recently reorganised, is probably the closest I have to a quiet place.  It is currently the tidiest room in the house and the lack of clutter helps to ease the clutter in my mind.  Unfortunately the boxes of paperwork, books and unsorted stuff from previous house moves are creeping back in, meaning the room is started to get less organised…  Also, it’s right next to the play room which means the noise level can creep up when the children are at large.

Where do you go when the world gets too much for you?  What do you do to detox your spirit?  Do you have any advice for me?  I’d love to hear your stories.



Relieving the Strain or Small Changes

I have been suffering (ask anyone who lives or works with me) with screaming pain in my shoulders and neck for months now.  I have been walking around as if I had books on my head, desperately trying to keep all my movements smooth.  I gasp if I move my head to suddenly, squeal if I sneeze and live in dread of my commute where, bike or car, I must keep checking my blind spots.

A hard pillow didn’t help, nor did a soft one.  Curling up to sleep was no different to stretching out.  On my back; on my side; on my front, nothing.  I was living on a cocktail of Panadol and ibuprofen and smelt constantly of heat gel but even if they had made the pain go away (which they didn’t) they still wouldn’t touch the cause of the pain.

I was starting to resign myself to the idea of having to go to the doctor, something I never enjoy doing, if only for the inconvenience but then, about a week ago, I glanced over at my manager of the last couple of months and I had an idea.  The kind which makes you slap yourself on the forehead.

Allister is fairly tall, topping six foot with a few inches to spare.  He had also complained of a bad neck until we raised the level of his monitors by a few inches, bringing the tops to the level of his eyes.  Why it didn’t occur to me at the time that the same solution could be applied to me is beyond me; I guess I’m better at solving other people’s health issues than my own.

So, rather than raising my monitors, I lowered my chair by a few inches and my screaming neck pain started to go away!

A couple of days later I thought I would try moving my keyboard closer to me so I wasn’t stretching to type and the pain in my shoulders reduced dramatically!

I am amazed at the effect these minor adjustments have had on my quality of life!  Now, rather than being continually beset by neck and shoulder pain, I can focus on more important things!  Like why my ankle hurts when I run… (I am such fun at parties!)



Death on the Roads

Another cyclist was killed on the roads of London yesterday, so I have put aside the post I was working on to reflect a little on this tragedy and, selfishly, how it affects me.

According to the BBC website article about the incident this was the first cycling fatality in London this year.  Road.cc concurs but adds it’s the fourteenth in Great Britain in less than a month!  The Evening Standard adds a few witness testimonies to the story but it’s still hard to piece together exactly what happened from the available information.

BBC article
road.cc article
Evening Standard article

The initial reports had a woman in her 30s, cycling through London during rush hour, sucked under a truck as it turned left.  The woman’s age has since been quoted as 29 but the whole thing still strikes very close to home for me.  I know to never let myself be caught on the inside of a large vehicle turning left (equiv. turning right in USA or other countries where you drive on the right), even if I’m turning too, indeed I do my best to never be on the inside of a large vehicle at all, overtaking them on the outside if the situation arises, but it’s hard to avoid sometimes.

Did she know that too?  Could she see what was going to happen to her in the seconds before it did?  I don’t know if she had put herself in that position not knowing how unsafe it was, either because she didn’t realise the truck was turning left or because she was unaware of the physics of long vehicles turning.  I don’t know if the truck was overtaking her when it turned so she had no choice.  Maybe she was just head-down, focusing on her ride and getting to where she was going on time, a trap into which I could so easily slip, especially in winter when I wear a tubular cloth around my head which partially blinkers me (I’m going to stop doing that now).

I’ve sat in the cab of a lorry, courtesy of the Metropolitan Police who seem to run bike/lorry safety sessions quite regularly near Kings Cross/St Pancras, around the corner from where I used to work.  Even in modern lorries, with slanted dashboards and extra mirrors, visibility is very poor and the time required to check all the mirrors is easily sufficient for a bike to come alongside or slip in front.  Without the extra mirrors (which are not required to be retro fitted into older lorries) and slanted dashboard the blind spots are enormous.

I just want to take a minute to think of this poor woman and her family, along with the other 13 fatalities and their families.  Is it just luck that I haven’t joined their numbers or have I made my own luck – blazing lights; traffic awareness; obeying the rules of the road?  Many of the principles I learnt during my driving lessons (half a lifetime ago) I have imported directly into my cycling, especially the first lesson my uncle (a driving instructor) ever taught me.

Always drive (or ride) as if everyone else on the road might be an idiot.

Chances are most of them won’t be but it’s always prepare me for when I encounter someone who is.

Stay safe,


Touch Typing or How I Learnt to Stop Looking and Trust my Fingers

Touch typing is a skill I managed to learn years ago.  I use it on a daily basis and I can’t imagine my life without it.  I believe anyone who regularly types on a physical keyboard can learn to touch type but it does take some practice, dedication and a leap of faith.

When I was fairly young, maybe just out of primary school, my mother bought me a notepad-style book designed to teach someone to touch type; I guess she thought it was a valuable skill which would make me more marketable when I was older and looking for a job and I agree with her.  I never had any intention of becoming a secretary but, knowing my Mum, that wasn’t why she bought it anyway.  I wasn’t typing enough at that age to stand any chance of picking it up but the basics stayed with me, specifically the pattern of colours.

At the back of the pad was a sheet filled with little sticky-backed squares in eight different colours, the idea being you stick a set of the stickers onto your fingernails (the adhesive was very difficult to remove!) then decorate your keyboard with more of the stickers to represent which finger is responsible for which keys.  The layout was something like this, although the colours were almost certainly different.Keyboard

The book then took me through a series of lessons, typing different words then moving on to sentences.  The early lessons were colour coded to help locate the letters but by the later ones I was expected to start remembering what was where.

I didn’t do much with the book at the time but in later years, when I entered the workplace, I remembered the layout of which key belonged to which finger and started to make an effort to use the correct finger rather than just stabbing at the keyboard with my index fingers, first just focusing on what I was supposed to be stabbing with my index fingers then working my way out, a finger at a time.

Soon, all this became automatic and I would stare fixedly at my fingers as they typed, effortlessly finding the correct keys, but the problem with that is if I did make a mistake (don’t we all?) I wouldn’t know about it until I surfaced periodically to scan what I had typed.  At the grand old age of 23 (or so) I realised it was a waste of time, all this looking up and down. A swimmer would be able to swim faster and more smoothly if she didn’t have to keep turning her head to breathe every few strokes, likewise, my typing would be faster and smoother if I didn’t have to keep raising and lowering my head, having to stop and proof read what I had written, which seldom had errors anyway.

A work colleague of mine at this time was in a similar situation but, whereas I spent weeks staring at my screen, teeth gritted, eyes bulging with the effort of not glancing down, she had the advantage of her husband levering off many of the keys of her home computer and replacing them to read I LOVE YOU one Valentine’s day (he sacrificed a second keyboard for the additional O) so there was no longer any point in looking at the letters on the keyboard.  She left them like that.  They’re probably still there.

So now, when I sit down to write, I always take a second to locate my fingers on the keys (most keyboards, certainly English ones, have a raised dot or dash on the F and J keys for just this purpose, along with one on the 5 of the numeric keypad).  To me, it’s like taking a deep, cleansing breath.  My thoughts flow directly from my mind to the screen, the process is so automatic now.  It was worth every second of the effort I put in to learning this skill, not only for the increase in efficiency but also because it freaks people out a little when they approach my desk and I look up at them while still finishing my sentence, and that’s fun.

I read somewhere once that a proficient touch typists fingers will slow down after a typing error, their muscle memory picking up on the mistype before the eye even registers the mistake on the screen and it does feel to me as if my fingers know better than my brain does when I make an error.  The only time this doesn’t work is when my fingers (usually the right hand) slip left or right by a column.  I have hit send on more than one email signed Heb.

Do you still type with 2 fingers, or maybe 4?  Do you type with all your fingers but still watch them as they flutter over the keys?  Go on, give it a go.  What do you have to lose?



Films to Watch

So, shortly before Christmas I sat down with a friend and we made lists of the movies we want to watch before we die, as mentioned in A Weekend Off.  I know it’s a bit of a cheap and easy post but I thought I’d share with you my list and, hopefully, get a few insights from you about the movies on my list or recommendations of movies which really should be on my list.  Also, I’m a little swamped with options so I’m hoping you guys will help me decide where to start.

M501 Must See Moviesy book of 501 Must-See Movies is organised chronologically by genre so, as we started at the beginning of the book and worked through, so are our lists.  I’ll give V a call and see if he can email me his list so I can add it in.

In the mean time; here’s mine (many of the films cover more than one genre so I’ve used the categories as they appear in my book:

Action/Adventure & Epic

Enter the Dragon
North by Northwest


Duck Soup
The Producers
The Breakfast Club
The Big Lebowski


12 Angry Men
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Dangerous Liaisons


The Birds
Angel Heart


Viva Las Vegas
West Side Story


Brief Encounter
To Catch a Thief
The Apartment
Hua Yang Nian Hua

Science Fiction & Fantasy

Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Dr Strangelove
Fahrenheit 451
Mad Max 2
Total Recall

Mystery & Thriller

The Maltese Falcon
Double Indemnity
The Big Sleep
The Third Man
Strangers on a Train
Touch of Evil
Point Blank


Good Morning Vietnam
Schindler’s List


Once Upon a Time in the West
High Plains Drifter

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the new films I want to watch and I’m sure they will be interspersed with rewatches of films from the DVD racks here but it’s a good start and a nice list to consider although, just flicking through the book again to check some of my facts, I’ve found another few films I might like to add in…