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Archive for the 'Neither here nor there' Category

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Friday, July 8th, 2011

I’m in shock. This blog has just eaten a post of mine, after I pressed ‘preview’. This has never happened in all the years that I have blogged on this site. I think it is telling that I haven’t used a text editor to write my entry, but have relied on the site as I always do. But no longer. I am deeply disappointed in Bootsnall and more than a little annoyed that my time has been wasted in this way.

If you want to hear about TEFLing and my travels in China, updates can be found on my Life Journal, where I will also post any links to websites I may be able to run from within China.

This is Denni, logging off.

Full Circle

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Spring Has Sprung!

I have come full circle. It’s three months later, a fine spring afternoon, and I’m sitting in the open, in Finsbury Park, sipping a fruit beer and drawing on my Janty Stick.

The cherry blossoms are out, the trees are flushed with green, and people are jogging past in sleeveless shirts or flopping around on the velvety lawn, exposing as much bare skin to the sun as they dare. The temperature is in the late teens. I’ve been colder in Barcelona, plenty of times.

Three months have gone by but nothing much has changed, aside from the fact that this is about the first time that I’ve picked up a pen since the course has finished.

I have little desire to write. The depression is still hanging over me, albeit temporarily banished by the sunshine and the beer. I still don’t have any clue about what to do. Perversely, choices can be made harder if the world is your oyster.

Except, that is, for the one choice that I’ve made half a lifetime ago, when I first came here.

A police car crept past. I hadn’t noticed it. It may only be a can of fruit beer, but I’d better move on. It wouldn’t do to get into trouble now.


The end of 6 years of BNA Blogging…

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

This blog no longer provides me with the necessary options—such as a decent post interface or the facility to pre-/postdate my entries—so from now on in you’ll find me over at my LJ.

BTW, LJ also links to Facebook!

[EDIT] OK I’ll cross-post when I get the chance. This blog contains all my travel stuff. But it’s no longer my main blog.


Friday, December 3rd, 2010

These are the moments when you seek refuge in writing. Or in reading.

When your whole world has just fallen apart. When Bangkok is no longer far enough, because you cannot run from your problems.

Or from what you are.

Or from what you could have been.


Friday, December 3rd, 2010

It is now nearly impossible for people to post comments on this blog: spam software is getting more clever by the day!

People who are friends know how to contact me on Facebook or by email.

I haven’t gone away…

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

…but I’m not going where I thought I was going.

Also, both WordPress and HTML have changed, so expect some formatting issues when I get back to this blog.


Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

This isn’t about choice, this isn’t about what feels right: this is the stark naked truth. I cannot remain in this country. I have no right of residence here.

In the eyes of the system, I am not someone who has lived in the UK continuously since 1987 and who has been married to a Brit for the past twenty-one years. I am not working and therefore I am regarded as a ‘self-sufficient person’. However that means that, without ‘comprehensive sickness insurance’, I have no right to remain. I can find a job immediately, or I can leave.

Immediatedly. Do not pass the doctor’s surgery.

This comes as a shock. I didn’t know about it. For the past six years I haven’t worked because we’ve lived in the middle of nowhere and I have failed to make any money from my writing. John pays his taxes, claims his married couple’s allowance, and assumed that I could just live with him.

I could, if he were French or Spanish or from any of the other ‘old’ EU countries woking in Britain because then he would be ‘exercising his treaty rights’ and I would be here legitimately as a family member of an EU national. But you can’t ‘exercise your treaty rights’ in your own country and so I am here as an illegal, unless I exercise my own.

And how am I going to go about that? There is no career waiting for me. I don’t know where to start. I can do casual work but those jobs are patchy and short-lived. There wouldn’t be any point other than sheer desperation.

Or I can jump on the TEFL train. They are desperate for English teachers in Spain, and if I’m in a foreign teaching environment it won’t matter that I’m not a native speaker. I have a degree from Oxford. I could be ‘exercising my treaty rights’ in no time. Or I could chose to continue my itinerant travels around the world, teaching in Thailand and in South America, never settling down. Because the latter is sure as hell not an option.

And why does this matter? More about this later.

Tickets booked (again)!

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

But this time I’m not going alone!

Black Marlin

We leave for Bangkok on Christmas Eve, with Thai Airways (yay!). Back January 20th, which should give John time to sort out his interviews.

Now I have to sort out the diving…

Why Tourism Gets In The Way of travelling

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Langkawi beach, palms

Recently, I watched a two-parter on the BBC about a woman and her plucky field-tech who studied red-capped mangabeys in Gabon. (The tech was the ingenious one, but he kept referring to his boss as ‘the doctor’ as if she was some female time lord). The woman was virtually rubbing her hands at the thought that people would pay “thousands of pounds” to come and see the monkeys.

I hope not, because if they do it would almost certainly destroy the small local community. But they probably won’t. People are paying thousands of pounds to interact with chimpanzees or gorillas—red-capped mangabeys or manatees don’t come even close. Unless, perhaps, you let them play with the pulley system that draws water from the stream and allow them feed in a few bits of data so that they, too, can feel like real adventurers and scientists.

And there is the problem with tourism, be it eco or otherwise. We’re expected to turn up, hand over fistfuls of money, and in return the operators/locals will put up with us for a few days and then we can kindly piss off again.

My problem is that my money is short and has to last a long time. I’m a winter refugee. I just want somewhere to stay that doesn’t give me SAD and the flu. If there is something interesting to do—or if I can contribute in some way—so much the better. But I don’t want to ‘contribute’ by handing over all my moolah to some dubious eco-charity. Even if I had any to spare, I’m tired of the tourist traps and the touts.

If I don’t go to Bangladesh this winter, you’ll probably find me on the west coast of Thailand or somewhere in Cambodia (although the idea of having to do Angkor Wat is putting me off). I want to chill for a few months and be left alone. That’s all.

Work Talk, or How Biology Ticks

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Actually, the fledgling AI wasn’t on the list of trends I wanted to discuss. Talk about the elephant in the room.

It’s probably because hubby and I had a row about his working hours. He must have come close to a hundred a week. I’m not kidding. He summed it up thus, “Last week I clocked up sixty hours of CPU time.”

“So what? I clock up a few myself when Firefox freezes or Jarte goes into a sulk because I type ‘control-t’ for a new tab and it tries to access the online thesaurus instead.” It’s ‘control-n’ for new file. Jeez.

“No, I mean I clocked up sixty hours of meaningful CPU time on an eight core machine. It was processing.”

“Hrmph.” I shrugged.

“You never take any interest in my work!”

Now wait a minute! I thought we had agreed not to talk about work. Every time I—”

He dismissed me with a wave. “I still know more about any of your projects than you care to remember.”

That is true. I don’t have his memory. “Yeah, but compared to computer programming, biology is easy to understand. I need a degree in computer science to follow what you do. Biology’s intuitive. But doing it is another matter.”

And that brings me neatly to the next item on the list.
[read on]