“The New Year is a painting not yet painted; a path not yet stepped on; a wing not yet taken off! Things haven’t happened as yet! Before the clock strikes twelve, remember that you are blessed with the ability to reshape your life!”
Mehmet Murat Ildan
I said I wasn’t going to do New Year’s resolutions.
But I knew that if I didn’t write things down, if I didn’t list things down, I would start the year without a rough plan. And the people who know me well know that I love a list!
If you follow me on Instgram (and if you don’t, please do! I’m @yellywelly), you’ll know that I more often than not story my trials and tribulations on the work commute that is the Greater Anglia service under the hashtag #girlonthetrainfeels.
I’ve been using that hashtag for about 3 or so years now. It’s has basically been my whinge board for all things related to my morning and evening commute on Greater Anglia. Sometimes it’s just short videos of my train swooshing past pretty Essex fields, and sometimes (well, okay, most of the time) it’s me complaining about the delays on the service, but sometimes I share my thoughts on the passengers I share the train with. Once, a lady got on the train from Stratford with the biggest Nemo balloon that I’d ever seen. You can guess what my caption was (something about finding Nemo…of course!).
I have an hourlong commute to work (I get on at Harwich and get off at Chelmsford) so it’s necessary to find ways to entertain myself. I normally allow my mind to float away on flights of fancy. I like to give nicknames to the people I come across on the train. I wonder about their lives or why they behave the way they do on the train. There are the train regulars like Colonel Mustard, Mr and Mrs Coughie, Lady Tosser, Cath (Kidston), Ichabod Crane…
These, of course, aren’t their real names. I just call these names because of how they dress or behave.
Tomorrow is the First of July, which means, of course, that half of the year has been and gone.
I know at the beginning of the year I said that I wouldn’t write down goals this year. Because I always don’t finish. I’m horrible at follow through when it’s something I have to do for myself. I have trouble keeping on track on my work to-do lists most times. I always break that vow at the end of January and I always end up writing down the things I want to do for the year.
But this year, funnily, I stuck to my guns. I’ve resisted the urge to write down my goals. Even when the little voice in my head demanded that I do so to have direction (I’m a list writer. I need lists!). I think I need to see my goals to nudge me out of the inertia.
I used to write things down in my diary and have a mood board. I think I needed the visual prompts to keep me on track.
Do you write down your goals? What’s your goal setting style? Care to share success tips?
Yes I am writing again. And no, I didn’t go on a writing sabbatical (as is my perennial excuse for being a lazy so and so).
I just haven’t been visited by the writing muses lately and real life adulting has been keeping me busy and most days absolutely shattered. By the time I get home, I’m more than ready to go to bed. But of course, there’s still dinner to be made and eaten and dishes to be washed. Some days, I really would just like to get in, lock the door behind me, take of my shoes, put down my bag, take a shower and go to bed. I’ve neglected all forms of creative pursuits – writing, crocheting, sewing. All my creative endeavours have been put on an extended pause until I find the motivation to start working with my hands again.
I’ve been feeling very down in the dumps lately. Maybe it’s the hay fever, but I feel like I have this blanket of general dissatisfaction about everything weighing me down. I try to busy myself and just keep my head down and just keep chugging along, ticking off one task after the other. If I keep myself busy, I stop noticing the little things that make me grind my teeth in annoyance. I try to smile through everything, be kind, be helpful, be pleasant and biddable, because that’s what’s expected (and I know that it’s not good for my mental health, all this tamping down of feelings). But there are days when I just want to shout in frustration and demand that people take care of me for a change. I keep wondering whether people would notice if I disappeared. I know…dark thoughts. I’m probably just feeling a bit neglected, taken for granted and a little invisible.
I do, however, want to write more. I have a hashtag that I use a lot on my Instagram stories (please follow me — I’m @yellywelly on Instagram and Twitter) – #girlonthetrainfeels. Yes, very, very inspired by Paula Hawkins’ book The Girl On The Train, which I loved and read several times over. Because, I am, for all intents and purposes a girl on the train. I commute to work on a train. I’ve been asked by people to write about my train journeys because my Instagram stories make them laugh.
I need to get writing. What I’m afraid if is that people will think I’m mean. Because I make up names for the people that get on the same train as me – the regulars. I also wonder about them, and have observations. I don’t think I’m being mean-spirited. It’s just a bit of fun on the train whilst I’m waiting for the train to roll onto my platform so I can get off and go to work.
I wonder if people will be interested in reading my stories and musings….
“I wanted to see you again, touch you, know who you were, see if I would find you identical with the ideal image of you which had remained with me and perhaps shatter my dream with the aid of reality.-Claude Frollo ” ― Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame
When I visited Paris, I said to myself the next time I went, I would buy myself a ticket to go around Notre Dame, to walk through its aisles, to gaze up at the beautiful rose windows, to crane my neck and stare at the beautiful flying buttresses that have held my imagination ever since I learned about them during a Humanities class in high school, to climb as high was what was permitted to gaze at Paris from its heights. The last time, I stared at Notre Dame from a seat in the square just in front of the cathedral and I imagined how much I would enjoy myself during the next trip with quite possibly a day adoring the beautiful Lady of Paris.
I can’t be sure I can do that now. Because the beloved cathedral that has stood the test of 850 years and has watched Paris evolved is burning. My heart breaks as I watch the breaking news on telly. The beautiful spire that has towered over the roofs and the nave collapsed as the world watched. I’ve read from reports that the gargoyles were seen tumbling down from their lofty posts.
I’m going to stop watching the news now. I don’t think I can bear hearing about the flying buttresses collapsing. I know that Paris can rebuild, as it often has, because it survives and it evolves. But even if they rebuild The Lady, it will never be the same again.
I’m going to try (very hard) to remember Paris and Notre Dame the way I saw Notre Dame last. Beautifully incandescent in the unexpected Parisian sunshine and blue skies 💔
We went to London to visit friends and to see friends and catch some of the light installations that make up the Canary Wharf Winter Lights.
As always, all great plans can go by the wayside. Even though we planned to see light installations. Notice the “s”? Yep, denoting that we intended to see more than one light installations. We only saw Submergence by Squidsoup though. I’m not complaining though. It was great evening filled with laughter and lovely company and I even got to meet some people I follow on Instagram in real life!
If you’re in London and can get to Canary Wharf, the lights get switched on at 5PM and get switched off at 10PM. Winter Lights is running until this Saturday, 26 January.
We got home really late last night…or early this morning if you want to be specific. So I’m feeling a bit lazy this evening. I’ve got to get ready for work tomorrow so I guess I need to do a few things…aka housework! It’s been a really quick weekend and I’m having to play catch up! But hopefully this week will be kinder than I think it’s going to be!
This week has been quite the busy week, with the days whooshing past.
Because I work at an accountants, I do want to ask this question: have you filed your taxes already? The deadline for the Self Assessment 2018 tax return is on 31 January 2019. For everyone salaried, we don’t necessarily have to worry about this, but if you do self assessment, I would suggest filing sooner than later. The HMRC website has known to crash on the deadline date because a lot of people leave it until the last possible moment. For more information, you can go to the HMRC website.
Public service announcement done.
In other news, I’ve almost finished The Silent Companions! Pretty good going eh, since I’m aiming to read at least 24 books this year! What are you reading?
Since Christmas I’ve been battling a flu-ey thing. The minute I think I’ve kicked it, it rears its ugly head. So for a little while it’ll have to be quiet evenings at home, on the couch, reading, browsing on the internet, binge watching and staring mindlessly at the telly. This is probably the human version of hibernation: head down, nose relatively snotty and travel only done when absolutely required (in my case it’s home to work to home!).
Even though I’ve been sleeping in (and apparently, there is scientific evidence that sleeping in to catch up on sleep may be a good thing), I’m still feeling very blecchy. Are you ready for the work week? Are we all ever ready anyway?
If you’ve got any tips for easing myself out of this schlumpy mood, am all ears!
New year and new (recycled) resolutions. Have you written written down yours?
I’ve said I would, this year, do the following:
Write more (either blog or journal, although, great Instagram captions might apply?)
Get healthy (no that’s not a metaphor for me gaining weight, on the contrary, I need to lose weight, lower my blood sugar levels and move more)
Take more photographs (for the blog, for Instagram and for my personal development)
Finish the Instaretreat (I am such a good starter but a very weak finisher. I need help and motivation!)
Bake and cook more (and write about it, hey, it’s two birds with one stone! Yay me!)
I’ve been busy with real life and the past few weeks have been quite the challenge. I have been adjusting to my new meds (that’s another blog, in itself. But it takes courage to write it down for all and sundry to see. I’m not quite that brave yet!), and they make me really sluggish. But I’m trying to find ways to deal with the sluggishness and the excuses I make for being stuck in the inertia of inactivity.
The week started with me hitting the ground running. It was a short week, but was it ever so busy. The work just kept running and I just felt that some of the people I worked for were throwing stuff at me because they wanted to hold my attention for longer. I used to work for just one person but now that I’m working for 3 directors, someone feels a little less looked after. Bless! I can be magnanimous now but at times this week, I’ve had to bite my tongue and sit on my hands and give in to my desire to say, “Hey, I know what you’re up to, and I’m not falling for the rank-pulling! What are you, five?!” But I didn’t…and I am proud of myself.
I’ve put together a book list and I’ve started with a humdinger of a read. I’m reading Laura Purcell’s The Silent Companions. Have you read it? What are your thoughts? Unlike some people, I don’t mind spoilers because I do get stuck in and despite knowing the end, I still, somehow, get surprised (if there is an unexpected twist). Opinions are welcome! Oh and if you are reading something, what are you reading? I’m curious!
The kitchen in my tiny little flat has been busy this weekend. I’ve actually managed to make banana jam. Why banana jam, you ask? Because Alan and I went to Yotam Ottolenghi’s Spitalfields restaurant and I fell in love with the banana jam (it’s slathered on that lovely piece of sourdough on the the left in the picture below).
Alan found the recipe and I couldn’t believe something delicious only had 5 ingredients and it was so easy to do! I’ll have to remember not to scarf down my banana jam-laden piece of toast and take a photo for the blog (and my food IG account @yellyeats…yep, I’m not ashamed to self promote!). I’m told (by the blog I read it from) that this recipe isn’t in any of Ottolenghi’s books so if you’re interested in making it, the recipe I used Belleau Kitchen’s measurements and it’s ever so yummy. I will, however, take a page from Dominic’s book and tweak it so that it becomes my version of the recipe. I do have a few more bananas left so I guess that means I’m baking banana bread again!
In terms of health, I am going to charge up my Fitbit again and start counting steps again. I’m going for 10,000 steps or more every day. Fingers crossed!
I’ve got to stop now as I do need to finish washing up and making a fish pie for supper. It’s been a lazy weekend but a busy one too! What have you been up to?
These days, I think I keep saying it more and more often. That the days are all rushing past me. It is once again, the official start of Christmas (mind you, in Manila, Christmas starts as soon as 1 September!. Yes, September! I know! Crazy right?)
I can’t wait to get back to London to see the lovely lights that were switched on a couple of weeks ago!
What Christmas traditions do you have that starts as soon as December rounds the corner?
Thank you to all my 200 followers. To those who read the entries and comment. To those who read but wonder whether I want to hear from you. To those who read. I am so thankful for all of you who have joined me on this wild and wonderful journey.
If in doubt, shout! Because I would love to hear from you! ❤️