I like words, so going on a Plain English course last week made me happy as a pig in mud. I'm obsessed with how people say what they mean and in return guard my words to the point of mania. Conversations with Tommy (aged 3) are making me even worse. For someone who doesn't know many of them he has a way with words - economical, precise (his 'I want something special and delicious' has passed into common usage) and pedantic as all hell. He pointed out that white chocolate isn't white, and a greenhouse isn't green, and when I had the temerity to suggest that a man building a fence was making a noise he told me 'No, it's his hammer'. I like the words he puts together ('man with big elbows', 'my hair's cold', 'my socks hurt'), and the words he mangles ('restronaut', 'wait a mitten', 'bixit').
More words to play with:
Things to make and do:
3 bloggers (Salam Pax, Rhodri Marsden, Gregor Wright) on the whys and wherefores of blogging (commissioned by Franz Ferdinand in Monday's Guardian). They make a lot of sense, but I wish people (the media mainly) could get past the whole blogs/ego thing, and stop talking about blogs like they're all the same. There are so many different types, with a lot of great ones (like things, Scrubbles, Idle Type) dealing less with the personal and more with the life.
People write for all kinds of reasons, all kinds of ways, about all sorts of different things. Why I want to read something seems a lot more interesting than why someone wants to write it. It's fascinating how you can get a sense of someone's personality in a couple of paragraphs while they talk about something completely mundane. Thinking about it, blogs are just like people; some I take an instant shine to, some make me want to run a mile, with slow-burners and wallflowers in between.
My favourite blog du jour is The Deep North, which is Scottish and working in the garden, much like myself at the moment. Another favourite, The Diary of a Nobody is having trouble with his radishes. Other gardening links: How to have a 'green' garden and Retro gardening.
Two of my favourite things: chocolate + packaging = The Chocolate Wrappers Museum (via Coudal). [I tried to link to some directly but can't - try Belarus and the Czech Republic for starters]. I have quite a collection of foreign sweet papers, which I've meant to work into a special if I can ever find more than three at a time. I'm also missing some favourites since moving house. If there's anyone from Norway, Spain, Australia or New Zealand reading this, who would be willing to eat some chocolate for me, please get in touch.
And more again:
It's a shame that Morecambe gets such a bad press. It was the first stop on I like's road trip last week and had everything the discerning holidaymaker requires. Alongside the faded glamour of the Midland Hotel and classic seaside caff Brucciani's there is spectacular tack like the Polo Tower, still standing although sadly out of commission. And what problem can't be solved by a jug of tea? While there's still a sense of genteel decline, the jetty is spick and span, the Eric Morecambe statue is charming, with one-liners etched into the ground ("They'll never sell ice cream going at that speed") and overall it feels like Morecambe is turning a corner with the restoration of the Midland looking hopeful.
When it got to closing time, we headed off to find the ruins of Pontins Middleton Tower (nicely featured in I know where I'm going). The camp's, ahem, flagship nightclub, named after the SS Berengaria (which received the first television broadcast by radio in 1928) is left adrift on a sea of broken chalets. It would break your heart really. Somewhere so amazing and so huge, built for the sole purpose of having fun, just lying abandoned. Imagine having Bowlie in that...
"Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day?" Yup, guilty (not that I ever get it). Caring for your introvert (via Beautiful stuff). Similarly, my kinda place: Introvertster, the online anti-social non-networking community.
Regular readers may be under the impression that I like is on permanent vacation, but today I really am going on holiday. To get in the mood have a look at:
Seaside history - this British site looks invaluable with lots of great info and some lovely pictures of hotels and seaside architecture. Also links to other sites about lidos and Great British piers. Lovely stuff.
Follow the sun: Australian travel posters 1930s-1950s: some lovely things here like these Sturt's Desert Peas
Vintage luggage labels - a wonderful, comprehensive site with some beautiful illustrations
Dome-o-Rama - a fitting tribute to 'tourism's single greatest contribution', the snowstorm.
Back in a week or so.
First of the month so there are new likes and a new photo album. Long overdue this time, some photos from a "summer" "holiday" in Bulgaria last October. We didn't intend to go there particularly, just wanted something cheap and last minute. It sounded quite exciting but turned out to be a total disaster with nothing to do, terrible weather and a glowering populace who seemed quite put out that we were there. More details and some nice pics of bouncy castles, Cyrillic signs and Eastern European architecture at I (don't) like Bulgaria.
March 2004 >>>
I know where I'm going: a guide to Morecambe and Heysham by Michael Bracewell and Linder.
Lovely looking book about the history of the Morecambe coast by cultural commentator Michael Bracewell and Morrissey's best pal Linder.
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. A magical children's books.