Train doodling


Some doodling from last week

Mindless doodles to fill the journey

Some time it will occur to me to doodle something useful!

Packed in like sardines, or just a red herring? (at least this was OF something!)


Week in Flowers, 2nd – 8th April

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It seems most of the photos I’ve taken this week have been of sugary sweet flowers…

Candy Floss Cherries

Lemon Sherbert Forsythia

Apricot Quince

Frothy Cream cherries

Candied Violets

Lollipop sea pinks


In conversation


Maybe it was because my friends, family and uni lecturers feared I’d be sensitive and take something the wrong way, but for whatever reason, last year anything mental related was strictly avoided in everyday conversations. So now at work, with people that don’t know about my past wobbles, I am caught off guard the way mental health speak is flippantly flung. Just within this past week…

I was being briefed on a new project north of London and at the end commented that I couldn’t get over how much the map of Epping Forest District reminded me of a taxidermied West Highland terrier’s head mounted on a wall.  The response? “Goodness what would a psychiatrist make of that?”

It heartens me to be fairly certain that a psychiatrist wouldn’t care less one way or another if it reminded me of a flying rat’s ass!

I know I’m not a fan of cold (or even luke warm) tea. So I was a bit grossed out when I’d offered to make fresh tea and then see my boss gulp down the last bit of his tea, which had been sitting around for at least quite a while, to give me his empty mug. Another colleague commented, “God you’d think you had a phobia of drinking tea, the way you recoiled with horror watching him!”

I may shiver at something, and can’t see why someone would want to drink something so disgusting when I’d just offered to make some fresh tea, but really, if they think that was a phobic reaction, I’d like to see what they’d make of someone’s real panic attack!

I was trying to explain a piece of work, but as I didn’t understand the work myself and knew she would have a better grip of it herself, I was having a hard time explaining and my words were all in a jumble (normal thing. I remember a uni tutor explaining she could mark any essay because ultimately if it makes sense, we clearly understood the subject and therefore she could trust that what we wrote was good, regardless of whether the topic was in her research area. Annoying that essentially it was our grasp of the English language that would affect our geography grade, but actually there is a grain of truth in her argument).

Anyway, another person overheard me and suggested I ‘might like to take time off for stress’. Haha very funny. I don’t think he knew that the previous time that had been suggested, they’d been dead serious.

By the way, try arguing that Epping Forest District doesn’t look like a highland terrier! (Or that the next time you see a westie in profile view, that it doesn’t look like Epping Forest District!):

Epping the Westie. Maybe with a touch of Schnauzer thrown in too.


Some photos: 19th-31st March


Ideas I’d like to write down as blog posts keep flitting through my mind but I can’t seem to get them down as anything intelligible. (Sorry that didn’t even make sense!) So here instead is a random selection of things I’ve seen, made or noticed from the past couple of weeks.

Monday 19th Frost Again

Tuesday 20th March. From frost to warm blue sunshine, could almost imagine this as the Ipswich Riviera

Wednesday 21st. The flowering quince by the office is bursting with gleaming white flowers

Friday 23rd March. Mud Reflections and two Shelducks.

Friday 23rd. I made houmous!

Saturday 24th March. Aren't these tiny flowers on the mossy wall adorable?

Saturday 24th March. Venus and Jupiter were particularly bright, especially considering this is still twilight. The moon like a sliver of fingernail. Though it did occur to me that the street light is still far far brighter, why isn't that considered so worthy of note?

Sunday, 25th March. I played tourist today with my aunt, we visited the National Trust's Sutton Hoo ship burial ground. This is a replica of the Dark Ages mask found in the burial, the archaeologists had to piece it together from more than 4,000 broken fragments!

Monday, 26th March. Glittering light on the water.

Thursday 29th March. Pastel evening light. A family were sat on this bench with a picnic on my way back. I didn't want to intrude with another photo, but they made the scene quite idyllic!

Friday 30th March. A character-ful building. I only had my little snap camera but I can imagine there are lots of photographic possibilities here.

Saturday 31st March. While out with the running club earlier in the week, discovered this little boardwalk through the reeds. I came back with my camera but found it's not very photogenic with the reeds so tall and obscuring any river views!

Finally some more houmous to end the month. I think I could be quite comfortably self-sufficient if houmous was a fully nourishing meal!



It’s all just like…playing on monkey bars

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It started as a flippant description of how I was feeling about work – my friend described his graduate job as driving a car with no windows – I felt mine was like playing uncomfortably on monkey bars in the wind. However the past couple of months or so I feel like that description is taking on a life of its own. It’s scary how accurately is describes everything I do, not just with work….

Like playing on monkey bars in the playground, whatever I’m doing, whether work or life, I should be enjoying it. It’s meant to be fun, people ask how I am and expect a positive response.

After all the lunchtimes of playing on the monkey bars, or years of living experience, years of training, I should be used to it by now, even good at it.

But in reality, it’s pretty tough! Muscles strain in the arms, the metal grips are cold and uncomfortable. Gusts of wind whistle past to knock you off balance. Things I should have predicted, but didn’t see coming. A few gusts from the past week: trying to cancel Virgin Media account from where I moved out of over 6months ago…DPA=nightmare. Discovering that my (foreign) driver’s licence expired on my birthday and I can’t renew it til I’m physically at home again. Empty fridge, dirty laundry. Forgetting 10 hours or so on my timesheet at work and now no idea what to write down.

There are so many things that knock me off balance, which make me just want to hide in a corner til their gone. Except I can’t, life doesn’t work like that. Like on monkey bars, you can’t just go away and come back to the same point. For a start, the ground is a long way down, and there’s already a queue of children behind you ready to take your place. The only thing to do is to grip a bit tighter for a bit.

At the moment I’m lucky enough to have parents and family willing to help out, even from 1,000’s miles away. Like the teacher’s hands helping hold me up when I get stuck. But really I’m getting a bit old for people to have to drive hours on ‘mercy missions’ (as my aunts call them, I’m very grateful though I think that’s a bit melodramatic) to sort me out, and anyway, like on the monkey bars, needing help takes away the fun after a while!

During lulls, the constant uncomfortableness goes away a tiny bit when I release my grip and take a swing forwards, yet that then opens the perils of dangling over a dusty hard floor that can only be painful and isn’t where I want to be, it’s what I’ve worked hard to avoid. Working my way along the monkey bars is so difficult and exhausting. It seems endless and the only end in sight is the end: where it drops off and the game is over. done. finito. Back to earth, 6 feet under. each rung past can only be celebrated in terms of having left the previous rung. Or getting one more rung towards the end. Either way not a very reassuring celebration.

It’s not all negative – on the up side, sometimes you can get into a nice rhythm, swinging from one rung to the next. Building up momentum each bar seems easier to reach, it’s practically fun as you twist your hips side to side, you bet that people watching think you’re pretty cool and want to be like you. At some point though, there’s the sting of lactic acid building up, another gust of wind comes, someone laughs when they see your zipper half down. And it all starts again.

The words ‘self fulfilling prophecy’ come to mind (SG’s – Stress Guy’s – favourite phrase). I need to find a more appealing image and maybe that will help a tiny bit. Maybe, I live in hope. On the whole it is a fun game. If it weren’t, I’d just hop off and play on the see-saw, right?

Or I just need to get a grip…

‘Scuse me while I get my 9 hours sleep


For the past 366 days I’ve kept a mood and sleep diary (thanks to It might have produced some interesting data for a school maths project. But since I’ve obliterated all memory of statistics, here’s a simple graph I’ll keep in mind:


9 hours Good. 2 and 13 hours Bad.

An updated graph: When I looked at that graph last night I thought it wasn’t telling much of the story. (For a start I was surprised the figures were not more positive, after all 22nd March 2011 was after starting mirtazapine. The graph would have been more exciting if I’d kept it in the preceding months!) But averages are averages they’ll make almost any bump look flat.  This graph, which shows all the days, shows the relationship is a little bit more chaotic! Though the trend line did still find the pattern of my first graph:

One thing to conclude is a happier day requires 6+ hours sleep, but sleep on its own won't make that happen. Shucks that's too easy I guess.

Seeing the good: Week in Pictures – 12th-18th March


Pne of Dream Electric’s recent posts, ‘Three Good Things – The Positive Data-Log’ struck a chord with me – it was what Celine (CBT Lady) encouraged me to do back in June last year, and what I aimed to do by starting the challenge of photographing what I did or saw each day! I find have a tendency to automatically see the bad side of things, so challenged myself to end each caption on a positive note, regardless of how it started out. It must be a positive thing to be able to do that (see what  I did there?!)!

Monday, 12th March: I've been keeping an eye on the buds on the shrub by the office door,. Reassuringly they'd sprung open over the weekend.

Tuesday, 13th March. This photo is meant to represent my Tuesday night running activity (our club runs start and finish at this tennis club but). After feeling a bit knocked by one of my bosses telling me my drawings weren't good enough, I appreciated going running and being competently able to put one foot in front of the other!

Wednesday, 14th March - Juicy kiwi berries (basically what it says on the tin: grape sized very sweet kiwis, eaten whole!) were on a sale offer at Budgens today, seemed very exotic in a corner of Suffolk!

Thursday 15th March: My birthday! Went to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel at the old fashioned but perfectly decent Riverside theatre. Although at 26 I have to accept that I'm more than a quarter the way through my life, the pensioners in the film made me feel young still!

Friday 16th: Hazy Sunshine. I tried to line the sun up as a light bulb on the mast, but then forgot and missed half of it from the frame! I hope you still get the idea.

Saturday 17th: Came back from three hours of rowing to find I'd 'locked' my bike like this! Though I was thoroughly frustrated with myself for being so inoompetient, I did sort of persuade myself to see the funny side of it (my post on FB got quite a few '*likes*) and to be grateful that I live in a fairly civilized town with an undesirable 10pound granny bike.

Sunday 18th: I visited the Beth Chatto Gardens in Essex. It's a quiet time of year for the gardens, but the woodland bulbs and scree garden sempervirens were worth the logistics of 3 trains and a cycle ride to get there!

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