Sunday, 31 August 2008

Urban Assault

This morning I thought "I should really find something of local interest to write about, because there are only so many posts that refer to Billie Piper's eyebrows I can compose without completely alienating everyone." Alienating! Billie Piper! Geddit? No? I don't blame you. It was very poor.

Anyway, with that premise in mind I did a quick search in Google in an attempt to find some inspiration, and found this, which, if you're interested, is followed by this. This is a hotel that never looked salubrious, but these photographs chronicling its decay into ideal horror film location are fascinating. And a little scary, because it's not very far away, and I can't get the theme from Psycho out of my head now.

I wandered around the Urban Assault site viewing photographs of various derelict buildings filled with a mixture of wanting to look over my shoulder the whole time, feeling like a child who has disobeyed a clear parental "Don't go into the woods!" order, because it's clearly illegal for people to be doing that, not to mention dangerous in a "might get killed by falling masonry or shot by someone out of Pulp Fiction" way, and being completely fascinated by the evocative strength of some of the images and the fabulous photography. I found High Royds Hospital (originally West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum when it was opened in 1888, according to the poster) particularly spine chilling; looking at those photographs gave me an uncomfortable feeling similar to that evoked by visiting Alcatraz. (Yes, really. I went somewhere interesting once). Lo and behold, the tiniest bit more research reveals that High Royds has indeed been the location for a creepy film. At least it sounds pretty creepy - I haven't seen it. And since I'm still trying to exorcise Norman Bates from my head as a result of looking at a few completely Psycho-unrelated photographs, I don't think I'll be popping to Blockbuster for it any time soon.

Saturday, 30 August 2008


So here I am again, determined to breathe new life into my blog, and to not become distracted by such trivial details as not being able to think of anything remotely interesting or engaging to write about.

I'd love to say that my difficulty in thinking of something worthwhile to write about was writer's block or some other temptingly named paralysis in which artistic personages temporarily find themselves gripped whilst they agonise over the creative process, but the truth is that I'm just rather dull.

I read a post by Wife in the North yesterday - an old post, as I started reading her blog from the beginning - that resonated perfectly with me. How glamorous other people are! How on earth do they find time to write blogs? Perhaps when you have a thousand glamorous things to write about it's easy to knock out a blog post because you're bursting with interesting things to tell people. But then I suppose the trade off must be that it must take up precious time in your hectic schedule of glamour to decide which of the day's glamorous events to write about. I'm so non-glamorous that I don't even have any similes for glamorous, hence the wretched overuse of the word 'glamorous' in this paragraph.

If Petite Anglaise and Belle de Jour are the filmstars of blogging (and by the way, there's the Billie Piper connection again - only this time I shouldn't imagine anyone was looking at her eyebrows) then I am more like the Coronation Street equivalent. And I don't mean stylish Maria or sassy Carla Connor. Oh no. I don't mean that one who was in that made-up band thing. I don't even mean Deirdre or Janice Battersby. No, in the blogging glamour stakes, I am the equivalent of Blanche.

Friday, 29 August 2008


Today I realised how much I have neglected this poor blog. It has been left tied to a lamp post, forlorn and forgotten, in the manner of one of those sweet-faced, slightly scruffy dogs shown on Blue Cross adverts who have been carelessly and cruelly abandoned by their evil owners. Those are naturally the kind of dogs who have never chewed the sofa, never savagely bitten the postman's index finger off, and who most definitely have never placed their furry behinds on a bus seat thereby offending people who write to the local paper. This blog is not guilty of any of those crimes either, and deserves a more careful owner than the one who had to ask her friends if they remembered the web address for it because she decided she wanted to write something this evening. And then had to Google it because those friends, who are the only people who ever read this blog at the best of times, couldn't remember either owing to the lack of activity here for all these months.

It was Wife In The North who inspired me to blog again. Well actually, it was my friend Claire, who read Wife In The North's book. Anyway, it made me think "I haven't written my blog for a while" and then I looked (after googling) and realised I haven't written since May. Shame on me.

There has been a problem.

When I first started this blog, I was very enthusiastic. I was hugely excited by the linking of a TV blog from The Guardian to mine; they linked to my post about the performances of Billie Piper and her eyebrows in Mansfield Park. Shortly afterwards, I was again hugely excited by one of my blog posts being picked to appear in Shaggy Blog Stories. Then, between the printing of Shaggy Blog Stories and its arrival through the letter box - a matter of days - my father died. He didn't see my contribution to the book. I didn't even get chance to tell him about it. I lost my enthusiasm for blogging. It had lost its lustre.

The thing is, I know that my Dad would be upset to think that I'd stopped doing something I enjoyed doing because of him. I'm just not sure I can separate the link between my enjoyment of writing this blog and his loss in my mind. But I owe it to him to at least try.

By the way, my post about Billie was less than complimentary but in general I like her very much despite her non-Austenesque eyebrows. So I feel slightly guilty that it has been people googling her (and her facial hair) that has brought the greatest number of hits to this blog. In fact, if you Google "Billie Piper eyebrows" then this site is first on the list. There's a fascinating factoid for you! In an interesting contrast, people searching for articles about Heather Mills have been entirely absent.

So. By way of a brief update on us, we still live here by the canalside but my toddler cannot be described as a toddler any longer. He is a 3 year old little boy with many, many opinions and much to say for himself. People are still charmed by him on the whole. The dentist's receptionist certainly was the other day as he told her all about the way he looks after his teeth - and how Mummy doesn't, and therefore needs one of hers removed. She did become slightly less enamoured with him, however, when he suddenly reached out and pressed a random button on the calculator on which she was almost finished calculating the day's takings and lost all her figures. Being a dental professional probably came in handy at that moment, when she managed to keep the sparking smile on her face like the professional she is, and grit her teeth simultaneously.