My (slightly crazy) view of the world

Archive for January, 2011

It’s A Twin Thing

Being one half of a set of twins (yep, that’s us above. And yes, in clothes that look like they were intended for children half our age – Mum? Really? What was going on here? The jumper cuffs don’t even reach our wrists, and are our trousers REALLY tucked into our socks?! Oh, the shame…), people often ask, “What does it (being a twin) feel like? Is it strange? How do you feel about it?”

Hmmm. Well, if you really want to know: we have telepathic powers when in the same room, send messages to each other when apart via the secret ‘Twin Pigeon’ – the existence of which only real twins have any knowledge – and if you look really carefully, you’ll see our backs are actually blue, scaly and slimy. Our tongues are forked, too…

I’m kidding, silly!

(‘Twin Pigeon’. Honestly.)

Seriously, though: “How do I feel about it?” Is it me, or is that just a really odd question? I don’t think I have ever approached someone and said, “You have a sister? How do you feeeeel about that?”

That aside, I have decided to answer this question on my blog, for all you curious non-twin individuals to read.

‘Cos I’m nice like that 😉

So, being a twin. It’s pretty cool, I guess. We’re not identical, my twin is male, and I – as you know – am female. So we never actually had the opportunity to do the whole ‘freak people out’ thing. Which is a shame. I reckon that would have been really entertaining (for us, not so much our ‘victims’ – cue evil laugh). Imagine if my employer wasn’t aware I had an identical twin; we could have worked half the working week each 😉 (I realise this wouldn’t be a particularly viable option, what with two people living off one salary, etc, but oh, imagine the fun!)

The thing about being a twin is, you never feel like you’re alone in the world; no matter where you are, there is always the other ‘half’ of you somewhere. It’s pretty difficult to explain to someone who isn’t a twin (pretty crappy idea for a post then, Belle…), but together you’re a whole – apart, you’re a half.

Does that make sense? Nah, thought not :-/

The same people who say to me, “I can’t imagine being a twin,” are the people I tell, “I can’t imagine NOT being a twin.” To wake up on your birthday as a child, and not be excited to rush into the other bedroom and say “Happy Birthday!” before your twin sibling can – or indeed as an adult, to beat each other to the birthday phone call; to not go through your first years of school in the same classes, copy each others homework, or share the feeling of freedom on the final day of school.
To me, that seems really, well, quite lonely.

Don’t get me wrong though, we had our spats – oh, did we just. And given I have three sisters (two older, one younger – our ‘baby’ of the family – spare a thought for my poor brother here, please; with his only siblings being four females, you can imagine who got/gets picked on the most) I found I spent more time with them than my brother, but that’s not to say we aren’t close. We are. But where I speak with my sisters on a daily basis, my brother and I can go weeks without a phone call, then pick right up where we left off.
There were also the moments of being referred to as ‘The Twins’, as though our individual names were no longer necessary: “’The Twins’ like that film”, “Would ‘The Twins’ like to come round our house?”, “Can you tell ‘The Twins’ that dinner is ready?”…
And the matching outfits! Oooh, the matching outfits… (and here come the flashbacks)

Looking at us, you’d never believe we are twins – we couldn’t look more opposite if we tried – I am a short-arse, he is 6 feet tall, I have blue eyes, he has…hmm… I’m not too sure what he has, actually (whoops!), but I know they aren’t blue!
He is caring, quiet and thoughtful; I am loud, excitable, and at times, a little brash.
But our similarities lie within our love for creativity (writing for me, art and design for him), our need to be the very best at everything we do, our desire to ensure everyone we love are as happy as possible, and our personalities – quite simply, we are both fun loving, energetic, craaaazy people 🙂

So yeah, being a twin. Not much different to having a brother or sister, really, but with that extra sprinkling of ‘special’.

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Hey! Is that your cat eyeballing my cat?!

Prior to getting my two utterly gorgeous, beautiful, and darn-right purrrrfect (oh dear lord, I actually just did that, didnt I? I hang my head in shame) cats a year and a half ago, I wasn’t much of a ‘cat girl’, to be honest. They just didn’t really interest me. Dog? Sure. Cat? Meh.

I am sure we are all aware of at least one of ‘those’ sort of people – you know, the one who idolises his/her cat(s) and treats them as though they are in fact their biological child(ren)? Who go to work with camera phones filled to full capacity with photos of their ‘babies’, ready to thrust in the face of anyone demonstrating even the slightest bit of interest in cats (it doesn’t really take much – just using the word ‘cat’ in a sentence will usually reward you with an hours worth of ‘kitty pic’s’ – “And heres one of Fluffy with a sock! And here’s one of Fluffy with a ball! And here’s one of Fluffy licking his own arse! And here’s …” yawn yawn yawn).

I couldn’t think of anything worse, to be honest. An animal that comes home having spent most of the day roaming the streets, demanding food in a manner that might make one wonder who, exactly, is the owner, and who the pet? An animal that spends most of its time (once food has been demanded and ‘served’) in the house fast asleep, before leaving again for hours on end (having left wonderful ‘presents’ of yacked-up fur on your sofa) on its quest to roam some more, maybe attempt to carelessly shag around, and unabashedly poo wherever might take it’s fancy?

Affection? Only if it wants to be stroked. Loyalty? I can pretty much guarantee if you were stood in one corner of a room, a stranger (to the cat, not you, silly) in another corner, but armed with a palm full of some nice little kitty treats, I am sure – almost certain (in fact, I would go as far as betting my…erm… (hmm, there is a chance I could lose here..).. Aha! My ‘funky’ wrapping paper collection – what? Its good!) – they would abandon you – their lovely, loyal, caring owner – and head straight to the arms of the treat-offering stranger. Traitor.

So imagine my surprise, upon deciding to get two (yes, not one, but two) cats for company (my partner spends a lot of his spare time fishing, and, rather pathetically, I started to whine like a small toddler that I felt lonely, and disliked being “so alone I could cry!” Yeah, a few glasses of wine had been consumed that night), that the solution offered to me was cats. And that I too became one of ‘those’ people. I am ‘that’ person now. Oh dear lord…

I am a crazy ‘cat girl’.

Hmph.

I fell I love with my boys the very moment I saw them, and upon arriving home with my two bundles of grey fluff, found my entire world began to slowly pivot around them.
If I happened to pop to the pub for a post-work beer (yes, I must confess, I am a pint kinda girl), I would ensure one eye was always on the clock, conscious that the ‘babies’ would need feeding very soon. Down the pint would go, good-byes were hollered to those closest (anyone not in hearing range just didn’t get one), boyfriend was grabbed by the sleave, into the van and full steam ahead to home.

The funny thing was, I really didn’t notice the transformation from Belle to ‘crazy cat lady’ at all.

I’d arrive at work, happy at the thought of my two kittens getting up to mischief at home while “Mummy and Daddy” (oooh yes, it really is that bad) were away for the day, and without meaning to, find that no matter the conversation I was having with people, it always seemed to swerve back to my ‘babies’.

Hmmm. How did we get here? I’d think. I didn’t dwell for too long, though; out came the phone and out flowed the many explanations to the pictures: “And here’s one with Ralphie drinking some water, and here’s one of Oscar playing with some string, oh and here’s one…”

Yet it STILL didn’t dawn on me!

The moment of my clarity came when I was sat at home, reading a book, and suddenly heard a loud, distressed noise coming from my kitchen.

Now, first I must explain that my kitchen door leads to my garden, and the majority of this door is glass. Top to bottom, clear glass.

So I got up to investigate, and found both my cats with their back fur up, and trying to hide from the door. On the other side of this door was the meanest, most bad-ass looking tabby cat I have ever seen! Battle wounds all over its face. And he was glaring – yes, glaring! – at my boys!

I was so mad! How DARE he stare like that and upset my cats!

I threw the door open, chased the cat away, and came back into my kitchen where I bundled both boys up into my arms and made – wait for it – shushing, calming noises at them!

Yes! I was trying to console my cats from the ‘mean old neighbour cat’!

Forget the fact both of them forgot all about the ‘meanie’ the second he was out of sight, I was enraged! Filled with a maternal feeling of protection!

(I realise I am using far too many exclamation marks here, but really! I was furious!)

So there you have it. My moment of clarity. I, Belle Medland, am officially a crazy cat lady on a quest to protect my boys from any harm life tries to throw at them.

They say talking about the problem is the first step to a solution, right?
Well, here’s hoping.

Sexy Postman? I hadn’t noticed… and what’s this I hear about addiction, anyway?!

Having been signed off work since September (2010 – although it feels like since 2005!), I find one good way of elevating the boredom from – what feels like – house arrest, is shopping online.
I live for books, usually (when working) I devour around one a week, but given I have more time on my hands (and am still, for some reason, shying away from writing my own book – see Scaredy Cat Writer and All Subsequent Excuses ) this has increased to around two a week, sometimes more, sometimes less. 

I eagerly log onto Play.com most mornings, filled with the same excitement one gets when doing something they know they shouldn’t (I am well aware this is my guilty conscience reminding that me that a) I am not getting paid by work right now and therefore have no money to be spending on online shopping, and b) my boyfriend is working his fingers to the bone (quite literally – he is a builder, and is often coming home with scrapes and scratches, cuts and roughened skin on his hands – I shall refrain from going into detail on my dislike of ‘working hands’ and their sandpaper-like effect…well, maybe some other time, on another blog, on another day…perhaps) and should therefore not be frittering our/his money away on books, etc) and peruse the ‘sale’ section and ‘deal of the week’ section and, well, pretty much the whole of the book section, in a happy, mischievous way, tucked in a corner of my lounge (which, by the way, is so tiny I’m not too sure how it manages to actually have corners).

It is, quite frankly, an addiction. I’m serious! I am actually addicted to buying books, and since the ingenious invention of the internet, my obsession has only increased over time. My tiny flat is filled to bursting point with books, and to be honest, I’m running out of space! 
And yet, I just can’t stop. Every spare penny I have (and I’m pleased to be able to advise this is after all bills are paid – things haven’t quite become that bad) goes towards nice, new, shiny books – yummy 🙂
But it’s not just the buying, it’s the reading, too. If I find myself in the unfortunate position of not having a new book to read, I become irritable, bored, short tempered and unable to fully relax. It is quite literally as though I am suffering from actual, physical withdrawal systems! (Thankfully there has been no rocking in the corner with my knees hunched up to my chest and my arms wrapped around my legs. Yet.)

But whats this about a sexy postman, I hear you ask. Well, stick with it, I’m getting there…

So I continue to buy books on Play.com and wait anxiously for Mr Postie to knock on my door, brandishing gifts in little brown boxes as though it is Christmas morning. Which is how it feels – the same excitable butterflies bounce off the walls of my tummy as I anxiously await that knock at the door, as the ones on a Christmas morning.
Pathetic, huh? It’s not like I don’t know what the little brown packaging contains, yet I still rip it apart to get to my ‘post present’ in under 2.5 seconds.

So anyway, today, while munching my cornflakes covered in pouring yoghurt (the cornflakes, not me…) (incidentally, have you tried that – cereal with pouring yoghurt? It’s to DIE for! You simply must!), I heard the familiar knock of my local postman. Now I know it’s the same postman everyday, as it is always the same voice. You see, although I always answer my door to him within seconds of his knock (nope, I shall refrain from admitting I sit by the window biting my nails as I await his arrival…) I am usually still in my dressing gown (authentic Christmas morning feel) with hair like a birds nest, unbrushed teeth, and last nights facial cream smeared across my face, ensuring my skin is as shiny (if not more!) than a sheet of ice. 
Because of this (and my desperation to get my grubby, guilt covered mitts on my ‘post present’), I rarely – well, actually never – look up at his face, staring eagerly at the package in his hands instead. Until this morning, I had never seen the face of my postman. Seriously. 

So imagine my horror, following the handover of my two new books (‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ and ‘The Five People You Meet in Heaven’ – in case you were curious) when I began to look up and make light that he must assume I practically live in my dressing gown and pj’s, only to discover that this postman – my postman – is the spitting image of a Greek God! 
I kid you not, the words that had been about to pass my lips literally got stuck in my throat, and I was left opening and closing my mouth in complete and utter silence!

After an awkward moment of demonstrating my best fish impression (and presumably covering him in morning breath), the Greek God finally allowed my misery to end and backed away from my door – with, I might add, a little god-like chuckle (yes, it actually tinkled like music) and walked away down my road.

I was speechless. This is the guy I have allowed to see me in my very worst state (and believe me, it’s baaaad) every single morning!

So there you have it. Proof, if it was ever needed, that there is absolutley no good addiction. Even with something as harmless as books (ha!), an addiction will still manage to bite you on the arse. Sure I’m not burgling houses to feed my habit, sweating in a corner with only one thing on my mind, severing all relationships for the only love of my life – books, but yet I have still felt the wrath of my ‘addiction’ this morning; to my lush Postie, I shall be forever remembered as ‘the crazy woman with the scary hair, shiny face and morning breath that could kill a passing dog’. Brilliant.

My advice to anyone suffering an addiction such as my own (advice I too am going to have to follow now)? Ebooks.

The Scaredy Cat Writer and All Subsequent Excuses. 

Having started writing my current book a year and a half ago, I find myself in a position where it is still not finished, and finally allow the steel wall in my head to fall down and let the looming question of ‘Why?’ rush in (“about time”, my brain informs me – it is a question I have fought to avoid answering not only people who ask, but also myself, for quite some time now). 

Is it that I don’t have enough time to write? 
Well, that could have once been answered as yes, however, having been signed off work for the last four months and having just undergone an operation a mere week ago (‘ouch’ is not a strong enough word!), ensuring much time to myself with little else to do (other than watch the mind-numbing, brain cell destroying spectacle that is the Jeremy Kyle show, and any other show daytime television has to offer – which is to say, very little), this can no longer be an excuse I cling onto and hold close to me like an iron shield, ready to thrust in the direction of anyone uttering those dreaded words: “So, have you finished it yet?”. 

So, if not a lack of time, might it be because I dislike my story and characters, and am gripped by a sense of boredom the very moment I switch on the laptop and prepare myself to write? 
This question must also be answered with a no. My story is the world I live  in in my head when alone; at night, on the train, in the bath, during a walk, cooking the dinner… 
I fell in love with my characters from the very moment they came alive on my little laptop screen. I view them, and the world they inhabit, as real; that I am the only person aware of their existence and am therefore the ‘chosen one’ selected to tell the world their story, their challenges and finally their victories. 
(I’d like to highlight at this point, that no, I am not crazy in my belief of their existence, I merely think of them so much that they occupy and dominate more time in my head than my job, family and even my partner! I have even been known – shock, horror! – to have referred to my boyfriend with a leading characters’ name!
Okay, so maybe a little crazy.)

So, it’s not a lack of time, and it’s not a dislike for my story and those who feature in it… could it be a lack of belief in my ability to write it?
Partially. I have no qualifications to speak of, no previous experience (other than the few little stories I have written and never allowed a single living being to glimpse – so yeah, no experience), and no right to believe I have the ability to do this.  Though, of the friends and family (and some unbiased readers) that have taken the time to read what has so far been written (80,000 words and eighteen chapters), I have received nothing but positive feedback and a constant stream of nagging for more chapters. So from that, I assume I must be doing something right. 
Right?

Writers block? Nope. The story is constantly progressing in my mind – if not on ‘paper’. 

What drives me, even with the above knowledge, and the dread of not having the ability to actually write a book, is something I read on another blog: “The only thing you’re in control of is the choice to create what stirs your soul”. “Forget about the opinion of others, first you must please yourself, before having any hope of pleasing another”. 
Wise words. I have clung onto these for a while now, reminding myself that if I like it, perhaps someday, somewhere, at least one other person might. 
But there isn’t a single person in the world that will have that opportunity unless I actually finish writing the bloody thing!

So now I have finally allowed the dreaded word of ‘why?’ bounce around the walls of my head for a while, I find I am in no better position than I was before. 
Could it be that I am destined not to write? Or am I delaying my destiny of writing for a fear I am unable to fully determine? 

Either way, I’m determined to have it finished in 2011… hopefully… maybe… we’ll see…

Bloggin’ Virgin no more!

So, this is the blogging world, huh? I hope there’s enough room for one more to squeeze in 😉

I intend to use my blog as a means to shout my opinion to the world, discuss my favourite books and any reviews I have, discuss my own book (a work in progress) and generally moan about all things annoying!

I hope you’ll enjoy the snippet of my world 🙂