Archive for the ‘Blogging and other such stuff’ Category

Fare thee well, blog of sunshine

I now declare this blog to be Officially Closed.

All comments are closed.

This. Is. The. Last. Post.

From now on, I’ll be blogging over at which will eventually be home to all the posts I’ve written here. I’m having a few technical difficulties exporting them but exported they will be, even if I tear all my hair out in the process.

Thank you, bring me sunshine, you’ve been lovely.

Byeeeeeeee x

Pack your bags!

Well, I’ve done it.

I have my own website.

I’m still playing with design ideas but I shall shortly (I hope!!) be blogging at, which is hosted by the truly wonderful Fee.

I’ll keep you posted – oh, and if you notice any design flaws or problems, especially if you use the dread internet explorer, please say so!

I’d forgotten how much I love css and php – well, apart from the realisation that I’ve forgotten most of what I knew. Yipes!

Too much brain strain

As you know, I’ve been mulling over the idea of getting my own domain name and moving my blog to the self-hosted version of WordPress for at least a year.

Well, I’m going to do it.

I have decided.

It’s just that, well, I’m having a few problems picking a domain name.

All variations of bringmesunshine are, sadly, taken so I need something new.

Thus far, my ideas have ranged from mediocre to terrible – and my friends have been less than helpful 😆

One contender that I think was meant to be a piss take but I rather like is “shortarsedchocoholic”…

Has anyone got any better ideas?!

Online … at home!

I spent yesterday and today up in Oxfordshire, visiting B (my ex) and the cats, Mac and Horatio, who are looking sleek and positively radiant. It was lovely to the boys – and B! – and we spent a lovely evening curled up in front of the TV, stuffing our faces with curry and watching Up on DVD. And can I just say that if you haven’t yet seen Up, then get yourself a copy RIGHT NOW as it is simply fan-tastic.

Anyway, after a lovely 24 hours up in the ‘shire, I headed on home and was almost knocked over by Snipe and Midge, who I’d left with Ally for the duration. It was the first time they’d spent a night away from me for two and a half years so it was both good and bad to discover that they’d been absolutely fine during my absence and hadn’t pined at all 🙄 😆

But even better than doggy-kisses was the discovery of a parcel on my doorstep …

I am thrilled to report that TalkTalk, the bastards, have finally sent me my router and connected my broadband.

Yes, you read that right. It may have taken them six weeks but I am finally online and can officially state that anyone in possession of their right mind should do anything, anything rather than sign up with these gits.

But … I’m just happy to be re-connected to the wibbly web at long last. I’ll be even happier if they make good on their promise and give me two months free line rental to make up for their ineptitude!


There are not enough words in this universe to describe my current feelings towards Talk Talk. They managed to forget to set up my broadband. Twice.

At first, it was early March.

Then the 19th.

Now it’s next week.

/presses the publish button before saying something that will get me banned from wordpress…

Book Clubs and Fat Clubs

As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m a regular poster on the Downsizer forum, a network of like-minded folk, all as mad as a box of frogs, whose interests range from poultry and pigs to knitting and felting to baking and gardening … the list is endless. Even more so when you throw in the non-downsizery topics of interest, such as everything and anything that I haven’t already mentioned…

As a result, I’ve joined two DS “clubs”, one to broaden the mind, the other to narrow the waistline.

I never got round to reading the first book up for discussion, The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes), by Henri Alain-Fournier, but I have promised myself that I will read Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand Of Darkness by the deadline at the end of March. Really, I will!

On the other hand, Fat Club (not my choice of name) is going a lot better. We’ve only just started, so it’s early days, but I was thrilled to discover that I lost two pounds in the first week. No, I don’t know how either, as I consumed more than my fair share of cake and chocolate. Luckily, the dogs need lots of exercise!

My aim is to drop a stone, which is a lot better than the four stone I lost the last time I gave my weight any thought, but even more annoying as a result. Standing on the scales, I had a strange sense of deja vu but hey, that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Hmm, I suspect it’s the cookie that holds the blame!

In other news, the books I bought with my Amazon voucher have turned up and I’ve made a start on Troy: Fall of Kings by David and Stella Gemmell. So far, so good 😀

I’ve also hit some of the charity shops in Taunton, that being the closest Big Town, and bought a load of crime books, from Jeffrey Deaver to PD James, as well as a couple of Robert Harris novels (Fatherland and Archangel, if you’re curious).

And … I bought a few photo frames, so my long-awaited project of framing my old photos has finally started to come to life. All I’ve got to do now is buy another twenty or so – and then make a start on printing off some of my 30GB of digital photos! 😯

Oooh, and being a thrifty sort*, I also picked up a pair of cord trousers (Wranglers, don’t you know!) for the shockingly low price of three pounds fifty in my charity shop escapade. Unfortunately, they’re a couple of inches too long so it’s a case of hoping that She-Who-Promised-To-Hem-Them-For-Me will indeed hem them for me, lest I be forced to have a go myself and end up with one leg several inches shorter than t’other…

But, before you roll your eyes and tut maddeningly, take note: I am going to have a bash at mending the pockets in my favourite jeans – I put my keys in them the other morning and was somewhat taken aback when I felt the cold metal slipping down my leg owing to the fact that said pocket is hanging on by a few threads too few, if you catch my drift?!

Hmm, just thinking about attempting to thread a needle is enough for me for the time being. Please excuse me, I’ve got ten books to make my way through…!

*Cardi, as some of you may being muttering under your breath…

Seven pounds the poorer

It is Saturday afternoon and I’m in my living room, torturing the dogs by refusing to let them in (they’re sitting at the French door, whining and generally being pathetic) and wishing that Talk Talk would hurry up and switch on my broadband as having an internet-less house is doing my head in. Look at all the Twittering I’m missing out on: “12.30pm Beans on toast for lunch, nom nom”, “1pm Wow, the washing machine is HUGE – looks like I can get away with fortnightly laundry days!”, “2.30pm Why do the dogs insist on jumping on MY bed for a better view whenever anyone knocks on the door?!” and “2.20pm Just had flying visit from @chez_ally and B. Lovely to see them. Really must get big comfy sofa”.

Anyway … I’m enjoying the fact that today is turning out to be a damn good one.

For once, I had a decent night’s sleep – I think one of only a handful over the past few months. I fell asleep at half past ten and slept through until half past six this morning – no nightmares, no waking up, just peaceful, uninterrupted sleep. Bliss.

Unfortunately, I woke to a distinct lack of milk and bread in the house (I’ve been hiding at Ally and B’s for the past week) but it was ok – I had a plan. Laze around in bed until 8, get up, have a bath, take the dogs for a walk and then go to the Co-Op in the nearest village and stock up. Eight o’clock came and went. Half past eight. Nine. Nine-thirty. Ten…

Eventually, at eleven o’clock, the lack of caffeine in my blood overtook the temporary paralysis induced by panicky thoughts of going to the Co-Op and I found myself running a bath. Very nice it was too. The snow and subsequent rain stopped by time I was dressed and the sun was shining, so the dogs and I had a lovely meander round the orchards and then I quickly dropped them off at the house, grabbed my keys, wallet and rucksack, jumped in the car and drove off before I realised what was happening.

Sadly, I cottoned on to what was happening before I reached the Co-Op and ended up driving through it three times before I was able to talk myself into pulling over and parking. Of course, despite my anxiety, everything was fine and I came away seven pounds poorer but all the richer for having stuck it out – not to mention the milk, bread, three jars of pasta sauce (tomato and chilli, my favourite, on offer) and a couple of packs of pasta (also on offer)!

The euphoria of actually having done it gave me quite a high, so not only have I devoured some beans on toast (nom nom!!!!), I have also done the laundry and given the flatling a quick tidy (surfaces only, no hoovering) and organised all my paperwork, such as the endless letters from the DWP regarding my incapacity benefit etc.

So far, so good!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, the washing machine has stopped attempting to take off, which I assume means it has finished, so I now need to wrestle with a fortnight’s worth of clean socks and jumpers. Etc.

Update at 3.30pm

I’ve hung all my clothes up to dry and in doing so have come up with an additional list of jobs (such as de-poo the garden). But I’ve also been contemplating how drastically things have changed in my life. At university, I was actively involved in the students’ union, so major accomplishments varied from getting a motion passed through the monthly SU general meeting to actually getting my work handed in on time (getting a good mark never seemed as important as the thrill of making it to the administrator’s office before the 12pm deadline!).

Then, when I was an elected officer in NUS, I did all sorts of things, from appearing live on the lunchtime news to public speaking, from writing and delivering training to politicking and hacking. Scary stuff but I did it without thinking, even giving a speech at the Labour Party conference one year.

Being a smallholder meant taking responsibility for animals’ lives and well-being. Newborn piglets, sick chickens … It’s a lot to deal with but I did it. I can kill, pluck and draw a chicken – and then cook it! I can tell you when a pig is ready to go for slaughter and produce them so they have the right amount of fat in the right places. I can load pigs into a trailer without any gates. I can inject them and tag them. And so on. And that’s before I think about dogs, cats, horses etc.

But now … oh, how things have changed.

I felt as much of a thrill for having gone to the shop to buy milk on my own as I did when I got a standing ovation for giving a speech in defence of Holocaust Memorial Day at my last NUS Conference, as much as a thrill as when my first litter of piglets was born.

Funny, isn’t it, how our priorities change over the course of our lives?!

Today, I learnt something important. Doing as much as you can do, giving it 100%, no matter what “it” is, is what counts. Sometimes you succeed, sometimes you don’t. But you have to keep trying – because when you do succeed (and you will), you suddenly realise that the trying is what makes the success so sweet.

Here endeth the lesson.

Update at 7pm

Am round at Ally and B’s. Again! This time for deep-fried Camembert. Mmmmmmm 😀

It’s a long way down!

Not much to report.

I spent yesterday morning helping my new landlord’s thatcher friends stack their bundles of thatching straw in one of his barns. I’m not sure who the straw was for. None of the buildings on the farm are thatched, so either M&H (being the landlords) are going to pull one or more roofs down and thatch them or they buy the bundles and sell them on or they rent out the barn space for it to be stored.

Whatever the situation, I had great fun helping unload three trailers’ worth, the stack getting higher and higher, offering incredible views of the surrounding countryside. At one point, I was in charge of the pitchfork, throwing the bundles off the trailer and onto the stack, which was harder than it sounds. Even more complex was the transition from trailer back to stack, by now just a few metres short of the barn roof. I survived, and the cut on my leg is nothing more than a scratch 😆

All in all, t’was a great way to spend the morning. In theory, they were coming back today, but I’m round at Ally’s, using their internet as it’s going to take TalkTalk weeks to set mine up. Pft 😦

The private vs the public

It’s the early hours of the morning and after two nights of sleep, my insomnia is back. I would take the dogs for a walk in the snow but I’m now in a built up area, rather than the rural peace and tranquillity of Somerset, so staying in doors seems like the wisest course of action.

And so, some bad TV and the internet.

And over the past hour or so, re-reading the lovely comments some of you have left regarding my last post, not to mention the texts and Facebook messages, I have found myself wondering why I felt the need to blog about the anti-depressants.

And after dismissing several theories, I have decided that my motivation is actually quite simple.

As a child and a teenager, I wanted to keep a diary or a journal, but was never able to keep up the habit. I eventually stopped trying and never really thought about it again until I discovered blogging in my mid-twenties. Here, suddenly, was a medium that appealed to me, and as the days and months passed, I found that I was able to write for other people in a way that I couldn’t write for myself. Even in my early days of blogging, back in the mid-noughties, when days would go by with only a handful of hits, I kept writing. Politics, humour, memes self-analysis, personal anecdotes… it was all there. And I found it a release. Expressing myself became easy, even though I stuck to general issues, rarely posted anything too personal.

That blog has long since died a death. The only record now exists in some back up files on my old laptop, which I can’t get to work.

This blog, by contrast, has been a lot more personal, largely because of the security that comes from its anonymity. Ok, so it’s not completely anonymous, but my real name doesn’t feature!

And what I’m doing is a lot more personal as well, even if everything is up in the air. Growing your own veg, producing your own eggs and pork necessarily forces you to be more in touch with who you are. When you kill a chicken, pluck it, draw out its guts and then cook it and eat it, you get to know who you are.

But writing about it?

I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s something that I’m drawn to. I view my blog as a journal, a record of my life, and to skirt around or ignore the issues and events that most affect me, whether it’s the birth of a new litter of piglets or facing up to the need to take anti-depressants, would cause problems for me. To not be able to blog about certain subjects would render the blog useless as I simply wouldn’t write it at all. (It occurs to me that this explains my absence for most of November and December…)

Now is a time when I need to write, to express myself, to gather my thoughts and put them in some sort of order. And a lifetime of trying demonstrates that I need to do it for other people, whether they read it or not. I don’t know what that says about me, but at this point in time, I really don’t care.

What I don’t know is how open I will be about the specifics. Some of the bloggers whose writings I follow are extremely open about their lives, the good, the bad and the tragic.

I don’t know if I would ever feel comfortable being that open, so bear with me if you don’t understand what I’m talking about, if I refer to things without ever explaining them. I’ve got a bumpy road ahead but in the spirit of keeping faith with those who tell me that I can do this, I am currently determined to weather all storms, to stand firm in the face of adversity … and so on and so forth, til I run out of metaphors and readers!

Remind me, will you? Remind me that optimism and hope, even in the darkest hours of the darkest night, can cast the strongest light into the shadows, that the world is filled with wonder and delight. Remind me what it’s like to hug a friend, to feel the love radiating from my dogs, what it’s like to stand in the snow, to see the sunrise, to sit outside on a hot summer’s day, to sit indoors on a cold winter’s night in front of an open fire, to … well, you get the picture 🙂

Updating the blogroll

Well, it’s taken me long enough but I have finally got round to amending the blogroll. I’ve ditched the old categories: too many of the blogs I read seem to spill over into every category so one long list will just have to do. You never know, maybe one day, will come up with a more interesting way of letting its users list their links…

The new additions are…