Daily Prompt: Succumb

I usually try to avoid it all costs, but the other day I finally succumbed to the intriguing promise and enticement of some kind of clickbait ad on my FaceBook newsfeed. Big mistake. BIG mistake! I clicked on the initial link on FaceBook, and then from that I clicked on another clickbait link, and then… straight away my laptop crashed with what appeared to be a virus of some sort.

What? How is that possible? I always, ALWAYS have an anti-virus on all my online gadgets, and I always update the software when requested – in fact, my laptop anti-virus was updated only the week before, so was as up-to-date as it could be. Except that when I checked it again, it seems the anti-virus was still there, but inexplicably switched off! Nooooo…!

Anyway, I immediately handled this stressful dilemma with all the sophistication and elegance of a modern, independent woman in a complete panic – feeling decidedly vulnerable in more ways than one (and fighting back hot tears of frustration) I quickly switched off my internet connection to avoid any further compromise, handed my laptop over to my husband and admitted ‘Help, I just broke it!’

And so began an evening of running various software programmes to get rid of whatever was on my machine, rolling back to a previous restore point for good measure, then patiently re-installing my antivirus. And since then (thankfully) it’s been absolutely fine – whew! But I must admit it’s certainly cured me of any desire to click on anything dubious or dodgy, ever again 🙂

Daily Prompt: Succumb 

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Daily Prompt: Exceptional

Why do so many people go through life yearning to be exceptional? I mean, it stands to reason most of us must, by statistical average, be… um… well… average. And anyway people only ever want to be exceptional in a positive way – they want to be the best of something, never the worst. But being an exception to the norm is not always a good thing to aspire to – it’s all too easy to stand out from the crowd and be different for all the wrong reasons.

I’ve spent a lifetime torn between trying to fit in – trying to be the same as everyone else, to feel included – and yet at the same time trying to be true to myself, which means effectively excluding myself from the rest of the group. So inevitably I’m a perpetual hybrid hovering on the periphery, unsatisfactorily neither fully one thing nor the other. Not ‘normal’ enough for my family or my work colleagues, or whoever else the group may be, but not my kind of normal, either.

Daily Prompt: Exceptional

Daily Prompt: Tame

When life has been a bit wild and hectic, rushing along like an exhilarating rollercoaster ride looping the loop and throwing me hither and thither at breakneck pace leaving me unsettled with my heart pumping and my head spinning, all I want afterwards is the promise of a quiet peaceful life, at least for a while. And then when life is tame once more and I can catch my breath with ease, I love nothing more than meandering along  like a placid pony plodding along a well-known leafy bridle-path with time idling along happily by my side. But sooner or later come what may I find myself becoming increasingly restless, ready to rise like the inquisitive wind and explore the wider world beyond my immediate horizons… 🙂

Daily Prompt: Tame

 

From Strait-Laced to Stretch-Fabric

Recent Daily Prompts have cumulatively got me thinking about the statement ‘Clothes maketh the man’…

I wrote the other day about spending much of my fifty-plus years on this planet wearing jeans in some shape or form, and how much more easy to wear they are nowadays with the option of being made of softer, stretchy denim. In a comment on my ‘Fashionable’ post Sunny mentioned jeggings, and yesterday on my ‘Elastic’ post Elaine mentioned leggings – both items (along with my jeans) staples in my comfort-based wardrobe – and suddenly it’s got me remembering life before Lycra (or Spandex, as it is known in the US).

Before fabric could be made so forgiving, in order to fit properly tightly-woven cloth stitched with taught thread held everything in, restrictive and restrained. Unless something was knitted, of course, and there the risk was always that it would bag out – stretch with you, but unfortunately remain stretched and expanded until washing resettled the fibres into a more contracted state again. And it seems to me in retrospect that our British culture was as morally strait-laced and stiff-collared as its conventional clothing, as if loose morals could be controlled, contained and constrained within societal strait-jackets.

Traditional rigid tailoring is of course still an option today, particularly for formal occasions – for example wedding dresses still tend to be fitted and boned and corseted – but for more informal wear, many of us prefer the comfortable breathing-space afforded to us by even the most minimal inclusion of  stretch in our favourite smart-casual garments. It’s as if our sense of morality has eased existentially along with the extra ‘give’ of elastane added to our everyday outfits, and personally I think that’s no bad thing.

Because to my mind, our superficial semblance of strict societal morality was never more than skin-deep anyway, simply a surface covering hiding the shameful naked reality of human frailty lurking, latent, underneath.

Daily Prompt: Superficial 

Problem Uploading Images?

I’m currently having a few irritating glitchy technical problems when uploading some images to my blog posts – although I’m re-sizing them on my laptop the same way as I always have done, and they’re uploading OK to my media library, something seems to be going wrong in the transfer of the image from my media library to my blog post – I realised some of the images on my posts have been looking really pixelated, as if I’ve resized them far too aggressively.

I first tried deleting the images entirely and re-doing them from scratch, but exactly the same thing happened again – so instead I tried editing the image from inside the WordPress editor. I did nothing other than ‘save’ the (no) changes made in the editor, and hey presto, my image appeared in my post unpixelated again. No idea what’s going on – if it’s a glitch in my laptop or with the WordPress software – so many apologies if any of my images look a bit dodgy for the next while.

Actually, thinking about it, when I first started this blog I used to keep any multiple images nestled in a tiled gallery in each post, but when after a couple of weeks I noticed the smaller images started looking pixelated I decided just to post them as individual images instead, and have continued with that practice ever since. But it makes me wonder if it was simply a similar kind of glitch that happened before – perhaps I’ll try again with alternative styles of gallery, and see what happens now? 🙂

Daily Prompt: Fashionable

I’ve never really been fashionable.

When I was a young girl growing up in rural 1960s Scotland, we didn’t care much for ‘fashion’. We just had a succession of practical, hard-wearing hand-me-down clothes we wore until they grew too small, and then in time they were handed on again to someone else to make use of. Clothes were something that kept you warm and dry or cool and comfortable, depending on the season. Even my sparse serial selection of girly party dresses (worn only on special occasions) were rarely ‘new’, just new to me.

As I got older of course I had my regulation school clothes – mostly grey uniform – and my Girl Guide uniform, but other than that I usually spent most of my leisure time in my favourite jeans and T-shirts and sweatshirts. Then I left school and worked in a kilt shop for a while, where I wore a kilt for work and, yes you’ve guessed it, again I mainly wore my jeans at home. Then I got engaged at 17 and married at 18, and wore a traditional long white wedding dress with a train – but I suppose that’s kind of a uniform too, isn’t it?

While I was pregnant with my three babies during my late teens and very early twenties I wore maternity dresses and dungarees, and once my children were born I simply wore whatever the hell fitted me for the next few years – a lot of lovely loose hippy stuff, and of course my old faithful jeans once they finally did up again. At one point I did try to embrace my femininity and be fashionable for a little while but, after my first husband and I divorced, as I always worked in places with either a strict dress code or a supplied uniform and we lived way out of town, it really wasn’t worth the effort.

My first real foray into following fashion was when I first moved to London once my kids had grown up, when I tried on all sorts of different trendy styles for size, but nothing ever lasted long. And here I am now in my menopausal mid-fifties, where what matters most to me is what fits and feels most comfortable rather than what’s in fashion. Don’t get me wrong, at my age I have a suitable selection of stuff to cater for every feasible occasion from formal to smart business wear to scruffy ageing hippy, but still for everyday wear my jeans are generally my go-to wardrobe staple.

Jeans are just practical and (now they have stretch) comfortable to wear. You can dress them up or down, they come in a multitude of shapes and sizes and can be as designer or budget as you choose. They’re everywhere, worn by young and old, rich and poor, male or female, and their ubiquity somehow transcends fashion.

Well that’s my story, anyway, and I’m sticking to it! 🙂

Daily Prompt: Fashionable  

 

Daily Prompt: Deny

Generally I try not to be too critical of other cultures different from my own – I understand that everyone has a right to hold their own opinions and preferences about things that perhaps don’t make sense to me – but in my mind it’s about time America woke up to the effects of its gun laws. By all means Americans can fight for their constitutional right to bear arms if they must, but with rights come responsibilities, and part of taking responsibility means they must stop being in denial of the consequences of that right.

If even just one American somewhere – anywhere – can stand up and say with pride ‘My second amendment rights are sacrosanct to me, and if because of that right we as a nation have more gun-related mass shootings and other gun-related deaths than anywhere else across the globe, then so be it’, then fair play to them. But to demand the first yet deny so vociferously the second – a link that is blatantly obvious to everyone else around the world – is just plain ridiculous…

Daily Prompt: Deny

Share Your World: 2 Oct 2017

If you were given the opportunity to ride in a helicopter would you go?

Absolutely!

What are some of your favourite type of proteins to eat?

Cheese, eggs, and then meat, probably in that order…

What would be your preference – awake before dawn, with the dawn, or awake before noon?

Waking at dawn – I’m a bit of a Goldilocks in life, I like things not too hot or not too cold, not too hard or not too soft, not too early or not too late 🙂

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?

Actually I really enjoyed my walk around the local area with my camera this afternoon taking some pics for this week’s Cee’s B&W Challenge – Lines & Angles I felt quite inspired, so here are a few more of today’s moody monochrome Leytonstone landscapes 🙂

keep-clearovergroundrailway-bridgetower-blockgated-properties

Share Your World

Goodbye, Beautiful Stranger

While sitting on a London bus crawling along in city traffic this dreary damp afternoon, looking idly out of the rain-flecked window I caught a fleeting glimpse of an unusually colourful coffin in a traditional black hearse passing by in the opposite direction. It was there one moment in the corner of my vision, then in a fluid ribbon of red and green and blue and gold layers, it was gone.

But what I saw in those few seconds was so spectacular – the coffin was painted up to look like a canal boat, intricately and delicately decorated, each surface a perfect mini-mural of tight-sealed curved-edged windows and imaginary roped railings above. I fondly imagined this to be the fitting final resting place of an old and much-respected bargee, housed in death in an exact facsimile of the beautiful boat he lived in.

If any of the following funeral cortege had turned and looked my way they would have caught my puzzled expression of unexpected surprise – an eyebrow raised in sudden astonishment, a half-smile haunting my lips at the incongruous delight of such a creative ray of sunshine lighting up my otherwise dull day. May you rest in peace beautiful stranger, whoever you are…