Last Day In Halls Today!

You can really only live like this for a short amount of time… (1)

So it’s finally arrived. My last ever day in university halls. It’s been an experience and a half. However I think it’s about time that we moved onwards and upwards, into a real live house. A house with a dishwasher, no less. It’s one of those things that don’t appear to be terribly important, however living without one for a year really increases your appreciation of such a magical, practical object.

It’s a little bit strange though, to think I’m moving out of my flat. I mean, I can’t wait. I’m just so excited. The last couple of days have been just, well, perfect, despite the looming presence of my last exam. However, the sun’s been shining, and the weather has been warm, and so the desire to go to the beach simply outweighed any desire to stay at home, reading books. Helpfully, my last exam is my favourite module, and so I think it’s all going to be just lovely.

It’s been strange because its only in the last two or three days that I’ve finally fallen in love with where I am. The climate is lovely (except during the winter), and it’s just beautifully quaint, and fantastic. I haven’t fallen in love with it, all year. In fact, I’ve been wondering if I went to the right place for university; did I make the right decision? Ironically, I only decided that I have, about three days ago. But now first year is over, with the exception of one two-hour exam, and then I’m up, and out, back home, and before I know it, It’ll be moving into a brand new, wonderful, and lovely house. I cannot believe how lucky I feel today.

I’ve finished packing now, up to and including doing all my washing, and cardboard wrapping my external laptop monitor. It’s a very odd feeling to know I’m not ever coming back to this flat again, after tomorrow morning. It’s a feeling of almost being displaced. Because that’s what this whole year has felt like; the moving back and forth has been something of a struggle to me, in places. I think it’s been a learning curve too. The most important element however, has been to never, ever, try to pack more than you can lift onto a train. That is perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learnt this year. Packing light is really the only way to travel, if you’re a cheap skate student, and get the cheapest train tickets, and subsequently have to get four different trains. No one wants to be shifting heavy suitcases up and down train staircases. Nobody.

Anyway, I have to go to the beach again now. It’s just too beautiful to stay indoors, as much as I do love the blogosphere.





The Importance of Teddy Bears

Who wouldn’t love that face? (1)

Teddy bears are one of those items that everyone loves and owns, but nobody really wants to admit it after a certain age. I find this a little offensive, because I feel as though they provide comfort when we are small, and it seems cruel to just abandon them when we get older, because they’re one of those items that one “grows out of”. I never really grew out of a love of teddy bears, firstly because they’re adorable, and secondly because I still have a very overactive imagination.

I used to read quite a lot of Enid Blyton when I was young, and The Faraway Tree Stories were my favourite bedtime stories. I love the idea of having a magical tree, full of elves and fairies, ready to take you on adventures. I did say I had something of an overactive imagination. It’s something I was born with. Teddy bear stories comfort little people because they take them to different worlds, where things simply aren’t as scary. There are never monsters under the bed in teddy bear stories. Adults I think have their own versions of teddy bear stories; we watch TV, some drink, and we draw, and paint. People spend lots of time not thinking about what’s really happening in the world.

An interesting comparison (2)

And this is I think one of the reasons that teddy bears, or at least the principles behind them, are so important. They provide a childish world in which to escape. Some of you reading this will be scoffing, however I think everyone has to be at least a little childish, and have a place where they can play with train sets and Lego. I personally enjoy Lego immensely; it’s one of the best children’s pursuits out there. I also used to love (and still do, a little bit), building massive Barbie mansions. At one point I think I owned about thirty Barbies, and not the new, strange ones, but the real-life 90s ones, which looked triangular. On a related note, I think those who blame 90s Barbie for causing terrible perceptions of body image is just preposterous, because she was so extreme. The newer Barbies are so perfect that surely they seem more human, and therefore more realistic shapes to aspire to? But there we go, something of a side note.

So anyway, I think everyone should own a teddy bear. They’re so lovely and so welcoming, and surely the world is a horrible enough place, without people abandoning teddy bears left, right, and centre too?





A Childhood of Magic: Harry Potter and the Gang

The Collected Covers (1)

When somebody asked me what my favourite book of all time was, only one thought sprang to my head; but this thought was in a way childish, and so I began to scan through my mental list of the classics, to find something appropriate to reply to this question with. In the end however, my search through my own head was fruitless; it was Harry Potter.

Being eight years old at the time it came out, I was fascinated by the idea of witches, wizards, and an entire underworld existing that I, a muggle, couldn’t be a part of. Unless… and wasn’t it an obvious solution… I’d simply become a witch!

And there it was; I spent two years reciting spells such as “expelliarmus!” and waving around sparkly pencils, and trying to make inanimate objects move. And by the time I was eleven, I was completely ready for an invitation to study at Hogwarts. And when eventually the expected letter was not marked with the infamous red wax seal, and instead came from secondary school and had an ugly green stag on it, the first wave of realisation occurred: I am not magic. The disappointment was extraordinary. This was possibly my first experience of real disappointment.

Hogwarts: A Small Child's Second Home (2)

The camaraderie of the books was what enticed me the most; at primary school (until about the age of 16), I was a tiny, skinny thing, with curly ash blonde hair that never quite looked right, and had braces and glasses. I was quiet, despised reading aloud, and therefore, people tended to ignore me completely, or make up inventive and original nicknames. I found lunchtime in the library the highlight of my day, especially when I could go and explore the decadent, grandiose world of witches and wizards. The imagery and the ideas were beyond my comprehension, and for a long time, I simply refused to believe it wasn’t real. And when the first film was released, and my parents took me to go and see it, this only compounded my unshakeable belief that magic is real. I found it so realistic in fact, that I told my parents everything that was going to happen in the film before it did.

Nevertheless, I persevere in believing in Harry Potter, even though now I’ve developed a slightly wider world view and study English at university. The magic, and the hold it has on children is almost incomprehensible, and I think that to some children at least, it sparks their first interest in reading, and the world of books. I certainly owe my interest in literature to J.K Rowling.

I’d like to continue to believe in the magic of Hogwarts, because it was magical when I was little. And in the same way as I refuse blindly to consider the possibility of Father Christmas not being real, I will blindly refuse to believe that I’m not a witch, because, well… why ever not?