Thursday, 13 May 2010

Mass-ochism

Hello, and Christ on a bike, it’s been well over a year since I last blogged. What happened? I changed jobs at the very end of March 2009 to one that takes up far more of my time than I want it to – I can’t say it was wholly a mistake as the pay is good, but sadly I find there to be few other redeeming features. That extra pay did help with the other major event: my wedding in September 2009. It involved an incredible amount of preparation (I didn’t quite believe people when they warned me) but was, in all seriousness, the best day of my life, so most certainly worth it. And as well as the new job and new surname, I’ve been getting a lot more serious on the knitting and wildlife fronts. I’m sure if I can get back into blogging I’ll cover all of those, barring work, in a few detailed catch-up posts.

For now, I should explain why, suddenly, on Thursday 13 May 2010, I am back.

As I’m sure most readers will know, we’ve just had a general election in the UK, with a shiny new Prime Minister. I was following some political discussions on the British Knitters group on Ravelry, when someone mentioned the Mass Observation social research project. Started in 1937, this seeks to create an archive of the experiences of the average British citizen, as a historical record of the populace. The sort of thing that we had to analyse in GCSE History, by the time I took it (at the time with much eye-rolling, but of great interest to me now). The original project ran until the 1950s, and was resurrected in 1981, the year of my birth. These days, participants are asked to write three pieces a year for the archive on their thoughts on specific issues, plus any other pieces they’d like to contribute. These are archived anonymously, catalogued by date and by topic, and available to researchers upon application to the University of Sussex. I am sure I could spend hours reading through the minutiae of people’s lives. I have, in fact, just ordered the first book of records by the prolific Nella Last, a housewife who kept very detailed records for Mass Observation through World War II and into peacetime, and I can’t wait for it to arrive.

I would absolutely love to write for Mass Observation, but unfortunately they are currently only recruiting males aged 16-44 who live in the north of England. They might consider those who meet two out of three criteria, but since I only meet the age requirement, I’m not going to get in. Given my blogging performance, that might be a good thing… Happily, and also by the power of Ravelry, I was alerted to a one-off project for anyone to submit a 750-word diary entry for 12 May 2010. I believe the date was chosen to be an ordinary day, because that same date had been used for the same project in 1937 (the date of the coronation of George VI); I am probably going to order that book too. As it happened, given the rather drawn-out process of forming a coalition government over the last week, the entries might be a bit more political than the Mass Observation people had anticipated.

Last night, after knitting, I sat down to write my diary, and, having done so, I realised that I had a ready-made blog entry – or at least half of one seeing as I suspect the above introduction might easily be as long. Longer, in fact, since I have a tendency to be verbose (perhaps that’s why I don’t keep up the blog – it takes too long to write all I want to say). My first draft of the diary entry came in at just under 1,000 words and still, in my mind, contained hardly anything. No details, no feelings. Cutting it down even further to meet the word limit pained me greatly. But having survived doing so, I might as well offer it up to any dear readers who might still be around.

The style is, therefore, sparser than usual, and contains the required background information. We were asked to describe our day, including whether it was typical, and to include such details as who we met, what we ate, and the like.

On that note, I will leave you with the entry itself below, and go and do some long-needed comment moderation since the spammers found this blog. I promise to be back soon!

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I am a 29-year-old female living in north London with my husband. I am an accountant specialising in corporate tax.

Today was a typical Wednesday: work followed by my knitting group’s regular weekly meet-up.

I first woke up at 7am, when the alarm went off for my husband to get up – he is due in his office earlier than I am due in mine, and he has usually left the house before I get out of bed at 8.15am. I value sleep more than a leisurely time getting ready, so I rush to shower, dress and do basic make-up – I don’t make much of an effort with that for the office. I never eat breakfast at home – I might buy something on my way into work but often, including today, I skip it entirely. This morning getting up was harder than normal because I’ve been suffering with a cold for the last few days, and kept myself awake coughing during the night. I’d had the last two days off work sick, since I’d completely lost my voice, so today was my first day back.

My usual route into work is to take the bus down to the tube station. It is within walking distance but I am shamefully lazy. On arrival at the tube station I found the gates closed as one of the two lines it serves was disrupted and so the station was overcrowded. However we were let in reasonably soon, so that didn’t make me late for work. I have to change once on the tube, then there’s about a ten-minute walk to my office in the City.

My work involves the preparation of tax returns for our UK companies, plus dealing with correspondence with the Revenue, sorting out tax payments, and fielding queries from the accounting teams in our business units. Nothing out of the ordinary happened today work-wise.

I work in a team of five people, plus our boss who sits in her own office. We are quite sociable and chat whilst we work. Today’s main topic of conversation was of course the new coalition government, and in particular their tax plans. We will need to report to our board on the outcome of the replacement Budget that we have been told will be given soon, so that gave us an excuse to spend a lot of time surfing various news websites in search of any rumours. Plenty of tea was made, as always.

For lunch I bought a freshly-prepared salad from a take-away place by our office, plus a soft drink and a chocolate-chip cookie for later, but sadly the cookie turned out to be not very nice so I didn’t finish it.

At 5.45pm I left the office – this is unusually early for me, as I tend to stay until at least 6.30pm, often later. I am not paid overtime, but my contract says that I am required to work any additional hours needed to do my job. This is quite standard in financial services, but I do at least get a bonus (never enough!) once a year.

Having exchanged e-mails during the day to arrange a venue, I headed across to west London to a crêperie to meet my knitting group. This was to be a new venue for us, and did not work out very well. We do not generally all turn up at the same time, so need a place where we are able to take over a table big enough for all of us for the whole evening. The crêperie was extremely busy and the waitresses could not let us do that, but luckily fewer people than normal came along. We admired each other’s knitting, ate crêpes and chatted about the election, books, films etc. I was knitting a plain triangular shawl, since this is easy to do whilst talking!

We left the restaurant at 9pm. The tube disruption from earlier was still going on, so it took me longer than usual to get home. Coincidentally I arrived at my home station at the same time as my husband, who had been rock climbing with his friends, so we took the bus home together, arriving back at 10pm. We don’t have a television, so both spent some time reading and surfing the internet on our laptops, with the heating on as it is unusually cold for May. I wrote this diary entry at just past midnight, and will go to bed as soon as it is sent.

34 comments:

彥鈺璇洋 said...

知識可以傳授,智慧卻不行。每個人必須成為他自己。...............................................................

stash haus said...

Welcome back! How I've missed reading your posts.

I've become very interested in books similar to the diary you linked to - thanks to Persephone Books. One of the next books I want to get is "Few Eggs and No Oranges."

Lotta B said...

Great to see that you are back! Your writing puts mine to shame ;) Good to be reading your musings again.

韋于倫成 said...

快樂的微笑是保持生命康健的唯一藥石,它的價值千萬,卻不要花費一文錢 ..................................................

韋于倫成 said...

外表往往與事實本身不符,世人卻容易被表面裝飾所欺騙了 ..................................................

韋于倫成 said...

Govern your thoughts when alone, and your tongue when in company. ....................................................

俊蘇宏 said...

蛛絲馬跡皆學問、落花水面皆文章......................................................

benjaminga said...

思想與理論,貴呼先於行動,但行動較思想或理論更高貴..................................................

rodriguezp said...

河水永遠是相同的,可是每一剎那又都是新的。..................................................

毅筠 said...

要持續更新下去喲!!祝你心情愉快.................................................................

家弘 said...

hello, i visited~~感謝大大分享..!......................................................................

張怡 said...

一定要保持最佳狀況呦,加油!!!期待你發表的新文章!....................................................................

玫友 said...

成熟,就是有能力適應生活中的模糊。.................................................................

原秋原秋 said...

幸福不是一切,人還有責任。............................................................

群平群平 said...

如果成為一支火柴,也要點亮一個短暫的宇宙;如果是一隻烏鴉,也要叫疼閉塞的耳膜。.................................................................

RalphBrau采男 said...

Pen and ink is wits plough. ............................................................

JasonBirk佳琪 said...

No garden without its weeds.............................................................

李宗蓮李宗蓮 said...

分享是件快樂的事!!感謝您用心的文章!! ............................................................

陳佑發 said...

When everything is coming your way, you are in the wrong lane.............................................................

陳璇竹陳璇竹 said...

這麼好的部落格,以後看不到怎麼辦啊!!!..................................................................

琬安琬安 said...

everyday real you~!..................................................................

陳佑發 said...

知識可以傳授,智慧卻不行。每個人必須成為他自己。. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

許惠吟許惠吟 said...

要用心經營哦~~祝福你~~
...............................................................

吳林怡廷佳宇 said...

It is easier to get than to keep it.......................................................................

惠慧萍婷 said...

堅持是為著某種目的或目標,而持續不斷朝向既定方向努力的一種意念。..................................................

佳陳容 said...

生存乃是不斷地在內心與靈魂交戰;寫作是坐著審判自己。............................................................

偉曹琬 said...

完成一個小目標,會把自己推向一個大目標............................................................

怡靜怡靜怡靜怡雯 said...

很棒的分享~留言支持!............................................................

麗王王珠 said...

一棵樹除非在春天開了花,否則難望在秋天結果。..................................................

靜錢錢錢怡錢錢錢錢 said...

好熱鬧喔 大家踴躍的留言 讓部落格更有活力..................................................

佳張張張張燕張張張張張 said...

我是天山,等待一輪明月。......................................................................

黃英吳思潔吳思潔邦 said...

回應是最大的支持^^y~~~甘吧嗲............................................................

王雅俊 said...

真是太猛了,請受小弟一拜Orz(>O<)......................................................

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