Monday, 30 January 2012

Things to Do List

For as long as I can remember I have always kept a mental to do list. Now I don't mean one of those lists that list things like "must do the washing" or "must send that letter" or "need to clear out that cupboard by the end of the week". (Although I do sometimes write those as well if I have a busy day ahead or lots to achieve by a certain time!). Instead I am referring to a list of all the things that I would like to do in my life time. Special things, places to visit, things to see, achievements etc. For a few years now that list has got very long and not much if anything has been ticked off due to excuses of not having enough money or time or the lack of someone to go with and so on. However over Christmas a very good friend of mine asked me why I kept adding to the list but never doing any of it. When I tried out my excuses on him, he just laughed and said the only thing stopping me was me. I should write the list down and actively start doing things to tick off instead of simply waiting for things to happen. After a lot of burbling about money and time I finally admitted defeat and agreed he was right!

So after seeing in the New Year, I decided it was a perfect time to put pen to paper and write down my to do list in a lovely new leather bound notebook. My list is currently a mixture of musicals, historic sites, museums and places to visit. There are also a few academic achievements thrown in as well. I plan to add to this list when I find things I want to do but also (and more importantly) I will tick off the things that I do actually do and write a little bit about them. As I have now started this blog I will also write about my successful "to dos" on here. The only problem is deciding where to start and working out how I am going to save up the money to do these things! Not easy for someone facing a third year of not working after being made redundant!

I really hope that 2012 will see me starting to tick off some of these "to dos" and I will aim to tell you about it on this blog too! Watch this space!!!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Elsie Robins (Eden nee Goudge)

                                                        Elsie Robins 
                 25 January 1919 - 2 November 2011 

Today would have been my Nan's birthday. She would have been 93 today. Sadly she passed away suddenly last November. Her funeral was held at the Bury St Edmunds Crematorium and we hope to have her ashes added to my Grandfather's grave back in Loughton Essex sometime in the Spring this year - her final wish.

Elsie was the grand-daughter of the formidable Ruth Orchard (nee Slaughter) and the daughter of the lovely Emily Goudge (nee Orchard). She was one of four children - older sister Emily and younger siblings Georgina (Jean) and Thomas (known as Ron!). She married Ernest Charles Eden in 1938 and they had 5 children Brian, Ronald, Anthony, Jeffrey and Georgina. She had 8 Grandchildren (I am one of them), 16 Great-Grandchildren and 8 Great-Great-Grandchildren.

Sadly her beloved Ernest died in 1960 when their youngest child Gina was only a few months old. She carried on raising a family alone. A family that included both a baby daughter and young son to grown up sons who made her a grandmother the following year. (The age gap between the eldest child and the youngest was a staggering 20 years!). Many years later she married her second husband Sidney Robins. Elsie, Sid and her daughter and eldest son moved to Suffolk. A few years later Sid passed away. Elsie never remarried and spent the rest of her life looking after her eldest son Brian.

Elsie was a formidable woman, who did not suffer fools. She was as tough as old boots and you always knew what she thought of you! She didn't always show her feelings easily - not many of our Edens do - but she loved her family fiercely. Her boys were her world and when her daughter passed away in 2003 she was devastated.
In her younger days she was a keen swimmer, winning various badges and awards including one for life-saving, and of course where she met my granddad Ernest. She loved a party and had a great sense of humour. She had a real joy for life and a mischievous sparkle in her eyes! Before her eye sight began to fail she loved to read and she loved knitting. She also couldn’t resist a wordsearch or puzzle book. However one of her biggest passions was bingo. She suffered with bad knees (an aliment she passed on to nearly all her sons) but miraculously her knees would be cured when a Bingo Hall was insight and then she would be off like a rocket and no-one could keep up with her! 

I hope wherever she is now she is in a bingo hall where she always wins!!

Happy Birthday Nan!             

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Craft: Cards 1

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I like doing crafts, especially making cards. I have been making them since I was 19 when my Mum got me into it. She has always been into crafts and is very talented. Her crafting includes needlecraft, embroidery, crochet, quilting, tatting, lace making, knitting, card making, cake decorating, watercolours and much more. Some of her stuff has even been in local exhibitions up in Norfolk where she lives now.

I have always been interested in Art and studied it at A'Level. I used to sketch and paint a lot but I haven't done any in years. I love being creative and card making is an outlet for this. It can be an expensive hobby getting all the bits and equipment, but as with a lot of crafts its the looking for and buying of the stuff that is part of the fun! I find making the cards very relaxing and enjoyable. It is a great way of turning off the brain after doing a bulk of uni reading!

I will share photos of some of my favourite creations on this blog as I go along but to start with here are two of my favourites from last year.

Happy Crafting People!

Thursday, 19 January 2012


I haven't written anything for a few days because life has been a bit rubbish and I didn't feel like writing. It was one of those situations when you think everything is going to be okay and you feel very positive and then something comes along and completely drags you back down. After this has happened everything feels terrible. Nothing is going to be okay, nothing is going to work out and why should you even bother! Negativity rules the roost and those happy, hopeful days seem to be so far away. Encase your wondering it was related to money (the not having any sort!), banks and lack of work. But lets not dwell on that any more here. What I wanted to write about is the importance of Friendship during these times.

When the proverbial hit the fan this week it was my friends that helped picked me back up and give me the strength to go forward. One of my friends was there to support and help give me strength and hope to move forward. She reminded me I was strong and to trust in those who guide me. She sent me healing and support. Another friend made me laugh and cheered me up and had a good chat about life generally before talking about university, dissertations and the future. Another friend shared my pain and swapped war stories, leading our very own parade of pain! Finally another friend shared her good news with me, reminding me that bad luck never stays around for long and usually means something good is on its way.

Friendship is always important; for both the good times and the bad. The main thing is you should surround yourself with real, genuine friends who want to be your friend because they genuinely care and like you for you - with all your little issues and gifts! I haven't always had good friends. I often attract the type of people who want to use you for what they can get out of you and are never there when you need them. You serve a purpose and when they are finished with you they kick you aside without a second thought. Thankfully I have learnt the lessons they unknowingly taught me!

I can now say that I am blessed to have some really good friends. Friends to laugh with, talk to, confide in, rant at, be silly with, cry with, and share ideas with. To my true friends -you know who you are - I am very glad we are friends and I will never take your friendship for granted. You will never fully understand how much I value our friendship.Thank you for your support this week and no doubt for in the future too!

Now lets have some more fun!

Monday, 16 January 2012


As I decided to call my blog The Book Worm I thought it was about time I wrote something about books. I love books. I have loved them since I was a small child. While other children may have been drawing over their books, ripping out pages, breaking the spines, and generally abusing them, all my books from my childhood were kept in nearly perfect condition. In fact I still have a few boxes on books from when I was kid! Sure some of them show signs of ageing and being read a few hundred times, but overall they are still in excellent condition.

My books were (and still are) incredibly important to me. Before I could read them myself my Nanny Mary would sit and read them to me. She loved books also and it was her who taught me to read well before I started school. When I got words wrong she would write them on a piece of paper and tuck them inside the book. The next time we would read that book she would look at the list of words and tick them off if I could read them. A few years ago when I was going through some of my old stuff, I found those lists in some of the books. It brought back happy memories of sitting with her for hours getting lost in stories. It was also a sad memory as sadly she passed away when I was 14 and she missed a lot of the important landmarks in my life especially academic ones, many of which I believe I owe to her for starting my education so young.

There is nothing quite like getting lost in a good book. Books can take you anywhere and you can be anyone in them. You can use your imagination to picture the characters and settings in your mind, fall in love as the characters do, get scared when the characters do, solve the mystery as the characters do!!! Books can take you on a roller-coaster through the full spectrum of emotions and create worlds where anything and everything is possible. I also like the books themselves: the way they smell, the feel of the pages, the weight of them in your hands. Books can be beautiful and I truly believe they can have souls.

It is not just fictional books that I love. I love non-fiction books too, especially history books (encase you haven't guessed from previous blogs!). Between the pages of books the stories of the past are remembered and recalled. A well written book can even bring history to life. I strongly believe that the pursuit of knowledge is an important thing to do and something worthwhile to spend your life doing. Books are knowledge, and knowledge allows you to make informed decisions and to widen your mind and horizons. I love the English language too, especially the ways it can be used and played with. Of course it also irritates me when it is used incorrectly (although I am no expert and learning everyday!) or when someone tries to use "long" words to look clever and the words they are using don't actually mean what they think they mean!   Grrr!

I could go on and on, but I will resist! To put it simply I am the Book Worm and I love books!
Tatty bye!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Lazy Sunday

I am delighted to say the Proposal is now finished. There is nothing more I can do about it now, other than wait to see what feedback/grades I get. I finished it Saturday evening which means I have been able to have a lovely lazy Sunday!

Sundays are suppose to be lazy days. Its the day of the week for having a well deserved lie in, for relaxing on the sofa watching television, for settling down with a good book undisturbed, or for having a DVD-fest working your way through your favourite films and television programmes! Its the day to recover from the previous week and to prepare for the coming week ahead. Some people will do gardening (I am not very green fingered and I am allergic to pollen!) others will have a go at DIY (I love a bit of painting, but I am not very gifted at putting up shelves or hanging wallpaper). Others will visit friends and family or spend most of the day preparing the perfect Sunday Roast.

For me a lazy Sunday starts off with a lay in, followed by a light breakfast. Then a bit of lounging in front of the telly while looking at various social networking sites, window shopping on Amazon and catching up on emails. This is followed by a relaxing shower and then a light lunch. I am not someone who does Roast dinners on weekends. If we do have a roast dinner it will be in the evening. I cannot eat a big dinner at lunch time, its not natural and spoils the rest of the afternoon! Then its dvd time! If I am not in the mood for a film I will read instead. If neither of these seem appealing then I will do some card craft. In the evening I will have dinner and then settle down to watch the evening telly. This time of year its Dancing on Ice and Wild at Heart. Although there is a new series starting on BBC1 tonight about Midwives which I will have to watch on Iplayer! Then its off to bed and ready to start the new week!

So whatever you have done for your Sunday I hope you have had a great day! I am now going to get back to my Sunday!
Tatty bye for now!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

The Proposal

As I mentioned previously I am currently writing my proposal for my Masters dissertation. Its due in at the start of next week and by some miracle I am nearly finished. I have about 400 words of the 3,000 word limit left to write plus a final read through which will no doubt include some rewriting and editing. It has been a very stressful process and I am looking forward to having a few days break from it before getting back to the research and reading for the actual dissertation.

There are two reasons why it has been so hard to write. The first is because I am truly passionate about the subject I am looking at and really want to do a good job with the dissertation and get a good grade for it. If I don't get the proposal right, this will effect the dissertation itself. So I think I have been psyching myself out of it by over thinking everything and worrying if its good enough!

The second reason is because I have been struggling to narrow down my focus as all aspects of it fascinate me! Trying to answer questions such as "what are the key aims of your study" and "which theories are you going to use" is not easy when you want to study it all!!! As for detailing your chapter structure, how on earth can you decide what is going to be in Chapter One, Two and Three and in which order when you have only done initial research on the subject! Aaarrgghh! Despite this I am as I said nearly finished. I have a chapter structure and I almost have my theories and methods sorted out, so not a bad day.

 Encase you were wondering, my dissertation is based on the First World War, in particular war commemoration and war memorials. It sounds a bit morbid but actually its fascinating. The First World War witnessed so many changes and its aftermath was no different. Many of the mourning customs and traditions that we use today were created in the wake of the First World War. Its also interesting how different memories are at play within the war memorial. It is not until you study issues such as collective and cultural memory that you realise how little control you have over what you remember and how.

My dissertation is due in at the start of October 2012 so I am sure this will not be the last time I talk about my study! However for now, Goodnight!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

First Things First

I suppose I should begin with a few nuggets of information about me. I chose to call my blog The Book Worm for two main reasons: the first is because I do generally love reading and love books and the second is because at the time of setting up this blog I am surrounded by books as I am trying to complete my proposal for my Masters degree dissertation that is due in, in a few days time. The name seemed quite fitting!

Another of my interests is history, in particular social history from early Georgians to late 1960s. I am especially fascinated by the Edwardian era and the First World War. I an not so interested in the military side of the Great War, but its the human story that really fascinates me from the soldiers in the trenches, to those that never came home and the families at home. My other historical interests are a little bit morbid or sinister as I am also obsessed with Workhouses, Asylums, and Gaols / Prisons!!

I suppose I should also confess to being a Museum Professional. I have worked in Museums all my working life since leaving university. I do genuinely love them. They are amazing places and normally attract brilliant - often quirky - people who work in them.  I also love visiting museums in my spare time, even when on holiday. To me they are not work, they are inspiring, interesting, awesome places.

2012 is going to be a big year for me and hopefully will be a good one. My Masters dissertation is due to be completed and handed in by October and a few months before that I will be celebrating the landmark birthday of the big "3 0"! I also hope this year will bring better career fortunes, better health and to be generally happier than last year. I intend to share my ups and downs in this blog, but for now back to the proposal.......