Friday 4 January 2013

My New Year's Resolution....Update My Blog

In the spirit of New Year, I have been reflecting on my blog (and my inability to update it regularly). I think the posts I write are much better when they are more focused and less like a long account of all the frists I’ve fitted in during the ridiculous amount of time I have left it since I last updated…. But here’s a nice long and waffly update for you anyway on all the firsts I’ve fitted in since December…

Knit Something
George modelling the Mo
The one phrase that keeps begging to be written is this: Knitting is hard! Teaching myself to knit was much more difficult that I expected.  Being the kind of person that I am, the less practically-gifted, more ‘I like reading about stuff’ kind of person, I thought the two brief ebooks I downloaded would be enough to get me on my way. It turns out you actually can’t learn practical skills like that. Who knew? It takes patience and practise. And a few instructional Youtube videos to give you a visual example of how your hands should move...

So, I did practise and I did try and stay patient. And, despite numerous failed attempts which, as I did not know how to correct mistakes, meant I had to start from scratch, I now have a lovely little Movember Mo to show for my efforts. The only real downside was that it was well into December by the time it got finished.

I have to say, even thought it was tricky at first, I did really enjoy knitting. The first few times you knit a few lines, it just does not seem logical that those movements you make with the wool and needles will produce something that will not only stay together, but also take a recognisable form. But seeing it all take shape, and grow with each stitch you make, is very very satisfying.

I realise I just called knitting ‘satisfying’. But I’m sticking to it.

Eat Something New

And so, onto another small pleasure I have gained from a first.

Some years ago I happen to pick up Amelie in a deal at HMV. If you haven’t ever seen it, I’d say it’s definitely worth a watch, and one of my favourite parts is when Amelie talks about the slightly odd things she, and others, take pleasure in. And one of Amelie’s is cracking a crème brulee with a teaspoon.

Now, jump to 2012 and I am sat in a day-long training course about the finer points of printing. I mean we actually went into details about how the dots connect to the page, as well as the problems with Pantone colours and all the different variables that can affect how you see colour (your monitor settings, the programme used, the time of day…. Yes, apparently you have to take this into consideration when checking proofs…)

The saving grace of the day was the setting… an upmarket but slightly eccentric hotel in Kensington. Lunch was served in a little conservatory, and included mini hamburgers, tempura, and smoked salmon. And, for dessert, crème brulee.

It was a mini crème brulee, but in that second, the memory of Amelie came flooding back to me and I got the chance to experience the small pleasure of cracking the top of a crème brulee with a teaspoon. And, of course, then eating it. And very lovely it was too.

And so another first, of eating something new, was completed.

This first was not the only time I've enjoyed pretending I'm Amelie...
Cafe des 2 Moulins in Paris is the cafe where she works in the film. 

Spend a day watching film 'greats' I have not seen

The last first I picked out of the Hat was this… to spend a day watching film ‘greats’ that I have not seen.

I wasn’t sure how to go about picking these ‘greats’. My brothers and boyfriend Glenn often came out with films that they said I really should have watched (the list still includes Terminator and Die Hard among others) so I thought I would ask them to help me pick out some to watch. Despite being so forthcoming in the past, they struggled to come up with films off the top of their head. Luckily, the imdb top 250 films was at hand and, never ones to miss out on the chance to be competitive, we spent an evening totting up all the films on the list we had seen. (I won).

Despite winning, there were actually quite a few films on the list that I hadn’t seen... which meant I had my list of film greats and now I just had to get hold of them. And, as luck would have it, many of them were sitting on my brother’s DVD shelf.

Here’s a summary of that Sunday’s viewing:

The Godfather.... long but worth a watch
The Godfather – I'm glad I watched it, and I can see why some of it is considered well made, iconic and 'great' but I think it's over-rated.  And I was in no hurry to put the second one on anytime soon…

Stand By Me – A little bit sad, a little bit sweet, I can see why it’s a cult classic.

City of God – Gripping, and all the more interesting when you realise it’s based on true events.

The Elephant Man – Felt like it was made earlier than it actually was, thanks to the black and white effect. 

So that brings the grand total of Firsts for 2012 up to 18. Which is nearly on track… I should be up to 25 by now. But I’ve got a few more firsts already in the pipeline and, in the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, I will make sure I hit 52 by the 12 July 2013. And tell everybody about them much more regularly. 

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