The big news first:
Most of my March was spent at the BBC doing a work experience. It was awesome! I am now officially a radio production freelancer for the good old beeb! For the first time, after about 5 years of producing radio, I will be paid for it! Feeling a lot less useless these days, honestly.
The other news:
Just last week, I found myself with an urge to write again. It has been months, my friends, since I've written a story. I think I've been feeling so down about jobs that I've had trouble focussing on "frivolous" things. Like this blog. It felt good to write again. Warning to my sister: this might make you cry a little bit. Sorry.
So, I decided to try the story out onstage at Bad Language, everyone's favourite Manchester literary night out:
That was a really fun night. Bad Language always is. If you're in Manchester on the last Wednesday of any month, get down to the Castle. You'll get to hear some brilliant writing from some of Manchester's brightest literary stars. And I'm not bragging, because I definitely don't include myself in that list.
Meanwhile, I went down to London again to visit Mark. It was a gorgeous weekend, filled with sunshine and street food off Brick Lane, handmade noodles and Moroccan food, bagels and fresh coconut. It was everything I need of a summer, except a barbecue and even more friends around and being a little bit boozy. That *will* happen later this summer. I'm looking at you Joe and Gem. I'm looking at you.
Also in London, we visited with Sian, one of Mark's dear friends from Cambridge. Sian is sweet and funny and has a lovely laugh. Where some shake entirely when they laugh, or at least shake their shoulders, and others fall over, the only physical indication that Sian's laughing is her throat. Apart from that, she could just be smiling.
Mark and Sian with her little baby Samuel. Samuel does a great Bill Cosby impression.
We had a great time hanging out with Sian, Samuel and her friend Bianca. Smart, funny women, and a chubby baby who giggles if you whisper "Scrumblepants" at him. Well, fair enough, I'd probably giggle if you whispered "Scrumblepants" at me, too.
Samuel's at that serious put-everything-in-his-mouth stage, it's like he's on a personal mission to make sure everything has been in his mouth. You can see here, he's so pleased with eating his own hand, he's offered the other to Mark. Generous boy.
We had an amazing event in our night sky a few weeks ago. The moon, Venus and Jupiter were all visible in the same eyeline. It was so exciting! My phone camera couldn't really capture it very well, but the big thing in the lower right is the moon, the dull spot near it is Venus, and the bright spot near the top is Jupiter. Outstanding!
I've been wandering around new bits of Manchester on my own a lot lately, which means I often come across things that I don't know about. Like this amazing building near Ardwick Green.
I took a picture and asked my Twitter and Facebook friends about it. They usually know loads about Manchester architecture, and here's what they came back with: It's called Drill Hall.
I've also had the pleasure of taking three Belfastests around my town. Emily and Tom visited for a weekend, and I took them round the Ancoats Peeps (previously discussed on this blog here) and some of my favourite restaurants and bars. They were floored at the number of great pubs in this town. As I often am, myself.
Then Andrew came to visit as well! Here we are in the Marble Beer House, on Thomas St. We couldn't figure out where to look on my cameraphone. Because we are, like, digital, but not very good at it.
I met Andrew at Emily and Tom's Thanksgiving party, also previously discussed on this blog. I took him around the superb Gothic Revivalist John Rylands Library, mostly.
I love that building. Most stained glass is in churches and depicts apostles and disciples and stories I've never really understood. But in the Rylands Library, there is stained glass of Chaucer and Shakespeare. It's the persuasive art of religion brought to the secular cause of literature and philosophy. It's beautiful.
I've been growing very interested in Möbius strips and Klein bottles lately. I know this is an extremely nerdy thing, and I would better spend my time learning the Dvorak keyboard if I wanted to be such an irascible dweeb anyway.
But I found this lovely video about Möbius strips, that made me very happy indeed:
And I found this company that makes the closest thing to a Klein bottle as possible in three dimensions.
"Need a zero-volume bottle?
Searching for a one-sided surface?
Want the ultimate in non-orientability?
Get an ACME KLEIN BOTTLE!"
So cool! Now, if any of you are not the sort of people who kind of want a Klein bottle, then I have seriously misjudged my audience.
Hopefully, now that the work front is looking more promising, I'll feel able to update this blog a bit more regularly. I'm visiting Norwich this weekend– Mark's just moved there for his traineeship. I've been for a day before, and I've heard it's an arty, foody town, so I'm definitely looking forward to it. Watch this space!