Tag: Big Issue

I shopped

Having managed to drag myself out of bed on Saturday morning, I found myself walking across the footbridge into Glasgow at some ungodly hour (anything before 10am on a Saturday is illegal, in my world).

My plan of action was to head up to Buchanan Galleries and work my way back down to the train station. However before any shopping could be had there was a first stop required, caffeine!

As I mentioned I was also planning on visiting the Apple Store so I headed up Buchanan Street, ordered my Tall Skinny Latte (which is a small milky coffee made with skimmed milk), and indulged in a breakfast panini of sausage, egg and bean. Yum. I took my food and drink over to the a seat at the window and spent a little time people watching.

It is a great hobby. The best entertainment was to be had watching the scruffy Big Issue seller try to chat up passersby, he obviously had a good line in compliments with many a woman turning their head to smile him a thank you. He cheered me up so much I actually gave bought a copy from him later on.

Appropriately caffeinated I headed across the street to the Apple Store. It is rather bright and shiny with ohh so many lovely toys and gadgets on show. I had a little play with some iPod speakers, marvelled at just how gorgeous the screen on the iMac looks and then I left. Without purchasing a thing.

I wasn’t that surprised to be honest. Whilst I could’ve bought a cover for my iPhone, or a cable, or a… well a myriad of cheap items were on offer but I truly didn’t need any of them, and the one thing I desired I couldn’t afford. Yes, I did surprise myself a little.

Which left the only mission of the day. To buy some shirts. God I hate shopping for clothes. I tried a few shops as I wandered past, several of which I knew were out of my price range as soon as I entered – “Ohh, 3 shirts for only £120.. that’s… yeah… thanks.. bye!” – and several of which had nothing that caught my eye.

I’m the first to admit I’m fussy, and that I know what I like but what is with the shirt manufacturers today? You can have either a plain solid colour shirt, a shirt that looks like it was designed by a someone after a HEAVY night out, or something that I could happily picture my father in but.. hey I’m only 34.

I did manage to get a nice shirt in Next, although I had to try on two sizes and ended up with an XXL (that’s another thing, slim fit shirts are great for the slim, but why make them in larger sizes?). So, feeling like a complete fat bastard I finally ended up, by way of another three shops which all illicited HOW MUCH? moments (is £95 too much for 1 shirt? hahahaha), in my preferred cheap shirt emporium, Primark. That’s “prymark” not “premark”.

Now a quick question for those still reading. When is 17″ not 17″? When it’s 17.5″!! Grrrrr.

I know my weight fluctuates but all my other shirts are either 17″ or 16.5″ collar size, so as I stood there in the changing room, pondering how I’d managed to put on half a stone in a morning (damn you, breakfast panini!!), I tried to figure out how two shirts, each by the same manufacturer and with the same sizing label stuck on them, could be different sizes! Yes I know the cut of the cloth makes a difference but these are even labelled as the same style of shirt. GAHH!!!!!

I gave up at that point, throwing a few shirts into my basket and spent the rest of my journey home chilling out. Still, I won’t have to go through that for another few months. Ohhh wait… Christmas… Balls.

Stepping Back

I was recently chatting to someone who has a plan.

He is retiring at aged 50 and going off to live in the wilds of Canada. He’s Canadian so it’s not as far-fetched as it sounds, but the really scary part is that he is deliberately going to be “off-grid”. He’s a self-confessed geek so this is quite a step and, when he told me all this I suggested that it was some form of backlash against the grip of technology, a deliberate swipe at the lifestyle we all find ourselves living in modern society.

“But of course it is” he grinned.

I harbour a similar desire, namely to retire aged 50, but as yet have no plan to get there. It’s unlikely to happen and as such will remain a dream but, it is something I’m now thinking about. If I did retire early, what would I do? Where would I go?

The idea of living remotely appeals to Louise and I, even if it isn’t that far removed from civilisation. Being off-grid, no internet, limited phone access, is another deal entirely but given that I do so enjoy snatched moments of solitude, an afternoon lost in a book, a stroll round the park, it is worth considering.

Personal space is something for which we all hunt, something we aim to manufacture by donning headphones and blocking out the rest of the world. Regardless of where we are, the message remains the same and annoyance comes from those that don’t even realise that is the aim. It’s not just about listening to music, it’s about creating a place that only belongs to me. It’s most significant when wandering city streets to your own soundtrack, the reverie snapped by Big Issue sellers and small women with big umbrellas. Elsewhere this method of isolation can be more reliable yet the one place where I could be assured of true solitude would be at home and I rarely, if ever, use headphones there.

Perhaps true solitude is only possible when you are in the middle of nowhere, for any manufactured space bears the scars and remnants of modern day living. At home the phone demands an answer, walking down the street you are considerate of others as you navigate the myriad of shoppers and so forth, even lying in the park on a summer day is fraught with stray dogs and misplaced footballs.

I treasure quiet moments. Snippets of a day to pause and reflect before returning to the headlong plunge of life. Some people enjoy the helter skelter existence we seem to have these days. The incredible rush of even the most basic day is at times a sad indictment of our society, at others a thrilling embracing of being alive. Recharging our batteries is reserved for sleep, yet surely there needs to be more, surely we must pause more often to gather ourselves before the next onslaught?

Those that retain the ability to stepback have a skill to envy. One simple step creates the space I crave yet can so rarely find.

I need to learn to step back now and again.

I'm offended

OK, let’s set things .. straight(ish).

Karen voiced her opinion about Blogathon 2003, and I couldn’t agree more with what she said.

Now obviously I’m participating and yes, I’ve asked people to donate, and yes I know that ‘guilt’ feeling she mentions. I get it too, walking past the Big Issue seller, or the can shaker (that’s illegal by the way), and I choose not to give to them as I already give to charity via standing order.

However part of charity work is asking for donations. I’ve done it, stood in the cold rain with some damp stickers your only reward for dropping 17p and a button into the plastic can I’m proferring. The old adage “If you don’t ask, you don’t get” is uttered in every charity meeting I’ve ever been involved with, so I can see both sides of the coin (hey I’m a Libran, gimme a break).

Karen also rightly points out something I’d been worrying about. How do I maintain a ‘standard’ of posting over a 24 hour period. And that’s where you guys come in! I’ll be breaking the posting down a bit, and require 24 ‘themes’ to work with, I’ve got a provisional 14 already, so I only need another 10.

So if you have any suggestions, please head over to the just launched (but still not complete) Blogathing. Further Blogathon related postings will be put there (although I will still keep you up-to-date here too).

And Karen, your acknowledgement of my superiority as a coffee drinker wasn’t required (even if it is true… *ducks*)

P.S. There is a whole other thing about comment etiquette, the inability of the British to REALLY offend someone*, and other bits and bobs. Suffice to say that I haven’t fallen out with anyone over this, and don’t intend to, your opinion is, after all, your opinion.

* This is NOT a challenge