31 May 2006


Ho hum
It's been sometime since I've done this, and there really is no excuse. I suppose I've been busy, but as I have very little to say I assume this isn't the truth...

I've done very little rowing due to the torrential rain making the river unsafe. In theory I'm supposed to have been training for the Race for Life, but as I've been ill I've only managed to get out three times, all of which were fairly disastrous. But I've raised £400 so am off to Newcastle this weekend to do my best - even if I end up crawling round!

I've been to the cinema a couple of times, and saw"Mission Impossible: 3" and then "The Da Vinci Code". I can't really recommend either of them to be honest. But what has made me laugh is how many spin offs there have been from the Da Vinci Code - IT'S JUST A BOOK!

I was off work for a week, or rather, working from home, as my mother has had the unfortunateness to fall off her bike (oh yes...) and break her wrist! She was in plaster for a while, but now she's back in a splint. However, she still can't drive, work or do much else, though she is getting better at eating left handed! It's probably a good thing I was off work as I wasn't very well, and the doctor was his usual helpful self, by diagnosing me as "exhausted". Funny, you wouldn't expect that after not sleeping for 2 weeks... Anyway, basically I work all week and then spend as much time as humanly possible asleep, or else I feel dizzy and sick. It's great fun...

The play thoughts have not got much further, although I am going to try to set a date for the auditions this week. Anne Marie and I are planning a trip to Europe in August (instead of me going to Kenya), so auditioning early July will give me lots of time to start rehearsing before then, and then the end of August, and the whole of September to start polishing. I figure if we can put on Twelfth Night in 2 weeks, we can do a festival entry!

And that concludes this entry into my very boring life.... Stay tuned for more updates, although if I don't post again, I may have died in Newcastle!

17 May 2006

Paris 2006

Paris 2006
Originally uploaded by clareybella.
A happy shot from last week in Paris :-) (Shame that my bag is touching the tower, ruins the effect of the perspective somewhat!)

16 May 2006

Decisions, decisions

Right. I've spent the last 4 days trying to make a decision. People who know me know that I'm not very good at this. Maybe that's why its taken me four days to not really make my mind up. Maybe I should start at the beginning.

I am booked to go to Kenya from 4th August to 2nd September. I booked this last August, when I was incredibly bored of work etc. It sounded fun, 4 weeks teaching English, and I get a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate thrown in. Then I had a few bad patches, which sort of turned into one big bad patch. Then I went to Japan, on my own, for two weeks. Whilst I had fun, I was incredibly lonely. I had forgotten that when I'm left alone here, I tend to over think, and so I did the same in Japan. I came back and talked nineteen to the dozen for about a week, just to rid my brain of all my thoughts.

This got me to thinking about Kenya. I am potentially on my own for four weeks, in a completely strange and different environment. It would either me the best experience for me, ever, or it'll be horrible; it's a make or break situation.

There is also the money factor (isn't it always a factor?). I am off to UCL next year to do an MSc, which there is no funding for. So I am liable to pay full fees, of around £3000, plus rent, food, and general living costs (books etc). UCL, in their finance information, have estimated that I should budget around £9000 for the year (!?!?) Thus, it's going to be £12k for the year. This is money I do not have. It is possible that I can get a graduate loan, but I don't really want to get into more debt. It is also possible that I could live with Dad in Forest Hill, or with my mum at home, but I don't really want to do either of these things. They are last resorts.

Kenya is costing me £2000, ish. If I cancel, I lose my deposit (£150) and the cost of the TEFL course (£195). I also have to cancel my flights, and thus far am not sure how much I lose there (the stupid thing being that I've only just booked them). The balance is due on 6th June, and I don't have it at the moment. I recently paid off my overdraft and yet still seem to be dipping into it, and the balance will knock me right back to where I started.

And so the decision is thus: to go to Kenya or not? The way I'm looking at it at the moment, Kenya will still be there next year, when I've done my MSc, and hopefully sorted out my head a little more. My MSc, whilst horrendously bankruptable, should hopefully help me in the future. But I feel like I'm being stupid for passing up this opportunity, just cos I'm scared (and I could use the money). And I also think I'll go mad if I'm working from now until September. There is a possibility of doing a little bit of light travelling with Anne Marie in Europe, which would keep me sane at least. And there is the fact that I'm supposed to be doing this play for Ottershaw, and should probably keep August free for some rehearsals at some point!

Oh, I don't know what to do.

15 May 2006

I love Paris in the springtime

Yes, I've spent the last week in Paris. I was there from last Tuesday til Friday, it was amazing. I think we saw the whole of Paris in about 48 hours. On the Tuesday evening we had an aborted trip to the Musee d'Orsay (it was closed) and then a wander throught the Jardin de Tuilieries in the rain. Wednesday was still glum so we had a museum day, although we started at Notre Dame. We wandered around the church dodging tourists left right and centre, and proved my theory that its almost impossible to take a photo of Notre Dame without it being wonky, I don't know why!
Then we had a very French street cafe lunch, and then queued for ages at the Musee d'Orsay. I actually prefer this museum to the Louvre, but maybe that's cos I know more of the pictures and I'm a sucker for a Degas. After a quick Orangina in the cafe, we wandered through the Tuilierie again, stopping to be old people by the pond, before "doing" the Louvre. We followed the DK Top 10 Paris Guide, and managed the whole top 10 in an hour and a half! Thoroughly shattered we then wandered back to Gare de L'Est, after taking some beautiful sunset photos of the Pyramid and the Arc de Triopmhe du Carousel (see my flickr album).
Wednesday the weather was amazing. We started at the Arc de Triomphe, and then got my favourite metro journey across the Seine with a view of the Eiffel Tower. We joined the queue and 3 hours later (!) and quite sun burned we made it to the top. Unfortunatley it was quite hazy, but we still got some great photos. Back on terra firma we went back to the hotel for a quick shower, change of camera battery and sleep in my case, and then headed off to Monmatre. I'd not been before and was quite overwhelmed by Sacre Couer. It was a beautiful building, and stunning in the bright sunshine. We climbed the dome (look at how brave I was, all this height climbing!) and took more photos of Paris from above. We then wandered round Monmatre and managed not to get our pictures done by one of the many artists! Off then to the Dali museum, where we were told "you must be quick". No problem for us, the speed museumers!
At 6.30 we decided we should try to find somewhere to eat. By 9.30, we'd not found anywhere to eat!! But then we fell upon Chartier, which was an amazing restaurant in the Opera quarter, in a 1900s listed building, and yet suprisingly cheap! Then we ran to the Trocadero to watch the Eiffel Tower doing its hourly sparkly thing. We missed it by about 2 mins but stayed until midnight to see it. It was very pretty, and there are lots of nice photos....
And then, on Friday it was time to go home! Literally a whirlwind tour, but some amazing photos, and even better memories...Very loved up now!

08 May 2006

Exciting weekend news

Well, that maybe a little exaggeratory (if it's not word, it should be). My weekend wasn't all that exciting. It was fun, relaxing and enjoyable but not exciting as such.
It started on Friday afternoon in the blazing (17 degrees, ahem) sunshine, with a trip to the walk in centre in Woking. For the last few days I had been having problems with my asthma, either tight chestedness (coining all over the shop today) or palpitations. I decided that this probably wasn't good so went to the walk in centre after work. Not surprisingly they couldn't work out why I felt like that, because my blood oxygen level was fine, my peak flow was ok and my pulse apparently normal. So why did it feel like my heart was trying to make a break for it through my chest? They had no idea, but told me to come back if it got any worse. It hasn't got worse but it is still there...Hmm, oh well!
As I was in the area I went to Katherine's (Phil's sister) flat to help her pack up her flat. She's renting it out for a few months to get some money together, and has left lots of stuff in storage. I became "tape girl" and helped to bubble wrap the chairs together. All very exciting stuff, so exciting in fact that when I got back to Phil's for dinner, I just about made it through the meal before almost falling asleep at the dinner table!
P got up stupidly early to go and help Katherine move the now bubblewrapped items from her flat into the van, hired for the purpose of moving things from flat to storage. I went home to have a shower and get changed and then went back for lunch. Then it was off to the storage place in Cranleigh. And what a strange place it was! You hire a metal room (which come in various sizes), for which only you have the key. It's a great idea, but it was a little strange. You can definitely imagine an episode of Dr Who being filmed there!! In fact, I even managed to watch Dr Who this weekend, the first time in ages!
Sunday: lots of sleep in the morning, and then lunch at the Refectory in Milford. We were celebrating Phil and his Dad's birthdays, only a month or two late! The food was lovely, but I have never been in a restaurant for three hours before! Well, I have, but when I was drinking and we took a long time over our meal. It was incredibly slow service! And then in the evening we watched "The Worst Jobs in History" (soap making is minging), and then the Top 10 One Hit Wonders. So many songs I had completely forgotten about!!! Including Everybody's Free (to wear sunscreen) and Chesney Hawkes' classic "I am the One and Only"! A real Durham anthem! Sadly I had to go home, so I have no idea who was No. 1!
So as you can see, it really wasn't exciting. But hey, I'm going to Paris tomorrow, so I don't care!!

06 May 2006

Well, so here it is...

I started this blog so as to have something to do at work when it gets really dull, and also to be able to have a rant from time to time. And also, I suppose, to have a record of what I get up to on my gap year, and when I'm at UCL next year.
So, who am I? I'm Clare, I'm 22, I graduated from Durham University (Collingwood College) last year and as such am gap yearing again. I fill my time with working (temping actually, which is very dull), rowing for Weybridge Rowing Club and a little bit of acting when possible. Next year I'm off to University College, London to study for an MSc in Human Communication, which will hopefully further my career prospects, whilst also interesting me and giving me more letters after my name (I'm working on the alphabet). After that, who knows?
Maybe I'll work it out in the process of blogging...Answers on a postcard please!