A couple of weeks ago, Mélodie from Tea Bees Trips nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award, an award which is given by bloggers to bloggers who “are positive and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere”. Mélodie blogs about tea and travels, and recently shared photos and tales from her trip to Cornwall, an area high on my travel wish list. (I also love the bilingual format of all her posts!) Mille mercis to Mélodie for the nomination, and let’s get cracking with the Q&A . . .
Commuting, in some shape or form, comes hand in hand with employment – be it a brisk walk or cycle ride spent battling the elements, a journey aboard a moving sardine-tin (sorry, I meant the Tube) or a traffic-jam filled drive. If you’re not using one of those modes of transport, chances are high that (like me) you have experienced, are experiencing, or will one day experience the joys of a high-cost (and often highly disappointing) commute aboard one of Britain’s trains. You’ll come across all sorts of people with habits both amusing and irritating, and more often than not a decent sense of humour (and a stereotypically British stiff upper lip) is all that will prevent you from losing the plot. Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to these nine characters from my commute . . .
Sometimes, time crawled; mostly, it flew. 2017 is, in the words of The Proclaimers, ‘Over and Done With’ – or rather, it was three days ago, but I’m late to the party with my end-of-year roundup. (I didn’t join the #bestnine2017 Insta-party, but rest assured this post will contain a sufficient number of photos.) 2017 wasn’t without its low moments, but overall I had a darn good year. Life in the Real World (as opposed to Life in the University Bubble) was a steep learning curve, and I learnt a lot of valuable lessons along the way, most of which are summed up in this post. La Grenouille Anglaise has come further than I thought possible, and for that I owe every reader of this blog an enormous thank you.
Commuting can be tedious, but it can also be an opportunity to indulge in your hobbies – and for me, that means ploughing through as many books as I can whilst shuttling between Cambridge and London King’s Cross. I’ve been trying to read a wider variety of books this year – my usual thrillers and crime fiction, alongside biographies, chick lit, historical fiction, short stories, fantasy, classics and romance novels. I set out with the aim of reading fifty-odd books; I’ve read almost double that. (It’s a good job Cambridge Central Library is so well stocked.) If, like yours truly, you’re a huge fan of The Apprentice and are already mourning the end of another series, I urge you to grab a copy of Unscripted and a cuppa, ready to relive a decade’s worth of cock-ups, gaffes and blunders. Here are my top picks from this quarter, in no particular order . . .
If I were in The Grinch, I’d be one of the Whos: I love everything about Christmas. (Aside from the sprouts, that is.) I love the horrendous jokes in the crackers, the seasonal treats and the nippy weather. Most of all, I love spending time with my family and friends. Merci beaucoup to Bola for nominating me for this tag (my favourite yet), and let’s crack on with the Q&A . . .
I’ve spent more than half my life labouring over gendered nouns, weird and wonderful tenses (pluperfect subjunctive, I’m looking at you here) and obscure grammatical anomalies, but one piece of the language-learning jigsaw still (pun intended) puzzles me: fluency.
Since the last instalment in this series, I’ve lapsed a little on the reading front as life inevitably got in the way. I moved back to Chester, then down to London and finally up to Cambridge, all within the space of a couple of months. It was beginning to feel a little like a live version of Location, Location, Location, to tell you the truth – but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve landed a job I enjoy, where I’m paid to do one of the things I love most: surround myself with books. Over the past few months, I’ve read books for all sorts of reasons: some simply because they were sat on the bookshelf; others because I really wanted to see what all the hype was about. Some I really loved; others fell flat. I’m sorry to say it, but The Girl on the Train just didn’t do it for me. (Maybe the film is better. Any opinions?) A Nurse in Time had potential, but fell short of the mark. Fortunately, after a few duds (the biggest by far being The Lie), things picked up and I read book after book that I absolutely loved.