A Lacustrine Staycation

For the sake of context I should point out that I wrote this a week and half ago when I was still very much on holiday in the Lake District. I’m not any more. It doesn’t really matter but I don’t want anyone reading this to feel mislead.
Because I care.
That’s just the kind of person I am.
Anyway, without further ado, here is my account of my holiday in the Lake District:

As I write this I’m warming myself by the fireplace.

Which is unusual.

Because, while there notionally is a fireplace in my small Victorian terraced house in Reading, it is not something Mrs Proclaims and I ever use, for all kinds of practical reasons.

However, even if we did avail ourselves of the facility in question, it would not be usual recourse for us to do so in the height of the British summer.

Which is, supposedly, happening at the moment. Continue reading A Lacustrine Staycation

The Elephant In The Room

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Hello people of the blogosphere. I’m back after something of an unplanned hiatus from the world of blogging. I wasn’t sure what to write about for this post – on the one hand my first post in a while ought to be a spectacular affair, both witty and profound, irreverent yet informative, offering reassurances to my regular readers that I’ve not lost any of my trademark humour while ensuring any new readers who happen upon my blog might want to stick around and read more of my ramblings.

On the other hand, sometimes you can put a bit too much pressure on yourself, and when you’re out of practice, sometimes it’s better just to post something – anything – even if it’s a bit rubbish just to ‘get back on the blogging horse’ so to speak.

I’ve got a few posts in the works, some of which will see the light of day on these very pages soon, but for this post I’d thought that the best thing I could do was to address the elephant in the room.

Because it’s not often you see an elephant in your front room. Continue reading The Elephant In The Room

James Attains!

James Proclaims (4)

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Hello people who read my posts. Today is a very exciting day for two reasons, both of which pertain to this very blog.

Firstly, it’s an exciting day because today is my two year blogiversary.

That’s right it’s been two whole years since a slightly younger, slightly greener (in the metaphorical sense of lacking experience rather than literal sense of actually being the colour green) version of me sat at this very desk and typed the first ever post that appeared on ‘James Proclaims’.

Except that isn’t entirely true because the first post on that I published, on this day, twenty-four months ago, was actually just a rehash of a ‘first post’ I’d written for a different, now defunct blog.  Continue reading James Attains!

Stuff I Used To Do But Don’t Do Anymore (Or How I’ve Become A Less Interesting Person Over Time): Part 5 – A Lack Of Prose Disturbs Me

James Proclaims (4)

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After a fortnight’s break from this ‘feature’, I’m back with more ‘Stuff I Used To Do But Don’t Do Any More’.

It’s perhaps appropriate, after a two-week hiatus from the series, that this post is about how I don’t write any more. Although to be honest I’ve disappeared from this blog multiple times before (for longer than two weeks) and in any case, I have actually posted a few things on here in the last two weeks, just not a post about ‘stuff I used to do’.

Maybe I should add ‘writing about stuff I used to do’ to the list.

Or is that just ridiculous?

I think it probably is, but in the context of other stuff I’ve considered appropriate material for this blog, it’s perhaps not all that ridiculous. After all, I did once write this post Continue reading Stuff I Used To Do But Don’t Do Anymore (Or How I’ve Become A Less Interesting Person Over Time): Part 5 – A Lack Of Prose Disturbs Me

Birthday Blues

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Hello blogosphere!

Today is the 4th April and therefore it is my birthday. My birthday is on the 4th April every year and I fully anticipate maintaining this tradition for many years to come.

One of the main reasons, indeed possibly the only reason, that I went into the education profession was that the 4th April is always in the Easter holidays and so, theoretically, I would never have to work on my birthday.

This theory has been proven incorrect on three occasions since I joined the teaching ranks. Arguably the worst was a few years back when my birthday fell on a working Monday, but today was almost as bad, for today is Tuesday and once again I found myself at the metaphorical coalface of my profession. Continue reading Birthday Blues

Stuff I Used To Do But Don’t Do Anymore (Or How I’ve Become A Less Interesting Person Over Time): Part 4 – I Read A Book A Week (But Never Dostoyevsky…)

James Proclaims (4)

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Here we are then at part 4 of my miniseries on stuff I used to be able to claim I did, but now I don’t really do.

And this one is on reading.

Books that is.

Because I used to read a lot of them and now I don’t.

Although, contrary to the suggestion in the title of this post, I never used to read a book a week. That was a little nod to one of my favourite sit-coms, ‘The Office’ (original UK version, although I am very much a fan of the US version too).

The comment about Dostoyevsky is a nod to the same episode, although it is true that I’ve never read any Dostoyevsky.

Judge me not though, for I can point to a great many worthy authors that I have read, thus proving my intellect. For I have read (and in some cases enjoyed) works by Dickens, Hardy, multiple Brontes, Stendhal, Flaubert, and numerous other authors that appear in the ‘Classics’ section of your local bookshop.

But don’t be too impressed, I’ve also read everything Dan Brown ever wrote, so I’m clearly not averse to an ‘easy read’ either.

In fact, my parents used to joke that I’d read anything I could get my hands on, even a cereal box if there was nothing else available. And in truth I have read some pretty good cereal boxes in my time. The Frosties box of summer 1987 stands out as a particularly good one, although the Coco Pops of autumn 1991 would run it close.

I jest of course, for while these days, as all sensible consumers should, I read the ingredients of cereal boxes to make sure that nothing contained therein is going to slowly kill me over time, I wouldn’t read a cereal box for entertainment purposes. Jars of Marmite on the other hand…

But I digress, for my parents made that observation about my reading habits (or one of them did and I’m not quite sure which of them to blame…) because as a child I did read a lot.

It might make me sound like quite a worthy child but I’m not sure that I was. It was the eighties and there wasn’t really much else to do. Continue reading Stuff I Used To Do But Don’t Do Anymore (Or How I’ve Become A Less Interesting Person Over Time): Part 4 – I Read A Book A Week (But Never Dostoyevsky…)

Stuff I Used To Do But Don’t Do Anymore (Or How I’ve Become A Less Interesting Person Over Time): Part 3b: More mendacities on multilingualism

James Proclaims (4)

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So this is the second part of the third part of my series of posts on stuff I used to do. It might help to read ‘the first part of the third part’ for this post to make sense. It may, or may not, help to read parts 1 and 2. Then again, it could be quite optimistic to assume that any of this makes sense.

But let’s, for the sake of argument, assume that it does make sense. If you recall, at the end of the last post (part 3a) I’d just moved to Paris (narratively speaking of course, it was some years ago, in October 2002, that I actually moved to Paris) to begin my degree course in French Studies as a mature (but really not that mature at the age of twenty-three) student.

Starting my course wasn’t easy. Nearly everyone else on my course spoke French better than I did, through a combination of having only just finished their A-levels (whereas I hadn’t spoken French in any capacity for two years) or, in some cases, having French parents (which seemed like cheating to me but who am I to judge?).

The standard of accommodation I could get for my money left something to be desired too. I lived in squalor with a nightmare of a flatmate for the first year and in further squalor with a different but equally nightmarish flatmate for the second year. There’s no time to describe either of them in this post, but I’m certain I’ll circle back to them in future posts. Continue reading Stuff I Used To Do But Don’t Do Anymore (Or How I’ve Become A Less Interesting Person Over Time): Part 3b: More mendacities on multilingualism

James Has A Sick Day

James Proclaims (4)

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If you read yesterday’s limerick, you might have surmised that I was feeling a little under the weather. Indeed, I have had something of a cold for the last few days. It’s nothing serious, I’m not here to elicit sympathy – it’s just a cold.

I’m certainly not claiming to have had ‘Man Flu’ or anything like that, mainly because ‘Man Flu’ is a made up concept popularised by a media which likes to stereotype character traits based on gender, race, sexuality and any other neat little box they can crowbar people into. I don’t subscribe to the idea that my gender has any particular impact on how badly affected by an illness I am.

So I fully admit that I’ve just got a cold and while I’d definitely rather not have one, I haven’t been making a fuss, I haven’t been trying to get Mrs Proclaims to do stuff for me because I’m too ill. I’ve been pulling my weight, fulfilling my domestic duties and generally getting on with stuff that needs to be done. Continue reading James Has A Sick Day

An Awkward Encounter at the Deli Counter

James Proclaims (4)

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Saturday lunchtimes are often a conundrum for Mrs Proclaims and I. Most meal times are pretty regulated these days due to a highly efficient grocery-shopping schedule.

(That’s right I’ve opened a post with the phrase ‘highly efficient grocery-shopping schedule’. This one’s going to be roller coaster of a post…)

Essentially we get our groceries delivered every Sunday and Wednesday by a major supermarket. We do this because neither of us can be trusted to actually go to the supermarket and restrict ourselves to purchasing the stuff we need. Very often other stuff finds its way into the trolley. Stuff that is bad for us. Continue reading An Awkward Encounter at the Deli Counter

Double Digital Detox

James Proclaims (4)

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Just over a year ago my phone decided to spontaneously combust.

Up until that point it had been a functional but nonetheless unglamorous model of smart phone. It was the best one I’d ever owned, but significantly less good than the phones most other people seemed to own. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I’ve never really got on board with the whole digital revolution so I’ve generally gone down the ‘budget’ route when it comes to mobile technology.

Still it was light years ahead of the phone that Mrs Proclaims had, which was one of those phones that was, well, really just a phone. I mean you could text with it as well but not much else. If I was not a fan of digital media, then Mrs Proclaims might actually have been a little bit afraid of it all. She’s still not entirely sure what an ‘app’ is to this day.

Don’t judge her though – she knows an awful lot about eighteenth and nineteenth century French literature.

Which is rarely useful (but quite impressive?).

Also her phone never set fire to itself. Continue reading Double Digital Detox