Category Archives: Learning

Shit I Learned In Scotland

In the glorious half term from school I decided that it was about time I ventured up to Scotland to see what it was all about. Not only was it full of stunning natural beauty, but also full of fun and fascinating stories of the past. I learned  more than wee bit of shit while I was there, but here are some highlights.

  1. Loads of different sayings take their origins from the Scots

‘Shitfaced’

Back in the days, Edinburgh was full of high-rise buildings. Of course, being in the days before toilets, people used to just chuck that shit out the window. Literally. If you were in the lower floors and had your head stuck out the window you risked getting shat on. So they would yell out before the bucket load of crap went flying out the window and if you didn’t get your head in quick enough, guess where it landed. They say that those who were drunk were dumb enough to hear the call of pending doom and instead of pulling their heads in, they would look up. And wind up with shit on their faces. Shitfaced. Superb!

City views over Edinburgh

‘Doing a Bouch job’

Thomas Bouch was an English engineer who built a bridge that wasn’t structurally sound, it fell down and killed a whole stack of people. What a massive fuck up! A total Bouch job

‘Soccer’

As much as the English and Europeans love to moan about the fact that we call it ‘soccer’ in Australia, it is in fact their fault. They bloody well invented the word. It derives from the full name of the sport from back in the day ‘association football’. Abbreviation of the name and tapping and ‘er’ on the end (oddly a very Australian thing to do… maybe that is where we get it from) results in the word ‘assoccer’.

‘Going berserk’

The Beserkers were a Viking clan full of fierce warriors who apparently fought in such a massively drug fucked stated that people thought that they were crazy. As such, when people go crazy now, they are going berserk.

Stone circle from Lewis and Harris

2. Seagulls can drool.

I mean, I had no idea until I was sitting on the pier with what has been voted the worlds best fish and chips and this damn seagull is sitting in front of me and his beak is literally dripping all over the pavement. He stopped once the fish was gone and I got to the chips. Clearly not as tasty…. but just wow…..

3. Witches don’t drown in shit.

So the river that used to run through Edinburgh used to be full of people’s shit that they used to just pour in there. When they accused people of being witches, they used to throw them in the river and say that if they didn’t sink and drown that they must be a witch. Well given the viscosity of a pile of faecal matter, most of them really didn’t sink. So they’d drag them out and burn them on the stake. That right there is logic for you. Even better, they cleared all of the shit out of this area and turned it into a nice lovely park full of green plants and wonderful flowers fertilised by the remnant bits of shit and dead witches from the area. One may even say that when sitting down there having lunch that you are hanging in the shit pit.

The old shit pit is now a park….

4.  Braveheart the movie is an absolute load of shit and things really didn’t happen that way at all. 

  • Firstly, the ‘brave heart’ actually referred to the heart of Robert the Bruce, not William Wallace. Robert’s heart was carried into the battle that won the Scots independence after his death.
  • The Battle of Sterling win hinged on the fact that there was a bridge that the English had to cross and were eventually backed into a corner of the river bend and couldn’t retreat. Where’s the bridge?
  • Bruce did not betray Wallace and get him captured
  • ugh…. and the list could go on… very entertaining fiction for the most part.

5. Other random shit

  • The word Caledonia is what the Romans used to call Scotland
  • Fife is the alcohol and oddly enough, pregnancy capital of Scotland being home to the bottling of Schmirnoff, Barcardi and Johnny Walker
  • Half Hangit Maggie was a legend for surviving a hanging and waking up in the coffin on her way down the road to be put in the ground. She kicked on for another 40 years post that….
  • Greyfriars Bobby is also a legend. He was a dog that sat by his masters grave for the better part of 15 years, his love and loyalty never faltered.
Cute little Greyfriars Bobby
  • I still don’t like oysters…. the slimy thing went down and some shell got stuck on the roof of my mouth and gag reflex kicked in… yuk. Just feed me a kilo of mussels instead any day.
  • Stone circles are everywhere up north in Lewis and Harris. I daresay they are cooler than Stonehenge and…. free!
  • And…. I want to go back to Scotland! This country is amazing and the nature is just stunning. I want to go back and climb more mountains and take some more boat trips!

 

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Shit I Learned In Bulgaria

This was quite a while ago and as such it is pushing my memory to remember what half of the cryptic notes I took about Bulgaria even mean… but here’s the decipher! Enjoy!

  • The word ‘lev’ in Bulgarian means ‘lion’. You can see that this is the national symbol of the country because lions are literally everywhere and the currency is called the ‘lev’.
Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral
  • In the times of Constantine the Great, the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia, was actually called Serdika.  This was one of Constantine’s favourite cities in the Roman empire and was the gateway to Constantinople, now Istanbul.
  • You can find churches in Bulgaria that have amazing frescoes from years 1000 and 1300. They are amazing and some of the best preserved in the world.
Frescoes inside of the Boyana Church
  • Bulgarians are terrible with giving you directions on how to get somewhere. The locals joke and say as a tourist the only solid directions you will ever receive are for the destinations of either vodka or the beach. A couple of people I met in the hostel and I decided to try out our luck with getting to Seven Lakes on public transport. After much research and confusion, we finally made it there for the spectacular hiking and views.
The hazy views over Seven Lakes
  • During World War 2, the Bulgarian government was smart enough to save it’s Jews from Hitler’s regime by telling the Nazi’s that they needed the Jews to do labour work on the railroad construction.
  • The city of Plovdiv lies abound seven different hills.
  • There are huge numbers of incredible Roman stadiums and ruins throughout the country, and are home to some of the most incredibly well preserved ruins. One of the world’s largest stadiums lies underneath the main shopping street of Plovdiv.
The end of the Roman Amphitheatre in Plovdiv
  • They have a tradition of tying these red and white, handmade dolls called Martenitsa from blossoming trees as ritual to denote the arrival of spring.

Other than that I really can’t remember that much more shit from Bulgaria other than I really loved it. The people were friendly, the scenery was gorgeous and the history wonderful! Cannot recommend visiting this beautiful country enough!

I’ve Just Finished Recording A New Album

For the first time in ten years, something got a hold of me and I set foot back into a recording studio to record some of my own music. I guess a large part of my motivation was that I was starting to forget who I was and music has always been a huge part of who I am so I decided to fully embrace it and set aside time for it to ‘rediscover myself’. I pulled some old songs out of the cupboard that I have been meaning to do something with for years and so it began.

I bought a Groupon for recording studio time and went in to record. Originally I had 2 songs I wanted to lay down piano, ukulele and vocal. But the more I listened to the ukulele the less I liked it and decided to get rid of it. And so the process evolved itself into something else entirely. My engineer helped me start to laydown drums, strings, bass and a plethora of other instruments through a keyboard and the result was something I never expected. In some ways I have felt quite proud of what it is that I have achieved.  I have been challenged both musically and vocally because my ear and my voice muscles are not as well exercised as they used to be. It takes me a while to get things right. What I do know is that I have felt like I have been walking on air every time I have left the studio to walk home and so I have been trying to schedule a couple of hours there every 2 weeks or so.

Recording the vocals to See Ya Later

One morning on the bus stop I was thinking about life and things that had happened recently and for the first time in a very long time I penned a song that I felt worth of laying down in a studio. It felt really good to get back the mojo of writing something that wasn’t totally cliché and shit. A month or so later another song followed.

On my last trip home I pulled out my printer and designed and printed the labels on my CD’s. I have gone to work to investigate printing the covers and had the photos taken also on a super cheap Groupon. It is all coming together nicely….

Production – getting the mix done

However there are also reservations that one has when doing such a project. Despite the fact that I started it to ‘rediscover myself’, I am in some ways semi hysterical about not getting support for it. It is hard to pour yourself into something that expresses so much of who you are to others when they just simply don’t seem to care. I am afraid in some ways that it will fail from a complete lack of interest or that people just simply don’t like it. It is in times like this that I have to remind myself that it is for me and not for anyone else. It was worth it for the floating feeling of the high down the street every second week. It was worth it to have a hard copy of something that I have created all on my own. And if it does fail and people aren’t interested, then at least I have these things. I guess in the long run time will tell.

Printing the labels on the CD’s.

We have now done the mix. And we have done the master. We’ve burned CD’s and uploaded to the web for distribution. The music is out into the world and see where it winds up. Hopefully somewhere it can be enjoyed!

If you want to check it out, go to  https://store.cdbaby.com/Artist/DanniThomas

 

What I Reckon: Parenting

I have read many an article from psychologists, teachers and citizens alike on the problems we face with our children these days. The reality is, much of it comes back to parenting. And in this world that we live in, where people are very quick to shove things into the ‘too hard’ basket, our children are suffering. So if, as a global citizen, I may have one request, it is this:

“If you decide to have children in this world, please, please, please for fucks’ sake, parent them”. Tell them no. Take their phones away from them at night. Force them to sit at the dinner table and have a conversation with you. Then force them to do the washing up. Teach them how to take responsibility for their own actions if they screw up. Teach them that there is more to life that having their heads jammed in an iPad or taking a million pictures of themselves to post to social media. Teach them the value of money by not giving them every single thing they fucking well want because when you say no the first time and they throw a tantrum, and you decide it is too embarrassing or too difficult to deal with and so you give in. Well done you. Because what you teach your kid when you give them everything is that they have to work for nothing. That anything I give them on loan has no value so they can break it and put it on the floor because ‘who cares?’ That they are amazing and all deserving and that they world will just give them whatever they want as long as they throw a big enough tantrum for it. The other day I stood and watched a kid break about half a dozen pencils on his forehead like he was Chuck Norris or something and then walked out all impressed with himself…. awesome. Now I have no more pencils and when I tell him I want him to replace them he tells me he won’t be paying for them because it’s ‘just 20p’.

In so many kids I see going through the school system right now there is zero respect for adults, other people in general or property. They cannot see anywhere past what they want in the immediate moment. In that second, that is what they want and anything else beyond that is too hard to comprehend. Working for anything is too hard. It drives me insane. And then you meet parents and you realise why. They are afraid to say no to their children. They are afraid that other people will look down on them as parents if their child is behaving like an arsehole in front of others. So instead of getting at them about their behaviour, they let it slide. They let these children speak awfully to them and each other. They don’t have the time to take from their busy work schedules or are just too damn tired to make the investments necessary to ensure that their children don’t become arseholes. Or they are just too busy burying their heads in the sand.

But letting your child turn into a lazy self-righteous arsehole does not do them any favours. Nor does it do you any favours? Don’t you want to sit and look at your young adult children and think ‘wow, you are an amazing human that I want to spend time with that is full of respect for yourself and others and has ambition and drive to do amazing things’. Unless you tell them no and train them to be this way, they won’t turn out this way. Instead they are going to be soul sucking leeches still on your couch at 30 with no job screaming at you to bring them their dinner, and you will still bring it to them because you still don’t know how to say no. And you will despair at the human you raised because despite loving them you probably won’t like them. So do yourselves a favour.  Parent your damn children. Because I am sick of the buck getting passed to the school teacher and I am sick of the daily disrespect and blame I receive from parents and kids alike because it is my fault that your kids are whining, lazy, unambitious brats that are going to turn into a generation of lazy, unambitious adults.

End rant.

Parasites and I are like total besties

This morning, much to my horror and disgust, I went two doors down to the pharmacy after just getting off the overnight bus and wandered into the hostel bathroom to cheekily message my mum and get frantic with my newly acquired nit comb. You see, after a couple of days of itching like a fucking mad woman and thinking “fucking wool hats” I then lost my hat somewhere in Stuttgart and continued to itch like a mad bitch. This coupled with a few welts here and there had me thinking…. now I remember my younger sister getting them when she was about five.  But I never did. Until now. I am a grown arse woman with nits. And I don’t know if this has to do with high school age children sending them my way or the arseclown I sat next to on the plane.  Either way I am somewhat and somewhat not amused.

I am amused because I am a 32 year old childless spinster with nits. I am amused because in this whole trip, in which I usually encounter bed bugs and have to do full eradication upon return I haven’t yet seen one. I am not amused because I am so goddamn itchy!!! This wasn’t exactly how I planned things to go and now I suffer sheer paranoia.

So of course at every moment I get I am secretly crawling into toilet cubicles to comb handfuls of hair out of my head and no more nits. I am pretty sure that I got them all first go which wouldn’t be surprising considering I combed every direction for about 3 hours instead of seeing the sights of Berlin. But this still didn’t stop me. My room is clad with lavender and tea tree oil and I smell like an essential oil factory lathered in all of my oil.

My forearm looking like it swallowed a tennis ball after a bed bug bite

Despite all of this I was oddly calm. We can get rid of these. I am not allergic to these to the point where I welt and shake like a demon fiend. I don’t have to look in every nook and cranny of my luggage for the little buggers hiding.  You just spray it all with lavender and tea tree and get out your comb and you are pretty well done. Easiest parasite I have ever had to get rid of in the end. Much easier than bed bugs, giardia and all the other horrific shit I have had to deal with on the road. Just please God let there next time be no more bed bugs… or fleas……. or mosquitoes. I hate those things too! I went to Milan one weekend and woke up the first night with a swollen eyelid from a mosquito bite. The next night I woke up and the other one was swollen shut from yet another mosquito bite. Oh the joys of having such sweet blood! Ugh…. so yeah…. can I please, travel gods, go at least one trip without being mauled by something? Just pretty please?

What I Reckon: Being Single In Your 30’s.

Being single in your 30’s is shit. Let’s be real here for thirty seconds. You’re at that age where everybody expects you to settle down and get married and have children. And you are confronted with two realities…

  1. You don’t want to get married and have kids because you are perfectly happy on your own and couldn’t care less. (In which case you are going to cop it from all of your friends and family about what is wrong with you because God forbid you want to be on your own, and God forbid you wanting a life without those ankle biting, life sucking midget’s they call children).
  2. You want to get married and have kids but you just can’t seem to find the right person to be with. (In which case you are still going to cop it from all of your friends and family about why you are still single, and why you can’t find a man and how your ovaries are going to shrivel up and die and you will be like Bridget Jones, alone, found dead 3 weeks after passing under a tub of Ben and Jerry’s you were cracking into on your death bed with your body half eaten by Alsatians).

Now while there is a possibility that I will reach the point where I decide option 1 is the way to go…. (give me a few more years of dealing with arseholes on the dating circuit and this will happen believe you me), I would like for this blog to mostly address point 2.

Hello dear friends and family,

I know you are all well and married with kids of your own and have been that way since you were in your early 20’s. The rest of us however are left to suffer with the ridiculousness that society has dealt us.

Dating today happens through online websites and Tinder. Great. Swipe right, meet up, shag, go home with a probable STI. On to the next. Never get called back.

Go out on an actual date with a person. But don’t stress, he has 7 other dates this week and while he is trying to figure out if he can get the super hot boring girl in the sack he isn’t messaging you for a month and ooop! There it is, the message 6 weeks later that says ‘you were not my first choice but since I have exhausted all other options I thought better looking or funnier than you I figured I would be kind enough to message you now’.

And then there is the guy that loves a massive challenge. And so you provide one. But as soon as you take that next step, bam, he is outta there faster than The Flash and on to the next challenge cause why would you want to revisit the destination you have already been when there are a whole world of destinations (vaginas) out there to explore?

And so we rinse, lather, repeat.

In this world of instant gratification that we live in people expect that they will have Hollywood butterflies all the time, every time and if they don’t, oh well, it’s over. People don’t want to work at their relationships. A friend of mine said to me the other day ‘he said this and that isn’t respecting me or my feelings. I asked her how many times in our 17 year old friendship I have said shit that has disrespected her feelings and we’ve managed to yell at each other and get on with it. ‘Fuck loads’ she says. I am like ‘well why is this any different? It is about how your partner behaves after you call them out on something that upsets you and whether they then try and avoid it’. New relationship teething period. But people give up, freak out. Too hard basket, move on. People are too afraid of investing any part of themselves into anything anymore for fear of getting hurt, fear of making the wrong choices, fear of the thing that most people in the entire course of human history have spent their entire lives endeavouring to find.

And yet here we are. 30. With limited choices. A bunch of scared bratty, ungrateful morons hanging about until the next shag because heaven help us if we actually have to feel anything more than guilt, confusion or a slight amount of disappointment at the end of the day. We are a product of technology, society and too much choice. And we are also our own downfall. Until we decide to make some hard choices, we will never find what we are looking for. And even worse, when you are ready to make those hard choices, you then have to find someone that you have that romantic spark with that is also at a point where they are also willing to make those sacrifices and hard choices. Very few people are. And so back to the drawing board we go.

What I do know is this. I am not afraid to be alone if this dismal fucking dating scene cannot offer me anything more than a cheap weekend ride that won’t call me back later in the week. I don’t want games. I don’t want a disrespectful arsehole. I don’t want someone who is only going to message me once a month to see how I am going because their other shags on the go are busy. I don’t want someone who cannot consider my feelings and my time and treat me as a person they adore.  I am not afraid to instead go and invest my time into my friends who will be with me through my whole life and support me through whatever I need because those are my people. It is these people that will stick by me through thick and thin. And if I can’t find these qualities in a romantic partner then there is always the Rabbit and Duracell and the odd Tinder right swipe to keep me occupied.

 

 

 

Shit I Learned In Cornwall

For the bank holiday weekend, my friends and I hired a car and drove west to Cornwall for the weekend. I never actually thought that I would make it down that way however I am excited to say that we had an amazing time. And of course, because it is what I do, I learned some interesting shit. So here is the shit that I learned in Cornwall…..

The fabulous Cornish Pasty

Pasty’s were invented in Cornwall as a useful way for the miners that were working on the west coast to carry a hot meal with them that was filling. The pastry would act as an insulator for the hot meat and potato filling to keep it warm for a few hours. The crinkle part of the pasty was made so that the miners had a part of the pastry to hold and eat the hot contents from. Given that the miners would have trace elements of heavy metals and arsenic on their hands, they would throw this part away and not eat it. It was designed as a place to hold to eat and not for eating. Speaking also of pasty’s, we ate so many of them. The best ones are from Philp’s.

Munching down on a pasty outside Philp’s

When I grow up I am going to become a 70 year old nana in a choir

Whilst down in Cornwall we went to visit the Minack Theatre which is a giant, Roman style amphitheatre that was created by one woman in and around world war 2. There was a choir of 70 year olds there preparing for their performance that night. I will never forget the dancing of the people and the grooving of the nana’s as they sang Justin Timberlake’s ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling’. I have decided that this is what I want to do.

Chilling out watching the choir rehearse with stunning ocean views at the Minack

I’m clearly out of touch

Whilst driving down the road I spent a lot of time listening to the radio. I had no idea about any of the songs on the radio. So I learned the words to loads of those. Not only that, but I also learned a few other words of interesting definition:

Kleptopenia – a person who picks up other people’s pens and walks off with them. This is me. I have kleptopenia. Pens fucking everywhere.

Neglext – the art of ignoring the person you are supposed to be chatting with because you are too busy sending text messages to someone else.

Voluntold – when you get told you are volunteering for something but it isn’t really volunteering, it is more like being told.

Marconi tested his radio’s at Lizard Point.

Nuff said really. Pretty damn cool.

The coastline at Lizard Point

My home town was named after a place in Cornwall.

I grew up in a town called Launceston. We pronounced it ‘Lon-ces-ton’. The Cornish folk like to call it ‘Lawns-ton’. Their Launceston has a castle on a hill for a view. We have Myer 7th floor. They have a river Tamar. We have one too. They have a Tamar Bridge. We have a Batman Bridge that goes over the Tamar. We both have town halls, but theirs is older and cooler looking as it has medieval style. I am quite impressed with all of this. Our Launceston is bigger, but they are still both quite pretty towns.

You can call me the Queen of the Castle, the Launceston Castle!

Cornish Seagulls are HUGE

I mean seriously huge. They look like no neck rugby players of the gull world and the greedy fuckers sit around and glare at you while you eat. One said gull even tried to rip the  wing off of another gull in our presence and there was blood and gore everywhere. But luckily not on my pasty.

People walking from one end of the UK to the other is more common than one would think.

The route from Land’s End in Cornwall to Dan O’Groot’s in northern Scotland has been walked by quite a large number of people. Considering that this is 947 miles this is a huge achievement and one I think I will pass.

The Land’s End sign at the eastern most point of England.

Cornwall is such a stunningly beautiful place to visit with so much to see and do. You will need way more than the three days that we had to navigate our way around and see everything. Honestly you would probably need a couple of weeks. Just get fuelled up and away you go!