Hi there girls and boys, I hope you’re all keeping safe.
I’m Anna, (Hiya!), 31, originally from Belfast but I’ve lived in and about Durham and Newcastle since I was 2, so no Noirish accent. Whether that’s a good thing or not is up to you. Personally I’ve nothing against it, but like most dialects it can be harsh. Myself, mine has been described as posh Geordie, and once, mackem…shudder. Sorry people of Sunderland, just having some gentle banter! However, anyone asking if I sound like Cheryl what’s-my-surname-this-week Cole will get short shrift. I was raised by two lots of foster parents for reasons I might get into one day. They were lecturers and one a professor so the poshness may come from them, at least it’s who I blame when they are in earshot. I might phone them and lapse into local words, to which mum1 will say “but Anna, we just cant understand what you’re saying, darling”, knowing that it riles me. All four are local to this area, but now live in Skye and Plymouth. …it’s like they choose to make my Christmas visit journeys take as long as possible. The way I talk also something to do with a Newcastle boarding school…ah, happy days!
And just to get this out there, I like girls, and girls only. Lezza, lesbo, (I mean come on, are you 11?), carpet muncher, dyke, whatever your expression is. However, as the sign says, “DYKE: We might not go down in history, but we’ll go down on your sister!”.
I can’t make it plainer. Of course you’ll get the smart arses that say, “No you’re a bloke”, because I wont call them, the same way as I won’t post my image online. I’ll happily talk to men. As Jo Brand said, they’re great, as a concept. I have a girlfriend who currently lives in Texas, pursuing her career as a physio and sport science instructor, but we’re happily still attached. There was no reason I couldn’t go with her, but we keep in touch every Saturday night via Skype, and I’m still deeply, hopelessly in lurve. Ellie is the only girl I’ve ever loved…I’ll be selling Anna branded vomit bags in the foyer.
Also, I swear, quite a bit. Only last week I was in Tesco and said, out loud to myself, in a sort of a Tourettes moment, “These lemons are fucking expensive”. I may also occasionally talk about sex, and porn, and just what it takes to get my knickers off, so if language or sexual innuendo or girlie expressions of how stupid and clumsy and and inadequate I feel when I see a certain someone aren’t your thing, or you just think I’m a bloke, then you have my permission to leave.
So then, why am I writing this? Well I’ve always kept a diary, ever since I was eight. I have every one of them, they take up ten shelves in the basement, in a little room which I try to keep at a certain temp etc. Think Angels and Demons, but tinier. They’re the only things I’d rescue if there was a fire. It has been pointed out that they are themselves a fire risk and maybe I should have then scanned onto a hard drive. Yes… but there’s 23 years worth! It would take long time to do, even professionally, and there’s some personal stuff I just wouldn’t want anyone to read. When I brought some of my stuff from Durham to here in Tynemouth, I travelled with them in the van, like a mother hen. When I go back to stay in Durham for more than a week they go with me. If I have to go away, they get a babysitter. Overkill, yes, but hey.
I rarely go two days without an entry, (oo-er) and these days prefer a Moleskine journal, in classic red, rather than a diary with dates. Some days I can write pages and pages so it makes sense not to have that spread over three dates. I also have a separate book for each year, in which I keep the really personal stuff. They stay in the safe, next to the chocolate biscuits. If you’ve ever read Stephen King’s The Stand, you’ll know why!
I did start this online thing last year and was going great guns, writing about a thousand words once a week or so. I don’t do it for an audience, but I discovered that I do like a bit of feedback and it can lead to a chat online. I don’t frequent online chats as much as I did. These days my nights are the same as they were then, 10pm in bed as I am up at 5 for a run as they have been for years, but my days are fuller. Also it can help ease my thoughts which, to quote Alan Partridge, can be like trainers in a washing machine (a-haaa). Sometimes a thought can just not leave me all day, the same way as a tune might hang around for days.
If I write it down and try to expound on it, I can find relief. At the time I was frequenting a chat site which shall remain nameless, and had a few people that read my ramblings. I stopped, and deleted everything, my twitter, the blog, etc, when I was offered a job in a Canadian university as a lifeguard and swimming coach. My job as a lifeguard here had been getting as little bit stale, so I applied for and got the job. It looked fantastic, facilities to die for, and I’d be doing something with my life. It has been noted that I just do nothing with my degree, mainly by the foster parents who bemoan that I spend my weekends behind the counter in charity shops and my days in a pool, rather than become the high flying teacher they perhaps suggested I should aim for. More than once. When I told them they were all happy, well..happyish. “Not a teaching course them poppet? You’d make a great teacher”. Poppet. I love dad2 but my he can be old fashioned for 60, despite his Alexa and Kindle and electric Harley. I paid two visits to the uni, one for the interview and the other to look at accommodation.
Quite why they chose to employ me when I’m sure there will be hundreds of perfectly acceptable Canadians available…Then the virus struck. I had been after a clean break, both online and in real life, this is why I deleted everything, and not as my girlfriend said, “You want to delete your online life as a saucy minx”. Me? As if. Too late to save the deletion of the blog, I swore heartily for about a day. A clean break is what I got.
I’m lucky enough that I don’t need the job, I don’t need to work at all in fact. I was left a large sum of money, meaning that I can live a life of luxury if I chose to and never lift a finger…but that would be boring, although watching a maid around the place might be nice. I chose to be a lifeguard in both pools and the beach, and have been doing it since I was 19, both here in the UK as well as Malta and France, but I always come back to my area. It’s the same as when I went to uni. I had the choice of Oxford, with all the baggage it might entail. “Ooh Oxford educated, posh or what”. Although going to uni these days is common, and some of them are VERY common, it can be looked on as a waste if you’re a lifeguard. Bear in mind that I had no idea what I wanted to do after uni. I would possibly have been slightly bullied into that teaching job, or nursing, although by then the uniforms just weren’t sexy enough. So Durham it was. Home town, own apartment, good chip shops…..no competition! I like my little city. Home is where I like to be, and although I like to travel I can’t wait go get back, in fact I once returned early from a Paris weekend as I was missing a nice cuppa. So I’m not sure if Canada would have been me.
My one extravagance is my second home. I bought this house in Tynemouth as I like being next to and in the sea, something Durham can’t manage, even though it has the Wear. It’s ok for a swim but you’ve got go dodge the fecking uni rowers, who think they own the river. Other than this place, which was a bit over the top for the northeast, I don’t spend much. I’m not one of those girls that splashes money on handbags, shoes and dresses, unlike those absolute knobs that appear on the execrable Rich Kids. My taste is for what I think looks nice, rather than labels. Primark and I are best friends! Then there was the pretty assistant, but again that’s a story for another time. I have precisely three disgustingly expensive items which I never wear, but I buy enough that the charity shop I often work in on a weekend love a delivery from me! I do a bit for charity, I’ll bore you with my tales in upcoming episodes. I’ve a few perfect LBD’s, in which I think I look good if I have to. Being 5’11 heels and I don’t get on, but I’ve a few pair, if needed. I look like a lighthouse. And quite a few clutch bags, all non label. Other than that I dress in jeans, skirts, blouses… normal stuff, with a recent thing for hats to keep my blond hair in check, as I have lots. But only on my head. (Isn’t that usually where you wear a hat?)
What else. I give to good causes on social fundraising sites, and go to church every Sunday. Although raised a Catholic, I’m not religious. I just can’t believe in a God. Famine, war, disease, tories….? My Labour leanings, well, not current Kier-wetend-Starmer Labour, but Jeremy Corbyn Labour, will no doubt poke their head above the parapet in future scribblings.
I like a church because of its architecture, the order of a mass, the peacefulness, although having been to St Peter’s in Rome on more than one occasion, peace is sometimes forgotten. I was appalled at the noise and bad manners of the visitors. It was all I could do to stop myself slapping an American in front of me for wearing what amounted to a bra top, her loud twang telling everyone through her chewing gum that it just wasn’t as good as her church back home. Well perhaps, I said, you could go back there quickly, and leave us good Catholics to enjoy it. There’s nothing quite like a bit of threateningly defensive religious intolerance, I find. On a Sunday you can find me in either Durham or Newcastle cathedral, or a Tynemouth church. The best service is usually Newcastle on a Sunday night. As the nuns in Father Ted would say, he gives good mass. Also, the congregation are a mixed bunch, lots of Poles, Phillipinos, and the odd tramp. Sorry sorry, homeless person. Although the ones I’ve met while doing the shop kitchen runs prefer tramp. “Gives me an air of mystery like, petal, y’naa. Now this tramp is asking if theres any more of that oxtail?” Even though Durham is an Anglican cathedral, it’s just so fucking nice.
Look at that, words and words… I do wander so if you’re expecting a beginning, middle and an end, along with perfect grammar….no, my English 1:1 from Durham wont be aired here!
I’ll be doing this once a week or so, so please leave a comment here.
Thanks for reading
Anna, Tynemouth, England
26th of October, 2020