De Libertas Quirkus

Whenever I travel overseas I find a ‘catchphrase’ that both describes the essence of the trip and sticks to it as the name of that experience. Past travels have included the “Slippery Little Sucker” trip to the UK which came from a scene in Pretty Woman and was to do with eating snails and another one was the “Gold Lame Harem Pants” trip for reasons I couldn’t possibly explain. Well, I found a perfect phrase on Twitter the other day, a Latin motto that will grace the 2014 North American odyssey…”De Libertas Quirkus”…”The Freedom to be Peculiar” It’s perfect, I claim it. Forever.

I made chocolate brownies this afternoon. Tomorrow I walk to church and help look after the seniors at our Selwyn Centre Monday morning session. We do a series of exercises, then we have morning tea and home baked goodies, then I do a crossword and they wipe the floor with the writer and find that highly amusing, then we play bar skittles or indoor golf putting or cards, have a quiz or just sit round and chat. Everyone has a wonderful time and I always learn something. Panama hats are made in Ecuador or black-box flight data boxes are red, that sort of stuff. Two Mondays a month I volunteer and I’ve come to regard them as my “Educating Julie” sessions.

Three mornings this week I have aqua-aerobics in the local pool. It is just starting to get on the cool side when you first get in. If you get your shoulders under the water quickly and start jogging on the spot everything warms up. It’s an outdoor pool and it’s open until Easter. I suspect that by then they’ll be breaking the ice before they get in, I, on the other hand, will be swimming in San Diego by then. It reminds me of school days when we started swimming at Labour weekend, which is October. It might have been officially Spring but the weather was hardly sub-tropical.

So my calendar for the coming week reads like this
Monday: Selwyn Centre 9-12
Tuesday: Aqua-aerobics 9-10 Meeting 11-12
Wednesday: Ash Wednesday Church Service 7-7.30am, Aqua-aerobics 9-10, 3pm Speech at a book club in a local Retirement Park
Thursday: Grocery Shopping
Friday: Being an Ancient Egyptian Woman 9.30-11am
Saturday: Aqua-aerobics 9-10am
Don’t you wish you were me?

I’m also judging a short story competition for the Cambridge Autumn Festival with three other judges. We have whittled 68 entries down to a shortlist of 12 and we have to choose 1st, 2nd and 3rd. There are four standouts in the 12 for me and it will be very interesting to see where the other judges have placed the stories I like. They are beautifully written, touch my emotions and tell me a story. If I have one piece of advice for prospective competition entrants it is ‘don’t forget the story bit of the equation.’ Take me somewhere, teach me something, entertain me, make me laugh, make me cry, but end up somewhere different. If you can tell me an intergenerational story in 2500 words and make me remember it, I’ll think you are pretty darn clever.

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