Thursday, 26 April 2012

unemployment, books, wookey hole

One boring afternoon in April 2011, I was writing an essay about post-communist economic reform of the Eastern Bloc. Not for fun of course, I'm not mad, it was for a university course I was taking. Anyway, whilst researching for this essay, one particular book mentioned that "Looking for a job, particularly if you are already out of work, is one of the more stressful, frustrating and potentially demeaning tasks that accompanies life in a Western market economy". I had a three month stint as a finance monkey for Somerset County Council before I left to volunteer in the Maldives, and now I'm unemployed again I gotta say I agree.

Or maybe unemployment perhaps isn't all bad - I try to steer clear of Jeremy Kyle though I will be guilty of occasionally watching The Wright Stuff. I'm trying to read more, currently I'm halfway through Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov and have been reading it for like, forever. It would be a total lie to say its unputdownable, its incredibly difficult to read - but some bits have been utterly stunning, I particularly enjoyed the way it deals with the ethical debates concerning the existence of God in "The Grand Inquisitor" bit. Secondly I found a pristine copy of Oliver Sacks' The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat in the Blue Cross charity shop and foolishly I started to read it before finishing the former book and it is about ten times more readable. The book, which details the world famous neurologist's experiences with various patients who had bizarre neurological disorders, such as people who have lost their memories or are no longer able to recognise people and common objects, is pretty great so far. The book is so much more than just medical notes, its beautifully written and somehow incredibly sad and hilarious all at the same time. You must read this book.

Let's not exaggerate the time I spend reading, I'm not some sort of egghead genius here. So that I don't get some sort of stay-at-home cabin fever I try to leave the house too, y'know, dog-walking, bike rides, going to Morrisons way more than is strictly necessary and maybe even deliberately "forgetting" to buy something just so I have an excuse to go back there. Yesterday was my brother's birthday and of course, my unemployed self was free to celebrate with him by going on a day trip to tourist attraction Wookey Hole Caves, a delight he could also afford being self-employed. The Caves are "formed through erosion of the limestone hills by the River Axe" and are noted "for the Witch of Wookey Hole – a roughly human shaped rock outcrop, reputedly turned to stone by a monk from Glastonbury" - thanks Wikipedia. Of course there isn't just caves at Wookey Hole Caves, that would be too simple. Other features include a fairy garden, big fibreglass animals (including dinosaurs), a house of mirrors and a circus exhibition.

On a side note - I cannot get over film photography, I am stupidly addicted to what is essentially a dead art-form which confuses many of my peers who seem to think that I am so stupid I have just neglected to notice that digital cameras have been invented. Anyway, I bought some faulty polaroid film for an eye-watering price, especially for an unemployed loser like me and Wookey Hole seemed like the perfect place to test it out - results below.

These are pictures of my favourite attractions - the fibreglass animals and most amazingly, fully functioning machines at the Victorian Penny Arcade. You can change your money up and £1 buys you exactly ten Victorian pennies to use on penny falls, grab machines, fruit machines and various arcade games and even fortune tellers, one of which "read" my palm and told me that my hand denotes that I have a great ability for business details and lots of other nice things which are "definitely" true.

So I would definitely recommend a day out at Wookey Hole, with a quick stop-over in Wells on the way back for a visit to the biggest fuckin' cathedral I have ever seen. I'll leave you with a picture of this nice cat who seemed to live at Wookey Hole. End.

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