Thursday, 10 July 2014

It’s CIMA Results Day

All week my team have been on tender hooks, nervously awaiting their exam results.  Watching their anxious expressions and desperate attempts to distract themselves from wondering if they have passed or failed, brought back memories of waiting for my own exam results, a few years ago when I was training to become a professional accountant.

The lead up to any results day is never fun.  Of course when you pass, the elation and relief is undeniably wonderful, emphasised by the level of fear experienced beforehand.  The most memorable day for me was back in 2004, the day the results were announced I was on a family holiday. 

We were in the midst of a driving holiday around western Canada at the time.  We began our trip in Calgary, and headed through the Canadian Rockies, through Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper and Wells Gray Provincial Park, before heading on to Vancouver and Victoria.  It was an amazing trip (which I will post on my travel blog soon), but it wasn't exactly the most relaxing time for me, as I gazed at the stunning scenery, with fingers crossed that I had passed my exams.

The day the results actually came out, we had left Jasper and were staying at the Montana Hills Guest Ranch in Bridge Lake, BritishColumbia, not far from Wells Gray Provincial Park.  The owners were lovely and thankfully let me borrow their computer to check my email.  Well, I say me, but actually I was too nervous and sent my Dad and brother off with my password, while I hid in the cabin praying for good news. 

They came rushing back to the cabin, waving a print out in the air shouting, ‘You’ve passed! You’ve passed!’  I can’t tell you how relieved I was. 

Originally I’d thought being on holiday on results day was a terrible idea, but looking back now, the results made that holiday even more memorable.  I can honestly say that for most of my result days, I have no idea where I was, but that one and my family’s delighted faces as they shared the news and we celebrated, will remain in my heart forever.

What’s your most memorable results day?  I’d love to hear your stories…

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Book Review : White Boots by Noel Streatfeild

My favorite book as a child was White Boots by Noel Streatfeild.  Nine year old Harriet Johnson is advised to take up skating to aid her recovery from an illness that has left her thin and weak.  At the ice rink she is befriended by Lalla Moore, a young girl with figure skating in her blood.  Despite being from completely different classes, they form an unusual but undeniably strong friendship.  With Lallas' help, Harriet discovers that she actually posses the talent to become an exceptional skater herself, possibly even better than Lalla.  Revelations like that however, can put a strain on any friendship...

A few years ago I managed to track down a copy of this book and re-read it.  I discovered that despite the passing of time since I first read it, it had lost none of it's charm.  It's a heart warming tale that I love as much today, as I did all those years ago.

When I was a child, I was desperate to be like Harriet and take to the ice like she did.  The notion of gliding gracefully in beautiful skating dresses was enchanting.  The reality was, well somewhat different.  As a child I only skated once, when one of my friends had a birthday party at an ice rink.  I quickly discovered that being elegant and graceful was a whole lot harder than it looked, and clung to the side for most of the party.

Years later, as an adult I decided to give it another try.  I have never quite reached the level of talent that Harriet and Lalla possessed, but I did let go of the barrier... eventually.  But then, that's a whole other story...

All About Me

Hello.  I’m Elaina and I love to write.  Okay so you kind of expected me to say that, given this blog is mostly going to be about my writing (and books I love to read), nevertheless it’s still true.  I was the kid who was always making up stories and poems for fun.  Yep, not homework, just for fun.  However, strangely I chose a completely different career path, I’m an accountant (not really much call for creativity there).  Looking back now, I’m not sure why, possibly because writing for me was such fun it was engrained in my brain as being a hobby, not something serious.  I never stopped writing though.  I have note books filled with song lyrics, poems and story ideas.  Some I’m incredibly proud of, some, well we’ll just put those to the bottom of the pile shall we…

Last autumn I had a bit of a brain wave… potentially.  I decided that the story that had been running through my head for, well let’s just say a while, should be written down.  This revelation occurred to me in the middle of a sleepless night, which is quite fitting given this is when I also made up most of the story.  I’m a worrier.  When I can’t sleep I worry.  I think about something that happened the previous day, rehashing what I should have done differently, or worrying about the big meeting I have in the morning.  The end result of all my worrying is that not a lot of sleeping gets done and I’m tired and stressed come sunrise.  My solution is to daydream.  It’s not necessarily the most successful method of encouraging sleep, as I have a tendency to get so caught up in my daydreams that I can actually end up keeping myself awake, but on the plus side, I’m no longer stressed the next day.  Tired potentially, but not stressed and irritable.

After my middle of the night bolt of inspiration, at lunch the next day I pulled out my note book and carried on writing.  Somehow my middle of the night daydreaming sessions had now encroached into real life.  As that realisation struck me, I suddenly began to question the sanity of my brain wave.  I was writing a book.  Like a whole book.  Not just a song lyric or a short story, but a book.  Did I even have enough ideas to fill a book, no of course not, that just wasn’t realistic… was it?  I’m not sure if I was driven by the desire to prove myself right, or prove myself wrong, but I decided to jot down chapter ideas and see how many I’d get.  I wrote them down, rearranged them, counted them up and stared at them in disbelief.  Eighteen.  How on earth had I got ideas for eighteen chapters?  I hadn't even really thought about them, I’d just written down the ideas that were already floating around in my head.  Wow.  I was kind of amazed, and kind of concerned… just how many sleepless nights did I have anyway?

So that was it, suddenly my crazy idea didn’t seem quite so crazy.  Well no, it still seemed crazy, but now it seemed more achievable.  I picked up my pen and started writing again.  I discovered along the way, that doing so was completely and utterly addictive…