Wine Diploma Diary: I’m not exactly what you’d call a domestic goddess but …

My wine diploma diary dusting

I’ve turned into a person who’s gone all tidy-uppie.

I’m not very domesticated. It’s a rare thing to catch me with a duster in my hand.

Let me put this into context. Years ago I was the victim of a burglary and I duly gave the list of missing goods to the police.  It was a month before I noticed the thieves had also stolen the Dyson vacuum cleaner.

Another time, at work, I noticed through the newsroom window that it was raining. I said to my work pal Steve “oooh look, it’s raining and I’ve left the washing outside”. He said: “Jane, that’s the most feminine thing I’ve ever heard you say.” I said: “Yes, well. But its been outside a week.”

As I said. I’m not very domesticated.  Dairy cattle are more domesticated than me.

I’ve gone all tidy-uppie partly because its a New Year New Start and all that – but mainly because I want a tidy place and a tidy mind.

I sat on the bed on Sunday and rifled through all the bedside drawers, throwing stuff away, rediscovering forgotten things, finding little memories. A lock of my hair from when I was baby which mum had saved all her life; a Wembley FA Cup final ticket stub from 1947 (dad was there to see Burnley FC  lose in the 114th minute).  Keepsakes from special peoples’ lives all tangled up in a bedside drawer.

Now the precious things are breathing again and the rubbish is in the bin.

I feel better for it. Uncluttered. I suppose its fung suede or however you spell it.

The reason for this sudden domestic diversion? I’m a bit nervous to be honest. I’m due to start my online wine diploma through the  Wine & Spirit Education Trust on February 18. I need to be organised. I need to have a clean desktop, albeit a virtual one. I need to be good at juggling stuff even though as a kid I was always pretty rubbish at playing catch.

I’ve bought diary refills for the Filofax, rediscovered in the drawer and last used in 2009. No matter how easy it is to make notes in the ether, I like writing things down.

I’ve thrown away loads of pens. Pens with no ink tend to be a bit useless at writing things down.  I’ve put all my old WSET wine books in a pile. I need to re-read them before February 18. I can now set myself reading goals in the new diary pages in the Filofax using a pen which has ink in it.

I’m doing the tidy-uppie thing so I can do the keepie-uppie thing with the diploma. I want everything where it should be from the beginning of this impending two-year spare-time odyssey. Yes, I’ll be juggling time and work, let alone space, but it will be organised juggling.

Just don’t ask me to dust.

*I’ll be writing this Wine Diploma Diary as the two years unfold.


Claretsgirl, wine, football, and a split personality

claretsgirl football wine

I’ve been in and around for ages on this interwebby thing. Problem is, now I think about it, it appears I have a split personality. Claretsgirl and being a football fan or One Foot in the Grapes and enjoying wine (errrmmm quite a bit) or Jane Clare and both?

Mmm. I’m all three – but can I be all of these things out there in the ether? I’m not sure to be honest. It’s all very confusing.

Right. Here’s the story of my identity crisis.

Claretsgirl: Chapter One

Moons ago (in football terms it was the end of the 2008/ 2009 season) I joined Twitter as @claretsgirl.

This was a very exciting time for Burnley FC fans. When I joined Twitter, we’d just won promotion to the Premier League.

If you don’t follow footie this was a BIG thing for a club from a small Lancashire town, a club nonetheless steeped in football pride and history. My dad and his family had supported the Clarets for decades; I was the latest recruit.

Claretsgirl Burnley play-off final
Back then – claretsgirl aka Jane Clare – so very happy at the play-off final

At the time Twitter was a newish thing and all the guys in our Liverpool newsroom were using it. I didn’t get it – “but its a good source of news and finding people with similar interests” I was told.

Fair enough: As footie was HUGE for me at the time, I joined wearing my Burnley fan “hat” and eagerly hunted around for other Burnley fans on Twitter to share the joy.

Someone nicknamed our embryonic group of tweeting Clarets’ fans the #twitterclarets (High Five to @Hop3y for that) and we were as giddy as kids in a sweet shop with extra E-numbers drizzled on top.

Claretsgirl: Chapter Two

Remember those days of tweet-ups. Tweety people met in pubs (preferably) or coffee houses (not me) to put faces to Twitter names and to prove to each other they could speak in sentences that contained more than 140 characters.

I met one chap who’d followed me on Twitter  because he thought the clarets in claretsgirl stood for wine. Poor chap. He was disappointed it was “only” football (he definitely wasn’t a football man). Saying that, he was unknowingly giving a nod to the future.

As it was, @claretsgirl was on Twitter and not a glass of wine in sight (well, that bits a lie, but you know what I mean).

Back on track with the story. Two things happened. One not-so nice and one nice.

The not-so nice thing: I was poorly and off work for a while

My mind was so mushed I couldn’t work out how to cross a road. I was whacked. I guess it was like putting petrol in a diesel engine, when everything splutters to a halt.

Twitter was a lifeline for me when I started to improve. I loved the skill of using minimum characters and words to share a message, a thought, a joke. I rediscovered my love of words (and myself).

And so claretsgirl the blog was born.  A collection of musings, but mainly about mum, dad and Burnley FC.  My final post on claretsgirl shared tributes at dad’s funeral. I left it there. No more claretsgirl blogging.

Claretsgirl: Chapter Three

I hope you’re keeping up.

So this is the nice thing. I went to Chablis and fell in love with wine.

Sometimes journalists (I’m one) are invited on press trips. I was invited to Chablis. Well, it would have been rude not to go.

If you’re reading this because of the footie bit and you don’t know about the wine bit, you’ll be going Chablis? Yeh? Right? And so ….?

Chablis is a famous wine / village in Burgundy and you can read about the trip here  … but don’t disappear just yet.

Jane Clare clarestgirl in Chablis wine
Raising a glass in Chablis

I returned totally hooked on wine. This was like hooked on wine. The whole caboodle.  E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

Back at home, I decided to learn more; I began a wine column called ….. and this is the next identity crisis bit …. One Foot in the Grapes

High Five to my workpal Jamie for thinking of that name, which I think encompasses two things:
1) me and wine and being very clumsy
2) me and wine and  being an old bat

Let’s recap.

My name is Jane Clare.
That’s my name. The name’s not for changing.
On Twitter I’m  @claretsgirl.
I don’t want to lose that.  It’s my club. And I’d be mightily pissed off if I gave up the name and someone else became @claretsgirl.
Hands off!!
My blog
I’m leaving that untouched. A little time capsule of memories living out there somewhere.
One Foot in the Grapes
My wine stuff. The name of this here place. I like the name.

The reason I’m thinking about my identity crisis is this:  I’m learning by example from other bloggers and wine lovers in the ether as they’re not scared about putting themselves forward and blogging about their lives and their love of wine.

But I’ve gone a bit shy in my old age. I want to blog and I want to be brave enough to blog. So I’m dusting myself down. Giving myself a kick up the proverbial.  But who am I? Do I need to refine my online persona?   Can I have three identities?

I have to get my act together and start being me. But which “me” is the question.  My head’s in a tangle.

I’d put it to a vote but quite frankly I don’t trust votes at the moment. #Brexit


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