Monday 29 December 2008

Surprise Photo Card from Dos Torres, Cordoba

Today I received a surprise photo/greetings card from our friends in Spain. During the summer they work at their restaurant in Mallorca but during the festive season they quite often return to their home town to visit relatives.

Normally we just send ecards to one another but this year I was surprised to receive a beautiful photo of their young daughter dressed in traditional costume. It was such a lovely surprise and really made my day.

The problem with me is that I am English and still have that reservedness that goes along with it. I had only been saying to Mick the other night that we hadn't heard from our friends this year and I thought that perhaps we put more importance in the friendship than there really was.

So ok they didn't reply to my request for them to join Facebook or they never replied to my message when they invited me to join Multiply and they hardly ever reply to emails but then they are Spanish - and I should be used to the differences between us by now....

Mick always says to me that we would not have been invited to their wedding; to their father's 60th birthday party or to join any other family/friends gatherings if we were not good friends and he trusts them far more than anyone else we know.

I guess it's just my own insecurity.....

Goddamit it's about time I grew up :-)

Sunday 28 December 2008

Our family Christmas Photos

Here are just a few of our family Christmas Photos. It was great fun, very noisy, too much to eat, but then that's Christmas for you x

Christmas update

Well Christmas Day was fairly quiet and I struggled with my cold but by the afternoon I had stopped the sneezing and got the red nose under control :-)

We went to visit Ricky and Sarah and after all the other guests had gone we stayed and played on the Wii. I have to admit that after several cocktails my coordination was completely naff and they beat me hands down.

It was a good evening and we wandered back home on the stroke of midnight. I was surprised to see other people walking home at that time and felt like shouting Merry Christmas to them but then this is England and people don't speak to strangers!!!

Wednesday 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas to One and All

Well a Merry Christmas to everyone and a Happy New Year. Let's hope 2009 will be a better one for all countries.

My Christmas started last weekend when all the kids & grandkids came over for the day. I think I put on enough food to feed an army but then at least everyone was satisfied :-) It was a fantastic day with the little'uns having great fun and it was a very noisy day. Mind you we might be getting old but we aren't stupid - we set the gazebo up in the garden and when we needed a break we nipped outside and sat and had a ciggie...

I'm at work today but we should be finishing lunch time and then I'm off until 2nd January. Wow am I looking forward to the break. My virus cleared up but now I'm down with a cold and I'd certainly give Rudolph a run for his money with my bright red nose!!! Unfortunately Mick wasn't allowed time off and as he used 3 of his holiday days when my Dad died (to support me) he will have to work. Still in the New Year he has to have a minor op so he will need time off to recover from the operation so will get a break then.

So once again Merry Christmas; Feliz Navidad; Joyeux Noel to everyone xx

Friday 19 December 2008

More than a coincidence?

Today I had booked a day off work. For one thing I had a dental appointment and for another I had to do all the shopping for our family get-together this coming Sunday.

Now bearing in mind I'm still getting over the virus (although no longer contagious) I was a little bit concerned yesterday when the dental surgery phoned to confirm my appointment today and added that the dentist had been off sick but she thought he would be back in today but would phone me should he not turn up. My concern was that there are a hell of a lot of viruses floating about at the moment and if the dentist had only taken one day off (as she said) then perhaps he would still be carrying the virus around with him and me in my not too perfect health laying there in front of him with my mouth open might be a prime target for any pesky viruses!!

Anyway I got up and ready to go for my appointment, jumped in the car, turned the key and - nothing.... Completely flat battery. Damn, I dashed out to the shed and got the battery booster plugged it in turned the key and - nothing.... Damn, I ran indoors and phoned a taxi - sorry it's the school run so there are no cabs.... I then phoned the dentist and asked if I could go a little later and then I would have chance to walk there. No sorry I have to be there within 15 minutes or the appointment would be cancelled. It is a 30 minute walk!!! Keep trying the taxi firms she said. So after trying more taxi firms the time ticked away and in the end I had to phone the dentist and tell her to re-book me as I had run out of time now to get to them.

Now being in a position to not have to run out the door I prepared to put the battery on charge in the hope that I would still be able to do some shopping when I noticed an old battery at the back of the shed. I tested it and it showed some life left in it so I carried it (it was big and heavy!) out to my car, connected the jump leads, turned the key and - whoopee away it went!!! So I could do the food shopping/Christmas shopping after all.

Which leads me to the title - was it a coincidence that the car wouldn't start and I didn't find the battery until after I had cancelled the dentist appointment or was something else working to make sure that I didn't turn up at my appointment and catch another bug????

Strange but true.....

Tuesday 16 December 2008

Oh my God Norovirus!

I'm now on the mend - but have suffered from the above virus. I won't go into details but it has to be one of the worst viruses that I've come across so far in life!!!!

It certainly knocks you for six and at one point there I just wanted to curl up and die....

Where do these viruses come from? How is it that an unseen bug is able to creep up on you; invade you and make you so downright ill?

Now anyone that knows me knows that is unheard of for me to go 24 hours being unable to eat, drink tea or smoke - and I couldn't do any of these - all I could manage was to sip water and I only did that to stop getting dehydrated.

But as already stated I am on the mend - well the smoking and drinking tea is back to normal - the food is being taken gently.....

Might keep my weight down tho' :-)

Saturday 13 December 2008

A Little Bit Down

Feeling a little bit down today. It could just be the over-indulgence yesterday :-)

However a few things did come to light which have caused me to feel a little bit sentimental and sad. At the Xmas do our boss and owner of the company handed over the reins of the company to his newly elected MD. I got the impression that he has had enough of working now and is backing away from the company. Well fair enough but it has always been a 'family business' but since last Xmas when his son stood down as MD and went and worked elsewhere and they sold off several agencies it has been a niggling thought in my mind that they would be giving up on the business, and it seems I was right.

Now don't get me wrong I like the new MD but once you move away from a family business and get into a 'business' company you tend to lose that little bit of personal touch.

It just seems that so much is changing just lately. Life as I knew it is changing to something 'new' and uncertain.

Over the past couple of years so many people I have known have left this life; so much of life as I know it has moved onto something different and people I thought were friends turned out to not be.

Change in itself is not bad but it does take some getting used to - and who knows where we will be by this time next year? I do adapt to change but I do have to get used to it...

So today I feel uncertain; unsure of life; sentimental over those that have gone and a little bit scared of the future....

Manana is tomorrow so why worry about it today - I must remember that!!!!....

Friday 12 December 2008

Works Xmas Do!!

Today is our works Xmas do - it starts at lunch time and finishes whenever so I won't be blogging today :-)

Will update on how it goes later.

Wednesday 10 December 2008

Teaching Spanish!

A friend is trying to learn Spanish by using Michel Thomas Cd's and is having problems. She has suggested that we spend some time together at lunch times and I can help her (as I am more advanced and she is still beginning).

That has led me to thinking about how I can help her and I think it will make me re-focus on my early Spanish language courses.

Mm must think about that one - and dig out all my old books.....

Monday 8 December 2008


Today marks the 2nd anniversary of the death of Dora my stepmum. My Dad was never the same after she died and really didn't want to go on without her. Again this was a sudden, unexpected death.

Bless you Dora, hope you are both happy and together now xxx

Where did the last 8 months go!

My daughter popped over yesterday with Katie & Stefan and he is trying to get up on his feet already! At only 8 months of age....

It is rather sad really that his birth (2 days after my Dad was killed) seemed to pass by amid the confusion of that terrible time. Whereas the early days of Katie was watched with fascination and lots of visits poor little Stefan has had to make do with occasional visits in between everything else.

Bless him he's a lovely little lad and I guess he won't hold it against us :-) xxx

Thursday 4 December 2008

Thanks for the Snow Effect

My thanks to Kurt Grigg via Blogger Buster for the widget creating snow on blogs.

I think it looks great and makes me feel quite Christmassy :-)

Wednesday 3 December 2008

Well it's been a cold one today

Winter is definitely here with temperatures during the night getting down below freezing. Part of the UK has snow and this morning when I left home it was the first time I had to walk carefully because it was icy underfoot.

Not my kind of weather at all but hopefully if the winter is bad we might actually have a summer next year!!!

Tuesday 2 December 2008

Little Things Mean a Lot

Like receiving a phone call at 10pm from my 12 year old grandson who just realised what the date was and couldn't go to sleep before he had phoned to chat to me and wish me happy birthday :-)

The problem with being a mother

The problem with being a mother is being able to stop being a mother!!!

After you have spent years and years worrying about your children; trying to protect your children and putting them at the top of your list of priorities you have to realise that you have to let them go - mentally not just physically.

For example - as you all know if you have read my blog - I really do wish to live in Spain. Now the problem comes with my mental ability to 'let go' of my kids. You see I'm not a clingy mother and I never interfere in their lives but 'I' know that I'm not far away should they have a problem. I can be with them within half an hour max or visa-versa. To move to another country - albeit one that is quite close - it would still mean that it would take several hours, if not a whole day, to get to them should they need me.

Ah!!! that is the crux of the matter. 'Need'....

Because another problem is the realisation that as a mother of adults you are no longer their priority; no longer the most important person in their lives and they no longer 'need' you.

But it is very hard to let go mentally - however easy it may appear physically......

Damn being a mother - it can hurt at times....

Sunday 30 November 2008

My birthday

Well another year is almost over and I have taken Friday and Monday off from work to make a nice long weekend of it. I always refuse to work on my birthday - I'm not doing anything but I just like to spend the day doing whatever I feel like.

Well this year I've decided that having been so busy working/decorating etc I am going to spend my birthday (tomorrow) first of all going to the garden centre and getting further supplies of cat food and bird seed (for the wild birds) and then just getting on with a bit of painting. Not painting the house - but finishing an art project that I started about 3 weeks ago. By no stretch of the imagination am I an artist but I find painting so relaxing and I am definitely improving....

Missing Spain

I find it terribly difficult to spend time away from Spain and it is especially difficult this time of year. What with grey, cold, wet, dark days and it being 6 months since we were last in Spain I get withdrawal symptoms.

Over a drink or two last night we were discussing once again our dreams and I am sure that learning the Spanish language is not going to improve much more until we are totally immersed in it. I can study the language and read the language but my difficulty is 'hearing' the language. I have enough trouble making out what people are saying in English let alone another language.

But we did find a couple of years ago that when we were surrounded by only Spanish speaking people that our language skills improved considerably and once I had 'tuned' into the language I was able to chat away with no problem. The problem came when I returned home to England as I was still thinking in Spanish!!!

As for our missing Spain I am sure people will think that everyone misses the sunshine but it is not that with us as I would be quite happy being there in the snow/rain/wind etc. What I miss is the people and their attitude to life. In Spain I never even consider my age whereas here in the UK you are considered old once you get passed 40.....

I love the way they respect other people whereas here they don't. I love their family values - where has that gone in the UK?

Ok so the UK has a lot going for it - after all if it didn't how come so many people move here - but I just know where I feel most at home....

Ruth Lorenzo

I can't believe it - Ruth is voted out of X Factor! Or rather, she wasn't voted in. Well we voted so what is the matter with the UK public after all she was without a doubt one of the most talented singers on this programme. Alex and Ruth would have made a fantastic final but now the X Factor has lost its shine for us and although we will watch it we won't be voting anymore.

I guess the nationality thing came into play where the UK couldn't allow a non-UK winner.... How narrow-minded people can be. Still Ruth is happy, she has been given no end of coverage and she has proved to all concerned that she can make it as a star and with her voice; personality and composure I will await the release of her first album.

Good luck Ruth.

Sunday 23 November 2008


Well it snowed today - as forecast. Mind you not that you'd notice. I woke up at about 8.45 and there was snow falling (the birds were eating the seed I put out like there was no tomorrow) but within an hour it turned to rain and washed all the snow away.

It's pretty cold though - about 4 degrees C.

Roll on summer.....

Another busy weekend

Well that's the bedroom painted. Now all we've got to wait for is Ian to bring the carpet over. I've had a massive clear out of all my clothes/bags/shoes and can now fit them in the new wardrobe! The charity shop will gain from my losses :-)

Just where do you accumulate so much 'stuff'. I guess when they say that you fill the space available is true. After all before I had the fitted wardrobes I didn't exactly have stuff lying around all over the place but once the wardrobes were built they gradually filled up. Well no more "keep it just in case...." I've got to be stricter and just throw out/give it to charity shops/sell on Ebay.

But I bet it won't be long before I'm saying "I thought I had one of those......"

Friday 21 November 2008


Wow now I've had an invite to join Just how many of these sites are there! Well the invite was from my grandson so being the dutiful nan I've registered and am in the process of creating a site there. I'm starting to get all over the internet :-)

I haven't been able to write much this week as we've been up to our eyes in decorating (in the evenings) and my house looks like a bombs hit it! How I hate living amongst disruption....

Well the finished product will be worth it - the bed will be in the correct position (Feng Shui) the room will be nicely decorated - and to get all my clothes etc into my wardrobe I will have to do some serious space clearing so all the charity sacks will get an early Christmas present!!!

Oh for a bigger house...............

Monday 17 November 2008

Spanish answer to Facebook?

We had a surprise invite from our Spanish friends to meet up on Multiply. Is this the site that the Spanish prefer rather than facebook?

Ok so I registered with Multiply and uploaded absolutely loads of photos so our friends can see them and then that was all I had time for.

First impressions is that it doesn't have quite the same ease of use as Facebook - but then perhaps that's just because I'm used to FB.

I received a notification that my friend had replied on Multiply but I can't access this type of account while at work so I will have to take a look later.

Will let you know what I think of it later on....

Feng Shui, Ley lines and all that...

Well this last weekend was a busy one! It started a few weeks ago when I realised that I hadn't checked my home recently on the Feng Shui factors. After realising that there were a few things amiss I started to clear out some rubbish which led to noticing that our bed was the wrong way round.

Well in our pokey little house you can hardly swing a cat let alone move a bed round in the bedroom! Also many years ago Mick built a full width built-in wardrobe with sliding doors just where the bed should be positioned. Well to cut a long story short we had already ordered a new carpet and Ian (Mick's son) was going to come over on Sunday and help to lay it. A phone call Saturday put paid to that as Ian had hurt his back.

Ok so picture the scene - Saturday night watching the telly - a couple of drinks later - we decide it might not be such a bad idea to remove the built-in wardrobe before we fit the new carpet. After all built-in sliding robes are old fashioned now - nice free standing wardrobes are the latest thing. So Sunday morning I'm on the internet looking up Ikea's site and designing my new wardrobe; Sunday midday we are at Ikea - NEVER AGAIN on a Sunday it's absolute chaos. However new wardrobe in the back of the Kia we battle with the queues of traffic trying to get back over the Queen Elizabeth Bridge arriving home at about 3pm.

Now Mick is really good at building stuff and that built-in wardrobe was an absolute pain to get out (not to mention a physical pain for Mick with his hernia!!) and where did all my clothes come from - and the shoes (I didn't know I had so many). There is the bed piled high with clothes/shoes/books and all the other rubbish you tend to put in a space hidden behind a door.

By 10.30 pm we had managed to complete the wardrobes (minus the doors - they can go on today sometime) and I had managed to cram the clothes back in them.

By 11.30 pm I am lying in bed wondering why I ache so much and why I can't get to sleep....

I really am going to have to clear out some stuff.... very bad Feng Shui :-)

PS The ley line bit refers to testing and finding a ley line going right across Mick's pillow when the bed was in the old position.

Wednesday 12 November 2008


While we are onto wishes here is a lovely old house in Mallorca that I just wish we could get hold of and do up. It has loads of potential and we just happened to come across it.
It is up for sale and it is in need of lots of TLC as it seems as if someone started to do it up and then gave up/ran out of money or whatever other reason but it's left with loads of building work to be done on it. Anyway I just fell in love with it.
If only wishes could come true.....

French Invites

Our first real journey into the world of motorhoming is provisionally booked for next Spring.

We intend to spend a week touring around France and it has been brilliant the amount of invites we've received from those already living in France to stop over with them on our travels.

Although already a little nervous about going away for a week in the van (in case I forget to take something we need, or we run out of gas etc) it is really quite exciting.

The main problem with me nowadays is my lack of confidence on the roads. I'm definitely pushing myself to conquer this problem as it is due totally to the fact that in the last 5 years I've been commuting to work and only driving my car at weekends (if at all). Consequently when we venture out on the road I find myself holding my breath at times and braking (even when Mick is driving) :-)

I won't let it stop me though - I've got to get the better of this fear.... after all Mick says that if we take to motorhoming then perhaps we can upgrade later on and I've definitely got my sights set on an RV next...................something like this...........I wish..........

Tuesday 11 November 2008


I don't know about you but I get caught up in a persons accent rather than listening to what is being said. If you follow my blog you will know that I'm learning Spanish and French but it is any accent that gets to me. I tend to listen to the flow of the accent and just don't hear what the person is saying to me.

That tends to be a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to learning another language :-)

I wish there was a way to just tune into another language without having to concentrate so hard. Is there a stage when learning another language that it all just kind of slots into place? After all I've learned the words, the grammar and can read a fair amount of it but listening to it - well that's another ball game altogether....

I just wish I found it easier to do...

1984 George Orwell and all that

What is this world coming to?

It seems to me that the Government is trying to obtain a perfect race of people. My initial thought was "didn't Hitler want a perfect race - so who did win the war?" Now any German bloggers please do not take offence I am just trying to make a point. After all we have now got the fascist regime.

So far they have alienated smokers - to such a degree that there is a distinct animosity between smokers/non-smokers. Then they started on drinkers and we were told how bad it was to drink, then they tried to have a go at fat people and when that didn't work they have now focused on fat children - making both the 'fat children' and their parents feel guilty and insinuating that it is bad and a failing in someones character that they should be 'fat'.

They are driving a wedge between people; they are causing divisions. We now have the

smokers v. non-smokers
drinkers v. tee-totallers
'fatties' v. skinnies

and we are slowly being brainwashed into believing that to be a perfect human being you have to be a slim, non-smoking, healthy eating person. What has happened to individuality and more importantly isn't it a person's character that is most important?

Gosh George Orwell was right.....

Sunday 9 November 2008

X Factor Result

For those that are following the X Factor in the UK I have to say I was bitterly disappointed this week.

Both the fantastic Ruth and Laura were both in the bottom two and had to sing for their places in the competition. Both were brilliant in their own different ways but the disappointment was the fact that they were both put in this position.

Neither of these girls should ever have been in the bottom two places and both my husband and I were completely shocked and sat shouting 'fix' at the TV.

What is wrong with this country that we don't vote for talent but instead vote for the underdog/sympathy vote/cute person etc.

This should never, never, never have happened.

To grow or not to grow

On a more light hearted note, if you look at my profile you will see my hair this time last year.

Unfortunately I gave in to the pressure - you know the thing, oh you shouldn't have long hair after you reach a certain age; it is much more modern and with it to have shorter hair; long hair ages you, etc. etc.

Well just before my birthday (1st Dec) last year I went and had it all cut off to a short bob. I have to admit it felt good to start with and I thought it looked good but the novelty soon wore off. For a start I spent more time trying to keep the style looking right than I had ever spent on my hair before and then when the hot weather came (well what few days we had!) I found it hard to put up and keep off my face and neck.

Straight away I started growing it again and it is growing quite quickly. It has now got to mid back length and I can now put it up much better. I really miss the ease in which I was able to put it up in a bun or twist and I will have to keep telling myself not to have it cut again....

Oh and for anyone that was wondering - it didn't make me look any younger, in fact I think I looked older and Mick certainly didn't like it :-)

Remembrance Sunday

Today, almost in respect, the rain held off while the Remembrance Sunday parade went ahead.

Amongst the many people on parade it was astonishing to note that there were still 3 veterans from the First World War. Bless them and may their health continue.

This is still an emotional mark of respect to all who fought in the First and Second World Wars and to the many who gave their lives so that we would keep our freedom.

May we never forget.

Guy Fawkes wash out

Well celebrations for Guy Fawkes night this year were a complete wash out. As November 5th approached there were the occasional odd firework let off but on the day - or more importantly the weekend before and after (when the major displays are generally let off) - we were plunged into rain; rain and more rain.

For the animals it was a blessing. Even my cats didn't seem bothered by the odd firework this year.

It seemed that every time there was a slight let up in rain and people ventured outside to let off some fireworks then down it came again. It certainly put out any fires that were alight!

Friday 7 November 2008

Wii fit = Wii fun

Ok without wishing to bore everyone to tears I just have to say that Wii fit arrived last night. (Good on Parcelforce). It was great fun, and it worked the muscles. I ache this morning.

Well I jumped on (sorry - carefully stood on) the balance board and entered all the details required. Hey it said you are overweight (just!!!) and your BMI is 25 so how do you want to reach your goal. Well I figured as I didn't have too much weight to lose and really just wanted to get about midway through the healthy BMI range I chose to lose weight and get fit over 3 months. Oh and it also showed me that I stand slightly leaning to the right (too heavy handbags over my right shoulder for years!) and also leaning slightly backwards. Have you got that....

Ok well we'll see how we go :-)

As I had just eaten my dinner I thought I should not attempt anything too drastic for the first attempt so I just went for the balancing. Well.... a football player I would never make as I kept missing heading the ball - I was forever getting hit on the head by flying football boots and panda heads (don't ask why). I did better on the balancing tray and getting balls through holes. The ski-ing I did quite well at - that was after I had been in hysterics after hitting every flag and ending up as a snowball.

The ski jump I was useless at - snowball time again.

But all in all for the first attempt it was great fun - well apart from seeing that it gave me a Wii age 5 years more than I am.

I hope that it will help with my fitness and honestly with the amount of aches and pains in my muscles then something must be happening.

I look forward to a weekend of Wii-fitting (well inbetween all the normal duties) as the weather is not going to be much fun so I may as well have fun indoors.

Thursday 6 November 2008

Exercise is Addictive

OMG last night I spent about an hour and a half just training and playing with the Wii Sport. Boy do my muscles ache this morning! Brilliant I can't wait to get back on it again. It is so addictive and competitive. I've upped my position on the bowling; tennis and baseball to a bronze medal - yippee I must have improved on the Wii age now!

Anyway my Wii fit is on the way and I'm determined to have a good go at it when it arrives.

When I used to do weight training I used to love the feeling when I worked on my back muscles. It's a real adrenalin rush. Well I would never have believed you could get a buzz from a computer 'game' but it really does work.

I don't get a lot of time for exercise these days, half an hour before leaving for work in the morning, and then by the time I get in at night it's too late to do too much but being able to switch on the TV and work out in my own living room is just what I needed to get me off the settee :-)

Update later.

Wednesday 5 November 2008


Well it started with a quite innocent visit to one of the grandchildren (like these things always do) and ended up with us buying our Christmas present to one another early :-)

We started playing bowling on the Wii and it was good fun. Then Mick's son had a go at testing his fitness level - now that was interesting and I couldn't wait to have a go but unfortunately it was time for us to leave.

After discussing it we decided it would be good fun to play around with one of these instead of watching TV in the evenings. So I ordered one - and it arrived the next day! (See my profile for being impulsive)

Now being impatient (see my profile) I couldn't wait to read the manual properly. After all how difficult could it be.... Well Mick thrashed me at bowling so I thought I'd have a go at the fitness level.... Oops I should've read how you use the controller first - it gave me a Wii age of 77.

That's it - I want more (and to get fitter and get my Wii fitness age down to normal) so I've now ordered the Wii Fit package. Oops even more money (our Christmas present to one another has got a bit expensive - still it's my birthday in December so I'll take the Wii Fit as a present).

So now I'm just waiting for the Wii Fit to arrive and then I'll give you an update on how I get on. What with the belly dancing every morning and the Wii Fit at other times I should progress a little (I hope so anyway).

Monday 3 November 2008

Rain, rain, go away

Will it never stop raining!

Saturday had to be the worst day so far with the torrential rain all day long and well into the night. Sunday morning I went out in my garden to find everything completely drowned. Where did all that water come from?

Sunday continued with a slight reprieve with just occasional showers but Monday continued with light rain on and off all day.

The old weather is definitely weird this year.

We did not have a summer at all - well we had warmer temperatures, but not much sun and now with the dark evenings; very cold snap and now rain, rain, rain, I think it's going to be a long, long winter.....

Britain is not the only place with strange weather this year. Spain, my favourite country, has had its fair share of flooding this year. Let's hope for a sunnier 2009.

Friday 31 October 2008

Happy Halloween

Well a Happy Halloween to one and all.

I've been sitting here with all the goodies ready to give to all the kiddies knocking at the door and had almost given up. All we kept getting were teenagers with hoods up and rubber masks. So I gave them the kiddie sweets - probably not what they were hoping for!

Then at last a knock on the door and there is a little lad - only about 4 years old - with his face painted and dressed up as only a proper ghost would be. He was accompanied by his parents and deserved the sweets for making an effort on such a cold, cold night.

Shame we couldn't have had a full moon as well :-)

Thursday 30 October 2008

New Template

Tried several different templates but now I'm feeling weary and my eyes are bleary so I'll leave it on this one and see how I feel tomorrow.

Some of the lighter coloured ones were great but they didn't fit in with the widgets that I wanted to add and although this one is black - again - it is really cute!

Tuesday 28 October 2008

Layout Experiment

I noticed that my blog layout - much as I love it - is a little bit tiring on the old eyes. So I am going to experiment with changing the colour and see if that makes it easier to read.

Please bear with me while the experiments go on....

Sunday 26 October 2008

X Factor Big Band Week

Well X Factor this week was brilliant. I've always enjoyed watching X Factor but this year it is even better than ever. The standard of singing is incredible and it is unbelievable that it has had to take a program like this for them to be able to get a foot into the music business.

I do love music - not any particular type, just anything that is good and I wish I could sing, but unfortunately I can't. When I was younger I used to sing all the time but 9 years of being married to my first husband and being told to stop singing because I couldn't sing soon put paid to that! But in the privacy of my own home - and when no-one is around - I have been tempted to sing along to my favourite songs.

I can remember buying a DVD once which purported to 'Teach you to Sing'. Well it didn't work with me - I'm still out of tune and struggling to hit the notes! But I do enjoy singing nevertheless!

Should my family read my Blog?

Chatting to my daughter we were discussing blogs and how it is almost like writing a diary online. She said that she hadn't logged onto my Blog because she didn't know whether I would mind her reading it.

Well it does make you think. After all I write whatever crosses my mind so should I worry about who reads it?

Actually if I was worried about the content of my Blog and who reads it then I guess I shouldn't write one. By putting my thoughts out onto the world wide web I am giving people permission to read my innermost thoughts.

I was discussing it with my OH and was saying that in some way it's a bit like burying a time capsule in the hope that some time in the future someone will discover it and it will tell them something about the way people lived in this era.

Well this is my time capsule so that people will be able to read about how I dealt with life in this day and age.

Also as I progress through life I am documenting the way that I deal with all the problems I come across and any lessons I learn. Hopefully someone may find answers to their own problems by reading about mine or realise that what they are thinking/feeling is quite normal.

Well as normal as I can get!!

1920 Art Deco Watch

On my search for a 'ticking' watch I came across a little watch for sale on Ebay. It had been put in the wrong category and was not listed with the vintage watches. It was for sale from a jeweller in the Netherlands and is 14K Rose Gold.

Anyway I bid on it and won it and it arrived within 2 days. It is so lovely and I'm really pleased with it. I gave it a little clean although it was in great condition bearing in mind that it is about 85 years old!

So now you will see me wearing my vintage watch and not a battery operated one.

Nostalgia is great :-)

Thursday 23 October 2008

Feeling Old

Tonight I feel a bit sad. Where do the years go?

It all started with my OH having another hernia, a bout of bad stomach and the general feeling of always having something or other wrong nowadays.

I then had to start searching through my photos to try and find a half decent head shot to put on my season ticket that is due at the end of the month. Could I find one!!!

Where did all the years go and when did I start to look 'old' after all I still feel the same inside. What is it about growing up/old that the body has to deteriorate as well. If the mind can stay the same then why can't the body :-)

When I look back over the photos the years seem to have whizzed by and with them the youthfulness.

I long for the youthful body yet to retain the knowledge and experience that I have reached so far. But then I guess we all do that. Am I ready to hang up my desire for fun and enjoyment and settle into middle age/old age - you bet I'm not, but perhaps I don't have control over that.

Playing with the grandkids I have fun and try to pretend that I can still throw them around and play with them like before but afterwards the aches and pains prove to me that I should really ease up a bit. But I don't want to give in. I don't want to become 'old'.

My dad was always known as Peter Pan and perhaps that is where I take after him - a desire to stay young.....

Tuesday 21 October 2008

Nostalgia Costs

Recently I was discussing old watches with a colleague and I got a nostalgic desire to have a watch that ‘ticked’. I don’t know why, I guess it’s something I remember as a child and how comforting the ‘tick tick’ is.

After all one of the recommendations if you have a young puppy, and it is lonely at night, is to put an old clock in its bed. The ticking of the clock comforts the pup. But I digress....

I really fancied having an old watch. I didn’t know what era I wanted all I know is I wanted a really old one. After looking on EBay I found a style I liked from about the early 1900’s. About 1912-1930 seemed to be the era I was attracted to. Well I thought I would put in a few bids. Was I in for a surprise! Every time I bid on a watch – no matter what condition – I was outbid. It got to be quite ridiculous in the end. I mean I was bidding for a watch for ME but it appears from the bidding history that there are people that are bidding like mad to do them up and re-sell them. After all why would you buy just about every vintage watch that came up for auction?

I even started bidding on watches that needed repairing but that was just the same. The same people buying all the watches and outbidding anyone else.

I haven’t given up totally and I keep looking but I had not realised just how popular old watches are. I guess if I upped my maximum price then I might eventually outbid these collectors/sellers but I can’t afford to pay an extortionate amount for an old watch. All I wanted was to have a nice looking old watch that ticked not make loads of money out of it!

Ups and Downs

Well so far it has been a bit up and down this week.

The weekend was great with 6 out of the 8 grandchildren coming round to visit. By the time they had all left I was very relaxed but rather worn out – swinging children around is a very tiring business! But that is what life is all about – the children. Far too quickly they will be grown up and not needing their grandparents so I’m determined to enjoy them now.

Work was better on Monday but then my attitude has probably helped – I was far too tense last week (with the inquest on my mind).

Then last night I was greeted by my OH who promptly told me he had a hernia….

That is the second one in about 2 years. Crikey that means another operation. We’ve hardly got the skin problem under control and now he’s got to have an operation :-(

Will have to check out the Feng Shui arrangement in my health area in case I’ve got something wrong there… Anything to help!!

Thursday 16 October 2008

Financial Crisis

Well it has taken a little longer in the UK for the crisis to hit but it is definitely now having an effect.

Whilst many people still have not noticed too much difference except an increase in the cost of living it is now a lot less secure on the job front. With many thousands of people losing their jobs through redundancies everyone is tending to feel very insecure.

While I was in Spain this summer we spoke to our friends about the problems already encountered in Spain and at that time we hadn't seen any of it occuring here. We chatted about buying a property in Spain ready for when we eventually retire - unfortunately that now seems a dream in the too distant future. The exchange rate is suffering, although not so much here as in the USA, and the value of our houses have dropped. Loans are a lot more difficult to get hold of and also we are tending to be wary of taking on any more expenditure in case we end up out of work.

It is so sad and the divide between rich and poor is even wider....

Wednesday 15 October 2008

Inquest - to go or not to go

Well I'm under pressure from my sister to go to the inquest into the death of my father.

Six months ago he was run over and killed by a young newly qualified driver. The lad is going to be there because the outcome of the Coroner's report will decide whether the police will prosecute him or not. Naturally the young lad will be accompanied and supported by his family.

My initial feelings on the matter are that I do not want to go. My reasons being that at the moment my last memories of my Dad were pleasant ones - a long and happy conversation with him. That is the last memory I want to keep. I do not want my last memories to be a Coroner's report!

It is bad enough having already been told of the injuries he suffered and having to come to terms with it without six months down the line being reminded again. I feel that to hear in detail the cause of death would throw me back to where I was when he died.

My sister on the other hand had not spoken or seen my father for about 4 months prior to his death. She was stubborn and so was he and so her last memory of him was not a good one. Therefore I feel that guilt is behind her insistence on going to this hearing. The problem is that she is trying to transfer her guilt onto both her daughter, myself and my daughter with the words "if no-one is there it will look as if no-one cared about him".

That is totally untrue - I love my Dad. But then that is my way of dealing with it. I know my Dad would understand why I am not there but my sister has still made me feel guilty.

So, what is the right or wrong thing to do? I guess that it all depends on the individual but for me I want to remember good times not bad.

Quite a contentious issue I guess...

Saturday 11 October 2008


I don't wish to sound morbid but I've been thinking about death just lately. I guess it's because it was the inquest into my Dad's death on Friday that has made me ponder on the subject more than usual.

You see as you get older death smacks you in the face rather more than you would want it to. My stepmum, Dora, died suddenly less than 2 years ago and then my Dad got run over and killed less than 6 months ago. It kind of brings a lot of things into perspective......

So why are we so afraid of death and why do we avoid mentioning the subject?

I guess the pain of losing someone you love, whatever age they may be, is a truely personal pain. Every person is different how they deal with it and what it means to them.

What actually occurs at the point of 'death' and do we realise at the time what is happening? The older I get I suppose I come across more and more people going through the process. My mother and father-in-law both died a few years ago and I tried to help my husband cope with the loss but I could not fully comprehend what it felt like until I lost a parent. I watched Mick's mum dying and she seemed to be aware of exactly when she was going to 'go' and was not afraid. Dora had spoken of having enough now in this life and had made plans for her death even though she was not ill. My Dad, although totally unaware that he was going to be killed, made a point of saying something especially nice to me a few days before his death - a total surprise considering he was suffering from dementia.

So do we know? Or does a part of us deeper than our conscious mind actually know when we are going to die?

I guess I will never know until it is my time to leave this earthly life - and maybe that's the way it's supposed to be - although it probably would help with our perception of life and death if we were more knowledgable on the subject right now.....

Thursday 9 October 2008

Big Brother

Well Big Brother has finally found us at work!

I found out today that they have been monitoring the internet usage over the past month. Now you may ask why that has made me flaming mad. Well several reasons. For one thing the policy at our place has been to use the internet whenever you want to - there is a blanket charge for the internet connection and therefore it costs nothing extra for any of us to go on whenever we want. In the past 9 years that I've worked for this company everyone has popped in and out of the internet without thought. As long as your work is done then there has never been any problem.

So why the big change???

More important than that is why some people knew about this monitoring and others didn't. That meant that the people 'in the know' avoided using the internet during this month while all the rest of us (me included of course) carried on as normal.

Add to this the fact that I use the internet for work purposes also and am on and off to the banking system several times during the day (for work) then it leads me to ask "just what are they monitoring?". If they are monitoring the time logged in then it would falsely show an amount of time 'used' as most of the time it is sitting minimised but still 'open'.

Furthermore if they are actually monitoring the sites visited then isn't that beginning to border on invasion of our privacy. After all if I'm looking up something health related or personal I certainly don't appreciate all and sundry knowing.

Yes I am flaming mad and I feel let down. I no longer know who to trust anymore and those that I thought were friends are evidently not.

Who knows they are probably following this blog too......... disappointed; saddened; mad but most of all betrayed.......

Wednesday 8 October 2008

The end of a marriage

I've been consolling a friend this week who in absolute distress and shock told me that her husband of 2 years and father to their 1 year old baby girl had announced that he no longer wanted to be married. He wanted to be single again!

Now I'm not here to judge or make comment - after all I've made enough mistakes in my life, and I've been divorced - so all I could do was to try and offer practical advice. Her husband has already instructed solicitors (a definite no-no at any chance of a reconciliation) and is moving out at the weekend.

Within the matter of a week her life has been turned upside down and changed beyond all her expectations and dreams.

How quickly our lives and plans disolve into dust; and just where does it all go wrong. After all we all know how 'being in love' feels and it is an unfortunate (or fortunate - depending how you view it) fact of life that 'in love' has to change. It has to for how else could you live for years on end being in that heightened state!

Being in love is a great feeling but it is exhausting and all encompassing. After being in love I believe comes the real 'love'. As the years go by and you know one another more than you know yourself and you accept all the little things that could otherwise niggle you and still know that this person is the first person you want to see when you awake in the morning; and the last person you want to see before you go to sleep at night. To know that your life IS that person - they are your best friend, your confidant, your advisor, then to me that is real love.

Unfortunately for this couple they have never reached the real love stage; they have fallen at the first fence; when the 'in love' faded and the pressures of marriage and parenthood hit them. So now they have to face the pressures of separation; divorce and being an 'ex'. I do feel for them as it is not easy.

Monday 6 October 2008

Brain Meltdown

Wow, I don't know about you but sometimes you cram so much into your head - so many new things to learn - so many things to remember - that you just feel as if you have a meltdown...

The simplest things then seem impossible to remember.

When you consider how much information is taken in on a daily basis if your brain was a computer it would have crashed by now!!

As I've said before I have a totally different aspect to my work that has now been handed down to me which involves giving careful consideration to each stage of the work. Added to the fact that I don't understand the line of work or the regulations involved I am finding it quite difficult. On top of that I'm learning Spanish and French and art and drawing and studying forums to find out all about motorhoming, and researching my ancestors and...... so it goes on.

When I came to type in my password today on my blog my brain just said "enough's enough". After all, think about it - if you shop online you have passwords for each shop; if you bank online you have passwords for each bank/building society; then there are passwords for forums, passwords for blogs; passwords for............ everything.................

Help, that's it my brain is going on strike for a while.

Saturday 4 October 2008

Get me outta this country

England is becoming too overcrowded.

For the first time for weeks I popped into our local town this morning to do a quick bit of shopping. I was so surprised. A car park that I always used had now had 6' high fencing and gates that locked at night to protect if from anyone who might venture in after dark! They had also increased the minimum car park fee considerably (to pay for the fencing I guess) and it got me wondering again about the state of the UK these days. I really think I've had enough.

Get me outta here....

You can hardly find peaceful areas anymore. It's not that I'm unsociable it's just that working amongst noise all week I just long for a bit of peace and quiet; to be amongst natural surroundings and to breathe fresh air (not much of that about in London).

Also I guess as the years go by your priorities change. While those that still have many many years left at work focus on their careers and future development I, on the other hand, focus on what I consider to be my priority in life - my husband, my family, and enjoying what life holds in store for the next phase of my life. Don't get me wrong I do my job well - I just work to live, not live to work.

Given half a chance I'd be packing my bag and off to a warmer climate :-)

Friday 3 October 2008

Canada and Australia too

Just a quick update to say that the family tree is growing :-)

I've been contacted regarding a line of my family now living in Australia and also there is a definite connection to Canada.

Hey we are going global!

More later

Wednesday 1 October 2008

Welsh, Irish, Norfolk Ancestry

Well my search for my roots so far has left me with quite a varied lineage. The family seems to have moved around wherever there were dockyards or farming communities. Some of the areas lived and born in are Pembrokeshire, Wales; Belfast and Limmerick in Ireland; Norfolk, Suffolk, Kent, Sussex in England - and the list keeps growing!

I find it fascinating to read about my ancestors and to imagine how they lived - we complain about life now but how much harder it must have been in the days when they were alive.

So far I've got about 900 in my family tree and it's one of those hobbies that you can put down for a while and come back to when feeling fresh again.

I also love collecting the old photos - some of which you will see on my slideshow.

When I think of all those ancestors I just think to myself "what a party we'll have when we meet up on the other side". :-)

Tuesday 30 September 2008

One Person Three Jobs

Well at the moment I am still covering for those happily spending some time in the sun. So if my blog is a little quiet it's because I'm rushed off my feet or recovering from brain fatigue!!!

Mind you I'm not too sure about them lazing in the sun. We were watching TVE last night and saw all the flooding in Andalucia so they are having a problem time at the moment. Hope all keep safe and well in Spain during the freak flooding.

Watching TVE also reminded me of just how much further I have to go yet with my Spanish language as when they went off at full speed I was lost :-(

Oh well try again another day when my brain is a little clearer.

Sunday 28 September 2008

Virgin trip in the motorhome

Well we just got back from our virgin trip. Not only the first trip in our new 'old' motorhome but the first trip we have ever done motorhoming!!

On impulse Friday I said let's take it out for a trip and then began the nightmare of trying to find a site in the UK that had space on a Saturday for a one night stay. Friday night would've been too late by the time I got home from work and we only wanted to give it a try to make sure it ran ok.

Our little old motorhome is an import - previously had a German owner who 'bodged things up rather a lot'. Mick has been putting things right over the past three weeks and felt certain now that it would be reliable.

I had joined the Camping & Caravanning Club - as recommended by those motorhoming forums - but found that nowhere wanted you to stay less than 2 nights! At midnight Friday I had almost given up.... However after a nights sleep I got on the internet/phone again and eventually found a site about 2 hours away that was 1) happy for us to stay one night and 2) had space available.

Well we eventually found the site right in the middle of the countryside (lovely) and were given the pitch number. It was a gorgeous setting right in the midst of woodland but it was a very basic site (fine by us we were only there 1 night). Once we had hooked up the electrics and made a cuppa we decided to have a look around the site. Well.... I can only guess that the majority of vans parked there were 'permanent' as the grass was growing around them and the satellite dishes didn't look like they ever moved......

Well to put it politely (not wishing to upset anyone) I would say that it was probably a site used primarily by travellers that had set up home. Fair play to them - a little lad greeted us when we arrived and opened the barrier for us and a man carrying his shotgun nodded and said good evening to us during our stroll. Not only that but the man in the caravan next to us arrived; slept the night and left for work in the morning without even waking us. Far more courteous I would imagine than a lot of people.

Anyway the outcome of our virgin trip has unfortunately shown us one thing and that is we won't be able to make our trip to Mallorca in it in the summer. It will be used mainly for an odd week or weekend trips to France/Spain but in the summer when we go to see our friends there is normally a mad dash through France and down to Barcelona to catch the ferry. The poor old van is a 'plodder' and I doubt if we would make the ferry on time!!!

Oh well back to sleeping in the Kia en route then :-)

Thursday 25 September 2008

Funny Old Week

Well thank goodness Thursday is here and tomorrow is the last day of the working week. It has been absolute chaos!

The problem with the recession is that companies are not replacing people who leave and that work is spread out amongst those remaining. Ok a little extra work doesn't hurt anyone but when you are given specialist technical work that should be undertaken by a technician and you haven't got a clue about the job - and you have to fit it in quickly without having chance to concentrate on what you are doing - well to me that means that mistakes and errors are on the horizon.

I know we all have to be grateful for, and hang on to, being in work at the moment but the stress levels amongst employees seems to be rising considerably.

Oh well, keep plodding on, and learning by mistakes :-)

Wednesday 24 September 2008

Alejandro Sanz

Oh that was a good journey into work this morning. As I dozed on the coach I listened to Alejandro Sanz singing just for me :-)

One of my favourite Spanish artists at the moment I love his voice. Amongst about 3,000 other songs on my mp3 player I have a vast selection of Spanish artists in an attempt to improve my Spanish vocabulary. For those who don't know Alejandro here is a pic

I also have music videos saved on the same player and if you haven't watched Alejandro and Shakira singing La Tortura then you've missed a good one... Mick loves it to!!!

Tuesday 23 September 2008

What if?

Do you ever wonder "what if"?

It seems to me that life is made up of what ifs; all the different paths that you tread through life and all the decisions you have to make that could have led your life in a totally different direction.

Now don't get me wrong, I love my life and wouldn't change it for the world, but on reflection I can see where if I had decided 'this' instead of 'that' a whole different life would have opened up before me with all its own problems and challenges.

It just makes you realise how governed your life is by the little choices you make.

If there is a parallel universe then somewhere there is another me leading all those different lives and making all those different choices with all the alternative outcomes and scenarios - but that is a completely different subject to discuss at a later date!

Silly subject I know but just one of those little things that drifts in and out of your brain and once you get started on the 'what if' thought process you can imagine all sorts of 'other lives' that would or could have been lived.

Something to think about when you've nothing better to do :-)

Sunday 21 September 2008

Dreaded Work

Well it's been a lovely weekend and the sun has shone for a change - considering the lousy summer we've had!!

But now I'm getting the Sunday night OMG tomorrow's Monday feeling....

Don't get me wrong I've been with the same firm now for nearly 9 years and along the way they have been fantastic - so maybe it's them, or maybe it's me. So what's changed? Well for a start the company sold off a load of its subsidiary companies and along with that the people employed on that side left to work for the new buyer. Then my existing company decided to streamline the way they worked - which of course meant extra/new work for those employed. Ok so change is always hard but then I've always moved along with it - no problem. So what's up?

Well along with the changes at work came a massive change in my outlook - primarly caused by the sudden death of my dad who was run down and killed. It certainly knocks the stuffing out of you and I'm still trying to come to terms with it.

Back on the work front - they decided that a whole section of work previously being done by someone else is being dropped in my lap - and it is complicated, very complicated and very prone to errors if your mind is not on it 100%. So that is my problem - new complicated work and needing to concentrate 100% when my brain just doesn't want to....

Add to that the fact that my next in command is on holiday next week and won't be there for me to ask questions; my big boss will expect me to do his work; my work; the new work and a hundred and one other things and I can already feel "the fog" decending upon me.

Where's a lottery win when you can do with one?

Saturday 20 September 2008

Computer Eyes

Don't know about you but I spend a lot of time looking at computer screens. My work involves lots of spreadsheets and staring at figures while coping with the glare from white paper and fluorescent lights. Doesn't do your eyes a lot of good....

My spare time, i.e. blogs etc., also involves computer screens. So at times my eyes get tired and don't want to focus quite as well as they normally do.

Well I have glasses for distances - driving, tv, etc., but up until recently I haven't needed them for close work. Well last eye test time they said with the eye strain from working with computers perhaps I could have varifocals to help. Can I get used to them - can I ****. Ok they are fine if I'm at home and working on my laptop and want to look up and see what's happening on tv. But under fluroescent lights and trying to sit in the correct position at work - well I'd need to keep my head tilted backwards - and that's a pain in the neck!!

Searching online I came across an online opticians where you can purchase quite cheap frames and lenses if you put in your perscription and details so I thought I'd give it a go. My thinking is that if I purchase just a normal 'near vision' lens with a slight tint in them then I can wear them at work and not have to keep trying to find the correct spot on the varifocal lens and the tint might lessen the glare from the white paper.

Will let you know

a) if the frames are any good
b) if the tint helps with the glare
c) if the eyestrain is lessened


Well just how long does it take to deliver from the US?

I'm an Ebay addict and buy loads of stuff from it - both UK and USA. I happened to find a great little quilted jacket, ideal for standing at the coach stop in the morning, and couldn't resist purchasing it. After all, it was different, not the type that you can buy in the UK and I loved the look of it. But where is it????

I've got the tracking number and everything but so far USPS are still saying on their site that they have been notified that an item will be sent via them - but nothing about how the delivery is going. I've contacted the seller and she has sent it - so where is it?

Ok so it was not expensive and it won't break the bank if it is 'lost in the post' but even so I paid extra to have it delivered by USPS so you think they could get it to me - or am I being impatient? So far it has taken 11 days - crikes I've had stuff delivered from Hong Kong in 2 days....

Please let the parcel find me - I can't get one like that here in the UK - don't let it become another item added to the vast pile of 'lost in the post' items stored somewhere but who knows where....

Eat healthy & Exercise = Weight Gain - eek....

Well any men popping in and reading this blog may wish to skip this post.... it is purely female....

As I've said before the past few weeks I've been detoxing; eating healthily and exercising yet I jumped on the scales today and I've put on weight!!!! Well I know that muscle weighs more than fat so I've consoled myself with that but what if?

The 'if' comes with my age - change of life time - when a woman has no control over her body and it just does whatever it does naturally. I've been lucky up to now with no problems associated with that time of life but since 'things' ceased 3 months ago I've noticed a few extra pounds creeping on. What do I have to do to control it......

Reading in my natural remedy book it states that a few extra pounds can be put on due to the body storing oestrogen in fat cells (or something like that) but I don't want extra pounds. I'm not fat and I'm not skinny I guess I'm about average size - and I want to stay like that thank you very much! So now I've got to find a way to control it - does it mean I have to eat less.... I hope not.

Well excuse me while I go and study my vast supply of books (and the internet) for any ideas of how to stop the rot setting in and the fat piling on :-(

Friday 19 September 2008

Bellydancing update

Well it's only been 3 weeks since I started doing belly dancing and what fun it has been.

I got a bit panicky last week though because all my clothes started to feel a bit tight around the waist!!! I thought surely I can't be putting on weight with all this exercise. Mind you when I felt brave enough I studied my profile, unclothed, in the mirror. Everything is moving UP!!! Well for those of you that have had kids you will know what I mean when I say things drop a bit :-) Well the bellydancing has tightened up my side muscles and my ab muscles and gradually everything is rising which probably accounts for a slight hiccup with the waist measurement (what waist I've got!). This week I've noticed everything reverting back to normal - well waist measurement that is. The rest has remained on the UP so with a bit of luck it will all start pulling in next.

You can really feel the muscles working as you do the dancing and I've found muscles I didn't know I had. Apart from all of that it really is great fun - my cat looks at me in amazement as I do my routine at 5.30 in the morning.....

Will let you know how I get on as I progress further.

Detox Update

The update on Mick's detox to help get rid of his dermatitis. Well surprise surprise he's stuck to it. I've gone along with him and had a go at detoxing just to give him moral support and now we have nearly finished the second week.

His dermatitis has improved and is not itching so much and his scalp is much better. He is still off sick until next Thursday with his ripped ab muscle and we are hoping that by the time he gets back to work he will be well and truly on the mend.

From a personal point of view I've not missed red meat at all. I expect after a while I would start craving bacon sarnies but at the moment I'm fine. Just to compliment the detox I've also gone back on soya milk for any smoothies or cereal that I have in the morning. I like the taste of soya milk but Mick hates it so he has normal milk.

The dandelion & burdock has arrived and I will be having a go at making the beer and soda at the weekend as it's supposed to be a liver tonic. Well the 'old wives tales' have to have some truth in them and in my grandparents day they used to make it so I will give it a go.

Wednesday 17 September 2008

French as a 3rd language?

Can you learn two languages at once? Or should I say "can I"?

I did learn French while at school but it long ago found itself in the dusty region of my brain! I do want to re-learn it though as we want to spend a lot of time touring around France. We've driven through three times on the way to Spain but we want to just tour France. So far we've tried three different routes and on each occasion found parts that we want to revist. So as well as progressing with my Spanish course I have opened up my French one as well.

Will I get confused though!

I did try a little while ago and we went to Paris on the Eurostar but when I tried to speak it I got looked at as if I was crazy which didn't do my confidence any good and I stopped learning. So I'm going to try again...

Wish me luck.

What irritates you?

I think I'll start a thread on what irritates me. It's the silly little things that tend to wind you up.

Take for example this morning. The norm on the commuter coach is that people tend to sit and listen to their music, sleep or talk quietly to their friends (it is before 7 AM). I always listen to my Spanish course and either doze off afterwards listening to music or read a bit more Spanish. It helps to while away the time spent getting to and fro to work and it is a quiet start or finish to the day.

But today............ there was a young lad towards the back of the coach talking to his mates two rows back. When I say talking I mean SHOUTING. Either he just likes everyone to hear his voice or he is hard of hearing. I would guess in reality he just likes to be noticed. Now I've no desire to listen to his chat about football while I'm trying to learn Spanish the same as I've no desire to hear people chatting about their love lives!!! I'm not being a misery all I say is TURN THE VOLUME DOWN. People like this just don't have any consideration for others. I had to turn my volume up so much to hear my Spanish course that I think I'll have ringing in my ears for the rest of the day...

So instead of arriving at work refreshed and relaxed I've arrived irritable and that's a not good start to the day.

So that's my irritation of the day - what bugs you?

Tuesday 16 September 2008

Let me introduce us

A bit late I know but I suddenly thought that I should have introduced my family to anyone out there who may be reading my ramblings.

So here goes: there's me of course as per my blog's title then there's my husband, Mick, his children Ian; Lisa, my children Kelly; Ricky; their respective partners Sue; Bryce; Paul; (Ricky is alone now). The grandchildren by respective parents are Christopher and Emily; Poppy and Amelia; Katie and Stefan; Callum and Connor.

Got that! Ok so now I don't have to keep saying my OH; my daughter; son; etc etc.

Welcome to my family.

Working in the City is bad for your health

Oh well, another grey day. Where did summer go - this year it never was! So already I'm rising in the dark and soon I will be returning home in the dark. Isn't it so depressing.....
Well as for the title of this little entry - working in the City is bad for your health. Well it is for me. I don't quite know what it is but whenever I'm at work I develop a cough. Ok during the day (most of the time) but whenever I'm on the coach commuting I have a coughing fit and then again lying down at night.

Take me away for a week or so and I'm fine - the cough just disappears. Also at weekends it hardly appears.

They say that smoking is bad for your health well I think working in the City is worse. I've come to think that it has something to do with lack of fresh air. On the journey to and fro I am sitting in amongst a load of other people - coughing and spluttering and spreading germs around - with air conditioning/heating just spreading the germs around. At work, likewise, added to the fact that no windows can open and you are reliant on once again the AC/heating to supply your oxygen and means of living.

Is there I wonder a statutory law stating how often these AC/heating units can run before they are cleaned or do they just carry on regardless pumping round stale germ ridden air.

Even when you can go outside and walk around there is no 'fresh air' it is just a concoction of fumes from vehicles/building air vents etc.

Yes I think working in the City is bad for your health - or perhaps I'm just allergic to work....

Monday 15 September 2008

I want to move to Spain

My colleague has just come back from a short break in Barcelona and it just brings the homesickness back. How can I explain the way I feel when I'm in Spain. How just crossing the French/Spanish border makes me feel like I'm going home. How I love to walk through the streets just 'feeling' Spain. How safe I feel, how healthy I feel, how I love their food; their fiestas; their language and how I long to be part of it permanently.

We've been going to Spain now for 26 years - every June and at times whenever we were able we would spend Christmas there as well. During that time we've made loads of Spanish friends - and we love the Spanish. We've been taken in as part of a family and have been to 60th birthday parties; invited to a wedding and just generally made to feel a part of it all. We've been learning Spanish since day one - not overly successful - I mean all the hard work and good intentions seem to dwindle away during the winter months in England. When we are immersed in it then it all comes back but we seem to have hit a block. Studying Spanish we have gone progressed through the beginners and intermediate stage and onto the advanced - but hell that's difficult!!! All the tenses........ When they speak slowly for us we are fine but when they are excited and the speed ramps up then I'm lost! But that doesn't stop us joining in!

We've wanted to move there for a long time but finances don't allow it. Perhaps when we reach retirement age then we will be able to do it but then comes the problem. To live in a country which we love amongst the friends and the people that we love we have to leave behind the family that we love. How do people make that decision? Someone tell me!

We have four children and eight grandchildren. Just when do you cut the apron strings? At the moment (although not living on top of one another) we are within driving distance whenever a problem arises. If on the spur of the moment they or us feel like popping in to see one another then it is possible. If we live in Spain - although not the end of the world - it is still only possible to visit and stay. The spontaneous visit is not possible. Would the children feel deserted? They say no and they tell us to do it but I don't know what to do. Maybe at retirement age this country and the way pensioners have to survive to live will force our hand and to enjoy an old age it will be necessary to move somewhere that is more elderly friendly. I guess I will have to wait and see. I guess my future is already mapped out for me.

Meanwhile I carry on learning Spanish; I read as much as I can about living there; watch TVE International and I enjoy the visits we make. The main reason for buying the motorhome was because it will enable us to travel around France and Spain more without having to book into hotels and pre-plan where we are going. Our only restriction is only having a limited amount of time off allowed at work - oh yes, of course, and money...

There are so many places in Spain that I would love to see. So big a country - and so little time.

So to Cefe, David, Ceferino, Roberto, Pilar, Mercedes, Manolo, Myra, Ramon, Moghit, Miguel, Rashida, Juan and anyone I may have forgotten to include "ame a todos y hasta pronto".

Sunday 14 September 2008


Why do we create blogs?

If we are not using blogs to advertise something we are selling or some aspect of our company then why do we create blogs. Is it some form of therapeutic diary in which we can write the random thoughts that wander in and out of our brain at different times of the day. Is it a way of working through problems - after all a problem shared is a problem halved. Is it a way of satisfying our creative juices and our desire for literary acknowledgement?

In all honesty I don't know. The reason I started a blog was just to see if I could create one and then it becomes addictive. Yes I guess all of the above could account for the reason why I am sitting here writing to myself. At times it helps to put things down on paper (so to speak) as you remove the internal thoughts spinning around in your brain. At other times it just seems like you are talking to someone else - even if you have no-one reading your blog.

But then you could ask "why do we write a diary"? I suppose it is a way of documenting the things that happen in your life and the eventual outcome. It gives a memory aid when you are trying to recall how you dealt with things in the past. It also gives a funny read when in years to come you can recoil in horror at the things that you thought/said/did.

Why do I write the things I write - well I guess it's also like writing a book. It's an outlet - creative or otherwise. How long will I continue writing my blog? Well I guess as long as I feel that I want to.

Funny old thing 'blogs'.

At what age do we know it all?

At 19 I thought I knew it all and got married - I didn't! At 29 I thought I knew it all and got divorced - I didn't! At 39 I was sure I knew it all - I didn't! And so it goes on - each time you think you have learned enough about life you find out that you haven't. In hindsight I can see that I was definitely too young and naive to get married at 19 but you try telling a 19 year old that they are still basically a child....

As the years go by you think that you have learned enough in life to equip you to deal with all that life has to throw at you and then you discover that you haven't. Did my dad, at 85, really know all there was to learn in life? I doubt it. I think that you carry on learning right up to the day you die. There is always something that you haven't encountered before that you can learn about. Always some aspect of life that you haven't experienced.

Looking back my life has been a long book full of little (and big) lessons that I experienced which have all taught me something. My job is to remember and never forget these lessons as not only can I help someone else going through their own little lessons but it has been these experiences that have built the character I have become today and I guess on my dying day I will say that I still don't "know it all".

Friday 12 September 2008

Thanks Tips for Bloggers

My thanks to and as now my blog looks much better. I will read Amanda Fazani's blogger template book to see if I can pick up any more tips. Thanks again.

Blog Templates

Doesn't it just drive you mad!!! You decide that you want a slightly different look for your blog and then it all goes wrong. Error messages popping up all over the place when you try to load a new template - searching for info and advice all over the web - and what do they say - it's a familiar problem, try later.

Well after losing all my widgets; my link to my slideshow and still not getting the look I want I will try again today. Surely it can't be that difficult. So bear with me as I add new widgets; lose old ones; change colour and style because eventually I will find something I like - and that works :-)

Wednesday 10 September 2008

Men make you want to scream....

Last night I got home to find that my OH hadn't given the herbs a chance. They smell too much and they taste foul he said. Ok I let him get away with that (the house did stink from the smell of them) so I gave him some over the counter detox tablets that I bought for myself.

Right, I said, we can stick to the white meat/no sugar etc that he's been advised to stick to so that his liver gets a chance to clear out any toxins. "Well maybe I can have some red meat once or twice a week or else I'll get bored with the diet" he says.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. What is the problem. Why can't he give up all the c**p food for 3 weeks - it's not as if he's got to give it up forever. It so wound me up that when our loo plunger didn't work properly I punched the toilet. Ouch hitting ceramic/metal with the side of your hand hurts....

Look, in all honesty, I'm worried about him. For the past three months at least his health has been going downhill culmulating in him having sudden hair loss and itchy and red patches all over his body. But will he do anything about it - no he'd rather it just went away. But what if it won't, what if it is something more serious.

Our doctor doesn't help. All she did last time was take a quick look; give him some steroid cream and some antibiotics.

Well today he is having to go back and see her (if he can get an appointment) as he ripped a muscle in his chest and it's not getting better so he is going to have to take some time off sick.
We will see if 1) he gets an appointment 2) he mentions his other problems as well or 3) the doctor actually notices that he looks like crap!

Tuesday 9 September 2008

Chinese Herbal Medicine

Well my OH went to see the Chinese Herbal Doctor and came home with 7 huge bags of mixed herbs/roots etc.

She thoroughly examined him (something his own doctor didn't do) and checked his pulses and tongue. She looked at every patch of dermatitis on his body and examined his scalp where he has lost about 50% of his hair. She reassured him that it can be cured.

Her diagnosis was that he had an infection in his liver and that his liver was overheated. Basically he needed to detox his liver and hence all the bags of herbs to make herbal teas.

Furthermore he must not eat red meat, drink alcohol, eat shellfish, drink coffee or take sugar for at least a week (when he has to go back and see her).

She also gave him some herbal cream that he can use to soothe the itching. She warned him that making up the tinctures really smells and the taste is also very bad.

Surprisingly he is willing to give it all a go - I guess he really has got fed up with not feeling well! So today is his first day and when I go home this evening I will find out how he's got on.....

As a sign of good faith I've been in Holland & Barrett today and bought myself some body cleanse tablets and I will join him in the detox. I've never detoxed so I guess my body could probably do with it :-) Added to the tablets I also bought some milk thistle because I read up that it is also good for cleansing the toxins from your liver and as it is already a tincture I will try to give some to my cat who has been suffering from OCD for years and is continually ripping out her fur. Several treatments of steroids have done absolutely nothing for her and all the tests that the vets originally did came up negative. So in fact we are all going to detox!!!!

So after a diet of chicken and fish I will report more on this later.

Monday 8 September 2008

Being a Grandparent

We had 5 out of our 8 grandchildren round over the weekend and it was great. Being made a grandparent at the age of 42 was a bit of a shock to begin with. The thoughts of "I'm too young to be a nan" came to mind but I never once said I didn't want to be called nan - after all I had fond memories of my 'nans'. Since then, of course, 7 more have come along.

Being a grandmother is great because you have all the fun but with none of the stresses and strains of being a mother. After all you can always hand them back :-)

It's a shame that while being a mother all your time is spent coping with probably more than one child added to the probability nowadays of having to work and trying to come to terms with the still relatively early stages of a marriage or partnership and run a house and in most cases juggle the very strained finances..... and they call it post natal depression!!! More likely it's just the stress of doing so many things at once. So much time and energy is spent on surviving the ups and downs that it's not until later you look back and think "if only I'd enjoyed the childhood phase more". Too soon the little 'uns are all grown up and going their own way.

But that is the way of life isn't it. With hindsight we can always say 'if only'.

Another little ditty came my way and it said "love is not finding someone you can live with, but finding someone you can't live without".

Now that is quite profound when you think about it seriously. After all whenever you start out in a relationship you always expect it to last forever; you always think you are madly in love and you always think that you can't live without them. So how do you tell if this person is the one you can't live without? Well I guess a test of time (with or without them) probably helps to show you if this is the person, plus I think you have to get to know them - warts and all. You have to know one another so well that you can see past the 'in love' stage and be able to see their faults (and your own) and to accept them just the way they are. When you realise that even though they are not your prince charming that you positively wouldn't want them any other way. When you can fight your way through the battles in life back to back - not blaming one another but fighting together - whether you win or lose these battles - knowing that if all else fails you have one another. And most importantly you have to be able to call them your best friend.

Well that's my view any way....

Chinese Herbal Medicine

My OH is off to see a Chinese herbalist today (as long as an appointment isn't necessary). After trying normal medicine to get Contact Dermatitis under control and not succeeding he is getting desperate to try anything to control this problem.

We've tried numerous other things - olive oil, garlic, herbal creams and vitamins but nothing seems to clear it up. The steroids the doctor gave him didn't really do a lot - they only worked all the time the cream was being put on and as soon as it ran out the dermatitis came back.

So Chinese medicine is now being given a chance - I'll let you know the outcome.

Work in the City

I really feel like an alien at times. Am I the only person that watches the throng of people surging out of the station intent on only reaching their place of employment like a mass of soldier ants destroying everything in their path. Not a smile on any face; no courtesy at all and no real sign of character or individuality amongst them. I have to stand back and smile as I avoid getting run down by them - because no-one gives way....

I guess I don't really fit into this City mentality. Four years ago when I was forced to move with my job to the City I was terrified at the thought of it but I settled in like everyone does, given time, but my state of mind has never really changed to the City way.

Take a person out of the City and they become human again - someone you can chat to and have fun with - but while they are in that City jungle environment they become someone else.

Ok I'm exaggerating now - not everyone is like it - but on the whole people are in too much of a rush; too focused on making as much money as possible; too involved in furthering their careers and somewhere along the line they become hardened and robotic.

To a degree I suppose I've taken some of this on board. None of the above apply but I remember when I first arrived here I told myself I would not become like the others where they ignore beggars and walk past them as if they just do not exist. Now after 4 years of being 'chosen' as the sucker who always believes their stories I have to acknowledge that on the whole there are a lot of conmen and women out there. Too many times I have been taken as a mug because I have a conscience and now I find, sadly, that I have started to view them all as conmen/women because I cannot tell the genuine person in need from the rest so now I try to avoid them.

Why is it that City people love to be in a crowd. They are forever barging passed one another at lunchtimes while they browse around the shops or lunching at the many wine bars; cafes or restaurants where you can hardly hear yourself talk.

My lunch hours are generally spent at my desk because there is just nowhere to get away from the crowds. I am close to the river but trying to take a river walk at lunchtime is a feat in itself while you sidestep the joggers or lunchers who seem to believe you are invisible. Just one small place where there is a little bit of greenery and peace and quiet - that is all I ask for. Just to take an hour away from the hustle and bustle but it's just not possible.

I have at least 8 more years that I have to continue to work before I can retire - if I can afford to retire!!! It seems a long time - a prison sentence really. But there are no options that I can think of yet.

I guess I had to experience this way of life - just another little lesson in life - but on the whole it's not for me. It's too cold; uncaring; tiring; selfish and above all overcrowded.

Ok my rant for the day over with.

Saturday 6 September 2008

It's a funny old world

Don't you sometimes just ponder on what it's all about. In hindsight you look back over the past mistakes that you made and you can see the link of where that particular route led you into this particular life. Where the pain of certain situations led to learning lessons in life. You look at the people around you or those that have passed through at times throughout your life and you see a pattern. You see how certain circumstances and events have taught you things that otherwise you would not have known.

I can wonder 'what if' I had chosen a different path at times when decisions had to be made; where would I be now and what would that life have been like. I don't regret any decisions made, it would be stupid to regret anything that teaches you about life, but I do wonder at times how fascinating is this thing called 'destiny' that moulds you into the person you are today.

I also wonder how many other choices will present themselves in my life and where those choices will take me. How much more change will there be in my life. But then I guess life is continually changing; evolving; taking you towards 'what'.

Yes today I am in a pondering mood....

Friday 5 September 2008

Strange people

Well I tried several online albums including Picasa and Flickr to store any images I wanted on my blog.

I got an email today from a certain female who wanted to be my 'friend' as she had seen my album appear on Flickr.

Not only was she in an 'open' relationship and presumably looking for more friendships for her and her husband but her album showed rather more of her than I wanted to see!!!! (Ok I took a look at her profile as I was curious to see who was contacting me).

Not the sort of thing I want to look at while at work - or at any time really.....

Our new toy

Let me introduce you to our new toy. We've had it a couple of weeks now but like all new toys you need to get to know how to use it first.

I've done the normal internal decoration bits like new nets, cushions, cleaning and making it 'ours' while my OH has been doing the mechanical and technical bits.

Sad to say that we have probably bought it at the wrong time of the year and that we won't get chance to use it before the start of the new year but who knows. Our initial idea was to get it so that our drive through France and onwards to Spain each year would be a bit more comfortable. Then the thought of long weekends in France started to pop into mind and the freedom of just taking to the road whenever we wanted to..... peace & tranquility.....

Which reminds me - I better get out the French language disks.....

Thursday 4 September 2008

Sorry about the paintings

Being absolutely useless at painting I decided to join an online course. You can decide yourself whether they are getting any better or not!!

Anyway, I have found painting to be something relaxing to do and it does get me away from the computer for a while....

I have to give thanks to Andy Walker and his courses. I have taken on both the acrylic painting and the drawing. I have all his instructions; downloads and video clips but have not yet had chance to finish the course. I do feel that I have improved a lot (you should have seen what I drew/painted like before).

Time is the only factor that stops me from doing more. I'm up at 5.30 every morning to go to work and don't get back home until anything from 6.30 onwards in the evening (depending on traffic). Therefore by the time the weekend comes everything is jammed into two days. Boring things like housework/washing/ironing and more interesting things like children/grandchildren. Mind you having 4 children and 8 grandchildren does while away the free time....

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