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 tipsforbloggers.blogspot.com and Bloggerbuster.com 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 learntodo.co.uk 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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A few amateur paintings

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Wednesday 3 September 2008

Background Patterns

Just remembered to put a big thank you to www.squidfingers.com/patterns/ for allowing the use of their patterns.

Belly Dancing

Wow I've found a great belly dancing dvd.

As my normal 'keep-fit' routine of doing pilates first thing in the morning has had to be put on hold due to 'occupational hazard' i.e. my wrist becoming weak and hurting making it nearly impossible to accomplish a lot of the movements in pilates, I have been looking for something else to do to keep the body going! Well I rather fancied the idea of doing some belly dancing (in the privacy of my own home - I don't want to scare the nation!!). Well the first dvd that I tried was ok but a bit boring and not very good at teaching the moves. So, rather than just give up, I looked for another one. This one is by a teacher called Clara and it is just what I've been after. Being restricted by time in the morning (I'm up at 5.30 and have half hour to exercise in) I needed something that could be broken down into segments and this dvd does just that. One day I do the hip movements and the next day I do the upper body movements. A bit like when I used to do weight training really - alternating different parts of the body each day.

She is a very good teacher and explains the movements in an easy to understand way. Each time she starts with a warm up (something I normally forget) and ends with a cool down (which is so relaxing). A bonus is the music which I like as well. So I may not end up looking like Shakira but at least I'll know some of the moves.....

Tuesday 2 September 2008

Success with the slideshow

My many thanks to Vin of tipsforbloggers.blogspot.com for giving the answer to my problem. I had tried just about everything to get my slideshow to work and it wasn't until I spotted a reply he gave to someone anonymous that I got success. Yippee a slideshow that is working. I can now add more photos whenever I want and they stay sitting exactly where I want them to be - at the top of the page.

More on other matters later.

Monday 1 September 2008

Well here we go again. I'm feeling rather pleased with myself as I never thought I would be able to create a blog. So bear with me while I experiment and play around with it until I'm satisfied with the look and content.

So Monday arrives yet again and another weekend has finished. Why do the weekends seem to flash by and work comes around again so quick.

I tried to link up with Flickr to get a slideshow of my old photos but it didn't seem to work so I will have to try again later. One of my interests is researching my ancestors - guess that's something you do as you get older - a desire I guess to find some roots!!!

Anyway I love all the old black and white and sepia photos that I've started to accumulate and I wanted to put a slideshow of them on here. But never mind I will find a way soon.

I also wanted to put on photos of another love of my life - Spain and our Spanish friends - and that I will definitely do later. My studies of the Spanish language continue but I seem to have reached a bit of a brick wall. The beginner and intermediate I've coped with ok but the advanced stage is causing problems. My brain just doesn't seem to want to work! Sorry Michel Thomas even your system is proving problematic. I listen to Spanish TV for a couple of hours each night as well in the hope that I will eventually be able to understand the spoken word at it's normal speed - just how difficult is that - or perhaps it is me.

Well that's all for the moment - more later.