Thursday, 31 December 2009

Burlesque

While searching for new content for my webstore I came across reference to a new film under production at the moment. It is starring Christina Aguilera (my favourite) and co-starring Cher in a new production of Burlesque. Production started in November so I guess it will take about 6 months to a year before it is on the screens. Also I came across an advert for the London Burlesque week scheduled to start on 13th February 2010. Wow I guess it's making a definite comeback.

Now I don't know about you but I love Burlesque. I even have the old film Moulin Rouge on my iphone! I think burlesque is sexy, feminine and fun and my store seems to be progressing more down the line of burlesque than anything else. While being encouraged to still stock other items my passion is definitely more Burlesque than anything else.

Touch of nostalgia; romance and sexy - what more can you ask for :-)

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Gadget Savvy Grandparents

On a lighter note we had a 'compliment' from our oldest grandchild over Christmas. He is 13 and he was saying how we are not like normal grandparents (??? what is normal) because we know about computers, have iphones, touchscreen cameras and all the latest gadgets :-) When he wants advice on anything from ipod to laptop he comes to us for help.

Well I'm glad he thinks we are 'cool'.....

No Such Thing As Loyalty

Well there certainly is no such thing as loyalty anymore.

While sitting at home awaiting my return to work I received an official letter by email informing me of the transfer of my contract to the new employer that has 'bought' us.

It states within that letter that should we have any queries to contact ******* a person at the new company - someone I have yet to meet! So I guess my old employer just isn't interested anymore. Where have those ten years gone and what exactly did they mean. Nothing I guess.

Well when I return to work I still have 2-3 days packing up and getting ready for the move to the new company. I bet the atmosphere is going to be a bit strained.

Oh well guess loyalty only belongs to family and friends....

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Here comes 2010

Well I hope everyone had a happy Christmas and the New Year is just around the corner.

I can't say I will be sorry to see the back of 2009. Hopefully 2010 will be a better year for all concerned.

I don't know if you ever read up about feng shui but according to their theories 2010 is going to be even worse than 2009! I hope they are wrong.

I'm glad to say that the snow has cleared up around my area although they are forecasting another cold snap coming our way for the new year. It has to be the first time I can remember being a bit scared about walking. The snow itself was very pretty and great fun for the kids but as the temperatures plummeted and it turned to sheets of ice I found it very dangerous walking to the bus stop in the morning or returning home at night. You just couldn't seem to find anywhere to walk without sliding all over the place and no matter which shoes or boots I wore they just wouldn't grip...

I really don't know how you manage to run about in it as a child. I can only assume that you have no fear.

Anyway the shortest day has been and gone (and I am so pleased) and now I can tell myself that with each day it will get a little bit lighter. How I hate the dark mornings and nights. If I had been an animal I think I would have been one that hibernated during the winter months :-)

Well I've been lucky in that I've gained a few days extra holiday that were not expected. As the company I work for has now 'sold' us and the company I will be working for are not needing us until beginning of January I have been told to stay at home and I can do whatever work needs doing from here. Good old internet and emails. However should something urgent crop up then I will need to go in. You know which one I'm hoping for.

We've already started thinking about booking Eurotunnel for our Easter break in France. It seems when I started getting quotes for the fifth wheeler I put in the wrong category. I put it down as a trailer and the price was extortionate. However if you put it in as a 27' caravan the price becomes more reasonable. Good, I didn't fancy losing 8 hours on a ferry crossing when it only takes half hour on the train.

Well that's it for now

Happy New Year everyone. Feliz año nuevo.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

In Limbo Land

Well I'm now in limbo. No longer an employee of the company I work for but not due to start work at the new place we've been sold to until the New Year. Strange position to be in.... especially as I've still got to go to work at the old place.

Right now I'll be glad to get moving as the atmosphere at work is really bad and no-one would know it's Christmas. If it wasn't for the fact that the shops are packed with people buying presents you wouldn't know that tomorrow is Christmas Eve (or la Noche Buena for our Spanish friends).

I'm really looking forward to having a few days off work as it has been quite stressful which in turn plays up the arthritis in my neck.

Looking forward to the New Year and moving forward.

To anyone reading this blog I'll just say

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Our Family

Sorry to bore you but here are some photos taken today at our family get together.
Crazy but fun :-)


Me and Oliver

Oliver

Stefan

Five of our nine grandchildren

All of us

Poppy and Emily

Stefan

Poppy and Amelia

Us and the grandchildren

All of us again.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Calm Before The Storm

Well somehow we have made it through this week of chaos! With so much happening at work and with the weather turning bad and covering us in a layer of snow we have now reached the start of our chaotic weekend.

All being well our little house should soon be full of 9 grandchildren and 9 adults! We will be bulging at the seams. I've warned our neighbour to wear earplugs :-)

For now I've got to start the food preparations and finish wrapping presents and tidying up the house - all of which will be wrecked within 5 minutes of the children arriving...

Our new camera arrived and we have had a play around with it so hopefully we should get some good photos.

So our Christmas starts this weekend and then it's back to work on Monday. But for now the sun is shining and the snow is looking very pretty. I've put food out for the birds and there is peace and quiet in the house while Mick is still sleeping... but not for long :-)

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Pre Christmas Celebrations

If I've been a bit quiet recently it's because so much has been going on.

Last weekend was spent 'spring cleaning' my house ready for the onslaught next weekend of all the kids/grandkids for our pre Christmas celebrations.

Why are you bothering they say. The kids will soon mess it up. Well at least I know it started off clean :-)

With 9 adults and 9 grandchildren my little place gets a bit crowded. So up goes the gazebo in the garden to create a little space for when the adults need a bit of peace or a place to have a quick smoke. Also the trailer is on our drive so if it gets too manic or is too cold we will overspill into that.

The food takes a bit of preparation but most of it has already been bought and the rest is on its way - thank goodness for home deliveries. I always lay on too much food and there is plenty left for packing up to go to work next week.

Talking of work - I think my job is safe. Well kind of. If all goes well then I am moving to the company that is buying out part of the business I'm at now. Can't say any more at the mo but it will all be happening in the New Year.

But back to next weekend. We are really looking forward to the chaos that occurs every time we have a family get together. Oh and it doesn't take too long to clear up the mess after they've left :-)

Our new camera should be arriving today so we should be able to take some decent photos. Hoping for a shot with all of us together - that's if the little'uns stand still long enough.

Well that's it for now. More later....

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Fifty Six Years On

Well here I am 56 today! Considering I was born prematurely and weighing in at only 2lbs - all those years ago - and not expected to live I haven't done too badly :-)

Do I feel any different? No. A little wiser, a bit more stubborn, but still the same girl inside.

We did pop out briefly yesterday to go to town and buy a few Christmas presents. We lasted about an hour and a half. It was just so crowded. I do believe the UK is running out of room!

So I came back home and did the rest of my Christmas shopping online. Thank goodness for the internet.

I guess each generation views their own 'time of life' as being the best era to be brought up in. I'm a bit in the middle there. I do believe my era was one of the best to grow up in but I do appreciate and embrace modern technology. However I'm beginning to believe that as you grow older and hark back about how it was so much better when you were younger that it is a natural part of growing old.

I know for sure that both my Dad and Dora had both had enough of this world as the changes within it had proved just too much for them to cope with. So perhaps it is mother nature's way of easing you forward and into the next life.

Oops maybe that's all a bit too heavy for today - especially on my birthday!

But today the sun is shining. The temperature has dropped over night and it is showing 1.7 degrees at the moment - the coldest yet this year. But to see a bit of sunshine just makes you feel so much better.

The forecast for the next few days is getting colder and windier. Winter is well and truly on its way with snow coming into Scotland and the North.

Time to get outside and top up the bird feeders I think.

Bye for now.

Monday, 30 November 2009

www.taaz.com

While sitting watching X Factor and I'm a Celebrity last night I have to admit to playing a little on my laptop.

Now this is purely a female thing. I found the above website where you can upload a photo and do a 'makeover' online. So there I was playing around with different hairstyles; colours & make up. It was quite hilarious.

Isn't funny how you take for granted your youth. When I was younger I used to be forever changing my hairstyle and colour. One moment I'd have very long hair and the next I'd get bored and have it cut really short. Shortest I can remember was what they called then the pixie cut. Of course after a while I'd get bored with that and start to grow it long again.

Colours well I've been very dark brown, very pale blonde, chestnut, auburn, burgundy, golden blonde, ash blond, red and anything else inbetween. It got to the stage that I forgot what my natural colour was!

But playing around on that website last night has shown me that your skin tone must change with age because colours that used to look fine on me I found now made me look washed out. Also whereas it didn't matter what style I tried in my youth I could now see that they would now make me look bl**dy awful!!! Guess that's gravity for you.

So what is my hair now? Well it's a 'natural blonde' (to hide the grey) and it is still long. The bob I had cut a couple of years ago has grown out and after looking at the photos last night I can see why my hubbie didn't like it. I occasionally have it loose but most of the time I have it in a casual up style or tied back.

In England they used to say that you shouldn't have your hair long after the age of 40 (it might even have been younger than that) but I tend to find that over the age of 40/50 the short hairstyles all tend to make everyone look the same! Once you reach 60/70 well then you get to what they used to call the 'blue rinse brigade'. Although it's changed a lot here now there are still plenty of hair salons that naturally assume that you want the same hairstyle as all the other over 50/60/70's.

So what's my point? Well nothing really except that I am an individual. I want to wear my hair the way I want to. I want it to be whatever colour I want it to be.

Oh and I guess I don't want to conform.

Hey, hell I was a child of the 60's :-)

Rain, Rain Go Away

Well it's 9 o'clock on Monday morning and it's raining still. It doesn't seem to have stopped raining for ages...

The only good thing today is that I woke up and heard the rain at 6 o'clock and smiled to myself and turned over and went back to sleep. Because today and tomorrow I've got my last two days holiday for the year. I've got to work over Christmas and as my birthday is tomorrow I thought I would make it a long weekend. Bliss, I'm sitting here in my pyjamas and I didn't have to stand at the bus stop in the rain.

Now some people may say it's a waste of two days holiday. Aren't you doing anything? they say. No I'm not. I'm just enjoying being at home; enjoying not having to get up at 5.30 in the morning and I can do just whatever I feel like doing.

Mick, as usual, is asleep still. (He's taken the time off too) Because Mick can sleep for Britain and when he's at home he doesn't normally emerge from bed until very late in the morning. But I love to just make the most of my free time.

I've been promising myself that I'd get my paints out and do some painting as I haven't had time just recently to do it. If I'm not at work I'm optimising my webstore which is a very time consuming thing to do. But today I think it's time to just relax and paint.

I have to pop out later to post one of my sales but with Paypal printing online postage labels all it takes is a trip to the nearest post box so that won't take long.

So rain, rain go away as I want to enjoy my last two days holiday.

Roll on summer.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

A Strange Phenomenon?

Well a strange thing happened the other night. Mick called me over to look at a photo of my dad that I've got hanging on the wall. It is a black and white photo printed from my computer and he is standing in a garden. The flowers in the garden that were white had turned pink!

Now the photo has been hanging on my wall for well over a year - so what caused the sudden change?

I know there is probably a logical explanation for it but in reality I don't really care what caused it because to me it was almost as if he was sending a "hi" to me at a time when I've been quite stressed out.

So on that note I'll leave the mystery to itself.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Mamma Mia and the daily commute

Well Mick has converted our DVD so that I can play it on my phone en route to work. Today was the first time I tried it and it was great. I can vouch for the feel good factor that you get from watching Mamma Mia while commuting!

So there I am sitting there, headphones in ears (in ear ones so no one else gets disturbed), grinning like a cheshire cat and trying not to bounce around on the seat or sing along to the songs.

I know, Mamma Mia is not perhaps the most intellectual film going but boy does it make you feel good.

Hopefully the smile will last a little while before the work pressure kicks in :-)

Friday, 6 November 2009

Internet Explorer 7 and Mozilla Firefox

Well I have finally given up on Internet Explorer 7 and the continual "IE has encountered a problem and must close down". This has been going on for so long now and is so frustrating when you are in the middle of doing something and it crashes and when you go back in you have to start all over again.

So time for a change. If Microsoft can't fix their own problems then I'm going elsewhere.

Initial reaction to Firefox is good. It seems to be very quick but it will take a little while to get used to the layout. Good news apparently is that if Firefox or your computer crashes then when you reopen the browser it goes back to where you left off. Fantastic, that will make a change!

Well, only time will tell...

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Reality Check/Redundancy?

Well yesterday was reality check day. It appears that the company I work for is about to sell out to another company. Of course at the moment all is hush hush and denials yet the proof is there and has been overheard and seen.

What then comes to mind in circumstances like this is to whether our jobs will be safe - or if they are, for how long.

I've been through the whole scenario a couple of times in my working life and contrary to how secretive they have been the telltale signs have been there so it comes to no surprise to me.

But and the big but on my part is - do they really want to employ a 55 (nearly 56) year old woman and if they don't then where the hell do you start looking for work when you are competing against all the other unemployed young people during this credit crisis.

Mmm, time to dust off the old CV and get updating - I used to be a girl guide so am used to "being prepared".

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Which Digital Camera?

At the age when you start buying Christmas presents jointly we've decided it's about time to update our Olympus digi camera for something newer but just where do you start!!!

The amount of cameras out there is mind blowing. Should it be the old favourites - Nikon; Canon; Sony or Olympus or something completely different. Asking my stepdad's advice (a retired photographer) he said that he has recently been talked into trying a Yashica and that it's not the megapixels but the lens.

Oh dear what on earth did I suggest a new camera for! It all depends on what you want it for; how much you can afford etc etc. I just want a camera that takes good pics of all the grandkids; can take brilliant scenic views and also great closeups and is compact and easy to carry around.

Where do I start..........

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

What Nationality is Your Personality?

Managing to grab 5 minutes before I left for the coach this morning I read a few more pages in the latest book I am reading and it reminded me of the differences between my personality and Mick's.

Now the book is based in France and it was mentioning a few of the personality traits of the French and although I know it is only generalising I can without a doubt say that my personality has to be bordering on the French attitudes.

Now Mick on the other hand would most definitely have to be of a Spanish personality - probably one of the reasons he feels most definitely at home in Spain.

I've often pondered on France v. Spain for somewhere to retire to (or at least have a second home) and Spain has always won for several reasons. 1) We have many Spanish friends 2) We can speak Spanish 3) We love Spain as a country and 4) We love the sun.

But, with France being just a hop over the channel (and owning a motorhome we are discovering just how lovely France and the French people are) who knows what the future may bring.

Anyway back to the French v. Spanish personalities. I would say that from my observations the two countries have totally different personalities and you could roughly say that the Spanish are friendly, gregarious, loud and live for today type of attitude whereas the French tend to be more private, polite, serious and insular. (Insular is a word quite often used to describe my father's family).

Now remember I'm just generalising here and don't wish to offend anyone!

But, I can say without a doubt that these two personalities can get along very well. After nearly 28 years I think we've proved that point!

Mind you going a step further in my ancestry research I could even find that we both originated from France! With Mick's surname being Bratton it does tend to be a bit close to Breton and my family surname being Roling (originally from Norfolk and not too far to hop across the channel) and being seamen they could have come from anywhere...

Oh dear I seem to be waffling...

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Halloween Parties & Miss-behaving.co.uk

Well there must be a lot of halloween parties around this year as all my halloween costumes sold immediately I put them on eBay - and for their Buy It Now price (which incidently is the same as I had them on for on my webstore).

Well it might seem a shame that I have a webstore yet had to sell the items on eBay but to me it didn't really matter. The webstore is still in its infancy and as yet has to make its way up the search engines so by putting the items on eBay I was able to also add a link to my site as well and therefore getting it in front of some people at least!

If searching for my site by its title then I have at least made it to page 2 of Google - so I've been crawled by their spiders (or I think that's what you call it :-D).

As for the opinions and feedback from those that have bought the costumes - well thankfully they all think they are terrific and great value - so hopefully I'm getting it right. The whole point of this webstore is to start a store that can build up over the next 7 years and then provide us with a little extra in retirement. There are many similar sites out there but I am focusing on very affordable costumes and thankfully it seems I have the prices right.

It's rather nice to think that in these hard times people are still out there having fun & enjoying themselves.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Books and Audiobooks

As I checked the postings I had been doing I glanced at the slideshow scrolling at the bottom of my page which shows the books that I have enjoyed reading and it got me wondering about audiobooks.

Now a friend of mine swears by audiobooks and likes the idea of downloading an audiobook onto her ipod and taking that on holiday with her as it saves having to carry heavy books with her. I can see the reasoning behind it.

But for me there is nothing quite like a book. I love them, have always loved them and if I had the space then I'd love my own little library! I hate it when, because of a shortage of space, you have to get rid of books.

I guess it's a tactile thing. You can touch a book, you can look at the picture on the cover and you can lose yourself within your own mind as you read the book. Your own imagination creates the images of what the author is writing and to me it is better than watching a film. Likewise within the storyline you create in your own mind the sound of the voices of the people you are reading about. If you listen to an audiobook then you only hear the voice of the person reading it.

Plus I just like to see them sitting on a bookshelf - ready to dip into whenever you wish.

I don't get so much time to read nowadays and also my eyesight is not as good as it used to be but, for me, a real physical book wins hands down to a digital download that you can only listen too but not see...

Gene Pool

It never ceases to amaze me how the genetic lucky dip can create totally different and opposite siblings.

In my case coming from a father who was a private, insular, if not slightly eccentric person and a mother who is emotional, friendly, outgoing, talk to anyone, have loads of friends type of person there was bound to be a conflicting, if not interesting, mish-mash of genes floating about.

Once again the difference between my sister and myself became apparent after her trip to visit her sister-in-law last week took her to a mountain village in Spain.

My mother informs me that she had spoken to my sister and she had complained bitterly about her trip and that she would never do it again. For every argument she gave relating to mountain life in Spain I found myself retorting with ‘I love it’.

She hated the fact that it was so quiet – I love it.
She hated the fact that there was nothing to do – I love it, and stressed that if you were living there and not a ‘tourist’ then you would no doubt have plenty to do.
She hated the fact that one minute the electricity was off then on, the water was off, then on – where is her sense of adventure and fun? I can tell she’s never been camping…
She hated the ‘mañana’ attitude by the workmen – learn to chill out sister!
She ended up by saying “surely Marion wouldn’t want to live somewhere like that” – too right I would.

I always say that you can always find noise and hustle and bustle but you can’t always find peace and tranquillity. Give me the latter any day. I can go in search of noise should I ever miss it but you can’t always find peace and quiet in natural surroundings.

Add to that the freedom of developing your own characteristics and hey that makes an interesting mix.

It’s a funny old world.

Live for the moment

On Friday we had one of those 'live for the moment' reminders. Now in normal day to day living you think of the next holiday; you discuss what you will do at Christmas; where you will spend your retirement/birthday/anniversary and all those hundred and one things that you 'plan' in advance. It's natural, we all do it. But when one of those live for the moment reminders come along it stops you momentarily in your tracks.

This time the reminder that all can change in a second was when Mick fell backwards off the back of a lorry. Now I know that it's not like falling off a mountain! But when you are about 4 foot up in the air and leaning backwards pulling on some straps and the strap breaks and you fall straight on your back it can be disasterous. Many years ago a similar accident for him caused an ongoing back problem. I'd say it's about 50% of the time that his back is ok and 50% of the time that he carries on with one of the discs out and sciatica in his leg. But that's veering a little off the subject and it is something he has come to live with and cope with.

When he fell on Friday he had his arms up above his head pulling on straps and he was forcing his weight back against them. This alone added to the momentum at which he fell. It goes without saying that the outcome could have been bad.....

However this time we can thank our lucky stars that someone was looking after him. He performed, as he put it, a pefect parachute roll (whatever that is!) and apart from being rather shaken and a nice bruise appearing he appears to be safe and sound.

For a 62 year old with a history of back problems it is quite amazing....

So, as the post is titled, live for the moment as anything can happen in the next second/minute or hour.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

How Safe Are Your Streets

Now the nights are drawing in the time has come to decide what route I'm going to take on my way home at night.

During the light evenings it is great, I can get off the coach and walk home within 5minutes.

However during the darker nights it becomes a little more intimidating. The route that I take has an area where teenagers congregate and just hang out. Well I don't want to imply that teenagers are trouble makers but there have been times when other lone women commuters have had some of them follow shouting out abuse or just generally trying to scare them.

Since I learnt during the summer that the quite innocent playground is not so innocent and that drugs tend to change hands there I have had a bit of a re-think about my route during the dark nights.

My new route is twice as far as my 'summer' one and I have to literally go passed my house to get off at that next stop and then retrace my steps to get home and that is what really annoys me.

Why should I have to change my route in the winter because there may be a chance that in the dark some yob could decide to take advantage of a woman on her own. My stubbornness says stick it out but my sensible head says better to be safe than sorry.

It really is sad when you can't feel safe 5 minutes from home anymore.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Father Time?

Hey my brain still feels young, it’s a shame it’s not telling my body that!

Went for the normal eye test on Saturday and the good news is the sight in my right eye has improved considerably; the bad news is that there is a cataract forming in that eye.

Gee now that makes me feel old………

I guess it’s not surprising after all my Nan had cataracts in both her eyes and my Mum has had one that has been operated on and another one is developing in her other eye. But my Mum is 82, I’m 55!

I’m not too sure how long they take to develop so I suppose it could be years yet before I’ll be due to have the cataract removed but it sure is Father Time letting me know that I’m knocking on a bit.

Oh how I hate the thought of someone probing around in my eye… I had rather hoped they could correct it with laser treatment but apparently they can’t they just stick a needle in your eye. Yeuk what a horrible thought.

Also, of course, because of the improvement in my vision in that eye I have to have a new pair of glasses – it’s only 2 years since the last ones – so that has set me back another £200!!! Worse of all is that I only wear them for watching TV or driving.

All in all it’s been an expensive weekend.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Trip Continued

Fifth-Wheeler_hitched_up Damn it the weekend is over and it's time to go...
Fifth-Wheeler_awning Just about got a picture of Kelly - she hates having her photo taken as much as I do.
Stefan just enjoys jumping in and out of the trailer.
Horse_Show_Rosettes
Katie with her rosettes from her first horse show.
Coffee_Under_the_Awning
Here is Mick, mum and Stanley - who would believe he is 94 years old.

Fifth-Wheeler_under_the_awning This one is with the table and chairs set up under the awning - ready for the arrival of the family.

Fifth-Wheeler_Slider
Here are the photos as promised. This shows you the slider.

Maiden Trip in the Fifth Wheeler

Our first trip in the trailer was last weekend and what good weather we had. It was a great 4 days away and I will upload photos tonight when I get home from work.

Loved the trailer; loved camping; loved the peace & quiet - well apart from when the family turned up :-) but loved that too.

More tonight.

Enough is Enough?

When is “enough is enough”; when do you call it a day and when do you stop banging your head against a brick wall?

Just a few thoughts going around in my mind at the moment.

I won’t go into too much detail on this blog because there are some that read it that I don’t want to know what I’m thinking.

But when you reach a stage when you can calmly sit and think “that’s it – I could walk away right now” then I think that is telling me something.

I’ve kicked and screamed and complained before but done nothing about it except feel trapped but now I seem to have reached a calm; feel nothing about it stage. Very strange.

The main problem is that I know that by walking away I will be causing myself no end of problems but at this point in time I really don’t care.

I’m not about to do anything drastic and impulsive (although that is my nature) but I have realised that when something reaches its conclusion; the end of the line; then I guess I’m ready to move on.

Mmm, well we’ll see what happens next…

Monday, 21 September 2009

Scott James - Autism & X Factor

Well I've just watched the recording again from last night (on X Factor site) and even while sitting at work I felt quite emotional.

Scott James' audition was brilliant and the way everyone was behind him especially touched me. I wish him well as he progresses to the next round.

Don't know if I ever mentioned it before but my brother, Andy, is Autistic, but unlike Scott, Andy cannot communicate with us or talk or hear. However some of the mannerisms are the same and I just wish I knew what went on behind that closed door!

Scott's wish is to break down the preconceived ideas people have regarding Autism and he certainly did that last night.

So even if Scott does not win X Factor he has already had his dream come true.

Bless you Scott.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Online Store

Well I’ve been unable to update on my blog for the last few days as I’ve been progressing with my creation of an online shop.

Whether it will work or not I don’t know but as I pondered on the future (retirement in 8 years) I realised I had to do something if I still wanted to have any type of life apart from just plain existing.

So after researching and studying other online shops I started to create my website store; find a manufacturer and all the other multitude of things you have to do – alongside working full time!

Well it’s almost there. The site is up and running (almost – it’s still “under construction”) but it is live and I can see how it works. I have found a manufacturer and have ordered my first supply of stock; have organised the checkout procedure with Paypal and Google Checkout and all I need to do now is finalise the selling price once I know if there is any import tax.

It’s all new to me and I am under no illusions. As I’ve already said, I have 8 years before I retire, and I plan on using that time to slowly build up an online business. If all goes well it will be my ‘retirement plan’ and enable us to enjoy our retirement. If it doesn’t take off – well then I’ll just sell it cost price on eBay and think of something else.

So much to learn…. But at least I still have the time.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Watercolour

Ordered some more brushes tonight. If I can't sit outside I can at least sit inside and do my coursework.

I've been doing acrylic painting but have decided to have a go at watercolour too. There are just some things that need the delicate touch and I think I can get it with watercolour.

I'm no budding artist but I enjoy it and find it very relaxing. Had a little play around with my paints today and I was surprised. I always associated watercolour with childhood (you know the little paint sets you had as a child) but they are in fact quite different and I liked the feel of it.

Keep you updated.

Where does time go?

Well it's almost time for bed - as I have to get up for work at 5.30 - and the weekend has just disappeared.

Good moments were when we drove to Andover in Hampshire to get a mountain top for our Navara (I love that truck) and another good moment was when our friend Millie Skyped us. She's back from Alcudia for a week then dashing back out there for the remainder of the season.
She can't wait to get back there as she says it's so cold here (20 C).

Hopefully she's taking her new laptop with her so she should be able to Skype us from the bar and we can see and chat to all our friends :-)

Sadly the nights are drawing in and it gets dark much earlier. I also saw the first browning of the leaves on some trees yesterday. Oh dear autumn is coming....

I say it all the time, I know, but I hate winter. I hate the dark mornings/dark evenings, the cold and the wind and the rain. I don't like walking down the road from the bus stop at night as it is quite threatening walking passed the little gangs that hang on the corners (always seems worse in the dark) and I think I should have been a bird so that I could fly south in the winter.

Saying that, knowing my luck, I'd have been a robin and had to stay here in the cold :-)

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Spanish Withdrawal Symptoms

It’s two months now since we returned from our annual holiday in Spain. Once again I’m getting the withdrawal symptoms! For 24 years we've been getting them :-)

It was a bit better when we first returned this year because one of our friends had Skype set up on her laptop and we were able to chat and see our friends but unfortunately problems with the laptop have meant that even that is not possible now (no picture and sound cracking up).

So we’ve now got to settle back into living in England for another 10 months…

I have to say that it’s not the ‘holiday’ that I miss, after all I start to get bored and fidgety after a fortnight, but I certainly miss our friends and the Spanish lifestyle.

I know England has a lot to be grateful for, but it’s not the lifestyle that we feel comfortable with nor do people have the attitudes that we admire and appreciate in our Spanish friends.

So I’ll continue to learn Spanish each day; watch TVE International each evening and try and keep myself occupied for another winter.

Hasta luego….

40 Years Working!

Well this year I can say that I’ve been working for 40 years. In fact all those years ago I left school in the June and started working straight away so I’ve been working just over 40 years.

At that time my teachers wanted me to stay on for a sixth year (something that was not done that much in those days) and then to go on to become a teacher.

Now you’re talking about the late 60’s – a time when the last thing I would have imagined was that I would be working for the next 40 years! No, my little dream world consisted of getting an office job, working for a while, getting married and having children – and living happily ever after :-)

Funny how life turns out…

Sure enough I got married (at 18) and had two children but that marriage didn’t last and I needed to get straight back to work and have been ever since.

So the point of this reminiscing – well, what I’m wondering is – does everyone reach a point where they feel that they’ve had enough?

I listen to the 20-30 year olds at work and they are enthusiastic and motivated. Well my enthusiasm and motivation seems to have got up and gone!

To me work is just that, a necessity to pay the bills. There are far more important things in life.

So do we all reach this stage… and if so, how do I cope with another 8 years of work???

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Italy did my grandson the world of good



Well Callum has just returned from a month living in Italy with his aunt and uncle in a small village and boy has he grown up.

Not only can he now speak (with an excellent Italian accent) quite a few words in Italian but he has seen how different life is outside of the UK.

While he was away my first grandchild became a teenager and I am proud of him. He is turning into a great young man who is polite, funny and with a good sense of values. I hope he remains that way.

At school he is learning Spanish and French but I hope the ease in which he took to Italian while living there for a month will encourage him to try a little harder with his lessons and realise how handy it is to learn other languages.

It may be difficult learning languages but it is well worth the effort.

He is already looking forward to going back to Italy next summer to hopefully spend another month taking in the fantastic scenery; way of life and language.

Callum I'm proud of you.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Genealogy

Well I’ve lost count of the number of years that I’ve been doing my family tree but it’s one of those ‘hobbies’ that you pick up and put down and then pick up again at a later date.

So far I have just under 1,000 relatives on my tree and I’m back to the late 1700’s, early 1800’s. It gets far more difficult finding ancestors when you get to that era.

Due to the difficulties in finding further information and the extra work put on me in my employment my searching for ancestors ground to a halt for a while.

Then out of the blue I get approached by someone who has seen my family tree on Genes Reunited and Ancestry.co.uk and away I go again.

There just never seems to be enough hours in a day or days in a week to get everything that I want to do fitted in with everything I have to do.

But I keep on trying…..

August Bank Holiday

Well we are nearly at the bank holiday. The last one we get now until Christmas and wintertime.

Oh boy am I looking forward to a long weekend. Probably most of it will be spent sitting in our fifth wheel trailer :-) Not going out in it, just sitting in it.

I have to admit that the rush for the seaside at bank holidays is enough to make me run in the opposite direction. I don't enjoy sitting in queues of traffic and then trying to find somewhere to park and having crowds of people to contend with. Give me a little peace and quiet anytime :-)

It is really strange how we've began to see our trailer as our retreat. Normal weekends are spent playing catch up on all the jobs that don't get done during the week because we're out at work. So sitting and relaxing at the weekend when I'm indoors is a complete no-no. All I keep thinking about is "this needs doing, that needs doing" but by going out the door onto the drive and getting into the trailer I seem to feel a million miles away.

In fairness I have my phone with me so if anyone needs me they can contact me but I can't see that the ironing needs doing, or the rooms need vacuuming or any of the other multitude of tasks that you need to do.

My trailer is also my office. I have my laptop with me and I can sit and do whatever needs to be done without interruption. Or I can just lie on the bed and have a catnap. There is tea and coffee in the cupboard and I take some milk out and put in the fridge. The water tank is very large and full of fresh water so a cuppa is on hand whenever I want one.



Yes the trailer is great - whether being used on the road or just sitting on the drive.




Sunday, 23 August 2009

Ebay Selling

Well I seem to have spent the entire weekend creating listings on Ebay!

As I'm an avid Ebay purchaser I thought it was about time I started to sell some of those impulse buys that either don't fit; don't suit me or just were not what I expected :-)

It took so much more time than I expected. First I had to photograph the items and upload them to my Photobucket account where I then edited them to the correct size. Then I created the wording for the listing and copied it to an Ebay friendly template site to get the look that I wanted.

I then had to create links to my ME page on Ebay and my feedback page.

After all that was done I had to enter all the details onto Ebay listing page along with the postage cost which I had previously checked on the Post Office site.

Oh and I mustn't forget including a link to a scrolling gallery site so that whichever product you were looking at you could see all other items scrolling along at the bottom.

Then I submitted it and checked it....

Phew I'm worn out - is it worth it I wonder :-D

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Farmville

Now Farmville is a game that has caught on within Facebook. It's great fun and all the family keep building up their little online farms. I'm just as bad as the kids when it comes to playing this game but tonight there was a problem.

Farmville wouldn't open properly and I was told that my Adobe Flash needed updating. The problem was that as Adobe was installing a Trojan was trying to get in as well! Luckily I have a good antivirus and it grabbed it before it got in.

So the point of this post is just a reminder that we don't know what is going on in the background of cyberspace or what is infiltrating our computers!

Thank goodness for Antivirus programmes.... and we must remember to keep them updated.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Websites

Well much as I love my blog I thought I would like to have a go at creating a website. So if I've been a bit quiet on here this week it's because I've been trying to create it.

I didn't realise just how much work is involved in creating a site. The worst thing was trying to think what I wanted a site to be about! The designing I'm quite enjoying but having to do all the creating; researching and designing prior to even putting the website online seems to be taking forever!

I have to admit that the internet is so time consuming. By the time I've looked around at different designs to get ideas; checked on what I can put in and what I can't; gathered the information I want to add and tried typing the text in Word and entered it onto my template and previewed it - well there goes another couple of days (or more).

Oops and the problem with laptops is that perishing little box that you are supposed to use instead of a mouse. I've just lost my spell check facility on my blog because as I type and a shadow is created over the box then it does its own thing and opens or closes what it wants - or sends my cursor up to the top of the screen!!

Please excuse any spelling mistakes.....

Sunday Evening Blues

Did you know that there is such a thing as the Sunday blues? Well apparently it starts to descend on you at about 3pm on a Sunday afternoon when you start to realise that the weekend is coming to an end and it can occur whether you like or job or not.

It has something to do with your body rhythms so it is physical as well as mental. As your body clock goes out of sync with later nights from Friday night onwards and you lie in longer than you do during the working week then everything goes slightly awry...

Well physical or mental whatever it is I know I get it too :-)

Roll on next weekend...

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

The Most Incredibly Boring Person Award

Do you know anyone who you could give the above to?

I have the misfortune of working with someone who I could gladly give the award to - and they drive me crazy….

I would not wish to upset them or hurt their feelings by saying who they are – but they are soooo incredibly boring…….

You know, the type of person who can’t stop talking about anything and everything – all of which come over in that drone-like manner as an incredibly boring subject, and they go into great detail; and I mean minute detail; giving blow by blow accounts every step of the way….. and when they are talking to someone else you try to block out their voice and get on with your work but you are unable to as their voice permeates every part of you...

Oh hell, do they know they are boring???

Come to that – maybe I’m boring and no-one’s ever told me :-)

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Keeping Up Appearances & Mrs Bucket

Only those that remember the TV series ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ with the legendary Mrs Bucket (pronounced bouquet) will appreciate this post.

My mum, age 82, has yet again come out with a classic which will have me chuckling all day. She had sent her passport off to be renewed and it was taking longer to come back than she hoped. While on the phone to the passport office she was being helped by a lovely Irishman. Frustrated at not being able to hear what he was saying properly she burst out with “can’t you put me through to someone who speaks English!!”

I just said “you can’t say that!!!” but she was totally unaware that she had said something wrong.

Mind you the Irish have a lovely sense of humour and I can imagine him turning to his colleague and saying “Mrs Bucket here wants to talk to someone who speaks English” – however they got her passport back to her next day by special delivery.

Well done passport office.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Fifth Wheeler Maiden Trip

Well I've booked up for our maiden journey in the 5th wheeler!!!

Not having much holiday time left we decided that we had to get away at least for a long weekend to give the new trailer a 'try-out'. So, no sooner said than done.

A quick flick around the Internet and I found a site that is only an hour and a half from where we live. This means that we can leave early on the Thursday night after work and return home on the Monday thus only using up 2 days of the precious holiday entitlement.

Another good point is that I've found a site that isn't too far from where my mum lives on the coast so we can pop and visit her as well.

Up until now we've only travelled around France in our old motorhome so it will be a novelty to stay in our own country :-) but with this new one I think it's best to try it for size, so to speak, before we venture across the seas (or should I say, Channel).

Booked up for end of September so the site should be fairly quiet and hopefully the weather not too bad.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

What do you use yours for? – The internet that is…

I really don’t know what I’d do without the internet now. It has become part of my life :-)

So what do I use it for?

Well for a start I order my food shopping each week for delivery. I know that sounds awful but by the time I get home from work at night it’s too late to shop and weekends are a definite ‘no-no’ for going round supermarkets!

Shopping for presents is another nightmare that is alleviated by shopping online. I can take my time to look for what I want, purchase it and there it is delivered to my door.

I research absolutely anything and everything online. If I have a query – then I Google it – or Yahoo it - it’s great that the whole world is there at your fingertips.

Online forums are great when I’m gathering information and I've learned a lot from them but helpdesks are brilliant too.

Of course there’s the obligatory EBay for buying and selling and just for keeping track of what’s available.

Facebook is my main social network (what a word!) site but mainly I use it for relaxation. On Facebook I can leave messages and chat to my friends and family/play games (favourite at the moment is Farmville) and just generally keep an eye on what’s going on.

Amazon is great for buying my books or just reviewing what others think about anything I’m interested in and of course there are all the language courses that you can join.

I’ve completed quite a few online courses, in varying subjects, and love the idea of being able to just download any coursework/books etc that I need – immediately and without having to wait.

Of course there is my blog and I’m now researching (online of course) how to produce better web pages and sites.

So what do you use yours for?

Me, well I just use it for everything…..

Friday, 31 July 2009

My Sincere Condolences

To the families of those injured in Burgos and the families of the Guardia killed in yesterdays bombings in Palma Nova, I send my sincere condolences and hope that those injured recover quickly.

It is so sad that innocent people get killed or injured for what is purported to be a 'cause'. I hate violence in any form and send my love and best wishes to all.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Preemies UK

While I've had to sit with my cat while she's undergoing 'cage rest' I needed something else to do apart from sitting with my laptop. Now Mick said why don't I knit a tea cosy for our teapot in the fifth wheeler and one to leave in our friends apartment in Spain that we always stay in each year.

So, after years of not picking up the needles I hunted for my 'knitting bag' and when I opened it I realised that there were two premature baby waistcoats and one blanket that I had been making before I took on working in London and longer hours. So I finished off the blanket and then searched for a charity that would forward the items to the hospitals that needed them.

Preemies UK is the one I decided on as I emailed them enquiring if they still required volunteers and received a reply within a couple of hours.

So now while the cat is unable to chase the wool I'm able to knit a few items for a worthy cause. Baby items are always so much fun to make and looking at their site which showed the prem babies actually wearing the items that were made gave me the enthusiasm to get into doing it again. So I give a thumbs up to Preemies UK for all the hard work that they are doing.

Oh and by the way I will make the tea cosy as soon as I get some wool :-)

Sun Deprivation

Well so much for this being a really hot summer in the UK!

I believe our summer happened over here while I was on holiday in Spain as I have been told that those two weeks were unbearably hot!!!

Since I've been back there has been so much rain, wind and grey sky that I'm convinced that this is no longer Great Britain but Grey Britain. In fact I've had to wear a jacket - IN JULY!!!

Can one get SAD during the summer months? Well I'm suffering from sun deprivation at the least....

Now I know they say that all the Brits do is talk about the weather, well I guess that's because our weather is normally so lousy. Today we do have a blue sky with a little bit of cloud but it seems that this year especially you can't have one decent day unless it's followed by several lousy ones... and the temperature is going to be roughly 19 C with clouds and rain coming later - where have the high temperatues disappeared to? Global warming - where?

Boy I wish I was back in Spain...........

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Recovery countdown

Well my cat has had her operation. The vet said that she had never seen such a bad injury in that all the ligaments were ruptured not just one or two and nothing was supporting the two bones in the leg!

She has to stay at the vets until the weekend and then it is home for 2 weeks cage rest and then 4 weeks confined to the house. Apparently she will most definitely get arthritis and so they are putting her on medication for that and also they will give her an injection to encourage her to eat. She will also be left with a limp.

I guess her chasing her tail days are definitely over with!

As the fees mount up and up I guess some people would say I'm crazy, after all she is 11 years old and only a cat, but those animal lovers out there will understand and my credit card company will love me :-)

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Update Two

Well Saysha has been home for 4 days. She hasn't had the operation yet because the bruising on her lungs was creating problems with her breathing, so the op is scheduled for this Wednesday. My daughter got a dog cage from her surgery for me to use and she has been confined to that.

Not a happy cat!!

However the medication I have been giving her on a daily basis has reduced the inflammation and she is now feeling distinctly better - as her miaowing will testify! Also her breathing is a lot better.

Hopefully after the operation on Wednesday, and again continued cage rest, she should make an almost full recovery. I believe that after this type of injury she will be prone to arthritis in that leg.

She is not very hungry - which is perhaps understandable considering she is not moving - and will only eat titbit's that I hand feed her.

Roll on the next few days.... or weeks.....

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Saysha Update

Well the x-rays are back. The good news is that she hasn't broken anything - the bad news is that she has ruptured all the ligaments behind the knee; every lobe in her lungs is bruised and there is some internal bleeding.

Thankfully all are hopefully not life-threatening and if she was a football player she would be on the bench resting for the 4-6 weeks. However she is a cat, so first of all she has to have an operation to put in fake ligaments (as they don't heal) and then she will have to have 'cage rest' for at least 6 weeks. Now that should be interesting for a cat that is used to having its freedom!

They should be performing the operation today but it depends on whether she is stable enough.

Oh and the estimated cost, so far, is £1,200....

Bang goes any hope of taking the van out for a week this year.

Que sera.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Our pets are our family too

We got home from a birthday party last night to be informed by a neighbour that one of our cats was on his garage roof and apparently injured.

I got the stepladder out and climbed up to retrieve Saysha, our silver grey tabby, who was lying on the roof in distress.

When I was able to look at her closely and report to my daughter (she's a head vet nurse) on the phone I was able to see that her right hind leg was injured and she was unable to put any weight on it. Her breathing was a bit on the fast side and her left paw was missing a claw and scuffed. It seemed to indicate that she may well have been hit by a car.

Now if it had been our other cat, Garfie, then it would have been more expected as he is an outdoor cat and being an ex-stray he is used to roaming the streets and inspecting his patch.

Saysha, however, is a shy, timid, cat who likes to stay very close to home. Although not an indoor cat she rarely goes further than our neighbours garden. I always joke that she is more like a dog than a cat as she follows me around all the time and is very dependent rather than independent like most cats.

Now, after a visit to the vets, I am sitting waiting to hear the outcome. The initial observation by the vet is that she may well have a fractured leg or pelvis and she was taken away from me to undergo a spell in the vet's kennels where she will be given painkillers and await at least 2 x-rays. If there is a fracture then she will need an operation and a pin put into her small body.

The estimated cost so far is anything between £200 and £1,000 although this will all depend on the extent of the damage to her little body. The vet did say that if it was the leg and the cost was too high then a cheaper alternative would be amputation and that cats can manage quite happily on 3 legs! How could I even consider such a thing. When it comes down to it somehow we will manage. After all when you give birth to children you do not put a price on their health and nor can you on your pets for they are as much a part of your family, and life, as any human life form.

Lets hope she recovers fully.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Apple Cider Vinegar

I would just like to say that once again ACV has come to the rescue.

I have a disc in the top of my spine that is arthritic but most of the time it is fine. However this past week it has been inflammed and giving me hell. ACV has come to the rescue again. I've found that for me either drinking it with honey and hot water (yeuk) or taking ACV tablets it actually breaks down the crystalisation and thereby eases the headaches that they cause.

It takes a couple of days but you can actually feel the crystals breaking up :-)

So 2 tablets, 3 times a day, and now I'm beginning to feel human again.

Hell getting older is such a pain at times....

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Verano 1975

Summer 1975.

Once again I am shocked by Cuentame.

In 1975 I had been married to my first husband for 2 years and there was just another 2 years to go before the birth of my daughter. I was living in that self-absorbed way that you do in your youth when the whole of your life revolves around your own little world and the biggest problems in your life are coming to terms with being married and coping with all the financial problems of having your first mortgage!

Meanwhile not so far away in Spain normal people were being rounded up and thrown in prison; interrogated or shot – for being accused of being Communists. Daily lists of people arrested or executed were being broadcast on the radio and people were living in fear.

How come I didn’t know; after all I was 21 years old.

Was I blind and deaf to any news of what was happening so close to home? Or was it simply that news was not leaking out from Spain. Or even worse, did the British government just not care?

Does ignorance of a fact give you a valid excuse not to feel ashamed! Well I do feel ashamed…

Sunday, 28 June 2009

What makes a place a home?



Well it's another beautiful sunny morning and to wake up to see a blue sky and hear the birds singing is always a glorious way to start the day.
But I got to thinking.... what makes a place a home?

On our journey here through France and Spain there were hundreds of fantastic places; the type of scenery that makes you catch your breath, the type of places where you wonder how fantastic it would be to live there.

So what makes our little part of Spain the place that we have returned to year after year for the past 22 years? Well the blue Mediterranean is the same as elsewhere; the mountains are the same; it is not totally rural (a shame as I love the countryside) and at times it is packed full of people.

So why do we always feel like we are coming home?

Well I guess the familiarity of the place makes us feel comfortable but....
.... without our friends then it would be just another seaside town.

So for us, it is the people who make the home.

As our friendships have matured over the years and we have watched our Spanish friends children grow up, accepting us as part of their vast family, and now watch the children's children begin their lives - and we are included in their world - we know that it is them that have us returning year after year.
Silly little things like family members all greeting us or waving in the street that makes us feel at home; big things like being invited to weddings and parties; being treated with the same familiarity as family members - that's what makes us feel at home.

So to little Alba and Eulisias the new members of our Spanish 'family' we say bienvenido and long may we be able to watch you all grow. XXX

Monday, 22 June 2009

Pyrenees



Loved this shot as we were approaching the Pyrenees. Sorry photo isn't any better but I'm no David Bailey....

Millau






















Here are a few shots of the Aire du viaduc de Millau. Photos can't show actually how spectacular this is....

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Our Travel-blog Part Five

As our alarm awoke us refreshed at 06:00 I opened the curtains and was shocked to see that we had made good time and were arriving in Palma earlier than expected!!!

About half an hour later we were driving along the seafront at Palma and made to an area where we had stopped before so that I could brew a cup of tea and we could wake up properly!

While there the Guardía arrived and pulled up behind us and got out their car. Now we had a problem as they had blocked us in while they pulled up cars and lorries making their way from the port. We watched while they checked the details and vehicles for a while but I did notice that one police car had pulled into a parking space while the other one was still behind us blocking our exit.

Guessing that they normally parked in the spot we were in I decided that I was refreshed enough and clear-headed enough now to give my Spanish language a bash :-) Waiting until a convenient moment when they weren't checking cars I called across and asked them if they wanted the parking space that we were in. A lovely friendly Guardía asked if we wanted to leave, called to his colleague to move their car and then proceeded to hold up the traffic so we could back out onto the road. With a cheery gracias and a wave goodbye we made our way up the island to the north where our journey ends... and our holiday begins....

Our Travel-blog Part Four

Apart from Paris our second problematic city is Barcelona. Don't get me wrong - I love Barcelona - but we always get lost going around it!

We did take the wrong road but only briefly and soon found our way to the port. Hey a few more years at this and we will be able to get directly to the ship with no problems :-)

We arrived with a good 2 hours to spare before it was time to board ship but the next hurdle was getting into the port as the road was blocked with traffic jams.... The lorries unloading from the previous ship were having trouble getting unloaded and out of the port and the mass of cars trying to get into the port didn't want to give way to them. Chaos reigned..... and the police were not having a lot of luck directing the traffic either!!

Anyway we eventually got to park up ready to board and we joined the queue for boarding passes. Why don't they have a separate desk for pre-booked tickets? As we waited... and waited... and waited... while people bought tickets the time ticked away and the queue got longer. Boy was I glad we got there early.

Well we were given our tickets and shortly after arriving back at our car we were loaded onto the ship.

We collected the key to our cabin; had a marvellous and much needed shower and collapsed into bed and were snoring heavily before we had even left the port :-)

Our Travel-blog Part Three

As the alarm woke us we tried to pull our thoughts together and after brewing a couple of cups of tea in the back of the Sedona we were ready to plough on as far as possible before stopping again as we wanted to get as close to Spain as possible. The Sat Nav gave us an e.t.a. of just under 18:30 but we didn't want to chance getting held up anywhere and missing the ferry at Barcelona.
With plenty of food on hand to eat en route there was no problem however the fact that we forgot the flask meant that we had to stop to brew up a tea as I couldn't boil a kettle while we were driving (gas stove) but I did estimate that we would have about 3 1/2 hours available for breaks so no problemo...

We reached the volcanoes by midday and therefore we knew we were back on schedule. Reaching the Millau viaduct by 15:40 I attempted to take some photos whilst driving across it - that has to be one of the most spectacular feats of engineering! I will load my photos onto the computer later and upload them to my blog - although they will not be spectacular those of you who know the place will recognise them.

One of my favourite places has to be the midi pyrenees and I did manage to get one shot of us heading toward the light (it has been raining and cloudy en route) and excitement grew and adrenelin kept us going as we realised we would shortly be entering Spain.

Reaching La Jonquera we physically relaxed as we entered back into our adopted second country .... and home...

Our Travel-blog Part Two

Exiting the tunnel at Calais we headed for the fastest route to Spain (having tried several different routes in the past) which is directly toward Paris; around the Peripherique and onward toward the south of France and the Pyrenees. Big mistake!!!!

Now I love France and their roads are fantastic compared to the UK but they do tend to lack giving directions at times..... a bit of 'ok find your own way now'!

As we neared Paris we suddenly hit a diversion as the motorway was closed due to repair work (I know - we should have checked before we left to see if there were any roadworks). Exiting the motorway we followed a van to try and find our way passed the closed bit and back onto the motorway. However when the van appeared to go in a totally wrong direction we thought that perhaps he was delivering somewhere and so took what we thought was the right road - WRONG. Two laps around Chantilly later we were wondering where the hell we were going to end up! The Sat Nav wasn't much help as it kept trying to take up back on roads that were closed and our instincts were somewhat hindered by the fact that it was now about 2.30 am Friday!

Very tired and by now very fed up with driving around Chantilly (although I must admit it's a lovely place) we stopped for a moment to try and gather our thoughts. Mick keyed in another route on the Sat Nav and we decided to give it another try; after all we were the ones that were tired not the Sat Nav.

Following instructions we headed back in the direction we had already come from but were then swung across country to link eventually back up with the Peripherique - eureka!!!!

A13 heading toward Versaille and by 4.30 am we had reached the A10 and were back on route. By now we could have slept standing up so we pulled into the next Aire and crashed out for 2 1/2 hours.... part three coming up.

Our Travel-blog Part One

First of all as you can see I've found a Wi-Fi connection :-)

Our journey began on Thursday night and as with most good plans something has to come along and change it! The 'something' was Mick's work. Whereas normally he has finished work a good 3 hours or more before I get home because it was a day when he wanted to get home early fate had other plans - hold-ups work related and accidents on motorways causing massive delays. So by the time I got home he had only just got in himself and the car hadn't been loaded with our holiday gear neither had he had chance to get himself showered and ready for the trip. By the time we were ready to leave we had already missed our book-in slot at Eurotunnel and we still had an hour's journey to the tunnel! Luckily Eurotunnel are very flexible.

Anyway once at the tunnel we were lucky to arrive just as a shuttle was loading and with space available on it we were loaded on immediately with no hold-ups. So by 9.40 pm we were en route to Calais arriving there at 11.20 pm local time.

There begins part two of our journey.....

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Adios inglaterra y hola españa

Well we are off tonight. The past week or so has been hectic. We've picked up our new fifth wheeler and it is now sitting on our drive - ready for its maiden journey (when we can get more time off work). Then we've been getting ready for our annual hols and to cap it all I came down with a sore throat and cold yesterday! Luckily the garlic and vitamin C seems to have worked as I'm just left with the sniffles now :-)

So here I am at work - only a few hours to go now - and then tonight as soon as I get home it's into the car and off on our journeys....

We should get through the tunnel and into Calais by about 10.30 tonight and then onwards and passed Paris where we will stop at about 2 AM for a few hours sleeping rough. Then tomorrow morning at about 7 AM we will continue our journey down through the border and into Spain and onward to Barcelona (oh no that dreaded roundabout!!) and then onto the ferry to Palma at 11 PM. We've managed to book a cabin so should get a good nights sleep and arrive in Palma at about 6.30 Saturday morning refreshed and ready to start our holiday and see our Spanish friends again.

I've been continuing my study of French and Spanish throughout the year so it will be good fun to see if they think I've improved.

I'll be taking my laptop with me but I don't know whether I will be able to get online or not - depends on whether we can pick up a Wi-fi spot.

So for now,

Adios y hasta luego

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Why does waiting seem forever?

Why does the journey to somewhere always seem longer than the journey home?

It's a strange thing 'waiting'. Why does your normal rational mind think of all the things that could go wrong? Why can't you just 'go with the flow'?

Please excuse my insane ramblings as I wait for Saturday lunchtime to arrive and the safe pick up of our new purchase :-)

There is something quite strange about putting your trust in a complete stranger who waits for the arrival of your money in his bank account before you can collect your goods. It's especially nerve wracking when it's a relatively large sum of money (for me anyway).

What if the goods aren't his to begin with? What if you turn up and he's disappeared along with the goods? What if the address he gave you is a fake?

Why do all these 'what ifs' come into play while you wait....

What if in reality there is nothing whatsoever to worry about and you've been worrying for nothing :-D

I guess when a good deal comes along I start to wonder if it is really true - after all why would I have such luck?

But then 'why not me?'

The problem with waiting is just that - waiting gives you time. Time to think of all the things that could go wrong instead of all the things that could go right.

and

back to the 'why does the journey to somewhere always seem longer than the journey home?' Well I guess that comes back to the 'waiting' because on your journey to somewhere you are waiting to get there and time and distance seem to stand still whereas on the way home you've been there and done whatever you wanted to do so time no longer seems to matter.

Now I'd better stop rambling before the men in their white coats turn up to take me away.....

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Quick update on the RSI

Just to let you know that I'm now equipped with an arm brace which is working wonders. I do look like a power ranger or spiderman but it does the job.

As soon as I feel I need it I pop it on and then I can carry on typing and it doesn't get any worse.

One of the young lads at work did say that it looked "pretty cool" so that's good enough for me so there's no stopping me now :D

Oh and a special thanks for the kind wishes.

Now when I've finished getting organised for our hols in Spain (at the end of next week); sorted out the insurance for the 5th wheeler; sold our old motorhome and gone to work, I might have time to blog.

Hey life is great!

Our fifth-wheeler




Call us mad if you want to but we've given in and bought the above. Our poor little old motorhome just couldn't compete with our new fifth-wheeler.

Now I have a reason to carry on working - pay for it :-) but it will give us the freedom to discover much more and in comfort.

I've put it down to an early retirement plan, the plan is that when we retire we won't be able to afford holidays but at least we will have the transport and living accommodation now to at least travel. Say goodbye to cold winters in the UK and say hello to the sun....

But that is in the future and you should only live day by day for who knows what tomorrow will bring.

Anyway if me and Mick have a fall out one of us can always sleep in the trailer :-D

Only joking.....

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

R.S.I.

Posts will be a bit thin at the moment as I have R.S.I.

Am awaiting the arrival of a wrist brace and then hopefully I will be able to get it under control - even if I will look like some kind of Power Ranger :-)

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

The Post Office is there to test my patience

Well I guess if you've read my profile you will notice that I say that I can be a little impatient :D

Well today the good old post office tested my patience once again!!!

Now I am a bit of a gadget freak - I love my laptop; satellite; mp3 player; like my phone to do all sorts of clever things, especially have a good camera on it (I've always got my phone handy, but not always a camera)and I gave in and bought a touch screen phone.

Well it arrived today - or rather it tried to arrive...

They would not let my husband sign for it, even after he showed them photo i.d. on both his driving licence and HGV licence and I'm sure if iris identification was around yet they wouldn't even have accepted that! "Your wife has to sign for it" he was told and so now it is lying around somewhere in the sorting office waiting for me to pick it up and as the hours they work are nowhere near the hours I work then the earliest I can get to collect it is Saturday. I just hope it's still in one piece by then!!!

Sometimes this 'jobs-worth' attitude just totally infuriates me.....

Oliver has arrived

 
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A rather disgruntled and clearly not amused Oliver made his entrance last night at 7.40 pm. He weighed in at a hefty 8lb 10oz - mother and baby doing well.

He has now tipped the balance and we have 5 grandsons and 4 grandaughters. Wonder whether anyone else will feel the need to make it an even 10 :-)

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Grandkiddie number 9 is imminent

Well number 9 is about to join us in this world - more news later upon its arrival.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Grab life with both hands

Yesterday I saw a friend who lives in rural France and they surprised the life out of me.

A few years ago they left London – for health reasons – and started living and working in rural France. Undoubtedly the life suited him and his wife for all his health problems disappeared with the relaxed atmosphere and better climate in the south of France.

I only got to see them at Christmas time but they loved France; the people and had created a marvellous life for themselves.

To my surprise he announced yesterday that within the next year they were selling up and moving to Florida. Work contacts and proposed business had created an opportunity and he was now needed in the States!

Oh how I admire people like them – they grab life with both hands – and it really got me pondering on life and what you do with it.

There is a part of me that wishes I was more like that but then I guess we are all made differently, or are we – maybe some people are just programmed to grab life while others think too much about it?

In my ramblings you will have noticed my desire to live in Spain – but also my hesitancy – as I think about those that I will leave behind. Sometimes I just think TOO much….

Sometimes I suppose we should leave behind the doubts; forget the ‘what-ifs and buts’ and just ‘go for it’.

Is it bravery, foolishness, courage or irresponsibility? I really don’t know. I’d like to believe that it is a wish to take any opportunity and see where it leads – nothing ventured, nothing gained – for at least at the end of the day you will be able to sit back and say “at least I tried”.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Advice can sometimes work!

It's always a risky business when you get asked for your advice because it can work either way. You can only give your opinion based on your experience in life and try to look at that experience in relation to the person asking your advice.

So when you get asked from someone and it works and brings a big smile to their face then it just gives you a nice warm feeling.....

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Pretty neat being 'cool' grandparents

Well we are according to our nearly-teenage grandson.

We had a visit yesterday from our Callum. His laptop was having problems and so the job was given to Mick to sort it out, which of course he did. Meanwhile me and Callum were online on my laptop and I was showing him my blog and numerous other things. I think I am probably the only 'up to date' grandparent (other than Mick) that he has, and in his case he has several sets of grandparents due to divorces, separations etc, and he thinks it's pretty cool being able to email/chat/video chat etc with his nan.

Of course, I think it's pretty cool that a nearly 13 year old boy likes to spend time chatting with his nan :-)

Friday, 8 May 2009

Pondering on sensitivity

In this world we live in today is it better to be insensitive or sensitive?

Now I’m a ‘sensitive’ person. That doesn’t mean that people have to be careful what they say around me in case they upset me but it does mean that I’ve always been aware of atmospheres in rooms; of other peoples moods or just generally able to ‘feel’ what others feel.

Now this means that I tend to go through life trying to avoid hurting people and feeling their pain when they are upset. It also means that you ‘think’ a great deal. You sometimes read too much into situations which don’t warrant so much time and emotion being spent on them. After all we are all put in this world to lead our own lives; to learn our own lessons and to try and enjoy it along the way.

It also means that I put too much into relationships and therefore face the real possibility of being let down – over and over again. For example I had a friend that I’d known since we were teenagers. We weren’t the type of friends that saw one another all the time and quite often we would go for ages without hearing a word from one another, but then when we met up again the years would just drop away and we would be exactly the same as where we last left off. Now I accepted this type of situation and after all we were both getting on with our new lives. However to me she was my best friend; we both knew that whenever one or the other of us was in trouble we could just pick up the phone and we were there for each other. I held great store in this remote friendship. We understood one another – or so I thought.

Then one day a couple of years ago I was approached by her daughter to attend a surprise party for her 50th birthday. Of course I would go and Mick was only too pleased to go too as it was this friend who had introduced us to each other all those years ago.

Well the day of the party came and off we went to this party – it was about an hour’s drive away – so no drinking for Mick :-) On the walls of the hall there were old photos that her children had gathered – lots of them showing pictures of her and me as teenagers – and I was excited to see her again.

We only knew a handful of people there and everyone else were strangers to us but that didn’t matter and we waited for our friend to arrive. Well it was awful. For a start she only saw us as we were sitting by the door and she just about nodded to us. Then a bit later on when I went to chat to her I was introduced to her new friends as “someone I used to work with many years ago”.

She then proceeded to disappear with her new friends and after about another hour we just left and went home. She didn’t even notice we had gone.

Now that hurt as I realised that to her I was just a friend that she used to work with – no memory of the tears we had shared together on and off over the years. To her that chapter in her life was over with while I still carried the memory of that friendship.

So I’ve had to accept and understand that she didn’t mean to hurt me – she just didn’t think, after all she never was sensitive to other peoples feelings, and I’ve had to accept that the friendship I had with her was now over.

I’ve tended to find so far in life that in hindsight you can see people that have come into your life, and have disappeared from it, that they tended to be around for a limited amount of time. You both had a need at that time for each other and when that purpose was over with then the person tended to leave.

Instead now I’m grateful for these ‘fleeting friendships’ knowing that the real, true, never-ending friendships will always be around and time or distance will not fade them and that there are many types of friendships that occur in your life – some to last and some to fade – and that this is just the natural order of things.

So getting back to being sensitive or insensitive – well we are all made differently and we all have to find our own way in life – but if I had the choice then I would still remain ‘sensitive’ for that’s the way I am – and that’s the way I was meant to be....

Verbs

Well I've downloaded a verb programme - I won't say what it's called yet because I want to give it a good test. It was a bit of a pain trying to install it but I managed in the end and first impressions are that it's going to be a great help with my progress in learning Spanish.

You have so many options on the way that you can choose to learn with it but the one that I'm trying at the moment is to hear the verbs in a sentence form - in both the present; past & future. The rest of the verb conjugations I'll go through at a later time but I feel the minimum I need at the moment for the maximum effect is to be able to talk in those three tenses. It certainly is very versatile and you can choose how many seconds you have before you answer the questions and how many times it is repeated etc.

I've really intensified my studying this year - after all after 24 years I should really be speaking it a lot better than I do! I have to admit that 'teaching' my friend Spanish has encouraged me a lot more as I have to concentrate a lot more on what I am saying; how it is pronounced correctly etc.

Also our weekday TV viewing of Cuentame has helped enormously with tuning my ear to the spoken word and listening daily on my commute to podcasts in Spanish and Spanish music - favourites Joaquin Sabina; Alexandro Sanz; Selena etc etc - all help to immerse me in the language.

Reality has finally hit me and if you look at my countdown to retirement widget you will see that those 8 years will certainly go by quickly and I want to be as fluent as I can get between now and then.

Oh and not forgetting it's only 6 weeks before we go and visit our Spanish friends :-)....

Monday, 4 May 2009