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 &

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 ‘maƱana’ 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.
Katie with her rosettes from her first horse show.
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.

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…