Archive for July, 2009


‘Friends’  just a word…. yet there are so many meaning to the word ‘friends’. I spent a part of this evening with friends and although they are new friends, I received a gift from just spending time with them.  One has recently had an injury that meant, with a broken ankle, she has been very incapacitated so has spent more time than she would normally watching TV and using the internet. I gave her my blog link and , bless her she reads what I write each day. Nothing unusual on that practice, I read many blogs from friends but the best thing was what she said to me….’ when I read your blog, I enter a different world than being sat here bored with a broken ankle, it’s like I enter a different place and can hear you talking …’  How wonderful to think that my writing can transport someone out of somewhere boring and maybe lonely. Then I think that writing is such a lonely thing in itself, anything I write takes time that is special to me, equally as special as the things I write about, and although I am blessed with the gift of being able to verbalise in print many thoughts and feeling, how even more special it becomes when you learn that the time I dedicated with so much feeling and thought  has also made a friend escape from a world she is trapped in…. be it only temporarily. I thank that friend because her words really encourage me as a writer so much…

During the same evening, my hostess welcomed me to her home. We were meeting a medium for a reading and I have been there before but this time was different, I knew everyone and we spent some time chatting while we waited for our time to go into the other room. It occurred to me that I have spent times in places, not unlike this but very different, where no one speaks. I feel sad when I think about those places. Each one of us has some wonderful stories, things that have happened to us, things we have done or experienced and thoughts we could share. How many of us have sat in doctor or dentist surgeries, hospital waiting rooms, bus stops… so many places, and yet no one has spoken a word. The time would pass so quickly if everyone chatted, shared a story or even reassured someone that they will be ok on hearing their problems. Everyone would part company feeling valued, listened to, reassured or just placed as a being in the space they were for that moment, important to that moment and a part of a greater universe.

But, we often sit in silence, unable to make the first move. It is probably easier if there is only one person but as group somehow, seems intimidating yet if they were to share the stories they all have there would, no doubt, be a common understanding, something that everyone could share. In times of great strife, during war, disaster, accident and so on, people share experiences and talk to each other, so why is it so difficult at any other time?  What prevents us from breaking the barriers of conversation. Maybe in the climate today, we are afraid to open ourselves? The media of TV  and newspapers have instilled in us a fear of strangers.  Maybe if we speak to people we open ourselves as vulnerable to attack. I have a theory on that too… years ago, long before TV etc, all news was passed word of mouth, people knew about other people, village ‘gossip’ was rife, everyone was curious or interested in others. Some people might call that bad because they couldn’t breathe without someone knowing about it…. I could have written a cruder and more realistic statement there but am behaving myself…. but going back to my theory, how many people were lying dead in their homes without being discovered, how many problems were ended in violence because there was no-one to help an angry situation to be avoided, if someone was sick there was always someone offering help, a child lost… people to help find them and so on… all because people spoke to each other.

 I feel sad that today so many people who have stories to tell sit silently in their homes, people who would willingly give their time to people who would love to have someone to listen to them are afraid to offer for fear of things that have been said in the media, on TV where films show people being taken advantage of and so today, in a world where it is so needed, nobody speaks to strangers any more. We are all afraid to be who we are and so a whole new world is growing, of people that never communicate, lonely people who are afraid of the stranger who might look them in the eye as they walk the street, people that sit next to each other, or sit as far as they can away from other people in a waiting room, a bus queue, on a public service vehicle. When the whole world is isolated like this then surely this can only mean more and more bad stuff is likely to happen because nothing is shared any more.

I dont know the answer to this but I do know that times spent with friends, old or new, times spent listening to a stranger tell their story, sharing a moment of a person’s life in a bus queue, times spent sharing a smile as people pass in the street, times being tolerant of someone who often annoys you, times just sharing a few moments with another person during the day, be it stranger or friend, can and will impact far more on both people and make life a little more bearable.

I heard somewhere along my life that a stranger is just a friend we have yet to meet…. maybe it is time to get out there and make those strangers a friend.

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School holidays!

A few years ago now when my children were small and at school, I used to love the school holidays. For one it meant I didn’t have to get up early and get half a dozen children ready for school or play group and therefore we began our day at a much less stressed pace. We were also then blessed with moving to the countryside miles from the nearest town, I know, a nightmare to some but we lived on a school campus and during weekends and holidays we had the run of the school grounds, including the swimming pool, woods, playing field and adventure layground. It was an idyllic and safe place to bring up children, including teenagers. The country rules make up themselves and at 12/13 years old my teenagers were working during the weekend in a neighbouring village pub doing the washing up. They progressed to serving salads and waiting tables as they got older and it earned their pocket money which took a great deal of pressure off me. Then there were the pheasant shoots; youngsters wrapped up in waterproofs, wellies and warm gear to go out beating. For those that don’t know about such things, a team of usually young people would walk ahead of the shooters beating the undergrowth to encourage the pheasants to fly. Often it meant we might be lucky enough to have a pheasant or two if the shoot was good, if not the youngsters earned a bit more pocket money anyway and were occupied at the weekend. Being in open country meant they had room to explore and got into less mischief because there were so many places to go. Well, maybe they just didn’t get caught.

We had a mile to walk to school on a country road that had no pavements, which was quite a bind when I then had to go to work after a two mile walk but even that had its good moments when we walked through frosted mornings, noticed cobwebs hung with crystal jewels and diamond studded grass as we listened to the haunting roars of the rutting stags in the distance. Ah the wonderful memories but only because we made it that way. At first the two youngest girls moaned when it was decided we were unable to get on the school bus as the school got bigger. There were 30 pupils when we first moved there, and it was deemed as more needed the bus from further away, we were out of the catchment area. But as we made each walk a nature trail and delved into the realms of imagination to walk with fairies and magic, we felt sad for those huddled up together on the bus and waved to them laughing. They missed so much.

This afternoon I spoke to my sister who was really pleased that her fourteen year old lively daughter was occupied in a dance production at the local theatre, while the younger one was away at a guide camp. As we talked about school holidays we did discover that everywhere there were plenty of places for youngsters to go, be it at a price, but once the children got to around twelve there was nothing. My sister then came up with a plan. Make them work! If they went to work with the council workers when they planted gardens, helped to paint fences, worked for the elderly who would no doubt appreciate someone to share their experience of gardening or their shopping being carried, they would be learning important lessons in behaviour, consideration and respect. After all, we felt sure they wouldn’t be ruining a wall or fence with grafitti if they had just painted it. Then there were the older kids still, why not get the older folks to teach them some of the old games, dominoes, chess, even card games played for sweeties or trump cards or whatever the latest craze is. The idea is to teach them to handle things like socialising without alcohol, respect and how to handle gambling as a social game rather than the means for trying to get something for nothing. They just need a place to go but unfortunately as has happened in so many towns, where places have been provided they have no sooner been trashed by those that have not been taught respect and so the facility has been removed leaving even less for the teenager to do.

There are plenty of electronic games that occupy the kids for hours but what about socialising? Many of these games involve violence and destruction of people and buildings and we wonder why the youngsters are going wrong? We had little money spare with such a large family and so we made up our own activities. Nature trails were a great thing where we would go for a walk in the woods carrying pots of water and plaster of paris to cast the hoof or foot prints of animals that had passed by. These would be taken carefully home and painted and identified. Deer, sheep, horses, foxes, badgers. They are all out there. Another rather unusual thing my children could all do as well as identify animal trails, was the art of scatology…. Sounds great until I tell you they could all identify which animal had passed by by identifying their poop. Actually I had a dog once that was an expert on Fox poop and who frequently came home wearing it as a badge, but that’s another story. We would gather wild berries, rosehips, dig for peppery pig nuts, go chestnutting, so many of the old activities that have long since gone. The trouble is with all the health and safety laws, few people are prepared to put themselves into the postion of taking charge of a group of children unless they are actually running an outward bound course. A lot of country parks and places run exercises of a similar vein but at a price and many families are outpriced. However, I did like my sister’s idea. Young people who are taught to respect and appreciate older people, buildings, parks and areas of beauty are more likely to want to take care of their world, too many children rely on a tv or games console. It is difficult when parents also have to work and their lies another story but if there were more outdoor activities or at least a couple of weeks of compulsory caring in the community work, with a choice of activity, at least the parents would know their youngsters were being useful and keeping out of bother.

It is easy for me to talk, mine are grown but as a family of eight it might be expected that one or two would be a little wayward but no, they all respect nature, animals and plants. Are considerate to the elderly, polite and socialble and know how to amuse themsleves with out trashing places. There is so much out in the world to discover, it is such a pity that society today has given parents a fear of letting them go.

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Spiders, eek!

I have written in several places about the wonderful and diverse wildlife populating our garden. Originally, we had Harry’s favourite, the humble frog and froglets from the pond, dragonflies -though not so many since we had to net the pond to stop the cat fishing, damsel flies, newts, bats at night and many other wonderful creatures. The one that has bugged us from the beginning are the spiders. At first we noticed the huge brown garden spiders that seemed to grow enormously as they fed on the abundance of flying things. At one time they were so big we could see them at the bottom of the garden from the top. ‘Nearly big enough for lunch.’ says Harry. Hmmm. Anyway, not long after we moved in and I was ‘playing’ in the garden, I noticed some shiny black monsters hiding in holes in the wall at the bottom. I voiced my dislike of them because although I can tolerate spiders at a distance and have no problem putting them out in a jar should they come in the house, if one came near me the world would know it. But the shiny black creatures were intimidating to just look at. I then noticed some wonderful flourescent green ground spiders, then white ones probably of the same genus and before long I became overwhelmed by the sheer amounts of different spiders. They hung on the washing line, webs strung across the archway to wrap neatly around one’s face as we walked down the garden and no matter how many times we removed them, or should I say, Harry, removed them, strangely spiders are not one of his phobias, well they would come back and bring friends. We diligently destroyed nests but still they seemed to come from nowhere until now we have so many that it would take a team of arachnologists months to identify them all.

As I wrote in a previous entry, I have had my son over from Switzerland and he and Harry went on a spider hunt, mainly triggered by the fact I described a small black shiny spider with red markings that looked like a black widow. I also mentioned that false widows were quite prevalent in this area having spread eastwards along the coast thriving because of the mild winters and that someone in our town had been bitten rather badly by one. So off they went down the garden, Harry with his stick to bat them neatly into the pond for the fish which I am sure had very little or even no taste for spiders despite their size, the fish that is. Then on inspecting the shed I showed them one of the ones I had a real fear of just outside the window. Well Harry tries WD40 but the thing just sat their and laughed at him, he followed it with other various sprays from the shed including antifreeze and I quote from Harry…’ He will be a slippery customer but ok in the winter time.’  Finally they manage to sedate it enough to capture it in a container. Now I hate the things but I cannot stand them being so cruel, if you are going to kill anything says I, then do it quickly and humanely. Men seem strange creatures though, hell bent on torture, yet they shudder when I stand on a snail. ‘you are supposed to put salt on them’ says they…. ‘and watch them die slowly in agony, my way may not be nice to you but sure is quick to them.’ says I. Anyway I am digressing again. Having triumphantly captured the spider they bring it indoors to look it up on the internet and even more triumphant proclaim it is indeed a false widow spider. A fascination for its markings captured their imagination even further because on closer inspection the marks looked like some ghastly alien skull, ‘like God has placed a warning on them.’  More intense investigation found a further six in different parts of the garden and plans to entice any spider from its web began to develop. A screwed up piece of twig or a leaf would have the said spider scurrying from its hiding place expecting food, on finding the offending article to be inedible, it would then set about clearing its web leaving enough time for a photograph to be taken. I have the picture to prove it ugh! Then my son also discovered different kinds of nasty spiders and it would appear we are over run by them.

I am not convinced that the pain and swelling I had in my leg, diagnosed as phlebitus wasn’t a baby spider bite. It started as a sting and became worse, weeks later I still have a lump, a rough red mark and a large red patch even though the pain has gone…. Hmmm Anyway now I am left with my son and granddaughter gone back to Switzerland, wondering what to do with the spiders. We have obviously lived with them till now and since knowing for sure what they are I have warned my neighbour who has a young child but how safe are they? I have squashed a couple of baby ones in the house and dread the thought that had I not found them, they would have grown big and maybe hide in my bed, where the two recently reported spider bite cases had both happened. Maybe I should put out a request for any arachnologist out there who would like to play with spiders in my garden to get in touch with me and tell me what to do with the things.

Take a look and see what you think?

See the skull on its back?

See the skull on its back? Or maybe on this one? alien monsters

Or this one?  
alien monster's skull

alien monster's skull

Hiding in the ivy outside the back wall we also found this little charmer that might be the brown widow spider.
Whatever they are, I refuse to get closer than a photograph to identify them…. Spiders! eeeeek!
Is this a brown widow?

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Families!! just venting frustration.

I haven’t written a new blog for a few days but not because I have been lazy, well I have but not for laziness’ sake. I have my eldest son and granddaughter staying with me  for nearly  week. They came over from Switzerland for an extended holiday to catch up with the family that is spread across the south of the UK and ended the last part of their journey with us in Gosport. We live in a small house and have converted the study into a bedroom for Amanda with the aid of a rather good camp bed and lots of blankets and David took over the lounge as a bedroom. It’s a bit like sardines but I wouldn’t miss this for a moment. It has been around five years since I last saw my son and seven my granddaughter, she was half the age she is now when the family came over before. I know a lot of people would say ‘why don’t you go to Switzerland?’ but I am not a traveller, I have no passport even. For many years I suffered from agoraphobia and was unable to even go outside the front door. That was a nightmare time I can tell you. I gradually conquered my fear over many years to the point when, about three years ago following the death of Harry’s brother, Harry gave me the courage to actually get on a plane to fly to N Ireland to meet his family. No mean feat for me and we didn’t need a passport at that time, next time we will so maybe I will be able to travel to see a bit more of the world, courage prevailing, that is.

Another phobia I had and still have to a degree, is the telephone. I laugh when phone companies call me trying to sell me a contract phone and ask ‘ how much do you spend a week on calls?’ I just love the momentary silence on the end of the phone when I tell them about five pounds a month. It sort of throws their sales pitch out. My home phone is much the same and unless I have pre arranged a call, I rarely use the phone as my children will tell you. Bless them they are good and I do catch them occasionally on MSN . One very sad thing in my life is that I have recently been absolutely slated by another newly met member of my family because I don’t get in touch very often. This person knows nothing about me and with cruel words and disbelief of what I say is trying to bully me into feeling guilty about not getting in touch very often. Why should I change? I am very busy and have little time for chatting on the internet or for phone calls, people close in my life understand this and we have all adapted to each other. I am afraid I have recently learned an important lesson that has changed my way of thinking and I refuse now to take on other people’s inadequacies, indiosyncracies and expectations. Anyone that has bothered to get to know me accepts me for who I am, they know my status on truth and lies and they know I am here and feel happy about getting on with their lives without any interference. Other family members who come into my life later, seem to want to demand a lot of me and greedily try to lay their expectations and personal habits on me whilst manipulating me to feel guilty. I have been there and done that before and refuse to go there again. Why are families so demanding? Why do people judge others on their own inadequacies, lackings and failings? Surely it would be better to go into any relationship with out any expectation to get to know the person and their values and appreciate what they do share together. Never would I dream of saying ‘you are so like ….’, as a means to try and hurt someone’s feelings, never would I say anything intentionally to hurt anyone nor would I lie, ever. I have brought my children up with those values too and I am proud of them. I am not going to change now so I am afraid there are some relationships in my life that will not work although I would never give up on them, I just leave the choices to them. I am prepared to adapt as a relationship develops, I am prepared to accept other’s differences but I am not prepared to compromise my values and the person I am.

Well I feel better for getting that off my chest. I have until tomorrow to share with my son and granddaughter and I have dedicated this so short a time to them, I have not even written anything which is unlike me. It is wonderful to see Amanda, just five years younger than my youngest daughter with the same ‘teenage’ attitude Tabitha had just a sort time ago. The difference is, she is on her best behaviour because she is a visitor and I secretly laugh. Teenagers are wonderful. What is equally wonderful is seeing my son teach his daughter the very same values of respect and acceptance that they were taught and seeing the creative genes that were passed on from my grand father through the generations. I spent a great time with Amanda and playing with different art mediums, she is hoping to go to an art school in Switzerland and has a really excellent eye for art. That along with her music too makes me a very proud Grandma.

So even though I cannot please everyone all the time I know that those close enough to me to know me and my family know that they are never judged, that love doesn’t mean constant communication nor expectations. They accept one another’s differences and so far have never fallen out with each other so I am very proud of them. Those that cannot accept me as I am, I am afraid, I will not bow down to. We are equal in status but different in life experience which makes us all interesting people. There is no jealousy, regret nor indifference, but, apart from the occasional trying to get Mummy on a plane to go to another country, we all know who we are and where we are. When families can be so difficult, how great it is to be able to choose our friends.

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A look into the past.

Today I am so incredibly excited, I know, I know, another one of those silly things that absolutely delight me but I spoke to a second cousin I didn’t know I had until Facebook got us connected. I have never known anything about my grandfather’s family and had no idea where to begin to look so I didn’t, bother I mean. Then suddenly three relatives came up and the common denominators are my Grandfather and his brothers, so far we have Charles Edward, George Albert and William Arthur, we know there are loads more siblings so this could be something big! I am looking forward to finding out the similarities in all our characteristics and traits, not to mention looks.

I have to calm down, and look at the aspect from a less objective view… My grandfather and my Nan, meant the world to me, in fact they were more of my parents and the most influential people in my life than my own parents. Everyone loved and respected them and I guess they gave me the blueprint for my life. My own family was very disfunctional and fragmented and my grandparents were the only stabilising influence in my life. I stayed, or rather lived with them for my most influential times. I feel sad that I was unable to appreciate them until after they had passed. I guess the world, maybe everyones world, is full of if only’s. I remember my mother saying to me …. or maybe it was someone else from my childhood… ‘If , ifs and ands were pots and pans, we’d have no need of tinkers’. I am sure there is more to that rhyme and at the time I never understoood the implication of its meaning. So I interpret it today as all the regrets we have that have made us who we are, have hurt us, or left us missing something are represented by things that can be fixed, mended or replaced, therefore if we had no life experience, good or bad, we would have no need of other people to come into our lives to make some sense of it all. As such then, my precious grandparents would have been null and void, so finally I see the saying as a nothing verse, nonsense that means absolutely that, nonsense. So why do we have ‘ifs and ands’? and we all do. My guess is that we all need people, someone to come into our lives at the right time to change the way we think, feel, mould our future or make us the people we are. I will always give credit to my grandparents for the person I am, they were there for me at times in my life I needed some stability. I never knew just how much they were there for me until after they were gone but… and a big but, it seems that now, after all these years, their influence is still strong because the impact of meeting people that are directly related to my grandfather is so great that I might as well be meeting him again… so that’s sad? no, for me it is a connection with him as a child, a boy growing up in a large family, a man that went to war, a man that loved his wife so much for the whole of their time together on this earth that they gave to me, the eldest daughter of their youngest son, a reason for living, an influence of something that I always longed for, love. OK my life was unstable as a child but it was the memory of my grandparents and the love that they gave to me that got me through so far, that gave me the hope and knowledge of something far more than I  ever had and now, today, that is why meeting the descendants of my grandfather’s brothers and hopefully one day, sisters, mean so very much to me. Here’s to the 1st of August when I get to meet Ted and Linda, the first of my grandfather’s family. I just know that Granddad will be with us in spirit and will guide the rest of the family together as a celebration of all of our ancestors. Here’s to meeting many many more from both my Nan’s and Granddad’s relatives. Here’s an acknowledgement of who they were and everything they gave to me and to meeting and therefore learning about the rest of the family and the influence we might still have on each other.

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Success rate? Green!

I know I am writing this before midnight and will mean it is another entry into my blog on the same day but well maybe it makes up for missing so many… that guilt trip I am sending myself on I guess. Another sad entry because I am about to extoll the virtues of homemade fabric conditioner. As everyone knows, I am testing my homemade washing powder and conditioner, the powder is fantastic for coloured and dark washes but I have decided the whites are not white enough for me so will compromise one wash in three with my commercial washing tablets but and a big BUT … my fabric conditioner is second to none. OK it doesn’t leave clothes smelling of diamond or whatever smell Lenor or Comfort has but it surpasses both of them for softness. Another big bonus is the ironing, the clothes are softer, towels more absorbent, I can hang things up and they dry without needing ironing at all but I have turned my iron down two notches for what I do iron and the fabric irons easier, quicker and much better than before. another saving! They hang better, if you need starched stiff clothes so starch them but they are far more comfortable soft and natural. I know most underwear says do not use detergent, who notices that anyway, so my bras come out rough, stiff etc, but with my own washing powder and conditioner they are soft like new, fantastic. I guess the other bonus is my washing machine, normally I use a tablet water softener and still commercial stuff leaves a grimy residue on my washing machine door and a sludge in the drawer, since using my green powder, nothing, the machine is clean and clear. No sludge or slime or black mold anywhere.

Having tested polish for my natural wood furniture and been pleased with the result, my next project will be shampoos, Oh by the way, bicarbonate and vinegar on a cooker is fantastic and leaves a mirror shine, a nylon scourer helps for bad burnt on stuff though. Anyway, as my friends will know, I love cooking and baking and today I have made a great discovery. I make all my own bread now, apart from the ghastly cheese and onion topped baps that H likes for his packed lunches… I am working on that one! so I decided that I would keep the crust of my home made bread, which by the way doesn’t go mouldy, merely stale and hard,  for bread pudding. What a transformance! no more stodgy Bread pudding. It becomes much lighter, less doughy and even I don’t mind it. It no longer stays in  the cake tin and is gone within two days… that says something in my house where the occupants – excluding myself – are connoisseurs of good cakes and will ignore second class stuff to grow a fur coat before it is finally commmitted to the compost bin. But… that is not what I wanted to talk about… my baking… I use a fair bit of vanilla essence and it costs a lot.. the natural stuff that is, my but is that I have found a recipe for making my own that I am going to try. No artificial ingredients just Vanilla pods and Vodka.. perfect! I shall let you know about that, it takes two to three months to get to its best.

I am enjoying this green expedition and just to clarify, it costs me less than a pound for a bottle of glycerine that makes a gallon of conditioner. not bad when the results are soo good and the cost a mere fraction of the four pounds it would cost me for a commercial one. Of course I won’t compromise on anything  I think is second best but fabric conditioner green style outweighs every other one in both price and performance.

So now I can go to my bed content with my green efforts and between bread pudding, fabric conditioner and polish, plus 3/4 success with washing powder, I can move forward and go full speed ahead with my shampoo trials… Does anyone know anybody that still burns wood only fires in suburbia?

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Back to the chairs

It was shortly after my aforementioned ‘pointer’ of a partner threatened to get a saw from the shed and my also extremely unhelpful daughter offered to get a book or two to balance them up, that I realised we needed to get someone to doctor the chairs … and fast. They are very nice chairs and once they were the right size would be even better, so I allowed H to call our wonderful Polish friend, Peter, to do the job for us. A sort of task bartering goes on between us which is brilliant, especially as he is so excellent at all the things H isn’t, that and he loves my cakes too. The chairs are now the perfect height, all level and bless him he even sanded them down and replaced the little silver disc thingy that protected the wood. What a wonderful man!

Now these chairs are sort of a different size and shape and although they fitted where the previous occupying chairs were, they sort of stuck out a bit too far, well for my meticulously symetrical eye. And as I argued, I am the one cleaning round them and looking at them all day so a book case that was previously behind one of the original chairs, had to go. We measured and sized up, discussed and justified before it was decided that the tall bookcase would have to go in the dining room because it matched the wood of the dresser. Fine, no problem, well the small matter of the bookcase that was already there needed to be addressed first. No choice but upstairs in the study –  a perfect place for books surely? So, bless his heart, a job Harry could do. I have hundreds of books, they are my babies, and to move the contents of two very full and large bookcases was no mean feat. I did what I could and as much as my shoulders and hands would allow which, unfortunately for Harry, wasn’t a lot before the pain halted my assistance. Never the less he carried them all upstairs along with the book case, not at the same time I must add, one by one or small stack by small stack, and we moved the big bookcase into the dining room. It looks ok, no problems encountered but we also have a tall slim unit that holds DVDs. more problem to move than the bookcases because it come in half so, yes, it all had to be emptied too. It stands beside the bookcase in the dining room now but unfortunately, even Harry isn’t happy with the ‘look’ and we have to find another corner for it to go in, also I think the bookcase would look far better at an angle in the corner. We have stopped for now and left everything as it is, I haven’t the heart to ask him to move it yet and besides there is no guarantee that I will like the look of where ever we put it anyway…. symmetry again, it is giving me time to think about it.

Changing the subject rather, I was distracted by a flock of birds outside the study window. The starlings are doing what they do best and they reminded me of last year when just before sunset they all gather on the rooftops, chimneys and wires around my house before they flock in enormous numbers to perform their ballet of geometric shapes before diving few at a time, until they had all disappeared beneath the station platform at GunWharf. The spectacle of being in the garden when this happens is like a scene from Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’. The twitterings, whistlings and squeakings of thousands of birds that line every available space around us fill the air like a blanket of noise and one cannot help wondering what it would be like if the nightmare of a bird attack should happen… I belong to the Library writer’s group and we have a task for next session to write a five minute story now there’s an idea for me, an explanation of how something I held in my hand was transformed or damaged… hmmm a bird attack maybe, perhaps fantasy, the birds were really dragons and a strange person rode up on a white horse and grabbed the pencil I held in my hand which became a sword to fend them off, by the time it was given back to me it was a chewed,splintered sliver of leadless wood… yeah, I could work on that. Besides, it beats having to solve the problem of where to put the DVD case.

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Mindless meanderings?

I always feel so guilty when I have set myself a task and fail to carry it out. Why? The only person I am letting down is me, unless it does involve someone else of course. I got to wondering and kind of figured out that, on a subconscious level, I am important. It sounds very egotistical when I read it but that isn’t at all what I mean. I choose to do things for myself that please me, I like crafts, sewing, knitting, crochet, cooking, painting and writing, to name just a few! Many of these things I do for other people’s pleasure as well as my own but even if it is something just for me, inside I get a sense of achievement, a satisfaction in the end product, of course a bit of praise helps to boost one’s ego too. So what is it that gives me the guilt when I have failed to do something I set out to do? It’s not life threatening, it doesn’t harm anyone else and nowadays when many tasks take a lot longer and are more difficult to carry out, I do have a greater sense of achievement. Somewhere deep in all of us I feel sure there is that knowledge that we are actually very important and unless we do look after our own happiness and contentment then we are in effect saying we aren’t bothered about ourselves. I believe too that if we cannot care, give a sense of achievement or even give love to ourselves, I mean we are the one spirit we all know from birth, we do fail ourselves a little,  not to give that caring is a very sad thing that robs us of a gift that should be first and foremostly automatic, loving who we are. Take for instance the sad souls that are lost in a world of drugs or alcohol, is their self loving so low that they feel the only way to deal with it is to take a course toward self destruction. Someone said to me recently they ‘don’t love themselves and therefore want to die’. I thought that a bit harsh but in reality I think it must be the extreme truth. We all like to ‘scrub up’ for a night out and as we look in the mirror on the way out , we appreciate what we have done and get a little buzz from it. I believe that is the subconscious patting us on the back for loving ourselves enough to do that, to appreciate what we can acheive, to love ourselves. So I wonder if the guilt I was feeling for not having written my blog was my subconscious telling me I am slipping and wasting time on other things when I have not kept a promise to myself… small as it is.  Anyway it has given me something to think about and as a kind of retribution I shall write another entry following this rather boring piece of philosophy from the meandering thoughts that run through my head from time to time.

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A funny thing happened …

Well it wasn’t funny at the time. If I had been younger I might have been rather embarrassed, anyway, it goes like this. We have in our lounge two tubular padded rocking/swivel chairs which have been really good but for some reason the bolt on one of them sheered off leaving some of it inside the chair so they had to go. One we could use upstairs in the study and the other my son said he could probably repair and might be able to use it as a nursing chair when they have their first baby in November. Harry found a site oline that sold ex hotel furniture from when hotels are refurbished and he rather liked the chairs they had. We always wanted a pair of wing chairs so he ordered two at a really reasonable price. Today they were delivered. The chair from the study had already been moved and swapped with the good rocker thanks to James, Tabby’s b/friend, good for hypnotherapy says Harry, (for those who don’t know, he is a hypnotist) all so good so far. Then the lorry came with a pallet with the chairs loaded on, he agreed to take the pallet back so proceeded to undo the chairs packaging. Said chairs were great but rather bigger than they looked on the picture but never the less we started to bring them in. Problem number one. There was absolutely no way we could get them through the front door. After several attempts James and the delivery man gave up, it wasn’t happening. The next thing was to take them round the back and try and get them in through the back door. James carries one and the very nice delivery man took the other one on his pallet trolley for us. They got in through the back gate no problem and through the conservatory door, so far so good but then the kitchen door and the chair? not a snowball’s chance in hell. The delivery man had done a lot and he left, after we thanked him profusely, with a little amused grin on his face leaving us to face the problem. They tried one way and another but nothing. I called a friend who had a bit more experience and explained we might need to take the door off and weren’t sure how. At this point Brian arrives, the door was off but there was still no way the chair was going through. Bless Brian, he had a bit more experience of these things and with two men and a few different tries, at last the chair entered the kitchen. By this time I had measured the other doors to make sure it would actually go further and it should have done. I held my breath as they pulled it through into the dining room. The stair banisters were in the way and to get the chair through to the lounge it had to be lifted over it but…. yes you’ve guessed it, not before the door had been removed to the lounge first.

Needless to say we managed to get them both in but what a pallaver! The chairs now are a nice fabric but we knew they were purple, my lounge is red and black, at first I thought a couple of throws but they do look rather nice so I have decided to change the throw on the settee to a purple one. The walls are light and I ant to change them to a dusty pale pink so it will look nice. I tried one of the chairs and they are nice solid chairs but my feet barely touched the floor so now it has decided, rather than  buying a pair of footstools we would cut a piece off the bottom of the legs to bring them to a reasonable size and be more comfortable to sit in. I think I explained about Harry’s expertise at DIY before and now we are looking for someone to chop a couple of inches from the bottom for us. I had visions of some very lop sided chairs had Harry done it, that with the previous thought that we had bought chairs that could only be used in the garden –  Hmmm maybe it would be nice to sit comfortably round the pond and watch the fish swimming but they would have got very damp I reckon. Anyway, all is well finally, I wonder why they were so tall? maybe they were expecting a flood?

Seriously though, I think this lesson has taught us, even though it has turned out ok, that next time we will actually measure and/or see the furniture before we buy it. Imagine if we couldn’t have got it into the house!!!! lol.

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Roots and Wings

It has been around seven years since I saw my grandchildren ( my eldest son’s children) and I cannot believe how tall the boys were. The youngest was two when I saw him last and the older lad around five or six. They came for lunch and stayed till mid evening, so lovely to spend time with my daughter in law and and her friend too. I don’t have a passport and have never been a traveller, silly really when I consider I have grandchildren in Florida, Spain and Switzerland and well everyone gets on with their life, we do rely on the internet for communication though and it does bring everyone together. It is really amazing in one way because I am sure we share more things and say more things than if we were closer to eachother.  One good thing about my children marrying people from other countries is that I get to learn so much about the different cultures. My daughter in America was so staunchly British and determined to stay that way and now when I listen to her she has a definite American accent. It takes a few minutes of taking to on the phone and she lapses back into English again but her values are so much different from those in our family here. I think mainly because of the opportunities over there. Although I always worked, I was a stay at home Mum in that until they were all at school we sort of worked shifts so at least one of us was at home. We also lived in the country which was a totally different way of life too, but in America everything is planned and carried out to the letter. My daughter works so hard, she has put herself through college and is one year from graduating as an SRN I think it is, and she has worked as well as being a mum to her two gorgeous boys.  I am so proud of her. The system over there is totally unlike here, no NHS, education is expensive etc etc and her and her husband work so hard for their little family. In Spain, well North Spain it is a totally different culture to even southern Spain… Suzi says it is like going back in time. the shops have shop keepers and you have to ask for what you want,,, so , says she, how do you know what you want if you cannot see it on the shelves? People do many things for themselves, elderly ladies grow vegetables in small plots of land and sell it in the market for pennies, the children seem to stay up till gone 11pm and strangers come and tell you off in the street if they think you are doing something wrong with your child. My daughter is doing attachment parenting and so carries her 20 month old daughter in a sling rather than a buggy, she gets told off all the time yet as she says, the pavements are so rough and often you have to walak in the road because there is a lamp in the middle of the path…. sooo different.

So I love to hear of the ways things are in each country, we share ideas and swap recipes, and yes I miss them all the time, I’d love to have my grandchildren close and my children. I have never known what it is like to have any of my eight children living close to me, the nearest is an hour away which isnt too bad, I don’t drive but they pop over and we do go up there for parties and visits, once their baby arrives it might be different, a baby to share will be lovely and a perfect excuse. But you know, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I do feel selfish when I long to have them nearer but I know that the two most important things I could give them are roots and wings. I would never have stopped them from going and bless them, every one of them has asked if I minded. I wanted to scream yes I do mind, please don’t go, but I would never have forgiven myself if I thought I had prevented them from such wonderful opportunities. One thing for sure, it makes it so very special when they do come over to visit.

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