Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Table for One

I recently went to a restaurant alone.

I did this by choice, I wanted some 'me' time.

It was interesting, I walked into the restaurant and the waiter looked behind me for my friends/family. When I said I wanted a table for one he seemed genuinely shocked.

After he gathered himself he led me to a table.

I ordered a drink and mulled on the menu, there was a special offer for two courses and they were two courses that I would really enjoy, but two courses, alone...should I ....Ahhh, sod it, thinks me, two course sounds like a great idea.

Lovely nutty avocado starter followed by a cheesy pizza fiorentina, Nom. I love food.

So I order my two courses, again, slight surprise from the waiter, who seems to feel sorry for me and is just a tad over attentive... In my head I am screaming,

'GO AWAY, I came here for me time, I am quite content, STOP TALKING TO ME. Gah!'

As the meal continues, I watch the people walking by outside. They don't see me, it's lovely I can properly people watch, thinking my own thoughts to myself.

I realise I am taking my time, I am enjoying my alone time, I am enjoying the food, it is delicious.

The waiter continues to lurk.

I decide to order a coffee to finish the meal off.

This gets a raised eyebrow from the waiter, he really can't get this concept of woman alone, eating.

I then begin to wonder, would he be like this with a man? This line of thought makes me cross.

I decide to continue with my coffee and people watching to avoid rage.

Shall I have sugar in my coffee as I am out? Yes, yes I will.

I consider not tipping the waiter due to his possible sexist behaviour but decide this may be unfair as he may treat a lone man the same, or everyone.

Momentarily, I feel bad for the waiter.

After about an hour in the restaurant it is time to go. I do tip the waiter.

Afterwards, I feel refreshed and liberated. I would definitely do it again and would recommend it to you all.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Sink or Swim?

The world has continued spinning.

Wimbledon has started. Summer carries on as normal.

Andy Murray has won Queens for a record breaking fifth time.

We are going to come out of Europe.

Glastonbury was muddy and amazing.

Slovakia lost in the Euro's (I had them in the sweepstake)

What a weird few days.

Random picture of a bumble bee, indicating summer time. By me.
Life is never what you expect. Just when you think you have it all sorted...Wallop....It's all change again.

But, it is not the change that is the problem, it is how you cope with change. Do you sink or swim?

My Gran used to say, 'Love many, trust few, but always paddle your own canoe'. Which I have understood as, have faith in yourself and your own abilities.

Which I agree with. Having inner confidence is a brilliant thing to have, but we don't have it all of the time, not even the best of us,sometimes that confidence can take a massive blow. I believe that the love and support of family and friends is crucial when you have something huge happening in your life.

As a country we have something huge happening, whether we love or loathe the decision to come out of Europe we still need to love our fellow man/woman to help us cope with this change. Sadly, a small minority see this as an opportunity to bring hatred and distrust to our country.

Just because the small minority behave this way, doesn't mean we should, lets not lower ourselves to their standards, lets rise above it and be better.

Treat everyone as you would expected to be treated, it is what we tell our children.We just need to
 remind the leaders of big business, the politicians, the powerful and the important of this simple message.

I don't believe in many things, but I believe in that.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

3 Days of my Teenage Diary

I have recently started to read my teenage diaries. They are cringe.

I thought it could help me understand what it's like to be a teenage girl, so I am better prepared for what is going on with Heather, who is 13 going on 20.

I am aware that the complete lack of social media, internet and TV channels, may make it slightly different to being a teenage girl these days, but the hormones are the same, surely.

In 1984 my grammar and spelling is awful.

And I seem to be quite up my own bum. Gah.

So as a weird kind of catharsis/learning experience, I thought I would share with you some my diary. It was over 30 years ago so it's practically history. *Feeling Old*

To set this up - I am just about to go to Sixth Form and I am waiting for my exam results. I am the only one of my friends* who is going on to further education, the rest are starting jobs. I have a part time job, working on the burger and ice cream vans that are at various festivals. I have a German pen pal called Greta and have a cottage industry breeding and selling gerbils, as you do.

As a point of reference, I grew up in Shrewsbury.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent

This is me in 1984, yes, this is a mullet, and a perm. I was completely on trend. For younger readers, this was the equivalent of a selfie.

19th July 1984. Thursday

Today I woke up at 10.30ish, the weather seemed nice. It was sunny. I watch some television for a while, while I ate a pot noodle (beef and tomato) then went down to Morris' to collect the money I earned for working on the ice creams.(£20). After this I cleaned out the Gerbils, all seven of them, and tidied my room. Preparing my room for when Greta comes tonight.
                After dinner I went to Vikki's; we made up stupid silly stories, (typical) as we lay in the sun sunbathing. I went home 3.30ish, and had a bath, while I was in the bath I started what seems to be a very good book by Graham Greene (Brighton Rock) Mandy then arrived and we set off to Birmingham airport to pick up Greta. The journey took about an hour. We then got Greta and returned home. She seems happy. We had stew for tea at about 9 '0' clock. I naturally had my vegetarian stew. Then Greta and I went to bed, exchanged photographs then went to sleep. Tomorrow I hope to go to Bomere with Vikki and and Greta but it depends greatly on the weather.

Points to clear up.
  • Bomere - It is a lake where we would go swimming
  • I am vegetarian at this point (Pot Noodles, at this time, had no meat in them - don't know if they do now)
  • £20 probably seems like a lot for 1984. It wasn't for what we had to do, often up at 3am in the morning to get somewhere by 7am and then home by midnight. They were long days. 
  • I loved reading, but most of the stuff I read, which wasn't for school, were Catherine Cookson novels. I loved a Geordie romance, me.
  • Greta and I had met before, I had been to Germany and this was her second visit to England.

20th July 1984. Friday

Today we went to Bomere, however Vikki did not go, the weather is lovely however while Greta and I rode along a lot of thunder bugs stuck to us, pretty yukky!!!
We didn't get to Bomere until about 11ish and we left 3-4ish. After tea we went to Mandy's we didn't stay long as Greta was very tired, she didn't sleep very well, Greta went to bed about 10ish but I stayed up until 12ish watching television. 
Today my period started so I felt pretty rotten however, I felt better after taking one of my big yellow pills. I hope years from now I can say this with humour. Brighton Rock seems to get better after every page. I think my reading of 'soppy' novels is over. I could get to like this type of book.

  • My periods were awful when I was younger and I had pills prescribed by the doctor to help me out. They were MASSIVE and yellow, and no, I still have no sense of humour about my periods..nor do I want to go roller skating or rock climbing. 
  • Main forms of transport at this time, was my legs (walking or biking) or my Mum and Dad. Occasionally I would use a bus.

21st July 1984. Saturday

Today Greta and I went to town, I showed her all the usual shops including St.Julian's Craft Centre. I met Karen (fairly yukky) and had dinner at the Pantry. Later we met Mandy from Francisco Group the hairdressers where she works. We finished looking around town and Greti and I went and played some tennis against my brother and his girlfriend. 
After this we had tea, then Greta and I went to the local flicks (the pictures) (the cinema) to see Indiana Jones in the temple of doom with Harrison Ford, what a hunk (pity he is 41).
At the pictures we also saw Mandy and Gaz and Jeremy and Vick. The film was good and very very very funny. When we went home we picked up my Uncle Roger from my Grans' then we went home and Gretta and I went to bed. It is very unusual this going to bed early lark. I like to stay up late and watch television or go to discos or parties but, oh no not Greta, early to bed and early to rise and all that......!?!

  • I cannot nor do I ever, remember thinking Harrison Ford was a 'Hunk' and I have no memory of using this word ever. Someone has clearly taken over my body to write this bit. (possession may explain some later entries)
  • I did and do enjoy a late night and mornings were never my thing.
So that was your first outing into my teenage diary, I have no idea if you will find it interesting or if it is just self indulgent mush, so I will see how this one does in the blogosphere before I commit to more.

Friday, 10 June 2016

33 of my Favourite Things

I have posted a number of blogs about things that make me grumpy - here for example.

So today I thought I would post about a few of my favourite things.

  1. Firstly, my kids and husband are top of the list. Obvs.
  2. Then my friends and family.
  3. And now it gets a bit strange, I have a favourite meeting room at work. Don't know why I like it more than the others but I do.
  4. Similarly, I have a favourite parking bay (it's number 3). I park in one of those swanky car parks that take your car away and return it the right way round. It's very nice.
  5. My garden is one of my favourite spots to be in, particularly on a sunny day
  6. I like to nap in my pod - that is definitely one of my favourite things to do.
    My pod, invaded by hubs and my smallest child - rude.
  7. In fact napping, full stop is very near the top of my favourite things.
  8. I have a favourite bra, being a larger breasted lady, finding a bra that doesn't dig in and doesn't look like it was made by an architect and feels comfy, is a thing of wonder. When you find that bra, stick with it. 
  9. My favourite insect is a bee - because they are awesome, and make honey.
  10. My favourite pet animal is a cat, but my favourite animal is an otter - because they can swim and look super cool, but also look amazing on land and they are funny, and play and have fun. I want to live somewhere with otters at the bottom of the garden. 
  11. I do like a spider, because they do a great job with flies. Well done them.
  12. I have a favourite seat at work, but shhhhh....because we are supposed to hot desk.
  13. One of my favourite smells is the smell of a new book. 
  14. Another great smell is my first coffee of the day.
  15. I don't like gardening, but I get a great deal of pleasure out of seeing things grow. 
  16. My favourite alcoholic drink is red wine, closely followed by gin and tonic on a sunny day. 
  17. Ohhhh Port at Christmas.
  18. Christmas...love Christmas
  19. And Autumn, and Spring and Summer....I love to see the seasons change, and it is weird these days when the change is less dramatic than I remember as a child.just
  20. My favourite flower is either a Gerbera or an Allium, but to be honest I like most flowers.
  21. My favourite fruit is a tomato, ideally with basil and a bit of mozzarella.
  22. Rather logically my favourite herb is basil - see above.
  23. I have lots of favourite films and pieces of music, they are too big a genre to cover so I won't (same applies to books, food & TV).
  24. My favourite Shakespeare play is Measure for Measure (but I also like Twelfth Night)
  25. But my favourite play is Noises Off.
  26. My favourite cheese, and this is an important one is Comte
  27. My favourite super hero is Tank Girl - which is a bit of stretch, but I see her that way.
  28. My favourite techy thing is my phone, aren't they clever these days. Although the internet is up there.
  29.  My favourite sound is my garden, birds, bees and the running water in the pond.
  30. My favourite pasta is spagetti because it is silly and messy
  31. My favourite poem is The Horses - By Edwin Muir. Its a bit post apocalyptic, but if you like that sort of thing...I do enjoy a gloomy poem. This one always makes me cry.
  32. Crying at films, is an excellent way to remove excess 'feelings' - I am British. Come on. 
  33. My favourite snack is twiglets for more about this - go here
An Allium coming to life in my garden

And that is all I can think of right now, I am a little bit exhausted, and there is definite over use of the word favourite in this blog. So apologies. 

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Less Money. More Life.

This week, I started working part time. I haven't worked part time since I was a student. I have always been a full time girl. Even after maternity leave. Back to work, full time.

I am now working a 3 day week and doing 27 hours a week. Its a three month trial with my work, so if it doesn't work for them or me I can go back to my old hours.

But, I am sitting with my feet up in the garden whilst I write this. The weather is glorious and it feels like the right decision.

So after nearly 28 years of working full time I have decided to go part time.

I am tired, the CML (Chronic Myloid Leukaemia) meds are, on the whole, brilliant, as I pretty much have a normal life, but after nearly six years of taking them I find my energy is really low. You can read more about my CML here.

Then there is my girls, they are 13 and 9 now, unlike when they were babies, they don't need me all the time, but I think they need me to be around more, to be, just more present.

Gratuitous picture of my gorgeous girls

And my Dad, he is nearly 87, he has steadily gone down hill since my Mum died. He can hardly walk, hear or see. He has a full time carer with him, but I am looking after a lot of his financial stuff  and I try to see him regularly, but it's a two hour round trip (on a good day...the M6 is involved so, you know...)and that takes time.

So typically, I am a time short 40 something, with responsibilities and 'stuff' going on all over the place.

So where is the compromise?  Less money, more life.

This was a tough decision, not because I am super materialistic, although I am fond of the odd luxury item, do I need Molton Brown soap and body wash, of course not*, but I do want to continue to give the kids organic food where I can, and a holiday once a year, and be able to pay for school trips.

And what about their future, how will I save for that!

All of this went through my head.

Have I mentioned my husband is awesome.

At the beginning of the year all of this was getting on top of me and I didn't know what to do. My husband and I talked. Then we talked a bit more. And finally we got to this. He said all the right things.

"I want you to be happy"
"We will be OK"
"We have enough money"
"I will help you if you need it"

I have always been financially independent so hopefully, if I tighten my belt, he won't have to do the last one. I am still not sure how I feel about that.

So here I am, on a sunny Wednesday, listening to someone mow the lawn, the birds singing, the bees buzzing, writing this.

Which was the last thing, I wanted to do more of this, but have had no time. so hopefully you will hear more from me now, and with that, I wish you well, whilst I enjoy this sunny day.

*I do!

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