Thursday, December 31, 2009

Microsoft takes over the world! (Again…)

I just installed Windows 7 on hubby’s laptop and overlooked the fact that (unlike me) he was using Windows mail with Vista. Now for those of you in the know, Windows 7 does not have an e-mail package built in and so at first glance the upgrade appears to have eaten all your addresses and all your email too. If I wasn’t such a level headed person I would have gone into a blind panic, but I decided not to do this because:

a) I am a level headed person who rarely panics and

b) its not my laptop or email…

Anyway, initially, since I was in the middle of Dirt2 on the Xbox and did not wish to be disturbed under any circumstances…I ignored hubby’s whimpers for a whole afternoon. This morning though I decided (before the Xbox is turned on again!) that I ought to help.

Repeated Google searches have led to much on-line whimpering by many others in a similar situation and we just stumbled across Windows Live Mail and are settling down to download and install it (yawn…why do these things take so long?). I noticed a little package called Live Writer for blogging and so, to pass the time thought I might download that too and install it on my desktop. To be fair I am also downloading Lesbian Vampire Killers, which was free from iTunes today, so that might account for the laptop’s reluctance to go at more than a slow grind but there you are…patience was never my strong point!

Anyway, in my very roundabout way, that’s why my last post said testing testing…I’m testing Live Writer….

…I’ll keep you updated on the mail situation too but in the meantime, please all think of hubby and say all together…”Ah, bless..!”

Testing testing

Just that….

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas …without the grumbles?

Last night I turned on the TV and there was some programme on about people being decidedly grumpy at Christmas. There were many famous (and quite a few not so famous) folks, who were grumbling about how it all starts too early, how its too commercial and how they really can't be ar*ed to take part …but will…albeit rather grudgingly. It reminded me of a recent visit to my in-laws where my FIL was moaning about Christmas - how 'it's only for kids' (who are all spoiled nowadays) and how when he was a boy they had nothing and used to make their own decorations*1. In response, hubby pointed out that you can still make your own paper chains if that's what you want to do and that I actually make my own cards*2 every year,and I tried to explain how Christmas makes me feel.

I think in that little snip, hubby managed to alight on what makes Christmas so special for me. I'm not hugely religious ( I'm not a regular church goer) and so my main focus is not on the birth of Christ (in common with much of the population I guess) but for me its on my family and the people I care about. To me Christmas is a special time which gives us all one day of the year that is set aside for spending time together. It is the ideal excuse, this one day of the year, to give presents to people to tell them how much they mean to you. Every other day of the year seems to slip by in a blur of 'other stuff' - this is one day in which families have their own traditions like leaving stockings from Santa for grown up kids, the carrot by the hearth for the reindeer, presents before lunch (or after), silly hats over lunch (or tea) and playing board games that you wouldn't at any other time. These traditions are all individual to the families and as the generations go by they are adopted and altered by children and grandchildren and added to by the addition of new partners with their own traditions. Our family is no different from anyone else's but the one common theme to most people is that they all get together and just for once they think about each other rather than themselves. What we do, when we choose to start to decorate our house (early or late), how commercial we let it be to us (make your own paper chains or buy a new tinsel tree every year) or how spoiled the children are (spend a fortune or not a lot) - all these choices are ours to make. No one makes us spend too much or reserves our traditions simply for children - these are our choices and my choice is to spend time with my family and try just for once a year to let them know just how much they mean to me….

…well, after trying to explain this, I still don't know if the FIL understood what I was trying to get at but I hope you do!

Happy Christmas to you all!
:merry christmas: MERRY CHRISTMAS Christmas Carol Two

*1 I'm not certain if this is before or after they "licked road clean wit' tongue"
*2I do this for 2 reasons, one, because I like to do so and two, because if I want to I can make something special for someone special.

An emoticon Christmas

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Not the MOB!

So, I was away last week and we had a really funny time and it was mostly due to this guy that I know. I wanted to call him MOB (mad old bugger) in my blog, but he put his foot down (with his hand since his legs don't work!) and insisted that I call him daft pensioner - so DP it is….

Now its kind of odd that DP is part of our group at all, as being of pensionable age, he's quite a bit older than the rest of us. It's not even that he looks like a spry young thing, as he's a wheelchair user and if he only grew his beard a bit more he'd look just like Santa - in a tracksuit!

Anyway, there we were, having come out of dinner and faced with the usual trial of going down 3 steps to get to the door. It's true (to be fair) that there is a lift to get wheelchair users down the stairs, but it is the most grindingly slow piece of apparatus in the world. I wonder sometimes about that, I mean with slow wheelchair lifts and stair lifts - do they think the eyes of the disabled and the old will pop out if they move too fast? Don't laugh….it's a valid question you know! Anyway, more often than not people drop out their chairs, bum down the steps and drag their chairs after them since it is about 20 times faster than using the lift and we are all a supremely impatient bunch. More to the point, if we had to wait for everyone to use the lift we'd either:
  • never get anything done
  • we'd all get really fat because we just wouldn't bother leaving the dining hall
  • we'd die of boredom
So there we were, coming out of the dining hall. I'd gone down first and was outside when SIAM comes past me looking extremely smug having gone down the steps backwards in his chair - speedy and required no grubby backside to his trousers! Now, DP took one look at this and decided it looked like a pretty neat thing to do and decided to follow suit. He turned around so his back was to the steps, edged his back wheels to the edge, grabbed the handrail on his right hand side and started to lower himself down. It was at this point that he forgot to move his hand down the handrail and his right side stayed at the top of the slope while his left side attempted to descend. Several things happened then in quick succession, but you so knew what was bound to happen next that it all seemed to take place in slow motion…

…first, his left wheel dropped down one step so he ended up diagonally across the slope, facing away from the handrail. He still maintained a death grip on the handrail but couldn't twist his body to keep it up so he raised his arms above his head - still hanging on. This had the effect of lifting his front casters up in the air and rolling him backwards.

So, there he was, feet in the air, hanging on to the handrail (which by this time was in front of his face) with one big wheel on one step and one on the step below and guffawing (there really is no other word for it) with laughter. I guess to start with we were all useless too, as we were all so convulsed with laughter ourselves we had no chance to help him - the only person who wasn't was some new guy (waiting for the lift) who I think was so horrified at our callous natures that we will never see him again!

To be fair…within a few seconds, we had all pitched in and everybody grabbing a bit managed to get him both upright and down the bottom. Now, I bet you're all asking if he's likely to try this again…well, I suspect not, but I wouldn't put anything past him!

:santa: rvmp

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Sometimes you can only wish...

I do like to take a trip on the train - I've always loved it, even when I was a child. I don't attribute this at all to the fact that my grandfather was a train driver, as he was retired for as long as I could remember, so I think it's just one of those things about trains. I mean, who doesn't love a train trip, all that clackety clack as the scenery rushes by outside; all that peering into people's back gardens as you slow down at the next station and the general excitement that you are doing something special and out of the ordinary. Of course, I am sure that the country is full of commuters and glass half empty people who wouldn't agree with me in the slightest, but for me, it fills me full of the excitement that I used to get, when as a child I read about the Famous Five heading away on their holidays...

Of course, these days, the other thing I like about the train is that since they are so hideously expensive, if you travel at a quiet time of day, they can be like an oasis of calm in the hustle and bustle of the world and when I knew I was going up to London, I was rather looking forward to the opportunity of just watching the world go by for a bit. I even packed a book and planned just to kick back and enjoy it. Of course, this didn't all quite go to plan - as to start with it was dark which I hadn't really counted on at 4pm (yes I know its winter and I shouldn't have been so stupid but I was...). Also, me being me, I didn't chill at all, because I decided to sort out my hotel details and then answer a text from a friend and then the train rushed so quickly towards it's destination that I was there before I knew it. It just turned out that I was busy all the way because the way didn't actually take that long!

Right at the moment I seem to feel busy all the time and I know that these feelings are always influenced by those 'late starts' that I seem to get. In reality life is quite normal for me, good days, bad days, quiet days and not so quiet days but I think right now that what makes all the difference is that there are a few things in my life I am worrying about at the moment and that these are things that are way out of my control. Now anyone who knows me will know that I don't really like anything being out of my control - not that I am a control freak or anything (!) but I do find it unsettling when I want to help and can't.

Talking to friends, we all seem to say the same thing at the moment, that there are people we care about going through stressful situations and because we care for them we care what happens to them. I find this hard (not the caring bit, but the being unable to help bit), because I am one of those people who in my own life, feels a need to meet problems head on, finding out all the facts and taking control of the situation as far as I can. Its how I handled my scoliosis surgery - I joined forums, read everything I could on the subject, asked every question I could of my surgeon and comprehensively planned for my recovery. In short, I did everything I felt I could to get a successful outcome from what I knew would be a pretty tough operation. I then find myself wanting to do something similar for all those people I care about. I find myself wanting to dive in and talk to their spouse, boss or doctor or any other person who I think might be able to help, even though I know in my heart of hearts that even if I could, it wouldn't help.

I guess in short, I feel rather like a fretful mother who wants to go down the school and make things right for their child when they find them going through a hard time with bullies or something similar. The big problem with this is that all too often, it doesn't help at all. I'm not saying that parents can't give children the support they need or that if their child comes home saying that they've been bullied that they should ignore them, but just that these situations need to be carefully handled. More to the point, this blog entry is not about bullies and how (or how not) to handle them but it's about how you can handle things badly by doing nothing more than being really well meaning and trying to be helpful. I guess we've all heard of kids who have ended up being picked on even more than before, because their mother went down the school trying to make things right. Sometimes, just like those times when you need to make your own mistakes*1 you need to be left to try to stand up for yourself too.

So, in my extreme rambling way, what I am trying to say is that I know exactly what I have to do. I know that I have to let all these people make their own choices and where they need to , just stand up for themselves - all the same, it won't stop me worrying for them and wishing I could help...
:train: for choo choo express

*1 This was the story of my teenage years when in answer to my question of "why?" (to anything my mother said) - she would respond "because I say so!". This didn't really work as a response to a typically moody teenager and would often result in one of those 'conversations' that teenage daughters and mothers of those 'conversations' which almost always ended up in my mother getting exasperated with my lack of following orders - and ultimately resulted in her telling me that I would have to 'make my own mistakes...!'

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Yes, it's all fine..

I know, I know..smack my wrist - I am a bad blog mama...

I will get back to writing soon, I've just been getting on with stuff, life and more things (mostly outside my control) and so the blog has taken a back seat. Heck, some of my friends have had to take a back seat too and I don't like to do that as my many of my friends are like family...

Anyhoo, I am looking forward to settling down to do some more writing - I find it interesting to find all those smilies and previously undiscovered websites that help me make a point. More to the point, sometimes I just like to write and always have. My diary entries as a teenager were sporadic, but really wordy once I got going, which, I guess is rather like how I am in myself. I love my own company and own space away from everyone but then whenever I catch up with people I turn into Mrs Motormouth (making up for the time I'm alone hubby reckons!). So, I write in just the same way I guess...

...more soon - don't worry, I haven't forgotten you all..

:pc: rvmp

Friday, November 13, 2009

Of Cockroaches great and small

Over the years I have come across a few cockroaches (and some of them with only two legs!) but recently I was talking to my friend SIAM *1 and he told me a fairly yucky story that happened to him recently on holiday. It's funny really, isn't it - these things always happen on holiday, don't they?

Hubby and I once went on holiday to Malta at the beginning of the season on a very (and I mean very) cheap holiday. This holiday included car hire and cost only £125 each for the week - they didn't include food on the plane and our self catering accommodation was basic to say the least. I'd like to say that this price was 20 years ago and the cost of living has changed massively, but in reality it was within the last 10 years and it was just really, really cheap. Anyway, we didn't have much cash at the time and enjoyed ourselves... on the whole. The second night we were there, despite being early in the year, it was quite warm and hubby turned on the ceiling fan. If he did, something rather like a small rock flew off the fan, whacked him on the head, suddenly developed legs and started legging it off across the floor! Well, what do you do in such circumstances, when the fear of stepping out of bed onto a not so small bug in the middle of the night would be enough to glue you to the bedclothes? What we did, in a slightly drunken state (holidays are like that too) was to grab a drinking glass and up-end it over the poor creature and go back to bed. In the morning, we reported it to reception (who seemed suitably unconcerned) and trusted the cleaner to get rid of it. The cleaner also seemed 'suitably unconcerned' and left it there for the entire week. We never let it out (by now fearing some kind of cockroach revenge in the middle of the night) and there it stayed, running around in a small circle, not seeming to either eat or drink, but surviving nonetheless. To this day I feel moderately guilty about the whole episode, but cockroaches can be pretty scary and creepy so I don't know if I should.

I guess that poor lone bug wasn't too bad, but I once stayed away in a place where some of my friends were bothered by many, many 'skittering' sounds in the middle of the night. For me, I tend to sleep quite heavily, but I later found out that this wasn't the reason I wasn't bothered at all - in fact, it had nothing to do with that, and everything to do with the fact that I usually leave the bathroom light on when I am away from home. Now, I'm sure there are those of you out there thinking "Ah bless!" that I should need a night light when away from home but it actually has rather more practical applications for someone with really bad balance. My balance is so poor and the feeling in my feet so bad, that I rely on either touching something to get a reference point or I need some kind of horizon to look at. If I stand up in the middle of a room and shut my eyes, I just fall over backwards - no fun for me but very amusing for any onlooker! In fact (at the risk of digressing some more), just 2 nights ago in a vain attempt to get across the bedroom in the middle of the night and missing my normal grip on the laundry basket, I careered across the room, frightening both cats and landing on the floor with a thump that not only woke hubby but probably half the neighbours as well! Anyway back to my extraordinarily quiet room compared to the BMB's, who was complaining how he was being kept awake by insects with hobnailed boots. He later told me that on his last night there, he got up early for the trip home and stumbled into the bathroom in the dark, flipped on the light and was staggered by the sudden rush for cover by what looked like hundreds of cockroaches on the floor, walls and ceiling. It was at that point that he realised that it wasn't just a few heavy footed bugs, but that the place was literally crawling with them.

All this is a long way from poor SIAM which is where I started! Anyway, he went on holiday recently and woke up to find that his bottom lip appeared to be paralysed by a heavy weight. After an initial panic that he had Bells Palsy, the weight started to shift slightly and he realised to his horror that he had a cockroach on his lip "having a drink from that little bit of night drool..." is how he put it. Eeew!!

:bug: revision :bug: revision :bug: revision :bug: revision :bug: revision :bug: revision :bug: revision :bug: revision :bug: revision :bug: revision :bug: revision

*1Same initials as me

Friday, November 06, 2009

What defines me??

I have realised that disability seems to crop up in quite a few of my blog entries and I know from a poll I did a while ago it seems that many of my readers are disabled. It was after the poll that I fell to wondering if that was what defined me as a person. I think in truth, that it isn’t, but whether I like to admit it or not, I do have a disability, and always have.

As a child, I believed that I could do anything that anyone else did and I also thought I could do it better than them but I still had spina bifida. For all my grand dreams and ambitions, for all the times that I thought that next year I would have learned to run and be able to beat everyone at school sports day, for all of those thoughts, dreams and ideas, there were also the more sobering moments. There were always the times that I realised that there was stuff I just couldn’t do, I couldn’t join ballet classes when every other girl in school did and school rounders and athletics were a no-no. Now, it may be that all you people out there reading this say well, I was useless at ballet or couldn’t hit a ball for toffee, but I think what I am getting at is that at least most people have the opportunity to try.

Now, don’t get me wrong in all this, I’ve done well and never fancied rounders anyway and I know that because I learned to walk, I managed to do all kinds of things that some other people never get chance to do but there were always limitations. In fact, just that expression, “learned to walk” speaks volumes. Why shouldn’t I learn to walk? Most parents don’t proudly state – “Oh, little Johnny is so clever, he learned to walk!” – learned to play the violin, yes, but walk? No, they just don’t expect to have to say it, do they?

So there you go, like it or not, I have a disability. It has stopped me from doing a few things but has prevented me from doing very little that I set my mind to. I believe that what therefore defines me as a person are the things I like to do, the people I like to spend time with and the way that I like to live my life – I just do all these things alongside the way I was born...

Play Ball

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Garden of Eagan: Visual perception skills

Garden of Eagan: Visual perception skills

You just have to do's really good.

Once you have done so (and not before please!) - go and read this:

About the video

I will comment later....

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

I will, I will, I promise....

...get back to blogging that is...

I have had a hectic couple of weeks (or at least that is how it has seemed to me) and so I just have neglected my duties as 'Mistress of the Blog'. In fact, I don't really know just how hectic they really have actually been in the normal sense of the word; it's just that some of my days have been shortened by a couple of late starts...I wish I could tell you that they are down to simple laziness, but sometimes stiff mornings follow on from rough days and even rougher nights. Hubby is as usual supportive and put up with me having to call all plans off last Saturday when I didn't get up until nearly lunchtime. Good grief! (As Charlie Brown used to say!)

Anyway, life seems to be settling a little and I have been spending lots of time wondering about stuff so I will get back to writing more soon....

where is your smile?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What a handy device…

Some time ago I was given a very useful present…I’m sure you’ve seen them…they are those little mats that you place on your car dashboard to stop things from sliding around.

Now, my car has a kind of flat tray on the front because it’s old. Old cars didn’t have that huge sloping thing in front of you…which is another things (excuse me if I go off course a bit here) – what is all that about? Why is it that car manufacturers suddenly think all drivers have arms the length of an average orang utan – if you put anything at all (and I mean anything from your sat nav, to a parking ticket, to a small child) it either slides off the huge slopey bit at the front, or the first time you go round a corner (maybe you wouldn’t do this with a small child) it rushes off towards the windscreen, there to languish forever because you can’t reach it. I have even considered that I might have to ask complete strangers with long arms to get into the car to retrieve things. Hey, it’s almost as bad as the day that I had to ask the postman to get into the car to get the handbrake off for me! Actually, at the risk of digressing still further, that was quite funny because we live on a hill – it was something like this:

Me: “Please Mr Postman will you climb in the car and take the handbrake off? My tough husband has pulled it up too high for me.
Postman: “Certainly madam!

……climbs in releases lever…

…car starts to roll down hill…

Me: “Ah, I think I see the flaw in this plan…!”

Anyhow, to get back to where I was in the first place, I don’t have to worry about any of the above in my own car as it is very old as I was saying…and I was given this ‘sticky mat’. It’s been great and so I’ve used it for quite a while but the other day I discovered what happens to them when they get old – they get even stickier…

I put my phone down and when I picked it up, it trailed a lean line of goo down to the dashboard .....and the mat. I decided to immediately try to throw the thing out only to discover that it had suddenly developed the texture of something akin to golden syrup and refused to be picked up. The closest texture I can think of to describe it was like the day that the BMB ‘stole’ my pack of jelly babies that had been out in the sun all day uneaten. Of course when he put his greedy little fingers in the bag he discovered why I hadn’t tried to eat them myself as they were just liquid jelly*1 by that stage and were quite inedible – babies no longer, more a large warm gelatinous mass…anyway, my mat was like that.

Eventually I did get the car all cleaned up but I just wanted to tell you the cautionary tale of what will happen to you if you have one of these in the sun for too long…..!

*1 jello

Monday, October 12, 2009

The skylark

I was in the countryside recently and saw and heard a skylark for the first time in my life. I was amazed by how high they fly and how loud they are. They start singing when they leave the ground and don’t stop until they land again and they are up there, just flying for ages and ages…

I had to mention it, it was just that wonderful!

Li'l Bird

Monday, September 21, 2009


I just went away for the weekend and I came home to a disembowelled mouse in the hall...

What makes its a little worse is that my cats are house cats and so must have found the mouse in the house!

It was awful....a dreadful sight.....

...there was kapok and hessian everywhere....!

Mouse Woot

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A long story about a roofer

Once upon a time there was a roofer – and without naming and shaming him, let’s call him Russ!

You may remember the saga of the buckets and the collapsing ceiling a little while ago and as a result of this we decided to call next door and ask for their roofer’s number since they’d had work done and seemed happy with it.

The roofer (lets’ call him Russ, shall we?) turned up, sucked air in over his teeth (compulsory for all builders) *1 and told me he’d call with a price which he duly did. In fact, the price was reasonable, so there and then, I asked when he could start work and he told me he could begin work when he got back from holiday in 2 weeks time. In the end, we agreed that he would start on the Monday, 3 weeks from our conversation to give him time to get over his holiday. He told me the work would take 3 days, which suited me nicely as I was flying to the Czech Republic on the Thursday.

The Monday duly rolls round and at 11 am when there was no sign of him I called him:– “Oh no,” he assured me “I was only going to phone you today to make arrangements. I wasn’t going to start work!” I muttered a bit and complained about how my buckets were having to multiply to keep up with the drips and so the scaffolders turned up 2 days later.

I flew away.

Saturday I get an e-mail from hubby who tells me the carpenter has been and put the timbers up – we just need the tiling done. The roofer turns up on Sunday and goes away again because he doesn’t have a ladder….?!?!! (I have no words to describe how I felt about this).

I fly home 10 days later on the Sunday – exhausted. The tiles are still missing.

Monday the roofer came to call (not the gasman) – "the timbers are wrong and the whole lot needs to come off and the chippie needs to start again". He starts to tell me how it won’t
add much to the price .....and it is at this point he discovers that waiting for the wife to get back was the wrong ploy – I was in the mood to play hardball!!

Funny thing was, that had he spoke to hubby, then hubby (being too nice in such matters) might have agreed to almost anything. As it was, I think he waited for the wife to come home because he thought she’s be a soft touch …wrong! Evil Grin.

Now, we are just a couple of days later – the carpenter has been and put the timbers right and the roofer is currently up there hammering and cutting and doing roofer type stuff. It’s going to cost us the same amount as we agreed and no – I haven’t even made him a cup of tea….

I think I like this dealing with tradesmen lark!

*1In fact, I think they get special training in it in builders school.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Reaching the plimsoll line

I was at a party recently – yes, it’s true – you see, I still have some friends…
Seriously, it was a wedding party for P& H who I hope will be very happy together. Anyway, it was a really nice evening spent with friends and I was lucky enough to catch up with a few people who I haven’t seen for ages. Almost every one of them commented on how well I looked!

You see, the thing is, I haven’t seen most of them since very early in the year – before I went into hospital to get the surgery to help deal with my achalasia symptoms (note how I don’t say it was a cure!). At that time, I was very thin (for me) and had been poorly nutritionally supported for almost a year. For 12 months, I had been eating a progressively more and more liquid diet and the last time I had seen some of these people I was living on pots of custard, soup and mashed potato (um, but not all mixed together!). I didn’t feel particularly well and plainly (judging by all the comments on Saturday) I didn’t look that well either. Heck, even my surgeon said I looked “gaunt” when I went in for my op, so I guess that’s not good!

The surgery has been a life saver (in fact, when your body is starving you to death, it quite literally was a life saver!) but as I was told beforehand, it’s not a cure. It’s true, that my stomach valve is no longer welded shut, but I still have no peristalsis and that has its own complications – as does, in fact, now having my stomach valve welded open instead. Regarding my swallow, no peristalsis means that some foods are just hopeless – apples are a non starter (or more a starter and then stick-fast) and lettuce leaves are like little parachutes that just go nowhere once they are past your throat. I am aware of hot drinks in a strange way in that they simply slide down. I don’t go swallow – thump into my stomach any longer – coffee takes a smooth passage and a mouthful takes until a count of nine before it hits bottom!

The other thing that is odd is that my stomach doesn’t stretch when it fills up – with no valve to hold it shut it simply overflows up into my oesophagus and I become very aware of the food level as it approaches my mid chest. At that point, I simply cannot eat any more as I just don’t have space. Hubby has dubbed this imaginary line that it reaches as the plimsoll line as it simply isn’t safe to overload me past this!

The upshot of all of this is that I now eat slower and can’t eat as much so my weight is not piling back on. I have however put on enough weight to stop looking gaunt and start looking well if everyone is to be believed.

Apart from the fact that all this is simply curious, something else nice (apart from the compliments) came out of the party. I actually wore a dress that I haven't even tried on for a while and it made me see how I am now rather smaller as I looked like a small child in big sister's hand me downs! Now you may not think that this is nice at all, but it is! - You see, now I have to go out and buy new clothes...just in case I get invited to any more parties...!

CLoud in a dress

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Selling the car on Ebay

We recently sold a car on Ebay – well, actually I sold the car on Ebay but it was hubby’s car, so I guess that makes it a joint effort. This car was nearly 10 years old and it was just a car you know *1. It had tax and Mot and no more dents and scratches than the odd supermarket trolley could inflict. It had an average mileage, was an average colour and was fine…nothing to complain about.

I had a slew of e-mails with questions about it…some quite bizarre – does it have (insert famous brand name here) floor mats(!), are the details in the listing correct (well, duh, no, I made it all up!) – all kinds of things and then the phone calls came. People actually requested contact details from Ebay so they could call me. I thought that was a bit off, if I’d wanted them to phone, I’d have put a number!

Anyway, I had two people really interested – one who promised to pay a deposit into my Paypal account within the hour if I only removed the listing and someone else who lived 20 miles away who wanted to come and see it. I waited for my deposit to arrive before removing the listing – it didn’t come – so what was that about? They guy who lived 20 miles away phoned me 6 times telling me when he couldn’t make it before finally telling me that he couldn’t come to see it until after the listing had ended.

I rent my clothes a little and tore some hair out….

Anyway, 7 days went by, the auction ended and I had two bids out of the blue – both for an amount I was happy with. The winning bidder called:

“Can you pick me up from the train station on Monday – I’ll bring cash”.

So, I did and he did and that was that.

I guess the moral of this tale is, if you auction your car, unless the guy is there, with you, waving cash under your nose, then you’d best just sit the auction out as it’ll all come good in the end!
i play with your car

*1It’s a Gag Hulfrunt quote …ish!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Quick news

So, I sit here at my desk peering at my clock every 20 seconds. I am off again soon and am at that stage of packed and unpacked 3 times..once to check if it would fit in a smaller bag and twice to check everything was in there. All that and I am still not sure...

How does that happen, that's what I want to know. I don't have OCD, I am organised, thoughtful and a great list maker. In fact, I made a list and ticked everything off..twice! I know that this is not uncommon and we all fear that we have left the gas on or not locked the door, but I wish it wasn't true for me for these big trips. (Actually we once went out all day and when we got home discovered hubby had left the front door wide open so it can happen...make sure you check!!!)

On the plus side, I am excited and ready to go. I can't remember being this ready to get on with it - ever! Things haven't always gone to plan this year for me and so you might think that there would be a bit less anticipation and a bit more fear but in fact, all I'm really afraid of is that I haven't packed my knickers.............or have I?

:confused: rvmp

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The talents of the talentless

I was reading this blog article (written by a good friend of mine) recently and I was fascinated by his thoughts. In turn, it got me wondering on exactly the same subject…

I guess, because we are both involved with high level sport, we see a lot of people with talent getting to wherever they want to go to with apparent ease. Sometimes you also cast your mind back to when you were in school - there was always the kid good at languages; the guy with the unbelievable talent for mental arithmetic; the person who could draw anything so well (that you were so jealous of); the person who always won the races on school sports day (well that was never going to be me!) and even the person who simply had the talent for looking the prettiest most demure thing who never, ever got into trouble.

In all of these things, I don’t think I showed an ounce of talent. I wasn’t stupid in school but I was never top of the class. I was useless at sports on the whole although I swam pretty well but never to an exceptional standard. In all of life I was competent, adequate and got by.

I look at those naturally gifted people though sometimes and I realise that their talent stops somewhere. They are often the people who have a meteoric rise to success but somehow can’t quite repeat it. They win until something goes just a bit wrong and then it completely derails them – when the going gets tough, they drop out because it’s no longer easy.

I guess this is where the people like me and countless others come into our own – our talent is there all right, it’s just that we don’t recognise it very often. Our talent is for sticking in there, for persevering, for being determined not to give up even when things aren’t perfect. You see, it is in this way that we continue to practice even when times are tough and in this way we are the people who come through in the end - you only have to look at Kelly Holmes to see that.

So, in answer to GOA, we are only limited by ourselves – not by our perceived talent or lack of it, but we only limit ourselves when we dream big but are not prepared to put in the work to get there….

Win Dance - The Dance of Win

Monday, August 03, 2009

New poll...

Just that....I was doing some wondering (well, it's what it's all about you know) and decided on the subject for a new poll.

Just in case any of you are interested...I wanted to be an Olympic swimmer! Things didn't go quite according to plan there then...but hey it leads to some interesting conversations...!?!


Friday, July 31, 2009

Sorry...couldn't resist!

I am worried about swine flu.
I heard that the first symptom is that you come out in rashers.

Another is that you get the trotts.
But, I woke up with pig tails this morning ... Should I be worried?

  • The doctor asked me how long I'd had the symptoms of Swine Flu. I said it must have been about a Weeeeeeeeeeeeeek!
  • Apparently my mate's got Swine Flu, I think he's just telling porkies, though.
  • The only known cure for Swine Flu in humans has been found to be the liberal application of oinkment.

This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed at home,
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had none.
And this little piggy had influenza A virus subtype hemagglutinin protein
1 neuraminidase protein 1

  • Swine flu, however, is not a problem for the pigs because they're all going to be cured anyway.

News Flash .... this just in. The world's religious leaders have issued a joint declaration that the swine Flu pandemic is the start of the aporkalypse.

  • Swine flu has now mixed with bird flu. Scientists say they will find a cure when pigs fly.
Flying Pig

I just heard on the news that, "Swine Flu could potentially be a threat to
every single person in the world". Well it's a good thing I'm married then, isn't it?

  • You've got to hand it to the Mexicans. Even Osama Bin Laden didn't scare this many Americans

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Crash bang wallop

Some time ago, hubby told me that we had a leak in the bay window at the top of the house (in hubby’s hobby room*1) and I suggested that we should get a roofer to look at it. In fact, I asked hubby to go next door and get the name of their roofer so that we could get it done. I then promptly forgot about it because:

  1. I have been away a lot
  2. It’s not my room and I hardly ever go in there (even when dust bunnies roll out the door when it’s opened) and
  3. I have been away a lot.

Some time passes…
Tumbleweed by brokenboulevard

Hubby tells me that he now has a bucket in the room to catch the drips and I should go and look at it (which I duly do). I am a little concerned at this point as the ceiling appears to be sagging in exactly the way that you wouldn’t expect it to*2 and I ask about the roofer’s number. It seems that hubby doesn’t have the number (although to be fair, he did ask for it but then his phone ‘ate’ it on saving). It was another visit to next door and then we had a visit from Russ the Roofer.

Russ sucked air in over his teeth (as they do) and quoted a price which seemed reasonable to me (not being a roofer). He told us he could start in 2 weeks (after his summer holiday) and I booked a space in my busy schedule.

Tuesday after yet more rain, hubby tells me that he “needs a bigger bucket” and the drip has now expanded to three. Wednesday I go away and come home Thursday night. Friday we go out for a while and we come in to find a smallish section of ceiling has detached itself from the rest and has landed partly in and mostly around the bucket. The weekend passes without incident and after an exhausting Sunday we go to bed after a nice glass of red.

2a.m. Sunday night there is a loud bang…..

…it’s the ceiling…

…it’s now on the floor…

…we now have 6 buckets on the floor and are awaiting the plasterer as well as the roofer …we need a new carpet and since all that’s going on I think a bit of re-decorating will be called for.. Any volunteers?

*1Try saying that after 4 glasses of Merlot…

*2Something akin to the way that spaceships hang in the air in exactly the way that bricks don’t…

Friday, July 10, 2009

It’s true I tell you!

I was recently going to the nearest big town and (as you do) went up the slip road onto the motorway (that would be an interstate or autobahn depending on where you live in the world!)

Anyway, I pulled out into the inside lane just to see some car in front of me start to pull in to the remaining section of slip road (which was by this time starting to narrow) – and I thought maybe he was heading for the hard shoulder with a breakdown or something. He then stopped pulling in, and ended up straddling the dotted line of the inside lane and the slip road and proceeded to drive along this section, while the lane on the left got progressively narrower and narrower. Now, call me untrusting, but anyone who seemed to have so little regard to where his car was actually positioned in the carriageway always needs a wide berth in my opinion and so I pulled out into the middle lane to do just that!

I accelerated past him (my little car may be old but it can outstrip a lot of stuff on the road*1) and as I cruised past I glanced left to see what kind of idiot was driving. I found myself looking squarely at a dog who was peering intently through the windscreen and in the left hand seat next to him was a man wearing sunglasses! Now, just stop for 2 seconds and imagine what went through my mind..... took me a little while to realise that this was a left hand drive car and therefore the dog was in the passenger seat!
Mind, given the rotten driving it may be that the driver really was blind – and maybe the dog was giving him directions??

*1 ..which is great fun at traffic lights with 17 year old boys in ‘souped up’ Vauxhall Novas thinking they can burn off the old bird in the even older car!
Cool Car

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Some thoughts on wheelchairs.

I apologise in advance for the length of this post and the philosophical nature of it all, but's been raining and somehow that gets you thinking about deep and meaningful stuff...
rain rain go away

Last weekend, I was at an airport and it got me wondering about wheelchairs. Now, this time, I was with a single friend, but normally I am in my chair with a bunch of other people – themselves largely wheelchair users. There’s a group of us, some full time chair users (like E2O), and some not (like me), but all of us relish the freedom that a wheelchair gives us. In an airport it’s the difference between being able to go to the shops, nip to the loo, head out and look out the window, nip back for coffee and then get to the plane feeling fine. The alternative to all this is – arrive at airport, find somewhere to sit down, struggle to boarding gate picking up coffee if you pass one then sitting down at the gate to wait (probably in pain) having hopefully found somewhere to sit down on the way, if you need to be at Gate 103. Hmmm, which would you do then? Which is better, which gives you more independence – more freedom, less pain?

It sounds an easy answer doesn’t it? So why are people so determined to struggle in these situations? What is it about the human condition that makes us say ‘at least I can still walk’ – ‘I can manage!’ Manage, yes, but at what cost? This has been a really hard lesson for me to learn, but I wish I had learned it years ago and now when I look back I think that I was stupid in some of the ways that I struggled to keep up and made myself stay on my own two feet just for the sake of pride.

Wheelchair dancer wrote some stuff on this and she commented on the way that people seem to regard a wheelchair as robbing people of their independence and I hope she doesn’t mind if I cut and paste....

The saddest thing for me is, however, the bog standard wheelchairs. Have you ever noticed that no one who does not own a wheelchair to begin with ever pushes themselves? The chairs are heavy. Yes. So heavy .... I know they're industrial. They're supposed to be functional for everyone. But they aren't freedom machines. They aren't independence devices. They are transport things, designed for the pusher. Everyone in them has this kind of blanked out look.

This is so true – once in a chair people seem to expect to be pushed. They become one with the chair and not in a good way. They are the chair – the chair is a symbol of being incapable, of being abnormal and yes, that is really sad to be that way.

I find that I say to people that I hate my chair when it sits in the corner of my room and looks at me, telling me that I am disabled but I love it when I am in it. I love that freedom. I too am part of my chair (or it is part of me) but I love it. It gives me ‘legs’ that work properly, it gives me speed and balance. It helps me manage my pain – I can go further, I can go faster, I can carry things – it gives me so much I can’t begin to explain...

Friday, July 03, 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ooo, look at the big green pond over there...

Recently hubby and I decided to clean out our pond which has got quite overgrown by plants in the last year or so. We’ve actually got a lot of fish in the pond as well – originally we had 6 goldfish and 2 ghost koi and over the years most of the goldfish have died, but not before procreating in large numbers, so now we have too many of them to count. Actually, we probably could count them, but they very inconveniently keep swimming around instead of lining up and keeping still to make the job easy – if only I could get them to behave like the miis in the Wii plaza…but still, there you go, I can’t so I’ve given up trying to count them! The koi are still there and have both grown as lot although one has grown more than the other and has (by virtue of being a bully and extremely greedy) become big enough to have earned the name ‘Monstro’!

So, we were cleaning the pond and Monstro (possibly because he could actually see out of the pond without all the plants in the way) was splashing around taking an interest in all that was going on. It was at that point that he suddenly decided to make a break for it and leapt out of the pond, landing on the grass about 4ft away. Now I know we’ve had enough algae in the pond in the past for him to maybe think that the grass might be another big lake-y type thingie, but this really was a jump too far! It was at this point (around the time that he lay there flapping and squeaking about how breathing really wasn’t as easy any more!), that hubby grabbed at him to try and get him back into the pond. Well, large fish can squirm a lot it seems and hubby had a real problem hanging on to him. Monstro was flapping and hubby was struggling and trying to turn towards the pond and Monstro made another leap for it – this time hitting the side of the pond with a thump, falling in the water with a splash and sinking without a trace.

“OMG!” I rushed to the side of the pond – only to see Monstro slowly heading back up to the surface looking a little dazed (and slightly scraped down one side). I decided to act goalie for a bit, just in case he got any other funny ideas, but he was more sensible than I gave him credit for and decided that he’d had enough adventuring for one day!

So, here we are, a couple of weeks on and his scrape has healed nicely (leaving the kind of impressive scar that he can tell the other fish how brave he was*1) and he is back to his usual bullying greedy self. Long may he stay swimming in water...!
Bouncing Fish

*1 Reminds me of the ‘call that a scar?’ incident…

Monday, June 22, 2009

The inevitability of change

After a recent conversation with hubby I began to wonder about the way that our lives change over the years.

Nothing ever stays the same, does it? Pets and people grow old (hopefully) and die (sometimes too young). Your health waxes and wanes – even if you just feel run down or pick up a cold in the winter. New technology means that we buy the new TV or camera that has made our old one obsolete and our cars get rusty and prone to breaking down. Actually, that last point isn’t strictly true with my car, it’s old but not too rusty and doesn’t break down – it does however make weird gurgling noises when it rains and the rain gets in thorough the sun roof and gets trapped in the ceiling....but I digress....

Hubby and I were talking about how your relationships change as your time together evolves. When you are young and in love you spend all your time together. For much of the time you are joined (quite literally) at the hip and even outside of that you spend every waking moment together or calling each other. Then life just seems to take over and for many people children happen. Their lives are suddenly transformed into providing a nappy changing, feeding and onwards to taxi service. The couple don’t spend so much time together, they spend it with the children...(we by-passed this and moved onto the next stage (having no kids!)). Then, the kids leave home and the couple want to do all those things that they didn’t have time for when the kids were occupying their time. Much of their time is spent with work and the social life attached to that, some of them join clubs and societies and have ‘a life of their own’ and as a couple they end up spending no more of their time together than they did when the kids were around. Maybe they even spend less as at least they did things as a family when the kids were small...

Time marches on (as it has a habit of doing), something else becomes obsolete and needs replacing and then the mortgage is paid off and it’s time to retire from work. Guess what happens....the couple end up spending every waking moment together again, just like they did in the first flush of love. Isn’t that amazing?

I suppose what I wondered the most about all of this, is that although those changes are bound to happen, sometimes we don’t like the way that time keeps moving on, forcing us to get ever older and making us continually adjust to stuff. But, it’s how we cope with that change that makes us who we are. Should we move forward kicking and screaming, should we be depressed at the passage of time or should we go forward always looking back with regret at what has passed? I don’t think we should do any of those – I think we should look to the future as an undiscovered country – yes it will always change and yes, I will get older, but life is just like that. Since purple is my favourite colour, I guess I won’t have any issues about wearing it when I get old either!

Trampoline fun

Monday, June 15, 2009

New poll day....

Yes, you got it, it's a new poll day....

Please vote - I promise it will have more effect on the politics of this country than our current system!


Friday, June 12, 2009

Chatanooga ripple....

We went out recently to a Glenn Miller concert. No, don’t be silly, we’re not time travellers, it was a tribute type thingie! Anyway, we took my mother out to this concert because it was her birthday and it was a significant one – one of those ones that starts with eight and ends with zero – not that I’m mentioning her age you understand...

Anyway, we were up in the balcony and (as I like to do) I looked out over the audience and decided that I was plainly the youngest person there (by about 40 years) – ignoring of course PMB, SIL and hubby. The average age in the audience was, um, well, ancient and I reckon the collective age may well have headed into the millions! These were people who probably did see Glenn Miller when he was alive and when they were young and trendy!

So, the lights dimmed and the music started and the whole audience started rippling, grey heads were nodding up and down and rocking from side to side like some mild version of the St Vitus dance – at one point one couple even got up and started jiving in the aisle (although to be fair they didn’t do too much before the gentleman stopped - visibly heaving for breath) – all the same, everybody had a really fab time. Even I had a fab time, and I’m not poking fun here, it really was great to see so many people out there enjoying themselves.

It was halfway through the concert that I looked to my right and there, about 6 seats away in my row was a young boy of about 10 years of age and he was bopping up and down in his seat, playing imaginary drums, trumpets and saxophones. He was grinning from ear to ear and thoroughly enjoying the whole thing. Now apart from the fact that he alone probably lowered the average age of the audience from ancient to merely old, it was just so refreshing to see and just proves that that Glenn Miller chappy knew good music!

Notemoticons 2

Thursday, June 04, 2009

In-truder alert!*

MBP phoned me a few days ago and was complaining that he hadn’t had much sleep the night before and so I asked him what the problem was. He started to tell me that it was the SIL, but not quite in the way that you might think....

The SIL was woken at about 2.30 in the morning by a strange noise and she told me she thought it was a large moth. In the way that you do, she lay awake for a bit in the dark, straining to hear what was happening and then heard more noise and began to wonder if it was a mouse. It did seem odd that a mouse might have got in and climbed the stairs just to leap up and down on the spare bedroom bed in order to wake her up, but it's true that odd things do go through your mind at that time in the morning. Added to the mouse theory, was the possibility of revenge, as after mice getting into the garage and munching their way through a spare duvet that had been stored there, traps had been set...I will say no more...!

After a bit more clattering and what sounded distinctly like a meow, the SIL bravely got up to investigate and on opening the door of the spare room spotted a cat who immediately ran under the bed! Now, MBP and the SIL don’t own a cat and it wasn’t one of ours that had smuggled its way home in one of my brother’s shoes so she couldn’t quite believe her eyes. She got down on her knees and peered under the bed and yes, it really was a cat! It was back to the bedroom to wake MBP who so far was oblivious to all this excitement.

“Wake up”, she said, “we have an intruder – there’s a cat under the bed...”
“Grummph, blurgle” he mumbled “do you want a hand?” – he said in a tone of voice that really meant ‘please say no and let me get back to sleep....’

The SIL is made of stronger stuff than that and so he got up to give her a hand! They both peered under the bed and she was right – there really was a cat under there. Thus ensued a certain amount of time playing ‘catch the cat’, which as any cat owner who has ever wanted to take their pet to the vet will tell you is lots of fun*2....and eventually, the cat was outside the front door.

First a frog :hexentanz:, next a cat
:cat: ...let’s just hope they’re not working their way up to bigger animals....

* Danger Will Robinson!

*2 ...and is something akin to how to give your cat a pill...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Ah! The annual get-together...

This year we had a party..actually, most summers we have a party and they vary in size and scale depending on whether either of us has a significant birthday! TBH I can’t actually remember how it all started, but I think it was when hubby turned 40. I may have previously mentioned that all our friends are scattered to the four corners of Britain (well, maybe not quite that far afield, but almost) and so we just don’t get to see them as often as we would like. The summer party gives us (and them) that chance - the chance for us all to meet up and just spend a bit of time together. After the first one, the next one was organised for us when the POG *invited a few friends to our place for the weekend and suddenly we were throwing another party!

I love it – I love to see everyone and I just wish it wasn’t for such a short period of time. The cost to us is the food (this year barbequed chicken with salad and a cooked breakfast for 15) and in return we gain a significant quantity of alcohol. The equation goes something like this:

3 chickens + salad + coleslaw (made by the VNSO – yum yum!) + sides + crisps and snacks + Pimms and punch + 12 bottles of Carslberg + cooked breakfast = at least 8 bottles of wine + 5 bottles of cider + 11 cans of beer + 5 cans of lager + 2 bottles of cava!

Seems fair to me!

Apart from the food and drink, the only other cost is the work. The preparation is tough on me for a few days before (mostly because I feel a need to clear enough floor space for all the airbeds...) but once the BUF arrives I find myself with almost nothing to do. I’d like to call her a treasure, but she might blush, so all I will do is publicly thank her via this blog! I am really lucky generally – as soon as folks arrive, I no longer have to be the hostess with the mostess – they all run around, fetching and carrying and even making me coffee while I sit down and (on this occasion) put my feet up in the sun. Can partying really get any better than this?

Now, where’s the diary, I want to set a date for next year....

* Probation officer guy

Thursday, May 28, 2009

New poll...

Just that ------look right------:pointright: and down a bit.....

A body full of potential

I recently ran into a friend of mine (while out shopping) and he asked me how my hand was. Now, this was because I recently had an unexpected visit to the accident and emergency department of my local hospital with a hole in my hand and whole bunch of carbon splinters decorating it. As it turns out, my hand really wasn’t so bad, but news spreads pretty quick (especially when folks think it’s gory) and he was worried.

Look” I said, waving my hand under his nose, “it’s not so bad, I’ve just got a sticking plaster, that’s all.”
Dur”, he said (please note the local dialect!) “you’re hard you are....but then I guess you’ve got to be, living in your body!

Now, that got me to wondering about this body of mine and how good or bad it is. Now, I don’t mean how beautiful (or not) that it is – after all, like most women, there’s bits of my body I like (my nose is OK) and bits I don’t (who dished out those knees for goodness sake!) but what I mean is the working-ness of it (if there is even such a word!).

There are some times when I don’t like my body at all – the times when I wake up and it doesn’t work properly, the times when I have to lift my leg into the car rather than merely helping it in because its quicker and the times when it just hurts way too much and I think that it isn’t really fair. It’s those times when I guess you do have to be just a bit ‘hard’ to live inside it and put up with all those things you’d rather not.

But (and here’s the thing) most of the time I actually think my body is rather wonderful. My wiring in my legs is all wonky and when I was born my parents had no way of knowing if I would ever walk. Doctors are still amazed that I ever learned to do so and despite the fact that many things have gone wrong with it over the years, it recovers and mends and gets on with stuff. More than anything else this funny body has helped me reach for the stars and has achieved amazing things. It has allowed me to explore a future I never thought I would have and has allowed me to fulfil my dreams and even has potential to achieve even more in the years to come.

So, am I hard? Or has my body really helped make it rather easy for me?


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Why is walking so important to us?

I recently heard about Major Phil Packer who crossed the London Marathon finish line two weeks after starting and I began to wonder about his amazing achievement from which he’s managed to raise an astounding amount of money for Help for Heroes.

I spoke to hubby about it as I wondered what it was about walking especially that people see as so essential to life – what it is that makes people so frightened about becoming disabled and not being able to walk. Hubby tried to explain to me that most people can just walk. It’s not a struggle and they learn so young that they can never remember not being able to do so. This is hard for me to grasp. I remember learning to walk and it has never been especially natural for me so I can’t really ‘get’ what it is, that is then so scary about losing the skill. For me it’s that, a skill, like learning to knit or something, and I see that there are alternatives, but I guess for most non-disabled people they cannot imagine a life before walking and therefore can’t imagine one after...

I actually think that in all of this and in Major Packer’s great achievement, I think what impresses me the most (and I suspect many other people as well) is that it’s not that the walking really is the wonderful thing about what he has done, but it’s the fact that it’s a measure of his determination and perseverance. It’s that that I admire the most – walking may be more useful on hills than wheeling, but the fact that he has set out to do something so difficult to raise money for such a special cause is the most important thing in all of this.

Walking soldierWalking soldierWalking soldierWalking soldierWalking soldierWalking soldierWalking soldier