Friday, 30 May 2008

An Eventful Coach Journey!

It was beautiful weather when we booked the trip to Scarborough in Yorkshire. We thought it would be bracing to be by the North Sea and that it would cool us down a bit!
The morning of our departure arrived. The rain was pouring down over the whole of the south of England. So we set off in a storm of slashing rain and high winds and it was also decidedly chilly. What a way to start a coach trip!
We had to change coaches at a large coach station, where it was still pouring with rain.
The driver had locked our cases inside the luggage compartment at the side of the vehicle, which was  beneath the seating area. He told us to come back and collect them in half an hour, as our new coach had not come in yet.
We went for a cuppa and returned just before the coach was to be opened up and noticed a lady by herself looking very distressed. She was wanting to board that coach  and she badly needed the loo, but as she was disabled, she could not take her case with her on the long trek to the loos. I suggested that as we needed to take our cases off the coach that we would be able to put hers on at the same time. So off she trundled with her sticks. My good deed for the day!
However, jobs-worth driver had other ideas! "I'm not putting anything on," He said, "Just taking things off." I asked him if he would keep an eye out for the lady's case as we were going to be late for ours if we had to wait for lady to return. Very reluctantly he agreed.
By now we were soaking!

Our new driver was a Scottish man, named Jock, who told us optimistically that it would be lovely weather north of Birmingham,
As I looked at the passing scenery from the coach window, several posts started to take form in my head! I had a notebook so started to write down notes.
We pulled up at a large Service Station  somewhere around Birmingham. This is the territory of Swearing Mother and I wondered whether she was sitting next to me as I supped my tea in the restaurant. I would never know if she was, nor would she know me!

Suddenly, POW! The lights went off! We had suffered a power cut! Luckily we'd had our tea but others would not be so lucky as all machinery was dead. Tills were stuck!
We had to get to the toilets which were upstairs. The tiny emergency lights had started up as the generator kicked in and we were just able to see the way to the escalators that had stopped.
Upstairs the tiny lights led us to the toilet area but it was like going into a black hole. I had to check what kind of lock it was as once the door had shut I was practically blind. No way of seeing if conditions inside were clean. I was thinking of Expatmum  by now as she likes a good toilet yarn!  Armed with tissues, I decided not to risk the seat, but to squat and my poor thighs wobbled with the strain. No way to check if I'd left the seat clean, nor would the electronically powered flush work. I was pleased that there was hot water but the soap dispensers were not working for some reason, neither were the hand dryers. I fumbled my way out and wondered how Harry was faring in the gents. I hoped he would be able to aim straight in the dark and wished I'd packed more pairs of trousers, in case he hadn't. However, he came out laughing and his trousers looked OK, his hands were covered in soap as there was no water as there was only an electronically powered spray in the gents. 

We got back to the coach and the experience had really broken the ice! Everyone was joking about the blackout and the fact that there were still coaches arriving at the Service Station, passengers little realizing that they were not allowed in anymore and there were staff at the doors to prevent anyone going in. We wondered what the poor passengers would do with full bladders and growling stomachs. Best not to think of it.
We got really friendly with two other couples through that little fiasco!
As we arrived in Scarborough, the weather had dried out just as Jock had predicted.
Things looked promising.
The holiday had just begun!

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Tagged by Suburbia! We're On Holiday!

Harry and I are having a holiday on the north east coast and will be back at the weekend ( 31st May.) I will leave you with some things to do while I'm gone!

As I don't run very fast, I have been tagged by Suburbia.
She asks me to write six things about myself that you mightn't know. This might be difficult as I've done this kind of thing before.
Then you must tag six other people & let them know you have tagged them. Let me know when you've done the tag so that I can see your answers.

ONE.      I won a beauty competition when I was a baby. My mother was on holiday and entered me in a small village fair. I won first prize and the local Mum's were miffed!

TWO.     My mother was the youngest of TEN living children!

THREE. My father was an only child as his mother had had six miscarriages and still births before he was born.

FOUR.    I used to do a lot of embroidery before my eye sight got too bad.

FIVE,      Before I started blogging I used to read 2 novels a week. Now I am lucky to read one per fortnight!  

SIX.       I collect Russian Babushka dolls and Japanese Kokeshi dolls. Both types are made out of wood! 

Well!!!!!!!! I'm sure you found that riveting!  It is hard to write things about yourself unless you are being asked specific questions.

I have to tag six people that haven't been tagged. MMMHHH! Some of you don't like tags or memes...... which are they, I wonder?
Let's go for it!   

Ok you lot get to it and think of six things I don't know about you.

The Lehners In France have asked me to link MOB and Aims as they are both up for awards. I have pleasure in doing that as they are great blogs, both of them!
MOB (Menopausal Old Bag) is up for The Funniest Blog Category and she is currently in third place.
Aims is up for The Most Inspirational Blog and although she is leading, the gap is growing smaller.
Please take a minute out of each day to pay a visit and to leave your vote.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

The Waiting Game!

I have been sorting out the photos that I took during the half term, when Sam, Amber, Millie and I travelled a good way to the sea only to find when we got there it emptied down with rain.

Although Sam was the one who first got me started on putting one photo at a time on my post, it was Crazy Cath who wrote me a very good email explaining how to put multiple photos on one post. So this is my first attempt at multi photos. Thanks Sam and Crazy Cath.

What can you do with two young children cooped up in a car while a storm blows outside? Only one other car in the car park!

Well you could give Millie driving lessons! And look out of the window and gaze at the storm or start eating your sandwiches one hour early!

Whatever is Amber doing? Maybe she has dropped a sandwich! Getting a bit bored with the waiting now!

At last! A gap in the storm and ten minutes on the deserted beach before the next downpour that involved hail, thunder and lightening!
Ah well, it made a change from the city!

Monday, 19 May 2008

My Dream...........

This week in Weekend Wandering, David has invited us to write "What Is Your Dream?"
So I will endeavour to write what I dream about.

I dream that the World might be filled with peace.
That wars will be no more.
That people will stop fighting each other.
That hard eyes of sadistic cruelty....... will melt into kindness & love.
That children will be forever protected by adults and never be exploited or criticized to the point where they have no feelings of self worth.
That people will live in harmony and love, no matter what faith or race they might come from.
That animals will not have to suffer at the hands of mankind, just because they are animals

I dream that everyone will have enough to eat and that the richer countries will give a slice of their cake to people who have never tasted cake.
That everyone will have clean drinking water and a roof over their head, that is sturdy enough to withstand the strongest storm.
That everyone will be equal and that there will no more oppression and slavery.

I dream that we will conquer the bad illnesses of the world and that every one will live to reach their full potential and not be stricken with killer cancers and diseases that prevent them from living normally.
I dream that people will respect others and and also their environment. That they will think before they start to chop down rain forests for profit and other such destroying projects.

From a Christian point of view, I believe all these  bad things will pass away and every thing will be made new........... after Jesus comes again to sort out the sad world that we some times find our selves to be in.
In the meantime........ we must work together to fight for some of the things we can change. To help others and try and make a difference in their lives.
You may well ask what can be done with such a mammoth amount of problems?
Well, even lots of little things can help to make a big thing.
We all know about the environment and I'm sure we all do our bit to help with this.
We can also help the people who are struggling in the world to survive through lack of food and clean water, who are also suffering from disease because of lack of money for basic drugs.
We can help with sponsoring a child or even knitting a few squares towards a blanket for overseas distribution. 
We can run the Race For Life or support some one else who is running, so that we might try and find a cure for cancer.
We can help our  elderly neighbours  with little jobs that they might feel they cannot do any more. Just a simple thing like changing a light bulb might be difficult for them. Or we can be there to listen, when a lonely person needs to talk.   
It is futile to waste our time quarrelling as we never know how long we are on this earth for. It is such a waste of time.
I dream that maybe after I have left this place that we call Earth and moved to the next world, that I might have made a difference to someone else's life! Just for one such person, it would have all been worth it.

Today is my Birthday, so I'd like everyone to have a slice of my virtual cake or a piece of my dream! Too bad its a Monday and I have to work till 8.30 pm because of a wretched meeting/training!

Friday, 16 May 2008

Miscellaneous Updates!

Today I was reading the latest post from Confessions of a Rotten Correspondent, who decided to do an update of all the recent tales she had told about people, that had no out come and had left people wondering........
I must admit there are things that people might be wondering about our lives, so I have copied her excellent idea.

Well the first update is that Japan is managing quite alright without my family! That is rather silly! I just wanted to put in an unusual picture. However, as it depicts a festival of some kind, thought I would give you an update on the May Day activities.
In my post about Morris dancing, here  I told how I'd made a pair of trousers for Sam in very bright colours for him to take part in a display. Some people outside this country didn't know what Morris dancing was, so we put in a link and if you still have difficulty with this, you will be able to look it up.
On the morning of the display, Kaiko was not in the mood to go, as I suppose being her day off she wanted to chill out instead. I think you have to be English to do this mad sort of thing, anyway! So Sam took the children with him early and it was arranged that Harry and I would follow in our own time. It was quite a journey to go, so we didn't want to be stranded there all day.
Harry & I were about to start out on the journey and suddenly received a phone call from Sam, asking if we could bring a spare pair of pants for Amber as she had sat on a dog poo which was on a wall that she was sitting on. Dirty but clever dog to do that on a wall, which makes me think it must have been a fox.
As an afterthought he said, "Oh and would you bring some sewing equipment as the trousers need repairing."
Well, I thought this last bit was a wind up about my sewing, but I did slip in a needle and thread just in case.

When we got there, I quickly changed Amber's trousers & gave her hands a good wash. Then I asked Sam about the trousers and the whole Morris dancing troupe were falling about laughing as  one of the back pockets had almost been forced off. Sam had stuffed it with wallet & phone & obviously had put too much in there. Nothing at all to do with my sewing! 
Anyway, it was good fun watching the dancers & all the locals seemed to enjoy it as much as we did.

You might be all wondering what the outcome is of our son in law, who had a brain tumour removed recently. Unfortunately, it is not a good one, as the test revealed that it was a secondary tumour from the malignant melanoma that he had removed from his shin twelve years earlier. It was a tiny mole that had started to bleed and irritate when he put his socks on.
He is going to have radio therapy but we have been warned that it can't be cured and will keep coming back and no one knows where it will strike next or how long it will take. So this has been a terrible shock.
I feel I need to warn everyone to check your moles out, as I'd hate any one else to have to go through the same thing as our family is right now. 
Sorry to leave on a rather sad note...........

Tuesday, 13 May 2008


Weekend Wandering comes in very handy sometimes, giving me a helping hand in choosing a theme for a post. This week, David asked "What Is The Best Decision You Ever Made?"

I was really stumped with this one and wondered whether to leave it this week! However, I decided to start the post in the hope that something would jump out of the key board!
Well, my thoughts on the subject are probably what every one else will say, the day I said "Yes" to Harry! Hopefully no one else said "Yes" to him! But you know what I mean. The decision to marry someone, hopefully is the best decision you will ever make.

I often wonder what it would have been like if I hadn't have said "Yes." My family would be non existent & my life would be what? I don't know! Anyway........ I'm really glad I did say "Yes."
This year we will celebrate our forty fifth anniversary!

However, there are other important things that I have done. I have already written in a post about my faith, that I was baptized after being converted to Christianity at forty one years of age by total immersion. That was a fairly profound thing to do and it has certainly changed my life for the better and not only in this life but the next too. 

On a lighter note...... when my son told me that he was buying me a computer eight years ago, I told him I would not be at all able to cope with it & had no interest in one what so ever. As usual, he took no notice and bought one any way on one of his visits home from Japan. It was a pink iMac, a strange shaped one quite unlike the flat screened one I have today. I had one week to learn to email and before that I had never even switched a computer on. I was a bit scared of it at first but later progressed to web cams and had chats with the grand daughters when they eventually came into the world. This really did open up my life to family on the other side of the globe.
Well the rest you know. That first computer led the way to the blogging and that has opened up new horizons too! However, I did have to make a decision to use the computer and not send it back. I am really pleased that I made the decision to keep it, now.

The pink iMac is still going strong, but was not fast enough for web cams or blogging, so the girls watch CDs and play games on it. I will always have a soft spot for it though.

Well........ how do I choose the most important decision I ever made. I want to say husband & family. I will definitely not say the computer! Because these things are transient & will pass away or break down ........... sorry Harry and family..... it has to be my trust and faith in Jesus because that will be for ever!

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Cheers To The Girl in Bangladesh!

My regular readers will remember that I wrote about the dangers of recycling when I injured my foot through stomping on Sam's beer cans. This had to be done so that I could compact them down into the bottom of bags of foil and aluminium for Church. Feeling slightly embarrassed that we were now contributing beer cans in quite a big way and that we might be thought of as secret drinkers approaching alcoholism, I hid the cans under all the other foil from pies and things.

What does Church want with them anyway, you might well ask? Well they sponsor a little girl in Bangladesh with the proceeds of the aluminium after it is sold. This provides her with a meal a day and an education that she would not otherwise receive. So I suppose it could be an incentive for my son to drink up!

I don't really care too much about what other people think of me. In fact the older I get, the more I can get away with bizarre behaviour, as I can always blame my age and have been doing that for years! Several bloggers advised me to purchase a can crusher to save my feet from getting further damaged and I am now the proud owner of a deluxe model that is mounted on the kitchen wall. It is quite therapeutic crushing down cans! There's something a bit pathetic about that statement, isn't there? If the lever of the can crusher is pulled correctly and the can turned upside down so that the air is forced out of it, all is well. However, every now and then the crumpled can is liable to leap out when you least expect it to. There should be a warning on these contraptions to use protective goggles!

Now I have developed a horrible habit of picking up cans from the pavement. Usually they have been flung from cars onto the pavement and I turn the cans upside down to let left over liquid to trickle into the gutter. Sometimes I get odd looks as I really don't look like a down and out who needs to slurp down other people's leftovers hurriedly.
I have been known to say, "If everybody picked up a can, the street would be a lot cleaner!" I am also thinking of the little girl in Bangladesh, as I'm sure she doesn't care where the money for her meal comes from. Whether its from coke or beer cans, from the street or anywhere else.

After my can crushing, I wash my hands carefully in case someone really horrid dropped the cans and I watch with fascination as the bag fills up quite quickly with little two inch condensed can stumps.

So I don't really care anymore who thinks what! After all, I know that I hardly drink at all and I say, "Cheers," to the Bangladeshi girl, when others do! 

Thursday, 8 May 2008

I Was Only Six Years Old.........

I was only six years old, in the days when children could run down the road to play with a friend. I was returning home from such a visit when I saw a lady lying in one of the neighbouring gardens. She was lying on the path and I recognized her as the old lady who worked in the grocer's shop in the High Street.
Her basket was turned over on its side and the unwrapped crusty loaves were scattered all around her. She had been delivering bread as she always did. 
I ran up the path & gently shook the lady's arm. "Excuse me, are you alright?" I asked her. Even at that age I knew she was not alright as she was not responding and there was a rattling sound coming out of her throat.
I ran home as fast as I could and told my mum, who got a blanket and cushion and then she hurriedly took me next door and left me with Mrs Lewis and off she went to try to help the old lady as best she could. The nearest pay phone was in High Street at least five minutes away. No one had phones in those days unless you had a shop or some other business. Doctors were usually called out in these circumstances.
I was very upset that my mother had left me with Mrs Lewis, after all I had been first on the scene and now I was being treated like a baby.

When my mum returned and took me home, where my brother was still sleeping in his cot, she told me that a neighbour had got a doctor, but that the lady had died.

This was the first experience that I had of death, and it played on my mind for a long time and started me thinking of my own mortality and that of the people who were closest to me. When I think of my oldest grand daughter being only a little younger than I was, I wonder what she would have done. Of course this would never have happened today, as children are accompanied every where by grown ups.
I worried about death for a long time after that incident. Not surprising really.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

One Word Meme!

You can see how untidy I am by the condition of the potted plants in a corner of my garden. I must get out & DO something with them!

I have been tagged by Crazy Cath to answer the following questions with only ONE WORD per sentence!
This was due to my not waiting long enough to comment on her blog when she said that the people who wrote the first five comments would be tagged! I mistakenly thought I was sixth! So here goes..........

Where is your mobile phone? Handbag.
Your significant other? Out.
Your hair? Yes!
Your mother? Remembered.
Your father? Same.
Your favourite thing? Family.
Your dream last night? Pleasant.
Your favourite drink? Tea.
Your dream/goal? Arriving!
The room you are in? Lounge.
Your ex?  Non.
Your fear? Depression.
Where you want to be in six years? Alive!
Where were you last night? Here.
What you're not? Tidy!
Muffins? Occasionally.
One of your wish items? Health.
Where you grew up? Places.
The last thing you did? Washed.
What are you wearing? Clothes.
Your TV? Average.
Your pets? Non.
Your computer? Alert.
Your life? Reasonable!
Your mood? Peaceful.
Missing Someone? Deb.
Your car? None.
Something you're not wearing? Tattoos!
Favourite store? Wilkinson's!
Your summer? Warm!
Like someone? Lots.
Your favourite colour? Blue.
When was the last time you laughed? Today.
The last time you cried? Floods!

Well........... there you go folk! I will tag the first FIVE people on my comments! Now come on, I don't want see "0 comments" on my post!

DON'T FORGET! ONE WORD ANSWERS ONLY! Not easy! Please let me know when you have done the tag!

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Connie You Piss Me Off Sometimes...........

This week David with his Weekend Wandering asks "How Do You Choose Your Friends?" I feel that friendship is something that happens as you get to know people, usually when there is some kind of common ground, such as children or pets or hobbies. I feel there is a kind of chemistry that bonds people.
Some friendships fizzle out as people grow in different directions. Some times that is sad, but sometimes it can be a relief when one or the other drops away.
Although I have made dozens of acquaintances, I can count on one hand true friendships that are highly valued. These are the kind that give and take and are somehow made of cement!

Blogging has given me lots of virtual friends and I am truly overawed by the people I have got to know through this fairly new hobby. Even with this, some friends seem closer than others. It is a great hobby and I hope that it will continue to blossom. I feel I really know you all!

I had already prepared this account of a recent day at work with Connie and thought I would let every one know how it feels when a friendship is not perfect! A working relationship can be with some one that you'd never really give a second glance to outside the job or it can develop into true friendship. I have a certain affection for Connie but have no desire to see her outside work although she has tried to arrange meetings before. (I am not very nice!)

I have worked with Connie for a long time. I know she means well and can be a really sincere and kind person but she can also really put her foot in it!
The very fact that I am writing this makes me somewhat annoyed with my self. After all, its not very pleasant running down a work colleague, but it is my blog and I need the therapy of writing this down and getting it off my chest!

At the best of times, Connie can be irritating. She has the habit of asking me at least six times an hour if I am alright! I have repeatedly assured her that I am and that she doesn't need to ask again that day.
"Are you alright?" she starts. I usually smile & nod or make some facial gesture that I am indeed OK! But that isn't good enough. She will then go on, "Do you hear that, Maggie? Are you alright?" I might make another gesture that I am. She will then come over and hit my arm for attention. "I said are you alright, Maggie?"
"Yes." I reply, "I am alright." Under my breath I am thinking "Or at least I was until you started this!"
"Pardon?" she shouts. She is a little deaf.
"I AM FINE," I shout back, trying not to show my irritation.

Connie has the habit of going on about my age. She is eleven years younger than me. She talks to me as though I am her mother and in fact, calls me "Mother" frequently. I have often assured her that I was a very good girl when I was eleven years old, so I could not possibly be her mother. I can laugh at this situation when I'm in the right mood and go a long with the joke. Only it isn't a joke- she seems to believe it. To hear her talk you'd think I was a hundred years old. Well, if I was, she'd be eighty nine!

Sometimes at work, its best to keep quiet about certain situations that might arise. Situations that we do not want to draw anyone's attention to. However Connie might say,"Why, what's the problem? Do you hear that Maggie? What is it? What's the secret?" She doesn't seem to see the eye rolling or the frantic, silent mouthing, "Tell you later" from the rest of us. Well I am sure you've got the picture by now.

The other day was hard for me as it was the day that our son in law was having the tumour removed from the back of his brain. I knew it was happening at the very same time I was working. The afternoon was dragging really unusually slowly. Everyone at work knows the situation, but I hadn't told any one that the operation was that day, least of all Connie. I just didn't want any one to know how or what I was feeling.
All my other working colleagues are great and respect my space, as they know what is going on in my life. Not that it affects my work in anyway, as I can lose myself in it, but that afternoon did drag on.

"Maggie," Connie piped up, "Your face is changing. You are definitely looking older!"
"We all are, Connie," I almost spat out.
"Are you feeling alright, Maggie?" she started yet again. "Maggie, I said are you alright Maggie?Maggie are you OK?"
Thank God I didn't have a sledge hammer in my hand!
Inside my head I am thinking,"Will you bloody well shut up!"

Friday, 2 May 2008

Bling Time again & A Challenge!

This pretty award came from Jules and I'd like to say thank you to her. If you have never been to her blog, I suggest you do it now, as she has a good sense of humour and her posts are well worth reading!
Jules of Just because...  asked any one who read her post to take an award from a selection that she was offering, if they hadn't got one. So I did, as I didn't have this particular one. This is a bit like stamp collecting, isn't it?

So I am going to also invite any one who reads my blog, who hasn't got this award to help themselves!

Another award has been given to me by Sweet Irene. I know she calls herself some thing different now but I think we all call her Sweet Irene and probably always will. Thanks Irene. She says that I make her smile, which is a lovely compliment.

I have to pass this award on to some one else who makes me smile now.

Swearing Mother makes me laugh, so she ought to have one.

Also Mother's Pride   because I often have a chuckle on her page.

Maybe it would be a bit of fun if any one who reads this post could describe themselves with only FIVE words beginning with the same letter of the alphabet! Any letter you like!
I will start the ball rolling with me.

Groovy,Grey-eyed, Guzzling, Gutsy Gran!  (Could have put giggler).
Over to you!