A Christmas visitor

Christmas morning began quietly. Owl had not got to bed until 5am (wrapping my presents apparently). Pug was still asleep and both Statto and Skater were at my mother’s due to arrive about 11am. I had a couple hours of peace to enjoy a cup of tea and catch up on my Christmas messages before everyone else appeared. Owl joined me for a while before going back to bed. He was still asleep when the rest of the family arrived.

Skater made bacon sandwiches for everyone, Statto wrote out his cooking plan for the dinner. This allowed a 20 minute window for present opening. I am sure this actually took nearer to an hour. I had some lovely gifts from various family members plus a few from friends. I was forbidden to take any photos of Statto and Skater working together to cook our Christmas dinner. The one downside to having my grown up sons cooking our meal is the debris that is left behind when they have cooked. But hey that is a small price to pay. The kitchen didn’t just look like a bomb site but a very steamed up bomb site. I opened up the sliding doors that lead to the garden.

The six of us sat down to a delicious meal, all the traditional components, except that Statto had added his own twists to the vegetables. Crackers were pulled, hats donned, a variety of topics discussed. We were just about to start clearing the table when I looked towards the kitchen door. To my astonishment I saw that we had an uninvited visitor in our kitchen.

IMG_2220 my lads piled into the kitchen to try to help him find his way out. This led to a flight into the extra room (after 2.5 years we still haven’t quite decided what to do with this room).IMG_2221Then it was back into the kitchen.IMG_2222It was then agreed that rather than keep chasing him around we would leave him to find his own way out which he did do eventually after hopping around the top of the kitchen cupboards.

Excitement over, the big clear up could begin. Dishwasher loaded, we could then sit down to a game of Pointless, which was one of my gifts from Owl. The game was nearing its last round when Prodigal and Model arrived, having spent the earlier part of the day with Model’s family. Team Mum and Pug were triumphant in the game with mum being the only contestant to get two yes that’s right two pointless  answers during the game. I wasn’t really smug about that, honest, well not much.

The evening was spent chatting, what I really liked was the fluidity of the evening, With the various family members moving around the room to chat, some of us at the table and some in the seating area with the tv on. Every few moments at least one person would move to a different place to chat to someone else.  I love the way that my four sons have grown up to be such good friends. They all enjoy each other’s company. The three eldest all work at the same place too (Statto full time employed, whilst Prodigal and Pug are both part time self employed to fit around their other activities ie Pug’s Uni and Prodigal’s band).

I enjoyed chatting to Model, I am sure this is the longest chat we have ever had even though she and Prodigal have been together for nearly 11 years. I have always liked her but we just don’t get the opportunity to spend much time together. Hopefully this will improve, I am looking forward to visiting them in their London flat at some time in the not too distant future. By the time they departed to take my dear mother home it was rather chilly out side and a frost had already begun.

So that is another Christmas day ended and another year of blogging completed. I can’t believe it was two years ago that I began this blog. There have been a lot of ups and downs during these two years many record here but others not. I wonder what the next year will hold in store for me and my family and friends.

Did you all enjoy your Christmas day and did any of you have anything unexpected happen?

Advertisements

Craving and no I am not pregnant

It was Friday evening and I had a sudden craving for sausage and chips from the chip shop. Now we very very rarely go to the chip shop. I think we have probably only done this about four times in the two and half years since we moved to this house. I decided to combine my taxi service of picking up Skater from the station with a trip to one of the chip shops in the area. There is one in one of the housing estates between the station and home, we would go there.

As I was driving towards the shop I could see that there were no available parking spaces, I figured that I would drive a bit further along the road and turn around to find somewhere to park. The couple of cars driving right behind me meant that instead I continued driving and ended up leaving the estate altogether. Never mind I would go to the one that I pass on my way to and from work. This is the one we have used before.

‘Oh no!’ there is nowhere to park here either, Ok, we can go to the parade of shops at the end of this long road. There is a decent car park there. ‘What! I don’t believe it. I have never seen this car park so full.’

I managed to park half on the curb at the far end of the car park. Leaving Skater in the car I walk to the small chip shop in the parade. I have never seen such a small chippy, barely room for a single line on people. I couldn’t tell which end of the shop the queue started. I stood in the doorway looking up at the meagre menu on the wall. I might be craving chips but I didn’t fancy getting anything from this establishment.

I decided to continue my search. There is another chippy on one of the main roads not far from where I now was. So a few minutes later I pulled up outside the popular chippy we had gone to once before when the lads and their girlfriends were with us. I remember that service had taken an absolute age on that occasion last spring. Here I see that the only place to stop is in the bus lay by. I know I shouldn’t park here and Skater is not happy with me for doing so. As I pull out from behind the camper bvan taking up the majority of the bus stop I see a car pulling out of a space a few yards ahead.

Damn, before I can get there another vehicle slides into the space from the other direction. Why oh why does everyone else want chips on the one occasion I have this craving. I could give up and go home, we do have food I could cook, but no I must satisfy this craving. On we go, where to next? Maybe I shall have to go into the town centre there is sure to be somewhere there in the parades near to the station. An area I have only visited a few times. We are nearing the town’s college where both Statto and Pug studied for their A’levels. If I go along the road that passes the college entrance I know there is a small parade of shops up there, I wonder would there be a chippy there?

Oh great, I have finally found a chippy with parking spaces outside. Going into the shop I place my order, hand the girl who is serving, my debit card. They only take cash, I have no cash on me! I tell the girl I will be back. The nearest place to get cash is back where I had earlier stopped in the packed car park. This time there are a couple of spaces. I have to struggle to get out of my door as there is not enough room. There is a convenience shop in the corner which has a cash machine. I wait impatiently for the guy who is composing a whole album on the buttons of the machine. Finally he is finished and I can pay £1.75 for the privilege of taking out my own money. This done we drive back to collect our dinner. By now I am beginning to think that after all this running around in my quest to satisfy my craving, I will find that I don’t actually enjoy it once I get to eat it. I needn’t have worried though.

I actually did enjoy my food and felt that driving around for almost an hour had been worth it in the end.

 

 

Confidence

During the week we had our Christmas get together for the writer’s group that I belong to. Whilst there, one of the other members was telling a new member that I am very self-effacing, unnecessarily so. I was quite surprised by this, but I shouldn’t have been. I do tend to keep quiet during our meetings, not offering many comments on the work of others. Timid about reading out my own work. Partly this is due to being eternally shy.

Today I was having a chat online with someone about life in an abusive relationship. She commented that these relationships knock your confidence and it can take years to get that back.

My first marriage was not violent in any way, shape or form. Yet the emotional abuse that I lived with for so many years took away all my confidence. Years of public put downs and insults take their toll. Being told frequently if not daily that I am.

“Fat, stupid, ugly with a brain like a sieve, nobody else would ever have you.”

Did nothing for my confidence other than to batter it down time and time again.

When I began divorce proceedings he began repeating the popular children’s nursery rhyme.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Well actually, when said often enough words may not just hurt but they can cause lasting damage.

After my marriage ended I went off the rails a bit, a friend of mine told me I was running around like a headless chicken. I began blogging and dating. I can see now that both were confidence tools. I needed to know that I was desirable, and worthy of friendship. I gained enormous validation through my blog and the friends I made there. Through my dating experiences I learnt that not only am I good enough for the men I was dating, but some of them were not good enough for me.

Gradually I learnt to like myself as a person. My confidence began to build. I started a new job, I have been there for seven and a half years now. They tell me that I have grown so much since I first started there. (I know they don’t mean in weight, although that increased over the years I have been there).

One thing I have tried to keep through out everything has been my sense of humour. For a long time after my divorce I would make jokes about myself. I would get told off for putting myself down, but that wasn’t what I was doing. I was showing that I don’t take myself seriously, that I can laugh at myself not just others. Maybe though there was a touch of laughing at myself before others get the chance.

All my life I have been shy, introverted. I do have my moments of bravery. On occasions when I feel confident that I know what I am talking about, then I can come out of my shell.

As for being self-effacing, I believe that is just a matter of confidence. I say very little at our writing group because I am so in awe of the talent I am surrounded by. Maybe in time some of the knowledge and skill will rub off on me too.

The key

It should be so simple. Why do I always fall into the trap of thinking that things will be simple? I am 52 years of age for heavens sake, I should have learnt by now. Nothing is ever simple.

A few weeks ago whilst shopping I stopped at the key cutter’s kiosk. I wanted to get a spare key for our car, we have only ever had just the one key. I was told that because we drive a Chevrolet they were unable to cut a new key, they do not hold blanks for this make of car. They might be able to order one in but it could take a while. Owl searched online and placed an order for two spare key blanks. He had a little trouble placing his order, so we now have four blanks.

Today I took two of these blanks back to the kiosk and asked them to cut the two keys for us. I placed the two blanks on the counter, only to be told.

“We can only cut keys from our own blanks.”

“But you don’t keep blanks for my car.”

“Ah yes Chevrolet, I remember you came in before. Sorry even if you got these blanks from Chevrolet we cannot cut them. We can only cut blanks that we stock.”

“So what am I supposed to do then? If you don’t stock the blanks and you can’t use another blank?”

” You could try an independent key cutter, they might do it for you. Unfortunately we can’t because it’s our Company policy. In the past it has been done and then the key has got stuck in the ignition leading to a claim for hundreds of pounds.”

Oh why had I not known it would be down to this litigious society that we are forced to live in these days.

Thinking about things not being as simple as they should be I had already had a feeling of let down having visited one of the main high street banks. I am sure that I have mentioned before that I am now the new treasurer for our writing group. I have been attempting to get the signatures on the Group’s bank account changed. It took a while to get the relevant forms downloaded and printed. Next the three of us who would be the new signatories had to take our forms into a branch of the bank to get our signatures authorised. I took mine in weeks ago. I was then told that I had to collect these forms from the others and bring them in together. This week I finally had all the forms, took them to the bank this morning only to be told that I now need to get another form signed by two of the existing signatories. Only then can the forms be sent off to the correct department, wherever that may be. I can’t even get a statement of our account until everything has been sorted which could still take a few weeks yet. At least I have been able to pay some money in.

Whilst shopping I picked up a screw thread candle bulb for one of our light fittings on the stairway. Obviously I picked the wrong one. Yes it was a screw thread and yes it was a candle bulb, but the screw thread was the wrong size. I guess that tomorrow I shall be out getting another light bulb as well as finding an independent key cutter.

What did you do today that wasn’t as simple as you had expected?

 

 

Just the ticket

Today I needed to collect something from Chichester, Owl was busy so I was going on my own. I am learning but I still don’t know my way around. I can find my way to some places but still need directions to others. We had gone into Chichester on Friday (being Black Friday) the roads were crammed. Parking was a nightmare.In the end Owl dropped me off whilst he drove off to find that elusive parking space.

I thought about where I would park today, and how to get there. I had a look on google maps, that was when it hit me. The rail station was at the end of the road I needed to get to. A plan was forming in my head. I didn’t bother to tell Owl as he was already concentrating on his own plans for the day. My biggest worry as I set off was that the station car park might be full. Luckily there were a fair few spaces, however my problems were only just about to begin. I had always thought that there was only the one pay and display machine at the entrance, now though I could see another machine not far from where I had parked.

Now when did they change these machines? I know I am not a frequent user but really!

I could use my card in the machine or I could download an app or I could call the number on the board. I inserted my bank card but couldn’t make it go to the off peak charge of £2.00 it would only charge me for the day  £6.50. I tried several times but still couldn’t get the machine to do what I wanted. So I changed to another method. I rang the number advertised, the automated voice gave instructions including asking for the number plate, make and colour of my car. Then it wanted to know if I wanted to pay for x amount of days or a month? Noooo I only wanted a few hours. I decided to walk over to the entrance to see if that machine still accepted coins, it didn’t. I paid for a whole day by card via the machine. Having gone back to my car I placed the ticket on the dashboard.

A brief stop on the way into the station to purchase my ticket, this was a little easier as I have done this before. I only had 10 minutes to wait for my train. Luckily I hadn’t pre booked as I had seen three trains going by in the time I was messing around with ticket machines. The journey into Chichester was uneventful and fast as there were no stops ( well there were but we didn’t stop).

Once at my destination, I did a spot of Christmas shopping, not much left to do now! Before making my collection. By then I was feeling thirsty so stopped at a small cafe for a cup of tea and toasted tea cake.IMG_2196

Catching the train home I had 15 minutes to wait but the time went fairly quickly as I indulged in a spot of people watching. It was now the time of day that the local senior schools had finished for the day, so there were several teens in school uniform on both platforms.

The train arrived and I stood with others waiting to board. I noticed among the others a hunched up old man. He followed me onto the train, I sat on the right of the carriage and the old man sat on the left opposite a young girl in uniform. At first I had thought the man was a down and out, but a glance sideways I changed my mind and figured that he was in fact just an old man hunched down into his coat against the cold wind. A few moments into the journey I noticed him fumble with the zip of his backpack. I though he was retrieving his phone as I could hear a muffled ringing. To my surprise he took out a bottle of jagermeister. He proceeded to take a swig from the bottle replacing in back into his bag. The young girl caught my eye but neither of us said anything. I half expected her to say something once he had left the train a couple of stops later. She didn’t, so I kept quiet also.

It wasn’t long before I was walking back to my car, I was ready for home.