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?

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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.

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.

Open Sesame

In the 18 months since we moved into this house we have not been able to open the sliding patio door from the kitchen out to the back garden.  When we moved in there were many sets of keys to sort through but none of them were the right ones for the patio door. It would have been nice to get access to the garden through these doors especially if we wanted to entertain but hey ho. Just a minor irritation, one that we could live with after all we do have a back door just around the corner.

With all the recent wet weather that has gone on and on for weeks we have not been able to open our back door, which being wooden has swollen. Each day since Christmas we have tried to open the door but to no avail. Now 2.5 weeks since Christmas day (the last time I filled the bird feeders) we were getting frustrated. I really wanted to feed the birds, and Owl wanted to sort out the tarpaulins that were coming adrift from their positions. Each day we have hoped that it would be dry enough for the wood to start drying out.

Yesterday whilst at home alone I thought I would find out whether it was feasible to get a locksmith in to change the lock on the sliding door. This morning a young locksmith arrived. 40 minutes later he was leaving us with a new lock and keys and a door that opened for the first time in what is probably a lot of years.

Obviously the first thing I did was to go out and refill the bird feeders.

bird feeders now

 

I am happy

It’s a brand new year

Today has been New Years Day, tomorrow I go back to work after 12 days off. I can’t believe it has been 12 days, it only feels like it has been a long weekend. Maybe my long day in hospital followed by Christmas and now New Year have made it feel less time. I didn’t leave the house from the time I got home on Christmas Eve until Monday when I went food shopping.  Then on Monday evening the four of us (Owl, Pug, skater & I) went to the pub for the Christmas/End of Year Quiz (we came last but had a good evening).

I had intended to do a lot of writing over the holiday period. Apart from a few posts on here I have not done any writing. However I have been reading. I am on my third book by Maddie Cochere over at Breezy Books  .

But now we are starting a New Year, I am not one for making New Year resolutions. However whilst I have been blog lurking I came across an idea whereby each day for however long you like you fill a jar with the good things that happen in your life. Then at the end of the period you take out all the slips of paper and remind yourself of all the things (big or small) that have made you happy during this time.

I will be starting my jar today with the news that my friend who I have known for nearly 20 years has said yes to the marriage proposal she received today. I am so happy for her. I have never met this man but I do know that in the last three years he has been good for her.

As for my writing I am at a stand still at the moment which I will explain another time but this does not mean that I have given up. Watch this space for news of which direction I choose to take. I have a number of options I am just undecided which to follow.

I hope that 2014 turns out to be a better year for everyone.

Last night my husband said to me …..’I shall be 60 this year, how do you think that makes me feel?’

My reply ……’Lucky, you made it this far My dad only just made it to 55′.

I really believe that no matter what cross you have to bear there is always a silver lining to every cloud you just have to look for it.

 

Happy New Year to everyone.

Boxing Day Anniversary

It’s Boxing Day here in the UK. I gather from my step children that this is not celebrated in USA.

Boxing Day is traditionally the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts, known as a “Christmas box”, from their bosses[1] or employers. Today, Boxing Day is the bank holiday that generally takes place on 26 December. It is observed in the United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago and other Commonwealth nations.

In South Africa, Boxing Day was renamed Day of Goodwill in 1994. In Ireland and Italy, the day is known as St. Stephen’s Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Stiofáin) or the Day of the Wren (IrishLá an Dreoilín). In many European countries, including notably Germany, Poland, the Netherlands and those in Scandinavia, 26 December is celebrated as the Second Christmas Day.[2]

However my reason for this post has nothing to do with Boxing Day Holiday except that it was a year ago today that I first began this blog. In other words I am celebrating one whole year of this blog.

During this year I have made new blogging friends. Renewed other online friendships and shared my world with people in my every day life who have learnt more about me and my life than they would do normally.

I have married my Owl.

We had our honeymoon in California which I was then able to share with you through this blog.

I have celebrated my sons’ achievements.

I made a start at serious writing (on hold at the moment but watch this space)

We have shared the extremes in weather from the harsh cold long winter complete with unusual amounts of snow to the unexpected un British heat in the summer months.

We have also mourned the passing of our faithful cat.

Ending the year with various preparations for Christmas.

2013 has been a year of extremes, extreme happiness as well as extreme despair.

In a few days we will be celebrating the start of 2014 which I hope will bring with it a more relaxed year.

Maybe I will even manage to write something that I can do something with.

How would you describe 2013 for you and what are your hopes for 2014?

This Christmas

Every year I vow to be ore organised next year.

This year I have wrapped all but one of my presents (usually end up doing that for hours on Christmas Eve evening) and we still have two full days to go.

The food was delivered last night, later I will be in town picking up the few bits I forgot to order.

The cake has been sitting in all it’s white glory in the corner of the kitchen for a week.

Mince pies were made last night with more to follow tonight along with cocktail sausage rolls.

The tree is semi decorated

Pug is home from University

Statto will arrive on Christmas day with my mother.(Prodigal won’t be with us this year but we will see him on Boxing day).

Today I have to make sure that everything is ready for Wednesday as for me tomorrow will be a lost day.

Tomorrow (Christmas Eve) I shall be leaving the house by taxi at 6.15am to keep an important appointment with some very special people. People who instead of being at home with their own families are  making sure that people like me have the surgery that we need. I am only having a small procedure and should be home some time in the afternoon. However this does mean that I have no choice but to sit back and relax on Christmas day whilst Skater and Statto between them cook Christmas dinner with help from Pug and guidance from Grannie. (Owl will be on washing up duty).

Am I looking forward to Christmas day?

Yes with some reservations (I hate not having any control over what is happening).