Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Christmas.....

Well, Christmas morning, I joined Clive and his mum and became one of those awful people who are only seen in church on Christmas morning. Some people were friendly, some ignored me...I was slightly distracted as we were supposed to be meeting C's brother and partner there, and they didn't show up..I did an 'Are you ok?' text during the first carol and got no reply which worried me. Then at the end of the service a text that said, 'We are fine..but at the wrong church...' having mistakenly wandered into the wrong church and been 'warmly welcomed' they realised half way in it was the Wrong Church, but felt they could hardly tiptoe back out. They told the vicar afterwards they didn't mean to be at the C of E at all, but at the Baptist across the road, and he was greatly amused....

Back at the house, with Laa and Mec arriving, there were 8 of us for lunch, and it was all very jolly. Except for the stress of trying to get everything ready at once, keep it all hot, make gravy at the last minute, while C was trying to do his mixed green leaves the Jamie Oliver method, and was getting in my way..'It just has to boil for 2 mins' he said, throwing various cabbage leaves into a saucepan. Then, once drained, with me trying to serve lunch to the hungry hordes, he announces the leaves have to be dried and then fried in the special butter he made yesterday...he was laying cabbage leaves on trays and putting them in the garden to dry and cool....the children were making faces and all saying they didn't want to eat cabbage anyway, I was hissing, You will, your dad is going to a lot of trouble.., at last a pot of boiled/cooled/dried cabbage assortment was served.. it was when he said there were chopped anchovies in the herb butter that he lost everyone, I think...

The afternoon was spent as Christmas afternoons should be, sitting in front of a log fire, opening parcels, eating chocolate and not moving much...followed by a wicked game of Monopoly with the new game where St Albans features instead of Mayfair...James and Grandma won, me and Laura just giggled helplessly a lot....

A friend texted and asked if Father Christmas had bought peace, harmony, clothes and chocolate. I replied, no, just chocolate, so that's all right....




Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve....

Sunday was relaxed and spent getting bedrooms finished, beds made, and I marzipanned and iced my cake, as well as making more mince pies and some short bread to boot. or to eat, actually....

I felt so relaxed, I even invited J and P over for tea, so we had a good reason to sit and relax with friends and begin to feel Christmassy. I do love entertaining, and at last feel in the mood for being sociable.....

Clive and I were lucky enough to be given tickets for the candlelit carol concert in the Abbey that evening..the Abbey was packed, the singing by the choir just wonderful, and it was a joy to be there. We were all given candles to hold, and then all the lights go out, so we all sing by candlelight, which is just beautiful. I am so tired, you know by now that I can't keep awake at any event when I get the chance to sit down, now I know I can sleep sitting up and hold a lit candle upright at the same time....

The service is two hours long, we haven't eaten, but I have left a joint of beef in the oven...by 10pm, a roast dinner is more than welcome..the it's time for wrapping some presents and going to bed..for tomorrow is Christmas Eve, one of my favourite days of the year....

C goes off early to do some jobs and fetch his mother, I go off early to a nearby farm shop and buy all the vegetables..it is wonderfully calm and a joy to shop, and I bring joy to their day by wearing a pair of flashing Christmas earrings..I have several pairs to choose from.....

When home, I manage to do final bed changing and put small tasteful flashing Christmas trees in each bedroom. The it is time for a coffee and a mince pie, and my flashing earrings are joined by DC wearing his Father Christmas hat, delivering presents. When we are joined by Laura, who has been let out of work early, she accepts without blinking, her mother, complete with large flashing angels on her ears, entertaining Father Christmas to coffee..well, she would, wouldn't she?

By the time James arrives home, and C gets back with the mother in law, Laa is chatting to me in the kitchen while I make a large pot of leek and potato soup for our lunch....I feel so domestic and calm it is frightening.

I then sit and chat during the afternoon, thinking this is the most relaxing Christmas Eve I have ever known! We have to drag ourselves away from the fire at 7pm to go to friends for drinks...having read K's blog, about her family gathering to sing and play carols together, that would be my idea of heaven, but my family wouldn't join in, sadly....

C spends most of the evening in the kitchen, doing special Jamie Olive things with veg and turkey, it keeps him busy and me and m-in-law just relax and watch TV. Then it's time for bed, and I try to contain my excitement about the Big Day..

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Getting ready.....

Spent Saturday morning in town with DC doing final bits of Christmas shopping. Liz mentions Christmas tat...well you name it, he buys it. We always have to have a moving singing creature of some description, and this year we find a sweet Christmas mouse which sings 'We wish you a Merry Christmas' in a little mousy voice...we take it back to the SAND office (the Sandpit) and also decorate the little tree bought specially...well, we decorate the second, slightly bigger tree bought to replace the 'too small one' and I am given that to take home for my new kitchen:



















I also manage to hang chocolate decorations on the office tree without eating too many..then depart to do my 'big' supermarket shop for the festive season..early Saturday evening proves to be a good time, it is unhurried and successful, and I go home to do some work preparing bedrooms for the visitors, and even feel inspired to make some mince pies. Oh, I am so organised! What was all that stress about????

Friday, December 21, 2007

TGIF....I need a break!

My blog silence since 10th Dec is only very slightly due to malfunction of brain, nervous system and near emotional collapse: I do get overwrought with life occasionally, dramatically, but hide it well from most of the rest of the world, and then am over it fairly quickly. I am hoping the anti-depressants will kick in soon, and help restore a balance: at least they would if I remembered to take them...

No, the real blog silence is due to me being busier than ever, I have never known a couple of weeks like it at work, so many visits, the 11 newly trained volunteers needing visiting and matching with families, families to be visited, training to attend, conferences, workshops, meetings, and evening stuff, speaking at an AGM, Management Committee, Festival meetings, fundraising events, end of year accounts, and advertising and recruiting, shortlisting (that took another evening, reading through 33 application forms and short listing 7) interviewing all 7, the recalling 2 for second interview, and deciding not to appoint, so I have to do it all again in January..

A grants panel meeting, do you remember me saying a few weeks ago how I was writing a really difficult funding bid? Well, I got the money! Three years funding! Yippee!

On Sunday DC and I did our usual lighting for a local church carol service: it's good fun, all the lights work, I got to be creative with the lighting, and we lvoe attending this service together, it's a Christmas tradition....

Last Friday whilst trying to get everything done, making time to get round to DCs to work on papers for the Ch*lsmsford meeting on Monday, before heading off to meet Laa for Christmas shopping (much needed, panic setting in) my mobile went and it was Clvie, not feeling well and panicking he was having a heart attack..I dropped everything and drove home, phoning the doctor on the way, then phoning Clvie to keep him talking....got him up to the surgery for tests, but he's ok, however it is a recurrence of a trapped nerve thing in his neck which had him in hospital on traction for two weeks, several years ago... so he is laid low and in pain...

I empathised with Caroline, talking about things kicking off, at 4pm yesterday when i was hoping to get away, the phone rings, and a volunteer says, 'I'm really worried about the family I'm visiting...' however, the gods are on my side cos when I ring someone else to pass it on, they are not only there but say they will deal with it. Great.

Went to review a family, and talked for ages to a young mum with more problems than you could imagine..well you probably could..not going to be a good Christmas for her, on her own with two children, no support, no money...when I left she gave me a box of chocolates for all I have done for her..well I cried all the way back to the office....
Went to a networking Christmas drinks do yesterday, accepted a glass of warm punch, or mulled wine, whatever it was, it was very nice, but when I was standing talking to the Chief Exec of the Council, I realised the room was going round a bit and I thought I might fall over. Should I lean on the Chief Exec for support, or the wall? I decide the wall, and lean on it, smiling, and ask if the punch is quite alcoholic. Oh yes, they say. I haven't eaten..I decide I have to risk moving to the table with sausage rolls on, to help recover and be able to walk up the road back to my office. It takes a while...I really haven't got the hang of this drinking lark...

Sometimes your heart just lifts with the goodness and kindness of people. Unexpected kindness. And when Evil Twins send lvoely cards saying lvoely things and wishing me peace and happiness...well, I am taken in, I fall for it, and it makes me feel all warm inside.....Joy to the World....

And to share, a festive picture, of presents under the tree..and can you see a present which is fast asleep..on her 15th birthday no less?????

Monday, December 10, 2007

St Agnes Fountain

Last year, my cousin introduced me to this band, St Agnes Fountain, and I lvoed them instantly. Hearing them live at Hitchin folk club, and having their CDs to play added a new dimension to my Christmas music collection, and I booked to see them again as soon as tickets were available. This band only gets together for December each year, and tours for the whole month with its individual take on old Christmas classics.

I bought a CD for D last year, and knew he would lvoe to hear them live, so as an early Christ,as present I treated him and H to tickets for this year's Hitchin gig. So, last night, I drove D and H and Clive, to the pub where we had a lovely meal and drinks - some had hot mulled wine - not me, I was driving! and then joined the throng to hear the wonderful seasonal music of St Agnes Fountain. It was magic. A wonderful way to get into the Christmas spirit.
It was good to see C there, with her two daughters. We shared a hug or two.

D and H had never seen the band live. I think they lvoed them as much as I did. I hope they appreciated their early Christmas gift.

Apart from the music, was it a successful evening? Well, as they say, nobody died.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

And even more predictable....

You know, I get angry, but I never bear a grudge. We are taught to forgive, and life's too short etc etc..it was always the plan this week that D and I would do some Christmas shopping this Saturday..so after the meeting on Friday was over, and we sat at my dining room table having a cup of tea, he asked if I still wanted to go shopping, cos he wanted to, and I said yes. Because I forgive him his lateness, and he forgives me (amazingly) the terrible things I said to him.

And let's face it, it's two weeks before Christmas, the shopping needs to get done, and we both shop together terribly well. Actually it was raining so so hard we had a long coffee indoors before setting out, and then it was lunchtime and time to meet Laura and treat her to a 'leaving GB starting a new job' lunch, which we did for quite a long time..it was good to catch up and chat and it was fun..then D went off to Christmas shop, and Laa and I did girly shopping, which meant I watched her try on gorgeous clothes, and treated her to a pair of black trousers for her new job.

Later on I joined D in Woolworths, he had several bags of shopping and was doing well, I had only bought a diary for next year. As we were choosing stocking fillers, I suddenly said, 'Back in a minute, wait here,' to D, and ran up the street to BHs and their ladies loo....it dawned on me that for someone who has been told to avoid dairy and wheat in her diet, spaghetti carbonara followed by a cappucino probably wasn't the best choice of lunch, and now it was taking horrible revenge on my stomach. It was not funny. I returned 15 mins later to find D had managed more shopping, and so I helped to carry some bags.

We walked across town to Wilkinsons to buy a little tree and decorations for our office, the Sandpit, (a swedish wooden cabin up the top of D's garden) and a few naff Christmas ornaments crept into the basket. Just as we were trying to manage the tree and all the bags towards the till, I was once again overcome with an urgent desire to find a loo. 'Wait here,' I cried, running from the shop and legging it up two flights of stairs to the loos by the public library. Only just made it...oh it could only happen to me..I was gone a long time..when I returned, looking pale and feeling extremely wobbly, D was standing outside the shop surrounded by bags and waiting patiently in the damp, cold air. Oh, what fun, and how embarrassing...

We decided it was time for me to go home...and when dividing the shopping I realised I had been out of the house from 10am until almost 6pm, with one diary, an oven glove and one Christmas present to show for it. Not a good start.

I opened the front door, explained about the long lunch, clothes shopping with Laura and not feeling well. Clive by now wanted to go out shopping, and I had mentioned a nearby centre whose shops opened late. 'We could go now,' he said. Given the state of my stomach, and the fact that I am full of cold (forgot to mention that) I think it says a lot for my stamina and my desire to please that I said, 'Yes of course,' and managed another two hours of shopping in M&S and Borders, until I collapsed on the sofa at 9pm with a cup of tea.....

And I thought, in the middle of the night, having had the discussion with D about our professional responsibilities, and how I handle stuff in the business when he is not around (ie late) and he handles stuff I haven't got around to doing (he is going to do some work on Monday I haven't done yet, but I have been busy...) and how D says we are equals and partners and should be professional and not let personal feelings affect the business..well, I agree, I did run the meeting with our clients on that basis, I was extremely professional..well, in the light of Shaun's comment that D should have a pay cut for every time he is late....it dawned on me, do you think I should mention it's time I was put on the payroll? That being tossed the occasional iphone, like a dog biscuit, isn't really enough?

Friday, December 07, 2007

So predictable...

..but I don't see it coming. Ever the optimist. Always hope for the best..mostly disappointed. He promised to leave by 10am, and ring me when he was on the road. I didn't hear. I waited. I rang. Voicemail. I texted. No reply. I rang again. Nothing.

At a quarter to one he rang to say he was on his way. Left NY at just gone 12 noon...and we were supposed to be meeting at 2pm..well, I flipped. I lost it. Good job I was in the office on my own. I shouted. I shouted loud. I swore. I put the phone down. I cried. He said he had said he would be back at 2.30pm, not 2pm (not true). I rang back and said he could have the meeting without me. I swore more and said some vicious things. I resigned again. He said he didn't remember saying he would leave by 10am. He did.


I tried to work. I cried some more. Then he rang and said there were delays on the motorway. Oh what a surprise. I knew what I had to do. Knew from the start what I would have to do..ring our clients who were on their way to meet us, and change the meeting to my house, and start it without him. Otherwise we would let them down.


I went home, tried to calm down. Made tea. Greeted our two clients promptly at 3pm, and ran the meeting. He turned up at 4.30pm. Yes, 4.30pm.


The thing is, why do I get upset? Why do I get angry? Why do I cry, shout and swear and make myself ill? Why can't I shrug my shoulders, say, oh well, he's late again, laugh, and carry on..after all, it's not the end of the world. I am the one who gets upset and it ruins my day. Why do I let it get to me?


Why? Because it is about respect. Consideration. Courtesy. And a lot of other things besides. If only I had a sense of humour....

Oooh, just wanted to say....

I followed the links on Merlin's blog, and did the thing about what sort of animal i was (some sort of deer I think) then what kind of kisser I am (a romantic one apparently, what did you expect) but then the links wouldn't upload on to my blog, I kept getting error messages.. Such a shame. And if that isn't enough for you geeks to work on, and tell me how to so it, I have found one major flaw with the i-phone that research hasn't solved...how to upload photos taken with the i-phone, onto the laptop. Aaah, not easy, haven't solved it yet..anyone want to take up the challenge?

Busy, busy, busy...

Never known a time like it at work, so incredibly busy and hardly any time to visit families!! Been recruiting for a new member of staff so we can expand a bit or at least cope better with the number of families and volunteers we have, and last night was spent shortlisting the application forms..we started at just gone 6pm and finished at 10.30pm..looking at 32 forms in detail, and three of us discussing our points (Mark is a hard marker and I am generous, but we still agreed on the top six!) We are going to offer a first interview to seven people, so that is next Wednesday taken care of!

Then one morning I had a business breakfast, starting at 7.30am, followed by a busy day, then in the evening was the guest speaker at the local Flower Club AGM, where they gave me a cheque for £100 (well, not me personally...) There followed a demonstration of how to make your own Christmas wreath, starting with a bent wire coat hanger, a bit of oasis, and lots of greenery poked in for good effect. Then all the ladies moved to a table each, got out their own coat hangers, oasis and greenery, and began to make their own. There was much excitement. I moved around the tables offering encouragement, then I was offered a spare coat hanger and bits to make my own..sadly I was poor company and made my excuses to leave, saying it had been a long day, now it was 9pm and I wanted to go home for my tea. If I wasn't such a miserable cow I could have stayed and joined in, and now I would have my own wreath hanging up on my front door. It's my own fault....

Today I must go in and try and sort my desk out, write the interview offer letters (I have no staff on Fridays) and then go to DCs this afternoon (who will be back from Yorkshire on time) for a Ch*lsmford festival meeting I set up earlier this week. I do hope he isn't late..otherwise I can't promise there won't be blood spilt..and it won't be mine....
And if one more person says, 'All ready for Christmas, then?' in a cheery voice, they will get a good slap...

Monday, December 03, 2007

Going down hill again...

Following a bad week last week, this week was stressed and difficult, with work really pressured, funding bids to write, deadlines to meet, recruitment to organise, a newsletter to get out, training to be delivered: and I managed to lose various things on the pc, so that I ahd to do the newsletter all over again, starting after the Show of Hands gig, at midnight, and finishing it at 2.15 am. Madness. But at least it was done.

I needed Rosemarie to counter sign a funding bid and she had gone away to Manchester and thought I knew. More stress.

I shut myslef in the bathroom on Thursday evenign to get some space, a loong hot bath..and I dyed my hair. deep, deep red. Very dark. Sh*t. Not a good look.

I had work phone calls and stuff to do for my other business, the event managment company, made difficult as I could not get to speak to my business partner. Texts and calls with no response. Promises of phoe conversations at pre-arranged times which didn't happen. Lack of coverage. Being too busy. Understandable, but frustrating. Eventually I hounded DC down in his northern office by landline, after two days of trying to arrange a meeting, and after being told he was busy and could he call me later, my reply was, no, you f**ing speak to me now, can you make this meeting? yes, he said. Fine, sorry to have bothered you. Phone down.

I then e-mailed my resignation from the business. Once and for all. Walk away.

I found a new hair salon with a top stylist who could fit me in for a cut and finish. Maybe the red wouldn't look so bad if there wasn't so much of it. I went in, the stress lifting off my shoulders along with my hair. My new stylist, trendy Italian guy called Davida (I kid you not) Dav-eed-a, was lvoely and caring and respectful and has done a good cut. A bit short, but not too short. And only a bit dark red now it's been washed a few times....

Saturday morning I gave in. I opened the packet of anti-depressants I have been trying to avoid for months, and took one. I have to get through this.

Saturday afternoon we had our business meeting. Lots of work to do. We talked, We worked. We laughed. He did not accept my resignation and says he will trya nd communicare better in future. When he is not up north in meetings from 8am until gone midnight working on contracts worth 21 million. I can understand why that needs focus. And will do for the next three years. But can I cope with being on the other end of that, trying to run a business alongside that?

As ever, answers on post card. Remember, he has promised to change....

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Not quite Show of Hands....


I was so excited..my favourite folk duo and amazing musicians, Phil Beer and Steve Knightley coming to St Albans... I have seen them at a few festivals this summer, but now I had the chance to see them properly, in an indoor venue, sitting comfortably to boot!!

C has never seen them, so decided to come along and see what so excited me. Driving to the gig I put Folk on 2 on the radio, and bizarrely heard Steve and Phil being interviewed about the new tour, and then came the sad, horrible, devastating news that Steve's son had been diagnosed with leukemia on his 6th birthday last Friday, the first night of the tour, and Steve had simply turned and gone home. Understandably. The tour had been cancelled. I was on the verge of stopping the car and turning round, but then I heard that Phil and support artist Miranda Sykes had decided to go ahead with the remaining dates without Steve.

So there we were in a packed Arena, so sad for Steve, but rooting for Phil and Miranda coping without him. The support act, Slaid Cleaves, was excellent and worth coming to...Phil and Miranda did their best, but it was not a Show of Hands gig, they did struggle a bit, and it felt sad. Clive did not see or hear the real thing, and DC came all the way from Yorkshire by train, to return at 5.30 next morning, and it wasn't really worth it...except to support the guys on stage and send hopeful, loving prayers to Steve and family, and hope he felt loved from miles away.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

August Rush

I arrived home from the weekend away a little later than intended, due to a late lunch stop ina rather nice hotel just off the motorway, where we partook of home made soup, rolls, coffee and home made biscuits, while sitting side by side on a large squishy sofa, with matching laptops on
the table in front of us, and matching i-phones connected, causing some smart ladies-who-lunch to pause and laugh at our endevours and the fact that, sadly, we were enjoying ourselves..you can tell the quality of the venue when I tell you that one guest landed by helicopter on the lawn outside, causing me and the ladies to rush to the window and stare unashamedly to see if it was anyone famous...it wasn't.
Anyway, I digress, after an hour or two of useful working (really, we were...) we headed home, and I arrived at my house at the same time as Rosemaries, with whom I had an arrangement for the evening. While C was opening the front door and saying, 'So, you've remembered where you live,' I was hiding behind Rosemarie and saying, 'I'm going out....'
We went out to eat, followed by a trip to the cinema to one of the most cheesiest films I ahev ever seen! It was so awful we had a ball just laughing and taking the p*ss...there were only four other people in the cinema aprt from us, we might have known..if you want a laugh...see it..it's dreadful.....why do good actors agree to be part of films like this????

Friday, November 30, 2007

More on that weekend away....

It was the Operation team's weekend away..then a couple of years ago, Programming joined us. Someone came up with the new name of the PrOps weekend..what a suitable name..after all, between us, we do 'prop' up the festival. Good that we are all together, and the links that are being made, and the light bulb moments that are happening: 'Oh, is that what you do? Oh, gosh, is that what happens? Oh, you have that information then?', I suspect that in a year or so we will wonder how we ever used to put on the festival without the two groups meeting up!

The downside, if you can call it that, is how big the group has got, and I do miss the small group of 14 of us who used to be holed up in a bunk house in North Yorkshire, almost 10 years ago when this weekend away was born..I suppose we were the early pioneers....the wagons and horses seem a long time ago now.....


But given that the week leading up to the weekend was not a good one for me, and ended up with me 'losing it' big time with a certain person (losing it means tears, shouting and broken crockery, but no-one was hurt..well, I cut myself picking up the pieces and bled a lot...and after when I looked down there were large coffee stains all over my white t shirt..I thought I had missed my mouth when drinking, but D pointed out drily that I should have checked the cup was empty before I threw it....) but the stupid thing is that once we get time to spend together with our friends, we have a surprisingly good time...I laughed so much that weekend, like I haven't laughed so much in aged and ages..just laughed helplessly and remembered how good it can be...and I didn't get drunk either... anyway, a few pics from the hotel when we went for tea..they don't mind you wandering about, and it was all decorated for Christmas..perhaps next year we could stay there instead???

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Weekend away

It was good. Very good. My lift was late fetching me from Crewe station..oh who would have guessed..anyway, we arrived at our destination for squishy sofas, coffee and home-made biscuits: the hotel we discovered last year, where we had to go just to book in for afternoon tea on Sunday...so we sat side by side, with our yummy elevenses, with our matching lap tops and matching i-phones, and went on-line and registered them with O2..all great fun....

Then it was off to check the pub for the evening gathering, and remind them of our arrival..a roast dinner for £3.50..surely not? After that was sorted, on to the centre to put the usual welcome letters, little toys and chocolate on everyone's pillow. I had my spreadsheet with the details of all 50 people expected at the weekend, and hoped I had got it all right....

Then off to the pub, where we gradually took over a section as tables became vacant..and we all got our roast dinner, and then a selection of gorgeous deserts to share..why didn't think of it before? A carvery is just what we want, everyone eats when they want, no waiting, and there is enough food...a great success.

The weekend was good for me..a chance to catch up with friends, plan for the festival next year..a space for shopping on Saturday afternoon, and the annual pub quiz, put together by DC and me over a few very late nights this week!!!

Then, after lunch on Sunday, time to relax and chat with a few friends, then time for that afternoon tea we had booked..mmmmm..we were not disappointed.....

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hello and goodbye....


yes, after a year or so's faithful service, I have been unfaithful to my sony phone, and so it is goodbye...I am moving on to pastures new......

...my sexy new i-phone


it has taken them a week to transfer my number, but now I am up and running, and getting used to the texting...it has such an intelligent predictive text memory, the more I text, the better it gets at predicting what I am going to say..scary...having one small computer in my pocket which is my phone, e-mail, music, photo library, calendar, text....I have to pinch myself how far technology has come..and how affordable..well, it is a business purchase, and even my phone bill has gone over to the business now..am I going to refuse???
Just struggling with my contacts, downloaded from Outlook and my phone, have been all evening trying to merge them, and get the alphabetical display sorted by first name...grr....still, lvoely new toy..you'd lvoe one Liz.....

Monday, November 26, 2007

End of blog silence....

Those of you who express concern about me cos I have not blogged for a while: bless you, your love and hugs are much appreciated. Just strange times...lost the will to blog...nothing to say....have been good and bad..so busy at work, it has been ridiculous, mostly writing funding bids with tight deadlines..lots of work. I needed to get my volunteer's newsletter out, I worked on it from midnight until 2.15 am one night, it was the only way.....

Been struggling with the usual stuff....the new kitchen still feels weird, not really mine. I haven't been here much, and with C home now doing the shopping and cooking, I feel a bit like a visitor in my own home. if I do try and cook a meal, as I have for the past thirty five or so years, C hovers around interfering and telling me how to do things, as if I didn't know..the lack of personal space still gets to me..maybe that is why I have been working late....

Also struggling with, can't live with him, can;t live without him scenario with my business partner: why? oh, constant lateness, lack of communication..what can I say? It drives me mad, but would I be any happier of I walked away? Answers on a post card....

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Do you remember this?


















which became this......

























well, it now looks like this....
I can hardly believe it is my house....

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Go on, smile....

The things I do for you..I promised to write about locking myself out..I did write a long blog post at the weekend, but it vanished, and you know, that just makes me so cross and I can never be bothered to write it again.


So here is the pic of the boots I bought at my shoe party, but you don't get the whole story..except the knee length red suede ones were to die for..but I couldn't zip them all the way up.....sob...


The next day I was at my desk reading e-mails when I realised I had 5 minutes to get to an important meeting. I ran out and got there just in time, but when I returned at 4.30pm I found the lights on but no-one home. N had gone to do a visit and left for the day. My keys were tantalisingly visible on my desk....I went to the office across the road where they keep a spare key for us..mmm..we must have borrowed it and not taken it back...nothing for it but to go to M&S, buy a microwave meal for one and head for the bus stop. Except I was cold and tired and I reached the taxi rank first....door to door, that's my style.


It all went wrong after that, the state of the kitchen upset me and I collapsed, as mentioned in my previous blog. It was serious, weeping, collapsing, feeling alone as a best friend I wanted to ring was off limits, and I was finding it really, really tough...


I rang my secretary to borrow her office key. With all the lights on, my keys visible, not to mention my laptop, I knew I couldn't leave the office that way all night. Oh, I forgot, she was in London a the Opera. (Can't get the staff..) N is not local, I didn't want to ask her to come back so late.


About 9 o'clock I stopped crying long enough to think to ring M, my Chair. He has a key. He also knew when I spoke on the phone that I was crying. I said I was ok, and would come round for his office key. He said ok. I took time hunting for my spare car key, in the chaos that is my house at the moment. I eventually found it and went outside to get in the car and go and pick up the office keys. Except my car was not there. Panic. I looked in the car port. I checked the street. More panic. And then it dawned on me....I had come home in a taxi cos my car keys were locked in the office..my car was still in town.....


I had to go back in and ring M and snivel, and say, sorry i am so stupid, I can't come and collect the keys because....he said, I'll be round. He drove me to the office, I got my keys, locked up and then he drove me round until I remembered where I had parked my car...and he employs me to run the charity.....


Oh i forgot to mention, earlier in the day I had taken my phone and charger into O2 because it wouldn't charge any more. I gave it to the boy (so young..) and complained something had broken. My phone won't charge. He took the items out the back to test. He came back, and said, the phone charges perfectly now I have scraped the melted chocolate off the connector bit....oh. Must have been in my pocket....

Monday, November 05, 2007

I've had better....

oh yes, I've definitely had better. Last week was not a good one, hence the blog silence, apart from a couple of blogs about the party weekend.

The whole kitchen stress continued, with the relationship between me and Mick (yes, a builder called Mick, unusual that....) hitting an all time low, we haivng to ring him when the plumber/electrician/painter arrived on different days, all with issues, which meant I would ring Mick to sort it out, and I would get caught in the middle. Clvie was away, which was fine on one level, but I was dealing with it all, and feeling that being a 'girly' was not helping, I was meeting classic blokey patronising crap.

Added to that, I was flashed by a speed camera last week, and on Yuesday received the polcie summons. As I am on 12 points (see last year's blog re November's court appearance in Bath)I am already on borrowed time and will have to go to court again and will probably lose my licence. I am only six months away from having 6 points taken off, it will be three years in April since that disastrous time....

At least having time on my own, with Clvie away for the week meant I could do what I wanted (sort of...) On Wednesday I came back and had another crisis with the kitchen, and what with feeling everything else was bad, I simply collapsed on the sofa and cried for what seemed like hours. That was the night I had locked myslef out of the office....more about that later....

Friday, November 02, 2007

The morning after...

You know I hadn't been sleeping well. The night before the party had been particularly bad. So I was used to being awake most of the night, and fell in to bed at 5.30am at the lvoely Liz's, only to sleep until 8.30am. A whole 3 hours! Then from 8.30am until 10.30am..quite the best night's sleep for ages.

I showered and went downstairs at the same time as Martin, to discover Liz about to cook breakfast. I said no at first, I was still extremely full from the night before, but as she was cooking bacon, I thought I might as well have a rasher. Or two. And a sausage, Oh, are you doing eggs? Ok then...so i ended up with a plateful too, and we sat and ate and chatted and it was lovely and relaxing and chilled....

Until I realsied I had to leave and get my train, and I had left my glasses at S& K's house, so we jumped in the car, and I ahd to accept I would miss my train. Never mind,I would get on Martin's train and change at Milton Keynes. I would get to Watford at 5pm instead of 4pm, but never mind.

We did a dash to Heaton, Liz dropped us off and we ran down the stairs. The wrong stairs. We had to run back up, out of the station, across the bridge and down the other stairs...just in time to see the train pull out...bugger..so we ran back up the stairs, across the bridge, and back to Liz who was waiting, just in case.

Then followed a drive to Stockport to catch up wit the train, with Liz telling us in no uncertain terms that she wouldn't do this at every station....oh..meanie...anyway, we made it in time, and jumped on a packed train, and managed to get seats near enough to talk. Which we did until we fell asleep, and napped all the way to Milton Keynes.

I bid Martin goodbye, and hopped off to sit and wait half an hour for my connection. I made yet another phone call to organise my lift home.

When Martin texted later, 'Did you get home alright?' my texted reply was, 'I rang DC who promised to pick me up, but cos I was later, he didn't want to, so I rang Clvie who was busy and sounded inconvenienced, and annoyed about the timing and traffic, so I sat on the platform and felt tearful and unwanted. But he did pick me up. So ...that is a girlie reply to your blokey question, and yes I did.'

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Party time...

Getting ready was fun, after freshening up in the shower, I was sharing the bedroom and bathroom with all the female members of the R family, and they scrub up remarkably well! I did a bit of girly bonding with H, as we compared spots, and I was able to lend some of ace spot cover stick, so I made a new friend....

When we were all ready, and after S had been allowed 5 minutes in the bathroom, perfectly adequate for the average male in terms of getting ready, we all admired each other's outfits/shoes/hair/makeup etc etc and we headed off to the party.

Well, it was great...a simply brill venue, more food than we could eat, even at two or three platefuls each - there were about 100 of us trying to get through a spread for 300, or that's how it felt. K, although it was her 40th, had spent two days cooking and shopping and providing the most fantastic spread for her friends and family..she is amazing.

The disco was good, the dj cool and not irritating, as they can be, and he played all S & K''s favourite music. I danced, some friends danced, tho mostly girlies, as most blokies I know just don't dance, which is a real shame. But I lvoe dancing and had a good time,a s well as chatting with friends and finding that 1am came round amazingly quickly, and it was time to walk, yes, walk home. Mmmm...my new shoes were beginning to hurt, but luckily I had S to keep me company and to chat to, so I made it back.

Quite a few party goers came back to the house, where drink continued to flow (I stuck to orange juice and then coffee, you'll be pleased to know) and the kareoke dvds appeared, and so much singing and laughter ensued..I had a go at a couple..one was Queen's Don't Stop me Now, the other..well it was a girly one, don't remember exactly....

I got into conversation in the kitchen with a very drunk young man, who undid his shirt and tried to persuade me he had a third nipple..I couldn't see it, but he did have a great deal of dark chest hair, which I rummaged my hands through..he was so drunk he didn't seem to mind, and I quit enjoyed it. We were getting on very well when his girlfriend appeared to claim him..oh well, that's life. I owned up to looking for the third nipple in his chest hair, and she looked at her boyfriend with amused resignation and said, come on, let's get you home....so I was safe.

I had a couple of little rests on the sofa as the night went on, and rested my eyes, much t the amusement of L and S, yes I was in the company of reach Out and Touch the Screen, and Horse Wrestlers..those Evil Twins whose Reputation Goes Before Them. I only had a couple of quick naps, but stayed the course until 5am, when taxis were called to take us away.

I went upstairs to get my coat and bags, and as I did so, I checked my hone for messages, as you do. The screen saver which sprung into life was not my normal one. Instead there was a photo of me asleep on the sofa. Grrrr.how does she do it? I went downstairs and called her rude names. She denied all knowledge.

Later, back at her house, I asked to borrow some contact lens solution, as I appeared to have lost mine. Oh, she says, it's in your handbag. Slight pause. Oh, I know that because S told me. Yeah, right.

And you are not going to see the photo on this blog. It is not a pretty sight. Looks a bit like my mother on a bad day snoozing in her chair at her residential home. Clearly I feel very much younger than I look. Don't we all!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Back to my roots..almost...

After a morning at work, I headed home, packed a bag, talked to the builders, then got a lift to Watford junction in time for the train to Manchester.

Train travel is not what it was. I swear trains have got smaller. This one was rammed, I only just got a seat, but I felt squashed and surrounded, and compelled to listen to the young Asian guy next to me on the phone to his mate, with phrases like, 'You understand man?, Know what I mean, innit?' I had to look to make sure I wasn't seated next to Sacha Cohen...

I couldn't read, but put on my headphones and listened to music and tried to sleep. I caused the guy opposite to laugh outloud when I sneezed and my headphones flew out of my ears....

Much texting with Martin F who was on a parallel train heading north, and the plan was to co-incide at Stockport, and take the local train to Heaton, and there be met by the lvoely Stuart. However, Stuart arrived at Stockport as I was waiting on the platform, so I texted Martin I had a better offer, I was collected by Stuart, and we drove to Heaton in time to pick up Martin.

As I walked up the slope at the back of Stockport station, I came up to the main road and took this picture of the first thing I saw:

The boarded up Bluebell hotel...a wonderful, classic building which was once glorious I suspect...kind of took me back immediately to arriving in Stockport as a fresh faced drama student, to find my digs in Tiviot house, a similar imposing Victorian house, home to 14 girls from the Poly, the most dirty flea infested lodgings you could hope to live in. My dad dropped me off, my mum I suspect was too upset at my leaving to come with us...my dad's parting remark was, 'It's a good job your mum can't see where I am leaving you....'
This time, Martin and I were driven to S and K's house, their new home, and I was quickly given the guided tour by K: what a lvoely, lvoely house, which is truly a home...the kettle was on and there was time for a cup of tea before getting ready for the party...I was with friends, and it was lvoely.....

Friday, October 26, 2007

Bored now....

Been awake on and off...since about 4.30am I gave up..got up, let dog out, took nurofen, made hot milk (would have added whiskey but in the kitchen chaos, can't find it), read the paper, now it's 5 to 6am, and still wide awake....

Came home from work early and went to bed, just lay listening to music and trying to relax ... Laura came round after work and found me not in a good state.. she was lovely and caring and understanding, but I don't want her to see her mum this bad... anyway, we talked and shared loads and got a Chinese takeaway and had a good evening..I am so very lucky that she lives close by and we can catch up like this. We are promising ourselves a major shopping trip very soon...

The kitchen is causing me great stress, problems with plumber and project manager, how is it they talk to me as if I was stupid?? I am not... I was promised it would be finished and it isn't. Came home yesterday expecting to find worktops fitted and they are not. Cupboard doors hung but some the wrong way round...I took Laa into the kitchen to show her and unfortunately the stress of it means I just can't cope with it, and I just cry..she says it really is going to be ok and will look good..but agrees there are some issues. I need to ring the builder in the morning, but I can't face the stress..

Still, I will go into work for a bit, then come home and pack, and hop on a train heading north. Just for 24 hours I will be away from it all, and with good friends. Heaven.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Repeat viewing..sort of....

Me and Rosemarie planned a cinema outing tonight. She suggested Ratatouille! Given that there was absolutely nothing else on we wanted to see, and I just a. wanted to be out of the house and b. see Rosemarie, I didn't tell her I saw it last week with Clive, and went again.

I laughed like a drain at the first short film, priceless, and settled down with my coffee and large packet of m&ms to watch the main feature. Not only did I stay awake throughout, I realised just how much I had missed last week! Man, I must have slept through half of it! So I was glad I went again...

We went our for a drink after, and I bent Rosemarie's ear for over an hour re life, work, kitchens, relationships, HRT, and bless her she listened - again....

Thank God for friends, who help me cope far better than any pills.

Anyway, as I sat in a traffic jam today I fell asleep at the wheel...made me decide that driving to Manchester and back at the weekend probably isn't safe! I seem to fall asleep anywhere except in bed, which is extremely annoying....but I have booked my train tickets now, so I can travel in comfort, complete with i-pod and a good book..though I will probably close my eyes for a bit...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What is it to be?

Went to the doctor tonight. She was very kind and understanding and tolerant of the person going to pieces in front of her. So, what is it to be? I have a choice...back on the anti-depressants or try HRT? She looked at the screen - I see you have a history of depression - actually, no I don't, I was on them for six months almost two years ago, after my parents died..I don't think that counts as a history...

I'll be ok if I can just get some sleep...if my kitchen could get finished and my house back in some kind of order.

I go to work and come home. Clive is around, he gets the shopping now, and puts something in the microwave for two minutes, and hey presto, we have dinner. I have forgotten how to cook. Shopping used to be what I did. I sit on the sofa and can't remember what to do. What did I used to do with my time? Tonight I put on a dvd to pass the time, and, yes you guessed it, I went to sleep....

Not sure where I go from here. Except to Manchester on Friday, of course...hope I keep awake driving!

Monday, October 22, 2007

A guaranteed way to get me to sleep...

Oh yes, let me lie down in a comfy bed at night, and insomnia strikes almost instantly. So the best way for me to get some sleep is to pay out good money for something I really want to see, a good film, theatre, or..let me see...a folk group...and I go out like a light, as if drugged. At one point during the film Ratatouille last week, I woke myslef up with my snoring....

Tonight I did make it to the folk club in Hitchin, and C was quite keen to come too, it was the thought of having dinner in the bar first, he couldn't face another microwave dinner, and last night's m&s spag bol had him sitting up in bed until nearly 2 am apparently, feeling quite nauseous.

Anyway,we went, and saw and heard the amazingly talented Spiers and Boden. They could call themsleves John and Jon, but perhaps not...I did stay awake for a lot of it, and very good it was too. I first came across them at the Wickham Festival, which my cousin took me to last year, and after he lent me some of their CDs and now I am a great fan. They are leading members of the band Bellowhead - you may remember me mentioning them at Cambridge Folk Festival....

A better day, did some tidying, had a long talk with my auntie, walked the doggie in the autumn sunshine, was joined by DC walking the three legged dog, which he only does about twice a year. It would have been lvoely if I hadn't picked an argument, quite unnecessarily, and got the strop, when actually a walk in the warm autumn sunshine through a carpet of fallen leaves with company and at least one enthusiastic doggie to chase a ball..well, if things are going too well I just spoil it, don't I! I blame the hormones.....
After doggie walking I went for tea and cake with Jacky and Peter. As we were chatting I said, oh B*gger, I meant to bring some washing over, I forgot it. Then, as I was leaving, I was getting in the car, and Jacky pointed at the basket of clothes on the passenger seat and said, what's that? And then it dawned on me..and we both giggled a bit..and I took my dirty washing home again.
Well, time to attempt sleep I think! Goodnight, lvoely friends.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Later on Sunday...

So blogging and sending angst ridden e-mails in the middle of the night is probably not a good thing...however, I tried to sleep around 6.30am and probably got an hour or so. Got myself breakfast in bed. Got a text from DC advising me to go to church..probably a good bit of advice and maybe I ought to turn to God more instead of handling things alone. But I am craving time alone rather than a church full of people who probably see me (yet again) dissolve into tears....

C has stopped going to church recently, but this morning he has gone, so I am alone...it seems odd doesn't it, that I say in one blog I am lonely, and yet I crave time alone..some personal space..I am sure you can work out the difference between alone and lonely..I remember our English teacher Miss Smith getting us to put the words into sentences so we learned the difference. Good job I paid attention at school What do you remember learning? I remember learning about the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb in history (well, it wouldn't be maths would it!)...

Anyway, Merlin has cheered me up..I have been on msn to George and she has cheered me up, I am getting excited about going to a party on Friday, seeing friends, if I am lucky dancing, either on my own or with some hunky men (note you men, I like to dance....) The sun is shining. The kitchen may yet turn out ok. I do not need to consider ending it all. There is too much to lvie for, even of the fine detail of my life sometimes overwhelms me. It's either walk away or deal with it.

I think I will ring my aunt, my mum's sister. Not spoken for a while. She will be pleased to hear from me. this afternoon am going to Jacky's for a cup of tea and doggie walk. There is a folk gig on in Hitchin tonight I want to go to, people I know who would like to come with me can't, so shall i ask C? He might. if not, I will go on my own.

Be thankful for what you have in life, not what you don't have. I have a very dirty and untidy house. I will be grateful, and soon, when the work is finished, tidy it up.

Have a good Sunday. Bye! x

Early Sunday morning...

Been awake since just gone 2am. Tossed and turned as they say. Got up finally about 4.30am. Let dog out. Made hot milk. Read, drank milk, ate biscuits. The came on line. Read Merlin's response to my Saturday night blog. Bless him.

So needed someone to talk to, I have written the longest e-mail on the planet to a close friend while tears poured down my face and I poured out my feelings into a laptop. That will make fun reading in the morning. Maybe I should have pressed delete, not send.

Anyway, look at this....symptoms of the menopause....

Hot flashes, flushes, night sweats and/or cold flashes, clammy feeling (see note)
Irregular heart beat
Irritability
Mood swings, sudden tears
Trouble sleeping through the night (with or without night sweats)
Irregular periods; shorter, lighter periods; heavier periods, flooding; phantom periods, shorter cycles, longer cycles
Loss of libido (see note)
Dry vagina (see note)
Crashing fatigue
Anxiety, feeling ill at ease
Feelings of dread, apprehension, doom (see note)
Difficulty concentrating, disorientation, mental confusion
Disturbing memory lapses
Incontinence, especially upon sneezing, laughing; urge incontinence (see note)
Itchy, crawly skin (see note)
Aching, sore joints, muscles and tendons (see note)
Increased tension in muscles
Breast tenderness
Headache change: increase or decrease
Gastrointestinal distress, indigestion, flatulence, gas pain, nausea
Sudden bouts of bloat
Depression (see note)
Exacerbation of existing conditions
Increase in allergies
Weight gain (see note)
Hair loss or thinning, head, pubic, or whole body; increase in facial hair
Dizziness, light-headedness, episodes of loss of balance
Changes in body odor
Electric shock sensation under the skin and in the head (see note)
Tingling in the extremities (see note)
Gum problems, increased bleeding
Burning tongue, burning roof of mouth, bad taste in mouth, change in breath odor
Osteoporosis (after several years)
Changes in fingernails: softer, crack or break easier
Tinnitus: ringing in ears, bells, 'whooshing,' buzzing etc. (see note)

I don't have all these symptoms, but I sure have some of them pretty badly! So having just had a really, really, bad day, and made someone else miserable with my upset, depression and tears, and nearly ruined an already damaged relationship, just because I am so impossible to cope with, it makes me feel worse, how can I put things right when I am so messed up? When will I be a normal person again?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Saturday night reflections...

A time for reflecting on my week....the kitchen still being worked on. Over 8 weeks now. The house a mess. The kitchen project a stress. A lot of money. And I mean a lot of money. Makes me feel sick. What if I don't like it? If it's not what I wanted or hoped for? It's my mum and dad's money. I cry every time I say that. I will never have it again. I will never have them again.

Sleep. or lack of it. Night after night after night..of wakefulness. Of thinking. Of tormenting myself about what could be. Loneliness. Hormones. Headaches. Worrying. Getting more and more tired....

Work. Funding bids. Committee meetings. Conflict. Tears. Families. People. Their stories. Their needs. Someone dying. Leaving a wife and children. A single mum with three children including a disabled child. A new mum with a small baby, coming to terms with a diagnosis of MS. All trusting me with their stories. And their tears.

How come I can help people sort their lives out, but I can't do mine?

Business meetings. A good year. Targets met. But at what cost?

Tonight, a Saturday night of tears. Thinking. Tiredness. A night of not wanting to be. A night of wanting to be needed. Held. Loved.

Tough.

I know. Pull yourself together. Too much thinking. Too much feeling sorry for myself. Get a life, get over it. Get some sleep....it will all seem better in the morning....

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

One for the dog lovers....





Pictures of Sophie dog getting used to her new bed, the old one having been disposed of as hazardous to health....she seems to like it and curls up in the furry warmth, which must be good for her arthritis...

She is doing really well, her coat is sleek and shiny again, not falling out, and despite oddly shaped front legs which bend like those on regency cabinets, she is bouncy and keen to go walkies. She is now eating food for 'senior dogs with kidney failure'..looks a bit dry and tasteless, but she eats it up and appears to be benefiting...so maybe she will make Christmas and celebrate being 15 after all!!

I only wish, as someone kind enough to share my room with her, that she didn't spend much of the night retching or making horrid similar noises, it doesn't help my sleeplessness..I was up at 6.30am to let her out this morning..triffic.....

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Books 5, Films 2....

Read on holiday:

1. Temptation by Douglas Kennedy. A good book to read on the plane and first day on the beach....

2. The Greek for Love by James Chatto. A wonderful book to read whilst in Greece...a true story set on Corfu, which is lovely and touching and real and sad..and a story with which I have a bizarre connection....more of which another time....

3. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson. A very good book for the third day of the holiday...but dangerous and embarrassing to read in public. It was the one thing that made me laugh on holiday, explosions of laughter and helpless giggling, which had me almost fall off my sun lounger, and had C tell me stop stop reading in front of people. So I would put the book down, lie back on my sun lounger, then think about what I has just read, and explode into giggles all over again....

4. Halfway House by Katherine Noel. Having read the three books I brought by the fourth day, I raided the book shelf in the hotel reception and found this..another American book (that made three out of the four) about a family coping with having a daughter suffering from manic depression. Interesting.

5. The Devil wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger. Having got into reading on holiday (non-stop) I wanted to continue, and so picked up this book lent to me by Laa..she and I watched the dvd some time ago, so I knew the story but enjoyed it as an easy read.

6. A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon. About to start it. Got it for Mec for his birthday and have borrowed it. He was reluctant to hand it over. Why? Well, it is a bit explicit..not sure you'd like it..gay men and stuff...oh for heavens sake Mec, give it here, it's ok, really....I'll let you know...

Films seen since return from holiday:

1. Atonement. Went with Laura. I had read the book, don't think she had. We both thought it brilliant. I stayed awake all the way through! Actually found the book hard going, didn't really enjoy it, but the film was beautifully shot and acted, and I had forgotten some of the storyline, so some bits truly shocked or surprised me.

2. Ratatouille. Seen with Clive last night. Pixel animated film, they just make the word 'cartoon' seem so, so inadequate...and the little short film they show first is a delight, a treasure and worth going just for that...I was tired, I did fall asleep in Ratatouille, woke myself up snoring. How embarrassing. But it is fun and sweet....I had my hair done yesterday and it is ok, but I intend to go a bit more plummy in the winter, and the female lead in this film had hair the cut and colour I would lvoe..how sad to sit in the cinema and be jealous of the cartoon character's hair....



Saturday, October 13, 2007

Strange times....




Life feels weird right now....or may be it is all inside my head...is is sleep deprivation? After my immense and deep tiredness at GB, I was home briefly and trying to sort out the house as the kitchen work had started and thrown us into disarray..then I was off to Edinburgh, and didn't sleep well, then next day off to S&gar Hill to work another festival where sleep was in short supply..coming back life was so busy I and stressful I didn't stop, and by the time I flew off to a Greek island, all I wanted to do was sleep....

But is was hot at night, and C told me there was no air conditioning, so I spent a long time awake (especially with the snoring...) and by the time I looked myself and discovered there was air conditioning (grrrr) and switched it on, a few nights had gone by, then I couldn't sleep cos of the noise of said air con, so I switched it off....plus I had much stuff in my head, I am not really relaxing mentally....

So, back home to my own bed, one would have thought I could sleep, but now strange hormonal stuff is going on ( I think) and I am thrown into long nights of feeling like I am at least dying of malaria, almost delirious with a high temperature and fever and bathed in sweat...if I sleep with the window wide open and have no bedding on I just about survive.

Added to this I am feeling low, quite negative, depressed and weepy, once again leaving a committee meeting tearful, having my horrible downward spiral black thoughts, and wondering what the point is of going on....

Added to this mix is a kitchen not finished after six weeks, the stress of stuff going wrong, me left to handle it all, to make decisions, unsure whether to sack the builder and start again, difficult meetings after sleepless nights thinking about what to do...last Sunday I rang James, my lvoely lovely son, I was in floods of tears, and he dropped all his plans and came home and worked until 11pm on going through everything, producing a professional 3d design of what I wanted, and helping me put together a 26 point agenda to go through with the builder the following morning.

I think things are back on track, but things are still messy, still living on microwave meals, and 6 weeks in they lose their appeal....and life is busy, and stressful, and full of meetings, day job, evening job, challenges..I know I am capable, know I can do it, running training, managing volunteers, project managing a festival..but somehow certain meetings with certain people disempower me and make me feel under valued and not appreciated. And make me want to give up frankly.

And I am coping with the loss of my own personal space, with life as I have known it for the last 30 years, with C having retired, and he is home all the time, in the mornings when I am used to being alone, and when I get home..when I am used to my own personal space and time..it is a huge change which I am only just beginning to deal with...badly....

Still it's all probably hormonal, yes I have spots too, but hey, I will feel better next week and be back to my normal self, and blog funny stories..if anyone is interested in reading them....

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Then there was Greece....


..or the Island of Samos, to be precise, close to the Turkish border...after a season of festivals, and a lot of work, and with post S*gar Hill work, together with another meeting for the festival we are project managing next July, and loads of work at work, ie my proper day job, and my AGM coming up, and an annual report to prepare, I got a bit stressed....




So the prospect of spending the last week of September on a beach somewhere was very appealing (and explains the blog silence) and before I went I handed over all (or as much as possible) to my business partner, and he promised to see to everything, and I was to simply enjoy my holiday and leave everything to him.

Well, that's ok then.....there were only a few phone calls, and two sessions on the internet checking e-mails, and one call taken on the beach and hearing the famous words, 'Sally, can you sort this out, I have left messages for Dave, and I can't get hold of him and he hasn't returned my calls,'....one terse voice mail later, it seems to have done the trick....

Anyway, I almost relaxed, but then the builders were in working on the kitchen (yes, I still don't have one) and my secretary was working on the annual report, and the AGM was the day after I got back, and I had my talk to write...so I couldn't switch off completely...

Still..it was good...the hotel, the food, the beaches, the sea, the island...a week was not long enough...but then I wanted to come home and see my friends...I miss them....and here are the pics...

And the next night....really and truly....



You remember the adventure with the caravan when attempting to leave GB? Well, PA said at the time, 'Something happens to this van at every festival..what next time?' Well, it's true, wrapped round a lamp post at Cambridge, flat tyre on route to Cropredy, stuck under grandstand at GB..what on earth could happen at the next festival?

Nothing, we said. Absolutely nothing...the fact that it was almost lost in an unseasonal flood in June, doesn't mean this van is jinxed...really.

So, there we were, attempting to leave S&gar Hill at a respectable time and get home to eat dinner with our respective families. Then we had the Traveller crisis (see earlier blogs) and we promised the farmer to take full responsibility for them leaving, and we promised not to leave unless they did.

Hmm. Time went on, we packed, they packed, we hung about a bit, and so did they, in an unhurried nice summer evening kind of way, until 7pm when they departed. Hugs and waving and photos, and they were on their way, and so we prepared to depart. I decided to ring home and say something like, you know how we left later than planned from GB cos we got stuck? Well, this time it was because of the gypsies, dear....C no longer seems surprised by what I have to say, but surprised me by saying he wasn't expecting me til tomorrow anyway, and no worries, he would go to bed and not wait up. Ok, no problem, I could relax.

We decided to go up to the farm house and say goodbye before hitching the caravan, and we took a bottle of wine for good measure to celebrate the end of a good festival. As we walked into the warm and welcoming farm house kitchen, dogs chasing about and playing and good food cooking, Farmer's wife gives us both hugs and thanks us for our hard work and insists we stay and eat with them. I open my mouth to say, oh, lvoely, (it's gone 7.30pm at this point and I am starving and it looks like a good lasagne) as DC says, no, sorry, we must get going. He saw my face, and went and made that phone call home..I said no, sorry of course we must go, we will go now, and he said, no, I have rung home now and said we are going to eat first, but we mustn't stay long.... (you can see where this is going...!)

Farmer and wife and so delighted with success of festival and the fact that the travellers have gone, and they are not stuck with a horrible eviction problem, and want champagne, so DC gets some from the caravan. We sit in the lounge, I haev little puppies jumping on me and playing, I have a glass of champagne, I am warm and dry and relaxed and about to eat and Very Happy.

We sit round the big farm house table and eat lasagne, followed by fruit pie and cream, and even coffee, and we talk...and suddenly, oh is it really that time? Almost 11pm? Oh dear....we are well fed, full of champagne and warm..and I am a trifle sleepy....Farmer's wife even offers us to stay the night...

However we take our leave and head back to the pitch black field and tray and find the caravan. Farmer has asked us to do him a little job on the way, which holds us up, but we find the caravan with the help of our headlights, and we stop in the darkness and look up at the wonderful starry sky which is beautiful in the black dark. For a moment it crosses both our minds that all we want to do at this point is sleep...should we stay? But I have work in the morning, and DC confesses he has to leave for North Yorks at 6.30am, so we are brave and sensible and get eh caravan ready to depart, winding up the little legs, etc. DC backs the landy up to hitch up but is an inch short. Hitching is not happening, so i offer to back up the landy an inch. I am holding the torch and shivering in the cold cold dark. I see the farm house lights go out and we are alone.

DC attempts to hitch by undoing the jockey wheel and hopes the caravan will lurch forward and pop on. All that happens is that the jockey wheel comes off completely, the caravan lurches forward and lands on its nose, on the ground, missing the tow hitch. B*ll*cks, he says. We cannot lift the caravan up on our own. DC tries, but it is obvious that he is now tired and cold and not thinking clearly. I however, am ok, in a good mood, being sensible and thinking clearly. Is this possible, can we lift the caravan, if not, we don't even try and go to bed and get Farm help in the morning. No, DC wants to do it. Right, let's wind the front legs up, I say, to take some of the weight and see what we can do. I start doing that, and DC looks at me and thanks me for keeping calm and doing the thinking , and keeping him from 'losing it'.

I say it's my pleasure, and between us in the pitch dark and cold by about a quarter to midnight we get the caravan hitched. What a team. We prepare to leave, but as DC gets more tired he gets slower and more pedantic. He insists on doing the usual light check, he gets in the landy and I stand at the back of the caravan and he says do the indicators work and i say yes they do, no they don't, that old joke. This time he says do the brake lights work, and I say no they don't, and he says don't mess about, and I say, no they really don't. We discover the brake and reversing lights won't work on the caravan or landy. I say oh bugger, can we not go anyway, and DC says no, it's dangerous. I say, do you think God is telling us to stay and sleep and not drive? No...So out comes the manual, we find where the fuses are under the dashboard and which fuse does which set of lights, and I hold the torch and he puts in the spare fuses, and after about half an hour we are ready to go again....

I get in the landy after checking the lights and DC has vanished. I get out and he has taken the number plate off the back of the caravan and says he is not sure it is on securely enough and so we are now looking for blue tak and sticky tape to pout it back on. I hold the torch and help and have got to the helpless light header giggly stage that this will go on all night, and still I feel strangely calm....

We are only in Swindon, an hour and half away from home, so now it's gone 12,30am we will be safely home by 2.15am....

Once we set off, and the landy gets warm, I am out like a light, fast asleep, I knew I would. Every now and then I wake up with the landy lurching or swerving slightly, as DC struggles to keep awake. I try to stay awake too, talk to him, put music on, open the window, but it is like I am drugged and I cannot stay awake. We make good progress down the motorway but DC is really falling asleep, so by Reading we give up and stop for strong coffee. We get coffee to take away, and I say, come on, we are only 45 mins away now, you can do it. (The issue is, dear reader, I should have explained before, that I cannot share the driving because of the caravans, and therefore it is totally his call to stay or go in the first place) Suddenly DC says, it's no good, I have to sleep, let's get in the caravan for a while. It is now gone 1.30am, we sit in the back of the caravan on the bench seats and drink our coffee. The coffee is hot, the van is freezing after the warmth of the car.

I am going to get a couple of hours sleep, says DC, lying down on his bench seat and immediately snoring like you have never heard. I sit there. Of course I am now wide awake, cold and wondering how my life turns out that I am in Reading services in a caravan at almost 2 o'clock in the morning, and we didn't intend this to happen.

After while I realise I had better try and sleep, so I lie down on my bench seat, pull my fleece closer, shivering, and try and ignore the dire snoring 2 feet away. I lie there..I lie there, and just as I am dozing off, I am frightened by DC suddenly sitting up and shouting, B*ll*cks! My nerves are so shot to pieces at this point I panic, saying, now what's happened? He says, can you hear that? No, what? That, I don't believe it. What? I listen..there it is. A bird singing. A bird singing quite loudly (I couldn't hear it for the snoring...) DC is now annoyed, The bright lights in the service station have lulled the birdies into thinking it is morning, and they have started the dawn chorus at 2am. Never mind, I say, try and sleep. No, he says, F8ckit, I am wide awake now, I am driving home. Oh, ok then....

We climb back into the landy, he drives, and I immediately fall asleep again in the warm. It is a very slow, careful progress we make good job the roads are empty, and we crawl into St Albans at gone 3am. I make DC promise on his life not to go to NY at 6.30am, and I at last get into my house and go upstairs to bed, not worrying about waking C as he sleeps like a log and never hears me come in. However, my bedroom light is on. He is lying there, looking at me. What time do you call this, kind of comment....I say he told me he was not waiting up, so I didn't call, but I did point out if he was worried he could have called my mobile....

So as I got ready for bed, I told him the story, telling him how we stayed to eat when we hadn't planned to, then about the caravan not hitching, and half way through my interesting, detailed account, he suddenly got up and said, well yes, I'm tired, I need to sleep, I'll see you in the morning and decamped to his own room.

Oh. I thought it was a funny story. I'll save it and tell it to someone else...in fact, it is my blogger's duty... sorry it took so long...