This-A-Way That-A-Way

blogging.jpgI have tried to keep up with the writing prompts and challenges hosted by other bloggers – but I will admit, I think I am missing out on a lot more than I am participating in. I am very grateful to other bloggers who take the time to provide all sorts of interesting prompts for us. I am lagging way behind I know.

Life is busy here! A lot has happened. It certainly will give me more to write about in the future. But right now, it is affecting the time I have to write. I am still enjoying reading posts from other bloggers – and there are a lot of posts! I will mostly read and like – I know my comments on other bloggers posts are becoming rarer – SORRY! Just so hard keeping up with you all!

I saw a question and answer post from Rory, aka A Guy Called Bloke today and thought I would work on a post. I have not done one of these before, so I hope I have understood the instructions from Rory correctly:

https://aguycalledbloke.blog/2019/01/24/oh-no-way-oh-so-way-4/

It reads like a long list of confessions! I think for each question from Rory, we are supposed to write OH NO WAY if we have never done it or OH SO WAY if we have done it.

Questions from Rory

Smoked a joint

OH NO WAY

Never smoked anything in my life. Never remotely interested.

There were a couple of lads smoking some kind of noxious tuna fish gunja at the end of my road a couple of weeks ago – out in the open on the public pavement. I gave them a wide berth because the smell from the fumes was foul. I was texting Goldfinch at the time I was passing and I heard one of them say to the other, “she is filming us”. My old battered Nokia does not even have a camera. But I have been nervous every time I walk that way.

Gone commando [underwear free]

OH SO WAY

I am not going to supply any detail.

It was Goldfinch’s idea – not mine.

He had some interesting ideas at times.

But the British weather is so different from Australia. I think I complained so much that he realized it was quite a big ask of me!

Attended a naughty film at the cinema

OH NO WAY

I like family friendly entertainment. I once went with a group of friends to watch a film that we thought was a family movie. It was rated a “12” so I expected there to be one or two scenes or swear words that I would not particularly enjoy. But there was so much distasteful innuendo in the first half an hour that I decided I would leave. I didn’t say anything to my friends. I went to use the ladies and then I went to the foyer of the cinema where I bought myself a soft-drink and sat on the sofas.

Within about fifteen minutes one of my sisters and another friend appeared. They said they were not enjoying the film at all. So the three of us sat and chatted and waited for our other friends. It did not take long for the others to appear. They said it seemed to get worse and worse. We decided to go over to “Frankies & Bennies” and have drinks instead.

Skipped school when younger/now

OH SO WAY

Around the age of fourteen, I did skip school a number of times. The first time I skipped school was with my best friend. We met in Wigan and then caught the train into Manchester. I changed my clothes into a pair of jeans and a top. I was tall enough for most people to walk past me without questioning whether I should be at school.

But my best friend obviously did not think she could get away with it. She wore her uniform all day and carried her flute case around with her. She said if anyone asked her why she was not at school, she would tell them she had come into Manchester for a music exam. There was a famous music collage called Chetham’s School of Music. We did not do anything particularly exciting. We wandered around the shops in the city center. It must have been before the bomb that destroyed the city center back in 1996? I remember us trying on shoes on a shoe-shop named “Shellys”. We also walked around the “House of Fraser” which is a large department store.

Made a prank call

OH SO WAY

As a child there were a group of us who went through a short spell of making prank calls from the public phone box at the end of our road. We were daft. We used to ring our own families. One of my friends told me to ring her parents and tell them that I was delivering their pizza order and we had the thirty six pizzas they ordered but we did not have enough fries to fulfil their order so we were sending baked beans instead. I was so hopeless, I was caught out of course. My Dad did not become too cross. But he did ask us if we had nothing better to do. He also strongly warned us not to call any emergency services.

When mobile phones first started to appear, I remember after walking up a mountain, some of the lads thought it was funny to try to ring a pizza delivery company and ask them if they could deliver a pizza to the top of Ben Nevis.

Kissed the corner of a pillow

OH SO WAY

I went through a brief spell of liking a boy band named Take That. I had ignored them for a long time. But then they released this song named “Pray” and the video featured the boys on the beach in their swimwear. What I can say? I was just about entering puberty and the hormones were all excited by these lovely boys.

I am sure I hugged my pillow imagining it to be Mark Owen – as I think many teenage girls did so. When I watch the video now it makes me cringe. But I know I am not the only woman in her thirties who has a very soft spot for the Manchester boy-band.

Been Drunk with your parents

OH NO WAY

I have had a glass of wine with my parents – but neither they nor I do “drunk”. One of my relatives was an alcoholic and my Dad was always quite strict about alcohol. We were allowed to buy one bottle and share it as a family. But there was never a store of alcohol in the house. He would not approve of heavy drinking.

Drunkenness has never been acceptable to my parents. A little alcohol in moderation was their standard.

Sexted

WELL…HARD TO DEFINE

I have received text messages from Goldfinch indicating a little of what he was looking forward to when he visited me in London. I have definitely responded indicating I was very much looking forward to his arrival. But I think they were tame really. But those messages would definitely make me blush!

Within a relationship I think it makes sense to receive a flirty text message from your partner. What I find bizarre is when men who I am not involved with send a rather risque message to indicate their interest. Some of those messages make me want to run a mile! I have had a few of these recently, and I am baffled by them.

Relationship with a work colleague

KIND OF

My teenage sweetheart – we became close friends by working together on the same projects as volunteers. We courted for several years. I ended the relationship at the age of 24 – I keep meaning to write about him. He was a special part of my life, and I am sure he kept me safe during a time that could have been turbulent for me.

After that, there were other workmates who either I had a bit of a crush on, or in other cases a workmate indicated their interest in me. I have a lot of embarrassing stories about workmates, some of which already published in posts:

Then there was a really nice man I worked with. he seemed so decent, so clean-cut, so kindly, humble, intelligent, conversational. He didn’t smoke or swear. I liked working with him and he seemed to like working with me. He used to make sure he took his breaks at the same time and we would fall into deep conversation. He asked if he could meet me outside work and take me for a drink. I was very happy.

He shared a house with two other people who worked for the same company. One of them came to me one day and said she knew her housemate liked me a lot, but he was struggling to tell me that he was married. His wife was overseas with their son and he sent her money from his wages. She told me they are are in a loveless marriage and he had worked overseas for around ten years sending money to her, so she could provide for their son. Once I knew, I could not go through with going for a drink with him outside work. I briefly spoke to him about it during one of our tea-breaks, explaining that I couldn’t let anything develop while he was legally married. He seemed disappointed, but I sensed he respected me even more. I was truly very fond of him.

Then when I came to London…I had a lot of single male workmates. There were very few of us single women compared to men, so it does not surprise me that so much attention came my way. I went out for drinks, meals, to see films and music events with a number of them, but I didn’t feel anything other than friendship.

Then along came Jack. I did not work directly with Jack, but we worked for the same charities and we were team-mates on some projects.

Been robbed, burgled, hussled or scammed

OH SO WAY

When we were teenagers, somebody broke into our garden and shed and stole our bikes.

We were gutted because we loved going out on our bikes with our friends and sometimes with my Dad and riding for miles.

Having our garden shed broken into was a real shock to the system – who would do that? We felt very shaken. It wasn’t even anything of high value – they were all second-hand bikes to begin with, but we could not afford to replace them. I am sure anyone who has been the victim of a theft will relate to that feeling.

Placed a bet – as in gambling

OH NO WAY – but only after the lesson I learnt over a phone in radio competition

Dad had bought me my own little radio.

radioOh how I loved my radio!  There was a daily competition which captured my youthful excitement and enthusiasm.  I think if you heard three specific songs in a row you had to call the number advertised and if you were caller 252 you won.  You would win £1000.  They gave away £1000 everyday.  I never did win, but when the phone bill came…OUCH OUCH OUCH!

Dad showed me the phone bill…I could not believe my eyes.  Pages and pages of me ringing the same phone number at a premium rate over and over.  I spent a lot of money on trying to win…around £400.

grumpyWhat did Dadda do?  What do you think he did?  I had to pay it back effectively by not receiving my pocket money for many many months. I was pretty fed-up to have no pocket money for all that time, but Dad was very effective in helping me to understand the cost of gambling in any form.

This experience taught me never to gamble.  I still pull a face when anyone talks to me about buying lottery tickets, or playing bingo, or having a flutter…Nooooope!!!  Never liked the taste of any form of gambling since my bitter experience as a 13 year old.

Which is what Dad wanted.  He had big money troubles as a young man.  He became engrossed in horse-racing and other sports.  Lost a lot…won next to nothing.  He stopped gambling before he married my mum, but he still found it difficult to be strict with his pennies.  However, he managed, and I take my hat off to him for how well he did.

Gotten lost going around a corner

OH SO WAY

I have worked in many locations and venues up and down the country. For example the Manchester Arena, the London Arena, sports stadiums, conference centres and theatres of all shapes and sizes. There are all sorts of corridors, some kind of bleak, passages, stairwells, that you work your way through during the installation and dismantling of a major event. I have definitely found myself very lost in some of those venues.

Stuck my chewing gum anywhere except the bin

OH NO WAY

cleaning.jpgI always thought it was disgusting to find other people’s chewing gum under the desks when I started high school. Some noggin had put their chewing gum on a radiator in our music classroom. I sat next to the radiator and the chewing gum ended up in my hair. Grrrrr! I have also had the privilage of scraping chewing gum from the seats at public arenas and stadiums – nice!

A Year In The Life Of Howard McAllister

March 2020 – Howard found a sext-message on his girlfriend’s phone from some guy named Nick

April 2020 – Howard lost his wallet and had to wait for two weeks for a replacement bank card

May 2020 – Howard found a strangely shaped mole on the side of his torso

June 2020 – Howard lost his grandfather who had been in ICU being treated for Covid for eight weeks

July 2020 – Howard found a new route to work that meant not passing the hospital where his grandfather died

August 2020 – Howard lost his face mask on the way back from shopping in Westfield. He was not allowed on the bus and ended up walking home in the rain.

September 2020 – Howard found his boss snogging one of the cashiers in the stock room

October 2020 – Howard lost the chance to see his parents because he had a cough and a temperature

November 2020 – Howard found a note from his girlfriend saying she could not take any more and was moving out

December 2020 – Howard lost any glimmer of confidence in the government as Christmas was cancelled for London

January 2021 – Howard found a twenty pound note underneath the sofa cushions

February 2021 – Howard lost his job when the store closed and everyone was made redundant

March 2021 – Howard found an online support group whom he could talk about his dark feelings

______________________________

his little post is my response to this week’s FANDANGO’S FLASH FICTION CHALLENGE

Getting To Know You

I have been tagged by Nova, the creator of My Namastè 365 Online to take part in a fun challenge – the GETTING TO KNOW YOU challenge – as you can see from Nova’s post below:

Getting-To-Know-You Challenge

Oh…and since I have been working on this post, Kristian has also nominated me:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2019/01/28/getting-to-know-you-some-questions-from-laura/

The GETTING TO KNOW YOU challenged is the creation of Laura Venturini as you can see from her post below:

The “Getting to Know You” Challenge

getting to know you

Rules:

  1. Copy and paste the rules and the questions
  2. Tag at least two people to take the challenge.
  3. Use the “Getting to Know You” pic and pingback to this post.

Questions:

Name a moment in your life when you felt you were most courageous.

Courageous? I have had to do things I found very difficult. There have been some moments in my life that called for extraordinary courage, but I find it hard to write about some of them…I think I would need to write an entire post to explain what happened.

I think being with people who were dying, watching them take their last breaths was hard, especially the very first time. I realized though, that I needed to be courageous. We were always told that hearing is the last sense that remains. I have found the words, the most wonderful words when needed. I don’t know how it happens, but it always seemed that the perfect words to say to make sure the person felt safe and treasured right to the end came into my head.

Showsec staff in the new uniformsOne day I was working as a steward at an event with around 15,000 people in attendance. We were informed that due to a package that had been identified in the area I was working in, the were going to evacuate the entire venue. I had to stand at my post as we had been trained and direct those who were sat in my section. My stomach was in nervous knots because you don’t know what is going to happen. Of course after the crowds were safely evacuated then we too were directed to depart immediately. Specially trained Showsec staff consulted with the police, the bomb disposal unit. I should write about that day…it was all quite a saga. I will say this…those 15,000 people who departed within eight minutes were wonderfully co-operative.

IMG_20180722_123051 (2)I think it was courageous in many ways to start a relationship with Goldfinch who was a total stranger to me. Every other relationship I had before was with someone I had known for some time. But I trusted Goldfinch. I am so glad I had the courage to trust him, because he has been wonderful for me and he has left me with something very special to remember him by.

If you had to choose only one breakfast cereal for the rest of your life, which one would it be?

Such a hard question. I love variety – so only one cereal would be difficult. There is a cereal that I really love. I only buy it occasionally…it is too expensive to buy regularly.

It is called Scrumshus Granola (the Premium Granola – an everyday luxury made with honey and pure maple syrup) and it is yummy!

When have you felt the most scared?

There have been a number of occasions I felt very scared.

Of course what comes straight into my mind is the realization that I was in danger that night in the park. I am going to copy and paste an excerpt from another post I published last year, because I don’t want to relive that memory right now:

When I arrived in the park there were joggers, dog-walkers, cyclists.  A man sat next to me on the bench.  A complete stranger.  It was him.  I was not afraid at first, I was too caught up in my despair.  But I do remember what happened when I stood up with the sudden awareness that now it was dark and there were no joggers, dog-walkers, cyclists anywhere I looked.  I had decided I should not be there.  I said it out loud.  I actually said, “I should go home.” 

Then I was on my feet, trying to walk quickly. It was so dark and I could not make out tree roots and bushes. It felt as if I was floating. The strength of his hands on my shoulders pulling me to the ground. I have never felt so utterly powerless.

I try not to think about him. I do not think about him. What he did was terrible. But he did not get under my skin, into my head, he did not oppress my heart. It was awful, but it was momentary and it has not haunted me like Jack has. Despite what he did that night, the damage was already done. Caramel was already crushed long before that night.

Now I am going to take you forward several hours.  A security guard had found me…he had found me left in bushes with obvious injuries.  He had called an ambulance.

Yes, I felt fear in my gut like never before.

If you could sing like any musical artist, who would you choose?

I would love to sing like one of those amazing opera singers. They are all amazing to me…but I am going to chose Elīna Garanča a mezzo-soprano. This beautiful beautiful piece is “Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour” (the Barcarolle) from Offenbach’s “The Tales Of Hoffman”:

Aren’t they wonderful?!!!

Do you collect anything?

I don’t think I do now, unless you count fancy cleaning products.

I used to collect pictures to make collages with. I had a huge box with pictures of animals and sunsets and flowers that I used to use to decorate notebooks and make letter writing materials with. It was too expensive to keep buying pretty stationery so I started making my own with coloured paper and my picture collection.

IMG_20181125_161458

If you could live inside a TV show or movie, what would it be?

I don’t watch much television. But I do quite like the BBC show “Death In Paradise”. My sister has the DVD collection of every series since it began. I watched the series last year and the new series has started again recently on BBC One every Thursday at 9pm.

It is a detective show set in the Caribbean. But it isn’t like one of those scary, violent gory shows. It is very easy to watch and seems to follow a similar formula each episode. There is usually a death at the start and for the rest of the episode you find out all about the connections three or four suspects had with the victim whilst the detective and his team try to deduce who could have committed the crime, how and why?

I would like to be in the show…sunbathing in the background, swimming in the sea, and having nothing to do with the crime-scene. Do you think you can make a living from being an extra on a show like that?

Have you ever had a reoccurring dream? If so, what was it?

I don’t often dream because I sleep very heavily. But I have found myself dreaming about my ex-neighour Jack. The dreams are different, but in every dream I find myself frightened, embarrassed, humiliated and distraught over Jack’s behaviour towards me. I wrote about one of my dreams recently:

lion portrait on blackWhen I was very young child, I used to dream about a bright blue lion that chased us and we were all hiding with our neighbour’s children from the blue lion.  One by one the lion caught them.  The only way I escaped is by walking upside on the ceiling and then climbing out onto the roof.

But I have not had that dream since childhood.

What is my start sign?

I don’t understand this question, but I have always quite liked Orion.

I often see it when I come back to the little nest late at night.

_____________

Well thank you Nova, I enjoyed answering the GETTING TO KNOW YOU questions!!!

So now it is my turn to tag some other bloggers for the GETTING TO KNOW YOU challenge:

Ride Sally Ride!

S, Glamour, Gold, Lights, Theater Letter, Alphabet

Jim Adams, aka Newepicauthor, the creator of A Unique Title For Me, is hosting SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY and this week he has chosen the theme: Songs that have a girls’ name in it which starts with an S

So, with the letter “S” in the spotlight, it turns out that there are a lot of songs with girls names that start with S! Which song should I choose? Hmm. Jack….do you have any suggestions? I am laughing at him because once upon a time Jack and some of his friends compiled an entire album of songs about one particular girl’s name that began with the letter S. That is another story! One that Jack might prefer I forget.

I am going to go with a song that is an experience!! From start to finish! I have chosen “Dance To The Music” from Sly & The Family Stone. Apparently they carved out the genre “psychedelic soul” which I will confess is not a genre I particularly identify with. I think that this was a huge injection of something special though – as if the sixties needed a wakeup! – and I can see Sly & Co easily traversing into the seventies with others trying to keep up with their pace. Hey – what do I know? We are talking a long time before I was born!

I love it – totally love it! Right in the middle you will see the name Sally – but there is a lot going on in this song!!! I is incredible, full of energy, full of soul. I love it! I also love that it was used in Shrek karaoke…so I have tagged a video of Shrek and company at the end of my post.

[Cynthia:] Get up and dance to the music!
Get on up and dance to the fonky music!
Dum-dumm du-du-du-du-du-dum-dumm
Du-du-du-du-du-dum-dumm – du-du-du-du-du-dum-dumm
[All:] Dance to the Music, Dance to the Music
[Freddie:] Hey Greg!
[Greg:] What?
[Freddie:] All we need is a drummer,
For people who only need a beat, yeah!
[Drummer]
I’m gonna add a little guitar
And make it easy to move your feet
[Guitar]
[Larry:] I’m gonna add some bottom,
So that the dancers just won’t hide
[Bass]
[Sly:] You might like to hear my organ
I said ‘Ride Sally Ride’
[Organ] Cynthia, Jerry!!
You might like to hear the horns blowin’,
Cynthia on the throne, yeah!
[Trumpets]
Listen to me
[Cynthia & Jerry got a message they’re sayin’:]
[Cynthia:] All the squares, go home!
Aaaaah, yeah!!!
[Trumpets]
[Listen to the basses:]
Dum-dumm du-du-du-du-du-dum-dumm
Du-du-du-du-du-dum-dumm – du-du-du-du-du-dum-dumm
[All:] Dance to the Music, Dance to the Music

Written by: Sylvester Stewart

He Said The M Word!

Couple Hugging Each Other

I am sometimes surprised at the posts I find in my draft folder – I started them, but perhaps because I was falling asleep after a long shift at work, I did not finish them.

This post had a title, an image and a YouTube video…and nothing else. I started writing it a year ago. Well, a year ago, Jack was in Africa – and he was loving every moment of it because he knew that the UK was in a National Lockdown. He and I were emailing and talking on the phone. But phone calls were never great. I could hardly make out what he was saying.

Yet one day, I do remember him using the “m-word”. It was strange at the time because we had only been going out with each other for around six months. Our families/friends had only known since the very end of the 2019. We had been to two large public events at the start of 2020 and a handful of small outings with friends to restaurants, but mainly to the homes of friends for dinner invites.

At the time I thought he was crazy. He had just left the country. Now he was saying the “m-word” on the phone. I could not take it seriously.

The follow up to that was an email from Jack in which he mentioned the “m-word” a few times. He was using expressions like “when we get married”. It was the first time Jack had been so outspoken about his hopes for the future.

I don’t think it was the very first time the word was uttered. Before the disastrous situation that developed between 2012-2015, people used to tease us about the two of us getting married one day, actually our friends used to tease us. But that was obviously at the very tame end of the scale of the damaging things that were said to us and about us. I remember that during some of our difficult conversations in the autumn of 2019 when Jack and I spent a lot of time alone, I remember saying that it made things so awkward that people kept on saying that when nothing, absolutely nothing had been said between Jack and I about any kind of romantic interest.

Jack has this tendency – and it is in equal parts lovable and sometimes frustrating – of shrugging his shoulders and saying you can’t control what other people think and say. I have always found it hard to understand, but he has had to deal with this challenge for years of an invasive level of interest in his personal life from strangers, and he does not respond to it aggressively. He just gets on with it. I found it immensely challenging to be thrust into this situation without any say.

Well…this post has made me reminisce. It is a year ago since Jack became serious in his use of the “m-word”. At the end of October he formally asked me to marry me, well informally actually. We were in his new house, which we had been cleaning up and making more “liveable”. Jack asked me to be be his wife, and I agreed. Since then, it is an ongoing source of comedy between us as to when and how our marriage will take place. A wedding with only six people suits me! But not Jack! It doesn’t matter. If I had my way….we would wait until after the end of corrupt governments and commercial institutions. It would be lovely to have a simple wedding and a picnic style reception in a clean peaceful earth.

Distracted By A Despicable Me

In order to lighten my thoughts, I am trying to make sure I have a bit of fun. I don’t want to be arriving in Australia with a heavy heart and shaken up by unwelcome flashbacks.

I am trying to make sure I have a little time having just fun with friends to distract myself as much as possible. I went round to the home of some friends last weekend for a take-away and when they asked me to pick a DVD to watch, I chose Despicable Me 2 – because it makes me laugh!

Oh and it did! I was laughing and laughing (as if I had not seen it at least ten times already!) I think keeping busy is a wise thing. I am working a lot. Tasks such as packing my things for Australia and trying to make the flat ready for the holiday maker who will be here while I am away, are occupying attention when I am not at work.

While we were watching Despicable Me 2, one of my friends cried “It’s Jack!” I used to say the same thing (I don’t say it now.) The way Jack was with most women. Jack was English but he spoke fluent Russian (not an easy language to learn) and Romanian, amongst other languages. Also Jack used to wear a black leather jacket throughout the winter with a grey scarf when it was cold. And Jack had hundreds of followers (his minions) who were always laughing and giggling.

I was in love with Gru! I do find that kind of makes me laugh to myself. I found this video that has a man commentating on Gru’s story in “Despicable Me 2″…I don’t know what to make of him, but I love the clips that have been compiled in this trailer.

From Where Does My Strength Come?

My intention is to do as little as possible this evening and to give my legs chance to recover from being on my feet for long hours (nine-fifteen hours a day) for the last eleven days. I have a little ironing to do and then I am going to double check my suitcases again to see if there is anything missing.

But I am also thinking of a post in response to the non-fiction challenge from Teresa aka The Haunted Wordsmith:

What book/television show/movie has had the most influence on your life?

mountain ranges

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Well, I don’t think any television programme has had a massive influence on my life. I have never been a big TV watcher. I love documentaries like BBC Blue Planet and I quite like Masterchef. There are one or two easy gong drama series I have enjoyed, like “Death In Paradise”.

sound of musicMovies…have any movies influenced my life? I guess one or two have made a big impression on me. I aspire to be like Maria Von Trapp from “The Sound Of Music”. I can’t look at mountains like those in Teresa’s photo prompt without humming The Hills Are Alive”. I published a post recently about the effect she has had on me:

How Do You Hold A Moonbeam In Your Hand?

Also I found the film “Life Is Beautiful” very moving. There is something very inspiring about the story of a man determined to help his family see the beauty in life despite horrendous adversity. I have been determined to never lose sight of the beauty of life when I have had challenges to deal with.

Books. I often wonder how many books I have read. It must be thousands by now. Who knows how many? Have any of them influenced my life? They all make a little mark, even if it’s just expanding my vocabulary. It’s hard to say exactly how they have influenced me.

Possibly I have been influenced by Jane Austen. I don’t really know to what extent. But I think reading her stories has helped me see that that I am vulnerable to placing myself in the path of My Wickhams. It has helped me patient and to realize that there could be a lot of misunderstandings to overcome before your Mr Darcys and Captain Wentworths emerge. And it has just helped me to feel a bit more relaxed about it all. Keep your sense of humour and don’t let the way a man behaves or treats you rob you of your light heartedness.

There are some epic novels, “Les Miserables”, “The Count Of Monte Cristo”, “War And Peace” that I became wrapped up in for weeks while I was reading them. I thought they were terrific, but I am unsure they actually  influenced my life.

There is one very special book. It has had a major influence on me to be sure. I first read it for myself when I was around five years of age just after some close friends of our family were killed in a tragic road accident (a lorry that skidded on ice completely crushed them). I was hungry for answers. I have read it over and over again. I have a copy that I have had since I was a child and in the front page I have recorded each time I have started and finished it – twenty-two times. But the last few years I have found it easier to read the passages I know will help, comfort or strengthen me.

4e0bd-EdynRUBYEaster12Has it influenced me? Yes. Massively. I grew up without fear of the future, without fear of death, and full of confidence that all troubles would be sorted out and that we had a wonderful future ahead. I have never put my confidence in the corrupt economic, political system knowing that it is going soon, nor in any religious group that clearly is miles away from teaching and practising what our Creator approves of. I have lived simply, been content with my needs and appreciative of the wonders of creation. I have a kept in sharp perspective what really matters and what does not. I have had a best friend who I could talk to and listen to every day and my concern over keeping my friendship with Him foremost in my life has effected many of my choices.

So, yes, one special book has influenced my life…and I dread to think what life would have been like without it.

help

On A Clear Day…I Can See Which Decision To Make

clear.jpgSometimes it is hard to make sense of what to do next, which choice to make, and how to live one’s life. Other times, everything is very simple and clear. In fact you are deluged by reasons to make a certain decision.

It seems obvious that regardless of the decision you make, there will be challenges. But if you feel that you will have more energy to overcome those challenges and will be far more likely to be happy with one decision…you are nudged in that direction. When things seem so clear and so obvious, why keep second guessing yourself? (Because we all have a treacherous heart that likes to justify what is actually bad for us!)

Living for well over thirty years has taught me that if it turns out to be a bad decision, it is alright, you can change direction at any point and forge a new route.

 

 

I Couldn’t Have Been Happier

Happiness comes fairly easily to me I must admit. It is not a constant, because there are things that make me sad and painful, even traumatic memories. But it’s not hard to muster up happiness, and it is my default frame of mind. I have just been working on a post for one of these blogging award nominations, and one of the questions was about what makes me happy. I compiled a little list:

  • made up.jpgMy family
  • Lovely friends
  • A sense of purpose
  • Work that feels as if I am making a difference to someone’s life
  • A clean conscience
  • Great food
  • Hiking and swimming
  • Music
  • Starry skies, rainbows and stunning sunsets
  • Flowers, forests, lakes, rivers
  • Mountains, beaches and meadows
  • Animals or all sizes and shapes
  • and last on this list, but most certainly not least is Goldfinch – who made me happy every day I was in Australia

And I would like to state that when I was with Goldfinch I felt happy from head to toe. Goldfinch had to work of course while I was out there. Five days a week was work. But at the weekend he could take me to wonderful places. He has an office at home. I made sure I didn’t disturb him unnecessarily, as he had a lot to keep him busy.

my daily walk.pngI sometimes went out on my own, not just to see places (I did visit some lovely places) but also just to wander up to the local shops, which were about a forty-five minute walk away, and I would shop for ingredients and then walk back to Goldfinch’s home and start cooking or baking according to a recipe I had picked out from the BBC Food Website. I loved that little routine, I loved the walk. I loved the sense of purpose I had that I was going to make something, hopefully delicious, for Goldfinch to enjoy after he had been working all day.

happy clean.jpgI could not have been happier cleaning, sweeping, mopping, washing and ironing. I even rearranged the contents of some cupboards, cleaned out the tenant’s fridge (and the tenants bathroom), swept the patio and the leaves that had collected in little corners of the yard outside, washed all of the windows – inside and out (there are a lot of windows in his home, and after several days of trying to get the petrol lawn mower going, I went a bit crazy with trying to prime the motor and eventually got the thing started, which meant I could mow the grass front, side and back of the property.

DIY.jpgIn addition Goldfinch and I spent a weekend immersed in DIY – we put up a whole wall of IKEA kallaxes (if you unfamiliar with kallaxes, they are shelving units that you can arrange to fit the space you want and you can add drawers or cupbaord doors into individual squares or leave them open as you like), and we moved furniture from where it was in storage into his house, we insulated the garage door, we hung up lots of his pictures. I loved working along with him.

And this is the thing…I was so happy. Goldfinch may have been surprised at how I chose to spend my time while he was working. He kept on telling me how much he appreciated what I was doing along with lovely hugs and kisses. But I found the more I did around the house, the happier I felt. I was giving. I was working with a purpose. I was showing love in a practical way to the man I am in love with. I was so happy, so deeply happy.

take my handAnd whenever he took my hand, which he frequently did and being in his arms at night, wrapped up tightly, feeling his kisses on the back of my shoulder…I didn’t want it to ever end. And I am missing him like crazy! Missing thinking and planning and giving and loving every day with him as my priority. Saving my money so I can be back with him again and feel that happiness invade every part of my body.

I don’t think everyone will understand, I don’t think Goldfinch would really understand – but life with him made me deeply happy.

_______________

Writing Prompt #30

Teased For Being Me

My good friends tease me for being a combination of three movie characters: 

I thought I would work on a few posts explaining this. I am not exclusively like any of them, I am me. But my friends laugh, and I must admit they make me laugh about the things I say and do or the things that happen to me that resemble one of these three.

Today I will explain why my friends say I am the female version of Forrest Gump (I have a lot more to say on the other two characters!)

lawn mowerSo the teasing began simply because I mentioned to my friends that when I lived out in Berkshire on a beautiful estate, one of my tasks was to keep the lawns in the formal gardens looking trim. To do so, I had to drive one of those lawn-mowers that Forrest drives in his job. So when my friends learnt this, they started to draw lots of other parallels between me and Forrest Gump.

I think I only saw the movie once…and I don’t think I saw it from beginning to end because there is a lot I do not remember.

Some of my friends think I am a tad gullible about people. Hmm – I don’t know. But I am someone who likes to believe the best in people, and does not give up on people easily. I can be extremely loyal and positive about someone. I am quite open (though I must admit, online I am a bit security conscious), but I am quite an open book in real life. I am also quite a mild, placid person, not easily provoked – I play dumb with aggressive people. And I do care about people, and have many times gone beyond the call of duty, as it were, to try to rescue someone.

strangers.jpgMy friends laugh at me for ending up in deep conversations with complete strangers. I might be out with friends but suddenly they find I have wandered off and am chatting with someone or a group of people I have never met about their beliefs or asking them questions. I know this may have happened on a few occasions, but it is not something I do deliberately. I do like people though. The thing about strangers is –  they are members of my family I just have not met yet, so they don’t frighten me as such. Until I feel threatened…but that is understandable after the crime I was victim of isn’t it? But I like people.

I think Forrest is famous for starting sentences with “my mamma says…”. As do I! Sometimes my friends will tell me about a decision they have made, and in my head I am thinking “what! are you nuts?” But to be kind, I tend to come out with something that my parents taught me as a little child and I relate how my parents would reason with me. So essentially I am giving my friends a lecture but doing so in the guise of my parents words of wisdom to me as a little one.

I also remember that Forrest did a lot of walking (or was it running?) at one period. This is something I am guilty of. It is rare now for me to have an entire day off. Of work, off socialising, off needing to clean my flat or do my laundry. But if I realize there is an opportunity for me to have an entire day to myself, my friends think that what I choose to do is completely crazy. I walk a twenty-two mile route. For those who think in metric, this is over thirty-five kilometres.

It is a route I love to walk. A circle around areas I love in London. What really provoked my friends is that one week when I was feeling really yuck after a week of night shifts, I walked that same route on two consecutive days. I am telling you, I am a walker. My legs don’t seem to get tired. Some of my friends have asked to walk with me, and I have told them before that I will only agree if they are happy to make their way home on public transport on their own if they cannot keep up with me. Several of my friends have tried but have given up half way and ended up jumping on the tube to go home.

running home.jpgI have always had a lot of stamina (because of the swimming we grew up with) and when I have been into running (mainly because I did not have enough time to walk at length – I prefer to walk because I can take in my surroundings, when I am running I am moving too quickly) I was fast. Some of my friends would run with me and tell me just to carry on ahead of them and they would run as a group behind. These legs of mine are like machines. I do have to limit my running now because it’s not unusual for me to have episodes where I am having breathing difficulties – one of the issues I have had after receiving head injuries.

However…although there may be some similarities between Forrest and me, I must confess that I never did get the hang of table tennis.

I can’t think of any other reasons why my friends say I am the female version of Forrest Gump…but this gives you an idea.

Well…it seems that most of my friends are in agreement that there is even more of Maria Von Trapp and Bridget Jones in me. I have been called Bridget Von Trapp for some time. I will explain more in future posts.