The Sparkling Indishe Has Nominated Me For Another Sunshine Blogger Award


I have been nominated for The Sunshine Blogger Award by theindieshe as you can see from her brilliant post below:

Please check out her blog, I am sure you will love her posts as much as I do.

These are loosely the rules of the Sunshine Blogger Award:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Use the “Sunshine Blogger Award” logo on your post.
  • Answer the questions the selector asks of you.
  • Nominate bloggers you want to give the award to.
  • Ask the following bloggers that you selected questions of your own.

My responses to the questions asked by her are:

1. What is your secret desire?

Hee hee…

I have many desires.  I would need a whole book to list all of them.  But this is one that I often fantasize about!

I am not very good with dairy.  Milk, cream, cheese, yogurt, ice-cream…these cause calamitous side-effects in me.  Although I love cheese…I can have a tiny bit once in a blue moon and I seem to be able to get away with it.

This might not seem a very exciting secret desire, but anyone who has difficulties with dairy – they truly knows what I mean.

So my secret desire is a huge dairy-feast without the concequences!!!

2. What would you like to be in the next birth?

I am not sure I would ever like to have to go through birth again.  Either myself being born or having to give birth!  I congratulate myself that I graduated from nappies or diapers.  I survived puberty.  I am glad that is all out of the way.

brain universeLife as a human should obviously be very special. The awareness and potential we have is far greater than any other creature on the planet.  Much as I am fascinated by animals and plants, and there is so much to learn from other creatures, it is clear that humans are very different.

Our ability to reason, weigh up matters of justice and morality, appreciate art and music, design and create, ponder and meditate and ask questions like “How did life begin?  Why am I here?  Where am I going?”  are exceptional.  I would never downplay how special it is to be a human with enormous potential.  Sadly, we also have the potential to cause harm to ourselves and others (it is painful to see how many seem to do exactly that).  But we have to make choices and live with the consequences.

I have heard it said that of all the discoveries scientists have made in the known universe, there is nothing that can compare with the human brain.  I know some people do not seem to use their brains!  However, the potential we have is incredible.  Our capacity for compassion and unselfish love are unlimited.  However, it all depends on how we feed our own thinking and what we allow to develop.  Thoughts develop into feelings which lead to words and actions, some of which become habits or practices.  I wish people would care for their thoughts more and make their minds as spectacular and delightful as they were designed to be.

bearsIf I was not a human…hmm.  I have to admit, there are occasions when, I would love to hibernate for the whole of winter.  I believe that is what bears do.  Plus, if I were a bear, I would never have to worry about what to wear in the morning, because I would have a beautiful coat of fur.  I would be allowed to eat as much as I wanted and be big and cuddly and that would be fine.  I am not sure I would get on very well being a vegetarian bear.  However, I am a human, I am never going to be a bear, so I will not worry myself too much about that.

3.What one thing would you like to change?


I guess we all have regrets.  There may be major or minor events in our lives we wish never happened. Sometimes we realize we just made the wrong decision, and now faced with the consequences we may long to be able to turn back time and change that pivotal moment.

For myself, it has to be the night I was buckling under the emotional pressure of having been taunted by ex-flatmate and his fans and friends.  I was out with friends, but I didn’t feel as if I could go home because I kept on seeing him.  Just before I had left my flat that night I saw him in the elevator.  Instead of going straight home when I left my friends, I went to a park on my own to let myself have a good cry.  Hours later as the morning broke, a security guard found me and called for an ambulance.  The crime that occurred that night…well, it has turned my life upside down.

Three years later I am still longing to go home to my flat, with all my furniture and to be back where I belong.  But that is it… it happened.  I can’t change it.  A temporary blip in my otherwise satisfying life.  But I am not going to allow it to prevent me from living a life full of work, joy and helping others.

But if it were in my power, there is an event I think I would like to change.

adam and eve

There is a decision that I guess was the worst in all human history.  The consequences have meant pain and sorrow.  Countless injustices and crimes. Disease, abuse, war and many other horrific crimes.   Humans living out of harmony with what we were designed for.  Sure I would love to go back in time and stop them.  However, it was their decision to make.

Talk about a disappointment!  However, I have no doubt that it is a temporary blip.  I am convinced that this beautiful human family and this beautiful planet can be restored and healed.  All of the damage undone.  They made their decision, but it will not prevent this earth from being filled with happy and healthy humans.  Hey if I am determined to achieve my goals despite the obstacle I face…HOW MUCH MORE SO THE ONE WHO HARNESSED VAST AMOUNTS OF NUCLEAR ENERGY INTO STARS???  Hello!!!  I have no doubt, we will look back at this shameful period in history and think “did that really happen?”

It happened… we can’t change that it happened.  But one day it will fade into a distant memory.  All the pain will be forgotten.

My questions to my nominees are:

  • I was thinking of inviting you over for a cheese and wine night (soft drinks available for those who do not indulge)…Do you have a favourite type of cheese?
  • Did you wear a school uniform?  What was it like?
  • What’s your most embarrassing typo on your own blog posts?
  • Do you like weddings?  Why? (Or Why Not?)
  • Describe your perfect shoe / footwear?
  • Do you like “abstract” art?  Could you please explain it to me?
  • If you owned a shop, what would you be selling?
  • Do you have a favourite ice-cream?
  • Do you have any former school friends who are famous?
  • If you were going to dance at a special occasion, what would be the song that would make you want to get up and start dancing?
  • If you were being a tourist for a day in London – where would you like to visit?

My nominees are:



Josephine M

Lica Ramos


Well…I hope you enjoy the award and the questions I have asked you.  As a little inspitation for the sunshine blogger award, these are two great sunshine songs to light up your day.


The Dazzling Haunted Wordsmith Has Nominated Moi For The Sunshine Blogger Award!


I have been nominated by The Haunted Wordsmith for the Sunshine Blogger award, as you can see from her fantastic post below:

These awards are fun…and a great way to support each other’s blogs.  I loved Teresa’s questions and am pleased to be able use them in this post.  Below are the rules for the “Sunshine Blogger Award”.


  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Use the “Sunshine Blogger Award” logo on your post.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the selector asks of you.
  4. Nominate 5-11 bloggers you want to give the award to.
  5. Ask the following bloggers that you selected 11 questions of your own.

These are the questions The Haunted Wordsmith has asked her nominees:

  • Which Muppet, Sesame Street, or Jim Henson character is your favourite, and why?


Fraggle Rock is one of the first shows I remember watching.  For every obvious reason I wanted to be Red.  I loved her to bits!

I can hear the theme tune in my head now that I am thinking about Red.  I would love to have chance to watch all of the episodes over again.

  • What is your favourite time of day?

bedtimeI think I am going to have to be honest and say BEDTIME.  I used to be a morning person.  But since I received head injuries three years ago, I wake up each morning with pain in my head.  So nowadays,  mornings involve a regime of making myself ready able to face the day!  And getting through the day trying to ignore that my head feels as if it might split in half at any moment!

I cannot tell you how much I look forward to the celebratory moment I have within myself each evening, The moment when I realize I have survived another day and it is perfectly acceptable to lay my heavy head on the pillow and drift away into sleep.  Almost every time I slip into bed, it is just as delicious as it was the night before.  Once I am horizontal, it takes me seconds to be unconscious.  If it was not for setting two alarms (I have even set a third on days I need to wake up for something important) I am not sure how long I would sleep for. Every now and then I have the chance to go to sleep and not have to wake up early.  I can easily sleep for more than twenty hours.

  • If you were to die today, what would you want for your last meal?

lasagna-garlicbreadI am going to admit that I have occasionally had the thought that the pain in my head was so intense that it could be my last day.  That sounds a bit morbid doesn’t it.  I am not a hypochondriac.  It’s just that I have been told it was a miracle I survived what happened to me the night I went to the park.  I have had several scares since then.

Now, we are not allowing ourselves to dwell on the negative, but I have often had reminders that I must make the most of every day!  Life is such a precious gift.  And I do…I know it sounds daft, but I have become just a bit more determined to make everyday a bit special.  I have occasionally thought to myself…this could be your last meal.  I know exactly what it would be…a vegetarian lasagne, with layers of spinach and ricotta cheese (or cannelloni) with a fresh salad and a wedge of garlic bread.  I love lots of dishes, but if I could choose, this would be my last meal.

  • If you could spend 24 hours anywhere and anytime where would it be and what would you want to do?


Does this answer the question?

  • Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, or something else?

Oooooh…in moderation I think I could cope with a little of the first two.  Doctor Who is a big no I am afraid.  My brother used to watch it when I was tiny and it terrified me.  I remember very literally hiding behind the sofa with my hands over my eyes.  Terrifying. I probably would not find it so frightening now.  But I was exposed to it at such a young age, it put me off for life.

Star Wars – hmmm.  I kind of like the epicness of it.  But there are a lot of very unbalanced characters within it – are there not?  I feel like sitting them down with a glass of milk and a plate of cookies and asking them if we can work through their issues together.  You know how sometimes parents have to confiscate mobile phones from their teenage offspring.  Well, if I were allowed into the Star Wars films, I would be confiscating light sabres until we all learnt to control our hissy fits.

So I guess of the three, it would be more likely Star Trek I guess…which surprises me as I do not consider myself a “Trekkie”.  But there are some interesting characters I can respect to an extent.  Especially Kathryn Janeway.  Finding yourself light-years away from home and having to keep your crew together and motivated to set a course for home.  Yeah – respect to her definitely.

  • What is your favourite musical?

I have seen it on stage at least twenty times.  I am not sure I can confess to it being my favourite musical, it’s just on stage the whole thing with the chandelier always excited me.  Please don’t tell Goldfinch, but I secretly like it, even though I am sick to the back teeth of having to go and see it with friends who visit London.   I don’t think I could sit through it again.

I am probably mad for saying it, but part of me wants Christine to choose to stay with the Phantom.  On stage I quite like the number “Masquarade”, but in the 2004 film I loved seeing these three familiar faces perform “Prima Donna”.

  • If you had to pick a single post written by someone else, what would it be and why?

Ooooooh…so many great posts.  Since I have been nominated by The Haunted Wordsmith I would like to share some of my favourites from her site.  The first post I ever read by Teresa Grabs, the genius behind The Haunted Wordsmith, was “The Interview”.  I love it still.

But what I love about Teresa’s site is that she is a prolific writer.  She never seems to tire of coming up with something new and fresh and she consistently publishes fiction that immediately grabs your attention and makes you want to keep reading right to the last word.  She is a pillar of the blogging community too.  I am sure many would agree with me.

  • Do you recycle?

Yes…we have to….we would be fined if we did not.

I was actually thinking of taking a photograph of my recycling box at this point…and then I asked myself why on earth you would want to see my recycling box???  Just getting a bit carried away with the pictures for this post.

  • If you could relive any moment in your life, what would it be?

elevatorIf it was just one moment I could relive, it would be the last time I saw my ex-flatmate, before the night I was the victim of a crime.  I had pressed the button for the elevator and was waiting. The doors opened and he was there on his own.  He scowled at me with so much fury.  I stepped back.  There was no way I was going to be inside the elevator on my own with him.  I went out for a meal with friends.  Afterwards I did not feel I could return home, because I was scared to see him.

I have often thought about what I would change if I could relive that moment.  I am afraid that I really don’t have a clever answer.  But it would be something like this.   I almost feel I would fall at his feet and I would try to say something along the lines of:

Whatever it is that caused this…it really is not worth it.  If there was anything I could do to make this right, I would jump at the chance.  Anything…anything I have I would give for there to be peace between you and I.

  • If you could create anything, what would you create and why?

If I could design and create anything, it would be a shoe that looked elegant and feminine and I could wear with beautiful dresses…but had all the practicality and walk-ability of a pair of running shoes, but was just as comfortable as the snuggly booties I wear during the winter indoors.   Aaaaah.  Perfect!



  • What gift do you want most? What gift would you like to be able to give someone?

I don’t really like being given things.  Unless they are edible.  I have to be able to leave accommodation with short notice and move on to the next and fit everything into a suitcase.  So anything that won’t fit, I have to leave behind or take to a charity shop.  But I do like experiences.  If someone gifted me with horse-riding lessons, a scuba-diving course or a hot-air balloon ride (not on my own though, I would prefer to go with some of my nearest and dearest) I would be very excited.

Hmmm….gifts.  I am not brilliant with choosing objects as gifts I have to admit.  I always try to find out what a person really wants or likes.  If they want a kindle, sure I will buy them a kindle.  A gift should be what the recipient likes rather than what you like.  I prefer a paper book, to reading from a screen…but blogging involves reading from a screen…so it is growing on me.  But to me a piece of technology does not say “I think the world of you…and so I wanted to give you something special”.

candy chestThere was one gift that I planned for a family we were close to.  They were moving away and we wanted to give them a little goodbye.  I wish I had a photograph… I will have to describe it to you.  So I bought a small wooden chest.  I filled it with chocolate coins wrapped in gold and silver foil.  We also threw in chocolates wrapped in coloured foil which made them look like gem stones.  We put a few shells inside the chest and a toy crab.  I used some orange netting from some satsumas I had bought and put a toy fish inside the net.  We put an empty bottle inside and we wrote out a farewell message, which we aged with teabags and burning around the edges to make it look like an ancient scroll, rolled up and stuffed inside the bottle.  They loved it!

I have often been inspired to organize surprise parties and special tokens for GOODBYES…I find they really pull on my heart strings. Some of my friends have been very moved that I had managed to get so may of their nearest and dearest together without them knowing.  For me a GOODBYE is a real reason to get everyone together and show someone how much they are loved and how many people they have touched.  Then when they move on elsewhere (and they are bound to face challenges) they know how much they are loved and how many people are rooting for them.

My Nominees:

The world of Joy

Don’t Eat It! Soap and Skin Care

Morning Glory




My 11 Questions:

  1. I was thinking of inviting you over for a cheese and wine night (soft drinks available for those who do not indulge…Do you have a favourite type of cheese?

  2. Did you wear a school uniform?  What was it like?

  3. What’s your most embarrassing typo on your own blog posts?

  4. Do you like weddings?  Why? (Or Why Not?)

  5. Describe your perfect shoe / footwear?

  6. Do you like “abstract” art?  Could you please explain it to me?

  7. If you owned a shop, what would you be selling?

  8. Are you watching World Cup football?  Who do you think will win?

  9. Do you have any former school friends who are famous?

  10. Have you ever been the victim of a crime?

  11. If you were being a tourist for a day in London – where would you like to visit?

If you have been nominated, it is because I have loved your posts and these awards seem like a great way to say thank you for your support.

Have fun! Keep writing…or blogging I should say…and keep supporting each other.  Have a lovely Sunday (I am off to see Goldfinch).



Lucy… Showed What She Would Do If Only Things Were Different

cyclist.jpgLucy… I am sad to say I did not know her anywhere near as much as I would have liked to.  I met Lucy on a voluntary project many years ago.  Only she was too young to be on the construction site. Insurance would only allow us to use volunteers who were aged 16 and over. However, Lucy was part of a team who baked cakes to feed the volunteers on site.  We saw her every day.  I remember how much she wished she was old enough to be on the construction site.  Lucy was a teenager full of life, she was active and loved sports and dancing and being active.

runnerI have to take you forward now a few years.  I found out that Lucy had been through an ordeal with her health. I heard that Lucy had cancer.  I don’t know where it started, but it had spread into her bones.  Lucy was a teenager.  So many of us are effected by cancer.  It seems to have touched every family on the planet. Maybe you can imagine the mix of emotions that both Lucy and her family went through.

I heard that Lucy had eventually been told they would have to remove one of her legs.  It was after that when I saw Lucy again.  I worked with her on another voluntary project.  This time Lucy was old enough to be on the construction site.  Only there were so many tasks it was not safe for Lucy to be involved with.  Yet she did what she could.  She was asked to join the purchasing team.  She threw herself into her assigned role.  I am certain she would have loved to have been climbing up scaffolding and taking wheel-barrows from one end of the site to another.  But she was happy to be involved in any way she could.

ClimberLucy said that she had always been encouraged by the phrase:  “I can run, I can skip, I can hop…but I cannot fly”.

Ironically for Luc,y she was at that time not able to do some of those things with the ease she had before her operation.  She explained that it is better to make the most of what you can do and not to become bitter about what you can’t do.  Better not bitter.

I am sure Lucy may have had her tearful moments, but she lit up the room when she arrived with her effervescent smiles and laughter.  Lucy had a very giving nature.  She had a hope in her heart that convinced her that her situation was temporary.  She had many family and friends who loved her dearly.

But my outstanding memory of Lucy was a couple of years before I became a full-time volunteer.  I went to a training session where they had invited those already involved in voluntary projects to consider if they could give up their homes and jobs to make themselves fully available.  They made it very clear that this would not be for the faint-hearted  or the half-hearted.  The lifestyle would be demanding and tough.  Idancert meant a lot of personal sacrifice and endurance, both physically and emotionally.  The qualifications were very particular and included a pretty much perfect bill of health.

I was very interested in being a full-time volunteer.  They made it clear that it is mostly strong, healthy young men that are selected because of the nature of the work as well as the difficult living conditions.  I had applied for seven years in a row but had never been selected.  I just knew though, that having it as a goal was shaping my life, my mindset, influencing all of my decisions.  Even if I never made it… I was convinced that it was the best goal possible and was having a wonderful effect on my life.

At that training session something moved me to my core though.  Lucy walked into the meeting.  With her crutches, and her one remaining leg, she made her way towards the seating area and as soon as she saw me, she headed my way.  She sat beside me and we chatted.  Lucy told me how much she had loved all of the projects she had been involved with.  She told me that if things were different, her dream was to be a full-time volunteer being able to be sent on any assignment anywhere in the world she was needed.

I held her hand throughout the training session.  I had a few tears brimming over my eye-lids because I was so deeply touched by what Lucy had said to me.  I have often thought about what Lucy said.  “If things were different….”  Sigh!

constructionThat wonderful girl showed what was in her heart. She did everything she could to support voluntary projects in her area.  She would have loved to have been a full-time volunteer able to be sent to any area of need in the world.  Imagine at the age of 14, having one of your legs removed.  There may have been many other things she would have liked to have done… but her dream was a life of full-time giving.

Lucy…. aaaah… it breaks my heart to tell you this.  Lucy went to sleep in death about three months after I sat there in that training session holding her hand.  She was around 18 years of age.

I often remembered her expressing to me that it was her dream to be a full-time volunteer.  She gave me another reason to reach out to that goal myself.  I had many reasons, but now one was reason was to do it for Lucy.

roofersOne day, I would love to work with Lucy again.  Only this time I would like to see her up on the roof where I know she would have loved to have worked.  She would have loved to be part of a roofing team.

I can see her now in my mind’s eye.  She would help build houses for those who needed them.  I am sure Lucy would be willing to go anywhere she was needed, to any corner of the world.

Next time, I am able to work with Lucy, things will be very different.  I am sure there will be tears brimming over my eye-lids again.  But very different tears.  Tears of joy that at last Lucy has her dream.

Aaaaaaw Lucy Lucy … we truly love our Lucy!



Prawn Cocktail

This one is for Prawns..

prawn cocktail

I have a new friend.  This little post is for my new friend who I believe takes the occasional look at some of my posts.

“Prawns” is the name I know my friend as.  Prawns calls me “Caramel”.  Are we two foodies who have struck up a friendship whist sharing recipes?  Not exactly!  More a matter of sharing recipes for life than home-cooking tips.  Right now Prawns is not 100%…and I found myself worrying.  So this post is an attempt to cheer Prawns up.

There seems to be a lot we are in agreement over.  At the same time there are differences in our thinking…as there are between any two people.

Now I am going to mention to you something I may have omitted in other posts.  I stopped eating meat and fish at the age of six.  I do remember eating fish-fingers.  I remember chicken and sandwich meat.  I even remember mum making liver and onions which was the weirdest thing I have ever eaten.  But as I have not eaten meat or fish for so long.

fish fingers  ham sandwiches  liver and onions

You might be looking at the photos above and understand exactly why a six year old me decided she would be a vegetarian.  Mum and Dad thought it was a phase.  I just never grew out of it.  I don’t have any strong views.  I am fine with other people eating meat… just don’t ask me to.  That’s fair enough isn’t it?  I have some friends who don’t like me not eating meat… but just think of how many friends I have made by trading my chicken for their brussel sprouts at roast dinners.

My parents never gave us prawns when we were little ones.  I have no idea what prawns taste like.  And I have no desire to try one in all honesty.

What I am trying to say is this….Prawns and I….well I am aware that there is an element of the unknown, a curiosity because of the newness, the differences between us.  There is a basis for our friendship and some common ground.  Perhaps, like the ice-berg lettuce in the image of a prawn cocktail above.  The ice-berg lettuce makes me feel an element of familiarity.  Ice-berg lettuce is safe, risk-free, I know what to expect.

But the prawns side of the prawn cocktail – is the unknown.  All I can do is imagine how prawns would taste.  A bit zingy?  Tangy? Maybe salty spicy?  Or maybe they are a bit sweet?  I don’t know.  So it is with my new-ish friend.  We do have common ground.  But I also think there is a side to Prawns that I don’t really understand and have not tasted before.  It is kind of fascinating.  However, we will have to wait and see.  Time will tell.  Time is usually a telling factor in any friendship.

Treacle-TartHave you ever been to a restaurant and after glancing over the menu, you opted for something quite new to your normal tastes?  I did it only last week.  I was with a friend at lunch and I saw a combination I have not tried before “Orange and Rosemary Treacle Tart”.  Please don’t tell Goldfinch I gave into a yummy pudding…I really am trying so hard!

Well that combination of orange and rosemary was something I had never tried before. It was delicious.  It delighted my taste-buds in a way I had never known.  I keep thinking of that refreshing combination of flavours and hoping I will be able to try it again soon.

So it is when you make a new friend.  You are getting to know them and you see some common ground, but there is a degree of new and different that you have not experienced before.  I am pleased with my new friend.  But only time will tell if these new flavours are going to continue to dance on my tongue or if there is a bitter aftertaste.  And vice versa.  Maybe Prawns will grow sick of Caramel.

Prawn cocktail… I am sure there are those who would tell me how delicious it is.  Nope, I certainly am not planning on eating any prawns…but I will look forward to getting to know my new friend Prawns.

Take care Prawns…. have a real good rest… and make sure you don’t get yourself into another pickle.  Promise me you will be alright.


Switching On The TV… And Seeing One Of Your School Friends Staring At You

leon presenting

I guess this post is rather self-explanatory if you have looked at the title.  I think I need to shorten my titles.  They seem to be growing longer and longer.

I did not have a television for over ten years after I left home.  So I am rather out of touch with current actors and presenters.  I have one here in my current accommodation. Everyone is a new face to me….except the face you see above.

It was a nice surprise… but definitely a surprise to see Leon on the screen this morning on the BBC Breakfast Show as I was eating my Weetabix and drying my hair.  I went to high school with Leon.  We were in different forms but we were in the same classes for a lot of subjects.  Definitely English, probably Maths and Science too.  It is an awful long time ago!

I am pretty certain that when we went to High School Leon was already playing for the junior or youth team for one of the major football teams in the region.  (Everton I believe.)  I think he also played for the junior England team as a teenager.  I seem to remember a school trip to watch him represent England.

leon playingAfter that….well, after school I was busy.  I did not really follow football, but my Dad has definitely mentioned over the years that Leon was playing professionally.  I asked Google earlier and I found an outline of Leon’s football career.  He has been busy.

Now it seems he is involved with presenting shows in connection with football.  He was talking about the teams playing in the World Cup when I saw him today.

Seeing him brought back into my head a million memories of school.  I have not kept in touch with many school friends simply because life as a volunteer meant travelling so much.  I met thousands of people and made life-long friendships with some of those I worked with.  Well a handful of school friends I have kept in touch with and I went to their weddings and wrote to them for years.  But when I moved down south, regrettably, we have not kept in touch as often.  Sigh!

The years have flown by.  So much life… so many stories to share with you of people I have met… which has just reminded me.  I have to tell you about Lucy.  I will tell you soon.

But for now… this post is all about how strange it is to switch on the TV and see a school friend who you hung around with everyday for several years… staring back at you while you munch your Weetabix.  I could tell you lots of stories, but I won’t.  Leon might not like that.  That is the thing about publishing on-line.  You have to be so careful that anyone else you write about could not be remotely upset.

Apparently the English football team won their first match. Sorry world cupif I have ruined that for you.  No idea who they beat.  I have no idea what the score was.  Or the names of any of the men who played.  Oh dear.  Nope!  Definitely not remotely interested who wins the World Cup.  Fortunately for me, neither is Goldfinch.  (I am going to visit him this weekend.)

I love playing football… but I not intersted in watching professional footballers I am afraid.  Sorry football fans.  Still, it would be nice to see more of Leon on the TV… brings back so many memories.


The Last Person I Would Want To Be Stuck On A Cruise With…And I Will Tell You Exactly Why!

sea catMy sister Mandy is married to a lovely man with a lovely mum.  She is lovely.  Not only is she lovely, she is also a Super-Mum (as I revealed in a post named “Would You Like To Meet The In-Laws?”)

However, she has a problem.  It is a problem that I find difficult to comprehend.  I try to be understanding, sympathetic, compassionate, but frankly it baffles me!  My sister’s mother-in-law is a PANICKER!  In one particular situation she loses all sense of reason and her behaviour is incredibly unpredictable.  Do not be out at sea with this Super-Mum – who knows what might happen?

I first realized this when we took a trip to the Isle-Of-Man (or Mann, I am rather confused about whether it is supposed to have one or two “N”s because everyone seems to think differently.)  I have made that trip many times because we had great friends over there and we thought it a lovely escape for a weekend.

seasickThe Irish Sea can be a rough crossing indeed.  I don’t suffer too much myself with sea-sickness, but I have been on crossings that have been so turbulent that almost everyone had to be out on deck with severe regrets that they had breakfast before they left the house!

But, one thing that has always reassured me when I arrived at Liverpool to set off for the crossing to Douglas, is that the Sea-Cat can only sail when the water is reasonably calm.  If it is too choppy, they have to use a different kind of vessel.  The Sea-Cat (I am no expert in ocean vessels) kind of skims across the surface of the water.  It can only do that when the sea is reasonably calm.  I have been on journeys that were changed due to weather conditions.  Our two hour Sea-Cat crossing was changed to a four hour trip on the “Ben-Me-Cree” which took us to Heysham instead.  Then we had to travel by coach down to Liverpool.  That boat the “Ben-Me-Cree”, it seemed to bob around like a cork in water and we felt the heaving and swaying dramatically.

So turning up at Liverpool Docks on a sunny day with the faintest of breezes and learning the Sea-Cat was definitely running I was a happy bunny.  I like travelling with a group of friends and family members.  We have fun!  This was the first time I had traveled with my brother-in-law’s Super-mum.  She is a lovely lady…but almost from the start she started to show signs of anxiety that I had never seen in her before.

stressedIt became much worse.  There are times when the Sea-Cat seems to slam down onto the water quite forcefully.  She started to become alarmed to an extent I had never seen before.  We all kept telling her that was normal.  But she was not able to accept our reassurances.  She started running around and screaming in panic shouting “We are going to sink!”

Her own family were trying to retrain her, but they were unsuccessful.  A couple of the crew on-board became involved because she was so frantic.  Other passengers just stared in amazement.  I was bewildered.  How could a woman who was normally perfectly rational and capable deteriorate so quickly into this abysmal state of panic?

Her angst only dissipated when we were safe on dry land.  When she had fully recovered she apologised to everyone who had been worried by her state of panic.  Then she told us it was not the first time, or the worst time!  It seems that travelling by water is not advisable in her case.  When they were on vacation in Spain they went out on a hover-croft with a large group of fellow tourists.  The stampede of panic she had caused after she became convinced that the hover-craft had been damaged and they were in danger of imminent cap-sizing was so severe, that she had been formally told by the company running the Hover-craft tours that she would not be allowed back again.


I do love her as a member of our extended family, and I don’t want to be unkind about her, but I swear, she is the last person on earth I would go on a cruise with!

My Dusty Flip-Flops Has Nominated Me For The Entertainer Blogger Award! And It’s Not For My Singing…It’s For My Blogging!

pasted image 0


“The Entertainer Blogger Award” is one blogger nominating a fellow blogger whom he or she finds fun, inspiring and entertaining.  As far as I can see, it’s a great way to encourage each other and get to know more about who is behind the posts you are enjoying.

I have been nominate by mydustyflipflops as you can see below in her fascinating post:

My Dusty Flip-Flop is a very lovely traveller who has been to places I would love to go to one day.  I love reading about her travels and seeing her photos.  She is also a very encouraging and supportive blogger.  She is one of the first people who commented on my posts and I am very grateful for her kind comments.


There are some specific instructions in connection with this award:


  • Thank the person who nominated you to add the link to their blog
  • Add the rules so others can follow
  • Answer the same questions
  • Nominate people who you find fun, inspiring and entertaining!
  • Include the graphic in your post



So here we go with the questions:

Why did you start blogging in the first place?

lettersI have been writing and receiving letters and e-mails since I learnt to write.  In fact I  still possess thousands of beautiful letters that I have received over the years.  I also have never deleted a personal e-mail.  I wrote long letters full of personal details and accounts of the antics my family members and friends were involved in.  In recent years many of my friends have said, you should start a blog.  I was not keen on the idea at all, it seemed like a waste of time doing something trivial when I could be spending those precious moments on more important things.

One of my friends, who has a well established blog, set me up on WordPress,  posting some of his favourites from a collection of short stories I had sent him.  I could not believe it when people started reading and sending me lovely comments.  What has encouraged me to keep going is the feedback and encouragement of other bloggers.  I kind of feel as if I am writing to friends that I have recently met.

AmbulanceI have also found it helpful as I had a challenging situation to deal with some time ago.  At the time, I found it overwhelming.  It lead to me going to a park on my own one night instead of going home.  That night, I was the victim of a crime that has temporarily removed me from the life I love. Sometimes I have found it hard to talk about what happened.  But when you write, you can go at your own pace, little by little.   If you have had enough, you can save your words and resume later when you are feeling up to it.  So I have been able to communicate feelings I have not yet done so verbally.

Keep SmilingAt the same time blogging has helped me to reinforce my determination to make life beautiful.  (Reference to one of my favourite films “La Vita È Bella” where a man in a concentration camp for being Jewish tries to keep his family going through their ordeal.)  I want to dwell on all of the wonderful in life…and I want to look forward to the future with a gigantic thirst for life and love.  I try to make sure my site is generous with posts that reflect how joyful life should be despite challenges that may temporarily bruise us.

What is your favourite book?

persuasion     Les Mis     the count of monte cristo

If we are talking about novels, these are my favourite three.  I must admit I am far more comfortable with classic novels in general and I am happy to read my favourites over and over again.

Persuasion by Jane Austin is a favourite because I read it without knowing Jane Austin and without having any idea how it ended.  So the book took me through an emotional roller-coaster and I could not believe the ending.  I also love “North and South” by Mrs Gaskell for that same reason.  I had no idea how it was going to end.  I think I relate to a character who has had their hope destroyed and suddenly quite out of the blue someone turns everything upside down and the pain turns to joy.

Les Miserables, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Muskateers series…when I read these, I feel at times I am sitting on the edge of my seat with the action that throbs through the pages of these books.  Uggggh…would I love to be able to write like that!  To be able to pack that kind of excitement into each chapter.

But the question was not what is my favourite novel, but rather, what is my favourite book?

depressionMy Dadda was lost in his life.  He had made some bad decisions which had consequences that would tie him for the rest of his life.  He was intensely sad.  His father had died in childhood as well as two of his siblings.  He had many questions.  He was disillusioned with those he thought he could get help from.  My Dadda read a book, a book which answered his questions…and it motivated him to change his personality and stop his harmful habits.  He became a loving husband and father.  He is one of many I know who have made changes after reading this book, however, the changes he made directly effected my life as a small child and meant that my parents would ensure I had access to the best education available.

Russian-Bible-photoWell, which is the most popular book of all human history?  Available in thousands of languages, available in the “mother tongue of the vast majority of people today?”  A book that moved brave men and women to risk their lives to make sure that people could read it for themselves in the language of their hearts?  For every good reason!  I have been reading it’s pages since childhood and they are to me quite simply better than gold, or pearls or honey as many  others have said.  I can read it over and over and it still makes me marvel.  I learn more and more. Ingenious…revealing aspects of the human heart in clear light.  One thundering theme…how the original purpose for this earth and the human family will be accomplished…nothing and nobody in the universe can prevent that.

What do you dislike the most?

broad beans

Broad beans…I don’t get on well with broad beans.  I wish I did, because I love my veggies.  Something strange to me about the texture…I just cannot warm to them after many attempts.

However on a far more serious note:

I don’t like what is very obviously nuts…racism, abuse, war, crime.  But what grieves me deeply, is that there seems to be millions upon millions spent on this:

plane dropping bombs

….despite disasters likfaminee this….


No matter how many words are spoken or printed justifying this…they are essentially hot air.  The reality is, things like this are monstrously wrong!  It is just one example of how much we need help.  This world is so upside down…law is numb, life is cheap, love is shallow and self-serving.  There is a definite limit to how long these ridiculous injustices can go on for.  Things will change.  This is not what this planet and our human family were designed for…and I long for the day the whole earth is at peace.

What is your favourite food at the mall?

I am not a frequent visitor of malls or shopping centres as we call them here in England.  Nope, best to avoid places that would make me spend my pennies on fluff and glitter.  Charity shops are my favourite place to shop, except for shoes and underwear (I will buy these brand new and make sure they fit perfectly and are good quality).

lolas cakes

However, when I worked in the infirmary we were sometimes asked to take some of our patients out for the day.  We often went to Brent’s Cross Shopping Centre because of the free parking and other facilities that made life easy for us.

We used to take the ladies to a lovely little spot named Lola’s.  Before 11.30am, if you bought a coffee, you could have a free cup-cake.  The ladies loved it!  The team who worked there were super.  They used to treat the ladies, who were all over ninety years of age, like members of the royal family.  Big thank you to the team at Lola’s Cupcakes.

What is your favourite pastime?

Top of my list is:  Climbing trees!

basketballI like being outdoors.  I love hiking.  I like playing sports….far more than I enjoy watching.  I used to play basketball every Friday evening.  I miss it so much.  I like playing any sport with a lot of running around.  I am not particularly skilled myself, I just love joining in and I can burn off my energy.

My sisters and I were brought up swimming many hours each week – at least ten hours a week we would swim.  We have always had a lot of stamina and energy…but I am really deficient when it comes to hand-eye coordination.  So I try to play in defence.  I am great at running around and getting in the way…but as soon as I manage to win control of the ball I have to pass it to someone else because I am useless.

None-sport related…top choice is karaoke.  Have I won Entertainer Awards for my singing?  You will find out in a future post!




That is quite enough of me.  Let’s get to the exciting bit…

My Nominees:

I have no idea how many bloggers I am supposed to nominate…and I have nominated quite a few already for other awards, so I am going to nominate some of the blogs I have discovered recently and I am loving:


Gbolabo Adetunji  Akosile

Laleh Chini




There is a world of bloggers out there…it is fun to get to see what other bloggers are coming up with and publishing on their sites.  I am really enjoying this blogging business.  Thank you for all of your support.  I hope you enjoy answering the questions and I look forward to reading your replies.

Have fun…and have a fabulous weekend!


Nobody Will Play With Me!

I have another confession… and I already know you are not going to like it – at all!  I tested out a few other bloggers when I nominated them for a Liebster Award and I can tell by their reaction, that this confession of mine might not go down well.

I guess everybody has their good points and their not so good points, their strengths and weaknesses.  I am not going to try to justify myself.  However, I am going to explain how it has become an ingrained habit of mine from a very tender age.




There were two little girls that Mandy and I used to play with a lot.  Jill and Emily.  Jill was my age.  Emily was Mandy’s age.  They were lovely girls.  They had a lovely mum (we were scared of their Dad, but to be honest we were always a bit nervous around anyone’s Dad).  They lived in a bungalow, which fascinated Mandy and I.  We wondered if they were too poor to afford a house with stairs.  That was not the case at all.  Their home was in fact in a picturesque location with panoramic views of Lancashire countryside.

They were lovely girls.  I ruined their paddling pool one day.  I thought I was quite the acrobat.  I did a cartwheel and tried to land inside the pool but I managed to land on the wall of the pool and rip the plastic apart.  Water gushed out all over their garden. Amazingly, we were still invited back many times.  Their Mum made vegetarian curries. I was fascinated by her cooking.  It was so different from the food we ate at home.

She was a very clever and very talented lady.  She had made all of the soft furnishings in their home herself.  She made clothes, she could play the piano, she spoke different languages.  She had once trained to be an actress, she drew, she could paint using water-colours.  Mum and Dad still have one of her water-colour paintings in their home.  She seemed to know almost as much as my Grandfather about history, poetry, art.

She was bringing her daughters up to be like her.  I did not see the difference as starkly as I do now.  My sisters and I were like tomboys.  We climbed trees, we played football, we swam, we read books.

Judy and Emily played the piano.  They sewed and knitted.  They produced pretty cross-stitch creations.  They made their own dolls-house and dolls and furniture.

dolls house


They made incredibly intricate items for their dolls house, like dinner plates with meat, potatoes and tidy green peas!  They made tiny cutlery.  Judy gave me a doll she had made as a gift. It was Mr Darcy from “Pride & Prejudice”.  I think I still have it at my parent’s home.  The older they became, the more talented these two girls became.

When we were very young we used to play card games and board games.  However… there was an annoying habit that Judy and Emily had.  They were sticklers for rules.  But not only the rules in the official rule book (which they had studied and memorised by heart) but they would also invent additional rules and insist we adhered to their way of playing the game.  We often played monopoly.  They would make it so difficult to just enjoy the game.  They took all the fun out of playing because of their pedantic ways of accusing us of forgetting or breaking one of their extra rules.

Well, if you can’t tell by now, this really irritated me.  After it happened on several visits, I started to say I wanted to spend time with their mum, so she could teach me how to cook.  Judy and Emily complained.  They said I had been invited to play with them and so I had to play with them, or they would never invite us back over again.

So I sat down grumpily and resumed playing their games which were just not fun any more.  Then I saw an opportunity.  I kind of knew it was wrong, but I cheated.  From then on I had my own fun at their expense.  It became fun to see what I could get away with. It got me through years of play dates at the home of Judy and Emily.  These girls have been life-long friends.  I was just glad when they grew out of playing board games.

I did not cheat with other children because they were more carefree and it never came into my mind to cheat.

It was only years later when I became inclined to cheat again.  There was this young man…I was sweet sixteen, Rick was a few years older and he had the nicest smile.  He was funny too, a bit of a clown really.  But he was responsible and he took me under his wing in quite a brotherly way.  He gave me great advice, which was useful as I was entering a part of my life that was fraught with hazards that had the potential to cause me serious harm.  Rick really did have his head screwed on the right way!  I had a huge crush on him.

It was Rick that introduced me to cheating again.  He cheated with gusto!  He would always confess and then everyone would laugh at what he had done.  Nobody could ever be cross with Rick.  So I resumed this bad habit in imitation of my favourite.  From then on I cheated with his style and I always confessed afterwards and most people would laugh.  They would laugh because they were so surprised.  I was the last person they thought would cheat.

Mum and Dad have made sure cheating in life…is not optional.  But cheating in a board-game became my release.  If I ever found I was in a game with a group of people who were pedantic and took all the fun out of the game…well, it was then that I would start to take advantage of opportunities to cheat.  And let me tell you, there are many opportunities.  I will not share them just in case you and I ever do find ourselves in a game of monopoly or another game.

RummikubGoldfinch really likes board-games. However, he does not approve of this very bad habit and on the basis of that, he will not play with me.  I have a friend who has still not forgiven me for cheating in Rummikub.  Our next door neighbour Aiden was really dismayed when he realized I had cheated in a game even though he won and I came last.  You see, I never cheat to win.  I just cheat to have fun because I don’t take it seriously.  It really annoys him.  If anyone ever suggests a game after dinner, he makes a big fuss pointing his finger at me and telling everyone I am a cheat! It’s my night off.  I want to have a laugh and relax.  I don’t want to find myself feeling oppressed by a dictatorial opponent in a game which is supposed to be enjoyable!

I have only ever won one game off monopoly.  I certainly did not cheat then.  Two of my friends we were playing with are registered as blind and we used a braille monopoly board.  It would be unthinkable to cheat in that game.  I played fairly and squarely and that is the only game I ever remember winning.  But I don’t play to win.  I play to enjoy and have fun.  When my opponents become tyrannical about the rules, it is hard for me to resist having fun at their expense.

I know, I know….nothing can justify it.  I do know that it is wrong to cheat in board-games.  I should not do it.  I have promised Goldfinch I would not cheat if it would ruin the game for him.  I love him very dearly.

So now you know it…I have confessed to you one my worst traits and a lesson that I really should learn and change my view over.  For if not even my beloved Goldfinch will play with me… well, where is the fun in that?

It’s Frrrrrrrriiiiiiday!!! (Lemons, Leaves, Lattes, Ladies Night)

lemon-drizzleI am so relieved it is Friday.  The week has actually been fine really.  I had a pain that started several hours after Goldfinch left to go home on Monday.  I would love to say the pain is heart-ache.  However, it is much further down than I believe me heart to be…and in the end I had to take a trip to see my Doctor.  The verdict is…well, you don’t really want to know that do you!!

I say “my” Doctor.  I had never met them before.  I have not paid a visit since I registered almost eighteen months ago.  What an effort to make an appointment.  Oh well… please remind me never ever to complain about a free health service!  My friends who live abroad tell me about the thousands and thousands they have had to pay for treatment which we take for granted here.  I must not complain about it being hard to make an appointment.

We will not dwell on our pains and aches though.  Let us dwell on Friday and celebrate that glorious feeling of freedom.  Freedom from 5am alarm bells.  Freedom from wearing a stiff uniform that makes you feely sticky oo-ey goo-ey hot in this muggy weather. Freedom from being squished on a double-decker bus with scores of other commuters, wondering if it would have been quicker to walk because the traffic is so bad.  Yes, its Frrrrrrrriiiiblossom-hill-elderflower-lemon-spritz-75cl_tempiiday!!!  A fantastic reason to celebrate.

I have a plan for today…it involves Lemons, Leaves, Lattes and a Ladies Night in London.  This morning I have a little bit of shopping to do and then I have promised to make a lemon drizzle cake for my friends.  Their choice…not my first choice.  But the thing about giving a gift or baking a cake for someone is this:  You should pick what they like, not your own favourite.  So lemon drizzle is the cake for today!

Some of the girls are meeting at my little abode before we head into town later.  So I will serve the lemon drizzle cake and I have found a nice little tipple to offer round to those who indulge…besides the huge pot of steaming tea I shall also provide.

Just in case you had not picked up on it…we have a girl’s night out tonight.  It is on account of The World Cup having started.  We decided some time ago that we must make sure that we had a girlie night at some stage during the football fanaticism and this evening just happened to suit most of us.  It is really hard to agree on dates sometimes.  I am looking forward to this evening very much.  We are all going to wear summer dresses and basically there will be lots of talking and laughing and reminiscing.

If you are not amongst those who are going to be watching football teams from all corners of the world run up and down a pitch after a ball…well, you may find that restaurants and busy public shopping areas are considerably quieter during World Cup season.  It is worth making the most of it and visiting these places.  You may notice a lot less of the lager loutish behaviour that sometimes mars a night out with your firneds.  Hey…you could even come and meet me and the girls…so long as you wear a summery dress and come ready for laughter.  I should really ask them before I throw out an open invitation everyone.

Now I think I know what I am going to wear.  A dress I scooped up as an incredible bargain not too long ago but I have not worn outside yet because it makes me feel like a plant.  But I thought tonight, I shall try it out.  It is summery.  I have noone to impress, it’s just my very good friends and me.  It is just the shape I like – leaf dressmy sister tells me this is “fit and flare”. I don’t know…but it does hide my squishy hips well and makes me feel elegant and feminine.

But what do you think?  Is it a bit too leafy?  I do like green. But I am not sure of it at all.  Still, I am 90% sure this is what I am going to wear tonight.  I have a gorgeous little bolero that matches the colour of the leaves.  I am wearing tan coloured shoes – flat – as I don’t need the extra height and I am at an age where I like to choose the comfy option.

You might wonder what we will be getting up to on our girl’s night out.  Well, truth be told, we will be rather sensible.  We just want to be able to chat and laugh without annoying anyone (so during the World Cup the best way to do that is making sure we leave the house).  Men seem to get all uppity when you try to talk through a football match.  I am not complaining…I love an excuse for a night out with just the girls. Goldfinch is not a big football fan and if he lived locally, I have a feeling he might be more than happy to escort a group of ladies around town…but I have not invited him!

Aaaah Goldfinch – I do love him!  Have I mentioned that?  Truly truly!

I mentioned some of the girls are meeting at my place.  However, we are then going to head into London and we are going to a glitzy hotel for nothing more than lattea coffee (a soya latte for me) while we wait for everyone to arrive.  We are going there for the experience.  It is much too expensive to have a meal there, but just meeting for a drink in a gorgeous location is a great way to start the evening and take lots of photos together.  Most of the girls I am meeting tonight work with charities as volunteers so we all live life on a sensible budget.  But we do allow room for occasional treats.

As there are so many of us…it will take a long time to move everyone along to our next destination.  I start to act like “Tour Guide Barbie” again, marshalling my friends out into the streets, making sure they don’t wander into the road, and reminding them to cling to their handbags with all of their might.

We are going to a favourite location because of the views and the space and the indoor plants.  I have just realized that my dress will be perfect there.  I will camouflage into the background at Sky Gardens, it is full of leafy plants.  Maybe you have been, maybe you have not.  This is not a travel blog, or a restaurateur’s blog, or a nightlife blog…but I would give it the thumb’s up for a place to go with the girls when you are all dressed up in summery dresses.

sky gardens

I will leave at a very modest and respectable time to make sure I am back in bed tucked up for a good night’s sleep before a 9am-5pm workday on Saturday (better than my long 8am-8pm shifts mid-week).  Don’t feel sorry for me, I am used to working on a Saturday now.   It flies by very quickly.

Why on earth am I thinking about work?  It is Frrrrrrrriiiiiiday!!!

That Will Be A Turkish Apple Tea For Me

apple teaI have been gifted by a friend.  A friend whom I shared a rather memorable holiday with in Turkey a few years ago.  We fell in love with drinking this beverage when we were out there:  Turkish Apple Tea.

What a holiday it was.  I have been on two “package” holidays in my entire life.  Turkey was one of them.  Normally we just book flights and stay with friends.  But a friend wanted to try Turkey and she didn’t think we knew anyone out there, so she arranged for us to stay in an all-inclusive hotel.

The weather was gorgeous throughout.  Everything I saw of Turkey’s landscape was beautiful.  The food – yuuuuuuuummmmmmmmy!  However, there was a fly in the ointment.  We felt pretty much harassed by some of the waiters.  I was warned about this before we went, but it was quite frankly exhausting.  I do not like to be rude to anyone, but we had to be very firm, positively unfriendly night and day…and I found it all pretty disagreeable.

What salvaged the holiday was that we did in fact have friends out there.  A family we had grown up with were living in Turkey just a twenty minute drive away from our hotel.Olu Deniz

Our friends helped us to escape from the atmosphere within the hotel which was causing us so much stress.  They took us under their wing and they took us to many stunning locations.

I cannot remember the names of the locations we went to.  I know we visited a Gorge and walked up through the clear water. There was a hammock cafe at which we idled away an entire afternoon.  We were taken to some amazing locations to dine.  It was great to meet some of the friends of the family we had known since childhood.  We were spoilt rotten!  Plenty of invitations to dinner that meant we did not really utilize the “all-inclusive” hotel deal we had paid for.

Our Turkish speaking friends came to the hotel and spoke to the hotel manager and the waiters explaining in Turkish that we wanted to be friendly but if we were harassed we would go out of our way to avoid them.  We noticed a big difference after that.  They were polite but they were not inappropriate as they had been before.

scuba divingOne of the highlights of the holiday for me was scuba diving.  I had always wanted to…and it is something I would love to do again and again and again for the rest of my life.  My sisters and I are total water-babies.  I was transfixed by tiny colourful fish who were not at all shy of our presence.  They swam all around and in between us.  It felt as if they were greeting us with delicate little kisses.  It was one of the most special experiences I have enjoyed.

Aaaaah….sigh!  Paradise!  Everyone should be able to explore this beautiful planet.  What a home we have.  One day!

Turkish Apple TeaSo when my friend came over to visit me, the gift she brought me was a tub of Whittard’s Turkish Apple Flavour Instant Tea.  I opened it and we had it chilled with ice-cubes.  Tonight I had some with steaming hot water.

One of the holiday experiences she reminded me of was the last night we were there, the evening we flew back to England.  She laughed reminding me of my karaoke antics and the reaction of the hotel staff and fellow holiday-makers.  I will write a post all about that bizarre night one day.

In the meantime, I am going to sip apple tea throughout the rest of the summer and remember that eventful holiday and our taste of paradise.