Kristian Has Nominated Me For The Real Neat Blog Award

I have been nominated for THE REAL NEAT BLOG AWARD by Kristian, creator of Tales from the mind of Kristian, as you can see from his fabulous post below:



  • Display the award logo
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and post a link to their blog – THANK YOU KRISTIAN!
  • Answer the questions from the blogger who nominated you
  • Nominate seven to ten bloggers
  • Ask them seven questions

Questions for my nominees:

When were you last surprised, what happened?

phoneWell, the biggest surprise I had recently, was that phone-call. I was shocked as it began to dawn that Jack was on the other end of the line. The surprise of the century!

But Jack has surprised me again and again since that day. Not so much with things or plans he has made, more just by revealing parts of his personality that I didn’t appreciate before. He has surprised me by remembering so much about our time living together, working together on projects and socialising together. It has surprised me to realize that I was on his mind all this time. I would never have imagined it.

If you were to put together a time capsule that encapsulated your life right now, what three things would you put in it?

times capsOoooh. I am not sure. I have a journal with some lovely special memories I shared with Goldfinch. Maybe I would put that inside. Some personal photos of my family and close friends (I have a story to tell you about that actually). What else?

Well, I have no idea what to do with wisdom teeth in my bathroom cabinet. Maybe I should put them in the time capsule. Everything else that I own (which is not a lot) I do kind of need really. It would be a bit of a nuisance for any other item to be in a time-capsule.

If you could drive in any direction, what direction would you drive in?

walesI have not actually driven since I received head injuries. But if I were to jump in a car now, I think I would want to drive somewhere I knew the roads. Perhaps out to Berkshire as that is not too far away from London – west of London.

If I was feeling more adventurous, then I would head up to North Wales, Snowdonia to see family there. But to be honest, I prefer Jack being in the driving seat. That means I can give my full attention to controlling the music choice on our journey.

If you could choose a new name for yourself, what name would you choose?

ready for rhtaAnnabelle. I have always loved that name. Is it a coincidence I chose it as the name of my fictional character in my Annabelle Riley series? Of course it is not!

I don’t actually know if my little apricot would have been a girl, but I thought of her as a girl. It helped me to name her before we buried her. Annabelle was the name I chose. I am sure she would have been very beautiful, because her father is gorgeous. But I do wonder what she would have looked like if she had the chance to grow.

When I read “The Buccaneers” by Edith Wharton, I became very fond of the name of the main character Annabelle St George, called Nan throughout the story. I’ve always liked names with the letter “L”, like Laura, Lucy, Lauren, and Alicia.

Would you prefer to live in a world where alcohol was free or where politicians were honest?

Hee hee…is this a trick question? If they were truly honest hearted they would not be politicians.

I would like to live in a world without any “politicians”. I would like that world to be so wonderful, that if alcohol was imbibed at all, it was just a little, just enough to make your eyes sparkle. Not the sickening quantities than cause people to abandon all their principles, take dangerous risks or make awful mistakes they will regret for a lifetime.

View More: live, just have so much wonderful in life that alcohol is the occasional treat – like a glass of champagne at a wedding, a margarita at a party, or a glass of Baileys on a cold winter’s night. Don’t drink alone. Very bad habit to get into. Let it be the occasional treat for special celebrations (in moderation). Or if you buy a bottle of wine, let it be to share with a few friends.

But while it is a substance that can inflict so much damage – I think it is wise to keep prices high.

What song would you play at a party in order to encourage people to leave?

To leave! Why would I do a thing like that?

I can only think of one song that is even closer to fitting the bill.

Who was a really good role model for you when you were a child?

window cleanerMy parents were wonderful role-models.

Both of them are really hard workers. They were very active. They helped other people. neighbours, family, friends. They were always giving. Mum is more chatty, everyone loved chatting to her when they bumped into her around town. But people are also extremely fond of my lovely Dad, who is a little shy. They are just a wonderfully sweet, kind, humble, hard-working couple who are incredibly faithful and reliable.

I am so pleased with all of the wonderful things they taught us, but especially the example they set for us. They taught us what makes life special. And even though we never had much in a material way, we were rich! Oh so rich in so many ways. My parents trained us to work around the home, they played with us, they learnt with us, we did so much together as a family.

I grew up thinking we were poor because so many of our other friends had a bigger house, and had so many toys etc. But now I see how rich we were. I would not swap what I had with anyone else.

Seven Questions For My Nominees

  1. Do you like getting dressed up smartly to go out to special events?
  2. How do you feel about queues – especially long queues?
  3. Have you ever performed live on stage in front of a large audience?
  4. Are there any DIY skills you would love to have?
  5. Do you enjoy playing board-games or working on jigsaw puzzles? Do you have a favourite game?
  6. Have you ever dated someone and found yourself realizing there was absolutely no spark with the person, although there was nothing necessarily wrong with them?
  7. Do you have favourite scents you like for soap, bubble bath, shower gel, or to add fragrance to your home in the form of linen spray, scented candles or those scented  plug-in?

My Nominees

Coffee With Caramel

latte mugsA chap came into my work premises the other day. He was very polite, but apologetic at the same time. He asked me if I would be kind enough to make him a cup of coffee.

I didn’t even ask questions. I just did it. I told him I would go and put the kettle on and explained we only had instant coffee (Nescafe Gold). He didn’t say anything, but I just presumed from the way he was dressed and groomed that perhaps he couldn’t buy a coffee at the cafe across the road. It’s cold here in England at the moment. It was a pleasure to have him come in and sit and drink a coffee with me. I even put the idea into his head that he might find writing about his life satisfying.


He told me exactly how he wanted his coffee. I made it for him and he drank it in front of me. We didn’t have any biscuits or anything to offer him to eat. (I’d already eaten my sprout sandwich a few hours before.)

I was chatting away (like I do) about coffee for the most part. I just wanted him to relax. He kept on apologising. I told him at one point I had no idea what he thought he needed to apologise for. He said he loved the way I spoke (Goldfinch might say that was like a chatterbox without an OFF switch), which is kind of your quintessential English chitter chatter, and one of those voices – nobody can quite place my accent, and I have a soft kind of tone to my voice. He thanked me for being so friendly and chatting with him. He told me that I helped him to forget all his problems.

robin anxiousThen he began to tell me some of the abusive comments that had been directed towards him by people passing. He also indicated that he had been into several of the shops and businesses on that road and asked for a drink, but he had been turned away elsewhere. And I have to say, I believe him. He didn’t tell me what it was, but he indicated that he has had a devastating situation that has stripped him of everything. He said the hardest thing is just trying to find the will to live.

And then he left. He thanked me again and he said “kindness means everything”.

Cup Of Tea
I took this one!

I don’t know his story. But I am sure he has one. He wasn’t with me long enough for me to learn how he has come to be walking into a random office to ask for a warm drink. But there is sure to be a story. He didn’t ask me for money. I didn’t have any money myself (I only take my debit card around with me), and there was no way I could take money from the petty cash (I don’t work for that company – I was temping to cover someone’s holiday). All he asked me for was a coffee. And he ended up with the drink and a fifteen minute conversation with a bubbly blonde who is never lost for words.

neignoursI work with charities, wonderful charities, that provide services and assistance, sometimes education and training to a variety of people, including those who might have lost their homes for one reason or another. In fact when I was a full time international volunteer – and lived in a huge apartment with a lawyer, a celebrity, an accountant, a joiner and an IT whizz (all working on an unpaid basis for charities), one of the lads next door, Micky, turned out to have an amazing story.

dinner chatHe also was living in a apartment that he was sharing with other volunteers. One day we invited him for lunch with some other friends, and my best friend Marta (the psychologist) joined us. Micky was so friendly. I loved how great he was at meeting new people and chatting with them. Such a gregarious cheerful lad. It turned out Micky had been homeless for several years, and had slept in various places such as back alleys and outside department stores. Anyway…he decided to volunteer for a local charity project, near to where he was sleeping rough. He loved it! He was trained in many areas of construction. He was such a lovely, hard working young man, he was selected to receive some very specialist training.

Several years later, he qualified to become an international volunteer, and here he was living with the rest of us. We were all equals. I loved that. I absolutely loved that we were all equal. All valuable. All from different walks of life. None of us being paid a penny. All working hard, eating together, living in the same basic accommodation, under the same rules.

volsI was told that two of the most important assets a volunteer can have is AVAILABILITY and HUMILITY. Anyway…I digress.

My thought was simply that I can’t bear that some people are treated with such a lack of kindness and dignity. I hate that some people speak abusively to others. (And on a side point…I am not political, but I find it very uncomfortable that more bloggers are using insulting terms when referring to others who do not share their political opinions – what’s going on guys? We may have a particular opinion or belief, but dismissing anyone who does not think the same way in degrading terms – that’s not a nice thing to do – at all!)

breakfastaWhen the truth is – we are equal. I long for the day when every human will be dignified as a valuable member of the human family. That guy who came into work the other day.. he was my family and yours too. A cup of coffee is nothing – is it? But from the sound of things, it is rare that anyone will give him the time of day. I think I need to make sure I always have some biscuits, or something foodies in my back pack. I felt lousy only being able to provide coffee. Next time he comes, I’ll try to do better.