While You Were Self-Isolating…

awiaaWhile you STAY AT HOME, are you contemplating writing (or finishing) a book? A novel or a poetry book, an autobiography or your memoirs? My advice is DO IT! It is such a rewarding experience to see your work finally in book form. This extra time at home could be the start of something exciting for you!

It’s been such a busy month. March has just flown by in the blink of an eye! I was looking through the ninety posts in my drafts folder with a hint of sadness last night. So many were about my hopes and plans for the spring and summer months. But they have to stay on ice right now. We are all having a taste of that. But imagine being able to show your new book to your family in a few months time and telling them, “while you were self-isolating, look what I was doing!”

But one of the posts I had started made me smile. I am so very grateful to Ashley, the creator of Mental Health @ Home, who has reviewed the first two parts of my three part series about Annabelle Riley (Learner At Love). This is the post in which Ashley reviewed Part Two of the series which is called Where Is This Place They Call “Home”?



Thank you so much Ashley for all of your support and encouragement!

What Jack Was Listening To

Guitar, Music, Female, Girl, MusicianJack loves music. Probably more than I do. He is also musical. I love that he is musical. He surprises me by the range of music he listens to. He really loves modern pop music, much more than I do. It is rare than I get a bite for modern pop music. But he is always asking me to listen to songs I have never heard before and introducing musicians to me that have never been on my radar.

Anyway…we were out one evening back in January, and a song was playing. He grabbed me and span me round. Jack looked at me and said this song was in his head for months and it made him think of me. This song was released before Jack and I became estranged. But he said this was one of the songs that was forever whirling around his head. There are a couple of others he mentioned too. Maybe I will save them for another day.

Always Learning

asaosaFor the past few weeks, work has been very different. You know why. But today was different again. I was receiving “on the job” training to do things I have never done before. It was interesting. My brain is buzzing tonight as I had to learn so quickly and put it all into practice straight away.

One day to the next has been so unpredictable these past few weeks. We have no idea which of our staff are going to be in. We have no idea how many patients will come our way, or how intense work will be.

We just all keep going. So far so good for me…my legs never get tired. I think I am becoming more accustomed to these long shifts because I am feeling less and less tired. I am still sleeping like a baby, which I am sure is doing me wonders.

NHS England are taking care of business!


Under The Covers

Countryside, Cropland, Farm, Field, GirlI think I have mentioned in the past that for a long time my friends have labelled me Bridget Von Trapp (a cross between Bridget Jones and Maria Von Trapp). My interpretation of this is that although I aim to be Maria, in practice I end up being more like Bridget.

I have seen The Sound Of Music many many many times (love it!) but because of the language I have not seen any of the Bridget Jones movies. My friends have told me why I remind them of the character though. They have shown me some clips that made me laugh.

covaseOne of them reminds me of some of my weirdness with Goldfinch. I think I wrote a post a while back about why I had a weird shyness come over me and started to think he did not want to look at my body. He wondered why I was hiding myself under a sheet. He reassured me that he enjoyed looking at me. Silly me.

Why did I become shy with him? So so silly. It seems highly unlikely that I will make it to Australia this summer. I am so glad I went last year. I loved that time with him. I hope that one day I will see him again. So much seems on pause at the moment. I am not sure how the world will look six months from now.

I love that Goldfinch seemed to like me the way I am.

Blessings, Braces And Boxes

balsoaI had a burst of energy when I came home from work on Saturday. So I used it to do some housework, send some emails and work on a few posts to be published during the course of next week. I was disappointed that I didn’t find time to work on last week’s SHARE-YOUR-WORLD questions, but I am pleased that this post is all ready and just in the nick of time!

These were the questions that fabulous Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind, gave to us in this week’s SHARE-YOUR-WORLD, and this is her original post where you can find all the other bloggers who have taken part:



On A Scale Of 1-10, How Strict Were Your Parents?

I would not use the word strict about my parents. However, they did provide what I would describe as training and a wonderful example for us.

Adult, Mother, Daughter, Beach, KidsMy parents were great. They are great. If they were strict we did not know it. They trained us, they spent time with us. We learnt from them, we copied them. They not only gave us advice and guidance, they lived in such a way that we would want to do what pleased them. They were and are lovely. I think some people misinterpret the word “discipline”. Discipline should not be about punishment. It is about training and educating, shaping someone and preparing them for life. My parents prepared us for the day when we would have to make our own choices that we would be accountable for. They provided the best possible start in life for us.

They are brilliant company. People in our town loved them because they helped others. They trained us to do the same. I don’t remember being fearful of them. There was a lot of love and kindness at home for most of my childhood. I love the memories I have of being trained in household chores. If you did a job well, the reward was praise and you were entrusted with more responsibility (ie more important work) and then pocket money.

momesI do remember occasionally being told off for being naughty, but it usually came with questions from my parents about why I had done something and then they would reason with me about why it was wrong and why I should not do it again. They made it clear that I could choose how to behave, that I could control my behavior. They showed me that we choose who we are. They showed me how to react to mistakes and weaknesses and how to become a stronger and better person. I still remember how they shaped my thinking with beautiful reasoning that touched my heart and made me want to be a nice person.

I think the main reason we would be in trouble as children was for squabbling with our siblings. My dominant impression of my childhood is that my parents allowed us to be children. They helped us feel valued and useful. Rather than praising us for high grades in school work, they praised us for acts of kindness and generosity. They gently encouraged us to blossom, rather than putting pressure on us. They set the example. We saw them reading and studying, we did the same. Any kind of recreation or entertainment was a family event, so they knew what was going into our minds. They wanted to nurture good in us and protect us from harm.

assoaLife was never about what we could not do. It was about what we could do. They filled our time (outside of school) with ways we could show kindness to our neighbours or others in our town who might be lonely or struggling. They also made plenty of time to play with us. They encouraged us to be active (we swam for many hours a week and we only gave up the local swimming club when our trainers there were putting pressure on us to be more competitive as we did not want to be competitive) and Dad taught us to climb trees and took us jogging and played sports with us. Mum is more of a walker than a sportsperson. But she also loved taking us outdoors. We would often go for rambles and picnics with mum.

My parents had seven children to rear on a very low income but they made plenty of time for volunteering with local charities. That made a huge impression on me. I saw what real joy involved. My parents beaming smiles are an inspiration. They are a very hard working couple who care about others. They are kind, generous, modest, sweet, mild, humble and joyful. They are outstandingly reliable and faithful. I am very blessed to be the child of a wonderful couple.

Girl, Teenager, Young, Beautiful, TeenAll of us children had a grumpy teenager moment (except beautiful Milly). My parents must have found it difficult when we no longer wanted to communicate with them. But they never gave up. They could guess some of what was going on in our minds and hearts and they carefully appealed to us.

When I was fourteen I started working for a record company and going to live music events in Manchester and all over the North of England. I learnt for myself in my teenage years that everything my parents had taught me was true. That filled me with respect for them. They told us the truth. Their training and guidance was in my heart and it empowered me to reject what I could see was harmful and turn my back on people who had chosen degraded practices.

I made my own choice. I wanted to be like my wonderful parents.


What Wastes The Most Time In Your Day To Day Life?

I try not to waste time. I am a big believer that you ought to make the most of each day and show your appreciation for life.

But having said that, there are things I do that are more important that others. I prioritise on the more important things. The lesser things I still manage to make time for and I enjoy them. I don’t consider those lesser things as a waste of time.

You probably have seen one of those pictures showing that if you put the big things in first, then you can often add lots of other smaller things around them. But if you concentrate on all the smaller things, it is less likely you will have room for the big things.

What am I trying to say? I guess that time management and learning to prioritise are very useful skills. Some people pack an extraordinary amount into each day because they know how to make the most of every minute. They often have time for work, play and rest and still manage to keep in touch with friends and family and enjoy relationships.

The only things that waste time are those that are harmful and reckless. They waste other people’s time too. I can’t abide the idiots who make prank calls to emergency services.

Do They Bury People With Their Braces* On?

oarhsaI have no idea.

I have been with a number of people when they died. After the Doctor came and issued a death certificate, we would do a number of things before the undertakers would arrive. As many of them were older, we usually put their dentures back in. I don’t know why exactly. We usually washed our patients and put them in a clean nightdress (or another article of clothing they had chosen) and brushed their hair neatly. Then the undertakers would take them away. I always presumed they didn’t make any additional changes after what we had done.

Why Does A Round Pizza Come In A Square Box?

Session, Pizza Shop, AcusticoI have had as many square slices of pizza in my life (when you live and work with 800 people everything is done large scale) as slices from a round pizza.

Is this question a joke? Or a serious question? It reminds me of that expression I heard when growing up…”for being obedient people might call you a square, but if you are obedient you are going to be a-round for much longer than they are”.

Pizza – round. Box – square. Why? Because it is cheaper to make square cardboard boxes? Is that a sensible answer? Packaging design is not something I give enormous thought to I will admit.

Cue the Pizza Hut song!



Share something you are grateful for right now

llkaunxaI am grateful for my lunch tote, my thermos flask and my water bottle.

I started using them just over four weeks ago. I could see what was developing in other countries and I so I decided to stop using public transport completely. I also stopped using the kettle and microwave at work or going out to buy lunch.

Every night I come home from work and make my sandwiches for the next day. In the morning, I fill up my water bottle and then make some fresh tea or coffee for my thermos flask.

They have been very helpful in helping me stay in a little protected bubble so I could be fit and strong for work.

You should see me on my way to walk, swinging my little lunch tote and singing to myself to cheer myself up before the demanding day ahead.


I Just Wanna Feel Real Love

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: TOUCH/FEEL.

A long list of songs with the word “TOUCH” came to mind, but when I checked the lyrics of each song I had thought of, they seemed a bit creepy. So I have chosen to play safe and not get too touchy feely.

robaNow, did I ever tell you that I went through a stage of handling Robbie Williams’ fan mail? I was working for a record company up in Manchester, and he had recently left Take That. Literally sacks of post would arrive for him. He was in pretty bad shape back then, I am sure he would be the first to admit that.

He seems relatively happier and healthier these days. That is all I would want for any fellow human – to be happy and healthy. After leaving Take That, Robbie has gone on to have some massive hits of his own, and is still a very popular entertainer. I have chosen his song “Feel” for today’s SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY.

Come and hold my hand
I wanna contact the living
Not sure I understand
This role I’ve been given

I sit and talk to God
And He just laughs at my plans
My head speaks a language
I don’t understand

I just wanna feel
Real love feel the home that I live in
‘Cause I got too much life
Running through my veins
Going to waste

I don’t wanna die
But I ain’t keen on living either
Before I fall in love
I’m preparing to leave her

Scare myself to death
That’s why I keep on running
Before I’ve arrived
I can see myself coming

I just wanna feel
Real love feel the home that I live in
‘Cause I got too much life
Running through my veins

Going to waste
And I need to feel real love
And a life ever after
I cannot give it up

I just wanna feel real love
Feel the home that I live in
I got too much love
Running through my veins
To go to waste

I just wanna feel real love
In a life ever after
There’s a hole in my soul
You can see it in my face
It’s a real big place

Come and hold my hand
I wanna contact the living
Not sure I understand
This role I’ve been given
Not sure I understand
Not sure I understand
Not sure I understand
Not sure I understand

Written By: Robbie williams and Guy Chambers

Poop On The Patio

Castle Park, Hotel, Terrace, ParkNo photos of the actual poop – I promise!

I only mention it because there was a danger that as a member of the health service I was in danger of acquiring an inflated sense of importance. Suddenly the entire NHS have been exalted to superhero status (quite right too!), but to keep me grounded, I had a reminder this week that just because I am working ridiculously long days in extremely demanding conditions, there is no reason to feel all elevated.

Instead I was assigned the task of scraping the poop off the patio because my clients, who are now working from home, were sunbathing in their garden (which is an appropriate exercise when social distancing) and complained that all they could see was the poop on the patio. By the looks of things, it had been there for days. Poor clients had not thought of clearing it off the patio themselves.

iashSo I put on my PPE and went about the task.

Not only am I fighting on the front line of the invisible war…I am also an expert at property maintenance.

No task too great…no task too menial. Self-importance is soooooo overrated. Long ago, when I saw it in others who have had a big influence on me and been an inspiration, I realized that humility is one of the most beautiful qualities a human can display. I have fallen in love with people when I witnessed their humility. So…I am going to remind myself that poop on the patio is no big deal.

Not only will I carry on working hard at my day job…I’ll roll up my sleeves and take on any other work that needs to be done.





You are spending time with a close friend (or perhaps someone you are courting) at a public venue – perhaps at a shop or eating in a restaurant. Your friend is unhappy about the service, but when expressing their complaint, they are very rude to a member of staff.


I prepared this question before we all came under social distancing guidelines and restaurants and cafes. But think back to what we used to do with our free time…


What is THE CARAMEL CRUNCH? Well, it’s all about decisions. When it comes to THE CRUNCH what would you do?

One of the definitions of the word CRUNCH is:

a crucial point or situation

 – generally involving a decision with weighty consequences

  • Your response can be a quickie. Please feel free to send a comment to say what you would do, and if you have time or are inclined, please feel free to explain your decision.
  • If you would like to create a post with a longer explanation of your decision, please pingback to THE CARAMEL CRUNCH post. (Or copy and paste a link to your post in the comments section – please feel free.)

If you know anything about CRUSHED CARAMEL, you will probably realize I am a gentle soul, so my questions are not supposed to be terrifying! What I am hoping for really is to see a variety of responses. Afterall, it’s pretty obvious that WordPress bloggers are from a huge variety of backgrounds and cultures. It would be fascinating to learn more about how we as individuals make decisions.

Some of the questions I am going to ask are questions I have discussed with friends when we have been having coffee or dinner. I often find there is no clear right or wrong. It can be so much a matter of our individual experiences and outlook. I find it fascinating how very different some of us are when it comes to decision making.

We all have different outlooks, and may make different decisions. I am really looking forward to learning WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

One Way Street, Decisions, Opportunity



Melanie Has Nominated Me For The Mystery Blogger Award

Corona, Virus, Corona Virus, Covid-19Every single day at work we are bombarded with questions in connection with the …you know. It’s hard to think about anything else. I know more and more people who are self-isolating and everyone else is social distancing. Many of my friends are anxious about their parents or grandparents. It is hard to switch off that anxiety. Then there are the financial worries many are facing. We are all wondering what is ahead.

Well, it is nice to have something to distract me. Melanie, creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind, has nominated me for THE MYSTERY BLOGGER AWARD, as you can from her post below:



What is the Mystery Blogger Award?

“Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion. – Okoto Enigma


  • Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  • List the rules.
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog – THANK YOU MELANIE!
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  • Answer the questions from the blogger that nominated you
  • Nominate 10-20 other bloggers.
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question.
  • Share a link to your best posts.

Three Things About Myself

Supermarket, Shelves, ShoppingNormally I go to the same supermarket to do my shopping. But almost three weeks ago, I had to search five supermarkets near me in the search for toilet rolls. While I was at these different shops, I ended up buying all sorts of other items I don’t usually buy. It was costing me a fortune! Thinking about what I might need if I have to self-isolate completely for either seven days or a fortnight, I bought tinned goods that I don’t normally look at, including asparagus soup, curried baked beans, mushy peas and black eyes beans. I did eventually find toilet rolls and then Jack pinched most of them! I am just about to run out again, but I now know that as someone who works for the NHS, I have a route to obtain some! Wooh hoooh!

dadsesI had a dress all picked out for an event that I was supposed to be going to. But the event has been cancelled because of the …you know. My lovely dress will have to stay in the wardrobe for another big event. It is not really a summer dress, it is more of a winter dress. It is tapework and although it is lovely, the fabric feels quite heavy when you wear it. I showed Jack and he liked it. He liked taking it off me too. Normally, I go to a lot of large events on a regular basis, so the coming months will be very different. But it is a necessary measure to protect especially our precious older ones.

Just over a year ago, I lost a little apricot sized life growing within me. I wrote about my thoughts and feelings on WordPress last spring. I decided those scribbles were something I wanted to keep permanently, so I published them a while ago.


Five Questions From Melanie

Are you of the naughty or nice variety?

party2.pngNice. I just am. I like being nice.

Goldfinch, I think, would prefer it if I were a little bit more naughty. I tried! Especially in the bedroom. He told me to be myself…but I honestly think he would have preferred more naughtiness.

But I have niceness ingrained within me. I could be naughty, but I love people so much and don’t like to upset or offend anyone. That love of people restrains any inclination to be naughty.

I can be playful, I can be impetuous, I can be boisterous at times. However, if it seems as if my behaviour is even slightly annoying someone else, I change. I love people, and I love kindness.

What is the most hilarious childhood memory you can think of?

Ooooh – I can remember events that at the time were quite serious. But looking back they are kind of funny. I was six when I told the vicar off at my uncle’s wedding. I called him “a wicked man”. Maybe I will tell that story some time.

window cleanerAlso, both us and our neighbours would sometimes lock ourselves out. Several times my Dad was called upon to provide the solution. Because he was a window cleaner he had ladders. Because our council houses were so crumby, we all had damp problems, so we all tended to leave a little window flap open to allow ventilation. So whenever someone locked themselves out of the house, Dad would climb up the ladder with one of us little ones and we would have to squeeze through the little flap. We then had to run down stairs and open the front door. I remember having to find a chair or a bench to reach the door hand handle in both our house and the neighbours’ houses.

Mallorca, Formentor, Sea, VacationsWhat else? Hmm.

I remember so much from childhood that was funny, but I am struggling to think of something I would describe as hilarious. Our family holiday to Mallorca was memorable! Especially the day we hired a car and ended up taking a wrong turn (probably several wrong turns) and ended up stuck on a mountain track. We kept going believing we were following the map. The army had to help us when we ended up stranded and unable to move the hire car.

My first day off school Mumma dropped me off in the morning with her long brown hair. Then she went to have her hair cut. She picked me up with short hair. I stood there in tears denying she was my mother and telling the teacher I had never seen her before.

There have been some comic situations we ended up in. One day my sister Mandy got stuck in the cavity of a bridge’s foundations. We hoped it would be a good place for a den. Only Mandy who had gone in to investigate could not get out. I had to run home for Dad, who ended up calling the fire brigade.

Sexiest animal on the planet?

bpI don’t find animals sexy.

But it has to be some kind of cat surely. Something like a black panther. The way the sleak along cautiously, waiting to pounce.

There are some animals which I think are particularly beautiful. I think horses are gorgeous. Some dogs too just break your heart by how adorable they are.

What is one thing you refuse to share?

I wouldn’t share personal items like my toothbrush. I would share most things, but personal items used for hygiene – well, to share those would be daft surely!

secOr are you talking about information? There are things I like to keep to myself. What has my age got to do with anything? I ask you! What has the tiny account in my bank got to do with anything? What has my weight got to do with anything?

I don’t mean to be secretive in general, but I have learnt that some details are irrelevant and that you don’t have to share everything with others. I find that some of our friends have a fascination about Jack and me, but I am glossing over a lot of detail when it comes to what I share with others. Our relationship is for the two of us to define and enjoy.

If you could read minds, how would you use the gift?

London, Underground, Train StationI am so glad I can’t read minds. I think I would find it unnerving.

But sometimes I wonder whose heart is close to breaking. It scares me that there are people around me who are broken, lonely, desperate, lost – I sometimes I wish I knew who was walking around feeling as if they were going to give up. I would love to be able to do something, say something to lighten someone’s load and brighten their day.

Five Questions For My Nominees


My Nominees

Thinking Of You

meansaAlthough work is the busiest it has ever ever been, and I have plenty to occupy my thoughts…I have come home from work and found myself intensely missing both Jack and Goldfinch. For the past half an hour I have been in a little sulk (it’s probably just tiredness from the crazy hours I am working for the NHS) and I have comforted myself my reminiscing on all the wonderful memories the two best men on the planet gave me.

I am cross with both of them for being far away from me. But remembering the lovely memories they have given me. Sigh. I should say goodnight and go to bed. Another long day of work ahead.