How I Used My Extra Hour Last Year

This is another one of my 2018 posts, but it is special. I met Goldfinch the night the clocks went back an hour, the last Saturday in October 2017. This post celebrates very happy memories of a man who came into my life during a troubling time for me.

Nope…I won’t ever forget him!

extra hour.jpgOn the last Saturday night of October each year the clocks fall back one hour here in England. Well, I think the official time is 2am which technically makes it Sunday morning. But for most of us, we know that it is Saturday night that we feel we have an extra hour sleep and wake up on Sunday feeling far more refreshed than normally. This time last year (October 2017), one year ago, I was away from London.  I had a week off work and was visiting friends, first in the Midlands and then in the Bristol area.

Sometimes we ask each other, “how did you spend your extra hour?” and most of us will answer “sleeping of course!” Last year, I remember how I spent my extra hour. I was wide awake, not asleep at all! I remember it a year later, and I have a feeling I will remember how I spent my extra hour for the rest of my life.

I had a bit of a disappointment while I was in the Midlands on the Friday evening a year ago. Some bad news about a male friend who was, well, he was bad news himself really. Sometimes, I wonder why I didn’t see how much of a negative impact he was having on me before that night. That night ended the connection I had with him. He has a lot to think about before he makes promises to anyone else. I tried so hard to make it work with him, but he was such a disappointment. I realized how terribly wrong we were for each other. Terribly terribly wrong for each other. It was like the Princess and the Peahead!…Anyway, moving on swiftly from that miserable page in the life of Caramel….

Not to be put off enjoying my break from work I was still determined to enjoy myself. On the Saturday I was shopping and site-seeing with friends and then we went out for dinner and drinks afterwards. As the night was still young, there was a big discussion over whether to explore the nightlife in that part of the Midlands or to opt for a more relaxing end to the evening at the cinema. I remember the only film that caught anyone’s eyes was called “Breathe”. I was tired. I had been working for over fifty hours a week all year and this was the first time I had been absent from work. I was not eager to explore Midlands nightlife. However, that was the night I met Goldfinch.

It took less than five minutes for me to feel comfortable with him. He was the brave one, approaching a stranger. He said hello and asked me some perfectly appropriate formal/friendly questions. He gave me plenty of space. I think he understood that I had my guard up. I answered his questions without imparting any information about myself and I was not particularly friendly, more matter-of-fact, nonchalant. I thought he was just some bloke who was out to enjoy himself (I was not interested in that) but I humoured him because he was not guilty of anything inappropriate or offensive. In fact he was effortlessly gentlemanlike. He naturally knew how to behave, how to conduct himself, how to make a woman feel at ease with him.

What made me warm to him was when two young men who were being boisterous and inconsiderate were nearby, Goldfinch was gracious and considerate with me and he kind of shielded me from them. He sat a little nearer to me, but still allowed enough space for probably two people to have sat down in between us. We were having this conversation with plenty of physical space between us, so I did not feel uncomfortable for one minute. Then he sat a little closer, but he asked me first if that was alright. By that point I would have been happy sitting on his lap. I was utterly smitten by him.

As we talked, I realized there was a lot to talk about, things we had in common, points that were of great interest to me. Because it became so noisy, he moved a little closer. I felt so glad that he did. I started to feel excited. I don’t know whether it was me or him, but suddenly we were holding hands while we were talking. Before I could tell what was happening, I was completely enchanted by a complete stranger. But I have never had a moment’s regret that I fell for him so quickly.

We spent hours together talking. It was so exciting to me. I was holding hands with a man I had only just met and I felt so incredibly comfortable with him. I loved how easy it was to talk to him. It was hours, but the time flew and it felt like minutes. It is amazing to me that we had an extra hour that night because the clocks had gone back one hour.  My extra hour was spent holding Goldfinch’s hand and getting to know him. That has to be the best and most memorable way I have ever spent my “extra hour”!

Breakfast, Food, Dish, English BreakfastWe carried on the conversation when we went for breakfast (a full English – vegetarian version for me) on the Sunday morning. I remember wearing a blue dress of mine I love. I wanted to look pretty for him. He then had to leave. He already had plans for the day with friends. He asked if he could come back and see me again later that evening. My heart leapt. He said he would call or send a message to say what time he was able to return to see me.

Throughout that day, I felt doubtful that he would come back again. I went shopping and out for coffee with friends. I didn’t think he would call, I didn’t think he would come. But he did. It was so wonderful. He asked if he could visit me in London the following weekend. I was thrilled.

I remember the following weekend we carried on talking, I asked him a million questions in my earnest desire to get to know him. We walked through the woods nearby the little nest. I told him all about my memories of high school friendships for some strange reason. I loved that we had been holding hands throughout our time together.

love birds.jpgI think he realized I was already becoming very sentimental in my new found enthusiasm for him. He reminded me of what he had told me the week before, he is in England on a temporary basis for work. I tried to reassure him not to worry about me. I understood completely. All I wanted was to enjoy whatever time he had available before he left.

I hope Goldfinch has enjoyed himself even half as much as I have. I have been so happy, so content, so full of love and affection. I sometimes wonder if he has any idea how much of a blessing and bonus to my life he has been.

I cannot ask or expect him to change his plans or the course of his life for me. I know he has to go back to Australia as he said all along.

However, I have realized for some time, that he is one of the few men, perhaps the only man, for whom I would be willing to change my plans, or the course of my life for. But what do you do? What do I do? Sometimes, the turbulence within our own heart makes it so hard to think clearly. What I think I should do is sleep on it.

Woman in bed turning off alarm clock, When Good Habits Go BadThis year I should use my extra hour sleeping, catching up on all the late nights and early mornings with Goldfinch and wake up tomorrow morning refreshed and hopefully with a clear mind.

One thing I have said to him several times is that if he is ever ill…he must call me so I can go over and be his carer (he likes the idea of me being his naughty nurse!) and devote myself to his every need. I do mean it. And to be honest, I can see that for the present, Goldfinch needs and wants his freedom to fly wherever he wants at any moment. The only way he would ever want the permanence I so desire is if his wings were broken. I think then he would be glad and grateful of my steadfast devotion. After working so long in palliative care…I know I have it in me to give him love on a scale he may never have imagined.

I am never going to forget my Goldfinch. He is going to be a part of me for the rest of my existence.

Rachel Has Nominated Me For The Sunshine Blogger Award

I am trying to emit sunshine rays….but the block editor is making it hard for me to be all sunshiny! Why is it such a pain? I think these longer posts are especially taxing. A lot of time, patience, frustration and wine went into the production of this post!

Most of you will know Racheal, the creator of Racheal’s Novels, as a great fiction writer (I have a review of one of her books coming up soon). Well, she has also nominated me for THE SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD, aso you can see from her post below:


The Rules…

  • Thank your nominator.
  • Link or ping the post back to them.
  • Display the picture on your post.
  • Answer their questions.
  • Provide questions for the nominated people you choose.

Questions From Rachel

What was your favourite toy as a young child?

If your house was on fire, which three items would you save?

I think the one I would go for immediately is my grab bag.

My father has prepared us for the possibility of an emergency or unexpected serious event like a natural disaster.  He has always warned us we have no idea how quickly a serious event can develop, weather it be a natural disaster or some kind of political uproar that became inflamed into violent conflict.  We all have grab-bags, which is of course one of the things I would hope to be able to take with me if I have to evacuate home because of a natural disaster.

What do we have in our grab bags?

  • Photocopies of important documents like a passport, birth certificate, driver’s license
  • Bottled water and non-perishable food. (Every year we check the food in our grab-bags is still in date)
  • First aid kit
  • Wind-up torch
  • Wind-up radio (not to listen to my favourite tines)
  • Some cash
  • A list of important contact details and phone-numbers
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Several pairs of clean underwear
  • A little purse with a fold away toothbrush and toothpaste and soap in it
  • A tiny fold up microfiber towel that opens up to be the size of a bath-sheet

So I hope that my grab-bag counts as one item (despite everything that is inside it).

Hiker, Hiking, Backpacker, Backpacking

That allows me two other things.


I am normally a bit of a technophobe.  I have one of these little Alcatel phones at the moment – mainly it stays in the bottom of my handbag for safety reasons. But in all honesty, I think it might be a useful thing to grab.  At least so I could let my family know where I was etc.

I would probably want to grab my hiking boots. I don’t want to find myself stuck without a home without some decent footwear.

How tall are you?

I am five foot eight inches tall.

Fashion, Woman, Clothing, Female

What are your biggest fears?

I think my biggest fears relate not to me but to those I love. I know have been through some of my worst nightmares and come through the other side remarkably well. But I fear somebody I love experiencing intense stress or trials and doing something drastic.

Woman, Despair, Loss, Cover, Sadness

Communicating with your loved ones regularly is important. I think that loved ones should know that if they were ever in trouble, you would be there for them. I want them to know that if ever they faced overwhelming stress, I don’t want them to feel alone.

That is especially important to me because for some bizarre reason I held back from telling my family about how much stress I was under due to the malicious gossip that was being spread about me. They knew a little of what was happening. They knew there was some tension between Jack and I. But they did not know the scale of the torment I received because of him. I don’t know why I let myself become isolated, which made my suffering worse. I knew my family loved me. But for some reason telling them that people I knew and complete strangers were labelling me a slut, a whore, and worse was something I could not do.

I don’t want any of my loved ones go through something like. I want to be there for my loved ones whenever they are in need.

Are you more introvert or extrovert?

Extrovert. I love singing, dancing, laughing, jumping, skipping, splashing in waves.

I am only ever quiet because I love people and I to encourage them to join in the fun! As an extrovert, I have had to learn to let other people flourish and make sure I do not let my exuberance and energy make other people withdraw. A party is not a party unless everyone is having fun!

What was your first pet?

Cat, Tabby, Kitten, Animal, Pet, Paw

The first pet I really remember was our tabby cat. I know we had others (my brother had birds, I believe we had a rabbit) but I was too young to remember them. But I remember our little tabby cat very well.

She was actually our next door neighbour’s cat. They moved away and left her behind. So my parents started feeding her and she moved in with us. She was so small, throughout her life. But she was also very effective huntress.

We adored her – we really really did!

Who is your role model?

I have many. My parents primarily – they are wonderful. So balanced, so wise, so sweet and kind, so cheerful and fun-loving, so hard working and energetic.

Family, Vacations, Together, Leisure

But I have other role models too. Since I began working with charities I have met some incredible people. Many of them have given up lucrative careers to work on an unpaid basis for charities. I have always found their joy and practical wisdom inspiring. They are a continual reminder to me that life is not about what you as a person possess…it’s more about what you give.

Who is your closest friend, and what do you love about them?

Jack has become my closest friend, especially during the course of this year.

If you have been paying attention to anything I have written about Jack and myself, you may realize that nobody else has made quite such a massive impact on my life (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), but after everything we have been through, my relationship with him is wholehearted.

My Jack – my heart is full. I feel as if for the past year we have been becoming intricately woven together.

So many of my other friends who I am close to I have not seen for many months. We have kept in touch on the phone and via email, but it is strange.

My best friend Marta moved abroad a couple of years ago. I miss her immensely. But because of Brexit, the company her husband worked for relocated.

What is your favourite quote?

There are lots of quotes I can think of that I like. I like them for different reasons. Some of them I find personally meaningful. Others because I think they are clever. Others because they conjure up such a vivid picture, they are hard to forget.

A friend of ours said on the phone last week: IT AIN’T OVER UNTIL THE FAT LADY SINGS.

It made me laugh because we were discussing some of the plans we have had to put on hold for training volunteers until we work out more details. Basically, lots of volunteers can tune in to a training session remotely, via zoom etx. However, some of older volunteers and others do not have the internet or electronic devices. So, we are looking for a safe venue where we can invite them, assign them seats spread out from each other etc.

We are planning on using a lot of older volunteers in the training program They will share some of their wisdom with younger volunteers about how to keep life simple materially and how to enjoy life in stressful times. There is also going to be some comedy in the program, something Jack is working on with some of his close colleagues.

Video Conference, Skype, Webinar, Video

Anyway…we thought we had found somewhere suitable, but because government guidelines were tweaked again we had to find an alternative location. It’s a headache.

Anyway, we had a conference call about this headache of trying to organize this training session (the headache is organising a safe venue for the volunteers who are not connected to the internet) and suddenly one of our colleagues said: “IT AIN’T OVER UNTIL THE FAT LADY SINGS”. Jack immediately responded, “Melody isn’t fat, she is cuddly”.

He made his own cups of tea for the rest of that day!

Do you have a garden?

It’s not my garden, but there is a garden here at the property where I live that I am allowed to enjoy. I usually do that when the family are away though. I would not want to become annoying to the family by encroaching on their enjoyment of their space.


I have a sweet little courtyard with a table and chairs that I am very content with.

What makes you feel happy?

Lots of things make me happy…creation, family, friends, the volunteers we work with, food, music, ironing, beautiful days with people I love…aaaaah! I’d be happy if I could perfect collages in the new block editor…but still no!

Questions For My Nominees


My Nominees

Dianna Gunn

Dianna Gunn – Spoonie Authors Network

Angela Umphers Rueger

Angela Umphers Rueger – The Abundant Heart


ginnybartolone – Maybe there will be cupcakes…

Phil Wayne

Phil Wayne – The Movie-Addicted Librarian


Kat – NakedPea


mdletshenqobile – LIFE IS ART


micheletrutyDelightfully – Quirky

Greg Forrester

Greg Forrester – Bandit Fiction


Marcosolotravels – My travel diaries


jessepfrancis – Far Far Away