Anexpatshome Has Renominated Me For Another Liebster – I Am Not Sure If This Is Allowed! (But It Is Fun)

I was recently nominated for a Liebster Award…I nominated eleven bloggers including anexpatshome.liebster-award-button

You can read the Liebster Award post anexpatshome published.  I loved reading the answers to the questions I had given my nominees.

I have been renominated for another Liebster Award.  I am not sure if this is allowed according to the rules…however, it is all fun.  So, I am going to gratefully accept the second nomination.

I have copied and pasted the rules outlined in other Liebster Award posts:

  1. Acknowledge the blog who nominated you.
  • Answer the 11 questions your nominator asked.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers.
  • Ask them 11 questions.
  • Let them know you have nominated them

So these are the questions anexpatshome raised to all nominees and my answers:

1. If you could invite any 5 people or things to a dinner, who would that be ? And Why (If you feel like answering)

Oooooh five people or things to a dinner.  That is difficult….because ideally I would want six places for my parents and my younger sisters and their husbands…we are all very close and they make the best company over dinner.  Oh and we would also be needing a high-chair for my niece.

muppetsIf I am restricted to five…well I  was showing Goldfinch a commercial advert for Warburton’s Giant Crumpets the other day…it has the Muppets doing a musical extravaganza.  So so funny.  Can you imagine having dinner with Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie Bear and Animal?!!!  That would be the experience of a life-time!  I can imagine the conversation being extremely memorable!  Although I really would not want to sit next to Animal.

2. One noble deed that you have done ?

Don’t get me started!  Opportunities have thrown themselves at me over the years due to being involved in voluntary projects.  Noble is normal for many volunteers.  But still some days stand out in my mind…they were just a bit more challenging than a typical day.

I had trained ten young men to be able to work as care assistants working with an older gentleman who had Parkinson’s and associated dementia.  He and his wife really wanted a male care assistant.  So for six months I provided training and prepared all the paper-work required for his care plan.  We had handed his care onto the team of male care assistants who would be co-ordinated by a supervisor.

I was caring for a friend of mine I had known for twenty years.  She had cancer pretty much everywhere you can imagine. I stayed with her the night before she died and then passed over to a couple of great care assistants who would be there during daylight hours with her.  I came back that night. She took her last breaths while we were with her.  After the doctor came to issue the death certificate, we washed her and combed her hair and put on the dress she had asked us to.  Her husband was distraught, so we did our best to support him.  It had happened very quickly.  She had been working full-time six weeks before, and the diagnosis has been a big shock.

Then I received a phone-call to say that not one of the ten young men I had trained had come into work. Either they were ill, or their supervisor could not even get hold of them.  They were not answering their phones.  So after being awake all night and seeing my friend die and trying to be strong for her devastated husband…I had to leave, go and wash thoroughly and go straight to the home of the older gentleman, who was still sitting in his pyjamas when I arrived with his frail wife now very distressed as to why nobody had turned up.

Aaaah sigh!  Lots of people do this as part of their job daily.  I was not paid a penny though.

3. Which crazy thing that you want to do but you know you can never do it ?

Crazy?…define “crazy”.

As a teenager I went through a year or two of making my parents nervous.  Especially when I had a job working for a record company.  I was mixing with some people who were rather bad for me.  But the desire to do anything too crazy left me pretty quickly.  From the moment I stepped onto a construction site and worked as a volunteer for the first time, all my thoughts were being useful.bananaepisode

I have had fun, I am a shameless karaoke singer, and that has taken me to some interesting places.  Wooooh!  That will be a future post.

I have loved singing and pretending to be a pop star from an early age…this is me as a little one with my rock-star sunglasses and leather jacket!  Any visitors to our family home would receive a performance from me singing at the top of my voice and prancing around the living room.  It is something I have not ever really grown out of.  The word KARAOKE is something that captures my attention and fills me with enthusiasm and I have ended up singing in front of hundreds of holiday makers who were cheering me on and calling for more.  (Or them cheering me on may have been in my head…!)

Don’t misunderstand…it’s not that I can actually sing…I just love the fun of it…having no nerves is a great asset when it comes to karaoke…you don’t actually need to be able to hold a tune.  Just go for it!  Shamelessly!  People love a karaoke singer who cannot really sing – you know like Cameron Diaz in that film…I forget which film it was…but you get the idea.

Other than that…something crazy that I can never actually do?  I could say “fly”…so many of us would love to have the sensation of flying on our own through the clouds.  Or wouldn’t it be great to fly just to be able to beat traffic!

4. Your Favourite top 3 movies ?

   finding nemo          la vita e bella         the sound of music

If you came round to our home when my family and I were watching “The Sound Of Music”…you might end up quite traumatised.  We all know the lyrics to the entire score off by heart and would be belting the songs out at the top of our voices!

I make no apologies for my choice of movies!

5. If you could have your own start-up business, what would that be ?

If I was going to be starting up a business I would have to have a partner.  You see I have no extraordinary talents myself, except for admin skills and accounts skills.  I am  bit of a “jack of all trades, master at none”…so I would need someone who had a real talent, or skill, or USP.

Meanwhile I would look after all of the paper work and everything office related.  I am hyper-organized.  If anything stays still for more than two minutes, I either file it, or just put it into numerical or alphabetical order.  I don’t procrastinate, I plough through heaps of administrative tasks.

But on my own, there is nothing I could make a business out of.  Perhaps cleaning.

6. Music Lover or Food Lover or both?

Both I guess.  Both can be very wonderful aspects of life.  But both I limit my indulgence with.

Years ago, when I worked for the record company, I became a bit obsessive about music – it was Britpop back then.  I bought many albums, I saw many bands play live, I listened to their music for hour upon hour…even at night, I would go to sleep with headphones on listening to music.

Not healthy!  Now my music tastes are varied, and I still enjoy music.  But I would never let my enjoyment of music take over like it did when I was a teenager.  I don’t really become a fan of one artist or band.  I can like their song, but often the moment they open their mouths at an interview, I feel disappointed in them.

Food – yes I love it without doubt, but again…I am trying to keep my love of food at bay.  I am trying to eat smaller portions and go for healthier options.  But I enjoy food very much…I love trying new dishes.  I love having dinner with friends and family.  For some reason I don’t feel as close to the friends I have not eaten with.  It’s strange isn’t it.  For some reason, eating together forges bonds.

But I keep telling myself: “Once On The Lips…Forever On The Hips”!

7. One habit that you would love to get rid of ? OR One habit that you would like to develop ?

swimmingHmm…my sisters and I were competitive swimmers for years.  I love swimming.  Being in a pool feels wonderful to me…peace, calm, happy place…and then as I swim up and down for an hour or two I feel adrenaline and power rushing through my limbs.  I am finding it hard with my current schedule to go regularly though.  The habit I would like to make a regular feature of my life is to go swimming at least once a week.

8. What would you prefer? Going back in time and changing something or going ahead in time and exploring your future?

In my case, definitely going back in time.  I would never have gone to the park on my own that night.

But I think I would have gone back further in time.  I still remember the first time I really came into contact with the man who would later become my flat-mate, the man who crushed Caramel.  He joined me and a group of friends for breakfast.  He sat opposite me.  If I could go back to that moment, I think I would have swapped seats with someone, or just walked out so that he did not have chance to dwell on me.

9. Dream Vacation ?

Couple Walking on Beach at SunsetAfter we have finished building a boat, Goldfinch and I set sail away into the deep blue.  We would travel to every port and harbour and we would meet the people who lived locally, taste their cuisine, dance to their music, and explore their culture.  We would visit every land on the planet.  There would also be plenty of swimming and diving when we were out a sea.  We would walk hand in hand along many beaches watching the magnificent sunsets.  There would be no such thing as passports and visas.  Just love!!!

10. Favourite songs (Top 3) ?

Oh that is hard!!!  I am loving classical music at the moment.  I don’t think I could ever tire of some of the pieces on my classical playlist…I like lots of different styles of music, but you cannot really compare.  So I will tell you my three favourite classical arias followed by my three favourite songs from more popular genres:



The three classical arias above are beyond comparison with my other favourites.  They need no introduction or explanation…they are utterly gorgeous!  I am ready to hold my hands up and admit, there is music…and then there is MUSIC.  I love variety though.  If I listened to classical music all day it would drive me crazy!

So these are my three favourite songs from more popular music genres:

  • Sleeper – What Do I Do Now? (This is my go-to song for rainy days…when I have a little heart-break and I need a bit of light rock music to diffuse my distress.)  If rock is not your thing, don’t worry, but the lyrics of this song still make me smile (“Tore up all your photos, didn’t feel too clever, spent the whole of Sunday, sticking you together” – favourite lines!)

The quality of this video is really poor…I found a better one, but it would not let me copy the link.  There must be better quality videos out there?


  • The Righteous Brothers – Unchained Melody (You might be rolling your eyes at me!  The thing is, this song is one of the first songs I remember hearing as a child and being really moved by…I fell deeply in love with the words and the music.  It has been over-played, and even I have to make sure I only listen to it every now and then.  But it still moves me to tears!  I can’t post a version of The Righteous Brothers singing it…even though I love every single second of their recording.  We will have to be content with the Sam Cooke.

  • Cyndi Lauper – I Drove All Night (This brings back many memories of working with an amazing group of house-keepers.  Sometimes there would be a little singing and dancing during a lunch-break.  I remember this song because all the girls loved it and we have all been singing together with fake microphones.  So much fun!  Happy memories!!!)


11. Have you ever been on a vacation, alone ?

Once I turned up at a campsite with my huge back pack and tent.  I had caught the train because there is a direct train all the way from London to the area we were visiting.  The friends who were supposed to be meeting me there for a weekend of camping and BBQ were nowhere to be seen.  I didn’t have any mobile phone signal.  I pitched up my tent and just hoped they would arrive.  It was such a weird feeling, and I was a bit frightened.  Anyway I just sunbathed and read a book and slept and then showered and sunbathed some more and read some more and then went home.

As soon as I was within signal range, I saw all these text messages arrive in my inbox.  They had been stuck in a nightmare traffic-jam on the motorway.  They were less than twenty minutes from home when the traffic came to a standstill, because of a massive pile-up ahead. They were stuck there for eight hours!  They had been trying to contact me but without signal, I was completely unaware of what was going on.  Once they were finally able to exit the motorway, they decided it was best to go home rather than drive for several hours and arrive at the campsite in the middle of the night.  They made the right call, to be sure.  But it was too weird camping all on my own wondering what had happened to my friends.

Most of my vacations have been with a gang of friends.  The last family holiday we had, when I was 17, there were more than forty of us who went together.

Since then I tend to go on holiday with a group of around ten friends.  I have had some very interesting holidays, I will relate some of the opportunities we have had…look out for my post about our holiday in Sweden.  I had more fun there than anywhere else I have visited.


Which brings me to my eleven nominees.  I had previously nominated eleven bloggers I had recently discovered.  I now feel that if I have been nominated twice within a couple of days, I am not worried about nominating bloggers who are clearly more experienced than I and may have been nominated for a Liebster on previous occasions:


My nominees are:

  • MatthewJRichardson   –
  • Rosie  –
  • My Dusty Flip-Flops   –
  • My Sheer Ladybird   –
  • Ahotcuppalife   –
  • L.  Stevens   –
  • Nina BW   –
  • Stephen T  –   (who I would buy a Caramac for if I could!)
  • Daniel Thomas   –
  • Ruby  –

And last, but not least, the very supportive and the phenomenally productive

My eleven nominees I have chosen because right from the start they were there in the Daily Post Provisions, Community Pool and First Fridays – supporting newbie bloggers and giving out great tips.  I was so very glad and grateful for the advice and encouragement I read in their comments (sometimes to other bloggers).  I think I would have given up long ago if it was not for that positive feedback and some help in how to make my site a bit more appealing.

They all have fantastic posts on their own sites, so you are very wise to take a look at what they have published.

My questions to my eleven nominees are:

  11. IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE PERFECT DAY – WHERE WOULD IT BE? WHO WOULD YOU BE WITH? WHAT WOULD YOU EAT?  (That is several questions rolled into one – but we would love to know what would make a perfect day to you.


If you have already been nominated for this award many times before or don’t have time to take it up…do not you worry.  This is my way of saying, I love your posts, and appreciate the support, advice and encouragement you have given to me.

Hope you have fun with this…I think that is what it is supposed to be…a bit of fun and encouragement to other bloggers.

I wish you all every success with your own blogging and I hope you can have fun with the Liebster Award.



Genetic Learning Has Nominated Me for A Liebster – Woooh Wooooh!


I have been nominated for the Liebster Award!

I have seen this on other blog sites and thought it was such an interesting way to get to know a little bit more about who is behind the posts you are enjoying.

Genetic Learning nominated me after his Leibster Award nomination, as you can read below.

I do not know Genetic Learning myself…I just know he is obviously a very clever boy! Who would like to be a vet, although I am not sure about his record with keeping fishies!!!

I have copied and pasted the rules outlined in his posts:

  1. Acknowledge the blog who nominated you.
  2. Answer the 11 questions your nominator asked.
  3. Nominate 11 other bloggers.
  4. Ask them 11 questions.
  5. Let them know you have nominated them

So these are the questions Genetic Learning raised to all of his nominees:



Not currently (my tenancy agreement says “No pets allowed”).  However, I do look after the goldfishies in the house above when they go away on vacation.  I also clean out the Bio-orb fish tank once a month.  I have to admit I really struggle transferring the fish because of the way they squirm around…I am terrified they are going to jump right out of the net onto the floor.  I would freak out!


Ooooh!  I have to admit I am more a three square meals person.  I do not snack of my own iniative.  But when I have friends over to watch a movie or when I am with my friends I do indulge.  If I have one Pringle…I am tempted to finish the whole tube.

These are my own favourite snack finds of recent months.  I often buy them for my workmates.  They are seriously yummy.  Goldfinch loves them too!

ardensthomas fudges

Speaking of Goldfinch…he and I have a very serious point of disagreement.  Popcorn.  He insists it should be salty.  I say sweet.  Or even better, toffee popcorn.  It is the only subject of argument we have really not been able to resolve.  I did buy him a bag of salty popcorn a while back…only because I love him mind (despite his pitiful taste in popcorn).

Still, I do try to remember “Once On The Lips…Forever On The Hips!”



I know it is in excess of fifty posts…I had one of those nice little messages from WordPress alerting me to my fifty post marker.  I have deleted a couple though I was not happy with…but yeh, around the fifty mark.

4. ABOUT HOW LONG (since answering this question) HAVE YOU HAD YOUR BLOG?

My friend helped me set it up.  I think it was around the last couple of days of April 2018.  So probably coming up to five weeks old now.  Still kind of a baby…I know I need to make improvements to my site…I am just enjoying the story writing so much at the moment.  I have a basic format to the site that I am content with for the present moment.


Oh yeah.  The town I grew up in was Cat City.  Cats would come and go all the time.  We always had cats of our own growing up  We wanted a dog, but my parents modestly admitted that caring for seven children and a dog was beyond them.  Cats seemed easier to look after (so independent).  We often had other cats roaming around our garden and trying to eat food we had left out for our own cat.  They would paw at the windows asking to come inside.  Of course as children, we wanted to let them in.  But Dadda said “No!”


tabbyOur first cat Tamara, was abandoned by our next door neighbours when they moved house.  She was a tiny tabby cat.  My parents took her in.

I have a friend named Katie who has rescued and adopted many cats over the years.  We fondly call her Cat Woman.  We have been out with her on walks in the country several times, when she will detect an animal in distress and zooms in to rescue them.  We often have come home with an injured animal Katie intended to nurse to full health.


You know your scale should be 0-10!!!  It would be a big fat 0 for me!

It is a subject that kind of fascinates me.  The thought of a written code with the properties and traits of living creatures and plants is incredible, truly awe-inspiring.

Although, this is not a subject I have ever researched, and I have to admit it does seem a bit mind-boggling!  I have enjoyed reading posts by Genetic Learning.  Nice and easy-ish to understand.  I like that the practical value is made clear.  There has been a lot of bad press about Genetically Modified Crops, so it is helpful to understand this subject a bit more.


Just this one.  I am entirely new to this blogging business.  I was encouraged by friends to put some of the stories (which were originally letters and e-mails to them) online…and this has motivated me to write new stories with the same feel of the ones I had already written over the years.


Spicy!  I have many friends from India and Pakistan and from other countries famous for a spicy cuisine too.   We also have Punjabi in-laws.  I love curries with paneer or dahls with lentils.  English food is famously rather bland (although I sometimes am perfectly content with a roast dinner, or pie and mash, or vegetarian cottage pie).  I love variety.  I am fascinated by spice.

I have enjoyed many cookery lessons from my friends.  I am especially pleased with learning to make my own saag aloo – as I love spinach.

Some of my friends make their food so spicy hot I literally cannot breathe and have tears pouring down my face – I am more a mild to moderately spicy person I confess!thai

Goldfinch loves Thai food, so I am trying lots of Thai dishes recently – yum yum yum.

Oh and our fantastic trip to Texas, where we ate so much Tex-Mex food I thought I would never be able to walk again.  Spice with cheese – wowie!


I am not a big TV watcher.  When I left home I did not have a TV for over ten years.  The accomdeath in paradisemodation I am in now has a TV.  I watched a BBC series called “Death In Paradise” – a detective show set in the Carribean.  I quite liked the feel of it.  When I had time I watched a few episodes of “Masterchef” and “The Great British Bake-Off”.

There is another show I have liked watching back episodes of recently, “Endeavour”.   My mum used to watch “Inspector MorseEndeavour” when we were children.  I was too young to follow it really, but I have fond memories of John Thaw.  I quite like that they have a series about the young Morse as he was beginning his career as a detective.

I am shocked though at how much complete garbage is on TV.  I don’t like soaps. Sometimes I will look through the guide of what is on each channel and I am aghast at how much utter nonsense seems to be available.

I do thblue planetink some of the documentaries the BBC have broadcast are simply incredible – “The Blue Planet” and so many others.  It just makes me yearn for the opportunity to explore this planet for myself though. It fills my head with dreams of knowing everything about this planet and it’s creatures inside out.  Seeing the phenomenal footage of creatures and their habitats that right now are far removed from our every day life…it does fill my heart with inspiration as well as serene calm and wonder knowing that I live on the most magnificent planet in the known universe.  It reassures me that the current way of life that most of us are tied to is not the intended purpose.  My conviction deepens that there is something vastly better ahead for this earth and for it’s inhabitants.

For the present, yes banning plastic straws and cotton buds might seem like a sensible idea, but I do believe a much greater change is needed.  That is like examining a dog that is infested with fleas and then picking off one or two fleas and celebrating.  Nope…this world is infested with harmful practices and habits that are effecting our own health and welfare and the stunning planet we live on and share with incredible creatures and plants.  Drastic changes need to occur.  We are not living in harmony with what it seems both we humans and the rest of life on this planet were designed for.


Well…I tend to think of an anniversary as being annual event…so that is a very long way off!  The end of April 2019.  A lot will happen between now and then…


Well, I hope I have answered the questions posed by Genetic Learning in a satisfactory way!

Now for my own nominees, eleven of the bloggers who I have been enjoying reading the posts of – I am going to nominate some blogs that I have only recently discovered:

If you have already been nominated for this award before or don’t have time to take it up…do not you worry.  This is my way of saying, I like your posts, and appreciate the support you have given to me.

Hope you have fun with this…I think that is what it is supposed to be…a bit of fun and encouragement to other bloggers.

And my questions to you all:











Enjoy…look forward to seeing your responses!!


Expect Nothing…Appreciate Everything

My Aunt Anne was a special lady…for a long time I was scared of her.  Who wouldn’t be when you saw her appearance?  She was a tall lady with flaming red hair and an eagle eye.  Intimidating through and through.  Aunt Anne had a habit of telling people off.  Not just children, adults too…grown men could be reduced to tears once they came under the scathing tongue of Aunt Anne..  She always knew best…and in all honesty I think we all knew that she really did know best.  Aunt Anne was a very special lady, one of the wisest, shrewdest and most prudent people I have ever known.

Aunt Anne took a close interest in my sisters and I during our teenage years.  I am so glad she did!  She seemed to know, I don’t know how, but she knew all of our deepest thoughts and feelings.  Such a discerning lady.  She took an interest in our plans and goals, our friends and the boys we had crushes on, she noticed what we talked about, what we spent our pocket money on. She could have run an intelligence agency because she picked up on all these details and came to frighteningly accurate conclusions (which of course she made sure she drew to the attention of our parents).

While I was a teenager, Aunt Anne saw something lurking inside me, something weighing my heart down.  She detected an unusual level of anxiety.  She probed me over it.  I was frightened.  It might sound silly but I was frightened by the cost of life in this world.  The cost of housing, the cost of utility bills, the cost of transport, the cost of clothing and food – it all seemed overwhelming.  I was a teenager and I did not have to bear those costs yet.  But I was looking ahead, worrying about tomorrow.  I looked ahead and thought I had no choice but to become enslaved to a company, chained to a desk, trapped in a job I despised…all just to be able to afford to be alive.

Aunt Anne subtly helped me to realize that I did have choices.  My habits and decisions would effect the cost of my lifestyle.  She taught me many practical tips.  She sat with me and trained me in developing a budget and how to decide what was really important to me.  She showed me how I could stretch my pennies and to make what I owned last longer.  She taught me about free fun…so rather than spending my leisure time visiting restaurants and cinemas and theatres, as often as I may have liked…I made those things very occasional treats and instead learnt to love the great outdoors, learnt to bake and invite friends over to my home instead of us all going out to eat.  I always ended up with a huge drinks collection when I hosted an evening for friends.

She taught me to glean enjoyment in life and creation.  From even the smallest delights…dewdrops on a spider’s web, the appearance of the first spring flowers…to revering the grandeur and majesty of mountains and sunsets.  She showed me their worth is immensely greater than anything money can buy.

I am grateful to Aunt Anne for helping me see that if I wanted to live within a balanced budget and avoid being enslaved by years of debt, I needed to change my attitude, my aspirations, my ambitions and to cultivate contentment.  (My parents were caring for seven children. There was no way they could supply our every whim and wish, so I think we had been helped to realize we could not always have what we wanted.  My parents also helped us see that we needed to be willing to share and to see that everyone of the family was important and none should be demanding more than the rest.  Life is so much sweeter when you are able to share and think about what you can do for others.)

Sharing sweets

One very practical piece of advice she passed on to me was “Expect Nothing…Appreciate Everything”.

Now Aunt Anne used that advice in reference to things, possessions.  But as soon as she uttered those words, they rang true to me in so many other avenues.  Perhaps they do with you also.

Her words have swum around my mind on many occasions…especially when I was involved in a new project with a new group of people or making a new start…everywhere I have been I have told myself:

  • Expect Nothing….don’t be disappointed by having unrealistic expectations.  Work and give without thinking of what you want to get out of it.  Show the kind of love that does not require reciprocation.
  • Appreciate Everything…every time someone does something nice, even the littlest  kind gesture, make sure you show gratitude.  Look after what and who is in your life, show how much they mean to you.  Count your bounteous blessings!

I have found that by heeding the sage advice of Aunt Anne I have never really had worries.  I have felt richer than I ever imagined.  I have avoided debt.  I have travelled to many countries because people I met and worked with asked me to go and visit them, I have had adequate accommodation in some very beautiful locations which I have cared for and kept clean. I truly have had far more than I have ever needed.

As for people…well, I have found that life is rich – rich with people whom I love and who love me.  I am convinced that my treasure of life experiences, memories and friends has been accrued partly because I followed Aunt Anne’s wise words: EXPECT NOTHING…APPRECIATE EVERYTHING.

Thank you


Many of us are very sad at the news that First Fridays, Daily Prompt and The Community More are no more to be…We are all hoping there will be ways to keep the connections going.  Well one way appears to be challenges bloggers can nominate each other for.  So this post is Day One of the Three Day Challenge.

I was nominated for this audacious challenge by Mr Mark Anthony, as you can see from his post.  Mark has recently completed this challenge himself.  Thank you Mark Anthony…the nomination gave me some ideas regarding more lessons in life that Caramel has indeed learned.  I am pleased to be able to share them on the Crushed Caramel site.


• Thank the person who nominated you.

• Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day).

• Nominate 3 different bloggers for each day.

“ Expect Nothing….Appreciate Everything” 


My nominees are:

I love looking at your posts and appreciate all of your support and encouragement.

I hope you enjoy this challenge as much as I have.  Have fun!

I have one more day of the challenge to complete, one more post, one more quote…I have been working on it…one more to come…it is another weepie.

Those For Whom Fame Does No Favours

I don’t know what I am wearing today….it was still a bit dim when I grabbed some clothes out of the wardrobe and I have ended up looking like a mix between a nursery teacher, a leprechaun and a lollipop lady.  I wonder what that delivery man thought of my outfit when I answered the door.  It wouldn’t be too bad if I hadn’t have grabbed the jade green cardigan because it felt chilly this morning….too many bright contrasting colours going on here….

Wouldn’t it be horrible to be famous and open the newspaper to find a hideous photograph of yourself opening the door to a delivery man whilst wearing a dreadful combination of colours…all because you were on your own cleaning the house all day?  I am very glad life is so simple at the moment.

I am content here.  Life is simple, uncomplicated.  But my life is so different to the one I led before the morning I woke up in an ambulance heading to a nearby hospital.  I had a very exciting career and was involved in major international projects.  I was interacting with hundreds of people on a daily basis.  Life was jam-packed full of important tasks and people.


I am not famous, I am not remotely important….but the work I was involved with was….I was in a role for a long-time which was very much involved with “the public” and in various projects I ended up in high profile situations and have worked with and socialized with men who are regularly in the lime-light, some on TV shows, or asked to appear at large public events and give speeches, some with weighty executive responsibilities – having to make decisions or even those involved in judicial functions. None of my associates or colleagues were well known for anything trivial, but for quite serious stuff.  Men of great prominence and import.  They all put in long long hours and are never paid “over-time”.  I think people would be surprised at how petty a financial return these men actually receive.

All have a reputation to be worried about.  Not for their own sake.  These men, if they did something seriously wrong…well they would likely resign (or be dismissed) and then then would have to find another situation.  But this is very very rare.  They are men of integrity otherwise they wouldn’t have been attracted to these demanding and self-sacrificing roles.  But there is a risk of them doing something that would limit their freedom of speech and the effect of their hard work.  A risk despite them taking it seriously that they should be excellent role-models.  When you work with and socialize with imperfect people who are trying with all their might to do something really marvellous, they are making sacrifices and working tirelessly and all because they care so much about those they are helping.  You have to keep your mind fixed on that…they are imperfect, but they are trying really hard to make a difference, to uphold good. Because, with imperfect people you find…imperfections.  Of course, it’s not possible for them to shed all their imperfections.

The problem is…they are in the public eye, under constant scrutiny.  There are some within the media and some of the public who love nothing better than becoming aware of and exposing the failings and mistakes of others. Especially people who have a reputation as…well, as being renowned for their noble deeds, their insightful decisions and trustworthiness.  The pressure on these men can be enormous.

Take this situation for example….one of these men in his fifties…he travels around the world and is always working.  He visits a lot of projects and conferences and because he truly is interested in people he walks around and meets local people.  But in this day and age – what do people want?  They want a selfie with him.  So, he has a queue of people with cameras.  Amongst those hankering after him, are beautiful young women.  It is not uncommon for him to receive propositions and proposals of marriage from beautiful women, some half of his age.  He is not physically in the best of shape (I am being kind) as he has little time to exercise and a lot of his work involves sitting in very long meetings and he travels for long hours.  But nonetheless, these women think he is a catch.  He is a man in a position of great trust.  He is devoted to giving his best within his role and the responsibilities he carries.  He feels at this point he is better able to be effective if he is not anxious for the emotional and other needs of a woman, so he is trying not to be distracted.  He knows these women would not be interested in him if it were not for his being in the lime-light because of the enormous responsibilities he has been entrusted with.  Some of these women might have a very misled idea about his life being glamorous or financially rewarded.  Imagine one of these beautiful women takes a selfie with him and the picture is misused.  Well…!

Sometimes….a person’s desire or request for privacy may be nothing to do with fearing they have anything sinister or disgraceful they want to hide.  They may be naturally and normally a very open people person who is happy to share themselves with others.  In some cases, they might just want to be able to get on with the work that is so important to them without fear of a camera catching a moment of tiredness or thoughtlessness and then publishing it for the whole world to judge or mock.  The issue is the attitude of people (press and public) who seem to be endlessly entertained by trivial things, a fascination with what a person drinks, all the things they might do in their spare time, any clues about a budding romance…it goes on and on.

So these men (and women) might find it hard to ever feel “off-duty”.  Of course, they are utterly dependant on their close associates to understand that when they see their imperfections up close….to expose these could have a detrimental effect on the invaluable work they are doing.

There is always going to be a little pocket of my life that I have to be very selective and careful when referring to…simply because I have seen great men be brought down by merciless media and puerile public.  I care too much, far too much about the great work they are doing.  If I relate an experience it will generally to be to make a point, I try not to use them for entertainment value.  But in doing so I am always feeling cautious that I might carelessly be including a detail that seems perfectly innocent to me, but someone else might pick up on it and see it as a way to inflict some damage.

I care for these men.  Not romantically.  But I have seen them up close, and yes, they are imperfect, but I believe they are worthy of all the support and loyalty those like me who have worked with them on projects and socialized with them can muster.

There are some men and women who are in high profile roles, they work tirelessly, they are passionate about what they do…I know many who are amongst those for whom fame really does no favours.


Without Water I Would Wilt

There was a young woman on the bus today gazing at me…I tried to ignore it.  I started to feel rather uncomfortable.  I recognized the look in her eyes.  I was nervous that she was eyeing me up with the glint of lust in her expression!

At last, I noticed it was not me she was looking at, it was my water bottle.  The little cogs in my head began to turn.  She was thirsty!  There I was sipping at my sparkling water without a thought to my fellow passenger.  As soon as it clicked in my mind that I was making her abstinence from food and water a bit difficult by sitting there and guzzling in front of her, I felt so guilty.

When I considered that the young woman who was sat near me on the bus must have been very thirsty on this hot hot day…I did feel guilty of being insensitive.  I slid my water bottle in my bag and I did not have another sip until she had left the bus.

I should have known.  I have several co-workers who are fasting at the moment.  I knew a little about their fasting.  I knew they don’t eat any food during sunlit hours, but they can eat after sundown, which of course at this time of year is pretty late.  Until this year, I was not aware that they don’t drink any water though.  It is really hot here…of course nowhere near as hot as many of the countries where millions of followers of Islam live.

Ay karumba!  I would struggle.  In this heat, I do have much less appetite for food, but I consume twice as much water on sunny days.  In fact, if I stop drinking water during this glorious weather I wilt.  Years ago, I spent some time in Ghana…I realized then my utter dependence on water just to stay alive!

One of my co-workers made me laugh telling me about her own experience of fasting.  That day they knew that sunset would be officially at 8.58pm.  She said before that time they start cooking.  Everything is ready for the meal.  They lay the table, put out dishes containing their meal.  The whole family sit around the table watching the clock.  Then as soon as it is 8.58pm….woooolf!!!  They start scoffing.  She did make me giggle imagining her and her family around the dinner table like that.

She explained that fasting during the daylight hours helps them to think about those who are poor and do not have food and clean water.  Fasting helps them to be mindful of the poor and generous to them and teaches them to appreciate what they have.  She said there are spiritual benefits and it purifies their inner person.

Of course, it is commendable to think about those who struggle to obtain their basic needs.  It brings tears to my eyes when I remember a man we met from Liberia who had travelled to Ghana to flee from violence.  His wife has been killed in an outbreak of violence.  We met him and his six children.  I will tell you all about them in another post, such a special day to meet this inspirational and appreciative man.

I must admit…being aware of the injustices of this world makes me feel very uncomfortable at times…I really thought our family were poor until I had the opportunity to do some travelling and then my eyes were opened.  Every teenager that grows up in Western Europe or North America or in any other country abounding in far more than we ever could really need…should travel…and then they should never whinge about not having the latest i-gadget or snazzy sneakers…how petty and insignificant those things seem after you have seen countries where people live on around $1 a day!

For many years, I have loved visiting beautiful estates and National Trust properties. When I was younger I used to imagine myself floating around in a pavlova style dress, as if I was the lady of the manor.  Please tell me I am not the only one!  However, as I learnt more about history and how this enormous wealth was accrued, often on the backs of atrocities like the slave trade…the more I learnt the more guilty I felt about being born in a land that has such a shameful history.

I know it is complicated…I know things are not black and white…but for me I think that as long as I know there are injustice and suffering every moment of every day, inequality on a deplorable scale and that there is an agonizing outcry of “why?” and “when will this end?”…I am always going to feel a sense of guilt living in a land where things are relatively easy.

Surely you agree with me, that guilt will always be there while things are not fair.  I long for the day when every single member of the human family, no matter which land they were born in, which language they dream in, or the shade of their skin…will be safe and happy and healthy.  A world where nobody will go thirsty or hungry again.  I long for the day the whole earth is at peace.  I am no relation to John Lennon…despite my Liverpool roots.

I just know it in my bones that this world is not right…and it will not be right until every inhabitant of Planet Earth is thriving without feeling guilty that others are scraping by just to keep their families alive.

Every member of our huge and delightfully different human family drinking life to the full…no shame, no pain, no fear, no guilt, no anxiety, no hatred, no prejudice…



Two Men Parked Outside In A Big Black Van Staring At My Windows

Black Van

It’s OK.  The decorators are here!  They pulled up outside the house at 5.30am in a big black van and have been watching my windows, for any signs that I am up and ready to let them in.  At first I found it incredibly intimidating.  Now I comprehend why they do it.  If you are a tradesman or tradeswoman….or tradesperson…ugh…Let’s start again!  If you are a plumber, electrician, painter, decorator…chances are you find it easier to use a vehicle for work.

If you have a trade and you have to travel to various residences to complete tasks then you will likely have to take tools, dust sheets, paint or whatever else you might need to be able to carry out tasks.  It is helpful to have your own vehicle to carry with you all the equipment and materials you will need.

Now in most parts of the UK it makes sense to be a driver.   Roads move fairly freely, in many areas there are few restrictions or charges to park your vehicle on a residential street.  But think again in London!!!  Traffic congestion, restrictions on parking in most areas, and then when you do find a pay and display area, it can cost a lot.  On the road I live on you have to pay-and-display between the hours of 8.30am to 6.30pm.  It costs £2.90 per hour, however, you are only allowed to park for a maximum of two hours.  It must be a nightmare for a tradesman with a vehicle.

This is why the decorators are here so early.  Now I understand, I make the effort for them.  I have been up since 4.45am.  I am rather house-proud so I always do a tidy up and basic clean in any rooms they are likely to enter.  As soon as they arrive, I send them a text message to say I am up and about.  They love it!  I let them in at 5.35am.  Am I not one of the nicest customers/house-holders?  I can see they are not wasting any time.  If they can get the work done and then get home missing the rush hour traffic jams completely…well good for them.  I am happy to adjust as it makes sense…now that I actually understand why they are sitting outside in a big black van staring at my windows at 5.30am.

Although I am a driver, I have rarely used a car since I moved to London (only when I was asked to drive on behalf of the infirmary I worked for – but that was a fleet car).  But I have felt that I just don’t need to drive at all, not for myself.  The only thing I miss, is not having a car to do a big weekly shop.  Instead, I do two of three small shops each week and I am sure I end up spending much more money.

Now…I really want to talk for a little while about buses.  I have been preparing tomorrow’s post…and be warned it is a weepie!!!  I need to shrug it off and dismiss it from my mind for a while.  So to do that I would like to think about those gorgeous shiny red double-decker motors that tourists love to take photographs of.  If you are not remotely interested in London buses….this is a signal to stop reading now….

The public transport system here is amazing.  I can walk to the end of my road and every 4-8 minutes there is a bus that will take me on a 48 minute journey for £1.50.  The bus route runs 24 hours a day!

Elsewhere in the UK the story is not the same.  In the town where I grew up, we had to walk fifteen minutes to get to the nearest bus stop.  The buses were supposed to come every 30 minutes, but were often way off schedule.  They certainly are not 24-hour routes.  They normally start at around 6am and finish at around 10pm.  Our town had no train station.  There were some villages that had a bus just one day a week.  It would pass through at around 9am and then make the return journey at 4pm.  For many residents it was their only way to travel into town to do their weekly shop.

When I first moved to the south of England I lived in a fairly rural area (actually it was a little taste of paradise)…half-way in between Andrew Lloyd Webber and Princess Kate (I never hear anyone calling her that) neé Middleton’s family.  For three and a half months I worked in a nearby town.  It just happened that those months were November through to February.  My hours were 9am-1pm each weekday.  To drive in a car it took about 25 minutes.  However, I had no car back then.  So I had to catch the bus.  Well three buses…that is on the journey to work…and two buses on the way back.  I woke before 5am every weekday.  I had to walk 20 minutes to a bus stop where a bus would take me to a village.  There I had to wait in the cold, in the dark for another bus to appear.  At that time of the morning there was no direct bus service.  The wait for the next bus was schedule as 23 minutes, but it was sometimes much longer.  Some mornings I remember it was bitterly cold and I had tears streaming down my face because the cold was so painful.  I would arrive in the town center just after 8pm and then I had to wait for a third bus to take me to the business park where I worked.  I worked out I was traveling anywhere between five to six and half hours each day, but being paid for four hours per day.

Are you feeling sorry for me yet?  I hope so!!!  What did I face when I reached work?

My job involved dealing with customers, a few of whom behaved rather obnoxiously.  I am going to say something controversial…Customers are not always right…and if I owned the business there are some customers whom I would have asked to leave and not to come back again.  The numerous occasions when I have looked at a cashmere sweater which a customer wants to return, and wondered to myself, “have they tried to feed it through a shredding machine unsuccessfully and then decided just to lay it our on their road and drive over it several times?”

However, I am one of the most uber-polite people I have ever known and I even admire myself for the incredible ability I seem to have to remain completely calm when somebody is outrageously rude and unreasonable. I am able to explain a company policy clearly in a respectful way and hold my ground. Nobody was surprised though, when I gave my notice in.  They thought it was a miracle that I had never been late and never had a day off sick after standing around in the freezing cold each morning for all those months.

I have another story…it is too long for this post.  Look out for it in the future…I think I will call it “Teenager Tantrum Leads To Traumatic Travel Tale” or something like that…it is really the story of one of the most provoking teenagers I have ever had to deal with…but it will also demonstrate to you how unreliable the public transport system can be in some parts of the UK.

No, here in London, I truly do not miss having a car.  Public transport is wonderful. Yesterday there was a huge change to the train time-tables here.  Plenty of people are upset and full of angst about the changes…but for most travellers, they will get use to the changes within a few weeks.  For me…I cannot complain.  Compared to my public transport experiences elsewhere in the UK…London is a breeze!

Come on London Buses!!!  Woo-wooh to hopper fairs!!!


I Think She Is Creating A Monstrous One, Whereas I Am Trying To Avoid Being One

I enjoyed a nice dinner out with a friend tonight who told me all about her personal life.  She has inspired the following post:

So when I saw my friend tonight, she told me about a complication in her relationship….

……..she is in a relationship and has been for around 5 years, he loves her, is talking about them getting engaged and married. He is very handsome and he is a decent guy. Although they both get tired and moody, he is devoted to her. She thinks the spark has gone out of the relationship because they are often both tired.  She started a new job in an accounts office a few months ago…..and has been enjoying the overt flirting between her and a good-liking guy who likes flirting with all the women in the company.  She has started to drive him home from work, because his home is “not all that far” out of her way. They text continuously outside of work…and they have kissed.  She didn’t explain how and where the kiss came about.  She wants to have a fling with him and is hoping the feeling is reciprocated.  She knows he is involved with several other women, he seems have numerous casual connections.  But she is very excited by him.  She asked me what I though about it?

What did I think????!!!!   Aaaaaagh!!!!

I thought “why on earth would you want this ridiculous complication to something that has the potential to be super duper lovely?”

Then my friend asked me about the relationship I have with my love…

Aaaah sigh!!!  I thought I would answer that by showing her a draft of a message I typed out but was hesitant to send to him.  I am always anxious that he will think I am a burden, a complication to his life and he will fly… fly far far away.

Below is the message I am too scared to send to him because I fear he will view me as a complication in his life that he does not need right now.

Please don’t become nervous when I use words like “love”……I am not looking at wedding dresses longingly.  I just have enjoyed everything…….and would really like to spend more time with you.

You have given me plenty of reasons to apply the sage advice of Aunt Anne……”expect nothing……appreciate everything”. In other words……you have promised me nothing, but you have brought me excessive pleasure already and I am eager for more. 

Love – but not in a scary way. I love you far more than ice cream……because I am willing to give up ice cream for you. You bring me far more pleasure than even my favourite ice cream – even the salted caramel peanut butter crunch on a waffle cone you and I shared at the beach.

But I am not going to rush into giving you my left kidney. I have known you for a few months (and loved you every day and every night) common sense tells me I should not share a kidney with someone I have only known for a short time. When you said love should be measured and…..realistic.

Please don’t be uncomfortable with me admitting that at this stage I love you far more than ice cream but less than my kidney…..I was not trying to frighten you.

I know I am not making  much sense now…..that’s because I am tired sweetie  I just love thinking of you…..not eager to switch off to you…..I think I have forgotten my point. I was worried that when I mentioned the word “love” you sounded anxious and uncomfortable. 

I know you don’t want any complication in your life right now.  I fully comprehend you are keeping life simple, living the moment, living for pleasure.  I think that means that a long-term relationship would be a complication.  I think.  Please correct me if I am way off track.

My point being……you have never alluded to any kind of serious, committed, permanent, connection…I am OK with that. I don’t think there is anything remotely complicated in the connection between you and I.  We have so far spent some very very nice time together…..very nice indeed…and I would like to spend more time with you……but realize you are busy with work…..and there are others in your life who are further up your list of priorities.

I do not want to be a complication, a burden who will slow you down or take up time you want to use elsewhere. 

But I do want you to come to me when you want to come to me.

Please don’t view me being in love with you as something that should cause you anxiety.  I want to be allowed to feel unbridled fondness and to engage in expressing that.

I…….I am going to snuggle under my bed covers and drift off to sleep and exult in knowing no alarm clock is set for tomorrow morning.  I love you G, I wish you were with me right now…please don’t be alarmed.  It is all your fault for being wonderful.

Under The Covers


via Daily Prompt: Complication


Wonderful Wednesdays

It is Wednesday afternoon.  This is one of my favourite times of each week.  It is my own personal house-keeping day!  HAPPY PLACE!!!  I clean, wash and iron all afternoon.  (On Wednesday morning I help my landlady with her shopping and gardening and sometimes do some cooking for her.)  By the time I have finished, my ickle abode is sparkling.  I love seeing it super glossy and ready to invite anyone in.  I don’t live too far away from the Queen.  I am sure she would be honoured to visit this little nest after I have polished everything up.  After finishing all my work, I reward myself with a luxurious soak in the bath tub.  If it is early enough, I look for something on BBC i-player or ITV i-player to watch until bedtime.  I am hoping to squeeze in an episode of Poirot tonight.  Sometimes a glass of wine might be part of my reward…but not in recent weeks, as I am trying to be strict with myself so that I can lose a bit of puppy fat.  I want to be as almost perfect as it is possible for my beloved Goldfinch.

Say it with me: “ONCE ON THE LIPS….FOREVER ON THE HIPS!!!”  Do they call that a mantra?

I am a methodical and thorough house-keeper.  I follow a set route so that nothing is missed.  I have a schedule for work that does not need to be done every single week.  “Projects” that are either scheduled for once a month, once every two months, once every three months, or once every six months.  I don’t vacuum my mattress or soft furnishings, or clean the inside of cupboards, or defrost my freezer every week.  They all have set times on my house-keeping schedule.  I genuinely enjoy cleaning.  I have worked with an amazing group of house-keepers who trained me in their methods and showed me the most useful pieces of equipment to use.  I limit the use of chemicals and prefer natural products including vinegar.

I cannot tell you how good I will feel later today when everything has finished.  The elation of gratifying contentment and the comfort of knowing I did what I was supposed to and my parents would be so proud of me.  I have cleaned most rooms.  I am just about to have my dinner and then afterwards I will clean my kitchen area.  I have recently changed the order I clean.  Before, I used to start with the bathroom, then move onto the kitchen and then the bedroom, study, halls and lounge area.  Then I would make myself some dinner (making a mess in the kitchen again and still be left with a stack of ironing with a full tummy that just made me want to snooze.  I realized it was not working.  Now I do the ironing after I have cleaned the bathroom and put all of my clothes and bed linen away before I clean the other rooms.  I leave the kitchen until after I have had dinner.


It makes so much more sense.  Above is a photo of my kitchen area (I have just moved the toaster and kettle and other items onto a little table so it is easier to clean everything.) Super easy to clean.  It won’t take me long, and then rewarding myself can begin.  You might be able to spot some food splashes…but remember, I have not started cleaning yet.

Perhaps one of the best things about Wednesday is bedtime.  I never tire of slipping into fresh bed linen and breathing in sweet lily scent.  Aaaaaaah!  One of the most delicious events of the week.

Well, I shall delay my kitchen cleaning for no longer.  The sooner I start, the sooner I can enjoy that blessed feeling of “My work is done here, I can put my feet up and relax”.  One of the lovely things about life, work and then relax with that snuggly hug of a feeling – satisfaction.  Everything is good!…as someone very famous once said…several times…




I Could Never Put Myself Through That Again

I found a journal from a few years ago.  Scary!  What would it contain?  I found a passage that caused my mind to flood with memories.  I WAS STOOD UP ONCE.  It has only every happened to me once.  But it was a bit of a shocker to me.  I wrote a passage in my journal.  I also found some paper napkins with my hand-writing all over them.  I recalled that after I had been stood up I took myself to the other side of London and went to a restaurant and then after it had closed, I went to see a movie, and then I went to a 24-hour fast food restaurant nearby.  I then travelled into the centre of London and as it was by then 5.30am I breakfasted on espresso and a croissant before I went back to my accommodation and checked my inbox.  There was an e-mail from him.  He told me how much he loved me and how much he was longing to meet me, but he needed to cancel our meeting.  I sent a quick reply saying it was a shame because I had not seen his e-mail before I had left the house so I had waited for three hours at the railway station we had decided to meet at.  After that I slept all of Sunday right through to Monday morning. When I checked there was still no answer from him.  Anyway, if you are up to reading a weepy, here is the entry from my journal after that weekend.

(It is a bit long and I am sure I repeat myself over and over.  When I have time, I think I should edit it to make it a bit easier to read.  But for anyone who likes an outpouring of heart ache, here is a chance to read the raw, uncut version before I shorten it.)



I am really hoping you have not had chance to check your inbox …because I am kind of disappointed not to see a word from you.  But please know….it is only because I had been looking forward to meeting you so much and I am now finding myself confused and uncertain.  Simply because I have grown to love the man I have been receiving messages from daily for eight months. What happened does not seem consistent with you.  Or the you I thought I knew.  So, either, this past weekend was a blip…a carelessness of thought and moment of inconsiderateness or for these long months you have been trying to be something that you don’t think you can be after all.

I read my napkins from Saturday night…my oh my.  I poured out all my feelings on those napkins.  A man devouring a cheeseburger in McDonalds was watching me scribbling onto napkins and he asked me if I am a writer as he saw me scribbling away.  I told him I am not, but I like writing letters to friends.  After chatting me up he invited me to go back to his place for the kind of drink McDonalds don’t offer.  Scary!  I graciously declined.  Those napkins…maybe you would find them interesting…maybe you won’t want to see how disappointed in you I was that night.  My first thoughts were worry for your safety.  Slowly my sentimentality melted and I saw the situation in the harsh light of reality.  I believe you were deliberately not supplying me with a contact number to reach you and deliberately not calling or texting me to check if I had seen your message.  Was it your actual intention to leave me there for so long?  It made me write some stuff I regret now.  Don’t worry, there is nothing too horrific.  The worst point was when I wrote that I was starting to think you were a complete utter loser.  None of my other words were as harsh as that.  They just contained expressions of confusion and pain.

I re-read your message a couple of times just now.  It kind of hurts.  You sent it one hour before we were due to meet.  You knew I had already left home and would not have any access to my e-mails.  You knew I would have my mobile phone and I had given you my number several times to make sure nothing could go wrong.  However, I respect a man who is eager to use his head not just follow his heart.  I guess your message was kindly put.  There are parts that are not making sense to me. You still claim you want to meet me…but after eight months we make an arrangement and a “miscommunication” occurs.  If only you had made your decision, a decision I respect, before I left.  I gave you opportunity earlier in the week to bail out if you wanted.  I mean, I kind of would have preferred to receive it before I bought a new dress, new shoes and new jewellery and spent money on a gift for you…I wish you had cancelled before I left here with no contact number for you.  But for you to send an e-mail cancelling after I had left here.  I had told you that I would need you to use the mobile to contact me.  I mentioned several times, I would not have any access to my e-mails.  But you either chose not to tell me before I left, so I would go through all the unwelcome sensations of being stood up….and I am still wondering why,.maybe you just didn’t notice what I had said about not having access to my e-mails.  Never-mind.  I would love to make excuses for you.

Tell me please….your message on Saturday, when you said you wanted to cancel….was that actually saying you want to end this relationship?  Could you please make that more clear if that is the case.  Because that is the way it feels.  But I don’t know if I am jumping to a conclusion you didn’t intend.  You say you love me and want to meet me after these eight months of friendship online.  Being abandoned has left me doubtful.  Maybe I am still stinging from the pain and humiliation of waiting outside a railway station in the cold and the awareness you were not coming.

I am anxious.  I am sure you have some feelings for me.  Your words, your messages are so beautiful.  But I don’t think they are entirely consistent.  I can be gullible at times…but it is eating at me that you have chosen not to use the mobile phone number I gave you to contact me.  You could have sent a text to make sure I had received your cancellation e-mail (which I hadn’t).  Even prior to this, you don’t seem to have been keen on giving me your number.  We have talked about us both feeling safe and not taking risks.  But at this stage, it doesn’t make sense to me.  You said you were sorry for being vague about the details planned for Saturday.  I am kind of wondering if you were just playing along and had no intention of meeting me…or perhaps have been playing along for months without any serious intentions.

Maybe I am just being dim…was your decision to cancel and your message actually your way of saying you don’t want to develop this any further?  Or to end this….as in “sayonara”???  Please don’t be afraid of spelling it out to me…you are always kind and polite but if you want me to sling my hook – you might have to be a bit more blunt with me.  But telling me you love me and want me in your life is confusing me.

I don’t think that now.  As you might imagine, since Saturday night, my feelings have been up and down like a yo-yo.  I don’t think am not really bruised, just feeling as if everything is up in the air with regards to you….and I kind of would like some help from you to settle things down.  Please help me to understand.  I don’t know enough about you to be able to understand this.  Are you nervous?  Nervous of me, or nervous you might not be as confidant as you want to be?

I can’t think about making another plan to meet you.  It obviously has not been wise. Now I am wondering what on earth you want for us.  If you do want to end this….please tell me.  I had been in love with the thought of hanging out with you, either in town or on a sofa watching a movie and sharing a take-away.  Who knows what else might have developed?  This penpal relationship has been wonderful…but after the weekend I am resolute, until I hear some kind of explanation from you, I need to protect my heart.  My hopes have come crashing down in flames.

I do feel though, I am not willing to turn up at any other location in a beautiful dress. Maybe if we do make another plan to meet, I will put on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt and we can grab a coffee somewhere.

You can decide for yourself whether our contact is worth anything at all to you.

I don’t think I am the one to be making this decision.  You felt you had to cancel Saturday….so it is left to you to decide what next.

Perhaps the thought of losing the friend who has been sharing every day for eight months is frightening.  There is a large possibility we might be a bit wooden and awkward with each other at first.  Every man I have had a relationship with has not impressed me initially, but I grew to like and trust them more.  I am not worried about the two of us needing a while to feel at ease with each other.  There is going to be an odd transition between virtual and real.

I hoped I had made it clear I am not expecting an overly confidant and possibly pretentious, conceited or arrogant man.  I was hoping for someone caring, kind, humble, hard-working, sensible, with a friendly sense of humour and who wants to share some time with me….I don’t think I ever asked for a smooth-talking, stylish, cool as cucumber, thick-skinned extrovert.  I would be thrilled to be the friend of a man who knew I loved him for his being the salt of the earth.  I am not a snob…I just value kindness, humility, modesty and sincerity.

Right now I am doubting I ever really knew you my love…I don’t know what you really want.  Maybe you don’t want to think about a relationship.  Maybe you just want to remain devoted to work and looking after your home and your motor and a relationship with a woman is just an extra stress you don’t need.  I have tried to be myself, and to be very open with you and I have tried not to express my feelings about you until I was sure about them.  But at the moment….I kind of feel as if there is nothing I can do….to make you want a real life relationship with me.  Maybe you are tired of having a loyal penpal and my messages are taking up too much of your time and worry.  Or perhaps you do want or do like the idea of a relationship…but it seems as if it might involve too much effort and it is a bit overwhelming.

Well….I have made a decision.  I don’t want a fantasy relationship anymore.  I am not willing to invest in something that is either just a bit of fun, a joke, a trivial penpalship, a virtual relationship…whatever it is.  I don’t know what this is anymore.  I thought we were two people who had enjoyed getting to know each other and had started to have feelings and were believing we had fallen in love.  I don’t think I can do this anymore.  I am very sorry.  It’s not that I have anything to complain about.  I just can’t build my hopes up and beat my fears down and then face disappointment without feeling something has to change now.  I have lost my sense of trust and I am not sure I can be a penpal anymore.  There are so many odd things that you have said that made me believe you really wanted to meet me.  It seems really odd now my love.  I can’t bear to look at your messages at the moment.

As for me….my feelings for you are still here, live and kicking, undeterred by the disappointment over the weekend.  But if you think it wise, I am happy to throw some ice on them.

Forgive me but I still don’t know what to think and how I am supposed to be feeling.  I have never had this experience before.  I don’t know how long I should have waited or not waited.  Was three hours too long?  I exaggerate, it was only two hours and forty-five minutes really.  I don’t know how long to wait to hear from you after telling you on Sunday morning what had happened.  Perhaps you are dreading seeing a message from me.  There may be a perfectly legitimate reason.

Actually, I have been thinking about what happened when I was at the station on Saturday evening.  I had a couple of blokes hanging round the station pay me a bit of attention.  Three women asked me where I bought my dress (I am not telling anyone – hee hee – I know it is gorgeous.)  One tall bloke who was wearing more jewellery than Mr T said “hey gorgeous, need a lift somewhere”.  I just laughed and said I was fine.  I noticed a man who was talking to someone on the phone and heard him say the words “just come to the station entrance and look to the right…it is the right thing to do.” A while later I saw him with another man.  For a moment I thought it might be you…I really did.  I was not sure because there were so many men who seemed to fit your description pass me I was confused with who I was looking for.  Anyway, this man went into a shop I can’t even remember the name of the shop, though I was stood outside for so long – maybe it was Whistles or something.  Anyway, I looked at him a few times and he looked a bit nervous…but then his friend seemed to be calling to him and I thought he shouted Keith….so I figured it could not have been with you…because we have had this conversation about names already.  I had already decided I was cold and I had not had anything to drink since lunch-time so I went and bought myself a cup of tea at the sandwich bar inside the station.  When I returned, the two men were both gone.

In truth I am hoping this is not the end, just a little challenge that together we can work on getting over and cement what we have been building.  This is not supposed to be stressing you out .  If you are not enjoying this relationship any longer…we can just stop. Neither of us owe anything to each other.  Neither has harmed the other.  Neither has been unkind or abusive to the other.  If we chose to end this before we meet…well, I have very fond and positive thoughts and feelings towards you.  You have built a friendship with a woman and declared your love to a woman and then accidentally left her outside a train station on a Saturday night…right I am not mentioning it anymore.  Because it’s not being stood up that I am bothered by anyway.  It’s more understanding what is going to happen next.

If we dissolve this friendship…I have plenty of things I can keep myself busy with, plenty of friends who make me thrive…but I am not in search of another romance.  In fact if you say you want to end this…I think I deserve to be a bit down. I deserve the chance to play sad songs and eat chocolateI have many friends who will help me laugh about this situation and move on.  Not that I want to.  I don’t feel like laughing now.  But I don’t know how to feel because I don’t know what is happening anymore.

Sorry lovely…I love you…but I don’t know what is happening here…and I don’t know what is happening next.

I do love you…but I am waiting to hear from you and in the meantime….

….I am going to just get on with the life I lead which you have a good idea of…work, cleaning, washing, ironing, meeting up with friends for a drink/meal (and occasional karaoke or dancing), walking, swimming, reading, shopping, my family, museums….all pretty normal stuff….it is the people in my life that make it so rich and rewarding….if you are  not going to be one of those people – that’s sad.  I would only wish you the very best and hope with all my heart that I have not caused you any hurt, regret, any unintentional offence you have been too polite to tell me about.  I would always hope you have success in all you turned your hand to.  But I would prefer, much prefer, that we met and had chance to see if our lives will over-lap and how much that will be the case.


In case you were wondering.  He did e-mail me.  He sent a beautiful apology.  We continued our penpal friendship for a few more months.  It was never quite the same. One day he just did not reply to one of my messages.  I ached at the time.  But I think he made the right decision.  There must have been a reason that he knew but would not tell me why we would never meet.  I have looked back at his hundreds of messages.  Now I can see inconsistencies I never noticed before.  Still, I don’t want to think or speak negatively.  He brought me a lot of joy, it was nice having an exclusive penpal who shared every day with you.

But I did it once, and once is enough.  I don’t want to have an internet relationship.  I prefer to meet someone in real life, which is how I met my beloved Goldfinch.

In all honesty…it is something I could never put myself through again.


At The Age of 5, I Thought I Would Be Farmer Prime’s Wife When I Grew Up

Now I am not just saying it to please you…I did enjoy the art class on Sunday.  The thing is I have normally spent all my free-time from childhood onward on sports and hiking where I can push myself or just run around having fun…noisy events – karaoke, parties, dancing, live music, loud friends.  I do also like museums and historical houses and sites.  Even though I am not all that noisy in myself I am attracted to noisy, loud, energetic people.   But it was nice to sit and feel calm and concentrate and try to produce something respectable with a pencil.  I was more relaxed than I expected, and I was pleased I was starting to make a bit of progress.  Not that I have any aspirations for even attempting to accomplish something worthy of praise.  But the point is…I enjoyed it.  And I was very impressed by what you and some of the others in the class were able to produce.  I told my workmates on Monday I had been to an art class, but I was too much of a wimp to tell them what I was drawing.  In fact, when they asked me what we drew I said “oh, all sorts of things.”

I do like trying to please you Goldfinch.  I am mushy…I know…and if it annoys you I will try to reign it in.  It’s not just because I am female…I am sure you and I both know many women who are not sentimental at all.  I am sentimental I guess.  I think I am realistic too.  I am a big believer that each person is going to think and feel differently…and in some respects it is a miracle that people meet and decide they will try to build something together…except for hormones, they take the miracle out of it.  However, when it comes to love, you can’t force anything…there is no door handle on the outside of the human heart.  On a realistic (maybe pessimistic) note…I don’t believe that I “float your boat” anywhere near as much as you float mine.  I don’t think you like me saying that.

I cannot concern myself with the way every single other person thinks and feels – and trying to generalize is futile (even if most men are from Mars). But generalities aside, I do try to understand those close to me….as in where are they coming from mentally and emotionally?  Sometimes, it’s enough to try to keep an eye on my own mind and heart, and try to figure out why I am doing things.  It is ingrained in me to want to love (and be loved I guess).  So much of what I might say and do is just inclination formed by years of past experience.  I can’t see myself changing drastically unless I was changed by a major event.  To me…well, as I have mentioned, many men are from Mars…and frankly I don’t think I would have much motivation if it was hormones alone that were impelling me.  I love thinking of you in a sentimental frame of mind, maybe romantic.  My head is in a very happy place when I am trying to think of little things to please you.  It feels great to be sweet and kindly and homely and lovely and giving.  It makes me feel like my mum…and I mean that in a very good way.  But if you find you are not enjoying it, I will listen and adjust.

It is not difficult to feel fondness and affection for you…it would be difficult to try to repress it.  You do make me feel happy…and you bring me great pleasure.  Mentally I know…if you were not going to leave England, I guess I know where my thoughts would collide with yours and there would be challenges to any lasting connection.  We would probably drift apart naturally.  We would not have the desire to spend time with someone who deep down we realized was from a different planet.  Maybe it is because you are not going to be here for long that I am switching my mind off and following my feelings of happiness and pleasure and excitement.

bananaepisodeI don’t know what I am doing long term anymore.  Life has not worked out the way I expected it to.  I was thinking back to a little 5 or 6-year-old me.  This is me back then.  Please excuse the absence of front teeth.  I had eaten a banana one of my dad’s customers gave to me and by the time I finished it I had accidentally swallowed my two front teeth which had been very wobbly.  As you can see I already had an impeccable sense of style, sunglasses, leather jacket…and although I would never become a rock star, I was well on the way to becoming a karaoke queen.

One of my school mates was a boy named Ian Prime.  He was like a miniature jolly farmer.  I was too young to have a crush on Ian Prime, but I think I knew that he and I were a match.  We were on the same level.  I could see Ian Prime as the farmer, and me as the farmer’s wife.  I think that is how I thought life would turn out when I was a little girl.  I am not sure really what else it is all about.  There was never any issue about meeting parents.  I knew Ian Prime’s mum and he knew my mum.  A man and a woman start a team, they build together a home, they plant veggies and harvest them, she cooks meals and makes curtains, he carves out furniture and fixes fences, there are cows to milk and all sorts of animals to feed, then there might be children…although at the age of 5 or 6 I could not see myself having children and I still can’t imagine it now.  But that might be because I feel as if I am still a child myself and can’t take on the responsibility of a child.  But the rest I can see.  I still don’t understand how the system we live in does not seem to allow for that.  I don’t think I have goals or ambitions because the world is so shaky and unreliable and even basic human desires seem unattainable.

Each year at school our teachers would record each member of our class saying “When I grow up I want to be a…”  Our ideas changed from year to year.  My teacher’s favourite goal in my case, was when I was seven.  I claimed “When I grow up I want to be a sculpture.”  I had not realized I meant a sculptor.  But prior to that, I had stated with conviction, “When I grow up I want to be a farmer’s wife”.  My view of how my lifeconstruction would turn out all changed when I was 15 and stepped onto a construction site and enrolled as a volunteer for local charities for the first time.  I suddenly realized I had no desire to be a Mrs Prime…I wanted freedom to come and go as I pleased.  I didn’t want to be tied to anyone or anything, not even an employer.  I had to find a balance of course.  And the balance for me was first part-time employment and then self-employment so that I could be free to travel on voluntary projects all over the country and then all over the world.  As a result, I actually became a slave to the work I was doing on a voluntary basis.  A voluntary slavery that I truly loved.

It frightens me that in the summer it will be three years since I have been separated from my life, my world.  Will I be back by then?  My hope is fading.  Which makes me wonder…if I will never make it back to the life that I love…should I start thinking in terms of the way I previously thought the world worked.  Find an Ian Prime?…or wait for an Ian Prime?  I might be waiting until my dying day.

Anyway…I don’t think you see yourself as an Ian Prime type.  I don’t want to presume anything.  But you have told me things along the lines of that you just want to enjoy life and pleasures.  You seem willing to try almost any new experience.  You seem kind of fearless as if you have nothing to lose.

It does kind of scare me that if I don’t make it back to my life and my world (which I am terrified might never happen) then I have nothing to live for.  I just have to take one day at a time and appreciate everything and everyone in my life here and be open minded and adventurous about the future.  Sometimes all I want is an Ian Prime…I wouldn’t need to be swept off my feet by him.  But I do need to belong to him.  But if he could just give me a list of jobs to be getting on with, and if he could touch base with me regularly to tell me if I was doing well or if I needed to learn to do things in a better way.  I like a little pleasure.  But I crave purpose.  I need occupation, I need work, I need to have things to do for people I love, or even those I don’t love, I need activity and purpose and a lot of it.  I don’t mind how repetitive or mundane that work is.  And of course, I thrive when I feel secure and appreciated and loved.  How could I not?  Yes, it makes me try even harder.

I am waffling Darling….I don’t think you want to be bored with all this.  I am not sure even what I am trying to say…except…and please don’t take offence, I don’t think you are an Ian Prime.  But I am very grateful that you are letting me be in your life right now.  Goodness I am grateful to you.  I am loving every moment with you.  Yes, just thank you Goldfinch.  I don’t think you would have picked me off the shelf in the supermarket, but I am so grateful we both happened to be alone one October evening and had the courage to start a friendly conversation.  It has led to many months of joy.  I don’t think you want to be my Ian Prime, perhaps you don’t want to be any other woman’s Ian Prime.

Maybe you prefer the James Bond-ness of being a single footloose 40-something, fine figure of a man.  But anyway…you are doing what you want to…but you are bringing me great pleasure and happiness.

I would love to be taking you to all the amazing places my family and friends have explored in North Wales, the Lake District and Scotland.

Lots of thoughts in my head I am getting out on the page here…and I am frightened you might not like these thoughts.  I have no desire to ever hurt, offend, or annoy you.

Anyway…for now…I will just keep taking one day at a time with you…keep enjoying every moment with you…and try not to worry that I am boring to you because my head does not particularly see beyond a world where I am devoted to volunteering or else to an Ian Prime, who will be the centre of my universe.

Learner at Love

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