Monday, 31 January 2011

Notes from today

What can I say about today?

- On the way to work I did the Social Stroll around the park with Django and made conversation with the Woodside Walkers (a group of retirees who I usually see on my walk to work, with their various dogs). The ooh-d and aah-d over Django and we left just as Lola The Showgirl was arriving. 

- We had two dogs in the office today - Django and Daisy. They were so excited to see each other... ok, Daisy was. By 10am they were both blotto behind me. Perhaps we should start a dog creche?

- The crisis that I thought was sorted out on Friday got reincarnated by the 'politicians' so I had yet another day banging my head against the wall in frustration.

- On my way back to the office at lunchtime, I met a man driving half on my side of the road who then swerved to avoid me. Thanks for that mate. 

- I had great plans for doing some studying tonight but ended up mooching on the computer, writing a letter to the police (to say thank you for being so nice), cooking tea and then watching half a film called The Notebook, which promises to be a real weepy. I'll watch the rest tomorrow.

So that's it really, regrettably I am an empty vessel this evening for blog fodder.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Shorts: Rabbit, rabbit

I just spent 2 hours speaking on Skype with Mr H.

I guess we have a lot to talk about at the moment.. 

Spot's Spot: Sunday in the park

Mum and I had a great walk in the park this morning. It was frosty and tingly in my toes and the sun was out and happy. We meandered through the rhododendrons and exchanged remarks on the marvellous morning with other dog people.

We met a yellow Labrador called Lola.  I don't know if she is a showgirl but she's a bit nuts, we met her once before and Mum had to fend her off jumping on her leg.  And she's not very obedient. 

Mum and I giggled as we walked off after seeing her charging off towards some other people, hearing her owner: "Lola! come here! Lola! Lola! Come HERE!! LOLA!!!!" 

Yet again I am proved to be perfectly behaved and cognitively superior to other 4-legged... oh hang on there's a squirrel! I'll be right back....

TP 132: Curves

Where does the curve of today's path lead.....?

The dusty, comforting curves of home.

File closure

The file is closed.  I can throw away the police blood sample that I've been faithfully keeping in the fridge for the last 7 months!

PC Phil came to see me, complete with flak jacket and a crammed full lever-arch case file. After a lot of noise at the door, Django decided he was OK and after 2 minutes was his best friend. I was pleased to hear that I'm looking a lot better than last time PC Phil saw me, at the scene, not that I knew he was there.

Being traffic police, he's been through all this a million times and the most common question people ask is "Why?" just like I did, hoping for some tangible explanation. I suppose it's our need to categorise things, and also in my mind I wanted to have reason to think it was less likely to happen again.

The passenger was apparently asleep, and the two children were playing together in the back seat.  In reality, she just failed to correct for the slight bend in the road and went straight on.

It was just one of those things.   I now know all I'm going to know about it, and I can move on from it.

As PC Phil said, how long have I been driving?  27 years.
How many times has this happened to me?  Once.

Yep, statistically I'd be damn unlucky if it happens again, or someone has got it in for me as he put it.

If only people were like dogs, we agreed - the average, well looked after dog doesn't worry about cause and effect. Life happens, then you go to sleep and wake up and it's another day. No expectations, no regrets, no worries; no 'what ifs', no 'if onlys'.

Maybe I should ask Django for some tips.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

IF: Surrender

When Mimosa got lost
In the Big Dark Woods
Where the scary beasties live,
She was glad her mother always told her
To carry a handkerchief,
So that she could wave it in surrender.

Schemas and their destruction

I was thinking about my post that I was (am) going to write, and thought you'll be fed up with me writing depressing posts and talking about the accident.. but it's because the last couple of weeks have brought it all back to me, right to the front of my mind.   Over the 5-6 months after the accident I was concentrating more on my health and getting better, and not really talking about it. But now all the legal stuff has started and I'm driving, my leg is looking after itself and it's my thoughts that are distracting me.

Somebody asked me the other day whether I'd had any counselling. I should have answered "No, I write a blog", because this feels like therapy to me.

How many times do you hear people say "It's restored my faith in humanity" when somebody does something good or thoughtful?  It makes it sound like the person usually goes around thinking the worst of everybody. All Humanity was bad but now someone did something nice so all Humanity is good again.   Although I have my share of cynicism (that was an example right there), in general I think I have quite a lot of faith in humanity, and I'm sure most of us do.

Well, I realised today while driving across the Forest with Django (40mph limit, hurrah!) on a long straight road watching people driving towards me:  I have lost my trust in people on the road.  I know that is a generalisation in the same way, but statistics and logic play little part in emotions.  It's not as specific as being scared of white trucks or tree-lined roads.  After 27 years of driving I have finally discovered that yes, it can happen to me; and yes it may be totally unpredictable. 

Most of the time, we expect people to behave on the road in a predictable way, we are not constantly on Code Red looking for danger.   Obviously people don't always behave predictably - otherwise there would be no traffic accidents - but as far as basic driving skills are concerned we expect them to drive in their lane, stop at junctions, etc..   The fact that Ms.E (the other driver) did something so apparently random has sent my expectations crashing.   I was watching those cars driving towards me today, and if they moved two inches towards the white line, I was slowing down and creeping nearer to the edge of the road.

Linking here to a post by Alexia about some youngsters recently killed in a car crash, we are in charge of these machines that have the power to kill, yet we treat it so casually.  It's our right to be on the road, in a hurry to get where we're going, driving too close, having fun on the bends, going to the pub and 'one drink will be fine', thinking about problems at work and not bothering to really pay attention.

Watch people driving while you are out (preferably while you are a passenger!). How many are actually looking at the road and other vehicles? how many are fiddling with something, or looking out of the window at the view, or at their passenger while they talk; on the phone, or checking a map or looking as though they are on another planet, or doing their make-up.  [A woman followed me once, spending most of the time looking in her rearview mirror doing her entire make-up while driving. I pulled over and let her past because I was spending too much time looking at her in my rearview mirror, wondering when she was going to drive into the back of me.]

I'm not saying I've never done any of those things, of course I have.  We all get complacent, especially after a good number of years of uneventful travelling, and our minds wander.  And I've always enjoyed driving, the skill of it, the fluidity of getting the line on the bends just right. I miss that enjoyment of driving, I hope it comes back.
On Sunday, PC Phil is coming to see me to go through the inquest report.  I am hoping that I will find out a reason for Ms E's drift across the road, that there was some evidence that sets it apart from Complete Randomness.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Can I go to bed yet?

I'm tired.

I woke up this morning and thought 'it's only Thursday, ugh'. But thank goodness it IS only Thursday from a work point of view.

I was in the office Monday morning, then all day Tuesday and Wednesday, and I'm going in today.  Until we get this 'thing' sorted out, I need to be there.   There are some things that just can't be done working from home.

And there's a big event on at the weekend which is why thank goodness it's only Thursday.

It's inquest day today - REALLY good that I don't have to go.  It would take up my whole afternoon for what will probably be a half-hour hearing.  And right now I need that afternoon.

The good news is that I got my TMA03 (psychological research report) finished and submitted last night.  That is always a good feeling.

One small bit of achievement in a fairly rubbish week!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Joint effort

"So, I suppose you're off to the office today again Mum *sigh".. It's ok I'll be ok here on my own. Don't worry about the fact that I've not had a walk for two days. No really, it's fine. I'll just read a book or something."

"Yeah, I'm really sorry Django, but it's dark in the evenings and I'm too tired to get up extra early to take you out before work. I'll have to see if Grandad can take you out again soon."

(gets his collar off the hook by the door, the buckle jangles).

"Huh? Hey! is that my collar?"

"Yep, it is."

"Cool, cool, COOOOOL! where are we going? BRILLIANT! are we going now?  come on come on! what are you doing?  Let's GO!!  don't worry about shoes or a coat, it's not that cold. Come ON!  Let's GO!!!"

"OK, out you go. Oh hold on I need your bed. And a lead, and some bags.  And my crutch if we're going to stop in the park and.... Aagghh! it's like going somewhere with a two year old, all this stuff."

"Come ONNNNNNN!  Lemme in the car! are we going in the car? or out of the gate? Come ON!"

"Alright alright, in you get."

"Wheeee!!! we're going out!"

So you get the picture...  the Spotty Dog and I stopped at the park on the way to work, and then he proceeded to SLEEP for most of the day in the office in front of the heater.   He was in heaven. And it's amazing how stress-free an office is when you come across this sight - can't help but smile!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Not the most relaxing day...

Mel, you would have been proud of me today.  I took Kristi my office elephant into a technical meeting today and he helped - it's good having something soft and comforting for your hands to play with while you think.  Neither the boss nor my other colleague batted an eyelid.

Apparently, research has discovered that 11am on a Tuesday is the most stressful time of the working week.  Well it certainly happened today, I got frustrated about a misunderstanding/lack of communication and my boss blew his pressure valve.  We ended up in another all-day technical meeting today, trying to sort out issues.  It's been a very stressful couple of months for him and I guess I just punctured the balloon. Ended up with me bawling my eyes out and having half an hour's time-out cup of tea and a chat with one of the girls, and the boss and I apologising to each other for being insensitive.   I can't really handle stress or conflict well at the moment. In fact I can't handle it at all.

So, that wasn't good, but within an hour it was done, dusted and out of the way and we got on with our discussions and work as normal.  No sulking in sight, that's for sure. 

Sometimes just when I think I'm getting more back to normal reactions to things, something comes along and slaps me in the face again.

I think Kristi will be coming to all my meetings in future.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

TP 131: Blue

I saw this while I was idly waiting in the van for Mr H one day, and was glad I had the camera handy.

Friends, walks and inquests

I had a stroll along the cliff this morning with a friend and her young Labrador bitch. We were chatting away and I didn't realise how far we were walking... suddenly I realised that we'd gone much farther than I'd intended and we still had to walk back!  But it was fine, and on the way back we bumped into mutual friends who neither of us had seen for a while, so stood around for 20 minutes chatting to them while the two young dogs played and Django looked on from the shelter of my side. 

The conversation culminated in one of our friends saying "What would really be perfect now would be to have a table, chairs and windbreak and a massive cream tea (scones with lashings of cream and jam for those of you who are wondering) here on the clifftop".  At which point we all realised we were hungry and went our separate ways.

With it being almost 7 months since the crash, over the last week or so everything has started moving on the legal/admin front.  Yesterday I received an interim payment from the insurance company. When my solicitor told me last week I'd be getting one in advance of the inquest I was very surprised, I guess they aren't in too much doubt about the outcome.

The inquest is set for this Thursday 27th, thankfully I don't have to attend since the only witnesses called will be the police and the pathologist.  The lovely policeman who is handling the case has offered to come and visit me afterwards to go through it all, which I really appreciate since he must be busy.

Now I'm spending the afternoon studying, having been enthused to get on with my assignment after yesterday's OU day school.

Oh and I'm writing my blog and eating chocolate too.... and I have the ingredients sitting on the side to make some scones.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

What the eye doesn't see... or does it?

I've had a couple of 'palpitation' moments in the car....   the first was yesterday afternoon when I was driving home from the sea in bright sunshine.  The sun was behind me and all the cars coming towards me were really bright in the sunlight. I don't know whether it was because I knew they were driving into the sun and couldn't see so well, or that fact that they were glaring bright, but I felt nervous for the first time in the week I've been driving.

The second time was today when I drove to the railway station at 7.50am, it's in the next town so there is a straightish stretch of road, which is a 50mph limit but most people go faster.  I really didn't want to go over 40mph, and that didn't feel slow to me, but as it was relatively early and the road was quiet, I made myself speed up to 50.  Yikes it felt so fast!!  and then cars were coming towards me, and some of them were white... I really noticed the white ones. 

I didn't get upset or have to stop, but I was conscious of being nervous and my heart rate rising, and feeling very aware of the feeling of speed, and the white cars but not so much of the dark coloured ones.  And it was a relief when I could slow down again without thinking someone behind me was banging their steering wheel and shouting "It's not a bloody 40 limit on this road you stupid old bint!!!"    And yes I have been the person shouting that, in the past.

One of the women in my class today was telling us how she had been badly shunted in her car yesterday, someone drove into the back of her quite hard.  She said she couldn't believe how shocked she felt aftewards, and hadn't driven today but had got her husband to give her a lift, .  And one of my friends said that about 7 years ago her husband was spun several times on the motorway in very wet conditions when a car clipped the corner of his. She said that even 7 years later, there was a noticeable change in his driving and just the way he 'was', when he drove now in similar conditions.

Mr H phoned me just as I'd started writing this so I was telling him about my 'moments'.  He has mentioned to me before that since the crash he's felt as though the roads/carriageways are really narrow, and he has no space.  He also notices far more what other drivers are doing and their position on the road.  It's interesting how he has been affected slightly differently by being the passenger at the time.  I suggested that maybe he has taken away a feeling of being crammed into the verge/trees as I inevitably hugged the side of the road just before the impact. 

I think it's safe to say that our eyes take in far more than our minds consciously remember.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Spot's Spot

I'll just rest my head here for a while if that's ok....

Blind contour drawing Wk 3

This is my first attempt at Blind Contour art, that is drawing something without looking at your pencil/page/hands and just at the thing you are drawing. 

A bunch of bananas

Feelgood Friday: an afternoon off

I said I would and I did. Well ok I switched my work laptop off at 13.07, which considering I had had an morning of waiting for things to happen in the office, which then started happening at about 12.50, was good.  It can wait til Monday, I wanted some quality time with Django and myself.

After lunch I piled an exciting, bouncing dog into the back of the car and we went down to clifftop to 'take the air'.  

I used to eschew (what a great word) the clifftop, because they put a neat gravel path along it and it was always full of people walking their dogs along it, very slowly.  A bit like I am now in fact.  But I've come to rather like it, partly because I now have one, easy, polite dog and we don't have to choose walks to avoid other canines; and partly because I'm mellowing and am happy saying 'good morning' to complete strangers.  It is still a good idea to avoid people with picnics though.

So we strolled along, smiling and saying hello to people who were mostly retired (it being 2.30 on a Friday afternoon).   We paused occasionally to watch people walking on the beach or throwing stones for their dogs. There was a solitary man with a metal detector and a spade, I wonder if he'd found any washed-up treasure. We (Ok, I) occasionally stopped for a sit-down on one of the many benches, but I hadn't taken my book as I thought it would be too cold, so didn't sit for long.  

It's a beautiful, sunny day, about 4C but almost windless. I was wrapped up with coat, gloves and hat and as usual when walking Django I had one crutch with me for extra support.  I'm still sure some people look at me and wonder what's wrong with me, since I look normal (well, as normal as someone in a bright red down jacket can look) and don't walk with much limp at all with the crutch.     However, at one point today I had a refreshingly straightforward conversation with an elderly chap who was overtaking me.

"Is he behaving himself today?"  (nodding towards Django)

"Oh yes, he's a good boy."

"Why do you need a crutch?"

"Broken leg."

"Oh dear, recovering I hope?"

"Yes, thanks."

"How did you do that?"

"Car crash."

"Oh. Well as long as it's recovering."


And off he went.  

Thursday, 20 January 2011

"But what about if we did this....."

Well what a day, I was due for my morning's stint in the office so was glad I put a cover over the windscreen last night as we've had a couple of freezing, clear nights.  I did drive rather gingerly to work on the frozen roads.   We've had days of rain so when it unexpectedly froze two nights ago rather a lot of people apparently came a cropper on the newly iced over flooded areas.

I digress.  I remembered to stop at the postbox to send my latest missive to Mr H on the way and arrived at the office ok.  Over the last couple of days I have been having some underlying anxiety about some technical stuff to do with work, you know just one of those 'I'm not happy about this' feelings. Usually when that happens there is a good basis for it, and this morning I was prompted to start a discussion on the subject with my boss.  That discussion turned into my spending the entire morning sitting with him in his office while we played with numbers and tried to find a solution.  It wasn't solved by lunchtime so I was back there this afternoon and we did reach a conclusion, agreed it with everyone we had to and implemented it, after which I felt a whole lot happier.

This evening was supermarket shopping evening with my best friend G.  Although I don't need her to take me to the supermarket any more, we both rather enjoy going together; she then comes back here for a meal plus whatever scrumptious pudding she has chosen.  Tonight I actually cooked a recipe that I picked up at the supermarket last time - Chicken thighs in an orange, honey (home grown of course), olive oil, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. The chicken was supposed to marinate for 30 minutes before roasting, but mine marinated for 24 hours, and it was delicious!

Tomorrow morning will be busy, but then I have my afternoon's holiday which I WILL take.  The trouble with working at home is that you don't leave it at the office and it's too easy to think 'oh I'll just check my e-mails', or 'I'll just do so-and-so before I stop'.   Well, I will switch my work computer off at 1pm and after lunch I'll take Django out for a walk either on the Forest or the clifftop depending on the weather, and then maybe read my book and drink tea.

Sounds good to me.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011


I was just looking at the OU website and there staring at me was the date for my Psychology exam:  14th June. Others in my tutor group are already mugging up on stuff and working through revision notes and probably doing practice exam papers.  Personally I'm concentrating on getting through the coursework and assignments we have to do before then.  Yet again my lack of obsession passion for anything is shining through, I am not living, breathing, eating and drinking DSE212 or spending 4 hours a day on the forum comparing notes on what a critical trial is and why it doesn't say in the book.   I know that if I start panicking about the exam now, I'll still have forgotten everything by then and will have be stressed out in the process.

This Saturday we have a 6 hour., yes 6 HOUR! tutorial on psychological research methods.  I've taken Friday afternoon off work to give myself a top up of mental energy reserves, it sounds as though I'm going to need it.   It does sound as though it might be quite fun though, I'm rather hoping I get to be in the participant group and have vigorous discussion about something like "people should be able to drive 4x4s without penalty" or "men shouldn't be allowed to buy bras for their women".   Meanwhile the 'researchers' have to count how many times people interrupt, and whether men interrupt more than women, and whether they do it in different ways or use hand gestures (!?).

I found this picture while I was randomly looking through my photos for something else, and reckoned I could create some tenuous link to the post topic..

"Studying - Gateway to... who knows what?"


Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Interim post and paperwork

Hi, sorry I've not posted but time ran away with me yesterday, I ended up working till 6.30pm and then flaking in front of a movie.  This evening I have been collating paperwork, receipts and photos etc. for the solicitor who is dealing with my damages/uninsured losses claim. It sounds like a date for the inquest will be forthcoming soon and things are moving along after what seems like a long, quiet period. 

She asked me for some photos of the scarring and the scar tissue on my hip so had to have a session with the camera.  In the end I sent her a disk full of various photos, who knows what might be useful.   It sounds as though I'm going to have an interim medical examination, which is good; if they waited until I'm completely better and back to the fitness I was before that could be the end of 2011.


This morning I spent an hour down in the boatyard with the two guys from work, doing some research.  Of course I snapped a couple of artistic shots in between the work photos!

I'm not sure the hole in the bow is such a good design idea.....

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Stylish award

I was chuffed to find in my Inbox this morning a comment from Chibi Janine saying that she had awarded Dreams and Reality this:

Thank you very much!   Like Chibi, I don't really consider myself 'stylish' but it's good to know that what I write appeals to people, and who knows maybe makes a difference to their day/week/month in some way.

If you aren't already familiar with Chibi Janine's blog, take a look. Amongst other things, she draws great illustrations and was the one who encouraged me to try the digital ArtRage art program which is great fun :-) I'm just waiting to add the letter J to her alphabet title illustrations....!

So, back to the award.

OK as with many of these things there are little rules (though it hasn't got the 'you will be eternally damned if you break the link like you get in chain letters') if you plan to participate which are:-

- Copy the award and post it on your blog

- Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.
- List 7 things about you that others don't know
- List 15 blogs that you would like to give this award to - does not have to be all 15 and can be anywhere from 1-15
- Notify all the people you list that the award is coming to them if they would like to accept it.

To start with, I might have trouble thinking of 7 things you lot don't know, I will have to dig back into my pre-blogging life to find some stuff! Actually this sort of question is used in psychology studies, to see what aspects of their identity people find important. I will obviously be judging myself on this...

1. When I was about 4 years old, I announced to my mother that "I'm not going to be woman, I'm going to be a lady." So, I had good aspirations but what went wrong after that, who knows.

2. My Sindy doll broke her leg climbing trees in the garden, though interestingly I was never a tree climber myself. Maybe that was an early sign that actually I could manage delegation, I just forgot it somewhere down the line. I also ruined some of my toy cars while driving them around the sandpit, the Ford Capri in particular never ran smoothly after that.

3. I had braces on my teeth when I was 13 and am now very grateful despite detesting them at the time. I had an extremely scary Scottish orthodontist who I had to visit, which I hated. I still remember having to follow coloured spots on the floor of the hospital corridors to follow to find the right department, I think they were orange.

4. My father used to be a bridging engineer and worked in the States for a year. I visited for a month with my mother, and the American kids raved over my aforementioned braces, possibly the first time I experienced anyone being envious of me.

5. I have a numb area on my left ankle where my pony bit me. From age 15-18 ish I owned a lovely Connemara pony called Sea Rock (or Rocky as he was known). He was grey, 14.2hh, and loved jumping - I would lend him to my friends at shows so they could win Clear Round rosettes. At some point I had to put him onto working livery as it was cheaper (where the stables use the pony for lessons etc. when you aren't using him). Unfortunately it made him a bit gripey, probably because of kids not treating him properly. One day when I went down to the field just to say hello to him while he was eating grass, he just turned and bit me on the ankle. Man that hurt. It was the first and last time he bit me though and I didn't hold it against him.

Me and Rocky, circa 1985

6.  When a teenager, I reached Grade 6 on the violin and also learned the piano.  However, I never really enjoyed it, or felt that I was a 'natural' like my brother is, and was too lazy to do the practice I needed to be any good so gave up playing instruments.  Very occasionally I'll have a twiddle on one of Mr H's guitars or bass, but I just don't have the passion or flare for it.  I do still have a 'good ear' for music and tone, which Mr H uses sometimes if he is not sure about something!

7.  I am addicted to tea.

There are so many blogs I read and enjoy, but I would like to pass this award on to (drum roll please):

Nancy - I love her cute little illustrations and self-portraits, they always make me smile.

Mel - for all that good fairy advice, for her honesty, and also for the fact that no matter what she's going through she puts funny comments on my blog that make me laugh.

Jess - for her 'ranting and raving' and being herself.

Lisa - because if I had a child, I'd want it to be like Bob.

Dan - for his comical and talented sketching, and for the Web of Whimsy

Spring, spring, spring!

For all you doubters ;-)  Spring is definitely to coming to us here in the South of England.  Here are some photos of the new life...





Clematis (I thought this one might be dead, it was its first winter)


Holly (self-seeded)


Spot's Spot: Happy Birthday to meeeee!!!!

It's my birthday today, I'm 11 :-) 

I got a card from my friends in the North, they all signed it!  Sheepey, Miles, Foxey, Douglas, Norley, Bobby and Blizzard.

It's really windy today so Mum says we're Going for a Blow on the clifftop.

That's All, Folks!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

TP 130: Far from home

Bangkok Airport

I took this photo while I was waiting for my connecting flight to Phuket, on my first trip out for the King's Cup regatta in December 2006. I was travelling alone, long haul to a place I'd never been to before, and was a bit trepidatious of everything from finding the taxi at Phuket airport, to what they were expecting of me during the week, to whether I'd know more than two people when I got there.

As usual, all my fears disappeared as things fell into place, and I could enjoy the wondrous differences between Thailand and England.

Why is it such hard work?

I have told the friend that I wish she'd told me she was annoyed, rather than being passive-aggressive via Facebook. Well I didn't actually mention the passive-aggressive part, but that's what it is.  Which brings me on to a different subject - people who hold grudges.

I am not a grudge-holder.  If something goes wrong in a friendship or work relationship (or even worse those that involve both), I just want to get it sorted out and move on.  I can't stand festering atmospheres or ongoing sulks.  In general I just want to get on with people, and if it gets to the point where I simply can't get on with them, then I just stay away from them as much as possible. 

If someone gets the hump with me for some minor reason, I just want to say "What? what is the matter?  What have I done this time? Let's sort this out, now!"   But, some people enjoy holding grudges and having the hump, and sulking, and not talking to people for days/weeks/months.   They'll say things like "how can you just brush that off like that?"  Because life's too short to waste on it, that's why.  

We're all human, we make mistakes. We say the wrong thing at the wrong time, or we don't say the right thing at the right time, because maybe we're thinking about something else or there's a crisis going on which is taking up all our thinking space. To that other person it is huge thing, while you don't even realise you have done/not done it.  You are thoughtless and heartless not to have made that first thing on your mind.  And even if you've already said 'thank you' or 'congratulations' or 'sorry' you still have to say it or mention it for the next 5 times you meet them, otherwise you are rude and back on the Hump list.

And because I hate the brewing atmosphere I end up being the one to apologise, which I'm sure labels me the one who is perpetually in the wrong, even if the problem is them getting things totally out of proportion.

I thought friendship was supposed to be pleasurable and relaxing, but sometimes it can be really hard work.

IF: Chicken

"It's not just any chicken feather,"
snapped Eloise as the snooty wearers of 
glamorous Ascot hats
gave her sidelong glances.
"It's from a Black Sumatra Longtail." 

Friday, 14 January 2011

"I must go down to the seas again.."

Look where I DROVE myself to at lunchtime today...

I stood on the path above the beach, rocks and waves, and surveyed my sea.

It was cold, damp, stormy-grey, fabulous!

"I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over." 

Poem by John Masefield
Photos by Me

Feelgood Friday - an attempt!

Well after yesterday's rant, and the fact that no-one told me they were re-booting the server at work this morning so it hung in the middle of my remote login, I am trying to shift myself from Grrr mode into zen Feelgood Friday mode...

1.  As I said yesterday, I am now cleared for driving short distances.  I can drive myself to work, to my parents', to the Forest to walk Django, to the train station, to the dog food store, to my friend's house 5 miles away. When I actually drove on the road yesterday, it was as if I had never stopped, it was all natural.  Well I suppose 27 years worth of experience means that it's fairly ingrained but still I was surprised that I didn't 'notice' it more.

My parents' reaction to me telling them was complete surprise and a warning Not to Do Too Much and a stern look. *sigh*.   Oh and apparently my mother is 'worried about the way I limp'.  What???  I limp (a bit) because I am not yet fully weight bearing, oh and because my leg hurts!  And when I'm tired or my leg is tired, then I limp more noticeably.  I can see that I am going to have to have a little chat on Sunday when I see them.

OK this zen thing seems to have slipped off the rails a bit...

2.  It's Friday so that means tomorrow is the weekend, hurrah!   I will spend most of tomorrow studying and preparing for my research experiment/report which makes up TMA (assignment) 03.  This week I will be running the experiment with 4 participants who will be friends or work colleagues.  But that is the easy bit, writing up the intro, design/method and results will be the time consuming bit but I can get all but the results done beforehand.   At the moment I am awaiting the result of TMA02 which I submitted ages ago, but the deadline was only the 12th Jan so I might get the results in the next 7 days or so. I've kind of forgotten about that one now.

3.  My hair is Red Passion again :-)  My best friend G and I had a hair dying session at her house last night - hers strawberry blonde and mine red.   The last time I coloured it I used a mid-brown to see what it would look like, but it didn't have much effect on the hair that was red from previously, and the roots looked liked roots.  So this time I went back to Schwartzkopf shade no.43 which is much more 'me'! 

4.  In three weeks time I will be in Scotland for a long weekend :-)  though I'm not currently sure which property we'll be living in!

5.  Spring is coming!   Bulbs are starting to show their heads in the garden and new shoots are appearing on shrubs and trees.  The blue tits have been sussing out the bird box.  And the days are getting longer, albeit almost imperceptibly.

Hmmm, well still not feeling completely zen.  I'm really in one of those moods where I just want to lock myself in and not talk to anyone. I will try harder....

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Ranting and driving (not at the same time)

Do you know what?   who cares what people I don't even know think about something when they don't even know what they are talking about?   But I know that whenever I write 'who cares?' it means I do.

I'm not sure that even makes sense but it is just another symptom of Facebook annoyance.  When someone puts a cryptic status, and then their friends jump on the bandwagon when they don't even know what it refers to, for goodness sake.  

And why do I let it wind me up so much?   Because I think it might refer to a joke comment I made to a friend earlier today, I thought nothing of it.  If she thought it was so bad she should have said so at the time and she didn't, but she did decide to put a status on facebook which may or may not be a joke and all her young mother friends are 'sticking up for her'.  

Whatever. Why I am even wasting keyboard space on it?  It must be time for another Facebook 'holiday'.

On a more important note, I drove today on the roads for the first time, which was cool. I have official permission from my doctor for short, local journeys, which means I can get myself to the office and back if nothing else.  It feels so good to have another little bit of independence.

So, deep breaths. Forget about annoying, petty minded people and concentrate on stuff that matters. That is what I shall do.

Oh, and I'll take that Facebook holiday.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Finding myself

I thought that for your amusement I would post some pictures of myself in various phases of haircuts/styles/colours:

Monday, 10 January 2011

Is it just me?

I was listening to a radio show this morning and they were talking on the phone to a man who had won some prize.  He'd been married for 31 years so the presenter of course said "Wow that's impressive. What's the secret to a long marriage?"   The man didn't quite know what to say, he was the quiet sort.

The presenter went on "Plenty of patience I expect? haha!"

"Um well yes I suppose so!"

"And plenty of presents for the wife!"

Aaagggh, the old stereotypical 'wife who needs lots of presents to keep her happy' joke.  It conjures up a picture of a chap coming home late from the office to find his frazzled wife who's been looking after the children and cooking dinner, and whipping out a box from Tiffany's to make her feel better. 

According to this site"Women love being showered with beautiful, expensive gifts and being pampered with expensive jewelry especially - diamonds, gold, silver, platinum jewelry. Jewelry can be as expensive as you want it to be."

Maybe it's my lack of children and the fact that I've always been an equal salary earner that mean I don't really get it.   I'm not saying that it's not nice to get surprise presents but I never expect them, and certainly don't want or expect expensive 'sparkly things' from a jewelers; I'd rather have something that I can use or that cost 50p that he got me just because he knew it would make me laugh.

Mr H and I will have been married for 22 years in April.   No it hasn't been a perfect 22 years, but who can honestly say their marriages haven't had peaks and troughs.  The important thing is that now we are on the upper flanks of the mountain and climbing.

I now know the 'secrets' to happy marriage (ours at least) to be:

1.  Communication
2.  Individuality
3.  Similar basic values
4.  Retaining some independence
5.  Sharing

And some other obvious things like thoughtfulness and caring quite a lot about each other.

I'd rather have those than a diamond necklace any day.

But hey-ho, each to their own I guess.