Thursday, 31 December 2015

Review of 2015

Ah!  What can I say about 2015?
It's been a difficult year in a few ways.
From what I remember about January, there was pain from spinal stenosis, work, and the realisation that Spark was not a well doggie.
February brought a pain management appointment, and I had an injection.  I started knitting a "knit-along" blanket featured in Let's Knit magazine.....I enjoyed making the squares, and when I had completed it some months later, I gave it to Becky.
February was also what I hoped would be the worst month, as I took Spark to see the vet, and with my three the decision was made that it would be kinder to let him go.  Even though that was over ten months ago now, it still upsets me.
February is also the anniversary of Dad's death.
March through to early June was unremarkable, or at least I can't remember anything standing out, other than having a yearly meeting/review of my job.....fairly standard procedure that seemed to go innocent I can be at times.....rarely looking for ulterior motives for people's actions.
June started off fairly quietly, then the non-teaching staff restructuring was announced.  They laughingly called it a proposed restructure at first, however as the year unfurled, it became clear that they wanted to be rid of certain members of staff, first they "ring-fenced" each section of the non-teaching staff, but removed it when they were told....too late for some, that they couldn't do that, as it was essentially forcing certain people out of work. So....eventually, after voluntary redundancies, there came applying, and subsequent interviews for the remaining posts.  Although it has been claimed to have been a fair process, I don't think that it was, as there were more posts than people, yet it ended with me being made compulsory redundant.
Then, as well as that last bit, December brought named storms, storm Desmond managed to damage the power supply to the area, and we were on generators eventually, and switched back over to mains five days later. There's been another two storms since, again dropping loads of water on already sodden ground.
So.....after all that, I am hoping that 2016 might be kinder to me, and the general population.
There were positive things as well. Edwin graduated, and now has a job. Oliver submitted his thesis, and goes for his Viva on January 13th...  after that he should be a Doctor, a PhD doctor, not a medical one. Samantha is still at the same place, and settled in her new flat. And Becky has started her Masters year.....oh! And Oliver has a job as well.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Yule feast....a bit late, but still great fun

Due to my kids now being bona fide "grown ups"....with jobs!  Yule feast was late this year.
I can't remember if I've posted about this a brief explanation.
As my three got older and left for university...I decided that I didn't want to put pressure on them "having" to be with Mum for Xmas.  It was a joint decision that every year we would pick a day where we were all free, and get together. I make a buffet type meal, and when we are all here, we have food, as much, or as little as we want, when we want it. Now they are older, I do say to "bring your own booze".
We usually listen to music, catch up with each other, and play board games. The tv is not usually on, unless we are playing a multi player Wii game.
Also,  a few years back, I bought a large package of assorted dice, and gave everyone a set, and challenged them to create their own game, that we would play at the next Yule feast.  (There's just me left, I know what I want to create, just need time in which to do it.)

Oh boy! That's not brief!

However, in the past we've held Yule feast before Xmas, as that was most convenient.  This year, the most convenient was between Xmas and New Year, yesterday to be precise.

I made sweet chilli sausage rolls, quiche, pork pie, and heated through some jalapeno things.  Pickles, crisps were also available, plus plenty of cheese and crackers.

By three o'clock everyone who could be here was....Becky couldn't this year, as she'd not spent any time with her Mum over Xmas.
We opened gifts from any of us who hadn't seen each other before this Xmas, then we started games.
New game...Liar, once you "get" it.
Then Samantha's game,  a start/finish game, with "guards" throughout the course who you had to challenge in "top trumps" manner.
Then onto WobBally.....I bought this some years ago, it's a bit like Jenga, only you have around seven layers of marbles, each layer has around 15 marbles.  You have to knock out one marble, without knocking the stack down.
We play it as a knockout. Things are usually a bit "giddy" to say the least by this stage. I never win this, but it's fun.
Lastly, we played Oliver's game from last year....another one which is simple on the surface, but a lot of fun. You roll two dice to get the category,(99 in all,) then you roll another, (20 sided,) for how many you have to name.  Now comes the fun bit. After being allowed a minute or two to think, you have to name the number of things, before the sand timer runs out, about a minute......but.....the other players can decide whether to accept what you say, or not.....for elk tree......just doesn't exist......don't ask, "is that allowed?" don't have time....and the other players can also heckle with incorrect answers, suggested. We found out that Samantha's bf gets the giggles very whenever it was his turn....we did our best to get him that he couldn't possibly win.
Obviously all in good faith.........after can't win everything.....I never win anything, except the Oxford dictionary game....which might be why we don't play it.

So......if you have kids, and they're getting older, rather than hope they can be with you on Xmas day.....and you want them all there at flexible, adopt the Yule feast idea....choose a day when you can all be there, and have a great day.....and, if you've more leisure time than your children....let them sort the day out....just be there.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Inside I'm excited

Why? I hear you ask.
I am on a waiting list for a Maine Coon kitten.
I'm at the top......and new kitties expected late January.
I met some back in August....and before I wasn't convinced that a Maine Coon was for me.....however they were great.  One of them found that my skirt was slidy, and kept climbing on my lap and sliding down it.
So...I'm excited...but don't want to jinx anything.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Restful, but lonely day

I should be used to this by now.
Boxing Day is Dad time......fact!
Although earlier, I made more fudge......we had almost run out.....but then sent it to my ex's house, with Oliver and Edwin....along with his Yule gifts and two!boxes of truffles!
So....busy until about 2pm, then I had to sort out a pressie for my friend...she unfortunately has her birthday in January....(she lives in the postage can be a problem,).......however, I've started her gift....already have something......
But I'd forgotten how long it takes to source the threads needed for a cross stitch project.
Deep into the project now.....Hope that she likes it.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Busy day

Phew! I've had such a busy day today.....and I know that tomorrow will be just as busy.
I am glad that I try to have a "low key" Xmas, because I think that I'd need much more time to prepare. Or maybe it's because I make a lot of things for myself, and like to give people homemade sweets as gifts.
Anyway, tomorrow I will be making some more melting middle truffles, as I have lots of the middle left.
Truffles anyone?

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Check your facts before opening your mouth.

Dear education minister,
Check your facts before opening your mouth.
From me.

Why? I hear you ask.
One of today's lead news stories is reporting that the education minister wants schools to put filters in place on pupil internet access to prevent them becoming "radicalised".
If he bothered to check first, he would have found that schools have very stringent filters on their internet.....that's point one.   The computers in many schools are getting old, and subsequently are slow, pages can take up to 15 minutes to load....point two.  You average teenager likes to have access to information is frustrated by my point two, and moves on.......point three.  Large swathes of printed information seems to lose the attention of any but the very intelligent, or very determined, teenager......point four.  Most teenagers have home internet access, which is faster than school connections, with more up to date equipment......parents can put filters in place,  but pc savvy teenagers could easily get around them.  In many cases the teenager is the one who has set up the home system.......point five.
So, Mr education minister, get your facts right, and look at problems from ALL sides. I have listed five reasons why schools are probably not responsible for "radicalisation" of teenagers.
I will point out that I do think things should be done to help prevent it, however, his idea is like offering a person with a broken leg a sticking plaster and a paracetamol, telling them to go away, everything will be OK.
Here's a "radical" idea!  How about stop making this country a more difficult place to live in, unless you have plenty of money.  Start treating the bulk of the people with the respect they deserve, and perhaps people will stop looking for a better life.
I know that I have gone off at a tangent a little here, but things are never as clear cut as politicians would like us to believe.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Spinal one!

This is not easy.
Today I went to see Mum, to deliver her presents, and my sister's.
On the way down there, I trapped a nerve, and was in pain by the time I got there.
I'm getting really frustrated by this thing that is taking over my body in an invasive way. I feel so helpless.
All I can do is wait for my next pain management injection.
And being 200% honest, it can't come too soon.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

A day of annoyances and unusual happenings.

So, today was the final day of the "Afternoon Tea" exams. This is the first exam of the GCSE  catering exam, it's worth 20% of the final marks.
Most of the week has passed without note, however, today we had a "first"......a student flipped out because one of their recipes bombed. Ingredients flew and the student in question left the room, declaring that they had done with catering.
The student was persuaded back into the room, and they finished their exam. Whilst the Teaching Assistant was working on bringing them back to their exam, I cleared their work area, and weighed out the ingredients for the remaining recipe.
I also looked at what caused the "meltdown", a Swiss roll that wouldn't, decided there was enough to save.
The student came back. I suggested that they turn the Swiss roll into a sponge sandwich....and that was agreeable, and then I talked the student through their fourth recipe.....I felt so happy that the student completed their exam, and might have put themself on target for a great final grade.
On the negative side, I encountered someone who thought that it is OK to correct another person's pronunciation of certain words......I have been brought up to view this as the height of rudeness, as there are regional variations in pronunciation, and to correct it is being crass. The person who thought that how they spoke was the only way really annoyed me, and as I was in a situation where I couldn't express what I'd been brought up to accept ......I just couldn't express my feelings, and views.....I still have an intact tongue, which is a wonder.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Revision, guided or individual task?

Just been reading a discussion on the school Facebook page.
Between two pupils.  The school has been closed due to power cuts.  There should have been mock exams for years 11 to 13, and mini mocks for the other years.
The two pupils start out by complaining about the fact that school will be open tomorrow, and pointing out that we are still having unpredicted power cuts.  One points out that the school will be dark if the power goes off, and school will have no way of contacting parents.  All valid points.
However, they go on to discuss the exams that should be happening. And, bear in mind that they have had three days off.....they were complaining that they haven't had any revision sessions.
Excuse me if I am be presumptuous, but they have been at home, most of the time with no power, so why the hell haven't they been revising?
I know it's years since I was at school, but revision sessions were in addition to the normal school day back then. We were expected to revise in our own time.
I would be interested to know if it is just our school who spoon feeds reluctant pupils during lesson time, or is this trend widespread?

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

A few unusual days, and it's not over yet.

As well as other stuff, we had Storm Desmond this weekend.
It has caused widespread flooding and power cuts in North Lancashire and the whole of Cumbria.
In Lancaster the only two bridges over the river Lune had to be closed.  This was because a container from a construction site by the river was washed into the Lune, where it collided with both bridges.  They had to be inspected when the tide was at it's lowest for damage.
This meant people trying to drive from Lancaster to Morecambe, or vice-versa, had to go to junction 33, Galgate and drive up to junction 35, Carnforth......junction 34 was difficult to access at one point.  Another thing that closed the Greyhound bridge was there was an awful lot of flood debris caught on the metalwork below the bridge.
Today, things seem to be improving travel wise.

On top of that the flooding caused a huge area to be subject to power cuts.
Over the last couple of nights, Edwin and I have been having discussions about power.
Our conclusions were, it might be useful if households had a small wind turbine and solar panels.
Another thing we discussed was it would be a great idea if some enterprising engineers developed tidal energy harnessing, and other hydro electric power.  After all, the tide comes in twice a day, without fail.
I know that this is a serious discussion, and not my usual "at a tangent" posts.
I won't apologise, the situation caused the discussion.

On a lighthearted note however, it is odd what some people consider essential electricity usage, as we wait to be transferred back onto the national grid electricity supply. (We are currently on generators.)
A plea went out over The Bay radio to limit your electric use to essential.......and I saw someone pressure washing their car yesterday......and I thought what a moron! I didn't comment to them, as I didn't want to be verbally abused.

A big thanks to all the essential services who have done their best to keep everything OK. Thanks to the guys, and gals, from the electricity companies working flat out in order to restore power to the area, and a big thanks to The Bay radio for cobbling together a Heath Robinson studio in order to keep residents informed of progress, school closures, electricity supply updates, road condition and flood reports. You're absolute stars.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

What an absolute farce!

If what happened this last week, to me, happened in a film, or TV drama, you'd be forgiven for thinking that it was far fetched.
I'm not going into details, and apologise for being cryptic, but why bother doing something that looks like you're being fair, when you have already made your decision beforehand?
I can't elaborate at the moment, maybe I will be able to, given time to come to terms with things.
A new chapter in my life is about to start, and I am, understandably more than a little nervous, but I need to make this work for me.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

The final part of the upheavals.

This next week I have three interviews for posts at work. I hope that this time next week I will feel much more secure about my future.
Today's task, which I can't put off any longer, is filling in the application forms. Why we have to do that when the school already has a record of our qualifications, I am not altogether sure. Seems a pointless exercise, I can see the point for supporting statements though.
I'm apprehensive about it, because until they were told to remove the arbitrary ring fencing, I didn't have much option.  All this still feels like a deliberate attempt to get rid of me, and others. But, what they couldn't have anticipated was that some other staff have become so disheartened that they have resigned.
I really do love working where I do, just hate the atmosphere all this has caused.

Monday, 9 November 2015

First time for everything

Tonight, I started a laceweight shawl.
I've made a shawl before, but never from laceweight yarn.
It seems to be incredibly "flimsy/delicate", but I think that is how it is supposed to be. So that I don't make tired mistakes, I am only knitting it in the early evening.  Also, you can't knit lace and watch TV!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Negative sales pitch?

The national lottery are currently running a series of adverts, where celebrities are saying what they would do if they won.
Each idea is crazier than the last. Katy Price, I think it is, would air a TV channel based around her. Piers Morgan would build an amusement park, Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen would give national monuments makeovers, starting with Stonehenge, and Vinnie , forget his surname, ( the ex-footballer,) would create "anger" generating power machines.  Obviously all crazy, and the fevered dream creations of an advertising whizz kid.
But, the campaign is encouraging people to buy lottery tickets in order to make the crazy celebrity creations less likely to happen.
It's a very strange way to advertise something, but seems to be a developing trend.
On reflection, I wonder if it has any basis on the outcome of our last election, where we were promised things beforehand, and they melted into thin air afterwards?
Mind you, the trustworthiness of politicians is the subject for another post, or maybe a whole raft of posts?

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Are good manners dying out?

You might think that is a strange thing to ask, but what has prompted me to ask is the emergence of this photo on Facebook.
Facebook. Click on the link to see the story.
I hope that works.
But it is a photo of a bus driver, asking you to like if you say thanks to the bus driver.
To me it is natural to say thanks to the driver as I get off the bus.
Yes, I know people could argue that you've paid your fare, and you are entitled to your journey because of that....however, it's not a case of entitlement, it's good manners, and they cost nothing.
Saying please and thank you should be as natural as breathing.  What I'm saying is, if someone does something for you, it doesn't go amiss to thank them, it shows appreciation.
But more and more often those little words are forgotten, and when you use your manners, and are met with a startled look, it brings it home that children are being brought up to expect certain things from life.  I might be wrong, but this "expectation" is breeding a harder, less likable generation.
I've done my best with my three, and am always pleasantly surprised when people comment on their good manners.
I suppose what I'm getting at is manners cost nothing, but being treated politely makes a person feel that they are a useful member of society, no matter what their "position" in life.
So, thanks for reading this.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Chest/lung infection

Wow! But not in a good way.  I can't believe how long this has been going on.  When I first visited the doctor in mid September, the symptoms had been around for at least three weeks.  I presumed that they were partly due to stress regarding my work situation at the moment, and hoped that they would clear on their own.
Turns out that the doctor thought that I had a chest infection.  So, I took the pills prescribed, but as they ran out I had my annual flu vaccine injection.  And I have reacted to them, mildly, in the past. After a couple more weeks, I was still feeling bad, returned to the doctor, who again thought it was a chest infection, but he sent me for a X-ray just to be sure.  It came back that I have a lower lung infection. So, more antibiotics, and return for a further X-ray four weeks after the last.
I thought that I had pulled muscles in my chest, and that is why it feels like someone has been jumping on it. I also have a cough, and keep going "clammy". I've been trying to rest as much as possible.  The good thing about this is that I have had very little trouble with my spinal stenosis, despite being ready for a new injection.
No doubt that this will all change tomorrow, when I return to work. I'm feeling a little apprehensive about that, but that's for another blog post.
Just for the record, this has been going on at least two months now, maybe two and a half.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Sugar tax?

So, Jamie Oliver is campaigning for the government to put a tax on sugar foodstuffs.
I'm sorry, Jamie, but the bulk of sugary foods already have VAT on them, so tax is NOT the answer.
So, obesity is becoming a more increasingly pressing health problem.  I won't deny that.  Also, sugary foods have been proven to be the major contributor.
When my parents were young there was sugar rationing, during the sixties there was a sugar shortage.  In the first place sugar was limited, and in the second place, the price of sugar became prohibitive for the working class.  I know that I had to make the decision whether to have sugar in my tea, or on my breakfast.  I wouldn't have been alone in this.
As I see it, there are several problems connected to the over consumption of sugar.
1) There is a bewildering variety of breakfast cereals available, and so many have added sugar, and or chocolate, some even have bits of marshmallow!  I don't think that  choice is a bad thing, but there are too many gimmicky cereals. Frosties and Sugar Puffs were the only sugary cereals until the early 80s, and they were usually bought as an occasional treat, not on a regular basis.
So, for me culprit number one is sweetened breakfast cereals.
2) People used to make their own meals, and baked goods.  Many of these have extra sugar added, which wouldn't be in home cooked foods.
That's culprit number two.
3) This one might seem strange, but there are very few places where you can buy loose sweets. They tend to be packaged.  Once that bag is open, it just begs to be dipped into. For example, Haribo is very popular, but the packets are at least 100g  weight, maybe more. They also have additives, which makes them addictive.  (I often see pupils walking into school tucking into a bag of Haribo, with an energy drink to wash them down! I presume that they are in place of a proper breakfast.
Culprit number 3, easily available large quantities of sweets, at cheaper prices. Bigger packs usually work out better value, but they are not meant to be eaten at one go, by one person, exclusively.
4) Fizzy/sugary drinks, in all their guises. These used to be dearer than they are now, but demand has brought the price down, and the "pack" size up.
Fizzy drinks is the fourth culprit.

BUT, the worst culprit is poor nutritional knowledge. In short, the population needs to be educated in all aspects relating to food. With food lessons in school being often the only place where this takes place, it's essential that these lessons are kept as part of the curriculum.
People need to learn moderation when eating sugary foods, as well.  Putting even more tax on will not stop people buying and consuming sugar foodstuffs, but education and moderation will help.

Sunday, 18 October 2015


So ......the head of the Church of England thinks that the country should take more refugees than Cameron's Tory party  think we should.
He should take a step back, and check how much money he has in his pockets!
The way the economy is going, there may be high unemployment, and all the associated problems.
If there aren't enough jobs for the people currently living in the UK, why should we let more people in?
The government is squeezing the working class until their eyes pop out, and yet some joined religious top dog thinks we should take in more refugees?
It really doesn't make sense to bring more people into a country that can't support the current residents.
By the way, I am not a racist, but a realist.

So....Autumn has arrived

Yes, I think that it is definitely autumn.
Cool bright mornings with a nip in the air, or warmer cloudy mornings with the sun dazzling as it forces it's way through the muffling clouds.
It's darker earlier in the evenings, and the air starts to feel damp.
So far, we've had very little rain, which means that the leaves are lovely and crunchy.'s not really cold yet.  Once the day has warmed up a little you can still sometimes go out without a coat, so long as you have a warm jumper on.
So, with all that in mind, why did I see a family so wrapped up that you'd think they had just come from the ski slopes?
I'm not kidding, they looked just like that.
Mind you this is Morecambe, and there's nowt so queer as folk.
Perhaps they'd just bought the gear, and refused to pay for a carrier bag to take it home in.......Who knows? Not me, I can only think of various reasons why.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

A couple of bad days.

Woke up yesterday, had slept through one alarm.  I felt like I couldn't breathe, so had to use my relief inhaler almost straight away, even though I had just used my preventive inhaler.  Added to that I had a badly trapped nerve.
I was extremely busy on Monday, and probably did more than I could cope with...unfortunately my body reacts by giving me a bad day the day after.
By early evening I still felt no better.
I ask myself, should I push myself so hard if this is the reaction I get?  It's not so bad when I have a working pain relief injection, but I am currently waiting for my next injection.
I hate feeling like this.  I am just about feeling ok, but it knocks the stuffing out of me.
And I really don't need this, with what's going on at work.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Outpatient appointment

I had an outpatient appointment today with the pain management team consultant.  
I had asked for an appointment, because I have not spoken to anyone other than my own GP and the pain team since my diagnosis of spinal stenosis well over 18 months ago.
What I thought was correct. The consultant who arranged the tests looked at my results, they were out of his area of expertise, so he referred me to the pain management team.
The treatment I have had from them has been great, helpful follow up appointments, but I felt that I needed to know what the long term outlook was.  The pain team nurse thought an appointment would help me.
The upshot is, I should be having another injection in the not too distant future, but I have also been referred to a spine specialist.  So, I should know more about what I can expect in the future.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Extraction Friday

I broke one of my teeth, I think it was in early May, and there was not enough tooth to do anything with, plus the root was exposed, partially.  So, it needed to come out.
I have had to wait until now as my previous dentist left, and the current one didn't start straight away.  So, he just did check ups for a while, so that everyone was up to date, and then he started doing the treatment. I saw him in early July, I think, and had to wait until now.

Anyway, I went today, knowing that my tooth was being extracted under local anaesthetic.  I'd been feeling nervous beforehand, (the last time was 35 years ago when I had a partially emerged wisdom tooth out,) I did want to avoid a general anaesthetic, as I don't cope with them well.

So, three numbing injections, then a scale and polish while it took hold.
Remember that I said that part of the root was exposed?  Turns out very little was.  He seemed to be pulling for ages before it came out.  Huge long roots!
I felt OK until I stood up, then I went very woozy. I was intending to go back to work, but what with feeling woozy, not being able to talk very well, and having a pack in my mouth, I figured it would be for the best if I went home, as the dentist said.  Oliver walked down to meet me, and walked back home with me.

Still numb now, over three hours later.  My tongue still feels far too large for my mouth.  Anaesthetic gets me that way.

Incidentally, do you want to know how I broke the tooth?  I was eating an apple and the skin was so tough that it broke my tooth!

Thursday, 24 September 2015


There was a coffee morning today to raise money for McMillan care.
Yesterday, I made red velvet cupcakes rather than a huge cake, but they were too warm to decorate.  So, just before the start of the coffee morning, I went to decorate them.  The room was hot, the cream cheese frosting was almost liquid, despite following the recipe. So I tried buttercream, same happened.
I was so seriously frustrated, this has NEVER happened to me before!
Cross is an understatement!
I ended up "snowing" on them with the icing shaker.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

An apology.

Wow! Here we, almost at the autumn equinox. (It's officially Wednesday, according to the diary.)
I started back at work on September 2nd, but have been so busy every day.  I'm not complaining, I hate having nothing to do at work. I will look for things, but that hasn't been an issue so far this school year.  The work that I have been doing is work that needs to be done.
The restructuring is being pushed through, when our union rep from the local branch office came in, I believe that she wasn't happy with how things are being done.
Tomorrow looks to be another busy day as well.
I've been trying out some new to me recipes, all of which have worked.
Shadow has had to visit the vet's though.  She has a grade 4 heart murmur, fluid on her lung, and her circulation is not what it could be.  She's currently on two lots of medication, one for her heart and one for her circulation.  We go back on October 2nd, when the vet will check her over.
There's been a lot going on here, but nothing much today. Just usual Sunday jobs, I might bake in a short while.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Customer feedback

So, I'm sure that I'm not alone in buying things via the internet.
I wonder if you've noticed the neediness of Amazon.
You visit Amazon, select the item, pay for it by your preferred method, within minutes you will probably have a confirmation email in your inbox, confirming your order, and estimated delivery date.  Amazon is not alone in this sequence of events, it's more or less the same whatever retailer you choose to buy from, but I think that Amazon is the most needy for feedback, they want to know about packaging, delivery date, etc.
If you were buying these items from a shop, Amazon's behaviour would be equivalent to the owner, or manager, of the shop chasing you down the street asking for feedback, ringing your doorbell after a space of time.
If you just ponder this, I'm sure the mental image you conjure up will make you smile, at least.

Two days left

This time Tuesday, I'll be making sure that I have everything in my bag ready for returning to work on Wednesday.
It could be a tense start to the new school year. What with the date for any voluntary redundancies having passed during the summer break, which was unfair, as there was no opportunity to consult with the union, an "imminent" Ofsted inspection, ( although why this should be a worry, I am not sure.....Ofsted seem to have shortened the length of time between visits, so we should be more used to them,) and lastly, a colleague has died over the summer break. As far as I know they weren't ill, at any rate, they hadn't been off I'll.
But, it will be good to get back into a routine, even though my pain relief injection has worn off.  I will just have to pace myself.
I do have an appointment with the consultant anaesthetist, and am on the waiting list for another injection.
So, I should make the most of the next couple of days.

Saturday, 22 August 2015


Isn't it funny that we have no control over what we dream about?
Take last night, I had two very vivid dreams that frightened me.  One much more than the other.
The first one, I suppose, was a variation on a common dream "theme" that I tend to dream of. Just a different, but familiar, background, if that makes sense?  I often dream that I am somewhere that I am familiar with, but when I take a path that I know goes in a certain direction, I end up somewhere miles away from where I expected, ( and need,) to be.
Perhaps this is my subconscious bring up things that are going on in my life?
The other dream, I was caught up in some sort of revolt and was being treated as the "enemy".  I was about to be restricted in my movement, and just about to be when I woke.
In the first dream, I always wake before things get too bad, although last night I was very lost, and I kept taking paths that I was sure went where I wanted to be, only to find myself further away with each turn, just as you often do when following a maze.
This is probably just what I said, my mind mulling over problems in my life that I currently have no control over.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Cold calling.....revisited. (I'm sure that I have blogged about this before.)

So...I was in the bathroom when the phone rang.  I was/am expecting a call from a friend, so I called to Edwin to get the call.
When I got there I heard Edwin say, "well she's here now".  So, the person had asked for me by name, they had my phone number as well.  (I do have telephone preference service, which is supposed to get rid of cold calls.)
So as far as I'm concerned I was quite within my rights, my phone, my peace disturbed, to ask where they got my number from.  As my number is unlisted, someone has given/sold it to them.
The man had the cheek to state that I was being rude!  I did get cross, as he just said that it was on a piece of paper in front of him...which on reflection sounds like someone passed it to him on a grubby piece of paper, torn from the corner of an envelope.
So next time I get a call like that, I'll ask for their superior's name, and to be put through to them......or ask for their home phone number, so that I can bug them at home.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Migraine.....who'd have them? Willingly?

Had a rubbish day today.
I expect my spinal stenosis to mess up my days, but migraine, I wish it could take a hike.
Today, I got up late, ate food, had it a second time.
Fed up.
I just want to go back to bed. I had big plans for today. Baking, sewing reading, knitting, but I just ended up relaxing, I didn't want to.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Going off on a tangent, or am I?

After reading about the stone skimming championship events that sparked yesterday's post, I found myself mulling over the technical aspects of stone skimming.
You may, or may not, know that Oliver, one of my son's, is a physicist, and that I work in the maths department at school as part of my job.
I pictured the maths teachers, some of who have engineering backgrounds, sitting down working out the optimum angle and speed to pitch the stone in order for it to bounce the maximum number of times.......then I realised that the technical aspects reach further, and maybe a physicist would get more accurate results.  Taking into consideration the size, shape, and weight of the stone required.
And then I pictured all these mathematicians, engineers and scientists attending the championship event, and getting really fantastic being incredibly tense as who would win, and then after they all have pitched their stones, a little urchin child comes up, picks up a random stone, pitches it, and beats the lot of them.
I wonder if that is what will happen?
There's only one way to find out, and that's go to the Fellfoot event. The one at Easdale is a bit too off the beaten track from here.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Any good at stone skimming?

I heard about this on the news today.
On Sunday 27th of September 2015, the national stone skimming championship will be held.
How do I qualify?
Do I need to be a professional stone skimmer?
These are all questions I hear being asked.
The answers can be found at this web address,
If you don't have time to look.
Championship is open for up to 350 competitors, no experience, (professional status not required, as there is none,) just turn up at Easdale Island Community Hall in Argyllshire, on the day before 1pm and register.

So....what are you waiting for?  Close down your computer....NOW!  And get out there practising.
I do hope it makes the news on that day.
Happy skimming.....oh, and this is my 700th post.

There's also the National stone skimming championship at Fellfoot in the Lake District this month.

Sorry, the one at Easdale, in Scotland are the World stone skimming championship.  I apologize for the mix up.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Random acts of kindness

Have you ever committed one of these?
I suppose that I did recently.
What I did was insignificant in the "grand scheme of things", but to the person who was on the receiving will have positive effects.
So, I was happy to do what I did, and would do it again, without a thought, if I knew it would make just one random person happy.
If you ever's the knowledge that you have helped make someone's day brighter that you get from it.
Just doing something random, can make another person's life lighter for a short while, and if it costs you nothing ....why not?

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Spinal Stenosis..1....Me....0

I've been in an awful lot of pain today with spinal problems.
So, I'm afraid it's won.......but only for today.
Tomorrow is another day.
We had a Nice and Spicy meal deal for tea...for two reasons,
1) I was in too much pain to want to make tea, and....2) we all like Nice and Spicy, so do we really need a reason?

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Thanks, everyone.

I bet you are wondering what I am saying thanks for, and who to?
Well, if you are reading this......YOU! Amongst everyone else who reads, or has read, my blog.
Because I have had over 40,000 pageviews, which I am assured by a friend of mine, is a lot for a blog.....well, when the writer is not famous in any form.
So, again. Many thanks to all my readers and followers.
I'll try to carry on writing here, sometimes going off on unanticipated tangents.
I find that life has a habit of throwing the unexpected in my path at times, and then I have to find a way of getting through things.
My life looks to be taking an unplanned change of direction in the future.  I don't want it to, and have gathered as much information as I can to help me resist the possible change, but I'm only a little fish in a big pond, and might not be able to resist, despite some of the bigger fish wanting to help me, I might end up either swimming up stream, or going with the current, but I hope to make the best of whatever happens.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Summer Holiday ( first day)

School finished for summer break yesterday.  The teaching staff are in today, for a training day, but I finished yesterday.
We usually finish around half an hour after the pupils have left, but we worked until our normal finishing time.
There were no goodbyes to staff leaving, or congratulations to any staff getting married, even though I know there were two.
So, all in all, term finished with a whimper, not a bang.
And, as if in protest, it's raining today.
I had a lie in and was looking forward to a nice leisurely walk with Shadow, but the rain has changed my plans.  The walk won't be leisurely, as walking in the rain with a dog means getting very wet usually.
That's all for now.....have a lovely day, whatever your plans are.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Lovely birthday

It was my birthday yesterday.
And.....I had a lovely day, low key, but lovely.
So now, I have five new books to read, and 3 CDs to listen to, and some cash from Mum to spend as I see fit.
At work a colleague put on Stevie Wonder's Happy Birthday, as I went into the room and later the year 11s sung to me. (I know that I blushed)
Edwin, Becky and I had gammon, egg, steamed veg, New potatoes for tea and strawberries and cream to follow.
Just a lovely day all round...and as an added bonus the nerve that has been trapped most of the week, eased off.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Open water warning

As summer starts to warm up, we are hearing warnings not to swim in open water.
When it's hot any expanse of water is inviting, if you can swim.
Before I go into why swimming in open water might be dangerous, I want to point out one thing, that seems to be overlooked time and again.  Reservoirs are 9 times out of 10 for the collection and storage of drinking water.  As such, you SHOULD NOT swim in them, as you are swimming in drinking water, but due to sheer size of reservoirs, there are places where there will be no notice pointing this out. So, stay out of them!
Now, on to why swimming in open water can be dangerous.  Often the bottom can not be seen, so you don't know what is under the water. Open water is usually running water, and therefore colder than you anticipate.  The cold water will cramp your muscles after a while.
If you are swimming in the sea, it is better to swim parallel to the shore rather than away from it, as you could hit a current that pulls you out to sea.
Please be safe if you do swim in open water, and it's probably best not to go alone if you do.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Just for appearances?

When the plane crashed on Lockerbie, there was no national minute's silence.
After the bomb in Warrington, no minute's silence.
After the Dunblane primary school massacre, no minute's silence.
Yet......after the Tunisian gunman went crazy and killed
30 British holidaymakers....we had a minute's silence.
Don't get me wrong, I have every sympathy for the families who have lost loved ones.  However, I might be being terribly cynical, but what is the government trying to distract our attention from?  If they have not deemed loss of multiple lives a reason for a minute's silence before, why now?
Just think about it.
No, I don't have any answers, but it smacks of distraction tactics to me.

Strange encounter

Last year, every time that I went out on a Saturday, during the summer months, I seemed to encounter someone being strange.....
Well, it's restarted.  Must be the warm weather conditions that brings them out.
This afternoon I set off for a walk with Shadow. I was walking along, minding my own business, when this man, more than a little tipsy, asked me where he could find a room for the night. I pointed out the 'hotel' he was knocking on the door of, wasn't a hotel, but the one next door was.
He came down to the pavement and started chatting at me.  He wasn't making entire sense, not even a pinch of sense. He said I have beautiful eyes and was a gentle soul...then asked me to meet him this evening.  I declined, as a) I didn't know him, b) he was drunk ....and c) even if he meant it, he was so drunk, he either would be worse later, or not turn up due to sleeping it off. sum up......summer is here, as the nutters are back in town.

And......on a sad tinged thought.  The love of my life met me in similar circumstances, he wasn't quite so tipsy, but I still love him, despite him having left for his home country, because he had no job.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Getting my facts right.

Following on from Thursday's revelations, I sat down and made a list of facts that I need to find out, options that I need to explore.
I don't want to leave my job.  I love my job, no two days are the same, and quite often I'm asked to do x,y or z, and then left to my own devices as to how I actually do the job. Sometimes I have some guidelines, but often it's as vague as, we need something to do with cross curricular literacy for that noticeboard.  Another couple were filled with, something interesting related to Maths.
It was very interesting to, find an area of maths with something interesting, find an article, make it noticeboard friendly, ( I try to avoid solid chunks of text, as these don't capture the attention of the viewer,) diagrams and colour draw the eye.
I'm trying to stay positive, one colleague has told me that she'd "come knocking on" my door to help her.  It's lovely that the teaching staff are reacting in this way, but I don't think that the powers that be will be swayed.
Also, today I was going to show a student a recipe that might be useful for her exam. She wasn't there, so I made it up anyway, then let other students have some of it, (it was cream of tomato soup, the recipe claims it is the best ever).  The upshot of this was, one other student asked for the recipe, as she would like to make it for her exam.
Would you want to leave a job that gives you such positive vibes??

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Waiting for the hatchet to fall

So....Monday of this week all the non-teaching staff get an email with the proposed restructuring of the staff.
My job is not on the new list.  The technician area is five less than currently.
Thursday we had the options laid before us.
If you read my blog regularly, you will know that I have some health issues.  Because of these I think that it might be extremely difficult for me to find another job.
So...I'm currently looking into what my options are, alongside which, I feel like I can't breathe, keep being sick and getting some chest pains, on top of everything else.
Maybe I should get myself signed off with stress, as at this point I really don't know how I got through the past week.
Maybe there will be a silver lining to this particular cloud I have hanging over me, but it's really hard to find it through the constant deluge from it.

Monday, 8 June 2015

How many times?

Every time that I think I am going to be OK, something comes along to make me worry .....yet again.
How many times do I have to prove that I can cope with things when they get tough?
At set periods of time throughout my life I've had to be strong, carry on, and cope. Surely there's been enough of this, but no....just when I start to think that although I might be bored to tears through being on my own, my life isn't so bad, and I might not have to worry about things......something comes along and upsets my calm.
They are restructuring the non-teaching staff structure at work, and we will find out the proposed staffing structure on the 18th.
But, we were emailed this news, not told directly, nor did the person who is named as sending the email the actual author of it!  Pretty bad form really.
I really wish that just for once in my life, I didn't have to worry about things.  I've proved repeatedly that I'm strong, but even the strongest things break if you test them too much.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Creative Swatch, or Edwin's exhibition

Yesterday evening I went to Edwin's exhibition of degree work.
It was titled "Creative Swatch", and was exhibiting the work of Edwin, and his cohort's degree work.
I bought a copy of his first comic, and a birthday card designed by another artist.
They must have had a brief to design cards for occasions, as several had displayed their cards. I was lucky enough to have a card designed by Edwin for Mother's day this year. Oliver and their Dad also got cards.
I was impressed by the quality of the art work on show.
We did have a look at some of the other areas, before going into the Creative Swatch exhibition.
It was good to see the results of what must have been some very hard work.
Well done Edwin, and all the others exhibiting.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Half term

Where does all the time go?
It doesn't seem to be that long since I posted about Spark, and here we are 3 and a 1/2 months later.
I've not been blogging much, as there hasn't been much to blog about.
Last Tuesday, Shadow went to a different groomer.  I was worried about her, as I'd been told that she " bit for fun".  This distressed me, and after I got her home from that appointment, I found two cuts on her.  Probably the reason why she wasn't happy.  She hasn't been happy going there since her claw broke inside her toe.  It does make me wonder if that is where it happened.
Anyway, I picked her up just over two hours after dropping her off, she was very happy, and the only odd thing she had done was "freeze" a couple of times.  She looks lovely.
Plans for this week, maybe trim Bertie Budelia back a little more. Do some knitting, maybe some sewing, just take things easy.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

New puppy, or not?

I've been having a lot of trouble coping with my spinal stenosis, and it's getting me down.
Stuff that I took for granted is becoming more difficult to cope with.
And because of this, I have been questioning the sense in getting another dog.
When I am having a good day, I feel confident that I would be up to looking after another dog, plus I think Shadow gets lonely at times.
But yesterday, I seriously doubted myself.
It would help if I knew more about my condition.  To me it feels like it's getting harder to cope. Is it degenerative? Where do I find out? Are there any support groups.
I wasn't feeling that I can't go on any more, just that I need help learning to cope, which is very hard when you essentially live alone.
Oh! By the way! I was thinking that maybe a Bengal cat might be a good compromise.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Fed up

A year on from being diagnosed with spinal stenosis, I'm getting quite fed up.
Today, although I currently have an epidural pain relief injection working, it doesn't stop me trapping nerves.  It just means I don't have any pain.
But today, I couldn't put any weight on my leg, the muscle in my thigh was aching.
I would love to be rid of what is essentially a degenerative disease, but I need to learn to live with this.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Goodbye beautiful Spark

Today Spark has gone to sleep for the last time. The vet sedated him first, and he slipped into a slumber really quickly, less than a minute.  The actual passing was painless for him and I felt his spirit leave. I asked the vet if he'd gone at the exact moment that he did leave.
I hope that he's now a doggy angel, and is pain free.
It will take some time for me to stop feeling so upset, although I am weeping, not crying.
Thanks to the vet for making Spark's passing as gentle for me as well, and thank to my three children and Becky, for helping me get through this. I think my ex is even a little upset that Spark has gone.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Difficult decision on the horizon

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you'll know that I have two dogs.  The older one, Spark, is beginning to age rapidly now.
I can see that sometime in the not too distant future, I might have to make a really difficult decision.
Spark's legs don't always do what he wants them to, he's going blind and deaf, and although I am doing my best, his skin is flaky and he's lost most of his thick downy coat, leaving the coarser coat.
Even writing this is upsetting me.  I need to talk to my children about him, and possibly need to talk with the vet.
Spark is the first ever dog I have had, and I didn't realise how much his visible aging would upset me.
I've been weeping on and off all day.
And yes, I'm putting off talking about him, so have been avoiding talking to people.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Busy week

It's been a busy week at work this week. Lots of practicals, and today there were two macaron workshops.
A lady called Louise, the owner of Emma's Tea Parties, led the workshop. During the second one I made them as well. For my first ever time. They turned out pretty well.
Then I went and gave them away to colleagues, as they are lovely, but far too sweet for me.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Dreams when ill

Is it just me, or does anyone else have very lucid scary dreams when they are ill?
Last night I dreamt that I was in this room and I was showing people how to do something, and no one was taking any notice. I asked the " person" next to me why I was being ignored. The answer was, "You are not there" "Where am I, then?" I asked.  "Out there, you have been for years." The "person" just gestured to the air, which I took to mean that I was dead, and didn't know it.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

First post of 2015

Before Xmas I had something similar to flu, which left me with a chest infection. I was given antibiotics for that, but ever since I have had a feeling of nausea almost every day. Plus I keep coughing, which isn't good with my asthma.
It almost feels like I have mucus settled in my stomach, as 9 times out of 10, I am being sick after eating.
Tuesday night/ Wednesday morning I hardly slept for coughing, then I slept through until 3pm. Then when I got up, brought up whatever I tried to eat. This morning I am still being sick, perhaps it is a touch of gastric flu, but that doesn't explain the nausea since early December.

I've got a doctor's appointment later, perhaps some light might be shed on things.