A Celtic Blessing

May the road rise to meet you,
may the wind be always at your back,
may the sun shine warm upon your face,
may the rains fall soft upon your fields.
Until we meet again,
may God hold you in the hollow of his hand.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

That little stretch of water

Nollick ghennal to you all!

Well the festive season has come and gone and things are getting back to normal. If anyone wants to be put off the modern Christmas, I can think of no more off-putting method that working in retail. We didn't quite have any fights, but I think it was a close run thing.

Anyway, back to the stretch of water. I live closer to my parents than my sister does. However, when she wants to see them, she gets in the car and is there in a couple of hours. For me, it is a flight or a ferry (and the later you book it, the more expensive it is), and then getting to their house from where I land. And I need to be there more and more. Dad is going downhill faster and faster - his Alzheimer's seems to be like a runaway train, gathering pace as it goes. Now he forgets where he lives in the 20 minutes it takes to go and buy the morning paper. he is on Promazine twice a day, and we all fear that one day it will not be enough, and his threats of violence will boil over into more than threats.

One day, Mum will not be able to cope. And if he is in 24-hour nursing care, what becomes of Mum? For nearly 50 years, she has kept the home and looked after the family, so that he can work. With no-one to support and care for, what will become of her? In my darkest moments, I see Mum going downhill because she has nothing and no-one left to support.

What can I do?

Monday, 17 December 2007

Second blood

This time noone can say I did it wrong!

A woman, 7-months pregnant, slipped and fell (well if she will wear high heels!) and went down with a bang. I got her a seat, sat her down and persuaded her to go to hospital for a check-up, then called the ambulance and talked them through. No problems, no reaction (apart from concern) so I did this one right. It was not the most taxing one I have had to deal with, but I did everything that ahd to be done which is what matters.

Thought for today - there is no evidence that Christmas should be in December. Some people think November, some October and some even in September. Supermarkets think it should be in all of them.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Never trust a daughter

Or beware of daughters saving seats!

It was the Peel pantomime last night. My daughter has been in the chorus for many years, but this year she was cast in one of the main parts. At last I found out that she was the Principal Boy (Prince Handsome!) I have to say, I was apprehensive how she would cope, as she has never had a main role before. I have to say though, even without prejudice, she was great!

I have been to the pantos since Joy started in them. And to be honest, it was one of the best pantos I have ever seen. Not just because of Joy (I am biased so I would say that), but overall. The directing was sharp, the actors knew their lines and they could also ad-lib well if things went wrong (such as audience shouting!) Even when the baddie was about to stab the principal boy (and I was shouting out 'Do it!'), and the fairies were trying to encourage the audience to support them and overcome the baddie, the principal boy lifted her head, looked at the audience and said 'You have no hope'! She is a natural I think!

Any way - the reason for not trusting a daughter. I was told that I had had a seat saved for me, so that I would get a good view. I thought this was normal for the main people in the performance (how naive can I be?) It was a good seat (I tend to sit towards the back as I am taller than many), but the penny didn't drop until the clown said that they needed a bodyguard from the audience. I thought I had escaped when the 'spotlight of doom' went onto someone else, but then finally the truth came through. I was 'the chosen one', and since it had been emphasized that whatever happened, I had to get up and take part, I could hardly back out. I had to go up on stage, put on a coat and a hat like a chicken, then march while singing '500 Miles' by The Proclaimers. It was embarrassing but also a laugh - maybe I will see if I can get in to the panto next year!

However, I will know now not to trust my daughter any more!

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

A bit of follow-up

Well it is one week since the mega-migraine. I took the following days off, and went back to work on Monday. I knew after a couple of hours that my left leg wasn't right, so managed to get a doctor's appointment for Wednesday. And on my first day back, I had to work extra hours to make up for having to leave early to go to the doctor's later in the week!

Anyway, the leg. It is like walking around on a leg that is asleep - it works but you don't feel the feedback in the way youa re used to. Sometimes when I turn, it does not want to turn with me. And on one occaision, I kicked a chair and only realised I had done it when it banged into my thigh. Add to that a tingling in the fingertips of mmy left hand, and I am sure you can understand why I am worried.

Well the doctor could not find anything wrong. All my reflexes are working normally, and there is power in the leg. He could not explain why it is like it is, but he wants me to see a speciualist as soon as possible (and on the NHS that can be quite a long time!). So I wait ... and wait ... and wait ...

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Horrid wet day

As the brooms of rain sweep down the valley, I sit and wait for it to ease off enough to make it worth going for the bread without getting soaked. I thought when the wind backed it would ease off, but that has not happened yet. When it is raining, I can tell the direction of the wind by which side of the power station chimney is wet. It was in the south but has now backed to the east (note that when the wind swings in a clockwise direction it is veering, and when it swings counter-clockwise it is backing).

Thank you for the messages of support after my last post. It really was horrible, but I am on the mend now. Apart from a little bit of numbness in the leg, and some weakness, I am as good as new. Which is why I am waiting to walk down to the bakery to collect my bread, and not wanting to get soaked.

Well the rain has eased off so I shall risk going out.

Update from later. I made it down town but the wind was horrendous!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

I think it's Thursday...

...but I am not sure. After the last 36 hours, I am not really sure about anything!

Wednesday - just another day of the week, right? Well as far as yesterday is concerned, wrong! It started out as a fairly normal day, then rapidly went off. The bus got in late, though I had time top nip down and do my bit of shopping before going to the canteen for a cup of tea and a sausage sandwich. And that was when the 'fun' began.

I had had a minor migraine attack on Tuesday, so I had the headache. As I sat in the canteen, I could tell my eyes were going off and I was heading into another attack. I took a couple of paracetamol to see if that would ease the pain. I sat, and the eyes got worse. Come 9:30, time to head downstairs. I stood up and went down all right - straight back into my chair (and it was lucky that was behind me or it would have been the floor). After that, it got a bit confused. I will list some of the memories I can recall
  • falling sideways off a chair and being supported by someone's tummy
  • being told to stand up but not being able to use my legs
  • hearing the ambulance man saying 'I am not convinced' (I never found out what about)
  • being put in the CT scanner
  • trying to remember the access code for my phone
  • lying on a stationary trolley feeling it turning round and round
  • being wheeled along endless, cold corridor
The next clear memory I have is being in the hospital ward with my manager sitting next to me. I think that was about 12:30, so I am not sure what happened to the morning. I spent the afternoon and evening in bed, because I had no strength at all in my legs, particularly the left one. I missed lunch, and only had a sandwich for dinner, despite having a packed lunch in my bag (I wasn't hungry).

They settled us down for the night about 10:30, but that wasn't the end of it. With an admission at about 12:30 and another about 2:30, it was close on 4 before I got to sleep. I was awake by 6. The other occupant of the ward, an 82 year old gentleman called Jack who was awaiting the air ambulance to return so he could be flown to Liverpool to get his pacemaker replaced, managed even less than me, because at 5 his pulse dropped and a CCU* team rushed in to make sure he was ok!

And today? Today was waiting to get out. I kept trying my legs, and strength to stand was back by morning, and I could walk unaided by about 2. I got out at about 2:30, and caught the bus home, though the walk from the bus wore me out. Pepsi was glad to see me but I am glad I had some quick meals in the freezer, so I didn;t have to do much. I have sat in front of the TV tonight, too tired to read or sew. An early night with some pain-killers for me. What have you all been doing?

*CCU - Coronary Care Unit

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

First blood

Well I did it. My first time as first responder to an accident at work - and I did it right!!

I was in work on Sunday (yes I know what I have said about volunteering, but when a manager looks at me and asks, I find it hard to say no (especially the one who asked me!)) I was in the fitting room having helped a nice elderly gentleman choose some clothes. He was walking away with his daughter when he caught his foot on the display unit and down he went with a bang!

I did everything I had to. I called the duty first aider, made sure the bleeding had pressure applied to it, talked with ambulance control to give them the details. I even made sure I got all the details for the incident report. But most of all, I didn't panic! I had some concerns that when the first time I had to respond, I would bottle it or do something stupid or not be able to cope.

Afterwards, yes I had the adrenaline to deal with and a few other issues - but the main thing is that I did what had to be done. When I rang the daughter in the evening, the gentleman was out of hospital.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

The gasman cometh

Oh boy - what a palaver! Why do tradesmen make things so complicated? Let me explain...

I have just received my gas-bill. It was an estimate that was wayyyyy over the top, so I went to get a reading to correct it. Whjile I was down on my knees reading the meter, I thought "hang on, there is a smell of gas here". It wasn't strong, so I thought I would tell them while I was on the phone correcting the meter reading, and then arrange a time for them to come out and look at it. I knew it had built up over a week so it could not be a serious problem.

Talk about opening a can of worms! No sooner had I mentioned a leak when I was told they had to be there inside an hour. As I was at work and there was noone home, this was a problem. "We need access" they insisted, even though i had pointed out that there was nobody to let them in. Then they decided they could do a "letter-box" test, where they would put the detector through the letter-box and read the quantity of gas on the other side. This was fine, apart from the fact that I have no letter-box! Eventually, they agreed to collect the keys from the store and let themselves in.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, there was a gas leak, (which was caused by the work that the Gas Board engineer had done when he changed my safety device (which is supposed to prevent gas leaks!) He also checked the fire in the old living room, and condemned it as unsafe since it had not been fitted according to the manufacturer's instructions. Again, this is slightly worrying, as it had been fitted by the Gas Board! Now I am getting very worried.

So if I am not here for a while, check the Manx news, to see if there has been a gas explosion here.

Friday, 23 November 2007

BBC Radio 4 News

Heard on the BBC news tonight

'...the M/S Explorer struck an iceberg with 100 pasengers and more than 50 crew on board.'

Thinks - that is a very big crew for an iceberg!

Tuesday, 20 November 2007


I was thinking about achievement. I like to watch athletics, which is probably one of the purest forms of sport (drugs excluded) - all competing on an equal footing to see who is the fastest or strongest; who can jump the highest or the longest. All for the gold medal - something that looks good on the mantelpiece.

And then there are other achievements. like Jane Tomlinson who raised money for cancer research, even though she was dying of cancer herself. She was rewarded with a posthumous CBE for her work.

And then there is me. I will never win a gold medal or ride across America for charity. Nor will I get in the Guinness Book of Records. I will never climb Mount Everest or swim the Channel. So I will have to get my satisfaction and sense of achievement from smaller things. Such as swapping a bulb in the car headlight and having it work! Alright, so it may be a little thing, but for me it mattered. Standing in the wind and rain on Ramsey quay yesterday, just so I could be legal to drive home.

One thing I have learnt is to take my satisfaction from the little things in my life. Whether it is completing some embroidery, or as I said, achieving something practical (as I am useless with my hands), I try to find my satisfaction in the small things. Even a neatly arranged section at work can be satisfying, and how small is that?

Someone once said "don't sweat the small stuff". My take on that is instead of sweating the small stuff, try to take pride in it. That way, even though your achievements are small, you do get a lot of them! And small bricks can build a mighty wall.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Manx Facts - number 1

An occasional series of interesting facts about my home

Fact - the Romans never came to the island

The reason for this is that they had booked with the Steam Packet. However, when the saw the cost of their tickets, the decided to go and invade somewhere cheaper instead.

That is the official reason. However, I incline to the alternative view that they were due to travel on the Mare Felix*, but due to inclement weather, the sailing was cancelled and so they invaded Scotland instead, sinec they could get there by road (once they had been built).

*Mare Felix - Sea Cat

All facts have been carefully checked at the Whitehouse Hotel public bar

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

This is a recorded message...

as I am out at the moment. Normal service will be resumed just as soon as I am sure what is normal anyway.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Just another day

Sunday. One precious day off in the weekend. So how come I am too tired to enjoy it? Apart from my laundry and cooking lunch, Sunday was a non-event. I vegged out completely - let the day flow past and did almost nothing. Yet I do not feel rested!

Which means that come this morning (Monday) I am facing another week and am not feeling recharged enough to enter it. it is funny, but when I worked in an office, I never really appreciated the weekends. Now I am in retail, they are precious. Yes, part of the last weekend was my own fault for swapping so someone could go away. As a result of that, I have 2 1-day weekends. And this week, I will be in on Tuesday (when I should be off) and off on Friday (when I should be in).
I am not sure if I am coming or going any more - am I on my head or on my heels? Answers on a postcard please!

Oh well - I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Hanging on in there...

Ok, so part of it is my fault. I will insist on agreeing to help when I am asked to. I guess it is just something in me - whn your manager asks, you agree. I am trying to do what i can to ease the pressure on me. But I still need to learn top say no.

This can really be traced back to one of my colleagues, whom I will call T, came and asked if anyone could swap a Saturday so that she could go away for the weekend. I didn't mind too much so I said I would swap with her. That was ok, as I got Monday off. When I came back on Tuesday, the new section manager (the smart money still says a month) asked if I could start early on Wednesday, which I said was not a problem, even though it meant working through to 6. I left the house at 6:50 Wednesday morning and walked through the door at 6:50 in the evening! Then it was Thursday too, though I did manage to negotiate an hour earlier finish in return for the hour earlier start. And Friday and Saturday I am starting at 8 - so I am not seeing much daylight at either end of the day.

Wednesday - that was a beast of a day. Apart from the long hours, it was a day of a thousand little pinpricks. There was no one thing I can point to and say 'yes, that was what made it such a bad day'. But like the straw that broke the camel's back, by the end of the day I was ready to snap at almost anyone or anything. It was a day of just hanging in there and trying to make it through to the evening in one piece. By the time I got home, i was too tired to eat. And since then, well, it is just a case of keeping going. My resilliance has gone and I am worn out. Only 2 days to go though - what fun!

And just a silly thing. On Tuesday morning, as I was walking to the bus, there was a beautiful sky. I went to photograph it but found I had forgotten my phone! I wish I had - it will be the last sunrise I see this week.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

One hour

One hour makes such a difference. I do not know why the clocks going back should make such a difference, but it does. If someone can explain this phenomenon, I would love to hear the explanation. Let me expand...

I set my watch and alarm clock back before I go to sleep on Saturday night. I then try to sleep the same hours I would normally, even sometimes staying up a bit later. I wake at the normal time, and yet feel much more rested than I do normally. Is that peculiar or what?

Oh well - at elast it is a beautiful morning and I have my laundry on. We have had some mixed weather, but it is nice to see a bright sunny morning. The weather does lift you. I am convinced I am a SAD person (yes I am sure you all think I am!) Seriously, I am sure I suffer from SAD - and so in the winter when I am going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark, I get down and quiet and withdrawn. So, this blog may become sparse and inward looking. But that is me - what more can I offer you?

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Ever feel like this?

The Old Sailor

There was once an old sailor my grandfather knew
Who had so many things which he wanted to do
That, whenever he thought it was time to begin,
He couldn't because of the state he was in.

He was shipwrecked, and lived on a island for weeks,
And he wanted a hat, and he wanted some breeks;
And he wanted some nets, or a line and some hooks
For the turtles and things which you read of in books.

And, thinking of this, he remembered a thing
Which he wanted (for water) and that was a spring;
And he thought that to talk to he'd look for, and keep
(If he found it) a goat, or some chickens and sheep.

Then, because of the weather, he wanted a hut
With a door (to come in by) which opened and shut
(With a jerk, which was useful if snakes were about),
And a very strong lock to keep savages out.

He began on the fish-hooks, and when he'd begun
He decided he couldn't because of the sun.
So he knew what he ought to begin with, and that
Was to find, or to make, a large sun-stopping hat.

He was making the hat with some leaves from a tree,
When he thought, "I'm as hot as a body can be,
And I've nothing to take for my terrible thirst;
So I'll look for a spring, and I'll look for it first."

Then he thought as he started, "Oh, dear and oh, dear!
I'll be lonely tomorrow with nobody here!"
So he made in his note-book a couple of notes:
"I must first find some chickens" and "No, I mean goats."

He had just seen a goat (which he knew by the shape)
When he thought, "But I must have boat for escape.
But a boat means a sail, which means needles and thread;
So I'd better sit down and make needles instead."

He began on a needle, but thought as he worked,
That, if this was an island where savages lurked,
Sitting safe in his hut he'd have nothing to fear,
Whereas now they might suddenly breathe in his ear!

So he thought of his hut ... and he thought of his boat,
And his hat and his breeks, and his chickens and goat,
And the hooks (for his food) and the spring (for his thirst) ...
But he never could think which he ought to do first.

And so in the end he did nothing at all,
But basked on the shingle wrapped up in a shawl.
And I think it was dreadful the way he behaved -
He did nothing but bask until he was saved!

A A Milne

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Cloths of Heaven

He wishes for the cloths of heaven

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.

W B Yeats

Sunday, 21 October 2007


What is it about beer? It makes you drunk and wrecks the following day. And yet, I find myself in the pub each Saturday drinking the stuff.

Well a lot of it is explicable. A survey of pub-going men found that drinking was quite a long way down the list of reasons that men go to the pub. The main reason was to socialize. I guess it is because it is still (mainly) a male dominated environment, where men can meet and relax. I know that the Whitehouse (my local) is somewhere I go to relax and enjoy myself. I do enjoy the beer, and sometimes I like a beer on my own. However, I generally find that if I am drinking alone, I will have a couple and then leave. When I am down on a Saturday night, I tend to stay longer and drink more, though I really will ahve to cut back a bit.

I do enjoy trying the guest beers at the Whitehouse. Last night, I was drinking one from Bolton. To many people, beer is beer. However, for lovers of real ale (such as myself), there is a lot of variety in beer. This one was light and didn't taste too strong. Another, such as the Spitting Feathers Old Wavertonian is a dark malty porter, and idea for a winter night (so why did the Creek have it on in the summer? I must find out) I like to try them all - some are one offs and some are regular beers. I like my variety.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007


Cooildarry is a nature reserve just a few miles from here. The lower part of the glen is a campsite, but the upper part is almost unknown. I think in all the times I have been there, I have only ever twice seen anyone else there. It seems virtually unknown, and not being a national glen, it is much wilder and less 'sanitized' (though the national glens can be pretty wild!)

Have you noticed that there are certain places that call to you? Well Cooildarry is a place that calls to me. I found out about it a few years ago, and went up there with my daughter. I intended to walk it right through, but we spent the whole time sitting on the stones in the middle of the river and just enjoying the place. Surely that says something about the place?

Anyway, on Sunday afternoon (after a somewhat over-indulgent night at the Whitehouse), I decided to go for a walk. I did not know where to go, but decided to go to Cooildarry for the peace. And I was right! It was so peaceful. Even the noise of cars on the TT course only served to emphasize the peace and quiet that was there. And it was deserted. Most of the time, the only sounds were of the river, the birds singing and the wind in the trees. I spent a lot of time by the river, just listening to it. I walked right through the glen, even climbing on a path I had not followed before which led me up to the top of the glen. The pictures were taken on Sunday, but they do not express the sense of peace.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Every (under)dog has his day

Ok - it wasn't expected.

There were 2 matches today that should have gone to the superior force. In the Grand Final, St Helens were expected to beat Leeds. And in the rugby world cup, France were expected to beat England.

And yet, after 4 hours of rugby, Saints had lost to Leeds. and France were playing on the 3rd place play-off. This is the second Saturday of the underdogs, since England beat Austa#ralia and France beat New zealand last Saturday. Will it last to next Saturday? I hope so.

Oh and by the way, I finished work early so I could relax and enjoy these games. Truly, the day of the underdog!


4:30. What is it about that time? I think someone must be getting up and shutting a door or something, because that is when I seem to be waking.

It was a heavy week this week. There was ticketing to do on Wednesday night, so I was in work until 9. Then I was in at 8 on Thursday. I finished at 3, but then had Tesco to do, so by the time I got home I was shattered. I went to bed early to try and sleep, but it took me ages to drop off. Then on Friday, 4:30 came and I was wide awake. So last night, I thought I would try to fool myself. I stayed up until 10:45, and read in bed until 11:15. Alas, it was to no purpose. 4:30 and I was wide awake. So I am now facing the prospect of a day in work with less than 12 hours sleep over the last 2 days.

And tiredness is cumulative. The less you sleep, the tireder you get. In my case, it sometimes seems that the tireder I get, the less I sleep, until I reach the point where I just crash comepletely. If I am lucky, it is during my weekend off.

Ok - so that is my moan. I am off to work now...

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Autumn has arrived

Yes autumn is here. How can I tell? When the sun no longer passes the chimney before going down behind the hill. You haven't a clue what I am talking about? Then let me explain...

At the back of my house, the land drops away steeply to the valley floor. About 300 yards away, the land rises steeply to form Peel Hill; an undulating ridge with a maximum height of about 500 feet. Since the hill is west of the house, it means the sun goes down behind it before it sets.

And the chimney? At the bottom of the valley is a small industrial estate and a large diesel-powered power station. The power station is a thing of ugliness and a misery to behold, and includes an almost unnoticeable 280 foot tall concrete chimney. During the summer, the sun clears this with ease, but as autumn progresses, the sun drops lower, and the point at which it goes behind the chimney seems to drop with almost unbelievable rapidity. I always count it as being autumn when the sun gores down behind the hill before getting round far enough to reach the chimney.

And by the way - in the depths of winter, the sun does not even get high enough to go down behind the top of the hill, but disappears behind the side - and that IS depressing!

Monday, 8 October 2007

The Drain

And for the benefit of any Londoners, I am not talking about the Waterloo and City line!

I am talking about the way energy can seep out of you. I had a reasonable (for me) night's sleep - getting to sleep at a reasonable time and waking up not too early. But oh, the effort to get through the day. Have you ever had a day when every effort feels like you are moving through tracle, and your mind seems so slow that you make mistakes while knowing that what you are doing is an error, yet you keep on until the mistake is complete? Well, that was my day. From mishandling a refund to allowing people to get my back up, it was a dismal day. Even selling a suit to our revered leader did not brighten my day. If I was to say that the high spot was going out to buy little coloured stickers, you will understand what a day it was. And the bus home? I was nearly asleep not once but 4 times. I got home and found my daughter was more interested in the TV and her new phone than in me (aren't teenagers wonderful? If anyone wants to find out, I can let you have her for a few quid (I can't afford to give much more with her - sorry (I love brackets))).

Actually, she is not too bad. I sometimes think that the teenager bit is a role that she thinks she has to play in front of her mother. Often when I get her alone, she seems much more attentive. She is working hard and also rehearsing for the pantomime, in which she has a speaking part (which part, she will not tell). The performance is in 5 weeks, so she is working hard at it.

Here's hoping for a better day tomorrow! I always have so much to do on my day off, but I would like to get out and take some pictures if the weather is decent. There are some lovely autumn colours, and I would like to capture them for the website.

Sunday, 7 October 2007


So tomorrow is the start of it for my dad. After 77 years of not being in hospital, he has his pre-op appointment. We are all hoping it goes well. With his Alzheimer's, hew gets very confused, so mum is really worried about how he will be. If he passes the pre-op, his operation is scheduled for a week Tuesday. The surgeon has agreed to try and get him done first thing in the morning, so he can recuperate during the day and come home in the evening. One of my brothers will be there with mum to make sure he is ok.

The Mhelliah

For those of you without 'yn Gaelg' (the Gaelic), this is the Manx harvest home. Now it has become a fund-raiser. Tonight's was for the football club. As the advert goes

Bushmills Irish rugby shirt - £10
Manx Electric Railway picture - £21
Cordless electric screwdriver - £10
Watching England beat Australia - priceless

Yes, I spent a lot tonight. I got some bargains (the picture was priced at £25). And the rugby shirt is a heavy one - will do me through the winter. But the real shocks of the day were the line-up for the semi final in the rugby. I think this is the firt time that both Australia and New Zealand have been going home after the quarter-final stages. England face France next weekend. If this continues, it will be a Scotland v Fiji semi-final as well! What a day for the underdogs!

And the best part of the night? Walking home at nearly midnight and seeing all the stars. it was a perfect night for star-gazing - crisp, clear and still. Not only were the constellations clear and easy to identify (Ursa Major and Cassiopeia were the clearest) but it was also possible to see the opalescence of the Milky Way, which is very rare to see in a built up area. Alas, there will soon be street lights in that part opf the road, as the relentless urge of local developers to build on any piece of land they can find continues, but it was lovely to enjoy it while I could.

Saturday, 6 October 2007


Well it is over. Saturday has been reached, more or less in one piece. And the silly thing is, it should not have been such a hard week. All it was was my standard Monday to Friday 37 1/2 hours. No late nights, no missed days off, no big events; just a standard week (in as much as any week there is standard)

Well, maybe there were a few things that affected it. The cold that I picked up last week has been dragging me down, as a result I have felt very under par for the first few days. When I was pocket searched on my way to the sales floor (they do random security checks), I had paracetamol in my pocket. What I didn't know was that I was supposed to have the ok from my section manager to carry it. Fortunately, she came downstairs after me and agreed that I was ok to carry tham. Thank goodness for management support!

Well that dragged me down for the start of the week. The rest of the week was just getting through each day. I felt better by Thursday, apart from being worn out. Put it this way, I was nearly asleep on the bus home a couple of nights. it is a good thing I don't drive in!

So now it is a sunny Saturday morning. My towels are already washed and out drying, my uniform is in the wash and I am looking at a relaxing day. Nothing to do except watch England lose at rugby. It should be all over by 4 as I cannot see them beating Australia in their current form. I was surprised they qualified from the pool stages! Oh well.

Sunday, 30 September 2007

How many socks make 5?

Oh joy of joys - it is time for the half-yearly stocktake. For those of you not familiar with retail, this consists of counting everything that is in the shop, so that a value can be put on the stock in the shop. As a result of this, the shop was full of people counting and recounting everything. I was lucky, and I got socks, underwear and nightwear to count (all under the heading of 'Essentials', though for me, nightwear is very much an option, as the only pair of pyjamas I own was last worn when I was in hospital - but enough of me).

Generally stocktake starts off in almost complete silence, as it can be very distrating when you are sounting to hear someone else counting. When I started, they were still putting out the stocktake sheets, and since they are all numbered, the managers putting them out were recording the numbers to check them. I think I ended up having to count one rail 6 times before I was sure I ahd it right - I would get to 5 and then the managers would say a sheet number (such as 541, and I would have to think 'was that 6, 5, 4 or 1 that I counted to?', and so would have to start again. And with nearly all of us having done a part day before hand, which was surprisingly busy, we were not really in the best of frames of mind. So all in all, not the most exciting Saturday night I have ever spent.

And on top of that, there was the temperature in the store. I think they have switched over to the winter heating, which was fine earlier in the week (we did a fine trade in thick coats earlier on when the weather was decidedly nippy) but with it getting milder, we were basically sweating cobs. As I drove home after finishing work, I had just my shirt on and the window open, and it was over 15 minutes before I started feeling cold. I got home, put my uniform into the wash and had a shower, but even then, it was over an hour before I had wound down enough to think about bed.

I am glad I said I wasn't going in this morning. Itis my only day off, and I did not want to get up and be in work for 8. As it turned out, I didn't wake up until nearly 8:30, so I would have been late anyway. I am spending a relaxing day at home, though I have had to iron, and will probably end up sorting papers or sewing. There is rugby on at 4 (there is some on now but I am not really interested in this match), but Ireland play Argentina at 4 and I want to see that. I will have a late lunch/early dinner while that is on. What do you call a meal halfway between lunch and dinner? I know between breakfast and lunch you have brunch, so am I having linner or dunch? If anyone knows, please can they let me know? Thank you.

And somewhere soon I need to get going on my sewing. I have a commission to finish before Christmas, and I really must get down to finishing it. The trouble is, I have so many other things I would like to do instead of that one - but I can do some of it while I am watching the rugby this afternoon.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

If you can't say something nice...

Don't say anything. I was taught that and it seems like a good rule in life.

So why do people think that the web is different from real life? Just because it is a different and new(ish) medium, some people think that all rules are suspended. Especially in the world of blogging, where people can leave comments under a pseudonym, and feel they can say what they like and not be found out. What they forget though is that an anonymous comment can hurt just as much as a real one - sometimes more, since it can come from a stranger.

What has caused this outburst? Well Jamie who started me blogging has been receiving hurtful comments on her blog. Comments from someone she trusted. Why should anyone feel they can say something like that? And to say it in public on a blog - not even saying it one to one in private. Someone like that, who knows her circumstances, should understand that she needs support not tearing down like that.

So may I make a request? If you want to comment on this blog, feel free. However, please keep it legal, decent, truthful and honest. Thank you.

And thus endeth the rant for today

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Where did my holiday go?

I think there is some sort of time warp around here. I am sure you must have noticed it. Ten days ago, I was looking forward to my holiday. Now, suddenly, it has gone. Did anyone see it? I am sure I must have had it, as I remember some good times, but looking back it seems no time at all since I was at work. And tomorrow I am back in work again.

As I said, back to the grind. To be honest, I am not that down about going back - I have done most of the things I wanted to do, like spending time with my parents. Ok, so the house is a mess and I could usefully spend a couple of days getting it sorted (and maybe, finding the book I bought while I was away). But the problem with holidays is that you never want to do the things that have to be done. I will probably do more next Sunday on my single day off than I have done on the whole weekend that is just finishing. I am like that.

Just had my daughter here. She was using my PC because it has software that is not on hers. It is good to see her - even if it is just for a few minutes. And I think I helped her get done some of what she needed to do. And it makes me feel that I still am some use to her, apart from being a taxi service and cash dispenser. Though to be fair to her, she does not usually ask for money.

Ok - I had better head for bed. See you all soon I hope!

Thursday, 20 September 2007

The wanderer returns

Yes here I am again. Have I really been gone a week? I guess I must have been having fun, since they say that is what makes time fly.

It was a a rough time for me. Dad is not good, and obviously that affected me. Mum is so worn out from looking after him. I really do take my hat off to her. My sister and brothers do what they can, but she has to put up with it every day. He will come and talk at you, almost as if he just wants the company. Time is an obsession with him, making sure his watch is just so and checking that everyone else has a watch telling them the same time as his. We were watching a rugby match together on TV, and I had to continually remind him who was playing. It is heartbreaking.

And yet, when things connected, it was quite like old times. We managed some lovely walks, including one I had not done before. Walking through a long established wood made me realise how little woodland we have like that here. The island was largely deforested and most of the woodland is fairly new, and lacks that 'timeless' quality that an old woodland has. And since a lot of our deciduous woodland is in the glens, there is always the noise of water; a beautiful sound but it takes away that special sort of silence in a wood, when the old leaves absorb the sound and the birds and the faint rustling of the branches are the only sounds you can hear.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Me and my big mouth

Will I never learn to keep my trap shut? Yet again, me eagerness to be helpful has landed me with doing more than I expected. And this is the 3rd time in 3 weeks - I need to learn!

Basically, it all came out of the shortage of staff. We had our revered leader telling us this morning that they are trying to recruit staff, but that has not filtered down to the day-to-day that we need. I was due to leave at 4:30, but our section coordinator had to go to the dentist, which left 2 people there until 6. So, step forward the Fool - "would you like me to stay?" And once again, it was accepted, proving that I am as daft as I look, if not dafter! 8 until 6 - and I even skimped on my breaks as well so that I did not keep someone after 4. The only good news is that I now have 2 short days to go until I go on holiday. I am more than ready for it!

Well as they say, there is no fool like an old fool - so no wonder I feel old!

Monday, 10 September 2007

Technology - a good servant but a bad master

I don't know what it is, but technology has had myself and 2 people I know in real frustration recently. I just hope that it is true that bad things come in 3s, and that is it.

Firstly me. I was trying to put some music onto my phone to use it as an MP3 player (which is part of its design). I followed the manual and used the software provided. I could hear my voice getting shriller and shriller as I tried to explain to the computer that the phone could not be connected in one program and not connected in another. Eventually I gave up and went to bed. This morning I was able to load the music by totally ignoring the software and doing it in a completely different way.

Then there was J. A simple de-installation of a program that was no longer needed - what could possibly go wrong? Well, in this case, plenty! Not only did it remove the program, it also corrupted their MS Word and virus checker, as well as messing up the internet connection. Even going back to restrore points did not correct the problem, so it is off to the repair shop tomorrow. Fun huh?

And finally, there was T. She works part time and uses her computer all day. Due to finish at 2:30 today, she was hanging around for the engineer to sort out her computer until well after that. That caused her to miss a very important phone call, so she was really upset as well.

Computers - don't you just love 'em?

Saturday, 8 September 2007


Isn't it funny how the body reacts to things? Take a sudden awakening for example. During the week, when I am woken by my alarm clock, I am so tired and can just fall back to sleep (and my alarm clock has no snooze facility so I have to get up straight away!) And yet last night I was woken by a phone call - and could I get back to sleep? A friend needed to talk but when we had finished it took me ages to drop off again - and I do mean ages! We got off the phone about 1:15 and it was going on 3 when I finally dropped off. So my restful weekend is not going well at all so far.

However, I did have a good evening last night. I went out for a drink with someone from the Interior Design course that I did earlier in the year, and we ended up talking for about 2 hours. And it was not idle chat - we talked about work, home, family and quite a few other things (including the legal way to serve beer in Australia! (she is Australian (as you can see I like brackets!)))

Friday, 7 September 2007

I made it!

In one piece (well - more or less!)

So this is Friday. I slept late (for a change) and woke up full of energy and enthusiasm (how can you tell I am not going to work today?) I tidied up my clothes and did some laundry - and then it sort of fizzled out. I sat down at the PC and sort of never got up again, apart from making more cups of coffee.

Yesterday was a strange day. I could see 5pm closing in on me, and I was nearly there when I realised there would be a shortage of staff. So what did I do? Fool that I am, I volunteered to stay for an extra hour! I am a sucker for a hard luck story. But I hope it will show that I am willing to be flexible, which cannot be bad (I hope!)

And I am also going to be a BIG man at work! I have been co-opted onto the Business Involvement Group to replace someone who has left the company. I am not quite sure what it will ionvolve, but time will tell as they say. I stood during the elections but was unsuccessfull. As Di said, it was a pity that the elections finished as they did, as the three candidates who seemed really passionate about it were the three who missed out. I checked if it would put anyone else out, but was told I had been offered the post as there was noone else from Menswear. So we will see what becomes of it.

And now it is off to Tesco for my groceries - what a thrill-a-minute life I lead!

Thursday, 6 September 2007

4 o'clock in the morning

4 o’clock in the morning
Is the worst time to wake
Lying there;
Body half asleep,
Mind wide awake.
Watching the dawnlight seep around the blinds.

4 o’clock in the morning
Is when the fears come out;
When your will is weakest,
The future darkest,
Prospects bleakest.
Faith and hope seem so distant.
Fear sinks its claws in,
Doubt eats you away.

4 o’clock in the morning
Hides your weapons.
Leaves you naked,
Open to the monsters of fear and doubt.

4 o’clock in the morning,
At its worst,
Can last all day.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Thank goodness for the clouds!

Isn't it strange how you can come to appreciate the little things? And how your opinion of them can change? Normally in the summer I look for blue skies and clear nights to see the stars. This morning I am so grateful for the clouds that hid the moon from me so i wasn't woken at 5am as I have been for the last few days.

And here we are on my 8th straight day in work. 2 more to go - and tomorrow is a slightly shorter day (9 to 5). So it is only 14 1/2 hours left to work - not that I am counting! Yesterday I found particularly stressful. We had a massive delivery (most of it for my department) and with no manager or section coordinator, we were really short handed. By the end of the day, Iw as so worn out emotionally and physically that I had to hide in the fitting room.

And so to this morning. I have been messing around with my website, and have changed the side menu to scroll so that people with small screens can see the bottom of it. What do you mean, you didn't know I had a website? Ok, I have added it to the links on the side, but it doesn't work. Click here to go and have a look.

In the meantime, I had better go and catch my bus. Here's hoping we all have a better day! TTFN!

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

The moon is made of green cheese?

Well if it is, then it is very shiny cheese! It woke me this morning peeping round the blind. And it is only a half moon - usually it is the full moon that wakes me. The clear weather is nice but it is getting nippier - it feels like autumn is on the way. I managed to get all my washing dry yesterday while I was at work which was a bonus. I would change the bed today but the forecast is for rain so it will probably be done tomorrow when the forecast is better.

Oh well - day 7 of 9. I hope it goes ok. The last few days have been pretty quick, but today and tomorrow I work until 6 and the last hour usually drags. Oh well, I will just have to hang on until Thursday. We are still without a manager, so we are pretty much running ourselves, and everything is going ok. What will happen while I am off? Who knows? I certainly don't!

Ok - time to eat up and go, alas. Goodbye PC

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

No I am not deliberately swearing - it is the title of a song by U2!

An example of how the subconscious works. When I work, I set my alarm to go off at the same time each day, irrespective of when I start work. I am working today, but since I start at 11, I decided not to set my alarm. However, guess when I woke up? Exactly when my alarm was supposed to go off! Which leaves me 4 hours to fill before work!

Thank goodness for the computer. If I didn't have this I think I would go mad, or turn into a recluse. I do feel a bit like Pauline Collins in 'Shirley Valentine' - I talk to the walls and to the microwave. And some of the conversations I have with Pepsi have to be heard to be believed!

Oh well, I am off to finish my breakfast, get ready for work and say goodbye to my wall!

Saturday, 1 September 2007

What day is it?

If you want to see the human female at her worst, see her in a sale in a store. The human female tends to grab anything that looks like a bargain - then bring it back if it does not fit. The number of returns we have to cope with is beyond belief! The last 3 days have been like Christmas - with the exception that at Christmas, we have extra staff! Oh well, it keeps me out of mischief (and the chance to get into some would be nice!)

And what did I get? A shirt, 2 jackets and a pair of trousers. Summer wear but they will keep until next year. I love linen - and a £39.50 jacket for £5 was too good to pass up!

So here I am 4 days into a 9 straight day stretch. I foolishly said I would work Sunday (5 1/2 hours) as long as I got another day off. So I work Sunday and get Friday off - and I am already asking myself is it worth it? 9 days straight - so I will be exhausted and worn out. Oh well, it will soon be my holiday. I will work 8 days, have 3 days off, work 1 days, have 1 off then work 2 before I go on leave. Put it that way then it is not too bad!

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

A restful breakfast

Tuesday - how I enjoy them! I work alternate Saturdays, and when I do, I have the preceding Tuesday off. It is so good to be able to get all those things done that you can't do at the weekend (eg banking, contacting tradesmen, etc). The downside is that I have to work the Saturday - 8:30 in the morning to 6 at night is a long day on your feet. And then I only have one day off before I start again for another 5 days. I can't complain though, since this is what I signed up to.

Talking of tradesmen, I think it is going to be noisy here today. The gas board are laying a new gas main up the road, and I expect to hear the sound of pneumatic drills starting very soon. They have closed the road down from me, and will be working their way up. And all that just after the Highway Board had filled in some of the holes - don't these guys talk to one another?

Still on the subject opf tradesmen, can anyone recommend a good, reliable, reasonably priced builder?

Saturday, 25 August 2007


Ok so I complained about not getting enough sleep! However, you would be amazed what you can do if you get up early enough. So far today I have done 2 loads of washing and ironing, been shopping for fresh bread, reorganized my old living room (you can see the floor again!), had tea with a friend and made some marmalade - all before lunch! What shall I do this afternoon? Answers on a postcard to the usual address, and the winner will receive a free trip down 6 flights of stairs

Actually, I am planning to go to the library this afternoon. I will probably go the pretty way, along the harbour (along the left hand side as you look at the picture). I am off to enjoy the sunshine now...

Friday, 24 August 2007


WAW = what a week

Ok, so maybe some of it was me. Not enough sleep is bound to make you tetchy. But did we have to get all the awkward and unpleasant customers on Monday and Tuesday? And on top of that, our revered leader decided on Thursday that it would be a good idea for us to stand out on the street and force leaflets onto strangers. I do not know where this idea came from - maybe there were too many customers and he wanted to get rid of them, but after 20 minutes I had not managed to entice a single passer-by into the store! Thank goodness, today (by dint of fast footwork, hard work, an email from head office and some hiding) I managed to escape it.

So to this evening. Once round Tesco then home over the sun-drenched hills. And perchance, a quiet drink in a wayside hostelry (ok I stopped at the pub) And then home for a dinner of beer and pizza (for details of the beer and pizza diet, check my links)

Thursday, 23 August 2007


I am a voice on the phone
One of many you have listened to.
I called you for help – and you helped me.
You learnt of my troubles, my fears and my hopes.
You opened new doors for me to go through.
You helped me along the way,
But how much do you really know me?

I am words on a screen
Appearing through a random chat request.
Sometimes we may share a laugh
And sometimes a tear
But mostly we just pass the time.
I will tell you of a present, and of a past;
Of hopes and dreams, or fears and uncertainty.
Are they really mine? Or am I pretending?
How much do you really know me?

I am a man in the pub.
We have bought drinks for each other.
We have watched the sport and criticised the officials
Spotted the forward pass and the offsides.
We have talked a lot – some of it slurred.
I have revealed some of my vulnerabilities.
But how much do you really know me?

I am the colleague beside you.
We work together – smiling at the customers,
Filling the shelves and taking the orders.
You have seen me laugh and heard my jokes
And seen me quiet when things are on my mind.
How much do you really know me?

I am the face in the mirror.
You see me every morning when you wash
And every evening when you brush your teeth.
Look in a window and you will see a ghost of me.
Look away from the light and see a shadow of me.
I have never told you anything
And yet you know everything
Including the bits I would rather no-one knew.
You have shared the hurts and joys with me
And how much do you really know me?

April 2007

Thank you Jamie!

A big thank you to Jamie! Being a complete newcomer to this, she has given me a lot of advice about how to bore the pants off you all (sorry - how to enlighten you!)

It is quite strange this. In the past, writing has been for a known audience or recipient. This is for anyone who cares to read it. Even my poetry (of which more later if you are unlucky) was written for someone specific, even if that person was me. I tend to write to get things down on paper (well virtual paper anyway as I compose better when I type than when I write) I wrote a load of stuff while I was unemployed last year, and some of it may appear here. Now I am working again, I don't have the time (or mental energy) to come up with much that was new. I did write something new recently - I will have to see if I can dig it out. A lot of what i wrote was influenced by what I had been through at my previous job, and may be a tad depressing - but it was real at the time. I may just put that on now...

Ok so here I am - now what?

So you can blame Jamie for this! After reading her blog, I thought to myself "why don't I have a go at this?" Maybe someone out there will read this, and my words will enter immortality (dream on!) Oh well, here goes...

This will be published on a 'whenever I feel like it' basis. Life is not that interesting, but you never know what will happen! I could suddenly enter a whole new phase of my life, who knows?