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The real meaning of Christmas

Posted by Shirley Anne on December 21, 2014

For some time now I have not celebrated Christmas as I once used to. As a child I was brought up in the traditional ways of Christmas celebrations, decorations, trees, lights, tinsel, presents, Christmas fayre, festivities, and the like and when I became an adult, alcohol and parties too were all part of what Christmas was about. It was simply a time of year to do these things and ‘live it up’. It was only after I became a Christian that I began to question many of these traditions. Why do we do these things? What is it really all about especially if Christ is left out of it all? The real answer to these questions is that Christ wasn’t in them in first place! All of what we do, if we do these things hasn’t anything to do with Christ or the celebration of his birth, they are all simply man-made traditions and are the ways of the world. If people wish to celebrate in this way then I say let them but don’t pretend it is a celebration of  Christ’s birth, it isn’t that. So I choose not to be a part of it but am encouraged to comply wherever I look.


Thank God for Jesus Christ but we have to thank the ways of the world for all the rubbish that is supposed to be for His birthday celebration.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Celebration, Gods love through Jesus, Jesus | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A forgiving God

Posted by Shirley Anne on December 20, 2014

Psalm 130

A song of ascents.

1 Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
2 Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
3 If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
5 I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
6 I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
7 Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
8 He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.


Everything You Want for Christmas

Everything You Want for Christmas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I will be the first to admit that I am a sinner and that my life is a constant struggle against sin. I fall short of succeeding in that sometimes and I hate myself for it. My God sacrificed His only begotten Son for me that I might live, that my sins might be paid for, my debt done away with and forgotten. When therefore, that I do let slip, my shame overcomes me and I am sorrowful for having succumbed to temptation. It is because I have let my Saviour down that I am remorseful for He paid such a price for me. Praise be to my God and my Saviour, He who came in the flesh, He for whom the Christmas celebrations are intended. It is such a shame that some who celebrate Christmas do so for all the wrong reasons. Let us remember why we needed a saviour in the first place. I praise my God for He is a forgiving and merciful God. You can know His love, forgiveness and salvation too. Turn to Him this Christmas, turn to Jesus and know real love and real forgiveness.

Shirley Anne

Posted in God, Gods love, Gods love through Jesus, Jesus | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

What kind of world is this?

Posted by Shirley Anne on December 19, 2014

The Lost World (Conan Doyle novel)

The Lost World (Conan Doyle novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A couple of days ago we saw the horrible events unfold by the siege of an ordinary cafe in Sydney, Australia, where members of staff together with customers were being held hostage by a man wielding a gun in the name of  his religion. Two unfortunate captives lost their lives during the melee which ensued to bring about an end to the situation by the authorities. There was very little more that could be done than what was done to avert some casualties. Nonetheless many more lives might have been lost had action not been taken when it did. It is indeed a very sad world in which we live. Of course many will put the blame on religion in this and many other incidences like it but in fact religion per se has nothing to do with it, it is the deranged minds of those who carry out such atrocities. Some people are simply inherently evil in their dealings with others. Perhaps they cannot help themselves, perhaps they can but their behaviour is seldom an aberration from an otherwise normal one. A gun-wielding terrorist or madman is one thing but what about the behaviour of some of those who watched the events unfold? Some were seen to be taking ‘selfies’, pictures of themselves, with the action in the background! What is it with some people who feel the need to portray themselves as if part of an unfortunate situation? Have they no respect for anyone other than themselves? Personally I don’t understand why it is that some people like taking pictures of themselves all the time anyway. I am thinking they are either so self-centred or attempting to make themselves a somebody of importance. In whose eyes I wonder? The world is full of self-centred and selfish people. Maybe they should take note of the actions of one of the hostages in that siege who lost her own life by shielding her pregnant friend during the gunfire. There is no greater love than a man (or woman) lay down his (her) life for another.  John 15:13 (paraphrased). If only there was real love in this world.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Evil, Morality, Religion | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Haven’t got a clue

Posted by Shirley Anne on December 18, 2014

Clue Club

Clue Club (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These past weeks have seen me so busy I’ve had little time for myself except at the weekend. It’s insane. I do reject calls of course but some of the requests are ridiculous. For instance here are some that I have received lately, the hinge on my fridge is a little loose. My satellite dish has been loosened by the wind. The self-rewind device for the cable on my vacuum cleaner is stuck. I need a lamp changing in my light fitting. Can you repair my oven? ( I once did that sort of work when working for someone else). Can you replace my bath? The taps (faucets) on my sink need replacing. Will you hang some pictures and a mirror for me? The list goes on. They think I am a Jack (Jill) of all trades! Well in fact I can do all of those things but I advertise as an electrician and that is the only work I want to do for others. I went to a house late on Monday afternoon to disconnect an old cooker and connect a new one when it arrived. To save me going there too early and having to stand about waiting for the new one to arrive I suggested to the guy who’d asked me to do the job if he could switch off the cooker wall switch and simply cut the flexible cable on the rear of the old cooker which evidently had been pulled out from the space. He had already disconnected the gas pipe to the cooker but told me he couldn’t locate the wall switch. The switch would either be on the wall nearby or else be inside an adjacent cupboard. If he could do that then the guys coming with the new cooker would be able to take the other one away and I would arrive later to connect the new one. In the end I went along earlier and disconnected the cable myself. The switch was on the wall adjacent to the cooker yet he couldn’t find it! When I showed him the switch he confessed he didn’t know what it was for! I couldn’t believe it. Neither did he know what the only other switch nearby was for. It was for the cooker extract hood! When it came to anything to do with the house services he hadn’t a clue so his wife and teen-aged daughter told me later. Now I wouldn’t expect a customer to do more than cut an isolated cable unless I knew it could be done safely and easily but I already knew this guy was capable of such a simple task. It seems he was stumped because he didn’t know how to switch off the supply using the switch in front of him! Earlier in the day I had been to install a replacement ceiling light fitting and I isolated the main supply at the relevant circuit breaker. The lady came to tell me that there were still some lights working. They were plugged into the power points around the room. She thought everything was supplied by the one circuit breaker which obviously they are not. Whenever I have the opportunity to explain the basic layout of an electrical system in someone’s house I am amazed just how little most people understand about their own installation. Some do not even know where to locate their main power distribution board. These are basic things everyone should know regarding their household water, gas and electrical services but many just don’t have a clue.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Common Sense, Knowledge | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

In a couple of days

Posted by Shirley Anne on December 17, 2014

English: Christmas Dawn The sun rises late in ...

Christmas Dawn The sun rises late in midwinter this far north. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well not actually a couple of days, more like five but after then the days begin to get longer once more. Trouble is the weather will get worse before it gets better, worse that is if you don’t like it cold, wet and windy! That’s how it will be here where I live anyhow. I almost hate this time of year knowing what is to come in that respect. Our house faces, that is the front of it faces south-west and if the sun is out after mid-day it shines directly into the rooms. At this time of year it lights-up the wall facing the window and illuminates half of its height upwards from the floor. As the seasons progress it begins to shine on the floor only and by the time it is midsummer it is so high as to only shine on a narrow strip of the floor close to the window. In a couple more days after midwinter’s day it will be Christmas day of course. Actually I don’t know why it is called midwinter as in fact it marks the beginning and not the middle of it! In a couple of days, in fact Christmas Eve I will be hanging up my electrical ‘hat’ for a couple of weeks, unless….well you know how it goes. The way things are going at the moment I may have to cease my electrical work anyway. I am told that I have the early stages of osteoarthritis. I can’t see the condition improving in my hands but who knows? I have found that whilst I am working or even just up and about there is no stiffness in my hands. That probably won’t last forever though. I have to take each day as it comes. In the meantime my work is still keeping me that busy I am turning down more offers almost every day. In a couple of days or so I will be able to rest from it all for a while.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Seasons, Time | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Too much

Posted by Shirley Anne on December 16, 2014

Nine Days to Christmas

Nine Days to Christmas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There comes a time when it all becomes too much. I work best under a bit of pressure and find I get more done too. On the approach to Christmas I expect and get a lot of work. It seems everyone wants electrical work done in the few weeks preceding the holiday. These past two or three weeks have been an exceptionally busy time for me but it is the same every year. It’s not as if the type of work I am doing has to be done right now, most of the work could be done at other times in the year. I sometimes get the feeling that people just want to spend more at Christmas. The season itself it seems is a time for redecoration of lounges, new light fittings, perhaps an extra power point to accommodate some new piece of electrical apparatus and even a power source outside for a lit-up Christmas tree. Unusually this year no-one has asked for an outside power point. Most of the work I have been doing lately is to do with lighting, changing them or wiring for new ones but I have done many other things too. Whilst the work is good to receive it can be overwhelming at times and I have to reject offers else burn myself out. I will try to accommodate where I am able but I cannot do everything for everyone. One lady asked me the other day to disconnect a cooker and remove a ceiling light both of which were to be taken to her new address a couple of days later. She told me that no-one seemed to want the work and she was desperate to get it done as soon as it was possible. I accordingly offered to squeeze her job into my schedule and she was relieved that at last she had found someone to do it for her. A couple of days later she left a message on the house phone saying, ‘It’s Mrs…from  such and such a place….I don’t need you to come, someone else has offered to do the job as a favour (not getting paid)’ and put the phone down. It didn’t matter to me that I’d lost the work for in the next couple of minutes I received more requests but what annoyed me more was that she had practically pleaded with me to find the time to do her job and I accommodated her. Now she didn’t even thank me or apologise that she had cancelled at the last-minute. It really is too much. Earlier in the morning whilst driving to a job a man called me asking if I could help with a problem, a loss of power to some circuits but at that time there was no way I could do anything for him as my appointments prevented me. Normally in the past I would have tried to do something about it but these days more often I have to draw the line and refuse. I am not a machine, I need time out.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Activity, Work | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Weekend off?

Posted by Shirley Anne on December 15, 2014

English: Brother and sister sitting in flowers

Brother and sister sitting in flowers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I write this on Friday evening I have the entire weekend free to myself. I had one job scheduled for Saturday morning but that had been cancelled and now the day was free. When I returned home earlier in the afternoon I found that E wasn’t feeling very well. She had all the symptoms of a cold coming on and she told me that she wouldn’t be visiting her mum in hospital in the evening as she didn’t wish to spread any infection to those in the hospital. At the time of writing we are neither of us sure about her mum’s present condition though I expect her brother will keep her informed. He lives with her mum in a bungalow a couple of miles from where we live. I haven’t seen nor spoken to either of them since 2002 after my transition. They simply cut me out of their lives. E’s dad died a few years ago but he too didn’t communicate with me. E’s half-sister I do see occasionally and we have spoken. She cannot visit her mum at home apparently because her half-brother, E’s brother, is not on speaking terms with her and there is friction between them. Families eh? Mine is just as bad. I have two brothers and two sisters. Both my sisters live in France and I have never received an invitation to visit them since my transition. One of my brothers basically cut himself off from the rest of the family years ago whilst my youngest brother, also the youngest of us all, is the only one who keeps in contact occasionally and I do see him but only occasionally. Now the free weekend could be spent visiting any or some of them were it not for the divisions between us. It is nice for families to come together now and then and many will be doing just that at Christmas but families being what they are makes it impossible at times. Things could be so different. I used to visit them all at one time years ago but it wasn’t always reciprocated. Much to my dismay I had to give up trying eventually. All I get now are token gestures, a birthday card or Christmas card sent every year but not from them all. I have told them not to send cards as I don’t send any but one or two of them ignore my request. I would rather they stayed in touch all year-round than to send me a meaningless card once a year. They cannot be that interested if they remain silent all year. My free time really is my free time as apart from E I have no-one to share it with. Today, Monday, marks the birthday of my youngest sister. I have no idea what she looks like now on her 64 th birthday or my eldest sister who will be 67 early in January. I am at work today as usual.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Family, Time | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Short dreams

Posted by Shirley Anne on December 14, 2014

I love Hebrew

I love Hebrew (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another weird dream. I have some really strange dreams at times some of which seem quite long whilst others somewhat brief. This one seemed brief yet the story behind it seemed long. I was with a group of children and found myself caught up in a war of some sort. I was battling with an unknown adversary and somewhere along the line I discovered an article partly written in Hebrew. I supposed the article was telling me how to overcome the enemy and I read the words out loud until I came across the first word in Hebrew. I attempted its pronunciation seemingly to prove I could and understood what it meant. The little girl standing at my side, who it seemed was my three-year-old grand-daughter and English, piped up that I was saying the word all wrong. She told me how it should be pronounced and even what the word meant. I was amazed at her knowledge. I am not sure what the meaning of the word was telling me or how it was to help me in my situation for at that point I woke up. Now I can understand why it was that my grand-daughter was in the dream for she had visited me only a couple of days before but I cannot explain why she could read and understand the Hebrew language or how it was that I had been surrounded by many children. As for the war? I can offer no explanation of that either.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Dreams | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

A cheerful soul

Posted by Shirley Anne on December 13, 2014

Narcissus 'Cheerfulness'. Real Jardín Botánico...

Narcissus ‘Cheerfulness’. Real Jardín Botánico, Madrid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many a time I have been told that I am a cheerful soul despite some of the things that have turned my world upside down, especially in the last twenty years. I could attribute my cheerfulness to many things I suppose but the real reason is the in-dwelling of The Holy Spirit, the joy in the knowledge of my salvation in Jesus Christ. I am given to the disposition of cheerfulness because I know I cannot change things that cannot be changed but strive to change those which can be instead. On Thursday I made it my business to take the day off work despite the requests for my services. I was able to have extra time in bed, something foreign to my normal lifestyle. Being honest I have to confess that I was tired but even so five hours sleep is usually enough for me. I managed to stay asleep for six hours before the urgency to visit the toilet awakened me. However I returned to bed and put in another four hours before I finally stirred again. Whilst going about the business of getting ready for the day I received a call from an American guy asking if I would do some electrical work for him. He rejected the price I gave him for the proposed work as he said the job should be easy. Well of course the job should be easy but they seldom work out that way. No matter, he seemed to be the expert! I assumed he found someone to do it for next to nothing. A few minutes later I received another call from a local girl wanting my electrical services and that job I will be doing (as I write this) on Saturday morning and Monday afternoon (she is moving house). At least the calls came late in the morning so as not to disturb my sleep which is usually the case when I want a lie-in. I had a doctor‘s appointment at two-thirty to discuss the findings of an X-ray I’d had two weeks ago. I knew beforehand what the diagnosis would be and it was confirmed to me. Being as it was Thursday, E would be doing the weekly shop but this week she had to go alone as her mum has been in hospital for a couple of days because of a problem she was having with abdominal pain. It isn’t a life-threatening condition as far as we know and hopefully it isn’t but any medical problems at her age can be a cause for concern. So it is with us all and myself being as I am now sixty-nine I have to expect one problem or another occasionally. Anyway E drove me to the surgery before continuing on to do the shopping. When we are young we think we are invincible but as we grow older we realise that we are not. My newly acquired condition was, according to my doctor, probably brought about by my long life at work. I have the beginnings of osteoarthritis. It is the result of a wearing down of the cartilage between the joints in my fingers, more so in my right hand as I am right-handed. I know there is nothing that can be done to reverse the condition so I accept it. The doctor was surprised at my easy-going reaction. As I say, I can’t change things that cannot be changed so why worry about it? As long as I can play my guitar, and I am still able, I shall be content. I left the surgery soon afterwards and walked the short distance into the village to make a cash deposit at my bank. It is just as well I save when I can as my youngest son had asked me earlier in the day if I could lend him some money to help him with a cash-flow problem he was having. He is to repay me later. Where have I heard that one before? Leaving the bank I walked across the road to the chemists to collect the prescription my doctor had forwarded electronically to them. Paper prescriptions are becoming a thing of the past. I collected the gel the doctor had prescribed to reduce the swelling in my hand and started back home on foot. It was still wet, cold and windy on Thursday, bracing weather as they say. I was prevented from continuing my journey by the level-crossing barriers that had just closed off the road. I spoke with a lady who was visiting our town for the afternoon and she was telling me about the conditions near the Promenade which is exposed to the westerly winds. Well Southport is windy at the best of times as it sits right on the coast facing the Irish Sea. The train left the station, the barriers lifted and I continued home with the wind in my face. I was feeling very happy and contented, a cheerful soul indeed.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Age, Belief, Holy Spirit, Life, Lifestyle, Peace, Philosophy, Rest and sleep | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

An annoying day

Posted by Shirley Anne on December 12, 2014

Road works. Photo taken from a pedestrian walk...

Road works. Photo taken from a pedestrian walk way over the A45/A46 traffic island towords the A45/A444 traffic island in South Coventry. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wednesday was one of those days that simply annoys. When I awoke all was fine and then I found one or two things to annoy me and throughout the rest of the day it continued. The day itself was bad as far as the weather was concerned, very wet and very windy but that in itself is never a problem with me. It used to be. I left the house in a good mood leaving myself forty minutes to get to my destination about 15 miles away. It shouldn’t have taken that amount of time under normal circumstances but nevertheless did and for several reasons. Within the first half-mile of my outward journey I encountered a speeding driver, two illegally parked drivers who caused the main flow of traffic to grind to a halt, an idiot waiting to make a right-turn at traffic lights but taking the whole carriageway to do it thus preventing the traffic behind from moving past on the left (we drive on the left in the UK) and goody two shoes keeping strictly to 25 mph in a 30 zone thus hindering traffic flow. Further ahead a motorist turning right at the lights who wouldn’t make the move despite their being nothing to prevent it. I turned right behind but was left standing as they were obviously speeding down the road to make up for the lost time waiting at the traffic lights unnecessarily! I stuck to the speed limit. A car pulled out from a road on my left without much thought for those on the main road, me! At the next junction someone else did the same thing. I was beginning to think those on the road that morning had death wishes. The onward journey was pretty much the same, drivers taking unnecessary chances and considering the driving conditions were somewhat treacherous, sheer lunacy. Occasionally the early morning sun shone through the clouds into the faces of those drivers too which made matters worse. Part-way through my journey I saw a refuse collection vehicle parked at the roadside whist being loaded with waste. The tail-back caused by that one vehicle was over a half-mile long! Why they had to collect at that time in the day, the rush hour, is beyond belief. You would think the council responsible would be just that, responsible. I was glad I was driving in the opposite direction but couldn’t help feeling sad for the poor souls being held back on their respective journeys. As I got nearer to my destination there was heavy congestion due to the road works in a couple of places along the same route. I was held back for some time at the temporary traffic control lights. When I finally turned into the road at my destination there were absolutely no places whatsoever in which to park my van. The road was narrow and vehicles stood nose to tail down one side leaving the other side free for moving traffic. No passing places had been left and chaos ensued. Fortunately I was able to squeeze onto the small space behind other vehicles on the driveway of the cottage I was visiting. The old lady invited me in and I assessed the work I was asked to do. Shortly afterwards the road was devoid of any vehicles and I was then able to park my van on it. I had to move the van because one of the cars on the driveway would be driven away ten minutes later. My task was to remove two lights from the dining area and replace them with others. One on the wall and one on the ceiling beams. Both were difficult as I had expected, annoying little problems with each of them. One of those removed was a brass spotlight which incidentally was faulty and couldn’t be repaired but I had been asked to re-site it upstairs. It was a low voltage unit and the transformer had burned internally. It had been moulded into the base and couldn’t be removed but it could be converted to a high voltage unit with some modifications and a little ingenuity. Why did I offer to do it? It presented me with all sorts of challenging problems but because the old lady had set her heart on having it upstairs I set about doing the conversion. A new unit it seems was out of the question and probably couldn’t have been purchased anyway as the old one was so old and out of production. It took me a while to do but eventually I got there after some cussing! Resiting it presented me with further problems, naturally. The lady had an old dog which continuously walked back and forth around my feet and was being somewhat of a nuisance. Well I couldn’t really object so I just tried to avoid it. I asked the lady what was wrong with her dog and she told me it was suffering from the doggy version of dementia. When I went upstairs to fit the two lights I had removed downstairs my phone wouldn’t stop ringing. Call after call most of which were nuisance or spam but they were enough to interrupt at the most inappropriate moment. Finally I was able to finish the work, pack up my things and after payment drive back home. I was held up for forty minutes in a queue of traffic controlled by more road works and arrived home late for lunch. Whilst sorting out my paperwork I discovered my phone wasn’t in my bag. Thinking back I remembered where I had left it, back at the cottage! Fifteen miles away! I have never done that before. Crikey, I had to drive back to collect it. I telephoned ahead to make sure it was there and off I went again. This time I took a different but longer route to avoid road works. I was there in half an hour. On my way back home I stopped at a farm shop and had a freshly made sandwich, made by the young girl serving me. Just like a ‘Subway‘ only better. Breakfast had been nine hours earlier so it tasted that much better. Once I was back home all the problems of the day had melted away.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Annoyance | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A new year beckons and a new you is born?

Posted by Shirley Anne on December 11, 2014

English: St Mary's Parish Church The bells rin...

St Mary’s Parish Church The bells ring out on Christmas morning to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In three week’s time it will be a new year. Many will be making their usual new year resolutions, promises to themselves that they will make changes in their life and lifestyles and although many will keep those resolutions most will probably not. The main problem is that the ways of the world overcome us and we succumb to the temptations the world offers us. It is difficult to step aside and take a new path that we haven’t trod before yet that path may be far better than the one we were on! In a couple of week’s time Christians and non-Christians alike will be celebrating Christmas. Those who believe will be celebrating the birth of their Saviour and the rest will be celebrating for other reasons. Those other reasons may well be for good things such as being with family and friends and enjoying pleasant times together but they will not be celebrating the birth of a saviour, yet a saviour is exactly what they need. They don’t see that because their eyes are blind to the truth, their backs are turned away from the light and they are held captive by the things of the flesh. Their hearts are cold. God foretold the birth of a saviour, the Saviour of the world, His only begotten Son our LordJesus the Christ, the Messiah some six hundred years or more before it happened. Not only His birth but how it was to come about! His birth was therefore expected and yet when Jesus came and died for mankind many rejected Him. Even today they still reject Him, yet they need Him. The problem is they do not realize their need nor recognize it. Why did God give His Son? Why did Jesus suffer on a cross? Because we are all sinners and that alone keeps us from God, separates us from Him but God demonstrates His love for us in this…………

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

He died that we, if we repent and believe in our hearts that He died for us we will be saved. Saved from what? Saved from eternal damnation and separation from God. God is just and will judge our hearts but He is merciful not wanting that anyone should perish. He offers us a way out, a free gift, Jesus. Would you really not accept such a gift? Why remain stubborn and condemned? Do something about it today, come to Jesus. Remember, God is true to His word, He will do what He promises to do……..

So if you are going to make new year resolutions try asking God into your life, asking  Jesus to walk into your home and you may be surprised. In fact I know you will. The world has nice things to offer it is true but Jesus offers something that the world cannot give, peace and reconciliation with God and an everlasting life. The things of the world do not last…………

Shirley Anne

Posted in Salvation | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Just as all was going well

Posted by Shirley Anne on December 10, 2014

Most used web browser in country or dependency...

Most used web browser in country or dependency as of July 2011, according to Statcounter: Blue: Microsoft Internet Explorer Orange: Mozilla Firefox Green: Google Chrome Red: Opera (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Computers! I remember well the time I never had one but the novelty of owning one was so attractive I succumbed to the idea and bought my first. In those days the realisation that computers could be used in the way they are now was not seen but all that soon changed. I learned how to write programs on my first computers but a couple of years later it became unnecessary unless I was going to be employed in IT (Information Technology) or writing control programs and games. All I needed then was to know how to use the computer. Slowly but surely the computer in one form or another has become part of our lives and in such a way as to be indispensable in many ways. My personal views regarding computers and ‘technology’ have been well recorded and although I’d prefer not to be a part of it all I do find some of it is useful. Writing this for instance and having it broadcast around the world wouldn’t be possible without the computer. To be able to use the computer to connect with the world we need browsers and my introduction  to them was through Internet Explorer. I stayed with ‘IE’ for many years but then discovered  I was having problems with it, compatibility issues and other things.

The usage share of web browsers. Source: Media...

The usage share of web browsers. Source: Median values from summary table. Internet Explorer (38.9%) Firefox (25.5%) Google Chrome (20.2%) Safari (7.7%) Opera (2.9%) Mobile browsers (7.1%) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was introduced to Google Chrome and for a couple of years found no problems with it but then one or two issues developed and I thought I would try yet another browser. This time it was Mozilla Firefox. I soon found that all my issues with browsers had melted away using Firefox and that has been my experience up and until a few days ago. Browsers need to be upgraded from time to time as different problems and issues arise in their use and Firefox is no exception. So it was that I upgraded to their latest version, version 34 but after a few minutes discovered the new version had created a problem on my machine. I use Norton 360 for my computer security and it has proven to be an excellent extension. One of  the things I find useful with it is the Norton tool-bar on which I have access to my vault, a safe place to store my passwords and urls to the sites I use. It isn’t the only vault I use as I use ‘Last Pass’ too. However I tend to use the Norton vault in which to store my banking access details. I might also add here that I have an encryption program installed on my computer which I use when on-line. It scrambles data before it is sent out. The latest version of  Firefox isn’t compatible with the Norton tool-bar and therefore the tool-bar won’t display. In fact it has been disabled when Firefox is used. Confronted with this new issue I decided to revert to Chrome again and now everything is as it was before. No doubt the incompatibility issue between Firefox and the Norton tool-bar will eventually be resolved and I will be able to use Firefox once more with the tool-bar in view. I wonder why these problems are not sorted out before new versions of programs are released. At the moment all is well and I have no issues. I hope it stays that way…………

Shirley Anne

Posted in Computer | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

I’ll be glad when it’s over

Posted by Shirley Anne on December 9, 2014

the sexy santa assistants were there to take a...

the sexy santa assistants were there to take a photo of you in front of the xmas tree or you could just ask them to take a photo with you and pretend that your girlfriend is a sexy santa assistant See where this picture was taken. [?] (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since my birthday on 21st November we have been bombarded with advertisements mostly centred around the forthcoming ‘festive season‘. That term in itself embraces what Christmas has metamorphosed into, no longer a celebration of the birth of a Saviour for many who indulge in it do not believe anyway. The (man-made) holiday (holy day) has been hijacked by the unbeliever in fact. Christmas somehow became ‘magical’, a time to drink to excess, eat to excess, spend money on non-essential things, often falling into great debt for that privilege. Why? Because everyone else does it. We are encouraged to do all kinds of things but never are we encouraged to find out what the celebration is supposed to be about, not by the media at any rate. The media are geared to the ways of the world and everyone is encouraged to follow and keep the wheels of commercialism turning at all costs. I really hate this time of year for it is difficult trying to isolate myself from it all. What I find hard to understand is why people think it is vital that they should over-indulge. When I was younger I did the same thing but there came a time when it all changed and I stood back and saw the stupidity of it all. Now before I get comments saying that I am a ‘stick-in-the-mud’ I have to point out that is not true. I like having a good time just the same as others but refuse to treat this special time as I might do at other times in the year. Not that I over-indulge in anything these days. I no longer drink alcohol but will still socialise, I have no need for stocking my larder with food I don’t need because it is what people eat at Christmas. Christmas is a time to reflect upon my salvation, what my Saviour did for me and more importantly why. Then I think to myself, I do these things every day! Real celebrations should be about what Jesus did for us all but unfortunately this falls on many deaf ears. I pray for such people every day. Without God, without Jesus, life is meaningless, celebrations are meaningless and everything we do is futile and meaningless. The world couldn’t care less and shows it. Come out of the world and seek your Saviour. Your eyes will be opened and you will see.

Shirley Anne

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I’ve opted out but she still did it!

Posted by Shirley Anne on December 8, 2014

Christmas gifts

Christmas gifts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So at last the end of yet another busy week which turned out to be the busiest and most profitable so far for the entire year! I’m not about to complain though. Friday morning then was hopefully going to be the last time I would work in the week but from what my client told me over the telephone I was expecting the work I had scheduled to be a little messy. My client, a lady about the same age as myself, mentioned something about lowering a power outlet to allow more space in which to fit a wall-mounted electric fire. I had asked her if the room had solid flooring, concrete for instance and she confirmed it had. That meant the wiring to the outlet would be either coming through the wall from behind or else it was coming down the wall from up in the ceiling. It was hardly likely to be coming up from the floor and that meant the existing wires would be too short to move elsewhere. A new cable would have to be run down the wall from the space above the ceiling and sunk into the wall itself, hence the messy job. As it turned out the job was entirely different. The ‘room’ was a glass conservatory that had been erected against the gable end of the house and the wall was built with bricks. The power point didn’t require repositioning as there was just enough space alongside it to mount the fire. My task it seemed was to fit the fire too, which I did. Not only that but I repositioned the glass shelf that had been fitted over the old fire which I also had to remove before fitting the new one. All the cabling was then  neatly hidden in the trunking I’d fitted to end up with a really professional job. The lady was very much impressed and told me that was why she employed a woman to do the work. What can I say? I was accordingly paid well for my efforts but stayed a while to chat with her over a cup of coffee before driving home. I made a slight detour to purchase one or two things from the supplier and soon after midday I was home. Whilst having my lunch the doorbell rang and E, who had not yet joined me at the table, answered the door. I heard her speaking with whoever it was before she entered the room carrying some gifts wrapped in ‘Christmas’ paper. They had been presented by our next-door neighbour. It was only a week or so ago we had taken her a huge bunch of flowers on the anniversary of her husband’s passing. On that evening we chatted about many things, one of which was Christmas and the giving and receiving of presents. She had asked me if I do anything at Christmas and I told her that no, I didn’t and in fact I don’t celebrate the day nor do I give presents or wish to receive any. I explained that I had opted-out of the world’s version of Christmas and the materialistic and hedonistic revelry that passes to commemorate the birth of our Saviour. I have not partaken of such things for some years now. I celebrate the event in a totally different way. Well what I had told her must have fallen on deaf ears for the presents were for E and myself and she had told E that we were not to open them before Christmas Day! Yeah, sure, I was going to do that! I duly opened them to see what they were, a pen (?) and a very large and beautiful silk-like scarf. Now one of the other things I had mentioned when we had visited her was the enormous amount of scarves I possess but hardly ever wear! It is a case of not getting much of an opportunity to wear most of them. What was she thinking? Naturally I shan’t say anything to her but I will thank her for the thought when we next speak. I will insist that she doesn’t give me presents again though, I don’t want them from anyone. It is enough that people are there, they have no need to ply me with gifts to know that they are appreciated or that I am to them. I will not be tempted to reciprocate and fall back into the ways of the world. To me it is totally meaningless. So no Christmas cards from me or anything else for that matter. It has been that way for quite some time.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Behaviour, Celebration, Christianity, Consumerism, People | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Whole lotta love

Posted by Shirley Anne on December 7, 2014



Shirley Anne x

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

I just couldn’t be bothered!

Posted by Shirley Anne on December 7, 2014

The Douglas Squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii) ...

The Douglas Squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii) is an example of wildlife. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am going through one of my phases lately and I know the real reason for it. I had been working all day on Wednesday and was feeling well and truly tired by the time I had come back home. After my evening meal and some quiet time I was feeling quite refreshed though when I finally did get to bed I found it no problem in getting to sleep. I had decided not to take on board any work for Thursday so that I could have some respite from it all. At the beginning of October I had arranged for the purchase of another thirteen weeks of advertising space in my local newspaper and was informed at the time that there would be an annual increase in the charge for that service applied on the first Wednesday in the month of November, five weeks later. I explained that the excess amount I would have to pay could be taken through my credit card as they have my details on record. The extra amount would be in the region of £14 or so for the eight weeks which fall under the new pricing. This Wednesday I received a call from the girl looking after advertising sales reminding me that she would be debiting my account for the extra charges. On Thursday evening I discovered that my credit card had been debited by £62. Obviously a mistake. I had to go shopping on Thursday morning for electrical materials for van stock and toiletries and undergarments for myself so after breakfast I drove to the newspaper offices to sort out the problem with my account. It had indeed been a simple mistake as the debit should only have been £14. They would credit my account for the £48 overpayments. It is just as well that I keep a watchful eye on my banks accounting and card accounts for I could easily have missed the overpayment. I left their offices and drove on to the electrical supplier to purchase what I needed. I left my van there and walked back into the town about a half-mile away to do my other shopping. Before returning to my vehicle I spent some time in a coffee-house over a large Cappuccino. It was almost lunchtime by the time I had returned home. After chatting with E about my morning she showed me a couple of movies she had taken of the rear garden from inside the house through the window. She had noticed a squirrel foraging for bedding materials and food and decided to catch it on her iPad. We have seen it a few times recently and it appears to have made a home for itself in the huge ivy-covered tree on the other side of the wall in a neighbour’s garden. We have a small oak tree which has been producing acorns for a couple of years so I am guessing the squirrels have noticed that. There is a plant pot or two in the corner of our garden which hold long-leafed plants that have died back for the winter. The dead leaves were being taken for bedding. Soon we were having lunch after which E went to do the weekly shopping with her mum. During lunch I mentioned that I was feeling bored and E looked at me as if to say ‘Don’t be thinking about working, you are supposed to be resting’. She didn’t say anything but I know she was thinking it! When she had left the house I went into the garden and swept over the newly laid path at the rear of the mound for something to do (you’ll have to read about the mound in my summertime posts). I then opened the back of my van to do some tidying up in there and to sort out all the materials I have acquired over the last few days. When I returned indoors I was still restless but ended up playing the guitar for a time to relieve the boredom. Trouble was that didn’t work! I find I get so bored doing nothing or next to nothing that I have to do something. I just cannot be bothered sitting about watching television or reading a book and even going shopping is a bore sometimes. All I really want to do is work at something at the moment. Well, the squirrel is busy why can’t I be? The calls still keep coming in.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Business, Nature, Rest and relaxation, Shopping | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

A day of respite

Posted by Shirley Anne on December 6, 2014

Over the last few weeks I have been very busy with my electrical work and on Wednesday I found myself working from nine in the morning until five in the afternoon with a half-hour break in an apartment block in town. All the work was in one apartment and the task was to replace all the lighting switches and all the power outlets. On the surface a simple job but in practice far from that. It was all about the access to some of the work, the amount of wiring behind each switch and outlet, the state of that wiring and the fact that the new switches and outlets were deeper than those that I had to remove which made the space behind them that much smaller. I had nineteen new items to install in the seven and a half hours I was actually working. That gave me about 23.5 minutes to do each one but of course some didn’t take that long whilst others took much longer. Much of the time spent was in trying to unscrew seized-up screws, repairing wires, fitting earthing leads where non existed and fitting new boxes in the walls in some instances. One power outlet took me almost an hour because of the problems I was faced with. By the time I had finished I was finished too! Most of the work was carried out on my knees for there were much more power outlets than lighting switches, the power outlets being nearer to the floor. One consolation was the fact that I was working in a warm and friendly atmosphere. Nice people to work for makes it all worthwhile. Another consolation was the fact that I was paid far more than I had asked for the work and they wouldn’t accept a refusal. I had already earned enough money for work done on Monday not to have to work for the rest of the week and now I had been paid a similar amount! Is it any wonder I continue to work? The money is nice but I have to refuse offers of work for my health’s sake and take time off. I promised myself that Thursday would be work-free and indeed I made it so but that didn’t stop the calls coming in. I sometimes wish I were twenty years younger but then again I’ve been there and done it all before. This time of year it is hard to refuse the work but I still make sure I get the respite I need.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Activity, Electrical, Rest and relaxation | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Back for a change

Posted by Shirley Anne on December 5, 2014

English: Hesketh Arms Pub, Botanic Road, Churc...

Hesketh Arms Pub, Botanic Road, Churchtown, Southport, Merseyside, England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Earlier in the year I visited one of the several old cottages that dot the area in and around the village of Churchtown, which is  now considered part of Southport. At that time I had gone to carry out repairs to an outside light and something else which at this moment I cannot remember. This particular group of cottages number around fourteen occupying a small tenure of land and are built back to back with quaint gardens and cobble stone pathways surrounding them. Parking a vehicle behind them is possible but only just and to be honest not worth the effort in trying. The whole area is pedestrian-orientated so when I went there again on Tuesday morning I parked my van on the narrow lane outside of the newer houses that surround the area and walked to the house. This time the tenant had lost power to some of the power outlets which turned out to be simply a tripped circuit breaker. However I discovered that the circuit breakers in general were too small in capacity for the circuits they were supplying. For example a 5 ampere circuit breaker was controlling the supply to what was a 30 ampere circuit. Any large appliances connected would cause the circuit breaker to trip, which is what appeared to have happened. Of course many would assume that replacing the circuit breaker for one of a larger capacity would solve the problem but before that could be done an assessment of the wiring sizes and circuit layouts would need to be established beforehand. It gets worse. In order to check the wiring at least in the distribution board would necessitate the removal of its cover but some kind soul had built a cupboard around the electrical panel making that impossible. I had to leave the situation as it was but advise the tenant on how to best use the power points in the meantime to avert any other loss of power. I then got in touch with the owner of the property who had called me to do the work and advised her on what she would have to do to put things right. As the work might require a total rewire or partial rewire I will not be taking it on myself. She paid me for my services and let me know that there are other small jobs in the pipeline which she wants me to do when the time comes. So now I had the rest of the morning free and was able to do the other things I needed to do before returning home. Two weeks ago E and I had a meal in The Hesketh Arms in the same area and if my readers will remember I had been presented with a much underdone steak and had to have it returned to the kitchen. We returned there on Tuesday afternoon and sat in the newly refurbished restaurant part of the establishment preferring to be totally waited upon this time rather than having to order at the bar ourselves and having it served at the table. I avoided the steak I might add and this time ordered a ‘Whale of a fish‘ with chips (fries) and peas. the fish being a very large pollock in a really nice batter. I rarely have this kind of meal when dining out whereas E would have it often. She had a similar dish but with a smaller portion of cod instead of pollock. The fish is very similar in texture and taste though I will admit to the cod being a more tender fish. E won’t tolerate other fish except tinned salmon! We had a great time together but sadly had to curb our stay for she had important business to deal with later in the afternoon. All I seem to be doing lately is electrical work and dining out but I enjoy both.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Dining out, Electrical | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

By the time it’s Christmas

Posted by Shirley Anne on December 4, 2014


English: Main distribution board in old apartm...

Main distribution board in old apartment building, build in 1949. Lot of metal conductive parts are not insulated, so it is danger to work there without rubber (dielectric) gloves. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


My week started much as it had last week, with plenty of work to do. I had one job scheduled for Monday morning and it did last the whole morning too, well from ten ’til one! I was replacing a power distribution board in someone’s house though actually all the work was carried out in their garage where the old board was situated. I suppose I could have done nothing else for the rest of the week after that one job. I was paid well enough to have done so, however I did have more work scheduled for later in the week. I received a call soon after I’d finished the job to do another! The second job was small and was in an apartment block a mile and a half from home. I had it done within an hour. I was still back home by three o’clock. Whilst sorting out my paperwork I checked the house phone for messages and found one asking me to do a small job when I could find the time. Had the person called me on my mobile phone I could have done the work that afternoon but by now it was three-thirty so I arranged to do it on Tuesday morning. I had no plans to work on Tuesday but I had planned to do other things in the morning meaning I would have to go out anyway. I could do both and still have plenty of time to dine out with E, which is exactly what I did. My next job on Wednesday was to take me quite a few hours, maybe four or six, though it would be in a nice warm apartment. The phones never stop ringing at this time of year and by the time it is Christmas I will be ready for a well-earned break. To that end I called the advertising department of the newspaper which runs my advertisement to tell them not to publish on 24th and the 31st. That will give me two weeks free from work………maybe……..knowing me I will probably respond to any requests I might get or find something to do at home and there’s certainly plenty of that to be had.


Shirley Anne


Posted in Electrical, Work | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Well I did a bit

Posted by Shirley Anne on December 3, 2014

English: Ad for Henry Jones Self-Raising Flour...

Ad for Henry Jones Self-Raising Flour, Bristol, UK (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Only a little bit that is, working at home over the weekend. The weekend promised to be dry and reasonably warm for the time of year so on Saturday morning I donned a pair of overalls and began filling in the spaces between the stones I had laid behind the mound in the garden. Once I had filled most of the spaces with small granite stones I mixed some sand,  granite chippings and cement in the wheel barrow but left the mix dry, that is I used no water. I had though I might have to use the cement mixer but then I realised that a wheelbarrow full of mix would be enough and it turned out to be the case. I shovelled the mix out and into the spaces on top of the stones and brushed over it. I made sure it was packed in tight before wetting it all with a fine spray of water. In a couple of days it should set as hard as the rest of the fill I had used when doing the main path a couple of months ago. There remains a little more to do yet but that work won’t take long. I can therefore say that by and large the project is complete. I decided not to do any more work over the weekend having done so much during the week! As this is being written on Saturday night I can look forward to a lazy day tomorrow in readiness for what no doubt will be another busy week ahead.
E had spent Friday in the NEC in Birmingham with some members of her group and late in the afternoon when I had returned home from work I thought I would bake a cake, a fruit cake this time just for a change. mixing the ingredients for such a cake is simplicity itself and takes very little time but baking it takes much longer at slightly more than an hour. About halfway through the baking I returned to the kitchen to check it everything was alright but realised that the oven door hadn’t been cleaned for some time and it was difficult to see inside as a result. That didn’t matter as I could now safely open the door to look without the cake sinking. Everything looked fine but the cake hadn’t risen as far as I thought it should at that stage. When the cake was fully baked I removed it from the oven and it still hadn’t risen as much as I had expected. When E returned home later she asked if I had used self-raising flour and I replied that I had as that was what I would normally use for this recipe. She asked to see the package and it was then that I realised I had used the plain flour in the adjacent package! A silly mistake indeed. Despite the cake having not risen which resulted in it being ‘heavy’, it tasted fine. I must be more careful next time mustn’t I? Oh and yes, I gave the glass door a thorough clean later.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Baking, Garden | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »


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