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Archive for the ‘Enjoyment’ Category

Phases

Posted by Shirley Anne on August 12, 2013

No I am not about to talk about electricity generation and supply but for those who don’t know, electricity is generated not as a single live and a neutral but as three live conductors or three phases.

Finishing touches

Electrical Phases

A neutral which though not specifically generated, is derived. It gets complicated from here so this is where I shall stop. In case you are wondering what I am jabbering about they call the live conductors ‘phases’. Lately I have been visiting my local pub fairly regularly and dining there on occasion. Basically I go there for the company and not the alcohol because Shirley Anne has been an alcohol-free zone now for nine months. I have always gone to the pub for company and as I am at present devoid of company at home my visits have been more frequent but nevertheless I have periods where I don’t wish to  go to the pub, usually because I cannot be bothered. I might go there for weeks then cease going for weeks depending on how I feel. Each time I revisit after a spell of not going there I am quizzed as to the reasons why. I am obviously missed, actually I know I am for so many people tell me. I suppose with me it is a case of boredom for I tend to get bored with things after a while, I go through phases of not wanting to do anything at all! My workload goes through phases too, presently I am in the mountains so to speak after a spell of walking in the valleys. I never really get bored with work, any work, it has always been that way for me. I am at my best when going something so it is very hard for me if I have nothing to do. That does not mean that I want to work all the time, I like a rest from it like anyone else or at least a change by doing something else. I guess my life is full of phases that I go through, some good, some not so good but I have to endure them all. If I were asked what specific things in life make me happy I would probably say everything as long as I am not bored doing them! I am easily pleased though, so it doesn’t take much to please me.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Enjoyment, Life, Lifestyle | Comments Off

Forget Summer

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 18, 2013

English: Hyde Park in a heatwave The second we...

Hyde Park in a heatwave The second week of August 2003 was the hottest ever recorded in London, with temperatures of up to 38 degrees Celsius. Not surprisingly many people flocked to the parks to cool off.

It is past the middle of May and still it is very cold. The warmer temperatures we have come to expect at this time of year have been somewhat lacking even though there have been warm sunny days. It appears that the ‘Jet Stream’, the high altitude wind pattern is favouring places like Moscow with the United Kingdom fairing less well as a result. Until the Jet Stream shifts in our favour I guess we can say goodbye to a  warm Summer again this year. I watch the weather forecasts with interest but it is all bad news lately. I heard tell that the month of June won’t be much better either.  Astronomically speaking Summer starts on or about the 21st day of June so there is still time left for an improvement I suppose. It may be that the later months of the season will prove me wrong. I do hope so. It can be rather depressing when all we get is poor weather when reasonably it should be better. We must however make the most of things for we have no control over matters. For many people summer is the two-week vacation they take each year in a foreign land though not everyone can afford such things. I have been fortunate in that respect having enjoyed many holidays in foreign places in the past. These days I am less bothered about travelling across the globe for the pleasure of enjoying the warm weather which is taken for granted in many countries.  Quite often I have found that the living conditions in these beautiful places where the sun shines most of the year and the temperatures never fall below 20 degrees Celsius are very poor indeed. Having a warm or hot climate doesn’t guarantee perfect happiness unless you have plenty of money and money doesn’t even buy happiness! I am not giving up on Summer, things are not that bad really, it could be a lot worse, in fact it may well be a lot better! I am not sure just what I will be doing in the months ahead. Working? Most probably. Taking a vacation?  Probably not but anything is possible. Enjoying myself? I will try my best. Summer will be great if I am still here to enjoy it won’t it?

Shirley Anne

Posted in Enjoyment, Happiness, Weather, Well-being | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Sloping ponds and window scenes

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 16, 2013

An optical illusion. Square A is exactly the s...

An optical illusion. Square A is exactly the same shade of grey as square B. See demonstration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On my way back home with E after the long weekend break we had taken in Brighton on the south coast and to meet with friends I sat in the train carriage admiring the scenery. Many of my travelling companions were surfing the Internet on their mobile phones and tablet computers or playing games on them. Some were trying to catch a few minutes of sleep but very few seemed to be looking out of the window at the passing scenery. I could have followed suit but I would rather watch the scenery. I left my tablet computer in my suitcase and only touched my phone when I wanted to check the time. Everywhere we went in Brighton we saw people on their phones and I estimated at least 60% were doing so. It seems to be an absolute necessity, an obsession for many to spend hour after hour locked into this electronic technological phenomena. I get the feeling that those using the technology often do not realise just how much time they actually spend ‘twiddling’ their thumbs on such devices. Whatever happened to simply admiring life all around us, the scenery, the people and places we find ourselves in either accidentally or purposely? I digress. I was looking out of the window and every so often would see a canal, a river or a pond. Nothing remarkable in that you might say but what made it a little more fascinating for me was the fact that many of these stretches of water seemed to be sloping just like the land in which they were seen. I saw fields on hillsides sloping down to the train tracks and the water on these fields appeared to be doing exactly the same! An optical illusion of course unless somebody has invented a way for water to slope like the ground. Time passed by rather quickly as I watched the ever-changing scene through the carriage window. There is always something to see, always something to catch the imagination, old buildings, green fields and hills, animals, motorways and highways, rivers, streams, canals, bridges and tunnels and monuments of all kinds. I never get bored watching the life all around me. There is a slippery slope to oblivion for those who let life slip by because of some electronic gadgetry. Theirs is a life of virtual reality but I prefer mine real!

Shirley Anne

Posted in Enjoyment, Environment, General Chat, Life, People, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

It came and went

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 8, 2013

English: Boats resting on Bank Holiday Monday ...

Boats resting on Bank Holiday Monday The fishing boats that supply all the fancy restaurants

The last weekend was one of the UK’s national holiday weekends incorporating what we call a ‘bank holiday Monday’. There are two such Mondays in the month of May, one at the beginning and one at the end. One is called the ‘Spring Bank Holiday Monday’. I get mixed up as to which is which but that makes no difference, it is a national holiday. Many people will have travelled, whether near or far, in this country or elsewhere to make the most of the long weekend, sometimes including the preceding Friday. That is something I’ve never done, gone anywhere on a bank holiday because I know most roads will be packed with traffic and many places will be packed with too many people doing the same thing. As it happened this time, the weekend passed unnoticed. That is due to my present status in being semi-retired. I forget sometimes which day it is, not because I am forgetful of such things, though I am forgetful at times, no, it is because all the days seem alike. I may have many days free from work each week and it feels as though Fridays are Saturdays or that Mondays without work are Sundays. Does that makes sense? Before I became self-employed 16 years ago I worked for other companies and the weekend breaks and holidays off work were something to look forward to but now that I am self-employed that is no longer true because I can take a break at any time I wish. So for me a special weekend such as a bank holiday passes without much notice. Indeed, I have often worked over a bank holiday, treating them as any other. This is true for the other ‘special’ days off we as a nation take. To me they are just another day. Quite often these bank holidays have poor weather which puts the dampener on enjoying them as many wish to do but this past weekend the weather has been reasonably good, much to the relief of those undertaking outdoor activities! This coming weekend though E and I will be transporting ourselves to the south-east coast to pay a visit to Brighton and to see a friend and anyone else who might like to meet with us. Without realising it we elected to go this weekend when the FA Cup Final is being held in London but hopefully we will not be affected by possible traffic chaos as fans travel to the big city as we are travelling on Friday and returning on Monday. We are not treating this as a holiday as such but only as a short break from routine. E finds it difficult to get about so we would need a much longer break to get anywhere and enjoy more of any place we visit. That means we may not be visiting most of the places no doubt Brighton has to offer on such a short stay as we are taking there. Much of the enjoyment will be in the travelling to and from Brighton itself but I am sure we will enjoy more than that. I hope the weather is fine!

Shirley Anne

Posted in Enjoyment, Holiday, Leisure, Travel | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

I love it!

Posted by Shirley Anne on April 14, 2013

40th Anniversary Steam Train Gala Weekend (Sat...

40th Anniversary Steam Train Gala Weekend (Saturday) 28th June 2008 

In a few weeks from today E and I shall be taking a couple of long journeys by train. Since my early childhood I have loved riding in a train even for relatively short journeys. In those long far off days many of the mainline routes used steam-driven engines to pull the carriages, now it is either diesel but more often electricity which is the prime mover. Whichever way is used the journey is the same though much of the romanticism will have been lost. The beauty of travelling by rail is the relief of stress it brings, not having to concentrate for hours sitting behind the wheel of a car in endless queues of traffic or being stopped at regular intervals by junctions and traffic controls. I can sit and read a book, play on a computer, use the phone without the need of a hands-free unit, eat a meal, chat with fellow travellers, admire the scenery, sit in comfort, have the convenience of toilet facilities and be seated in comfort whilst still being able to stand and walk about to stretch my legs. I cannot do most of those things whilst driving a car. I like driving, I always have but it can be tiring over long distances. I also like travelling by boat for all the same reasons and to a lesser extent I like air travel too but if I could choose rail travel for all my journeys on land I wouldn’t hesitate. The only down side to rail travel is it isn’t a door-to-door convenience but for long journeys that is a very small price to pay. The only snag E and I will have is that the journey will be broken several times as we board one train after another to reach our destination but I am still looking forward to the experience nonetheless especially as I haven’t been on a long train journey for so long.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Enjoyment, Travel | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off

A nice afternoon

Posted by Shirley Anne on March 24, 2013

A meal at the court of Emperor Ferdinand I,

A meal at the court of Emperor Ferdinand I 

On Tuesday morning I had a ridiculously small job and then nothing for the remainder of the day so I suggested to E that we might dine out somewhere for lunch. I had returned home before 10 o’clock and spend some time on my computer and the Internet and watched a couple of programs on television. It was around 1.45 when I heard a tap, tap on the lounge door and jumped a little for I had dosed off in the chair, one of those ‘cat-naps’ I love to experience. I looked toward the door to see E smiling at me. ‘Well I’m ready’, she piped up. ‘I’ve just washed my hair’, she said. She has the kind of hair that gets greasy rather easily but greasy hair is probably healthier hair as it proves that natural oils are being produced from the scalp protecting and nourishing the hair. Of course too much oil can be a problem and then the hair needs washing more often. E tends to have this problem. My hair on the other hand tends to be dry and would benefit having more natural oil. I tend therefore not to wash my hair as often unless it gets dirty. So I dashed upstairs to change my clothes and fix my make-up and was ready ten minutes later. E drove as she normally does and I didn’t ask where we were going as we headed off down the main road. She turned toward the coastal road so I though she was going to drive north as we normally do when visiting one or two of our favourite places but a couple of  hundred yards (metres) down the road she pulled into the car park of my local pub! There were quite a number of cars there and I thought it would consequently be full inside but we were surprised to see it almost empty. After a quick look at the menu I went to the bar opened a tab and ordered the meals and drinks. We received the best of service as usual and the meals followed soon after. E followed her meal with a dessert but I didn’t. We had a great time together and chatted with the staff as the opportunity arose. When we had finished eating  a couple of people came in and sat a short distance from us and I turn to look. ‘Hello, Shirley Anne’, the woman said and I replied in kind though I couldn’t remember how they knew me or I them, although I did recognise their faces.  It turns out that I had done some work for them back in November. Neither the man nor the woman knew E personally but the woman recognised her as having worked in her local Post Office some years ago. The man told E what a good electrician he had found in me not realising that E is already aware of my capabilities! I thought that was very nice of him to say such things. He went on to tell us that two weeks after I had worked in their house they were burgled! Immediately I asked if they had an alarm to which they said ‘We have now’! Talk about closing the barn door after the horse has bolted! Fortunately not much had been stolen. Soon afterwards E and I prepared to leave for home and they bid us farewell, the woman saying ‘I’ll telephone you’. Looks like they want more work doing……….Is there no rest for the wicked? LOL

Shirley Anne

Posted in Dining out, Enjoyment, General Chat, People, Socialising | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

All afternoon!

Posted by Shirley Anne on February 22, 2013

Wheelchair

Wheelchair

I was at a bit of a loose end on Sunday with nothing to do in the afternoon. Earlier I had been on the treadmill and then had some lunch followed by a spell on the Internet. It was a gloriously sunny day, just right for a walk but I wasn’t in the mood for walking too far having spent time on the treadmill and on Saturday doing even more exercise. Well the pub is only about a half-mile from my house so I decided to go there. Sunday afternoons at the pub are usually cramped affairs and these days most of the seating is taken up by diners from all over the place and from places afar too. It has become quite an attraction as an eating establishment  since it was taken over a couple of years ago by the new landlords Eddie and his wife Jill. I have to say they have made it a successful business when beforehand it struggled a bit. There is usually space at the bar though and when I arrived I soon found a seat there. I opened a tab as I wasn’t sure how long I would be there or if I might feel  like eating later. As it happened I returned home early in the evening and dined there instead. The televisions were switched on and showing a Premiership football game between Liverpool and Swansea but the sound had been switched off for the benefit of those who were dining, not that they would be watching any of the screens anyway, who wants to be dining out with a football match noise going on in the background? Those of us in the bar area simply watched it in silence like everyone else. Not long after I had been there I saw a man in a wheelchair approaching the side door close to where I was sitting so I arose and held the door open for him as he came inside. There wasn’t much room for the wheelchair except close to where I was sitting so he stayed close by. I could see him struggling to get his out his wallet  so I offered to help him. It was on a cord around his neck so it could be pulled out easily. I unzipped his coat and pulled out the wallet asking him what he would like to drink whilst taking out a five-pound note. I ordered his drink and placed it in his hand and put the change into his wallet and back inside his coat. Soon we were chatting away and he began to tell me about the events which put him in the wheelchair after I’d asked him about it. It turned out that he hadn’t been in an accident but he’d had an abscess on the back of his neck that he had been unaware of for years. The abscess had grown and it’s presence had become noticeable, so much so that he began to feel pain and limited arm movement. The abscess was on his spine and affecting the spinal nerve. It was successfully removed at the hospital once it had been diagnosed and discovered but unfortunately the damaged had already been done. However, he told me and showed me that he was still able to move some muscles in his legs, a good sign with the possibility that he may be able to walk again one day if all goes well. He is undergoing therapy toward that end. I hope he makes it. He had only popped into the pub on his way home from a shopping expedition, a nursing home close-by and soon after he had finished his drink (a bottle of beer, he couldn’t hold a normal glass) he left. I think he was glad for the company and I was happy to oblige. After that I chatted with other folk as they came and went and then I left for home myself. When I first arrived at the pub I got chatting to the manager and told him about one of his customers who had been dining with two elderly friends or family and who had just walked out of the door close to where I was sitting. The guy himself was in his sixties and looked a little ‘doddery’ as they say and he had given me a quick glance as he left. I never forget a face, I might forget a name and often do but never a face. I remembered this guy though, he had been a colleague of mine at a place I had worked for many years prior to my going self-employed over fifteen years ago. He didn’t recognise me! I wonder why? LOL

Shirley Anne

Posted in Enjoyment, Health, People, Rest and relaxation | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off

Wonderful ways

Posted by Shirley Anne on November 14, 2012

'S Wonderful (album)

‘S Wonderful (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a believer in God I understand that certain things in life happen because God has ordained it. On Friday I asked E if she would like to dine out and of course she said yes, although I have known her to refuse the offer once or twice. As usual she asked where I might like to dine out and as usual I left the decision to her. We left home around one o’clock in the afternoon and drove some fifteen miles before arriving at our destination, one of several places where we like to dine. We choose to eat out after the rush is over, after the time when most folk eat out, that is after one-thirty to two o’clock so when we arrived there were not many people in the place, just what we like because we can pick and choose where we sit. We chose to sit next to another couple who were part through their meal although we could have selected anywhere as the place was quite empty. It wasn’t until we had eaten our dessert that we actually made contact with our fellow diners and then we discovered something in common between us. They were both retired people, she a retired clerk who had worked as a receptionist for a doctor’s surgery and he a retired policeman. Our eldest son is a policeman. We engaged in conversation for a short while and then they had to leave. We had been sitting in the lower level of the two-tier layout of the pub/restaurant and another couple, seemingly man and wife although we didn’t ask, sat down in the upper level just as we had finished our meal and were finishing our drinks. We hit it off together immediately, laughing and joking and generally having a good time together. They were like two soul mates and so easy to get along with and it was a shame that we had to leave to drive home. Whilst I was visiting the toilet before going home E had left the premises and was waiting outside in the car for me to emerge but I made a detour back into the dining room to bid farewell to our new-found friends. I learnt their names, funny how you can speak for ages without formal introductions, gave them a big hug and made arrangements to meet up again by leaving them with one of my business cards. I do hope they will contact us, it would be nice to see them again. Not often in life do we get the chance to meet genuine people so when that happens it is good to pursue it. I will keep you posted on what develops, if anything.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Dining out, Enjoyment, Friendship, People, Socialising | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Dining out

Posted by Shirley Anne on October 10, 2012

All You Can Eat sushi

All You Can Eat sushi (Photo credit: Malingering)

Last week E and I dined out again for the first time in over six months. On Monday we dined out again. We hadn’t been exactly on speaking terms for a while and whilst there are still issues I couldn’t let those spoilt our otherwise good relationship any longer. I still hope they can be resolved. It can be expensive dining out or it can be quite inexpensive depending on where we eat. If we go to a carvery the meals themselves are reasonably inexpensive but if we go to a restaurant of course it can cost far more. Generally speaking we spend, or rather I spend, anything between £30 to almost £50 depending on whether I buy a bottle of wine or not. Even so the drinks can be expensive especially some of the soft drinks we sometimes buy. At these prices we can only dine out once a week but occasionally we do so twice, it all depends on how much work I get or if I decide not to save as much each month. Tomorrow will be E’s birthday and we may go out for an evening meal to mark the occasion as opposed to the many day excursions we normally take when dining out. It is nice to be able to afford eating out at least sometimes, eating at home is far cheaper but not as much fun. Well we’ve got to spend the money on something, it’s no use it lying around in a bank!

Shirley Anne

Posted in Enjoyment, Relationships | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Busy week

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 30, 2012

English: A remote control for an automatic gar...

English: A remote control for an automatic garage door opener – showing the outer case and inner circuit. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week saw me gainfully employed doing something every day, work, rest and play! I was kept rather busy at work especially which has come at just the right time, not that I am desperate for money, I am not but rather than having to dip into my savings I found myself with the cash to fund the various projects I had planned at home. Those things are now catered for as well as getting E’s car back on the road. E and I actually dined out together for the first time in six months on Wednesday and had a thoroughly good time. We are now closer than we’ve been during the last six months. Some things need to change yet though before I can say we are back totally to where we were six months ago. It is good however that we are talking once again.
Two weeks ago tomorrow we had the roller door fitted to the new garage and E has enjoyed the fact that her car can rest securely overnight and out of the weather too. A thought came into her mind regarding the use of the garage when it is dark. There is a floodlight over the garage that is controlled by a motion detector but it doesn’t illuminate the inside of the garage which remains pitch-black unless the internal light is switched on and therein lies the problem. She can operate the roller door by remote control from her car but would have to get out of the car to switch on the light. I needed to come up with a system that switches on the internal light when the door is opened but only during the hours of darkness. I had the necessary components to construct a control box. I bought a proximity switch for the door and a photo cell detector to monitor the ambient light conditions and I constructed the control box on Friday morning. I plan to complete the installation today, Sunday. As the door reaches it’s fully open position it will operate a switch which in turn operates a relay. A switch on the relay is wired in series with the photo cell switch and on to the fluorescent light inside the garage. Both switches must be closed for the light to work so although the door may be fully open and operating the relay the light will remain off if it is still daylight. The light naturally has a manually operated wall switch too for use when the door is closed. This is a two-way switch that enables the supply to the light to come from a manual operation or the automatic operation but only one or the other. This is to prevent the light being accidentally left on manually. It all sounds complicated but in real terms it is quite simple. Well it will keep me out of mischief for a few hours whilst I am installing it all! Here endeth the electrical lesson for today… LOL.
I spent a few hours in the pub on Friday afternoon and evening and met up with quite a few people, some new to me and some well-known. I didn’t much feel like going to bed early and ended up staying up far too long consequently I didn’t get out of bed until a little later than I would normally do on a Saturday morning so I decided to forego my early morning session on the treadmill. I decided to take that exercise later in the evening last night instead. Now am I fit for work or fit to drop? Well after that exercise I had a good night’s sleep and am rearing to go as they say.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Activity, Cars, DIY, Electrical, Enjoyment, Exercise, Leisure, Recreation, Relationships, Rest and relaxation, Socialising, Work | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

I’m getting the hang of it now.

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 8, 2012

English: Bicycle sharrows (shared-lane marking...

English: Bicycle sharrows (shared-lane markings) on Harbord Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Sharrows are placed in a travel lane to remind all road users that a bicyclist may use the full lane. They differ from bike lanes as there is no separate lane set aside for cyclists. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It had been quite a few years since I rode a bicycle when I bought myself a brand new one almost three weeks ago but as they say it’s one of those things you never forget how to do, like swimming for instance. The bike itself cost around £190 but I bought a few other things at the time which boosted it up to £220. I have enjoyed quite a few hours on it so far and have ridden some eighty or so miles in the various short outings I’ve been on. That brings the cost per mile to £2.75  but knowing me it will be 2.75 pence before too long. That’s the beauty of it. Hopefully I shall be able to ride it for a few years yet. One thing I noticed, or rather was reminded of, is just how dangerous riding on our roads has become for cyclists. As a road user and used to driving the many vehicles I’ve had, I was always careful when passing cyclists. I still am of course but it is good to be able to feel what it is like as a cyclist for a change. I have to say that some drivers are not careful enough when passing cyclists and often drive past far too quickly and far too close! I have experienced this on my recent trips out. When I first  got back on the bike I was naturally a little unsteady so I stuck to riding in the side roads and on the pavements where I had to for safety’s sake! I am now at that stage, or near it, when I ceased riding a bike a few years ago. I still have my old bike and it is very good condition. The tyres need attention but only so far as they need pumping up with air. The bike looks as good as my new one. The reason I bought another is to do with gender. The old bike is designed for male riders. The weather at home has been quite wonderful lately, excellent for riding a bicycle and I have taken full advantage of it. It is especially nice riding along the sea wall and frontage and taking in the scenery and the fresh salt air. I am beginning to feel the benefit of having another avenue for exercising. The only problem with riding is its dependence on fair or reasonable weather, for the average cyclist that is, no-one but the ardent cyclist wants to go out in the pouring rain or when it is very windy and certainly not if it is icy too! I will probably revert to walking (which I still do of course) when the weather gets too bad, something I don’t mind doing as long as I am dressed for the part! Of course I can use the treadmill too or even go out running if I am that way inclined. No, I think the days of street running are long past but you never know, I do crazy things sometimes.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Activity, Cycling, Enjoyment, Exercise, Fun, Lifestyle, Sport, Well-being | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

A different day

Posted by Shirley Anne on August 13, 2012

On Saturday I had plans. I was to get up early, which I did incidentally, and then I was to have a session on my treadmill. After this a trip to ‘Halfords‘ to buy myself a bicycle. Before my transition, ten years ago now, I used to do a lot of cycling as well as running and I still have the old bike in my garage. However that bicycle was designed for a man to ride and I wanted one suitable for a woman. I fulfilled my plans. I did my session on the treadmill, after bathing and dressing I had my breakfast then headed out in my van to the shopping centre two miles out-of-town. I went directly to ‘Halfords’ and browsed the bicycles they had on display and it didn’t take me long to decide on the model I wanted, very feminine in pink! I chose a road machine with full suspension on both front and rear, essential if one wants a comfortable ride! I then browsed for accessories and left everything in the hands of the salesman who arranged to have all the accessories fitted and for the bicycle to be ready for the road. I paid for everything in cash and with all the discounts they had it all came to just less than £220, about the price I had in mind. Whilst they were fitting all the accessories and getting the bicycle ready for the road I meandered to another store in the same shopping arena just to browse around and kill some time. This other store sells all sorts of things for the home and readers in the UK will know it as ‘Homebase‘. They have a corner in the store where they display discounted goods and I found myself looking at an aluminium two-piece extension ladder giving a possible reach of  over 5 metres and on sale for £50, about half of what it would sell for normally. I have quite a few ladders at home, one giving a reach of over 10 metres, one a folding ladder giving a reach of around 5 or 6 metres but made of steel and rather heavy to move about and of course a couple of step-ladders one giving a reach of around 4, maybe 5 metres and the other around 3 or 4. This particular ladder would be very useful in my capacity as an electrician so I bought it. I know I am cutting down on my electrical work but there have been many incidents where a ladder of this type and size would have been very handy indeed. At the end of the day, when I finally retire from my electrical work, the ladder will still be useful to have around the house. I will be able to offset the cost by claiming it as a business expense so I shan’t be taxed on its cost. I returned to Halfords to collect my new bicycle which just happened to fit in the van. I had removed the small step-ladder I carry inside the van in advance. The larger step-ladder together with the now new extension ladder are kept permanently on the van’s roof-rack. I drove back home for a small late lunch and then took my new bicycle out for a test run. A test run? I ended up doing around 6 or 7 miles, riding along the seafront and returning the same way. I now realise just how much I missed cycling. It is such a lovely way to both exercise and to get out in the fresh air. When I returned home a couple of hours later E was working in the rear garden but I sat out in the patio finishing off the bottle of red wine I’d opened a couple of days ago. Well it had to be drunk else it might have gone ‘off’! Actually I use a vacuum pump on unfinished wine so that it can be kept for a day or two without it going ‘off’. So all in all it was a very different but very enjoyable day. Here is the bicycle….I didn’t think you’d be interested in the ladder!

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shirley Anne

Posted in Activity, Enjoyment, Exercise, Happiness, Health, Interests, Lifestyle, Shopping, Sport | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Opportunity taken on three counts

Posted by Shirley Anne on August 11, 2012

The weather turned really fine on Wednesday and hopefully by the time you read this it will have remained so. It was forecast to be nice through to the weekend anyhow. I had no work scheduled for Wednesday so I arose a little later than usual but still before 8 o’clock. After a toilet visit, a quick wash and my prayer session I got dressed in my new running kit and went downstairs. Before I did anything else I had to put out the bins for emptying and recycling then I went into the cellar for some time on the treadmill. I suppose I could have pounded the streets but I tend not to do that these days.   Anyhow I spent around 30 minutes building up a sweat and losing lots of calories in the process and afterward cooling off in the rear garden, then it was back indoors to have a bath and wash some clothes. I wasn’t hungry but I had it in mind to have a fast day anyway so I turned my thoughts to something other than food. I eventually came back downstairs dressed in some of my nice summer clothes, the sort you don’t want to be wearing in the job I do! I had no intentions of working that day in any case. I spent some time on the computer before heading off out with no particular place in mind to go. That was around 12.15. I still wasn’t hungry. I headed down to the seafront and walked at a fair pace for about two miles and then started back home via the towns promenade which isn’t as you might think on the seafront, it is on the town side of the small lakes which separate it from the seafront. As I got toward the busy part of the seafront there were many people on the beach, with their cars, dogs and children if they had any, all doing what people do on a lovely sunny day at the beach. Many were sitting on the sea wall which runs alongside the beach separating it from the coastal road. there were people on bicycles and skateboards and a few, like me, just walking. As I got further along the front and away from the busiest part there were few people about. Coming back along the Promenade I began to see much more people about and although I didn’t walk into the main shopping area along Lord Street I knew it must have been full of people enjoying their day. Even on ‘bad’ days Lord Street has many visitors. I carried along the Prom watching the children playing on the lawns, their parents quietly sitting in the sunshine eating fish and chips or sandwiches, some licking on a soft ice-cream. A typical day at the seaside which I have seen so many times in my life. By the time I had reached the far end of the Prom there were fewer people to be seen. I walked back toward home along Rotten Row, alongside of which is Victoria Park where each year they hold the Southport Flower Show and I could see much activity in there. Temporary gardens were under construction ready for viewing  later in the month. Rotten Row has been a popular road for floral displays all year round since Victorian days with each side of its half-mile length filled with flowers and shrubs of all kinds. Over the last few years however only one side maintains a floral display. I suppose that is due to the financial cut-backs. A notice announcing the forthcoming Air Show on the 8th and 9th of September reminded me that soon it will start to become cooler, although this summer hasn’t been what you might call ‘blazingly hot’. Time marches on regardless. Whenever I go out walking I see the signs of annual repetition on display everywhere. Nothing ever seems to change, a bit like the old song in ‘Fiddler on the Roof‘, sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset, swiftly flow the years, one season following the other……and so on. I get bored with that sort of thing, everything run by the calendar, nothing ever spontaneous or just done for the sheer fun of it. Many people don’t look at life that way but if they just stood back and took stock they would see how very much regimented their lives are. I think that as we get older we begin to either simply go with the flow, one thing then the next, all predictable, or we rebel and just go off at a tangent and do things on a whim. One of the reasons I don’t visit my local pub for weeks on end is the monotony of it all, same people doing the same things every time they go there, regularly!  So on Wednesday everything changed for me, nothing was routine. I exercised on the treadmill for a couple of miles, I went for a five-mile walk in the fresh air and ate nothing all day. When I returned home I took a couple of photographs of the plants growing behind the wall in the front garden. Click on the images to enlarge them.

Thursday? Well that was another day………

Shirley Anne

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On days like these

Posted by Shirley Anne on June 25, 2012

English: West Sothers Burn The burn flows over...

English: West Sothers Burn The burn flows over the cliff, but on windy days it blows straight back up again! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Friday began with rain. The previous night the first signs of wet weather appeared but it must have been after midnight when things made a turn for the worse. It was a windy day too, very windy. The rain came down in torrents although at times it appeared to be travelling horizontally! The poor trees were taking a battering but they are more suited to bear most of nature’s tantrums whereas I am not. Oh I don’t mind the rain and the cold as I have pointed out many times but the wind? I hate the wind once it gets beyond a slight breeze. Well on Friday we experienced wind speed of more than 22mph according to the weather forecasters but with gusts of up to 60mph! Crikey, and here’s me thinking it was the beginning of Summer! In previous posts I was waiting in anticipation that the month of June might be as it used to be many years ago, ‘flaming’, but no chance. Apart from the odd hot day the month has turned out dreadful as far as dry heat is concerned. It has tended to be more wet and cool, if not cold at times. It is on days like these I appreciate the coziness of a warm house. The double glazing is certainly worth the cost of installing it. Nevertheless I like to be out of the house when I can and I wasn’t about to let the weather prevent me from doing so. It is just as warm and cozy in the pub too but I didn’t walk there, that’s what cabs are for!

Shirley Anne

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I love writing

Posted by Shirley Anne on June 13, 2012

Writing

Writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For some years now I have enjoyed the writing experience. It all started around 1970 when I first began to socialize and mix with people. I had been employed since 1962 and my work took up most of my life. I preferred working to socialising so my main contacts were with those I met in the course of my work. I shied away from making friends, always preferring my own company but eventually I stopped being a recluse and ventured out into the world. My experiences prompted me to write poetry and I became a prolific writer of love poems and poems about those I had met. None of these poems are on this site, yet that is. Being of a personal nature I have been reluctant to publish most of them. Many were written about and for my future marriage partner E, who is now my ex-partner. The words contained in those poems still apply though. I cannot stop loving the person just because  we are divorced. I attempted to write short stories over the years but failed miserably. I am not really a writer of prose. My writing these days is confined to my blogs although there is a short story in my pages above. I have added a couple more pages dedicated to my poems and songs but have yet to copy into them from my written compositions. I get tired of typing them on my computer but hopefully I will make some progress on that score soon. The reason I have added more pages rather than just adding poems to the existing pages is simply to keep the pages reasonably short in length. I may fail in that respect as I don’t want too many pages in the space above. When I first started writing this blog’s posts they were very short in length but as time went by and I gained more experience they became progressively longer. Even so I don’t like writing too much in my posts because I don’t wish to bore my readers with very long posts. I tend to write between 300 and 500 words but that is sometimes excelled on occasion. At the end of this sentence I have already reached 370 words for instance. Now I have said that someone will probably count them all! Even I didn’t do that, it is done automatically by WordPress. I find that writing is very relaxing and it keeps my mind active too trying to think of what to say, although most of the time the words just flow out. As I am writing one thing down the next sentence is already forming in my thoughts. In other words writing becomes easier the more I do it! Now I am up to 456 words. The hardest thing when writing is having something to write about and when I look back in the blog’s archives I am amazed at the variety of subjects I have touched upon these last couple of years. I had thought it more difficult sometimes to have only one subject to write about, as in my other blog but I have found the opposite to be true, at least for the subject matter over there. It is up to you if wish to take a look. I dedicated the other blog to be a witness for God. Here I write about anything that comes to mind or events that happen in my life. The main thing is I enjoy it all and hope that my readers get something out of what I write. Now I have come past the point where I should be closing the post as it is beginning to get too long. I could go on but I’ll spare you all that. The post has reached 635 words.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Enjoyment, Writing | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

The treadmill or running for life

Posted by Shirley Anne on June 10, 2012

English: Sand Dunes and Beach, Freshfield. San...

English: Sand Dunes and Beach, Freshfield. Sand dunes and the beach at Freshfield. Blackpool tower and the Big One rollercoaster could clearly be seen from the top of this high sand dune on this day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This past week I have been using my treadmill several times, far more than I usually have done and it has become somewhat of a drug for me, just as when I used to go running early in the mornings. Rain didn’t keep me indoors and neither did anything else except deep snow and solid ice, too dangerous to slip upon. Having the treadmill at home is a definite advantage, especially if the weather is really bad but it is great to know that I can pop downstairs anytime for a session of exercise without worrying what the weather is like. Of course at this time of year the weather is irrelevant if going for a run outdoors. I find life a bit of a treadmill experience at times, same old thing day in and day out with little excursions for socialising breaking the monotony. Even the things I like doing sometimes become a chore and I have to get away from them, a bit like not wanting to go to the pub for instance, a regular thing with me at times. When I am on the machine I have nothing else to do aside from the walking or running and it gives me uninterrupted time for thinking, one of the reasons I liked going for a run outdoors. I remember some of the runs I did when living in my previous house. About two hundred metres or so up the road from my house and I was in the pine woods (red squirrel reserve) beyond which lay the sand dunes and then the beach. It was a particularly great place to live. Now I live but eight miles further north where the sand dunes are about three-quarters of a mile by road from my house (about a half mile as the crow flies) with the beach just beyond. There are no pine woods though, they are five miles away toward where I used to live along the coast. I remember especially the cold winter mornings with clear skies and stars shining brightly overhead and I would be out running at two-thirty to three o’clock along the pathways through the woods and down on to the beach. Very eerie but very beautiful too, not a sound except from the occasional hoot of an owl or the weird yelp of a fox or two in the distance, or maybe close-up. I wouldn’t have been able to tell anyway in the dark! You don’t get that on a treadmill, you only have the advantage of not having to leave the house to do a spot of running. I run for pleasure and I run for the exercise, I run for life, a better one hopefully by staying as healthy as I can as long as I am able. Throughout my life I have been an active person. My work also keeps me on my toes sometimes, not as much as it once did but still it keeps me active, climbing ladders and stairs and generally keeping moving. So whether on my treadmill or  elsewhere I continue to run for life.

This is the area where I used to live and run, https://maps.google.com/maps?ll=53.5628,-3.0702&spn=0.1,0.1&q=53.5628,-3.0702+(Freshfield)&t=h (Look for Dunes Drive nearer the woods and follow into Blundell Avenue into the woods. At the end of Blundell avenue just before it turns to the left there is a track which carries on straight and down through the sand dunes to the beach and another track in the same place which goes to the right and into the woods, although you are able to turn into the woods anywhere along on the right)

Shirley Anne

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Glass eyes and hind legs

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 27, 2012

List of mills owned by the Lancashire Cotton C...

List of mills owned by the Lancashire Cotton Corporation Limited (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Thursday I had a couple of jobs to do for an old lady but she had requested that I should arrive no earlier than 11 o’clock. For me that is usually a bit of a pain as I would have to sit around doing nothing for a couple of hours unless I was fortunate to have a small job locally to kill the time. People don’t realise the inconvenience that can cause. I could have been earning instead of sitting around but as it turned out I didn’t have any other work scheduled for the day. I had to return to a job I had done on Wednesday to receive payment as the client had been away from home whilst I was working there. Following that I had to get fuel for my vehicle and then visit my supplier to purchase some materials so that left me with a half hour to kill before I could go to the job. When I arrived I was greeted at the front door and then it started. She talked continuously until she realised that I needed to get on with the jobs. Even then she found it difficult not to speak but I found her little talks quite interesting nevertheless. I managed to do three of the four jobs for her but needed to purchase a replacement bathroom heater. I invited her to come along with me and she could select one of her choice and pay for it at the same time. We returned home and I had the new heater fitted in fifteen minutes. I ended up leaving the house after four and a half hours but the actual work only took me about two! All she wanted was somebody to talk to but I didn’t mind too much. I learned a lot about herself, her family and the history of the local area, a subject I am particularly interested in. Whilst driving to and from the supplier I was given the run down of almost every building along the route, what used to be there, who lived there and what businesses were in operation when she was younger. She was 82 years of age so she was describing what life was like in the area in the 1930’s. She could certainly talk a glass eye to sleep or talk the hind legs off a donkey as the sayings go! She was an accomplished keyboard player and had an electric organ at home, she was also an accomplished artist and many of her pictures were dotted around the walls. She also had an old wooden spinning machine on which she spun yarn for her embroidery, knitting and tat work. What was interesting is that she had spun a lot of yarn using dog hair!

Despite her reluctance to refrain from telling me every detail of her life I found her very engaging but by the time I wanted to go home I needed to go home! I took the rest of the afternoon off and went to the pub. I  treated myself to a hearty meal and stayed there for the quiz later in the evening.

Shirley Anne

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A lovely day

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 15, 2012

It was such a lovely day yesterday I went for a walk. I had telephoned my chemist to see if my prescription was ready for collection and it was. I telephone them whenever I need to apply for my prescription to be re-submitted to my doctor’s surgery and they do it for me. They would also deliver my medications to my house but in that case I would need to remain at home. They won’t simply post them through the letterbox as they need to be sure they go to the right person. I get twelve weeks supply each time. The medication I am referring to are my hormone tablets, something I have to take for the rest of my life. So off I went on my walk collecting my prescription on the way. It has been quite some time since I went out simply for a walk, I suppose I have been too busy. The forecast had been blustery winds and some heavy rain showers but I think the rain must have already passed because it was sunny with just a few clouds. The wind was there though! If it is windy I tie my hair back in a pony-tail else it gets all over the place. My workload has dropped off dramatically this past week although I did receive two requests to do a small job, however those ‘small’ jobs, I discovered after talking to the callers, weren’t small in the least so I turned them both down. I have reached that point in my working life whereby I set myself a limit on what I will do and I can choose which work I will take on board. Well after all I am over 66 years of age! I need to do more walking and perhaps less work, especially on nice days such as this. It is such a lovely day.

Shirley Anne

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Life goes on no matter what

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 9, 2012

Saturday with Friends and Family  028

Saturday with Friends and Family 028 (Photo credit: -DjD-)

My life has had its ups and downs recently I suppose just like everyone else. No matter what happens in life though life itself just continues. I watched my football team lose in the final of the FA Cup on Saturday and I know that will have upset many people although I am sure many others will be pleased with the outcome. Many more people will be indifferent in their attitude just as I am with some other sporting events. Whatever happens outside of my life has no effect on the way I live it. Teams lose and teams win but they can’t do both all of the time and unfortunately some people cannot see that. Neither can they see that teams are constantly changing so that every version is different from previous ones. Not so with life though, we can only play that game with the one and only player, ourselves. Our tactics might change but that may not make any difference to what happens to us. I am spending a lot more time at the pub lately. That in itself is nothing new but I have times when pub life is of no interest to me and I stay away for weeks, sometimes even months! In my youth I was never one for going to the pub. I was 25 years old before I started going on a regular basis which became less frequent when I got married until I finally stopped going at all. When my marriage broke down and I pursued my lifelong ambition to transition I began once more to visit bars and clubs for about three or four years but again stopped going once I’d transitioned. It was in 2004, two years later that I started going to my local pubs but I found I liked only one of them, the one I now usually visit. At first I would go there, as well as other places in my town, about three or four times a week. More recently I only visit my local pub but as I said I may go a couple of times a week, even three times but often don’t bother for weeks. It all depends on whatever else I am doing and with whom. Very few things hold my interest as much as being in the company of others and doing things with them. That wasn’t always so in my life, especially earlier in my life when I was completely the opposite and totally anti-social. Life went on all around me just the same, the only difference was that I wasn’t on the same wagon. A couple of posts ago I was talking about my drinking habits and one of my readers asked jokingly ‘How many points is that?’ to which I replied ‘Who’s counting?’. Although I take such things lightly I am aware that I need to balance my intake with the way I want to live my life and not to overindulge. That said, life would go on without me no matter what my decision. The question is, do I want to be part of it or just sit on the sidelines and let it all pass me by? I think I know which I prefer.

Shirley Anne

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Yet another day

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 6, 2012

The interior of a typical English pub, in this...

The interior of a typical English pub, in this case the Penruddocke Arms, which lies between Dinton and Wilton in Wiltshire. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Thursday I hadn’t much to do in the afternoon so I went for a walk and on to the pub for a quiet time. So my surprise the pub was filled with people who were gathered together at a wake. This has been the second time such an event has been celebrated in the pub in the last two weeks. Everyone was dressed in black for the occasion and I was too, although that had been a pure coincidence. I can never understand why people think they must wear black to a funeral. The tradition actually isn’t all that old but people do things, they say, out of respect for the dead. Why do they say that? What difference does it make as to the colour of your clothes? If people were really being honest with themselves they would know that it is more the fear of what others will say if they don’t conform. How stupid is that? Just think about it. The deceased has no say in the matter but most probably would think it better to be alive rather than worry about what people are wearing if they had the chance! I sat alone with my red wine and diet cola and simply had a relaxing couple of hours. As the afternoon wore on into the evening I decided I wanted to return home. Feeling a little hungry I grabbed a snack, called a cab and went back to the pub about an hour later to join in with friends for the weekly quiz night. I am so glad I did, I had a great time. I left rather late but well before closing time. I had a job to do in the morning and needed to get to bed. That job turned into three jobs in three different places throughout the day. That’s the way it goes for me sometimes but I like it! Wandering into the pub when people are holding a wake really brings it home for me. Life is so short and we have to make the most of it whilst we are able.

Shirley Anne

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