Merry Christmas From Southport Christmas lights hang unlit on a quiet Sunday morning in December (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We have endured many days of rain and high winds lately but on Sunday morning it was bright and sunny, hardly any wind and no rain either. I had a restless night with little sleep because I had done very little during the preceding days and simply wasn’t tired enough. That meant I was awake early, around five-thirty but I didn’t arise until another half-hour had passed. I had breakfast around seven and around eight I decided to go for a walk into town. Usually the streets are fairly empty at that time, especially on a Sunday and this Sunday was no exception yet there were a few people about in the centre at least, hardly anyone in the approaching streets. It was quite cold though and I could feel a frost in the air though none was on the ground. It was probably five or six degrees (Celsius of course) and according to the forecast for the day it would reach twelve. I was well wrapped up so it didn’t matter. It would be busy in the town later for many of the shops there would be open. For me Sunday is The Lord’s day, a day of rest from work and I think only those who have to work on the day should do. Alas, the country has turned away from its Christian heritage allowing secular ideology to take over. According to Scripture countries who turn their backs to God will no longer prosper but try telling the masses that! No-one wants to listen. Anyway my walk took me through the shopping areas where one or two coffee houses had just opened their doors but I wasn’t tempted to go in to any of them. A voice called out ‘Good morning Shirley Anne’ and I turned to see who it was. It was a man named Archie, someone who I know who often visits my local pub with his wife, Ann. He was off to the gym for some exercise and then a swim in their pool. During the summer months I often see him out running. He would be around sixty-something years of age I guess. I carried along with my walk and nearer to home on my return I was approaching a woman taking her dog for a walk but didn’t make eye-contact with her as she drew closer. I didn’t want the dog sniffing around my legs as dogs do, especially if encouraged. I was about to walk past her when she said ‘Hello Shirley Anne’. I stopped and looked but I didn’t recognise her and she continued ‘Don’t you recognise me……from the pub……we met there a few times?’. I apologised for not remembering and even now as I write this I am finding it difficult to remember more about our meetings though I did recognise her once we started talking. Sometimes it is awkward opening conversations with people, even if you know them, when you are taken by surprise. She asked how I was doing and did I have a nice Christmas. I tell people the truth, yes I am well but no I didn’t enjoy Christmas for I don’t celebrate it in the way she was inferring. Many years ago it happened that I was not invited to family gatherings once they knew of my transition yet those closest to me were. I had no support from them and they continued to go to these gatherings which meant my Christmases since have been spent alone. In more recent years I made the decision not to celebrate Christmas but for Scriptural reasons to do with my faith. Now I suppose that will be the excuse for not receiving invitations even if that is not the real reason. Once the festivities are over I am expected to react to my family as if their treatment toward me was anything but favourable. I love my family and would do anything for them. Sometimes I wonder if it is appreciated. So I arrived home after my walk beginning to feel tired but wanting to go out again as it turned out to be a beautiful sunny day. What I do know is this will be my last Sunday walk of the year………..roll on 2016.
On Saturday evening E went off somewhere all dressed up, not that she ever dresses in finery but she was dressed for socialising and not in her everyday clothes. She arrived back home around eleven-thirty and I was in bed. I didn’t see her on Sunday morning as it was around ten-thirty by the time I got downstairs. I found the note she had left on the kitchen table telling me that she hadn’t been able to close down the garage door after putting the car away. The door is a roller-shutter type, shown on the right. She wasn’t around for she had gone out again and for the day I was to learn later. I knew immediately what had happened with the garage door. It had become jammed when it was opened and then unwound itself as she attempted to close it. Well thanks very much I thought. She gone off somewhere gallivanting whilst I had to attend to the garage door. I didn’t mind really, after all she wouldn’t have a clue how to fix it whereas I might be able to. I skipped having anything to eat, got the ladder and toolbox from my van and set about attempting to repair the door. First of all I isolated the electrical supply then pulled out the lever which mechanically disconnects the motor from the door mechanism, something akin to using the clutch to disconnect a car’s engine from the drive wheels but in this case it is permanent as long as the lever remains fixed in position. This enabled me to pull down the door until it reached the floor which was surprisingly easy once it had been unstuck. I was then able to re-engage the motor by operating the mechanical lever and test it electrically once the power had been switched on. I found that the door rolled up but wouldn’t stop at its predetermined position and then jammed itself in place. If I set it to close it would simply unwind but not drop down. The solution was to reset the limit of upward travel and therein lay the problem, for me at least. I removed the cover on the control panel to see if there was a way to make an adjustment but nothing was obvious even though there are adjustment screws on the electronic panel. Without the electrical diagram I would be groping in the dark so I was forced to leave it and call out the guy who installed and looks after our garage doors. If I am at home when he calls I shall be able to ask how the adjustment is made and will then be able to do it myself if I am that way inclined. Getting him to call is the problem as he is usually very busy. In the meantime I have instructed E to stand with the door as she opens it and to interrupt its travel as it reaches a certain point so that it won’t over-travel and jam up again. Closing the door presents no problem. So for a few days she will have to put up with the inconvenience of getting out of the car if she’s been away from home so that she can watch the door and stop it. So that was my Sunday morning, my day off, my rest day. It is just as well that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath as it says in Scripture. I did nothing else all day but remained at home. I was experiencing some aches and pains in my back again though nothing like those I had been suffering with a couple of weeks ago. Just as I was about to have something to eat the front door bell rang and it was my eldest son. He doesn’t have a set of keys to the house and though we offered to give him some he refused. His younger brother has no such qualms, he has a set of keys. He had driven over in the hope that he could store some more of his belongings in our house. More than two of the rooms in our house are filled with his and his wife’s belongings whilst they are looking toward getting their own house. They presently live with their daughter at her parents house about three miles away. He didn’t stop long, he never does. As he left my eyes filled up and I felt so alone and lonely…………but that is another story for another day.
The job I started on Tuesday I managed to complete on my return on Thursday. The incorrectly installed kitchen power outlets were rewired and an extra one added too. The guy was very pleased with what I had done. Whilst there he engaged me with stories about his life and again had me in stitches laughing. I learned some sad things too, his poor relationship with his son who had essentially robbed him of many thousands of pounds. He had loaned the amount to him but his son absconded, refusing to pay him back or even to offer to do so. It left a bitterness that has kept them apart since. It is such a shame that families have problems like this. His wife died about six or seven years ago and the only company he now has is with a woman who lives about twenty miles or more distant from his house. The plan is to repair and decorate his house with a view to selling it and then move across the country to settle on the east coast, presumably with his lady friend. He retired about three years ago when he was seventy years of age. It is not really a good age to be uprooting to live somewhere else and I wish him the best in that. Speaking of families and their problems, I can very much relate to that for I have had a rough ride with mine at times, not with all in the family, just a few of them. I said to the guy that indeed it is written in Scripture that ‘a man’s (woman’s) enemies will be the members of his own household.’ (Matthew 10:35-37 in context). That of course is referring to the opposition one is faced with when they become Christians but I suppose it is often true in the secular household too! I had spent most of the morning at his house so by the time I had returned home it was time for lunch. Soon after I had returned, E did too. She had been out all morning at her friend’s house and had taken a suitcase filled with, I assume, prizes for their quiz games when they have them. I didn’t ask, in fact it has been almost three months now since we last spoke. She treats me badly at times and after the last episode I had just about had enough. I pray her attitude will change and she comes to her senses. That is family for you though isn’t it? They say a dog is a man’s (or woman’s) best friend for they don’t treat you like some people do but the dog shown here unfortunately lived in Rome when I was there eleven years ago! After lunch I received another job request and scheduled it for the next morning whilst E went to do the weekly shopping with her mom.
The Debt (2011 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A couple of weeks ago I posted something about my son’s car being sold. This car, a Lexus, was personally owned by him but as he now has use of a car provided by his employer he has no use for it. I say ‘was personally owned’ for on Friday he phoned us to say that he was coming over to arrange the sale of the car. He had been let down by the four would-be purchasers who each claimed they wanted the car but this time it looked as though someone was seriously interested. However when they arrived at our house to view the car they back-pedalled on the price after agreeing what they would pay. Sadly they left and I thought my son had again been let down. Whilst having a meal he asked us what we thought and I told him to accept the slightly reduced offer. A few minutes later the interested party returned and the deal was struck. He allowed them to drive the car away once the money had been transferred to his bank account. Over the years I have been very generous to my sons, bailing them out with ‘temporary’ cash loans but never accepting repayment from them. A month or so ago my youngest had not been paid his monthly salary and he needed a loan. I obliged as I usually do and he told me he would repay me once the car had been sold. There is an outstanding debt on the car which he will have to clear with some of the cash he received. I think he was expecting that I would take the repayment from him but I told him to forget the debt which I am sure he was relieved to hear. He works hard and I know he and his girlfriend are only just getting on their feet whilst paying off their debts. Things are slowly improving for them so I wouldn’t wish to make their lives more difficult. I am happy to help them, both of my sons, for I know how hard it is these days to get by. When I was their age life was much easier but nowadays things are not the same. The recession hasn’t helped those starting out on their own and I cannot see much of an improvement for some time yet. Now my son is just waiting for the cash transfer to clear, a couple of days is all it takes and then we can say the car has finally gone forever. His girlfriend has booked a week’s break for the two of them in Barcelona and by the time this is published they will already be there as the went on Sunday. I think it was by way of a treat for his birthday on the 10th.
Waiting for relief checks during Great depression. Calipatria, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Life is a waiting game. We spend many hours in our lives waiting for one thing or another to happen, We may not realise it but waiting promotes patience and patience promotes peace. We may not like having to wait for certain things but often we have no choice. Stuck in a line of traffic waiting for it to move can be infuriating especially if we have an appointment to keep but there is little we can do about that except start out on our journey earlier. Many think their urgency is the problem of others and get annoyed if the rest of us take little notice. Waiting for other people who might not be as reliable as ourselves as far as time-keeping is concerned can step up the anxiety in us unless we can remain at peace with it all. Those amongst us who seem to have no sense of urgency in their lives are our children. We have to keep on top of things and take control in some circumstances. Of course many children expect things to be done for them at home. It takes a disciplined heart to negotiate around that one. As they grow we expect more independence on their part and more responsibility for their own lives and by and large that is what happens. Once in a while they may return for help, perhaps some physical assistance with something or financial help to get them out of a problem or situation. I don’t remember ever having to rely on parental help once I flew the nest. Not so with my own children. It may be a sign of the times and probably is. Job prospects and salaries may not be as they once were when I started out in life. Both my sons have asked for financial assistance a couple of times, one more so than the other and I have obliged. What they both need, apart from better jobs, is a little spare cash for a rainy day. One of my sons is currently saving as much as he can for a deposit on a house so he will have such a pot of money to fall back on. The other son it seems hasn’t been able to save much and when something out of the blue happens he has to rely on my generosity. That has happened a few times over the last five years or so. It happened again on Saturday when I had to deposit some cash in his account to tide him over. The father of his boss has just died and for some reason that has affected my son’s salary getting paid on time. He hadn’t that financial cushion he should have by now. I encourage him to save something each month even if it is a small amount. Either his situation won’t allow a small amount of saving or he just doesn’t know how to save. Maybe he just spends too much. So I have been patiently waiting for better times in the lives of my children. It is a good thing that I save when I can isn’t it?
I had no electrical work to do on Friday. I had arisen reasonably early so after breakfast I thought I might carry out a repair on the smaller greenhouse where a panel had been partially blown out of the frame because of the recent high winds we had experienced. I had placed the green (garden waste) wheelie bin alongside the panel the previous evening after discovering the damage and in order to prevent further damage. The small greenhouse is fitted with plastic panels rather than glass. However it began to rain and the wind had picked up again before I got the opportunity to do anything so I decided just to leave it until the weather improved. I did other things indoors instead, like re-registering online with my main current account provider after they had finally sent me the new password and security details. Even so the process wasn’t at all easy and it took E and I a fair amount of time to do it. The bank’s security measures are certainly robust to the point of being over the top. At last I could do some online housekeeping and moving about of my spare funds after three weeks not being able to. Of all the good things about using the Internet, online banking is near the top of my list. We have certainly come a long way since the days of standing in a queue waiting for a teller. E mentioned that our eldest son would be paying us a visit just after lunch and had asked if I had an electric multimeter he could use whilst working on his car.
This image shows a digital multimeter. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have a few meters of course, what electrician hasn’t? We had just finished lunch when he arrived with his young three year-old daughter. He had wanted a meter in order to find a suitable supply for the newly installed ‘dash cam’ he had bought and fitted himself. I rendered my assistance whilst he successfully located a suitable supply. It took us some time to connect a couple of wires to the car’s fuseboard for it is located below the dashboard in the passenger foot well area. The supply had to be one that was switched on when the ignition was switched on so that the camera was not switched on permanently. Once the work was done he drove off to purchase a cigar lighter socket which would be connected to the two wires we had installed. The camera lead cable would plug into it out of view beneath the dashboard. There was no option but to connect the camera this way as there was a special voltage control circuit inside the camera’s lead plug which had to remain in circuit. Anyway everything worked in that the supply was at the camera when the ignition was switched on but unfortunately the camera itself wouldn’t automatically switch on, which is what it is supposed to do. It could be switched on manually at the camera and it would switch off when the ignition was switched off. It was by now getting dark and so we left the car and went indoors for an hour before he and his daughter left for home. E had been entertaining her granddaughter whilst we were working on the car but now it was my turn. We don’t get too many opportunities to see our granddaughter (who calls me Aunty Shirley) so it was nice to be able to spend some time with her. Our son will investigate why the camera doesn’t operate as it should and perhaps it is only a simple matter of programming the device. He will of course return the camera if it still refuses to work properly. The camera itself is very small and hides behind the interior rear-view mirror so effectively you wouldn’t know it was there. Once they had gone home E and I had to prepare the evening meal so the day had been spent doing something completely different from that which was planned.
Lancrigg Hotel, Christmas Day 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I didn’t get to see my eldest son on Christmas Day, or anyone else for that matter but he had been overdoing things and had stayed at home to rest. He had been working extra hours in his role as a policeman but I think he’d been busy at home too where he lives with his in-laws. By the time my youngest son had arrived home on Thursday night I was already in bed so I didn’t get to see him until Friday morning and then it was only for a relatively short time. He was off to see his girlfriend’s or should I say partner’s parents for an afternoon of festivities. When he did show his face he remarked that the shower in the upstairs bathroom wasn’t working properly. He said that the water pressure had dropped somewhat since his last visit. I checked it out and found nothing wrong. I knew I wouldn’t find a fault as I’d used the same shower an hour or so earlier. It was simply a general pressure drop in the water supply to the house but even so it was minimal. Pressure does vary a little when there is a great demand, that is normal. Actually the pressure was quite high when I turned the control to full flow but then of course its temperature dropped accordingly. He wanted high temperature as well as full-on pressure. What a shame. I told him there were other hotels in town and his reply was that ours was cheap! In fact it is free isn’t it? You just can’t please everyone. Who’d have children eh? After lunch E left the house too. She was visiting her mum again in order to see her nephews who apparently couldn’t be there on Christmas Day so there I was again, home alone. I didn’t go out into the garden to work this time though I could have done. No, I chose to enjoy the home comforts of my hotel instead!
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.
Spike is building his dream house peacefully, before Tom and Jerry bring about its inevitable destruction. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It was always going to be inevitable that having constructed an extra step in the boiler room at one entrance that I would turn my attention to the other entrance leading out to the garden. As I write this on Monday afternoon I have as yet not completed the first step, that is applying a screed over the rough concrete base. I plan to do it tomorrow, Tuesday instead. There is a reason for that which I will explain. I had every intention of completing the step on Monday morning but first I had to search the Internet for a suitable replacement battery for the Lexus car my youngest son is trying to sell. He has decided to sell it by auction but it has to be in working order. He is struggling a bit financially so I told him I would get the battery and pay for it myself. Having found a supplier who will deliver it inclusive of tax and postage for £88 I informed my son for his approval. Just now I am awaiting his reply but I expect it will be alright. The next thing was that E took a turn for the worst and she was struggling to get downstairs because a severe pain in her back almost incapacitated her completely. She is already suffering with the early stages of Spina-Biffida which itself makes moving about awkward at times but this added problem was making things impossible. She was experiencing breathing difficulty and had a tingling sensation in her left arm. She made an appointment to see her doctor and I drove her to the surgery. The doctor put her mind at ease by telling her that the complaint was not serious, unpleasant as it was and that her strange feeling in her arm was due to too much oxygen in the blood. I take it by that she had hyper-ventilated with the pain. Whilst I was waiting to take her to the surgery I collected her washing from upstairs and put it in the machine down in the cellar, then it was time to go. We were away for over forty minutes and by the time we had returned it was almost time for lunch. It was after two o’clock before I was available to start work at home so I decided against it and deferred starting my project until the next day hoping I would have the time to do it then. Whilst I was in the cellar with E we talked about carrying out alterations to the steps which lead out into the garden because they too are awkward to negotiate, especially for E. The main problem with the steps are that the risers are too deep, that is the depth of the steps were made too high in the first place. To correct the steps leading out to the garden will necessitate the construction of an extra step and the alteration of an existing one to make walking in and out much easier. It sounds complicated perhaps but is in fact simple to do. We had a similar problem at the rear of one of the garages we have whereby the steps were all different making walking over them a challenge at times. E and I bought the cement mixer when we decided enough was enough and set about altering them last year. See picture we took at the time…………………
So altering the internal steps will not be a problem. It is just setting and getting the time to do it as usual. I should have been a builder as well as an electrician! Strange as it may seem to some of my readers I actually love construction work, I always have and even if I say so myself, I am good at it. Nothing I ever made fell down afterward.
I had been out working on Monday morning and on my return E told me that she had received an email from my youngest brother, I talk about my brother in ‘My Journey‘ page above. He is the youngest of my four siblings, two boys and two girls, though of course none of us can be called that way now. I am the eldest, I have a brother about eleven months younger than myself and two sisters younger than he. As I recall the eldest of my brothers retired some time ago but I can not be sure about that as he doesn’t keep in touch. The same applies to my sisters who are both past what would be considered retirement age but they too don’t stay in touch so I cannot be sure if they are retired. E told me that my youngest brother had mentioned in his email that he is about to retire and evidently is looking forward to it. He had contacted her because he had forgotten her birthday date which was on the eleventh of this month and wanted to wish her a belated happy birthday I suppose but I guess he wanted to let her know about his forthcoming retirement too. I must therefore be the odd one out in my family who, by my own admission don’t really wish to retire, at least for the foreseeable future. I am often asked if and when I shall retire but the answer has always been that I have no intention of doing so. The usual reply is that I should continue as long as I am able and as long as I wish to, both of which are true. I wish my brother all the best for his retirement and my other siblings too if they have in fact done the same, it just isn’t for me at the moment. I suppose it is just as well for my youngest brother to stop work and take things a little easier since his unfortunate illness earlier in the year when he suffered a stroke. At least he will not have the same amount of pressure to face each day once he quits work. The title of this post would naturally apply in my brother’s case and maybe for my other siblings too but for me, I prefer the pressure, to a point that is. I find I work better under a little pressure. I am being more sensible about things nowadays and am declining many offers of work that I would normally have taken even recently. I am also refusing to be pressurised into accommodating people when I know I need the rest.
Photo taken near Liverpool One shopping centre, Liverpool, England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I took a trip into Liverpool again on Wednesday. This time I was meeting someone from afar who was visiting the city for an hour or so. I took the train as for me it is free if I travel in off-peak periods. As I was walking to the station I noticed someone heading toward me from the opposite direction and was wondering if it was my ex’s sister as she looked very much like her from a distance. She approached the road junction and turned left toward the village shopping area and I turned right heading to the station which is in the same area. She was on the other side of the road to myself and I lost sight of her in the short distance to the station, I hadn’t noticed that she was taking the train too and was standing on the platform when I arrived. She must have seen that it was me and said hello. I was taken by surprise for though I had thought it might have been her I wasn’t expecting that it was. Soon the train arrived and we accompanied each other for the twenty-mile journey. It was pleasant to sit and chat together for we don’t see much of each other these days even though she lives a mere three-quarters of a mile or less away from E and myself. Families are weird folk. I got off the train one stop before she did as she was going to the main shopping centre to exchange clothes and do more shopping. It would have been nice to go with her I suppose but I had other plans. Whilst on the train I received a request for my services as an electrician and noted down the details. I drove to the house later in the afternoon after my return home and made an assessment of the job arranging to do it the following morning. My friend and I had lunch together in a friendly little out-of-the-way restaurant/pub I had never been to before. I might take E there one day if she will come. Whilst on my way back home I walked through the city centre and dropped into the bank to deposit some cash I had brought out with me for that reason. Having spent out £5200 recently I have to start saving more when I can. At the end of my travels and finally back home for the day I went on-line in order to transfer the cash I’d deposited into another bank where I keep my savings. On opening my account to transfer the cash I saw that I had far more in the account than I should have, even with the deposit I’d made earlier. I ‘d received a deposit from my energy supplier to the tune of £423! What a nice surprise. I’d received £50 from them at the beginning of the month too. Obviously I had overpaid on my energy accounts and this was by way of a refund. The odd thing is that during the day I had received both an email and a written letter indicating that both my monthly energy payments would be increasing by £18 (electricity) and £40 (gas). I pay by direct debit. Wouldn’t it be easier to have used the refund to offset the proposed increases? Evidently not it seems, that would make sense! So I was able to transfer an extra £400 into my savings account. Now that was a very nice surprise. I left the £23 remaining from the refund in the current account. At the end of each month I transfer any unused cash into my savings account anyway but usually only in £50 or £100 amounts, anything less than £50 is left in the account until the end of the following month. This way I am certain of having a small contingency float for emergencies. So a pleasant day all round.
friendship – IMG_3604 (Photo credit: Nicola since 1972)
There aren’t too many things which capture my attention though I take an interest in many things. As far as my daily life is concerned many would think it rather boring and mundane and for them I suppose it is. Much of my time is spent working on one thing or another either at home or in someone else’s home. I like work because it gives me something to do but not only that it gives me something to do that is constructive and doesn’t simply waste time. I also enjoy the challenges that work often presents me with and the sense of achievement that cannot be experienced in other things. One thing I do enjoy now is socialising, meeting people and connecting with them. Once though, long ago in my life, I was a very unsociable person and reclusive, rejecting all advances by the invitations of others. I simply didn’t wish to know. Even at this time in my life I didn’t mix with my siblings though in fact they had all flown the nest bar one. I took this attitude to its extreme occasionally until one day I began to reach out and mix with people. I found it very easy to make friends and I made quite a few of them within months. I did see my siblings but only on rare occasions. All I had in my life were the few friends I had made though none of them ever became close. Once I was married I found those friends gradually falling away and I lost contact with them. Winding the clock many years onward and by the time I was divorced I had no friends at all. I hadn’t seen my family, that is my siblings, for a long time either so there was again no-one in my life. I made a second attempt at socialising and again made a few friends. I almost never see any of them now and I am back with no-one for companionship, that is except for my ex partner with whom I remained. I have found that our relationship has improved vastly and is as good as it ever was when we first met 42 years ago, though the form it takes now is different from what it was then. Without this relationship I have nothing. Yes, I do see my children from time to time but no-one else. I wonder why my friends drifted off and lost contact and though I have telephoned them I get no reply. I don’t expect to live in their pockets for they have their own lives to lead but the occasional contact would be nice if only to see how they are doing. Such is life, people are what they are but I know my life would be better with them in it.
English: Modern view of Manchester City Centre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On Friday morning just before noon I took E to collect the large hire van from the hire company across town and drove back home to park my own van in the garage. The people who run and own the hire company are known personally by us and we always use their company whenever we wish to hire a van. E was quite some time arriving home with the vehicle which as it happened was even larger than the one we hired a few weeks ago. We immediately set about loading it with the numerous boxes and pieces of furniture which belong to our youngest son and his girlfriend that we had stored in our house and garage whilst they were waiting to move into their own first home. They both work in and around Manchester so it was natural for them to buy a house there. We got most of it stored in the van but had to wait for them to arrive before we could load the heavier items such as the bed and one or two items of furniture. We were sitting having our lunch some time after two o’clock having loaded all that we were able to when they arrived at the door. They were surprised that we had in fact done most of the work already. I think it came as a bit of relief as they had been at work during the morning. Finally we set off toward Manchester some time after three but they first drove to her parents home in order to collect her car before following on behind us. We actually arrived at least a half hour before they eventually pulled up but whilst we were waiting for them we decided to do a spot of gardening by removing much of the overgrowth and weeds we found trying to engulf the small front garden. We filled their wheelie bin which had been empty when we first arrived. After a brief look around their new home we all set about unloading the van. It was a hot sunny day on Friday and it took its toll on us all to some degree. It was fast approaching 7 o’clock by the time everything was inside the house. During our little tour our son showed us the rear garden which at present is very much overgrown and somewhat neglected. It will take some time to get it organised. He showed us a large cabinet tucked away in the rear which he hadn’t opened beforehand and wasn’t quite sure what it was until I told him it was a storage box. We opened it to find a large spade, a large fork, a strimming machine and a lawnmower inside left there by the previous owner. That was an unexpected bonus! We didn’t stay long after we’d done the unloading but it was now after 7.30 and we had to get back home. We put some more fuel in the tank, not a lot, and drove homeward. On the way we talked about something to eat and I suggested we stop at one of our regular haunts which happened to be on the route. It had been some time since we dined out in the evening but to our surprise we found the place remarkably empty for a Friday evening, a time when many folk unwind after the week’s work. There were still quite a few people in there nevertheless. It was well after 10.30 when we got home. The two lounges we generally use now seem empty with all their furniture gone and as E said earlier, ‘I’ve got my garage back’! Their house has been well cared for by the previous owner and apart from some repairs to the brick wall at the rear of the property little is required to be done. It is one of those houses that can be lived in without having to do anything to decorate or improve it. The same cannot be said of the gardens though but given time I’m sure they will put that right.
Golf “Lessen” (Photo credit: JD Hancock)
During the last couple of weeks we have had The Women’s British Open Golf Championships being held at Royal Birkdale Golf Club, about a half-mile up the main road. The event is being sponsored by Ricoh, a Japanese multinational imaging and electronics company. I have to admit not knowing that until I checked them out on a search engine. Personally I don’t have much interest in golf but I do watch it in part on the television occasionally. Had I been an ardent follower I would be living in just the right place as in fact I am doing here on the west coast for there are many golf courses in the area, a golfer’s dream. Personally I would never go to an event to watch the game, especially if it was only for one day in a competition that lasts for several days. My eldest son it seems isn’t that fussy. I didn’t know he was interested in golf, though his wife may be but I think it was more of a casual visit to the event, this one day, rather than him wishing to go every day to see as much as he could. On Thursday morning he arrived with his wife at our house so that he could leave his car here all day. I had gone to work a half-hour before they arrived so didn’t see them. E ferried them up the road in her car and returned home. I was back home myself an hour later. I chose not to do any more work in the garden as the weather was too warm and I wanted a rest in any case as the following day, Friday, E and I were collecting a hire-van to transport our youngest son’s furniture up to his new house in Manchester, about 50 miles away. We would be kept busy loading and unloading for a couple of hours, pretty tiring work. Later in the afternoon, actually it was well after six o’clock, E collected our eldest son and his wife on her way back home from doing the shopping with her mum and they picked up their car and drove off home to her parents house about three miles away where they have been living for the past two years. Now we hardly ever see them but whenever we do they are always in a rush to go elsewhere or have an excuse to leave early and never stay long. This time they were alone as their little girl, our granddaughter, was being looked after by her nan so they could have stopped for a while to chat. It appears that they can find the time for watching golf all day long though. It is hard sometimes being a parent and being treated this way.
Outcast (video game) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It was such a lovely day yet again on Tuesday and E and I were to collect her new car at some point in the afternoon then drive off somewhere to dine. I had no electrical work to do and in any case would not have scheduled any for the whole day. As E so succinctly put it when she came down for breakfast and saw that I wasn’t dressed for work and said, ‘I see you have your ‘no intention’ gear on’. It’s a phrase I have often used in the past when I have no desire to do any work and dress accordingly. We hadn’t received a call from the dealership by noon so I suggested E call them to check. She was told that we could collect the car around 1.15 and we duly arrived shortly before then. After signing much paperwork and being shown the basic controls we finally were able to drive away leaving E’s old car standing on the forecourt to await its fate. We drove 15 miles to a restaurant/pub/motel in the village of Newburgh (pronounced Newburra), a place we have been to on a number of occasions previously. Not to our surprise the place was almost completely deserted, partly due to our late arrival at around three o’clock. The meal was as usual splendid and not expensive in the least considering we both had two courses and a drink each. We headed back home but when almost there E took a detour to see our eldest son who lives with his wife’s parents. E needed a few miles of driving to get used to the controls, not least of all the manual gearbox as her old car had a semi-automatic box. She soon got to grips with it though. There is an amazing array of gizmos built into this vehicle as standard equipment, things like a Sat-Nav, a hands-free system for the phone, remote controlled wing mirrors, refrigerated air-conditioning with a cool box to stow drinks or food in and many other handy features. We arrived at the house and E rang the doorbell whilst I remained seated in the car as she said she wouldn’t be long. E was let inside by our son’s father-in-law who looked towards myself sitting in the car but said absolutely nothing before closing the door. I waited for about a minute or so then E reappeared holding a couple of carrier bags containing some of our granddaughters toys, those she has grown out of. Our son came over but didn’t say much either and generally spoke with E about the car. Then his mother-in-law came out with our granddaughter but remained at a distance, neither wanting to come closer and I felt it was because I was present for I am sure they would have done had I not been there. Eventually our son went over and brought the little one over whilst his mother-in-law remained afar. I said hello to my granddaughter and she said something in return but continued to the rear of the car out of sight. She didn’t stay long and she returned indoors with her ‘nanna’. Her ‘grandpa’ made no effort to come and look at the car and he remained inside. Our son chatted for a few more minutes then went back inside too after we drove off homeward. Whilst driving home along the local coast road I spoke to E about the affair and told her that I had felt very uncomfortable whilst being at their house because I had been treated as if I had leprosy. Now I know this is an experience felt by many others who have transitioned and even those who haven’t but it still hurts to be treated the way I am. It is a sad state of affairs when my own granddaughter is a little apprehensive in approaching me. When this happened some time ago on one of our son’s rare and very short visits he explained that she simply didn’t know me enough to feel comfortable with me as she would if I were a complete stranger. I replied that is due to the fact that she is almost never allowed to visit for any length of time. Even E hardly gets to see her but does see her occasionally at the supermarket. I asked E how she would feel if she was given the same treatment as me and she had to admit she would feel hurt too. What I find especially hurtful is that my son, his wife and her parents are all supposed to be my brothers and sisters in Christ. How can they go to church and praise God with un-repented sin dwelling in their hearts? Whenever I think on such things I am reminded of these verses in Scripture:
You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: ‘“As surely as I live,” says the Lord, “Every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.”’ So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
I may be an outcast from my own family but the problem resides with them.
To my friends in America: Happy Independence Day!