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One Girl's Outlook On Life

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Posts Tagged ‘Family’

More demands in one way or another

Posted by Shirley Anne on March 4, 2014

Let's Tap

Let’s Tap (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In yesterday’s post I mentioned the problem my neighbour had been having with her kitchen mixer tap and the struggle I’d had effecting a repair which eventually was successful. I mentioned something about her dropping a hint regarding another minor fault that had apparently come to light since my last visit and asking if I could look at it. In yesterday’s post I was also taking about the demands upon my time and how reluctant I tend to be to refuse people’s requests. I didn’t drop everything to go next door and repair her tap but on Saturday morning I’d had a nice lie in bed for a change, something these days which is as rare as rocking horse manure! I was glad to miss out on breakfast and didn’t get downstairs until almost eleven o’clock! I had brought down some dirty clothing to be placed in the washing machine so I did that and then went into the garage to get out some tools and a tap washer and went next door to my neighbours’ house. The hot tap required a replacement washer but the leak was very minimal. Nevertheless I made an attempt at removing the tap assembly but found it impossible to unscrew from the main housing for a couple of reasons, one, it was stuck fast, probably with limescale and two, it was very awkward trying to get a spanner (wrench) to fit and be able to turn it to loosen the part. Usually a sharp tap with a hammer to break the seal is all that is required but it was impossible to position the spanner in such a way as to allow it. I might have been able to do it by removing the spout which had taken so much time and effort to refit on my previous visit. In essence she would be better calling in the services of a plumber who would probably remove the whole sink and draining board combination and fit a new tap, which is what I think ought to be done. She was happy that I at least made the attempt. I would have been able to remove the sink and fit a new one myself but I really do not have that much time to spend on someone else’s job that would be better done by a plumber. I returned home and E pointed out to me that the mixer tap in our own kitchen required attention because the hot tap was loose as was the main stem which forms the outlet spout. The arrangement is similar to our neighbours tap but of a different design and easier to get at. The pair of us stripped all the parts that could be removed without having to isolate the water supplies and we gave it a thorough cleaning. I replaced the ‘O’ ring that caused it to leak when in use and secured both tap tops so they are no longer loose. Time for lunch but first I had to hang the washing in the boiler room to dry. It is so handy having a heated cellar room in which to hang the washing, especially if it is too cold or wet outdoors. I wasn’t in the mood for work on Saturday, I guess I’d had  enough work during the week to tire me out! It was early evening on Thursday our youngest son called me and asked if I could help him out. I knew what was coming! Whenever he calls me directly it is usually something to do with a financial difficulty and this was no exception. It is a good thing I love him. He and his girlfriend are currently living in an apartment, one in which they have lived only for a very short time but they have been looking to buy a house together for quite a while. They found one they liked at a reasonable price but they needed proof of owning a deposit to secure the purchase through a mortgage. His girlfriend’s parents had given her £5000 and he was looking for a similar amount to clinch the deal. I immediately went on-line and transferred £5000 to his account. On Friday afternoon he called me again with the good news that they had succeeded in getting the house through a mortgage. I am so happy for them and glad to see him beginning to take life a little more seriously. It may be that they will be looking to upgrade to a better house in a couple of years but at least they now have their feet on the ladder. Renting a property is really just lining someone else’s  pockets and then having nothing to show for it years down-line. It is usually the deposit which prevents many people from buying their own property. I have yet to see the details of the house but I am sure it will be better than living in an apartment and it will allow them more freedom of choice. I hope he can handle small plumbing jobs! I am now waiting for his older brother and his wife to find a house of their own to live in. They currently live with her parents, which isn’t really a suitable arrangement. I will be happy to help them as I have helped his brother.

Shirley Anne

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Posted in Family, Neighbours, Plumbing | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

He relented and then we worked

Posted by Shirley Anne on January 2, 2014

English: A house built using Industrial Grade ...

English: A house built using Industrial Grade Brettstapel in the process of being covered with plasterboard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Monday we were awaiting the delivery of the timber and plasterboard that we had purchased on Saturday. We had asked for a morning delivery so that we could continue the job but as it happened we didn’t need any of the new materials to do what we were able to do. We needed them for Tuesday. The delivery man arrived around eleven and either we were the only delivery or we were the last one, for the morning at least, as the vehicle was empty except for our order. It was raining and I asked the man if he would put everything in the garage and he told me he was only allowed to drop materials on the driveway. I asked him how I was going to move it all by myself and at that point E came outside. Although the plasterboard was covered with plastic wrapping that needed to be removed to enable one or two boards to be moved at a time and of course taking off the wrapping meant it was going to get wet. Once plasterboard gets wet it is useless. The man relented and said he would move it all to the garage, which he did in a couple of minutes. Once upon a time the delivery man would even take things indoors for you but times have changed and they are reluctant to do anything more than they have to and blame it on the insurance liability cover. The timber was wet of course. Once he had departed I moved the sheets of plasterboard and the timber one by one into the cellar rooms where it is warm and dry. Our youngest son has been staying over for the past week or so and he had just returned from the gym. I asked if he could help me get the plasterboard up the two flights of stairs to the  spare bedroom on the first floor. We took one board up together and he told me to let him take the others as he could manage them easily. He had them upstairs in no time at all. The timber isn’t a problem as it can be moved one length at a time. As I write this on Monday evening the timber is drying off in the cellar but tomorrow, Tuesday, I plan to start constructing the new ceiling so it won’t be there long. As we are not lifting the entire ceiling to the same height we needed to build a small frame at the point where it will be raised and that is what I did on Monday afternoon. The small area above the entrance cannot be raised as the cold water storage tank is seated above it and it would take too much time and effort to move it. Our son left for home shortly after lunch to spend the next few days at his apartment with his girlfriend who had also been staying in town visiting her mum. Later in the afternoon just as we had finished working for the day we got a visit from our eldest son whom I’d not seen during the Christmas break but it was only a flying visit. He and his wife seldom visit and when they do it isn’t for long. Children eh?

Shirley Anne

Posted in Construction, DIY, Family | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Family and friends?

Posted by Shirley Anne on October 14, 2013

English: This is actually Tom's Restaurant, NY...

English: This is actually Tom’s Restaurant, NYC. Famous as Monk’s in Seinfeld, and as Tom’s Diner, in the Suzanne Vega song of that name. It is located at the northeast corner of W. 112th Street and Broadway in New York, close to the campus of Columbia University, in the same building as the Goddard Institute of Space Studies. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I took E to her place of choice for a meal on her birthday, Friday, which was to our usual restaurant. I am certain she has shares in the place! I had been to do a job in the morning and was supposed to drive to another house some distance away to assess some work there but was unable to contact the client. I left a message on the phone and returned home with the intention of dining out with E. I received a return call and arranged to go to the house on Monday as I shall be working close by that day. I got changed but E told me that she was expecting our youngest son and his girlfriend to call within the hour so our trip to the restaurant was delayed. They did arrive an hour later with a gift for E and stayed awhile. I invited them along with us but they declined the offer. Eventually they left and we set off to eat. We don’t normally visit this restaurant on a Friday so we had no idea how full it may or may not have been. As it turned out it was quite full. It appeared that more than a hundred guests were holding a wake and had taken over part of the establishment and another party of people were using a large area of the remaining available space. We found a couple of tables empty and by the time we received our meal many were leaving. I wondered just how many of those at the wake had actually been close to the deceased. It may have been that all of them were but somehow I have my doubts. In my life I have very little contact with my family and my friends are few and I wonder just how many would be at my wake! It may sound an odd thing to say but what would be the point for those who are not really a part of my life in attending my wake? It would be too late for them to ‘pay their respects’ as I wouldn’t be there to receive the honour! I have always thought that wakes only serve to give people an excuse to eat, drink and be merry and maybe speak about the deceased’s life. What people do after I am gone will benefit me nought will it? Why don’t they get involved with me whilst I am still here? Maybe invite me out to dinner…………..

Shirley Anne

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And on to Sunday

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 4, 2013

Satellite navigation. Image shot by uploader.

Satellite navigation. Image shot by uploader. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes E and I did go out on Sunday at around 10.30 to drive to a warehouse miles away to collect a vanity unit we had bought on-line. Unfortunately we were not given the correct address to collect the item and we ended up at their showrooms which is 11 miles further afield. No problem, our satellite navigation got us there but even so we were a little confused as to which lane of traffic we were supposed to be in when we passed through one or two of the junctions en-route. At times like these I stick very closely to following the little yellow arrow as it meanders along the highlighted green road. On the screen there is a little square in the top left corner too with a more accurate picture of my immediate location with distance in yards to the next manoeuvre.  Suffice to say the device is invaluable at times! We arrived I guess at around 11.30 and went to the reception. We were told it would be about a half-hour before we could collect the goods. The reason for that was due to the many other people there doing the same as us. Before anyone collects their goods they had to inspect them and sign to say they are satisfied that there is no damage. Fair enough but to do that the staff have to open everything and remove some items from their boxes then repack them once checked, hence the time spent waiting. In our case it turned out to be far longer than we had anticipated or had been told. It would be an hour and fifteen minutes before we finally were able to leave. We discovered that we had paid for a hand basin as well as the vanity unit base but hadn’t realised it when we ordered it items. The advertisement did not mention that the sink was included in the price! We were prepared to spend the £80 on just the base as that is all that we needed and at that price it was a bargain compared to what we had been quoted at Homebase which was more than £200! We may use the spare basin for our next project so all is not lost. Now it was 12.45 and we were both hungry. I had planned to surprise E by stopping off at a restaurant and this I did but I left it until we were nearer to home but still twelves miles out. I made a sudden turn into the car park of a restaurant we have visited a few times and off we went inside. It was reasonably empty now that it was approaching two o’clock and we were able to be seated straight away. We had been sitting for a mere two minutes waiting for our pre-dinner drinks when a small boy of around six years of age accompanied by his parents entered the room. He was complaining about something in a piercingly loud voice and seemingly in a bit of a tantrum. His parents were very calm about it all but lacked any willpower to chastise him allowing him to rant. Eventually he calmed down but during their meal and ours frequently made his presence known. All we wanted and I guess everyone else wanted was to be able to have a quite and relaxing meal. Personally I would have taken him outside and given him a dressing down for his misbehaviour but I wasn’t his parent. I loved my children (and still do of course) enough to chastise them when they were in the wrong and would never let them dictate to me how things were to be as this little fellow seemed to be doing. We arrive home after five o’clock and E went to collect her mum and take her to see our eldest son as it was his birthday on Sunday. I asked to go with her and she thought I might not wish to go so didn’t ask me. I was a little hurt and explained that he was my son too and I would like to see him. So I thought I would be going but as it turned out she left without me. Maybe that was for the best as her mum hasn’t spoken to me for more than eleven years even though on many occasions I have asked E to invite her along for lunch in the past to break the ice. E made excuses saying that  her mum always had lunch at twelve o’clock and refused to change her schedule whilst we dine out usually a little later at two o’clock. What can I say? I didn’t get to see my son on his birthday and although I could have driven there myself, it is only a three-mile journey, it wouldn’t have looked good for E with me not traveling in her car.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Behaviour, Children, Dining out, Family, House and Home, Life | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off

Cool and I love it!

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 31, 2013

English: Raspberry and cream sponge cake, Down...

English: Raspberry and cream sponge cake, Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland, April 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My youngest son C, went out on Saturday evening/night with his friends to bid a farewell to one of them who was about to move permanently to Australia. A good excuse to imbibe alcohol and in this case probably too much of it. He had paid us a visit earlier in the day on his way home from work to assist me in loading my van with the bed and other things but by the time he’d arrived I had it all done myself with just a tiny bit of help from E. He did however help me bring the mattress downstairs from the floor above and when I’d discovered where I had stored a plastic bag helped me to fit it over the mattress. Ideally it would have been prudent to place it on top of the van ready for us to take it the following day. Naturally I put the van in the garage overnight so it would be safe and out of the bad weather we had been forecast. That rain certainly came but by the morning light it had stopped. However it was forecast to rain later in the day on Sunday.  As always C was in a rush to do other things and told me he would help me put it on the van the next day. I expected him sometime after lunch for I knew he would be sleeping in after a heavy night with his friends. However I was aware of the pending rain. It was such a lovely morning and early afternoon on Sunday. I decided to give him a wake-up call soon after 11.30 and true to my expectations he was still in bed! I asked when I could expect him and he told me about two hours. Well I didn’t mind but I was more concerned that the weather would change before we could deliver the bed for him. Two hours passed and he hadn’t arrived so I called him again only to be told it would be another two hours before he could come. Some hangover! Eventually and rather late in the afternoon he arrived and we got the mattress on top of the van. I lashed it down whilst he went indoors to collect an item or two and to chat with E. Now E had been busy baking a large sponge cake, as a gift for C and his girlfriend, which she then filled with a generous amount of vanilla-flavoured butter cream and fresh strawberries and then covered it with more of the same. It was along the lines of the one shown in the picture on the right. She placed in a plastic container specially designed for carrying, storing and displaying such gateaux and cakes then placed herself on the passenger seat of the van with it perched on her lap. It appeared she had invited herself along. Now I hadn’t made such an invitation for two reasons, one, I was intending to take the bed and return home immediately for I had things in mind to do and two, well she and I haven’t been on speaking terms for reasons explained in a recent post. Naturally I didn’t object and in fact was rather amused at her audacity but I love her so it didn’t matter. We all set off to Manchester and soon were separated on the road but I had my sat-nav. giving me directions so it wasn’t a problem. Unfortunately I had placed the wrong instructions in the device and we were sent to another road of the same name but in a different district. We were almost twelve miles off-course but a phone call giving us the post code soon found us at the apartment. Along the journey we had  intermittent torrential rain but the plastic bag had provided enough protection keeping the mattress completely dry. The rain though had cooled things down and it was so refreshing after the recent hot and humid two weeks we’ve experienced. I enjoy driving and was glad to go a little distance for a change. We spent an hour with C and his girlfriend before driving back homeward. The motorway slip-road we had expected to take was closed off and we were forced to drive through the city to get back on track. It was getting late and neither of us had eaten much since breakfast though E had eaten some of her cake at the apartment, I hadn’t for I am trying to steer clear of such sugary sweetness. I asked E if she would like to get something on the way home and I think she thought I meant some take-away fish and chips but I had other ideas. We stopped at a restaurant we’ve visited before and sat down to a proper meal before continuing the fourteen miles home.

Shirley Anne

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Yet again but no changes on the home front

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 27, 2013

Real Love (Mary J. Blige song)

Real Love (Mary J. Blige song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The previous two posts majored on the relationships I have with my customers and how much I have been appreciated in what I have done for them. Today, Wednesday as I write this, it happened yet again. I went to a nearby town to do some work for a couple about the same age as myself who lived in the top floor of a ‘maisonette‘. The apartments themselves  cover two floors and are surprisingly spacious inside and attractive to look at from the outside, though the gardens need some attention. The work took about three hours and I was paid more than I’d asked with an invitation to return later to do more work. This seems to be the trend for me lately, extra remuneration and more work. When I’d completed the job I had to visit the supplier for some van stock materials as I like to keep basic items in my van for impromptu requests. I offered to take the lady to the supplier and bring her back home as she wanted to purchase some things for herself. She thanked me and came along. When I dropped her off I received a big hug and a kiss on the cheek for being so nice and doing a good job. The following day, Thursday, was just the same. I was replacing an electric shower, not as straightforward as you might think, in fact it was the opposite. It is difficult to fit a new unit in exactly the same place as the old one where the plumbing and the electric cable are set in a tiled wall! I did it though and the lady was well-pleased. I received a bonus there too! It sounds as if I am blowing my own trumpet here but that is far from my thoughts. It is just nice to be appreciated and to let others know how I feel. On the home front however things are not going well because E and I are still not talking. I am taken for granted at home, I know I am but what I do for E has never been for selfish reasons. It hurts me to know that she cannot bring herself to apologise for the things she sometimes says and the attitude she often portrays toward me. All it takes is an admission of thoughtlessness and the three words , ‘I am sorry’ but they never come. E would cut off her own nose to spite her face before saying those words. Over the years I have learned to live with it but it is getting a little tiresome, I love her and she knows that, she’s told me so enough times but she has always found it difficult to reciprocate. That doesn’t matter to me for I don’t expect anything in return when I offer my love. It isn’t about love though, it is about respect and consideration. Her greatest problem is her stubborn heart and in that respect she is very much like her dad was when he was alive, though he was a generous man to his family, me included. So in the meantime I am treading water and keeping a low profile at home and very little is getting done.

Shirley Anne

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Progress of a sort

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 18, 2013

Accommodation

Accommodation

Our eldest son and his wife had a little house in another town some 20 or so miles away. They lived there for a couple of years but wanted to move from the area before they started a family. The area wasn’t a good one although the house was. However, the house was quite small and really unsuitable for family life. Their baby girl was born whilst they were living there but they were able to finally sell the house but at a loss. The idea was to move back to Southport until they could save for another deposit and start again. They live with her parents now, about three miles from where we are. Our youngest son moved out a few years ago and for a while held down a well-paid job in another town and he lived in a nice apartment with the friend whose father had employed him. Sadly that job was taken from him for no apparent reason and he was forced to relinquish his apartment and move back locally. Another of his friends gave him a room in his house and he has been there a while. We did suggest he move back with us until he found his feet as it were but he is independent and wanted to do things his way. Eventually he found a reasonable job, though the pay isn’t as good as he got before. During the last year or so he found a regular girlfriend who lives and works in Manchester, some 40 miles distant but he works in an area far closer to Manchester than Southport. He was commuting by car to and from his place of work and Southport but now he and his girlfriend have found a large apartment to rent close to where she was living and in a decent part of the city. They will be moving in later this month. I am well pleased that he is beginning to get on his feet and settle down at last. No matter what our children do we feel for them and only wish them the best but it is a hard world out there, more difficult now than it was when we first started out on our own.

Shirley Anne

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Saturday or was it Tuesday?

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 16, 2013

this is a very rough sketch of how i view the ...

Confused

Actually it was Wednesday and not Tuesday when E mentioned something, or was it me? I think it was me. Oh come on I am getting on a bit….LOL. Seriously though, I said something and E thought it was Saturday the following day but it was only Wednesday and on Friday she thanked me for jogging her memory when I told her that the next day was Saturday! Confused? How do you think I feel, I am writing all this down! It really has been difficult for us both these days, probably more so for me than her, for us to remember which day is which during the week as many of the days have been very similar in what we’ve been doing in them. You could strip each name from the days and we wouldn’t notice. On Saturday I woke up after a very deep sleep, fully refreshed but my right arm was aching somewhat. If my readers will remember, I had a trapped nerve which affected this arm but added to this I feel certain that I have pulled a muscle or overworked it. The trapped nerve has been dealt with by simple manipulation of my neck muscles and the greater part of the pain in my arm has vanished but a little remains. It might be due to overworking the arm but the strange thing is I feel no pain when my arm is being exercised. The pain manifests itself if I suddenly extend my arm out to reach for something. I have been careful not to do that of course but I forget sometimes and then it hurts. So on Saturday, though I wanted to do some work, I found I was avoiding it, not purposefully but the events of the day seemed to prevent it happening! We had a visit from our youngest son during the latter part of the morning. He and his girlfriend have found a nice apartment over in Manchester close to where she lives at present and much nearer to his place of work which will benefit him financially. He was after a large bed and other furniture if we had any to give him but the bed was the more important for the time being until they can purchase one sometime later. We do have a spare bed in storage which they can have and I will take it over in my van to their apartment when they move in, on or around the 27 th. There was nothing else we had that he wanted. E and I had a light lunch as we intended to have a barbecue in the evening, the first of the season, even the year! Later in the afternoon our son returned together with his girlfriend so she could see if the bed was suitable. Seemingly it was. We asked if they would like to join us for a barbecue and they accepted. I had met his girlfriend briefly a few weeks ago for the first time, though E had met with her a couple of times previously. It was nice for her to agree to stay for awhile so we could get better acquainted. We weren’t really prepared for a barbecue with all the trimmings as it was more of an impromtu affair for us but we had enough meat, steak, burgers, sausages, chicken drumsticks to make it worthwhile. Sunday being the next day so I wouldn’t be working at all except maybe to mow the lawn, not that it has grown much since the last time but I want to keep it trimmed whilst the weather is dry and I like mowing the lawn in my bare feet on a warm and sunny day.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Family, Health, Leisure | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

A visit

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 26, 2013

Early last week I discovered that my youngest brother had suffered a stroke during the month of March and because we don’t communicate too often I didn’t find out what had happened until I telephoned him regarding his birthday which was last month. I told him at the time that I was rather annoyed at him for not allowing his wife to inform us of his ailment. Anyhow the long and short of it was I paid him a visit on Friday to speak with him face to face and to find out how things were going for him and his wife. E came with me on the 80 odd mile return journey to his house but we discovered on our arrival that his wife was at work, which was rather disappointing as it would have been nice to see her too. The last time we saw them was about three years ago when they came over for a barbecue we held for family and friends. That was the year before we had the patio built, which was in 2011. I remember at the time we had tables and chairs out on the lawn where the sun shines all day long in the summer. It is a sad fact that although we live reasonably close we don’t see each other that often. I guess many families are like that.sunset We left our house around 11 in the morning and were at his house about an hour later. We spent about four hours with him during which time we heard what had happened regarding the stroke. He had been feeling a little weak early in the week but had put it down to fatigue. However at the weekend his wife realised that something more serious ailed him for his speech had become disjointed and his words made no sense to her, though according to him they made perfect sense to him at the time. She went to see the doctor on Saturday morning but found the surgery closed so she took him to the nearest hospital where he was eventually diagnosed as having had a stroke. He was admitted for a couple of days for observation and was allowed home then at his own request where he found it easier to relax. He has been prescribed medication and now appears perfectly well but he knows he has to take things easy for a few months. He has therefore been signed off from work until October. He will resume driving next month. We talked about other things too and about their next visit to our house when he feels up to it. Naturally there is no pressure upon him to do so and the invitation is left open for him to decide but he seems eager. He says he likes visiting with us and has always enjoyed it whenever he comes. I wonder if the food and drink have anything to do with it? LOL. In any event his wife usually drives as he likes to have a drink or two whereas she doesn’t drink much if anything at all. I expect we will see them here before too long. I am just happy that he is well and still with us. We missed out on lunch but would have dined with them both had his wife been at home. We set off for home and visited a pub/restaurant a few miles down the road and dined there before finally driving on home.

Shirley Anne

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Family

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 20, 2013

Four siblings in their Sunday clothes, late 19...

Four siblings in their Sunday clothes, late 19th century

On Friday I dragged E out to lunch. Yes, she went struggling and screaming under protest! Of course she didn’t, I have never known her to refuse a dinner/lunch invitation. We went as usual to one of our favourite eating establishments where we found a small group of people out celebrating a birthday anniversary. A grandfather, whose birthday was being celebrated, his wife, their two daughters and the husband of one of them or it may have been his daughter and son and his son’s wife, his grandson and his grandson’s wife and his granddaughter all sat finishing their meal as we arrived. How did I know their relationship with each other? By the things they said and the way they said them. They were all in good spirits having obviously enjoyed themselves. I got to thinking how nice it is to occasionally enjoy the company of our family over a meal. It is a sad fact that many of us do not do that either because we have no family to speak of, they live too far away or we just don’t get on with them. My own family is scattered and I never get to see them these days. Many a time I have gone out-of-the-way to visit my brothers and sisters when they lived closer but now two of them, my sisters, live in France which makes seeing them fairly expensive. Only my two brothers live reasonably close and I hardly ever see them. I realise that we all have our own lives to lead but I also think we should make an effort to see each other at least once a year. Some families remain close and some drift apart, everyone is different but there is a bond between siblings which should hold them together throughout their lives. I wonder why it is that some siblings cannot find it in their hearts to keep in touch. Three of my siblings never contact me now. It is though I don’t exist but they remain in my thoughts every day and every day they are in my prayers. My two sisters have never invited me to pay them a visit where they live in France and the elder of my two brothers, though he and his wife live a mere fifteen miles or so away, has never invited me to visit for almost as long as we have lived apart, some 45 to 50 years! He did visit my house about 5 or 6 years ago but that was unusual. I have not seen him or his wife since. I haven’t visited my youngest brother for some years though he and his wife have been here a couple of times in recent times when we have had a social gathering at home. So there you are, families are strange groups and we can have great families or be lumbered with bad ones. Sometimes we are better off with just friends though some of them desert us at times. I love being with my family but I don’t have the opportunity now it seems.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Family | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Friends and family and all I know

Posted by Shirley Anne on April 13, 2013

Friendship, Göteborg, Sweden

Friendship, Göteborg, Sweden

The saying is ‘You can choose your friends but you are stuck with your family’ or words in a similar vein. ‘A man’s enemies are the members of his own household’, to quote Scripture (Micah 7:6). I have only ever had one friend in my life, that is if I exclude E. She has known me for more than forty-one years and is the only person in this world, apart from our children, whom I could trust with my life. When I was between the ages of five and twelve I had a childhood friend who was as close as a young friend could be. He was also my defender and stood in the gap between me and those who liked to bully me at school and even outside of school. I was an extremely timid child and was an easy target for the school bullies of which there were a few. When I left that area to live elsewhere my friend and I lost contact. As I progressed into my teenage years I became more and more introverted and anti-social. I became stripped of any confidence I had and still remained the victim of bullies. I was so anti-social that I turned my back on my old school friend when he appeared one evening to pay me a visit years later. I told my mother to explain that I wasn’t at home. He left and never returned and at that time I felt no guilt. It was only after I had been working for twelve months that things began to change for the better but even so I remained anti-social until around twenty-four or five. I had no friends but I started to form friendships with a few people, none of whom became close friends. E came into my life when I was a couple of months past my twenty-sixth birthday. I never developed a deep friendship after meeting E but there have been a couple of people come into my life during the last twelve years I consider to be friends. Sadly they too have moved away or live too far for regular personal contact. As far as family are concerned, well I might as well not exist for most of them never contact me or have ceased communicating even though formerly only doing that rarely. Other people in my life are merely acquaintances and yet more I have never met in person but know only through the Internet. I would like to call them my friends and as far as it goes they are I suppose. You could say therefore that I am devoid of any close friends and only have the closeness, support and understanding of E, which I cherish incidentally. I read the post of a fellow Internet ‘blogger’ recently where she explored the concept of loneliness as applied to her own situation but assuring her readers that she was quite happy with her circumstance. I hope that she is. I penned this small poem as a comment….

Happy in life
With cares but a few
No-one to sit with
But only you
Watching the couples
Walk by in the sun
Look at the children
Indulging in fun
Life isn’t bad
It’s as easy as pie
But who will be there
To mourn when you die?

Copyright Shirley Anne 9 April 2013

For myself I need people around me, the closer the better.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Confidence, Family, Friends, Friendship, Happiness, Love, People, Relationships, Socialising | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Children! Well some children.

Posted by Shirley Anne on March 18, 2013

English: This picture is of two children on a ...

English: This picture is of two children on a computer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whilst working in someone’s house a few days ago I got to chatting with her, nothing unusual in that but I sensed she was feeling somewhat under pressure in her personal life and simply wanted to talk about it. Although this can be distracting for me most of the time it isn’t a problem, in fact I do a lot of chatting myself! I was about to relate an experience I’d had a week or so before when she had to dash downstairs to answer a telephone call. I heard her raised voice as she spoke on the phone but couldn’t make out what she was saying because I was upstairs. In any case I wasn’t taking notice because I was concentrating on the job in hand. About five minutes or more later she came back upstairs and asked if I had heard the conversation but truly I hadn’t. She then told me it was her 40 year-old daughter and she had been angry with her over the phone, hence the raised voice I’d heard. Now she didn’t have to explain anything to me but I sensed her need to do so. Evidently she has been supporting her daughter financially off and on for many years. Although her daughter has a good job as a solicitor with a very good salary, she still comes to mum for hand-outs and help. It appears that her daughter is too extravagant with her income rather than trying to live within her means. When mum gives her cash she spends it on going to football matches with her two children and we all know how expensive that can be especially when she goes to the away games too. Not only that but she books holidays for the family at her mum’s expense, wastes cash on unnecessary purchases like iPads, iPhones, computers and Sky connections amongst other things, none of which are absolutely necessary. She doesn’t know the value of money and has often been overdrawn at the bank with the financial penalties following. In fact her mum had to give her money to pay off the overdraft as the penalty was £25 per day! I told her not to give in to her daughter so easily so as to make her realise the consequences of not handling her finances properly. I have given money to my own children over the years, quite a few thousand pounds actually to each of them but they did have real reasons for asking me for help and they were never sponging. That assistance has gradually tapered off now that they are standing on their own two feet and beginning to manage their lives. There will always be the need to support my children occasionally when they run into difficulties, I expect that and I don’t mind because they are my children and I love them but I don’t expect them to mishandle their lives and then have to come running for financial help because of their stupidity. They are more sensible than that. The fact is though that this woman has a problem daughter who needs to get her act together and she needs to stand her ground and learn to say no to her daughter’s every request. Her daughter must learn to take responsibility for her life and lifestyle or face the consequences by herself.

Shirley Anne 

Posted in Children, Finance, Money, Wisdom | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Family and friends

Posted by Shirley Anne on December 16, 2012

English: Proud Moment with Grandmother, Family...

English: Proud Moment with Grandmother, Family and Friends (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love my family and I love my friends such as they are but apart from those in my immediate family most of the others do not bother much with me, not all of them, just most of them. I would welcome more contact from them but it appears I am at the bottom of their list as someone whom they wish to communicate with. Don’t misunderstand I am probably only one of the folk others  neglect but I can only see things from my perspective of course. For many years the eldest of my two younger brothers cut himself off from the rest of the family and despite many attempts to change that he never did make much of a response. I have two sisters both younger than I and both now living in France so I don’t get to see them. Apart from the occasional greetings card they never get in touch either. Only my youngest brother and his wife made any effort to remain in touch although I’ve not heard much from them lately either apart from a birthday card I received recently. Such is life isn’t it? When I first started writing on this blog I received encouragement from only three of those I have mentioned. That was almost four years ago. I have heard nothing from any of my family or most of my friends since. It’s like I just left the planet. People have excuses of course and will make them if they haven’t. I wonder why people are the way they are isolating themselves from others for no apparent reason. Is it just people in this country who tend not to live in close-knit families? I love people and if I didn’t life would be far easier I guess but I have a passion in my heart to reach out to others. This passion is for their salvation. If I cannot reach my family and friends with the message of hope found in The Gospel I must reach out to others instead. Eyes are blind, hearts are closed but I try anyway. This is my duty to God. I still pray for my family and friends in the hope that they will respond. I also hope and pray they will respond to me too! I have visions of them all attending my funeral and thinking to themselves, ‘I should have tried harder, now it is too late’

Shirley Anne

Posted in Family, Friends, People | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Trapped? Probably!

Posted by Shirley Anne on August 29, 2012

I sit alone within my room
The day is long, the day is gloom
I fear to speak less I’m put down
And all is quiet, not a sound.

Do I deserve such punishment
When all I need’s a little love?
Is there no cure, is there no hope
For someone with a heart of stone?

Sometimes I wonder why I stay
Believing it will change one day,
And all I do is sit and cry
As time relentlessly goes by.

Copyright Shirley Anne 25 Jan 2011

Don't Stop Believing

Don’t Stop Believing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is one of many poems I’ve written that relate directly to myself. The many poems in the pages above do not all relate to me as they were written during  better times in my life. Some of them were inspired by the experiences of others, whilst some are not connected in any way to anyone. I am a very sensitive person and can easily be hurt. The only thing that keeps me going and living in hope is my relationship with God. With God I know I am truly loved, with people, well that is another matter isn’t it? Sometimes I feel trapped in my circumstances. My ex and I are still somewhat estranged even though we share the same home. The above poem and others like it are a means of expressing my feelings. I live in the hope that things will change as I am an optimist. If I moved away would I be happier? Probably not but even if I wanted to I couldn’t in today’s climate. We had difficulty in selling the house when things were better but now that we are still in a deep recession there is no chance of selling up unless the price was dropped dramatically, which isn’t really a viable option for many reasons. In any case I do not want to move just to have my own space, I have that already! That’s the beauty of a large house, we can get lost in it! My relationship with my ex has always been problematical due to her stubbornness and oft-times  refusal to talk about issues. You only have to read my story or some of the more recent of my posts on here to get an idea of what I am saying. I do love her and I suppose that is the only reason I stay and put up with it all. Am I trapped? Well probably but there is always hope isn’t there?

Shirley Anne

Posted in Family, Happiness, Life, Love, Mood, Relationships | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Doing it whilst I can

Posted by Shirley Anne on August 27, 2012

English: A woman is riding her bike under the ...

English: A woman is riding her bike under the rain and hold an umbrella with her hand. Nanjing, China. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

……..Or making hay while the sun shines! Recently I bought myself a new bicycle and so far have spent quite a few hours riding it. The weather has been fine but I’ve not always had the opportunity to get out on the bike because of my work schedule. However my workload has taken yet another dive so now I am finding that I have more free time to get on the bike. Unfortunately the weather is taking a turn for the worse and has now become more showery. I won’t deliberately go riding if the forecast is rain, for one thing I haven’t any suitable rain wear that I can put on for riding a bicycle and two, why get unnecessarily wet? It was different when I went running in the rain, it didn’t matter and I quite liked it but riding in the wet can be quite hazardous. So I will ride my bike whenever the opportunity allows, I can always exercise on the treadmill at other times. I have the same attitude to work too, I will continue as long as I am able though not as often. Recently my youngest son found himself short of funds to have the brakes repaired on his car and asked if I could help, which I did, naturally. A couple of days ago he was involved in an accident. He reversed his car out onto the road and hit a parked vehicle causing damage to both vehicles. He has to pay the first £450 of any costs incurred, the insurance company will pay the balance. He chose that amount as an excess in order to keep his insurance premiums low of course in the hope that he would remain accident free! Of course he hasn’t that kind of money available and so he reluctantly asked me if I could help him again. I will of course do that, not because I think I ought to but because he has no alternative. Since leaving university he has struggled to pay off his outstanding loan from the bank and it wasn’t until fairly recently that he has been able to start reducing that debt but there is very little spare cash by which he can start saving. Things are improving though and hopefully his circumstances will get better soon. I am trying to save too and I manage to do that which is just as well, I never know if someone will need it!

Shirley Anne

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Too busy?

Posted by Shirley Anne on August 17, 2012

Jeannies abandons her duties to spend time on ...

Jeannies abandons her duties to spend time on the phone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A poem I wrote back in 2002 talks about being too busy for people in our lives. We spend our waking hours focused on making a living and doing a host of essential things in life but sometimes we just cannot find the time to spend with friends and family. Life is about people. Without people in our lives everything becomes somewhat meaningless. If we live just for ourselves we become selfish and introverted. We often make excuses when people call us, we are too tired or have too many other things to do but if we really took stock we would probably find that isn’t true. An occasional word, a visit just to show we care goes a long way.

I’m too busy right now to see you,
I’ve too much to do today,
If only each day had more hours,
I might have some time left to play.
How is it that each precious moment
Is filled with our own selfish things
Not wishing to spend time with others,
Pursuing our own empty dreams?
For what is a life that is lonely
Bereft of companions and friends?
A schedule whose pages are empty,
Devoid of all meaning, it ends.
So make time and space for each other,
Defer things that stand in your way,
Live life to the fullest and savour,
Those friendships before it’s too late!

Copyright Shirley Anne 4 Dec 2002

Shirley Anne

Posted in Family, Friendship, Love, People, Socialising, Values, Wisdom | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Does she know?

Posted by Shirley Anne on August 3, 2012

Child 1

Child 1 (Photo credit: Tony Trần)

Many transsexual people claim to have been aware of their gender problems from a very early age. That was the case for me. I realised that something was wrong as early as 3 1/2 to 4 years of age. I remember having deep feelings of being in the wrong body and grew up fantasizing about the day I could switch to being a girl. Well that finally happened ten years ago after a lifetime as an adult in denial. Many young children who are transsexual have understanding parents who do something about their children’s condition and support them in the years leading up to and beyond puberty. Sadly many parents do not support their children in this way and even insist and encourage that they forget the idea that they have a gender problem at all. Usually they will think it is just a passing phase and by the time their children have grown up and begin to act and dress in their preferred gender, they cannot handle it. Many poor unfortunate transsexuals are ostracised by their parents and their families and are driven out of the family home. It is difficult enough for the transsexual to have to deal with their gender dysphoria without the added burden of rejection by their own family and friends and it can drive some to suicide. It isn’t sympathy they need it is understanding, love and support. As parents we want the best we can give our children and what greater gift can we give than love? Being a parent is a full-time occupation and as such we get to know our children well, or should do. We should be able to discern our children’s needs, hopes and aspirations once they begin to develop their communication skills and become aware of who they are. I was at a house yesterday for the second time this week and the couple have an adorable little girl of about 3 years of age. She was very talkative as most of them are at that age and inquisitive too. She was fascinated with the ‘lady fixing the lights’ and wanted to speak with her, that is me. She was in the adjacent room with her mom but she couldn’t come into the room I was working in, the kitchen, because there was a child safety-gate barring the way but it didn’t stop her standing next to it and chatting to me.  During the conversation, although it was more a one-sided affair, she claimed to be a boy. Her mom intervened at that point insisting that she was in fact a girl. The child stopped dead in her tracks and pondered her moms remark and I could see her mulling over what had been said. Resisting all urges to say something myself and thinking what might be said if her mom knew my history, I had the good sense to say nothing but all kinds of thoughts were going through my mind in reaction to the event. Now it was probably just one of those things that often happen with very young children but on the other hand it could have been the first inkling of something more serious. Does the child know there is a problem or is it just a passing phase? This of course is for her parents to discover. What would they do, what will they will do if in fact the child has gender identity problems? How they might react, one would hope, will depend on how much they really love their child.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Children, Family, Gender, Love, Transgender, Transsexual | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off

Wednesday night and Thursday morning

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 28, 2012

I’ve known ‘J’ now for just over thirteen and a half years. We met one evening in a bar in Manchester’s ‘gay’ district, or The Gay Village as it is often called. J and I were transsexuals who met with other transgendered people each week for a night out. J stopped going out there a few months before I did. I was about to undergo my operation and she was embarking on a university course for computer studies. I had been going to Manchester for almost three years and returned there but twice following my operation. J was in denial regarding her gender dysphoria, although I am not certain she was aware of  it at the time. We still kept in touch and in more recent times, say the last five years or so she has been invited to family gatherings and meals out as our friend. She gained her university degree after a few years hard work and determination. When she started to visit with us a couple of years ago she confided in me that she was now accepting her gender issues and was intent on going through with the full transition and all that entails. She is making good progress on her journey but the main stumbling block is our country’s NHS system putting too many obstacles in the way. Earlier in the year J left her parents home where she had been living and moved to the south coast at the invitation of a girl called ‘M’ who had just undergone her own operation. J now lives in the same apartment as M. I last saw J a few months ago when she invited me out to her archery club social evening, the last one she would be attending before moving away. She got in touch with me last week saying she would be coming back this way to collect some things from her parents house and at the same time dropping M off in Manchester. M has business interests there. J asked if she could stop over at my house for the evening else she would have to find a room in a hotel. She is always welcome here and has stopped over a few times before. There was no way I would refuse her. So it was she came over. The idea was to go out for a meal and she had been trying to contact me to see if I wanted to eat out. Originally she was to arrive around 5.30 but it was almost three hours later before she did. As we had failed to connect over the phone she decided to eat out alone on the way over! I have to say at this point I was hungry and would have gone out with her. After a couple of hours not hearing from her I grabbed a bite to eat knowing that it would be too late to go out for a meal but not knowing that she was dining out. Never mind, that’s life sometimes. When she did arrive we drank the bottle of red wine she had brought with her. I had already drunk a bottle during the afternoon and early evening! We had a good chat together and caught up on things before she needed to hit the sack. The driving and the high humidity had taken it out of her so she was looking forward to some rest and sleep.  J and M are in the picture which is distorted to hide everyone’s identity.
A few of my readers may remember the story I told recently about my son and his wife who were having their first child ‘Christened’. They didn’t know what to do about inviting me along because of the attitude of some members of my family toward me. When they were married I wasn’t invited to the wedding for the same reason and it broke my heart. I wouldn’t speak to them for many months afterward. It appears they have done the same thing again and had the baby Christened without my knowledge of the date. Now J had spoken with E, my ex, whilst she was here and later let it slip to me that the baby had been Christened already. Evidently E had mentioned it. E and I haven’t been on speaking terms for months because of the way she treats me sometimes and it turns out it was E who had raised objections to my presence at the wedding. It doesn’t take much imagination to work out who objected to my presence at the Christening does it? It’s funny how the truth is exposed or more to the point the wickedness of others, even those close to you. I love E dearly but it is extremely difficult living with someone who can be so nasty at times.
J had a good night’s sleep and after a tiny breakfast of melon and tea made her way to the shops en route to her parents house to collect her things and to take her sister out into Liverpool to see a movie before heading to Manchester to collect M and drive back south. I messed about on the computer, had my lunch and took the mile and a half walk into town to visit the banks to deposit some cash before returning directly home. Just as I arrived E was leaving to do the weekly shopping trip with her mom. Not a word was said.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Family, Friendship, People, Relationships | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

The way I am feeling right now

Posted by Shirley Anne on June 20, 2012

That Certain Feeling (album)

That Certain Feeling (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who really cares or gives a damn
About this girl and who I am?
Who reaches out with loving arms
Embracing me with grace and charm?
Who takes the time to be a friend
When broken hearts are on the mend?
Who’ll telephone to say hello
And all my troubles wants to know?
Who’ll be there when I need them most
When all seems hopeless and a loss?
Who will support me when I’m down
And make me smile and lose my frown?
Who’ll be there when my troubles show
Supporting me when others go?
Who’ll help me when my heart is sad
Rejoicing when I’m feeling glad?
Who’ll love me to the bitter end
And always be a loving friend?

Copyright Shirley Anne 31 August 2004

This poem is listed in my poems page seven above.

At this moment in time I feel quite down. After almost 4 months now E and I are still not talking but although I’ve tentatively reached out to her no response nor apology is forthcoming. I swore I wouldn’t give in to her yet again and so far I have succeeded. Every time in the past we fell out it was always me that gave in whether or not I was at fault but now I feel that if I give in yet again nothing will change in her attitude. It isn’t just E though. I have nobody to talk with most of the time unless I go to the pub or speak with those I am working for. At the moment I am not visiting the pub because I get bored with it sometimes. Going to the pub shouldn’t be the answer anyhow. My family, that is my brothers and sisters live far away from me and my children hardly visit much to stay long enough for a chat. My friends, such as they are, I seldom see these days because most live far away. I have no lover in my life but that is out of choice. Is it any wonder I like going to work? Not that I go to work for that reason, I don’t, I like my job but it keeps me occupied and when I am occupied I don’t have time to think about my life. My hobbies are a comfort but they do not fill my day. What I really need is companionship and that I usually get from E but not at the moment.  I feel so isolated and alone most of the time and the poem pretty much says it all. Life could be better and I know it will be again but just now it isn’t.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Family, Friendship, Life, Relationships, Socialising | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Sergeant Pepper

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 29, 2012

Heartbreak Hotel Restaurant

Heartbreak Hotel Restaurant (Photo credit: Thomas Hawk)

Saturday was another very hot and sunny day. I got up early and went for a run on my treadmill. My treadmill is in one of the rooms in the cellar (basement) but so is the hot water and central heating boiler! As it is now warm every day the central heating is inoperative but the boiler still comes on to maintain a hot water supply to our storage tank upstairs. The room gets warm of course but not as warm as it does in the winter months when the boiler is running for many hours in the day. If it gets too hot I can open the door  leading to the garden and it becomes much cooler. Anyhow I digress. I did my stint on the treadmill and then went out into the garden and sat on the patio to cool off. After returning indoors and getting dressed I had a late breakfast which doubled as my lunch. I had nothing to do in the afternoon so I raised the canopy over the table in the patio and sat there all afternoon drinking red wine and listening to the radio, switching between Radio 2 and Radio 1, later Classic FM. I don’t much listen to pop music these days but I needed cheering up. I quite enjoyed the old songs they had been playing and they brought back to mind some lovely memories of the days when I first heard them many years ago. I felt really happy and relaxed but at the same time a little lonely. The genre began to change from happy-clappy to romantic love songs and it was then that I found myself crying involuntarily in response to the words. I needed to go indoors to visit the toilet and discovered that E had left the house, probably to visit her mother and that left me alone with no-one else at home. It often happens of course and under normal circumstances it means nothing but at this time when I was feeling so lonely with no-one to talk to it made me feel even more so. A song by Brian Ferry was playing when I returned to the garden, a love song and then more love songs by other artists the names of whom escape me now as I write this on Sunday morning. I was now being reminded of the fact that I was a member of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, a visitor to Heartbreak Hotel, a Lonely Girl (lonely and blue) and all alone in the big wide world. I made a call to one of my friends, Jane, whom I hadn’t seen for a couple of months and who now has moved to another part of the country. I just wanted to know how she was and that all was well with her. She is managing ok it seems which I am so grateful for as she hasn’t had an easy ride lately. It was later in the evening when another friend, Lotte, called to let me know when she will be coming to see me today (Sunday) when we will be driving somewhere for a meal together. We have lots to chat about as we haven’t seen each other for 14 months or so. She had been on an extended tour in the far east for three months and on her return was busy settling in to her old job with some extra responsibilities. She had been busy finding somewhere to live too, thankfully she found somewhere nice. It’s funny how friends and family drift apart sometimes but we all have our lives to live haven’t we? For me, friends are most important and I make every effort to maintain contact with them. Family are a different matter aren’t they? They say you can choose your friends but you cannot choose your family! I love them all though, family and friends alike whether they reciprocate or not. A friend to me is a friend for life, a family member a cherished blood relative I could never reject. As it is though I see very little of any of them and that is why I get lonely sometimes. So here’s to my family and my friends…..I love you all

Shirley Anne

Posted in Celebration, Drink, Family, Friendship, Love, Relationships | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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