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Posts Tagged ‘Family’

Weekend off?

Posted by Shirley Anne on December 15, 2014

English: Brother and sister sitting in flowers

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

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

Shirley Anne

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

It was inevitable

Posted by Shirley Anne on November 1, 2014

Spike is building his dream house peacefully, ...

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…………………Garage 2 works 1

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.

Shirley Anne

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Alright for some…..

Posted by Shirley Anne on October 24, 2014

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.

Shirley Anne

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Just thinking

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 23, 2014

friendship - IMG_3604

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.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Family, Friends, Friendship, Relationships | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

Space again

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 14, 2014

English: Modern view of Manchester City Centre

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.

Shirley Anne

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Always in a rush to go elsewhere

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 13, 2014

Golf "Lessen"

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.

Shirley Anne

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Posted by Shirley Anne on July 4, 2014

Outcast (video game)

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:

Romans 14:10-12
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!

Shirley Anne

Posted in Cars, Driving, Family, Relationships | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

A little respite

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 7, 2014



A little respite but not much. Whilst many have been enjoying the first of the May one day extra holidays that make up the three-day weekend, I have been working on two of those days. Monday was the ‘extra’ day and I was out at work. When not out at work you will usually find me in at work instead! Things can only happen if you make them. I am happy and content whilst working, it gives me some sort of purpose to my life. I don’t think I could live without work of some sort sometimes at least. I could stop work and retire but even if I did that I would most probably find something to do at home and there are plenty of things that can be done at home. All work and no play they say is not good for the soul and I am no different when it comes to rest and relaxation but when I take a little respite I find I am eager to get back home after a short time. I cannot go sight-seeing just for the sake of it or visit places I have never visited before just for that reason, to me those things are quite pointless. That isn’t to say I don’t make the most of my time when away from home on a vacation because I do, it would be pointless to do otherwise but for me it is more about having a change of scenery and a temporary rest from work. It is the exception I take on-board rather than the mainstay of my existence. A holiday, a vacation, a break is the thing I do less of rather than more of. I don’t need to fill my life with new places to see, new things to do, new people to meet, I never really did but they are nice to do once in a while. Everything we do in life is pointless in the great scheme of things. We will remember none of it when we die and it will make do difference to the fact that we will one day. All we can do is enjoy this miserable existence as best we can and make the most of it.

Ecclesiastes Chapter 9

5 For the living know that they will die,
but the dead know nothing;
they have no further reward,
and even their name is forgotten.
6 Their love, their hate
and their jealousy have long since vanished;
never again will they have a part
in anything that happens under the sun.

Apfelstrudel (apple strudel) as served in Hoch...

Apfelstrudel (apple strudel) as served in Hoch-Imst, Tyrol, Austria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


So I enjoy my work and I enjoy my play, what little of it I take. Sunday was spent relaxing at home and in the afternoon E and I entertained our youngest son and his girlfriend or should I say partner who came to dine with us. A splendid Sunday roast followed with Apple Strudel and ice cream or fresh cream as desired. As they were both driving they declined a glass of wine and as E and I no longer drink alcohol we all enjoyed a glass or two of ‘Shloer’ instead followed in our case with a Cappuccino apiece.

Shirley Anne

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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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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

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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



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 ...


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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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

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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 »


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