I gotta get out of this place

…if it’s the last thing I ever do. Yes a familiar line from an old song which I think if I can remember was by a group called ‘The Animals’ with a front man called Eric Burden. It was recorded in the mid-sixties. Now I am showing my age which for those who wish to know is 72. As I write this it is Wednesday morning on the fourth of July. Now there’s a familiar date. Greetings to all my American friends, which by that I mean all of you living there. Okay I am two weeks late but the date doesn’t matter. By the way I greet all people the same no matter from where they hail. I am stuck at home though stuck isn’t probably the right word to use, perhaps left at home might be more apt. E has gone to stay with her mom for a few hours whilst her brother, who lives with his mom, has somewhere he needs to go. I am not really sure why he still lives at home with his mom for he is I think 60 years old. Life has dealt him a few bad cards over the years and I guess things just fell into place and kept him living there. E doesn’t speak much about him and I haven’t even seen him for well over twenty years. That’s what happens when families don’t stick together and support each other. There are reasons of course, many are too self-centred and have bigoted feelings. I don’t know why people are like that, after all we are all in the same boat. All you need is love. Now where have I heard that one before? I am not sure many folk know what real love is. If you’ve an ear I can tell you but I don’t wish to preach, not in this post anyway. I see folk going about their daily business and often wonder what it is they think about, what their focus on life is. One day they will, we all will, leave this place and everything in it and in fact it will be the last thing we ever do won’t it? Once more it is a beautifully sunny day, probably going to be too hot again for me if I’m honest. I am maybe thinking I should get out of this place, that is my house and go for a walk somewhere but do you know, I am not sure I will feel better for it. It is late in the morning as I finish this post. I haven’t eaten breakfast because I wasn’t hungry when I got up but I am feeling a little hungry now. After I have eaten I will be ‘reviewing the situation’, (yes, from Oliver Twist, the musical). Have a really nice day my readers.

Shirley Anne

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A little fed up

I am not feeling great at the moment. Oh my health is just fine but I am struggling to cope with this oppressively hot weather. I am having to spend an awful amount of time just trying to keep the garden plants alive as it is so dry. Oh how I wish that we had some rain, just a day or two would be great. Other things I am struggling with include not being able, because of the heat, to do much work. What work I have been doing has centred on garden maintenance but even that is limited for it gets too strenuous and uncomfortable. I have therefore been doing that work early in the mornings and late in the afternoons when it has been much cooler. I thought it might have rained a couple of days ago for there were clouds in the sky, something we haven’t seen much of lately. Yes I know that when we do get the cooler and wetter days I will probably moan about them if they last too long too. I think I should move further north but I would only then get pestered by midges, thousands of them. It is bad enough having to suffer the flies we have been getting here. Summer is fine if it isn’t too hot, too dry or too humid and it is often one or more of those at the same time, just as it has been lately here. Aside from all of that I cannot complain can I? Life is good no matter what the circumstances. Do you know I feel better already! Today I will be watching more football on television, Sweden vs Switzerland this afternoon and later in the evening England vs Columbia. It would be nice to see my home country being successful in the competitions. I wish them the best but I cannot see them progressing much further if I am honest having seen the competition. It keeps me indoors for a time while the weather gets on with frying us all outside. By the time you read this you will know how my country’s team got on and hopefully by then I will be feeling much better in regards to the weather……..it should be raining.

Shirley Anne

July and it’s hot!

So far July has been scorching hot. Yes okay it is only the second day of the month but it is staying that way for the next couple of days at least. July is the month schools let out for summer, usually around the middle of the month. That means lots of screaming kids letting off steam. Don’t get me wrong I was one too, honest! Traditionally families will go on vacation or as we say here on holiday for say two weeks in the sun, if they are lucky. If a domestic break is taken there is always the likelihood that it could rain for how long nobody ever really knows. Weather forecasts have improved over the years so if a holiday is planned around having a lot of sunshine it is safe to say guaranteed sunshine can be planned for with reasonable accuracy. You have to remember here in the UK the weather is often very changeable. To really guarantee sunshine days it is best to travel to a country that has a better defined period of sunshine for any particular part of the year. E and I used to go abroad often and to places where we could guarantee it being hot and sunny. We narrowly missed a tropical storm when we visited The Dominican Republic many years ago. It passed over the country a week before we were due to arrive. The problem here is that a pre-booked holiday can often lead to it not being that sunny at all. Who can forecast the weather months in advance? A safer bet would be Spain if a hot sunny holiday is wanted. Anyway E and I haven’t spent a holiday abroad for many years now and have remained at home in the UK. We never take a break here either, what’s the point? We are retired and every day is a holiday really. It is nice to take a short break once in a while and we did that more recently on a long weekend in Vienna. The previous long-stay break was in 2009 in Canada and six weeks before in the US. We have been to many places in the world but for me at least I don’t feel the need to travel anymore. E has her disability which makes travel awkward to say the least but given the opportunity would go. I would go with her too of course. For the time being it is a hot day in July and we are in the comfort of our own home.

Shirley Anne

Wishing again

Because of the excessively warm weather I have not been able or inclined to do any work at all both indoors and out. My energy levels have been kept low as a result. My muscles don’t feel up to exertion for I am more used to working in lower temperatures. Anything I have been able to do has been done very early in the day before it began to get too warm. I have been wishing for a cooler period to enable me to do at least something and I have a couple of things waiting in the pipeline. It is Sunday on the first day of July and according to the weather forecast one of or the warmest day so far. We are to expect temperatures to reach 29 deg C here. It doesn’t feel that hot as I write this but hot enough for me to once more take a break. When will things change? I am not sure but it will be days before we begin to see it returning to a more sensible temperature, well sensible to me. I will be watching some more football today, two games, Spain vs Russia and later Denmark vs Croatia. Yesterday I watched Argentina get knocked out of the games by France and later Portugal being dismissed by Uruguay. I had favoured the two winning teams so I enjoyed seeing them win. The host nation Russia, might be eliminated by Spain who I also favour to win. As for Denmark and Croatia, it’s anyone’s game. These current matches are for places in the quarter-finals. I wager many of the teams playing will also be wishing for cooler weather as over there in Russia it has been even warmer and stickier than it has been here. Roll on Autumn eh? Perhaps not yet, let’s enjoy it whilst we can, both the weather and the respite from work!

Shirley Anne

Still waiting

It is the last day of June as I write this. I have come indoors to watch one of  the two World Cup games being televised today. As we draw nearer to the final game there are fewer being played so I don’t have to spend too much time out of the fresh air. Having said that it is nice to come inside for a while because of the relentless hot weather we have been experiencing lately. Again I have been watering the gardens because of the lack of rain. Even now the forecast doesn’t look promising for the possibility of rain with a further wait of nine or ten days being likely. All very well for sun-seekers but not for the plants in my gardens. I guess I would rather be praying for a spell of dry weather than the other way round. We haven’t reached the drought stage yet but if we don’t get much rain soon all that will change. The other day when out walking I was reminded of such a possibility as I saw a mobile water bowser being driven along the highway. I remember many years ago when living in Liverpool seeing a number of such vehicles being stationed around the place where I lived. Funny thing is though I don’t remember the drought at the time but there must have been one. As for droughts and water shortages I do remember there being a shortage when I lived in Freshfield which was just over thirty years ago. At that time there were restrictions in place against the use of hosepipes. If we have to resort to using the water butts I will have to be selective as to which plants get the most water. This is the main reason I have been thinking of installing another water butt. In the meanwhile I am still hoping and waiting that we’ll get rain soon.

Shirley Anne

You are a person of faith!

Did you know that you’re a person of great faith? (Hebrews 11:1–2)

It’s true—you are, and so is everyone else. Not a day passes without each of us exercising considerable faith. For example, you did it when you showered this morning. You trusted that the soap manufacturer didn’t put some caustic substance in the soap that would burn your skin. When you drove to work, you trusted that the drivers of the oncoming cars wouldn’t suddenly pull in front of you. When you got to work and flipped on the light switch, you believed that the light would come on.

The author of Hebrews tells us that faith is like that. It’s being sure of things you hope for without having them yet; it’s being certain that unseen things are real.

Notice that faith is not just positive thinking. And it’s more than mere intuition. Faith is only as good as its object; it must have a worthy focus or it’s just a blind hunch. When God asks you to trust him, he isn’t asking you to take a blind leap. Faith in God is built on the evidence he has supplied, which includes fulfilled prophecy, eyewitness reports, historical and archaeological confirmations of the Bible’s trustworthiness, God’s divine insight into human nature as seen in the pages of Scripture, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead (which confirmed his supernatural credentials) and the changed lives of believers down through history—to name just a few examples.

Since you already live by faith in many areas of your life, depending daily on less reliable things, why not put your full confidence in God, who is reliable and is offering you forgiveness of sin and eternal life.

Taken from NIV The NIV Journey Bible

Well how about it? How long are you going to resist God? How long will you live? Seek God whilst you still have the chance. You have faith in other things which will ultimately pass away now have the faith that God exists for as sure as you might be that He doesn’t……..He does.

Shirley Anne

No worms

Up again very early on Thursday morning and feeling refreshed after a good night’s sleep I was ready for the day ahead. I had awoken at 4.20 and paid a visit to the throne room before returning to bed in an attempt to nod off again but alas as always I lay there unable. I finally left the horizontal and took up the vertical and was downstairs before six. After a quick breakfast I was outside watering the rear garden once more even though I had done it only twelve hours previously. Despite all the watering the ground has been soaking it all in as if it hasn’t seen rain before. Now you would think that the worms would come to the surface but I didn’t see any. Usually at the sound of rain falling on the ground and the water seeping downwards the worms respond by burrowing upwards. I am supposing they are too far down chasing after the last water fall. It shows just how dry the ground can get at this time of year and how much more the necessity to get the hose out. So I had finished watering the garden plants and the lawn and went to do the weekly shopping. As it happened I didn’t need to buy as much this time for E and I had been out the previous day to purchase other items and had called into the supermarket too. On my return home and after packing everything away I made myself a coffee and sat on the bench in the rear garden. As I sat there I noticed movement to my left, a squirrel had appeared on the lawn and was busy looking for something to eat in the damp grass. I didn’t know that squirrels ate worms and I am not sure they do but I know they eat insects. I guess that is what it was looking for. I sat perfectly still though I know only sudden or deliberate movement toward them will frighten them away. It skipped across the grass and climbed up the bird table to get at the seeds we put there for the small birds. At the moment we have the seeds from the melons we purchase and both the birds and the squirrels eat them. After a short time the squirrel climbed back down and skipped across the grass to run up the holly tree and on toward the taller trees behind. We have days when we almost never see squirrels and then other days when there are many. Squirrels eat a variety of things besides nuts but I still don’t believe they eat worms.

Shirley Anne

Itchy and scratchy

Okay now the show is over I can talk about itchy and scratchy. The cartoon itself is aimed at a younger audience which I think is deplorable because of its content, it is so violent and goes against all that I believe. As an adult I can laugh at the stupidity and impossible scenarios and not take anything seriously, which is what I do. It is much the same as any other slapstick comedy, one character gets hurt by the other and we laugh at it. Should we be offended or simply treat it as ridiculous? That dear reader is down to your own conscience. Now joking apart I cannot help be reminded of the  cartoon characters now whenever I feel itchy and at this time of year that is quite often for me. Having caught too much of the sun my skin in places has become rather itchy and I have been trying to resist scratching it but it isn’t easy. Come on now you probably do the same, you end up scratching it too. However I don’t leave myself at the mercy of my fingernails, I apply a suitable skin cream. There is another kind of itch which rears its ugly head at this time of year too, that caused by the constant battle with midges and other small flying insects which want to feed on my skin. I find an application of a lavender infused cream helps in preventing being eaten alive. On Wednesday morning, very early in the morning (it was actually 5.30) I had gone into the front garden to give it what has become a daily routine these past couple of weeks, a good watering with the hose. Well all went well for a few minutes then it was ‘Hey guys, here is another victim’ as the little mites began settling on my exposed regions. I had to keep wetting my arms to keep them off. Had I watered the garden later when it was in full sunshine I suppose there wouldn’t have been as many midges about. I don’t think they like the heat. I can relate to that. I persevered for the hour I was out there, I wasn’t going to allow a few insects to stop me. After returning indoors for breakfast I returned to the garden and sat on the bench there playing guitar for an hour. Strangely I wasn’t pestered this time. I guess the music sent them to sleep!

Shirley Anne

Cross with my trainer

I don’t know what it is but my trainer and I don’t seem to be getting along as we should. Despite efforts from myself nothing seems to be working right now. No, I am not talking about a personal trainer here for I think they are an unnecessary ‘extra’ for most people. Instruction is one thing but a little education regarding the use of exercise machines and how to keep fit in general serve much as good if not better. I am talking about my elliptical cross-trainer and how my body is reacting to my use of it. As with any equipment it is wise to follow the instructions and users guide to get the best out of it. It must be stated that any new exercise regime should be approached gently and any equipment used cautiously until we are used to them. Nice and easy at first and then building up gradually over a period of time will be of greater benefit and do less harm than if we rush into things. Naturally for those who are embarking on an exercise regime for the first time it is wise to get a health check beforehand. For myself, I have been exercising in one form or another for many years but still approach new things with caution. This has been the case with my cross-trainer. As for the treadmill, well I am well used to running so it isn’t a problem. The new exercise bike is also no problem as I have done much cycling in the past and still own a road bike. However, the cross-trainer and I don’t see eye to eye for sometimes after using it my upper leg muscles and buttocks suffer. I have always considered the type of exercise provided by the cross-trainer to be unnatural. It combines the exercises provided by a bicycle and a treadmill at the same time and even the ‘peddling’ action isn’t the same as a bicycle. So it needs a lot of getting used to and though I have had the machine for six months I still find on occasion my muscles object. Obviously it is down to myself to use it more wisely. Today, Tuesday, I went for a five-mile walk in the heat of the sunny morning. Tomorrow I will face the machine again and see if we cannot make up.

Shirley Anne

The days we dream about

If today is anything to go by it looks as if we are in for yet still more hot weather. Yesterday was hot enough and today has followed suit. It is the last week of the month, even the last Monday and I am glad I am not still working as an electrician. It always seemed the way that during the hot weather I was stuck inside a house or inside somewhere on a building site but in the cooler and colder months I was asked to do outside work. I looked forward to the days when I could decide to work in conditions I preferred and better still not have to work at all! I used to dream about such days. As a youngster I dreamt about growing up and especially how I could become a girl. I didn’t wish for anything else.As I grew up I realised life had other ideas and there were things I had to do before any of my wishes and desires could come about. My future didn’t quite turn out as I had originally intended but you can read about that in my pages section of this blog. In the winter time I used to yearn for warm weather but not so much these days. Much as I like the warm weather it can be too much for me to cope with sometimes. I prefer it to be cool though not freezing cold! You might therefore assume I am at present wishing for cool weather and to a point you would be correct. I am however enjoying the fact that I can walk about in a swimming costume and a slip-on skirt. Life doesn’t always turn out the way we wish does it? Now I am retired I have a more controlled future and can pretty much have things the way I want. These are the days I dreamt would never arrive until they did. I used to imagine what life would be like for me at different stages of it. I was born in 1945 which is of course the last century. Not everyone will be able to claim to have lived in two different centuries! At ten years of age I thought about what I would be like twenty years later and then when those days arrived I thought about 2005 and my sixtieth birthday. It was too far ahead to worry about so I carried on and gave it no more thought. When I did reach that age I realised that it had crept up on me and suddenly there seemed to be nothing to look forward to, nothing to dream about, in this world at least. These are the days though that I once could only dream about.

Shirley Anne