Around and around

No Credit Card
No Credit Card

The subscriptions for my business advertisement were due next week and as I was in town I decided to pop into the offices of the newspaper in which my advertisement is displayed and pay in person. Usually they telephone me or I them to renew using my credit card. They have the card details so all they require is verbal confirmation from me for them to proceed. The girl who deals with the advertisements was surprised but very pleased to see me. We had a good chat whilst she dealt with my request as this time I wished to pay using cash as I had £500 with me. I have the advertisement run for 13 weeks at a time which costs me £439 so I had cash left for other things. By now it was almost 3 o’clock and I had missed lunch because of the morning’s business I had to attend to and my visit to the newspaper office. Another visit to the pub which at that time was surprisingly empty save for a few groups of people dining. I didn’t stay long, about two hours before I went on home. This time of year (February) I begin dealing with vehicle tax, insurance, MOT, vehicle servicing and usually arranging to pay my for my advert. Last week it was paying my subscription to the AA. With other minor subscriptions to pay for it soon mounts up but then I have a respite until my advertisement subscription is required again. Around and around we go again, each year just the same but I must say I am just happy to still be able to do it all, I mean I could be pushing up daisies couldn’t I?

Shirley Anne


Being let down

Please Forgive Me
Please Forgive Me 

Are you ever let down by those you know or those you’ve met? Are you given lame excuses when it happens and do you believe them? Would you give them another chance? Human nature would lean toward not being bitten twice, even though people often let others down themselves. In Scripture we are told to forgive others and continue to so so no matter how many times people come against us, not only by letting us down but for any reason. However we do not have to keep placing ourselves in such a position to be let down, once bitten twice shy as the saying goes. Occasionally in my work I get let down, people asking for my services and then letting me down by cancelling hours or even days later! It is a little annoying because I not only lose their custom but it prevents me scheduling jobs for other people who may want my services rather urgently. In the past I have left a morning or an afternoon free for customers and find they cancel at the last-minute. That really does annoy me. I have to bite my tongue and accept it though. Thankfully it doesn’t happen often but it did happen this past weekend when someone arranged for me to call today, Tuesday and a couple of hours later changed their minds. At least they informed me sooner rather than later. How many times have people let you down when you’ve organised a party or barbecue and they cry off even though you invite them weeks before? The worse thing is when you’ve arranged to meet someone, as on a date for instance and they don’t bother turning up. I’ve had that happen a couple of times in the past as I suppose many have. Not very nice and very cowardly of the other party. That’s life I suppose, that’s people for you. There are many people in my life who I know I can trust not to let me down, those in my family and one or two outside of my family but not many. Personally, I never let anyone down who asks of me and I won’t accept requests for help if I know I cannot honour them. For those who let me down all I can do is forgive them.

Shirley Anne

It’s getting so………..

English: A thatched pub, the Williams Arms at ...

It’s getting so that I prefer the pub to home more and more these days. Until a week ago I hadn’t visited the pub since my birthday, which is the 21 November. I don’t like going there during the Christmas and New Year break so for about six weeks or so I remain absent. When I do visit the pub it isn’t the alcohol that attracts me there, it never was and especially now that I stopped drinking alcohol in mid-November. It isn’t because they have a great menu although I often eat there for the food is excellent and it means I don’t have to cook it myself or wash the dishes later! It must be for the company, for the people who I meet there, including the great staff who make sure you are welcomed coming in and when you leave. For those they get to know they call by name. I like people, simple as that. My private life isn’t what it should be and I get lonely because of that. Oh, I can be quite happy in my own company and in fact I need that space for myself at times but I can get bored with my own company too! I am not an isolationist, a hermit or one who shies away from life though in my early years I was exactly that way, completely anti-social. The reasons for that may be explained in the stories about myself in the pages above should you wish to read them. My life has changed dramatically since those days and I am far from the person I used to be. Four main events changed my life, marriage, the birth of my children, becoming a Christian and finally my transition brought about massive changes that transformed my life. I am happier now in myself than I have ever been before or thought I could ever be. I could be happier though but that is up to the person I live with. Anyway I spent the afternoon there on Sunday and met up with people I’d not seen for a while.

Shirley Anne

Open your eyes

The distribution of the predominant Islamic ma...
The distribution of the predominant Islamic madhhab (school of law) followed in majority-Muslim countries and regions (English) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What does it take to get through to you? In a recent report there was a man in the UK being harassed in the street by Muslim men driving slowly alongside and telling him to leave the area as it was a Muslim area! They also shouted abuse accusing him of ‘looking gay’. I thought this country was ours, I thought this country was Christian but no, there is freedom for everyone to do as they please it seems, some to the good and some not. Do we want to live in a country that is run by Sharia law, becoming Islamic in the process? Be warned, it will happen if we do nothing about it. Click on the link to see what is happening in Europe…

Shirley Anne

The simplest of tasks

Open Problems
Open Problems

In my job I get all sorts of problems now and then, it is only to be expected, nothing goes smoothly every time. The simplest of tasks routinely carried out over the years can sometimes be awkward to do and very annoying. I had one such occasion the other day when carrying out a task I’ve done so many times in the past. What would normally have taken about ten minutes for me to do actually took almost thirty! When these things happen, which isn’t very often thank goodness, I say ‘it was fighting me all the way’. It’s as though there is an invisible hand thwarting my every move. Unless you are an electrician, gas fitter, plumber or anyone else who works with their hands it may be difficult to understand what I am saying but it isn’t confined only to work, life is a little like this sometimes too. Have you ever needed to be somewhere urgently and found the car won’t work, the traffic is heavy, all the lights are against you? The train journey has been cancelled or put back that extra fifteen minutes when you can least afford it can drive you to despair. Many people would allow these things to get them down, they curse and swear but all the time they know nothing is going to change and they get themselves angry, sometimes taking out their frustration on innocent bystanders. The best solution when things just are not going our way is to learn to accept it, moaning and groaning about things over which we have no control really is a pointless exercise. When these things happen in my job I try to be patient, knowing that at some point the job will get done eventually. One of my favourite sayings is ‘What’s the worst that can happen’? When we step back from a problem and see it for what it is then we begin to see how to resolve it. For everything over which we have no control we can plan alternatives or simply go with the flow and accept it.

Shirley Anne

A story to tell

English: Young seagull with a sense of humour ...
Young seagull with a sense of humour On the quayside at Mevagissey.

This story is actually in the ‘Your Own Stories’ page above but I thought I’d give it an airing here. Incidentally if you have an interesting little story you would like to tell I would be happy to include it on that page, you can email it using the address shown on the left of this page.

Recently I came across this item written by Jillian, a girl I met whilst on holiday in Canada last year (2009). I kept it for sentimental reasons at the time but now I have found it again I thought I might share it with you.
Jillian was a couple of months away from her operation when we met and is now enjoying her life as the woman she knew she was all her life.

On the Town

Shirley Anne has quite the sense of humour, as the citizens of Quebec who cross her path are learning. Today, Shirley Anne, her friend E and I visited St. Sauveur — in the Laurentians north of Montreal. It is very much a resort area, particularly in the winter when its many ski hills are in operation. But it is popular all year round, with arts festivals, the current Saka horse show and so much more. And it’s teeming with boutiques and fine restaurants.
Our first stop in St. Sauveur today was at the renowned Pagé bakery on Rue de l’Eglise. It’s full of delicious breads, pastries and other yummies. Of course, I’m watching my figure, so declined the calorie splurge, but my two guests indulged in something sweet. While they were choosing and munching, I strolled across the street to the local Catholic church, which was open to tourists. I sat in a pew for a little while and prayed. It’s a pretty rural church, though not anywhere near as ornate as Mary Queen of the World Cathedral in Montreal (my fave). Still, it’s a quiet place for reflection . . .
Next door to the bakery is a medieval clothing shop I very much wanted to visit. So, once Shirley Anne and E had finished munching their pastries and I was done in the church, into the shop we went to look over the creations of gifted designer Anne Larochelle. Well, you gotta know that we didn’t leave the shop empty-handed. Shirley-Anne bought a beautiful full-length medieval-style coat, while I bought a black medieval-style skirt (50 percent off) — with slits on the sides to show off a bit of leg! Even we medieval gals like to provide a peek, yes? Smiles . . .
By this time, Shirley Anne and E were thinking they would like a drink in “a pub.” And “pub” we found not far away, on Rue Principale. Shirley Anne and E made themselves at home immediately at the bar, and Shirley Anne was soon regaling the locals there with stories and her humour.
I don’t drink alcohol (bit of wine once in a while), so decided to check out some of the boutiques while my pals relaxed in “the pub.” Lordie, there are soooo many nice boutiques in St. Sauveur — and there were so many items I would have liked to have purchased. Sigh . . . But I exercised amazing control over my shopping urge (addiction). I ended up buying a very long silver necklace with silver leaves and dangly matching earrings for a mere $30 (plus tax). Hey, I could have spent thousands on some of the beautiful jewelry and clothes I saw there . . .
Back at “the pub” with Shirley Anne and E, I discovered them in full gaiety mode with the locals, who had suggested a restaurant at which we might dine. So off we went . . . to Restaurant Le Rio on Rue Principale, which opens for dinner at 5 p.m.
Well, where to begin? With Shirley Anne’s sense of humour? Or with the owner who came to our table to greet us (and who had my heart fluttering) . . . Sigh . . .
First things first: the menu. Shirley Anne and E chose to have rib-eye steaks. Shirley Anne went the table d’hote route and had some delicious deep-fried mushrooms (yes, I had a taste) and soup as entrees. I passed on the table d’hote and chose a tilapia filet meuniere from the fish menu. The fish was cooked in a tasty thin batter and was served with homemade fries, garden salad and rice. The portions were huge — too much for a weight-conscious girl like me. But it was delicious, even if I did leave some of the fries and most of the rice on my plate.
Now to Shirley Anne’s sense of humour: Not only was our French Canadian waitress excellent at her job, but she was also a good sport. Shirley Anne kidded her — kindly — with odd British-isms and such whenever the young lady came to our table. I told Shirley Anne that the young lady deserved an extra special tip . . .
I was quite touched when the owner came to greet us before our dinners arrived. He chatted with us for a while, thanked us for coming . . .
Not too long after our dinners had been served, the chef paid us a visit: “Is everything to your satisfaction,” he asked. When we told him everything was excellent, he replied, pumping one arm in the air: “Wonderful! I still have a job!” Another sweet guy. Sigh . . .
Not too long afterward, the owner returned to ask if all was well. Shirley Anne told him everything was terrible — kidding, of course. Oy. That British sense of humour . . .
And the restaurant owner was sooo nice . . . sigh . . . When he found out I live in Ste-Adele, he urged me to come back to his restaurant . . . Smiles . . . (Did I say I was off men? Oy.)
Well, to make this very long story a bit shorter, the food, the service, the welcomes were wonderful at this restaurant, and I recommend it to my readers.
And off we went back to my house . . .
As is always the case for me these days, everywhere I went today, I was called “madame.” Obviously, that is how the world at large sees me, and it feels so good. All those people today helped me shake off a depression that had set in during the past week. My prayers in that small church were answered.
Shirley Anne and E are in Montreal until the 20th of this month, so if any of the local regulars who frequent this blog want to see them, write to me and I’ll give you their contact info.

Shirley Anne

Never done

Brillo Pad logo
Brillo Pad logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A woman’s work is never done as the saying goes. One thing I have always like doing is housework, cleaning, cooking even ironing although I seldom do much ironing these days as it isn’t necessary for most of the things I wear. I am the sort of person who, once starting a task, find it difficult to stop! On Tuesday I did one small electrical job and in the afternoon had nothing to do but whilst preparing myself a coffee I noticed the large frying pan was looking rather forlorn requiring a good clean. It is the pan we (although E uses it far more often than I do) use to fry chips or battered fish in rather than using the proper chip fryer we have. It uses less oil for one and therefore heats up more quickly. It is over three inches deep and has a removable lid and very thick base. I took a peek inside to find the oil desperately needed changing and I could see there was a lot of fat mixed in with it. E has a habit of cooking sausages in it I think which she shouldn’t really do but there you go. Anyway I had to dispose of the old oil before I got to work cleaning the pan. We store any used oil in a container which can be refined and recycled later. The pan took some time to clean using a ‘Brillo Pad‘. Eventually I was able to pour in some new oil and was about to place it back on the cooking range when I noticed that also needed a good clean too! It is a gas range with electric ovens and grill beneath. It has eight gas rings and of course the metal pan racks and they all needed a good clean together with the entire top of the cooker. I got stuck in and cleaned the lot before re-assembling it. Well I couldn’t stop there and ended up cleaning the cooker extract hood, the toaster, the microwave oven, the kettle and the entire worktop surface. There is always plenty to do in my house, it is a never-ending job but I don’t mind getting stuck in, it’s just getting me motivated! A woman’s work is never done. It certainly isn’t in our house!

Shirley Anne

The sun is shining today

Gulf stream map
Gulf stream map

After a few days of miserable weather of snow, wind and rain the sun began to shine again at last (Tuesday) although it is still cold. What little snow we had it has almost all disappeared now but it could fall again at any time of course. Some snow still lies on pavements shaded from the sun and can only melt when the air temperature rises but at 2 degrees Celsius this could take some time, especially as the temperature drops below zero overnight. I am looking forward to the time I can get out on my bicycle again but it may be some time yet. The problem with the weather in the UK is that it is so unpredictable. This is due to the UK’s location on the Globe where warm and cold winds can be in conflict and where the Gulf Stream warms an otherwise cold sea. The position of the ‘Jetstream’ high in the atmosphere has a strong influence too, enabling cold air from the north  or east to blow or allowing warmer winds from the west and south. My bicycle stands next to my van in the garage ready for action that at the moment isn’t going to happen. At least the sun is shining and is brightening up the lives of people during these cold days of winter. We all know it won’t last though but although we cannot make hay at this time of year we can be happy that the sun is shining can’t we? Just as well, more snow is forecast for Friday and they say it will be raining the day after with 6 C temperature! I did say the weather in the UK is unpredictable.

Shirley Anne

Monday for Shirley Anne

Typical "Pub Grub" served at a publi...
Typical “Pub Grub” served at a public house in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I didn’t go to bed on Saturday evening. I had slept in until around 10.30 and just wasn’t tired but by Sunday evening I was quite ready for bed. However, having watched many of the Masters Snooker Championship preliminary elimination rounds I was keen to see the final itself but it didn’t finish until almost midnight. The person I thought would win, Mark Selby, did. This was the third time in six years he claimed the title this time beating Neil Robertson 10 frames to 6.
When I did get to bed it was an hour later before I actually fell asleep. Again I slept in but was in no rush to get up early anyway as I had no work scheduled. I had a bath during which time somebody had called wanting an electrical job doing but as I had left my phone in the bedroom I missed the call. Normally I would have taken the phone into the bathroom. Later I returned the call and discovered she had called someone else instead. I guess it must have been an emergency. It was now 11 o’clock and I got dressed in some ‘no intention’ clothes as I call them meaning not the clothes I would normally wear to work, dressing up clothes if you like. It had been snowing overnight and I had to go to the village to collect my medication from the pharmacy and then go to my local pub for lunch. As I was walking I wore boots and off I went. Although it is only a half-mile or so to the pharmacy it took some time getting there because of the slushy and slippery snow lying on the pavement, far more dangerous than fresh snow. I had submitted my request for my medication a week previously but I discovered they were only able to supply a third of them. Poor service I feel so I have to collect the rest another day. It was now 1 o’clock so I walked another half-mile to the pub. There were plenty of cars in the car park but when I got inside it wasn’t as full as I imagined it would be. I didn’t order food directly but bought a drink and opened a bar tab as I had no cash with me. It was almost two hours before I decided to eat, in the meantime just chatting with a few people. One thing I like about my pub is the fact that they are not mean with the meal portions and the quality is excellent and reasonably priced too! It was early evening before I got back home and found some messages on the house phone asking for my services. Mondays are sometimes like that.

Shirley Anne