New editor

This post is being written using the new editor on WordPress. It is the trial version and I am trying my best to get used to it. Like any new thing we come across in our lives it takes time to become familiar with them. Already as I write or should I say type the words, mistakes I am making are immediately highlighted whereas before I would have had to run the spell-checker. Any progress through change though isn’t always appreciated for many of us who prefer the status quo. Change for the sake of it isn’t always best. I have found in my life that some things change for the good and some for the not so good. Each generation comes up with new ideas and soon they are implemented whether we like them or not. We have no real say in what goes on in many developments, they simply happen without our knowledge. When we enter a new environment or situation we accept it they way it is because we don’t know what conditions were like beforehand whether they were better or worse. So far all I am doing on this post is ordinary typing and I have not yet explored any new facilities or methods of input and manipulation. To be honest I didn’t use most of the facilities offered with the old editor, they weren’t necessary for my requirements. This new platform will probably receive the same treatment. It isn’t that I don’t want to use anything new or take advantage of the things available it’s just that I probably won’t need them. One thing I have noticed is the lack of a word count recorder. It may be that I just haven’t gotten used to things but I would like to know how many words I am putting in my posts. The reason for that is I want to keep my posts relatively short. I have noticed the category list is jumbled making location difficult and the tag list has disappeared altogether. These problems need sorting out else the new editor will remain difficult to use, though perhaps it is me who needs sorting out!

Shirley Anne

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3811

Now you will be wondering what ‘3811’ means. It is the number of this post. That is the 3811 th post I have written and published on this site; at this moment there are more, about 22 more which are scheduled for publication too. When I look back at some of my posts and read them (yes I do that sometimes) I remember them as if they had just been written. I seem to have the ability to remember the written word if it is something of interest to me. Obviously my posts fall into that category but many other publications do also. I also tend to remember words spoken to me many years ago and who spoke them though I probably won’t remember their names. How peculiar is that? Even more strange is that I have a tendency to forget recent events in my life. It’s got to be the way I am ‘wired’ as they say. I don’t remember everything but only those things which were or are of interest or relevance to me. I especially remember kind words spoken to me and hostile words too. Words spoken ambiguously stick with me too, ‘Did they mean this or did they mean that?’. Were they spoken to confuse me or misguide me? Were they complimentary or were they veiled insults? Sometimes I can never be certain one way or the other when I’ve not had the opportunity of conversing with the person who spoke them. Words spoken can be a dagger to the heart or an uplifting support. I hope the words written here in my posts offer no insulting remarks to anyone. If they do then I apologise profoundly. I have to write what I feel in my own heart, what I have experienced in my life but nothing I write is false or intended to mislead.

Once upon a time in a land far away sat a little old lady writing words to help fill your day…………..

Shirley Anne

Time of year

Do you find your interests and habits change from season to season? Wanting to remain outdoors in the Summer when it is warm and sunny might be an obvious desire as many would want to remain indoors sat beside a roaring fire in Winter when it is cold and windy. There must be smaller things we find ourselves doing more as each season arrives. Hot roasted dinners and cold salads at opposite ends of the dining spectrum will probably be our choices in cold and warm weather. We associate hot meals with cold weather and snacks and cold dishes when it is warm. Perhaps the thought of eating a roast dinner in the height of summer is off-putting because we probably feel we would be uncomfortably hot doing so. I notice I tend to bake more often when the weather is cool or cold. I tend to eat more salads in Summer and hot foods in Winter but in truth I don’t suppose it would make much difference if I reversed the habit. I suppose it is therefore more comforting to retain my existing eating habits so I continue with them. It is now the end of September and my thoughts are turning to baking the cakes and other things I stopped doing at the end of Spring. It was in Spring that I purchased some more desiccated coconut to use in a cake but I didn’t use it because I didn’t bake the cake. Now my thoughts have come full-circle and I want to bake it. I do eat cake during the summer though not often but if I do it is usually purchased in a café or restaurant. I enjoy baking, for me it isn’t a chore and I get to eat the results! What things do you find yourself doing each new season?

Shirley Anne

Midnight sailing

Again on Sunday……another early morning walk took me by the Marine Lake along The Promenade on my outward trek. It was an unusually warm morning considering it had until then been colder in the mornings in the previous week. I should have known from the forecast that we were in for a warm spell as the wind was now blowing from Spain and Portugal in the south. More northerly parts of the UK however would not be so fortunate for the wind would be blowing from the North Atlantic in the west. For such a small island the UK has some very diverse weather patterns at times. The temperature on the day would differ by 10 deg C between the north and the south of the country. It had been pretty much an uneventful walk until I reached the lake but as I reached it I saw that there were many small yachts sailing up and down the length of it in an orderly and clockwise direction. There must have been at least fifty of them and probably more. I then realised that it was the annual 24 hr ‘race’ being held there. I was surprised that they could even see where they were going but I suppose there was enough light from the perimeter street lighting. On the other side of the lake near the clubhouse they had floodlights operating so that part was well-illuminated. Soon I was beyond the lake activity and on toward the sea front to return home. The lake sits between The Promenade and the sea front. There is a car parking lot all along the sea front at the rear of the lake and it was very much filled with vehicles. It appears that many folk like staying out all night to watch the sailing event. Personally I can’t understand why anyone wants to sail around a lake all night and day. Each to their own I guess. At least they weren’t getting drunk in the bars and clubs and making a nuisance of themselves as some do on a Saturday night. By the time I had reached home the wind had picked up a bit but was still only a breeze. Breeze or not it must have been strong enough to go sailing under.

Shirley Anne

Not idle

During the last couple of days I haven’t been idle wondering what little project I can be involved with whilst making plans for bigger things. It is Saturday 8 th September as I write and the weather is beginning to get wetter more often as Autumn arrives. Rain has a habit of preventing any constructive projects outdoors but I have nevertheless been fortunate to be able to start one small task. When we moved here thirty years ago we became aware of some issues around the property regarding security. It is a sad reflection on today’s society that we have to take steps in preventing trespass on our property and attempts of burglary. We try to make things as secure as possible both inside and outside our homes. Over the years our house has grown steadily more secure as measures have been taken to that end. I remember one day seeing a couple of youths climb over the wall of our then neighbour’s garden at the rear of our property. They made their way across the long garden toward the house but we made sure they were apprehended before they could do anything. It reminded us that garden walls can be climbed and that our rear wall was vulnerable at least at one end where the ground was high. The only solution would be to increase the height of the wall at least at that point. We didn’t take any action then as there were prickly bushes in the corner making access less likely by an intruder. However since those days our garden has changed and the prickly bushes have gone. In the meantime the undergrowth on our neighbour’s side of the wall has become denser to the point of being a deterrent to anyone without a machete! Nevertheless we decided to add a few courses of brick to the wall in that area which is at the end of the wall.

Why now? Well having noticed the activity of the local fox(es) in our garden we concluded they were getting in at the easiest access point in the same corner. It was time to lay some bricks which was the small project I spoke of. It isn’t finished at this moment due to a lack of bricks but that is in hand and will be completed as soon as I get some more. So on Friday, yesterday as I write, I had some mortar remaining and I added some grit to it to make a cement render. I spread that over the brick buttress near to the little greenhouse which needed repair. Over the past twelve months or so I have been patching the buttress with left-over cement from other work but it needs covering completely. I will do that in time but I will have to move the sand in the bag on the right in order to do that side. If you remember the sand was removed from the floor when constructing the pit in the cellar. The other large bag was emptied into smaller bags and is stored inside the garage on the right of the pictures. It is slowly getting used on these projects when I mix cement.  Also on Friday I arranged delivery for the stone cobbles which I will be using to surround the feature I am constructing on the lawn. After digging out the plot they will be the first things to lay before any further work is done.

Shirley Anne

Not expected

It is fast approaching Autumn and the change in the weather makes it noticeable especially in the hours before dawn. It is getting colder though it can be quite cold during the night in the height of Summer sometimes. Being on the coast makes it a little cooler than elsewhere inland too. Over the years the weather forecasts have greatly improved and are now more accurate though not always. I had checked the forecast for Friday (7 th) morning and throughout the day and it indicated dry weather but on the cool side, only up to 14 deg C where I live. I was going for a walk at 4 am and was suitably dressed for the cool weather and was wearing my rainproof jacket just as I always do at this time of year. I had only reached my next-door neighbour’s house when a fox darted out from his driveway across my path only to disappear across the road into another driveway. He or she must have found my neighbour’s garden easier to negotiate. See my previous posts. I guess he/she wasn’t expecting to bump into anyone so must have been quite surprised at seeing me. At the time of writing I am engaged in some work to make it more difficult for foxes to enter our garden at the rear as they can be a nuisance. Anyway I carried on up the road on my walk. I could feel one or two drops of rain which gradually grew into more until about a mile into the walk when it lashed down. Water was bouncing off the roads and large puddles were everywhere as the drains struggled to swallow it all. I remained dry inside my jacket though the lower half of my skirt got wet. Now I could wear waterproof trousers but I wouldn’t be comfortable in them so I don’t. In any case I don’t have any. So the weather forecast was completely wrong, dry indeed, what were they thinking? The remainder of the day involved the occasional shower too.

Shirley Anne

Bricks and mortar

I always remember what my father used to say to me when I was a teenager, he would say ‘You can’t go wrong if you invest in bricks and mortar’. He himself however hadn’t done the same thing but that was because my parents couldn’t afford to. They never purchased their own property though in later years they had the opportunity. They considered at that time it wasn’t worth it. As things turned out they were alright. They moved from Liverpool to Stratford-upon-Avon not long after I had married and had moved on myself. In fact I was the last of my siblings to leave the home of our parents. I was told later that they thought I would never leave! They were joking but I could tell their concern was for me to find a partner and settle down. Eventually I did that of course but only after a long time. The reasons are all explained in my pages section of this blog. One of my sisters had along with her husband at that time (for she has married four times) gave my parents a house to live in for as long as they wished. They, my sister and husband were financially well-off and had another house of their own. Today it can be difficult for anyone on an average income to purchase their own property because of the high deposit often required and the high repayments thereafter when taking out a mortgage. Many have lost their homes because they have been made redundant at work or have lost their jobs for other reasons and could not keep up the repayments. I guess I have been very fortunate having ended up with my own (jointly owned with my ex with whom I still live) property with the mortgage fully paid last year. We had financial support from my in-laws in the early years which helped us enormously. Not everyone is so fortunate, I am very aware of that and am grateful. Looking back I think we would still have been secure but with a smaller house than that which we now have. I had been very fortunate in not ever being out of work and in later years having worked for myself. Though owning a property doesn’t necessarily ensure security, nothing really does in the materialistic world, it does give a fair measure. It is nice to know we have somewhere to live in comfort and to call our own. I was wise to invest in bricks and mortar and I would encourage young people starting off in life to do the same if they possibly can.

Shirley Anne

Love


How well do we know love? When we think about love our thoughts turn to those closest to us, our wives, husbands, children and then the rest of our families, friends, acquaintances and sometimes those we work with. I suspect though that the less connected and those we don’t give much thought are not loved in the same way. That I also suppose is natural and expected but God doesn’t love us in that way, He loves us all no matter who we are for we are His creation. How many of us really know that or indeed accept it or even accept God Himself?
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ (John 3:16)
That is the measure of real love.

Shirley Anne

Love (1 John 4:8)

To know God is to know love, and to continually experience this love is to have renewed motivations, even for work. As we grasp the depth of God’s love for us, we begin to see every part of our lives being sustained and directed by that love. Over time this perspective affects every part of our lives. And because we spend so much of our lives engaged in it, one of our greatest needs is to have God’s love transform the way we work.

When we begin to experience God and his love, our whole being—heart, mind, soul and strength—is engaged, and this experience cannot help but change the way we approach work. It affects our motivations, our relationships and the very work that we do. We see ourselves working for God out of gratitude for what he has done for us, and our diligence at work reflects that gratitude.

As we consider the transformative power of God’s love, the question we must always ask ourselves is this: “Have we come to know the true living God, or are we more occupied with a projection of God informed by our own intellect, desires or experiences?” Only when we encounter this loving God are we truly changed at the very core of our being.

Connecting

God speaks into our lives, and his voice communicates a profound love that changes us in ways both big and small. His love is not an abstract sentiment, but is specific. He didn’t love humanity in some obscure way. No, he sent his Son to live as a Jewish man, die on a Roman cross and rise again so that we could be saved and know him.

One of the most powerful expressions of God’s love in us is in the words we say to our coworkers. Most of us have opportunities to give feedback. Yet, sometimes we shy away from giving positive feedback, in fear of appearing weak or sappy, or we give it in such a way that tears people down. When the love of God is at work in us to transform the way we see others and the importance of our work, even seemingly insignificant feedback can create the kind of change that brings life and health to an individual as well as an organization.

Taken from NIV Faith & Work Bible

Shirley Anne

Shanghaied

Shanghai, a city in China was the place from which my order, a larder fridge was dispatched. It appears that the unit was manufactured there. The firm itself was founded by two men, Russel and Hobbs and it has its main office in the UK. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell_Hobbs ). As with many companies these days manufacturing of their goods is carried out in other countries where the cost for labour is much lower. People ask why things are no longer manufactured here but the answer is that in this country the labour costs are too high. Minimum wage legislation and the demand for better living conditions will naturally price us out of the manufacturing industry when manufacturers seek the best profit margins possible. In the end no doubt labour costs in these foreign places of manufacture will eventually creep higher too and manufacturing there will cease to be beneficial. Perhaps then manufacturing will return to the UK. However, that could take many years for there are always going to be places in the world playing catch-up. It all makes me wonder where our income is coming from, how as a country do we survive? In the meantime we have to rely on foreign manufacture being reliable. Many of them are just so and in some instances far better than things we once manufactured ourselves, cars, televisions and computers for example. If we are not careful we will lose the ability to manufacture anything! Skills and abilities are soon lost if there is no generation of interest. As for my fridge I did wonder why it was taking so long in being delivered and only discovered its source after implementing the tracking of it online. In fact several of my most recent purchases have been sent from abroad. The fridge itself looks well made but I wonder how reliable it will turn out to be. As an example and by comparison one of the three chest freezers we have is now over fifty years old and is still working fine. However I think it was manufactured in Italy as many refrigerating appliances were and still are but for how long? Will they be Shanghaied too?

Shirley Anne

Wily old fox again

Wily old fox where are you now?
I’ve seen where you’ve been
And the mess on the green
That you’ve kindly left there for me to clean.

It was Sunday morning and I went for a walk. I had put on my coat for it didn’t seem that warm when I left the house. About half-way through I had to remove it and tie it around my waist I was so hot. Even down along the seafront it was warm but there was a slight breeze which made the humid air more comfortable to be in. I could hear the sound of voices in the distance toward the town centre as Saturday night revellers walked about in their drunken stupor. Noise travels far in the quiet hours. I keep well away from the town centre on certain days like Saturday and Sunday mornings for that reason. I remember once returning home after an early morning run to see a guy lying on his back in the middle of our street and fast asleep! Fortunately for him we live in a quiet street. Alcohol has that effect on people who drink too much of it and he was one of them. Usually when out walking I might come across a cat or two, a few rabbits and of course sea birds and water fowl. Once in a while I will see a fox who has usually seen me first and has dashed away to hide somewhere. We have lots of urban foxes though we are not that far from open countryside where there are probably more. Even down along the seafront among the sand dunes foxes can be seen occasionally but wily as foxes are sometimes they can be right under our noses and remain hidden. On my return home I wanted to water the garden but left it until it was daylight. As I looked upon the lawn I could see three little presents the fox had left for me to clean away. One or two very small holes had been left too! Now I have seen a fox on several occasions walking along the top of the boundary brick wall but never have I seen one actually in the garden. E tells me she has seen foxes on the wall too but normally in the evening when it is dark. As we don’t usually spend time out in the garden when it is dark we don’t get to see what goes on. Because the tail end of the garden belonging to the neighbour over the rear wall is in such disarray a family of foxes could be living there without their knowledge. I do hope not for as much as I like foxes I don’t want to be clearing up after them night after night or morning after morning.

Shirley Anne