Now sunshine…..

……..oh how varied the weather we get here in the UK. For some today it is cold, icy and there is snow lying on the ground but here where I live it is sunny with just a little ground frost or the remnants of ice where the sun doesn’t shine. We are very fortunate I admit so I never complain. I was up early to do the weekly shopping being as it is Thursday, the day I do it. No walks again because of the muscular pain but it isn’t a problem, the pain is slowly easing and I am more and more convinced it is due to trapped nerves in my neck. To that end I exercise my neck muscles. It was still cold when I left the house around seven-thirty but during the day it has been getting warmer and now the sun us shining.

I have been wanting to sweep up the leaves that have again accumulated in the rear garden but when I looked out of the window later in the morning I noticed the blackbirds flicking up the leaves searching for insects to eat. I am therefore going to leave the leaves lying there for a while.

I seem to be getting too used to doing very little and I’ll have to do something about that before I turn to seed!

Shirley Anne

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Now ice

Icy weather

Yesterday it snowed for a short time. Today it is very cold and icy. Overnight the temperature dropped to two below zero, pretty mild for some places in the world but for us, cold. It is now January 23 and I expect it will get worse before it gets better but hoping it doesn’t get worse. The forecast for the next week is a rise in temperature but will it remain milder? Weather forecasting has improved vastly over the years due mainly to the machinery of interpretation, mostly computers. Even so much gathering of information is needed before successful weather prediction algorithms can do their work. They don’t always get it right though. The only place I went outside today was the garden and only then to dispose of accumulated garbage. It is collection day tomorrow but I find that it isn’t worth wheeling the bin into the street as there isn’t much in it! Having disposed of the garbage I placed some food waste material, mainly the peels of a melon, grapefruit, orange and kiwi, into the compost bin where everything gets returned to basics for spreading over the garden as plant food. We might think it is garbage but the plants don’t! For them it is food, minerals and sugars and they thrive on it. Come to thing of it we do exactly the same, put minerals and sugars into our body so that we too can thrive. I sometimes feel sorry for the plants stuck out there in the garden in all weathers and today especially in the icy cold conditions. They have their defences and can put up with it, well most of them. The ones that can’t have been wrapped up for the winter, at least until it stops freezing over. Today, apart from a few minutes outside, I have remained indoors relaxing. My back pain is persisting and is taking a long time to heal though there is an improvement. Tomorrow morning I do the shopping but thankfully it should be a little warmer by then according to the forecast though they can get it wrong!

Shirley Anne

Snowy Day

It was Tuesday 22 Jan and during the late morning the weather was very wintry with the sleet and snow falling. It was for the second time this year so far but as on the previous occasion a few days earlier it didn’t last. No doubt it would snow again as February approached. February is for the UK usually the coldest, wettest and least sunny of all the months. The Sun is still low over the horizon so when it gets wet it pretty much stays that way for a while. If it snows and it is otherwise dry then the snow gets a chance to stick and build up. Fortunately that doesn’t happen much these days and hasn’t really done so at least here in the north-west along the coast though not along the whole coast hereabouts. The Liverpool Bay area is somewhat sheltered from the severest of weather but it doesn’t get away Scott-free. As I write I am hoping we don’t get weather which is too severe. E is presently in the cellar retouching the paint on one or two of the doors down there, mostly in the gaps of the planks that the doors are constructed with. They were made using tongue and grooved timbers and sometimes it is difficult to get the paint in between the timbers where there are gaps. She is very particular when it comes to detail. I am too but I had just about enough of working in the cellar once I had finished the painting. I couldn’t at present do any work anyway for I am still suffering with a little muscular pain and want to keep on relaxing until it improves. This is also the reason I haven’t been out for walks over the past week.

Shirley Anne

Personal?

For so many years of being a woman I never really, well often, well hardly at all if I am truthful, treated myself to something special. Yes, over the years I have indulged myself once in a while by buying new clothes suitable for whichever season it was at the time. Whenever I walked through the high street I would often look in the windows of shops selling shoes and if I saw something I liked I would buy them. It wasn’t that I needed the shoes in particular but I had and still have a fetish for shoes, especially ones with heels. Obviously high-heels are not worn by me every day as with some women, in fact I hardly wear them at all these days. If I’m going somewhere special or for a meal I will wear heels though nothing too high, yet I do posses a few very high-heeled shoes. My daily shoes, those I wear most of the time are flat, that is they have only a very small heel. I do love wearing high-heels though because they make me feel good.

Shoe

I have a couple of ‘fetishes’ other than shoes one is wearing corsetry. I did buy a corset many years ago but I grew out of it, literally! Okay I have put on weight since then and that’s why it no longer fits me. Maybe had I kept wearing it I wouldn’t have piled on the extra pounds but it isn’t just a case of extra pounds, I grew with age as most of us do. Wearing a corset all day long is never a good idea if you are doing manual work and more so if the weather is hot! I have always loved wearing corsets because I like the feeling they give when I wear them. Not all women like wearing corsets and high-heeled shoes and some don’t even like wearing make-up but I love them all. Well anyway on Monday (21 st) I decided I wanted to treat myself to a new corset and subsequently ordered one. When will I wear it? When the fancy takes me.

Shirley Anne

Haste

Over the past week (it is now Jan 20) I have been suffering with muscular pain which I had thought was due to working out on the cross-trainer. Today however I am beginning to think otherwise. I reckon I was too hasty in blaming it on the machine for aside from anything else I had been working hard for weeks on my projects in the cellar and had suffered no ill-will. On a number of occasions in past years I discovered that many of my so called muscular aches and pains had been due to having a trapped nerve in my neck! When I arose today I was beginning to feel much better and the pain and muscle weaknesses had reduced immensely. This I now think was because I had been doing neck exercises the previous evening. I have been continuing with those exercises throughout the day with much effect. Why I hadn’t thought about trapped nerves I have no idea considering I’d suffered with the condition before. My age and forgetfulness perhaps?

Reminder

I will try to remember next time and be less hasty.

Shirley Anne

Taken by surprise

Or putting it another way…caught on the hop! How many times have we put things off to do another day perhaps because it would be more convenient? Probably we are thinking at the time that we cannot be bothered. How many times having put something off have we suddenly come face to face with it again but this time it is more urgent? A dripping tap (faucet) which finally won’t stem the flow of water when you least want the hassle, a loose roof tile which comes thundering down later missing you by inches. Never put off until tomorrow what can be done today is a well-known saying but how many stick to the principle? Obviously there are some things even many things which should be left for another day simply because we don’t have the time. A few weeks ago E pointed out to me that one of her car tyres was lacking air due to a very slow leakage probably from the valve but maybe the rim. I dug out the old foot-operated pump from my van which sadly has needed replacing for years but I never got around to it. Actually it was probably more due to the fact that I had forgotten. It took me ages to pump up the tyres’ pressure. E had been going out and consequently was delayed whilst I pumped air. At the time I said I would replace the pump as soon as I could. I should have done it that same afternoon but left it for another day. I think I was immersed in one of my projects and hadn’t wished to leave it to go shopping. Consequently it was forgotten about. Now I don’t do much driving these days and hadn’t thought there was any hurry to replace the pump but E does drive more often and was more likely to need the pump than I. Funny as it may seem she did have a pump but it was faulty and she had thought about buying a new one. She didn’t get around to doing it either! So on Saturday she was off to her monthly meeting with her group but discovered her tyre, yes the same one she forgot to have repaired, was again short on air. I collected the old pump from the van again realising I should have replaced it and thinking it might not be up to the job. Fortunately I managed to get some air into the tyre and she was able to drive to her meeting. Ten minutes later I was driving to the local specialist vehicle accessory store to purchase a new pump. This time I wanted an electrically-driven one for ease of use, two if they had more in stock. As it happened they only had the one so I would have to return later or buy another elsewhere. It cost a mere £14 and can be plugged into the vehicle’s cigar lighter socket. Next time I won’t be caught on the hop…..

As you can see it was still unopened and would remain so until I gave it to E when she returned home. When she returned I asked her to keep reminding me to get another!

Shirley Anne

Waiting

Sitting and waiting

If there is one thing in life which I hate most it is having to wait for anything. I admit to being impatient when it comes to waiting, I want things to happen there and then. Why do we have to wait at all? Obviously there are several reasons and the list could be endless. Top of the list is perhaps waiting for someone else to play their part in our lives in whatever capacity that may be. Unforeseen circumstances preventing us from proceeding with a plan or a schedule is another reason we are kept waiting. At this precise moment I am being kept waiting by myself! I write this on a wet and dismal afternoon on 18 th January. It is presently raining outside but earlier we had sleet and light snow falling, not a day to be outdoors if it isn’t necessary. However E has just left the house on an errand. She will be doing the same again tomorrow and on Sunday though on those two occasions it will be to do with her club and not just to the local shops. I won’t be going anywhere for a few days having decided not to do any work but to rest because of my muscular troubles (see previous posts). I find it so hard to relax sometimes I have to discipline myself to do it. Just now I am waiting for my period of self discipline to end though I must also wait for my muscles to have recuperated first. There are jobs to be done outside. There are leaves to sweep, trunks to chop down and various other things I am impatiently waiting to get started on. Just being outdoors is a blessing for me because I like to be out in the fresh air. So here I am sitting and waiting for the upturn.

Shirley Anne

Nice and tidy

You may not realise it but most people like things to be nice and tidy. However, I am not talking about their personal presentation nor their living conditions. Let me explain. Whenever you see someone for the very first time how are they viewed in your thoughts? What are your first impressions? When and if you get a chance to meet them do you find your attitude toward them has changed either positively or negatively? Without knowing you dear reader I would still wager you are like everyone of us without knowing it.

When I was young and still living in the family home with my siblings my parents instilled in each of us the need to be clean, neat and tidy, not only in the presentation of ourselves to others but also in every area of our lives. Our rooms had to be kept tidy, well as tidy as a young person is capable of. If we didn’t live up to the standard we soon got shown our error. We were told that if we couldn’t look after our appearance we couldn’t be trusted to look after other things. Children have the aptitude to rebel and often do as far as they can. Discipline has to be applied if our children are to grow in the right way. Despite all of our parents efforts they could never change our thoughts, the way we think. We might understand and keep their principals but we do things and think things in our own way.

Returning to the first part of this post and how we think of others. I ask this question, ‘Do you find yourself categorising people and putting them into boxes, types’? ‘Oh she’s a busy body’, ‘He’s not to be trusted’, ‘She dresses like a clown’ and so on. We may not at first think we are guilty of such thoughts but if we are truly being honest we will admit that we do. I say this not in judgement but simply as fact. We all do it and most times we don’t realise it. We like to keep things neat and tidy perhaps so we can relate to others and dare I say know our own place?

The thing is we should be treating everyone with equal respect and never should we judge them. What goes on in our minds is another matter but it should forever remain there.

Shirley Anne

Rock Solid

Rock Solid (Luke 6:47–48)

The futuristic Space Needle spikes from the Seattle skyline. Stretching approximately 605 feet into the sky, its spire pierces the clouds that often veil the earthquake-prone city. Although its height can seem frightening, especially when the Needle sways, it is actually safer than many tall buildings. The architects who designed the stunning structure kept one principle firmly in mind: the larger and higher the building, the stronger the base needs to be.

The Space Needle’s foundation is 30 feet deep, weighs 5,850 tons and contains 250 tons of reinforcing steel. The foundation is as heavy as the Needle, enabling the airy structure to withstand a wind velocity of 200 miles per hour. In 2001 it withstood an earthquake of 6.8 on the Richter scale. It is estimated that it can endure even greater shocks because the architects doubled the 1962 building code requirements.

Jesus, the master builder of strong, resilient women, likens our spiritual foundation to a building with a strong, immovable base. In his analogy, he tells of a wise builder who “laid the foundation on rock” (verse 48). We know that sooner or later, floods will come in one form or another: illness, financial problems, a relationship breakdown, societal calamities, terrorism or natural disasters. If we don’t take Jesus’ words to heart and put them into practice, we are on shaky ground. But if we build our spiritual lives on what he says, we can withstand anything that shakes us.

And what strong words had Jesus given his followers? Love your enemies and be good to them (see verses 27–36). Exchange kindness for anger, silence for gossip, a sweet spirit for bitterness. Don’t judge others but accept them as God has accepted you. Forgive, because you have been forgiven (see verse 37). Be generous, and generosity will come back to you when you most need it (see verse 38). Be more concerned with your own purity than about the purity of others (see verses 41–42). Care about the goodness of your heart because your words will reveal, no matter how good an actress you are, what’s really inside (see verses 44–45). The rock solid foundation isn’t an abstract notion. The “rocks,” ironically, are a soft heart and a gentle spirit. And those can only come from the Rock of Ages, Jesus Christ.

Oh and by the way it applies to men too!

Taken from NIV Women’s Devotional Bible

Shirley Anne

Still at rest

It was eleven o’clock in the morning when I went out for my first walk in days on Wednesday (16 th). I had been suffering with aches and pains in both my lower back muscles and my buttocks. Walking actually doesn’t appear to aggravate the situation but on my return home four and a half miles later I felt awful. After preparing lunch I was glad to be able to sit down for a while . Raising myself from a seated position however has been really painful. It’s as if my muscles are on strike. As E has difficulty in getting about it is imperative that I am available to do the things she finds difficulty in doing. Even simple things like taking out the garbage or sweeping up leaves in the garden she leaves to me. When I am fit and well I take it all in my stride. Fortunately the major projects I have been engaged in doing have come to an end so I can take time out to rest but it isn’t always possible. I can hear my dad saying ‘you’ll just have to grin and bear it’. How right he was. It is no use grumbling or moaning when things need to be done and this is why I say it even when I am at my best. It is that time of year when certain plants begin to grow and especially those you don’t want like weeds. After all my efforts in removing bluebells (and montbretia) from the gardens two years ago there are still some which persist. On my return from my walk and before I went indoors for lunch I set about removing some I had seen in the front garden flowerbeds. I will be trying to curb my enthusiasm for finding things to do for my muscles’s sake, until there is an improvement of course.

Shirley Anne