No excuses

When you think of it there is really no need for excuses, no real need to make them yet we often still do. Why is that? Well the answer is other people, we sometimes feel the need to excuse our decisions, our failures, our reasons for unfulfilled promises and many other things for fear of offending them. Sometimes we fail because of unforeseen problems getting in the way, sometimes we simply just forget. Instead of making excuses it would be better if we confessed our shortcomings but we don’t always expect a positive response. It is a matter of pride and what we feel others will think of us because we let them down in someway.

Sometimes we make excuses to ourselves too! How ridiculous is that? We really don’t have to apologise to ourselves for anything we do that wasn’t planned or what we said we’d do. Are we not entitled to change our minds without feeling guilty?

I went for a walk at almost eleven o’clock on Friday morning. I had slept in a little late due to my not being able to get to sleep before two o’clock. It meant no breakfast or no walk. I chose the walk. I did eat a little chocolate before stepping outside. It was quite a windy day on Friday and getting more so as the day progressed. It was dull and overcast but midway through the walk the sun broke through and made everything better. I strolled along the beach on my way back and the tide was in for a change. There was less than a metre of sand between the water and the sea wall and it was still rising. Further along I stopped and chatted with an old guy collecting the washed-up coal that is often found there. In a post last year I talked about the reasons for the coal being there, an exposed seam or two further out to sea is little by little breaking up beneath the waves. It has been doing that for many years. As I got nearer home I walked past my local pub and the landlord and his wife had pulled up in their car just as I reached the pub. He popped into the rear of the pub but his wife remained seated. As I approached she asked how I was and why I hadn’t been seen for months. Well I made no excuses and told her I often ‘disappear’ for weeks or even months on end, which is perfectly true, I do. As I no longer drink alcohol the pub holds little attraction and I have other things to do anyway. You’ve only to read my posts over the last six months or more to see that. I should make the effort though and pay the pub a visit and probably will do soon. I won’t make any excuses if I don’t.

Shirley Anne

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Got it wrong

According to the weather forecast we were supposed to have had very high winds overnight on Wednesday. E tells me that in fact it had been windy though not as bad as was forecast. However I am only referring to the weather here where I live, it might have been a different story elsewhere. This morning (Thursday 7) I went to do the weekly shopping and the weather wasn’t very pleasant at all, wet and windy but this afternoon it is bright sunshine all the way. It is however getting windier by the minute and having just heard the weather report we are in for the high winds previously promised. Sometimes they just get it wrong or in this case the date!

Despite the weather we are having it isn’t as bad as it was when the picture on the left was taken a few years ago. Yesterday, whilst there had been reasonable weather I did some work in the gardens, a spot of clearing them of accumulated leaves and the twigs and small branches that keep falling from a neighbour’s tree in the rear garden. It seems to be forever dropping twigs or branches. I also spent an hour digging out unwanted bluebells and one or two montbretia. Unfortunately some of the bluebells bulbs cannot be dug out as they lie beneath the tangle of tree roots. I had to just dig as far as I could and pull out the stems. After removing the majority of the bulbs a couple of years ago I knew there would be others some of which I knew I couldn’t remove unless I also dug out the other plants. Either way it is an impossible task and I fear the bluebells will just keep appearing each year. When I am pushing up daisies they can do what they please and no doubt they will! Today however I am staying indoors and out of the wind. I have other things to do indoors anyway.

Shirley Anne

Making the most of it

Mobility scooter

Wednesday February 6 th was another reasonably fine day as far as the weather went. I took the opportunity to take another walk. As the wind had dropped it turned out better than it had been on Monday for the wind on that day had been rather cold. It is still winter of course so any fine days are always welcome. This afternoon I will have to lower the flag because of gale force winds are predicted overnight. Anything over the advised wind speed of 35 miles per hour can damage both the flag and the pole carrying it. I have to do this more than once a year but it isn’t a problem, more an inconvenience. So after I have finished here I will take down the flag and perhaps get into the garden to do some tidying up. Whilst the weather remains calm I must make the most of it. I am looking at the sunshine on the wall opposite the front room window and with each day, when it is sunny obviously, it gets lower down the wall. As the seasons progress it creeps slowly toward the window itself until there is almost no shadow at all. Something to look forward to, warm sunny days when I probably won’t want to do anything but rest. It won’t happen though, I can’t remain inactive too long. Walking is a great activity at any time and even more so when the weather is fine. I asked E if she would like to be able to go for walks again. Although it is something she can no longer do because of her spinal problems she indicated she might like to accompany me using a mobility scooter. I think that is a great idea worth pursuing for her benefit. I am sure she would like that but knowing E it could only happen if the sun was shining and it was warm and dry.

Shirley Anne

Less was more

Dining out

Tuesday turned out to be a wet and miserable day during the afternoon and although it had been a dry morning it was very cold. I was to take my van in to have a part replaced in the braking system, a compensating valve as they called it, and to have the van serviced at the same time. I had been informed that the valve wouldn’t be inexpensive so I was ready for a sizeable invoice accordingly. I drove there to arrive just before eight-thirty as they had requested then sat there for twenty minutes waiting for E to come and collect me. There never seems to be a sense of urgency in anything E does, especially if it doesn’t affect her in any way. She is willing though and that is appreciated. I add here that I reciprocate her good deeds though I never keep her waiting! Anyway we returned home for a couple of hours whilst they sorted out the van. Just before noon they called me to let me know the work had been completed. E duly drove me there then returned home whilst I sorted out payment. As it happened they hadn’t needed to replace the valve for they had in their own words ‘loosened’ it. It had simply required manipulating and lubricating and if they done that during the MOT test there would not have been the need to check it in for replacement of a supposedly faulty component. It didn’t really matter as I had arranged for a service on the vehicle anyway . The good news was the valve didn’t need replacing and accordingly the invoice was much lower than I had thought it would be. I still had to pay £161 though but it had been worth it. The van was always lively to drive but now it felt more so. When I arrived home E was still backing up the drive. We decided on which vehicle we would use to go for a meal and we opted for her car. After going indoors to change (though I was already dressed for the occasion) we drove off to our destination. When we got near to where we thought the place was located we couldn’t find it. As it was getting late (for lunch) and we were quite hungry we chose to return to another venue we had passed by along the way. We would hopefully check out the original venue at a later date when we had more time. The last time we were at this other place was about three years ago it had changed dramatically since then and for the better too. We were glad to have chosen to dine there. The food and service were excellent and they can expect us to return in the future. So what looked like a day that was going to remain miserable it surprised us and turned out to be the opposite. We just wished it had been a slightly warmer day.

Shirley Anne

Back in the swing…

…of things. It was now Monday Feb. 4 th and I was up and dressed and ready for another morning walk. I left the house at nine having skipped breakfast. Had I eaten breakfast first I probably wouldn’t have wanted to go for a walk later. The day hadn’t started sunny but half-way through the walk it began to shine an d the warm rays of the sun were a welcome feeling on my back as I continued further away from home. When I turned on my journey back the sun was up and to my left in front of me which was pleasant but the wind was off-shore to my right and blew cold. It is getting to that time of year when deciding what to wear when out can be problematical. Too many clothes and we are too warm, too few and we are cold! I tend to wear more rather than less when it is cold as I can always remove something if I’m too warm. It was after eleven when I got back and time for something to eat. I had an early lunch rather than breakfast. It stayed warm (in the sunshine) throughout the afternoon and I began to have thoughts about getting into the garden to do a spot of tidying up but decided I would give it a miss and just relax for the day, after all I didn’t want to rush into the work routine just yet. Spring was just around the corner and there would be plenty of time on my hands to do whatever I wished. Actually I don’t need to wait for Spring to do that! The next day I would be up and early again but this time to return the van to the garage to have the faulty valve replaced, no going for walks that morning.

Shirley Anne

Who is greater?

Cross

I AM (Exodus 3:14)

God provided his people with a name that denotes his uncaused, independent and eternal character. Moses, faced with the unenviable task of asking Pharaoh for the freedom of the Israelites, asked God for his name. He knew that the Israelites would ask for the name of the one who gave Moses these instructions. God told Moses to call him, “I AM.” He is and will always be. He owes nothing and no one for his existence. Rather, he is the supreme, uncreated, sovereign and sole God of the universe. All things owe their being to him.
Jesus used this same name to declare his identity during his earthly ministry. While the people argued about the relationship of Jesus to the promises God made to Abraham, Jesus defied their understanding by declaring that he is not merely one in a long line of those whom God uses. Rather, he is the “I am” (Jn 8:58). The immense nature of this claim caused many to attempt to stone Jesus because they knew the implications of this term. By using this term Jesus announced himself to be God, committing the ultimate sin of blasphemy in the minds of his Jewish audience. They simply could not comprehend that this carpenter from Nazareth could be the very Son of God, in human form, to whom all people owe their allegiance and worship.

Taken from NIV The Jesus Bible

Whom do you think Jesus IS? Soon many will be ‘celebrating’ what Jesus accomplished on the cross for all humanity, ONCE AND FOR ALL TIME. He was God in the flesh when He was with us. His name is Emmanuel which means God with us. He gave the ultimate sacrifice enabling us to approach Him forgiven of our sins by His grace through our faith in Him. He is The I AM and there is no other.

Is it time for you to come to Him and receive His gift of life?

Shirley Anne

Them Thar Hills

I took to the road for the first time in a while on Saturday morning. By road I mean on foot. I haven’t been at my best lately and was in need of rest. It was such a beautiful day though quite cold in the gentle breeze or out of the sunshine where frost and frozen rain still clung to the ground. Down to the sea front only a half-mile from my door is usually my preferred route and about half-way to the shore I came across a guy locking up the building site there. I add that the picture shown is not of that site.

There is another building site a mere hundred metres or so further along but that hasn’t progressed as far as yet. The first site houses a new apartment block aimed at the older retired generation. The first thing I noticed was the absence of the tall crane that had stood there for more than twelve months. I asked the guy when it was that they took it down and he told me two weeks ago. Well I hadn’t been that way for two weeks so hadn’t noticed. We chatted a minute or two and he told me he would show me around inside when the internal work had finished. I thanked him and we parted. If I get the chance I will take him up on that invitation. I continued my walk passing the other building site which had closed for the weekend. This building is much larger and spread out. It will be a new ‘village’ for the elderly and retired though the apartments will be rented rather than owned. It will house shops, hair salons, medical access and all the things a small village would have but all under the one roof. The complex will be managed by employees of the organisation who will own it. I carried along and walked to the shore. Looking across the bay to the town of Blackpool and beyond to its left the mountains of The Lake District could easily be seen covered as they were with snow. Further to the right of Blackpool some of the hills along the Pennine Chain could also be seen covered with snow. Fortunately around Southport there wasn’t any snow. As I had arisen rather later than usual I had missed breakfast so on my return I sat and ate lunch instead. It was twelve-thirty.

Shirley Anne

Failed

On Thursday Feb 1 st I took my van in for its eighth MOT annual test and expected it to pass thinking that if it failed it would be something small that failed it. It failed! It did fail on something small too. Because the van carries various loads from time to time and those loads can either be heavy, light or something in-between there is apparently some sort of levelling device linked to the braking system which is supposed to raise or lower the van to compensate. A small hydraulic valve achieves this but I was told the one on my van wasn’t working properly and would need replacing. As I had booked the van in for one of its rare servicing appointments the garage mechanic would replace the part at the same time. I didn’t have to pay for the MOT until the service had been completed. The van was to return for that four days later on the Tuesday. I reckon the van has done extremely well in passing all of its tests these past eight years. It still hasn’t covered 32 thousand miles in the eleven years since purchase.

Mind you I do look after it and don’t drive like a maniac. That said though there are things I have no control over, the valve mentioned for one. In case you are interested the van is a Peugeot Partner and it really has been my partner since I bought it new in 2008. Come to think of it I have been very fortunate with the vehicles I have bought over the years. Some people change their vehicles very often but I like to get my money’s worth and keep them until it is no longer profitable to do so. I therefore haven’t had too many in the 53 years since I passed the driving test. I have had eight cars and the last two vehicles have been vans, both the same model but my present van has been much more economical than its predecessor. I don’t drive a car now as I explained in another post, the van is much more versatile.

Shirley Anne

I G

You will be wondering what ‘I G’ stands for. Well you’ve heard of ‘I T’. I am sure. ‘I T’ or Information Technology, the technique of gathering information or rather the means thereof. To quote Wikipedia ‘I T’ is the use of computers to store, retrieve, transmit, and manipulate data.  Actually humans have been gathering and manipulating information since time immemorial, there is nothing new about that. Today we have computers which take the hard work out of it but the information has to come from somewhere for computers to do that work. ‘I G’ therefore stands for Information Gathering which has to be performed first of all. Data collected is then stored for reference and manipulation as needed later. Surveys are one way of gathering information.

Occasionally I am asked to do a survey online and the information is used by the Government or local authority hopefully to better the community. Whether that actually happens is a matter of conjecture but the surveys do allow anyone partaking to give their opinion on a wide range of subjects. Hopefully these ‘questionnaires’ are innocuous but not all are. There is always the danger of revealing too much information, even delicate information if one is not wise to it.

Some surveys (probably more than we think) hide the real reasons for conducting them. The questions might be aimed toward our habits, what we buy, what we use with the view to bombarding us with advertisements which we might be interested in later. Sales marketing uses crafty methods to get across information and goods they want us to purchase. The questions asked of us are disguised and hidden among others in the survey so as not to put us off. Wise people see through all of this and don’t respond. I do such surveys because I am rewarded and for no other reason. I can be asked about anything but it doesn’t mean I get hooked into purchasing.

Shirley Anne

Spring days

Spring days in the Winter. Today it is warm and sunny after a night of light flurries of snow which didn’t take long to melt away. I am feeling much better than I have for a week or more and feel like going for a walk but I am remaining at home just for now. I like days such as these because they point to warmer days ahead. I watch the shadows as they slowly creep further south with each passing day. Out on the patio it looks so cozy and inviting though earlier I was out in the garden putting seeds out for the birds and walked past the patio on my way back indoors. There was a covering of frozen snow on the artificial grass as the sun hadn’t come around to warm it up. Even  as I write when the sun is approaching its highest for the day there is some ground frost in the shadier places. I looked at the forecast for the rest of the week and it looks as though we won’t get rain or snow or anything dropping out of the sky until Monday. I am happy about that, it is uplifting and will encourage me outdoors for a walk or two now that I feel better. The day after tomorrow will be the first of February and the day I take the van in for its annual check, the dreaded MOT! I am not expecting it to fail the test but it could. As I am retired there is less urgency in keeping the van on the road though I do need it for bringing home the shopping! I thought E hadn’t yet included me on her insurance so I can drive her car should it be necessary. She is covered on my insurance to enable her to drive the van should it be necessary though. That would have been a little of a one-sided arrangement perhaps but thankfully not. It is a beautiful Spring day in Winter.

Shirley Anne