….and a new beginning

I was in bed by ten-thirty after which I remembered nothing until I awoke for a little trip along the landing at five in the morning. It was new year’s eve but not that I’d noticed, I was too tired. On waking I should have done some exercising but my limbs were aching. Whilst I had been collecting stones from the beach the day before I noticed my posterior thigh muscles were beginning to ache. It had to be the elliptical cross trainer, well not the machine but my lack of experience on it! It isn’t as though I have been doing much on it but even the small amount of time I have spent was enough to cause my injury. Latterly I had been spending only a couple of minutes on the machine and even then with the supply switched off, in other words using it at its absolute and lowest settings. It is more the movement the legs go through rather than the resistance level though I suspect. Until I can get used to it I will have to ensure my time on it is kept to a minimum. Anyway the long and short of it was that I decided to once again take a short break from my regime. My day, new year’s day was therefore spent relaxing and doing nothing for once, oh sorry, except for taking out the trash! I don’t make resolutions for the year as you may remember which means I am not setting myself goals which I probably would find difficult to maintain anyway. If I do set myself a goal it can be anytime throughout the year and it usually involves a project of one sort or another. Those things I do keep. See last year’s posts! I do have one or two things I would like to do but whether they will come to fruition remains to be seen. In the meantime one of my aims is to get used to that damned cross trainer!

Shirley Anne

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The eve of New Year’s eve…..

….Saturday 30th.

One Who Walked Alone
One Who Walked Alone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A day for one of my scheduled walks but this day it was more to do with collecting more stones for the garden than the walk itself. Where I collect the stones is around two and a half miles from home so I have to carry them that far on my return. Naturally I collect them on the return journey rather than on the outward one! Although there was some light rain at times there wasn’t much of it. The wind was the major downside to the weather and down on the shore where it is totally open the wind was strong making it feel much colder than the six or seven degrees it was. Soon I was back home in the warmth and not needing to go anywhere for the rest of the day. I did spend some time in the garden though, not a lot but just enough to keep an eye on things and noting down anything that might want doing later. It appears there are a lot of dog owners where I live and I saw most of them down at the beach or in the streets I walked! Probably up to 90% of the people I saw had a dog in tow, some of them with two. Personally I love dogs but they do need a lot of attention and care and think of all those vet bills! We used to keep dogs at home years ago but I doubt we would ever have another and cats? Not very likely. E likes cats as I do though I prefer other people’s cats. We have enough wild animals visiting the garden each day to feel the need to have a pet. Saturday was the last day of the year for exercising too as on Sunday, New Year’s eve, I would be resting. The start of my new year would see me exercising on the gym equipment. No hang-overs, no waking up in the middle of the day not remembering what happened the night before……..just another day.

Shirley Anne

Last working day of the year

As long as it didn’t rain on Saturday (23) I intended to spend some more time in the garden again. It would be the last day in the year for doing any work for me but alas it didn’t happen. I had gotten up early and went for a long walk down the coastal road to Ainsdale. I chose that route as it was still dark at the time I went, 7.30. I wanted to take the route through the sand dunes but that could have proved very difficult in the dark. However, by the time I decided to return home it was light so I walked back through the dunes. When on the beach the sky was clear toward the south but northward it was dark and heavy. To the south I could see the mountains of North Wales, easily seen when the skies are clear. The oil rig westward out to sea was still fully lit against the dark sky. This time the tide had receded before I arrived but it had left an enormous amount of seaweed behind! I walked northward again along the beach to the point in the dunes where I would turn into them and off the beach. I was back home before 10.00 and had breakfast whilst E was busy doing something associated with her crafting hobby. As I mentioned I wanted to do a little gardening but events got in the way during the rest of the morning. After lunch I just didn’t feel like doing anything. It has been quite a busy twelve months with all the projects that I have been involved with both inside and outside the house. It helped not having to do electrical work for others, at least for the last nine months anyway. My time became my own and I could concentrate on my little domestic projects, and there were many! Just the way I like it, better for my health and well-being to have things to do to wile away the time. When I look back on the year I am amazed just how much was done, all of them written about in my posts, and there was still plenty of time to relax too. Saturday afternoon being one of them. There was always Sunday for a potter around the garden!

Shirley Anne

Feels so strange

At this time of year I was always busy working but this year all that has changed. Since my retirement back in April I have not done any electrical work to speak of, just a couple of very minor jobs and some of them were at home anyway. From around September until the week preceding Christmas I was kept busy doing electrical work with little time for myself. I was used to the pressure but then again I worked better under pressure, still do. However over the last few weeks I have had very little work to do, certainly no contract work and what I have been doing at home wasn’t that taxing. Don’t misunderstand me here, I am glad the pressure has been lifted from my shoulders and that now I can please myself what I do and when I do it. It is simply that it feels a little strange having all this freedom. I have been occupying myself outside of any domestic jobs I do by taking walks and exercising more on what equipment we have accumulated over the last few years. I am currently getting to grips with the new elliptical trainer we purchased a week or so back. Having not used one before it certainly felt strange when making the first attempt! I am more used to the treadmill, that is my muscles are more used to it.

Collage of several of Gray's muscle pictures, ...
Collage of several of Gray’s muscle pictures, by Mikael Häggström (User:Mikael Häggström) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With the elliptical trainer however those muscles are exercised in a different way and other muscles not exercised much when running or even walking have to adjust too. I wake up in the mornings with a kind of joy in my heart knowing I haven’t any reason to rush into the day so in a way that too feels strange, though I am getting used to it. To be honest I rarely lie in bed for long once I am awake and half the time I have something in mind I want to do anyway. I never thought of it before but having one’s remaining years free to one’s self is often not appreciated until the time it arrives. I’ll try to make the most of them.

Shirley Anne

Never ending story

No not the movie…..life! Do you ever feel you are on a treadmill going nowhere? Yes you do things, you have a routine, you change your routine as often as you feel but nothing really changes does it? Recently retired and when working having purpose really meant nothing either, it simply meant I had something to occupy my time. I still have things to occupy my time, it is simply a different routine. We set goals in life or just live for the moment or maybe we do both but in the end everything we do eventually leads us to the next for we are never satisfied. It is like food for our souls, it is our thoughts which spurs us on, they are what keep us moving forward and ever seeking something that in fact we seldom find if we are truthful. Life can be very satisfying and rewarding but none of it really lasts. We aim to satisfy our physical needs first and foremost and neglect our spiritual needs though the two are inseparable, at least whilst we live. We are driven by what we think but we can change what we think. If we are comfortable with the changes we continue in them or we can make an attempt to do so but in the end if we are not happy we revert. No matter what we do in life, what choices we make along the way can we really say that we’ve been happy one hundred percent of the time? Our thoughts might tell us otherwise and in reality we know we are never fully happy, never fully satisfied with our lot. So our lives are a never-ending struggle with ourselves and our situations. Some resign themselves to never achieving their hopes and dreams and others think they’ve hit the jackpot when they think they have. It is all an illusion, a passing fancy and we have to make the most of it until we die. How often have you heard the expression ‘Life is for living’? Did it have an effect on your choices thereafter? We can but do nothing else but live out our lives as best we can and be happy and contented. In this world there is nothing else.

Story of My Life (album)
Story of My Life (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Ecclesiastes 1

Everything is meaningless

The words of the Teacher, son of David, king of Jerusalem:

‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’
    says the Teacher.
‘Utterly meaningless!
    Everything is meaningless.’

What do people gain from all their labours
    at which they toil under the sun?
Generations come and generations go,
    but the earth remains for ever.
The sun rises and the sun sets,
    and hurries back to where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
    and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
    ever returning on its course.
All streams flow into the sea,
    yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
    there they return again.
All things are wearisome,
    more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
    nor the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one can say,
    ‘Look! This is something new’?
It was here already, long ago;
    it was here before our time.
11 No one remembers the former generations,
    and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
    by those who follow them.

It is a never-ending story……..until we die

Shirley Anne

Well spent

My van will be ten years on the road come Spring, March to be precise and during that period so far it has covered a mere thirty thousand and a couple of hundred miles only. Not a lot of mileage and considering the engine is run on diesel, a mere drop in the ocean. That means little wear and tear and of course little expenditure too. Nevertheless despite the low mileage the engine has been started many, many times which of course has been a strain on the battery. The original battery, as I write this on Monday, is still under the bonnet but I made the decision to have it replaced and by Tuesday a new one will have been installed. I had the old one checked beforehand of course and a replacement was just about required. Although I could have managed with the old battery for a while longer I thought it prudent to have it replaced just in case it failed at an inopportune time. Money well spent I think. On Wednesday this week (27th) another measurement will be taken in the garage to ensure our alterations will be adequate for the new door installation. There is no reason why it should not as we have followed the instructions regarding the installers requirements. The door will be installed on Thursday the following week and I am to pay the balance on the day. However, the fitters are to be paid separately preferably by cash. With that in mind and whilst I was out arranging for the battery replacement I withdrew the remainder of the cash which I couldn’t withdraw the first time in readiness. The fee will be £415 requiring two withdrawals from an ATM on separate days because of the present £300 limit here in the UK. All routine stuff as we all know. That expenditure will be money well spent too. I asked E if she would like to dine out for we hadn’t done that for a time but she had to spend the late morning and early afternoon out with her mom. On my return home she still hadn’t left the house but did so soon afterward. It was one-fifteen when she returned and we went out to lunch. We drove to a place located on the other side of the next town, somewhere we have visited many times. This time however service was slow even though there were few diners in there. Disappointed we left and went to another establishment not far down the road, another place we have visited many times before. This time the service was prompt. Well we thoroughly enjoyed the time spent there laughing and joking with the staff as well as ourselves. Time well spent cheering up other people and bolstering our own relationship too. We didn’t stay for coffee though as we might have done but drove homeward passing Dobbies (garden centre) on the way where we spent a little time drinking coffee. The coffee was free, that is each month I am entitled to two free drinks of coffee or tea because I have membership there. That was nice too and again our time had been well spent.

Shirley Anne

Active Sundays

Having not been for a walk for a couple of days I was determined to get out on Sunday morning (10th) but it was slightly later than I would have preferred. That was due to a good night’s sleep because of the work I have been doing lately. Some of those things I have written about in my posts. It was a dry and reasonably warm morning as I set off. I had walked about a half-mile when I saw an acquaintance of mine climbing down a ladder at the house where his friend, another acquaintance lives in an annex. They were involved in cleaning out a gully on the roof of the tall building. After a quick few words I carried on with my walk. I was headed for the coastal road, that part which lies behind the sand dunes where there is a foot and cycle path. I was met by a couple of cyclists and a couple of people out for a run. When I reached the open-to-the-sea section of the road I found many people out walking their dogs, many more cyclists some of whom were obviously on an organised cycle run, more people out running and of course those out for a walk like myself. As I reached the sea front there were people using the street exercise equipment, workers clearing away the built-up sand (a job for life is that one!) and more cyclists, runners and walkers. I noticed that the seafront car park was filled with vehicles and I thought that odd as it wasn’t particularly a fine morning for a trip to the seaside to sit on the beach. However I realised why they were there as I reached the lakeside area. The coastal road runs between the sea and a lake at that point though the lake itself is sheltered from the sea by some low-level sand dunes. The car park sits on the seaward side of the same dunes. There was a sailing event being held on the lake. I carried on my walk and finally reached beyond the top end of the lake at which point I turned back in the direction toward home. Now I was on the Promenade which lies on the opposite side of the lake on the edge of the town centre. There were many small yachts each with two people on board taking part in one of the events. One unfortunately had the misfortune of ending up on its side with the mast and sail in the water. After a minute or two the sailors managed to right it though from what I could see they appeared to have taken on board too much water. Bail, bail, bail was the order of the day I suppose. A couple of rescue craft were on standby in case help was needed. I carried on with my walk and reached the park where a couple of weeks earlier was staged the annual Southport  Flower Show.Now there was a mini-run taking place in the park organised by the local authority in aid of or to encourage personal activity. As I reached the top end of Rotten Row there were children and parents enjoying the park amenities and further along many folk were sailing their model boats on the dedicated small lake there. Everyone it seemed was out to enjoy themselves on this late summer Sunday morning.

Shirley Anne

Nothing in stone

Funny how sometimes our plans change but the changes are not always bad. I was determined to go for a walk on Wednesday so I arose early to do it. Yes, nothing got in the way though they could have. Before I set off I went next door to return a gift my neighbour had given me, though I had told her not to, for doing a small job for her the previous day. It might appear to some that by doing that I was wrong and should have accepted the gift graciously but as with everything there was a reason. First of all I have done many small jobs for her but always refuse the offer of payment or a thank-you gift and she has understood that I do things because it is right to do so and wrong to do it expecting a reward. My reward is in Heaven. Each time though she makes an offer. Secondly most of the things I do for her really don’t take much time and I am happy to do them. Anyway the gifts she offered I would never buy and use in any case. Finally I think she got the message that I do things for her because that’s what neighbours should be doing for each other. I went for my walk and returned home around eleven-thirty. E made me a drink of coffee and I asked her if she would like to dine out for a change. She never refuses if there is nothing she has already planned. I explained that I also wanted to take the opportunity to wear my new full-length summer dress for the first time as the afternoon promised to be warm and sunny. Any ideas of beginning the construction of the new wooden gate were subsequently consigned to the shelf for another day! We drove to a nice restaurant some twelve miles away, one we have visited before and is it was two o’clock by the time we arrived there we were easily seated. We chatted with the waitress during our meal, a pleasant young woman who made the experience that much better. Finally it was time to return home but at the last minute we made a detour and went to our local pub for a drink which we enjoyed in the seating area outside. We didn’t stay long for E wished to be at home sitting on the patio with a coffee. So I made the coffee and we sat outside for an hour before returning indoors for the evening. What I had originally planned for the day I was glad I changed my mind by not doing. There was always tomorrow available to do them.

Shirley Anne

Isn’t it just?

I’m smiling in response to life. Isn’t it just the way that things which are supposed to happen often don’t and conversely things which ought not to have happened do? I have been enjoying my ‘freedom’ from work, that is my electrical work, since I pulled my advert from the local newspaper. Work is work however and I haven’t been idle though the work I have been doing is just different. I haven’t as yet fully committed myself to full retirement and to that end I am biding my time on making a decision. I have done a couple of electrical jobs however but they have been infrequent. I suppose it is better that way as I can ease myself into a different way of life rather than simply switching off entirely from what has been my routine for many years. Today, Friday (16th) as I write this, was supposed to be a warm and pleasant day though not sunny. It turned out completely different in that it was cool and breezy! Well they can’t get it right every time I suppose. It did get warmer later in the day but too late for any ideas of relaxing in the garden. Yesterday, though windy was sunny and I took the opportunity to get the lawn mowed once more. My but it grows quickly at this time of year! E had gone to the hospital with her mom as her mom had an appointment and on her return home immediately saw the lawn had been cut though she had jokingly accused me of sitting around doing nothing. I told her I had taken it to within an inch of its life by cutting it so short. I had set it to the minimum height and have to admit it was hard-going. In fact, where I would only normally empty out the box of cuttings two or perhaps three times this time I had to empty it out about ten times! Hopefully it wouldn’t need cutting again for two weeks. So a day in the garden for both of us on Friday just didn’t happen. The weekend weather was set to change and be hotter and sunnier. I could take advantage of that but E could not as she would be spending her time away from home though not to relax in the sunshine and I too would be spending at least some of the time working. Isn’t it just the way?

Shirley Anne

A rest of sorts

English: A Dentist and her Dental assistant
A Dentist and her Dental assistant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although I had taken a two-week sabbatical from my electrical work I did get a couple of jobs which I took on. It was now Wednesday, the day my advert would re-appear in the mid-week print of my local newspaper so I expected the calls to start coming in and I wasn’t let down. Wednesday was a cold, dry and sunny day, a day to be outside working in the garden but I had a dental appointment just before noon and had no intentions of doing any work either in the morning or at any time in the day. I was too tired, even a little too tired to be driving to the dentists surgery but I had to. I was having some cosmetic work done and thought the dentist would have done it all on the one visit as he had said he would but he didn’t, I had to arrange another appointment on 24th of the month to have the rest done. I paid the price for the two sessions and left. It was now almost twelve-thirty and I decided to eat out. I wasn’t dressed for work, I was smartly dressed so took the opportunity to treat myself to a meal in pleasant surroundings for a change. I didn’t much fancy driving home and cooking a meal there anyway. To be honest I wasn’t feeling at my best, still tired and wanting simply to rest. I dined alone, something I hadn’t done for quite some time and perhaps I should do more often. At the moment E and I are not on speaking terms anyway so dining alone it would have to be anyhow. The problem I have is deciding where to dine for there are so many to choose from. I went to a place about two miles from home where E and I sometimes go for the food and service there are excellent. It isn’t expensive either. Whilst I was at the surgery I received a couple of requests for my electrical services and made arrangements to do the work later. I was happy to get the work for my disposable cash reserve was by now very low, especially after paying the dentist and dining out. I wanted to purchase some plants for the flowerbed I have been working on and needed the extra cash to do that. I never break into my savings to pay for my domestic projects though when I retire any work I might do and need cash for will have to come out of what’s left at the end of the month from my pensions. After my meal I drove home and rested for the rest of the day. I would be out at work the following morning. Hopefully I would be fully rested by then.

Shirley Anne