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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Everything is meaningless
1 The words of the Teacher, son of David, king of Jerusalem:
2 ‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.’
3 What do people gain from all their labours at which they toil under the sun? 4 Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains for ever. 5 The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. 6 The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. 7 All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. 8 All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. 9 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Every machine requires some form of continuously applied energy in order for it to keep operating. Once that energy is depleted the machine stops. If subsequently the machine is left idle for too long it may not restart so easily, some machines will seize up if left too long. I was thinking about this as I took a mid-morning walk on Sunday. The weather was fine and sunny though the biting north wind let me know it was still winter nevertheless. As I set out from home I usually walk in a northerly direction most of the time so that wind was in my face. The only consolation was the fact that it wasn’t a strong wind. There were few people about even though it was after nine-thirty but I guess many folk would be taking it easy indoors. As I approached the town centre there were more people out in the streets and some were in the bars having breakfast. I saw nobody taking any form of useful exercise, those walking about were doing so at a snail’s pace but there was a cyclist or two in racing garb doing some serious peddling. I was walking toward the beach front where the wind was more noticeable but as by now
I was walking in a southerly direction it was at my back. By this time I was feeling quite warm for I had been putting some effort into my stride, power walking if you like. A young girl passed me by as she jogged in the same direction but by the time she had reached the far end of the sea front where pedestrians have either to cross the road and continue inland or take to the beach itself I was only a hundred metres or so behind her. Considering the distance we had both travelled and the fact I was probably fifty years her senior, I think I did remarkably well. Had I been running I suppose I might have even kept pace with her for a short time at least. It has been years since I did any outdoor running though I do cover some miles on my treadmill occasionally. At seventy years of age I am of the opinion that exercise is of great benefit but too much is probably not good. As I ‘power walked’ along the sea front a middle-aged man was running in the opposite direction and as he passed I could see the pained look on his face. It was as though he was enduring his exercise rather than enjoying it. Now I know that running is hard work but I also know that it is a pleasurable thing to do. I really enjoyed every minute of it whether it be cold, wet and windy or nice and sunny. Perhaps this guy’s pained expression was his way of letting us know that he was really enjoying his run. One great thing about taking exercise is that I don’t have to watch the calories so much, exercise burns them off. I therefore eat well so that my machine will keep on running and not seize up!
‘Downloading updates 1 of 141 do not unplug or turn off your computer’, you’ve all seen this message or something similar on your computer screen for earlier versions of Windows. Since having Windows 7 re-installed on my old laptop all I have been getting when I am about to switch it off are messages like these. One or two is fine but almost every time I have switched off my machine during the last few days I get this message. At first it was 6 updates then 10 then 141, a further 40, then 6 and even more after these. Now I would have expected to see some difference in using the computer but there isn’t one, at least one that I would notice. I decided to check just exactly what had been uploaded and saw a long list of items seemingly all to do with the operating system. I then checked all the installed programs to see if anything had changed there. I discovered that quite a number of programs had been added. Some are games, some are Microsoft’s own programs like Live Messenger, Movie Maker, Office Powerpoint and others all of which I will probably never use but here’s the rub, one day I might have to, why?
Well in the great scheme of things Microsoft change their software to make it impossible to do certain things that have been traditionally easy to do by taking away functionality. This means extra software has to be purchased in order to do some of the simple tasks that could have been done just using the Windows platform. For instance, on my new laptop which runs Windows 10 Microsoft has made it impossible to open my files and preview them, they have also filed my photographs in a different way by default and are also not easily located. These things seem minor but at the end of the day it appears that we are being manipulated to using software their way. In society this is the thin end of a large wedge. Has it escaped your notice that the way we shop or do anything else is slowly changing? One day there will be no cash and we will have to use smart technology to buy anything, to get directions, to dine out and to do almost everything that we do. We will be under the control of those who produce the technology and the software that controls it. Think I am being paranoid? Perhaps I am but human beings are meant to be free, not slaves to machinery and technology just to live out our lives. I think I would prefer life to remain a little difficult rather than having to rely upon computers, smart phones, contactless debit cards et al.
In conversations with people I am asked why it is I do not go out of my way to fly off somewhere warm and sunny sometimes. Why is it that I actually like the climate where I live? Well it is alright flying off to exotic places and getting burned by the sun, bitten by the local insects or being uncomfortable with my clothes sticking to my body due to excessive perspiration but I have to return to a cooler climate later. It isn’t that I don’t like flying off somewhere or that I don’t wish to visit somewhere new, it is more that I just cannot be bothered with it all. I have done my share of flying to be sure but the novelty has worn off somewhat these last few years. Am I bothered, do I really care? The short answer is no. For some people their annual two weeks in the sunshine is a must and they spend thousands of pounds doing it. It is their prerogative, their money, their time but for me it matters not that I go or don’t go. I don’t feel I am missing out if I choose to stay at home. There are many folk who cannot afford the luxury of flying off to foreign parts but I am sure many would like to. Similarly many would not. Life isn’t about jetting off to sunny climes and in fact whenever I do go places these days, which is not often, I am usually going to meet people rather than to admire the scenery. In my mind one place is no different from another and the more important reason for travel is to meet people. I like scenery but it is soon forgotten. Some of it is pretty but inhospitable, nice to look at but not to live in. What is the point in admiring mountain ranges that are merely backdrops to civilization. No-one wants to live up a mountain and be uncomfortable doing so. Mountains and lakes, rivers and streams can only be seen when we take the time to do it. We live our lives among people and our daily lives and activities are centred around what we are doing, not the scenery surrounding us. How many times do we look at something before we hardly notice it is there and does it really matter what our surroundings to enjoy life? I prefer to surround myself with people rather than scenery which is but transitory.
Whenever I am feeling tired this song plays in my mind. Hardly surprising I suppose. I think my lifestyle is catching up on me though, the work I mean. Over the last couple of days I have felt drained and not wanting to do anything that means getting out of an armchair yet at the same time I am ready to work and go out of my way to do it. The strange thing is that when I am working I feel great. It is only when I stop do I feel tired. I am at my best when doing some work. Over the weekend just passed I had done next to nothing, the only exception was the planting of some flowers in the new flowerbed and in fact E did half the work anyway. It must have taken us a whole ten minutes! So on Monday morning I was glad that I had an electrical job to do about a mile from home. Actually it was a few small jobs rather than just the one. They didn’t take me long to do and I spent more time chatting with the lady than what I had spent doing the work. It pretty much took up the morning and I was home for lunch. A few weeks ago whilst sitting on the throne in the new bathroom upstairs I noticed that one of the lights flickered when first turned on and I forgot all about it until last Monday and as I had some spare time I investigated the matter. I found that the cable connections could be tightened and I think that was the problem for the light seems okay now after my tightening them up. That took a whole five minutes too. I was bored. I am waiting for an improvement in the weather so that I can construct the other two flowerbeds on the patio. I am waiting for an opportunity to start refurbishing one of the bedrooms but until my two sons let me know what of their possessions stored in there do they actually want to keep! We need a small skip (dumpster) to dump some of it, beds, chairs, cases, all sorts of rubbish no longer required. So I have things to do but cannot do them and in the meantime…………………….