Things don’t often go the way I hope they will for me though if I made the effort……….well we can all say that can’t we? Sometimes even after making the effort things don’t work out either do they? It was a fine though rather cold day on Sunday, a day for relaxing indoors or going out wrapped-up for a walk. I did both and more. There was no hurry to get up early though I did and after breakfast whilst on the computer I switched on the television, not to watch a program but to listen to music through YouTube. I suppose I could have listened via my computer on a separate tab but the television can connect to the Internet and the sound quality or rather the volume would be better. Although the computer sound is of the best quality the volume settings are limited unless auxiliary speakers are used. Anyway I listened to the songs listed in ‘my favourites’ folder for an hour. The only drawback in using the television to play YouTube is in controlling the functions with the television’s remote control, it is slower. I suppose one day remote controls with have a touch pad on them for easier use. I think that would be a great idea. After an hour I made myself ready to go out but not directly for a walk. I drove to the pub and parked my vehicle and from there I went for a walk. An hour later I arrived back at the pub, went to the vehicle and changed my shoes before going into the pub for my lunch. Yes, I dined there again for a change! There were surprisingly few people in there but a half-hour later that all changed and it was full. I had hoped I would see a few acquaintances there to chat with but the only ones I knew, four men, were doing that man thing, sitting around a table drinking beer and chatting about football and work! Who wants to sit in a pub talking about work? Anyway they were too engrossed in themselves to take much notice of me. I was a little disappointed that no-one else I knew came in after sitting there for a couple of hours hoping someone might. I decided to drive home and be bored there instead! Funny thing is I knew there would be people I know in the pub later in the day and evening and I had half a mind to return but didn’t bother. Maybe I was thinking it a waste of time and that I might be disappointed again to find no-one there. I knew I should have returned but I also knew there would be other opportunities too.
It wasn’t such a nice day on Saturday as far as the weather was concerned. When I got out of bed and looked out of the window it looked miserable, it was raining as the forecast predicted. It wasn’t that warm either though it wasn’t freezing. I had opened the window to check but soon closed it again. I had no work and no intentions of doing any either. I was determined to make it a free from work day. Had the weather been more favourable I might have been tempted to do a couple of hours digging out some bluebell bulbs as there are still some left to remove so I was glad in a way that it was raining. I put on some casual clothes knowing I had it in mind to dine out at my local pub with a view to perhaps chatting with anyone I know who might call in. I had to get to the pub a half-hour before it opened at noon just to ensure I would find a parking place because the pub has become so popular over the last few years and is usually filled for a couple of hours around mealtimes. If I visit during the week to eat I either make sure I am there very early or else later in the afternoon to ensure I can find a table. The food is good and of a high standard, the chefs obviously know their job and that is why the pub is so popular. I waited until the queue of people made their way in before I went in myself. I found a table in my favourite place in the bar area and looked at the menu whilst others were still sorting themselves out at the bar and then I placed my order, Mediterranean Chicken in a tomato and white wine-based sauce with vegetables. It was delicious and quite filling but despite that I still treated myself to a dessert. A new friend walked in with her partner as I was about to finish my meal. She hadn’t noticed me sitting there so I went over to the bar to say hello. Her partner went outside with his drink and to sit and chat with the ‘lads’ whilst my friend joined me at the table for an hour. When they departed I decided to follow shortly after. I went home to find that E had returned home too. She had gone out for a while with her friend who had picked her up earlier. That pretty much summed up my day. I did nothing but rest and relax for a change for I knew it wouldn’t be long before I would be working at something again.
Strange as it may seem considering the things I have mentioned about my sleeping patterns, tiredness and the fact I sometimes simply cannot rest as perhaps I should I was woken by my mobile phone on Saturday morning. I had been out throughout the previous afternoon visiting someone living about sixty miles away and didn’t return home until late and had been quite tired. I used to get calls on my house phone on Saturday mornings until I unplugged it. It remains at my bedside just in case I wish to use it but of course I would need to plug it in. I seldom do these days. Anyway the mobile phone wasn’t set to alarm as I usually set it during the working week to ensure I don’t sleep in. Well it was a call from a regular customer who asked if I could solve the problem she had with her smoke detector. I thanked her for being my alarm call for the day, explaining that I was still in bed. We laughed about that, she apologised and I told her she need not as it was after all approaching ten-thirty. I told her I would be there within two hours. Her house is only seven miles from home. I knew what the problem was a drained battery before seeing it so I purchased a replacement battery before driving there. Smoke detectors are often wired from the electricity supply but have a battery back-up. When the battery gets low on power it causes to unit to ‘bleep’ every few seconds so that the householder will know it requires changing. In most cases it is a very simple procedure, in this case I was hampered by the unit’s location on a sloping ceiling close to a wall. She couldn’t have done the work herself, she is totally not confident when it comes to practical things. I was at her house for about twenty minutes, mostly chatting and drinking coffee. It would be around eleven forty-five when I departed back home. I drove at a leisurely pace for I had nothing to look forward to at home. In cases like these I usually mull over things to determine what I will do as I drive along. Now a few days previous, Wednesday in fact, I wrote something about being missed at my local pub and on my departure bumping into a woman who came to my van and sat chatting for a few minutes. I felt embarrassed that I’d forgotten meeting her or remembering her name but she invited me to call sometime for a chat over a drink of coffee at her home. I said I would take her up on the offer. Well the time could not have been more opportunistic as I was at a loose end on Saturday on my way back home so I called at her address.
She lives a mere two hundred yards (metres) or so from my house. Fortunately she was at home and she welcomed me in. Her partner was still sleeping as he works till late away from home each day and had been very tired. Well it was Saturday and I knew how much he must have enjoyed the extra hours in bed. We sat in the lounge chatting away for a couple of hours before he rose from his sleep. Soon he was off to the pub for a couple of drinks with the lads there. His ‘local’ is the same as mine. Anyway we continued to chat, mostly about our own lives our families and our occupations but also other things. We talked about the Universe, Creation, God, Church and other things too. I was amazed at the fact that she was so interested in our topics of discussion, something I am not used to. In that short time, which actually ran to four hours, we became friends. I thanked her for her obvious friendship and she replied that she hoped it would grow. I wished the same. I could do with a good friend, one that I can rely on and who is trustworthy, one that hasn’t moved away to another part of the country and has broken contact and one who isn’t living in another country making it impossible to be as physically close to me as she would like, just as my dear friend living in New York is. I was glad I made the effort for what appears to be a promising friendship in the future.
A strange day was Wednesday in that it was out of my usual routine. Work of course majored for most of the morning followed by a little shopping. Back home to change then off out to see a man friend for a couple of hours and returning home stopping off at my local pub before finally getting home in the early evening. The electrical work was to replace two existing outdoor light units with new LED floodlights, a job which could have taken up to two hours at worse and an hour or less at best. I had the good fortune to get the latter which meant I had more time for other things. I needed to get to the electrical supplier to replenish my van stock and then do some minor domestic shopping before returning home. I was back home at eleven o’clock to get changed. I gave the latest shoe purchase their first outing but as I had to drive quite a distance I also took a pair of flat-heeled shoes. In any event driving in high heels is not to be recommended because of the damage it would do to the shoes. It can also be very dangerous because of the difficulty it produces in controlling the pedals. Once I had arrived at my destination it was on with the high heels! I spent a couple of hours with my friend then I was heading back homeward for I had arranged to meet someone later for lunch. However that person couldn’t make it and I ended up dining alone. I could have simply dined at home instead but decided to eat alone because I was hungry as it was getting late in the afternoon. I didn’t stop long at the restaurant, who wants to sit alone after eating? I took the longer route home and at the last-minute turned off toward my local pub. For a short time I sat alone with a soft drink but was soon in company. A guy the same age as myself and whom I’ve known for a few years came over and sat with me. It was one of the best hours I have experienced there, and there have been many of those in the past. He was good company and we laughed and joked a lot. Because I haven’t visited the pub for months evidently it seems I had been missed for many came asking where I had been these last few months. Finally I wanted to get back home so made my way to the van but I was spotted by another acquaintance also wanting to know where I had been. This was a middle-aged woman who greeted me as if I were her greatest friend and I invited her to sit with me in the van whilst I changed my shoes. She told me she was envious of the heels. We chatted for a few minutes and she insisted I call to her house for coffee sometime with a view to going out together for the day perhaps. I said I would because I am always open to friendship and she lives only a couple of hundred metres from my house. I spent the rest of the day relaxing at home for there was more work to be done the following morning.
I can safely say this, that I have spent more than half of my life as an atheist for I am not yet 86 years of age! I became a Christian in February of 1989 but my search for God really started the previous summer. All this is recorded in my pages above. As a child my life centred around myself and my family, I had no friends other than one boy who for some reason always watched my back and that was probably because I needed it. I was a timid child and often bullied and I suppose that was a probable cause for me to be wary of people. I grew into adulthood without any friends. It was only during my short courtship and for a year or so after that I had friends of any kind though none of them were close. My life again became centred around my spouse and my family, that is our children as my siblings and even my parents I didn’t see that often. When I began to attend church things change a little and I enjoyed the company of like-minded people who were my brothers and sisters in Christ. I had found a new family and was involved in church life. I was happy but my home life wasn’t what it should have been. In simple terms my spouse began to lose interest in our marriage and our sex life ended. I was therefore now in a loveless relationship as far as the physical side was concerned. After a few years I found myself being sidelined in the church. Even though I was a member and had been for over nine years I began to feel unloved and left out of things. It was one of the reasons I left that fellowship and I swore I would never return. As a Christian I do understand that we have to overlook our brother’s and sister’s misgivings and forgive them. That I did and this is what I do else how can I expect my Father to forgive me? It doesn’t mean however that I have to endure the behaviour of others, brothers and sisters or not. When I tell other Christians of my experiences all I get from them is, try somewhere else. Well of course I could do that but I know nothing will basically change. The problem is partly due to myself, I will admit that much for I should perhaps be more tolerant, forgiving I am but tolerant I cannot handle sometimes. So it is that I no longer go to church and haven’t done so for sixteen years. I was at an old lady’s house late on Saturday morning. She is a Christian lady for whom I have worked a few times in the past. Each time I go there she asks if I am still not going to church. After doing the small electrical job for her we sat down with a cup of tea and chatted. She tried her best to convince me to pay her little fellowship a visit and perhaps bring along my guitar for they have no-one who can play an instrument. She once played the piano but told me she had problems with her fingers these days. I advised her to keep playing as it will help and she was inclined to agree. I learned that the fellowship consists of no more than twenty people all over the age of fifty. However their meeting is held some fifteen miles from my house toward Liverpool. I don’t want to be travelling that far just to be a part of a fellowship I would be reluctant to join anyway. Fellowship is not really the problem and neither is the distance, the real problem is the people. I love people and love being in company but I do not want close relationships with individuals or groups as might be the case in a church fellowship. I prefer to be with people on a one to one basis where I have the opportunity to witness to them. Their salvation is more important to me than their friendship. People are the reason therefore that I don’t have many friends for any ‘friends’ I had, such as they were, have long since deserted me. People let me down.
I had not slept well on Sunday night and by Monday night I was totally out of the game, all I wanted was some solid sleep. I seldom sleep for longer than four hours at a time but often happily will resume my sleep for another hour or so after that. Most usually I will simply get out of bed but not on Tuesday morning. I had gotten my four hours of solid sleep but after waking for a short spell I drifted off again for another two hours, then I was refreshed, then I felt much better. Nothing was planned for the day ahead but as I normally do during the working week I dressed ready for work just in case someone called. No-one did. So I had the day to myself but did nothing except to water the garden. It was a warm and sunny day again and I could have done a little something in the garden but didn’t feel inclined. Later in the afternoon I decided to take my guitar out on the patio and was about to do that when my friend telephoned me for a chat. She lives in the USA and calls me fairly often when she has the time. I listened to her as I continued outside and onto the patio with my guitar. It was about an hour before I got to play it! It is nice to have a friend like her who takes a genuine interest in me. We have known each other for around thirteen years but don’t get the chance to meet as often as we would like, the last time we met was when E and I went to New York in 2009. She has moved recently and it would be nice if we could meet up at her new place. I have been thinking about taking a vacation there sometime, hopefully in the near future. In the meantime we email or she phones me. It might be better if we use Skype but she isn’t set-up for that at the moment. Wednesday is forecast to be even warmer so I doubt again if I will be doing anything in the garden if I am not at work. I don’t mind it being warm and sunny but I don’t like it too hot or humid and definitely don’t like working if it is. Cool is great for work, hot is not and so I get restless if it is hot. I was restless on Tuesday.
So there I was at the end of my normal working week (Monday to Friday) on Friday morning and thinking the week would be devoid of any requests for the work that I do. However, around ten o’clock an old customer rang me asking if I was busy and wanting to know if I could do a little job for him. Busy I was not as you know my readers but any work I might take on board would have to be kind to my back which is still healing. I asked what the work entailed and found it wouldn’t affect my back if I did it so off I went to do it. (I am writing this on Friday after lunch and after returning from the job by the way). His shower unit wasn’t working though as he pointed out the neon light indicator was lit. Yes it was lit but it was very dim. Usually they are quite bright. I checked the supply to the shower and discovered a missing neutral. The live side of the circuit was intact. I unscrewed the ceiling pull-switch and found that the neutral side of the switch was at fault, not allowing the neutral circuit to be connected to the shower. I needed a replacement switch. Now I usually keep at least one pull-switch of the type needed in my van but for some reason I found I hadn’t one. I drove to the nearest electrical supplier and bought two, one for the job and the other for van stock. I returned to the house and fitted one of them and all was back to normal except that the new switch could not be switched off! Fortunately I had bought a spare which when fitted worked perfectly. These switches cost me £15 each, a bit on the high side to what I could pay at the supplier I usually use. Had I fitted the good switch first I would not have known the other was faulty. They came sealed in a plastic bag and could not have been checked without opening the bag. My usual supplier supplies them unwrapped so at least the action of the switch can be checked. Naturally I returned the faulty switch but chose not to have it replaced, I took the cash refund instead. The guy behind the counter who had sold me the switches had been singing the praises of the quality goods they sold but on my return he had made himself scarce. I wonder why? He had also asked me if I would like to open an account with them and get all sorts of discounts in the process but I declined the offer. For one thing their goods were more expensive so any savings would only be offsetting that fact. For another thing, I told him I didn’t like the idea of getting a monthly bill (invoice), preferring as I do to pay up-front. I find it is easier to work that way and in any case I am working more or less part-time and don’t buy large quantities of materials. After fitting the replacement pull switch I was asked to change a faulty ceiling light lamp holder which took little time at all. So unless I get more work before the day is out that will be the limit of my involvement at work this week.
I was looking for a nice dry and not windy day in order to mow the lawn. That day was Wednesday but I was also expecting requests for my electrical services which might have prevented me mowing the lawn at a convenient time. At this time of year the grass grows quickly, as do all the weeds! I had intended to mow it on Tuesday which was also a sunny day and I wasn’t at work but it was also a very windy one so I left off doing it then. I had gotten up very early but not for any particular reason, I’d simply had enough sleep. I was downstairs and dressed by 6 o’clock and had finished breakfast by 6.30. I decided to go on-line to check my emails but the computer was so sluggish due to it uploading an enormous amount of data. I should point out that it wasn’t so much the computer being slow but more the particular email provider (AOL) I was connected to. I eventually gave up with the idea of returning to my emails later so I thought I would switch the computer to ‘sleep’ mode. However when I attempted to click on the ‘sleep’ button it was indicating that the computer should shut down. This obviously was due to a large Windows update which needed the shut-down so it could be implemented when switched back on. One of my pet hates with computer data uploads is that you cannot tell what is being uploaded, it might be a Windows update (as in this case) or a browser update (I seem to get a few of them) or it might be Norton Security or a Driver update. I discovered later that it was a Windows update and when I switched the machine back on an hour later it took 70 minutes to install the changes! Some update! Anyway I finally got to read my mails and then switched the computer off again. I was keen to get the lawn mowed and at 9 o’clock I had gone into the street to see if my next-door neighbour’s son was at home or at work. He is a police sergeant and often works nights and I didn’t want to start the mower if it meant disturbing him. His car was on the drive so I waited an hour and checked again later. His mom told me that in fact he had just gone to work and she herself was about to go somewhere. It only takes me 15 to 20 minutes to mow the lawn so I was able to do it just after 10 o’clock. By 10.30 I got the call I was expecting and I went off to do the small job. I decided to eat at the pub on my return home for by that time it was way after 1 o’clock. About 3 o’clock I got another call whilst at home and went off to do that job some 12 miles away for a lady who was desperately seeking assistance with a lighting problem. It turned out that her husband had deserted her a month ago after 18 years of marriage. She was left to look after her two teenaged boys. The guy was himself an electrician but refused to help her. What a mixed-up world in which we live eh? The job didn’t take me long and soon I was driving home. I got more calls during the evening.
I took a trip into Liverpool again on Wednesday. This time I was meeting someone from afar who was visiting the city for an hour or so. I took the train as for me it is free if I travel in off-peak periods. As I was walking to the station I noticed someone heading toward me from the opposite direction and was wondering if it was my ex’s sister as she looked very much like her from a distance. She approached the road junction and turned left toward the village shopping area and I turned right heading to the station which is in the same area. She was on the other side of the road to myself and I lost sight of her in the short distance to the station, I hadn’t noticed that she was taking the train too and was standing on the platform when I arrived. She must have seen that it was me and said hello. I was taken by surprise for though I had thought it might have been her I wasn’t expecting that it was. Soon the train arrived and we accompanied each other for the twenty-mile journey. It was pleasant to sit and chat together for we don’t see much of each other these days even though she lives a mere three-quarters of a mile or less away from E and myself. Families are weird folk. I got off the train one stop before she did as she was going to the main shopping centre to exchange clothes and do more shopping. It would have been nice to go with her I suppose but I had other plans. Whilst on the train I received a request for my services as an electrician and noted down the details. I drove to the house later in the afternoon after my return home and made an assessment of the job arranging to do it the following morning. My friend and I had lunch together in a friendly little out-of-the-way restaurant/pub I had never been to before. I might take E there one day if she will come. Whilst on my way back home I walked through the city centre and dropped into the bank to deposit some cash I had brought out with me for that reason. Having spent out £5200 recently I have to start saving more when I can. At the end of my travels and finally back home for the day I went on-line in order to transfer the cash I’d deposited into another bank where I keep my savings. On opening my account to transfer the cash I saw that I had far more in the account than I should have, even with the deposit I’d made earlier. I ‘d received a deposit from my energy supplier to the tune of £423! What a nice surprise. I’d received £50 from them at the beginning of the month too. Obviously I had overpaid on my energy accounts and this was by way of a refund. The odd thing is that during the day I had received both an email and a written letter indicating that both my monthly energy payments would be increasing by £18 (electricity) and £40 (gas). I pay by direct debit. Wouldn’t it be easier to have used the refund to offset the proposed increases? Evidently not it seems, that would make sense! So I was able to transfer an extra £400 into my savings account. Now that was a very nice surprise. I left the £23 remaining from the refund in the current account. At the end of each month I transfer any unused cash into my savings account anyway but usually only in £50 or £100 amounts, anything less than £50 is left in the account until the end of the following month. This way I am certain of having a small contingency float for emergencies. So a pleasant day all round.
There aren’t too many things which capture my attention though I take an interest in many things. As far as my daily life is concerned many would think it rather boring and mundane and for them I suppose it is. Much of my time is spent working on one thing or another either at home or in someone else’s home. I like work because it gives me something to do but not only that it gives me something to do that is constructive and doesn’t simply waste time. I also enjoy the challenges that work often presents me with and the sense of achievement that cannot be experienced in other things. One thing I do enjoy now is socialising, meeting people and connecting with them. Once though, long ago in my life, I was a very unsociable person and reclusive, rejecting all advances by the invitations of others. I simply didn’t wish to know. Even at this time in my life I didn’t mix with my siblings though in fact they had all flown the nest bar one. I took this attitude to its extreme occasionally until one day I began to reach out and mix with people. I found it very easy to make friends and I made quite a few of them within months. I did see my siblings but only on rare occasions. All I had in my life were the few friends I had made though none of them ever became close. Once I was married I found those friends gradually falling away and I lost contact with them. Winding the clock many years onward and by the time I was divorced I had no friends at all. I hadn’t seen my family, that is my siblings, for a long time either so there was again no-one in my life. I made a second attempt at socialising and again made a few friends. I almost never see any of them now and I am back with no-one for companionship, that is except for my ex partner with whom I remained. I have found that our relationship has improved vastly and is as good as it ever was when we first met 42 years ago, though the form it takes now is different from what it was then. Without this relationship I have nothing. Yes, I do see my children from time to time but no-one else. I wonder why my friends drifted off and lost contact and though I have telephoned them I get no reply. I don’t expect to live in their pockets for they have their own lives to lead but the occasional contact would be nice if only to see how they are doing. Such is life, people are what they are but I know my life would be better with them in it.
A few weeks ago I went to a job about three miles from home. I had difficulty in gaining access to the house as the woman who made the call couldn’t hear the doorbell. She knew I was coming because she had only called me twenty minutes earlier and knew I was on my way. She had been vacuuming her carpets and therefore the sound of the doorbell had been drowned by the noise of the cleaner. I had been on the doorstep for about ten minutes when she finally came to the door asking me if I had been there long! She told me that she thought she’d seen someone at the door and decided to go and see, yet she was expecting my visit! Having gained access I did her job in ten minutes and she was well pleased with what I had done which actually wasn’t much at all. I was invited to stop and have some tea with her and her husband whilst they chatted about more work that they wanted doing. I wasn’t doing anything else and of course the extra work was inviting so we chatted. I got the feeling then that she was drawn to me for some reason as I was being treated like a member of her family. The decision had been made to go ahead with a couple of jobs they wanted doing but I had to place an order with my supplier for some of the parts. I talked about this in a recent post. I was hoping to do the work on Wednesday last but found I couldn’t get through on her telephone. All I got was the answering service. The number I had was her husband’s mobile phone number and he had it switched off! I re-arranged my schedule and did the job I was supposed to do on Thursday on Wednesday instead, which I had completed around 11 o’clock. I then made another attempt to contact her to no avail so I decided to go to the house before returning home. Fortunately they were at home and I was invited in. I explained what had happened and they apologised for having the phone switched off. I was again invited to have some tea but before she and I left the kitchen to sit in the conservatory to chat together with her husband we had a woman to woman chat. She had asked me if I had been working and if I wanted to do their job there and then but I declined because I had finished for the day as far as electrical work was concerned. I said I would be back the following morning instead. She had noticed the ladders in my stockings for I had them on both legs. She asked me if I wanted a replacement pair of tights but again I declined explaining that I didn’t wear tights but that I wore stockings and she immediately asked if they were ‘hold-ups‘ to which I replied that they weren’t and that I wore a suspender belt. She wasn’t sure that I was telling the truth so I showed her the tops of my stockings. She giggled about that saying that she knew of a couple of men who would find that very interesting. No doubt they would. We went to join her husband in the conservatory and again we laughed and chatted about different things for a while. She left the room for a moment and returned with a couple of pairs of hold-up stockings and insisted that I have them. I graciously accepted. I discovered later that they were quality sheer stockings, far more expensive than those I wear for work. Naturally I wore them the following day when I did their job to show my appreciation. I have to say they were delightful to wear. One of the things I like about being a woman is that I can wear stockings! It was time to leave for I had to buy fuel for the van and get home to do some work there but before I left I was asked if I wanted a garden plant that they were disposing of. It was large azalea which had been pot-bound and needed planting out. We had a place for it to go in our front garden so I thanked them and took it with me. They are lovely and down-to-earth people who, especially her, have taken a shine to me wanting to lavish gifts upon me each time we meet for some reason. I am not used to this kind of treatment by my clients, at least to this extent so I am a little perplexed. To be honest I feel a little uneasy at times when at their house but I do appreciate their interest in me.
Did you ever meet somebody who could not handle being loved, someone who had never felt loved by anyone? I met someone like that back in 2003 and the above poem was written shortly after we had met. The person I met hadn’t had an easy time in life and had no real friends. She found it difficult to accept that anyone could love her just as she was and just as I did. It wasn’t a sexual kind of love, I was drawn to her simply because of who she was. For want of a better description we were a kindred spirit, like friendship but a little deeper. She needed love and acceptance, she needed kindness and consideration, she needed someone whom she could rely upon and who wouldn’t let her down. For a short while I was that person and would still be there for her now but she moved away and we lost contact. I often wonder what became of her and whether she finally found that someone special who would treat her well and love her for who she was. I hope she found it possible to be able to receive love without any fear and to just be loved.
The saying is ‘You can choose your friends but you are stuck with your family’ or words in a similar vein. ‘A man’s enemies are the members of his own household’, to quote Scripture (Micah 7:6). I have only ever had one friend in my life, that is if I exclude E. She has known me for more than forty-one years and is the only person in this world, apart from our children, whom I could trust with my life. When I was between the ages of five and twelve I had a childhood friend who was as close as a young friend could be. He was also my defender and stood in the gap between me and those who liked to bully me at school and even outside of school. I was an extremely timid child and was an easy target for the school bullies of which there were a few. When I left that area to live elsewhere my friend and I lost contact. As I progressed into my teenage years I became more and more introverted and anti-social. I became stripped of any confidence I had and still remained the victim of bullies. I was so anti-social that I turned my back on my old school friend when he appeared one evening to pay me a visit years later. I told my mother to explain that I wasn’t at home. He left and never returned and at that time I felt no guilt. It was only after I had been working for twelve months that things began to change for the better but even so I remained anti-social until around twenty-four or five. I had no friends but I started to form friendships with a few people, none of whom became close friends. E came into my life when I was a couple of months past my twenty-sixth birthday. I never developed a deep friendship after meeting E but there have been a couple of people come into my life during the last twelve years I consider to be friends. Sadly they too have moved away or live too far for regular personal contact. As far as family are concerned, well I might as well not exist for most of them never contact me or have ceased communicating even though formerly only doing that rarely. Other people in my life are merely acquaintances and yet more I have never met in person but know only through the Internet. I would like to call them my friends and as far as it goes they are I suppose. You could say therefore that I am devoid of any close friends and only have the closeness, support and understanding of E, which I cherish incidentally. I read the post of a fellow Internet ‘blogger’ recently where she explored the concept of loneliness as applied to her own situation but assuring her readers that she was quite happy with her circumstance. I hope that she is. I penned this small poem as a comment….
Happy in life
With cares but a few
No-one to sit with
But only you Watching the couples
Walk by in the sun Look at the children
Indulging in fun
Life isn’t bad
It’s as easy as pie
But who will be there
To mourn when you die?
Copyright Shirley Anne 9 April 2013
For myself I need people around me, the closer the better.
I was at home on Monday afternoon and had a little chat with E. Neither of us has had a real holiday since we went to New York for two weeks followed six weeks later by another two weeks in Montreal back in 2009. Prior to then I had a week in Rome in 2004. The days of flitting around the world have more or less gone from my wish list now. When once I liked going to different countries every year I find I am not that bothered whether I do or not any more. That’s not to say I am a closed book to the suggestion of a holiday but I’ve reached that point in life were I can take them or leave them. However, I was talking with E and I suggested we might pay a visit to see Jane, whom I’ve known since 1999 but who now lives down in Brighton. Whilst Jane and I were chatting on the phone, E began to sort out the travel arrangements and accommodation for a long weekend stay in Brighton. E has been very good at getting the right deal for any trips we have taken in the past so I tend to leave her to do those things whenever we go away together but nevertheless she was having some difficulty at first in finding a reasonably priced hotel in what is a very popular place for a break at any time of year. She persevered though and found something suitable. We could drive the distance but that is so tiring and not that comfortable for E as she has a back condition. Travelling by train is the obvious choice. Now any trip to Brighton from where we live in Southport (north of Liverpool) is an awkward journey for it involves changing trains four times, once in Liverpool, once at Crewe, once at Euston and once at Victoria. Normally the journey from Liverpool to Euston is a direct one with no changes along the way but for this trip we have to change at Crewe, the other parts of the journey are by direct local, or underground lines. There is no direct connection between Southport and Brighton but that’s the way it is for most places we journey between isn’t it? So for one weekend in the not too distant future E and I will be having a long weekend away for a change and it will be nice to see Jane and her friend and spend some time with them.
This story is actually in the ‘Your Own Stories’ page above but I thought I’d give it an airing here. Incidentally if you have an interesting little story you would like to tell I would be happy to include it on that page, you can email it using the address shown on the left of this page.
Recently I came across this item written by Jillian, a girl I met whilst on holiday in Canada last year (2009). I kept it for sentimental reasons at the time but now I have found it again I thought I might share it with you.
Jillian was a couple of months away from her operation when we met and is now enjoying her life as the woman she knew she was all her life.
On the Town
Shirley Anne has quite the sense of humour, as the citizens of Quebec who cross her path are learning. Today, Shirley Anne, her friend E and I visited St. Sauveur — in the Laurentians north of Montreal. It is very much a resort area, particularly in the winter when its many ski hills are in operation. But it is popular all year round, with arts festivals, the current Saka horse show and so much more. And it’s teeming with boutiques and fine restaurants.
Our first stop in St. Sauveur today was at the renowned Pagé bakery on Rue de l’Eglise. It’s full of delicious breads, pastries and other yummies. Of course, I’m watching my figure, so declined the calorie splurge, but my two guests indulged in something sweet. While they were choosing and munching, I strolled across the street to the local Catholic church, which was open to tourists. I sat in a pew for a little while and prayed. It’s a pretty rural church, though not anywhere near as ornate as Mary Queen of the World Cathedral in Montreal (my fave). Still, it’s a quiet place for reflection . . .
Next door to the bakery is a medieval clothing shop I very much wanted to visit. So, once Shirley Anne and E had finished munching their pastries and I was done in the church, into the shop we went to look over the creations of gifted designer Anne Larochelle. Well, you gotta know that we didn’t leave the shop empty-handed. Shirley-Anne bought a beautiful full-length medieval-style coat, while I bought a black medieval-style skirt (50 percent off) — with slits on the sides to show off a bit of leg! Even we medieval gals like to provide a peek, yes? Smiles . . .
By this time, Shirley Anne and E were thinking they would like a drink in “a pub.” And “pub” we found not far away, on Rue Principale. Shirley Anne and E made themselves at home immediately at the bar, and Shirley Anne was soon regaling the locals there with stories and her humour.
I don’t drink alcohol (bit of wine once in a while), so decided to check out some of the boutiques while my pals relaxed in “the pub.” Lordie, there are soooo many nice boutiques in St. Sauveur — and there were so many items I would have liked to have purchased. Sigh . . . But I exercised amazing control over my shopping urge (addiction). I ended up buying a very long silver necklace with silver leaves and dangly matching earrings for a mere $30 (plus tax). Hey, I could have spent thousands on some of the beautiful jewelry and clothes I saw there . . .
Back at “the pub” with Shirley Anne and E, I discovered them in full gaiety mode with the locals, who had suggested a restaurant at which we might dine. So off we went . . . to Restaurant Le Rio on Rue Principale, which opens for dinner at 5 p.m.
Well, where to begin? With Shirley Anne’s sense of humour? Or with the owner who came to our table to greet us (and who had my heart fluttering) . . . Sigh . . .
First things first: the menu. Shirley Anne and E chose to have rib-eye steaks. Shirley Anne went the table d’hote route and had some delicious deep-fried mushrooms (yes, I had a taste) and soup as entrees. I passed on the table d’hote and chose a tilapia filet meuniere from the fish menu. The fish was cooked in a tasty thin batter and was served with homemade fries, garden salad and rice. The portions were huge — too much for a weight-conscious girl like me. But it was delicious, even if I did leave some of the fries and most of the rice on my plate.
Now to Shirley Anne’s sense of humour: Not only was our French Canadian waitress excellent at her job, but she was also a good sport. Shirley Anne kidded her — kindly — with odd British-isms and such whenever the young lady came to our table. I told Shirley Anne that the young lady deserved an extra special tip . . .
I was quite touched when the owner came to greet us before our dinners arrived. He chatted with us for a while, thanked us for coming . . .
Not too long after our dinners had been served, the chef paid us a visit: “Is everything to your satisfaction,” he asked. When we told him everything was excellent, he replied, pumping one arm in the air: “Wonderful! I still have a job!” Another sweet guy. Sigh . . .
Not too long afterward, the owner returned to ask if all was well. Shirley Anne told him everything was terrible — kidding, of course. Oy. That British sense of humour . . .
And the restaurant owner was sooo nice . . . sigh . . . When he found out I live in Ste-Adele, he urged me to come back to his restaurant . . . Smiles . . . (Did I say I was off men? Oy.)
Well, to make this very long story a bit shorter, the food, the service, the welcomes were wonderful at this restaurant, and I recommend it to my readers.
And off we went back to my house . . .
As is always the case for me these days, everywhere I went today, I was called “madame.” Obviously, that is how the world at large sees me, and it feels so good. All those people today helped me shake off a depression that had set in during the past week. My prayers in that small church were answered.
Shirley Anne and E are in Montreal until the 20th of this month, so if any of the local regulars who frequent this blog want to see them, write to me and I’ll give you their contact info.