Tag Archives: Lifestyle

Sober as a judge

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Clean and Sober

Clean and Sober (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am as sober as a judge as the saying goes for I don’t drink alcohol anymore and haven’t done for three years. Neither am I feeling bloated and stuffed silly with rich food from over-indulgence for I have resisted that temptation for a number of years too. As I mentioned in a recent post I no longer partake of such things. Each to their own I have to say for there is no persuading people from giving up what they enjoy, even if sometimes it is self-destructive too (see tomorrow’s post). Yesterday was different for me, in fact no different from today or any other day in my life for that matter. Each day is the same for me. I can work if I want to or rest if I want to, it makes no difference. I am happy being the way I am. Maybe my readers feel the same about themselves. Maybe my readers don’t give a toss and simply wish to enjoy themselves in whichever way they feel is right for them. Today I woke up without a hangover, a mouth so dry it felt like unused blotting paper or bruises I knew not how I received. Today is like any other day in my life. My health and well-being have improved since the days I gave up on those things which were slowly destroying me. I discovered God, I found Jesus, my life changed for I saw the truth that is in him. My heart goes out to those who are now in the same position I was before The Lord changed me. Life took on a new meaning and I discovered it wasn’t all about self-indulgence and high living, these things destroy. Today I am as sober as a judge in both my flesh and my spirit. I wanted to get out in the garden yesterday and do some work, pruning trees and such but it rained down so hard it was impossible and today’s forecast isn’t promising either. I guess I will just have to find something to do indoors instead.

Shirley Anne

Hidden extras

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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.

Shirley Anne

Do I really care?

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A Scenery Like Me

A Scenery Like Me (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

Shirley Anne

The way I feel just now

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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…………………….

Shirley Anne

All week off?

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(Plain) Flour and (lite) milk.

(Plain) Flour and (lite) milk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I write this on Thursday afternoon I have had no electrical job offers that I am willing to take on-board since last Thursday and no work therefore since last Friday. Swings and roundabouts of course and I may yet get requests before this week is out. One good thing to come out of this, or maybe two good things would be the nice long break and a chance to really rest from my labours and to know what it would be like to be fully retired. I am not interested in the latter as such and I know that whilst I am fit and healthy I shan’t be idle once I do decide to retire from my formal occupation. For someone who doesn’t much care for travel and going places just because they are there or spending my whole later life roaming about like a hedonistic modern-day gypsy, I need to be doing something else instead. As I like working with my hands I know there will always be something for me to do, as long as I am fit and able. Besides I am more or less done with roaming for the sake of it except for taking the occasional break should I feel the need. Thankfully now the weather is slowly improving, the sun has been shining a lot over the past week raising my mood as it does. Funny how sunshine promotes activity, of any kind. More opportunities for outdoor pursuits or work, whichever of those I choose to do will keep me occupied. I have been offered work though but they have either been not cost-effective to do or they have been too far afield or too large for someone of my age. I tire of life sometimes, not the living of it but the things we all are expected to do living in a modern society. Jumping off the merry-go-round, the treadmill or getting out of the rat race would suit me fine but alas I am stuck with it. Once in the system, always in the system. The less of that system’s effect on my life the better as far as I’m concerned. For the time being I am expecting to get through this week work free…………….maybe. So what else did I do on Thursday afternoon? I cleaned the windows at the front of the house from the outside. They can be cleaned from the inside as they open inwards but reaching the fixed windows above, at least downstairs, are best done from the outside. They needed a hose pipe and a squeegee for they were heavily soiled and the higher ones had to be reached from a ladder. The sun was drying them as fast as I could wet them! Soon I was back indoors and baking some more scones having to use baking powder in the mix having discovered we had no self-raising flour but only plain flour. Adding a little baking powder to a self-raising flour mix makes them rise even more. E had been out shopping with her mum and can always tell when I have been baking in her absence, the house is filled with a lovely aroma.

Shirley Anne

Though it’s mild

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Ah, the pudding. Months in the making. Finally...

Ah, the pudding. Months in the making. Finally ready to have the brandy poured on, and then thrown to the lions. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those of my readers here in the UK will already know how mild the weather has been over the last week or so, mild for the month of December that is. However it hasn’t always been dry with it. We have had some cold spells too though nothing like it must get in other places in the world. I have been so busy these last few weeks I have not had the opportunity to do some work out in the garden for despite there having been many days of fair weather I have been elsewhere. There are a couple of things I have been itching to get done, moving the gooseberry bushes and finishing off the area around the ‘mound’ we have been working on throughout the summer months are just two of them. As I have a couple of weeks of free time over the Christmas holiday I hope I will have the opportunity to get those things done. It all depends upon the weather of course. Whilst everyone is stuffing their faces with turkey I could be out in the garden working, you never know! Well turkey isn’t on my menu anyway, neither are mince pies, and Christmas pudding (though I do love Christmas Pudding I seldom eat it these days). I gave up eating that stuff years ago. My diet over the holiday will be just as it is every other day of the year, normal. Many will already know I will probably have beans on toast topped with a lightly fried egg or two for my Christmas day dinner. Why? Because I love beans on toast topped with eggs and I prefer it to the rich foods that I once imbibed at this time of year. I won’t be feeling bloated because I had over-indulged either. I had a tendency to do that once I have to admit but to be fair it was due to the many different things we bought just because it was Christmas. For many people Christmas is a time for over-indulgence in one form or another which is their prerogative but it isn’t for me, I prefer simpler fayre and in moderation. I will be alone at home for most of Christmas Day as I have been for many years now so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to my readers that the day might see me out doing some work in my garden at some point. That of course depends on the weather being dry.

Shirley Anne

A cheerful soul

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Narcissus 'Cheerfulness'. Real Jardín Botánico...

Narcissus ‘Cheerfulness’. Real Jardín Botánico, Madrid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many a time I have been told that I am a cheerful soul despite some of the things that have turned my world upside down, especially in the last twenty years. I could attribute my cheerfulness to many things I suppose but the real reason is the in-dwelling of The Holy Spirit, the joy in the knowledge of my salvation in Jesus Christ. I am given to the disposition of cheerfulness because I know I cannot change things that cannot be changed but strive to change those which can be instead. On Thursday I made it my business to take the day off work despite the requests for my services. I was able to have extra time in bed, something foreign to my normal lifestyle. Being honest I have to confess that I was tired but even so five hours sleep is usually enough for me. I managed to stay asleep for six hours before the urgency to visit the toilet awakened me. However I returned to bed and put in another four hours before I finally stirred again. Whilst going about the business of getting ready for the day I received a call from an American guy asking if I would do some electrical work for him. He rejected the price I gave him for the proposed work as he said the job should be easy. Well of course the job should be easy but they seldom work out that way. No matter, he seemed to be the expert! I assumed he found someone to do it for next to nothing. A few minutes later I received another call from a local girl wanting my electrical services and that job I will be doing (as I write this) on Saturday morning and Monday afternoon (she is moving house). At least the calls came late in the morning so as not to disturb my sleep which is usually the case when I want a lie-in. I had a doctor‘s appointment at two-thirty to discuss the findings of an X-ray I’d had two weeks ago. I knew beforehand what the diagnosis would be and it was confirmed to me. Being as it was Thursday, E would be doing the weekly shop but this week she had to go alone as her mum has been in hospital for a couple of days because of a problem she was having with abdominal pain. It isn’t a life-threatening condition as far as we know and hopefully it isn’t but any medical problems at her age can be a cause for concern. So it is with us all and myself being as I am now sixty-nine I have to expect one problem or another occasionally. Anyway E drove me to the surgery before continuing on to do the shopping. When we are young we think we are invincible but as we grow older we realise that we are not. My newly acquired condition was, according to my doctor, probably brought about by my long life at work. I have the beginnings of osteoarthritis. It is the result of a wearing down of the cartilage between the joints in my fingers, more so in my right hand as I am right-handed. I know there is nothing that can be done to reverse the condition so I accept it. The doctor was surprised at my easy-going reaction. As I say, I can’t change things that cannot be changed so why worry about it? As long as I can play my guitar, and I am still able, I shall be content. I left the surgery soon afterwards and walked the short distance into the village to make a cash deposit at my bank. It is just as well I save when I can as my youngest son had asked me earlier in the day if I could lend him some money to help him with a cash-flow problem he was having. He is to repay me later. Where have I heard that one before? Leaving the bank I walked across the road to the chemists to collect the prescription my doctor had forwarded electronically to them. Paper prescriptions are becoming a thing of the past. I collected the gel the doctor had prescribed to reduce the swelling in my hand and started back home on foot. It was still wet, cold and windy on Thursday, bracing weather as they say. I was prevented from continuing my journey by the level-crossing barriers that had just closed off the road. I spoke with a lady who was visiting our town for the afternoon and she was telling me about the conditions near the Promenade which is exposed to the westerly winds. Well Southport is windy at the best of times as it sits right on the coast facing the Irish Sea. The train left the station, the barriers lifted and I continued home with the wind in my face. I was feeling very happy and contented, a cheerful soul indeed.

Shirley Anne

Changes to plans

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Cappuccino

Cappuccino (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I slept in on Saturday morning, something of a treat for me for a change but I must have needed the extra sleep. After dressing I placed some laundry in the washing machine before going into the garden to check the drain pipe connection for the main bathroom. I was in two minds about removing the old lead connecting pipe that served the toilet pan but decided against it for that day. I will need a dry day and one that isn’t windy in order to remove it and brick up the resulting hole. Although Saturday was an ideal day to do that work it was already 11.30 by the time I went downstairs. E hadn’t dressed yet so I asked her if she would like to go out and we could grab a cappuccino coffee in town and just chill out for a change. She agreed so we went back upstairs, she to dress and me to change into something more becoming for a trip to town as I had dressed in my everyday working clothes. I hadn’t eaten so was feeling hungry. We took E’s car and she asked where we were going to which I replied to just drive north through the town centre until I indicated otherwise. I had it in mind to forgo the coffee shop in preference to a meal so we drove out to a favourite restaurant. There were few people there and we were able to sit next to the open fireplace they have burning during the colder months. I had the three course option whilst E settled for the main and dessert only. We both had soft drinks, water and lime and soda and afterwards we enjoyed the large cappuccino we had promised ourselves earlier. We drove back homeward along the same route hoping we might park somewhere in town and perhaps spend a little time there followed by another cappuccino in ‘Neros’ but it was impossible to find a suitable parking place close by and as E isn’t as mobile as she was we decided to drive on home. I don’t expect to be getting many calls for work this week after the newspaper not printing my advert but I have work scheduled for Thursday which will be more than enough financially speaking. As it happens the only time I had available this week was Monday and Friday (as yet). Yesterday, Tuesday, I had a dental appointment mid-morning and we dined out in the afternoon. Today we will be attending the funeral of our dear departed neighbour and afterwards we are invited to the gathering in a local pub for refreshments. I guess not having the advert printed for this week (that is last Wednesday to this Wednesday) was a blessing in disguise. I am keen to continue with the bathroom project but I am glad for the chance to take a break too.

Shirley Anne

Progress of a sort

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Accommodation

Accommodation

Our eldest son and his wife had a little house in another town some 20 or so miles away. They lived there for a couple of years but wanted to move from the area before they started a family. The area wasn’t a good one although the house was. However, the house was quite small and really unsuitable for family life. Their baby girl was born whilst they were living there but they were able to finally sell the house but at a loss. The idea was to move back to Southport until they could save for another deposit and start again. They live with her parents now, about three miles from where we are. Our youngest son moved out a few years ago and for a while held down a well-paid job in another town and he lived in a nice apartment with the friend whose father had employed him. Sadly that job was taken from him for no apparent reason and he was forced to relinquish his apartment and move back locally. Another of his friends gave him a room in his house and he has been there a while. We did suggest he move back with us until he found his feet as it were but he is independent and wanted to do things his way. Eventually he found a reasonable job, though the pay isn’t as good as he got before. During the last year or so he found a regular girlfriend who lives and works in Manchester, some 40 miles distant but he works in an area far closer to Manchester than Southport. He was commuting by car to and from his place of work and Southport but now he and his girlfriend have found a large apartment to rent close to where she was living and in a decent part of the city. They will be moving in later this month. I am well pleased that he is beginning to get on his feet and settle down at last. No matter what our children do we feel for them and only wish them the best but it is a hard world out there, more difficult now than it was when we first started out on our own.

Shirley Anne

Almost forgotten?

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Two views of local Extension leaders drilling ...

 Extension leaders drilling in physical exercise in middies and bloomers, … 

With all the hard work I’ve been doing at home lately I’ve not really had the chance nor even felt like taking some exercise on the treadmill. I have been out on my bike a couple of times though and I have managed to take some exercise on the treadmill but not as much as I would like. I cannot overdo things however, that would be stupid. On Sunday morning after a nice extra lie in bed I dressed for some exercise on the treadmill and went straight to it. I surprise myself sometimes. Not thinking I would manage much I found the opposite to be true! As long as I don’t leave it too long between sessions on the treadmill I find I can pretty much take off where I left it. I found the same to be true when doing outdoor running too, often going far more than I’d anticipated. I suppose it is down to stamina. At the moment I am building up my stamina through hard work most of the time. Use it or lose it is the key phrase. Sitting on one’s butt and stuffing one’s face with food may be some people’s idea of living it up but it’s not mine much as I like doing those things sometimes. No, I discipline myself and try to do what is sensible, after all it is only myself who will suffer any consequences of a bad lifestyle. I think I am quite a fit person for my age, in fact I know I am. There are not many women my age who could do what I do physically speaking. I know many women my age who really look their age as they say and lack the stamina I have. Many are far too overweight and it is usually down to the way they have lived their lives. They have all sorts of physical ailments which a normal healthy person doesn’t have and they suffer as a result. I wonder why people choose to be they way they are, for it is a lifestyle choice. A week or so ago E and I were in a carvery having lunch, well dinner to be precise when we noticed a couple of, shall we say, ‘extra-large’ women. They were so large they had to sit  on the lounge furniture away from the main dining area. Now you would think they might have limited their meal to something small or even a salad but no, their meals looked twice the size of mine! On another occasion three rather large people came into the same carvery with a child, two women and one man. The women filled their plates to capacity and the man likewise but he left the table after finishing his meal and returned a couple of minutes later with another plate full of food! He even complained that he couldn’t have extra meat unless he paid for it! One can eat as much vegetables as one likes in these establishments but very few take up that offer, I mean isn’t one plate of food enough? Apparently not for some people though.

Shirley Anne

Stage two and sunny days

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...and here is a tapestry I made earlier...lol

…and here is a tapestry I made earlier…lol (Photo credit: andronicusmax)

On Monday morning I set about making some shuttering for the second stage of laying concrete. The first stage was completed last week and if I say so myself, we have made a good job of it. Later in the morning my apprentice and I (LOL) mixed the concrete and we had the second stage completed. Work must stop for a few days whilst we re-stock on building supplies. The weather has been splendid over the last few days and the need to be out and about seems greater than usual. We had spent Sunday mowing the lawn and doing other work in the garden, there is always something to do out there. There is a place in one corner behind the plum trees we have which has been somewhat overgrown for some years. Last year we stripped out much of the shrubbery and tress that were there but we still need to dig out the roots. The problem is the ground is strewn with large natural stone blocks that must have looked good as an intended rockery when they were laid. The whole area needs some attention and we do a little of it when there is nothing else to do. On Tuesday morning I was up and about quite early for I wanted to walk into town and buy a couple of things. It was quite warm even at 8 o’clock as I began the mile and a quarter walk to the centre of town. Some of the shops open at 8.30 so I was able to get what I wanted and return home by 9.30. I bought myself a pair of ‘jeggins’ solely for use when I ride my bicycle and an extra pair of ‘flatties’ (shoes) for much the same reason. When I got home I put on the new items and went for a ride for an hour. Even with the minimum of clothing I returned home feeling rather hot! We sometimes don’t realise how hot we can get whilst we are out exercising. It is only by returning indoors that it hits us. E an I spent the afternoon dining out. She had been working in the garden during the morning whilst I was out and about. After lunch we made arrangements for more building supplies to be delivered. My electrical work has somewhat dried up so I am making the most of the free time and fine weather but at the same time not overdoing it!

Shirley Anne

Healthy food and lifestyle

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The Healthy Eating Pyramid, from the Harvard S...

The Healthy Eating Pyramid, from the Harvard School of Public Health (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we were young many of us abused our bodies and we didn’t give much thought to the consequences. I can say that I was no angel when it came to looking after myself. Although I took up cycling and rode around as much as I could I had bad habits too like smoking and drinking but as I grew older I grew wiser and was more informed regarding the dangers of a poor lifestyle. When I was 35 or 36 I took up running and some of  my bad habits ceased. I became fitter and healthier but it wasn’t all due to exercise and clean living, I began to eat more healthily too. I was always a person who liked fruit and vegetables and they formed a major part of my diet but there were other foods which were not so good for me that I continued to eat, things like cheese and fatty foods, biscuits and cakes and pastries to name a few. I now eat and choose more healthy foods whilst trying to limit or eliminate those which are less healthy. I eat very little bread these days but treat myself to the occasional scone now and then, especially as I have made them myself! I usually eat about seven or eight items of the recommended five-a-day portions of fruit and/or vegetables each day and often more than that. I listed many of the things I eat in my healthy food page (see above) a couple of years ago and it remains the same to this day with a few minor adjustments. I have never liked eating so-called ‘junk food’ and pre-packed frozen meals. I much prefer to cook food from fresh and do so as much as I can. I enjoy cooking, I always have. E still likes to eat many things I steer clear of but she has wisely taken up the habit of eating lots more fruit, in fact one of her daily meals is solely fruit! I think there is no excuse for anyone not eating healthily today were information is so easily obtained and were healthy lifestyles are taught and encouraged in schools. Nevertheless there are many who refuse to take advice and still eat more than they should and more of what they should not be eating to stay healthy. Obesity in our country is on the rise and it is so unnecessary and avoidable. Life is far better enjoyed when we are healthy.

Shirley Anne

And so beginneth another week…..

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Come Monday

Come Monday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back to Monday again and wondering what will happen this week. If I get the chance I will be continuing to work at home on my current project with the help of my apprentice……..E…….LOL. Considering her condition she does quite well and tries to be as helpful as she can. She always takes an interest in whatever I am doing and likes to be involved though there have been some things she couldn’t help me with or she has been too busy doing something else. I fancy she will be helping me mix concrete again this week if I am not spending too much time doing electrical work. One of the best things about being self-employed is the fact that each day and each week is always different. I was quite tired after the work we both did on Friday. I had attended a job away from home in the morning then I returned home to commence laying concrete. It wasn’t so much the actual laying but all the preparation we had to do beforehand and the cleaning up afterward that is the worst part, lifting and carrying bags of cement, sand and granite and transporting them with a wheelbarrow from storage to job takes its toll. At least having a mixer helps enormously. In the past I have mixed a lot of concrete and mortar by hand when doing jobs in our former home. We did a lot of work in our old house but of course I was much younger then and took it all in my stride. I am still quite fit and active though, especially for my age but I think that continuing to be active makes that possible. There’s an old saying which says ‘If I stop I will seize-up’ and it is true, another is ‘If you don’t use it you will lose it’. This is why I like to stay active, if not work then exercise but I think I prefer work. I remember the days when I would go running in the woods near home at 3 o’clock in the morning on cold winter’s days looking at the stars shining in the clear dark skies through the tree tops. When the Moon was up the woods took on an eerie feeling but it never bothered me. These days I am still asleep at 3 in the morning unless I am visiting the bathroom! My weeks in those days were far different to what they are now, for one I wasn’t self-employed when I first took up running so my free time was a little more restricted. It was only when I started working for myself that I could do as I pleased. So I start my week not knowing exactly what I am going to be doing but I like it that way. I have to be up reasonably early though in case someone wants me to do a job for them. Fortunately I tend to be up early most days anyway. Always ready to go.

Shirley Anne

In it for the money or is it something else?

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I Get Money

I Get Money (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We live in a nice area in our town. As with any other town or city there are good places, not so good places and really horrible places to live but I can say ours is in a good place. I went to do some work in, shall we say, the less privileged areas of town a few days ago. As I approached the house in a quiet cul-de-sac I thought to myself how unloved the house looked from the outside. Now of course I wasn’t making judgement for I know that not everyone can afford to spend too much on their property, especially if they are on a low-income, have health issues or family problems preventing them doing much as perhaps they would like. When I got inside I found the house clean and tidy, perhaps a little dated as far as the decor was concerned and here and there some obvious work needed to be done but I can say that of my own house too! At least these people were taking pride in their home and were doing the best they could in their circumstances, believe me I go into houses where the people simply don’t care much about the house in which they live and it isn’t all about how much money they have in the bank. This particular house had a beautiful rear garden lovingly laid out and well-tended, something else I have noticed lacking in some properties. When it comes to the other end of the spectrum where people are ambitious to improve their lot by constantly moving home I wonder what is driving them forward. Is it simply to make a financial profit, gradually building up a large bank balance over the years in the process or are they simply wishing to find a better house in which to live? It can be one or both of these things and for many different reasons of course, everyone is different. The house across the road from ours has been up for sale now for probably around two years or more, I have forgotten exactly how long. Much work has been done there over the last twelve months so they have been busy making the house more attractive to any prospective buyer. In this particular case I think the motive for moving on is purely a financial one to fund their lifestyle and to help pay for their children’s private school tuition fees. Nothing wrong in all of this of course. I do wonder though, is it possible the house isn’t a nice one to live in despite all of the work that has been done within its walls over the years by the various owners who have lived there? I think I mentioned the number of occupier changes there have been since we’ve been living here. No, it isn’t that we are bad neighbours! Of course we aren’t and neither are the others living around us but this house alone has seen some six owners in the space of 24 years. That does seem a little odd to me.

Shirley Anne

You never can tell

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English: A right MCA artery stroke.

A right MCA artery stroke

A couple of days ago I received an unexpected email. It appeared in my inbox late in the evening at a time when I have usually finished checking on my messages for the day. I often check the in-boxes (I have four email accounts) a couple of times each day, mainly my AOL account as that is the main one I use.  The same message was sent to E’s account and it was she who alerted me to it. It was from my youngest brother who is ten and a half years my junior, a little older than E. He told me that he had suffered a stroke in the month of March but emphasised that he was on the mend and was all right. I was glad to hear that but I was a little annoyed that I wasn’t informed earlier so that I could lend support if needed. There are probably a couple of reasons for him deciding not to inform his siblings (there are four of us) immediately but I didn’t ask in my reply to his message. I plan to visit him and his wife in the next day or so if he is open to family visits. There is no biological heredity reason for him suffering a stroke, no-one else in our family has ever suffered a stroke but if anyone were to do it would be down to lifestyle, diet, anxiety or stress. I suppose therefore that one or more of these must have contributed to my brother’s condition. I would never judge my brother for his lifestyle, his life and the way he lives it is his affair but I would advise him against anything that is unhealthy and likely to cause a problem. In my brother’s case that would or should be unnecessary as he is an intelligent person who knows the risks. He works within the health service as a senior laboratory technician amongst other things screening and cross-matching blood that is used for transfusions. The point is this, none of us is immune to these life-threatening conditions if we live our lives without thought for our health and well-being. We none of us think it will never happen to us do we? Of course strokes can affect even the most healthy of us but there are ways to minimise the risks, good diet, exercise and regular blood-pressure checks go a long way to keep us on track to a healthy life. I do hope my brother recovers enough to continue to lead a happy and fulfilled life for the remainder of his years. I am confident he will.

Shirley Anne