Frequently needed pages

Friday, 26 August 2011

What to do when life smacks you in the face with a wet fish!

There are times in your life when you feel that nothing is going right, that if there is a God, he/she is playing some sort of cruel game; laughing at you whilst sitting safe and warm from the comfort of his/her "Insert Paradise of Choice Here".

We had one of those days this week...

My husband Phil has been unemployed for a couple of months; he has had a couple of interviews, but as yet, no offers-and of course it is a worrying time for us. I am confident that the right job is out there, but it would be nice if it were to manifest soooooon!
(Incidentally, if you are reading this thinking 'Where can I find a degree qualified engineer with bags of experience on PLC's and other computery controlly stuff I don't understand, As well as years and years In the print industry... Just get in touch!)

So as well as being unemployed, his car completely died a month back, and he has been using mine, but we were struggling with just the one means of transport so another car had to be found... He has a 'new' car now, or 'preloved' as some say. It's really nice, an old Merc estate; we picked it up on Saturday morning from the Gatwick area, about 50 miles away from where we live.

The busiest days of the week for us are Wednesday and Thursday, I work at Waterstones during the day, and then run my Slimming World groups at night; Wednesday is the biggie, with just an hour between jobs and two hectic sessions to run!

Phil was pleased (I think that's the term!) to be able to help me again as we had a car big enough to take three people and all my kit, so we loaded up, collected Marion and toddled off down to Pompey. On the way, his phone rang and I answered it; it was the chap at the agency-Phil had been for an interview last week, so maybe it was good news!

He returned the call as soon as we wasn't good news. Ho hum.
I feel so shaking these daft employers who cannot see what a wonderful person he is... Anyway, he helped us set up, and then went home to do dinner for the hordes.

He picked us up again at 8.00 and we set off home...

We have to drop Marion off first, so we come off the motorway at Havant; as we paused at the top of the sliproad, the car began to judder in an ominous manner...and I noticed that smoke was billowing from under the bonnet...


We limped the quarter of a mile to her front door and stopped.

Out first thought was that the head gasket had blown, but the temperature had been fine, so Phil suggested it might be one of the injectors. We called out the AA, Marion made us cups of tea, and we waited...

The AA man duly arrived about half an hour later and had a look. It was an injector, it could be easily fixed, but sadly, not by him. The thread had stripped on the bolt, and his efforts met with casual indifference from the car which simply popped it straight back out again as soon as the engine was started!

A flatbed was required to get us home as it is a rear wheel drive automatic. You cannot tow them, it knackers the gearbox. It was a busy night and the truck would not arrive until at least 11.20...

I was absolutely shattered, having been working (writing for the magazine) until 1.00am the previous night, so Phil called our friend Ross who collected me and took me home so I could have something to eat and get to bed.

He then settled down to play golf on his phone and wait...

...For a man who turned up with a transit! It had some sort of gizmo to tow the car backwards...except that it didn't work because our car is an estate and he couldn't close the doors on the truck again! Well, Duh! They knew what the car is, and it is not exactly a rare model!

The estimate for the arrival of the flatbed was now 1.25am.

5 hours sat in a lay-by, less than 4 miles from home, on his own, having just been told he had not got the job he went for last week, in a car he had only had for 5 days... There is absolutely no justice in that at all.

My poor baby finally arrived home at about 1.15; the truck having turned up slightly earlier than anticipated. He was cold and depressed and who can blame him.

Then of course, there was the worry over paying for repairs; the Merc is 12 years old, you don't get a warranty on cars like that! We thought we might have to get Trading Standards involved and called them to check our rights.

We need not have worried, because the chap we bought it from could not have been more helpful. As we are so far away, he arranged for us to have it repaired by our local garage (who we have been dealing with for 25 years). He will pay the bill in full. He restored my with in human nature!

Then we had the call from the AA, to apologise for their part in the fiasco that was Wednesday night. They admitted full liability for the unacceptable wait and for sending out the wrong equipment and are sending us a cheque for £25 as a sweetener...

All we need now is for the interviewer from last week to call and say he made a terrible mistake in not employing Phil... The job is back up on the agency website, so it could happen...

...Are you listening up there?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:In Bed

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

A Life Worth Saving?

I run a weekly Slimming World group in the Methodist Church in Copnor Road, Portsmouth (Wednesdays at 5.15 & 7.00pm). A preschool group also uses the hall during term time and we are used to seeing paintings and other things left to dry on the windowsills.

This year, they have been growing tomato plants, and inevitably one of them got left behind... I first saw it a couple of weeks ago, just after the end of the summer term.

There is a kitchen at the back of the church, a lovely bright and airy space with big, west facing windows. The plant was one of of the window sills; it was planted in a clear plastic disposable cup and was far too big for the container... I felt the soil (such as it was) and it was a little damp, so I gave it a drink and left it there, figuring that somebody was coming back to collect it.

However, I got a shock when I unlocked the kitchen the following week...

The tomato plant was still on the windowsill; it's leaves were hanging straight down, and some of them had gone yellow... I rushed over and felt the soil, it was bone dry. I quickly gave it some water and took it out of the glare of the sunlight streaming through the windows, then I went off to run my group.

Some hours later, after the groups had both finished, I went back into the kitchen to lock up... The tomato plant had recovered a little, but was still looking very poorly. I stood and thought about what to do; what if someone was coming back to collect it? Would it be stealing to take it home?

Whilst I thought, I had been gazing up at the window, as I looked back down at the plant, I heard it scream-no really, I did! In my head I heard it scream in panic!

"Don't leave me here!"

That was it. I could not, in all conscience leave it there! By the time I returned in another week, it would either be dead, or nearly dead, so if someone was coming back for it, they would not be getting a healthy plant anyway!

I carefully wrapped the plastic cup in a paper towel and wedged it upright in my car. On the way home, I found myself talking to it, telling it that it was going to be out in a nice courtyard garden with other pants to keep it company and plenty of water...

Once home, Phil unloaded the car for me and gave me a quizzical look on seeing the plant; I explained and he laughed...he is used to me by now!

I grabbed my gardening gloves and immediately took it out of the hated cup, repotting it into a nice large pot, filled with rich, damp soil. As I left it for the night, I could feel the waves of relief, like a huge *sigh* coming off the tomato plant as it stretched out it's roots and wiggled it's toes...

The following morning, the first thing I did when I got downstairs, was unlock the door to the courtyard and go and see how it was...

The difference was incredible! It had really perked up, the leaves were

standing out, and best of all, it had somehow managed to put out a bloom overnight! As you can see, it has dropped a few leaves, the yellow ones, but it is really trying to make a go of it, and I am going to do my best to help it along. If I am lucky enough to get a tomato...I shall save the seeds and grow more from it next year...

All I need now, is a name...I need something that demonstrates it's ability to survive in extremely testing conditions, something that says 'I will survive'...

I would have Gloria (who of course had the single), but that's the name of my stepmum, so that's out-and anyway, I want a boys name...Hmmm, I shall have to think about it!

If anyone has any ideas, let me know!?!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Out and about

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Those stupid moments

I often suffer from what I call my 'Stupid Moments', times when my brain simply refuses to work properly. I cannot recall names, or put faces to names, remember phone numbers, where I put things (my glasses!) or where I am supposed to be, at what time and on what day!

I am lucky to have an extremely patient dentists practice; over the last 25 years of attending, I have been there on the right day of the week, but in the wrong month, on the right day but at the wrong time...I have been days late and weeks early! I have also taken the kids out of school for appointments that don't exist!

Appointments are a particular frustration for me. I can arrange something on the phone, write it down at the time, double check it with the other person and still get it wrong! Unfortunately, it also seems to be rubbing off on the rest of my family...

...and then the who-are-you challenge... I have been known to talk to people at length without the slightest memory of who they are, in the hope that eventually they might say something to jog my memory... and even, on one day, walked side by side with a man up Cosham High Street for about five minutes, without realising he was my eldest brother! ...Although to be fair, he didn't realise it was me, either!

I am really embarrassed about all this; I feel so frustrated by my lack of memory, especially when I really should know something. I used to have a pretty good memory; almost photographic where the written word was concerned, although the appointments thing has been a curse my entire adult life... It was having to have chemotherapy in 2004/5 that really set it off on a downward trend, although I should point out that the official line is that there is no scientific evidence so far to prove a link with memory loss and chemo.

What can I do about it though? Nothing, really... All the brain training in the world won't repair my memory.

So, although I find it frustrating, I have to accept it. I cannot change it, stress makes it worse, so acknowledge, accept, release, as they say...acknowledge, accept, release...

This applies in lots of areas of life; if you cannot change something, acknowledge it, accept it, work with it, release that pain, anger and frustration...and move on.

If you cannot do this, then you may be allowing anger and resentment to clog up your energy and ruin your day.

If someone cuts you up on the motorway, resist the temptation to rant and rave, after all, the other driver certainly won't be worrying about you, and allowing that small incident to ruin your day just doesn't make sense!

Acknowledge, accept, release...move on.

This one small change to how you think can have a major effect on your well being, but it takes courage and practice...

Acknowledge, accept, release...move on.

Try it today?

You might surprise yourself!

Now then...who are you again?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad