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Monday, 16 December 2013

Moving on.......

(Wed)   Today in around 12 hours the deals will be done. We (Mrs ex and I) will no longer jointly own a home but instead each own something smaller and with a hundred miles between us. It's both a sad and a happy time. We have both been wrapping and packing side by side.
"Do you want this?"
"Yes please/no thanks/you have it."
We've been cordial and friendly since we split but it's very tough being so considered and considerate, with each other over who has this and who has that. Moving away from the house that was our family home for almost 25 years is tough, tougher when you know she feels the same. Both girls are acting a little strange. No1 daughter is finding lots of reasons to stay late at work. It's not to get out of doing her share of the packing. She just doesn't want to see the only home she has every know slowly disappear. No2 is very quite and is keeping herself to herself. I think it's best to let them work through this in their own time and way. I remember, as a 14 year old being very upset when we moved. I left my school and friends and the places I'd grown up in. So I know a little about how they feel.
(Thurs)   We finished moving Mrs X into her new home by about 7 last night and dashed back and loaded most of my remaining rubbish onto the van. It was too late for me to get down to deepest Kent, so I stayed with friends who live about 20 miles from my new home overnight. I've emptied the van and am about to drive back and pick up the last bits and a massive chest of drawers I brought at Auction (more about that at a later date).
(Sat)   I have an old van, which I plan to keep, for several reasons. The most important is the fact that the van has shared my toughest times. So it's important to me that it shares the better times. I know that sounds a little weird. It's a big lump of metal and rust with no heart or brain but as I used to drive it around, it was where my thoughts and dreams on how my future might be were hatched. It's not the most comfortable or reliable at present so I've budgeted to buy a second hand car. I'll tax and insure it for six months. If it's affordable to run both, then I will. If not then one of them will have to go. This morning I'm off to see a car I've had my eye on for a while.

   It's Monday now and here I am to summarise. I did buy the car, it's not the most sensible of buys for a number of reasons but it's great fun to drive. I went on a day trip to France yesterday with a friend. She had booked the trip a while back so I decided to join her. I brought a few bottles of wine, a few Christmas presents, some food, Christmas baubles for my first Christmas tree and big socks.
   I'm feeling a little guilty. I'm buying things and enjoying myself before I've earned it. I'll have a ponder on that over the next few days as I start to put things together.
   I have a few phone calls to make then I'm going to put my tree up and straighten things up a bit.

Onwards and upwards in search of fulfilment and Santa Claus :-)        
 

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

critics and criticism

    Once upon a time, I would jot down my thoughts and feelings almost daily. Now it's more random. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. On one hand, posts are a bit more focused on the other it's all a bit edited. The truth of the moment is lost, be it good or bad.
   So what have I got to say for myself today? Well it's to do with criticism. If you're reading this chances are, you spend a fair bit of time working through self-criticism and you know the effect that can have on a life and those of others. I still have that little voice chirping away when things are not as I'd like. I'm working on that.
   I was about to type, I'm more forgiving. Which would be wrong, for me anyway. No, I'm more honest with myself now. There are times when for one reason or another I'm not going to be able to do something. So I let it go or rearrange. That in itself is worthy of note but what is more important is how I view others. Up until sometime recently, I was quietly critical of other's but somewhere along the way it's disappeared. Others can behave the way they do. I have no idea how their lives are going or how that's affecting them. If their behaviour really grates then I can choose to move on or away.
   What really surprises me is how I now behave towards others. I think in the past my critical radar would be switched on long before I was. If I came into contact with someone maybe not at their best I'd adjust accordingly. Now I find with the radar off people are far more affable.
   It's another little sign that I look outwards more and not so inwards now than in the past. There's still things to face and work on but I'll take a small victory on the road to something more fulfiling.
   Talking of the road to something more fulfilling.I'm eight days away from the big move. We are all packing and deciding who gets what or who would like what. No arguments and agreement that if something really is missed in the future, we'll take another look at it then.. The picture is the view at the end of my new road. In a couple of weeks I shall bore you with pictures of my own.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfilment :-)))

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Almost there .....

   It appears I'm finally on the last lap of the house selling saga. In time it will be a half remembered memory. At the moment it fills every waking moment. Five months, two buyers and lots of questions about drains, shared pathways and some really minor things. Which I can understand. The bit that frustrates the most is the legal stuff. We're paying someone a big chunk of money (£1500 plus tax) to handle the above. Our daughter is doing the same. We've come into contact with our ex-buyer and current buyers and the two solicitors acting for the sellers of the homes my ex and I are buying. Nothing much of importance happens unless you prod them with a stick and I'm pretty sure each prod  has added another few quid to the bill. When they say "everything is done." It isn't. When they say "we can proceed," you can't. Anyway we have exchanged contracts with our buyer and we complete on the 11th December. So there's no going back. It's sold.
  All the worry and frustration is gone. What's left, is what I've found out. I don't get half as stroppy over things as I used to. I recognise that, what's important to me may not be as important to someone else, even if I am paying them. If I want it done then I need to get involved. I've stopped getting excited about things and promises until they actually happen. Which if I think about it means I'm living more in the moment.
  We received a letter from the Solicitor with a breakdown of what and who we owe money to and the balance which will be divided between my ex and me. It lead to another conversation about the financial split we had agreed. We agreed this before but then my ex said her share wasn't enough. So we looked at it again. Now she feels we should look at it again. I won't go into detail but we have given both our daughters a small chunk to use as deposits for places of their own. No1 is in the process of buying somewhere. No2 is still at Uni so her's will go into the bank. What's left is split roughly 60:40 in her favour. No2 will be moving in with her for the moment. My ex is spending nearly all of her money on a place close to where she works. She could have moved out a bit further and got somewhere cheaper but she chose to stay close to where we used to live. I'm moving over 100 miles away. I don't know anyone there and don't have any work there. Before you reach for your hankies, I'm a few hundred yards from the sea, the house is a wonderful blank canvas and the town is going through a bit of a stop/start regeneration process. I think what bothers my ex is I'll have more cash left over than she will. The fact that I'm going to have to spend a lot of it to get the place liveable and all of the above doesn't really enter into her summing up. She also has a chunk of money hidden away, which she thinks I know nothing about. Strictly speaking anything property, money etc is jointly owned and jointly shared. As I think I've said before she's very money orientated and it's one of the things, although not one of the main issues that lead to the split. However I'm not going to get immersed in some major row. Which will only lead to giving a whole heap of money to a couple more legal eagles and both get less than we agreed in the first place. Anyway I have to stress that this is my side of the argument. I'm sure she has her reasons for feeling the way she does.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfilment :-)))
   

Monday, 18 November 2013

Van, Elvis and me .....


I spent the weekend painting, then went for a drink (my reward). The pub of choice was the Neptune. It's a very old pub as are some of the regulars. God may have brought his first pint there when he turned 18. In fact it may have been one of the regulars that brought it for him.
   Apart from being old the Neptunes other claim to fame is it's floor. It slopes at a pretty alarming angle, whoever said craftsman from the past knew their stuff never met this crew.  If it's your first time and you've mistakenly chosen and drunk a couple of pints of the local brew, a walk to the toilets will have you convinced you've developed a serve limp.
    Anyway Sunday night is music night. So the place was rammed. It took a while to negotiate a clear route to the bar. I must of used up a year's worth of "excuse me's" and "alright's" over that ten foot journey. The bar staff are all female and not very tall.. I could be wrong about the height thing of course, the serve slope on my side of the bar may extend to their's.
   Once armed with a drink I aimed for a spot where there weren't a lot of heads, so hopefully a gap.  Here I could stand and watch things unfold for the next 40 minutes or so. The gap turned out to be the space between the doors to the ladies and gents toilets. I shared it with a redundant jukebox and a bench. Over the course of my pint I think I must of met most of the patrons that night, as the alcohol did it's stuff and moved swiftly to their bladders. First was Parka girl,  I say girl, because the Parka chose the ladies loo and wore high heels. Apart from those two clues there was little else to suggest what was hidden behind the olive green package. Then several large bellied gents one after the other. All wearing jeans and t-shirts with various logos, rendered ineligible after many years of weekly washing. You could tell which were the musio' s and which the dedicated beer merchants. Half wore hats the others carried their beer with them wherever they went. On the whole, the women. We'll those visiting the loo, made more of an effort to be presentable. There was evidence of hair brushes, make-up and perfume. The perfume being much appreciated by me. Considering my position between the loo's.
   After what seemed an age, punctuated with lots of "one, two" one, two, yeah" 's the music started. A cover of a long forgotten Van Morrison number, followed by an Elvis number. Everybody's happy, the musio' s have found enough space to do that head jogging thing, that passes for dancing when there isn't enough room and they have finally admired to themselves after too many years of self delusion that they dance rubbish. The beer merchants have the bar and the mini barmaids to themselves.
   My glass is almost empty and I seriously think about a second but that will lead to a third and then the musio's and the beer merchants will discover what I already know. I dance rubbish.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfilment :-)))

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Dark thoughts .....

   I have a black post. Sitting here unpublished and not meant to be published. I know I bang on about how this is my secret diary and it's here primarily to help me but a few people follow it. So I'm no longer comfortable  with spilling my thoughts out wholesale.. I add to it sometimes not often.
    I used to write and publish everything but things have changed and I have changed. It no longer feels helpful to me to write down a bit of crap that affected apart of my day or something that I still struggle with. Giving it some space here would suggest it has some importance, It's just the day to day black thought or a chain of events I got myself into and more importantly got myself out of. I feel my blog is more helpful to me if I chart the good stuff or see the positives in the odd bit of gloom. However for the record I do have the odd day where I would be happy to stay in bed with the phone on silent. I still do things in the wrong order. Pushing the important stuff to the back. I'm doing it now, the difference is I know it and I think I know why and this post is almost done.
   There is a chance that contracts on the house sale will happen tomorrow, meaning there is a very real chance that I could be watching ships sail up and down the English Channel by the end of the month and hear the annoying cries of seagulls instead of trains and planes. In the past this would of sent me into total future dreaming. Instead it's, ok let's wait and see (and a little dreaming).
   So I'm done. Except to say that I follow a few blogs and share the joy and pain of the writers and comment occasionally. Today though I'd like to let Shelia and Pixie know they crop up in my daily thoughts and I wish them strength and good wishes :-)

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfilment :-)))

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

   This is the second post of two that I'm struggling with. Nothing bad is happening, the sale seems to be moving along in the background and I'm not asking too many questions as I seriously don't want to consider what I'm going to have to do if this doesn't go through but let's not get all doom and gloom. It's only the first paragraph.
   To be very honest I have far more good than bad in my life at the moment. Fact is there has always been more good than bad mostly. Not being able to properly deal with the little bit of bad has been the issue. The last couple of years, where my life has kind of stood still have given me the opportunity to adjust things. I have to say it's more fate shoving things in my way, than me facing them but to my credit once there I have made the effort to be honest with myself and make some changes. Not always as quickly as I should of done but maybe that will be next on the list.
   In other news, the school teacher (who shall be known as miss from now on) had an interesting weekend wandering around the little seaside town I hope will be home soon. She has a couple of dogs and since I've always wanted a dog, they kind of got walked to death over the weekend. It was too wet to go around throwing sticks and shouting fetch so they have that terror to look forward too.
   Work is picking up to and I have a real Lord as a customer at the moment. His London house (he has a couple elsewhere) dates back to 1750 and has plumbing to match.
   That's about it for now.

Onwards and upwards in search of fulfilment :-)))

Thursday, 31 October 2013

What shall I post?

   I have about three or four unfinished posts. Which is frustrating seeing as I always feel better after a post. It's my mark on the timeline. Something to read again in the future, (and still find spelling mistakes) surprising myself on my understanding (or sometimes the lack of it) of the mental path I'm wandering along.
   Usually I pop my thought of the day down, then kind of expand on it. Find a picture that helps illustrate my rambling narrative and boom, job done
   Not so this time. I have these half finished draughts, just sitting there. None of them really me, at the moment. although saying that, there is a small element in each, of how I'm feeling.
   Future plans, letting go and frustration. All running through the wires between my ears but none occupying enough space to make a decent paragraph, let alone a post.
   However they do all tie together in one way or another, like spaghetti on a plate and as I'm now half a page in I may as well continue.
   The sale of the house as mentioned in a previous post, continues. I can do little to move it forward any faster than it wants to move, despite poking it with a sharp stick every now and then, which makes me feel like I'm important and involved with the process. A feeling I have to say though that passes quickly. Hence thoughts on future plans are somewhat premature at this stage and I don't want to upset the Gods of Fate.
   Letting go. Now that nearly did make it as a published post. I am ready to let several things go for good. Which I think will make a big difference to life but again seems premature. Given the precarious state of the whole house selling/buying process.
   You won't be surprised that a half post on frustration followed these. So now we are all up to speed. All on the same page, literally. Well frustration is a waste of time. Deal with it or put it to one side and wait for the first opportunity to. The same thing with letting go. The time has almost arrived when those pages can be ripped out, screwed up and tossed across space and into the bin.
   Plans however carry on regardless. Even if mine are on hold, those of others and Fates rumble on.Yet again God/fate/spirit guide (why are spirit guides always Red Indians? there's a post for the future me thinks) has put something in front of me to keep me on my toes.I've met a rather nice School Teacher. Around my age, although better preserved. Who shares a number of the same interests (good) and lots that aren't, well not yet anyway (really good) and lives only a few miles from the intended new house (really really good). I can at last say goodbye to long distant relationships (for the moment at least) find a dance class somewhere between us and learn to jive away into the night, with the lady who teaches key stage 4 kids to cook, sew and turn several bits of wood into a wonky stool. She's tall, slim and can drink a pint of beer before I tear the top off the bag of peanuts meant to accompany said drink. She's also making changes to her life as am I. She's not content to give in just yet and reach for slippers and cocoa.
   We're out again this weekend, which I'm looking forward to. She laughs at my jokes and thinks I'm rather a hunk. So there are reasonable grounds to doubt her sanity and eye sight but maybe that makes her perfect for me.
   I guess that's about it for now. I wonder how things mentioned here will have changed next time I take the time to look back on old posts. Life seems to be gathering pace once again !

Onwards and upwards in pursuit of fulfilment :-)))

Monday, 14 October 2013

Updates and cooking.......

   So in no particular order. The house sale is rumbling on. It's a weird feeling. Part of me is planning what to do with the house I've found. Part of me thinks it's all going to crash and burn. It's not helped by the fact that the first deal went pear shaped. So no news is nerve racking, the ping of an email arriving or the agents number flashing on my phone are just as nerve racking. Is it just feedback or bad news ?
   Pushing that to the back of my mind (if only I could) I left the house and went back to my temporary home, my flat mates were away for a few days, so I had the place to myself. I watched a couple of things recorded on TV while I was away. One of them being the very last episode of "The big C" about a 40 something wife and mother with cancer. I know, not a jolly subject but it's been done so well. Being the last, you can guess what happens. There's a little twist at the end  but it's all very sad. Unlike a totally nutty French film called "The Fairy" I won't go into what it's about, it will take a week of posts to explain.
   I spent an enjoyable afternoon chatting or rather typing to my friend Pixe. We talked about everything and anything for hours. I look forward to sharing a couple of hours with her soon.
   My neighbour gave me a huge bag of Apple's from their tree. So I made several Apple crumbles changing the recipe as I went. I think the one with a mix of stewed and sliced apples and sultanas was the best. It's also soup time too. The weather's turning cold and there's plenty of root vegetables in the markets. So broccoli and blue cheese is waiting for me on the hob for my tea. So all that's left to say is,

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfilment :-)
  

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Open day.

   Thursday evening's potential buyer cancelled and so did our first appointment on Saturday. So I left the house feeling a bit down and hoped the agent would have better results once I'd gone.
   Actually I was a bit more than down. I was seriously cheesed off. The run up to Saturday's open day involved moving a ton of boxes we'd already packed from the conservatory to the garage and a whole lot of other "I can't be arsed to mention" tasks, to get the house looking good. This was completed while in the background Mrs ex complained and moaned. Both the girls went out Friday night. I asked them to be back at a reasonable time as they needed to be up early and ready to leave around 9 as the viewings started around 9:30/10:00. They rolled in at 2 and 3am respectively. Thank you for nothing. Mrs ex started Saturday as she'd left Friday. Complaining and moaning, moaning and complaining. She's a nice person, although you maybe wouldn't of thought so from my posts but she just sees life through very grey glasses. It really drags me down and I cannot wait till there are no ties left between us. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh. I'm not perfect by any means but I did make an effort during our marriage but most times it was met with "I don't know why you're bothering."
   So, as the house would be full of potential buyers for the rest of the day. I took myself off to the National Gallery and a wander around Central London. You must be getting bored of my gallery filled weekends but my days being close to the centre of town are hopefully numbered. So I'm fitting in as many as possible in the time I have left. Hopefully if the owners of the house I've found will wait a bit longer, then my posts will be filled with endless drivel about what the tides have thrown up on to the beaches and pictures of passing ships. So be thankful. The National is a busy place. Too busy if you want to stand and admire the works of Monet or Van Gogh or any number of famous artists. It's more like a street market at times but then, it is a Saturday and it's free
   I couldn't shake the mood that had followed me out of the house and it continued to stay with me for the rest of the day. I got a message from the agent Sunday lunchtime, saying things had gone well and surprise surprise my mood lifted.
   I had to look at a job in NW London on Sunday. After that I passed a place called Hampstead Garden Suburb. It was the brain child of Henrietta and Samuel Barnett. Around 1910 they wanted to build homes for a community of mixed classes and incomes. Roads should be wide and tree lined and houses should be separated by hedges and not walls. The centre is marked by two huge churches and the Adult Education Institute (which is now a girls school) It is a strange oasis of quite and green. A peaceful place to wander around and enjoy a sunny Sunday afternoon.
   Later on Monday I got the news the Agents had several offers and we have a new buyer. Fingers crossed, this one goes the distance. The week has gone by fairly quietly since. I found this spoof todo list online and it made me laugh (No4 is my favourite) So I've pinned it here. To remind me not to get crabby be a little more relaxed and laugh a bit more.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfilment :-)       

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Another day, another (potential) buyer....

   This evening we have someone viewing the house, so I'm busy moving all the boxes we've packed so the place looks more like a house and not a warehouse. As always something crops up to help put a bit of perspective on things. Last night on TV a solider who had lost his legs and an arm in Afganistan was busy building a house for himself and his new wife, a baby boy arrived just before the place was finished as well. So as much as I'm a little down with the house sale thing, I've not lost sight of the fact that we're lucky to have something to sell in the first place and haven't gone through some kind of helll to get there.
   The next step is to be someone looking out into the World and not looking inwards. Not that I do that now, as much as I have in the past but I have to admit. When things don't go right I sometimes slip into "why me" mode.
   I guess it's at times like this. When things aren't going to plan I can see how better I cope. How quicker I get out of a negative frame of mind. Oops there I go looking inward again. Post nearly complete. Breakfast finished and time to run no1 daughter to the station. Looks like it's going to be a good day here. I hope it's a good day where you are too.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfilment :-)))

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

What would Chris Gardner do now ...........

...... The house sale has collapsed. The buyers have pulled out. No reasons given. Our agent told me this morning that they weren't answering the agents calls or replying to the agents emails. So I emailed them and asked them nicely to let me know. They emailed the agents. Bit spineless, and a waste of twelve weeks of everyones time.
   The agents have put ithe house back on the market at £10,000 less. Couple that with a bill for all her wasted time from our solicitor and the very real prospect that the homes my ex and I have found may go back on the market and we lose them. Well it's not been a good day.
   The agents don't get paid unless we sell. So they've got the house back on the market. They have a booking for tomorrow evening and are arranging another open day for this coming Saturday. We'll need to unpack a few books, move the wall of boxes that has been building up in the conservatory and make sure the house is at it's best.
   I stayed pretty positive yesterday but didn't sleep much last night and woke up pretty dejected this morning. However I'm a much changed person than when I started this blog a couple of years ago. So there is no point in being dejected. CG wouldn't and he was the kick that got me moving in the first place.
   Happily Fulham won last night. I listened to the game online. they were pretty dreadful for the first half hour but got there game going and came from behind to snatch a victory which was a plus and it's a positive note to end todays post :-)

Onwards and upwards in pursuit of fulfilment :-)
   

Monday, 23 September 2013

Open House weekend.

   It was "Open House London" weekend. So to take my mind off, of the stalled sale of my house I went with Gallery Girl and looked around others. There was a huge list of places to visit. What's left of Battersea Power Station, a prison, 10 Downing Street (the official residence of the Prime Minister) and about 750 other places. We opted for a couple of local places, with gaps in between, just in case something interesting popped up. First call was Kelmscott House found on the Upper Mall facing the River Thames in Hammersmith. Gallery Girl and I parked the car up by the Chiswick Brewery (parking is free there on Saturdays and Sundays, just in case you're interested) We walked from the Brewery along Chiswick Mall. On one side you have some pretty large and impressive houses dating back to the early 1800's on the other, the river. Full of rowers and sailors enjoying the last of the dry weather and the beginnings of the autumn winds. Chiswick Mall turns into Upper Mall. Same interesting architecture but with the addition of a couple of nice pubs. Which we earmarked for later use. A bit further on and we find Kelmscott House or rather it's coach house next door, which was our first stop. The House was once the London Home of William Morris. Morris was part of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. A bunch  of bearded hounds who weren't that keen on the industrial revolution and wanted to return to a more man made and crafted existence. Open any home interiors magazine and you're sure to find a window or wall covered in WM's fabric or wallpaper. It's still available today. Due in part I guess, to the industrial revolutionn. Old hairy chops must be spinning in his grave. So back to the coach house. Morris used it's basement to set up a printing machine. Printing his poetry and translations of foreign books, mostly old medieval tales. The Brotherhood were seriously into all things medieval. Their paintings are full of red haired maidens and blokes wearing shiny suits of armour. But back to the house, there isn't much left from Morris's time but the volunteers who keep the place going were an interesting bunch and eager to share their knowledge of Will and his posse.
   As we left and were uuuming and aaaring about what to do next. We stumbled on a Quaker Meeting House. Also part of Open London thing. Now neither Gallery Girl or I knew much about Quakers. So in we went. We were shown around by Margaret, a Quaker from Pennsylvania. She told us a little of the history of the building. There original home was bombed in the war and this was temporary (70 years temporary ???) We were shown plans for their proposed new building plus a little about Quakerism. Which sounded interesting. So much so, I spent Sunday morning goggling all sorts of facts about the Quakers. Some of famous brands available on the high street were started by Quakers. Cadburys and Frys, Clark's Shoes, Bryant and Mays matches to name but a few.
   On our way back to the car we stopped at one of the earmarked pubs for a pint and a sandwich, crab for GG and bacon for me. I guess we were there for about an hour. Chatting about what we had seen and what we needed to look up. We walked back the same way. The houses were the same, we just noticed way more detail than before and the river looked and sounded a bit busier.
   Next on our list was JMW Turner' the artists little hide away house in Twickenham. Around 1810 Turner in his mid thirties and having made a mint from his paintings buys a couple of meadows in Twickenham. He designs and builds a little house in one, where he can get away from work, his mrs and their two kids and spend a bit of quite time fishing and going for the odd ride in his little buggy with his dad (The second meadow in case you wondered, was brought to keep the horse in). GG and I were in the last group of 15 given a guided tour around the house and garden. It's in a really bad state. They are just about to start renovating it, now they've found a bit of money. Odd to think that the house of one of this Country's greatest known artist is being saved by a small band of dedicated volunteers. Raising money and interest as they go along. Well done those people. I salute you.
   The end of the afternoon was spent with a bit of food shopping and a visit to a charity bookshop (two books purchased) and another visit to another pub. So I could watch Fulham lose to Chelsea on the big screen TV while GG worked her way through one of the charity buys.
   A happy day and a full day, where we learned lots and didn't spend much. Shame about Fulham losing though.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfilment :-))) 

Thursday, 19 September 2013

No longer looking for happiness ........

...... because I've realised it's here and always has been but it's just not a very boastful or loud friend. It gets pushed to the back by my bullies sadness, stress and bad luck. Please feel free to add your own particular bullies here.
   It's rare to be constantly happy and that's where I think I've made a major error. Over the last three years of blogging there has always been many moments of happiness. So I've had no need to be in pursuit of it, it was there all the time. What I needed and need to do is, "keep doing it." Remember the feeling and keep working at replicating that feeling. Get better at being happy. The better I get the more I'll feel it.
   I wouldn't be able to play the violin by searching the web and reading about it, would I. I'd have to practice right?
   It's taken me a while to get to this. So my first reaction was "how dumb am I" but I know I'm not dumb. Where I probably went wrong was not asking myself the right or  the specific questions and once I'd locked on to those was keep asking until I had the answer. So the three years have been spent coming to the conclusion and understanding the fact that I don't always ask the right question. Now I've answered that I need to practice, get better at and just do it.
 
Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfilment :-)    

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Words and pictures ........

   I had an enjoyable and educational weekend. I met up with Gallery Girl and we had a wander around our local Auction House, looking at all the lots coming up for Tuesday evenings Auction.
   We then moved on to Tate Britan and a walk through the galleries. There's one room, the 1810 that I really like. It contains paintings painted between 1810 and 1910. There are the paintings of the rich and famous of the day and the odd nude. Which you kind of expect to find but peppered in amongst these are the seedlings of change. Paintings of the everyday life of ordinary working people, paintings where artists are experimenting with the way they put the paint on the canvas or how everything doesn't have to be in focus or the right size and for the first time the emergence of Women artists. the 1910 room (Paintings from 1910) is a real explosion of colour and style but it's beginnings and what gave it it's chance lay in the previous room. I wonder if the reason I'm drawn towards Room 1810 is maybe I share that feeling or hope of change at this moment in time.
   After a coffee and debrief about what we had seen and which paintings we'd happily hang over the fireplace if the Tate needed extra wall space. Gallery Girl drove me home. On the way, we passed a place where I used to work. It was the worst job of my life and the boss was a real nasty piece of work. I was telling GG about this and how, after I'd left he got the sack for some misdemeanour or other and she said "Ever pig has his Sunday." I'd never heard that saying before. She said she picked it up in Venezuela when she lived there. It made me laugh. I can't wait to use it.
   On Sunday I got to talk, well "text talk" with a friend online. We spoke for ages and it made for a nice ending to the weekend. There is nothing better than a proper face to face talk with someone but that's not always possible when you're miles apart. You could speak on the phone which is almost the same but having to type it out, changes things. There is no um and ar-ing in type talk like you can with the phone or face to face. The big downside for me is the spelling and punctuation. Mine is sooo bad. I give Dyslexic's a bad name. I think I'm the only person Microsoft charge for using spell check.
   The picture at the top is by John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) it's called "Portrait of Madame X" it caused a scandal when it was first exhibited for both Sargent and the subject Virginie Gautreau. Why? here's the link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portrait_of_Madame_X

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfilment and happyness :-)       
   

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

and what did you learn today ?

   Our stalling house sale moved forward a little yesterday and the signs are good for the moment. I'm waiting on a letter from the local planning office which should clear up the last remaining issue. I also cleared up a little issue of my own.
   Our buyers solicitors have asked a bundle of questions. Which is the norm. However if they don't like or understand an answer, they just ask it again. No request for further details or an explanation as to what they would like, just the same question again and again. Our solicitor tells them in very polite legalise, to get off their fat arses and find out for themselves (as it is on public record). So the situation has got bogged down. The solicitors aren't too worried. As they are getting paid and have other people to annoy but our buyers are getting frustrated thinking we are dragging this whole thing out. They are telling our agents that if everything isn't complete by such and such they are going to look at other properties. Our agents are then phoning the two parties we're buying from and informing them that maybe there's a problem and they may want to put their properties back on the market. So it's headless chicken time and for a while I joined in that dance too. Blaming everybody else and wanting to curl up in a ball and wait for the whole thing to sort it's self out.  As I have done in other situations before It didn't then and it wasn't now. So I got stuck in and smoothed things as best I could.
   Now here's where I learned a lesson. While I was smoothing things as best I could, it was always in my mind that this wasn't my mistake. The blame lay with others and I was being a really wonderful human being sorting all this out for them. I was wrong wasn't I! I'm trying to help sort things out because I have a vested interest in the outcome. Is anybody really at fault, no, they are doing what they think is right. Maybe they could do it better but that's their issue not mine. I needed to get my precious head out of my backside and help the situation along and if that involves carrying a bit extra for a few steps, so be it. Maybe in future I should first think how I can help and not who to blame.
   Now on to other business. I've been having a go at liking myself a little more recently. I'm at the don't really like that about me and should I tell me and risk maybe upsetting myself.  I'll keep you posted.
 
Onwards and upwards in pursuit of fulfilment and happiness :-) 

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Giving up. Is it an option?

   So a couple of things happened this week. A friend is feeling really low, rock bottom low. What do I say to help? Do I try some helpful advice, knowing we've all had, at some point in our lives helpful advice that's not been that helpful. Or do I share the feelings, emphasise. I've never been a great receiver of empathy. I know, not very magnanimous of me but I'm not convinced it does enough or shows I care enough.
  When I'm having a bit of a bad moment I want everybody to turn into Doctor Phil and give me heaps of good advice. So what to do? The only thing I'm happy with is a mixture of both. Trying to find something in my past and how that worked out.
  So, giving up? is that really an option and is that what any of us really wants? Is it top of the list. Or does it just seem the easiest of all options. The one thing that's stopped me thinking the worst is, "is that how I want to be remembered." As someone who couldn't get through it. You're not going to be remembered for anything else are you. Well fuck that, there has to be and there are other ways to pull out of the terrible spiral of events we sometimes get into. I do have a couple of good qualities. I'm nice to kids (I spent all my early years going to school with them). I can raise a smile out of most people and have a positive outlook on all things (which is odd, how can I suffer from the blues but still be positive ???????) On balance I think I'd prefer to be known for these things. So how to go about it. Well I know pills don't do it for me and my constant companion Mr Procrastination makes sure I never manage to follow any kind of helpful routine. So what's left. Liking me, I've never really done enough of that. I've always mixed that up with "don't be so hard on yourself" but weirdly I like that part of me. The buck stops with me, if things go wrong. I'm in control (well most of the time) of me. So if I'm late, it's not because of heavy traffic or the train decided to break down. It's because I didn't get my fat arse out of bed and allow myself enough time. I really can't think of too many episodes in my life where things didn't go to plan and I could of made a little more effort to stop them going pear shaped. So actually I like that about me. I'm starting to warm to this now. go and get yourself a drink this might turn into a loooooooong read. Maybe I should focus on the more negative parts of me first. There maybe unexpected little nuggets of likes there that I hadn't considered. Not giving up, I don't. Even when that really would be the most sensible thing to do, I don't. I like that about me. I think too much. I like that about me too. I daydream. I really like that. So much so I'm going to say it again. I daydream. I think I can do anything, give me a hammer, some nails, glue and a spanner or two and I can make it (do you still want to come round for dinner?). I do accept that's impossible but that only comes a minute or two after I think I can and I really like that about me. Who needs Doctor Phil ! you don't even need to read on do you. I think we've all got the idea. You're already thinking about it already. So I'll move on to part two but just before I do I just like to say to the friend in question. I do hope you're feeling a bit better :-)
   So the house move has stalled and our buyers are threatening to pull out because things are moving too slow and they think we're not dealing with their solicitors daily dose of dumb questions quickly enough. The problem is we receive dumb questions and answer them, then our solicitor rewrites our answers in to legalise Which basically is "that's a dumb question, go find the answer yourself" to which their reply is "thank you for that and here's another dumb question which is very similar to our last dumb question you didn't answer." Tuesday was the worst and I started to think, sod it I don't care. Don't buy my house and my ex and I won't buy the places we've found and started to daydream about. I've had enough of trying to please and keep everybody happy and on track. You can all bicker amongst yourselves and blame somebody else. See if I care. So I took myself off to bed. Tossed and turned and couldn't sleep. I decided to get up, watch TV for twenty minutes get tired and return to bed. I parked my self on the sofa and switched on. It was the last half of one of those self build programmes. A nice giggly couple were renovating an old cinema, turning it into a home. Shit happened, as it always does in such programmes but they just giggled and got it sorted. I thought, I can do that. Went to bed, slept and since then haven't looked back. I haven't pulled it out of the fire just yet but the signs are good. I don't want to give up on my dream just yet and I don't want my ex upset because she has to give up on hers too. I like that about me :-)

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfilment and happiness :-) 

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Worrying really isn't worth the worry !

   Following on from my last post, I happened to be reading through the BBC news site, a day or two after and found an item which contained a quote from Winston Churchill. Now I'm a real fan of WC, his quotes are a mix of homespun good sense underlined with a good education and humour. I went in search of the article a day or two later and couldn't find it. I did however find a ton of stuff about how tiring, worry can be. Is that why depressives sleep so much? or always say they are tired? Now smarter people than me know the answer to this, so I'll try not to worry about it. Which leads me on to something else I've been trying not to do. Negative thinking.
   I can be in a really good place. Both physically and mentally when dark oil flows in to my mind and things turn a little gray and depressing. Recently I have been catching this early and not letting it take root and spoil things. I know I'm not alone in this. People leave go of their control. Why do we do this? why do we let ourselves down? We walk along with faces devoid of a smile but etched with worry, boredom and misery. Why why why? (I'm beginning to worry now) on balance most of us have plenty to be happy about and I do try to correct that too and push a little smile onto my face. So if you happen on a tall bald bloke with a twisted manic smile, say hello and ask me how I am.
   My house sale is wobbling along. I'm finding it really tough not to splash pictures of the beach, the sea and other ephemera on these pages. Inside I have fifty little me's leaping up and down waving and singing but I'm keeping them in check. I don't want to put the abdabs on it but you'll know the second after I do and I don't care if you wanted to or not. It won't be a celebration for one but for everyone. If I can get my brown stuff in order then anyone can.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfilment and happyness :-)     

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Setbacks and problems........

   Our house sale has stalled. I won't go into any detail. There is, in fact little detail just a lull in proceedings and a negative air hanging over the whole affair. Ex and I had a sit down and drew up contingency plans, should the worst happen. I say worst but when I look back fate has always provided a better alternative.
   The very worst thing that's happened to me and those closest to me, was the loss of our son Jack at birth but then a year or so later Izzy arrived. Our loss seems small when I compare that to the joy and occasionally annoyance Izzy has heaped on us over the last eighteen years.
   So while it's frustrating it's not the end of my little World is it. There's nothing I like more than trying to second guess what someone's up to but now I think my time would be better employed staying busy with the things that need to be done and there by keep my mind off of things that may well not happen but on those things that will happen.
   So that's me done for a few days. I wonder how much of my life has been spent worrying about what didn't happen and not enjoying what did.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfilment and happyness


Friday, 9 August 2013

Drains ......

   Blocked drains are something that I come across occasionally in my line of work. It can take a while to unblock a drain. I can't always see the blockage, it's covered in ! well you can guess. So I take an educated guess as to where the problem is. Sometimes I'm right, sometimes wrong. Occasionally you have to find another way to clear the blockage and once successful it pays to return a day or two later and check everything's ok. Because sometimes there's another little blockage further along that's the real reason and what I've shifted is just stinky camouflage. So I need to add a little extra to the bill to cover the return visit.  
   Are the problems we face in life similar to blocked drains? things we have left to slowly cause a problem or just not paying enough attention to the little alarm bells that go off in our heads. Is the solution the same ? find the blockage and remove it. Or get someone in whose qualified to deal with it. Either way don't forget to add a little to the bill. So you're covered for a look back occasionally and to check all is still clear.
   I've blogged more recently. Due in part to the changes that are about to happen and with that in mind I think it's time to tweak things a little. So a new sign off. No longer a search but a bit more, go getting!

Off to chew a little more of that Elephant :-)    

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Chances part 2 ........

   Two things happened this weekend that should in normal circumstances inspire and drive me forwards. The first was a trip out on Sunday. One of the smartest things I did last year was get a subscription to the "Art Fund". It allows you to visit tons of art galleries up and down the Country for free or at a discount. This Sundays venue was Leighton House (www.leightonhouse.co.uk).          Frederic Lord Leighton was born a rich kid way back in 1830. He wanted to be an artist, not the profession usually associated with the middle classes and on a par with wanting to be a rap star today . Fortunately for him, money and indulgent parents helped him live the dream. He wasn't bad at it either, Queen Victoria brought one of his paintings and came to dinner. I'm not sure if dinner was part of the deal or she just liked him but she did. He had many interesting friends and a fair bit of influence when it came to promoting the Arts. Eventually he became the President of the Royal Academy of Arts. He was ennobled (knighted) towards the end of his life, becoming Frederic, Lord Leighton, Baron Stretton. The only artist, so far, to be so honoured. The boy did good.
   Enough of the history back to the House. Leighton had the house built in Holland Park, an area which is part of what is now Kensington and Chelsea. The construction followed his design and very precise requirements. Part house, part studio, part gallery. The ground floor houses his collection of middle eastern tiles. Now he didn't just hang these tiles willy-nilly oh no. He's created an amazing set of rooms that literally transport you away from central London and drop you into a merchants villa next to a souk or amongst the palm trees and sand. It's absolutely amazing. The upstairs is a little more what you'd expect of a Victorian house but even here there's colour, wit and clever little touches to make life comfortable and relaxing after a hard day painting nymphs and cherubs in your vast studio. Which is a huge room scattered with Persian rugs a huge window to provide light, a small stage (your guess is as good as mine on what that's for) and decorated floor to ceiling with his pictures and those of his contemporaries.
   I felt pretty inspired and made little notes of things I'd like to recreate given half a chance and things go well with my up coming move.
   The second happening of the weekend, is I'm house sitting for a couple of friends. I've stayed here often, keeping their big black cat company reading their books and raiding their drinks cabinet. Here it dawned on me that this could be me soon. Living on my own again for the first time in about eighteen months. surrounded by my books, pictures, bits of furniture. If I needed a lift, a push to tie up loose ends, shouldn't this be it but it hasn't quite happened. It feels a little like a firework you light and step back from. The seconds tick by but nothing happens. You darn't approach it just in case it goes off but there's also a sense of disappointment that maybe it won't !
   I'll step away and go get mysel another bite of elephant.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfilment and happyness :-)

Friday, 2 August 2013

Chances.

   The one thing about feeling better, stronger or/and happier is your decision making improves or the decisions you now are having to make, seem a little easier and more within your capabilities. So that got me thinking and I came upon chance! For most of us, those living in the western world. Our lives are full of chances. Miss a bus, there's another. Lose a job, there's another. Miss a film, buy the DVD. Lose a lover, there's another. I'm not being glib, I know it isn't always the case (does anyone have the first series of 24, I missed the final episode so never bothered with the next five series) but life seems to give us lots of opportunities to try again.
   However when you're down in the dumps, those opportunities seem very scarce and when you're in a good place you don't see them passing you by.
   So what to do. How do I recognise a chance, whether my head is full of clouds or sunshine? Well I guess I'm spotting some already. So maybe it's just a case of being more tuned in. How, I'm not sure. I don't think it involves anything other than being in the moment. Actually living every second and not being away with the fairies, thinking about what may or may not happen.
   That's it really, something for you to think about over your cornflakes.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfilment and happiness :-)

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

I need a break from all this chewing......

   To be honest I've only taken a couple of bites of elephant and am looking for a reason to get side tracked already. I know, that's not exactly the perfect start but the fact I'm currently happy and cheerful has to count for something and if spending a few minutes here, gives the jaw muscles time to rest and get ready to bite again well I'm heading in the right direction. Albeit at a gentle trot and not the speed of light my plans usually highlight (now there's a part of me I should shine a light on and inspect).
   My day has almost ended and my relationship with "no1" daughter under the spotlight. Our relationship has been a bit up and down these last three years. I guess it strikes some of us at some stage that our parents may not be super human after all and I think "no1" feels I'm not the dad she thought I was. So that particular dream has been well and truly shattered.
   However it seems my form may be returning and currently texts, the verbal currency of the young. Are bouncing back and forth between us. The threat of a real conversation early tomorrow as she heads for work is on the cards too. Why the sudden elevation from old fart to go-to guy. Well she's been trying to buy an apartment and she's had a couple of knock backs. Not earning enough, or long enough or someone beats her to it. That kind of stuff.
   Now truth be told I have roughly as many faults as a Chinese phone book has Wangs but the one thing I am pretty good at, is not giving up. Which is just the thing she needs right now. A few supportive texts the offer of support, luck and a little divine intervention have managed to find a way to rekindle the determination she used to show when she still believed I was super-dad.
   Ok that's it, my trumpet is going back in it's case :-)

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfilment and happyness :-)      

Monday, 29 July 2013

Elephants and procrastination ......

   I've mentioned before. How when my life reaches a bit of a cross roads, something seems to appear from the ether. Well in timely fashion an answer has arrived to help me tackle my procrastination. 
   I follow a number of blogs on various themes and one of those blogs is "The positivity blog"  (henrik@positivityblog.com). I'm aware that tackling procrastination is simply a matter of tackling something a little at a time. Did I say simple? Well on the face of it most things are simple on paper, it's just the execution that often proves to be the tough part.
   Well Henrik has come to my rescue. He lays out the basics and then asks the question "How do you eat an Elephant," and the answer, "one bite at a time."
   It made me realise a couple of things about me. When I come across a problem, doesn't matter if it's work or private life that little voice inside me says "think" and I run through possible answers till I find a soluction. I guess we all do something similar. Now problems that are tougher for me to solve, have a bit of a mantra thing going on. Usually something simple like "I can do this, I can do this" repeated continually until I've either done it or decided to back away and have a cup of tea.
   My procrastination on the important stuff in life, up till now, has always required the later and always ends in me filling the kettle and deciding over the resulting cup of tea that I'll tackle it tomorrow.
   Now I have a mantra that suits the problem, not only in size but in it's pratical soluction. Thank you Henrik.

Onwards and upwards in pursuit of fulfilment and happyness :-)



  

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Stock taking .......

   I have a post. One which will never be published. I add to it rarely, just when things aren't working out properly.
   I haven't added to it in a while. So that's a positive. However to be honest I'm coasting, I'm not nearly doing enough of the right things. I could argue (and I do) that with the impending moves my time is better spent getting things packed away, finished etc. Truth is, I should have done that a while ago and not just drifted along.
   Way back, when I had a little beneficial counselling. I mentioned the fact that I was a lot better off than a lot of people and it was selfish for me to feel the way I did. My counsellor asked if there was anything I could do about those worse off than me. Well I couldn't. So her advice was to sort myself out first and when I was in a better position, maybe then I could help.
   I'm in a much much better place now. Maybe not quite in a position to help others but in a position to know how lucky I am compared to them. So I do owe it to them and me not to waste anymore time.
   It's get up off my arse time.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfilment and happyness :-)

PS is it just me or has the bloke in the picture got really big feet?   

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Form filling, art galleries and auction houses.....

   I don't remember having had to fill out this many forms when we brought our house twenty five years ago. As I remember the most difficult thing we had to do was write a congratulations card, to the new owner of our old flat, to wish him well. Now they want copies of your passport. Information on who supplies your electricity and gas. Have we ever forgot to send our neighbour a Christmas card and does our roof leak.OK I'm exaggerating slightly. I made up the question about the roof!
   The batch of similar questions for the property I'm buying, have arrived from my sellers solicitors and I've already spotted a huge fib. The guy selling to me also owns the small property next door. Which he has sort and been granted permission to knock down and rebuild a house twice the size of the current one. On his form, where he's asked if he's aware of building work or permission to build in the surrounding area. He's ticked the "No" box ???
   On Saturday I went to see the "Lowry" exhibition at Tate Britain. It just used to be called the Tate and was the only gallery which held the Nations Modern Art Collection but the powers that be have, over the years, added a few more to the franchise and we now have Tates "Britian" "Modern" "Liverpool" and "St Ives". There's a civil servant somewhere in Westminster with the Nations cheque book and a passion for Modern Art happily filling these up.
   Exhibitions, as I remember them, used to be just a collection of paintings. Artist, title and date painted was usually the only info provided. Now you get all manner of information, as you walk round. Influences, places lived, friends every scrape they can find. that might add a little to the experience. So L S Lowry's exhibition was worth the visit. Lots of paintings, a few by Artists who influenced him, drawings and lots of back-up info to help you join the dots. Lowry was labelled a "naive artist" a term he wasn't that happy with. During the day he was a rent collector. Only painting at night and never moving far from his favorite subject. Industrial Manchester and its working class population. The rest of the Tate had some pretty interesting paintings and sculptures too. I was in there almost five hours. It felt like one, how time flies when you're having fun. I'd like to go back. Typical really, for years I live on the doorstep of some of the greatest galleries in the World and now, on the verge of moving, I start to visit them.
   No work yesterday and a local Auction house with a general sale starting at 2pm. Ummmm. Well it didn't quite take that long for me to make up my mind before I rearranged the day. Apart from the interesting furniture and other bits of objet d'art, the people who wander round picking things up and taking notes are almost as interesting. Most look alot like the furniture, tired and have seen better days. There were two lots I was interested in. A pair of china Oriental Temple Lions. I have a friend with a pair of Lowchen dogs who looked just like them and she has a birthday coming up. The other, was a large mirror in a large oak frame. I got both very cheaply. So happy with my purchases, I sat back and watched the rest of the Auction. Some really nice pieces went for very small amounts but I managed to keep my hands in my pockets until very near the end when this Bobbin legged side table came up. I noticed it earlier. It's late 19th or early 20th century. The tops not right it's too small but it's all about the legs. A carpenter showing how skillfull he can be with a lath.
   Someone I once knew and who liked his antiques, had a thing for side tables with tripod legs. Pointing out how study tripod legs were and how useful side tables were. It was marked in the catologue as 60-80 pounds, a fair prize. The auctioner started at 60. No bids, he went down to 40 then 30. Finally 15, up went my hand expecting a few others to do the same. No, no more bids. It was mine for 15 quid plus commission.. I could sell it on, I should be able to get enough to cover my whole days spend. Or I could just hold on to it for the moment. We'll see.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfilment and happyness :-)
  


   

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Negotiating, keeping the peace and all other business.

   The story thus far. The house has a prospective buyer and Ex and I have found places of our own. It's now nail biting time, as we sit in ignorance while solicitors, surveyors and banks do their bit (at great cost, I might add).
   Things between ex and me are ok. We are discussing how we split the proceeds. We have been tentatively doing that for a while but now we have real amounts to work with. The discussing is getting a little more intense. The past is being racked up a little and minor things from way back are now huge things in the here and now. I think I'm being really fair but then I would say that wouldn't I. We have reached agreement a couple of times now but but I'm sure there will still be a bit of tweaking over the coming weeks.
   I brought some boxes over. The plan being to pack away books, CD's etc. Things not needed, so better packed away and labelled. It will also signal we are moving on.
   Apart from this the only thing of note is I'm aware I'm not being as pro-active with work and getting things done as I could be. Todays another day, however. So a chance to get things back on track.
   Changing the subject completely, here's a story I found a while back. I've never found the right post to add it on to.


When Thomas Edison was interviewed by a young reporter who boldly asked Mr Edison if he felt like a failure and if he thought he should just give up by now. Perplexed, Edison replied," Young man, why would I feel like a failure? and why would I ever give up? I now know definitively over 9,000 ways that an electric light bulb will not work. Success is almost in my grasp." And shortly after that, and over 10,000 attempts, Edison invented the light build.


Onwards and upwards in pursuit of fulfilment and happiness :-)






Monday, 1 July 2013

Just to remind me in the future.....

   The Estate Agent handling our sale, choose to have an open day for our property on the 22nd. Most unusual here but boy did it work. Twenty two appointments on the day and by Monday four offers. Two over the asking price. My ex and I worked really hard to get the place looking good for the day and coming back here on Saturday when everybody was gone I was taken with how lovely the house looked.
   Now that the property has a firm offer and we've accepted it. It's time to find our new homes. Ex and I spent Monday evening looking for possible places for her and daughter no2. She earmarked several and I phoned round on Tuesday to book appointments. There isn't much out there at the moment. So I had a few "sorry it's sold" conversations. One of those calls lead to "but I have something that's come back onto the market after it's previous sale fell through". The property has all the bits my Ex had said she was looking for, so I booked a view.
   I'm looking much further afield. Out on the coast. An old seaside town. Like seaside towns up and down the country it's faded and fallen into disrepair. Cheap foreign holidays with guaranteed sun, killed off most of our holiday resorts. Several of them are fighting back and there's a bit of a buzz surrounding the place, I'm hoping to call home. I've been looking at property there, via the net for the last eight or nine months. To begin with, there were probably a dozen properties that fitted my budget and me. However it seems I'm not the only one who has spotted the potential and there's less left I can afford or excites me. However I found two and made appointments to view.
   The first was a typical family home built in the 1930's. Good size and in good order but I'm not really looking for a family home at the back of town. Property number two however was totally different. At the top of a street with the sea at the bottom. Built around the early 1900's and presently divided up into offices. For most perspective buyers, difficult to imagine as a home and lots of work to do. It's a really ugly duckling and I doubt it will ever be a swan but has the potential to be a rather handsome fat goose.
   I made an offer the next day and following a few more calls and lifting the price a little my offer was accepted. Meanwhile back at the old home, Ex had seen her "back on the market" property. Liked it and we made an offer on that too. Which again with a little haggling was accepted.
   So one sold and two brought in the space of five days. Not bad but now we have to sit on our hands and let the agents and solicitors do their bit so don't expect anymore more news for about six weeks time.
   During the coming weeks I 'm going to have to think about how to help daughters no 1 and 2 get ready for the move. It's been their only home. So leaving it will be tough for them. I lived in a real dump as a kid but was still cut up when we moved out when I was 12. I've had three years to get used to losing my home and know it will be painful for them too.
   Finally and changing the topic completely, my lion is now finished, repaired, resprayed and the perfect fit for a side table I brought a few years ago. He seems to have been made for the table or the table was made for him :-)


Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfilment and happyness :-) 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

I can almost taste freedom.

   We'll that's a tad over dramatic. Maybe there's a faint whiff of it in the air. Before I go on and  just for clarification, the following is my take on things. My side of the story. Of which there are always at least two sides.
   I having been staying back at my old house. Getting it ready to sell. It's been a frustrating time. Every time I put some paint on a wall, move something or tidy something. It's,, "why are you wasting time doing that." Followed a day later with, "that looks much better now" It's on the market and the agent has arranged an open day, this coming Saturday. There's still a ton todo but I think we'll get there.
   So in no particular order, I've realized or rediscovered the following:

   The garden layout planned and worked on all those years ago still looks good. It's not a big garden but the plan has worked well. My only twinge of disappointment is whether I have time to repeat the process. A couple of the trees are over twenty years old now. I'll be 75 if I repeat the process. I guess I can cheat a little by digging a hole and put my deckchair n it, everything will look taller from down there.
   I've cut a few corners with some of the work in the house in the past. Either through ignorance or lazyness and now it's cost me, having to put things right. Lesson learned.
   While straightening out the garage and loft I've uncovered things I brought years ago. I came across a little ink well and pen stand. I have a nice lamp and stationary box that will go with it. I'll need to find a desk for them to to all sit on and a house for the desk but that's just a minor detail isn't it !
    My ex has been pretty negative. Selling the house isn't what she really wants to do but she hasn't come up with any alternatives just smart arse comments. Whose only point is to twist the knife while she still can.
   Being back and being an "outsider" I can see it far more clearly, now, I'm not saying her way is the wrong way but the combination of our two different personalities had a very detrimental effect on mine over the years. No one's fault, things like this creep up on you over time. I've conceded and given up a fair bit to get this far and having to once again soak up this negativity is becoming a little trying but we're almost there. I just need to keep smiling we're almost there
   I don't cope with other people's negativity well, there's no room for it in my life this time round. Anything else, joy, pain, laughter or tears just not negativity. It's been said before but it's worth repeating, every hour of every day, "lifes too short".
   However we are almost, almost there.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfilment and happiness :-)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

A new friend ......

   Well two if you count my Auction find of a few weeks ago but more about him later. The thing that's occupied me lately is, who cracks the whip when I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be. A close friend says I'm too hard on myself, for not having done this or that. Now I'm not talking about a cure for World hunger or conquering Everest. I talking about the mundane stuff. I will admit though my inner voice isn't helping. So I have a dilemma to resolve. Go kinder on myself and run the risk of forgiving myself for everything. Or continue to crack the whip, which truth be told, isn't actually working. 
   Now my current thinking is leaning towards finding some middle ground between the two. Yeah I know, I can hear the sound of you all, slapping your foreheads and going "wow". You can see now, if you hadn't guessed way back, why I'm not involved in finding an answer to World hunger. At the risk of sounding a complete nut job and while you're still rolling around the floor laughing. I've decided to give those little nagging voices, names. Trust me. I haven't flipped just yet but in order to get stuff done I need to recognize who's helping and who isn't. So lets call the negative thought the "critic". Seldom happy about anything and quick to offer a negative opinion when one isn't required. To counter this I need a positive voice. Not forgiving of all but one that doesn't point a finger either. Who lets the past stay in the past. Who walks beside me all the time. Who has a positive spin on everything and pokes a bit of fun at me occasionally to keep the mood light and darkness free.
   The biggest change for my ex, two daughters and myself. Since me moving out three years ago, is just around the corner. A chance to end what is, without doubt a very sad time with something positive. My parents and my ex's parents never missed an opportunity to have a pop at each other after their divorces. I'd really like us to come out of this knowing we treated each other fairly and with as much mutual respect as we can muster. So I've got to get my finger out and get stuff done as quickly as possible. My new imaginary friend is going to be busy :-).

                                 



   Back to the pictures. I found him at a local auction house a couple of months back He's about 18 inches long, dates back to the 1920's 30's and is made from plaster. It's obviously a copy of an original Bronze. I've always wanted something like this. Animal sculptures were very popular. Wild cats, leaping gazelle, afghan hounds anything anything as long as it was leaping or growling. This particular cat was of the growling variety. It had some damage to it's front paws a couple of dents in it's back and was missing half an ear. I got it ( along with a dozen old plates) for 40 quid plus auction costs. It had a really nice finish, black but with a hint of bronze showing through around the head and shoulders, just like a real bronze but the damage had gone through to the white plaster so no option but to fill the dents and repaired his ear. I then sprayed him all over with red primer. Followed by a few coats of a dull gold. I'll finish with a thin coat of black and rub that back gently around his nose, shoulders etc and see if I can manage the same look as the original.
   Now back to the plates. There were several blue and white China plates amongst them. Which a friend of mine collects. He gave me a small pine cabinet in exchange ( which a customer brought from me for £35) a really nice pink porcelain plate went to another friend as a thank you, for some help. Two went on eBay and raised another £15. So my big cat  has cost me almost nothing, has provided me with a few hours distraction and half a post. Not bad really :-)


Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of fulfilment and happiness :-)))

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Today I have been mostly ..............

....... Painting, the front door of my old house. I have also been steam cleaning a knackered old rug. I brought in a junk shop, a while ago. There's some age to it but their are a few marks that I doubt will come off. I've added a couple of pictures. I'm not sure you'll notice a difference though. The shadow on the right of both pictures is my big head.
Hopefully you'll notice in the second shot the whitish blobs on the red diamond in the middle have gone and the red to the left is slightly richer than the red to the right after a bit of steam cleaning. I shall bore you with more pictures as it's colours start to come through.
   Back to the painting. I have a list of things to paint, clean or replace prior to getting the house onto the market. Oh and not forgetting a lot of things to take to the dump or stick on eBay. I'd have to say I'm not killing myself to get these jobs done. Which is a bit stupid but now is not the time to get all "stupid me" and add to the pressure. Kitchen and hall are done as well as the aforementioned (I didn't know that was one word. Thank you spell checker) Front door. Next are a few loose slabs to re-lay.

   When I haven't been painting I've spent a bit of time with my mate Abby. We watched a programme on the BBC about successful business entrepreneurs. One guy (whose fortune went into hundreds of millions) was very down to earth and it came out he didn't read too well. So they briefly touched on dyslexia and it's effects on people. Abby, who is very bookish and a nosey mare as well. Asked me what had finally got me reading. "Trashy detective stories" I said. Something that would allow my imagination to wander. No surprises there but what was, was the layout of those types of books. Ragged right, as opposed to Justified. Now I know, you know what I'm on about but .... Ragged right, is where the text all starts at the same place on the left but doesn't necessarily finished in the same place on the right. Justified starts and finishes in two neat lines (newsprint and textbooks for instance) It's supposed to look more professional and neater. However, it creates, what has become known as, white rivers. These are the gaps between the words. You don't get them in Ragged Right but the stretching of words and the gaps between them in Justified creates these unusual gaps. Some people find Justified difficult to read. The rivers play games with their minds and guess what, Textbooks are usually all Justified. Now I know I'm not thick but I struggled at school and the things I did remember were, in the main what I saw, heard or a combination of the two. Also the trashy novels I read in my late teens were usually cheap books so the pages were not white, more yellow. Another thing some people struggle with and then there's fonts types. I could go on but I think you get the gest.
   So all in all a good few days. Sorry about the pictures it seemed a good idea at the time.

Onwards and upwards in pursuit of fulfillment and happyness :-)




Thursday, 30 May 2013

Strange times.

   Well only for me. I'm back in the family home. Only temporarily though. Our daughters have finished  College and Uni. The housing market is in better shape than it was three years ago when we split. So the time is right and I'm looking forward to moving on and finding somewhere of my own to live.
   Before that happens and the reason I'm here is, there are several jobs around the old house that need to be addressed before the hoped for hordes of buyers beat a path to our door.
   My ex and I get on ok but it still feels odd being back. Although seeing my daughters every day is a bonus and our two cats don't seem to have forgotten me but things have changed. There's a new dynamic here and I'm keeping out of any discussions or decisions. I'm just a guest with tools and paint brushes.
   As this all draws to a close. The opportunities ahead for me are pretty good. I've found an area where I'd like to move to and have roughed out ideas for work. I have a couple of garages full of furniture and stuff I've brought over the years from auctions etc and am looking forward to the idea of being surrounded by these. So why can't I get motivated ???
   I'm going to take my own advice here. Not think about "why" too much. I shall egg myself on instead of bemoaning my lack of industry.
   Actually, I should say at this point I'm not an outwardly miserable person. I laugh and joke with the best of them and am positive about well everything really. It's time on my own however. When I'm hit by the feelings of failure and the enormity of what lies ahead. That's what floors me but it's just a thought isn't it. Like "it's warm/chilly today" or "my coffees too hot/cold". I just need to re-think my answers to my negative thoughts.
   We are the most important person in our lives. That's not a selfish thought. Without us, you and me. Then  there's nothing. Is there ?
   I've been thinking and changing things these last three years but the changes have been small. I accept they don't always work. Nothing works 100% of the time and when you're not as bright as you could be then that percentage is going to drop even lower. So now for bigger changes. If I've accepted the fact that it doesn't always work on the small stuff then I think I'm ready to accept it isn't always going to work on the big stuff. I know more now though,

There's more than one way of viewing something........
Don't fold and give up too early .......
Accept "good", the short distance to "better" can quite often be littered with traps ........
Have a plan B .......

I feel better already lol.

Onwards and upwards in pursuit of fulfilment and happiness :-)))

Monday, 20 May 2013

Customers.

   My last three jobs have all been for previous customers. Two of them I haven't heard from in some time. It's always a good feeling when a previous customer gets in touch.
   The jars marked "self belief" and "self worth" are rarely full when you have a dark cloud always in close proximity. So to hear from an old customer always gives me a lift.
   I also found out that another of my customers is having a tough time of it lately. He's suffering from alzheimer's. His son tells me he's giving up. Which is a real shame. I found him an extremely kind and interesting man. He would always call me around September to service his aging boiler and make sure all was well with the heating. His call would always come when I needed a lift both finacially and spiritually. My repeat customers are like stars in a very black sky. I hope his shines a bit longer. He's an exceptional nice man.