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"  ( 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 :-)