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Friday, 4 December 2015

A distinct lack of laughs 2

I got home today to find all the windows open and everything inside gone!

Firstly, I was just lost for words. I couldn't believe somebody could be so fucking cruel and nasty.

Now I'm just want to ring the police and find out who did it and exact my revenge!

What kind of sicko pinches all the chocolates out of your advent calendar and leaves it on the table for you to find ;-)

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

Sunday, 22 November 2015

A distinct lack of laughs.

There's been a lack of humour recently in my posts and my life in general. I'm far too concerned with other stuff. Fair enough, we all get side tracked and whenever you leave the usual route you run the risk of getting lost. Just like I am right now.
As much as I want to address the lack of a laugh on these pages I'm doing it again and wandering off in another direction  but stick with me. We all wander to some degree I guess. From when we were babies "ooh bright shiny thing, I want that" to when we become old farts searching through a box in the loft and find the old fart equivalent of the bright shiny thing and don't reappear from that loft for several hours. Procrastinators take it to another level. They deliberately head off track to avoid reaching their destination. Which made me think about depression also being an off track experience but an unconscious one. You slowly get sucked in. Completely unaware and because you're unaware, unable to stop yourself disappearing into the darkness.
Well I've been there and very fortunately managed with a little help to get back to the roadside. However as alluded to above I still occasionally wander off on my own or join the procrastinators in one of their regularly organized rambles and disappear for days.
So I need a little something that brings me back to the track and reminds me to laugh and reminds me of other important stuff as well. Not so much a mantra but more powerful than a slogan. To turn me back, whenever I begin to wander and wonder. Something like  "laugh alot, love alot, live alot" I'll work on it
Ok I'm history, until next time.

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

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

On course or off it, things are improving.

   Another month has past and on the surface not much has changed. Underneath things continue to improve in ways that surprise me. Bad news doesn't send me dropping into a black strop. I can't put my finger on why and I've always been a person who needs to know "why?" Now I don't seem so hung up on why and just get on with it (why?).
   As I work alone the radio and podcastes are my daily workmates. I listened to a wonderful TED talk by a lady called Linda Cliatt-Wayman, "How to fix a broken school." the other day. You wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of her, she's a bit of a bully but to be fair to her, she wouldn't achieve what she has without meeting obstructions head on and ready to push through them. She's passionate too and worth a listen. When things go wrong she doesn't let it phase her. She says "So what. Now what." You can't dwell on things with that little mantra like that bouncing around inside your head can you.
       I'm sticking with the food combining thing and have lost another 8lbs. I've calculated, that if this continues I'll disappear by the summer of 2017. In the mean time I'm cooking quite a bit. Nothing too glamorous, just getting the hang of good simple cooking. I made two pumpkin pies the other day. One went to my mothers. She wasn't impressed with the idea of a desert pie made from an ugly vegetable but she liked it enough to have a second slice and put what was left away for later. the other went to a friend who has spent time in the States and felt mine was as good as the ones she's tasted there. I'm either a natural or she's after something. I'm making more tomorrow for the practice and to remember how to, without having to look at a recipe each time. If they turn out well they are destined for the dinning table of my friend Pres and his family.    
       A couple of things I've read recently. Have piqued my interest, so by default you get dragged into having to read about it. The Apollo space ships that headed for the Moon were only on course for two or three percent of the time. The technology back then wasn't as advanced as I'd presumed. The other ninety odd percent they were vaguely heading in the right direction. The writer of this piece used the, "we're heading for the moon now we're not, now we are,"  to show us we don't need to be "on course" for every moment of our lives to succeed. We just need to check with mission control occasionally.
   Then there's Mindfulness. It's a word banded about a lot in the UK at the moment. It's being put forward by some as the new cure for all ills. I'm not going to knock it but personally I think it's just another of the things we've been made to forget to do in life. So much of our daily routine is taken up with remembering what to do tomorrow, next week, month, year. So it's hardly surprising we don't live in the moment so much any more. It's one of the things modern life has knocked out of us. Along with, walking somewhere instead of jumping in the car. Knowing which fruits and vegetables are in season, filling a glass from the tap when we're thirsty, instead of reaching for something from the fridge. Etc etc.
     Then there's the appreciation of things, all kinds of things which has now been usurped by its ugly twin, complaining about everything.
   Over the last few days I've really tried hard to live in the moment and along with NASA, not get too stressed if things don't seem to be moving in the right direction and I make a mental note each morning to appreciate all the things that make my life interesting and better. I bet you preferred it when I was miserable!

Onwards and upwards in persuit of fulfillment :-)))

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Update, updated.

   I haven't written anything here in almost a month. I've been busy with work and sleeping and work. Which is exactly why I should have written something. Things happen when you're/I'm busy, small things. Changes that need to be recorded. So you/I can look back and see that for better or for worse we're not the same as we were. Below is a brief note to self of what's happened in the last few weeks.

I've lost over a stone (14lbs or 6 kilos) by using the Hay system.
William Howard Hay (1866-1940) was an American Doctor. Who due to a serious illness that almost killed him, realised that it was the combination of food that he was eating that was doing all the damage. Very simply and more importantly, not to bore you. Different foods digest in different ways as they pass through you. Hay hit on the idea of separating the foods and giving his intestines a break. They happily responded to the lack of chaos and returned him to good health. So now I eat my proteins as one meal, my starches as one meal and my fruits as one meal. I have more energy and don't feel hungry between meals, so don't snack. I exercise more, in which I mean, I'm continually pulling up my trousers and tightening my belt and frequently walking to a mirror or a pair of scales to examine the results.
I never set out to lose weight, I just wanted to find more energy. Hays book was a charity shop find and I've added to that with a more up to date version found on eBay. I'm surprised by the weight loss and how interested I've become in what's good in food. As alluded to earlier, I'm becoming a Hay foodie bore around friends and family. They make the mistake of mentioning I look well or have lost weight instantly regreting they said anything, as I then give them a blow by blow account of what goes in and when and what comes out and maybe they should try it. Which kind of suggests they're fat and ill looking. Not the response that most wold expect after dishing out a compliment to someone.

Work and my attitude to it, is undergoing a bit of a change. While I'm proud and occasionally impressed with what I manage to do. I'm beginning to distance myself from it. I work for others to fix or change their surroundings. In exchange they pay me. Which allows me to invest some of that payment into fixing or changing things that directly affect me and my surroundings. that's how it should be but I have been blurring the lines a little these past few years and getting bothered by (in my opinion) customers dodgy choices of tiles and colours etc. why does it bother me? well firstly I assume my ideas are better than theirs, because it's what I do day in, day out and partly because I'm a fat head. Secondly because I did the job, I seem to be a little responsible for the less than satisfying result. A glance at the customers twisted smile when they examine the finished job followed by "It's not what I imagined, what can we do?" .... "We, you mean ME, what can I do to rescue YOU from your crap idea. After spending time explaining gently why that might not be such a great idea and giving you a chance to rethink before WE got to this point" I then beat them up.
Well actually I don't say or do that. Just think it. Often I do change it for no extra cost as for some weird reason I feel it's my fault. what's that all about?
Now I write down what they've asked for on the quote with my alternative suggestion along with "any changes will cost you extra" in tiny print hidden somewhere and get them to sign it. You'll be surprised how many people rewrite history and deny they said this or that. Well they can't now and I need to remember it's their bathroom or kitchen or whatever and not mine.

I think that covers it. The procrastination article I copied and pasted for my last post was interesting and lead to a bit of further reading. It's strange reading something by someone else and recognising yourself within.

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

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Procrastinating and the Emotions involved.

   The following article popped up on Flipboard. A news gathering app on my phone. It's a bit of a cheat to just copy and paste something but it's a good piece.
   Timothy Pychyl's web site has even more interesting stuff 
http://http-server.carleton.ca/~tpychyl/

There's a small section in the middle that's a bit faint. Sorry about this but copying and pasting on to this blog isn't always straight forward for yours truly.

To Stop Procrastinating, Start by Understanding the Emotions Involved

Time management goes only so far; the emotional reasons for delay must also be addressed.

By 
SHIRLEY S. WANG
Updated Aug. 31, 2015 11:44 p.m. ET

Putting off a work or school assignment in order to play videogames or water the plants might seem like nothing more serious than poor time-management.
But researchers say chronic procrastination is an emotional strategy for dealing with stress, and it can lead to significant issues in relationships, jobs, finances and health.
In August, researchers from Stockholm University published one of the first randomized controlled trials on the treatment of procrastination. It found a therapy delivered online can significantly reduce procrastination.
Psychologists also are studying other ways people might be able to reduce procrastination, such as better emotion-regulation strategies and visions of the future self.
Scientists define procrastination as the voluntary delay of an action despite foreseeable negative future consequences. It is opting for short-term pleasure or mood at the cost of the long-term. Perhaps we didn’t finish preparing a presentation on the weekend because we had house guests. That is just intentional delay based on a rational decision, says Timothy Pychyl (pronounced pitch-el), a psychology professor at Carleton University, in Ottawa, who has published extensively on the topic.
The essence of procrastination is “we’re giving in to feel good,” Dr. Pychyl says. “Procrastination is, ‘I know I should be doing it, I want to, it gets under my skin [when I don’t].’ ”
Ben Lockwood, a 39-year-old office manager in Chippenham, about 100 miles west of London, knows the feeling all too well. Even though he isn’t a lazy person, he says, he struggles with procrastination at work and in his personal life. He says he feels paralyzed by wanting to do everything perfectly, which then makes him feel anxious about getting started.
Instead of looking for a new job, he might go to the gym—a move researchers call “moral compensation.” That is when procrastinators do something to make themselves feel good or productive in order to avoid the task that needs to get done.
Mr. Lockwood says this pattern of behavior fills him with self-loathing. “I think I’d rather tell someone I robbed a bank than tell them I procrastinate,” he says.
Chronic procrastinators often hold misconceptions about why they procrastinate and what it means, psychologists have discovered. Many chronic procrastinators believe they can’t get started on a task because they want to do it perfectly. Yet studies show chronic procrastination isn’t actually linked to perfectionism, but rather to impulsiveness, which is a tendency to act immediately on urges, according to Piers Steel, an organizational-behavior professor at the University of Calgary.
TO PROCRASTINATE LESS, START BY DOING THIS
Tips from research led by Timothy Pychyl, Piers Steel and Alexander Rozental.
·         Break a long-term project down into specific sub-goals. State the exact start time and how long (not just “tomorrow”) you plan to work on the task.
·         Just get started. It isn’t necessary to write a long list of tasks, or each intermediate step.
·         Remind yourself that finishing the task now helps you in the future. Putting off the task won’t make it more enjoyable.
·         Implement “microcosts,” or mini-delays, that require you to make a small effort to procrastinate, such as having to log on to a separate computer account for games.
·         Reward yourself not only for completing the entire project but also the sub-goals.
People may assume anxiety is what prevents them from getting started, yet data from many studies show that for people low in impulsiveness, anxiety is the cue to get going. Highly impulsive people, on the other hand, shut down when they feel anxiety. Impulsive people are believed to have a harder time dealing with strong emotion and want to do something else to get rid of the bad feeling, Dr. Steel says.
Some people claim they purposely leave things to the last minute because they work better under stress, but true procrastinators get stressed out by the delay. It’s arguable whether the quality of their work is actually better than if they had started earlier, according to Dr. Pychyl.
Experts say the consequences of chronic or extreme procrastination can be serious: Marriages break up, people lose jobs and often feel like impostors. Fuschia Sirois, a psychology professor at the University of Sheffield, in England, recently began studying the effects of procrastination on coping with chronic illness.
The mental-health effects of procrastination are well-documented: Habitual procrastinators have higher rates of depression and anxiety and poorer well-being.
Less is known about physical effects, and especially serious health problems. In a recent paper, Dr. Sirois and colleagues found procrastinators with hypertension and heart disease were less likely to engage in active strategies for coping with the illness, such as finding meaning or taking action, such as arranging to exercise with a friend. They were more likely to adopt maladaptive behaviors, like being avoidant or blaming themselves for the illness and trying to forget it.
In addition, procrastinators often seem unable to see as clearly into the future about their choices and behaviors as non-procrastinators—a phenomenon she calls “temporal myopia.” Their vision of their future selves is often more abstract and impersonal, and they’re less connected emotionally to their future selves. Temporal myopia may be largely due to their high levels of stress which can shift their focus to more immediate rather than distant concerns.
“A lot of us think, I’m doing it for me” and that in the future we’ll benefit because of what we’re doing now, says Dr. Sirois. But procrastinators aren’t as good at envisioning this. Dr. Sirois, Carleton’s Dr. Pychyl and others are testing interventions for helping procrastinators better envision and connect with their future selves.
Focusing on time management alone will help procrastinators, but only so much, the scientists say. The emotional regulation component must be addressed as well.
Dr. Sirois and Dr. Pychyl also have focused on short-term mood repair as an anti-procrastination strategy. They teach people to recognize that they might have strong emotions, such as anxiety, at the start of a project but to not judge themselves for it. The next step is just to get started, step by step, with a narrow focus.
At Stockholm University, researchers set out to test whether a self-help treatment could have an effect on more-severe forms of procrastination, as the research in this area was lacking. Though there are many self-help books and experimental lab studies, the group wanted to design an intervention that, if shown efficacious, could be rolled out widely, such as via the Internet, said Alexander Rozental, a clinical psychologist and doctoral student who was an author of the study, which was recently published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.
Some 150 participants were self-reported high procrastinators and were randomly assigned to complete the intervention, either by themselves, with the guidance of a therapist or to a wait-list control. The treatment program consisted of 10 weekly modules.
One component focused on goal setting, such as breaking down long-term goals into smaller and more-concrete sub-goals. Instead of saying one was going to work on a paper on Tuesday, participants were taught to be specific and divide it into manageable sub-goals: I am going to work on a paper for one hour at 11 a.m.
The intervention also employed a reward system. Participants would give themselves something positive, whether a cup of coffee or a break after accomplishing mini-goals, rather than wait until finishing the overall goal.
Another module involved exposing procrastinators to stressful feelings or thoughts in brief but gradually longer periods. The goal there is to help them feel that they are better able to manage their emotions and not to instinctively follow them.
The results showed that after intervention with both guided and unguided self-help, people improved their procrastination, though the guided therapy seemed to show greater benefit. The researchers, who have continued following up with the participants, will look at one-year outcomes later this year to see if the results were maintained.
They also are conducting a study of college students receiving either group therapy or Internet-based cognitive behavior therapy, where they will look not only at self-reported procrastination but also at real-life outcomes including academic grades and use of alcohol and drugs, Mr. Rozental says.
In Calgary, Dr. Steel’s lab is testing and helping to develop new software with a Hong Kong company, Saent, that helps by delaying the loading of websites such as Facebook for 15 seconds or so, using “micro-costs” such as requiring a password before surfing the Web. Sometimes these little bits of effort are all that are necessary to deter procrastinators from distraction, Dr. Steel says.
Mr. Lockwood, the procrastinator from the U.K., has developed his own strategies for helping him delay tasks. Since he’s had to pay late fees before for not paying bills on time, for no reason other than he didn’t put the check in the mail, he now makes sure he’s always stocked with stamps and envelopes at home and has online bill pay set up for as many places as possible.
But he wishes he could shake his procrastination in other areas of his life. He says his girlfriend is always planning their vacations because he has a hard time getting started and is reluctant to ask for time off. But he actually enjoys the act of planning trips. He says one day he would love to surprise her by coming up with the idea and doing the planning.
“If you’re an occasional procrastinator, quit thinking about your feelings and get to the next task,” says Dr. Pychyl. “But if you’re a chronic procrastinator, you might need therapy to better understand your emotions and how you’re coping with them through avoidance.”
Write to Shirley S. Wang at shirley.wang@wsj.com

Onwards and upwards in pursuit of fulfillment ;-)))

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Optimism.

   I am an optimist by nature. How do I know? well if I look back as far as I can remember, I've always been buoyant, hopeful and positive about the future and all it holds, . Even when it would have been best for me not to. My optimism can lead me to take on too much. Sometimes it's best to give up or pass by some things and sometimes, some people. It may be possible in and with, time. To come back to those things and those people.
    After taking on too much or letting things bunch up the optimist inside me disappears for a couple of days till the heat dies down a little. Miserable me has to pick up the pieces of that lost direction and purpose and sometimes I just sit there and wonder what to do next. Not for long but enough to cause a problem or two and set things back a little.
   The optimist in me shouldn't feel bad and at fault. I just need to remember to get involved in less. Just what's in front of me.

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

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Really, really STUPID.

   After several (relatively) jolly posts. I have one that isn't. I got a parking ticket in a place where I and others have parked before. Which is a bummer at the best of times but then I didn't pay it within 14 days and now it's double the original £55. Getting the ticket was bad enough but it came on the day the wrong tiles for the job I'm on, arrived. I phoned the supplier and they said that's what I ordered. Check your email. What email? It was in my junk file. Now I've only ever had one code number for the tiles. It's on the sample the client gave me. So they made the mistake but I didn't look in my junk file, so didn't spot it and correct it in time. My mistake and an admin charge of £150 (10% of the order value) to pick up the wrong ones and deliver the right ones. Two avoidable errors on my part and my bank account down £260.
   There are far worse things that could of happened but avoidable things like those above really really eat into me and colour the proceeding few days (in the past) a morning (yesterday) and (right now) as I write this. Finding a way past things like this has been a real problem for me. Tiny errors become huge and up till now I haven't found a way of getting past it. I have read and been told that you have to forgive yourself and move on. The trouble with that is "me" the victim is forgiving "me" the perpetrator and I'm not sure or convinced that perpetrator me isn't going to go and do more dumb things. While I'm toiling this over in my mind, I hear the word "apologize" float out of the radio. Now maybe that will work. Perpetrator of dumb things me, apologizes to victim of dumb things me and promises to really try and not make the dumb mistake again. Victim me says "ok and I'll keep an eye out for stuff like that too." So now both me and me are friends again and can look back on how £260 made us a better, stronger person. Well until next time.

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

Monday, 10 August 2015

Scotland, sculpture and sleep.

   My new tiles, a few postcards, two secondhand books and a couple of tired picture frames found in a charity shop are now back home with me in Maison Margate by the sea.
   Scotland was brilliant. I revisited places. Found new ones and missed a couple I would of liked to have seen but that's now for another time.
   I also came across the "Kelpies." They are mythical shape shifting water spirits. Inhabiting the lochs and pools of Scotland. Usually appearing as a horse but not always. The Loch Ness monster is a Kelpie.  
The artist responsible for these two 30 metre high sculptures is Andy Scott ( yeah, I smiled at that too) Andy's vision, was for something representing the lost history of heavy industry in the Falkirk area of Scotland. 
   Falkirk is the meeting point of the Union canal from Edinburgh and the Forth and Clyde canal from Glasgow. So an important cross roads between Scotland's two principle cities during the Industrial Revolution. Barges laden with one thing or another would make the journey back and fourth and what dragged the barges up and down those canals? Horses. Not only are these two sculptures magnificent, representing the heavy industrial past of the area but they represent the future too. The cutting edge technology that helped create them and the pride and abilities of a new Scotland that helped inspire their creation. If further evidence of that were needed, just a short walk away is the Falkirk Wheel. The Falkirk Wheel is a boat lift. Replacing the 30 odd lock gates that used to get you from the Union to the Forth and Cylde. There are many boat lifts in the World but the Falkirk is the only rotating one. I've included a couple of you tube clips. One of the wheel in action and one of the construction of the "Kelpies."
https://vimeo.com/90747645

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fX6kJKjg4y0

It's time to sleep.

Onwards and upwards. In the pursuit of fulfullment :-)))

   





Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Travelling to better places.

   I've noticed recently, I'm in a better happier place. I can't put my finger on why.  Which is slightly annoying. I expected to have a Eureka moment and a brass band at the door, bunting and cake. All my issues would dissolve as the answer to that nagging question popped into my head. However it seems things don't work that way. Change happens slowly and it's multi faceted. Small unconnected things I'm doing to try and improve things seem to all mesh together at some invisible point and then I realise I'm feeling better!
   Don't run away with the idea that all is perfect. There are still things I get wrong or do badly but the list isn't as long as it used to be. I still annoy people but tend not to annoy myself as much. Which is a plus, seeing as I seems to be with myself 24/7. Other people I can avoid till they calm down.
   In other news ..... I'm off to Scotland for a few days. Primarily I'm going there to pick up some tiles I brought on eBay for a ridiculously small amount of money. Spending a ridiculous large amount of money on petrol, getting there and back. However I get to see a friend in Wigan (half way between me and the Scots) and she wants to come along for the ride. We'll visit a few galleries and places of interest along the way and meet up with my Cousin, who is looking after the ridiculously cheap tiles. They are an unusual colour and I think there's just enough boxes to do the hallway of Maison Margate. I like the idea of things having a story. In future, each time I pop along the hallway it may remind me of my trip. I brought an old front door recently. Again very cheaply and again spent a bit on petrol to collect it. It has spent it's life, about 100 years, keeping the elements at bay and watching the Sun disappearing into the sea near St Ives in Cornwell. The furthest west you can get in this Country. Soon it will be protecting me from the elements and watching the Sun come up from the furthest point east you can be in this Country. It will matter to no one but me and the door.

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

Monday, 20 July 2015

A very late "Post."

   This has been sitting in the edit department for a while now. Work has kind of got in the way of things but it has it's place in my history. So here it is.
   Mad girl and I split up after our holiday in Febuary. All very amicably. We chat on the phone often and I've been over to finish some tiling and stuff. There are a couple of small things we don't seem to manage to get right and we'd much prefer to be friends than bounce along like we have been.
   I've been getting on with work and looking after myself quite nicely since. That helped move things on. Unexpectedly  a couple of months later an ad appeared with my emails for an online dating site. I did this once before. Then it wasn't the right time for me. I was a bit needy.ow I'm in a much better place. So I filled in the required boxes, wrote an amusing profile that highlighted all my faults. There's nothing worse than someone pointing out your faults, so I got in there first and added a few more for good measure. A couple of profile pictures and hey presto.
   There's a few things to be aware of. Anybody who doesn't have a profile picture, anybody seriously younger than you and anybody who can't spell or know the basics of grammer. It's usually a scam of some kind.
   So I did a search of the local area. Lots of diabolical selfies and profiles that were more a shopping list of things required and not required from any potential suitor. Soulmates are very high on most lists. Now if you didn't manage to find your soulmate first time around, when the market was full of young free and single people. Do they really think there's much chance now? Given that most in the market will be second hand and carrying more baggage than your average holiday jet.
   There's also something called "dating diaries" where you can read comments left by the opposite sex. These are mostly in the form of long moans and instructions to follow. Our pictures and profiles are rubbish, lieing about our their age (more on that later) and not reading the diarest's profile properly. Durrrrr we're talking about men here. We don't read instructions or the information on medicine bottles when we're ill. Once we've seen your picture and worked out you don't live miles away, we've all the information we need. The diarist are shooting themselves in the foot here. We may not read their whole profile but we've homed in on the moaning and have crossed them off the "possibles" list straight away.
   I'm really enjoying the absurdity of it all. Profile pictures fall into several categories. Some good selfies and some very bad ones. Or the pictures with the ex cut out and just his arm hanging over their shoulder like a weird hallowen scarf. Then there are the pictures taken from several miles away or pictures of the person with her friend/sister etc and you're not sure who's who. Or and this is very strange. A picture of a cat/dog/horse. Is that some kind of strange secret code?
   Then there are the profiles.  Where every women around my age proclaims they like nothing better than walking along an empty beach. I'd love to know which beach, because it sure as hell isn't the one at the end of my road (pictured above). Somewhere in this country is a stretch of coastline, knee deep in single women my age looking for Mr Right.
    I have met one woman. She sent me a message primarily because I didn't look the same as the other men (I'm not sure that's necessarily a good thing) and my profile was "funny". We sent messages back and forth and I looked her up on Facebook. On the dating site she said she was two years younger than me. On Facebook she was a year older than me and when we met I'd say she was probably a couple of years older than that. Still no problem, she was interesting, chatty and we had a great afternoon visiting a couple of exhibitions and shared a beer afterwards then both headed off separately for home. No sparks but a nice day. I couldn't really get the lying about the age thing out of my head. I appreciate nobody likes to get old but what if we'd hit it off. When would the right time be, to own up??? I guess when she realised I didn't own a Ferrari or live in a mansion.

Onwards and upwards. In search of fulfillment :-)))  

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Washing up.

   For someone who lives on their own, I generate a lot of washing up. I guess it's a man thing. Just like being pregnant is a woman thing. I've met a lot of pregnant woman in my time and quite a few behave like they are the only ones that have ever been pregnant and about to give birth.  Man cooking, is much the same. We believe we have created something never seen before. When in truth the only thing never seen before is the mountain of washing up we have created. I have made a potato and leek soup and a pork and bean stew. Which I'll take back to London for lunch at work this week. I'm staying with a friend while working and because I made enough Pork and beans to see me through a nuclear apocalypse, we started on it last night. She's a very good cook and thought it tasted fine but then she had had a couple of glasses of wine before I arrived. So I'm not get carried away.
   As far as works concerned this week I have a lot of staining to do. Years ago a decorator friend showed me how to mix paint, spirits and oils to get a stain that exactly match the colour you were painting a wall or door or whatever. It's been a useful little trick. So the cabinet doors on the kitchen I'm installing will match the room doors. In fact the whole cabinet inside and out will match the doors. My client wasn't too sure if this was going to work. So yesterday she got a train from her main house down to the London house, a 200 mile round trip. So she's really keen or she doesn't trust me. Either way all is well. She likes the effect. I've include a picture but I have to say it's difficult to see, there is now a blue veining running through the oak. You might be able to see it if you zoom in. Maybe it will be easier to see when its all done. Then you can all come round and take a look.
   I had an aunt who believed she had a Red Indian spirit guide watching her. Even as a nine year old I thought it strange that a Red Indian ghost had traveled all the way to West London to protect my batty aunt. The coming of the internet introduced me, not personally you understand, to a whole host of people who thought they had Red Indian spirit guides. Where there really that many Red Indians. John Wayne dispatched quite a lot of them if memory serves me right and I can't believe they would be prepared to come back in the afterlife to protect us. Seeing how we were responsible for their near extinction. Now forgive my flippancy. In some quarters my description will be thought of as rude and in bad taste. I know Indigenous peoples or Native Americans is the correct way but my batty aunt wouldn't know what we were going on about and the next part of this wouldn't have had such a rambling lead up. My long distance friend Pres reads the blog occasionally and picked up on the fact that I was having a bit of a self inflicted tough time. So he phoned and we spoke for about an hour and he's regularly been texting to check I'm ok. Now he's not dead or an Indigenous American but alive and kicking and of Indian (Asian) descent. So I have a spirit guide too. Watching over me, which I much appreciate.

Onwards and upwards. In search of fulfillment :-)))

In memory of Molly a much missed friend of my friend and his family.
       

Monday, 11 May 2015

The results are in...

   So the results are in. The Conservatives are back in power with a small majority, 331 seats. All the other parties combined have 319. Their partners in the previous coalition, the Liberal  Democrats took a real beating this time, losing most of their seats. The SNP (Scottish National Party) picked up 56 of the 59 seats available in Scotland. They had 6 previosly. UKIP managed 1. They had 2. Their leader, who was standing in my constituency didn't quite make it. Coming second and keeping his promise, resigned his leadership of his party.
   Now here's the interesting part. We have a first past the post system here not proportional representation. So while UKIP received 12.6% of the National vote they only got one seat. The Lib Dems received 7.9% getting 5 seats. The SNP 4.7% and gained a whooping 56 seats.  So a couple Parties feel hard done by but that's our system. It would however be daft for any Politician to ignore the %'s and what those people were voting for.
   Some area's also had local council elections. We did, our's was many made up of Labour councillors but they've misjudged and mishandled local affairs of late and they've paid the price. UKIP took 33 of the 56 seats. Labour who had the majority before ended up with just 4. UKIP's agenda seems to rest on two thorny local subjects. The forced purchase of the local Airport and dog poo. The airport was brought for £1 (plus it's debt) a year ago with the promise from the new owner that they would try and turn it round within a year. The owner closed it after four months and wants to build houses on it. Most think that was her motive from the beginning. Que local uproar. The previous administration wasn't keen on getting involved and kind of mucked the whole thing up. The new mob want it up and running again. They are also planning, "on the spot fines" of £80 if you litter or your dog misbehavior's on the street. We have some very irresponsible dog owners here and the streets pay testament to that fact. However you'd be hard pressed to extract 80 pence from the good unemployed folk of this locale, let alone £80.
   In other news I've been in hiding for a few days. Not doing anything I should, when I should be. OK a lazy day is fine every so often but not several strung together. I'm not sure what triggers it. Or maybe I am and I'm choosing to subconsciously ignore it. It's just a set back that is and will be dealt with. Some days the Miserys get a bigger kicking than other days and occasionally it gives me a bit of a mauling. I have to say thanks to Pres who swapped a few messages with me over the weekend. It was kind of you to take the time )))
   The last few days havent been a total write off. I collected some poppy seeds from a couple of stray Blue Poppies that managed to grow amongest the building rubble in my front garden last summer. The seeds were put in an old brown envelope and stuck at the back of the fridge. I sprinkled a few on to some soil, in an old cardboard egg box (you can cut up the box and plant the segments into the ground without upsetting the seeds if they take) Well the seeds have taken and hopefully will keep growing. I'll keep you posted.
   The shell collection continues to grow too. I can't resist picking up a few shells as I walk along the beach. I'm a kid all over again. I know, I've mentioned that before but anything that makes you feel like a kid can't be bad can it?

Onwards and upwards, in search of fulfillment :-)))
               

Friday, 8 May 2015

If I was chocolate, I'd eat myself.

While working this week I've had the radio on most of the time. There were a couple of things that stuck in the brain. A play where the main character after hanging a mirror in his bathroom stood back and while admiring his handy work exclaimed, "If I was chocolate I'd eat myself." I can't wait to use that line. The other was a series of interviews from the late fifties and early sixties. With people like Bette Davis and Brian Epstein (the first Beatles manager) where they all claimed their success was down to their own hard work and diligence. I doubt many captains of industry, actors or sports people would claim that today, without including a plethora of other people who helped. Then there was, "Hellhound on his trail" the story of the assassination of Martin Luther King and the hunt for his killer, James Earl Ray. I was just 10 when King was murdered and faintly remember it being on the news. Back then, news here in the UK was mostly local. The exceptions being the Vietnam war, Earthquakes and the odd assassination. The adaptation of the book for radio was good and filled in all the gaps and added stuff I didn't know about King and his career around the time of his death.  
The pollstations are closed and the results are coming in. It looks like the Conservatives have an outright lead . Employment, low immigration and better health care have been the three main topics regularly discussed on TV. The smaller parties have made the biggest promises. Safe in the knowledge they won't get to lead so it puts more pressure on the bigger parties. This time round we seem to be very inward looking. The Scots and Welsh Nationalists are poised to do well within their borders. England? well we don't really have a nationalist party as such. we've flirted with the idea but they've always been seriously right wing and dangerous. Now however we have UKIP. The United Kingdom Liberation Party. Most consider it an English, slightly far right party made up of oddballs who believe that most of our ills have been caused by Johnny Foreigner. Their leader, Nigel Farge is standing for election in the South Thanet constituency, which is where I live and I've come home for a couple of days. Primarily to vote. UKIP like the Welsh and Scots have picked up a lot of disaffected voters. People who believe on the whole that Governments do very little for them. So results will be very interesting.

Onwards and upwards. In the pursuit of fulfillment :-)))

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Sunday at home.

   The parcel office here is open Sundays 10 till 2. Which is handy as I'm never here when it's open normal hours. I had two parcels to collect. Via a slight detour to pick up some food, I collected my parcels. A second pair of reading glasses and an old brass letter box for my old front door. Once home I posed in front of the mirror for few minutes trying to look smart in my new glasses. Gave that up as a bad job and chopped up the recently purchased vegetables, popped them in the slow cooker along with some beef and switched on. In a few hours the fairies will have finished their magic and supper will be ready.
   I had a pile of books to take to the book shop at the bottom of the road and then planned to go for a walk along the beach as the tide was out (according to the little app on my phone). The pile of books came courtesy of my Mum. She belongs to a book club and ends up reading lots of high brow books she doesn't enjoy. I know, don't ask. Once in a while she asks me whether I would like any of them, which translated from mum speak to normal English is, "can you take these books away please, as I'm old and feeble." The part time book shop at the end of the road is open Tuesdays and Sundays. It's run by a local couple. Laid out in no particular order with chairs dotted around, so you can sit and read. They probably only make enough to pay the rent and the coffee, which you're given soon after you arrive. So they get Mums books and I get to look along the shelves for old penguin paperbacks. With two additions for my collection and buzzing from the strong coffee I crossed the road and through the gap to the sea.
   I've been here almost eighteen mouths now and still haven't lost the childlike thrill of looking out to sea at the boats and picking up shells to take home. I go, prepared with something to put the shells in and boots just in case I decide to search around the rock pools. I've become a beach "bag lady" slowly making my way along the waterline looking for anything interesting. I've seen a seashell path in the town. Lots of shells crushed under foot over many years. I only have a small garden so it's do able. I might have to swap the plastic bag for a bucket though. Amongst the shells and pebbles were a lot of crab bits, legs, claws, shells. It looked like some massive crab fight had gone off. I'm sure there's a natural explanation for it but I like my idea. One crab looking at another crabs girlfriend, followed by a few words and insults. Then bang, massive crab fight. I also found a half buried octopus. Which on closer inspection turned out to be a bicycle tyre. As I mentioned. If you walk along the beach slowly you start to see more and become turned into what you're doing. Which links me into something else I was doing this week. Sometimes blogs I follow stop. The authors moves on or get bored or finds the time commitment to blog difficult to keep up with. So I had a look around to see whats out there. One of the blogs I read, felt really miserable and that things wouldn't change. mistakes where made and people had moved on. Given my experience, I decided to leave a comment. Along the lines of don't give up, look at things differently. Because when you do the nice shells appear as if by magic. Talking of magic I think the fairies of the slow cooker have done their stuff so it's time to eat.

Onwards and upwards. In search of fulfillment :-)))

         

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Hits

   I'd be lying if I didn't say I didn't check on how many views a particular post gets. Lately I'm getting alot of attention from Russia. Why I have little idea. My bank accounts are running on empty so hacking would appear a futile exercise. I doubt I'd make a good spy. Maybe my post titles resemble something popular out there. If you see ads appearing here, for fur hats and snow chains you'll know I'm cashing in. "Privet Rossii."
   I went and picked up a few bits left at mad girls today. The house was empty, so I could collect my stuff and remember in peace. Don't go getting sad on me, things have ended in a good way. my shirts still have their sleeves, my trousers (pants for you Aims) still have legs and we are still friends. I won't miss the journey backwards and forwards though, 52 miles of the most boring parts of Kent. Maybe I should get out a bit and find a nice drive somewhere. Then find some unsuspecting woman at the end. I love you for your smile, your humour and the great drive to your house. Or, this isn't working between us but I'll visit often cos the journey's just wonderful.
   Have I mentioned time before? I must have I've rambled on about most things . Or more specifically, time healing? I've read a few things from people who for a variety of reasons have had things tough but say "time has healed," and they feel better. Time did that? No they did that. They went in search of answers and filled their buckets with things that seemed relevant until the pain and bile spilled out over the top and all that was left was good stuff. I mention this as I appear to be more resilient of late. My bucket must be almost full and the indecision and procrastination are tipping out. I've even caught myself smiling for no apparent reason. That could very well signal madness and you would be hard pressed to see my smile as the shaggy beard hides it well.
   Ok that's me done.

Onwards and upwards. In search of fulfillment :-)))         

Monday, 13 April 2015

Habits and the brain.

It's been a long few days at work and not all has gone to plan. I hadn't really got enough done prior to the plasterer arriving. So two long days trying to catch up and then two long days when he did. We didn't get everything done and he's busy on other work now. So I'm a bit stuck and it's my fault. there's no point in mulling over this (something I would of done in the past) I just have to figure a way round it.
   However before I do this, I thought I'd get this down on the blog and how I'm feeling and thinking. I've been reading about habits from two books I picked up cheaply on my kindle. The first, deals with how to. The second looks at why. The second is far more interesting. The habit department, good and bad (basil ganglia). has it's office at the back of the brain. It isn't the most exiting department at Brain HQ they're not there to come up with new ideas or deal with anything half way interesting. Its cheap to maintain, so staffed by dull little cells who demand little and work 24/7. They just push the ON button for the required habit,  Making a coffee, taking a shower, driving and eating too much cake. You get the picture. Then there's the prefrontal cortex. The decision department. All the interesting stuff goes on here. Long term planning, ambition and what could be. It has it's offices in the front of the brain and is full of smart power hungry cells. Now when things go wrong budgets don't always allow for the decision department to call all those clever cells in. So the habit department comes to the rescue and pushes a button.
   Now you know why, when things don't always go right and you're thinking "Why do I always do that," you do that! Your habits and I'm focusing on the bad ones, are there to comfort and protect you in the short term when things don't go well. They are not designed to help you move on. just survive the moment. I don't know about you but I don't feel so bad about my bad habits now. OK I'd like to rid myself of a few of them but maybe some can just be modified. Take for instance my opening paragraph. My work habit is to start slow, not always deliberately and then end up in a panic working long hours to catch up. What if I just ran that habit backwards?
   I'm off to have a think about my other habits, I may be gone a long lonnnnng time.

Onwards and upwards. In search of fulfillment :-)))        

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Thoughts on faults.

   Things with Mad Girl and I are not looking good. I was told off for not showing I cared enough. Which surprised me a bit as I thought things were fine and dandy We talked about it (more on that in a minute) and whilst I show I care in a number of ways, these don't count and I mean don't count. If instead I laid on the sofa permanently and mumbled "Iluvyou" as she past by, then things would be fine. It's my fault (you see, even without thinking I know as a man, it's my fault) very early on in our relationship whilst out shopping, I was asked my opinion about something she tried on. "Ooh it's nice" I said. Nice??? Nice, I was told is a none word. It means nothing. In fact it's better to say nothing than to use the "N" word. You can't imagine how difficult it's been for a me, over the last three years without "nice" I'm like a rabbit trapped between the head lights. What should I say, I know "wonderful" no I used that word yesterday em em "ooh that's rather special" ok I got away with it for now.
   Back to the talk, I was told off in a pub while we were having a drink, well I was given a list of things I wasn't doing/ not good at. At first I defended myself but then thought, this wasn't the best place to discuss our relationship So said so and as this was important to me as well, we should talk about this more but somewhere where we both felt a little more secure and private. Agreed. We both sat there and finished our drinks in a slightly frosty small talk way.
   Rightly or wrongly, I felt this was something for Mad Girl to decide on the best time to continue but nothing was mentioned again when we had time together. Now I'm not a complete bonehead and knew things would only get worse if left. So I offered to go over and cook one Saturday while she had to work. She joined me and while we sliced and diced a number of vegetables and finger tips, I asked if she would like to talk about what had been touched on in the pub. So we did and it went back a long way. Too long, to the point where small things have become magnified and as happens, other things get conveniently forgotten. I have many faults as does she but I don't think I'm difficult to talk to or lack understanding.
   I don't want another relationship where things get bottled up like this. Sadly it looks like Mad Girl and I are destined to be just good friends (((
   I took the "slow-cooker" down from the high shelf yesterday. Never has a piece of kitchen cook wear been better named. Seeing as it's taken me just over a year to get round to using it. I did a very straight forward beef stew and very nice it was too. I felt extremely pleased with myself. While I swanned around Margate harbour and the old town. Looking at the paintings in the "Turner Contemporary" and all the tat for sale in the junk shops. The "slow-cooker" cooked. I arrived home, busting for a pee (one pint too many at the "Harbour Arm") and as I rushed up the stairs to the bathroom I was struck by the lovely smell of cooked food. It was as if fairies had invaded and made me dinner. An hour or so later. Full of stew and smugness I set about moving bits and pieces here and there in my temporary kitchen. It still looks like a building site but one where you can now get an omelette instead of food poisoning to go with your big mug of builders tea and six sugars.

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

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Elections and wonderful people

There's going to be an election here on the 7th May. Well in fact three, we'll vote for an MP (Minister of Parliament) who'll represent us in Parliament and local councillors to represent us at County and local council level. It used to be easy. Once upon a time you were either left  (Labour) of centre or right (Tory). There was/is a centre party (Liberal Democrats) and a few fringe parties but you didn't vote for them. You were red or blue and it didn't really matter as neither party did anything other than screw up.
Now however things are different. There are parties of all colours and we expect results. We get rather upset when the bins aren't emptied or an invisible wave of jobless refugees threaten to take our unemployment benefits. How dare they, quick fetch me pen and paper no, hand me a phone. Oooooh I don't know my MP's number. I know, I'll just moan on my FaceBook page, that will get results and while I'm at it, I can check my mate, Gary's page. He usually has something to errrr, nah or laugh at.
Apart from the bins and dog poo (my pet hate) we have a local airport here, closed by dubious means. Which locals are fighting to get reopened. As this will create a few jobs and stop the whole area being turned into one giant housing estate where thousands could live while they wait for jobs to exist that don't.
As much as local Government and Central Government have let people down in this neck of the woods and that will come as no surprise to anyone who has a democratically elected government. However there are good things happening too. We have a lift here which dates back to the 1930's (pic1) it used to carry people down to the beach and back up again at the end of their day. It's been closed for years but recently local people set about repainting it (pic2)and when some little arse wipe adds a piece of graffiti they are there and painting it out within hours. We also have a tidal pool (pic3), an outdoor swimming pool built on the edge of the beach. When the tide comes in, it fills and you can swim there safely. Again the council shows little interest but some bright spark got it listed with National Heritage. So it's protected and a mad bunch of people swim in it daily. You can spot them, they go in pink and come out blue and they're doing it to protect the pools future. Then there are the rubbish collectors. Locals that meet up, target an area and spend a few of their free hours picking up the crap left by other people.
I've never lived in a place where there are people doing so much for the benefit of those who live or visit here and for nothing, just the knowledge they have done something that improves life for everyone. Maybe you have to have a rubbish council for people like this to appear.

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

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Finding a direction.

When I first started to blog it was pretty simple. A paragraph or two on how I was feeling. Finding a focus was easy, it was all about me. Not in a narcissistic way, I felt lost and broken and wanted to find ways to repair things. As time has past I've felt a little uncomfortable with that. In the beginning it was simply a diary. Then slowly I became aware that people were reading and that changed things. I started to write with the idea that people would be reading, so edited (not that well) and I kept things back. For a while now I've been thinking about a writing style, as I've began to enjoy a little writing and would like to get a little better at it.
Sticking a brief review of one of Steve's chapter first has been a buffer while I figure out what.  Do I want to be funny or controversial, bookish, crusading etc, etc. Funny would be good. Seeing or finding the funny in life keeps me going and the people I like best are funny. I also really like really really smart people that's because I'm not and they impress me but I think writing funny is going to be difficult enough. Smart would just be too big a step.
There have been a few things I've not mentioned over the last few months because they haven't really fitted. They are quite important to me and I wouldn't want them missed. I did make a promise about listing all of SC's chapters and I'm not going to break a promise. I just might stick him on the end.

Onwards and upwards, in the pursuit of fulfillment :-)))
    

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Chapter 20, "Leave high school forever."

 I read something very similar to this the other day. We leave our first schools as dreamers, full of energy  with few worries or concerns but somewhere along the way to the next one we take on a fear of what others think about us. It stays with us but it doesn't have to and SC goes on to say. "You can motivate yourself by yourself, without depending on the opinions of others." The question to ask yourself is "Why should the way I feel depend on the thoughts in someone else's head?"

In other news........ The weight loss has stopped. My girly friends tell me I've "plateaued" and need to up my game a bit. I've temporally put my plans to get a pair of  "Speedo's" on hold, until the lbs and/or ounces start to disappear again.
   Weirdly for a diary/blog for me about me I haven't written much about how I'm feeling. I think, because it no longer takes up as much of my thoughts as it once did (which is good) and honestly I don't want to face up to some of the setbacks that occur from time to time (not so good). However it isn't setbacks I'm going to mention here. I've noticed that I don't let things get to me the way they once would and often instead of dwelling on something I get on with it. Not as often as I'd like but I'm sure patience will prevail and that's something else that seems to have crept in. I have more of that lately too.
   Patience is a strange thing. I've always thought of patience as a wait and see thing. However the dictionary puts it another way. The state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without acting on annoyance/anger in a negative way, or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties. Patience is the level of endurance one can take before negativity. I have to admit that's a lot for just one word to live up to.

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

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Chapter 19 "Brain Chemicals"

Holiday over and back to Steve Chandlers 100 ways to motivate yourself. Brain chemicals, looks at how we look outside ourselves to find things. When in fact those things exist within us. Something funny happens on TV and we laugh, well some of us laugh because what we see or hear makes a few connections within us and out comes the laugh. We love or hate and everything in-between because of connections that happen in our heads. Back to fun, Steve illustrates that without fun being part of the equation of our lives we're not doing it right and will lack motivation. So everything we need exists within us, so no need for a wide spread search. Start by finding how your mood is affected by singing, dancing, hugging someone or just jumping up and down. Find the fun in things and make the promise to find the fun or create the fun. Then you will have solved the problem of motivation.
   In other news .... I've followed Fulham football club since I was a kid. For the last few years just after Christmas on one of it's fan websites there's been a bit of a competition to loose a few of the pounds (kilo's) added over the holidays. There are no prizes and nobodies checking, so most of us lie a bit, in fact some lie a lot. This year though I've been thinking about my diet and the fact I've no energy and how this impacts on my mood. So I looked around the web and found the Ketogenic diet. Its a high fat, moderate protein and low (or no) carb diet that encourages the body to stop burning carbs and protein for fuel in favour of burning fat. It has an interesting history. It was used in the 1920's and 30's to help people with epilepsy control their seizures and it was very successful only falling out of favour as new drugs became available to treat epilepsy. It's made a bit of a comeback recently as it's similar to the Atkins diet, which also fell out of fashion. So I've made a start. I've lost about 20lbs in the last eight weeks and seem to have more energy. Well I would wouldn't I, not having to drag around that 20lbs for a start. I'm slowly getting to grips with the whole Ketogenic thing and changing my regime accordingly. The weight loose is good but it's more about finding food that suits me. I don't want to have to think about calories or eat things I don't like or stave. The other thing that springs to mind and ties in with chapter 19 is a mood diet. Adding good thoughts and cutting down on the bad fatty thoughts. It's just an idea.
   Something else that caught my eye was a programme about Bipolar disorder. A psychotherapist looked into the dramatic rise in the condition. There were three people who suffered in very different ways but were diagnosed as Bipolar. The psych came to the conclusion that the Bipolar label didn't help. It was a huge catch all tag that didn't help the sufferers. Not exactly rocket science. Dyslexia is a word that's used to cover so many problems/issues by people not trained in the subject. In fact life as we know it has become a whole series of umbrella terms. People who should know better, lump all kinds of disparate conditions together and as a result we don't seem to be solving anything. We have just become very good at coming up with new catch all terms whilst not solving any of the previous problems. Because time, or more correctly the wasting of time has become so important. We shorten everything. "coffee?" instead of "would you like a drink?" or "Hi" instead of "good morning/afternoon/evening" which itself is a shortened version of "Are you having a good morning/afternoon/evening?". We do it because we don't really want a reply, we're too busy. From a young age we learn that good things take longer. So why are we all so hellbent on speeding things up, where are we going?

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

Monday, 16 February 2015

Away on holiday 2 ......

iv) The People. I like people, which really isn't a surprise as I grew up surrounded by them. No, what I'm on about are National characteristics.
   The French for instance, regardless of what they might be driving, at the time car, lorry, tractor or even horse, will try and overtake you once they realise you and your car are from England. They've never forgotten losing the Battle of Agincourt. So getting past you on the road, path or queue in the supermarket helps to restore a little national pride. They will also look at you blankly when you try and speak French. Shop staff and waiters are the worse, it's part of their psyche I was once speaking to a farmer and mentioned the maize field opposite. He looked at me expressionless. So I pointed at the maize. Still no response. So I walked across the road with said farmer in tow and literately grabbed the stuff  "meyes" I repeated "ah meyes" he said! That's enough about the French (for now, anyway).
   Back to the Spanish or more precisely the Canarians. They are, on the whole small people. Who tend to wait for you to talk to them rather than the other way round. They offer no more information than asked for. That is until they realise you are interested or know a little about them and their culture. Then the flood gates open. You mention Nestor (local artist) or Galdos (local writer) the local food, bus routes and they quiz you about what you know and then fill in all the gaps, punctuated with plenty of smiles and laughter.

v) Carnival. I've never been to a Carnival and this one had two distinct parts. The organised shows, bands, dancers, singers etc on the stage mentioned yesterday and the street carnival. Where anyone and everyone dresses up and waits for you to point a camera at them so they can pose. Well most of the time....

So cheer up, it's Carnival










Get there, on foot












In a cab











Or on a giants shoulders











Can't find your friends?










Phone them







They're here somewhere





It's easier than you think








Decide what to drink and who's paying
















Join the party




You might need to find a loo at some point






Then just work out how to get home.

































Onwards and upwards. In search of fulfillment :)))












































 

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Away on holiday.......

   So nothing from SC today. It's time to bore you with my holiday reminisces. I'm queuing with Mad Girl at gate C12 In the lounge at Las Palmas airport. Waiting for our flight home. There isn't a plane yet at C12 but us Brits like to queue and once queuing we like to worry.  The length of queue (will we get on?) The location of the queue (are we queuing in the right place?) and where we are in the queue (why are we at the back, middle or front?) Because we paid a little extra to reserve seats with a bit more legroom as I'm 6' 3". MG and myself are near the front, we are now "EasyJet speedy borders". It's like first class for poor people, you get boarded first. So no mad rush to stow your hand luggage 
   Our seats are by the emergency exits. So they have lots of legroom. Plus if we ditch in the Atlantic we'll be first out and then can choose seats in the life raft which have the best legroom too. Nothing like being comfortable in a difficult situation is there.

It's been a great ten days, so in no particular order, here are our highlights, .


 i)   I now own a comb (part of the hotels bathroom bag of goodies) alas I don't need it for my head, it hasn't suddenly re-sprouted, no, now I have a beard. The hotel has also very kindly laid on a bathroom full of mirrors. Where one can see every part of one's body from any and every conceivable angle. It raises the age old question, "Does my bum look big in this?" well in this bathroom yes it does. In jeans, or a towel, in fact it looks big all on it's own! There is also an illuminated magnified mirror. Which I guess is there for six feet tall Swedish models to help them locate and then examine their backsides if they feel the need "Ders may boom look big in dis?"
however I'm using the illuminated magnified mirror, to sculpt my "lost in the wilderness" beard. Hopefully into something distinguished. Armed with one of Mad Girl's disposable razors a mini bottle of shaving gel and my gift comb and careful shaving, I now resemble the villain from Buck Rogers, "Ming the Merciless", only I'm not wearing a robe. I'm in shorts and tee shirt with "Good boys go to Heaven. Bad boys go to Las Palmas" emblazoned across the front.

ii)  Unbeknownst to us, we have arrived on the island just as carnival starts. The girl in the tourist office, which was handily situated next to the huge Carnival stage, told us we were very very lucky, as today there are guided tours of the stage and behind the scenes. Very, very luckily it was also free. She pointed vaguely towards the corner of the huge stage and told us to go there. As instructed we vaguely wandered over to the vaguely corner of the stage. Over the next fifteen minutes others joined us and left us and came back. Although I speak no Spanish, Dutch or German I guessed the topic of conversation was,
"Did she mean here?" and "Baldy over there looks English, they know how to queue, so we must be in the right place." 
We were then picked up by Marta, "Is you for the tour guide of the stage, yes? Follow me."
She made quick work of the rest of the rabble and we were all nodded through security and on to the stage. I don't know about you but whenever I get near a stage or even a train platform for that matter. I have to fight hard to control the urge to fling my arms in the air and cry out, "Hellooooooo Wembley"
Then fall to my knees, whilst playing air guitar and swishing back my head and imaginary long greasy hair. I controlled myself whilst Marta professionally went through her tour guide patter in several languages. Not once did she fall to her knees and cry out," Elloooooo When bal leeeee" I know she really wanted to. The tour finished backstage on a little podium with all the sponsors names on a board behind us. it's where they film the winners and losers, you know the sort of thing, "I wood lie-ker to fank my pair-rents and fair-ends pour all dare help" followed by a smile and/or tears. I was dying to give my Oscar winning speech but again managed to control myself. We were invited to grab as much stuff from the dressing up box as we liked and she would take our pictures. Now why is that most men given the chance go for the blonde wig and grass skirt? I opted for the clown look partly due to the fact I have huge feet so I'm already halfway there. Anyway as I pulled on my curly red wig, Marta began collecting the various phones and cameras. I was tempted to hand her paper and pencil, just to test her professionalism but I'm on holiday and meant to be chilling out. In fact I've been ordered to be chilled by MG. So I just hand over my camera, set to "look I'm having fun" mode. 
   Marta then gave us the days and times of the various shows coming up. Sadly for some in our party (those in blond wigs and grass skirts) the drag queen final would be held in two weeks. By which time they would all be back home.


iii) The colours. I know it's because they have sun virtually year round. So by definition it's a bright place but the buildings, especially the older ones are painted in some great deep colours. The picture is a church wall in the centre of town.   

I haven't finished but we're all loaded on the plane. So more in a day or two. I've plenty of legroom, Kindle and iPod fully charged, so lots to read and listen to but I have two slight concerns, is our pilot super experienced and know the way. I may be a "speedy border" but I'm also a "scaredy passenger" and will the gas that's building in my stomach wait till we land before it decides its time to fight it's way out. As mainland Europe is a huge chunk of land and he would need to be a really really rubbish pilot to miss it.I can honestly say at this stage, the gas situation is more of a concern.

Onwards and upwards. In pursuit of fulfillment :))) 

Footnote. I don't own a tee shirt that says "Good boys go to heaven bad ones go to Las Palmas" but maybe I could get one ready for next year. I lost the gas battle but fortunately the bloke next to me was asleep so I just raised my eyebrows and nodded in his direction when people looked around to see where the terrible smell came from.