Friday, 31 December 2010

2010, A Summary

So, the last day of the year has come round once again. Time for me to reflect on the last 12 months...


- I think my biggest achievement this year was passing my degree with first class honours. I graduated back in November

- Another achievement was completing my local half-marathon back in May. My time was certainly not impressive, but I managed to run all the way, which was my target.

- I also succeeding in getting my first full time job and my first promotion within the space of six weeks, although I'm not especially happy at work at the moment. 

The Places I visited

- Spud and I enjoyed a holiday with my dad's side of the family in the Lake District

- We also visited Scotland in the summer, a place I truly fell in love with


- I left home for the first time, and had my first Christmas away from home

- I drove in icy conditions for the first time


- Spud and I booked our wedding venue, although we have another 19 months to wait!

- We found a church together, and have been very happy the last six months we've attended

New Year's Resolutions

- First and foremost, to get a new job (I have an interview with a newspaper company next week, so I'm hopeful)

- To get back to my writing once more (my current job prevents me from doing so, as I either lack the time, energy or motivation to write)

Wishing you all a prosperous New Year!

Monday, 27 December 2010

Smells Like Cornwall

Yesterday, after a delightful Christmas Day with my prospective inlaws, Spud and I made the 300 mile journey to where my family live. Today we travelled even further South to spend the day with my grandparents in Cornwall. They live in a ground floor flat in sheltered accommodation, with their cat Orlando.

We had a wonderful day, eating heaps and learning how to play Canasta. Some of us ventured into the neglected games room for a game of table tennis, but soon discovered why it was so seldom used when two of the residents complained about the racket (while we weren't as quiet as mice, we could have been louder had we wanted to).

As we were leaving, and stepped reluctantly out into a cold, wet evening, I caught a breath of Cornish air and, just for a moment, a familiar, distinctive aroma that I can only describe as the smell of Cornwall. It was the first time I identified it, and the scent faded as qucikly as the memories it conjured, although I yearned for them to stay with me.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Carol Singing

Let me paint you a picture...

Three nights before Christmas a vicar ushers her flock of five through a snow glazed village on the outskirts of the city, and leads them in song outside closed doors. Spud and I are the lambs of the flock by far (I got asked if I was still at school, and was met with surprise when I answered that I left school over five years ago - nothing new there!) One of the flock is lame, and another visually impaired, supported by his wife. Our singing was unrehearsed; we had never sung together before, so we were hesitant and flat, but each note, each word was injected with real joy that could be read in the smiles on our faces. We sang tunes that I knew, and tunes that were unfamiliar, but each one rejoiced in the birth of our saviour. 

It was a cold night, and while doors were opened to us, they remained open only long enough for a donation to be given. Few lingered on their doorsteps to listen to us. However, after an hour of trudging around in the cold, my fingers and toes were quite numb, and we walked up a drive way lined with braziers, to a garage opened up and full of people. They welcomed us in (as they welcome our party every year) and we gave them a song. They gave us mulled wine, home made mince pies, and chestnuts roasting on one of the braziers. We talked, sang, ate and drank, long into the evening before we disbanded, and Spud and I strode away into the night, our hearts overflowing over with excitement and joy. The sky was clear; dotted with stars and a moon no longer full, but big and glowing. 

And now it is Christmas Eve, and the air is heavy with anticipation. Last night I barely slept because I was so excited. I may just get my Christmas wish (the dream job), and even if I don't, I'm hopeful. I'm blessed, so very blessed, and all for more so for knowing Him whose birth we celebrate tomorrow. 

A Merry Christmas to you all, my friends! I wish you joy and happiness this Christmas season, and for evermore!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

The Unexpected

Sometimes, even when you know deep down in your heart that God has got everything in control, it's easy to fall into the old habit of panicking when things go wrong. 

You may remember my despair a few weeks ago when things started to fall apart at work, and I realised what I'd known all along: that I was in the wrong place and needed to get out. 

And so I began the arduous job hunt again, but unfortunately my lack of time prevented me from applying for all but one job - and I needed to be four years older to fit that person specification. 

But today I had an answer to my prayer, or at the very least some reassurance that the Big Guy is the perfect time-keeper. I was offered an interview for a job I applied for about four months ago. The job is in publishing, which would mean I would be using my degree directly. Of course, I accepted the offer of an interview, which will take place during the first week of the new year. 

And so, my friends, I would really appreciate any prayers or crossed fingers!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Concerning Maps

Nothing much has happened recently, but I want to blog and make up for lost time, so you'll have to make do with my musings. 

Since leaving home, my confidence behind the wheel has greatly increased. You may remember that I used to hate driving, and was terrified of travelling along unfamiliar roads alone. I didn't dare try a new route because I was afraid of getting lost. 

However, I am now in a position where I have drive every single day. I drive three different vehicles (one my own, and the other two work vehicles), and I regularly have to drive to new places at a moment's notice. This is where I've found a map comes in handy. I now carry a street atlas around in my 'Mary Poppins' handbag, and believe me, it's been a lifesaver many a time. Up until recently I couldn't read maps, but I learned pretty quickly after my first long distance trip to the Lake District with Spud. 

So now I don't have to think twice about driving to different destinations, even if I'm not always sure of the route. I just consult my street atlas, and normally that's enough to get me there and back again. I find maps quite fascinating, and could pore over my street atlas for hours. I'm determined that in a few months I'll know the city (and the surrounding area) inside out!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Are You Ready?

This time in one week Christmas Day will be almost over. I have almost finished my Christmas preparations, which is just as well really as I'm working the last three days before Christmas. I finished my Christmas shopping last week, and wrapped up all my presents today. All my Christmas cards are written, and most of them given out. Spud and I topped our Christmas cake with marzipan, and tomorrow we'll ice it. All that's left to do is make a parsnip bake (mum's recipe), my contribution to the Christmas lunch with my prospective in-laws. Amazingly, I've managed to fit my preparations around my work commitments, and I'm just as organised as I have been most years. This will be my first Christmas away from home, but I'm really excited. I have a whole week off work from Christmas Day, which means Spud and I can spend a few days with my family, provided the roads are clear. 

I am currently enjoying a four day weekend, and have just three more days of work between now and a whole week off. My spirits have lifted and I'm feeling a lot more positive. It's hard to stay down when the world's looking all white and pretty, and Christmas is just around the corner - definitely a reason for celebrating. 

Yep, I'm ready for Christmas. Are you?

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Christmas Wish

Dear Father Christmas,

I don't want any frills this year. In fact, all I really want is another job - one where I don't have to work stupidly long hours, or suffer as the result of poor management. Do you think you can manage that? I have been very, very good this year. 

Hope all is well at your end. 

Your friend,


Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Grace Poole

After yesterday, my every instinct is telling me to hand in my notice and never return to work again, and the little faith in my employers that remained lies in pieces on the floor. Like the plate that was thrown last night. My back was turned, so I don't know if my client had deliberately taken aim at me, but when I saw the closeness of the broken pieces to where I stood, I was alarmed to say the least. 

Worst still was the screaming. It was piercing. I don't know how I held it together, while I cleared up the broken pieces, and then retreated upstairs to give my client some space. Blood trickled down my wrist from one of the sharp edges. She never really calmed down. Neither did I. But I held it together for as long as I could. 

Thankfully, her parents (who live close by) took her away, because she wouldn't stay in the house with me, and wouldn't be consoled. They told me it wasn't my fault - I'd done nothing wrong. But my employers had by putting me there alone in that situation. I couldn't give her the support she needed. Not alone. 

When they had gone, the shock hit me like a tonne of bricks. I began to hyperventilate, and I couldn't stop crying for several hours. I barely slept that night. I kept thinking about what had happened, and how frightened I had been. How helpless I had felt. Strangely, my thoughts came to Bertha Rochester. Perhaps she wasn't mad after all. Perhaps Mr Rochester's wife was autistic. I am Grace Poole, I thought. I won't be Grace Poole any more. Not for any amount of money (and carers get paid pittance). 

I knew then that I needed to get out. Although rare, this wasn't a first time occurrence, and I don't have the strength to go through a similar scenario again. At least, not on my own like I was last night. Supporting her is like being in a house with a ticking bomb. I have to get out before the stress really sets in. Work have let me down consistently from day on, and I won't put up with it any more. 

And so, the job hunt begins once more...

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Kiss Me

Just celebrating 40 months of togetherness...

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Advent Again

Folks, can you believe how quickly this last year has gone by?! It only feels like the other day that I was baking ginger bread men to mark the first Sunday of Advent in 2009, and now we're almost at the end of 2010! 

The snow has made me feel so Christmassy! Spud and I watched our first Christmas film yesterday, and today it's the first Sunday of Advent. We marked the occasion by attending a candlelit Advent service the evening. It was very atmospheric, with the church yard all covered with snow, and the candles (which were far to short) setting the cardboard discs alight midway through the sermon! Lol. We sang Oh come, oh come Emmanuel, which is such a beautiful carol, and the Church of England format was a pleasant reminder of university days (my university chaplaincy was C of E - Spud and I now attend a Methodist church). I also listened to my absolute favourite Christmas album (Sixpence None the Richer: Dawn of Grace) twice!

It has been such a lovely day off, and my rota for this week seems so much more manageable, for which I am grateful, because I have been so tired recently. Tomorrow afternoon Spud and I are going to make our Christmas cake (my tradition for the last three years or so). 

Saturday, 27 November 2010

'Snow Fun

The snow has been falling since Wednesday, but I'm afraid I haven't welcomed it this year (call me a humbug if you like). I've loved watching it fall from the window, particularly at night, but unfortunately work won't stop for the weather. Care work continues 24/7. So the snow hasn't meant all fun and games for me. 

This morning, the weather prevented my colleague from getting in and taking over. I had just done a sleep-in and was stuck in the house with one client, and consequently facing the prospect of another 24 hours in that situation, as I was down to do the sleep-in tonight too. And, of course, there's the problem of driving on icy roads. I sat in the staff bedroom, watching the snowflakes whirl, which was soothing. I was very much resigned to my fate, and couldn't care either way. 

However, everything took a turn for the better. My client's parents live very nearby, and are very involved in her care. They often have her to stay. They took my client off my hands and said I needn't come back to do the sleep-in, which frees me up for the whole weekend! The roads weren't that bad to drive on, and it didn't take me long to get to Spud's. Now the snow fun can begin!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010


I remember being the first one to scoop him out of the box the day he arrived. I expected him to run away, but he was fearless. I cradled him in my arms like a baby. He belonged to my brother really, but I knew I would always be his protector and supervise his care. 

I was the one who spotted the dry skin beneath his ear, and was later praised by the vet who diagnosed the ear mites. 

There was a time when I swore he knew my voice, and would come rushing to the bars of the cage whenever I was near.

I didn't know him much during old age. I moved away six months before he died, but last time I saw him I think I knew he wasn't far from the end. He was perfectly healthy, although clearly older, slower, frailer. 

And sure enough, on Saturday night I learned (via Facebook) that Fudge, the last family guinea pig, had passed away, at the respectable age of 5 and a half. 

R.I.P. Fudge. 

May 2005 - 20th November 2010

Friday, 19 November 2010


All robed up!

My proud fiance

My proud parents

With my brothers

Floella Benjamin greeted each graduate with a huge smile, a warm hug, and a few brief words of wisdom

My friend Hannah was called up...

And then a few minutes later it was my turn to take the stage...

A big smile of relief!

My degree!

Spud got to see what he missed by not attending his graduation ceremony (not that he was particularly bothered!)

It was a very happy day!

Saturday, 13 November 2010


Here is my personal guide to relaxing, although I appreciate that this will vary for everybody. 


You can relax at any time of the day, but be sure to allow yourself several hours, preferably a whole day. 


The best location is a place where you feel most at ease. I expect for the majority of people this will be their bedroom.


Choose an outfit that's comfortable and makes you feel good. For some this may be pyjamas, dressing gown and slippers. You might choose your favourite, worn sweater, or loose jogging bottoms. Now is the opportunity to wear whatever you like, even the things you wouldn't be seen dead in outside of the house!

Tools and Activities

You can use any combination of the following suggestions:

Bed/sofa/comfy chair


Snacks - choose some of your favourite treats, or go for something healthy that tastes good and makes you feel great! 

A good book


Music - again, this can vary. For some this may be soothing and meditative, and others will choose something that they can sing and dance along to

Face mask/make up/nail polish (pamper kits)

Craft activity

Personally, I find it easiest to relax on days when I have nothing else on, because this ensures I'm not constantly looking at my watch. My preferred locations is my room. When I relax I love to wear my pyjamas but if I am wearing them at a certain time of the day I feel extremely lazy and like to change, so if this is the case I just put my dressing gown on over what I'm wearing and that makes me feel cosy. I think it's important to feel good in what you wear, otherwise you won't feel fully relaxed. I will often spend such days reading, but I may vary this by watching a movie and knitting, or surfing the net. I may play some music in the background, and this will normally be that of my favourite or most-played artist of the time. My choice snack is usually a few squares of chocolate and a cup of tea, but I recently enjoyed a bag of pick and mix sweets - my first in a very long time! I also find having a long hot bath very relaxing. 

So, how do you like to relax?

Thursday, 11 November 2010


Dear readers,

So much has happened since we last spoke that it's hard to know where to start. Firstly, I must apologise for yet another absence. All I can say is that when I'm not working, I'm either spending time with Spud or too tired to blog. That's not an excuse, that's just fact, but I'm sure you can all relate to this. I've been so short of time that I haven't rung my parents for a fortnight! Before I started work, blogging felt compulsory, but now it's fallen behind on my long list of priorities, which I'm very sorry about because I find blogging ever so therapeutic. 

Anyway, my big news, which I'm sure you've already guessed from the title, is that I may be promoted to a senior after only six weeks in my job! However, I believe this promotion is only by default. Since I started, we've lost our two seniors, and during my third week of work we were all encouraged to apply for the two vacancies, as it would suit our management best to employ someone already within the ranks. I found out the other day that I was pretty much the only one of my colleagues to employ. I honestly don't believe that had they all applied I would have been called to attend an interview next Monday. I am still new and the promotion is going to be a long learning process. Should I get the post I am going to be utterly dependent on my colleagues for their support, cooperation and patience, without which I cannot do the job effectively. 

I am in two minds about the promotion. At the moment the staffing situation is at its worst and I have seen very little evidence of teamwork and communication. There will be a lot of work involved, but now I have the opportunity to make a difference, and I can only pray for the strength and wisdom I need to fulfil this role and improve the work environment. Any prayers will be so valued. I will try to update you as often as time will allow!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Over a Cup of Tea

Yesterday I wrote a letter to my best friend and sent it first class so that she would receive it this morning. 

We were very synchronised as, this morning, I received a letter from Dearest Friend herself, and a small gift: a teapot shaped pouch with a teabag inside, and these words:

I wish that I could sit with you
As I really love to do.
But brew yourself a cup of tea
I'll think of you, and
You'll think of me. 

So now I am sitting here with my cup of tea, thinking of her, and all my loved ones scattered across the world. And wishing I could be with you all, drinking tea and drinking in your words. How kind you all are to care for me. How glad I am to be within your social spheres on one level or another. As Yoko Ono said:

'The odds of meeting in this life are so great that every meeting is like a miracle.'

Friday, 29 October 2010

Trying Not to Cry

I'm tired. I haven't had the best of days. I've worked 48 hours in the last  week. My fiancĂ© has been away on holiday since Saturday and for the last week I've been isolated from all my loved ones. And now I've found out his holiday has been extended by an extra day so, because I'm working the whole of Sunday, I won't see him again until Monday, and then only for limited time due to work.

Is it any surprise that I'm trying not to cry?

Car Trouble

I may have reached the point where I no longer dread going out in the car (even enjoy being the one behind the wheel) but there are still times when I wish I didn’t drive.

I’ve just this week started driving the work vehicle (a Ford Mondeo if you’re interested) and it’s taken a bit of getting used to as it’s so much bigger than the car Spud and I own. My colleagues sometimes refer to it as the “tank” because it’s very heavy. It is, however, not unpleasant to drive. It’s just the manoeuvring that’s a bit of a nightmare!

However, being the designated driver can sometimes be a disadvantage. Not many of my colleagues can drive, so when a driver is on they normally become taxi driver for the entirety of the shift. I have never wanted to be a taxi driver. I have had to quickly get over my discomfort of driving unaccompanied along unfamiliar roads, as this is something, as driver, I’m expected to do (although my colleagues have been very helpful, and even written down directions for me).

Spud and I have had issues with our own car too. A few weeks ago I parked my car on the road outside my house (so much easier than having to reverse out of the driveway at an awkward angle) and the next morning I found that someone had knocked into my wing mirror and smashed the glass! Spud and I suspect that it may not have been an accident as there is a strange, faint line across the window and some of the paint work, as though someone gave our wing mirror a good whacking with a stick! We also noticed that the same thing had happened to the next car down.

So ever since that incident I have parked on the drive. However, only a week or so later I did exactly what I feared I would do, and accidentally scraped the car on the wall as I was reversing off the drive! Thankfully, the scrape is only on the bumper, but I gave myself quite a hard time about it! So Spud and I may have to get a few repairs done, and they will naturally come at a cost. 

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

These Quotes Describe Me

But in the rest of her life she was surprisingly clumsy and unsure... She would trip over her feet if she thought she was being watched... She found it an ordeal to be in the street, walking towards a friend from a distance. And whenever she was anxious or too self-conscious her hand would rise repeatedly to her forehead to brush away an imaginary strand of hair, a gentle, fluttering motion that would continue long after the source of stress had vanished

From On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

I worried so much about how I looked and whether I was doing things right, I felt half the time I was impersonating a girl instead of actually being one

From The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

How literature can capture our feelings and personalities from time to time!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010


Tomorrow I will wear my hair in plaits. I will take the day as it comes and rest wherever I can. I will not anticipate the days ahead but live in the present for a change. And hopefully tomorrow will be so much better than today (which was rubbish!)

For now I will go to bed and sleep, so that I can start afresh tomorrow. 

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Faraway Friend

Tonight I would like to thank my faraway friend. 

I was feeling rather rundown and lonely, but when I returned home a package was waiting for me on my bed, courtesy of my faraway friend. It contained the most novel notelet set I have ever seen, quaint and lovely, all the way from Italy. 

And a note written in her hand. Her words meant so much to me. 

It was like she knew how I was feeling. Her timing was perfect. 

She has always been so sweet and kind, generous and lovely to me. She can never know how grateful I am to be considered her friend.

I think she is my guardian angel. 

Sorry about my prolonged absence, my dears. I will write again soon. I miss you all from the very bottom of my heart.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Our Autumn Day

In my dream we had the whole day ahead of us to do as we pleased. I wore my stripy scarf and we packed a picnic basket full of food. We spread a worn blanket across a patch of grass overlooking the water. 

In reality we had just a couple of hours to spare before I left to work a seven hour shift. We didn't pack a picnic and I wore my glasses because my eyes were tired (they weren't a part of the original fantasy). 

The first thing you said to me this morning was 'you're beautiful' and I loved you for that. Your eyes barely left me the whole time we were together. We drove to the proposed spot and went for a walk by the water. I didn't recognise the visitor centre, which was suspended over the water - surely I would have remembered it if I'd been there before! We gazed across the water from the viewing platform, watching the geese and swans through binoculars, but the only thing I noticed was your arm around my waist. Afterwards we went to the coffee shop where we drank local apple juice, and ate cake and shortbread. We sat outside in the autumn sunshine, and you still had your arm around me, your head resting on my shoulder. 

I will always remember the beauty of that day, the blue sky and the sunshine reflected in the water; the sweet apple juice on my tongue and exchanging bites of cake; the feel of your protective arm across my shoulders. But most of all I will always remember the way you said 'I love you' so suddenly that it surprised me. 

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

One for the Writers

Last week, after a trip to the supermarket, Spud came over and presented me with a pot plant. When I asked him why, he explained that it was to boost my creativity. Allow me to explain. In his book, :59 Seconds, Professor Richard Wiseman writes 'A significant amount of research has examined the effects of the natural environment on people's thinking and behaviour. The work shows that even a small amount of shrubbery can have a surprisingly large impact on making the world a better place... In the same way that greenery seems to reduce antisocial behaviour, so it also seems to make people more creative... Time and again, the researchers discovered that the addition of the pot plant enhanced people's creativity' (:59 Seconds, Pages 129-31). 

Unfortunately I haven't yet had the opportunity to prove this theory for myself because this last week has been my busiest yet and I haven't had time to write. I have never had much success with pot plants, so I hope that mine will still be alive when I get the opportunity to write again!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

First Day

'You take a deep breath and walk through the doors 
It's the morning of your very first day'

Taylor Swift - Fifteen

You may like to know that I survived my first day at work, but if I believed my employers incapable of any further cock ups then I was very wrong. Do you remember, I mentioned the other day that they rang and changed the location for my induction? Well, they changed it again, but it was too late for them to notify me! I went where they told me to go, and then had to cross the city to the original location. 

Luckily, from then on, things went smoothly. I've got my hours for the week, and I'm fairly pleased with them. I've also met the girls I will be supporting, and I went to the gym with two of them! They are more capable than the students I was supporting in my last post, so there will be different challenges along the way. I think I am going to enjoy working there, but I will still be looking for something more suitable to my circumstances as the shifts are long (sometimes up to 13 hours) and I'm not sure that this is the sort of thing I want to do long term. 

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Mobile Broadband

With my start date approaching, I finally got mobile broadband last week. Spud did some research for me and helped me to select the best offer. Because we have an Orange phone for our car, I was able to get an eighteen month contract through Orange – 500MB a month for £5 a month. If I find I need more than that then I can upgrade to 1.5MB for £10 a month. 

Mobile broadband isn’t that great, but it’s better than nothing. I had a few problems to begin with as every time I connected to the internet, some application seemed to be eating into my usage. Since Spud fiddled about with my laptop it’s been better, but I’ve found certain websites (particularly blogs) require such a high usage that I will have to go to the library to view these, which is a bit annoying. 

At least it’s only a temporary thing. A proper internet connection is one of the many things I can look forward to in a year and ten months time (or 673 days, but who’s counting? Lol)

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Last Day of Freedom

Tomorrow is my last day of freedom after nearly four and a half months out of work. I keep wondering to myself where the time went, not that I feel it’s gone to waste. I’m one of these people who can’t stand to be idle. I cram so many things into my day that there’s hardly a moment to spare. Whenever I’ve had a moment to myself I either remember something else that needs to be done, or I’m too tired to enjoy it so I go to bed (last night, for example). 

Since completing my degree I’ve moved 300 miles away from home, applied for 28 jobs, attended five interviews, and visited the job centre more times than I can count. Aside from all that I’ve rewritten 70 pages of my novel to a standard I’m proud of, read and enjoyed countless books I’ve wanted to read for a long time, attended church weekly, become a leader at Spud’s Boys Brigade company, and best of all spent time with Spud nearly everyday. That’s where all the time has gone!

I don’t hold out much hope for my new job. If I’m honest, it’s not the job I wanted in the first place. You wouldn’t believe how disorganised and unprofessional my new employer has been, and I haven’t even started yet! I have been messed about so much that I don’t perceive it as a good omen. Even today I received a phone call informing that the location for my induction has now changed. 

I also feel as though I am stepping into the unknown. I don’t know anything about the sort of people I’ll be working with, although having worked in care previously I don’t think I’ll be too surprised. I know I have a full time contract that equates to 35 hours a week (plus sleep-ins), but I know nothing about the shift pattern or rota. I don’t know how long my induction will last, or how long I’ll be in work on Monday. They have told me virtually nothing! Hopefully I’ll have some of my questions answered when I start my induction on Monday, after being kept in suspense for nearly two months. 

Thursday, 30 September 2010

The Last Day of September

We were never close but perhaps that’s hardly surprising considering I was born the year that she turned eighty. She was very deaf and had very little mobility when I reached comprehension. To a young child like myself she was just an old lady who spent most of her time in an armchair, saying little but watching us intently. When she did speak, she was often confused. I remember on one occasion she asked my father about her late husband who died a long time before, in the first year of his retirement. I think I was always slightly scared of her.

Her favourite colours were pink and green, and I once tried to write a parody of the Jenny Joseph poem ‘Warning: When I am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple’, to reflect this. I got as far as writing about how, into old age, she would dye her hair orange (another fact I had gleaned from her daughter, my grandmother).

As my adolescent years approached, she became even more frail and confused. One day she was rushed into hospital after falling in her flat and breaking her hip. After that, she was never the same again. We visited her in Fowey hospital, and I remember her commenting on my glasses, even though I had been wearing them for five years by then. When she had recovered, she was transferred to a care home. Visiting her at the care home was even more frightening than visiting her in her flat. She was always in the living room, surrounded by elderly people in armchairs, staring mindlessly at the television. I always felt shamefully relieved when it was time to go.  

I don’t know how long we visited her there, but her condition deteriorated to a point where my grandmother forbade us to see her, as that wasn’t how she wished us to remember her mother. My great grandmother, Nana Lillian, died in December 2004 at the age of ninety-five. I hadn’t seen her in at least eighteen months.

I never really felt I knew her, but I have always associated the last day of September with Nana Lillian, even after her death. My earliest readers may remember that last year would have been her hundredth birthday. Today she would have been 101. Happy Birthday Nana Lillian. On this last day of September. 

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Simply the Best!

Some of my favourites!

Simply the Best

Breakfast cereal: Crunchy Nut Cornflakes

Pastime: Writing

Pancake topping: maple syrup

Day of the Week: Friday

Colour: Blue

Song: Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer

Place to Visit: My home town and all my family and friends

Time of the Day: Morning - to have the whole day ahead of me!

Book: I could never decide

Boy's Name: Timothy
Girl's Name: Imogen

Film: August Rush
Season: summer
Singer: Leigh Nash
Book of the Bible: Job or one of the gospels
Hair Style: plaits
Author: Daphne du Maurier or Cecelia Ahern
Smell: freshly laundered bed linen or cut grass
Brand of chocolate: I don't know what the brand is but milk chocolate from Aldi - Spud and I can't get enough of it!
Hymn: As the Deer Pants
Sound: waves or the wind in the trees
Musical Instrument: piano
Sport: running
Type of weather: thunder storms
I've run out of time, but feel free to copy or even add your own favourites!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Dear Job Centre

Well, here we are at the end of the road. We both knew it would never last. I want you to know it's not you - it's me. You see, I've got a start date now, and tomorrow we meet for the last time. You know, in a way I'm going to miss our fortnightly get-togethers. Really? you ask. No, not really. I never felt we belonged, and you were just far too demanding. You never believed in giving something for nothing, and didn't even seem all that pleased for me when I announced I had secured a job. Do you have a start date? you asked. No, I replied, I have to get a CRB disclosure done before I can start. Your brow furrowed. That could take up to six weeks! you exclaimed, knowingly. If you still want my support you must continue your search for work, and keep seeing me fortnightly to review your case. I agreed, dutifully, but really I wondered what the point was. I'd worked so hard, and even if I did secure temporary work, by the time references had been secured and paperwork filed, it would be time for me to begin my other job. Surely I deserved a few weeks off. You didn't seem think so.

I cannot deny that your financial assistance has been invaluable. You have prevented me from dipping into my savings, in spite of the extra expenses that come from independent living, and for that I am truly thankful. I hope you can find it in your heart to be happy for me. Who knows, maybe we will meet again someday, although we certainly won't if I can help it. Maybe sometime in the future, you will meet a young man or woman of my likeness, and speculate the possibility that this could be one of my offspring. I hope that you will provide them with the assistance and support you've granted me over the last few months.

My very best wishes to you,