Count Your Blessings

We all get so wrapped up in our lives, that until something happens to stop us in our tracks, we just carry on in our little bubble

There’s so much suffering, poverty, hardship happening  in  the world today that some days it just seems ‘the norm’ in newspapers and on tv, and perhaps we occasionally become a little blasé. So it’s not until things actually affect us do we stop.

Recently a few things have happened,  within the family and to friends, which have made realise how much I have to be thankful for.

A couple of weeks ago Son2 (Master Chef) was driving home from work around midnight. He works about 26 miles away from home, and is usually returning late at night after long days in the kitchen.  And because he knows he’s tired he’s conscious of keeping his speed down in case his reactions aren’t as quick as others may be. And thank god he was this night. He  was driving around a bend, only about 3 miles from home, only to be met by a car coming at him at about 60 mph….. On the his side of the road.  MC swerved to try and avoid him, but not enough and he was hit head on.The driver of the other car abandoned  his vehicle and “legged it” The car is a complete write off. Luckily, and goodness know how, he escaped with relatively minor injuries. Back, fractured ribs, sprained knee. And thumb. Though they are likely to keep him off work for a month at least. The emergency crews were fantastic. (Right down to the fireman who took charge of his chef’s knives and ensured they were returned to me the following morning.)  As were the staff in A&E the next day… Including the doctors, who despite what Jeremy Hunt would like us to believe, were there in abundance, and working hard.

Shock affects people in different ways. I’m not sure whether MC has been hit by it properly yet. Me? Tears flowed in the privacy of the bathroom. Tears of shock and fear that I could have lost him, tears of relief that I didn’t.  MC had a photo of his car, but wouldn’t let me see as he didn’t want me having nightmares. However they came on the Monday night after I’d taken him to collect the rest of his belongings. There was no front left on his car at all, and how he ever got out in one piece I do not know.  His guardian angel was definitely working overtime that night, and he’s lost another of his 9 lives. He’s got 7 left!  A car can be replaced…even though it was his pride and joy.

More importantly he is (along with his sister and brother) my pride and joy. And alive.

There are 2 other things which have had an effect  on me.

The first concerns a lovely girl I know, have known since she was in her teens. The daughter of a very good friend of mine. A beautiful, talented, funny young lady, heading towards her 30th year, with the world at her feet. We’ve done stuff on stage together, and partied together. I’m always amazed when the  ‘youngsters ‘ want to spend their Saturday nights with us ‘oldies’!!

She’s had some niggles healthwise over the years, which frustrated her, but didn’t stop her. Then last year a number of strange symptoms and ‘happenings’ meant several visits to her GP. He referred her on to a consultant… And after a number of tests, including lumbar punctures and MRI scans she was diagnosed with MS, with a number of active lesions showing in her brain. MS is one of those ‘invisible illnesses’ Sufferers can be well for long periods, then have an acute phase where their mobility is severely affected, and the extreme fatigue means they can struggle to even get out of bed. But since her diagnosis she has been determined not to be ‘defined’ by the MS.  She has to inject herself daily, but hopes she may fit criteria for a newer drug which doesn’t have to be daily. When she is well she carries on and lives and enjoys life to the full. When she is poorly she quietly gets on with it. She carried on with  her college course, completed her assignments and theses, and qualified as a counsellor.  And does fantastic work with young people with mental health issues. But there are so many issues and hurdles she faces… And i’m sure she will do this with grace and dignity, as she does now. Loved and supported by her family, her friends, and her wonderful boyfriend.

And finally, there’s T. A former colleague, and a friend. I first met her when she came to interview for a post in one of the teams I managed. A vivacious redhead, who knocked the socks off all the other candidates with her knowledge and passion.  We appointed her, and all looked forward to her starting with the team. One her first day in post I didn’t recognise her! Her brilliant red hair was now blonde… And she told me that she had dyed her hair red for the interview as it made her feel more confident.. She didn’t want anyone to think she was a dizzy blonde, but whispered “I am really”and I whispered back “so am I”That kind of sealed our relationship.  We didn’t always see eye to eye professionally but were always able to sit and discuss things, and usually come to an amicable agreement. And our friendship was never affected. She was a breath of fresh air in the team, well liked and respected. We were professional but also had great fun. If you could see some of the memos that went between us you wouldn’t believe we were senior members of the service. I still have some of them, and I still cry with laughter when I read them.

Her  mum had early dementia and died young. It was always her  fear she would develop dementia as well. And used to laugh and joke when we were both sat there struggling to find the words we wanted, that we were both destined to be sufferers.

As happens so often, when you leave a post, you do lose touch with people.. No matter how determined you are not to. We kept in touch, but not as much as either would have liked. Then we worked together again for a while, but due to reorganisation of services she left to take up a post in another unit, and lost touch with most of her old team.

We heard she had been unwell and away from work, but no one really knew what was going on. Then last year we heard that her worst fears had come true.

In her late 40’s she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia. A particularly cruel type associated with a condition called Pick’s disease.

And now she is unable to work, doesn’t really know who anyone is, and has to have someone to care for her 24/7. she has no family so a friend has taken on this mantle, even though she more often than not doesn’t  recognise her.

And I feel awful that, for a number of reasons on both our parts,  I haven’t seen her for nearly 2 years now. If I do go to see her she won’t know me, and although I am able to cope with that professionally, and deliver training on dementia awareness, I’m not sure I will cope personally. (I’ve not had to yet, have been lucky enough not to have to. No one in the family has been afflicted with dementia) The thought breaks my heart. Does that make me an awful person?

And part of me just wants to remember the dizzy blonde laughing down the phone  to me “you know you can’t tell me anything important after 4pm cos my brain turns off”

So I sit here and think about my life… It isn’t  all a bed of roses….But.  I thank my blessings

The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award……..

 

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About a hundred years ago the lovely Lara at lifeandloveinlondon.com nominated me for this award. I’m never very sure why anyone reads my blogs, let alone nominates me for these awards.Especially when it’s a blogger whom I admire very much.  But I’m very appreciative.

And it’s a fab way of highlighting and sharing some of the wonderful blogs that are out there.

So now all I have to do is answer 10 questions Lara set me, nominate 7 bloggers and think up 10 probing questions for them

So here we go

What’s your favourite way to relax ?

Well, that’s easy! Rain or shine there’s nothing I find more relaxing than a long walk on the beach. I’m lucky enough to live 10 minutes a way from some fabulous beaches. I particularly love being there when it’s stormy. I am constantly in awe of the power of Mother Nature. Our coastline has taken quite a battering of late, and changes every time I go there. I go there when I’m happy, sad, need some peace, have things I need to think over, and to learn lines!

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My Superpower would be

Hmmm. This  may sound a little clichéd, but having worked in the healthcare sector all my life, I think the power of healing. I’ve seen so much pain and suffering. At times it does make you question your faith. Perhaps I could add super intelligence to that so I could help and educate others to develop new treatments and options to aid healing/reduce pain

Who was your teen crush ?

Rod Stewart ! Most people think of Maggie May, but my favourite songs are Mandolin Wind and Handbags and Glad rags. Go have a listen on You Tube.  I’ve seen him live quite a few times and he still puts on a really good show

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Which actress would play you in the film of your life ?

Can I have 2 please? one for my younger years and one for now?? Ideally, if she were still alive, I would choose Audrey Hepburn. She’s beautiful ……(No! I’m not saying I think I am) and a wonderful actress. There was a certain air of naivety about her, with just a hint of underlying strength. But if I can’t have her it would have to be Emma Thompson. An actress I have always admired, and we share the same birthday….well day anyway

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What would be your last supper ?

Fish and chips on my favourite beach, surrounded by my favourite people

What is your  ultimate holiday destination ?

I have always wanted to go to China and walk the Great Wall

What seemingly little thing annoys you beyond reason ?

People sniffing! Particularly if I’m stuck on public transport with them. I have been known to offer a tissue on occasions

Paris or Vegas ?

No competition. Paris. every time.

Who is your hero ?

My first Ward Sister, Sister Latimer. I was 17 and working on a children’s Orthopaedic ward. An amazing woman. So knowledgeable and skilled. Caring. Funny. She loved her patients. She loved her nurses. she taught me so much, and not just about physical nursing, but about human nature, humility,and how important it was to look after your staff.

If you could be anybody besides myself, I would be…..

Emma Thompson. See question 4.  I always wanted to be an actress and, to me, she epitomises everything great about British actresses. She’s funny, elegant, sophisticated, not afraid to laugh at herself…….and she got to act opposite Alan Rickman

Thanks Lara, they made me think

I now nominate the following fellow bloggers if they would like to join in

Tracey at theanxiousdragonsblog.com

Claire at ninjakillercat.co.uk

Kathy at randomat40.wordpress.com

Tracy at insidetherainbowblog.wordpress.com

Jacqui at jacqquiwright.com

Ali at cilentofairytales.blogspot.it

Clare at dorsetdivorcee.com

So, here come the rules

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog
  2. Answer their 10 questions
  3. Nominate 7 other bloggers for the award
  4. Write 10 questions for them to answer
  5. Display the award on your post or blog

Here are my 10 questions

  • What would your perfect day look like?
  • what are your three favourite albums?
  • Something too serious to joke about
  • Tattoo or piercing?
  • When was the last time you cried?
  • What is the best book you’ve read this year?
  • If your house was burning down and you could only save one thing. What would it be and why?
  • What skill that you don’t have would you like to learn?
  • How would your friends describe you?
  • If you had to be in a reality  TV show, which one and why?

I look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Go On An Adventure….

It all started with a throw away conversation with my ‘bestie’C, one evening over a cup of coffee (well, okay, it may have been a glass or two of rosé)

We were talking about our ‘to do before’ lists. C has recently completed a sky dive which was on her list. I mentioned that I wanted to climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower. I’ve been to Paris a few times but, being terrified of heights,  and usually having a small (ish) child with me to whom I could apportion the blame, I have never plucked up the courage to do it.

Now, C’s current mission in life is to take me out of my comfort zone under the pretence of helping me overcome my fears.

So far she’s ‘made me’ do the London Eye ( yes, I know it’s not at all scary really. Though I do think the champagne at dusk flight  helped calm the nerves)

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A ‘flight’ on the Emirates cable cars

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And speed down the zip wire at the Eden Project

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So we decided that we should have a girly weekend in Paris, and tick another thing off my list. We thought we’d go for a couple of nights.

Fast forward to an evening with the rest of the ladies in our little circle, a couple of bottles of prosecco, and hey presto ! The other 3 thought it would be a great idea to join us. And, while we’re at it… Why not go for 5 days?

So diaries were checked, child and grandchildren care discussed and we agreed on the beginning of April. What better than  Springtime in Paris?

Then due to a little glitch, I. E. We’d all forgotten that Easter  was so early this year and aforementioned children and grandchildren would still be on holiday,  We had to meet again to rearrange another date.  So child and grandchildren care sorted we were all sorted for the week later. And. Oh! It just happens that it will be my birthday while we’re away. So even better Springtime AND my birthday in Paris!

Off we all went to research travel and accommodation, agreeing to meet up again in a couple of weeks.

Now, one of our group, M, is a highly efficient and organised person, and before we knew it she had called a planning meeting. So we all head to T’s house armed with prosecco and rosé ( it’s compulsory. No wine, no entry!)

when we get settled we discover not only has M looks into a few things she has researched

  • Flights
  • Accommodation
  • Paris Passes

And has put together a ‘suggested itinerary’ We are buying her a large red, white, and blue umbrella!

2 weeks later at the next get together we discover M has booked:-

Flights and accommodation.

Lunch at The Eiffel Tower and dinner on a Seine River Cruise booked on my birthday. This day is now lovingly alluded to as ‘Fat Friday’

Paris Passes to include a wine tasting trip on the Saturday, followed by visit to The Louvre on Sunday.

Passports have been handed over to her to be checked and double checked. The only one who needs a new one is……..M!

Lifts to and from the  airport have been secured.

On Saturday evening, over dinner, I mentioned I had looked into going to The Moulin Rouge, but wasn’t sure how people felt about it as it can be quite pricey. The general consensus was that you couldn’t go to Paris without seeing a show there. So we all went off to see what deals we could come up with. By yesterday afternoon M had booked us all in with tickets for the 9 pm show on Saturday complete with half bottle of champagne each. Saturday is now known as ‘Smashed Saturday’!!

So now all we have to do is decide what to take to wear. Somehow I don’t think one piece of hand luggage each is going to cut it!

So, look out Paris…… Here we come!

 

The Dragon’s Loyalty Award

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I am honoured, and  a little surprised to have been nominated for this award. I’m always surprised. In fact amazed that anyone reads my inane ramblings.

I was nominated by the very lovely Mummy Shambles  , who apparently knows lots about dragons. I , on the other hand, know very little about them. Apart from that song Puff The Magic Dragon, which I had to be reminded off. And come to think of it, I’m pretty sure it’s lyrics aren’t as innocent as I thought they were as a young girl!

So what is this award all about anyway?

Well, it was created to acknowledge those lovely fellow bloggers who loyally follow, read, and make kind comments about our literary masterpieces  mad ramblings.

Are there any rules I hear you ask 

Of course there are!

  1. You accept the ward, (graciously and humbly) The sending of cake has been mentioned by previous recipients, but gin is equally acceptable
  2. Reveal 5 facts about yourself ….. Preferably true ones!
  3. Nominate 5 people for the award

So now, just for the facts…. And I apologise in advance if they are boring!

Fact One

I almost gave up nursing, 6 weeks before my finals, to become a prison officer. My tutor wouldn’t accept my resignation….. Luckily

Fact Two

Ian Gillan, lead singer of Deep Purple,  let me sing one of his songs at a concert I was involved in. And introduced me on stage

Fact Three

There are 3 poor children wandering around somewhere who are named after me. All of them decided to make their appearances into the world unexpectedly and in the wrong places, which happened to be where I was working at the time. I’m not a midwife and they were emergency deliveries! They were all amazing experiences, but not enough to make me want to be a midwife

Fact Four

I was involved in a serious road accident on the way home from a Rod Stewart gig ( yes, I am old!!) luckily I wasn’t badly hurt, but for months afterwards if Rod Stewart came on the radio I would faint

Fact Five

Two years ago I directed and took part in a production of Calendar Girls, and posed nude…..with a couple of badminton racquets (in cases) and a bunch of strategically placed sunflowers!…. For a charity calendar which  we sold at the performances

And now for more nominations……

*cue flashing lights, dramatic music, and over long pauses between each one*

Everyone Else Is Normal

Life and Love In London

Rubbish Wife

Irritatingly Optimistic

Tantrum and Glitter

Ninja Killer Cat

So, there we are. Over to you ladies x

It’s A Matter Of Opinion…. Or when you really think you know someone

The other day I was unfollowed on a number of social media platforms by someone I had been friends with for quite a long time.. ( in fairness, I said for them to feel free to do so if they felt they wanted to. But suppose , in my heart of hearts, sort of hoped they would just cut the RL contact and stay with the safer cyber one) Someone I had met often and got on pretty well with, but who has decided our friendship wasn’t working because we had differing opinions on a number of things, felt my opinions were a direct and personal slating, and saw disagreeing or discussing as being confrontational as opposed to being able to have an honest conversation with ‘a friend’

I had noticed a few times that if I said something they didn’t agree with they would disappear. I would then be left wondering what I had said or done wrong, usually being the one to make the first move at addressing things, taking a bunch of flowers as a peace-offering… When, in fact, I hadn’t really done anything wrong apart from express a personal opinion.

And I am inordinately and ridiculously upset by this. And I don’t know why, other than I have quite a lot going on in my life at the moment so am possibly ultra sensitive, and less able to be logical and sensible about it.
Confrontation is the last thing I like. I will do anything to avoid, often to my own personal detriment.

Believe it or not I am a sensitive soul, who hates the idea of deliberately upsetting anyone, and over the years this has had an impact on both my personal and professional life. Perhaps if I had confronted some personal issues head on I may not have found myself lying awake at night agonising over things.

Perhaps if I’d stopped that member of staff in their tracks all that time ago, when they were hell-bent on a mission with their own agenda, I wouldn’t have been driven to the brink of a total meltdown… Rendering me unable to walk through the main gates of the building without becoming a shivering, gibberish wreck.

However, having said I’m not one for confrontation, I do tend to say things as I find them. I don’t believe in lying in order to preserve someone’s fragile ego. But I do try to be gentle and am always open to discussion, and the first to apologise if I’m in the wrong…. Which I often am. I can’t be someone or something I’m not. And, anyway, if you are you will invariably be found out at some stage.

I’m lucky in that I have a small circle of very good friends, who also feel the same way as me, and we can be completely open and honest with each other. Express opinions, disagree without it causing upsets or rifts. After all isn’t that what real friendship is all about?
Perhaps in this day of cyber friendships we find ourselves being drawn to people we most likely wouldn’t be in the real world.

Having said that I have met some really wonderful people through social media.. Some of whom I am very fond of, and we have a fab time every time we meet up. There are a few I haven’t been able to meet yet, but plan to.. And I’m pretty sure we will get on famously.
And there are some very special ones I’ve got to know, and we will be friends for life now.

What you see is what you get with me… And if others don’t like that then I have to learn that it’s not my problem, and I shouldn’t have to change to appease them. And perhaps they aren’t meant to be part of my life… However hard I find that.

I am who I am and I can’t, and actually don’t want to, change.

 

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Do you really want this job?

I was talking to a friend the other day about an upcoming interview they had been invited to attend. They were both excited at the prospect of a new job, bringing with it new challenges which they felt they needed, and terrified at prospect of being interviewed, as they hadn’t had one for some considerable time.

Throughout my career I have had many interviews. In fact between 2001-2009 I had to reapply and be interviewed for my job at regular 18 month intervals as we went through various management and organisational restructures!

And, as I moved up the managerial ladder I was heavily involved in interviewing prospective staff. In my last NHS post was responsible for the selection and recruitment for all temporary staff except doctors… So going through applications, assisting with short listing, and sitting in on interviews with various professional leads when it wasn’t nurses being interviewed. And I loved it. I love people watching at the best of times, but interviews are fascinating. They bring out either the best, or the worst in people.

I recall interviewing a lady for a theatre team leader’s post. We asked her something about working under pressure and she proceeded to tell us that the last place she had worked at was like working in a ‘mash tent’ the anaesthetist and I couldn’t look each other. AND she was wearing scuffed white stilettos. I couldn’t take my eyes off them.

I have met all kinds of people. The shy, timid ones who you had to coax one syllable replies out of, but actually were brilliant practitioners, to the brash, over-confident ones who had been everywhere and done everything, but when it came to scratching under the surface were not as competent,or confident, as they would have you believe.

So, anyway, from my experiences, I thought I would jot down and share a few useful (maybe) tips in case anyone had an impending interview on the horizon, and yes I have encountered all of the following…….

1. Do not be late. Yes, I know that sounds obvious!
2. Remove your sunglasses. And I don’t mean just put on your head
3. We know you’re nervous, but a limp, sweaty handshake is not good
4. Turn off your mobile phone!
5. Ditch the chewing gum!
6. Dress appropriately. Jeans and trainers may be fine in certain situations, but not all. And if you have to wear them, find a pair of jeans that aren’t frayed around the hem. And clean your trainers!
7. And ladies, if you’re going to wear a dress please make sure it’s not so short that when you sit down and cross your legs the interviewers will not be in fear that they are about to witness a ‘Sharon Stone’ scenario
8. Do not use foul language
9. Do not “bad mouth” your current/previous employers
10 Try and know a little bit about the job you’ve applied for
10 Do not ever address the interviewer as darling/love/sweetheart/babe. if you can’t remember their name a simple good morning/afternoon will suffice nicely thank you

And finally

14 As you leave the interview do not, on any occasion, attempt to air kiss your interviewer!!

So there you are. Follow these useful hints and you’ll have the job in the bag!

Don’t you just love people? I do

Who ? Me?

Imagine my surprise and delight when I received a tweet a couple of Sundays ago from the lovely Tracy…..She of mummyshambles fame…..to say she’d nominated me for a liebester award. “Oh brilliant”, I hear you all say….followed by “A what award”?   

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A liebester award is given by fellow bloggers to bloggers who aren’t up there with the “big guys”  We’re the ones who tootle along, sometimes somewhat intermittently, and are always amazed that anyone ever reads our scribbling so. Well, I know I am. And I’m always very flattered when  people like Tracy and others like her, who produce fab writings, take the time to read my inane ramblings.

So what’s next?

Well, it’s now customary for me to pass the love, and nominate some other fellow bloggers for their own liebester award. Answer 10 questions that Tracy has set me, and then set 10 probing questions for my nominees.

So. Here we go

Why did you start a blog? It all started as a bit of a joke when I told a group of ladies I regularly tweeted how many tweets I’d posted. One of them said I could write a book, and then suggested we start a collaborative blog. Which we did,  Thetwitterhousewives Then a few months later someone said I should set up my own blog, and after a lot of persuasion and encouragement I did. And found I really enjoyed writing. Even if it is a little sporadic at times. But I’m a firm believer that if it doesn’t flow naturally and quickly it shouldn’t be written

Favourite quote of all times ? “We ourselves feels that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop” Mother Teresa  

Favourite post you’ve written .. The last piece of the jigsaw . It was both difficult and cathartic to write, and I shed many tears whilst doing so

People, dead or alive, you’d  like to meet?  Oh, only 5?! Okay. 1. Stephen Fry. Love his humour and intelligence 2. Audrey Hepburn. She’s just my idol. Beautiful, talented. Funny. 3. David Cameron. Just to tell him what an appalling job he’s doing with the NHS, and try to find out some of the reasoning behind the decisions. 4.Wallis Simpsom. Have always been fascinated by their story, and would love to hear her side. 5. Jennifer Saunders. Because she makes me laugh. Lots.

Do you believe in ghosts ? I didn’t until I started nursing. Working in an old hospital one night an elderly lady called me and asked for a cup of tea. When I took it back the ward was empty, and the bed made. I ran out and asked the other nurse where she’d gone. She said there’d never been anyone in that ward. She asked me what she looked like. I described her and she said “oh that’s Mary. She used to be the laundry lady here years ago. She died about 15 years ago but always comes back when a news nurse starts here” that made me shiver again!

Has anybody ever told you that you look like a celebrity, and who? Have been told I looked liked Sharon Vaughn. I can’t see it. At all, though I wouldn’t mind being married to Trevor Eve!

If you were a character from a movie who would you be? Holly Golightly, in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.. Who else?!

What book would you want to be stranded on a desert island with ? Dear Scott Dearest Zelda  The love letters between F Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda 

 Name your guilty celebrity crush  Robert Downey Junior!

Happiness is……Being surrounded by my children and grandchildren, and having the house resounding with laughter and happiness. Or. A deserted beach at the end of a stressful day

Right so now on to the important business of the evening

*cue subdued lighting and appropriately dramatic music*

and the nominees are………..

awrightdisaster  The honest and amusing account of the dating misadventures of a middle-aged Goddess

Chitchatandpics a lovely blog from a fab British lady living in France. Wonderful photographs

iirritatinglyoptimistic A mum of boys who writes about her life, and, sometimes!, her holidays

40yearolddomesticgoddess  A mum of teens whose blog never fails to make me smile  

grenglish Wife to a Greek man, rolling her eyes and writing all about it

feltarighttit  an open, honest and moving blog about living and recovering from breast cancer

dorsetdivorcee  A divorced mum of a teen and a tween, taking on the world

recoveryfromcml   Another very honest blog about living and recovering from cancer. This time Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia

And now here are your 10 questions:

when you were growing up what was your dream job?

Jack of all trades or Master of one?

Your favourite piece of music, and why?

Fondest  childhood memory?

Book or Kindle?

if you could speak another language which would it be and why?

If you had to choose to live without one of your 5 senses, which would you give up?

Craziest thing you’ve ever done?

How did you choose your Twitter name?

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

So, now all you have to do is:

Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them

Copy the Liebester image from their site and paste into yours

Answer their questions… They’re not to hard or probing!

Choose people to nominate  ( should be blogs with less than 200 followers)

Ask them some probing questions

when you’re finished leave them a message on their blog or Twitter to let them know they’ve been nominated

So, thanks very much Tracy. And keep on blogging everyone. I love reading them