Monday, 31 March 2008

My little cousin

My little cousin is now engaged to be married. I use the words 'little cousin' as a term of endearment, as he now towers above me and his love life is far more successful than mine!
His future wife and himself held an engagement party in a local church hall at the weekend. And who am I to comment on how young they are? (17 and 18.) I wish them all the future happiness and love in all the world.
It was obvious by looking at them how happy and content they are. (Now the tricky part is staying happy and content! Sorry, I don't mean to sound cynical.) Although I must confess to feeling ancient when I looked at them and their friends, particularly the girls with their short dresses and killer heels (there was a distinct lack of wobbly bits and self consciousness). There were also various tunes spun out by the DJ which I had never heard of before! Ah, these must be the latest club anthems, I thought to myself. I was glad when I heard the familiar voice of George Michael and Mick Jagger. I even got up to dance to these records, but I couldn't help looking over at the youngsters to check out the latest dance moves.Then I sat back down again in the safety of the dark corner, to nibble pizza slices and sip white wine.
The entertainment for me was definitely my cousin Sarah's adorable children. Her daughter found the balloons fascinating and her son was running energetically around the hall to the likes of 'don't stop me now'. They're a pleasure to be around.
I left as a row broke out in the toilets, I'm not sure the exact reason of the heated argument, but usually every good party has one!
I think there must have been some sore heads the next day, and I hope the happy couple had a night to remember. It certainly looked like they did.
He may be all grown up now, with a ring on his girlfriends finger, but it only seems like yesterday since I visited him as a new born baby, and watched him grow up, playing with his Thomas the Tank Engine.
To me, he will always be my little cousin.

Picture of the day:

I love these balloons.

Friday, 28 March 2008

The glass is half full

I have decided not to moan today. Even though my germs have been replaced with tooth ache. My wisdom teeth are pushing through my gums again, and it’s a very delicate process. But hey, I’m not going to moan, I’ve swallowed my ibuprofen and it’s positive thoughts only today!
Are you having a positive kind of day? A kind of day where you bounce out of bed and thank the lord that you are alive? A day where you see rainbows in the sky and hear birds singing in your ears?
Or are you sadly shaking your head and thinking that your day has been swaying towards the negative side? If that’s the case, let’s try and be positive together! Banish the negativity, burn the frustrations, empty your mind of less purer thoughts(and tooth ache).
Let's be grateful and positive. Sounds easy enough to me, and far nicer than moaning.

So, I have complied a list of things I have appreciated today:

Waking up in a comfortable double bed. Usually I am a single bed girl, but last night I stayed at my friend Carons. As well as enjoying her company and pasta, it was great to spread all five foot four inches of me in a double bed, all to myself. Bliss.

The magazine which we had to put forward a day, went to press relatively stress and problematic free. The extremely tall publisher will be pleased when he returns from another over seas trip. And it meant I didn't have to work over time.

It actually didn't rain as I left the office at five today, so I managed to stay dry all the way to the train station and to my house. And read the free newspapers on the trains without a wet umbrella balanced on my arm. The wet balancing act can be a tricky one.

Chinese take-away for dinner! Munching Kung pu chicken, in my pink pyjamas, while watching my favourite soap 'Coronation Street.'

A glass of bubbly to relax me and remind me that it's Friday. And you know what Friday means don't you? No work tomorrow and no alarm clock to disturb me from my George Michael related dreams. I'm hoping to dream about him tonight.

Does life get any better than this?!

Your turn now! I'm sending positive vibes your way.

Picture of the day:

Lovely bubbly.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

I am writing this post from my sick bed. Well, it's more of a green armchair than a sick bed, as I can't get Internet connection from my bed.
I was absolutely fine last week, but as soon as the Easter holidays arrived, my body felt as if I had been trampled on by a thousand kangaroos and my throat felt as if someone had pushed a hundred razor blades down it. Ouch. Not to mention the coughing and sneezing.
I'm such a bad patient as well, as I keep thinking about all the things I should be doing / could be doing / want to be doing and I get so restless and annoyed with myself for being ill.
However, I did leave my house for a little day trip during the Easter period, with a friend, and a packet of tissues. (I did warn my friend about my germs but my friend did not seem to mind.)
Aldeborough was the name of the pretty seaside town which we visited, with its shingle beach, infectious charm, and traditional shops and galleries. I have posted some pictures for your viewing pleasure.
I hope the pictures find you in better health than my aching, germ infested body!

Pictures of the day:

Scenes from Aldeborough.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Let me tell you a story

Once upon a time I met a girl called Claire. We met at Junior school and took an instant shine to each other. I think the fact that we had the same size feet and preferred the other persons choice of foot wear played a large part in this. We used to swap shoes every day, and our friendship blossomed.
The years passed by, senior school came and went, careers began, and our first holiday together (without parents!) was being planned. This was when I learnt that a girl called Laura would be joining us on holiday. Hmmm. I had my doubts, I must admit, seeing as I wouldn't be meeting this Laura until we arrived at the airport. I wasn't convinced about a two week break with someone I had never met before. For all I knew she could have been a mad serial killer, or a purple alien from out of space. Or even worse - an Aled Jones fan. (Sorry, I couldn't resist putting that. I'm only joking, of course.)
As luck would have it, I needn't of worried one tiny bit. Laura and I hit it off immediately. In fact, we spent every day in Tenerife basking in the sunshine and each others company. Which was just as well really as Claire fell in love with a lad we met at Bobbies Bar, and disappeared with him for the remainder of the holiday. Funny how things work out sometimes.
After Tenerife, we returned to the U.K. and Laura and I kept in touch, and Claire and her holiday romance never saw each other again. Claire then fell in love with someone she met at the local pub. And that was the last I saw of her. I was upset at first, but then I realised being in love was obviously more important to her, how could I compete with that? If she didn't value our friendship, or my shoes anymore, then quite frankly she wasn't the person I thought she was.
In the mean time, Laura and I's friendship went from strength to strength. Another holiday together was planned (destination: Ibiza), night clubs were visited, parties were enjoyed, houses were stayed over etc etc. And I am very pleased to say that we are still good friends to this day.
We don't see each other half as much as we used to, but you can't keep going clubbing and hanging around parties and each others houses. I guess you can't stay nineteen forever! Plus she moved out of the area slightly, and every time I visited her I got rather lost. But we keep in touch over email and telephone and see each other as much as possible. Like today, for instance.
Laura has now moved nearer to my parents house (I couldn't contain the excitement in my voice when she told me this, and I practically squealed "I know how to get there!") So, confident that I knew the area and wouldn't be panicking about the directions, I left my house, looking forward to our lunch date. Jacket potato, salad, and lemsip at her kitchen table. Unfortunately the lemsip was for me, as I woke up feeling about 303 years old today.
As always, Claire was mentioned during out lunch date and the maggots catastrophe (believe me, you don't want to know about the maggots), and I admired pictures of her little boy. Yep, Laura is a mum now.
It was lovely to see my friend, shame about my aches and pains, but at least I found her house without calling for a search party. And now she is living closer, I'm hoping that the girl I had severe doubts about meeting will be a regular feature in my diary.

For the record, Claire married an M.P. whose political career and days of freedom came to a sticky end when he set fire to a hotel.

The end. Or is it just the beginning?

Picture of the day:


Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Peas in the mustard jar

I dream about the day when I will be on top of my finances. One day I hope that pay day will not be the centre of my universe. I hope the words 'over-draft' and 'debts' and 'I'm broke' will be a dim and distant memory. At the moment it seems a far away fantasy, but I’m working on it.
Of course I do realise that this world is hardly debt free. I know many people live in their over-draft or have a mortgage or a loan or a credit card. But it would be nice to feel I am not constantly battling with my wages, to own my own property and to have something to show for my hard earned cash.
And I am aware that to some people my life would seem a dream come true. I watched ‘Sports Relief’ last Friday night, and what a roller coaster of emotions it took me on. I laughed at the comedians, I envied the dancers, I praised / mocked the decisions on 'The Apprentice' and I blinked away tears when I saw the poverty and sadness inflicted on too many peoples lives.
What is Sports Relief, you may be asking. Well, it harnesses the power and passion of sport to change lives for the better. At present it has raised £20,747,375 and this money will be spent to help vulnerable people living incredibly tough lives, both in the UK and across the world’s poorest countries. Here’s the link if anyone would like to know more / denote money:
Whilst watching Sports Relief at the weekend, I actually found myself feeling guilty, but lucky, that I was sitting in a warm, comfortable house. Lucky to have fish and chips sitting on the kitchen table, and parents to moan at me when I deposit peas into the mustard jar (I'm always getting into trouble for doing this).
I even found myself reaching for the telephone to make a donation, and then I remembered I don't actually have any money in my bank account. Not until pay day (2 days to go), but at least I do have a pay day to look forward to. So I’ve promised myself I will make that call when funds are in my account.
I can also pop along to the Cobblers and get my boots fixed. I am praying that it won’t rain for the next two days. But then again, if it does, what’s a wet foot compared to a child who has been abused and emotionally scarred for life, or a famiy who do not have a roof over their head? Sometimes you just have to put things into perspective.

Take care.

The red rose.

Friday, 14 March 2008

These boots were made for walking...

It’s finally happened. The day I have been dreading has arrived.
Alas, I knew it would only be a matter of time, but I was hoping it would be later rather than sooner.
My brown boots have developed a hole. My lovely, versatile, brown boots. The boots which can be worn with trousers, jeans, skirts and dresses. The boots which can blend with light colours, bright colours, dark colours and medium shade colours. The boots which have enough heel to give me that extra needed height, but not too much heel, so I do not need major foot surgery after I have worn them.
And they cost me a fair whack. For once, I splashed out, telling myself they were well-made and it would be worth spending the extra money on boots which would not cripple my feet. Plus I would be able to wear them to many occasions with almost every outfit I owned. Talk about getting your moneys worth!
I discovered the hole yesterday, as it was raining for a change (I’m being sarcastic here, in reference to the rain). I was not amused when I arrived home from a busy day in the office with one dry foot and one extremely wet foot.
Would anyone out there care to buy me a new pair of boots please? No? Oh well, you can’t blame a girl for trying.
And to make matters worse - the price of wine has gone up 14p a bottle. (How much?!) Thanks to 'Alistair Darling’s 2008 Budget.' Yep, he’s hitting drinkers where it hurts – in the pocket. Beer has increased to 4p a pint and spirits are an extra 55p a bottle.
The Budget has also focused on drivers, hence it has been named ‘Don’t Drink or Drive Budget.’ Not 'Don't Drink AND Drive' (everyone knows this can lead to tragic consequences) but it's referring to the hard fact that drinkers and drivers will suffer financially.
There will be a 2p per litre rise in fuel tax in the Autumn. Believe me when I tell you that we fork out enough for fuel already. And nine out of ten cars will cost more in road tax. Again, the current price is expensive enough.
Apparently, by 2010 the price to tax a Mondeo 2.5 will be £750! Phew, I have a funny feeling that Mondeo 2.5’s will not be a popular car in 2010.
Maybe I should be grateful that I do not possess a Mondeo, but right now I’d appreciate wearing boots which were not falling apart and making me suffer with wet foot syndrome. I would also appreciate not having to arrange a small loan the next time I am buying a bottle of wine, to enable me to cover the cost of my favourite tipple.

Whoops, I almost forgot – happy weekend! All the very best from Flying Pink Elephants.

Picture of the day:

Pretty as a picture.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Hey, sleepy head!

Isn’t it amazing what a good nights sleep can do.
Yesterday I was even too tired to blog or upload pictures. Whatever next?! The night before I went to bed at silly o’clock. I’m not actually sure of the precise time, but I know it was a silly time to go to bed on a work night. It was my friend Caron's birthday meal - spaghetti bolognaise, garlic bread, salad, and chocolate cake. Delicious. And the night flew by at a frightening speed.
Our other dear friend Annie also joined the birthday meal, and I am racking my brain to remember the last time it was just the three of us. Unlike the old days, where we were joined at the hip and more or less lived together in Caron's bungalow. I have very fond memories of that bungalow, and the trampoline in the lounge.
There were many, many things to discuss before, during and after the meal. Therefore it was silly o’clock when we retired to our beds, and I was a very tired girl yesterday. I must have yawned a million times, I must have drunk about a thousand mugs of coffee and I must have looked at the time and sighed a hundred times. Okay, I’ve exaggerated these amounts; I don’t think it’s possible to drink a thousand mugs of coffee in one day. But can you see the point I am making? I was tired. With a capital T.
When I finally left work and reached my house, my mother commented, “You look shattered!” I know!
After dinner with my parents, which wasn’t ideal, as my aunt telephoned while I was still eating, and my mother and aunt started discussing urine infections and other bodily functions. Too much information! My knife and fork were hastily placed on the kitchen table and I decided my bed was calling me.
It seemed a little too early to actually get into my bed, so I climbed onto it and watched ‘super skinny verses super size’ and ‘wife swap’, which I’d taped the other night. ‘Super skinny verses super size’ is a good programme to watch, reminding yourself to eat healthily, and not over eat or under eat. And ‘wife swap’ is a good programme to watch if you are nosey, like myself, and you enjoy peering into other people’s lives. Kind of like blogging! Although I must admit I was fighting to keep my eyes open last night, during these television programmes.
At last it was bed time! I don’t know if I’ve ever been so happy to see my pillow, or welcomed sleep in such a joyful manner.
I feel one hundred per cent revitalised today. I feel as if I could leap over small buildings and run around the world. Yep, it’s amazing what a good nights sleep can do.

Picture of the day:

Birthday cake.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Wind and friends

You should have seen the state I was in when I reached the train station this morning!
We are experiencing severe weather conditions (again) in England. So severe that it was virtually impossible to keep my umbrella up this morning. Don’t you hate it when that happens? I needed the umbrella to shelter me from the rain but the naughty wind kept turning it inside out. The wind was so strong it literally took my breath away, and I was struggling to walk in a straight line at one point.
By the time I arrived at the station I looked as if I'd been dragged through a bush backwards, doing kart wheels and hand stands, and all sorts of things which can make you look flustered and messy.
My hair resembled a tangled birds nest, my off-centre parting was nowhere to be seen. My jeans were soaked and sticking to my legs, as a result of the useless umbrella. My glasses were covered in rain drops, and I was in great
danger of walking into something or someone until I could wipe them clean with my poor, cold hands.
However, my journey into work was nothing compared to some unfortunate people. There I was moaning to my work colleague and friend, and the sales manager, about my windy and wet walk to the station, when the sales manager stopped me in my tracks. The train he uses to commute each day could not stop at one particular station, due to a gigantic billboard falling down, onto unsuspecting waiting passengers. Apparently when his train travelled through the station, there were stretchers everywhere to cart people off to hospital. How awful. I immediately stopped moaning and felt extremely grateful that a billboard had not fallen on top of me this morning.
As you can imagine, there is no way I am stepping into the outside world this lunchtime. Far too dangerous. I’ve been looking at blogs and photographs.
The photographs are from the latest girls night out. The latest girls night out where the girlies and I celebrated one of our lovely friends birthday.
We met at a local bar, with a live band and reserved seating. It’s not often that we all get together on the same night, as life, finances and distances have an annoying habit of getting in the way, so it was quite exciting to all be out together again.
After a few drinks at the first bar, we moved along to another one, which had cheesy music and outside seating, with heaters (it’s far too cold to sit outside without any sort of heating). At the second bar I seem to remember singing ‘hopelessly devoted to you’ very loudly, addressing the song to my friends. Although I stopped singing when I noticed an ambulance outside, and a woman lying on the floor. I’m not sure if she had suffered from some kind of fit or she’d been a victim of binge drinking. But it’s never nice to see an ambulance, is it. I do hope she was okay.
At the end of the night taxis were called and one of my friends kipped on my bedroom floor. We were giggling and talking too loudly, and I hoped my parents wouldn’t bang on the wall and ask us to keep the noise down. It was like being a teenager again! Minus the spots and mood swings.

Sorry folks, I’ve just realised I’ve left my adapter at home, so I can’t upload the photographs to FPE. I’ll have to do it tomorrow. What a big tease I am.

I've stopped teasing you - here are the photographs. Apologies for the delay.

Pictures of the day:

The singers.

The girlie's.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Mini break

Sometimes your body and your life are crying out for a break from the norm. Some days your daily routine can be happily chucked out of the window. Goodbye routine, hello unpredictable day!
Yesterday was my mini break from the norm. Usually on a Thursday my agenda would look something like this:

6.40am. The sound of doom – my alarm clock.
7.00am. Jump out of bed scalding myself for not getting up earlier.
7.30isham. Leave my house and walk as fast as humanly possible to the train station.
9.00am. Arrive at work after three train rides.
9.05am. Coffee, water, banana and check emails. Check Flying Pink Elephants while no one is looking.
9.10am. Work.
12.00pm. Break for soup or whatever is on the menu. Blog time. If it’s not raining join the outside world.
1.00pm. Work.
5.30pm. Leave work, providing I am not waiting for an advertisement from the U.SA.
7.15pm. Arrive home after three train rides.
7.30pm. Dinner time.
8.00pm – 11.00pm. My time. This can consist of a visit to the gym / a friends house / pub or restaurant with a friend / cinema with a friend / reading / making a birthday card / pampering / television / surfing the net / taking photographs.
11.00pm. Bed time. Unless I am still at the pub.

But remember, yesterday was not a usual Thursday. Therefore my alarm clock was not set and I carried on dreaming about my old dog, Muffin, playing with Daleks from Doctor Who. If I'm not dreaming that animals are trying to eat me, I dream about my dearly departed dog. I'm not looking forward to the day when Muffin thinks I'm his dinner, and he tries to eat me too.
Feeling refreshed I got out of bed well past my normal time, and fluffy scrambled eggs were eaten. What a treat.
Then my mother and I took a stroll to the next county. No staying in Essex on my day off!
We arrived in the next county and headed straight to a charming, picturesque town. A place I have never been to before, but a place my mother is rather fond of. It’s well known as one of the best-preserved medieval towns in the country. It has a rich past and from the 14th and 16th century it flourished as one of the foremost wool and cloth-making centres in England, famed in particular for it’s blue broadcloth.
Quirky buildings, antique shops, art galleries and ye olde curiosity shops were explored. It was a joy to look around. Hand on my heart, and smile on my face, I can say my break from the norm was a success.
And I can practically smell the next weekend. Can you smell it too?

Pictures of the day:

The crooked house.

The Hovis house.

The black and white house.

The street.

The houses through the window.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

What's the deal with Tuesday?

Do you think Tuesdays have an unfair deal? Let me put it to you like this, if you could be any day of the week, what would you be? I would be a Saturday. And I suspect that would be a popular choice? Saturday is my favourite day of the week.
Listen mid-week days, I know I need you to pay the bills and keep my brain sane, but I also need Saturdays for lie-ins and to do what I please.
Sundays are all very well (as you may know, I am partial to the lazy, rainy Sunday) and they have a certain relaxing feel to them, do you agree? But they also come with a nagging voice at the back of your mind, saying, "Back to work tomorrow! The weekend is nearly over!"
And who would be a Monday?! When was the last time you heard anyone say, "Oh I love Mondays!” ? Exactly. Everyone loves to hate a Monday. There’s even a song about it, ‘I don’t like Mondays’ by the Boomtown Rats. And I quote:

Tell me why
I don’t like Mondays
Tell me why
I don’t like Mondays
Tell me why
I don’t like Mondays
I wanna shoo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oot the whole day down

See what I mean? Poor old Monday. Fancy hearing that someone wants to shoot you down. But then again, at least it has character, a purpose in life. A day everyone can blame for feeling blue, or tired, or just generally irritable and wishing to have a moan.
Which brings me back to a Tuesday. What does Tuesday offer us? Dare I say it, it’s quite a bland day. It doesn’t have the strong presence of a Monday. It doesn’t even have that Wednesday ring to it. On Wednesdays you can say you are half way through the working week, or you can say you are one step further to the weekend.
Thursdays are a nice day, I generally find. They have that sense of relief that the next day is a Friday, and you could almost reach out and touch the weekend. On Thursdays you are allowed to discuss your weekend plans without fearing you are wishing your week and your life away.
And then of course there are Fridays. As the Cadburys Crunchie advert would say, 'Thank Crunchie it’s Friday!" Fridays have a distinctive vibe about them. I usually wake up on a Friday and groan when I see the time on my alarm clock, but then I think "At least it’s a Friday!" Even if I have no plans to go out that evening, I am happy in the knowledge that I can go to bed late if I so desire, and/or have a glass of wine and not worry about sitting at my desk feeling dehydrated. And I have two whole days ahead of me to use to my advantage and remind myself that life is for living!
Can you now see what I mean about Tuesdays? Do you agree they have an unfair deal? Pardon me if you think I am speaking out of term. I do not wish to hurt Tuesdays feelings, but I do find Tuesdays rather bland. Sorry Tuesday.

Picture of the day:

Daffodils to brighten your Tuesday.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Family things and Terry Wogan

Now where shall I start? It's been an eventful weekend, with one thing and another. How was your weekend dear readers? Have you been busy?
It's been a busy one for me, with some family highs and lows.

It all began on Friday with the atrocious weather. The rain was pelting against the window pane, the ferocious winds were shaking the trees, and the temperature had turned bitterly cold. My cousins husband was on his way home from work, on his scooter, when a car pulled out on him. He had to violently swerve out of the way, to avoid crashing into the car. And as a result of this he skidded in the wet weather conditions and was flung off his bike.
Fortunately an off-duty police officer was near the scene, and ran over to place him in the recovery position and call an ambulance.
The first I heard of the accident was when a text message was received on my mothers mobile, from my aunt, informing us my cousins husband had been rushed to hospital, and she was on her way to my cousins house to baby sit their three children. Can you imagine what raced through my mother and I's mind? In situations like this, you can't help fearing the worst. I literally felt sick to the stomach until I heard all was well and he was on his way home.
How lucky was he? He left the hospital bruised and shaken, but thank goodness he could still kiss his wife and three children good night.
After the accident, my mother was on the telephone to my other aunt, both breathing sighs of relief that the only injuries he'd sustained was bruising, when my mother learnt that my other cousin had been rushed to hospital a few days ago with an epileptic fit. He has never suffered with one in his life. Oh no, something else to worry about! How do parents cope?! He's been fine since and on a happier note he's just announced his engagement and he's planning a huge engagement party. I'm eagerly awaiting my invitation in the post, and I have a funny feeling the perfect dress will be worn once again.

The weather brightened up on Saturday, along with the mood in my house. A friend and I went to a near-by town to purchase mothers day presents. I know, so much for me being creative and making her something! In my defence, I did make her card and I rummaged around charity shops for something suitable to paint and decorate. But I failed to find anything suitable to paint and decorate, and I ran out of time. So pink and white flowers, and a rose painted ornament for the home were bought.
My friend and I also stumbled across an antiques fair which we happily browsed around, admiring the jewellery, china and books, and I treated myself to a £2 bag which was in immaculate condition. A bargain, if I do say so myself.
With aching feet (I was suddenly reminded of the Mobile World Congress!) we stopped off at a pleasant pub for a glass of wine, and stayed there to watch England's entry for the Eurovision Song Contest. An ex Eastenders actress, and an X Factor contestant entered. And I'm not sure who the others were? In Saturday night television tradition, the contestants sang and the general public were allowed to vote for their favourite. No we didn't vote, and to be perfectly honest I wasn't really keen on any of the songs. I wonder if it will be nil points again for us this year?! And Terry Wogan (the Irish presenter) will drink too much Guinness? Or whatever it is that he drinks to help him through the night. Some things, dear readers, never change.

Today is Mothers Day. My mother, father and I took a drive out to country pub, opposite a village green, for Sunday lunch. Minestrone soup, roast beef with all the trimmings, and chocolate fudge cake and vanilla ice-cream were lapped up.
I love Sunday roasts, and hopefully my mother appreciated escaping the kitchen and having the luxury of a meal cooked for her.
Happy Mothers Day, mum! What would I do without you?!
Which brings me to bed time. I'm looking forward to wrapping my duvet around me and reading 'Case Histories' (so far a young girl's vanished and another girl has had her throat cut, not exactly light reading) until my eyes feel sleepy and refuse to stay awake for one second longer.
Here's to another week. I hope it's a good 'un!

Picture of the day:

Happy Mothers Day.