Thursday, June 7, 2018

Update

Well, I didn't quite make it to the end of the A to Z. It was probably an ask too much given the complexities of my life at present.

So, to give an update on my present situation, I am working in a temporary job for an Italian firm. I have very nice boss and it is a lot less stressful than my previous role which was a nightmare from start to finish. With hindsight, I should have turned around and walked out the first day I started the job in London as it was immediately apparent I had walked into a very difficult and explosive  situation.

I am now looking for a permanent role. Whilst there are prospects for this one (which would probably mean returning to London) ideally I am looking for a 9-5 job so I can spend more time with my son in his last year of sixth form. That is not easy as it means moving out of retail and, at my age, finding any position, let alone one which is not your area, is pretty damn difficult. But it is becoming more essential I find an admin job for other reasons too as, after nearly two years standing on my feet all day, the pressure on my legs and feet is taking its toll. My knees are now shot to pieces, I have lost all my flexibility and, last night, I noticed that my feet and ankles were swollen. I have started a diet today in the hope that shedding a few pounds will help as who knows how long it will take me to move out of retail and 8 hours a day on your feet are bad enough without them being uncomfortable or painful.

On a lighter note, I have written 50,000 of my new book. I think its just about done. Maybe a few more thousand will wrap it up. I have decided that I am going to use it as the basis of another book and rewrite it into another entirely different format. So you could call it a first draft in a sense but what might ultimately materialise will be very different indeed. I am just going to put it to one-side for a while as I'd like to see if I can push forward with my idea for the TV sitcom or finish the sequel to The Changing Room.

I have also started a course in counselling. I am not quite sure how I will find the time to complete it given I can barely find time in the day to do anything that isn't completely essential or the odd bit of scribbling but it was free and, as a communicator and observer of people, I am very interested in this area. I doubt whether I will ever pursue any job specifically in this area but most jobs, especially at management level, require some sort of counselling or negotiating skills so I think it will prove a useful addition to my CV.

So that's it for the moment. I'm still moving forwards, albeit very slowly and with the occasional backwards steps.

 Hey ho.






Monday, April 30, 2018

S is for Selebrate

Okay C is for celebrate but given this is the last day in my present job which has been a nightmare from day one I think I can take a grammatical liberty. I am overjoyed to be leaving.  The last three weeks where I have stuck a smile on my face and pretended I no longer care if the staff arrive late, the stock is missing and put up with the daily grief have been a test of my endurance. So with only 9 hours to go I can now SELEBRATE.....

Give me joy in my heart keep me praising
Give me joy in my heart I pray
Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising
Keep me priaising til the end of day

Sing Hosanna, sing Hosanna, 
Sing Hosanna this is my very last day
Sing Hosanna, Sing Hosanna
Sing Hosanna forever and a day!


Sunday, April 22, 2018

R is for Rollercoaster

I am currently on a rollercoaster of emotions.

On the whole, I believe I have coped admirably well give the unenviable situation I was left in 20 months ago.

There have been times of utter despair though. No doubt about that.

Currently, I am working out my notice for my present job. Work has been the one thing that has kept me going over the last 20 months. Focusing on doing a good job, building a career again has been very important. Not just for financial reasons. So it has been a huge disappointment that my current role has not worked out. I feel angry too as I invested a lot of time and energy and took a big hit with trainfare to pursue it and I don’t really feel I’ve had the support I should have done.

Consequently, my emotions are all over the place. The trouble is when new troubles arise they trigger off the old ones and the whole situation escalates into an overwhelming rollercoaster of emotions. It can be very debilitating.

I am trying to write my way out of the situation. I am now 30,000 into a new book and I have 6 more working days to go in my job. I wonder how much I can write in that time?


Q is for Quaint

Quaint is a funny old word. Not many people use it these days. It means “attractively old-fashioned or unusual”.

Perhaps how you might describe Miss Marple, Jessica Fletcher, a Tudor cottage or a gentleman in a bowler hat.

I never really thought of myself as quaint before but in my present role I have come to see that as I do have some rather old fashioned values which include:

Turning up to my job on time.

Carrying out my job to the best of my ability.

Trying to perform tasks in a timely and expeditious manner.

(Obviously, none of these rules apply to housework. Ho hum.)

I think I shall now buy myself a twin set and pearls and move to small rural villaage and investigate the untimely disapperance of the Church flowers.



Friday, April 20, 2018

P is for Pants

Okay, so I'm going to talk about pants. British pants. Not American pants which are, in fact, trousers.

Got it?

Just to clarify, British pants are knickers or G-strings, boxers, hipsters, Y-fronts, cami-knickers and so on.

American pants are the outer garments we call trousers in the UK. I'm clarifying this just in case Mr Trump ever reads my blog as I heard the last time he'd drunk a little too much at dinner and the waiter asked if he wanted a bombe for dessert, he hit on Syria. 

So, I’m starting a new job soon so, as most women know, that kind of situation calls for a little investment whether its makeup, perfume, shoes or some other goodie.

I’ve decided on pants.

Because after diamonds, pants are a girls’s best friend. You can always rely on a good pair of pants to keep you safe from unexpected breezes, wandering hands and damp toilet seats your male colleagues have misfired on.

Big, large, black cotton pants. High waisted. Thick elastic. My favourites. Maybe a little lace on the edges for a touch of feminity.

Now if I get a super deal on my new pants, I might be able to put the money I've saved towards an extra gift to myself.

I’m thinking trousers. Not pants. Big black ones. High waisted. Thick elastic. Maybe a belt for extra security.

Yeah, that should do. Roll on May the 1st when I can face the world wearing my new pants.









O is for Over

My current job is almost over. I have 8 working days left. I will probably weep for joy when I leave what has, undoubtedly, been the worst experience of my working life, both paid and voluntary. And I have done an awful lot of jobs.

Of course some people don’t count voluntary work as “work.” It’s just a hobby. They only see “work” as a job which is rewarded by a pay check. But without the thousands of volunteers in charities, youth groups, sports clubs, schools and institutions our society would be a lot poorer in every way.

So this stage of my life is almost over. Hopefully, soon I can put this job and the other unhappiness of the last few years behind me. I am now back writing here on my blog and elsewhere.

And when I write the sun begins to shine. Maybe that’s something only other creatives can understand but doing what makes you happy is a huge bonus in life. And I have been very lucky that my writing often makes other people happy too. And that is truly a wonderful feeling. I anticipate in a few weeks I will start writing the sitcom which has come to forefront of my mind whilst I have been doing my present job. Hopefully, then the only tears I will shed will be tears of laughter.




Thursday, April 19, 2018

N is for Noise

One of the things you begin to appreciate more as you get older is silence.

I remember when I was a girl and I would ask my father what he would like for Christmas or his birthday and he would always answer “P &Q, P&Q”.

Which meant “Peace and Quiet.”

As I get older, I appreciate more what he meant. And the world has got a much noisier place since I was a child. Sometimes the noise is debilitating.

These days I think there is nothing better than sitting in the quiet and listening to the sound of nature. Maybe take the time out to reflect or relax.

Today, I am by myself for a few hours at home. Rarely, is it so quiet in our house. It is so quiet I can hear the clock ticking.

My father was a wise man.  He died in 1999 when he was 73. It will be his birthday on May 1st.

I will light a candle in his memory and be thankful I had wonderful parents.


M is for Motherhood

Motherhood is a job. Some people don’t think it is. Perhaps they think it’s all tea and gossiping.

I’m afraid the only women who might be doing that is are the mega-rich ones who pay someone else to look after their kids.

I’ve always taken my role as a mother seriously.  And I gave up a lot, including a career, to put my children first and give them the best start in life filled with love, support and affection. And, despite one or two hiccups on the way, they are three successful and fine young men with super qualities and lovely natures.

It has not been easy though. Being a mother and being responsible for someone else's life is a tough call. It's not like the cut and thrust of business where people are just numbers on a payroll. Sometimes when they were little I slept on their bedroom floors when they were so ill I thought they might die. At other times,  I've stayed up all night to proofread essays. I've run from feeding one baby to calm the other who was having night terrors until I was in state of near exhaustion. I've watched them be defeated and weep at losing in their sports and fought to rebuild their confidence. I've helped them to overcome amongst other things dyslexia, depression, disappointing exam results, rejection and anaphylactic shock.

Just like other mothers. And 9 to 5 mums too.

There have been times I have been so exhausted I have wept. Particularly when my younger children were babies and my husband would never get out of bed to help.  There were other times I was so frustrated when I had to deal with their educational problems and depression by myself I could have screamed.

Of course, silently, I did scream. By I held myself together, sometimes only by a thread, because I am a mother and I take my responsibilities seriously.

When I die I know I will have done my very best for my children. I won’t regret that I didn’t have a big career, or a swanky big house or a fast car.  And, yes, my boys they won’t have had luxurious holidays when they were kids or inherit a tonne of cash because I chose not to work but I know one thing, for sure. They will always love me and I will always love them no matter what happens. I will always be by their side to support them in their choices, their highs and their lows and I will never let them down.

So, ladies, next time someone puts you down or gives you no respect because you took time-out to be the mother that nature intended turn the other cheek, walk away.

Don't don't let someone else's skewed perspectives on life and values get you down.

You deserve better.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

L is for Late and Luck

So I’m late on the A to Z.

Now I don’t mind being late when it’s called for but I am never late for work. At least not without very good reason and I always take the time to inform people that I’m running unavoidably late.

I shall be tackling the subject of lateness in more depth when I am in my new job. Expect a corker.

In the meantime, I have had a stroke of luck. I have been offered a job which means, hopefully, I can leave my present job earlier than expected. I just need to agree a date.

Bells ring, hands clap, choirs sing, “Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah”! Praise the Lord.

I haven’t had much luck for the last few years. In fact, I’d say the only stroke of luck is I haven’t dropped down dead from stress and exhaustion yet. Yee Ha!

Hopefully, this will be a turning point. Fingers crossed.

I’m playing catch up on the A to Z. Hopefully back on track soon.....


Friday, April 13, 2018

K is for Knee-jerk

Have you ever given a knee-jerk reaction?

One of the skills I’ve learnt as a writer is to be patient and edit what I say. It’s a valuable skill as a writer. But it’s made me more cautious about expressing my opinion or giving knee-jerk reactions and I’m not sure that is always healthy. Sometimes, I’ve written out emails and texts which get right to the heart of what I want to say quite bluntly. But fearing the consequences, nine times out of ten, I leave them in draft until I’ve calmed down, sometimes for days and a lot of the time I never send those emails even when I have every valid reason to press “send”.

Primarily, this is because I’ve realised over the years it is often a complete waste of my time and energy corresponding with people who can never see someone else’s point of view, who have zero empathy.

You might as well invest your time in doing something constructive. Like putting out the bins.

However, there it is quite satisfying about giving an honest, full-frontal reaction. And letting go of pent-up emotions can be a good thing because keeping them in can make you seriously ill.

I have had a few situations lately where my intensity of emotions was so great I have given knee-jerk reactions.

And on reflection, I still think they were the right reactions. I was brought up with a strong sense of what is right and wrong and fair and my parents were kind, generous people.

And I realised I should stop consenting to these person’s poor behaviour by not speaking up. Because often these people are bullies. Bullies in relationships or bullies in the workplace. They rely on people’s fear and good nature to get their own way. And if I don’t speak up I am allowing them to continue riding roughshod over myself and others.

So maybe less thoughtful editing from now on. And more shooting from the hip is what’s needed.

Yes, I think so.

So, a question. If you’ve given a knee-jerk reaction, how did it work out for you?





Wednesday, April 11, 2018

J is for Jane Who?

Over the last week, I have written 18,000 words of a new book. I plan to finish it in the next 28 days. I’m on track though as the as the average novel is only 90,000 so I’m already a substantial way into it. If I continue at the rate I’m going, I will have more then enough material to whittle away anything superfluous.

I’m not sure if I’ll publish it. It may be a bottom drawer book. Most writers have several of these: Books where they learnt their craft or books that didn’t work out as planned. I have one too. This may or not be another one. It is too soon to tell.

However, it is not comedy. Although there are glimpses of my humour. Life would be dull without humour...

I have spent ten years building a writing career which has, sadly, stagnated due to the difficulties in my personal life. But no more. I have decided I shall continue to write comedy under my present name. However, when I step outside of comedy I will write under a pseudonym.

In the course of time, I will probably reveal this name to those of you who have become my friends and long-term readers. I haven’t decided on my name yet so if you’d like to particpate in throwing some ideas around now’s your chance.

All suggestions greatly received!

I is for Ignoramus

I wonder how many people know what “ignoramus means”?

I looked it up just to be sure.

Basically, it’s a posh word to describe a stupid person. It’s the sort of word quarrelsome academics or posh folks who went to public school would use to describe each other...

“I read Charles’ paper on Lichtenstein. Pompous twaddle. He really is an ignoramus.”

“I was at the Club the other night and bumped into Wally. Total ignoramus. Wally by name, Wally by nature I’m afraid. I heard his father was Master of the Hounds. Can’t believe it. Surely, must be the son of a grocer.”

It’s also the type of word historians use:

“The Prime Minister had a penchant for pigs and referendum. In all likelihood, history will not look kindly on such an ignoramus.”

“When he turned his attention from Britain to Russia, Churchill knew Hitler was not just evil, but an ignoramus of stupendous proportions and, ultimately, Britain would be victorious.”

So to sum up, ignoramus is not the type of word you’ll find on this blog. I’m pretty blunt so I think someone’s an idiot I just tend to come out and say it. That said, I’m going to make “ignoramus” my word of the week and try and say it as much as possible now.

If  I say enough, I might get offered a job in banking or Westminster so I can work with other ignoramuses.

Hmm. The future looks rosy. I love the idea of dining out on expenses. Awesome.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

H is for Homeless

Since I have been working back in London, I have been appalled by the number of homeless people I’ve seen. It is so much worse than twenty years ago when I first worked in the capital.

In Oxford Street there are homeless people begging every few yards. It is awful.

In Euston station the other night I had my worst experience. I was approached by a young girl, a blanket over her head, her face pale and drawn. Desperation in her eyes. She was only about the same age as my youngest son. She was like a zombie. The living dead. I stepped back. In fear maybe. Perhaps distaste. I don’t know. I had no money on me to give her and within a few moments, she moved on.

I am ashamed of myself. I keep thinking it over and over. What I might have done to help her. Maybe I should have taken her home for the night. I’ve tried to make excuses to myself that I have more than enough problems to deal with at the moment with break up of my marriage, financial worries and a crap job but it doesn’t ease the guilt. I failed another human being. And a child too.

I have decided I am going to write an article on homelessness. I have asked a friend who is a photographer to take some pictures for me and I will see if I can sell it to the papers to raise awareness. It is shameful that in a country like the U.K. people should be so poor they have to live on the streets and in the alleyways.

I have one month left in London. In that time I intended to interview some homeless people and let them speak for themselves. Use my writing ability to do some good. Hopefully.

Since the breakup of my marriage, my constant worry has been not knowing if I can keep my children’s home. And I know, at the very best, I am only a few months away from losing it. There are more living expenses to pay than just a mortgage. Something my husband hasn't seem to have had a grip on for many years.

And so I know what the threat of losing your home feels like but, ultimately I could down-size my house and the boys and I could squeeze into a much smaller property. It would be tough and yet another kick in the teeth but at least I'd still have a home. Others have lost their homes. They have no place to go for warmth and shelter except shop doorways and rubbish strewn gutters.

It breaks my heart.


Saturday, April 7, 2018

G is for Ghosting

Now if you are an oldie like me you may thinking “ghosting” is what happens at midnight in a spooky old house.

Apparently not. It is a term now used for when people you’ve dated just disappear on you. No email, no text, no letter or last minute call. They just disappear and you never, ever hear from them again.

I believe it’s actually a term derived from David Cameron’s departure from 10 Downing Street.

I fancy to do some political ghosting too. I’m planning to write to Tony Blair and say I’d like to donate 5 million to his foundation if he’ll drop his trousers on Horse Guard’s Parade during a live TV broadcast.

I reckon he’d actually do it for less but 5 million is a nice round figure.

Then I’ll ghost him. Obviously.

Maybe I’ll do it to Tom Cruise too. Tell him I’ve discovered an elixir for growth. And when he’s transferred me the cash I’ll slip off to the Caribbean in my yacht.

Ah sweet dreams.


Friday, April 6, 2018

F is for Forceps

I don’t think men know enough about forceps. But it’s about time they did. So I’m going to explain what the fear is like when a midwife holds up the forceps and says “I’m afraid I’m going to have to use the forceps.”

It’s like a irate women holding up a pair of nutcrackers in front of her partner and saying:

“I’ve always had a penchant for nuts. And your’s look ripe for cracking.”

Oh there’s another F I liked to talk about and that’s “Freedom”.

For the last 6 weeks or so I have been working in the most hellish job I have ever had with a level of toxicity and venom I have never encountered before in all my working life. Today, I made the decision to leave. It was a shame as it was a job I really needed and I will have to work even harder to get to where I want to be now when I thought I was finally on track. But I am old and wise enough to know that some battles aren’t worth fighting. And tonight when I left knowing my time there is limited I felt freedom in my veins.

And it felt good. I will sleep easy tonight.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

E is for Erogenous Zone

Okay, I’m not going to beat about the bush. Contrary to what some young people seem to think, people over fifty still have sex and still have erogeneous zones.

We are not dead. Some of us might look like it (I’m thinking of Rupert Murdoch) but we are alive and we occasionally still think about sex.

And if we’re lucky we actually get to have it with someone who is alive and not a blow-up doll or, if you’re a woman, a giant vibrator which came free with a month’s supply of incontinence pads from Amazon.

So what I’m saying is us oldies still have erogenous zones. However, instead of being based mainly in our pants they are based in our brains.

That’s why I know that fantasying about having sex with Georg Clooney would actually be better than having it. I know this as he has twins. Which means he probably hasn’t slept for a year and he has less chance of getting it up than I do have of losing half my body weight before Christmas.

This is the good thing about getting old - you don’t actually have to have sex to have it. If you get what I mean.  For example, the other night I had sex with Tom Cruise. It was a far-out experience. Especially when the little green man arrived and we went all out for a threesome.  And you know what the best bit was folks?

I didn’t have to change the sheets.

Awesome.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

April A to Z : D is for Dipstick

So “dipstick” has two meanings. One is a rod for measuring the depth of liquids.

The other is a word to describe Donald Trump.

Oh crap. The SWAT team are on my doorstep again...

I was just joking I swear to God it was just a joke......I’m a comedy writer... I don’t actually mean what I say...... I love Donald. I even have a matching hair piece I wear on my genitals.....

No, I am not dropping my knickers. My genitals are my own private business!

I demand a phone call. It’s my right as a British citizen....

Hello, Queenie. It’s me. You best pal. Get the Paras over here fast. I’m about to have my hair piece confiscated which means I won’t be able to lend it to William for the coronation.

Ten minutes?

Awesome.


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

April A to Z: C is for Codswallop

Now I'm guessing not a lot people outside of the UK know the word "Codswallop".

Basically, it is an old English maritime word used by fishermen. It refers to the old English tradition of using a wet cod (an English fish common in the Atlantic) to wallop someone around the face.

In most recorded cases of codswalloping, English fisherman have used the technique on French sailors attempting to poach our fish. But during the WWII codswalloping was used during the evacuation of Dunkirk when us Brits were out of ammunition and needed to give the Nazis a bloody good old taste of British fighting resilience.

And believe me there is nothing like an angry English fisherman with a wet cod in his hand. The Germans may have invented the Blitzkrieg but codswalloping takes fighting to a very personal level. When it comes to hand-to-hand combat English fishermen are the best in the world. In fact, it is well known that Captain Birdseye, whose grandfather was a pioneer of codswalloping, has coached the SBS (Special Boat Squadron) and written a manual for both the SBS and the SAS entitled "Codswalloping and Haddock-Baiting in the Armed Forces."

I'll have to explain haddock-baiting at some other time. However, if you’ve heard of waterboarding let me tell you that haddock-baiting takes torture to a whole new level as it is intensely difficult to breathe with a haddock stuffed down your throat whilst being codswalloped around the face and, in cases of extreme torture, the groin area.

And I'm not even going to talk about what Captain Birdseye recommends you do with a pike. But it would definitely make your eyes water.

So there you have "Codswallop": An old English term, which if there was any justice in this world, would go viral.


Monday, April 2, 2018

April A to Z: B is for Balderdash

In a previous A to Z I talked about “bullshit”, and today I have decided to talk about something in a similar vein which may not be in common usage abroad and is not heard much these days in the UK either.

Balderdash.

Now “balderdash” ”is not, as you might expect, a word to describe a bald-headed marathon runner.

(Although the idea has interesting possibilities for one of my future stories.)

It is a word to describe incontinence.

Oh wait a minute, that's “bladderdash”.

Blast. I should have started writing about “bladderdash” as that is something I know a lot about. In fact, invariably, most woman over fifty who have had a baby know about "bladderdash."

As it happens, I know more about "bladderdash" than most as I've had three children. My bladder now has more holes in it  than my kitchen sieve. If I cough, alarms sound on the Thames floodgates. I’ve also invested in shares in Tena Ladies as I am fairly confident by the time I’ve hit sixty I will be bulk ordering incontinence pads from Amazon on a monthly basis. At the moment, I can manage bi-monthly orders which is not so bad. However, the downside is it's rather depressing to keep receiving
marketing emails from Amazon suggesting I purchase portaloos and or buy a subscription to Incontinence Weekly.

What is it with Amazon? They know my every move. They are like Orwell’s Big Brother. I swear they have a little man inside my PC who is just constantly monitoring my every click. I think they are working in partnership with the CIA and MI5. In fact, I’m going to test this theory by putting AK47 in the Amazon search bar and seeing how long it takes until a SWAT team turns up on my doorstep.

Okay, let’s test my theory.

A K 4....7

Okay, what was I meant to talking about? Oh yes “balderdash”... well “balderdash” is an unusual world which means......


Oh fuck...... no....... oh Jesus ....no....please...get your hands off me! I swear to God I am not a member of ISIS.......

And I haven’t got any firearms...or Semtex... you can check my bedside table! I just have a copy of Incontinence Weekly.

Yeah. Okay, I promise I’ll never put AK47 in the Amazon toolbar again. I promise.

Thank you, thank you, thank you... say hello to Mr Trump for me. I love him.

No, seriously I do! I love him and the wig. It's awesome. Okay... thank you. Thank you. Bye.


Sorry about that interruption, folks. I had an unexpected visit from some sly bastards very nice men.

So "balderdash" it means "Nonsense" which is pretty much what I write on this blog. Except when I'm fed up in which case I can write anything from a political diatribe to a haiku.

Stay tuned if you want to expect the unexpected on the A to Z.



Sunday, April 1, 2018

April A to Z : Apprehension of Unwelcome Readers.

At the very last minute, I have decided to sign up for the Blogging A to Z Challenge. I am going to try and play along even if it is only for a few words a day.

So, as usual, I am just going to pick whatever word pops into my head or if anyone has any suggestions they will always be gratefully accepted. I suspect most of my words will be emotive words bearing in mind I am in a very emotional stage of life but, hopefully, I will also come up with a few of my zany posts too. (Hurrah!)

So let's start off with A is for Apprehension.  And get the dross out the way first. The primary noun definition of apprehension is:

"The anticipation of adversity or misfortune; suspicion or fear of future trouble or evil."

Now I have mentioned before that I have not written on my blog much for the past few years for a number of reasons. 

One of them is I have an unwanted reader.

This is someone who I know exists. I have met them on a number of occasions. Over the years, I have had many friends and sometimes relatives who have visited this blog and all have them have made their visits known to me at some point and I have enjoyed their comments, emails and feedback. And it has been a rewarding and often fun experience.

This person, however, has never mentioned to me, at any time, in person or by email or comment, that they read my blog and in recent years it has begun to fill me with apprehension to the extent that it has inhibited my desire to write.

I am not sure that this person comes here to be entertained. But for some other purpose.

Incidentally, I should mention it is not my soon to be ex-husband. Despite our recent differences, he is not that kind of man.

I am an open and honest person and I always say what I feel. I do not like living under what has felt like a silent threat. So today I end my apprehension and I will write whatever I feel and whatever I god-damn like. And should this person visit my blog in the upcoming days they must now feel the apprehension I have done. 

You may ask how I know this person exists.

The answer is I have been blogging for over ten years. During that time I have learnt a lot about the Internet and technology. I really am quite Internet savvy. I have pretty much experienced everything on the Net from anonymous admirers to stolen posts appearing on soft porn sites.

So there are 30 days in April. I am in an emotive and explosive mood. 

I could write anything

The tables are now turned. I have my custard pies stacked and ready to throw. Should I feel like it.

And if you, my dear and welcome readers, feel you have any insight, opinions or similar stories of this nature please do leave a comment.

And I would also love to hear from some of my genuine anonymous readers. Your continued support of my blog is always welcome.

Ps- if any of you anonymous readers are rich, single men I am still available. I come with an excellent sense of humour and a large backside. These are valuable assets especially to the visually impaired.










Friday, March 30, 2018

Dreams and Situation Comedy

I have had a super stressful time lately. I know this as last night I was lucid dreaming.

Some people find lucid dreaming a source of pleasure. This has never been the case for me. Usually, they bring out my deepest fears and yesterday was one of my most frightening. Sleep paralysis, evil spirits, the chill of death.

If you have never lucid dreamed, let me tell you it is a very unusual state of mind. You are aware you are dreaming and therefore have some degree of control over your dream. In mine, because they are not pleasant, I use the power of prayer to bring me out of the dream. It might be because I was raised as a Catholic my lucid dreams are never joyful ones. They usually delve into dark places and have a spiritual or religious overtone. Last night, when I finally pulled myself out into a fully conscious state I found myself singing a hymn, my face covered with tears.

I have been under a lot of stress lately and this is the cause. I have had an exceptional amount of unpleasant job-related stress, long hours commuting, vicious and upsetting communications from my husband’s relatives and one of my closest friends has been diagnosed with a brain tumour. In addition to dealing with all the crap and responsibilities I now have as a single parent.

My brain is in survival mode. That’s for sure. They say people who lucid dream have a greater power of observation and self awareness. Possibly, this is true. I feel I know who I am and I am very sensitive to those and situations around me. Which is why I know I need to get out of my present job which is damaging my emotional well-being. I don’t need that type of negativity in my life when I have other issues to contend with.

They say stress is a valuable tool for writers and some achieve their greatest work in times of stress. This has never worked for me. Until now perhaps. And I not sure how or why but out of the misery of the last few months a new idea, based upon some of my experiences, has come to the forefront of my mind.

And no it is not a psychotic thriller as you might have expected. But a pure slapstick comedy. Think Are You Being Served meets Fawlty Towers. I think it will work best as a TV sitcom. I have already sent off for some scripts for Dad’s Army and Porridge and two guidebooks for writing situation comedies. And when I have digested the format I need I will begin.

For the last 3 years my writing abilities have been frozen. For many reasons, rather than writer’s block, I have chosen not to write. But now, for the first time, I have something which really excites me. Which is fresh and inspiring.What’s more, I am going to write a lead part in it for someone who I met through work and has supported me through some of my toughest times over the last two years and become one of my best and dearest friends. He is also an actor and I know I have a part for him.

So I finally have the motivation to write. Maybe there is a small light on the horizon.





Thursday, March 15, 2018

Name Dropping

I was on a packed commuter train last night and the guy next to me who, at a quick glance, was probably around thirty-years-old started to have a Skype call with his father.

Awkward.

If you’re familiar with our British commuter trains you’ll know there’s not much room and passengers are pretty much on top of each other. In other words, it can be pretty intimate and feigning total blindness and deafness during someone else’s conversation is not always easy. 

So, this fella was ringing his father on his journey home. Once the usual pleasantries were over, I kinda expected some manly talk: business, cars, politics, football ....which is a little stereotypical I know but it was a public place so I didn’t think it would too personal.

Anyway, it transpired that the young man wanted to tell his dad the names he and his wife had chosen for their soon-to-be expected baby.

Edward Oscar Simon Seymour Surname.

I nearly gagged on my water bottle. Talk about a mouthful. It took all my restraint not to burst out with something highly inappropriate on the lines of:

“What the *uck?"

“So something simple and non-pretentious then?”

“Are you crazzzzzy?”

"Why don't you just call the poor kid Jesus?"

Now one mustn’t be too judgemental as obviously these could have all been family names and maybe a first grandchild etc etc. However, there were the girl's names to consider as well....

Lillian Florentine.

Luckily, they’d only decided on two at that point. Phew.

The rest of my journey was filled up thinking what might come after Florentine.

I liked Garabaldi. It goes well with Florentine. (I was working on the biscuit theme obviously.)

Lillian Florentine Garibaldi Jaffa has a nice ring to it.

Anyway, the young man’s conversation finished off with a gushing “I love you, Dad.”

Seriously. In a way it was kinda sweet and then there was another part of me thinking “Get a grip, man. You’re on a packed commuter train!”

Anyway, I’m thinking it would be good fun to pretend to have a conversation on my phone one night about having a transmittable disease and see what happens. Maybe a few coughs and splutters too for added effect.

Recommendations for diseases sought please.

I’ll think I’ll start off with....

“Hi dad, I’ve not been feeling so good since I got back from Africa.....”






Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Exhausted

God, I am exhausted. Three nights with almost no sleep. 4 hours of commuting a day, a nine hour working day for which I spend 8.5 on my feet, propping up my kids with all their various issues, sorting out the huge financial mess my husband left us, trying to carve a career again at 53, sorting out all the housework, all the DIY.

On top of this as I no longer have time to look after myself at all. Not that I did that much before but at least I found time for an occasional swim and to write. Now my writing career which was on the rise has plummeted and because I can’t find time to swim and I’m on my feet all day my knees have frozen up. I now have the knees of an eighty year old.

Life sucks. But I’m not sorry my marriage is over. That would have killed me quicker than all the stress I am under now. So hurrah for freedom and goodbye to all that.

#Metoo

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Where’s the toilets please?

My first day in my new job was easy. Too easy. I’m hoping it will become more challenging because my brain needs more stimulus. And the annoying part of not having enough stimulus is then I am thinking I could be at home writing a novel instead of having to work ridiculously long hours in retail.

A job in publishing would do. I don’t have any formal publishing qualications but I’ve edited several books for other authors now and project managed my own three to completion. But, as always, age is big barrier even if you have transferable skills. 

In the meantime, I’ll have to keep persuading folks out of their cash for luxury goods they don’t really need! Or directing them to the toilets which seems to come with the territory. I think I did about ten requests for the loos yesterday, as well as one for vacuum cleaners, one for headphones, one for incense stickers, one for Christening presents, one for watches, one for sweets, several for cafes and god knows how many else. The best one was from a lovely lady from New York and her daughter who asked for somewhere to eat when I directed to them to the nearby cafes the answer came back “Oh I mean a British pub. We want to have the British Pub Experience!”  This necessatated the use of Trip Advisor, Google maps and so on. And then to finish off our conversation, directions to the loo. And for my own amusement I ran through all the different terminologies for going to loo in the UK including “spending a penny” which they thought highly amusing.

Of course the best part of working retail is you get to meet some lovely people. Of course you do get meet a few who should be shot on sight but, for the main part, most people are just lovely.

So I have to keep my brain active so today I have set myself a challenge:I want to turn at least one of the loo requests into a sale from my counter. I figure it’s a tough challenge as, talking from my own experience, if I want to go to the loo, nothing will stop me. Not even a six-foot wall and barbed wire.

I think I’ll focus on the middle aged men today. My theory behind this is - they haven’t had kids so they won’t have the weak bladders and bowels that us ladies do but they won’t be too old so they’ve encountered prostate problems. Secondly, if they’re mature they might have more cash to burn. Thirdly, flirting is a proven sales technique and this is something I am uncommonly good at.

Just call me a sales slut.

I’ll let you know how I get on.






Monday, February 19, 2018

Update

On Friday I was offered a temporary job until May 31st in London. The £522 trainfare per month is going to eat into my salary but it’s a job and gives me breathing space.

The last few weeks have been hell. Some days I have felt physically sick knowing that in a few weeks time I would not be able to pay the bills. £72.00 a week job seekers allowance doesn’t go far. There were even a couple of days I had to force myself to get out of bed. The best I could manage was to scroll through the job sites and submit my CV and, at times, that took all my willpower. I had 18 days out of work but, for the main part, was unable to do anything but the barest of essentials.

These are classic symptoms of anxiety and depression. Fortunately, I have enough self-awareness and am well-read enough to be proactive in preventing myself slip any further. Chiefly, I contacted my friends, told them how I was feeling and asked them to come round and give me some support. Luckily, I have many kind and wonderful friends who I have been open with about the problems I am facing. They have been awesome.

How awful it must be to be depressed and anxious and have no friends to confide in. To feel isolated.

So I have made it through yet another crisis. Just. It has not been easy. Tomorrow I start my new job and hope it creates some other opportunities before the end of May.

And when I get home I am going to start building my new blog. And begin a new novel.

I don’t give up easily.






Saturday, February 17, 2018

Silence is not always Golden and the #Metoo campaign

Abuse comes in many forms.

I've always been extremely discreet about my private life on this blog. However, with the #metoo campaign still gathering momentum I am reviewing whether I should stay silent much longer.

Being discreet, protecting my children, hasn't made my husband more cooperative or communicative. If anything staying silent allows him to keep viewing me as a doormat. If I didn't have children there is no way I would put up with the crap I have done. I would have been gone like the wind.

Over the last few days, there are been more revelations about abuse by Oxfam workers. It seems some workers were dismissed for their abusive and exploitative behaviour and others were given the chance to jump ship.

The sexual abuse of women and children has been rife in the news for a good few years now. How disheartening to find out that it exists even amongst the charity sector. However, perhaps it is not surprising given that no profession where a man holds power, whether it as a priest, politician, TV presenter, film producer, football coach, in the office or in the home, abuse of women and children is everywhere.

Everywhere.

I'm fortunate I know some good, kind and responsible men. Otherwise, it would be easy to become disillusioned entirely with the male species.  But centuries of male entitlement and privilege doesn't disappear overnight. It is important that women speak out. We are half the world's population and yet frankly the vast majority of us are still getting a shit deal.

So as my mind goes over and over the problems I face, I have decided I am going to add my voice to the #metoo campaign.

I am ever mindful of my children’s well-being so it is going to be an anonymous blog. It is unfortunate as I would rather be me, but I will be better able to articulate my experiences this way.

Writing is my therapy. I am now at a stage where I face so many problems, both short term and long term, if I do not do something proactive to help myself reduce the stress then I will probably implode.

So writing therapy it is. I will still be writing here of course. This is my writing home. Hopefully, if I can get rid of my anxiety elsewhere this blog will be a much happier place!






Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Mission Impossible

The last few years have definitely felt like a mission impossible for me. And it's not looking like its going to get much easier soon. However, at least I've got something to look forward to.

Tom's new movie!

Awesome. He may well be nuts but most us are in our own way ( I think I qualify) and he makes a darn good movie.

Sadly, I've still got to wait until July. Bah humbug.



Thursday, February 8, 2018

A Student Dilemma

I am currently in the social area of a large British university as Master Ben is on a day course. It is filled with chairs and tables and lots of plug sockets. It is a kind of social work place for the students with lots of nooks and crannies and even some private booths with large computer screens.

I don’t recall anything like this in my day at Uni. There was a bar of course and a library but not really a social workplace.

It’s a kind of relaxed place where you can meet your fellow students or lecturers for informal sessions or to work.

There is also a cafe. So I set myself up to apply for jobs all day in a suitable spot. However, to my huge disappointment I discovered I’d forgotten the lead to my PC (my battery only lasts an hour at most) which would mean using my iPad which is very difficult for anything remotely complex like form-filling. Writing this blog is also very difficult as the IPad screen won’t scroll down in tandem with the Blogger screen.

So I decided to soothe my frustration with a hot drink from the cafe.

My medium latte cost £2.10.

That is only slightly less than the cost in London or in my former place of work which was the
second most popular tourist destination in the UK which was obviously doing it’s best to rip off the customers.

Now I understand about making profit. But come on - £2.10 to students! It’s no wonder they all leaving college with huge debts. What a rip off.

Looking around me here, the only person drinking a non- purchased coffee is a woman about my age who has brought her’s in a flask. She’s either a mature student or a lecturer. But obviously has some common sense because if you add up a few £2.10 coffees every week, maybe lunch and a cookie or two that ends up a lot of cash over a month for your social gathering/chat about your last lecture.

There was none of this in my day. Work was in the library or in your room. I never worked with
others unless it was in an official tutorial and then we didn’t stop for coffee and biscuits. We just got on with it. And if you wanted to socialise in the day you did it in your room with an instant coffee made from a cheap jar of Tesco’s home brand coffee. And cheap biscuits not luxurious cookies.

Okay, so I am kinda furious the students are being ripped off but I’m kinda furious with them too. It’s all too cushy and easy with their comfy working areas, coffees, computers and vast array of technology to do their research. Kindles and Ipads to download books and cut and paste their notes in a minute or two.

I’d like to see some of them try writing a ten-page essay long-hand and then rewrite it three more times because there’s too many typos. And go the bloody library and read a book without needing an endless supply of £2.10 coffees.

In fact, if I was a student here I would be boycotting the cafe with the other students and driving the prices down to an acceptable level.

Students are always moaning about their lot in the UK. Well I say get off your butts and your iPhones and put down your expensive coffees and maybe you’d leave uni with a lot less debt and a better work ethic.

Rant over. Coming up next - a scientific pie chart on the male species.






Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Practical Advice

Since I have some time on my hands I've come up with some practical advice to anyone struggling in a relationship. I've put a lot of thought into it as you will see. Here it is:

As soon as your partner starts treating you like shit, dump them. It will not get better. 

Boy, I think I could have a career in this counselling business! I've managed to sum up in two lines what it takes most self-help authors an entire book!

Maybe I could write a book entitled Fifty Ways to Leave Your Spouse.

This would consist of 48 repeated lines of:

As soon as your partner starts treating you like shit, dump them. It will not get better.

Followed by:

Take all their credit cards. And slash their trousers discreetly in the crotch area so they don't realise until they're on The Tube and being arrested for indecent exposure.

And finally...

And, most importantly, reverse into their precious car as you back out of the driveway. (At high speed.)

Hey, I'm really good at this practical advice! It's kinda flowing naturally despite the fact I did none of these things myself! They say people learn from experience. And I've had a lot of that. Maybe I could also be an agony aunt? I think a top spot on the Guardian would suit me. God knows that paper could do with a little humour. Maybe when I back on form I'll send in a trial marital advice column.

On a more serious note, over the weekend I watched Suffragette with Meryl Streep as Emily Pankhurst. It stirred up a lot of emotions. My overriding thought was that whilst women may have the vote now, we still have a very long way to go towards true equality in the workplace, in the home, in marriage, in politics and in opportunities. Only for a few lucky women is equality the real deal. And as for sexual liberation - well I strongly doubt that too. But it suits some men to let us think we are sexually liberated as then it so much easier to abuse us.

I thank those early suffragettes for paving the way. It has given us women voices. And when I am finally in control of my life, I will unleash my voice again.

The sequel to The Changing Room has been on hold for a long time but soon it will back in progress.I have more essential things to do whilst I am unemployed but when those are done, it will time for some serious writing to commence. It will be some time yet before it is finished but when it is, get ready for more a lot more laughter and a lot more tears.

This voice is only just breaking out.

Ps. If anyone wants to send me some questions for a trial marital advice column please do!


Thursday, February 1, 2018

Looking forwards

Since I have more time on my hands I have decided I shall write a little.

Today has been a really tough day. I didn’t sleep last night as I am feeling anxious and was bitterly disappointed at not getting the job I interviewed for yesterday. Had I got the role it would be a huge game-changer for me and my boys.

But there’s no point thinking it over too much - that’s easier said than done of course so today has been a very tough day as I’ve tried to kick myself out of a negative mindset.

So I’ve spent numerous hours wading through job sites looking for jobs that might fit. I’m trying to find one on an equivalent pay or more as taking a hit on the salary scale would be a major setback. I’ve bookmarked some recruitment consultants to pursue in the next few days.

What else? I spent 40 minutes on the phone with a prearranged interview for a role in London. I believe it went very well but, at the end of the day, you never know who else you’re up against. I’ve already taken one test for this position and if I get to the next stage there will be two more face to face interviews and two more tests including a 4 hour on the job trial. It’s a great job so I don’t mind how many hoops I have to jump through, I just hope my jumping is high enough.

I texted the recruitment specialist at a National retailer that I have already had a conversation with about ten days ago and who are interested in me. At that point they didn’t have a suitable vacancy for
me as I’m after a managerial role within an hour’s commute and a reasonable salary. I reminded her
that I’m still looking and I can take up an appointment with immediate effect due to the redundancy.

I made application for a deputy manager’s position for a store in London. It was a job I could most
defintely do. I was rejected in the afternoon. Disappointing but at least I got a response and a timely one at that.

I followed up an application on the Internet I made on the 12th January for a job in the locality with a personal email as I’d not had any response. I’ve still not had any response although I see the firm is still advertising.....

I’ve started a new job application on the web for a library role. It’s not enough pay but I might be in with a chance so I’ve decided to go for it anyway as at least I’d enjoy it. The unfortunate thing is my CV is now geared to a retail management role so I need to tweak it to add back in some of my publishing endeavours which, theoretically, should be relevant.

So I made a few steps forwards but not enough. It’s been a tough day. I am frankly used to rejection now and my skin is getting thicker all the time. I’ve had two meetings with shop managers in the last few weeks and we seemed to get on very well - one even wanted me to come back later in the day to
see his area manager who was in the locality and said he’d text me a time after he’d spoken to him. I
spent the afternoon researching the company ready for an interrogation and then... radio silence. Nothing.

This is what it is like being a fifty-plus woman trying to get a job. It is bloody gruelling.

Tomorrow morning I’m going to meet a friend for a coffee as I need some friend therapy. Hopefully she won’t want to throttle me when I relate my recent experiences and moan for England.

Maybe we’ll chat about Tom Cruise instead. I haven’t told a Tom joke in a while. Not even a small one. Hmm. I think that needs rectifying.


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

When your best is not good enough

Sadly, positive thinking wasn’t enough. I did the best I could up against two internal much younger  male candidates.

I actually thought when I came out of the room I might have got it. Apparently, it was a close run thing.

Possibly. But I’m a 52 year old woman. I guess the odds were stacked against me no matter how well I performed.

Now I have one month to find a job or the boys and I are in deep trouble. I’d like to think my husband would help out but he blatantly doesn’t give a shit. I’ve only just had a £200 contribution to my son’s £800 airfare that I paid back in November. Since then I’ve had his car insurance and breakdown cover and he’s not contributed to those at all.

I feel sorry for my boys. I’m trying my very best and it’s just not good enough.

I wonder if my husband ever, even for one moment, thought about the ramifications of quitting his executive job without having a job to go to or making any financial plans. Or the consequences of sitting on his arse for months waiting for someone to gift him a job.

No. He didn’t.  One day a spontaneous apology would be welcome but I won’t hold my breath.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Positive Thinking Please

I am a great believer in positive thinking. Even when the crap keeps coming your way.

Okay, so I am being made redundant on Wednesday. It was moved a month forward (too long to explain) which has given me less time to find a job. Luckily, (or unluckily as it turns out) I was offered a job fairly quickly with the added bonus of a nice pay rise just before Christmas. But after having picked up the contract a few days ago I can only describe it as a “third world” contract. After discussions and alterations, I am still not happy.  I am not happy to the extent I have withdrawn my interest in the job as it has the potential to put me in an extremely vulnerable position. Frankly, I am shocked that such a contract even exists in the UK.

So I have got another job interview on Wednesday for a role I really want and need or life is going to get even tougher for me and my boys.  It’s a job I’ve never done before but I believe within my capabilities. I need all you folks out there to send me positive vibes on Wednesday morning.

Positive vibes, prayers, telepathy, however you generate your positive thinking. Wednesday morning folks.

Let’s do it.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

New Year Update

I have had a number of requests from different sources to update my blog so, finally, here I am.

Firstly, I want to thank all those of you who have continued to pop over here over the course of the last year. It has been heartening to see that my blog has not been entirely abandoned and that people still want to read my musings or check on my wellbeing. Thank you all very much.

So, the last year has not been easy. There have been many times I've wanted to let off steam on my blog. However, I decided that for the moment, at least, I will not directly write about the traumas I
have been going through. I am not yet divorced, primarily because my life has been so chaotic with endless problems arising that I have not yet completed all the paperwork. But I shall be granted a divorce of that there is no doubt. The terms will either be settled in mediation or, if need be, in court.

And I will not be signing my husband's small print clauses to silence my voice. That might mean going to court and stripping away my last few assets. But so be it. I had a very frugal upbringing and can do without and I am a lot tougher than people think. I'm not going to be sticking my head in the oven or blowing my brains over a divorce or being broke - a world shortage of chocolate maybe. But a divorce? No.

So the good news is that I still I have a sense of humour and this is what has kept me going alongside the support of my many friends. I have some awesome friends. I still find time to laugh daily and slowly I am healing.




What's more, I even got asked on a date last week! I declined though. I have enough crap going on
without dealing with date dilemmas and men who think with their penises rather than their brains. (I might have to revisit this subject in length at some point.)

I would be lying though if I denied the fact that I have shed a lot of tears over the last year but these
are not tears over the end of my relationship they are tears of frustration, anger and sadness at the problems I have been left to deal with and the fallout that has directly my children's future and wellbeing. The tears intensify every time my husband's family try to manoeuvre my children away from me. However, this manoeuvring hasn't worked so far and it won't because I am my children's rock and they know I would lay down my life for them.

On the work front, I have three jobs, lost one through the company going into receivership and am shortly to lose the third through redundancy. I have had a tonne of other crap to deal with which I shan’t even bother to write about for fear of this blog becoming an essay.

However, here I am. I am alive, facing my struggles head-on and doing the best I can in very trying circumstances. I am sad to be leaving my current job as it has been a source of great pleasure and friendship in a difficult time but life goes on and hopefully a new adventure awaits me.

On a different note, as you can see my blog appareance has started to change as I am thinking about
writing again. I think it will be sporadic at first but expect to see me back here more regularly in the coming months.

And we shall have some fun! Laughter is always the best medicine. Finding humour in the small things around me is probably what’s saved me in the last few years.

And I don’t intend to stop laughing until I stop breathing.