Yoga mats, cobwebs and banged heads


Like many in my year, I am struggling as we approach the end of it all and the very scary beginning of life as nurses. There is just SO MUCH to do and I have been outstanding in my degree of procrastination. From lying in bed looking blankly at the ceiling to binge TV viewing. Anything works as long as nothing gets done really…like now. But I do have something to write about and if it is out of my system, then I can concentrate…..

The old bike has been getting out a bit, mainly to the gym/sports/leisure centre. What a fab place. I rode there a few days ago and did a short weights work out and on the way to the bike rack, received a text. The sun was bright in the sky and I was squinting at the screen and the next thing I was aware of was that there had been a mighty blow to my head and I was now on my back on the ground, phone and cards strewn around me. Confusion and pain, why was I lying there and why did it hurt big time?  I felt the old neck crack a bit when I moved it. Sadly not one of the many, many people around came to my assistance, maybe they thought I was mad, or drunk or weird. It turned out that I had walked into the rear of the bike-rack roof which is about eye height. There are two racks at an angle to each other – no doubt to make them look funky – but the back of one was in the path of me heading to my own bike in the other. I felt ill, was wobbly and now dirty, but I tentatively got back on the bike and rode home.

Days later my scalp is tender and bruised and my pride is a bit too.

Today however I repeated the trip, without knocking myself out, and did a 90 minute yoga session. In my true style it was a bit of a rush getting out of the house and I grabbed youngest’s yoga mat from the hall to borrow. All good until I get to the gym where, while thinking how yummy (older) mummy it was to be heading to yoga in lycra on a bike, I discovered a massive cobweb trailing from the yoga mat’s bag….I quickly brushed it off where it clung to my lycra clad leg in a persistent way.  By the time I got into the room, they were all on their backs, breathing slowly. I then had a prolonged wrestling session with the yoga mat, trying to get it out of the bag, quietly, all the while hoping a big cross spider didn’t pop out of it. No beasties, but I felt as though I was disturbing the harmony of the session. That feeling ebbed away as we went through our cow-face, downward dog, child and warrior poses. The teacher read out a message at wind-down time about using the day well and being positive. It was brilliant.

I am now about to take that message on board and do something good today that will make tomorrow better.

Ciao x


Long Days and Nights


Life without little Max is lonely. Even Juno, who loved to keep him in line, has done a thorough search and sniff over the house a few times. Possibly to convince herself that he has actually gone, rather than to mourn his absence…

She spent a few days with B&C who are like her grandparents, then came to me as they are away. The plan is that on the Long Days, she will stay there and on Nights, I can have her as I walk her and have a usual day, tuck her into bed about 6pm when I leave to catch the train, and I am home in the morning when she wakes up.

On Long Days I am getting up at 4:30 to leave the house at 5:15 and tend to arrive home at about 10:30 at night. It is indeed a very long day. But I surprised myself by being really prepared in week one. Meals ready for each day, thanks to a big cooking spree. I got home, emptied the bags, washed the lunch boxes, then packed the lunch for the next day, showered then slept. Uniforms were always ready and I have been trying to keep things as efficient as possible.

This week it is all night shifts…

At the weekend I did something I have wanted to do for months. I joined the amazing local gym. It has an Olympic sized pool, a diving pool – with a 10 meter board….rock climbing wall, 160 different classes a week, squash, tennis, badminton, a running track, cafe, bar and hairdresser! The membership for a student is £39 a month. Not cheap, but I can ride the bike there in about 5 minutes which means I am far more likely to go than if I had to drive to it. I think I could walk it in 15. My membership starts on Friday and I can’t wait. The window cleaner and I are going to play squash, and I can get back into weights. I am actually excited because I miss going to the gym.

We are still waiting to hear about the conditional job offers and I phoned about it today. They reassured me that it will arrive soon, they have just had a few issues with getting them out in time.



50 Hairs of Grey


Rain has prevented our walk this morning. It is coming down hard and Juno will barely poke her nose through the cat flap and sigh. The only thing that gets her out in the rain is a nature call. Even Max, who is oblivious usually to being wet, shot right back in after a whirlwind turn of the garden. Things have gone quiet now after a tumultuous wrestling match between them that began in the kitchen and worked its way up the stairs to the best wrestling zone in the house…MY BED. 50 hairs of grey indeed, all over the duvet.

I wonder if the neighbours think I have a particularly athletic lover? The growling might worry them though.

Anyhoo, the library calls, the dissertation calls, as does another essay, a workbook, the remains of the portfolio and all that passing a degree entails. But the uni library is not the only one that calls today. Popping in to sort out a travel card at the station later to help reduce the horrendous cost of fares to London for the next 15 weeks, and will nip across the road to the local library.

I have my eye on a book and after looking at the ‘used’ price on Amazon, searched the local library for it and they have a copy. Woohoo. Not spending again.

Enjoy your day people. x





Another pancake morning


On days ‘off’, no uni, not going to uni, no shifts, etc. I tend to cook breakfast. I tend to cook most days if a boiled egg is cooking, but on these days I make sugar-free pancakes. How smug does that sound? Wholemeal pancakes with fake sugar is really what they are. They have raspberries in them too. But they set me up for the day due to their slightly rubbery texture. Yum.

Then I make my own version of a latte and ‘just have a look’ at my emails. About 2 hours later I can be found drooling over the streamlined interiors of trendy terraced houses, reading crochet blogs, sad fact but it is a thing for me, and the most addictive of all? Money saving/making/frugal living/minimalist blogs.

I am more than a little interested in minimalist methods of living, saving, upcycling and all that. I see myself in yoga pants and a crop top doing bendy poses on a mat, safe in the knowledge that there is nothing in my house. Or should that be nothing in my house that is not beautiful and useful to paraphrase William Morris. (His house was stuffed full by the way).

I plan no-spend days and months, which I forget as I hand over my student discount card at the Co-op when buying my fave tipple, prosecco. Oops. ‘Tomorrow is another day’ comforts me then. When the window cleaner says he will pop in after work and I offer to cook as that is the cheaper option than dining out, I go mad with ingredients and blow the budget. At least he brings the booze.

This morning I read and followed on this blog, another zany singleton’s experience of struggling with her financial lot. I thought I too would start my no spend month as it is the first of March and as most of my budget will go on train travel to London this month, things will be tight.

Then the niggles of self doubt and the reasons why it might not be doable after all started surfacing. My priorities are all over the joint. I have academic work to get on with and procrastinate constantly. There is cleaning to be done and lots of unfinished moving house related sorting out. My four legged friends need their walk (I need their walk – we love it). The cat needs to be groomed – he gets lumps in his fur as he can’t groom himself well any more.

The pancake is gone, the coffee is cold and this table is a trash heap. What these successful bloggers tell us, well hidden in the humour and self deprecation is that it is BLOODY HARD WORK committing to anything and even harder sticking to it. It takes real effort, drive, focus, energy and a true desire to change the way one lives.  I want to do it, but is that enough?

This month my goals are modest. To be honest about the habits I want to break and change. To look after me better (health, mind, body). I seriously need to drink less. It is just a habit not a pleasure most of the time.  To reflect a little on the choices that got me here and accept that not all were good. To respect what I have and to live well within my means.

Here goes xx







Doggy update


Fantastic news. Max has a new family and it did not happen through a charity.

One of my amazing friends put the word out and another girl I know and worked with for years got in touch saying she and her family (husband, two daughters and older dog) were looking to rehome a dog…

Today Max had a big day. First he went to the hospital to meet his potential new mum, it was love at first site. Then word got out he was around so there were lots of ladies gushing over him and saying they would have taken him had they known etc etc. He then came with me to the hairdresser and was a star. Then finally we met the window cleaner in a dog friendly cafe and had a bite to eat. The poor mite was exhausted when he got home.

He moves on Sunday. As sad as I am, I am immensely grateful and relieved.

A very hard decision


In the few minutes left in the battery life of this pc, (charger chewed by the subject of this post and will need to be replaced…) I will tell you briefly of one of the worst decisions I have ever had to make.

My beloved Max

looking naughty but sweet here, is leaving us. Of late my neighbours have been complaining about his barking when I am out. I cannot verify this, as he is quiet when I am here. He does have a collar to deter the barking, but it has been getting worse… the complaints that is.

Neighbour relations are tricky things and we cannot chose who we live next door to, just like we cannot chose family. The main complainer is a very, very, large, unkempt woman with a pile of rubbish in her front garden, including a door! Her other half dotes on Juno…odd. What has been difficult is her tactic. She claims that another neighbour, Dorrie, or Florrie or someone will have the police on me as she is ‘in with’ the community police and is very high up in the church..not sure what that means, but obviously was supposed to add to the weight of the complaints. I spoke to said Dorrie/Florrie who claims she has never heard the dog but had a few messages for the first complainer, through me, which indicated quite bad blood between the two. First neighbour then claimed that other people were complaining to her and I asked her to let them know I was happy to hear the complaints directly. She could not provide names…

I walked the dogs as often as I can, for hours sometimes. Leave them toys and snacks and make sure Max has his collar on, but to no avail. She has taken to lying in wait for me as I approach the house.

The final straw was last Friday when I went to an open day at the hospital I hope to work at, in London. I was given a job. I am still in shock, it seems so unreal, but  all present were guaranteed a job and all we have to do is pass the degree and indicate our training preferences. (I have been with this Trust for 3 years and the open day was invitation only, so they obviously new what they were getting!!)

As I walked up the path, she darted out with more moaning and my heart sank. I have shed many tears this week. I hate leaving the dogs alone for so long as it is, but this was too much. My new job will keep me out of the house for more than 15 hours a day on shift days. I still have uni, I was bereft.

But, I am blessed with the most amazing friends. All I spoke to set about trying to sort out a solution, I spoke to dog trainers and really worked at it. At the weekend the window cleaner popped in. He is absolutely the voice of reason, never ruffled, always thoughtful, and he talked me through all the options and listened to me cry.

We found a solution for Juno with friends who are a bit like her grandparents who take her for me on holidays etc. But Max was different. Most people wanted him but worried that in fact he may be a barker. One family offered to dog share him.

However, the fact is that Max is an extremely sociable little dog. He loves company, canine and human alike. He is bright and very active. He is fabulous with children and totally lovable. So I thought the best and fairest thing for Maxi is to find a forever home where he is not coming and going between families, where he gets time and attention and the chance to shine.

I feel guilty that I took him on, foolish for not recognising the challenges ahead when I have to hold down a job and support myself. I feel selfish because I though it would make my life easier having two dogs, company for each other. It works but is not tenable for 15 or more hours a day.

So, I have spoken to a well known charity a number of times over the last few days and they are looking into whether they can rehome him for me.

I imagine there are those who will condemn me for my poor choice. Believe me, I am doing that myself.






Letting go of people


We all have emotional baggage, history, views, prejudices and suspicions. One of the true tests of friendship and acceptance is/was, in my opinion,  not to judge and to maintain the friendship because it means/meant something…..

But what if that relationship, despite its age, its history and tradition is exposed to racism and bias and hatred?

Bearing in mind my beautiful girls are half Japanese, and look it, I expected more from one of my very oldest friends. At the dining table with her own daughter present as well as mine she launched into a tirade about people from a certain Asian country, likening them to a human – porcine hybrid. I was shocked but could not find the words to condemn the comments, without ruining the relationship. (The words would have been strong and colourful).

However some later reflection made me accept that things can never be the same again and the fact we live a world apart means there is no need to see her.

On this side of the world however, I am on Facebook and of late have noted that one person is increasingly outspoken in their extremism, all in the name of her God. I find it disturbing, distressing and disappointing. Is that a reflection of my own narrow mindedness in refuting another’s views or is it something else?

We live in unsettling times. We also live, here in our part of England, in a melting pot of people, faiths and traditions and yet there is still room for hatred.

I may come across as being biased and judgmental myself, but I cannot condone racism and for that reason chose to let people go.



My own trumpet


The results of the oral exam came out today. My mark bought tears to my eyes. 94%.

After all this time, all the effort and work and the constantly low marks – passes, but still to my mind, low, this awesome number.

Tears from me, but it would not have been possible without awesome friends. The lovely Leila for one. We did so many ‘rehearsals’ together before the exam. Her results are as mine…fabulous.

quiet time


The trip to Ath was smooth and the return one was smoother. I get such a thrill to think I was 40 when I got my driver’s licence and approached the whole driving thing with nerves and now I can pop over to Europe alone in the car….one of my small joys.

Francoise is 82 and wobbles on her feet quite alarmingly at times. It does not help that the town she lives in is all cobbles and tall steps into shops and odd gutters that have to be stepped over. I felt like a mother hen clucking around her making sure she didn’t go over. Behind the wheel however, she is a different person…also alarming. Good thing I have strong nerves.

We did little outside though because the weather did turn and it was wet and very cold. No flea markets or charity shopping but that helped the wallet.

We did sew though.After deciding against the pattern I had, we used one from her magazines and she painstakingly traced the outline, cut the fabric, got me to use the rotary thingy on charcoal paper and mark the seam lines. Then it was pinned and tacked and fitted. She does everything methodically, accurately and slowly and has produced some of the loveliest clothes, embroidery, lace, patchwork and knitting I have ever come across.

It was yet again a good lesson for me, (I learned yesterday that I am a pragmatist when it comes to learning and developing new skills…ie…fast and furious).

The dress is unfinished but I will return to make it with her in April. It is a summer frock so no worries there.

I managed to do some academic work, some crochet and I read, in two days ‘The Girl on the Train’  by Paula Hawkins. I loved it, but did work out early what was going on.

I am home now and the sun is shining, youngest is in bed – she arrived last night and was in good form. The first lecture of MY FINAL SEMESTER was yesterday and today I am doing work on the literature review, cleaning, dog walking and tonight have a dancing lesson.

AND, the boiler is fine. It just needed a bit more pressure and with the help of the window cleaner the house is toasty again…