Back Home, Back Online

I’m back home again, and back online – Mum is now home from hospital much improved, Dad is doing fine, and my brother and I are both thankfully back to work and looking after our own family households again – until the next parental health crisis of course! 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Online

Excuse My Absence

Excuse my absence for the next few days, family life has inevitably intervened again.

Mum (Dad’s main carer) is back in hospital just now (another asthma attack) so my brother and I are doing our best between us to juggle the necessity of someone always staying with Dad and us both having to work. Usually emergency respite care from Social Services would kick in for Dad while Mum is in hospital but with the Covid situation that’s not an option just now. So my brother’s been staying with Dad for the last couple of days and now it’s my turn – I’m going straight out there after work tonight and probably won’t be online again until after I get back.

Take care everyone, see you soon 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Excuse

Old People Colours

Our five-year-old middle granddaughter has recently started school, and the other day in class she drew a lovely portrait of me in crayon with bright orange hair – her mum asked why Nanny had such brightly coloured hair in her picture and her very serious response absolutely cracked us up:-

‘Nanny’s hair has to be bright because the school doesn’t have old people colours’

Oh dear! 🙂

One Liner Wednesday

Books, Books and More Books

The first thing that came to mind when considering what I may have more than a hundred of in my house right now is books.

Even sitting here in my living room are well over a hundred books, some on bookshelves and some in cupboards. Big books, small books, old books, new books, hard-backs, paper-backs, fiction, non-fiction, serious books and funny books.

There are recipe books, psychology books, self-help books, yoga books, colouring-in books, blank books for writing in, filled-up notebooks, philosophy books, books about crochet and drawing and calligraphy.

In the loft there are also three boxes of my most precious paperback novels moved from London to Inverness a year ago and still to be unpacked – I did well only taking three, by donating the rest of my collection to charity.

Virtual volumes of anything are great in their place, but I also like the old-fashioned reality of touching books, the smell of them, curling up on the sofa with them and the sound of manually turning their pages one by one.

Books have been a constant in my life since childhood, first reading with mum then by myself. Between the pages of books I’ve discovered a wonderful world of imagination, a font of knowledge, a portable personal place of learning and of leisure… ❤

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Over One Hundred

A Nice Cup of Tea

Oooh, I really love a nice cup of tea! Occasionally when a more refined mood takes me I’ll have an elegant Earl Grey with its lovely fragrant bergamot undertones, but other than that I’m not one for fancy flavours so usually its just a standard builder’s brew for me.

I suppose I started taking my tea strong when my kids were small – I had three in a row, with only 12 months between the first two and fifteen months between the second and third, so for a long time actually managing to sit down with a freshly-brewed cup of tea became a thing of the past.

I’d generally get my tea made without interruption, but by the time I got round to drinking it, it would inevitably be over-brewed and luke-warm if I was lucky. A quick blast in the microwave generally restored an acceptable drinking temperature but rather than faff around any more than that I just got used to having it stronger, and over the years it’s stayed that way!

I also enjoy the delicate taste of herbal teas every now and again – mint tea or ginger and lemon are probably my favourites – and I do love a nice creamy cafe latte from anywhere with freshly ground coffee beans and a proper milk frother.

I’m still partial to a glass of cold milk at times, and often there’s nothing to beat a glass of cold water to quench your thirst. But whatever else comes and goes, I’m never ever without my cup of tea – Aaaahhh… Lovely…! 🙂

On the Hunt for Joy: Remember to Hydrate

Fandango’s Dog Days of August: Your Favourite Beverage

Cow Sheds and Sugar Refineries

Vacherie – is that like a sucrerie, but for vaches?

Thinking about my husband’s Cajun family hunkering down in Southern Louisiana tonight as they prepare for a sideswipe of heavy rain from Hurricane Laura as she potentially rages across the neighbouring state of Texas…

Remembering me on my last visit, driving with my father in law and seeing a road sign for a place called Vacherie and asking the immortal question ‘Vacherie… Is that like a sucrerie, but for vaches?’ He smiled, an amused look on his face, and said ‘Well yeah, I guess it kind of is…!’

My husband’s grandfather grew sugar cane on his family farm and so had a sucrerie, a small sugar refinery shed in the yard by his house, so using my basic schoolgirl French to work out the names of things I remembered sucre is sugar and vache is cow, so it followed that sucrerie and vacherie had to have some kind of link in meaning 🙂

One Liner Wednesday

The Never-Ending Not-Good-Enoughs

I struggle a bit with believing in myself, I have life-long issues with never feeling good enough at just about everything and at nearly 57 I’m getting really fed up with constantly questioning my own credibility.

I don’t want to get to the end of my life and regret not doing things at all because I was always too afraid of not being good enough at them. And yet that’s what I do to myself all the time – in order to avoid feeling ‘not good enough’ by failing at something creative, instead I simply don’t try to do the thing in the first place. In my warped brain I have an age-old message telling me that in order for me to feel good enough it has to be total success or nothing, so invariably nothing it is. But ironically that turns out to be a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy – a default not good enough failure by the back door.

Take my latest creative inner battle ‘thing’ – drawing and painting. I really like drawing and painting, always have done since childhood but I haven’t actually done it in years because I know I won’t meet the exacting standard of perfection lodged in my brain, and I’m so afraid of being proved not good enough I avoid even trying to pick it up again. Basically I’m too scared of sucking at it to try. But yesterday I’d had enough of the never-ending not-good-enoughs, so I got out my old art stuff and just started painting. Not to try to be good at it, but to try to have fun with it – and I learned a few things about myself.

I’m generally my own worst critic, but when I finally got that inner voice to shut the fuck up and stop being a nit-picking spoil-sport I found overall I actually quite liked what I painted, imperfections and all.

My drawing and painting skills are understandably a bit rusty after pretty much a full adult lifetime of not using them but to be honest it seems I’m nowhere near as bad as I think I am.

I still have a reasonably good eye for colour and composition, and ok so my perspective needs some fine-tuning but underneath all my fretting and fear the fundamental basics are still there.

I understand that the world appears a certain way as captured in reality by the camera, but in my mind’s eye I may see it or choose to represent it slightly differently and that’s ok – I can change colours or proportions as I want and that’s absolutely fine by me. Everyone else can just take a running jump if they don’t like it.

My artwork, my choice… Oh, and while I’m at it I suppose it’s also my life, my choice, and always has been… Duh! 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Credibility

Naggy Bitches R Us

‘You’re all a pack of naggy bitches today – I’m leaving, I’m not buying anything and I’m not coming back!’

Yesterday was just one of those days at work. Customers – only a small proportion of customers mind you, not all – have recently been becoming quite complacent about following some of the necessary procedures in our store that have been put in place to protect all of us from coronavirus. And oh, suffice to say these unhappy few seriously do not like being reminded to behave differently, or being corrected when they so deliberately err from what is being asked of them!

Customers cannot try on clothing in store – in most stores actually, not just in ours. Notices are up everywhere. The fitting rooms are not only closed due to the difficulties of social distancing within such a confined space but because clothing cannot be tried on anywhere, by anyone, until it has been bought and paid for. Just before I finished my shift yesterday I was walking past an older woman who was clearly trying on a jacket from a rack in the middle of the store, so I reminded her very politely that she could not try on any items of clothing in the current coronavirus climate.

She took off the jacket angrily and glared at me, picked up her own jacket and bag with a flourish, then turned on me as she walked away saying very loudly to anyone who was listening ‘You’re all a pack of naggy bitches today – I’m leaving, I’m not buying anything and I’m not coming back!’. Apparently, as I discovered afterwards, this particular customer had also just objected to being asked to stand in a particular place at the cash desk to complete the return of an item she had bought previously. Oh dear!

I just stood there momentarily with what must have been a surprised look on my face had anyone been able to see under my mask, put the offending tried-on jacket in quarantine then carried on to the end of my shift. But her comment stayed with me, and rather than upsetting me it makes me smile at the sheer childishness of it all. We’ve all had some passive-aggressive barbed comments sent our way from people who project their own personal frustrations with the global situation onto us, whose rude ignorance hears individual insult in the politest of requests for collective compliance.

There used to be a large toy retailer here in the UK called ‘Toys R Us’, and all I can think of now when I remember this customer’s comment is adapting the catchy name for our own use as a kind of badge of honour – ‘Naggy Bitches R Us’ – because if supposedly grown adults are incapable of parenting their own behaviour themselves in an appropriate manner for any given situation, then they leave all us apparently ‘naggy bitches’ of sales assistants no real option in stores but to step in to that missing spot and help do it for them… 🙂

One Liner Wednesday

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Missing

Wanderlust? Not me…

I honestly don’t seem to have a wanderlust bone in my body: I have no real desire to travel far from home. I truly like being at home. Over the course of my fifty-six years on this planet I’ve only visited a handful of countries – France, Belgium, Canada, USA – and am someone who takes the term ‘staycation’ literally, even preferring to stay at home for any holidays from work rather than visiting somewhere else within the UK 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Wanderlust