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Sunday, 2 November 2014

Creaking Like a Rusty Gate

Let's not beat about the bush. The crafting side of life has ceased to exist. Apart from the few poppies that the Craft Coven have whisked up, there is no crocheting or knitting flying through my fingers and it sucks...BIG time. This is no creative lull, it's an all out bloody crisis. Not only am I being treated for Rheumatoid Arthritis, not yet confirmed but my Dr appears to enjoy using me as a guinea pig where stupid drugs are concerned; but after an appointment with a specialist (finally) it is now thought that I have Fibromyalgia! Oh deep joy. Is this Karma? (thanks Blimp you bitch) or is it just crap luck that at 45 I have constant joint and muscle pain? I won't ask what I did to deserve this as I'm sure there are several (hundred) people out there who's arms will shoot in the air ready to give an answer. I'm never going to run a marathon or get anywhere fast and my days of making stuff are numbered thanks to hands and fingers that won't work. Does this get me out of making any more shitty, white, flouncy baby blankets? Yes - it can't all be bad then. I can live with this shit providing it's with humour. It's harder living with some peoples patronising attitude that it'll 'all be fine in a few weeks'. My answer to that is google it and then come back and tell me it's gonna be fine. Where's support when you need it? Running down the road at break neck speed probably. My one saving grace is a bunch of like minded 'geeks' who go by the collective name League of Extraordinary Penpals (LEP to those in the know.) If it wasn't for the re-discovery of the joy of penpals, the warped humour and mindless discussions about anything from the meaning of life to your favourite pen on our FB page or the endless stream of letters crashing through my letterbox and the support of strangers....I can safely say I would go mad.I need a new creative sideline. I wonder if I could paint masterpieces by lodging a paintbrush in my bellybutton?



Sunday, 7 September 2014

Speciaal Voor U! Een Blog uit Brugges

Translated that means 'Specially for you, a blog from Brugge'. Yes, we're back from our short trip to Belgium. Is it good to be back? Errr no. I missed the dogs but could happily stuff them in the car and bugger off back across the channel. It's been just over 3 years since I bid farewell to Europe and it doesn't take much to remind me why I wish I'd stayed. Anyway.....the holiday.....where do I start? The good thing about coach holidays is that a) they are cheap and b) you get to see where you're going. The downside is that it takes you all day to get to your destination and in our case, you're stuck on a bus full of people you may or may not like (more of that later). Our hotel was the Ibis in De Panne, a coastal town I'd never heard of but it was lovely. The mussels and chips we had in a beach side bar were even lovelier and the OH gave the local beer a big thumbs up. Of course I had packed my Dutch phrase book and in De Panne they mainly speak French so that went tits up from the start. Luckily for us ignorant Brits they all speak English better than we do. 



De Panne seafront

Jeezus!! That's a dinner
On Tuesday we headed into Brugges. It felt like I'd never been away and I managed to locate my favourite chocolate shop as soon as we got into town. Thankfully they didn't remember me - that would have been hilarious. 1.75kg of chocolate later we were having coffee to give OH the strength to climb the 366 steps of the bell tower. Now in Belgium you never just get a cup of coffee or a glass of beer, you get accompaniments. The next time I get a coffee in England with no chocs/biscuits/cake I will protest very loudly.
You'll have to excuse the child in the photo
After a lunch of Frites and Mayonnaise we took a more leisurely tour of Brugges by canal boat. Now I hate boats but seeing as on my last visit the canals were frozen I was determined to find my sea legs to see more of the city. Our guide had a wicked, piss taking sense of humour and we got to see 'The Most Famous Dog in Belgium'!!


4 years I've waited for this!

This is Fidel - the most famous dog in Brugges

Hmm. They're odd looking chocolates
We ended the day at the S&S Bar on De Panne beach where the delightful barman asked for our music requests. Watching the sun set while drinking wine and listening to Metallica is about as perfect as it gets. We did make the mistake of having a drink in the hotel bar with some of our coach party. This only convinced us further that most of them loved the sound of their own voice/moaned about everything (dogs in cafes and bars being their favourite whinge) or in the case of the loud mouthed T**t from Nuneaton, wanted to kick off a fight with the locals. Thank you that man for epitomising all of the reasons that I couldn't wait to leave that shithole of a town and its Chav Yob populace.
On Wednesday we toured some of the WW1 cemeteries with our wonderful guide Pierre, and finished up in Ypres to see the Last Post at the Menin Gate. Thursday saw us descend on Ostend to sample the seafood and markets. With my final coffee of the day I was given a glass of proper Belgian/Dutch Advocaat. You don't drink it, you either eat it with a spoon or stir it into your coffee. It is to die for and I could kick myself for not buying a jar. After all of that walking we had no energy to hit the bars for 1 last night. No stamina these youngsters. We did at one point think we might get stuck at Calais after the illegals decided to storm the port and the Mayor of Calais threatened to close it down!! No such luck. By the time we got there they had stepped up the Police presence and the asylum seekers were few and far between. 
Would we go on a coach holiday again? Probably cos it's cheap but next time can we please sit at the back away from Captain Know It All and the fag ash brigade. 


Hello Soldier!!

Ostend

Sunday, 17 August 2014

It's a Game of Musical Chairs

Moving, just keep moving
Well I don't know why to stay
No ties to bind me
No reasons to remain

It's 1.40am which is a bizarre time to be sat here blogging and watching 'Good Morning Vietnam'. This is the 2nd Robin Williams film I've had to prop my eyes open to watch this week after his sad and untimely departure from this here mortal coil. What wazzock of a TV scheduler came up with the dumb ass idea of showing some of his greatest films in 'tribute' at ridiculous hours of the day?! Thankfully my head is so full of shite at the minute that I can't sleep so here I am watching yet another classic.
We have been to see 3 rental properties in as many days this week. If I thought selling a house screwed with your sanity then I hadn't banked on how lousy this game leaves you feeling. House #1 - a new build 'cottage' (yeah right), looked fairly promising when we walked in. Decent sized living room and lovely new kitchen. The downsides we could see were the overlooked garden, tiny downstairs shower room and close proximity to a school. That list got a whole lot longer when we ventured upstairs to discover they'd crammed 2 bedrooms and a loo into the shallowest roof space known to man. Great if you wanted to sleep on a mattress tucked up one corner and never hang clothes up, but pretty shit if you had a normal bed, wardrobes and a desire to stand up straight. House #2 - a brand spanking new bungalow on a new development which if I'm honest, has always been my idea of a living hell. Sad to say then I fell in love with the place as soon as we walked in the door! Kitchen and bathroom to die for and 2 decent sized bedrooms 1 of which I'd already decided would have my writing desk and shelves of bears in it. The tiny lounge was a bit of a letdown and the white carpets were scaring me senseless. It shouldn't have come as such a gut wrenching surprise then that the landlady said no dogs under any circumstances. Gutted doesn't even go half way to summing up how I felt walking away from that. House #3 - not too far away, small but with a decent garden for a marauding Yorkie. Downsides, it's on a main road and we share access, oh and the expression on the landlords face when we had to explain some of our 'circumstances' to him. Now we have to wait to hear from him. Needless to say I'm not holding my breath. It's bad enough that there is so much competition for places when they become vacant without adding the fact that we have 2 dogs, OH's excess baggage and 6 months in which to find something suitable. My biggest worry (apart from us finding ourselves homeless) is that wherever we end up I will feel bloody lonely. More bloody lonely than I feel living in this village and that's with having the Craft Coven and W.I. It's that shit realisation that I left middle England 4 years ago because I hardly ever saw a soul. Those 'friends' who were always too busy back then, or too much of a letdown have now moved away (no great loss), or have a price on my head for stealing their husband (that's what happens when you're a shit wife). When we came back this morning, one of the 'stranger' residents of the village shouted out a greeting to me as she walked her dog up the lane. Am I going to get that living on a new estate? No. Or living on a main road? Probably not. Or in a quiet village miles away from here? Who knows. I feel like we may as well move 200 miles away. I probably have more chance of finding people to have coffee or to go shopping with on another planet than I do 10 miles away. People keep themselves tucked away in their own little cliques - you only have to look at the Yummy Mummy brigade around here to see that. I spend hours scouring Right Move and then more hours thinking about the places we've looked at and then too many hours lying awake worrying about leaving here. My brain needs a deep clean, all suggestions are welcome.
On the creative front I've crocheted 2 rows of my blanket - a pretty lousy effort, and bedazzled 3 pages of writing paper for penpal purposes. I have a full inbox but no mental energy to put pen to paper and reply. I really hope that 5 days in Belgium and as much chocolate and Limoncello as I can carry will put some va va voom back into my mental being and give me a much needed kick up the arse. I need to get back to writing with sarcasm and sharing my latest loony project, not feeling down in the dumps about stuff I have no control over.

Where did everyone go?



Saturday, 9 August 2014

The More People I Meet, the More I Like My Dog

It doesn't take much to remind me that people (in general) are a waste of space but this week has proved to be a double Whammy in making me lose faith pretty much altogether. When you rent property there is always some level of uncertainty in your life but tenancy agreements usually ensure that you have some back up or notice in place. Shame then that our prick of a landlord and the arsehole of a letting agent didn't bother to read the small print then isn't it. This time last week I felt like a huge hole had opened up and swallowed any thought of stability and security I may have mustered in my stupid little brain. We had noticed a lot of comings and goings at the main property for a while but the Landlord's parents (who were visiting from Banglalore) just seemed to amble along as if everything was normal and as far as we knew the LL and his wife were due back from Canada anyday. Now what could it have been that gave the game away that all was not hunky dory with life? Was it the furniture wrapped in 'international shipping' packaging? or the BLOODY GREAT shipping container that turned up on Monday? Hmmm let me think for a minute? If I hadn't asked our neighbour and we hadn't emailed the LL then I doubt he would have taken 5 seconds to walk the 20 feet to our door to say 'Oh by the way, we move to Canada for good on Wednesday'. The word 'Wanker' doesn't even begin to cover what I think about him, and as for the letting agents - don't even get me started. This is our home and we thought we were here fairly long term. Yes this place is too small and we want our own garden but that was to be sorted when it suited us and not in a hurry. It has been an upsetting and unsettling few days. Apparently we have 6 months, maybe 12. Part of me wants to give them minimum notice and go now, but I like this village. I feel part of the community - the proper one and not the smattering of ignorant 'Yummy Mummy' families who infest the place like a plague of lice. The 'Old Dears' at Craft Coven are gutted and all scurried off on Wednesday to see what they could find out about possible properties coming vacant - I didn't realise the village was such a hotbed of property developers but there you go! This lot are as close as I'm going go get to 'family' so why would I leave?

All things creative have taken a back seat as I seem to spend every spare minute trawling through Right Move and Zoopla. I did make a start on some of my 'reply' pile of mail - I have joined an online penpal organisation and they have proved to be a much needed lifeline. All I can say is that these penpal types are all mad, all geeks in the same way as me, and they are keeping me sane while life goes into a nosedive. Sadly I can't say the same about people I've known for years who pipe up once a year when prompted and who really don't give a shit about what life is dealing you. I guess I'm no longer prepared to play ball. If people only remember I'm here for birthdays (usually theirs) or as a shoulder to whinge on when their life is going crap and their other friends are too busy, then I am more than likely to give them the 2 finger salute or to tell them to do one. I have spent far too much of my time texting and facebook messaging and emailing people to see how they are and I'm lucky if I get a 4 word answer (like yesterday) once in a purple f**kin splangled moon! I mean, they do have my contact details too you know. Well no more. I know who gives a damn on a daily basis, and who will arrange to meet up (even if it's not often) and not cancel at the last minute as they've had a better offer. I may be turning into a grumpy old woman in my thinking but there's a certain satisfaction in telling these people to 'Piss Off' even if it's only in my head.

The camping weekend - blimey is it that long since I bothered to blog? - went well. The site was lovely and we weren't struck by lightening as the jolly old British weather man would have us believe. We need to plan our next destination and soon but our holiday to Belgium is only 3 weeks away and I would be happy to never set foot back on UK soil if I had my way.


This camping lark is exhausting

My latest blanket with added 'Izzy'

Holy Crap I nearly forgot. I finally got my embarrassing and pretty awful 'Ginger Minger' tattoo covered up on Friday. It proved to be fairly pain free and I'm sure they were pleased I didn't threaten to faint his time around. I still have another 3 hour session to go to add the dragon's wings and to cover the remaining pawprints, but I am pretty damn chuffed with the result so far. 



I'll almost have half a sleeve when it's finished which is just splendid though I'm sure my Mother (if she were here) would most certainly not agree on that front.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Downsizing

Every now and again I get some really barmy ideas. The latest being 'lets get a tent' instead of blowing most of the motorhome money on a cheap small camper or waiting years to afford a decent one. Fuelled by 2 bottles of wine on Saturday night whilst staying in Brighton (how the hell did I get into a top bunk?) and my friends encouragement, me and the OH headed off to Jacksons at Arley on Monday just to have a mooch at what was available. Now my total experience of tents has all been festival based, from the scary prospect of putting up a huge family tent at Reading in 1988 to the easier but cramped wonders of dome tents. If I was going to do this as a holiday option then there were going to be some home comforts.......nothing too fancy.......just an airbed, cooker and electric hook up and plenty of room....................... I think this counts as plenty of room.......




I'll admit I got a wee bit sparkly eyed in the 5 man tents. 12 minutes to put up (apparently), more like 12 minutes to get it out of the bag and then 2 hours wondering which bits go where!!!! Ok so we had a bit of a trial run and got the poles in but thanks to a rock hard driveway we weren't going to peg it out anytime soon. We're planning on having a few days at a campsite not too far away just to get into the swing of things. When I told the guy at the camping store that we were downsizing from a 25ft motorhome he looked aghast. I can't imagine why.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

This Is The End (Beautiful Friend)

It's been a long time coming (17 months to be exact) but yesterday me and The Beast parted ways. After dragging it out for 2 months - during which time my nerves have been shredded - Mr Bloke finally coughed up the money for his lousy offer on my beloved motorhome. It was a bit of an emotional parting, after all, that van represented what I considered to be my 1st proper home. I chose it, I paid for it and I lived in and travelled around in it with the dogs. So many lovely memories - no amount of money can take those away.


That will be my most enduring memory - of Timmy sat outside the van surveying his kingdom. It's a year today since my lovely dog left this mortal coil and it's also Father's Day - not great for me and the many others who haven't got one around anymore to lavish cards and presents on, but I managed to lose myself in Ikea for a few hours to take my mind off it.

I have 5 days left of this damn job. I've already spent a week showing my replacement the ropes so to speak. For a youngster she seems quite level headed so I'm sure the pooches will be in good hands. For me - Friday can't get here quick enough. I've had enough of working for Jackasses. Surely all bosses can't be grade A toss pots can they? 


I prescribe some time out to finish off all the UFO's that are stuffed into bags, boxes and wardrobes. I found this photo and really think I need to plan how to tackle crocheting myself a coat. Peace and Love Man!


Sunday, 1 June 2014

Read The Small Print

"Don't start a career without love" - that's what the advert on tv has just told me. Does that also extend to 'don't stay in a career you no longer love' in which case I can wholeheartedly comply with that thought. In 3 weeks me and the dog walking job will part ways. It's all thanks to some ongoing health issues which mean I'm constantly exhausted and in pain ( Doc in no rush to find out why or to give me drugs) and a boss who couldn't give a shit. I will miss some of my dogs and some of their owners who are lovely. I won't miss the owners who moan about every little thing nor the below the minimum wage I get nor the 10 days holiday a year. Oh well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

I finally finished my latest commission.......




I am still trying to work my way through the 4 VW cushions I'm knitting (not easy with stiff hands) and then I intend on tackling all of my outstanding UFO's (she said confidently).

I think I have sold my motorhome to some complete jackass who has made a lousy offer, paid no deposit and ummed and ahhed for nearly 6 weeks before buggering off on holiday. I think a weekend away is much needed and much deserved when this idiot finally coughs up the money. I need to smell the sea and feel the sand between my toes........that rules out Brighton then.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

It's Not You, It's Me.....

Today somebody said to me that their not wanting me to do something (of which I am perfectly capable) was not a 'personal criticism. Err I beg to differ. I do what I do with 100% commitment and I do it well. I am only presuming that these people have joined the many others who think I am a lesser human being because of the purple hair/tattoo's/piercings/fierce Independence/stubborn refusal to breed cos that's what I'm here for (like hell is it). All I will say is don't assume I am dumb because I don't conform and don't insult my intelligence. I have no room in my life for people like this as I wave you a fond farewell. Their loss not mine (well, a little bit).

I am now on week 5 of my dog walking job. I have been bitten (badly) once - my stupid fault and not the dogs (he is now one of my favourites), and I've been pulled over once (my knee is still recovering). My feet finally decided to 'man up' and accept their new lifestyle so I'm no longer hobbling around like an arthritic cripple on a daily basis. I can't say I've noticed the weight dropping off me - maybe that was too high an expectation (damn). I am permanently covered in mud and dog slobber and lovely streaks where they wipe their toys down me to get some attention. I smell of wet dog and dog biscuits most days and the van has a constant aroma of dog parps! Lovely. The lack of glamour is right up my street and I smile inwardly (and smugly) when I see women in town made up to the nines in their designer outfits, swinging their overpriced designer handbags. My 'handbags' cost me 99p for 100 - bargain!


I meet a lot of nice dog owners at our usual haunts. I've learnt how to spot the other Dog Walkers who are up their own arse a wee bit too much, they have a certain 'look' and a certain fashionista way of wearing their many dog leads, and the nutters (of which their are many) who will seek you out to sort out their many problems - not always dog related. Spending 50 minutes having a one way conversation with 3 Labradors is not guaranteed to scare these people away - believe me I have tried.

I've done no crafting at all, shame on me. I did have a valid excuse with 2 gaping holes in my hand but now that's healed I need to get knitting again. Blankets and cushions wait for no man.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

These Boots Weren't Made For Walking

I have completed my 1st week as a full-time Dog Walker *fanfare* and my god I am not ashamed to admit that I feel very unfit and half dead. I made the enormous mistake of stepping out on day 1 in my trusty Barbour wellies which were never designed for covering the miles that I am tramping. I have now been reduced to wearing walking boots which pinch. Talk about badly prepared.

This was day 2 - Mud. Mud glorious Mud
I have now met all of my charges - most of which are bouncy Labradors. It's a wee bit of a shame that I have no 'Ninja' sized pooches to step out with but I can't complain. They all have totally different personalities and it's a joy to spend my day with bitches of the canine kind rather than the human kind. Everyone keeps telling me  I will soon be 'mega fit' - I bloody well hope so. I also hope I shift pounds and inches. On Thursday I walked 6.5 miles, yesterday a mad 8.5 miles and every muscle in my poor, battered body feels it. I come home looking like I've rolled in a pig sty and smelling like a kennel - it's wonderful - Kimi is not amused. 

In English that is 8.5 miles!!
Today I bought these in the hope that they save my souls


I've done no crafting what so ever this week as I barely have the energy to lift a mug of tea let alone a pair of knitting needles. Hopefully normality will resume tomorrow as I have loads to make. I did manage to crawl to the W.I. committee meeting but most evenings I'm dead to the world by 9.30pm. Bang goes my social life (which I never had anyway). I get to talk to my canine companions and that's what matters.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

You Know It's You Babe

My creative mojo has returned with a vengance and I am currently absorbed in knitting these





I've had the pattern for ages but it required some prompting from an old work mate for me to make a start on it. Super chunky wool and huge thick needles wouldn't normally be my materials of choice but it don't half grow quick which is the satisfying thing. I now have 6 to make! Better get a move on then and make the most of my last 10 work free days.

Oh yes, now I can explain (briefly so as not to bore you) why I have been stuck at home for almost 5 weeks. Never one to mince my words, after several months of shite at work (bullying boss, the constant moaning and whining and crying of the bloody woman sat opposite me, backstabbing and never having been part of the clique) I made the comment that I was fed up of working with arseholes who didn't do their job properly (not a lie) and thanks to someone tittle tattling like a petulant toddler I got suspended. It turns out to have been the biggest bloody favour they could ever have done me as I hated that job, and the company and the people I worked with were so not worthy of my respect. So I haven't sat at home withering away glued to Jeremy Kyle like some tearful sap, I have applied for umpteen jobs (none of which really appealed) and finally and unexpectedly my dream job has appeared! I will be earning a crust as a Dog Walker! No more being stuck in offices with the bitching and backstabbing, staring at a computer screen. I will be outside in all weathers, walking for hours (bye bye fat Me I hope) and spending my time with dogs and not people -  I could not be happier. 

I plan on spending my remaining time turning out knitted VW's at a rate of knots and decorating our pale and uninteresting kitchen before I start my life of non-glamour. Hallelujah for a life of wellies and grunge and tied up hair shoved into a hat and comfy hoodies and not having to have a face full of slap before you grace the workplace. Like I said, I am happier than a pig in muck and with the current apocalyptic weather the way it is I shall probably end up resembling one.



 


Friday, 31 January 2014

Time Keeps On Ticking



How do I best describe the last few weeks? Shall I fanny around the houses and remark everything is fluffy or fess up and say it's been shit? Ok let's cut to the chase - it's been a pile of pants. I'm off work (for reasons which will become clearer in the future - and no I'm not knocked up) and bored out of my skull staring at 4 walls; my confidence has been steamrollered and apart from the wonderful Mrs D down in Brighton I don't trust a living soul but I've coped with that before so onwards and upwards. It's taken me too long to get motivated but finally I decided to attack my stash of small bits of wool.



I now have piles of single colour 3" squares to make 'something' out of but gawd knows what - I haven't thought that far ahead. I'm sure when it comes to sewing them together I will curse but the size seemed about right for whatever it is they're going to metamorphosise into - a bag, a waistcoat, a coat, a scarf? Suggestions on a postcard please. I have got way, way ahead on my secret commission so I can take time out for these frivolous ideas which are doing their best to lift my spirits and keep my brain functioning.

Village life seems sedentary.The weather is grim and depressing so you tend to not see a living soul when being dragged around the village by the small Hell Hound. I did drive the pooches out to a local nature reserve for a bit more freedom and open space......it seemed like such a good idea until Kimi expressed his delight in deep mud and riverbanks. Trying to manhandle 2 Yorkies into the shower was tricky and the aftermath resembled the Somme! I long for freezing cold sunny days and may have to get the daylight lamp out to fool my brain into thinking it's spring for half an hour.

 I have my first WI meeting next week as a committee member and need to come up with some ideas to put a bit of Oomph into our activities. Paint balling and Zorbing won't come across as being appropriate but we do need some fun despite the average member age being 70. Come to think of it some of the older ladies might be up for such hair brained and adrenaline fuelled days out - maybe I will suggest it after all.