Driving Me to Despair

 

Me and my boyfriend have lived together in our own house for nearly three years now. I like it. I don’t like the area so much. We live near a block of flats so fondly called ‘Cannabis Court’. I think that says it all. In addition to this, I like the parking situation even less. We don’t have off-road parking you see. So on the road, either side, whether we can fit really. It is also a bus route, which doesn’t help. People who don’t live on the street and park up to visit someone, don’t get the ‘unspoken rules’ that you have to shift your car right over or if on the other side then half on the kerb so that buses can fit. Also that you have to wait at one end of the street if car has started coming down the other end. Unspoken rules. Meaning, that we get buses impatiently pipping because a car is parked on the wrong side of the road (not on the kerb) and a bus can’t fit. I always end up peering out the window saying to myself ‘god, such idiots…oooh are they gonna move?’ It’s quite entertaining.

It is not so entertaining, however, when you get up in the morning and realise that your wiper blades have been bent backwards and upwards. This is what I saw this morning as I was about to go shopping. Drunken idiots having a laugh I imagine. I had to spend precious shopping time at Halfords asking for a new wiper blade to be fitted, to then be told that it was the actual connected bit that holds the wipers in place. That was broken because the scumbags had bent them back so far. So not as easily fixed. Great.

In the past, me, my boyfriend and neighbours have all had numerous wing mirrors broken… you know just the glass part so you know that it wasn’t knocked by a car. I think I had to buy 3 new ones for my KA – so we are talking one a year on average just because some thugs get a thrill from breaking property. Tyre valves have also been nicked and some neighbours have even had windows smashed in. Lovely society we live in, isn’t it? My elderly neighbour was telling me that someone set fire to his garage once and his car burnt to ashes. I just don’t get it. Is it just the thrill of doing something they shouldn’t? Or is it jealousy because they don’t have nice things? Or is it blind drunkenness and they just don’t know what they are doing? I imagine it to be gangs of teenagers, who have or maybe not had drink. This is why have categorised this post in ‘Teenagers’ but I know that this is prejudice and it could have been anyone. Sadly, though it does tend to be this age group.

From experience though, I know that the elderly can be just as nasty. When I had my KA, as it was a bit smaller and parking was a real nightmare (still is but I will go round the corner now) I used to park right in front of my house. This is the wrong side of the road if you like – pointing the wrong way – meaning I had to park on the kerb quite a way. I used to consciously think of people with push chairs and wheel chairs and make sure they could still get through. This is why, I was really angry when an elderly woman in a wheel chair had a go at me one morning. It was a Saturday and I had a lie in and then treated myself to some beans on toast with a cuppa and some morning TV for breakfast. Then I heard a massive bang on the window. When I look back now I think it was with a walking stick that she banged on the window with because I don;t know how she could have reached otherwise but I don’t get why she would have had a stick as well as a wheel chair. Anyway, she was shouting ‘move your bloody car so I can fit through!’ Then she wheeled off with a friend in tow. The thing that was the most infuriating was that she was sitting in her wheelchair in the gap between my car and house so she must have fit anyway. I opened my door, in my pink nightie and said ‘Excuse me, but if you have a problem, I would rather you come and knock on my door and talk to me like a civil adult.’ They ranted on about cars being on the pavement and threatened me with the police. She also pointed at numerous spaces over the road… I thought ‘course there are spaced now you stupid cow, people have gone out!’ She said she would scratch my car all the way down the side if it wasn’t moved. This made me not want to move it because threats like that shouldn’t get things done. After I calmed down, I did move it because I didn’t want to risk it getting scratched. But it really made me mad that by kicking up a fuss like that, she got her way. A couple of neighbours mentioned her too and I noticed they moved their cars. So turns out, threatening people can work, sadly. If she had come to my door and gave me a sob story about not fitting through easily, she could have easily made me feel guilty because, as I said, I used to think about that anyway and there wouldn’t have been any need for threats or insults.

The funny thing was, a couple of days later, I came home from work and parked in the same place again. I think it was only going to be for an hour because i was going out again so I thought it would be OK. As I was about to get out, I noticed a girl come batting down the road on a bike and to avoid my wing mirror, she over compensated and banged into my fence. I got out immediately to make sure she was alright and knew I was in for it now as her Mum came closer. Her Mum, though, had a got at her. For going too fast and not looking where she was going and asked me if she had damaged my car! I couldn’t believe it and because she had been so nice, I apologised anyway and made sure she had enough room and said that people complain and a wheelchair woman had a go at me the other day. She said that it was fine and she feels sorry for us having such a problem with parking down there.

Guess it isn’t always the things we do then but how people react. But I now know that number one priority in our next house is …. a drive!

See you tomorrow,

XSXS

Age is a Growing Number

People say that age is ‘just a number’. Which I guess it is. Especially when it comes to people who you are friends with (age doesn’t matter) and when couples have a huge age difference. You may want to do certain things that isn’t normal for your age…. for example this afternoon I am going to use bright coloured poster paints (that are actually called finger paints aimed at toddlers!) and paint some Harry Potter banners for my boyfriend’s sister’s themed birthday party in a few weeks. So yes in that instant as well, my age of ’26’ is just a number!

But it is a growing number… we all get older every day, every year. And until you get into your twenties, I don’t think you really bother about it. And until you get to 18 you worry about it in reverse as in you want to be older so that you can get into clubs and get served for alcohol. So from 19 – 20, it suddenly loses its novelty yo get ID’D and by the time you reach 22-23 sort of age, you want to be ID’D because it shows you look a little younger. I remember, a couple of years ago, I went out for my birthday with my sister and her friends (who are 5 years younger). So I was turning 24 I think and they were all about 19. We queued up to get into a club and all of them were ID’D and I fumbled in my bag for my pink, driving licence to present it proudly to the bouncer. As I did this, he laughed and said he didn’t need to see mine! Gutted. On the odd occasion that I do get ID’D, it is either because the shop assistant is being over cautious with the ‘look under 25 rule’ or I am looking particularly rough without makeup or something. Or both!

Yes, I’m at the stage there where I love being in my twenties and even though I don’t get ID’D much, I can make my peace with that. I feel more self-assured than I did when I was 18 and more self-confident and know more what I want from life. And I still party sometimes like you can see in Down and Dirty with the Teenagers Part 1 and 2 and Not Sloshed enough to Mosh? My main fear in life is turning 30. Something about that one seems so grown up. Twenties to Thirties. You are more likely to be married with kids in your thirties and do all the serious, grown up stuff. Not as many allowances for screw ups! So for my 30th in three years time, I plan to have a party and celebrate the last 30 years whilst getting very drunk. Surely, you are never too old for that? 😉

It is funny how some people are about ages. At school at the minute, there is a competition for the kids to guess the combined age of the English department. There is a mixture of ages so it is quite amusing. Some are shy about the kids knowing their ages. When kids guess ages it’s normally way off anyway… they don’t seem to have any idea. I have had guesses of anything from 18 – 45 (the 45 guess was from a special needs kid, I will add!). I offered for the department to add my ’26’ age in…. as I am partly with the department too so could be in or out…. and said it could help to lower the average 😉

At the beginning of summer, we had our ten year school reunion. That’s when you feel being grown up and a little older, when you have your first school reunion! Ten years since we left, woah. It was a great evening actually. Some of my close friends organised it and I helped out by getting some old photos together. It was a great night to catch up with people and I actually spent a lot of the night talking to people who I never even spoke to at school. Ten years can change people a lot and the shy, geeky kids are all grown up (I was one of them!) and actually willing to socialise with people. I recommend it to others who are considering a reunion!

I also wrote a poem for the occasion actually, take a look:

Ten years since…..

Ten whole years it has been,
Since years at school as a teen,

Since in Maths we saw Chicken Legs dance,
And over her glasses, she did glance,

Since ‘significant’ Lord of the Flies,
Was a ‘bitty’ chapter in our lives,

Since small, white notes were always passed,
As the back turned they flew so fast!

Since Drama was a Jolley time,
Where farting and burping, both a crime,

Since Collier said ‘Oui’ and ‘Nein’,
Oh Howe did we survive this time?

Since some teachers went into a Buckle,
Pea shoots flew as all did chuckle,

Since Peanut came out of her shell,
If we said too much, she did yell,

Since strict sir Sealy ruled P.E,
But on the fields we could be free,

Since Music gave us fun and smiles,
A purple tracksuit you could see for Miles,

Since Lappy had scared us all so,
But Good Head on his shoulders though,

Since Science gave us Bushes and Woods,
Fires and chemicals and sometimes floods,

And Big Man Watts was the guy in charge,
Where no problem, too small or large,

It really has been a whole decade,
But our funny memories will never fade…

There is a lot of mentions of teachers there, which naturally you won’t quite get the humour unless you went to our school. Many people enjoyed my poem to reflect back on the good and bad times…. which ten years later all seem funny. That’s the thing as we all get older, you have memories that you have built up. The older you get, the more you get.

(See my Circle of Life post for some other thoughts on life and age.)

See you tomorrow, all of us a day older 😉

XSXS

Deliveries from Down Under

I am sat here talking to my Aussie relative on Facebook who is waiting to be picked up for her flight to the UK! Very exciting and gave me  a great topic to talk about today.

We didn’t know we had these relatives just over a decade ago. She was researching her family tree (on my Mum’s side) and found relatives in Australia. This wasn’t a great surprise as we have lots of relatives over there – or ‘rellies’ as the Aussies call it! – my gran’s sister for one and her family and also aunties etc.  But I think of them as aunt, uncle and cousins. Can never have enough aunties can ya? 😉 Anyway, we didn’t know who they were to start with and had the name of my Aussie aunty’s great-grandmother. But my Aussie aunty just so happened to phone my gran one day. She found the surname and randomly circled some of them and it was her fourth call that gained her some extra family. Turns out her great-grandmother, who we had the name of, was the sister of my granddad’s granddad! Woah.

I remember thinking it seemed a little bit too good to be true and felt quite wary. We started talking to them via phone and email. They seemed really nice and down to earth but it still felt quite surreal. They planned to visit the next year, which was 2003. I remember feeling a bit odd about them staying at my gran’s. I thought ‘god they could be criminals – you hear about the aboriginals!’ It was the whole not meeting them thing and of course they had to visit in order for us to get to know them. My aunty came on her own that visit and we all got on well and she met everyone she needed to meet and saw lots of the UK.

Three years later, we went to visit them. Christmas 2005. I was in my second year at Uni, as I remember I had to take some books with me to study whilst I was there! Christmas was odd in Australia. I got sunburnt on a boat trip on Christmas eve! And we had a BBQ for Christmas day dinner! It was great though and we met they rest of the family. I also got to see santa in shorts, which was a definite novelty! Other things that I thought were odd – there was no proper Marmite and the chocolate didn’t taste as good (even though it said Cadbury’s on the wrapper) and they called flip-flops ‘thongs’. I had to remind myself that they weren’t on about wearing a tiny piece of underwear on the beach! Haha. Upsides of course were meeting the family, the weather (even though it was the coldest summer on record for them – it was still very hot for us Brits!) and seeing come great places.

As for spiders….. my hugest fear ever… I didn’t see any! I was oddly disappointed. I went to the other side of the world and expected to see a huge spider. Maybe it would put the UK ones into perspective or it would have cured my fear, I don’t know. Not one black furry leg in sight! The closest thing to anything scary I saw was a shedded skin of a snake. I hope they don’t bring any with them – I’m not that bothered about seeing them!

As my family get ready to come for a visit tomorrow (my aunty and uncle are both coming this time. My sister went to visit them last year but other than that they haven’t seen us since 2005!) my friend is also coming back to the UK soon after being there for a year. I had this vision of them all being  on the same ‘return to the UK’ plane haha – as if there is only one a year! In reality of course, they are coming weeks apart. My friend, though, was very homesick when she first went to Oz a year ago but soon settled in to life down under and now doesn’t want to come home (with weather like this, I dont blame her!)

But I am very much looking forward to catching up with all the Aussie goss from my friend and family. And asking them if water does in fact go down the plughole the other way over there? People always go on about that don’t they?!

See you tomorrow….(UK and Aussie time!)

xx

Remember that?

How’s your memory? Do you remember my name is Sam? That today is Wednesday? What you had for breakfast yesterday? What you did last night? Then your memory is probably about normal. Did you see that programme last night on Ch 4? About a boy, well man since he was twenty, who could remember everything! Everything!

I think you will agree with me that some things we actually want to forget. So imagine if you could remember everything. I talked a little about this a while ago in my post Photographic Memories. The fact that none of us have a photographic memory and need things like photos to help us remember those happy times. Surely we remember the things that are truly important like births of children, weddings, job promotions, first day at school etc. It seems some people can remember further back than others though. I remember my first day at school as clear as day. Not all of it but bits and it is all linked to feelings. I can remember how I felt. I can’t remember what lessons we did or the people I met (even though I know now who would have been in that class) but I remember chunks. I know people of a similar age to me though who claim to not remember their first day at school though. One man claims he can’t remember anything before he was aged ten. He didn’t have a tortured childhood, which he tried to block out. It was probably quite happy. He just can’t remember.

Then there is short-term memory. This guy on the programme last night could remember the day of any date from years ago. He could remember what he did, who he was with, how he felt. It didn’t say on the programme (yet I only wanted about twenty min) if he had good short-term memory. Was he able to remember his dentist appointment later that day? Or his friend’s birthday next week? Surely that would be more use than remembering you went to Cadbury’s World in 2005? Which was one of the examples on the programme. I was in awe though as he could retrieve so much information and his Mum checked it in her diary when they had disagreements about certain days and dates. Must be useful if you needed to remember for a murder case or some sort of enquiry haha.

My next thought after being utterly amazed was confusion. I mean how does all that information fit into his brain? Where does it all? We let go of the mundane, everyday kind of things that we don’t need to remember, yet he has it all. Maybe he has to sacrifice other things like knowledge? Surely only so much can fit!

So remember what you can and definitely don’t forget to drop by again 😉

Come Wine with Me

I am very lucky to have not one, but two, groups of very close girly mates.  And guess what? They ply me with wine and cook for me sometimes too! I love having different groups of mates. last friday I had a girly night out with one group and we went to a Rock club (see Not Sloshed enough to Mosh?) Last night, I spent it with my other girly group (who are ex-colleagues and we have stayed close friends). We sort of do a Come Dine with Me evenings… you must have seen the programme Come Dine with Me? Each of us take a turn to cook….. except it doesn’t happen within a week but normally months apart and we don’t particularly score each other but I think we should! I then started doing this with my rocker friends girl group and I am going to one of them next weekend. So yes, all yummy food and wine and chatter… Mmmmmm…

Last night, my friends did tapas and a paella. We try to do a theme each time. No prizes for guessing that last night’s was Spanish. It was yummy and much wine was drank. The chatter focussed around our friend who is engaged (see Two hearts, Two rings). She even tried on our host’s wedding dress from years ago in between the main course and dessert! See, just ike the programme where they nosey round each other’s houses and  try on random outfits!

One of our most memorable Come Dine with Me’s was a few years ago and we went to one friend’s flat and she cooked us a Mexican menu. It was great, we had fajitas, enchiladas, nachos etc. We even had creme caramels and we had a game to see if anyone could suck a whole one up in one go! I failed miserably! We even made our clothes match the food that night and we came dressed Mexican themed! We had plastic toy guns,  a sombrero (borrowed from the Language department at school!), some tequila (for prop use only of course!) and moustaches to add a final touch. We all looked hilarious! Too hilarious to stay in a flat all night. After much wine and few tequilas, we decided that our outfits had to be shared with the world (well in our little town) so we went out to a bar. We got much attention as we were really five women dressed as moustached men! I tell you, I have never had so much male attention on my life!! I think it was the whole ‘up for a laugh’ attitude we clearly had and we clearly couldn’t care less what people thought of us! The alcohol helped with that though. I may have cared a bit if I was sober or in day light! It was a very funny night and one of those nights that are so brilliant just because it wasn’t planned and totally spur of the moment (well the bar bit!)

so don’t just come dine with me. Come and wine with me. Dance with me. And be a drunken Mexican with me!

See you tomorrow,

XSXS

It’s a Small World…

You know the expression ‘it’s a small world’? I use it a lot and it never fails to amaze me when I meet someone from one area of my life and they know someone else who I have known for years in a totally different way. Facebook helps a lot with that and when it says ‘mutual’ friends and you’re like ‘What? They know them too!’ It is weird. But obviously it is a huge world really full of billions of people and we won’t get to meet that many in the grand scheme of things. How many do you think you will meet? Hundreds? I suppose it depends if we literally just walk past someones, say hello, bump into them or actually have a conversation or a full blown friendship. I think that we meet who are we supposed to meet and everyone has a purpose and a reason to come into our lives. Leading onto my favourite quotation:

People come into your life

for a reason,

a season,

or a lifetime.

The quote actually comes from an episode of Sex and the City. I love it and think it can be applied to anyone. You will find some people come into your life for a reason, whether it is to advise you in a shop, help give you first aid, give you a job or for a longer purpose. Then there are those that come into your life for a season. A work colleague perhaps, a friend from school, a neighbour. Then there are those special ones who may enter at any point but aren’t going anywhere.

Nice thought for the eve…..

See you tomorrow,

XSXS

 

Lost in Transit

I had a whole other post planned for today. I was going to share my favourite quote with you and talk about that. But that’s down the pan. Because, something so bizarre just happened that I just have to share with you……

Have you ever thought about the people who lived in the house before you? You may have met them if you bought the house off them. We bought our house off the previous owner’s daughter as she had died – after turning the lovely bathroom suite into a disable and she didn’t even have the time to make the most it, we all lose on that one. I also tend to think about owners before her. Our house was rented for a few years before we bought it so there has been quite a lot of occupant. Some things from the old woman and her husband remained though. Like the locks on the stair and pantry door. Odd. I thought she was trying to keep her husband from the food or alternatively lock him in there! I found out after because my Dad is mates with the woman we bought it off (see it’s always who you know 😉 ). Turns out the man had bad dementia and would go into a room and forget how to get back out. The locks were to stop him going either in the pantry or upstairs. We also found a trap door in our living room when we bought a new carpet. I was already gob smacked as the old carpet had a date of purchase on it and it was 50 years old!!!! I thought about the day it got put down and how the floor had not seen any light since. We then discovered the trap door and were muchly excited at the thought of money… or not so excited at the image of a dead body. Neither were down there and it was just a view of the pipes. Very odd. Viewing hole perhaps? The screws were so old when we got it open that we couldn’t put them back so we sealed it shut, preventing future occupants the joy of anticipation of what could be in there.

Anyway, the odd thing that happened to today! I got home and there was a letter, a small envelope in a plastic wallet with a note from the post office of apology. It said how Royal Mail were very sorry that the letter had taken so long to arrive. I couldn’t think of anything we had not received and then looked at the address ‘Mary Smith’. Mmmmm… we have lived there for nearly 3 years so it had taken a long time to arrive. I then looked at the date of postage and it was 2003!!!!! It had taken 12 years to arrive…. lost in their network it said. I was quite excited about what could be in so had a peep inside. You know what it was? Something really important since it had an apology letter? Something really worth waiting 12 years for? Nope. A Christmas card! I then felt unreasonably angry for some reason. I thought: ‘How much money and time has been wasted to get this to an address, with now different occupants, twelve years too late! And it was only a christmas card! Poor Mary must be thinking ‘God, I never did get a Christmas card off Doreen in 2003!’ Maybe she even stopped sending them in return because of this. I know my Gran does that. She will say, ‘Well she never sent a card last year so I’m not bothering again!’ So maybe the contact ended between Mary and Doreen because of that. Sad thought. I just still can’t get over the fact that it has been floating around the ‘network’ for 12 years. Crazy.

Something similar happened a while ago. We received a parcel addressed to someone else but with our address on. I opened it. I just had to. It was a lovely card, a little girl’s jumper and a handmade wooden teddy bear. I felt sad that the owner would never receive it. I kept it for some reason. I just had a feeling and figured that eventually I would give them away. I was convinced the woman would never know because how close could these people be if they didn’t even know each other’s correct address? Anyway, a few months later, guess what? She showed up at the door. I was so glad I had kept it. She was very happy and said the sender would too. We exchanged a bit of small talk and she commented on how the house had changed etc. Must be weird going back to your old house years later. Happy ending that time…. just wish I could tell Mary that Doreen did send Christmas wishes 12 years ago!

We also get junk mail for various people and get calls for ‘Mrs Curtis’ very regularly. I like the fact the house has a history though…. a bit of character. Maybe one day something more useful will arrive through the post or I will find another money laden trap door 😉

See you tomorrow,

XSXS

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