Disappointment, sadness and more good news – first published 22 November 2013

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November 2013 was drawing to a close along with my job. The were good days and bad days, hopes raised and dashed. At times it seemed cruel that we had to be there, slowly dismantling our world and our work. At other times we savoured every moment there was left. Through it all the little moments of beauty kept me going. Continue reading Disappointment, sadness and more good news – first published 22 November 2013

All’s well that ends well at Blackfield Common

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1 June 2016

June began with another RR10 in the New Forest, this time at Blackfield Common. Commando swore he knew how to get there. Stupidly, I believed him. By now I should know better. Of course, we ended up driving round in circles with no idea where to go and even Google Maps couldn’t help because I couldn’t get a phone signal. It began to look as if this would be the RR10 we didn’t make it to. Continue reading All’s well that ends well at Blackfield Common

good news and the biggest bombshell yet – first published 14 November 2013

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As with most cruise ships, the majority of the crew on the Silver a Helm ship were from the Phillipines. In November 2013 typhoon Haiyan devastated the country with many thousands killed or missing, towns and villages flattened and food running out. A great deal of uncertainty surrounded the whereabouts and safety of the families of most of our crew. For them it was a very worrying time. Continue reading good news and the biggest bombshell yet – first published 14 November 2013

Putting CJ to the test

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24 May 2016

When I told Commando I was going to walk the Itchen Navigation to Winchester today and CJ wanted to come along, he was concerned. He didn’t think CJ would cope with a fifteen mile walk, no coffee stops and nothing but nature to look at. In fact he suggested we get the train to Eastleigh and start off there, on the pretty part of the Navigation. CJ insisted he’d be fine though so, fairly early (at least for CJ), we packed some sandwiches and drinks in my rucksack and set off. Continue reading Putting CJ to the test

Sunset disappointments and surprises

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5 May 2016

On the way home from the RR10 we drove across Cobden Bridge. The sun was almost set and I looked over at Riverside Park a little longingly. The Snow Geese had captured the colours of the evening sky and were glowing in beautiful striations of gold, pink and red. If I could have jumped out of the car there and then and taken a photo I would have. Some how I didn’t think the Spitfires giving me a lift would have appreciated it and it certainly wouldn’t have done my reputation any good. Continue reading Sunset disappointments and surprises

A slight cock up in the medal department and a ten mile walk

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27 April 2016

The Southampton Half Marathon was over and Commando and I were both chilling over a cup of coffee. He’d run thirteen point one miles and I’d walked more than half that trying to spot him. In fact I’d even run a little bit but I’m keeping that to myself in case he starts expecting me to run all the time.
“Have you got my race pack and my medal,” he said.
“I haven’t even seen it,” I said with a sinking feeling. “You didn’t leave it in the pub did you?”
“I don’t even remember having it in the pub. I thought I’d given it to you.” Continue reading A slight cock up in the medal department and a ten mile walk

Duckling surprise

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18 April 2016

CJ and I went for a little stroll along the river this morning. For my part it was mostly about trying to fit some miles in, in a month where I am fast falling behind on my pledge. For CJ it was more about the cygnets. There had been reports that the black swans had another clutch, two this time, and he was eager to spot them while they were still fluffy and grey. Knowing how illusive they are I did my best to lower his expectations but he wasn’t really listening. Continue reading Duckling surprise

two buses and an interview

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2 October 2015

In the end I decided not to drive to the interview. For one I thought I might get lost or stuck in traffic and I didn’t want to end up late or panicked. Besides, it didn’t seem prudent to spend my savings on extortionate parking charges when there might not be a job at the end of it.  So I took the bus, after all I still have my free bus pass for the moment. It ended up being an interesting journey. Continue reading two buses and an interview

Chilaxing, mostly

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30 September 2015

It’s been a funny old week with no office to walk to and time I’m not used to having on my hands. Of course I’ve been job hunting and I’ve got things done in the house. The fridge has been cleaned to within an inch of its life and lots of things have been tidied that would otherwise have stayed messy. The weather has been unseasonably nice, the Indian Summer I’d hoped for when July and August were so wet and miserable. Of course this made me feel guilty for being indoors. Guilt is my default mode.

For a long time I’d been sitting with one eye on the screen of the Mac scrolling through jobs I didn’t want to do looking for gems I did, the other on the sun and blue sky outside. “Enough,” I told myself, closing the laptop and picking up the car keys. It was too late for a walk but there was still time to go out. CJ looked up from his own computer as I passed him in the gym. “How d’you fancy an ice cream on the shore?” I asked. I didn’t have to ask twice. He was up and had his shoes on in a flash.

The ‘drive right in parking space’ was taken up when we got there but I managed to find a space a little further along and got into it with no trouble. While CJ took photos of the gulls and crows I’d snapped a few days before I queued for our ice creams. It was a pretty short queue and soon we were sitting on the shingle with our backs against the weathered wood of the fence eating. The gulls watched us, waiting to see if we’d drop anything.

It was peaceful sitting there in the sun with the sound of waves breaking on shingle.
“We used to come down here a lot when we lived in Woolston,” I said, half to myself, running my hands over the shingle not quite able to resist the urge to look for pretty shells. “I’d collect bags of seaweed for the compost heap and your brothers would run around like mad things or gather pocketfuls of stones, shells and glass worn smooth by the waves. Of course you were just a baby in a pushchair. You won’t remember it.”
“Not really,” he agreed, picking up a piece of smooth green glass and examining it. “I remember the razor shells, sometimes they’d have creatures still in them and I’d throw them back in the sea, but that was later I think.”

When the ice creams were finished and my pocket was filled with tiny, mother of pearl turban top shells, we got up and strolled down to the sea. CJ skimmed a few stones and I watched a little dog frolicking in the surf.
“Do you want me to show you the boundary stone?” I asked, “it’s only a little way along the path.”
“Ok.”
So we made our way to the path by the benches and followed my footsteps from a few days before. For once I took no photos but CJ took enough for both of us.

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On the way home CJ pronounced this “your best drive yet Mum.” While I’d like to think this was a compliment on my driving abilities, I’m pretty sure he was thinking of the ice cream. Still, I’ll take any praise I can get at this stage and we’ll gloss over the length of time it took me to park outside my house when we got in. In my opinion the blame for this lies squarely on the bin men who were sitting on my front wall watching. At least they stopped short of a round of applause when I finally got the blasted car straight and at a reasonable distance from the kerb.

When I checked my emails one of my job applications had borne fruit and I have an invite to an interview on Friday. The job sounds interesting, administration for a charity, although the office seems a pain to get to and the only parking very expensive. These were bridges I will cross if and when I come to them though.  Commando was in the garden catching a few rays so I went out to tell him the news and to distract myself with a wander round to see what was still flowering. Turns out it was more than I thought.

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The sedum was making a bright splash of colour in the corner by the wall and there were still a few dancing ladies left on the fuschia. Along the edge of the gravel path the purple sun ray flowers on  the osteospermum I bought from the nursery in Mayfield Park make me smile every time I pass. It cost hardly anything but it’s been such value for money. Hopefully it will set seed and come back next year. There are red berries too on the cotoneaster and the holly, a good crop again this year.

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The nasturtiums in the tubs in the back garden have been disappointing this year. Last year they were a mass of flowers for months but they’ve been all leaf this time round. Right then there was one solitary yellow flower, which is one more than there has been most of the summer. The second osteospermum I got form the Mayfield Park nursery is plainer than the first but just as prolific, although I think it’s slowing down now. Nearby the hydrangea is looking washed out and ragged but I’m hoping for better things in its second year.

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In the spring I sprinkled a few evening primrose seeds around at the back of the border to bridge the gap I hope the fig tree will eventually fill. They’ve gone completely bonkers and almost hidden the poor fig tree. Although each one doesn’t last very long they just keep coming and their brilliant yellow flowers have cheered up the garden. Half hidden behind them there are figs galore. Whether they will ever ripen is another matter.

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The honeysuckle seems to be having a bit of a revival. With the weather we’ve had this last week it may well think it’s spring all over again. The smell at the end of the garden is wonderfully spicy. Then there’s the apple tree we moved from Commando Senior’s garden. It was originally planted in memory of Commando’s mum, April, and we were terrified that moving it would kill it. As the house was being sold we had no choice though and, thankfully it has survived. It even flowered in spring and a few little apples appeared. Most have since fallen but two still cling on and seem to be getting bigger, which is good news.

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The final surprise was one last little Welsh poppy which has pushed its way up between the slats of the benches. What a funny old autumn this is turning out to be.

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Testing times

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14 and 15 September 2015

There would be no more walking before I went back to work, unless you count shopping walks. This wasn’t just because it was a wet, stormy few days, although it was. Monday morning brought something I’d been dreading for a long, long time, something I’d been trying very hard not to think about on my Sunday walk. Not thinking about things is my way of coping with worries and Monday was always going to be a day of fear. You see I had my driving test. Continue reading Testing times