Changing the WordPress scenery

I thought that my WordPress blog was looking particularly plain so I have just been fiddling about with it using the WordPress customizer (sic).

It was a little frustrating as extra widgets kept appearing when previewing different themes. For some reason, I still had these extra widgets within the unused widget area. These showed up when previewing different themes. (I’m not even trying to figure that out).

Anyway, this may not be the most eye shattering blog that you will find on the web nowadays but it’s not so plain as before.

I needed to take my mind from the dramas that are happening today. Believe me, when you have an ill wife and a daughter in her twenties with emotional problems, it might be a good idea to spend a little time messing with the WordPress customizer (sic).

The Arms of Sorrow

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got – Henry Ford

I was amazed (probably, I shouldn’t have been) that on the Internet this quote is attributed to other people besides Henry Ford. One business website attributes the quote to Albert Einstein, for instance.

Anyway, I digress.

I think last year I mentioned that February and March is a sad time for me and I end up taking time off work with illness.  In February 2015 I was absent from work with sickness for four days and the same thing happened again in March last year.

March 2009 was when my father passed away, whilst I lost contact with someone special to me during March 2014.  February is connected to that same person for a special reason which I won’t go into right now.

In November last year, I planned ahead and booked some time off.  My leave started Thursday last week and I returned to work yesterday.  It meant that I would be home on my own to grasp time for myself to think about the two people I mentioned in the previous paragraph.

I was pretty ineffectual as a human being last weekend.  Sunday saw me biting Gloria’s head off at the slightest thing.

During my week of leave from work, I had chance to sort a few things out around the house; those DIY (Do It Yourself) items that I have been putting off for a number of months.

One thing was to sort out a box of paperwork that I kept ignoring week after week for…I don’t know how many months.  Some of the post in the box was my late father’s which dated back as far as 1984.  That box is no longer making the place look untidy, so I scored a success there.

Seeing that post and realising how quick each task I completed was, I lamented how I have been putting things off.  If I keep on putting things off, I will never get to finish my studying for that IT exam, for example.

This week – and every week – I have a choice.  If I carry on as before, I know what will happen.  I will die without making an impression on the world.

For all of the anger in my heart at the evil out there, I will have helped to change nothing.  At present, my ideals are not resulting in enough action.

The realisation came to me of how scared I am to be bold.

I am sure that if I were to die today, there are people that will remember me as someone with a kind heart.  I’m not mocking that, that is fantastic.

However, I want to look down from heaven and be able to see at least one person living a better life because of something that I have done whilst still alive.  I want to admire myself.  I hope that expression isn’t too clumsy.

 

(Sittin’ on) the dock of a bay, or running the London Marathon

I mentioned in my post last week that my nephew Otis would be running the London Marathon that Sunday for Charity.  Hence the title of this blog as his father named him after the singer Otis Redding – a singer who, sadly, passed away in his twenties.

Selection_014

The London Marathon progress tracking map during the event

On Friday evening, Otis set off from my Mum’s bungalow to London as he has a friend who lives in London.

Saturday was St George’s Day which means a number of fish and chips themed promotions in England.  On Saturday evening, Gloria and I joined my Mum at a Fish and Chips supper with accompanying quiz night at Mum’s local Church.

We were on team nine which included a seventeen year old boy coincidentally named George along his mother.  Being a typical teenager, he was a little short with his mother.  Those two took over round one which was deciphering the names of phobias.  George mentioned a few times that he was sure of the definition of this phobia and of that phobia although he had failed Latin.  That highlighted the difference in the education that he and I had both received.  It was good to have him on the team or round one would have been very embarrassing for team nine.  He was useless with the songs lyrics round, however, and embarrassedly watched his older team mates right down answers even to songs that were released within the last two years.  I say songs in the last two years but I really mean ‘song’ as I recognised the lyric from “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.

George was good company, as were the whole team.  I’d happily go for a drink with any of my team members from that evening.  But we finished fourth – we were cheated! (Joking)

Selection_015

Otis’s progress page on the London Marathon website

Anyway, Sunday was the London Marathon.  I didn’t see Otis on television as the BBC seemed interested in following the professional athletes.  I was able to follow his progress online so my excitement remained high.  Otis slowed down dramatically after the first fifteen kilometres which is not too surprising.  From the photos on the London Marathon website, I can see that the pain started to hit him half-way through the course.

475711_227104374_Medium

Otis after successfully raising over £500!

He completed the London Marathon at 3:30pm having set off at 10:09am.  I had been texting updates to his mother all through the afternoon and then I telephoned my Mum at 3:45pm with the news that he had completed the course.

He stayed dans chez friend in London with his friend after the race and is due back at my Mum’s bungalow tomorrow.

You’ll notice that I wrote ‘dans chez friend’ – mixing French and English.  ‘Franglais’ is the nearest most British people come to speaking a foreign language!  As last weekend was St George’s Day I’m showing off my national heritage. (lol!)

Otis inspired me with his efforts on Sunday.  He raised more money offline than he did on his page on the London Marathon website.  Several hundred pounds for charity for five and a half hours of pushing his body through a big pain barrier.  Wow!

Otis, you’re “the man” this week.  For now, I’m relegated to “Harry…a man”!

And so, to the weekend…

The next few days will prove eventful, although I cannot thank myself for any of this action.

Tomorrow afternoon is the funeral of my half-sister’s mother.  She was a Polish lady who married my late father soon after the Second World War.

I don’t know the story, so I cannot share it with you.  I’ll tell you what I know.

After War was declared, Britain internally evacuated school children away from city centres as there was uncertainty how soon Germans would start bombing British towns.

My father was at school when the Second World War broke out and was evacuated to a place called Liss.  He loved to preach at the United Reformed Church in Liss as he had fond childhood memories of the village.  I remember driving him there on several Sunday mornings.  At that time I drove a white Proton Persona.

On D-Day plus three, my father’s best friend was killed in action.  My father ended up in Germany at the end of the War and, so I was told, spoke German in the accent of one of the nearby villages so well that some German residents thought that he was a native of this nearby village.  He also remained a pen friend of one of the German POWs for life.

Soon after returning to England, he married a Polish woman that he had met.  Tomorrow, this lady will be laid to rest.  She was a pleasant woman with whom to speak, which Gloria will testify to.

On Friday night I am on driving-Yasmin-and-her-friends-to-town-on-their-night-out duty.  I haven’t done that for a few months.

And on Sunday, my nephew Otis is running in the London Marathon for charity.

Selection_013

A screen grab of my nephew’s fundraising page

He hasn’t yet hit his fundraising target, unfortunately, but he is still raring to run and raise what money he can for a charity that has grabbed a place in his heart.

He has run a marathon before so knows what to expect.

At the moment, Otis is sleeping on a camp bed in my mother’s bungalow.  It wasn’t the best idea for him to stay on where he had been lodging.  My Mum wanted to put him up to help him save for a deposit on a better place hence his address for a couple of weeks has been the same as his grandmother’s.

She worries about him a lot although I am certain that he’s more capable than she thinks.  She probably worries about him because he never raises his voice or show any upset or anger with anyone, no matter what happens.  I think that she in concerned that he’s too easily bullied.

He will be moving to his new place in the next few days.

So, an active weekend without me doing too much effort myself.

Thinking of Mothers’ Day…on #InternationalWomensDay

Hello all.  Later this week, I’ll address why I didn’t upload this post about Mothers’ Day at the weekend and instead waited until today.

Anyway, with it being International Women’s Day, it is probably right that this post is about the main women in my life.20160305_MothersDayMeal_195759

I was working at the weekend, and so I arranged a meal on Saturday evening as Sunday was a non-starter.  At the meal were my Mum, Yasmin and Yasmin’s Mum who is…er…Gloria!20160305_MothersDayMeal_195720

I arranged the times and booked the table earlier in the week as I wanted the evening to be as smooth as possible.  Thankfully, it proved that I can get this organisation thing right!

At three minutes past 6 in the evening, or 18:00 by the twenty four hour clock, I signed off from work and took Gloria to the car.  At 18:20, I picked up my Mum and gave her some flowers and a pot plant which she was overwhelmed by.  At 18:50, I collected Yasmin from her flat.  My Google Maps timeline shows that we arrived at the Harvester at 19:29.  We sat straight away as I had pre-booked the table.

As a thank you for booking the table online, I even got one drink free.  That made my large orange juice taste better!

Yasmin enjoyed her usual drink – Rose wine – while Gloria had a coffee and my mother a hot chocolate.  Yasmin was the only one to have more than one drink!  20160305_MothersDayMeal_220436

Yasmin had also been eating all day.  This might sound bad that she also wolfed down a starter and main meal but she has been off work with illness and had not been eating for several days.  Before the weekend, she had been living on a diet mainly of cups of tea and glasses of cordial.

We finished up by going back to Yasmin’s flat.  Gloria photo-bombed the photos that she took of Yasmin and I as she was reflected in the mirror above our heads.  I’ve cropped her out of the photo on this upload.20160305_MothersDayMeal_220413_cropped

Anyway, that was a great weekend which was rounded off with a couple of great women following me on Twitter.  You may know about Sarah Brown, the wife of the most recent socialist Prime Minister in the UK Gordon Brown.  I’ve highlighted Elena Hagopyan’s profile as you are possibly unfamiliar with her.Followers

Have a great #InternationalWomensDay everyone.

Remember, guys, even just changing the way that you and your friends speak about women behind their backs makes a great difference to equality.  Before you make a crude comment about a woman that you know, ask yourself if that’s how you would like people to speak about your mother/ neice/ daughter/ girlfriend/ wife.