My Mum’s milestone birthday

There are a few phrases which I hear again and again that both make me groan with annoyance as well as smile to myself.

One such phrase was this one that I heard several times in December, “Where has the time gone.  It’s not that long ago since the start of the year.”

I would groan inwardly to myself when I heard this.  I reasoned that the person I was speaking to had let the precious hours within their year slip past them.  They were wasting their life.  If they had filled their time with non-repetitive and worthwhile actions other than sitting watching television or some other time wasting activity, the year would have felt like a year to them rather than a few days that had somehow flowed uninterrupted into each other.  I would also smile to myself that I had had the foresight to not let all of my time escape me without being used – I wasted some minutes but not all.

And so, I always answered in the same way, “Yes, the start of the year seems like only eleven months ago.”

Already, so much seems to have happened to me in 2016 and we have not yet finished the second week of this leap year.  It is true that I have had some help in filling my time.  There was the office Christmas party last Friday (in January…I know!) and my mother’s 80th birthday last Sunday.

Ah, yes, my Mum had a great extended birthday weekend.

On Saturday, she invited Gloria and me to her bungalow for a small afternoon meal.

Sunday, Mum’s birthday, consisted of a trip to Church in the morning, lunch at my sisters’ house with a guest appearance by my other sister from North Lincolnshire (I was not at this meal); and then an evening service at a different Church with me.  This service was conducted by an old family friend, a Reverend like my late father, who led the congregation in singing ‘Happy Birthday to You’.

Finally, on Monday Mum had her 80th birthday hog roast at yet another Church.  Gloria (and I) baked the cake and my sister’s bloke and his brother provided the hog roast.  Gloria would have been at work but, to my Mum’s delight, she was able to come.

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Mum and Gloria

The reason why Gloria did not go to work was that she was given some emergency time off.  Unfortunately, Yasmin was very unwell on Sunday and after the hog roast Gloria and I collected Yasmin’s prescription and drove up to give it to her.  Anyway, that’s another story.

It was a wonderful afternoon.  Oh, my apologies if you are reading this on a smartphone as you may not see the whole of the photograph without opening it in a separate browser window.

I made one observation.  At the end of the engagement, I was washing up all of the plates, mugs, glasses and cutlery and looked around the kitchen.  Also helping in the kitchen were my sister’s partner, his mother and also my sister’s eldest son who is one of two children from her first marriage.  In other words, we were demonstrating how it’s nonsense that kitchen chores are all women’s work!

I hope that I enjoy myself just as much on my 80th birthday as my mother did.

You Are My Sunshine Award…and other stories

Hmm…the first Thursday of 2016 and seven days into the year.  Time for a blog, I have been thinking.

I’ve been thinking the last few days about what my first blog post for 2016 should be.  I was a little tempted to write something about Epiphany, what with yesterday being ‘Epiphany’, ‘Three Kings Day’ or ‘Día de Los Tres Reyes Magos’ depending on your tradition (or first spoken language).  That post might have to wait for next year.

I’m going to put that post on hold because one of my blogging friends here on WordPress has nominated me for the ‘You Are My Sunshine’ Award.  I’m quite touched, to be honest.  I never thought anyone would appreciate my presence that much.

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You Are My Sunshine Award

So, the rules of this are (I understand that taking part is voluntary) –

  • Thank the person/people who nominated you.
  • Answer the questions from your nominators.
  • Nominate eleven other bloggers
  • Give them eleven questions.
  • You could check out the blogs I nominated and follow them if you like.

So, a big heartfelt thank you to Emz who can be found at Side By Side.  She already has my recommendation as I can be picky about which blogs I read.  Please do look at her blog and also the blogs that I nominate.

First off, I’ll answer the eleven questions posed by Emz and then I’ll list my eleven nominated blogs. If I have nominated your blog but don’t feel like doing this, don’t worry as it’s intended to be a fun thing and no-one will take offence if you’d rather sit this one out.

Anyway, my interview (so to speak) by Emz –

Describe yourself in three words.
Loyal, paternal, easy

What do you blog about?
Things that have been on my mind during the previous week. I can be serious about those things close to my heart but I usually try not to be.

Coffee or tea?
I have to smile now as this is the question that I always ask a stranger. I actually drink both – usually, coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon. ‘How British’ – I know!

Lights on or lights off?
It depends. I prefer lights off and the curtains/blinds drawn back if there’s sunlight to illuminate the room. Sorry, a little gripe at my work colleagues there.

Morning or evening?
I tend to be happier in the morning but I don’t have a preference.

What can you not live without?
My wife and young female relations ie my stepdaughter Yasmin and neices – a daughter would be wonderful, too!

What is your favourite post on your blog? Link it.
This is a difficult one. I’m pleased with every post that I make before I post it and this pleasure never wanes for any of my posts. But my favourite post would definitely be I Stayed Home and Done Something. This post is about something that I was both emotionally linked to and proud about completing.

What is your biggest pet peeve?
People who don’t appreciate their daughters like they should do.

Aside from blogging, what do you do on your free time?
I don’t go out much or play on video games. I base my life around my family, Godmother and close friends. Gloria (my wife) and I also have some meals out with the Reverend from our Church, who is an old friend of my late father…who was also a Reverend.

What is your favourite day of the week?
Maybe, Tuesday. There are less people out in the evening and if you need to go shopping or drop into the pub for a quiet drink it’s a good day to go because of that.

Who/What inspires you?
Malala Yousefzai’s father Ziauddin Yousefzai, and anyone else who encourages their daughter with the same pride as they would do a son.

And now, my eleven nominated blogs and their eleven questions.  I should add that there is no particular reason for the order of my list –

The story of my dreams coming true
A Sneak Peak On The Things I Like
Alluring n Young
Mostly Photos, With An Occasional Garrolous Ramble
The Fish Tank
Beauty Beyond Bones
Goan Imports
Tales Of Chinese Cooking
Coisart’s Canvas
Subacati
The Sprite’s Blog

And now, some questions –
What is the greatest thing about the internet?
Who is your favourite person from history and why?
If you won a million pounds, how would you live the rest of your life?
What is your most embarrassing moment?
If you could choose a particular period of history to be born in when would it be and why?
If God granted you the wish to change one event from history, what event would you change and why?
What is your secret weakness? (I won’t tell anyone, honest!)
Who is the World’s worst millionaire?
What is the greatest household gadget ever invented?
How do you relax?
Which biscuit would you describe as the very best?

In readiness for Christmas…

In readiness for Christmas, I’m testing out a new cocktail called Ginger Storm.  It’s a whisky cocktail and will make a change from the usual Black Russian.

As you can all see, the drinks cabinet is full.  This year is the first time that this has ever happened.  When I was a kid there was never a full drinks cabinet and since I’ve been married there has never been a full drinks cabinet.  Not until this year, anyway.  Go back about eight years ago and Christmas saw a cabinet with just a few fizzy drinks in it.  This year Gloria and I have been blessed with some money to spend on ourselves and I am thankful to God for that.GingerStorm

You may notice a few things in my cabinet.  On the shelf above the drinks there are five photos.  The two at either end feature Gloria’s father who passed away from a heart attack when she was ten years old.  To Jesus’s right is a photo of my father’s grave and to the left of Jesus is Gloria and Yasmin when Yasmin was only four years of age – nineteen years ago!

Gloria’s parents were both from Saint Helena while my mother is Jamaican.  Because of this differing heritage, you can notice that Gloria and I have different textures of brown skin when we stand next to each other.

Yasmin, meanwhile, has that enviable skin that tans nicely in the summer thanks to the brown blood on her mother’s side.  In spite of this, she still resorts to using fake tan from time to time.  A total waste of money in her case.

To the right of the picture (for those using tablets or mobiles, you may have to open the photo in a new window to see this), hanging on the door handle are two tabards that Gloria wears to her work in a local infant school; the same school that both she and Yasmin went to.  Gloria really enjoys her work there and it’s the most relaxed that she’s been in years.  She gets on amazingly well with her bosses and we’ve been to a few of their private parties.

Generally, we have been blessed when you look at where we have been in years past.  But, there’s always someone that you wish that you were sharing the good things with.  I know who I’m missing, who are you all missing this year?

Apparently, you can pin your most important Tweet

Recently, I keep being hit with one particular television advertisement promoting life skills to young adults.  The advice from the advertisement is that you can pin a Tweet to the top of your Twitter account page.  This is so that pre-job interview your prospective employers browsing your social media output are greeted with your most respectful Tweet rather than the tale of last night’s drinking extravaganza.

Twitter

I think that pinning posts and pinning Tweets to the top of your profile can be dangerous as sometimes people tend to pin a post that maybe…well…they shouldn’t.

However, when a good choice is made regarding the post that is pinned your social media presence can be dramatically enhanced.  First impressions Tweet1count for so much sometimes.

So, maybe I should pin a Tweet to help attract the kind of Twitter friends that I crave.

Tweet2I looked through my own account and wondered if there is one Tweet that I would like to be known by.

Well, my Tweets are a mixture of the frivolous and the serious and there is no one Tweet which captures both of these themes.

After careful examination of my four years of Twitter output, I came to the conclusion that there isn’t one Tweet that I would like toTweet3 be known by nor is there one Tweet that I’m ashamed of.

I’ve littered this post with a few screenshots of my Tweets.  Maybe, you can see a Tweet that I should be ashamed of or maybe you see one that you think should be my pinned Tweet.

My last ever haircut…by my preferred hairdresser, anyway

This morning I went for my three weekly haircut to the local Zoom hairdresser.

There is no appointment system but if you have a preferred hairdresser you can just forfeit your place in the queue until she (usually it is a she) becomes available.  I always wait until Becky is available.

I’ve mentioned Becky before.  She’s a pleasant Welsh girl who just throws on one of her six work outfits in the morning (without turning the light on) and still always looks quite glamorous.  I have mentioned to her that she always looks glamorous in spite of the haste in which she gets ready in the morning, but she doesn’t seem to believe me.

Anyway, today is her 26th birthday.  She also had some news.  Her boyfriend has finished college and attained top marks, meaning that he can go to his preferred university.  They are both going to go travelling around the world before he starts university, so Becky is leaving Zoom and she won’t be there when I next turn up.

She’s already spoken to her colleagues to tell them how I have my hair cut each time.

The boss had said that she shouldn’t tell the customers that she is leaving but she wanted to make an exception with me.  We even exchanged email addresses afterwards and a couple of hugs.  I was really touched that she liked cutting my hair that much.  My tales of picking up Yasmin at 3am on Sunday mornings obviously aren’t that boring!

Llanberis, North Wales

Llanberis, North Wales

I don’t have a photo of Becky to put into this blog.  Well, there’s no easy way to say, “here’s the money for my haircut – top job as always.  Now, say ‘cheese’.”

I know that she comes from North Wales; so – in Becky’s honour – here is a photo from Llanberis, North Wales.  Just think, she left this beautiful part of Britain because she desperately wanted to be with her partner while he studied at college cut my hair every three weeks.