Donna was one of the first to buy The Lighthouse Tarot and it made my day when I was queueing for a Covid jab today and she sent me this link to a video of the cards in action. I am so impressed with Donna’s intuitive readings and her lovely voice!
Donna was one of the first to buy The Lighthouse Tarot and it made my day when I was queueing for a Covid jab today and she sent me this link to a video of the cards in action. I am so impressed with Donna’s intuitive readings and her lovely voice!
Not a rattle in a car but a smell in the kitchen. Not a particularly strong smell but noticeable when coming downstairs in the morning. Not a pleasant smell either – reminiscent of the time my partner decided it would be a good thing to ferment cabbage and sprouts in jars. Thankfully, he soon realised it wasn’t!
You know how a smell can literally get up your nose – as in get on your nerves? I am not tidy and do very little dusting but I like to think the house is hygienically clean. Whilst it might appear untidy it is orderly. If there are clothes in the corner of the bedroom it’s because they have been worn at least once and are therefore ‘contaminated’ so they can’t go back in the cupboard but are not yet ready for washing.
My nose was in every crevice to detect the origin but it was a general smell rather than focused. I poked a long stick around the edges of the gas cooker in case anything had dropped down and was rotting then squirted lots of bleach down the kitchen sink and ran bleach through the rinse cycle of the washing machine.
I came downstairs the next morning confident that would have cured it – but no!
There was only one place I hadn’t checked … behind the fridge:
Being under-counter, nothing could’ve dropped down the sides but what if some poor creature had somehow got behind it and died? If you’ve read this far you might be getting the nature of this smell!
“Sordid details following” thanks Bowie 😉
I pulled out the fridge and this was the drip tray at the back:
I never knew they needed emptying! Maybe I’m gross and everyone else regularly checks and cleans theirs?
Oh well, problem solved 🙂
Where there’s a smell there’s a mission!
I hate wasting food but have a compulsion to stock the house with whatever visiting family and friends might fancy. I enjoy spontaneity but like to be prepared so Christmas was a time of checking dates on stuff in the fridge, agonising over whether to freeze meat products, which would make them unavailable, or risk getting too close to their use by date – and being vegetarian means I can’t just eat it myself to get rid of it. At least the wildlife benefited from posh quiche and pork pie – I took it out running with me and flung it down a hillside where there are no buildings around. Sadly, I no longer feed the birds in the garden for fear of attracting rats.
Being well-stocked and a fussy eater (vegetarian and not a dairy fan), I take my own lunch to work and have never liked the idea of buying a ready-made sandwich, nor would I buy a small plastic pot of washed, chopped up fruit (unless it was reduced from £1.74 to 14p). Of course, very many people do buy ready-made sandwiches every day, so it must be a normal thing to do. Whilst I do the main weekly shop at a supermarket, I do like to support small businesses when out and about at the weekend.
At least once a year I visit the lovely little market town that was the home of my ancestors. It’s a nice day out and an opportunity to connect with souls and say a spiritual ‘hello’ to grandparents and great grandparents, tidy the graves and leave some flowers. Last summer, since my partner was coming along, I suggested we had a pub lunch rather than taking a picnic. He was more in favour of a snack and a mug of tea in a café, which suited me fine.
We weeded the graves whilst a very tame robin perched on one of the grave stones watching, and I wondered if this was an indication of a relative making contact or simply a bird waiting for us to dig up some worms.
It was sad to see the churchyard gate had come off its hinges and the bench in the peaceful little clearing had collapsed. It was a warm sunny day but the little town felt run-down and subdued. Most of the shops were closed, which I thought seemed odd on a week day but I suppose if they don’t get the customers and the owner is not the shop keeper it might cost more per hour to keep the shop open than any profit made on sales.
The cafes were open but the one I had in mind at the top of the high street was very noisy, not over-crowded but there was a group of women projecting their voices as if on stage, their conversation punctuated with high-pitched peels of laughter. We moved on. The next one had no free tables and looked too cramped to safely wield cutlery – but the next looked ideal. The shop window revealed ovens and large display cabinets and just a few tables that were all vacant …
We went in but the staff didn’t look too impressed at having customers, although I’m sure we were smiling politely when we entered!
“We’re not a cafe but you can buy your food here and eat it on a table.”
“Thank you”, I said, unsure how that made it not a cafe.
“You have to get your tea or coffee from the machine over there … but she’s cleaning it at the moment.”
“Oh, that’s fine.” We both obligingly chose a can of pop from the fridge and I tried not to notice the price and not to think about the cans we had at home that would soon be out of date.
Then came the difficult bit. Julz glanced at the sandwiches and cold pasties and quickly settled for a flapjack. I had in mind something savoury, like a jacket potato, but couldn’t see any and the the pasties were all meat and the only non-meat sandwich had egg in it, which I can’t stand (already told you I’m fussy). I was taking too long to choose and it was getting awkward with them watching me. I was getting anxious and starting not to fancy anything at all when I spotted a slice of cheese and tomato pizza.
She followed my gaze. “That’s pizza but it’s not cooked and we switched off the ovens at one o’clock because we close at three.” (It was ten past one).
“Not to worry, I’ll go for a cake.”
She thrust a tray of cream cakes at me. “Fresh cream, these are.” Yes, of course they would want to get rid of them …
“Urm, sorry, I’m more of a fruit cake fan.” Then I saw the answer – a large fruit cake wrapped in cellophane – but it was the sort you would cut a slice off rather than eat the whole thing in one go. I put it on the counter with relief. I was feeling a bit flushed and peculiar by now, but didn’t like the idea of just breaking a lump off the cake. “I don’t suppose you’ve got a little plastic knife I could have to cut a piece off?”
Both ladies started to hunt for one.
“… or may you could just cut a slice off with one of your knives?” but they were on a mission to find a plastic knife and bless them they found one. Phew! We perched on a wall down the road rather than using their tables.
Looking back, it’s a shame to think that if it weren’t for the family ties I might not be drawn back there again, and whilst I’m tempted to take my own stuff along next time, I will give one of the other pubs or cafes a try … but I’ll take that little plastic knife along, just in case 😉
I know I’m not the only one who gets frustrated with packaging design – not being able to get at the contents of a packet without using some sort of tool … when cooking a meal, for example, and everything is already simmering but it takes five minutes to add that final ingredient because it’s a new packet and you can’t get into it.
My least favourite packaging is the rigid, see-through plastic that is moulded around the item, requiring strong scissors to cut around it whilst creating nasty sharp edges. I once queued behind a customer in a hardware shop, who wanted to return a yale lock because it didn’t fit his door. When the assistant refused on the basis that goods could only be returned with packaging in tact, he pointed out that it was impossible to tell if it was the correct lock without taking it from the packaging, which was impossible to do without destroying it.
Packaging is designed with good intentions but do the drawbacks sometimes outweigh the benefits?
The Push and Turn top is sometimes used to make medication ‘child proof’, but if the medication is used regularly it can end up on a mantelpiece with the lid resting loosely on top, defeating the object. It is also used on some bleaches and cleaning fluids but sometimes the bottle is so flimsy that it starts to cave in when the top is pushed down.
Some containers simply don’t want to part with their contents, giving you the option of either throwing half of it away or else cutting the container to get to what’s left inside when it will no longer dispense. Being a bit fussy about smells, I tend to go for unscented moisturiser, and decided to give this a try:
No complaints about the product, but the bottle is so strong and rigid that after a couple of uses, squeezing with one hand to squirt some into the other hand is fruitless. The container stays in the squeezed position and has to be manipulated from the sides to get it back into a shape that is ready for action again. Storing it in an upside down position helps but owing to the rounded top it has to be barricaded into a corner, propped up by other items, and comes crashing down if anything is moved. So what is the purpose of this design? The only advantage I can think of is that it has no scratchy edges that could hurt if the baby got hold of it.
Where I work, we have had new toilet roll dispensers fitted. (There are plenty of other areas that need improving but for some reason this took priority). Without being too poetic, it looks like a pair of breasts with milk flowing from them. Here it is on a good day, with both nipples producing:
The obvious benefit of this design is that the paper is kept clean and dry and untouched by anyone except the person about to use it. The down side is that the paper comes out like a piece of string and has to be straightened out before use. Worse still, it has to be pulled very gently as it tends to break off, usually with the perforations just within the nipple, so you end up with this:
The photo above illustrates a particularly dodgy situation in which it’s advisable to milk as much paper as you might possibly need before starting anything, otherwise that one sheet on display might be all you’re gonna get! This of course leads to waste, as it’s difficult to gauge precisely how much paper will be required, and better to err on the safe side.
On a bad day, you can see the paper but there’s no way of getting to it – but at least you know where you stand (or sit) with this:
Moving on, I think the key holder must have been on holiday on this occasion (you need a key to open the dispenser) because what happened next brightened up an otherwise mundane day:
Yes, I know, ‘little things please little minds’ … but I don’t think anyone had any issues with the previous loo roll holders (not that I went around asking). If there was some on the roll, you knew it was there for real and not just to tantilise, even if sometimes it meant inserting your hand up inside it to coax and jiggle it down. I’ve no idea why it had to be reinvented … maybe sometimes change is just for the sake of change.
The place where I work has fixed holidays, which is annoying because they are fixed during school holidays and around bank holidays, and I don’t like crowded places or other people’s kids. Of course I am grateful that I have a job with paid holidays, but I’ve been there long enough now for such niggles to intrude. Isn’t that just human nature? This past week of fixed holiday was good though, as it meant I could spend some time with my Mum around her eightieth birthday.
Mum is very easy to be with. Stick her in front of a telly with a glass of wine and she’s happy, which is particularly useful now that she can’t get around too well. I rarely watch TV – the internet is my telly – but there’s something comforting about watching it at my parents’ home when I visit. Some of the adverts though! My son had come up for his Nan’s birthday and we’re all sat waiting for it to be late enough to go off to the Eightieth Do and the conversation fizzles out so Dad puts the telly on. Of course it was adverts but the first that came on was, “Do you suffer from vaginal dryness and itching?” Well, Dad averted his eyes, frowning slightly as if distracted by a sudden thought. (It reminded me of when I lived there more than thirty years ago and he would pick up the newspaper and study it if any kind of sex scene came on). My son played it comical, affecting a genteel expression whilst examining the ornaments on the mantelpiece, as if suddenly noticing how very interesting they were, which set Mum off laughing, infectiously!
Why do such products need to be advertised on television? And why are they mostly to do with women’s things? “Suffering from nob-rot? Try Penisil!” Hmm. Sorry 🙂
Anyway … Mum came to stay with us for a few days, so I wiped the dust off the TV screen and looked dubiously at the remote control, but she knew instinctively how to change channels. (Didn’t they used to be called ‘stations’?) It turned out this was an important time in Coronation Street. Corrie has been going for as long as I can remember. Mum used to wash me in front of it with a wet flannel poised between me and the washing up bowl, and if there was any action it had sometimes gone a bit cold by the time it made contact with skin. I have always found the theme tune depressing – back then because it was time for bed – but now because it sounds like an unhappy cat. Watching it again this week, I was surprised to recognise some of the characters who are still in it but was also amazed how dark and disturbing it has become. Okay, I’d had some gin, but I recall one guy self-harming whilst another was being sucked down in quicksand. In Corrie? FFS!
Then Mum threw into the mix, “She was married to Sean Bean – she was inbred.” Trying to make sense of this, I said, “You mean they were first cousins or something?” Mum said, “No, she was in’Bread’!” Well, that tickled me!
I live some distance away from my parents and have done for many years – but it’s a worry now they are old. (Mum has said, in the past, “Don’t be worrying about that – we might just drop dead!”) The big ’80’ is a wake up call though, and it’s hard to imagine a time when they won’t be just a phone call or text away. I know they can’t go on forever … but I very much fear that Corrie probably will!
I have always found humour in wacky inventions. For me they existed before the internet, when Dad occasionally bought ‘Exchange and Mart’ if he was thinking of replacing his old car. It was within these flimsy pages that I noticed such things as The Big Slipper that was taken up by Billy Connolly (google it – there’s a video!) I was also intrigued by a Blackhead Zapper – with some vague diagram that suggested a syringe without a needle … it appeared to work by planting the open end over the zit and then pulling until the zit popped and the debris landed in the barrel of the syringe! I also recall a Body Massaging Wand – recommended for sporting injuries but with small print advice that it was for external use only …
These days, well, nothing has really changed, except there are images available for me to download from the internet and take the mickey out of …
Here are some of the funniest I’ve seen lately:
“Create extra storage in busy bathrooms by utilising the wasted space over the toilet.”
Who (apart from a double-jointed acrobat) thinks the space over the toilet is wasted? Surely the space over the toilet during standing use is so that men can see where they’re aiming without having to bend over backwards? And for sitting use, in my experience, the space over the toilet is where my head goes. I did wonder if you were supposed to move the scaffolding out of the way on each visit – but looking carefully at the picture it appears that the lower horizontal bar has been fitted behind. See what I mean? No way of easily shifting it aside!
Here’s the next one:
“Maximise your storage with this fantastic set of four fridge drawers.”
Marvellous! How ‘fantastic’! How exactly are we maximising storage space by placing the containers we keep in the fridge into a larger container that has a big sticky-out handle? These are advertised as ‘currently sold out‘, even though they are £19.99 for a set of four … so lots of people must be buying them. Really?
This one takes the biscuit, maybe … unless it really does only do eggs or beans:
“Choose between fried, poached or boiled eggs using the interchangeable trays, or alternatively use it to heat beans”
If only I had space on my worktop … but what if I wanted to heat up soup instead of doing beans or cooking eggs? Would that be okay, or maybe this thing can only manage eggs and beans? Not sure I could be bothered with the washing up that the interchangeable trays might generate.
Next we have the Ear Cleaner … well, two Ear Cleaners because if you buy one you get one free , so that “two family members can have their own Ear Cleaner!”
Each Ear Cleaner requires 2 AA batteries (not supplied)
The dog in the picture below has been zipped into a bag! He does look rather hot and panicky, and I start to hyperventilate if I look at this for too long. How the heck is he standing? Maybe someone propped him up and then stepped back and quickly took the photo? “Good boy!”
Perhaps I should mention that the idea of this … invention is that if your dog goes outside and gets wet and muddy you simply zip him up inside this thing and leave him to dry – so that he doesn’t bring any muck into the house!
I read some funny reviews. One customer was dissatisfied because the bag had left pink fluff on their white dog 🙂
Another was very pleased not to have to clean out the motor-home after the dog had been in it. Maybe you should get a stuffed dog next time!
I never have been one to bother much about hair styles, always being a wash and leave girl … yet I do know when it needs cutting. I have thin dark hair with a white head that tends to shine through, especially when sitting beneath an office light, an effect that is accentuated as the hair grows longer. It was my son who first pointed it out to me, some years ago (with that invaluable and direct approach our children have) “I can see your head.” I also have him to thank for alerting me to the fact that my facial hair was getting out of hand, by piping up (in the queue at Argos) “You’re growing a beard. And a moustache.“
Back home (back then) I said to Julz, “Bill says I’m growing a beard and moustache.” Maybe I expected him to say of course I wasn’t – but he replied, “It’s not too bad, Love.” So, I got out the hair removal cream – the stuff you’re supposed to test on a small area first – and daubed it generously above my top lip and around my chin, and then waited. It was tingling nicely so it must be working … and yes, you’ve guessed – it was working rather too well, burning off a layer of skin along with the hair … and then I had to go into work the next morning and face startled, concerned expressions from my colleagues and explain what had happened! Anyway, I’m digressing. This was supposed to be about head hair. I only wish it grew as healthily up there as it’s growing everywhere else these days …
I do believe the answer to thinning hair is to get it cut regularly, with layers, to maintain a little uplift. Until this year, I always worked on sites where I could get it cut during my lunch hour. When asked how I wanted it done I would ask them do whatever they could to make me look less bald on top, confident that people who cut hair for a living know better than I do how it will suit me best. It only ever took them about five minutes, and then they’d ask if I wanted any more taken off. Never really liked to ask them to go all round again! In my new job we only get half an hour and there are no local hair shops. It’s an early start, so I end up scraping ice off car windows hoping my hair isn’t going to freeze to my head, even in April, in England! It gets washed in the shower every morning because it sticks out at one side or curls around in whichever direction it’s been slept on. After trying a couple of Saturdays to get it cut without an appointment I had a go at the front myself – just chopping off the annoying bits that were hanging around my face, and made that do for a while.
Owing to my son’s adorable puppy, I’ve been WhatsApping photos of me and the pup to my Mum. On one I sent her that was particularly lovely of Alfie, I added the comment “Excuse my bald patch,” to which she replied, bless her, “That’s not a bald patch, it’s a parting.” Of course she said that because she is my mother and not my daughter! “Bloody wide parting,” I replied, and experimented with moving the parting to the other side, like a bit of a comb-over 🙂
So, this weekend I was on a mission! I didn’t want my precious Saturday to revolve around a five minute hair cut but surely one of the very many hair shops in the nearest town to this village could spare five minutes to cut my hair without prior arrangement? But, “Hoe Nyo! Not without an appointment!” Defeated, I mooched around the shops, recalling the expression of that one particular lady, so heavily made up that it looked like a disguise, looking at me as if I’d crawled out of a drain whilst her younger assistant (who appeared to be doing nothing) stared at my head with pity as if thinking omigod she really needs a haircut. I almost bought a pair of ornamental meerkats from a charity shop to cheer myself up – but then remembered there was nowhere to put them and this is precisely the kind of clutter I am trying to get rid of.
When I got home, Julz looked at me with his face prepared to approve my new haircut. It was clear from his expression that he wasn’t too sure whether I’d had it done or not, but wanted to be approving either way! He settled for “How did it go?” So I asked him to please cut my hair, and he did. I’m very pleased with the result – the best it’s looked for ages. After all these years, he knows my hair better than anyone! 🙂
The news that my life-long hero had died came not long after the passing of my lovely old friend, Peter. Early in the morning, listening to the local radio to catch the traffic update, I was listening to opinions about the usual fascinating topics; car parking, fuel prices and dog mess when the presenter casually mentioned that news had just come in that British singer-songwriter …..(road noise and poor reception) had died. The name was said quickly and without much emphasis – so surely he didn’t say ‘David Bowie’! I turned up the radio in preparation for the next news and was gutted to hear it confirmed.
It was a weird day, blundering through the induction programme at my new job whilst locked in a mind-loop with a snippet from Five Years, “News guy wept and told us Earth was really dying”. I suppose I felt that this particular news should have been delivered with more importance – not just thrown in the gap between the petty complaints and the traffic jams. I am so sorry for his family and hate to think he was ill for eighteen months and we (the public) knew nothing of his suffering.
The radio tributes during the journey home … his voice on my favourite records being played that day were difficult yet compelling to listen to. I was taken back to the first time I saw him on TV. ‘Top of the Pops’ was on and I must have been about five and not really interested until Space Oddity came on with that video! Mesmerised, I fell in love with him during those few minutes and have been captivated by him and his work ever since.
During that early phase when he supposedly lived on green peppers and white powder I used to fear that he would die young, but in later years and happily married to Iman, he glowed with health and appeared always at ease … kind and humble with a slightly wacky and contagious sense of humour. I decided he would live to a grand old age and so the news of his passing came as a shock, and a sense of losing someone who had been with me always. Of course he still is here as I knew him. I still have his music and videos, which is all I ever did have. Thanks for the memories, dear David xxx
Bowie will be here forever on the earth plane owing to the wonderful legacy he has left us, and I expect he has already adapted to the afterlife and is fitting beautifully into His scheme of things.
The weekend saw the arrival of my first ever, and possibly last, Ikea purchase. I have never visited the store having only ever heard colleagues complaining about ‘having to go’ there, presumably to please their partners, so I thought the £35 delivery charge might just be fair exchange for not having to go anywhere near the place, even though the sofa I bought was only £95. At that price, I wasn’t expecting much but was still disappointed when it tuned up damaged. I guess some people would have sent it back, but the damage was only evident once it was unpacked from the rather large box that we had nowhere to store other than the middle of the living room floor. I justified not sending it back because it was a replacement for Gandalf’s day bed, which had reached the point of being utterly minging. At least this smells clean and fresh, and I won’t be too bothered if he damages it since it’s already been thrown around a warehouse. I’d have preferred something better quality but second hand but anything bigger than this would have blocked the doorway – and there’s an awkwardness with second hand seats that I want to sniff before I buy but can’t politely do that in a charity shop! Anyway, Gandalf is pleased with it:
Oh, and here’s the old sofa:
Not wishing to exaggerate Gandalf’s powers of destruction, I should add that it’s all in bits because Julz sawed it up into manageable chunks because I fancied a trip to the tip on Sunday to get rid of it. The car park and surrounding areas were heaving with with people who had gathered to watch Morris Dancers. I suppose some of those people packed into that small space must have been enjoying themselves, whilst many others might rather have been chucking their old junk into a skip.
I also did my usual weekend run, which is gradually becoming more of a ‘jog’. I’ve been running for thirty-plus years but lately it has become more like hard work than pleasure and I’ve slowed down considerably. I keep thinking back to when running was effortless, with occasional but memorable highs, such as one evening running the last few miles along a deserted beach when I became a galloping horse and pounded faster and faster with abnormal energy and a feeling that I could run forever …
I guess the decline is just down to ageing, as I’m not doing anything different, but just feel tired and heavy. Never really been into exercise and fitness but I’m aware that if I were to give up running I would do nothing other than sit all day at a desk or in a car. Dog walking doesn’t count – there’s too much standing around waiting whilst he sniffs and marks everything, and watching out for little dogs that are going to snap at him owing to his height. Running has always suited me because of the solitude it offers and the escape from conversation other than the persistent rubbish that goes on inside my own head. I feel awkward though, running, and have probably mentioned it before – that straight mile stretch when I recognise a neighbour approaching and find it difficult to decide the correct distance to start smiling at them!
I thought about getting a bike, but would be nervous of the traffic bombing around these narrow lanes, and, as a careful driver, I find bikes a nuisance and frequently drive a few miles behind bikers going at twenty to twenty-five mph before I can safely overtake. Yet as a runner, (or jogger), I feel like an obstacle when a swarm of bikes from a club rides past bellowing “ON THE LEFT!” straight into my right ear, as they pass me. Apparently this is standard practice and they are warning the bikers behind that there is some idiot obstructing the road; on the left.
Other than that, I spent some time with my lovely ninety-one year old friend who is as independent as possible and with a very calm, reassuring manner that I love. I met him through doing care work and still visit regularly. He was an accomplished athlete in his youth – I saw some sepia photos of a young man receiving trophies and got him to talk me through them. But hasn’t been well just lately. He attempts to laugh things off when it’s clear that he’s struggling – so it was really good to find him so much brighter at the weekend 🙂
The phone rang a few times – mostly about the same job. This sudden interest coincided with the media reports that we are coming out of recession; this was a “newly created” position that matched my CV very well – and also matched the CV of sixty other applicants. It particularly appealed because it was a small company where I felt I could make a positive difference and I was fairly sure that I could do the job well. It was me they were looking for!
I attended three interviews, at a cost of three days’ holiday and two hundred and seventy miles of petrol, with their final choice being between me and just one other. It seemed (according to the agency) that we both fitted the job description but had “different strengths”.
The Company was struggling to choose between the two of us. I told them I felt a bit gutted about this as I was sure the other guy was equally keen (managed not to say “desperate”) and I wished we could somehow share the job and our combined strengths to provide a solution that would be beneficial all round. They dismissed it, but kindly, saying that unfortunately there was only one available position. One of the interviewers remarked that I should not have been told it was between just two of us. I couldn’t agree more – even if I’d got the job it would have been difficult to celebrate knowing it was at someone else’s loss. But I didn’t get it. The feedback was that the other guy came across more “high profile” than me. I think that might mean he was more confident and self-assertive, but I’m not sure…
So now I must celebrate not having to do that bugger of a journey. The final interview was late afternoon and it took fifteen minutes just to get off the industrial estate. It was a typical new development; massive place, new construction but only two exit roads, and a good twenty minutes before I felt that I was heading home. Not that I had anything special planned for those particular twenty minutes – but there’s something about being stuck in traffic that makes minutes feel very precious. Other than that, there’s nothing to celebrate about not getting the job other than maybe the other guy might need it more than I do.
There was a good feeling about that place and the folks I met, and after three visits I had a sense of belonging. They did try to cushion the blow by saying (via the agent) something like “it’s only no for now but if another vacancy comes up we’ll be in touch”, which is a nice thing to say, I suppose, but I don’t envisage going back there ever again.
Such a cost attached to job hunting. It’s not only three days’ holiday/unpaid leave and two hundred and seventy miles of petrol it’s the massive amount of emotional investment; looking at new houses and cars, brushing up my IT skills and willing the phone to ring … and I bet it won’t cross their minds that it’s cost me anything.