Posts filed under ‘travel’

Confusing time

Hi mum how was Reading? It was today you went to Reading wasn’t it?

Yes it was ……fine thanks.

Did you drive your car?


But your car was still here

No I drove my car what other car would I have driven?

But you have a small tiger in the window and your reg no is *******

Yes….and I drove it today

But it was outside when I went out

It couldn’t have been unless you went out before 6.45

Don’t you mean before 5.45 ?

No I didn’t go until 6.45 …………what were you doing going out at that time?

I swear your car was out by the garages when I went out

Not unless you were up very early…..I assumed you were still in bed when I went. What time did you go ?

Just after 4.30


Oh what time did you get home ?

Just before 4.30

Are you saying you were in when I got home? The front door was locked!

I went out the back way……….you must have been walking up the front path when I was going out the back.


confusion over



November 9, 2011 at 11:31 pm 3 comments

Not bad for a novice

I had known from the start that I could do this but still I was a little nervous but I knew once I got the ball rolling I would be fine. It was just a nuisance that I had woken up on Monday morning with a very sore throat. As the week progressed so did my head cold. Why now? why this week did I have to go and get a stupid head cold, this wasn’t going to help my cause one bit. This time I kept myself dosed up with pain relief, had early nights and allowed myself to nap in the evenings. I did go to the gym but did less work than I would normally put in.

Thursday night I went to bed early but was woken up coughing at 2am, 2am!! This was not good but numerous tissues later I was able to return to my slumbers until the coughing restarted. Getting up thinking it was 6am and time to prepare for my  big day. Once my eyes had focussed properly  I realised it was only 5am !! arggg that’s a whole hour of much needed slumber  gone never to be regained. I just hoped that the lack of sleep wouldn’t give my eyes that deep red look that occurs after too little sleep. That wouldn’t help to make a great first impression.

I made the most of the extra hour awake by google mapping to see exactly  where I was going and what to look out for. Why had I not thought of that before? It was an obvious thing to do once I thought of it. Having showered and eaten my breakfast I dressed carefully. Starting with matching lingerie and black hold up stockings ……yes I know that only I would know but it gives me an added confidence. I believe that if I feel good about what I am wearing underneath then I feel good on the outside too. (I guess its the secret smile of knowing that others don’t know about the sexy underwear) anyway it works for me. Topping this off with soft swingy  faux wrap around style black skirt, plain plum coloured top and long length black jacket and patent black heels. A touch of make up to make my face feel more human, purple heart shaped earings and a simple tear drop pendant and I was ready for this adventure.

As I began my drive there were patches of lingering mist over the fields beside the motorway but the sun was burning through, thank goodness the rain of the previous days had stopped. Turning onto the A272 a road I had been very familiar with in my youth (the many journeys between our family home in Kent and my grandparents in Dorset) it’s amazing how 30+ years just disappear down memory lane. I have only been on that road a few times in the 24 yrs I have lived down here.

My first stop was in Midhurst, where Cowdray Park is, changed from my flat driving shoes to the heels I walked into the shop feeling a little tense. The first person I saw was the lady my appointment was with. She was very friendly and explained the changes that the new owners of the group of shops had brought about. She was already organised with a purchase order written out but while we talked she added a few extra lines to her order. She asked me to pass on her regards to my manager and if I speak to him the Area Rep who had retired in June. I walked out of there feeling that it hadn’t been a bad experience at all even if I had been a little tense.

Continuing along A272 I got stuck behind a large tractor for miles then when I finally got away from him I found myself  stuck behind a tanker! on a hill !! Mind you he made up for it on the down side of the hill, my little car couldn’t keep up with him …..not that I was trying. Next stop the person I was due to see was off sick (had been all week) but I saw the owner instead. This time I showed him the samples of new products I had with me right away (I hadn’t shown them at all at the first customer). He was very keen and immediately ordered several of the new lines. This gave me a new confidence in what I was doing, it is so much easier to demonstrate a new product than trying to explain it on the phone. Together we made up quite a big order, he was quite impressed with my product knowledge.

Leaving there my confidence was growing but so was my need to find a convenience. I had reached the A23 before I found a  likely looking service station. Pulling up as close as I could to the entrance of the shop I rushed in found the toilets and found it most disconcerting to find myself looking directly into a mirror whilst I was sitting there. It must have been a very strange person who decided to put that there.

It was a slow drive into a grey drizzly Brighton (no more sun for me today). My sat nav took me to a road that overlooked my destination from above roof level. The steep incline had been closed off with bollards. But I managed to find my way there using my homing pigeon instinct. This time it was a very different type of business that I was visiting and an order was not forth coming as they had only recently received stock from us. But I was able to go through the new products and talk to the buyer about the quote my colleague had recently done for him. I was also able to give the office feed back about what he does stock from other companies.

Going to my next stop I managed to take a wrong turn which confused the sat nav just as much as it did me but eventually I found where I was heading for. Again I found myself in a crowded shop, you could probably buy almost anything (apart from food, clothes or furniture) in this small store. Again I managed to get a decent purchase order and give advice on a range of goods to replace a range he already did. Another fruitful visit under my belt.

One more visit in Hove then onwards to my last stop in Worthing. I was very impressed with the huge store (part of a complex of several outlets that were all part of the same company).  Again the customer had only recently had a purchase order but did take my samples off me …lucky for him he was my last stop of the day. I also noticed two branches of other companies we supply were in close proximity. Perhaps I shall arrange to visit them also next time I am here.

Leaving there I phoned the office just as they were about to go home, to report that I had finished and got 3 orders from 6 visits. A better ratio than most of our full time Area Reps and Agents 🙂

Apparently next Friday I am going to North Kent ……..I wonder where else this novice sales rep will be going.

I only wore the heels for the very first visit after that I kept my driving flats on. I don’t think the customers noticed even if it did make me feel a tad flat.

My head cold had the decency to behave itself during the day although my sinuses were giving me a headache I did manage to forget about during each visit. My self medication seems to have helped shorten the life of this head cold however I did pay for it during Friday night.

October 29, 2011 at 1:29 pm 1 comment

It will be worth it in the end

It has and is hard going but in the end it will all be worth it.

The hours of driving will be worth it when my son graduates from whichever University he chooses. It is currently looking like his first choice will be University of East Anglia with University of Hertfordshire as his second choice.

There was a definite buzz about the place when we visited UAE, of course that might have had something to do with the exceptionally hot weather on 1st October. Pug almost instantly felt at home there, a stark contrast to our visit to University of Kent a week later. A cold and windy morning, in a campus which appeared to be populated by open day visitors and a smattering of  student guides. The information we got from there was helpful but Pug didn’t feel any warmth towards the University at all.

The following day we visited University of Hertfordshire, again a cloudy windy day but warmer, there was a better atmosphere but still not the buzz of UAE. Pug feels that Herts could be his fall back Uni if he doesn’t get the results he needs to get into UAE then the lower entry requirements at Herts would be useful. Until a few weeks ago the idea of Pug going to University was a possibility for the future, now it feels more of a reality. Experience tells me that the next year until he moves to whichever University he goes to will fly past with all the preparations that will be required.

All my hard work at the gym will be worth it in the end. I have been going at least twice a week since I joined in August but for the last 3 weeks I have only managed to go once a week due to being very busy and tired. But I have done a lot of walking each weekend. Hopefully enough to go some way to compensate for not going to the gym. A few weeks ago I was feeling good about myself and the hard work I had been putting in but during these weeks I have felt fat and bloated. However other people are starting to comment in the changes in my body shape. Changes that I have not noticed but other people say they can see.

If I can keep up with my hard work it will be worth it in the end.

October 18, 2011 at 10:17 pm 6 comments

Driving there, there and there

I enjoy driving which is quite a good thing seeing as I am the primary driver in my family. There was a time when my mother took me to places. These days when she needs to go anywhere outside of our little town I drive her.

But because I work full time this means that long journeys take place at weekends or on days I take off from work. My mother aka 56 whilst never a good driver was very independent and would take herself off to all sorts of places. This included long weekends to visit my paternal grandmother in north Gloucestershire. But just under 5 years ago 56 had a knee replacement op. It wasn’t straightforward as she had other problems with her leg apart from the knee joint.  She has not walked more than a few paces without a stick since. I have lost count now but think she has had about 4 different ops on that knee in the eight years since she retired. She is currently able to drive but only short distances.

Visits to my grandmother are now much shorter, often with me driving there and back in one day or perhaps with one overnight stay. She is now in a nursing home (aged 93) so visits have become less frequent. This is partly because my grandmother no-longer knows who we are. It is a long way to drive to spend an hour with someone who thinks we are social workers. I am feeling guilty for not visiting my grandmother more than I have done in recent months.

Another reason I cannot visit her as often is that I also act as chauffeur to my sons. There have been trips to Guildford  where Statto was living/studying. Trips to Southampton where Prodigal was living/studying (he has now moved nearer to home). Statto had to be moved to Sheffield where he began a year’s work experience last month.

Just when I have Prodigal and Statto settled in their new homes along comes the next phase of ‘project empty nest’. Pug has now decided that he also wishes to go to Uni. so starting next week  we begin the University Open Days tour.

Stage one of this current tour begins with a 4 hour drive to Norwich next Friday where we will stay overnight (having dinner with family friends). 56 will be going with us and spending Saturday with these friends while I spend 6 hours with Pug at University of East Anglia before the 3 of us make the 4 hour journey home ……guess who will be driving.

Stage two comprises of a 2.5 hr drive at the crack of dawn on Saturday  8th October to University of Kent (Canterbury) 6 hrs on campus and 2.5 hrs drive home (just the two of us this time). I might resort to takeaway for dinner that night as I shall have to be in bed early.

Stage three quickly follows stage two in that we will have to leave home at 6.00am to drive to University of Herfordshire  (Hatfield) ready for a 9am start on Sunday 9th October. Once we have spent 6 hours there and have done the 2 hour drive back home I will probably fall into bed without dinner……will have to be alert for work next day as we are going to be one short in the office due to annual leave.

So that is the next two weekends taken care of will I get to have a rest the following weekend, of course not. I shall be finishing work at 4pm on Friday 14th October and heading straight off to Eastbourne, I hope the traffic won’t be bad as dinner in the hotel restaurant is at 6.30  that night. It is the area Rotary conference weekend. Last year I accompanied 56 to the conference in Jersey, this year it is Eastbourne. There will be entertainment in the conference hotel on Friday night. I may or may not go to some of the many talks on Saturday then it is the gala dinner in the evening. Back home again some time on Sunday.

Just in time for another hard week at work while I deputise for my senior colleague on his week off. I think Statto will be home the following weekend for his 21st. I think I then get two weekends free before stage 4 is the long trek up to Stoke on Friday 11 November. for University of Staffordshire.

Maybe I might find time to see ‘ the man who kissed me‘ eventually.

Oh and somewhere along the line will be the open evenings for local colleges that Skater needs to visit. That basically means every college within 20 miles of here.

September 24, 2011 at 4:52 pm 5 comments

It’s just a number isn’t it?

In our office 3 out of 11 of our staff are turning 50 over the next 6 months. It is only a number isn’t it. So why is it that two of the three would prefer that nobody knew their real age.   Neither of them want a fuss, no big deal, one doesn’t ever celebrate no matter what the number is.

For me age is not really an issue. If I am asked how old I am I generally say ‘old enough to know better and young enough to enjoy it ‘. However if they really want to know then I don’t have a problem with saying that I am 49.  Like I said it is only a number after all.

But I have been thinking about how I feel about turning 50 in the spring . The number 50 is not a problem for me but I am beginning to feel  short changed.  I feel short changed not because I feel old, I actually still feel very young. However I feel I have been cheated. Even if I live to be 100 I know I won’t be one of those elderly pensioners who is still able to do everything they want to do when they are in their 90s. Therefore I need to get a move on if I want to fulfil everything I want to achieve in my life.

I don’t mind that I am going to be 50 but please can I turn the clock back to be 40 again. Purely because now that I am happy with who I am, together with the fact that my children are no longer children. In the next few years I am going to be in a position to be able to do more with my life but I am afraid that my time is running out. I need to go back to being 40 so that I can physically manage to fit in everything that I will soon be able to start doing.

I find it a scary thought that because I have a tendency to date men who are older than me, I now find that a growing number of those men are already grandfathers. I don’t want to be a grandparent yet. Further more it worries me that those same men (grandparents or not) are nearing retirement age. I’m too young to be dating a pensioner. The numbers might say that I am going to be 50 but in my mind I am no more than 20 if that.

In my life I have done very little travelling and there is so much of this world of ours that I would like to see. So many friends across the world I would love to visit. I have not yet had a holiday anywhere hot. From what I hear from others the older you get the harder it becomes to cope with the heat. Have I missed my chance?

So I conclude that although I don’t mind that I am about to be 50 can I please be a 40 yr old 50 ? please please. I promise I won’t waste the extra years.

September 17, 2011 at 8:20 pm 12 comments

Have Sat Nav will travel

Ok we finally got going just after 10am only an hour late!

All was going well, after an hour we were well past Newbury and on our way to  Oxford. The caravan ahead of me was becoming annoying (I can’t stand to be behind a vehicle that I can’t see around and or through).  A gap in the traffic in the outside lane meant I could change lanes and pass him or so I thought. Yes I changed lanes and now I am running beside him as both lanes are grinding to a slow crawl …….not quite a halt. Slowly we rolled on side by side for probably a mile then we stopped.

We then played the well known traffic game of  stop start…..after 10 minutes I was bored of this game but there was no way out. Oh I had managed to change lanes again and was now ahead of the caravan. For an eternity we watched this view of Didcot creeping ever closer.


One fire engine and two police cars threaded their way through the two lanes of semi stationary traffic. I wonder why we didn’t see at least one ambulance. When we finally reached the scene of the hold up three miles and 1 1/2 hours later there were two very smashed up cars with a motorbike between them. I hope nobody was seriously injured. But now we could start to make progress.

After much procrastination, web searches and store visits I had on Friday taken the plunge and bought a SAT NAV (not expensive but not dead cheap either). I usually borrow one from my friendly plumber when I go on a long trip. But the time has come to be more independent. (that’s another story for another day).

Whenever I use a Sat Nav I usually end up arguing with it because it wants me to go a way I don’t want to go. But this time all seemed to be going well we were going the way that I would have gone had I been relying on a road map. But then we reached the M40 and although I was not suprised to be turning west I thought this would be for a couple of miles before turning north again. But no it was telling me my next turning would be Birmingham central or BEE HAM as it was saying (B’ham). My instinct was to watch the road signs for one that I thought would be relevant and turn north of my own accord. But my map book was in the boot under all statto’s belongings. But I decided to follow the Sat Nav (Daniel I think this one is called) .Perhaps the sat nav knows that this route will be quicker than the smaller roads.

I could feel a bathroom break coming on so pulled into one of the motorway services that had thoughtfully be placed along this boring road. Daniel was not pleased! Boy were my legs stiff I felt like a hunched back cripple making my way across the car park but gradually my limbs came back to life. The rest of the journey passed without incident and we pulled up at our first stop in Sheffield at 3.30pm just 1 1/2 hours after my intended arrival. Not bad considering we had lost 2.5 hours. So well done Daniel but still don’t think I needed to go to Bee Ham. Why do two sides of a triangle if you can do one?

Next we wove our way through the streets up hill and down until we reached the house where Statto will be living for the next year. Not one of the other house mates were there, they are also students and mostly won’t be there until September except for one who has been living there but went away on Saturday morning. Statto is not sure when this house mate will be back so in the meantime he is living in this huge 9 bedroom house in a strange city all on his own.I have never seen such a large kitchen in a house. I had never been to Sheffield before and was pleasantly suprised although I think my son is going to be very fit from walking up and down all those hills all the time. Not sure he will need to join the gym which conveniently is only about 500m from the house.

After unpacking we went in search of a food store, we found a Spar shop which was like a tardis (much bigger inside than it looked from the front.) Later we went in search of a take away meal and found a chip shop. I whispered to Statto ……what do you think those are? there was a stack of large battered discs. I soon found out when I asked for a fish cake . It was the size of a small plate!! Back home fish cakes are half that size and in bread crumbs not batter. I didn’t manage to finish it!

In the morning we found the local supermarket and stocked up on basics and enough food to last him a few days. After making sure he knew exactly where he has to go on Monday morning, I supervised his attempt to iron his suit trousers and shirts. (it never occurred to me that he has only ever ironed t-shirts and jeans before).

Reluctantly I left him behind as I set off on my journey home at 1pm, with the temp at 31c I was rather hot and bothered as I negotiated the city centre round abouts (I only went round one of them twice and got beeped once as I tried to get into the right lane……not too bad considering I had no idea where I was going).

After getting stuck in slow moving traffic caused by road works at the M1 junction I was away …….Daniel told me to turn off at junction 23a and head for Bee Ham…..huh I don’t think so.

Once I had passed jnct 23a he recalculated and instructed me to exit at jnct 21……hee hee I stayed on M1 until I reached Northampton then took A43 by which time Daniel wanted me to head for London………does he think I want to spend hours on the M25 car park? After disobeying him at three consecutive junctions he gave up and let me follow A43 towards Oxford. Once I reached Oxford I knew I could get home without stopping. I made it door to door in 3hrs 55mins by going my way. I promise I only did 90 for a few short bursts, mostly I stayed at 70mph or less.

I had a message early this morning to say my boy had managed to get across the city by bus for his induction course……all is well so far 🙂

August 1, 2011 at 10:43 am 4 comments


It had been my intention to travel to and from London by coach as this was cheaper than train. However by the time I was ready to book my seats for the journey the morning coach was already fully booked. Not a problem, I managed to find a train ticket that was not too expensive and would arrive at about the same time as the coach.

Next I made enquiries about a suitable place to meet. I was told by my contact that the best place was a popular pub called the Duke of York. This was right next to the entrance to the station and easy to find.

I left home half an hour before my train was due, quickly nipped into the garage across the road to buy a bottle of water and a sandwich for the journey. Pulling into the new long stay car park at the rail station I quickly paid for my ticket. It took me a moment or two to find where to retrieve the ticket from. Knowing time was racing away and cursing myself for not collecting my rail ticket the day before I trotted over to the ticket machine beside the station entrance.

Unfortunately even though rain was predicted the sun shining on the screen made it very difficult to read the instructions. Finally with the ticket in my hand I ran into the station through the turnstiles   ……..they were not there the last time I travelled by train. Great I had made it; there was a train at the platform.

‘Is this the train to Victoria?’

‘Yes, but you can’t get on it.’ The Guard informed me.

Now what do I do?

‘Get the next train and change at H for the Victoria train’

Having next arrived at the station where I was to change I noticed a missed call on my phone. Chatting away, waiting for my train I can see a train on the other platform but don’t register the arrival of the train I need. Suddenly I notice the words ‘London Victoria’ on the side of the train just feet away from me.  Grrrr I very nearly missed it!

From then on my journey was quite uneventful; I had forgotten how different the countryside looks from a train. When I wasn’t gazing out at the fields of cattle etc I entertained myself with a pocket crossword book.

My train arrived at Victoria at 13.15 right on schedule. When I had boarded the train it was 4 carriages long now it was 8 and I was in the second to last carriage…..the walk along the platform seemed to take forever. Now I was on the main concourse and began weaving through the crowds looking for the exit. I had never been to this station before and didn’t realise that the concourse is actually quite long ….I’m more used to stations such as Charring Cross which is shorter and wider. Having examined a map of the area before setting out I began to think that I was now in fact in the shopping centre rather than the station proper.

Retracing my steps a short distance I found an exit onto Buckingham Palace road which I remembered was one of the two roads I would need during my trip.  As I followed other travellers out of the station I was faced with a busy dual carriageway . Looking both left and right there was no sign of the pub I was looking for.  But a building to my right had scaffolding up so that could be it. Threading my way through the throngs of people either making their way into the station or queuing at the many bus stops along the road I reached the corner.  Still no sign of The Duke of York however I was facing The Shakespear which I had been told would be another good pub to go to but it’s a few minutes walk from The Duke of York. Ok I must have gone the wrong way.

I checked my phone finding a message saying that my friend had arrived and was at the bar waiting for me. Quickly I replied ‘have reached Victoria just need to find the pub’. Turning around I pushed my way back the way I had just come, continued passed the station exit and onto the next corner of the road.

Still not seeing what I was looking for I turned left following the road, there were few people around now this couldn’t be the right way. But I found another entrance to the station so figured I would find someone to ask or at least find a map. Following the signs for ‘information’ again I made my way through the crowds. Among the many people there were very few who looked like they might be able to help. So many travellers and not many accessible workers. Finally I spotted what appeared to be the main entrance/exit to the station.

Good I would be in the pub in a moment, first thing I would have to do is find the ladies room. I wasn’t about to pay to use the facilities on the station. Walking around the steps leading down to the tube station I turned right…..I could see The Shakespeare again but now to my left. On the corner there was a pub ….this must be it but it is called ‘The Iron Duke’. Could that be the same as the Duke of York surely not, Ok I will try a little further down the road. I am now passing The Apollo theatre but still can’t find the pub. When it becomes apparent that it can’t be down this road I ask a woman who is stood in a doorway smoking. In broken English she tells me that I want the pub on the corner that I had dismissed minutes earlier.

Back to The Iron Duke still not convinced I go inside…it isn’t very big and I can see instantly that my friend is not there. I asked a waiter and he pointed me across the junction past the bus terminal and across the traffic lights next to Victoria Palace Theatre is the pub I want. Finally I walk through the door into the bar where my friend is waiting with a bottle of red wine and two glasses, lovely.

June 16, 2011 at 10:08 pm 2 comments


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