Posts filed under ‘living’

Positively optimistic




I found this image on face book earlier today and couldn’t resist saving it to my computer.


October 23, 2011 at 2:52 pm 3 comments

That’s my boy

My boy is home for one night only. He hasn’t said he has come home to see his mum, no he said he was coming home to see his brothers and the cat……I doubt she is bothered whether he is here or not. All she cares about is being fed and having attention when she wants it. Unfortunately she is out of luck when I am the only one around…..I couldn’t make a fuss of her even if I wanted to as I became allergic to her about 8 years ago …..she is 14.5 now.

Anyway back to my boy. Statto was out celebrating with his new friends in Sheffield on Thursday night, then with his University friends in Guildford on Friday night, before coming home for a quiet night in with us tonight (Saturday 22nd October 2011).  Why the celebrations? today he turned 21.

When he was a little boy he collected football stickers. Everyday we would count them, how many he had collected and how many he needed to complete each team. By the time he started school he could count to 500. When he was 6 his teacher had him statemented as a gifted child. At junior school his teachers were dumbfounded at his ability to work out complicated maths sums in his head quicker than they could write them down.

At senior school he soon had a reputation within the maths department. Again he was identified as a gifted child and put forward for the Naturally gifted child program which he declined to take up. During his GCSE course he never dropped a single point in any of his exams. Obviously he gained A* for his maths GCSE with maximum points.

He then went on to college where he studied both Maths and Pure Maths at A Level, along with Law and IT. He of course earned himself 4 Grade A’s in his A levels. I can’t remember at what age he decided he was going to go to University to study Maths, I am pretty sure he was still at junior school at the time.

He was going to apply for Oxford but decided that it wasn’t for him. He is good at maths ….very good at it even but it is not everything to him. He loves sport especially football and cricket and knows all the stats about all the premier clubs in both sports. Hence his nickname. He felt that it was enough to know that he could have gone to Oxford if he had wanted to. Eventually he chose to go to University of Surrey. Partly because they have a good scholarship program but also because he would have the opportunity to do a year of work experience.

Now he has completed his first two years of University and begun his year of work experience. He is working for NHS in Sheffield (for those of you who don’t know that is a city in the north east of England). He has been there since the start of August so a little under 3 months, yet he has already made his mark there. He was asked to help out with the creation of  an automated excel spreadsheet to make graphs of cancer data simpler and easier to access. He ended up taking over the whole project and is now going to Loughborough to do a presentation on it to chiefs from NHS NE region. If they approve of what he has created it could become nationwide throughout the NHS.

I think he has every right to be proud of himself. Just as I am a very proud mother. I would be very suprised if at the end of his degree he doesn’t get a job offer from NHS. Which in the current climate of job losses can only be a good thing.

We have been discussing the disappoint of discovering that many of our peers are uninterested in anything that goes on outside their own lives. We both feel a need to have people in our lives who we can discuss wider topics with. Whether it is the fall of Gadaffi, the state of the English Education system or the lack of resources in poorer countries. The latest football scores or the previous night’s tv are of course well covered topics of conversation but come on people there is more to life. I am pleased that all of my sons are interested to know more even if they don’t understand certain situations in the world they are interested in learning about it.



October 23, 2011 at 1:19 pm 2 comments

Too taxing for me

I didn’t pay much attention to the news earlier this week from the HM Revenue and Customs. Yet again 1.2 million people had been found to have under paid their taxes. But approx 6 million would be receiving refunds of around £400. This is the second consecutive year that our HMRC has made these announcements. Last year Prodigal was a recipient of a refund having left full time work to go to University mid way through the 2009 tax year.

Having heard that this year there was to be a repeat my only thought was that knowing my luck I would be one of those who would receive the demand for more tax. I didn’t give it any further thought as I was still exhausted after my busy last few weeks.

The previous week had been extremely mentally tiring for me. My senior colleague was on a week ‘s annual leave which meant that I would be covering for him which is always very tiring for me. I find myself doing tasks that I only really perform in his absence. They are not difficult tasks however because I only do them a few times a year it takes me a while to get my bearings. Most of this extra work involves dealing with an external agency who think we have nothing else to do but pander to their demands……. as if!!

But this time things were going to be harder still as our line manager (I think that is the usual term these days) would only be in the office on and off as her husband had become seriously ill. She managed to come into the office for a few hours on Monday and Tuesday mornings but then the awful news came, her husband who she absolutely dotes on has lung cancer. Of course I am terribly sorry that he has this and I can only wish that it wasn’t so. He is still a relatively young man (mid 50s) never smoked and hardly drinks, lives for his daily sessions at the gym yet here he is seriously ill, without the promise of a future he deserves.

This meant that now I was having to cover for our boss too. I was having to take decisions that I would not normally have to make without having anyone more senior to turn to for confirmation. I was given a big quote to put together at very short notice which has the potential to bring in a lot of business…… pressure there then.(Apparently the customer liked my quote but only time will tell how much. Added to this the two of us who were left holding the fort suddenly found that our volume of work increased unexpectedly. We worked through our lunch breaks all week in an effort to keep up with the workload.

So by the time I drove to Eastbourne on Friday evening I was glad to get away. But that wasn’t the end for me. Mid afternoon a customer had called wanting a Rep to visit (his area Rep had retired in June with as yet no replacement). The temporary solution being that my boss would call on the customers who needed to see someone. But for the foreseeable future she is not going to be able to do this. As the customer in question was only a short  drive from where I was staying I agreed to visit him. This was a first for me. I have visited customers in a semi formal situation before but this would be to take a purchase order. I arrived at 10am and left at 12.20 with a 4 page order which I was very pleased with. (my boss was very grateful to me for doing this for her.)

I enjoyed the challenges of last week even though it was tiring. I have now volunteered to go out once a week for the next few weeks visiting customers. It will be a good experience for me and good to meet some of the people who I already deal with on the phone. I am not making life any easier for myself but I don’t see this as a negative.

I am one of those lucky  …..ok so it isn’t really luck……people to receive a tax refund. Apparently I over paid my tax in year 2005 -2006 and again in 2006 – 2007 and yet again in 2007 – 2008. Very silly of me really as I could have done with that money during those difficult early years after I divorced the other parent. Talk about timing, just when I really needed it the money came even if it will be next Friday before I can access it. It seems to me that whenever I am in desperate need of help it comes along at just the right time even without me asking for it.

I can only say that no matter how bad things get for me there is always a silver lining or a light at the end of the tunnel which ever you prefer.

October 22, 2011 at 8:58 pm 5 comments

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

some highlight that is

Having just been asked how my weekend has been I suddenly realise that although I was deliberately having a quiet lazy weekend the highlight might have been…………….

having my annual flu jab

Now there has got to be something wrong if that is the only thing that has happened in two days.

or perhaps it was the paltry smattering of text messages from ‘ the man who kissed me’.

or maybe the stream of messages followed by a telephone conversation with another potential date

September 26, 2011 at 12:55 am 4 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

And then he kissed me

It was only a week since that first tentative message but on Friday he asked if we could meet. We arranged to meet on Sunday, both travelling to Chichester by train. Mine arriving 20 minutes before his.

We recognised each other instantly. (Ok so a few minutes earlier I thought another guy was him but when I did see him I knew immediately) . We walked around the city centre not knowing or caring where we were going. We talked as we walked, there were no awkward pauses. He steered me into a coffee shop, where much to his amusement I ordered tea.

We continued to talk, our cold empty cups forgotten as our stories began to unfold. Stepping out into the light drizzle we continued our chatter. Until finally we found ourselves back at the station. My train would leave before his so we found a bench where we sat oh so close, until with disappointment I realised my train had arrived.

Standing we moved towards the door of the carriage …………

And then he kissed me, not once or twice but three times

September 21, 2011 at 12:56 am 3 comments

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