23 February 2015


I consider myself to be reasonably able to negotiate new technology, given I am now retired, living alone and do not always have my daughter around most of the time to fall back on at times when technology defeats me. So it has been a little frustrating that there are some of you out there - particularly those who write Wordpress blogs, where, try as I might, I cannot leave a comment. There is one blog in particular where I have tried to leave comments time after time over the last few months. The comment box is there. It has my correct blogname, email address and blog address. I write my comment, press "submit" and the comment never appears. At first I hoped it was just waiting for blog administrator's approval before being published, but that was not the reason as weeks later the comments still don't appear. I have even googled for advice on what to do if my comment won't appear, but that seems to draw a blank, as the answers seem to be directed at the blog owner not being able to receive comments, rather than the commenter not being able to leave comments.

So if you use Wordpress, live in the USA, are going through a bad patch  and don't get any comments from me, it is not for the want of me trying! If anyone else has any ideas what I am doing wrong, let me know.
courtesy of pixshark.com

17 February 2015


I've been enjoying watching the BBC2 series Inside the Commons not least because, when - in a previous life - I was a Civil Servant, a part of my work involved having to draft replies for Parliamentary Questions; or brief Secretaries of State and Royals for visits; or submit support for Honours nominations; or answer MPs' questions on all sorts affecting their constituencies. It has therefore been interesting to see the inner workings of the hallowed halls where my hard work over several decades landed up.

But oh my word, had I by mistake tuned in to Children's Playhour or something? Considering the British Parliament and democratic system has been long revered all over the world, it was something of a shock to see the juvenile way they carry on. I know we've been accustomed to seeing TV coverage of the daily shenanigans between Cameron and Miliband where they duck and dive at one another with only a table to keep them apart.

You stole my lollipop.
Well, you took my model dinosaur.
Well, I'm going to tell teacher, so there.

We've also heard the excited baying of the House like a load of sheep. But Members deliberately playing for time and sabotaging Private Members' Bills by first interrupting them in mid-speech and then talking for as long as they can (even according to William Hague for as long as 24-hours) to prevent the Member reading out his bill.... that really is childish. Or camping out all night in the corridor next to the relevant office to make sure their bill is first in the queue. I thought that only happened the night before the Harrods' or Apple sale. Fancy all that being the envy of the world! It's all a little bit like this.......

11 February 2015

One Day at a Time

I realised the other day that it must be six months since I last went to an Al-Anon meeting.  I have been so preoccupied caring for my mother and her broken knee, that I have completely got out of my usual routine.  In any case, I had been thinking I wouldn't go any more, as I have never really got the complete hang of Al-Anon, like some people do. I can't take comfort from a Higher Power, as frankly I don't have a clue what my Higher Power is. I don't have a sponsor. I find it hard to open up in front of strangers (believe it or not). I get tongue-tied, as we sit around in a circle,  and dread the silences when it is obviously my turn in the group to speak but I have nothing to contribute, yet all eyes are secretly willing me to speak, as I am the only one who hasn't spoken yet and there are still 20 minutes of meeting time left.  The silences can be so awkward. I end up gibbering a load of irrelevant rubbish and wishing the ground would swallow me up. I don't find it helps me get things out of my system. More the reverse. More nerve-wracking. Why do I put myself through it? Some people go to several meetings in different locations in a week, declare they are soooo pleased to be at the meeting, as they couldn't get through another day without it.  I am definitely not one of those.  So, no, I am not comfortable with Al-Anon meetings. In fact I have found writing this blog has helped me far more to get inner strength and get things out of my system. However, that is not to say I have not found Al-Anon useful at all. The tips, literature, slogans, sometimes just knowing you are not the only person in the whole wide world going through alcoholic hell - all help. Of all the things I have picked up at the Al-Anon meetings I have gone to, there is one slogan which has always stood out head and shoulders above the rest of the advice.

One Day at a Time.

I found it useful not only when I was trying to cope, when my alcoholic was alive, but it is a very good tool for using in the rest of my life too. Whether you are living with an alcoholic or not, there are always times when things get on top of you, mount up, overcome you, seem impossible, or drown you. Too many things to do, too many bills to pay, too many problems to deal with, not enough time, not enough patience, not enough energy. Where to start? How to start?

One Day at a Time.

There's a Chinese proverb which says something along the lines of "A  journey of a thousand miles starts with the very first step". In other words, make a start, keep plodding along and eventually you will get to the destination, however far away it may seem.

One Day at a Time.

If you make a list of all the things that need doing, breaking down items into further subsections if they are complicated, you'll know what you are faced with. It might seem insurmountable, but prioritise and start with the most urgent. We all need a roof over our head, food, water and warmth, so I assume that  is at the top of the list, alongside a source of money obviously. Everything else drops into place behind that depending on its urgency, necessity and personal requirements.

One Day at a Time.

Start by dealing with the most urgent. If it all seems too much, just deal with one thing each day. In one week, you'll have crossed seven things off your list. The feeling of achievement, pride and relief in being able to cross those things off the list is immense. It is surprising how over the weeks, those things get whittled down. Of course things get added to the list too, as life goes on, but again just prioritise them, slip them to the top of the list or the bottom or the middle, depending on how important they are.

One Day at a Time.

You probably think I'm stating the blimmin obvious, but sometimes we are too deep in a rut, too emotionally wrung out to see the wood for the trees. Particularly if we are living with an alcoholic and juggling many balls in the air, dealing with the crazy rollercoaster of an alcoholic  relationship.

One Day at a Time.

This has helped me so many times to live with the alcoholic, accept his death, deal with the aftermath and pick myself up to carry on as a single parent to my 23-year-old daughter (still dependant on me as she is at uni) and as a carer to my 91-year old disabled mother. There have been times over the last five years, when, although Greg is dead, the legacy created by his alcoholism and death have caused problems in my life or Kay's. This has helped propel us forward. 

If you are finding life is getting on top of you, just try it.

One Day at a Time.



03 February 2015

I'll get it done if it kills me

I've decided it's a new year and about time I try to envigorate all the plans I had to get the house up to scratch since Greg died. Knocked back last autumn by the setback of the rain coming through the roof, coupled with the untimely accident of  my mother's broken knee, I got off track somewhat and everything was put on hold. Onwards and upwards, I have decided it can wait no longer.

I've shortlisted a roofer to come and sort the roof out and blow the guarantee with the original roofer who put it on 2 years ago. Work on that starts in a week or so. I'm getting someone to sort out my front door which suddenly won't shut properly without slamming it so hard, it causes the whole neighbourhood to quake. I'm also trawling for builders to do a bit of cementwork between brickwork, where it has come a bit loose. I've arranged for someone to repair my fence which started to loll to one side, when my neighbour decided to have their garden landscaped and had a go at it from their side. Once that's done, I'm getting two new bathrooms. I'm finally sick of the Sixties-style yellow suite and grey tiles in one of them and peach suite and white tiles in the other. Why is it Vintage can be OK in clothes but not in baths? So I am a busy bee.

I'm a little perturbed  by the amount of unsolicited mail  I'm getting offering me life insurance or urging me to consider saving for my own funeral. Is someone trying to tell me something?