I’d rather be…

Weekly Photo Challenge: I’d rather be…


Maybe I am beginning to sound like someone with attachment issues. I realise that this is the third time in so many weeks that I have mentioned my beloved “beach”.

I took this rather rubbishy photo of the fireworks using the head of a (now) 9-year-old boy as my tripod. Little did I know that this would be the last time we sat outside our hut and watched the fireworks. It was one of my favourite nights of the summer. Everyone was sociable. The bonfires were lit along the beach. There was a real feeling of community spirit.

Every day, I’d rather be back there. But, who wouldn’t?


Flossie Friday: Mothering Sunday

It was Mothering Sunday last weekend. The BBC have quite a good blurb about the history of Mothering Sunday.

Traditionally, it was a day when children, mainly daughters, who had gone to work as domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mother and family.

Flossie has five domestic servants – her children. Even on their birthdays they have to do chores and run around after Flossie. Mothering Sunday wouldn’t be a day off for these domestic servants. If anything, Flossie plays into Mothering Sunday: “oh, but it’s Mother’s Day, I don’t have to do anything”.

Nowadays it’s all about giving flowers and chocolates; lovely lunches and pretty jewellery; big cute teddy bears and a brand new cars. If you really like your mum, you might stretch to a five star weekend break in Europe…

I took it upon myself (as I have for a few years now) to sort Flossie out with a card and gift from myself and her five domestic servants:

No “thank you”, no acknowledgement of it, no nothing.

I only continue to bother for the sake of my siblings. Next year I might not trouble myself.

Sharing my world II

Share Your World blog challenge.

If a distant uncle dies and I were always his favourite and leaves me £50,000 in his will, what would I do?

I would be very shocked, to be honest. First of all, for being his favourite. Secondly, I’m pretty sure that if my uncle had £50,000 he would spend it himself rather than leave it for me!! But, let’s pretend that I am my uncle’s favourite, and that he does have £50,000 for me… I would invest it. I don’t know how, but I wouldn’t “blow it”. Although, I would maybe try and build a Toblerone memorial for the rest of us to eat. If my uncle likes anything, it’s a Toblerone. Or, at least, I hope he does, because every year I get him one and he’s always seemed pleased with it…

What sound/s do I love?

The sound of the sea. Be it a gentle splash or a stormy crash…

What’s my middle name? Why?

Jacqueline – but I don’t know why. I always thought it was after my great-aunt but I can’t imagine that she and my mum are that close. My great-aunt is lovely though, so I would have been honoured to have been named after her…

What did I appreciate or what made me smile this past week?

I had a week away. I went to sunny, tropical Scotland. Unfortunately, I haven’t been left a £50,000 legacy from a distant uncle, so I couldn’t afford the 5* hotels on this occasion. Fortunately, there were some hostels open. So, for £1, I bought some earplugs. There’s nothing worse than snoring strangers to get your blood boiling while you’re trying to get sleep. So, I have a greater appreciation for ear plugs. My early morning stranger lady could have done with a pair of these…


Early morning chats and winter camping…

I will start with the winter camping part of my title… Last night I camped. Outside. In a tent. I ignored everyone who said I “shouldn’t”. I assessed the environment before I agreed. And, you know what? It was the best night of sleep I have had in a while. I was comfortable. I was neither too hot nor too cold. I slept the entire night. I woke up feeling that I had been to sleep, instead of waking up still feeling tired.

It wasn’t quite sub-zero last night, but it wasn’t exactly tropical. I think my car thermometer was registering between 1-3°C. However, my travel friend is into mountains and the outdoors on a scale I’ve never known. His house looks like a camping shop as well as a library. Also, he is hardly going to let himself be uncomfortable while camping. It was the most luxurious camping experience I have known: insulated air mat and eider down sleeping bag designed for Arctic conditions. We also threw a duvet for extra measures:

Inside the tent…

Last night was quite a contrast to the night before. It was a really nice hostel – lovely people, welcoming environment and comfortable. The shower was hot and better than mine at home, too! I went to bed, in a comfortable bunk, only to wake 2½ hours later because it was so hot. I seriously could barely breathe!! 

Someone in our dorm had turned the heater up full blast to dry their gloves, scarf, hat, etc (instead of using the designated drying room!) and, of course, heat rises – all the way to the top bunk opposite said heater to where yours truly was sleeping. Travel friend turned the heater down and I went to the main communal area where a lovely lady (Deborah) was trying to sleep. She had vacated her dorm because there was a loud snorer!! 

We chatted all into the early hours about life and our troubles and dreams. She is into her photography and has a daughter who lives near my old stomping ground – it was incredible to meet someone who is familiar with my most favourite place on earth when we are both 670 (12 driving hours) away. Usually I have to elaborate with “20 minutes from Southampton” followed by “opposite the Isle of Wight” and a firm “no, not Portsmouth”. She was incredible and spoke with great pride about her children and grandchildren. Eventually one of her friends got up (the non-snorer) and she too was lovely – she had previously been involved in Brownies and Guides, so we had that in common!

I might have spent £18 for a bunk I didn’t sleep in, but I had a great conversation with Deborah. I couldn’t have put a price on that!

My bunk

We also commented to a teacher that their school kids were amazing – there must have been 12 kids and we didn’t hear them. If we passed them, they held doors for us. Their teacher acknowledged that they were a credit to their parents and the school!
Yesterday, after leaving the comforts of the hostel, we headed towards nowhere in particular but to somewhere that my travel friend knew would have a (free) campsite and (open) hostel within spitting distance of each other. On the way, we took a trip on the highest (I am led to believe) road in the UK, standing proud at over 2,000 feet. I was being chauffeured so I was able to take a picture:

I have another photo but I need to delete my registration number from it so you can see the height of the snow beside my car!! I am 5 foot 5, and it was easily taller than me!!

Two more nights to go! Tonight we are staying in a Loch Ness Monster themed hostel. I decided that we should visit Nessie while we are here. I appear to be more enthusiastic than my friend. I don’t think he likes fun. He’s trying to ruin my fun by telling me the Loch Ness Monster isn’t real – it’s worse than telling kids Santa isn’t real!!!

Flossie Friday: car lending

Here’s a little story from the memory bank for this Flossie Friday. I remembered this particular event when someone’s name popped up on Facebook. She’s memorable to me for a few reasons:

  • She and her family ate almost an entire pizza to themselves when I bought the pizza for my siblings and I to eat while I babysat. It wasn’t for her. My siblings and I had to watch on hungrily (like little Orphan Annie’s) as they ate the pizza, leaving 1 slice to be shared between six of us. I thought they were only going to take 1 slice each…
  • She regularly tried to get me to sign up to her Pyramid Selling thing that she was involved in. I’m sure it was all legit, but it isn’t something I’m into. She was forever boasting that she, husband and kids were living the high life. Well, not much became of that.
  • And this event. Something that happened 5-10 years ago. Concerning cars. And this particular woman’s eagerness to cash in on what was my generosity…

We were playing “musical cars” – Flossie was borrowing mine, her husband was driving hers and his was in the garage. Flossie was only borrowing my car because I needed my car back by 4pm – come hell or high water, I needed my car. And she knew that from the very beginning. Sitting here now, I can’t remember why, but I know it was extremely important that I got somewhere.

In front of the pizza-eating-pyramid-selling woman, Flossie said something and I realised that, in fact, I wouldn’t have my car by 4pm. I must of said something because Flossie reminded me that she wouldn’t have enough room in my small Micra to do the school run and that is why she was keeping her car and that her husband would be taking mine to work with him.

Normally, I wouldn’t have minded, but on this occasion, I really needed my car. Normally, I would have jumped at the chance of her husband driving my car because, despite what Flossie thinks, she is one of those “prats” on the road that she sometimes moans about on Facebook. She might have glanced at a Highway Code in the 1980s but I doubt she’s looked at one since. In fact, I highly doubt she would pass her Theory Test today.

I must have said something because the argument was “tough luck” in my favour – and to hell with the fact that it was my car and I was being generous in loaning it in the first place. Flossie was implying that without my car, her husband wouldn’t be able to get to work and then it would be my fault if he got sacked or the children starved, and that she needed her car for the school runs. The pizza-eating-pyramid-selling woman asked if I could use public transport – which wasn’t an option in this case. Then she said if I gave her petrol money (to cover both of her return journeys to take me and collect me) then she would happily give me a lift.

All I could think was “why would I pay someone petrol money for two return journeys when I have a car and can take myself to and from [destination]?” Don’t get me wrong, it was very kind of the pizza-eating-pyramid-selling woman to offer to help me out, but it was Flossie who was the one who had “changed the rules”. There was no way that Flossie was going to pay and I certainly wasn’t – why should I? But the pizza-eating-pyramid-selling woman was firmly on Flossie’s side – she needed the car and I was being offered a lift.

Perhaps I was (and still am) a little too thick to comprehend how I came off better from this? Why should I loan my car to someone and then pay to be taken and collected elsewhere? Why should I be inconvenienced by someone else changing the rules?

I asked Flossie why she couldn’t walk to do the afternoon school run and got the normal excuses: roads are too dangerous to cross (she’s crossing a road, not the M3 motorway), one of the kids has bad ankles and can’t walk (but could), one of them is too little to walk all that way (then take the pushchair) and, my favourite: “it’s too far” – it’s a 20 minute walk.

On this particular occasion, I didn’t take Flossie’s crap. I remember saying that if I didn’t have my car by 4pm then she wasn’t using my car at all. There was a lot of resistance on her part, and it resulted in me going on the afternoon school run with her, to walk home with the children who “could” walk. Needless to say that I ended up walking with all them while Flossie drove my car back to her house, by herself, and enabled me to have my car by 4pm. It’s Flossie who can’t walk to do the school run, not the children.

I’ll leave you with some Bruno Mars. Apparently all the cool kids are listening to him. I can’t say that I’m overly keen on his stuff. Except the Funky Town one. That was catchy…

Harry Potter and the Loch Ness Monster

My title looks like a new J. K. Rowling work-in-progress. I wonder how that would go? If I am honest, I would associate Nessie more with Mulder and Scully than with Harry, Ron and Hermione.

I’m currently on an adventure. I’m on holiday. I was going to be in sunny, tropical Scotland for two weeks but a combination of crap weather, accommodation is falling through and my travel buddy has a cold has meant that we are probably shortening our trip by a week. But, despite bad weather, having to really hunt out the open hostels and having a miserable friend, I am having a wonderful time!

I came to see the Glenfinnan Viaduct and to seek out my mother’s ancestors. I also came to see some beaches. My friend came to do mountain walking but that really isn’t happening. I feel a bit guilty that my boxes are ticked, but I can’t control the weather.

The Glenfinnan Viaduct:

Imagine this scene with the Hogwarts Express chugging along it. Now imagine Ron Weasley flying his father’s Ford Anglia over and under the viaduct.

While we are on the train theme, I have also spent two nights in a sleeper coach – a hostel, not a night train. I would love to do Fort William to London Euston, but that’s an adventure for another time.

I have better pictures on my camera, but it is a coach turned into a hostel. It’s really quite cool!

However, sadly for me, we have moved on. We are currently in a hostel a bit further north. Our bunk is in a caravan – and the toilet is in a shed outside. The silver lining in this particular cloud is that at least we don’t have to listen to a narcissist strumming his tuneless guitar while singing badly to a bored audience. Clearly he took his mother seriously when she told him that he was a talented guitarist and singer. I can’t imagine that anyone else could be proud of his “sound”.

The hostel is nicer than I make it sound. The bed is a bit hard but it’s warm, dry and I am quite snug. Not many folk were snoring in the night so I didn’t really need my earplugs. I actually had a very nice night.

We got here after a trip via Loch Ness in Fort Augustus. I have been keen to do a bit of genealogy research during this holiday. You see, if I find the Loch Ness Monster, I can reassure Nanna that there really was a mix up in the hospital 52 years ago.

Today we are going to the Loch Ness Monster city and going to a museum (about the Loch Ness Monster). After that I don’t know what is happening. Who knows where we might end up?! Or what we might find…..