Where does the time go?

Wow can’t believe it’s already been three weeks since my last blog!  Where does the time go?    I had decided to try and make this a weekly update on life but as usual life got in the way!

After my partner’s 60th birthday celebrations at the end of January we spent five nights at her daughter’s in Eltham, London.  Visited a couple of places we hadn’t been to before namely Greenwich and Canterbury, both would have been more enjoyable in warmer weather I think.  Found a nice pub in Greenwich called The Yacht, right on the riverside next to the Old Naval College.

I had arranged to go to Bristol and visit my son, daughter and grandchildren at the beginning of March but the weather put a stop to that.  I wouldn’t normally worry about it but with RED warnings and as I like to travel in the early hours with some parts being fairly remote I decided not to take the chance.  Luckily I’ve managed to rebook the stay for early May.

The weather has caused a few problems at work too, after struggling to get in for 9 a.m last Wednesday I wasn’t prepared for what happened.  All our drivers were still on site, the boss wouldn’t let us even attempt to go out on service.  We were told we wouldn’t be getting paid which almost started a mutiny.  “If we aren’t getting paid for today then we are not risking our necks again to come in tomorrow” seemed to be the general consensus.  Well after talks with the local transportation authorities we were told we would be paid.  Later in the day a text message was sent to all saying that no services would be running the following morning but all staff were to remain ‘on-call’ as hourly checks would be made on road conditions and some staff may be required to attend work.  I was lucky and didn’t get called in, so had two extra days off (18 hours paid) before starting a five day weekend.  Out of those that were required to go in two refused so they will not be paid.  I took Pauline to work Thursday morning as she’s not as confident as me driving in the snow.  Had a request for help on Friday from the boss so that was overtime.

Here we are the 6th March , the day before going back to work and the snow has almost totally disappeared and been replaced by constant rain………… give me snow any day!

Found out yesterday that Pauline’s granddaughter (Fourteen in June) who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of three has had some upsetting results from her last check up.  Since the onslaught of puberty she has had a lot of problems controlling her ‘highs’ and it looks like they could be affecting her eyesight, even eventually leading to total blindness.  The hospital are hoping that with even stricter controls on her diet they can stop any further deterioration and even reverse it.

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Now we’re both ‘getting on’!

Well it’s been over a two years since my last effort at keeping this blog going, so I think I can say with great confidence that I totally failed.  A few things have changed since then, my partner Pauline reached the grand ‘old’ age of sixty back at the end of January.  A small celebratory meal was had at the “Italian Kitchen” restaurant on the Saturday before her birthday, attended by Pauline, myself, Kelly (P’s elder daughter), Tom (P’s Son-in-Law), Evie (P’s Granddaughter), Gemma (P’s younger daughter) and Mark (Gemma’s partner).  A very enjoyable evening was had by all.  The following day was a little bit of a nail biter, Pauline was insisting on putting on a buffet tea, unknown to her, some of her colleagues from Asda had arranged a surprise party for her at the local pub just up the road.  Persuading her to go wasn’t easy but I managed in the end.  Pauline’s face lit up with a great big smile when we entered the bar and she was greeted by a round of “Happy Birthday!”  She was so shocked and no-one could understand how she didn’t cotton on to what was happening from what people were saying to her at work.  To cut a long story short she was totally overwhelmed by it all, so much so she ‘stole’ someone’s drink and upon finishing it asked what it was, Strawberry Gin!!! but I don’t like gin!  The evening finished with Pauline walking/skipping down the road singing “Sugar Sugar” as loud as she could and waking up half the street.

May last year saw me start a new job with Central Taxis of Gateshead as a bus driver on one of many local subsidised routes, I’d been through a short period of having silly little accidents with Arriva and decided I needed a change.  The money isn’t as good but the work ethic/atmosphere is more relaxed, making it a lot more pleasurable to go to work.  Some of the duties are rather long but with a mix of shorter ones the week seems a lot easier to cope with.

If all goes to plan this time next year will see us with no mortgage or bank loan so we can start doing what we want a little more and get down to planning for retirement in 2020.

An End of Year Resolution

I have decided yet again to try and make a ‘diary’ of my daily trudge through this thing called ‘LIFE’.  Wether I actually manage the task is probably the biggest question, I’m hoping I can do it most days (I was never any good at keeping a diary).  Can’t wait to see the back of 2015, it’s not been that nice to me.

A Near Miss…… (so, so, close)

On Sunday 9th November we left Sunderland station on a trek to see family in London. We travelled on the Grand Central Railway to Kings Cross, a pleasant enough journey apart from travelling backwards. We were met at the station by Gemma, Pauline’s youngest daughter who has lived in London since starting Uni in 2000. We were given our Oyster cards for travelling around London and made our way towards the tube station as we had to get to Crystal Palace. After using one Underground and one Overground service we arrived at Crystal Palace station, then began the long trek uphill towards our hotel. We were staying at the Euro Queens Hotel, a very nice looking building from the outside. After a few problems with my credit card we managed to pay our bill before even being told our room number (I thought this very strange, usually bills are paid on leaving not arrival) The reason for this was soon apparent, my comments left on their website:-

From the roadside a lovely looking hotel. ‘Gentleman’ who booked us in appeared pleasant enough at first, telling us he was giving us ‘his best room’. He got rather sarcastic with his comments when the hotel credit card machine would not work properly, it kept telling me my pin number was incorrect. We were given a grubby little plastic key card and directed to our room. What a shock! the smell of damp was to say the least unpleasant, the bottom left corner of the large sash window was rotted away, there was a large cob-web filled gap between the window frame and the heating radiator(which was held on by a piece of wire screwed to the window frame) The two chairs in the room were dirty and stained, one seat barely staying on the metal framework. The bathroom was in a likewise sorry state, the bath taps appeared not to have been cleaned in years, the shower curtain rail was rusty, the toilet seat was too small for the pan, the bathroom door did not close fully, the bath panel was in a terrible state of repair being held in place by some sort of white mastic and the sink pedestal was barely touching the base of the sink and was ‘glued’ in place to the cracked floor tiles using the same white mastic. Being too tired after our long trip from Sunderland we decided to ‘sleep on it’ until the morning. The morning came and with it dawned two more surprises, the bed was soft in one corner, upon inspection it was found that the divan base frame was actually broken in one corner and then there was the awful smell of stagnant water from the bathroom.

We complained about the broken bed and the smell from the bathroom and were told to remove our belongings from the room and we would be found other accommodation. The new room was completely different, it was as pictured on the website. The question remains of course, why weren’t we given this room in the first place? After eventually working out how to use the air-conditioning system the rest of our stay in the hotel was pleasant enough. We ventured to the local Weatherspoons for breakfast everyday not wishing to use the hotel facility.

We had a great time seeing some sights,The Tower Poppies, travelling on the Emirates Air Line, a Casino visit in which the girls challenged the boys to beat their ‘winnings’ (they came back with a voucher for £7.10 and £20 cash out of £30) Needless to say us boys failed miserably, losing the lot. Having said that if I hadn’t hesitated at the Roulette table we could’ve won £150.00, I had made the decision to put my chip on 21 but not being sure of when to place it I hesitated and it was too late, yes! the ball stopped on 21, that’s my luck all over.

We are now back home in Sunderland and I am preparing for annual my pre-christmas trip to Bristol to see my family and some old friends, four days will fly by!

Why can’t I just tell them?

Yesterday was my sixtieth birthday, it was a day that during my teenage years I could not see me ever reaching (emotional problems). I am now pondering about how much time I have left and what I may miss in the not too distant future. Living three hundred miles away from family wasn’t going to be too difficult I thought, when I first moved to Sunderland from Bristol thirteen years ago, after all I can drive and there are good rail and air links too. But, everyday needs and work have a habit of ‘getting in the way of what we had planned’. The reality? sometimes I feel very lonely and lost, I’ve always been made to feel very welcome in my partner’s family but I deeply miss my own. My childhood was emotionally prohibitive, this has made it very difficult in my adult life to verbally express my emotions. It was one of the first things my partner noticed about me, how I could put deep feelings onto paper but couldn’t say them. The number of times I’ve wanted to tell my kids that I love and miss them greatly is massive, the number of times I’ve failed is equally as massive! I feel it’s now time to overcome those childhood oppressions and tell them how I feel, it will be very difficult and will probably end in tears on my part (I’ve had a few just pondering about it) but I feel I should do it as soon as I can. There’s no specific reason to tell them now, I just feel I should do what I should have done years ago. Let’s hope I can summon up the courage and finally tell them how I feel!

Ummm!………

Well it’s been a couple of weeks since my Son and Grandchildren visited, had a great time, going bowling and visiting a local park. The house seemed very noisy and crowded while they were here but that was much better than the ’emptiness’ that followed them leaving. Had a picture from Thomas on iMessenger the other day, he was dressed as Darth Vader, he’s off Spider Man and now Star Wars mad.

Our new duties at work which started at the end of July are changing again at the end of August and apparently again before the end of September, what a carry on! Things just get worse with every change…. 06:00 start in a late shift week and a 22:30 finish in an early week….. someone needs a good kicking!

Can’t believe what I’ve just heard on the radio, widening the definition of domestic abuse. You won’t be able today anything against your partner soon without getting arrested…….lol.

Life is trundling along quite nicely though I did leave work early last Saturday, I was feeling really exhausted and just couldn’t go on any longer. Came home took some ‘super pills’ and went to bed, 16 hours later I woke and got up feeling great. Six hour shift for overtime today and day off tomorrow, not looking forward to the weekend, I’ve got ‘Spare’ on Sunday and Monday being a Bank Holiday means I should do the same shift as I get for Sunday. To make things worse one of the supervisors at work is getting married on Saturday so there will be a lot of failures/sick calls on Sunday. Still I can only drive one bus at a time! Trying to persuade Pauline to start coming to the gym with me, even if it’s only twice a week, not sure if I’ll be successful.

Now got another Apple TV up and running in the bedroom, had a small problem to start with but that was operator error and soon sorted by logging in with the correct account.

Ordered some more stuff from Tassimo, got some that I haven’t tried before so hoping they’re okay. Spent £45.00 and they wouldn’t add the free TDisc dispenser to my order after I’d sent it. They would send it to me if I would like to place ANOTHER order before the 27th August for at least £40.00, two replies to that and both un-repeatable.

WHY? why? why?

Isn’t that just typical of the British Summer! Weeks of lovely sunshine, then as soon as we’re due to get visitors who would really enjoy being near the coast, it absolutely chucks it down all day! I know it’s only been three weeks since I last saw my grandchildren but it’s still very pleasing knowing they will be here tomorrow, shame it’s only for three days but that’s better than none. Let’s hope it changes in the morning. Another visitor I was supposed to get didn’t turn up for the third time so now I’m just not worried if he gets here or not at anytime.

Work has been chugging along fine, we’ve started new duties yet again, that must be the fourth or fifth time in the last year. Of course each change brings it’s fair share of ridiculous duties and this set has not let me down. More and more long Friday, Saturday and Sunday duties which are designed supposedly to give us more long weekends off but it never happens, we get four long weekends and 3 three day weekends in 34 weeks.

The car is running okay, I actually gave it a wash and wax last week, must’ve been feeling ill at the time, that’s only the second time in almost five years! It has now covered just over 50k since Sept 2008, so less than 10k a year, which means since leaving NIAL my annual mileage has dropped 4k a year to just over 8k. Arranged some more ‘GAP’ insurance on it so I now get at least £5800 if it’s stolen, written off or vandalised!