The weekend was somewhat difficult. I was up early enough on Saturday to secure a Tesco Christmas delivery spot. True, I hadn’t won the Euromillions lottery the night before but it all looked like it was going to be a good weekend.

I was due a Tesco delivery that morning. I swear I am not addicted to Tesco, its just the way it worked out. Ten minutes after it was due I received an automated phone call informing me that the delivery was cancelled. Just like that. I was incensed. I didn’t have time for this. My Saturday was carefully planned!

Printing out my list, I resolved that I would go shopping myself. Spouse insisted on accompanying me. I thought it would be a good experiment to go to a different supermarket and see if it cost less. Fat chance. 

With spouse accompanying, it did not cost the estimated £138. No, no, it cost £195!

 £195! so that’s two hours and sixty pounds behind schedule. 

Once home I got a call from my friend informing me that the Piccadilly Line was broken. The Piccadilly line that was going to take us to a gig that night. Every alternative route was problematic as Network Rail was having engineering work done. After a lot of stress a good route was calculated and away we went. 

As it happens it was an excellent gig. The Damned at their finest. The O2 Brixton is a great venue. Or it might be the double gin I had as compensation for stress. 

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Goodbye to all that

Much comment will be made on 2016

Brexit, Trump, Celebrity deaths. From my perspective, I would just say it’s been unexpected. Nothing seems to have gone to plan.

My early retirement plans have been put on hold. My daughter is not studying at Kings as she has planned. My son is not doing his dream job.  My eldest daughter is struggling with working, studying and running a house.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad.

I have got an unexpected promotion. I am happy at work and I don’t remember the last time I said that. Whilst my daughter is not studying at Kings she is in UCL and is happy there.

But it’s my son that worries me. He is doing a Christmas job at a popular Internet Shopping firm.  He is picking and packing.  I am not complaining. It’s a job.The firm are a strange one to work for.  Such archaic rules and regs.  Not allowed to wear a watch and you only know the time from the bells telling you its break, or time to go home. Late for work?  one point,. Day off sick? one point. Fall below target? one point.  Six points and you are gone. Where is the duty of care?

But his general morale is so low. I even suggested giving up the job early but whole point of doing the job was to get experience and a reference.  Something that would help him get a better  job. He is working nights, which having done so myself, I warned would make him disorientated and not know what day it was. He only has a month left.  I hope he makes it though and gets somewhere more satisfying.

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New class, new challenges

So this academic year (I realise I am a bit behind) I have got a lovely new class.

And they are lovely.  I work in a special school and sometimes it can be quite challenging.  This class, the only thing you need is earplugs because they are NOISY! There are a  few tantrums too.  Tantrums I can handle.

The hot weather was the worse challenge I faced and I was mighty glad when the weather changed and cooler weather blew in.  You can always warm up, not so easy to cool down.

Because I was lucky enough to get a bit of promotion it means I occasionally cover class.  For the first time in my school career, I don’t mind doing it a bit.  The class is sometimes a little chaotic but then it is when other people cover too so I don’t feel so bad.

So, although my home life is still stressful, work-life is going well.

For now.

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Wow, three months

I was a little stunned, signing into this site to see it’s been three months since my last post…sorry

So, the flight was OK.  I mean it was a little weird to see the plane half empty.  In the height of summer.  Guess that’s Brexit for you.

However, the emergency exits need to be covered for take off and landing so four of us manned (personed?) the exits.  Two either side. I didn’t mind this except there were children behind me who took their seat belts off as soon as the plane took off and were happily pulling my hair.  Thank the plane gods that I could move seats as soon as we were airborne. The only other incident was that about halfway through the journey during the meal being served, someone handed in an iPhone (other phones are available..) to the cabin crew. What  a perfect way to bring down the plane I thought.  Leave the phone and bugger off. Well as I am alive and well it’s obvious  that didn’t happen.

The holiday?  Well as regular readers will know, I do not do hot weather.  In Portugal, in August it’s very hot. I had taken a sun umbrella to help with this but every-time I put it up, himself complained. I even reminded him that the doctor had told me to keep out of the sun.

One day, I persuaded him to sit around the pool as i thought that would be cooler.  I brought books to read and was amazed when he said I was not to read, or listen to iPod or do puzzles in front of him.  I had to talk and listen to him. All day.

And suddenly it hit me.  This is what retirement with him would be like.  It would not be me doing what I pleased but what he pleased. I went off the idea of early retirement. Days of staring into space while my books go unread, music unlistened to and puzzles undone.

The new plan is work until i fall off my perch. Or he does.

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Flying with Claustrophobia

No, its not the name of a new airline.

Claustrophobia is the irrational fear of confined spaces. It’s normal to fear being trapped when there’s a genuine threat, but people with claustrophobia become fearful in situations where there’s no obvious or realistic danger.

By the time you read this I will probably be on an aeroplane, terrified, strapped firmly in my seat and trying to breathe. The flight is only three hours but that is about my limit. I choose an aisle seat and preferably near the emergency exit.  Not because I am thinking of escaping but because there is a little more space to breathe.

I know its irrational but I feel there is no air on the plane, or at least not enough.  If only I could open a window.  Apparently that is frowned upon on an aeroplane.

For the journey I have packed four magazines, an iPod, a Nintendo DS, a Hudl tablet and a puzzle book.  That should do me.

my worry now is that, not unreasonably, the airline insists you be psychically fit and “normal” weight.  I am not really either of those things.  I cannot, hand on heart, say that I would be able to rip the emergency door open and let people out.

If I don’t sit in this seat I will have a panic attack. If I do and there is an emergency I am not sure I am the right person to help.

Lets hope you are not watching me on the news channel.

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Holes

I want to decorate my room.

Six words to strike terror into the average parent. As a rule I do not like decorating.  I don’t like the upheaval and mess. I do, however, like the outcome. Middle daughter decided to decorate her room.  To be fair, her room has suffered major trauma. A hole in the roof meant water pouring in through her ceiling and most of her wall suffering from damp. With the roof fixed and the damp dried out, it really is time to fix her room.

She pulled the paper off herself.  Well, when i say herself you really only had to look at the paper and off it came. We then decided it was best to take off the paper underneath. Then we could paint anti damp treatment. That proved a little tricky as it is stuck fast.  I used a steamer to loosen the paper.

This is where it got tricky.  Pulling the paper off under the window caused this…

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The piece of wood on the left there is actually holding up the windowsill which threatened to fall out. The rest of the plaster was very wobbly.  Which lead to this….

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By now, elder daughter had joined us and decided to help out.  Despite our concerns that the whole bay would fall at any second, we decided that all the loose plaster must come out.

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and come out it did.

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Eldest daughter had the brilliant idea of buying plasterboard and fitting it in.  We could then plaster over the top and no-one would be any the wiser.  We carefully measured the hole and off to B & Q we went.  (other DIY stores are available)

Once there we realised we had forgotten the measurements so had to guess at the plasterboard we needed.  I also remembered that I had forgotten to switch off the steamer. We concluded that by the time we got back either the bay would be in the front garden or on fire.  Maybe both.

As it happens, it was neither. Although the steamer was red hot.

And the plasterboard?

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Fitted perfectly.

Still hate DIY though.

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Date Night

Don’t worry there is no explicit material in this post.

Recently I went on a date night with spouse.  This was at the suggestion of middle child. She pointed out a Stanley Kubrick exhibition at Somerset House in London.

“Father would like this,” she said “you should go together”  My heart sank, I didn’t really want to go anywhere with him , but felt, maybe, I should make the effort.

After first confirming  which dates he was free (his drinking days have a “u” in them) I purchased tickets.  He himself had chosen a Thursday so I felt I was safe with this. He was coming straight from an early day at work so I also packed a goodie bag of food for him.  He arrived home in time! I had made the effort of doing my hair and sticking a bit of slap on. He noticed neither expect to say there was lipstick on my teeth.  Off we set with me carrying goodie bag.  Apparently he had no pockets whereas I had a huge bag.  Its true that I have a Mary Poppins type bag crammed with lots of things. Doesn’t mean i want to carry all and sundry.

We arrived in good time and looked round.  It was a strange, yet fascinating exhibition.

Once we were done, it was early evening and surely time for dinner.  I suggested dinner for two and we settled on Pizza Express. (other eating establishments are available.)  I got a salad because the salads there are amazing.  I also had an elder-flower drink.

“Why are we in Pizza Express if you are not having a Pizza?” was his first query.  his next was “Elderflower?  Why that?” And then the big one. “why did you choose tonight? Its my drinks night?”

These questions I felt, we unnecessary. But I kept my temper and did not remark on the pink of beer he ordered.  After a really delicious dinner we decided to walk along the banks of the River Thames until London Bridge and then get a train home.

It should have been lovely and romantic.  This being summer it was still light but would be twilight soon.

“The river is lovely when lit,” said my spouse “Lets sit in a pub until the lights come on”  I was not keen on this.  Spouse is not known for his even temper post alcohol.  He has also lost his keys, his Iphone, his Ipod, and his bank card…twice.  So not a good record.  I declined. We then stopped at the window of every drinking Establishment on the way, and there a quite a few. He would drool as a child at a sweet shop.  Each time I declined to stop for a “quick half” He got grumpier and grumpier until we eventually reached the station by which time we were no longer speaking. We went home in silence and sat…in silence. Not a great end to date night.

He did go out the following evening, despite the fact there is not a “u” in Friday and got blotto.

He lost his bus pass.  Enough said.

 

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