Thursday, 18 July 2030

Boobies

yeah, that got your attention, didn't it? A post title of "boobies" is probably always going to get attention :) and, this post is going to be about 'my boobies' :) 

A week ago I received a letter inviting me to attend a "breast cancer screening clinic". Typically women between the ages of 50 - 70 have regular screening. No, I've been telling porkies about my age (ok, so I'm not really 25 but you all knew that anyway 😂) they've just been running a trial where they are now inviting women from the age of 47 and up to 73; apparently they pick the people invited at random, although I do wonder if maybe I flagged up because I went to my gp earlier in the year when I found a lump - she told me it was all part of that joyful experience known as menopause!! (which of course, you all know I've not suffered with / am suffering from, at all!! 😳😳😳😳 Actually, having said that, the 'tropical moments' aren't as bad as they were which is even more surprising when you take into account the hot weather we are experiencing; I'm certainly not complaining about that, although the cheeks still flare up around the 2 - 3pm mark every day, still. 

Anyway, let's get back to what this is all about. Boobies!!

The 2nd biggest cause of death from cancer, in women, is breast cancer (men get it too, so if you're a guy reading this, make sure you check yourselves weekly - it's always better-to-be-safe-than-sorry). Sadly, lung cancer is still the number one killer (I gave up smoking to try and reduce my risks of that one). Breast cancer however, well, there's not really a lot to be done to reduce your risk for that one, which is why checking yourselves regularly (it takes 10 minutes - or less - to do so) is the best way of spotting something that's not-quite-right. I check once a week while in the shower - I have to scrub all my bits and pieces at the time so figure I just as well have a prod and poke while there; that's how I found the lump I went to see about earlier in the year. My doctor was impressed I'd gone to her with one so small, telling me that if it had been anything sinister, I would most likely have picked up on it early enough, and that's the really important part - detecting it early enough. That doesn't by any means guarantee you will be cured, but it sure gives you the best chance. 

My Mum warned it me it wasn't the most pleasant experience (neither is having a smear test but I've always had those every 3 years and while it's not pleasant, it can hurt, and you will feel uncomfortable, it is so worth it - my best friend might still be here had she kept up-to-date with hers!!). Other women I've spoken to (it's amazing how many people want to know why you are closing your shop for a couple of hours during a working day - never one to keep things to myself, they've been told) then all offered up their own experiences for me. Each and every single one of them mentioned it being painful; by the time I arrived at the portacabin (what a great place to house such a thing) I was beginning to flinch at the thought of having it done - not once did I ever consider not going through with it though. A few minutes of pain could mean my life not being cut short; I'll take that any day - or so I thought. I was wrong, very wrong.

I arrived 30 minutes early (I overestimated the traffic) and was going to sit waiting in my car, however, with 32 degree temperatures there was no way I was going to cook so I made my way over to the unit, so happy to find they had the aircon  on - full on 😅 I never got to enjoy it though for no sooner had they run through the health check with me, so I was taken through to the room where you have to whip it off. Again, so quick, I had only just taken off my bra when she called me into the room with the machine that does what it's been designed to do.

Did it hurt? Abso-bloody-lutely; way more than I thought it would but not how I thought it would. I thought it would be the fleshy part of my boobies that would hurt as they were sqished; I felt nothing from them. What hurt was because I have such tiny ones the machine basically scraped in a load of skin from around my boobies so it had something to clamp in between the metal plates. The only way I can liken it is to you having really bad sunburn (we've all had that, right?) Then get a really heavy handed rough person, with the coarsest of sandpapers and get them to drag that across your sunburn and keep rubbing against it for 10 seconds (or longer). That's what it felt like - it still hurts now, some 5 hours afterwards. Everyone warned me, yet they never once even got close to explaining what it was like. I guess though it's different for everyone, for someone else has told me they felt as though their nipples were being ripped off; I guess that's because their boobies are bigger, so their experience would have been different.

However, for less than a minute (in total) the pain is more than bearable and it could be the difference between life and death. Ladies, if you get the letter, make sure you go. Do not leave it to chance. We only get one life.

The only thing that I didn't like - and which left me slightly concerned - was as I was leaving, she said to me "You will probably get a recall as it's your first time and they have nothing to compare the results to". It was only when I got back to the car I thought about what she said. If there is nothing there, then there is nothing to compare it to so a recall wouldn't be necessary!!!! The results will come through in 2/3 so I guess that's when I get to find out what she meant 😨😨😨


Since originally writing this post in early 2017 (I've pinned it to the top so it will be here for as long as I decide it needs to be seen) I have been extremely lucky enough to receive the All Clear, however, 2 women I know have not been that lucky and are currently in the throes of some pretty intensive treatment, and another friend has lost her Mum to this disease.

Please Ladies, and Gentlemen - you can get it too - check yourselves regularly. The slightest difference, no matter how small, could mean you get treatment early enough to cure. Do NOT leave it to chance. 





Saturday, 9 December 2017

Change isn't always a bad thing

Quite a few of you (very kindly) have been emailing and contacting me to see how my dog is doing. Currently, at this moment in time, she is still fighting with everything she has. Her abdomen has swollen (as we knew it would) but she is in no discomfort or pain, is still happy to trot off for a walk, eats like a horse and is milking it for all the cuddles and love she can get. 

My final vet bill came in at £7631; of this the insurance have paid £3441, so I am still working on trying to find the difference. Also, her normal vet produced me with a bill of over £600 for her very first visit, which I paid and asked them to supply me with an official receipt so I could put in a claim to my insurance (just-in-case). They took the claim form from me, looked it over to check I'd filled it in right, told me they would "sort it" out for me. My insurance never received the claim, and it is now too late for me to file one with them for the amount. To say I am fuming would be an understatement for I had to use an overdraft to pay them the amount in the first place, so I now have to find that amount as well. It's just been one thing after another, and I have honestly felt as though the very people who are meant to be there to help, have in fact caused me more problems. I know to some people this is a small amount (lucky you) but to me it might just as well be a million. I take home just £615 per month (the joys of running your own business - oh, you thought people who ran small businesses were rolling in it? You could not be more wrong; my previous staff have earned more than I do) so the first vet's bill cost me a months wages. The remaining I have from the amount the insurance paid is 5.5 months worth of wages. Thankfully, the kindness of a few friends, and some completely random strangers (I hate that I can never thank them personally) helped me raise £330 towards the bills (although the justgiving site take 5% of that amount) but that's half a month I don't have to find. The rest, I have no idea where it is going to come from. I can sell my car (it's still not enough - and I still owe money on it) but that is it. I have nothing else. 

It does piss me off slightly (a lot). I was brought up to do everything the "right way". Never take anything from someone, if you want something you get off your arse, work for it, and earn it (a motto I've always stuck to until recently). I was told it doesn't matter how awful a job may be, if you are without one, you take whatever is available to cover your bills (I hated working in the factory back-in-the-day yet I did it to pay my bills). Until recently I have never asked anyone for anything (other than the vile scum who conned me - I've asked him many times to pay me back; he is the reason my life took the downward financial turn and found itself in the state it's currently still in). Good work ethics were instilled in my - I've had just 7 weeks off sick in 31 years of working (one of those my boss forced me into her car to take me home as she didn't want me at work spreading my germs). For 5 years I worked for someone who allowed me just 14 days holiday each year (I worked 6 days a week for her too). For 10 years my boss gave me 21 days (again, I worked a 6 day week). In the 11 years I've worked for myself I've allowed myself 8 days a year, so, as you can see, I have always been a grafter. I've put the hours in, got sod all back out really, except job satisfaction, and knowing that I've worked for every penny I've earned - that's why it was so hard to set up the fundraising page; I have never asked anything of people. It literally made me cry every time someone was kind enough to make a donation; to think these people thought that much of me to help, was a feeling I could never describe. In a way it's been the making of me. It's made me realise that there are people out there who are full of kindness. A lot of people who made a donation told me "you've already paid-it-forward in more ways than we could ever pass on to you". One acquaintance (not even someone I have much to do with) said to me "you've done more for me than you could ever know; just being there when I needed someone, had nobody else, was a truly wonderful thing to do". 

I got it wrong with the dog though; boy did I get it wrong. I should have registered her in my Mum's name - she is a pensioner. Had I done so all the treatment she's had, all the bills, all the surgery (including the surgery I cannot afford to let her have, which will improve her life vastly) would have been done. She'd now be free of the current illness, on the road to recovery and possibly with us for another 3/5/7 years; we'll be lucky if she's still with us in 3 days. Had I done that her bills would have been paid for, because my Mum could have gone to the PDSA and got her fixed, for nothing but a donation, of whatever amount she could afford. Yes, we got it wrong there. Or did we? Had we done such a thing we would have been nothing better than the conman who screwed me out of so much money, or those who claim single parent benefits when they live with their partner (I've known a few of those in my time). In my opinion though, it really doesn't pay in this life to try and do things the "right " way. I couldn't' be someone who doesn't, it's not in my DNA, however, there are times I wish that I could. However, having said that, while those who do it right do end up getting shit on from a great height (why do the scum always get away with it?) at the same time it's also shown me there are people out there who care, and to be cared about and thought of in a kind way, is never a bad thing. It won't clear the debt I was left with, it won't fix my dog, it won't find the gas leak we have at home so we can finally cook again and have some heat in the house, but at least I know (some) people care :) 

I've learned things about myself through all of this. I've spent so much of my life looking at myself through my own eyes, which were scorched by the negativity which surrounded me growing up. I believed I was being bullied because I was worthless as I grew up. I know now, that is not true; they bullied me because they were jealous. I didn't get that at the time, I didn't understand how anyone could have been jealous of me. I had nothing. My parents worked their arses off just to make the ends meet (again, they believed you worked for what you had). Often there was only just enough money to put the barest of foods on the table. They struggled every single day for the small amount they had. Mum knows now they shouldn't have bothered; they should have gone down the social housing route. They would have been so much better off if they had; she would be so much better off now she's a pensioner if they had. They didn't though. They knew they could just about earn enough to buy their own home, do it "right". Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but they definitely did it wrong. I believe those girls who bullied me did so for several reasons - all of them, through jealousy.  I always got on better with boys than girls - I grew up in a very male orientated world, so 99% of my friends were boys. This did not go down well with other girls - jealous. While my parents didn't have anything, we (my brother and I) were not decked out in designer labels) what we did have from them was love and attention. I believe a lot of the girls who bullied me so badly did so because they were depraved of such a thing. It took me such a long time to realise such things, so for years I continued living my life, feeling as though I wasn't worthy of being treated better, hence why exes were able to con me, shit on me and treat me so bad. Why certain "friends" were able to get away with the behaviour I allowed them to get away with (all of whom I now realise treated me in such a way because they were jealous - and because they were two-faced lying using cnuts, but jealousy was the main part!!)

Crazy as it sounds, my dog being so poorly has taught me so much about myself; about the kind of person I am, versus the kind of person I thought I was. It's reinforced the strength I've been building over the past few years, and while I would much rather come to this conclusion in my own time, and not because my much loved dog is going to die (probably before this time next week - although I have thought that a few times and she's still surprised me) but because I could have saved myself a lot of hassle, hurt, pain and anger. If only I'd wisened up to these people, learned that I am better than I believe myself to be, things could have been so much different. However, there is a lot of life left in me yet, and while I can't alter my financial situation (unless I win the lottery - that would be nice) I have got rid of the people who were causing me such angst, I have altered the way I allow people to treat me (I've bitten back quite ferociously in recent months - at times shocking myself at my behaviour, because I never believed I had such venom within me (40 odd years of suppression will do that to you)). Going forwards I will cry, many times - especially when my dog finally stops fighting as hard as she is. I will get stressed about where the money is going to come from to cover bills; I will also get angry, although this time not about how shit my life at been. I allowed those people to get inside my head, make me feel the way I did, because I thought so little of myself. I don't think of myself that way any more, I don't look at myself that way any more, I now know I am better than how I have allowed myself to be treated (that doesn't mean I won't hold my hands up and admit when I have done wrong). Those kind people who have tried to help in recent months have done so because at some point I've touched them during their lives; I've shown them a kindness or compassion and this was their way of being able to pay-it-forward themselves. Knowing that, I will admit I feel humbled (because they've helped) but also I feel pride (a sin, I know). Pride that even while I was thinking about what an awful person I must be, I was still putting myself out there for other people, without even realising I was doing it. 

Yes, there are still people out there who will do all they can to cause as much pain and misery for me as they can, but if I've learned anything in the past few months, it's that these people need confronting, the issue needs to be dealt with and everyone needs to move on - not easy when you have no clue who hates you so much that they would try to cause as many problems for you as they can; in that case it's hard to go to the source when you don't know who the source is, but not giving a shit about it (I can't change what I don't know) appears to be working :) 

I've also learned to 'live-in-the-moment'. I've spent way too much time worrying about what might/might not happen about something/anything. All that has done is add to the stresses of the everyday world I am dealing with. Now, I am trying to accept I cannot change something which is going to happen, and worrying about it until such time as it occurs is doing me no favours. I have to take each day as it comes, deal with whatever that day throws at me, and move on. For all I know, tomorrow may never come, at which point I will have spent time worrying about it, stressing over it, for nothing, as it will all be moot if I'm not around to experience it. 

Maybe this new-found confidence, this new approach to life will finally see my financial situation change too (I have to believe it will). When it does I'll be able to enjoy this new life I'm forming, experience some new things, see/visit places I dream of. Life is cruel to some, wonderful to others. We are each on a different journey. How we get to our final destination can often be taken out of our own hands. There's nothing we can do about that. What we can do is try to make the most of every bad situation; learn from it, and try to move on from it - easier said than done, I know, I really do know, but if just one person reading this can relate, decides to 'take-the-plunge' and tackle their issues head-on, then I feel that maybe, just maybe, another can see them tackle their issues and move on, and so a snowball effect begins. We can't change the world in one go, but we can change our attitude to the people who are sharing it with us. A little kindness can go a really long way. Believe me, I really do know. The kindness shown to me has made re-evaluate my whole life, my whole reason for being. I've removed all the 'deadwood' from my life, had another major issue resolved (after way-too-many-years) and know, that going forward, as tough as it's going to be, at least those who were so intent on putting me down, who went out of their way to make me feel so useless and unworthy, will not be around to continue playing their cruel games. Yes, my dog is dying; that little fat bum has helped me learn so much about life, the people I allowed into mine, and while I will be devastated and utterly heartbroken when she finally breathes her last, I hope because of her I can move forward enough that the next chapter of my life becomes what I always believed it should be. 

We can't change the past, but we change our attitude as we move into our future. 








Sunday, 3 December 2017

The Band

Earlier this year - or possibly last year; time flies by so quickly I completely lose track of days, weeks, years, so easily (someone told me it's just because I'm "getting old" .. hmmmm :) ) Anyway, whenever it was I got a message from a friend saying "I have a ticket for The Band and it's got your name on it". She's great like that. We tend to only hook up on nights out at gigs (Take That, Duran Duran - she forgot me for Adam Ant but I forgive her.. hahaha) and we always have a great time. Often there are 3/4 of us, all of whom have similar humour and like the same things (which is always a good start).

I'd heard about The Band, had even seen a couple of episodes on TV where they had a contest set up to try and find singers/actors, to play the parts. However, I assumed (wrongly) that it was going to be the 5 boys who'd been picked, singing Take That songs, so it wasn't something I really fancied spending time watching (I love the real thing - Take That - much more than anyone pretending to be them). I almost said "ta for the offer; not my thing, have a great night". Then I thought about it. It's a night out, with great people, and at the time I didn't have massive vet bills to pay, so I said "Fabulous; thank you" promptly transferring the money from my account to hers to cover the cost of my ticket. 

Now, the friend and I come from different cities - competing cities - cities with a history of not getting on. We support out local football teams, so there is rivallry; the show being in her city wasn't lost on me :)  It's somewhere I try to avoid visiting, but that's not an easy thing to do when so many of the things I want to see are on in their theatre and my very own Ugly Kid Joe, always play a gig in their city, so I've found myself there way too many times in the past 5 years :) 

As it transpired, my idea of what the show is about, was totally, utterly and completely wrong - I know, me get something wrong! Who'd have thought it? :) 

I don't want to give away the story, for any of you who may be going, but it's not just 5 lads singing Take That songs. In fact, it's along the same lines of Mamma Mia in that the songs/music make up the backdrop to a story - a really good story. A story about a group of friends who bond over their love of a boy band back when they are teenagers. Part of the story is their younger years; the rest when The Band reform years later. They're older, their lives have changed, their love for The Band hasn't. 

One thing I'd definitely not expected was to find it so emotional. Within the first scenes I found myself crying. Now, in my defence, it wasn't the story which made me cry; it was the situation. You see, my best friend and I bonded one drunken, pot smoking (yes, back in the day I smoked weed now-and-again; a really long way back-in-the-day I'd like to add) evening. Take That and Party had just been released, alongside a video of the songs and interviews with them. Someone had loaned her the video, so for something to do, we put it on. We never uttered a word to each other the whole time we watched it. That night our 5 year on-off friendship moved to a whole new level. We became inseparable; we knew the only thing which would break our bond would be the death of one of us - I wish her's hadn't come about as soon as it did. We were going to race each other along the seafront as 90 year old's - of course, we'd have rigged each other's zimmer frames to give ourselves an advantage. Many men came and went during our friendship (her having more than I :) ) Each of them tried their best to break up our friendship (along with many other people). Those people failed. Our friendship was based on respect, trust and an awful lot of piss-taking of each other. That's where the part in the show got my tears flowing. 

She was a Gary Barlow fan; I loved Mark Owen. When the video for Pray came out, there is this one section where Mark drops to the sand, shirt open, his little white  (boy child really) chest exposed, he writhes and holds up a mirror. Donna (my best friend for those of you don't know me) ripped it out of me over that one move right up until the time she died. However, in the very same video there is a section where they are all dancing, except for Gary, who holds his arms out and basically looks just like a scarecrow; I ripped it out of her for that section. Would you believe The Band show, starts with both of these moments. Of ALL the videos' they've made. Of all the things they've done in their 25 year career, of all the bits they could have chosen, they chose those 2, right at the very start. It was at that moment it struck me that she should have been sitting there next to me watching it. She would have loved it. Rather than me crying at that point, me and her would have laughed - a lot. A friendship like ours comes around only once in a lifetime; I miss her so much every day. I am so grateful she left behind her amazing younglings. They are growing into fabulous human beings. I'm gutted she never got to meet her granddaughter (who has a sense of humour just like her). IF you have a friendship like the one we had, treasure it, enjoy it and make the most of every second of it. You never know when it may be over. 

That's what this show is about. Friendship - a friendship like ours. The actresses/actors (it is a female dominated cast) are not polished, they're not groomed to within an inch of their lives. What they are is natural, real, people you can relate to. People you automatically feel a kinship too. There are points during it where you will laugh out loud, there are also points when it will be hard to hold back the tears (even a couple of hardened types guys sitting in front of us wiped away a tear or 2 at times). 

The Band themselves? They take a very background role. They appear in pretty much every scene, yet they are never at the forefront of any of the action. They are there, purely to create the atmosphere, to explain the story, to give a visual representation of what the girls are experiencing. 

Most of the shows left you could book for are "oop north" - to be expected I guess - but if you can get yourself along to one of the venues, and can afford the tickets, I think you will find you have a great night out and enjoy it more than you might think you will :)

Tickets can be found by Clicking Here. 









Thursday, 30 November 2017

Conversation

I had a most interesting conversation before I left work this evening, with one of the women who own the other flower shop over the road from me - my competition. It was a long overdue call and I am so glad she was the bigger of us to finally make it. 

Earlier, I finally allowed 8 years of chinese whispers to accumulate to the point where I got so angry I sat down at my computer and allowed my fingers to tap away on the keyboard before my brain engaged itself. That is never a good thing - in fact it's normally a stupid thing, however, it brought about us having a conversation we should have had a long time ago.

Being on my own, I have nobody to bounce off of, I am tucked away around the corner and often feel quite isolated. When I first opened someone else owned their shop and she got herself on a one-woman personal vendetta to do all she could to undermine and topple me. It didn't work, having the opposite effect to that which she had hoped. 

By the time the current owners took over, I'd dealt with 5 years of negative comments and rumours, all directed at me, so when the 2 owners who are there now took over, and something was said to me that I took personally and was offended by (yes, I behaved like a snowflake) I had just about had enough of it all and became very defensive.  I was constantly being told they were saying this, that and the other about me, putting me down. I don't look on other peoples social media, but I was being told they were making indirect digs at me, on theirs. One thing I have always tried to avoid is to make comments about anyone on the shops social media, and on the odd occasion a customer may have said something about other businesses in the area, I have made a point to delete it. I should have trusted they would be doing the same. I should have looked, I should have gone over and confronted them IF there had actually been anything to see, warned them what people were saying if there wasn't; we could have put the rumours to bed and stopped feeding the very people who have nothing better to do with their lives than spread around shit, trying to cause problems. 

It turns out that while keeping to myself the things I was told were being said about me, not rising to it (although I did let it fester away within me) they too were being told I was saying derogatory things about them, which they were also trying to ignore and keep to themselves. This is one thing I can put my hand on my heart and say I have never done - until this week. Whenever anyone has said anything to me about them I've replied with "I don't actually know them, or anything about them, so cannot pass judgement".  We are in a small area, and I don't like confrontation or upsetting people, so find it's easier to try and take the diplomatic stance - as it now transpires, they were too. If only we'd spoken to each other before. 

Their situation in recent weeks has changed, is changing and as such rumours have been rife, passing through my door on an almost hourly basis. I finally addressed them, this week. I thought I had done so in a non-offending way; turns out I was wrong, for they saw what I had said, took offence and I was told they'd then taken to facebook to slag me off. 

After all the stuff I have going on in my personal life, and having put up with the rumours and shit for so long, I responded, and I hold my hands up. I was nasty. I spewed venom.  I said things I didn't actually mean, just to be spiteful. I can't deny it and I won't deny it. It takes a hell of a lot to get me to that stage and I'm not proud of myself for allowing the words I wrote to have been written. However, in an odd way I'm kind of glad I did, for it brought things to a head, and we have finally had the conversation we should have had years ago. I'm hoping we've cleared the air and from now on we can move forward, knowing that the rumours and things we are being told, are just rumours told by nasty people with nothing better to do than try and cause trouble. 

In a strange way, the people who have been stirring the pot so vigorously, and the one who contacted them to let them know what I had written on my personal blog - a blog only 2 people who actually know me know I write for I do not share it around people I know - have done the opposite of what they set out to do. Rather than rip into each other, scream at each other and slag each other off, we discussed what has been said (present and past) we both agreed we should have spoken sooner, have agreed that going forward if we have an issue we will speak to each other about it, and for the first time in 8 years I truly believe I can relax and finally ignore the things I am being told (I hope they can to) and I know the 3 of us can move our businesses forward, keep them flourishing, and be there to help each other out should we ever need to - how it should have been from the very beginning. 

I have deleted my offending blog (quite rightly too) and any links to it. I also removed the one I wrote on the shop's blog. While I saw nothing wrong in it, I can see how it could have been misconstrued, and with the slate being wiped clean it seems the fair and decent thing to do. 






Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Getting it wrong

After the 5th phone call in 2 hours this morning, all of which were someone trying to sell me something, talk me into changing phone providers, or just sitting there saying "hello, hello" over and over again, I had a bit of an epiphany (I know, a really big word for me on a Tuesday morning). I started to answer their questions, responding when I thought it was the right time. I made it sound as though I was interested in all they had to say. They all went on, and on, and on, answering my questions - the Indian guy trying to sell me a telephone line was getting a little annoyed when I kept telling him I wasn't even with BT. So many times he explained that he wasn't telling me I was, he was just saying I run from a BT line (actually, we are with virgin so he was totally bullshitting me). 

Just as each caller got to the part where they thought they were about to get themselves a deal, I said "well, of course, I can't make any decisions on my own about this and will need to speak to my business partner about it all" to which several told me the offer only existed for the duration of the call, at which point they were told "Oh dear; looks like I've just wasted your time. Now you know how it feels when you call me" following up with a "goodbye" but a couple agreed that emailing me would be a good idea. They then asked what email address they should use, to which I replied "frustrated@stopwastingmytime.com" I can only apologise to whoever owns that domain, and hope they don't use 'frustrated' as one of their user names, or someone may receive a lot of spam over the next few weeks (I did a search for it and the domain is owned by someone, but they haven't done anything with it, so I'm going to assume they've not set up hosted email to go with it, so all should be fine).

This then got my little brain on a mission, which is really not such a good thing when it's getting about 4 hours sleep a day, has all the worry of the dog (she's still alive, bless her, and I've still had no money so if anyone wants to help me with the bills - which now total £7500 - please, please, please, feel free to do so.. Click Here to go straight through; she's not having any more treatment now though, so the only amount that bill will grow by is the amount I am charged when the vet finally has to murder her, and however much the cremation costs are. I guess no more than another £500). I also have a lot going on at work - yesterday was a 14 hour day, tomorrow a 16 hour; today just the 10. I am also working a 16 hour on Saturday, alongside an 8 on Sunday (who needs time off?), so for my brain to even consider getting on a mission was a major achievement for it (I'm bound to be forgetting about something else because of it).

Anyway; my epiphany. It struck me I've been doing this whole "blogging" thing completely wrong. I thought I needed to be upfront and honest about who I am, which is why I set up blogs using my real name. Don't get me wrong, whatever I do I'd still be upfront and as honest as I can be :) That's not the part I got wrong. Using my real name is where I've gone wrong.

While I've been going great guns, get quite a few readers, have some regulars, get some lovely comments, and have had people I've never met in my life give me over £300 to help towards my vet bills, I was still not doing it right. Using my own name is not something people are going to specifically search for, so unless I can come up with some catchy/cracking hashtags to get my name out there more (there is a Canadian artist with the same name but I'm not sure she gets that many hits) then I'm never going to go global (and I believe, I have the potential to be a "global phenomenon".. haha.. ok, just a random phenomena then :) 

Hashtags are good, but I still needed to come up with something that might catch on, might be a word or phrase someone would search for, and VOILA. The whole Stop Wasting My Time seemed like as good as phrase as any, so I am now the proud owner of www.stopwastingmytime.co.uk (I wanted .com but as I've said, that was already gone). I'm not sharing anything different on there to that which I share on here (let's face it, everyone who comes across this one is wasting their time by reading it.. haha.. People, however, will use the hashtag #stopwastingmytime on many different occasions; the more they do, the more chance I have of people being linked back to my domain, the more chance I have of the right person (people) coming across me, realising that I am a genuine person even though I'm not blogging under my own name, and will see fit to Make a Donation to the "Sarah's not desperate in the grand scheme of things but could use a little kindness in her life" fund :) 

If I've learned anything in the past 10 weeks, it's that you have to believe - really believe. Miracles can (and do) happen each and every day. I've already been so lucky to achieve a couple of dreams in my lifetime (they didn't just fall into my lap though; I had to work bloody hard to get them - still work hard to keep them). It's the same with the travel dream. If I don't put the effort in, I'm not going to get anything back out. With all I've had going on with the dog I've not put as much effort into it all in the past few months as I should, and all the time she is still so poorly and needing my attention she will be getting it; on the whole though, I will keep plugging away, I keep working at it, and I WILL achieve my dream. Whether that's with your help, or someone else's. 

I shall also continue to "pay-it-forward" something I believe we should all be doing. That doesn't have to be financial, in fact sometimes just helping an elderly person across a busy road is all it takes. Big things can happen when lots of people do little things. What may seem like nothing to you, could feel like the world to someone else. One smile and a "good morning" to a person you pass in street, could be all it takes to make that persons day. You don't know when you pass them by what is going on in their life. For all you know they could be considering ending their time on this planet, they could be feeling they are worthless, their life has no meaning; your smile, your "hello" could suddenly remind them there is good in the world, people do see them and without you ever knowing, your kindness could alter that persons whole life. Now, that's some food-for-thought, isn't it? 

A little kindness, can go a really long way. 






Monday, 20 November 2017

Kneesy does it!

It would appear my plan to start getting out and about each weekend, hiking through the glorious English countryside, will have to be on hold a little longer - not just because my dog is still poorly (we've been blessed to have her with us an extra 4 weeks to what we thought we would have, however, I do fear her time to leave us is getting closer by the minute - I am hoping, praying and keeping everything crossed I am wrong. Sadly, without the operation we will never know; I cannot afford to put her through the op in either way - financially and for her sake. I have had to accept she is "old" in the grand scheme of dog years, and am enjoying what time I have left with her. Even if I could find the money I don't think now I would put her through the operation for there are no guarantees she would survive in the first place, and as they still cannot tell us what is wrong, I have to take them at their word (which is they believe it is an incurable cancer) and put the needs, and well being of my dog, before my own - my heart breaks a little more every day at the thought of her leaving us at such an age (I know to the rest of the world she is an "old" dog, yet to me she is still very much a youngling) however, I have had to make the decision with her in mind and although it is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life, I know, deep down, I have made the right one. I did consider allowing her to have one more heart drain, however, all that will do is prolong the agony for us, and put her through more surgery, with no chance of the eventual outcome being any different to that which it is to be. It's weird because 9 weeks ago when I first took her to the vets, I was all gung ho and shouting from the rooftops "I'll do whatever I have to do to keep her alive". Now, I realise, it's not about me, it's not about what I want; it's about my dog, her health and her quality of life. While I don't have the money to pay for the op - I still don't have the money to pay for her vet's bills to date - I would have sold my car to pay for it, if I thought it would improve her life. I would have done all it took before I suddenly realised it was me I was thinking about, and as hard as it has been to come to the decision, as hard as it will be when I have to have her murdered (I still don't think I will be able to cope with that) I know it's what is best for her, and she is all that matters. 

Of course, once the inevitable has happened, and I've cried for a few months (then a few more, then possibly a few more on top of that) I will miss not being out and about at the weekend, which is why I have decided I need to start making more of an effort to get myself hiking through our countryside. Of course, it would help to have a friend to hike with, but right now that's not going to happen (unless I can suddenly conjure one up) so begin with it will be my Mum, and I. She is getting on herself, so not able to walk as far as she used to, but slow-and-steady wins the race, and even if she can only manage an hour, that's a start for me. Not only will walking help me to get fit, it will also set me in good stead for when I do finally get over the pond and visit the National Parks I dream of visiting (you didn't honestly think I had given up on my dreams, did you? I may have had to alter them slightly, but I will never give up on them - I have to believe they will come true). 


At the moment though, aside from the dog, I have had to put the walking on hold because I've really screwed up my left knee. It began playing up a while ago when I trip and landed on it (not surprising with my weight; I'm amazed it didn't shatter in to a million pieces having me crash down on it!!). Just as it was beginning to get better is when I slipped in the woods and twisted it as I hurled down the muddy hill. Since then it has been getting better; I was able to walk properly again, and although it stiffens up a bit after I've been sitting for a while, it didn't take long for it to get itself moving. Then came last week. We decided to have a change around in the shop, and do some decorating. This meant I was up and down ladders, many, many, many times each day. By the time Thursday came round my knee felt as though it was going to explode (the rest of my body also ached in places I didn't know it was possible to ache - the joys of getting older). Being sensible (sometimes I can be) I thought it best to not do anything other than my "normal" every day jobs on Friday. I was off at the weekend (only worked Saturday morning) so thought that would help me give it time to rest a bit. 

All was going well. It ached a bit, but I could walk ok, and if I knelt down carefully, I was able to get onto the floor. Then, while at work, I wanted something from the back of the little shelving unit I have tucked under my desk, so I leaned over and ............ Crash, Bang, Thud. The chair I was sitting on slid out from under me, my right elbow cracked against the unit, my head banged on a free standing shelf I have next to me and my knee.. oh my poor knee.. well, that just took the brunt of it, for my leg twisted back on itself, meaning my knee got jerked about in a direction it's really not meant to be in. The pain ripped through it so hard it actually took my breath away. 

Thankfully I can walk on it (just)  but if I want to go upstairs I have to prepare myself, for I can't really bend it - going upstairs with a straight leg isn't as bad as coming back down again!! If I sit in one position for too long, I have to think about moving and plan how to do so, before I attempt it. Getting off my sofa at home is a massive issue for the cushions are so soft I sink into them. I can only imagine how useless I look as I try to prise myself from my seated position. Bending it when I am sitting at the desk is the most comfortable position, yet, oddly when I walk trying to bend it causes no end of pain (I've even had to take pain relief pills and try to never take pills unless I really have to). The decorating certainly won't be getting finished this week.

I know, being overweight, will not aid in it's recovery either, and am angry at myself for not sticking to Weight Watchers quite as good as I was to begin with (I've used the excuse that with everything going on it's been easier... blah, blah, blah.. all the "same old, same old" excuses most fat people use to justify the fact they have been crap at sticking to eating well) however, I know that my knee will heal, if I just look after it a bit better, and am sure in a week (or 2) I'll be back-to-normal (at least, I hope I will :) )







Saturday, 4 November 2017

It's raining

it's pouring....

You know what they say "It never rains, but it pours?" I think there may be some truth to that. 

My dog is so much better than she was - if you didn't know how poorly she was you'd never think there was anything wrong with her. This is actually making it a little harder to deal with, for 10 days ago I'd made the toughest decision I think I will ever make in my life, and now I want to unmake it - I can't afford to, sadly, and that makes it even harder still. I'm hoping her poor little overstretched, pushed to it's limit, heart, finally gives out on it's own while she is sleeping one night, because to watch a vet stick a needle in her leg right now, to end her amazing, loving, and wonderful little life would be way more than evil (alas, this world proves on a daily basis that evil is what it is made up of). Being filled with evil people is bad enough, without having it permeate into everything else. 

An evil world, and evil are part of the reason I do not believe in God (anyone's god) because I was taught as a child "Good will always overcome evil". This is not true, and where is this God who is meant to be able to overcome the Devil? I've never seen proof of him; I've only seen the world become a more evil place on a daily basis, so it would appear to me that Evil most definitely overcomes Good. 

I'm digressing. I've spent enough time discussing my sadness at my dog being so ill. 

What has got it pouring on us now, is that not only do I still have to find the money to pay for the dog (I think they may try taking me to court, but I'm not backing down - I still believe the insurance should pay) but yesterday someone delivered something to our house and said "wow, do you have a gas leak?". This is not the first time someone has mentioned it - in fact, it's been going on for almost 2 years. 

We've not really paid much attention to it; one reason is because neither of us has ever smelt it (once I thought I had) the other is because we thought it was being caused by a sewer leak we had just before the smell first appeared. 

The builders who created the estate we live on were proper cowboys. Our house is the second of a terraced row of 12. We are at a junction of hills; the house from 3 to 12 go uphill from our house, at the same time as our back garden goes uphill too. The sewer pipes for all the houses from 12 to us, run downhill (makes sense). However, for some reason, rather than continuing this sensible approach, running downhill, taking the pipes through the garden of Number 1, then out into the road next to 1 (which then runs downhill again) they brought number 1's pipe into our garden (where it joins with the rest) where another pipe runs from our garden out to the main sewer (uphill!! - go figure that). This means we have all our neighbours sewerage come into our garden, before it's sent out to the main one. When it's working, it's fine; however, it only takes one tit further up to put in a sanitary towel, nappy, or face wipes (yes, people really are that stupid) and before you know what's happening the main sewer blocks; this then stops all the neighbours shit from going out to the main pipe, and causes it to eventually back up, where it spews up onto our patio - the air bricks at the back of our house then allow this overflow to pour through them into the 6 feet holes we have beneath our house. Last time it happened the raw sewerage made it up to the 4 feet mark. Not one of our neighbours has even had to deal with it and no matter how many times we ask them to only ever put toilet paper in, they still continue to put other stuff down their toilet (one still insists on empty fat down her drain too - have you seen what a fat ball can do to a sewer pipe?).

Anyway, because of this sewerage festering away under our house, we assumed the smell was that - rotting sewerage can have a gassy smell. 

Turns out, we were wrong. Because this guy who's never been to our house before mentioned it, we finally relented and called the gas people. Turns out, we have a leak!! He said the only thing which has saved us from being gassed, and stopped it from igniting, is it's proximity to our chimney (apparently most of it was disappearing up there - he did say we were lucky that the pilot light (at the base of the chimney) didn't ignite it, and an exhaust vent we have that can help with the buildup of carbon monoxide). 

As a result he has switched off the gas at the source (so we can't switch it back on even if we wanted to) and we now have to get someone in to fix it. Our heating and hot water run from the gas; our cooker hob is also gas, so we are now without heating, hot water, or a hob - we do have the oven which is electric, but I'm not sure how I'm going to steam my vegetables for a roast on Sunday with just the oven!! In typical "Sod you, Bradbury's" fashion, the temperature has dropped and my little old Mum would be putting the heating on and taking hot baths to keep herself warm.

Most people would have called an engineer by now and would be getting it sorted next week. We're not 'most people' though. It could take us until next year to scrape up the money to pay to get it fixed (as I've said, there is still the dog's bills to pay for) so we may have to find ingenious ways to cook and keep warm this winter - Sandwiches it is then! 

Don't get me wrong; I'm not complaining. We have a roof over our heads, warm clothing and I can borrow the microwave from work so we can heat up some veggies, soups and beans. Our shower is electric so we can keep clean, and we can boil the kettle for washing up the crocks. We also have a roof over our head so will be dry. So many people out there right now, would give anything to have what we have; they'll be trying to find a dry, warm area to sleep in tonight, with empty bellies and the only hope of some hot soup is if a kind person buys them a cup and gives it to them. We have 'the world' compared to these people. but each situation is relevant to the individual person in any given day. Today though, to us, it feels like another kick to the ribs, just as we were beginning to hope we might be able to stand up a little.