Wednesday, 12 December 2018

You want to be a florist, huh?

2 things, on an almost daily basis, I hear in my shop; one slightly more than the other. The first one being "it will be a nice one, won't it?" (an alternative version of "make it nice" is grouped into the same bracket). I often reply "no, sorry, I only do bad stuff" - if I think the person saying it won't be offended (these days you can never be too careful). It's actually quite an insulting thing to say if you really sit and think about it. Good job we're thick skinned (this will be repeated in a different scenario further into this blog entry too). 

The 2nd is "Oh, I'd love your job. It must be so wonderful to 'PLAY' with flowers all day". One woman even said to me once "I wish I could just fiddle around enjoying my hobby all day for money". I'll be honest; I wanted to punch her. 

Yes, I have a great job (the best job) one of the most rewarding, but I promise each and every single one of you, 'Playing' with anything, is not part of my job remit. 

Let me explain.

This morning I've taken some photographs of my hands and forearms. I'd been at work for just over an hour when I took them and the first customer of the day said those words to me (the "I wish I was a florist" words). When I showed her my forearms, the look of shock on her face was one I would love to have recorded. At this point I had made only 2 holly wreaths - since then I have made another 3 dozen; I cannot share photos of how my hands and arms now look, for it may be distressing to some people to view. Each and every single red dot you can see, is where the sharp end of a piece of holly has burst a hole into my skin. The scratches were also caused by the ever-so-popular dark green, lethal plant.

The red dots on my left arm shown in the picture, are not part of my tattoo. Remember, these photo's were taken after making just TWO holly wreaths; I've made 38 in total now.

It's not all about this time of year though, about the holly stabbings and scrapings we deal with an on hourly basis - which by the way all have to be treated with antiseptic, just-in-case. It would take too long to constantly open up a tube of savlon, or germolene, so instead I have Surgical Spirit in a spray bottle, and after making a wreath, give my arms a spray. Try it sometime. Prick your finger, just one little prick, and then dab on some sugical spirit; then imagine you have a hundred of those pricks running up and down the inside of your arms, where the skin isn't quite so tough as your fingers. Welcome to the world of being a florist!! But hey, I'm just playing, right?

Of course, it's not always about this month, this time of year. Yes, this is particularly hard on our inner arms, but what about the rest of the year. Check out my gorgeous hand. I'm not a smoker, they are not yellow because of nicotine; they are that colour thanks to lilies and flower stems. Yes, that is spray paint on my hand. I spent 20 minutes last night with a nail brush scrubbing at my hand to get it off. In the end I saw blood, so had to stop; I'll try again later tonight to remove the rest. As for the ground in pollen and flower stem stains; well, they have to wait until I have enough time to soak my hands in bleach for an hour, to try and remove them. Still, I get to 'play' with pretty things all day, right?


So, how about the other stuff. How about the times I get to 'play' when I have people in the shop?

Let's take the man who was drunk the other week; to the point where he could barely stand. He thought it would be ok to pee on the plants I have out the front of the shop. He then came into the shop to tell me he'd done it, before throwing up on the floor and walking away. It's not the first time I've had that happen either, and this time of year the amount of alcohol fueled people through the door trebles; none of whom are customers either.

Then, there were the 2 guys a while back. It was one afternoon when I found myself alone; outside had been wet and miserable all day, so it was dark by 4pm. All the neighbouring businesses were shut. It was just me and in they came. Tall, well built, they towered over me. They somehow managed to position themselves one either side of me, blocking my way out of the shop, and my way to the workroom or office where there is a phone. I don't think I have ever felt so vulnerable in my life as I did that evening, especially when the one furthest into the shop picked up the scissors I had been using and started opening and closing them, while they both questioned me about what kind of day I'd had, how busy I had been and whether takings were good. Now, I am really lucky in that 99% of my business is card based. If I take £50 a week in cash that's a lot, and I did point this out to them, but that didn't make me feel any safer. The obviously (thankfully) believed me though, for they said they'd get back to me on what flowers they might be wanting, and then left. Still, at least I get to 'play'. 

How about the days when I'm not quite feeling it? Let's take the day I got a call from my best friend to tell me the guy that I most likely would have ended up married too, had been found dead that morning - he was just 26 years old. My boss was away, there was just me and the office girl at work. I had to carry on through that day, a 10 hour shift, wanting to be anywhere but where I was. I remember one particular guy coming in that day being a right twat going on about buying some roses for his girlfriend. I wanted so bad to tell him to "fuck off" but I couldn't do that. That would not have been acceptable, so I stood there, for over half-an-hour with him, thinking himself funny, when a big part of me had just died inside, and my heart had been ripped from my chest. Fast forward a few years, and the daughter of my best friend (the one who had called me that morning with the news) was calling me to tell my that very same friend, the one I had spent over 20 years laughing with, crying with, was going to have zimmer frame races with when we were 90, had just died - she was 42. My only thought in that moment was getting down to her children (20, 12 and 9) and as I was just about to lock the shop door a family arrived, wanting to order flowers for their 98 year old Nan's funeral. I stood, I served them, they were in bits, and I wanted to scream at them about how their Nan had at least lived her life, yet I couldn't; when in a florist you have to behave in a certain way. Just last year - the 23rd December to be exact - I found myself in bits. My much beloved dog had been put-to-sleep the evening before after I finished work (I'd lost my cat just 5 months earlier; 2017 was not a good year). That day I dealt with drunks, people wanting Diamonds for the price of glass; my arms were ripped to shreads so bad I was covered in plasters, I was knee deep in leaves and stems where I'd not had chance to tidy (it was exceptionally busy); there were orders still to be made up for the drivers to take, people coming in wanting things "now" and getting shitty with me because I didn't have time to stop and make what they wanted immediately (I can perform miracles, still struggle with the impossible)  and some woman said to me "I'd love your job; such an easy thing to just play around with flowers all day". I wanted to beat her to within an inch of her life, and I am not a violent person.

Thankfully, the day my Dad died I wasn't at work; however, I'd been there to take the call 18 months before telling me he'd just had a heart attack in a city 2 hours away. I had a boss back then though, and was lucky enough to have been able to leave and go up to him. 

How about these (see the photo below). These are pretty, aren't they? Surely, I got to 'play' thanks to those? That depends on your definition of the word 'play' because before I could make any of these, I had to deal with the grieving relations of the 2 year old little girl whose funeral they were organising the flowers for. Now, while some of you may then see me 'playing' whilst making the tributes up, to me all I could think about was how a family were in the deepest depths of grief and that I should never be having to make any tribute for such a little person. If that is me 'playing' to you then you seriously need to think about what kind of person you are. Roughly 50% of my daily life is dealing with families at the most vulnerable and emotional time of their lives. I've had people in the shop so consumed by their grief they have been literally breaking down and falling apart in front of me, yet there I am 'playing' away. 

I'd love to come into work, pick up a few flowers and play; how great would that be? In order for me to do that though, somebody else would have had to scrub all of the vases, top them up with water, empty them every-other-day and repeat the scrubbing/watering process. Someone else would have had to take each wrap of flowers, strip off every single leaf which will be below the water line, then cut them, place then in a vase, and rearrange them on the flower stand, each-and-every day. In order for me to 'play' someone else would have to answer the phone (one lady this morning talked for 7 minutes before I even got a chance to speak) sweep the floor (many, many, many times) and serve the customers who walk through the door. They'd also have to write the cards, keep social media up-to-date, and keep an eye the bag of stems and leaves which are slowly beginning to rot in the bin bag (composting spores can be quite hazardous) . Someone else will have had to counsel the grieving families who have been in to organise funeral flowers for their loved one and someone else will definitely have had to try and steer the local lady who has mental health issues and no understanding of acceptable boundaries, from getting up into the face of that grieving family before she can ask them "has someone died?" and "are you sad they are dead" usually followed by "how did they die?"

Will you be happy to spend 9/10/11/12-16 hours each day, 6/7 days per week, on your feet (which will be pretty much constantly soaking wet from all the water you are working with - you may, on occasion also need to wear support tights; not comfortable attire). Will you be happy to have hands so cold during the winter (there's no such thing as a heater in a florists) that you cut straight through your fingers and stab yours palms without realising you have done so until you start to notice there is blood dripping everywhere?. Will you be able to smile your way through serving a bigoted, racist homophobe, so he goes away thinking you genuinely like him (a florist has to deal with such things and smile sweetly; it takes 100 customers saying good things to earn you a new customer, but just 1 saying bad things to lose you 100 - believe me, 'sucking-it-up' is one of the hardest parts). Will you be able to put up with a Valentines Day (every person regardless of their job should have to do at least one Valentines Day in a florist - the respect we would suddenly earn would be priceless). Will you be able to stay professional at all times, whilst counseling a family through their grief?. Can you switch off your own emotions/feelings the second you walk through the shop door?. Can you cope with people constantly telling you how easy you have it? Will you be happy with people constantly telling you that you are "ripping them off" - a plumber or electrician charges you £80 just to come out to your house, before they've even done anything, whilst you, a florist (who has also trained for as long) is expected to work for nothing?. Will you be happy explaining (many, many times each day) the difference between supermarket flowers, and those from a florist (by-the-way - if the grower wants 20p per flower and the supermarket wants to pay 10p per flower, then the florist is charged 30p for the SAME flower, to make up the difference the grower has lost; that is why we have to be more expensive - we've paid three times as much). Will you be willing to tell a customer that the particular flower they ordered just the night before (which you never guaranteed in the first place) hasn't been available for the wholesaler to purchase which will then leave you subjected to all manner of abuse?. Will you be able to keep your calm, on one of the most stressful days of your personal life, while a bride emails you 32 times, asking you the exact same question just in different guises, when you have already explained to her (before she even began the emails) that the flower she wants, does not exist, at all, in the real world?.  If you are happy with all-of-the-above and willing to never drink a hot drink again, and don't mind leaves, spiders, worms and bits of stem in those cold drinks, then maybe, just maybe, you too could begin a life 'playing' with flowers.

Oh, and I do all of this (and so much more) for just 2.36 per hour. But hey, I get to play all day with flowers, right, and am out there making a fortune from my hobby?

Friday, 7 December 2018

Little Scrotes

A while back I made a decision to try and not let things anger me any more - at the end of the day all getting angry ends up doing is making me feel worse, and that's never a good thing. It also means the subject of your anger is beating you, and I prefer to not let people get away with beating me these days; the kinds of people who would anger me are also not worthy of my time and effort. However, I am still human, and there are times when things piss-me-off and last night was one of 'those' times. 

Like a lot of people in the world, I work bloody hard. I was taught "you don't get anything by doing nothing" - alas, that's not the case in this country and it seems those who choose to work hard get shit on from great heights, while the low lifes of the world who choose to scam the system and not work for their living end up getting everything - yes, there are some who can do both; I know of 2 people in the area I work in who claim to be single mothers (yet, in fact they have - and always have had - men living with them) who have thousands thrown at them each week in benefits, and they are also both running extremely successful businesses - 1 of them from home, the other from shop premises. Neither of these businesses are declared so they really do have the best-of-both-worlds (and to think my parents couldn't even get £20 a week to help with their mortgage as my Dad (who worked every day of his life from the age of 14 (as did my Mum too) lay dying). There are also those who are unable to work due to illness or disability; again, they get shit on. Honesty really does not pay in this country, but all that is by-the-by and a rant for another day. Today is about 2 little scrotes who believe it's ok to take what they want.

Yesterday, when I got to work someone pointed out to me that the business on the end of our small block had had the bottom window in their door smashed. Now, I'm going to be honest with you, I could have called the police (I actually dialled the number to call them) then I remembered they would be arriving at work in just over an hour, and that the other week they refused to take in a parcel for me, telling the postman "we have nothing to do with that devil whore" so I didn't go through with the call, instead thinking to myself "well, there you go, Karma has paid you a visit". Not very neighbourly, not very charitible, and not really the kind of person I am (or at least, the one I used to be). I did try to check our security cameras to see if they had picked up who might have done it, and to check whether they had made any attempt on my shop but at the time I was unable to connect to the camera server, so got hold of the IT guy who said he would check it for me; everything is accessed remotely and not stored anywhere in my building. 

Not having the footage stored on the premises turned out to be a good thing, for it means that if anything was to happen to the shop, the cameras would keep on rolling; which is exactly what they did. That is how at 8.30 last night I found myself staring at moving images of 2 little scrotes trying to break into my shop via the back door. The anger those images brought forth in me, took me by surprise. I was far beyond livid. Thankfully, they were unable to gain entry, but that hasn't stopped me from wanting to track them down and peel the skin from their bodies, layer-by-layer. How very dare they.

I've been running my own business for 12 years now. For the first 7 years I took off only 2 days each year (Christmas Day and Boxing day and even then I came in one Christmas day). In the past 5 years I do now take off at least one week each year, and try to take 2, but as a small business it's not easy to be able to close for a week to have a break. The shop is open for 47 hours each week, PLUS, I am there at least an hour earlier every single day to get that days orders made up before I open; I also work later a couple of evenings each week to keep the paperwork up together, and more-often-than-not am in on a Sunday prepping for funerals I may have the following week. On average I work a 65 hour week - this doesn't include the time I spend in the evenings replying to emails, messages and queries from customers, or the time I spend with brides. Now, do not ever get me wrong. I love my job, I love what I do, I am extremely lucky to be able to do what I do, but when I look at my bank account and see how much I am earning (less now than I was 30 years ago) to see some little scrotes try to break into my shop with the intention of stealing from me, when they are probably earning more in a day from sitting on their arses being little scrotes, makes my blood boil. How fucking dare they? 

I was lucky enough to be brought up in a really good area; sadly, in the past year (since our police station closed down) things have gone rapidly downhill. Every single day a different area of town seems to be hit. Houses are being burgled, businesses are being burgled, cars and bikes are being stolen, elderly people are being mugged, and so what does our government do about it? Cut down on the amount of police we have. This week they've been sitting in a large building, paid for by the tax payer; their food and drink is paid for by the tax payer; their wages per year (far more than I could earn in 2 decades) is paid for by the tax payer; their security staff, is paid for by the tax payer; the policemen and women who guard them are paid for by the tax payer (the same tax payer who no longer has a local police force to check they, and their property is ok) yet what does that tax payer get in return? A crime number when they've been attacked, broken into, or had something stolen. A crime number!! "Here you go, Miss Bradbury, have a crime number to take to your insurance company".  "I'm sorry you were mugged, Mrs Jones; grab a taxi to take you to hospital, and use this crime number to see if you can get back what was stolen from you". I see lots of things on the web about "Broken Britain" and now I understand exactly what they mean. 

While they (the government - themselves a huge drain on society, the biggest benefit scroungers of them all) debate a Brexit plan (do not even get me started on the total-and-uttter shambles they are making of that - what happened to this once 'Great' country I was born into? We are now a minnow in the pond of useless and a laughing stock to the rest of the world) in one area of London, on the very streets they may drive through later (when I say they, I mean the people who are paid (by the tax payer) to chauffeur them about) a young person may well have just been stabbed to death. Every single day there seems to be another story about a young person, a person with their whole life ahead of them, being needlessly stabbed on the streets in our capital. More scrotes with nothing better to do, who have been born into a society that allows you to just take what you want without having to do anything for it. I hear people say we should bring back National Service, but to be honest, I'd not want these little scrotes to be out there, looking out for me. We live in a society of self-entitled scrotes who wouldn't put themselves on the line for anyone but themselves. We (as a society) have allowed this to happen, and we are the only ones who can do anything about it, yet our government, who should be helping us to tackle the issues, are sitting in their warm building, eating their expensive food, washing it down with expensive champagne, while the rest of us struggle to make the ends meet, and watch having those ends stretched even further by little scrotes, because we have no police force left to tackle them, stop them, and deal with them. 

I don't blame the force at all (except the wanker who left me stranded on the motorway after I was hit by a 40 tonne lorry and had no way of getting home, instead having to sit on the hard shoulder for an hour in zero degree temperatures, with no coat - it had been in my car which got towed away where it was a total write off) they are under immense pressure and up against it on a daily basis. I can't even imagine the job they have to do and how frustrating it must be for them to try and do their job the way it should be done. I know a copper who retired early because he said when they were catching people 'red handed' the courts were throwing the cases out because there was either not enough evidence (apparently video footage of them committing a crime is not enough) or the pathetic sentences they could dish out weren't worth the effort and paperwork. How is that ever a good thing? How has it come to pass that a huge majority of the time, the criminal is treated bettter than the victim, because they have "human rights". I'm sorry, the split second you commit a crime against another person you should have no claim to any type of rights. I'm not saying we need to be draconian and start locking people up for jay walking, or some of the ridiculous things they were locked up for in yesteryear, but we damn well need to make sure anyone who commits a crime is punished, made to pay for it, and recieves no privileges whatsoever. Yes, I do believe in a 6x4 cell, with 3/4 to a cell, and the merest of rations. Jeez, some of the prisons we have over here are better than 5* hotels, and that is never right. I'm all for rehabilitation of some (it can work really successfully) but I also believe punishments and prisons, should act as a deterant. It's not going to stop all the crimes, but it would damn well make a lot of them think before they acted. What justice is there when a 96 year old man can be beat to death in his own home for the sake of £20. What will happen to the piece of scum - COWARD - who did such a thing if he's caught? He'll get some do gooder on his side bleeting on about how hard his life has been and get a slap on the wrist and told not to do it again. My life has been hard, bloody hard, but I don't go around beating elderly people to death. My number 1 has had a horrendous life, yet does she go around stealing from people, beating up people? No, she gets off her arse every day (regardless of how sick she is herself dealing with her own incurable illness) and goes to work in her job as a nurse, helping other people. 

Things need to change in the UK, and they need to change fast, or we're just going to plunge deeper and deeper into a lawless filled society; we're supposed to have moved on from the "olden days" we're supposed to more "civilised" yet here I am, right here, right now, talking about how worse this country is than when I was a child, and how the scum and scrotes of the world seem to be living the life of reilly. It's not just this government to blame, but they are the ones currently in power, and they are the ones who need to implement the changes; the chances of that happening though are zero. They can't even agree on how to walk away from Europe, for fear of upsetting them all. We're being screwed from all angles and there is nobody willing, or brave enough, to take it on and make the changes that need to be made. I fear for this country; I used to be proud to be English, now I'm just ashamed for the people who make the decisions. The UK (I have to include all 4 countries because that's the "correct" way) is being dragged further-and-further into the abyss and if we're not careful, pretty soon there will be no coming back. 

"An english mans home is his castle" except when some little scrote decides he wants to enter it, walking away with whatever he wants. God forbid that castle owner tries to take justice into his own hands. How very dare he try to protect all he has worked for, saved for, and given up for, against some piece of pond scum who believes he's "entitled" to help himself to whatever he wants, for the full force of the law will come down upon that castle owner far quicker than it ever would on the scrote. I'm not afraid to put it out there; if someone entered my home without my permission I would do whatever it took to stop them taking whatever they wanted; if that meant they never walked, talked, or breathed again, then so-be-it; they won't have given thought to me, my feelings, or my life if they entered unlawfully, I'm damn sure I'm not going to worry about what happens to them. It's not often I agree with the USA and it's Second Amendment, but there are times I can't help wonder if I was able to purchase a gun, whether I would, or not? A few years ago I'd have said "not". Now though? It's definitely something I would consider, and I never thought I would hear myself say such a thing. I work hard, really hard, and I will not allow someone to take something I've worked my arse off for, so some lowlife scrote can come and take it for himself. I don't own a lot, but everything I do own, I've worked for. My business has taken over my life for the past 12 years; to see 2 scroty lowlifes trying to illegally enter it, to do god-knows-what and take whatever they could get their hands on (not there is much they could take) pisses me off. 

Damn right, I'm angry.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Ghosts: DNA

Back a long time ago - well, a few years really - I believed in the world of the 'paranormal'. I'd often be asked things like....

Do you believe in ghosts?   Yes
Do you believe in reincarnation?   Yes
Do you believe in poltergeists?   Yes
Do you believe in tarot cards?   Yes
Do you believe in mediums?  Debatable, but I wanted to believe some could communicate.
Do you believe in alien life?  Yes
Have you experienced de ja vu?   Yes.
Whenever asked the question: Do you believe in god?  The answer was, and still is, NO. My answer regarding alien life hasn't changed either; I do not believe we are alone in the universe. For the rest of the questions though, I now answer: no, not really, with the exception of de ja vu, although as you will see if you continue reading, I have a theory relating to this.

Part of this change was down to completing a paranormal investigation course. This taught me to ask questions, look for logical reasons; part of it was because I was sitting one day, thinking about my family tree, when an idea/theory struck me, and now it all makes perfect sense to me.

A ex-friend of mine had a theory that ghosts were part of a time slip, and this made sense to me to (at least, he tried to lead me to believe it was his; turns out it was Albert Einstein who came up with it - nothing like taking advantage of an unread person!! thank goodness he's no longer part of my life). We, the people, however, have created time, and it relevant only to an individual at any one moment. To me, today, an hour is feeling like 10 minutes. To someone sitting in a hospital bed, that hour could feel like 3. To a child waiting to go on a holiday to Disney, it could feel like a day. Each year we are able to manipulate it - the clocks going back-and-forth; also, every now-and-then, GMT is held up for 1 second, so time, really is irrelevant, in the grand scheme of things. It is a man-made creation. Something invented to make life easier to understand, to give us all some kind of structure, so having bends in those times is a perfectly acceptable, and sensible, idea. He believed that when a bend happens, we can appear in the past, and people from the past can appear in the future (appear to us). We believe we are seeing a ghost, as, I expect, do the people from the past. This could also be how some people claim to have been able to see into the future. Most of these sightings don't last for long, but they last long enough to convince the people witnessing them that they have been visited by someone 'other worldly'. I think this is also why children can have 'imaginary friends', who, for the record I don't believe are imaginary at all. However, because a child has no concept of time, it would be far easier for them to encounter (and deal with) a time slip (or bend) than for those of us who have been conditioned to dispel as we get older. I believe this is why so many children appear to have a 'psychic' sense too.

Then, there is the Stonewall Theory (now called the Stone Tape Theory - I'm sure one day we'll have to change it to Stone Streaming Theory!!). This one also makes good sense; let's face it, often people in old buildings will see things, the same things, repeated time-and-time again. Surely, if such a thing as a ghost existed, they would be able to move about freely? Yet, so many ghost sightings are different people, on different days, in different years, seeing the same thing that someone else has seen. This fits in with a bend in time, and the stonewall theory perfectly. All those people are seeing is a visual replay of something that has happened.

Don't get me wrong; I have seen things, many times, but I think now, either of the above theories are the reason why. I either entered a time slip for a second (or more) or was in an area where stonewalling is prevalent. Let's face it, anyone of us who have seen something, normally only see the most fleeting of glimpses. Whilst sometimes, it may appear as though you are interacting with them for ages, in reality, it's probably only really a matter of seconds.

Sometimes, dare I say it?, they are even down to our own imagination. We may catch sight of something (corner-of-the-eye) that we aren't sure of, so our brains translate it for us into the most logical of images that we can make some kind of sense of it.

Now, let's get onto the Ghost; DNA, which actually isn't ghostly at all - I just wasn't sure how else to title it!! I guess I should have celled it De Ja Vu: DNA, but ghosts grab more attention, and as an attention seeker (why else would I sit here writing this if I wasn't?) I want the headline which is going to give me the most readers. This also relates to those people who have never been somewhere, yet know exactly where they are, or children who claim to have lived before (and adults I guess who believe they have been reincarnated). I don't (for one second) now believe that they have lived before; at all. What I do believe in though, is their DNA: their genetic makeup. Let me explain.

We are all created (not by god) but by our parents; the male sperm, the female egg. Even those of us who may have been created in a test tube will still have a female egg and male sperm (unless, of course, you are a clone!). As a result you have your own DNA, but you also inherit a little of your parents. As they have inherited their parents, it stands-to-reason, that we too, may also have a little of them in us, and so it can go on. Who's to say we don't have just one tiny molecule of DNA we have inherited from a 30 times great-grandparent? It only needs to be the tiniest of pieces, but if it's from them, and now in us, then surely there is a chance at some point we could be somewhere they visited in their lifetime, and that's how we know we've been there before. I'm not sure how it works exactly, even the best scientists in the world can't tell us how the human mind works, but something, somewhere, triggers that memory (or moment) in that tiniest piece of DNA you have, and to you it feels like your memory (because you/we know no different) and yet, it's not yours at all, but that of an ancestor of yours.

I've experienced it myself before. As a child (around the age of 10) I visited Banbury in Oxfordshire with my parents. I had never been there before, yet when we arrived at a certain point I felt I had been there; I recognised buildings. How could that be? It's not a place I had been taught about at school (I was still in Juniors/Middle School then - we didn't study geography at that point). My Dad said "right, let's see if we can find somewhere to get a cuppa and slice of cake". I then told him about a lovely little shop that sold the best homemade cakes, and explained exactly how we needed to get there. My parents were great, understood I was a little 'wacky' at times, and so followed my directions, which lead us straight to the shop I had told them about; the shop I had seen and visited before. The shop which had been trading for over 50 years and hadn't changed that much at all (bear in mind, I visited in 1980 - things/buildings and the way things were made back then didn't really change much; it's only in the past 20 years with all our modern gadgets that we've changed how we make things, and modernised our buildings). For years this experience baffled me. How did I know it was there? How had I seen it before? If so, when, and how? Then, when my DNA theory popped into my head, it all made perfect sense. You see, my Maternal side of the family were born and raised in a place called Burford, in Oxfordshire, which is less than 25 miles from Banbury. Could it be that a relation of mine, someone who I share my DNA with, had visited Banbury, and the cake shop, and my being there triggered that small DNA molecule which meant I knew where I needed to be?

Another experience I had once (which wasn't de ja vu as I didn't feel I'd been there before) took place in Burford, roughly 12 years ago. Long after my Banbury experience (when, for the record, I knew nothing about my family growing up in Burford; I believed them all to be from Newbury in Berkshire). 15 years ago my brother started to research our family tree (most interesting it all is, too). That's when he found out about everyone in Burford, and for some reason a woman called Emily stirred something within me. One Sunday I took my Mum and we headed off to meet my brother in Burford (first time either of us had ever been). At the entrance to the church my brother said to me "ok weird one" (meaning me) tell me where Emily is buried then. I stood at the side entrance to the grounds, having never been there before, or having seen any kind of layout plan to the place, and directed him (in one go) straight to Emily's grave.  How was I able to do that if I'd never been there before? My great grandfather was her 1st cousin; she died when my Nan was in her early 20's. As the family all lived within walking distance of each other, and in those days families included immediate (as well as) distant cousins, it stands to reason that my Nan went to her funeral. My Mum was born 12 years after this, has my Nan's DNA in her, as do I. Emily's parents are in the same cemetery but they have no headstone and the parish records were all but destroyed so there is no record of where they were buried, but I found myself drawn to one particular spot (under a tree) and am convinced (even to this day) that they are buried there. Had I been there before? Or was I picking up on a residual memory from my grandmother and great grandfather, whose DNA flows through my veins?

I've lost so many people in my life I would dearly love to believe they have the ability to come back , visit us, let us know they are safe, but sadly, I am unable to. Nothing (as yet) has ever proved to me it's possible and the older I get, the more I realise there are many more plausible reasons why we see/here/know things.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Extra hour in bed?

Every year I hear people say "ooh, we get an extra hour in bed" when the clocks go back. Every year, I find myself having to despute this.

Come on, who realistically does actually get an extra hour in bed? I know I didn't; in fact I end up having an extra hour awake because of it, and I have no doubt many of you do too.

What was that? You don't understand the crazy English lady coming out with such nonsense? Then let me explain.

Most of us are 'creatures-of-habit' (even those who say they aren't probably find they really are). We get up at the same time each morning, we got to bed around the same time every night. We have a 'routine'. If you work you need this routine to ensure you get enough sleep to see you through the following day for your job. If you don't work, you probably find you still  stick to some kind of routine, or else you just end up 'drifting'. 

So, your routine, if like mine, probably involves you getting up 6 days-a-week to try and earn some money. You'd think that one day a week you don't have to get up, you'd spend a bit longer in bed, but the truth of the matter is, you most likely don't. The reason for this is that your body has become used to the getting up at the same time for the previous 6 days; it just does what you've been programming it to do all week. After a while, this routine becomes a 'habit'. You probably find even when you're on holiday, you still wake up the same time!! 

Then, someone says "hey, the clocks are going back; you can have an extra hour in bed". That someone needs silencing.

I go to bed between 11-12pm each night and my alarm is set for 7 the next morning - although I'm usually wide awake around the 6am point. That's what I am used to, so it stands-to-reason yesterday would be no different. I did send myself to bed later on Saturday, in the hope it might make a dent in the awakening routine (it never). I then found myself wide awake at 6.30am, or what would have been 6.30 had it been the day before. Yesterday, however, it was officially 5.30am. I then found myself with a dilemma. What time to go to bed last night. 

As I was up an hour earlier, should I go to bed an hour earlier? That would make sense, but then what happens if I follow my usual routine, have just over 6.5 sleep? I'd find myself awake at 4.30, and it really would be 4.30 because the clocks weren't going to suddenly jump forward again this morning. No, the only choice was to go at 11, and start conditioning my body and brain back into a routine that fits around the lifestyle I have. However, that then meant instead of having this elusive extra hour in bed, I ended up being out of my bed for an hour longer than I would have normally been. On a general (normal) day I spend around 17 hours awake. Yesterday, when I was meant to be able to spend 1 less awake, I, in fact, spent 18 hours awake. Ok, so I gained an hour, but not a sleeping one. 

Then, Monday (today) comes around, and my little brain is still totally confused from yesterday and finds itself wide awake at 3.30 this morning, wondering what the hell is going on.

No, I don't think we gain, or benefit, at all from the clocks going back. Time for them to just let things stay as they are, me thinks. 

Still, at least it's the right time of year to be walking around, looking like a sleep depraved zombie :) 

Sunday, 28 October 2018

All Change

I've been blogging for over 8 years now; not always as often as I would have liked, but I tried to add something every week (as a minimum). 

In that time I've talked about everything; how I feel, what I've been through, what I was currently going through. I've shared about love, loss, and laughter. I've ranted (way too many times) about things, and people. If I've done it, then I've talked about it.

This morning though, something happened; not sure what, or why, however, I decided I didn't like a single entry I had written. I was too miserable in most of them, ranting in many others (which still made me sound miserable). I was constantly complaining about things, and nobody wants to read that kind of thing. Yes, there were a few posts which had received really good feedback from readers (especially the one about my mammogram) and another recieved over 17000 reads (that's a lot for an inconspicuous individual like me) and I could have kept those, just deleted the rest, but as with most things in life right now, I've been making clean breaks - especially from the toxic people I used to be surrounded with. I figure if I'm going to do it in the real world, I should be doing it in the virtual world too. So, for now, it's all change.

I can't promise I'm not going to complain, rant, or be miserable - I am, after all, human, living in a world where there can be a lot to complain about (or not; first world problems, and all that). What I want to talk about though, are the positive things in life. In order to do that, there will need to be some negatives - you don't get  a rainbow without the rain - but on the whole, there are enough people struggling in this world; I don't need to be another one.

At one point I was running over a dozen different blogs; personal ones for me, business ones for my shop (I won't give those up); I had blogs I was using to try to raise money for a road trip (I am still - always - trying for that but realised I don't need to have hundreds of different ones dotted about). I set them up for family who wanted to blog (going so far as to invest in personal domains for them; not one of those lasted longer than 4 entries). I set up dozens of different ones for someone who I thought was a friend, to try and promote his photography for him, and those 2 included domains (as well as facebook, twitter, tumblr and instagram accounts) and he never used them. That's why, this morning, I got rid of every single other one I run/manage, except for my business ones, this one, and another I have (which I will duplicate this onto). This one is the other is .uk. I won't get rid of all my domains, I'll try to see if I can use them in other ways. The domains for friends though have all been cancelled; if they want to continue on with them, they can buy them themselves now. 

Dammit; see what I mean about me complaining. Here I am, a new day, a new start, and that last paragraph was me having a bit of a moan - not much though, so things are improving :) 

Life really is about what you make it, or should that be "what you make of it"? That works much better, for some people strive to constantly make it, never actually getting anywhere, through no fault of their own. Other's have it all, have done nothing for it, and never appreciate it. It's always about what is relevant to us personally, at a particular moment-in-time. Right now, my focus in life is to get out with my camera as often as I can, continue to work hard at my business, and work towards the funding I need to visit the USA and take the photo's I dream of taking (I know I will succeed in that). Everything else, is-what-it-is and I intend to find the positive in every situation, no matter how bad things may seem/get.

Thanks for joining me as I embark on this "new me". If I disappoint, keep on moving; I'm not doing this for you. I'm doing it for me.