A bit more cheerful

After my little rant and rave I thought I'd lighten up on today's entry - I do get my moments :) 

First of all I have another £34 to add to the fund - hurrah. When I filed my tax return on Sunday (what a palava that was trying to get through to someone on the phone when I had a query) it turns out I had overpaid by £34. As I'd not had it I wasn't going to miss it so decided to add it to the pot :) Little amounts grow quickly and before I know what's going on I'll have reached the top end of my target and be booking some flights and hotels :) 

I had a first experience today - not often at my age I get one of those :) At work this morning I decided to have a sort out of the rubbish (we get a lot of composted items as I'm sure you can imagine). I have 3 bins in my workroom - 1 for general rubbish, 1 for compost rubbish and 1 for recycling. The compost one if it's not emptied every day can leak out lovely brown liquid stuff - I often stand it on top of a tray as the liquid makes great plant feed when added to water. I've been kept busy this week so much so that the compost one hasn't been emptied since Friday of last week - I only did it today as the smell was beginning to kick up a bit. One of our neighbours allows us to add what we have to his compost bins (save's him a small fortune), we also have a bin ourselves out the back - we use the compost for the planters we have. Anyway, it was those bins I had been sorting when a customer came in and distracted me. I'd been out the back and as it's warmer today left the door open to let some air into the building (we're next to a chip shop which chucks out quite a bit of heat into our shop at times so we need to air as often as we can). I had a chat with me customer and as she was leaving heard a rustling sound coming from behind me. There is a cat in the area who nobody seems to own that will often make himself comfortable in neighbours houses and he often pays me a visit in the shop. I wandered out into the kitchen to see what he was up to, to find it wasn't a cat at all. Instead there was a rather large fox rummaging through the kitchen bin. I'm not sure who was more surprised (him or me?) I did wish at that moment I was one of these people who have their phones glued to them so I could have got a photo for he didn't just run away from me. Instead he lifted his head, gave me a look, sauntered by me, cut through the bushes between us and the neighbours and calmly sat himself down on the grass quite contented and chilled. We do have a lot around where I live who seem to have no fear; I often have to outsmart one when I take the dog out otherwise it walks with us which is fine, it's never shown aggression and my dog is happy for any company but we have to cross several major roads and it terrifies me the fox is going to get squished so I try to lose it when near a wooded area. Thankfully so far I have been able to outfox the fox; I dread the day it cottons on to what I'm doing and keeps up with me. Although the one today was routing through the bins I'd say he was anything but hungry, in fact I'd go as far as to say he was extremely well fed (he had more meat on him than my little fat bummed dog) and his tail was beautifully thick and bushy. I know some people think of them as vermin who should be exterminated but I think they are persecuted and the reason we have so many in our towns and cities these days is because we've taken away so much of their habitat - and before anyone shouts at me, "Yes" I have seen the devastation they can cause if they get into a chicken coop or rabbit hutch, but the owners of such should be doing what they can to protect their animals/birds; the fox is just doing what comes naturally to it.

Now I know it's not going to happen just yet but as every good scout knows you should always "be prepared" - I was never a scout or guide (they asked me to leave Brownies after only 8 weeks saying they didn't think "it was suitable" for me - in other words they thought I wasn't made of the right stuff to be one of them!!). I got over it quickly enough, not sure my Mum did though as she'd only just gone out and bought me the uniform (I wore is only once) and for parents that had no money it was a really big deal for them to spend so much on me - the woman in charge knew they were going to be buying me one as well; she had to have known at that point she was going to say I wasn't good enough!! Anyway, I figured I shall get myself as prepared as I can before heading off to those glorious national parks (which are calling to me so loudly right now) so I have begun to make lists. I already have the routes sorted (as I'm sure you already know but if you don't you can find it all by clicking here :) ) I know which motels I want us to stay in (I'm not sharing those until after we return - you can never be too careful on who may decide to turn up!!). I have print outs of the directions that will take us from one spot to the next (these are subject to actually being in situ but will be used as a rough guide). I've spoken to several people regarding the visiting of places. I have a check list of things that need to be done as well as a spreadsheet set up and good to go for keeping track of references for anything we book - motels, flights, cars, excursions. I'm confident I'll be able to get all the hotels I want so I've got an emergency list of them all with their phone numbers and the time difference between home and then should someone back home need to get hold of any of us - these won't be printed until I know for definite exactly where we are staying.  Once all the paperwork is sorted (ESTA forms will be the first thing sorted once there is enough in the pot as I don't want to book anything until we all have those in place) then it will just be a matter of sorting out who needs to take what, so I have lists (is that sad of me to have these things sorted already?). There are several lists for each of us. My niece and nephew both have a list of what needs to go in their case, what needs to go in their hand luggage (she can take a handbag, he is to have a rucksack for I'm going to get him carrying our cameras) and there is a note for them to remember to give me their passports to keep hold of (I'll also have their ESTA's, Travel Insurance documents and Passports). I've had to put things on there like toothpaste and toothbrush, combs and brushes, underwear for I know what they are like. I took my nephew camping for 4 days last year. He took one pair of boxers a pair of socks and the clothes he was wearing. No thought to any kind of showering products, towels or extra clothes in case he got wet. I am sure my niece is a bit more savvy but it's best not to take any risks! I shall pack the rucksack for him so that I know he has exactly what he needs but they can pack their own cases (I will have to buy these as I know what sizes we can fit into the hire car - thankfully they can both have a smaller case as they don't have as much stuff to take). It's not just them either, I've had to do lists for myself as well (the male friend who I want to travel with us can organise himself although I do have notes to remind him to sort his passport and will get him to fill in his ESTA when he's with me so I know I have all 4 before I book anything - mind you he was meant to pay me some money last week for something I paid for at the beginning of January and I've not seen hide nor hair of him - he has just bought a brand new laptop though that has been dropped off at work for him (loads of friends have their parcels delivered to my work as they know I am here everyday to sign for them) so he's going to have to face me at some point!!). I believe I have all bases covered - I just need to come up with the funds :)