Vile Vera next door

I have this really vile neighbour, and I bet lots of you out there have the same problem!  We have lived in our lovely home for almost twenty years and she was fine the first year, then the wind changed and she turned on us, and it was BAD.  We don’t know what we did, which I suspect was nothing at all, I had heard from other neighbours she was seriously unbalanced, but I was about to find out just how much.  Firstly, she waited for us to go on vacation and poisoned the ivy that covered the fence between our two back gardens, when we go home they were sitting in their sun room looking straight in to our sun room! I almost passed out! and she sat there giving me the F-off sign with her two fingers!!! I called the Police, but they didn’t want to get involved, so at great expense we had a six foot fence put up all the way along.  Then my beautiful weeping willow in the front garden died mysteriously, next there were small stones constantly thrown on my lawn, causing damage to my mower, the list goes on and on, we sent a legal letter through our lawyer asking her to cease and desist, in the end we put up a security camera and funnily enough all the vandalism stopped!  So as the years went by her daughter married and had children, this seemed to calm her down a lot, she even started talking to me and was pleasant!  I like peace and quiet, I hate bad feeling and I loathe conflict and arguments, so this was a good thing.  Today I came home from work and they had been having new fences put up, I said to her, looks really nice Vera, to which she screamed at me like a lunatic ‘It’s just a fence’, I was, as we say here, gobsmacked! So I asked her, why are you so rude to me? to which she replied ‘I don’t like you’.  I said that there was no need to be un-neighbourly and rude, especially as her husband is so pleasant, she then started screaming for her husband to come and listen to ME abusing HER !!!! There is just no talking to some people.  However, later in the day I was out watering my flowers and he was stood on his driveway watching me, so I nicely asked him if I could have a word, he looked like I’d shot him, but he did come over looking nervous.  I asked him why his wife was so rude and unpleasant to me, he said she was upset that I had been looking into their garden at their new fence (!), I really had to stop myself bursting out laughing.  But I kept calm and said I did not mean to cause any offence and that I had tried to say something nice to her, to offer the olive branch, so to speak, why is she so un-neighbourly, especially as he is polite and pleasant to me?, he changed the subject and started talking about his fence, new shed etc.. I let this go on for about half an hour and I ended by saying if there was any problem please always talk to me about it, I really didn’t want things to go back to how they were a few years ago (he wasn’t there much as he lived abroad most of the time with work, but he was aware she had the neighbourhood up in arms), he seemed to understand where I was coming from and I felt good that I had been able to calmly talk the problem through with him and stop a potential war from starting.  This couple are about 70 years old, if he dies first and leaves her alone, we are probably screwed!.

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Something unimaginable happened.

Thirty-five years ago, when I was 17 years old, I had a friend who was half English and half Pakistani, she was a lovely girl, she wanted me to visit her family with her for a few weeks of the summer over in Pakistan.  The region was a little unstable at that time and my parents didn’t want me to go, to talk me out of it they offered to pay for me to have a holiday in Florida and stay with a family they were very friendly with.  I was persuaded, it was Miami after all!  And so my relationship and life long bond with this family began.  I visited for many years for three weeks over Thanksgiving.  They were lovely people, the house was filled with kids my age and older, children, step children and even baby grandchildren, it was a happy house, music played, lots of laughter, big family dinners, I just loved my holidays there.  Over the years there were weddings and other celebrations that my parents and I attended, happy, happy days.  In the early days when I was 17 I had a huge crush on one of the sons, he was my age, good looking and sweet and he didn’t discourage my stares! teenage crushes are hilarious when you look back on them!, now after all these years I know we would have been totally incompatible.  As the years went by he travelled and met a pretty Italian girl, they got married and went on to have a son, and they lived very happily in Colorado for the last twenty years, as happens, I lost touch with them many years ago.  However, of late some of the siblings have found me on social media and some wonderful old relationships have been re-established.  Through social media I saw pictures of him and his family, his son is now 17 years old and they looked so happy.

Four days ago he was in a horrendous accident, he was cycling in the hills with a friend and fell and broke his neck, he was airlifted to hospital but his brain had been starved of oxygen for too long and he was in a coma that he would never recover from.  Yesterday the life support was turned off.  He was an organ doner, God bless his heart, he may be saving others now.  The family all flew in from all over the country and were with him at his bedside when he passed away.

I have been profoundly affected by his death, even though I had not seen him in twenty-five years.  I’m not sure why this has affected me so much, perhaps because he leaves a young wife and teenage son, more so because he was my age and he is just ….gone, just like that, he just isn’t in the world anymore.  I feel like life is so delicate, you can be just gone in a second, wrong place, wrong time and that’s it.

Mortal thoughts.

UPDATE: Since his organs were harvested, he has helped and saved over 50 lives, including his heart, which saved someone’s life and still beats on in this world, something good out of this tragic event.

Ageing – It’s wonderful!

I recently read an article by one of my favourite bloggers, Katrina Horton Food ( you should check her blog out, she’s great!), where she write about turning 50, it gave me pause for thought.

I’m 52 and I have to say I love it! The strange thing is the worst birthday I ever had was my 30th, I loathed it, I was working in Miami, I had no boyfriend, no sign of ever being engaged, married or having kids and it scared the living crap out of me! I remember thinking, where is my life going? I am homesick, away from my friends and loved ones, all for what?? so I packed up and came home, and I have never looked back.  I met my lovely Husband at 33 years old, we got married when I was 35 and we have carved out a lovely life together, I have a home and garden that I love and I am proud of, amazing friends, a great job (for the last 11 years), so I guess turning 30 was my turning point.

Of course ageing has it’s challenges and its lessons, the loss of my beyond fantastic Mum, seeing one of my dearest friends go through breast cancer (and recovering well now for 6 years), most of my parents friends have now passed away, especially the smokers, they are all long gone, two of my best friends going through horrible divorces etc..  When you look at the big picture you realise that gaining a little weight isn’t the end of the world, you can lose it again, a little laugh line is no big worry, you got it through laughing, I have learned that if you have your health, you have EVERYTHING, you must enjoy every day the very best you can.  When you were in your 20’s you would hear older people say things like ‘Life is short’ and it would go right over your head, by the time you’re in your fifties, you’re the one saying that and more!, so dear readers, do whatever you must to make the most of your life, be happy, be kind and smile as much as possible. xxx

Fantastic Weekend!

I just had the loveliest weekend, it was like steeping back in time, as I met some wonderful old friends I had not seen in over twenty-five years.  On Saturday I met my friend Katie, we worked together in the airlines when I was around twenty years old, then she moved away to the far end of the country to be with her fiancé, and as can happen, we lost touch.  Over the years I heard this and that, she got married, had a baby, got divorced etc.. but she found me on social media last month and a mere 2 days later we accidently ran into each other at an out of town store, we couldn’t believe it! She had moved back to the area years ago and had tried to look me up, but didn’t know my married name, isn’t life funny …. we were obviously meant to become friends again after all this time!  we spent hours chatting and catching up, she has had a lot of ups and downs in her life, but for the last few years she has had a wonderful man in her life and is very happy, and she hardly looked a day older than the last time I saw her, what a lovely re-union we had.

On Saturday evening my husband and I met dear friends for dinner, there was music and dancing, makes you feel young again!

Sunday was another amazing re-union, two friends I had also worked for the airlines with, almost 30 years ago found me on social media a few months ago and we finally met them for lunch yesterday, they hadn’t changed a bit, we had a wonderful time reminiscing and catching up, where had all the years gone we wondered, they have been married for almost 30 years, there sons are grown up now, so much time had just slipped away.  The two lunches catching up with my old friends left me feeling so happy to have them all back in my life, we were all so close all those years ago, it’s kind of sad that we did drift apart, but so great that we are all back together now, I can see there being some great get togethers in my future! There is always room in your life for more friends.

What if it’s you and not the world …

I recently added this song (from the TV show Nashville) to my playlist, as it pointed out that sometimes it’s not the world, it’s you, that gets in your own way in this life!.  I had a week last week of one thing after another annoying me, this week I’ve had a word with myself and got out of my own way, so feeling better now, but I really don’t think it was me, it WAS actually the world, maybe the planets weren’t aligned or something!  Here’s the build up: Firstly, my neighbours, who we get on pretty well with, have cats, I don’t like cats, mainly because I’m a gardener and spend a lot of time and money keeping my little bit of England looking, well, really nice!  Now don’t get me wrong, I know there are a lot of cat lovers out there and I do appreciate you love your little furry friends, they’re just not for me.  Anyway these cats poo in my garden EVERY single night, so every day I have to clean it up, last week they were also sick on my driveway and left a dead mouse, it’s just disgusting and I have tried everything to deter them, but after a while it puts a person in a really bad mood!.  So I politely mentioned to my neighbour about the sick mess, feigning tactful concern over her precious cats health, she said there was nothing wrong with them and they were happily sitting on her deck in the sun, HOWEVER she did clear up the mess on my driveway, so I guess she knows her cat is sick all the time!.  BUT when she next saw me she said she couldn’t BELIEVE I hadn’t cleared it up and left it and the dead mouse and gone to work, I politely pointed out that I was dressed up and in heels and intended to clear it up at lunchtime, but thanked her for clearing it up for me, upon which her husband yells down the driveway ‘How do you know it was our cat?’, I replied that it was the same mess that was inside your house the week before when I was housesitting for you, that indeed shut him up.  Unfortunately a woman from the next street then turned up, she’s a HUGE animal lover and a busy body, and she decided so give me her much valued opinion, stating that, and I quote ‘Cats are far cleaner than people, humans are the dirtiest things on the planet, give me cats over people any time’, I merely turned to her and said ‘my house is immaculate, so speak for yourself’, and most hilariously she then shared that she had taken in some stray cats and her house was now infested with fleas, I decided this would be a good moment to leave the two women to it!.  Next in my week of irritation, I had very dear friends for the weekend, and I am really fond of them, having been friends with the wife for over 30 years.  However, lately when they visit they have started helping themselves to my stuff, mainly in the bathroom, I keep toiletries in a set of drawers, you know, shampoo, toothpaste, mouthwash, soap etc.. Now I love this couple but they are the entire worst house guests on the planet, I dread to think what hotel staff say about them (please keep in mind that this couple live in a huge and beautiful house that is always immaculate, so their slovenly ways when not at home are a mystery to me).  They leave wet towels on furniture, blinds have been broken, lamps on their side, they broke my toilet flush, got toothpaste on my new silk bathroom blind, knocked over water in the night and didn’t tell me, I discovered mould weeks later growing behind the bed!, the list goes on and on.  Now they are rummaging through my drawers and helping themselves to my stuff, without a word of ‘may we’, or ‘sorry I’ve forgotten my…’ etc..  This last weekend they used half a bottle of mouthwash, opened a new pack of soap when there was soap out and not even half used, helped themselves to my expensive toothpaste and my expensive shampoo, with no guilt or conscience! they left it all out afterwards! I mean who does that???.  I really like this couple, so I can’t understand this rudeness!  I think I will move the drawers out of the bathroom for their next visit, that’ll fox them!.  I mean really … is it me?.  What a week, glad the planets, or stars, or whatever was out of alignment is back to normal this week!.

The Reality of Fame

I was saddened today to hear of yet another celebrity death, but I was also angered.  A dear friend of mine adored this singer and very recently attended one of his concerts, she is still in her twenties and as more mature people like myself know, those of a younger generation take their adoration of these famous people extremely seriously, and this is what made me angry.  This singer very sadly committed suicide, more sadly, it is reported that he suffered from terrible depression.  Now I understand that people hide their symptoms in a lot of these circumstances, but do they ever consider the influence they wield over there fans?.  My friend is devastated to tears and posting how heartbroken she is on FB etc.. this makes me very sad, as she didn’t personally know this man, just worshipped him, as I believe do tens of thousands of others.  Also, he left behind six children and a spouse, that’s six children who now will have to grow up without their Dad.  His legion of fans may feel so devastated that they may want to emanate his exit from this world, and they may be influenced further by the fact that his best friend also killed himself several months ago, in the same manner, God forbid this becomes some kind of a ‘thing’.  Young people take these stars and their lives and lifestyles very seriously, almost as if they are part of the famous peoples actual world, giving so much power to the celebrity, it is actually quite frightening.  I feel the famous of this world need to take this huge responsibility very much more seriously than they do, they control legions and influence young minds.  Fame and success should come with training wheels and a manual.

 

No miracle cures available this week!

Well so far I have now lost sixteen pounds in eight weeks and I have to say I am starting to look and feel better about myself, another 15 pounds and I will be giving myself a small pat on the back!.  However … it hasn’t come without a price, I eat small, healthy meals and I am hungry ALL the time!, but surprisingly you do get used to it.  Three months ago I finally gave in and bought Nexium, indigestion was happening more and more and I was popping tums like tic-tac’s.  What a godsend they have been, I can eat or drink anything, it was so great … then yesterday I happen upon an article about said miracle drug being deathly, linked to dementia and major heart problems that could kill you!  I googled it and it was true, with huge warnings about coming off it too quickly, withdrawal being horrendous apparently, so now I am taking half a tablet a day and weaning off them, I mean HONESTLY, isn’t it ALWAYS something, so now I sit here praying I don’t go Ga-Ga or my heart doesn’t give out before I come off them, then we’ll see if the acid reflux does me in!.  I would say ‘Ah to be 25 again’, but frankly I wouldn’t really want to be, I have liked my forties and love my fifties, the expression ‘With age, comes wisdom’ is really so true. I recently bumped into an old friend I hadn’t seen in years, he asked me who my plastic surgeon was !!! what a great compliment! I laughingly advised him that Dr Smirnoff and Nurse Sauvignon Blanc had played some small part I was sure!!!. (In moderation of course).

The Lovely Funeral

Today I went to a friends Fathers funeral.  Such a lovely man, he died aged almost 91 years old and was in fairly good shape right up to the few weeks.  Last year we all went to his 90th birthday celebrations and saw him enjoying his children, grand children and great grand children, I would say he had lived a happy long life filled with a loving family.  But it does get you thinking about death, even though the funeral was a wonderful celebration of a dear man, it still makes you think, it wouldn’t have when you were in your twenties or thirties I don’t suppose, but somehow having just turned 52 it made me think about mortality and length of life.  Most of all though, it makes you appreciate your life, I am grateful to be healthy, happily married and have a lovely home, which I adore and a lot of dear friends.  It also made me wonder if I should plan my own funeral? I mean you can’t plan for who will wish to attend, or who will want to say nice things about you, but the ceremony could be planned.  However, that opens a can of worms – shall their be hymns? a vicar, priest or other? bible readings or poems? what sort of flowers? it’s endless really, but I am a bit of a control freak, so perhaps I should leave a few wishes jotted down!.  Ah …… where to begin!  If you went to a funeral that was ‘lovely’ or had things about it that were special and you would want that at yours, I would love to hear about that!.  Good health to you all dear readers!.

 

My world is shrinking, at last!

I haven’t posted in a while, I don’t like to ramble on about nothing! I get so annoyed at people who write on Facebook every breath they take, every time they eat a bite and every little fart they, well.. fart!.

But I did want to proudly say that I have now lost 12 pounds in weight! in 6 weeks! and for one week of that I was on a beach vacation with my husband! to balance things up I walked for an hour and a half, the length of the beach every day, which was great as you get fit and tanned all at the same time!.  I must add that at my lovely age of 51, it is not as easy to shed the pounds as at 21 ! I am hungry ALL the time, I miss the couple of glasses of wine I enjoyed on an evening (smart water is now my new best friend, I drink it with ice in a large wine glass!) and going to bed hungry every night is a challenge (I still eat 1,100 calories per day, lots of veg and protein, very little fat or carbs, frankly it’s torture when you love to eat and love to cook!) HOWEVER, the reward is reaped when I get on those dastardly scales every Saturday morning, so I will continue until I reach my current goal (which I might re-evaluate when I get there to a higher one, of losing another 17 pounds.  In the next life I hope I come back with the ‘thin’ gene and can eat all the calories I like and never gain an ounce!.

UPDATE: I have now lost 23 pounds – feeling so much better ! Also I had to buy new knickers, as my old ones were falling down !!!

Before Online Dating

I am inspired to write about this by one of my dear followers, I now have THREE! (so excited to have ANYBODY following me!) who wrote of her uninspiring online dating experience.  I have been married for almost twenty years now, so I am lucky that the whole ‘online dating’ thing has been something I have been able to avoid, especially after hearing some of my single girlfriends stories, hilarious as they are.  A very dear friend of mine online chatted to a guy for weeks, then took a flight to meet him, his online picture was nice, when he turned up at the airport she wanted the plane to back up and run her over, and she was stuck there all day!.  So, many years ago there was a dating agency in my city, one of the first, and you had to fill in a form and they matched you up with who THEY thought would suit you, if you approved they would pass on your phone number (!) to the guy and he would call you.  I seem to remember I had three dates before giving up.  The first was a guy who met me at the pub, I think perhaps he wasn’t allowed out very often by his Mother, he had a shopping bag and a wore a cardigan with an anorak over the top.  My heart sank when I saw him approach, the first thing he said to me when he sat down was, I don’t think I’m your type (If you can picture me in my early twenties, I worked for the airlines, so going glam, all the time, was a lifestyle, and I wasn’t un-pretty in those days and quite slim – I miss those days!).  Bless him, I thought, but had to agree gently with him, we had one drink and I went home, at 8pm!.  The second date, I met a guy who was nice and tall, but legs like liquorice sticks.  I was about to walk into the pub and he was waiting outside, he introduced himself and then immediately said ‘Sorry, I have to go, something came up’.   Unbelievable, I thought, how bloody dare you, look at you, now look at me, what a cheek!.  The final nail in the dating agency’s coffin was that one evening I got a call from yet another suitor, he sounded nice, but I had friends over at the time, I said I would call him back, but he said he would call me back.  The next morning I felt a bad about brushing him off, so I checked my phone log and called him back.  His wife answered the phone.  That was the end of dating agency men for me!.  Thank heavens I don’t have to do the online thing, my sympathies to all who do, BUT I do have one friend who met her now husband online, they are blissfully happy and have a lovely life, home and lots of amazing vacations, so there is hope!.