We were Repatriated!

Yesterday afternoon we arrived back from our lovely holiday in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, despite the trauma caused by the collapse of  The Thomas Cook travel company.  Luckily, we were flight only with them, we had booked our hotel separately, however it is still a funny and unnerving feeling that we were brought to this beautiful island and now we are not sure how we are getting home, it left me with a feeling of being lost.       Of course many people were not as lucky, we heard stories of guests being locked out of their hotel rooms unless they paid again to stay there, as Thomas Cook has not paid the hotel in advance for their guests staying there, and lets not forget the Thomas Cook staff who are suddenly out of jobs, many being owed up to seven weeks wages, travel reps being thrown out of their accommodation all over the world etc.. the ramifications run far and wide.

It’s quite astonishing that we were part of the largest peacetime repatriation operation in UK history.  The Civil Aviation Authority have done an amazing job, from the day of the collapse they had plans in place for the repatriation of 165,000 stranded holiday makers, including us! and vowed to get each and every one of us home.  Certainly from the island of Lanzarote, it appeared to go like clockwork.  The effect of the collapse was almost instantaneous on the island, we saw a drastic reduction in tourists, not only at our hotel, but also around generally.  Then, mid-week it was announced that the European arm had also been put into administration, affecting hundreds more from Germany, Holland and Belgium.  We read that the top bosses at Thomas Cook took out almost £50million in bonuses just before the company collapsed, how is this legal or possible?

I would like to say a big THANK YOU to the CAA for their hard work and dedication, it cannot be easy to plan for the short notice repatriation of 165,000 citizens.  

The Captain was at the aircraft exit as we disembarked, I thanked him very much for bringing us home.

Trolled !

Well I have been online trolled! I have found all my lovely followers to have been the kindest and most polite and honest people, all 510 of you lovelies, and then there was one.

At first I wasn’t sure if this person was just being funny, witty etc.. but the comments went from dark to insulting and then just mean.

This troll hides behind what I believe to be a fake name, with no picture etc..  After a little easy digging around online, I found out where they live, who their sister is, I saw pictures of their family etc.. yet the troll keeps his/her anonymity, hiding behind a keyboard, invisible.  Would you call this troll a coward? or crying out for attention? or perhaps in desperate need of help? lonely? or just plain mean.

The troll liked to berate me, but then compliment how fabulous and fantastic they are, the troll says that he/she is happy and comfortable with how he/she speaks and behaves and that I am the problem, further listing what they believe to be my many faults, which is very interesting, given they have never met me!

I tried to reason with the troll and asked he/she why they were was calling me names, which only caused further name calling, this is a cycle that I wanted to bring to a conclusion, so I have had to, unfortunately, block the troll.  It is the first time I have had to do this, what a shame.

I have removed all of the comments by the troll, as I feel that the troll needs help, I don’t want the troll to be trolled, the cycle has to stop.

Wikipedia definition of a troll

In Internet slang, a troll is a person who starts quarrels or upsets people on the Internet to distract and sow discord by posting inflammatory and digressive, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the intent of provoking readers into displaying emotional responses and normalizing tangential discussion, whether for the troll’s amusement or a specific gain.

Have any of you lovelies been trolled? how did you react and deal with it? I hope I have dealt with it appropriately.

Happy Days and blessings to you all.

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One Way Street?

I have this colleague at work who I would say is my ‘work bestie’.  We don’t see each other out of work, but we have a really nice friendship in the office.  There is no particular reason we don’t have an outside of work relationship, she has a family and we are both busy.  We always sit next to each other at the Christmas party and we have a really good laugh, we even shop at the same stores and have on occasion turned up to work in the same top, which we think is hilarious!.

Over the years I have sent her daughter all the freebees from the cosmetics companies I buy from, passed on my weekly women’s magazines, her daughter is a waitress part time whilst studying, I always give her huge tips if I eat at her restaurant  etc..

Just last week she texted me as I was leaving for work and asked if I had left for the office yet, I said no, she said she was frantic, she had left her makeup bag at home, could she borrow a lipstick, I said of course! I know what colours you like (we buy very similar) so I popped it in my bag and gave it to her upon arrival at work.  She was extremely grateful and the next day she commented how much she loved it, so I told her to keep it (it was quite new and barely used and I don’t buy cheap makeup) she was delighted.

A couple of days ago she mentioned she was going to the discount store and I asked if she could pick me up some of their anti-bacterial wipes, which she said no problem.  The next day they were on my desk, so I asked her how much I owed her, to which she promptly replied, £1.

It didn’t occur to me at first to think anything of it, and of course I gave her the pound immediately, later that day it dawned on me what a one way street our friendship is, she has never, not once, not EVER, given me a single thing.

I like to be kind, and I will not stop doing nice things for people, but my one way street relationship with my ‘work bestie’ has hurt my feelings and changed the way I look at her.

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After Death ?

Three months ago I heard some tragic news, a lovely chap I worked with many years ago, Lawrence, suddenly lost his beautiful (and she was indeed very lovely) wife of thirty five years, Melissa.  All those years ago when I knew them, they were quite the glamorous couple, he was an Air Traffic Controller and she was an Air Stewardess with one of the world wide airlines.   In time he qualified as a commercial Pilot and is still flying the world.  Everyone always referred to her as ‘The lovely Melissa’, because she had the sweetest nature and was a truly decent person, I think when goodness shines out of somebody, others latch onto it very quickly.

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They have a son, who is now in his twenties and has a good job in London.  Lawrence and Melissa moved to London many years ago for their careers and remained there.  I heard she had suffered a little with her health over the years, due to Anorexia in her youth.  Apparently she woke up feeling unwell and was in hospital by the afternoon and passed away shortly after, at 52 years old, I am led to believe it was a heart attack.

My heart went out to Lawrence, I haven’t seen either of them for close to thirty years, but all the same I was so shocked, she was so young for such a sudden death, makes you think.

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Last week I heard from a very close friend of both myself and Lawrence, that they had seen him for a visit, he told them he was sort of seeing someone, not actually in a relationship, but going to events and the lady stayed in his guest room on occasion.  Apparently he had a sit-down with his Son, who has his own life and home now, and asked him how he felt about him inviting this lady over, he said he was no good alone and needed company.  His Son was most reasonable about it and said it was ok by him, which surprised me a little, well a lot actually, Melissa had only passed away 12 weeks ago.

For me, the biggest surprise is how annoyed I felt ! even though I haven’t seen any of them in years, it stirred up my own bad memories, you see when my Mum passed away almost 5 years ago, my Father had a woman all lined up to take her place, and he started living with her the day after the funeral, all be it in secret at first, surrounding me with lies and half truths about his whereabouts, the deceit went on for months until his lies tripped him up.

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What I fail to be able to grasp is this:

The utter lack of respect for the person who has passed away.

No decent period of mourning.

Moving on so fast the grass didn’t even grow beneath their feet.

Lord forbid I lost my lovely Husband, but there is absolutely no way on earth I would show such an utter lack of respect for him and our life together of 23 years and be off with a new chap by the end of the month!

Perhaps I am being old fashioned? unreasonable? My friend. who is also Lawrence’s friend, says she has no problem with him moving on, she has told her Husband and Sons that if she goes, she wants her husband to find someone else straight away if he wants to.  I don’t feel that people should be alone forever after losing a loved one, I just truly believe that honouring their memory is the least that should be done.

Much good health, happiness and long life to you all my friends!


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Little Thought For Monday ….

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I must confess that in my younger days I was perhaps a harsher person, less thoughtful, less kind.  With age comes the wisdom to see the error of your youthful ways.  My new mantra is – Be Kind, Always – and I try every day to do just that.  Happy Monday and a wonderful week to you lovely people.

The Night Of The Hurricane

I recently remembered an experience from many years ago, when I worked as a waitress in Coconut Grove, near Miami.   I worked for a couple that owned a really popular Italian restaurant.  They were real characters, husband and wife Luigi and Lulu.  They fought like cat and dog, but you could tell they really loved each other.  Lulu was a hard taskmaster, a really tough woman and not easy to get close to, but she had grown up working in restaurants in New York and knew the business back to front.  She taught me so much, her first words to me were, ‘Are you fast, because you have to move your ass in this job’.  I made it my business to ‘move my ass’!

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Luigi was the head chef and an excellent cook, his weekly specials were often his own inventions and we always sold out nightly, people queued around the block at weekends to get a table, the basketball team Miami Heat and other celebrities often ate there, The Heat used to come in after a game, about 11pm at night, dressed in the sharpest designer suits, extremely polite, very tall (!) guys who didn’t drink alcohol and left enormous tips, nice fellas.

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In August, about 25 years ago, It was hurricane season and there was a hurricane coming.  It was really strange, as the day went by the sky stayed blue, although it did get quite breezy!  I was working that night and since the hurricane didn’t seem to be showing up, I went in to the restaurant.  It did start raining quite hard as I made my way there in my ancient Oldsmobile, when I arrived Lulu was so shocked to see me, she greeted me with ‘Are you crazy?’  I was the only waiter to show up, none of the chefs came in, so there was just me, Lulu, Luigi and the dishwasher that lived down the street!

Just turned 5.30pm, the rain eased up and the skies started to clear.  Within 20 minutes customers started arriving, within 40 minutes the place was full to capacity and a queue was forming! I had never seen anything like it! It was chaotic, Lulu stood on a chair and after she caught the attention of the place she thanked everyone for coming, ‘As we are the only place open in a hurricane’, people laughed, she asked for patience because obviously we couldn’t feed everyone at once, but assured all that nobody would leave hungry. She was true to her word, I have never worked so hard, we waited tables, cleared, served, it was none stop for nearly 5 hours, it was incredible.  People were happy to wait, they were good humoured, easy going and generous with their tips.  At the end of the night Lulu pulled her tips out of her apron and gave half to me and half to the dishwasher who came out of the kitchen to clean tables, that is the kind of woman she is.

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Lulu was the toughest boss I ever had, and the fairest, we remain in touch to this day.  Oh and the hurricane never did arrive, thank goodness!

All these years later my waitressing days are behind me, but that restaurant was the hardest job I ever had, the most fun, and the best food, I even tried mussels marinara for the first time and clams in garlic and white wine with linguine became my favourite food ever! looking back it was the most amazing experience, I met some good people and learned so much.

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Happy Days!

Who Wants To Live Forever?

I have recently been spending time with the most wonderful 90 year old lady called Dorothy.  Her Husband of 70 years, Joe, who is aged 93 years has just gone into a nursing home, his body is failing, but his mind is reasonably good most of the time.

Dorothy is just amazing, I touch wood when I say this, but she takes no pills, is sharp as a tack, full of common sense and just the nicest person I have ever met.  I have tried to work out why she is such a fit and well 90 year old lady, and I believe, in her case, it is because she does not suffer from stress in any way, shape or form.  She is calm of mind and spirit and rationalises everything.  I told her yesterday that I hope to be like her when I am 90, if I am lucky enough to get there!.

In truth, she has been a bit of a slave to her demanding husband throughout their 70 years of married life, she has pandered to him and he has always had his own way.  The funniest thing is that just before Joe went into the nursing home, his family were concerned he was sleeping all day and complaining of being awake most of the night.  Upon investigation they discovered that Dorothy was afraid to forget to give him his medications, so decided to give him all of his pills with his breakfast, including his night time prescribed pain medication that contained a strong sedative! bless her heart! Once he was taken into care they took him off all of his medications to assess him and his health improved 100%.  We are definitely a nation of over prescribers I think!

Dorothy told me that up until a few months ago, Joe was still driving, I was mortified, especially when she added that she had to control the gear stick, handbrake and signals for him! Dorothy said to me ‘well if he kills me, he kills me, he’ll go to jail’, she was so matter of fact that I just had to laugh!.  After a minor mishap his Doctor finally assessed he was no longer fit to drive and took his licence away, phew!

Joe is equally humorous, I have been visiting him in the care home and he says the most hilarious things, When my Husband came with me, he asked him how much my Husband weighed! just randomly, out of the blue!  He told me yesterday he needed a blood transfusion, as he needed a top up! He also asked me how long it took to paint my toenails!

Sadly though, he also looked up at me as I was leaving and said ‘I don’t want to get old’.  My heart almost broke, I leaned down and gave him a peck on the cheek and told him, none of us do, but we have no choice.  Bless him, it is so sad to see older people when their bodies are failing, yet there mind is all there.

I reminded Joe that he must think about all the wonderful years he has spent with Dorothy, that so many people die young, without fulfilling their life’s ambitions.  He and Dorothy keep us regaled with stories of their travels, their youth, growing up in different times and a whole host of amazing tales, spanning over 75 years that they have been together.  I feel blessed to know them and so happy to spend time with them.

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A Lovely Gesture

A few months ago, after wanting to do this for years, I planted flowers around the two road signs in front of my house.  I look after the new flower beds as if they were my own garden, hoeing, watering and replacing dead plants when necessary.  Quite a lot of the people passing by walking dogs etc. have said how nice it looks.  Today when I got home there was a pink envelope through my door, addressed to ‘The lady who looks after the flowers’.

Inside was a lovely Thank You card, which read:

Dear Number 1 (my house number)

I have just moved to the area and want to say thank you for looking after the entrance to our road and keeping it so lovely.  It makes me smile every time I drive by on my way home.

Thank you!

I can’t tell you how touched I felt to receive this anonymous card and kind words!  It really made my day, how nice that there are such thoughtful and pleasant people in this world.  I just wish I knew who sent it!  Perhaps I will find out one day!.

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Need A New House? (Poem)

The Real Estate Lady is here is assist

She’ll find you a property you cannot resist

From uptown, to downtown, midtown and beach

Leave it to her to find you a peach

She’ll scour the countryside, no stone left unturned

A new house for you, her commission is earned

Her trusty advice is always on hand

Even if you want a home on the sand

On Sundays you’ll find her showing open houses

The doors are always open, even for browsers

She’ll work and strive to find your dream home

No order to big, the earth she will comb

And when the day comes you find your new shack

This wonderful lady will have proved the knack

Of knowing what’s right, what’s perfect and fine

Then she can relax with a well-earned glass of wine!


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The True Meaning Of Success

“To laugh often and much,

To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children,

To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends,

To appreciate beauty,

To find the best in others,

To leave the world a little better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition,

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is the true meaning of success.”

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