Thursday, 30 August 2012

New Costly Plot.....

Last night I headed into our town centre to meet friends and have a meal in a lovely restaurant.  Parking in town is expensive at the best of times, however there is a small car park near the restaurant that is free after 8pm so that's where I was heading.

Totally scuppered by gas main repairs which had closed some roads, reduced others to access only or made others part of a one way diversion! So having driven around all manor of routes and now being a bit late I was forced to use the NCP which has to be paid for 'At all times'.

So in a massive car park I left my car with only about half a dozen others. Alongside the ticket machine were notices of how to pay with your phone your credit card or even online but I wanted a ticket and the machine wouldn't take my money! There were two women chatting nearby so I called across to ask them if they knew how the machine worked and one of them came over to help. She said I had to put my registration number in before it would take money but as she didn't have her glasses on I would have to read the instructions.

It said - no need to display ticket as machine has all details
I believed it
It said - press orange button then key in last three letters of your registration number
I did
It said - insert coins to the value of parking time required
I inserted £3.40 for 2 hours from 20:06 as that was all the change I had
It said - press green button for ticket
I did and it didn't!!!
Read through it all again and kept pressing green button but no bit of paper was ejected and the helpful woman had already left me, so I just headed off to meet my friends assuming the car park attendant who may or may not come round will be electronically connected to the ticket machine and all my details.

Some time later (ok more than 2 hours) I was escorted back to my car where my friends and I discovered the dreaded plastic bag stuck to my windscreen. I made light of it to my friends and sent them on their way. I was convinced I'd have to pay a fine as the attendant must have been round after my fee had run out, however,  when I got home I read it and was first shocked to read it was £100 or £50 if paid within 14 days but then really pleased to read that my car was first sighted at 21:33 and the NCP Contravention Charge was issued at 21:44 so I was well within my paid for time!

Today I filled in their online appeal form.......fingers crossed eh?

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Reflections with a chicken....

I have a little chicken
That sits up on the shelf
And everytime I look at it
I think about myself

It isn't old, it's very new
But somehow it reflects
The who I was and now am
And what may happen next

I have a little chicken
My sister has its twin
Our Portugal reminder
When sharing our sadness within

The Algarve symbol was chosen
Just something to hold in the palm
Precious much more than its value
As it links our hearts with its charm

I hope our eldest sister
Looks down on us to see
Three sisters staying close
When four there really should be

Life goes on of course
Our path not always our picking
But my now is a bit better cos
I have a little chicken!

...actually it sits on the microwave but that is so hard to rhyme to!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Not quite right....

Think I've mentioned before that Hubby and I often have very different opinions on what we need or how to furnish our home, well today was another example.

For the last five or six years I've put up with a very large silver and glass spaceage tv stand in the lounge. I'd have preferred a piece of furniture, pine to match what we already have.  Well Hubby has recently bought a new TV without any discussion,  when in fact there didn't really appear to be any obvious need for a new one and of course finding a good place to put the discarded one wasn't easy and they certainly are not worth trying to sell secondhand. So I'm putting it down to him feeling guilty when he suddenly announced he was measuring up to have a pine unit made.

My specific requests were...
The shelving must be adjustable "as you are always replacing the equipment."
The width and depth must be bigger than the largest bit of kit we already have "as you are always replacing the equipment."
The colour must match the unit that is behind it as that's what it will sit nearest to.
I would like it big enough to hide most of the cables and wires that spaghetti behind tv/sky box/dvd/wii/etc.

Well Hubby did lots of measurements and scribbles on sketches and took photos of existing furniture and even took a drawer in for them to match to. However,  it arrived today (and it wasn't cheap) and to me it's the wrong shape, too shallow, too narrow and too dark!!!!!!! No part of it is wide enough to take the wii fit plate so that is shoved underneath and one of the dvd players is hanging over the front edge and Hubby has had to drill a whole in it as he'd designed a gap in the centre back for plugs to go through but didn't allow a gap for the things at the side.

Well it's lucky for him I'm not cross, it's only a lump of wood after all and to me it still looks better than what was there before!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Sympathies and celebrations.....

8th August 2012 - Was my sisterM's funeral. So very sad, however, so very calm at the same time. She had organised it all herself. As we are Jewish our funerals need to happen as soon as possible so we were relieved that it could happen just 60 hours after she died. The retired Rabbi that she'd already asked was available and her plot was booked in the very newly consecrated woodland area. SisterM had even written her own eulogy outlining how grateful and honoured she had felt for the life she had lived and she had included thank-yous and humour!  Love you sis, really miss you!
BilA had said there would only be the one night shiver (mourning and prayers) and he insisted that hubby and I together with sisterS and bilK were to go on holiday as booked and not cancel or even postpone flights. With heavy hearts we said our goodbyes and got home just before 11pm :o(

9th - 16th August 2012 - Portugal holiday
2am the alarm went off and although hubby and I got up, ready and out I'm sure it was all done in my sleep!  We met sisterS and bilK at the Gatwick check-in desk at 4am and our holiday started.

At the end of the holiday we all agreed it had been brilliant and we must holiday together again......Sorry I jumped right to the end without saying that transport wise it was easy getting there, a bit of a delay on the flight home, we used the local tourist train

and hired a car for three days (phew so grateful for the air-con). Temperatures were around 30-36C and reached 38C a few times so all air-con gratefully received!

Our spacious self catering apartments were in the Vila Petra hotel in Albufeira and we took full advantage of the facilities and restaurants and bars there as well as finding great places to eat on The Strip including the very traditional Cataplana, twice in fact, I shared a chicken one with sisterS and a seafood one with bilK, on different days of course as they are very filling and very yummy! BilK with his assistant sisterS on toast and tea, cooked us breakfast twice too in their apartment and afternoon tea and cake was usually in ours. Actually this started because I had a birthday and was totally surprised by a fabulous celebration cake being presented to me courtesy of the hotel,  how lovely eh? So started our tea and cake break :o)

We got out and about every day bar lazy Sunday. We did a lot of walking and the route to the nearest beach was known locally as "cardiac hill" which thankfully we all managed (slowly). We visited Portimao and ate grilled sardines on the harbour overlooking the marina. We had a very long walk round the fort at Segras which was really interesting but would have been better for me if there had been a few shady places. Within the fort there seemed to be a special art exhibition and dotted around were a collection of very large sculptures of very curvy and very colourfully shiny nude women reclining on plinths, no we didn't believe what we were seeing either!

Other places included Lagos (pronounced Lahgosh apparently) and Vilamoura and we all really liked the Old Town Albufeira.

We found a lot to laugh about. Not totally sure how it started but the main joke was ice-cream being called "licky-licky" and our requests for licky-licky were frequent then it progressed to a difficulty becoming "tricky-tricky", fingers "sticky-sticky", cameras "clicky-clicky" get the gist?

So we all had a great time but most importantly of all was having plenty of time to talk about sisterM and how we're feeling without having to put on a brave face for anyone. It was a good place to heal a little and return stronger to help each other heal too.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Lost and found....

I'm the middle child of five, four sisters and one brother.
Yesterday 5th August 2012 at 10:30pm I lost my big SisterM. Not misplaced of course but she lost her two year battle with ovarian cancer.  She had been the most determined fighter I'd ever known. I don't need to go into the details of the various treatments, we all know just how horrid they are, but she rarely complained. So many hospital visits, expensive car parking or even more expensive taxis when she didn't feel well enough to drive. When they stopped the chemo and her hair grew back she had to donate her costly wig and hats to other cancer patients. Calmly researching her possible future needs like a wheelchair and stairlift and accepting each new challenge with such a positive attitude that many said she was an inspiration to others, but we knew she was mainly trying to make this horrid situation easier for her husband, three children, 10 grandchildren, four siblings and our families and everyone else she had contact with. She had been a very respected magistrate for nearly two decades and having to give that up just a few months ago was harder for her than almost anything else.

As my big sister things weren't always plain sailing of course, her diplomatic side meant we all discussed various things but she was only truly happy when we ultimately did it her way! We were possibly the closest siblings out of the five of us, she was the most supportive when I was being rebellious and hubby and I often had holidays with her and her hubby with our children when they were young and just as four adults when our families were independent,  even this year we had our great trip to Florida and our day trip to Hever Castle was just weeks ago.

The end was quite sudden really, she had fought so hard and finally she lost the energy to fight. She was in the hospice, she didn't want to die at home, she had her reasons and organized everything including her funeral preferences. The funeral is the day after tomorrow, Wednesday and the retired Rabbi she specifically asked to conduct the service came to see us today and he was not surprised when we handed him the sealed envelope containing the eulogy SisterM had written herself and none of us have seen....she has to have the last word!

Of course she's not lost at all, you'll find SisterM in our hearts!