Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Oop North


After weeks, months, years even of prevarication - ie:

Friend/s (usually written in Christmas Card): "Happy 2001/2/3/4/5/6/7/8 - let's make an effort and MEET this year!"

Me (also usually written in Christmas Card): "Happy 2001/2/3/4/5/6/7/8 - let's make an effort and MEET this year!"

we're actuallly doing something about it. Plans for our ambitious Great Northern Tour (all 5 days of it) were laid in January when I suggested nay stipulated that we would actually DO something constructive; so within half an hour friends were contacted and flights were booked.

We (and daughter) are off to Newcastle (or its environs) for three days and then down to York to see other friends for two.

Friends are people we knew when we lived in Bermuda; all since have left that beautiful island and are back in the UK. We haven't seen each other for at least 10 years.

It being half-term flights from this rock are mostly all booked and there is no direct or indirect way to fly to Newcastle (unless we pay a very lot of dosh) so we're flying to Manchester instead. Imagine that? Me in Manchester! Still - could be worse - it might have been Liverpule!

So, shall hire a car and drive up (we're thinking of hiring an interpreter also as they speak, well, a bit funny up there...)

The three of us are really looking forward to it; I've been to Newcastle and York before (both wonderful cities), Mr. Sarnia has never been to York and daughter hasn't been to either Newcastle or York.

I would have put a photo up of the Minster or the Shambles but I can't remember how to nick photos from the web - so, Gavin (if you're reading this) could you please remind me? Ta!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Blimey!

It's been months since I've written here. Probably no point in doing so now as anyone (all two of you) who ever read any of the drivel have long since not bothered.

Well, it's 11pm; I've had a glass or five of wine; and thought I might update on some stuff here.

Daughter is back at original school doing AS (and subsequently A) levels in three subjects: English Lit; Pyschology (sp?) and Archeology (sp?). She re-took Maths GSCE in Nov and found out two weeks ago that she had 'passed'. (Grade C). Cue her Mother to fall down in a dead faint. What shocked and surprised me even more that she was the only one out of the five that re-took it that "passed"! Bloody hell!

Elder two brats also got C in maths (in 5th year or year 11 as they call it now) which is better than I ever got. I took Maths CSE three years running and only ever managed to attain the giddy heights of a Grade 4. Each time. I was in the top stream at my school too! Did really well in every subject except bloody maths.

Next week is a year since I stopped smoking! I cannot believe it! I feel I have coped really well although I do miss it sometimes. I still find myself following in smokers' slipstreams down the High Street - it just smells soooo good.

Looks like I'm orf to Wembley on the 24th Feb for the Carling Cup Final ( have a season ticket at CFC this year shared with oldest brat). Come on you Blues!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Feeling Nervous

Tomorrow (or - for the pedantic - today seeing as it's gone midnight) the GCSE results come out.

This is the third time for me as a Ma. First time - not too bad - son was at the Grammar School (selective education here in Gsy) and expected to do well which he did.

Second time - not too bad - second son was not at the Grammar School but at one of the secondary schools (all very good) and did as well as expected considering his quite severe dyslexia (not a middle-class type drop-out excuse btw) and is about to start his third year at the local College of FE.

This third time - well, daughter has a conditional offer to enter into the VI form at the Grammar School( where her elder brother was head boy three years ago). It's touch and go - I've kept schtum and not said anything. The last thing I want is for her to feel any pressure from us. I've never put any pressure on any of the bratlings at all.

I know she has her heart set on getting into the VI form at the Grammar School - it won't be the end of the world if she doesn't - but - oh my God - I hope she makes it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Between a Rock and a ....West Coast place...

...for a couple of days.

On Friday shall be in Gib for four days (only ever been there for four hours before) then two days after get back, Mr. Sarnia, all bratlings and I are off to the West Coast (USA not Guernsey).

Can't believe that shall be in Gib where fags cost £7 a carton and I won't be buying any. Almost wants to make me start smoking again! (GOD I miss it!)

Younger two will be under the tender mercies of Thomas - I'll leave him 2/6 and tell him to stock up at M&S food hall.

West Coast jaunt is down to Mr. Sarnia (I'm normally the one who sorts holidays out but not this time). Just as well really as at the time it was mooted I'd just stopped smoking and wasn't bloody interested in San Fran; Los Angeles; Las Vegas etc - only in "will this craving for a fag ever go away?" and trying to deal with that.

We're flying from Stansted (to Las Vegas) on an airline called Maxjet - similar to SilverJet (but cheaper). 102 seats per flight (and all business class) with seats that are super duper reclineable; tons of space and cheaper than flying Economy with BA.

Gorgeous day today weather-wise. Was outside this evening - sun shining; no wind at all (and no rain!) and remembered that two years ago today I had the brain haemorrhage and that two years ago (at 8pm) I wasn't sitting outside in the garden drinking wine but was in ICU wondering what the hell had just happened to me.

Blimey.

Addendum: Thursday midday:

Have just spent past 15 minutes SHOUTING down the phone at Mrs. North, the lovely but extremely deaf, cattery owner.

I'd put it off as long as I could but time is now of the essence so, with sinking heart and several clearings of the throat, I picked up the phone:

"Hello Mrs North - it's Mrs *** here; Chelsea's owner"

"Oh yes. Who's that?"

I groan inwardly and raise my voice several levels and eventually (after several misheard dates for arrival and collection) it is done. Until the next time...

Friday, July 06, 2007

Words fail me...

Watched the news tonight. Australia didn't let in the Doctors that Britain subsequently did who then tried to blow a lot of us up to kingdom come; two top seeds were knocked out of Wimbledon; the unsettled weather looks set to continue and....shock, horror, Charles Kennedy smoked a fag out of a window on a train from London to Portsmouth. Oh My God! How absolutely bloody awful!

Luckily - some jobswort...err concerned member of the public noticed this vile and dangerous behaviour and had the presence of mind to phone the Police!

And, luckily for the population at large, the Police took this very-seriously-indeed and were at hand at Portsmouth Station to tell him off/rap him over the knuckles!

I cannot TELL you just how relieved I am that the Police responded so quickly and effectively to this MAJOR act of health terrorism.

We can all rest in our beds safely tonight knowing that Charles Kennedy has been severely reprimanded for smoking a cigarette out of a window on a train.

Meanwhile; if you're a Doctor who has a penchant for blowing a few hundred UK Citizens up please apply to the following UK hospitals for a job: Cont. pg 94.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

C'mon err... errr....anyone?


I'm not a huge tennis fan but I do enjoy Wimbledon. I have the radio (mostly if I'm outside) and TV (if not) on for the two weeks and it makes pleasent background accompaniment to whatever I'm doing.


The bloody weather is ruining it; the bloody weather is ruining summer.


I heard stupid Matthew Bannister on the phone-in on 5 Live this morning asking some weather wotsit expert whether this rain was down to 'global warming'. Hello Matthew! Can't have it both ways you know! A few weeks ago you were asking the same question about the HEAT and SUN. It's weather. Simple as that.


Still - I hate it. Longest days of the year and the nation should be basking in sunlight and the lovely long days.


I was in Brighton for a few days last week and it was cold; rainy and windy. When I was in Brighton in December; January; February and March (few days each time and to kill two birds with one stone - go to a game at the Bridge and see Sussex Uni attending son) it was warm, sunny and mild.


Is it any coincidence that the weather has become even more diabolicial since Gordon started his reign?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Green Ink


Towards the end of April I wrote about Flybe and their appalling Customer Service (or complete lack of) at Guernsey Airport that day.

I mentioned that I'd emailed the Customer Service Dept (or whatever it's called) in Exeter and then promptly forgot about it.

So when (a couple of days ago) I received an email from Flybe with attached Doc. from someone describing herself as 'Senior Customer Relations Administration' (phew) I was perplexed until I started reading it and remembered having sent them an email all those weeks ago.

It was quite a fulsome apology (although there were a few basic spelling errors - advise instead of advice etc) the points raised in my correspondence 'had been forwarded to those concerned'; the matter' had been brought to the attention of the Flybe manager in Guernsey'; the 'situation was unacceptable' etc.

Their email/doc. had 95733 as the reference number. Would that be the ninety-fifth thousand seven hundred and thirty-third complaint since Flybe was set up OR (more likely) the ninety-fifth thousand seven hundred and thirty-third complaint this year I wondered?

I suppose I'm pleased that they did get back to me (even though I'd completely forgotten having contacted them and that it took over five weeks before they did) but my card is probably marked at the airport - am flying with them next week (no choice on Exeter route). I wonder if they'll take revenge? Bump me off the flight? Lose my luggage? Put me on the Birmingham flight instead?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

YESSSSSSSS!


I don't care that it wasn't a good game for the purists; I don't care that Giggs' momentum on Cech (after he'd made a save and was still) pushed him over the line whilst still grasping hold of the ball wasn't given (and rightfully so)

I don't care that Fergie's No. 2 moaned to 5 Live that the decisions didn't go THEIR way and that Chelsea had some "influence" on the ref (gracious in defeat as usual).

I don't care about any of that because we won the cup at the new Wembley and we beat the snivelling Mancs to do it!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bookshop


Daughter's study leave (for CGSEs) commenced today (Wednesday 16th) at 1pm. Picked her up and drove into town to buy GCSE Revision books (about a tenner each) at her request.
So - we ended up in Monsoon; Principles, Next, Warehouse etc like you do.
Found ourselves (after having bought revision books) in my favourite shop in St. Peter Port - an independantly (sp?) owned bookshop - just to browse.
Noticed a poster in the window saying "Wanted - Saturday Boy or Girl".
Daughter said "That looks interesting". I agreed so I asked the woman behind the counter about it.
"How old is she?" asked the woman.
"16", I said, "and about to start her GCSEs so probably not the right sort of person to employ".
"Oh - 16 - no".
"Oh is that too young? I asked.
"No - we like to get them at 14 or 15 - so that we have them for a few years before they go to University".
I was struck dumb (for about 5 seconds). When I regained my power of speech I said "She's just 16; she's about to do her GCSEs, she won't be going to University for another two years and a half and this is a Saturday job not a career choice".
Her response was "fill in your details and we'll phone you next week to come in for an interview".
An interview? I had a Saturday job for a few years (as most children did) and I don't suppose that any of us had to go through a formal interview or whether we should be employed based on how long we'd be there before going on to University (or not!).
What a strange (and unrealistic) stance from this (albeit) lovely bookshop!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Rain


After a glorious April I am now thoroughly fed up with this dismal, cold, rainy, windy, grey May.
I usually love May. Am outside planting/reading/eating until gone 8.30 each night. Not this May.
All the doom mongers were beside themselves over April's wonderful weather "global warming; end of the earth is nigh" etc. Tossers.
So then - explain May's dismal performance.
It's so unfair. Just when we'd all got used to hot, sunny weather it's been taken away!
I had to put the central heating back on tonight but I def. will not be going back to boots/shoes and other winter garb.
In fact this May has been colder and greyer and rainier than "winter" was!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Peter the Gardener

Peter or whatever his name is was here today for an hour or so. I hadn't noticed initially as was busy on pooter sorting out ancestral stuff (French side of my family) for my Uncle (blimey - my Great Aunt's husband was Governor of what was then called Indo - Chine (now Vietnam) before, during and after the war and then Governor of Senegal) but I digress.

The whirring of a strimmer eventually got through to me and so I trotted downstairs and asked if he'd like a cup of tea.

I've since forgiven him for his laughing at me when I was on my 5th day of not smoking (now 12 weeks!) and thought I'd reward him by giving him his tea (strong, no sugar) in the naked woman mug that I used to always give him it in UNTIL he laughed at me. (After that it was bloody M&S kitten mugs).

He brought up the smoking thing. Asked how long it had been. Three months I said. He then said - well you look bloody good. Oo err Missus!

I found out so much today about family stuff; asked my husband - did you know that your mother had an aunt who died at the age of one in London? No and No and No. They're not interested.

It's not my family but I shall record it.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Liberation Day

Next week we have two Bank Holidays in the Channel Islands. The one on Monday (along with the rest of Great Britain) and Liberation Day (9th May) which is on Wednesday.

This year due to the May Day holiday being so late the two holidays are in the same week - although not on consecutive days obviously.

My daughter's school have been sensible and decided to snip off a day from their three-day half term at the end of May and tack it onto Tuesday of next week, thereby making it a 5 day stretch.

When the brats were small we'd spend Liberation Day in St. Peter Port - watching the (very long) cavalcade and then spending time at the fair ending up watching the fireworks over Castle Cornet (last Royalist stronghold in the Civil War btw).

The May Day/Liberation Day holidays and weekend are good sporting events here. The annual Muratti (c'mon you Greens!) is in Guernsey this year and racing has recently been re-established at L'Ancresse. (I shall be going to both).

* For some reason the links for those three didn't work. I've tried and re-tried three times. It comes up as "hyperlink" now (which it didn't use to). Anyway - briefly: Muratti is the annual football match between Guernsey and Jersey - alternate island each year. This year is Guernsey. Racing at L'Ancresse was re-established two years ago - it's a point to point really.

Liberation Day - well - the link was informative. I'm hoping that someone (Gavin/Span?) will explain to me why it won't work any more/what the f*** I'm doing wrong.

An elderly neighbour of mine lived through the occupation and her memories of that awful time are harrowing, illuminating and humbling - that account deserves a post of its own.

Update: I've managed (somehow) to link a couple of things. Bloody hell - wonders will never cease!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Whoop de Bloody Do



Well, if the Mancs pull it off tomorrow then it will be an all US of A final!

Am I bitter and pissed off?

You bet I bloody am.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Hazel Bleurgh


Thanks to Raisins (over at Gavin's site)
for posting the link to Hazel Bleurgh's website.

What a load of pretentious twaddle! 'Tasse' indeed! What's wrong with 'mug sans handle'? (The Deputy Leader of the Pack mousemat is really sad...)

Would anyone buy something from here other than for novelty value?

The stupid chipmunk of a woman is clearly delusional.

http://www.hazelblears.com/?page_id=117

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Rudeness

Caught a bit of the 'phone-in earlier today (on 5 Live) about rudeness. Whether people are ruder today than they were.

It brought to mind an incredible example of rudeness/bad behaviour I witnessed two weeks ago at the theatre (Mary Popppins - bloody excellent btw!).

The six of us had sat down in our seats; it was about 20 seconds before the start.

I was sitting at the end of our 10 seat row.

An usher (or whatever the theatre equivalent is called) appeared with a middle-aged couple in tow.

I began to stand up to let them pass and caught the woman glaring at me like HOW DARE I BE SITTING IN MY ALLOTED SEAT 20 SECONDS BEFORE THE CURTAIN WAS DUE TO RISE!

She (and her hapless husband/partner/slave) just brushed past me; knocking the sunglasses off my daughters head en route and sat down grimacing. I couldn't resist saying "thank you!" as she sat down.

Today I popped into the airport re an enquiry about my return leg of the Soton flight on Weds (whether I have to go to the bother about phoning a bloody travel agent to change the time of the return leg instead of being able to sort it at the airport).

No-one at the Flybe ticketing/info desk. A couple ahead of me and I stood there for about 10 minutes.

The check-in desks were empty too but then midday is a quiet time for flights so that was to be expected.

I approached a security/airport employee:

"Hello. Are there any Flybe employees around?"

"I dunno. They always disappear around this time every day".

Approach another security/airport employee bloke and repeat question.

He gets onto his walkie talkie and says "airside, airside - any Flybe staff there? There are three - no now four people waiting at the info/ticketing desk".

I went back to the desk and about two minutes later a Flybe employee sauntered over to the desk; kicked the door open and still scowling said to the people in front of me "can I help you?". The man replied "well! At last!". She said (still scowling) "I've only been away 10 minutes".

I couldn't believe what I was seeing or hearing. I said "that's not true - we've been waiting for over 20 minutes" and then thought to myself - what is the bloody point?

So, I left.

When I got home later I decided to email Flybe directly to complain.

God - must put on shopping list: Green Ink.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Contemplative Mood - Part Three

Letter arrived from Southampton General to advise that I have an appt for MRI scan on April 25th at 2pm.

Follow usual procedures and phone local travel agent to sort flight out (because the States of Guernsey pay for it).

Decide that despite scan being scheduled for 2pm it's probably better to book last flight back at 7.50pm rather than the late afternoon one. Better that is until I realise that by the time I get home it'll be 3/4 of the way through of the Chelsea v Franchisepool first leg of the CL Semi-final.

This won't do. I've already asked them to change the date once (original date was when I would be away over Easter) so can't do that again.

Can only hope that scan appt will be on time and that I can phone travel agent and get them to change my flight to earlier time.

I am dreading being back in that hospital. I know it's only for a short while this time and I can now stick my fingers up at anyone who wants to moan at me about smoking (who me? I've stopped!)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Aarrggh! A "Mummy" type post.

God - I hate the proliferation of Mummy type blogs - the Yummy Mummy equivalent of Chick Lit hits the web - groan.

Although I am a mother of three I am not an overly, hands on, 'let's do finger painting/lego building' maternal type. My lot have survived by benign neglect and don't have any allergies at all because I have never insisted that they wash their hands every 10 seconds and our house is a tip.

So - I was surprised this morning to realise that I had an empty feeling inside of me. I realised that it was because I missed the oldest bratling (back at Uni).

I knew that this strange feeling would dissipate by around lunchtime and so it did.

We got back last night from 10 days or so trundling around the UK. Prior to the holiday, the eldest had been back from Uni since mid-March. He's 20 yrs old; 6' 2" and very slim. He eats well but also binge eats. His first night back was also his sister's 16th birthday. I'd bought her an M&S birthday cake and he eat the entire thing in about 20 minutes.

Cooking/catering for five (as opposed to four) shouldn't seem much different - but it was. It was like having another 3 people to feed. The boy is a human dustbin.

He's also a good cook; he made risottos, soups, chinese etc.

He asked me for money on a daily basis; drove my car; drove his siblings around (so I wouldn't have to) and made me laugh.

We dropped him off at Uni on Saturday pm en route to Weymouth for our ferry back on Sunday.

Today it was really strange not to see about 6 saucepans/frying pans in the sink; chopping boards and knives left nearby; cake crumbs everywhere.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Things Football

Horrible scenes at the Olympic Stadium tonight (and I'm not referring to Schole's sending off - poor lamb) but to the baton wielding antics of the Italian police.

I don't particularly like Moan Yoo or their "fans" but tonight's scenes were horrific.

Well - Franchisepool did well last night with their easy 3-0 win over the pub team PSV. Looks like they'll be a shoo-in for the semi-finals as predicted earlier that day by David Bond in the Telegraph's Sports Section: "If Mourinho can edge past the Spaniards, then beat Liverpool to reach the final ....". So, David - what brand of tea do you drink and then read?

As for MY team - well - at 1-0 down earlier this evening I was flouncing around all over the house "that's it! we're out! David Bond is WRONG ha ha! It'll be Franchisepool v Valencia in the semis" etc etc.

Then Drogba got the equaliser and I felt a teensy bit better.

However, the return leg next Tuesday at the Estadio Mestalla will be a fraught, nail-biting time.

Thank goodness for the light relief that will be Plymouth v Leicester on Monday (and racing at Newton Abbot on Saturday).

Saturday, March 31, 2007

A First!



Although it's six weeks since I've stopped smoking I still sometimes need something to occupy those hands (other than typing on here; reading the paper; hoovering the fridge or ironing the carpet) and a couple of days ago it was warm and sunny (a little oasis of spring amidst the sudden return of winter) I had an hour or so to kill - and suddenly inspiration struck!

I decided to wash my car! ( I have NEVER washed a car in my life)

That decision entailed a visit to the local garage so that I could stock up on -: bucket, sponge, something called turtle wax and a chamois. I was so enthusiastic that I even let the chap behind the counter talk me into buying something that would really clean up the alloy wheels. Blimey!

Got home and followed the instructions on the turtle wax bottle to the letter. Went outside with my bucket filled with (warm) water and a capful of turtle wax stuff, sponge and chamois and dismissed all thoughts from my head of Sunday Saddo Car Washer types and set to.

Got to the bit when had to rinse it all off so turned hose on. Worked well for about 30 seconds and then nothing. Hose had come away from the tap (looked as if had rotted) and water was pouring all over the garage floor. Turned tap off.

Got the alloy wheel spray and started spraying for England. Then had to go and fill a bucket with water (from the tap in the garage) and rinse the wheels off - but they still stayed oily and black (the alloy bits that is). Worked out that had to apply a bit of elbow grease and wipe away with the sponge first.

At the end it looked really good (my lovely little convertible mini cooper) but two days on it looks as filthy as it normally does.

Still - there's always a first for everything and two days ago was the first for me cleaning a car.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Hello?


I pick up 'phone and dial number - it's answered:

"Hello?"

"Oh hello Mr. North! It's Mrs. *** here"

"Who?"

"Mrs. *** - Sarnia - Chelsea's Mumm err owner"

"Oh! Hold on - I'll get my wife"

(Loud aside ...."TALLULAH! It's Mrs err, Mrs um Thing for you - Chelsea's owner")

"Oh hello Mrs. ***, sorry about that - how is he then?"

"He's fine thank you Mrs. North. I was phoning to book him in for Easter"

Heart sinks

"Err - Easter you say?"

"Yes - I'd like to bring him in on the Thursday morning and collect him the following Monday week".

"When?"

"I'D LIKE TO BRING HIM IN ON THURSDAY 5TH APRIL AND COLLECT HIM THE FOLLOWING MONDAY WEEK - if you have space".

"Oh yes! He's lovely! Such a good boy!"

"Thank you, Mrs. North - so do you have space?"

"Oh yes, yes. What time then Mrs ***?"

"At about 6. Is that alright with you?"

"6 you say? In the evening?"

Am banging my head against the wall by this stage.

Bless them. They're both in their 80s (he's ex RAF from the war) and run a cattery. He's a bit doddery and she's sprightly but extremely deaf.

She keeps the boarder cats in an outhouse (separate pens) and goes in several times a day to play the piano to them.

Their house is named 'Florida' and without fail every time I take him in to be boarded Mrs. North will say "Chelsea's going on 'is 'olidays too! He's going to Florida!"

It's such an ordeal phoning them to arrange for the cat to be housed and I really do have to take a deep breath before I do so, but they're both very kind; look after the cats well and I'm used to them (as is the cat).

Thomas, home from Uni, having witnessed my 10 minute phone ordeal remarked "I really don't know why you keep using them? Why don't you use someone you don't have to spend all that time shouting and repeating yourself at?"

To which I replied "Eh? What's that you said? Sorry - can't make Monday" and exited room sharpish.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Celery


Chelsea FC have been leaned on by the FA and announced today that celery will no longer be allowed into Stamford Bridge and that anyone caught throwing it will be banned.

Hmmm.

Andy Gray; Alan Green, Mark Pougatch et al expressed astonishment at the sticks of celery being thrown onto the pitch (and OK maybe at some players too) during the Carling Cup Final in Feb. "Why are they throwing celery? Is it some sort of custom?"

Well, yes it is and has been for about 27 years. Alright it's a bit silly and the song is pretty puerile but it's a Chelsea thing.

I've not personally seen it thrown at Stamford Bridge; it certainly wasn't last time I was there which was the cup game against Spuds last Sunday.

It used to be hurled around the Shed End (back in the 80s) in accompaniment to the song being sung (and sticks only not huge clumps) and it was being thrown everywhere at the two recent Victory Parades by fans AND the players alike.

It's not spiteful or nasty or anything like that.

I think that Arsenal should be grateful that so many Chelsea supporters decided to shower their young players with healthy bits of vegetable; lots of vitamins and good in salads too!

Fabregas had a good old moan about it (the main instigator of the FA leaning on Chelsea was Arsenal FC apparently) but I thought it a sad reflection that a Spaniard playing in England complains about celery being hurled (and a ban is put in place) whereas Britons playing in Spain have racist abuse hurled at them and nothing is done.

I know which I think is worse.

Errr - Ray Stubbs again....

No! I don't have a fixation about him.

Just an observation.

I installed sitemeter (due to the CLAD stalking thing) and check it out periodically.

Looked tonight and a few nights ago and it amused/intrigued (sp?) me that a lot of the referrring URLs ( if that is the correct terminology - for luddites like me it means - how the hell people have found out about your blog) were Google references about Ray Stubbs! As in "Ray Stubbs"; "Ray Stubbs and Women"; "Ray Stubbs and my secret fantasies about him stroking my..." (OK - I made that last bit up) but even so!

There are a whole lot of people out there who actually google Ray Stubbs' name.

Blimey.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Feeling Quite Proud of Myself...

Today is my 17th day as a non-smoker; thus equalling a previous period of non-smoking - although not voluntary - which was from Monday, 18th July 2005 (when I had the brain haemorrhage) to Wednesday, 3rd August, 2005 (when I returned home).

I am coping with it FAR better than I or anyone else anticipated or expected.

I do miss it, of course and at times forget that I have stopped and find myself reaching for a fag (that isn't there) automatically before it kicks into my brain that I no longer smoke.

Walking along the High St (in St. Peter Port) I can smell smoke from about 100 yards away - unfortunately it still smells good. A couple of times, yesterday, I found myself following in a smoker's slipstream just to sniff at the fumes. Hopefully, in time, the smell will revolt me rather than torture me.

I'm on the 10mg patches (started on the lower dose rather than the 15mg) and have occasional puffs on the Inhalator.

Next Saturday I am off to Brighton for a couple of days (for the CFC v Spuds Cup game) and this will be the first time I've travelled anywhere as a non-smoker!

It will be quite different for me (on arriving at Gatwick) to go straight to the station rather than turn a sharp left, once through arrivals, to the perspex bubble for a fag first.

Mr. Sarnia, my children and my family are very proud of me and tell me so often.

I know it's still early days but I am convinced that I shall remain a non-smoker. I know that I cannot ever allow myself even one puff - ever. Like an alcoholic cannot ever allow himself a drink.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Down(ish) Day

Up relatively early this morning as needed to get to town for this Yoga class and wasn't quite sure how to get to the place it was being held at.

As about to leave the house noticed that Peter/Andrew (whatever his name is) the Gardener had turned up. So - made him a cup of tea and took it out to him.

"Oh thanks Sarnia. Where are you off to then?"

"Don't ask - some bloody moonbat's yoga class - it's been suggested to me that it might be a good idea as I've stopped smoking" (Pause for anticipated positive response).

"About time too. How long have you not been smoking?"

"This is my fifth day!"

Peter/Andrew dissolves into laughter. I couldn't believe my reaction - I said to him "why are you laughing at me?"

He replied "I thought you were going to say 5 months or 5 weeks BUT 5 days! Ha ha ha..."

I immediately teared up and shouted "don't laugh at me" and ran into the house and burst into tears. All confidence and positive feelings just removed. I've never reacted like that to anything before - always managed to have self-control etc.

I left the house a couple of minutes later and he called out "hope I didn't upset you".

Back to my normal in control of myself persona I replied "of course not" and smiled at him as I drove away.

But it had really, really upset me and I was perplexed that it had had that effect. I felt distinctly weepy and silly.

Found the place where the yoga class was held and met the woman; she was young and attractive and didn't look batty at all.

There were 5 other women in there. I explained to Sheila (the Yoga teacher) that I was a complete beginner that I had NEVER done yoga before and she just advised me to do what I could and not do what I couldn't. Hmmm.

Well, started off ok although couldn't get to grips with the breathing thing. THen - she started chanting. I just thought to myself "what the f*** am I doing here?". The other women were obviously all regulars and knew what to do before she instructed them. I tried to keep up but it's hard trying to work out what you're meant to be doing when you have been instructed to close your eyes.

Half-way through I stopped doing it and sat upright. No-one said a word to me (apart from Sheila who said it would get easier). Oh yes? I tried again to take part - but I didn't know what 'cobra' meant or 'lotus' - how the hell should I?

I felt myself feeling silly and weepy again - good God can this really be me? Strong, capable Sarnia?

It ended and I just knew that I would never go back.

We filed out and I stolled back to my car, stopping en route at Boots to buy a packet of (low dosage) nicotine patches.

Drove home feeling a failure; feeling exhausted; feeling emotional and feeling that I could bloody murder for a fag.

(I haven't had one).

Friday, February 16, 2007

First Day

I don't particularly want to start a tedious, day to day diary of stopping smoking and its effects on me but feel like writing something about today.

On Wednesday, at Gatwick Airport, I bought the Allen Carr book (on giving up smoking). I've never read a self help book about anything in my life and never thought I would ...but... had heard a bit about this particular book from a couple of friends who had stopped smoking after reading it.

Spent all day yesterday reading (interspersed with dashing up here-: my- up-until- this -morning only designated smoking room in the house - for a puff or three of a fag - God how LONG those fag-ends look!).

Lot of the book made sense and I felt quite positive. After all, it was MY decision that I wanted to stop.

Off I trotted to the therapist chap at midday. I mentioned this book - "Oh" he said, ""just recycle it". I didn't like that - it smacked of some sort of professional jealousy.

We chatted and then he said he'd speak to my sub-conscious mind (I'm a bit sceptible (sp?) about that sort of thing) and was aware of everything he was saying. Inside myself I was laughing.

The hour was up; I paid and asked whether I should go through the ritual of a last fag (or half a fag or quarter even). No, he said.

Drove home and knew I had about 5 fags left in a packet in a drawer.

Got the packet, extracted one fag, took it and the packet upstairs to this room. Called Allie from his room and told him I was about to smoke my final fag. I broke the remaining four in half and chucked them into a bag and then I smoked half a fag; put it out and put the stubb and the ashtray into the bag and then went outside and threw the whole lot into the bin.

An hour later I felt desperate for a fag.

Thought to myself "I'm a non-smoker now - have been since 1.30 this afternoon - go to the Supermarket, woman"

Went there; bumped into a friend; had a chat. Got home; call from sister (who is going through horrible divorce from vile husband) ; made cup of tea; felt odd, disorientated and strange. TRIED to feel positive - but all I could feel was "I want a fag; I want a fag; I want a fag".

In desperation drove to chemist and bought bloody Nicotine Gum - JUST what I didn't want to do.

Cooked dinner tonight; Mr. Sarnia back full of the joys of spring because he's booked our (all five of us plus couple of others) holiday to the West Coast of the USA in July/August AND managed to get Business Class return flights to Las Vegas (on new Business Class flight only airline) for under £600 each! That's the same price as an economy ticket on BA (just about!).

I just said "oh good" and then burst into tears. Just thought that I cannot go through this hell of wanting a fag every day for God knows how long BUT know I will hate myself even more if I capitulate and buy a packet and smoke.

Sorry - this is all a bit Virginia Woolf-ish (stream of consciousness and all that) but it's made me feel bit better typing it all down. PLUS - it's kept both hands occupied! (Usually the right hand would be holding a fag...)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Changing a life-time habit.

Just to let people know I'm still alive.

I'm in the process of preparing to stop smoking.

It was my decision reached at last week. I LOVE smoking and have been a heavy smoker for a good many years - but it has finally dawned on me that I would be better off if I stopped.

I went to see a therapist (ex 60 a day man) last week (I have never attempted to give up before - this is my first - and final - attempt) and I am following his instructions until my second (and last) visit on Friday, 16th February.

I have designated one room in the house as a smoking room; removed ashtrays from living room, bedroom and kitchen. Changed cigarette brand (to one I hate - Rothmans); put the packet/s in an awkward (sp?) to reach place; matches somewhere else and ashtray in pooter room (which is only room other than bathroom(s) that I can use). I can smoke as much as I like but only half a cigarette - I have to draw a circle around in felt tip pen and then stub out when reach it. As from tomorrow I smoke only a quarter for 4-5 days; and then for final 4-5 days just two puffs.

Already my consumption has fallen by half BUT oh God how I hate it! Especially the evenings. This evening I burst into tears and just thought that I wouldn't be able to do it. Felt so down and low and useless. I know I should take each day at a time (and I have been really good and followed his instructions to the letter) but can't help thinking how I am going to cope when I shan't be able to pop upstairs for a puff.

I know I have to consider the broader picture but, at times, the shorter picture is far more important.

I'm not drinking because I associate that with fags. I hardly go on the computer because I also associate that with smoking. I haven't sat down and watched television for longer than half an hour because I associate that with lighting up. There's not a single aspect of my life actually that I DON'T associate with smoking except for having a shower; going to the pictures and flying.

Anyway - just to explain why I'm not around much at mo.

Just battling my demons and trying to remind myself that it is for the greater good (although the thought of summer time sitting outside with a glass of chilled white wine sans fag seems unbearable).

Mr. Sarnia (non-smoker) and bratlings (non-smokers) have been and continue to be wonderfully supportive and full of encouragement.

I know that Gavin (who was a heavy a smoker as I was) managed to quit and I take encouragement and inspiration from that.

Hopefully I shall be back to my normal irreverent self soon!

On a brighter note - Katherine and I are flying off to Brighton on Friday for five days (will I still be on quarter-fags then or down to two puffs I wonder?) for half-term and we're off to Stamford Bridge on Sat for the game against Boro.

At least Stamford Bridge is non-smoking!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Mark on the M6

A few minutes ago (whilst peeling potatoes for a shepherd's pie I'm making for dinner tonight - or cottage pie for the pedants as it's beef not lamb) I heard "Louise with the travel" say "...and Mark has phoned from the M6 to say it is very busy and that he hasn't moved much in the last 10 minutes..." and I suddenly thought to myself just WHO are these szddos who phone the traffic lines on BBC Radio stations?

Why do they need to do it? Are they lonely? Do they need someone to talk to? Why not call a friend instead?

If I were stuck in traffic on the A30 the last thing that would enter my head as a diversion (geddit) would be to phone Louise-with-the-travel at 5 Live.

I listen to the Jeremy Vine show on R2 sometimes and the people who phone that station's own traffic person's line all have utterly ridiculous names. "Deputy Dawg has phoned from the M1 to say ....; and Lone Star has phoned to say a lorry has shed its load on the M11..." etc.

Why does each BBC Radio Station have its own Traffic Person? Can't one person collate all the (fascinating) travel info and then be broadcast over Radios 2, 4, 5 etc?

Back to the kitchen!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Room 101

Next Friday's Room 101 might be worth watching. Nigel Havers is the guest and he wants to bin Global Warming and Ken Livingstone.

Bring it on!

P.S. I am not Jeremy Clarkson in disguise.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Merry Christmas!


I don't know if any of you read Jeff Randall's (ex 5 Live business blurke) column in the Telegraph last week saying he'd binned about half of the Christmas cards he'd received this year. He'd binned them because they'd had the generic "happy holidays/season's greetings" message on them and not one mention of Christmas.

Anyway - that's why I've titled this post "Merry Christmas" so that he doesn't bin me (err that's assuming he reads my blog which, of course, he doesn't).

Haven't been posting much or on the pooter at all recently as, in common with most of you, am busy with Christmas stuff.

So - I should be really getting started on the exhausting and tedious marathon of wrapping presents but have decided to give myself a night off to watch some TV, catch up with reading and pop on here to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Oh - am delighted to report that younger son, at third attempt, passed his driving test this morning. He is a good and competent driver but is a bag of nerves at times like this.

We're all very proud and so pleased for him. (Also means that I NEVER have to get up at the crack of dawn EVER again to drive him to college and Katherine to school - hooray!)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Cheers!


It's my birthday tomorrow (11th) - so (cyber) drinks all round. I'll be having the real thing, of course.

I won't be around online much as Mr. Sarnia is taking the day off and we are both going to attempt to clear up the hell hole of a place we fondly call 'home' in order to be able to put up the Christmas tree (presently languishing outside, freshly sawn trunk immersed in a bucket full of water). Then the yearly battle will ensue as I emerge scratched and bloodied from putting the lights (white; non-flashing) onto it.

Once that's done it's the best thing - decorating it. No brats allowed anywhere near! Over the years I've accumulated loads of decorations; just buy what appeals which tends to be red and/or gold.

I like to buy one new decoration a year and the latest one was bought in Bermuda; a sand dollar (with a red and gold ribbon at the top).

Then the creche will be put into place (more clutter to clear away first) and ribbons blue-tacked (vertically) onto to the wall in the hall to put up the cards.

After that I think I'll deserve some birthday cake and a glass of champagne.

I've got a couple of bottles in the 'fridge; so hold out your glasses everyone - there's more than enough to go round.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Brighton Break


I'm off tomorrow (or rather later today seeing as it's gone midnight) for a few days to Brighton; kill several birds with one stone. See Thomas (and more importantly where he is living - only because I'm really impressed he got the best bedroom out of the house he's sharing with three others); attempt to do some C'mas shopping and go to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night (with said son) for CFC's final group game in the CL.

Well, bloody done Gavin for setting up the alternative board. What a star you are!