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On a far more positive note I'm reading a book that I am enjoying so much that I'm having to limit myself to a chapter or two a day otherwise I wouldn't surface until it was done. That in itself isn't unheard of, of course, but it's the subject matter which is a surprise.

I have no time for the Victorian royal family. Okay, so my real interest ends with Bosworth, but the Victorians - well frankly I've always thought Queen Vic herself was a bit on the bonkers side, so I only bought this because it was about 38p on my Kindle.


Queen Victoria's Granddaughters it's called and it covers what it says on the label (although grandsons come into it as well). We all know that she peopled the Royal Families of Europe because of clever marriages (and we all know how they interbred as well). Apparently Dr Jenner himself said that marrying first cousins to each other would breed stronger children - there was a lot they didn't understand at that point, and of course nobody knew about the haemophilia.

Anyway, this is really, really interesting. I've almost finished it (boo), because I suspect it may finish with the Romanovs in that cellar. I've got nothing else to say, I just wanted to tell you how much I'm enjoying it, and what a great feeling it is to be so hooked on something. And the joy of the Kindle is that when I'm wrapped up in bed on a night all that needs to be protruding is my thumb so that I can tap the screen. Technology's all right sometimes!
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Okay, things are sort of moving, if not exactly apace since my reluctance remains fairly high.

Anyroadup, have sorted out that I can commute at least for a while, via bus. There was a bit of a problem initially because the first bus from Ripon doesn't get to York until 9.30 - obviously a bit late for work. But I've spoken to the big boss and he's fine with me starting then and just working through my lunch, so that's okay. The last bus back to Ripon goes at 5.40 - 10 minutes after we finish for the day - so a certain amount of belting about will occur, at least Monday - Thursday. As I am also the current office cleaner (a bit of extra pocket money to help pay for the bus) I'll stay back and do that on Friday night, so the belting about won't be quite so extreme.

Have spoken to Richard who works here and he's willing to help me move the stuff for beer money. Have also spoken to Smelly Jeremy who also works here and he'll help as well, plus his mate Hippy Steve has a van so hopefully that'll work. I only have to pay them all beer money plus Hippy Steve's petrol, so jolly good there. Have spoken to my friend Sylvia who has in turn spoken to her friend Alan who has agreed to take a lot of stuff to the tip for me, so all the ducks are slowly lining up.

The idea is that I'll start looking for somewhere beginning of March with a view to actually moving in at the start of April. As ever, it'll be an overlap which means that I'll end up paying a month's extra rent, but there's nothing I can do about that. I'd rather do that anyway and have the comfort of a cushion, as it were.

I've told mum that I'm going to be very picky about what I end up with, and I refuse to be rushed into it. If I get this wrong and I end up with awful neighbours then we all know how that can send me squiffy, and she totally appreciates that. In an ideal world I'd like a little 1 bed cottage or a house, and for what I pay in York I can just about afford one in Ripon. It's just a question of waiting for the right thing to come up.

I've also been to the benefits office in Harrogate and spoken to a very nice chap and checked what's going to happen if, when I move to Ripon, I end up getting a part time job so that I can spend more time with mum, so I know where I am with that as well. After all, if the point of this is that she wants me more on hand, then me working full time in York doesn't really provide that, does it? On the other hand I'm not rushing into that either. We've just been given our first pay rise in 5 years, plus a bit of an end of year bonus, and as I say, I do the cleaning once a week here, all of which add up. Plus, without being TOO big headed, I'm bloody good at this job and I'm valued, which is a nice thing. So that's another thing that needs to be thought out. This is possibly the biggest move I've ever actually made, as this time I'm having to be aware that mum wants it and want me closer, but at the same time I need to be selfish and aware of what my head can do to me at a moment's notice.

But I'm still filled with reluctance to do it, that's the main problem. I love Ripon huge amounts, don't get me wrong, but I also love my flat, and for the first time in just about ever I'm actually settled and happy, so it's a big wrench. I suspect part of it is that's it's not my decision this time - I've been summoned and whether I want to or not, I have to go.

The angst, my dears, the ANGST!!!
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Well it looks as if things are going to change this year as far as mum is concerned.

I was speaking to her this lunchtime and when I said that I really wanted a change in 2014 simply because I was fed up to the back teeth with this job, she kind of leapt at what I'd said and told me that she was starting to need somebody closer to hand - not living there, but closer to hand. It's a case of she's feeling her age now - well she is 85 - and she knows that she's not as sharp as she was. Her mind isn't going, but of course things take a little bit longer to percolate through now. So we're going to see an advisor at the benefits office in a week or so to make sure that she doesn't lose anything, and also if I'm entitled to anything, since if I do go over there (dear god, another move!) I'm going to have to be able to pay the rent - I don't think she wants me there 24/7 yet, so I think I'm still expected to both live and look after her. Happy enough to have a job in the local supermarket or something - and Ripon does have a new Aldi opening soon - but it has to pay enough for me to exist. We shall see.

But it does look as if 2014 is the year of change.
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A little tale for my dear friend D, so that she will perhaps see where I get it from – this urge I have to constantly test just how darn good gravity really is…

I got a call from my mother on Monday to say not to worry but she’d had a fall and because she’d hit her head the hospital said that somebody needed to be with her for at least 2 nights. So obviously I dropped everything and went over there, expecting something horrendous, and in fact I can’t begin to tell you how lucky she’s been and how lightly she got off, bearing in mind her age and all that she has wrong with her – she’s on a blood-thinning drug which could have led to brain bleeds, she’s borderline for osteoporosis and so could have broken everything and of course she’s 85 in a week’s time! In fact, she’s got a few bumps and bruises and a splint on one wrist where I dragged her off to the hospital because I thought she’d broken her wrist, but in fact has just banged it.

But that’s not the point. The reason for the story, and to show where I get it from is this: she didn’t have an old lady fall. As she marched along towards a specific shop she noticed two policemen talking to a couple of lads and being her she wanted to know what it was all about and so she was nosing at them, with the result that she didn’t look where she was going and fell over the kerb. To make things even more amusing, not only did the policemen come rushing over, but so did the lads they were talking to! (I hasten to add they were only community officers, not ‘proper’ policemen – to see two together is almost unheard of).

So, my dear girl, THAT’S where I get it from…

BTW, mum's not bad - more bruises are coming out and she's got quite a nasty gash on her nose from where her glasses cut her, but honestly, it could have been so much worse, that these things don't seem problematic. I stayed Monday & Tuesday and Sandra is going down tomorrow until Sunday, by which time mum will be screaming for us to leave her alone.
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My nephew came home from Afghanistan yesterday, safe and sound. He never needs to go back.

Thank god.

In fact, below is an e-mail my sister has just sent me. I think once you've read it you'll understand why she got teary.

Oh, I'm a very proud and emotional mummy today! Toby got home about 7 last night, loaded down with stuff. He has a medal with his name and Afghanistan on and a tiny one which the army gives to children of serving soldiers which made me cry, it's got the logo of his regiment (11 in Roman numerals and a tiger) and "my daddy is a hero" on the other side. He's got a shield which the batallion leader had made for all of them and also has a citation which is the equivalent of being mentioned in dispatches! He's the only junior NCO in this entire tour to get it! No wonder I'm tearful. He was promoted while he was away, he is now a Corporal, the next step is Sergeant.
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Australia's version of 'Masterchef' is way better than England's.

Just saying.
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Last night a friend of mine died. She was stabbed to death by her boyfriend which is horrific whichever way you look at it. Her flatmate was critically injured in the same assault.

She wasn't a great person or even particularly good. She was moody and snappy and could be an absolute bitch. I've never gone for this "she was a great person" thing that seems to arise the very second anybody dies - it's as if by dying all their faults are forgotten. Well, Nikki had many faults and that's what made her - Nikki. She once punched me so hard that I very nearly forgot how to breathe for what seemed like a long time and sat there, puce, while she carried on ranting at me. The next day she bought me an ice cream.

So very moody, very hot tempered and a bit of a bitch. We were very alike.

She could have been a combination of Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan - she shouldn't have died like that. It seems so - sordid. Such a small way to finish what was a big life.

Rest easy, my girl. You won't be forgotten.
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You may hate Bill Bryson with the passion of a thousand burning suns, but this is a good cause, and you don't have to actually listen to it! Be nice to do it though, don't you think?
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Went on my First Aid course. Why does everybody think it so amusing that I'm the designated First Aider in this place? Could it be that as I approached the training building before the course I fell over in the car park and bruised the knee that I walloped the previous day?

There really is no hope.
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So Sandra came for the weekend, it being that time of year again - can you believe that it's SEVEN years since Julie died? Really, where does the time go? Anyway, now that IS is in the home, it's more or less accepted that mum isn't going to make that long journey anymore, and Sandra will come up to her - after all, although Sandra is a woman in her 60s, my mum will be 85 in November, so it's fair enough. And now that there's a spare bed at mum's we don't have to think about getting her out of that toxic atmosphere... But I digress.

Mum had decided that she wanted to see the three museums that Ripon possesses - the Police Museum, the Court Museum and this place - http://riponmuseums.co.uk/museums/workhouse_museum_gardens, the workhouse museum (apologies, can't do neat links). So off we went (they're only open for 3 hours a day) and after much calculation about the cheapest way to see them all, we decided that in fact it was to buy an annual ticket which meant we could get into any of them free for a year.

Well, it's just as well we did that. What an incredible place! It's like a Tardis - so much bigger on the inside. And so damn interesting, especially as with someone of mum's vintage we've got somebody who just remembers the end of the workhouse system - as she said, she's finally turned into living history. But honestly, it's fab. I hope the other two are as good. We're going to go to the next one when Sandra's down again, assuming they're still open (they're seasonal) but if not, then we'll go in the spring. I know it's beyond unlikely any of you will ever be in the area, but if you're caught up in some bizarre warp and end up in Ripon, go there.

But 7 years. It's absurd.

ION, to make up for my dream re Grant, Englebert and Bimsley, I had a horrible dream about everybody I have ever known betraying me and belittling me at every turn. So that was lovely.
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Well, I took all your advice (and thank you all so very, very much) and told her this morning that I just couldn't face going, but she was still to go and enjoy herself. She wasn't happy, but it was more worry than annoyance, and she's said that she will go, so that's made me feel better. She's been in this situation herself, she knows how it feels, and I've assured her that I won't be just sitting about rotting - I've got things to do, which helped her feel better, and I'm going to make myself go for my long walk every day, which I've been neglecting recently because I have no energy.

I'm seeing her at the weekend as usual, and Sandra will be there as well. We may make this Julie's weekend, since the actual day is a bit difficult this year. She was coming with some of her brood to do some work, but again family problems have got in the way.

Anyway, it's done, and she's told and hopefully things will be okay now. I'm feeling better for having done it, no doubt about it.

So thank you again for your very, very sensible advice.


Sep. 2nd, 2013 04:37 pm
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I am due to go on holiday for a week next Monday - just a coach trip with mum and I'm *reasonably* sure that she wants to go and is looking forward to it. I'm so far down in my boots I'm actively dreading it- the thought of sharing a room with her for a week, of being surrounded by other people and of being away from my own territory fills me with absolute terror. The thing is that she's worried about me anyway because I had an absolute fit at her house a couple of weeks ago and ended up sobbing on her shoulder; we were supposed to go out for the day yesterday and I just cried off because I couldn't face it; and I know she's really concerned about me. I rang her today and said that if she didn't want to go then I'd be perfectly happy just to spend a few days at her house and go out on a couple of little day trip type things (which I would - I'm more familiar with her house after all, than a strange hotel somewhere), but she said she wanted to go, and I don't feel that I can fight my corner anymore because of the aforementioned worry about me.

But I DON'T WANT TO GO!! I'm absolutely dreading it. If I wasn't in such a state then it wouldn't matter so much, but it's just the thought of it - it's building up in my head now in that way things do when you're in this stae, and I know it's not going to be a success - I'm going to spend so much time putting on a front that I suspect I'll cry like baby every time I step into the shower.

What do I do? How can I tell her that I just can't face it without upsetting her, which is the last thing I ever want to do?

Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?


Aug. 28th, 2013 09:06 am
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I have three questions to ask, all regarding pronunciation/local dialect. I know I've asked a couple in the past, but bear with me.

1. When you are giving somebody a lift on the crossbar of your bicycle - do you have a specific name for that? (around here it's called giving someone a croggy).

2. Do you have a local word for elastic bands? (not as stupid as it sounds - we call them laggy bands).

3. The little alleyways that run between/behind houses - what do you call them? As you can imagine we have millions in York since the place is so old, and they're known as either ginnels (with a hard 'g') or snickleways.

Okay, back in my box.
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So this is the start of the third week of my new 'exercise regime' as I laughingly like to call it, which basically involves me walking almost 10 miles a day. I walk 4 miles anyway in a round trip to and from work, but I've added another walk first thing in the morning - one that I do every weekend, but now I'm doing it every day, in some kind of attempt to feel better. At the moment all I feel is beyond knackered because I have to get up at 5.15am every day in order to be able to do it, get myself together and then walk to work! Walked 51 blithering miles last week!!

But I'm sure it's doing me good. Although my bad temper brought on by tiredness is possibly not giving those around me a laugh a minute.
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There is quite a lot of Not Good Stuff going on at the moment and I'm seriously starting to think that if I'm not careful I'm going to go headlong into a second nervous breakdown (I like that phrase, it has a nice Victorian ring to it). Been about 15 years since the first, and about 10 years since I had a really bad 'do', but I can feel it coming...

Following on from the weird dream about Sandra, last night involved something else a bit odd. Whilst it's been so hot I've slept without covers on, but I can't just lie there akimbo without some kind of security and so, to be honest, I sleep hugging a pillow. Sad but true. Last night I dreamed that I was walking to work still clutching my pillow for comfort.

I think it's becoming pretty clear that I need to get away from this job asap. I'm beyond exhausted, have work coming out of my ears and have reached the stage of thinking that yes, everybody *is* out to get me. I go home and cry nearly every night just from sheer tiredness. I do, in fact, recognise all the signs of what's going to come. I think the best thing I can do is take some time off sick pretty damn fast (if I can then get over the fact that my colleague will do her damndest to make me feel guilty, or at least that's how I see it in my nicely developing paranoid state).

Ain't the mind a grand thing?
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Last night I absolutely didn't dream of Manderley... but what I did dream was rather disconcerting.

I was stuck on a little sailing boat (which was red). I was about 10 feet away from safe water in the harbour but I was stuck in an eddy and I was going down with no way of getting out. I wasn't going to make it to safe harbour. And on that harbour wall, beckoning to me was my dead sister Julie.

So that was lovely.
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There are a series of very, very English books set in the late '40s by a gentleman called Edmund Crispin about a politician and gentleman detective called Gervase Fen. If you're in the right frame of mind they're great fun to read. Out of curiosity I had a look at the Amazon reviews of them and most of them are very positive. I found one however that went on and on about an England that never existed and how the war had only been over for a couple of years when these are set, yadda, yadda. It was an incredibly self-important, so-far-up-itself-it-can't-see-daylight review by somebody who clearly thought they were just a cut above the norm. It included this phrase:

....... At it's best the style is delicate....

Was it very wrong of me to drop in a comment telling them about the misused apostrophe?

Oh a mighty bitch moment, no doubt, but utterly deserved. If you're going to be a smartarse, be a smartarse who knows their apostrophes.
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Most surprising (as in unexpected) sight so far during this bout of hot weather...

I was walking along Lendal on Saturday en route to the library when a girl strode past me - a young thing, really pretty and really confident about it - head up, arms swinging, the works. Men were looking at her. Then I realised why. She was wearing a rucksack which was rucking her short skirt up at the back. And she wasn't wearing any knickers.

All those males must have thought it was every birthday they'd ever had rolled into one. Poor love would have been mortified if she'd known. I was just about to go and catch up to her when somebody told her and the poor girl looked as if someone had suddenly put a belisha beacon on her head. You could have seen her from space.
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So today I finally and truly embraced middle age.

Colleague: Come and look at this and tell me what I'm doing wrong [points to monitor]

Me: Hang on, I've got the wrong glasses on [searches for reading glasses]

Really, can a shake of the fist and a cry of "you young whippersnapper!" as a yet another 35 year old child walks into me because he's too busy looking at his ****** mobile phone be far away?
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Right, well IS is happy. Great. Beverley isn't happy. Big, fat surprise. She sent back his disabled stickers (meaning she never plans to take him out again) in an envelope to mum with no note, no nothing. I rather think the Cold War has begun where she's concerned. I fail to care, as does mum.


She (mum) rang me at 8.15 yesterday morning to check that I was still going over because she "hadn't been able to get out for a couple of days" and needed stuff. So I asked if she was poorly and she said "I'm fine, I'll tell you when you get here". So naturally I spent the next 2 hours in a lather of fear. I honestly didn't know what to expect.

So I got there and it turns out she'd had a day last week when she'd felt dreadful - really back to how it was before - she went to the doctor who was very concerned and sent her straight to the hospital for tests. The hospital called her in for these tests on Saturday morning, which shows how concerned they were (and also I have to say, how fab the NHS can be when it works).

I think we all know where this is going, don't we? Yes, she'd suffered a mini stroke. She's absolutely fine, 100% recovered, no residual problems at all. They've tweaked her medication and want to do a brain scan this week, but they caught it within the 'golden time', the first 3 days, and she feels fine. There is some furring of the arteries, but no more than expected for a woman of her age, so hopefully nothing further will happen. And now of course I'm torturing myself with the thought that one mini stroke can lead to a series of them, which can lead to the Big One. Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm never happy unless I've got something to be scared of.

But on a positive note, the house is looking really nice now. Finished with the living room, nearly finished what is now the spare room and since I'm over there on Friday I may start painting the hall. She was supposed to be having a minor op on Friday which is why I had to be there, but that seems very unlikely now, since they're not going to want to put her under a general when she's a week past a stroke.

God though, if it's not one thing it's a bloody nother.

I could sit here and weep, I really could.

And not only that but I've just read a really (guilty pleasure) type book - one of those glorious Regency Romances that deserves capital letters. All was going well until somebody went 'skeet shooting'. I don't think we've have ever shot a skeet in this country. Clay pigeons, yes. Whether we did or no that really threw me out, and badly.
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