Friday, 1 August 2014

And Continuing With A Seaside Theme.

You may have gathered  that I have been in a beachy frame of mind over the last few days. That  included four visits to Southend seafront yesterday for a run, a swim out to touch  a boat called Lacy Lady, coffee at the end of the pier and an evening stroll with Mum and Lou.  Instead of subjecting you to some of my ill conceived shots  I thought that  this amazing picture that someone shared on Facebook cut the mustard. You've put up with enough of my crappy photography recently after all.  If you're liking this, go check out the Facebook page of creator Jamie Harkins.  There's plenty there to inspire you to take up a sharp pointy stick and create an amazing illusion work in a sandpit near you!

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Lovely Southend-on-Mud

Here I am in the town of my childhood visiting Mama and Papa Lovelygrey.  It's so good to be beside the seaside,  just a mile away from Mum and Dad's house.    I'm not a kiss me quick type of girl though. So the Golden Mile of Southend with its arcades and amusement park does not appeal. Instead I head towards Thorpe Bay and Shoeburyness where the landscape is a little more au naturel.  Here's  East Beach, my favourite, where I had a lone walk on a rainy Monday evening.

There's plenty more pristine beach in the military zone at the end of the public one. Surely it wouldn't hurt just to nip through? Hmm perhaps not.  I like to take a bit of risk but even I'm not that reckless.

These modernistic apartments with their big sky estuary views are way nicer than they look in this gloomy picture.  If money were no object and I could have a pad near my parents I think I'd buy one.  I contemplated hanging about outside and seeing if I could use my allure to capture a lonely investment banker.  But then I remembered that nothing good comes of gold digging!

Over to my friend  Calamity Jane yesterday for an evening of eating, drinking and giggling.  Her son has been messing with her ornamentation and she's not tall enough to pop those letters back in the right order!  

Gerard Butler got killed off  during our cinema trip yesterday in his role as Stoick the Vast in  'How to Train Your Dragon 2'. Boo hoo! Surprisingly good for a kiddie film, especially one with a number at the end of its name. That lump of yellow gunk at the bottom of the picture is my lemon ice. I'll never make it as a food photographer.  If you look carefully  there's more of it down my T-shirt.   Also big lump under eye is bite as I got bitten to death by gnats in spite of copious citronella candles.  Those little buggers seemed to have evolved to like the smell. And there's supposed to be way more of Lou in shot!  Truly bad stripy selfie that was best of rotten bunch  to commemorate post movie feast of legendary Rossi Ice Cream,  a Southend yummy staple.  I blame it on new phone's camera.
After sitting in a dark room watching animated Viking an evening stroll was on the cards.  Mama Lovelygrey and I promenaded along the seafront at Thorpe Bay.  That thing on the horizon is a mulberry harbour near the wreck of SS Richard Montgomery, a wrecked warship full of explosives.  If that thing ever blows it will take the town with it.  Good job it's carefully monitored and with my klutzy tendencies I'm not allowed anywhere near it.  Can't even keep ice cream in its cone and off clothes after all.

In the far distance you might be able to spot my beloved pier, the setting for so many good memories over the years.  An early morning stroll with a  train trip back is scheduled before the daytripping hordes arrive. There was a time where I wasn't partial to my hometown but it's grown on me.  I hope you can see why!

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Just A Question

I don't claim to be even a teeny little expert in world affairs especially not what goes on in the Middle East.    It all seems very complicated.  Or is it?  As a ordinary human being all I want is a peaceful, happy life with my loved ones with as little conflict as possible.   Laughing, talking, eating together,sharing ...... you know, the simple stuff.    I thought that's what everyone desired. Warmongering totally perplexes me but perhaps I'm looking at it from the perspective of someone who doesn't have testosterone coursing through my veins.  Or wherever else it courses.  Physiology isn't a strong point either.

I shared this report by Jon Snow on Facebook and perhaps some of you have seen it there doing the rounds.   Last night I watched Louis sleep and felt blessed that  my son lives in a safe, secure environment. That this simple right is denied to other kids is heartbreaking.  I feel moved to do something about this horrible state of affairs but wonder as a regular working single mum  if I am powerless.  There are much bigger more powerful fish in the sea who don't seem to see things my way.  But if sharing this clip to raise awareness is helpful so be it.  I just want to ask a question of our politicians too.  After all I've had way more regrets for not speaking up rather than for voicing what's on my mind.  So here goes.

'Excuse me if I'm being really dumb here but why are there no sanctions over Israel for these atrocities against children?'

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

364 Days Later

On the 29th of July last year I intended to resume my running habit after a few years off.   It was the pain from Morton's neuroma in my feet that put paid to that before I had customised insoles made.  Instead, poor old crock that I was,  I  mis-stepped on the staircase and re-inflamed the damage to my knee that lead to March's cruciate repair operation.  I thought that might be the end of any Speedy Gonzalez like activity for the rest of my life.

Yesterday though was a momentous day.  I decided to take advantage of the relative flatness of the Essex countryside when compared to hilly Devon and try out a bit of a jog.   So, with the blessing of my physiotherapist,  I donned these  lovely Brooks running shoes that I'd bought over a year ago to accommodate the insoles and headed on out.  A little sneaky trot in the quiet back streets near my Mum and Dad's home interspersed with a bit of walking.  Scout's pace I think it's called. Baden-Powell would be well proud.  It felt funny.  After all it's a long time since my body has experienced being propelled along by its own means at anything above walking pace.  Hell, it could hardly move on crutches four months ago!  It didn't hurt either my knees or feet though and that's very good news indeed.  I'll take it slowly for the time-being but am already wondering.  Could a half marathon be on the cards as part of my 50th birthday celebrations next year?

Monday, 28 July 2014

It's Good to Talk! Why Those Grateful Clouds are Back

The signs are looking hopeful  for my friend  Paul who had a stroke last week.  It's early days and rehab will be a long haul but M, his wife tells me that he is now sitting out and the strength is returning to his paralysed leg. Importantly he's speaking again.     Just hang on in there and keep chatting mate!  I'm looking forward to a time when I can banter with you soon. Apparently this is  one of the indicators that suggests that a full recovery is more likely. Excellent news indeed. Those agnostic prayers must be doing the trick!

And so with a heightened awareness of how fragile life is, I'm in an appreciative mood.  For these are days that are largely rich and fulfilling. So I will  embrace  them fully while they last.  No-one knows what is around the corner.    Here's what I've got to be grateful for at the moment.  Happily it's a long list.

  • The beautiful, beautiful summer that we're having this year.  Off to enjoy being by the seaside at my Mum and Dad's house in Southend for a few days.  The cozzie is packed!
  • The ability to be myself and not give a damn!     Bien dans ma peau as the French would say. Underneath all the kookiness that I accept others can take or leave  I feel that I'm pretty sorted.
  • Having a job that I love.  As I was told in a kind personal email from the head of faculty, lots of people with PhDs applied for the university lecturing job that I went for.  As such, I haven't even got an interview.  However, I'd already worked out for myself that the 'dream job' might not really be my bag.  Being cooped up inside without clinical contact time would probably have lead me to go a bit stir crazy and we can't have that for...
  • ...I'm healthier than I have been for years.  Even the dreaded hayfever is in abeyance. Exercise is a joy and my head space is a depression-free zone.  Sure there's a lot going on up there but it's all pretty   life affirming stuff.  None of that persistent self judgement that went on when I was ill.  Even when bad things happen I keep looking forward, get on with living and bounce back.
  • The fact that I mostly see others for the goodness in them.  It makes it easier to rub along with the world. 
  • Friends, family, especially Lou.  I talked about why they're brilliant  just a few days ago.  Many have been with me for yonks but this year there's been lots of new people on the scene who I  hope are going to stick around with me for a while.   
  • Dancing. I've discovered late in life now I'm not self conscious just what a joyous activity this is. Saturday night in Exmouth having a boogie with Disco Queen Tanya after a fantastic sea swim was immense fun.
  • The   ability to enjoy solitude.  I don't need others around me all the time. Yesterday was one such lovely day alone.
  • Contentment and lack of dissatisfaction.  I focus on what I have and not what is missing.  And money can't buy  much of what I value.
I know there will be times when I won't be so lucky. We all have times of suffering, heartache and stress. But I reckon that  if I get good at being thankful in times of abundance then gratefulness will come easier in days that are darker for me.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

1500 and Counting!

Yes, indeedy.   This is my fifteen hundredth blog post!  To mark the occasion I thought that I'd share another song by Ben Cocks, composer of the beautiful Brittany Ferries advert soundtrack that I've written about before. Loving this poignant track also as it captures a dream. Maybe when I've written another 1,500 posts there'll be someone around to stare out to sea with. Or swim in it with me like I did at  Budleigh Salterton yesterday.  Who knows what another four or so years hold?

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Brixham Blixen

"I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills".

This is a shot of me, taken by Mr Metrosexual in his Brixham garden yesterday.   Supposedly I am doing a veritable impression of the Danish author Karen Blixen.  Tenuous I think.  There wasn't a lion in sight!