Thursday, 28 March 2013

Easter Bunny Shivers in the Cold - Official

Easter is upon us dear friends and time for some of us to have a long weekend. Our weather in the UK has been pretty wintry to say the least and while the bulk of the snow has gone in this part of the country, there are still drifts and disruption in many parts caused by the residual snow. Our local weather people said that it was more likely to have snow in Easter than it is at Christmas and the stats support this surprising fact. 

We are suffering cold continental air blowing from the east from Scandinavia and Northern Europe. Last year at this time we were basking in a freakish 20 degree mini heatwave. Either way, this weekend is about seeing friends, being with family and doing some gardening too. I don't care how cold and wet it is, the garden is going to get done whether it likes it or not!

My Poorly Drive!

Its been a busy fortnight with a few things happening. My drive has been dug up by the local water company after months of suffering a partially blocked sewerage pipe. I was surprised to learn that the pipes are (were) made of recycled material and had collapsed hence why the outflow was poor.

I don't know if you've ever bought an appliance for your kitchen or something like a TV or other electrical gadget and taken out insurance for it? Well sometimes I do and sometimes I don't depending on the size, usage etc. But like clockwork, on the anniversary of the purchase we get letters from the insurance companies asking if we want to extend the warranty for x years at x pounds. Most we decline. The washer, tumble drier and television are renewed because of the amount of use, but the rest of the letters are recycled. Sods Law dictated that last week the oven, which is not covered by insurance or warranty went the way of the Dodo and failed to work. 

Anyway, for a one off fee, we got the company that covers all our water, gas and electricity insurance came out and we have two new switches on order, a new light and something else too technical for words, so it seems like pretty good value for money. Phew!

My boss has retired from work after a long and successful service this week. He will be sorely missed, a leader who inspired and led from the front. I wish him a long and happy retirement. I hope our new head will be as successful as he was.
Tim Hollis
Did anyone spot the large comet which was supposed to have passed quite close to earth a week or so ago and visible apparently with the naked eye? We've had nothing but cloud here so I never got chance to see it and I haven't seen any pictures of it either.

My middle son has had a birthday, I've been to see the film the Great and Powerful Oz (which was wonderful in 3D and despite being a kids film was quite tense at times) and I've reviewed the morning papers for the breakfast show on BBC Radio Humberside last week which is always fun.

Have a great weekend

Chat soon


Sunday, 17 March 2013

Have your Cake...

I write this blog listening to the heavy rain drip dripping outside from the sill as night is well set in. Oh to be in a warm indoors. I missed the forecast tonight so I'm not sure what the week ahead has in store for us. Perhaps a bit of spring warmth and a glimpse of sun might be nice but I'm not holding my breath.

I am eating sensibly and although I haven't reported it on here, I have lost some weight and feel a lot better. Why then did I challenge my colleagues at work to do some baking? Every birthday the happy person chocked full with birthday cards and chocolates buys cakes from the local shop for everyone which is lovely and on their anniversary of joining the organisation, they buy special out-of-the-ordinary biscuits.

Surprisingly the ladies among my colleagues admitted that they like baking - I just never imagined that they would for some bizarre reason. Now it's many years since I baked - usually when the kids were younger for fun. I cook all the time, but baking is messy and I tend to avoid it if I can. Nonetheless I made a challenge and oddly said that I would make some carrot cake. I must be mad!

So it cost me a fortune on ingredients because we didn't have anything in like wholemeal flour, cinnamon, all spice, cocoa powder, caster sugar and baking powder as well as unsalted butter, icing sugar and full fat cream cheese for the topping not to forget the little sugar decorations to go on the top! The only thing I had in was carrots!

Anyway, here is a picture of the carrot cakes as they came out of the oven:

Here is a picture of them decorated ready to nosh on. I'm keeping four for us and taking eight to work just to prove I can bake. It might encourage them to follow suit.Thanks to the BBC food website for the recipe.

I've had my application to work part time accepted. This means I am now planning with my business partner Linda for the future for our therapy and spiritual work using the spare time I will have which I find very exciting indeed. One step at a time and marching on. One of the benefits of this is that there will be lots of writing to do. I have a web site to build and social networking tools to use. This helps concentrate the mind and also gives me an opportunity to learn new things about the practises I already use. 

Well I hope the weather for UK readers improves this week and wherever you are in the world, whatever you might be baking or cooking, have a great week! If you are cooking or baking something exotic - let us know with a comment on the bottom of this blog.

Chat soon


Saturday, 9 March 2013

Don't Put Up With It

Despite the odd sunny periods in the last couple of weeks, the grey weather has set in with a vengeance with very cold temperatures, persistent rain and snow forecast for next week. I was going to spend a couple of days in the garden this weekend just tidying up really and preparing for the summer to come if it ever is going to arrive. But, as that is out of the question, some Internet work and reading is the order of the the day.

I've been to a spirit, body and mind fair today with good friends Linda and Helen just to be with good friends and to enjoy a pleasant atmosphere at the event held at a lovely local hotel. I hadn't intended to go and in fact I didn't even know the event was on. I happened to bump into another friend, a lovely lady, and we sat down for a quick chat while she was waiting for a couple of members of her family to arrive.

I was upset and concerned that she told me that she was being bullied at her place of work. She has worked at this place for many years (I can't give you any details that may identify her) and a new manager came in and made what appears to be spurious allegations and has told some lies to put my friend under pressure. This has never happened to her before and has upset her a great deal. Undoubtedly she has been treated differently than other members of the organisation. 

I gave her what little advice I could to keep her spirits up - she is seeing her union about it. Another person I know (again I can't give details for fear it might identify the person) is being bullied, this time from someone they are responsible for - upward bullying. Again the effects are devastating. 

I guess our vision of the bully is the archetypal thug who threatens to punch kids if they don't hand over their pocket money or perhaps the manager who piles all the work on someone who will never be able to complete it and then makes their life hell for not doing so. These signs are easy to spot.  In my experience however, bullying can be much more subtle than that and that makes it worse. There could be just the use of the odd word here and there, a whispering to colleagues and looking in your direction, bullying because of your gender or sexual orientation, and sadly these days, bullying using social networking. It could extend to being beaten or threatened with physical harm, or down to being given the silent treatment.

Bullying is a nasty, insidious and destructive behaviour but the bullies have no idea how it is as destructive to them as well as their victims. People die through bullying and victims can develop serious mental and physical illness - that's how serious it could be. I don't have many solutions because I am just a layman, but  if you are being bullied, please don't keep quiet about it - speak to someone about it

It's easy of course if you are in a union or have a representative organisation to help you, but most haven't. Have you got a friend or a family member you can trust? 

You don't have to put up with it and don't think you have to build up to summon up courage or be a strong person to do it, you don't. Just say to a person you choose - "I'm being bullied, I don't know what to do." By hook or by crook, because you've take this first step, you will find yourself on the road to a solution and to a better quality of life. No-one is saying it is necessarily easy, but at least you can make a start.

If you haven't got access to any of these resources, you can try Bullying UK Don't forget there will be help on-line in your country too outside of the UK.

Finally, if you have witnessed bullying, you might have been a bystander at work or at school and you decided to do nothing - my message to you is: bullys need you, you are the friend of the bully. If you weren't comfortable dealing with it or daren't intervene for fear of a backlash, you also need to speak to someone about it to find out what you can do and to get protection for yourself if necessary. Report it anonymously if that's what you feel is appropriate but please, please don't stand back and let it happen.

Well on that cheery note, I bid you farewell and hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend, whatever you are doing.

Chat soon


Sunday, 3 March 2013

Hey Little Worm!

Just a quick blog today. I had a fabulous day healing using my Reiki this afternoon, what a pleasure to use this gentle healing technique and I get a residual blast for me too.

I've been feeding my compost bin all winter with the fresh veg peelings etc from the kitchen and despite the cold weather, it has been a little sunny here for a few hours here and there. When I took the lid off my compost bin, there were hundreds of little worms (or 'wogums' as we used to call them) just inside the lid, the photo doesn't do it justice to how many there were. Perhaps the warmth has hatched a few worm cocoons (I learned that today - I had no idea how they procreate.)

Compost will be starting to work shortly now the worm weather is in sight!

Hope you don't mind worms? By the way, fear of worms is one of either of these three conditions: helminthophobia, scoleciphobia or vermiphobia.

Chat soon


Saturday, 2 March 2013

The Wrong Film

The weather vane on John's roof set against a glorious blue sky. The wind direction just confirms its still chilly despite the sun
Life can be both interesting and weird at the same time but not without its humour. 

I went to the pictures last night, the first time for a while and I have missed going. I also missed a film I really wanted to see on the big screen, Hitchcock with Sir Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren. I booked tickets for Broken City at Cineworld, Hull which was in screen 2. For a reason I will never know, I walked into screen 3 with the person I went with. The advertising rolled and the auditorium was about half full and the British Film Board certificate came up with a title I had never heard of 'Safe Haven'. Was this another trailer for a film? Whoops, I thought the projectionist must have made a mistake but we decided between us not to make fools of ourselves and sat still.

We had gone to the wrong screen of course but ironically, the film, which started at exactly the same time was an excellent romantic thriller, not too much to test the brain, but entertaining nevertheless.

I went to see my son John in North Yorkshire today. He's been there a while but I've never had the chance to go, but I bit the bullet and went. It was a glorious day , wall to wall sunshine until early afternoon and no breeze making it very pleasant. He lives in Thornton Le Clay, a little bit in the wilderness north of York, small but very nice. It's a lot closer to his work than where he lived with me, but it is a little isolated down single track country roads.

John's door knocker (could do with a dust son!)
I saw a hawk on the way there and a mad March hare in the fields which wouldn't stay still for me to take a photograph of. Although the fields south east of York were still under water, the land around where John lives is dry and a farmer ploughing a field near his home was working on very dry soil. On this clear day you could see York Minster on the very distant horizon in silhouette against the sun to the south and the Wolds rising a long way to the east. The number of cyclists was phenomenal although by and large the land is relatively flat with just gentle rises in the land here and there.

Snowdrops were in abundance on the verges and in John's tiny garden and the beautiful yellow flower of the lesser celandine was making its appearance and I saw a honey bee on it too although I was surprised as it's still very cold despite the sun.

I took John for lunch to Sheriff Hutton, just a few miles away to the Highwayman pub. However of major interest to me was the castle there, high on a hill, dominating the village and surrounding land. Only the four corners remain and the site, (which is privately owned) is closed to visitors unless you want to pre arrange it with the owners.

Sheriff Hutton Castle
Originally a motte and bailey castle dating around 1140, the stone castle was built in the late 1300s and is a grade ll listed building, with the motte and bailey having an Ancient Monument status.  Richard lll, Duke of Gloucester has been in the news recently due to his body having been discovered beneath a Leicestershire car park under what was a long forgotten church. Richard stayed there at the Sheriff Hutton Castle many times. Importantly, the castle became the site of the Council of the North. Its purpose was to improve government control and economic prosperity, to benefit the entire area of Northern England. Today, crows and pigeons are the only regular visitors.

A lovely day today, one to remember.

Chat soon