Archive for November, 2009

Celebrating my Birthday

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Birthday celebrations

I had a lovely day on my Birthday a couple of days ago.

A friend took my out for lunch at a local hotel, and I really enjoyed it. I’ve been to that hotel before for a drink, but I’ve never had a meal there before. I had to work in the morning so it was about 2.15pm when we got there, and they had really stopped serving. But they checked with the kitchen and said they would serve us. We sat in the bar which we had all to ourselves except for the friendly barman and a resident who came in to chat with us. I had Steak and Ale Pie with new potatoes and peas. It was gorgeous! The hotel is high up and we sat by a window where we had amazing views across the valley.

When we’d finished eating, we wandered round the town taking photos. My friend, Jenny, is a photographer too and it was wonderful to be with someone who takes as many photos as I do! For as long as I can remember, Christmas decorations have always appeared in shop windows and in towns in time to celebrate my birthday, and this year it was no different. The men in fluorescent jackets were actually putting up the lights on the big tree as we went past. I always like the glizt and sparkle of Christmassy things, because it’s as though they’ve been put up just for me to celebrate my birthday!!

Before work, another friend took me out for cake and coffee in a lovely little cafe at the back of a gift shop. The shop was full of glitzy Chrismassy things, and I enjoyed browsing as we wandered through, enjoying the sparkle and opulence of things that are fun to look at, but completely unnecessary to life! It was lovely to relax and catch up with my friend while I enjoyed good coffee and coffee and walnut cake. Mary was bemused when I started taking photos of the coffee and cake! I explained to her that I was doing a photo diary of my Birthday. She was ok with that as long as I didn’t take any photos of her!

When I got to work, I was just in time for a meeting. There were about 8 of us there, and when the meeting ended, they all sang Happy Birthday to me, which was lovely!!

I spent the evening with my friends Mary and David. Mary had made the most gorgeous birthday cake for me! It was a fat free swiss roll covered in strawberries, and filled with strawberry yogourt. It was the most delicious cake I’ve ever tasted!! Thank you Mary! I did take some photos of it, but they didn’t come out very well.

I had posted a ‘Happy Birthday’ photo on my Flickr photostream, and I had so many good wishes from Flickr friends!

So I had a wonderful day! Thank you to everyone who helped to make it so special!

It’s my birthday!

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

It's my birthday!

It’s my birthday today!

I like my birthday. I like it being in November when it’s dark long before the shops close, and people are starting to put Christmas decorations out. I had time to wander round my local town yesterday, and noticed that lots of shops had baubles and Christmas trees in their windows. For as long as I can remember, that always happens in time for my birthday. It’s like they’re putting them out especially for me to celebrate!

For years I’ve always taken my birthday off as a holiday and done something special, but for various reasons I’m not able to do that this year. But I’ve got a busy day planned meeting friends and eating out as well as going to work. I’m looking forward to it!

60 mph storms

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

I was woken up in the middle of the night last night by the sound of torrential rain hammering against my window. It was so loud and ferocious that I found it quite worrying, wondering if it would cause any damage to fences, roof tiles etc.

But it wasn’t as worrying as it might have been. These storms were well predicted by all the weather forecasts that I’d heard during the day, and I found that quite comforting. Because I knew that it was expected, I wasn’t as worried as if it had happened out of the blue. That’s probably completely irrational, but I found it helped. I went back to sleep again, and when I woke up this morning everything was calm again.

My feet are lovely and warm

Friday, November 13th, 2009

We’ve had such an amazing October this year, that I was wearing summer clothes all through October and into November. In the last week or so though, the weather has changed and become much more the usual expected cold, wet November weather. My feet have been really cold. I just couldn’t get them warm.

I needed to swap my shoes for some boots, but the ones that I wore last winter are quite a few years old now and are quite scruffy. I did glance at the window of the shoe shop next to where I work, but I didn’t go in. Even though there were some lovely boots there, I couldn’t justify buying a new pair on my now very part time salary after my hours have been cut.

The other day, I popped into a charity shop. I work on a very hilly road, so I tend to call in to this charity shop half way up the hill to get my breath back! As soon as I walked in, I saw a pair of expensive looking brown boots! They looked as though they were my size! I couldn’t believe it! I picked them up, and yes they were my size, they were real leather and they were brand new – they’d never been worn! (I wouldn’t have looked at them if they’d been used)

I wanted brown ones rather than black like my old ones so that they would go with my new brown coat. I looked at the price, and it said £10! They would have cost at least £50 and probably a lot more than that when they were originally bought. I wonder why someone gave them away having never worn them? I’ll never know, but now they’re mine. They’re warm and comfortable and they feel lovely! I’m really enjoying wearing them, and I don’t have to feel guilty about spending a lot of money on them. That makes them even nicer to wear!!

We will remember them

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

For your tomorrow we gave our today

When you go home
Tell them of us and say
For your tomorrow
We gave our today

This poem is the Kohima Epitaph composed by Major John Etty-Leal which is engraved on the War Memorial to commemorate the men of the British 2nd Division who fell in the Battle of Kohima in 1944.

I took this photo at the War Memorial in the village where I live. I stood in the rain on Sunday to watch the wreaths being laid. It never fails to bring tears to my eyes, but this year it’s especially sad as we remember so many young men who’ve died in Afghanistan as well as remembering all those who died in long ago wars. This is my tribute for 11th November, Remembrance Day, or Armistice Day.

Metamorphosis

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

No, I’m not talking about a caterpillar changing into a butterfly or a tadpole into a frog, but my local Supermarket. It’s some time ago now that I heard that the Somerfield chain had been bought by the Co-Op. When I first heard about it, I expected my local Somerfield to be closed and refurbished and then re-opened as a Co-Op.

I quite like Somerfield. I’m used to it. It’s just across the road from where I work, so I call in most days to get a few items. I was expecting to have to go somewhere else when it closed, and then have a new, different shop open in it’s place that I would have to get used to.

But that didn’t happen. It went on being the Somerfield that I was used to and gradually I forgot that it had been bought by the Co-Op. A few weeks ago, I saw one or two Co-Op branded products, and after my initial surprise, I remembered about the take-over. The Co-Op items increased and it was very noticeable that they were better quality at a lower price than the old Somerfield products that they’d replaced.

I’ve never known a shop change slowly from one Company to another before, but I think it’s a really good way to do it. Customers can get used to it gradually without the shop having to be closed. I expect one day soon I’ll walk in to find the assistants’ uniforms have changed to their new brand, and then eventually the sign over the door will change.

I really like the Co-Op. I like the quality of their own brands and the range of foods they have and I like that they have a good range of Fairtade products. I only have access to a very small branch at the moment so I don’t get the benefit of the choice that a large branch would give me. The best Co-Op that I’ve ever shopped in is a big one I’ve used when I was on holiday in Dorset. It has an amazing choice of product and I just enjoy wandering around it looking at what they stock. Hopefully my local Somerfield will continue to metamorphose until one day it’s as good as the one in Dorset.