Monday, 14 February 2011

Valentines Day 2011

Have you ever wondered that dates (no, not the fruits) are very important to some people and totally insignificant to others. Why, I wonder? What programs some people to put a greater significance on dates? 14th February - Valentine's Day. Love it or hate it, the day is special. As teenagers, hoping upon hope that the postie would bring a card from a secret admirer to your door. Then hoping that the recipient of your card would work out your cryptic, but not too cryptic, clue and ask you out. Fat chance!! My wait lasted many years ... to 1989 to be precise and then, shock horror, there were three. I still don't know who sent one of them. It was the curtain both Dave (past life) and I hid behind in order to show our interest in the other. It worked very successfully - combined with rather a lot of lager if I remember correctly, and less than 3 months later we were moving into our first home together. No such card this year :(
So it's not surprising that today is a day of reflection. I have had better days, but I am not being morose. Over the past few days I have suffered the most awful haircut which now needs sorting; a gaping hole in one of my teeth has now developed into a very painful area; a conversation with past life Dave yesterday left me feeling .... well .... odd; my body still has not recovered from the walk I did last week and has really made me question whether I should go 'off-piste' or stick to the boring, flatter, more even ground that I can manage okay; counselling session - exhausting; I have deliberated over buying a ticket for a folk festival knowing that I will have to go alone .... ooo, errr tricky one!! and failed in my attempt to leave the supermarket without sneaking any naughties into my basket.
However, I had the most wonderful sunny stroll with Rocky, along the cycle track, this morning. He absolutely loves it - chasing up and down trees, stalking me, exploring through the undergrowth - brilliant. However the village dogwalkers are not so impressed with a few complaining to me that their dogs like to chase cats - as if I shouldn't be doing what I am doing. Huh - we'll show them. Rocky doesn't seem to be too bothered by dogs and just watches them from a safe distance and when the coast is clear - gallops after me. He responds brilliantly to a whistle and I think I am in danger of being recognized as the eccentric woman from no.66!! Ho hum - if the cap fits .... Once home, he had a long long snooze to recover from the excitement .... and exercise!
Also I am planning a trip in a little while, connecting with friends and some family around Bath and through south Wales. I am so excited and thoroughly enjoying the planning and chatting needed to arrange it. I can't wait to see Jane and Pete in Bath (schoolfriend), Steve Jo and kiddies in Frome (family), Marion in Somerton (oldest friend from York), Sarey in Salisbury (nurse training), Dave in Barry (primary school), Sez Steve Den Geraldine Ann in Castlemartin (family/friends .... not sure which), Nesta and John in Pembroke (my primary school teacher), and some more surprises I'm sure! Just hope the weather is kind to me in the Shire so that I can enjoy those beaches and clifftop walks. Watch out .... I'm coming home!
Before that, there's more fun to be had with a day trip to Cleethorpes to catch up with the Forever-Youngs and a curry out with friends to celebrate our Aquarian birthdays. It's all go!! And now so should I - to beddy byes. No doubt Rocky and Millie will be joining me.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Friday 11th February 2011

It's been a while since my last posting - have you missed me?!! So why today? Well, today some things happened that have made me think a little. Firstly I have my laptop working again after nearly 2 months, but sadly have ''lost'' everything on it ..... my music, I Tunes, my photos, documents including a spreadsheet of all my family and friend's addresses, phone numbers, etc, all my journal writings over the last 18 months, various projects I was working on .... and so, so much more. I am trying so hard NOT to allow myself to get upset. It's too scarey a prospect! On the plus side the lap top has been restored to factory settings and it's like bringing home a brand new baby.

So what else has happened today? Well, today I took myself to the hairdresser, with some trepidation. I have been growing my mane for a year and it really needed sorting out - but the thought of sitting in front of a very unflattering mirror, for a painful amount of time, filled me with dread. It's not a real mirror I know. It's one of those fairground optical illusion types. I mean, it isn't possible to be that shape it? I knew what I wanted - trim the length, get rid of the thickness by layering, shorter on the top, a subtle fringe and definitely off my face. What I must have asked for was - cut the overall length to one standard length as much as possible in order to thicken out my mop, a subtle fringe consisting of approx 8 hairs, bring the front lengths down into the shape of my face and across my face. WHAT???! I can't explain how I felt other than, when I finally escaped and made it into the car, I released all that pent up anxiety and frustration in an unashamed full blown, double lung scream!! That's a bit better. Now home quickly so that I can find some scissors ... and yes, I did something I have never done before - I attacked my hair with scissors!! How old am I?!! I hate it and now need to find somewhere to go to put it right.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

August 5th 2010 ....12 Months On

August 5th will be a date that will stay with me forever - just like one's birthday or Christmas or wedding anniversary. But August 5th 2010 has been the first year that this date meant something to me. It is 12 months to the day that Dave dropped his bombshell.  I don't think I will ever forget the feeling of  .... complete and utter shock, hollow, panic, nausea ... and so, so much more, when I heard him utter those devestating words, "I've fallen in love with somebody else", as I was driving us home the same day that I lost my job - a job I had given my heart and soul to for 2 years.  How could he make it sound so fairy tale when those same words were killing me? And, knowing 'that somebody else' was one of my best friends. The hurt, anger, humiliation, despair, betrayal .... it doesn't take much to allow those feelings to take over one's mind, even now, 12 months on.

So how do I feel now? Regarding Dave - I don't know what I feel really. I don't think I love him anymore. I suppose I'm a bit indifferent towards him. He has caused me alot of unhappiness over these 12 months and rubbed my nose into the wound on several occasions - how can I still love him? I know I hate her .... Kelly. Strong words maybe, but it's the truth. I want to still love him because otherwise the last 20+ years of my life don't make much sense ....
25/10/09 Our final goodbye at Calgary airport - so civilised.  I can hardly believe I behaved the way I did now. Just proves how a photo can hide a multitude of truths. Does this photo really depict a couple saying goodbye after 20 years of marriage and one partner being devestated by the betrayal?? Dave looks happy enough though - relieved to get rid of me maybe??

But I have achieved so so much on my own. A very rocky path indeed but I am now in my own little home and planning wondrous things for it! Ha - depends so much on money. After living like a student for the last 9 months - surrounded by furniture etc begged, borrowed and stolen (okay, not stolen!!) - I can't wait to start putting my home together around me. My annoyance now is my body.  If you know of anybody with this debilitating condition called fibromyalgia, please please show them some understanding and don't judge. They may look fine but my, oh my - the likelihood is that they don't feel fine ..... and this house move has really brought home my limitations. My mind is so active and willing - my body not so much! A combination of extreme fatigue and all over body pain - so bad some days I can barely stand .... well, it's not good. This, combined with bad knees and a weak painful ankle .... getting the picture?  I suppose this has been one of the hardest things in accepting Dave passing me over for someone else - that now is the time I really need someone to help me through ..... just as I helped him through his long years of illness. The one fear I have for the future is being alone. With no parents, no children and what small family I have being far away - it's not hard to feel alone.  But then I remind myself that family isn't just blood ties.  I have a wonderful family of friends. My friends are so dear to me - but I can't keep asking for help especially as I'm unable to return favours - on a physical level anyway.

I do wonder how people can just move straight into another relationship after experiencing similar to me. Much as I would love to meet somebody who genuinely cared for me, to share things with, to plan with - how on earth does one overcome the trust issue??? And who would want to take me on anyway?  In a society that is preoccupied with body image I don't think I stand a chance .... plus all my baggage!!  Tee hee! Yes I know I should lose weight - so much easier said than done though. In the past I always controlled my weight through exercise, but this is just impractical now - can't cycle, can't walk far. But I can swim - if I can just get over the mental block of putting myself in a position to be gawked at. And before you all post comments saying that won't happen - I see photos of myself and I gawk!! However, while I'm this size I'm safe from the attention of any males and so don't have to deal with relationship quandries!!

I love living back in the UK.  I don't miss living in Edmonton although there are things about living there that I do miss - does that make sense? I definitely miss some people ( and you all know who you are!). I miss the folk scene. I miss canoeing. I miss the price of things!! I miss rubbermaid storage boxes. I miss my furniture and pictures. I don't miss snow and winter. I don't miss pesky mosquitoes. And I most certainly don't miss some people!!  Ha ha ha!

Saturday, 7 August 2010


Front #66
Back garden #66
 Well, what a month July has been .... sooooooo busy with the starting of decorating #66, moving to #66, spring cleaning #32, incredible frustrations, disappointments and stress that always go with a move, etc etc and yet again the knowledge  that I have such wonderful friends here in York. I am so lucky in many many ways.
Margaret stripping - well, times are hard!
Goodbye horrible wardrobe!

Thank you Margaret, Trisha and Jean for your help in decorating ...
Thank you Gordon for demolishing and mending ...
Thank you Rob for your hole filling ...
Thank you Sarah, Janet and Jean for your gardening expertise ...
Thank you Dave (another of the many York Daves!)  for your gifts and encouragement...
My bed arrives minus 3 very important fittings ...
My move took place on a Saturday when the sun was shining and not a hint of a shower was on the horizon. 14 crazy friends joined me and some sort of plan was hatched as to how the general proceeedings would progress.  Loosely along the lines of  "cram as much as you can into a vehicle and drive up the road"!!  Technical stuff.  Thank you Gary; Rob, Trish + Eilis; Sarah + Robert; Dave; Janet; Margaret + Gordon; Hilary + Brian; Kathryn + Alex for your amazing help in THE MOVE - less than 2 hours to get everything from A to B.  Also thank you Margaret for preparing the post-move spread - Mmmmmmm, delicious!

But the fun didn't stop there.  I still had # 32 to spring clean and instructions from the estate agent to ensure everything including the garden should be left tidy and cared for.  Now that posed a problem for me - no garden tools and hedges far too high to be manageable .... and me being pretty unable to do much at ground level.  Step up Janet and Jean. What a laugh we had.  The electric trimmer was something of a concern as Jean admitted to having had a little difficulty with the cable on a previous outing.  I feared I was heading for an early haircut.  Health and Safety would have had apoplexy if they had wandered into the garden!
Climbing up on to the Health and Safety acceptable green bin
Ready for a trim?
Down you come Jean
The flying ballet dismount
Lunch and marmite and lettuce sarnies hmmm?? - exhausted and "full of it"
Eventually I was finished - # 32 was shiny as a new pin;  # 66 certainly wasn't!  Chaos has lasted for many a day but a special thank you to Lawrence who came to my rescue with his kitchen sorting ability and helped me at the tip. And another special thank you to Alex for his shed painting .... I wasn't expecting the dappled blue paving stones but now I see they add personality to dull boring pavers!

Overall, this has been an amazing exercise in patience and tolerance.  I'm still unhappy that the Post Office kept me without a phone and internet for a week, I had hoped that my new kitchen would be installed well before mid-October and I apologize to the Marple Millings, who came to stay during this chaos and were my first guests at # 66, but had to put up with an extremely tired me.  So much so that we went to the cinema to see The A Team and I slept all the way through it!!  Some might say that I was very wise!!

Saturday, 3 July 2010

A Lesson to Learn

Have you heard the story of the middle aged female driver who bought a new car and wanted to see how many miles it would do to a full tank of petrol?  The one who saw her petrol guage was heading ominously into the red zone, but was determined to complete her experiment, come what may.  The one who set off to the wilds of North Yorkshire to meet her friends for supper, passed a petrol station at 9 o'clock but decided to wait until after supper to fill up her car?  And guess what ..... after the wonderful Indian supper (thanks Jenny and Bill), the petrol station was closed!!  But ever the optomist, this same driver decided to drive to the thriving metropolis of Pickering as she felt sure that there would be a garage open there at 11:30pm.  Oh dear - no garage and lots of drunken hudlums staggering around the pavements.  Now this dear lady realised she was in a predicament.  Definitely not enough petrol to get to York and probably not even enough to get to Malton.  In her bag she had a torch so she approached the petrol pumps to see if they accepted credit cards.  Maybe they'll work?  Nope, no credit cards!  She needs to take a deep breath and think clearly.  Yes, she needs to find out where the nearest open petrol station would be.  But how?  She has her mobile with her and can get a signal and some friends happen to be camping up the road.  They are bound to be up still.  Off with a quick text to ask advice .... but this sort of depends on him having his mobile to hand.  Hmm - need to think again.  A quick drive around the town centre turns up drunken lads but no policemen so no hope on that route.  She needs help to find out some phone numbers and flicks through her mobile.  Who would still be up at this time?.....Jean!  She says she is always awake until midnight.  Dare the daft lady call?  Yes, she determines that Jean and Bill would want to help.  ''Hi Bill, hope I didn't wake you. If you were stuck in Pickering, at midnight, with no petrol and all the petrol stations were closed, what would you do?''  What a trooper, doing his best to help her, when suddenly the lady in distress sees what most people hate to see ..... a police patrol car, cruising around the roundabout.  Quick, she says to herself - how do I attract his attention.  She starts flashing her lights at him and hopes to goodness this isn't a hanging offence.  He sees her and pulls over to park next to her.  In her rush to get out of the car, she drops her phone and trips over her skirt, but manages to keep on her feet and not draw untoward attention to herself.  Mental note - give up on the skirts and go back to trousers. "Yes madam, how can I help?" asks a very pleasant voice and before she knows what has happened the officer has jumped into knight in shining armour mode, radio calls are made and within a couple of minutes the lady is talking to her insurance breakdown rescue service and yet another knight is dispatched in her direction.  Great credit to the dear officer as for some inexplicable reason the lady finds herself pointing out to him that although her tax disc has expired, it has been renewed and she is waiting for it to arrive.  "It's a 60 pound fine, you know, for not displaying a current tax disc", he says with a smile.  The shaken lady obviously doesn't disguise her shock as he continues "I'm not interested in that tonight"!!  Phew!!  People can say what they like about our boys in blue, but this lady definitely met a gentleman tonight - who not only went to the ends of the earth to get her back on the road and didn't make one comment about her stupidity, but also stayed with her until the breakdown man arrived, with his tenner worth of petrol, 40 minutes later.
Lessons learned :-
  • Always fill up with petrol when you can
  • Always carry your insurance and breakdown details with you
  • Realise that just because York has petrol stations that stay open until all hours - in 'country, things are different
  • Go to the post office to collect your tax disc if you are close to expiry date
  • Keep one's mouth shut!!
Alright, you can stop laughuing now.  It's not THAT funny.  Okay, well maybe it is!! 

Friday, 2 July 2010

CHAPTER ......... well, a new one anyway

Friday July 2nd 2010.  Well, this day has been a long time coming, but I am so very happy and excited to be able to share with you that today I got the keys to my new home ..... hopefully my new forever home.  I've been up the road to say 'hi' to Julie, the vendor, and to wish her well in her new home and reassure her that I'll give her space today to finish off as she needs to.  Strange how a house can be the closure of a mixed time for one person and the positive start of a new life for another.  It's only bricks and mortar but has a past, a present and a future ... and how different that can be.  So I have a month to get organized before I move in ... having had to pay rent on my current home until the end of July.

So where have I been since my last posting?  I certainly got out of the routine of writing, but I want to get back to it.  The house purchase has been stressful .... mostly because of having every decision fall on my shoulders.  Poor me!!  What do I mean?  Well, in a partnership 'little' decisions like buying a house involve lots of discussion, sounding off, bouncing ideas, etc .... from how inefficient the solicitor team might be to which insurance policy to choose and what level of cover.  Although it is wonderful to have the friends I do, in order to do this "bouncing", with no disrespect to anyone, it just isn't the same as doing so with someone with a vested interest.  I know my friends understand this.  BUT, I HAVE DONE IT!!  Now all I need are my last 3 boxes from Canada (please!!!!) and Moose and Midge, my Canadian kitties.

When I first returned from Canada, I promised myself that I would say "yes" to anything and everything for the first 12 months.  Steady on now, within reason!!  So I have kept that promise, enjoyed wonderful times with friends and family and healed greatly.  Of course this level of travel will not continue and I'll be back to camping next year - if my knees hold up!

Here's a "little" storyboard of some of my adventures over the last couple of months.....

Did I mention my trip to Madeira?  I went with Jenny (a nursing friend from my Scarborough days who I am now in touch with again).  A glorious island, not wonderful weather but it didn't stop our enjoyment and a well deserved break for all concerned.  Splendid complex with 'to die for' views - out to sea from across the pool and down 850 metres to the sea below, literally straight down.  Quite took my breath away! 

The flowers were so vivid and everywhere.  This bird of paradise was given to me by a handsome local man who, whilst watering his garden one day, also watered me in error!!

                                                                                 The terraces of fields were something to truly respect and filled the hills with crazy patterns.

I loved the white houses and terracotta roofs everywhere .... and plenty of sleepy looking cats on guard or just sunning themselves.   This church in the mountains really captured my eye - and the deceiving sun caught me out!  A little red later on.  Spent an enjoyable couple of hours just mooching around and enjoying the views.  These people work hard to make a living.                                                   
On the left is a levada tunnel which was rather fun to wander through.  These levada walks stretch across the island but the storms earlier in the year wiped out stretches of them and many were unwalkable.  On the right is how the locals farm these fields.  Yes, there is a man underneath!

 It was soon time to return to the UK, but not before another ash cloud scenario which kept us on our toes for a while. Our flight was the last out for a week and very delayed which gave us a headache at Gatwick at 4 o'clock in the morning.  I will really try NOT to fly in/out from Gatwick again during my time living 'up North'!

What else?  Many walks with friends.  And many cuddles with next door's 3 cats (though not at the same time), which has been a life-line for me.  I missed Midge and Moose enormously last Autumn, but now I have fun with my 3 ginger friends.  The biggest is Tigger and then there is a younger brother and sister - known to me as 'little boy' and 'little girley'.  Very un-original I know!  They wander in and out at will, especially as I love to have my back door open, and do the normal cat-like things of chasing flies, demanding cuddles and generally getting onto things I'd rather they didn't!  But they won't be encouraged at the new house as Midge and Moose may have something to say about it.
                                                            I spy with my feline eye ....

Here's a view from the farmhouse in the Peak District that Jenny and her husband rented for a week in June so that she could celebrate her special birthday surrounded by friends and family.  What a weekend that was!!  Needless to say, a selection of lentil dhal, chickpea something and 3 bean something else, should be approached with much decorum in the future!!  And as for the snoring, well I still struggle to believe I woke up most of the house!!  I DON'T snore!

Oh - major news .... my new (to me) little silver VW Polo.  Do you like her?  I'm so pleased with her although some numpty drove into her in Morrisons car park within 2 weeks of me getting it.  No real damage other than a slight dent and a flash of a rather 'nice' blue on the passenger side.  And did they stop to chat about it?  Of course not.  However, in the grander scheme of things, it is just a bump and not something which I will allow myself to get upset about.  I need to tie a bright scarf to the aerial so that I can find it though!!  Lots of silver cars over here.You might notice the number plate XLW.  I always try and make up a word or phrase to help me remember it but I was struggling with this one. Quick as a flash, one of my nephews came out with Extra Large Woman with the cheekiest smile on a 16 year old I think I have seen in a while!!  We all laughed, but I still need to get him back.  And yes, it works - I do remember it!

Anything else?  But of course ..... days out watching birds at RSPB reserves, meals with friends, Soccer Aid at Old Trafford and .......My camping trip to Wales.

I went with a friend and had a great time.  The weather was just glorious with the only rain coming on the morning we were packing up to return to York.  Although I was desperate to get to Pembrokeshire, we spent a few days touring and as a result I did, and saw, some things which were an added surprise.  Llandudno, Anglesey, Edge of Snowdonia, Red kites, Devil`s Bridge to Aberystwyth Steam Railway and an hilarious chat with Carys aged 2 and her grandma, Listening to owls at night whilst lying in my tent, Gale force winds (okay slight exaggeration) at St Davids, Coming eye to eye with the cutest as yet un-named bat, Beautiful Caerfai beach (above), Bro-Meigan tea room and gardens, THE coffin tent, Solva, a beautiful morning in Tenby (left) and so much more.

This bat was flying around in a hotel we spent an evening at and the landlord didn't seem too keen to deal with it himself.  One fishing net and a short time later Batty Bat was outside in the night air again.  I wish I had taken more notice of its features as I haven't been able to determine the species. 
Here I am playing around in my tent!!  Stupid photo!  I surprised myself by remembering how to put up my blue tent, but several days of putting it up in the evening and taking it down in the morning, together with rolling up my sleeping mat and packing up the car each time, played havoc with my knees.  Hence I resorted to the tiny coffin tent! 

What an unexpected delight the steam engine ride  from Devil's Bridge to Aberystwyth in mid Wales was. Devil's Bridge itself was fascinating with its 3 bridges stacked on top of one another and then the 'green green grass of home' along the track was beautiful.  I fancy staying at the little cottage you can see in the field on the left! Added to this was the sweetest 2 year old, Carys, who was out with her grandma for the day and spent the journey chatting and interracting with me.  So sweet.  She told me all about the 6 blue rhinoserous she had seen at Folly Farm!!  Oh the inocence of children.

And then, at last, it was Pembroke .... South Pembrokeshire and more especially the tiny little village of Bosherston.  This is where my soul lives .... and our reunion is always wonderful.  I tried a new campsite with limited facilities, (very limited), overlooking the coastline around Broad Haven beach.  I thought it would be superb there .... and in fairness it was, but the camp site setting at St Davids was better.  So spoilt we are, for choice.  Also, access to the Range was shut for the whole time, as yet more soldiers prepare for deployment to Afghanistan and the constant bangs and low flying helicopters did rather take away from the perfectness in my head! 

Never mind, we did do the traditional Bosherston Lily Pools Walk. We headed to the 8-Arch Bridge, stopping to watch a huge pike and keeping our eyes peeled for otters. From the bridge, across the Burrows (with its rare orchids very visible amongst the long grass), to the cliffs and then towards Broad Haven with Church Rock standiong to attention, seemingly guarding the Bay. Finally back around the other side of the pools and to a very welcome cuppa and cake at Auntie Vi's.  Still the same menu at Ye Olde Worlde Cafe and Vi still recognizes me.  I got to hold her MBE, which she was awarded last year, and of which she is incredibly proud. We reminisced about Bella and Caesar and nights spent in the green pavilion.   

Surely no more?  But yes, of course!!  Visitors from Edmonton!! (Hi Malc and Nancy), bbq's, long telephone conversations, far too much laughter ..... and alcohol, music playing, wonderful British tv and, I'm sure, lots more. A very good reason for taking photographs is that it saves having to remember!!  Still to come is the trip planned to Italy with a wonderful sister-in-law and 2 remarkable nephews.  Watch out Mt Vesuvius, here we come.  If ever there was a time to errupt - this would be it.

And last but not least, soaking up and enjoying the colours of the changing flora round and about.

 When I am out and about in the countryside, I can't help but scan the hedgerows and fields for signs of nature - flowers and birds being my main delight, probably because I know more about them than trees or insects!  At this time of the year the colours are so intense .... and everywhere.

Cowslips in a field at Blacktoft Sands. Welsh Poppies (well that's what I call them)!  Foxgloves equally at home in the Peak  District as on the Pembrokeshire coastal paths.  A Bluebell wood in Pocklington ... a carpet of blue far into the distance.

And now it's 6:15pm on completion day and the vendor is still not out of her house!  I went up at 5 o'clock and she said she needed another half an hour.  I've been very patient up until now but now my patience is wearing a little thin and I want to get into my house.  All a bit of an anti-climax now!!  Meeting Jenny and Bill for an Indian meal in a country village later this evening - for a celebration.  I wonder whether I will have seen inside my house before I have to leave? 

Monday, 26 April 2010

Well, Hello Ermentrude .....

Have you ever poured over adoption sites of dogs, cats .... even children? That's how I found Midge and Moose when they were just a few weeks old and once I met them, it was truly love at first sight. Moose was inquisitive; Midgey mischievous. You just never know who is going to join your family. Well, yesterday, while wandering through Bridlington ( a sleepy seaside town on the East coast) I had a tummy turning, falling in love, moment and ..... "Hello, meet Ermentrude". Now, I realise she won't be every one's cup of tea, but we were definitely made for each other. What do you think? Isn't she just as cute as can be?!! I was a little mistaken by her sex initially, but now I do agree that she is a she and I am picturing her grazing in my new garden in the near future - though a friend believes she's an indoor cow. This isn't Canada you know! Eh?

So what's been keeping me busy since I got back from Canada ..... apart from sleep (too much sometimes and sadly lacking at others!)  It's 4 o'clock in the morning and I seem to be wide awake.  This just isn't right. I don't get jet lag. Ha ha ha!!  Have tried all the usual stuff - counting sheep, guided imagery, watching banal programmes on my laptop, radio, reading ..... but my brain is buzzing!  I thought I had cracked this jet lag business, especially as for my first full day at home I had planned a day out, so plenty of stimulation to keep me going.  So what did I do?  Well, apart from getting acquainted with Ermentrude and eating fish and chips, I headed to Bempton Cliffs with a friend, to do some bird watching / spotting. 

What a fantastic day. The taste of the salt in the air, the touch of the sun's rays together with the crisp sea breeze against my bare arms, the smell of the guano deposited by these thousands of birds, the sound of screams and squawks and calls from our feathered friends and the sight of these majestic cliffs seemingly alive
with an array of black and white birds perched on the most perilous of ledges.  Almost sensory overload.  Every speck of black or white or shadow on the vertical cliffs is in fact a bird.  Hard to see from the photos I know.  Some are already nesting with the odd egg on show, whilst others are still to-ing and fro-ing in their search for suitable nest making materials. 

Gannets, stunningly white with their black tipped wingtips, making these a striking bird. In places, strung across a ledge like a string of pearls. They can dive from a height of 30 m, achieving speeds of 100 km/h as they strike the water, enabling them to catch fish much deeper than most airborne birds. Didn't witness this today, but it is an exceptional sight. They are also closely related to the Boobies (little bit of school boy humour!).  Razorbills (see left and right), and Guillemots are easily mistaken for each other - well, by me, anyway!  Their short flappy wings make them appear quite comical, but not as comical as the puffin - one of my favourite birds.  I still have a lovely picture of one drawn for me many years ago by a former boyfriend! How sweet!!  With their large very colourful beaks, stubby bodies and bright orange legs - they really are conspicuous. 

Now.....onto eggs .... I don't think I have ever taken photos of eggs on two consecutive days! On the right is a guillemot's egg found on the top of the cliffs, presumably stolen by a predatory bird and eaten.   The other is a double yolk out of a hen's egg which I came across whilst cooking my tea.  I thought the egg was larger than normal but I was a little surprised to find these conjoined yolks! Mmm a 3 egged omelet! How greedy.

Exciting things happening for me right now - a new house to move into, looking for a small car, a trip to Madeira, another to Pembrokeshire ...... so much to look forward to.  I have to say that the thought of going to another airport and flying again so soon after the debacle of returning from Canada, fills me with some trepidation. I just don't want to entertain the idea of being a distressed, displaced traveller again.  So, if anyone has any control over volcanoes, volcanic dust clouds or Ryan Air - please please help me to have a trouble free journey.  Sorry Jenny if my concerns upset you.

Time to get this posted. Do tune in again soon.