Long Live Books!

StripeyAnne's Blog

books These are a few of my favourite books

A good book is a friend, a comfort, a provocation, an encouragement, an insight. It’s a starburst of imagined faces and places, scents and sounds, an escape from bad things, or maybe a window to see them through.

I love books, especially those so compelling that the outside world fades into the background in a haze of colourful characters, beautiful descriptions and a damned good story. I have so many books, I could run my own library and not worry about borrowers returning them, actually I think I did have more books than the local library before having a clear-out. And getting rid of those books was traumatic, I can tell you, I needed firm assurance from the hospice shop that the books would find a good home, they said they would, I think they where humouring me.

There are some books…

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9 miles

So on Friday I met with my lovely friend Kirsty. Hadn’t see her in a while as she is busy with her new job. She’s having an amazing time and I’m so proud of her. You may know a few years back we met at a community radio station and began to present a book club show for the station.

We had decided during the week to spend the day together and go and explore Rodley Nature Reserve, weather permitting. It got to Friday, the weather didn’t seem to bad and off I set to go meet Kirsty at the bus stop. We had a 40 minute bus ride through different towns in Leeds and I forgot how beautiful Yorkshire can be.

When we got there, we hit a snag. neither of us had checked the opening times and I assumed it would be open everyday, but it was not. So we decided to take the path along the canal towards Horsforth. Except we never ended up in Horsforth, we ended up in Bradford.

How did you manage that I hear you ask. Well, we were enjoying the chatting the wandering and picked a couple of wrong paths, forgot the changing weather and the it getting dark earlier, so we took routes we thought, attempted location on our phones and ended up coming out into a cul de sac to find we didn’t recognise the bus numbers. Hence we had wandered close to Bradford.

I highly recommend being spontaneous, just a few pointers:

  •  If you need any type of support on your limbs, be prepared and carry some. (I didn’t think we’d walk 9 miles so didn’t think to take it.)
  • On that note make sure you have the right footwear, the right clothing. Canvas shoes and jeans aren’t the greatest thing for comfort.
  • Remember to have a bottle of water and a few snacks, incase you can’t stop at a cafe or pub
  • get a regional ticket ( like a West Yorkshire day rider etc)
  • Let someone know where you are if its getting late.
  • Have a full battery on your phone, or carry one of those spare battery things.
  • But most of all have fun and stay safe.

The funniest bit of the whole day was sleep. I thought I would have had a great night sleep with all that exercise and fresh air. I had no coffee when I got home yet I was wide awake in 4 hours of falling asleep and I couldn’t go back to sleep. Complete madness!

Yet I got some fantastic photos along the way, had fantastic company and ate a pub called Moody Cow and although my sandwich didn’t look as epic as Kirsty’s it still tasted nice.

So go out there and explore. It’s a lot of fun. Just wear the proper shoes😀

Thank you for reading

xxx

I’m happy because…

I took a chance, it didn’t work out and I learned a valuable life lesson or two.  That being an adult isn’t always easy. Especially a single female one who just keeps having bad luck.

I haven’t blogged for a while because everything was going well, and when things like that happen I’m scared I might jinx it. Crazy I know, but it’s an old habit from childhood and if you have followed my blog you would know why.

Apparently standing up for yourself or trying to get people to see things from your point of view, is often not tolerated or liked. Or if you enter a well established pack, be aware breaking the ice isn’t always easy and you might just have to accept it wasn’t to be.

This year has seen a lot of changes, again. I have tried to improve myself by going to the gym and before July had started training again for the Leeds 10k. An event I wanted to do to get fit again and to raise money for charity. From August things went downhill and changes happened and I found myself doing something different and the fitness regime went out the window….again.

In recent weeks I managed a 5k run at Bramley and again the exercise dried up. Well apart from walking to and from the city centre on occasions. One day I clocked up 13 miles. Almost a dry run for next year’s Great North Run.

But now I find myself again with my life upside down and not knowing whether I’m coming or going, I found that I have some amazing support in both family, friends and four -legged furry friends. And that what I really need is to stop my mind telling me to sleep more and to instead jump out of bed and do a walk/run/crawl and get some bloody exercise woman!

So my advice to you, always learn new skills. READ books, anything, absorb information. Be polite to everyone. Although don’t expect it back. Enjoy the little things like someone fetching you a coffee or saying hello. Go out and volunteer. Whether to help marshal at an event on a sunny, cold October morning, or think of how you can help someone, a colleague, a friend achieve their goals. It’s the little things that count, that make the big things work. Most places forget about the little people, but they’re just as important to keep the cogs working.

Because a simple thing like a chat, a smile, a coffee or a meal could mean the world of difference, even if they have the world on their shoulders, they might just like the distraction and a friendly face.

 

Let it go

I find myself sitting upstairs in the attic typing away wondering what to say. Today was the final day of a job I’ve loved for so long. This time was an end of a short stint and moving onto something entirely different. I was fine during the day. Then I got home found cards from Mum and Jane and burst into tears. Another chapter closed.

I do wonder how many chapters my book would have or whether it would be mini series. Hark at me as if I’m something special :p

There’s the negative father series: where the brother is always the hero. Where the stubborn independent young eldest female child only wanted her father’s love but instead was told she was to hard to love.

There’s the love series: where the heroine just wants to be loved but keeps picking the wrong types. The first boyfriend , only 13 left her because he didn’t get attention. The next one fancied her best friend. The one that got away due to the girl having personal problems. Then the one who wouldn’t share a bed after uni and ran off with someone 10 years younger. After that it was hard to trust anyone and apparently made the girl hard to love to.

The sibling years: Not living with our brother we were always in awe of his visits getting him to draw or play football with us until Dad decided to leave then he wanted nothing to do with us. My sister and I never really got on until I left home as I was always a second mother to her as Mum needed help to look after her sometimes as Dad was completely useless. Oh How I wish he saw what really went on at times of illness. Now grown up, we still have our moments but we have a good relationship. I’m still jealous of her writing talent mind.

The school years: I was bullied quite a bit. I spent most of comprehensive school on my own right up until I left. I wasn’t as clever as my sister. I had to spend months revising. Being female didn’t help as I suffered badly and often ended up in the nurses room with a hot water bottle. I didn’t like school much. There were a few teachers that really supported me but no, school wasn’t for me. They even said I wouldn’t go far because my grades were so low. Then I decided to go to college. I did think about nursery nursing but the art teacher was so delighted with my work I took that route, where I met Carly and had an amazing two years on the second course I took there.

The boro/leeds HND and degree years, Being told you wouldn’t go far and not able to take the easy route to a degree I did a HND in Graphic arts. There’s some strong memories from that time and also sad ones as I lost Carly in my final year in boro. Onto Leeds, I thought I found the love of my life but that went hay wire. However I did meet some amazing people, some who are dear to me today and I graduated, full cap and gown. So proud.

The working years: from a paperround to fund my college course, to corner shops & supermarkets, sweet sections in wilkinsons, photographer in a studio, a printmaker, coffee shop, technician at uni, printmaker and now on to an exciting new adventure of reception/administrative work. I have had a varied career. When I was young I always dreamed of a family, to be loved, a house and a good career. It’s not quite there but I’m proud of the jobs I’ve had. I’ve learned so much.

There’s the independent ongoing saga with the vitamin D deficiency and depression issues.Where getting out of bed seemed in possible 7 months ago and that it took several years to recognise the recurring issues and has battled ever since to put things right.

There’s the hermit years. again still ongoing but have managed thanks to a suggestion from a good friend to join a book club, which led on to a radio show which found one of my closet friends and opened doors to all sorts of new adventures. But still the best part although begin alone isn’t pleasant sometimes. Is being able to come back to a home which is mine, which can be messy but is covered in cushions and candles and I can finally call home.

So as another chapter closes another opens and exciting times ahead. I’m grateful for everything I’ve been through even if it has torn me apart at times and not been able to fix it. I hope someday it will be easier and I won’t have to fight anymore.

Thank you for reading

xxx

 

 

Be careful what you whisper

Social media has been one of the culprits for how we communicate. In fact its changed it so much. Some people don’t know how to talk to each other anymore.

It also makes us to reply instantly, not thinking someone could be busy, asleep, doesn’t want to reply. Then there’s the hiding behind the text or email. I’ve done this a lot as I’ve often been scared of a person’s reaction. 9 times out of time if I tried to talk to someone I end up getting irate and I look like the bad guy.

In recent months I have been told I have ruined people’s lives, I’ve had people showing me tweets/fb messages  saying it was aimed at them. No name but they think it’s aimed at them. What most of it about has been my depression and how I see the world and that this depression is a thing in itself and I’m constantly accompanied by it and it doesn’t seem to want to let go.

But listen to Ricky Gervais and how we use Twitter, and in life how we  misread things. How its such a kneejerk reaction to things. How we immediately feel hurt because someone has done something we don’t like that will bring our comfort zones crashing to the ground.

And for me. I’ll try calm down before I get frustrated with them and imagine smacking them into a bucket (life-coaching technique) before they belittle me again, before they bring out the list of wrongs I’ve done, because the queue is getting bigger. And I’ll breathe and say thank you. I will take that on board and learn from it.

Lets see how things go.

Thank you for reading

xxxx

 

Great North Run now in 2017

Well what a year. I found in my diary, something I must have written when I first got it in December 2015 …

2016- the year for big changes

What I want to know is how did I know?????? We’re now past the half way point of 2016.

I ran the Leeds 10k in an hour and five mins fifty seconds, raising £315 for Cystic Fibrosis Trust. I landed a place in the Great North Run. Then I got a job at a top leading university’s student union. I’m still in shock over it all. I think my body is to as it finally gave in over the weekend and caught a nasty virus which has left me not wanting to eat much and being put off my food. I have lost  a bit of my hearing so I don’t know if this will go when the virus totally clears or whether I need to see the doctor or not.

Unfortunately with this all going on I found it difficult to get out and run or even go to the gym, so lying in bed with earache and not being able to swallow from a sore throat, I eventually contacted both the CF Trust and the Great North Run to see If I could defer. I got the most amazing response and now I can relax, look forward to a big event next year which will match my Leeds 10k experience.

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So I finally learnt how to take a step back, look after myself, most of all put myself first and voilà everything is changing for the better. I hope I can make this work. As whatever I’m doing now has quite clearly not worked and that’s been my biggest regret in 2016.

Thank you for reading

xxx

Men

Men don’t like women to be stubborn and independent, they can’t be equals it seems.

Men don’t like a lot of things

Men will dump you over the silliest of things or for something unpleasant:

  • Your uncle is visiting so you have to spend more time with them then you other half. (First Boyfriend) whole estate knew before me
  • Your best friend is better looking. I was very young.
  • Your Jack Russell is over excitable
  • You don’t make them feel sexy even though they keep you at arms lengths, slept in seprate beds for 6 years, i never wanted this. I also had body issues which would possibly have been fixed sahring a bed.
  • You decorate the rented house to much, bring in candles and pillows. An odd one this.
  • They found someone younger
  • You mention the m and b words for the umpteenth time and they are to afraid to say no

the list goes on.

And then there’s going back out there and dating and you think you find a catch only to be stood up and they can’t answer as they’ve left the phone in the office, or they’ve come to seek you out and asked to be added to facebook forgetting they’ve just entered a relationship and they still want to take you out. This happened to me last week. I was so proud to have asked someone out to then be stood up in the pub waiting. he text back 5 days later saying his phone was in the office and then by social media stalker someone found his page and his girlfriend(or someone who appears to be his girlfriend). I did it I tried getting back out there and quite frankly it was a waste of time.  So much so I decided to be a Nun.

But hey. I start my new job in just over a week’s time, I’ve deferred my Great north run until 2017 and everything is just falling into place. I should have just realised I’m not going to have any luck with men. I’ll always get treated the same. Even by ones close to me who I’ve had as friends and regard as family who I no longer see. It’s so sad. I must have done something really bad in a past life to men to be treated this way.

Thank you for reading

xxx

 

Choose your heros

StripeyAnne's Blog

3264 Nicky Spinks. My hero. Photo from The Guardian.

I’m very picky about my heroes. They have to be doing something I aspire to, even if it’s only in my head. They have to be ordinary, because it’s easy to be a hero if you’re famous, or rich, or both. They have to have overcome adversity in a superhuman way and, above all, they have to be modest. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a show-off superhero big-head.

This week I had the honour of meeting one of my heroes, or rather heroines. She’s a record-breaking runner who has just marked her tenth year after being treated for breast cancer. The cancer didn’t stop her running, by the way, well, not for long. She is pretty much unstoppable.

Nicky Spinks is an extraordinary woman. Like me, she came to running rather late, unike me, she’s very good at it. She started off with 5kms…

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Waving bye bye to retail…again

After nearly two years of being back in retail, I decided enough was enough. I decided to look for another job. Granted I was looking in other areas of retail but more back of house so not dealing with the public so much. But thanks to still having emails and contacts within job centres an offer came up that I took a chance on and it paid off. And boy did it pay off. I will soon be working in an administration/receptionist roll and I cannot wait.

Since the age of 19 I have worked in retail in one form or another and that’s nearly half my life dealing with people who we have to respect no matter how they treat us, how we’re feeling at the time and to just carry on regardless providing a service which is sometimes impossible when the resources aren’t there.

In retail communication is key but unfortunately the one thing a customer never wants to hear (me included) is no, no they can’t have it, no it’s not available, no the technology has crashed…card system down, computer down, printer jam. And that’s when the trouble starts.

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When a customer seems to know me, but I have no idea who they are

As a toddler, young child, if we don’t get what we want we throw a paddy, lie on the floor kicking and screaming until we’re told off, given what we wanted or picked up and carried off. As adults we just verbally abuse each other. Everyone is selfish (including me) and the way adults respond to not getting what they want is to shout, scream, swear, you name it to get what they want even if it’s a unicorn.

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When a customer asks a bizarre question

The ‘magic’ words are lost in the world of retail. Rarely do you hear someone say ‘I would like to order a ‘blank’ please’. ‘It’s more ‘I need a ‘blank’ and I want it now’. When people are overwhelmed by the product and service provided it’s nearly off the Richter scale in how they respond and it comes so rarely its like a shower of glitter has just exploded.

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when a customer says thank you and gets over excited by the product/service you’ve given them.

In retail the technology as advanced too much too quick in my mind and when it breaks it’s not always a simple case of turning it on and off again. At certain points in my working day when the centre I work in gets busy and everyone’s phones are connecting to the wi-fi and for some magical reason all the printers and computers seem to form a pact and go ‘now guys, she’s not looking lets disconnect and drive her potty for 5 mins’.

This in fact happened yesterday. We’ve had network problems with the printers and just on cue the small printer decided it didn’t like a sheet of 5×7 paper and refused to print. I told the customer 20 mins so I could break off serving and fix the issue. But because he stood and waited, no way did the printer want to work again, so I had to find an alternative and print something smaller while I turned everything else off to check the concetions….again.

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when the printers won’t ‘talk’ to the computers

Don’t get me wrong, I love the job I am in. Always have, I have been very lucky. I was wrote off at school and although I don’t have anything to show family wise, no kids no partner I at least have an interesting career path and I was able to put my degree to some use. I have loved my job of 7+ years and I’ll be sad to leave it but I don’t feel safe working in retail anymore. I maybe oversensitive I don’t know but I don’t see why I need to take abuse off a customer because something that is out of my control is stopping them from an enquiring their product at that very moment.

One customer told me not to worry after one occasion this happened, I simply went to apologise for the wait and all hell broke loose. A guy had got really aggressive while I was working alone and I simply burst into tears as I had been stressed out and it was nearly the end of the day and there was no quick fix. I understand fully how as humans we have to respect each other, we never know truly what goes on in other people’s little world’s but to react as this guy did, just made me lose faith in human beings and left me scared to be at work. After this incident, I sometimes find myself reading the customers body language before approaching and if need be pass them straight onto a male colleague when I can. Other times I worry my accent hampers things or that the simple fact is I’m female working with technology and that I’m quite capable of fixing and sorting things. But who knows. Humans are fickle things.

So, a new journey,adventure whatever you might call it its a different sector of the working force and I am so proud and excited to be doing it. I simply can’t wait to learn new skills, meet new people and have a structured week and weekends off.

 

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When a customer complains and you ask how they wish things to be resolved.

So thank you to the retail sector. I hope I don’t have to see you again, but if I do, I know what to expect, and at least I can take away with me the fact that for someone who doesn’t have a lot of patience, somehow I’ve built it up through the years and I’m grateful to you for that. So thank you for teaching me some life lessons and I wish you well.

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Thank youf or all your support and life lessons

Thank you for reading

xxx

 

A knock, a lock and a deal.

LOTS MORE PLEASE!

The plate in my hand has barely touched the cupboard shelf, the dirty water is draining with a gurgle from the sink. My freshly poured wine (left over from making risotto – just enough and not worth leaving) is still spiralling and settling in the glass. Radio 4 is being interesting about the 2011 riots and I am listening, honestly, whilst also chatting on Facebook with Helen between trips to the kitchen.

Under the other noises, I hear a soft, slow knock at the door, but it could be on the wall or the ceiling. Odd, but not something I feel I should pay any attention to.
A minute later, again. Slow. Steady. Oddly gentle. And not on the door.
With a slight shiver, I ignore it.
Two minutes later it comes again. Slower and louder, the knocks more forceful, but strange. Somehow I know it is not a hand…

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