Merry Xmas and a Hapy New Year

2014 has been a bloody rough year and I will quite frankly be glad to see the back of it. But there have been some good times: new friendships,stronger existing ones and the introduction to the most adorable toddler – all have made it easier to get through darker times and I’m grateful to all of them. They know who they are (and some not on FB)
Looking forward to 2015 – hopefully a house move, trip to see Hamlet in London and a girls weekend down there and lots of other good stuff planned.

The quote above turned up on my Facebook memories today and made me think a bit. 2014 was a ‘bloody rough year’ yet I sat up for hours last night trying to work out what made it so. At the beginning of the year (almost 2 years now) I lost my natural father – a man I’d not seen in over 10 years – to alcoholism shortky followed by an uncle I’d not seen in probably the same time length either. Their deaths still floored me for a while. Death is never easy to deal with and I mourned for what could have been rather than anything else.

But I haven’t the foggiest what else may have upset me. And that got me thinking about how things amy seem huge at the time but will memories will fade and what seems huge this year may not be such a big deal this time in 2016. I thought about this years ups and downs and the downs have stuck out because they were so huge and life affecting but again will I still be upset about them in 12 months time? Probably not.

So time to let this year go and focus on the new things the year will bring, plans that I’ve made and goals I hope to achieve. The bad things will soon be distant memories so time to focus on the new ones

Merry Xmas and see you in the New Year x

 

The Christmas Party – short story

The Christmas Party

Chin up Eleanor. It’s just a Christmas party. How many have you been to before eh? What’s different about this one? Look at Tom in his new suit all ready to be host with the most. He’s worked so hard lately, throwing himself into his work, spending ten and twelve hours every day at the office hoping they’ll notice him and make him a full partner in the firm. And it’s paid off. This dinner is to celebrate the promotion before the paperwork is signed tomorrow and everyone can then prepare for the holidays. The guests will be here soon so I better check everything’s ready.

Is my hair alright? Yes it looks just fine. I only had it styled last week. At least I think it was last week. Time is a bit strange at the minute, I keep losing track. Maybe it’s my time of life? Oh did I just say that! I’m only 42; I can’t be going through the change right now. But I do keep losing time. Our nephew came to visit yesterday. He seems so big. I feel like I haven’t seen him in ages. One minute crawling and now he’s running about on his fat little legs.

Outfit? Well, it’s not what I’ve chosen to impress Tom’s bosses but I guess I’m stuck with it. Black shift dress from Zara. Ok for my own job but I would have preferred to be wearing my new little red cocktail dress from Monsoon. It’s so hard to find clothes to fit.

Oh Tom…not those shoes! The man is fantastic at picking suits but always falls apart on the accessories. And his attachment to those scruffy shoes!! I remember him buying them though, his wedding shoes. Once so patent and shiny, they seem to have now lost the gleam and the heels are worn down at the back. Why does he not just throw them away and buy something new. Something modern. I’ll never understand his attachment to them.

Right time to go downstairs. We’ve had the caterers in for this bash. Only the best for Misters Dick & Harry. I remember his interview for the job many years ago now. Hartley & son’s; one of the best firms in town. Now staffed by Tom, Dick & Harry. You couldn’t make it up. We found out he had the job on our trip to Stratford. The call coming through while we wandered around the Anne Hathaway’s house. We celebrated by going to the RSC to watch Othello.

The food looks fantastic. We’re having a sit down meal, a traditional English Christmas carvery. My favourite. Oh Tom…smile! This is meant to be your big night and you’re just mooching around touching things and behaving like a bored teenager. The food looks divine. Choice of chicken or beef, home made Yorkshire puddings as big as my fist. Four types of veg. I’m not sure about the gravy though, it doesn’t look thick enough. My dad always said it wasn’t real gravy unless you could stand a spoon in it. If he could see me now; miners’ daughter turned law partners’ wife. He always wanted the best for me, wanted me to have what he never did. Small things like a detached house, my own car, holidays abroad and I think he’d be proud of where we are. It was hard for him, trying to bring up three girls with no mother. Just our grandma for support while he spent long hours underground, his lungs getting progressively worse every year until they finally gave out when I was 17. All three of us made it through college, my elder sisters going to university. Molly is now a vet but she always did love animals and Patty is …well patty is a new age hippy. Oh wait we can’t call people that anymore. She’s an environmentalist, living with her partner Julie, growing her own veg and attending rallies. Not sure how dad would’ve taken to that. He never could quite get to grips with anything he didn’t see as “the norm”. But I think he would’ve been proud of her all the same. He always taught us to do be proud of who we were.

What am I like? I’m getting as bad as Tom sitting here lost in memories when there’s work to do. What’s the starter? Please don’t say prawn cocktail. How very 70’s middle class. Hmm looks like some kind of Jamie Oliver version of prawn cocktail. I’m not sure if that’s any better really. Not the choice I would have gone with but hey ho. I wish I knew what was for dessert but I haven’t been able to see it yet. I hope it’s not chocolate pudding. Tom always jokes that I am the only woman on the planet that hates chocolate.

Looking around the ground floor of our house where I spent so many months last year when Katie went to Oxford. I’d taken a course on interior decorating and dragged the house kicking and screaming into the new century. Replaced all the chintz with leather sofa’s, cream walls, a magnificent glass table as a centre piece for the dining room. We worked hard for it and I enjoyed doing it. I even thought about a career change so I could do it for other people. I would love that.

Oh no, look at that dint in my sofa cushions. I don’t know what’s wrong with Tom lately. He hardly ever seems to sleep in his own bed. He’s either at work or sitting on the couch eyes glazed over while mindless programmes flutter across the television. I don’t think he even takes anything in that he sees. What am I going to do with him? Maybe he should take up golf? Isn’t that what successful young law partners do?? Maybe it should be suggested to him tonight.

Ooh doorbell. I rush to the door as Tom opens up and there’s Dick Hartley; elder statesman of the firm. Now here’s a man who wears the right shoes. I’ve never seen him anything less than immaculate. All his suits are hand made on Saville Row, his shoes polished so much you can see your face in them. And ties of pure silk. He arrives with Talia, the latest in a long line of middle aged (old aged??) crisis girlfriends. I swear he thinks he’s Hugh Heffner. She can’t be much older than Katie. But at least she is a bit better turned out than the last one. I’m shuddering at the memory of that one. All tin foil mini dress and boobs straight out of a porn film. No one knew where to look for the best. Talia is young but she does seem to have some class. I think her uncle is a Lord or something. She certainly carries herself as someone who has had lunch at Buckingham Palace.

Ah now here’s Harry Hartley and his wife Margaret. I’ve never met Harry’s mother but I’m told he is just like her, in both looks and temperament. Certainly nothing like his father. It’s hard to imagine they could ever be related although Tom says they are identical in behaviour; fighting like tigers in the jungle to secure the best for the customers. That’s one of the things Tom has always loved about working for the firm; the sense of fair play and the will to see the wronged come out on top.

Like his father, Harry is dressed in the latest designer clothes. It just makes me sigh again to see Tom in those scruffy wedding shoes. I want to rip them off his feet! I got him some fabulous Patrick Cox shoes before…before…I forget now. They would go so well with his suit. But no, it’s all about the old wedding shoes tonight. Where was I? Oh yes, Harry not being like his father. Dick, is your typical tall, dark & handsome. Reminds me a bit of Roger Moore. Whereas Harry is smaller and more fair. I’d keep the James Bond theme going and say more like Daniel Craig but he’s not that rugged.

Margaret gives Tom a hug, keeping him close a bit too long for my liking. I can see her whispering something to him but can’t quite figure out what. Oh wait; she’s so sorry. Sorry for what? I know he’s got the promotion. He’s got everything he ever dreamed of right now. Perfect job, perfect family, perfect home. Oh Tom why are you looking so sad? Whatever Margaret said to him seems to have upset him. I really hope the firm haven’t changed their minds. But surely they wouldn’t be all dressed up for a meal if they’d taken it away from him??

I’m confused now as they make their way into the dining room for the meal. The caterers have stayed behind to act as waiters for the evening. All pristine in their black pants and white shirts. Everyone takes a seat and they bring out the first course; the modern day prawn cocktail. I remember trying some for the first time on our honeymoon. I couldn’t even look at them with their beady eyes staring back at me, making me feel guilty for even considering to eat them. In the end Tom tricked me into eating them by ordering scampi and not telling me what it was until afterwards. I didn’t speak to him for hours afterwards but I did learn quickly to always check what I was eating. It came in handy with all the social occasions we’ve attended over the years.

Conversation is stilted as everyone eats. There’s obviously something very wrong and I can’t put my finger on it. They don’t mention the promotion at all and mostly seem to be avoiding all mention of work. So how’s Katie asks Margaret.

  • Oh doing well I think. She’s just finished for Christmas at university.
  • Is she not in tonight?
  • No she decided not to come home. She’s gone to stay with her boyfriends’ parents. Too many memories here ….

What memories? Now everyone looks sad, even Talia who has never met my daughter. I wish I knew what they were talking about. I feel like I’ve been kept out of gossip of some kind. Why would Tom & Katie keep secrets from me??

I’m still working on this as Talia changes the subject. She sounds like she’s grasping for something positive to say. What about Andy Murray winning at Wimbledon this summer? Really??? When did that happen? Something’s wrong and I’m starting to panic. Why don’t I know my daughter isn’t coming home? Why is Tom so attached to old mementoes; his shoes, my favourite meal. Why does he look so tired and stressed out. And how did I manage to miss the sporting event of the year especially as it’s my favourite sport.

I try and think of my last memories. I’d been in the Pandora shop buying a Christmas present for Katie. Then the Harvey Nichols store looking for an overnight bag for Tom for a team building away day he was going to. A weekend of boys and their toys; playing paintball and riding quad bikes. Apparantly that will make you work better as a team! Oh my mind is wandering again. It’s so hard to think!

I bought the bag, then what? No wait I walked up to the Headrow. I’d parked my car in the car park in The Light centre. It was snowing heavily; the shops were closing early with the weather and the pitch black darkness of the day. I couldn’t see every well, I remember that now. I think there was an accident. Yes, yes I’m sure a car was going too fast and knocked someone over. Killed outright they were. I have a vague memory of Tom telling someone, his father I think. Oh this is all so difficult. What is wrong with me? Here we are, the eve of my husbands big promotion, the week before Christmas: you could cut the atmosphere with a knife, my daughter is God knows where, I can’t remember a thing of the last few weeks. You would think somebody died or something….

…Oh Tom…

Short stories

I found a few short stories and by short I mean 200 words or so each. I thought I’d put them together in a few blogs over the rest of the year. The first one is a Krampus story for a competition I didn’t enter in the end. Follwed by a mini space adventure and a tale on taking a stand. Enjoy

OLAF

Olaf was smirking to himself as he walked down the dark pathway to home. Tonight had almost been a disappointment with very little to do until he saw the small straggly mutt looking for scraps near the restaurant. Poor thing looked half starved, he could see the ribs straining against the lean, flea-bitten skin.

“Ideal” he thought to himself scooping the dog up quickly and running off to the tree house where he did his experiments. The dog had lasted a half hour before its heart gave out in fright and pain.

Olaf was lost in thought wondering if he could move from the animals to the annoying brat child that lived two doors down constantly crying and screaming. He wondered about the effect it would have if he simply removed his tongue. Surely it would be an act of neighbourly concern?

He was so wrapped up in the idea of noise reduction through surgical procedures he didn’t notice the dark shape materialise behind him, swirling from nothing into a beastly horned shape. Distracted by his eureka moment Olaf was oblivious until the horns pierced his spine throwing him into the air like a bull tossing a fighter and then everything went black. 

THE DAWN

Baird rose while the night still had some blackness about it. It wasn’t quite dawn but he knew he had to get moving or forever be classed a coward. How had he ended up in this position. Five hundred years earlier his however many greats grand-father had defeated his enemy in love at a duel at dawn. Who’d have thought that in the year 2300 he’d be doing the same with Sinclair.

 Sure some things were different. He’d arrive in a flying car rather than a horse. They’d died out in 2019 when the latest bout of “end of the world” gloom bringers turned out to be right. He had a ray gun rather than a pistol. Oh and rather than a buxom wench or damsel in distress they were fighting over a humanoid programmed to be gay. Definitely not something his ancestor could have imagined!

 But some things never changed. He’d been drinking heavily until just a few hours ago, trying to numb himself against possible death. He’d stolen his lover from a jealous abusive Lord when he himself was just a mechanic working on Lord Sinclair’s cars. He’d like to say this was the first time he’d gotten himself into trouble but then he’d be lying to himself.

SALLY

Sally had had enough. This was the third time this week Jake was missing in action. Working he says. Working pfftt! He was out with that other woman. Which woman she didn’t know but she was sure there was one and this time she was making a stand. She knew Jake worded long hours when she met him. It wasn’t easy for him running his own mechanic business. Working on his own gave him the freedom to put in his own hours but sometimes he forgot that the rest of the world existed.

 At first everything had seemed fine. Jake would work more regular hours and then come and pick her up so they could go out. Sometimes to visit her family, sometimes to his. And lots of eating out. He had a bit appetite and loved restaurants. She loved all the driving around at first. Stuck in a house with her step father, his new wife and her three kids she felt claustrophobic in what was meant to be her own home. There was never any privacy and so she relished being able to get away no matter where it was.

 Then she got pregnant. No matter how much she loved little Robbie, he wasn’t planned and they’d been forced to get married. Not forced as in bullied she thought but it had seemed like the right thing to do. The wedding had been glorious. A hot summers day, she had the perfect dress and felt like a princess. They’d had so many guests she’s lost count. She was sure, looking back that she didn’t actually know many of them. They were Jake’s friends most of them. Some of them were pretty scary looking and she didn’t dare speak to them. Some of the really scary one’s were his own family! The day had been lovely right up until the minute his family started a fight.

 That was three years ago. Robbie was growing up and Jake’s hours at work were getting longer. He claimed he was buying cars to fix up and then re-sell for a profit. But did he really have to be out until 2 or 3 every morning? Then he’d be up again and out by 8 o’clock. It wasn’t just this week, he’d been doing it for months now. He was reluctant to let her go down to the garage, she was sure now that was because he wasn’t actually there. They’d had problems for  along time she knew. If it wasn’t for Robbie she wasn’t sure if they’d have stuck the relationship out that long. They argued all the time. Only the other month she’d asked him to leave but they’d decided to give it another go. And then as soon as they’d agreed that he was out longer every night. Surely if he’d really wanted it to work he’d be back home every night to spend quality time with their little family?

 So she was making a stand. She’d packed up his clothes and was sat waiting for him to come home. This time, there would be no second chances.

2016 – the year of saying yes (again)

After 3 weeks of feeling sorry for myself it’s time to take stock and think of something positive. That was the whole reason for starting this blog several years ago – to look at the positives in life and see what adventures you can find if you just say yes more. Go through the majority of posts this year and they are about my depression flaring up, stress taking over and giving into financial debt handing everything over to a debt management plan to try and make life easier.

It’s all meant that I’ve spent the year saying no a bit too much. So back to the original brief. The idea was modified from the book by Danny Wallace ‘Yes Man’. In his book he said yes to everything. Now he’s a journalist and has more money than me so I have an edited version. The rules are very simple:-

Say yes to everything that comes your way as long as it’s affordable and within your own moral standards.

Simple.

It can be from friend invites, fliers through the door or handed out in the street, an email at work (sports & social or requests for volunteering) and so on. The last time I tried it I ended up skiing (at one of those fake snow places) for the first time in 25 years, sharing a small mobile cabin with 10 other people for the weekend and lots of nights out. The nights out may be taking a bakseat this time unless I stick to the diet soda to keep costs down but who knows???

Essentially it’s all another form of manifestation and putting out to the universe that you want your life to change. You can do it with vision boards, goal setting worksheets or something simple like this. At the end of the day you put yourself in a positive mindset and let mother nature take her course. Have a go, you’ll be suprised by how much fun you can have

Grave spotting in Rothwell, more tales of family tree searching

20/12/2015. Going through my old WP posts and found this in the drafts. I have actually posted it on other sites but for some reason it has ended up lost in drafts for 2 years so here you go. I haven’t had chance in 2015 to do anything with my family tree but I’m hoping to next year and fingers crossed I can do some more posts. If you want to look at the few I did do you can find them here. https://kzwhite.wordpress.com/

Enjoy.

Another weekend, another visit to a church to look for ancient relatives. Looking through my grandfathers’ maternal line there’s over 100 years of people being baptised, married and buried at Rothwell Holy Trinity church. To me that’s fascinating and surely a trip to the church will reveal lots of information. Surely??

Sadly not. The graveyard has not been in use since 1920 and I think that was probably the last time the council did any up-keep of it. The cemetery is in bad shape and I’ve included some pics in this blog. I can understand that old closed graveyards are way down on the priority list of things that need looking after however it’s no good to the budding genealogist when they have to chop through undergrowth like Indiana Jones cutting his way through the jungle. In some areas the reed-like weeds were shoulder high and many of the stones had been broken.

Should I ever win the lottery I’d pay to have the area cleaned up. Perhaps that way I’ll finally be able to see where my 7th great grandfather is buried. I actually quite enjoyed wandering around the cemetery despite ending cup covered in buds from the weeds. I lost count of the times I ended up apologising to long dead people for accidentally trampling on their graves. Even amongst all the weeds and broken larger graves there were smaller ones dotted about.

We had a little look around the church but unlike last week we were unable to find anyone with local knowledge although we were told the parish records were available for a few short hours per week. So it looks like a day off work to go back for a second visit.

In more positive news I’ve managed to trace this line all the way back to 1409 and my 16th great grandfather. Henry IV was on the throne and kick-starting the War of the Roses between the York’s & Lancaster’s. Could this grandfather have been a peasant struggling to work his landlords’ farm? Did he have a trade in the village or as he came from Wakefield; did he have a stall in the market town as it was? One of the things I’d like to do is find out more about the times of the people I’m finding although sometimes it’s easy to get sidetracked by the things we find.

For now I’m going back to basics. I think I’ve found enough as I can online. The other 3 lines of my grandparents are proving difficult to get started with so I’ve ordered a few birth certificates to see if that can help. There’s confusion as two great grandfathers were related but trying to search for them as brothers as we originally thought isn’t working. Hopefully the birth certificates will open this line up a little. That’s the next step so until they arrive the search is on hold for the minute. But I feel like a detective desperately trying to find solutions. It’s like trying to solve a difficult puzzle, moving all the pieces around until it finally starts making sense.

Until next time…

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2015 in review and some 2016 goals

I could use this blog to write about the tough year I’ve had; the loss of a friend, debt issues and being ill but I wanted to write this in the manner of the way I intend 2016 to go and that is positively. So I found a little list of 2015 goals scribbled in the back of the notebook and thought I’d see how I managed in completing them and then set something new for the coming year

2015:

  • Talk more on twitter. I think maybe I’ve spoken less but with that I also have every now and again taken steps to spend less time on social media as a whole.
  • Increase blog followers aiming for 100 for my book blog (see below for links), Positivity blog to 150 and my travel blog to 70. I ended up with 102 for the book blog, 167 for this positivity one and 53 for the travel one. I haven’t done much in the travel one this year to warrant much of an increase
  • Finish my Open University course and start the last level. I finished my course and then decided to claim a Diploma of Higher Education and study more vocational qualifications instead. I’ll call this one a win.
  • Get out more. Finance issues meant this one didn’t go according to plan. I did manage to make sure I could go to my monthly meal group and my book club but going somewhere new didn’t happen. Still a positive enough result
  • Slimmer/fitter and dance classes. Oh dear! I am exactly the same weight. I attended 3 Pilates classes, 2 clubbercise ones and a boxercise class. However that is more than last year and I quite regularly walk 10,000 steps so again not terrible in comparison
  • Complete a 10k run. Instead I did the St Gemma’s Midnight 7 mile walk and raised £200 for charity. One of my favourite achievements and so glad I did it
  • Learn some spiritual classes. A win for this one. I am now a qualified Angelic Reiki practioner and have completed a Crystal Healing level 1 course. My level 2 has been put back to February but everything is definitely going to plan

2016

  • I want to increase my blogs to 150 for my book blog; 75 for my travel one and 200 for the positivity blog
  • Finish the courses I have ongoing. My level 2 Crystal Healing, hypnotherapy practioner course and one in Life Coaching
  • Start practising these modalities and helping people even if I can only do a few hours a week to start (the long term plan is to be self employed doing these things)
  • Get out more – again. I need to keep to my book clubs and meals. I was thinking of joining a new book club as these are cheap things to do and will allow me to meet new people. Any other cheap recommendations?
  • Health/nutrition & fitness – again. I am currently working on cutting out sugar rather than an actual calorie counted diet. Starting it 2 weeks before Xmas was maybe not the best idea but I have already made some positive changes
  • Learn to budget and maybe get some savings however small using the envelope budgeting system
  • Learn to say no when people ask me to do things that will cost me money. By this I often agree to things that are outside my financial abilities just because I feel guilty saying no and I don’t always feel it’s actually something I want to really do
  • Start preparing my house for a potential 2018 sale. It needs cosmetic paint work doing, some interior doors and one exterior shed door. Oh and a garden gate. It can’t happen all at once but I’d like to be able to say I’ve started it.
  • Do some more craft fairs as I enjoyed doing the 2 I did this year so much

It’s all about the Yes – https://kirstywhite33.wordpress.com/

Adventures in travel – https://travelpalooza.wordpress.com/

For the Love of Books – https://kirk72.wordpress.com/