Special Days…

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Days can be special for many reasons; birthdays, anniversaries, and so on, but today was special for me because I got to combine two things I really love doing. I spent the morning catching up with my gorgeous twin daughters over cups of tea and jammie dodgers, which is my most favourite pastime in the whole wide world.  Just seeing their faces and listening to all of their news fills my heart with joy.

In the afternoon I took full advantage of the sunshine and went for a three hour walk in the countryside to a quaint little town next to a river. Spring had well and truly sprung and the air was full of birdsong as I wandered along the winding pathway flanked with hawthorn bushes in full bloom.

Upon arrival there were plenty of nautical things to appreciate and as I sat on the quayside, enjoying the warm sun on my face and the sound of the splashing of boats passing by it occurred to me that sometimes the best things in life are the things that money just can’t buy…

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Long Time, No See…

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We’ve all done it; saying to an old friend ‘We must meet for a coffee soon’ and then it goes weeks, months or even years before you actually get around to it, but when you can both finally find a small gap in your hectic schedules it’s lovely to be able to finally catch up properly.

Texting, emailing and Facebook messaging are all well and good but there’s nothing quite like a face-to-face natter to help you to re-connect fully with old mates. Neither of us could actually recall how long it’d been since we last put the world to rights over a cuppa, but as the old saying goes it’s better late than never.

The venue was a local contemporary art gallery, so we combined our nattering with a look round the latest exhibition before heading off to the tea rooms for refreshments. Window seats ensured we had a lovely view of the garden as we discussed everything from holidays to hand gel, and before we knew it the afternoon had whizzed past in the blink of an eye.

In a busy world where we meet new people day in, day out, it’s very important to show how much you still value your old friendships.

Lights Out and Away We Go…

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Ever since I was a child I can remember being a huge Formula One fan. This was back in the days when cars were refuelled during races while mechanics puffed on cigarettes nearby; health and safety not a big issue back in the 70s apparently. A few decades later, and with so many new rules and regulations you need a degree just to keep up with the commentary, I remain a massive Grand Prix fanatic; the irony being that I can’t actually drive.

With an exciting night race in Bahrain imminent I stocked up on all the essentials, including bottle of booze and a selection of snacks, before settling down in front of the tv for an afternoon of sheer indulgence. Being footloose and fancy free gives you the opportunity to yell at the screen whenever any other car gets too close to your favourite driver, without incurring disapproving sideways glances or tutting by those who simply don’t appreciate the emotional roller-coaster of watching 20 fit young men hurtling around in the dark at 200 miles per hour in multi-million pound vehicles around stunning locations.

Two hours later and the Prosecco was almost gone, while the lounge carpet was littered with crumbs. I have no idea how tired the drivers were but I was exhausted! The post-race analysis was far too complicated for my delicate brain, although David Coulthard provided some rather delicious eye candy. Personally, I can’t think of a better way to spend a cold, wet Sunday afternoon – next stop Shanghai!

If It’s Broke, Don’t Fix It – Replace It…

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Or more accurately in my case, if your shower breaks get a plumber to replace it. I pride myself on the fact I can DIY with the best of them, however when it comes to major water and electrical issues I have to stand back and allow a professional to deal with it.

For twelve long years my beloved power shower had been a faithful servant, so when it suddenly decided to blow the electrics in the house last week there really was no other option but to have it replaced. I did make a few enquiries regarding fixing the wiring issue but the advice from those who know best was to allow the poor thing to go off to the bathroom appliance graveyard in the sky, and pay for a new one, which is exactly what I did.

The chap arrived early in the morning and after a couple of hours banging around my fabulous new device was installed, and I couldn’t be happier with it. The little red LED lights and all the chrome are proper ‘fancy pants’, oh, and it blasts out piping hot water at high speed too! Why patch up something that’s well past it’s prime when you can comfortably afford something better…?

Topless At Work…

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After one of my co-workers made a passing comment about getting a neck massage on campus for her muscle pain, I was keen to investigate further as I’ve spent years suffering with my arthritic neck. A quick check of the website confirmed that the on-site Sports Therapy Clinic wasn’t just to treat sporty students with games-related injuries but also available for staff to take full advantage of as well.

An email enquiry was made, followed up with a phone call, and to my amazement there was no waiting list and I could get an appointment any time I wanted (unlike the jolly old NHS). This morning, off I went to the snazzy new facility that only opened six weeks ago, where I was greeted by a lovely young lad who took a detailed medical history before taking me into a private room for further investigation. He was extremely thorough with his assessment and came up with several really helpful pieces of advice before ending the session slathering my bare back in scented oils (all legal and above board despite it feeling ‘wrong‘ to be enjoying a young man massaging me while topless, especially at the place where I work).

I have to say, the treatment I received was first class, and with appointments available whenever I need one I’ll definitely be a regular customer, and at just £5 a session it’s ridiculously good value for money. What a result…!

Babysitting Big Kids…

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As an experienced invigilator I’m regularly offered the opportunity to earn some extra cash overseeing a wide variety of tests and exams, which also provides me with endless amusement. You think you’ve heard it all; ‘I was only looking at my phone to check the time’. ‘I haven’t got a pen’. ‘What’s this?’ (A treasury tag!) and so on.

I’d agreed to spend Friday evening looking after a room full of millennials sitting a two hour exam on Risk Management and Financial Institutions, and they didn’t disappoint in the hilarity stakes, especially with the utterly absurd hair dos and ridiculous outfits.

It felt a bit surreal to be walking home from work at 7.30pm on a Friday as I’m usually a nine-to-five administrator, but I got to earn a few extra quid towards my next holiday; more euros for extra treats in Cyprus. The main exam period will begin at the end of April; six whole weeks of saying “Turn your mobile phones off” and losing weight by walking literally miles every day back and forth to the loos. I’m already excited…

Year of the Dog…

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I’m so lucky to work at a large university, where the Student Union fully embraces all manner of cultural celebrations and events on a regular basis. Today I’ve been enjoying all things Chinese on campus in honour of the Chinese New Year; including lantern making, calligraphy and free fortune cookies.

Large, red lanterns had been hung everywhere and there was a real festival atmosphere amongst excited students and staff alike. The highlight for me was the performance of the Lion Dance, accompanied with a drum so loud you could feel every beat inside your body. It was a truly amazing experience.

Mother Nature blessed the event with blue skies and sunshine, which some might say was due to all of the good luck and fortune associated with such displays. With the Lion Dance completed it was then time for the Dragon, which made it’s way all around the site before returning to great applause. I just love days like this…