While pre-arranged nights out are great, unexpected last-minute nights out are a very welcome surprise indeed. An email out of the blue regarding a Quiz Night at a local pub led to a flurry of social media messages, and a few hours later I was being chauffeured to a fun evening out with my mates! Didn’t see THAT coming when I crawled out of bed this morning.
After 3 hours of drinks, chat, cheesey tunes and even some correct answers, we’d managed to win meals and wine! What had started out to be a cold, wet and rather miserable Thursday ended up being extremely entertaining. Just goes to show, you simply never know what’s coming next…
When you’re insanely busy, it’s nice when you can finally manage to schedule an afternoon natter with an old friend. When I met up with my gal pal in town it was rather chilly outside, so we popped into a nearby cafe to de-frost and catch up with each other’s gossip. Even though it’d only been a year since we last got together, and we’ve regularly texted each other in the meantime, it was good to be able to put the world to rights over a large Americano and a latte.
In fact, we’d both clearly done a lot more than we first thought in the previous 12 months because an hour whizzed by, as did 2 and then 3! It was only when it started getting dark outside that we suddenly realised how long we’d been nattering for! So, after warm hugs, and promises not to leave it so long the next time, I headed back home – via the chemist to buy some throat sweets. I have a feeling I may need them later…
Even though it’s the weekend, I decided to log into my employee email account from home just to see if there were any new messages, and I’m rather pleased I did. There was one of those “Dear Colleagues” emails, that you assume doesn’t really apply to you; “We’re delighted to tell you (ok, now I’m listening) Unions…negotiations, blah, blah, blah… PAY RISE (YAY!) backdated to August (HURRAH!)..blah, blah, blah…”
I’ve only been in the job five minutes and have already been given my first raise! I had to pinch myself to see if I was dreaming (nope – definitely real). What with the festive season just around the corner, and my fabulous holiday to the Canaries still to come, the timing of this happy news couldn’t have been better. Yo ho ho…
When your new employer offers a wide range of ‘Professional Development’ courses free to all staff, it’d be rude to turn down the opportunity to learn new skills, not to mention all the brownie points you gain (and it looks great on the CV too). That’s how I became a fully trained Fire Evacuation Steward!
I can now get everyone safely out of a building and to the nearest fire assembly point, and I know how to avoid potential bottle-necks, as well as identify and use a variety of fire exit locking systems. Hopefully, it’s one of those things I’ll never actually have to put into practice, however, should the need arise in the future I’m now confident I could rise to the challenge. Now, where are all those hunky firemen…?!
I’ve done my fair share of volunteering over the years, and my most recent venture has been my involvement in a local project to help create a nicer environment in the area close to where I live. A small but dedicated team of ‘Community Wombles’ does all of the hard work, picking up litter and liaising with the council to get larger dumped items removed from the green spaces, woodland and stream, while I simply promote awareness by taking photos and writing regular blog posts. We’ve actually received awards for our efforts, which has been a nice surprise and has helped to motivate us to organise events.
In the past we’ve run a ‘Dog Awareness Day‘ in order to attempt to highlight the unsavoury issue of dog poo, and this weekend we held a ‘Picnic & Planting Day.‘ The aim was to plant hundreds of crocus, snowdrop and daffodil bulbs, along with wild flowers, which will become a floral legacy for future generations to enjoy. We were joined by various other volunteers who assisted with the digging, and it was wonderful to meet so many like-minded people. The weather was kind to us and by lunchtime all the tea had been drunk, cakes and biscuits eaten, the plants were in situ and various contact details had been exchanged with our lovely new friends. Life doesn’t always have to be about making money, it can be just as rewarding giving something back for a change…
Keep The Green Clean Link: Keep The Green Clean
One of my favourite Richard Branson quotes is “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say “YES” then learn how to do it later.” …which is how I ended up in an unfamiliar room, in a strange building with people I’d never met before, acting as if I was completely in control of the whole situation!
Obviously, things could well have gone pear-shaped very quickly. However, when your new bosses ask you for a favour, and you spend an entire morning drawing on every shred of common sense you possess in order to justify their unwavering faith in your abilities, doors that had previously appeared locked and bolted suddenly begin to open and new opportunities start to emerge. I must say “Yes” more often!!
As my cardiologist insists that my blood pressure drops below impending stroke range immediately (if not sooner), I’ve now been given a brand new monitor to use at home for the next eight days so that they can discover whether the figures are genuinely sky high 24/7, or if I’m simply suffering ‘white coat syndrome‘ whenever I’m within range of an NHS facility. It’s all fancy with buttons that beep – how exciting (mustn’t get too excited or the numbers will go up even higher).
The initial reading was, in fact, low (that’s a first), but I guess by this time next week I’ll be closer to finding out whether or not further cardiac intervention will be required. Just as well I didn’t have to do this last week while I was getting sozzled every night in the land of ‘all sheep and no vowels’!