Thursday, 16 July 2009

A Day out for an EGG

It seems we group of ex-green gymmers now have the name 'EGGS'... a good bunch... good eggs... adventurous and game for anything!

Yesterday, we went to Broughton Castle in north Oxfordshire. It being one of the few ancestral homes that still remains in the hands of the original family... Sele and Sayte. It had a really good, still lived-in feel about it, having escaped the trappings of that wonderful organisation; The National Trust.

Pictures of Oliver Cromwell adorned the walls, as did pictures of Queen Ann and others. Although the family sided with Cromwell, they quickly accepted the return of Charles II (as one would in difficult times). Original plated armour, leather buckets, swords, pikes and artefacts adorn the Castle and as I gazed out of this window before taking the picture, I could imagine the Cromwellian soldiers riding down the green sloping pasture land towards the Castle. I really wish, (along with thousands of others) that I could be an invisible time traveller. Ah... if only I could afford to enrol on an archaeology course! I just love digging in the dirt!

One of our team didn't come with us... she had been in contact with someone with Swine Flu and was beginning to develop symptoms...

I think I really must get my Will sorted!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Death from Application forms

Yesterday, I spent all the daylight hours trying to complete an online application form for a college lecturer's post at a college many, many miles away! Today, I ask why?

I lost the will to live several times throughout the day. No I can't remember the exact start and end dates of jobs ten years' ago. No, I don't have the post code of Southampton University; No, I didn't work between Dec 04 and now because it's no-one else's bloody business!

I came out of the web page, and was then sent a special code by email for me to resume the application form later! Neck and back aching from a badly positioned screen and chair, I sipped my extra strong coffee and asked myself out loud, "Do I really want to go back to being a Lecturer?" In my heart I heard a resounding 'No'. "Do I want to earn some money?" 'Yes'! So, what can I do to earn some money??

I asked two of my daughters to tell me honestly what my qualities and skills were - in their opinion - and told them not to hold back... even the negative thoughts would be good for me! Their responses surprised me; I was in tears... real, emotive tears. It was a defining moment... I had no idea they viewed me in the way they did!

There were no negatives... I seem to have qualities and skills I hadn't realised. Has it helped me decide what I want to do? No. I'm even more confused now.

I think this must be my second mid-life crises... and what I really must get my head around is the fact that it's okay to have these times, and that it's okay not to work, and it's okay to just potter around and do whatever my bank balance allows me to do.

Sod the application form... I'd rather take photos of my Hollyhocks!

Monday, 13 July 2009

Help for Heroes... indeed, more help needed!

It was a damp but humid Saturday evening when a few of us rallied round and set up food and refreshments in the Woodstock Town Hall ready for the group of 20 or so Royal Engineers who were cycling on a seven-seater contraption in order to raise money for a rehabilitation unit for their injured comrades.

No Mayor..., and no deputy Mayor... where were they? A few Town Councillors and several 'old' soldiers and their wives. I think there could have been a lot more support for such self-sacrificing men...

My daughter, granddaughter and myself served wine to all who required it. Perhaps due to the damp weather, or otherwise, there was not the huge welcome the men of the Royal Engineers deserved. Woodstock, a wealthy Cotswold town not far from Oxford, remained sleepily silent except for the excellent work of a few councillors and helpers who thoughtfully made an effort!

I sat in the Mayor's chair within the ancient Town Hall and was asked by someone (not a councillor) if I'd be interested in running for Mayor next year... No, I don't live in Woodstock... I was only helping out a friend for the evening! Methinks Woodstock needs to have a talk to some of its current Councillors... and who knows... maybe a new Mayor would bring fresh thoughts?!

What would I know!!