Tag Archives: zero to hero

Well This One Took Me By Surprise ……….



very inspiring blogger award

I want to say a huge thank you to A Worried Student for this nomination, especially given the title of Inspiring!! The most I ever seem to inspire is deep sighs from my geniuses, who do not, ever, at any time, find me in the least bit funny. Actually, that only inspires me to annoy them even more!!

So here we go, seven facts about me.

  1. I can’t sing. I really can’t!! I sing all the time, at the top of my voice, but I defy anyone to actually recognise what I am singing!! It is a talent I inherited from Fragrant Mother, everything she sings sounds like the theme tune from Kojak. And that wasn’t great!! My brother sings like an angel. I have longer legs!!
  2. As a child,I used to tear off small bits of paper from whatever I was reading at the time. My father got so annoyed by this, he made me eat a paper sandwich. It cured me.
  3. I still have dreadful nightmares. I haven’t learnt to navigate my dreams, and frequently wake up completely terrified. I also sleep walk.
  4. I have virtually no sense of smell. I have odd days when I have big whiffs of things, but most of the time I have nothing. My sense of taste is not affected by this, if anything it is enhanced. I am almost obsessive about personal hygiene as a result.
  5. I love swimming, particularly in the sea. I would quite happily spend hours in the water, and frequently end up pruney!!
  6. As a teenager, I was quite often mistaken for Hazel O’Connor. One bloke got really angry with me one night because I wouldn’t admit to being her!! I didn’t mind that comparison, I wasn’t so keen on Princess Anne!!
  7. I have always wanted to be call Tabitha!! I may yet change my name. I fully intended naming my youngest child Tabitha. He turned out to be a boy. Even I am not that cruel a mother!!

So here are my seven bloggers that I have found inspiring.

  1. Dandelion Fuzz
  2. I Shit You Knot
  3. Hugh’s Views and News
  4. Meredith’s Musings
  5. The Chocolate Teapot
  6. To Search and to Find
  7. The Relative Cartographer

And the all important rules!!

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Add the Very Inspiring Blogger Award to your post.
  3. Share 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate a list of bloggers that inspire you.
  5. Include this set of rules.
  6. Inform your nominees by posting a comment on their blogs.

 Hasta luego!!!


GibGen Day



gib from airI thought I might do a post about this amazingly unique place where I live. But I don’t want to drown you all in history and facts (and there is a lot of history going on here!). Soooooo!! I thought that on a Saturday, I would share just bits and pieces with you, and maybe create a page, so if you miss a bit, you can go back and have a sneaky catch-up.

I want to show you the stuff you won’t find on Google. The real reason why I fell in love with this lump of rock, and made it my home. So today, a few of the basics. It is really small, only 2.3 square miles (6 square kilometres) and most of that is rock!! The main town area is the part you can see at the front of the picture, and is home to almost 30,000 people. We ran out of space a little while ago, and had to reclaim some land from the sea, so that middle chunk is only 20 years old.

It is a British territory, has been since 1713, and for such a tiny piece of rock, has been fiercely fought over for several hundred years. English is the official language, although Gibraltarians are all bilingual (or bisexual, as one of my ex work colleagues once informed a bemused tourist!) and speak spanish as well. So that’s it for the history lesson for today, I will tell you more next week. For now, I will share with you a few of the photos I have taken, of the places most day trippers don’t see.

20140321_143546 (1)This is Catalan Bay, a tiny village on the east side of the rock, that until the last century was unreachable except by sea. It was originally populated by Genoese fishermen, and still retains its independent sense of community. The fishing boats go out daily, and are the main supply for our restaurants. Eating here is an absolute joy.


There are really british aspects that stand out here, like the telephone boxes, which make you feel like you are stepping back in time by about fifty years. There are post boxes here that date back to Victorian times, I will capture those for you.


The original city walls date back to a time when this was a moorish stronghold. In fact the name Gibraltar comes from Gibral Tarik, meaning Tarik’s Seat, the moorish ruler at the time. The bloke on the right? Oh yeah, that’s Nelson. His remains were brought here in a  barrel of rum, onboard H.M.S. Pickle, after he died during the Battle of Trafalgar.

20140507_122146And this is in the Trafalgar Cemetery, which contains the remains of those that lost their life in that battle, and also those who died in an epidemic plague that followed shortly afterwards. Sounds a bit mad, but it is a beautiful cemetery!20140507_121728 Ok so that’s the first of many! Not my normal type of post, but I really wanted people to know about this place, because it is really very special for a tiny isthmus! Oh, and for those of you that were expecting apes? Yes, we have them. Yes, they look cute. They are not!! They have teeth!! They steal!! And beat up small dogs!! (Ok, I may have made that last bit up, but they is nasty!!) But just for you, a picture!!gib ape

Round ‘Em Up………Rawhide


round em up

Two months ago, I started this blog. Two months!! It feels like I have been doing this for years! I had no idea what a blog entailed. My Torn-Apart talked me into taking the first step. Purely on the basis of the *emilys* I had written to him. Started to pester me, in fact. So I did a bit of research, and WordPress was the suggestion that came up again and again.

So I took a deep breath, signed up, and dived into the Blogosphere! It is the best eyes closed, holding nose, jump I have ever taken! This is an absolute joy! What’s not to love? I get to write, laugh, share, read, investigate, talk, question, interact with the most amazing group of people ever. I have discovered that I really enjoy taking phoneographs, and sharing my thoughts on films and books. That the utterings of my geniuses delight others as well! That I can offload my angst, and other people understand. That I can make people laugh, so they feel better as a result. Which is, for me, the best thing ever. Most special of all, I have connected with the most amazing, talented, inspiring people, from places I could only hope to visit, and we have become friends.

So today’s assignment has been the most difficult. Include at least three other bloggers. Three!! I want to include everyone! I have written lists, categories, themes, inspirations. I have decided to go with those people who have inspired me, and encouraged me, from day one, and who continue to do this daily. But before I start, I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who is following me, and who has taken the time to dip into my madness!! OK, here goes!

Nate, because you made me feel that I could write. And for the amazing stories you weave around the family you have discovered.

Hugh, for facing up to that monster, and beating it to the ground. And for laughing with me!

Pavennah, for enjoying the nonsense that I write. And for being so very honest about your struggles at times.

Indah, for the amazing images and insights into your world and culture. And for sharing the laughter!

NS, for your constant input. And your sharing of your life, and those beautiful children,

Jules. For making me feel funny, and nominating me for a Liebster, which made me feel like an Oscar winner!!

Kat. For being the most amazing Mum ever. For sharing  your story, to make other parents feel they are not alone.

Maria. For liking my photos, and making me want to go straight back out there and shoot some more!

Athena. For being Athena! I adore you!! For your gut wrenching honesty!! And your dog!! And I can make you laugh!


Katie. Because Sass and Balderdash inspired me!! And still does!!


The amazing youngsters, Laura, Anna, Angelique,Sass, and Romeo! Smart, stylish, stunning ladies!


JenK  and Me, for being mums after my own heart!


Lucie. A newcomer. Check her out!! She is brilliant. Much belly laughing!! And she has my tattoo habit!!


Last, and most certainly not least……..Claudette!! Talented, tough, and as mad as a box of frogs!! My two-headed, Tasmanian, utter nutter!! Who can write. And make beautiful things.


Further Conversations with Teenage Son …………………



In the weeks before my first face to face reunion with Torn-Apart, I suffered a severe crisis of confidence. This was, after all, someone who hadn’t seen me for thirty years, at which time I had been a fresh faced young woman, barely out of her teens. Now I had hit the half century, had four children, and time and gravity had taken their toll.

The body part that  took, as usual, the brunt of my self-loathing, was my stomach. No amount of careful eating, or vigorous exercise has ever persuaded it to revert to its pre-birth firmness. One particular evening, as I stood in profile in front of the mirror, poking it with a despairing finger, my Littley walked into the room.

“What on earth are you doing, Mother?” he asked.

“Hating my belly,” I replied. “Look at it, revolting. Why can’t I have a proper flat tummy?”

His reply was unforgettable.

“Why would you want to have a *V* stomach? (Referring to the shape formed by perfect abs). A bloke would need a crab claw hand to get hold of that! What you have is an *O* tum, far more friendly and comfy, like a little pillow. Think of it as your own little piece of Playdoh. If the guy gets bored, he can make little models of stuff with it!”

I can’t claim that it did anything for my confidence, but it did make me shout with laughter!!


Oh, Doctor, Doctor……….



Yesterday, I had an appointment with a neurologist. So I didn’t shave my legs. Why would I? I was having my head examined, so he would have no reason to pay attention to my limbs. Except, yes he did, to check all my reflexes, and I found myself apologising profusely for my lack of sharp blade usage!

Don’t get me wrong! I live in a hot climate where exposure of body is a normal state of affairs. So they were only at the *day three, just rough enough to file that annoying catch nail* stage, and not the *oh my god, for a moment I thought you were wearing mohair tights* stage. Which may have been better, because he may just have assumed that I was of the Julia Roberts/Madonna ilk, and not simply too lazy to care!

Given the inordinate amount of time I seem to have spent in hospitals, you would assume that I had finely honed my dress etiquette skills. Not so!! I never quite manage to get the damn thing right! Take the first time I had my varicose veins stripped (yes, you read that right, the FIRST time. There are hundreds of veins in my legs with a deep longing to be varicose, who knew?!). I thought legs. Not knickers. Big mistake. Prior to the operation, I was taken to a side ward by the surgeon and his trusty sidekick, where they made me lie down on a bed and raise both legs in the air. They then proceeded to massage a leg each vigorously from ankle to groin, and, once satisfied with their labours, strapped a rubber garter around the top of each thigh.

All of which was surreal enough, but they then asked me to stand in front of them. It transpires the reason behind this exercise was to establish where the vein had ceased to work efficiently. So. I am wearing a nightdress and two rubber garters. And a THONG. I was in my thirties, they were fashionable okay?!

“Raise your nightdress, please.”

I did, to a demure mid-thigh.

“No, right up, we need to see all of your legs.”

There then followed an excruciatingly embarrassing three minutes while I posed in front of them, from every angle. All it required was some corny music, and a bearded man entering the room to fix the photocopier, and it would have passed quite easily for a low budget porn movie!! I coped in the way I always do in these situations. I giggled. Hysterically!

(Incidentally,the etiquette thing doesn’t always work the other way either. Sometimes the medical professionals get it wrong, too. After the birth of my first son, I required stitches, due to a nifty bit of scalpel work by the attending midwife. Enter surgeon, who, on taking a seat opposite the area to be attended, uttered these ne’er to be forgotten words. “Good God!! Who got you? ZORRO?!!)


Playing Around with Playlists



I absolutely love music!! I can’t imagine a world without it!! It dictates my mood, defusing anger, raising my spirits, giving me get up and go when I thought it had all but got up and gone. But I am often really curious as to what other people are listening to as they stride past me in the street, plugged into their ipods. I like to imagine that it is something totally at odds with their appearance! The sweet little old lady listening to the Sex Pistols perhaps? Or the big burly biker relaxing to a bit of opera? My favourites vary wildly from week to week, but as part of Day 19, trying a new type of post, I thought I would share my current top ten. What is your playlist like? Which track gives you the boost you need? Does your choice in music surprise other people? Which one makes you dance like nobody’s watching?

Cake – Love You Madly

 Fall Out Boy – I Don’t Care

 Panic! At The Disco – Nearly Witches [Ever Since We Met…]

 Jack White – I’m Shakin’

 Kasabian – Fast Fuse

 Maroon 5 – Harder To Breathe

 Kasabian – Underdog

 Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out

 Kings Of Leon – Sex On Fire

 4 Non Blondes – What’s Up?

Alternative Therapies……I’ll Go Back to Basics, Thanks!


bad back pose

I read a gloriously funny post yesterday by the wonderful Jen K. on her blog Send the Bus, about involving your child in your yoga routine. My children’s involvement usually amounts to pointing and laughing, and possibly filming with a view to posting it on Facebook. That is the point when they are forcibly reminded of my wrestling skills!! Add a daft dog and cunning cat into the mix, and the whole situation quickly descends into farce.

A few weeks ago, I managed to put my back out, by making a cup of tea. Seriously! Go figure! Amazingly, I very rarely suffer from back problems, despite many years spent working in dangerously high heels, and contorting myself into ridiculous positions. As a hairdresser, you understand. This, combined with what my Nearly Non-teen describes as my “unnatural woman height” should have resulted in a lifetime of Deep Heat and chiropractors, but I managed to survive virtually unscathed. (Incidentally, although tall, I am not of towering proportions. My son is merely bitter because he inherited my Father’s hobbit genes!)

I struggled gamely through the day, incapacitated to the point where I had to put my knickers on with the help of a broom handle ( a trick I learnt during pregnancy), and sneezing was not an option. So I sought advice from my Torn-Apart, himself a veteran of the bad back brigade.

“Lie flat on the floor and stretch out your legs” came the reply. Bless, I thought, such a sweet talker!! Then realised this was in fact his back healing advice. What follows is the emily I sent back.

Home from work. Back aching, decide to take advice, to lie on floor. Opt for sitting room, only floor area large enough to accommodate prone body. manoeuvre gingerly to ground, stretch out. Realise how cold carpetless floor feels. Turn head, discover whereabouts of lost pendrive, four pens, two balls, empty sweet wrappers, and fifty pence. Make mental note to ask boys to move sofas to facilitate hoovering. Regret open plan living, as joined by dog and cat. Dog, taking advantage of rare close proximity, snuffles face. Add ‘bath smelly dog’ to mental note. Bat off dog with hands, cat takes advantage of distraction to lie on chest. Throw handy slipper at dog, attempt to remove cat, discover arms are shorter than cat at full stretch with claws embedded in left breast. Dog returns slipper, senses new game, joins cat on chest. Have sneezing fit brought on by dust under sofa, hurt back again. Give up. Roll sideways to eject animals, realise getting up far more difficult than lying down. Spend ungainly five minutes using sofa as climbing frame. Opt for alternative therapy. Pour large glass of wine. Have hot bath!!   

Do You See What I See?



I have always been fascinated by the infinite variations of the colour green. Perhaps it is just my perception, but a vista of trees vibrates in high definition, a multi-faceted array of tones. I have always wondered if we all see colours differently. If what I know as green is in fact a totally different shade from that which you perceive. My oldest son is completely colour blind, an aspect of his dyslexia. He only sees in shades of grey. Yet will identify a banana as being yellow, because that is the name he was taught for that shade. So perhaps that is why I drown in green. Because I see it differently.

Oh Mum!! It’s Just a Scribble!!


I just wanted to share this with you. My Darling Daughter is studying Biomedical Science at University. She absolutely loves science, is completely absorbed by her subject, and is so passionate when she talks about it that even the most disinterested of parties finds themselves captivated. The written word is her weaker point, and to my amusement, she will send me drafts of her assignments, so that I can proof-read them, because apparently, I am good at that stuff!  It doesn’t occur to her  that I may as well be reading instructions for building the starship Enterprise. In Kling-on!!

She is bordering on obsessive about her studies, and becomes very stressed as a result, so she has taken to drawing and painting in order to relax. She is a huge fan of the British street artist, Banksy, and has done several very technically  accurate copies. So when I spotted this, in the background  of a photo in her digs, I assumed it was another. I pointed it out, remarking that I hadn’t seen that particular copy before. Transpires it is her own work, very much *in the style of*, but a total original. She is quite dismissive of it, but I think it is stunning. What do you think? I apologise for the quality, as I said , this has been lifted from the background of a photograph. It was all drawn freehand.

My daughter can do Banksy

My daughter can outbank Banksy!!!


An Ode to Lentil Soup




lentil soup

Oh, lentil soup, I applaud you

For keeping my family alive.

Cheap and delicious,

And smugly nutritious,

With protein, and three of the five.

But while I applaud your importance,

I have a confession to make.

You cause me to fart,

And deep in my heart,

I long for a fat, juicy steak!!

(Inspired by Claudette

Well, more of a bet!!)

Dubious Conversations With Teenage Sons (#1,297)


question mark

I have just had one of many somewhat dubious conversations with my fifteen year old. The sort where I wonder whether I should really have found some excuse to go into the kitchen and thus nip it in the bud. Except I got the giggles, and allowed it to descend into ultra outrageousness!! I am still not quite sure which topic for discussion on BBC’s political programme, Question Time, triggered his train of thought, but I suspect it may have been his brother’s remark that one of the guest politicians was a w!#ker!

“Did you know that the taste of your sperm depends on what you have eaten?” he blithely announced.

(You have probably already realised that this is the point at which I should have left the room).

Noncommittal grunt from mother, snort from older brother. Undaunted by lack of enthusiasm, he warmed to his subject.

“How did scientists discover that fact? Does that mean someone tasted it?”

Brother showing interest now, mother trying to keep features arranged into facsimile of responsible adult.

“I mean, how did they advertise that  job? And who applied for it? Did they leave school with that as their career ambition? Or perhaps they were targeted as unsuspecting unemployed wine-tasters? Do you have a discerning palette? Are you looking for new challenges? Can you think outside the box?”

Features going into meltdown now, brother already cackling.

“”Hhhhmmmmm…….I’m getting hints of garlic, with high notes of chilli and cumin, and…….let me see……a backnote of german lager! Am I correct?” “Ok  Barry, lets do the reveal….. ” (brother does suspenseful drum roll) “….and you’re correct!!!!!””

Both boys now doing fake audience rapturous applause, responsible adult crying with laughter!!