Monthly Archives: March 2013

Blowing your own trumpet

I am quite new to twitter but already I have been struck by a strange phenomenon. I have spent quite a while looking at other people’s timelines, searching for some interesting people to follow. One thing that surprised me was the ‘look at me’ mentality in which people retweet a complimentary tweet to all their followers. I find that really strange. It’s a bit like the twitter equivalent of standing on a soapbox and shouting out to all and sundry how brilliant you are. Or maybe if someone sent you a nice letter, pinning it to your front door so that all passers-by could read it.  

In my opinion, this sort of reaction tells me a lot about the person tweeting. Not sure I would follow, for that very reason.



Noise is annoying. But some noise is more annoying. The noise of personal entertainment enjoyed without the use of headphones is most annoying. You know what I mean, don’t you? The person on the train playing their tunes out loud so we can all enjoy them. The child intently playing that irritating game on the iPad / DS / mobile phone where the noise seems to be on an incessant loop. The person entering data on their device where they have activated key press sounds. All intensely irritating.

Have they not heard of headphones???

The worst place is on a train, of course because you are the captive audience. Yes, I know you can book the quiet coach and I have done – and still had the irritating noise to contend with. Every train journey has its irritations and one of the worst is the person who takes non-stop calls on the mobile. Why do they ALWAYS shout? We do NOT want to follow your every conversation. We do NOT want to hear you say ‘I’m on the train!’ We do not want to hear your repeated ‘Hello? Hello? Hello??’ as the train enters a tunnel and the ‘I lost the signal. We went thorough a tunnel’ when you call them back. We do not want to hear your stupid ring tone or text tone that sounds like someone burping or farting.

But we are British. We have a stiff upper lip. We do not complain but sit there silently fuming in a very British way. 

Inconsiderate driving

You’ll all have been there. You are driving along and there’s a point in the road where two vehicles can’t pass. You wait and flash your lights or show in some way that you are giving way to the oncoming driver. Most of the time you will get a thank you. But occasionally, you will get no response as the other driver cruises past, ignoring your good manners and consideration. It makes you think that next time you will just motor on through regardless and make them wait. I have to admit that I am generally mild mannered and kind but once I get into a car I sprout devil’s horns and go through a Jekyll and Hyde type of transformation. What is it about driving that turns us into monsters?


It is great to read in the news that numbers of smokers in this country are falling. I can’t think of a single thing in the world that is more pointless than smoking. As a student, I tried it but never inhaled and really didn’t enjoy it. In my whole life I think I probably smoked less than 20 cigarettes. However, for health services and insurance purposes, I am counted as an ex-smoker. This niggles me as everything about smoking makes me cross. It looks ridiculous (not cool, as some think). It smells awful. It damages the health of those who do it and, more to the point, that of those around them. I celebrated when it was banned in public places. However, now, on entering my local shopping centre, I have to hold my breath as I squeeze my way through the smokers who congregate at the doors. Even worse, I am a regular visitor to my local hospital and despite notices that smoking is not allowed anywhere on the land surrounding the hospital, there they all are, smoking by the entrance doors. Some in wheelchairs. Some with leg amputations. Some on intravenous drips. Sucking on their silly white paper stick, mouths like cats’ bums, blowing their fumes over those trying to enter the doors. The cost on our stretched health services is massive but government makes so much money from it that they turn a blind eye. Yes, smoking is right up there on my whinge list……

Moaning Minnies

What could be worse than getting up, throwing open the curtains, feeling full of optimism and hope, opening your computer – only to find messages full of negativity, doom and gloom? What do some people get out of being the harbingers of doom, sucking all your emotions out of you and starting your day with a grimace? Of course, they’ve got you right where they want you. You need your phone / Facebook / Twitter / email to keep in touch with the nice people in your life. It is too drastic to stop using them. You can’t really block them either because basically you are a nice person who doesn’t like hurting their feelings and they will soon find out you have shut them out of your life. So we smile as we reply supportively (or press ‘delete’).




Today, my first ever grandchild is celebrating his fifth birthday. I was there at his birth, waiting anxiously for him to make his first cry for what seemed like ages and when they brought him over to us, all pink and beautiful, he stole my heart and has held it in the palm of his hand since. People tell you that there is no love like you feel for a grandchild and that is so true. When you have your children, they are your whole world but unfortunately they come at a time when you are juggling a career, keeping a home running and have limited finances. Time is at a premium and although the time you spend with them is precious it is still part of a pretty hectic lifestyle. You watch them grow and flourish and feel joy and sadness with them, just hoping that you have done your best to help them become happy, healthy and successful.

Having a grandchild is very different. We are lucky that we were able to retire from teaching early and consequently spend much more time with our grandchildren. Although looking after two little boys is VERY different to bringing up two girls, the love we feel for them is almost unbearable at times. Sometimes I feel like I could burst with it (usually when they are being good, or asleep!). Some grandparents make the decision to lead their own lives and say ‘I’ve told my son / daughter that we’re not looking after their children while they work!’  Everyone has the right to make that decision, of course, but my opinion is that they must be missing out on so much. When they slip their hand into yours, or tell you they love you, or, as S did on Friday, give you a little handwritten note saying ‘I luv you soooo much’ it is enough to make that love almost painful it gets so big! Just like your own children, they can bring tears of joy or tears of sadness, but being there with them, making the most of every day (as you will never get that day again) and watching them grow and flourish in what has become a pretty tough world is so very special.

So, happy 5th birthday little man. You make us very proud and we hope to be here for you for a long time to come.