Light & Dark

So I’m wandering around, in the light and in the dark.
Wondering about life and how I’ll make my mark.
Ambition to look forward, which will drive us always on.
But who really is to say, what is right and what is wrong?
There are so many of them, Unanswered questions in my mind.
As I sort through them all, I try to just remind
That this life is ever changing
For the good and for the bad
I am just resting here right now
Not really going mad.
Time is ticking onward and I want to move along.
Don’t want to reach the end, the fat lady sings her song.
Without finding a something that will set me there apart.
A confused misguided person, who just once followed her heart.
So leave it all to fate, or manifest your dreams.
And hope that it gets better than it often seems.
As tears have started flowing, my sadness rears its head
And that Karma works its magic, long before we are dead.
To hope that there is something, which out there good will bring
Back to us with fortune, love and faith within.

My Blogging Birthday.

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I read an article the other day on Linked in which inspired me to write one of my own on the subject of blogging. Later last night I read another linked here from a blog I follow A Thousand Bits of Paper  who tells of her draft folder and subject matter and how she dives in and out of there. I think that we all do it. Save some for later post it when it seems right, or not at all. I have on several occasions written thought I had finished a draft and then not felt quite right about publishing. Waiting for the right time to do so and having to edit it so much because the timing is out. But since I have the opportunity to elaborate here on my own blog about my own writing I feel inclined to.

As I head towards a whole year as a blogger, it feels kind of strange to be writing this. Firstly that something I had thought at first might not take off or might be short lived would become quite a big part of my life. When I thought that a little bit of writing here and there would turn into something that would consume so many of my waking hours and that my thoughts, however random they might be would be down on paper and/or the blog and I would be letting it all out in the open.

At first my partner was apprehensive about it. Having life as we know it out there for all to see and that is why you do not see his name here when I write. It’s easier that way. I wanted to keep him separate and protect him in some small way.  

Blogging has changed my life, I hope for the better. I have an outlet for thoughts and creativity which means I no longer carry them around bursting at the seams, an emotional wreck full of baggage clogging up my life, which is how I felt previously.

True, I haven’t done a great deal of go getting or living in the past year and have often felt constrained but not in the same ways as before. So it has helped me grow as a person, my writing has improved I think and I have connected with some wonderful people and writers along the way. I have found them to be both informative and supportive and thankfully right when I needed it, totally non-judgmental. I had been so fragile previously I don’t know if they sensed this in my writing, or just that I have been so extremely lucky. Either way, I am truly grateful for them and the experience of writing. I will continue with this blog it wasn’t a five minute wonder for me. More like the start of something wonderful and your comments have spurred me on. I have written a book and got it out there on Amazon at least. It’s a little acorn at the moment, but I felt that I would continue with my poems and there might be enough for a second one, who knows maybe even a third on the same vein. I am testing my writing language. I may decide to write that raunchy book too, since they also seem to be all the rage and at least it will get that little lot out of my head and I think that there might also be a novel hiding in there somewhere.

I still have a fight going on with my partner from time to time about my writing.  After all, He has demands upon my time more so while I have not had a job. I need to work but since I haven’t been able to this has kept me sane and given me the outlet to keep working towards something however small it might be. I also need space for my own thoughts, to release them without judgement. We don’t always agree and I don’t want to argue. We don’t often unless it’s something important or I feel really strongly about, but we talk about everything. I mean everything and sometimes I just crave some peace and quiet and it feels like overload. If I can’t get out on my own then I go and write. It helps to have some of your own space to do this uninterrupted. I make sure that I write most days even if it is just a diary entry just before I sleep. The pages on my phone have become my silent notebook if I need to write in the early hours or the morning and not all of it gets published here.

I used to carry notebooks around when I was working. I still have many of them and will go back to that since the batteries on the phone are always running low and it still needs to work as a phone I have been thinking of getting an electronic notebook though it might save me time when I’m going to work again. I like to get things put on the laptop and backed up since losing my hard drive a couple of years ago. I found it devastating. I don’t like to lose things.

I have recommended and encouraged others to venture into the world of blogging, to begin their own journey and see where it takes them for me  so far it has been such a wonderfully rewarding experience.

Today I received a notification that I had received 1337 likes to my blog.  A strange number to celebrate, but hey I’m glad that people out there in the big wide world are still liking what I write. I also now have 160 followers, so to all of you. I Thank You, I am grateful for you all making it worthwhile.

 

I knew it…Someday I’d get there

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So, how would I feel when it finally happened and was it different to how I expected it to be? 

Yes, totally.  I clearly did not know what to expect when I arrived at the place which I had longed to see.  It was my reason for wanting to visit Barcelona in the first place. To visit and pay homage to Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion.

For those of you who do not know, it was the German Pavilion first built in 1928-29 for the International Exposition in Barcelona, Spain it was demolished in 1930 and later on, they figured that that was a bad idea. It was an important building and pivotal in the architects career.  So the foundation set about reconstructing the building on the original site, in 1983 and in 1986 work was completed.  It is now open to the public and can also be hired for private events.

At this news, I thought what a wonderful place to have your wedding photographs taken. I felt that the clean lines, beautiful chrome and glass and exquisite stonework, would only enhance the photographs from the best day of a woman’s life.

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We had tried to find it for three of the five days which we had planned for Barcelona and yet, it was not easy to find at all.  We went past the signs for it on the bus, but still couldn’t find it. I had seen photographs of the place, but I didn’t know what surrounded it, something to look out for and three different maps didn’t show us.

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Once we were inside, you could see the iconic Barcelona chairs displayed. I somehow thought that there would be more furniture inside it. My mother was distinctly unimpressed with the whole place and within a short time was clearly bored.  We had taken a while to get there and were both tired. She agreed that the building construction was very good, but that was it for her.

I wanted a little bit more from the experience, I had thought that I would have a little time to relax there for a while and meditate, but my legs were aching from the walking and I could not get comfortable or shut out the sights and sounds around me. For a moment I stood next to the statue within the place.  It was not quiet enough, but would have to do.

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Dawn by Georg Kolbe

Just Wonderfully simple.

The Daily Post – Someday

The Fighter

Although this was not actually written about the great man himself, it was more a generalisation about the process. But,  with the sad passing of another legend Muhammad Ali I thought that I would post this today.  RIP to the greatest boxer a true fighter and the reminder to “Float Like a Butterfly, Sting like a Bee”

Think for a moment of the fighter.
Promoted his future will be much brighter,
He’s training for his very next bout,
But during this he doesn’t shout.
Can’t guess from the shape he’s in,
But this guy is determined to win.
Not sure he’s Bantam or Welter weight,
Can’t tell exactly from his gait.
Nutrition and fitness are his loves,
Dressed in shorts and his gloves.

The date arrives he behaves with bravado,
Showing the world he‘s no desperado.
His belief in himself as he will rise,
Willing his opponent to meet his demise.
Thinking of all of the money he’ll make,
If he’s prepared and what risks to take.
What he’ll do is calculated,
His form and result to be debated.
The time has come to grace the stage.
Experience will show with his age.
The effort he’ll give with all his might,
The victor he’ll be this very night.
With Herculean effort he’ll fight to the last
A case filled with trophies of the past.

 

 

A Racing Certainty

IMG_1140As she chased her dreams of doing something with her life, she would enter a National competition with the chance to become a racing driver. The Exchange and Mart Drivers Challenge and it was run by Tim Matthews who was an experienced racing driver. Never thinking for a moment that she had much more than a slim chance, but seizing the opportunity anyway after all what did she have to lose?

She loved Cars and driving and if she could combine the two in a future career, then that would be fantastic.
More wonderful than that, she had a man who believed in her. It was the most exhilarating feeling to have someone in her life who did, who encouraged her to try something new and was behind her all the way.

She sent off the forms and began work to increase her fitness and stamina. Her strength was there, it just needed some fine tuning and whilst she did this she did not think about the application, she was just concentrating on getting fitter and stronger. So imagine her surprise when some short time later, she received a letter. She was invited to Worcester Rugby Club to take part in the first selection of the competition. She spoke to her boss about it, booking a couple of days leave so that she could prepare and he couldn’t quite believe that she had any aspirations. This was someone he had underestimated greatly and assumed that her position as she had risen through the company was as far as she was going to get.   He was flabbergasted, since his privileged son, who had an amateur career in Go-Karting had only dreamed of such an opportunity, despite his entering it had not been selected for the competition. There was this girl, with no prior experience of racing, who had been selected. She surely wouldn’t get through the first round and it would be all over in a flash, then he could take delight in reminding her that she had failed every day and that she was not good enough. It would soon be over and he would control the situation once again.

They travelled to the location and booked into a hotel the day before, it was a beautiful place with rolling scenery. The morning arrived and they set off to the venue. The place was jammed to the rafters, 1000 people had been chosen to be put through their paces. They were informed that 10,000 people had entered the competition and they were the lucky ones, as the competition progressed the heats would be recorded for a TV programme, if we were going to become racing drivers, then we would have to get used to the limelight. As a shy person, she wasn’t sure how to deal with this, but would do so if the time came.
Meanwhile, as the day progressed, when she was called for each task, she ran, listened, showed her strengths and jumped through proverbial hoops and impressed the judges enough for the selection with her man cheering her on, overjoyed in her achievement she was one of 100 people selected for the next round. As the event finished, she walked past someone who she recognised who had contracted work with her company. He stopped in amazement asking her what she was doing there miles from home. I got through, she said. She mistook his surprise for a new found respect, she had been placed in the second round, but he had not.

The next round, was scheduled, she booked another day off work to enable her to go, and at the weekend they headed off up to Birmingham, The next round of the competition was interviews and Go Karting, it was a competition track. She was excited, but the only time she had been go-karting was down along the pier in the amusement arcades, but she loved it and was hopeful that this experience would teach her. The weather was awful, he drove them through the worst storms and snow she had seen. It was cold wintry and people were standing around for hours awaiting their turn, she had dressed for warmth wearing ski jackets, layers and snow boots, in this freezing climate. It was mostly boys and men there, in a racing environment it was to be expected, but this did not phase her. She was going to give it her all.

They went through the track layout and how you should plan for the twists and turns, around the chicane and towards the finish. She watched intently as some of the other drivers took to the wet track, she noted their mistakes and hoped that when her turn came, she would do better. She listened to the instructions given by the racing driver, Tiff Needell who had become a celebrity as he extolled the virtues of learning the basics. It might be nice to meet him in person and shake him by the hand, she had admired his skill on the tracks over the years.
There was a race simulator set up alongside the track, the queues to have a go were lengthy and she did not want to miss her name being called, it would be there later, should she wish to try it.  Her time came, as she dressed in the race suit for the very first time, she was thrilled and excited to be a part of something big, this could turn into something much bigger if she handled it right.

She put on the helmet and found the smallest pair of gloves she could find, since this was usually a male environment they had not anticipated girls with small hands, they were enormous, she put them over ski gloves for grip and so that they would grip the steering wheel. She made a mental note that if she was going to go anywhere with this route, she would buy herself some gloves which fitted.

She walked out into the paddock with the other drivers, they ridiculed her for her snow boots whilst stamping their feet to keep warm, she didn’t care she had winning on her mind and selected her machine with care. Setting herself up for the ride of her life and drove out hell for leather on that track. She lapped several of the hopefuls and made a good track time and came back in, her Man was there with the camera, to record it for posterity. The helmet off, he could see an ear to ear smile on her face. As the other hopefuls took their turn, she was called off to one side. Mike, A man who was part of the team, had spotted her talents and wanted to talk. They sat in the meeting room with a coffee, even if you do not get through this competition, he said, there are other ways to get into racing, you seem to have a gift out there on that track. Are you competing at the moment? She tried to keep her cool, admitting to him that it was the second occasion she had ever been in a go-kart. He found that hard to believe and spoke about the projects he was involved with and that he could get young people into racing and get help with sponsorship etc, he was animated and gave her some literature to read, he advised her to continue with Karting if at all possible. He introduced her personally to the organiser and they talked about the competition and how it would progress, several rounds through to the final, where someone would be selected for the team, to join the professionals. It really was the chance of a lifetime.

After some time and more standing around they were called in to a room, to face the adjudicators. As names were called, disappointment was in the eyes of the people around her as they were whittled out. They would halve the people who attended the second round, suddenly she heard her name being called, they were pleased to tell her that she had been selected for the third round. The excitement was immense. She looked for her man, to share in the news, he stood beaming he told her she was so proud.

At the end of the day, they travelled back accidents all around them up and down the motorway, breakdowns and the snow piled high, visibility was non-existent. But they were happy and reached home safely. They discussed the next step, this is looking serious, she would have to book more time off work, she wondered how her boss would take that. The next day she called a meeting with him. He was not pleased, he told her that it was time she had to make her choice. If she really wanted to be a racing driver, then good luck to her! The raised voice made it clear he didn’t mean it, as he spat out the words. He would give her no more time off to pursue this fanciful dream, it wasn’t going to go anywhere, she should just concentrate on the work she was being paid to do, get back to doing the proper job she had working for him. All leave was cancelled, they had a business to run.

She went home, more than slightly disillusioned with her work. She wanted to leave there and then, but common sense overtook her desire to run. She spoke with her partner, there were tears of frustration and upset that she would have to put her dreams away. It was her responsibility to make ends meet, she felt that she could not pile extra pressure upon him financially, it wouldn‘t be fair. Times were different then, she hadn’t the first clue about self-promotion and is was long before social media would make it accessible for all.

It was no contest, If she had the finances, she would pursue her dream, with her man at her side, encouraging and supportive. They would have done it, she had made him proud and would do so again. He believed in her. Oh how she wished for a lottery win, or a benefactor at that time. If she could have had the chance to pay the bills, whilst forging ahead, what a career change that would be, he talent had been spotted and she might go far.

It was with great sadness that she contacted the organisers to let them know that due to work commitments, she would be unable to continue with the competition. They were disappointed, she had shown promise, chances like this just do not come along every day and the decision should not be taken lightly. She explained that without a job, she would not be able to finance the rounds and her taking part, they told her that they understood but that she should not give up, she had a talent and she should nurture it. They wished her luck with her future. She watched the TV programme later that year, they selected a man, who had a career ahead of him. Women in Motorsport, was it ever going to happen was it? There was hope.

Learning to Fly

It was a time, when Nectar points meant fun! Nectar points for the uninitiated, are store card points as a Thank you for shopping, whilst your spending habits are dissected. But at the time the possibilities were endless. You could save them up indefinitely and use them for experiences, instead of falling back on them to cover the emergency shop when you are broke, or being sent vouchers with an expiry date, which you would find weeks after they had run out and your rewards would be useless.

We had been saving them for a couple of years, to do something fun together and not knowing at that point that my partner had a fear of flying, I had booked the surprise for both of us to have a flying lesson as an anniversary present.

The day came and we checked the weather report, jumped in my car, a Saab convertible put the roof down and headed to the countryside I had selected a different airfield to our local one, so that we could see different scenery and explore it. It turned out that my partner had other plans, he would collar the instructor and see if time would allow and they would swap his part of the deal so that I could extend the experience. He would have his feet planted firmly upon the floor watching from the club house whilst I took off and he would enjoy a pint or two of Guinness and a cigar, it was a beautiful sunny day in the countryside and a pleasant place to pass the time. He succeeded in his plan, and since I had only ever travelled by air once for a holiday, I was excited, I knew that this was going to be different and I was looking forward to it, but slightly disappointed that he would not get to enjoy it with me. However I was going to get a long lesson, which was great.

I was introduced to the Pilot, a man who shared the same name as my father, but thankfully had a much more relaxed manner about him. He was friendly and informative and showed me all of the controls in the Piper 125 which we were going to take out. I clambered in, full of excitement and hoping that I would remember it all. I asked what happened if the engine failed. He told me not to worry since this type of plane could still be landed safely if the engine cut out, it basically glides. As we took off, he took us up over the countryside, I was in awe, I knew it would be beautiful. But it was so calm up there, I took a couple of photos in the cockpit. I seem to recall that we travelled at around 2700 feet, but may have that wrong.

As we climbed everything grew smaller, people disappeared into dots, cars and lorries, into matchbox figures disappearing completely and trees and green spaces turned into a blanket of fields as we floated through the bumpy clouds. Colin allowed me to take the controls and told me how to move the rudder to change direction and the pedals to keep it steady. He could see my interest and excitement in the process and when I asked him to show me how to loop the loop, he obliged. We travelled quite some distance and talked along the way, I was able to see my home town, fly over my parents and our house. Along the Estuary past the pier and up to the docks, where I could see small cranes and brightly coloured containers being unloaded from the ships, It looked so much better there from that height. I was on top of the world. I loved every minute of that flight and decided that I would love to do that again as soon as possible. As someone who was claustrophobic in certain environments, I was not sure how I would feel up there, but to my relief it was wonderful. We had the small window open in that plane and the thermal breeze floated through.

I remember saying to him that I had to resist the urge to put my foot on the accelerator like in a car, since it would upset the balance of the plane and there seemed to be no sense of speed up there, but you were still travelling, it took some getting used to, but I think I mastered it.

As we headed back, Colin explained that it was a wonderful job, that he could fly over to France in less than an hour, have a nice lunch and a bit of sightseeing and be back in time for tea. I was hooked on the idea, that one day I would learn to fly and when I got that lottery win, there would be a small plane in there somewhere to do just that.

He asked me if I was sure that I hadn’t flown before as I seemed to be so at ease up there, I must admit that I felt no tension, it had all just floated away whilst I was up there. Flying back, Colin told me I was going to land the plane. I asked if he was sure, he told me that he was confident in my ability, we came in to a lovely smooth landing and I couldn’t help but be pleased. As I taxied the plane back to it’s parking spot, past the bar, my beloved was standing there, waving and with an ear to ear smile.
I jumped out and he ran over to me, he’d been worried since we were only supposed to be an hour, an hour and a half had passed and we hoped that I had not got him into trouble. He asked Colin “how did she do?” “An absolute Natural she should learn to fly”…. he replied.

I had to tell him all about it as we drove home around Sunset, he decided that if we ever could afford it, then we should make it happen. Six months later we returned for another lesson.