Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas to one and all

Well here we are on the 24th December 2011, I have finally got my feet up ............... what a long day, this has to be the record year for me being behind with everything. Wrapped all the presents this afternoon with Celine Dion belting out to sing to, chopped everything in sight and finall got the cards up on ribbons on 7pm!

We have Alan's Mum, Pat here for Xmas, she is lovely and settles in straight away. Looking forward to tomorrow, Mum is having her lunch with my brother Peter and family and we will see her shortly. The turkey crown is roasting and smelling lovely, should be ready about 9.45 then I shall be up the stairs.

I had a night in our local hospital a couple of weeks ago and it turns out I have an umbilical hernia so will be getting an appointment in the New Year.

I 'got' my job and now do the work of three people, we are flat out at work so glad for the break now, they are shutting the whole building this year and we put leave in for the days between. Its a good job I love what I do because the last month has been so hard, I have worked long hours every day just to get the work done. It should ease off a little after Xmas, it is always going be very busy but not like it had to be the last couple of months but three of us have pulled together and got through it, unfortunately all this stress has meant us consuming food ! and all of the 16 pounds I had lost have crept back on again with an extra one for luck!!

We have moved out of the main building and now work from the former caretakers lodge which is quite nice but unfortunately has a proper kitchen which means there is a toaster and a microwave which means there are food making facilities thus the extra consumption!!!

Alan is settling in to being retired unfortunately he thinks that role of house husband is a TV critic!! We have words most days about the lack of progress with the house that still need doing as well as the lack of housework being done. I don't think I am asking too much for him to do some of the chores when I am working all day and the last 3 weeks until 6.15 every week night.

Anyway sorry to moan, Alan now has bronchitis quite badly so we are getting our feet up over the break and I am determined to get some reading done and some sewing hopefully.

All the best to everyone (anyone??) who reads this, I intend to do some serious blog reading in the next few days, hope Santa brings what you would like and you all have a lovely time.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Time moves on........................

Hope you like my jumble sale doggy, he is so lovely but do I rehome him??
This is my gorgeous niece on her wedding at the end of July - the weather was perfect

This is my auction house buy - he is wonderful too.
Well here I am in August last post was May so not the most frequent blogger on the block!
The pictures above are of my two dogs purchased earlier this year, the big one was from the local auction and the little one from the jumble sale I help out at once a year. They were taken out and washed with shampoo and then showered and allowed to dry naturally in the sunshine we had in about May this year, they came up so well and I live them to bits!

I am still working and it doesn't look like I will be able to leave as planned. My job was officially deleted from the County Council a couple of weeks ago. My line manager and I had to go for the higher job that was available or we would not have been eligible for redundancy. Anyway Norma got it which is right because she is a higher grade than me and I am pleased for her, she has also sold her house and got rid of her mortgage, which is a triumph these days. The job has still not been graded through job evaluation so it may not even turn out to be a higher job.... the joys of local government.
Anyway the next news is that one of the women whose job was saved ( the same job/salary as I do but on a fixed term contract) requested voluntary redundancy because of the imminent stress that the job would cause her due to the restructure - lo and behold she was granted it. Now this job is one that was carried out by two full time people with two people helping out a claims times, it is now a post for one person only. I have to go for the job as I am doing it now and again would forfeit any redundancy if I did not. They then decided to let her go early (today) and left me doing the job on my own. They would not advertsie her job until she had gone and I am not 'ring fenced' for it as it was not part of the unit's restructure! So it will be advertised next week when they get around to it - in the meantime they are not bothered because I am sat here doing it. I hope you are keeping up ......................

I have to go for jobs as they will not let you get redundnancy if you don't - my date for leaving is 27th October. I have decided that rather than take a job I don't want or don't know anything about that I am better to go for the 'devil you know', so I will apply for it when it goes on the bulletin. I equally cannot assume that I will get the job because our boss has not been successful when she applied for her own job nor the one underneath. We do not know why, but we do know that her face obviously doesn't fit - she is fantastic at her job and has so much knowledge that if she goes we will struggle to carry out the funding programmes without her.

So, if this job (if I get it!) is the one for me then I have a contract until December 2013 and hopefully by then I may get redundancy as Alan will be 67. It has been a long summer we have all been working so very hard with no time for holidays from work, I had this week booked off but had to cancel it due to workload. I may get a week in mid September after all the claims are done.

It has been strange weather up here in the North and the garden has been scorched and then battered, water logged and burnt, good old Blighty eh, never lets you down when it comes to unpredictability.

Alan is enjoying his retirement ie he is not doing anything! We were notified of an old pension from a job he was made redundant from and it was a lovely surprise, it isn't a fortune but we were able to take a lump sum, so he did and he is now the owner of a Mini Cooper S!!! Is this a mid to late life crisis I ask?? It is lovely and more comfortable than I expected, he started with a mini van in the 60's and now he is back in one, though this is a much improved version. Needless to say as I am still working we will hang on to my Fiesta - which has a sensible boot and will allow us to do our Fairs.

What a ramble that was - we have had our Niece's wedding which was wonderful. The day was perfect in every way and we could do it all again.
The picture of my niece Louise with my brother and his wife, looking beautiful and a radiant bride- has to stay there as I can never position these bloomin' photos on the blog. She has been making stuff for her day for months now, including 70 metres of double sided bunting, little pot tealights with doily patterns imprinted on them, all her invitations, and favours. She also made and hand printed all of the orders of service which were lovely and a perfect keepsake. The service was in her local church and was perfect, then back to her new husband's farm where there was a beautiful marquee and a small band playing, the sun was shining and everything was lovely and vert English. There was a converted piggery (beautiful) with doily bunting and fairy lights leading to the marquee, she had tables laid out with vintage crockery and cakes and little eats as well as a table with old jars and inside were old fashioned sweets and an old typewriter for you to type your good wishes on home made cards for her to keep from the day, this girl must have been making this delightful stuff for months and months. There was even a corner with little tables and colouring books and puzzles for the little ones.
Everyting had been so carefully planned and
The food was superb, the venue was stunning and we had the most perfect day...........even down to the vintage cups and saucers for the tea and wedding cake at the end to the vintage tablecloths adorning every table - vintage bliss.................................
I am off today, Friday - we are sitting here with the heating on low getting snuggly and now I am going to pick up my good murder and snuggle in.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

A post at last - where has 2011 gone?

This is the osteospernum that has come out early with all of the sunshine over the past few days
This is some of my bunting from last year, I am making some Cath Kidston types this year as they sold well at my Spring Fair at Masham.
This is my lovely 50's (?) sewing suitcase it is about 10inches x 6inches and perfect for the job
This is me this week, making bunting on an evening for a stall at Masham Town Hall on Saturday!
Hello to everyone out there in blogland - I have never stopped reading and commenting since my l last post but not written anything myself.
Life has moved on, though the fat is not moving very quickly, I have lost 13 pounds to date, so slowly but surely the body change is taking place.
On Thursday I found out that I was redundant from my job in Economic Development in our County Council. This is a big restructure and cost saving operation. My job has been removed and also my line manager's, though there is higher job added that she could go for ( no different to what my LM and myself do already) but this is also available to those above us to apply for and as the system starts from the top it will go to someone higher and they get pay protection for 2 years so they will be happy to take it.
We have 30 days consultation and then 90 days notice. We are now on redeployment but so are others ( and coming on redeployment daily) and there are very few jobs to go around.
As I am 55 in July the CC has to pay my pension to me now as it stands on the day I leave which they do not like to do so they will try and find me another job which I will have take because if I refuse it I do not qualify for redundancy etc.
I am feeling miserable and though I expected it, it is a horrible feeling that all the work and dedication you have given for over 12 years means nothing. The work is still there but will have to be done by those remaining. I am not alone at the end of the restructure there will about 5 people altogether who will not have a position but at least they will have had the chance to go for a position in our department which I will not. I think most of all I feem embarrassed that they do not want me - though they keep saying its the post not the person. The thing is that post keeps me busy all day for 37 hours per week, so where is all that work going to go?
I am lucky because Alan and I did the 'downsizing' 3 years ago ready for his retirement and paid off the mortgage. My LM has put her house on the market a couple of weeks ago knowing that this would probably happen and she will try to clear hers or at least have a very small one. So I hope she is successful
Part of me is glad to have the opportunity to leave and take my pension, miniscule as it is rather than having it frozen for 11 years (till I am 66) at the same amount. Alan is retiring at the end of June and this could be an opportunity to have a different life but when you have been used to two salaries - not huge but good, we will go to Alan's small pension and mine (mine will cover council tax, gas and electric and nothing more) Will we manage?
I thought we could do more of our vintage and retro fairs ie every weekend as we will have all week to do the things we used to do at the weekends like shopping an housework. I know that you can't buy time and I would like to spend more with Alan as he is 10 years older than me and he is looking forward to doing things with me. We don't take foreign holidays, drink or smoke now so we can't give them up!!
I love my job and myself and my colleagues have all been together for a lot of years. Our work is very interesting and rewarding and we meet and deal with many people outside of the county council so working in a different department doing monotonous work will be difficult.
Alan and I have always fancy doing the housesitting that you see advertised, it would be nice to do something different like that. There are options out there aren't there.
Actually writing all this down had made me think - Hey - this is an opportunity to go and do things with Alan that we could never think of before.
Gosh I hope that people who are redundant and not as lucky as we are ( having no mortgage) will not think me selfish.
I am feeling angry with the authority and those who make the decisions as they have not taken our ideas into account but we never expected them to! I am worried about Norma my LM as she is younger than me and will not benefit from the pension yet, so she needs to find a job as her husband is not able to work because of illness and he will go onto a state pension soon.
I see that Carol at Carol's Kitchen has posted again after her mother died before Xmas, with more sad news, so if you want to pop over and send her your best wishes it would be nice.
I am sure that there are many of you in a worse situation than me in these changing times but when you read of 'cuts' in your local council you can be assured they will not be management that will be losing their jobs they will be the workers at the bottom. Most managers can go off for a month and noone notices but when the lower staff go off for a week people are running rould saying 'how does he/she do this'? - guess that is life and I have to see this as their loss!
My Mum is doing very well and we are all slowly coming to terms with Dad not being there. We have sorted out the loft, shed and garage and done the garden so Mam can sit back a bit now with her memories and not have to worry about where to start.
My brother and son both work at Teesside Power Station which is owned by a French company - they are reducing the number of employees from 98 to 32 as it is cheaper to bring the power under the channel than produce it in the UK. They will find out if they have a chance to apply for a position next week or if they are redundant. Adam has a lovely girlfriend called Emily and they are very good together, they seem very happy with each other and we are slowly getting to know Emily. Vicky is getting on with her life and has had promotion at work which I am pleased about for her, she has also had an Australian holiday so I wonder if she will go over there and work. I only wish her the very best, she was very dear to us.
So lots of changes ahead for not just Alan and I. I have had some lovely finds in the past few months especially in the 'dog on wheels' department.
In the meantime sorry for the rambling blog with only a couple of pictures!!! I hope some of you will leave advice or ideas of what you have done after a change in your life?

Monday, 7 February 2011

Moving on a bit further........

Hi to all you bloggers out there, who's ramblings give me so much pleasure these days.

We have been clearing out Dad's loft for a couple of weekends and even my Mam was amazed at how much stuff Dad had hoarded, including a radio from a Lancaster Bomber!! He was a radio ham and had worked in a radio television repair workshop before and after National Service and then joining ICI Wilton in the 1950's. He never lost his love of old radios and all the relative components and like we have vintage and retro fairs, he visited radio shows. There were boxes and boxes of old radio valves and 24 radios in both the loft and garage. A couple of his radio friends have been through his 'radio shack' aka the little front bedroom and taken away some of his quite expensive receivers and things to sell fro Mam.

The loft was full of memories of our lives and Mam said that a lot of the stuff was put up there 43 years ago when they moved in.

There were boxes of radio magazines, first day covers, newspapers in boxes of important dates in life. The best things were the boxes of old books we found that belonged to Dad and Mam when they were little and then teenagers and she was so pleased to see them, having forgotten about them. We will be sorting them out later and mine can go on the new shelf unit Alan has made me for the little front bedroom where our vintage stuff is accumulating.

There was a flying suit from WW2 as well as two leather jerkins that the despatch riders wore. We are contacting some re-enactors to see if they want them.

Then there was my Nana's stuff which Mam thought had all been sorted but no Dad had secreted it away, so there was all that to sort out.

We did two trips to the charity shop and two trips to the tip in estate cars so you can imagine the amount of stuff. My brother is putting some things on ebay and we have all taken stuff to our homes, as we obviously have Dad's genes...........

Mam is doing very well and we see her as much as we all can as we come to terms with our greatly changed lives. We did a laugh a lot whilst we were sorting mostly because of the stuff Dad had kept. He and Mam are of the war and post war era where you always mended everything and never threw anything away in case you needed it! So some things had to be prised from Mam as you could see her thinking ' Hmm could this be useful? '. We had to assure her that if it had been in her loft for over 20 years then it probably wasn't useful.

I am going to wash up now as out dishwasher (inherited in the house) gave up the ghost at the weekend, we await a new one from Argos on Thursday.

I have been doing Weight Watchers now and have lost (slowly I might add ) 5 pounds to date. I cannot say I ma hungry but I would love a big bar of Dairy milk!!

I am making curtains for the front door from some lovely LA Sitwell fabric in blue and taupe, lovely. The job has been held up though because of my car accident last week!!

Speak to you later...............................