This is real life!!

Commentary on random thoughts and actions

Wednesday, August 07, 2013


My Dad aged 3

Well here I am again - more than a year since my last post and what has spurred me to post is my brother LONDON CABBY who has written a moving tribute to our Dad, who passed away last Friday. I won't say much more on the subject, I think my brother said it all, but I will say that however long a person is ill for you are still never prepared for their actual passing - the utter sadness you feel at losing a parent at any age is devastating.

My Mum who is swinging from grief to relief and back again has always been a very forward thinking person and at the age of 75 is still open to new ideas and just wants everyone to live their lives. Mum has been looking after my Dad for the past eight or so years, since he was critically ill in Spain. She has fed him, washed him, driven him to appointments, dug vegetable patches in the garden for him, been woken up two or three times during the night when his dementia started taking him over and he didn’t know if it was day or night and has generally been a voluntary prisoner in the house just so that she could keep him company. Of course the rest of us her children have tried to help out, but Mum is quite proud and stubborn and insists on doing everything herself.

My youngest brother lives at home and has been there for my Mum and tried to help out with my Dad also. Waking up in the middle of the night and listening to Mum trying to reason with Dad, who at 3am was fully dressed with his jacket and tie and waiting to be driven somewhere, only he knew where. My baby brother has taken the death of my Dad really badly, but inspite of this has managed to sort out all the paperwork for my Mum including: Death certificates, household bills, banking, insurances and other sundry items – he has told her not to worry and that he will deal with all of this for her – Mum is so relieved and I am so grateful to him.

With love to all my brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, Uncle, cousins and of course Mum xx

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Hello, yes it's me again - more than a year and half. Older, heavier, wrinklier, wiser, menopausal but still enjoying the small pleasures in life.

I am still working in the school library - I am the manager, but it seems the latest headmaster is intent on micro-managing the whole school and won't let anyone make any decisions, regarding spending of budgets, layouts, displays even what colour to paint the walls! I am just not getting the same job satisfaction I used to get. I still enjoy working with the students, but that is not enough.

I find myself planning what I would spend a lottery win on - if I was lucky enough to win it! Since I don't buy tickets every week my odds of winning are considerably reduced.

I spent most of the morning catching up on housework, which I don't feel like doing during the week and have worked up quite a sweat. This is good news for me as I need to exercise more and have become decidedly lazy this past year. I need a good kick to get myself fit and lose some weight in time for my two week holiday in Mallorca, where i will be staying with my sister. I went last year and had a wonderful time, swimming, eating, sightseeing and generally relaxing - I am sooooo looking forward to it this year.

Well I am not going to write anymore right now - a little at a time - let's see if I can get back into the groove.

It shows how long since I used blogger - all the controls have changed - I hope this works.

Love and blessings to you all.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Some days you wake up full of the joys of Spring, ready to meet the challenges the new day brings. Other days you drag yourself out of a lovely warm bed, grit your teeth, shuffle into the bathroom, struggle into your clothes. Every step is torn from you and you wonder what life is all about.

Yesterday began as a shitty day, it didn't get much better, rude staff, rude students. Feeling tired and lacking lustre after a spiritually demanding day I took myself home and decided that I was going to immerse myself in TV world. I wanted to watch something that was entertaining, perhaps frivolous but certainly something that would lift my drooping spirit. I found all these things in the following.

I began the evening with a film called 'Beauty Shop', which boasted many well known names, Queen Latifah, Alicia Silverstone, Andie MacDowell, Alfre Woodard, Mena Suvari, Della Reese, Djimon Hounsou and not forgetting Kevin Bacon as a very strange Austrian hairstylist. This film is hilarious, full of life and humour, full of larger than life character. Maybe it's a bit predictable, the baddies get their comeuppance and the downtrodden are raised up, but call me old fashioned, when you are feeling down this type of film is the best medicine.

The other priceless bit of TV history was 'Big Fat Gypsy Weddings', where a little girl wore a giant pink dress, which was double the size of the child and half her weight, it had been embroidered with real crystals!! This poor child thought she looked like a fairy princess, she couldn't walk properly and and had to kick her dress forward and wave her arms about like a demented Barbie blancmange. To add insult to injury her little friends all laughed hysterically as they watched her trying to get into the church - classic!! Link here I hope it works?!! While you are visiting the giant pink blancmange, please also take a look at Josie's wedding dress - apparently she chose it because it is "classy" - oh well each to his own.

I finished the evening feeling incredibly light headed from all the laughter and not at all guilty that I spent the evening watching trash.

Try it sometime you might like it. :)

G'night - I am just going to slip into my diamond encrusted pyjamas.

Jo xx

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I think I have found my modern day hero or should I say heroine - let me explain.

Life at work is much the same, kids asking questions, teachers asking questions, good things and not so good things. One of the not so good things at the moment is impending support staff restructuring or harmonisation as they keep calling it. Harmony is the furthest thing this restructuring is creating - it has caused anxiety, suspicion and extremely low morale amongst us who are considered the lowest of the low in the education world.

Today I attended a 'consultation' meeting, the third one in a long line of talking about nothing - how can there be any consultation, when no details have been given of the changes mentioned in documents. Apart from the support staff, who will be affected by these changes, there were also the Head, representatives from Unison and GMB Unions and several other managers in attendance. The meeting began as usual with waffle - people talking, people listening and nothing much of any use being said. Suddenly a very smart around thirtyish woman(The GMB representative) began to speak and I was enraptured. She spoke with such eloquence, dignity and unshakeable confidence that she was a delight to hear. She dissected each part of the 'consultation' document pointing out deficiencies, stupidity and even a couple of items which could be deemed illegal. The mood of the meeting lifted and all of a sudden people who were too timid or afraid of losing their jobs began to ask the Head questions, which they really wanted to ask.

The Head began to squirm, he tried to keep his cool, he tried to backtrack and in the end he had to admit that perhaps the wording of the documents had been misleading and that he would make himself available to speak to anyone personally and specifically regarding any change to their contract of employment.

I love this woman - not in any sexual way you understand - but in a hero worship way. I am off to join the union now - I should have done this ages ago, but apathy has slowly been taking me over and listening to this woman has made me realise that if you really want something you have to get off your backside and do it.

So here I go.....

Jo xx

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, January 10, 2011


Hello Everyone,

I am trying really hard to work up the enthusiasm to continue or to take up again with all my creative stuff. It feels like I have been on a long winter sleep and I am finding it really difficult to wake up properly. Yesterday was the first really sunny day we have had since quite a while and when I went out in my car yesterday I felt like a mole emerging from a hole - the sun was blinding, so blinding that I had to put on my heavy duty sunglasses. It was too bright, I wanted to go back into my warm, safe, dark hole and not come out again. But I stayed out and admired the blue sky and the suddenly vivid colours and rejoiced in the wonder of I haven't gone mad, I have just discovered how much I miss the sunshine - not the heat-just the light.

After a visit to my doctor a few months ago for a routine check-up I was told that I am very low in vitamin D and low in calcium, this is the main cause of rickets a disease which I thought was nigh on eradicated in the western world. It seems not - apparently this deficiency is on the increase especially with children. The main cause of this is the amount of time we western humans spend indoors in front of the TV, PC or games console or in my case spend in my office at work and then inside at the weekends catching up on housework. So I think my belated New Year's resolution should be to get as much sunlight as possible.

On a sadder note a member of my ex-husband's family has just died, it was his uncle. He had been ill for quite a long time since an aneurysm in the brain had struck him down at the age of 47 - he died last friday at the age of 62. His death was so sad because he had quite a large family and had been in a care home since he became ill, he had three sisters and two brothers, but only his youngest sister ever went to visit him. Her husband, two daughters and herself visited him at least once a week, brought him to their home for dinners and family celebrations, made sure he was kept informed of births, marriages and yes even deaths. And what is her reward for all those years of selflessness - the bitterness and scorn of her brothers and sisters who are so wracked with guilt that the only way they can cope with their selfishness is by attacking the very person who made their brother's last few years a little bit happier. I don't understand their behaviour and wish that they could leave their guilt behind enough to thank their little sister for all she has done for her family.

I didn't really want to finish on a down note but I just want to say Rest In Peace Connie - where ever you are I pray you have a lot of good company.

Love Jo xx

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Phew Christmas day is over and what a day it was. Turkey with all the trimmings at my sister's house in Palmers Green. I arrived around 2pm with the boyfriend to the house where my frazzled sister greeted us with the statement that lunch was running late! No problem - since I wasn't cooking, I wasn't stressed.

The table looked stunning, so festive with the silverware, crackers and the sauces laid out in crystal glass like jewels - Cranberry sauce, Apple sauce and of course Mint sauce. All those sauces I hear you ask, why so many? Well have a bit of patience and I will get around to telling you what proceeded to appear from the magic kitchen.

On arrival to the house, hugs, kisses and exchange of greetings were followed by a nice refreshing glass of buck's fizz. Crisps and nibbles followed, good conversation with my niece and nephew and then more family arrives ready to relieve my sister of a mountain of food.

Starter of filo pastry prawns with a sweet chilli dip was enthusiastically welcomed. This was quickly followed by.... wait for it.... Turkey, Pork, Lamb (hence the three sauces), pigs in blankets (or sausages wrapped in bacon), various types of stuffing including my favourite chestnut stuffing. Then came...roast potatoes, roast parsnips, brussel sprouts, carrots, swede, peas, yorkshire puddings (that's a bit weird - no in my family we eat these with everything!) and finally the gravy.

Every year I tell myself I will not over eat and every year I end up fit to burst. This year is no different from any other and this morning I am paying for not sticking to my decision. After absolutely obliterating everything on my plate, include second helpings of my favourite items (parsnips, yorkshire puddings and potatoes) I sat stroking my expanding waistline and telling myself what an idiot I had been (again)! Half an hour later I still managed to pack away a portion of Christmas pudding with cream (argh!!!)

Christmas crackers were pulled, hats put on heads, jokes read out and enough food consumed to feed a small army. A good time was had by all.

Well if I get peckish, there is always the half leg of lamb and leftover potatoes and parsnips my sister gave me - I could fry them up with some onion and garlic and make a nice concoction.........

Oh gosh here I go again.

Happy Christmas and happy eating to you all.

Jo xx

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, December 23, 2010


I am tentatively dipping my big toe back into the world of blogging. After an absence of approximately two years, brought on by a major creative block - caused by a combination of a middle age crisis, a couple of illnesses in the family and some kind of low level depression (self-pity) - I now feel able to at least put my fingers to the keyboard and try to write something if only "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!".

As previous followers of my blog know, my major passion in life apart from my children and family is food. At present it is becoming a bit of an obessesion and all I seem to think of is what I can eat next.

My passion for food has recently been fuelled by the completion of a brand new kitchen, complete with a large five ring cooker, which has multiple ovens, acres of stainless steel and gas rings that actually work! I also am the proud owner of an all singing all dancing american style fridge freezer. This has so much room to put food into it that I am obliged to keep shopping every time a space becomes apparent. This is costing me a fortune! Luckily my sons who are still living at home with me are now able to contribute financially, both of them having decently paid work. So the monetary pressure is somewhat relieved.

I visited Waitrose in Brent Cross this morning to stock up on a few goodies. I had a £20.00 gift voucher to spend - gift from a friend for my birthday. I bought two boxes of cocoa dusted truffles (scrummy!), some smoked salmon pate, Cadbury's chocolate fingers, a moussaka for two (but in my case for one), some turkish delight for the boyfriend (yes he is still around) and some coronation chicken sandwich filler (reduced from £1.20 to 49p!). This lot probably won't last long, but I am certainly going to enjoy at least some of it today.

Happy eating, happy Christmas and Happy New Year.

Only eat what makes you happy.

Jo xx

Labels: , , , , ,