Lo-commotion

spoiled-brat

Being a regular train passenger means i definitely do get to meet my fair share of characters. Christmas eve therefore was defintely likely to be one of those events that i was likely to encounter those fellow travellers designed to stay in memory. The terrible storms of the previous few days did nothing to help the travelling conditions and as cancellation after cancellation flashed up on the deparature board even laid back little old me began to become a little worried. 

”I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when i’ll be back agaaaaaiin” i yowled tunelessly.

I know i cannot sing and although i was not infact actually going on a plane at all, nevertheless i was looking forward to my destination and happily crucified a much liked song. My singing has been likened in the past to a strangled cat, a fact i announce quite proudly for i happily admit i am tone deaf and could not carry a tune in a bucket. Stil since i am never likely to be dragged kicking and screaming onto X Factor and nobody but my cats have to hear, i quite happily launch into my very best rendition a la Armageddon style.

”Leaving on a jet plaaane” i screeched merrily, whilst keeping one eye on the train updates for further news. What can i say it was Christmas eve and i was excited! That is my excuse anyway and i shall be firmly sticking to it. 

Checking the train timetables yet again i squawked in horror as my planned train flashed up on screen saying ‘CANCELLED’ followed by a message from the train operators advising passengers to travel earlier than planned and by any route necessary. 

PANIC!!!

Okay, maybe not quite panic for i am far more practical than that and having travelled to London so often these last two years i know every route like the back of my hand. Several swift minutes of  searching left one available route flashing merrily on screen.

‘ON TIME. ON TIME’

The problem was this train left in 40 minutes instead of the two and a half hours i had originally planned on. Standing there in my oversized pyjamas with my hair stuck on end i really was not exactly travel worthy nor fit to be seen in decent society. Now when i say my pyjamas are oversized i MEAN oversized. So after a quick call to the local taxi firm i hurtled for the stairs with great swathes of fabric bunched in one hand, tripped drunkenly over the over long trouser legs and narrowly avoided using my staircase as a prayer mat. I trip over these trousers so often you would think i would throw them into the trash but i cannot bear to part with the tent like comfort of them. With a speed worthy of Wonder Woman i effected a rather miraculous transformation only stopping to lecture myself on the demerits of carrying luggage down a flight of stairs in high heels. 

”Put the shoes on DOWNSTAIRS next time  you dummy” I chided myself ruefully as i clung like a limpit to the bannister with my one free hand. 

Giving myself a mental shake i don an air of sophisticated composure that belies the hurried rush of the previous few minutes. Surverying the mountain of luggage as i slicked on red lipstick i had a momentary doubt as to how i was going to manage the less than small pile sitting waiting to accompany me. A load worthy of Scott of the Antarctic, the amusing thing was that this did not include clothing which was already at its destination. A tooting horn from outside left me frantically gathering up baggage, pausing momentarily to  swiftly swap from arm to arm until i had a balance i could safely totter along with. It all seems such a good idea at the time until you have to actually carry it although i consoled myself with the hoped for reception to the gifts inside. What can i say, i love to give and can easily be accused of going overboard when it comes to gifts but i do not care. Giving is fun. The taxi driver knows me and as we drive along buffeted by the storm force winds he enquires ”London again?”

I nod happily and once at the station gather up the giant luggage bags and stagger towards an elevator. THEN comes the spanner in the works….they cancelled my train!!! 

”Noooooooooooooo” i wail in horror, frantically wishing at this point that i had data left on my phone. A passing platform attendant hears me and enquires where i was trying to get to and helps a very relieved me onto a waiting coach outside for the first leg of my journey. I can already feel myself turning green for i do not travel well on buses at all and have a mental image of vomiting into the lap of the gentleman beside me which makes me stifle a hysterical giggle. Oh well it’s only for half an hour i console myself as a rather large gentleman and his equally large partner squeeze themselves along the narrow gangway, bumping everyone as they go. 

A frazzled looking woman dashes for the seat behind me tapping my shoulder as they sit down. 

”Are there toilets on here” She whispers loudly ” i’m dying for a wee and i didnt have time to go in the station”

I shake my head and tell her no and at her wail of dismay enquire where she is going. I feel a pang of sympathy as she tells me her destination is over two hours away and tactfully suggest she plead with the driver to tarry a minute at the next station to allow her to alight and find a bathroom. Thankfully the driver is in a most Christmas like obliging mood and allows the desperate woman to rush from the coach in search of relief. 

Once on the move the conversations of my fellow passengers swirl around my head and i am confessedly nosey enough to listen half interestedly to what they are saying. There is a man rushing to get the last flight to the channel islands behind me sitting next to the now relieved ‘i need a bathroom’ girl. I listen as his rather cultured tones describe his desperate need for the coach to arrive on time for he will be stranded with no way to his destination if it does not. To my right a twenty something lad telephones his obviously clucking mother to reassure her that he is on his way whilst my heart feels for the man and his daughter infront who are trying desperately to get to the nearby city hospital. So many people all in the same boat, almost all trying to get somewhere for christmas. As i listen i hear some complain, some are resigned and some like me do not care too much about delays just as long as we get to where we are headed. 

Alighting at my station i am relieved to find that one solitary train is due to head for my London destination and i clutch a much needed cup of coffee and wait with those straggling few who had dared to take a chance on getting a train. A smilingly apologetic platform attendant flits from person to person enquiring on destination and offering solace to those waiting to depart. As yet another train is cancelled and replaced by a bus, a man at a nearby table explodes in anger and thumps his fist onto the table infront of him. He does not want to get on a bus he shouts although i gently point out that i have just come from that way and the journey was fine. He is not to be mollified, he wants a train and not a bus though i cannot understand why since does it really matter HOW you get there just so long as you do?

Relieved i gather up my baggage as the train to London is announced, abandoning my much wanted coffee when i discover i do not infact have a free hand to carry it. Tottering along like a japanese geisha i am startled by a twenty something guy clutching a coffee who offers to carry one of my bags for me since it seems obvious i am rather overloaded. There is plenty of time to board and i am not too far from the train so i smile and thank him and assure him i can manage. Eyeing his coffee i cannot help but wish i could have managed to carry my own for i am very much in need of it and i have a long way yet to go. Thankfully the carriage is not infact the crush i had expected, instead being almost empty and as i reach for my tablet to read a book i am relieved at the thought of a nice peaceful journey. 

Did i say peaceful?

”I dont WANT to sit in the middle” Hollers a scowling little darling, blonde pigtails bouncing furiously as she mutinously shakes her head. She climbs determinedly into the seat across the aisle from me defiantly folding her arms infront of her. My heart sinks and i mentally wave goodby to my peaceful trip. A woman i can only assume is her mother rushes back from the middle of the train and pleads with the child to move offering colouring books as a proverbial carrot to persuade her. Miss pigtails is having none of the womans wheedling and announces even more loudly that she is NOT moving and intends to occupy her current seat for the entire journey. 

Oh great! 

”Please darling, come and sit with mummy and we can look at a book together” the woman desperately pleads.

As the child still resists she admits defeat and wanders back to the side of her male companion whilst Miss pigtails stands up in her seat and bellows to her father that she wishes them to move and sit where she has chosen. His refusal brings forth loud wailing which he ignores until catching the expressions of the other passengers upon which he leaps from his seat and barks at the child to move. Surprisingly she does and i heave a sigh of relief before an older woman throws herself into the seat opposite.  i smile politely and continue reading my book but it seems she clearly is something of a chatterbox and does not care if i wish to read in peace. 

Ten minutes pass as i politely answer her questions and engage reluctantly in the conversation she seems to seek before trying to get back to my much enjoyed book. She however has other ideas and continues to talk incessantly and i abandon all hope of my quiet trip and i had hoped. Flicking through a magazine reading my stars i am startled when the woman pulls my magazine down with one finger and announces ”oh im a virgo are you looking at your stars??”

My mouth drops open in surprise and i mumble that yes i am just having a quick glance although i only partly believe in them. Still she tries to peer at my magazine until i at last offer it to her hoping she will read it and leave me in peace. 

”Oh MY” She exclaims loudly, leaning across the table and waving the magazine at me. ”How could anyone actually DO that to someone?”

I mumble something non commital and return to my book but it seems she is not finished for she again exclaims loudly and wafts the pages in my direction. Inwardly i am muttering with a diatribe worthy of the cartooned Mutley although i refrain from grinding my teeth since this might be rather audible. 

SHUT UP!!!! PLEASE!!! 

I am not so rude as to say it though. Generally i am very sociable and will politely talk to anyone but right at this time i just wanted to quietly read and get the journey over. As time passed and the refreshments arrived she eventually subsided into her tea and magazine and i quickly produced another incase she should read faster than i hoped. 

Peace at last. 

I journey a lot and never fail to meet a character or two on my way and most make me smile although some i should like to never meet again. But as my train slowed for its final stop and a smile crept on to my face, a beaming elderly man wished me a merry christmas and gave me a wave. I grinned back at wished him the same then happily departed from my Lo-commotion journey. 

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That which i do not know

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Plans, plans plans.

It seems our society thrives on them and for many of us it is a predictability that dictates our lives. We plan every aspect of them with regimental detail and for many of us the resulting order is the only path we feel safe upon. We like to know what will happen and when, from getting up in a morning to when we go to bed. All carefully organised in a familiar routine.

I hate routine. I find it suffocating and i am one of those rare people who hates to plan. I abhorr appointments and preplanned order, partly because i am terrible at remembering to keep them but mostly because i do not like being forced to do things at a certain time. I am very much a whim person, if i want a haircut i want it done the same day or i do not bother but this works very well for me.

So with the passing of the Yuletide holidays, waving goodbye to christmas, as usual my friends are planning planning planning. Holidays, Easter, Birthdays, going to the gym, family get togethers and even those christmases yet to come. No sooner has one ended than another one is already in the planning department being drawn up for final review. However i try i just cannot seem to bring myself to think further forward than a month at the very most. Oh of course i have hopes and dreams like everyone else but i would never begin to forward think on any of them.

If i am honest i would have to admit that unlike most people i am not afraid of the unknown but more likely the complete opposite. It is the fear that what i do know will be taken away that scares me most of all. So often the unpredictable comes along to scupper any plans you have made and then perhaps it is all the more painful because you had expected things to happen or for situations to be a certain way. Instead you are left devastated when your hopes and plans are shattered because it was not as you had imagined it should be. So no i do not plan, i do not take for granted that what i have and where i am now will stand to be the same a month from today. I am too afraid to want for certain things to happen or for certain things to stay the same. So i expect for change and loss and should it not transpire then i am only left gladdened and never disappointed. Perhaps if in the back of your mind some small part of you expects to lose that which you have, it makes you value it all the more rather than taking for granted.

Is it any way to live a life, secretly fearing? Perhaps not, but as i listen to those friends making plans for many months from now i cannot help but wonder how many of them will actually get to see those plans transpire. I should like to hope they all will but experience tells me it shall not be so. I do not know where i shall be  a year from now, i will never imagine or even plan for it to be any particular way. Life has a funny way of working out exactly how it is supposed to now matter what we try and do about it.

For now that is enough.

Guy Fawkes and Novembermas fever

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So you’re listening to the whizzes and bangs screaming merrily outside your window? A flash of brightly coloured light illuminates a room signalling only one thing….it’s christmas right???

WRONG!!

Once upon a time when i was about knee high, i remember a time when christmas began in December. As soon as the calendar clicked round to the magical date of the 1st we knew we could start looking forward to that distant day that Santa came to visit. Few tv adverts and the shops did not start to decorate and sell their wares until the magical date of the 1st came along. With this modern day of materialism and consumerism comes a new form of ‘christmas’ that actually begins sometime in March. Where once before the shelves would have been devoid of anything remotely festive there now lurked a small stash of post christmas goodies overstocked by the stores in hopeful abundance. Nestling colourfully next to already long present Easter eggs and fluffy bunnies, the post season miscreants sit dolefully waiting for some cash strapped bargain hunter to snap them up.

Forward a few months to September. Yes you read right…September and supermarket shelves are stealthily filling with christmas goodies and the usual tinned chocolate mountain lies in wait at the entrance to every store. Overhead banners scream out ‘start saving now for christmas’ making you double take and check that it really is September. Further forward to Halloween and the subtle displays have spawned like a fed post midnight Mogwai leaving a vast array of gifts, confectionary and general festive season frippery weaving its way like some madly growing triffid around every store.

A shame for you then if you dearly wish to be of the old school variety and keep Christmas firmly in December where it belongs. No escape as every corner assaults your senses with some promotion or other making it an impossible feat to avoid them. Forward to Bonfire night when thoughts should be of Guy Fawkes, fireworks and cinder toffee but instead brings the advent of the christmas tv advert. ”Buy your sofa now in time for christmas” it chirps enticingly, whilst little blue aliens on a snowy screen remind us of all those things we do not need but will want anyway just because we’re supposed to. As the gunpowder pops and bangs outside my door i see yet more gift adverts followed by yet more for festive food. Already wearing thin i can feel myself mentally sighing ‘humbug’

I love Christmas do not get me wrong. Perhaps these days though the enjoyment and fun of it all has been gradually eaten away by a never before felt kind of pressure and a commercialism that detracts from the day in a very big way. Me, i think i shall continue to ignore the oh so early signs and continue as i did as a child. My countdown to christmas will begin two weeks before the day and only then will my youthful enjoyment break free and let me again enjoy the day. Sometimes i think we are so controlled by the power of advertising that by the time the event arrives we forget to enjoy it, but instead just heave a sigh of relief that it is over.

Jingle bells?? I dont think so!

Who ate all the pies?

diet-christmas

Yes girls its christmas, a dieters dread and guilty delight. Usually by now i’ve stocked up on so much food that the local barracks are considering me as a siege base should we ever get invaded. This year i’ve been a little more restrained although there are plenty of goodies still in store, i’ll just be shoving more of it in the direction of super slim boyfriend and mentally wiring my own jaws shut. 

But its christmas right? You cant not indulge to some extent and after 7 months of dieting and a 42lb weight loss im more than due something nicer to eat than lettuce! So as i’m happily dreaming of mince pies and chocolates eaten watching a movie, my bubble is firmly burst with the advent of todays email.

Oh look, a diet email from Jenny Craig telling me i can lose lots of weight *twinge of guilt*

Oh look another lose 7lbs by christmas email! *bigger prod of guilt*

Oh and another on how to survive the christmas holidays without gaining weight AARRGGHHH!! Okay okay i feel guilty i’ll have lettuce with my turkey and i’ll only sniff the chocolate tin once or twice!! PLEASE don’t send the ghost of January diet future after me i promise i’ll be good!!

amazing-difference

Actually theyre getting earlier this time. Usually they at least wait until the 2nd of January! I’ll be sitting with mince pie in hand, happily ensconced infront of the tv when the letter box will rattle. Heaving up my christmas tummy i’ll waddle off into the hallway to retrieve the Slimming world leaflet from the floor. This is shortly followed by Weight Watchers, Shapes and a leaflet from the gym. By now im hiding under the stairs trying to furtively eat my mince pie whilst sucking in my stomach and clenching my buttocks, mentally muttering ”i’ll go next week ,really i will”.

This year oh no! This year its different they’ve clearly decided i’m going to gain weight before i’ve even eaten anything!! So this week despite being pretty much at  goal weight and a much slimmer size 10/12 i’m munching faithfully on a lettuce mountain trying to take off a few pounds to use as a buffer. Okay take me away guv i confess i done it, it was me *holding hands out for handcuffs* 

So post christmas whilst twiglet of a boyfriend bewails his non existant stomach i shall be firmly holding mine in, giving him doleful looks and envying his super metabolism whilst malevolently cursing my own. Don’t worry Jenny i will be back on a diet in January i promise…now where are those mince pies??

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We wish you a merry christmas

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Christmas. The most famous widely known holiday of the year.With less that a week to go  most of us really are on the home stretch and getting rather into the holiday spirit. No doubt you have your presents wrapped and a gaily twinkling tree adorns one corner of a room in your home. Your turkey is ordered and invites have gone out to auntie doris and uncle bert, after all someone has to entertain grandma right?

Im sure you picture everyone seated around the table, passing food from hand to hand as you all squabble over who has more potatoes than whom. Wrapping paper colorfully strewn amongst the piles of presents despite a frazzled mothers best attempts to clear it up. Yes im sure this christmas scene is one we are all very familiar with, isnt it? Or is it?

My thoughts drift to christmases past when  they were so far removed from the merry scene i described. Memories of christmases alone, sometimes with a christmas dinner for one and sometimes with nothing more adventurous than a sandwich in a cold single room. Interminably long the day stretched and back when i was young i cried, i am not ashamed to admit that i did, never will you feel more lonely than on a christmas day alone. Older solo christmases i did not cry, for i had learned by then that i was still fortunate, much more so than some. 

Having experienced life on the streets and the harsh relentless life it affords my thoughts turn to those poor souls as soon as the weather turns cold. Suddenly presents and turkey do not seem so important and i remind myself that despite a hard year i actually have much to be grateful for. Had my life not changed the way it did and taken a more happy route, i could still have been one of those unfortunate people and not where i am now. While you are eating your turkey let your thoughts dwell a moment on those with no families, the elderly or the young. Those who will spend christmas alone forgotten and unloved. 

Yes christmas is a happy time and a time for giving yet so few of us see or care about those who need it most. Next time you pass a homeless person begging for change ask yourself can i REALLY not spare any? Would i really want someone to refuse to meet my eye and hurry past if that were me sitting there in their place? Oh we’ve all heard the stories, how the street dwellers spend any money given on drink and drugs, but who are we to decide how another spends their money. In truth in their place would you not want to drink and block out the reality of your existence? i’m sure many of you would. 

Next time you pass someone worse off than you, reach out a hand and help. Say a special thank you this christmas, not for the gifts and the food but for the fact that you are lucky enough to have a life that includes them. 

Merry christmas to one and all 

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