The memory box

Folding the letter she gently smoothed the sheet of paper under her fingers feeling beneath them dryness of age that had affected it. Eyes too poor to read it now, nevertheless she knew every word by heart having devoured it so often over the years, now carefully stored with so many others and only now seeing light of day.

HARRY!

Closing her eyes his face flashed into her mind, hazy now as she struggled after so long to keep his features sharp and clear, she was losing him to time she knew that and the thought made her smile sadly. So long ago yet brief moments of clarity would invade her thoughts, his smile cutting through the fog and making it seem like only yesterday and then he was gone again leaving her with only these tangible memories. 

Sighing softly she replaced the pages into the large carved wooden box, fingers brushing a small packet as she did so drawing it slowly towards her before cupping it gently in her wrinkled palms and clasping it to her chest.  ‘Not long my love’ she thought to herself ‘Soon, it shall be soon’

Leaving the packet unopened she returned it quickly to the box, thrusting it inside as guilt burned and she slightly afraid of being discovered although she knew she would not be, nobody came any more. A splash of bright colour caught her eye and she reached towards a garish painted picture of a child’s hand with crude scrawl underneath depicting the artist’s name.

Ella.

Another smile, eyes warming briefly before the light quickly faded, no Ella was long gone and this just yet another memory of things come and gone in her many years of being. Sadness less sharp as each year went by panged momentarily before she dismissed it and returned the picture to lie back along its fellow inhabitants of the cluttered old box. 

Her worn gaze swept over the small grizzled teddy bear and the beribboned letters, oh she had been so popular in her day with her many suitors all begging for a smile, a glance, some sign of recognition from her but almost from the first she had only had eyes for him. Sweeping an errant lock of hair from her forehead she leaned further over the box disturbing the contents in her hunt for the one thing she sought. She needed to find it, to bring him close again before her failing mind refused to remember what she was looking for and left her in that absent place where nothing mattered any more. 

There! There it was.  Her heart leapt as she found the one thing she wanted and fingers rapidly cleared the dust from the front of the small framed picture. Lovingly she gazed at the sun bleached photograph, yellow with age, showing a young couple smiling shyly at each other.He resplendent in some bygone uniform showing duty to his country and she delicately pretty in florals and lace, bonnet trailing from fingers gently clasped between his.

Harry.

Even as she gazed the fog came and eyes clouded over, picture already forgotten falling into her lap and memories of him vanishing like mist in the sun. In the shadows of the room a figure waited, brass buttons shining on a uniform of old, boyish face echoing the love reflected earlier on hers. He could wait, he’d waited such a long time that a little longer would not hurt. 

‘Soon my love’ he smiled ‘ i shall see you soon’ 

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The tides of life

D86

Sometimes, just sometimes, life has a way of making itself felt with an almighty slap that sending you tumbling off your feet with no idea of where you will land. My philosophy has always been that sometimes fate just steps in and gives you a push into the direction you were to afraid to take for yourself. Other times perhaps it is simply because we were taking too much for granted and merely needed a sharp reminder to be just that little bit more grateful for the things that we do have. There is no doubt that most of us are guilty of complacency when it comes to our lives and often do not cope well when change upsets our little world and everything in it. 

When i was small it all seemed so easy. I had my life mapped in a fairytale way that only a child can imagine and never at so young an age did it occur to me to think any differently. I may not have liked everything nor been happy with it but since it was all i had ever known i accepted it as a given and never had the thought to even try and change any aspects of it.  As a child, even when things are not perfect, we do not really see nor really register the less than ideal but merely accept it as it is. We simply do not know any different and therefore have no reason to hope for more. Only when exposed to situations more idealistic than our own do we sometimes wonder what life may be like if we were someone else. I never imagined for myself the life that i have now. Never did i imagine going wthout nor sacrificing until you wonder if you have anything left to give. No, for me i imagined a glamorous lifestyle and a handsome husband who adored me. 

As i should have realised, life does not work out in such a fairytale way for most of us and even those we imagine living the perfect lives have their own regrets and unhappiness. Perhaps then it is not merely what you have that makes you happy but your perception of it. Is it enough to have money, esteem and material things or perhaps is it a case of the more that you have, the more you want. Whilst it is a good thing to have things to want and aspire to, to be without dreams makes life not much of a life at all, there comes a point when perhaps the wanting is not merely for ourselves but more to appear credible and successful to others. What hope of happiness when we rely on others to give us some sense of worth, yet will living our lives for others give us the feeling of success we crave? Will it make us happy?  At the end of the day when doors are closed and we are alone, there is only our own reflection looking back at you in the mirror. It is then that perhaps you realise that without a love for yourself and a sense of inner peace, the regard of others does not count for much at all. 

Life is sent to test us. Some of us more than others and whilst the instinct may be to bury our heads in the sand and ignore that which is happening, sometimes the solution is to stand up tall and weather the onslaught the best way we can. Perhaps we will emerge a little battered and we may need to pick ourselves back up from the floor, but sometimes we can rebuild a better stronger version of what was there before. It is easy to be swept along by the tide and overwhelmed the the deluge that life occasionally throws our way but if you do not swim just that little bit harder then it is so easy to be washed away and drown in the tides of life. 

I have lost my focus of late because i forgot to remember to count my blessings. I fell victim to the need to feel sorry for myself when circumstances dealt me a decline in fortunes. So focused was i on what i had lost and what i no longer had that i forgot about those things that i do. In hindsight all i have done is waste months of my life on worry, regret and upset when really i should have stuck out my chin and taken the blow. We never lose everything, there is always something left to cling to even when it seems like we have nothing left at all. It is that one thing we need to hold on to and start building upon it until we have more than we had the day before. Even as i am I am fortunate, i  somehow forgot that along the way, but there is no doubt that i AM fortunate. Whilst i could definitely have more than i do right now there is no doubt i could easily have a lot, lot less. I have been there before and i will try to remember how far i have come. 

Grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change, the courage to change the things i can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Oh yes, i am fortunate. 

Aside

How are you today?

positive thinking

As the telephone crashes down signalling the abrupt and rude end to yet another work related interaction i cannot help but heave a sigh. Positive thoughts come rushing to the forefront of my mind as usual, telling me to pay no heed. A now well worn smile pastes itself to my face and out of habit i adopt a bright cheery tone to deal with my customers. A smile on the face, so i’m told, reflects itself in the tone of the voice and i am careful to heed this advice. I should not like to come across as stern or forbidding. I like to pretend i am developing a thick skin when on the receiving end of less than pleasant treatment but i know i really am not. You cannot help but be affected when people talk to you in such a way even if logic tells you they do not mean it. In truth though many do and just do not really care. But never would i let that show that i care and i pretend as hard as i can that i really do not mind at all.

Occasionally some bright cheery soul is on the other end of the line and a few moments of happy banter ensues but more often followed by dismissal and undisguised rudeness that would make my grandmother turn in her grave. Not being as social a creature as perhaps i could be i wonder if the general interaction between we humans has deteriorated rapidly, sliding a slippery downhill slope that i had failed to notice. What happened to us all? How did we become so uncaring of others and the world around us that we behave with such contempt and bad demeanor. towards others.

I’d like to hope i am a nice person although as i have said before i am not one who is overly sociable. I certainly can give a pleasing appearance of being so but in truth i prefer the company of one or two people whom i am both familiar with and close to. Unlike most people i am perfectly at ease with my own company and when left alone can happily while away many an hour without craving company from anyone else. When i do i find the number of people i seek company from to be very small.  At some point i did wonder if perhaps my own semi solitary nature drew forth such response from people but i know that i interact extremely well in social settings so this is evidently not so. I get along very well with almost everyone, i just choose to keep myself to myself.

All this being said i try extremely hard to remain as pleasant and friendly as i can for i am very aware of the need to be agreeable to others. Mindful of both my own manners and the treatment of those others at my hands. If perhaps i can be labelled as a bit of a doormat then this is hopefully my only failing and of detriment to nobody but myself. Still ,however bright a visage you try and maintain, you cannot help but come to a point where such endless misery and rudeness begins to haul you down. Grey enveloping hands dragging you down into the depths of depression that is hard to avoid even with such a positive attitude.  I cannot help but feel that sometimes i should just like to fly away to somewhere quiet and not have to deal with other peoples rudeness and bad manners. Far away from the trials and tribulations of daily life to yet again rebuild my positive armor and become once again the sunny eternal optimist i always was. This is a person i seem to have lost somewhat of late and i find i am most unlike myself at present.

How ironic then that i choose to daily deal with the public and leave my small emotional ship at the mercy of waves of unfeeling negativity. But i am learning very well how to row this little ship of mine and it is time again to turn towards the open sea and row steadily towards the oncoming storm. Still i can find a smile and i shall keep my eyes firmly upon the horizon looking for that small ray of sunlight peeping its way through to shine a happy glow my way.

Positivity.

Yes i still have it….do you?

Could you be a Cougar??

Cougar, its a term most of us know these days. One of those colloquialisms developed in society to label something which previously has either been indefinable or simply did not exist.

So what is a cougar??

Well simply put it is any woman who pursues the attentions of considerably younger men rather than those her own age. Usually a minimum of 7 years younger is required for the age gap to fall into the cougar status. I have always dated slightly younger men, mainly due to the fact that i do not look my age and can get away with it but i have never yet reached the requirements that would fit me into this cougar category. 

But could i be one?? Well this morning i admit i had rather a giggle as logging onto a diet and fitness forum i belong to i had a message alerting me to updates on threads i had replied to. Skimming the first two serious and advisory ones i picked up a few tips and added a further comment of my own. Now the third thread was entirely different and was infact a game entitled..do you think the person above is attractive. I had happily joined in the previous evening commenting that the girl at the bottom of the list was, despite being rather overweight, a very pretty girl. Considerably more entries had been added since mine and i skipped through them reading the comments and then rather absently flicked backwards looking for mine. In truth i had expected my comment to be from a girl since the boy/girl ratio was very much in the female favor but NO!!

’43?? I would do her!!’

Yes this was my comment and the commenter was…..a young lad that looked about 18! I actually choked on my coffee caught between exclamation, a giggle and the desire to swallow the contents of my mouth. The result was a spray of coffee upon my laptop followed by a mad coughing fit. Now i say this boy looked 18 he could well have been older but it would not have been much and i certainly wasn’t going to be seen checking his profile for fear of giving the wrong idea. But the comment set me thinking, could i really be a cougar?? It is not the first time i have had favourable looks from considerably younger guys infact very far from it and yes if i am honest i could have more than once dated far younger guys but yet i have not.

WHY?? 

Is it not every womans dream to be seen with some young fit looking guy rather than the frequently less so older men of their own acquaintance? Would women rather wake up to some smooth tanned body rather than the slightly wrinkling version she is expected to date? Perhaps, i know many women would jump at the chance to date a younger  man, seeking maybe to hold on to their own youth in the process but strangely i do not find this appealing and in truth would feel decidedly uncomfortable waking up with a boy in my bed.Romantic moment as he leans over and whispers ”Darling i love the way the sunlight dances across your wrinkles in a morning” It has to be noted that i consider any  guy under 28 to be in the category of boy more in reference to my own age although i own they would not thank me for it. As odd as it may seem i do not really look at much younger guys and even in the cases of movie stars i remain curiously unmoved. A friend recently asked me to go and see Magic Mike with her at the cinema which for those who do not know is about male strippers. As she drooled over the bronzed muscles of the male leads i found myself looking rather dispassionately at the picture for it did not appeal to me at all and i happily declined. 

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Give me Colin Firth or Kiefer Sutherland and you will happily see me melt (curiously so for both are older than i) for i prefer men who look like men and cannot see the appeal in those so much younger whom to me are just boys. It seems as i have aged my taste in men has aged with me and though i would happily date a guy a few years younger than myself i confess i am not the cougar type and have a line firmly drawn with regards to age. So whilst i may blush furiously at the comment left in regards to me i have to confess that where he would, i definitely would not. 

Could i be a cougar?? No after much thought i confess not but am i alone in this? Could you?

When its all just down to Mr Benn

I remember back when i was small ( yes trust me i can remember back that far) and one thing i always remember is a childrens tv show called Mr Benn. Short little cartoons where an ordinary unassuming little man in his ordinary little bowler hat would take a trip to a fancy dress shop and try on a different outfit every time and disappear on a wonderful adventure to be an astronaut, a wizard or even a roman gladiator. Back then i imagined it to be so very wonderful to magically be someone else just by putting on another hat and yes i wanted to go to that little fancy dress shop and be a princess or a ballerina or perhaps something even more wonderful than that. I wanted to be Mr Benn…..

All grown up now and i had to smile when recently i stumbled across a reference to the adventurous Mr Benn but then as i sat and looked at the pictures a thought occurred to me that never would have as a child. Mr Benn went into that shop so often and came out as someone, but never once did he go through that magical door choosing to be just himself. In my own way i am my very own Mr Benn, the very person my childhood self  had always wanted to be but somehow it doesnt seem as magical as i thought it would. A lifetime spent wearing different hats, mother, daughter, sister, wife and in all of them im somebody else and limited by the dictates that the outfit provides. Somehow as time went by i realised i was so busy being what everyone else expected me to be i forgot about the most important character of all…ME. 

How often in our lives do we strive to impress others, those who actually really do not matter at all since they are not an essential part of our lives but merely passing through. Yet we change ourselves to impress when in reality what we should say is ..this is me accept me. Strange how we feel the need to be perceived in such a positive light by people who do not know us, mostly never will and who at the end of the day will not give us another passing thought as they go about their own busy lives. Why should they? We are nothing to them beyond those brief points in which we interact, once over resuming to as it was before.  Ultimately when doors are closed and we are all alone the only thing we see looking back at us is our own face in the mirror, but are we really looking at ourselves or have we tried so hard to be what we think will impress that we have lost all sense of what makes us who we are. Who do you see when you look in the mirror?

I used to be that way, so desperate to please and to be liked. Strange that i wanted to be liked for someone who did not exist rather than the one who was there all along. Now….this is me, accept me for i shall not change. And if you like me i shall know you like me just for myself and nothing more than that.

Mr Benn? No i don’t want to be Mr Benn. Do you?

I am Panda, and Panda is me. 

10,000 hits!!

Wow i really cannot believe it!! My little world of burble has accumulated 10,000 hits in the 5 months since i started it and still going. I still find it quite amusing that something i started to please my now partner has turned into something i love people to see and i still get excited that people WANT to read it and even sometimes actually like it. 

I had no idea i could write and were it not for the less than subtle nudgings of a certain Vampire i should never have even dreamed of doing so and yes i freely admit i did so to shut him up. As i said long ago, i had imagined that he should read my waffle, cringe politely and then allow me to take it down whilst grudgingly admitting that i could not infact write anything more substantial than a post-it. Okay i guess it helps that i am slightly off the wall and have a rather humorous take on life but i never was cut out to be a sobersides trust me! 

The world according to panda.

So 10,000 hits later i am the one admitting i was wrong ( yes lovely you read that right- i was wrong) and perhaps there is something of a mini writer in me after all. All i know is as long as people are reading this waffle, i shall keep writing it and i am having great fun doing so. I admit there are some days when i panic and think aarrgghh what shall i write?? But now i have learned not to force it and if nothing is there to write, then don’t write it. 

So to my lovely followers and all of the other great people who take the time to read my ramblings, thank-you. Thank-you for sharing in the wonderfully crazy world of Panda, i’m not sure if that makes you as crazy as me but i hope you can live with that. On this note i hear the gym calling and i really must get myself organised( can you believe i can do sit ups now!! – me, sit ups!!) 

Panda over and out 

Invasion of the bodysnatchers

Sooooooooo you’re all expecting a post about the movie right?? Some far out musings of a science fiction nature?? Alas i am afraid you are going to be very disappointed, no aliens (almost) , no sci fi, no mind blowing action. Just a panda who isn’t a panda today.

I have been body snatched. Seriously!!

Its not meant to be obvious, i  look the same and i sound the same but little things will start to give themselves away that i am not really me after all. 6.30am was the start of the clues when the real me would tumble out of bed, stagger in the direction of the scales which would be duly cursed at before heading for morning ablutions. Pretend me opened  one eye, semi registered the time of 8am (see a giveaway, late already) before pulling the covers over my head and burying my face in the pillow. I have no idea what pretend me has been up to for the battery tanks are totally empty and the fuel gauge flashing a warning red. Personally i think they had to replace me in a hurry and didn’t get time to do an overnight charge, everyone knows new electricals need a 16hour charge before use right??

At this point real me would be gaining inspiration from an episode of The Biggest Loser whilst downing breakfast and pre gym coffee but pretend me was still face down in the pillow daydreaming and refusing to move. At least they got one thing right for real me can’t ever go back to sleep once awake and nor it seems can replacement me. Score one on the design front then! Swiftly followed by yet another glaringly obvious mistake since by 10am real me would have transformed into gym ninja and be happily bouncing along the road to the blaring tunes courtesy of Lifehouse, already planning the two hour gym session and humming tunelessly. 

Poor imitation me (i think they shop at Poundland) is slithering from the bed into a heap on the floor and absently noticing a long lost shoe from my unusually floor prone position before crawling in the direction of the smallest room in the house. You’d think they’d have had a little more design etiquette and done away with this tiresome necessity but perhaps there just was no time. Two coffees later (another glaring error) and replacement me is nibbling half heartedly on a rich tea biscuit having skipped breakfast entirely and disinterestedly surveying the prairie outside my back doors and musing the possibility of pretending to be a pioneer for the day. Admittedly the neighbours might stare if i skip outside in a long calico dress and a bonnet and start hitching up a wagon but hey i’m bodysnatched right??

Too much of a giveaway?? Maybe.

So while the real me is killing up in some alien gym somewhere, my other self is floating around on the internet and wondering whether to volunteer to help out my alter ego with a spot of housework. She seems to be pretty tidy this other me so i decide to leave well alone until i am more familiar with the way she works after all if i am to be her i have to act like her right. Still she has quite a few photographs of some good looking guy on her computer which i would rather look at that do her housework if i am honest. Perhaps this bodysnatching thing might be fun after all!! 

I must be very careful and not do anything too out of the ordinary for her since this will be sure to be noticed. Common sense tells me that perhaps hiding out here for reconnaissance purposes will be most adviseable at this point in time so for now i am going to lay low and survey my position. Stay tuned for further installments on the invasion of the bodysnatchers and be alert for we are everywhere. You never know when we might come for YOU!!

Perhaps i should feel mean but i dont!!

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Evening is rolling in and i’m sitting trying to study, my stomach is growling to be fed but im determined to finish this section before i set my work aside. Perhaps it is a heavy workload but i am studying Business and Admin and also taking a Proof Reading and Editorial course, the latter of which occupies my attention and is rather complicated. 

BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG!!!

This is my front door knocker being hammered against the door with force enough to make it shake upon its hinges. I do not need to answer the door to know who it is for i can hear a very loud bullmoose voice bellowing outside but i am busy working so i choose not to answer. 

”There’s nobody in”

Footsteps fade and i sigh and continue my work and have read no more than five lines when..

BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG!!!

The bullmoose voice is back and is nothing if not persistent. My eyebrows raise as i hear the letter box open and the voice, louder now as the person looks through my letter box to see if i am home. GO AWAY!! i think furiously, although conscience niggles that perhaps i am being mean. 

BANG BANG BANG BANG (door kick) BANG BANG

Yes you can bet for sure i am rather annoyed now as i reread the same sentence for the third time. So who is hammering so furiously upon my door? Ah well this is easy it is the child next door.

At first i would always answer when this child kicked his ball over my back fence for i have children and my own when small have mistakenly kicked their ball into a neighbours garden before now. Rather differently i would never let them knock on the door to ask for it back but instead told them that if they had been careless enough to let it go over then they would have to wait until the person chose to throw it back , if they even did. 

But nevertheless i would at first answer to this child and obligingly retrieve the ball from my garden which received neither apology nor thanks. Shortly after the ball would come sailing back over the fence and the hammering on the door would commence with a loud request to get the ball back. This child does not have a volume switch, actually he does but it consists of loud and very loud and of an evening i have to close my door and windows in order to hear my tv but i try and remind myself that he is after all a child.

After repeated retrievings of the ball i began to get rather fed up especially since my garden has been very waterlogged for some weeks now and sploshing around in it for a ball is not my idea of fun and i politely asked him not to kick it over and informed him that if he did it would have to stay there until i went outside for something. 

BANG BANG BANG BANG KICK KICK BANG (letterbox opens again)

I know, i know perhaps the easy way would be to go and fetch the ball and thereby cease the kicking and hammering at my door but irritation is prompting me to throw the door wide and bellow ‘ STOP kicking that bl@@dy door’   I may think it but i would not do this and i try my best to ignore it. Footsteps fade again and the child takes up residence upon my driveway with friend in tow kicking another football back and forth thumping it repeatedly against my garage door and house wall. Sometimes i wish i were not so nice natured for i should dearly love to shout as neighbours would have had i behaved so when small and rightly so. 

After six attempts to hammer my door down coupled with frequent peering through my letter box there is finally silence as it seems for now at least he has given up. Of course i will return the ball when i or one of the family does go outside i am not so mean as all that but if i should feel guilty for not answering my door and fetching it when he wished then i’m afraid i do not. I was always taught manners and respect cost nothing even from a very young age and had i hammered on our neighbours doors in that way when i was small you can guarantee i would have felt my mothers hand and further been hauled next door to apologise. 

So do i feel mean?? NO!! 

One day i’ll fly away

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I’ve never been a lover of routine. We all do it, that 9-5 plus family plus spouse responsibilities that leave us needing some semblance of order to our lives in order to know where we are in life and to function. To some degree i am like everyone else, i live the daily grind and do as i am meant to, therefore ensuring life sails on slowly by with nary a hitch. A lot of people love this routine and thrive on it, feeling a safety and security in knowing exactly how everything is going to go.

BUT I HATE IT!! 

I very rarely make appointments for anything, much preferring to do things off the cuff and maintaining the spontaneity  that is within my nature. I do not like to be tied to specific things at specific times and when forced to on a regular basis i will inevitably begin to feel suffocated. My friends laugh at me because it is a long standing joke that if i cannot walk into a salon and get my hair cut then and there i will not have it done as i refuse to make appointments. Predictability is not something that sits well with me and more than once friends have rolled their eyes as i have yearned for something exciting to happen. 

Like today.

Today i am in a rebellious mood. I am NOT going to clean my house ( i’m a tidy freak so there is little to clean anyway)  I am going to make today my off day at the gym and i am not going to do one single thing i am supposed to. I guess i have always been a bit of a free spirit, i always feel there is a touch of a hippy child in me and when routine forces me to stay indoors for any length of time i really do begin to have the feeling of being caged. This happened again today. Last night i woke in the middle of the night after an infrequent nightmare, panicking as dream me had been trapped somewhere i could not get out of. I hate this feeling, it is one that prompts me often to don my trainers and head for the nearest open space by myself. 

Just some space to breathe.

Oh do not for one minute assume i am an unhappy person, i am far from being that. I have fantastic children, amazing friends and a lovely home. Whilst i may grumble about my weight or my crazy hair i still like the person that i am and i have much to smile for. 

But yes i cannot help that untamed wild nature in me that longs for adventure, some unexpected event that frees me from this wheel that i run on day after day. I chuckle as i picture my eldest daughters face when i announced that i wanted to pack a backpack, shove some money in my pocket and hop on a train and see where i ended up.A little adventure all of my own. I had every intention of coming home and my children are old enough to fend for themselves for a while but my daughter looked aghast at me and exclaimed ”You cant do that!!” 

Why cant i??

After a lifetime of doing what i am supposed to is it really that wrong to want to actually do some things i’m not supposed to do?? Perhaps it is just kicking out at being taken for granted, some prodding reminder of all the things i do without thinking that are expected and unnoticed..at least until i stop doing them. Perhaps it is a lifetime of expectation and conformity all reaching up to settle on my shoulders keeping me firmly in my rut so that i do not try and defer from my lot and my dislike of this oppressing feeling.

But i dont want that, i want to see new places and do new things. I want adventure and surprises, something different from the norm that i have been always so used to. For today i shall be content with just rebellion, closing my front door behind me as i head for the train and something different just for once. But one day i will pack that bag and i will go in search of that adventure i so crave. I shall run along a beach at sunset, see the sunrise come up over somewhere new. Learn to swim, conquer my fear of heights and go climbing, throw snowballs in the snow and dance under the rays of the sun. One day i shall do all of this. 

One day i’ll fly away.

Why do birds run??

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Today the sun smiled at me through my window and it beckoned me to come outside. I protested at first that i had work to do but it smiled again and said come out to play. So i did, i am nothing if not obliging and who was i to refuse such a request especially since it had rained and rained for so long i was thinking of changing my name to Noah. So i skipped off outside and caught a train to the next town and spent the next few hours nosing around shops and stopping for lunch ( subway of course!!) which is rare for me because i usually hate shopping and do most of it online. Yes you heard right i’m a girl and i hate shopping!! I’m okay for an hour or so and then i get bored and go plonk myself down in the park with my kindle. 

Some time later idly sitting at the bus stop i was absorbed in watching a little bird running around in the road, rather worriedly for this is a busy bus route and i didn’t want the little guy to get run over. Actually to be honest i was only half watching him, the other half of me being absorbed in trying to eat an orange juice lolly without it melting all over my lovely white shirt. As i sat and pondered the little bird a bus came thundering by and i squeaked in alarm convinced the little bird had met his fate between the huge wheels but no, here he came scuttling along from between the back wheels and resuming his wandering in the road. I have absolutely no idea why he was running around in circles, perhaps hoping for stray crumbs to be dropped from one of the nearby passengers waiting at the various shelters but he was definitely determined to remain where he was. 

Several times a bus or car thundered by and each time this little guy came dancing along between the wheels and by now he had most definitely earned my admiration for whether it be bravery or just sheer stupidity this tiny little bird ( a wagtail) had no intention of giving ground and retreating. I watched him curiously for quite some time this little winged daredevil and i mused on why he risked running around between the wheels on such tiny little legs when he could so easily fly out of reach and then return. Clearly he knew something i did not for he continued doggedly dashing back and forth. Sadly i had to leave him behind but i hope he got his reward for he truly deserved it but with such a beautiful pair of wings i guess i’ll never understand, why do birds run??

If you think about it…..

                                              Sometimes i think too much. Sometimes i’m too dreamy…

Sometimes on nights like tonight i sit and i think, even when i’m trying not to and as much as i try and distract myself with other things, it makes no difference at all. 

Sometimes on nights like tonight i sit and think, and even when i tell my head to stop it doesn’t listen at all and those things just keep on coming, winding their way in there and taking over. 

Sometimes on nights like tonight i think about someone and i realise how much i miss them, but of course i can’t tell them that so i try and pretend i dont. But i do……And i know what youre thinking about what i’m thinking but you see youre wrong…

Sometimes on nights like tonight i sit and try not to think and it’s all so quiet, the clock moves so slowly and i just sit and watch it and will it to move faster just to see if it will. But of course it doesn’t.

Sometimes on nights like tonight i sit and try not to think and read the same page over and over again because nothing sinks in, i’m too busy trying not to think the things i’m thinking you see.

Sometimes on nights like this i realise that however much i like my own company, sometimes you can be alone just a little too much and then you just end up thinking about thinking. 

Sometimes on nights like tonight i don’t feel like i’m real but merely a spectator watching myself doing things i have no control over at all and then i think im just a little bit strange for thinking such a thing. 

Sometimes on nights like this i sit and try not to think because if you think about it some things are probably better when you just dont think about them at all 

Sometimes on nights like this i sit and think about the fact i think too much about thinking about things i really dont want to think about and then i really do think that i should just stop thinking at all.

And then i make myself laugh and its all okay again..but just think if it wasnt!! 

When its all just down to Mr Benn

I remember back when i was small ( yes trust me i can remember back that far) and one thing i always remember is a childrens tv show called Mr Benn. Short little cartoons where an ordinary unassuming little man in his ordinary little bowler hat would take a trip to a fancy dress shop and try on a different outfit every time and disappear on a wonderful adventure to be an astronaut, a wizard or even a roman gladiator. Back then i imagined it to be so very wonderful to magically be someone else just by putting on another hat and yes i wanted to go to that little fancy dress shop and be a princess or a ballerina or perhaps something even more wonderful than that. I wanted to be Mr Benn…..

All grown up now and i had to smile when recently i stumbled across a reference to the adventurous Mr Benn but then as i sat and looked at the pictures a thought occurred to me that never would have as a child. Mr Benn went into that shop so often and came out as someone, but never once did he go through that magical door choosing to be just himself. In my own way i am my very own Mr Benn, the very person my childhood self  had always wanted to be but somehow it doesnt seem as magical as i thought it would. A lifetime spent wearing different hats, mother, daughter, sister, wife and in all of them im somebody else and limited by the dictates that the outfit provides. Somehow as time went by i realised i was so busy being what everyone else expected me to be i forgot about the most important character of all…ME. 

How often in our lives do we strive to impress others, those who actually really do not matter at all since they are not an essential part of our lives but merely passing through. Yet we change ourselves to impress when in reality what we should say is ..this is me accept me. Strange how we feel the need to be perceived in such a positive light by people who do not know us, mostly never will and who at the end of the day will not give us another passing thought as they go about their own busy lives. Why should they? We are nothing to them beyond those brief points in which we interact, once over resuming to as it was before.  Ultimately when doors are closed and we are all alone the only thing we see looking back at us is our own face in the mirror, but are we really looking at ourselves or have we tried so hard to be what we think will impress that we have lost all sense of what makes us who we are. Who do you see when you look in the mirror?

I used to be that way, so desperate to please and to be liked. Strange that i wanted to be liked for someone who did not exist rather than the one who was there all along. Now….this is me, accept me for i shall not change. And if you like me i shall know you like me just for myself and nothing more than that.

Mr Benn? No i don’t want to be Mr Benn. Do you?

I am Panda, and Panda is me. 

That just drives me crazy!!

I imagine i am far from alone in having those little pet peeves, those things that get up your nose and make you roll your eyes and mutter ‘oh for goodness sake!!’  I am not much given to profanity and have in my time invented a number of nonsensical words to use in such occasions although i am aware most people will have much more colourful ones than my own.

Yesterday was a day of pet peeves, yet i am for the most part a fairly tolerant and laid back person and it did set me thinking. I wonder whether many of us have the same irritants or whether i am alone in mine so i thought it would be rather amusing to confess to them.

Car Drivers

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Yes you’ve got it the plain old humble car drivers.

It never ceases to amaze me how the most mild mannered of people will transform from Jekyl to Hyde whilst behind the wheel of a car. I see them all hunched over the steering wheel with an intent fixed look and a ‘dont mess with me attitude’. As a plain humble pedestrian i find myself often caught in the rain and invariably am at the whim of the car driver when needing to get around. Car drivers i find have no empathy, tucked up warm and dry in their cars they care little for the poor rain drenched pedestrian and will coldly drive through puddles without slowing and ignore those poor bedraggled souls shivering by the side of the road hoping to cross.

Of course being such a compassionate little soul myself i fully understand the importance of those in vehicles getting to their destination that whole thirty seconds sooner and i sympathise deeply with their plight and of course i understand how traumatic it should be to lose focus and have to let some impudent person cross the road.Really i do. I would not wish to be the cause of such distress as it should cause someone to have to change speed and see anything but the bumper of the car in front and their intended destination.

Car drivers my thoughts are with you.


Enid and Ethel

I imagine i am far from alone in my abhorrence for supermarket shopping. Of course we all need to shop, after all we need to eat but unless you are one of those wealthy enough to have someone to do all of this for you then invariably at some point you will encounter ‘the supermarket’. Now i have to admit with the advent of online shopping i manage for the most part to avoid this but there are times when i need to brave and go shopping. 

Cue the ‘wonky’ trolley. Smile fixed firmly in place you try to appear nonchalant as your errant trolley rattles and squeaks its way across the shop, hauling you firmly sideways as one rebellious wheel refuses to conform and roll with its peers . Mental cursing ‘move dammit’ you stoutly weave you way across the shop narrowly avoiding the requisite stack of wine bottles that is inevitably in your path. 

Ignoring stomach growls as you lurch your way past the selection of delectable concoctions in the bakery you slalom around other shoppers gathering goods as you go until you encounter…Enid and Ethel.

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Now it matters not where you live, whether it be town or city you will without fail meet with an Enid and Ethel. They are usually best discovered infront of the one thing you really need the most and are easily recognisable by the pair of side by side trolleys blocking the aisle. More often you will hear Enid and Ethel long before you reach them as they have a most distinctive sound consisting of loud overly enthusiastic cries of ‘oh i haven’t seen you for ages how ARE you?’  Most amusing when approaching this pair for you cannot help but overhear and discover that infact they have actually last met only two days prior. 

So trolleys blocking aisle and effusive conversation in full flow, Enid and Ethel are totally oblivious to their whereabouts and also the inconvenience they cause to others as a procession of other shoppers build up behind you. Cue defensive mode and indignant squeaks of ‘it’s not me’ as more vocal of shoppers express their displeasure and yet Enid and Ethel remain totally unaware of the havoc they are causing. 

Now if you’re anything like me you become most apologetic and whisper ‘excuse me’ at the gossiping pair only to be met with a look of irritation from the recipients for how dare i interrupt their conversation! I have never yet figured out why i feel the need to apologise for i am not the one holding a coffee morning in the middle of my local convenience store. 

And so eventually having managed to squeeze by as, leaning guiltily over to snatch an item from off the shelf behind the pair, you hurry lopsidedly around the rest of the shop and dash for the one open checkout only to encounter……..yes you guessed it…….Enid and Ethel!

Spelling and the Queen’s English

Spending so much time online in this world of technology i, as do most of us, encounter many people in all forms of communication and i find the one thing that drives me to distraction is spelling and the use of our language. Now of course there has developed over time a use of slang and this is pretty much the norm in any language and culture. 

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BUT and this is a big but, the one thing guaranteed to drive me to distraction is the misspelling of the most basic of words, those we should as very small children learn as the norm and certainly we as adults should know and be able to use correctly. Granted the invention of Mobile Phones did little to help the situation with the ongoing creation of ‘text talk’  which i confess drives me insane and on receiving such messages i do text back and say ”could i have that in english please”! 

And yes i do have a most hated word…WAT. This riles me whenever i see it and i am always so temped to correct it..the word is WHAT not WAT. A WAT is a buddhist temple although i do not expect you to know that and neither do i think this was your meaning when writing that word. WHAT WHAT WHAT!! 

Okay so calm, i acknowledge that such a pet peeve has made me so much more aware of my own spelling and use of language and i do try my best to use it appropriately although i expect at times i too get it wrong. But how tragic is it that in this day and age even those words so basic cannot be spelt correctly. 

Most calamitous then for the future of our language, are we to become a nation of text talkers, totally unable to string together a comprehensible  sentence? I Truly hope not! 

Mime Artists and Morris dancers

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Yes you have it i cannot abide neither mine artists nor morris dancers and i expect in this i may be alone. I have not the faintest idea as to why but both arouse in me an intense irritation which to my knowledge has no foundation. I am not aware of any prior encounter with either that could have produced such an adverse feeling but there you have it i cannot tolerate either.

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It is not very often i go into the city but on the rare occasion i do it is inevitable i will encounter some form of street performer as is often the case in the arty parts of any big city. And always it is my misfortune to encounter a mime artist and whether they can sense my dislike or not they always seem to make a beeline for yours truly. 

I remember my last encounter vividly as hurrying head down to my destination and trying desperately to avoid eye contact i was followed up the street by a mime artist feigning the proffering of flowers. Now of course i am female and should some handsome man pursue me down the street with some floral tribute i should be most happy but not when some clown like figure pursues me with invisible blooms causing all and sundry to point in my direction.

I confess to feeling somewhat guilty as this ridiculous figure pantomimed tears at my refusal to acknowledge him but i cannot help the feelings these figures arouse in me and hurried off.

And morris dancers, really?? Need i say more??

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