Terrorist attack, Uncategorized

After breakfast…….

…..is when I usually make a second cup of coffee and sit at the computer, check my e mails and then log on to this site to see who has written and what inspires me to respond before settling to my own Blog writing on occasions.

This morning I had already been thinking as I went about my early morning tasks of making tea, feeding the cats and loading the washing machine of subjects which may influence today’s writing. The ups and downs of house moving are never far from my mind at present, frustrations with the UK’s politicians as we grind through yet another election build to boiling point quite frequently, the latest amusing anecdotes of my grandchildren’s escapades had all flitted through my mind. Now having switched on the TV and heard the latest shocking news of the terrorist attack in Manchester last night all these ideas simple fade away and I am left contemplating the horror of what has happened.

Thousands of young people, many of them still children, had headed out full of excitement and enthusiasm to watch Ariane Grande in concert at the Manchester Arena. As the show finished and the audience began to make their way out of the auditorium a suicide bomb was detonated at the exit killing 22 people, many of them children and injuring 59. Many adolescent girls had been dropped at the arena by their parents who were then waiting outside to collect them; children and parents were separated and unable to find each other in the midst of this dreadful situation. As one eye witness said on the BBC this morning, “It was carnage.”

Once again our ordinary way of life has been threatened, our sense of well being destroyed and as yet we do not know who the perpetrator was, only that he is believed to have died at the scene.

As always the goodness in people came rapidly to the surface and the ordinary citizens of Manchester rose to the occasion by helping in whatever way they could, spare beds and couches provided for those who could not get to their homes or hotels, cabbies offering free rides to ‘anywhere’, food and drink supplied to all the rescue service personnel involved. It makes me so proud to be British when I see such a response and I like to think that should it happen on my doorstep then I would do the same.

The 22rd May 2017 will be a marker point from now on for many families who are facing this new day with broken hearts and bewilderment that any individual could take it upon themselves to mastermind such an evil act. Those of us in the UK sitting watching the devastating events unfold on our television screens feel an instant need to connect with our own children and families, a need to reassure ourselves that they are safe and well and to count our blessings that this time we have escaped such a tragedy.

I spoke with my own daughter before writing this and she had been working for the previous two days at a large show held at the NEC, Birmingham. She said that there was a much higher level of security than usual but she had felt, as always in large crowds, a sense of anxiety throughout the weekend, feeling vulnerable in a place where so many were gathered under one roof. She should have been able to relax and enjoy the opportunity of meeting with others in her profession, sharing skills and ideas and promoting the company for whom she works, not looking over her shoulder and eyeing up anyone with a rucksack as a potential assassin.

I currently live in a very rural area and will soon be moving to another similar spot; quiet villages where one knows all the residents, where neighbours keep an eye open for strangers or unusual happenings, where life  moves at a slower pace and in time with nature’s calendar and although I enjoy visits to cities after a few days I am always ready to return to the tranquility of the countryside. I take my hat off to those city dwellers who have no option other than to face the day following these awful events by retracing their steps to work, dropping their children at schools, heading off to lectures at university or into town for some shopping and a coffee with a friend. Your bravery is commendable.

None of us know what each day will bring, news good or bad, joy or sorrow but none of those young people deserved such an ending to the delights of what may well have been their first  live concert. For those who were killed their families will never truly recover from such horror; those who were injured must start the long slow journey to regain their physical and mental health. We should not forget those who escaped injury in the physical sense but who will bear the mental and emotional scars of such an event for many years to come.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Manchester and all who live and work there.

Moving home

Far too much choice

Now that we have come to terms with the sale of our house and the fact that almost  all of our furniture has been included in the deal we are faced with having a beautiful new home and the task of choosing new tables, chairs, beds and sofas not to mention soft furnishings, lighting, rugs and so the list goes on. Over the last twelve years since we have been together we have slowly replaced some pieces of furniture, fitted a new blind, painted a room and updated the cushions and throws but we have never had to contemplate such a spending spree. Initially I thought this would be fun, an adventure, an exciting opportunity to create a new home and make it unique and individual. What we hadn’t been prepared for was the absolutely mind boggling amount of choice with which we would be confronted.

Our first purchase was a sofa and matching armchair which we saw on passing a furniture store, both immediately liked and fitted our requirements in size, colour and price. This lured us in to a false sense of security. Deciding we would like a wing backed armchair in a contrasting colour – plum, damson, claret, aubergine I foolishly Googled and found myself on one site alone being presented with 347 chairs and that was just in the UK. By the time I reached the 40s I’d become so confused there was no option other than to close the computer down and reach for a refreshing glass of chilled Sauvignon. Over the last week this pattern has been repeated over and over again with everything from pendant lights to silver grey curtains, from rugs to bedding. Since when did we need this amount of choice?

Is it just me that finds the prospect of sifting through more than 300 armchairs daunting rather than pleasurable? I had hoped that the internet would provide me with help in narrowing my options and so saving me from trailing around endless stores, and I suppose to some extent this is happening but so many of the items seen on the internet are internet only. In other words you are expected to order your furniture, your lights, your rugs and curtains without actually seeing them in the flesh as it were. There is an argument that says this is perhaps not so bad when you are buying a pair of curtains; if the colour or fabric are not what you expect you can soon return the goods and receive a refund. But what of a dining table and six chairs, a purchase of around £1,000? Are there really people who are happy to blindly order having only seen the items on line? How do you return a dining table?

Clearly I haven’t moved with the times as much as I thought I had; I happily purchase a new dress or pair of shoes on line but large items of furniture are a step too far. After many hours spent on a complex selection process we finally narrowed down our choice of armchair and were relieved to see that we could actually visit a store some twenty miles away and actually sit in it before ordering one in the colour of our choosing. Thankfully the chair turned out to be every bit as comfortable as we had hoped, the colour swatches were available in store so I now have a sample to take around with me as we pick up accessories for the room and we have completed purchase number 2! Its going to be a long haul to complete the house and we are going to have develop greater powers of selection or perhaps deselection as we move from living room to bedroom, bathroom to kitchen in our search for items that attract our attention and fit the brief. Either that or our wine consumption will be steadily rising!

After all that here is the chosen chair.

 

Aplum chair

 

Uncategorized

Buying a House – sight unseen!

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Today we met the people who have bought our old Cornish farmhouse for the first time, even though they settled the deal more than two weeks ago. Many of our friends and neighbours have looked aghast when we have told them that the house is sold but the purchasers have done so purely on the recommendation of their daughter and as the day of meeting them grew closer we, too became apprehensive and wondered what their reaction would be as they stepped over the threshold. Would they like it, hate it? Would the deal fall through? Would we lose the lovely new home we had set our hearts on?

After a seven hour journey from Whitby in Yorkshire they arrived this afternoon and fell in love within minutes. Their beaming smiles, relaxed body language and increasing delight as we moved from room to room were all the evidence we needed that they were happy. It has been an unusual sale, we did have to trust in what they were telling us but it was clear today that after many months and countless viewers trooping through our home, the right people have found it. Not only were they happy but we liked them as people, feel happy to pass on the legacy of this lovely home to them knowing that they will treasure it as we have done.

After the tour, tea and biscuits, more questions and exploring, and three hours later they left as friends with hugs and kisses. Our home will be in safe hands and this very special corner of Cornwall will have two new residents who will fit right in like the last couple of pieces into a jigsaw. Life truly does have a way of working out.

Moving home

Time has a speed of its own

 

The Tortoise And The Hare

I’m certain that many of you can recall the famous tale of the Hare and the Tortoise and I have found myself thinking about this childhood tale many times over the last few months and in particular the last week. Those of you who follow my blog will know that we have been trying to sell our home in Cornwall and move closer to the family. This process has been ongoing for over a year and having made the momentous decision to sell and move , we never expected things to take such a time. Whilst we coped with the slow housing market of 2016, courtesy of Brexit and the accompanying uncertainty, listened to the myriad strange reasons why our house wasn’t quite right for people, time seemed to move more slowly, the days on occasions achingly long. Each new set of viewers would see our spirits rise only to be dashed again as they found us too rural, not rural enough, too quiet or not quiet enough, and we would retreat to lick our wounds and press on albeit slightly more slowly each time and with just a little less energy.

An optimist by nature even my initially positive attitude was struggling and whilst not saying it aloud I had come to believe that we would never find a purchaser and that my dream of being able to help my father in his final years and spend more time with the grandchildren, was slowly being extinguished. My husband though remained steadfast. In contrast to me he is perhaps not a pessimist, rather a pragmatist and he had never been convinced that we would get a quick sale as our house is ‘quirky’ and would only be bought when the right person walked through the door and fell in love. His mantra over the last year has been,” It will happen”. And now he has been proved right and in such an extraordinary way. The house has been bought by a couple who have not even viewed it in person!

Two weeks ago viewers were booked and all we were told was that they were viewing on behalf of their parents who were moving to Cornwall from Yorkshire to be closer to their family…. here the coincidences begin. We assumed that they would take a look, report back to their parents and that they would then visit at a later date if the feedback had been positive. Imagine our surprise when the next day we received a call from the agent to say that on the recommendation of their daughter, the older couple wished to make an offer. In the days that followed we went through the usual nonsense of house buying in UK where offers were refused, increased and accepted. In addition this couple had sold their apartment complete with furniture so then asked if they could purchase some of ours, in particular the larger pieces which we had already decided to part with as they wouldn’t suit the new home we were hoping to buy! So, after all these months of one step forward and three back we are now moving like the hare at breakneck speed; the chain is short, all are cash buyers and the consensus is for the move to happen as soon as possible, certainly within 6 – 8 weeks.

Time is now flying by as lists are made, removers booked, cupboards turned out and decisions made on what to keep and what can be sold, what treasured items cannot possible be left behind and which of those unwanted Christmas gifts can be donated to charity. Suddenly we have no time to spare and the days are filling up with chores, meetings and visits to the new house where there are many exciting things to decide on as we consult with the builder over kitchen fittings, wall colours and carpets.

I have always been a hare by nature, loving the satisfaction of a task completed and the magical moment of crossing an item from my list but the last year has taught me that there is no need to throw myself at every task, things will get done even if I approach the list more slowly and we will be ready on the appointed day. When I begin to feel over tired and stressed with that niggling ache in my shoulders and neck all I have to do is watch my tortoise, moving more slowly than me, taking time out for a cup of tea and to read the paper but still achieving all he set out to do. Every hare needs a tortoise.