For me, music is a little like blogging, I forget how much I miss it until I start to participate again.
I don’t have a soundtrack for my life, just a selection of random tunes, some of which have meaning and others which don’t.
I adore the feelings that music can invoke, and the fact that technology has moved on sufficiently enough that we can carry a whole library in our pockets, something for every minute of every day should we desire.
I’ve been listening to my various play lists in Spotify on the journeys home. I find myself getting lost in the music, for a short time imagining I am somewhere else. Easing myself over the bridge between work and home.
This morning I didn’t notice the crowds around me as I completed my usual train change, only the sunshine and the warmth upon my face as I was serenaded every step I took.
The problem is the moment I hit work or home the music stops and there is only silence, which can sometimes be deafening.
I wish that there could be music all the time, automatically selected to suit either your mood or the situation you find yourself in. Now that would be an awesome playlist.
For now I’ll just keep listening and tapping out my post, enjoying the calm before the storm.
The above picture actually looks a little like how I did on Tuesday of this week. I had to make an appearance for a meeting, which falls under the remit of the new job. I wore a pink shirt. Let me tell you that again in case you missed it, I wore a pink shirt! Now you’ll probably not understand how much of a big deal this is for me, but it really seriously is, on a huge scale. Lets just say than when I wear anything other than black, every fecking person on the planet seems to notice. I felt self conscious and uncomfortable the whole day, but I am going to have to suck it up and get used to it, cos this will have to be the new normal!
Speaking of clothes, I was rather excited when I got an e-mail to say that the clothes store I favour was having a 50% off sale. I’m still on the lookout for a few more work shirts etc, now that I know for sure I am moving. You can imagine my disappointment when after 30 minutes of trawling I found out that the only things still in stock, in my size, are a pair of socks! I’ve heard of fur coat and no knickers, I’m just not sure how well, all socks and no suit would go down with the new boss.
I’ve jumped on the Bloglovin bandwagon. I’d signed up ages ago, but just never got around to doing anything with it. In all honesty I’ve still not done anything with it except follow a few friends. I like the idea that you can add any blog you wish, regardless of whether they have signed up or not. Well at least I think that’s how it works.
I’m glad I’ve found it, because I’ve been having a problem with the wordpress reader for a while. It seems to only show me 20 new posts and no more, so I’ve been missing quite a few. I’ve switched a couple of the photography blogs I follow over to Bloglovin, as due to the volume of posts they were dominating my reader. So don’t panic, I’m still stalking you :)
Last night on arriving home I was ready to commit murder! You’ll be aware from my recent posts (if you actually read them!) that I have spent the last 3 weekends getting the house ready for my Aunts visit. Things were looking up, and my stress levels had almost returned to an acceptable level. Walking into the house last night changed all of that, I really did resemble this:
I said nothing, not a word, and believe me, that’s when I am at my most deadly. I did however bang pots and pans and sigh a lot, because although some arguments are just not worth pursuing, there is still a need to show disapproval.
The Mothership had started to tidy the good room, which over the course of the last year has become her new dumping ground, since the upstairs room was at that stage pretty much full to bursting. Let me translate ‘tidy’ for you, in this house it means carry the stuff from said room you wish to cleanse and dump the shite it contains onto any available surface that has been previously cleared and decluttered. When I calmed down, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to cry or bang my head repeatedly off a brick wall. In the end I did neither, I had a shower, a strong coffee, loaded GTA V and basically shot the shit out of anything that moved. Weirdly, I did feel a little more relaxed come bed time.
Needless to say I have another weekend of cleaning in front of me, more than likely revisiting places I have already done. Gotta love Dementia, if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.
It seems my Sister, after reading my blog, has been practicing her Haiku skills. Her first attempt certainly made me laugh, so I just had to share it. Here is her Haiku of the day –
Sitting on the train
Enveloped in a fart cloud
Of my own making.
My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those on the Northern Ireland Railways Belfast Departure who may not make it home alive, unless of course they had the foresight to pack a gas mask this morning.
I’m terrible at speaking up, I always have things to say, but more often than not I back down as I am not a fan of confrontation.
Jed’s theme for this challenge reminded me of an incident that happened on the train last week. It is an occasion where I wanted to speak my mind, but aside from that it also made me realise how two people can view the same situation in different ways.
I remember the morning in question, because I was debating doing the change over at the first station where the train turns into an express. It was a busy morning and there were already people standing in the aisle’s and doorways. I glanced back and decided not to bother, I had a seat and blog reading was particularly good that morning.
The conductor was moving down the train towards the doors right behind my seat as the train had already pulled into the station. People were trying to get off by wading through the crowd trying to get on. It was a bit of a human traffic jam.
A lady (and I use that term very loosely) entering the train obviously spied the empty seat beside me and pushed against the crowd to reach it. In doing so she met the conductor trying to go the other way and pushed towards him too, until he eventually said something along the lines of, can you let people get off first.
Having experienced first hand, trying to leave a train against the flow, I thought the lady pushy and rude, I’ve blogged before about how I feel it is polite to let other passengers leave before entering a train.
I said nothing. What I wanted to say was, “Seriously, have you no patience, like none at all. Could you not have waited until everyone was off. You practically shoved the conductor out of the way.”
It’s funny how when something happens, you become aware of someone, who you would normally never have paid any attention to. Subconsciously you place yourself on guard.
A couple of stops later this lady picks up her mobile and phones someone. I don’t usually listen to other people’s conversations, although on a train, sometimes it is extremely hard not to.
Obviously the person she was talking to was either a partner or family member, who also it would seem works for the transport company who run the trains. She told them that she felt like putting in a complaint against the conductor because he was rude and also because of the way he pushed her to the side. I believe she said that she did not like the way he had laid hands on her. She told the person on the phone she had the staff number and they were obviously going to try and obtain the name of the conductor.
I swear she had to know I was listening, because a couple of times I turned and gave her the look, the ‘are you for fecking real’ look! I was actually getting quite annoyed and wanted to jump up and down yelling ‘what the absolute f*ck!!!’ See how cross I was, I never use the word absolute, I can’t even spell it ffs.
I had not witnessed any of the things she said, and my perception of the incident was totally different. I thought she was the one who was rude and pushy and if I’d had the balls to speak my mind I’d have told her that an all!!
For more information on this Challenge and to follow Okay, What if? click the picture below:
This morning when the train conductor told me my train was delayed and then followed it up with it’s now an express, you’ll have to wait for the next one, I just broke down and cried. I couldn’t help it, I even tried to stop it, but the tears they just kept falling!
The man looked at me in an ‘ah feck, hormonal woman alert’ kind of way! But he was wrong. I was crying out of sheer frustration.
My leg hurts, right now it hurts really bad, most likely something to do with the weather. It’s added pressure I just don’t need, I have so many things to do and my broken lower half just cannot keep up. My alleged ‘good’ leg is also now pitching a fit, probably because it’s sick and tired of taking the strain of it’s twin, I hear ya sister, I just can’t help ya!
Travel is a nightmare, a complete and utter nightmare and coupled with everything else it’s wearing me down.
Here’s the thing, life doesn’t stop just because you’re in pain, you still have to carry on with the tasks associated with the daily grind, suck up the extra physical pressure. I wasn’t however prepared for the extra mental pressure, the strain of coping with the day to day.
I’d been trying to stay so positive, reminding myself on a daily basis there are others in situations much worse than mine, and there are, but just lately it’s all started to crowd in around me just a little. I’m already in full on panic mode about the fast approaching Winter.
I have to say however that after a steady 15 minutes of free flowing waterworks I did feel somewhat better, that is until I reached work and someone made the mistake of asking if I was ok…ah feck here we go again with the leaking eyes and the hormonal stares!
I am currently sitting at my computer, typing this blog and munching on a brazil nut (apparantly they help to increase serotonin levels in the brain) whilst chanting positive mental attitude over and over again. I’m making progress, half an hour ago all I could get out was positively mental!!
For a while now I have been reading ‘open letters’ penned by various people throughout the blogging community. I have to hold my hands up and say I was not entirely sure what an open letter was, as in how did it vary from an ordinary letter. So I did what I always do in times of crisis, I Googled it.
“An Open Letter is a letter that is intended to be read by a wide audience, or a letter intended for an individual, but that is nonetheless widely distributed intentionally.”
Oh. So that’s the difference. You learn something new everyday.
So here’s mine, cos I don’t have the balls to send it:
An Open Letter to Northern Ireland Railways
Dear Rulers of the Railways,
For almost 26 years now I have been availing of the use of your services to enable me to get back and forward to Technical College in the old days, and now work.
There have been many changes in this time, most recently the biggest being the change to the actual trains themselves. I have to say, being a seasoned traveller I do sort of miss the old ones with the pull down window doors, they were great fun in the 3 days of summer we had every year. It was like travelling in a convertible, the wind blowing through your hair. It was even better when the widows were open, cos then it was like a wind tunnel. It wasn’t however so funny when the train stopped and you couldn’t get the damn things open, missing your stop.
There is no doubt though that the new ones are by and large nothing short of brilliant. I have to give you credit where credit is due, you excelled yourselves on this occasion. Free WiFi, another stroke of genius, clever idea that to play the technology trump card, it wins every time.
I can’t even complain about your staff, they are usually friendly and helpful. A few of them even excel at Customer Service. You should be proud of them and not take them for granted. They do exceptional work in sometimes shitty circumstances. It takes a special kind of person to be able to absorb the abuse being hurled by angry and irate passengers when trains are delayed.
Train delays (and I’m touching wood here) are not so frequent these days. I hope I have not scudded myself because I need to get home on time tonight! I have spent many nights over the last 26 years standing on dark platforms waiting for trains that were over an hour late or in some instances never arrived at all.
The longest wait had to be one Winter night many many years back. It was very windy and stormy and a tree had ‘allegedly’ fallen somewhere on the Larne line. Our conductor put us off the train at Whitehead promising that a bus would soon arrive to collect us and facilitate the continuation of our journey, as they could only go so far due to the fallen tree. We waited for around 45 mins to an hour, there was no bus but eventually another train pulled into the station. We wandered over and asked the driver and conductor if we could board the train, but were again informed that due to the ‘fallen tree’ they were going to the next stop and then coming back. Another 45 mins to an hour later, same thing happens, still no bus and at this stage the 20 – 30 of us who have essentially been abandoned are wondering if the next stop is our equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle as three trains have gone in yet none have made it back. Eventually after about 3 hours you figured out there was a large group of missing people and attempted to rectify the situation. Fortunately around the same time relatives had also realised they were missing loved ones and came to rescue us themselves. As bad as that night was, you gave us compensation and I made some really good friends so every cloud has a silver lining and all that.
Most of my gripes these days are around scheduling and what I perceive to be the preferential treatment offered to travellers in some of the stations closer to the big smoke.
The two stations I will use as an example journey are Glynn and Jordanstown, although it serves the same purpose for any station between Whitehead to Larne and Clipperstown to Yorkgate.
I am at present (without having to bore you with the whole story) challenged with regards to walking, climbing stairs, boarding trains etc, in a nutshell I can’t do them very well and am in pain most days. The same difficulties would be faced by someone in a wheelchair whilst trying to make the same journey, so I am making the point for them also.
So assuming I work in a 9 to 5 job, any of the trains I need to catch are express trains. They run all stops to Carrickfergus (which seems to be the entire centre of your universe) at which point they turn into an express and race all the way to Belfast Central station. Anyone for the stops in between has to disembark, change platforms, which means 2 flights of stairs and a short subway walk, then climb aboard a second train and restart the journey. Bear in mind all of this has to be done within 3 minutes while fighting your way through hoards of school children and college students. It’s carnage I can tell you. I don’t even attempt it any more, I stay on the train to Belfast then double back on myself to get the station I require.
The return journey is pretty much the same, only if you are not careful it requires three changes. I would personally wait at either Carrickfergus or Downshire for the connecting train as crossing the level crossing at Whitehead proves problematic for someone with difficulty walking and even more so for someone in a wheelchair. With the introduction of the new 6 carriage trains, you also have to make sure you are in one of the first three as if not, you will end up changing again when the train actually reaches Whitehead.
I pay a lot of money to travel, but feel that compared to others I am getting a second class service. Carrickfergus and Belfast are not the only stops on that line you know!
If I’m on a train and it’s delayed, it’s unfair to turn it into an express solely to facilitate those travelling to Belfast, I’m going to be late for my work as well, but you don’t seem to care about that!
I need to bring this letter to a close because although I am running out of steam with regards to my writing, I am steaming up with regards to my annoyance levels.
It’s been nice to vent, however I don’t feel any better, but sure it was a great way to waste a lunchtime!
I have not written about the joys of modern travel for ages it seems. I would like to say that this is because it has actually been a joy to travel, but it’s more a case of it’s been annoying my poor frazzled brain so much I was having difficulty transcribing it into words.
The new school year has brought with it a whole different class of characters who now use the train to travel from A to B. They are louder, brasher and pushier than ever before. They have no concept of ‘sitting beside someone’ rather they practically plonk themselves on top of you. This morning I had the unenviable task of trying to liberate my coat tails from someone who had obviously paid for their seat, and half of mine.
In the morning I no longer attempt to change trains, there is just no point. It’s like trying to push your way through a hoard of stampeding cattle. ‘Alien Leg’ is still refusing to do stairs, so what with the aforementioned stampeding cattle and the completely unreasonable 3 minute platform time change, it’s never going to happen. Not right now anyway. This means I travel to the nearest main station, get off, change and then double back on myself, adding 20 minutes to a journey that is already long and arduous.
On the way home I now have 2 train changes, as if one wasn’t bad enough, wtf! Railway planners were obviously on drugs the day they devised the new timetable.
It’s bad enough for me, with a wonky leg, but can you imagine what it would be like for someone in a wheelchair trying to attempt to make the same journey that I do.
They advertise the fact that you can travel in comfort and enjoy the free ‘WiFi’, relax and banish all the stresses of sitting in traffic. That’s a bit of an untruth. By the time you get yourself seated, if in fact you are lucky enough to get one, get out your tablet, connect to the wifi and kick back to enjoy it, you’re at the last stop and it’s time for the first change. Next stop and it’s time for the second change. By the time you clamour aboard for the final leg of the journey, you’re too fecking knackered to even attempt to hook any enabled device to any kind of sodding internet and you just collapse into the nearest available seat.
Don’t even get me started on the amount of decibels one table of school children can produce.
The title is a lie, an out and out dirty big fat lie I tell ye!! There were no joys about the modern travel this morning, not a single one.
Anyone who has read the previous TJOMT posts will know that in an effort to return to some kind of normality on the work front I have been attempting to travel on the earlier train. For the most part it’s not been too bad, however the stairs are slightly problematic meaning I have to do a kind of awkward hop limp on the flat surfaces to make the 3 minute window between train changes.
“Use the lift,” barked the station conductor one morning I was a little slow and felt I needed to explain myself. “I would but it’s full of your staff,” I barked back, at which point both of our heads did a cinematic slow turn to face the lift, which as I had stated was full to bursting with men in blue uniforms and orange jackets. I made a little “Hmphf,” noise and waltzed off, making sure as best I could that my indignation did not trip me up on the way.
This morning as my train pulled into the change station, I stood up to disembark. While standing at the doors waiting for them to open I could see the crowd surging forward, each one determined to be first to stake their claim on the steps and therefore secure the best seat. In light of the fact I can no longer do stairs, I am still at the stage of having to hold onto the hand rail and step forward on the bad leg. Such a simple task proved rather difficult this morning. It was like pushing my leg through a wall of marshmallow as bodies surged forward. Eventually in a rather loud voice laced with frustration I said “Could you all at least wait until I get off!” at which point a little corridor opened in the crowd and I was able to descend and pass through.
On my approach to the gate I realised something was not quite right as the guard was turning people around and making them head back towards the train, when in fact they should have been commencing the 3 minute sprint to the other platform.
Sure enough when I reached him the guard asked me where I was headed and then informed me I needed to get back onto the train as due to an earlier failure it was no longer an express and would be servicing all stops.
FFS!! I mean seriously FFS!!
So I about turned, retraced my steps and sheepishly stepped back onto the train, embarrassed at having to face the people I had not 2 minutes previously unleashed my frustration upon.
There were no seats, the one previously warmed by my ample backside now having been filled by someone else’s. The worst thing about having moved to a stage in leg injury recovery that no longer requires a crutch is that no one knows how badly you need to sit down.
I had to stand for the remainder of my journey.
It would appear that today was my day for receiving a resounding slap from karma.
Ok so I know I am really late on this, as the Daily Promt was on the 18th July, but hey, better late than never.
The reason it caught my eye in the first place, is because the thing about which I have switched my opinion, is infact the Flip Flop itself.
I’d never been much of a fan until I discovered a specific pair. They were a little more expensive than run of the mill Flip Flops that sold for a couple of quid in most retail outlets, and left you with blisters where the toe post nestled. Oh no! these were super flip flops, cushioned and most definitely built for comfort with a little flair thrown in for good measure. So good were they infact, that when a friend tried them on, she immediately went home and ordered herself a pair as well.
It was a match made in heaven, perhaps even love at first slip on. I thought we were destined to be together forever.
I’d love to tell you at this point, that my flip flops and I traveled all over the world together, seeing sights, eating at fancy restaurants and generally pounding a path across the universe, but, that would be a lie.
In fact the only trip my Flip Flops and I took, was on the living room carpet on the 6th July 2012. My souvenir, a ruptured patellar tendon.
I didn’t give it much consideration until later that evening when I was lying on a hospital gurney, leg in plaster from ankle to thigh and the Nurse said to me, “You know those are the worst things you could wear on your feet.”
So here’s the thing, I tripped because my toe caught at the bottom of my trousers, but, had I not have been wearing the flip flops then it may never have happened. It could also have nothing to do with the footwear at all, and they are just an innocent bystander, framed for a crime they did not commit, but her suggestion changed my relationship with my beloved flip flops forever.
There was none of the usual heartache that follows a breakup. The flip flops were relegated to the bin (they were done anyway) and I spent the next 6 months learning to walk properly again barefoot.
The other day I found a pair I had bought for going on holiday, which should have been the day after I tripped. I didn’t look at them with the same love and devotion I once had, infact I needed to get rid of them, so I took them to work and a colleague decided to buy them, even after I told her she did so at her own risk.
My love affair was well and truly over, never to be rekindled.
NB: After I had been back at work about a month or so I heard about a work colleague who tripped in a supermarket, breaking her leg in four places. Guess what she had on her feet! And no before you ask, it was not the colleague I sold mine to!
I think I have one of these faces. I like to smile, in fact I will smile at anyone whether they are receptive to it or not. It would appear that the act of smiling very often leads into the art of the awkward return smile and sometimes rebound conversation.
On an unmanned TRAIN platform in the middle of the universe:
Stranger: Lovely morning isn’t it.
Me: It sure is, but it’s very warm.
Stranger: You waiting for something?
Me: Yes, the train.
Stranger: It’s very warm isn’t it.
Train pulls into the station.
Stranger: Is that the train then.
Me: Yes, you getting on?
Stranger: No I think I’ll wait for the train.
Me: Ummm ok then, have a nice day!
Forgive me for being a little confused by this. There is only one line, with all trains going to the same place. I can only imagine he was waiting for a special train. I might check it out on Monday, it could lead me on a very exciting adventure.
At a table, on a moving train in the middle of the same universe.
Stranger: That’s one hell of a phone you have there girl.
Me: Smiling and laughing. That’s not a phone, it’s a tablet.
Stranger: Ach no, I wouldn’t want to be swallowing that thing.
We both laugh at his amazing quip.
Stranger: So what are you doing?
Me: I’m writing.
Stranger: Writing what?
Me: A blog.
Stranger: A wha?
Me: A blog.
Stranger: What’s a blog then?
Me: Hmmm it’s kinda like an online diary.
Stranger: Oh. There must be some good stuff in there then.(In a nudge nudge, wink wink way)
Me: Not really, it’s pretty boring actually.
Stranger: Well it looks exciting. I might have to get me a big old phone like that and one of those there blog things.
Me: What would you call it?
Stranger: You said it was a tablet.
Me: No I meant your blog.
Stranger: It needs a name?
Me: Yes it has to have a title.
Stranger: (Thinks for a minute rapping fingers on the table) Sure I’ll name it Fido after me dog.
Me: (Laughing) Aye that’s dead on. I’ll keep an eye out for it, see ye later.
I’ve been saying it for days! I am built for comfort, not heat!
I think I must have a wonky thermostat.
Other people in the first rays of sunshine are running full pelt to the beach, discarding clothing as they go. Me, well I’m walking extra steps to try and reach a little bit of shade. Sure I look ridiculous crouching under the dog waste bin, but hey, I’ll take what I can get.
I can however take comfort in the fact that I will never get lost in a crowd. My shiny red face can been seen for miles around. It seems it also has solar panel like abilities, as I continue to glow long after the sun has set and the crowds have all gone home.
Don’t get me wrong, I do like the sun, I just prefer it when it is accompanied by a little breeze to aid the cooling process for those, like me, who are, thermostatically challenged, i.e. too fecking hot!