Spring at last.

What a dreadful few months this has been. Since before Christmas I have been back to fighting those darn demons again, but with spring on the horizon things are starting to look up a bit better once again. Through out these 3 months I just haven’t had it in me to write my blog, despite so much going on in my life.

The news that I was told in October that I would lose my new job, totally gutted, along with several other colleagues, it was a bolt out of the blue, and as the time is drawing ever so close to the finishing date (sometime during the first 2 to 3 weeks of April) it has become more and more difficult to comprehend what is going to happen job wise in the future. Already the job searching has begun, and last Thursday I had a job interview for what I do see as a perfect job and an added bonus it is very close to home. Just one thing, so many people have been interviewed for the position, I won’t know for a few more days yet but I doubt very much if I will get it, but at least I managed to get an interview and tried my best.

However, one thing is certain now in my mind, this current job I am in was not meant to be after all, and may be it’s for the best I am being made redundant. I wonder if anyone remembers the old saying, although we can’t see it at the time, things happen for a reason. I believe in this case it to be completely true. But it has given me several more months of very valid experience and knowledge in another specialized industry.

It was the first Christmas and New Year without my dad, and somehow we got through it, although it was very sad and strange not to see him Christmas morning, and then round the dinner table with my brother, sister-in-law and my nephews. It is also very strange to realize that next month, on my birthday, it will be the first anniversary of dads passing. I can’t believe where this past year has gone, it just does not seem real without him around.

The dark mornings and evenings with the dismal weekends throughout the winter months, travelling too and from work have taken its toll on my physical and mental well-being. In January I ended up with a virus that knocked me off my feet for a few days and then a severe bout of laryngitis in February. On top of all this I found out my diabetes has got worse and I am now on daily medication for this as well as new medication for a couple of other problems associated with the diabetes. Not really the best start to the year.

My daily routine starts when I get up between 5.45 to 6.00 am each morning and get ready for work to start a journey to work that takes about 1.1/2 hrs plus. This includes two bus journeys as well as waiting around time for connecting to the 2nd bus services and then a 15 to 20 mins walk down what has to be one of the dirtiest, and most dangerous roads in Birmingham which is a route to a major freight company in an industrial area. On the good side they say a brisk 20 min walk is good for you every day.  The road and footpaths are littered with rubbish that has been deliberately dumped, including large truck tyres, as well as the rubbish thrown out of the windows of speeding cars. The footpaths are blocked by trailer lorries which one has to walk into the road into oncoming, and sometimes speeding traffic in order to get around these parked vehicles. Normally I would be able to avoid this long walk and take a short cut, but unfortunately there is major bridge repair work going on which means the short cut is cordoned off until further notice. I’m guessing it will re-open the week after I’ve finished this job!

On arriving at work each day for an 8.30 am start I then have to deal with one particular male colleague who has to be the most arrogant, big-headed, loud mouthed and disrespectful person I have ever had the misfortune to meet in my entire working career. This has lowered my mood considerably over the past few months, but now I won’t have to work with him much longer which is a huge sigh of relief.  The rest of the team I work with are a fantastic bunch, and it is down to them that I have managed to survive and get through each day in this job, and the fact I have been able to learn so much about the concrete industry. Then, on finishing work between 5.30 to 6.00 pm I have to repeat the same journey back home, this time through a crowded city centre and finally manage to get home around 7.00 to 7.15 pm. feeling exhausted, but not able to get ready and go to bed because of having to have a light meal in order to have my evening medication and allowing the meal to digest before I can go to bed. If only life was so much more simpler.

This is a very long day with travelling and working in any ones book, and to do it through the winter months and through the dark mornings and nights has taken its toll on my health. Thankfully the past couple of weeks has been a big improvement, lighter in the morning when I leave home and of an evening when I leave work, which has made it more bearable and also a few warm mornings with some bright sunshine and blue skies.

The Saturday mornings I have had to work, which is one in every third Saturday, have usually been the better Saturdays regarding the weather, but because of having to be up at 5.00 am to be in work for 7.00 am by the time I finish around 10.30/11.00 am I am too exhausted to do anything, including going out with my camera. On my free Saturdays the weather has been dismal and so this has kept me indoors.

With all this going on I can understand why so many British love to go to warmer, sunnier climates during our winter months.

The last couple of Saturdays I did finally manage to get out and about with my camera, a trip to my nearest local zoo in Dudley and then last week-end to the Birmingham Nature Centre. Just pushing and willing myself to get out on both those days has helped me to start fighting back those demons. There is something about being around animals that does help to lift ones spirits. It means that with the better weather comes the chance to get out and about more, go on walks which in turn should help the diabetes and my blood pressure. I even have a couple of day trips planned. I also want to find time to relax and do some fishing in the summer months. I always used to find sitting on a river bank watching the fish rising to the surface and splashing, hearing the birds singing and the water rats and voles diving in and out, always made me smile and even gives me inspiration. In all honesty I think they all look forward to the spring as much as we humans do.

I probably say this every year, but I do love spring. It’s a new beginning, a fresh start, a colourful time of year, to see the carpets of  daffodils and crocuses rising from the ground, it warms the heart, and also allows our souls to breathe again. I realise I have a few  busy and uncertain months ahead of me, the stress of job searching, then starting a new job, working with new people, adapting to a different environment all over again, improving my diabetes, but I also intend to give myself some me time whilst out exploring with my camera, this is something I haven’t done properly for a few months.

 

Approaching Spring

Spring soon will be here
Away from the winter’s snow
Drying up every frosty tear
And causing the landscape to glow

But the shine of spring I need right now
I need all the help I can get
To wave goodbye to this past winter
In hopes that I can forget

I’ve lost all my real friends
And almost ever other friendship too
Right now I am just amazed
That I haven’t yet lost you

The approaching spring will hit restart
It’s something that we all need
The approaching spring will fix our hearts
And allow our souls to breathe

by Matt Burgett

 

Many thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

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Given the circumstances.

Yet again its hard to believe another Christmas is upon us, over the years I have come to accept the fact that as I get older, then so the years appear to go faster. This year has been no exception, the year has fled by, which in some ways is good and in other ways not so good.

Each Christmas time and New Year I take time out to reflect on the year past and the year ahead. This year is no exception. It has certainly been a very mixed one for me, one of personal achievements, some enjoyment, new challenges and one of sadness and sorrow.

Just one year ago this week I was breathing a huge sigh of relief at the fact that although my dad had a major health scare, twice in the space of a little over a week, he was still alive and able to enjoy his Christmas with us all. What none of us realized at that time was the fact it would be his last one. looking back at 12 months ago it was all very scary.

As 2016 unfolded and I started to make plans for the year ahead, I knew it was going to be an uncertain year, more so on the job situation than anything. Not knowing if the lady whose job I was covering was going to come back or not. Only one thing was certain I knew I had another 8 solid months of commitment to my job, one that I loved doing. How many people today can honestly say they love their job I wonder. I  had made some incredible new friendships with the team I had been working with, and we still stay in touch and meet up for a meal and a chat every few weeks.

I was looking forward to a holiday, and actually ended up having two different breaks… a week up in Scotland in August as well as a much-needed long weekend break down in South Devon in early July visiting Paignton, Plymouth & Dartmouth. Then in September I started my all new important permanent job….only to find 5 weeks down the line that I am going to be made redundant in the coming April/May. Having to have more surgery, to sort out the first lot that didn’t work

In the February I was diagnosed with diabetes, which has meant some big life changes over the past few months, but the one really good thing that has come out of this is that it has encouraged me to take a lot more regular walking exercise. As  I love to go out and explore nature, and do some photography, it has encouraged me to visit new places and get much more exercise.

Earlier in the year I drew up a ‘bucket list’ I have had the opportunity of going out and doing different new things, for instance for the first time I have been able to go to Charlecote Hall & Park to see fallow deer and shoot them close up (with a camera that is!) In October I finally got to go to see London Zoo, in July the Monkey Forest nr Stoke On Trent, in October, Warwick Castle where I got to see close up an amazing birds of prey display. Early November I achieved a long time ambition of mine to take an Alpaca for a walk, also in November I got to go to the West Midlands Safari Park and a little over two weeks ago I saw the most amazing colourful display of lanterns at Longleat House and Safari Park. In August I managed to finally make the trip to Liverpool to meet up with a very dear friend.

Overall it has been a very mixed and eventful year, and despite the turmoil in my life it has been a year that I have manged to cope with and stay pretty well on top of and come through the other end of it. I’m not going to kid myself or anyone else for that matter, but the combination of the right medication, positive thinking, photography, keeping busy with the new job and an incredible group of family and close friends is what has kept me going.

This season however doesn’t have the same feeling for me. Like many others they too have lost family and friends throughout the year, and it has felt very strange that as we approach Christmas day I have had to come to terms with the fact that my Dad won’t be with us this time or ever again to celebrate Christmas.

Because of my Dads failing eyesight the last couple of years, it meant my sister-in-law and myself would sit and write Dads cards for him. This year however I have found it an almost impossible task for me to sit down and write my own cards to family and friends. this past couple of weeks or so it has hit me more harder than ever and I have found myself having a little cry every time I think about how much I miss him, and how much I will miss him not being around at Christmas for the first time ever in my life.

My Dad was always very much a man of tradition when it came to Christmas, and this is something I have always embraced, he always used to look forward to his Christmas lunch, he had to have the turkey leg on his plate with the usual mix of sprouts, carrots and roast potatoes and always lemon & thyme stuffing, a pint of bitter and then Christmas pudding and custard to finish (in the old days every year my mom used to make her own for all the family, from scratch and my dad brother and I used to have a hand in the preparation and mixing of the puds) At 3.00 pm we were always ready to sit down to watch the Queens speech and then later on a cup of tea and mince pie.

Every year since I can remember, Dad  always bought himself, my sister-in-law and me a Poinsettia plant for Christmas. Usually after a couple of months they would shrivel up and die, that’s just the way it is with this type of plant.  Dad always had the knack on how to keep his going for several months. When he passed a way earlier this year, his Poinsettia from last Christmas was still sitting on his kitchen windowsill. I decide to take it home with me, not really expecting it to last very long. Dad had given me a tip earlier in the year as to how to best water it, every few days put some warm water, never cold water, at the bottom of the plant pot and sit the plant in it. The plant is thriving, and it is a year old this week, although it doesn’t have the usual big red leaves, it is full of healthy green ones, I’m sure Dad has been helping me to keep an eye on it these past few months.

 

 

 

 

The year ahead will be another very challenging one for me, come the spring I will have to start the process all over again of looking for another new job. So much uncertainty ahead. Hopefully the chance to go and explore new places and do lots more photography. Health and finances permitting, I am already planning my holiday for next Sept. One of my main ambitions for over 20 years is that I have wanted to go on cruise to see the Norwegian Fjords. I have heard of so many people say what a beautiful and unique experience it was for them, and this is something I feel will be absolutely spectacular to photograph.

At the moment in my thoughts it’s all about trying to remain positive for the year ahead, and getting though my first Christmas without my Dad……and as the poem says, For I know that in my heart you’re here.

 

To all my family, friends and readers I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year ahead.

Things always seem better when spring is coming!

 

February has not been the month I had hoped it to be!

 

So far this month apart from work, I have found myself having numerous doctors and hospital appointments, and with more screening and tests pending in the coming couple of months.

A couple of weeks ago I found out that after 16 weeks of very patient waiting, that surgery I had to have in October of last year, has not worked, and the surgeon has to do the operation all over again. What is worse is I have been told that this time it may not work either, and the probability is I may have to have the same surgery a third and possibly a fourth time over the next year or two, and if it still doesn’t work then the ‘contraption’ that I call it (which is a Seton cord being used to heal a fistula) may have to stay in place permanently. (All I can say is I now understand what a piece of cheese on a wire cutter feels like!!)  And all of this is preventative action to stop another abscess from forming.

For over 4 years now I have been having regular blood tests and monitoring to keep track of  a condition known as being a ‘pre diabetic’. In real terms this means one who is pre diabetic has a much higher risk of developing the disease diabetes at some point in their lives.  With changes in my diet and lifestyle over these last four years it means that I have been able to stave off the disease and keep it at arm’s length for as long as possible. One of  my hobbies, photography,  has helped me to benefit from this  because  it encourages me to do a lot of walking in parks and nature reserves with my camera, and in general it is good to get out in the fresh air, this is of course more difficult over the winter months because of the weather conditions and the lack of light especially in the early evening, but it has not prevented me from carrying on with it when I have been able to. A brisk 20 minute walk through the nature reserve or park of a morning and then again of an evening after work, is a great way to keep fit without over exerting yourself. Just one problem it can be a little muddy at this time of the year, and I have noticed some funny looks off other passengers of an evening when I get on the bus with muddy shoes. However, to get to see some of the birds that I enjoy watching it does mean having to go a little deeper into the woods, where all the soft mud is! If it’s good enough for the birds and wildlife, then it’s good enough for me.

Over these last 4 years I have watched a lot more closely what I eat and have tried very hard to eat a higher intake of such food as fruit and veg, more chicken and fish instead of red meat, more wholemeal and granary bread instead of white and so on. However due to other issues such as a severe acid reflux problem it actually complicates things more, this effectively means I am restricted to what fruits I can eat due to acid content, despite daily prescribed medication for this condition sometimes it doesn’t always work. It is a little awkward when you have to explain this to people, as some people tend to get the impression that one simply does not want to eat fruit and veg, or don’t like it and this is a way of not having to eat healthy. If only that was so simple and true. One thing I do have to openly admit, and am now feeling a bit guilty about, but lets face it we have all done it and that is to skip meals. For what ever reason, too busy at work, too busy a lifestyle, no time to prepare and cook food, too late in the evening and so it goes on. But I have now been told this is something I can no longer afford to do and take chances with. (note to self…must try much harder)

Over the past couple of months I have noticed I have been feeling a lot more tired and lethargic than usual, more headaches, more thirst, more trips to the loo, but I suppose like any one my age you do tend to put it down to just that…..one’s age! And in addition to that there was all the stress and upset with my father’s health just prior to Christmas which has spilled over into the new year. Thankfully he is a lot better now. But in addition to all that there were other symptoms that surfaced, and in all fairness I have to hold up my hand and say I ignored some of these symptoms, and realistically I suppose I was in denial, because I did not want to believe there was another health problem that I would have to deal with. Unfortunately following my last blood test, it appears that I have to face the fact that I am now a diabetic. Not the best start to the year I have to say. I am now having to learn about the condition and  understand how I have to live with it, and how it is going to affect my life now and in the future.

I am learning to understand that  this disease is going to have a huge impact on my life…for the rest of my life in fact.  The disease can be controlled, but there is no cure. But with continued perseverance on my dietary needs and help from the doctors and diabetic nursing team I hope to keep it under control and try to ‘live as normal life as possible’ and prevent or at least minimize the problems that can occur with this disease.  My GP was explaining to me the other day that a simple cut for most people will heal in no time at all, but for a diabetic if it is not dealt with properly it can lead to other problems, that in turn can be life threatening. Another thing she pointed out is how more prone to sight problems diabetics are. As a result of this I have to have an annual eye scan. I know that I can’t allow  all of this to get me down mentally, if I do then I know the depression will have won, and the last few years of dealing with that illness will have all been for nothing. The one important factor I have learnt recently is that I have to be the one to control the progression of the disease, it is up to me to do everything possible, especially dietary wise to keep it under control. The strange thing is I don’t smoke, I very rarely drink alcohol, except when I socialize with family or friends and even then it is minimal, so an occasional Guinness or Cider, and more rarely an occasional drop of very respectable and fine Malt Whisky. And in recent years I have watched what I eat. I don’t drive or rely on a car and so I end up doing a lot of walking as regular exercise (knee pain due to arthritis allowing me to)  So the question is…..Why me? Why has my body stopped producing sufficient insulin?

Once February is out-of-the-way I do have something to look forward to next month, and Spring is just round the corner, so before my next bout of surgery in April, its time to enjoy March. Again it is about trying to live a normal a life as is possible, and to do the things I want to do.  One of the places  for  a few years I have been wanting to visit is Bristol Zoo & Gardens. Last year for my 50th birthday my family bought me a special ticket for an Animal Experience Day….the chance to meet and greet animals behind the scenes (something of course not every visitor can do) Having finally managed to get some time off work I have booked the Experience day with the Zoo for the 18th March and am very much looking forward to spending a little bit of time behind the scenes with their Lemurs, and the chance to visit a Zoo I have never been to before, or for that matter I have never been to Bristol, so that will be a new and interesting experience for me, getting lost between the coach station and the Zoo 😉

The following week, as a bird and nature lover, I also have the opportunity to visit the Wetlands Centre in London. Hopefully a relaxing coach trip, and a just as relaxing walk around the centre to see and photograph all the different bird species and some additional wildlife.

All of this has been planned for a while, and I am determined to not let my diabetes overshadow these two experiences. I have always believed in Spring being a new beginning. I love this particular time of the year, there is always something to look forward to. Over the last couple of weeks I have been noticing the snowdrops, daffodils and crocuses all starting to bloom. In many ways this is a reassuring sight, in the knowledge that better weather is on the way and therefore the chance to get out and about more often, enjoy the walks and fresh air…and any excuse to go out with my camera. 🙂

 

February will give way

First came the cold,
	a temperature drop so fast and low
	the body could not adapt.

Then came the snow followed by ice and rain
	flooding the yard, creating new ponds,
	as ice still lay in a thick sheet on the surface.

Gradually, the wind and rain passed
	and the sky revealed a glint of blue
	but the clouds  rolled in gray and dark.

It inched out the brief staggered light of the sun
	and once again,
	the world lay chilled and frozen in its wake.

Yet still, somehow in the clearing away
	the wind blown leaf debris
	revealed life pushing forward.

In the confines of the once bloom filled garden
	were tattered iris fronds bent low
	with light green shoots waiting to come forth.

In the protected leaf cover rose
	pointed glimmers of dark green
	barely two inches tinged with white, crocus.

Leaning toward the sunlight, brief as it was
	clinging to the short warmth provided
	with promise of more to come.

Taller still, off to the side, green clumps
	with yellow bases stretching four inches up 
	penetrating frozen, solid ground.

Through the ominous darkness of smoky clouds
	appears an opening edged in puffy white
	and blue sky beaming with the sun.

February will give way,
	allowing winter to take a bow and leave
	as spring anticipates with new life.

Now at last, the cold will pass
	and sunrise and sunset will breathe
	with the promise of hope and life
of a new generation.
	and God’s everlasting love.

                              Poem by D M Babbit

Bring on the Spring!

Many thanks for stopping by, and  have a great weekend everybody.

Welcome to Autumn in all its glory.

It seems strange that a mere few weeks ago we were enjoying our summer season.  For a little over 3 months now I have been enjoying my summer morning and evening walks at the reserve close by to where I currently work. Breathing in all that calm, relaxing and intoxicating fresh air, and listening to all of those summery sounds and the chattering birds, and always in pursue with my camera trying to capture the more unusual  birds and animals.

During the past 2 weeks I have gradually notice that the lush green meadows and deep green leaves on the trees have gradually given way to the deep glowing oranges and reds and then brown leaves and of course with that comes the bare trees. But what a beautiful and stunning transformation this has been. With the changing of the seasons I have witnessed mother nature at her best and her worst.

I have been able to see more closely the remaining smaller birds flitting in and out of the trees and nestling for just a moment or two, giving me that extra chance to photograph them. I have even made friends with a little Robin redbreast, who will fly down to me on his tree trunk, he knows he will get some wild bird seed and a bit of fat ball from me, on the odd occasion a tiny bit of digestive biscuit, which I have found out he is quite partial to, and because of this in more recent weeks it has made me aware of how nature needs to survive in the changing seasons.

Despite the change in the weather, the cooler temperature and the evenings getting darker quicker, it is still pleasant to see the sunshine out for a while. I love to see the  light of the sun shimmering through the trees and see the beautiful rich golden and red colours than the leaves have turned to. This time of the year for me is ‘soothing’.

 

KNNR SCENEREY - FLORA OCT 2015 (175)
KNNR SCENEREY - FLORA OCT 2015 (153)KNNR SCENEREY - FLORA OCT 2015 (143)

Autumn landscape in all its glory.

KNNR SCENEREY - FLORA OCT 2015 (104)

 

 

 

———————————————————————————–
Change Of Seasons.
The Summer season gradually fades away,
Nature’s way of bidding a humble farewell to all.
A change is seen as the leaves fade in unison
As the beautiful Autumn season comes to call.
                    —————————
September – the sounds in the garden are quiet now,
The song birds are no longer to be found.
Flying high up in the cloudy sky,
Many feathered friends are southward bound.
                      —————————-
October – the trees are covered with tantalizing colors
Of red and gold and yellow and even brown,
And crimson, too, in a multitude of fashion
The leaves come wafting down.
                      ——————————-
November – fringed with frost and nippy cold,
The fading days of Autumn are everywhere.
A quiet state of melancholy days
With signs of a changing season in the air.
                       ——————————–
December – All of a sudden the winds of winter blow,
The falling snow begins to pile high.
We are delighted for the bounty Autumn has provided,
Uttering words of thank you – with an appreciative sigh.
                       ——————————–
Joseph T Renaldi.
Many thanks for stopping by.

Yes! Good things do come to those who wait.

This past 12 months so far has had to have been one of those years that has been full of mixed fortunes.

Last July I landed a temp contract with Mondelez International (Cadbury Birmingham) it truly was a wonderful experience, and I am not just referring to the chocolate treats, the way of life within the working arena inspired me once again.

My 4 months with them gave me a different insight and perspective into how a business can  and should be run. It gave me a lot of valuable experience and a chance to ‘tap’ into some of my  abilities that I never knew existed. I found that I was challenging myself more and more, and for the first time in many years I enjoyed challenging myself and seeing the results. In a way those 4 months there were a bit of a confidence booster, and more importantly reminded me that given the right opportunity one can succeed.

The latter part of the year and early part of this year, due to a major health problem, wasn’t so good. The one thing I have learnt which is actually true is that the old saying ‘your more likely to get a job if your already employed’. Being unable to look for work for over a month was demoralising enough, but then being out of work for 3 months was the pits.

In March I was offered a temp 3 month contract, with the chance of it becoming permanent afterwards. More out of desperation, I accepted the job. Because I had been unemployed for 3 months and was desperate to get back into work and not allow my skills to get ‘rusty’. There were a some downsides to the job, the hours and the pay. But it meant being able to get back into work, gain some more experience and offer my knowledge and skills to someone else.

Having put my heart and soul into the job and helping in getting the dept up and running more smoothly than it was at the very start, at the end of the 3 months there was no permanent contract. for me. In some ways disappointing, but also in some ways a relief. Working in a tiny admin office, inside a huge warehouse, being one of only two females on the entire warehouse floor was not ideal. In addition to this I was being constantly bombarded by guys, all from different backgrounds etc, which proved a problem with the language barrier and understanding, most of them were young and lacking in manners and patience insisting I deal with their stock queries now….this very instant, despite already dealing with 4 or 5 other guys who had similar stock queries and already demanded my help in the same way. Some people have no patience, and I have to admit my patience was being exhausted.

Being knocked back at the end of the 3 months didn’t do much for my confidence or morale. In my last posting on my blog I wrote about my contract coming to an end, what I didn’t mention was that I had felt for  about three  weeks beforehand that I was somehow being ‘driven out’. The bulk of the transition work was now done in those 3 months, my contract had gone over by another couple of extra weeks, but I noticed one or two things were happening that were making me feel ‘uneasy’. This was not any form of paranoia, it was simply things that had come to make sense, changes going on and so on. In short I was ‘sensing the lie of the land’ to coin an old expression. At the end of the 14 weeks I was advised I was no longer needed. Realistically they were not prepared to change me to a full salary, which was going to be quite a bit more than the agency rate I had been on all those weeks.

Once again I found myself out of work, and wondering where to go and what to do next. On the evening I lost my job, I found myself emailing a contact at one of the agencies who I had dealings with. She had set up an interview for me last November when my contract at Mondelez finished. (I was interviewed for a job in Coleshill on the morning of the same day that I was later rushed into hospital,  feeling extremely unwell and ended up having emergency surgery later that same night) Even though I was offered a second interview for that job, I had to pull out. But my instinct was if any one could get me a job interview asap this contact was the one I needed to get in touch with.

Come the following morning (Tuesday) I had a reply email from my contact, followed up by a phone call, and within a few minutes  I found myself being asked if I would like to attend an interview in Kings Norton, not too far from where I live. She said to me funnily enough we were talking about you yesterday, referring to a colleague, and said that I would be the sort of ideal person this company in Kings Norton were looking for, but she already knew I was working a temp contract, so had decided not to contact me. However, fate often plays a hand, and it was very strange how all this happened in the space of 24 hours and suddenly I was on my way to a job interview.

To cut a long story short, success! I had the interview, which is to cover a young lady going on maternity leave, to have twins. The contract is for about 12 months as a logistics administrator. The work is very in-depth, but is more about quality rather than quantity, which suits me perfectly. I am one of those people who prefers to go at a steady pace and gets things spot on, rather rush head in and make mistakes. I spent the following 2 days on the employers site training to see if I was happy to do the work, and once again I found  I was challenging myself, exploring my abilities and going beyond my known limits.

The real challenge came when after just a few days of training, Sophie (who is having twins) started her maternity leave on Tuesday of last week and I was doing the job on my own on the Wednesday.

Yesterday, I was given a contract letter to sign which from next week takes me off the agency books puts me onto a company contract with all the benefits and salary that goes with this role. What happens in 12 months time when the contract finishes and maternity leave is over is any ones guess, but for now I look forward to this very challenging and so far enjoyable job. The UK team who I will be working with consist of just six of us, and the company Railtech Uk Ltd, is part of the Railtech International France, who are specialists in their field.

In addition to all this, I have a great excuse to make sure I always have my camera with me, I am literally just a five-minute walk away from one of several openings into the Kings Norton local nature reserve, This is ideal for me if I am early in the morning, or fancy a relaxing stroll in the evening after finishing work, and I have been somewhat impressed by the different species of birds, butterflies and even dragonflies I have seen since walking through there in the past two weeks, this place is absolutely awesome and inspiring. I will soon be able to post up some of the photography I have already done in the reserve.

Yes…..good things do come to those who wait, and things do work out for the best in the end even though at the time we don’t see it.

 

 

 

Things Work Out

Because it rains when we wish it wouldn’t,
Because men do what they often shouldn’t,
Because crops fail, and plans go wrong-
Some of us grumble all day long.
But somehow, in spite of the care and doubt,
It seems at last that things work out.

Because we lose where we hoped to gain,
Because we suffer a little pain,
Because we must work when we’d like to play-
Some of us whimper along life’s way.
But somehow, as day always follows the night,
Most of our troubles work out all right.

Because we cannot forever smile,
Because we must trudge in the dust awhile,
Because we think that the way is long-
Some of us whimper that life’s all wrong.
But somehow we live and our sky grows bright,
And everything seems to work out all right.

So bend to your trouble and meet your care,
For the clouds must break, and the sky grow fair.
Let the rain come down, as it must and will,
But keep on working and hoping still.
For in spite of the grumblers who stand about,
Somehow, it seems, all things work out.

Poet: Edgar A Guest

 

Many thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

Hope, faith and positivity bring good results!

In October and November of last year my biggest concerns and worries were about my health problems and the setbacks and lack of  opportunity to look for and secure a new job once my last temp contract was up. Despite feeling low and vulnerable, I tried to be positive about the future. In order to get through this uncertain period of my life I had to be optimistic.

Under any normal circumstances in the past I would have crumbled and completely sunk at the fact that I had no job to move on to and I was also facing the torment of not knowing for several weeks whether or not I had bowel cancer following emergency surgery early November. Instead this time, unlike other times I ‘chose’ to become focused on being positive and hopeful about the future and realized that it was up to me to try to be in control of my anxiety and depression, rather than it be in control of me (which is easier said than done) In that last temp contract I had proven to myself as well as others  that I had many transferable skills and in those few short months at Mondelez I had learnt several more to add to my skills and experience list.

Over these past three to four years or so most of my worry has been focused on settling into a new job. I have to be the first to admit I have been through a lot of emotional trauma, the disappointment of other people letting me down, my health problems as well as  family health problems and so on.  One thing however is for sure, I am now learning  to trust and even understand people more, and accept them for who and what they are, rather than judge them, this does not mean I am naive. Far from it in fact, it simply means I am in a position to show empathy for others, and have a greater understanding which in itself has made me realize how important it is for others to also be able to be positive, have faith and hope.

Throughout the past three months following my physical recovery, I have been focusing mentally on getting that all new important career sorted, and finding that right balance for my mental health in between job searching and taking time out with my camera and time out with my family. This time however instead of thinking and saying to myself  ‘if’ I get another job, I have been telling myself ‘when’ I get another job. I have to admit there have been occasions, especially throughout February as time has plodded on, with the disappointments of not securing a new job in spite of actually securing three interviews where yet again, like last year I was second choice, which in the job world is really no good at all, as only first place counts.  As a result there were times my hope, faith and positivity faltered, and I was finding that my hope was slipping away from me and I started to find the black dog was once again starting to nip at my heels. My motivation to try to find work slipped away from me and I literally found myself simply going through the motions of job searching any viable jobs rather than searching for something in my area of experience. Looking back even now, I realized for a few short weeks I was on the brink of tipping over the edge.

About mid February I applied for one particular vacancy (for a Stock  Integrity Lead Administrator) online, for a locally based company which is in actual fact the leading UK company in its field and  one of the biggest globally. As had been with all the online agency applications for every twenty jobs you apply for your very lucky if you hear back from just one of those applications and get invited for an interview, if you are fortunate to receive a reply from them then its the usual standard reply of, we are sorry but in this instance you have not been selected for an interview, etc etc. So imagine my surprise when the agency got in touch with me and said the company were very interested in meeting me for an interview. By this time the spark still hadn’t ignited and I suppose realistically I went to the interview sort of half heartedly expecting like the last three interviews to get no further. However on stepping inside the building on that late February Wednesday afternoon, I did manage to find myself on becoming more positively focused and determined to try to do well at the interview. On the whole I thought it went quite well, when I was leaving I was advised that they still had several other people to interview before deciding who would be wanted back for a second stage interview.  Thinking no more about it, I decided to simply put it down to more experience at being interviewed and how to deal with competency based questions.

The following Tuesday afternoon I received a phone call from the agency asking if I would be interested in attending a second stage interview with this same company as they were very impressed with me at the interview as well as my CV and my long list of combined admin and warehouse environment experience.  Obviously I said yes, and the details were emailed to me to attend on the Friday morning of that same week.

This particular job was being created because the company had recently won a major contract with a very big and very well-known High Street chain store. The job would mean working very different hours to what I have been used to all my  life. But in all honesty I didn’t mind this. The idea being as a Lead Administrator, who ever got the job would be working directly with, and answerable to the Warehouse Operations Manager and his deputy and dealing on the front line with the admin side of this particular companies contract and ensuring the goods coming in for delivery and then leaving for dispatch to the stores were duly processed correctly on the computer system and to basically ensure the smooth running of the processes. A wonderful and challenging opportunity I thought, and on leaving the interview I actually felt a bit more confident and positive, at the same time I had to remain calm and realistic about the whole thing in case it didn’t come off in my favour.

After that weekend of wondering, on the Monday morning (2nd March) I received a telephone call from my contact at the agency asking me how well I thought the second interview went. I thought I need to be careful here I didn’t want to sound to over-confident, but advised my contact that I personally thought it went well, and that I was very impressed with the company and the job.  A moment later I was being asked would I accept the job if I was being offered it. ”Yes”, I replied. And then I was asked about when I would be able to start.  I advised her that as soon as possible, and that I would basically just need a day of two to deal with the job center and council and sort a few things out. That’s good she said, because they would like to offer you the job.

And so begins a new chapter in my life. And the best ever birthday present ever for my 50th (even if it is a month early) Over the next three weeks, I will be involved in the initial set up for the stock and the processes so that we are ready to launch with the contract on 1st April, and from that point I officially take on my new role and new hours.  Although it is at this stage a 3 months temp to perm contract,  we will see how it goes from there….hopefully in the right direction. For me personally this is an exciting and challenging  time, as well as feeling a little nervous and scared, and to be involved at this stage so early on in its development, and to not just walk into a new job and be part of what already exists. Its early days yet, but the people I have met and will be working with are great, very friendly and helpful. Having spent my first three days last week settling in and getting to know my way round the huge building and getting to meet new people, it means this week the work starts in earnest.

It just goes to prove that remaining hopeful and positive, and having a little bit of faith in yourself and your abilities can make all the difference

 

“Start Where You Stand” Poem by Berton Braley

Start where you stand and never mind the past;
The past won’t help you in beginning new,
If you have left it all behind at last
Why that’s enough, you’re done with it, you’re through;

This is another chapter in the book,
This is another race that you have planned,
Don’t give the vanished days a backwards look,
Start where you stand.

The world won’t care about your old defeats
If you can start anew and win success;
The future is your time, and time is fleet
And there is much of work and strain and stress;

Forget the buried woes and dead despairs,
Here is a brand-new trial right at hand,
The future is for him who does and dares,
Start where you stand.

Old failures will not hald, old triumphs aid,
To-day’s the thing, tomorrow will soon be;
Get in the fight, and face it unafraid,
And leave the past to ancient history.

What has been has been; yesterday is dead
And by it, you are neither blessed or banned;
Take courage, man, be brave and drive ahead,
Start where you stand.

Many thanks for stopping by, and letting me share my good news with you all.

Birmingham……. a view of my world!

There is one thought often crosses my mind and I have so wanted to have the opportunity to carry out a long term wish, whilst at a job interview on Monday of this week, I was finally able to fulfill that wish!

Although I was born in and have lived in a town known as the Borough of Solihull, which is on the outskirts of Birmingham, it means that Birmingham  itself has always been a huge part of my life, and has been very important to me throughout various stages of my life. I suppose realistically I have seen it change, grow and develop as I myself have grown, changed and developed over the last 5 decades, and like any major town or city across the world it is a modern Metropolis. I have a huge interest in both of these parts of the West Midlands as my father and his parents, grandparents were born and raised in the District of Knowle in Solihull, and my mom and all the rest of her family were born and raised in Birmingham. Solihull and Birmingham are however joined in many significant ways through its entwined history.

Known as England’s ‘second city’ since around the time of the  First World War, it has over many decades become more and more interesting to me. Birmingham and its surrounding areas known as the Black Country holds a wealth of history, and had adapted itself to modernization without significantly spoiling itself and has still maintained some of its originality, culture and charm. Although I dare to say some might  disagree on that score, and I suppose like any body, which is human nature, they would defend their own heritage knowing and comparing its origins and history to anywhere else. It would be true to see that any one born and raised in London for instance would quite categorically state that London is the best place on earth to live, eat and breathe and therefore could not be beaten. As I could also see and understand that our cousins across the water in the USA might comment on their own state being far better than the next one.

One thing is for sure, Birmingham has evolved into a well-developed modern Metropolis, and yet it has been able to maintain so much of its character, beauty and its originality within the history and design of the City. Its evolution is still going on, and will continue for many more years in to the future. In most areas of  Birmingham you can see new buildings going up that still stay within the designs and architecture of the original existing buildings and its surrounding areas, but at the same time new modern buildings exist that prove Birmingham is not a little undeveloped back street area and that it can’t compete with the likes of rest of the Europe or even the world especially so in the business and financial sector. I was fortunate to have worked in an area of Birmingham for over 20 years in a place called Aston which is less than a mile outside the city, as a result of this I saw Birmingham almost every day and have seen the likes of working in a modern warehouse and office complex, and yet, less than a minutes walk from the door of that building was a little bit of peace and tranquility in the form of the canal network and you can see some wild birds, beautiful flora and scenery.

Presently, central Birmingham is undergoing another major transition by creating a new tram /metro system, which to all intense and purpose will mean better travel,  better for the environment, and better easier transportation for its thousands of  residents and daily workers, shoppers and visitors.

I have often walked through various different areas of the city center and on numerous occasions wondered what a bird’s-eye view would look like of this incredible ever-changing city.  You can move between new and old buildings at the drop of a hat, and also between busy streets and then a quiet corner and a bit of tranquility in a matter of moments. There are some short walks and bus rides that take you within minutes from a busy market and shopping center to a park, recreation ground or nature reserve.

There are so many tall buildings in the area, but they don’t always give the best view across the city and where you can stand on the top floor of one building, the view may be blocked by other tall buildings. Fortunately on Monday however I was finally able to get that long-awaited view across the City of Birmingham and some of its neighbouring towns, from the window of the 26th floor of one of the tallest buildings in Birmingham, oh boy and what a terrific view it was too. Before leaving I asked the interview at the end if she would mind me taking a couple of photos, (luckily I did have my camera on my, which just goes to prove you might never know when an opportunity arises) and she was than happy to let me.

 

FEB 2015 - MISC (14) FEB 2015 - MISC (16)

FEB 2015 - MISC (22) FEB 2015 - MISC (20)

 

 

Whilst I was standing there looking out across at this fair city, my mind suddenly went back to when I was a youngster growing up and a particular poem by sir John Betjeman which has always been at the back of mind because it says a lot about his view of what progress is in the modern world, but somehow I sometimes have to disagree with him. Although, I do  recall someone telling me at the time he was in this particular poem referring to Milton Keynes….. as the concrete jungle. Or I wonder whether just through his eyes he just envisaged what might happen in the future everywhere…..I hope not!! However, I am often reminded that it is important to remember that progress is very important not just for the present, but for the future.

 

 

  INEXPENSIVE PROGRESS.

Bestride your hills with pylons
O age without a soul;
Away with gentle willows
And all the elmy billows
That through your valleys roll.

Let’s say goodbye to hedges
And roads with grassy edges
And winding country lanes;
Let all things travel faster
Where motor car is master
Till only Speed remains.

Destroy the ancient inn-signs
But strew the roads with tin signs
‘Keep Left,’ ‘M4,’ ‘Keep Out!’
Command, instruction, warning,
Repetitive adorning
The rockeried roundabout;

For every raw obscenity
Must have its small ‘amenity,’
Its patch of shaven green,
And hoardings look a wonder
In banks of floribunda
With floodlights in between.

Leave no old village standing
Which could provide a landing
For aeroplanes to roar,
But spare such cheap defacements
As huts with shattered casements
Unlived-in since the war.

Let no provincial High Street
Which might be your or my street
Look as it used to do,
But let the chain stores place here
Their miles of black glass facia
And traffic thunder through.

And if there is some scenery,
Some unpretentious greenery,
Surviving anywhere,
It does not need protecting
For soon we’ll be erecting
A Power Station there.

When all our roads are lighted
By concrete monsters sited
Like gallows overhead,
Bathed in the yellow vomit
Each monster belches from it,
We’ll know that we are dead.

By Sir John Betjemen.

Many thanks for stopping by.