Saturday, February 28, 2015

Goodbye Mr Spock...

Friday 27 February 2015

OMG sun at last 12 degrees

Up and attem with some enthusiasm ahead of the impending visit.  Clean the hall stairs and landings and mop all of the floors.  Open the windows to let in some fresh air.  Why are the bastards sticking?  Oil them with a little WD40.  One has warped.  They are nearly new!!!  Big breaths, I will be zen, I will be zen.  Fortunately none of the month’s torrential rain has seeped through the new paint.  We had the roof replaced three years ago but still, mysterious yellow patches appear in different parts of the ceilings from time to time.  Like a big dog peeing at will on our handiwork.  The worst part is the under roof plaster on the balcony.  A few months ago, I hauled back the roofer to show him the stains and he said he had put in a waterproof material under the new roof – he even got me out on the roof via the kitchen window to look at it – had a Bill Sykes moment and my head swam – and he had to put me back in through the window.  He said it was a mystery.  He didn’t say he was going to fix it and he left.

OH stuck back on the popped off skirting boards and fixed them with some dowel and rather a lot of glue.  He then asked me what I thought of the villainous but reasonably priced sage green gloss which he had brought back from B n Q on his last trip to the UK.  I suggested he mixed it with some white gloss to try and make it look like Irish Spring rather than Miss Haversham's bathroom.  He was all for painting it on every door but I suggested he tried it on the inside of the bedroom door so we could assess it for effect.  I went back to mopping and came back to find he had put it on the door and the window sill.  It wasn't exactly Irish Spring but looked like Miss Haversham had made a bit of an effort.

Back home for poached eggs on 5 cereal toast.  I do love a poached egg, its wobbling yellow dome and just set white surround, like a little space ship just waiting to be pierced by my soldier, dripping with ....  stop it, I am going all Nigella.  Many apologies, dear reader.

At 3 pm I was posted at the front door, waiting for the lady and she was on time.  In her late 30's, at least she could get up the stairs.  I showed her around and she took pictures and said that she was buying as an investment and would put her mother to live in the property. She was concerned about the heating costs due to the high ceilings but said she really liked the unit and it was so light and airy.  I showed her the little unit too, in case she felt the urge to buy a little investment.  She was there 20 minutes and said she would show the photos to her mother and potentially be back on Monday.  I asked if her mother could manage the stairs and she replied that she was just 60 this year so she was still OK to climb them. Realise that I think that 60 is old.  Realise that it is only three years away.  How the f did that happen?

I spent an hour cleaning floors in the new unit and then went for a swim.  You take pot luck at the weekend - sometimes there are so many people that the pool looks like it is full of frogspawn.  Fortunately, a massive amount of wet people were crowding the changing room so I squeezed into a corner to change and found only about 20 people in the pool.  The locals do not swim.  The main things that they exercise, whilst standing around and usually in the middle of the pool, are their jaws.  After I have swum around them a number of times, they move to the sides and watch me, in a Wimbledon type way, going up and down.  No one else does lengths.  There are some funny shaped mature ladies and some very white and wobbly girls in their 20's.  The jacuzzi area is being monopolised by the canoodling couples - the water seems to make them especially passionate and they ignore the matrons who try to get on the bubbling benches.  There are the macho guys, full of tattoos, who position themselves under the swans neck water jets so that the water bounces off their heads with some force, and stabs nearby swimmers.

Leonard Nimoy, alias Mr Spock, died aged 83.  He lived long and prospered.  His last tweet

A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP

Friday, February 27, 2015

Bugged by the rain.....

Thursday 26 February 2015

When will it stop sodding raining?

Phone rings early and it is partner agent, who has been up and at her laptop since 4.30.  I suggest that 4.30 is silly o'clock and she said she had been lying in bed, thinking about work and she had decided she had better get up and do some.  She has just started her own agency and has a pre school child and a husband who expects his meal on the table at 12.30.  I wouldn't go back to those times for all the Darjeeling in Darjeeling.  She had been hoping to make her first sale this weekend.  It transpires that the wonderful first visit had been made with just the wife, and the husband has since refused even to go and see the house, saying it just doesn't do it for him.  

This happens all the time, alas.  The couple who came to see my flat in January ended in the same result - the lady had been out in May 2014 and had loved it, and the husband didn't at all.  I also had a great visit on the main house last year with a lady, and her husband has yet to get out of Paris and make his way south.

I find a wonderful photo of a moth looking hacked off by the rain. 

rain and moth (Image Source: black&white)

Go down to the weekly market and find it much reduced.  Rain bucketing down.  Dive into the charity shop and footle around the packed rails.  There are various dank smelling locals lurking in their and peering at the sheets of rain through the windows.  I find some ravishing things which are built for someone without a bust and with arms like a fairy.  Happily, I then come across a pair of jeans which fit me like a glove.   The German lady stands by the changing room to preserve my privacy.  The curtain has fallen off the rail and has just been looped over, giving everyone in the shop a fine view of the lower half of whoever is in the middle of divesting themselves in the vestiaire.  She is very impressed with the jeans but says the large white scarf makes me look like a granny.  I had thought of buying it and using it to keep myself warm whilst writing this in the mornings, but am suitably shamed into putting it back in the box.  Today, I have on plain white cotton knicks which do not attract attention.  Last week, in the swimming pool changing rooms, I was wearing a pair of frilly blue nylon ones which caused reactions varying from hilarity to consternation, depending on the age of the unfortunate viewer.  Must remember not to run out of clean underwear again.

OH is having morning off from the rental units.  I went in to look at the bathroom door, which is sticking.  Donning the ear protectors, I sanded for a good half an hour and it made no difference whatsoever.  The floor needs planing.  Played on Facebook for a while and drank a cup of coffee.  I am so fed up of these rental units.   Back home and to my surprise and delight, someone rang up and asked to visit the big top unit!!  

Back home and watch Bargain Hunt.  Dog steaming by the fire.  Have a little sleep.  OH goes back down town to recommence battle with the skirting boards, which have popped off the wall, and I ring people up and no one is home.  Walk dog briefly.  No one else dog walking.

Look back at previous writings stored on my mini hard drive.  Heavens, I have been writing this sort of drivel for years....

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Stove and heating in general

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Wet and then very wet

Back at the rental units and I spent the morning trying to make the grouting look as if it had been done by someone who had graduated from nursery school.  There were fraught noises coming from downstairs.  I went down to find OH roundly cursing the parenthood of the skirting boards.  The basic problem was that the boards were straight and the wall was not. When the new floor had been put in, quite a lot of the old plaster had dropped out and OH had slapped in quite a lot of plaster, in his customary rustic style.  He had spent the morning trying to fill the holes between the wall and the boards with decorators caulk.  The caulk tube fits into a spring ratchet operated handle and it had stuck.  Instructing me to hold onto one end of it and not to move, OH grasped the other end and pulled.  I cannoned into him with some force.  He said I was feeble and if I wanted to be a builders mate, I needed to man up.  I assured him I had no desire to be a builders mate.  

I was sent off to sand down the floor in the bathroom.  The door top is so close to the ceiling that the door cannot be taken off for sanding.  The sander made no impression on the floor so I put some sandpaper under the door and rubbed it back and to, violently.  This also, is not apparently what a builders mate is supposed to do.

More swearing was coming from the bedroom and when OH emerged, hat over one eye, shouting 'where is my saw' and he was holding still holding it, I insisted we went home for lunch.

My thoughts turned to heating and I discovered the following, written six years ago:

When we lived in England, we had central heating.  Virtually everyone we knew had central heating.  This is not the case in France.  In old houses, such as ours, which is a typical mid 19th century farmhouse, the only heating point was the large open fireplace in the living room.  In winter, the heavy wooden shutters on the outside of the house were closed and, together with the thickness of the walls, trapped the heat inside the building and stopped you freezing to death (in theory).  A 20th century improvement was to enclose the fire in a metal and glass box in order to increase the efficiency of the heating.  This is called an insert and is found in most houses, old and new, today.  Our part of France has a lot of trees and coal is hard to come by, so people burn wood that is sourced locally.  The French word ‘cheminee’ has the meaning of ‘fireplace’ whilst the English word ‘chimney’ translates as ‘conduit’.  My neighbour Marcel told me that when the inserts were first introduced, they didn’t ‘draw’ properly and people were obliged to leave open the front door in order to get enough air into the room, create an updraft and get the fire burning well.

We bought our house in June when it was extremely hot and humid.  We happily ignored the fact that we had no heating to speak of.  We were too busy doing battle with the resident termites, bats and hornets.   We were living on a construction site and setting up a new business. 

So time rolled along and, in September, the free papers started advertising means of heating your house – inserts, wood-burning stoves, radiators and the like.  The days and nights were delightfully warm and compared to the East of England; we still felt we were in the midst of a very good summer.   Nevertheless, we popped along to a local shop and ordered a wood burning stove for the front room and a French version of an Aga for the kitchen.   Aga versions of an Aga cost around E6000 at the time.

October rolled along and was still mid 20’s during the daytime.  We went back to the shop to see where the stoves were.   Evidently the larger kitchen model was still on order.  The smaller wood burner had arrived and the glass was broken, so had been sent back.  October turned into November and the wood burner had another trip to and from the factory. 

Mid-November, it was if the outside heating had suddenly turned off and the temperatures dropped to below 10 degrees at nighttime.  The lady at the shop lent us a paraffin heater and we sat under duvets.  By the end of November, it was seriously cold and you could see your breath in the house day and night and finally, HURRAH, both the stoves arrived.

At last, we thought, the bees, which had replaced the hornets in the chimney, might be discouraged by the heat and smoke – and leave!   (They didn’t).  At last we could take off our woolly hats and actually be warm!  The wood-burner was duly installed in the front room and was admired by us and especially by the dog.  

The Godin (French Aga) was brought in by four burly French men and the plumber spent a day installing yards of copper piping and an outlet radiator.  It lent a ‘submarine’ type ambiance to the kitchen.  Then, the plumber added a few bits of wood and lit the fire.   The amount of heat that came out of the cast iron top was phenomenal.  The French electrician who was doing the rewiring of the house came down to admire it too.  We had hoped the cold might make him hurry up and complete his work quickly (it didn’t – he was there nine weeks). 

We cooked supper in the oven and boiled pans of water on the top and were very, very happy.  WF was especially happy because the outlet radiator was in his room.  After supper, we were sitting down watching telly when an ominous banging started upstairs in WF’s room.  It was coming from the outlet radiator.  The plumber came back again and said the stove was giving off too much heat for just one radiator and in fact we could run six radiators from such a large stove.  (Why didn’t he tell us that first?).  So, he spent the next week installing five more radiators. The banging radiator calmed down.  Only two of the new radiators worked.  The plumber came back again and said we needed to run the stove at full power to heat all the radiators.  This used up a lot of wood and meant dashing back into the kitchen every half hour to feed it. 

Quite often, in France you need to ask the right questions in order to get the information you need.  Quite often, you don’t realise what questions you need to ask until it is too late to ask them.

So, our normal modus operandi is to get up and throw on many clothes (though the woolly hats haven’t been necessary since 2004) – and run downstairs to see whether the fire has stayed in overnight.

I would be a failed arsonist, and so would RJ.  OH and WF are arsonists manqué.  With just one match and a bit of wood or paper, they can create a blazing fire seemingly without effort.  If they lay logs on the Godin at nighttime, it will happily crunch away on them and can be easily teased back into life the next morning.  I, on the other hand, sometimes find firelighters a challenge to light….  This is not at all a bad thing as it means I am banned from touching either stove…

2009 January has been the coldest since we have been here.  We all have double duvets on the beds.  Ice has been thick on the car windscreens so we have taken to parking them facing east so the morning sun can start working on melting it and we don’t have to mutilate yet another fish slice.  Of course, when we are in the car and bowling along, or in a shop, in never occurs to us to buy a scraper. Last week, the light of the morning sun was diffusing gently through the most exquisite and complex ice crystal patterns.  They were on the inside of the landing window.

‘Eee’ said OH.  ‘Reminds me of when I were a lad…’ 

I too, seem to have spent a lot of my life in freezing houses.  One house, in Ashton in Makerfield, belonged to the local Water Board and my father was in charge of the Reservoir, which was attached to the house and supplied the local water.  It was fiendishly cold for most of the year.  My American cousins used to visit.  They, sensibly, lived in California.  Their heating budget was taken up with keeping the heat out of their houses.  Years later, one of them commented to me.

‘I used to think it was normal for English houses to have damp on the walls’.

It may be true that central heating breeds germs but I can say from experience that living in cold damp houses isn’t too good for you either because what I was quite often ill in bed, under many counterpanes and blankets, and with the fire lit in my bedroom whilst I read Enid Blyton.

Back home, in front of the roaring fire (we are back in the present day now, btw) I battle with setting up a blog on Wordpress.  It is not intuitive.  OH emerges from the kitchen, where he has been feeding his eBay obsession, and finds me muttering 'what is the effing difference between a Page and a Post? OH is happy to supply the following information ;  a page is what you find in a book and a post is what you walk into when not paying attention.  Where would I be without his help?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A day out with the girls!

Tuesday 24 February 2015

Colossal thunder storms during the night
Torrential rain and sleet but who cares because I got a day out with the girls!!

Dad's birthday - would have been 87.  Happy birthday, daddy xxx

Woken in the dark by tremendous crashing and banging overhead and the glass in the windows reverberating like Kate Winslet when she first gets her mitts on Leo de Caprio (who, judging by a photo in Look magazine,  now is starting to look like Henry VIII).  Through the shutters, the rain was stinging the courtyard and flinging up the gravel.

Dozed off and awoke to grey morning but heart full of joy because I get a day off normal by going out for the day!  It is a large world, and to my amazement, the sister in law of one of my great UK friends has chosen, in all of this large world, to have a holiday home just 15 minutes away from where we live.  How good is that?  She is over for a week so a meet up is arranged and I get to meet the daughter of my UK best friend for the first time in 20 odd years.  TD has the same timbre of voice and the same sharp sense of observational humour and I realise, with a pang, how much I miss her mum.  Must make an effort to get hold of her land line and ring her up.

We have a quick coffee and I make the wonderful rediscovery that TD is a digital marketing specialist (something I had known and forgotten) so she gives me some great mentoring and puts me in contact with someone who can help partner with me and bounce ideas off. Fate has decided to give me a hand, at last!  It is so good to talk to someone who is dynamic and is doing something she loves, and getting paid for it.  That is just the dream. Realise I would far rather help people than actually make stuff myself.  Better not tell OH this as I have entire craft room full of gorgeous craft stuff.  From remarks of other crafters, everyone has a stash of stuff and not many of us actually get anywhere near to using it up. Or using it at all.

Pile into a tiny white car and TD is at the helm and we head to the big city, with only light rain, on the autoroute.  Nearing our destination, the gorgeous facade of an American style diner calls to us and we stop immediately and go in.  The owner tells us that it is not open for ten minutes.  We smile and don't move.  He says we can sit down and then ignores us for ten minutes during which time hailstones bounce a foot up from the car park and we have to shout to hear one another.  At 12 on the dot, the owner switches on the lights and the neon signs and takes our order.   The deco is 50/60s with beautiful blue and white banquettes, mini petrol pump and car grilles.  The big tvs showing motor sports and the US sports memorabilia in wall displays are not quite authentic but the coffee and chocolate was enjoyed and, suitably refilled, we headed for the delights of the mall.

We then do the shoe shops - TD favourite - and I do find some that I like but I would need a life where I could wear pink suede shoes.... 

The palest of pink is the color del dia so here is a little selection of shop offerings...

I find a lovely pale cream sweater with sparkly thread running through and splurge on that and then we head into a wonderful kitchen shop where I buy a selection of different flavours of mini chocolate bars for TD mum for her birthday.

The kitchen shop has a wide array of things that you never realised you needed - pink sea salt from Mozambique, black sea salt from Hawaii (looking like caviar), large irregular cubes of flavoured sugar packed into beautiful glass jars wrapped in ribbon, exotic teas in desirable tins, spices and aromatics, glassware, pans, and many many small plastic items which have a way of finding their way into one's shopping basket and then lurk reproachfully in a kitchen drawer and periodically announce their presence by getting stuck in the runners.

There is a very large store full of books, music, craft stuff and art stuff.  We are in there a very long time.  TD gets some trays to decoupage and some lovely tissues.  JD gets some paint.  I look at what is trendy in the crafting sphere.  Colouring in mandalas and shapes and kirigami which is Japanese for cutting paper

Kirigami Architecturefrom the most complex of structures in the form of architecture

to beautiful snowflakes

We have lunch in the central plaza, which features a massive floor to ceiling exotic bird area.  There are budgies and parakeets and the local birds come in to have a look at them.  The air is alive with tweeting and twittering.  The girls have sandwiches the size of barrage balloons and I have a quiche and salad.  Happy and replete, and the rains having slackened off, we head back into normality.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Getting hip and funky...

Monday 23 February 2015

Lots of rain
9 degrees

For once, didn't have the Monday buzz.  Probably with the thought of having to go down the rental units.  Commended OH over his morning cup of tea, on his determination and persistence.  He said he wasn't going down either and was headed into the big city to go and get some sealant.  He is very hard to divert into more interesting shops and it would mean lunch in McDo so I stayed home and wrote emails to people and sent photos out of our flats to potentially interested estate agents.

It rained and rained so had to take the dog out in a less torrential shower.  Why do dogs not mind getting pxxx wet during a long walk but wont go out for a pee in a light drizzle?  Meet the woman with the 'charming and adorable' dogs and she has to haul them off as they chase me and dog, barking and growling.  I wave a big stick at them and her and they back off.  Must remember to take stick with me next time I go in that direction.

Do a mass mailing of all local gites and chambres d'hotes to try and find people who are sufficiently hacked off and want to sell.  To my surprise, one rings up almost immediately and I book them in for early March.  A current seller rings up and asks to drop 80k on her house price.  For some reason, people go slightly bonkers at the end of February and decide their houses will never sell.  I always tell them the same thing - wait til Easter.  Easter this year should be fantastic, with the Euro Pound rate being the most favourable in donkeys years at just over 1:1.35.  They inevitably don't want to wait...  Another couple have dropped their price on a small ads website down to 140000 euros - absolute madness - they will be losing a fortune on what they paid for it.  Write down on list to ring them up and insist that they raise the price.  I get another call from a lady who has finally managed to sell after eight years - the price she has accepted is about half of what she originally started out at.

Put out more ads on various websites for our rental units.  Surely somewhere, someone must want them?  

Looked for some blogging communities to participate in and found +thenectarcollective which is fun and hip.

This lady has a beautiful blog and is sassy.  Decided I need to get a hip and funky blog look...

Monday, February 23, 2015

What is marriage?

Sunday 22 February 2015

Brilliant blue skies with cloud later
9 degrees

Wake early and write.  There is something blissful about having the whole day ahead of you, with no work obligations, and the freedom to express your thoughts.  Writing is happiness, as is gardening.  No one knows who I am when I write.  No one tells me what to do in my garden.  Leads me to wonder how much of our time do we spend, being who we actually are and doing what our hearts wish.  As a child of the 50's, I was raised to be polite and obedient, not to be pushy or aggressive, not to expect too much, not to talk back, not to be too visible.  I dont remember ever being told what I should be, other than 'good'.  My mother was brought up on a mantra of 'children should be seen and not heard', and to some extent passed that onto her children.  I have not deliberately done this with mine but wonder to what extent, subconsciously or otherwise, I have passed my upbringing onto them?

When I was young and dating, I presented a very acceptable form of me to my dates.  It all fell apart when I started being the real me and not the very compliant me.  I was then crushed.  On reflection, I was being dishonest and this led to problems at work, as the me I was presenting was oceans apart from the real me.  I spent a lot of time smiling and nodding and not 'talking back' whilst under the surface was a frothing rage of emotions and frustration.  Passive aggressive, that was me.

In my experience, men dont fall for this 'being not themselves' thing.  They are what they are and they keep looking for someone who fits with them and when they think they have the right person, then they form a long term relationship.  OH and I have now been together nearly thirty years and got married relatively early in our relationship.  We must have spent a good 18 months knocking the edges of one another until we achieved a compromise which worked for both of us.  

He had the surprise that I was not the always sunny character I promoted during our courtship (especially when it came to the question of having bridesmaids foisted on me by his mother) and I discovered he expected me to replace his mother.  I expected him to do repairs and home decoration.  He expected me to do all the housework, shopping and cooking and why didnt I know how to darn socks or turn a shirt collar (I am not joking here). We had gone into marriage with a lot of expectations which should have been discussed before we got to arguing about them.  I had lived in a neat and clean environment all of my life and like an ordered home.  OH had spent 27 years throwing things about and his mother had picked them up.  The first 18 months of living together were a baptism of fire where we both established limits and who would do what.  My mother in law was very distressed at my lack of cooking skills (at uni I had only been allowed to do the washing up in our communal kitchen) which consisted of lentil lasagna and curry.  I also did not wash windows (along with many other things).  I remember coming home from work and it was raining (in Preston in rains virtually every day of the year) and my mother in law was up a ladder, in an anorak, and cleaning the big plate glass windows.  I invited her in for a cup of tea and heart attack when she saw the state of the place.

After nearly 30 years, OH is a lot tidier because if he doesnt put stuff away, then I do and often dont remember what I have done with it.  He does a lot of the cooking and is much more interested in the activity than I am.  I still do most of the housework.  We have grown together and got around the tough bits.  And that is what marriage is about.

Feel free to comment.  If you are out there.   If you are listening....

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Etsy! You have sold out...

Saturday 21 February 2015

Torrential showers with small blue sky windows
10 degrees

Refused to go down the rental units so was left in blissful peace to drink coffee, write and then pull all the contents out of the laundry cupboard and throw stuff out.  I love throwing stuff out and oh, what a lot of ropy old towels and sheets there were.  I am going to have to secretly dispose of the the duvet covers made by MIL to which OH has a strange attachment.  We have fifteen duvet covers and forty towels (most of which dont make the cut) and many, many sheets.  Rediscover my gym shoes (compulsive shudder) and other strange foot apparel which I must have bought when I wasnt wearing my sensible hat.  They are sitting down only shoes.  I sometimes wonder how the shoe designers get away with creating shoes which are crippling and impossible to walk in.

Lady Peepall you would have to do is to step on one pebble and you would go ankle twistingly a over t.  There were, however, some other shoes on the site which were absolutely ravishing but an 120mm heel would just kill my arthritic toes

these are 'fishnet' shoes by Luboutin and retail at just under 1000 dollars

I abandoned heels many moons ago, when I realised that I preferred being able to move easily and comfortably rather than staggering around with an aching back and pulsing/burning feet.  Heels are the modern equivalent of hobbling.  I think women should just say NO.  You dont see men in silly footgear (apart from the gay French guys on last years BGT).

I am part of a group on FB and was very distressed to learn from friends that their products are being copied and replicated in Asia, with a complete disregard for copyright.  The lady in question posted a link to her Etsy ad and also one of the Chinese site and it was identical and half the price.  The purchaser is also likely to find that it is half the value.  Suggested watermarking the image in a very obvious way, to impede theft.

Speaking of Etsy, the so called 'home' of the hand made, it appears that they have completely sold out, both physically and morally.  Their top seller is a woman who buys items in from Asia (at peanuts prices), tittivates them and then sells them on at a profit.  She is perfectly open about how she sources her material too.  Real crafters, who sit at home and burn the midnight oil, are quitting Etsy in droves.  Shame on you Etsy!!!

Went to get chain saw and the guy said the fixing mechanism was knackered, which is why it wont tighten.  Swam - luckily arrived when huge number of people had just got out of the pool.  Lovely steaming water rising into the rays of sunshine slanting over from the tall glass windows.

Getting on the road to happiness whilst side stepping a viper

Friday 20 February 2015

Drizzly with short sunny periods
8 degrees

Why did I tell OH I would go with him to the perishing rental units for the mornings during the weeks to come - well to get things finished more quickly.  Put dog in the shed as he had been very naughty during the night and made a terrible mess on the kitchen floor.  I had awoken extremely early, excited about a website project, and had had to battle with a recalcitrant plastic top on the bleach bottle for a good five minutes.  By 9 am I felt very tired but non the less, we got to town and I went for some bread and cake.  There was a guy lurking by the fountain, and he looked strangely familiar.  

'Heuy' he intoned, nasally.  Oh God, it was last year's buyer of my nightmares, who has still to sign on his property, and there he was, large as life, and twice as viperous.  He shook my hand limply and his wife whimpered 'everywhere is closed - where can we get coffee?'.  I sent them off to the Betting Shop at the far end of town.  That will be an eye opener for them.  The guy has a habit of looking over your shoulder when you are talking to him, and slithering his eyes sideways to focus on you for a moment, before sliding off in another direction.  He claimed to be the young estate agent of the year in his native country.  I wouldn't buy a dog from him.

Somewhat shaken, I report back to OH, who is only actually interested in the cake.  Spend morning scraping paint off badly painted windows and doors and then go and have a look at OH's tiling activity in the upstairs bathroom.   He has spread around the grout with liberal abandon, and then not wiped any of it off.  It looks like a two year old has done it.  He has also left a huge amount of mess in the bath, the bidet, the sink and the kitchen.  I am in a very bad mood by the time I finish.  Back home with stony silence for lunch.

Walk dog and think about Abundance - inspired and taken from The Abundance Project

Number One: Make Up Your Mind

Decide what you want out of life and then plan to take charge of your life. Not just the big things, but the seemingly unimportant things too. Really take the time to analyze your circumstances and decide what you want. There may be small things you do because you feel like you have to; you don’t. Decide what you do want and make those things happen. Everything you decide you want in your life may not happen right away, but if you’ve truly made up your mind, they will happen in time.

Number Two: Let the Loudest Voice be Your Own

There are so many people around us all the time that think they should speak up about our lives. Well-meaning friends and family tell us every day what they think we should do and how you should take charge of your life. Sure, they may have some good advice, but they are not you! They don’t know what your dreams are and they can’t possibly know exactly what you’re feeling. Although receiving advice can be helpful, there is no voice that should be louder than your own. Put everyone else’s voice on mute and listen to your inner gut. Do what you feel is right for you!

Number Three: Speak Positively in Your Own Mind

In order to take charge of your life, your inner voice must be positive. If you are running the show, you better be confident. Whenever fear creeps in or negative thoughts start to overrule, acknowledge that they are there and move on! As quickly as you can, get back to a place where you know you can succeed. Soon, you will train your mind to think positively and to be confident in your own capabilities. Use the power of your thoughts to propel you forward through your life.

Number Four: Get Up and Get Busy

Instead of letting life rule you, you’ve decided that now you’re in charge! What an amazing change, right? Right, but in order to be in charge of your own life you have to get up and get busy! Nothing you want to experience in life is going to just happen, you have to go out into the world and create your own experiences. If you’ve always wanted to fall in love, you have to start dating. In order to start dating you have to meet people and socialize. You will never socialize if you’re sitting at home, but you might if you get up and get yourself out with friends! Along the same lines, if you’ve always wanted to be fluent in French, you have to sign up for a class and study; you have to get busy!

Number Five: Re-think the “Why”

We’ve already discussed in number 1 that it is important to make up your mind about what you want to do. However, another important component of taking charge of your life is to analyze why you want what you want. Make sure you are doing things for you; it is your life after all. Make sure that you’re not doing what your parents want you to do or what your friends are all busy doing. What you should be doing every day is what you really want to do or taking the steps to get to what you really want. Life truly is too short to waste time pursuing things you’re not interested in. Strive for your goals and spend time doing things that make YOU happy.

Number Six: Stop Procrastinating

Ask yourself this, if you died tomorrow what would be your greatest regret? Is there anything in life you’ve always wanted to do but you just keep putting it off? Take charge of your life by putting an end to procrastination. Start doing those things that you’ve always wanted to do and start becoming the person you want to be today.

Number Seven: Take Responsibility of Your Life

Stop blaming your life circumstances on anyone or anything. You are in charge so start taking full responsibility of your life. When there’s no one to blame but you, you might just find that you start doing something to improve your circumstances. Once your thought process changes and you take responsibility for your own life, you will realize that what happens to you is entirely up to you!

Number Eight: Prepare Yourself

Seneca, the Roman philosopher, said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Prepare yourself for whatever you aspire to. Maybe it’s something small like learning to paint or going on a morning run 3 times a week or maybe it’s something big like being a better Father or landing the perfect job. Whatever it may be, prepare yourself mentally and physically and you just might “get lucky”.

Number Nine: Do Not Complain

Last but not least, don’t complain; ever. Complaining does absolutely no good, period. Whenever you feel like complaining take action. Start to analyze your complaints and decide whether there is anything that can be done to fix them. There is almost always something to be done: do it and stop whining. You’re in control now.

Number Ten: Start Now

Take charge of your life by making a list of all the qualities that you want to be possess. Once you have your list, don’t waste any more time, start being that person! Do as many of those things as you can every day. If you’ve always thought that one day you would wake up early enough every day to watch the news and read the paper before work, then start doing it today. As Bob Dylan wisely said, “Act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you’d like to act.”