That Wednesday/Thursday feeling

The topic for this week’s Friday photo hunt is ‘the colour purple’ which isn’t an easy one for me. I don’t dislike the colour, it’s just not one which really features in my life, and the only purple things I have were used in previous photo hunts so I’m giving this one a miss for something completely different.
Now if there’s one thing guaranteed to cause confusion in the Mouse House it’s Michael’s work shifts. His normal shift pattern is four days on (two days, two nights) and four days off, with start and finish times at either 6 or 6.30 whether it’s days or nights. However, over the last year or so he’s either volunteered or been asked to cover shifts where other people have been off work for whatever reason, meaning he’s often working when I think he’ll be at home or vice versa, and sometimes we’re like ships that pass in the night.
Last week, after staying at his girlfriend’s for a few days, he arrived home early on Thursday morning after a 12-hour night shift just as I was getting ready to go to my own morning job, and the conversation went like this –
Me – “When are you going back to Laura’s again?”
Him – “Friday”
Me – “Tomorrow or do you mean next Friday?”
Him – “Friday this week, tomorrow’s Thursday”
Me – “No it’s not, tomorrow is Friday, it’s Thursday today”
Him – “Are you sure? I thought today is Wednesday”
Me – “No Michael, today is definitely Thursday”
Him (checking his phone for the day and date) – “You’re right, it is  Thursday. Well in that case I’m going back tomorrow”
So with that confusion cleared up I left him to his sleep while I went to my morning job. Fast forward a week and yesterday I arrived at my morning job to find the boss’s son first one in and making toast in the kitchen – and this was the conversation –
Aaron – “What day is it today?”
Me – “Thursday, why?”
Aaron – “Are you sure? Is it not Wednesday?”
Me – “No Aaron, it’s definitely Thursday”
Aaron (checking his phone) “Oh, it is – funny, I thought it was Wednesday”
Now call it Groundhog Day, that deja vue feeling or whatever but it seemed totally bizarre that I’d had almost exactly the same conversation with two different people but a week apart. What is it about Wednesdays and Thursdays? Have other people lost the plot or is it just me? No, I don’t want anyone to answer that one….

The wrong sandwich

Last Saturday I had to pop into town and while I was there I went to do one of my cleaning jobs so I didn’t need to get up very early on Monday morning. It was mid afternoon and I was feeling a bit peckish so decided to get a Yorkie bar or a KitKat from the small shop round the corner from work. I’d never been in there before and the first thing I saw when I went in was a chiller cabinet with various items including sandwiches so I decided to get one of those instead of the chocolate bar.
The sandwiches were all on the top shelf and from left to right there was ham, BLT, egg mayo, cheese and tomato, cheese and onion, and chicken and bacon with red onion and jalepeno mayo. Opting for the cheese and onion I picked up the sandwich, paid for it, and went to work, and it was only once I’d made a brew I realised – I’d picked up the wrong sandwich and instead of cheese and onion I’d got the chicken and bacon one.
Now I don’t like spicy food at all  and as I hadn’t opened the packet I thought about going back to the shop to see if I could swap the sandwich for what I intended to get, but it was the first time I’d ever been in there and as they didn’t know me they may have been reluctant to agree so I decided to eat it anyway. I didn’t really know what to expect but jalapeno mayo couldn’t be that bad – could it?
Having cut the sandwich into four my opinion of the first quarter was “Mmm, it’s different but not too bad”. The second quarter was “Err, it’s definitely spicy”, the third quarter was “I really don’t think I like this but I’ll persevere” and the last bit was “Urgh! That was vile, horrible, I wish I’d taken it back. Now I know why I don’t like spicy food!”
There’s one thing which puzzles me about this – how on earth did I pick up the wrong sandwich in the first place? My eyes saw which sandwiches were on the shelf and my brain registered where the cheese and onion ones were, yet my hand inexplicably picked up the wrong one without me realising it. I think there was definitely a lack of hand/eye co-ordination there! One thing I did learn though – a sandwich with jalapeno mayo on it definitely does not  go well with a mug of tea!


“Mum, don’t ever change your phone”

There are three parts to this story but they are all interlinked so bear with me on this.
Part 1 – It’s an established fact that although I may be good at DIY and practical things I just don’t ‘do’ technology. The latest new-fangled smart phones are absolutely beyond me and anyway I have no use for all the features they come with so I just stick to a basic older model Nokia – phone calls and text messages are all I really need from a phone.
Now the phone I’m currently using is the second one of this make and model, the previous one had got rather battered and bruised from use over time and being dropped more than once so I replaced it a while ago but this second one is weird. I’m still using the sim card from my previous phone and if anyone rings me the phone shows the name if it’s in my contacts but for some reason a text message only shows the number, so unless I recognise the last three digits or the gist of the message I have no idea who has messaged me – which links to Part 3 of this post.
Part 2 – At the beginning of the week my friend Lin’s daughter Dee took in what seemed to be a stray cat. Apparently it had been wandering round for a week or so, was obviously elderly and didn’t look to be in the best of health, so Dee and her boyfriend Adam took it to a local vet to get it checked over. The vet said to leave it there and it would be checked for a microchip – if the owners were traced they would be contacted but with no ID it would either go to a rescue place or Dee may be able to adopt it herself, although it would have had to go to Adam’s sister’s as Dee’s dog doesn’t like cats. The following day (Tuesday) just before going to my evening job, I asked Dee if she had any news of the cat but she hadn’t so I told her to let me know if she heard anything – which also links to Part 3.
Part 3 – I hadn’t been at work very long when Tracy, the young woman who is temporarily working with me, shouted to tell me that the sink in the ladies toilet was blocked up. I knew there was a plunger somewhere but not being able to find it anywhere around the offices I went over to the works to see if somehow it had ended up there, and while I was there I got a text message which just said “Got it!”
Now as my phone only showed a number which I didn’t recognise, and thinking it was Dee telling me that she’d got the cat, I sent back the message “Brilliant! Are you taking it to Adam’s sister’s?” This was immediately followed by a phone call from Tracy – “Who the heck is Adam and why would I be taking a plunger to his sister’s??”
The text message had actually come from her to say that she had found the plunger! Cue a fit of giggles at my own misunderstanding and my phone’s inability to show me who’s texting me, but if Tracy had put “Found  it” instead of “Got it” I would have known what the message meant. Of course when I got back over to the offices we both had a laugh about it.
I told Michael the tale later on and when he’d finished laughing he said “Mum, don’t ever change your phone, it won’t be half as much fun if you do!” I suppose he’s got a point – a new-fangled smart phone might be able to do everything except sole shoes and make dinner but it wouldn’t create funny situations like this so I think for now I’ll be sticking to my basic little Nokia even if I don’t always know who’s texting me.


Blame it on the sunshine

Following on from my post recounting the occasion when I mistakenly sent a text message to Michael instead of someone I work with, it’s taken me 18 months to make near enough the same mistake again but this time I’ve surpassed myself.
On Tuesday evening Michael came in from work and presented me with a pack of strawberries which he’d picked up in Asda on his way home; I didn’t want any straight away so I sliced them into a bowl with a bit of sugar and left them in the fridge overnight with the intention of having some with cream on Wednesday after I got back from my dog walk. With plenty for two of us I sent Michael a text while I was out on my long walk at lunch time that day – “Do you want me to save you some strawberries, there’s enough for both of us”.
Now the very nature of Michael’s job means that he can’t have or use his phone while he’s working so I didn’t expect a reply straight away as he wouldn’t see the message until he was on a break, however I’d had no reply by 5pm so I decided to check my own phone to make sure I’d actually sent the message and not deleted it by accident. Yes, I’d definitely sent the text at 12.58pm – to the boss at my evening job who is also called Michael. No wonder I hadn’t had a reply from my son! Cue a fit of giggles, made worse by the thought that the boss’s wife could possibly be wondering why a strange woman was asking him if he wanted some strawberries. Of course it made Michael laugh when he came home later and I told him what I’d done – and as it turned out, he didn’t want any strawberries anyway.
So yesterday I was at my evening job when I needed to ring Neil, the works manager, to check on a security issue. His phone was answered by a woman who I assumed was his wife, and the conversation went like this – “Hi, can I speak to Neil please?” “Sorry, who is this?” “It’s Eunice, cleaner at xxxx” “Oh, hello Eunice, it’s nice to hear from you, how are you?” Coming from a woman who I’d never met or spoken to and who probably didn’t even know who I am this seemed very strange indeed, though the voice seemed familiar and I instantly realised – I hadn’t phoned Neil at all, I’d phoned Nellie, Michael’s aunt over in Ireland! Cue another fit of giggles, during which I managed to apologise to Nellie and tell her I’d phone her back later on, then once I’d stopped laughing I phoned Neil and dealt with the security issue.
I really can’t believe that I could make almost the same silly mistake twice in 24 hours and I’m sure Michael must think I’ve lost the plot, but before the men in white coats come to carry me off to the nearest padded cell I can only say in my defence that in both cases I was outside and the bright sunshine obviously made my phone screen hard to read. So note to self – in future, make sure you’re in the shade before you text or ring someone!


Not a proper blog post

I’d fully intended writing a proper blog post last night to publish this morning but found it impossible as I can’t, at the moment, sit in front of my pc for long enough to do it. The reason? Yesterday at work I pulled a muscle in my back and I’m now in very painful agony – I can’t sit, stand or walk properly for any length of time and it feels like someone has stuck a knife in me and is twisting it. The first two lots of painkillers didn’t touch it but the third lot helped and I did manage to get some (very broken) sleep, though I got up this morning with hair which looks like a bird’s nest as I’ve moved around in bed so much.
The poor pets didn’t get fed last night as I couldn’t bend down to pick up their bowls so I sent Michael a text asking for his help when he came in from his night shift this morning; he picked up the bowls, sorted out their food and even took Poppie for a short walk before going to bed for the day. There’s no way I can take Poppie for a walk myself just now so she’ll be on ‘garden exploration’ only for the next few days.
I did this once before, about six years ago, and it took two weeks before I was completely pain free. Back then I did it while I was washing my hair, yesterday I was reaching for a mop bucket under the sink in the works canteen – who would believe that such simple actions would trigger something which causes so much pain. For someone who is always healthy, never ill and (usually) as fit as the proverbial flea my current condition isn’t just painful it’s downright annoying too. It does have it’s funny side though – it’s not often that I ever drop things but anything which lands on the floor now has to stay there until Michael can pick it up for me. The house could end up looking like a war zone!
I’m glad in a way that our lovely sunny weather has now gone pear shaped, at least I won’t be tempted to go out walking while my back is playing up. I’ve got three Monday walks in the pipeline so if I don’t go anywhere now for a while it doesn’t matter, and hopefully by the time I feel fit enough to go for a decent local walk the sun will be back again.
Well this is about all I’m capable of typing just now, sitting in front of the computer for any length of time is extremely uncomfortable at the moment though hopefully things will improve enough over the next couple of days and I’ll be able to write up a Monday walk – right now I’m going to make myself a much needed coffee and take some more painkillers.


Simple things….

Several days ago, while reading through one of the blogs I follow, I came across a post (presumably designed for the younger generation) showing how to make a simple teddy bear out of a face cloth. It looked easy enough so while I had a few spare minutes at work the following day I decided to try to make one out of a microfibre cleaning cloth. The first attempt wasn’t too good, in fact it was a mess, so I tried again and although the bear wasn’t perfect it was better – and as I use four different colours of cleaning cloths I decided to make a little family of them.
Now while the original blog post stopped at just making a basic bear with a ribbon I decided to go one better and add eyes and noses to give them a bit of character, and as I didn’t have any ribbon at work I brought them home to finish them off. So here we have – Marigold, Bluebell, Rose and Fern.
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Now under normal circumstances I wouldn’t be spending my time at work making teddy bears out of cleaning cloths but these aren’t normal circumstances. With most of the office people now working from home and only three people actually in work I don’t have much to do other than a few basics but as I’m a major key holder it’s my responsibility to lock up the premises after the last person leaves, meaning I still have to be there for a certain length of time – and that’s how the teddy bear family was born. They aren’t perfect and they weren’t even supposed to be permanent but they’ve grown on me now so I think they’ll be around for a while yet.

The dog ate my mouse!

And I don’t mean a computer mouse either, so if anyone is a bit squeamish then don’t read any further – though it is rather a funny story.
So a few weeks ago I was cleaning at the boss’s house and even though it was raining it was still quite mild so I’d left the back door open for Dylan the cat to wander in and out while I was working. I was just about to get ready to leave when I found a dead mouse in the middle of the kitchen floor – Dylan had brought me a present. Now I read somewhere ages ago that if a cat brings you a present you shouldn’t dispose of it while the cat is there or it will feel very insulted – I don’t know who thought that one up or even if it’s true but I didn’t want Dylan to think I didn’t appreciate his gift so I wrapped it carefully in some kitchen roll and put it in a small takeaway-type plastic carrier bag, to dispose of it when I went out.
Now to be quite honest, being the soft-hearted person that I am where animals are concerned, I felt quite sorry for the little mouse having lost its life to a big fluffy cat ; it didn’t deserve to be just dumped in the bin so I brought it home with the intention of digging a small hole with my trowel and burying it under the fuschia hedge. However, by the time I’d walked the fifteen minutes back home it was raining harder then ever so I popped the mouse, in its bag, in the top of the planter near the door with the intention of burying it once the rain eased off.
So much later on, with the rain having finally stopped and totally forgetting about the mouse, I let Sophie and Poppie out for five minutes in the garden, but when I opened the door to call them back in I found bits of shredded carrier bag all over the path. At first I couldn’t figure out where it had come from but then realisation hit – with the absence of a little furry body it seemed that rather than the mouse going into a hole under the hedge as I’d intended it had gone into one of the dogs instead.
At that point I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It was no use being cross with Sophie and Poppie as I didn’t know which one had eaten the mouse but I felt a bit upset that the poor little thing had ended up like that. Fortunately neither of the dogs suffered any ill effects afterwards, and I was just glad that the little mouse had actually been dead before it ended up as a dog’s dinner.
Now I realise that anyone reading this will probably have come to the conclusion that I’m completely bonkers, out of my tree, totally insane and needing a visit from the men in white coats but that’s just me, I love animals and hate to see dead ones however they came by their demise, and though it was a sad ending for the little mouse it does make rather an amusing story.


Walking to work on Friday lunchtime four weeks ago I turned off the main road and was met by the unusual sight of two of the firm’s vans and several cars parked along one side of the lane leading down to the works, something which I’ve never seen in all the years I’ve worked there. In the distance I could hear the noise of some machinery so wondered if maybe the car park was being resurfaced, however when I got round the bend further down the lane I came across something which I certainly didn’t expect to see. A huge tree several yards from the lane had toppled over and completely blocked it and there was no access for vehicles either in or out.
Now I don’t normally take my camera to work unless I know for certain that I’ll be using it so I hadn’t got it with me, but this was one occasion when I wish I did have it. As well as the tree across the lane there were two huge John Deere tractors, one with a front forklift and the other with a long rear trailer, a JCB telehandler, a cherry picker, a Bobcat skid steer loader, and six guys with chainsaws all dealing with the tree to get it moved – I could have got some great shots if I’d had the camera.
The guy in the cherry picker was in what would have been the top of the tree, sawing branches off it. The lane down to work bisects a steep bank with woodland on each side ; there are several bungalows at the top of the left bank and apparently the top of the tree had crashed down onto the conservatory roof of one of them. At first I didn’t think I’d be able to get through to work but the guys had cut a big chunk out of part of the main tree trunk and they stopped the machinery long enough to let me through. Apart from the two bosses and the son of one of them everyone else finishes at 1pm on Fridays but with the tree across the lane no-one was going anywhere, however by 1.30 the guys dealing with it had cut up and moved enough of it to allow various cars to drive through.
The photos below were taken by one of the bosses on his phone ; he’s not a particularly good photographer so they don’t really show just how big the tree was. He emailed them to Maddie and she emailed them to me ; it’s just a pity that was one occasion when I didn’t have my own camera on hand.

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The bottom of the tree with part of the bank still attached

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A bit of the tarmac lane just about visible underneath this lot

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Part of the tree across the lane

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There didn’t seem to be any particular reason why the tree had suddenly come down. It hadn’t blown down in the wind as there wasn’t any, not even the hint of a breeze, but we had just had a prolonged period of wet weather so maybe the constant rain had softened the ground underneath the roots, making it unstable. Apparently it had fallen soon after 9am and just missed one of our fitters who had driven down the lane seconds before, and since then the firm next door to us had turned away three deliveries of steel as no-one could get up or down the lane. I’m just glad the tree didn’t fall down the day before ; I finish work just after 9am on Thursdays and walk up the lane on my way home – if the tree had come down then I might not be writing this blog post now.

Thanks, and an update of sorts

First of all I must thank everyone for the comments and kind words on my previous post, and offers to share details of my stolen van in the hope that it can be found. To be honest I’ve been too tired and too emotionally strung out to reply to each comment individually but it’s good to know others are thinking of me and are willing to help where possible, so thank you everyone – and thanks also to Jayne for putting the van on her own blog.
Yesterday I had some news, positive in one way but still not good. I was at work just after lunch when the boss and one of the other guys came into the office to say that Maddie, who works in the office and had left for home earlier on, had phoned to say she had seen the van. It was on the M62 passing Ikea Warrington and heading west in the direction of Liverpool, towing a caravan and seemed to be in convoy with a green car behind it – Maddie had recognised it as she overtook it. I reported it to the police straight away but my worry now is if it’s been taken by travellers they may very well have changed the number plates, in which case it probably won’t be identified on any ANPR cameras or such.
Worst case scenario is it could probably end up in Ireland via either Liverpool or Holyhead, at best I’m hoping that whoever has it is has taken it just to have a holiday and it may end up back in Bolton, but to be honest I don’t think that’s likely. I’m glad in a way that it’s been seen on the road as it least it means that so far it hasn’t been broken up for parts, but it’s so upsetting to know that someone else is driving round in what, to me, was a big part of my life. I wonder if the scrotes who did this realise how much devastation and emotional upset they have caused? Would they care if they knew? Probably not.


Initially I wasn’t going to put this post on here and I thought long and hard before I did but then thought ”what the hell, I’ll put it on anyway”. The last week has been one of the most awful weeks of my life and one I hope no-one reading this ever has to go through. Why? Because last Wednesday night, soon after 10pm, my van was stolen from right outside my house and I actually saw it being driven away but could do nothing to stop it. It had been locked and the key was in my pocket so whoever stole it had obviously broken into it.
I reported it to the police straight away but from their initial response, ie they ‘won’t actively be looking for it’, I’m not very hopeful that I’ll get it back. It’s not only the van that’s been stolen though – it was packed up with all my camping gear ready for my holiday in North Wales in early September, plus I had various personal items in there which were of great sentimental value to me though worthless to anyone else. Some of these were rosettes which my previous little dog Sugar had won at various shows – sadly she died of kidney failure the week before Christmas 2014 so those rosettes were very precious to me and can never be replaced.
Needless to say, my forthcoming holiday plans have been cancelled, as have any plans of going out somewhere over the bank holiday weekend or in the foreseeable future, and getting to work is now proving difficult in some cases as two of the places aren’t on direct bus routes so it means I have a fair amount of walking to do. At the moment I just feel that not only has the van been stolen but half my life has gone too – yes, all my camping gear can be replaced, albeit slowly and at great expense (the van not so easy) but nothing will erase the gut-wrenching, stomach-churning feeling of having everything ripped out from under me and actually seeing it disappearing.
I wish I could feel angry at the low-life(s) who did this but strangely I don’t as other emotions are keeping any anger at bay. I feel I was targeted – out of all the cars parked in the street why mine? – but more than that I feel shocked, sad and upset to the point of frequently bursting into tears, and just so incredibly numb. I’m back at work this week after taking two days off last week but I’m not really working, I’m just going through the motions ; my world has been turned upside down and I feel like I’m just existing, not living.
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My gut feeling is that the van is still somewhere in my local area but just in case it’s gone further afield I would really appreciate anyone in the UK reading this to keep an eye out for it and contact the police if it’s seen – with the eagle on the front and the patterns along each side it’s very distinctive and not easy to miss. My lovely blogging friend Jayne has also posted it on her own blog and asked her readers to share so who knows, the power of the internet might  just bring a result.