2018. The highs, the lows and the bits I remembered!

So that’s it 2018 is nearly over and what a year it’s been. We’ve witnessed a catalogue of events, some of which I’ve mentioned below. I am sorry if I missed something you thought important but each to their own eh?

We’ve succumbed to the Siberian Beast from the East where the country ground to a halt because we had more than 1 inch of snow. I personally bought up the entire stock of bread, milk and Galaxy chocolate from Tesco in case of further blizzards, none of which happened but I got to satisfy my chocolate addiction!

Later in the year we sweated disgustingly (well I did anyway) during an incredibly hot summer that reminded me of 1976 except for the fact that I can no longer frolick semi-clad in my orange and brown Woolworth’s swimming cossie as I did back then having water fights with a bowl of water. Well I could have but would be running the risk of being arrested for indecent exposure!

The Royal family has given us a wedding (or is it 2?), another sproglet and a rather cute family photograph. I’m no royalist but they do have cute kids!

The football fans were ‘lucky’ enough to have a World Cup to watch, that we apparently lost. Rugby fans will have to wait till next year for theirs. Cycling fans got to enjoy Geraint Thomas getting to wear a yellow vest whilst getting lost in France!

GDPR came into being and everyone stressed about the data they had saved on floppy disks that hadn’t seen daylight for 15 years and could never be viewed anyway as no one’s laptop has a floppy drive anymore, and every company’s HR officer had to do a ‘find’ and ‘replace’ on their Data Protection Policy changing Data Protection Directive with GDPR!

But this was soon forgotten as Salisbury hit the headlines when we all watched the sad Novichock news and decided we were never going to touch door handles again or tour the city despite the Cathedral having a 123 metre high steeple and a special clock!

We went from the retail atrocity of losing more high street stores like Toys R Us to the magnificent high of watching a junior football team being rescued from the Thai caves, led by two British men…Oh the kudos!

We also watched Kim John-Un finally climb over the step to shake President Moon Jae-in’s hand. Now I know Kim’s a short man but surely he could have done this a bit quicker than waiting 7 years but then they do say growth spurts happen every 7 years and maybe he just wasn’t tall enough till then? I just hope it was worth the wait!

But I think the absolute highlight of 2018 was the Toblerone saga where they eventually saw sense and reduced the gaps between the triangles back to what they were after causing a chocolate scandal of epic proportions!

Finally it’s been another year of Brexit bedlam. Now to digress a bit but bear with me. I’m an anxious sort who has always had my snow box which is basically a huge plastic crate that I fill with extra dried and tinned food and toilet rolls so we can survive if we are ever snowed in or Tesco sell out of absolutely everything in the store. There is also the option to sell said goods at a profit if I get the urge and someone pleads enough that they really need a tin of beans for their tea but can’t get to the Spar due to the treacherous conditions of 3 inches of slush!

Well this box has now been replaced by a chest freezer which makes the toilet rolls a bit crispy but is a godsend for the food and my paranoia. The crate is now my Brexit box and I am beginning to stockpile certain foods not made in the UK, ready for the day when we are cast out of the European Union, left on our own to survive! You may tut but who will be the one eating Spaghetti Bolognese when everyone else can’t get passata for love nor money as the only trade being carried out is the dodgy dealings at the local Happy Shopper! Now who’s laughing!

As Brexit Day looms I do wonder about my up and coming holiday to Greece next May. Will we be allowed in as we’re British? Will they let us trade with them? Will we be given the worst hotel rooms possible because we defected? Will we be classed as illegal immigrants? But more importantly, what colour will my passport be and will it match the passport holder I’ve been using for years?

Anyway I wish you all a peaceful and happy Christmas and a blessed New Year. I hope it brings you everything you wish for whether that’s lots of presents, sprouts, a hangover, no hangover, a long visit from Auntie Doris, a short visit from Auntie Doris, argument – free family time, enough batteries to do all the kids presents plus the foot spa you bought for your other half, no food poisoning from trying to defrost the turkey in warm water because you forgot to take it out of the freezer in time or, more importantly, a successfully completed game of Monopoly where no one has a hissy fit and no one is lucky enough to buy both Park Lane and Mayfair and bankrupt you time after time before you pass go and before you can collect your £200!

I do wonder what 2019 will bring us? Good and bad I guess. All I can hope for is that Theresa May gets some time off, Donald Trump gets put in time out and nothing bad happens to David Attenborough!

It wouldn’t have happened in James Stewart’s day!

So, let me set the scene.  Me and hubby were still discovering “going out” as mentioned before and so I’d bought concert tickets for a concert in Bath.  We set out with smiles on our faces and cheer in our hearts! I was driving and I know the way to Bath but not how to drive around it but figured it would all be ok when we got there.

The long and the short of it is that it wasn’t! Well it was to begin with but a few days later it turned out I had been caught and had to pay the price for my criminality! I received a Penalty Charge Notice from a certain council (it’s not hard to work out if you refer to where the concert was being held!) Anyway I’d been caught redhanded at something I had no idea I’d done at the time!

Anyway I paid the fee because I’m a law abiding citizen and being a cheerful soul I thought I’d email the council to point out a few things. I’ve attached my email below as it is easier than explaining it all to you! Read on….

Subject: BUS LANE CONTRAVENTION

Evening

I’ve received this notice as I apparently drove in your bus lane. I have paid it but can honestly say I have no recollection whatsoever of doing so. I can see my lovely car on the picture and my headlights (one that looks a bit dodgy but I’ll get that looked at I promise!) so I know I was there. I’m also pretty impressed that you picked up my car registration as it is water damaged and I have trouble every day getting into work as Security insist it looks like KD09!  

I hate anyone else driving my car so hands up…it was me but I need to have a moan…

I have never driven through Bath (only round the edges on the way to Bournemouth – lovely place) and never planned on doing so either but I was going to a concert that night in the Pavilion. I love the Overtones and they were playing that night. I usually go to Cardiff or Bristol but this year, for some reason, they weren’t gigging there so Bath was the nearest. I had seats in row E so was deliciously close to the front so it was perfect.  Just to add to the story a bit more, me and hubby stopped in the Morrison’s on the way for food as we were early, and had a lush tea  dead cheap. I had scampi and hubby had fish. Very nice indeed and a complete bargain!

Anyway I left there and drove to the Pavilion following my carefully printed out map (in colour) which took me to Pulteney Road. I have to say this road is very dark indeed and I couldn’t see a thing. Couldn’t you put some brighter bulbs in? So I turned into North Parade Road I think it was called but was so intent on looking for the Pavilion I missed the turning for the Cricket Club where my map had said to park. So thinking quickly as I was panicking, hubby turned on his phone’s sat nav to show us how to get back to the car park. Anyway I don’t normally like to pass the buck but I am going to as his stupid Samsung sat nav sent us down what turned out to be Pulteney Bridge which is, as I know now, only for buses.

All I can say is it was very very dark, I had no idea where I was and was studying the sat nav screen trying to find the right turn to take, while she talked to me in her stupid computerised English voice, so I wasn’t looking for road signs and obviously missed them. Just for the record I’m not being racist. I am English but get fed up with her nagging voice. Personally I’d have James Stewart talking on my sat nav but he’s not with us anymore.

So I’m sorry and I have paid but I do think it’s a bit unfair. I did also google bus lanes in Bath and this does seem to happen an awful lot doesn’t it according to Trip Advisor so could you possibly make your signs bigger, your street lights brighter and maybe tell the sat nav’s that this is a no entry road.   

Anyway, not one to hold grudges I wish you all a Merry Christmas. Feel free to send me a Christmas card, especially if you wanted to enclose a £30 cheque inside. After all it is the season of good will and all that……

Yours, sorry and £30 poorer but we still had a cracking night at the concert!

Vanessa  

As you can see I was the epitomy of politeness with hopefully an element of humour that I thought would surely make someone break in to smile. How wrong could I be!

A few days later I got a reply from the council, from the Team Manager – Parking to be precise.   The letter was 4 pages long and they had included some lovely library pictures, taken in daylight I might add, of the bus lane in question. The upshot of the letter was to tell me that my appeal had been rejected and that I should not rely on directional guidance and that as I had paid the fee, the matter was now closed!

So my message to you is don’t rely on your satellite navigation device, it will get you into trouble.

I’m still waiting for the Christmas card….

Got to start somewhere!

So, this is it. I’m trying my hand at blogging. It might be a complete disaster in which case I’ll just close this all down and keep my thoughts to myself. It might, on the other hand, be a good laugh and I might make a few people smile along the way. That’s my only aim.

So a bit about myself. Not too much because that would be boring! I’m fifty-something, married with a pink one and a blue one and live somewhere over the Severn  Bridge, or Prince of Wales bridge or whatever it is called now. I work full time for my sins, in a job that tests me to my limits! My children are pretty much self-sufficient now so me and hubby are rediscovering “Going out”.

Life is busy, but life is good. I just plod on being mum, wife, sister, auntie, daughter, colleague and friend to those who know me. I’m 2 kids stronger than I was 20 years ago and will happily speak my mind now saying things I wouldn’t have dreamt off years ago! I hold no airs and graces, I’m a very low maintenance wife whose only treat is getting my eyebrows threaded occasionally and trying to disguise my ever-expanding grey hairs which are beautifully disguised by your recent T-section one day and glaringly obvious the next! I don’t ask for much in life but would love a little lottery win to make life easier!

My hubby works hard and moans hard but I still love him, even after 30 years together! My children are growing up and busy working/being educated and socialising and I can’t remember the last time that we were all together for Sunday dinner but I guess that is what happens as we all get older. Sad times. I miss the times when they were small, cute and adorable…..I’ll just wait for the grandkids.

I have 2 cats. I adore the feline variety. I’m not a dog person, I’m too lazy! We’ve had the usual menagerie of pets as the kids have grown up. Cats – numerous, rabbits – two, goldfish – many, stick insects – don’t know h0w many as I could never tell the difference between them and their surroundings and hamsters – two but one ate the other one! I think that’s it but then my memory is atrocious so may have missed one! I think I like animals more than humans as animals are no where near as cruel as humans can be!

Anyway, that’s enough for now. Hopefully I’ll remember some more about myself to share with you but in the meantime, Happy Sunday x

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