Winter is definitely on its way! Brrrrrrrr!

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Well, dear readers, since I last posted, we have had a wonderful summer of sport with Manchester City winning the Premiership, Wimbledon (Andy Murray crying after losing in the final), the Olympics (Andy Murray won Gold), the Paralympics, the Golf, and (at last, oh wonder of wonders) Andy Murray winning the US Open Tennis!

All the above were fantastic, obviously, but seem like the distance past now. If you’ve seen the news, you will know that here we truly know that winter is on the horizon, as Britain has been hit by floods, which are causing untold damage and worry for people in many areas. On top of that, we are forecast to have what we call a ‘cold snap’ which is an intense cold period that (hopefully) doesn’t last very long, so we’ll probably get snow and all this mucky flood water is going to turn to ice. I’m lucky because I live quite high up; my joke now is always that I won’t get flooded out, but I might get blown away!  The nights are truly drawing in and I hate the cold and the darkness of winter with a vengeance; I find it depressing and debilitating in the extreme. I cannot wait until spring gets here! Even the cat doesn’t want to go out! At least we will soon have the fun of Christmas to keep us going till then …. what do you mean, it’s less than a month away? OMG

I’ve been busy with study (finished the Business & Administration certificate, the PTLLS teaching qualification and also have done an ECDL Extra, which is a certificate in MS applications) and am progressing well with my Information Advice and Guidance course. Still looking for a suitable job, but at least I have some more qualifications on my CV now which, hopefully, might help! While volunteering at the local CVS this summer, I’ve been involved in fundraising for Breast Cancer Care and for the CVS itself (working with our local Rotary Clubs) and that’s been fun and, hopefully beneficial, albeit in a very small way.

Have been watching Downton (which always seems to finish too quickly) and the new series of Homeland (brilliant stuff). We have had the end of The Closer, which I will really miss. Been trying to find out if we are going to get the spin-off, Major Crimes, here with Mary McDonnell’s character Captain Sharon Raydor, but no sign of it yet. (BTW was only the other day I realised she played ‘Stands with a Fist’! As she is an unbelievable 60 now, she was 37 then, and looked about 22! I want some of what she’s been having!) Also, we are now in the final series of Fringe and this is another series which I will greatly miss.

One thing I am looking forward to seeing on TV is the MLS final next Saturday with David Beckham’s team, LA Galaxy. Apparently this will be his last season playing for them and we are all waiting to hear where he’s going next! In the meantime, United are just about holding off Manchester City in the Premiership.

Post again soon; in the meantime, keep warm and well!

Excellent idea for the kitchen!

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Having moved into a smaller flat (apartment) recently, I found that my carousel herb rack was taking up too much room on the worktop (counter). I’ve been looking around for something to help conserve space and – bingo! – here you go: Robbygurl’s Creations.

If you’re reading from the US you can buy exactly the named items to make it, I’ll get similar stuff, probably from the Hobbycraft shop. Also if you go to the home page of that site, there is an excellent menu planner idea, which you can order if you, again,  are in the US, but I’ll have to cobble together using the instructions on this page, for which I can get the supplies from Staples and Asda (our Wal-mart). There’s also lovely recipes, kids creative projects and a self-awareness course for young girls (the ‘Personal Progress for Young Women’ – PPYW – course). Love that site!

Have a lovely day!

Ps England beat Denmark 1-0 last night! Yay! And Charity Pro-Am Match ‘England’ v ‘Rest of the World’ from Old Trafford tonight! Should be fun!

Last day of the webdesign course

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I’ve really been enjoying this and hope to continue, perhaps with a little help from friends, as I’ve just found out that there are different catergories of user in WordPress (Admininstrator, Editor, Author, Contributor and Follower) so I might ask mates of mine to contribute stuff to add here.

Hoping to get my old iPhone up and running again (the Nokia is on it’s last legs!) with the help of a Giffgaff sim; I didn’t want to tie myself to a contract, plus their tariffs are MUCH better than Orange’s, who by the way have had a £10 top-up from me since last Sunday and it’s still not on the phone. Less than £1 left in credit now – it’s very annoying!!

So once the iPhone is going, I’ll take some photos of Nottingham that I can put on here. Despite what you might read about the place, it is actually a lovely city in which to live!

Back later!

Why procrastination is a bad thing …..

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You’ll know by now that footie is going to be a topic on this blog. So you won’t be surprised that I’m going to use yesterday’s biggest matches to illustrate a truism.

Coming up to the last day of the Premier League both Manchester City and Manchester were on the same number of points, although City had a better goal difference (the number of goals scored -v- those scored against the team) so the winner was going to be determined by the result of two matches:

Manchester City were playing QPR. Now QPR had their own reasons for winning; they  needed to either win the match or depend upon the result of another match to stay up in the premiership. Also it must have been a bit of a grudge match for their manager who was unceremoniously sacked to bring in Mancini, the present manager, some 3 years ago.

Further up North, Manchester United played Sunderland. In both of their matches, if City and United scored the same number of points, City would win the Premiership on the goal difference. For United to win the league, they needed to win their match and City had to draw or lose theirs.

And it all came down to the last 5 minutes. QPR stayed in the premiership, not because they won against City, but because of another result. And City sealed it with the last kick of the season, giving them the 3 points they needed, as Man U had already won their match.

The problem all along with Man U is that they often leave things till the last minute. They are well known for last minute goals and, this season, they left it all to do on the last day. In the event, the ball was literally in City’s court and City came up with the goods.

Moral being, don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today. You never know when that extra bit of time saved, or preparation done, will come in handy. Better to be a step in front than a step behind!

And well played City!

A busy week

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I should be at the second day of my blogging course, but I’m not feeling too good, so I’m going to do some work from home. However, seem to be getting on quite well with the blog, finding out how to put widgets on it and stuff, more by luck than judgment mostly! Let me know what you think!

Well, I keep applying for jobs, another three this week so far and I haven’t looked at the web yet today! I have only had a couple of interviews and this whole process can be pretty disheartening, so I decided some months ago to do some volunteering, to make myself useful in the local community, stop my brain from atrophying and perhaps even open up some opportunities for employment. It’s certainly helped me with training; I only found out about the course that’s teaching me to do this blog through a volunteer group newsletter.

It’s been enlightening too. I had never spent much time in the voluntary sector before, although I had done the usual stint on the PTA and been a helper and then Secretary of the local Play Forum for a couple of years when I was in business a few years ago; I saw how much hard work was put in there, particularly by Lesley, who runs the resource centre. The Gedling Community & Voluntary Services (CVS for short) where I have been volunteering recently, really reaches out into the local area, through volunteer taxis, befriending schemes and lunch clubs for just a few examples. As well as marrying up volunteers with vacancies and providing all sorts of training, they also help groups with funding applications. This is where we start to have a problem.

The monetary situation here in Britain, as everywhere, is tight at the moment. Cuts all over the place. It’s tight for me personally, it’s tight for companies and it’s tight for the so-called third sector, volunteering. People might just assume that, because third sector organisations are staffed to a great extent by unpaid volunteers, that they take no money to run, but the actual organisation and administration of these bodies has to be funded, usually from local or national government, but sometimes from bequests or donations.

All sorts of groups, big and small, local and global, are threatened with cuts and closure due to lack of funds; I truly believe these will be cases of  ‘you’ll miss me when I’ve gone’ because the general public probably doesn’t realise just how much all sections of society depend upon the voluntary sector. Children, old people, those who are ill or have disabilities, people who are isolated (emotionally, geographically or ethnically) people at threat of abuse and violence, and those, like me, who are unemployed; all these groups benefit greatly from the voluntary sector. It should be applauded and supported more than it is at the moment. You surely know someone who falls into one of these groups?

Worse still, umbrella groups and hubs like the Gedling CVS, who marry up volunteers with groups that need them aren’t getting the funding that they need to function and this will have a knock-on effect to the smaller groups, who have nowhere to go for help with their problems.  So I hope things improve and funding starts to flow through again soon. And all contributions to the Gedling CVS will be gratefully received!

Back soon! Have a good weekend!

Ah, football! (And yes, I can explain the offside rule!)

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Today is the final of the FA (Football Association) Cup here in England (and Wales) which will be played at Wembley Stadium in London. The two teams playing are Chelsea (a London team, the blues) and Liverpool (home of the Beatles, up in the north west of the country, the reds). Now, I love to watch football and the FA cup final is a bit of a tradition for me. I used to watch it with my mum, screaming at the TV the likes of ‘shoot for Christ’s sake’ and ‘penalty! penalty!’ whilst downing a few.

Things have changed since then. My mum is no longer with us and I don’t drink for a start, but the other thing is that the attitude of players seems to have worsened. Perhaps I have a rosy view of the past (I am getting on a bit!) but, for me, players nowadays are far to ready to take a dive, or waste time writhing in apparent pain only to get up and run off as soon as their team has been awarded a free kick. It takes the shine off the beautiful game and it’s certainly not the way to teach kids to play fair, both on and off the pitch. Didier Drogba of Chelsea is a master of this play-acting and, whilst he is a brilliant footballer (when he’s not screaming in ‘agony’ on the turf) this sort of behaviour should not be tolerated by the FA. It is a form of cheating after all. The Chelsea management certainly should not encourage it, but, well, it’s all about the money, aint it?

Another thing you don’t want to be teaching your children is how to be a racist. This is where we come to the reds, Liverpool. Their player Luis Suarez, again a gifted player, racially abused a Manchester United player, Patrice Evra, during a match at Anfield (Liverpool’s ground) back in October. For this he was banned for 8 matches, which is a long time in football. To make matters worse, he never properly apologised to Evra, and at the return fixture at Old Trafford, Manchester’s ground, in February, he refused to shake Evra’s hand prior to the match. Perhaps this doesn’t sound like much, but it is a big deal; the pre-match handshake is supposed to say ‘good luck, play fair’, something that a number of these players are obviously unable to do.  The National Black Police Association (NBPA) agreed and commented on the Liverpool management’s unwillingness to accept that Suarez was at fault; this article in the Daily Mail gives the details.

However, if you go further into the story, you will find that some say Evra may have actually started this himself, making some kind of comment to Suarez in his native language, Spanish, which caused him to use the racist language back. Perhaps we will never know all the details. Perhaps Evra was pulling a stunt just like Drogba, but using speech instead of physical action. Perhaps they’re all as bad as one another. I’m not sure of anything any more. So this afternoon, I might watch, or I might break the habits of a lifetime and not bother, simply because I wouldn’t know which team to support. They both seem to be lacking in a moral compass. And some teams and their players are slowly but surely taking the shine off that fantastic trophy. But, hey, it’s still the beautiful game, isn’t it? I might just watch for a little while then  …….

PS: Chelsea won 2-1. (We decided to support them, after my son noticed that more of the English players of the Chelsea team than the Liverpool team sang the words to the National Anthem before the match!)

PPS: Liverpool slaughtered Chelsea 4-1 in the league, scuppering Chelsea’s hopes for a place in next year’s Champion’s league through qualification through their final place in the league. All I need now is for Chelsea to get beaten in Saturday week’s Champions League final for this year so they don’t qualify as winners and this will make me a happy bunny, as I’ve been reminded about John Terry’s racism offence too. What is wrong with these people?

HELLO WORLD!

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This is the first post on a super new blog sent out from sunny Nottingham, in central England, the home of Robin Hood. My name is Paula and this blog will keep you up to date with my progress, as a middle-aged single woman, through education, training and jobsearching, as well as the fun things I get up to in my my spare time.