Happy New Year

2014 is just a few hours away and I would like to wish everyone who reads my blog a very happy new year. 

Whether you are spending it alone, like me or with a gaggle of friends, stay safe while you celebrate tonight. Well, I say I am alone, I have Pete the cat here who is, as I type cleaning huge clods of mud from his paws. 

Whether you are reading this from the comfort of your sofa or squinting at it with your booze goggles on I wish you much love, happiness and all those other lovely things you would like from 2014. 

Things I am thankful for…

It’s that time of year when everyone gets a bit slushy, me included, so this year I thought I would write it down and let everyone who sees this know what I am thankful for. If you look at my life from the outside you would probably feel sorry for me, divorced at 38, renting a tiny flat and on benefits as I am unable to work due to my depression brought on in part by the divorce but not entirely. I moved away from the town I lived in with my ex and started afresh.

All pretty pathetic sounding so far I bet but no, in just 2 years, I have found out who my real friends are, you know, the ones who have your back no matter what happens in your life? I have them and they are exceptionally special to me and I can never repay them for everything they’ve done for me. I am not going to name them here, they know already who they are. From the person who came and had dinner with me whilst I was living alone in the marital home to make sure I had eaten at least 1 decent meal. She also happens to be the same person who insisted I spend that first Christmas with her and her family and bought me the snuggliest duvet I have ever had. I love her, plain and simple but I don’t think I ever told her how much those simple acts meant to me. I couldn’t put it into words then and I still can’t but it made me stop feeling worthless.

Then I have a friend who I have known for hundreds of years, she was totally awesome. Thanks to her, besides the support and badmouthing of an ex that a true buddy always does, I have a washing machine and microwave in my kitchen and I had a sofa to go in my little flat. Sadly, that sofa has now gone to sofa heaven and I have a new one but the washing machine and microwave are still..well, I’ll leave that unwritten so as not to jinx them! She even insured me on her car so that I could borrow it as and when I need it and let me have it during last Christmas in case I got bored being on my own and wanted to join her and her family’s festivities. I almost felt guilty for not going over to them.

Then there’s my parents, they have been beyond awesome, last summer they drove almost 600 miles to bring me a dining table and chairs and other random goodies. They also took rubbish to the dump in their van for me as I had scrapped my car when I moved here. My mum is at the end of the phone for me when I need and we talk almost every day in fact, we’re getting on better now than we have done since I became a teenager and I was vile then, even I can’t deny that!

So those there are the people I have known for a long time and I can never tell them how much the small and not so small things they have done for me meant to me. I hint at it from time to time but can’t actually say it unless they want to be covered in tears and snot!

I have met some great people since moving here, from the ladies in my local petrol station; one in particular has become a good friend and more often than not I wander in there just to chat to her. We put the world to rights have a laugh and talk about all sorts of stuff. She even reassures me that things I wear look OK, like the short skirt I recently treated myself to. I also get accosted by the local butchers for a chat when I wander past and they’re standing by the door, they always ask how I am and then try to sell me more meat than my freezer has room for. That’s where I bought my duck from for this year’s Christmas dinner, I am really looking forward to eating it.

Last June I had to have my cat put to sleep, she’s the Gerry in Gerrysmum; I still miss her. However, I contacted a charity and now have Pete the cat. He’s with me as a permanent foster cat and as you may already know if you are a friend of mine on Facebook or follow me on Twitter you will know he is a cheeky thing who makes me laugh, a lot! He greets me when I come home and comes to bed with me at bedtime and as I type he is laying beside me on the back of the sofa, snoring.

I started some voluntary work last year as well and have met yet more great people through that. We have tricky situations to deal with on occasion but still pull together and get everyone through it. I can’t say I love them (sorry guys!) but then I haven’t really known them long enough for that, maybe they’ll get on my love list next year.

I also started University last year, on a part time basis. Unfortunately, I had a mental hiccup in the spring term and essentially stopped attending however, I did sit my only exam and passed it! I also applied for disabled students allowance and the assistance I got from that has helped me immensely so I am not worried about going back after my Christmas break even though that is 4 weeks away. Don’t get too jealous, I do have an essay to hand in on the first day back!

As a part time student, you don’t stick with the same students all the way through as they move on quicker but I have made some good friends this year, one in particular who I bonded with on a trip to the Old Bailey. We frequently go for a coffee after our Monday lecture, my shout next time chick!

I am enjoying the chance to study something I am really interested in and hope when I graduate in 2018 that there is still something left of the criminal justice system for me to work in.

My boyfriend has been fantastic too, from taking me out for a drive the first weekend I was alone to helping me with things round the flat that I tell him I am too girly to do. He is also learning what he can about my wheat allergy and making sure that if he takes me out to eat that I am not going to get poisoned by the food. I have known him almost half my life and he still makes me feel special, can’t ask for more than that really.

Lastly, I am thankful for my virtual friends, we all have them don’t we? The people that live in our computers, liking and commenting on things on Facebook and having random conversations with us on Twitter. Well I have some awesome people amongst them, several of them are inspirational and check I am OK if they haven’t “seen” me for a while. It still amuses me that I worry about these people too when they’re not online for a while and am then relieved to see them reappear. I have never met most of them but would really miss them if they suddenly disappeared.

If you have managed to get this far well done! In addition to these people or places I am most thankful that I am usually able to get up and get on with life. Some days the black dog bites me in the arse but I am learning to live with those bites and they don’t always hurt me that badly. At the ripe old age of 40, I am rediscovering myself and learning to accept myself as I am, flaws and all.

I am not as skinny or pretty as I would like to be but I am me and I make no apologies for that. Compared to some people my life must seem horrendous but not to me, I may not have much money, my brain may not work like it used to but I am happy to accept that. If I can live with myself as I am then I am halfway there in developing into the person I was clearly always meant to be. Having said that does not mean I have grown up, far from it, I still laugh at silly jokes and if I’m in the petrol station and someone says they’re paying for pump number 2, I still snigger.

So, these are the people and the things I am thankful for, what are you thankful for?

The power of Twitter

This post would have sat easily on my wheat free blog but I decided to put it on here instead to show people that twitter isn’t always a scary place to be.

On Friday, I sent a tweet asking if Rochester Farmers Market (in England for my international readers, not New York) had any gluten free stalls, the market is a 10 minute walk from me and I am always looking forward to finding new gluten free suppliers. They said that there wouldn’t be one this week but that there usually is.

A few minutes later, I got a tweet advising me that Simply No Gluten would be at the market in Aylesford but I tweeted back to say I can’t get there as I don’t have a car. That’s the boring bit over with and here is the amazing thing, the person who told me about this stall offered to collect what I wanted and bring it to the market in Rochester. I was astounded and read the tweet a few times to make sure I had it right, I mean, I don’t know this person and they don’t know me so they couldn’t be that kind, could they?

I was wrong, he was so I ordered carrot cake, peanut butter brownies and scones and let my newly found buddy know that I had ordered them. As an aside, ordering was easy, I did it by phone and then paid by paypal.

I met up with my new buddy and collected my delicious cakes, I have eaten 2 of the brownies and a big chunk of carrot cake and they are amazing!

So who was today’s cakey hero? He was the amazing Steve the Fish and I can say that although I might not have been to his stall today, I am certain I will in future! Give him a follow on twitter, he is a genuinely nice guy.