Thank you

Twists and turns a plenty this week, trying to balance the budget. It’s been stressful and after months of sleeping well, these last few weeks have provided sleep deprivation.

One of the ways to try to balance the budget is not to replace staff who have left: never an easy decision.

Even harder is to tell people, but with brave conversations and being open to suggestions this can be sensitively done.

Communication is key, and I have been pleasantly surprised to receive grateful thanks on three occasions this week!

This has buoyed me, lifting spirits at a time when needed.

I’m paid to do my job, but moments like this can turn around challenges and make you stronger, feel valued and value those around you.

Showing humanity, treating people with respect, being honest doesn’t make bad news less difficult, but it can offer care and understanding.

As spring brings new growth we can all look to the warmer weather ( apart from the arrival of the mini beast from the east 😱), brighter things to come and a fresh perspective.


January-sick and tired you’ve been hanging on me….

2018 has been momentous so far, and January has seemed very long, but February has settled in nicely and hopefully Spring is around the corner!

The last ten days have been very busy at work and there hasn’t been much time to do much.

Last year at this time we were preparing to go to Fuerteventura, and some late winter sunshine, and the picture for my desk calendar reminds me of that time

The six nations began at the weekend, and for the first time in years I won’t be attending any. I intend to go next year and maybe the break will do me good( I doubt it)!

I go to Scotland on Friday afternoon for a long weekend to see my parents, and celebrate my Dad’s 85th Birthday!

Driving home tonight the sky was beautiful and I had to stop to take a picture of it. I find myself always thinking of loved ones who have died when I see the sunrise and sunset. I feel their aura and also sadness that they aren’t here to see them, but I remind myself how lucky I am that I can and I savour those moments and reflect on how blessed I am and have been with the people in my life.


This week has been a strange one, lots of excitement and opportunity and not much time to get things done.

Early mornings and late nights with a foray into the unknown. A night at home with Kevin spending time with his mum, an opportunity for reflection.

This week I’ve been told I’m scary at work, and also intimidating: not really adjectives I particularly care for. I asked my kids if this is the case and it transpires that I have a ‘look’ that can wither and give off an aura of confidence that can appear intimidating.

This has staggered me as I am, underneath all that front, a very unconfident person, a people pleaser and very uncomfortable in certain social situations.

I know my job very well and always strive to be the best I can be, I can be very black and white about certain things, but always take into account the grey areas wherever I can. I also use humour to divert attention.

From these comments this week I have taken on board two things:

1. Very few people really know me at work ( their loss?)

2. I will try to avoid the ‘look’ and smile more!

I did some meditation this week at work and really enjoyed that clearing of the mind, so will definitely be doing more of that.

I’m not sure that I want to change how I am perceived at work, as perhaps keeping the two different me’s apart is a good thing!

We will see, I will try a charm offensive, failing that, buy lots of animal print clothing and be ‘scary’ spice! 😘

Surprise, surprise

And still the surprises keep coming this year!

Some unexpected news at work meaning opportunities and challenge. Great to look holistically at situations.

Watching our children grow into the adults they have become is awesome.

We have caught up with good friends this week, where laughter and food have been plentifully enjoyed.

Good news quite often appears from out of the blue, and all the sweeter because of that.

So many things to look forward to this year!


This last year has been well documented by me, but I will post a few photos here too!

As is the way, there has been highs (many) and lows (few), but that is life. How we cope with the lows is the important thing, with support of family and friends.

Reading through my blogs for this year has brought many a smile to my face and I hope that 2018 has as many wonderful moments!

There are three weddings to attend: Kevin is starting to feel all aquiver with the thought of outfits, shoes etc ( for me 😉). Exciting times!

Parkrun will continue as I try to improve my fitness and health.

Perhaps 2018 should have more spontaneity and less planned things, we shall see….

Andrew and Lis are over in April, and that will provide early celebrations for 30th (Andrew) and 60th (Kevin) birthdays 🎂

I wish everyone a great New Year full of what makes you happy, today, tomorrow, forever xxx

Last meal at the Harbour Grill

We opted to eat in the hotel and as it was raining it was a wise decision.

Food was delicious, company great and we toasted the holiday, and Colin’s upcoming big birthday next Sunday.

We again found ourselves talking about our families, the joy the heartache but also immense pride!

It has been awesome and memories aplenty!

HK part 2 Aberdeen, Stanley and Repulse Bay

The green route covers the North of the island with a good commentary of the history of HK. It seems less urbanised than the South, more of a holiday location.

Again I was challenged with twists and turns but breathtaking views!


As part of this route we enjoyed a Sampan ride- part 3

Honkers Shonkers Bus tour part 1

Bus trips today. First one by shuttle bus to the ferry.

We arrived at central and picked up the red route.

There will be 4 parts to this and hopefully the photos, whilst void of noise, hustle and bustle and smells will convey a flavour of Hong Kong!

Back at central we go on the green route. Part 2 to follow!

Hong Kong 🇭🇰

After a flight and fitful sleep we arrived in Hong Kong. After getting our luggage we sourced a taxi to get us to Kowloon where our hotel was.

Our rooms would not be ready until 2pm so we just had 4 hours to kill. There was a shuttle bus and we had a map, so off we went into Kowloon centre to familiarise ourselves.

After coffee and a delightful cake, we read the map to decide what we wanted to do on Monday. Colin asked a few people for assistance and Kevin looked for the trusty tourist information booth!

We knew we would have to get the star ferry over to HKI that evening so wandered along to the terminal. We decided that a Big Bus tour would provide us with a whistle stop tour of everything, with the opportunity to get off, if we saw something we particularly liked.

Tickets purchased we walked back to the hotel ( over 2 miles!).

Colin was particularly amused at the bamboo scaffolding!

Back at the hotel Kevin kindly run a bath for me to ease my feet and weary legs.

All freshened up we got the shuttle bus to the ferry, and off we went to meet Richard, the son of family friends that lives here.

We met Richard and exchanged hellos, kisses and handshakes. At the central terminal we caught a cab up to the Peak. I’m not great with heights, and a twisty, turny journey up was a bit white knuckle for me. Once we arrived we saw the funicular railway and took in some views.

We braved the escalators up to the observation deck. Another few ‘legs turn to jelly’ moments, but the views as the sun set were spectacular!

I borrowed a pen to write a wish on a paper heart and the woman I borrowed the pen from was just so excited as she had just heard her daughter had got engaged. It was so lovely and I appreciated fully just how she felt. We exchanged a few photos of our beautiful daughters and their fiancés. I then tied my wish to one of the lines 💕💕

We went down the escalators and came out and went to the Peak Lookout for something to eat. Great selection of Chinese, Thai, Italian and a Grill option so we all could enjoy something.

I opted to have a Singapore Sling to drink-delicious! 🍸

We hoped to take the funicular railway back down, but the waiting time was 2/3 hours so we opted for a taxi back, which is a lot less scary in the dark!

We said our goodbyes to Richard, thanking him for his time and company. Such a delightful young man, obviously very happy living here, and we will see him again next time he is over in the UK.

Ferry back to pick up the shuttle bus and we enjoyed the cityscape all lit up.

I still can’t quite get my head round that Christmas is 4 weeks away!

On the return to our room a final shot of HKI before bed.

I check Facebook and see this wonderful photo of Joseph and Freddie, and to see that smile of Joe’s makes me so happy!

A couple of stoaters!

Ashes to Ashes, Gabba to Hong Kong…..

To see a day of Ashes test cricket, in Australia, was one of the reasons for the timing and destinations of this holiday.

We both love cricket, Kevin a very competent bat back in the day! Colin and him met at school, with Colin a demon fast bowler (well he is Jamaican)

So tickets were purchased and today was the day!

We had to pack, check out of our apartment, leave our bags to pick up later then a short walk to the RBWH bus station to catch the 340 to Woolloongabba.

We arrived in plenty of time and found our seats, which were excellent (Thank you to Andrew for picking these!)

The weather forecast over the last fortnight has ranged from rain, cloudy,partly sunny to thunderstorms! So this could’ve been interesting.

Play started promptly and there were the strains of Jerusalem resounding through the ground. Magical!

To witness one of the greatest contests in sport is spine tingling for me. We soaked up the sun, and let the story unfold. We saw Steve Smith, the Aussie captain, complete a patient 100, Pat Cummins get a credible 40+, wickets fell, albeit slowly and then Australia were all out.

Now for England to start there 2nd innings…

Cook and Stoneman came to the crease with hopes high. The atmosphere became very tense, with not only the field pressure, but the 30,000 Aussie fans, clapping and shouting for an England batsman to be out.

Alistair Cook went cheaply again, I would say that he hadn’t taken on board Steve Smith’s patient stance, but certainly early calls for him to be dropped are hasty.

Vince came to the crease and all too soon he was gone, replaced by Root, the captain, we hoped no more wickets would fall.

We left just before close of play, to ensure we picked up our bags before 7pm.

It was such an occasion, Kevin wearing the Australia vest Andrew and Lis bought him last year, much to Debbie’s mortification!

The crowd was noisy, and the drinking that can change how people behave, excessive. The profanities that we’re heard made me uncomfortable, the comments about ‘pommies’, unnecessary but I understand that this is all part of it.

Beer snakes aplenty with staff battling hard with limited staffing.

These latter mentioned observations take nothing away from a memorable, awesome day. Kevin and I even made it onto the big screen and Bruce managed to get a picture!!

A quick freshen up and we were at Brisbane Airport for our flight to Hong Kong, the last leg of our holiday. Check in and bag drop I found frustrating, farcical and time consuming. But I was tired, hungry and thirsty by that point. It had been a long, fantastic, memorable, awesome and did I say awesome, day!