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! 😘


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

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!

Last full day on HI

Our last full day before Four become just two ( three actually as we meet up with Colin).

We go into town to buy breakfast essentials and enjoy the views.

Kevin and I have a drive around and then walk the other side of the marina and also Bommie Deck, where we hope to go for drinks tonight.

One last drive up to one tree hill, then down the scary bit!

Over lunch there are a few tears and reflection on our time here, the memories made and for me the realisation that we are embarking on a new stage of our lives. Kevin is fantastic in how pragmatic he is, not to fight against these changes, but to embrace and enjoy!

Nina and Jay hired a boat for the afternoon and returned after 4pm to regale us with stories of doughnuts and beaching! They certainly had fun!

We all dressed up for our final night and headed to Bommie Deck, and we saw a wedding party there: what a wonderful venue.

To think that below the Deck last week, Jay proposed and Nina accepted, it seems a lot longer. Whilst sipping cocktails 🍸 there was wedding talk. No doubt there will be much more over the coming months.

We returned to Romanos for our last meal with more reflections and returned for our final night in the apartment.

This certainly has been a holiday to remember, with so many stand out memories and HI is a fabulous place and I hope we can all return, and I mean all!

Six become four

Today Andrew and Lis were to leave us to go home, but before that, Andrew and I completed the HI parkrun.

We were cheered around the 2 lap route by the rest of the family. It was my first as a ‘tourist’ and what a place to do it.

We went for breakfast after our efforts and I probably undid all my good work!

My time came through and it was sub 50, which as I walked the whole route and with the heat, I was very happy with, and to see Andrew’s name there too was fantastic!

All too soon was the time I least like -saying goodbye. My intention to be brave and not cry never quite happens. I thought as we see them again relatively soon it would be ok, but no. In my head I can rationalise to be happy with having seen them, not dwell on not, but my heart seems to have a life of its own! ❤️

Returning to the apartment it was a bit quieter, and the remaining four made plans for the remaining few days.

Trip to the beach, walk around and watch some RLWC2017 was itinerary for the remainder of today.

Nina and Jay went back to one tree hill to watch the sunset, whilst Kevin and I ordered dinner.

I managed a few sunset shots whilst waiting.

Andrew and Lis returned home safely and were met by Bella their cat with meows of delight!

Paddle boards, palms and a puffer fish…

Here we are on a paradise island, with some of the people I love most, and I have had the fog descend on me.

I have thought I could ‘just get over it’, but I have noticeably withdrawn. There is no rhyme or reason per se, but the kids noticed it.

After our beach trip this morning we returned back to our apartment for lunch, and I find myself crying. After a little while I get up to go for a walk to try and shake this off, and Georgina insists on coming with me.

It’s very hot and we shared how we felt: I have to learn to talk more about how i’m feeling, I have to remember people are not mind readers. I have written before about the ‘fog’, I can see it, others can’t, but they see the different, withdrawn person, who doesn’t engage.

I think I’m hiding it well, obviously I’m not.

We all went for a walk to the beach at low tide, and a couple of more conversations were had. I have been blown away with their kindness, concern and very proud of them all.

Walking through the sea lapping around our ankles, seeing fish , crabs, sea snails, with the level rising up to our waists, I almost trod on a Ray! A little further out and a with a helping hand the level dropped away again.

I suppose in some ways this is an analogy of how I can feel on occasion.

The walk was spontaneous, and all the more enjoyable for that. It also brought back memories of Maldon, Cornwall and Lunan Bay.

These moments are precious and I need to be less anxious, and not over think too much and just enjoy the present.

We all visited a local pool, to relax and drank overpriced strawberry daiquiris!

We prepared dinner at the apartment, where Lis shared with us her vegetarian journey and it has spurred me on to have at least on meat free day a week.

We watched the bats 🦇 fly over to their evening stomping grounds.

peace with myself and I hope that I will be able to articulate more quickly how I feel when the fog descends.

Time flies and you find that your children have grown into sensitive, caring adults. How lucky are we. We have a few days left together until next year, so I have to make the most of that!

Monday and no work!

I was woken up early by Georgina, still overawed by the previous evening events.

We watched the sun rise together and talked about the proposal and the excitement generated. This has been something she has dreamt of for so long and their unbridled joy is just so touching.

We enjoyed a chilled day with us all doing different walks to the beach, drives to one tree hill, with the weather changeable.

Later in the afternoon pool was played and we all mucked in to prepare a BBQ dinner with various conversations about jobs, life etc rounding off another wonderful day here on Hamilton Island.

World mental health awareness day….

I don't know what it is about this time of year, but I always seem to have a dip in my mental state.

Is it the end of summer?
Is it the darker nights?
Is it the colder weather?
Is it the tank running low?

Any of or none of the above, I just don't know.

Whatever it is, my mood changes, normally associated with a bout of illness, so I guess a beleaguered immune system plays a part.

I try so hard to be all things to all people, I expect too much of myself and others. I never learn……

The face is painted on, the smile too and away I go, doing the same, expecting a different outcome and guess what I get the same results!!!

Don't get me wrong, I have so much to be thankful for, a home, family, and great friends. I enjoy myself and in the main I am happy, but then this black fog descends and I just want to run away and hide, but I can't hide from myself….

So I talk to myself, usually on my way home from work and Kevin is brilliant in supporting me through it, and little by little the fog recedes until the next time.

At school today I tweeted #inyourcorner for mental health awareness day especially for young people, in particular young men, who keep their worries etc close to their chests.

Don't be fooled by what's presented on the outside, take time to listen.

Anyone, at anytime can be affected. I know who's in my corner. Do you?