Page 150 of 151

Traffic Lights

I spend so much time waiting at red traffic lights, I thought I’d make a blog about them! No, it isn’t a moan about how often the lights are on red as I reach them and wait (for what seems like twenty minutes) for them to change. Nor is it a complaint as to the number of times that the lights are green on my approach to them, but they change to red just as I get to them (and then stay red for what seems like twenty minutes). I don’t even have any bad words to say about the traffic lights that are out of order on major crossroads that really need them, and cause traffic chaos because nobody seems to know what to do when the traffic lights are out of order (and seem to be out of order for what seems like twenty weeks).  And I won’t mention part time traffic lights, that seem to only be in operation when the traffic is quiet. When the roads are busy, the part time traffic lights are not in use. Well, not in use until you expect them not to be in use, when you find that they really are, and have just added to the fact that the sheer volume of traffic wasn’t the reason you have been queuing for twenty minutes – the part time lights have joined their full time colleagues and keep everyone waiting for that length of time.

No, this isn’t to moan… I wouldn’t dream of moaning. You bring about what you think about, remember? I must always be thinking of red traffic lights…

Actually though, red traffic lights are not such a bad thing. For one, they cause us to slow down. Well, to stop, actually, to pause. To rest. When they go green, then we are off again until the next red light.

I keep wondering if there is anything that I can be doing while I am waiting – and not just at traffic lights – that will benefit me in the long term, and keep me calm.

There is one thing that I do all of the time and not notice I’m doing it. That’s breathing. Just concentrating on my breathing, and taking in deep breaths helps me to feel alive. Breathing also helps to centre me, so if my mind is racing away over something I saw, or something I have to do, my breathing brings me back to myself. Going back to being in the car again, I can’t do anything while I am at those lights apart from wait, so my breathing will stop me from stressing myself out! I don’t mean to gloat, but I enjoy it when I am calmly waiting at the red light, while the person in the car next me is revving their engine and moving backwards and forwards in anticipation that the lights will change to green that second. Which, as we all know isn’t the case – they take twenty minutes to change.

So, if you see someone calmly waiting at a red traffic light, breathing deeply, it’s probably me. I’ll also be giving thanks for those special seconds of me time that I’m getting there. I may look like I’m going to go from nought to sixty as soon as the lights go to green, when you’re waiting in the car next to me, but I’m testing you to see how wound up you are. As soon as the lights change, if you’re not off like a coiled spring I will know that you too (whether you know it or not) are also grateful for your twenty minutes of ‘me time’ a day.

They say patience is a virtue. Be patient at a red traffic light.

Spells work!

A few years ago, I was fed up in my third job. I’d been there for a few years, and, due to the nature of the business, the company went through a radical change. Well, it wasn’t really that radical as they had a major change round every six months or so, but this change really affected the department I worked in. The department was no longer needed within the new structure of the company. ‘Professional’ positions were being introduced, and these positions were there to replace the job we were doing. Naturally, we had to apply for these positions, and go to an assessment.

I’m not the best in interviews. They bring out the shyness in me, and I feel I come across as a blundering idiot. I’m sure I don’t, but I could perform better than I do. Eventually, the assessment came and went, and I was told afterwards that I couldn’t do the job. Needless to say I wasn’t happy, and went out after work to ‘celebrate’.

A few weeks later, the changes had been brought in, and I was having to read up on the procedures for the job that I had to move back into (that I had done for several years before eventually working in the department that had just been closed down. It’s a very long story, and the details will probably be filled in, in future blogs.) I was due to be re-trained.

Around the same time of this upheaval at work, but several weeks earlier, I’d attended the Mind, Body and Spirit exhibition at the G-Mex complex in Manchester. While I was there, I’d stumbled upon a stall that sold spells in boxes. One of the spells was a new job spell which I’d bought. I was advised that this particular spell was extremely potent, but would work even better if I also bought the successful interview spell as well. Thinking about interviews made me shudder, so I decided that I would just buy the one spell. And after mooching around the exhibition or a few more hours, I went home and put my spell to one side.

Now, back to the time of me being fed up at work. (I do sound as though I’m moaning quite a lot, don’t I? It’s just to emphasise things, I’ll admit it!) On the Thursday night, I’d decided enough was enough. I got home, opened the box and read the instructions for the spell. Inside the box were four bees wax candles, a bottle of patchouli oil, and a scroll with an incantation written on it. I had to anoint the candles with the oil, then light the candles in a particular order, and then recite the incantation out loud. Then I had to watch the candles burn down. Once the candles had gone out, I went to bed. (I specifically remember casting the spell on a Thursday night, but not the date. I also know the Moon has an effect on spells, but again I do not know if the Moon was a full one or a new one, or any phase in between. This may be an important factor…)

Not long after that, I don’t remember if it was the following day, but it was very soon afterwards, me and two other colleagues from the closed-down department were taken to one side and asked if we would be prepared to be co-ordinators for the ‘professional’ teams, as they had missed something of vital importance and cost the company a multi-million pound contract. I instantly said ‘yes!’ and then stayed in that role for a few more years until being made redundant in another major restructure.

To some, this may just be coincidence. To me, I know it was much more than that. The power of threefold return came to light in the fact that three of us were offered the job (the other two accepted as well) and I didn’t have to have an interview or assessment for this position as I was hand-picked. I was over the moon at getting this job, and, if I must be honest, was also quietly pleased at the company losing the contract that altered the direction somewhat. Well, the radical changes affect a lot of people’s lives and if a lesson can be learned from a situation such as that, then so be it!

I mentioned that I was made redundant a few years later, but by then I was ready to go. The team of administrators, as we’d become, were constantly being kept out of the loop of things, restricted when we needed help, and blamed when things weren’t dealt with as quickly as they could have been. Besides all that, the time was right, and it meant that I had a fabulous 13 month break from working. Like I have said previously, I am very happy when I’m not at work! There’s a little twist to this tale, which I will save for a future blog.

I quite like this jumping between different times in my life, I feel like I’m in my own little time machine!

Until next time…!

The black holes where everything goes

I’ve a mystery here, which I think there will never be an answer.

I bought a new, manual lawn-mower (well, my Dad did, I don’t have a garden) that needed to be ‘put together’ for use. All of the parts were in the box, including a little spanner to tighten the bolts. My Dad and I put all of the bars together, and tightened one of the bolts with the spanner. I was kneeling on the floor, and I was doing the tightening. I put the spanner down besides my right knee, to look at another bolt. I reached for the spanner again, and it wasn’t there. I hadn’t moved. Nothing had moved. The spanner just wasn’t there. I felt beside my left knee, in case I was mistaken, and had put the spanner down on that side, and it wasn’t there either. I felt all over the carpet on both sides, and still no spanner. I moved some of the wrapping the bars had been in, in case the spanner had somehow gone under there, but no, it wasn’t there. I checked the floor all around, and it was nowhere in sight. I’d stood up, in case the spanner was on me, and it wasn’t. I felt all over the floor – you know sometimes in can be quite difficult to see things on a patterned carpet, and again it wasn’t there. Confused, I knelt back down to see if I could tighten the bolts with my hand, and couldn’t… I needed the spanner. I stood up again, to have another look, and there it was, underneath my right knee. It was definitely not there a moment earlier, because I had been brushing that very spot with my hand.

I have no idea where that spanner went to in that moment.

This little mystery also occurs on occasions, in the opposite way. You are looking for a very important document. The one you put in the drawer that time so you would know where it was when you needed it again. You go through the whole drawer, and it isn’t there. You go through the other drawers in case you’d put it in one of them, or it had fallen into one, or it had stuck to another important document that you needed to file somewhere else. You check all places you can think of, and this one document is nowhere in sight. You go back to the first drawer you checked – the one you remember putting the document in. And there it is. The first thing in the drawer. You just know that it wasn’t there a few moments ago.

I’ve got my own theory on this. Scientists and science fiction writers mention black holes all of the time, those dense areas of the universe where, they say, nothing can survive. I think there are tiny black holes around us all of the time. They’re not black, though, they’re invisible. And they move. If we happened to put something in a place where this black hole is, the object disappears. Sometimes appearing again after a few seconds, and other times not appearing until we (un)consciously tell the black hole that we would like what we are looking for. Well, this explanation satisfies me with the reason why things go ‘walkies’, just before they’re needed most. I don’t think it will satisfy those who require a more rational explanation.

Another thought has just struck me about these black holes… they must be somehow connected to us, as we never find someone else’s document, or a different tool, or whatever else wasn’t there a short while ago.

Just when I thought I’d got to the bottom of one of my mysteries, another question appears. I did say I think there will never be an answer… I’m going to try and keep some awareness about me next time this happens, just to see if I can see into one of these black holes. Well, you never know…

It only feels like last week!

The Eurovision has entertained me for many, many years. It has been running longer than I have been in this existence, and now, with the magic of the internet I can find clips of all of my favourite Eurovision entries. Some of the really old ones, from the days when TVs were mostly in black and white, aren’t included here, for two reasons. Most of the Eurovisions I remember were in colour, and although I like some of the songs from the early days, I didn’t see them performed live. These songs listed here are from shows that I watched on my (or someone else’s) colour television set.

They also aren’t in any order. I just thought I’d mix them all up and put them all out!

First out of the hat, from the year 2000, is Claudette Pace with “Desire”, for Malta. It didn’t win, but it is a bubbly little number!

Just had to squeeze this one in here (yes, I know I’ve only just started!) but also from 2000, Denmark entered and won with the Olsen Brothers singing “Fly On The Wings Of Love”

Waaay back, in 1991, France entered the contest with Amina singing “Le Dernier Qui a Parlé”. A song that has travelled through time with me – it’s very unusual, but very good. I was humming it this morning! And thinking about it, 1991 isn’t really that long ago… is it?

Jumping forward slightly, to 1994, Frances Ruffelle represented the United Kingdom with “Lonely symphony”. I find this song to be very anthemic.

Three songs now from 1998: from the UK, Iceland and Russia. And the UK won! Katrina and The Waves “Love Shine A Light”; Paul Oscar “Minn Hinsti Dans” (must be seen!) and Alla Pugachova “Primadonna” – I really liked this one! 

Last year’s contest had four songs that I had to play over again. Iceland’s Yohanna, “Is It True?” goes without saying that this is one of my favourite songs of all time! And I love the way it was staged in Moscow. Absolutely stunning!

Portugal’s Flor-de-lis with “Todas As Ruas Do Amor” is another happy bubbly song. And last year’s winner, Alexander Rybak for Norway, with “Fairytale” ‘I’m in lurrrrve with a fairytale…’ OK, I’ll not sing.  The fourth of my favourites from last year is Chiara who sung “What If We” for Malta. This is the song that features the line “If you don’t know your destination, who determines your destiny?” Quite a valid statement, if you ask me.

Back to 2000 again. Russia entered this year with Alsou singing “Solo” I have to ‘do the dance’ with this one. Love it!

In 2004, James Fox represented the United Kingdom with “Hold On To Our Love” A good song I thought and should have come higher placed than 16th.

In 1994 Germany asked MeKaDo to sing “Wir Geben ‘ne Party” and got me boogying!

Gina G’s “Just A Little Bit” appeared in the 1996 contest, for the United Kingdom.

And another of my all-time favourites is from 1995, Aud Wilken, for Denmark, singing “Fra Mols Til Skagen”

And there we have it. Fifteen or so of my Eurovision faves. There are more. Many more. Far too many to write about here. I’ll see if I can add some videos one day of some of the songs, but until then, have a look for them on You Tube. They’re not to everyone’s taste, but I like them.

I do enjoy my travels through time 🙂 !

And there’s more!

Wow! What a first semi-final! I found myself caught up in the moment and tapping along to some of those tunes! And I’ve got it all to come on Thursday! Speaking of Thursday, I was in a bit of a rush earlier, and posted Thursday’s line up instead of tonight’s! Oops. Never mind! All sorted now!

And we’re through! Well, Iceland is! Through to the final on Saturday. In a nail-biting finale, Iceland was the last of the ten winning countries to be revealed, which is exactly as it happened last year when Yohanna represented them. The crowd were cheering and shouting for Iceland then, too!

So, through to Saturday, are…

Bosnia

Moldova

Russia

Greece

Portugal

Belarus

Serbia

Belgium

Albania

Iceland

I’ve also decided on a couple more favourites. More tomorrow!