Friday, 28 January 2011

World Holocaust Week

It's World Holocaust Week and today I was privileged enough to meet Eva Schloss, the step-sister of Anne Frank.

It was both humbling and captivating listening to Eva today, so if you can, please take the time to find out more about the story of her life by clicking here.

We all have problems in our lives - some big and some small - but sometimes it just takes finding out about the courage of others and their struggle for survival to put it all into perspective.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Monte Carlo or bust!

I'm rather sad to report that after an absence of nearly 40 years, the Monte Carlo rally kicked off in my home town of Glasgow...

... and I missed it!!!!

The irony being that it was because I was stuck in a car on the motorway, which wasn't motoring in any way. My chequered flag will remain unfurled for another year.

But, during my time stuck in the car, ranting at no-one in particular about my stationary predicament, and after seeing a car in full rally regalia pass me in the other lane (I'd thought they would all have been transported on trailers), I realised that I hadn't set myself a target to achieve before 50, and suddenly I knew exactly what it was going to be.

Before 40, it was to write a book and a chart topping single - I certainly didn't achieve the latter and some people might cheekily suggest that I didn't achieve the former either - but it was good to have something to aim for that initially seemed so out of reach.

What I've decided on leaves me eight years to clear my debt, learn basic mechanics, find myself a 1968 MG BGT (I'm trying to be realistic but if I win the lottery between now and then, it'll be an Aston Martin or an E-type Jag) and gear up for a rally.

Now, which is more 'me' - Monte Carlo or the Mille Miglia?

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

13 - Unlucky for some

Thirteen - my lucky number.

Well, it has to be really when it's my birth date; although having my 13th birthday on Friday 13th was a little freaky, but that's another story for another time.

Anyway, that's just waffling to get away from me having to make my confession. And here is it - on Day 13 of my Not Shopping, I bought something!

Now before you start shouting at me, I know it was bad but it wasn't something for me, and besides I've already been told off by my boss, Andrew, who spied the bag, looked at me over the top of his glasses (he means business when he does that) and tersely told me, "I've been reading your blog...".

Basically, I'd bought Kevin a book and his favourite little Leone sweets, which came to just a penny short of £13. I'd been a horrible grump to him and felt that more than just a mumbled "Sorry" was required*.

So, should I abandon 13 as my lucky number now that it signifies my teeny tumble from the wagon? I had thought so, until I realised that £10 of the money I had in my wallet was from a lottery ticket win, so really I'd only spent £3!!

Altogether now - "I should be so lucky; lucky, lucky, lucky!"

*If you ever find yourself in a situation where more than "Sorry" is required, I'd recommend a small peace offering - trust me, it's considerably cheaper than sulking overnight at a hotel

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Flushed with success!

Day 11 on my latest quest to curb consumerism and - without sounding too smug - I'm pretty pleased with how it's going.

Nothing other than food and travel costs have dared to cross my payment path and, on Wednesday, I even had a little article on debt and stopping shopping in the Daily Record. So, if I feel like forking out for something un-necessary, I can dig out the article and remind myself that the advice I'm so good at passing on to other people, applies to me too.

Even Kevin seems to be embracing the 'make do and mend' mentality I'd mentioned in the article.

A couple of days ago, the part he had ordered for the fridge arrived and after a slight struggle, quite a lot of swearing and a few stray screws, he emerged triumphant, shouting "Done!", like a DIY Gordon Ramsay.

This success has triggered a trip to his wee shed to drag out the tool box and as I type, he's in the loo tinkering with our temperamental flush. I daren't pop my head round the door but from behind it, I can hear him making confident, little whistling noises and so far, there hasn't been much swearing...

Friday, 7 January 2011

Canine or Kangaroo?

It's Day 3 of another year of not shopping and if you're anything like me (and are joining me on my venture), then you'll have had a day of mixed emotions:

1/ Elation - you've gone another day without spending anything
2/ Distress - you've realised you have another 362 days of not shopping to go

So, to cheer you - and me - up, here's a video of Hobbs at his crazy canine best. Apologies that it's sideways, but you can always pretend you're doing neck exercises while you're watching it.

Enjoy the Bouncy Bobtail...

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Here We Go Again!

A promise is a promise and today seemed as good a day as any to give up shopping for another year.

Okay, so I knew I'd be back at work today and therefore have limited access to temptation - plus I had sated my shopping desire last week with a few purchases in the Hobbs sale -but it's still a start.

Of course, nothing ever goes smoothly in the House of Hall and last night the fridge broke. It sits sulking in the middle of the kitchen floor, while its matching freezer friend smugly purrs away in its allotted space, challenging us to find fault with its frosty fabulousness.

Kevin has come over all manly, pulled wires out and announced 'It's the thermostat', so one has been ordered and in the meantime we wait, trying to remember how different our lives were when we could 'chill' things...

Luckily, we have sub zero temperatures outside and a tiled floor in our teeny tiny porch, which is now packed with everything that needs to be kept cold until we can either get the fridge fixed or (damn, it'll involve spending) buy a new one.

Hobbs has never been happier - food at floor level meant this morning's walk was accompanied by a hefty chunk of pate which he'd managed to scoop up on his little terrier tongue on the way past.

Just don't tell Kevin. He was keeping that for his lunch...

Monday, 3 January 2011

Promises to keep - 2011

Happy 2011 and good wishes for the year ahead!

I apologise that they're belated good wishes, but the New Year signals the opportunity for fresh starts and with that comes promises and resolutions - except I've been so busy writing and re-writing the promises and resolutions, that the days have already flown by without a single good deed being done.

Rather rashly, I have now ditched the list and made just two simple promises:

1. See my friends more often.
2. Give the full-on 'Stopping Shopping' experience another go this year and clear the remainder of my debt.

Here we go again - back on the white-knuckle ride...