Friday, 25 September 2009

More ups than downs

I had a down day yesterday but today has made up for it in more ways than one.

We went to three Macmillan Coffee mornings today in Shrewsbury. One was at the temping agency I used to work for and had stayed in touch with. I hadn't realised it was nearly ten years ago I first signed on with the agency.

In between the visits we had gone to give a thank you card to the florist who provided the flowers at the Cancer Research UK Relay for Life event survivors.

At the second coffee morning I mentioned my former boss. Whilst at a cash point, I noticed a car pull up and who should emerge but my former boss. He couldn't chat for long but what we have discovered is that so far the Cancer Research UK event had raised over £25,000 and may even reach more than that.

We then went to complete paperwork for the car tax only to discover we had forgotten the reminder letter. This meant a return trip home to sort it all out.

This done we headed back to Shrewsbury. Once everything was sorted we then had a snack and finally headed home.

Just after 5pm I received a telephone call. I have won a prize in the charity raffle held at one of the coffee mornings. I usually buy a raffle ticket for these events but never expect to win anything.

When I told Steve he said "that is for you, don't you give it away". I have until the end of October to use the voucher and have yet to collect it from the employment agency.

So will believe it when I collect the voucher worth £45.

I am so glad the events were

Tuesday, 22 September 2009


What was I doing this time last year?

I was preparing to go on an Odyssey holiday . A wonderful one off, unique experience.

I had no idea who I was going to be going with or where. I was given a list of what to pack and that was that.

I nearly chickened out with planning the wedding and used every excuse under the sun to get out of it. Nerves and apprehension.

There were two locations for pick up. One was the railway station in Shrewsbury the other was Dobbies Garden Centre. I opted for the garden centre as had a few others.

We were then collected by a mini bus with a trailer. Our luggage was loaded and off we went not knowing where we would end up. We were all busy guessing though.

I had envisaged a youth hostel type holiday or camping. It was much better than that.

What I learnt in those five days was a lot about myself. I nearly quit after the first day out on the Monday and by Tuesday night things were even worse as I was so hard on myself thinking I should be able to do everything and then realising I couldn't with my disabilities and various ailments.

On the Wednesday I insisted I stay indoors but Glyn had a good chat with me and said I would never forgive myself if I didn't give the course a good go. He was right of course.

I went out that morning and joined in as best I could. I couldn't walk far so they allowed me to be in the minibus while the others did the activity. Again I felt bad and thought to myself why had I allowed myself to go on this trip.

That day was a turning point for me in more ways than one. After the first activity had finished I already knew what the second task of the day was and was up for it. I asked if I could go across first as I had been hanging around for so long if I didn't I would never make it across.

With staff like this you can assume what you are letting yourself in for Glyn and Hugo were part of our staff team.

I am so glad I hadn't looked at the website beforehand as the experience of the Wednesday afternoon was fantastic for me. It was my "finding myself" moment and this really helped turn me around.

I try and ensure I have moments like this every week to have peace, quiet and tranquility to do what I want without any interruptions. Whether it be writing or attempting new things I give things a go. Nothing ventured nothing gained. If you don't put things on to paper you have failed by not trying.

The Thursday morning we got up knowing this was our last full day of activities the following morning we would be heading home.

Dinner that night was special as many of the charity's supporters came to see us and chat about our experiences. I will never ever forget that week.

I attempted new things and didn't complete them all. Did it mean I was a failure? Not one bit I had a go and came out the other end smiling eventually.

I still get emotional thinking of how I felt the first two days battling with my inner self.

I suppose writing experiences can be the same. I battle with the thoughts inside, are they good enough to write down? I try and then look again. No. Discard and start again.

Sometimes things come to me easily others not so good. That is what life is full of struggles but it is what makes us strong.

Would I do things all over again in exactly the same way? Yes for most and those that really needed change I would.

One thing for sure is I have no regrets about attending the Odyssey course.

I certainly needed this time of reflection it has put things in perspective.

Best wishes

Monday, 21 September 2009

Life is changing

This weekend has been busy. Despite having visitors I was not going to miss my writing group meeting.

Yesterday morning made a huge difference to our house. We had been offered a welsh dresser for our living room a few weeks ago and last week had measured to see if it would fit. It would just.

So from this junky mess to this in a very short time yesterday morning with the help of my nephew and his girlfriend.

What a difference a day makes.

To get the top of the dresser into the alcove we had initial put the base in first and then tried to lift the top up and tip it into the alcove at an angle. This didn't work. So I suggested moving the base out and then lifting the top in first. This meant one of the boys holding the top while the bottom was shuffled into place and then being carefully placed on top of the base.

I am so glad this suggestion worked as at the point we realised the top wouldn't tilt in we were thinking of taking it back. So now our home is beginning to look much better.

Unfortunately when we moved the junk out from the wall to get the dresser in we discovered a damp patch. Investigations revealed the tiles in the shower have come loose and hence water is seeping through the wall each time the shower is used. Needless to say we will now have to retile the shower, seal it and then seal the wall and repaint the living room wall. Thank goodness it was the wall that wasn't painted in 2007 so thank goodness for small mercies.

Life is like this at times you find happiness with one thing and then discover something else needs to doing to complete the job. So it will need 120 tiles to be replaced and resealed. We have also discovered the electric pump on the shower also needs to be replaced so it is one thing after another. If we concentrate on the shower and get that job solved it means the dresser will live happily in its new home for years to come.

So I have lots of things to achieve before the end of the year and will keep me busy.

Best wishes to everyone.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Well Worth It

We have just got home absolutely thrilled at the result this weekend has had for Cancer Research UK Relay for Life.

There was lots of entertainment above is a magic act called Kane and Able.

This was just before 8pm when the candle of hope bags were lit.

This was to be our "Desirable residence" for the evening. Needless to say we may be considering selling it. LOL.

There were exhibitors and this was Confidantes from Cleobury Mortimer and Anny was a great help to us both days.
The weekend has been a huge success raising over wait for it £22,000.00 and waiting for the Inland Revenue to confirm the Gift Aid we may have raised £1000 using this.
We really lucky with the weather and this helped enormously.
146 dedicated candle bags were placed around the track. I got really emotional during the Candle of Hope ceremony especially as Steve had dedicated a Candle of Hope bag to me.
I must say thank you to Carole Ann Carr for cheering us on the opening lap as Survivors friends make the event so special and to see so many people turn up for everyone has really made an impact.
Will we do all it again. Yes of course we would the event has been so special a lot of work and effort but well worth it.
Michelle from Boots was lovely and has offered to help again in the future. This means a lot from turning up many months ago and "asking" begging more like for donations and help of support.
My former boss and his wife also attended the event as survivors and this meant a lot to me. Thank you both for your generous donations.
Everyone who gave time, donations, raffle prizes, donation station filled bags, bought raffle tickets or just turned up to offer support and assistance a huge THANK YOU. It means so much to so many people.

We have just got home absolutely thrilled at the result this weekend has had for Cancer Research UK Relay for Life.

Friday, 11 September 2009

It's here

The big weekend has arrived. Looks like it is going to be nice weather (fingers crossed).

Where have all the months gone since I first agreed to become a committee member? They seem to have gone by so fast. Each month I have been busy doing something or other.

Tonight is our final committee meeting and then all systems go for tomorrow and 22 hours of what should be a good event.

Today we were out and about seeing supporters and receiving kind donations for the event.

With six committee members all volunteers giving up their time to organise such a large event it all seems worthwhile effort.

Our house will be less like a bombsite next weekend I am sure of it, (determined to clear it up). Each committee member has been storing stuff ready for this weekend. We have been storing some biscuits and drinks, raffle prizes, and paperwork. Others have been storing large raffle prizes, paperwork, t-shirts and various other items required for camping out.

The organisation seems to have taken over the committee's homes and tomorrow the boxes will be dragged out packed into cars and delivered to where it should be.

I just hope we remember everything. I won't be blogging for the next couple of days as the computer will be the last thing on my mind.

Missi has been taken care of so we don't have to worry about our pet while we are away.

My final wish is it all goes well and that the event is a success.

So its fingers crossed as we set off for the final meeting prior to the event. This reminds me of the night before my wedding last year making sure everyone had what they required and that there was nothing else I could do except turn up.

Will I be a committee member next year? I think we will have to wait and see. I know without events like this money would not be raised to help Cancer Research UK in providing such a wonderful service so that survivors of this horrid disease can say thanks and keep on living longer.

I am signing off now.

Best wishes everyone and have a good weekend.

Fee xx

Thursday, 10 September 2009


I recently attended a Professional Speakers Association (PSA) meeting as a guest. I was nervous as I did not know what to expect.

As normal I arrived early I hate being late as this gets me flustered and embarrassed.

There were two meetings being held that day one in the afternoon for members and an open meeting in the evening.

Be warned if you are invited to attend such a meeting as a guest be prepared to pay at least £25 for the privilege. Even the speakers addressing the meeting have to pay for their attendance at these events too.

I found the meeting room and was about to head off to the hotel bar with my husband to relax and unwind before the actual event which was to commence at 7pm.

A candidate (they have levels of entry for the PSA) saw me and asked if he could help. I explained I was new and who had informed me about the PSA.

This gentleman explained that he was in the same position as me last year and could relate to how I felt. This made me really at ease and I finally started to relax.

Despite the formal looking website the PSA is very informal and was wonderful support to a newcomer.

There were two speakers speaking the night I attended and the subject was networking. The most valuable things I learnt that night were "networking is not selling". It is a way to build contacts and use the time to get to know someone and their problem to see if you can help at a future date.

Work out whether it is your worth your time embarking on something with a "good" "grief" score. Good is something that you get work through grief is how much effort and whether you really like doing it score. If you get little grief and a lot of customers from it do it. If it is 50% do you really want to bother.

If you really enjoy something but get little profit or no customers then obviously it is not worth the effort.

So it is like with everything we do in life above all else we have to enjoy what we do and know we are good at it.

Learning new skills is something I find very hard and one of the things I get most worked up about. Why because I worry I will fail and not be good at it. To get things moving though you have to learn new skills, look at a problem in a new light and solve it. Success does not come overnight.

It takes years to get to the level the top professional speakers have got to.

Some use books as a tool others just give good advice and tips. It is not about you and your ego it is about the message you want to get across to people in order to help them. That is what professional speaking is about.

If you are doing it for you, you are in the wrong field that was the message I took away with me the other night.

I suppose writing is the same, why do we write? We write to get a message across to others. We write because it gives us pleasure and we divulge our fantasies in fiction.

The messages we send can be emotional ones, can be matter of fact, can be happy ones or just plain facts that people need to be aware of.

I certainly learnt a lot in a couple of hours and met some really interesting people. Will I go again? Yes but that will be next year now as open meetings are bi-annual.

So who knows where I will end up or what I will be doing. One thing for sure is this person is going to achieve her goals which above all else is helping others.

Best wishes


Saturday, 5 September 2009

A weird Feeling

During the last few weeks my eyes have been playing me up. Last night I had had enough and telephoned Shropdoc to make an appointment to see a doctor for a check. Instead of being told to attend their premises in Telford the doctor telephoned me back and informed me I needed to be seen by the specialist eye team as my symptoms were something to do with my retina.

My symptoms were flashing lights to one side of my right eye and an appearance like a spider's web to the front of my vision.

An appointment was made for me to be seen this morning (Saturday) at 10 am. I was a little bit worried as the doctor informed me under no circumstances was I to drive myself there and had to have an escort for the journey home.

After tossing and turning till the early hours I eventually got some sleep.

We arrived at Shrewsbury and attended the eye clinic. It was extremely busy for a Saturday. Many opticians had referred patients, some had telephoned themselves to make an appointment and there was me with my referral from Shropdoc.

The nursing staff were wonderful. They made me feel at ease as they assessed me and then put drops in my eyes.

I was then to be seen by the doctor, who was extremely busy being there on his own, but he made me feel relaxed and did not rush his examination of my eyes despite the fact he knew he had a waiting room full of people and there was only him on duty. During my assessment he informed me I had a torn retina and that it would need laser treatment. I was a little bit nervous as the doctor explained that it would be undertaken this morning and would only take ten minutes.

Meanwhile I had drops inserted into my eyes to ensure my pupil dilated enough for the treatment to take place and he saw another patient while waiting for this to happen.

For once I didn't feel like a number I felt like a human being despite the fact the unit was really busy.

Each and every patient was treated in exactly the same courteous manner by all the staff despite the fact there was only one receiving nursing assistant, one nurse and one doctor for the whole clinic.

No one seemed to mind waiting either.

The doctor prior to the laser treatment made me lie down to ensure there were no further tears or lesions in my eyes that needed immediate treatment.

The doctor explained as I am myopic and short sighted I am now prone to retina problems. This now means further check ups in clinics to ensure my eyes are checked regularly to detect any retina damage early.

I had the laser surgery done. Steve had been with me during all the assessments but when it came to the laser he had to be out of the room. The doctor informed him. "If you hear screams you may return immediately" (Joke).

As the doctor knew I couldn't see a thing as my vision was so blurred he read out the consent form to me. I had been worried as to what the adverse side of laser treatment was and the doctor obviously read my mind as during the form he informed me what they were as he was writing them down. Strangely enough one of the side effects could be detached retina which is what they were trying to prevent by carrying out the laser treatment in the first place.

Being a contact lens wearer made the procedure easier to endure as a lens was placed on the front of my eye during the laser treatment.

I sat as still as I could while the treatment was undertaken. It was just a bit disconcerting looking one way while flashing lights were being pumped into the other side of me. It was not painful just felt weird sitting in an awkward position for a while.

The flashing stopped and the doctor moved away. It was all over and done with.

I just have to wait for an appointment to come through the post for my checkup.

As I left the hospital the sun was out, not too bright but too bright for me. When we got to the car sunglasses were put on and this made a huge difference.

I really appreciate eyesight now. I was trying to explain to Steve what I could see and how.

Traffic lights of the green light at the bottom was a blob of green in the middle with about eight green blobs around it forming a circle. Trees were outlined with a bright blue line amongst the fog.

The road was grey with no white markings as far as I could see. Buildings were large masses of colour with no distinction.

The wrekin was a dark imposing mass in the distance with no deep characteristics for me. I knew what it should have looked like but it didn't and this made me uneasy like being trapped in fog.

On the way home we stopped at Attingham Park this was eerie to someone in my state of vision. There was a marquee to the right of the entrance I could hear a voice say hello so I answered but could not make out anyone.

Visitors at the centre were a blur of colour with no distinguishing features. I knew what I wanted something familiar a cup of coffee and piece of cake. Sitting staring at it savouring every moment of what it looked like close up to my face. I will never forget the delicate sponge touching my tongue and melting in my mouth. It was delicious.

We returned home to be greeted by the cat (to me it was a furrry thing with a mixture of colours blurring into the other). I had to carefully move her with my foot to get indoors and take one faltering step after the other to ensure my footing.

It was a relief to be in familiar surroundings. I knew I would be tired so slept this afternoon.

I now appreciate my senses far more than I ever did prior to this experience.

Thank goodness it happened last night and not next weekend.

I have been informed if this happens again not to hang around for weeks on end hoping it will clear up by itself but to contact the team in the say way as I did last night and ensure I get seen quickly.

Thank goodness for the NHS.

Best wishes to everyone