Saturday 27 August 2022

Week 34 - One Daily Positive and Project 365

Our mortgage came to an end this month. We'd lowered the payments a few years ago to keep a credit history in the UK while we lived abroad, then sort of forgot about it until we got a letter just before we went away to say there were only 2 payments lefts. 

We've had a packed last week in Australia, but plenty of down time and a lot of sleep.

231 Saturday We drove down early to Byron Bay for the day, the surf was hectic and made swimming impossible but I still went in the sea. We had lunch on a roof top bar then drove up to the lighthouse and were lucky enough to see a whale breaching, however we couldn't stop due to lack of parking. Evening spent in the accommodation and I enjoyed time in the spa and heated pool.

232 Sunday A leisurely morning stroll with coffee through the park then caught up with all my blog reading, sharing and commenting. it does annoy me that I leave more comments than I ever receive especially for the linky I co host each week. We packed once child 3 woke and after packing the car drove up into the Hinterlands to explore before flying back to Sydney at 8pm.

2 days later a whale was caught in the shark nets.

233 Monday A long day, we caught the bus to Coogee Beach and walked the coast to Bondi Beach before catching a bus and train back. The walk was 90 minutes but we stopped for coffee, lunch and to look in every rock pool and it took us 4 hours.

Bondi LifeGuard hut being refurbished.

234 Tuesday Train into Sydney for the day to walk around the city. A glorious morning until 2pm then temperatures dropped and the rain came down, we even had some sleet.

It's not just the wildlife that can harm you.

235 Wednesday We explored Darling Harbour, reaching it by bus and spent a couple of hours in the SeaLife Centre.

View from the train.

236 Thursday Back to Darling to visit the Wildlife park and see the koalas.

237 Friday A day at a local mall and dinner out in the evening in Darling Harbour.

On the blog this week:

Did I tell you about the time I worked at a funeral directors?

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Friday 26 August 2022

Post Comment Love - 26th-29th August 2022. The end of the Australian road trip.

 Welcome back to #pocolo with Stephanie from Lifeat139a and I. 

I'm coming to the end of my 3 weeks in Australia. Time has gone so fast I'm leaving on Sunday night and arrive Monday lunch time. We left the UK on a Saturday night and arrived Monday morning, so I’m hoping the jet lag won’t be as bad on my return.

Child 3 and his girlfriend, hit UK shores in October/November 2022 for 3 weeks, so I don't have to wait another 3 years to see them. We're planning to visit alternate years while we're able to travel.

I fly home alone, Peter is remaining in Australia as he's retired. I don't have that luxury since we swopped roles in June 2021. My case is packed with all the gifts for the small people, house and pet sitters and I'm hoping I have enough time for Duty Free in Dubai to buy myself a bottle of perfume (or two).

 I'm on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as Chickenruby, there are lots of photos of our trip to be found over there.

Sorry if the tweet reminders and blog posts are coming out at random times, all was scheduled before we left the UK, I'm hoping they stay on UK time.


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Thursday 25 August 2022

Did I tell you about the time I worked at a Funeral Directors?

I've had quite a variety of jobs and work experience in my first 50ish years of life and had my first job aged 7.

I helped out with the milk round, which was a cart led by a shire horse. I was given 50p per weekend and would dip a metal cup into the unpasteurised milk churns at the end of each morning and drink the milk.

My next job was a paper round in my teens, followed by bag packing in a supermarket as well as working on a fun fair, in an arcade, a night club and pulling pints.

I then moved into care work, a nursery school, a teaching assistant and a youth worker as well as helping out with a local scout group.

I've worked in a chip shop, in a golf club, a shop and as a lecturer, a safe guarding officer and a FS1 teacher. I've taught and assessed NVQ child care assistants. I'm currently working as a Teaching Assistant.

I've volunteered in townships in South Africa, fundraising, delivering Christmas gifts, sourcing donations, painting shacks, digging long drops, collecting water, building schools and entertaining and educating children and adults.

I've driven camera crews round a golf course, have marshalled crowds and recorded golf scores, directing the on site studio to live camera shots for TV. I've also recently volunteered at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

But my most unusual job I've had was when I was lecturing at the local college and supporting my students with their work experience and one of them went to a Funeral Directors and had to be supervised for one day a week for a term. I went with them and learnt almost everything there was to know about what happens after you die, from the collection from the morgue/home and through the full process and behind the scenes at a funeral.

I wouldn’t say I enjoyed every aspect of every job, but I’ve enjoyed the variety of work and can certainly back up my claims on my CV for being flexible, willing to adapt and learn new skills and giving anything a go. 

Saturday 20 August 2022

Week 33 One Daily Positive and Project 365. Still in Australia.

Forgot to mention last week that the flat finally sold and the money came through, phew. Just the council tax to pay for dates owed, but I need to call them so that will have to wait, plus I need to sort the electricity bill out, however the water was easy to do as I didn't set up an account after the tenant left in November.

Loving our visit to Australia, just a week left, then home for work. We've seen and experienced so much since we've been here and are already planning our next trip here in 2023.

224 Saturday Drove up to Mossman for the weekend, staying in the rain forest, visiting waterfalls along the way and beautiful walks in the rain forest.

225 Sunday A day in the Daintree rain forest which involved a river ferry crossing and a beautiful scenic drive. 

226 Monday Day spent on the beach at Port Douglas, then off to the airport to fly to Brisbane and collect hire car before driving up to the Sunshine Coast for the week. Son and girlfriend flew back to Sydney for work.

227 Tuesday We spent the day in and around where we are staying, long coastal walks, coffees and dinner out. The sunsets here are amazing, must get up early for a sun rise.

228 Wednesday We drove towards Brisbane, found a park and ride train about 40 mins out and paid $25 return. parking in the City was about $16 per hour and it also saved us the stress. Got off the train on the South Bank to explore then crossed the river to the City for lunch and a wander round to the Botanical Gardens. Stopped at the supermarket on the way back for dinner.

229 Thursday Drove north to Noosa to explore more of the area and a beautiful coastal walk. Looked for Koala's that inhabit the area but didn't see any, but we did see Whales blowing water in the distance.

230 Friday Packed and enjoyed a leisurely drive south of Brisbane to the Gold Coast stopping off for coffees and lunch along the way to meet son for the weekend at the next part of our trip. Went on the beach to read our books. Had a wonderful meal in the evening on a roof top bar.

On the blog this week:

My English Garden in August

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Friday 19 August 2022

Post Comment Love - 19th-21st August 2022. Half way through Australia.

Welcome back to #pocolo with Stephanie from Lifeat139a and I. 

I can't believe how fast the last two weeks have gone. We've been in Sydney, Cairns and now in Brisbane and returning to Sydney on Monday for the last few days, before I fly home next weekend as I have to be back in work. Peter is staying out another 12 days, then heading off to Dubai for a week before he joins me back in the UK.
 I'm on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as Chickenruby, there are lots of photos of our trip to be found over there.

Sorry if the tweet reminders and blog posts are coming out at random times, all was scheduled before we left the UK, I'm hoping they stay on UK time.

I'll be catching up with comments and tweeting out posts as usual.

Want to find out more about Post Comment Love #PoCoLo? 

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Thursday 18 August 2022

My English August Garden.

Are you still having heat wave?

We're over in Australia where it is winter, but it's like a typical English summer. 

We've left our garden unattented with no requests to water or anything as I feel it will be a pointless exercise.

Our Bougainvillaea hedge (to be) thrives in dry and warm/hot conditions and everything else will come back eventually, but I'm not holding out too much luck for the lawn, at least I won't have to mow it on our return.

How's your garden growing?


Don't expect the lawn to survive much longer

Tomatoes, chillis, peppers and chard

Expect these sunflowers will be in full bloom soon

Peas and beans

Saturday 13 August 2022

Week 32 One Daily Positive and Project 365. Australia.

The first 5 days in Australia passed in a blur caused by jet lack and then failure to establish a sleep pattern. I took till Friday night before I had my first full nights sleep and didn't have to nap in the day.

We're staying with child 3 and his girlfriend who moved out here 5 years ago. I last saw him in July 2019 after visiting here for 3 weeks on a road trip from Sydney to Melbourne and along the Great ocean Coast. This time Peter is with me and we've travelled north to Cairns, been on the Great Barrier Reef. Next week we're heading south to the Sunshine and Gold Coast, north and south of Brisbane.

217 Saturday We flew from Gatwick on a night flight, having caught the train there.

Fresh faced for the first part of our journey.

218 Sunday Landed in Dubai and had a couple of hours in the lounge before a 14 hour flight around 7am Dubai time.

We had to wear masks for the 7 hour and the 14 hour flight and in the airports.

219 Monday We arrived at 7am in Sydney and were met at the airport. We unpacked, handed over gifts, had a sleep and set off to find coffee and explore the local area.

At dinner, body clock saying it was breakfast so a cocktail had to be had.

220 Tuesday We. took ourselves into Sydney around midday and walked to the Harbour to explore the Sydney Opera House, walked round the botanical gardens, into the city and back to the harbour.

221 Wednesday Off into Sydney by train, caught a ferry to Manly and explored the area, we saw dolphins in the sea and got caught in the rain. Back to the house then out in the evening for dinner in a revolving restaurant and went down to the harbour to see the Sydney opera House lit up in memory of Oliver Newton John.

222 Thursday Out for a coffee, packed and headed to the airport for a 3 hour flight to Cairns, checked into our accommodation and out for dinner.

View from the balcony.

223 Friday Early morning start and a boat trip to Fitzroy island for the day, snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. The rest of them went out on a glass bottom boat, while I explored the coral at low tide and read my book.

Clam and coral.

On the blog this week:

Work experience as an adult

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Friday 12 August 2022

Post Comment Love - 12th-14th August 2022. A week in Australia.

Welcome back to #pocolo with Stephanie from Lifeat139a and I. Well we're coming to the end of our first week in Australia. It's great spending time with child 3 and his girlfriend, we've done so much already. We've left Sydney and are up to Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef for a few days.

I'm on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as Chickenruby, there are lots of photos of our trip to be found over there.

Sorry if the tweet reminders and blog posts are coming out at random times, all was scheduled before we left the UK, I'm hoping they stay on UK time.

I'll be catching up with comments and tweeting out posts as usual.


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Wednesday 10 August 2022

Work Experience as an adult

How did you get that job? Is something I've heard since I entered the world of work. I started working in care in 1988 and always knew I wanted to be in this line of work. I like helping people and getting results. But care work had a shelf life for me when I was injured in the work place. It happened more than once and affected me emotionally as well as physically.

I started moving away from care towards working with children and young adults. by volunteering with a Scout Group through a friend. I then had relevant experience to apply for a job as a Youth Worker in 1994 and then moved into being a Teaching Assistant around 2000. In between I worked in supermarkets and a chip shop to boost my income, before doing a NVQ through a training scheme and finally obtaining my Cert Ed around 2007. I continued working with children and volunteering to run the local football club.

Whilst training I worked as a Lecturer at the local college and finally combined everything to work as a Child Welfare Officer for the local English Football Association.

Then in 2011 we moved to South Africa and my career came to an end. I continued teaching in a volunteering capacity and became involved with a couple of charities assisitng with education and general support in several townships, from art projects to new buildings, with fund raising and obtaining donations.

On moving to Dubai I taught FS1 for 18 months in a paid capacity, using my recent experience in South Africa to show a range of skills and diversity. I had to pack that in due to a family situation but I then started volunteering on the DP World Tour as a Marshall, which turned into being offered some occasional paid work when the Tour was in the UAE. I let the Production Team know I was now in the UK, but sadly due to the fact I returned to paid work as a Teaching Assistant in a local Secondary School, I've been unable to take time off to date other than the weekend of the 22nd-24th July at the Cazoo Classic in Southport.

All of this has been achieved by hard work, putting myself out there, networking, studying and hours trawling the internet looking for jobs and opportunities. I've also accumulated quite a variety of sports gear/uniform.

The first week in August I was volunteering at the Commonwealth Games in the Athletes Village in Birmingham. I had an interview back in September through my application and experience and I was initially turned down for a role. But I'm guessing lots of people drop out so I was asked if I wanted to work with Cleaning, Catering and Waste, front of house in the Olympic Village Restaurant meeting and greeting athletes and associated personal. 

It's another thing to put on my CV as I continue to search for opportunities wherever they take me. Pay isn't the issue, it's the opportunity to do something new, different and exciting.

Saturday 6 August 2022

Week 31 One daily Positive and Project 365. The Commonwealth Games

A bit of a frustrating week with getting my accreditation for the Commonwealth Games, lots of family/friend visits, days out, cleaning and packing and a lot of TV watching in between.

We've organised house/pet sitters for the dog and cat and various dog walkers while we are away, hence why I've done so much cleaning before travelling.

210 Saturday We spent the day visiting. First stop mum to help her with her shopping, then onto Grandchild. We called in for one last look at the flat, before we exchange contracts at the end of the week.

211 Sunday Off to the Welland Steam Rally, day spent with Mary and family from over40andamumtoone Also met another friend with her children.

Our first close contact get together since pre covid. We actually saw one another more when I was living in Dubai, than we have done in the past year since returning to the UK full time.

212 Monday I didn't go into Birmingham as I was tired and didn't want a wasted day chasing my accreditation as I hadn't heard from anyone. I pottered around, watched TV and sorted things out for our trip.

Nice and easy microwave 'knee tea'

213 Tuesday Into Birmingham for 6.45am. I had tow all 5km to reach the accreditation tent and by the time it was sorted I was 45 mins late. Had a good day as a 'way finder' directing athletes and personal to various places. home by 5pm evening spent watching the games on the TV.

214 Wednesday Back into Birmingham, sussed out the buses so no walking. Had a fab day, held a gold medal and met and chatted with lots of medal winners. home by 5pm and another evening spent watching the games on TV.

215 Thursday Peter off to visit child 1 and grandchild. I spent the day packing and cleaning then evening spent with friend with chips and wine.

I tried to get a screen shot, but grandchild dancing and doing gymnastics.

216  Friday Panic call to Australia as Peter's visa wasn't sorted, all done with a new application on his 2nd passport. Out to get my nails done, called in at neighbours mums house for a cuppa, packed last few bits and cleaned downstairs. Evening spent watching TV.

The bougainvillea are thriving in this dry weather.

On the blog this week:

Volunteering at the Commonwealth Games

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Friday 5 August 2022

Post Comment Love - 5th-7th August 2022. The Commonwealth Games

Welcome back to #PoCoLo with Stephanie from Lifeat139a and I.

I've had a busy week (as usual) with volunteering at the Commonwealth Games and packing for our holiday to Australia. The packing took less than an hour, but the cleaning has taken 2 full days. Fingers crossed when I get back there won't have been a water leak in the attic like there was last time we were away.

At the time of writing we're still waiting to hear about Peter's eVisa to be approved. Mine came through within an hour. Keep your fingers crossed for us that it arrives in time for our flight.

The dog and cat will be enjoying the company of house sitters while we're away, I'm sure they'll be spoilt.

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Thursday 4 August 2022

Volunteering at the Commonwealth Games 2022 Birmingham

I had a fantastic 2 days at the games and was fortunate to be asked to work inside the Commonwealth Village, where I got to hold a gold medal and meet so many athletes that I've been pointing at on the TV, saying 'I met hime, spoke to her and got their photo'

I was only notified 3 weeks ago that I had been awarded a role. Everything has been done online with no contact from anyone other than a generic email. I completed 3 hours of online training on all aspects of security selected my shifts from the portal. There was no venue trying available on dates I was available.

As I was asked late I only had 7 days that I was available to work, due to prior commitments and I selected 4 dates. I submitted my accreditation and my uniform was promptly delivered.

I arrived on site Day to collect my accreditation. No one said I had to or from where, and I was helped out by the police to reach the accreditation tent. It wasn't ready. Volunteers were unable to help and paid staff just said my role hadn't been assigned and that was that unless I could give them the name of my supervisor inside the Village. So 5 hours later I returned home. I emailed, I tweeted and received no response. Unwillinging to get up at 5am on Monday morning, I didn't go in, but Peter said I should make the effort on Tuesday.

Tuesday the police wouldn't let me in the inner cordon to reach the accreditation tent so I had to walk 5kms around the permitter to reach the tent and saw the same person who again said it wasn't ready and just shrugged. Now an hour late for my shift I told her I was leaving comments on the Facebook page about the situation and she suddenly assigned the role and printed my pass.

On entry to the village I was told to find a bloke called Lee, somewhere down there. Lee was located and when I asked him who was responsible for contacting volunteers and replying to their emails, he said he was, but he was too busy to do so. 

I was assigned as a 'Way Finder' and at 3pm I just went home.

Being a Way Finder meant I was to meet and greet athletes and personal as they walked from the accommodation block to the dining halls and ask if they needed anything. I was working with another volunteer who was extremely territorial and kept taking over my conversations, standing in front of me and actually putting her hand in front of my face to direct people. I just moved away and worked on my own. Eventually after she kept intercepting people I told her I wasn't interested in collecting PINS (badges) from the athletes and if I was given any, I'd pass them on to her. She left me alone after that.

Wednesday was a fun day. I informed Lee I didn't want to work with the volunteer again and explained why. He just laughed and said she was a bit like that, so I was given a scanner, introduced to another volunteer and spent the day outside the door of one of the restaurants to scan athletes and personal into the dining facilities. The day went too fast, it was such good fun, chatting to the athletes, asking them how their games were going, congratulating them and commiserating others.

I got to hold a Commonwealth Gold Medal and grabbed a few selfies with some of them. I'm glad I made the effort to go in for the 2 days as it was a great experience, despite the hassles actually getting in. It won't deter me from volunteering again either.

Mens 3v3 Basketball

James Hollis 100m Butterfly S10

James Guy 3 Silvers, 2 Bronze and a Gold.

Matty Lee

Olivia Breen 100m T38