Saturday, 18 November 2017


I'm saying it. It's my birthday today. I don't like to make a fuss of my birthday. I'm not one of those 'it's my birthday week, all eyes on me' types. However, today, some things are bothering me.

I've had three solitary happy birthday wishes. One from my mum (obligatory), one from my partner's mum (obligatory) and one from my partner which I had to ask for as he clearly didn't think my birthday was enough of an occasion that he had to acknowledge it. Some people know it's my birthday and have forgotten (let's face it, people have bigger fish to fry than my birthday). I may have mentioned it to some but don't know them well enough for it to have registered with them or for them to remember. Some have just forgotten I exist altogether and can't remember to get in touch with me, birthday or not.

My colleagues (who hate me - see earlier blog posts) remembered. It must be in their diaries. I got a collective present from them. It contains a gift that one of my colleagues received as a gift for her birthday and then described and slagged off in the office. She obviously doesn't remember that she said that. She doesn't like it so she's given it to me.

Two disclaimers here: 1) I have regifted things myself 2) I'm not that interested in how much someone spends on something or whether they do or do not get me a gift. It's great to receive gifts, especially when you like the gifts, but I'm not going to think less of you if you don't get me a gift. It really is the thought that counts.

I don't want people to feel obligated to buy me gifts because it's my birthday. I hate it when my partner starts moaning (in his own way) about having to buy me a gift. He doesn't have to buy me a gift. What I want is for him to want to do something nice for me, to feel like making an effort to do that, because he wants to, rather than treating the whole thing as a drag. I can buy anything I want for myself. It's the sentiment that I want. That goes for everyone.

So, I'm...hurt...that my colleague thinks so little of me (though this is also not news) that she grabbed some stuff together that she didn't want to fulfill her perceived social obligation to give her colleague a birthday gift. Then I text her and said 'Thanks for the lovely gifts! x' *sick face emoji* because we are embroiled in some fake 'let's pretend to like each other' situation that I have to engage with or they make me feel my life's not worth living (again, see previous blog posts).

The other reason is that how much you spend and where you buy from are very much of interest to my colleagues, so this is another way the gift shows how little they think of me.

I'm contradicting myself aren't I? I suppose what it comes down to is, I want people to like me. They don't, so I'm having a mope about it. I don't want to sing and dance about the fact it is my birthday but, in some ways, I do want people to know it's my birthday. I don't want to be the centre of attention, but I do want some attention. I would rather my colleagues didn't give me a gift than give me a gift because they felt obliged to. I prefer honesty. Then I respond to their fake niceness with my own fake niceness because fake niceness is important to them and I want them to like me despite me not liking them, despite me knowing they don't like me and despite me preferring honesty.

I hate that I am writing this confused and morally mixed up mess, but here it is. I hate that I am a confused and morally mixed up mess. Pressing publish. Waiting for the quiet/silent backlash.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Weird and wonderful plants of Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife

There were so many unusual cacti and succulents in Puerto de la Cruz that I just had to show them off.

I visited some amazing gardens where I marvelled at the bizarre plants, mostly Jardin Botanico, and revelled in the history of the place, mostly the Orchid Garden, but many of these photos were taken just in our hotel gardens or on the street. I have many more photos of amazing flowers, plants and foliage and I'd like to post them and go on and on about the interesting things I saw and learnt but as this post is long enough, I have concentrated on cacti, succulents and trees.          

And the grand finale:

Saved this cutie for the encore:

Friday, 23 June 2017

Near Filey.

It feels like an age ago, but was probably 2 or 3 months ago, when we went to a caravan park near Filey in a place called Reighton Gap.

You could walk directly from our park to the beach down a steep hill. We were welcomed to the start of the hill by a murder or multiple murders of crows making a right racket. I think they were nesting or at least shouting at each other trying to decide who would get the best girl.

The first day was cloudy and rainy and we walked along the beach to Filey. It was a 3 mile walk (which sounds easy in this runner's mind) but it felt like 30 miles.
Testament to the weather, the beach cafe on the hill down to the beach was closed.

Bempton Cliffs are in the distance here. Apparently puffins live there but we didn't go and look.

One of the surprising things (to us) about this stretch of land is that the cliffs are made of a soft kind of mud, sand duney material (that is an actual word, I don't care that there's a red squiggly line under it) rather than rock, like further up the coast. As a result there is significant erosion and houses are literally falling into the sea. The one below was buttressed up by corrugated iron and scaffolding poles but was clearly fighting a losing battle. Its inhabitants must have long moved out. I spent the walk along the beach thinking about how awful it would be to find yourself in that situation. You can't get insurance for that. You can't sell that house so how can you buy another one? Rent? Sure, but you've lost thousands of pounds. What if the inhabitants rented it? Well someone owns it, so someone's lost (hundreds) of thousands of pounds.

Someone drew a picture of Chewie in the sand. It wasn't us.

Gloomy, innit. But also epic.

Was pleased to find this amazing sculpture by the same artist as the one of the fisherman in Scarborough, just up the coast.

There were lots of bunkers, one every few hundred yards along the beaches down this stretch of coast. Many of them were on their ends. Some were falling down cliffs or on the beach just crumbling apart. I spent some more time thinking gloomy thoughts as I imagined what the people that used these bunkers would have been doing and thinking as they looked out to sea for approaching Germans. (They're WW2 bunkers, right? 🤷)


This view was infinitely more impressive in real life.

The weather cleared up a few days later and we went in the other direction along the beach where pamplets promised shipwrecks...

Wreck of Laura


We took a second trip to Filey on a much nicer day and saw things we hadn't seen the time before.

Filey Brigg in the distance there.

Through rose tinted glasses.

A little walk up the steep hill into the town revealed a lack of any shops of interest but a small and immaculately tended public garden. It was populated by massive seagulls and a lovely cat. There was an aviary full of birds at the back of the garden. The cat sat so still on the grass, sunbathing, he looked like a statue. The seagulls were bigger than him. As I tried to make friends with him, he heard something and dashed off behind the aviary (not at all fussed about the birds) and behind a fence to some houses. His mum or dad had opened the back door and he was nipping back home for tea. We had chips so we were alright.