Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Morimondo, Italy 2012

The Company of Chivalry have just returned from a trip to take part in an event at an abbey in Morimondo, the recreation of the battle of Casorate 1356. 
This event is huge, including several European nations, and hundreds of re-enactors, recreating the 14C campaign camp and life.

I don't do Italy every year, but this year I decided to go along. We travelled on Thursday, rest day Friday and then a 48 hour authentic event from 8pm Friday to 8pm Sunday.

This was the weirdest event I have ever attended....
We were putting up tents in sweltering heat and atrocious flies, which boded well for a hot weekend - which failed to materialise...
After a restful day on Friday eating Italian ice cream, watching the other groups arrive and lazing in the sun, I decided to raid my vodka store in the evening and managed to get stonking drunk. I don't do that very often and, combined with sunstroke, it resulted in me throwing up all night Friday and being very ill all day Saturday. It was 24 hours before I could keep anything down and I slept, on and off, for almost 30 hours...
Being ill meant I missed the last decent day, weather-wise, and the Saturday night battle.

Sunday the rain came...and more...and more...Our little tents were battered by the inclement weather.
With the rain almost non-stop and the Sunday battle cancelled, groups started to pack up and leave - we had to stay due to contractual obligations and flight bookings.
This is me making my way through the camp in the miserable rain in kit.
There were bright moments, such as being annexed by the Danes and having our lovely cook Liz kidnapped! I am now a proud citizen of Dane-Gland!
We spent some time teaching our Swedish friend Patric the intricacies of Bristolian speech.

By Sunday night after the exodus, there was the Company of Chivalry and a handful of other tents.
We had also heard that there had been an earthquake in Italy in the early hours of Sunday, which was felt in the camp and made the Abbey shake. My first earthquake!
Sunday night was hell - the rain continued, the wind rose to a screaming gale and threatened all the tents. I was up twice in the night repegging our tent and helping with the other tents. The wind was just pulling the tents out of the ground.
 Even one of the portaloos shifted in the storm.
So on Monday it was a weary and very wet Company striking a soaking camp and loading the lorry for it's return to the UK.
Our sodden Company then made it's exhausted way to Malpensa airport to await our late flight home. 

It's amazing what you do when boredom gets the better of you. The girls decided to work on the Dane-Gland flag and we
 had our photos taken with the Danish flag.
Finally, at 10pm we staggered aboard our plane, still damp and exhausted to fly home to England.

Shall I do it again? Probably not, but never say never....
cq

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Kick Up The Ego

The ego is a fragile beast.
Mine has had a small kick up the butt lately.


It's all very complicated but basically, as our jobs are under threat, my boss and I applied for Voluntary Early Redundancy to increase our options over the next couple of years and give us a fallback plan.
I was bullish and resilient during the application phase, but that all changed yesterday when the Personnel people wrote to us to say our applications were successful.


I didn't sleep much last night as the success of my application appeared to give me the sensation of 'not being wanted' after 26 years in the department, being rejected after giving them the best years of my life.


To add to the frustration I noticed they had scored me very highly for 'Timing' and it would appear that Personnel changed my preferred date from 2014 to 2012 to fit in with their plans for higher natural wastage this year.
And then we realised that with our dates being pulled forward we would have to decide much quicker than we were anticipating - instead of having two years to decide, we had one month.
Needless to say we agreed to decline the offer of redundancy with the limited compensation offered. As ever, my boss and I were as one in that decision - we were not going to be bullied into taking 'VERY' early redundancy.



Complex plans - unexpected outcomes....thanks to our lovely government.


cq

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ch-ch-ch-changes...

As the Crazie One is struggling with the new Blogger changes, she won't be posting for a while until the program sorts itself out.

cq

Friday, March 02, 2012

March Madness

Those friends who know me, know I hate March.
While I yearn to embrace the first flush of Spring and wave farewell to the long nights and endless grey, my fragile mental state peaks at this time of year due to the dreaded Mother's Day.Every year this is lauded as a celebration of motherhood and great emphasis is placed upon it, with shops overloaded with flowers, gifts and gushy cards.

For those of us who cannot have children, this is merely a reminder of our failing to be able to carry out the most basic biological activity - to procreate. A reminder that others know the love and dependency of a child on the parent, and we will never truly know what that feels like. We can simulate this love with friends' children, but that innate love is never felt.


For years I looked after other people's children and I have now moved on to looking after babies before they are born, as I have become a bit of a Subject Matter Expert in pregnancy in the workplace. Women seek me out for help and advice during their pregnancy and Line Managers call on me for advice on the requirements for their pregnant staff. I enjoy helping these women and they are always grateful. I have pictures of babies I have helped protect and get thanks from new mothers and their management.But it still doesn't heal the hole in my heart, the cold shadow in my life.

Just to drive home how useless my body is, we recently had information on the first British female to male transgender to successfully bear a child.


So we irrationally now think MEN can have babies, but some women can't even do this simple thing..


Roll on April...


cq

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Where's my Toy?

I'm tracking PostKat, the meerkat who is responsible for delivering my toy meerkat, got free with my car insurance.

I think he might actually work for Royal Mail, given his itinerary....Meerkovo, St Petersburg, Athens, Paris and Prague....but at least he is taking the scenic route :-)

This price comparison website have really pushed the boat out to make the effect real :-)

cq

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Waiting for PostKat

OK, so I ordered my new car insurance....now I just wait for PostKat with my free toy! :-)

I'm a sucker for a well-spoken Meerkat selling car insurance :-)

cq

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Numbnuts the Magnificent

This is my friend's cat, Nummy, isn't he beautiful? Full Maine Coon, absolutely exquisite cat - if a little slow...he is adorably stupid...


But, common in Maine Coons, Nummy has been diagnosed with feline hip dysplasia. It can happen a lot in Maine Coons and the bigger the animal the more serious the problem. As you can see Nummy is a VERY big cat and his condition is serious (this picture was taken before the symptoms settled in).


He is due to have his femurs cropped (the failing balls of the joint cut off) in due course, and I did some research.
"Restricting exercise, such as limiting access to outdoors or the ability to climb up on objects, can be helpful as well. For severely affected cats, a surgery called a femoral head and neck excision arthroplasty is widely available that removes the damaged tissue. Cats that have had this surgery can usually expect a full return of hip function and freedom from pain and discomfort once post-operative healing has occurred."

That sounds so positive, it would be wonderful if this big chap got another chance - he's only 18 months old and that is just too young to creak about like me!

cq

Friday, January 13, 2012

New Toys



Yesterday my boredom at work was relieved by the delivery of a new toy.


When you teach First Aid you get great toys - and to go with my fake wounds, Resus Annie and defibrillator training unit I now have a 'Choking Charlie' :-)


Abdominal thrusts (which used to be called the Heimlich Maneuvre) are too dangerous to be practised on live humans. Previously it was taught with pictures and slow time demonstrations.


Now we have a new dummy to practice on - Choking Charlie! I am teaching First Aid Skills on Monday, and will let my class loose on poor old Charlie....


Go on, admit it - I have the coolest toys!


cq

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Dust

Wow, this place is dusty [blows dust off blog]

It looks like no one has been here for months....time to break out the cleaning products!

OK, truth be told after a difficult 2010, 2011 turned out to be another bad year for me with work stresses taking their toll exacerbating my depression, medical problems requiring many tests and then, just as I was regaining my equilibrium from the loss of my dad in 2010, a good and valued friend was killed suddenly on my birthday in 2011, plunging me to new lows of depression.
Friends have helped pull me through the darkness and supported me along the way and I am still here.


But now it is 2012....the year of the Dragon..

Me being a Dragon, this should be a good year for me....but let's just see how things shape up, yeah?

For now, I will dust off the blog and try and post regularly on it...

cq

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

First Father's Day

I thought I had done grieving until the Father's Day stuff started to appear on the shelves. I had discovered, when going through my dad's stuff, that he had kept every Father's Day card I had sent him over the years.


So, what will I be doing on Father's Day?
Once I get back from our Fun Day event at Bishop Sutton, I will be heading here:

www.olddowncountrypark.co.uk/
Why? Well, when I heard my dad was seriously ill I desperately needed to be alone, but not alone - if you see what I mean. So, for the first time, I nipped over to our local animal park to spend some time with the animals and walk alone with my thoughts and worries.
I fell in love with the goats, the cows, the sheep, the alpacas and llamas...and most of all with the horses, especially Woody the Clydesdale.

I bought a season ticket, thinking it would be a nice place to run away to in the difficult days to follow. When not at work or driving to and from the hospital and then the hospice, I spent many days strolling the parkland with tears in my eyes, enjoying the countryside while worrying about my dad dying.

The day we got The Call, I had just got in from another couple of hours at the park with my animals.

So, on this Father's Day I will be spending some quality time with 'My Animals' (including the new baby reindeer, here)...It's where he would want me to be...


To all my friends who are fathers and grandfathers, hold your children close and tell them you love them...

cq