And so to the second half of the year.
In truth, personal things prior to September were fairly limited. Mainly because I was at work, through the school holidays, covering for those who need the time off.
One sad thing that did happen before then, happened in August. To many, it probably seems amazing that an adult actress from the early 1930’s had survived this long, but one of them had. But eventually that tie was cut, when Mary Carlisle passed away at the grand old age of 104. She was pretty sharp to the end, if less mobile, and for a while she had been the last, and all knew the link was coming to an end, but for those of us who love that era, it was still a sad moment when it arrived.
September saw me going back to a place I hadnt visited in nearly 40 years, Inverness, taking Eric away with me for a few days of fun. Well, as much fun as two people with disability issues can have, anyway. I managed to fulfil one ambition I’d had for about that long, if not more, by travelling the Skye Line to Kyle of Lochalsh. The fact that the last time I was there, the only way to Skye was by ferry, and now a bridge has been there for decades, all a bit strange. There are still a couple of railway lines in Scotland I’d love to do (Oban line, Fort William to Mallaig), and the Cambrian Coast line in Wales to a place I could never pronounce correctly (Pwllheli) that are a challenge for another day, health permitting. There are also a couple of very long distance ones in North America too, though they may be less likely, and trickier to do.
At one point I thought that November would see me doing a Transgender Awareness Week speech in Florida, but it soon seemed that someone was all talk, and no reality, so it never happened. So instead, I headed somewhere nearly as warm for the week, to the Algarve, to give my back some heat before winter kicked in. I wont deny I might have done a little bit of apartment prospecting while there, should the chance arise, and yes, if things work out, my old age could well be spent out there. There is a financial issue (not enough money), and a political issue (post Brexit residence rules) that may stop that, but fingers crossed… A lottery jackpot win before March 29 might be very handy! But lifestyle, and health wise, I could do a lot worse.
Then we come to the old chestnut, my health issue. In recent weeks my left wrist seems to have developed issues, probably due to too much typing, and stuff, for the last 40 years or so. So now I have 2 issues leaving me wondering how much longer work is going to be possible? More amusingly, due to coming 4th in a year long Golf tipping contest on Twitter, I gained £100 for my pains, and thought I’d give some new therapies a try, rather than frittering it on clothing, and the like. So yes, I got to discover just how amazing a flotation tank (sensory deprivation tank) is, and even better, the weightless floating does seem to do my back a lot of good too. Fine, the tank hasnt tried to brainwash me yet, though I’m still hoping!
Oh, and December saw the Works Christmas dinner, in a new dress, in a casino, and my first ever bet in such a place. Yes, I lost quickly, but it was a free £5 chip, so nothing lost really!
Lastly, and sadly, the Department I work in, in their wisdom, have decided to move our section out of Finance, and into a new Collection based group. So unfortunately, just as our LGBT committee were getting ready to do something really exciting, I’m out, as from tomorrow. I cant see me going quiet on LGBT issues, but it may give me less options now, though I have applied for something for the whole Department, not just Finance, but will be over a month before I hear about that. Ah well…
Right, tomorrow I will close the trilogy, with a look at New Year happenings (and possible happenings) on the first day of 2019. But until then, let me wish all my readers, those who arent there already at least, a Happy New Year in 2019.
OK, video. Just a quickie tonight. Its hard to find anything for Mary Carlisle other than a couple of full films, and sets of pictures. But I found this, Bing Crosby singing to her, 85 years ago!
OK, fine, they think its all over, well it pretty much is now, lol. No, I’m not talking about the current government, though that might yet prove to be apt. But being strictly politically neutral on UK matters…well…? No, seriously, I mean my little break in the sun.
Of course, the sixty four million dollar question is, has the break in the sun done my back any good? Well, I’ve been taking less pills than usual, so I guess thats a good sign, but how long the effects will really last when I get back to the UK, who knows? I certainly havent missed not hearing all about the chaos at home over Brexit, and other stuff, for sure.
Yesterday, I headed to Vila Real De Santo Antonio as planned, and had a look around. In a sense, its more my sort of town than Faro would be, more peaceful, laid back, and dare I say it, old fashioned? Sadly I didnt get to Spain, as I reached the ferry terminal after town, and lunch, to see it pulling out for Ayamonte, across the river, in a different country, and given the next one wasnt for another hour in the off season, I didnt wait. That would have put me on the 2.30 ferry across, so earliest back at 4.00, and then needing to get back to Monte Gordo, all would have got a bit late for me. Maybe another time, maybe not, who knows?
Today, as I have done most days (gentle exercise, which is good) I took my stroll down along the front, and down part of the boardwalk, over the beach. I did some shopping, a little bit more than I’d planned, but nothing too dramatic. Oh, I got one of those coats, seems they had a zip up version as well for same price, so deal done! So I guess at some point soon I’ll need to go into work looking like a 30’s film star, lol. No, its silly really, I dont need a winter coat, but… Yes, I found the PIN for my credit card, but then found they only took cash, no cards, aargh!
I must admit, if, as I hope, I can retire somewhere with all year round warmth, then Monte Gordo has done a pretty good publicity job this week. I know its off season, but its quieter than the more popular end of the Algarve, its pleasantly warm, even in mid November (70 today), and cost of living is definitely lower than the UK too. But whether I will be in a position to make it happen, who knows? Will it even be possible once we’ve left the EU to move out here easily? Rolls eyes… Who me, a remain vote, well, you might think that, but I couldnt possibly say! 😛
Last amusing note, before I close for this holiday. There is a spa at the hotel I’m staying at. I did notice on their website that the spa does those body wrap things, and I’ve always fancied that. Go into my cocoon as the ugly caterpillar, come out the beautiful butterfly, yeah, I wish! So today, with budget sorted, I went to see how much it was. Yes, as I expected, way above what I had left, 80 Euros, for admittedly 80 minutes of pure pampering heaven. So, a fair price, but… To be honest, it was pretty much all above my budget, but I guess a 4 star hotel with spa (I’d say closer to 3, but anyway…), thats probably going to be the case. The thing was, they had a special offer for a hot stone massage, at 49 Euros. for 50 minutes of pampering, which I could just about scrape together. But anyway, being practical, I checked on Google, and it said not advised for people with Osteoporosis issues, so I ended up passing. Probably would have been fine, but better safe than sorry with boring old me!
It was funny tonight at dinner, I got asked why I was drinking Coke, when everybody else was drinking wine, so I explained about the painkillers, and all that. Again I wonder if thats just me being extra cautious, as I know people taking those pills, and drinking booze, and being fine, but…I am being boring, lol!
Tonights video is a song that might have passed most people by, especially as its now 33 years old! The late, great, Kirsty MacColl for your delight
Oh, and as a test to see who actually reads these things, given its Transgender Awareness Week. Yes, somethings been annoying me this week, and I’ve decided he’s got to go! Its fair to say, dont get excited, its not going to happen before retirement, as I’d need way too much time off work otherwise, to get it done before then. Yes, been looking at clingy dresses again, lol, and the desire to wear them, and the current impracticality of doing so. Latex would be fun, but at 66, I dont think so! Of course, the back could have a major relapse over the winter, I need to retire on disability grounds, but until then…?
Might give me a clue as to who ‘likes’ the blog without reading it, lol. 😉
Well, if I were to update you on what I did yesterday, you’d be bored stiff, because I did pretty much what an ‘old crock’ like myself should do, I had a relatively easy day. I went out for a gentle stroll (bit further than planned), had a bite of lunch, then headed back to the hotel again, via a stop for an Ice Cream. Fallen asleep yet? 😛
Today however, was far more amusing, which is the only reason you’re getting this tonight. My original plan had been to head into town (about 11.15), have a stroll, get a coffee, then head down and get the 12.30 bus to Vila Real De Santo Antonio, have a bite of lunch, then hop on the ferry, cross into Spain, just because its easily done (ferry takes 15-20 minutes to cross), have a look round, then come back again. No, as you gathered, I didnt do that!
Instead, as I got into town, just after 11.30, the seemingly slightly delayed 11.27 bus to Faro swung into sight, so I got on that instead! I will do the other trip later in the week, but for now… There may not be a bus every 10 minutes, but they do believe in comfortable bus seats over here, so nice! Fares are similar for distance as at home, for those interested, so it can be done, First Buses!
But the sweetest thing for me, was one of my fellow passengers, at least until Tavira, where she got off. To say this woman was the spitting image of an elderly Gloria Swanson (as in Sunset Boulevard era, or just later) was remarkable. Gloria (if I remember right) was tiny, under 5 foot tall, I believe, but in truth this woman wasnt much taller than that! Oh, and this woman was speaking fluent Portuguese, but other than that… She had the perfect diva attitude too (though I’ve heard nice things said about Swanson, so maybe she didnt?) as she showed when someone was trying to help her with her bags, after she got off the bus.
The rest of the drive to Faro was positively sedate, other than the song that got stuck in my head, this one
In truth, after just over 20 years, I didnt remember much of Faro, beyond the basic set out, but I suspect its changed in that time anyway. Bus station is still as ancient as it was then, mind, certainly no overhaul there!
At home, generally the bus fares are cheaper than the trains, and they take longer to get places, though because of the route the train takes, that doesnt work between Huddersfield and Bradford, because the train ambles round via Halifax. In the old days, the train was also more reliable, but that no longer happens! Here in Portugal, the bus fare was actually more expensive than the train (5.70 Euros, to 5.05 on train), takes longer to do the journey, even allowing for the long walk to the station (about a mile) from here. The snag is, Portuguese trains make Trans Pennine Express look reliable, and thats quite an achievement!
The train back to Monte Gordo from Faro was meant to leave at 3.00, and take 62 minutes for the journey. Even with a 20 minute walk, that should beat a 3.15 bus that takes 83 minutes for the journey! The thing is… The train pulled in from Lagos (yes, Nigeria isnt the only one to have a place of that name) at 3.03, about 4 minutes late, so we all get on. Then a minute later, we all get told to get off again. I have no idea what the announcement said, as it was only given in Portuguese, not a lot of use to most passengers who were tourists! Anyway, said train reversed back down the platform, and sat just outside the station. Just after 3.25, it plodded back into the station, we all got on (and stayed on) and a few minutes later, it set off for Vila Real De Santo Antonio!
I finally got back to Monte Gordo about 30 minutes after I should have, and still nearly made it into town before the bus passed me! Ah well…
Oh, and this leads to the second video of the day, the song I was singing to myself at the station, when I was wondering what the train was doing!
Right, firstly for those who know how to read both blogs, they’re going to be the same for the rest of the week, as the old lady is away on holiday, so pretty much all events will relate to that, and there’s no point writing pretty much the same stuff twice. Yes, in Portugal, on the Algarve for those who care, and want to flood me with money to spend…? Oh fine, teasing on last points, though after one item I saw today, I wouldnt say no to 32.50 Euros, if anyone is offering, more on that shortly.
In truth, getting here (Monte Gordo, for those who’d like to know, hotel details for a reasonable bribe! See above!) was pretty straightforward. Flight left on time, landed on time, and wheelchair soon arrived to take me through. I dont know the name of the gentleman, but not only did he get me through passport control, and handle my case for me, he literally wheeled me all the way to the minibus to take me to the hotel, which was far more than I was expecting. If anyone at Faro Airport can work out who this was, give him my thanks, and yes, I tipped accordingly! Minibus driver tried to match him by taking both my bags right up to hotel counter (I was last dropped off) for me, and yes, he got tipped too!
Dinner last night was fun. Nothing to do with the food, which was basic, but good, but the age of the people eating there. Yes, when at 60, you’re one of the youngest there, well… I think that its because a lot of senior citizen Europeans from chillier climes now come south for the whole of the winter (if they can afford it, not me!), and clearly this hotel is a prime destination for that! There were a number of younger people at breakfast this morning, so I think its just us that are less able, or less inclined to go out to eat who do this, me included now!
Anyway, after a gentle morning catching up on internet, and watching a bit of the remembrance service, I went out for a stroll around town. Its a typical, out of main season, seaside tourist resort, nothing exciting in truth. But it will more than do me. Nice boardwalk along the front, which I walked along, with several breaks to let my body recover, including one for coffee, and one for lunch, as well as a few just breaks for rest.
After that, I took a stroll more into the built up area of town (still not large), and looked in a few shops. I saw one lovely top that would definitely work as a 20’s look, and at about 14 Euros, will definitely be coming home with me, if I have the money at end of the week. I also saw the most gorgeous (fake) fur jacket type thing, which I loved, partly because it was gorgeous, and partly because it was so 30’s, though of course it would more likely have been real fur back then! Yes, shopkeeper saw me looking at it, so I asked price, see above, 32.50 Euros. No, I came on a tight budget, so probably not, but if I do have that much at end of week, its coming home for sure! Can just imagine Clara Johnson wearing something like that, though probably in real fur! Love, love, love!
Oh, lastly, the hotel. The front looks very modern, but the rooms (well, the one I’m in, anyway), have a much more old fashioned feel. Its not literally on the corridor, the rooms are set back a little, in pairs, and are huge by hotel standards. I literally have a double sized bedroom, a bathroom, and a large lounge area, where I’m typing this. It lacks coffee making facilities (I’ve been spoiled by UK/US hotels, I guess?), but other than that, its gorgeous!
Oh, the other weird thing? In the UK, and US nowadays, its prohibited to smoke pretty much anywhere indoors, in public buildings. Seems in Portugal, thats not the case. I finished my coffee this morning, turned to get up, and got ‘hit’ by the smell of cigarette smoke. Then I noticed the ash tray on every table, lol. Ah well…
Fine, video time. I’m guessing from the 50th Anniversary tour thing, that this must be from about 2008/09? Cliff, and the Shadows definitely still had it back then. Though no, I have no plans for any young ones of my own! 😛
Well, barring the need for a trip that is unexpected at this time, Saturday sees me starting off on my last ever ‘Inter-EU’ holiday, to Portugal. Also, I guess I’d better add the codicil that is the fact that I am assuming at this point that we will actually leave the EU in March 2019, because lets face it, weirder things have happened in life, for sure! But yes, all things considered, this should be the final time I do this. I just hope this doesnt totally ruin my hopes of moving somewhere hot, all year round, after retirement, but fear it might.
Of course I’m old enough to remember a time before we were even in the EU, and back then, if I remember rightly, there were just 6 countries in the Common Market, as it was called back then. At that time, barring 1 school day trip to France, I’d never been to any of the Common Market Countries in my life. By now, I’ve been to 4 of the original 6, and 20 of the current 28, including the UK! The most visited (excluding UK, obviously) would be Ireland, easily, though most of those visits would be before it entered the EU, but besides that…
The thing I’m going to miss the most, is the easy entry to said Countries, as a EU Passport holder. Mind, given that ‘Old Mother Time’ has caught up with me, I will no longer have to stand in the queues to get through passport control any more, just ride through in a wheelchair. I must admit, the main reason I always booked the service to the US was because of getting into that country through Immigration, for which my back wouldnt stand, but I’ve been ‘advised’ that it might be wise to use the service now to Portugal, so yes, its been booked tonight. I cant see the queues being so long that I would have standing time issues, but its done!
Oh, there is one unique thing that I shall be able to do this time around. My only time in Spain was over 20 years ago, when I got the ferry across from Vila Real De Santo Antonio, to Ayamonte, just across the river. The irony back then, the amount of time I could spend in Spain was limited, as I had no local currency to spend. Yes, pre Euro’s days! Now, next week, no issue at all, as one currency works in both countries.
I’m not planning a stressful week for my trip, it really is an attempt to get some sun, and heat into my back before the UK winter kicks in! A planned trip to Faro, (I’m almost in Spain, at Monte Gordo), and a planned trip to Spain, and a lot of relaxation. Oh, and maybe use the hotel spa once or twice, if I can afford it! Other than that, health break, lol!
Oh, to add, I’m out on Thursday evening, so this is the last blog before the weekend, from the Algarve, just saying…
Fine, video time. The obvious song, but not the obvious group. I havent used a Post Modern Jukebox cover version in a while, so lets right that fact tonight
One of the things I’ve got used to over the years, when flying to the US, is that the airlines provide you with a meal on the flight, each way, so its not something I think about too much any more, when making flight/holiday bookings. Some charge for seat selection, especially in economy class (I tend to fly premium economy now, when available), but meals, and soft drinks at least, are provided.
So, anyway, today, I was booking my trip to Portugal for November, to try and get some healing sun, and heat into my back, before the UK winter, package holiday style. Hey, given I have all these hotel chain cards, I normally book everything separately, but needs must…
So yes, cleverly, I put enough on my prepaid credit card to cover the cost of the holiday (which has gone up since first checking, due to pound collapsing against Euro, due to Brexit, rolls eyes…), and a little bit to spare. Only, by the time I’d selected my seats (I’m a window person, darlings), and paid the cost of package, I was beginning to cut it fine. That was when I found out I had to pay extra, again, for meals on the plane! Oops! Anyway, I’ve compromised, I’ve got a meal going out, but nothing coming back, but beyond boredom issue, shouldnt be a problem, as its an afternoon flight, and I should be able to have lunch before leaving Portugal, and survive till after I get back to UK. Of course, alternatively, before November, I can put more money on card, edit the booking to add a meal, and issue solved. But, old habits… No, cant remember last time I paid for a meal on a plane! Oh well… Oh fine, the card now has a balance of £0.04! Lol!
Who knows, I might even get to wear that cute little swimsuit I got yet. Yes, the skirt kind, which will hide a million sins. Unless anyone buys me a burkini in interim (are they legal in Portugal?), and dares me to wear it, at least!
Right, video time. I never thought I would find a live version of this, but lo and behold, I have!
Title might be a reversal of the video title, lol!
Today has been a bit of a preparation day, mainly for the holiday, but yes, I’ve finally done one thing I should have done about 3 months ago, moved my stuff over to my new handbag, which seems to have far more space than the old one, and when I bought it, I wondered if it had as much space. Considering I bought the old one for about £8, about 10 years ago, its fair to say I’ve got my money out of it. In truth, other than that the ‘paint’ has peeled off in several places, the bag is actually as good as ever, but ‘a lady’ really ought to have a nice bag, so I made the purchase in Seattle in May. To me, it looks vintage style, even if it is very modern, and about twice the price of the old one! But fine, if it lasts 10 years, it might outlast me!
The other is the new laptop, which I had planned to switch to, today, but then I went and got my hair done (yes, natural blonde for a few days at least, lol), and I’m still on the old one, lol! I know, by Monday week, I ideally need to have changed over, but… it might yet end up being done on return, after those few days away, oopsie! Its all those logging in things, darlings, definitely not the Cats Whiskers, as everything is auto saved on here.
Oh, I need new shoes to go away too, but as I have a Shoe Zone, free next day delivery voucher I can use (if I spend £20, which wont be hard, as nearly all my shoes have ‘holy’ soles at present. Fine in this weather, but shortly… Yes, these composite soles hate wet weather, and I hate spending extra money on better quality soles, ah well…
The other holiday preparation is actually for later in the year, November. I’m trying to be practical, I’m pretty sure my back isnt going to get through another UK winter, without assistance. And the best form of assistance it can get, heat, lots of it. So I’ve been waiting on my bonus from work, to try and get something booked, to try and placate it. There had been talk of a trip to Florida, but because of the way events are working out, thats not going to happen then. Oh darlings, the secrets that I keep, lol! No, thats not the video! 😛
So anyway, I had a search today, on a pretty limited budget, to see if I could find anything that would fit the need, and I suspect, that unless something dramatic happens, I will be doing my second ‘sentimental journey’ of the autumn for a break. Algarve (Portugal) holidays are a bit more recent than Inverness, but its still been a while since I done one. But now, looks like I’m going back, though to the Eastern end this time, to Monte Gordo. Might even allow me to see a bit more of Spain this time (its about 3 miles from border, with ferry crossing), as this time, currency will be the same both sides of the border. Last time I did it, I couldnt spend money on the Spanish side, as it was Pre-Euro’s days, wow!
So unless someone wants to offer me a holiday home, suitable for a (very modest) actress for a week, somewhere warm/hot, thats the plan. In truth, I’ve never got the concept of those celebrity holiday things, but if someone wants to pay me to act like a star actress, or something (Sweet kind, a la Harlow, I might add), then thats the idea. If anyone that knows me, wants to come on a ‘gentle old ladies’ holiday to Portugal that week, starting 10th November, then let me know before Tuesday! Mind, acting the ‘qiuirky actress’ might be fun, lol. Equally, if Rotwang reads this (fictional characters read this, yeah…) and needs another woman for Metropolis type experiments, give me a call before then! 😉
Right, video time. Some groups dont show their age, it can be said. Well, he’s got a lot less hair now, than at start of 80’s, but otherwise…