Tuesday, 6 April 2010


Claire asked if I wanted to visit the wholefood shop she goes to and loves and of course I said yes, especially as they serve cooked food in a cafe there. I was amazed to see it was a Whole Foods Market that I know and love from my time living in the USA. There isn't one in Bozeman, Montana, but they are most everywhere else in the country.

I had heard there was a branch in the centre of London and in fact there are a few dotted around now. The stores in the USA are usually in a large purpose build building and is enormous by British standards. By contrast this store in Capham Junction, takes over three small shops with adjoining doorways and is subsequently quaint and lacking in space.

I was glad to see a good range of supplements but I noticed an absence of Stevia, the natural 'sweetener' that in the west we aren't supposed to call a sweetener, because of the hold of the pharmaceutical companies on the governments of USA and European Union. In both the USA and Germany (I don't know about other countries, you can buy the product that calls itself a supplement. The slogan (to get around the rules) is 'Don't sweeten your drink, supplement it.' However it's not to be found anywhere in Britain, which is a shame because it doesn't effect blood sugar levels (and other problems) like other natural sweeteners and doesn't adversely affect the brain like all artificial sweeteners.

After we had visited Southside House we came upon Le Pain Quotidien in Wimbledon High Street. It was a lovely place. There were quite a few families with young children, and the food was delicious.

Stately Homes

Claire and I visited two stately homes this weekend.

They was a very large contrast between the two. The first one Southside House. on the south side of Wimbledon Common is a 16 century house. Well, it's two houses built with an adjoining wall and made into one in the last century.

The interest of this house is the story of the people who lived there. It is a small dwelling by stately homes standards, and all visitors are treated to a guided tour. And this is the interest. The story of the house and it's people is told by the guide. It's a story of tragedy, strong will and absence of true love. So it's good to learn the lesson here.

The other home, by contrast, is an enormous royal palace, the Hampton Court Palace. Half Tudor and Half Georgian. Another story of tragedy, strong will and absence of true love. A famous inhabitant was King Henry VIII.

We were fortunate to be visiting on the Bank Holiday Monday of the Easter weekend because they had actors the whole day depicting the state visit to the Palace (at that time belonging to Cardinal Wolsey) of King Henry and his first wife Katherine of Aragon. To make the story interesting, a lady called Anne Boleyn was in the party and Cardinal Wolsey gave a key to the gate to the King so he could come and go to his apartments there as much as he wished, but the king misunderstood and thought he had been given the whole palace. Of course you don't argue with the king.

Claire and I witnessed the last two scenes in Henry's apartments, which was great because reference was made to events that had happened earlier in the day so it didn't feel like we'd missed anything. Apparently the king and the lady Anne Boleyn had been flirting durting the dancing. The actors were very good. The public, mostly children, were given the opportunity to wear 'velvet' robes so they could feel part of the scenes. In fact we were part of them.

The reason we arrived later was because we spent the first part of the day in the beautiful gardens. In fact I think the best part of the visit was sitting on a bench surrounded by a sea of daffodils dancing with the breeze in the sun.

More Technological Wonders

I have been so grateful for the SAT NAV this last weekend. I remember how stressful it is to drive around London using a map or a list of driving directions, but using the SAT NAV is a cinch! I let the technology deal with the hard part while I concentrate on being safe.

It let me down twice however, but both times I was on a motorway so I just carried on and used my judgement. Both times it failed was when I stopped at a services and when I got back to the car the machine was telling me 'no route found' however much I tried to programme it. I sorted it a few miles down the way so it all worked out fine.

Technology, doesn't work without electricity though. I got home to a cold dark house. The house is rented and so has a system of prepaying for electricity and the payment had run out over the weekend. I couldn't see inside the house. I couldn't find my matches and so went to a garage to get a torch.

I'd left my bed strewn with stuff that I'd had to turf out of a bag I wanted to use.

I found the water to be still hot so had a shower and went to bed. I had bought lots of food for the week but didn't put it in the fridge or freezer because I tried them and they weren't cold.

In the morning I could see, but the house was very cold.

The family came back mid morning and bought more electricity.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

The Wonders of Technology

I thank God for the wonders of technology! Today I was able to watch and participate in my Granddaughter Cara's baptism even though I was thousands of miles away.

Her parents had decided to have her baptised during the Easter conference of the Summit Lighthouse, which is broadcast via video streaming on the internet. I thank the person manning the camera for training it onto the family group whilst people were greeting the baby after the ceremony.

I saw her other proud grandma taking photos so I hope see some great pictures of the event soon too.


I seem to have chosen a life of change. (I mean the change that occurs when I do something different. I don't mean the money type change, although that might be true too because I don't see any big bucks in my life, just small change.)

However, I don't find change easy at all. I get anxious before I travel anywhere. I even get anxious before I go out of the front door for any reason. I find ways to delay the event. "Oh, I just need to do this." Or when I've got outside the door, I often need to go back in because I've forgotten something. I'm often late for work because I don't want to stop what I'm doing and go to work, but then I equally don't want to to leave work, for the same reason. This is even true now, when my work is just outside my bedroom door as I live-in on the job.

Ah, I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that I never wanted to go home from school because I never knew what mood my mother would be in? Not that she ever abused me, but she was often short tempered and irritable.

I remember preparing for a short holiday in the Lake District with my then husband. We lived in Manchester so it was only about an hour of two away, but we spent the whole of the first day getting ready to go. We had food to buy and packing to do and ended up arriving in the evening. Neither of us were happy about this, but felt we couldn't do anything different.

Another memorable time was when I was travelling with my two babies to visit my parents who lived 200 miles away. My husband didn't want to spend the time in visiting them, so I was on my own. I stopped at a motorway services to change the girl's nappies. The baby changing room didn't accommodate a double buggy, so had to leave it outside the room whilst I was in doing that. It didn't have a toilet in it, so I had to ask a stranger to look after my two children while I relieved myself! We then all wanted something to eat. I fed my youngest and because of the stress and new surroundings my toddler wanted me to feed her too and I needed something to eat as well, and that had taken so long that the nappies needed changing again, and I needed to go too! As we were leaving, I found a pay-phone and some change to let my mum know of the change of arrival time and discovered we had been there two hours!

And the there was the time I went to Frankfurt for a few days to attend a meeting. I had a car but decided to take public transport to the airport to save on parking fees. My journey consisted of taxi to the train station, train to London, underground system to anther train station and a train to the airport. About 2-3 hours in total. Of course as usual I was anxious before the event. I tend to delay packing 'til the very last minute and rush around leaving my dwelling looking like a tornado had hit it.

Arriving at the check-in I was asked for my passport, which I didn't have with me! So I used my return train tickets a little earlier than expected to go get it. Arriving back home I find i had also left something else very important behind so packed that too. I phoned my friend, who was picking me up from the remote airport used by cheap airlines, about the problem and asked him to be there when the last flight got in at after midnight his time. It was a difficult decision about how to get back. Do I spend precious time on the internet working out which is the quickest route? Do I drive in the rush hour traffic and pay for parking which, if there are no hold ups would get me to the airport earlier than public transport? Do I book the car-park online, thus saving some money?

I opt for driving and booking online to find I could only save money if booking a day in advance. Fortunately the notorious M25 motorway has free flowing traffic and I arrive at the long term car park in time. However the buses I see are all going the opposite direction - about 4 of them! I get desperate, the flight leaves in 30 minutes, and flag one down. He has no passengers and I explain my plight so he helps me get my flight. (Love the rhyming, don't you?)

He careens around corners at alarming speed and drops me off. I run to check-in knowing I don't have a valid ticket but want to let them know I'm there. I pay extra for the change of ticket, rush back to check-in and run through the now nearly empty airport to the departure gate. The departure gate is empty! Oh woe is me! I'll miss the first day of the meeting and I'm the secretary, supposed to take minutes! I'll have to stay here all night because no way can I afford the petrol to go back home again. And my friend with a car in Germany will have to come out and miss some of the meeting too, or I'll have to do the scary thing and get public transport in a country where I don't read or speak the language, and I'm out of money anyway.

Deep breath. I go to the help desk. I was at the wrong gate! So I run even further, arrive at the gate ..... and wait in line about 15 minutes because the plane is delayed!

At the almost deserted airport in Germany I can't find my friend and my phone is not working and I can't get the alien pay-phones to work. And I'm tired. After what seems like ages and was probably only a few minutes I spot him. Whew, bless him for coming an hour's drive to pick me up and refusing the petrol money.

Anyway, the reason I started this post was because I came down to London yesterday to stay with my daughter for Easter but arrived at 5pm due to the above problem. I drink a lot of water and so need to make frequent stops along the way. At one stop I resisted buying chocolate (I don't do that anymore) but still wanted to buy something to stop me feeling anxious so I bought a book. Much more expensive but less detrimental to my health. Of course the best thing to do in that situation is to tap EFT style on the fact that I feel anxious, but it doesn't seem as appealing as buying a book. Back at the car i find the SAT NAV stopped working and won't find my route! Grr, sniff sniff. I'm pretty sure of my rout into London so continue on my way, hoping it will decide to work to get me through London to the house I've never been to before. After feeling sorry for myself for a while I start tapping my finger to the side of my thumbnail. This makes a difference.

At my next stop I buy a cheese toasty even though I'm not particularly hungry. I obviously need more tapping. Fortunately I had an idea to program the SAT NAV differently and yes, it gave me the route again. So I was able to navigate through London without mishap. Yay!