About Me

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A few years ago I decided to start a new career as a performer. I used to be a biology teacher but couldn't face walking around in a white coat all day teaching children who didn't want to learn. Actually it wasn't so much the children as the system cause I think all children want to learn - they just don't all want to learn in schools. Anyway I now work as a Life and Executive coach. Work is perhaps not the right word because it never feels like work. I just love to see people grow and change. I love it when they peel of the layers of limiting beliefs and find their true self. And I make some great frends in the process. I've re-discovered my writing and have published two poetry books and now working on 2 CDs, a novel, a book of short stories and talking to someone about a collaoration on a film script. That should keep me busy for a whild. Oh and I do bellydance.
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Friday, 26 December 2008

Boxing Day

Yesterday was a blur. Woke up at 11.30, made it to the settee to watch Christmas TV and to the kitchen at 2 pm to prepare a turkey and put it in the oven. It, along with the rest of the meal, was ready by 6.30 and although there were only 2 of us I made an effort to dress for dinner. After exchange of presents, a large meal and virtually a bottle of champagne on my own I returned to the settee. Pretty much it for Christmas day. Not sure how much of my late getting up today was due to sheer fatigue and how much to the champagne but I didn't make it out of bed till 1.30 pm today. Managed a walk in the Liecestershire countryside in the bright but cold sunshine, then back to the settee. Managed a visit to Andrew's parents this evening for a couple of hours then, you guessed it - back to the settee. I can't remember the last time I watched so much TV but I've tried to rest my mind from project management during my waking hours these two days because during my sleeping hours I'm back there - all night long it feels like. I've given Andrew a holiday as a present to be taken when the house is complete. We'll both need it.

And what of the house? Well it's not complete. We have one more bedroom to paint and lot more painting in the hallways. On the plus side we've now got all the furniture for all the rooms - beds arrived on Christmas eve. As they are all flat packed we'll spend tomorrow putting them together. We should have at least one room complete tomorrow - hopefully in time for when my son arrives.

History seem to be repeating itself in the yard. The new people have proved not much better than the old ones - needed pushing to complete the work in their stated time, rushed it, very poor finish, and a demand for their money. I've refused until we are satisfied - he became abusive, called me difficult and hung up in the middle of our discussion when it became clear I would not pay him any money until we were absolutely satisfied with the work. But for two days I've been able to leave it all behind. Tomorrow will be time enough to pick it up again.
Saturday, 20 December 2008

5 days to Christmas

I went to see my coach last week and he suggested that I could aim for the end of December as a new deadline. He is also my acupuncturist and when I asked why he'd put needles in my ears (normally I only have needles in my hands and feet for balance) he said it was for calming me down. Wasn't aware it was that obvious.

So where are we with the house with 3 more working days before Christmas? By Monday 4 of the bedrooms will be habitable. Going shopping tomorrow for furniture. Curtains have been dry cleaned and rehung, carpets are down - got a good deal from Abdullah and Son in Sparkbrook. Kitchen is nearly there - just need a few holes filling in and a bit more paint, a few pictures on the walls and a few old cupboards removing. I love the new cooker and the matching black fridge and freezer went in today. I cooked for the first time in ages yesterday. We've still to find a home for the huge microwave to make way for a dinky new one.

The painter is working his way through the house. He'd got a plan worked out yesterday for moving systematically through the hallway into the lounge - but like everything else that had to be shelved. I bought the carpet for the lounge yesterday, they could fit tomorrow or after Christmas. Guess what - the painter changed his plan so the room could be ready for the carpet tomorrow. He's a great guy but I can't help but think that he could probably work a little quicker (and with less paint dripping everywhere) if he wasn't always drunk. He's 65 and when he's not working here he's down the pub. One morning he rang at 10.30 to apologise for not gettin here at 8.30 - he'd just got home from the night before and was grabbing himself some breakfast. He offered to do a couple of hours for free to get the upstairs ready for the carpets but I told him to come in for half day and I'd pay him. He's been reading me some of his poetry. He writes in the pub, instant stuff about what's going on at the time, and performs them there and then. With the round of parties at the moment I don't think we are likely to see him sober this side of the year; and by his account he's pretty much out of it in January as his birthday is new year's eve. Still, even allowing for cleaning up after him it's still quicker than trying to do it ourselves.

The bathroom is functional, as is the toilet - doors went back on today. Still some touching up to be done in the bathroom but once Andrew fits the shower head we are in business. Chippy was in creating more dust but should be finished tomorrow. Please dear God let it be the end for him.

The only big jobs left are the tank to be fitted in the loft and the outside. They've made good progress out there but didn't turn up today - the day they'd promised it would be finished by. When I rang to enquire why - they said it had been raining very hard and they can't work in the rain - they must have been in another part of the country to me because I only say drizzle today. Anyway they phoned later to say they'd come tomorrow (even though they don't work on Sundays) Jesus preserve us from British workmen. It isn't as if they are cheap either - I can understand it with Brian but these guys are being paid £2,200 for a week's work. And they had the nerve to critisize others who didn't dieliver on time. We only took them on because a) they were recommended and b) they promised they would not let us down.

This whole process has had an interesting effect on our relationship (mine and Andrew's) It's the first time we've spent such a concentrated amount of time together. Most of the time it's been much better than we were expecting but as we've beome more tired we're becoming a bit frayed at the edges. What it has shown us though is that we are pretty solid - and I'm glad we're doing this now and not next July.

Alas there's been no time to focus on Christmas - next year should be better.
Sunday, 14 December 2008

14th December

Eleven days to Christmas. It looks like 3 rooms will be completed and possibly the kitchen. With a real push (we've got a decorator in all week but he's not speedy gonzales) we may get the lounge painted. Guys coming to start the paving and patio tomorrow - promised to be finished before Christmas.

Then the blow - my boys are not coming for Christmas. Will the first one without them. We are both very zombified.
Friday, 12 December 2008

Will it be done by Christmas?

Well, it's the 12 December and not a single room is complete. We really are going about this arse about face. The decorators have moved in but the electrician is still taking up floorboards to put in first fix cabling. The tilers have gone to another job and send me texts almost daily to say they are coming next day and then another one on the day to say they are coming the next day, and to think we got them in to speed up the job. The problem builder has now done his bit and gone. He wanted paying for the remaining fire doors which were £900 and to leave the small tasks (worth £10) to finish off 'as and when'. I had to use the broken record technique 'I'll pay you when all the jobs are done' to get him to come in and finish off all the little jobs - one of which turned out not to be so little after all - he just lead us to believe it was. He surprised us by not wanting payment for a day spent making and fitting 2 shower bases - not for labour or materials - just goes to show you can never completely know someone.

On the other hand the drainage guy, having threatened me has now sent me a bill for £5,777.00 what he claims is the full amount for the work carried out. I have already paid him what I calculated the work to be worth (£1,480.00) and wait to see what he will do now as I don't intend to pay anymore.

So what progress have we made? The kitchen is tantalisingly close to being finished - just a cupboard to be fitted and a few cables boxed in and I can start moving in the furniture. We had black brickwork tiles and they look surperb. I spent 3 days covering up the yellow walls and green woodwork with magnolia and white - now the kitchen looks twice the size it did - it's going to be lovely. The front bedroom is now almost there, just waiting for the dado rails to be fitted in the ensuite and the carpet and we are done in there. I don't want to be overly optimistic but may also have the other two bedrooms on that floor done by Sunday. There is still, however, a mammoth painting job to be done on the lounge which hasn't been touched yet (more yellow and green) Not to mention the garden.

Been getting quotes from the yellohw pages. Very interesting will write about that next time.
Tuesday, 9 December 2008

That was a week that was

My intention was to write a blog everyday to chart the progress of the HMO development. Alas some days I haven't even been able to switch on my computer I've been so busy/tired. This week (or at least the last 9 days have been crazy.

I did the performance at the Town Hall with Ita. It was fantastic to be performing on such a big stage to such a huge audience. The event was promoted on the local TV station, radio, on the B'ham website and in the press. This coupled with the large cast of performance brought an audience of about 400. We were on in the second half and I was a) disappointed that my microphone kept falling off which detracted somewhat from the preformance and b) that the music and the action were perfectly synchronized, (A first for any performance with Ita) Andrew helped me to put the music together and the sound engineer (Tim I believe his name is) on the night was superb. We had some good feedback on the night - the audience laughed in all the expected places and we got good applause - but then so did everyone. There were some superb acts my favourites being Barbara Nice - the compare, the group of children dancing in white and the cast of RENT. I must go and see them at the Hippodrome in the new year.

I'll stay with performances for the time being as they have been the most rewarding things this week. On Saturday I did my co hosting of the Amnesty/WWB event. It was fabulous - not just because Ita and I were great MCs on the night but because the performers were so spot on. The musicians included Steve Yimga, an amazing djembe player, Joe Beale from the Joe Beale Blues Band, Silk Road, Matthew Tuite, Rockstone from Roakstone and ghe Y2K band, and the headline artiste - Ben Akofor who came all the way from Malvern. I was impressed when he said he was thinking what songs to sing at this event while he was in Palestine a couple of weeks ago. They were all superb. And the WWB performers really stepped it up a gear. I felt proud to be a part of the group.

As well as doing the MC ing we also did our poetry. Mine was 'The Guide' a poem about domestic violence. Almost immediately after I'd finished a gentleman came to ask me where he could buy the poem - sadly at this stage I don't have my poems available for sale. A bizarre thing happened. At the interval a woman took my hand - I thought to shake it - but no - she kissed my hand, looked into my eyes and repeated thank you a number of times. Apparently I was telling her story in the poem. A couple of people who work with women who have experienced domestic violence wanted to know if I would do something with their clients. A DJ from Newstyle Radio wanted me to come on to his show and many of the audience sought me out to tell me how much moved they were by the poem. What I find interesting is that while I was focused on the comparing part of the evening I was not overly concerned about performing the poem, and while I enjoyed the performace I really loved MCing. Much more so than I thought I would. Feed back has been really positive.

All this has been a welcome disraction from the house which is still inching its way forward. Too tired now to say much more but main builder completed all his work today. He's been paid and its good that all the fire doors are now in place (getting arm exercise opening them) Too tired to go on.