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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Blog Archive

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

22 hours to 2010

Wonder what's in store for us all. I'm going to set some goals and make some resolutions. I've got my website back so that's a good sign.
Monday, 28 December 2009

Got there

Can't belive I did so much before Christmas and still managed to have a super day. Meal with tenants was a reaal hoot. I cooked curry goat, chicken, snapper fish, rice, fried dumplins, plantains. Tenants (7 0f them brought drink and the karaoke machine 'singstar'.) Plus me and Andrew. The night surpassed our expectations - and I was knackered but happy.

The health farm - Mottershall Oaks near Stone in Staffordshire - is just what the doctor would have ordered (if i'd gone to the doctor). I slept for 9 hours a night in the beautiful suite, slept some more in the chill out room (amazing blackout blinds), got massaged by bubbles, and put on two pounds from the scrumptious food in their award winning restaurant. Had to ask for smaller portions or it would have been 5 pounds. My only disappointment were the treatments. Unimpressed with the 'dry float' and the 25 minute massage - inexperienced therapists. And the layout of the building left a little to be desired - no fun walking through the sweaty gym to get to the dining room. But the manicure was fab.

One brillinat thing was that I had loads of space in the suite to practice my dance - which I performed on the 18th. Managed to get a costume before I left from Mottershall. Made a couple of errors at the beginning but when I watched the recording afterwards did not cringe. Some of the other dancers said they really liked it and one suggested I should add it to my repertoire and perform it again. Hopefull by then I will have perfected it. For now I am happy enough with the performance.

Christmas was quiet and relaxed. The boys all made it. We ate, drank, laughed, was happy to just be together and played charades till after midnight. And so only 2 more days to the end of the year. What an eventful one its been.
Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Taking a break

I'm listening to my body and taking a break. Going for a few days to a health farm for a bit of R&R and a little bit of pampering. Don't know how it happened but having decided that I was way too far behind to even consider performing at the bellydance Hafla on the 18th - after a lesson yesterday I found myself thinking that maybe...with about 10 hours practice...I could just about master the locked undulations, the bellypops and the final part of the choreography....maybe I could get a costume together in time....maybe? I must be mad. Will see how I feel when I get back.

Haven't done anything for Christmas yet - apart from cooking meal for all tennants on Friday night - from both houses. Should be interesting.
Sunday, 29 November 2009
Life continues at breakneck speed. Cancelled my bellydance lesson this week and no practice whatsoever. Will be going this week though. I'm desparate for a holiday.
Sunday, 22 November 2009
Ever felt like your life is spiralling out of control? Things have been so hectic sometimes I don't know if I'm coming or going. It really does feel like a blur. I stayed in bed till midday today, got up and went out for a birthday lunch with Andrew's dad. Not great health wise that my first drink of the day is a glass of medium sweet German white. If they thought I wasn't my normal perky self they didn't say. They did however offer to look after things for us for a while if we wanted to take a holiday.

What's keeping me so occupied? Dealing with property and tennants. I wish I could say it was my writing or my bellydance but alas they are getting pushed to the margins. Still doing both but not spending nearly as much time on them as I'd like. I took part in a reading at the United Reform Church in Sutton Coldfield on Rememberance Day. The emphasis was on uplifting poems so took along my favourite one of Maya Angelou 'Still I Rise' and was suitably uplifted by it and all the others read. I declined the performance at 'The Public' on the 13th. I just did not have the energy and we had tickets for The Kegworth Players performance of Sue Townsend's 'Groping for Words' the following night. It was good for an amdram production. The village hall was packed out cafe style. The wine flowed as easily as the laughter and a good time was had by all. Would you credit it that I found myself agreeing to go along to their next meeting on the first Tuesday of next month?

It just feel like I'm lurching from one thing to the other with not much time to savour any of them. Hopefully this will change when all the houses are done.
Friday, 6 November 2009

Needing to believe

Been practicing wrist action like crazy. A billion times wouldn't be too many my teacher said. I have to remember that the journey of a thouand miles begins with one step. I found a picture that reminds me of what it's like to trust. This is me being guided blindfolded down a mountain - I'd never abseiled before. If I could trust my guide then; I can trust my teacher now - and most of all trust myself that I can do it. And this picture was taken just 4 days before my wedding!!
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Writing still going well. New poem today plus another verse in my dad's one. After 2 weeks of practicing wrist movements the teacher said I'd been doing it wrong - need to focus more on wrists - not hands. I nearly cried. Good bits - ballet arm positions doing very well. As a result of so much remdial work no more was added to the choreography. SOB! SOB! Will be a miracle it I've mastered this dance in time for the Hafla.
Monday, 2 November 2009

It's back

Oh Lord I'm writing again. Wrote another verse of my Dad's poem. I feel like I'm getting to know him in a way I'd never imagined. This may sound wierd but when I write I feel he's telling me what it was like for him. (Could be just an over active imagination - even so I'm glad it's back). Been reading more of Lobo's poetry - WOW.

And the belly dance? Got in a good half an hour's practice today. Yes I remember the routine but I'm still woefully inadequate in the execution of the moves. Still, I'll have a chance to display them tomorrow to the teacher. She may well wonder what I've been doing for the last two week.
Sunday, 1 November 2009

Memory lane

Just had a previous resident of my house in B'ham pull up outside the house while I was seeing off the French guy who had come for some help with his psychology assignment. He said he used to live here as a child, moved in 1991. His family moved while he was away at boarding school and he's never been back inside - driven past a few times. The place held very happy memories for him. I invited him in - he was almost in tears as he explained he'd just been to see his mom's grave and what special memories this house had for him. Used to be five siblings (4 boys and a girl) plus parents. He's a nurse now at QE hospital but a bit of a rebel in his younger days - hence the boarding school. Told me there used to be a pear tree at the bottom of the garden with a tree house which was his den. Then he kissed my hand, thanked me, gave me a hug and left. How random is that.
Saturday, 31 October 2009

Inspired again

Tonight I saw 9 poets at the Drum. 4 South Africans and 5 local poets they spent the last week working with. I have simply been inspired to write again. Listening to their amazing tales I realised why I had stopped writing. (I say had because as of tonight I'm writing again). It was because I thought I had nothing to say; thought I had no story worth telling; nothing interesting that I hadn't already said. How wrong I've been. One of the local poets wrote about her name-its origins and how she has grown into it. I can tell a story about my name if I wish. Lebo talked about how she is formed by the strengths and weakenesses of both her parents and what an amazing 'dancer' that makes her. How am I the product of my parents; what have I taken from them; what would I rather have left? Donata focused on children-his own and other peoples -they are the reason we are here he said-its what its all about-without children there would be no point to it all. (Interestingly I read two poems about Miles at WWB today) What else can I write about children? Me who have worked with them and on behalf of them for so long.

Of the four South Africans I was most inspired by Lebogang Mashile. Bought her book and even asked her to sign it. It was the second signed poetry book of the day- one of the WWB members gave me a signed copy of her book today 'for being an inspiring'!!! When did I do that I asked myself (but kept the question to myself).

The other SA poets were Keorapetse Kgositsile, Donata Mattera, and Phillippa Yaa de Villiers. This was the first date of the tour 'Beyond Words'. They are doing the Southbank Centre 4th Nov; Saville Exchange North Sheilds 7th Nov; The Albany London 10th Nov; Contact Manchester 12 Nov; and Bristol Old Vic 15th Nov. Worth seeing if you are anywhere near.

I've spent the day steeped in poetry and now I'm off to write. Halelulah I actually have some subject matter. I have a rich life; I have a story (or is it many stories) to tell.
Friday, 30 October 2009
Didn't make it to 'The Public' performances tonight. Too hectic a day and I'm chairing the Writers Without Borders meeting tomorrow morning - plus going to the South African poets performances at the Drum in the night.

Met one of my neighbours carer as he was leaving tonight. Got chatting to him - he's doing an access course in health and social care, has an assignment he's struggling with, asked me if I knew anything about psychology and lo and behold I've ended up helping him with his assignment via email tonight. As if I didn't have enough on my plate.

He said I was sent by God - maybe I was jsut in bvthe wrong place at the wrong time. That'll teach me to keep my big mouth shut.
Thursday, 29 October 2009

Breathing space

Got a letter from the court today - the new hearing has been set for 22 January next year. It will be a relief not to have to think about it before or over Christmas.

Did some bellydance practice today and was surprised at how much the muscles are remembering. I can coordinate both floreos arms (even if I have to count 1-2-3-4 over and over again. Pretty pleased with myself. Got some lovely comments from a friend who watched the wedding performance on YOUTUBE. Its encouraging me to keep going.

Back in the property and coaching saddle today - hit the ground running after being kept awake till 1 a.m. by a student Haloween party in Kegworth. Who would have thought it! I had to go back to Brum to get some sleep. Did you know that the police no longer have powers to go in and ask noisy neighbours to quieten down - apparently it is now the responsibility of the Local Authority who don't have a 24 hour service and wait till it becomes repetitive before taking action. Fortunately the students were very co-operative when I went and asked them to turn down their music. They were very apologitic and responded quickly. Some interesting Haloween costumes!!
Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Time out

I've had to take a couple of days out for R&R. The need became evident when I forgot a lunch date with a friend on Monday. I was in Leamington buying furniture at the time I should have been enjoying a three course lunch (had a sandwich from a garage that day-a poor substitute).

Had to hand deliver the court papers on Monday as the post office couldn't even guarantee the Special Delivery service due to the strikes. I took my coach's advice and actually enjoyed putting the stuff together. It was like a well presented report by the end and I was very pleased with it. Took me back to the days when I did reports on a regular basis.

Spent most of yesterday catching up on social phone calls, reading and sleeping. Today I went to the gym and had the most devine massage. After a leisurely pot of Earl Grey and a muffin I followed the Sutton Bonninton footpath for a while. It was an incredibly lovely autumn afternoon but I set out too late to make it all the way to Sutton Bonnington. A long boat owner told me about 'Deep Lock' and thr history behind it.

All this meant that I didn't make it to my belly dance class this week. Teacher said to keep practicing the floreos and ballet arms. I feel I'm getting them a bit better now as I naturally hold the ballet arms as I take up the dance position.

A couple of opportunities for poetry performance coming up; this Friday at the 'Public' in West Bromwich and again on the 13th Nov. Also going to see a group of South African poets at the Drum on Saturday night. Looked at the BBC My Story site last night - still thinking of a story to write. But I have decided to write one.

Its a juggle between property and performing at the moment and property is definitely winning.
Sunday, 25 October 2009

End of an era

I no longer have any teenagers. Youngest son turned 20 on Thursday and I wasn't invited to his drink in. Complaining to son number 1 he asked 'would you have gone if you'd been invited' 'No I said but it would have been nice to be given the option to refuse' 'I guess he couldn't risk the fact that you might have accepted'. So the end of another era. All sons now in their 20s and I don't feel more than 25 myself.
Thursday, 22 October 2009

Remembering who we are - and why we came

Another discussion tonight with one of the housemates reminded me that I am responsible for what happens in my life - that I attract people and situations for the lessons that I need/want to learn. So John, thank you for being in my life, for helping to teach me patience, persistence, and putting it in writing. Complaining to my coach about the inconvenience of having to sort out the court papers he simply said - and what is your learning? What if you were to view this situation differently. What if you were able to relax into it and simply observe the process with curiosity. Then it is not a chore but an opportunity to wonder, to marvel and to learn. I was reminded why I pay this man.

Apparently Neale Donald Walsh has a new book out for children that explain in simple language and concept the interconnectedness of us all. Didn't even know he wrote children's books but it sounded good. Must have a look.

Have been trying social networking - reactivated my Facebook account to find several requests for friendship - have now accepted them all. Not quite sure how to send them messages though.
Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Letting go

Added new bits to the choreography - locks and dramatic arm movements. Spent half the lesson on ballet arms. Apparently my wrist actions are getting better - still a long way to go though. I'm becoming more motivated to put in the practice - I think the muscles are laying down memory. I listen to the song over and over again. Its a good thing no one else shares my car and the brilliant thing is I can now match the moves to the music in my head. I'm constantly doing the dance in my head.

Had meeting with S today about being 'stuck' with my writing. I thought it was because I am so happy and most of the stuff I have written about is dark. Turns out its because I'm afraid of not being good enough. Now where has that been lurking. Need to start sharing my work again, the good, the bad and the ugly. I've had three invites to perform. I''ve been very reluctant recently but will accept and get back out there on the stage. Need to be like that frog in the David Attenburough programme that just freefalls. I've been a bit too planned recently - need to just let go; surrender to the will of 'God' the Universe, Infinite Intelligence.
Picture is from February 2005, Paradise Island, Bahamas. How carefree is that hanglider? Need to remember every day that life can be like this.
Saturday, 17 October 2009

When in doubt first consult your inner guide - and then have a reading. I did kinda know what I had to do before I went for the reading on Tuesday but it was good to have it confirmed. Basically the message was to seek legal advice and stand my ground. I sought legal advice which was indeed good advice. So I feel a lot more confident as to how to complete the statement. But at the end of the day I have to follow my conscience. In fact the reading was more focused on other aspects of my life - apparently its ok keep bellydancing. If nothing else its good for the figure.

So I went for my lesson on Wednesday afternoon and spent nearly 30 minutes learning how to rotate my wrists and another 30 minutes working on downward undulations. The lesson was over so quickly we didn't have time to add anymore to the choreography. Not sure if I'm going to be good enough to perform at the Hafla in December - though my teacher Dawn keeps assuring me that I will be. I've been using every spare moment to practice the wrists movements as they are the least embarassing to do in public. Had the gym to myself for a while today - mirrors galore so was able to go through the routine a couple of times. Then kind of undid a lot of the good work at the gym by going out for lunch at a fab little pub outside Melbourne. Can't rememebr the name of the pub but they've got huge wine glasses and lovely food. Worth going back just for the glasses. Discovering some of the beautiful vilages in Derbyshire - on the doorstep!!
Monday, 12 October 2009

Love and Forgiveness

What gorgeous weather for this time of year. My brother pointed out how little light pollution there is in Kegworth compared to a big city. I hadn't noticed for I rarely look up at the stars. Him and his family really enjoyed watching the DVD (particularly as there was so much of them in it). I've been re-reading Marianne Williamson's 'A return to Love' and marvelling at the power of love and forgiveness. There is no problem that cannot be solved when we surrender it to God. Need a lot of practice.
Saturday, 10 October 2009

Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

This morning I was grappling with the problem of how to respond to the court case and was taken back to an observation by Dr Martin Luther King Junior which I have on my wall.

Cowardice asks the question - is it safe?
Expediency asks the question - is it politic?
Vanity asks the question - is it popular?
But conscience asks the question - is it right?
And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it BECAUSE it is RIGHT.

There have been times in my life when I've felt I've had to act in a way that felt right for me; and that must be the case here. Whatever the outcome I must be able to look myself in the eye in the mirror and know that I have not compromised my integrity. I will do whatever the judge instructs if we cannot come to an agreement out of court - but whatever - I must know I have acted with integrity.

The sun came out as though to say 'Amen'. I feel incredibly fortunate to be so close to beautiful countryside in Kegworth. A two hour walk along the river this afternoon was perfect. My brother and his family are coming tomorrow and I've spent time making curry mutton, jerk chicken and apple crumble. And the belly dance? About 10 minutes of hand practice. I'm strugling to get the downward undulations right - I just look like I need to go to the toilet.
Friday, 9 October 2009

Champney Springs

A relaxing day despite the conveyor belt approach. The approach to the reception is very unusual - you walk across a bridge above a fish pond filled with brightly coloured fish with fountians playing tuneful jets. And as the tension begins to drain out of you its very quickly replaced by the barrage of information about all the features of the place. Where the spa is, where the gym is, where the Thalassotheraphy pool is, where to go for your treatment, how to wait in the room with your surname initial, where lunch is served, what time to check out, how to add purchases to your tab etc, etc. When the informer had gone we both looked at each other shell shocked. 'I feel like I've done a day's work' I said. 'Information overload' Andrew agreed as he sank back into the luxurious settee; one of the many reserved for day guests. We munched on fruit coctails and craved ginger stem biscuits.

We managed to find the Thallasotherapy pool which was no less military style; being told when to move from jet to jet, when to sit on the bubble bed (blissful and I could have stayed there all day). If you ever use this pool be ware the jets that massage the back and sides. If you're wearing a low cut suimsuit it can pull the top down and leave you unintentionally topless.

First experience of an aromatherapy wrap; skin brushed, oils smoothed on, foil wrapped over and tucked in under my chin (yes I now know how a turkey feels) and left to cook on a heated bed. Where I had it over the turkey though is that I had my feet massaged while I gently broiled. But again it was over all too quickly 25 minutes is not long enough to really go deep, but I would love to have this again for an hour.

Lunch was all healthy stuff and beautifully presented; even had a chef cooking veg tortilla to order. Felt very virtuous until about 4 o'clock when we headed for the cafe and tucked into muffins (we tried to mitigate this out by having green tea). And so the last two hours passed in those beautifully soft settees reading and jsut being together. It's good to turn the phones off for a day.

And the belly dance practice? Hand movements in the Jacuzzi - a few strange stares but do I care?
Thursday, 8 October 2009

Taking a break

Who would have thought life would beocme so hectic again. The hen night reunion was fabulous. It was like having a DVD night - but we were starring in the film. Unfortunately the bridesmaid couldn't make it as she was ill. Shame as she was heavily featured. It was good to use our cards, books and numerology to track our progress in life and find out so much more about ourselves. Thanks for the Osho Zen cards A. Love the way they invite you to think.

Used my SATNAV for the first time on Sunday as Andrew refused to drive to the christening (after dropping some of my friends back to Brum on Sat night) Not as bad as I thought - used it again today to get to Oldbury for tiles. Lovely christening although we just about made it to the church in time. Eats at Kenilworth Cricket Ground. Beautiful sunny and warm day - seems we are getting July's weather now. It's been a long time since I felt the need to have a kip in the afternoon but he settee saw a lot of me on Sunday afternoon/night.

Went to court on Tuesday - judge a bit miffed that stuff from my blog was being used - could not see the relevance and said he had no wish to wade through pages of irrelevance. Neither of us filled in the statements properly so he wasn't best pleased. A new hearing will be set in November - which will allow me sufficient time to respond to the plaintiff's statement (unlike last time). Think I'll use a lawyer for the next hearing. Plus for the day was a lovely meal at in the Jewellery Quarter and a large glass of Servignon Blanc while we waited for the traffic out of town to die down.

Andrew putting in some manic hours and I've just realised today that I've either been trying to match him or feeling guilty that I'm not. We're both taking a break tomorrow - going to Champney Springs for a relaxing spa day (wedding present); massage plus two other treatments; lunch and our phones turned off. Really looking forward to it.

Working on bellydance routine - lots of hand moves - it's all in the wrists.
Friday, 2 October 2009

Hen's reunited

Tomorrow the hen night possee come together to view photos, DVD, drink wines, coctails, eat savories and sweets and relive the day (and night). The house is cleaned, the albums sorted and the curry mutton cooked. It will be supplemented by some samosas, veg curry, and maybe a chocolate cake. There should be about 10 of us and there should be some laughs. Need some sleep as we've got a christening on Sunday morning.
Thursday, 1 October 2009

Delayed Telegraph

While searching for something completely different last night I just found this link to the Daily Telegraph's article on our wedding. If you didn't manage to get a paper on the day (or didn't want to spend £1.99 just to see a few words about us) here's your chance. Mind you - it's not the full article - there were more pictures in the mag.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Belly Dance Progress

All good bellydancers must have some presence on the web and apart from my tentative attempts on my website I am now on YouTube! Hurray! The wedding bellydance is finally posted by the videographers. You can watch it at


They've only put up the veiled dance. The raunchier Shakira one (which so embarassed my boys) willbe posted on my website in the portfolio section - waiting for Andrew to do that for me but he's so busy just now....

So how has my first week been? Dedided to keep paper journal as I have a big enough handbag to carry one - laptop doesn't quite fit my bag. Viewed loads of flamenco style dances to see if there are any moves I'd like to incorporate in my dance; eventually after seeing a dance by my teacher decided on; square turns, penatgon turns, fireny walk, zig zag hot backs, cash steps, shoulder and hip shimmies, floreos, knee raises and a fair bit of skirt ruffling. I was sent home to practice upward and downward undulations and piston hips (which involve an amazing amount of glutes work) Have been given specific glutes exercised - my I'm going to have a tight arse. Need to lose about 7 pounds if I'm really going to look the part (how quickly it shot back on after the wedding).

On another performance matter. Passed up the opportunity to perform at a Black History Month event on October 10th as that weekend is a social whirl with a bit of R&R at Champney Springs thrown in. It's all very exciting . Being Mrs Dixon is much more fun than I expected.
Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Back on the creative path

I'm always amazed at the time gap between post. I think its a week or so and when I come to write again find it two or even three weeks. In the last few weeks I've had a birthday - very low key coming so close on the heel of the high profile wedding. We had a hot stone massage; our first one-and a wedding gift. The stones were beautiful and I must confess to being very impressed with Banatynes in Brindley Place where we had it. One of my sons joined us for dinner in one of the Italians restarants in Brindley Place. He was working early the next day and Andrew was driving so I was forced to drink most of the two bottles of Survignon Blanc by myself. And was really surprised when the waiting staff who found out it was my birthday brought me a candle in my dessert and all gathered to sing me happy birthday.

I had a most amazing reading at the mind, body, spirit fair at the Council House in Birmingham on Saturday from a guy called Ian on the 'Lizian' stand. Apparently I need to get back into my creative activities and from my last birthday I come into a most 'progressive' phase - roughly translated means I can do anything I set my mind to. SO I've set my mind on becoming an international bellydancer!! Well, if the man is right it should be possible.

So this is where the creative path come back into the blog. I've agreed with my bellydance teacher to learn a dance to be performed solo at the next Hafla. I enjoyed the performance at the wedding so much that I have a real taste for solo performance. To keep me on track and to chart my progress I'm going to keep a diary (Diary of an International Bellydancer) may even do it on line. There's a mixture of fear and excitement at this prospect but if my chances of acheiveing whatever I want in the next 6-7 years are so greatly increased why not go for it?

WE GOT THE WEDDING DVD yesterday. I've watched it 3 times. It is fab and was certainly worth the wait. I saw so much that I didn't on the day. I can't get over how much laughter there was- how happy everyone appeared and how much fun we had. Everyone was so beautiul - so proud of my boys.

So - my next performance will be at the Christmas Hafla in Sutton. I just have to perfect the dance - watch this space!!
Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Dear John

If you are reading this please know that I hold you in a place of love. Whatever has gone on between us, however acrimonious it may have felt to you; please know that I have always trusted that the outcome will be a fair and just one. Please go in peace.
Saturday, 5 September 2009
Two weeks since I last blogged and it feels like two days. Where does the time go? Loads have happened since which I'm sure I'll get round to writing about when I have a bit more time. And yet no news from the contractor taking me to court. If you're reading this - what's going on? Please send me a reply to my email.

Been sorting out the photo albums/books/dvds/cd. Takes ages. Now have absolutely fantastic collage on wall. A1 size beautifully framed. Also got some really lovely frames from Debenhams for wall pictures of me, Andrew and the guys. Managed to deliver a few framed pictures of friends to them and and little personalised albums to bridesmaid, ushers and bestman (back in the UK for a few days before jetting off back to New York).

Went to a performance workshow with WWB today. Made relaize how far I've drifted from the performing world - haven't done any writing in ages - so decided to book myself into a poetry workshop the day before my birthday. Wedding hardly over and having to think about what to do for my birthday. Current options. Party at home...Glee Club....Dinner with Andrew....Girls night in...Dinner out with friends...Still thinking about it.
Saturday, 22 August 2009

Live right for your type

I've been introduced to a new diet (or rather a way of life) based on blood type. It's by a guy called Peter D'Abalo and basically says that there are certain personality traits that can be attributed to our blood types and certain foods that affect the different blood types in different ways. Andrew and I are trying it out. Basically he has to steer clear of wheat, dairy and various grains and pulses. I have to steer clear of chicken (sob! sob!) avocado (more sobs) cashews (how am I going to survive) and corn in all its forms. Be a bit of a blow when I go to the cinema tomorrow.

There are loads of avoids of things I've taken for granted such as tomatoes, cucumber, soya and even pumpkin. What to bulk out soup with now as lentil are also off the menu. We're going to start properly tomorrow and see where we get to. The diet is supposed to help you live longer, deal with a multitude of ailments (if you have them) and give you loads more energy. I'll let you know hiw it goes.
Tuesday, 18 August 2009


Got the passport. After days of chasing around to get proof of address at the banks, doctors and optitians all they asked to see on the day was my marriage licence. It took four hours and £114.00 and I walked out of the office in Peterborough with a new passport. Mrs Dixon it is now - an e-passport and a picture that makes me look like a criminal (no smiles allowed).

It feels great to be getting back into performing. Did a bellydance workshop on Sunday with Dawn O'Brien on two different styles - Fusion and American Folk something. It was so good my friend and I booked some private sessions with her and had the first one tonight. It's so different having someone making sure your posture is right, that the moves are being done correctly and to have time to drill the moves to build muscle memory.

Have to find a way to fuse bellydance and poetry on stage - can I do it by the end of November for 'Positively Red'?
Thursday, 13 August 2009

Ups and downs?

Trying to get a passport in a hurry. The passport office will do a one day service for a change of name (even though it says otherwise on their website). Can't believe how difficult it was to get my bank (Barclays) to print me a satement on headed paper in the branch. Apparently it is not permissible to do that - should go through head office and take 3-4 working days. Had to get the manager to sanction it after an extremely 'jobs worth' assistant assured me it couldn't be done. No one at the doctor's surgery could print on headed paper except the secretary - and she goes home at 3.30 p.m. Heaven preserve us from beauracracy!!

What else not going to plan? The full Wedding DVD will not be ready for another 4 weeks (as there is rather a lot of footage to edit) so plan for girlie night to watch it will have to be mid September - nearly two months after the event!!

What nice is happening? The collage of photos of the day arrived very quickly and looks great. My bridesmaid made me a lovely album of the event which included pictures from trying on the dress in the shop, the hen night, pictures from the morning before we even begun to get dressed, the siute we stayed in including the stunning views, some unusual shots of the rest of the day and pictures of the Sunday morning. I was touched - almost cried - by her thoughtfulness. I've been circulating the DVD of evening pictures, set to music, and getting great comments.

Rediscovering the splendid guidance of the Tarot. Spotted a Tarot Bible last week and have been working my way through it. It is extremely comprehensive. Love it and getting great guidance. Main message - relax and go with the flow.
Wednesday, 5 August 2009

All change

I'm needing to attend to some practical things which feels like intrusion into my little bubble of happiness. Preparing for a court hearing for one. One interesting fact I discovered is that there is a VAT helpline that's very interested in companies/individuals who offer cash options to customers. Even if you have no tangible proof but have the VAT number of the company they are prepared to investigate.

I'm also having to go through the tedious process of changing my name on a whole range of documents. A friend of mine gave me a tip - do it slowly - as things come up for renewal. May try that

I've ordered a collage of pictures from the wedding. One of Andrew's friends sent us a small one she'd done and we liked it so much we've ordered a big one of almost 90 images. We should have all the pictures by next week and hopefully the DVD soon.
Sunday, 2 August 2009

The fun continues

Saturday at Writers Without Borders was great - some fantastic writing - and the cake went down well. One member took a piece home for her daughter in the hope it may encourage her to become a less of a reluctant bride. I did the poem I've written for Andrew 'Refugee' - first public performance. It was very fitting; given that I've just taken his name. 'After dinner Speech' also got its first airing but it was proably better to have left it till another time. I brought in a few photos of the wedding to show the group and heard the word 'stunning' used several times about my dress. I was flattered.

Its now August and the scene is set for a round of birthdays. I have 9 friends and family with birthdays in August. I was out for a meal with one of them tonight. Her daughter arranged a surprise dinner at San Carlos on Temple St in the city cente. Its years since I've been there and I'd forgotton how lovely the food is and how vibrant and alive the atmosphere is. Those Italian waiters still work magic with the guests on the charm front - so much so that we didn't grumble about the £20 service charge the added to the bill. They did such a splendid rendition of 'Happy Birthday to you, it was worth it. Wine on par with the Belfry prices but it was a great evening - first official invite as Mr and Mrs.

I'm going to need to put in some serious time in the gym over the next few weeks if I'm not to undo all the good work which enabled be to fit into that dress.

I'm still reliving the day as I sift through the photos to choose the best ones for the albums/DVD. I am taken aback by the joy and laughter on the faces of our guests - especially when they are not aware of being photographed/filmed. Aahhh....it was such a wonderful day.
Friday, 31 July 2009

Getting back to normal

Two weeks ago today I was preparing for a wedding. Tonight I'm preparing for my writing group tomorrow. I'll be taking wedding cake for the group. Tonight I also performed the veiled dance as a group - it didn't work as well - too many of us on the stage and we looked scrappy. Some amazing dances by other performers. I've decided to try some other teachers over the summer; get a new perspective, learn some new moves. After the wedding I realized that I love dancing solo. I just need to get good enough to be able to do it well - and I can.

There are some fantastic wedding pictures. I'll be getting some of them on the web soon. I've joined Facebook so could post them there. And still the thank you cards keep coming. At least we managed to get our sent out today - even things up a bit I guess. It took almost all day to write them up as I wanted to address and thank each guest personally, and to let them know that our wedding is being featured in the Sunday Telegraph's Sunday magazine 'Stella' on the 9th August.

Today feels a long way removed from the visit to court on Monday - concilation didn't work and I've since learned a lot about water standards. About the WRC and Whitters and about junctions and connections. I've had to educate myself quickly to understand what I need to clarify with the independent surveyor who will be appointed by the claimant to assess what has and has not been done to our drains. Now the wedding is over I can dedicate a lot more time to understanding this issue as it will be going to full hearing and I expect to win.

I'm looking forward to reading poems tomorrow and to hearing others' writings. Still living in bubble of love -it feels great!!
Saturday, 25 July 2009

One week on

It quarter to four on Saturday and I've been reliving the day. I've had calls and texts from guests who are reliving it too. Still haven't seen many pictures from the evening. Have developed the ones from the disposable cameras but they are very dark (don't think many people used the flashes) I'm still relishing the day ones and finding it very difficult to narrow them down to just 40 images for the album. Evening ones should be available next week for viewing on the web.

I've got used to being Mrs Dixon amazing quickly (mind you it's been a long time coming). I feel I've changed on the inside and was struggling to understand why - until my bridesmaid pointed out today that in changing my name I changed my energy vibration. I feel a lot calmer, more self assured, a lot easier with life. Its not just a feeling of having someone to move forward with - its something quite intangible. I'm actually enjoying being a wife!!!
Thursday, 23 July 2009

Coming down

The thank you cards and letters keep coming from guests who want to thank us for a great day/evening. Seems like the wrong way round - we should be thanking all our guests for being there and for the many and varied presents - which we will do as soon as we can get our Thank You cards. The stationer who hand made all our stationary is ill and may not be able to attend to them for some time. We are also trying to track all the people who contributed to our Paris trip as the travel agents did not record all the names.

The adrenaline is beginning to wear off and my body is craving sleep, cake and champagne.
Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Venturing out

It's Wednesday and I'm going to venture out into Birmingham. We've hardly left the house; I went with Andrew to see his parents on Monday for about 30 minutes and to the Co-op for ten minutes yesterday. We spent most of the day opening presents on Monday and have been overwhelmed by our guests generosity. (And we haven't had the gifts purchased through Debenhams delivered yet but we are aware of who bought us what) We know of some of the contributors to our Paris trip but not all the names were recorded so thank you, thank you, thank you everyone.

We've been sent the web proofs of the wedding photos and are taken aback by the way the photographer managed to capture the essence of the day - every looks so happy! In fact the toast master told us that it is the happiest wedding he has ever presided over - and he's been at it a long time. I'll email the photo link in case you want to see what happened at the cermony (if you weren't there) or if you want to purchase photos. The rep from Stella magazine (Daily Telegraph) phoned yesterday to check if everything went OK and how I felt about the day. Article will be out towards the end of August. Will keep you posted.

We've received a number of thank you cards from our friends saying how much they enjoyed the day/evening; what a unique event it was; and one guest so enjoyed using the mike in front of an audience that she's considering a change of career!!

I feel like I'm still floating around in a bubble. I want to hold on to this feeling for as long as I can.
Sunday, 19 July 2009

Breathing out

Oh my God, what a day!! It's true what they say, it all goes by so quickly. All those months (even years) of planning and suddenly it's over. It's the end of the night and you are climbing into bed - legal status completely changed, clutching either a new husband or a new wife. And what a day it was. Such a kelideoscope of of wonderful moments; so many smiling, laughing, joyous faces; so many well wishes; so many amazing people in one room; the light, the energy that glowed from everyone. I will never forget the day.

The day went almost to plan; and where it deviated I'm sure it was all in divine order. Just a bit of information for those I didn't get round to telling on the day. The wedding is being featured in the Daily Telegraph's 'Stella' magazine. You could not have failed to notice that there was a camera crew with rather specialists lighting equipment - well, that was the Telegraph's camera guys. I was told they would arrive, stay for about 20-30 minutes and would discretely take some pictures. As you will remember they were around for the ceremony and the whole of the photography session (and I'm told they were taking pictrues before the cermony too) I hadn't mentioned this to anyone for two reasons. 1) They may not have arrived and people's expectations may bad been dashed, and 2) People may have been anxious and I didn't want that. Not even Andrew knew - and it wasn't till we were well into our meal that I told him. He was cool about it. I'll let you know when the article will be out.

I loved the ceremony. Walking into the room and seeing all those beaming faces, knowing that they were all rooting for us, and seeing the look on Andrew's face when he turned around a saw me would have been enough for the day - and yet there was so much more.

I'm not sure what was going on on Table 4 but all the other tables wanted some. Thanks to those of you who were grateful for the speeches being short - and thanks to my brother for sparing you from some of my much more embarassing moments. He was very kind. There was such amazing energy in the room, which only intensified when all the evening guests arrived. Such colour, such vibrancy, such love - we felt it from everyone - not a single grumpy person in the house. We didn't know Lassell was going to ask people to come up and say things about us so we were totally taken aback by all the lovely things everyone said.

And yes, Andrew was as surprised as you were by the belly dance. You have no idea how difficult its been trying to keep it secret for so many months. We've had many request for a posting on Youtube, we'll see what we can do. Just for the information, there was a bit of confusion with the music on my first dance - the DJ thought I'd finished and turned faded the music when in fact I was only half way though the dance - maybe that's all you were meant to see. Anyway thanks for your appreciation for the Shakira dance. My eldest son has calculated how much it's going to cost him for therapy to get the image out of his head of his mom dancing to one of his favourite songs.

And I'm really surprised that so many of you made it to the Belair - and were still there at closing time. 4 a.m, totally exhausted but still high on adrenaline we made it to bed. It was a perfect day.
Friday, 17 July 2009

Its tomorrow!!!

What a day - a complete whirlwind. I even did washing today - what was I thinking about? I didn't want to start my new life with a pile of dirty washing.

We collected the dresses and we looked beautiful (at least we thought so). The lady in the dress shop hugged us and wished us well. She has 34 other brides getting married tomorrow - marriage is not dead then. The forcast is for good weather.

We had a party in the suite, my brother, sons, nephew and bridesmaid. It was lovely but I seemed to be rushing around making sure they were ok - just like being at home really. There was food, wine, beer and great conversations. My sons saw the hen night photos for the first time and one of them is threatening to use them in his speech tomorrow. He kept shaking his head as if in disbelief - though eventually admitted that they were tasteful. (Must get some up on site soon).

My future parents in law are down the corridor and said I still had time to change my mind. They said tomorrow they will be 'mom and dad' to me - at least in law.

So here I am, about to go to bed for the last time as Mrs Gabbidon, no longer carrying the name of my children (at least two of them) they will all be equal now. I will have a different surname to all of them. I will be changing my numerlogy energy for something more dynamic and less egocentric. Will be interesting to see how that pans out.

I am excited now. Almost as excited as my bridesmaid. Just hope I can sleep!!
Thursday, 16 July 2009

2 days to go

I spent two and a half hours getting my nails done today. It was fantastic. I sat in a wonderful chair that massaged my back while a very attentive nail therapist gave me a pedicure and painted pretty pictures on my nails. Why have I never done this before? I certainly think it will be somethinhg I'll be doing a lot more of now - at least once a month.

Lots of wins today. All the stuff delivered the Belfry (main events manager responsible for the wedding is ill, we've been assured she will be back by Saturday) but didn't get to taste the curry mutton. I forgot to ask and the work experience assistant probably didn't know about the tasting. Maybe tomorrow but it's now at the stage where I'm just going to have to trust that the chef gets it right on the night.

I go my hair done. Hairdresser coming on Saturday morning to make sure I'm properly styled but the groundwork has been done. Huge complements at my bellydance class tonight.

All presents bought. Number one son has his shoes and I've managed to get all sons all agreed on a time for checking in at the Belfry. They will allow us to check out at 2 p.m. on Sunday, three hours later than normal checkout, on account on our anticipated late night on Saturday.

Friends arrived from New York, Barbados and Finland today.

It's been a long day but I think the meditation this morning helped to stretch the hours and foster a sense of calm - or was that the back massage? Quite a bit of running around tomorrow but I feel that I've broken the back of it now!
Wednesday, 15 July 2009

3 days to go

It's just felt like a slog today. The punch is made, the champagne is bought, the presents have been secured, the body has been worked out and steamed, the flowers are confirmed, the MC has been contacted, the braids have been removed (in preparation for the new style tomorrow) and I am knackered.

High points- getting the dance right with Andrew - very high point. Finding the right presents. Having my ring cleaned and looking like new again. Acheiving everything I set out to do toady.

Did I mention I'm knackered. Have not even checked to see if my friends from Finland and Barbados landed safely today. Have not been in touch with my friend from Canada who landed in Manchester on the 9th.

Only two more days of the rushing around then it's D-Day or should I say W-Day. Cards have begun to arrive. It feels very real!!
Tuesday, 14 July 2009

4 days to go

Oh God, the time seem to be rushing by. I had to cancel my massage today so I could meet a photographer in town. She's lovely and will be photographing the evening part of the wedding when the official photographer goes home. All she wants is for us to buy a minimum of 30 prints from her if we like them. She's quite happy to come to the whole day (not sure if we can feed her) but I'm sure we can work something out.

The florist has still not confirmed our order. (To think we made the booking last March) She emailed me the quote instead of the confirmed booking/final invoice today. One of the guys phoned to ask if he needed shoes as the hire company didn't give him any. I had to breathe deeply before responding because I specifically remember a conversation with him where I explained that he did need them. Must remember to go and get the replacement for the ones that didn't fit on Saturday.

I've made a start on the punch; should be finished tomorrow; and I've started to take out my braids. Can't get hold of the MC or the DJ and one of the singers is not returning my calls.

On the plus side, I managed to have a long conversation with one of my friends and was able to focus on her issues (her mom is very ill) instead of the wedding. Tomorrow is another day. Another day closer.
Monday, 13 July 2009

5 days to go

With five days to go to the wedding I completed my NLP Master Practitioner course. Following a presentation to 30+ people, we had the opportunity to listen to and critique the recordings we made of health and goal setting CDs. Although the content of my recording (the script) was rated highly by the trainers the quality of the recording was so poor that I had to do it again. We had the usual presentation ritual which this time included a beautiful crystal on which our names and qualificfations were engraved. We then headed out to Pastishe - a very nice bistro in Stafford with free desserts on Monday nights.

It was a stark contrast to yesterday when they had us abseiling down Ramshore Rocks (near Leek) BLINDFOLDED. The ultimate trust exercise. No brain space for any wedding stuff yesterday as I had to staqrt preparing for today's presentation as soon as I got in.

Today it was Andrew doing the running around to pick up the table plan and order of ceremony from the stationer - who did not manage to make all the changes as she ran out of materials. She's offered to reimburse me for the lack of standard - but I really would rather she had delivered what I wanted. Nothing I can do about it now as she's off to Turkey on holiday from today.

All the men's suits have been collected now - and they all fit (except the best man and we won't know that till he arrives from America on Thursday) My friends from Canada, Barbados and Finland will all be here by Wednesday.

And there is still so much to do!!!
Saturday, 11 July 2009

7 days to go

Highs and lows today. Picked up three of the suits for the guys today and they look stunning. The shop wants us to send them some pictures for thier portfolio. That was the high. The low? The table plan and order of service stationery were not what I was expecting and after a long debate I took them back to the supplier. She will re-do them for Monday before she goes on holiday.

Three of my friends have life threatening illnesses, which, when I reflected on it made my strop over the stationery seem like a childish tantrum.

I've found it very hard to concentrate on the forthcoming NLP presentation on Monday and for the first time since I began the course am not looking forward to a whole day of NLP tomorrow. Even less so since we've been told to bring outdoor clothes and the weather looks foul. Just praying it brightens up by next week.
Friday, 10 July 2009

8 days to go

The bridesmaid is ecstatic. Her dress looks fabulous on her and together we ooze sophistication and charm (if I do say so myself). The challenge will be doing 'the dance' in the dress. Went to the gym and ate only two mangoes before going for the fitting - then made up with some chips afterwards. Fitting reward for all my hard work and abstinance of the day.

How did I forget to book a room at the Belfry for my sister-in-law's brother? And to top it all the hotel is fully booked for that night. Now I know they are not all my guests so who the hell else is filling the other 500+ rooms? Sorry guys, if you haven't booked yet it's too late.

All the men should be collecting their suits tomorrow - no call yet from the store in Nuneaton to say the two from there are ready. Loughborough, Bradford and Stockport have all got their's in. Fingers crossed Nuneaton's are in as I've arranged to take the two guys in tomorrow.
Thursday, 9 July 2009

9 days to go

Some more wins today, and I am desperately tired. I made a decision not to attend the Property Mastermind course tomorrow so that I can have a lie in and go with the bridesmaid to try on her dress which arrived today. That phone call from the dress shop brought much relief, much whooping and cheering. (to the amazement of the gardener who was sitting in my kitchen when I got the news) The curry mutton recipe that I got from the Jamaica travel and culture site produced a lovely curry and I've now emailed the recipe to the chef. I have another tasting on Thursday. Please dear God let this one be good - dare I even hope for fantastic?

Got the ingredients in for the punch. Trying had to resist crisps - Walkers ready salted - mindful that a moment on the lips could ruin the fit of that dress. It all still feels a bit wierd. Sometimes I feel like I'm outside of me looking in as I make all the arrangements; sometimes it feels unreal, but I guess in 9 days time it will be real enough.
Wednesday, 8 July 2009

10 days to go

Had a few big wins. Dress fitted perfectly - only alteration needed is to shorten it a bit. Phew! Just need to keep the weight off now. Bridesmaid dress has been dispatched from the USA and she's booked in for a fitting on Friday afternoon. Means I'm going to have to miss the afternoon session of Property Mastermind. Belfry stuff mainly sorted. Just trying to get a good curry mutton recipe to the chef - actually cooking one myself to be certain of the ingredients then I can emial it to him. Found my hair extensions on Soho Rd, sorted out the flowers today and our dance is much improved.

I'm finding it difficult to sleep now - so many small jobs left to be done - and I still have an NLP presentation to prepare and deliver. I hope tonight will be a good one for sleep in the light of thisw rapid movement.
Sunday, 5 July 2009

Hen night on Broad Street

Yes, it was on Broad Street and it was enormous fun. We started off in Around the World in 80 Dishes and moved on to The Brasshouse to finish off the night. The combination of Moulin Rouge and Bond Girls was a huge success - randon people stopped us to take photos and we were seriously propositioned as we waited for our lift at the end of the night. Hoping to post a few pics on the blog soon. Not sure if it was one too many champagnes or one too many coctails but I had to go back to bed this afternoon.

The plans are going well. Only two hiccups - the bridesmaid dress is proving to be very elusive as are my hair extensions. My only regret just now is agreeing to do the NLP Master Prac course this close to the wedding. We (the four of us on the course) have to do a half day workshop on Monday the 13th to approximately 40 people - something I'd prefer not to have to think about just now.

I'm going for my dress alterations tomorrow and just hope I've done enough on the diet front to do it justice.
Monday, 15 June 2009

Starting the countdown

Realised on Saturday its exactly 5 weeks to the wedding. Didn't go to the Belair on Friday night so I'm still not sure what its like.I'll just have to find out on the night like everyone else. We decided against it as we were both knackered at the end of the week. Went out for a meal in Solihull instead and ended up in bed at 11 pm. instead of 2 or 3 a.m. which would have been the case if we'd gone clubbing. (is it just age?)

Spent a chunk of Saturday getting he lads kitted out. I'm sure there must be a poem about older women taking the inside leg measurement of young men but I'm too tired to think of it just now. Sure it will come to me. The performance world seem like a couple thousand miles away at he moment. I'm not taking part in the 'Hello Jerusalem' event at the Drum on Friday 10th July. Inspiration seem to have dried up or maybe its just been covered over by wedding plans and property matters.

It's great though that I was able to complete the table plan last night as our guests have been brilliant at replying to our invite. Still chasing a few evening invitations so if you haven't returned your card yet PLEASE DO by Wednesday. TA!
Sunday, 7 June 2009

Beginning to bubble now

I'm aware that my website needs a deparate overhaul, I'm just trying to find the time to do it. Been developing a property one for the new launch into the dizzy world of investing. I'm beginning to see a window to address many of the creative and performing issues once the wedding is out of the way. I'm not meaning to sound like its a chore - I'm really excited now - it's just that its very time consuming. R and are going to check out the Belair on Friday night so I can get an idea of what the guests will be in for on the night (or maybe Saturday will be better?) May stick with Friday as it's already in the diary and I can feel the hen night on the 4th July looming. Must take myself out and invest in a basque. I got wind we were in for a bit of a Moulin Rouge night. Must see if I can post some of the pictures here.
Saturday, 30 May 2009

Whirlwind month

Gosh! It's the end of the month already - and what a month it's been. The black tie dinner was a great one after the Mastermind workshop. There are definite advantages to being the only white wine drinker on the table, especially when the wine is a particularly tasty Survignon Blanc. I'm not sure how coherent I was by the end of the night but it was a dedidedly good night. It was good to see Richard Wilkins again and to be reminded that everyday that one finds onself alive is a day to celebrate.

The property search has speeded up and so has the plans for the wedding. It's all falling into place but requiring a bit more of my time. I've received a lot of replies and I know you still have till the 18th June but please send the RSVP back as soon as you can. I think I've got the entertainment sorted now.

Not much time left for writing and performing, though I did manage a poem during a quiet spell on the Mastermind, and performed a poem at Spicy's birthday party last Saturday. It is a really exciting time just now. I'm manifesting almost instantly which means I have to be really careful with my thoughts because a few undesirables have crept in (tooth infection for instance) - though mostly it great stuff. I've been reviewing my vision boards and am astounded by what has actually been manifested into the physical to date. Busy doing a property one now - watch this space.
Monday, 4 May 2009

Another bank holiday

Last blog written last bank holiday. I hope I'll have time to write more often but it feels a bit hectic just now. I've been geting out a bit more to gigs and things but not finding time to write or to perform. The property thing seems to be taking over. I joined Simon Zutchi's property master mind course which is an intense 12 months of focus on property to build a portfolio quickly. I'm loving it - and joy of joys there's room for fun and glamour as well as brickdust and paint. There's a black tie dinner on Friday after the workshop - a chance to dress up in a long frock. A bit different to the Glee Club on Saturday night. A night out with the tennants and a few other friends - what a laugh and the disco afterwards was fun too. Alas I haven't seen much poetry and even had to cancel my Writers Without Borders meeting on Saturday to go a view a property. I'm hoping to get to Poetry Bites this month and Pure and Good and Right in Leamington on the 31st. Oh - and the wedding plans are going well - just need a performer for the evening for about 45 minutes - know anyone?b
Tuesday, 14 April 2009

A very happy Easter

I hope you had a very happy Easter. I sometimes think given the meaning of easter that its a bit of an oxymoron to wish someone a happy one. Anyway I had a happy one. Went to a 40th birthday party on Saturday night and had a great time. Maybe a glass or two too many champagne but the atmosphere was great at its been a while since I was still out at 4 a.m. (Also a while since I slept in till 2.30 p.m.) Then on Monday I went up to the Derbyshire Dales and had lunch with some friends - rather a long lunch - lasted till 8.30 p.m. A weekend of total indulgence in every way. Its now as near as damn it 3 months to the wedding so from 18th of this month I'm on total cleanse and preparation for the big day. Hopefully the invitations will arrive this week so we can send them out - look out for yours and please reply soon.
Friday, 27 March 2009

Full House

Last tennant moved in yesterday. There's a bit of an odd story behind this. Three of the rooms were let very quickly then of course there's been this gap since. Quite a few people came to view the last room and although they all said they liked it no one came back. Last week I decided to do a new advert as the previous one was looking a bit tired. Within hours of going live on Spareroom (on Thursday 2.30 am) I had a call, by the end of the night I'd got a viewing with another booked for Saturday; again the person said he loved it, even promised to bring his deposit to secure it at 7am the next morning - but didn't. Then my friend came round on Friday night and I asked her- casually - to have a look at the room and give me an opinion as to why it wasn't going. The first thing she noticed was the Jean Michel Jarre album cover I'd got propped up on the bookshelf as dressing 'Why on earth have you got a skull in the room?' she exclaimed, and for the first time I noticed that there was indeed a picture of a skull overlooking the room. 'Have you any idea the effect that could be having subliminally?' The skull was promptly removed and on Saturday morning the room was taken. All week I've been inundated with calls from others who had seen the advert and wanted to know if the room was still available. What do you make of that? So if you've got a room to let - beware the sublimnal messages. The house feels complete now.
Saturday, 14 March 2009

The Master Practitioner

I begin my NLP Master Prac course tomorrow. I can't believe its come round so fast, feels like just a few weeks ago I was writing about finishing the practitioner course. Life's been a whirlwind, changing so fast I can hardly keep up. And on top of everything else I now have a wedding to plan.
Thursday, 5 March 2009

Beware the Blog

Yesterday I received a court claim from the drainage company who provided such a poor service. He is demanding £4319.29 in addition to the £1,480 I've already paid him. What is really interesting is that he is citing an entry made in this blog on December 12 'plaintiff is adamant they will not pay as stated on internet blog'. I'm flattered that he reads about the progress of the development on my blog. Strangely he makes no mention of the threats he'd made to me which I wrote about in the same entry. I guess it's the best way to resolve things as I could not trust his word any more and would no longer communicate with him lest he became abusive and threatening again.

On another, brighter note. I went to Retort Caberet at the Kitchen Garden Cafe on Sunday and had a spendid evening. God it was so good to be out at a live event. It was a fantastic line up from the amazing compare Rachel Pentagenet, to the Russian magician (whose act Andrew and I took part in), the comedian and all the musicians. It was a shame so many people went home before the headline act who had come all the way from Staylybridge and sounded like a Denver country singer. Andrew bought the CD (forgotten name of singer) even though he was so poor at promoting it, in fact all three acts almost made apologies for the fact that they had CDs for sale - why bother making them if they don't want people to buy them. Come on guys - be a bit more proactive in promoting your music; make us want them CDs.

Anyway, hoping to get to the Drum next Sunday to see Sureshot billed as 'a master of cerebral verse and story teller' Can't wait.
Saturday, 28 February 2009

Let go and let God

The last week's been very strange. I've had some time for reflection and realised how far I've drifted from the spiritual principle of pure potentiality. This was crystalized in a conversation I had with one of the housemates on Thursday night and then reinforced when I was listening to Whitney Houston's 'When you Believe' the following day. I'd forgotton the true meaning of the phrase 'let go and let God'. So I'm back in a space where I am willing to go with my destiny and not try so hard to take control. I have a feeling the fifth housemate will appear soon and won't be anything like I've been expecting; but will be perfect.

We've started to veiw properties and seem to be guided in paths we would have not have chosen (cock ups by estate agents sending us to the wrong properties) but we're choosing to see it as guidance. Nothing suitable presented itself yet - but it's early days.

Decided today that I have to do a poetry workshop soon as I don't seem able to write at the moment - even with all the material I have from doing the development. Going to watch 'The Secret' again tonight.
Thursday, 19 February 2009

The final hurdles

Just one room left to be let now. I could hardly believe it when a police officer contacted me, interested in letting the room. Not sure if she will take it after she views but it would be really intersting to have the full sent of emergency services represented in the house - and I'm totally gobsmacked by how close I am to my wish list.

We're still finishing off a few bits (external extractor in the kitchen; and now the skip is finally gone we need to hose down the front drive) but it is feeling almost there now. Beginning to view other properties - just testing the water.

I am always amazed when I get communication from people who have read my blog, I am often surprised by who reads it.
Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Skipping along

Just realized I haven't posted a blog since the second tennant moved in - life has been a little hectic, but I feel I have something to celebrate today - They removed the skip. For the last two and a half weeks I've been phoning WasteAway every day to come and pick up the skip. They seem to have two people who answer the phone; one appear quite pleasant and the other quite rude. Every day I phoned and if it was the rude one he would say they are running behind because of the snow (long after the snow had gone) if it was the nice one he would say they'll come and get it today - every day for two weeks I heard that. Sometimes they would actually give me a time and if it went past that time I'd phone again and be told it was the driver's last job. When I complained to a friend who is in the building trade he explained that they are probably not in a rush because they have to pay to have the skip contents dumped, and if they're not busy and needing the skip - well - why rush? Anyway, I meditated today and decided to detatch from the whole skip thing, went off to my first ever property auction (huge fun - just looking) and when I came back it was gone; space now for four cars. It had been there so long it almost felt like a permanent feature. Don't think I'll be hiring from that company again.

Back to the auction. I was gobsmacked at the prices houses were going for compared with the estate agents. A really nice 2 bedroom flat in Wake Green Rd, Moseley went for £65,000, three bedroom houses from between 65k and 97k, and a four bedroom house in Aston went for £102,000. Whole flats in Nechells went for £34,000 - some people have that much on a credit card. Anyway it was immerse your self in property day cause I went to the Property Investment Network meeting at the Strathallen tonight. It was good to reconnect with investors, and to meet up again with those who didn't take a break from investing and are now property millionaires - and still down to earth and pleasant. Hi OSA - good to meet you.

And there was one little twist to the end of the day. A police officer is interested in the house - could have the full set of emergency services - how cool would that be?
Saturday, 7 February 2009

Second tennant moves in

The second tennant arrived this afternoon, and as I hand't heard from the Scottish lass he had the second ensuite room. I sat down for a meal with both of them tonight and as I listened to the fire officer and the paramedic I was amazed at how much responsibility these young men carry in their jobs. Their's can be a job of life and death and although mostly they manage to save lives somethimes there is death; and at 26 and 28 years of age they have learned to take it in their stride; to get on with the job in hand and to develop a sense of humour that others may find morbid but which is part of thier way of dealing with things. (Kind of reminded me of working at Glenthorne all those years ago). What else was surprising was realizing that these two young men could meet in thier professional capacity at an incident (at least they'll know each other).

I have another viewing tomorrow from someone who works in the distribution industry. I'm not quite feeling it with this one (but then I really felt it with the girl from Scotland and she didn't take the room).

Call me glutton for punishment but I found myself on the internet looking for more houses last night and found a very promising one which Andrew and I are hoping to go and look at on Monday
Friday, 6 February 2009

First tennant arrives

My first tennant moved in today. A fire officer. When we first started the conversion I looked at the industries/institutions/services that were in the area and decided that nurses, fire officers and police officers would be ideal tennants. I focused on this throughout the development and planned each room with these people in mind. Imagine my delight and amazement when the first tennant to pay her deposit was a law student (not quite police but legal) the second a fire officer, the tennant due to move in tomorrow is a paramedic (not quite nurse but medical and coming from Wales) and the lady who came to view today is also a law student - moving from Scotland to work in Birmingham but studying at the same law school as the first tennant. I have not believed in coincidences for a while and this has just confirmed this belief for me. It is worth focusing on what you want and believing it will happen.

The last couple of days have been very hectic - still so much to do. Preparing induction material; sorting keys; making up inventories; clearing stuff that's still around the house - can't believe how much stuff there is still hanging around. In a wierd way having tennants is going to force me to be a bit more tidy and organised. That's got to be a good thing.
Sunday, 1 February 2009

On the brink

Its all feeling a bit unreal - but exciting. The electricians are in today doing the testing for the landlord's certificate. The final (hopefully) part of the redevdelopment. And I already have 2 tennants waiting to move in. I started to do viewings last week - of the 3 people I showed around 2 have said yes and I think the other would also have said yes if it wasn't so far from his work. This is very encouraging. They are both interesting people and it will be a pleasure getting to know them. I feel a mountain of paperwork coming on as I rush to get induction folders together and get instructions for using the appliances made up. I'm also wading my way through the changing legislation relating to private landlords (and to think one of the reasons I got out of child care was because it was so heavily regulated and stifling creativity) Still, I guess we have a long way before we get to the same state as Children's Law.

Thursday night was great - nothing special for my friends but fantastic for me to just be out with no workmen to get up for the next day. And I went to the gym on Friday morning. The mucsles remembered and it felt like I had come home. That seratonin stuff really works. I was nigh on bouncing home, buzzing, on a high from feeling that every muscle in my body was alive. God, I hate being unfit.

So, on the brink of new profession and really looking forward to it.
Thursday, 29 January 2009

A social event

I'm going out tonight - socially. Can't remember the last time. Life beginning to get back into some sort of rhythm. I joined a gym and started today, and as such is making the first steps to shifting the mini tyre that's found its way round my waist during the last 4 months. And I'm going out tonight socially - did I mention that?
Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Back to normal?

Had to find the energy from somewhere today to get the papers and the house ready for viewing (a post grad law student and an Itialian teacher) She's very interested, he's a bit more hesitant. She came on her own, he brought a friend (maybe because of the language thing) Was expecting someone else but he didn't show. I have very mixed feelings about sharing my home. While all the building work was going on I had adjusted to thinking about it as a building site, a project. And as I dressed it for viewing i still thought of it as an HMO, but it looked cold and impersonal. Someone said the lounge felt like a hostel. So I personalised it and now it feels like my home again, comfortable, warm, cosy; full of memories, full of love. As I cleansed it with frankinscence and blessed it this morning I realize that it's not just about whether a tennant can afford the rent - it's very much about whether our spirits are in tune with each other. We've (Andrew and I) given ourselves till the end of the week to iron out the glitches, then I think Andrew will have a couple of weeks off, and we start looking for the next one (or so he tells me). It will probably take months before we are back to normal - yeah I hear someof you say - 'you were never normal'
Saturday, 24 January 2009

A week's not long enough

Got back from Tenerife last night. A week was not long enough. Did very little, read Barack Obama's 'Dreams from my father' and 'The audicity of hope', watched his inauguration on Sky News and felt proud all over again. Spent most days at the beach or nestled on rocks sunning ourselves like lizards, trying to warm the bones for slow release on return. Finding it hard to get going again. Continued lazing today - by the radiator - and catching up on a few phonecalls. Another month of this would be fine.
Thursday, 8 January 2009

Gate fever

I got a really great deal to Tenerife - the incentive to finish this week.
Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Nearly there

Two bedrooms ready to move into. Kitchen ready for use. By end of tomorrow all bedrooms should be ready and by Friday the lounge and bathroom should be ready too. We can advertise now but we'll have the skip moved before we have any viewings. We are still knackered.
Tuesday, 6 January 2009


Snagging is well underway. A whole day spent re-organizing the loft. Felt like deja vous. This is how the project started and it cannot end till the upheavel necessary to lay cables and fit a new tank is sorted out. And we did it. Years of history stored; a new office created. Tomorrow we'll clear more stuff out of the front bedroom and put up the furniture and the following day the lounge should be cleared. We are definitely on target to finishing at the end of the week. The painter will return tomorrow to sort out a few bits as will the electrician. We need to get the guys back who fitted the toilet - we discovered it's not screwed down, and the chippy will be back to shave a few doors and build a cupboard. We even managed to get out for a meal tonight. Life is slowly getting back to normal.
Monday, 5 January 2009

An oasis

I woke up this morning and for a few delicious moments lay in bed relishing the thought that there would be no workmen today. I didn't have to set the alarm, didn't have to rush out of bed half asleep to open the door, didn't have to put on a bright perky face when all I wanted to do was go back to bed. I lay there in the dim light and smiled, stretched out like a starfish and savoured the feel of the sheet against my skin. It was 10 a.m. before I got up - oh what a long time since I could endulge myself like this.

We spent the day writing a snags list with no enthusiasm to attend to anything on it. I made some feeble attempt to dismantle the stereo (yes stereo its over 30 years old) then gave up and phoned a friend. Yes I reminded myself, it's possible to have a social conversation in the day.

Andrew made an attempt to fit heaters in the utilities room as the forcast is for -8 degrees tonight, and I made an attempt to sweep another layer of dirt off the kitchen floor. Tomorrow we'll make a more concerted effort to start on the snags list - today was just deliciously quiet and peaceful.
Sunday, 4 January 2009

Things are looking better

The decorator finished today. HURRAY! The electrician finished all the work inside HURRAY - all that's left is to fit the metres to the washing machine and tumble dryers out in the utilities room. He seemed stunned (as he walked through the house with his list) that everything was ticked off. I gave both the decorator and the electrician a hug as they left. They've been here so long they felt like family. Tomorrow we begin the final push - me and Andrew - working through our own snags list. It feels like giving birth - this is the final week and the anticipation is huge, we know what kind of baby it will be, we love it but will others? We think so. The boys came for one last meal here last Sunday and my brother and his family today. They all like the changes. With all the talk of integrated smoke detection systems, emergency lighting and fire doors they were expecting the house to look more industrial. They were pleasantly surprised. Andrew and I are really looking forward to a break soon. Looked at an all inclusive to Gran Canaria but it could be anywhere that offers sun, sea, sand and the opportunity to sleep.