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Joy and Sorrow (abridged)

I had one of our General Managers in my office all of yesterday afternoon. As a rule, I would resent the intrusion, but she had buttered me up nicely with flattery, had a genuine need for help, and was an excellent pupil! So that went well, and I was pleased to have been of assistance, even though it mean me being in the office at 7.30am to get cracking on my own work.

I came home, and Denis apologised for his "words" on Sunday, which was nice, and then I saw Boo had stuck a giant R loves P up.

Into the garden and find that after two days of rain, followed by two days of sunshine, the roses are rioting! Red, yellow and pink. Bless 'em! Gone absolutely bonkers!

A somewhat languid Monday evening at home with the visitors, apart from a 5 minute bash at Italy-packing.

And then coffee in the sunny garden this morning, only to find out about Manchester. I cried most of the way to the station.
Pah, ankle still painful, haven't been able to walk much, however, with all of the glorious sunshine, haven't much wanted to!

Denis and Vicki arrived on Friday, somewhat exhausted after their tour of Croatia and the islands. They're here til Friday, although we depart on Wednesday for Amalfi, which I am huuuuugely looking forward to. We spent most of yesterday in the garden chatting away, listening to music and BBQing. I still struggle with the rampant racism, sexism and homophobia where Aussies are concerned, and the fact that they can't debate anything, they're just right because they think they are, but I guess a lot of our older generation are like that too. Not my parents, thankfully! But hey ho, it wouldn't do if we were all the same. I can kinda see why Rod doesn't want to go back there, and why many of their brightest and best come to Europe. And once they've experienced culture here, find home disturbingly 1950s. A shame in many ways, as Australians are great people otherwise.

To my surprise, boo dumped the 2 cabinets he got from freecycle on the bonfire last night! So that's 2 less things in the side garden. The back garden is looking great, my pound shop roses are multiplying like rabbits, the irises are up and the gladioli are not far behind. The last 3 mornings, it's been a wee pleasure to have my coffee outside, with the cats in attendance, sat amidst birdsong and fiercely battling bull squirrels and of course suuuuuun, at long last! Haven't seen much of Mme Renard the last few days, she doesn't care for the extra noise. But she's taken our offerings in the dead of night, and the fox family are all still thriving.

Today I have an office guest. A very mad Russian lady who wants some marketing help with her hotel. She's great fun, loves to talk, and I'm not sure how much we'll achieve, but it's nice to be asked anyway!
I'm decidedly tired this week. Partially pain, partially the stress of a barely tidied house, with visitors arriving for a week this afternoon. I've decided that when I get back from Corfu, a house "bootcamp" will be put in place to get rid of the disgustingness that we have to call home. It really is frightful, and not really getting any significantly better. Promises and promises and little to see for them. What's been done to accommodate his uncle, really barely touches the surface. And now the garden has become a dumping ground too. Attempts at doing something over the last few days have produced the usual tantrums. He's a hoarder and he simply cannot get rid of things, even if they haven't been touched for 10 years. It's having such a stressful impact on my life, I absolutely hate it.

I'm not sure how well Italy is going to go, I m hoping that everything health-wise will be sufficiently improved to allow me to enjoy myself. But I'm not counting on it. I've had a very non-social (by my standards!) week thus far, with no big plans before we go away, although I imagine we'll take Denis and Vicky out.

I'm afraid I've been neglectful of friends, I'll catch up on that soon.

Onwards and upwards!

Give Me Strength!

So, pills have finally kicked in, feeling miles better, went out and had a brill late roastie scoff with Debs, plenty of vino and conversation. Great.

Wake up this morning, can barely stand on my right foot.

No idea what that's about, but yet again, I can hardly walk.

I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, we have what's on offer from the main parties.

Yellow promises us legalised pot and 50,000 refugees. Paid for no doubt by the tax on the pot.

Red promises us that they'll rob the City and throw cash at the NHS. They don't realise the City is mostly moving out anyway, and that one of the NHS's talents is money wastage, on a very spectacular scale.

Blue promises not to be Conservative any more, just to be Theresa May

I've just sent off for my postal vote as I'll be away. But where's the X gonna go?

May. 14th, 2017

I just realised that I'll be in Corfu in 24 days! We come back from Naples, and then I'm off again, solo, a few days later.

I have to say, really looking forward to it. Instead of the looong journey to the North of the island, I will be doing a short hop to an hotel in a small village, literally on the beach. Instead of the protracted begging for a confirmation from Christos, I got a reply in 3 minutes and 8 seconds, assuring me of the sunny balcony and bath I requested, and asking if I wanted a lift from the airport! I have chosen very, very carefully. Because I have nobody to please but myself. And please myself I shall. Most decidedly so. And gotten a bargain in the process, as my room, which overlooks the sea directly, comes with breakfast and dinner each day, at roughly the same price as a pokey balcony with no view, no breakfast and no dinner costs in Kassiopi. And no party muzik til 4am either, win!

I have planned early morning walks to Achilleion Palace, Mon Repos Palace, Panagia Vlahernon Church and Saint Spyridon Church. Followed by lazy afternoons either on the private beach or poolside, with books I am already squirrelling away. There is a little village close by, so naturally I will become a patron of the bakery :)

So, a little culture, a bit of local, and a lot of glorious sunny reading and relaxing. Corfu Town is walkable, I might treat myself to one of those buttery soft colourful leather bags I saw last time. Not cheap, but oh sooo covetable.

I am feeling slightly better this morning. I had a super-food breakfast of fresh papaya and clemetines in vanilla yoghurt, which was surprisingly delicious. Very refreshing and juicy. Which I will ruin this afternoon by clip clopping up the road to meet Debbie for an enormous Sunday roast and copious quantities of red, whilst I ooh and aah over her Dubai photos.

Happy Sunday peeps xxx

May. 13th, 2017

I ended staying up all night last night. Mrs Fox stopped by at just before 4am, so I duly I spooned her some cat food out of the tin, and then sat on the back door step, chatting to her. Before I knew it, the sun was rising, and a new day dawned. So I went to bed! Only for a couple of hours though, the cats made sure of that.

Today I've been in lots of pain, so no hairdressers or pedi or shopping. Instead I've shuffled round the house like an old dear, doing bits of tidying whist wincing. Tesco delivered the food, and now I am on the sofa with a glass of red, watching trash telly. Hoping to be able to walk as far as The Bulls Head for Sunday lunch with Debs tomorrow, fingers crossed.


Sometimes it never happens, and sometimes it smacks you repeatedly. Life changing episodes.

I am now embarking on a new life. One I didn't want. But as always, I will look the devil squarely between the eyes, and he will chicken before I do. Because at the rising of the sun, every day I am ME. It is a challenge nobody else is remotely up to, so I will do it myself, with my partner beside me.

I am going to bed now, with Invictus ringing resolutely in my shell-likes.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul


Still feeling dreadful and can't really move around too much. Plans for Le Weekend pretty much scratched as everything is painful. Pretty much not planning anything much in lieu, as I don't know what I'll be able to do. So far, I have a late night Tesco delivery booked, oh the excitement! But I want to be well for Italy, now less than 2 weeks away.

I have completed First Draft of "THE ITINENERARY"!!!

Day 1 Thursday 25th May

NAPLES – TOURIST LIKE A BOSS! Citysightseeing Bus, hop on/off 23E


1Largo Castello (Piazza Municipio)
2Chiesa Del Gesu' Nuovo
3Piazza DanteIngresso Ai Decumani
4Museo Archeologivo Nazionale Galleria Principe Di Napoli
5Chiesa Di Santa Maria Della Sanita
6Museo e Bosco Di Capodimonte, Osservatorio Astronomico
7Santa Maria Incoronata
8Teatro BelliniMura Greche
9Museo Arte Contemporanea Donna Regina
10Castel Capuano- Porta Capuana
11Piazza Bovio/Universita


1Largo Castello (Piazza Municipio)
2Santa LuciaCastel Dell'Ovo
3Piazza VittoriaVia Calabritto
4Palazzi Storici
5MergellinaPiazza del Leone
6Capo PosillipoVeduta Panoramica
7Discesa Marechiaro
8Parco Vigiliano
9Veduta Panoramica
10Imbarco Per Le Isole Del Golfo
11Castel dell'OvoBorgo Marinan
12Stazione Marittima, Imbarco Crociere e Per Le Isole Del Golfo

Day 2 Friday 26th May VESUVIUS & POMPEII

Circumvesuviana Train to Vesuvius (Ercolano) 2.5E

In Naples the Circumvesuviana trains run from two stations including the main Central (Garibaldi) Station. From Naples journey times is about 20 minutes to Ercolano Scavi

Ercolano Scavi To Mount Vesuvius
Ercolano Scavi is the closest station to Mount Vesuvius access. When you spill out of the train station there is normally a collection of taxis and mini-buses that will take you to Mount Vesuvius.


Vesuvio Express Ercolano
There is a more formal shuttle bus service called Vesuvio Express that advertises on its web site that it runs every 40 minutes from Ercolano Station, 10 E

Vesuvius – Pompeii, can either take train OR

Busvia del Vesuvio
Departures run hourly from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in 23 seat, air-conditioned vehicles.
The trip length is 2.5 hours and you can make reservations in advance on their web site.

Tramvia del Vesuvia
Bit of a mystery why a tram style vehicle, apart from the novelty value. It must be a bone shaker of a ride!. This two hour in length option leaves six times a day, three early morning, three early afternoon.

Day 3, Saturday 27th May


The Metro del Mare route starts further up the coast from Naples and stretches all the way down the Amalfi Coast to Sapri, so your first task is to make sure the boat you’re getting on in Naples goes to Sorrento and doesn’t bypass it for the Amalfi or go straight to Capri. The lines which connect Sorrento with Naples are the MM1, MM2, MM3, and MM7. The MM1 stops at every city along the route, the MM2 and MM7 stop at a few of the cities, and the MM3 stops at only one before Sorrento – so if you want the fastest trip, the MM3 is the one to choose.

The frequency of the Metro del Mare boats changes with the season (they’re more frequent during the high season), so check the schedule when you’re there. The different lines also stop at both the Molo Beverello and Mergellina piers at different times, so that’s another thing to pay attention to. Depending on the line you choose, the trip could take between 35 minutes and 2 hours, and a ticket for one journey will cost €6.50.

Very late lunch/early dinner, then go back on slow ferry stopping at all ports to see a bit of everything ?

Day 5 Last Day Sunday 28th May til 2pm

Naples Town

Cimitero delle Fontanelle Via Fontanelle, 80, 80136, 10-5 daily (free)

Or possibly Capri

In the space of half an hour

Today, as I was strolling through my "manor", Bloomsbury, I came across a place where I thought I would pop in and get a coffee and sammige. And watch the world go by.

In the space of half an hour, I saw fear, real fear. I saw anger, and love and jubilation. I saw disbelief and denial. I witnesses eternal gratitude and the giving of gifts. People rushing around and people dragging their feet.

But the most important thing was what I felt. I felt the whole aura of this space reverberating with hope.


Yes, I'm ill, it's bad, but it won't kill me. I won't have to watch and wonder and wait or pay homage to invisible friends in the sky. Not just yet at least. And for this, I am grateful. Our lives, move on, as they do.

To all those under the death sentence, my heart truly goes out to you and your loved ones.
I’ve been quite ill for over a week now. Nothing deadly serious (I hope!), it appears to be a nasty combination of cystitis and thrush. I feel generally very unwell and I’m in constant pain, as well as being lethargic. It’s impacting on virtually everything I do, so I really must get to the Doc. I thought it would be resolved with over-the-counter remedies, but clearly, it’s just worsened.

That aside, had a great time with the gang on Sunday at the launch of McQueens Sunday Lunches. The restaurant is bright and airy, with some unusual and quirky touches, the service was good, and the food very enjoyable. Proper roasties and Yorkies! Washed down with some red, and two or three Espresso Martinis. A perfect start to the market I thought.

Last night I was in the sticks at Letchworth Hall Hotel for a company dinner, and very enjoyable it was too. Both the food and the service were absolutely spot on. Washed down with champagne and in good company.

As I have had some bad news, and I’m not feeling well, tonight, and the rest of this week will be quiet :)