Saturday, January 10, 2015

Paris sieges and prospection

Friday 9 January 2015

Crisp and clear

6 degrees

Off into the sparkling morning to see most exquisite country cottage with Pyrenees dark and jagged on the horizon.  Exposed stone, original tommette flooring, beams, fireplaces, nick knacks everywhere and full central heating.  Price 80k too much but has been taken on by partner agent who holds the mandate so will have to present at current mandate price.

The owner shows us everything, at length, and gives me a plantlet of Catalpa Bignoides.  Thrilled!  Plantaholic in me loves nothing better than free stuff and also have a huge pod full of seeds.

Back home to watch unfolding sieges in Paris - one in a small printing works north east of Paris (weather really crap) where the brothers who committed the atrocity chez Charlie Hebdo are holed up with one hostage and another in a Kosher supermarket in Porte des Vincennes.  Unfortunately four hostages were later killed and policemen injured - the hostage from the printing works was unharmed and all three terrorists were killed.  What a dreadful week for freedom and democracy.

Rang lots of potential buyers and no one was in.  Emailed them all.   Made chops with onion gravy and added maizena (corn flour) to thicken the gravy and it promptly congealed into solid lumps so I had to sieve it.   Even my normal Fanny Craddock method of whisking the hell out of it hadn't managed to get rid of them.  Maizena is excellent for coating before frying and now I know why.  As soon as it hits the heat, it forms a protective crispy coat.

Watched Homes by the Sea based in Kent and Sussex.  That is where I will be living this year, seaside town with fabby cliffs and waves.  Universe; please listen and take note.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Je suis Charlie

Thursday 8 January 2015

Back to frosty again

1 degree

Down the market wearing one of my new jumpers bought online and miraculously delivered in just three days!!  Well done, House of Fraser.  Today's model is a bright turquoise with cable pattern and went very well with a gorgeous capelet in thick multicoloured wool that I ran up over a year ago.  I often find my knits difficult to wear as the Season never seems quite right.  OH says some of my knits look better in the drawer.  This is because I knit in front of the TV and sometimes they are undeliberately asymmetrical...

The cold weather had kept quite a few stall keepers away and the remainder were wrapped like babushki and stamped around at the back of their wares, their breath curling up into the clear, sharp air.  Bought two scarves for the charitable project I am involved in - got bright colours in the hope it will cheer the recipients.  Decided to attach little message to let the new owner know someone cares. Other members of the project have already sent items.  How terrible it must be to be on the streets in this freezing weather.  How terrible that people are on the streets in the 21st century.  How terrible that all those journalists in Paris were murdered by islamist extremists in order to intimidate and suppress free speech.  Not a single newspaper other than Charlie Hebdo will publish these cartoons. Je suis Charlie signs in all of the shop windows.  Vigils in Paris.  One minute silence at midday.

Get home and find OH has been reading about Muslim faith and is in a state of high agitation and says that they want to take over the World and kill all infidels.  I try and calm him down with a tuna sandwich and point out that what were the Crusaders other than radicalised Christians who were happy to go and murder and rape and pillage the infidels between the 11th and 15th centuries and that the whole idea of the Crusades was thought up by Pope Urban II.  It is payback time and there is as much chance that the Muslims have forgotten the Crusades as the Irish forgetting the Battle of the Boyne.  Religion has always, and probably always will be, used by extremists as a reason for gaining power and territory.   I also point out that radicalism is facilitated by the fact that the Muslim populations are kept poor and ignorant in places like Afghanistan.  OH counters with the fact that the Muslim leaders are not willing to let the religion evolve and that the Koran says that all infidels should be killed.  I look this up and references state that this can be taken out of its context.  OH thinks muslims coming to Europe should sign a charter saying they will integrate and that faith schools should be abolished.  I look up more about the Koran and discover it says that infidels can be lied to so the charter idea just wouldn't work.

I have, unfortunately, to go out and do some work at this point.  Go and see property where I dropped the card off the other day and had surprise phone call inviting me to go and see the property.  The house is on the heights above our village and has lovely views.  It was jaw droopingly clean.  It was so clean that I wished I had parked my filthy car at least two hundred metres further up the road.  The owners were in their 80's and absolutely charming.  The house has been for sale unbelievably for nearly a year on exclusive contract with another agency.  Agree a very reasonable price, take pictures, measure up, eat a lot of lovely buttery biscuits and drink excellent coffee.   Disabuse them of the idea that the Queen owns all of the houses in the UK (a lot of French people think this).

Back home to find OH playing with his leaf blower.  Take down most of the Christmas decorations.  Leave up the stags heads in the kitchen, plus the sparkly lights and the hearts in the living room.  Hoover.  WF phone still switched off.  Ring the recruitment agency he was supposed to be seeing yesterday and they confirmed that he had indeed been there.  He is not looking at his emails either.  RJ rings to say that the bank have deducted huge bank charges.  He insists on not having online access to his bank account in case of hacking.  The only danger to RJ's bank account is RJ himself.  He never manages to save a penny.  Not like WF who is as tight as the proverbial bottom of a mallard.

Listened to the MindValley Clear Your Abundance Blocks 'masterclass' with Christie Sheldon.  It was a recording so you couldnt see her actually talking.  OH kept on popping in and out of the kitchen and saying 'dont give them any money'.  My abundance blocks are

1.  Feeling money is very hard to come by and I need to work very hard at things I dont enjoy in order to get it.

2.  Feeling that my career doesnt nourish me and that I am not paid for being me (unlike Christie Sheldon who apparently is)

3.  Feeling that I wasnt given support and encouragement at a very early age.

It was of course a sales pitch for the course.  If Christie Sheldon is a multimillionnaire, she should be giving to the poor and desperate people who come to webinars like these, instead of taking nearly 300 dollars from them.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Huffington Post and happiness

Wednesday 7 January 2015

Misty with promise of sun later
10 degrees

Reading the online Huffington Post, I come across a divorce attorney, Krista Barth's New Years Resolutions - there are six and the last one is the most telling for me6. I will be accountable for my own happiness.

I will try in 2015, to be accountable for my own happiness by remembering to be grateful for the amazing blessings I have and not focusing on what is missing. I will try not to complain about becoming older by remembering it is a privilege denied to too many others. I will try not to complain about work and recognize I am lucky to have a job. I will do what I can to choose happiness, even when it is not the easy choice. I will remember this life is full of more laughter than tears, unlimited beauty to behold and opportunity to love and be loved every day. Perspective is reality, and I will try to make 2015 the year I keep mine squarely in check.

We can choose whether or not to be happy about a situation but Krista has really hit the nail on the head, when she says that being happy is not the easy choice.  I know personally that it is so easy to spend ones time complaining, and plotting, and scheming, and imagining all the clever put downs you will use on a future occasion.  I actually got to the stage last year when I resented hearing and seeing people laughing and looking happy.  This is the year to regain my sense of perspective.

At the doctors yesterday to review the results of the scan.  All clear.  I tell the doctor I am taking a supplement because my hair was falling out.  He said was I tired and I said permanently.  He asked if I was stressed and I said I had been, enormously.  He said I needed to step back - admittedly not easy - and distance myself from the things that were wearing me out.  If that is the only thing that writing this blog will enable me to do, then it will serve its purpose well.  As well of course as enabling me to write the book that I have always wished to write.  Looking at analytics, I see most of my readers are in the US of A so a big 'Hi!' to you all out there.  Dont be shy, drop a comment under this post and introduce yourself

Walk the dog along the old river track.  The sun comes out and because it is midday, no one else is around.  Fields full of sparrows and field fares who accompany us along by flicking in bursts from tree to tree along the way.

Learn, by looking at his emails, that WF has interview today.  His phone has been switched off since last Friday.  He is completely infuriating.  RJ has left SILs house and had intended to go down to see WF but ends up back at the hotel where he works.  He is not pleased and spent an age hanging around in nearby train station waiting for WF to turn on phone or reply by FB.  Hotel not open until 10th so he will just have some R n R and hopefully get down to see WF before it opens again.

Go and take estimation report to house I went to see yesterday.  Discover that another agent has valued it 15% more expensive than me.  High value property so this translates into a lot of euros.  Oh bloody hell.  It is not worth that much and they will jeopordize their chances of an early sale.  Take it on at the elevated price and tell them that we will review the situation monthly.  It is absolutely key to get the property on at a reasonable price in the first place.  The longer the property is on sale, the more invisible it becomes to potential buyers.  They think - why is it not selling - is it too expensive and the owners are inflexible? Is there something seriously wrong with the house or the location?  We will see.  It is a lovely property but not that many euros worth of lovely.

Really must take down the Christmas decorations and record my New Year's speech.News  devoiles shocking news of murder at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo - 9 journalists and 2 police officers.  Criminals escaped.  There will be a muslim backlash I fear. How dreadful.  Around the world, people unite to say WE ARE CHARLIE

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Prospection and pettiness

Wednesday 6 January 2015

Grey with light drizzle 10 degrees

OH was in agony with fallen arches in his feet this morning as a result of carrying all those ceramic tiles down three flights of stairs yesterday.  Had treated my knee with reiki during the night so felt better.  Gave him some reiki and ibrupofen and he managed to sleep again and felt better later on in the morning.

Enjoyed a quiet morning putting on the properties seen over the last few days and listening to Radio 4 listen again detective serial.   I work in the kitchen during the winter as it is on the sunny side of the house and always has some form of heat on the go.  We have a bird table and I stop from time to time to watch both blue and great tits, robins, blackbirds and sparrows hopping in and around and hanging off the platform.  A great grey heron flaps slowly across the top of the window viewpoint.

I get a phone call from a house where I had dropped off a card on Saturday.  That doesnt happen very often!!  It had a rival agency board outside so I thought it was worth a punt.  Make an appointment for Thursday pm and look it up on the website - very well priced!  I believe in following my urges and on Saturday, I had a feeling I should drive up that road.

In the afternoon I go to see the house of some friends in nearby town.  They have decided to put it on sale and move into a house that they are half way through building.  It is lovely and in much better nick than ours.  Realise that I will absolutely have to show this one as well as ours next weekend. Large dining kitchen with wood burning stove, huge living room and five bedrooms.  The bathrooms are shiny havens dedicated to pampering.  Ours is mouldy and the paint is dropping off the tiles, again.  They also have a salt swimming pool.  Heavy sigh.  Wish ours was as high spec as this one. Ours cannot be beaten on location though and a buyer can always change the inside.  Quite often in the past, people have told me that they ABSOLUTELY would have bought a property - if only it had been facing in the other direction, or was JUST on top of a hill, or in another town.  It is surprising that an estate agent has any teeth whatsoever, the amount of times they are severely ground during the course of the working year.

Speaking of teeth grinding, the former work colleague rings me up and tells me that my former bosses have refused to take my property onto her books.  She apologises and says that she can still bring people to see it, but not advertise it.  I am sufficiently stung to reply that if my former bosses wants my money, they can take the property on properly.  I also tell her to tell them that I will put it with another local agency immediately.  Oh what a petty and vindictive people they are!!!  I gave them eight years of my working life, earned them more than anyone else, and then had the temerity to leave.  That was three years ago and, apparently, they have still not forgiven me.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

In the midst of life, there is death....

5  January 2014

8 degrees - everything wrapped in fine white mist

OH's super duper new watch shows that it is only 10 degrees in his bedroom.  Open the windows to let some fresh air in and watch small birds running across the top of the barn roof whilst drinking tea (us obviously and not the wagtails haha)

Down town to battle with the slipping oven door shelf and move ceramic tiles.  Out comes the oven yet again and OH starts drilling.  My knees twinge painfully as I descend a number of boxes of tiles to the ground floor.  Have cup of tea.  The oven goes back in and the drawer now works!  Hurrah!  One more thing overcome.  OH takes over the tile transport and I start loading the car and manage to kneel on one of the seat belt receptacles. Appallingly painful.  OH is only ever sympathetic when there is blood.  There is no blood so he grumbles a lot and finishes loading the car.

My knees are not in good condition, largely due to the fact that I tried to learn to ride a bike in my mid forties and kept on falling off.  It is not in my nature to give up easily but was rather put off by the doctor who told me that my knee caps would need changing if I kept on abusing them.  I did toy with the idea of stabilisers (obtainable from America) which engendered much hilarity in my bike riding family - two of whom I had actually taught to ride a bike.  Alternatively I thought of getting a trike - not available apparently in France.  The only person I have ever seen over here on a trike is a very badly mentally disabled boy from down town.   Everyone can ride perishing bikes over here, it appears, apart from me.  There are some stylish trikes available in the UK in flat pack.  Shame Ikea don't do them.  Need to give OH time to recover from doing the last job before I suggest flat pack bikes.

DSCF0034 W.jpg

so this could be me,or alternatively

which is a recumbent trike of the type used by Batman on his day off.  They are astonishingly expensive.  You could get a second hand car or, as OH helpfully points out, two mobility scooters.

Was on the way to buy bread and stopped to talk to two former work colleagues.  There was a sudden commotion and a woman ran into the shop and said to call an ambulance as someone outside had just died.   The ambulance service took a long time to answer the phone and even longer to turn up by which time it was too late to resuscitate the man.  He looked to have been a good age, from his white hair and liver spotted hands, but what a dreadful shock for his family.  He had just got into his car and started the engine and must have had a massive heart attack for he did not get as far as reversing.  

Back home for lunch.  In afternoon, showed our town property to one of my former work colleagues who is now working in the town agency.  She seemed suitably impressed and didn't quibble over the price.  Headed out into countryside to collect a key from a seller who is going to seek the sun in the Caribbean for three months.  The landscape sparkled in the sunshine and the lanes were golden with fallen leaves.

The agent who had revisited Saturday rang to say that his clients, whilst loving the house, could not buy it because they had not sold their own house.  They had been expecting an offer and when it had come in, had been too low so they had refused it.  What a lot of time and energy we spend with these people.  In just six years, I have done over a quarter of a million kilometres.  I could have driven around the world  6.25 times times or 2/3 of the distance to the Moon.  We have been to Southern Spain and to the UK.  This year I will go to places I have not been to before - both physically and psychologically.  

What has been different this year is that I have been free from the depression that dogged me during the whole of last year.  My head is clear and the demon of work is in its right place and not centre stage.  Eliminating negative thoughts demands constant attention 'watching for your next thought like a cat at a mousehole'.  I have signed up for the Kind spring kindness challenge  Something on their site which caught my attention is that not to ignore the little things because, later on, we realise they were big things.  I kept a diary for more than ten years whilst the children were small and these daily jottings of ordinary goings on are now my treasure which I dip into from time to time, and extract forgotten pearls.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Manifesting abundance

Sunday 4 January

Mild and misty
12 degrees

I subscribe to Mindvalley Academy and most of the time I just delete their emails.  This morning, I took the time to read about how to unblock your energy fields and start manifesting abundance.  The most important parts I took from the article were the following;

1.  It is not your situation that is making you unhappy - it is your habit of perpetually dwelling on things you see as problems.  Another person in your situation may feel completely different and be happy and positive with it.

2.  Eliminate negative energy by eliminating negative thoughts and actions.  Fate sees and hears what you do and say and gives you more of what you have got.  If you don't like what you have got, how are you ever going to like having more of it?

3.  DREAM BIG! Most people don't dare dream big enough and set themselves small targets which are easily achievable.

4.  And to set everything en route, set an intention and write it down and put it where you can see it every day.  Both you and fate will then get things underway.

5.  Stop over thinking things.  In fact, shut up the voices in your head altogether.  Live in the present and DECIDE TO BE HAPPY NOW - the word NOW is so important.  Happy now and not contingent upon some future event, person, version of yourself.

It is very important when setting an intention to get the correct phrasing.  So, not I want to be rich - you already have manifested that situation because you ALREADY want to be rich - see?  You have to set the intention that you ARE rich, you ARE healthy.   It is also very important not to set a negative intention   I DON'T have this job any more.  Rather choose, I HAVE the job of my dreams.

What do you dream big of this year?  Email me on the contact form.  Let's get excited about it together!

I have also signed up for a Webinar on Thursday evening - 8 pm CET

Have you heard of affirmations?  I have used them and have been very surprised and thrilled at the results.  One of my affirmations was 'I am the best salesperson at XXXXXXX'.   I achieved the best results in the next sales incentive and got a wonderful and valuable reward.  I also used 'I receive an unexpected windfall'.  Shortly afterwards, I discovered that my insurance company had not been reimbursing  the full amount on our medical fees, and this had been going on for years and I successfully reclaimed 2500 euros which really got us out of a financial hole.  My current one is 'Our house is sold for xxxxxx euros'.  Anything and everything is possible.  Just decide what you really, really want and concentrate on it daily until you achieve it.

Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, in his 1997 book the Dilbert Future, Adams wrote about the Law of Attraction which he used to achieve huge life goals by the power of positive thinking, without actually working towards them.  

The idea behind writing affirmations is that you simply write down your goals 15 times a day and somehow, as if by magic, coincidences start to build until you achieve your objective against all odds. Prior to my Dilbert success, I used affirmations on a string of hugely unlikely goals that all materialized in ways that seemed miraculous. Some of the successes you can explain away by assuming I’m hugely talented and incredibly sexy, and therefore it is no surprise that I accomplished my goals despite seemingly long odds. But some of my goals involved neither hard work nor skill of any kind. I succeeded with those too, against all odds.

Went through cold leads with OH and diarised those worth recontacting.  OH then sighed a heavy sigh and got out his new watch and the very large watch manual.  It is a Casio which does temperature, barometric pressure, altitude and many other things.  Impressive number of buttons and displays.   20 minutes later, when OH was still repeating 'press Button A and set your city code', I took it off him, set everything and gave it him back with the strict interdiction to never again touch Button A.

Took dog for what turned out to be a very long walk.  How much more you notice on foot.  Got up a good head of steam and took so long that OH had actually started dinner when I got back.  More ironing and oh joy, a whole A4 sheet of things to do tomorrow.

Charity group is gaining pace and we have people sending off knitted contributions already!  Had a flash of inspiration and floated idea of Calendar Girls calendar.  So far there are three of us up for it!! Exciting times!!!!!!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Another day, another opportunity...

Saturday 3 January 2015

-1  my phone thinks it is 8 degrees

Down town for 10.15 to meet other agent and give him the keys.  His car is sporting quite a lot of packing tape over the damaged window.  I don't know why because he took it to his dealer right away so why didn't he just leave it there and get them to fix it?  I tend to leave mine with the local dealer in town who is always happy to loan me a car, free, for the period.  This sounds good until you realise that the cars available are older than my children and not everything on them works.  Things like the handbrake or the windscreen wipers, or once when I had absolutely to go to take someone to the airport, the indicators.  Hand signals have obviously not been seen for a very long time around here - I had a selection of responses from other drivers; from surprised waving back (thinking who on earth is that woman - she knows me so I had better respond) to rather violent gesticulations of more basic nature.

I take him to see the alternative property, both as a comparator for the house his people come to see, and in case his people don't like the the other house.  The owner is in her PJs and says that we should feel free to treat the house as our own.  We have a look around and the other agent does a lot more talking about things other than this house and these clients.  I hope he pays more attention when he is actually with his buyers.  

We finish, I hand over the keys, which he had omitted to ask me for, and I go for cup of coffee and cake.  The real benefit of all the renovation work and cleaning I have done this year is that my arms and stomach are as firm as a young girl's and I can enjoy some sweet stuff when the urge arises.  Spend a very pleasant half hour reading through the home decoration magazines (the owner is obviously has a really keen interest) and FB messaging people.

Have the urge to drive around and look for any For Sale signs - find a house in good condition and in a good spot.  Appears to be uninhabited.  Take down name and address.  Not in Yellow Pages so must have moved away - need to write to them and hope there is a redirect in place.  Other agent rings and says visit has gone extremely well (only 45 minutes though...) so go back down and collect keys.  We will have more news on Tuesday of next week.  Ring the owners who are very sad that my bastard clients have backed out but cheered to hear that there has been a positive visit today. 

OH rings to say that the dog has been in a fight with a husky and that his ear has been slashed.  He says he has washed it and stuck it together with a plaster.

Back home for lunch and traditional Saturday scraping dirt off the kitchen.  Hoover and wash floors.  Inform OH that we will be having visit on our main home in just two weeks and am surprised at how well he takes the news, until I realise he is asleep.  Poke him and tell him to move his butt.  He takes dog for walk, I tackle ironing mountain.  Give dog paracetamol in a piece of Christmas cake.  He is not looking too worse for wear and insists on throwing his new squishy ball with me for an hour whilst I am trying to clean.

Balsamic roasted potatoes and vegetables with duck.  Yum.  Watch first half of Wallander 'Dogs of Riga'.  I love Swedish noir and Henning Mankell is a wonderful writer.