Discuss longhaul
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Crabby Crew Blog <$BlogRSDURL$>

Travel is the most private of pleasures. There is no greater bore than the travel bore. We do not in the least want to hear what he has seen... (Vita Sackville West).

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Neighbour's Xmas
Harvesting holly
It just broke off in his hand
The finished article
Quantock snow
More lovely snow

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Season's Greetings to all blog-readers and thanks for bearing with me over the year and leaving the occasional message. I am fortunate enough to be enjoying two weeks off work until after Boxing Day so much fun and games have been had down in lovely Somerset and a truly festive atmosphere prevails.

Paul and I have been up on the Quantock Hills denuding the countryside of Holly, Yew, Fir and more substantial items - see the forthcoming pics. He led me astray - really! The little house now looks very Christmassey indeed all set for the arrival of the family on Christmas Day and the inevitable turkey, crackers and boozing. There is still no telly here though so there will be no escape from conversation and silly games. I'm hoping there will be a repeat of last weekend's glorious snowfall on the tops so we can get out and admire the countryside in full winter regalia. It really is a great place to live down here - very beautiful and who said Somerset was flat? You'll see......

My lovely neighbours and I celebrated our happy little terrace community with a pre-Christmas Day Christmas feast last week - prepared by the women in the row and eaten by everyone. (Six of us indulged though you'll only see the die-hard four in the picture - me, Leanne and Nia and Phil-next-door-but-one). It was good fun - the veg all from Mr Carrott's in the village and healthily soil-encrusted too and the turkey from Taunton. Cheap champagne flowed freely (Sainsbury's have a half-price offer on by the way - down to £7 and it is drinkable) and all was merry and bright.

If this all sounds sickening lovely and you are thinking I am a smug wretch, then I am afraid it is indeed and you are right. I end the year in the perfect contentment that has blessed most of it. 2004 saw me happier than for several years, financially better off than I have ever been in my life, a homeowner at last, and to top it all I fell in love. If next year continues in the same vein then I'll be a happy woman indeed. I have much to be thankful for. My icing on the cake, Paul-from-Devon, has signed up for attendance at the Marsh Family Christmas chez moi, so expect updates as to how we all fared.

Merry Christmas to you all I wish you lots of love, happiness, health and luck for next year.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

G'day possums - yep, unorginal I know but now you know where I am. Melbourne to be precise, body clock up the spout, jet-lag kicking in and surrounded by a freaky underworld in this internet cafe. It is way past the witching hour here and apart from flotsam like myself, blown in on the air from more inclement climes, there are only local weirdos about. These consist of a clutch of Chinese (?) males, each at a terminal of his own, but they seem to be playing some kind of interconnected computer game which involves much masculine banter (in a language I can't make head nor tail of), loud whooping and heavy gunshot fire. It is not very relaxing but they all seem harmless if deranged and totally unsocialised. This where the world's autistic males come of a night obviously.

I think I am also being slowly drugged by some kind of incense (dope?) which is being burnt in the recesses of the place. This on top of a glass of wine and antibiotics will probably have me flat on my back, fingers still articulating mid-air in a blogger's crazed fit before I'm done.

So, yeah, antibiotics. That's what I'm here to tell you all about possums. Get a new boyfriend, get a new urinary tract infection. That's the way it goes. So much for romance and the heights of passion. (Sorry parents - you don't have to read this you know). Par for the course with me, but I prepared to tackle it by calling at the docs in my village before I left the country and getting a prescription of Cephalexin. Six days later I would have expected to see results. But in Singapore I was forced to admit that things seemed to be getting worse rather than better and by the time I reached Oz had decided that Cephalexin, whatever it is, obviously wasn't the right line of defence for whatever bacteria my body is protesting against.

In such situations crew are supposed to ring a global telephone helpline which my employer has a contract with based in Pheonix. I have never had to resort to this before and was wary of admitting to being unwell as the Americans and my employer between them are liable to over-react and ground me wherever I am until the course of treatment is finished. Melbourne seems a good city so far as cities go but I want to be back in Somerset to admire my new washing machine, cooker and boyfriend and not be obliged to feign an interest in the highlights of Austalia's cultural mecca. (Not knocking it or the Aussies - you have to respect them they are so feisty and confident and everyone is effortlessly well-dressed and cool - makes me homesick for my wellies).

Anyway, it was all simpler than I thought and within an hour of bemoaning my fate to a male nurse in Pheonix I was organised with an appointment at a local docs who apparently services the health needs of lots of the airlines' crew - poor medics, I can imagine what that must be like. (Cabin crew - primadonnas and drama queens that they are). Jack in Pheonix also informed me that the antibiotics I had acquired in Somerset were inappropriate for a urinary tract infection and were more the sort of thing to take with a festering open wound. That explains their lack of efficacy I thought.

So, to the doc's who turned out to be a complete nutcase. She'd be struck off the register within days back in the UK. Introducing herself as Cathy, she waved me towards her saying "Hoi there. Oim the doctor. C'mon through!".

Somehow, even though she was blonde and petite she still managed to give the impression of being the equvalent of a female bouncer - all heftiness and machismo - weird. Isn't this the sterotype of the outback female Aussie? I've never met one before. They are usually more Minogue-like than this.

So she sat me down and I told her what Jack from Pheonix had said about the first lot of antibiotics and she screeched "Don't listen to those bastards!" which made me laugh I was so taken aback.

"No Doctor would ever say that in Britain" I said.

"Oh well, I don't give a shit. Gotta tell it how it is don't cha?"

Maybe she really was a security guard who had locked the real doctor in a cupboard and was indulging some lifelong fantasy about an alternative career for the duration of the afternoon. Still, to cut a long story short, she prescribed Norafloxacin and so far it seems to be working a lot better than the other stuff. I have got quite into examining glassfuls of my wee and checking for cloudiness or worse. Read no further if you are sqeamish. In fact if you are sqeamish or uninterested in medical things you should have skipped this instalment. I find it quite engrossing myself which is lucky as there hasn't been much else to do the past few days. In Singapore it is monsoon season so going out is pretty horrible - hot and wet and dirty feet within minutes. Also the infection thing makes me a bit tired I think so unlike my last foray south of the equator, I have spent most of my time asleep.
Soon be back in Somerset though. I am definitely part of a social trend moving there. Half my passengers were Somersetters and I keep flying with crew who are moving to Taunton. (I must remember not to relocate to Taunton then and to keep the name of my own village under my hat or at least give out the rumour that it is full of petty crime and evil neighbours and basically a horrible place to live). Back Monday by the way - hopefully fighting fit by then.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Dartmoor 1
Dartmoor 2
Dartmoor 3
Dartmoor 4

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Various people have been asking why I haven't updated the blog for a few weeks so finally I am taking the bull by the horns in an attempt to do justice to the truth of the matter. (No I haven't finally been sacked for blogging - it is more cheerful than that).

Most but not everyone who reads this web diary of my life will be aware that it only scratches the surface of my existence and is an edited version at that. There is always more going on than makes it onto the blog and that has been truer than ever the past couple of weeks. Again, most of you already know that in April 2001 my Dutch boyfriend Jeroen died unexpectedly and that it was the hardest thing I have ever had to accept in my life. If I had been writing a blog in those days it wouldn't have been the mostly-cheerful account you've read for the past ten months. It took a long time to move on alone and abandon all hope that living on memories could be enough of a life. My friends, family and particularly Jeroen's parents, sister and brother as well as his generous friends got me through. I can never repay the support and love I received from them all. Hopefully they all know this is true and are not hearing it here for the first time.

Time has helped to soothe a broken heart and at some point this year, difficult to say when exactly, I suddenly realised I was feeling properly happy again and free from black thoughts and feelings connected with Jeroen's death. Months passed when I happily told anyone who enquired that I was feeling wonderful, positive about the world, my life, the little things and feeling liberated from the past . Then in September, in the middle of a flight during the wee small hours when passengers were sleeping, it was just me and a sympathetic listener in the form of a female colleague, I found myself discussing dreams. My colleague was also single, happy, and danced flamenco on her own in her kitchen on her days off purely for her own enjoyment. Her dream was to become a real dancer or actress and after sharing this confidence she asked what my dream was.

Caught unprepared, I found myself answering quite honestly, "I'd really like to fall in love again". I surprised myself. But it made me realise that enough time had gone by and that I was whole again. It might be possible now to give a new person the love anyone deserves from a partner without me wishing they were someone else or more like someone else or punishing them for not being someone else!

Still, a nice theory, but I didn't expect it to happen. Maybe when I'm about fifty I'll meet some kind old bloke I thought, but amazingly I haven't had to wait that long. Enter "Paul-from-Devon" as he appears on my mobile phone. He appeared in my life on October 26th as I was loitering in my road and he had stopped to look for a post box. I know now that each of us was immediately struck by an indefinable something in the other and that both of us resolved to try and engage the other in a conversation which we did. It was a fateful turn of events. Ten minutes later after chat about windows, old properties, our respective occupations and various other trivial subjects which revealed the fact that this tall, floppy-haired man collected tractors ("Interestingly eccentric" I thought!), he asked me whether I'd like to go out for a drink sometime. Though inwardly stunned, I managed to assume an air of nonchalance and said "Yeah, that would be nice", wrote down my telephone numbers, waved bye-bye and then rushed to the phone to phone a friend with the astounding news.

The rest is history as they say. A couple of evenings in the pub, a breakfast date at the Bee with Jo and Martin and a walk or two has seen us become increasingly impressed with each other and I have only good things to say about him. Lucky? I'll say I am. I thought I was lucky to have loved and lost (better than not to have loved at all - very true), but Paul has redeemed what was left of life to be redeemed for me. Early days I know but I think he is marvellous, incredibly kind and loving, funny, handsome and best of all I trust him absolutely. I wont list his attributes and skills here although I am tempted to mention he can shear a sheep and milk a cow - how useful! If you know me then sooner or later I expect you'll meet him so you can see for yourselves. So now for some pictures. The ones apprearing on here are from just over a week ago on Dartmoor. Compliments welcomed on the discussion board of course and hopefully now I'm back in the swing of blogging it wont be such a long gap until the next instalment.

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