Thought for the Week

"A hug is a perfect gift - one size fits all and nobody minds if you give it back."


I have enjoyed my last year at college. I have always loved learning, and the creative side of me has basked in the challenges I have faced with this new art form of photography.

Many of you have shared my journey with my blog entries. I think I spared you all from the macro flora project, apart from the lily stamens I posted in one of my 26things entries. It was one of my favourite bits, I astonished myself with some of the photographs, and I think that was the point my life long interest became more of a passion.

Feeling a little lost now that it is all over, I have written a little Haiku about each of the projects we covered during the course.

Project One:

Black and White Film
Processed myself in Dark Room
Oh Wow. I did it.

Project Two:

Flora in Macro
Pollen granules shown so clear
Reversed lens, hand held.

Project Three:

Movement with people
Motorbikes, football and beach
With panning technique.

.. and more:

Tin, Paint, Sticky Tape
Expose Paper, Fingers Crossed,
Pinhole Photographs.


Room full of strangers
All with a shared interest
Strangers became friends.

Losing the Link

Is an object with sentimental value any less valuable to the owner than an object which was purchased for 10 times the amount?

As one of those people who put more emphasis on family, friends and non materialistic things in life, I too have one or two material items which have a far, far greater value to me than their monetary worth. This picture, that I took for a 26things entry in March is one of those items.

I was unfortunate to lose my father when I was just 28, 12 years ago. It was unexpected and a very traumatic time for me and my family. The legal side took some time to complete. Partly due to the fact that he died intestate, and partly because he was, at the time, acting as the executor of my Nan's will who had died a few months earlier, and this had not been legally finalised. That job, eventually, then fell to us too.

Once all the formalities were done and dusted. I fell apart.

I brought this ring with some of the money that I inherited from Dad, and it has been on my finger almost every single hour, of every single day since then. To me, it was a constant reminder of him. The last link I had to a father I loved dearly. Maybe we put too much emphasis on these things in our life, but it was my way of having him with me, always. The last, the final, precious gift from him to me.

Last month I lost the ring.

I was distraught.

I went home, in tears, and told G what had happened. Then he began to search. Bless him.

He began with the obvious - moving cushions, hands down the sides of the sofa, under covers and pillows. He lifted the top end of the mattress and felt around the underneath of the bed. He told me to check the pockets of everything I had worn the last couple of days, my handbag and the washing basket.

I walked into the kitchen, and there he was, head stuck under the sink, removing the trap to check for misplaced rings. Next time I looked he was draining the filter on the washing machine, and checking nothing had been lodged there. He didn't find my ring, but he did come across my sons front door key, the key he was adamant I still had and that I had sworn I gave back to him!!! lol.

I carried on, like a demented chicken, checking my handbag, then re-checking, just in case I missed it the first time I entered the entire contents of the house out of it across the dining room table. I rechecked everywhere I could think of.

Finally, out of ideas, and certain that it was gone forever, I caught site of G, on his hands and knees on the kitchen floor, newspaper layed out infront of him, and the contents of the vacuum cleaner spread across it. There he was, working his way through the dust, fluff and hair balls in search of my most precious possession.

Now how's that for love?

This isn't one of those happy ever after stories, unfortunately. The ring never did turn up, and although I was very sad about it, I was determined it wasn't going to drag me down. What's gone is gone and there wasn't a whole lot I could do about it. (This for me, was a milestone in itself, but that's another story).

Lots of people, trying to offer their help, told me to claim on my insurance for it. I explained that I really didn't care about the money side of it. It was my last link with Dad, a special, sentimental piece of jewellery and that I couldn't ever replace it. They didn't seem to understand, but I knew how I felt.

Then about a week later, a good friend of mine said the same thing. When I explained the sentimental value of it and that I couldn't replace it he looked me straight in the eye and asked:

"Did Dad give you the ring?"

"No, I bought it with the money he left me" I replied.

"Exactly! So claim on the insurance and replace the money your Dad left you." he said. "You can buy another ring, or you could buy something completely unrelated, it'll still be from your Dad because you will have replaced exactly what you got from him, the money"

It made so much sense. The first time it had. So I phoned the insurance company up and I now have up to £500 to spend on another ring.

I am in the wonderful position at the moment, of looking for the one I want to buy.

I am still wondering "Do we put too much emphasis on these things in our life"?

My first 55-Fiction

I have been at it again. Although I understand it's a blog thing, I have stolen this from Michael's and Cathy's site, I hope you don't mind, but Cathy, the last trilogy of 55-fiction you wrote was so powerful as was Michael's 'I can't drive - 55' that it inspired me to try one myself.

I wrote some Haiku a few months ago, and whilst I don't have Miss U's or your talent for writing I do enjoy it, so I thought I would make you all suffer reading it!!

I googled it first, and came across this site 55-Fiction amongst many others. For anyone that doesn't know what 55-Fiction is, it provides a full history and explanation but this is the basic rules:

55 fiction is the art of writing a short story in 55 words or less. At first glance, it sounds ridiculous but if you read a few you may be suprised just how much you can say in such a short space.

A peice of 55-fiction must be a peice of fiction, not a poem, essay, a scene or an
errant thought. The New Times says that the story should have:

. A setting.
. A character or characters.
. Conflict.
. Resolution.

Subject to the above, the story can be about anything you want, but it should be no more than 55 words. You can write LESS than 55 words if you want.

Of course - The best writers in history have often broken all of the
rules and somehow got away with it - So... Why not?
So I began.

Lots and lots of hyperthetical, screwed up,tossed on the floor pages later, I have these two. The first, was a bit weak, so I had to try again.


Time to leave. Damn the weather, she thought, climbing into the drivers seat, and heading towards the town.

The man in the passenger seat left when she stopped but watched as another man got in. She drove off slowly.

When she returned, the men exchanged places again, and she tore up her ‘L’ plates, beaming.


He knew he should stop driving, exhausted as he was, but was desperate to get home, to surprise his wife, for her birthday.

He woke up, briefly, to sounds of grinding metal, breaking glass and screeching breaks behind him. Then darkness.

His wife when told “your husband’s dead” collapsed; I never told him I'm pregnant?

Now look what's happened, I'm in the mood for writing. This last one is loosely based around the 55-fiction rules, by loosley I mean it has 55 words, but it's more of a verse than a short story. I figured if the best writers can break the rules, so could I!


So sudden. So quick.
World in pause
Pain. Knife. Twist.
Heart is breaking.
Pieces. Torn.
I’m Suffocating. Can't breathe.
Panic. Help.
It can’t be. It can’t.
I love him.
He wouldn’t.
I’m Suffocating. Can’t breathe.

Too Sudden. Too quick
No time for goodbye.
Pain. Knife. Twist.
I hope he knew,
I loved him.

How English?

I was rummaging around blogland the other day, like you do, and stumbled across one of those annoying yet unavoidable quizes on a blog I was reading. You know what I mean, another one of those, quizes, yet somehow you just have to read the questions and provide your hyperthetical answers.

Then, as if taken over by some alien being, you click it. That link. The one that takes you to the page FULL of different quizes. 'What colour are you' - who the hell cares and if I told you I was red, or blue, or yellow, would you be any the wiser about me??? Well would you? What fruit are you? Ditto.

Still I persisted in reading the quiz titles. One or two seemed like they might be fun to try, and try I did. A bit of light relief, but not worth blogging about really.

Then I saw one entitled 'What mental illness do you suffer from' it just had to be done.

I, of course, already know that I am totally of my rocker, completely beyond help, and did not need anyone to confirm it, but I thought it might be interesting to see if the quiz recognised this! The results gave a list wayyyy to long to write about here, and to be honest, I'm not sure I'm QUITE that mentally unbalanced!!!!

To cut a long list, (a very long list) short, it decided that I have OCD. OCD???? for what? What in hells name am I obsessive about? Why OCD? Because I like to be ontime? Because I like routine?

It's all rubbish anyway, it's not a scientific test, it's just for fun. OCD, I ask you!!!! lol

So, knowing it is all rubbish, - I continued to look down the list. Wondering if there were any other quizes which might actually make sense. When will I learn. Then I saw the 'How English are You'? quiz.

Hey, that's easy. Born and Bred. Bring it on!!!!

How hard could this be? Yeah! finally I was going to enter a quiz and get 100% correct! My brain told me this was cheating. Cheat, cheat, cheat. But I just ignored it and continued. So, on with the questions Mr 'I made a quiz which is completely pointless' Master.

Of course I know what Big Ben is, are you mad? Doesn't the whole world?

Yes I know about Wimbledon too, OK, so maybe the whole world doesn't know that one, but I bet most of it does. Is this the best you got Mr. Quiz Master??? lolol, it's so damn easy it's like taking candy from a baby. I don't know why I'm bothering really. But I go on.

Fish, yes I know what you buy with it, I should do, I've eaten enough of them in my time. They never tasted as good as when I was a child and ate them out of newspaper though. Boy, the European Community has a lot to answer for. Hygiene, Health and Safety? Who the hell got ill from having their fish and chips out of newspaper? But no, we Brits loved that tradition, so you stripped it away, a bit like our pounds and ounzes, you took those too didn't you, said we HAD to move over to kilograms. Do you know how bloody long the shopping takes when you have to stand and mentally convert the kilograms into pounds and ounzes before you know whether it's a fair price, well do you? No of course you don't, and you wouldn't care if you did. Don't try to pull the wool over our eyes and say it's to bring us into line with Europe, what's wrong with Europeans sparing time to do the conversions whilst on hols here. Damn, if they can learn our language, a bit of math isn't going to phase them is it? No more excuses, remember, I have OCD, and I know how to use it!

Our countries unofficial National Anthem? Easy, peasy, I'm English. Hello!

What were the Beatles? Oh My God. This is getting tedious now. Why oh why do I partake of these things?

I finished the other questions and hit submit. Eagerly awaiting my results.

How I love to be right. Easy. (cheat, cheat, cheat)

You are 79% English.

You are either native and stupid, or you are foreign and knowledgeable.
"And did those feetIn ancient times,Walk upon England's mountains green?And was the holy Lamb of GodIn England's pleasant pastures seen?"
Well, no, but it's a cracking good tune.

How English are you?
Create a Quiz

Bugger. Native and stupid it is then! lol

Information Highway

You gotta love 'em.

They are just so full of information. Trouble is, I think I'll just take a quick look, being inquisitive the way I am, (for inquisitive substitute nosey cow), and then I find the clock has fast forwarded and I just lost another hour!!

In the beginning, it's like a game I guess. A giant puzzle. A who's who? I want to know these things, how, when, where, why?

Of course I am talking about Stat Counters.

Those little, discreet pieces of code, that collect a mine of information about everyone who stops by. Is it vanity to want to know how many of you there are? Maybe, but I did tell you I was a nosey cow. I have to say, I have a lot more visitors than I thought I did. (almost as many every day as Laney gets in half an hour now!!!!).

There are those that just call in once, get bored, leave and never return and there are the steadfast few, that I have come to think of as friends here in this wonderful world of blogland, that read my drivel and then have the heart to stop and comment. Then there are the others!

The others (no we are not talking 'Lost' here!!), the others are in another two groups.

Those who visit sporadically, but stop for a while and play catch up with however many posts they have missed, and those who visit regularly, checking for new reading material but never leave comments. They just sit in the background. I'm fine with that, I often read blogs, that I enjoy, but don't always leave comments. Sometimes, if I have followed a link from a fellow bloggers site I feel I am intruding in some way. Sometimes I just don't have the time to write. Sometimes, I have to eject at the speed of light because the boss walked in!!!!

To the others I say, "You know who you are" but even better than that "I have a good idea who some of you are" I'm sad like that!!! I follow your trails. I can see where you came from, and where you travelled on my site. I can even see how long you spent on each page. (ooohh, I just read this paragraph back, and it's kinda spooky isn't it!!)

To ONE of you I say

"Sorry. There was no HNT pics when you searched. I have not yet been that brave"
(No Laney, that is not a queue for you to start emailing me about doing HNT again, my camera was expensive and I wouldn't want to break it!!!)

I suppose the point I am trying to make is this: No matter how much we all enjoy our own space som er Everyone needs to feel that umm I started my blog as a place to mull over lifes damn.. Sharing is grrr.. Friends come from all walks

Oh sod it. I love you all.

A Leap of Faith

I think I brought my kids up well. I taught them about love and friendship, about caring for other people. I armed them with values for family, life and money. I hoped I instilled in them a sense of purpose and integrity and above all else to know what they want in life and go out there and make it happen.

When a child is born, he knows none of these things, they must be learnt.

Example: If you tell your young child

"Don't touch that saucepan darling, it's hot, ssss, *shaking hand*, it'll burn" and then you turn your back on them, chances are at some stage they will reach out and touch it, to see what you meant, to better understand. Next time you tell them something will burn, they will believe you and leave it alone.

How then, when I spent all those years raising my children, moulding them into good people, into adults, did I forget to teach my son:

"If you jump off a tall building you WILL die"

So answer me this....

What an earth possesses someone of sound body and mind to jump off of a big arse crane attached to nothing more than a piece of elastic that someone else has tied you to? Even worse than that, why would you actually pay someone to let you??

Hell, anyone would think he spent his baby days in one of those bouncy seat things that hangs from the doorway... but he didn't. Ahhh, hold on, maybe thats where I went wrong, he never got to do it as a baby/toddler so he's making up for lost time!!

Don't get me wrong, I like a bit of excitement in my life as much as the next person, I just prefer to get my excitement from.... well from other means ;o)

He went on a weekend trip to Le Mans a couple of years ago with G, on his motorbike with a group of G's mates. While they were there he decided he was going to do a bungee jump, as it was something he wanted to have a go at and had never gotten around to. Damn, we're back to the burning saucepan thing aren't we?

Anyway, he started climbing up to the top of this massive crane, and apparently, according to reports that I got back from the other guys on the trip, G was stood at the bottom, ashen faced saying

"That's my little boy. What the f**k am I gonna tell Ali if it goes wrong"

When our son got to the top, and only then, he realised it wasn't a bungee jump at all

It was a free fall -into a net. Did he back down? Did he heck.

He loved it, but he still hadn't completed the bungee jump he wanted to do.

My youngest daughter brought him a bungee jump for christmas last year. He is a bit of an adrenalin freak my boy, but I guess you've got the idea. There are no rides big enough at the theme parks to make him think twice about riding them, hell I don't believe he thinks once, he can't do, he get's on them.

The big day was last weekend. G and I, my two daughters, my son and his girlfriend, and a few of the guys from the footy team made our way to Lakeside, a large shopping complex at Dartford where the jump was. We had a wander round some of the shops, then some bright spark said

"I'm hungry. Can we grab a McDonalds".

The jump wasn't til 15:30, and it was lunch time! My motherly instinct kicked in, and I voiced my opinion that it probably wasn't a good idea for him to eat shortly before the jump!!!! I had this vision of his lunch propelling itself, full force, out the way it went in!!! Would he be told. Of course not! So lunch it was.

The time arrived, he had waited patiently in line for half an hour. Nervous as hell. He must have some brain cells in there somewhere, I remember thinking, he at least has the sense to be nervous. I guess that's the kick though, what gets the adrenalin flowing.

They tied him up like a kipper when he got to the front of the queue, and he waited for the crane to come down for him. He climbed in. Well, that's not strictly true, it was more of a double footed hop in, with his feet already strapped together, he looked more like he was taking part in the sack race!!

Up the crane went.
I could do nothing.
I stood.
With my heart in my mouth.
On the edge of the lake.

From nowhere.
I felt myself lurch forwards.
Losing balance.
Heading for the water.
Then I stopped.
Heard the laughing.

One of the footy lads thought THAT was the time to pretend to push me in!!! Bastard!!!

Heart restored, and clinging to G for safety, I looked up. Hell he looked small. Then the gate opened. The guy on the platform with my boy signalled with his arm.. 1.. 2... 3...

Son leant forward. With his body in a right angle, there was a brief hesitation, a very brief moment, where his brain asked him what he was doing. I thought he was going to back out, but his rotation was too far advanced and down he came.

"OH ***KING HELL" he yelled, as he plummeted. He rebounded and started to head downwards again. Composure regained, the little sod was grinning from ear to ear and was giving us all the thumbs up!!!

The day ended with us all back at ours, striking up the BBQ and playing 4-a-side footy in the garden.

A great day, but it's a tough job being a mother sometimes!

Tart Alert

Last year I wrote about a site, for UK users, which provides free financial information called It covers everything from which credit cards, mortgage companies and savings accounts are offering the best rates, through the minefield of how to track down the best insurance deals on cars, home and travel. It offers sound, unbiased, plain speaking information on how to calculate which energy supplier is most cost effective for you, to where all the best low-cost flights and deals are. It has information on how to tackle the 'big boys' in the financial world and fight back.

And it works. How do I know this? Because I emailed Miss U a link to an article, which is still heavily pushed on the site, about how you could legitimately claim back the last 6 years worth of bank charges. Yep, the last 6 years. Ha, got your attention now haven't I?

Miss U wrote on her blog last week about her success and how she has received nearly £600 back from her bank. Her only real problem was how to spend it, but like I always say, sometimes, life's a bitch!!

Anyway, on the back of her success after sharing that link with her, anyone in the UK who hasn't already tried it should.

More than that, this weeks email has a MoneySaving tool called 'tart alert' on it, which is free to use. I haven't set my alerts yet, but as the alerts are sent via email, I see no reason why those who are not in the UK should not be able to take advantage of it too.

What is a 'tart alert' I hear you ask?

Apathy is valuable. Many companies make a fortune out of our forgetfulness. The tart alert is a way to fight back. Quite simply it's a free text or e-mail reminder six weeks before you need to act, so you can beat the bank. Be a tart, be disloyal.
Shift to the best products and you'll keep the cash in your pocket not companies'. Originally designed to warn when credit card 0% interest ends, it can be used for car and home insurance renewal dates and other reminders too.

So do yourselves a favour, and check it out.

I was wondering what other uses I could put it too. Birthday reminders would not be much use 6 weeks early, for me even one week early would still have me missing them, memory like a sieve me.

But maybe a reminder for 'buy now on 12mths interest free credit' deals would be a good one. You know those deals where you don't have to make a payment for 12 months but if you don't pay it off before the 12 months is up... boy do they take the proverbial with the interest rate!! A little reminder to sort your finances out and pay up would be great.

The obvious insurance renewals. 6 weeks gives ample time to properly research the market and get the best available deal.

What else could we all put it to use for? Any ideas?

More Photographs

I have two things to say.

1. Apologies for what follows for anyone who is bored of seeing my photographic efforts this year and DIDN'T ask to see more.

2. The rest of you - you brought this on yourselves!!!

At the request of many of you, (who am I kidding, I don't even have 'many' readers!!), at the request of a few of you, I am posting some more of the photographs that I have been working on for my exam. Not all of these have been 'photoshoped' but when I open that baby up I'm at the computer for hours!!!!!!!!! So, lack of time means you get them as they are, and it also means I can shut the hell up and just leave you with these.

The first picture was taken from the middle of the outer harbour at low tide, and the angle of the shot was influenced by a wonderful photograph Miss U sent me sometime last year which I call Ripples in the Sand. Hers is much better than this one though.

Again on the harbour bed, one of the massive chains which the fishermen use to moor their boats too when they are not out working.

A strange angle, but that was the exam brief, but I love this photo.

The Old Lighthouse at Dungeness. I have posted photographs taken at Dungeness before, it's one of those stark, wilderness landscapes, on the coast which was most famous for the nuclear power stations located there. These are in the process of being de-comissioned.

The cloisters at Canterbury Cathedral. I loved the way the shadows fell across the cold stone flagged floor, and the pillars were amazing.

My own composition from a mind that wondered what if? And it worked!

Pilon. Enough said. Rodchenko, who I had to research, or that Russian bloke as Laney so eloquently put it, did a similar shot, so I had to respond to that.

A part of the play area along the coastal park that the council built below the Leas in Folkestone. It's a magnet for families with young children and a wonderful place to keep the kids entertained for free. There are lots of BBQ areas and picnic tables situated along the way so you can even cook your lunch while the little ones play. Just across the pathway is the view below.

What more could you want?

Obvious I know, a tree. Again, an unusual angle in response to research I had done.

Another shot from the cloisters at Canterbury Cathedral.

A lonely little rowing boat in the harbour at Folkestone. In the background is one of our unique landmarks, a Martello Tower.

And finally, my favourite place - again. The Canal at Hythe. The composition was inspired by my research of another photographer who had made a bench the main focus of his picture. I love the tall shadows of the daffodils that spill out onto the pathway.

So, there you have it. A small fraction of the photo's I actually shot. I do get a bit click happy when I have a camera in my hand!!

Those who didn't ask to see these will be relieved to know that I have now finally finished my course. YES!!! What will I do with all the spare time I will have on my hands?

Hopefully, I am going to get started in Wedding Photography at weekends, and then who knows!!

Panoramic Views

One week to go!

Just one week left to finish my exam work and complete my sketch book.

I have finally chosen and printed the half dozen or so photographs that I now have to mount and am at last feeling slightly less stressed by it all.

Not that I have stopped worrying about getting it done in time, but at least I feel I am much closer to achieving my goal now I have made some decisions on which photographs to include.

Any long term readers will know that I have been doing a photography course for the last year, and from some of the images I have shared, I guess it's obvious that one of my favourite places to photograph is the Royal Military Canal at Hythe. I shared some of my photographs and a little of it's history in an entry out of at the beginning of my course

This place is just so beautiful, it never fails to touch me. No matter what time of year you visit there are gorgeous colours lining the banks of the canal and plenty of wildlife. During the summer months there are little boats that you can hire for a trip up the canal at a relaxing, sedate pace as you watch the hullabaloo of the town.

The ducks will come and feed from you, in fact, they are so used to people on the banks meaning 'dinner is served' that they will make a beeline for you. They have to fight the seagulls off of course, but that's the drawback of being near the sea I guess.

For my exam pieces, I am required to photograph in the style of the Alexander Rodchenko, a Russian photographer involved in the Constructivism movement, who was famous for using 'strong diagonals' in the composition of his work.

Once again visited the canal for inspiration.

This is one of many shots I took, and once I had done a little work in Photoshop, the colours were slightly more vibrant than this.

Whilst working through all the shots, deciding which to use, G said he thought it would be great to have a panoramic shot of the canal.

Now he tells me!

So, in the absence of photographs shot purposely to 'stitch' together he suggested I flip this photograph and sit them back-to-back!

He's a genius! I knew I married him for a good reason.. lol

Photoshop, here I come! I wasn't sure if the theory would work, or even which sides to butt together to make the best panoramic photo, so in my natural 'cover all the angles' attitude, I tried both ways.

I didn't have the photographs at work to show you, so I have taken these directly off a Word Document, I hope the quality is not too bad.

The first attempt was strange, in a weirdly interesting kind of way.

Putting them back-to-back in this way produced an island effect in the middle of a very wide canal. I liked the shot though. I liked it because of the weird tree right on the vanishing point. The hovering tree, large in scale by comparison and eyecatching.

The original has this tree in the foreground, which is why it is large, but stitching the two halves together like this made it a background feature...

... my somewhat strange sense of 'interesting' is very pleased with the resulting questions the brain asks when it views it.

Stitching the photograph together with the alternate edges produced a very different result, and one more suited to my exam entry I think.

I love it.

Initially it is not so obvious that it is a mirrored image. Planting on river banks is often symetrical. The little duck, not very visible at this size, who has just clambered out of the water, leaving a circle of ripples behind, gives the game away.

Dying to Live

Another news story on my homepage caught my eye today, and made me wonder what I would have done had I found myself in the same situation as poor old Mr. Brandrick.

It's the age old question: "What would you do if you were told you only had one year left to live"?

I cannot imagine the turmoil this kind of news creates in one's life, or for that matter in the lives of those closest to you.

Apart from the fact that I would hate for people to tiptoe around me for fear of saying the wrong thing, or upsetting me, I would really hate for people to treat me differently.

First reactions - "Holy Shit", quickly followed by a complete nervous breakdown, and a couple of days of feeling sorry for myself. I would hope that following this self absorbed wallowing, I could and would be as brave as someone else I know that is in this very situation.

My initial thoughts I'm sure, would be about what I would miss with husband, my children, future grandchildren and my closest friends. Maybe that's selfish, maybe it's just survival.

I know for sure that I would treasure every single second of what time I had left and that I would ensure all those people knew how I felt about them, how much I loved them and how proud I was to be their mother, wife and/or friend. In that respect, I think knowing the end is nigh, is a blessing. How many people really get the chance to voice all those unspoken thoughts before they are taken from this world?

Then what? What comes after that?

Would I tell my enemies EXACTLY what I thought of them too? Tempting I guess, but surely a needless waste of precious time.

I would definitely plan my own funeral. Though my family know that the two cardinal rules when I die are absolutely NO black at my funeral, and bury me. If they burn me I have vowed to come back and haunt them...forever!!!

Would I go on a spending spree? Maybe visit all the places in the world I have ever wanted to see? Buy that sexy little sports car I always dreamed of owning one day?

Who can really say what they would do unless they are faced with the situation for real?

This is the story of one guy, who was told he had not long left to live:

LONDON (Reuters) - A British man who went on a wild spending spree after doctors said he only had a short time to live wants compensation because the diagnosis was wrong and he is now healthy -- but broke.

John Brandrick, 62, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer two years ago and told that he would probably die within a year. He quit his job, sold or gave away nearly all his possessions, stopped paying his mortgage and spent his savings dining out and going on holiday.

Brandrick was left with little more than the black suit, white shirt and red tie that he had planned to be buried in when it emerged a year later that his suspected "tumor" was no more than a non-life threatening inflammation of the pancreas.

"When they tell you you've got a limited time and everything, you do enjoy life," Brandrick, from Cornwall in the west of England, told Sky television.

"I'm really pleased that I've got a second chance in life... but if you haven't got no money after all this, which is my fault -- I spent it all -- they should pay something back."

If he can't get compensation, he is considering selling his house or suing the hospital that diagnosed him. The hospital has said that while it sympathizes with Brandrick, a review of his case showed no different diagnosis would have been made.

I don't know whether to laugh or feel sorry for the guy. He has a point doesn't he? So the question remains - If you were told you only had a year left, what would you do?

SOS Earthquake Appeal

Still suffering from a severe lack of time to write, I thought I would cop out and share this email with you all that my daughter sent me following the earthquake in Folkestone last Saturday....

IT Barman, I just know, being a local, you are going to find it as funny as I did, but I hope it gives the rest of my readers a bit of light relief too.

An earthquake measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale hit in the morning of Saturday 28 April.

Epicentre: off the Kent coast, near Folkestone.

Victims were seen wandering around aimlessly muttering "bleedin 'ell" and "gor'nbennett" The earthquake decimated the area causing approximately £30.00 worth of damage. Several priceless collections of mementoes from the Balearics, Spanish Costas and the local market were damaged beyond repair. Three areas of historic burnt out cars were disturbed. Many locals were woken well before their giro arrived.

Radio Kent News reported that hundreds of residents were confused and bewildered, still trying to come to terms with the fact that something interesting had happened in Folkestone. One resident - Tracy Sharon
Smith, a 15-year-old mother of 5 said

"It was such a shock, my little Chardonnay Mercedes came runnin' into my bedroom cryin'. My younges' two, Ashley 'n' Brooklyn, slep' froo it all. I was still shakin' when I was watchin' Trisha later that mornin'."

Apparently though, looting, muggings and car crime did carry on as normal. Rescue workers found one girl in the rubble smothered in blood;

"Where are you bleeding from?" they asked her.
"Bleedin' Dartford," said the girl "woss that gotta do wiv it?"

The British Red Cross has so far managed to ship 4,000 crates of Sunny Delight to the area to help the stricken locals. Rescue workers are still searching through the rubble and have found large quantities of personal belongings, which include benefit books, jewelry from Elizabeth Duke at Argos and Bone China from Poundland.


This appeal is to raise money for food and clothing, parcels for those unfortunate to be caught up in this disaster. Clothing is most sought after, items most needed include:

Fila or Burberry baseball caps, Kappa tracksuit tops (his and hers), shell suits (female), white sport socks, Rockport boots and any other items usually sold in Primark. Food parcels may be harder to come by, but are needed all the same. Required foodstuffs include Microwave meals, tins of baked beans, ice cream and cans of Colt45 or Special Brew.

22p buys a biro for filling in the compensation forms, £2.00 buys chips, crisps and blue fizzy drinks for a family of 9, £5.00 will pay for a packet of B&H and a lighter to calm the nerves of those affected.

Please do not send tents for shelter, as the sight of posh housing is unfair on the population of neighbouring areas of Dover, Deal and Sandwich.

Much of this made me giggle, but the last part, about the posh housing... had me in fits!!! I was going to apologise in advance in case I offended anyone who was reading this that actually lived in Dover, Deal or Sandwich, but then I thought:
'If you live there, you MUST have a sense of humour, so there is nothing to apologise for!!!'