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British summertime

          I don’t have a regular routine anymore. My days in work, although three in a row, start and finish at different times of the day so the change from British summertime on the clocks didn’t really effect me. However, I worked an extra day last week as pay-back for an earlier day off, and then was asked to cover the early shift for my other three days so ended up with four 4 o’clock alarm calls in a row. It would appear that it only takes four mornings for my bodyclock to think I should be awake early everyday again now.

          I was awake too early again this morning and just lay there quietly listening to the cars. To me they sound like waves, especially early in the morning. We live on a long street so they pass at a regular speed. You hear them very quiet from further away at first, then as they get nearer they get louder until they pass with a “Woosh” and their sound fades away to the distance.

          The fact that I could hear the cars at all made me smile. When the wind blows in Weymouth it whips in off the sea and stirs up a storm. Yesterday all I could hear from outside was the rain lashing at the windows, but today, I could hear the cars, and what’s more I could hear the rumble of the engines and not the tyres ripping through the puddles as they passed so today is a dry calm day, all we need is a bit of sunshine and the seagulls will come out of hiding and the beach will fill up with people.

          On my last morning in work this week the latest storm was giving everything it had. I had a lift in, but would be walking home, so I took my shoes in a bag, and dressed in my “Hat and Mac“, adding my wellies to complete the outfit. I even chose a sheltered spot to wait for my lift and was only tempted out once to wade in the giant puddle near by.

          As a rule, if the weather causes me to wear my wellies to work, I use them to walk “In the sea” on the way home.

          By the time my shift had finished the constant rain had turned to showers, and although the showers were often, the wind was making sure they were short and swift. The sun had put in a welcome appearance so I tucked my hat into my bag, leaving my hair (which is far too long at the moment) to blow about wildly, and headed for the sea.

          The sea was big and the tide was right up under the stilts supporting what is left of the Bandstand Pier. I stood for a while watching the waves pushing and pulling against the stilts while I decided whether to go across or not. I would not have even considered the crossing without my wellies as this young lad found out, it only takes one wave to get your feet wet.

          You can see the young lad in the next picture getting caught out with just his trainers on …

          I crossed to the other side and stood for a while watching the surfers. I don’t know if one was better than the other, or just braver, as he would make his way out and wait for a larger wave to arrive further from the beach and ride it in, but the second caught the smaller waves and although there were more of them, he didn’t have such a long ride back to the beach.

          As the sea was rough, I positioned myself on the stones, only just in reach of the longer waves and enjoyed the water swirling around my wellies and back out again while I watched the surfers. Quite distracted I hadn’t noticed my feet were sinking until one wave which would have usually been no problem at all slipped over the top of one wellie, I felt the water colder than usual on one foot and decided it was time to head for home.

          I headed up towards the prom in a homewards direction. My socks, and my trousers which were tucked into my wellies had soaked up the excess water, but now I had to take the little girl inside me home, before the old lady had to pay for her antics later.

          The weather apparently had other ideas. Half way up the beach the clouds spilled over and the wind whipped the rain into marbles. I didn’t have my mac done up and to be fair, there has to be something really big chasing me to make me run, so I turned my back to the rain, shoved my hat on tight, stood my ground and just let the mac and hat do what they were made for while I watched the waves and the rain pellets battle over who could make the beach wetter.

          Eventually the storm cloud blew over and I continued towards the prom. You’ll have to take my word that a beach full of bedraggled onlookers were rewarded with a rainbow because it was pretty much instantly blown away again.

          However, so was the storm cloud, leaving the next patch of bright blue sky behind it.

          More from before: living into “Semi-retirement” and beyond… 

Chester jigsaw

         Chester… In 1500 pieces …

         I’ve had this jigsaw in the cupboard for a while, waiting for the opportunity to do it. It’s the biggest jigsaw I’ve done as an adult, I quite possibly helped with one this size when I was younger because I sort of remember either my Mum or Dad (or both) having a jigsaw set up often on the kitchen table, and anyone who was passing just picked up a piece or two and put them in.

         I bought this one in a hospital visitors shop, I’d been “invited” to attend one of those hospital appointments offered to women above a certain age… Another milestone I had been avoiding since we moved, but they finally caught up with me and invited me to attend, in Bournemouth, so Hubby and I made a day of it. I believe this time we went by car because although we’ve been from Weymouth to Bournemouth and back again on the train before (and a very scenic train ride it is too) I don’t recall carrying a jigsaw home. On the way into the hospital we passed the hospital shop and I just glanced at the jigsaws, I didn’t have the mental clarity at that particular to take a look. When we arrived at our waiting area there was a partly done jigsaw on one of the tables, a great idea from someone, as it completely calmed any anxiety and when I was called, I put the box of pieces down to hand over to the next lady. Of course small gestures like this are a thing of the past now and sadly I suspect will not return, as we’re never expecting an “after covid” time to arrive.

         On our way out I stopped at the hospital shop and picked out this jigsaw, I recognised the picture as Chester straight away, and the age of the picture made it even more appealing. Not to mention the size… 1500 pieces… I realised then why I had chosen such a large table for the kitchen.

         I almost always start a jigsaw by finding the edges and putting together the rectangle frame to work within. This time if turned out to be more than a challenge than others I’ve done. It seems the edge of the jigsaw is bigger than the edge of the picture on the box so I could see what the second row of pieces would be, but not the outside row. I managed most of the edge ok, but without the exact picture I had a couple of bits which looked right, but weren’t, meaning the edges didn’t join up properly and it had gaps. Being a second hand jigsaw, I began to doubt it was as complete as the previous owner has written on the box, however, I moved one or two pieces around, swapped a couple of very similar pieces and everything carried on fine.

         I was reminded of the job I used to do in my supermarket overnight before we moved. My official job title was “visual merchandiser”. You know when you go to the supermarket and something you usually buy has been moved and you have to look for it ? Well, guilty as charged, that was me.

         To be fair, it wasn’t my idea to move things, just my job to do the moves. But during a stint of “Day walking” I compared my job to a jigsaw from a jumble sale or charity shop, sometimes I was given a simple plan of the shelves and only needed to move a couple of items, other times I would be given a huge plan with lots of moves. Often half of the stock I was supposed to have was cancelled or not available, and I had to fit other items in instead. These were the moves which really resembled the charity shop jigsaw, one which had been dropped on the floor with another, and then the wrong pieces put back in the box. These were the puzzles I enjoyed, and as with most things, if you enjoy doing them you are good at it. (even if I do say so myself) I was good at it.

         After many years of working at my supermarket, moving through many different positions in store, I finally found a part of the job I liked… Then I gave it all up to move into the unknown. I moved from life in the twilight zone working nights at a huge store to working part time days in a little corner shop… I stepped into Semi-retirement by my seaside… The result ? … Now I can quite comfortably spend time putting 1500 pieces of a real jigsaw together on the kitchen table.

         I’m starting to build up a collection of favourite jigsaws. Some I’ve already done more than once, and left myself a message written on the inside of the lid… Ready to start again next time.

          More from before: Remembering “Chester” and visiting in September 2020. 

Christmas morning

          It might be difficult to believe, but these are actual pictures of weymouth on this Christmas 2020 morning.

          The sky was a beautiful blue and there was hardly any wind. The temperature, of course, was low, but the cold was easily wrapped up against so we wandered, over the bridge, down along beside the harbour and out along the prom to the clock and back again.

          The beach was pretty busy considering, the dog walkers would have been out whatever the weather, but on any normal Christmas morning at this time crowds would be drifting away from the Christmas morning “Harbour swim“.

          There was no organised swim this year, it fell into the category of normal events, and 2020 is by no means a normal year so it was just one more thing which got cancelled by covid.

          Hey ho, well get through to 2021 and beyond, and by this time next year I’m sure we’ll all look back and wonder how we did it. I don’t usually stay up to see the new year in, but this year I’m quite tempted to stay awake, just to see the old year out.

          More from before: Semi-retirement by the seaside in “Weymouth