Friday, 20 October 2017


DB thanks you for your lovely comments on the Advent tree project.

When DB and I first married, there was no internet, barely any video game machines, no mobile phones and not all homes had their own phones, we did luckily. When stationed overseas, we often only had pen and paper to communicate back home as phones in quarters were rarer than hen's teeth!

DB and I often communicated by letter and I really regret getting rid of them, when we married, ah well!

Being an only child, I didn't want DB's parents to feel left out. We phoned them every other Sunday, they phoned us inbetween. No such thing as free weekend phone calls then and Sunday was a day when we all knew we would be at home. DB would speak to his dad, then briefly to his mum before handing over to me. In the end, he spoke to his dad to find out what they had been up to, and I spoke to his mum. It was not easy at first and often the calls were short but it got better the more we all persevered and eventually, the calls became more natural.

We also made sure we visited them, to stay for several days when possible, about every 10 weeks, they did the same. That way, we saw them around 5 or 6 times a year. One Christmas they came to us, the next we went up to them. We sometimes did the same for Easter but not always. This was especially important once DS arrived on the scene.

Was it easier to communicate 'back then' when communication was harder? It seems that if you are not on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or do FaceTime or Skype, you don't get to know what is going on with friends and family members. My cousins all seem to know far more about their cousins lives than we do, that's for sure. I shall have to stop being such a luddite and get on something so I can find out what everyone is up to.

Girls, more than boys, seem to communicate more readily with their parents from what I can gather in conservation with friends. If organising needs doing, the boys usually get their parents to communicate with the girls as 'they don't really know' what is going on! Instead of using a calender that has everything on it, individual's phones and computers are used, making it more difficult to know what the other is doing, wires get crossed. Give me a calender that has everything on it anyday!

DB was lucky in that I didn't have any parents to worry about leaving us just his to fit in around what we were doing. Two sets of parents seems to make life far more complicated. Add older children and animals and it gets more complicated too. Some I know don't like pets and won't allow them to visit which can cause logistical problems and ill feelings. There are often step parents with their own children to fit in as well and several sets of grandparents!

Children nowadays appear to have far busier lives than we did, yet, in our day, we felt just as busy, working, catching up with housework etc.

There seems to me, from what I can gather talking to people and reading blogs, that there is a lot of mis-communication, lack of communication, general feeling of being ignored or no communication going on at all and that is very sad.

In a world where there is so much social media available to everyone, how sad that people still feel ignored. As we all age, communication becomes more important, because one day, we may all be in the unenviable postion that some elderly find themselves in, of spending hours, days and weeks - alone:(

Our families, children, grandchildren and other relations, need to be in touch more, because one day, we will no longer be around and then it is too late. You can't get that time back and will seriously regret it, as I and other family members found out the hard way.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Advent tree finished...

This time 6 years ago, I started my blog.

DB spent most of a day, finishing off the tree, inbetween others tasks he had set himself to do. Here it is:
It can either hang or be free standing. We wanted to use Christmas colours so it would fit into any room. We are still looking for the right thing to top it off but that can wait.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Sorting out your pension and when you can retire

Phil, over at Mr Home Maker, makes a very valid point to a work colleague, for those living in Australia, in this post.

Here in the UK and other countries, things will/may be a little different. In the UK you are currently still entitled to a full 'old age pension' providing you work and pay into it for the relevant number of years, currently 35! You can get a greatly reduced pension after 10 years of full payments.

Myself and numerous others, got caught in the gap and instead of getting our expected pensions at 60, having paid in the then 30 years worth of contributions, now have to pay another 5 years worth of contributions and also wait another 5 or 6 years to get said pension:(

So annoying when you retired because you had made the full contributions, expecting to get your pension then have that bombshell dropped on you. You may not consider it worthwhile to pay those extra 5 years of contributions (around the £650 - £750 per annum mark) but for me, because we have saved hard (and continue to do so), it is worth it, providing I live long enough to collect it. Those payments will give me an extra £80 or so, every month and that is a huge difference.

Women on average, live longer than men and if widowed, that extra money might make a huge difference to merely existing rather than living. Things are vastly different for a lot of women due to part time contributions, being divorced and not having access to their partners pensions, or partners dying before being able to build up much of a pension pot etc. It really does pay to think about it and get it sorted whilst you are still able to do so.

I know people who won't top up their contributions as 'everyone they know', has died before receiving their pension - a perceived reality not a truth in their case, as we know who they are referring to. Others, who are so superstitious that although they have pensions in place, won't make a will because they believe they will die if they do - I kid you not!

Even if the figures Phil quotes, might not apply to you in the country where you live, it is an excellent read and well worth considering your own circumstances and starting to think seriously about it.

Now is the time to sort out your expences, your bills, your debt. Get rid of the debt as soon as possible if you are able to and don't add to it unless you really have to. Reduce your living expences where possible, and your bills. Overpay your mortgage if possible as every year you no longer have to pay, is money in your pocket, not theirs!