The other day, I met this guy…



I had just started my last shift in my last job, when this  man came in with a pack of paperwork. He was going to start working with us as a locum.

His main job was a taxi driver, and he said that he liked being self employed and on zero hour contracts, for this allows him to work as much or as little as he wants at any given time. “And it goes like that,” he said, “work hard for a few months, then go travelling for one. Then work hard for another few months and travel for one… This year, I walked the Chinese Wall!”

I said I like the thought of that, but am too security conscious(*) not to have a permanent job with a guaranteed income.

(*) I think this comes from my parents. I grew up knowing from early on that I`ll be on my own if I get myself into trouble, particularly if self-inflicted. Although I`m married since 12 years, my subconscious cannot accept that my husband is different and that I can count his income towards mine.

“My dad died very suddenly at 55,” the new locum explained. “He always worked, never really lived. A year and a bit later, I was diagnosed with cancer. I`m alright now, but that`s changed me. I want to live. I want to live now, so I only work as much as I have to, in order do what I want to do. But if I drop at 55, I`ll have had all that.”

There was nothing I could say other than say that he is right.

Another guy has been made redundant, and before he`ll even look for a new job, he will travel Europe. My first thought was “How can he fritter all his redundancy money on travelling before even knowing when he will work again and how much he will earn!” but he said “I always worked, I have never done anything like that, and now, I have both the time and the money.”

He` s right, too.

It is me who is probably wrong. Voluntary Redundancy with a package and eager to jump straight to the next job. Annoyed about three weeks downtime. Not really liking it 100%, but not leaving until I`ve got another job. Again, annoyed about three weeks downtime.

I asked on Facebook for suggestions re how to fill them. “Come to us!” This was my friend in Jerusalem, who already invited us 10 years ago. But my husband is rather cautious with regards to going Eastwards, and we didn`t want to take our limited holidays separately.

Instead, I`m going for a 4th time to Crete and a 4th time to Portugal as well. Last year, we were in Malta, and I started to feel how everything was merging into one, taking away from the appreciation I felt for each holiday. It was there that I felt something needs to change, that I need to start experiencing different things.

My new job is just for a year, and my first thought with regards to Jerusalem was: save over that year and plan a visit for after the job has finished. And then, I thought why? It may become permanent, and I may have already planned my leave otherwise by the time I`ll know. It is now that I have three weeks spare. And my redundancy package is still there, I hardly touched it. And I also said I want to take a holiday on my own some time (although I had Paris in mind, which he is not interested in).

So I PNned her and asked if she was serious.

To cut the next bits short – it`s booked!!! I` m flying to Israel this Saturday coming to see my friend and her family, undertake tons of day trips on my own while she is working, and get fat from eating Ottolengi-style every single day. And I`ll make Instagram crash!!

Can`t put into words how excited I am!!


Multilevel/Network Marketing

Over the moon about finally landing a permanent job, she saw it all ending after only two days, when it turned out that the rather swish sounding job title “marketing advisor” was a clever marketing ploy itself for a 100% commission sales position within a multilvel marketing position.

Her induction wasn`t yet training her on how to achieve the sales but focused entirely on the development of her own earnings (you move up for selling lots of product, and then start mentoring others, taking part of their commission in return. No recruitment with this particular organisation, but this, of course, takes you all the longer to move up), making new recruits hungry to line other people`s pockets in the pursuit of incredible, but for most unattainable, wealth for themselves.

When I was in my early twenties, I had a quick and rather unsuccessful dab into this kind of marketing myself, and though I didn`t earn a cent (I made a few sales and recruited one rep, but I also spent a dysproportionate amount of time and money attending seminars, meetings and mentoring my recruit. I was also tied to using the, still overpriced, product myself for much longer as I would have as a “normal” customer), I, too, gained a rather interesting insight about how those organisations work and motivate you.

My friend described that “they supercharge you and pump you up to the max” Every seminar I attended for “my” organsation ended with Tina Turner`s “Simply the Best”, plaid at just beneath unbearable volume, which we all sang and danced to while viewing the face of the organisation`s founder as always the same last slide of the big screen presentation, and I freely admit that all this did something to me – whenever I left a seminar, it was on a superpositive note – I was highly motivated, ready to conquer the world and so, so disappointed that it was 9pm at night and couldn`t happen until tomorrow morning. We often had parties at my mentor` s home, there was music playing, and all over sudden, there she was – always, but always kind of unexpected – Tina Turner, and we all jumped off our seats to scream and dance with her, and it all seemed to come so naturally to all of us. I felt part of something big and crazy, something that was special and wanted to be shared with my nearest and dearest. The product didn`t matter any more as we regularly collapsed laughing and hugging after “our song” ended.

My friend`s organisation takes this “buzz” one fine bit further still: every morning, their staff attend an (unpaid) 1hr pep talk in their office, which they cannot skip, as that`s where they`re also learning where they are going to be deployed to today, who with, and how they are going to travel. The pep talks involve singing, clapping, dancing, cheering to your boss, and plenty buzz words which colleagues (who work in pairs but actually compete against each other for the attention of passers by) will reiterate to each other throughout the day to keep the memento going. For that hour in the morning is all about positivity, oneself and one` s imminent wealth (“greed”, she said), but your 9 hour shift “on location” is all about rejection, as you approach passer by after passer by, trying to get them to at least listen to you. I`ve seen them. I bet you have, too. I didn`t know how they can still be as enthusiastic and upbeat at 4pm.

When I first encountered this scheme, I was really enthusiastic – I believed in the system, I believed in the product (in that order), and I believed in my own ability to succeed. By that time my manager in my full time job had already said to me “At the moment, you`re not a salesperson, but this does not mean that you cannot become one!” I wanted to show and impress him.

Never mind my own lack of success, I changed my mind ages ago, and my feelings about this system is perfectly summarised in this (sorry – long and a bit difficult to read) article.

If everyone is encouraged to both sell and recruit, the market quickly becomes oversaturated, and if you haven`t gotten in there really early, it is impossible for you to make money as an increasing amount of people are already using or selling the product. You don`t however know how imminent this point is, so you`will keep working hard, just in case, selling a dream which you don`t even believe in yourself. And you`re actively encouraged (pressurised, in my case) to pester family and friends.

Until you get promoted (sales based, which makes you work all the harder) you cannot make a living out of this work, for you are too busy lining the pockets of your own mentor, who, of course, has a personal interest in keeping you going. You`ll do the same if you want to succeed, and with this company, you need to, for the work is 6 days a week and does not give you time for a second job or look for another one.

It`s quite clever, actually. But so deeply immoral.And I cheer on my friend, whose chair will remain empty today – on day three and forever after.



Kindle vs Paperback

How do you prefer to read?

I`m torn between Kindle and paper. When it first came out, I thought I`d never buy a Kindle, but eventually, I did, and from then on bought everything I could electronically (apart from cookery and other picture books).

Over the last two or three years however, I`m slowly going the other way again. I often find myself paying more for an e-book than a second hand paperback, plus, I cannot pass it on to other people. Graphics, particularly those with small font, are often illegible on Kindle, and while it`s usually (but not always – see picture ` below) better on my tablet, I do not want to add yet another thing to do on a computer screen.

Anyway – I started to buy paperbacks again. Although buying from Amazon, I often have to forego the buzz of instant gratification, £2.81 (1p for the book plus £ 2.80 p&p) compared to the £4.99 Kindle edition is hard to beat. Slowly, my shelves are starting to fill up again after I worked so hard to downsize my book collection.

Why, by the way, is it so hard for some people to part from their books?

I`m starting to prefer paperback again, although I still wouldn`t want to dispense with my Kindle – I like the portability, the ease of buying foreign without paying postage and waiting for ages, and yes, very often the instant gratification. At first, I also said I like the space on my shelves, but I think we now have a library that`s quite reasonable, and I have to agree with my husband that books displayed on a shelf look nice (just not as many as we once had).

Samples from my Kindle and the same pages on my tablet:




A Photo Tour on Cramond Beach, Edinburgh


No, the Novelty factor doesn`t wear off… I still deliberately pause and look, and am simply grateful for life to have taken me to such a beautiful place…


Playing with filters…

I like Vivid (Nikon), but unfortunately, it blurs fine details, so not good for people, food, etc…



Vivid vs High Res vs Toy Camera


So beautiful!


Batteries recharged in just an hour!!



12 von 12 oder A Day in Pictures

Following inspiration from here and my own debut last month, here come my 12 pictures of 12 August 16 – I`m afraid they are rather boring, but that` s supposed to be part of the idea. To show what we are doing on an ordinary day rather than just write about the especially exciting ones.

Waking up with Leo, our Siamese cat. He loves this sheep skin blanket and enjoys kneeding and sucking it for hours. I think it reminds him of his mum. Sometimes he blends in so well, that I don`t see him at all.


Cuddles in the Bathroom with Amber. That` s also a recurring part of every morning routine – Amber joining whoever goes into the bathroom first and getting plenty of attention and cuddles in there, where Leo doesn `t disturb her wanting his turn.


New blouse – we`ve been charity shopping last week. My friend needed something for a special occasion as well as some advice, but, rather predictably, I came home with four things for myself as well.


Don`t ever expect much action from me before I had this:


Latest addition to our kitchen: a Dehydrator. After toying with the idea since years (!) I finally gave in after trying what my friend has made with hers.


Been drying nectarines overnight, and one again, they are as delicious as they look. In addition, their delicious sweet perfume was permeating half the house after less than an hour…


Giftwrapping for cats – as the recipient loves cats, too, I printed this photo and put it into her card.


I` m working a late shift today, which is 2-8pm – just short enough for me not to need an unpaid break, which I think is genious. Busy day, as we were having our annual inspection.


I came home to the delicious smell of garlic – pizza tonight! We always buy the basic one from Lidl and then dress it up ourselves. If I do it, there`ll be a side salad, if he does, it` s a glass of red wine. It was his turn last night 🙂


3 pictures spare. Here`s another two of a little girl who was violently sick earlier today and still seemed a bit under the weather here. I love the way she arranged her little feet.


For a 12th picture, I was going to snap a view from my bed or something like that, but frankly, I forgot.

Abinesserkatze or: my Contribution to #Caturday

Do you, too, know those words which, once learnt wrongly, stick forever in your mind wrong? “Abyssinian Cat” was one of those for me. I forever loved cats and was given books about cats from the moment I was able to read. They were usually lexica where every breed was introduced, generously illustrated, in alphabetical order.

The Abyssinian Cat was always first, and somehow, the word manifested in my head as Abinesserkatze. It was only when I broke to my sister that we were going to have such a beautiful creature to live with us that she explained that they were, in fact, called Abessinierkatze. I looked it up and was amazed that she was right. German language is notoriously hard, even for Germans.

The cat, whatever the name of her breed, came and is the most beautiful sight my eyes have ever beheld…

Amber on her perch in the conservatory
Catching a fly in the bathroom.

No, seriously. I know, she looks like you have shown her a sweety and then took it away without giving her some but she`s looking after a fly who once again went somewhere she could not get her.

Amber and her adopted brother Leo in our bed
Amber and Leo in our washing 🙂


No, of course, they aren`t allowed, which makes it even cuter!! I opened the door, which wasn`t shut properly, and that`s what I found…

Amber`s Abyssinian cat Feet


Leo looking daft when he plays
Leo looking daft when he sleeps
Leo and Amber Couple Shot


BONUS TRACK: Dudley, the Ragdoll

Dudley lives with our amazing cat sitter Christine, since Thursday. She actually didn`t want another cat again when her last one died (that`s why she took just about everybody else`s in for their holidays – and I can tell you, they get spoilt rotten!!!), but when she saw on the internet, that this beautiful chap was needing a new home, her heart just melted and the rest is, as they say, history…

I had to laugh when she told me what her sister said when she told her that she was getting him. “Does this mean that everything will be full of cat hair again???”

Ehem… Definitely, with this chap…

You can click the pictures to enhance their size. 🙂

On Past Injuries

When I`m out and about, I`m listening to the “Thinking allowed“-Podcasts at the moment, and yesterday, I stumbled upon an episode about football and domestic violence. Apparently, there tends to be more domestic abuse when the perpetrator`s team has an unexpected (this seems important!) win or defeat, and women who escaped such a relationship say to this day, they cannot stand anything to do with football, even if they were once very fond of it themselves.

I always thought I was the only one who, once hurt with our around something, cannot face this something again without unpleasant memories intruding and spoiling what would otherwise be a pleasant experience, and I always felt childish and unreasonable for this.

It`s still a job in progress, and I often need to work really hard to disconnect say, Christmas from certain memories I have around it. Still, I often become what others think of as unduly upset about seemingly trivial matters.

After a longish phase of reading psychology and therapy, I now realise that me being upset is never about the incident itself but always about my feelings about it, and my feelings are still stuck in the past. While I cannot change the past and not always the current incident or situation in question either, I can always try to change my feelings, at least a little bit.

What helps is asking myself the following questions:

  1. Would I be as upset if there wasn`t a connection to past injuries? (other people, other places, etc)
  2. Could I imagine others (I have a small list of names I add here, ranging from people I admire to people who are most like me) becoming upset if they were in my situation? How would they feel and act?
  3. How would I feel if this had happened to someone else, and they were telling me they were as upset as I am? Would I be upset for them? What would I think, feel and say to them?

All these questions force me to take a step back and see that my feelings are really still about the past, and not the present incident. And while that`s not always enough to ease the pain, at least it prevents me from lashing out at people in the present who often have nothing to do with the past injury (or wouldn`t necessarily be aware of the connection).