How Do You Lose One Shoe?

Have you ever wondered how people tend to lose just a single shoe? We can’t blame the washing machine or dryer in this instance like you can for socks. On our recent trip to Rhodes, Greece Pam and I saw a plethora of single shoes, these lost (soles) seemed to be everywhere but were missing their (sole mates). Okay I promise that was the last pun. But seriously how does this happen? A single flip flop might be explained by someone losing one in the water. A lost tennis shoe is puzzling but the best one of all was a lost hiking boot. Yes we saw one hiking boot with no laces. You could accidentally lose a tennis shoe out of your beach bag but if you were hiking how did you get home? Where did your laces disappear to and where are you now, wondering around wearing one hiking boot? Very strange indeed.

One has to ask the question why

This week I have had a new experience and one I do not wish to ever repeat. As humans we have evolved over millennia yet we still have a couple anatomical oddities, one the appendix, two the gallbladder. It is the latter that I had an unwelcome experience with. One has to ask why do we still have this organ that we can function normally without. Yes, it has a job to do but the liver is pretty good at holding its own, in the bile production stakes, considering we no longer have a need to digest such things as roots and bark. Yet the gallbladder remains and for many of us becomes an evil enemy causing literal gut wrenching agony. It is mostly due to these little stones made up of cholesterol and other biological goodies, that decide they fancy a vacation to another part of the body. So they pack their bags are hit the road. Their first stop is the bile duct and for some of our bulkier tourists this is a very tight squeeze. So tight in fact that it creates, for the owner of the gallbladder, excruciating pain that lasts over several days. Finally, when the human owner is ready to perform self surgery, using a steak knife and a hand held mini vac, the little bastards squeeze through and are gone on their merry way. The relief is tremendous, you come out of this pain filled fog back into the sunlight. Then it hits you, what if the remaining gallstone population decide to move on. The thought sends tendrils of dread through me. I can honestly say that never before have I wanted someone to cut me open and rummage around in my abdomen but the thought of those little bastards coming back makes it sound like a reasonable idea.

Why does the Yang have to follow the Ying so quickly?

I know the title of this post is a bit befuddling but I hope it will all become clear. This past weekend is a great case for my question. I attended a family wedding on Saturday and it was fantastic. Everyone did something to make the day a success. Whether it was preparing food, decorating the village hall (which was the venue), creating flower arrangements etc. it all came off without a hitch even the weather did its part to make the day perfect.
It was back to work this morning so that meant an early night last night to be ready to tackle the week ahead which I knew would have its own set of challenges.

I had a feeling when I woke up this morning and found a cold sore that had developed overnight, that it might not be a great day. My taxi was booked for 7:00 a.m. and it arrived promptly giving me hope that maybe I was wrong and cold sore was not an omen for the remainder of my day. I ensured that the driver knew the route I wanted to take and mentioned that I might close my eyes for awhile (hoping this would say) “I’m too tired to chat”. However that message did not get across on the first attempt. An hour later as we approached a queue of traffic I took my opportunity to shut my eyes for a few minutes. When I opened my eyes and looked around I got the distinct feeling we were not where we were supposed to be. I caught sight of a mile marker post just as it flashed by and I thought for sure it said M40 (we were meant to be on the M42. ) Even if you don’t know specifically where I’m talking about I’m sure you get the point I was not on the correct motorway! I waited for the next junction sign to make certain I was right before speaking. Sure enough the next sign comes up and I now know I’m in the wrong place.
I said to the driver “we are on the M40 not the M42″ he said ” are we?” Which worried me even more. I wondered if he too closed his eyes for a while! He apologised profusely but the damage was done. That error added another hour and a half to my journey getting me to work at 10:45 instead of 9:00’ish.
Finally I arrive at work and there are 3 people waiting to speak to me. This was another bad sign. After these 3 impromptu meetings one of which contained more bad news I returned to my new desk (yes yet another seating change on Friday) to find out they did not set up my equipment properly and my laptop refused to play nice with my mouse or my monitors. Getting itself in such a tizzy that it eventually “blue screened” technical term for “going belly up!” I had to raise a HelpDesk call then wait for IT to arrive. In the end it was 12:05 when I was finally able to log in and start to work.

So back to my question “why does Yang have to follow Ying so quickly?” I had a beautiful weekend (the Ying) then the Yang (my rubbish day today) could not wait to balance the scales.
The good news is I will always remember the wedding and will completely forget the rubbish day.

One Person’s Luck is Another Person’s…

Last week we were out with friends at the beautiful Avon Gorge Hotel in Bristol.  They have an incredible terrace with views across the Avon and of the Clifton suspension bridge.  We are sitting there after ordering, having a drink when all of a sudden I heard a “Splaaaat!” Immediately followed by this slap against my forearm.  I looked down and saw a thick, long, green blob that ran almost from my elbow to my wrist.  It looked like pesto on steroids.  After the laughter at the table died down and my stomach settled a bit, our lunch arrived.  I had ordered Cous Cous and roasted goat’s cheese salad.  When the waitress placed my plate in front of me my stomach lurched as I noticed they had decorated my plate on both sides with a thick slug-like dollop of PESTO!  Needless to say it looked far too familiar to my recent forearm experience.  So, some people say when a bird poops on you that it is good luck.  Well within 5 minutes of the food arriving the skies opened and there was a torrential rain shower that we had to out run back to the shelter of the bar.  if that is the kind of luck bird poop brings…count me out.  I’ll keep looking for my 4 leaf clovers thank you.

One Snowy January Day

There are certain events and special days that mark and shape our lives. Some of these are obvious and many of them are public knowledge such as birthdays, weddings anniversaries and so on. Most of the days in our lives when we wake up we have no clue how significant that day will turn out to be. Five years ago on the 13th of January was exactly one of these days for me. I was due to have lunch with someone I had been chatting to online. We had been in touch almost every day for about 2 months. I should have known, the minute I woke up and looked outside, that the day would be a good one because it was snowing. I love the snow and I still get as excited as a little kid when the white stuff comes down!
We had planned to meet at my local pub. This also turned out to be a bonus because I literally could not drive out of our neighbourhood, it was totally impassable. I got ready and walked down to the pub which is about 3/4 of a mile from my house. It was one of those perfect snowy days where there are only a few cars on the road and all sounds are muted by the blanket of snow. It was bitterly cold as well but that didn’t seem to bother me as I crunched my way down the path towards the pub. There was a sizzle of excitement running through me that I thought was a combination of the snow and the meeting now only minutes away. Like the weather outside I too had a flurry, this one of emotions buzzing around. Excitement yes but also hesitation, what if she shows up and has 3 heads? What if we find that after two months online there is nothing else to say or we don’t have things in common etc. I didn’t have to wait long to find out I had nothing to worry about. Once in the pub and the initial greeting hugs over we started to talk and did not stop. In one way It was like I had known this incredible person my whole life yet in other ways I couldn’t wait to get to know her better. I never wanted that lunch to end and in a way it didn’t. Five years have now passed and we still have not runout of things to talk about. We have been married for three years, have seen 4 grandchildren born and have a very busy and wonderful life. So, moral of the story, what appears to be a “normal” day can turn out to be one of the most important and special days of your life. I now try to wake up each day thinking “what incredible things are going to happen today?”

Goodbye 40’s

In just around 4 hours I will be turning 50 years old. In so many ways it seems impossible but when I look back at all that I have experienced in these 49 years it is truly amazing. All the good times and the not so good have made me who I am today. If you look at your life as a mosaic and think that all of those individual moments sewn together represent your journey. There will be bright moments and darker ones but it takes all of them to complete your personal picture. I think my mosaic is looking pretty good and I hope it is many more years before it is complete. Goodbye 40’s, let’s see what the next decade brings!

What an Incredible Summer

It is just past 6:00 A.M. and I’m on the train heading into London, the sun is shining and there is not a cloud in the sky. Even the most traditional Brits will have a hard time complaining about this summer. We have had fantastic weather and it is true when people say “if the weather was like this every summer no one would go abroad.” The temps are set to rise even more by Friday giving us our hottest day yet of 30C or 86F! We will be hotter here than in Grand Canaria! The only downside to today is the fact that I am working and having to wear a suit. No worries, at this time of year we will have sun until nearly 10:00 so there will be time to still enjoy the evening in our garden.
This past Sunday I celebrated the 14th anniversary of arriving in the UK and I still love it! I hope the sun is shining for you today.

“E” for excitement


The letter “E” is significant in the English language but recently it has taken on a whole new dimension. Just over three years ago we welcomed our granddaughter Ellie into the world. Today the power of “E” has increased as we now welcome the newest addition to the Wilks/Matthews Clan..Erin. “E” now stands for so much more! I have not been able to see Erin yet as I am away on business but I intend to make up for this that is for sure.
This ever expanding family is phenomenal. We cross two seas (Atlantic and Irish) and multiple countries. As if the arrival of our newest member was not enough to rejoice we also have the pleasure of welcoming another new family member, by marriage, Amanda. Two new family members in as many days…wow, how lucky are we?

Congratulations to Matt, Sarah and Ellie and to Mark and Amanda! Thank you for writing the preface of the next chapters of our family history.

A Family Tradition for Valentine’s Day…Now Fully Appreciated

For as long as I can remember (that’s how theses stories always start don’t they, kind of like “once upon a time”…) every Valentine’s Day, my dad gave me a card and some kind of treat. I am the only girl between two boys and I used to think Dad did the card and treat thing so I wouldn’t feel left out when Mom got her Valentine’s gift. As I grew up and out of our family home my dad still sent the card on Feb 14th. I thought it was sweet that he kept up what was now a tradition. This year when the card arrived I finally understood why Dad started this in the first place. It was not so I wouldn’t feel left out and it wasn’t because it became a tradition after all those years, it was because of the very special bond a father has with his daughter. It is something no one else in the world can truly understand. I guess it has taken having two beautiful granddaughters and getting to see that father/ daughter bond grow between them and their dads that has finally given me the perspective.

So, thank you Dad for this year’s card and for all the cards and treats in years past. I love you!

Your favourite daughter xx


Early this morning a very special bundle arrived. 5 days after his official due date but exactly on time according to his mum. Rach said from the beginning that they were off by a week by her calculations.  Young Master Wilks made his entrance just one hour after arriving at the hospital. Much to the relief of mum because child number one took over 30 hours to appear.
When you have been waiting for the call and than it finally comes, all the questions come tumbling out at once. Is it a boy or a girl? What did it weigh? Is it healthily ? Is mum okay? Do you have a name yet.  Once the torrent of questions are answered you then shift to the next gear. Firstly, giving thanks for the welfare of both mother and child and then the random thoughts kick in. Will it have hair or will it be bald as a cue ball? Will he be a screamer or quiet baby? Will he play rugby or be a math wizard? What will the world be like when he grows up? Now the fun begins as we get to discover the answers to each of these questions and the million more that are out there waiting for him. World meet Baby Wilks, Baby Wilks the whole world awaits.