Little pleasures – part 2

Sunday morning, after a restful night, I woke up about 5:30 and went out with camera in hand.   I was in for a wonderful treat as the sun was still slowly rising in the horizon.

I took a lot of photos as each way I looked, there was a different shade of orange or blue, a different cloud formation or just a different aspect of the scenery that looked stunning.  I have already published two posts with several of those snapshots over on my photo blog, so I’ll refrain from adding any more here.

After a hearty breakfast we drove off late morning, to go and see the main reason for the weekend trip.  It  was a post from The World according to Dina, which I read a few weeks ago, that triggered the whole idea of going to Norfolk.  And the reason? The seals at Blakeney Point!

The feeling of seeing the seals in their natural habitat, despite the few boats circling around, was as amazing as I had imagined it would be!

The Blakeney National Nature Reserve is a haven for wildlife and the former Lifeguard Station is now a Visitor Centre.

The Visitor Centre

I loved the house boat moored in the bay too!

Houseboat

The sunrise and the seals made this a very special weekend for me.

Now I am already thinking about where to go next…

Little pleasures – part 1

Monday was a Bank Holiday in the  UK and hubby and I spent the weekend in Norfolk.

We headed off early Saturday morning to avoid the heavy weekend traffic. En route we stopped in Cambridge where we had a wonderful breakfast and did some sightseeing.

We then went on to visit Oxburgh Hall and St Johns’ Church in Oxborough, Norfolk.

From there we headed to our final destination but I couldn’t resist stopping by the roadside to take some photos of one of the many rapeseed fields we drove past.

We arrived at our seaside hotel in time for a short walk and a tasty dinner (no photos).

Part 2 tomorrow with Sunday’s photos.

Superstitions – Knives and Other Random Objects

Yesterday I was in a work meting that included lunch. After we finished eating I picked up a plate left on the working table to move it to the serving area.  As I did this a piece of cutlery fell on the floor.

I was about to move when one of my colleagues anxiously asked me if it had been the knife that had fallen. I replied yes and was taken aback when she told me I couldn’t pick it up.  Assuming her concern was over safety, I thought her reaction was sweet but a little over the top and puzzled as to why she thought I couldn’t pick up the knife safely.

I glanced at the knife, which looked perfectly harmless lying there on the floor. Before I could say or do anything else, she repeated I couldn’t pick it up, that someone else had to do it.  I was wondering what she was going on about, when another colleague quickly got up and picked the knife up.

Seeing my confused expression, they explained that as I was the one who had dropped the knife it was bad luck for me to pick it up.  I thought they were joking but they were really serious about this.

We went on to discuss other superstitions like opening umbrellas indoors or spilling salt.  Almost everyone in the room believed in at least one myth.  One of the guys said he didn’t but that he wouldn’t walk under ladders.  When I asked him why, he said ‘it’s bad luck’!

My colleagues seemed  as surprised that I didn’t believe in any superstitions (surely there are some in your country too) as I was about them believing them so strongly.  They said that even though they know it is irrational, this is so ingrained in their psyche that they can’t help acting on it.

My crossed knives

This morning as I was preparing breakfast I noticed that I had two knives laying crossed over each other, which signifies bad luck in my country. No, I didn’t quickly uncross them but the thought was definitely there.   This made me realize that although I do not believe or act on the superstitions I grew up with, they are nonetheless etched in my brain too.

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I would love to know your views – do you feel compelled to act on the superstitions you know or do you ignore them?

I don’t want to ride that horse

Among the family photos there was one that fascinated me. It was a black and white picture, taken in my dad’s home village.  It was of a magnificent looking horse, with my dad sitting very straight on it, my sister sitting in front of him and me behind. My sister must have been around three at the time, I was two years older.

I used to look at that photo, wanting to remember being there and wanting to ride a horse again.  Finally, one summer when I was about fourteen and we were visiting the village, I persuaded dad to ask one of his relatives to let me ride one of their horses.  He duly obliged, so did the relative and someone went off to get a horse.

I waited for this horse with barely disguised excitement.  When it arrived my heart sank – my head barely reached the horse’s shoulder.  It was ENORMOUS and I became too scared to ride it.

I was too proud to tell them I was afraid and after all my insistence and the trouble everyone had gone to, I couldn’t very well say I didn’t want to ride anymore.  I remember that I was wearing a strapped light summer dress and that I gave some ridiculous excuse about it not being possible for me to sit on such a big horse wearing a dress! Dad was not impressed with my change of heart.

After that I wasn’t interested in horses anymore.  I eventually rode a couple of times while on vacation.  I don’t recollect much about the first ride but the second time I remember being pretty scared, especially when we started going down to a beach following a narrow path on the edge of a cliff.  I had absolutely no control over the horse, it just did what it always did, no matter whether I kicked it with my feet or pulled the reins.  Once it got on the beach it started galloping. That was terrifying as well as extremely uncomfortable!

My feelings weren’t helped when a friend bought a horse that turned out not to like being ridden by women.  He threw her off once and then someone else.

These are not terribly dramatic experiences but they were enough to put me off horses.  I can admire their beauty but I think of them as untrustworthy and try to keep as far away from them as possible… until my recent visit to Rome, that is.

Roman horse

I know this sounds crazy, but as I passed this horse (in picture), it seemed to look right at me, following me with his sad gaze as I walked towards it.  My friend waited for me, as I pathetically froze in front of the horse.  It just kept looking right back at me and I felt compelled to pat its head. I eventually left wondering what had happened there.  It was as if there had been some sort of connection and I felt an overwhelming compassion for this creature.

I am not sure if my impressions of horses will ever really change but after this, I might just be a bit more relaxed the next time I come across one.

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These memories were triggered by reading ‘Horse Feather Boa‘, a short humorous story by Russell Gayer.

Bugbears

I like to think that as I am getting older I am also becoming more patient and tolerant.    Most days I am lulled into a sense of being a calm and collected person… but occasionally I come across some trivial thing that makes me lose my cool. Among them are:

1. Arrogant Customer Service – my most frustrating experience of this is with my mobile phone provider but there have been similar experiences with other companies.  Their brand of ‘customer service’ seems to assume all customers are stupid and that the only way to deal with us is by patronising us at every opportunity.  For good measure this must be done with an arrogant tone of voice.

2. Uninformed Customer Service – When going to a store to check a item I want to buy, being approached by a Sales assistant that, without waiting for me to ask anything starts their sales pitch.  Then when asked questions, they have to go online to find information that I already know. Or worse still, they don’t bother to check and provide misleading information.

3. Pushy Sales at the till – Going to a cafe just to buy a sandwich or cake and being asked if I want coffee with it.  Conversely just wanting a coffee and being asked if I want anything to eat. I always want to reply that if I wanted anything to drink/eat I would know and would ask for it. However I refrain myself from doing that as they are just doing what they are told to do.

4. Real Estate interpretation of space – the general hyperbole regarding the size of rooms cannot get much worse than when a room is described as as double bedroom when all that can fit in is the bed itself!

5. The VIP concept – I am not even talking about the worship of so called celebrities. Just the term – Very Important Person – and the idea that some people are considered to be worth so much more than others that there is even an an acronym for them! Where this bothers me most is the in work environment –  how does climbing the corporate ladder make someone so important?

VIP
These are some of the minor things of daily life that can suddenly change this easy going woman into a very irritated one.

Do you get frustrated with any of these things?  Or is there something else that gets you?