Winning a million?

When the National Lottery started over here in 1994, I used to play a £1 ticket on each draw, even when it increased from 1 draw to 2 in a week. I started off doing the same numbers on each draw, but never had any joy, so eventually I changed it to just getting a lucky dip ticket, but even then I never got more than 3 numbers. Well, once, in Newbury, 2 of us shared tickets, and one of those got 4 numbers, and I think we won just over £100, wow!

Soon after I left there in 2001, I stopped doing the lottery altogether, and apart from a couple of times, when there’s been a big rollover, I havent bothered since! Well, now, strictly I’ve been in a syndicate at work (now in 3rd year), for which I’m a few pounds down over 2 years, but not lost very much. And since then, I havent bothered with any other tickets.

But yes, tomorrow is one of those special draws, where instead of the normal 1 million pound prize draw on the Euro millions draw, there are going to be 40 winners. Now given I’ve never won anything major in my life (and I’m nearly 61!), I think its fair to say that my chances of being one of those 40 would be negligible, if not less! But fine, the disabled old crock is still just wondering, if for the sake of £2.50, I could win a million (no, dont even suggest the Euro millions jackpot!), which would allow me to retire in comfort, a few years early, is it silly to consider buying a ticket? Yes, is the honest answer, but still, maybe just once, lol…?

So, if you dont get a blog on Sunday, then maybe I won the million, and I’ve headed for Algarve, to buy my little apartment in the sun, before Brexit? No, seriously, dont worry, you’ll get a blog on Sunday, I’m sure. But will I buy a ticket, hmm?

OK, video time. I know nothing about this group, just one of those random you tube searches on the word million, and this came up. Its 80’s, its not awful, and no, I’m not one of the women in the video, lol.

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Never happy with the weather?

I know a lovely guy down Georgia (as in Atlanta) way, who regularly complains because he never gets to see snow in winter. Only the other day, he was complaining because the temperature there was in the mid 60’s, at a time when it was barely above freezing over here. I also know a lovely guy in LA who complains that its cold out there, and when I look, even in the chill of the night, its 10 degrees warmer than it is here in the morning! So yeah, he’d have something to complain about if he came over here in the winter, lol!

Yes, my friend in Georgia, I’ve jokingly offered to swap places with him, as my back is far less grumpy when the temperature is above 50. Well, generally it is, but I’m having a bad spell this weekend (to put it mildly), and though its not far off that mark, it feels like an axe has been thrown into my back, but anyway…

Unfortunately we cant just do a winter swap, some trivial item called Immigration rules, and all that, on both sides of the pond! I still hope to retire to somewhere that can fit my requirements post retirement, whenever that may be. Algarve is an obvious target (even more so after November) for me, though I’m not sure how easy that will still be, post Brexit, but fingers crossed. Unless someone (PLEASE!) wants to pay for me to move there before that happens, but otherwise…

But yes, dont ever complain to me about how hot it is where you live, and expect sympathy. An offer (if possible) to swap places, a whole different matter! So…?

I love the sun obviously, which is a corny reason for tonights video. This is one of Clara Johnson’s earlier outings as a chorus girl, though its more walking in an amazing outfit, than actual dance. If I’m right, she’s the last one before the horse rider appears near the end. To be fair, any number of these girls can be seen in tons of musical numbers, not just her!

Part 2 of the year, and the passing of the pre code baton

And so to the second half of the year.

In truth, personal things prior to September were fairly limited. Mainly because I was at work, through the school holidays, covering for those who need the time off.

One sad thing that did happen before then, happened in August. To many, it probably seems amazing that an adult actress from the early 1930’s had survived this long, but one of them had. But eventually that tie was cut, when Mary Carlisle passed away at the grand old age of 104. She was pretty sharp to the end, if less mobile, and for a while she had been the last, and all knew the link was coming to an end, but for those of us who love that era, it was still a sad moment when it arrived.

September saw me going back to a place I hadnt visited in nearly 40 years, Inverness, taking Eric away with me for a few days of fun. Well, as much fun as two people with disability issues can have, anyway. I managed to fulfil one ambition I’d had for about that long, if not more, by travelling the Skye Line to Kyle of Lochalsh. The fact that the last time I was there, the only way to Skye was by ferry, and now a bridge has been there for decades, all a bit strange. There are still a couple of railway lines in Scotland I’d love to do (Oban line, Fort William to Mallaig), and the Cambrian Coast line in Wales to a place I could never pronounce correctly (Pwllheli) that are a challenge for another day, health permitting. There are also a couple of very long distance ones in North America too, though they may be less likely, and trickier to do.

At one point I thought that November would see me doing a Transgender Awareness Week speech in Florida, but it soon seemed that someone was all talk, and no reality, so it never happened. So instead, I headed somewhere nearly as warm for the week, to the Algarve, to give my back some heat before winter kicked in. I wont deny I might have done a little bit of apartment prospecting while there, should the chance arise, and yes, if things work out, my old age could well be spent out there. There is a financial issue (not enough money), and a political issue (post Brexit residence rules) that may stop that, but fingers crossed… A lottery jackpot win before March 29 might be very handy! But lifestyle, and health wise, I could do a lot worse.

Then we come to the old chestnut, my health issue. In recent weeks my left wrist seems to have developed issues, probably due to too much typing, and stuff, for the last 40 years or so. So now I have 2 issues leaving me wondering how much longer work is going to be possible? More amusingly, due to coming 4th in a year long Golf tipping contest on Twitter, I gained £100 for my pains, and thought I’d give some new therapies a try, rather than frittering it on clothing, and the like. So yes, I got to discover just how amazing a flotation tank (sensory deprivation tank) is, and even better, the weightless floating does seem to do my back a lot of good too. Fine, the tank hasnt tried to brainwash me yet, though I’m still hoping!

Oh, and December saw the Works Christmas dinner, in a new dress, in a casino, and my first ever bet in such a place. Yes, I lost quickly, but it was a free £5 chip, so nothing lost really!

Lastly, and sadly, the Department I work in, in their wisdom, have decided to move our section out of Finance, and into a new Collection based group. So unfortunately, just as our LGBT committee were getting ready to do something really exciting, I’m out, as from tomorrow. I cant see me going quiet on LGBT issues, but it may give me less options now, though I have applied for something for the whole Department, not just Finance, but will be over a month before I hear about that. Ah well…

Right, tomorrow I will close the trilogy, with a look at New Year happenings (and possible happenings) on the first day of 2019. But until then, let me wish all my readers, those who arent there already at least, a Happy New Year in 2019.

OK, video. Just a quickie tonight. Its hard to find anything for Mary Carlisle other than a couple of full films, and sets of pictures. But I found this, Bing Crosby singing to her, 85 years ago!

Retirement home, on the beach?

OK, fine, they think its all over, well it pretty much is now, lol. No, I’m not talking about the current government, though that might yet prove to be apt. But being strictly politically neutral on UK matters…well…? No, seriously, I mean my little break in the sun.

Of course, the sixty four million dollar question is, has the break in the sun done my back any good? Well, I’ve been taking less pills than usual, so I guess thats a good sign, but how long the effects will really last when I get back to the UK, who knows? I certainly havent missed not hearing all about the chaos at home over Brexit, and other stuff, for sure.

Yesterday, I headed to Vila Real De Santo Antonio as planned, and had a look around. In a sense, its more my sort of town than Faro would be, more peaceful, laid back, and dare I say it, old fashioned? Sadly I didnt get to Spain, as I reached the ferry terminal after town, and lunch, to see it pulling out for Ayamonte, across the river, in a different country, and given the next one wasnt for another hour in the off season, I didnt wait. That would have put me on the 2.30 ferry across, so earliest back at 4.00, and then needing to get back to Monte Gordo, all would have got a bit late for me. Maybe another time, maybe not, who knows?

Today, as I have done most days (gentle exercise, which is good) I took my stroll down along the front, and down part of the boardwalk, over the beach. I did some shopping, a little bit more than I’d planned, but nothing too dramatic. Oh, I got one of those coats, seems they had a zip up version as well for same price, so deal done! So I guess at some point soon I’ll need to go into work looking like a 30’s film star, lol. No, its silly really, I dont need a winter coat, but… Yes, I found the PIN for my credit card, but then found they only took cash, no cards, aargh!

I must admit, if, as I hope, I can retire somewhere with all year round warmth, then Monte Gordo has done a pretty good publicity job this week. I know its off season, but its quieter than the more popular end of the Algarve, its pleasantly warm, even in mid November (70 today), and cost of living is definitely lower than the UK too. But whether I will be in a position to make it happen, who knows? Will it even be possible once we’ve left the EU to move out here easily? Rolls eyes… Who me, a remain vote, well, you might think that, but I couldnt possibly say! 😛

Last amusing note, before I close for this holiday. There is a spa at the hotel I’m staying at. I did notice on their website that the spa does those body wrap things, and I’ve always fancied that. Go into my cocoon as the ugly caterpillar, come out the beautiful butterfly, yeah, I wish! So today, with budget sorted, I went to see how much it was. Yes, as I expected, way above what I had left, 80 Euros, for admittedly 80 minutes of pure pampering heaven. So, a fair price, but… To be honest, it was pretty much all above my budget, but I guess a 4 star hotel with spa (I’d say closer to 3, but anyway…), thats probably going to be the case. The thing was, they had a special offer for a hot stone massage, at 49 Euros. for 50 minutes of pampering, which I could just about scrape together. But anyway, being practical, I checked on Google, and it said not advised for people with Osteoporosis issues, so I ended up passing. Probably would have been fine, but better safe than sorry with boring old me!

It was funny tonight at dinner, I got asked why I was drinking Coke, when everybody else was drinking wine, so I explained about the painkillers, and all that. Again I wonder if thats just me being extra cautious, as I know people taking those pills, and drinking booze, and being fine, but…I am being boring, lol!

Tonights video is a song that might have passed most people by, especially as its now 33 years old! The late, great, Kirsty MacColl for your delight

 

Sitting on a railway station

Well, if I were to update you on what I did yesterday, you’d be bored stiff, because I did pretty much what an ‘old crock’ like myself should do, I had a relatively easy day. I went out for a gentle stroll (bit further than planned), had a bite of lunch, then headed back to the hotel again, via a stop for an Ice Cream. Fallen asleep yet? 😛

Today however, was far more amusing, which is the only reason you’re getting this tonight. My original plan had been to head into town (about 11.15), have a stroll, get a coffee, then head down and get the 12.30 bus to Vila Real De Santo Antonio, have a bite of lunch, then hop on the ferry, cross into Spain, just because its easily done (ferry takes 15-20 minutes to cross), have a look round, then come back again. No, as you gathered, I didnt do that!

Instead, as I got into town, just after 11.30, the seemingly slightly delayed 11.27 bus to Faro swung into sight, so I got on that instead! I will do the other trip later in the week, but for now… There may not be a bus every 10 minutes, but they do believe in comfortable bus seats over here, so nice! Fares are similar for distance as at home, for those interested, so it can be done, First Buses!

But the sweetest thing for me, was one of my fellow passengers, at least until Tavira, where she got off. To say this woman was the spitting image of an elderly Gloria Swanson (as in Sunset Boulevard era, or just later) was remarkable. Gloria (if I remember right) was tiny, under 5 foot tall, I believe, but in truth this woman wasnt much taller than that! Oh, and this woman was speaking fluent Portuguese, but other than that… She had the perfect diva attitude too (though I’ve heard nice things said about Swanson, so maybe she didnt?) as she showed when someone was trying to help her with her bags, after she got off the bus.

The rest of the drive to Faro was positively sedate, other than the song that got stuck in my head, this one

In truth, after just over 20 years, I didnt remember much of Faro, beyond the basic set out, but I suspect its changed in that time anyway. Bus station is still as ancient as it was then, mind, certainly no overhaul there!

At home, generally the bus fares are cheaper than the trains, and they take longer to get places, though because of the route the train takes, that doesnt work between Huddersfield and Bradford, because the train ambles round via Halifax. In the old days, the train was also more reliable, but that no longer happens! Here in Portugal, the bus fare was actually more expensive than the train (5.70 Euros, to 5.05 on train), takes longer to do the journey, even allowing for the long walk to the station (about a mile) from here. The snag is, Portuguese trains make Trans Pennine Express look reliable, and thats quite an achievement!

The train back to Monte Gordo from Faro was meant to leave at 3.00, and take 62 minutes for the journey. Even with a 20 minute walk, that should beat a 3.15 bus that takes 83 minutes for the journey! The thing is… The train pulled in from Lagos (yes, Nigeria isnt the only one to have a place of that name) at 3.03, about 4 minutes late, so we all get on. Then a minute later, we all get told to get off again. I have no idea what the announcement said, as it was only given in Portuguese, not a lot of use to most passengers who were tourists! Anyway, said train reversed back down the platform, and sat just outside the station. Just after 3.25, it plodded back into the station, we all got on (and stayed on) and a few minutes later, it set off for Vila Real De Santo Antonio!

I finally got back to Monte Gordo about 30 minutes after I should have, and still nearly made it into town before the bus passed me! Ah well…

Oh, and this leads to the second video of the day, the song I was singing to myself at the station, when I was wondering what the train was doing!

Not the young ones any more?

Right, firstly for those who know how to read both blogs, they’re going to be the same for the rest of the week, as the old lady is away on holiday, so pretty much all events will relate to that, and there’s no point writing pretty much the same stuff twice. Yes, in Portugal, on the Algarve for those who care, and want to flood me with money to spend…? Oh fine, teasing on last points, though after one item I saw today, I wouldnt say no to 32.50 Euros, if anyone is offering, more on that shortly.

In truth, getting here (Monte Gordo, for those who’d like to know, hotel details for a reasonable bribe! See above!) was pretty straightforward. Flight left on time, landed on time, and wheelchair soon arrived to take me through. I dont know the name of the gentleman, but not only did he get me through passport control, and handle my case for me, he literally wheeled me all the way to the minibus to take me to the hotel, which was far more than I was expecting. If anyone at Faro Airport can work out who this was, give him my thanks, and yes, I tipped accordingly! Minibus driver tried to match him by taking both my bags right up to hotel counter (I was last dropped off) for me, and yes, he got tipped too!

Dinner last night was fun. Nothing to do with the food, which was basic, but good, but the age of the people eating there. Yes, when at 60, you’re one of the youngest there, well… I think that its because a lot of senior citizen Europeans from chillier climes now come south for the whole of the winter (if they can afford it, not me!), and clearly this hotel is a prime destination for that! There were a number of younger people at breakfast this morning, so I think its just us that are less able, or less inclined to go out to eat who do this, me included now!

Anyway, after a gentle morning catching up on internet, and watching a bit of the remembrance service, I went out for a stroll around town. Its a typical, out of main season, seaside tourist resort, nothing exciting in truth. But it will more than do me. Nice boardwalk along the front, which I walked along, with several breaks to let my body recover, including one for coffee, and one for lunch, as well as a few just breaks for rest.

After that, I took a stroll more into the built up area of town (still not large), and looked in a few shops. I saw one lovely top that would definitely work as a 20’s look, and at about 14 Euros, will definitely be coming home with me, if I have the money at end of the week. I also saw the most gorgeous (fake) fur jacket type thing, which I loved, partly because it was gorgeous, and partly because it was so 30’s, though of course it would more likely have been real fur back then! Yes, shopkeeper saw me looking at it, so I asked price, see above, 32.50 Euros. No, I came on a tight budget, so probably not, but if I do have that much at end of week, its coming home for sure! Can just imagine Clara Johnson wearing something like that, though probably in real fur! Love, love, love!

Oh, lastly, the hotel. The front looks very modern, but the rooms (well, the one I’m in, anyway), have a much more old fashioned feel. Its not literally on the corridor, the rooms are set back a little, in pairs, and are huge by hotel standards. I literally have a double sized bedroom, a bathroom, and a large lounge area, where I’m typing this. It lacks coffee making facilities (I’ve been spoiled by UK/US hotels, I guess?), but other than that, its gorgeous!

Oh, the other weird thing? In the UK, and US nowadays, its prohibited to smoke pretty much anywhere indoors, in public buildings. Seems in Portugal, thats not the case. I finished my coffee this morning, turned to get up, and got ‘hit’ by the smell of cigarette smoke. Then I noticed the ash tray on every table, lol. Ah well…

Fine, video time. I’m guessing from the 50th Anniversary tour thing, that this must be from about 2008/09? Cliff, and the Shadows definitely still had it back then. Though no, I have no plans for any young ones of my own! 😛