Can I get some money back?

Its ironic, isnt it? I wasnt thrilled at the idea of waiting until I was 65 to get my state pension, instead of 60, as it was when I was growing older, but fine, we want equality, so equalising it to the men’s retirement age, fair enough. But to say the matter was planned badly, would be to put it mildly. Then they kicked me again, by raising the retirement age to 66, though again I could see the logic of it, as most people seem to be living longer, and more healthily, but…

Yes, says the woman who had confirmation yesterday that she qualifies as disabled, due to the deterioration in the state of my spine, plus a few other issues (knees, wrists, shoulder to name a few), and in theory has to work for just over another 5 years. Yeah, thats as likely as me replacing Trump as US President, and before anyone says it could happen, no, it cant, you have to be born in the US to do that, lol!

I have now just read that Labour are proposing to reduce the pension age back to 64, but I’d believe political promises when I see it, and besides, 3 more years might still be a challenge for me?

Seems there is now going to be a judicial review on the matter, but how much it will change, not sure? https://davidhencke.com/2019/01/08/date-set-for-judicial-review-of-state-pensions-for-50s-born-women/

Well yes, I’m going to give it a go, and see if I can get some disability benefits at least, to ease the workload on my body. Before anyone says anything, yes, I know I’m now disabled, but on the basis of all I’ve heard, thats only part of the battle! But strictly, my mobility is getting more limited quite quickly (a few months ago, I could just about do the walk to work without issue from bus station, now its tough to do), and with my wrist gone, I also tick the box for things like preparing, and cooking a proper meal from scratch, no chance! We will see on that, will probably battle with the paperwork involved the week after next, when I’m on holiday. Then the battle with the disability benefit people, and with all I here, they dont like giving out money, even to deserving cases!

But yes, fingers crossed… Even if it meant I could afford to cut back to a 3 day week, so I could always get a rest day, between work days, it would help. Equally, if they want to offer me a new, cybernetic body, I’ll take it!

Anyway, hopefully I can get some of my money back, to help me get by, as a disabled old lady, at least to whatever my pension age ends up being, fingers crossed, sooner the better!

OK, video time. Dont blink or you’ll miss it, lol. This predates Baker Street, literally the first solo Gerry Rafferty album released.

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Merry Brooks, the slightly famous author has a new book out!

And before you query matters, for those who don’t remember, and it has been a while, that’s my author name, for publishing purposes.

I know, its been a while, but thats what work will do for you! But while I was taking it (relatively) easy, before I headed to Hollywood, I wrote this. Yes, I know, I write this before I get to see the city, but on the whole, I made a good premise of it. Yes, Google maps helps in that sense, but anyway…

http://www.amazon.com/Hollywood-Happening-Merry-Brooks-ebook/dp/B00Z6Z4NLQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1433792412&sr=1-1

If you want an idea what its about, before you buy, there’s a guide in the synopsis. All I will say, is that there are 2 very famous actresses mentioned here, 1 of whom gets to try life in a modern era too (technically, she also appears as a ghost, but…). There is also 1 less well known actress, who gets to live 2 lives as well, for whom I have a special affection.

As I say, think the tale of Christmas Carol, hitting Hollywood, only the visitation is not just the sight of things, you get to experience the whole thing.

Oh, and it features a couple of guys as well, who might be a bit sinister, but have a dry sense of humour too, purely fictional.

No, I dont expect to sell enough copies to give up the job hunting lark, but hopefully enough to boost my sagging funds, pretty please!

OK, you had this video only a couple of months ago, but who’s counting. Its a much under rated Gerry Rafferty gem, that deserves some love, so…

Oh, and this lady might appear in it

Digital Camera

Flying, then and now

One of the endearing images we have of early passenger flights is the luxury of the planes involved. Of course, back then, only the wealthy could afford to fly, which may well have something to do with it. Its really only since the 70’s, and 80’s that we even started to have what could be called flight prices that the general masses could afford to pay.

So for those who complain about the lack of comfort nowadays, just remember, 50 years ago, you wouldnt have been able to afford long distance flights, in all honesty. If you consider that flights now between popular cities are no more expensive than they were in the 30’s, and 40’s…you get my drift? Of course, you were treated to a whole different level of treatment back then.

The thing is, despite the comfort, those early flights were a pretty dangerous experience. Navigation was extremely basic, especially at night, and many lost their lives in incidents, and accidents. And to even cross America, let alone the Atlantic, took 4 or 5 stops. Whereas nowadays, flights go from coast to coast, non stop, without any problems. As for crossing the Atlantic, by passenger plane, this wasnt even seriously tackled until the 1950’s!

Mind, I remember a story my late mother told me, of flying home from Bermuda (my father was in the navy) in the early 50’s, and the plane had an upstairs luxury bar, and the works! Now, they prefer you to stay in your seat, whenever possible.

My first flight would have been in the late 70’s, a short hop from Gatwick, to Jersey, and back. My first Transatlantic flight was in 1987, when I flew out from Heathrow, to Boston, and back from New York. After that, I began to fly more regularly, but always in economy.

And since then, apart from the Toronto trip, when I supposedly flew First Class with Air Trans (I would say it equated more to premium economy, than first), I’ve always flown economy class, until now. Yes, this week, and next week, when I return from LA, I will be flying premium economy (Virgin), and economy comfort (Delta) for pretty much the first time.

No, it wont truly be luxury, but a step up for me. If I’d had a job to come back to, post redundancy, I might have flown business class, but for now, better safe than sorry. Maybe if I’ve got one, in September, I might treat myself again, and maybe more?

I’ve been told by Kate, that maybe, just maybe, by flying on a Wednesday, I might get a reasonably priced upgrade on Delta to first class, and that would be a real Jean Harlow type landing into LA. But I wont hold my breath. Mind, I say that, all evidence I’ve seen, Jean stuck with the trains, rather than trusting the planes, but…

So, if anyone from Delta sees this, the 4.20 pm Atlanta to LA flight on Wednesday, look for Ms Nicholls if you start offering upgrades to first class, pretty please!

OK, so this is all about flying, so lets have some Gerry Rafferty. Not a live performance (cant find one, despite single release), so I’ve gone for something involving the brave boys of the military, and Alaska.

Welcome to Hollywood, small time actress, Clara Johnson, aka me!

Yes, fine, I know, ideally this would have been written yesterday evening, but lets just say that given what I discovered yesterday, I wasnt in the right frame of mind to do so. Hey, some of it is still whirring around my head now, but…

Monday started in a dull fashion, the delights of the Greyhound bus station in Albany. No, its not the most delightful place to spend the best part of an hour, waiting for your coach, but hey, thats America, and public transit for you. Most people of even moderate incomes drive, so many of those on the buses are the less fortunate ones. Not that the place felt dangerous as such, just a bit of a depressed area, I guess?

Anyway, about 15 minutes late (making me feel at home, with TPE), we pulled out, heading for Worcester, where S was meeting me. Yes, thats all you’re getting of identification, for his sake. Driver must have known what he was doing though, as we pulled into Worcester, pretty much on time. Then the fun began.

Lets just say that neither of us knew the city at all, and we had some fun ‘getting together’, and getting out of town. But soon, we were heading north, to New Hampshire, and his place of work.

S is a really interesting guy, much my age, and we had some great conversation en route, a lot of it 70’s related, so before a lot of my readers time! 😛 We arrived, and after a short while, set to the first event of the day, my past life regression. Thankfully, he let me remember things, but only after events. I started by getting younger, and younger, until eventually I was back in the womb. Then we went one step further back. I’m guessing we did it this way, to ensure I got the relatively recent life we were looking for, but dont quote me on that.

It worked, I ended up back in the 1920’s…in Hollywood! But no, not Jean, before you ask. In a sense, that might be for the best, because now I know it was real, and not just my influence on things. A dark haired actress, doing bit parts, and extras, named Clara Johnson. Hey, we found one mention of her on Imdb, in a 1937 movie, so she was real! Nothing else, but as a friend who knows these things told me, bit part actresses didnt get the credits back then, that they do now, so nothing to concern myself about there.

But fine, the most stunning part about all this, Clara got married, had a baby girl. Yes, I was a mother, seemingly a good one, oh wow! Died in her early 50’s, sounded like the cigarettes got her in the end, but I suspect she drunk a bit too! Unlikely, but I may have a daughter, or grandchild somewhere in the world!

Yes, fine, as S realised afterwards, he should have asked Clara if she knew Jean at all (possible, they would both have been doing that sort of thing in the late 20’s), but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Lets just say that it took me a while to get over this news, to any degree. As I say, even now, I’m still trying to comprehend it all. So little I can find out about her, so I suspect sometime, I’ll have to arrange for someone (possibly S, via Skype) to talk to Clara again, and find out more that way.

Then, after enough recovery time for me to stop saying “Oh my God” at regular intervals, we went for part 2. Yes, the Jean Harlow moment. He handled this in a fun (for me especially) way, by creating Jean-bot, via a nanite injection (a pen pressed into my hand, he showed me afterwards), and we took things from there. So fine, I might know a few things about Jean, and her life, but some of the stuff that rushed into my head, no way! Or at least I didnt think I did!

I have no idea why, unless Jean sort of absorbed my thoughts, along with hers, but her reaction to modern life was pretty blase. Or maybe thats because she knew she was a robot, not the real person, but I’m guessing S is the only one who could truly answer that, he created her, after all! Then we did it, the mirror test. I was walked to a mirror, looked at it, and it wasnt my face looking back at me, oh wow! My voice changed, my attitude did too, all quite something!

Anyway, after a brief interview, and Jean seemingly hinting she wanted a drink, stronger than water, I was brought out of trance, and allowed to remember things. Just as I was doing all this, he turned me back into Jean for a few moments, and the voice was back.

Then, after a brief recovery period, I was whisked (film star style lol) to my hotel nearby, for the night. Monday night football, including that gorgeous Jon Gruden, and then to bed.

Truly quite a day, and so many thanks to S, for letting me experience all that. As I say, at some point, I’m going to have to let Clara be interviewed again, absolute must!

The video, seemingly quite apt, seeing I was a bit part movie actress in the 1920’s, and 30’s, and it gives me a chance to let you hear a lesser known Gerry Rafferty piece.

Good news, while it lasts

OK, fine, before I get to the main part of today’s blog, I need to mention something else. The death earlier today, or yesterday (depending on your time zone) of Robin Williams, assumed at his own hands, at the age of 63. Depression is an awful thing, been there myself, and know just how bad things can get. I only hope he can find peace now, with his maker. Why I’m not covering it more is sinple, I dont like to double blog on the same subject, on the same day, but maybe tomorrow?

So lets mention something else, indirectly related to Harlow, and definitely related to baseball.

As most regular readers will know by now, Jean Harlow was born in Kansas City. Fine, the main reason for going there was the convenience of getting to Cherryvale, but then I discovered I was a Harlow lookalike (according to many), I looked up her life, and lo and behold…

Alright, on a technicality, the original target for me at least was Wichita, because if Kate couldnt make it, it at least had some connection to Brooks, if not much modern evidence of it. But all things considered, events changed, and Kansas City suited me better anyway, so…

To say its been a while since the local baseball team made the play offs, would be to put it mildly, its the longest streak in the whole of the MLB. Lets face it, Louise Brooks was still alive the last year the Royals made the play offs, though she was dead by the time it happened. Yes, not since 1985 have they reached the play offs, and that year they won the World Series.

No, they arent back there yet, but they are definitely in contention. Last night, they took over from Detroit at the top of the AL Central division, though there is still a way to go. But, maybe the wait could be over?

Yes, and coincidence, every year bar one (and that is about 7), when I have seen a MLB game, one team has reached the playoffs. Next month, I see the Royals play the Red Sox. Coincidence? I hope so!

As I say, I have no evidence that Jean ever showed any interest in baseball, though of course there were no teams that far west, when she was alive, so…?

But maybe, just maybe, Kansas City can put that jinx to rest this year, I hope so.

The video, a very tenuous link, to put it mildly, just think of the franchise name.

Change of heart

Well, in a sense the title is a bit of a misnomer, because its not so much a change of heart, as finally accepting the glorious fact I’ve already grown to accept, that with a bit of effort on my part, me, and Jean Harlow could at least be sisters! Alright, given how old she was when she died, she would be the younger, prettier one, whereas me, I’m the older, butch looking one lol!

But yes, even more so when I see pictures like this one, I can see the resemblance!

Jean Harlow

So though I wont be giving up entirely on the 20’s flapper scene, and my admiration for Louise Brooks, I’m going to try for a more practical look, the 30’s Harlow look. Hey, if I look that much like her already, why not? At least the hairstyles are a lot more achievable, with the fringe, and the dress style of the era was pretty classy too, so…

So next week, Tuesday to be exact, I’m going to get my hair coloured, and cut, and go for a 30’s style look, rather than failing to achieve the Brooks bob, and frustrating myself into the bargain. Also, my eyebrows (which are natural, not a pencil line) are going to get waxed next week, and Linda is going to see how close to that look we can get for me!

But before then, this middle aged (are you still middle aged at 55?) lady will put another notch on the age count on Sunday, when I reach the grand age of 56! Tragically, thats 30 more years than Miss Harlow managed on this Earth! The birthday dinner on Sunday, well, weather permitting, it will be one of the flapper style dresses in my collection. Though given its March, if the weather goes back to cold again, I might wear something a bit longer! But if it stays mild, well, my legs might get a shock, and an outing!

Hey, I’m not officially becoming a (middle aged) Jean Harlow lookalike until next Tuesday, so, lets go flapper, darlings! Should be a fun evening either way, thats for sure.

The video, well, the song might say that nothing will make you have a change of heart, and this is just the opposite, but…a super song, by a great singer

Dealing with a slippery character

In my life, I have been fortunate enough to have visited Eastern Europe, both before, and after the fall of the Iron Curtain, though curiously, there’s only one that I visited both sides of that event, Hungary. Believe me when I say, even though my first visit after the fall of the wall was no more than a few months after the big event, the changes were noticeable, even then.

I’m not certain if saying that people were more relaxed then, though attitudes seemed to change pretty quickly, it has to be said. That trip, was actually a holiday, with my ‘other half’, and one night we stopped for a drink in the bar, at the hotel we were staying at for a few days. In said bar, was a lady, dressed in a cleavage revealing top, and leather skirt, looking around at the men, in the bar, and surrounding area.

I understood more than a few words of Hungarian back then, and I heard someone disdainfully say in Hungarian that she was a ‘lady of the night’. No, not a vampire lol, a prostitute! And this was brazenly in the bar of a good quality hotel in Budapest! To say she wouldnt have been there a year earlier is putting it mildly, even though Hungary was a lot more laid back than the Soviet Union (or most communist countries) it has to be said!

In a sense, I regret never going back to the Eastern part of Germany, but in many ways, the change would have been so dramatic, it might have been for the best. Prague, would be nice to go back to sometime though, but no idea if, or when.

Of course, the countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania didnt even strictly exist before 1991! I still hope one day to return to Estonia (my favourite of them) but I have no idea when! Maybe when the body is no longer up to transatlantic flight hopping, and I need to go somewhere nearer. Ironically, due to the arrival on the scene of budget airlines, I suspect Tallinn has changed dramatically in the last 15 years or so, but anyway…

No, I’ve never been to the Ukraine, before, or after the wall came down, so I have no idea what Kiev (Kyiv) is like. But in Vilnius, I saw signs of what life must have been like under Soviet rule, and they werent nice ones. So yes, its sad for me to see current events in the Ukraine, given what happened in the past. No, I dont think Russia will take over the whole of Eastern Europe again, but events in the area concern me all the same.

Snag is, Putin isnt the type to step down from a challenge re events there, and Obama seems ready to stand firm over things too. I just hope this doesnt lead to bloodshed, war, and even worse, thats all I say. So for now, I hope events play out well in the Ukraine, and things can be settled peacefully. Snag is, I’m not sure if they can, at the moment.

The video, rather apt I feel, from an artist no longer with us, whose music I love. Mind, if you want to see that light that ‘comes down from above’ as a mind control element, feel free to do so, the lyrics do seem to fit in!

Apologies re the non video, video, but its all I could find.