Pen and I

Sharing my passion for writing, juicing and travel

The Handover – Monday Monologue

Posted on September 10, 2018

I walked right into a situation that I could have avoided if only I was more aware of my surroundings. I was preoccupied you see. There’s only 30 minutes for lunch and in that time we are expected to find food and eat it.

In my rush to be back on time I missed the silence.

I’ve got to be back at work on time for the handover. I know how much she loves to humiliate me when I’m late. The pleasure shines all over her smug face as her ears turn red and her nostrils flare.

I don’t know why I take it from her really, I should say something but that will only make matters worse.

So you see I had other things on my mind and it took a while to register that the supermarket was deserted. Not a soul in sight, which should of made me wonder what was going on but it was the handover see, I was going through what I needed to say so I could get it right.

After all it’s not normal for a place to be empty at one in the afternoon but do we really pay that much attention to other people when we are busy in our own thoughts.

Along with the sandwich I grabbed an energy drink and a large cupcake.

It was at that moment I felt the hairs rise on the back of my neck as my brain raised the alarm. It alerted me to the fact that there was no one else in the aisle.

It made me pay attention but I wasn’t worried, not in that moment anyway, because i knew there’d be someone sat at the checkout.

I needed to pay for my lunch and get out. There was no time for questions. Maybe the place had opened late.

A cashier will have all the answers.

I felt the air stop midway in my chest as I walked towards the checkout and noticed them all empty.

I thought about leaving without paying because what else could I do?

I spent a little too long thinking about my options.

I should have dropped the food and left.

The cold hard steel against my temple and the stern instructions not to move told me that this deserted supermarket was in trouble.

I was led towards the back of the store. It was too late for me to do anything other than what I was told.

I knew in that moment that I wouldn’t make the handover.


Monday Monologue inspiration

I use the Monday Monologue over at Morgen’s online short story writing group as inspiration for today’s story. Her challenge was:

Monday Monologue: your character is a supermarket at lunchtime and the place is deserted

My Crete Adventure

Posted on August 8, 2018

I finished work on the 7th July and got ready to fly out on the 10th to Crete.

After a short delay I was sat on the plane. My first holiday in 10 years and the very first of what I hope will become a travel adventure over the next few years.

Getting on the plane hadn’t been as straight forward as it should have been. I had left my passport at home and by the time I realised it was midnight and I was 5 hours away from home.

I had chosen to fly from Gatwick Airport and was on my way there when a thought crossed my mind and I checked for my passport. I had left it in my larger suitcase. The day before travel I had bought myself a new smaller case and left the passport in a zip in the larger one.

I spent midnight until 4am walking around London waiting for the train station to open. Got on the train back to Birmingham and as I arrived back at my daughter’s house I had convinced myself I wasn’t going.

My daughter had other plans. She had already looked up alternative flights.

An hour after getting home. With no sleep and now a few hundred pounds lighter after paying for another flight and transfer fees I was at Birmingham International airport.

I arrived in Crete at 10.30pm instead of the original mid-day. As I arrived at the hotel I found out the other people being picked up had waiting 90 minutes for me – I felt bad about that. The airline wouldn’t tell them whether I had boarded the plane or not so they sat and waited. I

t helped the three of them bond and get to know each other so that was a plus because they were inseparable for the whole week.

Solo travel experience

I wasn’t expecting everyone to want to hang out together. I thought the trip was for solo travellers but gave us a base to come back to so we could catch up and talk with other solo travellers.

I decided to stay solo. I went out and did my own thing visiting as much of Crete as I could. There was one night where I attended ‘Greek Night’ with a few others and had one person who I went to the beach with – otherwise I did most of my activities alone.

Seeing Crete

In my 7 days I wanted to make sure I did as much as possible while also resting. I will have to return because I got to see a very teeny part of the island in that time.

I kept a journal. I have decided to buy a new journal for every travel adventure I take and put everything into it.

Grand Canyon, Therisso

I paid 19 euro and went on a bus tour to Grand Canyon Therisso. Known for it’s gorges and ravines there were some spectacular views from the mountains. I managed to get a few photos of the Kri-Kri goats and visited an olive factory where I bought myself some great soaps and lovely moisturiser.

We went through the ravine of Therisso following in the footsteps of the revolutionary soldiers and Cretain rebels of the 1896 uprising who hid in caves.

Therisso grand canyon crete

Therisso grand canyon, Crete


Chania Sightseeing Tour

This tour allowed me to get on and off the bus as many times as I wanted to in 24 hours. The buses were only running during the day though so I really only had until 5pm.

I stopped at a place called Sabionara. The peace and tranquillity hit me first and I sat and watched the world go by. I would love to come back and stay in this area for R&R.

Market Square. Stopped here and bought myself a loofah and some natural products. Walked round the market and resisted buying too much.

Akti Kanari. This is the old town of Crete I think and has a beautiful harbour and plenty of places to eat.

akti kanari crete chania

7 quick days

The 7 days went past really fast and I couldn’t do everything I wanted to put was so happy to have enjoyed my first solo trip.

I didn’t have a decent camera with me so missed out on taking loads of images.

I am hoping to get round to a trip to Egypt next or Cyprus and then something further afield.

To rent or not to rent

Posted on July 1, 2018

I moved in June 2017 from a 3 bedroom house into a studio apartment, which is an outcome of going through the change – having all my children leave home.

When I decided to become a live-in carer I thought why keep the place and pay rent if I am living with someone?

So I arranged to stay with my eldest when I am not working who lives in Shropshire.

My dad, who is in London, also has an empty room I can use if I want to be there.

Of course when I am not working I want to be travelling so really my time staying with family will be fairly short. Hopefully.

I have a zero-hour contract which basically means if there is no work to give me I am not going to get paid. However, in the world of live-in carers there is quite a lot of work available and plenty of agencies so that isn’t a problem.

Now, three months after giving up my studio (to save the money and because I will hardly be there) I really wish I had my own space to go back to when I am not working.

I love living with my eldest, who recently got married, but I feel like I am in the way. That is me feeling that and not anything either of them has done or said.

There are things I miss like being half naked, playing loud music and dancing around the room etc. Basically my single gal behaviour has had to stop and it only just got going.

I thought being a nomad would be fun but the home body girl in me needs a place that I know as home. Also, I can’t register for a doctor, dentist or to vote, which is frustrating, because I don’t “belong” to a borough or district.

So now I am back looking at studios or large rooms with en-suites in Birmingham, Luton (where I used to live and loved it there) or Leicestershire and wondering if I really want to spend the monthly fee.

When it comes down to it that money is being taken away from my ‘travel the world‘ fund and my ‘save up for old age‘ fund but it might be worth it.

For starters I won’t have to work as hard. I work for two months (seven days a week) on the go before taking a break.

It can be really hard going for that long when you are caring for someone.

Now that I have met other carers and seen their preferred way of working I like the idea of working for 3 weeks and taking 3 weeks off.

It’s early days and I am still trying to work out whether I plan my work around my travel or the other way around.

It is all so unsettled and up in the air but that’s the beauty of life I guess.

Fit Fabulous & Over 60

Posted on June 30, 2018

These are the women who inspire me to continue on with my challenge to be fit and eat well.

They are over 60 and are proof that the mid-life spread is mainly down to lifestyle for many of us. With some effort, probably a lot of effort, we can remain strong and not saggy, fit in body.

Working with the elderly has been a great example of just what happens when we don’t use our muscles and build strength.

Anyway, here are some fit, fabulous and over 60 people that I think are amazing – look them up and decide for yourself.

Johanna Quaas, age 92, Germany

The world’s oldest gymnast- her parallel bars routine video can be found on YouTube. According to Wikipedia Johanna still competes.


Lew Hollander, age 87, USA

Lew has completed the Ironman competition more than 58 times and is in his 80s. He is always challenging himself to be the best that he can be,

Ernestine Shepherd, age 82, USA

Starting her fitness journey at age 56 with her sister Ernestine at one point became the oldest competitive female bodybuilder.


Jane Fonda, age 80, USA

Known for her 80s fitness routines Jane promotes what she calls “the third age” and believes exercise is great for the brain and the body – which many of us know.

Edwina Brockesly, age 75, UK

Another woman who started her fitness journey in her 50s to get over the death of her husband. She has completed six Ironmans and seven marathons to date.

Sam “Sonny” Bryant Jr, age 70, USA

Sam “Sonny” Bryant Jr. is a 70-year-old natural bodybuilder who started working out when he was 44 years old.  His physique and strength are amazing.

Wendy Ida, age 64, USA

Wendy started her fitness regime in her early 40s and works as a personal trainer.

There are many other women of course. Between the ages of 40-50 many women are recognising the importance of staying strong. It’s such an exciting time in the world of health and I look forward to learning more and keeping myself in as great condition as I can.


My Juicing Passion

Posted on June 29, 2018

Before my site was hacked it contained a load of images and juicing recipes that I have been enjoying since 2014.

Despite the critics I love juicing and taking part in a juice cleanse.

It helped me easily lose my first 3 stones (approx 40 pounds) when nothing else was working.

I love my green juices which usually included spinach, cucumber, celery, a green apple and sometimes watercress.

My other love is carrot, beets and apple or something with pineapple in it.

People often say that smoothies are better because they contain the “pulp” of the fruit/veg and juicing doesn’t. All I will say to that is test it out for yourself.

Drink a green juice and see how that helps your “elimination” process!!!!

I often find that drinking a smoothie doesn’t quite have the same clearing effect so I prefer juicing,

My struggle with juicing comes with a continuous juice for several days. I usually drink my juices all day and then have a light meal in the evening.

Some days even that is a struggle.

juicing weight loss

This is why I am considering a juicing retreat.14-30 days abroad in an environment where nothing but fresh juices are served.

I have been trawling through for ideas and will see what I come up with.

Right now this is perfect juicing weather. It’s hot and I don’t feel like eating.

Unfortunately, as I am working and living in a house that is not mine I don’t have the luxury of indulging in my juicing passion.

My break starts 7 July so I am hoping to juice before I leave for my first solo trip to Greece.

At some point when I can get access to my external hard drive I will put up images of my lovely juices. The ones I used today were in my Google Drive storage luckily.