Michelle Payne, Stevie Payne and the race that made me think

Op shop on Monday (charity shop to you Brits) looking for a hat; Melbourne cup on Tuesday, wearing it.  Glorious day, my hat passed muster, I didn’t get lost on the drive into Melbourne and no need for the Uniqulo gilet … Continue reading

The baking, the washing and learning from John C Bogle

Preparing for Robbie Williams in Armadale

Preparing for Robbie Williams in Armadale

Well I have been on my adventure for a little while now. Piper and I are settling into our respective roles. Mine involve baking and cooking; Piper’s involve eating and washing up (from time to time).

Today is turning into a lovely day (after a breezy start), which makes it a good drying day; hence the decision to do the washing.   Baking leaves me time to surf the net, to check out Facebook (to see who liked my Robbie Williams photos) and to review homework feedback (from assignment 1 of my online writing course).

IMG_1263 3I have a carrot cake in the oven, which is taking longer than expected – perhaps too many carrots – and I want to head out for a walk along the beach shortly so I decided to update you on my progress while I wait.

I am starting to better understand my situation and my challenge; I have been looking at blogs, books, magazines in a quest to shape my thinking.   To keep me company today I have the TV on in the background and Richard E Grant is doing a programme about New Orleans and the hotels there.

Richard heads over to a restaurant called Dooky Chase’s to interview Leah Chase, who is the chef there. This place is a very big deal and not just for the cooking. In the 1960’s this was one of the only public places where people of all races could meet to discuss strategy for the local Civil Rights Movement. Although illegal the popularity of the place meant that local law enforcement had to turn a blind eye.

Leah Chase, Chef at Dookey Chase's

Leah Chase, Chef at Dookey Chase’s

She is talking to Richard about her cooking, the fact that ‘white’ restaurants now all serve gumbo and how much has changed over her lifetime (she is 93); and then she says something that really resonates with me.



He says to her “So you won’t ever retire then” and she replies with absolute conviction “Of course not, I still have work to do”.

She has so much energy and sparkle it is clear that she loves what she is doing.

To find my ‘retirement’ work is my challenge . My situation is that I have the time to explore what that is for me, and perhaps help others in the process.

So what have I learned so far:

  • I don’t want to retire but I do want to change how I work. To do something that contributes, makes life better for people (including me)
  • I need to better understand my finances (I have been doing a lot of reading about passive investing and why ‘costs’ are important to pay attention to).  I really enjoyed listening to John C Bogle talk about investment.  I actually think I am capable of understanding it (soon).
  • There doesn’t seem to be an appealing word or an active word for retirement (if you know of a good term please let me know)
John C Bogle, founder of Vanguard

John C Bogle, founder of Vanguard.  First person to make me laugh when talking about investments.

So my challenge is underway and my situation is that I am lucky to have time to step back and think.

I am yet to crack the goal of running each day.  (Well that is harder than understanding finance).



PS. I have also found a really interesting blog for anyone who is interested to retire early, and I do mean really early. It is called Early Retirement Extreme, and I have enjoyed all of the postings I have read to date.

Time to think about life, the universe and what’s next for me

Sunrise, Ocean Grove

Sunrise, Ocean Grove

Over the last couple of years my life has changed a lot.  The death of my parents has changed how I am looking at my own life and the way I view the future.  I would love to say that everything has become clear and I am now on the path to my life’s true purpose.  I think that I am in the right area (helping people to realise more of their potential) but how I do that is less clear.  Ironic I know.  So I have decided to take my own medicine and take some time to think about what I want to do with the next 10 (?) years, starting with some thinking over the next couple of months.

I am very used to my work creating limits and boundaries, real or imagined, and this has created structure and a sense of purpose; places to be and people to see, stuff to do.  Recently I used some tools related to the Eyes Wide Opened ‘What makes me ME’ course and there is one exercise called ‘the living landscape’ that really stopped me in my tracks.  When I tried to visualise my future it was very hazy (and in relation to my past, very short).  On the plus side I have got some breathing space to think about all of this.  I didn’t take a gap year, I worked my University holidays and I don’t take time out without having a strong Plan B.  This does feel a bit odd.

So almost by accident I find myself in a small coastal town called Barwon Heads in Victoria, Australia.  I talked to my friend Pennie about what to do and she generously offered their house as a place to think.  So here I am.  I wanted to experiment with writing;  I don’t think that there is a novel in me but I have a friend’s notes about his life to work with, my ideas for an eBook to formulate.

I am lucky enough to be spending time with Pennie and Ian’s daughter Piper, who is staying here for a couple of weeks.  I have known Piper since she was 7, now she is 15 and taller than me.  You see time does go quickly.  We are going to a concert in Melbourne this afternoon, Pattie Smith tribute to the album Horses.  We need to go, so I will sign off for now and I will keep you posted on my musings.

Barwon Heads with Piper

Barwon Heads with Piper

Expat deciding, expat sorting, expat leaving

Expat leaving.  This is a headline you get used to seeing on supermarket noticeboards, on email subject headings – often from people you have met a couple of times.  Sometimes from people you know well and are really close to.  It is always interesting … Continue reading

What a wonderful world, a year has passed and the power of youth




It has been a year since my dad died, and I think of him almost every day. There are things I want to tell him (that I am feeling happy and settled), things he would want to know got resolved (that my client paid my final bill) and things I know he would have liked to see (the world cup). We played what a wonderful world at his funeral and dad really did enjoy the world and enjoy every experience that came his way. All of this week I have been working with a group of students from the Royal Docks Business school from the University of East London who are here on a global scholarship. The photo on this post is of my dad during his national service when he was about the age of the students who have been in Bahrain, many are from the part of London he was born and so it put me in mind of the amazing power and resilience of youth – and how being connected to young people and learning about how they see the world and what they want to do is truly inspiring to me. So dad just know that I miss you and that you live on in my mind as someone who loved life, saw the funny side (of most things) and who started life in East London and his ‘Global Scholarship’ was national service in India. He told me that his officer training and the experience he had in the army was life changing, it opened up the world in lots of ways – I hope that the trip to Bahrain has played a part in doing the same for the 10 students who came courtesy of their Lord Noon global scholarship opportunity.

Mum you have been amazing this year, I am so proud of how you have coped and pulled things together for yourself.  Looking forward to spending the summer with you.  This photo was of mum celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary a couple of months before Dad died.  Amazing to think that a year has passed.

mum dressed up and ready to party

mum dressed up and ready to party

speed blogging, happy in Bahrain and a pretty perfect day

I decided that i must write my blog today, i am storing up too much stuff to share and that puts me off starting.  So I will keep this short just to get me into this again and will start with the most recent of times.  I had a lovely day yesterday, started out with a dash into Geant (they are having some kind of anniversary sale).  Discovered this last week when I headed out to get a food processor (decided to go there because I thought it would be quieter than Carrefour , I was wrong).  Every Bahraini family was in the store buying up bargains.  The bargain of last week was Tide washing powder, truly people had dozens of the jumbo  boxes in their trolley.  Anyway I got the food processor and obviously had to have a quick look around. Discovered a Philips ‘air fryer’ on sale, must have of course.  Salesman told me to come back next Friday as it was scheduled for a bigger discount.

So back to yesterday, I headed out early to miss the crowds (not early enough) to find stacks of these gadgets but no trolleys. The people with trolleys were loading them into two at a time.  Only trolley I could find was a trolley with the baby seat, jammed fryer in along with assorted other essentials and head for the check out.  Guy behind me had six of these gadgets as well as the sunflower oil that was on special offer (not sure he has read the instructions).  I also found that the ‘fitness’ trousers I wanted more of (bargain last week at BD3 now at BD1), yippee!  Next I head out to Riffa views (posh housing estate near the golf course) to check out a second hand Nissan Micra, it looks promising, I just have to be responsible now and check the service history etc.  Riffa Views is quite a way out of my usual route (equivalent to heading from South London to North London) so when I see a blonde woman who looks like my friend Val trying to attract my attention I just thought that Micra lady (Annette) must look like my friend Val – actually it was my friend Val (not surprisingly the woman trying to sell the Micra was actually driving the Micra and was behind Val).

After the extensive test drive, out of the car park, round a couple of roundabouts and back to the Alosra car park I then head for an afternoon of complete relaxation getting a tan, sipping cold drinks and flicking through a fitness magazine (not mine).  Went to Val (she of the earlier incident in the car park) and Phil’s for dinner.  As usual lovely evening, great food, lovely people.  Back to Pennie and Ian’s, slept like a log until 5 am .

Small reflection on all of this, I had thought that my Greek austerity year had cured my shopping.  This is  not the case.  Having no money cured my shopping.  I do believe I am more appreciative and am using cash these days, but I still love to do it.

Today  I have decided to make a list of things I want to get done:

  1. put away all of the shopping – done
  2. write my blog – you will be relieved to note dear reader this is nearly done
  3. Go for a quick swim – don’t hold your breath
  4. Get fabrics organised for visit to tailor for the first batch of my new line in Kaftans with a twist and other assorted glam beachwear
  5. Continue to sort out cupboards in anticipation of lodger arriving mid June
  6. Make a carrot cake (for work)
  7. Think of something to air fry (it is really just like a very, very small oven actually)
  8. Call garage about the car
  9. Watch trash TV
  10. learn to dance like they can in this link

red bull at work

So that is all for now.  Sorry for the trivial nature of this note.  I will be more thought provoking next time.  I still feel happy, I am feeling fit (i go to the gym each morning) and I am having a lovely time with good friends.  I am really looking forward to my two months holiday.  lots of love to London friends, see you very soon. xxxx






Gratitude, birthdays and having fun


It is dad’s birthday today.  It was mine yesterday.  It has always been something of a tradition that we spent these together – usually closely followed by mother’s day.  This year I can’t go home for my birthday, it is the first time without dad around.  When I moved abroad I persuaded dad to join Facebook as an easy way to keep in touch.  He did this and then read about identity theft and closed his account – well strangely enough Facebook informed me that it is Stanley Boggiss’s birthday today.

I had a great time yesterday, there were a few things happening so I didn’t have to arrange anything for the day – spent most of the day out at Amwaj at Katie Jane’s leaving do.  Really funny day – met some new people – and we laughed a lot.  Weather perfect.  Then time to head to the Dilmun club to listen to Mier’s son play in a band, totally brilliant.  He is such a lovely boy and so talented.

IMG_4139-002IMG_4004It was a lovely event, lots of young people performing with such enormous confidence.  After that the plan was to head to Annelise and Nigel’s leaving do but we ran out of time, if not energy.

So another year has passed, I am feeling great.  I miss my dad.  Mum misses him a lot right now but has decided to focus on the good memories and be grateful for all the time they had together. She is so brave about her life without him.  Off out tonight to see a Turkish version of Riverdance, will let you know what it is like.  Loving life right now.  Dad would be so happy for me.  I am looking forward to a good year.


mum dressed up and ready to party

mum dressed up and ready to party