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Luce Smith

Emergency Aid

Posted by: Luce Smith, Sun 29th Nov, 2015 | 2:46pm
Car entering high water photo by State farm
Car entering high water photo by State farm
I wasn't expecting that. You sometimes hear stories of it, but never seems to be something you witness or experience. I had trotted up to the bus station from the train, as I had used up all my gallop power at 6:44am. I queued up like a real Brit, and sat in my usual seat, after showing the driver my valid ticket to travel.

I was just checking some emails, when I heard someone a few seats behind me struggling to catch their breath. I turned around to see a lady and her daughter sat looking a little surprised. The lady wasn't able to get any breath, and I must have paused for a second or two, wondering where all the first aiders were. I also wondered during that brief time, why no one was helping her, it was a very busy bus, and many heads were turned, but no one moved.

Instinct took over, and I got up and the lady came towards me showing her back and pointed for me to start hitting. That sounds like violent behaviour, but I don't know how else to describe it. I began whacking her back. After what seemed like minutes, but would have been seconds, she started to get her breath back.

We all then sat back down and the bus carried on its journey. How surreal was that? Felt so strange, did it actually happen? That was bizarre. After 15 minutes, the lady walked past me when it was her stop, and thanked me. No problem I said, are you ok? Yes thanks.

And off she went. I still couldn't believe it. Weird. Why was I the only one who made an attempt to do anything though. Did I imagine it? Are you not meant to touch anyone due to health and safety?

Anyway, it won't happen again, it can't! Way too weird. In any case, Percy was in full use at the end of the week, so I couldn't play Super Woman again. What I did do though, was on my way to the swimming pool, let Percy go for a swim as well! It's no surprise the amount of rain that fell from the sky, that there was surface water on the roads.

There's water, and there's pools though! The road was flooded, and it wasn't a road I was familiar with, so I didn't know how deep it actually was. Luckily, there was a 4x4 coming the other way, so I let them come through first, so I could see if Percy would make it. It did, so off we went. It came right up to the radiator, but we made it steadily in 2nd gear. Poor Percy, when parked up at the pool, the radiator and tyre trims were covered in leaves, he looked a right mess!

Wind, rain, and now snow? How can that happen in such a short space of time? Ah well, the dark nights will soon be becoming lighter....as for the Christmas spirit, that will begin around the 20th December and not a moment sooner. Apart from mulled wine. that will get started as soon as I buy it, to the run up to the Christmas spirit!

Ok help me out here. A weekly pass using the bus and the train, equals £28.90. That's 7 days of travel. I know it's a good deal, but on a daily rate, it works out to be £4.13. However, when you only need to travel by public transport for a day, it costs a whopping £10.90! That's ridiculous! Even with my blonde brain and poor mathematical skills! How is that even possible? I'm suggesting immediately that people who often buy weekly passes are granted a discounted rate if paying by the day.

Goodness me. I'm going on a big sulk and taking Percy to work tomorrow to save some pennies, and yes, I will be following the speed restrictions on the roads! At least I won't be called to do first aid to a commuter whilst driving in, or have I just jinxed it? Oh my days, what a week!
Sun 29th Nov, 2015 | 2:46pmmore...
Luce Smith

Travel Tickets

Posted by: Luce Smith, Tue 10th Nov, 2015 | 1:09pm
Gibson Ticket Machine photo by RV1864
Gibson Ticket Machine photo by RV1864
I've been commuting for exactly two years. Two years! Wow, it seems a lifetime ago when I used to walk to work, no travel required. How odd. In all my two years, I've never been told off by a train crew member like I did today. It's a good job I'm in an emotionally stable mood this morning, otherwise I would have embarrassingly enough, let out some eye tears. Yes, the crying motion you never want to do, but if you're feeling weak, they inevitably show.

I had got the first bus into town, as there's a big event at work, so I want to be in on good time. There was an earlier connecting train, and I managed to stroll onto it, and grab a seat. "Tickets and passes please". I get my weekly pass out of my bag, ready to show the nice man in uniform.

It's my turn to be scrutinised, "sorry, you can't use that pass on this train, it's a different company". What? All I did was ask for a pass to get me from home, to work and back again. I didn't say which company I wanted to use, I just needed a travel pass! I said that all I asked for was my journey, and that I hadn't got this particular connection before. I apologised and said I wouldn't get the return journey on this train. I looked at him. Was he going to say I needed to buy a single train ticket to work, even though I had a valid pass to travel on this journey?


I told him that I didn't know it was selected trains only, or that the ticket had route conditions. He looked at me. "Well, you're not supposed to get on this train". I apologised and asked what I should do. He said he would let it go this time.

I feel like a criminal! Like I want to pay for a valid ticket for this train, but I don't. My bank wouldn't like me too much. I shall sit like a naughty school girl and hope he doesn't report me down the radio airwaves.......

Brilliant. This convo just happened in front of me as I was boarding the bus home. "How much to the village centre mate?" "£1.60". "I've only got £1.30 though?" "Well it's £1.60". He reversed and got off the bus. I almost opened my purse, but didn't. Smiled with the bus driver as he shook his head. See if that had been me, and I had been 30p short, I would have have simply said, "ticket for £1.30 please Mr bus driver", would have got off when he told me to, and walked the rest of the 30p journey. What is it, three quarters of a mile? Not far at all, especially as he was a young one. Bless him.

I am so glad I drive this morning. I was later informed that trains weren't running 'til at least 9am due to a technical fault, not a staff issue this time. Phew. I would have got slightly annoyed to say the least and would have had to indulge and buy a coffee from the station vendor. I might also have looked at getting the bus all the way. What is it with public transport these days, it's meant to be reliable isn't it?

I don't hate it that much I suppose, as it's good to give Percy a rest, and it does mean I can read on the commute. It also saves me a lot of money. I'm not proud of it, but yesterday, I got flashed. I don't mean a naked body type flash, just the one where you wish you'd smiled and wished the accelerator pedal hadn't got carried away.

However, when the letter comes through my letter box (I know it will, I am just waiting for the dreaded thing), I am going to write back, and ask that the fine is shared with the 3 cars behind me. As I got flashed, they all decided to give Percy a lot of breathing space and dropped back at least two car's distance! Bet they were feeling smug about it too. The annoying thing is, I did 30mph in the 30 zone, 40 when it changed, and back to 30. However, I thought it changed again after the bridge, to a 40mph. But am guessing the flash wasn't for them to capture Percy driving along looking mighty shiny. Ouch. More expense that I wasn't budgeting for this month.

Commuting is the way forward. So please Mr train driver. Turn up to work tomorrow......and electrics, please work 100% so that I can have some faith in public transport again?!
Tue 10th Nov, 2015 | 1:09pmmore...
Luce Smith

This Is A Scent...

Posted by: Luce Smith, Fri 30th Oct, 2015 | 8:55am
Deodorant roll-on photo by Iwan Gabovitch
Deodorant roll-on photo by Iwan Gabovitch
This is a scent I do not recognise, nor is it a scent that is favourable. I'm being polite. The guy in front of me on the bus honks, there's no other way of saying it. I want to feel sorry for him, but I can't. Why do people think that smoking is a priority over personal hygiene?! Maybe he isn't aware of his personal aroma, can you smell it on yourself?

There should be an app on your phone that monitors your personal hygiene and when it reaches a certain level, it forces you to buy deodorant or shower immediately, depending on your location. Maybe I should create that app and be one a leading appists in this region. It could be a money earner, and I could work from home, which, now I'm in a different house, would be absolutely fantastic! I could definitely look into this. I think I ought to actually thank the guy in front for coming out on the bus this evening!

The bus was late, by 10 minutes, which means the chances of me getting home and out again to the pool, are pretty slim. I braved the Aquafit class this week, it was superbulous, a midweek treat that I will make a permanent feature in my empty diary. There was music, laughter, water weights, giggles, and concentration! The latter mainly from me, as what the poolside instructor was doing, wouldn't happen quite the same underwater!

Some swimmers wore socks, which I thought was a bit weird at first, but then I realised it must help with the grip. I may go a step further next week and wear my reindeer slipper socks, with actual rubber grips? Yeah, I will look a prat, but I won't slip over quite so much......

I haven't managed to locate any regular rail users yet but it's only been two weeks, so early days I know. Yesterday's train was funny, there was a delayed train and a cancelled train. Reason being? No driver. Well that's it, back to college to learn how to drive a train. Where does that happen, train school, I've never seen an advert for recruitment? Maybe they need drivers and HR staff.

I wonder what skills I have that are transferable or which I need to acquire! Customer service won't be necessary, perhaps a keen eye for detail, knowledge of which leaves create the biggest rail track risk, and a passion for time keeping? I wonder what the day in the life of a modern train driver looks like. Is it shown on a television apparatus that I still don't have? I know they did a programme on the tube, and am guessing there are heaps on steam trains, but regular commute trains up north? Is that another item to add to my to do list?

I'm learning to sit quietly on the bus, and not stressing over how long it's taking. It amazes me that a double decker does the route it takes as there are often some very tight squeezes and I'm grateful it's not daylight! It would be a journey of breathing in and not exhaling till you get off! Thankfully Percy is off any bus route, so is safe from that. Not safe from other vehicles though, I will choose a south facing house over a house with parking!

Never again do I wish to have a journey like that. Due to needing the car at work, I drove in. Fine, was early morning, busy, but traffic moving. Left at 4pm. Took over 90 minutes to do 28 miles. I was not amused, but I still made it I time for Aquafit no2! I had to drive again yesterday, and left at 6pm, to avoid traffic, and took a different route. Much better, but there was a sign on the edge of the motorway which read 'sign not in use'. What might I ask, is the point of that? I didn't learn it in my speed awareness course. I shall use my trusty friend google, and report back......

Bus 6 minutes late today which will mean an anxious me until I am safely on the connecting train I am aiming for. Just hope it's freshly scented, as my mood may not cope! Such fun!
Fri 30th Oct, 2015 | 8:55ammore...
Luce Smith

New Routines

Posted by: Luce Smith, Tue 20th Oct, 2015 | 7:29pm
Upstairs on the Number 11 Bus photo by Dick Jones
Upstairs on the Number 11 Bus photo by Dick Jones
10 train journeys, (8 standing, 2 seated) 9 buses, 2 mega sprints from bus to rail, and 4 swims. This is going to take some getting used to! One thing I have discovered, is that bus companies don't believe in heating the bus! Freeeeeezing. So much so that I have had to give in, and buy a travel mug so that I get some inner warmth! Luckily, the bus station is two minutes speed walk from my house, so the travel mug needn't work for too long!

It's really odd, because on the bus, coming home, I'm not the last stop, so must not fall asleep! The same goes for the train, to and from work, I hop on and hop off, so don't feel I can get too comfortable. Which is just as well as standing up on a busy train isn't the place for comfort! On the plus side, there are trains running much more frequently on this route, so I don't have to wait another hour should I miss a train.

The buses are funny. A lady sat in front of me was on her phone, discussing how they should be cooking dinner, what time it was going and how much she wanted. She said how hungry she was and that she was having a packet of crisps to put her on. Why is it when someone opens a packet of crisps, the smell of salt and vinegar whoosh up your nose, and immediately, you yourself are now hungry? Soon be home.....

I've met a few neighbours, and am getting used to my new home town. In fact, I'd go as far to say that I love it here. I'm two minutes from the bus, so Percy gets a rest through the week, but I still say hello to him as I walk by, asking him to keep an eye on the house. Yes I know, that's what happens when you live on your own. You talk to things. I've even taken advantage of the bird table that was left, and encouraging wildlife to join with peanuts and fatballs. Neither of which are items I would even consider snacking on, so the birds can fill their boots!

I've been in touch with multiple tradesmen, and that's not sexist, it's fact. I've had to get a roofer, window cleaner, decorator, plumber, and log man, and that was progress in week one alone! I've learnt the art of moss away, and now know that my Dad was right, it stinks and should come with a mask! It's worked though, despite it giving me a big headache.

I've been on a few adventure walks already and found that people here must not like blackberries as there are loads! Either that, or their dogs have much longer legs, so when they need to....you know, well they taste ok to me. I've joined the local pool, and love the fact that it's a ten minute walk from my house. Amazing. I've paid for a year's membership, as there was an offer on of 25% discount, and think I've had my monies worth already! The best bit is when there's music on in the pool area. It makes the lengths much more bearable, and luckily for the other swimmers, it's impossible to swim, and sing, at the same time. Have you tried? I mean, I may be swimming wrong, or perhaps singing wrong, but I can't do the combo. I may be able to soon though, as I've signed up to an aquafit class next week. I remember doing aqua aerobics with a friend years ago, which was great fun, only it ended up with us being so relaxed we hit the pub. Nearly a healthy evening!

What I have noticed on my new commute, is just how many people do commute on a daily basis. Those who are just having an adhoc day out at a conference or meeting, stand out a mile. I'm also amazed at how many people pay high prices for their takeaway coffee from the station kiosks. Or does it just highlight how tight I am? Or should I say "money conscious"..... Since moving I have no idea how much the new commute and house bills will add up to, so in month one, I'm treading carefully. Hence my travel mug! But looking at it, I'm still not sure how the liquid will get to my mouth, as there doesn't appear to be a spout? Or something that looks like a drinking hole? I'll find out soon, but may take a straw in my bag, just in case.......

Have many of you been caught out in the 5p bag charge yet? I am blessed with getting mumsy in my old age and have carried a bag for life for sometime now....but, I do feel a bit of a thief having a bag with several stores' stock in it! I'm mindful to always get the receipt! It will test my bag for life though and I think its supposed life span may now have been reduced slightly.

I haven't joined in the basket theft at supermarkets yet, and am surprised to hear it in the news! Isn't it slightly obvious? What do people do with them afterwards? I guess if they take them back on their next shopping trip, it's not theft at all, more of a loan? Clothes shopping is weird without a bag, and Christmas shopping will look really odd! Sorry, but it's in the shops big time, so hopefully I haven't shocked you with the jingle bell word..... Ok, time to step up a gear and sprint to my next journey. Such fun!
Tue 20th Oct, 2015 | 7:29pmmore...
Luce Smith


Posted by: Luce Smith, Sat 17th Oct, 2015 | 3:08pm
Porridge and Raspberries photo by DurhamDundee
Porridge and Raspberries photo by DurhamDundee
Porridge. It's that time of year apparently, someone on the seat behind me said it last week. I thought I would test out her idea, and give it a go. The morning I chose to do this, was quite a busy morning. It was the morning of my move. The morning I say goodbye to my little house, and to friendly faces I am used to seeing.

I get the oats, gluten free I hasten to add, and add some dried fruit, milk, and start the timer. I got on with moving some boxes nearer the door, and had a sudden panic, that my porridge was growing bigger than the bowl. I quickly got to the microwave, but it was too late. What to do? I only left out one portion of oats, packing the rest up in the kitchen box, with parcel tape, and a label. I looked closely at the damage. It was salvageable, but only by scraping the microwave plate and replacing the porridge back in its rightful home.

It then occurred to me, that this probably wasn't acceptable in society.

However, porridge packed or not, if this had happened on a 'normal' morning, I am not the type of person, to chuck it all out, wash up and start again. I'd say fine, it wasn't meant to be, and grab something else. What is the norm? Do people scrape it back into the bowl? Do people eat it from the microwave plate pretending it's a terrible attempt of scrambled egg? It's ok for me, I live on my own, I won't dream of doing it if I had company, or if I was making enough for two, could save theirs, but not mine.

Come on, share your porridge exploding stories! Or do you get the ones you boil on the hob, or the ones you cheat and add water to, and leave in the container? The latter will never explode, mainly due to lack of content! Unless the porridge eater has been very clever, and poured two tubs into one, thus creating a double decker porridge portion? I am very sure this happens, as one commuter was telling her friend about it. One tub wasn't enough, didn't fill her up, so she tried two. This was too much.

I have the solution, have a plate of porridge, instead of a bowl. Simple!

Due to large amounts of mucky stuff leaving my shed, and finding itself in the recycling centre, via Percy, he was a bit dirty and smelly, so when I saw a car freshener in the sale, I popped it into my basket. That was a foolish moment I must have had. It had Tango written all over it, so I thought it would be fun.

I had been Tango'd! With full force, and after driving for a few minutes, my eyes started to itch. It did do the job though, and Percy did have a fresher aroma about him, which was essential, as he needed to make a good impression on his new street mates. Or have I ruined his reputation already? Ah well, the thought of the adverts that Tango used to do, made me chuckle, so it did have one bonus.

The Removal guys made me laugh, and they reminded me of checkout staff at supermarkets. Three guys were assisting me in my move, and the younger lad, who was just in it for extra cash, seemed to analyse or at least comment on every item he could see through parcel tape! Oooooooh, you like your fitness don't you? As he brought my DVDs down. Oooooh, you read don't you, what's your favourite book? Ooh this is a lovely house, why would you want to move?
Oooooooh, I can see why you wanted to come here, look at that view! Oooooooh did you get this in Asda? My mum has one of these.

Microwaving swimwear, is it possible? I haven't got my dryer sorted yet, and with being tough, so not putting the heating on, the house is cool. My swimming costume is still damp from yesterday's swim. I hate wearing damp swimwear! The thought of microwaving it crossed my mind. Would it work? Is it possible? Has anyone tried it? Does it ruin the swimwear or the microwave first? It's ok, I won't do it, this time....

The new commute begins on Monday, and today, I have decided to check it out. I'm on the bus, and it's a double decker variety. The bus driver smiled, and I gave him my money. I think that's quite common practice. I have no idea where the bus station is, and no idea where the train station is, but I shall find out! If I get lost, it won't matter too much, and my porridge didn't explode today so that's got to be a good sign. Such fun!
Sat 17th Oct, 2015 | 3:08pmmore...
Luce Smith

Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Posted by: Luce Smith, Fri 11th Sep, 2015 | 9:42am
Light at the end of the tunnel photo by Alan Neufeld
Light at the end of the tunnel photo by Alan Neufeld
Hazaaaarrrrrrr! It has taken until today, for the phone bill mystery to unravel and be resolved. It's a good job I don't give up easily and fight for what I know and believe, is the right thing! World peace next? I have probably spent 2.45hrs in various stores, exchanged 4 phone calls with the regional manager, and exchanged 31 emails. At last, I get a result. One bonus is that the regional manager also ends up having to listen to awful music when put on hold, was cut off twice whilst awaiting an authorisation code, and was fobbed off. Am happy with that! The regional manager that made a special trip to sort this out for me, wasn't a sleepy salesman, so I could only be nice to him. I can't believe it's taken so long, but am pleased to finally get this over with!

There are now two lights I have seen getting closer, the end of the degree tunnel and the end of the house completion tunnel. It's all coming together rather nicely.....

I have got three business boys in suits surrounding me on the commute train. I would have possibly aged them a few years above their actual age, until they started talking. Cars. Fast cars, flash cars, wheel spins, and elastic bow ties. I don't know the link, but am sure that there is one. Oh my, they call 'proper ' bow ties manual ones! Brilliant! I try not to look amused though, as I am the eldest in this 6 seater spot, so someone's got to be responsible. Now they're showing pictures of our lad's new car. Wow, look at that, I bet he's well pleased in't he? Blah blah blah. I want to ask them if they had a good day at school, but they then talk about if they've been paid, what weights they did in their gym sesh, and who is off their chops. It's beyond me.

I am almost ready to submit my final piece of work for my degree, but it's not been an easy week. An email was sent round from my tutor, advising us that the format needed to be different. I spent hours editing, cutting, and pasting. Another email came round from my tutor, to apologise, but to say that the original version will actually be ok. A.n.g.r.y wasn't even close. I was exhausted at this point, and low motivation kicked in. How is that fair? Never mind, nearly there, so get it done, then send the letter of annoyance.

I have done an epic 23560 steps today. Not sure how, as I don't feel I've been anywhere. I still have to go over the 30000 steps but I think that will be achieved when I move house. Which is in three weeks! It only dawned on me that it's three weeks when I looked on the calendar, and saw that October is the next month. It's all happening!

Have I packed? No. Have I made any plans? Well, kind of. I plan to move house, go on a short break to a hot country, then start decorating and being all responsible. Or something similar. Oh my word, finally, my evenings won't be spent typing or reading, and my weekends can be spent exploring.
Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. Oh, I must write to the phone people and thank them for resolving their own issue. Such fun.
Fri 11th Sep, 2015 | 9:42ammore...
Luce Smith


Posted by: Luce Smith, Thu 27th Aug, 2015 | 8:55am
Commuters - photo by Chris Marchant
Commuters - photo by Chris Marchant
Run! He is running so fast that I stopped for a good few moments. It's a good job the platforms are dry as it would be a bit hazardous if not. He is doing a, what I call, full speed gallop. I wonder what train he is about to miss, and if there is another today? Bless. I'd love to have followed him to find out, but I may get arrested for stalking, and to be fair, there's no way I can run that fast in a pencil skirt!

I have noticed, that along with more pesticides, fast food, and mobile devices, there appears to be an increase of people with freckles. I wonder if anyone actually monitors freckles and their appearance, is there a freckle association of research? Do they mean anything? Are they like stars, and you might see the comic freckle? Or the shooting freckle? Seriously, keep an eye out, you'll see what I mean.

Ok, do you think anyone else gets on the train after a day at work, and wonder how they got to the station that morning? Or is it just me? Can't be surely, I might go round the carriages and gather some intelligence to report back. I have, on more than one occasion, got on the train, wondering if I am on the right train, or if I did get the train in the first place! One day I will get to the station after work, and realise my car is at the office. Has anyone done that? Because I need to know. It would make me feel much better about myself and my well being. Talking of which, I have yet to take 30,000 steps in a day. I'm not far off though, I seem to run out of steam, or daylight. I need to make it a goal when I get up on a non work day. It can and will, be done, just for the scoreboard.

The trip to Devon went well, with an amazingly eventless 5 hour drive down (including a tea break). I braved swimming in the pool every morning, and was persuaded to dip in the sea one afternoon. Huge mistake.

Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezing cold water, took your breath away, then the wave took the last breath, and you had to recharge. It was exhilarating and something I will do again. Next year.

The drive back, sadly, wasn't too good. Wet wet wet, (weather not cd music selection), and so much traffic! The signs kept saying look out for bikes, but I didn't see any. After 3.5hrs, I had only just hit the M6, so stopped for a brew, and conveniently met a friend also travelling up North. Most bizarre, but great to have an actual conversation that was two-way, as I find talking to other drivers with the windows up, giving them some driving tips, isn't two-way at all! Back on the road, I'd had enough of all sounds of the radio so switched off. Saved fuel. At least it was a safe journey, so I shall indeed count my blessings.

Typing nails. I want someone to start a salon for office workers/administrators. They only need to have two nails in their shop, both index finger nails. My nails have grown so well, but my typing nails are weak, so now much shorter and out of proportion. I don't want to cut the other 8 nails to make them all even, I want some typing nails I can add on, whilst not on keyboard duty. I may take it to Dragons Den.

I know I will be a Dragon soon, as I have been ripped off by a mobile phone shop (not named, which means I am sensitive, which therefore makes me a professional). The tariff they said I would get, was not mirrored by the bill I have just received. I rang customer service, and was told to go instore. I went instore "sorry, we don't have a manager, try the store on the other side of town". "Sorry, we only sold you the phone. You need to go to the store of your network provider". "Sorry, we can't help, the company who sold you the phone need to deal with it. We can't help you". "Sorry, we can't deal with that instore. It's not an instore issue. You need to write to them at head office, who will investigate".

I know what they'll say, they'll say, " Yes, it was Miss Lucy, in the library, with Colonel Mustard and his latest technology. Sorry, we can't help you". Then I will get a text from them. "Thanks for contacting us today. How would you rate our service? Would you recommend us to friends?"

I now want to run away from the store as fast as the guy was running for his train, throw my phone under the train, and cancel my direct debits. Problem solved.

Such fun?
Thu 27th Aug, 2015 | 8:55ammore...
Luce Smith

Summer Driving

Posted by: Luce Smith, Mon 24th Aug, 2015 | 5:31pm
Rear view photo by Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious
Rear view photo by Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious
I'm commuting with Percy today so it's all a bit calmer. Don't have to buy a ticket, or show my ticket. It's going to be an interesting day as I venture to parts of the city I have never dared go before....... Rather, never knew existed. I set off from my office with google maps and all was good. I am allowed to say google maps aren't I, as I'm guessing there aren't too many other types? I may be wrong!

All was good, until the return journey, when I felt I knew better than the technology equipment telling me to stay on the road. I took the exit. Huge mistake, as I ended up on the busiest road out of the city, at rush hour. City centre, hot day, window down.

I was getting fed up with the radio station I was listening to, so did a bit of channel hopping. I came across some music I loved, so pumped the volume up full blast. What I didn't account for, was the driver in the lane next to me, looking a bit surprised. Was it because I am relatively youthful, sunnies on, blonde hair tied back, and going for it musically to Radio.....3? What can I say, classical music is fantastic when in the mood, and this was one of those moments!

Perhaps I should have kept the windows shut, and put air con on. However, I did read that this can lower the fuel level. As I don't know this for fact, but do know my bank balance doesn't need any more taking out of it, I'm driving as economically as I possibly can!
Such fun!

Once out of the blocked commute, I was steadily on my way home to green grass and blue skies. As the weather was so good, there were of course, lots of cyclists around. I like cycling, and hate cars getting to close to me, so am fair when overtaking, unlike the cars in front of me. Good job I wasn't on the bike, I would have kicked out in frustration/fear of being knocked off. Possibly not a good move I know, but still, fair's fair, there must be bike rage in this day and age?

Anyway, it's much more fun not overtaking cyclists. Why? It's more fun to stay behind and watch them struggle, as they know they have a car behind them! Although I'm sure they also think, hey, there's a car behind me, it may want to pass, but I own the road, so this is my pace. The psychology behind those in transit!

I finally did some relaxing mid week, and took myself off for a swim. I went to a pool I've never been to before and it was very different from my old usual place. Not so clean, very unisex, and a bit... basic. At least they had cubicle showers though, not just a row of them for anyone to duck under. The best thing about this pool, was that they had the radio on. It was fabulous. So fabulous in fact (sorry mr partner/boyfriend, used the word "so" to start this sentence), that I will now return for another swim. Makes such a difference, and no, it wasn't classical music, but hits of today. I think it may be called pop music, but I really don't know the difference. They didn't teach me that sort of stuff at GCSE music.

Speaking of which, we interviewed some young people for our apprenticeship vacancy this week. I kept being shocked when looking at their date of birth. 1993??? Surely they should still be at nursery school, as it makes me.....yikes!!!?

The big commute is upon me. I work on autopilot initially, as it seems to have a good track record so far. It's now 4:35am and I am 10 minutes into my 300 mile drive. There are road works ahead, with lots of different signs popping up. One read 'straddle lane ahead'. What on earth does that mean to a driver? I am slightly confused and surprised by the sign, but decide not to take any action and accept the consequences. But did it actually say that? Admittedly, I got little sleep so maybe it read something completely different. M1 bound, I soon forgot about it.

I then had another wake up call, when in the first hour of my drive on the M1, sat nav told me to exit at the next junction, and take the second exit at the roundabout. I did, because my brain was snoozing whilst sat nav was in the driver's seat. However, I came off the M1, over a roundabout, only to join the M1! I was still behind the same wagon carrying old cars! Made me laugh though, at sat nav and at me!

I'm glad I left so early, as the trip wasn't held up, and I didn't get the usual driver's Tourette's I normally get when in traffic, so a bonus. I did get a phone call though, from my solicitor. My buyers would like to complete in 10 days, am I ok with that?

Yes of course I am! Find me a man with a van, maybe two and lets get moving!

Such fun, and still got 125 days 'til Christmas!
Mon 24th Aug, 2015 | 5:31pmmore...
Luce Smith

Laughing's Good For You

Posted by: Luce Smith, Mon 17th Aug, 2015 | 9:45am
Horse Laugh photo by Bill Gracey
Horse Laugh photo by Bill Gracey
17240 steps so far taken today. Is that good? I know they recommend 10000 steps a day is good, but is there a maximum recommended number as well? They don't tell you that do they? I guess blisters, worn out soles, and fatigue would possibly be a good sign! I have "tret me'sen" to a piece of equipment that calculates my activity levels. If I had the time and inclination, it would also tell me if I was thirsty, and if I still had room for a second helping of apple crumble. However, I think I can still listen to my body or my mind, to share those kinds of things. However, I can clock up some kilometreage in a week that's for sure! That sounds odd but you say mileage, so I wouldn't want to be disrespectful to the type of measures used.

I have to admit to be totally engrossed in music from the 90's and also programmes on iplayer. For example, I watched a documentary on the YMCA, prior to which, I had no idea what it stood for! I also watched a documentary on the girl who was terminally ill, but didn't agree with the bucket list idea. It was really moving. I was introduced to TT races as well, and am amazed that they actually race at such fast speeds! They go flying, and I would admittedly, be rubbish at having a go myself, I would just LOVE to be sat on the back, screaming like a girl, because I am a girl.

It's been, what I call, educational. I have got five and a half weeks left of being a student, and should be studying hard, but when your mind's not on it..... I think the bank holiday will be a total study session. With gin. Would be rude not to drink like a student when I can declare my student status!

I was not expecting the reply I got from asking one of my very many questions. I wasn't doing a survey, I just appear to have a question mark following my every sentence! Let me set the scene. I had done a full day at work, then was covering for a colleague, doing some outreach work at a supermarket. After this, I got a taxi to the train station, to then get home safely. The taxi driver was very chatty, and we had lots to talk about. He was telling me how his wife looked after him when he brought lots of money back from his shift, and would massage his feet, and cook him tea. If the day's takings were low, he would slide in the front door quietly, shading his face and saying the day hadn't been lucrative. She yelled, and he had to find his own tea in their kitchen. He spoke of her with a big smile on his face, and mentioned their children. I asked how many he had, to which he responded, '5 kids'. Five? ' yes, 5 ma'am, it's so easy'! I am quite sure he hadn't realised what he'd said, but in my weary state, I couldn't stop laughing! Then he started laughing at me laughing! I won't ask that question again!

I laughed again on my drive home. I did my usual smile when I walked off the platform and onto the road where Percy was parked up, and set off down through town. Whilst at the lights, I noticed something in my rear view mirror. The driver of the car behind me must have been listening to Queens thunder bolts and lightening song. He was totally going for each and every note, hands in the air, then bouncing on the steering wheel, and mouth open wide. It was such a brilliant show, and he was totally oblivious to me spying on his performance. It was so funny that I didn't see the lights turn green, but neither did he, as I didn't get beeped to hurry on! Perfect end to a very long day. How many people have I performed to in a similar way?? Yikes!

My monthly income is bring stretched to the ultimate limit this month as fees for the house move are being deducted left, right and centre. I want to start my sentence with 'so', but my partner took the time to tell me his frustration of when people start sentences with the word "so...." Which therefore means I mustn't add to his list of people that annoy him. I already ask way too many questions for his liking! What's wrong with it though? Is it a sign of him ageing and little things are bothering him? (He will not be pleased with me if he reads this, so please, say a prayer for my health and well being.....). He also has a thing about when people say, "it's literally 10 minutes away". He will say, it's not literally 10 minutes away, it actually is 10 minutes away! Oh dear, it makes me laugh. Which in this blog, has been a reoccurring theme! Beats sobbing your heart out that's for sure.

Now, have I done enough steps this week, or do I need to fasten my device to the dog this weekend to up my score. Walkies anyone?
Mon 17th Aug, 2015 | 9:45ammore...
Luce Smith

You're Going To Love Me

Posted by: Luce Smith, Thu 6th Aug, 2015 | 12:27pm
Christmas presents photo by Hades2k
Christmas presents photo by Hades2k
You're going to love me, and you may thank me in gin, that would be acceptable. You have got 5 months to get used to the fact that Christmas will soon be approaching. You may already have started to get autumn/winter catalogues, which is always a start of the Christmas presence.

Who, I wonder, has remembered that last year, in the after Christmas sales, they bought wrapping paper, cards, an ornament for Aunty Ellie, and some perfume for their mum? Or will they only find them when they reluctantly begin to dig out the Christmas box in December, when they have already seen a brilliant gift idea for Aunty Ellie, and their mum has changed their mind on their favourite perfume?

I must get off, I must get off, I must get off......at a different stop! I had a bit of a different start to my day, which meant catching a later train than normal. Fine you might say, until it comes to parking Percy. He felt like Mary, there was no room at the inn. At all, none whatsoever. I had to drive on to the next station, in hope of finding a Percy spot. I did, and made my train. Phew! Coming home of course, I had to remember to get off at the penultimate stop, sounds easy, but we're creatures of habit and I didn't fancy walking back in the rain.

I'm walking to the train station, and my phone alerts me to an incoming text, then it loses power and won't restart. It's not the first time, but I have no spare cash, zero phone insurance (yes I know, I'm an idiot), and my early upgrade isn't due until October. I nip in to the phone shop, and see an eager looking lad at the desk. I approach him and share my dilemma. "Ooooh, you can get an early upgrade for just £8, but we can give you a £10 voucher to cover that".

Ok, I have half an hour to get to my train, so sign me up! What's that saying, 'if it's too good to be true, it probably is?' That was how it turned out for me anyway as an hour later, after the shutters of the store had closed and security were itching to get out, I too, left the building. I left with a broken phone, and a promise of it all being sorted out in 24hrs. I never hold much hope for these deals, but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

It must be wedding weekend ahead, 3 of my colleagues are each going to a wedding, and I am as well. Mine's a very special wedding, and I am really looking forward to it. Apart from the fact that I haven't decided which shoes to wear, what accessories to add to the dress, and if I need wellies and a poncho! The wedding's not until 3pm, so I have plenty of time in the morning, right?

Ginger Dave is in Disneyland. It's not the title of a new film, or book, just a fact! It's someone's friend's friend, but it just made me laugh, so I thought I'd share it with you! Another thing that made me laugh, was a description on a very popular online shopping website. It read "frustration free" packaging. What on earth does that mean? As it happens, it ended up being like airbags inside the bigger than necessary box. Why do they always do that, send tiny items in gigantic boxes? Are they cheaper to buy than small boxes? Please someone, tell me the answer to this!

19 Fridays until Christmas has just been announced on a social media platform. Told you, jingle bells will be ringing before you know it :)
Thu 6th Aug, 2015 | 12:27pmmore...
Luce Smith

To The Big City

Posted by: Luce Smith, Wed 15th Jul, 2015 | 10:08am
Speedy chippings photo by Mika Meskanen
Speedy chippings photo by Mika Meskanen
I haven't ever had a commute like this one. This one took place on a strike day, so it was dodgy before it started :)

I was going to the big capital, to assist a colleague and attend a meeting. I decided that as the train journey was a few hours, I would drive to Leeds and let Percy have a run out.

Big mistake. The roads were being resurfaced and so loose chippings everywhere. I slowed right down as Percy didn't want a pebble dash look. That was fine, I had plenty of time. The guy behind me didn't have time and he took it upon himself to ignore all the warning signs by the roadside and speed up to overtake me. I heard a few awful noises that sounded like Percy had been attacked by loose chippings. I said some words under my breath about the driver, then looked at my windscreen. Has it been damaged? What if it has, who pays? I would have to look later, the road went to normal Tarmac, so I resumed to drive at the relevant speed.

I was so annoyed, what if Percy had been damaged? Ignorant driver :(

Anyway, I parked up and by the time I got there, had forgotten to look for damage. I was now thinking of the train to the big city! I met my colleague and we sat at the desk, awaiting the pre-booked assistance. I'll admit, I was dubious about this service, but I was definitely proved wrong! The guys were great, polite, friendly, and helpful. I even went in the lift to the goods level, it was very exciting! We were taken to our train, the ramp was put up and we were shown our seats. Very professional. But what will it be like at the other end?

To my amazement it was as good as it was in Leeds, waiting there once our train pulled up. I was what I call, impressed. Not a bad service at all.

The next day was back to the usual commute. It had been a long day and I was quite tired on reaching the station. I checked the departure board, found my train, and saw the platform it had landed at. I proceeded to head to the platform. Only.,,,.....I walked to the wrong train! Never before have I done this! Ever! I almost hopped on, then saw it was clearly not my train, as it said 'Harrogate' on it! That would have been a fatal mistake! Note to self, always keep alert at the station and pay attention!

Oh my, I left the house a few minutes later than normal, and Percy and I are driving along, hoping to make it to the station in time. I get stuck behind a vehicle going 10mph less than the limit, and it annoyed me big time. I don't like to admit, but I shouted at him, at the top of my voice! No flashing lights, no beeping, no overtaking (would have meant going over the road speed limit, which of course has consequences that aren't an option for me!). Road rage? Possibly. What was he thinking though? I mean, it may not have been a man, but a woman would never have been so inconsiderate. Would she?

I made the train, and sat in my 'usual' seat. I had a gentleman join me on the seat opposite. He was wearing posh shoes, and a smart suit. However, he must have been in a rush getting dressed, as he had failed to do all his shirt buttons up! I know I should have done the ladylike thing and look away, but I can't be something I'm not! I had a little giggle to myself, and he then looked down, and proceeded to use his button skills! Phew!

I will just slip in here, that I had an email to alert me of my exam result being ready to collect. Really? That 6 weeks went fast! I got all shakey, and scared. Did I need to know? Can I handle the result? Come on, brave it. I passed! Just scraped through the exam, and as my coursework was half decent, I have passed that level 3 module! Woohoo! These open university courses cost a silly amount of money, but it was worth it. Just 2 more studying months left, then I can play out again! My lovely partner/boyfriend (still don't know which is the correct term), is under the impression that it will only be a matter of time before I signup for something else. Is he right? Possibly, but not to study. May get a little evening job, if I move house, to meet new local people and to get a few extra pennies! Prague was so good that I want to go again! And again! Mainly due to the Segways admittedly, but they were so much fun! I felt 19yrs younger, which is always a bonus!

The big city trip seems a long time ago now, and I get why people commute to and from London, but not me. I would get told off for talking to strangers! I may also ask for personal assistance, as the staff were so kind! Who would have thought that customer service could be positive?! I don't even think I saw them pick their nose! Such fun!
Wed 15th Jul, 2015 | 10:08ammore...
Luce Smith

Two Wheeled Journeys

Posted by: Luce Smith, Fri 10th Jul, 2015 | 9:00am
Segway Parking photo by David McKelvey
Segway Parking photo by David McKelvey
It's a really early commute. In fact, I'm not sure why it's not dark. I am a morning person, and I like to be on time. I like to be early if travelling by aeroplane, just in case. However, this time, I not travelling alone, and I'm not travelling with a like minded person. This person is a last minute packer, and very laid back. Recipe for disaster? Almost, but I'm wearing the trousers, I'm driving. So I end up sitting in my car, pretending it's cool and I can do 'late'.....

We make it on time, even though I get told off for driving slow, and we left Percy in his own little bay. Airport was heaving, and I was ready for vodka. I know, not even 7am, but I was ready!

No time to drink, the bars were really busy, so I waited until on the plane. As it was an early start, I just put my head down for 5 minutes shut eye. Which extended, and when I woke up, they were selling perfume. "Have I missed the drinks trolley?" Yes. Well, I shall pretend I'm not thirsty and carry on sleeping.

We got outside, and the heat was welcoming. Hello Prague! Only a 1hr 50 min flight, how good is that? The taxi to the city was funny, I tried asking the driver lots of questions, but he then said he didn't speak English! Gutted!

Arrived at hotel, changed, and out! What a beautiful city for those of you who haven't been. Especially in the hot sun, which lasted all 4 days. The best bit of the trip, was when we did a Segway tour, and yes, I know about the guy who invented them.....

I was a bit scared and apprehensive about them, I'm a girl, what if I can't steer them? In my younger days, we hired quad bikes in Wales, and we went round a corner on a dirt track, only I didn't go round the corner, I went into the hedge. Full speed. Needless to say, I did the rest of the quad bike hire as a passenger. I should have learnt my lesson. But, I was told it was easy, so I said we would go. It took me by surprise how they steer and operate, but once I'd sussed it, that was it, I was off! I loved it. So much fun. We did a tour with three other tourists, and we're out for an hour. Bless him, my lovely partner/boyfriend/companion, wasn't too confident, which wasn't expected. He does all sorts of crazy things! He got better though and we both had a fabulous hour.

Walking round the city, we laughed when we overheard a British guy ask his girlfriend if she knew where they were going. She said no, to which he replied, "so why are you leading then?!" Good point indeed!! However, saying that, with lots of streets and squares, I don't claim to be the best GPS companion, but I'm the first to say I'm lost! My sat nav skills weren't on my side, so Mr maps got us round and about. Grrrrrrrrr

Coming back to the UK was as expected, but due to storms, we did have a bit of turbulence. There was then a big delay at the airport due to the weather. I don't like queuing at the best of times, especially when it's been a long day and I want to go to bed! Wasn't too bad, home just after midnight, and driving to work at 6:15am. It's how I roll......

Percy was glad to see us, and he said he'd enjoyed a change of parking scene. Which is good, as, dare I say, without jinxing things, my house is now sold, subject to contract. I won't be relieved until I get the keys for my next house, but we're at least making progress. I will have to learn how to decorate; I think I can master it. I tried a few years ago, and enjoyed what I did, then got bored so went walking! Then couldn't be bothered to finish it so had to get a decorator in (& no, I didn't admit that I was the one who had attempted that wall in the kitchen.....). I have more patience now, I do, well, I will be more patient, needs-must basis!

My lovely Daddy, is cycling around the roads, on his new bike. He finally gave in, and bought a new bike, which replaces the 30+ yr old bike he has been riding. He's camping, and wearing silly shorts, and currently en-route to Edinburgh. Please, if you see him, give him a Mars bar (or another branded chocolate boost), and tell him to get home! Bless him. I should buy him a Segway, I think they're the future. Such fun.
Fri 10th Jul, 2015 | 9:00ammore...
Luce Smith

Nose Picking

Posted by: Luce Smith, Mon 29th Jun, 2015 | 11:31am
Nose Picker photo by moto man
Nose Picker photo by moto man
Ok this is weird. People are doing a lot of nose picking in public. I'm not being rude, or childish, but my observation has given good evidence of this new epidemic! It's more surprising that it's not the young ones, or the ones you might expect, no, it's the ones who are dressed in expensive business suits. I have to be honest, and this is not my biased opinion, merely fact based on data I have collected, that the majority of nose pickers in public are male. So there you have it, the research that has gone on this week on my commute! And you thought commuting was a chance to read or play games? Afraid not, much more important tasks to do.

Last year in the commuting world I remember around this time, not having to wear a jacket. I also think I had sunglasses on. I would like to say I'm disappointed, but in actual fact, because of my additional study duties, it's a Godsend! I know that with all the will power in the world, if it's sunny, I have to be outside, and no essay deadline will get in the way!

My exam now feels a long time ago, and I am now able to enjoy a few more of the hours in the day outside of working hours. I'm walking the dog much more (not my dog, but as good as mine!), and staying up much later as I am more relaxed. I'm still having to live in a show home environment, as the viewings for my house continue. I should be pleased, and I am, but now I have more headspace (post exam), I'm thinking I need to be selling up quick! The house has been on the market for 2 months, and it's had lots of viewings, lots of interest, a few offers (one I thought I'd misheard, but no, they were testing the water - big mistake!). It's a matter of time....

Oh my, the topic of conversation those two guys are on is dull! So dull I almost want to ask them to lower their voice as it makes us all a little, urm? I don't know, maybe annoyed that such a dull conversation can happen outside a dull office environment? Hello, we're out of work now? You don't have to tell the whole train about the strategic operation of the very high level infrastructure that is being coproduced at a corporate level to identify the proportionate sectors of the industry. I think I stared over at one point in disbelief at the acronyms being used, and thought it may have been a word game! But no, that may have had an element of fun in it, so that was a big no!

I am sat on the very busy commute train keeping my head down. Why? Simply because, I went to sleep with my hair elastic band around my wrist, and the metal part must have been having a party, as I have a big scratch on my forehead! It's awful! Not a good look at all, so whilst driving to the station, I was trying to come up with stories to tell my colleagues, about how it happened. The truth is too dull, but what are the alternatives? A sharp fly got me whilst walking home? I was trying out some new make up techniques for a film shoot/stunt practice? Or that I was confirming to myself, that having long nails would be too dangerous for someone like me, and I would end up harming myself.

I haven't tried to cover it up with make up but looking around, perhaps I ought to have done. Does everyone wear make up? I mean female everyone, but that's sexist, so I have to say everyone and be inclusive to all. Am I the only female on the train bare-faced , but scratched? I imagine I'd sound quite good if I was a vinyl. Natural, but scratched, DJ's would love me!

Naughty ticket man has got a malfunctioning ticket machine! Oh no, people have to do queuing. Hahaha I'm so glad I have my weekly pass! Yippee! I win!

At least people can amuse themselves in the queue by picking their nose ......
Mon 29th Jun, 2015 | 11:31ammore...
Luce Smith


Posted by: Luce Smith, Mon 29th Jun, 2015 | 11:15am
Sometimes I cry - I'm only human photo by MarLeah Cole
Sometimes I cry - I'm only human photo by MarLeah Cole
I have just seen a security guard pick his nose! I stared, purely because I've never seen a security chap do that! Made me laugh! I know it's totally vulgar, and inappropriate, but it was funny at the time!

This week, my commute has mostly been with Percy, who thankfully, passed his MOT with what I call flying colours, so that was good. For various reasons, the music has been way too loud, and I've sung at the top my voice. It's great therapy, and a good way to look silly to cars as they drive past. Which they do, as they aren't aware of the consequences of speeding, like I am!

However, today is train day, and someone in the carriage is sobbing their heart out. What do you do as a fellow commuter, what would society do? Ask if they're ok? Ask them to stop crying like a girl? Offer them a top joke of the day? Smile? or just pretend they're not disturbing the carriage? I guess it's not a rush hour train, that was over 2hrs ago. Makes you wonder what's going on for everyone, as they make the same half hour journey, day in, day out.
What's making them so sad? Work? Home? Friends? It's such a sad sound to listen to. Is everyone turning up the volume on their music systems, to block it out?

Oooooh you can tell it's the weekend, party night! Gone are the work suits and uniforms, hello smart wardrobe and shoes that look fabulous, but totally impractical for the purpose of walking, and I dare say they will be carried home in a few hours. I say carried, I mean the shoes, not the owner, although I guess it could be either, or both!

There's a guy in a work suit, with a bag, and busy on his phone. I think he's been working away all week, and so looking forward to seeing his partner/girlfriend/wife. What's the difference between partner and boyfriend? What's socially acceptable for each? Is one when you live with the person you are 'courting' but not married? Just wondered, maybe Google will help, but signal is poor so I won't increase my anger by waiting for a page to load!

The crying noise is still going on, and no one seems to be hearing it, despite its volume.

Ooh, exciting, the crew have been called to carriage 4. Are we allowed to be nosey? Do we ever find out why, when and who? I hope so, it could be exciting. Nothing. No news. Nothing at all. It's a no. No news, just an occurrence. Disappointing!

Uh oh, here come the young generation, with skateboards. How long have skateboards been around? I had one when I was about 12yrs old. It didn't do a great deal for me, in fact, I nearly ended up under a beige Vauxhall as I went flying down a country lane, and remembering that brakes weren't included. Oooops!

Anyway, these young ones don't look the type to be on innocent country lanes, think these are city skaters. Harmless though, whilst getting through a bag of haribo.....

The crying is still going on. Should someone actually ask if they're ok? I am sure the ticket person came round 5 minutes ago, shouldn't they ask? Or is it not ethically correct, or not in their job description? Possibly all of the above!

Who decides what the predicted word is going to be on things like word documents? Who says, ok. They've added a b, an r and an e, they clearly mean bread. Who made that decision? I want to be in that job, where I decide what that person is actually trying to type, but they don't have the mental capacity to be clear with what they want. Sign me up!

Nearly home now, and I am really ready for my first glass of wine this month. I think it's allowed on a weekend night, the school nights are so over! I may have to get some cucumber too, to put on my eyes as I sleep, (do people actually do that?) as they are going to look very messy.


Because the person on the train crying, is me. I couldn't stop myself. It was such an emotional moment, and I couldn't hold it in. Am not amused, I do crying at the best of times, but I never cry in public, never mind on a busy train. Still, you can't always control what's going on inside, as much as we'd like to! What would I have said if someone asked if I was ok? I possibly would have tried to say, in between sobs, that I just needed to get home, and hope that was enough to send them on their way. I bet it wouldn't have happened if I'd had a skateboard. Maybe I need that next time, just in case! I shall keep the security guys nose picking at the front of my thoughts from now on, that will definitely make things lighten up. Such fun!
Mon 29th Jun, 2015 | 11:15ammore...
Luce Smith

Lessons Learnt

Posted by: Luce Smith, Tue 16th Jun, 2015 | 7:18pm
Thirty photo by cris.e
Thirty photo by cris.e
I have just one word to say to you, cowmmuting. I saw it first hand, whilst oddly enough, driving down the motorway! It made me smile though, and with the congestion on the M6 on a hot Friday afternoon, it was needed!

There they were, a herd of cows steadily making their way over a bridge, possibly to get their tea, or afternoon nap, who knows. But when you're traveling at 70mph or less, it certainly questions your sanity! Am I dreaming it?! I wasn't and it kept me going for a few more miles.

I had a little slow jog down at the seaside when I finally arrived, and had an embarrassing moment. Bet the locals are thinking, bloomin' northerners/tourists! I was jogging down the town centre, early morning, so really quiet, only deliveries of milk being seen. On jogging past a window, I saw something white flapping around.

Weird, what's that?

I looked behind me, as it seemed to be attached. On closer inspection I realised what I'd done. Put my knee length leggings on inside out!! Will my vest top pull down enough at the back to cover it? Or will that leave the front a little, erm, slutty?! Mmmm, no, I can get away with it, where the nearest public toilet? Free one at that, as I obviously have no cash on me! Down on the beach, I saw the toilets, and speeded up to get in and rectify my label issue! I did, and walked out with dignity. Close call. Must open my eyes and get dressed next time!

As I shared with you, that Percy ran away with me and got a small speeding ticket, it meant that I got the punishment. I took the offer of the £85 fine and the 4hr speed awareness course. It was a very hot afternoon, and I joined the other naughty boys and girls at the foyer of the venue. I had no idea what to expect. I wasn't expecting to see someone I knew though! Or two people. What a social event this is turning out to be!

We chatted about who was the naughtiest person in terms of speeding, and thankfully, it wasn't me! In fact, most people were surprised I had been given a ticket. Luck maybe?!

The course, was in fact, really good. I think it should be compulsory for all drivers say every 10 years, as a top up, and chance to catch up with new changes to the Highway Code. I now know much more about the rules of the road! One thing I will try next time in Percy, will be commentary driving. Apparently it keeps you focused, alert, and aware of your surroundings. I also think I'll be quite good at it! The main thing it taught me was that the more paint on the road, the higher the danger. This, however, is subject to the council's budget for such tasks!

Ok, the commentary driving isn't even something to consider, as I find myself interrupting my own conversation! That is a skill in itself!

However, I have found an alternative measure, I talk to drivers around me, and share my knowledge of the Highway Code with them. I share with them that, yes, they can accelerate past me, but can they see round the corner? Have they got money to throw away as they speed past in the wrong gear? Have they thought of the consequences? It's very empowering! I feel I need a sign to put in my car window saying, 'I've just got a speeding ticket, bear with?!'

It would therefore justify my careful driving, and my economical use of Percy. He is much prouder on the road now, but I'm waiting for some, urm, (sorry, I have driving Tourette's so trying to find an appropriate word)....incompetent driver to come smashing into me with their fast Audi or boy racing Clio. They'd better not, they had better become speed aware quick, or else.

Percy is off for his MOT tomorrow, and I have no idea of the procedure. I have told the garage that I may be blonde, but I won't allow them to rip me off. We shall see if Percy makes the grade. I'll be having words if he fails..........
Tue 16th Jun, 2015 | 7:18pmmore...
Luce Smith

Brain Food

Posted by: Luce Smith, Mon 8th Jun, 2015 | 9:57am
Biscuit Heaven photo by Smallbrainfield
Biscuit Heaven photo by Smallbrainfield
It was an early start today, as my volunteer shift was at 7am. Despite it being June, Percy said it was only 3 degrees, but am hearing rumours it will warm up soon. Anyway, whilst walking through town, I saw a Greggs wagon parked up. The driver was slugged up against the drivers door. He was parked on double yellow lines. On further inspection, he was fast asleep. Bless. I felt sorry for him, he may have kids at home, who are getting up, dressed, and ready for school, but he's missing out as his job has him driving at silly o'clock. He may have a partner/wife at home, who he won't see until the weekend.

Shame, that the working culture we have is so cruel. I walked past, and hoped he would soon be reunited with his friends/family. A little dramatic perhaps, I mean for all I know, he may have a horrible bedsit, enjoys the soaps, and thrives from his social club on a Thursday night! He may prefer sleeping in his van and getting away with parking illegally! Who knows.

Oh my, am interrupting myself because I am just seeing someone in black tights and sandals. Yes, you read it right, black tights, and sandals. She looks like she's a follower of fashion, is there something I've missed? Is this the new craze which has been happening whilst I've had my head in my studies? I shall pay more attention......

Now where was I, oh yes, Greggs. Whilst walking away from him, I then saw another vehicle issue that made me smile. It was a Tesco delivery van (there are of course other supermarkets, but this one clearly said Tesco), and it was pulling out of.......the hospital??? So a few things could have happened here, the van may have taken a wrong turning, someone is in hospital for a long time, and calling it their home, or, the driver had to nip in to have his toe nails cut. I mean I know society is wanting services in health care to be 24/7, but surely even doctors have time to do their shopping in their own time? Maybe not.

The day has dragged, and I have been so agitated and anxious. I walked down the high street and noticed a duo doing street performing. I've heard quite a few very talented ones recently, so opened my ears wide.

Wish I hadn't. It was so awful! The guitar was badly strummed, the vocals were out of tune, and the electric guitar guy looked like he was asleep! I almost went up and suggested they went home to practice. Practice makes perfect after all, doesn't it? But I held back, and said nothing, but walked on by without dropping any pennies, and I definitely didn't buy their cd!


Oh yes, talking of rubbish, whilst walking to work the other day, I saw a school girl having her breakfast, and felt really sad. She was munching her way through a packet of bourbon creams. Yuk! I mean I am not a huge fan of them anyway, but a packet? For breakfast? Why isn't she sat down at the kitchen table, being forced to eat Weetabix, or stodgy porridge? I wanted to quiz her, and see what the situation was. I get that times are hard, and we are in financial panic, but really? I mean at least chose a decent biscuit! Why didn't the shop keeper ban her from buying them, and instead allowing her to have, erm, anything but! Poor kid, her blood sugars will be sky high, she'll talk for England, get sent out of class for laughing, then miss out on the learning. Then, she'll be my age, sitting exams, and wondering why no one ever warned her!

Mmmmm. Just so you know, I found an old pair of earphones, and have them plugged in. But.....haven't yet got any music playing! Just in case I miss out on such commuting conversations that are worthy of being repeated. But I didn't, as I am not even aware of my surroundings, just hoping that it's soon time for the staff tomorrow, to say, "right, put your pens down, time is up".

I shall run out of the exam room like a crazy chicken, and devour a packet of bourbon creams. Well, it's the future. Isn't it?
Mon 8th Jun, 2015 | 9:57ammore...
Luce Smith

The Value of Information

Posted by: Luce Smith, Wed 3rd Jun, 2015 | 1:51pm

Recently, I have being doing some work which has involved asking the public some questions. This made me realise, that it will be a really sad moment, when we lose our 'current' older people generation. What on earth will the next 'older people' look like? I mean, we won't see too many flat caps am guessing. They'll be collectors items. Will socks and sandals be a thing of the past? I won't mind not seeing that for a while though! There won't be anyone to tell us first hand, what it was like growing up in the war. I feel like talking to all the older people I commute with (granted rarely on my early train!), to collate as much info as possible before it's too late!

They say funny things like kids do, and get away with it. For example, I was asking equality monitoring questions, and asked for their relationship status. The reply I got was 'yeah, it's all right thank you!' There wasn't a box to tick for that! Neither, was there a box for the answer I got later that day, to the individuals sex. 'Well, I'm 80 now and haven't had sex for a while, but I'd like to!'

Brilliant, priceless. We must keep engaging with the generation that are both educational and entertaining! I'm off to see my grandad at the weekend, and he is a mighty fine example of positive ageing. I think he may be in line for a 'supercentenarian' title at this rate! Super super super man!

My house still has the 'for sale' sign stuck outside. It makes me realise how little patience I actually have! I shall pretend it's not important. And, to be fair, until my exam is over, it isn't important at all. My old study skills used whilst revising for my GCSE's have returned, using acronyms. I can't help it, if it's something I need to know, it needs to be made fun, so I can hold the info. for longer than 5 seconds! As long as I don't say it out loud, I don't think I'll be arrested!

The two suited chaps today, sat on either side of the train aisle, were discussing walking weekends, with the wives. Except, it seemed to have more focus on local beers, than the wonderful Yorkshire Dales. There are other dales, but they were quite specific. I laughed, not out loud, to seeing two guys, sitting independently, both on their phones, only one had two phones in one hand. That is what I call a fine example of multi tasking! I wanted to peer over to see what he was doing, but thought better of it. He was young, and had a head full of hair gel, which may have caused me damage.

The train stopped at a station, but didn't move for quite some time. The PA system began, we are sorry for the delay, we are sitting at a red light. I should think so! Can trains do light jumping? It made me giggle. They didn't say when it was green, but we didn't stop for too long. We did get a lovely apology though for the delay. I was pleased, as I had stupidly forgotten my earphones, and was lost without them! I sometimes put them in my ears, but never play music, as I get stuck ear wigging, but I felt lost without them! Won't do that again, all because I changed bags.....!

As the revision is causing stress, I was taken to a carvery for me'dinner. I love a good carvery, all the effort taken out of Sunday, and no washing up, or eating left overs for breakfast. I got to the counter, plate at the ready. Want to go large for £1.50? No! Course not! I'm going to go large for eating more than I would have at home, paying more to get big is not something I would like to do, thank you very much. Anyway, I was indecisive. Irish beef, British beef, pork, gammon, turkey. Such decisions for someone who struggles with this.

Yes madam? My turn.

I asked for something not offered, I asked for the dark meat of the turkey. He looked at me a bit weirdly. Is it a no? 'You want the wing?' Yes,yes I do please. Sure thing. He started pulling the poor bird's wing off. I suddenly felt mean, what if it lost its balance and toppled over? I don't know if I'd laugh or cry! (The turkey, that is, am guessing the chef can cope on his two legs!) Knowing me, laugh! It was lovely, and I felt special. Which was nice. I also wished I'd asked for white meat too, as there wasn't much on the old wing!

So this week is more revision, more fear, and a long drive to Devon. With patience being at its lowest, I hope the commuters are kind to me this week! Such fun!
Wed 3rd Jun, 2015 | 1:51pmmore...
Luce Smith

Shoes To Prague

Posted by: Luce Smith, Tue 26th May, 2015 | 9:51am
photo by evilgurl
photo by evilgurl
Scrolling for date of birth. It's getting to the point now, where I have to scroll much longer down the list than I used to. It would help my self esteem if we could just type it in and be done with it, rather than scroll through the 2000's, the 90's, the 80's....... Ah well, if I was designing the task, I would at least make it fun, with some odd facts about that year!

I was gutted. I left the house, and it was moist, so I had to quickly change my coat. On arrival to the ticket office, I asked for a weekly pass using my photo card. Only it was in my non raining coat pocket. Fear not I said, I took a photo of it, for evidence, just in case. "Sorry love, I need to see the card". What? But you have! It's here! He wouldn't budge. My train was leaving soon. I was annoyed. Fine, let me pay extra then, I was feeling flash with cash......honest. Not a good way to start the week.

Loud sneeze. Very loud, might I say. It was the loudest sneeze I've heard ever! Think the whole of the train heard it. Do I say bless you, or is there a better term for a higher level sneeze? Maybe they need to be knighted? Although if I turned around to say 'knight you' they may look at me a little odd.

I answered my phone. On the train, the busy commute train. It was only because the number was recognised as the estate agent. Here goes, "hello?" I had a viewing for my house, their 2nd time. Yikes! Exciting! Phone down, back to normal commute position.

I don't remember revising for exams taking up so much time! I am possibly spending more time worrying about revising than actually revising, but it can only get better. I guess I have forgotten! However, I have also been post exam planning; going on a city break in July. I know, it's possible that it could be moving house month, but hey, if you don't plan and book, you don't go. I don't know if you've ever tried to book a holiday on a mini iPad, but it's not the easiest task, so I did the traditional thing. I went into an actual travel agent. I spoke to someone face to face, and not once did she tell me to hold the line, or that my call was important and someone would be with me soon. Nor did she make me listen to terrible panpipe sounds. Bliss!

As I had specific dates, and a budget, my options were limited. It took a few moments to search through the system, and it came out with two possibilities (it had to be a location neither myself, or my boyfriend had been to). Florence or Prague. After a few more filters were put in, Prague was taking the lead. I messaged my boyfriend, who was only just alive after a typical bank holiday beerathon, He listened, commented, then agreed. Gosh, I should really take advantage of this shouldn't I, what else can I ask him?! No, I won't take advantage, I shall behave. Yes, let's book that. We went through the booking forms online, and the agent thought the cabin baggage of 10kg would be plenty, until I told her about my shoe problem, so we added an extra case. What?? I need shoes for 4 days and 4 nights, they need to be transported somehow......

So, we're off to Prague in July, only there's one slight issue, apart from the shoes. I don't actually know where Prague is. If you asked me to point to it on a map, I'd do a runner. I know, I shouldn't admit it, but I can handle the truth. I know it's in Europe, and I know it's a 3hr flight. I had to Google, too embarrassed to ask the travel agent, and discover it's the capital of the Czech Republic. I still couldn't point to it on a map, but I will, once my exam is over and my shoe collection can continue to flourish!
Tue 26th May, 2015 | 9:51ammore...
Luce Smith

The Wrong Shoes

Posted by: Luce Smith, Wed 20th May, 2015 | 10:40am
Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne 2014 photo by brassynn
Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne 2014 photo by brassynn
Cycling shorts, Lycra Jersey top, helmet, gloves, carrying water bottle, wearing what I can only describe as 'the wrong shoes'. I know people commute and brave taking their bike. I know this from when that guy put it in the toilet cubicle last year so as not to exceed total number of bikes allowed on a train. But everyone I've seen with bikes, has been dressed in cycling gear, from head to toe. So what is this, I ask myself? He gets in the train like there's nothing wrong, no one else seems to have an issue with it, so I shall try to move on.

Actually, I heard something shocking today. I discovered that a care home had given a 93yr old anti-depressants, to aid her sleep at night. I found this really hard to digest. Is this where we're at now? Is this the slippery slope of care? I was speechless when someone shared this with me, and I don't do speechless very often. I'm going to change the subject now, but just be aware, that this happens. In the UK. In our lifetime. Grim

I don't know why, but I've been a bit afraid of cycling since the whole cycle mania that seems to have appeared from the TdF era last year. I used to love a little spin on the old bike, but now find there's too many on the roads! One funny thing though, is how when you see other cyclists on your route, you suddenly become Miss Popular, and they all smile, nod, checking out your bike.,,.....but had I have been on foot, I would have been ignored. Are they secretly smiling and saying "hello" because they are thinking "I hope your bum's as sore as mine". Or because they have just come freewheeling down a 17% gradient hill, and know that you are just about to hit the climb? It was a great bike ride anyway, and I shall be going again next weekend.

The train is delayed. Due to......problems another train had. Nice. It's ok, I can do patience....I can!! What I can't do, is stand the Twitter feeds that a train company feed into Twitter. Due to not having enough carriages........or, due to a member of staff not turning up.........? Is that professional? I mean I would hate to be booked onto a flight, and once gone through tickets, passport, security and duty free, be sat on the plane, only to be told that the flight can't go ahead as the pilot has got a verruca, so needs to see his GP straight away. It could happen!

I mean, I guess I value their honesty, but perhaps they could start making changes as opposed to keep on tweeting the same issues. I wonder if they've ever sat on a train when the announcement is given? They may realise just how stupid they look.

My parents took an 11 hour journey to France this week. I did suggest to them, that in that timescale, they could have reached Singapore, but they weren't bothered. Is this what happens when you retire? You take long journeys to travel a short distance? Or is it just my parents being funny?

I have got people coming to view my house! Finally! I have done a deep clean, gardening, put the heating on, and bought a house plant. I think that should nail it. So nervous, it's ridiculous! Almost as nervous as the thought of my exam in 3 weeks time, but I'll pretend that's not happening just yet. I hope, that whoever puts an offer down on my house, will be chain free, otherwise I shall lose the will and patience skills will have to be permanently tattooed onto my brain.

I have never seen so many Frozen people in my life! I say people, it's my lack of knowledge of who the character is in Frozen who wears a dress, a tiara, and has no bum. Or any flesh really, no wonder she's frozen, she has zero body fat! But back to the millions of Frozen peeps, it must be a show in the city centre, because they're everywhere! Shame they didn't all communicate about outfits though as they're all wearing the same dress! Is that a fashion faux pas these days, or is it expected at one of these? Aren't there any other characters that they could dress as? I mean, what about the boys? Do they have to wear blue dresses too?

Liar! A guy and a little boy, were walking past one of those mobile pizza vans, but a vintage van, so looked cool. The little boy asked what it was selling. The guy said, 'just coffee'. I nearly laughed out loud and say 'what?' How mean is that? I didn't know whether to go with the guy, and say, fair play, well distracted, a wise economical move. Or, side with the kid, "well, that doesn't smell like coffee, and why would you have ketchup or mayo in your coffee?" You heard it here first.......
Wed 20th May, 2015 | 10:40ammore...
Luce Smith

Heart Warming Thoughts

Posted by: Luce Smith, Wed 6th May, 2015 | 2:59pm
photo by Benjamin Lehman
photo by Benjamin Lehman
It's not what you see, it's what you don't see that matters. I know, a little deep for a Smith blog, but I do have my reasons.

From the very start of my commuting days, it always saddened me that people spent time texting, or playing games whilst travelling, instead of meeting new people, learning new things and what I call, socialising. I still think about the guy in the red coat, who I spoke to on my way home last year. He had a terribly annoying cough, and I later found out he was coming home after his appointment at the hospital, only to be told, there was nothing they could do to cure his cancer. It was so sad, but it was a privilege for me to meet him, and for him to share such personal information with a perfect stranger.

During my commute today, (Percy's on detention until he learns to know and adhere to the road speed limit), I found myself staring at people, wondering about their mental health, and how they cope with it. Yes, everyone has mental health, it's just that sometimes it goes a bit haywire, or unpredictable. In my opinion of course, it's not a sweeping generalisation, everyone must be allowed to share their views.

I watched stranger on a bridge last night round at a friends (still no TV, and still no desire to own one. Just saying, although I did find it helped me nod off on an evening! Or was that the red wine...., anyway).


What an amazing scenario. Where was I six years ago, as I don't recall it at all. I guess I wasn't tuned into Twitter at that time, and only used Facebook to connect with friends who'd realised that the sun shines a lot more outside the UK, so had taken a one way ticket!

I know I'm going on now, but bear with, I'm blonde so my concentration span is obviously on a short timer.... I mean, how many people do you walk past every day, and actively acknowledge them? I know I walk past heaps of people and don't think twice about what they may be thinking.

In case you didn't see it, or are unaware of the whole #findmike, to keep it short, this guy had had enough, walked onto Waterloo Bridge (yes I had to google it as my geography for down South, is, well, embarrassing) and was about to jump. A guy spotted him from afar, and sensed what he was about to do, so rushed over and talked to him. He didn't jump.

Such a wonderful heart warming event that reassures you about human nature. We are nice people, but life has gone into mega speed and we forget to take time for the simple things. The things that cost no money, or much effort, just time, and empathy. Who could you talk to next? Would it really hurt to take your eyes off a screen to say "hi" to a neighbour?

I'm guessing not. It's like the brownie guides, I promise that I will do my best, to do my duty to God, to serve the queen, to help other people, and to keep the brownie guide law. Is that right? Have I remembered it correctly? Gosh! I got a good house keeping badge whilst a Brownie! I will make a good wife they say.....mmmm well, not yet obviously.

So go on, put the kettle on, and have a natter. But a word of warning, whilst the kettles boiling, keep well away. Why? I reached over to clean the kitchen whilst the kettle was boiling (us girls can multi-task), but I reached over the spout (is it a spout on a kettle? Or is it only on a teapot?) and had a hot flush! Not one of those hot flushes, I have those to look forward to, but a steam burn. Yowch! I did the cold water thing, then cling film. 5 days later I go to the G.P. surgery and they are a little surprised I hadn't been sooner! Well, I say, that's what you get for being a vet's daughter! It'll heal itself like it would in a field in the open air....zero sympathy, and only animal dressings in our first aid kit at home!

So in my case, what you saw very much matters! I shall go on a kettle boiling course, which may be a bit like kettle bells? Actually, if a kettle did have bells, it may have deterred me from getting burnt!

Ha ha, such fun! But I shall leave this deeper than normal blog, with this; commuting is about linking up, and not just from one location to the next.
Wed 6th May, 2015 | 2:59pmmore...
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