Gemma’s Blog

Living on my own *not a football blog*

I’m aware the whole site has become a bit Hibernian related recently and that is fine for followers who are Hibernian supporters, or even interested in football.  For people who follow me for other reasons it’s probably getting a bit wearing.

So here’s a blog about living on my own.  No, not the wonderful Queen song, but the actual act of living alone.  Is living alone an act? Who knows? It’s certainly interesting.

Although in my – ahem – middle-to-late thirties (pushing the boat out a bit there), I, for whatever reason, have always lived with someone.  Well, apart from the 6 weeks my cousin entrusted me with her family home while they went to Australia.  This was a few years ago now, when I was in my twenties.  OK, more than a few years ago then! Jeezo.



During that six weeks the bathroom flooded and I had to rip up the carpet.  I couldn’t find the source of the leak but whenever I turned on the sink tap or the bath tap the entire bathroom filled up a bit…

Add to that the day the neighbour upstairs knocked down because I had my music on.  Middle of the day, cleaning the house and I had some music on.  Just about every night they locked their rarely-walked dog in a bedroom and pissed off to the pub.  Every night that poor dog howled and howled.

So, one day, a few days after the knocking down, I went to the local shops.  There she was, the woman of the house upstairs.  She was standing with a group of friends.  Or associates, who knows? Anyway, she made for me first.  I merely put my hand up and stopped her.  Anyone who knows me will know that I am not backwards at coming forwards and I will say what I think.

I can’t remember entirely what I said but it went along the lines of ‘if you bang down again when I have my music on I’ll just turn it up louder’.  No, it wasn’t that haha.  I basically told her she’d had it if she knocked down again and I’d get that dog out the house away for her and her thick other half and I’d make it so they wanted to move house very soon.  Well, words to that effect.  It worked though.  The dog suddenly got walked, they were very quiet and when they went out the dog got the freedom of the house when they were out and seemed quite happy at that.  It was a fairly quiet five weeks after that.  Well, not when I had my music on.

Aside from that, I only left their house unlocked for 12 hours while away just the once!

So, here I am, living on my own.  I’m loving it.  An entire two bedroom paradise all to myself and I call it Fox Towers (because it’s upstairs).  It’s a five minute walk from Fox Manor, the land of mother and father.  This has been both a blessing – suddenly deciding to nip round for tea when I can’t think of anything, and also a burden – mother suddenly appearing at the door when I’m eating my tea.  (Only joking mother, you’re welcome any time…).

I moved last December and, due to a cock-up, had to sleep on my brand new mattress for almost a month until my bed arrived on the 23rd.  Sleeping on a mattress on a floor like a student was a novelty that wore off after about two nights.  When you’re my age with a dodgy back…well, there is no dignity in having to haul yourself up with the help of the wall and the window ledge…


Mystery 3 and a half hour cycle

I’ve also discovered I have conversations with things.  This hadn’t really been something I had thought about until Thursday evening when I found myself talking to the washing machine.  I’d put it on at four in the afternoon, on a Quick Wash and three and a half hours later it finally slipped into what might have been it’s final spin.  So, I found myself in the kitchen asking it if it was thinking about finishing any time soon.  I then added ‘please, because I need to get the stuff out and dried for Saturday’.  It obliged.  I then thought about it and realised I also speak to the boiler an awful lot.  It has a pressure problem.  It drops suddenly and then “err 108” flashes on the screen.  This will usually happen just as I have stepped in the shower and turned the water on.  Rather than lovely, instant hot water, it’ll be frozen.  That’ll be followed by ‘effing boiler’ a string of expletives as I have to get out the shower, find a towel or house coat, run through to the kitchen and up the pressure by twisting both of it’s knobs.  Hard.  I’ll then ask it why it has to do this to me when it was working fine five minutes before I stepped in the shower.  It’s answer is just to burst into life and provide me with the hot water I need for a shower.  Thanks!

On continued reflection I realised I have had converstions with the TiVo box (what is you are recording because I have set nothing up?), the printer (why does my laptop say you’re printing when you can’t even get out of standby mode?), I’ve had conversations with my curtains and my hoover (about how useless it is on hoovering my stairs, I had to buy a hand held one for this task!).  I also had to ask my Hibs (had to get them in somehow haha) calendar why it fell off the wall.

I met the aforementioned cousin on the bus on Friday and she asked me that now I’m on my own, do I talk to myself? I just looked at her and said ‘Oh, um, well, sometimes I suppose!’.  Well, it’s true.  I’m normally speaking to something!

Oh, and I casually mentioned to the washing machine earlier than when it goes I’m getting a twin tub.

Santa Forgot

This is the fantastic video from Alzheimer’s Research UK.  It centres around Santa having Alzheimers himself and not longer remembers what he does and how special he is to so many people.

My own Nana died from Alzheimer’s and I know of so many more who have too.  If you can afford it then please donate, if you can’t then sharing this helps more than you will know.

There is a cure for Alzheimer’s, it’s just not been found yet.  It’s there and we will find it.

Everyone is important to the research and fight to stop this disease.  Those who wear the white coats and spend their days testing drugs and analysing data.  Those who suffer from it.  Those who campaign to raise awareness.  Those who donate. Those who share every chance to get the message out to people.  Everyone is involved.

Site under reconstruction

Not satisfied with a quick change I have gone for the full whack.  I also want to do this without closing the site down for any reason.  All content is still available all of the time.

It is driving me slightly insane at the moment as I have to update each individual post to create the site that I want.  Well, almost the site I want.

Continue reading

First anxiety and then a spring clean

I haven’t written a blog for a while.  Not because I had nothing to say, far from it, but I just didn’t have time.  Part of this was due to being ill at the start of the year and more recently there has been a Spring Clean at Fox Manor.  Yes, a good old fashioned proper spring clean that included hiring a skip.  Yes, a skip.  And a special uplift.

I don’t write about my anxiety that much, probably because I’m not ready to share much about it but I do have Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD).  I wasa diagnosed in November 2013 but probably suffered it a lot longer than that. Everyone has bouts of anxiety for various reasons but when you have GAD you pretty much have anxiety all the time.  It is hard to explain how it feels.  It’s like your stomach constantly being in knots and nothing will take it away.  Sometimes relaxing is hard, very hard.  It’s frustrating being in situations that I feel I should be relaxing but it doesn’t happen.Anxiety

There’s also the fact that it’s quite possibly here for life.  There is no real cure but people can simply not suffer any more.

It’s absolutely exhausting as well.  Sometimes it just drains me to the point where I need to stop.  Anyone who suffers from GAD or any of the other anxieties will know how it feels.  And sometimes you can’t stop, you have to keep going.

So, at the beginning of the year that done me in.  I’m coping with it well at the moment, “managing” as it’s called.  I’m still anxious all the time but getting on with life at the same time.  So fingers crossed this spell of managing it lasts for a good length of time.  Optimism!

Trying to slip seamlessly from anxiety to spring cleaning was never going to happen so this sentence is telling you that I’m now going to talk about The Spring Clean.

Somewhere along the line of time someone started the notion of spring cleaning.  Gutting the house and tidying up.  Yes, well, this year I decided to go for the full on spring clean.  It had to be brutal, very brutal.  So brutal a skip was needed for the black bags and a few other things.full skip

Charities shops have benefitted from it well.  Books, clothes and various other things went there.  Huge amounts of clothes into the bin because they weren’t fit for purpose.  This actually surprised me.  Every couple of years I have what I call “a brutal clear out” of my clothes so I thought I had pretty much whittled down my clothes to what I actually wore.  No.  So that was sorted out.

Shoes, boots and handbags! Never knew I had so many.  Not any more though, they’ve either gone to charity or in the bin.  I think I’ve got one handbag left.  Although there is a wardrobe I haven’t tackled yet…

What’s a spring clean if you don’t decide to throw out some furniture? It’s a spring clean best avoided.  This year a bed, a mattress and two sofas went out and in came new sofas (reclining as well – HIGHLY recommend it!) and a sofa bed.  Out went the old telly, in came the new one.  So big it almost feels like I’m on the holodeck on the Starship Enterprise (so currently I’m on a tennis court in Miami).

I’ve never been so knackered in all my life.  The majority of the work was done in two days, my two days off, and on the third day off (annual leave) I did very little other than collect my replacement laptop.

So it was a lot of up and down stairs with black bags and various bits of other things.  I think the best(!) bit was humping two heavy sofas down stairs and round to the back garden with my dad.  If anything else it was a laugh.

to me to you

To me, to you

Is it over? No.  Tomorrow sees the re-enactment of the Chuckle Brothers to me, to you with my dad and myself having to humph everything to the street for collection.  Then it’ll finally be over.  Next big spring clean? Whenever Halley’s Comet is next due…


The evil that can be destroyed by our unity

Islamic State have been active over a number of years (initially founded in 1999) but it’s only in more recent times have we been more aware of them. Over the past couple of years in particular they have claimed land in Iraq and Syria. Last June they declared the captured territory a Caliphate and called it the Islamic State.  The Syrian city of Raqqa is used as the capital of their Caliphate.  They have plans to take over the whole of North Africa and the Middle East.  The steal from the people in their state, everything from utilities to the food in their mouths.  They rape, torture and behead Muslims for not being a certain type of Muslim. They have caused hundreds of thousands of ordinary people to flee their homes, people who were, a couple of years ago, relatively safe.  Doctors, nurses, shop workers, teachers, lecturers, tradesmen, dentists, engineers, the list goes on and would include children just trying to grow up, to learn and who would aspire to be something in life but now find themselves receiving little education as they are shunted through Europe.

They hate the West.  They hate anything but their way of interpreting Islam.  They hate Russia.  They just hate anything that isn’t them.

Since October 31st this year they have caused the deaths of 417* innocent people.  People taking a flight home from a holiday or enjoying a night out or who just live in the wrong neighbourhood and those who were simply serving in the army of their country.

  • October 31st – Metro Jet airliner crashed in Egypt Sinai, 224 on board.  Initially believed to be a crash after take off the evidence started pointing towards a bomb.  Islamic State claimed it and Russia confirmed it.
  • November 12th – Beruit: two suicide bombers killed 44 people in the mainly Shia suburb of Burj al-Barajneh.  The neighbourhood is under the wing of Hezbollah.  Hezbollah are fighting Islamic State in Syria.
  • November 13th – Paris: 130 people are killed as Islamic State gunmen begin firing on restaurants and cafe’s in the city. Out of the 130, 89 are killed in Batalan Concert Hall as they tried to have a nice Friday night out watching a favourite band.  They rest were killed for relaxing on a Friday night with a meal or drink out.  Three suicide bombers fail in their attempt to attack the Stade de France thanks to hawk-eyed security guards (one who is Muslim). President Hollande declares war on Islamic State.
  • November 20th – Yemen: In the eastern region of Hadramawt Islamic State claimed an attack on the army which Yemeni security sources say killed 19 Yemeni soldiers.

In three weeks they’ve caused the deaths of 417* innocent people and these are the ones we’re aware of.  Undoubtedly many more will have died at their hands.

We know about their spate of beheading’s that seem to have begun in July with the slaughter of 75 Syrian soldiers.  Their heads and bodies displayed in the streets.

  • James Foley, American freelance journalist and Syrian Civil War photojournalist, was captured in Syria on November 22 2012.  He was held until August 19th 2014 when ISIL (as they were known then) beheaded him. He was the first American citizen to be killed but the so-called Jihadi John.
  • Steven Sotloff, Israeli-American journalist.  He was kidnapped in Aleppo, Syria in 2013.  On September 2nd 2014 a video was released of Jihadi John beheading him.
  • David Haines, British aid worker working in Syria.  He was kidnapped in March 2013.  His family had asked that his capture was not made public knowledge, however, David appeared in the video of Steven Sotloff murder with Jihadi John holding him and declaring that he would be the next to be killed.
  • Alan Henning, British aid worker.  He was delivering humanitarian aid in the ISIL occupied Syrian city of Al-Dana at the time of his capture in December 2013.  He was killed by beheading on October 3rd 2014.

These are just some of the western people beheaded by IS (ISIL).  It’s thought that between July 2014 and August 2015 that 303 people from all nationalities and religions were beheaded by the terrorist group.  This death toll is an estimate given that other hostages have disappeared with no-one knowing where.

So, that’s the Islamic State in almost 700 words.

Not a particularly nice bunch of people.  If you are different from them they hate you.  They hate us all.  They hate how we live our lives, they hate other Muslims who live elsewhere and who condemn them for their actions.  They don’t care if they kill people who share the religion they claim to be theirs.  If you don’t interpret Islam as IS does then you are not a Muslim.

What they do like, though, is killing people and the hate they can spread through us by killing us and claiming to do it in the name of Islam.  It’s a good tactic from them because they are proclaiming to have done their deeds in the name of all Muslims.  Yep, even the man who’s owned the paper shop and general store at the end of the street for the last thirty years.  Even in the name of that little girl who proudly strode down the street on her first day of school in August, proud in her uniform.

Except they aren’t.  In fact, they hate that shop owner and that little girl as much as they hate everything else.  However, while the claim to be acting for all of Islam is false, it’s being believed and that’s exactly what they want.  They want you to now eye that shop owner with suspicion and if you stop shopping there then that’s even better.  If someone sprays hateful word across his shop window and attack him as he leaves for the night, Islamic State will celebrate it.  Why? Their aim, especially in the west is to cause hate amongst us, to turn neighbour against neighbour, to make us fearful of Muslims here and for us to fear them.

A mother in Edinburgh has pulled her daughter out of school due to an increase in bullying since last Friday in Paris.  The girl, un-named, has been called names, had her hijab pulled.  It might seem nothing but the school didn’t seem concerned about it (or didn’t know how to deal with it) and allowed it to go on.  A child who just wants to learn with her classmates is tormented thanks to a bunch of lunatics.

Police Scotland today released a statement about safety in Scotland because of the terrorist threat but also included hate crimes into the message, DCC Livingstone said:

“We take a firm stance on dealing with all allegations of hate crime including those motivated by racial and religious intolerance. The increased police activity in responding to international terrorism is matched by the increased efforts of Police Scotland officers dealing with hate crime.

“I am disappointed to say that since the tragic incidents in France last Friday, there have been 64 hate crimes reported to Police Scotland which were racially or religiously motivated.  While we cannot say how many of these were motivated by last week’s events, these are 64 crimes too many and are not in keeping with our traditions of a multicultural Scotland. Of these 64 crimes I am pleased to say that 40 have been solved so far and I am confident more arrests will follow.

“People of all the faiths, and of none, should live in a Scotland that is free from hate crime and discrimination. The vast majority of Scotland respects the rule of law and welcomes diversity across the communities we live in. Collectively, it is individuals and communities that defeat terrorism, which is why we must sustain the strong relationships that exist in Scotland between our communities and their police service.

“In relation to online crime, our  teams based at the Scottish Crime Campus at Gartcosh will use the very technology that individuals use to send messages of hate to identify and arrest them.”

Indeed it would appear that by assaulting Muslims and by heightening anti-Islamic rhetoric then we’re basically doing what Islamic State want us to do.

French journalist and author, Nicolas Henin, was a hostage of IS for ten months.  He notes in his opinion piece written a few days ago that his captors played childish games and played mock beheadings.  Nicolas Henin’s title for his opinion piece was I was held hostage by ISIS.  They fear our unity more than our airstrikes.

With their news and social media interest, they will be noting everything that follows their murderous assault on Paris, and my guess is that right now the chant among them will be “We are winning”. They will be heartened by every sign of overreaction, of division, of fear, of racism, of xenophobia; they will be drawn to any examples of ugliness on social media.

That’s a quote from a man who knows them, who spent 10 months in their company.

Remember: “They fear our unity.”

There’s a strong message in that.

Listen to it. Please.


* 417 is the number of dead at time of reporting.


Chrissie Hynde — Comments were wrong, condemn them, not a victim

The Pretenders front woman Chrissie Hynde has caused a social media storm by claiming in an interview that she was to blame for her sexual assault 40 years ago and for her comments on rape.

Born Christine Ellen Hynde in Akron, Ohio on September 7, 1951, the singer, now known as Chrissie Hynde, has had something of a colourful life. From humble beginnings in suburban Ohio to international rock star, she has lived a life that she now regrets.

In an interview with The Sunday Times about her new book Reckless – My Life as a Pretender Chrissie Hynde is very forthright about her life, detailing her early years hanging out with heroin addicts in New York and then arriving in London in 1973. She talks about her near marriage to Sid Vicious, her dreadful relationship with Ray Davies, her marriage to Jim Kerr and a host of other events which have shaped her life.

She also talks about when she was sexually assaulted at the age of 21. While under the influence of Quaaludes, she came to the attention of one of Ohio’s motorcycle gangs. They promised Chrissie that they would take her to a party but instead took her to an empty house and sexually assaulted her under the threat of violence.

To read the rest of this article please click the link to visit Digital Journal.

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