Tag Archive | Leicester

Laptop drama


Yesterday/today, I have had what one of my colleagues very politely called a “laptop drama”. Over the past few weeks I have noticed a marked deterioration in my focus, concentration and memory to the extent that when I wanted to make an appointment to see my GP yesterday, I had to ring up the surgery and admit that I couldn’t remember her name. Now that’s quite worrying for me as I am normally mentally very dextrous and able to juggle many many balls in the air without overlooking anything.

This is just one sign that all is not well in my head-space but whilst chatting to a colleague about it I did try and laugh it off and not get too wound up about my current poor state of mind. It’s no good worrying, it won’t help.

Things got worse however when I managed to leave my laptop in it’s rucksack on the train. I take 2 trains to and from work, and last night I boarded the Birmingham to Stansted airport train (I get off at Leicester) with my laptop. I put it up on the overhead racks as usual and travelled to Leicester where I got off the train on platform 2, crossed over to platform 3 and caught my second train to Market Harborough. At this stage I still hadn’t realised what I had (or hadn’t) done and I was oblivious to the fact that my laptop was happily winging its way across country to Stansted Airport.

When I got off the train at Market Harborough, I was walking along the platform towards the exit when it finally dawned on me. No laptop. No rucksack. Damn. It was too late to re-board the train and see if I had left it on there but deep down I knew that I had left it on number one train.

I got the number of Lost Property at Stansted but the train wasn’t due in until after it closed so there was nothing I could do until this morning.

I was about to start ringing around at 08.00am when I noticed a text message on my work Blackberry-this is unusual as I use my own phone for texting my friends and family so I opened it to see what I had missed. I had a very pleasant and welcome surprise. It was a text from the train guard on the Stansted train who had found my laptop sans owner and had taken it to lost property at Cambridge station. He found my business card and contacted my work mobile to let me know.

What a hero! A huge thank you to Mr T Wood of Cross Country trains (who will be receiving a thank you letter in due course) for saving my bacon.

So today, I have had to take a day off work to go and fetch my errant laptop from Cambridge. It has taken almost all day to travel there and back and I am exhausted but it could have been a lot worse. It could have been stolen. It could have been taken to Stansted lost property which would have taken me a lot longer to get to and cost me £120 in train fares instead of the £33.50 I spent today.

Thank goodness for small mercies and celebrate that there are some great, honest and caring people still around.

This restores my faith in human nature! Long may it continue ūüôā


The Olympic Torch Relay

The Olympic torch has just travelled through my village and I am so glad that I went out early and stood in the wind and rain to grab a prime position. The torch arrived right on schedule passing through at 3.50pm on its way to Leicester where it will spend the night.

People started to arrive very early on this afternoon and as I wanted to get a good view and take some photos I walked round with an hour to go to select my spot. Local schools sent home at lunchtime so they could see the torch and join in the flag-waving fun. Despite the poor weather, everyone enjoyed themselves and even the police motorcycle outriders joined in by waving to the crowds and giving high-fives as they drove past.

We could buy Union Jack flags and hats and the Coco-Cola bus was giving out free frisbees and souvenir bottles of coke.

Local guy Rob Gomez arrived first, running slowly along the high street flanked by the flame security convoy, and when he reached the corner of High Street and¬†Foxton Road, the two torches “kissed” as Rob handed the flame over to David Willson. David was waiting¬†for a good 10 minutes and had spent all that time having his photo taken with the crowd. Adults and children alike clamoured to touch the torch and have their picture taken and David did a great job¬†keeping everyone happy.

It was a great sight to see and everyone I spoke to said that coming to see the torch had stimulated their interest in the upcoming Olympics starting later in the month. The torch is an ancient symbol of the Olympic Games and seeing how people reacted to it today I also suspect that it sprinkles magic dust over us all as it passes by so that the excitement and anticipation gradually builds as it travels across the country reaching a climax in London on 27 July. No one could fail to be moved by the sight of the flame as it flickered obstinately in the strong wind and heavy drizzle. Resilient and determined to stay alight until its job was done,  these are the qualities that our Olympic and Paralympic athletes have already shown to reach the Games, and which they will need in buckets if they are to fulfil their potential after training so hard for so long.

Good luck to all our athletes-this is your moment to shine.

Gungo peas

Leicester is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the UK and food shopping is an obvious example which illustrates our multi-cultural living. I particularly like going to the shops in certain parts of the city where you can buy food imported from around the world.

Sunday is a good day for mooching around and yesterday afternoon we made a quick detour to a Continental shop for some bits and pieces. Whilst hubby was searching for particular items, I was rustling around just looking at the various dried beans, peas and pulses which are a staple part of the Middle Eastern diet when I came across a packet of Gungo peas.

What a fabulous name, Gungo¬†peas and, as I haven’t a clue what to do with said Gungo¬†(or pigeon) peas, I left them on the shelf not wanting to buy something just because I like the name. I am now wishing that I had put a packet in my basket as not only were they cheap (99p¬†for 500g) but having done some research I find out that they are nutritionally full of protein, fibre, low in fat and most importantly they are an excellent source of tryptophan.

For anyone suffering with low mood or depression, foods containing tryptophan are well worth getting to know as “tryptophan is the direct precursor, or starting material, of serotonin. Your tryptophan intake affects the amount of active serotonin your brain makes. Serotonin levels affect your mood, your ability to sleep well, and your food cravings.

Tryptophan is prescribed as an antidepressant, and is apparently particularly effective in relieving certain types of depression (bi-polar and menopausal). Turkey and milk are good sources of tryptophan as are eggs, dairy products, some nuts and seeds. 

As with many suggestions for foods that apparently help with low mood and depression, I suspect that it is more complicated that just eating platefuls of Gungo peas but with a little effort and a few dietary adjustments, food can undoubtedly help improve and maintain mental wellbeing just as it helps physical health.

There are several recipes for using Gungo peas available, so next time I am shopping and come across Gungo peas I will buy some and ask hubby to prepare a dish or two to see what they are like.

Watch this space…..

The Olympic torch is coming to Lubenham….

On Monday 2 July, the Olympic Torch relay comes through my village, Lubenham in Leicestershire and will pass about 50 yards from my front door before making its way up the hill to Foxton. This will be day 45 out of 70 when the torch will be travelling between Coventry and Leicester.

The torch is expected¬†in the village between 15.45pm and 15.55pm and the Torchbearers through and around the Market Harborough area ¬†include local citizens Dean Barnett¬†and Rob Gomez who both get their “moment to shine” on home territory.

We have flags secured to the lampposts and traffic cones are at the ready.

Did you know?

  • The Torch will come within 10 miles of 95% of people in the UK.
  • The relay involves 8,000 Torchbearers.
  • The Torch will be transported by steam train, horse and zip wire.

We are looking forward to seeing the Torch and Torchbearers¬†and understand that there will be a “kiss” of¬† 2 torches outside the village pub, The Coach & Horses.

Not long to wait now……..


Uncharted territory indeed

My readers will be aware that I use the online do-it-yourself mood monitoring tool Moodscope¬†which I find invaluable in helping¬†manage my mood swings and lifestyle.¬† Another welcome feature for¬†subscribers to Moodscope¬†is the daily inspiring email from Jon (Cousins) the founder of Moodscope and diagnosed bi-polar depressive.¬†I always read his¬†email and often wonder how¬†he manages to come up with something different each day. Respect. The trick to these emails however is not just to read them, but to take his comments on board and try to act on them. It’s all to do with being proactive and positive and in taking the initiative, you will reap the benefits of your efforts. Like me today.

Yesterday (21 September), Jon’s email was entitled “Uncharted territory”¬†.¬† I read this Blog post and it dawned on me that, unusually, I haven’t spoken to anyone new for quite¬†a while. As someone who does a lot of travelling on the train and has responsibility for several different offices across the UK, I realised that I had settled into a “comfort zone” which accompanied my recent downturn in mood and desire to withdraw from the world.

I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe that everything happens for a reason and I am always happy to make positive connections where I think they exist. Today, I was presented with lots of opportunities to speak with and work with “new” people and found it amazingly refreshing, exciting and I learnt a lot. Hurrah! Change, development, initiative, ideas, learning¬†and creativity is what I thrive on and I feel that I have emerged from my self-imposed cocoon at last. At work I have “new” colleagues to work with over the next few months and I’m looking forward to it. The change is good and has inspired me to focus on what I do best with renewed energy.

This attitude and positivity also spilled over into my train journey home when I met a delightful young Somalian girl dressed in hijab and abaya who was travelling from Glasgow to  Leicester to help her Doctor husband pack his case and move up to Scotland. All she did was ask me, in broken english but with an endearing smile, which train she needed to catch from Birmingham New Street to Leicester. I explained that I was going that way myself and I would help her.

Over the next hour, we found the right train, some seats and found out a lot about each other.¬†She told me that she has been in the UK (Glasgow) for 4 years and is learning how to speak English at Glasgow College. She also happened to mention that she was struggling to understand her tutor this year¬†(a Glaswegian) whereas¬†last year she had no such problems when she had a tutor from London. ¬†At this I started to laugh and explained that if she can learn to speak English in Glasgow she’s brilliant! Although her English was broken, she made every effort to speak with me and made use of the vocabulary she had. No, it wasn’t perfect but she made herself understood and we “chatted” for an hour between Birmingham and Leicester.

She told me that she misses Somalia because she could go out in the warm weather with no shoes on whereas in Scotland it is cold all the time and shoes are always needed. She asked me if it ever stops raining and what is Buckingham Palace like? She wanted to know about my gold jewellery (obviously not European) and asked whether I had been to Africa. She will never go back to Somalia because “They are killing each other” and she will always look after her mum. She is the youngest of seven children and when someone gets married she does the beautiful henna hand paintings. All this and more with limited vocabulary.

¬†When we got to Leicester, I showed her the exit and where her husband would be waiting. Giving me a hug she said “Thank you so much. You have been very kind and it has been nice meeting you”.

Who needs Reddybrek for a warm glow? Not me.

Her name?

No idea ūüė¶


Today I can’t help feeling disappointed.The reason for my disappointment? The cancellation due to poor weather conditions of the Santa 5k Fun Run in Greenwich Park London where I was supposed to be running to raise funds for the Depression Alliance. For the last 6 weeks, I have been gearing myself up for this event, raising funds and looking forward to a silly day out dressed up as Santa Claus, jingling my way round the park wearing sleigh-bell wristbands and my very own “Caroline” Santa hat.

I don’t normally do silly things, and I certainly don’t go in for dressing up or fancy dress parties but today was going to be different. To celebrate the year I’ve had ¬†I was ready to let myself go and enjoy a bit of frivolity with the other runners on the DA team. I wanted to end the year on a high and this seemed the ideal opportunity.

But I refuse to let the weather beat me completely so¬†I’m going to organise my very own Santa 5 k fun run scheduled for next weekend.

Tomorrow I will seek out the fancy dress shop on Granby Street in Leicester and buy myself a Santa suit. At some point during the week, I will decorate my treadmill in the garage with tinsel and baubles. I will make sure that I know how to set my camera up on the video function and next Saturday I will do my own silly Santa run. Ok, so it won’t be quite the same running on my own in the uninspiring surrounds of my garage ¬†instead of with thousands of fellow Santas in the beautiful Greenwich Park, but at least I will have done it.