When I starting writing this post we’d just got rid of the family car. The family car was actually my husbands work car but we only really used it for ferrying the kids to school and back. Well, it’s been 3 months now and as per usual I’m only just getting the post up.
We decided to get rid of the car as we hardly used it. Mr Howie travels abroad for work so he hardly used it for work, we live in the centre of town so we didn’t need it for shopping. It tended to sit in the street where we paid £50 a year to park. The car was fully comp’d car from his employer meaning we didn’t pay any bills or petrol for it, but the BIK {Benefit in Kind, tax on income} meant it still cost us £450 a month. We decided that for £5500 a year we could use public transport and still be quids in.
Some of our friends think we’re mad giving us the car and as they see it the freedom that the car gives. Personally other than not being able to pick up the furniture I want, the freedom comes in not having the car. We can go to Canterbury or London, not having to watch what we drink or having to find a parking space.
A friend has told me that in Dover it costs him £300 a month when he uses his car for work, this is to travel a town which is approx 5 miles in diameter. He’s decided to cycle instead.
So have we missed the car? Not really, yes it was inconvenient when we had two exchange students stay but we just enlisted the help of the local taxi service. It’s got to the point where it was like we never had one.
So au revoir dear car if I ever feel nostalgic for you I’ll just go visit the local Avis.

The other Sunday I ran, well mostly walked, the Southampton half marathon.  When you have 3 hours on your own you do a lot of thinking.  It started off with the girl in front who like myself had a sizable backside, to a very good friend who has just had a baby, to how women treat other women.  It culminated into generally thinking about community and what makes a family.  I know pretty deep for a 13.1 mile run; but then events like a half marathon and the London Marathon in which some of my friends were running can get very emotional.  “Where’s she going” I hear you ask, well like most of my conversations, all over the place.  This blog post has two parts.   Firstly how women treat each other and secondly how we can help our communities.

I’m nothing if not opinionated sometimes to a fault.  Over the years I’ve calmed down and now have a ‘there’s more to life’ and ‘live and let live’ attitude.  The old Amy has been known to rear her head especially when I’m drinking.  I also need sarcasm like I need oxygen.  I’m disorientated by people who don’t get sarcasm.  In my younger years I was very detrimental towards women that didn’t work.  I thought it was lazy.  I thought those who give up work to rear children were letting down the female gender.  In a world where women are fighting for equality, (and I’m big on equality; I’m not a feminist, I believe our sons are just as important as our daughters) why are women trampling over each other to get what they want.  Surely we should be helping each other to achieve our goals, may I just be trying to get through the week.  This goes for the guys too.  A lot of us would rather not give our knowledge out in case someone else does it better.  Surely this is a sign that we should become more knowledgeable ourselves or maybe what we are doing isn’t for us.  Supporting each other is key.  May it be the transfer of knowledge, taking a friends child off their hands for an hours or two, lending a hand or just being someone to talk to.

This leads me into the last part of the post.  As I was running, waddling, walking the course I saw so many church groups, volunteers, runners’ families and general supporters.  It was a great feeling.  These people didn’t know me when they cheered me on, or when they offered me sweets or held their hands out for mid 5’s.  When they made their boards with funny or encouraging slogans, it wasn’t for me in mind, but it did make me smile.  It made me want to run faster for them.  How could I not feel happy with their smiling faces?  With their cheers?  Why did they do it?  After all it wasn’t my community.  I don’t live in Southampton, I didn’t know anyone.  They made me feel welcomed and little loved.  It’s a nice feeling that feeling.  It’s one we share.

When we are out in our communities, our families, after all isn’t that families are like, be sure to give a smile.  It makes everyone better.  If you can spare the time help out in your communities.  If you feel you can’t, remember even small things help.  It may just be taking out the elderly couple down the roads bins each week. Encourage others.  Remember happy communities, happy families tend to make for better living and families aren’t just those you were born into.  Family are the people you surround yourself with, may they be the people at your local group, your co-worker’s, your neighbours.   In business they call these people shareholders but I think family is a better term…. Don’t you?

Who am I?

To be honest I don’t know myself.

The November before last I hit 30.  I wasn’t ready for it.  30, I was supposed to be an adult, supposed to have my place defined in life.  Instead I was a 30 year old who whilst happily married for 6 years, happened to be unsure of myself.  My craft shop was failing.  I hated my weight.  My love of food and clothes were gone.

If you had asked me at 16 what I was going to be at 30, I’d have arrogantly told you I was going to be successful in my field.

Well the year of 30 was miserable but some positives came from it.  I finally plucked the courage to end my failing business, which was making my family and me unhappy.  I turned my back on crafts and all that was involved.  I signed up to go back to school to do a degree.  It was something I’d always regretted not doing.

Last November another year had gone by and I was 31.  Whilst not a lot had changed I felt different, happier.  January came and the resolutions started. March came and most of them had been broken.  It’s April now and I have a new outlook.  I’ve decided to learn to grow my own veg (which at the moment is still in the packet.)  To put more effort in being sustainable.  To question where things come from and if they are needed.

I finally made a commitment out loud to Traid’s #SECONDHANDFIRST pledge.  This is where I pledge that 70% of my clothes sourced in the future will be second hand.  I’m now committed to a more eco and ethical future.

Who am I?

I’m not sure, but I know who I want to be.