Friday, 28 February 2014

Prolonged Arousal - it is not funny!

Time for another very personal post.

Recently I have been suffering from prolonged arousal, and like the title says, it really isn't funny.  It is crippling.

The medical term is Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD) and is discussed from a professional point of view here.

It is impossible to do anything.  Imagine trying to do all your daily tasks, cooking, cleaning, driving, conducting meetings at work, whilst being constantly pleasured.  But without the pleasure.  The feelings even wake me up and prevent me going back to sleep.

Regular readers will know about my sex life, I was late in losing my virginity, have only slept with one man, and that was a less than inspiring event and, except for one time in Spain when the neighbours were not being quiet, I have had absolutely no interest in sex since.  I even threw away all my sex toys as they were just gathering dust in the bottom drawer of my bedside cabinet.

As I said above, it is not a pleasurable feeling.  I don't know why it happens, I don't have sexy dreams, I am not a sexual person.  

There is nothing that I have tried so far that has resolved it, I just have to grit my teeth for the hours that it continues.  It is somewhat alleviated by standing, but I can't stand all night, I can't stand during meetings, I can't stand whilst I am driving.

There is no sense of release when the feeling eventually fades away, just relief that it is over for now, but a dread that it is going to return sooner rather than later.

Cold showers haven't helped, neither have cold baths or cold flannels.  I have tried anti-inflammatory tablets which have not worked.  Anti-Depressants have been cited as reducing the problem so as hard as I have worked to get myself off my meds I have started taking them again to see if it does help.

I have been awake now for just under 3 hours and the feelings are just dispersing so today's bout was relatively brief.  Thank goodness.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

How we used to fly.

Back in the 70s and early 80s when I first started taking notice of such things, we used to be served on aeroplanes with proper meals, with proper METAL cutlery - can you imagine such things in this day and age.

The food arrived on an individual tray and depending on the time of day, would generally include a hot dish of actually recognisable food, a small batch with butter and a pudding.  There would also be a glass of orange juice and a cup for either tea or coffee.

A lot of the trays and most of the cutlery seemed to find its way into my Granddad's hand luggage, in fact I have only just recently thrown out the last of the cutlery (although it was metal, it was only really child sized).  Mum still has at least one of the trays as I used one earlier today!

At this time, food was included in the cost of the holiday unlike now when it is an optional extra.

Because hold luggage was included in the price of the holiday as well, there was never any issue with overhead locker space.  Also, people only tended to take one piece of carry-on luggage when there was really no limit, unlike these days when it is specified that only ONE piece of hand luggage can be carried on but people seem to think that anything between 1 and 5 pieces count as 1.

A lot of travel companies gave you a free carry on bag when you booked your holiday.  You don't see that these days.

If you travelled to Spain back in the day, you generally had to walk between two lines of armed, yes armed, police on the way from the plane to the terminal, which was probably no more than a large hangar, that could be quite daunting.

There would be a meet and greet session on the first afternoon in resort, there would be orange juice or sparkling wine and you would get to know your rep and find out all about what the resort had to offer, remember there was no TripAdvisor back then.

You had to dress for dinner every evening, and if you didn't dress to the standard required you were not allowed access to the dining room, breakfast and lunch were slightly more casual, although shorts or swimwear were NOT allowed.

There were no kids clubs either, parents and grandparents had to look after and entertain their own offspring although there was family entertainment in the evenings, usually a local singer and/or a flamenco show.

I miss those days.

Friday, 21 February 2014

I have a car!

I have been without a car for many years now, two redundancies and residual debt saw to that.  But I had a promotion and payrise last July and have been saving ever since and I have finally saved enough to buy a decent second (third?) hand car.

I tried a few dealers that were local, by which I mean easy to get to on foot or by bus and hadn't seen anything that really grabbed me.  Some of the dealers I walked into, turned around and came straight out again as they just felt 'wrong' for want of a better word.  I have had feelings like this before, generally hotels and bars and have just had to walk away.

Last Saturday, Dad drove me over to Michael Kiernan Cars in Anstey, Mum came too but 'just for the ride, she would wait in the car'.  And as we drove in, it just felt 'right', it wasn't a new place (they have been in business since 1973) and the cars weren't sorted into any particular order, but it felt welcoming.  We were greeted but left to wander around, which we did, all going in different directions (Mum had decided that she would have a look round too).  

I was immediately drawn to a car right in the middle, it was a mucky looking Fiat Punto.  I went and found a salesman who fetched the keys.  He talked to us about the car briefly and then left us to it.  We all checked various things on the car, Dad went for the engine, Mum for the boot, I checked everywhere else.

I made an offer and it was accepted.

I arranged to collect the car this weekend.  By the time I collected it, it had been MOT'd, cleaned and few issues sorted.  I was also given a 3 month warranty.

It is a fantastic little mover and I do feel I have got a bargain.

I will definitely be going back when it is time upgrade.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

ACCA - My Journey So Far.

Last weekend I finally received the results of the ACCA exams I sat at the beginning of December.  I had passed 2 of the 3 so I am happy with that.  I have 3 Skills modules left (the exam I failed plus 2 others) until I can officially call myself 'Part Qualified', I then have a further 5 Professional modules until I am fully qualified.

For anyone thinking about starting to study ACCA, I have some info and tips for you.

Check your exemptions.  If you are AAT qualified you will be exempt from modules F1, F2 & F3 (I won't list all the modules here but they can be found on the ACCA website), if you have a relevant degree then you will be exempt from further modules, you would need to look into that as it will vary from degree to degree.  From what I have observed in classes, AAT will prepare you better for studying ACCA.

You can sit the exams in any order.  If you do need to sit F1-F3 you have to do so before you move on to the next set, or Skills Modules which are F4-F9.  These can be sat in any order, I studied F6 & F8 first, then F4 (the exam I failed in December) & F5, leaving me F4 to resit and also F7 and F9.  I have tried to work it so that I do a 'wordy' paper alongside a 'numbers' paper.

Study in a way which suits you.  There are various different course providers, all offering different study methods such as classroom learning or distance learning, tuition course, revision courses and question based days or QBDs.  I need a classroom situation as I do not have the discipline to self study.  If you choose classroom study but can only attend 1 block of classes I would suggest the revisions blocks, I am sure that I learn more on these than I do on the tuition blocks.

Revise as little or as much as you know you need to do.  I was advised to create a study plan once revision courses started.  Work out how many weeks or days to the exams and decide how many questions you are going to attempt in each of your home study sessions.  I didn't do this.  I also listened to others in my group saying that they were doing 3 hours revision every night and 6 hours each day at weekends.  If this works for you then go for it, I personally think that this is too much, particularly if you are working full time as well.  I won't embarrass myself by saying how much revision I did, but it worked for me.

Don't put too much pressure on yourself.  Unless your contract states that you cannot have more than a certain number of resits, you have 10 years to complete a maximum of 14 exams for which there are currently 2 sittings each year.

But most of all, enjoy your studies, I actually looked forward to classes more than work sometimes!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Sunday Night Mash Up

This week the weather has been bad.  Even in the protected area that is Coventry we saw damage, nothing in comparison with other areas, but normally bad weather just goes around us.  Fence panels down, trees down, roof tiles blown off and smashed, roads closed due to flooding.  We never see this.

Other than the weather, it has been a quiet week.

I did collect my car yesterday, I love it!  It might be old and bit bashed about, but it is mine.  I can get about now on a whim, I no longer have to rely on buses and trains.  My commute to work has been cut from 90 minutes to about 20.  What I was paying for my monthly bus pass is covering my insurance (which is pretty steep) and my car park pass with some to spare.

It does feel like a new start.

The week ahead is going to be quiet at work, as it is half term a lot of people are off.  I am in this week but off next, looking forward to that so much now that I have my car.

The dog and I went to Kingsbury Water Park today.  It was a bit wet and even more muddy, I nearly lost my wellies a few times.  Bess decided that she had to walk through every puddle she came across, some came halfway up her chest but she seemed happy enough.  I did make her sit on a towel on the way home.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Sunday Night Mash Up

This weekend I finally received the results of the three ACCA exams which I sat at the beginning of December, I passed two (F5 - Performance Management and F8 - Audit & Assurance which is the one I failed in June) and failed one - F4 - Corporate & Business Law.

The Law module is the one that I struggled with right from the off.  There are no calculations and no definites, it is all too woolly.  This precedent says you can do this, this precedent says you can do the opposite.  But I have to pass it as it is a compulsory module so the resit will be in June.

Also this weekend I finally bought a car!  I am collecting it next Saturday and I can't wait, although when I am going to read now is beyond me, those two hours each day that I spend on the bus are my reading times.

I am going to do a post about the car dealers as they were lovely.

This weekend saw me start my 1940's diet experiment (it has been a busy weekend), so have been prepping and baking and cooking, I now have a week's worth of meals and snacks.  Hopefully I will lose a bit of weight, feel healthier and save a bit of money.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Term Time Holidays

When I was growing up, if we couldn't afford to go away in the 'Coventry Fortnight' as it was known (this was the two weeks that the factories shut down) we didn't go away.

Taking me out of school was never even considered, admittedly this was partly due to Dad not being able to pick and choose his holidays as back then factory workers took them as dictated by their employers.  Mum worked in a more flexible workplace.

If we didn't go away, then days were spent in the garden, at the park or at the allotment.  We would also go fishing and for picnics.  Before we were in a position to be able to own our own car, Dad would borrow a car and we would drive to the seaside just for the day.

I enjoyed going on holiday but I didn't really miss it when we couldn't afford to go.  We saw, and still see, a holiday as a luxury or a privilege, not as a right or a necessity as it seems to be considered today.

Like I have said before, these days, everything seems to be 'me, me, me' and never mind the rules or the consequences.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Is living in a cold house really that bad?

According to this 2011 BBC News article the ideal living room temperature is between 18° and 21° C.

According to this 2006 BBC News article the ideal bedroom temperature is 18° C.

Temperatures below this can apparently cause illness, below 16° C resistance to respiratory disease is reduced, 2 hours or more at 12° C raises blood pressure and increases the risk of heart attack or stroke; 5° C increases the risk of hypothermia.

I do like my living room to be warm so the fire is generally on if it is cold outside.  At 6pm on Saturday, with the fire having been on for most of the day, the temperature in the living room was 18.9° C, within the ideal range. However the bedroom was at 12.9° and the bathroom 11.1°.  

I should probably point out that I do not have central heating, I have an electric fire in the living room and I have bought a plug in oil-filled radiator for the bathroom.

When I went to bed at 9.30pm, the bedroom temperature had dropped to 10.1° and the bathroom to 7.9°.  

And I was fine, it didn't even feel that cold.  I actually prefer a slightly cooler bedroom, when I stay in hotels I always have to open a window (if I can) or turn the room thermostat right down.  When I go abroad, I generally leave the balcony door open a little.

Although I do like a cooler bedroom, I don't like to be cold in bed and currently have a sheet, 4 blankets and a duvet covering me.  It is not unknown for me to sleep in pyjamas, dressing gown, socks, gloves and a hat, I did that when I still lived at home, and I have done it occasionally since I moved out.

Sometimes I do wake up in the early hours of the morning and open the window as the bedroom is feeling stuffy, and this can be any time of the year.

Last year a couple in Devon turned their heating off in protest at the rising energy prices, it made the news.  A well known manufacturer sent them one of their heated throws to help them keep warm, not sure they thought that through though.  If the couple had turned off the heating in protest at prices, are they really going to pay to heat an electrically heated throw?

I don't believe I have suffered any ill effects from growing up in a house where ice formed on the INSIDE of the bedroom windows.  I had the usual childhood sniffles and illnesses, but nothing major.

So, is a cold house that bad, or does it just depend on the individual?

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Sunday Night Mash Up

I am trying to think if anything has happened this week and nothing springs to mind!

We had a bit of snow on Thursday but not enough to settle even though it was coming down on and off for most of the day.

Friday I had my first ever trip to Aldi,  in this country anyway I tend to shop in Aldis when I go abroad but the stores in Europe seem so much different to those in this country.  I picked up a few bits but I am not convinced that I could do a full shop there not least because it is so far from home.  Maybe i should buy a shopping trolley.

Dad went away for the weekend, much to the dog's disgust.  Mum fed her, brushed her, played with her and talked to her, as she does every day whether Dad is here or not, and I called in to walk her every day.  When Dad got home earlier today, anyone would think that she had been shut in the house all by herself since Friday lunchtime!  She was crying, squeaking, nearly wagging her tail off and trying to climb on Dad's lap.  She is such a drama queen.

ACCA exam results week has FINALLY arrived, they are due out next Saturday, it seems so long since I sat them.

Fingers crossed.