Adventures of Frangipan

Tuesday, 17 February 2015


It's been a hard morning. I had a message which set me off in a bad mood and on a bit of a rant about Dad and the mess he left me with. Because why be angry with situations that can actually be changed, when you can be angry with someone who's dead?!

Oh, and it's his 60th birthday, or would have been. So, angry with him for leaving this shit behind. Upset because it's his birthday and a reminder he's not here. And guilty because I'm angry with him on his birthday, and he's not here.

The days when things go right are great, or fine at least. But today I was thinking about all the things that go wrong, and I was so angry with him for leaving jobs undone or half done. So I come along with less experience and less knowledge, and have to learn how to deal with this stuff, as well as trying to deal with the estate, earn a living, and have a life.

I just wish he'd left it all a bit tidier. But he never was a tidy person. And neither am I, so maybe I'll do the same?!

There are things that need to be done, and I am making some headway slowly. I've had help from people with various things, but I refrain from asking for too much help because I don't want to be a burden. I'm quite happy to pay for help, so I'm finally getting round to having some fences built. I'm just so fed up of a tractor that doesn't work properly (that he deliberately wanted that way!), a half-done water supply, and a 'tenant' I don't like. And why couldn't he just get his arse into gear and get a proper shed built? Instead I have the remains of a mobile field shelter that blew over the hedge in high winds, so it's just added to the general mess.

I feel so alone in this. No matter how many people are willing to help or do help, I am alone. I will always try to be strong and to not be a burden, so I will only let people help with a certain amount. And as much as I might be angry with him at times, no one else is allowed to be. That hurts in a different way, and is likely to make me bottle up even more.

I've been very aware of my blogger's block lately and thinking about why I wasn't writing anything. This isn't really the tone/subject I was hoping to start up with, but hopefully the block is gone.

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Saturday, 4 October 2014


I'm not a parent and have absolutely no intention to be, so I know I can't really judge other people on their parenting skills. But I worry about my brother's relationship with my nephew.

James provides everything Marcus needs: shelter, food, clothes, school, glasses; some things we wants: books, toys, lots of ice cream; and some things he comes round to, like his bike. He works hard to be able to pay for all these things, because his mother does sod all, except buy him something every now again for his affection (like a tablet).

But I worry that James gives Marcus a hard time: he gets so wrapped up in trying to raise a well-educated, well-behaved son that he forgets about the fun. Not just that Marcus needs to have fun, but that he does too: that it's good for adults to behave like kids sometimes.

After I visited in January, James told Mum that I was great with Marcus. And it's basically because I like the fact that I have an excuse to behave like a child: play, run, dance, skip... basically burn off loads of energy and laugh and smile while doing so.

And every now and again, James does join in (at least when I'm there). But he doesn't instigate, and is generally quite stoic. And that makes me sad: it's like he's forgotten what it's like to be a child. I hope that with time, some of my young-at-heartedness rubs off on him. He needs to loosen up.

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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Catrin Pickles: 26 May 1991-19 February 2012

Me, Dad (d. 4 Dec 2012), and Catrin (d. 19 Feb 2012)

I started writing this post almost 3 years ago, and for reasons now unknown to me, I never finished writing it.

On 20 February (2012) I received a text from one of my best friends telling me that Catrin had been killed in a car crash. I had to read it several times before I really took in what it said, and was able to reply. Later that night I was on her facebook page reading all the messages from her friends who were also in a state of shock.

(Yesterday) I went to her funeral, along with what appeared to be a few hundred other people. Every seat in the church was taken, people were standing at the back, and there were still quite a lot of us outside, listening to the service through additional speakers.

I didn't know Catrin particularly well: in fact I'd only really started gatting to know her about 6 months before she died. But I really liked her and wish I'd known her better. She was really optimistic and happy without being in-your-face peppy. She volunteered in Mexico with an organisation called Therapies Unite, and they have posthumously named the first swimming club after her (Catrin's Penguins). She loved to dance, and I was in awe of her natural talent. She was determined and brave, and just made everything she did seem like no big deal.

She was a good egg, and the world is poorer without her.

Dad knew Catrin before I did: he trained her in Pony Club for a few years and was always interested in what she was up to (like he was with all of them). I'm pretty sure seeing him cry in her funeral is the only time I've ever known him to cry.

She is Gone
You can shed tears that she is gone
or you can smile because she has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back
or you can open your eyes and see all that she's left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see her
or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember her and only that she's gone
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back
or you can do what she'd want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

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Monday, 30 June 2014


A couple of years ago I had a Tumblr page/profile and quite liked it. For a while I thought it might take over from blogging as it seemed a nice cross between blogging and Twitter.

Today I decided to rejoin the Tumblr community. For about 4 hours, before deleting my account again.

There's definitely some good stuff in there. But quite often you have to trawl through all the shit people are flinging at each other. My Facebook news feed occasionally has much more vitriolic (uneducated) hate speech than I care for. I don't go on Twitter enough to really care.

But Tumblr is just a massive amount of people being aggresive and hypocritical, basically saying 'my facts are FACTS, yours are nonsense - that's so typical of your *ism.'

There's good stuff on Tumblr, and funny stuff too: I used to create it and share it! But it's just mixed in there, hidden. Like real news hidden in media noise.

I got so angry after reading a few posts, and I just don't want to my emotions controlled like that by a bunch of strangers. Not long ago I thought about doing the #100happydays challenge. I know someone who has done it, and she's quite chipper anyway; but I thought it might help me focus on finding and noticing the good stuff every day, rather than let the shit take over.

Closing the Tumblr account today was a choice not to let the shit in. Pinterest is a much nicer, friendlier place and I'm happy there. I know there's stuff I don't agree with too, but it seems easier to ignore.

It's a difficult decision to make because I have a lot of opinions and part of me wants to share them, chime in on the 'debates'.

But another part of me just wants to be a bit more cheerful.

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Friday, 23 May 2014

Take your hatred out on me, Make your victim my head

I feel like I've become a sponge for negativity. Whatever I do, I upset someone, and they unload that onto me. I can only listen to what they say. I can't defend my position because I'm not 100% sure about my decisions, whichever option I go with.

So I spend all my time fretting about it, and not wanting to answer the phone or check emails, because no doubt there is more negativity.

There are still positive comments and people saying thank you. But somehow these are always drowned out by the negative. I guess those with the issues are those who shout loudest.


Thursday, 22 May 2014

The End of Me & Mounted Games?

So if I give up mounted games training, what will I do?

It is only fair to say that games is not the only reason I'm miserable at the moment. My job is not a career and is not something I want to be doing for too long: I need to find a job I'm really passionate about. I don't see much of my friends; in fact, I don't feel like I have many friends anymore. I don't have much money, meaning I don't feel I can make much of an effort to go out and have fun. I'm dragging my feet with Dad stuff.

But I don't feel I'm in a position to do much about those things. I'm kinda stuck here with the horses, so I'll have to find a job around here. And now my hours are going up, I might as well stick around until the end of the contract and then see what's what. And I'll have a bit more money then too. If I had more time for friends, I might make more time for them. Dad stuff will come to an end soon, and I just need to pull my socks up and get on with it.
But games.

I'm not getting what I used to out of games. It has been more stress than fun this year. Sure, next year could be better, but I would have to invest another 12 months to find out. Another 6 months of feeling like I'm talking to a brick wall. Another 6 months of no weekends. Another 2 months of sleepless nights.

And all for what?
I want Dad to have a legacy; I don't want his life.

So what would I do?

I suppose the possibilities are endless. I could work on my own horses. I could do something with the dogs. I could visit family. I could visit friends. I could go away for weekends, walking and taking photos. I could blog more. I could volunteer with different organisations that might have career prospects. I could get another job and save money to go travelling.

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Saturday, 12 April 2014

Thursday Nights

Thursday night is TV night. The Good Wife, Nashville, Southland. I know Southland finished ages ago, but I'm behind. And going to be gutted when it comes to an end.

I love The Good Wife. It's really well written with great story lines, it's funny, serious, thought-provoking, and I love how it's so current, e.g. Anonymous, Bitcoin, etc. It also has the rather lovely Matt Czuchry, but not quite enough of him right now. And Archie Panjabi is brilliant: everyone wants to be Kalinda!

I'm hoping Alicia and Carey's firm will get on firmer footing soon, and it would be great to see them facing anyone other than 'LG' (what a pretentious name change!). And great to see Nathan Lane back in.

But one storyline I never liked and really wish they would get rid of is the Alicia and Will romance. I didn't like it when they were having the affair, I didn't like it last season when the end-of-season cliffhanger could have been Alicia inviting Will to her apartment. And I don't like all the flashbacks in Season 5. It's probably because I don't particularly like Will's character, but I just wish they'd lay off.

Unfortunately I've just accidentally 'spoliered' myself and I think anyone in the US knows this isn't something that will bother me for much longer.

Nashville is all about the women, but it has some very hot men in it too, like Sam Palladio and Chip Esten. I'm enjoying the mix of characters, from the long-standing queen to the new young star, to the ones trying to make it. And they have such a range of sounds. I've never been one for country music, but I like a lot of what they play. I can imagine it's going to do a lot for Nashville, especially as it's filmed there.

I really like the show, but it would be nice if Juliette could grow up a bit. Especially now we have Layla for the bitchy queen: don't need two of them! Last week's episode ended with Will standing on a train track and Peggy getting shot. Looking  forward to next week.

And Southland. It's a bit grittier than I usually like my shows to be, but I enjoy watching it. Everyone is flawed, but often you can understand where they're coming from even if you don't agree with them. It's a real shame that it's been cancelled after 5 seasons, especially considering the rollercoaster ride it's had in that time.

But what is it with Southland and its sudden, shocking deaths?! First Nate in Season 3, and now Henry in Season 5. They happen so fast you can't be sure you really saw them. And apparently the storyline of 5.9 is based on real-life events from 1963.

Last ever episode of Southland next week. So glad there's internet TV so I can go back over my favourite episodes.

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Sunday, 6 April 2014

Say Your Name

Write about your first name: are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?
Daily Prompt
I was in the hospital for 3 days with no name. Meanwhile my father was out and about telling everyone his wife had a baby girl, and she was called Angharad Nan (Nan being my paternal grandmother's first name).

My mother kept receiving cards for Angharad Nan, and decided she quickly needed to come up with a name for me, because she absolutely did not want Angharad Nan!

Her best friend reminded her that she had said she liked the name Francesca, after the actress Francesca Annis. And so a compromise was reached and I became Francesca Nan.

I've had plenty of stick for my name over the years. Pretty simple really - as one example, shorten it to Franny then remove the 'r' - the joys of childhood! Back then I might've considered changing it.

But then I started getting lots of fun nicknames - like Frangipan - and it wasn't so bad. A few years ago my friends turned many words into my name - 'frank you' and 'frantrum' are two of my favourites.

And there's something nice about a relatively unusual name, except when you're looking for personalised tourist tat!

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Friday, 4 April 2014

Inspirational People

I used to think of myself as being quite a patient person, and able to work well under pressure, and keep my head. As I've grown older, this has definitely changed: work and travel has made me more confident and assertive, so I'm less inclined to put up with bullshit, and often think it's faster for me to do a job myself than wait for others, only to be disappointed. I also have less patience for myself and my own bullshit, and there's plenty of that.

I would definitely say this is worse since Dad died. Every little thing feels like another weight, crushing me down. As soon as I feel like I'm getting on top of things and the end is in sight, more things come to challenge me. I feel like my ability to cope under pressure and my patience have been tested to their limits.

One such example would be the week I locked myself out of my car. Twice.

Not as stupid as it sounds: my car has developed a fault that means the driver's door locks itself as soon as you unlock it. While I was in a car park waiting for Mum one day, I decided to clean the inside of the car. After finishing around my seat, I decide to do the seat behind me. You have to press the 'unlock' button on the fob twice to unlock all the car doors, and I had not done this. I realised the back door was still locked as soon as I shut my door, but that was too late. My door had locked itself, with the key on the dashboard.

It was pretty stressful because everything was locked inside the car: phone, wallet, keys! I just had to wait. I had no breakdown cover, so I was worried how much it would cost me.

Thankfully Mum knows someone from the police who can break into cars. He couldn't pull the lock up, but managed to hook the key onto a wire and drag it out through a gap in the door. Much relief for me, and even more so because he and Mum realised it really was not my fault. I immediately got another key cut in case it happened again.

A week later, I had been checking on my horses at my friend's house when her Dad was on his way back in his truck. I decided to be helpful and offer to open the gate from him. I reversed my car out of the way of the gate and jumped out to ask if he wanted me to open the gate. He said no, because he normally reversed in so needed to pull forward to where I was. No problem, I'll get out of the way.

Except, the car door shut behind me. Keys inside, and this time in the ignition with the engine running. And where is my helpful spare key? In my bag, in the passenger footwell. And once again, I hadn't unlocked all the doors.

This time it was hugely stressful. I hated having a stupid car that kept doing this. I was so angry at myself for locking myself out a second time in a week! I was angry that I hadn't done anything helpful with the spare key yet. I was annoyed that this all happened because I was trying to be helpful, and ended up being a hindrance. I still didn't have any breakdown cover, and this time I was in the middle of the countryside and the engine was running. I was almost crying, swearing, kicking the car, and ready to just throw a rock through the window.

My friend's Dad on the other hand was totally calm. To the point of being quite irritating. He wandered around his shed and house looking for wire and wire cutters and a torch, so we could try to pull the lock up; and in my mind, he was just taking too long, and chatting too much. I was losing my patience with him.

But he did it. He was totally calm, got what was needed, and managed to open the car door and I could get back in and drive away.

I was completely in awe: I achieved nothing while I was losing it, and he remained calm and solved the problem - my problem.

I decided it was something I should work towards, and a few days later, Pinterest came up with a definition of what that is.

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Saturday, 30 November 2013

Ian Watkins Trial

There have been a number of high profile abuse/paedophilia cases recently, with probably the most high profile being the Jimmy Saville case; but also, because it's my home, the North Wales care home abuse scandal.

However, none feel like they've affected me personally as much as the Ian Watkins case.

I don't know if this is because of the quite harrowing circumstances, and the fact that other cases have glossed over the details; or simply because I was a big fan of the Lostprophets for their first couple of albums.

I remember buying their singles and albums, and how great it was that Shinobi vs Dragon Ninja got so much airplay while I was in the university gym. This was back in the day when people used to record radio onto cassette, and I recorded every interview or mention. They lost me as a fan as they became more 'poppie', but I still loved fakesoundofprogress, they made some epic hits like Last Train Home, and they had some great covers as their B sides.

As I think of those songs now, I am reminded of how much I enjoyed listening to them. Usually this feeling prompts me to put those albums on, but not on this occasion. I don't think I can ever bring myself to listen to them again; and there are 5 guys in the band who've done nothing wrong.

In a dream I had a few nights ago, Ian Watkins was crying and remorseful. I gave him a hug and cried with him. Then I wake up and, not only am I reminded of the facts of the case, but new evidence comes to light that the police could've acted sooner than they did. And a day later, even more people are coming forward.

Not only am I shocked and appalled by what he has done, I am also appalled at myself for admiring him, and being fooled about the type of person he is. It makes me question everyone else I look up to; and regard them with some suspicion about what 'perks' they use their celebrity status for.

There is no question that he has pleaded guilty to heinous crimes, and if it really was all because of the drugs, then he's a bloody good advert for not taking drugs. I'm sceptical though. I imagine the police are correct that he has used his celebrity status to his own ends, but to some extent, that has also given him more publicity as a paedophile.

Peaches Geldof was right to apologise: I don't know what websites she has been reading, but I have not read the women's names anywhere, and in some cases I have read that the women cannot be named.

But I don't understand why the women involved are not to be named. They abused their own children, and willingly gave them to another person to abuse. It is well beyond my comprehension how anyone could do this, high or not. They are also paedophiles, but for some reason they are protected.

I have no intention of naming them when they are legally protected, but I would like to understand why they are protected.

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