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Week 11: Hoy, cent sale, and inspiring strangers

Helloooooooo week 11. I was looking forward to my new experience this week – attending a Hoy and cent sale afternoon.

Before I delve into the experience, I feel the need to raise a technicality regarding my experience this week. This was not the first time in my life that I have attended a Hoy and cent sale afternoon.

[Pause for effect………………ok, continue on]

When I was 4 or so years old my grandmother took me along, on several occasions, to similar afternoons. However, I am classing this as a new experience as this was the first time I was going to such an afternoon as an adult. Furthermore, given that I hadn’t played the game for 30 years, and the last time my grandmother essentially played it on my behalf as I was too young to be able to play on my own, being responsible for my own game would be a new experience. And most importantly, I am the maker of the rules of this challenge, and I decree this a new experience and hence in keeping with my 52-week challenge. Now that is out of the way we can move on…

I have very fond memories of my afternoons spent with my grandmother playing Hoy with the (generally older) ladies at the CWA (Country Woman’s Association for those not in the know), being spoiled with cakes and winning things in the cent sale. So when I learned that some of the women from my exercise class were hosting a Christmas Hoy and cent sale I was determined to go. And because I had such fond memories from attending when I was a child, I asked my niece if she would like to go with me. She readily agreed.

Off my niece and I trotted on a glorious Sunday afternoon to a hall at the seaside where we were greeted warmly by some lovely ladies who walked us through the process for the day – buy some raffle tickets, buy some tickets for the cent sale, get our game cards, look at the craft that was on sale, find a seat. I also had to work out how to play the game. After all, I had been a child when I played the game the last time, and that was quite some years ago (I don’t like being reminded how many years ago that was!)

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the game of Hoy, it is very similar to that of bingo. But rather than play with balls, the caller uses a deck of playing cards. Each player has at least one sheet with 13 cards marked on it (including the number and suit of each card), and players must mark off all of the cards on their sheet before anyone else and shout “hoy” to be crowned the winner. The game play sounded quite simple and my niece and I were quietly confident that we were ready for the challenge. And then the caller started…

My word the game was fast-paced! And the women in the hall were dab hands at the game. We were having our butts kicked by septuagenarians! It certainly took a lot more concentration than I thought it would and we didn’t win a single game. But we laughed our way through it and enjoyed ourselves nonetheless. The cent sale was also a lot of fun. Effectively a cent sale is a big raffle in which you buy multiple tickets to win a random prize – of which there were at least 40 – some good, and some, well, very funny (2 cans of baked beans was one of the prizes). The ladies were so sweet and asked my niece to be one of the people to hand out the prizes. She loved it and I loved them for asking her. And we even managed to get ourselves a good prize – happy days!

To top the afternoon off we were fed yummy cakes and sandwiches, along with the obligatory cup of tea (and cordial for my niece). Before we knew it 3 hours had gone by. The ladies were truly lovely and both my niece and I had a great time.

I was also randomly surprised with a new experience this week; an experience that I didn’t have to do anything to achieve. Another blogger, someone who I have never met or spoken to in my life, read my blog and was so inspired by it that she started her own personal challenge (you can read all about it here). I was totally blown away by this unexpected event. To know that you have inspired someone who you have never met is such a gift. And knowing that someone else was inspired by my journey in turn inspired me to stick with my own challenge.

Livvy, I wish you all the best for your own personal challenge and look forward to reading all about it. For those who are interested, you can read Livvy’s blog here.  She is an award-winning blogger and her posts are definitely worth a read.

All in all week 11 turned out to be a great week.

A moment of reflection:

So what did I learn this week? I am so glad you asked! I learnt that:

  • Hoy is not as easy as it first appears to be.
  • Septuagenarians are card sharks.
  • Hanging out with a room full of older people can be a whole lot of fun. I get a lot of joy from listening to the stories of older people. Older people have so much to give to society, and it saddens me that Western culture does not recognise that in the way that many Eastern cultures do. We could really learn a lot from the respect that elders receive in other parts of the world. I encourage everyone to take more time to listen to the stories of the older generations, and to spend time in their company. It won’t be time wasted.  
  • My niece and I can have a lot of fun whatever we are doing and wherever we find ourselves – and that is an important thing to be able to do in life. So many people go through life looking at things in a negative light, and never looking for the good and the fun in life. I find that very sad. Despite the sadness that my family has experienced this year, we are still able to get up every day and look for the positives. I am glad that I am able to be part of showing my niece how to look at the bright side of life, and I hope that in years to come she too will demonstrate this to others.
  • You never know when or how your words or actions can inspire someone else.
  • A can of baked beans should never be classed as a prize.

And on that note, I bid you adieu, and leave you with a final thought for the day:

A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.”  ~ Hugh Downs

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Week 3: It’s all about the blog

Phew, week 3 already. And an easy task this week (or so I thought). Since I am doing this challenge, and posting status updates on Facebook about it, I thought I would go one step further and create a blog. I have never created or written a blog before, so that would fit in nicely with the challenge. And all you have to do is write some stuff and post it on the internet right? Wrong! Well, not wrong exactly; you do indeed need to write some stuff and post it on the internet.  But there are a lot of steps in between – you know, like setting up the blog.

I was pleased to find out that there are some good sites that allow you to create a blog for free and getting your own site on one of these is very easy. Fabulous. Finding my way around the creation process proved a little tricky and tiresome, but I am pretty good at all things computer, so I managed to work it out eventually.  And the writing part was easy – I pretty much write for a living, so that was done in no time. So what the hell did I spend the next 15 hours or so doing??!!

Yes, it has taken me about 15 hours to get to the point of sharing this blog with the world. Why? Well first I had to choose a template. Did you know there are a lot of templates one can choose from when creating a blog. No? Neither did I. And did you know that while the templates may look good in theory when someone else has spent the time making them look good (someone who might actually know what they are doing), once you start using a template for your own blog for some reason it just doesn’t turn out the same way? No? Neither did I!

I admit freely that some of the time it took to create this blog had to do with my perfectionist tendencies – constantly changing and rearranging little things here and there to make it all look and sound as good as I could make it look and sound with my limited knowledge of creating a blog site.

[Hmm, for some reason I am writing extraordinarily long sentences today which is somewhat unusual for me as I generally like to keep my sentences short and snappy. You don’t care do you? Just get the hell on with whatever it is you want to say so that we – the reader – can get back to doing something more productive than reading about someone’s attempts at blogging.]

So there I was, fiddling with a template and fighting with my inner perfectionist – choosing colours, discarding colours; searching my photos, uploading my photos (note: slow internet connection is not good for photo uploading – I could run around the house 5 times before each photo uploaded. Not that I would. Who would want to run around the house 5 times?); getting distracted by my photos;  working out why the photos would not put themselves where I was telling them to put themselves; forgetting to save my work and losing it all; finding ditty little functions to include on the site and then working out how the heck to use them; deciding I didn’t like the template once I had everything on there and changing it all. Oh yes, it has been fun this blogging business. Just call me the bloggantor. No seriously, don’t call me that. It sounds ridiculous.

I think the blog site is now in a place that I am happy to release it to the world. And when I say world, I mean my Facebook friends. And when I say my Facebook friends, I mean the 5 or so who may take the time to skim over it (thanks if you have – you are lovely).

And now I am off to give my bum a rest because it is sore from sitting on it for so long trying to get this blog happening. You know, this is the second post in which I have blogged about my bum. Methinks I may have an obsession with my bum. I certainly would like it to be smaller. But I am not going to lose sleep over it. Note to self: stop mentioning my bum in this blog. No more bum talk.

So just the one new thing this week. It took so much time I didn’t really have time for anything else. Well, I did have time for other things, but I didn’t want to waste them all in the first few weeks and be struggling around week 16 for things to do.

Introspection time-out

So what did I learn from the challenge this week?

I learnt that my bum has a low pain threshold (there I go with the bum talk again. Last mention. I promise).

I learnt that it is harder to create a blog than I originally thought. The same could be said for other things in life. Like dieting. And surfing (waves not the internet).

I learnt a lot of cool new tricks like how to link things without typing in the entire web link. That will come in handy one day.

I learnt that I really need to stop being such a perfectionist with things. No one else would care or notice if I didn’t have everything perfectly aligned or if I repeated the same word twice. And if they did care, I wouldn’t know about it anyway so it wouldn’t really matter. If a tree falls in the wood and no one hears it, did it really fall (that is not the saying is it? I can’t remember for the life of me how that saying goes right now).

I learnt that blogging can be a good distraction from your woes. In fact, concentrating on something, anything, is a good way to get you through some of  life’s tougher times. It gives you something to focus on instead of worrying about things that you can’t change.

I also remembered how much I like writing for pleasure. I write a lot for work, and I do enjoy that; but there is something special about writing for the joy of it. I learnt that it is important to reconnect with those things that you enjoy but which you don’t do much anymore because you are too busy, or you can’t be bothered, or for any of those other reasons that we all use. Do it, take time today and reconnect with something that you like doing, just because you like doing it, not because you have to. You won’t regret it.

Over and out for this week.

Until next time…’Our life is a stage, a comedy; either learn to play and take it lightly, or bear its troubles patiently’.