Welcome everyone Sandra in Spain - FlamencoI’m Sandra Piddock, and I’m a freelance writer, dividing my time between Spain and the UK. I’ll write about anything that interests and/or challenges me, and I like to focus on the lighter side of life whenever possible.. Read more
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year end review

The Red Knickers Report 2019


Here we are again at the end of another year, so it must be Red Knickers Report time already. Before we get going, let me make a confession – as long as you promise not to report me to Trading Standards, because, dear readers, as I write this on New Year Eve 2019, I am knickerless. Well, not 100% knickerless, but the thing is, I’ve been so ill since December 3 – (more of which later) – I haven’t been out to buy the new red underwear which, according to Spanish tradition, should be worn on Noche Vieja (NYE to English speakers) to ensure good fortune in the coming year.

Before anyone rushes to correct me, yes, I know the underwear should be gifted to you, but it’s okay as long as someone actually ‘gives’ you the red knickers. In my book, when the lady on Zoco Market pops them in a bag and hands them over in exchange for my Euros, she’s giving them to me. Anyway, as a single, virtuous – well occasionally virtuous anyway – female, I have nobody to give me one. I mean of course, a new pair of red knickers. If you supposed otherwise, kindly wash out your mouth with soap – this is a family friendly blog, thank you very much!

So then, technically, this should be the Black Knickers Report – oops, letting my secrets slip here! However, it doesn’t have the same ring to it, and it might attract even more cyber wierdos than have shown up this year, wanting to be Facebook friends, then asking me to marry them or sleep with them pretty much as soon as they’ve said hello. I suppose they think I should be grateful for their attention, but strangely, I’m not.

If you’re a new reader – or even if you’re not – you may want to read the 2018 report before going further, since I’ll be referring to it now and then throughout this post. I said at the beginning of that post that 2018 had been a bad year, but in 2019, I really found out what a bad year was! To paraphrase Charles Dickens’s famous opening line in A Tale of Two Cities, ‘It was the best of years, the worst of years.’ In many ways, it was the worst year of my life – and there’s been a lot of competition for that honour, I can tell you. Yet in other ways, it has been a year of blessings, and I am grateful for what 2019 has taught me about myself, about others, and about life itself.

I’m going to get the bad stuff out of the way first, but I won’t dwell on it, because it’s gone, and while most of it won’t be forgotten, I’m not a victim, I’m a peaceful warrior and a survivor. Many of you know that my beautiful dog Paddy passed in March, aged 5, but only a few people realise that he was stabbed in front of me, as he defended me from a traumatic attack. He literally died so I could live. That’s all I want to say about it here – it’s neither the time nor the place for a full explanation.

During the incident, I broke a bone for the first time in my 67 years on Planet Earth. I must have liked it, because just a month after my finger had healed enough for me to drive again, I broke two ribs in a nasty car accident that wasn’t my fault, and my faithful 14 year old Ford Fiesta finally went to the Great Scrapyard in the Sky.

I missed the hat trick of broken bones in December, despite my best efforts. It was really sunny – rare in most of England at that time of year, I know. I didn’t see the kerb in front of me, and landed with a wallop on my right knee, dislocating the patella, but thankfully not damaging the cruciate ligaments, so another couple of weeks should see me back behind the wheel of my Peugeot 1007.

Nevertheless, 2019 has been better for me health wise than 2018 was. I’ve separated from my husband, and his health has continued to decline through the year. I’m sad about that, because although we are now apart, we had almost 30 happy years together, and I’ve forgiven him for the events that led to our separation.

Many friends have asked how I can possibly do that, and I say you can forgive the person or the situation, without condoning the deeds or words. In fact, forgiveness is a gift to yourself more than the other person, because it allows you to move forward in grace, unrestricted by blame, bitterness and the baggage of the past.

Learning to forgive – really forgive – has been one of my many blessings in 2019. For the second year running, my spiritual development has amazed many people – especially me! The fledgeling mediums event I talked about in last year’s report went really well for me. For the first time, I actually saw a person in Spirit as clearly as I can see Glenys now, sitting opposite me with a Baileys in her hand as we both wait to see in the new decade. I did consider just going to bed before midnight, and then I thought no – I want to be certain 2019 has gone, never to darken my door again.

I’ve not spent much time in Spain this year, due to a number of things beyond my control, but I was there when the Gota Fria struck in mid September. I was lucky that there was no damage to my apartment, other than a lot of water which came in under the door and through the window I forgot to close before leaving for a motor home rally in Javea. It was quite a drying up operation, but friends just a couple of miles away, near the river, saw their homes washed away. It was a terrible few days, and some people are still not back to normal even now.

I was chatting with friends in my local on La Finca, Chandelier the Showbar, and the owners – along with many other businesses in the area – were talking about doing a fundraiser to provide immediate help to flood victims. I’d had a couple of their legendary vodkas – which must be the reason I offered to do oracle card readings and donate all the proceeds to the flood fund.

It was a bit of a gamble, as until then, all I’d done were one to one readings via Skype, email or person to person, and I blame the vodka – and Rob the barman for the industrial size measures. However, since I did 20 readings, and got everything spot on for everybody, I suppose you’d call it a Good Thing. I also raised €135 for the fund, and got myself a brand name.

Gareth and Matt own the Chandelier, and when I offered to do psychic readings, Matt said, ‘More like psycho readings!’ Honestly with friends like that, who needs enemies? Anyway, that merry night saw the creation of Sandra, the Psycho Psychic, and everyone seems to like it. It does have a certain ring to it, and it’s also pretty descriptive of me, according to my ‘friends.’

Talking of friends, again, they have come up trumps for me, in England, in Spain and also on social media. Glenys has excelled herself again, and it’s been truly inspirational to know just how much people care about me, and what happens to me. I’m not going to mention names, because there are so many, and I’m bound to forget someone. You all know who you are though, and I am so lucky to have you in my life.

One of the best things that happened to me in 2019 came when I was at my lowest ebb. It was July 22, and I’d just come back from a really enjoyable day with friends and their dogs. I was nursing broken ribs, so I wasn’t driving, and after they’d left, I felt so down because I had nobody to share the day with. I was living alone for the first time in my life, I was in pain, and I was still mourning Paddy’s loss.

I sat down at the computer, ready to book a flight back to England and my family, even though I knew it would set me back months. As it booted up, I saw a notification that a friend had tagged me in a post, so I clicked on that before I loaded the Easyjet page. And there she was – my lovely Luna – a beautiful two year old crossbreed dog who had been rescued from the streets of Almoradi, the neighbouring town to Algorfa.

My friend was asking if I could foster her until she was well enough to be rehomed, as she was in a terrible state. You can read all about Luna’s story, and our journey together, here, on her very own Facebook Page. As a Spiritualist, I don’t believe in coincidences. Luna was sent to me for a reason, and she came to live with me on July 23, which was the 70th anniversary of my parents’ marriage in 1949.

It’s not been an easy journey for either of us – she’s carrying a lot of baggage from being abandoned 3 times in her short life, used in fights, and battled several infections caused by tics and malnourishment. However, with lots of love, perseverance, and the invaluable help of my daughter Elizabeth, we’re slowly making progress. She hasn’t replaced Paddy – no dog ever could – but she is helping to heal my heart, and starting to believe that she has finally found love and stability. We’ve got a lot to look forward to together, going into this shiny new decade.

Paddy is often with us from spirit though, comforting me, advising Luna, and playing little tricks on us. When we visited Glastonbury for the Spring Equinox in March, I took along Paddy’s favourite toy and a photo of him, along with my two favourite crystals, and blessed them at the top of the Tor.

As a thank you for this, Paddy surprised us in a local church by appearing as we sat in the pew for a moment. Then he ran around in the church outside, which spooked Gizmo a bit, so we asked him to announce his presence in future. Bless him, he has obeyed me on this – which is more than he did most of the time down here on Earth!

For the first time in my 67 years, I spent a day on a film set in Murcia. It was a tough job, watching big, beefy boys baring their rippling muscles as they fought it out in a warehouse, but somebody had to do it, and it happened to be me. I’m really looking forward to seeing the thriller State of Prey some time in 2020. Many of my friends are in it, and my good friend Rai’s beautiful boat – which is older than the Titanic – plays a cameo part in the action.

The upside of being in England so much this year is that I’ve spent a lot more time with my children and grandchildren than I normally do. It’s been a joy to see the children developing and doing so well at school, and my eldest grandson’s partner graduated as a staff nurse, so all my lovely family have had some really special moments in 2019, along with the the inevitable setbacks.

The great news is, they are all optimistic going into 2020, and so am I! It’s a new decade, and it’s time to turn the page on the past and look forward to a great future with my family and friends, doing what I love most. I want to do more with my psychic gifts, so I shall be studying and working with Spirit as much as possible, to deepen my connection and brush up my skills.

In February, I have been invited to work on the platform for the first time as a working medium, along with my good friend Ricky Whitemore, who is one of the most talented spiritual and trance mediums I have had the privilege to meet. It’s a charity event, and I am proud to be involved in this effort to raise money for the Intensive Care Unit Secret Garden at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth. It will be good to give something back for the excellent care I’ve received there over the years.

And in other news, 2020 will see my first book published. It’s already started, and now I’m feeling better, I’ll be working hard to get it finished and published as soon as possible. No more procrastination for me now – 2020 is the year things start moving for the Psycho Psychic, and her Luna-tic sidekick. Watch this space, and a very Happy New Decade to you all. Love and blessings from Luna and me.

The Red Knickers Report 2018

It’s that time of year again – the eagerly awaited review of the year, which I call the Red Knickers Report, due to the Spanish New Year custom of wearing red underwear for luck in the coming year. Whether it was because last year’s red knickers came from Sainsbury’s instead of Spain, or it was because they were reduced, they obviously haven’t worked their magic. I thought 2017 was a bad year – as you can read here, if you haven’t already seen it – but it was obviously just a tough training session for what was to come in 2018.

The first real indication that maybe 2018 was picking up where 2017 left off came at the end of January. We’d taken Paddy for a run by the Ermita in Algorfa, and he spotted a rather attractive lady dog on the other side of the road. Not being one to waste a chance – even though he has nothing to back it up with –  he dashed across the road, straight into the path of an oncoming car. We thought that, like the Monty Python parrot, Paddy had become ‘An ex dog, and had ceased to be,’ but it all ended well, as Paddy himself explains in this guest post.

That was a bit of a bad move, letting him loose on the keyboard, because he demanded another guest spot in July when Gizmo was getting on his nerves a bit. Then, of course, Gizmo demanded the right of reply, so there was a bit of Dog Wars going on for a while. Paddy and Gizmo may be very different in size and temperament, but they really are the best of friends, and spending a year together has given us a lot of laughs, at a time when we needed them most.

‘Spending a year together? How did that happen?’ I can hear those of you who are still awake asking. Well, I can’t actually, but it makes a good link to the next bit. You may remember I spoke about Tony’s health in last year’s review, and sadly, it’s continued on a downward spiral. We came over to the UK in May for a 6 – 8 week visit, and we’re still here as I write this on the penultimate day in December. Not only has Tony’s health been very poor, I’ve had a shaky time of it too, culminating in being rushed into hospital with pleurisy in August.

Things are starting to settle down for me now, but Tony still has a lot to deal with, so we’ve been staying with Glenys, my very good friend and Gizmo’s Mummy. I really can’t thank her enough for everything she’s done for us this year. There are friends, there are good friends, and then there’s Glenys, who has gone way above and beyond the call of friendship. She’s a true Earth Angel.

Normally, our visit to the UK is during the hottest time of the year in Spain – July and August – but we brought the trip forward, as my daughter in law was due to celebrate a big birthday in June. However, we were devastated to receive a call from my son in Shropshire to say she’d passed away from sepsis after apparently making a good recovery from surgery. As you can imagine, it’s left an enormous gap in the family and in our hearts, although I’m really proud of the way my son has dealt with everything since that terrible day in April.

My younger son also had a health scare in June, when he was taken into hospital with a suspected heart attack. It turned out to be a viral infection of the pericardium, and it’s taken several months for him to recover fully. Thankfully, there seems to be no lasting damage to the heart, and he’s enjoyed a very boisterous Christmas with the family.

For the first time since 2007, we’ve spent Christmas in England rather than Spain, and we’ve had a good time – although we haven’t had as many evenings out as we would have had in Spain. Our health and the exorbitant price of eating and drinking out has seen to that. However,  it was good to be able to hit Morrisons for the Christmas Eve bargains – you don’t get Yellow Sticker Fever in Spain, as the store buyers there seem better at getting the ordering right. Or maybe they don’t mark stuff up so much in the first place.

You may be thinking by now that 2018 has been a very challenging year for us – and it certainly has. However, one way or another, I’m going into 2019 with a smile on my face. One friend remarked that ‘If it wasn’t for bad luck, you wouldn’t have had any luck at all, Sandra!’ While I can see where he’s coming from, I don’t agree with that. Luck implies you have control over what happens, and clearly we don’t. I do have control over my reactions to events  and people though, and that makes it possible for me to look forward with optimism.

Two things have stood out as great positives in a year of physical and emotional challenges. One thing is the support and love of friends all over the world – those I already know, and those I have connected to, heart to heart and soul to soul, although we have never been in the same room together. The other thing is the way my spiritual journey has progressed.

One thing I’ve noticed is that almost everyone who comes to spiritualism doesn’t get there because they just fancy trying something new. They want to find a way to cope with the terrible things that life has thrown at them, because they want to grow stronger, rather than buckle under pressure. When I knew I would be facing an extended stay in England, I set about joining a development circle and finding a Spiritualist Church where I could develop my own powers, attend workshops and see good mediums at work.

The lovely Alison Wynne-Ryder has given me such enthusiasm for working with Spirit and the Angels, and 2018 was the year I was certified – although most people who know me think that should have happened years ago! Having completed Level 3 of Alison’s excellent Psychic Development Course, I now have the piece of paper that says I can call myself a Psycic Intuitive and/or Clairvoyant. I also have the strong desire to use my gifts to help others heal and gain comfort and guidance from the Universe, so I am every excited about strengthening my connection with Spirit in the coming year.

June 2018 saw me give my first psychic reading by Skype for a friend in England, and it went better than either of us could have imagined. You can read about it here, if you’re interested. I’ve also taken my first steps in communicating with animals, and I’ll be progressing that further by doing a course with the lovely Maureen Rolls in February. I contacted Maureen in October, when Paddy seemed to be affected by everything that was going on around him, and she was able to communicate telepathically and give me a lot of helpful information. Within days, he was back to his normal, happy self. We don’t just talk to dead people, you know!

On 12th January, I’ll be taking another giant step on my spiritual path when I take part in a Fledgelings Evening of Mediumship in Plymouth. Basically, I’ll be working on the platform with other mediums-in-training and – hopefully – bringing through messages from Spirit for members of the audience. It’s exciting and scary at the same time, so wish me luck!

Another positive move for 2018 was to gradually shorten my trademark long hair. I had no intention of having anything other than a trim back in February, but as I was discussing the upcoming appointment with friends on a motor home rally, and they asked what I was having done, a voice in my head said ‘Cut it short,’ and it came out of my mouth before I could stop it. I thought – rightly as it turned out – that Spirit were telling me it was time for a makeover. I feel so much better, more confident, and everyone says I look younger too. I did it in stages – from a bob,  which Alison Wynne-Ryder saw in my future before I even thought about it – to a pixie cut in September.

It’s easier to look after, more modern, and my hair is in better condition than it’s been for many years. My new ‘do’ has brought about a change of attitude, and put a much-needed spring back in my step. I don’t think I’ll ever go long again, but hey, never say never!

So, although I’ll be glad to see 2018 bow out, there’s been a lot of lessons and laughs, along with the trials and tears. As a result of his near-fatal accident, I’ve been much stricter with Paddy, and it’s a joy to take him out these days. I don’t have to wonder if I’ll end up on the deck, or if he’ll behave when he sees other dogs – I know for sure I won’t and he will. I also won my first-ever photography competition, and although I’ve not been able to concentrate much on my writing this year, I’ve developed my photography skills in my down time.

I’ve learned to be much more calm and patient, because getting worked up doesn’t solve anything, and it doesn’t help your state of mind or your stress levels. If you can’t change it, don’t worry about it – just trust that all will work out for the best, because it will, whatever you do. And if someone is after a row and you don’t feed their anger, it’s much more effective and satisfying than getting into a slanging match.

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and it’s certainly true. There have been times this year when I’ve honestly thought I wouldn’t get through things, but guess what? With a little help from my friends, Spirit and the Angels, and a good helping of Sandra’s Special Stubbornness and Will to Survive, in the words of Elton John:

I’m still standing better than I ever did,

Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid.

I’m looking forward to 2019 with joy and anticipation. Yes, there will be more challenges, but whatever happens, I know I can deal with it, and I know I can’t be beaten. There are good things waiting for me, and for everyone. Wherever you are, I wish you a magical New Year, full of love, happiness, health and joy. It’s what we all deserve, and it’s there for the taking. Never let anything dull your sparkle. Love and blessings to you all.

Other great end of year round ups

Here’s more great reading from my blogger friends for inspiration and information in 2019:

Mrs Mummypenny

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