La Bleu Chevaux

The Daily Post – EmbarrassingPhoto0112We walked out of the Hospital together, after another one of those appointments, which I used to dread. One where it would be suggested that I would try another drug or tablet, which may ease the symptoms of my Endometriosis. Often leaving me reeling from the reactions to it, I would always try their suggestions, for fear that if did not, then my Doctor or the Hospital, might refuse to offer any treatment at all and I might just miss out on the one thing that worked, if they ever found it.

I knew so little about it back then, completely uninformed with a condition that no-one spoke of. I didn’t know anyone who had it who I could ask and this was before the days of the internet, where you could look up so easily and find other people in the same boat, so you just trusted the Dr‘s, after all they must know, (Right?) and got on with it.

It was a sunny day, my boyfriend (who would later become my partner) had come to meet me from the Hospital that day, he wanted to cheer me up. At the time, we travelled by bus, walked a lot and he usually had a car. He suggested that we go for a short walk together and although I was sore from all the prodding and poking, I reluctantly agreed. I needed some air, after being cooped up in there and always needed to clear my head. As we walked along the road, we got talking about cars and when I thought I would learn to drive. It was something that I had wanted to do since getting my provisional licence at seventeen, but kept running out of money as I was due to take the test. But it was still very firmly on my wish list. As we walked arm in arm, he pointed out a pretty Blue Citroen 2 CV, also known as a ‘deux cheveaux’ which was parked in a row of cars, you didn’t see many of those around any more. “What do you think of those?” he said “Oh I’ve never liked those very much, although the pull back roof is nice, I prefer Mini’s” I had always loved the Classic Mini with it’s cute curves and smile. We paused to look at the 2CV. “Oh, that’s a shame he said, I’d better take it back then” I stopped dead in my tracks and quite literally fell about laughing. “You are joking, why on earth would you buy something like that?” I said, “You’d look ridiculous driving it” I feel that I should explain myself at this point, it was a little outspoken of me, but imagining my 15 stone hunk of a man, behind the wheel of this little Citroen made me laugh. I must have been a bit dazed from the hospital, since we clearly were just not on the same level. “No Silly, I wasn’t thinking of it for me, it’s for you” Suddenly I fell in with an almighty splash and regretted hastily voicing my thoughts, ALL CHANGE! HE HAD BOUGHT ME A CAR….
“Thank You, Thank, You, Please don’t take it back” I said. “But you said you didn’t like them” ” Yes, but I’d love THIS one after all, It’s a present!” He has on many occasions shed light on the fact that I can be fickle, sometimes it drives him nuts, but he has got used to it now.

It was not the first car that had been bought for me to use. At seventeen, one had been purchased for me , which needed a whole load of work sat in a friends garden and rotted away since I couldn’t drive it to get it fixed up and was eventually scrapped. A few years later, another boyfriend thought that he would buy the perfect car for me, he put it in his garden along with the other vehicles that he had amassed there over the years and that would be incentive for me to learn to drive, if I passed my test then I would be able to drive it, maybe. Except that he was a control freak and his particular brand of control meant that was never going to happen.

On this particular day, he told me to clamber in and find something to tie my hair back with, the roof was pulled back and we folded the windows open. I was to learn that they had to be properly secured otherwise, they would bang shut if you went over a bump and could trap fingers. But in we got and took the car on it’s maiden voyage. I sat inside, noticed the funny gear change, up on the dashboard known as an umbrella gear stick, since it has a handle just like an old fashioned umbrella handle. “How do you drive one like that?”, I asked. “I will show you, it all” he said. “If you can use this gear change, then you can drive anything” We drove down to the beach, took it round the country roads and it turned out to be fun. “We’ll have to sort out insurance and L Plates then you can drive it.” He didn’t need to ask me twice, I think I did that the very same evening.

And so our adventures began. We covered thousands of miles in that little French Blue, Citroen 2CV. Had lots of fun and I learned to drive, we headed off to Brighton on the coast for regular weekends, on one occasion we broke down, the starter motor packed up and a friendly driver, gave us his wrench to get it started, you had to tap the side of it and then it would fire up. We did this until my next payday when I bought a new starter motor and my Dad fitted it for me, under sufferance. On one occasion when we drove back from Brighton, a lorry driver attempted to run us off the road, at that point my boyfriend decided that when we could we would change the car for something with a little bit more power, since he never wanted that to happen to me when I was out on my own. It was an unpleasant episode. In the time I had it, I only ever had to replace the starter and a couple of spark plugs. If I recall, it only had two, due to it’s very small engine. We kept the car for about 2 years, unfortunately, we bid it a fond farewell after the heels I was wearing went through the floor and I couldn’t find anyone anywhere who wanted to weld it. I was choked to wave goodbye to it, but it would not get through an MOT without the welding.
I saw the car some time later, it had been bought by some rich man for his Au Pair, welded and treated to a new roof to give it a new lease of life, I was pleased to see that it wasn’t scrapped and dismantled after all. I would have loved to have kept it, they are worth a small fortune as a modern classic car these days and have quite a following. They are full of character and are so basic in their design, but are so useful since they sit so high and can travel over awkward terrain with ease. Previous advertising campaigns for the car in their heyday, showed it being driven through a ploughed field with a box of eggs on the front seat, arriving unbroken at the other side. A whole box of Eggs! Well that alone should be enough reason to get one. Ours was able to be parked off road in a field or roadside for an impromptu picnic and life was all the better for it. Ah those were the days…

Unfortunately those were also the days before I had a camera, so I don’t have a photo of the original one.  This, photo is one I came across recently which brought the happy memories flooding back and prompted this post.

Bear River and the Diamond in the Rough

Some years ago, before Scotland or the Puppy even came into the equation about 2008, I was looking at property in a much more interesting place, to the one we inhabit.

Yes, I had itchy feet and thought about what it would be like to live in a different country. So a quick search for property abroad threw some interesting places into my thoughts. I thought about France, an awful lot.  I have always wanted a place in France….

But I also thought about somewhere farther afield where I might be able to get some land and make a beautiful place for holidays and could rent out.  It has always been something that is in the grand plan.

That was when I spotted it, a place which by name alone, fired the imagination and I began my research into this wonderful sounding place.

Bear River, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Now, it’s a bit of a way away from the folks if we were to up sticks and head off there, but it would be a fantastic adventure I’m sure and might be an ideal place to open a business of some sort at the time and is a tidal river which means it’s most likely to have a good availability for Seafood, which is important to me.

So what could go wrong, there were relatively cheap flights to Canada from the UK accessible airports to us and the very sound of the place sounded idyllic. The exchange rate of the Canadian Dollar meant that there was 2.3 dollars against the British Pound at the time.  Which was pretty darn good.

I had cousins which emigrated to Canada about 30 years ago, never to be seen again, they loved it so much there that they have not returned to the UK.  And trust me, when you have got the getaways, then that sounds just far enough away to do it.  I tried to research the area as much as possible.  It ticked a lot of boxes for me at the time. The area is not far from the ferry crossing from Digby to Maine, in the US which is another place I have longed to see, for many years.  Lobster and Scallops are readily available on the Canadian side near to Bear River and since I have a love of Bears, it seemed the perfect place to take my partner.  It is after all his nickname.  Apparently it is a haven for artists and there are boats nearby whilst being surrounded by wonderful forests and mountains, which you could access to ski all within about an hours travelling time.  The nearest airport, Halifax was also about an hour away.  See, I am painting a beautiful picture.

There was a house there which was not furnished, which means that my imagination could furnish it at the same time, with endless possibilities.  A timber clad house in a slightly New England style built in the early 1900’s. I wish that I still had the file with the photos which I had saved of it (but the loss of a hard drive put pay to that).  It had everything that I wanted in a house, huge space, a porch going around the outside.  A utility room, basement and attic, more space than I could think to fill and was described as a “Diamond in the Rough” by the agent selling it.  The rooms were painted in bright colours, it had huge windows which overlooked a massive garden of at least a couple of acres and was on the outskirts of town.  So it was rural enough but still had facilities nearby.  The rooms lent themselves to antique furniture and the whole place reminded me of a huge American or Scandinavian Lake house, the type I would love to live in.  It had four large bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and large receptions, more than enough space to do the entertaining that I thought I would get the opportunity to do once all our friends came out to visit us there for holidays, the parties we would have there. Oh Boy, Christmas would be just amazing in a place like that.  Yes, I had imagined the Christmas Tree in the hallway.

Alas, It was not meant to be…  I looked into selling most of our worldly goods to get the place and thought about what our new life there might bring.

Then two things brought me back to earth with a bump.  Or more like a thud actually.  At the time I was in touch with Wilf, someone I was connected with on MySpace, (Oh the early days of ancient social media, before Myspace became a bit sordid).  He was a DJ who built Kayaks in his spare time, they were beautiful, real pieces of art.  It turned out that he knew the area and when I mentioned that I had been looking at properties there, advised me against it. Wilf told me that it used to be lovely, just like I had imagined, but in recent years the place had gone downhill and there was now a crime and drug problem there due to the closure of an industry and the mass unemployment that followed.

Just to add water to the fire, my partner also scuppered the plan completely after lengthy discussions about the possibility of living there.  He agreed that it sounded great, but said that I could not anticipate how cold the winter months would be.  Having travelled a bit and spent some time in Canada he was ahead of me and recalled just how low the temperatures are.  The fact that you can be cut off from civilisation for weeks, sometimes months.  He asked how would I feel about that? Hmm I thought, perhaps it would make a good summer residence then? (I wasn’t giving up hope) But summer is going to be colder than here in the UK too possibly.  My bones and joints ached at the mere thought of it so I resigned myself to the fact, that it could be lonely and cold there.

But after all that the memory of the place, specifically the house, that “Diamond in the Rough” has returned in my thoughts for several years, like a wonderful place on my wish list.  I think of what I would have done to that house and how living surrounded by the mountains and Bears near to a river, in a town filled with Artists and Artisans could fire the imagination.

A quick return via Google takes me to a wonderful article, Welcome to Bear River – Huffpost  which was written in 2014 and sums up exactly what I thought the place could be and how it might have become that special place for us. At the time when we were looking the country was apparently in deep recession as the UK was about to be too and I was to find out. Clearly the time was not right for us, but never say never, after all we now have a puppy who would love the cold, and there is always a log burner to keep us warm.

Oh Daydreamer, when will you learn…

 

Finding Inspiration in Unlikely Places.

I feel that if I were to face my fear and walk up to the door and knock on it, something interesting will happen.  The anticipation of the situation is eating away at me.  If I ignore the feeling that a strange or dangerous person may be hiding there, I might just get a nice surprise.

I have day-dreamed of the moment that I do that. Instead of passing the house which intrigues me so much.  It has been derelict for some years, for at least the five years that I have lived nearby.  It was once neat and tidy bungalow with a nice garden, but the lack of care means that you now cannot see the garden and the archway which once covered the front of the pathway has grown all the way along it, leaving a tunnel to the door.  It is in darkness, but someone has cut a walk through to the door.  I often drove past it on the way home and looked for lights and signs of life throughout the winter months when it grew dark early, there has been none.  There is an old camper van parked in the driveway, which has not turned a wheel during that time either.  In fact it has been there for so long that a grapevine has grown up around it over the top and when it overhangs the pavement, someone cuts the edges back and slings the pieces over the fence again.  You would barely notice what was stored behind what is now the makeshift hedge. The roof of the house is showing signs of damage, the odd loose slate here and there, the pointing around the chimney loose and the gutters hanging down in places.  You cannot see the windows at the front of the house. I would love to get in there and take a look.  It’s not one of those big old houses, which I loved to go and look at if we passed them on rides out in the car.  It’s just what was once someone’s home, probably built around the 1930’s.  My kind of era for houses.

I imagine that I will summon the courage and knock at the door one day.  That some elderly person will shuffle their way to the door and we will begin to talk.  They will not want to be rude or send me packing for disturbing their day.  I will offer help, perhaps to cut back the hedge for them and let some light return to their house if they would like that, or help them with getting some shopping maybe. I will listen to their stories and hear about their life. It might inspire me to write about them, in some future book.  I look for characters everywhere, inspiration in the strangest of places.  Meanwhile, we will walk the dog past the house as often as possible and dream of what is behind the front door, of how the garden looks, of what story it can tell me.

I think of the person who has left this place as it stands for so many years.  Maybe they have left and not returned, maybe they have been there all along, waiting for the knock at the door to find out if anyone will care.  Maybe I will brighten’s someone day by offering some form of comfort or help when they need it and show them some understanding. I hope that I will not be too late for them.

Time to knock at the door…

The Daily Post – Understanding

 

Parisienne Shopping

IMG_1241

The day that we went Parisienne Shopping
At Galeries Lafayette
When our feet were close to dropping,
Our wishes there well met.
I sat him down to rest, with croissant and café.
Searching off through the mall on my merry way.
Had no idea it was enormous and how very grand.
Or what item in the sale, I’d be pleased to land.
Skipped out to tell him later, I was worried of the cost.
He told me, “Get Back In There” so the bargain is not lost.
When on holiday shopping is certainly not my aim,
Just cannot see the fun in it, it is a crying shame.
But I had found a beautiful thing in bright blue and pink.
The smoothest silk, a summer dress. I hope it doesn’t shrink!
I walked around the centre, in surprise and awe.
He urged me to return there and I should buy some more.
But I was happy for a something, that I liked and it cost less
A veritable bargain, my Lafayette silk dress.
A handsome pair, hand in hand walk along the Seine
For dinner in some wonderful place, we’d love to visit again.

Which Direction the Future will Take and Finding My Happy

Alternative title: Getting my Act Together.

Another Note to Self:
No, you cannot sit around in your PJ’s, or your shorts and flip flops all Summer dreaming and writing.
Yes, you will wear make up again.
You will probably straighten your hair too.
You will have to put shoes on again
Barefoot, Makeup free and scruffy is not considered acceptable work attire.

“Sod It!” I cry, like my inner six year old. “Then perhaps I should go and live on the hill, write interesting books and blogs and try to become self sufficient.”
“Well my little one,” says the voice of reason…
“In time maybe, however first you need to pay some bills and fund this lavish, self sufficient dream. It takes money and how will you actually feel about slaughtering the animals you love and have nurtured when running your self-sufficient lifestyle?”

Erm. Well, that’s just it isn’t it…. In a nutshell. Although I have loved the idea of running a farm, or smallholding since I was that six year old child and drew a picture of me selling bread from the window of our farm cottage, a ruddy faced farmer (Shaun my very first “boyfriend” aged six) standing proudly by a red tractor, and stating that “When I grow up, I want to be a Farmer, Shaun will drive the tractor Marianne (his sister) will milk the cow.” Now there is no Shaun or Marianne, Instead I want to drive the tractor and still bake bread, and the reality of what happens to animals on a farm, might just be too difficult for me to cope with myself. I do not like pain, causing it or receiving it. It saddens me deeply. And in all these years of talking about it, I can honestly say that I haven’t during my dream thought about the logistics. I have a friend who has animals, her husband deals with the disappearances of the piglets they look after and comes back with sausages and bacon, but I don’t think they “lose” any chickens and they have laying hens for eggs. Am I too sensitive to follow this particular dream? It’s the first time I have looked at this from this angle, clearly trying to skirt the issue in all these years.

I guess all this soul searching stems from yesterday. I was updating my CV and spent hours searching for another job. Finances dictate that I must do something that earns my keep and again I am feeling under pressure and clueless as to the direction it will take me. More and more I am deciding what I don’t want from my next job. The people I don’t want to be around and the situations I do not want to place myself in. Putting up barriers before I begin, in the name of protection. I am not prepared to have a re-run of the past next time around.

So finding a proper job, what will I do and where will I go. What will I be? Some high flyer in a wonderful company, or just scraping through, barely covering my bills. As the hopes and fears rise within my thoughts and chest, I am clueless and feel powerless to choose. Could I work outside? Yes, part of me wants to, but only in the summer months as I am not attuned to the cold or damp. My body is simply not set up for winter outside. It is also not prepared to allow me to push it into the daily demands of a manual job outside.
I like people, customer faced roles and B2B have suited me thus far. I like to talk on the phone and interact with my customers. Build the relationships which help the business and I’m successful at it.
I like using the computer and finding out about the systems which provide data and information for the business. Although I also like working odd hours and on my own. I’m pretty good at motivating a team and setting them in the right direction.

I’m not a massively social person, although I love a good get together, I’m no longer your boozy nightclubbing kind of gal and I really don’t like football, or want to know much about it. I recently described the experience as “wasted Saturday afternoons of my youth, standing freezing in fields” which didn’t exactly inspire the person I was talking to. I was supposed to be cheering on the team but was too cold to care and just wanted to get in the pub with the rest of them.  So as the football season is in full swing, I am relieved that I am not stuck in an environment, when there is talk of little else or have it shoved at me via large screens in every pub.

I do try to fit in but these subjects just aren’t my thing so I tend to feel like a fish out of water. As though I am missing interaction on a different level and alienating myself in the process, but I can’t help it. I do like European travel, architecture, nice Art, Music (I mean real music) DIY, Cars, Cooking, Photography, Writing and so much more and I am happy to hold a grown up conversation which is more than about what’s on TV or which team won. I don’t watch a great deal of TV, soaps, football or reality stuff where everybody sounds the same, I can’t stand it. More and more I prefer not to watch killing sprees and abuse and drug addiction which seems to have become the norm on our small screens, I have seen more than enough of that in real life, it isn’t drama it is sick and the world has become more depraved. I’m not one for vigorous beauty treatments, plastic surgery or enhancements. It just doesn’t appeal to me. Instead I wash, cleanse, tone, try to keep fairly fit, exercise but not quite as often as I should. I have regular hair cuts and decent skin. I don’t like putting excess chemicals on or in my face, hair and body. So I’m not a make up aficionado, preferring a clean, natural look with the benefit of a neutral palette when I use it. My days of purple or turquoise mascara, or yellow and green eye shadow are gone. Well I was a teenager in the late 80’s, so it WAS normal back then! I don’t even wear nail varnish, let alone fake nails and prefer a natural tan, not the orange spray that people insist is healthier. Hmm, so to spray tinted chemical all over your skin, which gets right into your system is healthier than sun and vitamin E in moderation? Really? I opt for sun every time.

I’ve always preferred the company of my elders, they know so much. I have a thirst for learning, which I think came from disliking school. I was often bullied, miserable there and couldn’t wait to leave. But I had respect for my elders and in later years, regretted not learning as much as I could in that time. So now I try to learn from the people around me, by listening, watching and reading in the school of life and I’ve picked up a lot of knowledge. I don’t claim to be clever, or an expert in anything, but I’m certainly not thick either.

So, why do I feel as though I am sitting here writing a classified ad, trying to sell myself to the world and convince everyone that I am a good person and ultimately employable?
Perhaps it should read, Likes country walks, talking, music, late nights. It feels like a profile for a date. But as I research the latest how to guides for getting your resume out there and getting it seen, we are told that it is not important what you enjoy in your spare time, what your interests are. They the job search robots are programmed to look for keywords, or phrases and if your wonderful artistically written resume does not contain those specifics, then you will be binned without a second thought or glance.
I beg to differ, (Quelle surprise!) If someone has wildly different interests in their spare time to everyone else, then they are not going to fit in, they will have a different dynamic and this might cause issue. More and more I have found that if you do not like at least some of the same things, then you are an outcast, people make the mistake of thinking that you are posh, or aloof and have a preset opinion of how they will treat you which is extremely difficult to break.

So the resume is preparation for a date of sorts, with whatever the future holds, with what route I choose to take next. Along with a little role play involved. Hmm, will I fancy it, the outcome? Will there be that essential chemistry, enough to ignite the passion of my new career? Or is it already there bubbling under the surface and waiting like a volcano to erupt and surprise people?

Tell the inner child that I cannot be the barefoot princess, tiptoeing around the safety of my patio garden and playing with the dog. There is more to life than time with the family, relaxed and in comfortable clothes, eating when we are hungry, enjoying the late evening walks, sleeping when we are tired and doing housework and other jobs when I am not. With no set routine to time. A luxury that I have not enjoyed for such a long time and have missed. No-one else calling the shots with little expectation, merely that the house is clean and tidier, the bills are paid and there is food on the table. We want for little, less physical pain in our bodies and we are happy for this time together. We are not perfect, our opinions do differ, there are sometimes cross words. Usually when outside influences or interference upsets our apple cart, shatters our peace or something throws an unexpected spanner in the works. But generally, our life has been simple and happy these past few months.

Around Christmas time I saw a friend of mine who I used to work with. We were very close when we worked together and I think of her like a sister. We got on so well from the minute we began work together and this continued after she and I both moved on. She told me that I needed to take time out to do something that made me happy now. She was not the first to say this to me, in fact several people have told me that I should not spend my time thinking about everyone else, but must consider my own needs too.
It isn’t about how much we can earn, or who we can please in our work. It should be about finding your happiness. Being satisfied with what you have been served and just dealing with it, in whatever way you know how to. Or learning a new way to get through. She told me to stop worrying about the money I felt that I needed to make, however as the earner in the household, I must admit I had difficulty in doing that and still do.

My friend was right though, finding my happy again has been more important than finding the next well paid, dead end job that steals my time, my personality and my happiness, in the name of a growth, success or a career. I needed to take a step backwards and think outside the box, hell, throw the box away completely and focus on the new important Oh and Breathe whilst I figured it all out. She is a Yoga teacher, she is used to getting stressed out people to breathe, that is just one of her many gifts. In doing so she did me a real favour. Her chat with me came at just the right time, it saved me from jumping in, Head first with both feet again, something which I was ill equipped to do at the time. It gave me the confidence to ask for time to heal from the bad experiences I had encountered and protect myself for the future and take it. It gave me time with my family, right when I needed it and the luxury of relying upon those closest to me for the support when it was needed. Not everyone gets to do that. Although my transformation is far from complete I feel that I am making progress and am grateful for the encouragement.

I still want to strive, succeed and do something great. I might not be sure what it is yet, but I do believe that I will do it and I will be happy. In the past few months, I’ve made a good start on the happiness front, different things now drive me. My goals are changing, they include the little things and some are attainable, with hard work and persistence.
These small steps will lead to bigger and better achievements I am sure.
My view of success may not bring fortunes to our lives, however it just might and wouldn’t that be amazing! Will I achieve the holy grail of a great work/life balance and a career?

Will I become the inspiration that drives other people to fulfil their own goals? Will people follow in my footsteps one day? I want to Inspire! I used to do that in people, so therefore I can. I just have to find the right ones and nurture and mentor them. Make them believe in themselves and their abilities and I haven’t lost that. I have an excitement surrounding my future, a zest for a good life and renewed vigour, suddenly at 3.30am to go and find it.

When you’re feeling Blue, There is always Hope…

IMG_1752

When you’re feeling Blue, There is always Hope!

Well that’s what he said to me the other day… It has been a tough couple of days here at home, actually it has felt like a tough couple of weeks. I went from a happy high, to feeling melancholy, as though there is a cloud that has been hanging over us, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Whatever have caused it, I dearly wish I could remove the cloud. Things have not been going our way lately. Suddenly and inexplicably it is like it’s all been hitting the fan all at once. It started who knows when I am not sure.

My beloved has injured his back again, for the second time in as many months, the last time the pain lasted till a couple of weeks ago and he felt a little better. But then he lifted the garage doors open with the help of a friend, so he didn‘t think that he was being foolish. But they have been closed for some six months and something clicked out, more like a squelch apparently and he has been in mortal agony since then. So getting Hope out again, has been tinged with injury for him once again, which kind of took the shine off the event. He is not a laying on his back doing nothing kind of guy, so has sneaky attempts at doing random things, because they need to be done also since he is in yet more pain than he normally faces, he has required my help, despite not wanting it. A very independent person who is faced with yet more restrictions as to what they can and cannot achieve is certainly not a happy camper. With this in mind, we have been doing some spring cleaning sorting out around here, so that things are at least happening.

We have all been craving the green and quiet of our Scottish getaway so much lately, but have been unable to make the trip there and stay there. The time is just not right to go at the moment and it seems that whatever funds we do to try to raise any have been met with obstacles and no-one has bought anything from us, right when we need it. This has caused unrest here in the home, since we are not where we want to be and we have been scraping by. We should be there by now, up on our hill, enjoying the scenery and preparing the ground so that it isn’t four feet high in the summer, if we can get up there in late spring and chop it back, then it does not grow up past the windows by the summer and we can walk around with ease but we haven‘t been there for what seems like an age and were unable to do anything to either house or garden last time we were there. By the time we get back there they will be thinking about the harvest nearby and we will not be able to get the help we need to clear, which means a lot of work which is actually beyond our own capabilities. We have friends who work the farms, but barely see them in the late summer when they are working long days to get the harvest in. It makes for a quiet time with just us around accompanied by the constant whir of combine harvesters and other machinery and movement of cattle.

Yesterday, it was threatening rain outside, other parts of the country had a heavy rainfall, but ours did not arrive until the evening, so I sat on the back patio and spent a couple of hours weeding all the pots before I began the cupboard. I only did them a couple of weeks ago, but it’s surprising how quickly they return. The Dog was feeling clingy, since we had given him his flea and tick treatment the night before, which means that he follows me everywhere and keeps coming over for kisses and cuddles, he is a little bit groggy from it all, so I am reassuring him that I will not leave him. It is a heinous crime if I leave the house lately, but I am met with a hero’s welcome when I return. Goodness knows how he will be when I return to a day job again. He is happy when everyone he loves is around him, he can see them all and knows we are all safely at home.

So my partner and I are sprucing things up here and I have been sorting out some of the rubbish that we have been keeping since God knows when. This is not stuff I can sell to get funds to help us out of the mire, this is actual rubbish and I cannot understand why I had been keeping paint, putty, tile adhesive and other wonderful DIY objects which I no longer need. Probably it was in case I did, but I must have had the paint testers for about 15 years. A quick shake of them and any that are liquid have been saved for possibly a project here or there, when I might need 1sqM worth of paint in an interesting colour to brighten something up with, as I though of what I had painted with them previously, at least two bathrooms, various pieces of furniture, cupboard interiors all sprang to mind. I also found some lovely exterior paint, which I will be repainting the bench outside in ready for the Summer Seagrass to go with the blue, both colours I love. It is the remainder from my old garden which hasn’t dried out in the tin and I think there is just enough left for the job. It’s strange what we keep isn’t it?

My friend was painting one of the rooms in her house, I told her that I have been thinking of painting my hallway too. It’s a tiny room and I have now lived here for over 5 years and still have not done it. When I was younger, in the first few years after we got together we did not spend Bank Holidays together, since he often worked them. So, traditionally for me, I used to spend Bank Holiday’s painting and decorating, when I was not out doing something interesting or partying with my friends. I kind of miss that, not the partying but the decorating (Bizarre I know). I moved in here and I have only painted the bedroom walls since I arrived. Although the kitchen and bathroom have been done for me. Five years on, it’s looking a little bit tired and in need of a bit of TLC now, jobs to be done.

It turns out I have paint, not just the tester pots. I have the paint which I had anticipated using in the hallway and it turns out rather a lot of brushes. I used to buy them whenever I could, knowing that if they are cared for, then they will last many years if you buy the good ones. I cannot use the same brushes as my partner, he paints in a different way to me and there are very few straight bristles at the end of it. So there are brushes for him and my own ones. That may sound harsh to the uneducated, but have you tried to get good gloss paintwork with a brush that looks like it has been used down a toilet?

So I was quite pleased when I cleared the cupboard yesterday afternoon. Where I keep tools not the shed, I only did that again the other day. But my cupboard, with my tools and found about ten brushes in every size needed to paint the house. These are staying here. I also found the paint, masking tape, cloths, white spirit, gloss paint, tile paint, enamel paint, vinyl matt, vinyl silk and the rather nice metallic paint which I did the bedroom in. So I think that I may have to start the hallway after all, since I have all that I need to do it, I have no reasonable excuse.

It is now organised so I will be able to find things. I have extra space, sorted through and put all hardware in one place, plumbing in another box, electrical in another and all the loose tools I could find, which he hadn’t cleared off with, back in my toolbox. It was nice to find that I actually do still have two good hammers, half a set of screwdrivers and put all the loose screws in yet another jam jar. At least they are all now in one place and as I told him, I now know what is in the cupboard. This random place, where I found all the puppy harnesses, from when he was small. The very first Halti lead, which had been chewed through, and the harness which made him look tiny, there were blankets and chewy toys it brought memories of my puppy flooding back, he was very interested in the contents of the bag. I couldn’t part with them, they have been put away again along with the Land Rover seat covers. The vehicle having been disposed of about three years ago now, but these kept in case we reach the goal of getting a diesel one at some point. The seashells and other items from my beach combing, awaiting the day that I use them in some arty project. There were silk flowers. A tile cutter which I bought, Some Lino cut rubber stamps which are treasure from the house in Scotland. I have yet to print from them since failing on my first attempt. and had a rethink, perhaps I will do rubbings from them instead. There was also Compost and Fancy interior Plant Pots. Tools and Ladders and two vacuum cleaners. Always necessary to have a spare one in this house. We have a furry dog.

Despite this cleaning, tidying and sorting frenzy that I have been doing over the past week or so, I have been feeling rather unsettled. I can’t put my finger on when it started, but it is like waiting for news and now I come to thinking about it we are. My partner is waiting for hospital appointments which will tell us how his health is progressing, referrals to surgeons who will decide when, not if, surgery is necessary and set the ball rolling with that. I know it has been pretty bad and the injuries he sustains whenever he does anything are causing me concern. With a degenerative condition and things wearing out, you are one step away from thinking “What if ?” I know for a fact he has injured himself so many times in the past year and not healed properly. He is more fragile than he would ever admit to and this is putting further constraints on what he can do, whilst all the while he is making plans.

This morning I woke up giving myself a mental pep talk. Telling myself that I cannot afford to stop what I have been doing lately, I don’t wish to stop. I need to carry on, but for some reason, I hadn’t written a poem for several weeks and this has bothered me. But as I write this today I have written one it does not rhyme, like many of the others have done so does it feel like a poem? I am as yet undecided.
I was concerned that as I had got to my goal for the book and that was it. But I had already surpassed the figure of poems I had in my head for that and just need to sort them out and decide the contents now. So perhaps that time has come to do that. The work is there, although my work is not yet done. I still have work to do.

Had my sub conscious has been listening to my partner who has been saying that I cannot sit around writing indefinitely, there are many other things that need doing? I cannot afford to just sit and write all day and he wants things to be done around here. I woke up this morning thinking that I had absolutely nothing to write. I was going back to sleep once I had let the dog out, but although he is now sleeping soundly, I am not. I have taken the chance to write this. Not knowing what was going to come out of my head. My body aches from lugging things about and yesterday’s weeding. I did not sleep well and could have done with a couple more hours sleep, but my mind is travelling again, at warp speed as I write, well, this and the new poem, I am thirsty for the feeling I get when I write.

I keep reading that we should write when it comes to us and I have been trying to do this whenever it does, grateful for the release it has given me along with the new experience and finding out that someone, somewhere actually reads it from time to time. I am fearful of this writing drying up. Telling myself constantly to finish what I started. Too many thingse over the years have been started and then discontinued. I want continuity in my life. I want to be doing this still when I am old. Don’t get me wrong, I would also like to earn a living from it and sooner rather than later would be great.

Perhaps the time has come, whilst I feel that nothing new is arriving on the page, that I should figure out the contents, edit and so on, it might just push me forward and get the creative juices flowing once again and get that book out there, the last 3 months since I started sometimes feels like an age, but I have always suffered with a certain level of impatience to get to the end result.

After all, do I really need to cover old diaries with sticky back plastic and scraps of paper to get creative and kid myself that I have the next notebook ready for what wonders my mind beholds. Erm, actually no, that is another project will have to wait. I have writing to do. Just as I do not need to search the social networks to see if people are happy or not, or how I can become happy again, or what I should be eating, or not. My three square meals and the odd jaffa cake for good measure will sustain me.

My feeling of reaching a plateau needs correcting. I need to do that wonderful thing, get the ball rolling on this thing, the future. And as he said to me the other day, if you are feeling blue, there is always Hope as he sent me out to play in her for the first time in months. I do not drive unless I have somewhere to go at the moment and try to cram all the jobs that need doing into one journey. Ticking all the boxes as I go. That way I can justify to myself the fuel used. But I was sent out with nothing to do, no where specific to go, which left me clueless, a decision to make. What will I do? I was out on my own as well, so there was no one to ask. This may sound a little barmy to you, but in the past few months I have rarely been alone and decisions have been made between us, almost everything being a democracy. I have had the family around me and done the food shopping and been to appointments, but little else. I needed a break from what has become the norm, I just didn’t realise it.

So it was an unexpected shock to the system, but one that I actually thoroughly enjoyed. You see I love driving, it really doesn’t matter what I drive. But it I have to admit, it is wonderful to be back in my own car, instead of the truck out in the open air after all this time. So I searched for a green place to drive through, country lanes, surrounded by trees. The light dappled overhead, birds singing. The sun was shining, it was on my skin and I had the wind in my hair, the smile firmly placed on my face. A couple of hours went by in no time at all, I thought it was early, but I hadn’t put the clock forward in the car since I last drove it.  I thought I was getting alot of miles covered in the time I was out.  Oops, no I had just lost an hour! I came back thinking to myself that I should not have driven out without purpose, he told me I did have a purpose. We had an awful day before that and I needed to lift my spirits again. It worked, he wanted to send me out again yesterday but I could not justify doing the same thing every day, after all I would run out of fuel. Now that really would be a crime…

Writing up the Past and A Pair of Shoes.

In the last few weeks I have been working on a novel, which relates to aspects of my past, so I have been digging deeply without trying to let it swallow me up. It has been difficult to both recall and write about. So the novel itself may be a long way off. Although I have started writing, I have been relying upon memories which have not all been easy to dig up again and so dealing with the demons which inevitably come out to play in the process. All whilst trying to maintain the status quo and a happy home life. It has been a bit of a strain and the posts over the past couple of weeks have been up and down along with my emotions and thoughts.

It feels quite cathartic to have finally typed up all my poems which have languished in the loft all these years, after finding them last week. There would have been 40 of them. A nice round number (and I do like those) if there weren’t two missing, perhaps I threw them away in disgust a reminder of a love that once was, but that is unlikely. I wrote an index of them all along with the dates they were written, even approximately if I didn’t know the actual one. There are bound to be others kicking about in notebooks, handbags etc which I may find years from now, the one I wrote for my friends wedding still eludes me, along with the other items which I have yet to find. I fear moving in case one of the items I have been searching for, gets disposed of, so I will continue to hunt for it until I can find it again, although that may take some time. Meanwhile, whatever gets thinned out is getting checked over very thoroughly for that piece of jewellery until it turns up.

I have tried really hard to not judge myself too harshly since I started to go through them, whilst muttering “Gullible child” under my breath quite a lot. The facts of the matter are that I wrote all of these during the ages of 16-20 and I was young and sometimes very foolish back then. There are a lot about my “Loves” from way back then. At least I can rest assured that I have grown up a lot since then. It’s funny how the inner voice conversations go though, when you read something going back that far about yourself. I found myself thinking about my transformation over the past year or so and telling myself, “Who are you trying to Kid, you are still the same person as when you wrote them“, whilst arguing the fact with my inner voice. I am not! (she shouts like a five year old, almost stamping her foot) Lots of years have gone by and I know that I have learned a lot, however it has not been a joyful few days and quite emotional and I have probably been rather teenager like at times. Just wanting to get it done in the single minded way, which isn’t really fair. So I have also been trying hard to get other things done for the family too, so that they aren’t left out. However I have still been able to relate to the person I was when I wrote them, not the ones which are about the Loves in my life, but about the feelings instead.

I will share only some of them, others’ I have deemed “not fit for consumption,” so will stay where they are, I resisted the urge to edit the hell out of them although some of them have been slightly tweaked, they are raw like I was back when they were written and they would lose their integrity and make them something new. Maybe that would be a good thing after all, but as yet I am undecided.

Anyway, here’s one I wrote and do want to share with you, It‘s called A Pair of Shoes, I wrote it 23 years ago. I laughed when I read it again, thinking that even way back then, I loved a metaphor. The shoes did actually exist, now if only I could remember which ones they were….

A Pair of Shoes

At the moment, I feel like a pair of shoes…. 

I bought them two years ago.
They’ve been in the box ever since.
I like them.
But I’ve never actually “Needed” them.
They might be useful at some point.
Occasionally I take them out and look at them.
I didn’t want to get rid of them.
Sometimes I try them on for size and they’re comfortable.
Then I put them away,
Until next time.

 

Normality, who needs it?

I don’t want you to grow up normal. I don’t want you to think that the only way to relieve a broken heart is a prescription for a bottle of pills. I want you to feel that hurt, to remember it… and if it was your fault too, I want you to fix that, and […]

via Why I don’t want my kid growing up normal — larinnachandler

 

This Post, is absolutely fantastic! I had to share it, I  wish that my parents had taken the opportunity to put that permission to be different out there, instead of us trying to conform, and failing miserably…

Some people are meant to be different, we should celebrate the differences.

 

Decay #6 Blessed with a great outlook

IMG_1522

On Bank Holiday Monday I spent the afternoon with my sister.  We chilled out at home talking about all kinds of things then ventured out in the car to a nearby river.  It is lovely how a quick trip to water brightens the day.

She has recently bought a car and I am enjoying the afternoons where we can go out and see some of the great countryside which surrounds us, where I get to show her the places she hasn’t seen before, which are right on our doorstep and she gets to practice her driving.  It makes a change not to be the driver. More importantly, we also get to be sisters again, when we are out on our own and just be ourselves.  We were talking about location shoots since she is after some new promotional pictures for her work and I tried to think of places which were a little out of the ordinary.

I thought of just the place and took her along the river. It was threatening rain all afternoon, so we went over there early evening for an hour or so, despite the slightly grey evening, we messed around with our cameras and I came away Happy with a load of new shots and making new memories as she put it.  Although I will not be the photographer for her promo shots, I also got some nice ones of her.

I decided that I would add some more images, bit by bit to the series called Decay, which I have photographed over a period of time.  So, here goes…

 

The Fighter

Although this was not actually written about the great man himself, it was more a generalisation about the process. But,  with the sad passing of another legend Muhammad Ali I thought that I would post this today.  RIP to the greatest boxer a true fighter and the reminder to “Float Like a Butterfly, Sting like a Bee”

Think for a moment of the fighter.
Promoted his future will be much brighter,
He’s training for his very next bout,
But during this he doesn’t shout.
Can’t guess from the shape he’s in,
But this guy is determined to win.
Not sure he’s Bantam or Welter weight,
Can’t tell exactly from his gait.
Nutrition and fitness are his loves,
Dressed in shorts and his gloves.

The date arrives he behaves with bravado,
Showing the world he‘s no desperado.
His belief in himself as he will rise,
Willing his opponent to meet his demise.
Thinking of all of the money he’ll make,
If he’s prepared and what risks to take.
What he’ll do is calculated,
His form and result to be debated.
The time has come to grace the stage.
Experience will show with his age.
The effort he’ll give with all his might,
The victor he’ll be this very night.
With Herculean effort he’ll fight to the last
A case filled with trophies of the past.