Twenty One – Remembering The Girl in the Blue Dress

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This post is in Celebration, the fact that we made it to our 21st Anniversary and were able to celebrate with a day together doing some of the things we used to do. Yesterday for the first time in so long, we felt able to smile freely, laugh and talk about the girl in the blue dress, who walked everywhere and who he kept bumping into.

At the time we first met, there had been a series of commercials for The Post Office on the television, explaining all the many services and items that were available there. The catchphrase of this particular campaign was “It’s amazing what you can pick up at The Post Office!”

It sure is….
On a spring day, I was walking into town via the beach, I had things on my mind and it was a good hours walk from home to the High Street. I didn’t drive at the time and had very little work, so I walked everywhere. It was hot and I walked into the small post office near to the walkway down to the beach, to get a drink I was met by the sight of a small child of about 4 years old being tipped upside down and spun around and shrieking with laughter by a man in the shop. There is something quite lovely about hearing unexpected laughter from a child, especially when you have things on your mind and at the time my Grandmother was very ill and I was worried about her. As the tickling began of the postmasters’ daughter, between giggling, she begged him to stop as she was breathless from laughing.

I purchased my drink and the throwaway remark as I was about to leave the shop, “Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?” He stopped and turned and smiled at me, I smiled back laughing and left. It was the first of several unexpected meetings, time we met.

A few weeks later, I was walking again, by then it was very warm but I liked the beach better when it was quiet. I had walked for three hours to meet a friend to go out on their boat for the afternoon and had missed them and was returning home hot and tired. I had some walking boots which had a heel and I loved them since I could walk for miles. I was wearing a lovely soft blue summer dress I had bought on the day my Grandmother died. I was in town that day and saw it. Thought it was a lovely dress, fitted and flared and bias cut which was very flattering and a perfect fit when I tried it on. It had crossover straps at the back and was the perfect summer dress. I thought about buying it and placed it back on the rail. I couldn’t really afford it. As I walked around the other shops, my thoughts we drawn back to the dress, My Nanny loved me in pretty dresses, she would have liked that one. It was blue, my favourite colour and was well made. I scratched around in my purse and found I had just enough to buy it and was due to be paid in a couple of days. I had food and electric, so I purchased the dress. She would have wanted me to have it.

As I walked up from the beach I thought I would make a phone call.
There was someone in there, piles of change on the side making a call. I waited for some time in the hope that he would vacate and I would be able to use the phone and some 15 minutes later he was not showing any signs of doing so. I tapped on the window, he opened the door and I asked if he was going to be long since I also needed to make a call. As he turned to look at me, it was him. A few moments later he came out puffing a cigar to allow me to use the phone. I made my phone call and afterwards we sat on the bench outside the train station and began to talk, he had a wonderful voice, like Sean Connery, the Scottish actor who played James Bond. He was very well spoken and quite obviously knowledgeable. He was just under 6ft Tall and had dark hair, a nice face and beautiful dark brown eyes. He was quite chunky, good muscles and a great pair of legs. I knew this as he was wearing shorts, he was a few years older than me.

It was wonderful to listen to him and about an hour and a half later we had been sitting there and decided to walk together. As we walked we continued talking and when we reached a few roads from my home, we were both thirsty. I had £1 in my purse, enough for a drink in the local pub. He had run out of change with his telephone calls.
We laughed about it, walked up the road and into the garden of the pub, where I spent my last pound on a glass of coke with two straws. We sat in the beer garden and shared it and continued to talk, he was good at listening as well as talking and we seemed to get along very well. He explained that he would be going to Spain during the next week as he often spent time there with Family and Business.
After about four hours of talking with each other, it was time to leave. The afternoon was turning into evening and the pub was getting lively, he said he would walk me home. I only lived at the next corner. He asked for my telephone number and as we said Goodbye, I thought if he’s off to Spain, then that’s probably the last I’ll see of him then. I never expected anything else.

Meanwhile a week or so later, I met someone who asked me on a date, he was younger than me, which was a first and we began to spend time together, but it didn’t last long. He was just too young for me and it stopped being fun in no time at all. We dated for a couple of months and then I tried to let him down gently.
Unfortunately, when the time was up the boy didn’t want to leave and so used to sit outside my house in his car all night and hammer on the door in the early hours. He was being a bit of a pest and I kept letting him in to talk to me.

Later that Summer, there was a knock at the door. I had visitors and went down to the main door to answer it. The Man from the Post Office was back. I was shocked to see him. I told him I had visitors, so he couldn’t come in. He asked me on a date a few days later he would pick me up for lunch. I was really pleased that he had come back. I had enjoyed his company and thought I would again.

It struck me that I was not the usual type of girl he dated. I think that he liked girls who spoke better than I did, were a bit more refined and classy. What on earth would I wear to a proper date with him?
I looked like a scruffy secretary, in an oversized jacket I had borrowed and skirt, blouse and heels. I also was so nervous that I put on my posh voice, tried to pronounce everything properly and I did not want to show off.
He saw through it in an instant.
He took me out to lunch to a place some way away from where we lived. I hoped that this was not because someone might see us together. Previous relationships had made me a tad cynical. It was the place that my Grandparents had gone on their first date. We had a lovely meal and part of the way through it. He turned and said to me, “You don’t need to try so hard to impress me, we spoke for hours before and I like the real you.” He took me home after the long lunch with lots more talking and arranged to see me again.,

I had no idea how long it would last, if I was what he wanted or he was what I wanted, or where it would go from there, little did I know that we would be celebrating our anniversary twenty one years later, or that we would go through so much together and I would still be with him and still in Love with him.

The Daily Post -Together  Image:Morguefile.com

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.