The Yellow Mini

It was her first one. Mum’s first car of her very own. A yellow Mini with a Black roof and bonnet stripes. In the brightest yellow that she could find. Yes it was loud and it resembled all of the things she wanted to be. Racy, Daring, Fun and it reminded of her of a bee, which she loved, because it was bright yellow and black.

It would take her to places she had never been before where the only limit was the fuel she could put in the tank. She would pack her bag and drive to her parents, once the caring for them was over for the weekend, she would return to her family. Racing the fast cars along the forest roads with a smile stretched out across her face. She felt alive behind the wheel, with a spirit of adventure, just for that short time.

It gave her the freedom she had so long craved. Freedom from the day to day, whatever the weather. The other motorists smiled as she passed them by. Her happiness beaming like a beacon across her face. She loved that car, for all it represented to her and they had no idea.

The Daily Post – Yellow

 

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…

A Racing Certainty

IMG_1140As she chased her dreams of doing something with her life, she would enter a National competition with the chance to become a racing driver. The Exchange and Mart Drivers Challenge and it was run by Tim Matthews who was an experienced racing driver. Never thinking for a moment that she had much more than a slim chance, but seizing the opportunity anyway after all what did she have to lose?

She loved Cars and driving and if she could combine the two in a future career, then that would be fantastic.
More wonderful than that, she had a man who believed in her. It was the most exhilarating feeling to have someone in her life who did, who encouraged her to try something new and was behind her all the way.

She sent off the forms and began work to increase her fitness and stamina. Her strength was there, it just needed some fine tuning and whilst she did this she did not think about the application, she was just concentrating on getting fitter and stronger. So imagine her surprise when some short time later, she received a letter. She was invited to Worcester Rugby Club to take part in the first selection of the competition. She spoke to her boss about it, booking a couple of days leave so that she could prepare and he couldn’t quite believe that she had any aspirations. This was someone he had underestimated greatly and assumed that her position as she had risen through the company was as far as she was going to get.   He was flabbergasted, since his privileged son, who had an amateur career in Go-Karting had only dreamed of such an opportunity, despite his entering it had not been selected for the competition. There was this girl, with no prior experience of racing, who had been selected. She surely wouldn’t get through the first round and it would be all over in a flash, then he could take delight in reminding her that she had failed every day and that she was not good enough. It would soon be over and he would control the situation once again.

They travelled to the location and booked into a hotel the day before, it was a beautiful place with rolling scenery. The morning arrived and they set off to the venue. The place was jammed to the rafters, 1000 people had been chosen to be put through their paces. They were informed that 10,000 people had entered the competition and they were the lucky ones, as the competition progressed the heats would be recorded for a TV programme, if we were going to become racing drivers, then we would have to get used to the limelight. As a shy person, she wasn’t sure how to deal with this, but would do so if the time came.
Meanwhile, as the day progressed, when she was called for each task, she ran, listened, showed her strengths and jumped through proverbial hoops and impressed the judges enough for the selection with her man cheering her on, overjoyed in her achievement she was one of 100 people selected for the next round. As the event finished, she walked past someone who she recognised who had contracted work with her company. He stopped in amazement asking her what she was doing there miles from home. I got through, she said. She mistook his surprise for a new found respect, she had been placed in the second round, but he had not.

The next round, was scheduled, she booked another day off work to enable her to go, and at the weekend they headed off up to Birmingham, The next round of the competition was interviews and Go Karting, it was a competition track. She was excited, but the only time she had been go-karting was down along the pier in the amusement arcades, but she loved it and was hopeful that this experience would teach her. The weather was awful, he drove them through the worst storms and snow she had seen. It was cold wintry and people were standing around for hours awaiting their turn, she had dressed for warmth wearing ski jackets, layers and snow boots, in this freezing climate. It was mostly boys and men there, in a racing environment it was to be expected, but this did not phase her. She was going to give it her all.

They went through the track layout and how you should plan for the twists and turns, around the chicane and towards the finish. She watched intently as some of the other drivers took to the wet track, she noted their mistakes and hoped that when her turn came, she would do better. She listened to the instructions given by the racing driver, Tiff Needell who had become a celebrity as he extolled the virtues of learning the basics. It might be nice to meet him in person and shake him by the hand, she had admired his skill on the tracks over the years.
There was a race simulator set up alongside the track, the queues to have a go were lengthy and she did not want to miss her name being called, it would be there later, should she wish to try it.  Her time came, as she dressed in the race suit for the very first time, she was thrilled and excited to be a part of something big, this could turn into something much bigger if she handled it right.

She put on the helmet and found the smallest pair of gloves she could find, since this was usually a male environment they had not anticipated girls with small hands, they were enormous, she put them over ski gloves for grip and so that they would grip the steering wheel. She made a mental note that if she was going to go anywhere with this route, she would buy herself some gloves which fitted.

She walked out into the paddock with the other drivers, they ridiculed her for her snow boots whilst stamping their feet to keep warm, she didn’t care she had winning on her mind and selected her machine with care. Setting herself up for the ride of her life and drove out hell for leather on that track. She lapped several of the hopefuls and made a good track time and came back in, her Man was there with the camera, to record it for posterity. The helmet off, he could see an ear to ear smile on her face. As the other hopefuls took their turn, she was called off to one side. Mike, A man who was part of the team, had spotted her talents and wanted to talk. They sat in the meeting room with a coffee, even if you do not get through this competition, he said, there are other ways to get into racing, you seem to have a gift out there on that track. Are you competing at the moment? She tried to keep her cool, admitting to him that it was the second occasion she had ever been in a go-kart. He found that hard to believe and spoke about the projects he was involved with and that he could get young people into racing and get help with sponsorship etc, he was animated and gave her some literature to read, he advised her to continue with Karting if at all possible. He introduced her personally to the organiser and they talked about the competition and how it would progress, several rounds through to the final, where someone would be selected for the team, to join the professionals. It really was the chance of a lifetime.

After some time and more standing around they were called in to a room, to face the adjudicators. As names were called, disappointment was in the eyes of the people around her as they were whittled out. They would halve the people who attended the second round, suddenly she heard her name being called, they were pleased to tell her that she had been selected for the third round. The excitement was immense. She looked for her man, to share in the news, he stood beaming he told her she was so proud.

At the end of the day, they travelled back accidents all around them up and down the motorway, breakdowns and the snow piled high, visibility was non-existent. But they were happy and reached home safely. They discussed the next step, this is looking serious, she would have to book more time off work, she wondered how her boss would take that. The next day she called a meeting with him. He was not pleased, he told her that it was time she had to make her choice. If she really wanted to be a racing driver, then good luck to her! The raised voice made it clear he didn’t mean it, as he spat out the words. He would give her no more time off to pursue this fanciful dream, it wasn’t going to go anywhere, she should just concentrate on the work she was being paid to do, get back to doing the proper job she had working for him. All leave was cancelled, they had a business to run.

She went home, more than slightly disillusioned with her work. She wanted to leave there and then, but common sense overtook her desire to run. She spoke with her partner, there were tears of frustration and upset that she would have to put her dreams away. It was her responsibility to make ends meet, she felt that she could not pile extra pressure upon him financially, it wouldn‘t be fair. Times were different then, she hadn’t the first clue about self-promotion and is was long before social media would make it accessible for all.

It was no contest, If she had the finances, she would pursue her dream, with her man at her side, encouraging and supportive. They would have done it, she had made him proud and would do so again. He believed in her. Oh how she wished for a lottery win, or a benefactor at that time. If she could have had the chance to pay the bills, whilst forging ahead, what a career change that would be, he talent had been spotted and she might go far.

It was with great sadness that she contacted the organisers to let them know that due to work commitments, she would be unable to continue with the competition. They were disappointed, she had shown promise, chances like this just do not come along every day and the decision should not be taken lightly. She explained that without a job, she would not be able to finance the rounds and her taking part, they told her that they understood but that she should not give up, she had a talent and she should nurture it. They wished her luck with her future. She watched the TV programme later that year, they selected a man, who had a career ahead of him. Women in Motorsport, was it ever going to happen was it? There was hope.