Young Men aren’t supposed to Die.

 

A couple of days ago we said our final Goodbyes’ to my partner’s best friend Tommy. They had been in each other’s lives for over 40 years. So now my man is grieving again, for another lovely man like so many taken before his time.  I wrote this poem when he died.  His family did him proud though and gave him a nice service with wonderful tributes for a life well lived. He was a good man and a great friend to my partner and boy do we miss him.  This photograph was taken the day he died, from the slipway where he regularly launched his boat with his son and his friends, it is a special place. May he rest in peace now, but the memories and stories will live on.

Sometimes the sickness will deny,
But young men aren’t supposed to die.
The chance for them to fulfil their lives,
Not leave behind children and wives.
But what is young and what is old?
Who’s the one who’ll break the mould.
One with love, who’s heaven sent
A long and healthy life that’s meant.
Over the years he’d come to show
A friendship that would grow and grow.
So Dear Lord, hear my plea
Although from pain, this one’s now free.
But all along, much life to live,
For friends and family, love to give.
One dear friend who’d help the poor
In cherished memory, here no more.
I think of the extra time we’d happily buy,
Time spent to wonder, or understand why?
Taken from this life way too soon,
The light went out, an empty room.
They fought so hard to be the boss,
Left startled by such sudden loss.
So as I stop and loudly cry,
Young men aren’t supposed to die.

Christmas, The Holidays How are you spending them?

This was going to be my “Happy Christmas” post when I began it last week.

We are still enjoying or enduring the Holiday period here in the U.K. As we head now towards New Year. I am grateful for the fact that I am enjoying it.

This Christmas I knew would be vastly different for us and I honestly did not know how it would go. After the year that we have had it couldn’t help but be. It is the first one where we have not had Kato physically with us, he was here only in spirit. He entered my thoughts daily and although I looked for signs I did not see any. However I still felt that he was part of the family here enjoying Christmas morning together.

The past week we have been getting ready for the occasion and I have never felt so unready before. I went for a job interview the week before and it went well. I came out with such a positive feeling about both the job and myself and hoped that I may be offered one of the two positions they had spoken about. That weekend, my partner told me to call my friend who was emigrating this week and book a ticket to visit her. It was a wonderful thing to do, I feared that she would be too busy but she jumped at the suggestion. So I had a fabulous time with her and her family before they went, I came back having felt such love, I was on cloud nine.

On coming home I tried to fit in getting the house “Christmassy” but had only just enough money to get food and a few small gifts for family, so had to buy gifts wisely. Whilst my partner and I sold a few items, the people came to collect. The truck went this week, I didn’t feel stressed about letting it go. The relief that we would have funds for the shortfall again this month outweighed that.

It also meant that Hope, my Beautiful blue car has been brought out of the garage and I  able to drive her again for the first time in months again thanks to the assistance of friends who made sure that she was safe for me. I played Santa and delivered gifts and cards on Christmas Eve and got to see and hug another friend I have not seen this year.

So being broke has been the new norm for this past year along with so many other emotions. But as we end the year I can’t help thinking we have lost a lot of people. Not just the ones who are old, but the ones who are taken far too soon. When faced with this situarion, you cannot help but rethink how you wish your life to be as the new year approaches.

I did not hear about the job, but that did not stop me from applying for many more this week. At some point, someone will offer me one, when the time is right so I must trust that the right one will come along too. It felt like I have turned a corner being invited for an interview can do that to you. Lift you up spirits and all and make you concentrate on the positives.

However recently my partner has been ill, he is feeling very stressed out about making ends meet but it has all come together just in time and he is wondering where the next bit will come from, looking for things he can turn around for a little profit to keep our heads above water until that elusive job comes along. But his heart is heavy and it’s making him tired and he is in pain with the various health issues he has and damage to his body over the years. He has been told to take it easy by the doctor, but the doctor knows that he doesn’t know how. Which can be a bit of a cycle for him, it also makes me worry about him.

This Christmas we did not get fancy gifts for each other. He bought me something lovely when we were in Scotland in the Autumn and I have kept it for Christmas. I bought him something he needed, a pair of boots to keep him comfortable whilst we walk the dog together and our present to each other was our beloved Roki. For Birthday, Christmas and my Birthday. No other gift is necessary as we have the love and happiness that he brings us. We collected our new baby seven weeks ago and he is the family we craved to have again.

We awoke on Christmas morning and all piled onto the bed for a big family hug. The day was mild and bright and we made plans to go out and see it. I did not spend the morning wrapping gifts for others as I had in previous years. I had managed to wrap the few that I had bought and most had already been given by then.  We sat talking, played music and had a lovely breakfast of smoked salmon omelette which is an all family favourite. I thought about the big Meal that I would make later and planned to speak to my friend to wish her a safe journey.  Our Christmas Day was non eventful to the outside world but just right for us. We sent and received messages of good cheer to family and friends but to see the face of your child as you give him presents on Christmas Day was just the perfect way to spend it.

Our boy had two fleece blankets which were donated by the emigrating friend and he was so thrilled with them. He had a rope toy which I had given him a couple of days earlier when I had returned from my trip and a woven cloth toy, which in our house is known as “A wonderful fling to be flung” which my mother had made for him. He also had some treats and was so ecstatic that he didn’t know what to play with first. So he just decided to pick up as many as he could at once, throw them all into the air and then roll on them. He is happy. I sent a message to his old family Thanking them for the most wonderful gift to us and received a touching response.

It was late evening by the time I had prepared and cooked our Christmas meal which meant we were up until very late and watching the films on the TV till the early hours. It didn’t matter so much. On Boxing Day I collected my brother and took him to our sister and her partner’s house for a feast. It was lovely, I haven’t seen any of them in months it was just nice to sit around and enjoy a meal, we also watched a funny film and laughed together.

They say it becomes different as you get older, but that is the true meaning of Christmas to us. We have love. We are not in Scotland for the first time in three years we have stayed at home. That in itself felt a little  bit odd but less stressful for me as I didn’t have to pack or travel Christmas week and it never quite feels like the holiday until you arrive at your destination.

My good intentions as to how we should spend Christmas did not come about, again we did not decorate the house for the occasion. My partner said it wasn’t important and we just ran out of time before the big day. This Christmas was about sharing Love and Time, after all who knows how much of it we have left, that was the most important thing and we achieved that.

So however you have spent yours and however you choose to spend the holiday time you have left, I hope that you enjoy it.

I want to Thank you for following my blog since I began in February, for the friendships that grow along the way and the support that you have shown me over the past few months.  I hope that we all continue on our journeys through the next year and find new inspiration, experiences to write about and I will enjoy hearing about yours.

The Daily Post – Festive

 Sisters

I am not talking about the ones you cannot choose the ones you are bonded to by birth and blood. Although I love her dearly, I am also lucky enough to have other sisters of my choosing. They are treasure to the soul and I am totally blessed to have known them and loved them.

For instance there is the girl who I have known since I was 18 months old and saw her moving in up the road, she has been a sister of mine ever since.  Sure over the years we have fought, when we were on our way to school with each other as small children, we regularly argued.  When I see or speak with her, time stands still, we are six again, chattering and laughing and always pleased to be around each other. When she went away to college and I moved away in our teenage years, I missed her so much. I am glad that I am able to see her and her family more often nowadays.

Then there is another lovely lady, with whom I have been through so much over the years. When we were 13 or 14 years old, we became blood sisters, you know where you are so close that a part of you wants to never lose that. You ceremoniously cut yourselves and say something like “your blood, my blood, our blood” and swear that you will be sisters forever.

We shared our first boyfriend, but that was not intentional, he was just a rat! We moved on from that and remained very close. Then a while later we lost touch for several years. During that time I honestly felt that a part of me was missing and I often thought about her, but did not know where to find her, or even if I should. I did not know if she would be the same girl underneath or even if she should be, but when we met up again and I met her wonderful family for the first time. It was as though no time had passed and they all were part of my family too. I am writing this as I think about the years since then and the fact that I am about to be parted from this family again as they emigrate to Australia on Christmas Day. Yes the other side of the world and wonder when I will see her again. Notice I say when, not if. You see I have a wonderful man who knows and loves me and makes things happen for me. He has driven across the countryside just to make sure that I see my friend whenever we are en route back to the South from Scotland. He knows that I will feel such loss when she is gone again, as I did before. So he has given me yet another wonderful gift. His Christmas gift to me is that yesterday told me to call her and tell her I was going to visit her and her family before she leaves next week and I am heading off on the train to see them all for a couple of days. I am so thrilled to be able to do this. We are looking forward to walking those hills together and her showing off the sights in her pretty part of Yorkshire. 

Her children when we last visited said that they would like to see me for Christmas so I have sworn her to secrecy and will just turn up at their house to surprise them. We are all excited about this unplanned visit as it was beyond my wildest dreams to see them all again since they weren’t able to visit us.

I have a treasure that is priceless. It is the people who surround me with Love and I am truly blessed and grateful.  

The Daily Post – Treasure

Friends old and New and Faith Restored

26/10/16

img_3123On this trip, we have concentrated mainly on refilling the wood supply, not working on the house or garden, we have also in the past week, an extra week which we had not anticipated and I was extremely grateful for, we have ventured out visiting places nearby in the car and exploring our surroundings. In the summer months, we have not done this much as our time is better spent working here.

Being surrounded by woodland, we would not have thought that we could run out. But unfortunately, the woodshed was cleared by thieves whilst we were away and we had to scout for wood, some of our neighbours and new friends have really helped us out, in return, they have some wood which once cured, will be usable. There is plenty around here, except that it is not dry enough to burn or cut in most cases.

One of our new friends who hauled the Bears, both big and small out of a ditch two years ago when they had been run off the road. Has become a friend who is currently stood out the back chopping wood so that we will have a supply again when we return. He has been an absolute godsend to us, since our large logs were too big for me to manage with the small chainsaw, I had no hope of splitting them. I learned to use the chainsaw, having bought all the kit, for safety I was finally allowed to give it a go, only to find that the saw had been wrongly assembled and the chain was totally blunt, which is why it was a complete nightmare. Our friend serviced it for me and I was then able to use it and spent a happy day cutting up logs which was very satisfying.

We also hauled some trees down and put them in the woodshed to cut next time. Give it another chance, hope that they won’t get it in again and that it will still be there next time we return.

The wood pile is now awesome with our combined efforts and in return he will also have wood for the winter. It has been pointed out to us on this trip, that wood is such a valuable commodity and should not be given away lightly. We have been told that the price of firewood when you have to buy it is £100 per tonne. If you leave it laying about, people will make the journey just to take it, thankfully our cottage is not easy to get to, but nevertheless, we are not immune.

One thing we are still torn on is whether we should bring the log burner with us next time to install. It would really keep us warm here, but I guess it depends on my partner’s health and whether we have a horsebox in which to transport it. It probably weighs 20 stone, definitely takes two very strong people to lift it, but would be absolutely wonderful in the living room here. We were talking of furniture this trip, and he almost weakened to a sofa for the lounge, but we really need to fix the roof first. A leaky roof is more important. But I am working on ways to fix that.

Today we got some boards, the guys on a local building site gave them to us, little do they know that we could probably fix the main part of the roof with those, if only I could get up there with the ladders!
We have been given pallets, offered wood offcuts and people have also offered to deliver what we need to us quite often free of charge. The generosity of spirit has often caught us by surprise and right when we least expected it has renewed our faith in humanity.

We have been blessed with the kindness of people around us. Whilst others’ may seek to take advantage and have their own agendas’ if we can keep them at bay, then we will get on here just fine. We are choosing our friends more carefully now, rather than my old approach of taking people at face value until they do you a wrong. We have learned to tread a little more carefully here in Scotland, it is easy to get your wires crossed and an English sense of humour is often misunderstood but generally we have found that if you are good to people, then they are good to you.

The Daily Post – Transformation

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.

Fragile, Handle with Care

It felt like possibly her darkest hour, when, not understanding what is happening to her, Carlotta sank into a deeper depression. She didn’t think that it would be possible to feel more depressed than she had felt before, but it was as though her previous experience had barely scratched the surface of the depth of these feelings. To be even lower than the low that she had previously experienced.

So many things can trigger it, past feelings coming back to the fore, emotions are raw and at that time she didn’t know what had hit her. She then suddenly and inexplicably felt quite so totally alone, like never before. Like no-one could break through it, unreachable in a glass box for all to see, but unable to break out of it. To be abandoned by both friends and family for a while. She may have put herself there, shutting herself away trying to deal with the thoughts in her head and the feelings she may be coming to terms with, or it may be that they had no idea what to do with her, how to cope with the new version of her which they may be seeing for the first time ever. The person whom they know and love, hidden so deeply within that they can no longer see them. Had she become a shadow of her former self? Perhaps she was a wilder, more erratic person, signs of all the things that she hated about herself, bright and raw, there for her and everyone to see. All her emotional scars visible to the naked eye. She was once so vibrant, un-phased by it all, seemed to take it all in her stride, where has that confidence gone? Well, that walked out along with the people who couldn’t take it. Perhaps they all left town together on their road trip, perhaps they will send her a postcard. Maybe not.

She hoped that in time that both she and they will see a new person appear. It may look like the original on the outside, but if she is lucky she will have gained strength from the experience, it will not have weakened her beyond repair. There will be shades of the original there for the friends and family who have not given up on her. They will tread tentatively around her for a while, while they figure out where the new boundaries are. Other people she may know may take this opportunity to test how far she can be pushed, what she will stand for. As long as she doesn’t break again in the whole process she has a chance of recovering her momentum once again. Will she regain a sense of purpose, power over it again and move on?

The new version will be more determined, much stronger, less trampled by others, the new version of her will be a force to be reckoned with.

Time is a great healer, Time will also tell.

The Daily Post – Abandoned – Fragile, Handle with Care

#linkyourlife

When Will It Be?

I wonder when the notes we’ll send,
Or when we get to see our friends.
When the time is right and we are able
To gather them around the table.
To celebrate with us in the here and now.
A dearest wish, no it’s a vow!
So open your diaries, save the date
It’s time for me to marry my mate.
You see there are some plans in place.
A smile planted firmly on my face.
An occasion that’s usually lent,
To conversation and merriment!
You wanted to marry by your 60 years,
That day will come with Happy tears.
We’ve waited so long for this time,
To show in front of the world, you’re mine.
So open your diaries, save the date
It’s time for us to accept our fate.

We had booked the church and hired the hall,
But Nature was harsh and so very cruel.
So the date was put off, just postponed,
And to our surprise, nobody moaned.
The dresses packed up safe and secure,
Shoes in the box, an exciting lure.
Our lives are filled with much emotion
A light never dulled with such devotion
So here you have stayed and we have lasted,
Through sickness and health we haven’t parted.
We just put it off till the time was right
It will be soon, Our Day, Our Night.

In my head just think of the party we’ll plan,
In a beautiful place, along with my man.
A place to sit with our friends who will dine,
At the end of a day that’s filled with sunshine.
A day that’s long we’ll enjoy to the end,
a meal so grand the occasion to lend.
We are all seated down by the river,
I’m there in the moment, it sends a shiver.
With music and dancing and happiness too,
Conversation and laughter between the few.
This is my wish and I must believe,
That it’s one for us, that we will achieve.