Where have I been?

I have on so many occasions in the past few months attempted to write an update to the blog. To give some kind of reason as to why my writing seemed to have just come to an abrupt halt here online. It’s as though I feel that you deserve an explanation for my absence, the hope that perhaps in all this time (dare i say it) My writing may have been ever so slightly missed.

I haven’t been doing anything spectacular. No more trips abroad for the time being. It has been a year to this week when I wrote this when I visited Corsica and the memories have come flooding back, my brother so small in stature, yet still as large as life appearing in descriptive music and favourite songs, special moments, when dragonflies, robins, butterflies and white feathers appear. Reminding me that although he is no longer here in the physical sense, he is most definitely still by my side spiritually and for this I am thankful.  I am still grieving for him and dealing with that it sometimes catches me out and leaves me weak and vulnerable. 

Life in its various forms has taken a bit of a backseat as ill health has stepped to the fore and rather dominated, stamping over hopes and dreams and causing mayhem at every twist and turn. 
I have fought again, to try to overcome the irrational fears in my head of dealing with an illness which still has yet to be given the correct diagnosis. I have tried sometimes in vain, to treat it homoeopathically without causing further health implications and at this present time, again my health is suffering. For a small part of the summer at least, I have been able to enjoy the warmth of sun on my skin and time sitting in my little garden. A small corner of solitude which has been so neglected and yet still rewards me with flowers and colour to lift the spirits and delight the senses. It is good for the soul. Despite the short bursts of scents (my sense of smell has still not returned) and colour it calms the sensory overload. There have been times, when my nerves have spasmed and dislocated joints quite often in my sleep, when I am fortunate enough to get some. These do not follow a pattern they choose randomly and I am left in pain until it reseats itself sometimes days later. 
My neurological symptoms have worsened over the past year and I am still waiting for the neurology appointment I was referred for in November 2018.  Meanwhile the nerve pain is at times unbearable causing me to cry out in pain, sweat and shake and causes numbness which makes me clumsy. The restless legs at night are only controlled by taking  Gabapentin which I’d rather not take. My pain relief these days is Tramadol and I am conscious of the fact that both of these are controlled drugs and could be highly addictive. I do not wish to take them, but since I am unable to take codeine based drugs and no other options are available to me I am left with no real choice. I am regularly covered in bruises from clumsy incidents, my hands don’t work properly and I get disorientated. It is embarrassing, I don’t have a social life, save for visiting a few understanding friends when I am able. On good days I can hardly function for a few hours and on bad days I can’t get out of bed.
One of the things about how things have been is that for someone with a good command of English and grammar, it seems to have gone to pieces.  I often have word blindness and brain fog, I type now since hand writing is no longer an option due to pain. I find that not only do I forget the words I intend to put down, but I often am unable to spell words which I know well. I type them the wrong way round as though some wire in my head has come loose and the short circuits caused by the spasms have dislodged the memory.  It is deeply frustrating and means that typing anything now takes me twice as long and spell checking is always essential.  It also happens when I read things, I see them round the wrong way too.

Anger and frustration over this time has caused me to write things which I do not feel that I should share. Personal feelings when I have been angry or upset I still write about them and hope that I have the sense not to put them into the public eye, for fear of reprisal later. Along the lines of if you don’t have anything nice to say, then you should say nothing at all. 
I find myself asking”When did I turn into a person who got so angry, so impatient for change and yet bitter about the cards I have been dealt”. I am fighting my own demons every day and sometimes it feels like a losing battle. It is depressing. There have been family issues and upset and health scares in my beloved, I have watched his health decline rapidly, reach a plateau where I am grateful for any small improvement in his health, whilst his pallor has turned from white to grey to tanned and everything in between until the depression has taken a hold of him and he has felt as though he was dying and I was certain that he was. His fight against cancer was getting the better of him and he became more and more depressed. His constant pain getting him down so far that he did not feel as though he could pull himself out of it and the positive mental attitude dwindling before my eyes. 
It took a turn for the worse in early spring he was assualted and robbed in the front garden and late spring someone else threatened him with a knife outside his own house. It seems that there are more junkies who will now do anything for their fixes and life becomes as cheap as their next fix from a schizophrenic drug dealer who thinks we are out to get him. 
Yes we have been angry, felt cheated by our health and unable to do a damn thing about it to improve it.  We do not want to settle for a life like this, where our dreams are shattered before our eyes and we are left behind, shadows of how we once were. Life is not supposed to be this way. Our life is not cheap or worthless it is still worth fighting for.
Our darling dog had surgery, he was hosting a tumour on his back which had it been left would have paralysed him. Thankfully the surgeon was able to skilfully remove it and he has now made a full recovery back to health, his skills at assisting us when we have health issues have also improved out of necessity and we are so grateful to have him in our lives.

So after the spring upset we headed north, to our home in Scotland in the hope that it would bring us peace and comfort. I pushed him to go, thinking that it would do us both some good to get away from here. It has always been my serenity and peaceful place up until the horrors of last year and I hoped naively that that was now over. The reality however was far, far different and I am wholly responsible for the worst imaginable Summer there.  Now neither of us have a wish to return there and we had such plans for the place and the things we wanted to do to our home. We had taken up furniture and things and I was hopeful that my creative streak would once again return to favour me with poetry that I could share and things that I could make.

We had a very long and exhausting journey there and once we arrived and set up the house we had been there less than a week before we were both verbally and physically assaulted by our next door neighbour.  It seems that the grudge he has held for so many years since we bought the place now harbours a dangerous resentment and in his mind we need to be eradicated. So it began, almost two months of sheer hell, dangerous goons sent up to scare us away and threats to kill, a man with a knife despatched to finish us off and the daily torment of a workman who ran the engines on tractors, diggers, lawn mowers and machinery for 8 hours a day. He even left them running unattended right outside the house and clearly delighted in his work, when he wasn’t falling off them drunk. Of course we involved the police after the first incident and were advised not to confront the neighbour or his associates at any point. So we became prisoners in our home and were not even able to out in the garden without being heckled, abused or tormented for the duration. We were followed  in the car, had visitors abusing us in the night time and walking about shining torches into the house throughout the night in an effort to scare us. The fully working farm at harvest time made less noise than these guys.  For my part it worked I was a nervous wreck who sat up throughout the night worrying and regularly tearful, it rendered me incapable of doing things and we were around each other almost 24/7 which often caused friction. The guilt of making us go there was huge and excruciating. Our family, friends and neighbours were concerned for our safety and our family were just too far away.

By the end of July we had enough. The police are taking it seriously and we will most likely have to go to court, they were talking about witness protection for us.  It was worse than a soap opera, friends were saying you couldn’t write this stuff and yet. We’re living this nightmare. Both literally sick with the worry and worn out and run down, we packed up and came back South hoping for some rest when we got back here.  The journey was hellish and  my man was so ill that I did not think he was going to be able to get us home, but he did. He still has not recovered, he had pneumonia and a dislocated shoulder and neck, yet still drove us back as I wasn’t able to either. He has some stubbornness and  perseverance! 

So this last month we have been attempting to gather our strength and rest, well he has although the concept of rest and recuperation I believe is is alien to him.   My parents have finally sold and moved out of what was their family home for the last 35 years. It was extremely stressful for all concerned and distressing for my younger sister as she saw her childhood home pulled in so many directions until it was shredded. I found it less so and just pushed myself to deal with the task in hand and try and hold them all together. 
Trying to help go through sections of the house which had remained largely untouched for about 25 years was a voyage of discovery, that’s for sure! I moved out from there 28 years ago. Trying to do this with poor health has severely taken its toll, I damaged myself lifting heavy things and clearing out. But as of last week, they were finished and we all said Goodbye to the house in our own separate ways. I took cuttings from the garden that my mother had cherished and nurtured in the hope that it would gain a new life in some small way as she has done. Time will tell whether they are happy enough to reward me with growth. I was also allowed to give a new home to some old furniture from the garage and my grandfathers and father’s tools. So I am hoping that I will be able to use them for small projects when my health allows.

So as we settle back in down South after the changes have taken place and hope that we remain safe and are able to get well, or at least not any worse I hope that I get the chance to welcome my creativity back with open arms. I am looking forward to once I have the space and have cleared the debris of the summer and my parents house, found new homes for acquired items and disposed of others which are no longer wanted.   I am hoping that the peace I have regarding their home now being gone remains and does not turn to grief, I think that despite my sentimentality, that part of me is firmly in the past and I moved on from there a long time ago. They have new homes now and are living their lives differently, we have all grown.  I can then return to the task of getting my own house in order and going through the rest of my brother’s belongings. It has been over a year since we lost him now and although I feel his presence, it is not necessary to keep every thing that he owned, there are things which can be of use to others. I just need to sort them out. 

I realise that as time goes on our dreams and our priorities change.  Sometimes these changes are forced by circumstances beyond our control. Those changes seem to be the hardest ones to accept and I will be dragged through them kicking and screaming and hopefully come out the other side intact.  
I am still writing, it is sometimes the only sanity that I have in all the madness around me, giving me a moment of clarity  especially when I am awake throughout the night in pain. It is my therapy, helping me to adapt and grow. I just hope that I am strong enough to keep up the fight, to nurture and cherish those around me who show me love and friendship, who have my back when I have theirs, who listen when I need them to and who speak when they need to. The give and take friends, my tribe.

I will once again share my poems with you. Carefully selected of course and I hope to stop writing what I refer to as “whine poetry” and make a return to the happy, grateful side of my personality. Perhaps I will find a new place that will become my muse, some fabulous life experience which brings back happiness, some joie de vivre.

Written on 080919

Sent from my iPad

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That day of the year.

It’s that day of the year that gets me thinking about things. I know I am not alone in this. I think it is a day that we should at least pause for thought In our life.

And so here it is, that day has arrived once again. Although I am not bothered about being a year older. I am glad that I am here and I still have my partner and my dog to share it with. It will also be nice to catch up with my Mum as I haven’t seen her for a few weeks. I don’t have big fancy plans, a favourite meal in the evening and have seen some of my friends over this week. I am conscious of the fact that it is a blessing to be here and that in itself is my celebration. Age is no indication that we can remain. The world loses many wonderful people young and old every day.

I had planned to do certain things just for me by the time my birthday came around this year, but alas I have not managed to achieve half of what I wanted to do at this point in my life.  However, this year has only just begun so I will just have to get stuck in.

But… To return to my original subject now I talked to a few people about my writing in the past month or so and they have said some nice things which motivated me to try some things that I had put to the back of my mind. The first thing being to get the first book out there in physical form.  When I set out to publish my first book two years ago I didn’t think that it was important to have a hard copy of the book, but how wrong was I?  Time and again the people  I know have said to me that if I had a printed copy they would buy it so I hope that they will now.

At the time I just wanted to get it out there and thought that people used kindles anyway, so it seemed like the easiest way to self publish.  But since then I have realised the importance of a physical book to so many readers.

I must admit, that when I go to the spoken word poetry nights there are paperback books, sheaves of paper, notebooks and the occasional phone which people read from. I have not yet seen a kindle in use.

So I set about my task for this week, to edit, spellcheck, read through my book once again and attempt to put it into print. This time proper print, which people might actually read on holiday, or the bus, or in their coffee break or anywhere really.

If nothing else, this is my Birthday gift to myself, that I have done it, approved it and sent it for publishing. So that at least my parents might be able to have a copy of it at last.

One thing that I have learned in the last week whilst I have been doing the slight adjustments to the book is that my writing has improved. It felt somehow naive reading those poems back. Although I know that I am my own worst critic. I can see my work warts and all. Thankfully there are also people who enjoy some of it, which spurs me on to write more. But these days I feel more confident as a writer. Like I can actually do it now. I also feel that my poetry has changed quite a bit. Of course the subject matter differs from piece to piece anyway, but I think I am more at ease with the flow, however it comes to me.

So hopefully, as from next week now my book will be available on Amazon in a paperback version as well as the original kindle one here. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sentimental-Journey-Poetic-Stories-Vol-ebook/dp/B01N2IIREW

I hope that if you haven’t taken a look already it spurs you on to do so and if you like it, drop me a line to let me know.

*A quick update to this is that the book went live for my Birthday after all, to get the paperback version now just click this link The Sentimental Journey – Paperback Version

I will also be creating the second book of poems this year. A long time ago I had a number in my head that when I’d written that many I would make the selection. But that was some time ago. I wasn’t feeling as though it was the right time to publish so I just kept on writing more. I now feel it’s time.

It has been suggested that I write some poems for children, which should help me along the way as I want to get into reading them out in public.  I began a children’s story book a couple lf months ago which I hope will grow over time and I have two people that I would like to illustrate it for me, but since I haven’t finished it yet, I feel that I can’t ask them until its ready. I also have lots of other ideas. So who knows what this year will shape up to be by the end of it.

Daily Prompts – Age

Upon reflection.

Upon reflection, all in this life game.

I think of you so often and will never be the same.

Reflecting on the tears of joy and those of sorrow

And hoping for a sign and yet a much longer tomorrow.

Love was what you brought to us, it’s there for all to see,

That this is what you gave to all now I have clarity.

The friendships now rekindled, that once were dead and gone,

From every path of life they walked and joined us in the throng.

Flowers and written tributes, for a faithful friend

and later on we hope in time that our hearts will mend.

The feathers all around us, sent from you to say,

That you are never gone from us, for you will always stay.

Emotions up and down the tears we often cry,

Reminding us that we love you as we fought to say Goodbye.

But my dearest brother don’t worry as this is not the end.

Your message carries on here, filled with love you send.

Change is often painful as we reset the pace.

Friends will be around us, locked in our embrace.

Twenty Three

It has been a really tough time lately and although I’ve been writing occasionally little of it has made it to the blog. But on a happier note, it was our 23rd Anniversary yesterday. This is for my darling who has been there for me all of this time. Thank you!

Twenty Three.

It seems that we are twenty three,

I’m wondering how, this could be.

When we met at twenty one,

Our journey together, just begun.

Who could have said or could have foreseen,

That you would treat me as your queen.

For those of them who were in the know,

Who would have thought the love you’d show.

I’ll be frank no need to be rude,

My life is filled with gratitude,

Good times we’ve had there’s many more,

Not knowing what life holds in store.

So if our time is long or short,

Our love has grown, pleased to report.

The futures bright, is our outlook.

Another page to our long book.

What we’ve encountered to here thus far

Would send most off to the nearest bar.

But we get through and carry on,

Because together we are strong.

When we are pulled back from the brink,

Take a moment to stop and think.

Here we remain side by side,

The only place my for heart to reside.

No other person could ever replace,

My beloveds’ eyes and handsome face.

However many more years we see,

That you remain right here with me.

May beauty be there to behold,

In our hearts til, we grow old.

Suddenly we are twenty three,

I wish you Happy Anniversary!

And as I hope for many more,

We start another, our twenty four.

Angel Wings

070818 Angel Wings.

As we sat in the park,

Nature all around us, shoes off, feet on the ground.

I noticed it.

The angel waving from the other side.

Playing with the children.

It’s wings flapping up and down.

Vying for my attention.

Trying to send it’s message.

Look closely and you will see.

So much is sent to try us.

You can get through this.

You are loved.

We sat on the grass,

In shock for what had happened.

Events of the day and before.

Emotions raw and anger creeping in.

And Breathe…

Letting it out.

I tried to remain calm.

The voice of reason in crisis.

We talked, all of us three.

Unintentional but despite the distance,

You’d always join in somehow.

A perfectly placed signal just when it was needed.

Reassurance, holding my hand.

I noticed a single white feather.

Then another and another.

And all around us a circle of them had fallen.

In case we hadn’t noticed.

Surrounding us with love.

Your love will last forever.

No one will take it away.

Two Hearts

The Love Hearts Tree.

Photographed in my friends garden in Eudlo Queensland Australia, it seemed that there was such love in that small town. Almost everywhere I looked I could see the love, hearts were everywhere when you began to notice them.

Although known in their house as the Love Heart Tree It’s official Name is the Bleeding Heart Queensland Poplar, (Homalanthus populifolius)

This Little Spider

Daily Post -Disrupt

This little spider.

Who rushes out to greet me again this evening,

Who crawled up my arm yesterday night,

And abseiled his way down from my glasses the night before.

Who sits in the living room

Quietly waiting for visitors to arrive.

Waiting for dinner time,

Where we all sit together and eat.

For the TV to stop and the chatter to quiet.

For the lights to go off and us all to sleep.

This little spider,

So small that you barely notice him.

Who does not disrupt family life.

Keeping me company, watching over me,

Doing his work and sharing our home.