The circle...

posted on: Tuesday, 24 September 2013

So, my family settled in this little corner of England in the early 1980's. My earliest memory of moving here was rollerskating down the tree-lined avenue near our new house, feeling rather pleased with my ability to do a 360-degree turn. Fast forward to my teens and I fell in love with the boy next door. A short but important sojourn away to University, and I then returned to my home town to be with him. We married a few years later, bought our first house together and since then have had two other houses as we climbed the family and property ladder. In entirety, these moves (apart from Uni) have taken me around in a circle of about a 5 mile radius. When I write that out I realise how utterly provincial that makes me sound and how attached my husband and I both are to this place. He too has barely left. As time has gone on I think I will grow weary of our home town, of the normalcy of it. But actually so far I haven't; it's a really cool place to live, we have the beach and the country. We can get to London in an hour or so and best of all, we are surrounded by our families.

What I do notice though - and this becomes more poignant as Boo enters adolescence, reminding me of my youth - is that the twenty years that have passed seem to have done so ridiculously quickly. Do you ever notice that? Where you feel like something happened a few years ago and in fact realise, dumbfounded, that it was over ten years ago?! I drove past a guy, who for a second I thought was someone I went to school with. Of course my brain didn't compute quickly enough that if that was the case, the guy would be pushing 40, whereas this guy was probably in his late teens. It's like I have time-warp goggles on that only see 1992. The same applies to films - films that we saw at the cinema and are now playing as 'classics' on TV - those films are twenty years old.

So as we get ready to move into the other, new side of our house, my Mum and I have been retrieving old furniture from our shed, cleaning and sanding it down and restoring it for Boo's room. The dressing table that I had as a teen for example, has been given a new lease of life. Strange though, to see the nail varnish stains that don't come out and think of the many hours I spent sitting at that table, growing up, wondering what life would hold. Seeing a full circle from my time to hers. Funny how it goes...

And I figure that this is what we all hope for, isn't it? That life gives us an easy run and there is time and occasion to stop and enjoy it and to reflect on the journey! At least that is how it feels to me.

via un amore per sempre

The vernacular...

posted on: Friday, 20 September 2013

I've gone into Autumnal overdrive. Mere weeks have passed since I was sunning myself in Portugal and I am grasping the change of seasons with both hands; I love living in a temperate climate. A side effect of this is that I have shopped way too much (you saw the signs: recent musings on style and shoes). I am beyond guilt sweats as frankly everything is settled in my mind by the assertion that: I deserve it. Even if I don't. Hah!

via crush cul de sac
Meanwhile I am feeling rather pleased with myself for cooking batches of stewed apple from the garden, lentil dhal and shepherd's pie. My freezer is full. This makes me feel happy and replete.

The fields where I walk the pup have gone from sun-baked, cracked earth to the more familiar sodden territory that I now trudge a round, in my wellies. Usually cursing the fact that I have a (sometimes) long-haired dog whose paws are clogged with mud.

Sometimes here I write about the fact that I have pain in my teeth and jaw - it's been a long running saga, entering its fourth year soon - but a lot of the time, I don't want to mention it. This is because it smacks to me of the kind of blogging self-regard that I struggle with. People visit a blog to see lovely images and to read sparkling prose; I am dubious about their interest in the real, grainy, non-sepia-tinted life of me. The pain went undiagnosed for a long time and is now subject to the kind of modern google-inspired self-diagnosis that is just so tricky. It feels like tooth ache but is actually a muscular/trigger point issue - I am loosing you now aren't I?! It's a multi-faceted thing, as complicated as can be with no clear rhyme or reason. I have learnt to live with it, as people live with back pain and such like. A lot of the impetus for me to make recent life changes has come from devising a way to manage this pain. I subscribe to the view that if you want a different outcome, you need to do stuff differently. It's not sophisticated but it's where I am at right now.

So the pain goes on; there are good days and bad days. There is no quick fix. But occasionally I have to write about it, as I feel to leave it out would be dishonest. This is me.

Meanwhile I am, day by day, still revelling in my freedom. This week alone:

Books read: 2
Beds made: not many
Morning runs, dew on the grass: 2
Massages: 1
Yoga classes: 1
Alexander Technique lessons: 1
Glasses of wine consumed: 5 (maybe 6?!)
Blogs read: many...
Dog walks: 9
Swear words: 7
You tube clips watched: 3
Hours 'wasted' on Pinterest: countless ;-)
Minutes spent considering how the word 'bitch' has entered the vernacular: 2
Regrets: none

Have a happy weekend :-)

This week...

posted on: Friday, 13 September 2013

My thoughts have ranged from the silly (obsessing about what winter boots to buy; this is an annual thing for me - the possibility of a new season ahead always gets me thinking: boots.) to the huge (visiting my lovely sister in law yesterday, who sadly lost her father last month and is third trimester pregnant and at the same time, has a cute-as-a-button but very busy and advanced toddler to care for.) Life looms large sometimes.

I am employing a fierce protectiveness over my time each day, building in buffers of time to chill and read. This year I did what I always do on holiday - which is to immerse myself in books, finishing six in two weeks. All of my education comes flooding back to me - literary criticism from University days - and I just want to read more and more. Usually, I have stopped almost as the aeroplane touches down on home soil, and books get relegated to my suitcase unfinished (which is almost criminal!). This time I am taking the impetus to keep reading, it's good for me.

I feel a bit like I have a new job, that I am the new girl - the new full time mother and housewife. The 1950's feel of this makes me smile, until I realise that there is no longer the excuse to drop the ball and have no food in the fridge or no clean clothes to wear; now all eyes are on me to make those things happen. Who am I kidding? Those things were always my job, but now it feels different; I have a pride in it as I adopt this new vocation. I remember before, when I took time out from work, that I got this amazing sense of time stretching out ahead of me. I could say 'yes' to invites and fit things in that used to allude me. And there was food and clean laundry...

I do admit I am spending time getting a new wardrobe for my new vocation! All of those smart work clothes no longer needed; now I am studying the school mums to spot day time sartorial elegance. It's no easy feat when you get up at 6.30am and have to leave on the dot. There is a whole new art to getting out the door looking assembled, not try-too-hard, but not mundane and dull. I am also entertaining the idea of hanging out in fitness wear all day as I am trying to run or do yoga or circuit training most days. I have spent a good period of time lusting over the Lululemon website, imagining myself flitting about town wearing cool yoga clothes. I wanna be one of those women...yep I admit it.

The weekends have, in a few short weeks, morphed into an extravaganza of sports fixtures for our children. My son played his first school football match (amazing how at eight years old it really isn't about the taking part, it's about the winning - for the record, they lost 3:1). The penny has dropped that if we want our kids to play sport, and they are picked for the school teams (big accolade and kudos for them) then we spend our time ferrying and watching like a tag team. For all that was made in 2012 Olympic year about this country taking on sport for our younger generation, I realise that the commitment is also on behalf of the parents, who make it happen. I am fine with this; I want them to play. Raising sporty kids has to be good, hasn't it - but long gone are the Saturday lie-ins!

Meanwhile the house-build comes on and my tan fades and the nights draw in. Autumn seemed to arrive overnight. Looking forward to it; back to school, fresh start.

Hello you...

posted on: Thursday, 5 September 2013

Home! We had a really interesting time away; different places, time with good friends, time as a family, travel and moments to reflect. A lot of book-reading. A lot of hot, sunny weather. Some breath-taking Atlantic views, beach bars, surf shacks and bike rides. A life lesson or two...more of that in due time.

via patterson maker
I have been writing blog posts in my head for weeks and now I am back I am wondering why I haven't been able to actually get anything down. This post has sat as a draft since Saturday. It's Thursday. I am decompressing and up until this morning had my happy camper children with me. School is back and can I just say: what a summer!? This year I will remember always as it had i) proper real hot weather, ii) lots of beach time, iii) I stopped work and I note that iv) there are so many things brewing on the horizon I am beside myself! That makes it sound like I have big news and I am afraid to say I don't, not really. It's just a feeling I have of good stuff coming down the line. Some cool domestic developments - we have builders here this week making new doorways breaking in to the cottage we own next door. Did you ever see the film 'The Seven Year Itch'?? You know that bit where Marilyn Monroe descends the stairs from the upstairs apartment having made two homes into one? It's not been quite that simple (as ever with this old farmhouse; the moment you scratch beneath the surface...there is something unexpected) but similar.

Today is the first day I have sat alone for what feels like a long time - two months! I am wearing one of these - my new obsession. I got unfit over the summer, so I am planning a return to running and some more yoga and my usual circuit training habit with the mothers. I am tanned from Portugal - we had the best time. You know when you think you know a country and then you step away from your normal route and learn that there is so much else? That is how it was.

But most of all in my current jumble of thoughts is the recurring knowledge that I don't have to work anymore. I honestly can't tell you how many times a day it crosses my mind and how each time, the sheer relief and beauty of it surprises me. No regrets...

So I just wanted to say 'hello' - I'll check in again tomorrow or maybe the day after... :-)

via patterson maker