First things first...

posted on: Thursday, 4 September 2014

By this time in the summer, after nearly two months of school holidays, things are in such a state of dishevel that I don't know what on earth to do. Laugh or cry! It's been a good summer; a solid one where things have become more clear.

photography credit below...
I see, looking back, that after a few months of oil leak-ridden building work, I was about ready to cry. I wouldn't have said at the time that living as we were living was getting me down; but clearly and quite obviously now, it was. I am affected by my surroundings and matters were made worse by the absence of my husband over those crucial weeks. We have assessed (again) how his working away a lot causes challenges at home. Now much we can do about that one, other than be aware of the impact. I do wonder what it would like to be married to someone who was at home by 7pm every night. Does that even exist?!

Our house is still a mess; from having days where no one had turned up on site, we now have four trades here as I type. As we have had to take a phased approach, due to the cost, we will end up with one end of the house in pristine and finished and the other untouched. I see that we are only one third of the way through this epic building project; a long way to go. I have started watching building programmes on TV; there seems to be consolation in the fact that all projects have traumas, not just ours. Solidarity in suffering?!

We took two holidays this summer, which came about due to a twist of fate and the fact that we had a lot of air miles to use up. One good side affect of a husband who travels. Florida was a necessary pilgrimage for me, having spent so much time there growing up. It held an almost mythical fascination which I have now been able to look at, up close.

To both my brother and I, Florida represented a safe haven whilst our parents were divorcing. The sheer difference of the place to the rural England where we grew up was what made it so compelling. A hot, tropical environment with American ease. Going back this summer, I saw that so many of my feelings about it were tied up with my childhood and teenage years. Actually when it came to it, I decided not to return to the place where we used to go, as I wanted to remember it as it was, not as it is.

I have to remind myself that to people living there, palm trees and dolphins are part of everyday life. My equivalent of ploughed fields and oak trees. The trick now is to appreciate the good that we have; even if it is not a pistachio-painted, clap-board house in Naples! The children have returned to school today. The house is empty (if I don't count the builders) and I have, for the first time in two months, some peace. Happy Thursday.

As I have been musing about Florida this summer, my friend Sophie and her new husband George have been honeymooning there (amongst other places in the US). See Sophie's blog for these lovely, evocative photos that kinda, really make me wanna go back to the whole of Southern USA. Photographs are by Sophie Learmont.


  1. I thought I recognised these lovely pictures, Sophie's is one of my favourite blogs; Sophie and George's honeymoon trip has me green with envy!
    I'm all for appreciating the good and beauty that we have. Maybe if you lived in Florida you'd long for the gentle streams and wildflower meadows of England?


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