Think straight...

posted on: Wednesday, 22 October 2014

My husband returned from an epic overseas trip (God it's hard when he is away; I like it the most when he's at home with me!) and the premise was that the building work would be finished. It's not finished. Nearly, but not quite. Last little details now like door handles and liming the oak floor. I want it as white as a wood stain can go - they think I am mad for this request but my answer to every design-related question is: 'I want it white'. This is proving much easier than choosing colours; our house has so many low beams and windows and what they refer to in brochures as 'period features' that honestly anything other than white looks cluttered. It's made this whole process easier. White. Wood. A few monochrome black and white details along the way. That's it. White is the equivalent of the staple grey jumper in sartorial terms.

Meanwhile I have been thinking a lot about family. I had a falling out with my brother - who I rarely write about here, for his own privacy really - and it felt wretched. We have an untarnished relationship, he and I. He has always looked out for me, being seven years older, and despite the fact we don't see each other that often, I always get that sense that he has my back. I thought a lot about siblings and the order in which they come and how different things would have been if he were say, two years older than me, rather than seven. I read the book 'We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves' yesterday - if ever a study into sibling relationships that is one. Again I finished it in just over a day - absolutely gripping, tightly-written, could not put down, now can't stop thinking about it.

But back to siblings. I was chatting to Boo about how her little brother irritates her and reminded her that having a brother is a blessing and no matter how much they niggle and fight, he will always be her strongest link to her childhood. There is something about sibling relationships; when you marry you come to think that your spouse knows you best. Of course they do in most matters. However nothing can replace growing up in the same family; that closeness and oneness. For my brother and I, he provided the rock and the kindness that I needed whilst my parents divorced. He will always be so very special to me, so quarrelling with him was uncharacteristic and disturbing. It's all better now though. That's the other thing with family; there is forgiveness.

Autumn seems to have taken hold in the gentlest way this year; falling leaves but with a spell of unseasonable mildness. This suits me fine and I have taken to running again this week. I used to run a lot more than I do now. That 30 minutes of a raised heartbeat and loud music in my ears as I pass suburban gardens, early in the morning, before the commuters have left. There's nothing like it.

The navel-gazing of recent months has abated slightly as this new season starts. I've seen many friends go through tough times lately and actually I have to tell myself that things are by no means bad with me. It's purely a matter of calming the very many thoughts that I have percolating round, all the time. My new tactic is to start writing them down. I wonder with writing whether it forms a particular type of therapy for me. If I don't do it, I start to feel wrong. Should this translate into something bigger? I had dinner with friends at the weekend, one of whom owns an independent publishing house. Talking about writers and manuscripts was exciting to me. It made this sentiment below seem all the more accurate. If I keep thinking about writing, why don't I do more of it?


  1. Just do it, have a talent for it!

  2. I agree with Catherine..........x

  3. I read that book....and HATED it! I finished it but couldn't wait for it to be over!!! There were just so many things I couldn't comprehend, get my head around, I didn't like the parents & I just found it totally frustrating & bizarre! Hmmmmmm!!

    I have two brothers & although in many way it's my friends who know me best...the elder of my two brothers & I have shared history that binds us together in a way that we will always one can understand those things or that part of our life...or the craziness of our parents!! Whatever he & I have been through since - and our lives have been totally different - we will always have that....and, frustrating though he can be at times, I feel comforted by that thought. He is 2 years younger than other brother is 5 years younger....strangely, I was closest to my younger brother growing up whereas now we have little or no contact. Family life.....

    I hope things are good now between you & your brother.


  4. 'my answer to every design-related question is: I want it white' - I couldn't agree more

  5. I have that quote framed on my home office wall, and also saw it pop up in other places so many times this week. A sign I keep telling myself ;-)