Friday, 4 January 2008

A murky day in Oxfordshire and removal of Testicles

What does one do with two little boys before they go back to school? We go for walks in the bleak mid-winter gloom of January in the Oxfordshire countryside - that's what we do!

Whether they liked it or not, the two little grandsons had to wrap up warmly, with gloves, hats, scarves and a good sense of humour and follow me down the lane and beyond.

One coughed in the foggy atmosphere, while the other poked amongst the hedgerows with a stick and both complained of being cold. Tough! It was doing them a whole lot of good - I said! We had been holed up indoors playing cards, playing scrabble and watching DVDs for too long! I needed the fresh air and a walk, even if they didn't. Both could do with losing a little weight and gaining some colour in their cheeks. Both are lovely boys with a good sense of humour and both are loving and mostly kind. So what could I lose? Plus, the cats needed a break from the interlopers into their home!

At last, the log man has returned my call and will be delivering half a ton of logs by the end of next week. Pebble, however, may have to belay his removal of pebbles as the day of return to school for the boys maybe tuesday instead of monday, due to the teachers of their school requiring yet another training day!!! Hmmm, how much training do fully qualified teachers require in any one year??

As a teacher myself, updating of new methodologies is an ongoing necessity of one's profession, so why upset so many by demanding a whole day off that inevitably upsets many mums who have to rearrange child-minding agencies at great cost? Or, is it just another day off, tagged onto the end of the Christmas holidays? I am so cynical at times... justly so I think!

Meanwhile, I research sources for my new business venture, also I research ancestry websites for my daughters, also, I write my blog and correspond with friends, also, I have joined an online dating agency, with trepidation and huge concerns. Have I bitten off more than I can chew?

I still scour the papers for jobs, and do so half-heartedly as I really don't want to work for anyone else anymore. I really want to work for myself, but feel as though I should look anyway!

Meanwhile, Pebble is being aggressively Male as he attacks Banjo... it really is time for him to have his testicles removed. Banjo has had enough!

Wednesday, 2 January 2008


Beds and bedrooms are now back to their empty normal state, ironing now achieved for which I deserve a medal, Pebble booked into the Vets to have his pebbles removed, half a ton of logs ordered and two young grandsons sitting in front of the TV watching a DVD.

I didn't mean to, but I've just bought a pair of knee-high black leather boots at half price while shopping for oven cleaner. Ah well, that's female for you.

Other jobs for the next three days include, rearranging cupboards without identity and within which are items long past their sell-by date; a bit like me. Then on to sort old photographs ready to scan into my computer; I've been given Adobe Elements as a Christmas present and can't wait to 'play'. All this and still more research and sourcing of French or Shabby Chic items for my proposed Style Ideas business. Early days, but it's coming together slowly, and beats working for a large organisation.

Back to the important job of casting on stitches for my grandson's knitting, while the other one practices on his new Guitar. I brought down my father's old Italian Piano Accordian and discovered splits in some of the bellows, but we managed to drag out a tune or two.

I think the sorting may have to wait a while, knitting and music have taken precedence.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

What's in store?

Here we go again; another optimistic outlook for the New Year as the dawn creeps in quietly after the raucous night before. Fireworks at midnight filled the normally peaceful countryside around me, which sent Pebble diving under the sofa in panic. I heard people laughing in the lane outside my little house as I sipped my Amarula and Ice and I went to bed thinking about the last two New Year's Eves. My thoughts then were as always, optimistic about my future, wondering about my purpose, hoping that something would change my life, but as the last two years have edged along, nothing remarkable has ocurred except:

It was during 2007 that I plunged rock bottom into the depths of despair, grief and loneliness, even though eighteen months had gone by since he died. I couldn't understand it - shouldn't I be getting better? It was an all-time low for me when I didn't want to go on; I'd tried hard to carry on... mundane everyday existing things. After crying almost non-stop for about two days and nights I came out of it, and seemed to gradually look at things differently until once the second anniversary of his death had gone by, I had turned a real corner on the road to recovery. Until then, I'd kidded myself and others that I was 'doing fine', 'much better', and 'feeling positive'. What utter crap we issue out to ourselves and others, trying to believe it.

I ended 2007 with a much healthier outlook; not fooling myself anymore, just accepting that grief is a peculiar beast that won't leave you alone for long; pouncing on you at unexpected moments, just as Pebble does. I have learnt to accept the presence of the beast, and can often tame it, though not Pebble. Of all the advice I received, mostly from those who hadn't yet lost, or indeed, found their once in a life-time, genuiune lover, the most accurate was, 'grief is different for each of us'. Some have said that grief follows a known pattern; sorry folks, it doesn't, well, not for me. Others have said that I would go through the 'Anger' stage; no I haven't. Several have compared my grief to that of losing a parent; No, it's not the same at all, except loss. There is more to losing someone who came late into your life and transformed it, and who you trusted, respected and loved more than anyone or any living thing ever; it's a much deeper wound, that even those who have been married but not to their soulmate for many years, may not feel. I know I wouldn't have felt this tremendous wound to my soul had I still been married to my first husband; not his fault, we should never have married in the first place. It all sounds corny and overly romantic I suppose, and before I'd met him, I would've been the first to say 'Yuk!' But in the words of another: "In a Universe of Ambiguity, this kind of feeling comes just once, no matter how many life-times you may lead."

So, into 2008 with a more positive mind having tamed the beast as best I can. I am looking forward, not backward anymore. There is the prospect of starting a business to continue looking into; the rooms need painting and I want to change my hairstyle and get even fitter and healthier. Small things perhaps, but indicative of the change in me over the last six months. I may even take a new interest in the opposite sex! I laugh as I say this, 'cos I'm really scared of ever having another powerful, all-consuming, passionate and 'so right' relationship with anyone. However, I can relax, because that is likely not to happen as I think I have had my 'once in a lifetime' love. So what else is there? Friendship, companionship, someone to go to the Pub with? Someone to talk into the small hours with, putting the world to rights, maybe? Maybe a bit of good old sex before I'm too old? All of this is terrifying.

Onwards into 2008 with trepidation, optimism and a desire to become part of the human race again. To all those who have been encouraging and supporting me, thank you and I wish you all a Happy New Year.

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Back on the Treadmill

I am always fascinated by working flour mills in this country. Continual grinding of wheat into flour; flour into bread and cakes and biscuits - the staff of life.

In my cupboard I have flour from two different flour mills: one is from Rudyard Kipling's home and the other is from Castle Carew in West Wales. I have yet to make bread or cakes or biscuits from either with my grandchildren, but when I do, I shall tell them stories about either origin so that the biscuits will taste all the more better.

Now that Christmas is over and there have been no arguments in the house, in fact, all has been very well; another good Christmas with my daughters. I now look forward to the year ahead, differently from the last two New Years when my heart was full of trepidation and fear. What else could befall me and turn my world upside down? This time, I feel that there are better times ahead; that I will find my purpose; my reason to go on; my raison d'etre. Am I just thinking wishfully? No. Not this time. I feel it in my bones. I will make headway this coming year and look forward, not back.

I no longer want to work for anyone, especially a large corporate organisation. I want to work for myself. I still have at least 30 years ahead of me and I want to do something worthwhile and for me as well as others. Positive thoughts. I hope they last.

When the children arrive with me for the last few days of the Christmas holidays I shall bring out the flour that originate from the old working mills and tell them stories from Rudyard Kipling and of battles of Castle Carew as we eat our biscuits and bread made from the wheat of nearby fields where men surely died in battle in years gone by.