Sunday, 30 December 2007

A perfect Christmas

Hello to you all. I hope your Christmas was everything you hoped it would be. Here at Poltiskofarm we had a real mix - a wonderful busy Christmas Eve with all seven children gatherered around the table for an enormous buffet supper of baked ham sticky with brown sugar and spicy with cloves, quiches and mini garlic pizzas, cheeses and homemade pickles. I spent a lovely day baking and mixing ready for the evening and remembered to add gooey, fudgy brownies to the list as all the family have a thing about these. One by one the children arrived and as we all squeezed around the table in our tiny kitchen and I looked from the excited face of a nineteen month old isabella perched in her high chair to the equally excited face of a nearly 24 year old Tom sitting at the other end, I felt so lucky to have the life I have. I know it's a bit schmaltzy but it's true; I am one lucky girl. We rounded the evening off with It's A Wonderful Life (of course!) and the hanging of the stockings!

I won't regale you with every detail of the rest of our Christmas (not that it's over yet of course) just leave you with a few not very good pics of the wlaks, dinners, etc that we have enjoyed so far. Hope the rest of your holiday is peaceful and look forward to catching up with you all soon


Monday, 26 November 2007

A mellow weekend.

We have just had a lovely weekend which has left me feeling charged up and ready for the week ahead. It has been a busy time, but mostly with things that were enjoyable such as my photography lesson with Dave which resulted in me spending most of Saturday lurking in the hedges trying to capture shots of the ducks in a Bellamy meets Bailey fashion. I was supposed to be working but needed the practice; unfortunately I got carried away as I tend to do when aquiring a new skill and even Lucy became tired of posing for her Mummy. Ah well...

Dave had one of his many Here is Something I could Do moments and created doors for the kitchen cupboard complete with routed border, painted them and put gorgeous brushed chrome handles on which he picked up for an amazing £1.00 each (originally £6.00!). I am sooo pleased and he is going to do the other cupboard next weekend. He also...painted most of the woodwork in the kitchen, made a figgy pudding, took the little girls (as opposed to the older girls) out shopping to look at teddies (per Lucy's request!) and cooked the roast yesterday. What a star he is!

I did my bit (sounding a tad guilty eh) and cooked some meals, sewed, helped Lauren with her textile project before she went back to Uni after a brief visit, played cards and was soundly trounced by Lucy the Card Shark, and probably did lots of other things far too boring to mention! Lots of sitting round eating lovely meals, slurping wine and warming by the fire seemed to take place, although the not-so-saintly Dave had lobbed some of the logs at the badger who was winding the ducks up at the dead of night (yes, I know badgers are lovely, but when you've had one rip the living lights out of one of your hens you don't feel quite so giving). Don't think he'll be back in a hurry - the badger that is, not Dave!

I also picked the Black Prince marigolds above as I thought the frost would get them; hah, what was I thinking? This is South Cornwall and the frost never arrived, hence there are even more flowers out there today. Not a bad photo though I say so myself!

Have a good day xx

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Christmas thoughts.

The new Christmas forum has put me in a festive spirit, which is a little ironic as the house has been overtaken by all things Christmassy for some time now. Initially the various things I have made for orders were confined to the sewing room until such time as they were completed and ready for packaging but, one by insidious one, they have weedled their way into all corners of an already overflowing house. Finally I have photographed, sewn the last stitch or bead and sent these cheery items off to their new homes - all apart from the few that have become part of the family that is....

A quick peek into our bedroom reveals a calico stocking hanging on my dressing table, it's nonchalant manner suggesting it has always shared space with the other items gathered there. Above it hangs a Christmas fairy, the first one I made this year; she holds a garland of dried berries collected from our garden earlier this year and wears a wreath of beads in her hair, and every day I rescue her from Isabella who sneaks her away to cuddle her for a little while despite the fact that she is not a toy. Padded hearts hang over the kitchen fireplace, the calico panels proclaiming various lines from traditional carols and the scent of Frankincense and Myrrh mingling with the smells of a family roast or a hearty stew. Hmm, Christmas did indeed arrive very early this year at Poltisko Farm.

The thing is, I realised that by keeping one or two items, I can appease my need to nurture the favourites. Let me explain...this is a woman who, when checking all the children before she goes to bed (yes, I even peek in on the older ones) finds herself tucking up the dolls lying in the wooden cot as she can't bear to see them uncovered! Barking I know, but at least cut me some slack for honesty!!! Now, in the case of the things I make I can sometimes find it difficult to, er..let them go. For example, the Christmas fairy - "She can't be an angel Mummy. Who will look after the tree? She has to be a Christmas Fairy!" - with every stitch this little creature became more real, the calico gradually becoming her body and the embroidered stitches giving her eyes and a smiling mouth. From here I was desperate to clothe her and add some hair which I could braid. She looked sweet but I wanted more for her and so she held her garland which I carefully threaded with the berries and added a matching.....well, you get the picture!

And so she stays, the first of the fairies, to come out each year and join the old favourites - the wonderfully wonky snowman made by Tom 21 years ago (!) who will ALWAYS top the tree; the various stained-glass window pictures made from jewel coloured tissue paper; the felt mice the children and I made goodness knows how many years ago to look like carol singers which sit on the window sill surrounded by candles and geenery. I love them all and I love the fact that more is added each year - a calico stocking, a trio of hearts and a Christmas fairy as starters - while the rest wend there way to places anew to become part of another family's traditions.

Ah well, on with the next lot.

Have a lovely day everyone xx

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Half Term Holiday.

Oops! Should have turned it round!

The half term holiday has been a week later in Cornwall than anywhere else in the country from what I can work out. I have no idea why, but there it is. Here at Poltisko Farm it has been a mixed baggage of a week consisting of a medley of family, work and play with not a little exhaustion added to the pot - Isabella and clocks changing; need I say more? I can only ask yet again WHY? Why must we struggle to establish what seems to be popularly referred to as a 'sleep pattern' in very young children and babies only to have to re-negotiate the boundaries as the clocks leap forth and back with gay abandon? I tell you, I was having my own one-woman Hallowe'en without the aid of make-up here! Looked as though someone had cast a spell on me.... mix one bloodshot eye with the peaked visage of the seriously sleep-deprived and top the whole with the matted unkempt hair of a manic harridan and stir (by expecting her to think of FUN things to do!!!!). Yep, a vision to behold. To be fair to the dear child (restrained eh?) she was also suffering a belated reaction to MMR innoculations in readiness for the impending hour change, but all thoughts of the 'pattern' I had previously 'established' flew out the window along with my wits which I believe have been sighted in a mangled mess in the duck pond!

HAllowe'en itself was actually quite fun. I choose to forget all negative connotations when it gets to this time of year and just enjoy the chance for dressing up and partying. Matty (my sort-of daughter - we hate the term step-daughter as it's so formal) came to stay for the week and her boyfriend popped down too for a few nights making it a household of only eight this year. Smaller than usual but good enough for a party. Dave as ever rose to the occasion dressing up in gypsy fashion complete with eyeliner and dangling earring (!) while I put together a variety of outfits for the rest of the gang - ghosts, ghouls and Isabella in a fairy tutu I made for LAuren about 18 years ago. The usual games were played - penny in the flour, bite out of the apple and so on. Unfortunately the photos always resemble those dreadful shots of hostages on their knees as you can never see the apple itself. Great fun to play though and followed up by fortune telling sessions with Gypsy Dave in one room and Gypsy Pipany in another, glass in one hand and cards in the other. Hmm...

The rest of the holiday has, as I said, been fun although a haze of increasing tiredness has cloaked it all. Walks on the beach (bliss), games in the kitchen (lovely) and today a wonderful mellow walk through the carpet of golden-hued leaves in the woods with Dave, Sam, Isabella, Lucy and Elias - sanity returns. I suppose one good thing about getting up at five in the morning is that by nine I have done most of the housework, prepared the evening meal and even managed to bake a lemon cake and shortbread on Thursday, and made sloe gin and blackcurrant gin on Friday! Well, I was feeding the ducks and the air was still with a hint of chill; as I walked back down the path trying not to let the honking of the ducks drive me insane I noticed there were still sloes on our tree. Up I climmbed catching afore-mentioned nest of hair on spiky branches until I was so tangled that it took me about twenty minutes to free myself BUT I picked enough sloes for two bottles of the good stuff. I have to have something to look forward to!!!

Well, back to the sewing and the thought of a restful evening - fire lit and glowing beautifully, a lamb korma prepared yesterday now warming through in the stove and a film to be watched with the children; lovely.

See you all soon xx

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

What is it about this time of year that brings out the need to make ready for winter? It isn't as though we live in an age of shortages or have to ensure the harvest sees us through the long cold months in an Ingalls Wilder sort of way (forgot those books yesterday Jane). And yet every year as the autumn gradually chills more and more I find myself preparing, making chutneys and jams to fill the shelves with their myriad colours, wrapping up for countryside rambles to collect the sloes and berries which will become rich gins and cordials to be sipped in time by the crackling flames of a winter fire. The children help chop and stack the logs in the woodshed, a job Elias is particularly skillful at and Sam is particularly half-hearted in, and I will make sure I am nowhere to be seen as I panic at the very notion of them weilding the axe! Dave is far better at over-seeing these things!

The garden is already wearing its shabby coat and I am underway with the spruce up - I love the raking of leaves and the tidying of the campfire ready for Hallowe'en and Bonfire Night when we shall sit on the larger logs as the fire roars and spits, keeping company with pumpkin lanterns carved by the gang earlier in the day. The older children (adults actually) 'help' the younger as all love this part of the festival. Seeds have been collected from lupins and lychnis, marigolds and herbs, and are stowed away in paper bags for the following spring. The last of the windfalls are gathered ready for the weekend's cider making which usually produces a flat cider not popular with all, but loved by us. I noticed a crop of blueberries outside the kitchen from a plant which I thought had not produced because of the torrential rains earlier on in the year, but it seems with nature's resilience it merely waited for better weather before deciding to fruit. Now is the time I will cut back the bedraggled plants after their summer dance to let them sleep away the cold days until the next ball calls. The birds will not go without as there are plenty of seedheads left untouched and berries enough on cotoneaster and ivy, berberis and bramble to keep them going in the chill air.

It is a time of nesting for me and I love it.

Have a lovely day everyone xx

Thursday, 27 September 2007

A world wrapped up in a thread.

It is late - well, late by my standards; 11pm on a chilly Thursday night and yet here I sit thinking thoughts of tablecloths and napkins (thanks Jane and Milla!) I have been musing on the finer points of the topic: What size is best? Should the shape be rectangular or square, straight or scalloped of edge, plain or patterned? What about fabric? The choices are many from oilcloth to linen (ooh and yet ouch because of the HUGE cost of fine linen), lightweight cotton which falls into such pretty pleats as it drifts in the breeze or heavier cottons which lie crisp where they are placed, forming neatly angled corners.....I'm getting carried away.

During my fevered musings on the ins and outs of table dressing I remembered something I have been planning to do since I was a teenager (well, I always was a bit odd)and made a mental note to at least start it before the year is out...I have always meant to make a memory cloth. The idea is that you have a plain cloth of some wonderful natural material that will last forever (such as linen) and everytime you have an occasion the people present at the meal write their names on the cloth in pencil. I then embroider these names onto the cloth as a permanent reminder of the people who have shared our table, though no-one write their name more than once.

I love this idea; I love the notion that everytime the cloth is used friends and family are brought to mind as your eye wanders over the delicate stitches and each meal, each gathering, is recalled once again. Of course, over the years there will be some who are no longer of this earth and perhaps a tear or two would be shed at the memories wrought, but for me that is an important part of life... to remember and acknowledge the good times and bad that have passed along the way, to not forget the people who have shaped our past and therefore left a footprint on our future. I am determined to start my own cloth and sooner rather than later as so many of my dear family can already no longer leave their signature for me to weave, winding their memory into the warp and weft for future generations to ponder over. Perhaps I may cheat a little and sew an honourary name for each anyway.

It is now morning and I have just read Pondside's wonderful news - Congratulations on the birth of a beautiful baby grandson Pondside and maybe this is the time to start a cloth of your own?!!

Have a lovely day everyone xx

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

I live in Afghanistan and am an accountant.....

...Apparently this is so! There I was planning a little blog in a soothing mood after my somewhat nerve-fraught launch of yesterday - obviously I mean the launch of my website not myself (images of self being propelled at speed in the manner of a circus act) - where was I? Oh yes, a little blog. Well, there on my profile writ large for all to see was the where I live bit - Penryn, Cornwall & Afghanistan, followed by my industry - an accountant; If only I had known! I wonder what sort of house I have what with all my hard earnt money fiddling, I mean accounting, all those books? Clearly I am an accountant for some high-flying business with nefarious underworld dealings requiring me to look over my shoulder on a regular basis (think Maffia and the Godfather here).

Hmm, time for a reality check methinks....Unfortunately I had tinkered with the profile in order to change my email contact and managed to lie - change - the various other sections without even knowing. Ah well, so back to Cornwall.

The sun is shining with all the capricious nature of an April day with showers and blustering winds keeping it company. The ducks seem to have got something under their tail feathers and are swimming full-lengths of the pond underwater, ducking down in the shallow end to pop up quite a while later in flapping disarray in the deeper waters on the other side. Yes, a lively day I think.

Yesterday really was a ludicrously, nerve-wracking experience for me, one I can almost liken to giving birth in some bizzare way (and believe me I KNOW what I am talking about there!). It felt like I had started something that I had no control over and goodness only knew where it was going to end! Yes, I realise that sounds rather dramatic and possibly rather pathetic too but it is honestly how I felt. All I could think was that these people who had somehow become very important to me over the last year were going to see something that was also very important to me and that maybe they would see something they didn't like, something that would change how they felt about me...Pipany.

I suppose this is the nature of having your own business, especially perhaps one which involves your own handiwork, your own tastes? It feels very much as though it is you that is being judged and therefore possibly you that may be found failing. On the upside I can honestly say I have finally found the confidence in myself to do this and say this is me and this is what I do, and I am proud of it. Huge steps forward for me and I am convinced it is in no small way due to this site and the people on it. So many ideas and views both alike and differing, so many words of sympathy, empathy and encouragement passed around as they are needed, and so many people forging friendships with no agenda other than to enjoy each other's company - a pretty amazing site I think you'll agree.

And so , before I go and weld myself once more to my sewing room (and yes I do agree, I am so lucky to have one and I LOVE it to bits), I would like to propose a toast and offer my thanks for all the wonderful, encouraging thoughts and words sent my way yesterday..... Purplecooers I think you're great!

(Oh and by the way, that grotty looking thing on Elias' neck in the photo is a transfer that we couldn't get off for the photo - cheers for the pressie Granny!)

Byeeee xx

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Golly, it's been so long since I've blogged that I couldn't remember how - where do I go, what is my password and why isn't my user name accepted on Purplecoo? I'm hoping that is down to me not remembering the right username rather than having been removed from the hallowed walls! I shall be posting a quick email in a mo to ask for help (no change there then!). I felt the need to stop the sewing, making and locking myself away in my sewing room and get back in touch with all of you, but as I can't seem to get onto the site I thought I would blog instead and I have to say it feels really good to be doing so. The fingers are flying rather slower than they used to over the keyboard, but here I am nonetheless.

The holidays have been a real mixture this year with the worst weather I can remember for a long time; so easy to forget the relentless rain after a week of toes in hot sand and crystal seas for bathing. I think most of us have felt the challenge of entertaining children through weeks of wet weather and even this game-hungry gang began to tire of yet another day of Risk and Mah Jong. They have deserved medals for their patience while I have disappeared for hours at a time to make yet another item or Dave has glued himself to the computer in his quest to set up a website for me - and what a great job he has done despite an increasingly ropey computer which finally went into retirement yesterday to be replaced by one which actually does what it is supposed to do. More blooming expense!

On the upside the holiday has consisted of lots of lovely things too which I shall pop down in a list to avoid an endless ramble from my blog deprived brain!...

1. A short trip to stay in a little house just outside Hay-on-Wye with Dave, Lucy and Isabella for three nights. Such a pretty town and so lovely to hear Lucy's excitement at everything we did. Her squeals as we drove over the Severn Bridge alone made it very special.

2. Isabella going into the sea with Dave and giggling frantically as the water swept over her chubby litlle body. She looked for all the world like a mermaid, so at home is she in the water. In fact, that brings me on to...

3. Isabella swimming the length of the bath completely unaided and then doing it again for good measure!. I have never seen a baby so in love with water before. She truly is a mermaid.

4. As mentioned before, sewing, making and producing - a website, business cards and products. All very exciting and not just a little scary. Will let you know when it is active though it is beginning to feel as though the build up may lead to a total let down!!!! Now Pipany, this is not the time for jitters!

5. Elias and Dave going night fishing off Stack Point ( a huddle of rocks nestling in the sea and reached by a winding, wild footpath along the cliff edge by lantern light). The planning, the packing the picnic, the collecting together of rods and tackle and bait. The whole resulting in a triumphant return at eleven o'clock pm of an eleven year old boy clutching two large pollock caught by his own rod when he has never caught anything bigger than his finger before. How lovely to see his little face just beaming at me, his body almost wriggling with excitement like a puppy given a treat. Wonderful! Oh and Dad was pretty excited too!

6. An overnight trip to Bristol with my beautiful Lauren who leaves to begin her three year stint as a student of Bristol Uni on Monday. We stayed in the house she and three friends are renting in the Clifton area and walked for hours in the gorgeous sunshine as she showed me all the beautiful places. Such an independent girl blossoming into such a capable young woman; a very special time for just the two of us.

7. Games - well, you didn't really think I wouldn't mention them did you! Mah Jong, Risk, cards (Tarot, California Jack, Strip Jack Naked). No campfires as yet which is a real rarity, but plenty of time yet.

8. Isabella taking her first steps at 15 months of age. The whole family cheering her on and so enjoying her clapping herself as she navigated the hallway. So sweet.

Well, I think I had better stop for now. Once again, thank you everyone for all your lovely comments and support. I am just beginning the task of playing catch up so be patient! Lovely to get back to some normality though and of course that means Purplecoo!

Have a great day xx

Friday, 13 July 2007

I was tagged!

I had a bit of an Epiphany (or do I mean an e-Pipany?) today: I went onto the dashboard to write a blog and discovered I had clicked on something at sometime which meant all my comments were waiting for me to moderate them. Are you following or have you given up the will to live? Anyway, it was a lovely moment for me as I discovered not the three comments sitting in lonely isolation on my blogspot (yeuch!) but 21 waiting to be read...and I thought nobody loved me anymore!!! Validatation through blog comments? What me?

All has been restored to a state of normality and so I thought I would quickly reply to some of the things you had placed upon the blinding white of the page....
1. UPL - I would NEVER spell/grammar check your commments as I don't even do that to the rot I write! Am currently testing the lavender oil on pillow (and on cot, sleepsuit, etc) and will give the camomile in the bath a go tonight. I know the sleepless nights will eventually end but all suggestions are gratefully received. I red somewhere that roman camomile oil helps too.

Annak - only just realised that you tagged me for the 5 mood lifters so here goes....

1. Reading Grouse and Pondside's pieces on depression and self-esteem is a recent thing I use to lift the mood. Grouse's notion of writing down negative thoughts and then coming up with an action plan is currently what I do and has had really good results as I know that action is far better for me when I am low. The problem is always getting going and somehow it feels as if you have your own personal motivator there with her wonderful words. My suggestion for no.1? Print out Grouse's blog and pin it where you cannot avoid it!

2. Lists, lists and more lists!!! Actually, I really mean one list but with a few categories on it such as general, self, achievement, etc. Each one should only have a couple of things, but this way you actually schedule time for yourself even if it is only for a soak in the bath. The achievement one is for ONE job which you have put off doing - it can be anything, but start small. Make sure it gets done as the lift it will give your spirit as you cross it off the list is worth its weight in gold. I even put down one thing under kids so that I don't just let jobs take over - playing cards is the current favourite and doesn't need to take up too much time if you are feeling a bit pushed. The kids are chirpy because you've played and you don't have my best friend (Guilt) sitting at your shoulder all day!

3. Get outside- it can be the hardest thing to do if you feel low as all you want to do is hide away, but fresh air really helps. Decide where to go and make yourself look at the world around you. If you are in a park, look at the people and make up stories in your head about them as you walk! I find a wild and windy beach works for me although doing really physical jobs in the garden has the same effect. Find what works for you and go for it whatever the weather, but make sure you can enjoy the sense of wellbeing with a bath and glass of the necessary after.

4. Sleep!!! Oh, dear God, sleep! I remember it well and as I fell asleep on the sofa while Lucy read to me at 7.15 last night, slept on her bed for another ten mins after she had woken me and then went back to sleep on the sofa untill 10pm when I finally dragged my weary bones to bed, I can honestly say I think it is the secret to life! I actually felt slightly better today though am waning now! Catnap if it works for you but not so much that it stops you sleeping at night. If you wake, get up - lying there is the worse thing you can do. It is better to get up several times and email, I meant make a cuppa or hot milk or something. The main thing is to try and stick to proper routines for sleep and to not have babies if you can possibly help it!

5. Write... whether a blog or a comment on a forum topic, a letter or a meandering scrawl in a notebook, I am convinced writing helps to clear away the dark thoughts. I think it gets them out of the head and onto the paper where you can bin them if you want or read them at a later date to try and understand what goes on when you are low. Mainly, use the purplecoo website for support as so many of us have been there.

Well, there you have it...I also recommend open fires, red wine (but not too much), good food, my wonderful Dave and laughing with the kids, swimming in the sea, oh lots really but remember that it WILL pass!

Have a lovely, cheery day xx

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

The baby, the cat and Gypsy Acora.

I am so tired. My brain is even more befuddled than usual, my eyes have reached new heights of red-rimmed grittiness and my muscles refuse to respond to the infrequent calls to work that my exhausted brain is sending them. Yep, Baby Isabella has once more descended into the realms of night stalker despite my best efforts to the contrary, and Tiger Lily, the cat from hell, has yowled all night to keep her company! (Ha, how innocent she looks in the photograph!) Apologies for the fact that this is not a new topic in my blogs and please feel free to scroll down to a merrier note (I promise to try to put one somewhere), but I thought having a quick blog (Oh why does it have to sound so YUKKY!) might order my thoughts and blow away the fog I am currently inhabiting.

Actually, having written that much on the subject I am already tired of its demanding any more of my time - and so to other things.

Logged on this morning and had a look at some of Jane's recommended links - oh I don't know why! Just seemed like a nice thing to do when you have a free five minutes because everyone's b******d off for a change in order to avoid the Grendel-creature that was once their mother!). Anyway, Jane frequently reminds me of myself (sorry Jane, wording this v.badly) due to the Capricorn link which means we are both prone to bouts of self-doubt, have a huge interest in all things spiritual and other worldly, and of course, the all important one, both have to finish reading a book once started however loathsome or boring it may be! So, there I am scrolling through her list when I discover one for a psychic called Beverly Night. Oops, just popped off to check on that as I thought it didn't seem right - it's Michele Knight (quelle Twerp!) Clicked on the link and there unfolded a world of paranormal experiences including free readings. Well, it had to be done didn't it? I had a go on the house number one where you put in the number of your house - no! Really Pip! - and in return Michele gives you the appropriate reading. Boy was I pleased! Our house number is all about love with a capital L - in family, relationships and with a heavy emphasis on the romantic. Of course, there was that little bit at the end about a possibility for obsessional love being somewhat a destructive force, but I am a firm believer in only taking the parts that work for you (good grief, now I sound like some sort of Sweeny Todd character!) Give it a go and see what pops up for you.

On a similar theme, there is a Romany psychic called Acora who is based in Plymouth - not Cornwall, but close enough that he makes frequent forays over the river - and many years ago Dave and I both went for a reading when he set up caravan in Truro for a few days. At the time we were not 'together' and had met up for the day as friends. We queued seperately as I was determined he should not link us in any way and finally Dave entered the hallowed van for his fortune to be told. He was not in a very happy place as his marriage had not long broken up and, as with many things in life, despite it having been an unhappy relationship for many years, it was still a horrendous thing to go through at the time. When his reading had finished he went to a nearby cafe to wait for me and a little while later my turn had come.

I admit to a feeling of trepidation as I sat in the kitsch and far too modern caravan. Where was the quaint Romany van with its painted woodwork and pots and pans? No, all I could focus on were the plethora of photographs adorning the walls, each one a black and white shot of a celebrity, Acora's elfin face poking into view at one or other corner in every one. The huge poster shot of the elegantly clad Welsh songstress exuding glamour from every pore and bearing nothing more than the legend 'Shirley' in exuberant lettering particularly caught my eye! Hmm, was I in good company, I wondered.

Acora read my palm, read the Tarot and got me to peer into the crystal ball - the upshot was that I was going through some terrible times (yep), had been for a long time (yep) and that it was about to change for the better (Oh thank the Lord!). He said I would have two children with a younger man whose name began with a 'D', who had loved me for a long time but had not yet told me so. He said I was unaware of this although many others saw it (was he calling me dense I wonder?). He also said I would be a published write, or would be well known for my writing and that it would be factual not fiction (blogging perhaps?). Suddenly, the tiny figure of the Gypsy Acora leapt from the bench seat it had formerly been perching upon to announce with vigour that 'someone has put a curse on your head which has been responsible for all your bad fortune. I take that curse (and he grabbed it from somewhere over my head) and send it back to them sevenfold,' at which point he sank back to his former state of ease! Well, shivers ran down my spine, I can tell you!

I imagine many of you have worked out the Dave link here. The strange thing is that at the time I was annoyed. I remember meeting up with Dave in the cafe and relating it all back to him, scoffing at the fact that he must have noticed us talking before we queued and laughing at the notion that I should have any more children when I was already coping with three on my own. Ha, that'll teach me! Poor Dave sat there in silence as I gently shattered what I later found out were his hopes for the future - a life with me and our children, one huge happy family with a like-minded partner who would allow him to be the person he had buried for years and, hopefully, with one or two little beings of our own to cement the family together.

Fluke or a true gift for reading the future? I'll leave you to decide.

Bye for now xx
(and sorry JAne for name-dropping!)

Monday, 2 July 2007

Me again!

Well, it seems like a lifetime since I last blogged and the only reason I can give is that I have had little to blog about. It has been a quiet patch here at Poltisko Farm, but I have logged in regularly to see what you have all been up to. So thrilled to hear about both Jane's move and her news about the book. Late as ever, I am planning to read it to the children (probably including the 17 year old) as of tonight as it seems to be the only way I can get to it. I love the whole ritual of story-telling with the kids all sitting round and snuggled up in duvets (well, it IS summer after all!) and love even more the fact that the older ones will often sneak in for a listen too, long limbs wrapped around the warm bodies of the little ones as they sleepily listen to the familiar tales. They say it reminds them of when they were tiny, particularly if I am reading one of their favourites from what now seems so long ago.

All the children are huge readers, though not all of fiction; Tom prefers biographies and reference books, while Lauren loves everything (just like her Mum!) Sam and Elias love fantasy novels, and Lucy is a law unto herself - she reminds me so much of myself at her age, several books on the go at once and no library large enough to keep up with the rate at which she devours them! We are currently reading The Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder and I have learnt how to clean and prime a gun (!), how to look after, kill and butcher a pig (useful one this, I feel), and how to prepare one's home for the impending winter months by ensuring the loft is full of pumpkins, grain and a variety of fruit and veg. It's a lovely read, though not a patch on my own favourite, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. How many times I read that book and the rest of the series, and how traumatised was I that Jo didn't marry Laurie!

Well, little else to say today. The past couple of weeks saw sad news as a very dear and lovely friend went into labour with her first child to find it had died because the placenta had detached. Nothing else was wrong and the baby was a perfect little girl. She had heard the heartbeat only the day before and had had a trouble free pregnancy, yet it was not meant to be and she is now suffering terribly. I can only imagine what she and her husband are going through and know that some of you have also been there too - my heart goes out to you all.

I will try to write something upbeat tomorrow and in the meantime I'm going to treat myself to a meander through all your lovely blogs. Take care all xx

PS. Chris, so very sorry about the setback, but that's all it is - keep going; I am sure it is meant to happen x

Wednesday, 20 June 2007


Thought for today, Purplecooers.... Support! No, I'm not talking about uplifting, bolster-holding or cheek-enhancing, but the support offered by this site to those of us who bare our souls and share our lives. Now, I know Exmoorjane has posted an excellent bit on this on the main page and it was reading this that prompted my thought, but from a slightly different perspective. I realised that if I found the support offered by the wonderful Purplebunch to be beneficial to me, then perhaps it could be the answer to all my problems. Not getting what I'm on about? Well, it's quite simple really....

For example, we are all aware by now that self-esteem (and the lack of) is a not insubstantial problem for many on the site, myself most certainly included, and we all know how the mood can be lifted by the thoughtful and helpful comments received on a bad day. So what about those days when I can't get my act together for, let's say, cleaning? What if I post a blog about it and you all reply with a list of tasks which we shall all undertake in an act of cameraderie guaranteed to ensure I am motivated. We could keep checking online to see how we are progressing and I shall finally have a wonderfully neat and tidy house! Someone good with motivation (Angel) can send messages to keep the spirits up and perhaps another would work out a timescale along the lines of 'wash the floor - 10 mins'.

Alternatively, when I am behind with paperwork and filing of the household accounts (re-bank statement checking, etc) we could all have a session of sorting together going something like this:
1. Collect paperwork off florr.
2. Divide into different areas - filing, bills, etc.
3. Panic - oops, no that should say work through and deal with!
Suggestions from the good-with-their-cash brigade (of which I was one till I met Dave!) would be sooo gratefully received by the rest of us and, no doubt, enforced post-haste thus ensuring a healthy financial outcome with maximum potential for treats (wine, chocs, creme eggs).

The possibilities are endless! Just think of something that you are not dealing with and drag everyone else down with you! No, that's not right either - I mean get everyone else to work at it with you and lo and behold, it's sorted.

Or I could just get off my arse and do it myself.... Ho hum, said Pooh!

Have a good day all xx

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

So there I am attempting to mow the diminutive front lawn with an ancient and useless Flymo, my back protesting as I swing the cursed beast wildly back and forth, and the expletives flying from my erstewhile ladylike mouth as the verdant blades of grass spring up unshorn to laugh at me in gay abandon, when Dave hoves into view on the top step wearing a fetching ensemble of boxer shorts and apron. In one hand he brandishes a wooden spoon (or was it a whisk?), desperately trying to catch my attention over the ratcheting grinding of the mower, while in the other he holds his mobile phone, pressing it hard against his ear in the manner of someone not wishing to miss a single syllable of the conversation.
I stop the machine.
"I'm on the 'phone to the Fraud Squad. Pip," he announces and for just a moment I am reminded of Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet, of course) basking in the importance of association.
Allow me to explain.... On Sunday dear Davey took it into his head to check our bank statements - not something we do with great relish or, indeed, great frequency but, money matters being rather pertinent at present, he was moved to inspect the ins and (mostly) outs of our finances.
"What is FTB World of Warcr?" he asked of his beloved.
"Not a bloody clue." she testily replied, only to be informed that on the 7th of May three payments had been taken from our account by something bearing the aforementioned name, each one for the amount of 14.99.
We went online and entered World of Warcr - up came Warcriminals and suspicion smote my untrusting breast as I considered Dave's obsession with World at War, the endless episodes of black and white footage played out to the distinguished tones of Sir Larry, and the distinctive burning of the Swastika at the forefront of my mind. Was there more to his interest than met the eye? We carried on searching and discovered World of Warcraft - Ah, ha! Now I had him! The obsession had gone too far and he was downloading games to feed it.
"Bum (I paraphrase). It looks like the kids have downloaded something that we are paying for."
We questioned. We interrogated. We did everything bar shine a lamp into poor Sam's eyes (well, he was the only one around), but he was adamant that he had only heard of the game, not ever played it. Eventually we rang the bank and asked for more info, only to be told that one of Dave's own accounts also had two payments from the same FTB W of W for the same amounts paid out on the same day! So, five payments in all; that's er... 5 X 14.99 = a lot! The bank told us they would look into it - obviously, the bank person, not the building. Honestly, do try to follow - and get back to us. Fast-forward to Delia, sorry Dave, in the apron and boxers and the Fraud Squad.
Apparently, they are dealing with thousands of cases like this to do with FTB World of Warcraft. It's a huge scam and they are using cash machines, etc, to access the details of peoples' accounts. Dave will be signing a statement and we will get the money back, but how scarey is it to think that if he hadn't checked we might never have known?
The moral of this tale? Go check your accounts, statements, under the mattress and, should you see the words FTB World of Warcraft, then get thee to the Feds!

Oh, and as a footnote....DAve was wearing the apron because he was baking me a cake as a bribe to get me to cut the lawn. Why only boxers beneath? Haven't a clue!!!

Bye all xx

Friday, 15 June 2007

Spiders and secrets.

I was going to write a blog about the spider poking its hairy legs out from under the fridge. I discovered its revolting presence as I lobbed a crisp packet into the bin and bent to retrieve said packet when it inevitably missed the target (no, no good at any throwing games). As I leaned down with graceful agility to scoop it up, my eyes were drawn toward the 'Thing' half-visible amongst the debris not yet swept from the floor and I leaped back with as much gracelessness as it is possible to muster to stand trembling by the kitchen sink. Now, I am not usually such a wuss about spiders, but it was the shock which caused my over-the-top reaction. Once I had steadied the nerves with a reviving swig of last night's dregs, I crept forth with shoe raised high above my head prepared to wallop the poor thing should it decide to advance, only to discover it was the top of a tomato! You know, the calyx where the flower rots away to leave something which closely resembles a spider. Well, I thought it looked very alike anyway!

So, having decided to jot down the spider episode after all, I realise I am trying to put off writing the blog I ought to write which is the one about my sister-in-law...she of the terminal cancer which wasn't as mentioned in my list yesterday. Now, my problem is that there are a number of issues around the writing that concern me:

1. Will it seem as though I am using what was/ is a horrendous ordeal as a means of sensationalism?

2. Will it mean I can work through it and gain some perspective on the whole bloody thing or will it mean that I have opened up a whole can of worms that I am mostly able to keep buried away in my head (though it haunts us day and night with the threat of its re-emergance)

3. Will you all think this is one barking saga too many and disappear forever therefore meaning I will need to leave the site unless I am capable of pretending to be someone else and lie my way through future blogs about some make-believe family (though of course, this could be great fun and a chance to be someone who has HUGE self-esteem and is highly successful at all she does!!!)

4. Are there some stories which should remain private?

It is not a pretty story; in fact, it is an extremely ugly one which I am both embarrassed and horrified in equal measures to have lived through, but I am aware that I stupidly mentioned it as it, once again, was in my mind at just the wrong moment. Anyhow, let me know what you think. No offence will be taken and I shall be more than happy to return to relating stories of tomato spiders and so on.

On another note, I am intrigued to know what has happened to some of the Purplecoo crew. I decided to read some blogs I have not yet visited only to find some of them either haven't blogged for ages or else have never blogged at all. Why? Names that come to mind? Oh, I can't remember - curse my bad memory! Obviously we know Milla is up to her eyes since the Dyson episode, but what of the others? Well, I just thought it was a point worth raising!

Have a good weekend all (and as ever, sorry for the ramble today!) xx

Thursday, 14 June 2007

I've been tagged!!!

Well, I didn't even know it was going on till today and now I've been 'had' - tagged that is! Eight things about me that won't send you to sleep with utter boredom? Hmm, not easy really as I don't get up to much and when I do, I probably blog about it. Ah well, i'll give it a go ....

1. My one-time best friend and sister-in-law claimed she had terminal cancer for a year and a half and then sat on a train track so that her legs were ripped off when she was 'found out' - that got your attention, didn't it? Unfortunately, it really did happen and as the hospital subsequently informed us that she was in no way insane, we have had no choice but to understand that some people truly are coldly manipulative and single-minded in their quest to get their own way. And I know I sound hard, but it is the only way I can cope with all that happened without falling apart.

2. Something less heavy going perhaps... I was once painted with Tom and Lauren (when they were much younger) for a magazine short story competition. It was Woman's Own and apparently I had just the right sad, worried look for the woman in the winning story! Great eh! The artist also paints the covers for some of Babara Cartland's novels and also did the illustrations for the updated 'Joy of Sex', though I was NOT a model for that!!!!

3. I eat anything and everything. There is not a food I will not consume or try!

4. I had post-natal depression so badly after Lucy's birth (and during the pregnancy, now I think about it - antenatal, obviously) that I have been left with a tendency for depression which drives me potty! Luckily it doesn't appear very often. It also affected my memory which used to be brilliant and is now pants which also drives me potty.

5. I can do drawn threadwork, cross stitch, embroidery, crochet, paint, draw, write poetry and knit anything from Fair Isle to cable! However, I sing like a cat (though it does't stop me, to the kids' disgust!), dance badly and cannot ride a bike!

6. I used to be in the school German folk club (could sing back then) andstill sing the songs now. Quite handy in a beer festival, I suppose...

7. I am a loyal, honest and caring friend who gives too much of herself because she can't bear others to be in pain. Ooh, I sound a bit worthy now!

8. I am certain I was a soldier in WW1 - and a clairvoyant once told me I was too!

So there you go. Nothing wildly exciting really. Am I supposed to teg someone now? Let me know if you haven't been had! xx

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Thank you, thank you xx

Well, I hardly know where to start! What an amazing, wonderful, supportive bunch you are. On Wednesday I moaned my little heart out and the response from this dear site completely bowled me over. So many brilliant suggestions flooded onto the page that today I can honestly say I feel a weight has been lifted. I cannot thank you all enough. I have read, thought about and taken on board all you have said and this morning feel more like Pipany than I have for a long while. And so to action! No more the wallowing (which makes me feel worse anyway); on to the lists (well, I am a list kinda gal) and forth into positivity!

Here are the things I have decided to take from your comments, adding and embellishing as feels right for me:
Step 1 - Each day write a list with these headings (How was I such a crap teacher?!)- General - for normal jobs that have to be done (keep small!)
Me - Put three things on it that will be purely for me (candlelit bath, see a friend, etc) and try to do at least one. Achievements - three things that I keep trying to do but never manage, however small (might be painting a door or baking a cake) Kids - One special thing to take away the guilt of not giving time (might be going to the park or chatting with one on their own). I do this anyway but it will make me appreciate just what I do with them! Dave - Something nice each day (send a card to work for him to find in his pigeon-hole, run a candlelit bath, etc). Again, we are both quite good at this (particularly Dave) but tiredness etches its way into each day and we sometimes forget. At the end of each day, write down what I liked about the day and b*****r the rest!

Well, it works for me! Yesterday I felt as though I had been let off the hook and decided to stop beating myself up about things. Isabella and I met up with a friend, went for a beautiful walk through Penjerrick (such a beautiful name) and swapped plants. Perfect. After collecting Lucy from school, we visited Granny for tea and cakes followed by a trip to buy the makings of a special meal for me and Dave - antipasto for starters involving all sorts of piquant, tasty foods to be eaten as finger food (love the feel of squishy spiced peppers and juicy olives dribbling through my fingers) and a rich paella for after. It was supposed to be a surprise as he had yet another meeting which meant he wouldn't be home till late, but we arrived back to find him on the sofa as the meeting was cancelled and so he played cards with Lucy at the kitchen table, chatting away as I cooked. Later I checked my emails to find he had sent me one from work with only the simple words, "I love you." Life's not so bad really, is it?

So once again, thank you Purple People. I suppose I knew what I needed to do but reading all your suggestions and supportive words gave me some clarity which I had been unable to find. I still don't have a clue what direction I am heading in, but it doesn't matter as I am heading somewhere! For once the Fates, the gods or god himself can decide!

And to end, a wonderful bit from the lovely UPL which I think is relevant to all of us sometimes and was a brilliant thing for me to do - when it all gets to much, just say this out (to your God, whoever that may be)..."Ok, I am here. You take over because I'm knackered and no longer have any idea what I'm doing."

Brilliant! Have a lovely day all x

Sunday, 3 June 2007

A bit bleary.

So, my return blog. Should it arrive in a blaze of fanfares and revelery? Perhaps fireworks are more appropriate? I can see their rainbow colours streaming across the sky even as I type. No, unfortunately reality has yet again raised its (frequently) tiresome head and ensured that my efforts today will be feeble thanks to the early-morning risings of Isabella. Today Dave and I are gritty eyed as befits those souls woken by the four-thirty am yellings of a one year-old babe, God bless her overlarge lungs.

Ah well, enough of that familiar moan. As I posted on the main page recently, we have been sans computer thanks to the fact that we have been sans phoneline. BT have worked hard to ensure we remain that way, but we battled bravely and eventually good overcame the dark forces of the overpaid BT network (apologies to anyone in their employ - tis the company that I berate) and we are connected once more. The impending threat of a 116.00 (pound sign has taken itself off in disgust) call-out fee - yes, that's right...CALL OUT FEE - was enough to guarantee sleepless nights in the Poltisko Farm household even without Isabella's best efforts in that department. The idea of the further charge of 99.00 per hour or part thereof was almost too much to comprehend, especially as it took five hours for the fault to finally be fixed. Why aren't we all setting up phone-fixing companies purple people? There's clearly a killing to be made somewhere!

Despite all things conspiring to the contrary, KittyB and I managed to meet up during her recent stay in not-very-sunny Cornwall. Nerves abounded as I walked into the pub - late as ever - only to find Kitty looking exactly like her photograph: slim, pretty and incredibly easy to chat to. The evening seemed to fly and yes, of course your ears were burning! It was my chance to catch up on what had been happening during my enforced absence. A uniform has emerged I hear? Will have to read up on that before I get detention for breaking school dress code.

Lovely though it was to actually meet a Purplecoo member in the flesh, I was slightly worried (oh, OK...Very worried) about being a disappointment myself. What if I registered shock on her face which could only mean the posted pictures of one Pipany were guilty of giving a false impression. Perhaps the one revealing only a back view of me on a beach would have been a better one to go with? I could have entered the pub in reverse and conducted the whole evening with only the subtle light of the pillar candles flickering in the window recess lighting my face in soft and flattering warmth or maybe wearing a hat with a veil in a kind of slightly eccentric this is how I dress for a pub attitude would have lessened the nerves somewhat. As it was, my usual disorganisation meant I didn't have time to do more than pull on trousers and top in order not to leave poor Kitty sitting for too long on her own. What did it matter? She was lovely and so was the evening. Just desperate to hear about the meeting between Milla and Kitty now.

Well, a bit of a befuddled and rambling (as ever) blog to kick off with. Thanks for all the lovely welcome backs and I will gradually get to all your sites over the next few days. I've made a start but it's a huge task - perhaps I should charge a catch-up does 116.00 sound?

Bye for now x

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Isabella's 1st Birthday!

Hurray! It's here! Isabella was born a year ago today at 10.12am, to be precise and we are so excited it is almost ridiculous. Dave rang from work at 10.12 on the dot and told me to look under the bed, where I found a beautiful box containing three presents wrapped in tissue paper, all for me! There was a book on the Medici family which I have long wanted, a bottle of the hand lotion he bought me to take into hospital when Isabella was born (oh, how the smell takes me back) and a gorgeous embroidered top in creams, mauves and lime green - very beautiful and intended to take away the frumpy blues I have been having lately! What a fab man he is and how lucky am I?

No real time to blog though so am indulging myself by posting some pics from the Great Event - me looking knackered just after she was born and Dave looking so full of pride he almost shines with it! Catch up later hopefully xx

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

My Davey.

A Cheat of a Blog!

We have had problems with the phone for the last week or so and this has meant the computer has frequently been out of action. Unfortunately, it is sometimes fine and I fall into the trap of believing it will be ok to blog, only to watch my writing disappear God knows where - probably takes itself off to The Other Site where it lingers in lonely silence in a museum of abandoned corridors! Needless to say, my temper has been frequently roused by the actions of the computer and I resorted to having a go at the exercise set by KittyB (which I just managed to read before the thing shutdown yet again). I am posting it here as I really need to catch up on others' blogs before doing one of my own, hence the cheat bit - a bit of writing scrawled out on Word yesterday in frustration, not particularly uplifting and not based on anything specific, though experiences have informed some of it. Read it if you like or not; I shan't take it personally! The exercise, by the way, was to write the words, 'I remember' and go from there! Kitty's is wonderful and I actually suggeat you pop over to her page right now and get reading! Go on! And have a go yourself - it's good fun if nothing else.

I Remember.

I remember thinking that you were the most beautiful man I had ever seen and I remember how that made me feel; that someone like you should want me, with my ordinary face and children in tow. Stupid, stupid me. How did I not know that the beautiful face hid an empty heart, an empty mind? Of course you wanted me, the appeal of the untried is always great and you had never had a married woman before. Oh, you did what we all do to ensure the world will absolve us from guilt – you told yourself that there could be a future in it; said that you would have to be careful as you could really fall for me and I took this as a sign that we were meant to be. No-one more stupid than those who close their eyes to the truth. I fell hard and you soon grew bored. After all, what could I possibly offer you after the initial thrill of the chase was gone? I lost everything and paid the price for my stupidity, but I learned to understand the limits of my appeal. I remember….

I remember when I had a friend who was everything to me. We lived in each other’s pockets, the children as close as true siblings and when he disappeared, your husband, to leave you reeling with the whys and the wherefores, I was there to love you all. I fed you and cared for those precious ones who had lost both their parents for this time. You curled up and couldn’t do more than be held, the world you had known reduced to a barrage of lies as we uncovered the illness and the affairs and the years of deceit. Yet you turned when it no longer suited and now we are strangers who pass in the street. I lost those children and I miss them, but I will remember not to go there again with someone new. I will remember…

I remember you who told me you had cancer. I remember taking you for your scan and being told you would rather go in alone, that you were fine. I remember you telling me it was terminal, in three places, nothing to be done and I remember taking a breath and being there for you. We would help with your children; take care of you and them. It was a hell of a year, pregnancy making me a bundle of guilt as I strived to bring life into a world you were leaving. You raged at us for not being at your beck and call. The guilt ate at us all the more. You had fits and I held you, stroked the hair back from your face. It was a lie and I remember the unfolding of it as if it were yesterday. And now you have no legs: your answer to being held accountable. “This will stop the recriminations,” only it didn’t and now you are alone after lying on a train track with all intentions of living, planning and plotting to make us pay for not letting you get away with it. Though I feel guilt, I do remember your manipulation, that of a spoilt child throwing a tantrum, only with the deadly scheming of the adult.

I remember a world so dark I could not exist in it anymore. The agony of seeing the pain I had caused was too great to face and I no longer knew myself. I was the coper, the one who made things better and now I had destroyed everything. The switch clicked and I feel it as if it were happening now. Such a terrifying place to be and yet, at the time, there is no more pain. The switch clicked and it was gone. My mind finally cleared and I knew what I had to do, and did it with deadly precision: the lining up of newly-bought baby bottles and formula; the tins of cat food complete with fork and opener, the dishes washed and ready at the side; the note left where you would find it telling you I had not fed the baby with my milk, that she was safe. And then I phoned and you were home. I said I needed you and you came, but you didn’t know what was happening. I had not said, but I had timed it with cold accuracy that your journey to reach me would take as long as it needed for the pills to kick in. You found me – I heard you call as you ran through the door and the lights darkened as I drifted toward peace, the baby softly sleeping at my side. It took a whole night to be declared safe and will take a whole lifetime for the guilt to ease, though of course it never really does. How can you ever forgive yourself for taking the easy way and making others pay the price? Though I try not to, I remember.

I remember that if it weren’t for you I would still be that person: broken and hurting and crushed. I was a shadow moving through the world and no longer felt I had a place or a right to exist. You loved me, held me. You made me cry and gradually I was here again, only safer than I had ever been. I still get my times of being scared, of being sure it will change and that I will no longer have the same appeal. I wait for the words that tell me it is over, that I was not the one after all as you justify your betrayal, as isn’t that what they always do, the betrayers? I guess the difference is that I know I must trust and, for you, I will. You are the one who scraped me off the floor and made it right and I love you. That is what I will remember ... I love you.

Friday, 11 May 2007

Not quite bone idle then!

Haven't got time to blog properly today as I have to take Sam to Treliske Hospital for his hearing aids, so thought I would post some pics of the things I make when not sitting here blogging - yes, sometimes I manage to do other things, though less and less it seems! Just a few cushions, bags and aprons - oh, and Lauren's ragdoll from way back! Oh, great, I've managed to post two sideways! I give up!
HAve a lovely day and I will catch up with you later xx

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Confidence again!

I feel as though I have been away from the site for an age and yet it is a mere handful of days since I last blogged - I so wish that didn't sound like a 'delicate' situation requiring syrup of figs and prune juice! I have tried once or twice to dip in and out, but it seems hardly worth the effort of logging on (hmm, still in the same tack I fear), the computer barely managing to reach the site before some other necessary task calls me away again. Eventually, I conceded defeat and decided to wait till the bank holiday weekend was over before catching up with you all again.

The weekend was a mixed bag of outings, beach trips, shopping and lunch in Truro (Thorntons - need I say more?) and wonderful, relaxing times at home. Very lovely and very much needed by all. I even managed to get back out into my sewing room and make Isabella a rather jaunty pair of shorts complete with frilly trim rather reminiscent of those naughty postcards of Brighton, now I come to think of it. Obviously, on a nearly year-old baby I am assuming the connection won't be made by passers-by and I won't therefore have to explain why I thought this was a Good Look for one so young and innocent. In fact, now I am thinking about it, I do wonder why I didn't make the connection myself before making the blasted things. Hey, ho.

Yesterday saw life return pretty much to normal with the weather helpfully marking the occasion in shades of sludge and gloom, the afternoon further enhancing the effect by producing copious amounts of the wet stuff in order to drag any lurking bright spirits down into the depths. Personally, I didn't particularly note the weather until after I had dissolved into tears after an incident at the playgroup. I think I'd better explain...

I mentioned my 'love' of all things playgroup in an earlier blog, making it clear that while I admire the people who organise such things and know they are a necessary part of enabling a child to learn the skills of socialising, my own inability to do the small talk makes me dread the experience. Last week, a mother at Lucy's school who has a seven month baby suggested we try a group at Mylor Bridge (lovely village previously mentioned and adored by me). Now, I really don't know this mum despite the fact that we stand outside the same school gates every day and both have babies, though we do pass a few hellos - not on the same occasion, of course. Even I can find more to say than that! Anyhow, to cut to the quick, last Tuesday found Isabella playing in a bright and sunny hall full of babies and toddlers. Toys were everwhere and there was a real atmosphere of enjoyment that I have never found at playgroups before. The mums were very much involved with the kids and chatted as they played rather than huddling in a corner in some ghastly clique. I have to say they were an extremely friendly bunch, coming over to say hello, etc. I actually quite enjoyed myself (teach me to be so judgemental) and, needless to say, Isabella had a whale of a time - would be grateful if someone could explain that sometime. Why 'whale'?

With such a good feeling about the whole thing I gaily set off yesterday, babe in tow and confidence fairly oozing through my pores - right until the moment I stepped through the door to find no sign of K (school mum). Tummy jitters ever so slightly. I decide to be pro-active and make eye contact with various people, smiling as I do so. They smile back (why wouldn't they?) and then it happens: my tongue cleaves to the roof of my mouth and my mind goes blank. What to say? What to ask? To all intents and purposes, I mingle with ease, chatting my head off and appearing comletely at one whereas the reality is that I feel on the edge, drifting around the perimeter of the group and feeling as though I am back at school.

It is this I hate, the reminder of the inability to be comfortable in groups which always descends into a character assassination in my head. They are so much younger than me; they are all dressed trendily in Bench jeans and Animal tops (surf gear), whereas I cannot wear such clothes as I have too thin a body and manage to make casual clothes look ill-fitting. This means I generally look over-dressed in a world full of jeans; another thing to make me feel out of place. And the whole time I am aware how ludicrous this internal dialogue is and that it really stems from a childhood where I was ridiculed for not being part of the crowd - it is difficult not to stand out when your hand-me-downs originate from a sister who is ten years your senior and have reached you via three others. Fashions certainly changed a lot in a ten year space of time and children are the harshest critics. Add to this the fact that we were never taken to playgroups, never allowed anyone home to play ("I'm not letting anyone see the state of this place") and were never allowed to any parties ("No, because I can't have them back") and it is hardly difficult to see why it is second nature for me to see myself as a problem. The excuses were, of course, my mother's way of avoiding the very thing she loathed, her terrible shyness making her unable to allow her children the chance to learn a different way of being.

So, there I am, familiar feelings making my tummy lurch and anger at myself making me carry on despite wanting to crawl away to the comfort of my home. Finally, it is time to leave and yes, I have mixed and chatted, and yes, I will go again because I will not have Isabella struggle like I do but no, I didn't enjoy it and no, I didn't feel part of the group. As I strapped her into her seat I felt such an overwhelming wave of sadness that the little girl who was me had never been given the chance to have friends and had, as a consequence, been an incredibly lonely child, a situation which was only ever heightened in my teens when I was never able to stay out later than nine and so was never asked by my peers. What seemed so sad was the fact that I actually like people and would, I'm sure, have had a good social life if only I was given the chance, which would in itself have increased my self-confidence. To my horror I sat in the car with tears pouring down my face, poor baby in the back having the sound of her mother's wretched sobbing as background music while the rain slid down the windscreen. Wonderful.

So there it is. A maudlin tale full of far too much introspection and a need to shake off the residue of the outing. Of course, I shall go again next week (capricorn never gives up - unfortunately) and I'm sure I shall report back what a fool I have been. Oh, and please don't think I sit around like some saddo now; I was fortunate in realising early on that I could be beaten by the past or learn from it. I constantly put myself in situations which require me stepping out of my comfort zone and, while it never gets any easier, at least I know I keep on trying! Lord, I think I had better go before this gets any worse!

Have a cheery and confident day all xx

Thursday, 3 May 2007

The tale of two mermaids.

Lucy is home today; her school is being used as a polling station and so we shall be doing 'girlie' things - or at least that is what she tells me!

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon with my other girlie, Lauren, my beautiful nearly-twenty year-old daughter. We had both realised that neither one of us had remembered Granny Shirley's birthday on the Monday and so we set off with an enormous bunch of lilac, the perfume filling the car with its heady scent, and a pretty home-made gift tag courtesy of Lauren - highly talented in the art department, that one! Of course, neither one of us thought to ring Granny and thus arrived twnty-five minutes or so later to an empty cottage. No doubt, Granny was thrilled with the wizzened posy she found tucked as far into the doorstep shade as possible! Best laid plans and all that...

Having finally dragged ourselves out of the house, Lauren and I decided we really didn't want to go back so soon and drove to Swanpool Beach in search of something to eat (sorry, another beach story but it is Cornwall after all). Once again, the gusty wind was onshore, but the hot sunshine worked its magic as we sat with Isabella on the sand eating huge baguettes of roasted vegetables with melted goats' cheese - yum! The sky was of such a brilliant blue, so pure against the muddier blue of the swirling sea and gleaming sands. Children sat engrossed in the building of sandcastles, a myriad pretty shells decorating the wobbly turrets and brightly coloured buckets holding sea water ready for the moats.

Lauren and I chatted as we sat watching the activity. We chatted about relationships, giggled at the photos we took of ourselves (one of which I have posted above and now wish we had taken it with the sea behind us!) and sat in dreamy silence as the sun warmed and soothed away any troubles. I love these special times with my Lauren, knowing that all too soon she will have flown the nest once and for all to chase her dreams. She has her mother's thirst for independence and a desperation to row her own boat that I recognise and understand as my own. It is only through Dave that I have finally learnt that it is ok to lean a little, to allow someone else to take the responsibilty - I suppose I mean to trust. Lauren, I hope, will find this sooner than I did, but in the meantime I shall watch and worry and be proud as she forges her way and, should the need arise, I shall pick her up and hold her as I always have done when she has stumbled over life's challenges.

But today is Lucy's day and I am off to play mermaids and pirates on the beach once again, the wading into the frothy sea to rescue her reminding me endlessly of the same game played out with Lauren all those years ago - different child, different year, but the same wonderful, magical memories to build.

Hope you all have a lovely day too x

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

A Performance?

Such a lovely evening yesterday: Dave actually managed to arrive home a little early for once, so we put Isabella in the car and set off into the sunshiny afternoon in search of a drink. With the weather so sunny it seemed a riverside pub was in order and we decided to head down to the Pandora Inn on Restronguet Creek near Mylor (a gorgeous village I talked about in an earlier blog).

The Pandora is a 17th century inn, thatched of roof and notorious for its connections with smuggling, though not of latter years as far as I'm aware! In fact, its more recent history saw it becoming a meeting ground for the yellow welly brigade, the decked pontoon leading to the inn front providing a perfect strutting ground once one had moored the gin palace and pulled alongside in the dinghy. Oh, many and oft is the time I have witnessed that preening peculiar to this branch of the boating fratenity - the fanning of the peacock feathers, or in this case, the matching yellow waterproofs of which I refuse to name brands for fear of offending, and the swinging stride which affords the awaiting audience (those of us trying to enjoy a quiet drink) the ultimate viewing experience. Hmm...

Fortunately, this seems to be less of an issue in more recent times, though I have no idea why. Perhaps the yellow wellies have changed to a more sedate navy and I haven't noticed their presence; doesn't seem terribly likely as it is all about the performance and I'm not actually sure the blessed palaces ever actually travel further than a few hundred yards from their moorings to the pub and back again. All seems rather pointless to me - a bit like flashy cars being driven at top speeds through busy thoroughfares; Why?!! Who on earth is actually impressed by such nonsense? And I am talking of grown men here, not children-who-think-they-are-men! I'm sorry, I appear to have digressed quite far from my starting point.

So, to return to the late afternoon drink: the inn was quiet, the tide was high (no Blondie here please!)and the sun was warm. Unfortunately, a howling wind blew onshore and made it flipping freezing, thus totally impossible to sit overlooking this idyllic river with its views of fields stretching as far as the eye can see on either side, the gnarled trees twisting their ancient branches toward the gently lapping waters as though listening in sympathy to some tragic tale of piracy and love lost from long ago... Bit carried away there!

Eventually, having driven all over the place chasing a sun that decided it had had enough exertion for the day and chose to spend the rest of its evening hiding behind that haze peculiar to the south coast of Cornwall (not quite a fog, but not a mist either) adding to the romance and mystery of the creeks we explored, Davey and I voted for home. A beautiful afternoon led to a long soak in the bath once Isabella was in bed, a glass of the necessary in hand (yes, we do rather a lot of chatting in baths over a drink - obviously, I mean our own bath here) and a homemade chicken and bacon pie in the oven (a miracle of organisation that was!) which we ate whilst watching Bleak House - bought the DVD when baby was born and Dave was home for five weeks, in order to watch in huge chunks and am now on third viewing with Dave and Lauren who has never seen it before. It is Wonderful!

So there you have it - nothing wildly exciting because little of wild excitement really happens here and when it does it usually involves so much drama that I would rather forget about it as soon as possible anyway, being someone who hates 'performances' uness they are on a stage! Rambling again, Pipany, and so I shall leave you for today.

Have a good day x

Oh and meant to say, popped in to The Other Side for first time since I left to collect my blogs - how depressing was that? Horrid and empty! So nice to come home (though am wondering how you get the earlier blogs?). Byeeee x

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Porridge, anyone?

A dodgy start to the day, one way or another: bit sleepy and slow to get going so didn't realise that while I was washing my face in the bathroom, Isabella was busy helping herself to breakfast in the kitchen. I had popped her on the floor to play for a minute or two and somehow managed to forget that she is now able to crawl (oh, didn't I mention it - finally cracked it on Saturday morning at the grand age of eleven months!).

Unfortunately, Dave and I had long since ripped out the disgusting eighties fitted units and replaced them with open shelving hung with curtains in place of doors. Very country, but not so very chic. Oh, the fabric is beautiful - unfurling scarlet rosebuds on a white ground - but the manner of hanging leaves a bit to be desired; a bit of old curtain wire threaded through the hastily sewn channel at the top would have just about sufficed and not particularly drawn the eye to its inadequacies in the style department; no, it is the unfortunate lack of support given to the centre of the wire length which does not cut the mustard, leaving a gaping gap (do gaps always gape? No matter, I like the alliteration) through which can be spied the many treasures of our food cupboard: colourless tins (ah, Smart Price!), cans of coffee and a large box bearing the legend 'OXO' on its side despite containing nothing more than fresh air, all vie for space on the top shelf. At least they offer some resemblance of order. The lower shelf, however; now that's another story.

And, of course, it was the lower shelf that Isabella the Explorer uncovered on her maiden voyage across the kitchen floor. I imagine she viewed the curtain pulled hastily across much in the same way as Rider Haggard's protagonist in 'She' when confronted by a wild, unchartered land: as somewhere to conquer, somewhere to master and somewhere to empty of all its treasures. Which she did, in no uncertain fashion. I arrived back from the bathroom, which is only along a short corridor, to find one beautifully dressed and formerly clean babe sitting in the midst of a scattering of porridge (dry fortunately) and clutching a box of weetabix hard to her emaciated bosom - poor soul, I hear you cry; to have to feed herself in such a manner at so tender an age! What kind of mother is she? Clearly, not a very wide awake one I would say and where are the dear child's siblings when you need them? Probably on the computer as their irresponsible mother has vacated the area for once.

The rest of the morning ran fairly smoothly in comparison: cleaned the sticky porridge from hair, face, floor, etc and even managed to get to the school on time. It was just lucky that no-one wanted to chat as I sat in the car by the school gates, for in the back sat one angelic baby wearing a butter-wouldn't-melt smile on a face covered with melted chocolate. Now who left That in the car, I wonder...

Photo above (carried away by eventual success of yesterday's photo-posting!) shows Isabella looking cleaner than she really was. Oh, and by the way, thank you for all the lovely comments on the picture of me and baby on the beach - not glam really, but you don't think I would show you a front view do you!!!

Have a good day everyone x

Monday, 30 April 2007

Isabella and me.

Isabella and me.

A blissful beach.

So the grey skies have returned and brought fine, intermittent rain in their wake. Gone for now is the balmy blue of yesterday, with its hairdryer breeze ruffling the trees and fluffing up the waves as they rolled relentlessly towards us on Castle Beach.

Castle is a local beach backed by an imposing granite wall and covered with rockpools beyond which the sea glistens or glowers depending on the weather. Yesterday the waves were lively, scooping up armfuls of seaweed as they built to a fair height for the South Coast, the gleaming crests almost hurting the eyes with their whiteness before crashing onto the rocks beneath. We had arrived clutching pasties (groan- I SO hate sounding like a stereotype, but of course the Cornish eat pasties!)and the tide was already almost full in. The wall behind means that if the tide is high we are generally washed off and so it looked as though we only had an hour or so before it would be time to leave. Off came the shoes, children donned costumes and in to the waves our mer-children went!

All the kids are at home in the sea having spent so many hours either in it or by it. Both Dave and I love to chill out on a beach reading, sketching, snorkelling or just playing with the children, and because the shoreline is so sandy, the sea is generally quite clear which makes it perfect for spotting shoals of fish as you swim. Snorkelling is great, particularly over the rockpools where we duck-dive down to peer under rocks in a race to see who can find something to point out first. The finds are usually quite varied: spiky spider crabs, so pretty with their peachy-orange shells; anemones flowering gaily in the gentle ebb and flow of the tide; a myriad of fishes from tiny sand eels glittering as they dart here and there to larger sea bass or grey mullet which tend to make me jump as they suddenly appear in the perameters of my mask.

However, yesterday was too rough for such things and the waves begged to be jumped over or run away from. Isabella and I played at the edge, the icy water making her shriek as I dipped her toes in and out. We all walked to my favourite part of the beach where the sands narrow down to a tiny strip and the shells stack up where the tide unceremoniously dumps them against the rocks. Our house and garden are full of this shore treasure collected by us all over the years, every room having saucers and jars overflowing with little yellow and orange flat-winkles, bits of sea-smoothed glass in many colours and a huge variety of shells of all shapes and sizes. In amongst the gravel in the garden lie yet more shells, the broken edges mingling with smooth pebbles and bits of driftwood, and pieces of smelly seaweed drying out till I can stand it no more and relegate them to the campfire. I watched as Lucy stuffed handfulls of 'bits' into her trouser pockets and mentally made a note to remember this when they went into the machine later for washing.

As we headed for home and a lovely roast dinner I thought how lucky the children are to live in Cornwall where a trip to the beach can be an off-the-cuff outing such as today's. Nowhere in this county are you ever more than thirty miles from the coast and usually it is much less, which means that a visit does not need to be an all day experience with the attending hassle associated with such trips. We often pop down for a swim after school or meet Dave there after work for a picnic tea, lighting a small driftwood fire to warm ourselves by as the last of the sun slips away and we are left in the shadows watching the sky unroll its night-time blanket. What could be better?

Have a lovely day all x

PS. The piccy is of me and Isabella yesterday x

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Just a quickie!

Hello everyone - just a quick blog to say hi and goodnight! It's the first chance I've had to nab the computer since posting my blog on Friday, the one that appeared like some egotistical, self-important piece of drivel on the main page by accident.

Well, the trip to collect my gorgeous stepson, Elias, went better than was expected. Yes, the sun blazed down and the drive was slow due to the huge numbers of people descending on Cornwall for the weekend; yes, Isabella did sleep for a bit on the way up, thus ensuring she screamed for most of the drive back; and yes, I was ready to kill the apparently long-suffering Dave when I finally got home a good four hours of hellish motoring later only to be met at the door by said Dave dressed in the apron I made him for Christmas (out of extremely high-quality ticking bought at a bargain price from a market) - he had not only made the dinner for the gang, but had a bath run for me complete with essential oils and candles, towels warming on the heater and a large glass of cider close to hand. Bliss!

While I wallowed in the warm, scented waters clutching my glass in one hand and Wuthering Heights in the other, I listened to the muted sounds emanating from the rest of the house: Dave chatting in baby-babble as he fed Isabella her tea, she giggling delightedly and he relaying the events of his day in the same sing-song tone he uses to sing nursery rhymes; Sam, Elias and Lucy playing in one of the bedrooms, Lucy shrieking hysterically at whatever nonsense the boys were telling her and ACDC playing in turn with Frank Sinatra on the CD player (an eclectic taste in music, our bunch, due to us I'm afraid - they can sing along to Louis Prima, are best friends with Billie Holiday and can share a tune with Dean MArtin as well as they can with Nirvana!

I listened to this mixture of sounds, the edges taken off by the barrier of walls and doors, and thanked God, the fates or whatever else it was that saw fit to give me the life I have, full of these wonderful, if sometimes annoying, people. I had been indulging in a little envy on the journey home, the lengthy waiting in slow-moving queues affording me plenty of opportunities for thought as Elias dozed beside me, his gentle snores providing a pleasing counterpoint to Isabella's frequent shrieks from the rear. His mum had been telling me about her plans for the weekend, all of which had sounded easy, restful and carefree to my tired ears (yes, they truly are tired as I have had problems with ear infections on and off for weeks). Somewhere in the back of my mind a tiny, envious voice whispered about how long it is since I had had a break with Dave, how long it has been since we had only ourselves to think about and how easy it is to be fun when you don't have to deal with so many others' needs. How shallow is that? Sitting in the bath and hearing the day-to-day goings on of the family, I knew I wouldn't swap with anyone.

The rest of the weekend has been relaxed and restful, but I truly am too tired to write more for now (plus I know I am sounding smug when I don't mean to. I'm sure it won't be long before I am moaning about life yet again!).

Night all xx