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