All posts filed under: family

Jetlag’s gone. So I’m back. With a Soft Linger in Puppet Lane…

Maybe it’s having another birthday pass without hearing from him? Or travelling in France, where he spent so many years? Or simply because I was in the UK seeing Mum? Whatever the reasons, last week I drove home from work in a nearby town, and a vivid memory bubble burst across my steering wheel. Because as well as blogging, I’m a performer. I do street theatre, festivals, corporate gigs, and community events like parades, fundraisers, and cabarets. It’s a great [varied] job, I’m pretty good at it, and have been doing it in various incarnations for almost 25 years: My memory bubble was from 2005: Dad had flown from his home in Canada to visit for 3 weeks, and I was performing in a cabaret fundraiser at local queer pub The Winsome. The venue was packed, and noisy. Lots of flamboyant folk were being flamboyant, while the MC was being very funny. I asked for a simple introduction, and settled myself quietly on the floor with my large black garbage bag. The crowd wasn’t taking …

Walking with son ’17’ when suddenly…

… he drapes his arm across my shoulder. He’s never done that before. I put my arm round his waist, but it feels awkward, so I let it drop. We move apart a little, and walk on. We sit in silence on the rocks watching a dolphin pod swim in lazy circles while the sky fades orange, pink, baby blue, dark blue. As we walk back towards the car, he does it again. This time, my arm round his waist feels comfortable. We walk and talk, arm in arm, 17 & 51, as night falls. Best. Homecoming. Ever.  

How to cook Paella for 100 guests in one easy step: hire the local experts

We’re here in the Dordogne for a weekend of family, friends, fun, and the long-awaited 50th. Saturday evening was the big gathering, with long wooden tables and benches spread under the trees outside: We hung fairy lights, tiny candles in jam jars, and foraged greenery from the woods and fields around us: Someone even came up with a creative solution to that dangerous rusty farming implement right near where we’re sitting: The views completely sucked: It was a pleasant 22 degrees or so, and the sunset was as always stunning (such soft light here compared to Australia; I can’t describe it any other way than it looks like it’s been smudged or half rubbed out): There was a mojito bar set up in the ruined BBQ area, plus trestle table bar inside with kegs of wine and champagne bottles. And then of course, everyone had to be fed. So the triumphant organization of this celebration peaked with the Paella King & Queen. We cleared a space in the centre of the Barn, and they just …

Long haul air flights: an utter privilege which sucks

It started so well. Good house/petsitters; efficient packing (roll don’t fold); timely train transport to the airport. The cute gay boy at the check-in counter asks me if I’m staying in Paris? No I’m not. Since 1980, my favourite Aunt ‘M’ (who lives in Sydney) has owned a 300-yr old barn in the French countryside. For years, we have all travelled to and from The Barn (Australians are so good with names aren’t they?) in the Dordogne region; Dad first took me there when I was 15, and I took my son there a couple of years ago when he was 15 (we sat there for 2 months, reading/eating/playing badminton LINK HERE & HERE TO OLD STORIES). Now we’re all gathering again, for my cousin’s 50th celebration weekend July 14-16. She lives in Sydney too, but has been telling us about this party plan for 3 years, supremely organized being that she is; thus approximately 85 people are turning up- mostly from Australia! A HUGE EXCITING EVENT. But first, I have to get there. It …

Down the long lane

Originally posted on bone&silver:
My mother, who lives in England, turned 80 on July 4. From Australia, I had organised a 3-day weekend get together in an old farmhouse on Dartmoor for our closest relatives, meaning 13 of us met up to celebrate. I hauled myself over to the UK, begrudging all those people who sleep easily on planes. Still, four good films in a row aren’t bad going. A couple of weeks before I left, I treated myself to a massage. As usual, I wondered why I don’t do it more often? It was such a lush experience, with hot white towels softly lowered over me, and warm wheat-bags resting along each limb, feeding the air with that fresh bread scent. No tinny dolphin music, just silence. It was in a private home, so no exterior noise, or impatient clients waiting outside the door for us to finish. The masseur created a wonderful sense of nurturing, with her deliberate, knowledgeable movements, and I sank into the experience. I’d had a horrible cough…

Gift from teenage son…

I heard ‘Almost17’ in the shower at 6am (we had to leave for the airport at 7); he soon came into my room fully dressed, with still-damp hair, where I lay in bed reading before getting up. Him: Move over Mum. Me: [Really??] OK Sweetie. [Sliding over, slightly stunned, but pretending I’m cool…] Him: Happy Mother’s Day. Me: Thanks. You know I think it’s a load of Hallmark crap don’t you, but that’s still lovely, thank you. Are you bringing me peppermint tea in bed? Him: No, I’m too tired. I didn’t get home from the party till 1am. *Rolls on his side away from me*. Spoon me Mum. Me: [REALLY??] OK Sweetie. [Spooning behind him, completely stunned, gingerly resting my arm on top of him and the quilt because, you know, I’m Cool…] Him: No, properly Mum, under the covers. Please let me sleep for another 15 minutes. Me: Sure honey… *Lie there holding my baby boy as he begins to twitch and dream, breathing deeply. For how many nights did I hold him until …

Prepare to lie. Prepare to buy. Prepare to die. Part One

Following on from my last post about childhood and Mum Down the long lane, I woke up this morning and thought about the lies I learnt to tell from a very young age. ‘Yes, I’m fine’. ‘Yes, this dress is nice’. ‘Yes, I’m enjoying this birthday party, thank you for coming.’ I was taught so easily; coached at daycare, by my parents, by books about good little princesses. As a sensitive child, learning to tune in to others around me, I quickly figured out that it could hurt people if I told the absolute truth, so I didn’t. Perhaps your experience is similar? One of my earliest memories is crystal clear, and can only be mine (no prompting with an old photo, or someone else’s version of what happened). I’m almost 3 & a half, being taken to visit my new little brother in hospital, as he’s just been born; I’m assuming Dad took me. I remember walking into the room, and approaching the single bed. Mum was lying there, cuddling him as he lay …

Down the long lane

My mother, who lives in England, turned 80 on July 4. From Australia, I had organised a 3-day weekend get together in an old farmhouse on Dartmoor for our closest relatives, meaning 13 of us met up to celebrate. I hauled myself over to the UK, begrudging all those people who sleep easily on planes. Still, four good films in a row aren’t bad going. A couple of weeks before I left, I treated myself to a massage. As usual, I wondered why I don’t do it more often? It was such a lush experience, with hot white towels softly lowered over me, and warm wheat-bags resting along each limb, feeding the air with that fresh bread scent. No tinny dolphin music, just silence. It was in a private home, so no exterior noise, or impatient clients waiting outside the door for us to finish. The masseur created a wonderful sense of nurturing, with her deliberate, knowledgeable movements, and I sank into the experience. I’d had a horrible cough for a few days, so I …

Poetry and knives

I saw this poetry on Facebook today, and it made me sweat. It happened live last night in Australia, and thank goodness my friend Kelly shared it early, so it exploded into my morning. Now it’s Trending all over the place, and rightly so. Kate Tempest ‘Progress’ poem Someone in the Comments called her a mediaeval prophet, and I think that’s perfect. She is completely embodying her passion, her skill, her need to communicate. I love her. So young, and so smart. Did you notice the tweet ‘Kate Tempest reminds us old farts that we stopped maintaining the rage’? Brilliant, and true. So I’m nearly 50, and just missed being a dreaded Baby Boomer, slipping quietly into Gen-X instead. I don’t think I’m particularly materialistic, although I enjoy my I-phone, and laptop, but I don’t think they rule my life…and sometimes I do indeed take Dylan Thomas’s advice: “Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light…” If …

Home for two weeks today, and had a visit from my [dead] Grandma

The jetlag has gone. The season of European winter, chilling my bone marrow, has gone. The tangled history of my childhood and youth has slipped more than 10,000 miles away again. My quiet heart yearning for France has been replaced by the delight of my dear friends, cute home, happy cat, and humid, tropical lifestyle in Australia. Son ‘15’ and I are having a little break from each other’s company (till approx. January 2016 he reckons), which gives me back the freedom I’d missed to just be Me: read, write, garden, walk on the beach at sunset, all without speaking, or providing for/tidying up after a teenager. Bliss. Can you tell there’s a ‘But’ coming? I remember learning years ago, on some college communication course, that anything positive you’ve said is then negated by the use of the word ‘But’ afterwards… So everything I’ve said above is actually true, AND YET I’ve also felt misplaced. Rebellious and resentful even. Coming home here is like coming back to your Mum’s house when you’re 23: you’ve been …