All posts tagged: personal

Teenage Tuesday: ‘My son just turned 19. Guess what I did when I turned 19?’

He was born at home on the back verandah as planned, after a long, slow labor. I’d paced up and down the driveway for 2 days, wrapped in a quilt, asking the night sky to bring me my baby. And finally, with dawn’s 5am light, he came. Every year when he was little, we seemed to wake up around that time, and lie there together contemplating the celebration of it. This year I was working almost 2000kms away, but still opened my eyes at exactly 5am; I admit I shed a few tears as I reflected on the passing of so much time, as he’s grown into such a tall, capable young man. For his birthday, I’d bought him 3 tickets to an 80s/90s dress up disco dance party, the same as last year (a winning gift). I knew he’d have had a late night, but texted anyway: “5am- Happy Birthday Moment, darling boy.” No reply, as expected. But I took myself for a sunrise beach walk, revelling in the gorgeous environment, and the knowledge …

Thanks dear friend: the relationship end CAN indeed be a good thing

One of my dearest friends (who is actually a proper, published ‘writer’), still finds the time to follow most of my news by reading my little blog. Thanks H! She’s in a very longterm, very committed relationship, and is one of my inspirations in that regard. She calls me once in a while, or we meet on the beach for a walk and non-stop talk, while I update her on all my romantic gossip and adventures. Today she sent me this article called ‘A Non-Tragic View of Breaking Up’  , who’s opening paragraph drew me right in: News of the end of relationships tends to be greeted with deep solemnity in our societies; it is hard not to think of a breakup except in terms of a minor tragedy. People will offer condolences as they might after a funeral. This in turn reflects an underlying philosophy of love: we are taught that the natural and successful outcome of any love story should be to seek to remain with a person until their or our death and …

Getting lost in being present

I know, I know: “Where have you been G??” I swear I’m still here, lurking/scanning/reading/sometimes commenting… I’ve just been so busy out in the ‘real world’, what with the teenager’s new job timetable (up at 5.30 every morning, bless him), the ‘No-Online-Stories’ romance (just about to hit a year on that one), plus the riding lessons (I fell off on my third one!) and all the regular stuff like mowing lawns, hanging out the washing, balancing on stilts at festivals, and cooking nice food, that somehow time slips by. And I did start a hugely-political ranty post a fortnight ago, about the proposed Adani mine up in Queensland, with multiple photos, facts and figures…   …then the internet momentarily crashed so I lost it Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr but here are some of the photos I’d already uploaded: I’ve basically been sulking about WordPress ever since. But now here I am, on a glorious sunny Autumn day in Australia, overflowing with delight at the crispy mornings and snuggly nights this season brings. On the weekend, I paddled down …

Oiling Dad’s furniture: my precious annual ritual

April 24th is Dad’s birthday. He would have been 84, if he hadn’t died suddenly 10 years ago. As devastating as the loss was, dragging me into a depression for 12 months, it helped me find deep resilience, and gratitude for my unwaveringly loyal friends and family. Each year, we all eat Indian for dinner, Dad’s favourite cuisine, wherever we are in the world. And I have my own personal ritual too, as I try to keep the day clear of work or other commitments: I shut the front door, turn my phone off, allow myself to cry as often and as much as I like, while cleaning and oiling Dad’s antique French furniture. He wasn’t religious, (despite an interest in the Baha’i faith, mainly because it emphasised the “essential worth of all religions, and the unity and equality of all people” [Wikipedia]), so I can’t go connect with him in church. He has no gravestone or memorial plaque, as we scattered his ashes all over the globe, as befitted a world traveller and citizen such …

I stole this from Mum’s hallway last time I was there. And I’m glad I did.

I’ve got to start by noting how cute I was when I was two, I’m sorry. I can’t possibly avoid it. I’ve no recollection of where I am, or who took the photo, although I can safely assume it was Dad. And perhaps I’m wearing Mum’s hat? I’m guessing I was about 2 and a half, and to this day I still like to sport a good cap. I’d never seen this picture before summer 2018, when I spotted it at Mum’s house in England on my last visit. She must have dug it out of somewhere, during her constant, chaotic, unnecessary ‘organising and sorting’. It was propped on the little table in the narrow hallway, next to those ceramic hedgehogs I made as a surly teenager at my part-time summer job; it made us both smile when I picked it up and commented on it. After those 3 weeks down in Devon, doing my best to take care of Mum’s needs, filling her full of good healthy food/going to the dentist/doctor/hairdresser/theatre etc etc, the …

I met one of my un-lived lives at a party last night

She was tall, nearly 6 foot, and her long strong legs ended in tartan Doc Marten boots. Her outfit was various shades and textures of black: cotton cut-off shorts, ripped lace tights, fishnet top over a lycra bikini halter neck, and finished with a belt made from an old horse bridle, including the rusty snaffle bit. Her hair was shaved at the sides, but long and part-dreaded down her back; the delicate sequinned handbag was the perfect match to multiple silver earrings and nose hoop. A friend told me her name was Lizzie, and that she played keyboards in a local punk band. *sigh That could have been me. All right, 25 years ago, yes, but still- I could have lived that life. Just a slightly shorter-statued version perhaps. I was mesmerised, watching her stomp round the art opening in those big boots; suddenly my own 60’s outfit with 70’s leather boots seemed tame. I wanted to be in a band, sneering at normal dress conventions. I had complete ‘punk lifestyle envy’, and felt the …

Osteopath: ‘You’re all locked up, & we need to shift it.’ Me: ‘OK…’ *gulps

I’ve been back from England for 10 days now (16,886 kms away from home in Australia), and my valiant struggles with the dreaded jetlag are finally paying off. Last night I did open my eyes at 1.30am as usual, but instead of lying there till 4.30, wide awake and wanting some dinner, I went back to sleep within 30 minutes, so have woken up feeling relatively normal. This is joy. And I’m not going to whinge on about the incredible privilege of international air travel, when so many millions of fellow human beings are homeless or without access to clean water… But jetlag does suck bad. Plus sleeping on a shitty pull-out bed on Mum’s floor for 3 weeks had stressed my back, therefore a visit to the Osteopath was part of my self-care strategy on returning. I was massaged, manipulated, adjusted and cracked, especially my chest/rib area, front and back. You know, around your heart. Interesting that. I went home from the appointment feeling terrible: nauseous like morning sickness, grumpy, on edge, and prickly …

When telling a lie is the best option, to clamber ancient rocks in Wales

“Come and stay in the holiday cottage with us; take a break from your Mum,” says my Aunty over the phone. I don’t need to be invited twice. Any excuse to hop on a train cross country- my favourite way to travel. My Aunt and her partner live in North Wales, but a family gathering is happening in South Wales, and it’s the perfect time to catch up with my cousin, her husband, and their 3 kids, as they celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. They’re staying near where Mum and her 3 siblings grew up, around Gowerton. I’ve never been there before: I’ll get to see the house they grew up in, the school they went to, and most importantly, the bays and beaches over which they gazed as they matured, following their dreams. But I’ll have to ignore the stab of guilt at not taking Mum with me. I know full well that she actually needs the stability of her routines in a familiar place, rather than the stress of travel and an unknown …

Nostalgia looks like a hedge, sounds like a seagull, & tastes like crumpets

Mum and our cousin met me unexpectedly at the train station, so there were hugs all round, then straight home for a cuppa. I can tell she’s very happy to see me of course, but Mum also asks several times where we’re going, as though she hasn’t just heard the answer a minute ago. Which is the world she lives in now. Dementia often takes away short-term memory first, and that was one of the initial symptoms we began to notice a few years ago. ‘Shall we have a treat with our tea? How about a crumpet?’ Nostalgia coats my taste buds like raspberry jam and warm runny butter. I’m drawn backwards through the years, remembering blustery walks on the beach with various dogs, coming home to food treats like hot crumpets. Crackers with sharp vintage cheddar. Fruit & nut chocolate. Crispy fish and chips every Friday. Rhubarb and apple crumble with clotted cream… these are a few of my favourite things. But if I want them, I’ll have to buy them and/or make them. …

Musings on Mum

I’m on the train down to the quaint English seaside town where I grew up, watching the countryside flash by. Neatly hedged fields, thick-walled farmhouses, and glimpses of bigger human settlements marked by the identical carparks and superstores. I’m trying to work out how I feel. It’s a mixture of jetlagged tiredness, slight anxiety, a little excitement, and my hopeful practice of being an open, blank slate. It suddenly occurred to me that Mum hasn’t seen me with blonde hair. Well, not since the ill-fated ‘Highlights Experiment of 1985’ anyway; maybe I should pop my blue cap on? This is a new experience: wondering how Mum is going to greet me. For as long as I can remember of course, she has hugged me hello with a squeal of excitement, and teary eyes, especially once I moved to Australia in 1987, and there were long gaps between my flights home. At my financially poorest, and most rebellious, I admit I didn’t see her for 8 years; I would HATE it if ‘18’ did that to …