Meh

If I was a teenager I think I’d be predominantly describing my mood this week as ‘meh’. Lacking enthusiasm. It’s more than that. It’s this fog .. It’s hanging around my head and it’s been getting thicker at times. I feel like I need some fog lights as a warning to others. Keep your distance. I’m drowning in foggy thoughts.

I thought I could name it. Like the recent hurricanes Brian and Ophelia. It’s annoying, unpredictable and persistent… so I’ll call it Donald.

I have to speak about Donald because otherwise this weekly blog wouldn’t be honest.

But. There’s always a but. I know Donald will depart. I only wish I could say the same thing for the real twerp Donald.

Making me smile and keeping me going this week.. .

The love and kindness from my family that makes me feel so so grateful.

A boy driving his blue old Nova on the motorway singing out loud, headbanging.

The sun coming up and it’s reflection hitting the canal.

A 3 month Springer spaniel called Seth.

A chat for hours with one of my oldest friends.

A course over 2 days which has reignited my enthusiasm for work.

An accidental meet on a dog walk with an old face where we exchanged our life story of the past 20yrs in 10 mins.

Paying someone to do my ironing … the best money I’ve spent in a long time!!!

Gogglebox.. never fails to bring a smile.

A food festival reunited me with old faces I haven’t seen in years and I learnt things about owls I never knew!

A cycle to a 14th century pub only for it to be closed. We waited. The owner turned up 5 minutes after what should have been opening time and asked us to wait. We heard him hoovering and 5 mins later he let us in. That made me smile!

I cycled up EVERY hill. Achievement!

My mum’s advice. Don’t talk to people on the underground. They’ll think you have problems… or that you’re Welsh!

I also got to spend 24hrs in what I think is the best city in the UK.. Brighton. We ate Mexican, sang karaoke and danced til 4am, flutes of prosecco in hand. At 11am today.. I got to meet my lovely little brother for breakfast by the sea. An organic coffee and some seeded toast with home made chunky marmalade while putting the world right. He has an incredible soul and despite our 20 year age gap we chat effortlessly and laugh out loud much of the time we’re together.

Now I’m on the train coming home and I look forward to it. That says a lot doesn’t it.

And this is me. Again. Trying to see those things that make us/me smile when things seem quite dark. And it may sound repetitive. Or even nonsense. Sometimes it even feels indulgent sharing my feelings with you. But I do and I do it honestly because it’s ok and not all days can be good days but as they say.. there’s good in every day.

Happy Sunday xx

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Meant to be

Up until 2pm on Saturday nothing had really grabbed my attention in terms of what I might write about this week for my blog.

I’m feeling a bit better than I did last week but it’s been a slow improvement this time away from ‘the fog’.

I did though pick up my new ‘toy’ which is my Orange Crush mountain bike last Sunday. I’m not one for fads but I had to admit to myself that buying a fancy new mountain bike after having only been mountain biking seriously once was a bit extreme but I know in my bones I’m going to get use out of it.

I was quite nervous getting on it! I know they say ‘it’s like riding a bike’ but if you haven’t ridden a bike for a while it’s well – like riding a bike when you haven’t ridden one for years!! Wobbly!

I bought some cycling trousers from Aldi and kept trying to move the padded bit to the side when I then discovered there were two padded bits, one for each cheek!!! I put my new pink and black helmet (matched my jacket!) on and off we we went towards the canal on what was luckily a beautiful autumnal warm gorgeous day.

I do love getting to know a different part of where I live. Having lived in this area all my life I had never taken the whole path down to the aqueduct via the canal. It was absolutely stunning. We had to stop at one point to take in the view and that says something living in Wales! A blue and cream canal boat bobbed at the side of a bench where someone had planted roses all around it, the bench looked over a vast panoramic skyline, slightly hazy but with strong emerald and rusty colours of trees swinging quietly in the wind. Below the trees, the river Dee was quite spectacular due to the recent rain and with beautiful force went on its journey as far as the eye could see.

We continued onwards, passing a few people and a few dogs, but not many. We were heading towards a cafe that we’d discovered, it was actually a cafe inside a boat and as I cycled I mulled over, what would it be? Almond slice or a scone with cream and jam!

We eventually got to the cafe, the October sun by now was pressing down on our skin and when we stopped I had to loosen my jacket to cool down. We queued and I finally decided on the scone, I wasn’t disappointed.

We’d stopped next to an elderly woman and her dog. I am addicted to dogs. I can’t pass a dog without comment or a pat on their head. We asked if the woman minded us sitting next to her on the long wooden bench. No, she said.

It wasn’t long before we made friends with the beautiful golden Labrador who reminded me of a lovely dog in my life years previously. He had the most handsome face and he looked hopefully at us for a crumb of the scone but his owner rightly wasn’t keen on him developing that habit. He sat with his head on my blue and white trainers, a trick that many dogs like to do, if you move – then they’ll know it!

We got talking to the fair haired, slight woman and I noticed she had a thick gold wedding ring on her tiny hand, for some reason I knew already that she had been widowed and that this dog had come into her life because of that. In the fifteen minutes or so we spoke it transpired that after saving all their life for their future her husband had died suddenly over 3 months, before he retired and 5 months after she had retired. They had been together for 50 years. This had happened 8 years ago. Her dog was 8 years old.

As we were leaving, the woman who was now in her 70s looked at us. Really looked at us. Don’t save for the future, she said. Don’t put your money in ISAs or banks. Live your life now, she said. You really need to live your life now, she said.

I left her, feeling a little sorry – not in a patronising way – just that she had made all these plans and in the matter of months they were taken away from her. I also left her feeling that sometimes, you bump into people for a reason. I felt like I was supposed to meet her this day. I was meant to hear what she said. It was meant to be.

I hope I get to meet her again some day.

Have a lovely Sunday x

Fog

I’ve deliberated a lot about whether to post this blog.

It’s sad and it’s personal and it’s probably a bit heart breaking.

However I started this weekly blog after my lovely daughter died. It became a place to write about loss and survival and now I write on Sundays about something of significance to me that week. At times I feel guilty that the blog doesn’t often specifically relate to Tes and that I veer away from referral to grief.

Who wants to read about grief on a Sunday morning!?

So if you don’t.. and I totally understand that. Give this week’s blog a miss.

Four and a half years later and it can grab hold of me with such force it’s hard to breathe and I spend much of my time trying not to be physically sick. I cancel plans and I just survive. Do I talk about it? Will I upset my nearest and dearest by talking about it? Do I still stay strong and get up and go to work even though I want to cry buckets under the duvet? Do I tell anyone because then it’ll ruin their day and they’ll end up worrying about me? Will people start to avoid me if I tell them?

I went to Uni this week to start my MSc. When I got there a woman sat next to me and immediately started talking to me. They asked me this morning – what had I done that I was proud of, she said. I’m proud of the fact I’ve raised my children and now I’ve got an adult daughter and she’s not dead yet.

That’s what she said.

I managed to say ‘oh’ and I think I faintly smiled at her joke.

She wasn’t to know that on the drive on the way to my first day at Uni that at one point I had to physically bite my fingers to transfer the pain to stop myself from crying. If she did know she’d feel awful. I know that.

There’s not a huge point to this blog this week, there was a need in me to revisit grief because I know other people who have ‘lost’ read it too. There’s a point where I guess I just want to shout…. ‘I’m hurting’ but then I don’t’ expect anyone to do anything about it. You can’t.

So – not the happiest of blogs and I apologise but that’s been this week. The grief fog lifted yesterday. I didn’t realise until I found myself dancing in the kitchen while making breakfast. It’ll be back but like others I’ll find a way through it and despite the part of my heart that hosts grief…. the rest of my heart is still ready for a life of love, travel, walks, friends, family, plans, laughs and even this MSc!

Lots of love to you all today – go hug someone!! xx

A phone call

It was my friends birthday this week and as we all do now I sent her a message on Facebook. About 10 seconds after posting it I thought to myself. That’s just not good enough. So I picked up the phone and gave her a call.

Earlier that day as I was driving to work and I was thinking about her and it being her birthday I noticed when I thought about her I literally had a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart!! Which led me to think where did that involuntary feeling come from? So I let my mind wander about what came to my mind when I thought about my friend. Someone who’s overcome many barriers to be a beautiful mum and have a successful career. Someone who is driven and yet would always make time for you. Someone literally beautiful outside and inside. Someone who sees the best in people and gives everyone a chance. Someone with passion about fairness and someone compassionate about our future. Ultimately a friend that I may see only a few times a year but who makes me feel more complete for being part of my life.

And so in a more concise way (because she was in the middle of a romantic dinner).. this is what I told her on the phone and maybe for the first time I told her I loved her too. Because I do. I love you too she said.

We (anyone pre Howard Jones/Erasure/Bronski Beat era) know we’ve lost so many different and more personal ways of communicating. There was nothing better than receiving a letter from friends at Uni or abroad (I have a huge suitcase full) and I remember a time when my house phone rang several times in the evening. Now I don’t even have a phone plugged in to my land line! Social media has a firm and great place in our future but it really is….. good to talk.

Happy Sunday xx

Perception

An event happened this week which reminded me of some advice I’d read many years ago. How you label the event depends on how you experience it.

It can be simple stuff like being stuck in traffic.. . You can decide to get impatient or you can sing along to your favourite tune. Or the person your meeting is late. You can be cross or you can enjoy a few rare moments alone with your thoughts. Or when things don’t turn out as you’d want. You can mull over what should have been or you can label it as a new unexpected opportunity.

So…

I got home from work and I was feeling so positive. I’d got a lot done and things seem to be turning a corner from fire fighting to an element of control. I got home and my gorgeous dogs as usual pounce on me and smile at me (yes!!) And LOVE me so much no matter what mood I’m in I’m utterly in love with them too and the first thing I do is get on my boots and we go for a walk.

I’m wearing my new tartan dress this day. I’ve decided winter is setting in so I’ve got my new “thermal’ tights on too!! You know you get those days where you just feel good. I was feeling good.

We went on our walk down past the river. It was a beautiful night and there were a few tourists around. I smiled as I passed them and the dogs barked as they were excited waiting for the ball. I played ball with them and youngest pooch ran back and forth for 20 minutes. A guy at the park with his son looked over and smiled a few times. I could see he must be impressed at my dog with her recall skills. Me too!

I then walked back around the green damp grounds and passed a woman who said hello and smiled. I took a left and sat by the river for a few minutes and enjoyed the sound of the swell. I decided on this occasion to walk back through town which I don’t do often. I pass the guys I’ve got to know at a restaurant. They all said hi and smile and I walked through town . I passed two couples in their 60s all in leather bike gear carrying helmets. I smiled. They smiled too. I stopped at some shop windows and peered in at jewellery that I’d had my eye on and waved at the woman at the till. I passed the deli that sells my favourite artisan bread and crossed over passing the ice cream parlour that hosts the most divine vegan ice cream. The dogs greeted two Dalmatians and I chatted pleasantries with their owners.

As I got back I saw my neighbour and shouted hello. She seemed to avert her eyes a little and wasn’t so enthusiastic but she said hello back.

We got back in. The dogs were tired and I was ready to make dinner. I bent down to open the fridge and somehow my hand caught up in my new tartan dress. But it didn’t just catch, it was stuck. In my dress. In my dress that was also firmly totally tucked in to my thermal rights. At the front. My dress was totally tucked in to my tights.

So as I’d walked happily around and felt warm at the smiles of strangers it dawned very quickly on me that these were less smiles of politeness but more likely smiles of embarrassment. Smiles of cringe. Smiles of poor thing.

For a few seconds I felt a bit sick. I’d made a total fool of myself. I’d walked around my home town with my skirt tucked in my pants!!! Then I looked and I thought. You know what. My legs aren’t bad. My legs are ok. So what

People saw my legs. In tights. When I hadn’t intended. So what. I’m proud of those legs. I laughed at myself and with that I untucked myself. Poured a glass of wine. And got on with dinner.

What’s the saying.. .. life is what you make it!

Happy Sunday xxx

Hot and bothered

Well. This week has been entirely unproductive. It started last week before the festival and to be honest if I hadn’t drank my body weight in sauvignon blanc at the festival I’d have been more aware that I was coming down with a proper illness. Not a sore throat or a sniffle. The actual flu.

I put down the initial aches last weekend down to choosing to camp on a slant but by Sunday night as I was home in my own bed even my eye lashes began to hurt. I’d fortunately booked Monday post festival off and I thought this would give me ample time to recover. Wrong. By Tuesday I could barely lift a cup of tea. And I’m NOT exaggerating. I’ve been on pain relief for the headaches and well aches everywhere every 4 hours since last Sunday. I even text my lovely friend the nurse for some help and at one point I actually cried because I felt so sorry for myself. I was sorry that all I could manage was sleep and the odd microwave meal for my son and some pathetic walks for my dogs that felt I was walking with bricks in my boots and a head full of cotton wool. I couldn’t have a proper conversation by Wednesday because it was exhausting!!

Feeling sorry for Me??! Ha. Well don’t. Because today I am beginning to feel better. Today I put some lipstick on and had a shower and even did my hair. And that’s the point I got to this week. Lucky lucky me just being ill for a few days. Lucky lucky me not waking up like many people do in pain every day. Lucky lucky me not to feel exhausted every day. Lucky Lucky me not needing to rely on other people every day. Lucky lucky me knowing this was going to go away.

It might sound stupid but a few debilitating days knocked out by the flu has made me bloody so grateful for the usual healthy full life I have and also has made me want to make sure as far as I can that I keep it that way. I’m more than aware through my own experiences and that of those I know around me how fragile health can be. Permanently.

So I bought some juicy red strawberries and a punnet of blueberries. I roasted some courgettes and peppers to make a healthy lasagne and I can’t wait to get back out hiking and to pick up my new bike to start my mountain biking phase! I can’t wait to be lucky enough to feel completely well to do whatever I want!

Because you know what.. there’s only so much Judge Rinder I need in my life (although I’m still giggling at the episode where the daughter managed to dye her mum’s eyebrows green!!).

There’s a life to live!!

Lots of love to you in this Sunday x

Dwys x

Festival Number 6!!

A little late with the blog today!! That’s because basically I’ve been in a pop up tent for the weekend away from anything Wi-Fi ish. Festival number 6. Portmeirion. If you haven’t been then please GO!!

So this blog is a self indulgent round up of the experience that was the last 72 hrs.

Parking the fiat 500 while I was still dry. Taking my new ruck sack and new inflatable mattress and new sleeping bag and my son’s pop up tent. Catching the bus and almost getting off at ’boutique’ camping. Actually getting dropped off at the scruffy camping. Setting up not far from the portaloos which seemed a good idea at the time. Unfolding the pop up tent in 3 seconds flat and looking all smug. Opening up the boxes of wine and sipping from plastic ikea cups. Stumbling across comediennes in cat suits who made us cry laughing. Going crazy for Charlotte Church in her fishnets. Who knew she could be so entertaining. Standing put for over an hour at the front for my heroine Kate Tempest and being in no way disappointed. Almost fainting when she handed some cans of beer out and I got one. Being even more determined when she finished to make a bloody difference.

Having to place a rucksack to stop myself rolling off my inflatable shiny bed. Losing my rain coat. Meeting a baby called Angus. Wiping away tears in a large tent watching the people go by as I thought how much Tes would have loved it. Asking some humans dressed as bee’s for a selfie to only be chased by 8 of them much to the other halfs joy. Meeting a woman who introduced herself as a swinger as I took in the voices of the Welsh male choir. Chatting to a writer while listening to Irvine Welsh read an extract from Porno.

Drinking prosecco. Watching naked swimmers and people on paddle boats. Meeting a security woman who told me a story involving her ex and a bed and a fire and a girlfriend! Bumping into people you know at the Jarvis Cocker DJ set and acting like you’ve not seen them in 20 years.

Dancing at the Kitch’n’sync bar in dirty wellies and shorts while talking to a stranger about eating raw carrots. Early morning trips for chamomile tea and discovering a cafe that served a treat of a veggi breakfast. Packing up and people laughing while your pop up tent.. just keeps popping up. Finding the car and getting the heater on to dry out my jeans. Giggling all the way home at stuff only we will get like singing ‘plastic foxes’!

Home to a bed, the dogs and family and despite it being the best few days of my life. It’s still always good to get home!

What a weekend.

Hope you had a great one too. Happy Sunday xxx