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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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

It’s a sign…

Bit of a grumble this week. It’s been bugging me off and on for a few weeks now.

I often walk along the gorgeous river Dee with branches sweeping over the narrow paved trail, the ducks gather in safe places and occasionally I see my new friend the magnificent silver grey heron. Sitting tall and splendidly still, waiting. I like to walk here after the visitors have gone home and I often sit on the slate like stones while my dogs sniff and discover the crumbs of what tourists may have left behind. On one side the view is of the bridge and the silhouette of the town in the distance and on the other the river widens and above sit the hills.

Sitting there after work gives me a rare moment where I sometimes do nothing and just look at the river rushing up in places, it’s fairly noisy but not in a bad way, in a soothing way. I’ve always loved the sound of water.

So – you may be thinking where’s the grumble?!

On my way to this beautiful place I pass many things that I find annoying. It’s not just here, it’s absolutely everywhere. Signs. Signs that tell us what to do. Signs actually that usually tell us what NOT to do.

No feeding the ducks

No ball games

No dogs off leads

No dog poo

No drinking

No littering

Use this park at your own risk

No anti-social behaviour

They remind me of that old Billy Connolly sketch when he talks about parents who put ‘child on board’ signs on their car. Thank ****, Connolly says, because otherwise I was seriously thinking of ramming into that car but now I’ve seen that sign, I won’t!

You might think these signs are all valid points and really they are BUT do we really need them to tell us how to behave. Again I can hear you say well some people might but really?? If you’re going to let your dog poo on the grass a sign won’t stop you and if you’re going to fall off a swing a sign won’t stop you. The reason I don’t throw litter isn’t because of a sign.

Really what grates on me is the negativity and the crazy health and safety messages that seem to deter us from having a good time. I refer to the book that more or less ‘saved my life’ as a woman in her early 20s (Feel the Fear and do it Anyway) – and in one part it said that parents often warned their children of the dangers as they left. Be careful. Watch out. Don’t go down any dark alleys. Etc etc. I’m one of the worst for doing this!! In the book she advocates instead that we say ‘have fun and take risks today’!!! That might sound a little far-fetched but living in this climate of fear and worry and rules and regulations can’t be good for us.

So I advocate we have more signs!!….

Something like…

Have fun today

Enjoy the slide

Have a Prosecco or two

Play with your kids

Put your phone away and have a chat

Take 5 minutes and listen to the river

Say hello to a stranger

Tell a joke

Lie down and look up at the sky

See how high you can go on the swing

Smile at the world

Those kind of signs I might take notice of.

Happy Sunday

XxX

Less saying NO..

Summer holidays equals a lot of parents trying to think every day of some way to entertain the kids over those long six weeks. I’m not in that boat anymore but a visit by a 9 year old got me scratching my head about what we could do. We eventually settled on mountain biking.

Now…. for some reaaon I had thought this was going to be a leisurely ride around the woods in Llandegla but just on a mountain bike I haven’t ever been ‘proper’ mountain biking before. This didn’t fully dawn on me until a lot later.

Even the slow incline that continued to climb… for some reason gave me no clue about what I was going to face. We assured the 9 year old… just around this corner it’ll be a flat. It wasn’t to be though for at least 25 more corners.

Doesn’t sound much fun so far? The thing is it was. The bikes we had hired were fantastic and we cycled up fairly easily. The view of the trees standing proudly 80 ft above us wavering under the partly blue sky took our minds off any concerns of not being able to make it.

Then finally the promise of the flat became a reality and the climb stopped. At this point I STILL had no idea what lay ahead. The track narrowed slightly and we came to a sign that advised us this was the beginning of the ‘blue descent’.

I was still quite naive thinking it’d just be a nice easy hill back to the car park.

I was last to go.

The screeches coming from the two that went ahead as I let my bike begin to free wheel did start to raise some alarm bells. The squeals echoed all the way around me as my bike caught speed. What happened next was probably the most exhilarating 30 minutes of my life for a very long time!!!

The track narrowed and the descent increased, as I cycled over the first small jump I joined in with the involuntary squeals, partly terrified. The bike manoeuvred through the track approaching the corners with an occasional screech of the tyres turning to the next obstacle. I continued the cycle down through dirt and puddles. My face splattered with mud as I got more confident and increased speed. The trees became more of a blur as I felt overwhelmed by this sense of freedom and risk taking and FUN that I hadn’t felt for a long time. The sound of the wheels brushed fiercely against the soil and I felt exhilarated and ever so slightly out of control as the bike increased its speed again . At one point i found myself momentarily (and I do mean a split second!) off the ground and as my heart found it’s way back from my mouth I gripped the handlebars tighter, smiling from ear to ear!

As the track began to ease and a reservoir appeared to my left we found ourselves back at the car park. The three of us couldn’t stop giggling we laughed at our muddy legs and faces.

It’s never too late to get our there and try something new!! Even when you don’t exactly know what you’re getting into to!

Less saying No and more saying YES!

Happy Sunday xxx

Doing nothing.

I received a message this week from a friend. She reminded me a few years ago she talked to me about a sensitive issue and after a long discussion I’d said. Do nothing. Be there, love them but do nothing. They will come to you when the times right.

Turns out she did nothing. For about 4 years. One day the person came to them. Grateful for the space and love waiting and thankful for the space given.

I do remember the conversation. What I felt when I got this message is I really need to start taking my own advice!! I am impatient. I want things to happen today. I hate waiting for things. Like everyone else I’m constantly learning and this small message from my friend has reminded me that this is one area of my life I need to work on. I get knots in my stomach when I’m waiting. Seconds can seem like days. Minutes like weeks.

We’re not used to waiting any more. Music can be bought in a second, films downloaded. Friends can be instantly contacted and we’ve all been there knowing that message has been opened but not received a reply!! We can order food to our door in minutes and read a book without even holding it.

With that we’ve lost so much.

I loved popping to HMV to pick out a CD as a teenager. It wasn’t just the shop but the buzz of the people, the posters, the physical feel of the headphones as you stood listening to your favourite artist. A downloaded film can never beat the experience of the cinema where the smell of popcorn and the inability to pause makes it wholly different. Talking on the phone or even better face to face over a glass of wine will always beat an instant message and taking time to cook a meal, play with spices and new recipes will always taste better than a take out.

Of course this is the society we live in now. Having everything in an instant is how it is but sometimes waiting for something can mean so much more….. we just have to learn to be patient!

Happy Sunday xx

What’s a family?

Friday night was special to me and epitomizes what family is.

Most of us are no longer part of the 2.4 white picket fence brigade and if you’ve ever been the one that stepped out of that comfort zone you’ll know it’s a tough journey. People aren’t generally sympathetic to decisions that mean comfortable normality has been broken.

Whispers about what this will do to the children and rolled eyes that last many years telling you without words you’ll be sorry bore into your back. Single parents still, I feel, are treated as somewhat second class when it comes to the ideal family.

It means you always have to try harder. It means when your children do something perfectly normal like have a toddler tantrum or get into trouble at school you’ll feel at fault because you did this, you’re the single parent. You feel judged. Always.

On Friday I popped in to see my son at his dads. It didn’t start off well as there was an unfortunate dog poo incident which found me saying sorry a lot and ended with me on my hands and knees with Ecover trying to get it out of the white rug.

Ex wasn’t best pleased. He went off to the park and his little one wanted me to come too. I adore that! This little unrelated person belonging to my ex loves me. After a chat with my son I followed on to the park where football, scooters and a chat with ex on the bench ensued then his lovely wife turns up and I have a second of thinking is this weird for her that she arrives from work to her husband with his ex sitting on the bench. But no. I know it isn’t.

Anyway one conversation led to another which basically meant we all spent Friday night together at mine with wine, cheese and chip wraps with garlic mayo (divine), angel cake, cider, long conversations, special one to ones, dogs chasing balls, cheering on Mo at the athletics, the occasional tear and lots of laughter.

What’s a family?

That’s it isn’t it. It can be any shape. The most important aspect is that your family…. be it with cats and dogs or a partner or with ten children or none…. is your comfort blanket. A warm place of imperfections and love.

Happy Sunday xxx