Families, Family, Home, mental health, Motivation, real life

Don’t forget yourself!

Hubby and I attempt to take some time off from a caring role each week. It might be a trip to the garden centre for a coffee, or a visit to a green space for a walk.

It’s very much needed as the time goes on and my father in law becomes more confused and anxious about things.

Mostly about money, finance,bills etc. For someone who talked with high flying executives about multi million pound budgets for the civil service, the understanding of figures is slipping away.

So conversation becomes fraught and challenging without understanding. Over and over again. Repeating the same things, in a different way.

So, we have to take away some of those challenges, without removing all his independence totally. We still talk about money, we watch the news together, listen to political discussions that have financial implications for us all. And try to help him understand his confused brain as much as we can.

Often we come away physically exhausted. But more often it’s the emotional side that is draining. And we hear one another saying ‘he’s getting worse isn’t he?’ On a daily basis.

I think he knows too. I had a phone call on Saturday evening to apologise for his behaviour. He got frustrated with me because he asked me about some finances we had talked about. It’s all saved on my phone for ease. I found it, we talked and he was OK. I closed the information down. And he asked me the same thing 5 min later, but because I had to explain I needed to find it again – he got frustrated.

We had already decided Sunday would be a ‘day off’. And made sure things were in place to allow us to do this.

We went to the coast. Our go to place to clear our heads. And boy – was it needed! We had a bracing walk along the sea front, it was chilly and windy. But we sat outside a cafe with our coffee and cake – and talked about us, and watched some wind surfer’s. We laughed and talked of future plans.

Today is another day. Hospital appointment, visit to the bank. But I – we feel refreshed to start another week.

Don’t forget yourself. You may not always come first, but you need to place yourself somewhere at the top of the list. The further down that list you are – the harder it is to recharge your batteries. You cannot support others without looking after yourself!

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friends, Inspiration

The perfect picture

We have all seen the prefect picture in a magazine, on the television of a wedding or a celebration shoot. But do we actually know the planning that goes into the picture beforehand to make it as perfect as it seems?

I went away with college friends of mine this weekend. We have a yearly celebration of our 45 years together. Over the years the group has changed, from a larger group to our core group of 7 or 8 of us. Not everyone wants to be reminded of the antics we got up to in our late teens, and life often gets in the way. We were Nursery Nurses, and most of us have worked in schools or health settings. The majority of the school year was made up of girls (yes – not one boy!) who were primarily 16 and 17. With a few older women, who were taking this on as a different career once their children were older. They were affectionately known as the ‘Mature Students’   

We have had various time together. Simple meals in a pub, afternoon tea in a hotel, to trips to London to see a show, and drink champagne together. Now – as we have reached the grand old age of 60+ we meet in a beautiful building owned by a Children’s Charity that is rented out. A simple place made of wood, with great eco credentials in the middle of no-where. I mean no-where! My sat-nav won’t even recognise the post code! The roads around are littered with sheep, cows and ponies. And to drive to the beautiful Gower coast line in South Wales, you take your life in your own hands, and those of the passengers – dodging the animals who have no road sense along the way. Oh – but it is so worth it!

The Beach View, but not perfect.



Now this isn’t the perfect picture though. Within our group we have an artist, who is so very creative. She takes so much time setting up a picture. The light in the right direct, the content is perfect, the background is blurred to focus your eye on what she really wants you to see. Her pictures are perfect, creative and arty. But again at this moment in time to me this isn’t the perfect picture. 

The artistic picture

We also have within our group someone who makes memories for us, and captures then in picture books, and copious Facebook and Instagram posts. When you look back on then – it takes you back to the exact moment the picture was taken, and we all say – oh I remember that! A great way to start another conversation.

But it takes a lot of preparation, it isn’t always off the cuff, or instantaneous to get the prefect picture. I suppose nothing perfect is!

First you need to find the perfect setting.

The Perfect Spot

And the right equipment

The right Equipment

Did I mention the comedian in the group? There is nothing mature about this one!

There is always one!
Are we all in the Picture?

You need everyone to be in place at the right time. Now our group as I said was 60+ and our bodies are letting us down a little with aches and pains, so doing this isn’t always as easy as it looks!  

We need to tweak it a little so it’s right. Can we all be seen? Only the one with the camera can see this properly. Our eye sight is too bad for the ones at the back to see!

But I’ll tell you why to me this is the perfect picture. It’s not airbrushed to perfection. Our hair is a little peppered with grey. We have crow’s feet, and laughter lines. And I’m certain we are not always happy with how we look in a picture. But this is the perfect group of friends, where we can all be comfortable with one another, to laugh and cry!  

This is what all that hard work looks like. This one has been 45 years in the making.

A perfect picture in every way!

The Perfect Picture
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Inspiration, mental health, real life, Spirit and soul, Uncategorized, Writing

The internal monologue

I already know what I’m going to write before I start typing, my internal monologue is a few seconds quicker than my thought process, and has already had the discussion before my fingers hit the keyboard.

It’s annoying when you want to sit there in silence, only for your other voice to say – look at that fly, what’s for dinner, have you done the washing yet…..it goes on and on and on!

Not everyone has one. But if you are brave enough to step out of your comfort zone, and ask others if they have one, you will be surprised at how many have!

I had some wellbeing support a few years ago, where they talked of the inner critic. Sitting in a group of other people, I never really understood what they were referring to, until I took a step back and thought about those never ending thoughts in my head. Often critical, self-examining and often so very unhelpful! And I have to say – on the odd occasion, quite dark. Of course- they were my inner critic, my inner demon! I like to think there is a balance though. The resilience that I have built up over the years, acting as the words of wisdom. Telling me not to be so stupid, and things will work out, the cake will bake ok or you won’t be late for something.  

I often post links to information from Wikipedia. This particular link is really useful, in as much as it talks about  Negative and Positive self-talk. I’d never thought of it that way. I don’t think it’s been a negative experience to realise this was happening.

But I also don’t think you can ever stop those voices can you? Or do you want to? Sometimes they are soothing, and remind you of the good times, and the success you have had. They help you to think of a way forward, to formulate a plan, to give you courage to step out of your comfort zone and put into words things that have been locked in your heart for a long time.  

Sometimes they just keep saying ‘are we there yet’ like an annoying child on a long journey. We just have to say – not yet, but thank you for your company!

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Inspiration

History

I know I studied history when I was in school. The King’s of England, their wives’ or the important King’s wives. Important dates in the past and what it meant to us.

But I passed a piece of my history this week. Stones placed in a specific area of meaningful importance by those long dead ancestors who saw the world turn in a different way.

Not ruled by technology or a fast paced society, but by the moon and sun. The stars and the seasons.

We marvel at how they lived. We are in awe of such amazing feats of simple technology and strength.

This is Stonehenge in Wiltshire.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonehenge

Seeing this face to face makes me more aware of my history much better than reading about things in a book.

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Inspiration

A view from a window.

We could be anywhere.

After a stormy night the trees are thankful at last for water. Its been a scorching summer, drought and hosepipe bans.

But now the rains start. Storms cross the country and rain crashes down.

You would never know from this view! The grass looks lush, not a parched blade in sight. Not a burnt spot. The trees are as green as ever.

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Adoption, Families, Family, genealogy, history, Home, Inspiration, love, Motivation, real life

The elusive family

Isn’t it funny that something you have been searching for a long time, was right within arm’s reach all along?

It’s a problem probably only a few of us can appreciate. When your adopted, that feeling of not belonging in a family. Looking for something else, that elusive feeling of being part of the same tribe, familiar looks and the same DNA. I’d dreamt all my life of belonging.

What a load of old tosh!

My maternal grandmother kept saying that if I didn’t behave she would send me back to where I came from. That didn’t help the feeling of not belonging. My dad was the youngest of his siblings, he married late and they didn’t adopt me for another 10 years. My mum was in the middle of her siblings, two older and two younger. So I’m now at a disadvantage before I start, the youngest runt of the cousins. All older than me, being closer together than I was.

I moved away when I was 19, most of them were married and established with their own families by then. I lost contact. It didn’t worry me.

I didn’t ‘belong’ anyway.

I did find the youngest cousin on my adopted mother’s side on a genealogy site – he was 14 years older than me and luckily was the family historian. He had made up a great tree of 4 generations back, I learned so much from it.

My adopted father’s side was different. I had lost touch altogether. I searched social media in the hope they were interested in the town they had lived in till they moved away. And then one day – there she was. My dad’s niece, commenting on a link to the village she had grown up in. The cousin who I had been a bridesmaid for, whose mum had taught me to make French omelettes when I was younger in her kitchen. I tentatively sent her a message, and opened the flood gates of communication. She had been hoping to find me, I had been hoping to find her.  She too is the family historian, thankfully. She has so much useful family information, photographs and anecdotes, conversations and personal memories. She remembers my dad fondly her uncle Trevor.

We met. Her husband and my husband sitting on the periphery of the room like two china cats- while we caught up on 50 years of lost time. It has been an incredible experience, and one I am so very grateful for.

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I was looking to belong
to mix with those who looked like me
to mix with those with shared the same DNA.

We’d laugh at the same jokes
we’d share the same parentage
well one at least!
We’d belong in the same tribe.

I found some who came so close
I reached out, and almost got to touch
but just as it was offered
it was snatched away.

Fear I’d got too close?
Fear I’d find out?
Fear of a family secret?
Fear of a past history?

Rejected again I kept searching.
Then the unexpected happened.

I found someone!
Someone unexpected, from my past
someone who knew my life –
intimately.
Knew my family secrets, didn’t judge.
Was happy to have me back!

All those years of fruitless searching
for the family who wasn’t to be
to finally find someone
who had been with me from the very beginning!

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history, Home, Inspiration, Laughter, love, real life, Spirit and soul

Billy Joel

What evokes memories for you? For me its music and songs.

I hear a song, or a particular singer, and it takes me instantly back to a time when those songs were being
played on the radio, or on an old record player. It drags me back to a different time, and often a different kind of life.

I was washing the dishes today, when I thought I would listen to some songs by Billy Joel. For those of us of a certain age, those songs will take you right back to the 70’s & 80’s! His songs were so very innocent, to me at least. All about America and the different types of people who lived there, the Italians, rock and roll and Jazz.

In the early 80’s I shared a house with a group of people from all walks of life. A university student & a guy who was a small time drug dealer amongst other things. A chef and his girlfriend who worked in a restaurant in Putney, South West London- they lived a topsy-turvey life, working evenings, and late into the night. Coming home anywhere between 11 o’clock and midnight. We can’t forget they didn’t have those late night licences and opening hours then.  Neighbours would turn up – and the party would begin -the mad mechanic called Steve and the guy who was an artist and a writer who looked like cat weasel with his wild grey hair and beard and his amazing knitted jumpers, they were the few I remembered! Have you ever tried to sleep when there is a ‘party’ going on? Me neither I’m a very sociable person when I want to be.   Of course it was very bohemian life style – mattresses on the floor, and old leather sofas. The loud music and the ‘cigarettes’ being passed around. They soon got fed up with asking me to partake, I wasn’t interested. Very naïve of me their life style – but I was a 20 year old, not long out of the Welsh valleys.  In fact I have to say I had no idea about that life style.

What a short interesting time in my life that was. We all moved to the YMCA in Surbiton in 1981 after the lease of the house expired. A short life lesson learned for me I know. And as Billy Joel is still playing, it again takes me back to that house where I celebrated my 21st Birthday and learned to appreciate neat Jack Daniels.

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Animals and birds, Family, real life

The advantage of being on the ground floor

Hubby and I are away at our favourite holiday destination.

I knew we would be in the hotel near the water, and hoped we would be on the 1st or 2nd floor, with a view across the lake. It wasn’t to be. We were at the back by the forest area.

I was disappointed! No sleeping with the blinds open, being woken in the morning by the call of the ducks and the geese. Oh well!

We’ve got this instead. An added bonus.

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woman

Don’t forget who I am

Don’t forget who I am
with all these changes going on.
Don’t forget I am a daughter
A wife and a mother
A grandmother, a nanna.

A woman!

Don’t forget we fought for these names
we fought for the right to Vote
we fight to sit as women at the table of men.
Each day we fight to have our voices heard.

Don’t forget who I am
when others want to make changes.
While others want to progress their ideas.
I’m not saying that is wrong
I’ll stand up with you and for you
but don’t forget who I am.

Don’t forget who I am
Don’t lose me in the melee
Don’t undermine my importance
Who I stand for. And who I have become.

Don’t assume my ideas are wrong
That I’m fighting against you.
We are equal in respect, and in hope
That each one of us won’t be forgotten
in the war that is equality!

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Animals and birds, Families, history, Home, Inspiration, Laughter, real life, Spirt and soul

36 Steps

13 steps from the street to the house,
13 from the back of the house to the garden,
10 from the garden to the lane at the back.

A treacherous journey between the grey walls of hand hewn rock,
and green moss.
Slipping and sliding over wet slabs of paving.
To the house,
to the garden,
to the lane at the back.

The outside lavvy, a cold and scary place
spiders ready to jump,
just as you settled in for your constitutional.
The cold wet chain hanging from the white porcelain tank.
Daren’t spend too long,
not even ½ pennies worth!

Ivy covered walls to the garden,
The first step too tall for little legs.
The 2nd 3rd and 4th much easier.
Then up to the top –
you felt you had already climbed the mountain!

The sloping garden, no grass
but full of plants and flowers.
A fir tree to climb
and a shed, with a coal hatch never used!
The shallow steps up to the lane.
And freedom.

Blackberries to pick
Floxgloves to wear on fingertips
Chickens to tease,
horses to feed,
paths to climb,
newts to catch,
tadpoles in jars.
And mountains to slide down on trays!

Those were the days of my youth!!!!

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