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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Everything but the kitchen sink..

and the flooring. But let's not split hairs. The extension is almost (I am not sure how many times I have used that word recently) done. People, friends, neighbours and passers-by ask me so often, "How's it coming on? Is it finished?" So I answer them. In the whole scheme of things it hasn't been too bad. Would I do it again? Not this year and only if I had the same builder. Efficient, honest and reliable. He has to come back next week to put the final stonework on the roof but he's done a brilliant job. It has been exhausting. Not sure why for me.. I haven't lifted many bricks myself but I have muscles now that didn't exist before and according to the joiner that came to fix in some units this morning, I've lost weight. The worry over whether or not I could afford extra detail has been worse than anything I have ever known. Worse than divorce, dare I say death too or any house move. I would put a kitchen extension up there on my list of most stressful things in my life to date. I have tried to zone out, walk over rubble and ignore the clouds of cement dust from the angle grinders but you cannot ignore the bills especially when the pot is a small one. Almost, so nearly done. I am so grateful.

In fact, I am so grateful that I intend to dance in the kitchen on the new floor tonight and then I might sit on my work top with a glass of wine and smile at the space around me.

I wish Mum could see it. She'd be livid that she paid for it but she'd like it I'm sure. I got my 'Go get it' attitude from her. On a good day, nothing would stop her. I think that's a good thing..

It's all about the bootie. Always. My girls will dance and we shall eat cake.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Ah Well.

Seriously, what was I expecting? I had, after all, arrived at Gatwick North surrounded by fellow travellers all of whom I imagine were as keen to get home as I.  It was pointed out to me by the man that I love that no one really likes passport control. Not even with a good run. He is right. Of course, he's right. That, in itself is annoying. But today, I love him with every breath in my body, every hair follicle (although that's not such a good visual) and with every single heart beat. And no, I am not drunk. I am, however, shattered from lack of sleep yet again and bleary eyed. And because of this, I've decided it's a fine way to pass the day when it's rainy and grey on a tuesday.

This below is for my friends. Because you are the ones that will smile when you see it. Genius. Isn't Life simply brilliant sometimes?

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Oh Dear.

I knew that it was only a matter of time. Nothing ever lasts. Not forever anyway. That's the reality. I joked with a friend of mine as I sat on the decking outside my room yesterday mid morning that I might really focus on staying in first gear until noon today back in England. I hadn't barely walked five steps into the airport in London when I found myself muttering, "You fucking morons. It's a queue. Go around" because sadly, it seems the British especially are really stupid when it comes to queuing. We would rather stand in a queue and not move than dare peer around the corner for an alternative. There are 2 types of people in this world, I decided there and then, ones that queue for hours moaning and sighing and suggesting the possibility of another option and then there are those of us that say simply, "Fuck this" and step to the side and take a risk.

I have spent my life stepping to the side. Why wouldn't I? I spent my former years pushed and shoved in all directions depending on the family mood. It was an obvious outcome that when finally, I was considered adult (this still amuses me hugely) that I was allowed to buck the system and walk a different path. I am still walking against the majority of the traffic. The herd of sheep go naturally one way, obliviously following the others, step by step, heads down and here am I, eyes searching for another way out.

It is so obvious always. I say it time and time again. Just stop, breathe, shut your eyes and we all know the answer. I am a mother. First and foremost. Even when I don't need to be her It is my natural instinct to nuture and protect. I have always been co-dependant and I accepted that stigma, role, addiction, need- choose wisely but not without knowledge of what I refer to- many years ago. I have taught myself to detach and let go and not get involved unless absolute necessary. It often, isn't my problem. I walk away concentrating on what is mine and try and remove myself from whatever situation has unfolded in front of my needy eyes. But when I hear a story about a 6 year old boy who for obvious reasons to me is crying at his (36 at last head count) birthday party, I ask what happened. I was appalled at the answer. He had a headache I was told. (Not surprisingly. Birthday parties especially children's ones are, to me, like torture at the best of times but add to that the pressure that it's all about you and your head will thump) The solution? Was to put this child without his birthday balloon into a car in the car park for the final 10 minutes or so of the party. He was left alone. Sounds bliss but he's six years old. Where were his parents? Too busy fighting silently over who had carried his cake no doubt. His grandmothers? They were huffing and puffing working out which side to stand on. I don't want to get involved. The trouble is that I am involved.

The rain is hitting my window in front of me as I look through the candle light into the dark morning. Why am I awake? Visions and dark memories have prevented me from sleeping. Being a young child, for me, was the worst time of my life. I was shut in a car, a room, a stable. In the dark. Left to cry quietly hoping that it wasn't my life. My parents would hit out, hit at and hurt each other because they were both completely miserable and frustrated. I remember Dad sitting on the edge of my bed one night telling me in a really unusual voice that he and my mother were getting divorced. I was 7 years old. You know what I thought? Thank God for that.

Don't be moronic with your head down and follow a path that isn't necessarily the right one going in the right direction. Dare to look upwards and step to the side. It isn't just me standing over here. There are possibilities and alternatives. How is life ever going to change if you follow with your eyes shut? I talk a lot of shit I grant you but when it comes to living in a miserable home with miserable parents who create a worse sadness around them, I know that I am right. Stop blaming everyone else or making excuses for crying children. Take responsibility at least for your own future and go against the grain. It's so obvious. Or go and sit in the car and stop moaning.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Before sunrise.

I woke this morning without being woken. It wasn't early but neither was it late. I crept out of my idyllic, private room and it was dark. Not night time but not quite dawn. It was breaking, almost.

So barefoot and pant free, I wandered down the steps and around the corner. There is another room on the opposite side to me that has the view of the valley. The same valley written about in 'Driving over Lemons' by Chris Stewart. The author lives next door. Down the road and around the corner. I heard the goats that he wrote about yesterday as I sat still. It is amazing what you do actually hear if you sit still. I need to force myself so often to stop. I stood and looked. Life is amazing.

In a matter of hours, I will be hurtling down the Spanish mountain (hopefully not too often on 2 wheels) around the hair-pin bends to the airport. Then I will board the plane which will take me back to the land that I love. I occasionally forget just how much I love home but by stepping outside of my busy life, even for a short weekend, I am reminded. I am so very lucky. We all need to appreciate what we have. Stand still, sit or lie down and just feel it.

My coffee is on the gas stove as I sit on the decking outside my room. It is silent but for the birds, the occasional creature in the bushes and a distant tractor. The donkey has just woken up and brayed a beautiful 'Hola'. I wonder if this feels like a tiny piece of Heaven to me because I know it's a glimmer of what I rarely have or whether I am actually experiencing a tiny piece of Heaven? I feel blessed. I feel truly stilled and calm.

My coffee is ready.

I like boys that like their mothers.

"Are you bored? Do you want a DVD?" asked my hostess as she subtlety popped her around the gate just now. I thought she was joking. She wasn't. She was worried that because the sun had gone behind clouds that I might be lost for something to do. An amazingly attentive yet unobtrusive woman who when greeted with me in my pants holding a glass of beer probably knew the answer on sight. Bored is not a word I could use here. I am yet to get dressed. My nightie was taken from me after my shower and washed and hung up on the veranda to dry in air that I swear is purer than air at home. Then from behind the clouds comes the sun. Warm, energising heat that makes me feel better instantly. Again, in a moment, big, fat warm drops of rain fall and water me. The sun is still above and yet the sky releases rain that my skin absorbs. It is healing. I simply know it. So am I bored? Impossible. 

I breath in huge gulps of air and although I am torn between crying with sheer exhaustion and an over whelming feeling of how lucky I am to be alive, I am also so full of love and happiness. There is a fine line.

It is only recently in my life that things have started to make sense. The mere fact that I don't need to worry about the answer anymore or the reason why that sometimes I struggle has become less important. It is just as it is. Life is this. Life is today. And as much as I look forward to tomorrow so much just to hold my children, doesn't mean that I can't sit still, lie down or appreciate that today, being alive is enough. There is a reason to all of this. Today it is this. Today the reason is simply to stop and breathe. This will do.

I am not going to get dressed. I will remain in my pants until it is time to put my nightie back on. I can drink beer, eat olives, gulp in the air and listen to the most perfect music. I feel so lucky. Really, truly, properly lucky. The people in my life and out of it, some in a different country, some down the road, over the road, up the road know that I am hugely grateful that they are there. My door is always open. To all of you. 

"Are you okay?" I was just asked from a friend who now lives in Australia. My answer is this, "I've never been more okay in my entire life. Thank you"

It really is that simple.

What is it?

I'm woken by the crow of a cockerel. I smile and stretch. Slowly I look at the clock. Half nine. That, alone is a small miracle. Almost 12 hours sleep. I sit outside in my nightie listening to the softest birdsong and the occasional bray from the resident donkey. I am in Andulucia. I know many find my need to escape, travel, go abroad, get on a plane- call it what you will- extraordinary, weird, decadent, enviable- again, choose your word- but (and this is my interpretation) I do it because I need it. Simply to sit at a table alone, at the sea or looking up at the sky is the only way it seems that my head ever clears and my heart slows down. It is crucial to my well-being. I need to do it to find the calm. Slow my pulse. Remember why and because.

I could bore you yet again with the chaos that I grew up with but I won't. Today, this morning, I am so full of love. I am so grateful that for whatever reason, I can sit still on my own and feel completely privaledged. I have people in my life who love me. I have people in my life that love my children. Really love my children. 

I am sitting outside under a bamboo roof looking at the sky. If I said that I was relieved it is overcast, would you believe me? It is true. There is a breeze but it is not in the slightest bit cold. I am barefoot, of course. Why would I ever wear shoes? There is a dog barking that, to me, could be Mozart. My mother used to get so irritated by barking dogs when she lived in Italy and it is true, the barking dogs at home that stand at the cast iron gates asking to be set free drive all of us local residents crazy. But when I am away and there is no noise except that of nature, I hear life.

That, is the thing. It is Life. I come away from home to appreciate that Life is the gift. And there it is. A simple answer. 

Friday, 10 October 2014

Without sleep.

Forgive me the odd spelling mistake and the occasional poor use of the English language. I am very very tired. I will not, however, misuse the word too, to or two. And I am not intimidated by correct diction nor indeed will I fail to understand the the correct use of the word specific. I am merely an adult woman educated correctly and one who adores our English language. But like I said, I am exhausted. If my secondary teachers could see me now, they might widen their eyes or frown but quite frankly, I am entitled to sit late afternoon on a Friday in Spain with one leg up on the table. Cheers. I say as I lift my glass of wine and seeing as I did not sleep a wink last night, I am doing pretty well. I am and have been in my nightie since half three. The sun was out. I was horizontal. The clouds came over and the rain came down. I ambled quickly (if that is possible) into my delicious bedroom and got into bed. I put on my nightie. I haven't taken it off. The rain stopped and I came out of my pit like a mole blinking into the daylight for the first time in months and went horizontal on the sun bed yet again. I have since eaten a salad with a lot of garlic (sorry Snotface) and as I sit here with a final glass of wine knocking on 8pm, I am literally forcing my eyelids upwards. I am completely and utterly shattered.

What I have failed to admit over the last few days, weeks, months is that the one thing keeping me going is the love of a good man. I have never really had that or known that I had that or felt it like this. This time it is right. Forever. I have it forever. I have a man in my life who not only loves me but allows me to be imperfect and weird and insecure and scared. He knows me from old. He knew the 15 year old me and even though the 15 year old me didn't speak out and admit her insecurities, the bruises and the broken heart spoke volumes. If silently. I wasn't allowed to love him back then but I did. I love him now so I hope I'm allowed. Always have loved him I think. Not necessarily him in his true form but I always knew that this love existed. I knew that I would love and be loved equally in return. I am. I do. No reason to doubt. No past or future jealousy to stop me feeling the love. I will be completely able to love him openly in a matter of weeks and I cannot imagine how that freedom

might feel. To be able to give myself to someone who has already shown me more love than I have ever known.

So there it is. That is the reason I am still here, still functioning  and still living each day with a smile. Because quite simply, through all the shit, all the doubt, the pain and all the spite that has been pushed my way, I knew that it would be okay soon enough.

It is way more than okay. This is it for me.