Friday, 12 October 2012

Purple Daisies and Autumn leaves

Hey! . . . I've finally got some good news . . . No, not that good, but not bad. Definitely good, but not in the miracle category . . . why don't I just shut up about how good it is, or isn't and tell you. It's hardly worth the mystery . . . I just won something! I've never won anything, ever. Well, not that I can remember, maybe I'll have a little think about that later. Anyway, I was doing a small "top up shop" the other day in Tesco (I don't often use Tesco and have no idea why I did on that day) and I was talked into writing my name and address on a prize draw slip for a golden ticket . . . do you know what? I didn't even read what the prize was, I literally just scribbled my name and address to appease the insistent cashier and posted it in the box for the draw, it hardly even registered as done in my mind . . . Until Wednesday whilst I was doing my big weekly shop in Asda, I answered a call to an unknown number, which in itself is rare for me . . . It was a lady from Tesco blah blah blah . . . I was barely even listening, as I looked for which soft cheese was on offer . . . "Blah blah blah . . . But you did win one of the runner up prizes which is £100 of Tesco vouchers" . . . "I did what?" . . Yes, I did and they can be spent at Tesco on-line so I can use them towards Christmas presents for the kids. What a bonus eh? I was buzzing, I still am.

Now I've mentioned Christmas in October! let me tell you this; every year I promise myself that next year I will start my Christmas shopping early to avoid taking out a loan (a no interest loan, I might add, nevertheless it has to be paid back at £25 per week) and every "next year" I break my promise and take out a loan. Well not this year, I have started early, three weeks ago to be precise. Fortunately I had the good sense (or maybe it was Mum's idea?) to stash the presents at her house . . . as Hamper G has been off school with diarrhoea for two days now, poor little soul, her bum is burning and stinging, I know, too much information, and she's only eating toast and water . . .  Anyway, I have no doubt that if those presents were here, I would have let her have at least one of them today. Just as well they are at Mum's house . . . Talking of Mum, she's off to Australia alone in two weeks to visit my sister. Inspired by my recent weight loss Mum also managed to lose 20lbs this Summer and with this weight loss came a new wardrobe and a new lease of life, so that's her 80th birthday present to herself. Good for her! I'd love to think that I might be so physically active and mentally sharp at 80 years of age . . .  another 30 years! . . . Well, who knows eh? I'm all too aware of what would improve my chances, of course . . .

And talking of Australia, I was thinking of
The Elephant's Child the other day and the photographs of her wonderful garden, and other things, that she posts . . . She had posted some of a "Daisyish" flower in her garden that I recognised from my own garden. Most of the Summer flowers are almost over, but these two pots of daises have flowered over and over again. I presume this could be their last flowering, so I snapped some pictures of them which I will attempt to post here. I don't know if I could keep these flowers alive in the house over winter . . . does anyone know? I don't even know what they're called.

So, what else is good . . . O yeah, I got a phone call this morning with the result of last week's assessment. They have decided to offer me exposure therapy (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) for my phobia . . . I have mixed feelings about this; ranging from excited to terrified. I know it can work, and that I could rid myself of this debilitating phobia forever with some hard work and much discomfort, but part of me wants to hide and avoid it; to cancel the therapy and live exist alongside it, as I have for the past 48 years  . . . But I won't hide and when the first appointment comes through I'll go and I'll face it. And, what's more, I'll write about it. 

As most things seem to be going so well today, I'll try and bring those pictures over here . . . Geekster is still in France so I can't call on him to help. I'm missing my little Geekster but he'll be home on Sunday to his favourite roast dinner.  I dare say he'll have a few tales to make me laugh too . . . Possibly to do with his Dad's reluctance to part with money . . . which of course is why he has so much of it. Right, I'll stop myself there!

Yay! There's the Daisies. I must remember to take my phone/camera thingy with me next time I walk into town. The colours of the Autumn leaves really are something else. I'm sure the older I get, the more I notice, and appreciate, the detail and colour in nature. I must admit to feeling a tad optimistic today. I'm not sure why, nothing has changed in that area . . . maybe it's the double dose of Prozac.

O well, whatever it is, it's made for a lighter post than usual. I'm going to leave it at that; quit whilst I'm ahead as they say . . . Love and thanks to each one of you x x 

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Come what may, I'm posting today!

Sometimes I struggle to find any quiet in my day. My head's spinning with it . . . Stropster playing his guitar, Hamper G "talking" to Galah, her imaginary friend, on the phone, I keep putting off writing until it's the right time, or a better time, and it just never is.

Last week was hectic with appointments, assessments, shopping or some such thing every morning, which meant I didn't return home in the morning after the school walk until lunch time. Stropster comes home for lunch, which then leaves me a couple of hours to do the "keeping my head above water" chores and it's school time again . . . then cooking and washing blah di blah. Hamper G is sometimes so tired from school that she needs a nap at four whilst I'm cooking, all good, but after a nap and her dinner she is full of energy again until half nine, ten . . . half ten? and on and on we go . . .

Anyway that wasn't the case today (written on Monday). I had no appointments and came straight home from school at 9.30 am, it was dark and grey and raining. I curled up in my chair with a blanket and slept through until it was almost time to go to school again. I did feel a slight twinge of guilt at wasting the day, but I also felt a bigger twinge of I must have needed the sleep. So I kind of wasted my "quiet alone time" instead of appreciating it . . . I probably didn't waste it, I made the most of it by sleeping, but you know what mean. O well. It's sodding noisy now that's all I know.

Right that's my griping over with and it's two hours later now and quiet. I might have some more griping to do, I'm not sure, yet.

Stropster passed his driving theory test today so he's buzzing and he can put in for the practical test next . . . He also got a wage rise so all is good in his world and despite my moaning about him playing the guitar he's progressing well and I do normally enjoy listening to him play . . . just not tonight.

Geekster is in France with his Dad. His Dad lives here locally but he bought a real nice farmhouse in France during our last attempt at a relationship. There was talk of us living there and it is a beautiful place . . . but there you go. A beautiful house doth not a relationship make.

I went to the city N/A last Wednesday, there were three men there. It felt slightly awkward for some reason but I think I'll try it again. They were all rather keen to suggest other larger meetings to me but they're all evening meetings and I can't get over to the city of an evening . . .

I had what I thought was a mental health assessment this week, but it wasn't, it was an assessment for CBT (cognitive behaviour Therapy) re the phobia . . . so after an hour of interview, I realised I'd told them all sorts of irrelevant information as I wasn't aware that the interview was only phobia related, until the end! . . .  I'll be hearing from them soon. The full mental health assessment to decide where we go with treatment and medication is not until next month. Until then, my GP has doubled my dose of Prozac. I said I didn't feel much different apart from complacent and unmotivated . . . she said this wouldn't be the pills, they should make me feel motivated . . . we shall see!

I still feel very stuck in this addiction. I did have another of those lucid frightening reality moments at 3.15 this morning. I sat up in bed full of fear and terror, wandering how the hell things had gotten back here again? . . . and how it must stop, and it will stop, and how will it stop? and when will it stop? My heart was racing and I couldn't settle again for some time. It was possibly only 15 minutes but it felt like hours. I don't know, I really don't. And now Hamper G's Dad has just called from prison and I ignored the phone . . . five times. Sometimes I can't do phone calls, sometimes I can't do jovial . . . or even normal.

Well a right misery post this is turning out to be, I knew it would, which is why I've been waiting, hoping I would lighten up a bit . . but No.

I mean, throughout the day with all of it's distractions all is well. On our way back from school this afternoon we collected a selection of amazing Autumn leaves and made a tree collage to send to Hamper G's Dad and another one to send to my Dad. We had a good time reading Hamper G's reader book from school, she's doing very well and loves the feeling of learning and achieving but when it's just me in my own head, which it is here, then I really get to wandering . . .

I do wonder if  I'll ever be that healthy, free, creative version of me that I should be, living life to it's, and my, full potential. I know it's all down to me to make that happen, and I can perfectly imagine how it would be, it's not too far fetched or ridiculous. It doesn't rely on any big money or anything other than what I have really. It's do-able. So why the hell don't I get on and do it, make it happen?

(Tuesday morning)
I would say sorry for such a miserable post, but I wont because, really, I'm not. I mean, I'm a tad pissed off that I still feel like this but I don't feel there's much point in apologising for myself.
I do, however, hope that my next post is slightly more cheerful . . . I think I've been saying this for a while.

I will reply to the comments on my previous post, I almost did this morning and then decided I should post this first. So I will, right now. I'm not going to edit or dwell on making this readable. I will post and move on.

Before I do, I will thank every person who is reading here. Whether you've been here for the whole year or just a day, thankyou. With love, as always x x x

Monday, 1 October 2012

Turkey, Tramp and Trimmings

OK, I've got a little story to tell. I've almost finished the next episode of the ongoing saga that is my past . . . and I don't have much anything new to add to the ongoing saga that is my present. So.

The other day, I was reminded of something that happened many, many years ago, when I was eight. Yes, that long ago. And yet, it's as clear, maybe clearer, than yesterday.

I'd been thinking about a couple of posts that  John at Going Gently wrote this week. One post led to another on the subject of including people who are generally excluded . . . and how or when we first learnt to do this, if indeed we did learn.

It didn't take me long to rake out my first memory of including the outsider . . . although being an outsider myself, I was only including him into my own outsideness, but that was better than nothing. Anyhow, I left a brief comment at John's and refrained from telling the whole story in the comment box . . . But the memory was unleashed and snippets kept playing over in my mind, jumping into my  thoughts out of nowhere, until I played it right through, sort of mentally re-lived it and settled it back into the archives again. I really hadn't remembered this in years. It was quite extraordinary . . .

It was Winter 1971 and I was almost nine. Half way through our school term a new boy had joined our class. His name was Lee-Roy and he was Black. West Indian. The only black kid in the class, possibly the school.  He looked as different as I felt and I recognised a kindred spirit. I wondered if life would be easier if I was black; if my difference showed up physically, it might be justified somehow. I was fascinated. I'd never spoken to a black person, apart from the bus conductor. I felt a connection with this lad; not only did he look as different as I felt, he looked as worried as I felt . . . and as lonely. We must be feeling the same inside . . .

We were seated in Alphabetical order of our Surnames, mine began with V and his with W . . . he was given a seat next to me! Next to me!. . . I helped him out in class, gave him my spare pencil and when it came to playtime, he stayed with me. I expected him to go off and play with the other boys but he didn't. We just sat together on the steps, we didn't even talk much, we just sat and watched the other kids playing.

Our school was on the edge of a notoriously rough council estate where Lee-Roy's mother had been allocated a house. She was a single mother to five or six boys but I didn't know any of this at the time. One afternoon in class, as we put our chairs up on the tables and sang our "going home" song, which always made me feel so sad, Lee-Roy asked if he could come round to my house one day.

"Yeah, of course, come round for tea . . . now".

I learnt this from my Dad. My parents were in the Salvation Army and did a fair amount of work in the soup kitchen with homeless folk. Dad was also an outsider, always had been, even though he wore the SA uniform and looked like any other man there, he never felt as though he belonged. He questioned other people's integrity when they said "Oh you must come to Dinner one Sunday" He wanted to say "Why one Sunday . . . why not this Sunday . . . or next Sunday?"
So, most Sundays after "open air" meetings in the city centre Dad would find a homeless beggar to come and join us for Sunday lunch.
"Yes, come on, up you get now, of course you can bring your dog and shopping trolley. Yes, you can bring your bottle. No thanks, I don't drink but you're welcome to bring it with you" . . . And Christmas, well Christmas dinner was not complete without a vagabond at the table. If they so wished, they could take a bath and he'd give them some "new" clothes, maybe a haircut and a shave Sir?. . . They were as necessary as the turkey itself. Turkey, Tramp and Trimmings . . . I digress.

We left the school and waited for the lollipop lady to see us across the wide and busy road that, I now know, separated the council estate from the private houses. His eyes grew in disbelief. I was always amazed at how curled his lashes were. "You live on the other side of this road?" . . . I had no idea this was a dividing road. I wasn't aware of those houses being any different to these houses. They were houses, built of red brick, on paved streets. They were the same. To me.

Mum came in from work and warmed up a tin of Heinz vegetable soup. She shared it into two bowls and put a loaf of white sliced Mother's Pride bread on the table. I don't think Lee-Roy touched his spoon. He ate slice after slice of bread soaked in soup until the bowl was clean . . . and the loaf was gone. All gone. We sat on the floor in front of the gas fire and his eyes shone, he seemed to come alive, to glow in the warmth. He smiled more. I wanted to feel his hair but I didn't dare ask. He stared at the burning plates of the gas fire as if they were beautiful dancing flames. His eyes watered from the heat, I think.

It was freezing cold and getting dark and eventually, very reluctantly, he left. I felt his sadness and my sadness.

Our bedrooms were freezing cold, early nights were the most efficient way of keeping warm. At that time my Sister and I had the small front bedroom with twin single beds, separated only by a small bedside cabinet. We would pull the blankets over our heads to get warm, leaving just a whispering space open and in the dark we would whisper about everything and anything . . . Until one of us realised we were whispering alone.

The next thing I heard was Mum screaming to my Dad . . .

"Bob! Bob! get up here! Help!! there's an animal! . . ."
I heard her running downstairs, then some more shouting in the kitchen . . . Then, running back up the stairs, back into our room. My sister was still asleep and Mum growled at me through clenched teeth.
"Get up now and get down those stairs! . . . What on earth were you thinking?"

I had no idea what I was thinking, or what I was supposed to be thinking. I was very confused and scared, I was obviously in big trouble . . . I got up, I remember; I was wearing a mauve stretch-nylon, flared legged, flared sleeved, catsuit. I loved it . . .  I crept down the stairs slowly, silently, trying to work out what I was meant to be thinking . . . I could hear raised voices in the front room now . . . Someone was pleading "She did not know Madam, I swear, she did not know" . . . It was Lee-Roy!!

Mum had heard the floorboards creaking in our room and had come up to make sure we were in bed. We were. She'd been horrified to see, shining through the darkness, the frosted head and two big eyes of what she thought was a dog, lying curled up on the floor between our two beds . . . As she'd stepped back and screamed, he had bolted on all fours, out of the room and down the stairs with all the speed and agility of a cat! He was heading for the back door where he had crept in, but Dad was in the kitchen locking up for the night. He was trapped and frightened. There was no way out now.

We all sat in the front room, Lee-Roy staring at the gas fire once again. And again, he pleaded with my parents; to believe that I had no part in this plan and not to call the police. He said his Mum already had too many worries with his Brothers. He was so sorry. So, so, sorry, he cried and cried. I cried. I was sent back to bed and Dad drove him home. Home, where there was no warm soup or soft white bread. Back to the other side of the divide. Dad insisted on going into the house to explain to Lee-Roy's Mum, she must be worried sick . . . She wasn't there, she was working nights at the city Hospital so she could be at home during the day time for the kids. As they stood in his kitchen, Dad hugged Lee-Roy and told him he understood. And he did understand; he knew the pain of hunger, the scrounging around for crusts of bread in the streets. His father would come home from sea, drunk and penniless, having spent a months wages in the boozer. He knew the yearning to be part of a family, part of something, anything; to sit at the table with another person and share some warm soup  . . .  To feel the warmth of the fire.

As he said Goodnight to Lee-Roy he noticed a note on their kitchen table, written by a child.

Mum . . . I go to live with Diane. I come back to see you soon. I love you.
Lee-Roy x x x

In his mind it was that simple. If only.