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Thursday, 23 April 2015

Enough already!

I am usually right. I think I'm almost always right. I don't know many women in their forties who have gone through life (so far) without learning a few harsh realities, taken a tumble or three or monumentally made a mistake and not learnt from it. It's why I am here after all. Not to make mistakes (obviously) but living in this idyllic village with ever settling roots and a roof over my head. It wasn't meant to be like this. I was meant to be barefoot and fancy free living in a teepee in the hills somewhere hot without a care in the world. But that was life in my twenties and often under a cloud of smoke. The reality is that I work, clean, iron and parent my girls every single second of every single day. So how come I didn't know something? I have been running (away) on the face of this earth for over 20 years. I know about health and relative fitness. I am not stupid, neither am I ignorant when it comes to being half-sensible. But women lifting weights to burn fat? I presumed (wrongly) that lifting weights would make me bulky and beefy. I presumed that lifting weights would not make me fitter or less fat. I am completely wrong. I have been drinking aloe vera for weeks and I am convinced (100%) that it is healing and cleaning every part of my body from the inside out. I now sell it. I don't need to convince anyone to buy it because I know when (if) they do and when (if) they drink it, they will (guaranteed) feel better. It's a given. A done deal. But it tastes disgusting (I like it but I'm odd). But that wasn't my point. That is a separate fact for friday. The point of todays blog is simply this- If you want to feel better, walk forwards.

This man has changed my life in a week. I am not kidding. What has he done? He's (quietly) pointed out that I was wrong. Women should lift weights. Women should eat more protein. Woman can be lean without being beefy. Combine Mark @StoneBarnFit with drinking aloe vera and I am feeling better than I have done for years.

Isn't it ironic that the only reason I feel a little lousy today is because someone I love has been mean to me..

Right, that's enough 'me time', I have girls to get up, get ready and get out to school.
I will not shout. I will not shout. I will not shout.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015


When is it time to accept that it's done? I have been running for over 20 years. Mentally, I find clarity and inner calm as my legs move through the miles and I am reminded of this beautiful countryside with views that I wouldn't normally see. I accept that I am helping my heart by being fit but also my soul for being real. I have pounded miles and miles of tarmac, gravel, mud, grass even sand never quite reaching my designation but feeling better with each stride. Emotionally I have been running from anything and everything that has reminded me of my younger pain and claustrophobic fears. And then I got sick. At the start of the year I had what everyone else has told me about for years but I had proudly never experienced. I got the flu. It floored me. I couldn't walk or climb the stairs for days without sitting down. I was weak and washed out. I was told that it might take weeks to recover. I smiled knowing that I would be better and fit and prove that theory wrong. But..

I stopped. I ran yesterday with a spring in my step and a determination in my head that makes me feel I could conquer anything. It is a feeling that makes me appreciate life, health and love. Where I normally would take a breath and cruise, I suddenly struggled to breath. I was told that I had asthma as a result of the flu but I defied that theory and ignored it until I thought I might pass out. When blurry vision and black marks in front of your eyes prevent you from running, when your breath is so restricted that I questioned if I actually might collapse and when my legs went from lead to jelly, I stopped. I walked home with a belief that maybe, just maybe it is time to stop running.

We'll see. Emotionally, I am no longer running. I am stationary at last. I am so grateful that I am allowed to feel like this. I will never take him for granted. He is the most amazing man. I am no longer squashed into a box. I am no longer having to be rigid. I am not made to feel like an outsider nor am I spoken to to like I am different. I am allowed to be exactly as I am. Who I am. As free as I have always dreamt of being. I am just this and with him, I am more. We laugh. A lot. Truthfully? We are very funny but I'm not sure anyone else would get the jokes. My girls are getting used to seeing us laughing and I think they have forgotten that the shouting was once so loud. Anger is not welcome here. Bad temper is monthly (I am not deluded) but I am not opening our door to anger from the outside ever again. I hit the mute button mentally which helps and I turn the volume down on a persistent call if the telephone rings over and over. I sit still properly for the first time in my life and I like it.

Physically, running is what my body has always done. It has become harder. My knees hurt and my hips creak. Today both ankles felt stiff but I turned up the volume and kept going. I don't want to stop but my spirit is telling me that it's time. I have a funky pink pair of running shoes and I think they might be my final pair. When I turn 44 in August I will have been running for 27 years. I think that speaks volumes. It was 27 years from the last time I saw The Boyfriend to the day that I saw The Man. Maybe it's a significant time lapse. Maybe it's just what it is. Maybe, Sometimes we just need to let it be, let it go and let it happen. Maybe, sometimes that's the thing. It might be simply time to stay still and stop running for real. We'll see.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Could this be it?

Have I got my full stop, my fait au complete, my happy ever after? I believe so. I didn't expect it to feel like this. I never expected to know for absolute sure. But I do. It wasn't planned as one bitter bitch suggested last week. I defy that I ever went out looking for this man and even when I stumbled into his path because (I remind you) he stood right in front of me waving his arms smiling and saying, "Remember me?". Even then I simply smiled at his handsome face as I nodded and my heart grew but I didn't expect to ever be this happy. Not with him. Of course not. Silly suggestion. Not my style at all to go out and grab something that belongs to someone else. The thing is, was, he didn't belong to someone else.. And for the record, he grabbed me. Twice. 27 years apart I grant you but grab is what he did and I let him. I'd have been a fool to ignore his smile. 

So I sit here on a blissful Spring afternoon (it is very warm indeed and I am barefoot in the garden) counting my blessings. The dogs are idle by my feet, my smallest is at a birthday party sleepover but not sleeping over and my eldest is about to come home from a Brownies activity. The man is doing his paternal duty as any and every good father does and I am looking forward to have all my eggs back in my basket later. Dermot O'Leary is talking to me through my quite recently new kitchen windows and I have my feet up on an old Morroccan poof (fabric not human). Rose has never tasted so good and I still can't be anything but full of love for the woman that has enabled this feeling of completeness. Even if she didn't actually intend to give me any of it. I am grateful that because of her I met The Man in the first place. Because of her I came back to the county where I now have roots. Because of her our home is really bloody lovely. Because of her I have 2 dogs who love us and each other. Because of her I can hear the music on the Roberts radio and because of her I am free. 

I don't need to explain or justify or give reason but I do need to remember that without the storm, I wouldn't ever have appreciated the calm. Not this much. No one can expect a happy ever after just because surely? I knew it existed. So did Mum. She told me over and over that it would come right. It's more than right. I have never ever been so blissfully happy and I adore my old boyfriend more as 
The Man than I can ever begin to describe. So is anything missing?..

Just the impossible. I would give anything for one afternoon with my mother with us in the garden sitting at the table with her grandchildren seeing the old boyfriend she disapproved of being the man I love. Pity she missed it. Or maybe she hasn't. Knowing my mother she knew exactly what might happen when she said it would all come good. And even if she didn't, I think she'd love it. She'd laugh. She drink tea and eat blackcurrant jam on scones and be proud of us. It's better than good. It's perfect.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Have a lovely day.

Contrary to so many, I love it when people say this to me silently hoping that automatically the day ahead will be just that. It usually works. I appreciate the words and tell them so. On Friday evening someone said, "Have a lovely weekend". I replied, "You too" and the magic was passed on.

Once the typical aggravation had been deleted from my immediate by the oh so patient boyfriend with a simple, "Pay no attention to it", I let go. Not of him but of the angry, shouting version that I once tried so hard to bend. You can't mould an iron rod. There is no flexibility in a rigid, set fast state of mind. But you can hold hands with ones that love you back and walk for hours in the sunshine saying little or a great deal with kinder words.

It must be exhausting to be so agitated and angry. I imagine.

We had the most lovely weekend. It was simple, straight forward and the girls played outside for hours. It is such a welcome to me that it is Spring.

Walking down the track yesterday afternoon with the man, the girls and the dogs I was over-whelmed with how my life has changed. We are a family. I couldn't wish for more.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Our Father.

It rained last night. Our bedroom window was open wide and my mind woke up and wouldn't rest. I lay there wondering why and how a parent can't love their child? Not enough anyway. Not enough to stop what they're doing and see that the little girl needs reassurance, love, comfort and protection from being abandoned and hurt. The hurt that the father is creating himself. Failing on every level to be the father she needs. My little girl with eyes so wide and innocent, slowly learning that her father simply doesn't give a shit. Excuses, reasons, explanations that barely explain a thing except to me, that she isn't a good enough reason to bend, stretch or move. She isn't worth his time. She isn't wanted or needed unless she can slot in quietly without making a fuss and making sure the roles are reversed and his ego is inflated enough so his family believe his lie that he loves her. I don't believe it. How can I? 

He recognises her by looking into the non-existent narcissistic mirror smiling at the boy she isn't.
Thank God, she isn't. She's a fighter with a heart so big but with a fear of being left behind.
She needs me. I will always be here for her, God willing. I will do anything and everything to make sure that she knows his lack of care isn't normal. I made a really bad choice but I am privileged to have her in my life. She has a family of monumental importance right here, in the right home.

Fortunately, for all three of us, we are learning that the love from my boyfriend exceeds all expectation. The man in my life doesn't need to ask, he knows. He is a father, a friend and the strength I can rely on. He looked at me this morning when I discovered that The Farmer wasn't coming to get our little girl and shook his head slowly. He hugged me and we made a plan. It was said with silent assurance that will go unnoticed. 

Funny thing is, my little girl hasn't asked me if he's coming today. Maybe he's done the right thing for the wrong reasons? Maybe she knew he wouldn't turn up? Maybe she knows more than I think she does already? Maybe she simply loves being at home. Just like he does.

There by the grace of God go I. How utterly extraordinary that by letting go of the anger and rejection from him, I have allowed love and acceptance for myself. There is never any need to shout at me. His raised voice suggesting ludicrous ideas of complete bullshit. The man is an ape. I was advised 10 years ago by a dear friend of his never to expect him to love me. I wonder if this same friend would advise the same thing to his daughter? He is in a jam jar and the lid is screwed on tightly.

Mary just appeared.
"Yes Darling?"
"What are we doing today?"
"We can do whatever you and your sister want to do" I replied.
"Together?" she asked
"Of course".
"YES!" she said.

I watched her leave the kitchen and wondered why I ever thought he might be good enough. He isn't. He never was and never will be. Our mutual friend was absolutely right.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Memory Lane.

Never close the door on it. I have heard the advice many times but I have had to shut the door a few times throughout my life. Sometimes with regret that the face behind the door simply doesn't have the heart or soul that I believed or occasionally through circumstance when paths changed, lifestyles didn't and behaviour was simply unpleasant to witness.

The sun broke through the grey morning mist and lying with my arms stretched above my head, I smiled looking at the face of a man I have always loved. I was full of anticipation to show my girls where we had met. I was 15 years old. Young but already worn thin. I was hanging onto hope with urgency and believed that life ahead could be and would be possible. I was naive, excited, energetic and flattered. The Boyfriend held my hand. I leant against him and believed everything would be okay. I wanted my girls to see the village where my life took a massive turn towards happiness.

Turning the corner into the village on a beautiful sunny day, he stopped the car.

"There!" I announced to the children. "That is where I lived" and I got out of the car. I stood there almost 30 years on and felt extraordinary. Still the same. Immaculate lawn, beautiful flower beds, clean windows, perfect paintwork. Solid, reliable, steady and straight forward. Holding their hands, I walked to the gate. A dog barked but I smiled at her unfamiliar face and she wagged her tail as I stroked her.

"Is that you?" I asked the old man walking towards us.
He looked puzzled but as I said my name, I saw the lines leave his face and youth return. He held out his arms and as we hugged, I remembered how he had rescued my mother and us from a life that could have gone so wrong. This man was still exactly the same as I remembered him, just older. I had memories flooding my head and emotion surging through my veins as I stood smiling, listening and trying to explain. Mum has died. He had no idea. He had chosen a different path and one where I hope he has enjoyed walking. He deserved a really decent life.

I wonder if Mum had chosen to walk besides him whether she would have survived the years of torment ahead or if indeed addiction would have swallowed her up as it did eventually? Would I have stayed holding hands with the boy she so disapproved of and maybe had a calmer, steadier journey to where I am today? Would we have simply ended up in the same spot almost 30 years on without the pain of such tragic and hurtful circumstances? Who knows? The circle of Life. Unquestionably, I am finally where I have always known I should be.

The Boyfriend walked over towards us at the gate. He had lived in the village long after I was taken away but there we were, holding hands without being told off, looking at a man who saved me. I was standing on the gravel drive with 2 men who had done nothing but love me all those years ago. The love I feel today is over-whelming. I will never know if Mum would have smiled at us or frowned at my impulsive need to hug and say Thank you but I am so glad that I took a trip down memory lane yesterday.

Some things never change. Thank God.

Monday, 30 March 2015


I have the chance to go away with a friend, a dear friend, a friend with a house in a hot country. I grabbed my chance, packed our bags and am about to drive to the airport. With the week I just had with the apathy of the fathers of my girls, I will be very glad to be away. If only from them. Pathetic. inadequate, lazy, selfish men that think I am responsible for ensuring my children are happy to spend the night once a fortnight? ME? I have urged, encouraged, pushed and been patient for 10 years. I sat back this weekend and let them deal with it themselves. The girls didn't go. It wasn't my choice. It was my expense though and me who ended up driving around the country to fit everyone into shorter gaps and time slots. Not even a fucking thank you. Rude. It won't happen again.

Do you want to come away for a few days and lie by the pool?

I grabbed my passport, bikini and hugged her.

My answer will be on a postcard.