Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Lifting anchors

Last weekend three of my friends emigrated, one to New Zealand and two to Oman. Our neighbours left to live in France a couple of years ago; a school friend of mine now lives in the Yukon in the middle of nowhere.

Others seem to be able to move across the world with apparently no dissention or issues with family or close friends, although perhaps they only show us the excitement they want us to see, and not the heartache or heartbreak.

I have always lived within 3 miles of my birth place, where my parents still live. When I broached the subject to them of our possibly moving to Scotland one day, it was as if I’d suggested deepest Siberia and that rather than being 8 hours by car or 2 hours by plane, they would never see me again.

On the one hand I have always felt the closest of the three children to my parents, being the only one that didn’t go to boarding school or move away when I got married; and it is good being close to them. But I also resent the hold this has over me, even if it is only in my mind; the fact that I am the one ‘on call’ because my siblings live further away and are busy with their lives and children.

I feel as though there is a huge weight anchoring me to my home town, and dread the thought that one day the struggle to lift it may outweigh any excitement about a new life; and I know that is a feeling I have to try and change.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Dreaming vs. Doing

I have just seen the Sailability people getting ready to go out, this is a group of disabled people who go out sailing regularly.  Couple that with Hilary Lister, the paraplegic who just sailed single-handed around Britain, and it got me thinking.

So often in life we have a dream of doing something or going somewhere, but we come up against the smallest obstacle and it gets relegated to the 'too hard' pile and postponed or given up on completely; that is if we even really thought we'd actually do it in the first place!

We should have more conviction and make more of an effort to realise our dreams, otherwise we will become those people who end up regretting all the things we meant to do but didn't.

It's time to start Doing as well as Dreaming.

Sunday, 20 September 2009


If a dream is a dream re-kindled, does it still count....?

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Out of the Comfort Zone

I'm not looking forward to being 50.  Yes I know it's a few years away yet but I've been reminded of it recently.

It's not because of looking older; more wrinkles, more grey hair (and more chance of looking like mutton if I cover it up).  Or the knowledge that I'll be 50 by the time I finish my degree and changing career will be more of a struggle.

No, it's because my doctor has told me that I'll have to come off The Pill when I hit 50.    That means stepping out of a 30 year comfort zone of religiously taking '1-a-day' to retain my childfree status. "And," she added, "I'm afraid you'll probably still be fertile then."   But what of these figures and charts that say I'm 30% fertile at 40-44 and only 5% at 45-49 and 0% at 50?    No doubt I will be the exception to the rule; and how will I know - trial and error??

I just hope that by then some clever boffin has invented a 99% method that doesn't involve mainlining hormones, leaving it up to himself, or wrestling with some kind of 'personal device' every time.

In the meantime I had better just make the most of the next seven years.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Real or illusion?

I have been pondering the parts other people play in creating our dreams...

On the one hand, they can support and encourage us; whether this means making sacrifices, having long intimate conversations about whatever it is we need to talk about, or simply supplying copious cups of tea while we struggle with an assignment or project.

In a different instance, they can give the illusion of being part of our dream or helping us build towards it, whereas actually they stand as a constant reminder of our reality and we can't move forward.

Sometimes they only exist in our dreams (be they day or night) and vaporise as life brings us back to earth with a bump.

It would be perfect to only surround ourselves with those who make life easy for us, but wouldn't that make life a little bit dull...?

Sunday, 13 September 2009


There is, I feel, something terribly decadent about showering at 2.30 in the afternoon.   It is almost a statement that one does not intend to work hard or do anything that might cause one to perspire, for the rest of the day.


The Car-Booters

There is only one way to do a car-boot sale if you wish to sell things and make some money: go alone so you cannot leave the stall and be tempted by the incredible variety of bargains on the other stalls...!  Arriving at 6.30am, by 7am there is the temptation of a huge field full of wall-paper tables sagging under the weight of ornaments, spare light bulbs, baby clothes, CDs & fitness DVDs, house-hold items, children's toys, and old, rusty items that defy identification.

As ever, the regulars are there as soon as you pull up, wanting to see what treasures you've got. It used to irritate me but now I just smile and say hello and let them look, knowing that often you can self half your stuff before 7.30am to other stall holders.

Today my stall was, relatively speaking, "posh".  I have an extremely sturdy table inherited from my London aunt, and one of those waterproof-backed picnic rugs. I label things with prices because as a customer I hate stalls with no prices on anything; I always feel as they judge your wealth from your appearance before deciding on a price to tell you.

Nothing on my stall was sold for less than 50p, and all the books were £1 which drew no sharp intakes of breath - interestingly the most popular ones were the walking guide books and mountain coffee table books; worth remembering.

By comparison, my neighbours were a couple of sisters about my age, selling childrens clothes and toys which had been gradually piling up in the garage over the last 10 years.  They were selling things for 20p or 50p, for  which people would have happily paid £1.  When the sale was winding down I went over to look for a present for my friend's little boy, and chose a lovely Next jumper.  "50p", she said.  "Will you take £1?" I replied.

She asked if I "do these things" every week.  Goodness no, I informed her: once a year maybe.   "You don't have much to sell if that is a year" she commented, reasonably enough.  "Ah,"  I replied, "I don't have children!!"  

After 5 hours sitting in the sun I had made a healthy profit of £93... so like the last of the big spenders, we had chips for lunch!

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Dreams or Reality...?

I have spent the last 12 months "discovering myself"...  what did I discover?

That I can cope perfectly well with living on my own, apart from the monthly blues which bring on a layer of loneliness.

That I am just as untidy as him, but somehow it doesn't matter so much when it's only your own stuff.

That I enjoy studying and am actually quite good at it.

That although I am always the same person inside, my hairstyle does affect my outlook on life and how I react to others. I never thought it would be that shallow, but it is.

That I like having (almost need) something or someone to care about and care for; be it human, mammal or feathered. Perhaps this is an inbuilt female trait which I had not previous realised I possessed?

That I have started dreaming about a different future, a different career, a different house in a different place.. all things that until now other people do, but not me.  I have lived in the same town for 43 years; I have been in the same office for 25 years; I have been married to a fantastic man for 20 years (that bit I'm not planning on changing...). 

I am going to hurl those ideals of change and choice in front of me, and start fighting my natural urge to be sensible and realistic and stick with what I know.  

Maybe I'll decide that actually I love what I am and where I am.  Or maybe I'll end up as a philosophical psychologist in deepest Scotland. 

Who knows.