Still January

I am so aware of vanity, and I find it uncomfortable and cringeworthy (like many of the blogs I’ve written). I’ve stopped being ‘present’ on other social media for this very reason – I understand that no one really cares that I have visited the cinema (other than the person I was with, they could still use a lift home), and when I am lucky enough to do really, really fun stuff, I feel uneasy about what motivates me to present these as ‘ta da’ moments.

Watching ‘Snowden’ recently was also a bit of an eye opener. And then there is the small person to think about. A private person in her nature, she was rather freaked out when someone unknown to her (but my Facebook friend) asked her about a trip we’d been on. “How did she know I did that Mummy? It was just us”.

 Yes, it was.

So here I am, blogging. 

It’s a dilemma because I love writing, even if it’s entire nonsense. It’s my happy place. 

The desire to share this nonsense I have decided comes from the satisfaction of seeing something concrete ‘here’. It feels like a job done, an achievement. The days when life is consumed by washing and ironing, and wiping that manky bit behind the bin, it feels good to have made, not just maintained, something. 

So this is me trying to justify this weird blog. I don’t think it’s a showing off thing, and will hopefully be the most respectfully, least vainly written nonsense I can muster. Ish. With some possible exceptions. Like ‘Kilted Yoga’ book gifts.

Happy things (for personal, future reference):

1. Kilted Yoga.

2. Pretty umbrellas.

3. The ‘Cruel Intentions’ soundtrack and feeling 18 again.

Screw it, let’s do it

Someone asked me recently why I don’t really ever post photos of myself anywhere. This. This is why.

I know my limitations, but admittedly I frequently indulge in outrageously sexy pics other people post..

https://www.flickr.com/photos/herbstanfang/3751566728
Credit: Voodoo donuts
https://www.deere.co.uk/en_GB/products/equipment/tractors/6m_series/6m_series.page
Credit: John Deere
http://makeitbritish.co.uk/footwear/meet-the-manufacturer-sheepland-slippers/
Credit: Sheepland Slippers
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/jeremy-paxman-winston-churchill-would-be-unelectable-nowadays-9987951.html
Credit: The Indepenedent

Salivating.

I have reached an unexpected stage in my parenting career where I have found myself with a modicum of time for things like blogging (apologies), dental treatment, moisturising and more importantly, reading! I am luxuriating in the fondling of pages, the feel of a smooth spine, the crackle of a new edition and the weird smell of libraries. It’s a glorious thing to be able to escape into other worlds, and learn a few things to boot.

Which brings to me to the title of this blog, and also the title of a short read by Sir Richard Branson. I didn’t really intend to read his book, but it was 10p towards ‘Dogs for the disabled’ and a long wait for a train. While the book contains a lot of motivational messages, lessons on life, and ways not to fly a hot air balloon that I will merrily dismiss, it did remind me that dreams can happen when you’re a bit brave and just get the hell on and do it.

I wanted to blog again. Really just for myself. It’s a beginning.

Everything else? Screw it, let’s do it!

Running with it

I have started running.

And blogging too again, apparently.

I have never had myself down as being a runner. Too many bits of me seem to move independently and require strapping down. Then there is my unladylike gait. And the thought of me in leggings…the thought of other people having to see me in leggings…it just didn’t seem kind.

Running also seemed to me without reason. I read somewhere once, that the reason why people wear all the gear is to indicate to others that they aren’t running to or from something, they are just simply ‘running’. Because.

Because…?

Now, I love walking. Walking relaxes me, it is at a slower pace and so you are afforded the opportunity to stop and notice and wonder; it is also a very essential part of getting from ‘A’ to ‘B’, but without the need for a sports bra.

Earlier this year however a friend turned to me and asked me to run with her. It is therapy that she badly needs right now, and she asked if I could be her running mate. I had decided when the hand struck midnight earlier on in the year that my mantra from hereon is going to be ‘why not’ – a strange little experiment I have going on to see where this might take me.

So far only to Little Heath Road and back, but you know…

And so this was my reason for starting running. I’m not sure I love it yet, but I am steadily making progress on my ‘Couch to 5K’ app, and it’s always interesting to see what you can do when you truly step outside of your comfort zone. All the times I have really done this, I have felt my most free.

People say they run to feel free.

And now I own leggings.

6 May

 

For Mother’s Day I was given an annual pass to our local wildlife park, and Kate and I visit often (the gardens particularly are so beautiful). Kate’s obsession is the little train that does a circuit of the park, and we have made it a tradition now to catch a ride before heading home.

Today as we approached the little station, it appeared we would be the only passengers on this trip. The train’s driver asked if we minded waiting to see if a few more people would turn up, and as we were in.no hurry, we stopped and chatted and were regailed with this story.

A month ago Bryan the Train Driver had been sought out by a company who specialise in finding the heirs of unclaimed wills. This had led him into discovering an Aunt he never knew he had, and becoming the recipient of a sum of money that was greatly unexpected. Feeling rather awful he had never had contact with this long lost relative, Bryan felt it only proper to attend the Aunt’s funeral, where he met a couple (The Cornwells) with whom he shared a connection – Glebe Court, an old manor house in Goring-on-Thames.

The Cornwells had been house keepers for the owners of Glebe Court – the Shoolbreds and later the Golodetz, but left when the ouse was demolished and the land sold to developers in the 1970s. Bryan’s link to Glebe Court had been to obtain some architectural salvage prior to its demolition in order to sell this on for his employers at the time. However, he had found it so difficult to let some of the pieces go, such was the beauty of their craftmanship, he had bought them himself and incorporated them into his own home in Goring (where he had moved to from Worcester). At the mystery Aunt’s funeral, Bryan had told Cornwells of this, and they were visiting his house this very evening to reminisce about the good old times of Glebe Court.

I write about this because my Grandparents, Frank and Ivy Godfrey, and their seven children (including my Mum) lived in Glebe Court Lodge, the Groundsman’s residence at Glebe Court, as my Grandad was Head Gardener to the Shoolbreds and knew the Cornwells well.

They say that you know everyone in the world through 9 people. Today I believe this to be true.

3 May

IMG_20140503_183740

I have few regrets in life, but one of them is that I didn’t choose the right subject for my undergraduate degree. I think if I had my time again I would have chosen psychology or philosophy (over Geography), or perhaps a combination of the two as they seem inextricably linked.

Looking back at that time I wonder really if anyone has enough life experience or maturity to make such a big investment of time and money to influence what career path they take.

Such musings have recently come about as I have become drawn into wanting to understand, well, everything really! I recognise that Neil and I are fast changing as people at the same time as trying to be there for someone who is developing in her own right. This journey is both scary and deeply fascinating.

In my rare moment off duty, I sometimes kick back with a copy of Waitrose Weekend and a can of rice pudding, coz that’s how I roll, and more often than not I’ll see if I can continue my love affair with TED. There are many people on there who are teaching me that everyone pretty much is a philosopher, and that whereas you can’t change what has gone before, making smart decisions now can certainly change what goes after.

The talk by Chip Conley in this list is particuarly worth a watch.

Random Acts of Kindness

OK, so laseek I was handed a very worthwhile mantle by a friend – to achieve in a month 32 random acts of kindness ( i.e. one for each year I have been on this earth), and they can be as grand or as spontaneous as I wish.

I have to admit to being rather excited by the prospect of having little missions to achieve each day, and pulling them off is going to be an interesting feat as I generally lack both time and money, but perhaps that is the point. Doing nice things I guess doesn’t need to be difficult or even costly. Let’s see how we do.

RAOK #1

Inspiration for this one was taken from a very useful resource. A few weeks ago I borrowed from our local library a book called ‘Toddler Calm’ (worth a punt wasn’t it!) which claims to provide a cmprehensive guide for harassed parents attempting to tame their offspring. I thumbed through it a few times, – it was quite a nice read, but like all these things, an ode to common sense with the odd anecdote reassuring the reader that whatever your child is currently doing, they should have grown out of by the time they reach 25. It did amuse me however that what I refer to as the ‘panic page’ in this book (often the one you search In the index for at 2am, when you are at crisis point and can’t find the calpol) was remarkably well worn. This particular page was essentially setting out what qualifies you as a competent parent and how to go about rearing a secure and emotionally stable human being. As my RAOK I thought I would stick on this page a quote passed on to me when a Kate was born, which for me, sums up everything and makes every day count. I hope whoever picks up this book next finds as much comfort in these words as I have.

Random act of Kindness 1

Girls just wanna have fun

And failing, that make the best of when your Mother takes you to Basildon Park…

basildonpark

Kate and I took a turn around our local National Trust property Basildon Park yesterday, as we both found ourselves at a loose end and rather fancying some fresh air. The daring sorts we are, we ate rusks by the ha ha, Kate indulged herself in a bit of manual mowing (new favourite past time), we both waved at the trees (much to the amusement of some sensible sorts wearing moccasins), and then Kate fell asleep in her chariot while I sat and watched the world go by overlooking the Berkshire countryside. This was purely self indulgent and wonderful! One thing you don’t get an awful lot of time for looking after a small person (fantastic though it is!), and having been an only child I realise is something I often took for granted, is the opportunity for head space. This blog is of course equally self indulgent but exercises the same opportunity, to have a good old fashioned think. How I have missed it.

biscuiteating

katemowingAnyway I have to say I returned from our escapade a much jollier person, having cleared the debris to make room for some new plans of action. So much so in fact, Kate and I have booked in another session next week.

I am only grateful that Basildon Park has large expanses of lawn so we don’t create bald spots, and there are an abundance of trees to greet to keep the experience fresh. We are now also bidding on some grown up and mini moccasins to blend in with the other weekday patrons.

Kate has also put her name down for a course on 17th century basket weaving. Girl after my own heart.