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.

What a difference a year makes

Kate

Well, it’s been more than another year since anything was written here, which tells me one of two things – either I have serious commitment issues or that perhaps time lack of time should really see me throw in the towel on this space and relinquish ALBD to a line of internet history. My stubborn streak however remains strong, and here I am once again vowing that I will do better this time around, and heavens I have missed somewhere to exercise my eclectic thoughts. Let’s see if I can get better at commitment.

So the past year has seen many a change, a move to Boston (MA) previously on the cards wasn’t meant to be, and so we threw ourselves into our latest renovation project which is of a much greater magnitude than before – mostly requiring planning permission! Then in May last year we found out that 2 was to become 3, and the rest has been a bit of a whirlwind! I was fortunate to find a job up until my due date with these noble fellows, and then on 9th January this year, Kate Elizabeth Ferguson burst her way into the world at 22.52 weighing a healthy 8lbs 10oz.

Kate is now 8 months old and life will never be the same. And I wouldn’t wish it otherwise.

I hope that I can begin to catalogue some of our endeavours into the world of parenting, of which Kate already appears to be a competent critic. Indeed, on receiving a bowl of lovingly made fruit porridge, we genuinely believe a taste test by junior Ferguson produced her first word.

“Rubbish”….

Let the adventures begin…

May Day

blossom

honey bee

sun on field

beer

May Day. Cherry blossom, honey bees, the orangey glow of the sun setting on pastures green. Morris Men dancing in the arrival of summer.

With me as their subject.

I was this year’s Kennet Morris Men‘s ‘Valentine’ – the subject of a ritual performed about me for reasons of fertility and well being. So the crops will grow. I like to do my bit.

When the dance was over, the Morris Men hoisted me into the air and carried me aloft back to my picnic bench, (unfortunately wet grass meant I was also dropped rather unceremoniously), where I was thus shielded by handkerchiefs to protect my modesty, and presented with this exclusive pin for my troubles:

I've been tossed by the Kennet Morris Men

May your radishes be fecund and your barley be strong and good!

Have I always stood like a duck?

Why did no one tell me?

Happy Easter

Happy Easter

I have always loved Easter. Possibly even a little bit more than Christmas, and I’m trying to decide why.

Maybe it’s because Easter isn’t quite as commercialised as Christmas, and there isn’t the requisite amount of shopping involved. Also things are open at Easter – including the curry buffet.

Additionally, this time of year sees a proliferation in the amount of cute fluffy things to cuddle. Sometimes Neil stands still long enough to let me.

Indeed, the world just feels like a lighter, brighter more positive place to live in, AND you get to eat Chocolate for breakfast! I also like that the people who make chocolate at Easter are more puritan in their methods, and are less likely to poison this heavenly substance with anything obscene like Turkish Delight or marzipan, as is so often the way at Christmas.

Indeed there are many reasons to rejoice at this time of year, and so today will largely see me light of heart, with a giddy smile, and what might appear to slightly brown tinted lipstick…

Happy Easter everyone x

TG is where it’s at

Fish and Chips

We had Fish and Chips at the ‘TG’ AGM last night, it was quite the scandal.

Townswomen’s Guild (or ‘TG’ if you’re one of the cool kids) is a slightly more urban centric version of the WI. Last night marked the anniversary of my membership and the payment of my 2012/13 subs. I maintain it’s the best £24 I will spend this year.

It all began when my dear Mum, who is not a driver, read that guild meetings were being held at the village hall, and would it be possible to chauffeur her to the next one, seeing as it clashed with Dad’s ‘Emmerdale’. Being the dutiful daughter that I am, I agreed, and even said that I would keep my Mum company for the first evening at her new club. I of course stuck out like a sore thumb, and as we took seats at the back of Victoria Hall, gasps of ‘Ooooh, there’s a young one’ began to resonate…

Indeed, I found TG quite intimidating at first. Older women ‘en masse’ seem to have this effect on me. I’m not sure whether it’s because I’m heavily suspicious of anything that old being able to carry a handbag that large, or that hankies up sleeves have always freaked me out, and where present in vast numbers, I find it quite overwhelming. Still I calmed down once the first meeting had begun, and then to my surprise, I found myself rather in my element.

I have a very warped sense of humour you see, so much of Townswomen’s Guild appeals to me, particularly the serious nature of its proceedings. Pam will open the evening with an incredibly warbley rendition of the minutes of the last meeting, so uncomfortable that all members remain on the edge of their seats until these have concluded, and then have to suppress an applause that poor Pam is still upright. Next is the education report (scrabble) followed by forthcoming dates for ‘book club’, ‘lunch club’, ‘ramblers club’, and ‘social club’ – the latter I believe is a splinter group of ‘lunch club’ that decided to go their own way after a disagreement over quality of quiche at the Fox and Hounds. Or so I hear. Formalities are then wrapped up with a hand count for tea or coffee, which is served strong, gritty and with a ginger biscuit – hobnobs at Christmas.

The next best thing are the speakers. There has been the lady who makes baskets out of cable ties and other household products, the chap who gave us a demonstration (in full) on how to mince beef, the lady from ‘Dogs for the Deaf’ who’s Puppy was sick on the Chairwoman, and the other lady who they thought sang Operetta, but actually performed a variation of ‘beat boxing’ with cutlery, which actually turned out to be rather good. My most favourite speaker to date however, is a gentleman named ‘Alan’ who delighted us with his ‘big picture show’. This comprised a collection of slides Alan that had taken on latest coach trip to Stratford-upon-Avon, set to rousing music, and with engaging commentary. Unfortunately all but 3 of the 52 examples of historic architecture Alan had immortalised, were obscured by a large range of inanimate objects including road signs, transit vans, trees, pillar boxes, washing lines, hair-dos, Alan’s thumb, and on a number of occasions, the actual coach which had made this momentous trip possible.

And so you see why £24 in the grand scheme of things is an absolute bargain, and being in the company of ladies who think eating fish and chips out of a box without metal cutlery is the equivalent in raciness to not wearing knickers to church, is so endearing.

TG is truly where’s it’s at.

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