Wednesday, December 31, 2014


  • Paint more (or pastels, or drawing)
  • Dance at least once a day
  • Hold strong
  • Be true to oneself
  • Cross-stitch to relax
  • Enjoy the surroundings
  • Take happiness in seeing wildlife
  • Go for long rambling walks
  • Acknowledge the illness
  • But don't surrender to it
  • If it takes longer to do then it takes longer
  • Don't be a people pleaser above all else
  • Be kind
  • Make a living and then some
  • Be confident
  • Write for myself every day
  • Make a plan not a schedule

Well we're here again...

Monday, December 29, 2014

Those Handsome Boys Of Mine

I make no excuse for being proud of my boys.  We've been through so much and on this day when they've become teenagers, despite driving me mad sometimes, they have turned into a pair of fine young lads.  Unfortunately the behaviour of their father is a constant blight but we manage to get past the games and nonsense with barely a blip.

If I end my days know as a good mum and loved by my boys then that is all I can ask for.  This might be a tough few months ahead but I can think on that to get me through.

We three.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

High School Never Stops

I find it curious that behaviours my sons' complain about in their classmates (and probably in themselves too) are still swilling around in people my age and older.

Was discussing a friend who hadn't been in touch for a while, one who had stopped speaking to me soon after my mother's death and had been posting unionist images on Facebook during the referendum while I was trying to put the ideals of independence across yet blanking my worried texts, I took on advice to close the book with an email.  Lord, it's like the letter writing of old only this time there is proof of what was written and when and to whom.

So I sent the email, apologising for any offence I had caused unknowingly.  Then today a reply, and not a nice one.  This from a woman I had been colleagues and then friends with for the past five years, a woman in her early 50s, we had both supported each other through illnesses so the abrupt halt had worried me.  Although I had hoped she was okay I was also hurt that she dropped me so soon after mother died.  Without actually answering what I had done so wrong to reap such a response the email was nasty to the point I am now glad not to have to contact her again.

Bizarre behaviour but perhaps I look too deeply in to why people do what they do - curiosity outweighing the fact I can be a sticky-beak in things not of my concern.  It's enough to drive a psychotherapist to distraction.

That is the end of that.  Now all we need is some hair pulling and playground cat calls with friends taking sides and it would be back to high school.  Some things never change.

I am 42 for only a day more and to be honest, not only do I not have the answers to life, I have more questions.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

When It's Cold and Dark and Dank

Now I don't mind the cold; there is nothing quite as refreshing as a crisp frosty morning.  Unfortunately we don't get many of those, instead outside is consistently damp, as though nature has wet itself, and that is not refreshing at all.

At these times I remember the warmth, the oven dry heat, azure skies and Vitamin D drenching sun.  I wonder where my future lies, what is ahead, I can either focus on the darkness past or sunshine future and yes, it really is that way.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Sands of Time Run Fast

I can't believe that it has been two months since I posted here but then as I'm the only one who clocks in then it's me who gets let down.  It's simple like that.

As I had thought I'd posted some memories of our latest holiday in warm and wonderful Lanzarote, made harder by the fact I did not want to come home at all, there is always that to look forward to doing at some point.  However of late my concern has been lack of time.

I sometimes feel that one of the major symptoms of ME is how much time it steals.  While I slow down the world continues apace and I cannot run to catch up because...well...I cannot run.

I need to develop some way of making a living from freelancing, enough for us to live off of with maybe some left over to enjoy a couple of holidays a year.  My savings are almost gone, yet finding the courage not to have a panic attack at the thought of someone not paying up or things going disastrously wrong is almost overwhelming and naturally there is no help out there to guide me through it, to give me my old tenacity back.

One thing I would love to do, but lack the talent and time to progress very far, is to be an artist.  I'm filled with envy and inspiration when I see others do what I wish I could.  At the moment this is how well I can complete a pastel:

Errors, errors, everywhere!  I need to get better, not for anyone else but for myself.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Life Is A Lottery

((insert witticism about having the winning ticket here))

No, I am meaning this literally.  Was having one of those chats with a friend the other day - you know the "if you had the money to...?"  Reality gnaws at the truth we would only be in that position with a lottery win and while buying a ticket does greatly increase the chances of that it can be a fun yet torturous game to play anyway.  Want of ambition when we were at school kept any aspiration we had to be great achievers at bay, this is what you end up doing.

Sometime when my mind drifts, and it often drifts, I imagine a world where I have limitless funds.  Oh the things I could do, the places I could visit.  At the moment the idea of escape is a delicious one.  I have a list, I have a plan and I will have the ability one day to put it all into action - I hope!

We're off on holiday in a few weeks, it is desperately needed.

Might as well dream I have the body as well as the pool.

Monday, September 29, 2014

I Do Like A Bit Of Hyperbole Sometimes

It's Over And Done With

Well, not quite.

To put it politely Scotland sent a huge message out to the world, 55% of our dear population bottled it and decided that being part of a broken down union was a much easier option than actually trying to do something different, to make something better.

Strangely enough though the "winners" seem to be the ones with anger while those who were involved in the Yes campaign have grieved (very briefly), regrouped and have collectively decided that damn the percentages;  if you want to live in a progressive society you need to pull up your sleeves and get on with it.

In the week since the referendum, along with interesting allegations over the vote itself (claimed as conspiracy theories there is definitely something that went on) there has been an immediate back tracking over the extra powers promised by the three main UK parties; more cuts in budget; suddenly the oil isn't running out, in fact there's tons of the stuff; fracking that will happen no matter what; benefits that will harm working families are targeted and amongst everything else a nice little war to keep the flags flying.

You couldn't make this crap up.

I've gone from a news junkie to trying to find reliable sources.  Once you've seen how biased a news source can be it is very difficult, no, impossible to then trust them with anything - each minute is spent wondering what is fact and what is tilted so you think how they are wanting you to.  I studied the use of propaganda as part of my history degree, I didn't expect to see the same methods once used in Soviet Russia still prevalent now.

It is embarrassing to know that a majority don't care about the society they live in.  I have thought that we will move elsewhere if given the opportunity but I want to try, why should those who want to make everyone's lives better and make this country fairer lie down and allow the seemingly angry, bitter and ignorant others to have their way?  I know it sounds belligerent, to say the very least, but you have to look at why people do what they do and no, it is unacceptable to allow those who are comfortably off, the "I'm alright Jack" crowd sit back and enjoy their lives while others suffer.

While we sit have Trident sitting on the Clyde, while the House of Lords dare to rule over us "commoners", while the oil money is wasted on stupid wars, the job is not done.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Then The Day Came

For the first time ever voting came with a little thrill as I marked my X against the Yes box today.  A strangely emotional experience knowing that tomorrow we will be independent or have to take the consequences of staying in the UK.

I'm tired, so emotionally tired that I can no longer give reasons why I'm for yes.

Tomorrow I shall sleep and hopefully it will be restful.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Memory

It has been a warm summer but all it took was a flick of the tail from Hurricane Bertha to sudden bring Autumn.  Someone online mentioned the days of having frost on the inside window pane and I remembered this:

The house I grew up in was 200 years old.  Built by the man who owned the house next door and although meant to be a weavers cottage at one point even served as the jail.  By the time my parents bought it, a few months before I came along, the windows had been enlarged enough to encourage some sparkling patterns on cold days.  The windows were deep set, enough for the window sills to serve as seats.

I had a picture book about Jack Frost painting on window panes during the night, in the morning I would sit by the window and with my fingers I'd melt my own drawings in to the designs.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Dilemma

Despite reasons for independence for Scotland far outweighing those to stay with Westminster calling the shots there are still far too many voters too scared to take the leap. 

It is something that has weighed heavily on my conscience over the past few months.  So much so that, for the first time in my life I actually volunteered to help the Yes campaign.  A decision I will be happy to be known for.  In the face of relentless negative press and media, the unbearable viciousness over wanting to see any and all Yes voters beaten down, I can say I stood up for what I believed in.  I let myself be counted, be open to ridicule because of my desire to live in an actual self-governing country.  Not an add on referred to as a region. 

There are many reasons but mostly Trident, House of Lords and land reform - none of which will be dealt with while we are still part of the UK.  I'm not particularly bothered by oil, I'd rather not have a currency union or for that matter, the Queen.  If we give up this opportunity then how can anyone say they are proud to be a Scot?  We either have the collective balls to manage ourselves or we slink back in to the corner to grumble and whine every time Westminster pass down yet another decision that affects us.

My dilemma.  Having seen the way some No voters conduct themselves, an aggressive smugness that is all about squashing the opposition rather than putting forward a positive vision of the union - if they win then how can I continue to raise my sons in such a society?  I don't think I can.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Flavour of the Month

The weather might have turned distinctly Mediterranean,  the sun might be shining on Scotland but despite the light that old familiar darkness has come creeping in.

I can hold it at bay, I need to withdraw further than I already am (isolation is luckily a talent many only children possess).  I shall sit in the sunshine, absorb that good Vitamin D while avoiding the burn.  Quietly, assuredly I will hold my own counsel as I always do.

The flavour of this darkness is irrelevance, I feel irrelevant to all except my sons.   Well I am irrelevant to all except my sons but the trick is to remember that.  I keep my head and heart focused on that one thing that keeps me from being overwhelmed and swallowed completely.  I don't matter to anyone but them and that has to be enough.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Can't See The Wood...

My sons returned from summer Scout camp today and amongst the mountain of washing they also brought this little gem from the campfire -

Each boy is asked to talk for 30 seconds on one subject so if someone says ticket all you are allowed to talk about is tickets.  It's harder than it sounds.

One lad was given the subject "trees" and came up with this

"You can make trees from wood..."

Indeed you can.  Son 2of2 doesn't get why I find that so funny but maybe it's just my weird sense of humour.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

D-Day + 1

Yesterday the Western world took pause to reflect on the 70th anniversary of D-day.  It was, considering the way of the world now, a respectful event.  In particular the memorial held in France.

I particularly loved the report than an 89-year-old man, told by his care home staff he couldn't go, snuck out and went anyway.  Good on you mate and shame on the care home staff forgetting they are dealing with adults who would rather risk an all important journey like this than sit vegetating.

Read today that the actor who played the original Scotty in Star Trek was shot six times, losing part of a finger in the process.  He was part of the Canadian forces.  There have been so many humbling yet amazing stories from heroes who never thought of themselves as anything other than ordinary young men doing their duty.

My own thoughts yesterday - the men known cruelly as the D-Day Dodgers.  Fighting an equally brutal battle in Italy.  I think my dad must have been stationed in Bari with the RAF at the time.  He had plenty of tales of his own, rarely recounted but devastating when he did, therefore I know the places he went (Burma, North Africa, Italy) but the only one I could possibly put a date on was that he was in North Africa when the Italians capitulated. 

He recalled lying in a ditch with some of the crew while a large part of the Italian army stationed there marched past.  They didn't know the Italians were going to surrender so spent the whole time thinking that if they were found that would be it.  To experience such things as a teenager and then a young man - he was only five years older than my sons are now when he signed up.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Strangest Month

As a good part of it is spent on holiday and all routine is thrown to the wind, this does feel like an odd month.  Stranger still is that I realised today there is not going to be a point any time soon when I walk down to the town and don't still expect to go to my mother's flat.

I pass by even though I should turn left and through the automatic doors, greeted by the smells of food from the kitchens as we trot upstairs to the little flat after first checking to see if she was in the common room.

Routine has all gone and things are uncertain.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mothering Sunday

My competence as a daughter may have been questionable however I am hopeful that I make a much better mum. 

As the first mothers day where I've not had to think of presents or outings it did feel more than a little strange.  My boys put a lot of effort in to this morning, home made pancakes from one and chocolates and a card from the other.  Lovely.

So here is chubby little me with my ever unimpressed mother at the old cafe near Millport.  The site of the cafe is now where my dad's bench is, where her plaque is in the process of being added.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

The Business of Death

Sunday morning my mother gave up her fight against pneumonia.   Getting on with the business of death is much easier than when my dad died but holding off the sledgehammer of grief is just as hard.

Last time it was because I had to be there completely for my mother.  She relied on me entirely and grief was closed away in a box.  Now I go about the informing of relatives and friends, an ever shrinking group - what once took me two evenings now took just over an hour.

Tomorrow I will clear out what I want from her little flat and donate the rest - clothes, books and furniture to the other residents.  I've already contacted the council to get her plaque beside dad's on the bench at Fintry Bay.  It's a machine in motion and at some point I'll get off, clear my head and be able to untangle these confused emotions and think.

We had a difficult relationship over the years but what does that matter?  Next Monday we will see who comes to pay their respects but I'm of the mind that it's their conscience on how they treated her in life.

Saturday, March 01, 2014


It's the first day of Spring today and I can read yesterday's post with mild horror.  No matter how turbulent the emotions are nothing humbles more than sitting beside your dying parent.

And The World Tips Once Again

So it looks highly likely that at some point today I'll lose my mother.

And the worse thing is not that our difficult relationship is making it hard to mourn or that my illness is making it hard to cope.  Instead a huge selfish bug has kicked in and all I can think of is that we're likely to lose our home.

Once again I fail as a mother.  My boys are doing so well at the school yet I know that the mortgage company will laugh at the very thought of letting me pay off the remainder, which in the grand scheme of things isn't much (about £15k).  Ex made sure my credit rating was ruined and there is not one thing I can do about it - and I've tried.

Does that seem callous?  To be thinking of this as my mother lies dying?  Possibly, as there will always be a solution.  Part of me just wants to crumple to the ground, part of me wants to run into the street screaming at the top of my lungs.  We are a small family and since my dad died it seems to have been a run of bad luck.  I just want to catch a break, I want to be able to relax and mourn properly without life constantly kicking me further down.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Just Because Sometimes...

You didn't see me I was falling apart
I was a white girl in a crowd of white girls in the park
You didn't see me I was falling apart
I was a television version of a person with a broken heart

Saturday, February 01, 2014

It's Like This

If your imagination is stifled, not encouraged in any way, then it becomes stagnant and more difficult to access.  As a parent it's a responsibility to let your children become who they are not who you expect them to be.

Let them run; roll down the hill; get their new shoes muddy; paint and draw and forget the mess until it's time for you all to clear up (yes, them too, it's important); bake cakes and not worry if they're inedible or all over the place; write silly stories; sing silly songs; make up words.

That's the jist of it all.

On another note, it's also worthy letting them fail, finding out that the world, that people, are sometimes mean and nasty.  Grow from it, confident that they know how to deal with the situation, that they haven't been hidden away and protected to the point that they can't cope with reality.

That last one I'm seeing a lot of.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Keep On Swimming

It is dark days like this that make me think of restarting the other blog, the one where I parked my negative thoughts during the aftermath of my marriage break-up.  Because once the black cloud has me it is very hard, very hard to force a positive outlook and on nights like this, if it wasn't for the fact I have my sons, I would no longer be here.

That is a scary truth to acknowledge but I fear that for my own sake I must do so.  I'm always "fine", I'm always trying to smile through it but as times it gets so difficult.  I hate to be melancholy and to pick over the bones of what is wrong in an orgy of self pity but I just can't help it at times and if I hold on in there it will pass.

It's like the kiddie film when they say keep on swimming but I sometimes wonder how long I have to swim through the filthy, mucky stuff and when I will reach clear, blue water.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Being Selfish

For this is the year where I feel it is necessary to become a little more selfish without losing that which makes me.

Anyhoose - the West coast of Scotland (as well as the coast from Cornwall right up) has received a battering from the new year to say the least.  To illustrate perfectly -
This is how the pier at Millport normally looks...
Photo: Millport pier!
And this is how it looked today

And I should really be thinking of all those poor people stuck on the island, stomach churning as the waves get higher, wilder and closer to the front door.  Instead all I can think is - please let dad's bench survive!

Selfish yes but it means so much to have done something for him that he would have been so happy with that I want nothing to ruin it.  And that is that.

(Photos taken from the t'internet)