Tag Archives: family and friends

Let the celebrations begin…

11 Nov

It isn’t my actual birthday until 19th but I’m celebrating my big five oh with a massive party this weekend. I am SO EXCITED.

So excited, that it’s 5am and instead of being in bed deeply zzzzz-ing, I am babbling (again) from  my bathtub . When I said I’d make it a regular feature of it I really didn’t envisage sneaking out of bed in the middle of the night to do it, but , hey, here I am with a glass of milk, blogging in the bath.

I love birthdays anyway. Not for the presents (although they are lovely to receive) but for the connection with friends, the cards and, mostly, the excuse for a celebration…drinks, dancing, laughter and lots of hugging and affirmation of being loved and sharing precious moments. I love reflecting on past years and creating new memories to recount throughout the next.

I also love the build up.

This year we, that’s Hubby and I have been party planning. Last year we had an amazing party for his 60th so decided to use the same format this year for my 50th but with him organising everything bar the food. So we set up an event on FB really early to get everyone in the mood and to give enough notice to those travelling from further afield. . Regular weekly updates and prompts. Two months of bulk cooking and freezing. Arranging accommodation,organising musicians , liaising with the venue. Dress shopping… All a bit like wedding planning with less white silk and no fresh flowers!

And today it began. Sisters and friends from afar have begun to arrive and we’ve had what we like to refer to as a pre party party …..

Anyway, I should now be sound asleep, but like a child waiting for Santa I just cannot calm down enough…. Fortunately no-one else is trying to out-stay-awake-me in order to hang a stocking on my bed post…..

Watch this space for a post hangover review of the weekend ….. Happy birthday to me!!!!

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When your body tells you time out is required…

23 Sep

It’s been a long year.

Scrub that.

It’s been an unbelieveably short but ridiculously full on year.

Seemingly weeks ago it was New Years Eve and now the Christmas ads are back on the TV and I’ve even started picking up the odd stocking filler.   Very early for me.  Usually I refuse to consider Xmas until after all our November birthdays.  Still, I have to accept it’s not been weeks but nine whole months since New Years Eve and it’s just gone in the blink of an eye.

It’s been fabulous to be fair, but now Hubby and I are reaching melting point.  Personally I feel pretty much physically and mentally broken.  And looking at Hubby (despite all attempts to put on a brave face and cope with everything I can’t), it’s pretty clear he’s in much the same place.

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I’m at the point where everything is exhausting.  Even the fun stuff.  And we all know how I love the fun stuff.  But I’m so exhausted I’ve started declining party invitations (shock horror!).  The idea of doing anything at all can sometimes feel overwhelming.  Not so much the actual ‘Fun’ bit of the fun but the getting to and from the fun.  The travelling anywhere at all has become fun prohibitive.  I have got to the point where I miss out because I can’t face the journey.

A few weeks ago, I had a long trip to a social event .  I had stressed and cried and panicked about the journey.  500 mile round trip for an event I could not and did not want to decline.  But (and I know how melodramatic this sounds) the journey near broke me.  Nothing untoward happened. I travelled alone with the radio for company.  There were no road traffic incidents; just the usual delays and holdups you would expect entering towns and city and at major road junctions;  but the sheer number of hours on the road just wore me down .  Both physically and mentally.  I hurt for days after and my brain went into ‘essential processes only mode’.

The FUN between the two long journeys was fabulous , but the recovery from the travelling made me declare ‘NEVER AGAIN’.

Despite this, two weeks later we had to do the same journey, this time I had Hubby and Teen in tow.  I did none of the driving.  And the FUN between the travelling was truly the most fabulous of fun times (that being true even though I’m ‘Sober September-ing and Stoptober-ing… another day , another blog)

I can’t say the mental and physical trauma I felt was lessened by not having to take responsiblity for the driving.  I felt at least as terrible.  Physically I ached for days after from sitting for so long; body being ‘rattled’ by the movement of the car and the passing of the never-ending miles; head lolling from the dozing off etc.  Mentally it was exhausting and disorienting; the drifting in and out of consciousness into fitful sleep; the sudden awakening from a jolt, sharp braking, sudden lane change, impatient acceleration, road rage rant from Hubby; the hours of conversational silence but at the same time the constant white noise of road and traffic; and then the momentary panic when you open your eyes to find yourself seemingly hurtling towards the back-end of a lorry; or simply being somewhere completely different and not knowing where you are (how do little kids cope with this?!).  you get my drift.  Drifting in and out of sleep is a mind-fuck.  I just can’t handle it.

A friend of mine struggled for many years with quite severe ME.  Her brain would over-react to even the slightest stimulation.  Her body would cramp with pain to the slightest of exercise.  In order to get a decent nights sleep literally everything had to stop by about 8:30pm.  All the things I would think of as relaxing eg: watching a movie, listening to music, chatting on the phone with a friend.  Physically she had the same problem no leisurely walks, bike rides, train trips for her.  To visit me to recuperate would just be too much to consider.  The journey would physically debilitate her for days/weeks, that gentle rattling of the body  would render her bedbound.

I know I don’t have ME, and for that I am very grateful.  However, this friend, in her fight to manage her illness and recover some semblance of normality into her life, really did teach me a few valuable lessons.  Some years ago, on another occasion when I was far nearer the brink of life overwhelming me, I ‘ran away from home’ and hid out at her house.  I literally got in the car to pop to the shops and ended up driving 250  miles to her front door.  During those few days we often sat together for hours, in the garden or at the kitchen table; mostly in silence, with gathered windfall fruit and slowly peeled, chopped, cored.  It was her self-imposed mindfulness for her own wellbeing and it became my first experience of it.  The first time I ever gave myself permission to live just for that moment and no other.  To sit there and just be.  without the guilt of ignoring the ‘to do list of life’.  Self imposed mental recovery.

These days I recognise the signs of impending meltdown.  Usually before it’s too late and, usually, I find the time and space to do something about it.  And usually that something only needs to be an afternoon, a day, an early night, a long bath, a vocalisation, an admittance, a cancelling of an activity, a reality check with Hubby.

Hubby who is a marvel always recognises my need even before I do, and has prepared for it, made space for it.  Usually  I can (almost) guilt free allow him to take up my slack and not feel (too) guilty for being a wuss and a light weight.  Generally I can accept my need to stop for a bit and have learnt to see this recognition as a strength not a weakness.  Generally he will just take up the slack and cover for me.  And, (trust me Hubby if you are reading this), that part of our partnership is so very highly valued, I recognise it and love him for it.

However this year.  Right now.  I can tell that he too needs to stop.  We both need to seek out the silence and still our minds.  Find ourselves.  Find each other.  We both need a few days without agenda.  when we can go or not go; do or not do; talk or not talk.  We both need to lock away our ‘to do list of life’ and wallow in a period of free (non) thinking….

So our challenge is to find a gap big enough to make this happen…….

…….

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I wrote the blog above yesterday, in the old analogue way, long hand on paper with a pen as I live fairly remotely and in some places there simply is no internet access.  Because of it, I came home and whilst sitting with the intention of typing it up,I instead found myself searching for time out options.  We needed a break but I couldn’t cope with a lot of travel… within hours I’d booked us a 4 night break in Rome travelling from the local (Cardiff) airport and its only 11 days away!!!!!  The simple act of writing about the need made me truly see the need and act on it, so thank you blog community.  The relief of making the booking has in itself taken the strain out of the every day…I am already more relaxed  just knowing it’s happening so soon.  …As for Hubby, I can safely say he is as excited as I am…..

Lucy At Home

My Random Musings

What makes THE Perfect Wedding……

22 Jun

I feel compelled to try to vocalise (in print!) the wedding experience of this week.  I’ve never been married , I’ve been to a scattering of weddings; all beautiful and perfect for the respective couple; all memorable for their uniqueness; investment of energy; time and thought; money; love; passion; location etc.

I don’t know where I would begin if I had to plan a wedding (even assuming ££££ were no object) so I have great admiration for anyone who has made the commitment to get married and then kept it together enough to make all the planning decisions required to present for themselves and to their family and friends their representation of ‘the perfect day’. For me the thought of picking THE dress; never mind doing so several months before wearing it; is enough to give me a minor panic attack.

I can see the appeal though having planned a garden party or two over a 6 month period, planning props and stage setting the garden; liaising with invitees to get some momentum going re costume and theme; making costumes; organising the music etc etc, but a wedding is a much bigger deal.

Maybe though it’s a much bigger adventure.

I’ve always thought that if I had a spare £10,£20, £30, £50 thousand in my bank there would be a million things I would feel the need to spend it on first… getting the chimney rebuilt; replacing my car for something reliable; clearing my immense credit card debt; finishing decorating the house after 12 years; filling the potholes in the drive; felling a few of the overgrown trees in the garden etc etc.  Maybe I’m just not the marrying kind.

Fortunately, my nephew and his beautiful, now wife, are definitely the marrying kind.  And having been on the periphery of privy to the planning I realise now that whatever the budget, it’s not just an expensive day; it’s a period of months/years of excitement; discussion; research; adventure; decision-making; stage setting; engaging with friends; window shopping; shopping; preparing; making things; talking about it; building excitement over it; looking forward to it; and sharing your joy with everyone you know.  The day itself is a culmination of a long period of time and a lifetime of memories made.

So this week I attended ‘THE perfect wedding’

mzpwedding, Mark & Zoe Pearce, The perfect couple

 two people whose destiny it is to be together forever

 

gorgeous bride with THE perfect dress

 

 

 

groom with really funny friends who know how to recount a story

 

 

 

  really attractive best friends to be bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls etc

 

 

the most idyllic location and some hot line to mother nature to provide the best weather

 

 

 caterers who make food to die for

 

 

a cake that is a work of art

 

 

 

 

free-flowing Pimms and lager

 

 

 

 

alcoholic wedding favours

 

 

 

 

the most delightful bunch of family members and friends to share your day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the end of summer….

15 Sep

I had so many blogs I wanted to write in a timely fashion this summer.  But time for timeliness was lost to busy-ness and busy-ness was loss to craziness and a certain amount of chaotic-ness, sleeplessness and general tiredness!

It was a whirlwind summer, one that promised to be longer than most (which it was) but to fit in the extra length, time was most certainly speeded up and the resultant rapidity of activity, organisation and enjoyable experiences blurred into one mass of euphoria and exuberance.

I wanted to write to you about all the gardens I visited.

The vibrant and magestic Bicton Park Botanical Gardens, near Exeter:-

The tranquil and contemplative Burrow Farm Gardens in Axminster:-

…and the hidden gem of Hergest Croft, in Kington, Herefordshire; with its perfect little tea room and plant nursery

I wanted to wax lyrical about the wonderfully wacky two weeks of the World Alternative Games culminating in commentating for the World Bog Snorkelling here in Llanwrtyd Wells.

I wanted, but failed, to fit in participating in any of the adventures of the fortnight – although I wanted to Office Chair Race, Husband Drag, Ditch Run, Pea Shoot, Crazy Shop, Worm Charm, Race Chariots, Wrestle in Gravy, Run Backwards, Cycle Slowly and dress as a Zombie; but the extra activities in town meant extra work for me .

Then there was the fabulous Imp Club National event at Hatton Park World in Warwickshire which involved camping; cars; a rally to the British Motor Museum in Gaydon (fabulous thoroughly recommend it); and strolls along the Grand Union Canal tow path.

Meanwhile there was still work. I was busy managing five other people’s garden’s ( I love these jobs). I had my own house than needed painting and some extra shifts in our local caffi.  Mum and Dad wanted (and did) visit.  Our B&B proved extra popular this summer with both new and repeat visitors.  fitting in a hectic self employment based multitude of work activities alongside a heavy social schedule has been both incredibly exhilarating and exhausting in equal measure.  There are people I love who I have not seen or spoken to in the last 8 weeks….  forgive me until October, I will be back.  …and events i didn’t fit in (sadly) especially the Pink Car Rally which is fabulous fun and for a great cause… next year….

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And then I wanted to share with you all the fun of our long planned , end of summer party where we dressed the entire garden as an enchanted landscape themed for Alice in Wonderland; complete with appearing and disappearing Cheshire cat grins; card guards, tea party and lawn croquet….


I was seriously keen to play the Proud Mum and rave about the excellent achievements of my son and his friends who all sat in nervous anticipation of their A level results until they could finally relax and revel in their exceptional successes this summer  – how proud am I to know them all.

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I was determined to discuss with you the trials and tribulations; nerves and nausea caused to these teens in the preparing and planning for their next chapter… for many it’s this weeks move into their university halls.  Sick with excitement, doubt, fear and anticipation; worry about making new friends; living away from home; learning in a new way; taking responsibility for their own finances.  I drop Jason at his halls tomorrow.  As I type this (or in between paragraphs ) I’m preparing his ‘final supper’; his favourite meal; one he feels he’s unlikely to ever eat again…. well, at least until he comes home for his dad’s 60th; or the Christmas holidays… or in fact any weekend or weekday evening he wishes!!!! So it’s Thursday and I’m preparing a Sunday roast with all the trimmings and my mum’s very indulgent rice pudding recipe.  I sense a heart warming afternoon, playing board-games, having a good old laugh and possibly a few tears (mainly mine); probably a sleepless night and then tomorrow a drive to Cardiff.    I plan to be the ‘cool mum’ the one who offers ‘just the right amount’ of support/detachment/emotion/comment… I plan to leave with a hug and a smile and let him get on with it…. we all know what they say about the best laid plans.

Anyway, this shall begin my last weekend of summer and I plan to write an addendum next week…. stay in touch people… and why not tell me about your summer.