Tag Archives: friends

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.

Image result for exhaustion

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…….

…….

Image result for time for a holiday

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
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Life: Mine: It’s full: Very full

9 Apr

15016351_1247664865307784_3338542209251484497_oI’m a woman.  I’m self-employed.  I’m fairly ‘alternative’ and, am told, slightly ‘eccentric’.  I wear many hats.  Not all suit me…

Life gets confusing and chaotic……

Here’s perhaps why….

13912605_1298769933474183_1529318925936773135_n???????????????????????????????I’m an artist, I occasionally do pet portraits, I often do stained glass commissions. I do have an Etsy shop, which I manage in a very ad hoc way.  I promise to keep a stock of my designs but the artistic bit of me is really only interested in the bespoke commissions and one-off designs , so I struggle to find time to hold stock.  So I make my designs to order.

20170322_123236I teach stained glass.  It’s a new string to my bow.  I love it.  I find it immensely satisfying and it brings me huge amount of joy.

I run a B&B.  This involves being really nice to (mostly) lovely people, talking (a lot), keeping the place clean, ironing sheets (even though I’d never iron my own) and cooking really gorgeous breakfasts.  I do this with my hubby.  We love working together.  It works.  Coming to stay at Cerdyn Villa is like staying with friends (so we’re told) and that, my lovelies was the plan so things her are going well

breakfast

I manage our business website and various tourism pages on social media.  Some of these pages… “www.cerdynvilla.wales” is our lifestyle hub (ooo fancy!), it leads you off to “Pink Butterfly Art and Glass” – my Etsy shop; “Pink Butterfly at Cerdyn Villa” -our FB page combining our B&B and my art; http://www.cerdynvilla.co.uk – our B&B website; “rose-tinted Ramblings” – my blog; “Home of Bog Snorkelling” – the tourism FB page for our town; “@Berni_Benton” – my twitter account

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m a gardener – I look after six people’s gardens.  Mostly elderly ladies, some of whom like to garden with me and its as much about the company as the weeding and pruning.  I LOVE weeding (does that make me odd?  I don’t care, I LOVE IT!)

peanut butter cheesecakeI work shifts in the local cafe and cover for the owners if they go away.  Sometimes I even bake some cakes!

I blog.  For fun, but mainly to keep me sane and promote my work(s) (not necessarily at the same time). Its called Rose Tinted Rambling, but you know that because you are here now.  It’s mainly a brain dumping ground.  Most thoughts evolve whilst I’m either ironing or weeding and I can’t rest until they’re typed.  So there! I try to categorise to avoid you haven’t to read the ‘boring shit’  but I’d say there’s pretty much something for everyone here.

I  advocate for a local elderly lady and manage her finances. It’s my ‘pay-it-forward” – we should all have one.  It’s great to give back.

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I volunteer, Working to help run the weird and wacky events in Llanwrtyd – I am the commentator at the World Bog Snorkelling and Man v Horse.  They gave me the job because, and I quote “if the PA system breaks I’d still be loud enough for everyone to hear”.  Hubby said he could hear me from the house last year and I was three-quarters  of a mile away….

… I hasten to add the mic was working that day.

I am responsible for keeping our household accounts.  Although hubby takes my figures and does the scary bit of filling in the returns and sending them off

I do all the food shopping, planning and feeding. Sometimes I do this well.  Other times we eat out!

I ‘manage’ a tenanted house with 5 flats.  Not for fun, at all, but because the landlords were neighbours but now live in Spain.

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We keep hens, that means they have a house that needs cleaning

11182523_1594413547510404_4888338233642762611_oI’m a mum………

………………………………………….

……..in my spare time (!!)

I do a bit of yoga and belly dancing

a vision in red

I look after my own garden (sometimes I get dressed before I start)

11168862_1046829525379356_5330321855820313332_oI’m a member of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party (say hello to Lady Lily the Pink).  I even stood for the Welsh Assembly

I soak in a bubble bath

I enjoy a good live band

I read the occasional book.  mostly I read blogs  and watch TED talks

I snuggle on the sofa with my Hubby and watch Netflix

I play board games with my boy(s) – son and hubby

I eat out with friends

I eat in with friends

I drink out with friends

I drink in with friends

Sometimes I just drink…….

I love my life, but planning is difficult.  Impossible actually.  So it appears chaotic.  and sometimes it really is.  It also appears disorganised.  But actually it rarely is.  ….

….it just feels it

Logistically its a massive challenge.  It’s so far removed from the 9-5 life I used to lead.  I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

diaryofanimperfectmum

Life is a celebration …..

10 Nov

I think I am almost recovered from the crazy shenanigans of last weekend.  What a blast.  What a testament to friendships and family.  John, my hubby (we’ve been happily not married now for 22 years) had his 60th.

what a cake!

what a cake!

 

At this point I must remind everyone that I am much MUCH younger than him.  I may have mentioned it once or twice before.

Friends and family began arriving on Friday, the pre-party party wound up at 2am after much merriment and a little practice drinking.

I, and my amazing friend Kate, had been at the party for a week.  She created the most incredible chocolate overload of a cake ever (plus an extra one for our son for his birthday 4 days later).  Between us we prepared enough food for a hot buffet to feed sixty people.  Wonderful friends from Essex , acquired fireworks (well a 5th of November birthday really does need a display), as they really are the experts in that field having hosted annual displays for god knows how long.  Family and friends began to arrive throughout Saturday in camper vans and cars, so we headed to the pub.

Musicians.  Who knew we knew so many who would generously offer their talent for the longest open mic session know to Llanwrtyd 9pm until 3;30am was filled with jamming and talent and more talent and more variety of great music – we had blues and rock n roll, folk and rock.  Guitars, drums, bass, djembe, harmonica, violin, vocals, percussion. Music, dancing, friends and laughter. A wonderful, wonderful night.

And what does one buy a man of sixty?  It seems alcohol is they way to go!!! We have enough to open an off-licence…. or see us through to Christmas anyway 😉

So, now I’m recovered (recovering), I want simply to tell you all how blessed I am and how loved he is.  So many people.  So much love and laughter.  So much joy and happiness. So much generosity of time and spirit.  So much wonderful community.  We, because of you all; friends new and old; near are far make our community; our world; our life.

I spent some time trying to finish that sentence with another word.  You make our world “good” “joyous” “safe” “happy” “whole” “fulfilled” …all those things and more….but simply, you really do “make our world”, and we love you all for it xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Happy birthday boy!

Happy birthday boy!

bogged down….

12 Nov

I went for a short drive along a narrow lane with a bit of an awkward bend it in.  I hadn’t been there for quite a while as I’d got in quite a mess last time I tried even though I’d managed and even enjoyed it many times prior.  It’s easy to navigate going forward, slightly uphill and a bit narrow in places, but straightforward.

It’s just about negotiable for me in reverse.  The road was fine, even though the weather was a bit grey.  I made it to the destination, did what needed to be done.  But by the end of the day it was dark, and wet and miserable. I misjudged the kink in the slope and ended up with two wheels on boggy ground.  I tried to move forward to get out of the mess but i was stuck so i moved a bit further back in an attempt to extricate myself.  By then i was pretty much sliding around and getting nowhere.  I still had two wheels in sight of solid ground but they had no purchase. I could not get a grip. I was well and truly bogged down.  The car was stranded. I turned everything off, locked the doors and left it alone. It was too dark to do anything but sleep.

The next day it wasn’t so wet and grey.  I realised needed some people with more strength and the right tools to help me out.  It may have been a bit too late before i recognised i was getting myself more struck but once I asked for help it came.

The car is safely home.  Its  pretty muddy  and got a few bruises but its back on the road. I’m pretty sure when i next drive it everything will work as normal.

Thanks to a few friends, and their time and support, I’m back on the road.  Parked. But on solid ground.

Meet June….

9 Aug

Meet June.  Ever since we met, she has been a bit of a hero of mine.

Meet June

Meet June

Inspirational in her life-style choices; her self-style choices and her wonderful attitude to life. She’s also my fellow (the Queen, in fact) Bog Frog.  and since last night, I declare her the wisest of the wise.

I quote:
“I wonder if Lindsay would consider converting the Neuadd Arms into an old people’s home?  He’d just need to add a stair lift and a few walk in showers.  It has everything we need.  All the people we like, good food and our favourite beer and live music”

Now there IS a plan for us all as we become eccentrically old but less than infirm ….

Wonder if it’s a goer?

Hope you don’t mind me writing this June.  Some ideas are just too good.

Happy Residents of the Neuadd OAP Home

Happy Residents of the Neuadd OAP Home

 

20 years – OMG…

22 Oct

20 years omg - 17th and 18th october 2014 (13)

 

Us celebrating 10 years - this man always makes me feel beautiful

Us celebrating 10 years – this man always makes me feel beautiful

what's a party without cake ;-)  Thanks Kate xx

what’s a party without cake 😉 Thanks Kate xx

1422369_10204402590455593_360842402380198906_nTwenty years ago i was a ‘player’ , I’d spent two years backpacking and partying and was back in the UK to earn enough dosh for my next adventure. John was a quiet, gentle man, happily out of any complicated relationship and dealing with his ‘baggage’ as any good ostrich would!!  I was only going to be in the UK for 3 months so I was a safe bet for a fun-filled time before disappearing off into the wilderness.  As i said, that was 20 years ago.  I don’t like to call in ‘entrapment’…..

Ten years ago, having moved from London and banking to Essex and recruitment / software, we took a weekend break in the wonderful wilderness of Mid Wales in a teeny-weeny itsy-bitsy cutesie-whootsie town called Llanwrtyd Wells.  And our lives changed forever.  20 years omg - harvey pix (1)

We celebrated our 10th by having a farewell party; a gathering of friends and family and some live music from our brother-in-law and his rock band Hedgehog.  Jason was seven.

This weekend we celebrated our 20th in our favourite pub in our lovely home town of Llanwrtyd Wells, surrounded by friends and entertained by live music from our son, now almost 17 and some of his, and our, talented friends

Me 5 months pregnant, at a friends wedding with my partner (I have never felt as beautiful as when I was expecting our son)

Me 5 months pregnant, at a friend’s wedding with my partner (I have never felt as beautiful as when I was expecting our son)

A brand new life

A brand new life

I have made 3 great decisions in my life.  The first was not leaving for Africa; the second was having our son and the third was moving to Llanwrtyd

I love my man more each day.  It hasn’t always been easy.  Anyone who knows me will understand why…. for sure I am not the steadiest of personalities to live with.    I have my depressions, my health crisises, my emotional turmoils.  But in John I have my best friend, my soul mate, my counsellor, my anchor, my lover and my life force.  Without him and his patience and understanding we would not have an ‘us’ – he has never given up on me and he sees in me the loveliness and goodness that I sometimes lose sight of.  He never does.

old friends and young ones ;-) Jason, Tyler, Lottie, Mick, Tracy and Ian

old friends and young ones 😉 Jason, Tyler, Lottie, Mick, Tracy and Ian

I believe I said that each and every person there and those who simply couldn’t be there has impacted on, played a part in and added value to our lives and i am proud and honoured to know that we are in their hearts and they are in ours.

This blog may appear slushy and self-indulgent but I think it is a story that anyone can connect their life to … We have friends.  We are so blessed.  This weekend whilst hosting our celebration i discovered how many amazing and wonderful friends we have.  I discovered great friendships blossoming in people I’ve known for 5 minutes and reaffirmed great friendships that have lasted nearly all our lifetime.  I even feel good to have disconnected myself with someone I thought was a friend and have finally accepted, is not.  I feel great.  Energised. Loved. 

Important dates punctuate our lives and it is appropriate to want to share those with the people you love. And the real people you love will want to be with you even if they can’t.  And these punctuation marks in our timelines remind us who our true friends are and how lucky we are to have them

20 years omg - harvey pix (5)

decorations coutesy of Hanna, Jen and Anna-lisa…. superstar artistic direction team

And anyway, with all that aside; what a party!!  A weekend of laughter, and joy, eating and drinking, walking, singing and dancing.  A weekend of music and friendships of reminiscences and forging strong bonds. Saturday evening in the Neuadd Arms Hotel with friends from near and far. The homely welcoming atmosphere it offers; the great beers brewed on site , the delicious  and over generous catering by their chef, Paul.  It was said as a joke, but not only are we blessed with great friend but some of them own a pub and brewery 😉 ….

… and some of them own great musical talent.  We were entertained by mandolins, drums, cajons, congas, guitars and great vocals – organised by our son and performed as an open jam…   I am so proud and happy to know so many great people.  I am so proud and honoured by our ‘extended family’ of Jason’s beautiful and talented friends.  I cannot thank Jason, Georgia, Tyler, Zak and Lottie enough.  Young, talented, thoughtful, and a joy to be with.  I also thank Ian, Eugene and Paul for performing, and am humbled by the distances some people travelled to share our moment.  (And of course i thank Mr Badaxe for his memorable involvement – lol )

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 20 years omg - 17th and 18th october 2014 (14) 20 years omg - 17th and 18th october 2014 (9) OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

music music sweet sweet music

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am loved and I love back. Generously, unconditionally and wholeheartedly.  My friends, my son, my partner, Our life together…..

this blog is dedicated to all our wonderful and cherished friends

And I Love Her – Vocals – John Crompton, Guitar – Jason Crompton, Production – Mike Smith, Artwork – Ian Harvey

See I've definitely shrunk!!
I am a lucky girl xxxx

Life is a story book…

4 Jan

Life eh?  Yours , mine, theirs.   Our respective lives are made up of chapters, each one effecting directly or indirectly the future chapters yet to be written.  We can feel like life is a collection of short stories but as each story influences our personalities (moods, knowledge, behaviour, experiences) we take ‘information’ from all our stories and use that knowledge in the stories or chapters that follow.

In theory we all have a book in us.  Whether we believe our book to be interesting enough to write or our voices articulate enough to tell it is another thing.  Also, I find that the ‘chapters’ get muddled  and its often hard to reminisce or tell each in isolation.

Anyway, as its New Year I thought I might share one of my very happy chapters with you.  It is not a chapter in isolation.  It’s the one about how I met John but it culminates with a 10 years on, rapidly approaching 20.  It’s a happy, intimate story and I share it with you all because its joyous and lovely and ‘real’ and quite romantic  😉  and we all deserve a bit of light and romance  to remind us of the good and the joy and the hope especially when our lives are writing chapters that are more challenging.

So here we go.  I hope you enjoy my story:-

1994, I can’t remember what month.  I’d been traveling around it Israel mainly and had come back to the UK to earn some money to go off again (probably to South Africa. I was 26.  A friend,  Anne, whom I’d made in Israel and who remains a very good friend, returned to the UK before me and told me to get in touch.  A friend of hers had a recruitment agency and she’d be able to get me temp work with her in The City.  Barings in fact.  and yes – I was there when the Nick Leeson saga hit the fan but that really is a different chapter.

I was contracted to do some accounting/adminny type work, I forget the details .  John was in another department in the same building by Liverpool St Station on the same floor doing something relating to merchant banking.  I was chatty, confident, outgoing, I’d just spent 2 years traveling.   I embraced the tail end of the city boom and the freedom of being single and working in the city: lunch time drinking, after work parties etc.

I think I’d seen John a couple of times around the office.  He had kind, smiling eyes and on his desk was a photo of his sons.  I think I’d commented on how lovely they looked.  Then in mid October we were in a lift together heading to a leaving do for a chap called Nick Lebrun.  I joked with him asking if his wife had given him permission to stay out late and come to the party.  At which point another work friend and great character (Boris Johnson reminds me of him) , Nick Perry-Evans kicked my shin.  Apparently John was separated.

I remember very little of the party except getting pretty drunk, flirting with John and making the following outrageous suggestion:

“I’m off to Africa in 3 months if you fancy a no strings affair until then take me to lunch on tomorrow”.

And that’s how it began.  A mid-week party and a massive mid-week hangover.  I was sat at my desk opposite my friend Amanda who would spot John before me as he approached on a ‘purposeful’ loop around the quadrangle, paperwork in hand.  He’d slow on approach and then continue straight past!!  This happened several times.  Poor man.

Eventually he plucked up the courage to ask me to lunch.  Hoorah!   I felt so sick that day.  Not enough sleep, far too much drink.  I’d try to ‘dress to impress’ and ended up in a Khaki skirt and jacket that were too short and too tight!  The last thing I waned to do was eat or drink!.

My 27th birthday - about a month after I started dating John.  With Amanda and Anne

My 27th birthday – about a month after I started dating John. With Amanda and Anne

We went to the Bowling Green restaurant in Finsbury Square.  Talk about pleasure-pain.  We chose the worst thing to eat on a hangover, pork in a cream and cider sauce with a bottle of red wine!!!  I spent the entire meal willing myself to swallow and not vomit!

There it was.  From then on we went to lunch everyday, with our favourite place being upstairs in the Dirty Dicks before it became like all the other trendy wine bar type restaurants.  We had the same waitress each time, Ella from Poland and my favourite was mash with smoked haddock and poached egg.  We’d take 2 hour lunches and come back slightly tiddly having shared a bottle of wine (people in the city did that then).  The following weekend I went to stay with him at his flat in Westcliff and we went out dancing.  That was 21st October.

We didn’t tell anyone at work we were dating although I’m sure everyone knew.

On 14th Feb two dozen red roses appeared on my desk.  The secret was out!  I was already living with him I think!! I pretty much moved in straight away.  We had no expectations as I had promised no strings – so we didn’t pretend to be things we weren’t, didn’t delay calling or going out for fear of appearing ‘too keen’  .  I think because of this we really got to know each other, we had a whirlwind of fun in that 3 months.

The time came for me to leave.  John hadn’t asked me to stay as that wasn’t the deal.  Nervously one evening I asked him how he would feel if I stayed and I told him I loved him.

John and I in Paris - April 1995 after I'd decided not to leave!

John and I in Paris – April 1995 after I’d decided not to leave!

OK – you can puke now – I know its corny.  Its also real.

That was eighteen and a half years ago.  On our tenth anniversary  John surprised me with a CD.  An original song written in conjunction with his friend Ian Harvey and recorded in Ian’s studio in Diss (Pan Music), with John singing.  “Something Special’ by The John Crompton Band!!!  Our story so far. Get your flight bag at the ready in case you vomit (again!) and take a listen if you feel you can handle the slush!

Maybe for our 20th I’ll get the updated version?  Hint hint 😉

Sort of Special - by 'The John Crompton Band' CD cover

Sort of Special – by ‘The John Crompton Band’ CD cover

Love can be real.  It can survive good times and bad, ill health, financial struggle, births, deaths, extended family and mental health!  However I truly believe ours has only survived because it happened after our other chapters, the ones with breakups, heartache and grief.  Without those past chapters we may well have given up on our relationship in the subsequent and inevitable ‘difficult chapters’  but, and for this I am so grateful, John especially, hung in there, realising the special relationship we have.  Between us we have lived those chapters of angst, pain and sorrow.  They have been very few but when they’ve arrived they’ve been very intense and all consuming.

As a couple these days we are strong, happy, understanding of each other, respect each others strengths and weaknesses.  Enjoy life.  We do that ‘dance’ that couples who have been together a while do.  We know automatically which roles each of us has responsibility for, we communicate often without speaking.  And more importantly, we still laugh, love and share together.  we sit together on the sofa and hold hands every evening whilst drinking tea and watching TV.  We hold hands when we walk together, we kiss each other goodnight and we open our souls to each other.  Life would not be life without him and any chapters without him would not be worth writing.

I give you a true love story, one of the most happy chapters of my ‘real’ life, to take you into 2014.

I was going to stop there and then last night it occurred to me to refer back to the beginning of this blog – where does each chapter start and finish?  I believe that most of us have had ‘true love’ chapters or ‘dizzy romance’ chapters we just have to remember to end the ‘chapter’ before it flows into a ‘breakup’ one.  If I look back I’ve had a good 3 ‘dizzy romances’ in my life but they were followed with respectively ‘heartbreak’ , ‘ anger and disappointment ‘ , ‘feeling like a twit’ chapters.  I think we would all be happier if we retold these chapters in our life stopping before the end of the relationship but instead at the end of the love/lust/romance phase.  Take a marriage that has ended in divorce, surely the first chapter was heady romance/love/lust  maybe followed by a couple of chapters of contentment, one of marriage and first home, one of first child, some happy holiday chapters  before the final sad one.  And then if we continue to extrapolate the final one may not actually be ‘the final one’  until the end of our lives these past chapters will continue to affect our future ones as we learn from the good and bad of the past and take these lessons into our futures.  I can honestly say that I look back on my past ‘true love chapters’ as un-rounded as they may have been in hindsight, and remember fondly and gratefully the words that make them and the images that accompany them.  They are part of who I am today, of the person who values the love and luck I now have.

Everyone’s life is a book – be it a private diary to remain un-shared , or a celebration of life to be screamed from the rooftops, a witty repertoire or a lament of unfulfilled longing.  But remember our book is only part written who knows what adventures and paths we might travel before the end.

Since writing this blog I have had the pleasure of discovering this TED TALK by Philosopher,  Stephen Cave.  Very profound, interesting and pretty much sums it up for me – hope you enjoy it too

Ian Harvey’s Studio – Pan Music

Johns sons David and Graham aged 11 and 13 august 1995 - our first 'family holiday' - not all plain sailing but there's another chapter in itself!

Johns sons David and Graham aged 11 and 13 august 1995 – our first ‘family holiday’ – not all plain sailing but there’s another chapter in itself!

A year in the life of……

9 Dec

Every year, like many of you out there, I compose a ’round robin’ style letter to include with Christmas cards for those friends and relatives we rarely see.  With my increased modern communication channels – this blog, facebook etc I tend to send out very few Christmas  cards so the RR is predominantly for elderly more distant relatives. I really enjoy pulling it together, consolidating ‘a year in the life of…’ into 2 sides of A4.

Here’s this years review (with a few added hyperlinks)… I hope you find it entertaining…

Hi ! It’s that time of year again!  Where do the months go?

On sitting down to write this year’s update to you all, I had to first read last years.  It did make me chuckle!

It read, “…kitchen remains unfinished”.  Hot news.  Kitchen STILL remains unfinished!!  Although the floor and walls are now done!  Its slow progress in this household! Although to be fair John did have his hand operation.

If you remember last year I mentioned he was having an operation on his hand on 13th December.  It was a huge success, a pyro-carbon insert into his thumb joint which has given him back full mobility and eradicated the pain.  It did however take much much longer than the suggested 6 weeks to regain full strength and movement.

Glass panel inspired by Nasa image of Whirlpool Galaxy

Glass panel inspired by Nasa image of Whirlpool Galaxy

The bathroom however IS (finally) finished and, as mentioned, i did create a NASA inspired stained glass window.  My version of a whirlpool galaxy.

us at New Ing lodgeI also spotted the paragraph “…the very talented and handsome Graham Crompton took away my weather-worn Hillman Husky and agreed to restore her ….”.  Like father like son, she finally came home looking amazing but ‘not quite finished’ JUST in time for the annual Imp Club National this August!!!  As I write now she is still awaiting the fitting of new carpets and a solution for a new headlining but the paint job…wow!  The other attribute Graham gets from his father is perfectionism; the paintwork has a mirror finish.

The Imp National was fabulous, At scone near Perth, home of the Imp and celebration its 50th birthday.  Ffloyd managed the whole 1100 miles with only a few minor hiccups. Sadly it didn’t do so well on the way to the local show.  20 miles into our 40 mile journey to Pandy it had  complete electrics failure and we had to arrive there by low loader.  At least we were in the right place to get expert help in fixing her.

A lot has happened for Jason too.  Sadly his band “Lindsays Shirt” split up with their last gig at the Brecon Jazz Fringe in August.  Lots of reasons but largely relating to GCSE commitments.  However, Jason has joined another group.  A very talented bunch calling themselves ‘The Hurricanes’.  They not only cover great rock n roll classics but also write their own material.  They are currently mid-way through the professional recording of a 6 track EP of original works which they intend to send to record companies!!!  If you are computer savvy you can follow their progress.  Here is the link to their You tube channel:

They also have a Facebook page:- https://www.facebook.com/bandnamehurricanes

He’s studying for his final year of GCSEs and on schedule for straight A’s.  He turned 16 on 9th November and had a wonderful party with a group of lovely teens.  He is so lucky to have a wonderful group of supportive friends. We are currently looking at what options he has for A levels with his chosen subjects being Maths, Physics, Music and Geography.

Just after I wrote last year’s review I made the difficult decision to close my arts and crafts shop, In the Pink.  It had been running at a loss for some years – covering its overheads but not paying a salary.  John and I had invested the little savings we had and then December presented a 75% fall in takings at the end of an already bad year.  It was time to stop.  Sad times but the right thing to do.

It’s been interesting since.  My closing down sale scheduled for a week at the end of January made the local press.  I had put a note in the window stating that people who had not supported the business were not welcome to attend the closing down sale! I know, controversial! However, local businesses rely on local support and it’s very annoying when people who never supported you criticise you for closing!  The press got wind of the sign my shop window and I made the front page!

That wasn’t the only occasion I caused a stir in town this year, standing up against (perceived) inappropriate behaviour within in the Town Council didn’t make me very popular but did get the issue resolved.  Not just me but half a dozen of us committed to seeing fairness in the system!

raising awareness of the 2 year anniversary of the temporary lights

raising awareness of the 2 year anniversary of the temporary lights

Our final act of dissidence this year was the ‘traffic light party” orchestrated by our friend Mike Smith to get action in relation to a set of traffic lights that were approaching their 2nd birthday.  Cake, banners, silly hats and a press release.  We made our point. The outstanding works were completed and the lights removed shortly after.  As Wolfie Smith of the Tooting Popular Front used to say, “Power to the People!” – hahaha.

 So there’s a lot there about what we haven’t done.  We haven’t got our shop, we haven’t finished our kitchen,  John hasn’t done much DIY work,  Jason hasn’t turned into a moody teenager!  So what have we been doing?  Other than upsetting the local political system!

Well it’s been a fun and busy year in the B&B as a result of the good summer and mild winter. Lots of lovely new guests as well as a fair number of regulars

John has taken up a hobby that earns him a little on the side. He’s selling on ebay. He ‘finds’ odd things, researches them a then sells them on.  The fun being in the discoveries.  Including a perfect condition 1948 Formula 1 programme picked up at the local tip!  He’s also, in the latter part of the year got back to a spot of Handyman work much to the relief and joy of his fans, the local elder ladies of Llanwrtyd Wells!

1988 Rapido Expomatic - that box houses the fridge

1988 Rapido Expomatic – that box houses the fridge

I’ve become a home-based artist/craftworker, although I am still struggling with not having the routine of going off to work.  I’ve

I have great plans for the exterior of this Elddis it ill become my "Pink Butterfly" mobile gallery

I have great plans for the exterior of this Elddis it ill become my “Pink Butterfly” mobile gallery

had a few commissions and attended a few craft fairs as a trader.  Its lovely being able to be creative but I do need to work on my time management!   We’ve also become fans of the ‘classic’ caravan.  I wanted one to convert into a mobile art studio / craft shop with a view to it being light enough to be towed by a 48 year old car with an 875cc engine!!  After bidding on several I finally discovered one in a friend’s garden just around the corner and am now the proud owner of a 1967ish Elddis 2 berth which I had intended to have refurbished by now. Oh well-a nice winter project. Also its too heavy to tow with Ffloyd but I then discovered the Rapido Exportmatic Folding Caravan having seen one at Imp 50.  I HAD to have one.  So now we do!  I think we might have to open a caravan park!!  I refer you to my blog “Not so Rapido”

What else?  Well, I’ve become a blogger.”Rose Tinted Ramblings from a Less Ordinary Life”   .Why not take a look (oh you are doing!!!)?  For an idea of the peculiarities of life in Mid Wales I suggest you read “Frogs, Bogs and Men in Speedos..!”

That’s it for 2013.  Hopefully no last minute surprises.  I will leave you with my favourite 2013 commission, for John to give his mum, in memory of a most wonderful and generous man.

A study of Brian Crompton - a generous and great man

A study of Brian Crompton – a generous and great man

Wishing you all the joys, delights, love and laughter of your own individual ’less ordinary life’.  Much love and happiness for 2014 xxxx

feeling a tad anxious?….

7 Dec

It’s funny how anxiety creeps up on me. I never, ever notice it coming and never ever recognise the pattern and when it arrives I feel stupid.  The stupidity comes from not seeing the obvious, of confidently denying and misinterpreting the early signs.

I’ve been ‘off sorts’ for some months.  I put it down initially to being overweight and, as such, breathless.  Then I became plagued with an over itchy scalp, and increased wheeziness.  Alongside this I did actually discover I had an ear infection and needed something to cure some cold-like symptoms .  I think I was coughing for about 6 weeks before I went to the doctors – remember the ‘Is it Urgent’ blog?

When I finally went to see the doc I had gathered a fair portfolio of minor ailments and symptoms  and felt like a bit of a hypochondriac. John went with me  and I came away with the bumper party pack of drugs/creams/lotions/sprays etc.

It was John who made me aware of how heavily I breathe and since, I have become completely obsessed and self-conscious about it.  IT IS NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT – I’ve had all the blood tests, oxygen tests and chest x-rays.  It seems that over time – probably since a couple of years ago when I had that bout of panic attacks, I’ve forgotten how to breathe properly.  You’d think breathing would be more straightforward than riding the proverbial bike.  Apparently not. Anyway I am off to see a respiratory specialist very soon.

Alongside this set of minor ailments, I (thought) on the whole I was happy (which I am) and stress free (which I am).  However having no stress does not mean that one does not necessarily cease to be anxious. And because its crept up on me I hadn’t picked up on the signs.  Hence the feeling stupid.  I’ve been through this cycle before, many times.  I can only liken it to  like having a slow puncture, I’ve gradually deflated and didn’t notice the soft sponginess until I skidded off the path on a slight bendas I could no longer grip the track.

I can’t quite identify the bend that caused me to waiver off the road.  I think its been coming ever since last Christmas when I closed In the Pink.  The lack of self discipline to create a routine of home working.   The sense of loss, that I was barely aware of.  I can react just fine to the demands of B&B and thrive on the busy periods.  Given any task by anyone else I can meet or exceed the expectations.  My work ethic is not marred.  Getting into an ‘office mode’ regarding glass work, painting and the marketing thereof, however, has left me flailing and a pathetic and positively lazy, lack lustre and possibly (without even noticing), ever so slightly depressed, ever so slightly panicky and ever so slightly lost.

Also somewhat isolated although I was under the impression (genuinely) that I was enjoying being out of the loop, away from the thick of it and the local politics.  Hiding away out of the fray here at C.V.  I wonder now if I have also become a little agoraphobic?  Certainly there are days when nothing will persuade me to leave the house  and sometimes I just feel SO TIRED.

Anyway, until about three days ago I was oblivious to all of these signs.  Then on Tuesday whilst out merrily doing the weekly shop, my heart started palpitating, my breath became more sharp and urgent, my chest tightened.  I sat in the car for a while concentrating on relaxing and breathing wondering if I was having a heart problem or a panic attack, wondering if I was being a hypochondriac.  When it subsided I did the shopping and came home.  Wednesday I was fine again.  Thursday I slept most of the day.  Friday, I spent the day convinced it was Thursday!!! Self employment – all the days are the same.

Despite thinking it was Thursday I had a lovely, productive day, painting a commission promised as a Christmas gift, and its going well.   John reminds me we were out for the evening.  It would be a great evening,  no pretenses, great friends, easy conversation, good food, free flowing home brew.  I’d been looking forward to it for weeks.  The first party of the holiday season with all my favourite people.

But then it hit, I could not possibly leave the house, I needed an excuse so I wouldn’t appear pathetic.   I was feeling very anxious.   I should go, it would be great if I could just get there.  I couldn’t get there.  I sent an email telling the truth, too embarrassed to phone. My lovely friend sent a lovely persuasive reply.”We should go” I said to john , “look how lovely and sympathetic and understanding our friends are”.  But I could not go.  Palpitations, anxiety, guilt, embarrassment.

Funny thing is life is pretty good.  I’m not particularly , or excessively, worried about anything.  Our son is coping despite school!  He is excelling in his exams, enjoying his music, has a great group of friends.  There have been a few moments of teenage angst moments but not many. The B&B has been healthy, all guests happy, regular business,repeat and new customers,excellent reviews.  I so enjoy having B&B guests in the house..

I’ve also been enjoying exhibiting and selling at a few Christmas Craft Fairs.  I should have made more and done more, I’ve had loads of time but much less energy and drive.  The few commission pieces I’ve done have been really successful.

I think I feel like this every December,  like time is racing ahead of me, that I am spinning a little out of control and Christmas Day will arrive and I won’t have remembered to shop for it or wrap things.  I would have run out of days to get a tree up.  Or not yet have decided whether to buy turkey, lamb or ham for Christmas lunch.  Or run out of postal days to send mum and dad their gifts, or John’s Aunties their cards.  Or that Dad’s birthday is on Christmas Eve.   Its madness, because I love choosing gifts, being amongst friends, decorating the tree, preparing a special meal.  So the annual anxiety about it creeping up on me makes no sense at all.

So what is it?  Is it a mild case of Anxiety Disorder? I think so.  And here is my action plan:-

1.Get a job to give my days purpose and structure

2 Make sure that job is local, interesting and not in middle management

3.learn to breathe from my diaphragm

4. get out in the fresh air

5.go to yoga or tai chi

6.practice regular mindfulness exercises

7.try not to feel a fool for missing the signs (again!)

I’ve written this for several reasons but definitely not to illicit sympathy (because that will be really embarrassing).  I also don’t want any of my family or friends to be concerned.  Its who I am and generally I manage it well these days.

I’ve written it firstly to try and clarify in my own head the journey of my slow puncture. Secondly, I’ve written it because I suspect a lot of people have moments like mine to lesser and greater extents and that I’m not totally weird and alone in feeling this way!   Thirdly, in the hope that those who do feel this way  on occasion to those lesser or greater degrees will find comfort in the knowledge that they too are not weird (or alone)!

I hope this helps someone feel a little more normal on an occasion where they might be slipping out of control.

I also hope that my wonderful and gorgeous friends whose company I missed out on the pleasure of this evening will not feel either affronted, nor concerned.  Its one of those things, part of who I am, and sometimes I just need to accept “me” and stop over analysing myself.

Love, peace, inner happiness and joy to you all from your ever-so- slightly-unique; ever-so-slightly-out-of-control; pink haired; chaotic; hippy-chick friend x

special occasions…

20 Nov

Yesterday was my birthday.  I love birthdays.   I know some people don’t like them and have an issue with their age.  I don’t care about that – I LOVE birthdays.  Not because of the presents, although they are lovely, but because of the sentiment and the increased communication and the whole joy of celebration.

Before I go on I will just recap about my wonderful birthday celebrations.

For me they always begin with the Llanwrtyd Wells Real Ale Wobble – so good of my home town to put on a beer festival and live entertainment for my birthday!

John’s birthday is on the 5th, mine the 19th November.  In recent years we’ve chosen to give each other the birthday treat of a night or two away.  Or similar.  This year we booked a hotel room in Cardiff and some theatre tickets.  We did it some months ago, affording us time to enjoy contemplating how lovely it would be prior to the experience itself.

So 18th over to the 19th, after all the hard work of a busy B&B weekend, we meandered our way to Cardiff.  We mooched around quirky boutiques, old record shops, vintage stalls and cafes with homemade cakes.  We then lazed in the Novotel, had a lovely meal and walked along the Atlantic Wharf to the Millennium Centre where we belly laughed our way through Paul Merton and chums doing improv.  After which we found a cute little wine bar and perched ourselves on bar stools discussing items on our bucket lists. A taxi back to the hotel ‘cos my feet were killing me.  More wine.  Box of chocolates.  Etc etc.  In the morning a lovely late breakfast a leisurely regrouping of our possessions a repacking of all our new purchases and a sunny drive home over the snow-capped Beacons.

Birthdays,  seem to be occasions where our minds find time to focus upon individual friends and family members.  If only for a minute or two.  This is even more true with the increased access to each other via social media. Just for a moment you remember that person whose birthday reminder has popped up and you have the opportunity to wallow in a happy memory and you spare a moment and type something like ” Happy Birthday x” or “good to know you’re still alive” or” have one on me” or similar.

What it really says is “I may not often (or ever) see you but I remember you fondly and I take comfort in knowing you are out there somewhere”.  What could be more lovely than to be remembered by people of whom you too have fond memories ?