About Me

My photo
Worcester, Worcestershire, United Kingdom
Born in the year of the Coronation, I'm a Baby Boomer. In April of this year I decided I too would have a Diamond Jubilee celebration and completely change my life and that of my Husband's in the process

Saturday, 27 August 2005

Old Friends

The first week of keeping my journal has passed and I feel I've got somewhere, quite where, I'm not sure but I feel further forward than last week.

Let me explain my main problem, I'm reclaiming my house after months of building work replacing the old dining room extension. Everything from the dining room had to be scattered around the house, which meant the whole place became a tip. Mike never puts anything away anyway and I couldn't access places I needed to get, so things just got dumped, This is boring but you need to know that apart from all the normal daily chores, I have this extra handicap  that stops me from getting on with things I want to do. Well it doesn't really stop me, it just makes me feel a bit guilty that a month after the builders left we're still living in Steptoe's Yard.

This week I restored my son's bedroom to it's normal shipshape fashion (he's in the Navy, a place for everthing and everything in it's place, aye, aye cap'n!)  He no longer had to tiptoe round my Wedgewood dinner service stacked on the floor when he stopped here Thursday night, before stealing away with my car for the week! Whilst sorting my office I came across the picture of said son, taken when he was about 9. If you ever worry about our Nation's defence then you can rest easy in your beds knowing this chap has a very important part in it! He'll kill me if he ever sees this.

And, my office is very nearly finished, which is  good because this means I can now invite my long lost cousin over to have a look at the family history research I've done. He tells me he's 6' 4" and 20 stone, so I felt we might need a little more space than the office was offering, clogged as it was with it's dining room detritus. I do tend to digress but what is it with our family,that breeds such skinny children, who as adults could form a new Roly Poly Troupe? I think our mothers brought us up on wartime rations, even though rationing had finished, as soon as we took control of our own diets we felt we had to compensate for the lean years of going to bed hungry.

This cousin is a 'have a go hero'. He was on telly because some evil little tribe were on his train and didn't have tickets, or were playing up in some way, he tried to deal with them and one of them pulled out a knife. We must be similar because the red mist came down and he thought No, you're not going to get away with that, so he felled a couple and sat on them until the police could board the train to arrest them. Ha! take that, you little ****!.

I'm having to keep one eye on the garden while I'm typing this as a heron is circling the area. He can have all the fish he likes out of the brook at the bottom of the garden but he'd best leave my goldfish alone!

Tuesday I went to meet the old schoolfriend I hadn't seen, for 34 years we realised. I live in Worcester and she lives in Derbshire, so we met in Abbots Bromley. What a pretty place, I had no idea Staffordshire could look like that and the Goats Head, where we lunched is definitely a good place to eat.

We had a wonderful afternoon, recognised each other immediately even though we are both much bigger than when we last set eyes on each other. She was AKA Stick and I was Stick Legs, bullying was rife in those days and nothing was done about it. It's a wonder I'm so well adjusted now. I am, no really, I am!

We decided we must arrange a get together of all the old friends we can get in touch with and fixed a date. It's funny how you can meet up with old friends after decades and just pick up the threads of friendship. She said something that made me feel a lot better about myself, she had always admired me as being a free spirit. Funny that, I always thought I was just a prat .....(does that have one T or two?)

The next day I phoned one of the girls, I haven't seen her for 30 years. I got her phone number from her ex husband a few months ago when we first started talking about a reunion.

Not only is this chap her ex husband, he was also my ex boyfriend. He was incredibly good looking but unfortunately a bit of a twit,( think Hugh Laurie in Black Adder but blonde and better looking) The other unfortunate thing about him was his dancing, I would make any excuse to avoid going to a disco where my friends were. Have you ever seen that car advert where the car turns into a sort of robot and starts dancing? I swear whoever made that advert has seen my ex dancing. The advert has the ability to make me cringe every time I see it. My friends would all be in a heap, wetting themselves with laughter on the edge of the dance floor and even if I refused to dance he would still get up and dance on his own, in fact he would be totally on his own as he usually cleared the dance floor! For a girl with so many personal hang ups, this was a relationship doomed to fail. Anyway, this other girl must have had thicker skin than me, she swooped him up when I dumped him and went as far as to marry him.

I bumped into him, quite literally, when my mother pushed my wheelchair into him at the Merry Hill shopping centre. I was recovering from a bunion operation at the time and she wouldn't take no as an answer to a shopping trip with her and my sister. We had to go to the Shop Mobility and get me a chair. That was interesting, I found how people ignore you when you are in a wheelchair, as he did. He chatted to Mum and my sister for several minutes before he looked down and recognised me. I had been sitting there quietly praying he wouldn't notice me, I am five stone heavier than we last met and I was starting to turn a funny colour from pulling in my tummy and sucking my cheeks in. The double take was priceless, arms flailing wildly (rather like his dance routine), he was horror struck and wanted to know what on earth had happened. I have my pride, a bunion operation doesn't sound too glamorous, so I said I was recovering from foot surgery.He could have been referring to the bloated, Jabba the Hutt look but I like to think he was talking about the wheelchair.

When I rang his ex wife on Wednesday to give her a date for the reunion we started chatting immediately. Bearing in mind we've only spoken once in 30 years it's amazing how quickly you drop back into personal confidences. If you're male, you may not want to read this, I don't know if men discuss their visits to the doctor with the same candour that women do. I think we do it because it's a way with dealing with the indignities of those visits and laughter is the best medicine.

She had been for a smear that morning and said the nurse had had to fetch another piece of equipment because she couldn't find her womb! Do they think before they say these things? What could she have done with it? Left it in that drawer in the kitchen, you know, the one that contains everything that doesn't have a proper home. Maybe it slipped out in the car? For heavens sake, how far could it be from it's normal place? When you are already in a very undignified, vunerable position, this is the last thing you want to hear.

That reminded me of my experience last month, our doctor's receptionists are usually quite good, for dragons that is, but there is one I now hate with a passion. I'd been to have my blood pressure checked and needed to make an appointment for a month's time. I also asked for a nurse appointment for a smear test. She did the Dotor's appointment first, which took a couple of minutes, by which time there was a queue behind me. Then she started on the the other one, stopped, looked me up and down and said, loudly,


Now I don't think she was offering me a coffee!

I think I know where she was coming from but how would I know? I didn't like the implications here, you can see my photo in the previous post, do I look  like I need cream? What does a woman who needs cream look like? I could hear the sharp intake of breaths behind me and the embarassed shufflings and throat clearing. I managed a loud NO with as much bravado as I could muster and swept out, cheeks blazing and no doubt higher blood pressure than when I went in. Do these people think when you pass 50 you have no dignity at all?

We both had such a laugh about these events and it made me realise the value of friendship and how old friendships can be re-established so quickly. If I have achieved nothing else this year, I have made contact with 3 old friends and my life is certainly richer for it.

Saturday, 20 August 2005

Saturday Morning

Well, here we are Saturday morning again, another week gone and what have I achieved this week? Before I answer that I'll introduce myself, my name is Linda, known as Lin to some. I've been married happily for 10 years to Mike (we got married a lot longer ago than that but in the last 10 years we got used to each other!)

The picture of me holding the flowers was taken 2 years ago on my 50th birthday, yes that's right, I'm 52 now, well done. Oops! Slipping into my work mode there, I work as a teaching support assistant for children with special needs in a local junior school.

The wooden construction behind me is a brand new hen house and run, it was delivered on my birthday as a surprise birthday present from my husband, complete with four point of lay Warrens, named Cornflake, Abigail, Chloe and Emily. Sadly we only have Abigail and Emily now. You will notice I am holding a glass of red wine. I was told drinking red wine was good for the health, I firmly believe that and try to take my medication whenever possible!

The picture of the chickens shows them clearing up after a barbeque. They really are the most bossy, greedy  chickens known to man. They'll take a chop bone out of the dog's mouth and peck the cats to drive them away from any nice little titbit they've found and they can outrun any of the house pets. They've now taken to walking in the back door and eating the dog's food! 

I must interrupt my introduction here, Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin has just started on the radio, I love this song. It brings back memories of hanging around in the doorway of Stringers in Stourbridge, back in the 60's. With my High School skirt rolled over 3 times at the waistband to show off my skinny legs I would be praying that the incredibly beautiful Robert Plant would notice me as he wafted by on his celestial cloud, his long blonde curls flowing in the wind. He never did. Oh well! (Anyway, I've worn better than him!)

Back to The Mansions and what happens here in the present day. Why the Mansions you ask, it's actually just an ordinary semi blessed with a large garden, my husband started referring to it as 'The Mansions' in his local radio programme and it just stuck.

Besides Mike, me & the chickens, there is Harper the dog,  the 4 cats, Willow, Fliss, Merlin and Morgan and somewhere lurking in the undergrowth is a pond with some goldfish, I think, as the heron comes around regularly I'm not too sure how many we have.

Our four children are all now technically adults, almost financially independent and only the youngest stays here from time to time when he is on leave from the Royal Navy.

The reason I put the picture of me on my 50th birthday is because, for me, that was a turning point. After nearly 3 decades of bringing up children, suddenly ........What? What am I supposed to do with my time?  

These days, if you are blessed with reasonable health, it's not a winding down to your retirement, it's the start of a whole new life. I've never been so busy in my life as I am now and my friends say the same. But what are we busy at? For a start I got a computer and started researching my family history. I knew nothing, I was totally self taught and I've traced every line back to the mid 1800's at least but most back to the 1700's. This has included some very interesting days out to see where they lived and take photos and the real bonus is I 've met up with and talk to new found relatives around the world. It also uncovered a few shocks, don't let anyone tell you sex before marriage is a recent invention.

I've joined a gym, to try to halt the slow descent of certain parts of my anatomy. I have a love/hate relationship with that. I hate going but I love the smug feeling I get after I've been, that holier than thou feeling of 'I did something healthy, while you sat doing the crossword'. Trouble is Mike's talking of joining now, that means it'll get competitive and could get nasty.

I try to see more of my friends and have just met an old school friend I hadn't seen for 27 years and am meeting another one next week I haven't seen for over 30 years. Little did we think, when we last saw each other, that the next time we met we'd have a combination of fat stomachs, grey hair and double chins. Or horror of horrors, grey hairs on our chins!!!! And then what about the topics of conversation, how many of our parents are still with us? Operations we've had? Dear me, some aspects of being older are still depressing.

So what have I achieved this week?

Went to Swansea on Thursday to see where my great, 2 x great and 3 x great grandmothers lived. That was good. Planted half a dozen plants in the garden and tried to keep the house tidy. Do you know, I thought it was the children who made such a mess of the house. They don't live here now and it's still a mess, there's only Me & Him and I know it's not me but he says it's not him. I think there is a third person living in my house, who is invisible, called Not Me. This person is responsible for not putting the tops back on containers, breaking glasses, finishing the butter and putting the empty container back in the fridge and leaving the toilet seat up, I therefore know that Not Me is male.

For a whole week of when I'm not working it's not a lot really is it? Yet I never seemed to have a spare minute. I'm facing up to a growing realisation that it now takes much longer to do things. Not sure if that's because I'm less capable or if it's because there is now less pressure, so I do things at my new, relaxed, speed?

Am I the only 50 something who feels they should be filling their life with more meaningful stuff but somehow never find the time?