The End of a Summer

And so it draws to an end: the first Summer without my Mum. A fact not easily reconciled with the rise of emotion that swooshes up my body every time I acknowledge that she is gone and not just out there having her hair done. Or wandering around Southport. Or sitting on her own sofa doing a suduko. She isn’t. She isn’t. She isn’t.

the end of summer

I need this season to be over. I need the first of my Mum’s birthdays and wedding anniversaries to have passed, as they will have done by the end of next week. I need Finley to be back at school so that my own sense of order can be restored. So that I can work again. So that I can embrace all the new opportunities suddenly coming my way and really commit to building a life with Ste and our two boys.

I have you see been treading water, as together we lay foundations, and make plans for what that life will look like. There has been nothing new created or acquired. No new words written. No rooms decorated or progress made. No growth. Only the sudden realisation that life is different now. That my life no longer necessarily fits its new purpose. That room must be made for a man, and for his son who will visit and stay every other week.  That space in my head must be made for all the changes happening within my family as we all adjust to life without my Mum and make our futures fit accordingly.  That Brocantehome will not survive unless my focus changes substantially and that to keep doing the same thing in the hope of sudden success is in itself a form of madness.

This Summer then has been about transition in the midst of the deepest form of grief. It has been about spending every waking moment next to my child who is himself transitioning from primary to senior school: from boy to little man. It has been about picking up each and every one of my many, many belongings and asking whether they have any place in my life, and then as a result spending many an hour driving bin bags full of nonsense to the tip. It has been about emptying wardrobes and drawers, making space for the day that Ste moves in, in the near future. About listening to his hopes and dreams and reconciling them with mine to create a shared vision. And about understanding that he is human too, and brings to the table all his own tragedies and experiences.

It is so odd to discover that underneath all the junk I had recently draped my life in, this so very authentic me still exists. It is why when I really started to excavate Brocantehome I discover that The Vintage Housekeepers Circle was the best reflection of the values of my beloved site all along (and thus will burst back in to beautiful life, the minute Finley returns to school after September 9th). It is why I am suddenly able to sit in utter silence and lose myself in a book again, when for so many months reading has made me itchy; my head muddled and my eyes glazed. It is why I know, with absolute certainty, that everything will be OK.

Autumn is always welcome in both my home and heart, but this year its arrival will coincide with a new era in my life. I suddenly feel grown up. And I need the blanket of cold days and cosy firesides to help me build upon the foundations, we have worked so very hard this Summer to lay…

The Weekend

On Friday I woke up feeling funny. You know the kind of bodily funny you can’t quite explain but you know won’t do? I felt beaten up. Bloated. Burpy. Sick. All things, all at once. And while there are days when feeling funny doesn’t matter, Friday wasn’t one of them because in a spectacular act of procrastination I had managed not to buy a dress for my lovely cousin’s wedding which was happening the very next day.


Shopping when you feel both queasy and bonkers isn’t much fun, and in the end I was feeling so thoroughly hurdy-gurdy that I let Finley choose  a dress for me (!), promptly paid for it and drove him home suddenly certain that I was about to be the most unwelcome, tummy churning wedding guest ever invited to what looked to be quite the most darling of events…

By the time I was curled up on my Dad’s sofa I knew the game was up: there was no way I could possibly grace my lovely family with my scary, sickly presence that weekend and so with heavy heart and a sob in my throat I cancelled and went to bed at silly o’clock hopeful that by some miracle I would wake up in the best of health and I could squeeze myself in to the rather lovely blue dress Finley had chosen and set off to Lincoln.

But it was not be. The next morning I packed Finn in to the car with my Dad, waved them goodbye and crawled back in to bed feeling hilariously sorry for myself. Ste trotted up and down the stairs with steaming hot cups of tea I didn’t drink and The Body in the Library regularly clattered to the floor as I drifted in and out of sleep, stirred on and off by the litany of lovely pictures my sister Helen sent me from the wedding I wasn’t at…

So there I was. Sitting in my uninspiring bedroom, suddenly rather desperate to re-invent it, but too sick to do anything much at all. Though my lovely new bed linen had arrived I couldn’t quite work myself up to laundering it in lavender before I re-made my bed and so it stayed in its packaging as Ste and I discovered how funny Modern Family was and promptly declared it our box set of the season. I nibbled at digestive biscuits and sipped at tea, stuck images on a vision board we created together and generally felt a bit sorry for myself!

And then it was Sunday and the wedding was over and I was remarkably almost but not quite tippety-top and there was so very much to do and I was a woman possessed: outraged and irritable at allowing myself to succumb to sickness and determined to squeeze every single minute out of what was left of the weekend. Before I knew it, the desk in the bedroom was transformed from functioning workplace to a girly, frothy dressing table and my bed was a heavenly cloud of scented white linen.

Then exhausted by my rather bull at a gate efforts I took a long shower, then sat in front of my new dressing table inspecting the hairs on my chin in an illuminated magnifying mirror, wailing along to Rae Morris and sipping at a glass of medicinal red wine by candlelight.

I had missed Amy walking down the aisle. Missed saying goodbye to my lovely cousin Rebecca, before she went on a two-year long adventure in Washington, missed dancing with my Dad at the first big family gathering since my Mum died, missed introducing Ste to my extended family and missed seeing my little boy look so very handsome in his suit.

But in the midst of all my disappointment there was home. There is always the comfort of home.