Morning Pages

Welcome once again to my morning pages: the occasional, unedited spilling of my morning mind on to the screen. Approximately seven hundred and fifty words of stream of consciousness, transparent writing inspired by Julia Cameron. So you can dig a little deeper in my head.

morning pages

I have reached new heights of laziness. Last night I lay tangled in my duvet and truly wished I could turn the virtual pages of my kindle by merely blinking. Hell yeah: I couldn’t face the goosefleshy palava of pulling my arm out of the snuggly warmth to swipe the page.

In the next room Finley was singing quietly. Lately, unable to sleep himself, he has become my midnight chorus: his little voice tinkling away, occasionally making himself giggle and occasionally making me want to run in to his room and stab him in the head. That isn’t the kind of thing good Mothers think is it? Would a good mother run and get her her guitar to provide musical accompaniment to his warbling? Would a good Mother be there with warm milk to soothe his voice when he finally stops for breath? Or would a really good Mother wander, in her voluminous, not very sexy at all, fleecy robe, into his room and gag him so that they could both be assured of a decent nights rest and the morning would not be threatened by the trauma of trying to force a pre-teen little monkey out of his bed and in to school?

Life is abundant with dilemmas. Most of me says that if he needs to let out a note or two then who am I to stifle him? But recently I have come to understand that my way of thinking isn’t quite the same as other peoples: where they see black or white, I see a rainbow of reasons, excuses and possibilities. But having a rainbow head doesn’t necessarily serve a person and well and perhaps life is easier if you can think in terms of what’s right and what’s wrong and leave the matter at that. Thus forcing upon me, the notion that a child singing all by himself in the small hours, probably isn’t the done thing.

Darn it. If I can’t swipe the page of my kindle because my arm gets cold, how in the name of heaven am I going to throw my whole naked self out of bed, to grab a robe and go do middle of the night battle with a child quietly amusing himself with a song?

If only my mind wasn’t so fully occupied by recipes for ginger cake and how to amuse myself on a Friday when I cannot go shopping with my Mum. If only I didn’t spend many an hour with my head buried in a books, or staring at my mobile or drawing squiggles on the margins of the magazines I flick through when I am talking on the phone. If only I wasn’t so eager to fill my head with bundles of trivia merely in order to keep on surviving!

People are broken aren’t they? Each in their own individual way.  

Today I am shopping for daffodils and new knickers and a mop head. I am eating roast chicken and lighting candles and herding domestic animals around the house and squeaking because once again I have said too much and lost my voice in shock.

It is Friday. I don’t know what to do with myself on Fridays. Oh how I miss her. 

Is there anything more downright wonderful than discovering a new to you band? I particularly like it when someone recommends a song to you because they know you will like it. And so it is with Villagers. I have played this video five times already this morning…

No Sweeping Change

There is a cold lurking in my throat. But that’s ok because today there is fire lurking in my belly. For this I know for sure: on the other side of death there is a fierce need to live. To be alive with every ounce of one’s being and to stuff each day with as much life as is humanly possible…

ladywithdog

I read somewhere that to keep on doing the same thing and expect at every turn a different outcome is probably the first sign of madness. Darlings I have been doing the same thing for eleven years! I have lived in this teeny little house for fifteen years! I haven’t changed my brand of butter (Clover) or teabags (Tetleys) or toothpaste (Colgate) in twenty years (though why I should consider this significant I just can’t imagine)! I have lived small. And I have done it quite deliberately in order to feel safe. Tis a dangerous business changing your teabags don’t you know?

But if safe is silly does a person have to throw caution to the wind in order to feel alive? Should a person seek a new line of work? Put the house up for sale? Give up on men altogether and join the convent? Try PG Tips?? Readers I am flummoxed. One mustn’t be hasty after all. Twenty years may not be quite enough time to decide whether Colgate is indeed the finest of toothpastes. Or whether eleven years blogging your life away is enough time to decide whether the writing life is really for you.

One is obliged, I do believe, to give things a chance: for isn’t it true that it is quite possible to muddle your way through life without really experiencing the things you have chosen to make permanent fixtures in your world?

Yes that’s it in a nutshell. I have just sorted my very own dilemma in the space of a paragraph! One of the blessings of writing is that I never quite know what words I will tap on to the screen: almost as if writing was a physical entity flowing through my fingers. Something beyond my control, yet more authentic than anything I could conjure up deliberately.

This then is the revelation I have just uncovered: change does not have to be sweeping. One does not have to throw in the towel on a life hard won, but can instead start with what we have and commit to improving it. There isn’t, I do not think, any need to start building on another plot, if the existing foundations are already solid. We just have to say this is enough, and start to appreciate all that we already have.

Case in point: two weeks ago I had brown hair. Granted there were a few strands of grey sprinkled through the front, but it was brown and all it needed was a wash in brown dye. So in a fit of I need to be alive and life is too short and brown is dull I allowed my naughty little sister to colour it and now I am mortified to say that I have scary red permanent patches all over my once brown head. A glossy head of brown hair was enough! I didn’t need red hair! I just needed to match the grey to the rest of my head and I would have been happy, but clearly this is what happens when you allow yourself to be talked into things and take it in to your silly brain to run a little wild!

Lesson learned Dear Hearts. I love my house. I love my blog. I love my hair. Hells bells, I even love Clover butter.

I just need to learn to love them a little harder. 

The Let It Go Jar

Finn is both my curly haired sage and the biggest gossip ever known to mankind. The other morning we were driving along and as is his wont, he was reporting the latest in primary school drama with all the moral outrage of a politician in the run up to an election.

portrait2

I listened carefully, worked out the source of the problem and then asked him what he was going to do about it. He hummed. And he hahhed. And then as we sat at the traffic lights he turned to me and said, Mum, life is too short, so I’m going to stick it in the Let It Go Jar.

The Let It Go Jar I said? And he said yes, Miss Copplestone invented it. When there is something too silly, or too hopeless to worry your head about, you write it on a piece of paper, post it in a jar and let it go. And woosh, it doesn’t matter at all.

Readers, if, in that moment I could have stole just a pinch of his youthful optimism, I swear I would have done. Because it is time to let go of so much of what has gone before. To write a goodbye letter to someone who over the course of five years, took my trust and abused it to such a degree it almost broke me in two. To someone who from Monday evening, found himself paying for his blatant disregard of other peoples feelings in the most serious way our society is capable of inflicting. Though my natural instinct is to care. Too worry. Or even to sympathise, I know deep down inside that I have to let all this flippertjibbit emotion go. That this is a goodbye letter I have to file in Miss Coppelstone’s Let It Go Jar.

I need to let all his junk in the loft go so that my entire house is no longer stifled by the weight of his lies. I need to let little Alice the cat go, because it isn’t fair to keep her in the laundry room for so much of the day, as she is too scared to do permanent battle with Alfie the naughty puppy. I need to let go of my biggest fears: the fear of any kind of success. The fear of being truly loved again. Or of allowing myself to love again without this constant self-sabotage.

I need to let it all go and stop living so very, very scared. I need to let go and more than that I need to learn to let other people in…

Today I took Finley to the hospital and then went and watched him devour his very first gluten free hot-dog on a bun in Ed’s Diner with Helen and her gloriously silly babba, Clarry. Tomorrow Helen is begging to dye my hair a warmer shade of mahogany and I do believe I am going to let her because life is too short to worry about a very temporary matter like a wash-out hair colour! Over the weekend the entire family is coming over to help me sort out the incredible chaos that is Finley’s bedroom (ultimate makeover/done in a day style!) and on Monday I will sit down with both Helen and Dad to brainstorm a way forward for BrocanteHome…

You see I can’t carry on believing I can do everything myself. I have to let it go. 

Dear Miss Copplestone, is it ok if I borrow your Let It Go jar? I do believe I could stuff it full of all my yesterdays.

A Beautiful Birthday

I turned 43 last week. An impossible age surely? I turned 43 and my family and friends made sure it was a birthday to remember for all the right reasons…

birthdaycake

There was frozen cocktails at midday. A whole series of silly photos taken with my new selfie stick (I’m down with the kids thanks to my Barbie). A silly amount of presents including Mister Finch’s beautiful book, “Living In a Fairytale World”, the first issue of The Happy Reader (highly recommended), a scarf I have not unwrapped from my neck, perfume, a collection of scrumptious edibles, Charbonnel et Walker Rose and Violet Creams, and so much more besides…

And then there was the cake. Oh my the cake. I mean really, do take a close look at the cake because it simply couldn’t be more Brocante! Created by Helen’s husband Louie’s sister in law, Emma, through her company L&E Cakecraft, this gluten free delight was a riot of polka dots and roses with a darling message on the top that simply meant the world to me. Emma, who also designed Helen and Louie’s wedding cake, is so very, very talented and my Brocante cake could not have been more perfect. In fact it is so very perfect I have so far refused to sample a slice. I want my cake you see and we all know we cannot have our cake AND eat it don’t we?

When asked what I wanted for my birthday party I had requested vol-au-vents. Oh my word yes: I am a child of the seventies and I do believe in an ironic party buffet on a very special occasion. And so began the great Vol-Au-Vent debacle. For ready-made vol-au-vent cases were nowhere to be found and as my Mum could never have been described as a baker, there wasn’t a pasty cutter in the house and so together we muddled our way to pastry bliss with bottle lids and shampoo tops (we are nothing if not creative) and created quite the little production line cutting our circles, mixing up fillings, and generally baking up a puffy storm!

Darlings the Vol-au-vents were a disaster! Helen and I had enjoyed our frozen cocktails a little too much and hysteria set in as tray after tray of collapsed pastry cases struggled to hold the vast amount of coronation chicken I was trying to stuff into them, until finally Mum’s best friend Carol had to step in and take control of our ridiculous antics and do her very best with a muddle of mushrooms, and a squash of pastry…

And then there we were: all of us sitting around the dining room table, taking terrible selfies and eating terrible vol-au-vents and holding each other up and laughing more than we had ever believed possible a few weeks before.

We are ok Mum. We are doing ok. We really are…

Precious Gifts

Over the eleven years that I have been a Mummy, Mark has been notoriously bad at supervising the gift buying for Mothers Day on our son’s behalf. Though he does spectacularly well on birthdays and at Christmas, for a reason I have never been able to fathom, Mothers Day holds no weight with him and gifts are normally no more than a token gesture. In fact last year he bought me a garden gnome stuffed with flowers and in matters of bad taste I usually find that I simply have no words.

nourish

This year I do believe my entire family worried that what would be a difficult Mothering Sunday altogether might just be exasperated by another garden gnome and so on Sunday morning my sister Helen took Finley out and together they chose a darling collection of little somethings for me, including the book above, Nourish, a gorgeous collaboration between Sadie Frost, Amber Rose and Holly Davidson and 642 Things to Write About, which will hopefully kick start my ability to write something meaningful all over again. Helen who knows me inside out and summed up in two books exactly what I need to keep on keeping on. Helen who has a heart full of her own pain and still worries so very much about mine

But Mark is above all else a good man. Despite everything he remains my best friend and my whole family appreciates and respects our relationship to such a degree that he was one of the the bearers carrying Mum’s coffin into the crematorium. He is scatty and a little bit bonkers but he recognises what matters and on Sunday arrived bearing a flower sprinkled gift bag. Inside there was a bottle of Prosecco, chocolates, socks, yellow tulips and right at the bottom of the box a little jewellery box with a silver locket in which to put a photograph of my Mum into and carry her close to my heart for always.

When he gets it right, he gets it so very, very right. What a gift it is to still have his friendship after all these years. What a gift family, and those who become our family, really are.