Friday, 20 October 2017

Computer Holiday

Sadly not able to post much at the moment, or continue writing my latest novel due to a tedious neuralgic problem in my neck and face . . . boring.
See you soon, hopefully.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

3 - 1 = 2

It's a week since the lad departed for art college and I am now able to go into his room or find an odd sock of his under the sofa and not feel sentimental - too much anyway.
The first few days were not unlike being dumped after love has gone astray, and I don't mean that in a weird way! But after listening to a Ted Talk about love and the brain, it does make sense. The     'hippocampus' (still can only see a large grey lumbering mammal wandering around a university grounds on seeing this word) deals with all this emotion stuff and when the love object is removed the 'hippo' part of the brain increases the desire and longing to see them constantly. Of course the difference is that he still seems to like us, will return home and we will, hopefully, slot back into all the stuff we usually do as a family, rather than the 'being discarded by a lover' situation -  unlikely to ever see them again apart from odd furtive glances behind the cheese section in the supermarket if you are still live in the vicinity of each other.
So what have we learned and discovered?
I still like Mark (husband) a lot (phew) and he, me. Good. The bathroom stays clean. I am becoming aware that there is actually more time available, in fact several friends after listening to my pathetic sighing about absence of lad said 'Freedom!' and, 'just give it a couple of weeks and you'll be VERY happy with just you two'.
I don't know, but I think about him a lot, wonder what he might be doing at various parts of the day. But then I do that a lot about family and friends anyway - I wonder what Katherine might be doing now, or Mark, or Rosemary, or Penny, or Jo, or you, dear reader. Are you sitting with laptop, cup of tea and pile of things you should be doing nearby?
Fascinating that, isn't it . . . imagining everyone you know engaged in all these different things we all do all the time: eating, walking, driving, thinking, queuing . . . but then if we were telepathic, we'd all know what we were all doing all of the time. Social media would be even more exhausting.
My current novel, at the moment called Brassica, features a clan of people from some future Earth time who are telepathic, have more or less forgotten how to speak but are having to converse with my main character, 'Hamish', who has arrived from 1992.
How did I get onto this. Anyway, the point being, my brain is no longer solely occupied with 'is the lad OK, or not'. Onward.


The Hippocampus, which is actually Greek for Seahorse, not large grey, university-haunting mammal

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Life stages 2 - following last post

'Funny thing, life' . . . a phrase Mark and I say to each other at least three times a year when considering an landmark event/family issue/general 'what is it all about' moment when looking at stars, etc, etc.
    These last few days have been the most 'funny thing, life' bit of time I can recall. Son is now installed in his tiny but welcoming flat in Bordeaux and everything for all of us has changed. That last half an hour before we went our own ways - me to drive back, him to walk to art school - was as distinct and hyper-memorable as the half an hour driving to Birmingham maternity hospital knowing he was going to appear and everything would be different.
The moments ticked away while he played guitar and glanced out the window for his friend to turn the corner into the street, and I fussed about in the kitchenette like a distracted mother hen - a last bit of checking if he knew where the tea-towels were, and, 'don't forget to eat lentils', 'floss your teeth' 'clean the shower' . . .
    9.00 a.m came. We hugged. We left the flat: he to walk with friend to the school and me to sit in the car, part wondering if we had turned the ring off on the stove, part in shock at the fact that 'this was it'. As if ordered, the day was about as dreary and melancholic as could be. A grey drizzle flecked the car windscreen, water gathered and dribbled down the glass as I stared out at the street, uncomprehendingly. No tears, just a sort of shut-down feeling - the end of a nearly twenty year period of everything from changing nappies to packing his stuff away in his room. Bollocks, of course. I know it's not the end of anything, just a change, a readjustment, a different arrangement of our family arrangements. That's what I told myself as I drove off the wrong way and got totally lost in the outskirts of Bordeaux.


The drive back was not too bad - one or two friends said they howled a large portion of the way home. I took a different route from the motorway, visited a place we (son and I) had stayed in a few years ago. The same old café was there with same old dame cooking and serving. I ate an excellent 'pot au feu', wrote to the lad reminding him again of flossing, lentils, etc; had a stroll around and drove homewards.
This was the bit where it really struck me. On walking into the house (husband out) everything seemed exactly as usual, except it was all exactly un-normal with this massive portion of us missing. Yes, I did weep, hugged dogs and made tea, and when Mark returned it became gradually less tragic.

The next day, lovely friends visited who had all experienced the same 'deconstruction' of the domestic everyday and assured me it would become easier, indeed easy within a couple of weeks or so.
I know they are right, and two days on, it is a little better - with jolts of sudden sadness overlying the general slight melancholia. I've re-done the bureau walls, hung new pictures of us all, and will at some point tidy up his room. I had shut the door on it as I see the interior on going to the bathroom, but I've opened it again so that it's still totally part of the house, drum kit, abandoned socks, books that he'd decided to leave.
So, what don't I miss? slight arguments over the use of the general computer, bit of fussing over some  foodstuffs - 'but, I don't like onion', and . . . yes, I miss everything else.
My iphone, eighty percent ignored up until now has suddenly taken on new mega-importance: sending texts, odd pics of the dogs, and a mobile possibility of a quick bit of communication at any point in the day if we are needed. Now I understand the importance of that phone call back to my mother from my own art school days. Standing in a freezing corridor waiting for the call box was perhaps a tedious way to spend twenty minutes but to her . . . no mobile phone, no texts, just hoping for a call to reassure, or a letter describing the week.


Last dog walk for a little while

Monday, 25 September 2017

Life stages

So, the 'boy' is off at the end of this week - boy being son, Ezra, now nineteen and about to commence his five years of Fine Arts training. 'But what happens at the end of all that?' he asked me recently. 'Who know's?' I'd replied, usefully, being one of two parents who have never put 'getting a good job' as a top priority after any education phase. A, there are few 'good jobs' to be had these days, even if you have a first in whatever you had studied - plenty of bods with doctorates wandering about C.V in hand, and B, few people really know at that age what they really want to do, especially artists.
Actually, I didn't just say, 'Who know's'; I said lot's of encouraging things about life lessons, artists being creative and free thinkers, craftspeople, problem solvers, innovators, and all the best rock bands have emerged from art school - an exciting possibility for Ezra as he is rapidly turning into a multi-instrumentalist.
These last few days have been emotionally charged - for me mostly - as we sift through his belongings and decide what should be taken and what should remain at the Mother Ship. How crap of nature to provide women with the menopause as their offspring are about to jump the nest. I only have to look at a pair of his socks and tears threaten to emerge.
Its all good: he's going to a wonderful city, not too far away, but far away enough, the college is everything we had hoped for; and it's time - time for him to look after himself, budget for food, learn that clean underwear doesn't miraculously appear in a drawer . . . It's all good and my intellectual (?) rational side knows this but it doesn't stop the emotional and sentimental side sidling over and prodding me every now and again: 'remember when he made that?' 'Oh, look his first jumper' . . .


Sunday, 17 September 2017

Moments in time

Odd how one static image can bring back everything to you in a sensual deluge.
We're all so used to firing off rounds of digital images, most to be discarded on a dusty corner of the computer somewhere, but occasionally there are one or two that completely capture a particular moment.
When I look at this picture - taken in Bordeaux on a searingly hot day in August - everything streams back to me: traffic noise, laughter from people standing in the 'mist fountains' near the river, scents of summer-weary vegetation, the heat rising from the crossing I was walking on, and that strange extra jolt of happiness of a moment in time - me with camera, two guys in a vintage Renault with a sunflower.


Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Building No 60

I'd slightly forgotten about my sub-blog of buildings but this sighting of a bungalow around Bournemouth somewhere had to be recorded.
Luckily I was on a bus otherwise I might have been compelled to ring on their doorbell (which must have a tune - I wonder what . . . something minimal; a simple, 'ding-dong'?) and ask if I could see the interior of the house. Judging by the 'garden' I could imagine a house full of carpet and armchairs covered with plastic; a lonely microwave in the kitchen and a freezer full of ready meals . . . or not. Perhaps it's an orgy of colour, musical instruments, stolen Fauvist paintings and a pantry full of home-made conserves. How fascinating it would be to see behind those flowery net curtains.
I wonder what the garden once might have been like when the bungalow was constructed in the 30s (?), certainly not an airport runway - how could anyone want/need so much tarmac? and where are the fleet of cars that require the tarmac?
Or . . . this could be some sort of alien observation craft; look at the plinth the building sits on - almost unconnected to the ground as if ready to move off in the bleak early hours to another suburban destination. So, maybe no carpets and armchairs, just banks of bleeping equipment, harvesting the movements of city-dwelling Sapiens.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Nope . . .

Cream-tea diet does not work. (See last post) 'Gosh, really?', you may say with a wry and ironic smile. Yes. I put on about 2 pounds in eight days, even though I was fairly active.
Oh well, back to the reasonable-sized breakfast (egg on toast) larger lunch - stir fry/curry, or similar, and small supper, salad/soup . . . maybe a small piece of buttered toast, bitsy bit of cake, and no wine, or at least one small glass.
If I do this, I can keep to my desired - or at least, getting-into-favourite-trousers weight, while my lanky husband laughs and crams as much cake into himself as he pleases.


Yes, strange, and unfair. Mark can still get into the pair of checked  flared trousers he had when he was eighteen that we found at his mum's house.