Nadolig Llawen, 2018

Dydd Sul, 16th Rhagfyr

An early start, partly because Harry needed a lift to work but also due to my Bristolian chum needing the tools that were left in my van overnight. The van needed some attention too so I decided to factor in a trip to Brislington Halfords, and I had a mind to get Christmas bought whilst there.

By half 8 I was helping with DIY chores, chatting inanely, whiling away a couple of hours until the shops opened at 10. I loved it; my Sundays seldom involve chatting to anyone before 2pm so I was quite reluctant to leave. But the van and it’s bloody oil light were calling so off I trundled.

I didn’t faff about, just went straight to the counter and asked for help. Well, that’s novel, and very efficient – I shall be doing more of that in future. With my bottle of oil and home-front spirit, I marched to my van. Bonnet up, wallet and keys safely out of the way – right. All good and then,

“Oh. God, I hope she hasn’t locked herself automatically… Ahh…”

VW T4s have a knack of randomly self-locking. Wendy rarely does it but today – well, she did. There were my keys and my wallet, just lying on my seat. No problem; I’ll ring Gabe’

“Hey, so I’m in Brislington, locked out of my van…… Yes…… I know…… Anyway, could you please go to the house, find my spare key and bring it to me? …… Well, I can’t help your hangover – I have no other option Gabe. Look, I don’t care how long you take [crucial statement I wish I hadn’t made], just please make sure you find the right key.”

I spent over two hours roaming around that retail park. I chatted to my friend for a bit, awaited Gabe with growing frustration. After almost an hour I got a text,

At home throwing up bare with me haha

Oh Lord, I took myself to Dreams so I could sit down and cry! My friend rang,

“All done?”

I wanted to say yes. In fact, I did seriously consider saying I was home. But I can’t lie – not when I’m sober.

“He’s just getting the key…… Well, he’s actually throwing up…… I know but I probably gave him the impression that there was no rush – in fact I told him I didn’t care how long it took…… I know! Anyway, I need to know when he’s found the key…… Because if it isn’t there, it’ll be in my coat pocket – in the van……”

Honestly, I try the patience of a Saint.

*

This evening was spent present wrapping, I think Christmas may finally have landed here.

Dydd Llul, 17th Rhagfyr

Last week of term. It’s already shit. The van and her oil light are still a concern. I asked Chris to check her out – oil’s fine. Although I’m pretty sure it isn’t the cambelt, I do know that that needs replacing. And with Christmas in Wales, I decided to sort it now.

At lunchtime I drove over to Farmborough, behind Chris. There’s a lovely guy there who’s happy to sort it all out. Ace. Hopefully it’ll be done by tomorrow – definitely Wednesday.  So, vanless, I organised a lift home with Ruth and for her to pick me up in the morning. I say home, actually I stopped off in town. I had a cheque to pay in and cash to withdraw. Harry, too, was looking for his Christmas gift. When we were done Gabe picked us up.

This evening was simple; Tesco had delivered so we had food. I even managed to get out with Django. Then a quick visit to the neighbour’s house before receiving the call that I’d been waiting for; the news wasn’t good.

*

As my lovely friend’s tough Friday night took a turn for the worse, I felt the fabric – the foundation – of my new life shake and shudder. The tears rolled from the phone call. They continued whilst I slept.

 

 

 

 

 

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Nadolig Llawen, 2018

Dydd Sadwrn, 15th Rhagfyr

An early start today, for me and the hound; dropped Harry into work at 6.30 and then headed on to Wales, via Bristol. For today’s the day for furniture moving!

I arrived at my friend’s place at 7 and quickly my feeling of excitement altered to one of concern. To see someone who has helped me so much, look so broken is hard, and my rather ace friend had had a tough night. By the time we had shifted the bedstead, innumerable slats and bloody mattress, then squeezed it all into the van with the dog, I’d managed to induce a few smiles. By the time we were almost out of Bristol, the bridge in sight, the wonderful psycho babble and looney tunes had returned. With a broad smile, I happily listened (and tried hard to laugh in the right places 😉…)

We arrived in Llandod in record time – less than 2 hours, it took. I pulled up on the pavement outside and (once Django was installed in the dining room) we unloaded the bed. It was definitely less awkward than loading it! I parked the van properly and ran, through the rain, back to the house. While my friend built the bed, I tried to sort out the heating. No joy and it was bitterly cold in there. In fact, once the bed had been done, we decided to pop to Tesco just so we could warm up in the van! The beautiful Victorian table needed moving next. I’d very much like to draw a veil over that, as neither of us were very ‘able with the table’. We broke it actually – let’s move on.

The rain got heavier and we got colder. We couldn’t feel our hands… With a chippy over the road and both of us hungry, I nipped out and grabbed lunch. We sat on the only bit of furniture in the house (not broken); the dog relegated to another room so we could eat in peace.

*

The horrible weather caused us to beat a hasty retreat back to England. It’s a shame I didn’t get more done but hey, that’s the way it goes. Anyway, though the worries are still there, both myself and my friend did have a few hours of respite from them. Wales will do that. It slows you down, mentally and physically, even in the rain. And in Llandod (Landoddery) no one is in a hurry to get anywhere. It’s why it’s named ‘The Happiest Place to Live’, obviously…

 

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Nadolig Llawen, 2018

Dydd Llul, 10th Rhagfyr

The penultimate week of term then… my goodness the tinsel and baubles are prevalent.

Anyway, a very mixed week: painfully lonely, emotionally unstable and yet, ultimately, darn right life affirming. By Thursday I had visited every possible emotion, with my thoughts dwelling (for the first time in a while) on a peaceful exit from it all.

On Thursday evening, Gabriel delivered a whole lecture on psychology most pertinent to myself. And it could not have happened at a better time. I won’t go into details – they are mine and are now part of me. But one little mantra came out of it all. Just a few words that, when I spoke them aloud, lifted the weight of the world from my shoulders;

“If I keep busy, I can be on my own.”

When I awoke the next morning, I said this aloud once again.

I have had the most productive day for yonks xxx

famfeather

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Nadolig Llawen, 2018

Dydd Llul, 3rd Rhagfyr

Happy day today – but then, I like Mondays…

I spent this morning at The Radstock Museum with our year 6 children. It’s always a bonus to get out of school, even for just a few hours. I had an email too, from my solicitor. She informed me that the keys should be available by mid-day on Friday – how exciting!

 

Dydd Gwener, 7th Rhagfyr

Ideally, I wanted the boys to come up with me today but neither were available. So, instead I travelled up last night with a friend. We stopped off in Brecon (breaking up the journey) and went on to Llandrindod Wells in the morning.

The keys were ready before lunch so we wasted no time in getting into the property. My property… There’s such a lot to do, I felt an overwhelming sense of ‘what the fuck have I done?’ Natural, I think, for such a momentous occasion for this wee girl.

As we checked out the garden, the lady next door popped out. Oh my goodness, I love her! She’s called Lesley and with just a smile filled my heart with light and drove away the doubts. She showed us around her house. Her rather handy husband, Roger, has done an incredible job – how wonderful that he will be my neighbour! Lesley told me that he would be more than happy to help me out anyway he can. Again, I felt truly blessed.

I wish I could’ve stayed until tomorrow but my friend had to get back and, well, there’s nothing to sit, eat or sleep on… So we left around 1pm, stopped off in Abergavenny to get keys cut and arrived home in time for tea.

 

Dydd Sadwrn, 8th Rhagfyr

Back up to Wales today. This time Gabe was driving. I did wonder if he’d change his mind;

‘What time are we leaving in the morning?’

‘No later than 8…’

‘But I don’t finish work until 1!’

We did leave on time and he drove brilliantly. Django, too, was impeccable. The SatNav tried to bypass Abergavenny though, throwing us on the Heads of the Valley road that’s under construction. It was a good job we were in the Golf – my van would never have made it down the lanes to Gilwern…

We arrived at the house by 11am – pretty good going. I gave Gabe the tour and watched his face as he took in the work, the size and the potential. He was smiling. The dog explored everywhere, even upstairs! In the back garden we were accosted by the delightful Lesley. She went doolally over Django and was more than a little impressed with Gabe! Whilst we were chatting, in the rain, Roger turned up. Oh what an awesome guy. He walked me around my new home, talked me through all he thought I would need to do and showed me where the stop-cock was. We discussed so much, time just went. By the time we said our goodbyes I felt cherished – how strange to feel such a powerful emotion from two relative strangers… But it was as if they wanted to wrap me up, protect me from anymore shit. And they don’t know the half.

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Before the long drive back to Bath, we took Django for a walk around the lake. We stopped for lunch and a huge coffee and finally, I showed Gabe around the tiny town.

‘I can see why you love it here. It’s just beautiful.’

 

Dydd Sul, 9th Rhagfyr

Finally fell asleep at 3.30am. I have so much going on in my head. Much of it is to do with the house, actually, both houses. But what kept me awake the most was the sheer weight of being on my own. No matter who I have in my life, aside from my boys, they are transient aren’t they; they come with no commitment and I have zero expectation and that makes me feel vulnerable. Maybe it’s just the Post-Llandod Blues. Maybe it’s more real than that.

Anyway, I’ll draw a veil over this day – Sundays are dire for me and in all honesty, what with Christmas, my anniversary, work and uni stuff, is it any wonder I’ve hit a low-point?

On the plus side, I’m back up again next Saturday!

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Nadolig Llawen, 2018

Dydd Sul, 2nd Rhagfyr

I awoke in a far less dramatic manner than yesterday, instead of the haunted bark of the hound, I had the constant lullaby of the rain – I love rainy Sunday mornings. Until I have to go out.

Two weeks without doing a food shop has definitely led me to some creative breakfasts. Todays was no different, consisting of one Linda McCartney sausage, an egg and a just-about-edible piece of toast. I also had the last teabag.

Mid morning I succumbed and broached the hideous task of hunter gatherer. The neighbours were out on the road, all mucky and wet having done the annual road clear – oops, I forgot. Still, they waved and smiled, assuring me that they would let me know the outcome of the AGM. Morrisons was awful. I positively loathe the whole ritual; from scrambling around for a pound coin to push into the trolley, to bagging up the conveyor belt full of household shit. Then it’s off to shove it in the van, a slow drive back through the drizzle and traffic and unloading it at the other end. On days when I’m not remotely engaged in this chore, you can guarantee Django is. In fact, he elects himself as my personal ‘shopping putter away’. And so it was today. Oh. Deep. Joy.

I collapsed on the sofa, with tea and a biscuit. Django happily munched on the carrot he ‘put away’.

*

Most of the day was spent searching for second-hand beds. I have about a fortnight to achieve this, or else the boys and I will have nothing to sleep on at Christmas. Anyway, no joy but I’m still looking! I also need a fridge but I have no clue what size so that can wait. As if trawling the web for furniture wasn’t mind-numbing enough, I chose to have the Christmas Film Channel on all day… There’s no helping me really.

The rain continued all day so the hound and I had a very soggy walk through a waterlogged meadow. Actually, once there (and soaked) it was lovely. I met four different walkers – chatted to them all whilst Django ingratiated himself with their canine companions. In between chatting with real people, I chat with myself, aloud. I’ve always done this so it’s little wonder no one notices anymore. Today I was discussing my future. It appears it will be exciting but ultimately painful… However, the conversation was a lop-sided one so, in the interest of balance, I think it’ll be alright.

Hmm, it’s times like this when I miss having someone to agree or disagree with me. Actually, just having someone to reply to me.

*

The day ends as it began; an empty house, a sleeping dog and a lonely me. ‘High Hopes’ then, and then I’ll ring my mother-in-law.

 

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High Hopes. My new obsession.

 

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Nadolig Llawen, 2018

Dydd Sadwrn, 1st Rhagfyr

I wasn’t going to do an advent this year but the month has started so very well, it seems to lend itself nicely to a bit of commentary!

I was barked awake by Django at gone 7 – so he probably had a point. I sat with a tea, snuggling with the pup and idly scrolling through other peoples lives on Facebook before realising the date. It had no effect on me, no twinge of excitement or pang of sadness; nothing at all.

So, on this first day of advent, feeling decidedly unchristmassy, I decided to buy a house.

Off to town. I ran the gauntlet of shitty sheds until I emerged relatively unscathed at the bank. There I met Mitch, who informed me that I needed photo ID. He was happy to set everything in motion though, and awaited my return (with my driving licence). A quick return bus journey and I was sat opposite him again. Done.

“Congratulations Mrs Lee, you’ve bought a house!”

*

Funny, I didn’t feel different or brave or anything really, not until I got to The Star. Oh, I do love The Star. With a pint of Bellringer and a packet of crisps, I messaged a friend my news,

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“That’s awesome news! Absolutely brilliant.”

I smiled, looked around at the couples and groups of friends laughing with each other and felt quite chuffed with my heroic exploit. Not once did I have the urge to blurt out my news, though I did wish I had someone to squeeze my hand for reassurance.

*

The walk home was emotional. I passed all the familiar landmarks that effortlessly hold onto memories. I thought of Nige, as I always do when on my own, and wondered if he’d be proud – he was never easily impressed… Anyway, none of this would have happened if he’d been here. Well, not yet. He worked so hard for us to have a relaxed future and now it’s all just mine. That made me sob from the Fire Station to Warminster Road.

Watching Django bunny-hop around the meadow put things into perspective, talking to a friend, who manages to move my emotions around until the nice ones are at the front, also helped.

*

I end the day feeling positive. Not extraordinary but definitely like I’ve created a bit of a ripple in the lake of my life. That’s not too bad is it?

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