Monday, 22 October 2012

Mysteries of Modern Life (No 3)

Whatever happened to gravy browning?

And am I the only person who misses it?  Pale beige gravy just isn't the same...

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

On being careful what you wish for.

I wanted a simple way of reducing my impact on the environment....

I got this:

Like I said: you should be careful what you wish for....

But on the upside, the Gallery tomorrow is Old.   I think this fits. 

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Warning: holidays may be bad for your health.

I'm going to give up going on  holiday.

I am going to sit here, stay here, and not go away ever again.

It's not because I don't have a lovely time.  Quite the contrary.

B and I spent this weekend in the Lake District.  We rented a fabulous, fabulous house (where friends of ours spent the first few nights of their honeymoon many moons ago. We even rented a silver Corsa to get there, which  made us feel even more nostalgic for those same halcyon days). We walked up hills.  We sat in pubs (it was raining, ok?).  We ate and drank lovely food.  We pottered around markets. We spent lots of quality time together (ahem). I even managed to have two baths.  That's more than I think I've ever had in this house.

The children (and my parents-in-law) stayed here.  

It was utterly wonderful from start to finish.

We got back yesterday afternoon, after a detour to see our new nephew (hooray!), and since then I have been unbearable.  I know this, because B has gone out.

I have been grumpy, and impatient, and simmeringly, irritatedly cross.  The weight of the world is sitting on my shoulders. Nothing anyone can do for me is good enough and everywhere I look things are accusing me: do me says the laundry, iron me says last week's laundry. Dry me says the teetering pile on the draining rack.  Fix me says the pin board I bought in a junk shop in Cockermouth, full of crafty inspiration, and now empty of time and energy to use it. The fridge cries Fill me and the week's meals say plan us. The emails I've ignored flash read me.  Deal with us say my work files.  Everywhere I look something else cries tidy me. Play with us whine the children and talk to me, the husband.

And I think  Stop the world! Stop my life! I don't want to do any of it any more.

And it's all the holiday's fault.  Because the holiday was a break from my life: which makes my life somewhere I don't want to be.  Even though, I know, I have an incredibly blessed and lucky life all told. 

Yet a holiday, and it was true of this one, and also, astonishingly, of our last family holiday, all six of us driving two thousand miles to France and back, makes no demands on me.  I wake up in the morning with nothing on the to-do list, whether that be lovely things to do (ring an old friend) or dull ones (fill in the tax return), and that emptiness is liberating.  That freedom is soul-lifting.  And so the return to real life feels heavy, as I though am weighted down again, however enjoyable the things I have to do may actually be.

I find myself yearning for another life.  On our return from France I found myself breaking down in tears and screaming for it:  how different it would have been had we not moved/moved somewhere different/if I did another job/ if B did another job/ if we won the lottery/if I were a better parent, and yet, of course, that life would be the same, because even in the Lake District, France or Outer Mongolia, washing has to be done, meals have to be planned and talking to friends remains one of life's great pleasures.

Getting grumpy with my life for being a life, my life, gets me nowhere.  But it doesn't stop me doing it.

I am hoping that writing about it will help.  Failing that I'll just have to stop going on holiday.

Monday, 1 October 2012

WIN! Running shoes worth up to £90!!

It's what it says on the tin, really.

Apparently I can give away a pair of running shoes from to the person I like most...

What you could win...
Well, sort of. There has to be an actual competition, and I still, in a rather Angela Brazil-like way, believe in fair play, so the play will be absolutely fair.  Random, but fair.

I started running years ago, and I've done it on and off (more off than on, if the truth be told) since. I don't go very far, very fast or very often, but it's becoming (famous last words) something I actively want to be doing. 

Because I've had a revelation recently - I've realised I like running.  I don't know when or how this happened, but the last two times I've been I haven't had to convince myself to go, despite wind and rain.  And, while the main motivation for running remains, as it always has been, the pay-off in cake-consumption it allows, it's also suddenly more than just something I have to endure.

What you can't win.
If I try and analyse why it's become more than just the burning off the extra slice of white chocolate and cranberry brownie,  I think it's space for my head, without being space to worry or stress.  The thoughts just seem to slip in and out, so I can think about things without lingering over the ones I don't want to think about.  Analytical thought is impossible when you're concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other, but yet I come back with a clearer head than when I left.  I enjoy the fresh air too, and the countryside.  I found two new brambling patches on Monday, although I haven't been back since, so I suspect my blackberrying chance may have gone.  I'm bonding with and smiling at all sorts of strange people as well - fellow runners, dog walkers, elderly ladies in strange tracksuits.

Whatever it is, I'm enjoying it, and I don't want it to stop.  So, for your chance to win the prize (a pair of running shoes from up to the value of £90) all you have to do is leave me a comment letting me know why you think I should keep going....  

Yes, you lot are going to be my motivation, so make it good!


The small print:

Please leave a comment by the end of the month (31st October!) giving me some motivation to keep running.
The winner will be selected randomly from everyone who leaves a comment.
The winner will be able to choose a pair of running shoes of their choice up to the value of £90 from 
The shoes will be despatched direct from them to you. 
Any questions ask me....