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31.3.16

HERE I SHALL STAY


Over the last few years I have been itching, itching and scratching feeling displaced, feeling the need to move along. I thought I wanted to go back to the sea. I wanted to get back to the ebb and flow of the tide. The expanse of blue sky whose light is like nothing else.

I am also sick of the online rat race and nearly deleted the lot although I quickly back pedalled on that one after spending an afternoon wandering through the bizarreness of my life and laughing at all the sweet memories that I had recorded and remembered. I started sharing things online so that my children, their children and maybe some future generation could have a good old laugh at what we had got up to on the rocky road that we call life.

Somehow I lost myself amongst it all and started worrying about everything to the point of not posting here on my blog or photos on instagram for fear of them being not good enough, not my best picture, losing followers, stressing about how many likes or comments I had gotten that day, worrying that in the flurry of writing my grammar was correct*. FFS woman get a grip when have you ever really cared what people thought, why start now.

* (and for you grammar nazis out there I'm writing from my heart, my thoughts as they pop into my mind and flow onto the page, I am not however writing an english essay, a piece for publication or anything that requires correctness so if I've made a mistake live with it and take the stick out of your arse).

Being ill didn't help, when you are not thinking straight or much at all due to limited cognitive function things get somewhat misaligned in your head.


Then one spring day after many weeks of dark dank weather the sun shone bright, I zipped up my coat, laced up my boots and I stood surrounded by this glorious space, lifted my head to the sky and I knew that I could not leave this beautiful place just yet. Both of these pictures I have shared are taken from my garden....this beautiful landscape stretches out around me and all I'm doing in moaning about leaving it! Yes it can be dam hard living a rural life especially when you don't fit in with the folk surrounding you but again I don't fit in anywhere...never happy with my lot comes to mind!

I also realised that this applied to my life online, one that I used to cherish because it stopped me feeling so alone, one where I made some wonderful friends and actually got to meet some awesome ones in the flesh, one that kept me sane when stuck in a house with young children and nothing but a dog and a few chickens to chat to. So I'm staying here too.

I hope to post more not bogged down by worries but there is still that perfectionist personality that chunters on in the background undermining every single thing you do so it maybe another 2 months before I post again with some new leaf turned over....I hope not but thats just me and I'm ok with that..
Much Love Rx

15.1.16

A WINTER WALK


I've been slacking in all things lately constant hospital tests and various whatnot including me becoming a human pincushion over various times leading up to Christmas left me in a slump that I felt I just could get out of....most of the tests are done and dusted, nothing has been found other than a few pesky fibroids and the anaemia still a mystery even though I have a few opinions on that... what do I know it's just my body and I'm not a consultant so anything more than one foot in front of another has been quietly ignored.

Just before Christmas we ventured out at stupid o'clock on a Sunday morning, leaving the house at 7.30 feels somewhat crazy on a cold weekend but when your son gets a job he needs a lift and parents oblige.


We headed off to the Lake District and fancied a wander beside one of the lakes, not wanting to drive too far we made a beeline for Windermere and took a stroll in the early morning mist. There is a great  circular walk that starts at the Red Nab car park and follows the lake up to Wray castle through the grounds and then heads back round to where you left the car. Its about 3 miles so ideal for small folk who aren't really feeling the walking vibe at that time of day and can be kept going by thoughts of hot chocolate and waffles at their favourite cafe.

We also made plans to camp by the lake at the National Trust campsite just a stones throw up the shoreline now we had discovered this little bit of paradise.




We saw a few folk out and about, one brave or maybe crazy soul water skiing but the eery silence of a usually bustling lake gives you a different view of the waters and again dragging myself out of bed was worth every step of peace and tranquility that early morning walking brings and this one was rewarded with the biggest hot chocolate *she.had.ever.seen* along with a side order of chocolate flake and marshmallows...suddenly this walking lark has appeal.

14.1.16

LETS DANCE THE BLUES


It was 1983, I was 12 years old. The only songs I really remember having any impact on me before then were 'The Tide is High' by Blondie and 'Mickey" by Toni Basil which I remember singing repetitively as I spun around the playground at my primary school every break time.

My parents weren't really into the music thing so a steady diet of Beatles song from the early sixties, a little bit of motown for good measure and everything in Rodger Whittakers back catalogue sung extremely loudly by a drunken father who would lie on the floor wearing headphones singing at the top of his voice, he is deaf so I leave you to imagine the tunes which filled the house every Sunday afternoon. Although despite this cacophony of early exposure to music I dearly love the Beatles and Rodger well he's there for old times sake...you dirty old town.

So back to 1983 and Let's Dance became my ear worm, its was my first introduction to Bowie I sang and sang about dancing in my red shoes at every given opportunity...(note to self  *do remember this when Violet is singing the same tune constantly in the back of the car, at the dinner table, in the bath and wherever she can to fill every waking moment with song... be tolerant). I wasn't old enough to totally comprehend what a gift he had given the world in his early career and in my teenage years became enthralled with the underworld of music, punk rock, heavy metal, anyone wearing black eyeliner and singing sad songs, The Smiths filled every possible moment and loud shouts of "turn that suicide music down" became familiar dialogue heard from the bottom of the stairs. I listened to everything that I could get my hands on that wasn't in the top ten. I listened to Ska, bizarre record labels from Scotland, fell in love with The Jam, flung my arms around to Kate Bush and devoured everything and anything that I could identify with. Although there was a brief encounter with the Kids from Fame and "High Fidelity High' and a tussle with a thousand purple sequins, a tube of glue, a yellow t-shirt and the Fame motif....thats all I'm saying about that one.

Hearing about Bowies death this week brought a great sadness, I didn't cry or sit listening to him all day, I did remember an interview I had watched of him when he had just met Iman and after decided that he wouldn't marry her but would marry me because he was so cool but really nice too.

I did dig out the couple of albums I have and played them for old times sake and in honour of all the groundbreaking things he did for us folk that never quite fit in, for all the fat kids, geeks, queers and oddballs, for those of us that were never in the cool kids gang, that never got invited to the sleep overs, the bowling days or nights out at the local bar. For all of us that were mocked in the street, bullied on the bus, laughed at, sneered at and never got wolf whistles from the builders perched up high just heckles of 'fatso' 'fat cow' and other nasty vile spilling from the neanderthals mouths.

You made us believe that it was ok to be different, you set a blazing trail in life for the Robert Smiths, the Adam Ants, the Marylin Mansons, the Grayson Perrys, the Eddie Izzards, the Lady Gagas, the Jarvis Cockers, the Boy Georges and all those folk who swam against the flow and survived because they didn't tow the line and for me ridiculed by my family as a weirdo because I wore stripey tights and doc martin boots...a difficult child, a troublemaker, a nuisance. I didn't know it then David but now I feel how important it is to try and be true to who you are and stop being enticed by what is cool and popular. Something I still struggle with each and everyday. I worry that my kids aren't in the cool gang, I worry about them being on the outside, I worry that they feel like me. But this week we have bonded in the car, our usual school run sat in a quiet haze because they don't want to listen to my weird tunes and I can't tolerate theirs has become a week of requests, a week of favourite Bowie songs, a week of bonding. Violets last words as she left the house this morning proclaimed of her sadness that she would never be able to see Bowie in real life and my reply was short...."but look at the wonderful music he has left us with" she paused for a moment and then replied "I can't wait to play them to my kids" and so the memory lives on.....over and out Major Tom xox


18.10.15

NO MORE SLOW


Its been an odd week and everything is slowly coming back to normal, eager to spin off at a hundred thoughts a second, not knowing where to begin I start many and many sit unfinished (including half painted doors). But in this spark of insanity which I call normal it feels good to be back. No slow living for me, when I am slow I don't get a thing done, when I am slow days tick by in a haze full of unharnessed potential , when I am slow I feel life passing me by. So I am signing off from the slow movement and getting on with stuff. It simply isn't in my DNA, I wish it was but we are who we are.

Now simple is a whole different ball game, if everything is simple and uncomplicated things are a joy, so simplifying my life is still a huge goal. I am still shedding things from the house, my wardrobe, my thoughts and my food cupboards. Weeding out the clutter and keeping only what I really need.


I paint the house a couple of times a year, the downside to living in a damp dusty farmhouse is that everything starts to look a little too ramshackle far too quickly. This time I have decided to paint everything white, just plain old boring white, no fancy off whites, no stacks of tins in various shades, some for the walls, some for the paintwork but simple clean white. Just two tins.

Its somewhere I haven't visited for a while as when we lived down in the village white was harsh in the dark dank light that fought its way through the treetops and window panes. Those were the walls where I started experimenting with different tones and shades of the beloved plain simple all white. Vintage wallpaper for a pop of colour but even these walls started to grate, cluttered my mind and started to sit uneasy. Although I feel I have to confess here that I do remember a time in the early nineties where a aubergine coloured feature wall occurred...it didn't last too long!

In our current house we have very different light and so its time to revisit the old favourite. Earlier in the week as I popped down my paintbrush and paused* for a cuppa I read a great post from Sara over at Me and Orla defending her love of plain old not very exciting simple, understated white.

My home has been featured here there and everywhere over the years and there never fails to be the comments regarding the white walls...there is always a moan or thing to note about my lack of wall colour. Even in my latest feature over on Apartment Therapy those comments popped up! Its seems to be something that gets some folks goat, so much so that they feel they have to leave a comment or two...I always find it rather odd. Each to their own I say...you stick with your colour, I'll stick with my white and we'll both be happy with our lot.

So Sara's post a much needed tonic and a balm to my white soul. I shall re read it and raise a fist of solidarity next time there is a moan about my white walls.

Along with all the whatnot going on in the house I have actually found some space and energy to contemplate my pottery glazes again, have fired the kiln and have been making plans...so many plans. So watch this space as things unfold.

Bees need regular feeding to get them through the winter and I breathe in the last colours of summer as autumn takes a firm hold.

feeding the bees as the weather turns cooler
I'm not sure I expected this post to unfold this way, I had decided to just write about how rushing around, with too many fingers in too many pies was my thing but I seem to veered right off track, but hey ho.

summer starts to wane as autumn takes hold


So getting back on track what I guess what I am trying to say (and remind myself daily) is that whatever speed we choose to live our lives thats ok. I'm not going to think I'm doing it all wrong because I'm not slowly contemplating every aspect of my daily routine but with each dawn comes a choice of how I want that day to pan out...it maybe fast it maybe slow the reality is that we don't really have any control of what it might be so just try to make it the best it can...

R...xox

* there is still a lot of pausing as I build up my iron levels...

1.10.15

NEVER TAKE THINGS AS A GIVEN


Things change...it seems that the feeling of complete exhaustion, lack of motivation and losing the ability to put one foot in front of the other wasn't in fact the depression creeping back in but was an iron count and some other numbers that completely passed me by (my brain was mush at this point) so low that I was admitted to hospital for an emergency blood transfusion.

It's not til now 5 days later and I feel like an actual human again do I realise how awful I felt...and how I had been pushing myself to walk 4-5 miles a day to suck in the sunlight and fend off the dreaded black dog. Foolish really being alone out in the Dales, usually without a phone signal I could of conked out with just my friendly Jack Russell to help me. He probably would of licked my face several times, scoffed all of his dog treats out of my pocket and sat down beside me rather bewildered.

In hindsight and on a serious note I do feel a rather irresponsible considering the state of things going on inside me.

So now I am feeling much more alive and able to deal with the day, the investigations to why begin. I had never considered anaemia as my count through 3 pregnancies and other whatnot that affects us women had always been pretty high. Shows you really how you just can't skimp on your health and when it comes to the crunch that Doctors do know their stuff and are not just pedlars for various multi-national drug companies.

So I am reading everything I can, diagnosing myself obviously, taking my medication dutifully although I have refused the iron tablets the Doc wanted to give me in favour of Spartone (thanks Annie) I think the research speaks for itself but there was indeed muttering that they couldn't be prescribed because they were too expensive! I shall keep on pestering and hope it cuts the mustard.

My diet has become more planned and I am eating iron at every opportunity, I've even dusted off the jar of black strap molasses that was hidden in the dark corners of the kitchen cupboard and have been dolloping it in all sorts...some successful, some not so much. I have found some real gems that I shall share here now that I can write a sentence again and I'm already planning some major shifting, painting and changing the house about. I mean really did no-one notice that my obsessive shifting had ground to a halt for the last 6 months...maybe they were just relieved.

So the moral of the story is that I promise that next time I feel a bit ropey, instead of struggling on I will go and see the Doctor, its not bothering them, its not being a nuisance and its in my best interest to keep myself well....I can still check and double check everything they say obviously otherwise I just wouldn't be me.





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23.9.15

AUTUMN...THE WHEEL TURNS


Today has been glorious and miserable, a true balance of a day. It started with beautiful blue sky and a warm wind, an hour or so of yoga and gentle reflection....it moved toward a soggy wet tramp across some beautiful fields full of rock and stone, grey skies and a definite nip in the air.


I am feeling stronger, I have spent every minute possible outside under the sky, filling up my happiness meter and desperately trying to not think about the dark days ahead.


As the dreadful summer drew to a close I was scared, scared that I felt so low that I may have to reach for the medication as the nights got longer, scared that this would be the year that breaks me and scared that I would end up back in that antidepressant haze just to get through. Those thoughts and feelings dragged out those hiking boots and every day I set out to a different place to explore. Up hills and down dales, canal tow paths and rocky tracks and now I get up with a new spring in my step, looking forward to my next adventure. I also feel that I am ready for the dark, the cold, the wind and rain. Winter is coming and I'm going to hit it head on.


It seems odd to be walking alone with just 4 paws to accompany me. Walking is something reserved for weekends and often just a Sunday when all the chores and running around has been done and we gather together those who are keen (one Sunday a month those who are not) pack up a lunch and head for the hills.
So the quiet time with just the odd hello of passing walkers has given me some well needed thinking space. Thinking space I might add that this week has been filled mainly with what clothes can I make that will keep me dry as the days turn wet. Oilskin was ordered and a top and coat are waiting patiently to be stitched. New gloves are on the needles as we speak.


So as we finally say goodbye the the awful summer of 2015 things are looking up and I remember each day that despite the weather that I am really rather lucky to live in one of the most beautiful parts of this green and pleasant land and it is indeed a balm for the soul despite its darker side.

18.8.15

WANDER - WALKING WITH PURPOSE : : GEOCACHING


When the boys were younger we walked all over the show, both of them had walked several of the three peaks by the time they were 5 and would get stuck in to various terrain all for the promise of a slab of Kendal Mint Cake ( esp the chocolate covered variety). As it turns out Violet isn't so keen and many walks often turn into a barrage of questions and moaning before we have even left the car park. Why are we here, when will it be the end and can I have some cake now are often heard after approximately 10 steps. Until we found the world of Geocaching.


A grown up world of treasure hunting using multi million pound satellite tracking systems to find a usually grubby, damp tupperware box often hidden under a pile of rocks but it is somewhat addictive and it gives a walk or ramble a sense of purpose that keeps Violet's mind on track.

For me it takes me back to my childhood days when hours were spent with my sister writing out tiny slips of paper with hard thought clues scribbled upon them...carefully hidden, a gaggle of children from our street would then charge about looking for these tiny folded squares of paper and then trying to solve them first before anyone else. It always seemed to result in some sort of argy bargy, a falling out, making up and glory as the reward at the end was found.



This grown up version is a little more civilised and by using just your phone and an app (of which there are free and paid versions) you can pick a place and track down the various 'cache' boxes within it. Often there are 3-4 in a trail so that you can plan a decent walk or single boxes often left within easy access to a road or parking so that everyone can get involved. The need for shifty behaviour and stealth when retrieving boxes is all part of the game as those not in the know are known as 'muggles' and keeping the cache hidden from the unaware is paramount.

Some of the boxes contain 'treasure' or swaps, little trinkets, bits and bobs and the idea is that you leave something and take a little something that you fancy, sign the log and hide the cache ready for the next person to find. Many of the boxes have been full of soggy rubbish but a few have caused squeal of delight and favourite zomblins have been left behind as a thank you. 

There also trackable items, 'bugs' or 'coins' to be found who may have a mission, we found a couple last week and will be moving them onwards on our next walk. They have a code that when entered onto the geocaching site bring up a list of places they have visited and if they have a mission what it is and where they would like to go...An extra layer of excitement for a small girl who has asked for her own trackable code so we can start our own mission. 


We have wandered to places that we may have never considered, found piles of lost shoes placed neatly on the rocks, floral & fauna, fossils, interesting rocks, got stuck in the mud, Stanley had a hoot chasing seagulls across the sands and getting in a right old mess and then it was back to the car for a well earned cup of tea and obviously a huge ice cream covered in coloured sprinkles.







So if the kids are bored and holiday budgets are blown we highly recommend getting out and hunting for treasure. You maybe amazed at the caches that are hidden right on your doorstep in places that you have been passing for years....

For more information check out geocaching.com for how to get involved , if you want to download the app it is available on android & iPhone but there is a little confusion regarding the paid versions, signing up to premium on the website is different to buying the app. It isn't clear, I bought the app and then found that I was still only a basic member on the site. The premium app gives you access to lots more caches along with a few other options like saving offline etc. I haven't quite worked out what is different if you sign up online and whether you can still use the free app with a premium online membership so I suggest you do you research before you choose where to sign up.