Friday, 31 May 2013

days of ups and downs...



It’s been a while since I’ve really been run over by grief. Today it came like a big double decker bus out of nowhere and suddenly I was flattened!

I didn’t think the day was that bad but I didn’t get much sleep last night and I guess grief has been bubbling under the surface for days.

The fault lines usually appear every school holiday, sometimes they miraculously hold but at other times they spectacularly crack.

And then there’s my dysfunctional kitchen which remains … well dysfunctional! The Aga is OFF AGAIN and I’m getting sick of microwave ready meals and cooking on the camping stove.

Plus I’ve been writing lots about the early months of widowhood. It’s still ONLY two and a half years since Andrew died. “That’s not a long time,” said my friend the other day. To me it seems an eternity.

What I miss most, what I’m actually grieving for at the moment is that hand to hold, the one that squeezes tight to let me know I’m making the right decisions. It’s a recurring theme of mine.

Of course I think I’m probably doing everything wrong, I’m pretty sure Andrew wouldn’t approve of some things I’m doing. He would certainly have a problem with all the money that keeps disappearing from the bank account as I spend it getting things fixed that he could have sorted in his own inimitable style much cheaper!

But the fact remains - 
the money is here and Andrew is not.

It’s what he worked so hard for, to provide for us, maybe he’s not frowning down on me after all.

On a happier note, I no longer have a hole in the kitchen ceiling …

 
  … and as of yesterday I now have some kitchen walls plastered ready for a lick of paint.

Then last night I received this fabulous comment on my re-ravelling Facebook page

Hi Sarah, I came across your story by chance earlier this evening ( much earlier actually as I have just sat here and gone back to the start of your Blog and read it right through!)  I have sat and cried and smiled and been inspired and encouraged! It is beautifully written. You say you want to turn it into a book. I think you must. 

There will be a great many people out there who might not ever 'come across' your Blog by chance as I have, or who don't even have computer access...but they will love reading your words. I look forward to your book being published. Thank you for your Inspirational writing… a Blessing to read

Well that was confirmation, as if it were needed, that I should carry on writing. That I have a story worth telling and the means to share it.

So that’s my week, the good and the bad.

Next week the boys are back at school, well youngest is while oldest completes his exams.

Next week the Aga is being serviced, the hot water will be on tap once more and I will be able to bake a cake and cook a proper wholesome meal!

Next week the plastering will be finished and hopefully I will get to see some real improvement in the kitchen. (I promise I will post more photos!)

And next week there may still be tears and moments that trip me up and send me sprawling flat on my face again, but hopefully the good will outweigh the bad, the sun will shine and I will still remember to smile.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Visual Dare - Flights of Fancy

Hello my name is Sarah and I am definitely a blogger and sometimes I even call myself a writer ...

I've not blogged for a week, too busy writing other stuff, like turning my unravelling edges blog into a book, it's all about grief and loss and it's been really tough this week ...

... then I started another blog post and I ended up going round in circles but eventually came up with an idea I plan to use another day.

That's the thing with writing sometimes you don't know what you have to say until you write it down.

Sometimes your thoughts run amok, getting ever more tangled and twisted until you smooth out the words into coherent sentences that are more or less grammatically correct.

Well let's blame Angela at Anonymous Legacy for what is about to follow. She posted this obscure picture as her Visual Dare prompt...


All I had to do was write 150 words and after a little while there they were, an exact word count unleashed upon the page with the ominous title Flight of Fancy.

I'm quite pleased with what I have written and I hope they make some kind of sense to you too...



Flight of Fancy


Irrational thoughts flew out of her head like dancers twirling on tiptoes. They rose higher trailing long sleeves behind them that embraced every emotion.


What if?


Why?


Who?


If only she could really let them escape and empty her head of all this noise once and for all but she had to catch them. They were too dangerous to fly free causing havoc in the space that exists between dreams and reality.


“Your thoughts, what you have in your head are precious. They are the elements that make you unique.” That’s what he told her, she had no reason to doubt the gentle cadence of his voice.


She tugged at the threads to pull her thoughts together into some semblance of order.


They billowed like balloons on strings.


She wound all but one back in.


Curiosity she left hanging and she followed it to see where it would take her.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

The Wisdom of Snoopy!



I should be writing, well I am writing this now but I should be concentrating on writing my book and not writing another blog post.

I spend far too much time procrastinating especially on Facebook and Twitter, it seems to be a common trait among us writers, but look I am actually calling myself a WRITER these days – hahahahaha – how far I have come!

Today I found this snoopy cartoon on Facebook.

Whereas Snoopy has given up and crumpled up his writing I haven’t. Snoopy’s resignation has spurred me on to continue.
 
I want my story to be told and the best person to write it is ME!

A few years ago I bought a card which said 

“DON’T LET SOMEONE ELSE WRITE YOUR STORY”

Open it up and it reads

“THEY’D MAKE IT TOO SMALL”

I can’t tell you now whether I bought it before or after Andrew died but it is another reminder to WRITE and KEEP WRITING!

This evening I visited a friend who has just acquired a pile of fabulous fabric samples, usually I'd drool and think about what I could do with them.

"We need some new projects."  I declared.

"I'd like to cover the sofa." said my friend.

I thought long and hard about what I would really, really LIKE to do.

Suddenly the thought occurred to me, "I want to write my book!"

I hope to have the first draft finished before the summer holidays.

My aim is to finish chapters 3 and 4 this week then I’ll return to the blog... for a progress report, maybe a bit of flash fiction and some procrastination - but only a little bit!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Flash! Friday - Cowboy

This week's Flash! Friday has gone all wild west with a cowboy picture as a prompt.


I've never written a cowboy story before ... and I haven't really written one now but I had fun fitting this character into my own kind of story...

Searching for Stars


“A knight in shining armour is all I ask for, just how difficult is it to write me one?” Her words echoed up into space, the storyteller appeared to no longer be listening.

She had spent chapter one daydreaming about her potential rescuer and now found herself dumped here with this cowboy!

Stray characters from different plots cut and pasted to a barren blank page with not even a windswept piece of tumbleweed in sight.

 “Excuse me miss.”

The cowboy tipped his hat at her and she spied his bald head underneath, she’d already noticed the moustache – he wasn’t ideal hero material.

“I understand you are upset but I’m not happy being stranded here either.  I had dreams of being an astronaut.”

He had the softly spoken voice of a proper gentleman. 

Remembering her princess manner’s she hitched up her skirt a touch, stepped forward and asked “What exactly is an astronaut?”

He jumped down from his horse. He was taller than she first thought and his eyes started to sparkle as he explained. “An astronaut is someone who flies to the stars.”

“All the way up there?”

They both gazed upwards.

It was getting dark; pinpricks of light dotted the sky.

Their book was closing. The storyteller was giving up on them both.

“I don’t want my story to end like this.” The princess yelled.

“Then come with me.” The cowboy swept her off her feet up onto his horse and they rode off together in search of stars…

250 words


Thursday, 16 May 2013

Shiny Shoes


Today is a shiny shoe day. It is oldest son’s last day at school before he starts his study leave and his GCSE exams.

In celebration of their time at secondary school there was a special leavers’ assembly this morning. Each pupil was asked to attend wearing “business dress” instead of school uniform, which meant I had to buy a shirt and smart trousers for my young man.

We went shopping the other week and he chose a pale blue shirt from the sale rail. It was only when I got home I realised it was practically a replica of one Andrew used to have.

Last night I polished three pairs of shoes – well if I was making an effort with oldest son’s shoes I decided I would do youngest son’s and mine too.

 “You should be doing this.” I said to oldest son as I knelt on the floor, spread out newspaper in front of me, brush and polish in hand. “Do you know how to clean shoes?”

“You just put the polish on and rub it off.”

That’s OK then at least he has some rudimentary knowledge for future reference. Maybe I should have made him do it but there is something satisfying about buffing up the leather and achieving a shine. 

I remember one teacher from my school days who gave us a shoe inspection every day. We rubbed our shoes on the backs of our calves if we’d forgotten to give them a proper polish. It seems to be a dying art these days.

It was my dad who taught me how to clean my shoes but oldest son no longer has a dad to teach him such things.

“Do you miss your dad? Do you wish he was here?”

Stupid questions I know but I had to ask and it makes me cry.

“I don’t think about it.” His emotions are still shut away in a box marked keep out, I dread the day the lid flies open.

Then I remembered he needed a tie. I don’t know why but I have kept Andrew’s small collection even though he only wore them under duress.

Oldest son picked the black one. Andrew had bought it for a black tie ball we had been to with work, a fabulous glittering evening in a marquee at a castle in Scotland.

“I think Black Tie really means a bow tie.” I told Andrew back then.

“So – it’s black and it’s a tie!” was his retort.

“That’s a bit of a funeral tie.” I said to oldest son this morning.

“So”

“Do you know how to tie a tie?”

“It’s just a knot!”

Just like shining my shoes I remember wearing a school tie once, so I did it up on me, loosened the neck, slipped it over my head and around oldest son’s neck.

It was always destined to be a memorable moment, it really should have been a father and son moment, or perhaps I really do watch too many sentimental movies.

So there I was standing by the AGA straightening my son’s tie when Chris Evans on Radio 2 played the worst or maybe even the best song possible.

"Have I Told You Lately" by Van Morrison – now I am welling up again, this was one of the funeral songs, as far as I know the last song Andrew ever listened to on his iPod.

Oldest son wouldn’t make eye contact, the emotional box stayed shut tight and actually if he had have looked at me I would have totally crumbled into a puddle on the floor.

It’s just not fair, it’s not me I feel sorry for but for the boys, they have had so much stolen from them. Precious moment and memories that can now never happen.

But maybe hearing that special song lets me know Andrew is still watching over us, reminding me he still loves us and despite everything I am still doing OK at this single parenting business.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

More sunshine than raindrops



Splash, I feel the rain drop on my hand as I hang out my second load of washing for the day.

The sky is getting a bit cloudier and according to my friend, who is very reliable in these matters it is set to rain this afternoon. I don’t know how she does it but she always manages to find the most accurate weather forecasts, a useful and sometimes annoying trait!

For the time being I am undeterred, there is certainly more sunshine than raindrops and the washing is getting a good blow but I’m keeping an eye out for any change.

It’s been a good day so far; a productive one and I won’t let a little rain spoil things.

I have had a skip delivered to dump all my kitchen debris in, there is lots of banging and clattering going on downstairs as the old cupboards are disassembled.

The new kitchen cupboards have been delivered and I have had the insurance assessor round to agree to with the quote for the kitchen ceiling repairs. 

With some help I’ve started the sit on lawn mower and I have cut the grass, well the top lawn at any rate.

Now I’m just waiting for the plumber to turn up and fit the new water tank. I am getting excited about the prospect of HOT running water and a luscious soak in the bath tonight.

Oh yes it’s been a very busy day all round.

So I have turned my attention to some forward planning.

I never wrote about it on my blog last week but any friends who follow me on Twitter and Facebook will know that I lost a hard disc drive.

Andrew had the "M-Drive" connected into our home computer network and it had stopped working months ago, I thought as a result of a computer crash downstairs – my computer knowledge is pretty basic – that was Andrew’s department. 

I decided to try and connect it to my laptop, there are documents on there I need access to if I am going to turn unravelling-edges into a book. It was also where we stored our family photos and who knows what other gems beside.

Fortunately I took the hard drive with me to the computer shop and asked how to connect it, I thought it was just a question of buying a lead with the correct adaptors.

The woman plugged it in and it started making the familiar whirring sound.

Now I always thought this was normal but apparently it’s not a good sign. 

“A noisy hard drive is a broken hard drive.” Were her exact wise words as she extolled the virtues of backing up documents.

I left the black box with her so she can try to gain access to its deepest darkest recesses, meanwhile I bought a new memory stick and I have been copying files all morning.

Most of my writing is on my blog, accessible to EVERYONE but there are some bits I am working on that I have never backed up, at least not since the M-Drive stopped working. 

And the thing is my laptop has started making noises, suspicious sounding whirring electronic clunking noises that I now recognise as not being terribly healthy. I suspect my laptop may be coming to the end of its life and I NEED to be prepared. 

I’m not getting caught out again, if I’ve learnt nothing else over the past few weeks with the saga of the water tank it’s always listen to your intuition and get things sorted sooner rather than later.

And as I finish this post the rain is coming down. It started to fall just as I pulled out of the drive on the school run.

Fortunately my workman, who's also the husband of the friend with the accurate weather forecasting skills, got the washing in for me.

So it’s just a little damp – no harm done there - a little rain never hurt anyone :-)