Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Me and Bridget Jones

15th January 2014

v. late night finishing off Bridget Jones’ latest diary. I laughed loud and cried buckets, even had to put on reading glasses for last few pages to make blurry words big and bold enough to read properly - v.g. book!

I remember reading the first two books and watching the films but I’ve always had mixed views about Miss Jones. I’m not sure if we’d ever have been friends back then although I love her easy to read chatty style her shenanigans often made me despair.

Things we have in common

  • We both write a diary.

  • We’ve both experienced the heartache of being single, wondering when the “one” is ever going to turn up in our lives.

  • We both have a tendency to be over dramatic.

  • We both do stupid things - my latest is washing my jeans with my mobile phone still in the pocket! I still might blog about that another day.

  • We both have a great network of friends who we rely on.


  • I don’t have quite the same preoccupation with my weight – well I don’t weigh myself and record it every day! And despite her protestations to the contrary Bridget is NOT really fat, I’ve always been several pounds heavier.

  • I don’t smoke at all and never have.

  • I don’t drink even a fraction of the amount Ms Jones consumes.

  • I have a definite Christian faith whereas Bridget’s belief system appears to be loosely based on whatever self-help books are currently fashionable.

When the first two books came out I was already what Bridget would describe as a “smug married”.  In fact the books arrived on the bookshelves in the same years as I gave birth my two handsome sons. 

No I don’t think we would have even mixed in the same social circles back in the nineties.

But moving the story on to the present day and we have one more essential thing in common.

We are both widowed - suddenly, unexpectedly, devastatingly and that has thrown us both into a whole new world of being a single parent, alone, often floundering but trying to do the best we can.

I desperately wanted to read the book to see how Bridget was coping with her loss but I confess part of me was worried that this part of her life was glossed over in favour of a racier storyline. Being a widow isn’t sexy until that is you add a toy boy into the mix.

OK I confess another part of me wanted to know how Bridget had managed to entice a younger man into her life, I hoped to gain some tips, I’m hopelessly out of touch with the whole idea of dating. Although I doubted it would be the best self-help book I could read on the subject.

I had visions of throwing the book across the floor in disgust that Mark Darcy’s memory wasn’t honoured. I didn’t want Bridget to move on too quickly, I wanted to know she felt guilt and regret and the whole range of emotions that bubble up out of nowhere where grief is concerned.

I needn’t have worried, yes Bridget still annoyed me at times with some of her irresponsible behaviour but there were moments when I cried with her and my heart ached. The most memorable time when her mum came alongside her and told her how marvellous she was doing in the circumstances. I’ve had the very same conversation with my own mum. Some people look at you in awe but you never see it yourself.

You see as a widow you feel vulnerable, you are broken and floundering. This is not the way your life was meant to happen. On top of losing your soulmate you have to contend with being a single parent, it was not something you chose, you had no part in the decision process. One moment you were whole and the next shattered and putting those pieces back together in any kind of order is incredible hard.

For Bridget it was five years since her beloved Mark Darcy died, I’ve only been a widow for three, so I do look up to her, slightly ahead of me, knowing she’s made mistakes, she’s laughed and cried and sometimes she barely scrapes though moment by moment, one chocolate button at a time! 

It was good to remember that. All too often I judge my own journey too harshly thinking I should have already moved on to a different place. I should have more of the jigsaw puzzle completed by now. Meeting up with Bridget again has assured me I am doing OK too.

Finding the toy boy might take a bit of work but I think Bridget might just give me a wink and a smile at that one, tip a big heap of chocolate buttons into my hand and then we’d giggle…

…you just have to read her diary too and maybe you will understand! I really don't want to give away too many spoilers...

Friday, 10 January 2014

Flash! Friday - the one with the time travelling tree

The Truth about Time Travel

“The tree is as old as time itself; according to folklore it has magical properties.”

She giggled at that, giving me a gentle shove as if I had made it up to fool her.  We stopped the car so we could walk around the vast circumference.

“I can’t believe the road goes right through the middle!” She visibly shuddered, as she peered through the tunnel.

“You go all the way back to the beginning of time when you pass through.”

“You really are silly,” she trilled. “Come on then, take me on an adventure!”

I broke off a piece of ancient outer bark that would keep me anchored to our own time and slipped it in my pocket.

I’d be safe from the time vortex that spiralled round the inner rings of the tree but my companion? 

Well she did ask for an adventure and I’d told her no lies!

Written for this week's Flash! Friday challenge, picture prompt as above, Dragon's Bidding - to include an element of time travel, all written in 150 words with a 10 word leeway - although I managed to get it spot on! Can I have some extra points for that Rebekah?

Thursday, 9 January 2014

A letter to... home

Where would I send it to? My letter to home?

An odd question perhaps when I sit here in my house, surrounded by my possessions, so much stuff accumulated through the years making my house a family home.

… and yet …

We’ve not long returned from my parents where we celebrated Christmas with four generations of family under one roof. Anywhere your heart feels snug and wanted – that’s got to be more homely than a pile of bricks and a mountain of objects.

Every time we visit my parents there’s a point as we cross the invisible line between one county and another when my heart soars as I feel once more drawn into a homely embrace. This is where I grew up, even Andrew would remark that I changed when we got there, getting louder and more excitable.

But then as we leave and after a long drive northwards there’s a similar spot where I knew without a doubt that I have returned to another home. These familiar twists and turns of the road are the ones I drive almost daily and I smile thankful for a safe trip back to my own front door.

I know I am blessed to have two places in the world where I feel so loved and secure.

However I have reached a curious moment in time where I have lived half my life in the south east of England and half in the north east.

Pinpointing exactly where I feel I most belong is hard.

What exacerbates the confusion in my mind is that the house where I live feels less and less like a home. It has become a big burden, a place of memories with too many overwhelming responsibilities. A house too big for only three of us, not quite as cosy and warm as I want my home to be.

Oh it’s welcoming, accommodating, you’ll always get a cup of tea when you visit but that is down to the family that lives here who throw open the door. 

This is still our home because this is where we live, it is a part of us.

I remember the day we moved in, the plans we had, the work we’ve had done, the laughter, the hassles, the plaster that fell down with a loud thud, stripping woodchip from ceilings and painting every spindle.

But I am ready to move on, I need to move and establish something new.

We won’t be far away, we are tied to school and college and friends and church…

… and so I wonder, if I were to write another letter home in a couple of years’ time, just where I would send that letter to?

Once again linking with Ruth and Sabrina for the last ever Letters to... prompt!

And this is why selling my house is my number one priority for 2014, if you like it is my New Year's Resolution. Of course there is much more to it that I have written here and moving is a daunting prospect. 

Please pray for a buyer, pray that I can find somewhere new for us to live and that I have the strength to sort out all the "stuff", much of it Andrew's, and the wisdom to know what to do with it! Thanks x

Thursday, 2 January 2014

A letter to start anew... or rather some excuses to postpone New Year to a more convenient date!

FACT: in 4 years, 5 weeks and 1 day I will be 50 - not that I'm counting! 

When I reach my 50th birthday my sons will be 21 and 18 and maybe they won’t need me so much.

Does it seem as if I’m wishing my life away? Sometimes I feel like I do, I wish I could enjoy the moment more and stop daydreaming of a future when I will allegedly be “free” to do whatever I please.

We celebrated Christmas at my parents, a bit of a houseful with four generations under one roof for almost a week. There were surprisingly few fallings out and a great time was had by all. 

I went to visit some old school friends while I was in the area and dipped in and out of Facebook catching up on the goings on of my online community.

On 30th December my dad was 70 – family and friends drifted in and out all day, including cousins I’ve not seen for years. We used to meet regularly for family weddings and parties but the family has grown so large we’ve come to accept we will never all get together again but Christmas is a great time for getting back in touch at least with a few.

New Year’s Eve was a quiet affair spent at my in-laws. We played the Pointless board game, watched the spectacular fireworks on TV at midnight and then I went to bed.

Oldest son stayed up with his cousins playing FIFA on the Playstation until 3am! Those days seem a distant memory to me although I later found out my parents stayed up until after 2 having their own party! 

I’m caught somewhere in the middle with all the responsibilities of being the sensible adult. I didn’t even have a drink.

However I was glad of the full night’s sleep and a clear head because yesterday I had a long and very wet drive home. The car aquaplaned a few times which I admit was scary and I am thankful we returned home safe.

But youngest son was definitely off-colour on the journey – I’m thankful he wasn’t sick in the car over the coats and Christmas presents that were on the back seat beside him. However he was sick at 4am and he’s lying on the sofa now watching Home Alone.

I too feel drained, exhausted, shivery and full of cold. And coming home to the reality of a mountain of washing and last year’s left over paperwork to sort out depresses me.

It’s doesn’t feel like a HAPPY New Year but that means things can really only get better, right?

Facebook is obviously filled with New Year’s resolution but the big question appears to be to plan or not to plan and instead go with the flow?

I’ve always been a plotter and a planner – I had a few ideas in the pipeline before I felt sick. Now I wonder what the point is and that’s probably why I recalculated the number of days until my fiftieth birthday. It’s a definite point on the horizon, far enough away that I know some things will have changed by then – at least I hope so, I really do.

I know I am too tired to think rationally, too exhausted to set realistic goals for 2014. Besides who said resolutions should be set in stone by yesterday to count?

I’ve tried before with mixed success.

And so I've decided NOT to have a new year's resolution - this in NOT to say I've stopped planning or that I'm just going with the flow but at the moment I feel too sick and tired to think about it!

New Year with all its hopes and fears is postponed – maybe until my birthday, which is after all only 5 weeks and 1 day away – FACT!

I am linking up with Ruth and Sabrina again with this post and their "Letters to..." challenge. Just click on their names to see what wonderful words they have written on the subject.