Friday, October 29, 2010


Grandson is getting very excited about Halloween. For him it's all about spiders, vampires, scary false teeth and trick or treating. He is going out with some school friends (and their Mums of course) to terrorise the neighbourhood, wearing his black t shirt with glow-in-the-dark skeleton (bought by me from M & S) and will be hoping to collect enough sweets and chocolates to make all his lovely new teeth fall out! Never mind..

For a change, I'm going out on Sunday night too - one of my BBFs is having a Halloween Party to celebrate her Birthday, and we have been given the chance to wear Fancy Dress if we want. I'm going to wear a gorgeous long black cloak I made years ago for Son to wear at Halloween. It was when we lived in Cambridge (so more than eight years ago) and he was going to be DJing at a local club. I sat and hand sewed this cloak from some black material I had, and lined it with some fabulous orange silky fabric. I gave it a gathered stand-up collar and a black grosgrain ribbon tie, and I was so proud of it. But guess what, Son didn't want to wear it. Anyway, it was so lovely I kept it. And after all these years it gets its first outing on Sunday. I bought a cute little cat mask (black velvet with sequins) to wear with it and I'll add a long black dress, high black heels and maybe my witch's broomstick? Sounds good to me.

My lovely downstairs neighbour is about to give birth - any minute really because her baby was actually due on Tuesday. She has decided to have him at home, and has created a wonderful "birthing" room with a birthing pool, fairy lights, and a comfy sofa with inviting cushions. I'm not part of her actual Birthing Team, which includes a Doula, her Midwife and two close friends. I have said that I will be on hand, though, if any extra help is needed. She has created a Birthing Plan as well, and is wonderfully organised. I remember when my first baby was born, and it could hardly have been more different; Son was due on 16th October, and decided to arrive exactly a month early, on Sunday 16th September 1979. So much for being organized. Thirty one years later I still remember every minute of that day and every year I phone him, sing Happy Birthday, and remind him that he woke me at 6am on that fateful morning. Ah well, let's hope my lovely downstairs neighbour will have a really good birthing experience and create some great memories too. Perhaps he will be a Halloween Baby...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Seaside Musings.

The sea yesterday was a pale silver-grey with splashes of sunlight on the still surface. Lovely, and quite late-summery rather than Autumnal. In fact we have been having rather lovely weather, lots of sun and warm enough to walk by the sea every day and to sit on the balcony with coffee,lunch or tea. It sounds as if I'm always either eating or walking! And I guess that's not so far from the truth. I do feel very fortunate to be living here, because it doesn't seem to be the same everywhere. I often look North towards the Downs and see heavy black clouds leaning on the hills while we are basking in sunshine.

What do I do with the rest of my time at the moment? Well, I've been writing fairly regular articles for one of the local Estate Agents, whenever they want something a
little bit different - different from the usual fairly painful and banal property descriptions, that is (not to mention the painful grammar and sentence structure!). I quite enjoy doing these, it exercises the "writing muscle" a bit, though in a fairly limited way. And it does seem to be doing the trick - the agents are happy with what I write and their sales are going quite well. My other main occupation is to do a day's gardening once a fortnight or so for my lovely Therapist. This is great and very enjoyable, but she is in East Grinstead, so it's an hour and a half round trip and as petrol is so pricey just now, I don't go more often. It's only until winter sets in anyway, and while the ground is workable. Last week I worked for four and a half hours, mostly solid digging, until I could dig no more. My digging was made more enjoyable though by the delightful small ladies' fork I found at the Car Boot Sale last weekend. It was, amazingly, just £1, and is a complete delight to work with. I have also been choosing some plants and ordering hedging for her garden. Nice to spend other people's money, and get to see the results. In another existence, I would love to have been a proper gardener. What a wonderful life!

I collected Grandson from school on Friday and brought him home for the night. This has become something of a routine, and one which I am enjoying very much. He had had a really busy week at school and was happy just to chill out. We lit a fire (for the first time this year) watched a movie and ate sausages and mash.Perfick. Daughter came to pick him up on Saturday morning, and we all went for brunch in George Street. Today I went to the Car Boot again, on another lovely sunny morning, and Daughter was taking Grandson to a birthday party at midday. He went as Darth Vader, as the theme of the party was Star Wars. Very sophisticated these parties. I seem to have rushed around all day, and finally sank down at home with a cup of tea at about 5.15pm. Then the phone range and it was one of my BBFs asking if I had forgotten that I was meeting her at the cinema at 5pm! I felt really awful because of course I had forgotten - luckily she was not furious with me, which was better than I deserved. It's not as if I have a frantic social life after all, though I do have a busy week coming up. One of my London BFs is coming to stay on Tuesday, just for one night, and we are going out to dinner at L'Eglise for the first time in months. That will be gorgeous. On Wednesday I'm off to East Grinstead again for a day's gardening, hopefully putting in some of the hedging if it has arrived, and then on Thursday I'm planning a trip to London to meet Son for lunch. Great, I'm so looking forward to seeing him for a catch-up. On Friday it's the start of Half Term so I'll be picking Grandson up early from school and that will be another week gone...
At least life's not boring here in Brighton.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bad Mother...

That's me! I'm bad on all counts it seems: lousy Single Parent (the break-up was all my fault and I didn't sufficiently consider the effect this would have on my children thirty years later!) lousy grandmother (I tried so hard to compensate for the traumatic effects of last year's dramatic break-up on my Grandson that I
consequently lavished too much love and attention on him!) And just so lousy all round that I haven't seen hide nor hair of Son since Grandson's Birthday. True I've recently managed to squeeze the occasional text message out of him, and we did have one brief (but lovely for me) phone conversation on the day before his Birthday. The most frustrating aspect of all this is that I have no control over it whatsoever! I can't force him to speak to me, or to see me,(nor would I want to do that anyway) and I don't have the oppportunity to put my point of view about all this because he won't even read a letter if I write. I supppose that what I would lke to say is that, all those years ago, I didn't have any control over events either. I didn't exactly have children (and they are beloved children) with the anticipation of being left alone to bring them up, but as that was the end of the cheese I was left with, I just got on with it. I always loved them and yes, I did put them first in just about every situation (and it seems that was a crime too!). I didn't "provide" them with a new "Daddy" because I was never prepared to compromise either their safety
or their happiness in a step-parent relationship. And I take full responsibility for that. Of course it was bound to be wrong in the long run, although then I simply put all my energies into protecting and loving them, and providing what I believed was a happy and normal environment to grow up in. WRONG! Now, it seems, it wasn't normal, only a "two parent and 2.4 children" situation is normal?? And only that kind of family life can produce a balanced, normal human being? The queries are all
mine. I saw plenty of completely dysfunctional "normal" families while my children were growing up, and maybe that's why most of their friends chose to spend their free time at our house. They didn't have the "normal" stuff to deal with at our house, it was just me: single mother, working from home so that I could be around whenever needed, cooking meals, feeding their friends, saving for holidays, getting angry from time to time, dealing with dramas, taking them to football, brownies, tennis, you know, all the "normal" stuff that families do. And make no mistake, we were a family. Only three of us, I know, but as Daughter now says, "The best damn family ever." Maybe that's a slight overstatement, but at the time I thought it was O.K. I did what I thought was right for everyone. Sorry about getting it wrong, but I thought I was getting it right. It's only now, with the benefit of thirty year's water under the bridge, that I can see the cracks. At the time I was just getting on with life. But, d'you know what, I hadn't then realized that a Mother's place is in the wrong :-)