Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The Tulips are so beautiful right now

Today is time out from all this madness of putting our house on the market and at the same time reassessing our lives, where we are now and how we want the future to unfold.  This turns out to be better than therapy and there are plenty of opportunities to contemplate the tulips while we try and make some tough decisions.  My jealously guarded pot of tulips has survived the further depredations of the dog, but she continues to show great interest in them!  Her other particular favourite flower to nibble is carnations

I am having serious second thoughts about the chain of events we have triggered.  Who are these strangers who trail through my home, poking about in my closets and demanding to know exactly how much sun we get in the courtyard, and when (it varies depending on the time of year, how high or low the sun is in the sky), then dismissing us for their own spurious and personal reasons as everyone chases their own particular version of the dream, the rural idyll.

Putting so much time and energy into our home recently has only made us love it more, appreciate all the things that work for us here, despite the things that don't.   Every little change we make, every detail we complete, every vision I have had for the house and garden that we are now realising, bonds us to it more.  It is such a jewel of a house, full of colour and love and it fits us perfectly now after the five years we have spent here.  The thought of starting again in another house with all the adjustments that will have to be made does seem increasingly daunting!  And life moves on.  I know things won't be the same again if we do make a move back but at the same time, I do miss my old friends and companions and would love to spend more time with them.

The memorial service for my friend was held last week in the lovely old village church in Kent where my youngest son was christened and where my mother used to join me for the annual candlelit carol service.  The church was full of old friends and familiar faces and of course everyone wanted to catch up with us and then I was so sure we were doing the right thing.  But my sons have all left home now and my mother is no longer alive so should I really disrupt our lives to chase a dream, a time that has vanished into thin air. Perhaps the answer is to make sure I spend more time there in future and keep up with my old friends but hold onto what we are building here?

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Who ate the tulips?

I can always count on the dog to be on her worst behaviour when the stakes are high!  And the stakes are high right now. We have exhausted ourselves this past week, bringing the house and garden to near perfection in time for the photographer and I was so pleased with my matching pots of carefully nurtured tulip bulbs by the French doors in the courtyard garden, and looking forward to seeing them burst into glorious flower. 

They have been growing in the courtyard for weeks and the dog has totally ignored them up to now, but yesterday, sensing change and tension in the air, she totally vandalised one of the pots, ate the tulip heads and some of the bulbs, discarding the leaves: debris and compost strewn everywhere.  She was very apologetic and chastened after a serious ticking off and confinement to the kitchen for a couple of hours, where she can do no harm.

We are putting our lovely house on the market after 5 years and much indecision.  This is a beautiful house and we love the village, the surrounding countryside and coast, but it's not my home.  I have no roots here, no real reason for being in this place, especially now the boat is in the Baltic for the foreseeable future and the sailing was a big reason for moving up here.

We have been debating this issue for quite some time and failed to find a resolution, but things have crystallised now, following the sudden death of an old friend in Kent and the subsequent fallout, and I realised that most of the people who really mean something to me, who are part of my history and my family's history live in Kent and that I need to let go of what we have here and go where my heart is, where I have some good friends, people I can really share with.   Meeting new people, making new friends is healthy, but I need my old friends too, the ones I spent so many years forging bonds with, sharing dramas, school runs and stroppy teenagers.  People whose children I have known since they were tiny and who know mine.

So the house goes on the market next week and my remaining tulip pot has been moved to a more secure spot to be jealously guarded from the attentions of my naughty Labrador!

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Mother's Day Blues

According to a recent newspaper report, daughters spend, on average, two months of their lives chatting to their mothers on the phone and speak several times a week.  My first thought was 'is that all?'. 

The mother/daughter relationship is one of the strongest bonds and possibly the most complex as we negotiate our differences.  My mother was a huge and important part of my life and she was always the first person I would turn to. She was always on my mind and I miss her beyond words.

I don't have a daughter and my experience of being a mother to my grown-up sons is necessarily very different.  I adore my boys and I know they love me deeply but they only phone if they have something specific to discuss, an arrangement to make. Other than that there is pretty much radio silence unless I initiate contact (which of course I do, frequently).  

So Mother's Day is bitter sweet - the day I miss my Mum the most and the day I miss being a mother the most too, as my sons are rarely able to be with me on the day, although I do try and arrange a get-together at some point in March, negotiating various birthdays, wedding anniversaries and other important commitments.   

And these were my Mother's Day flowers, picked from our emerging Spring garden by my partner, a parent himself who understands the complex interweaving of love and sadness when the young have flown the nest and their lives have moved on.