Showing posts with label Dating after divorce. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dating after divorce. Show all posts

Friday, 8 August 2008

Remember When It Rained

I'm sitting in my son's bedroom, which used to be our study (he has captured and isolated the computer and I can only access it by using threats of withdrawal of services) and listening to Josh Groban on YouTube singing the most powerful, beautiful song I have heard for a long time 'Remember When It Rained' and quietly reflecting on my life.


I worry about tempting fate, that things will fall apart if I talk about it, make it real, even in a virtual sense. I am so happy with my life now, but experience has taught me to live only in the moment, so I try to stay with that. A couple of nights ago, we celebrated the first anniversary of the beginning of our journey to love each other, and we do. Love each other. I have no idea whether we can continue to hold onto this feeling, make it work tomorrow as well as today, but for now I love and am loved in return.

It doesn't get any better than that.



Monday, 7 April 2008

Cocooned

The iron-grey sky sealed our small corner of the countryside as we tramped through the whitening fields, the rest of the view lost in the horizontal blizzard that whipped our cheeks rosy red, hats pulled down over cold ears, scarves tightly knotted, gloved hands thrust deep into pockets. We turned for home, taking the short cut this time, as the world turned empty and white around us.

Back at the farmhouse, he split the last of the winter logs and we lit the fire, opened a bottle and idled the rest of the snowy afternoon away, cocooned from the outside world. The Sunday papers kept us busy, then a late lunch in the snowbound conservatory, candles lit, spring flowers in a jam jar glowing on the snow white African table cloth. We ate a delicious leg of lamb from the local butchers, with roasted vegetables in olive oil and garlic, red wine gravy, then chocolate pudding. My favourite.

For a little while, it was time out of time, and a lovely magical day.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Families and Other Challenges

As he opened the barn door, an icy blast of wind blew us into the vaulted room and the six twenty-some-things seated companionably around the kitchen table, eating, laughing and talking, turned and looked at the newcomers as my son and I joined the group.

It had seemed a good idea at the time, as we talked about how to manage the occasion and planned his menu, for me and my son to come along towards the end of lunch and have a drink with his children and assorted girlfriends, all staying in the area for Easter. In the end, it just seemed to underline our outsider status. Jokes flew around the table as the meal came to an end and coffee was served, but difficult feelings simmered just below the surface as we all skated over thin ice.

I slept badly that night, and woke in tears with the grey dawn, remembering the moment, exactly 24 years ago, when my second son was born at our home in London, his 2 year old brother asleep in the next bedroom, my mother in the bedroom above, my then husband elated at the safe birth of our new son.

Our lives have changed beyond recognition now. My 24 year old son spent the day in Yorkshire with friends, his brother in London with his father and his second wife, as my youngest son and I try to bridge the gulf between the family we were, and the life we have now.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Full Circle

The wheel turns full circle. Last year I didn't get to Lille. My carefully made plans unravelled and my new dark pink travelling bag went unused as illness intervened. Time has passed and things have changed. I am now preparing to spend a couple of days in Bruges with TMITWJ. We can't go for the weekend, because he is sailing, but it is half term and we want to spend a couple of days away together and for some reason we have agreed on Bruges. This time I shall be driven, we shall take the ferry as he loves the sea, and I shall have a lovely man to share the experience with, to spend time walking and talking, eating and drinking, someone to hold close.

I still cannot quite believe that things have changed so much for me and find it hard to trust that I can continue to be as happy as I am today. Surely that would be too much to hope? Not that it's been plain sailing for us. There have been major wobbles and problems continue to arise and challenge us, but somehow we are still here and it just seems to get better all the time.

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Christmas Walk

The sun came out briefly as we assembled by the white five-bar gate which separates the farmhouse from the busy B road connecting two villages which, a decade or so ago no doubt was just a quiet country lane. Today there was little traffic on the road and we soon headed off into deep countryside, following the thin trails linking one footpath with another, chatting and admiring the beautiful, unspoilt, wintry scenery, always keeping the Church Tower in view. Our lodestone. After a while we met the road again briefly, beside the old abandoned windmill on top of the rise, before crossing the ancient churchyard shaded by yew trees, and back into open country.

An hour or so later we emerged by a lovely hop-strewn pub, log fire blazing, and a very welcome drink and lunch. One or two people peeled off after lunch, but the die-hards set off back across country, following The Man in the Woolly Jumper who had the map, losing our way occasionally, finding ourselves in someone else's driveway at one point, but always finding a way through in the end.

The light was fading by the time we got back to the house, my sons grumbling by now. Friends rallied round, someone put the kettle on, TMITWJ lit the fire and mince pies were warmed in the oven. After a reviving cup of tea a few more people arrived and bottles of fizz popped as the fire warmed us through, conversation flowed and friends and family relaxed together by the brightly lit Christmas Tree.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Bonfires

They do things differently in Sussex. When I was a small child, bonfire night meant a family party in the back garden with silver fountains, Catherine wheels, the occasional rocket and sparklers held tightly in gloved hands. Yorkshire parkin, perhaps, and potatoes wrapped in silver foil, cooked in the embers.

More recently, bonfire nights have been large organised events held at the children's schools, or in the glebe field of the nearby village church. Big bonfires with spectacular fireworks and the chance to catch up with friends and acquaintances, if you can find them in the flickering light.

So when I was invited to a big display in a nearby village the weekend before last, I was expecting the usual jolly but civilised affair. We parked on the far side of the busy A road that bypasses the village and walked through the narrow streets lined with tumbledown houses and cottages, wondering if we could gatecrash the parties that seemed to be happening behind every lighted window and, if so, which one we would most like to join? The high street was a heaving mass of warmly wrapped bodies as people lined the route ten deep. We found a vantage point and minutes later the procession exploded into view.

Scores of people, dressed in bizarre and macabre costumes, with blackened faces, paraded along the street, carrying flares, letting off firecrackers, beating on drums. A primative and tribal ritual that has been carried out annually in this village ever since the gunpowder plot. There was, apparently, strong anti-Catholic feeling in this part of the world and there are a number of bonfire societies which plan this event annually. Secret societies where membership is passed on from generation to generation.

The procession retraced its steps to a large field on the outskirts of the village, the crowd following behind. The bonfire was lit, the largest and fiercest bonfire I have ever seen, forcing the crowd back with the intense heat it generated. Then the fireworks started and the sky exploded with light and colour, at one point a tree set alight by a maverick firework. I snuggled closer to The Man in the Woolly Jumper (previously known as The Man in the Pink Shirt), who has come back into my life, as, somewhat stunned, we retraced our steps to the car and the 21st century.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Late Autumn Sunshine

I should have been in London on Saturday, visiting some old friends, but the trip was cancelled at the last moment leaving me with an empty day. I pottered around desultorily, doing a few chores, wondering if I would go to the coast and sit on the pebbly Sussex beach, read my book and watch the children play in the waves.

In the end, having wasted half the day, I decided to join a friend who had mentioned a folk festival in the nearby market town and had invited me to join her in the pub garden overlooking the high street to watch the procession go by, morris dancers, folk singers, witches and warlocks. A pretty, gaudy sight.

I wandered up the high street taking in the spectacle, then back to the pub garden. As I scanned the crowd looking for a familiar face, someone touched my arm and I found myself face to face with the Man in the Pink Shirt. We hadn't seen each other for a couple of weeks. Things had unravelled. He bought me a drink and we stood outside the pub for a while together, watching the crowd, talking, kissing a little sadly, enjoying each other's company and the late autumn sunshine.

Then we kissed a final goodbye. And parted.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Little white, lacy, strappy things

My sons are home! The washing machine and dishwasher rumble incessantly, there is never enough milk, bread, cereal or red wine, casseroles bubble on the stove and the mother in me stirs and purrs contentedly, testosterone drifting through the house as their deep voices mingle and merge.

So why, I wonder, did I take a detour on my way to stock up again at Waitrose, to trawl through the racks of sale price clothes in Fat Face, discarding the sensible sweat shirts and fleecy, warm zippy things and finding my way to the little white, lacy, strappy vest top, to be secreted amongst the carrots and potatoes and meat and cheese? Perhaps my mind had drifted towards the Man in the Pink Shirt, currently battling the wind and tides somewhere off the South Coast, no doubt swathed in utilitarian waterproofs?

I suppose I could always hide it under a sensible fleece if I go sailing again. Only I would know it was there, surely. After all, if he had wanted a sensible woman, what on earth is he doing with me?

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Sailing Lessons

'Down below' was even smaller than I had expected. More intimate. For a six berth yacht, there was surprising little space. Even the two of us had to negotiate the cabin and deck with great care.

We set off down the channel towards the Solent, first under engine then, when the wind got up, the sails went up and things became really interesting as we tipped and rolled in the swell. I kept forgetting that I should push the tiller in the opposite direction to where we were heading, but this didn't really matter until we were approaching Cowes and fell in with the racing yachts during Cowes week. Rather a lot to cope with for a novice but somehow we negotiated the crowded waters and eventually found the river leading to the pub.

We berthed three deep, cut the engine and sat for a while, drinking champagne, eating the olives and goat's cheese and french bread meant for a lunch that never happened, chatting to the friendly men in the next berth as the sun went down, trying to remember who wrote 'Sitting in the Dock of the Bay' and wasn't there a Kink's song about boats and a river? 'Waterloo Sunset' perhaps?

On Sunday morning, we were jarred out of our lazy breakfast too soon by the French couple tied up alongside us and anxious to leave, but with the wind and tides with us and the sun beating down, I was at last able to change into my pink swimsuit and sit peacefully on deck, soak in the hot sun, watch the boats criss-cross the calm sea, rub sun screen into each other's backs and admire his skill as he brought us home again.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

The Man in the Pink Shirt

Even the sun shone for us. It was a perfect summer evening, snatched from a disappointing summer.

He arrived promptly, wearing his trademark pink shirt and carrying a bottle of red wine. We sat in the orchard for a while, drinking white wine Kirs, enjoying the late sunshine under the plum tree as the Chicken Cacciatora bubbled gently on the stove and we took it in turns to give it a stir from time to time. Somehow new potatoes and green beans cooked themselves and supper was ready.

We moved to the conservatory, lit the candles and opened his bottle of red wine. The food was delicious, we talked and laughed, then later kissed and cuddled, watching the bats flitting in and out of their nest in the eaves above the conservatory. It was a truly magical evening and I just want to hold onto that feeling.

Friday, 13 July 2007

Crushed Thyme

It happened so suddenly as accidents do, out of a clear blue sky. One moment I was quietly going about my chores, at peace with myself, enjoying this brief oasis in my life and looking forward to the end of term and the long summer break.

My ankle went over as I stepped down from the kitchen into the garden. I yelped with the sharp agony and froze, completely unable to move, still upright but with my foot bent at an unnatural angle. The pain washed over me and I felt myself beginning to black out. I managed to lie down before I passed out, half lying on the path, half resting on the cushion of thyme that grows by the kitchen door and I hung on to the scent of the crushed herbs, fighting the faintness and nausea that threatened to overwhelm me. Eventually I dragged myself back into the kitchen, trailing crushed thyme, sobbing with the pain and my own helplessness. I felt very alone.

Slowly, with shaking hands, I started to phone friends, to try and find someone who could come and help me but only answering machines responded to my plight as people went busily about their lives. I hadn't seen my serenading friend, the man in the pink shirt, since the night in the churchyard. An arrangement had fallen through, our answering machines had spoken, things had drifted. Could I call him now? Throwing pride to the winds, I did. He came, drove me to A & E, pushed me in a wheelchair as I looked around for the cameras - surely this merited a slot on 'Casualty'? Afterwards he drove me back to his house, fed me tea and smoked salmon sandwiches, put cold compresses on my poor swollen, bruised ankle, before bringing me home again.

As soon as I am mobile again, I shall cook him a thank you supper. I could hardly do less now, could I?

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Flotsam and Jetsam

How did we come to find each other, all these years on, washed up outside a bistro on the beach in Brighton?

We watched the sunlight glinting and sparkling off the cold, greeny-blue water as a small sailing boat drifted by on the horizon and people swam in the chilly waves, shrieking with the seagulls as we drank a glass of wine and wove our stories; how we came to be here, what had shaped us and brought us to this moment.

Then he headed off to Heathrow, to Hong Kong and, finally, Melbourne, back to his other life.


And I headed back to mine.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Scottish Reels

It was quite simply one of the best parties I had ever been to. The Scottish reels were an inspired choice and the perfect antidote for inhibitions as we all made mistakes and fell over our feet or span into someone else. For a while, we all became children again, laughing and giggling and talking to complete strangers.

I took the floor with a friend but we were immediately whisked away from each other by the dance and I found myself stopping with the music in front of a tall, slim man wearing a pink shirt. I have a weakness for a man in a pink shirt. We chatted for a few minutes and discovered we had friends in common before the music started up again and we whirled away from each other, in opposite directions.

It was much later when I was taking time out at the bar, chatting to people I hadn't seen for a while, that I saw him come across the room towards me. He joined the group and someone introduced us properly, then the group gradually dispersed as people rejoined the dance floor or saw other friends and we were left temporarily alone. We talked for a while and I wondered if he would ever ask me to dance. I was itching to get back on the floor. At last he did and we danced the night away, leaving the party in the small hours.

Friday, 22 June 2007

Serenade

'I used to sing,' he said, as we walked along the road from the lovely country pub garden to the car park, 'folk songs, in the 60's and 70's. I used to sing in pubs and clubs in the North of England when I was a student.'

He had phoned me earlier that day and suggested we go and see a film in the small, intimate cinema in a nearby village. He calls from time to time. Afterwards, we didn't want to end the evening just yet, so ambled along to a nearby pub, sat in the almost deserted, lantern-lit garden, chatting and watching the evening fade gently into night.

'Sing to me,' I asked, smiling. 'Sing something for me now!' 
'What, here?' he said, surprised. We were walking back to the car park, past an abandoned, boarded-up church and I took his hand and drew him into the quiet calm of the overgrown, neglected churchyard.

And he did. He sang for me. Five verses of a sea shanty, a tale of love and loss, in a fine baritone voice, under the new, crescent moon.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Comfortably Numb

 "There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship-shape on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can't hear what you are saying"
Pink Floyd

A friend of mine is a journalist and writer. A wordsmith. Luckily he has private means otherwise he could be destitute! I borrowed his lovely medieval hall house for a month a couple of years ago when I was between houses just at the point when my ex-husband was re-marrying in great state and at enormous expense.

Although I had been dreading leaving the rented house that had been my home for seven years and did not yet have a contract on the house I am now living in, just a promise and a prayer, I found putting everything into storage and travelling light was a curiously liberating experience. My three cats agreed unfortunately and promptly liberated themselves at the first opportunity, to be found after much heart-break and searching, back in the woodshed of my old home a few weeks later. Two are still with me now.

'Do you ever write?' he asked me one day. 'Not really', I replied. 'I dabble. I have written a bit about the break-up of my marriage'. 'Oh', he responded rather dismissively, 'is that what you write about? Female pain?'

When I first started this blog I put the question 'What do you do if it all goes horribly wrong?' As anyone who has been in this situation knows, when you have finished falling apart, you do what you have to do. You survive, you change, you grow. Yes, I can write about female pain, why wouldn't I? But I'm a woman, I can do a whole lot else besides.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

I have a date

He's flying in from Australia. I have to import my dates now! Not just to meet me of course, but on business.

We met on the Friends Reunited website sometime last year. Apparently we were both stranded on the same windswept Northern campus more years ago than I care to remember. We fell into a virtual correspondence when we started to talk about a book he has written, and have maintained a desultory, sporadic 'friendship' since.

There was absolutely no hint of a more intimate agenda on either side, so I was rather taken aback when he emailed recently about his forthcoming trip and proposed that either we meet in Brighton for lunch on the day he flies back, or that we 'throw caution to the winds' and that I fly over to join him for a week in his tiny apartment in South West France. A beguiling thought indeed and it did bring a smile to my face. Imagine!

Prosaically, I am working that week and my son will be in the throws of his dreaded GCSEs, so it has to be lunch in Brighton this time round. It could be anything or nothing, but that is the intriguing thing about my situation.

You simply never know what will happen next.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

It really is that simple

"Have I told you lately that I love you
Have I told you there's no-one above you
Fill my heart with gladness, take away my sadness
Ease my troubles, that's what you do"
Van Morrison

I dreamt last night that we broke up again, me and the man I had been dating. We spent about four months breaking up last year after a brief, unsatisfactory relationship.  I'm very bad at letting go. In my dream, we were at a party and I was upset about the way he was behaving towards me, so I left, went out into the dark and cold alone. He didn't follow me. He had other priorities.

And when I saw him again, he told me that the problem was me, that when he is networking, he can't think about me at all. So I broke up with him. In my dream. Quite right too.

If you are with someone and you are serious about them, then you put them first.

If you do that everything else falls into place.

If you know you are loved and know you are secure, you can be generous when the pressure is on, because you know he would if he could.

You know there's no-one above you.

It really is that simple.