Thoughts

A Valentines to remember.

I’ve been longing to get the time to write this post.  You may remember that when I first started my blog I wrote a post entitled Cottage life.  Looking back at that post, I am in total disbelief about the changes that have happened in my life since that day, as sitting on my swing seat in my garden I tentatively stepped my toes into the blogging waters and put my heart into words.

On Valentine’s day, having spent a lot of time packing over the last few weeks and months, I woke early, excited and full of expectation for the day ahead.  Handing the removal men the key so they could lock the door for me on the past 12 years of my life, I stepped into ‘Daisy’, my blue VW Beetle which was bursting to the bumpers with more of my treasures, hidden from Mark (who seemed determined to skip as much as possible). Then with Jess in the front, and my two hens in a box on the back seat I started the engine and began to drive.

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I’m not a confident driver who can jump in and go anywhere, and over my years as a single mum my driving has suffered due to stress and anxiety, but I knew where I was going.  I had learned the route as we had spent time looking around the area, and knowing what lay beyond my fears was enough to send me happily on my way.

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Along with valentines day this year holding so much joy and expectation,  I also climbed a personal mountain as I made my way to our new home.

Talking of mountains I am now to my total amazement completely and utterly nestled in the Peak District of Derbyshire.  Or to put it another way, I feel like I just became a leading role in the film  ‘The Holiday’,  Kate Winslet you have been sidelined for sure! and as for Cameron Diaz well my little beetle ‘Daisy’ definitely beats the little mini she was navigating at high speed through those country roads.

As well as feeling that I am living ‘In a movie’ I also have the feeling that I have been painted straight onto an artists canvas.  As I’m writing this post I am surrounded by beauty wherever I look.  My ‘babbling brook’ fountain from my post Cottage life. has morphed into a real babbling brook just feet away from where I am sitting.  Pheasants have replaced the pigeons, and we are awoken in the morning by the sound of a woodpecker pecking away on the bird box with the intention I think of attracting another passing woodpecker as a possible mate.  Well, it has just been Valentine’s day after all.

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Our cottage was built in the 17th century and along with being used as a wheelwright’s, it was also for many years used as a hut where girl guides would meet and we have a stone above the back door to remind us of this.

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Thankfully the previous owner has lovingly modernized our new home, and the ladder that the girl guides used when they camped in the loft, over the barn which is now our lounge, has been replaced with a little staircase, making life a lot easier for us when we head for sleep.  I’m quite sure that there was a lot of girl guide laughter and merriment as they climbed that ladder to bed in years gone by.

Living in a home enshrouded in history is a first for me and makes it even more special.  The house is a wonderful mix of old and new, cottage and modern.  Which is ideal as I’m a cottage girl but Mark is a modern guy, so it blended perfectly.  I am also sneaking in all those items saved from near death, and gradually finding homes for them.  I’m hoping he won’t notice!

The Peak District National Park is an area of great diversity,  it is split between the dark peak where most of the moorland is found and the geology is gritstone, and the limestone area of the White Peak’.  Until recently I had really never spent much time here but all I can say is that I wish I had, as it is a place of amazing beauty, stunning breathtaking scenery, and the sights and sounds of the countryside are filling my heart and lungs with something new, something that I think I have needed for a long time.

Moving home is known to be stressful and it has certainly been teetering that way,  but as the mountain of boxes is reducing and the tension of the last few weeks is beginning to ease, those feelings I hope will be replaced with an appreciation of how very fortunate we are to find ourselves in such an amazing place.

I feel like I have a ‘world outside my window’  just waiting to be captured and I’m sure my blogs will take on a new lease of life over the coming weeks and months.

I am one lucky valentines girl for sure.

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Love Alison x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thoughts

When the timing is right.

2018 has been a year of significant change for this Sussex girl in the Midlands, and avid ‘rose tinted spectacle’ wearer.  Looking back as I come to the end of the first week of 2019,  I am amazed at the changes that have occurred, and am immensely proud of the way in which my family and I have adapted and adjusted to those changes.

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Oh how true I find this quote to be.  Sometimes we yearn for change when we are stuck in a difficult situation, especially when it goes on for a long time, and we can see no light at the end of the tunnel.  For those of you who have been following my blog, you will know that I have been mum and carer to my son Simon for the last 32 years.  As a single mum for 20 of those years I’m sure you can imagine that there were many times when change was needed, if only in the form of a break.  I longed for the wind to blow in a different direction, but as my mum would often say to me,  “keep plodding on Alison”  so I would adjust my sails and continue to float, wondering if the wind would ever blow my way.

This time last year we were busy packing, buying and preparing for a change that I really never thought would happen.  Simon had been given the opportunity to move into supported living accommodation.  He would have his own flat, but there would be on site carers to help him with the daily tasks in life that he finds too challenging, and sometimes too unsafe to cope with alone.  The day he was handed his key is a day that I will never forget, and a day that brought positive change for both of us.  And although Simon will always keep us on our toes with his antics, I guess I could say that it’s a day when the wind definitely blew in a different direction.

This massive, unexpected change has taken some adjusting too.  Over Christmas, Simon was sat chatting with me and said: “Mum, when I spent my first night in Parklands I felt like crying, I felt so alone”.  My heart broke a little as I sat listening to him, but also gave a little jump of pride as I sat looking at my son, who with all his difficulties has stuck with his new situation, however hard he found it at first.  He now has far more support not just from me but from his family as a whole, and our relationship is vastly improved.

Meanwhile, as we were working our way through the Simon Changes there was another rather lovely life change on its way.  My first grandchild Arlo Frank was born on the  21st of July.  A lovely healthy baby boy and thankfully safely delivered at home.  Over the next few days Mum, Dad, and baby Arlo began to work their way through those first tentative days as a new little family.  I have to say that I am so proud of those two newbie parents, and the amazing job they are doing of caring for my grandson and each other.

Well, what a year!  I became an empty nester and a Nonna in the space of a few months. I’m sure those of you reading this who are already grandparents, will know what I mean when I say that the unexpected love I feel for that little boy is incredible.

Just over two years ago I had a bad fall downstairs which my body is still recovering from, but looking back on 2018, a year of major change, I am also proud of myself for what I have achieved during a time of personal difficulty.  I have also learnt to look after myself, to pace myself and to have faith in the adage that ‘time is a great healer’.

We can I’m sure be proactive in making changes in our lives, but sometimes we have to be willing to sail through the storm however long or hard it may be.  We have to learn to adjust our sails and take a day at a time, until one day the wind begins to gently blow our way……….when the ‘timing is right’.

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Now here’s to a great 2019!!

 

 

 

Love Alison x

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Thoughts

Its on its way!

 

Do you have a favourite season?  Autumn is definitely mine.  I just love this time of year when things begin to change and  ‘you can just smell Autumn’.  I seem to remember using that line in an earlier blog post, but its the way I feel each year as the North Pole begins to lean away from the sun, and the autumnal Atlantic winds begin to blow.

As mother nature begins to prepare herself for the months ahead, life gets quite busy. Our feathered friends will begin to migrate to warmer climates.  Squirrels will be scurrying around burying their nuts and forgetting where they put them, and hedgehogs, dormice and bats will eat lots of fruit, nuts and insects to store up body fat, as they prepare for their long lay in during the winter months.  I can just imagine them snuggled in their duvets in their cozy holes with a warm pot of insect tea beside their beds.   Those of us with two legs will be starting to think of warm woolies and winter fuel and dare I say it…Christmas.

Ok so maybe we are not quite out of the summer yet and hopefully there is still some good weather ahead, but something has definitely changed and as always, it excites me.

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The landscape will begin to change from tranquil green to a vivid array of reds, browns  and orange, as leaves change their colour, and fall gently to the ground.  Below my feet will be a crisp crunchy carpet which while my man would prefer to sweep it up, I would prefer to kick it around with childish glee, and when no one is looking I certainly will.  (sorry Mark!)

Autumn brings thoughts of scarves and wellies and brisk country walks, followed by a mug of hot chocolate topped with marshmallows and cream.  Hmmm if I carry on with this line of thought I’ll begin to look like a dormouse, comfortably nourished and ready for the coming months in my snug little home, but you get my drift I’m sure.  I just think Autumn is such a cosy season.

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Tom Hanks (in the film ‘Youve got Mail”) might think that New York in the fall is something worth shouting about, but this Sussex girl in the midlands thinks that Autumn in England is pretty cool too, and it’s definitely a season which encourages creativity.  My next few posts will be tinged with autumnal colours and vibes and I hope you will enjoy reading them, and by the way if you can’t get hold of me over the weeks ahead don’t worry,

I’m probably not far away!

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Love Alison x

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Thoughts

Lifes Dance.

 

Change draws near,  as

summer greens fade,  and

cool winds begin to blow.

Movement replaces the stillness,  of

a sun scorched day,  as trees begin to dance to

the tune of the autumn breeze.

Leaves, having adorned the summer, slowly

lose their grip on the life they’ve known, and

 a new landscape emerges .

Life’s encircling brings change, colours brighten, and fade

with each passing season.

From the warm joy of the sun,  to

the cool bite of the wind, we dance to the tune of

that which life brings.

We dance till the day,  just as green summer leaves,  we too

loose our grip, on the life we have known.

But its the dancing that makes life worth living,  and

its the dance that one day,

                                                                  takes us home.

 

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Love Alison x

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Thanks to my daughter Charlotte for dancing her way through life and for providing me with a great feature photo.

Thoughts

Slow and steady wins the race.

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I’m sure most of you will be familiar with Aesop’s fable ‘The Hare and the Tortoise’.

The excitable, speedy hare makes fun of the slow and steady tortoise, until eventually getting fed up with his bragging, the tortoise challenges the hare to a race. Fully expecting to win and knowing how slow the tortoise is, the hare decides to take a rest and falls into a deep sleep.  On waking, he is astonished to see that the tortoise has quietly passed by, and is just crossing the finish line. The moral of the story is of course  as we all know,  that  ‘Slow and Steady wins the race’

For those of you who are following my blog, you may have read my post ‘For the love of Simon. and be aware of the fact that I have been both Mum and carer to Simon for the past 32 years, from the age of 23. During those years, and especially over the few years since my other three children left home, there have been many occasions when I have felt like that tortoise.

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Ok, so admittedly I don’t look quite like this, at least I hope not! but oh how often I have felt that I have just been plodding slowly along, fulfilling my duty as a parent and carer to my son, as any loving parent would, and to be totally honest, up until 6 months ago i expected to be plodding on in that role for the rest of my scaly days. Even my mum would say to me at times…”Just keep plodding on Alison” did she think I was a tortoise too?

So I have plodded, slowly working through each day, taking each hump and bump as it came, and trying my best to come out smiling.  Like any other tortoise, I have at times become overwhelmed with my lot and have needed a helping hand to get back on my feet so I could continue plodding but isn’t that what friends are for.

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This past year has stretched my shell to the limits. Being a carer is hard enough, but when the carer’s health suffers, as mine has after a bad fall 16 months ago, who does the caring?  As is so often the case for many of us, the tortoise just had to plod some more and somehow keep things going with a very achy outer shell and at times an achy inner one too.  Thankfully I’ve had some help from someone who’s been willing to plod alongside me, and I’m grateful to my man for that.

In a recent post I talked about some changes that were happening this year, and as I lay on my bed of straw  (looking as tortoisy as I can)  I am struck by the quiet in my cottage. The silence hanging around me is a sound that I never expected to hear. It is the sound of a house without Simon because Simon has moved out, Simon is living in his own shell.

Although an unhealthy one, this year has also created the time needed to look into the possibilities for Simon to live more independently.   This week we moved him into his own little flat in a supported living complex where he will be supported on a daily basis by the on-site carers. Watching him being handed his key was an emotional experience, maybe a bit like watching  Dennis Mortimer lifting the European Cup,  after the win against Bayern Munich in Rotterdam in 1972.  If like Simon you support ‘The Villa’

So many things have just slotted into place to make this transition easier. Simons older brother has just recently moved back to Derby and lives just five minutes from Simons new home, and his other brother lives just a few more minutes in the other direction which will give Simon a lot more contact with his siblings and somewhere to go and grab an easy meal or two or three !!

We are in the very early stages of a huge life change for both myself and Simon. Of course, I will continue to be involved in his care and there will always be things that he needs help with, but for the first time in 32 years my load has got a little lighter and my shell doesn’t feel so heavy.

I’m not sure how the whole tortoise thing came into this post, it just kind of evolved, but I think the message I want to get across is this:  that life can totally turn around when we are least expecting it.  All that plodding suddenly becomes worthwhile and we see that there was light at the end of the tunnel after all. It just happened to be a very long tunnel, but we got there eventually.

In the fable of the hare and the tortoise, the tortoise won the race through his tireless efforts, he just kept going without worrying about his slow pace and as I pull my straw around me, in a very peaceful home I can almost hear my mums voice.

“keep plodding on Alison”… and I smile.

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Love Alison x

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Thoughts

Winds of Change.

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“People are always saying that change is a good thing, but what they really mean is that something that you didn’t want to happen, has happened.”  This quote is from my favourite film  ‘You’ve Got Mail’,  as Meg Ryan has to finally accept the loss of her beloved bookshop.  Oh, how I love that film (and Daisies)!  So much so that my precious DVD has given up the ghost. Change however is something I struggle with at times, and as Meg so aptly puts it, change often comes because of circumstances that are out of our control.

Three types of Change.

1.  Change that is forced upon us ie: Death, divorce or the loss of something which gave us value,  like our job or career.

2.  Change that we choose ie:  Changing our hairstyle, our blog theme (have you noticed?) or a change of lifestyle that we think would make us happier.

3:  Change that comes from a positive place ie:  Starting a new job, Engagement, Marriage, becoming a Parent or a Grandparent,

Change is the one constant thing in life,  but whatever kind of change we face be it a sad change or a change that brings great joy, stress will play its part.  I guess it’s how we face it and how we come out the other side that moulds our character and makes us stronger.

A few tips for surviving Change.

1. Acknowledge things are changing.  Try not to keep fighting it, but start to deal with it, one step at a time.

2. Keep to a regular routine,  even walking the dog every day can help to keep you grounded. (if you don’t have a dog borrow a friends!)

3. Realize that stress can be present even through positive changes.

4 Eat Healthily, Exercise and rest if needed.

5. Don’t be afraid to seek support… we all need help at times, that’s what friends and family are for.

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Even the natural world is constantly changing and at times can get a bit muddled up.

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I have some big changes ahead of me this year, some of which I have had a part in creating,  and some that I can just ‘feel a coming’,  I’m sure there will be blogs along the way to help me through as I share my experiences and journeys,  but the one that is foremost in my mind is the transition from Parent to Grandparent!!… YES, I’m going to be a Grandma.  Having spent the last few days walking around with a scan photo of my grandchild tucked safely in my pocket, occasionally checking in the mirror for new signs of ageing, and thinking surely it’s not possible,  I am left with a feeling of contentment and a notebook full of possible names…..for myself!!   I’ll leave the choice of the baby’s name to the totally amazing parents to be, but what will he or she call me?

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Having lost my mum a while ago but being full of memories, I feel she still owns the title of Grandma, and not feeling like a nanny or a granny  I am looking into other options.  Having spent a year in Italy at the age of 18 I’m thinking of borrowing  ‘Nonna’  if my Italian friends will allow, but who knows maybe ‘said grandchild’ might come up with its own little phrase for this apprentice.

Many of the changes I’ve had to face in my life have been of the first kind on my list,  change that, like Meg Ryan in ‘You’ve Got Mail’  I really didn’t want to happen,  but somehow we accept, adapt and move on.

I’m ready for some positive changes in my life,  and who knows maybe this Nonna will even manage to knit a pair of Booties!!,   Happy New Year.

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Love Alison x