Thoughts

The sweet smell of stationary.

“Dont you just love New York in the fall?  It makes me want to buy school supplies.  I would send you a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils if I knew your address, on the other hand this not knowing has its charms.”

Well I’m definitely not in New York,  and it’s not quite ‘the fall’ or ‘autumn’ as us brits call it, but I’m sure many of you will recognize this quote from what has to be my very favourite movie ‘Youve got Mail’.  This film and of course the charming Tom Hanks is the reason for all my romantic notions in life.  It has been watched so many times that I have lost count, but I still keep popping it into the machine.   It continues to charm and cheer me, and leave me with a lovely warm romantic glow.  Tom Hanks always comes to mind at this time of year as I enter the super market and get a waft of  ‘eau de stationary’ whilst standing in front of all those lovely pens, pencils and notebooks,  all freshly laid out in readiness for the new school term.

Can I ?  Should I ?  Nothing tempts me more than the thought of a lovely unused new notebook, waiting to begin its journey of ideas, or a cute, colourful pencil-case filled with fresh items ready to be put to use.  I think I will treat myself.   Even though most of my writing is done on my mac I love to have a pretty new pen for diary writing, and I’m always jotting things down that I think I will want to revisit at another time.  Do you do this?  Hopefully I’m not alone as I stand wishfully in the stationary aisle, mouth-watering as if a child standing at the sweet counter.

I’m quite sure that many of my blogging friends would feel the same, and I have to join with Tom and say that “I would send you a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils if I knew your address, on the other hand this not knowing has its charms.”   At this point in the film, for those who (I can’t believe have never watched it),  the two main character’s are still communicating by email and havent actually met.  I feel like I have made so many new friends since I started my blogging journey and yet the  ‘not really knowing you all’  does have certain charms.  Would we like each other if we met?  Would we get on? or is it the not knowing each other that keeps us in this place?  A place of safety maybe?

Whatever our reasons I know that I have personally learnt so much from all of you and your varied pastimes and thoughts, and so value your continued interest in reading and following my thoughts on this blog.

To that end I would like to send you all your very own ‘bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils’.  I’m hoping that you will enjoy the beautiful colours and scent as much as I do.

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Love Alison x

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Thoughts

Grandog Day!

For those of you who follow my blog you will know that I have just been blessed with a lovely healthy grandson.  We are all so thankful for the safe arrival of Arlo Frank and Im sure our roles in his little life will gradually find their definition, but while mum, dad and baby are learning the ropes of parenthood I am left with a very different kind of role,  that of looking after my grandog!

A couple of weeks before Arlo frank was born, my eldest sons girlfriend lost her best friend during childbirth.  Sadly having just given birth to a healthy baby boy and having held him for a few minutes there were complications, and mum lost her life.  This was shocking on so many levels, heartbreaking for the family, devastating for Shona and of course with the awaited arrival of a new baby in our own family it was deeply shocking. The funeral is today and my thoughts are so with them all as they say goodbye to such a young and beautiful life.  We could ask so many questions, but I think the best way forward is to love and support those who need it, and my part in doing that for now is looking out for this little chap for the day as they say their goodbyes.

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This is Elvis.  Sausage dog extraordinaire!  Looking a little serious in this photo but don’t be fooled, he’s a little scamp.

Elvis came along at a good time.  When family spirits for various reasons are a little low there is nothing quite like a four pawed furry friend to add a bit of spice and laughter to life, especially a puppy that needs lots of love and attention which for at least a short while removes us from our own worries.

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Elvis taking time to ‘smell the roses’ or in this case apple mint.

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Hmmm this little chap seems to have a thing about flowers! although something tells me he might have had a little help from the photographer to get in there as those little legs are really not built for climbing.

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Everything in Nonnas’ garden is so exciting and so worth a sniff and an explore.

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Luckily there is someone a little older and wiser to keep Elvis in check every now and then.  Thanks Jess.

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Phew!  All this adventure is tiring for a little chap with little legs.

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My favourite pic, and Elvis..thanks for keeping me well and truly entertained, and for bringing lots of pleasure to all who know you.  I know that you will work your magic over the coming weeks as you bring your unique sense of fun and joy into the lives of those who love you.  Your cheeky presence will be invaluable in the healing process of hearts that are broken.

Your one ‘Houndog’ for sure!

 

 

Love Alison x

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Thoughts

All of a flutter.

Things are a little tense in my corner of the world at the moment as we wait in anticipation for the safe arrival of the new little member of our family.  He or she will soon be here and for a while im sure life will go a little crazy.

So far as a Grandma or (nonna) to be goes I still feel pretty much the same.  My skirt length hasn’t changed, in fact I have spent most of the summer in a pair of cut down jeans shorts with frayed edges, feeling very  ‘ungrandmotherly’  if indeed there is such a word.  I think I have been cutting an old pair of Jeans down to shorts since I was about 13 but it still seems to be an acceptable fashion item,  and I count myself lucky that at 55 I can still get away with it.

This post however isn’t about being a Grandma or giving birth but about parenting, and how yesterday I got a ‘birds eye’ view (pardon the pun) of how it works in the world of our feathered friends.

One minute we were sat having coffee, the next it was raining sparrows and we were suddenly surrounded by fledglings, unable to fly or feed themselves.  I’m not quite sure how they made their way to the ground without breaking something, but somehow they did.

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Two were fairly healthy looking but this little guy looked like he’d been given his marching orders a little too early, and although Dad spent the day feeding all three in different parts of the garden, I didn’t think this little bundle of fluff had much chance of survival.

Baby sparrows leave the nest unable to feed themselves and the male will continue to provide for them for up to two weeks while his wife gets on with laying her next batch of eggs.  Gosh she must be one exhausted female!

I really didn’t expect them to survive the night and I’m pretty sure only 2 have .  It’s a tough world out there and I guess it really is ‘survival of the fittest’, but I was pleased to see this little chap popping his head up from his bed this morning and we had a little chat of relief while I took his photo.

Parenting is a tough job.  It takes commitment, courage, hard work and a whole heart full of unconditional love.  We are thrown into it with no real training, but somehow we survive and amazingly so do our children.  I take my hat off to this proud Dad who has probably been up all night worrying about his young as they spent their first night without him.  Dont we all know what that is like?  He is now completing his final step of the journey as their dad, and bravely letting them go.

Very soon I will be watching two new young parents take the first steps on that same journey.  If I was to give them some advice I think I would say this…Trust yourselves, trust your heart and love and support each other… the rest I think will come naturally just as it does for Mr and Mrs Sparrow.

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And at the end of the day if all else fails there is always a Nonna in denim the other side of town.

 

 

 

Love Alison x

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Thoughts

Listening in on Fistral Beach.

 

“Give it a magic tap Lilly”

A squeal of delight as a bucket is lifted,

and Lilly’s first sandcastle stands proud.

A little room for improvement,

with jagged turrets and crumbling  walls,

but isn’t that how a perfect sandcastle should be.

Built with enthusiasm

excited smiles, and

a bit of help from Dad.

                                                                                ~

“Dont knock it down yet!”

Lilly’s face crumbles

a little like the walls

of her sandcastle built,

but Dad has other plans

grand ideas for his pride and joy.

A row of ten and

then,

“then you can knock them down Lilly”

                                                                                 ~

Dad and Lilly work hard

Magic taps abound

buckets are filled and emptied

with salty tasting sand

and love,

and as the tide turns

Father and Daughter stand back

admiring what they have built

together.

                                                                                ~

“Go on then Lilly”

With a hint of the rascal

a little girl runs,

jumps, twists and turns.

Sand castles once standing tall

now flattened with childish glee.

                                                                                 ~

As the tide creeps in

bags are packed,

sandy little toes are dried

and a small hand is held.

Looking back over his shoulder

as the last remnants of their handiwork

are gently washed away

Dad smiles to himself.

“Well done Lilly”

 

 

By Alison Fielding x

 

 

Thoughts

Helen. (A short story)

It was exactly ten years to the day that Helen found herself sat in her car, tears flowing freely, on a street just minutes away from her home.  As her loud sobbing began to subside and her shaking body began to calm she glanced quickly around.  Her sight, momentarily blurred from the infusion of tears took a little while to clear, but as it did she realized that she had stopped only a few feet away from where he lived.  Without warning an intense heat began to rise from her chest to her neck, then like flames in an uncontrolled fire began to work its way up, encircling her face as the full force of the emotion she was feeling surged through her body.  All she could do was sit and wait,  knowing from experience that it would eventually pass.

Life for Helen over the last decade, had been messy to say the least.  A cacophony of  mixed feelings, difficult relationships and entangled lives.  A roller coaster of emotions and Helen hated roller coasters.  She detested most fairground rides with the exception of the merry-go-round, which even as an adult she still couldn’t resist.  The brave colours and enchanting music had drawn her towards it, and with a little girls dream of riding her own pony, it was the closest she came to getting her feet in those stirrups.   As an adult the gentle turning and up and down motion of the brightly coloured horses was calming, and gave her the sense of safety and control that she so often craved.  Other than that the fairground would always be enjoyed for the sweet taste of candy floss and the excited screams of her children as she watched them from a place of safety, feet firmly on the ground.

As her panic began to fade, and feeling more relaxed Helen began watching passers-by and wondered if their lives were as complex as hers.  A tall, elegant young woman being pulled eagerly along by a lively Red Setter,  passed by on the other side of the road.  She threw a quick glance at the tear stained face in the car, then carried on her way.  Helen hastily emptied her handbag on the passenger seat in search of a tissue and began to dab her eyes, trying to remove the stains of waterproof mascara that were now tatoed onto her cheeks.  After a few attempts she realized that this would have to wait till later, she also made a mental note that waterproof mascara didn’t behave as it should, at least not the brand that she afforded.

A few more cheerful dog walkers passed by.  Children were happily riding their bikes in the midday sun, whiling away the long summer hours.  In her now slightly dreamy state she only just managed to duck as a figure she knew  ‘oh so well’  came out of his door to place some rubbish in the bin.  Trying to breathe calmly Helen wondered at the irony of finding herself in this place so many years after they had met, and knew that a torch was still being carried, if only in her own heart.  Amongst all the chaos of her life emotions had been buried but not dealt with.  It was one of her fortes ..’why deal with today what can be put off till tomorrow?’  she really did need to work on that one and maybe her doctors suggestion of cognitive therapy wasn’t such a bad idea after all.  Something else to add to her long list of  ‘things to do’  to improve her mental and physical well-being.

An hour passed.  Calm and quiet were replacing the turbulent state of mind which had caused Helen to jump in her car, in search of a bit of space where she could collect her thoughts.  Being a single mother had not been what Helen had in mind when the words  “I DO”  had poured eagerly and naively from her mouth.  A blushing bride, gazing adoringly into the eyes of her husband to be, dreaming the dreams of a young girl brought up on fairy tales.  Fifteen years later, the only bit of him she adored was his contribution to the procreation of their children.  Any further contribution was on his terms only and definitely not so enjoyable.

The warm sun shone through the car windscreen and landed on Helen’s long, already tanned legs.  She had always had an enviable figure and one that would often be the reason for a turned head in the street, but the kind nature in her possession didn’t allow her to use her looks for her own gain.  She did however take a little secret pleasure from the male attention she received, whilst still nursing a broken heart.

Sitting in the safety of her car Helen wondered what was going on in the house she had left behind.  She hoped that moods would be changing and apologies being prepared, if a little unwillingly.  On a good day coping with four teenagers and their raging hormones  was challenging enough, but there were many occasions when she felt totally out of her depth, and leaving the situation was the only way she could keep some form of control, if only of herself.

Looking around and taking in the all too familiar surroundings brought difficult memories flooding back to the forefront of her mind.  She tried in vain to squash them down to a place where they no longer caused her pain.  Did he suffer like this?  She thought not, and once again a fresh stream of tears began to flow down her already mascara stained cheeks.  She really did need to invest more money in herself and made a mental note to give Chanel a try.

Catching sight of the clock in the car Helen knew that it wouldn’t be long before she had to make tracks and return home.  She hoped that putting some space between them would have helped calm a difficult situation.  How she longed for the support of a partner at these times.  A male voice to guide her boys through teenage trials and a strong pair of arms around her to provide comfort on stormy days.   Helen did her best but boys needed men in their lives to look up to, and above all to learn how to treat the women in their lives with respect.  How could they learn this with no resident role model.  An idea travelled through Helen’s mind and made her smile.  ‘Rent a role model’  maybe she could start a business providing struggling single mums with positive male role models or maybe just male models…..what single mum could resist.  Uncles might have been a close substitute but Helen’s brothers all lived abroad and at times this had left her feeling very alone.

Looking at her reflection in the wing mirror of her car she noticed the hair bobble holding it in place.  She laughed to herself as she remembered the light-hearted teasing of the mechanic as he had put her car through its M.O.T.,  bobble intact.  The Fiat Punto, which had cost a mere £300 had served her well and in the three years they had been together it had been completely faithful.  Sadly, more reliable than the men in her life.

Helen’s upbringing had been strictly religious.  She had been discouraged from dating outside of the church and had grown up with a shallow experience of the world and its ways.  Meeting her lover whilst still grieving a failed marriage had been the starting point of change in Helen’s life, and although he had brought a lot of additional pain to her door, she found it hard to forget him.

Helen could scarcely believe that the years had passed so quickly.  The fact that she had pulled up just minutes from his home-made her realize that feeling close to him, or to memories of the times they spent together, still brought her a sense of safety in her troubled day.  She wondered if this constituted stalking and contemplated starting the engine only to take her hands of the keys and let her mind wander and relive, if only for a moment the way he had made her feel.  Looking back it was as if he had been all the men she had never met, all the experiences she had never had.  As a young woman in her twenties when all her piers were just enjoying life, she was knee-deep in nappies and domesticity having never really known herself.  The way he touched her had made her feel like a goddess, sexy, attractive adored and beautiful.  His body was youthful, tanned and muscular and the thoughts of being wrapped in those strong arms made her feel safe.  She needed them now when she was alone, not knowing which way to turn.  She needed to hear his voice comforting her,  and she needed to feel the passion to which she had become so hopelessly addicted.

Helen knew her time of reprieve was fleeting, but those precious moments of escape had been just what she needed to pull herself together.  The sun was getting warmer and she felt cramped in the limited space.  Deciding to stretch her legs before returning home she opened the car door and let the fresh air cool her warm body, blowing away what was left of the cobwebs in her mind.  She could now return home with a slightly renewed sense of self, although could she have afforded it a holiday might have been more beneficial.  Bringing all her senses into action she tried to recall memories of holidays taken.  Her small children playing happily in the sand and splashing in the waves, not a care in the world.  Donkey rides and buckets and spades had now been replaced with X boxes and I pads, a natural progression through life but Helen knew which she preferred.  Watching her children beginning to discover life for themselves was causing her to feel anxious, and although she knew it would come right in the end she still had to squash down an overwhelming sense of fear and loss.

Having only walked a few paces from the car Helen suddenly realized that she could now clearly be seen from his house.  Her previous feelings of safety wrapped up in familiar surroundings were replaced by a rapidly beating heart and she knew she had crossed a line.  Hurrying back to the car she opened the door and sank into her seat, and as her racing heart began to slow she started the engine.  Glancing in her rear view mirror as she drove away, she knew she had to let go.

Pulling into her drive Helen could hear laughter and music coming from the house.  Her daughter came to the door and smiled, genuinely pleased to see her.  Walking into the house she could see that the washing up had been done, not to her standard but done none the less.  Picking up a tea towel she started to dry the dishes and smiled as she listened to the concoction of music travelling down the stairs.

Her life wasnt perfect, but it was her life, and for that she was grateful.

 

 

By Alison Fielding x

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Thoughts

Life after death. (A journey through grief)

My posts seem to be tinged with a little sadness at the moment, but I guess it’s just the way life is at times, and don’t we all have to take the rough with the smooth as we work our way through this amazing, beautiful, scary thing called LIFE.

Life isn’t a permanent smile on a social media selfie, however much a little internet surfing can make us feel that it should be.  It’s a complex mix of Sadness and laughter, Sorrows and Joys, Births and Deaths, Fear and Overcoming.  We all know that it takes ‘Sunshine and Rain’ to make a rainbow, and life is equally as colourful.  It’s this patchwork of emotions and circumstances that make up the rich tapestry of our lives, each complex square stitched together with threads of love and endurance.

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One of the squares on my life’s quilt will have the word  ‘MUM’  running through the stitches like a stick of rock.  My mum died two years ago on the 1st June, and I still think about her everyday.  Life after death is a path we all have to tread when we loose someone we love, it can be a long, and difficult journey, and unfortunately not one that we can avoid or decide to take at another time, however much we might prefer to postpone it.

For a long time there was a gaping hole, a rip that only time could mend.  Sometimes its tempting to make a quick repair and hope nobody will notice, but just as any seam sewn quickly and without care, would sooner or later fray, so a heart that is broken needs time to mend and there is no easy or quick fix, especially in matters of the heart.

Grieving takes time.  To begin with the loss of our loved one is the first thought each morning, and the last at night. Days can feel like weeks as we begin to work our way through the intensity of our emotions.  These are the days that we need to make our self-care a priority.  Taking some time each day to do things that bring comfort and peace can help us cope, along with trying to eat well, and getting a good night sleep.  These things may be difficult at first but as time goes by they do become a little easier… honestly.  We begin to make small steps towards recovery,  and each new little burst of sunshine in our daily life helps to slowly dry the puddles of sadness that we are wading through.

It’s a time in our lives when we need the support of those closest too us.  Just a hug or a kind word of understanding can do wonders for a grieving heart.   Human touch is  powerful and healing.  We could all benefit from more of it on a daily basis, but for someone who is grieving just a hand-held, an arm touched or a hug given can often bring greater comfort than words, and allow space for a little sadness to be relieved.  Tears at this time are tears of healing and far better out than in.

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Noticing the beauty around us can be really beneficial,  and help to bring us into the present moment.  Mother nature is around every corner,  waiting patiently for us to be ready to acknowledge her.  At first we are often too engrossed in our sadness to be able to do this, but as time moves us on we begin to see and hear all her amazing handiwork once again, and gradually we are drawn back into life.

The loss of any parent is hard.  My mum moved up to be near me in her later years and within a couple of months we found out that her days were limited.  We didn’t even have time to adjust to living close to each other before we were thrown into a myriad of appointments and specialists.  We then had to adjust to the fact that we were saying a very long goodbye, knowing that the end was near, but not knowing when it would be.

I’m so thankful that I was with her on her final journey.  It wasnt easy and there were times when I would have happily postponed it or decided to take a different route if that had been an option, but I know I did my best, and knowing my mum, that is all she would have expected of me.

I love you Mum x.

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Love Alison x

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Patchwork quilt made with love by Raye Smillie.