Thoughts

Heading for The Headland.

Are you a regular Hotel goer?  Is fine dining, napkins laid in your lap, wine placed in a cooler on the table and poured by an Italian looking waiter part of your regular yearly routine?  Or are you like me, and the nearest you’ve come to this over the years is a night on the sofa with Julia Roberts as she plays ‘Vivienne’ in the film “Pretty Woman’.   Oh how I love that film.

If you are one of the lucky ones then I would advise a night on the sofa with Julia,  it’s a great film if you’ve never seen it, but if you are like me and summers as a single mum meant a paddling pool in the garden and an Ice pop from the fridge, then don’t be too surprised when the waiter pulls out a chair.  It’s not because he’s noticed that the chair leg is wobbly, and doesn’t want an accident on his hands, hes doing it for you,  Just for you!

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The Headland Hotel has been the most iconic of Cornish hotels for over a century.  I think the word  ‘Grand’  goes someway to describe it, especially for a hotel virgin like myself.  The staircase leading down to dinner in the evening seemed to arouse a floating feeling and I had to be careful not to trip on my dress as I did my best ‘Meghan Markle’ impression.  I certainly felt quite the royal as I made my way down those stairs each night.  I wonder if anyone could tell?   Its strange to think that I was walking in the footsteps of Princes Edward and Bertie who stayed in the hotel as teenagers being among the early guests.

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In the late 19th century the building of this hotel wasn’t welcomed by all.  Local fishermen who claimed that it was being built on common land where their nets had been dried for generations, even went to the lengths of pushing the foreman’s hut into the Atlantic.  I’m hoping the foreman was out on a tea break at the time.   During the 2nd World War it was used as a hospital and there are many unproven claims of ghostly sitings, nurses in uniform wandering around at night.  Thankfully I slept very peacefully apart from the odd snore which definitely wasnt of a ghostly nature.

Some of you may recognize it as the filming location for  ‘The Witches’ , written by Roald Dahl, and released as a film in 1990 with Rowan Atkinson playing the hotel manager.

The hotel is so welcoming with a really relaxed atmosphere.  There are an array of lounge rooms to choose from whether you’re wanting a meal, a drink, a game of chess or just a bit of quiet, and although beautifully decorated it still maintains its original charm, giving you a taste of history wherever you choose to sit.  When you are lucky to have wall to wall sunshine as in the last few days there is a lovely decked area where you can sit and watch the tide rolling in and out,

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Or just watch in awe as the sun sets in the evening.

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Of course nothing beats waking up to the sound of a seagull swooping above you, the fresh smell of sea air and the gentle sound of the waves as they crumple onto the shore.  What could be more perfect and rejuvenating.

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I think my summers past, with one hand holding an ice pop and a foot in the paddling pool have only served to increase my appreciation of a few nights spent in such a special place….and I can’t help but be thankful.

 

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Love Alison x

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Thoughts

Miracles take time.

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Finding myself in the role of a single mum at the age of 36 was definitely not in my life plan.  Not that I ever really had a life plan as such but if I had, it wouldn’t have included this.  I did however have dreams, and as I stood at the altar on my wedding day surrounded by a church full of family and friends,  united in the view that our vows were sacred, those words were heartfelt.  For better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death us do part.  I was a young blushing bride in love with my childhood sweetheart and I meant every word.  Having been brought up in a traditional christian family I had no reason to doubt that we would be together forever, but life can throw some unexpected punches and when the worst comes, sickness hits, money is short and hope seems lost , you need more than words to get you through. You need a miracle.

Twenty years ago that’s what was needed to help mend two broken people but the miracle never came…. or did it?  At that point in my life (and I can only speak from my version of events) we needed a gardener.  Someone who was willing to dig deep into the mud.  A gardener who could tell the difference between the weeds and the flowers and put both in their place.  I’m only just beginning to learn about gardening but one thing I’ve learnt is that weeds grow quicker than flowers.  Looking back I can now see that over a period of time the weeds in our marriage had grown too quickly and taken over, so we couldn’t see the flowers anymore.  Of course that didn’t mean that they weren’t still there, we had just lost sight of them.

Good reliable gardeners are often hard to find.  You ask them to give you a quote after viewing your garden but how often do we not hear from them again.  Maybe they were too busy to fit us in or they took one look and thought “No way Jose”!.  Digging deep into someones life takes four things. Commitment, time, sacrifice and inconvenience. It’s so much easier to keep our hands clean and hope that someone else does the dirty work.   During those difficult years we didn’t find that gardener,  they grabbed their spades and ran…. so we were faced with that unexpected word that none of us go into marriage expecting.  Divorce!

Simon has often said that he hates the word divorce.  Asking him why he felt this way his response was this.  “Its a dark word mum, it means death, you lose a parent.  Well that’s a pretty clear and honest description of the word that rocked his little life and the lives of his brothers and sister.  I will always hold some sadness in my heart not just for the dark times I went through but for the fact that those four beautiful, innocent little people had to face their own darkness at such a young age and at times possibly without the help of their mum as she had her own demons to conquer.  Of course divorce doesn’t mean the death of the other parent although it can feel that way,  but I’m sure the loss of daily contact with their dad hurt him as much as it hurt them.  A daily phone call can never make up for a daily hug from your dad and a kick of a football around the garden.  There are some things a mum can’t do so well.   However I don’t think they suffered in the hug department unless maybe in overdose

Divorce rates are high among couples with a special needs child.  Although I have never put any blame for what happened on the fact that we found ourselves in that situation at such a young age before we had really found ourselves, I do feel that the stress of such an ongoing situation took its toll. Personally as a young mum I carried around a huge burden of unnecessary guilt for many years over this and I think it contributed massively to the depression I suffered in my thirties.  That depression went undiagnosed for quite a few months and the build up of anxiety as to what was wrong was devastating.

The separation of two people doesn’t just end there.  Just as the first domino in a line is knocked over and the rest follow,  so as two people divide the knock on effect is felt by many as they are faced with the reality of how to deal with their investment in the friendship or family bond.  Not wanting to take sides or make a choice is a tough place to be and as far as family goes ranks often close and you can go very quickly from feeling an integral part of something to feeling like ‘public enemy number one’.  Throw into the mix a belief system that doesn’t look kindly on divorce and well, your scuppered really.  A wise friend said to me at the time that I had lost all my constants.  Its only recently that I realised how true that was and in loosing my constants in nearly every area of my life I also for a while lost myself.  The journey home has been a rocky one although I think it has been more a journey of discovering who I am now and I’m thankful for the friends new and old who have stuck by me.

There were many factors that led up to the separation of,  and divorce of two people who for a good many years were the best of friends and very much in love.  There are always two sides to every story and I can of course only write mine.  As the title of my blog indicates and the haze of time has softened the rough edges, it may be the version of a rose-tinted spectacle wearer but life is kinder that way.

Earlier I questioned the miracle that didn’t happen at the time I wanted it.  That ‘remarkable event or development that brings very welcome consequences’ didn’t come in a flash to take away the pain we were about to go through, but I believe it did come.  As a family we have lived through some years of heartbreak, loneliness confusion and loss but we’ve survived.  Looking at my garden I see flowers, some in full bloom, some still breaking out in bud, birds are singing and a fresh breeze is blowing.  I only have to look at my children to feel immense pride as I see the people they have become, the goodness in their hearts and their love for each other and there it is……. the miracle.

 

 

With love to all those who’ve been there, those who are there now and those who may unexpectedly find themselves there in the future.