Tuesday, 31 August 2010


I'm experiencing something I haven't for quite some time. I have a crush.

Normally, I meet someone new, we flirt, nothng happens/he asks me out/we kiss (reverse order as necessary), and things either go from there or grind to a halt and I write the whole thig off to experience.

Instead, there's a guy I've known for a while who's caught my attention after more than a year. We know each other socially, through a music night and mutual friends, but I found myself in one to one conversation with him for most of the last evening we were out together.

I arrived in the pub early, and my friends were running late. The mutual friend who runs the acoustic night was about but busy so I got a drink and sat down. Happy enough to wait knowing there was folk I knew on their way. He was at the bar on his own, I didn't see him until he waved, came over and asked if he could join me. Easy chatter flowed as one by one our friends arrived, groups mixing more than usual. We normally chat a little but return to our respective tables. It was nice: an awful word, I know.

We'd never spoken like that before and suddenly I see him in a whole different light. Serious, passionate and silly in equal measure.

It's a bit disconcerting that I find myself thinking about him now. We laughed and flirted and chatted. He's attractive and made me feel like I am too. Who knows if it'll ever become more than flirting, but in the meantime I'll just enjoy feeling like a fifteen year old!

Monday, 30 August 2010


Mouse, well probably mice, have invaded my drawer of baking and dried goods (like noodles, flour, sugar and spices bought in bulk- useful store cupboard things I've built up over a long period and will resent replacing!). I am p***ed off and fearful in equal measure! I know the mouse/mice are probably more scared of me than I am of them. I've had lots of helpful advice from friends, which is greatly appreciated, but I'm struggling to put it into action.

I hate that my house has been invaded. Spiders are bad enough, but mice? Not good.

Mostly, I'm quite content living on my own. I manage to do most things by myself. I can paint rooms, hang curtains and have my own electric drill but occasionally I hate it. This is most definitely one of those occasions.

Did I bring a creature home with me from my camping trip, or is there a wee hole somewhere and the colder nights have tempted them into my warm home? I'm just hoping and praying its just a cunning visitor, not a whole family....argh!

There is a single drawer where packets have been chewed through and a drawer of plastic storage containers that shows evidence that they've passed through there too. I've washed out most of the plastic containers and will finish the rest tomorrow but I just haven't quite rustled up the courage to tackle the drawer. I suspect wellies and rubber gloves may be required for me to take the next step.

I cope with so much, and survive well enough on my own. But sometimes I resent it. Sometimes, often, it just makes me sad. Sometimes, I just want someone else to say it'll be ok. Sometimes, I am lonely.

Mostly, I am ok.

Today I just want someone, anyone, to help me be braver and who'll check the drawer has no residents before I chuck everything out. Instead I'm feeling like a ridiculously daft girl who's procrastinating about something that just needs dealt with.

I want my house back.

Monday, 23 August 2010

The Last Weekend

It feels like the end of summer. The British weather is unpredictable at best, so it's not so much about temperature, or rain, but a change in the light. It is that shift in seasons that creeps up that we only feel when it is upon us.

I was camping this weekend with old friends. As the boys went to collect more kindling for the fire, I sat by the loch looking over the hills at the low sun and the rain closer than before.

I love this stirring in the seasons and the light. I look forward to the change that will come with autumn.

We walked in the late summer sunshine, with the odd shower at our backs, high above the loch. After two months of my mother's limbs regaining their strength, mine have been losing theirs. My old back and hip aches returning, caused by hospital visiting instead of exercising. As we walked I could feel my joints loosening and muscles working. The freedom of our land and air challenging my body. Steps towards being more powerful again. I will walk through the autumn.

Wild camping is a wonderful privilege in a country which supports outdoor access. There is a national park an hour from my home, where informal camp sites are well used and tolerated by the rangers as long as we are respectful of these places. We spent two nights with sunshine, violent wind, drizzle and heavy rain all at play.

It is easy to be quiet in this place, and with three men who are happy to share silence as much as chatter.

Yesterday morning I woke first. I sat sheltering from the rain, listening to the Canada geese, reading and drinking coffee made on my little stove. The light coloured front section of my tent is quite transparent as the rain runs from the canvas. I love the simplicity of this. I love watching the water turn into little rivulets. I love that such uncomplicated constructions – when was the first first tent made? How many centuries ago? - can protect us from the elements and can be bundled on to our backs. Fabric and modern day sticks, that's all.

I am glad of this weekend. I have missed much of this summer and am glad to see it out.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Onwards and Upwards

So, some of you have asked how life's going, particularly since giving up the lovely world of self employment for a new opportunity. The past couple of months have been good and awful.

The Canadian disappeared on me. After a lovely three months with him, he just vanished. It was enjoyable but not really going anywhere. I left him in my bed one morning, kissed him goodbye and he posted my keys back through the letter box - as had become the habit - and I never heard from him again.

We'd been taking things slow, so at least I wasn't invested in it enough for it to hurt too much. The thing that galls me is the rudeness of it. I am shocked that he could walk away without so much as call or an email to say that our relationship, if you can call it that, wasn't for him. It's bad mannered and cowardly. I suppose it's been a lucky escape, would I really want to be more involved with a man who behaves like that?

I miss having someone around though. I miss having someone to ask how my day's been and put a protective arm around me.

The same week as I started my new job, my mother had a fall whilst in hospital. It's a long story of negligence and bad practice but she's finally able to walk a bit, and has been downstairs in her own house this week for the first time in two months. What it's meant for me and my sister is that we've had two hospitals to visit, two parents' needs to attend to and half as much time of our own. It can only be described as a slog, and my poor sister has borne more of it than me because of the job. I am grateful that she is there and patient with it.

Work is the shining light though. I'm now a senior manager in major charity whose purpose I am passionate about. I'm not sure I'd ever have applied if I'd known about the seniority of the post. But retrospectively, I am glad. It's an opportunity that I didn't know I wanted and would perhaps have shied away from. I've got a once in a lifetime project to work on with a great team of people. They're happy with me, and I'm happy with them. I don't think I'd quite understood how much my professional confidence had been eroded by my last boss, and finally I am accepting that I'm good at what I do. I'd forgotten in amongst the bullying. I was undermined to the core.

Freelancing was the first step back to regaining myself and I will return to the consultancy at some point. It's a lifestyle I loved. I loved the freedom it gave me, and the variety. But for now, I am enjoying beingrelatively well paid (well, 'well' for my sector!), working hard and being properly supported and valued to deliver a project that will changes lives of those most in need. I am humbled by it also.

In amongst it all, I've done my best to try and maintain a little of my own life. I make sure that I see my friends and find some light heartedness along the way. However, apart from a week of being sick, I haven't had a week off since Christmas and I am exhausted.

To sum it all up: I guess I'm currently a very tired single girl, with a great job, relieved that the parental front is improving and much in need of a hug from someone who needs nothing from me in return.

I've got the week after this booked off, with no plans other than to try find fresh air, sleep, good conversation and some space. All suggestions welcome!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Letter to an ex lover, former friend

I was standing in a field in my wellies watching one of our greatest folk musicians on my own. Friends had wandered off elsewhere, interested in other things. Surrounded by people, noise and hills, I was happy. I turned to share this music, this moment: my pleasure, my thoughts, my smile, my tapping feet.

It was you I thought of.

It was you who would have loved this. It was you who understood and shared the passions of my inner geek.

Sometimes, I miss you. I miss your friendship and joy in simple things.

Instead, I chatted to a random stranger.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

My Vertical Village

I live in a traditional Scottish Victorian tenement. There are six flats; three unmarried ladies of different generations (one of which is me), a single mum, a middle aged bloke – unusually, a professor of popular music - and two lesbians, four kids and a cat. We're an eclectic bunch, and it's only as I write I realise that not one of these homes hosts a 'traditional' family.

Tenement living is little like existing in an upright village. We know each others business to a point, help each other when we can and unite against our evil property managers. They wield too much power over us as factors – a strange landlord hybrid - despite us owning our own homes and, communally, the building that brings us together.

We're sacking them as they hinder rather help us take care of the old place and our bank accounts. Tonight I hosted our meeting to figure out the way forward for this little vertical gathering of homes.

Living like this, in a big formerly industrial city, brings a comforting sense of community and reassurance.

We are merely keepers of this place for our life times. The building will be here long after we're all gone, if we look after it.

Who will inhabit these rooms after me? Who has lived and died here, broken hearts or given birth?

Will my predecessors take care of the cornicing , the century old sash windows or the elderly lady upstairs? No-one can know, but for now this building and the lives contained within it are ours. We look out for each other and this place.

I like it.