Sunday, 13 November 2011


If another person suggests I think about going on a group singles holiday, I may be tempted to punch them.

Friday, 11 November 2011


I have utterly indulged myself in BBC4 music documentaries that remind of what was fifteen and twenty years ago. Hearing even the first notes of particular songs transports me back to my school leaving, art college self. And I wonder what's changed, which bits are the same?

Music so powerfully part of the young adult, that memories and emotions and identity are right there with me as I listen to a snoring dachshund in my reasonably civilised surroundings, so very far from the infinitie possibilities and exploration of those days.

I'm lucky, many of those folk still travel with me, and it's good to remember where we came from, why I love those friends. I wonder why I let go of others or how we drifted.

I had a friend called Tommy. The joker, the philosopher, the musician, the pusher of boundaries. He could be found in the middle of it all, wondering if he belonged and carrying on regardless. He had a wonderful giggle and did the things I wouldn't dare to. He was also serious sometimes, exploring the world to find his place, and irreverant. A wearer of hats, and purveyor of late night conversation who always scraped through.

I was twenty when he died.

The news came in dribs and drabs. No mobile phones then, landlines engaged, local TV reports about the climbing accident and the night he spent clinging to life at the end of a rope whilst the rescue helicopter tried to reach him, his death in hospital, phone calls coming with uncertain news, no one really sure if it were true, or just too stunned to believe it, a visit to one of his close friends with no phone to deliver the news.

We were a big, broad group of friends who'd spent our holidays and weekends together at outdoor camps. They were my alternative family, still are.

We huddled together, shaken by this unimaginable loss. Suddenly life was big, and real, and scary.

It changed us.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Hospitals and flashbacks

This evening I left mum in the hospital where my father died. She's having her first hip replacement in the morning. She's scared about the anaesthetic.

It seems so routine after all we've been through these last years, but it's left me wobbly.

It was strange being back there, and hard to realise quite how tense and stressful and sad these years have been. After leaving mum tonight I wonder how did I ever get used to leaving my father there?

She's on her own, scared and worried and strange surroundings. Logically, I know she'll be fine. But, but...there's always that nagging doubt.

I didn't know how worried I was, am, and I'm left surprised. I thought I'd become numb to hospitals and sickness, perhaps I had. Having a few months' break has undone that resolve.

Questions rattle round my head. What if something happens? What if these were my last words to her? What if it's not ok? I should have said...

I just need to ride it out and know that I'll relax tomorrow once I've made the lunchtime call to check all is well.

I love her and want her to be ok.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Old Friends: Missing in Action

Sometimes it's hard not to be the grumpy single girl, and my scribblings of the past couple of years testify to that but here its is again.

I'm always delighted for my chums when they find someone new, fall in love, have kids, but it can be difficult to lose them as priorities shift. There's been a spate of folk recently who've found new love, and somewhere in the whirlwinds of their romances they neglect the people who stood by them when they were the ones reaching for the hot water bottle rather than their lover.

I'm happy enough living on my own, and having my freedom -being able to play the fiddle at 2am naked if I fancy it, or wearing bizarre combinations of cosiness as winter begins to bite, eating nothing but baked potatoes every evening for a week and indulging hours in the bath without caring about how much hot water is used.

But, as they're hanging the nursery curtains and sitting down at a table in the new restaurant, you look round for the folk who were once there to share the vestiges of the week and debate the book you've just read. You realise the numbers are dwindling and wonder what you will do do with your weekend.

I smile as I think of the proud father and friend whose man is on bended knee, and wonder if they stop to remember to keep space in their lives for the ones who helped them get there. And, who'll still be there if life doesn't turn into the dream they'd hoped for.

In the meantime, those of us left behind must huddle closer together and keep reaching out for the new.

What will the weekend bring? I don't know but, at least it may still be an adventure.