An in-between Summer…

I haven’t blogged for ooh, ages. I know. I’ve been meaning to, but, you know how it is. And I absolutely have to make a conscious decision to be better organised. Although, in my defence, I had three weeks of rather nasty back pain that stopped me in my tracks. It’s frightening how something so simple can utterly derail everything: there is no getting away from back pain, it colours everything in jagged spines that slice right through the core of you. And then it just becomes so fucking boring, too. But never mind, it’s done with now. Hurrah.

So I’m in that in-between phase, in the no-man’s land between having been a bit useless, and gearing up to Do All The Things. And it’s the school holidays too: my daughter has finished primary school, and is doing the developmental groundwork before full rehearsals for the teenage years begin. And of course, getting ready for secondary school. We have begun buying the uniform etc. And I have remembered how to tie a tie, a thing I haven’t had to wear since 1988. So there’s that little tidbit of knowledge to impart. And once the new routine begins in September, and the new stationery has been bought, and the new pencils sharpened, perhaps new words will be transmitted from brain to paper, and screen.

So in the meantime, we play. We go to the cinema, (we’ve seen Ant-Man, and LOVED IT, and Inside Out, which we enjoyed), we go swimming, we’ll be going to London, and there’ll be other things to do too. In the meantime, I have to negotiate access to my desk, while my daughter constructs worlds in MineCraft.

In the meantime, there is the small matter of rehearsing some readings. I have been asked to participate in the Spoken Word event at this year’s Stroud Fringe Festival. I have been described, by someone whose professional opinion I value a great deal, as ‘an up and coming writer’. Oh, GULP. Someone has faith in me, and has publicly declared it. And I find that I am feeling a little daunted. I mustn’t disappoint. I mustn’t let them down. I absolutely HAVE to be better at what I do. Cue, getting organised. Etc.

In the meantime, here is something I’ve been listening to for ages, because I love it. I’m listening to it now, in fact. So plug in your headphones, close your eyes/ turn out the lights, and let it wash through you. It’s beautiful.

NB: As of yet, the Fringe website does not have performance details. But it will, soon.


Running through unknown jungles every day

As I begin to write this entry it is still – just – September 3rd, and my twelfth wedding anniversary. The weather today was very different to the blazing skies of twelve years ago. I remember the grass was still heavy with dew beneath the trees where most of the photographs were taken, after the civil ceremony. (We were married at Westonbirt Arboretum, and it was lovely.) Twelve years later, twelve years wiser? Possibly. Marriage is fun, marriage is safe, marriage is hard work. Marriage is as much about remaining yourself as it is about being part of something greater than your self. Marriage is trust, and silence. Marriage is having a bloody good laugh at things that anyone who is not one of you would never understand. Each marriage is its own culture. Some people are better for leaving their marriage, if it’s not working, if it’s hurting them. I have been very lucky, and I continue to feel really rather happy, all things considered. We have a good life, in spite of the inevitable niggles and stupidities that Life chucks out to trip us all up (see this entry’s title – it’s a line from an Abba song).

We’re not one of those couples who feel the need to mark every anniversary with a big fuss and to-do. Our wedding was small, and I feel, all the more special for it. Of course, for the landmark occasions, special attention is paid (diamond earrings for our tenth anniversary, a trip to Paris for my soon to be fortieth birthday). But today was quiet and simple. My husband had to be at work today, over-seeing public order during the Stroud Fringe Festival; my daughter and I had a quiet day at home, doing not very much in our usual cheerful way. This evening we had Chinese takeout and a bottle of red, the small cherishings by shared pleasures. Oh yes, and of course there were flowers, lots and lots of flowers. The day before, he brought home for me a packet of orange custard creams, something I’ve been sort of yearning for these last six months or so (it’s a childhood nostalgia thing; I thought no one made them anymore); my husband knows how to make me happy. I think I know how to do likewise for him. I certainly hope so!

September has always been a month of beginnings, new beginnings, and beginning again; going to back to school (my daughter went back on the 1st), starting a new course… is it a happy coincidence that we chose to start our married life in this month? It’s the month of metaphorical clean slates, new pencils, and crisp apples. A new season, of mists and mellow fruitfulness… the mists will come soon enough, and the hedgerows are bursting with berries. I will probably have another go at making sloe gin this year; this time however I will show great forbearance and wait until after the first frost to gather the fruits. Forbearance, patience, I seem to be getting better at acquiring such traits; I still have a bottle of last year’s effort lurking in the cupboard. It won’t last much longer…

And now it’s September 4th. Tadaa!

That Thursday feeling…

I’m back at work. This is both a good and a bad thing. Good, because it’s part of the routine, that comforting feeling that things are normal, and where they’re supposed to be. Bad, today, because I slept very poorly last night, and am feeling not quite right, my head is woozying all over the place and it’s quite hard to concentrate.

Last night I cleared my desk. It is now a clean and shiny place, still with piles of books and papers, but neatly ordered, and efficient-looking. It feels a bit back-to-school to be honest, but that’s only a feeble coincidence. I couldn’t bear to clear it while the First Draft was under construction, so it became more and more cluttered – although I did believe that I knew where everything was. A hollow and foolish belief as it turned out, because I found, under a pile of stuff (no other word will really describe it), the picture I’d bought for my mother’s Christmas present last year. I did buy another of the same for her birthday, but still, I feel a bit silly.

So, the decks have been cleared, so to speak. The evenings are drawing in, and Autumn is waiting for the Indian Summer to do its thing and dance off stage. Time to begin again.