Friday, 28 November 2008


Birthdays are strange - so much expectation and so much introspection. I had some really nice presents on Wednesday (including a complete and very thoughtful surprise package in the post which made my day! Thanks, Carolyn!) and my daughter had made me a lovely card and a paper mouse. Yet still my pervading mood is pensive. I can't help wonderring what I've achieved in the last year and am I any closer to where I want to be. And when my husband points out all my achievements and the myriad ways we are closer to where we want to be, I still feel vaguely dissatisfied. Should I be doing better? Doing more? Doing something differently? I can't help but think that if I could only look at life in a completely different way I could come up with a radical change which would shake things up in a really serious and satisfying way. But try as I might I can't come up with that kind of insight. Maybe I'm just unsettled by the prospect of inevitable change in January.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

The earth it sootheth my soul

Or makes me too mad to care any more! I have spent the morning at the allotment *alone* and feel a real glow of achievement. It was sunny and cold and the wind made my eyes and my nose run as I struggled with the brambles, roots and carpet (yes, carpet), and I felt at one with the elements. Just let my thoughts go in a stream of consciousness and felt much more at peace. That's the up side.
The down side is that the part pf the plot I was dealing with today is just one big root! Actually, if it was one big root that would probably be easier. As it is, the top 6 inches of soil is just a mass of couch grass roots and I have to turn the soil over and then sift through it pulling the matted roots apart and pulling them out. And, as previously related, the previous owner of the plot made sure to lay plenty of carpet down - and then left it for about 6 years, so it has provided a great source for the couch grass to attach itself to and then grow down through, thus anchoring the carpet to the ground beneath as if it was tacked down with tent pegs; and then a good layer of about 2-3 inches of soil has accumulated on the top of carpet and root. However, it felt really good to see clear patches emerging as I struggled and cursed the previous owner - may he always have caterpillars on his cabbages and weevils in his biscuits.
So now we have one allotment plot, divided up into 6 roughly equal rectangles of which one is dug and planted with overwintering onions, one is dug and covered with a tarpaulin, one is dug and covered with mulch and manure, one is weeded and free of carpet but needs digging, and two are still mainly weedy and need digging. We are getting there.

Thursday, 20 November 2008


Or lack of it. Why is it that just when you think things are settling down, they all fall apart again? I thought I was getting a handle on things, working them out, finding a pattern I was comfortable with and then, whoosh! My husband's job comes to an end in January with no current sign of a replacement (for either of us). The kids catch the worst stomach bug they've ever had and my husband's had it too and we've all been out of action with washing piling up for almost 2 weeks now. And now I feel uncomfortable about everything again. Are we living in the right place? In the right house? How is the job and money situation going to work out? Why does every electrical item we own seem to break so quickly? Why do I not have useful practical skills round the house which could save us money? Where does all the time in a day go?

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Feeling out of place

Been to LLL again today and I'm still wondering, even more than before, if this is really the right place for us at the moment. I feel out of place there. Obviously, I'm not the only one there with older children but I am the only one there with *only* older children and no intention of having any more either, so I'm feeling rather out of step with everyone else there. Obviously, things at LLL tend to be rather baby-focused, and although it's nice not to feel odd for feeding a 3.5 year old, the issues are rather different when you're feeding a child rather than a baby.

Obviously, you can be friends with people whose children are not the same age as your own but I think that most new mums are not really thinking of making new friends, unless they are with people who are in the same kind stage of babyness as them. And I can't even talk about school things either.

It's not that people aren't friendly, they are - it's just that I can't really se the kind of chatty friendliness that it is turning into actual friendships away from the LLL meetings.

I'm starting to feel that this is never going to happen - meeting someone fairly like-minded, fairly local and who is actually interested in being friends with or without the children.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Remembrance Day coming up

We were in town today and the Poppy Appeal stall was there, so we spent a pleasant few minutes handing over a load of small change and putting it in the large poppy money-box and getting poppies and poppy bugs (that's progress for you!) in return. But then of course I have to discuss what Remembrance Day is all about and why we wear poppies. Now, I'm quite a big history buff and am definitely a believer in the tenet 'those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it', but sometimes the tone of Remembrance Day makes me a little uncomfortable. For example, on today's stall, they had a cardboard war memorial with 'Glorious Dead' on it. Now, I think that the word 'glorious' has no place in a discussion about war. War is not glorious and nor is dying - it's brutal, futile, squalid, a waste. I fully intend to impress this fact upon my children when the time is right, but I can't really think that at 3 and 5 years old that time is now. For now I have simply explained that sometimes people argue and when lots of people get together and argue it's called a war and people get hurt and killed, and it's better to talk about problems rather than fight. But how depressing it is that here in the 21st century I am still having to explain to my children what war is - not in a historical context, but in the here and now. Why do people go to war, Mummy? Buggered if I know.

by Siegfried Sassoon

He stood alone in some queer sunless place
Where Armageddon ends. Perhaps he longed
For days he might have lived; but his young face
Gazed forth untroubled: and suddenly there thronged
Round him the hulking Germans that I shot
When for his death my brooding rage was hot.

He stared at them, half-wondering; and then
They told him how I’d killed them for his sake—
Those patient, stupid, sullen ghosts of men;
And still there seemed no answer he could make.
At last he turned and smiled. One took his hand
Because his face could make them understand.