Sunday, 24 April 2011

Easter Sunday

Happy Easter xxxx

A strange feeling I had this morning when I woke (although maybe not all that strange....) - I felt a strong sense of freedom.

I am free.

Free to make my own decisions in life; free to bear my own burdens; free to live the way I choose. No rules, no taboos, certainly no arguments about what I choose to do. Of course, the downside of this is that I don't have a committed partner to share life with, and that is sad, but neither do I have the petty restrictions that can be part of married life. Being single has its advantages.

Last night I started reading one of the forums on Truth About, bearing in mind that the people posting on that forum obviously had marital problems to begin with (they were discussing the signs of infidelity), they were a fairly unhappy bunch. Page after page of the minutiae of their lives....was she doing this? Had he done that? I failed to get to the last page and was left with an overwhelming sense of Thank Goodness I Don't Have All That.

Apologies if this sounds smug and self-satisfied. Of course my life is far from perfect. And my freedom came at a heavy price....I don't forget that. But - having achieved that freedom - I thank God for it, and I do not take it for granted.

Jesus said, "I have come that you shall have life, and life in all its fullness".
Alleluia - and, again, Happy Easter.


Friday, 22 April 2011


I've had a great week. A good balance of days out and time at home with my animals, the weather has been fantastic. Monday the gardener came and took the "lawn" up, so I now have a large expanse of bare dusty soil, and a good idea of how it's going to look when done.

The AD's are having a beneficial effect and I feel much calmer these days, much less anxious, more at peace. Had a great day out yesterday chatting with friends and then off for a nice meal at the Fleece with Dave.

Life is not perfect - but I have good friends - one in particular has proved to be a truly great friend, she keeps me sane (you know who you are!) and I have a man who really loves me with all his heart and soul, despite all the difficulties.

Life is good. I count my blessings.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Thoughts on music and endings

Listening to the radio this morning while mopping the floor, I heard this aria from the Magic Flute:

Ah, I feel it, it has disappeared
Forever gone, love's  happiness!
Nevermore will come the hour of bliss
Back to my heart!
See, Tamino, these tears,
Flowing, beloved, for you alone!
If you don't feel the longing of love
Then there will be peace in death!

Of course in the end, Pamina gets her man and it’s three cheers all round. That’s opera for you. Real life isn’t like that, but it struck me while listening to the sadness of the music that this theme is as old as the hills.....”it’s over, he doesn’t love me any more....” Mozart must have known something of it to have written such a sad series of notes. Or maybe he was just a musical genius...and if someone had given Pamina a well-timed pep talk along the lines of, “Men are like buses, there’ll be another one along in a minute” the Magic Flute could have had a very different ending.
The fact is, hearts do mend; some of them remarkably quickly...for the rest of us, that healing will come in its own good time. And we will come out on the other side stronger, wiser people. At least, that’s the plan.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Phew........Friday, at last.

Well, of course, I made it to Friday. This has been such a strange week; I originally expected to be on holiday and then, almost at the last minute, I found myself working full time for a week in a completely different environment.
The first day was tiring; the second day I felt almost sick with exhaustion. But on Wednesday I was beginning to get back into the swing of full time hours, and also felt more settled in the new, strange environment. I am not all that used to young children...and yet, the experience I have had of being with 4-year-olds once a week in the Reception class has paid off. Of course, in school it’s different. There is discipline; children have to comply and behave, and they cannot generally run around like lunatics. But in the nursery there is also discipline; there is the routine of the day including meal times and play, there are standards of behaviour to be kept, or reprimands when those standards are not maintained.
I would hesitate to say this to most people but, having two cats and a dog isn’t really all that dissimilar. We have routines (set meal times and play times) and we have a form of discipline. I would argue that the animals are a lot easier to manage but then, compared with a nursery ratio of 8 children to 1 adult, they would be....I am used to talking to my animals in a certain way and I have found myself talking to the children in a worryingly similar manner. Of course, I haven’t said to any of the children, “Are you having a dumpy-wumpy in the tray?” but you take my point....
It is good to be at the end of the week and to know that my time is now mine, and to be shared with my cats and dog. I think they have missed me, but they have been so good; Pip has held her bladder all day, no mean feat for an old dog; the cats have hated being shut in all day but have been very patient. I have let them sleep on the bed for the past two nights in a vain attempt to make amends. I suspect this probably alleviates my own guilt more than anything else.
One thing that has given me some hope is the rapid ability I have discovered, in remembering the childrens’ names. I have memory problems which I put down to having taken Seroxat in my past. It dealt with the depression but left me with great swathes of lost memories...I did think that the memories themselves were lost, but I have come to realise that I still have them; what I lack is the ability to trigger them. Once I have that trigger, the memories return.
By Wednesday, I had been in two different nursery rooms with over 40 children altogether, and I could name nearly all of them. And the others I could have a good guess at.
It’s been a good week. I have discovered things about people as well as myself. I have got to know an awful lot of new people, with all their different personalities. To find a little trusting hand grabbing hold of yours is a truly special thing – something precious that must not be abused. Jesus once said that our faith should be like that of a little child...not childISH, but childLIKE....I have seen that childlike thing at close hand now and it is wonderful. In one short week I have come to find a genuine affection for them – and, surprisingly, not always the most obvious children. I have watched them at play, interacting with one another, and wondered what sort of people they will grow into, and I hope to see some of them join the school – it will be interesting to see how they get on.
I have another reason to be grateful for my week’s employment. I have come home in the evening so tired I have had time for nothing other than see to my animals, throw some quick meal down my throat, chat to friends and then collapse into bed. Too tired to think. Too tired to mourn. Almost too tired to wonder what my soul mate is doing.....of course, as someone close to me knows, I have been thinking, and wondering. I have mourned. I still mourn. This week I have seen how a child reacts to pain; it usually slumps into a barrage of wails, in a crescendo correlating to the amount of pain received.
I was too tired tonight to consider the amount of pain; I just put my head on my arms, and wept. 

Triumphing over adversity?

I noticed the other day that my pear tree, which has some rot and has been severely pruned back, has burst into bloom:

It's good to see that the old tree (it's over 50 years old) is still flowering, and will maybe produce a few pears later on. My cats are watching the birds fly in and out of it, from the safety of the kitchen (safety for the birds, of course), the garden is full of things going on.

These things usually bring me a feeling of joy....but somehow I feel oddly detached from it all.
Life isn't the same without that special, much-loved person to share it with.

Monday, 4 April 2011


I've just completed my first day of full-time work since my husband passed away in 2007....I work in a school kitchen for two hours a day, doing the washing up (and I enjoy it, I love my job). I have been asked to go on the holiday cover supply rota in the school nursery, so today was my first day as a rookie.

23 3-year-olds in varying states of exuberance, naughtiness, non-compliance, grumpiness,'s an experience! And they want me back for the rest of the week....will I ever see Friday....?

But I get paid. And that's great. The thing I feel worst about is that my animals are left to fend for themselves all day (they are in the house, not left to roam) - they don't seem too bothered, quite honestly, but I feel bad about leaving them for so long.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Madonna - You'll See

An old favourite. The lyrics are particularly meaningful, to me.

Sunday at the Phil

Went to a very enjoyable concert at the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool. Called in at the Philharmonic pub for half of Coach House’ Gunpowder mild first – very nice, plenty of taste and body despite being only 3.8%.
The concert began with Vaughan-Williams’ Wasps overture, very brightly played and well-paced, a nice opener to the programme. I could see a mental picture of a sunny summer garden with lush planting, colourful flowers, and (unfortunately) the aforementioned wasps swarming.

The middle item was Helene Grimaud playing Mozart’s 23rd piano concerto. Lovely playing, and a lovely bright sound again from both the soloist and orchestra, but she took the words “slow movement” rather too literally. The second movement is marked Adagio (and in some later editions revised to Andante) but unfortunately she played so slowly that the momentum of the music was lost (well, at least on me). It must also have made hard work for the woodwind section who are given broad sweeping phrases in response to the piano part. The two outer movements went at a bright bubbling pace which sounded just right.

Ms Grimaud treated us to an encore, a very romantic arrangement of Gluck’s Dance of the Blessed Spigots.

The last piece was Tchaikovsky’s Manfred symphony. A large piece scored for a large orchestra including organ, a tubular bell, five horns, large brass section, two harps and a gong that could have called the deaf in for dinner from half a mile away. The piece started with a stormy first movement, spirited second movement, lushly romantic third and a fourth which includes the death of said Manfred.

While I listened, I could hear elements to be found in the music of Stravinsky and Rachmaninov...especially the woodwind (and bassoon) in Stravinsky’s earthy pieces, and the strange chordal use of horns and strings in Rachmaninov. There were characteristic Tchaikovsky touches throughout, for instance the use of Russian folk dance rhythms, his lush horn sound and sweeping melodic phrases over a rhythmic throbbing bass line. Plenty of use of tymps and strong brass as well as the aforementioned gong.

The whole piece ended quietly in a triumphant B major, presumably to signify Manfred’s ascent into, erm, wherever.

The audience erupted into applause maybe a little too quickly.... Mr Petrenko looked a little stern and then shrugged his shoulders at the orchestra before turning round (or he may have just been a bit stiff in the shoulder area?). He came back on after a few calls, and got the orchestra to play an encore, the Trepak from the Nutcracker, played at a cracking pace. This was greeted by a loud Waaaaay! from the audience.

A fabulous event all round, worth making the effort. In true cheesy style, on the way there (and back) I listened to a couple of Beatle’s CDs which somehow seemed to sum up the drive into Liverpool, with its derelict areas reduced to rubble (sob, sniff, they knocked down some gorgeous if old houses) and the city centre which was just as busy on a Sunday afternoon as any other time in the week. I think I kind of recognised where the Fab Four may have been influenced...or maybe that’s just my imagination (running away with me).

Interested to read this review of the concert just now: