Sunday, 26 October 2014

The Wonder Stuff









The half term hoards are descending.The weather is mild, and we even saw a glimpse of the sun this afternoon as we adventured across the towans. It was lovely to return to old stomping grounds with Olly. I have missed our daily dog walking adventures together since he has started school. I may have been given the opportunity to stop and feel the breath as it were, but there is nothing so lovely as the energising rush of a child.

We did stop long enough to watch a kestrel hovering over the cliff tops, before being harassed by a group of crows. He bobbed and weaved along the length of the towans before turning tail, and out gunning them all the way back to the safety of his home at Godrevy. It was wonderful to watch and share it with Olly. It is my hope that all of his close at hand experiences with nature will foster a love and respect for the world around him, as he grows from boy to man. My Mum and Dad instilled it in me, and I hope to pass this joy of observation and discovery to my boys too.

Does that sound a bit naff? It looks a bit naff now I've written it down on the page. I guess it's the desire to pass on the idea of bearing witness to something other than ourselves. Our lives are so often spent heads down busy getting from A to B, and maybe the joy of seeing a bumble bee push it's way inside a snapdragon or the wonder at hearing the evening herald of a blackbird can get lost in transit. 

My own eyes were opened the day that my Dad and I saw a Kingfisher. I was about nine or ten maybe, and we were walking through the woods that bordered the Malago. I expect that we were walking along chatting about this and that. I talked a lot. All of a sudden my Dad stopped and pulled me close. "Shh," he said and pointed. I strained my eyes to look. And then I caught sight of an iridescence darting down the river bank. I held my breath as the kingfisher alighted on a branch of a low lying tree, and then dived into the water returning with a fish in it's beak. It was thrilling, and I just knew that me and my dad had witnessed something magical. I have never forgotten that moment; my Dad and I crouched low with baited breath, hands held tight and completely absorbed in this little creature going about his business.

I have never seen a Kingfisher in the wild since. I may never see one again. But I will never forget the time that I did. It's that feeling of wonder I'd love to pass on to my boys. So that they have some of that magic in their memory banks. And who knows, maybe one day they will pass that on to their children. That would be very cool.

I hope that you are all having a lovely weekend. 

Leanne xx

I couldn't think of a title for this post. I stress about post titles all the time. I'm considering giving future posts random lines from pop songs. So if the post itself is boring and self indulgent, you can at least have the pleasure of guessing the song. Maybe I'll give the answer in subsequent posts......








Monday, 20 October 2014

Precious Things

Sitting on top of my wardrobe is a rather dusty box which contains hundreds of photographs. They are pre-digital copies of films sent to be developed either through the post, or at the chemist. There are wedding proofs from my parents wedding (they couldn't afford the real mcoy). There are lots of photo booth pictures taken when I was a student. These are the photos of my mis-spent youth. Every now and again when I'm feeling very nostalgic, I'll lump the box down, sit on my bed, and spend an hour or so looking through them.







It's a different experience to actually handle a photograph, than to flick through them on the computer. I find that I spend longer looking at them. I love that many aren't particularly well composed, or even great quality. There is none of this crop and filter here. I love that. They are honest, real snap shots of life as it happened back in the day. And the smell too. A photograph is a feast for all of the senses.




How hilarious are they?!

Leanne xx


Please pop along and look at the precious things of

Sarah at Mitenska

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Waiting In





























I have have had to stay at home today and wait for my car to be returned. It is late. In fact my car has been taken to Portreath by mistake, and so won't be here until later this afternoon. I don't like waiting in for things at the best of times. I get tetchy if I have to wait in for something like the washing machine repair man,or a delivery of some kind. I'm wondering why this is. It's miserable outside, and I'd probably have spent it at home anyway. I don't enjoy the feeling of being forced to stay put. I am not at ease with waiting time, which is very different from wasting time. I don't settle. I constantly check the clock. I pace. And I never make good use of the time either. I was going to bake for the boys. I haven't. I was going to sort out the under stairs cupboard and my wardrobe. I haven't. I have spent the time sat under a blanket reading this book. And checking the clock. Tick tock.

From where I am sitting today - hello -  I face the big window that looks out onto my small front garden. It is a grey overcast day, which has leeched the colour from the landscape. Across the road from me, the two new houses loom large. I don't like looking up from my seat and seeing them. I am not yet used to this new view. Once there was a dinky cottage called Rosemary. It had a Laburnum tree to one side, and you could see Rosewall Hill it in the distance behind it. Now all I see are bare windows, grey roof tiles and bright white walls. They look like the kind of house in those films from the 80's, that had been built on ancient burial grounds in the mid west of America. You know the ones I mean? In other words, not particularly friendly.

I like looking out onto my little front garden, although it is rather overgrown and bed head at the moment. It's in stark contrast to the paved expanse of drive over the road. Enough for three cars apiece. It was this that convinced the new owners of one of the houses to choose it over our house. Or so the builder told us in the summer. I can hear the wind rustling through the leaves of the plants and shrubs.  My garden has lilac, buddleia, acer, privet, agapanthus, a very ugly palm tree and a fushia bush. My greenhouse also lives here, as well as a very old, battered church pew that I bought at a car boot sale when I first moved to St Ives. The plants give me a privacy that is not afforded by the houses over the road. Even when the leaves drop, they provide a twiggy picket from the outside world.

Apart form the buddliea, all the plants were here when we moved. It was one of the things that attracted me to the house. An established front garden. I wasn't a gardener then. In fact I don't think I even knew the names of any of the plants. But I remember enjoying the sense of privacy they gave, and thinking that they softened the edges of our own, rather square, white house. We moved into our house in St Ives in late October 2001. It was a beautifully sunny day,and Sam kicked and stomped through the leaves as we walked from school to our new home. The air was crisp and I could smell wood smoke coming from next door. I was nearly eight months pregnant with Alfie, and I couldn't wait to turn the keys in the door, and start to unpack the boxes that had been in storage for several months. I'd had enough of living in a caravan with barely any room to swing a cat. It was only the following Spring when the lilac blossomed, and later when the fabulous flowers of the agapanthus shot up into the air, that I came to really appreciate the plants that lived out the front.

I'm not a lover of fushias, but I have a soft spot for the one in my front garden. It is cut back hard each Spring. And each Spring I gulp as I look at my handiwork, and worry that it might never recover. It does. It sends shots out from the sides of those pruned branches, and from them the most opulent flowers grow. They are quite gaudy really, being the classic magenta/hot pink combo. They flower all year round, and provide a hit of colour, even on the greyest of days.The pollinators can't get enough of my fushia bush. Big fat bumble bees busy themselves, flitting from one flower to the next. They get so excited that they quite often bang into the window too, and then career off into the air.

There are other visitors. Sometimes my eye is caught by the quick movements of a tiny wren hopping from branch to branch deep inside the bush. Perhaps looking for insects, or maybe enjoying the solitude and shade. It has also acted as cover for a very persistent blackbird, who used the bush as a base from which to steal my blueberries stationed either side of the the greenhouse door. There are often sparrows squabbling within it's depths. And once, a couple of years ago, a group of long tailed tits alighted on it, and stayed for a while. I remember it well. I stood at the window, with Olly in my arms, and watched them chattering away to each other. It was as if little blobs of cotton wool had landed in my front garden.

This week there has been a rather bossy robin appear. He shouts at me and Olly when we leave for school. He bobs his head up and down, letting us know that he means business. We call a hello to him, as we rush down the steps and onto the road (we are invariably late for school. I can't seem to get the timing right just yet). There are also rooks and crows that spend their time in my ugly palm tree. They pull the fibrous matting that covers the trunk for their nests, and poke their beaks into it as they look for insects. Sometimes there are blue tits scampering up and down in that nervous way they have. One year a pair of doves nested in the palm, and reared two babies. We watched them from the window throughout the summer holidays, until they fledged and flew. For a small place it is a haven for wildlife.

I have been waiting in, and I have enjoyed telling you the story of my front garden. What do you see when you look out of your window?

 ......................


I am away this weekend. For fun and frolics with old Uni chums. I am wearing my wellies on the plane, because they just won't fit into my little carry on bag. I am not the best flyer. And I am rather nervous about leaving the security of my home. I am really looking forward to seeing everyone, but I worry (always worry) about the stuff I'm up to, and justifying my rather small existence. I'm not sure my front garden story is dinner party material. I do have a couple of really filthy jokes. And one that is not at all politically correct. And I am designated photographer. That I can do. Point and press. Point and press.

Have a lovely weekend.



Love and stuff,

Leanne xx


postscript
 I have met my new neighbours, and they all seem rather lovely. They have moved here from other parts of the UK, and are as thrilled to be living here as I was all those years ago when I first stepped over the threshold with a babe in my belly, and a boy holding my hand. I wish them all the best. Although I hope they put some plants out their front in the future.


Monday, 13 October 2014

I am/I try to be/I am not



I am


  • Having a trying day today dealing with issues with Alfie and Olly. It's time like these that I loathe the part-time single parenting role.
  • Drinking lots of tea. Gallons in fact.
  • Really into reading at the moment. I go to bed early to read. I spend a portion of every day reading. It is restorative. Well, almost. 'Gone Girl' was a bit fraught.
  • Disappointed that I missed the end of summer gardening window. Lets hope that we have some fine days before the end of the month.
  • Going hydro-running tomorrow. I have to take a pair of socks.  Me in a one piece and a pair of argylls. Can you imagine?
  • Really pissed off with Alfie's school today. You'll be pleased to hear that I held my own with the stroppy deputy head. I think I over used the phrase 'with respect' though.
  • Enjoying Instagram. It has helped me while I've been unable to write anything here.


I try to be



  • A good Mum. But by God it's taking every ounce of strength at the moment.
  • A good friend. But I'm wondering if I've been a bit lacking lately?
  • Not so frivolous. With money mainly.
  • Honest. It's the best policy. But then again I worry that I should hold stuff back. I don't know. Life, eh?
  • All the colours of the rainbow. But I seem to be wearing mostly grey, blue and black.
  • Better at replying to comments on my blog posts. Can you believe that I only recently twigged that I could email back a reply? Dear God I amaze myself with my own stupidity!
  • A person who enjoys playing puzzles with her four year old.


I am not



  • Going to lose a stone before Christmas. This evening I don't really care whether I do or don't.
  • Young anymore. I am not old either. But I am not young. Some days I feel sad about that.
  • Looking forward to flying this Friday. It's a small plane. I will be sat next to the rear gunner.
  • Very good at saying No. I don't think I ever will be.
  • A high achiever. I have sometimes wondered what that would be like. Is it just a lot of hard work and late nights?
  •  Very groomed. I haven't plucked my eyebrows since I went to Belfast.
  • Good at card games. I hate card games. Card games suck.


You may have seen this on Jennifer's wonderful blog. I thought it was a gentle re-entry into blogland. I'm not aiming to be the poster girl for depression (lol). But I have rather lost my way here. I don't want to. I love my blog. I love your blogs. I think it has a lot to do with not doing much. And my little partner in crime is now fully immersed at school and doing this:


Honestly I nearly fell over on Saturday when I saw it. I thought he was doodling in my notebook. Not writing his name. I have always been staggered by how it happens - you know, the reading and the writing. It's miraculous I think. It's the same as when they draw a proper person for the first time. With five fingers on each hand, and a smile and a nose 

Perhaps I should take a tip, and start writing in my notebook again. Perhaps I should get out there with my camera. My proper one. Not my phone one. Perhaps I should do some exploring of my own, and report back here with tales of adventure. What do you reckon? I am feeling better every day. I feel positively human. I am balancing the tightrope in my tutu and waving to the crowd! 

Love and kisses,

Leanne xxxxx






Monday, 6 October 2014

On Solid Ground

"If you know someone who's depressed please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn't a straightforward response to a bad situation, depression just is, like the weather.
"Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness and loneliness they're going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It's hard to be a friend to someone who's depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest and best things you will ever do."

Stephen Fry



 


Last week I decided I would buy a puppy. The boys were all for it. Sam even found some for sale in the paper. Then I remembered that I was on medication, and it was no doubt responsible for any rash decision making. The fog that has been clouding my mood for, well, quite a few months if I'm honest, is lifting. I'm rarely honest with myself about the fog. Far from it in fact. I'm fine, I'm fine, I'm fine. Honestly I'm fine.

My head doesn't feel so full of clutter and nastiness. My serotonin levels are creeping steadily upwards no doubt. I drop Olly off to school, and I do what needs to be done. I enjoy it too. I like engrossing myself in the mundane of loading the washing machine and making beds. It is purposeful. It has a positive effect on me. I am enjoying those small acts again.

I go out. I wander all over St Ives. I feel the breeze whipping the hair around my face. I taste the salt on my lips. I enjoy the warmth from the sun. I take off my flip flops and scrunch the sand between my toes. I sit and drink a coffee and take in the view. I study the big skies above my head. I people watch, and listen to snippets of conversations: "I said to him, just you get that thing out of my body!"

Once again I have to thank you. For listening. For hearing. For caring. For not rolling your eyes skywards thinking 'for Jeff's sake, Leanne, get a grip.' My grip is vice like I can assure you. I think that it takes a perverse strength to live with depression. There are times that the feelings of utter hopelessness threaten that grip. Often I dangle over the edge with my fingers scrabbling at the loose rock. But I am always pulled up. I am always given a hand when I need it the most.

So thank you for helping to pull me up. Thanks for the helping hand. It was an act of kindness that I won't forget.

Leanne xx





Tuesday, 30 September 2014

A Blue Week



















Hey you.

I've been quite absent. I've got the blues. Not the mean reds, thank goodness. But a dark enough blue. A blue that has made me lose the plot a bit. A blue that has dragged me under. A blue that allows me to be on my best behaviour in public, but hits me sideways at home. A blue that lets me leave a pithy comment on a friend's status, or post a video that pokes fun at teasy tea-time tantrums. But also makes me want to curl up on the sofa and block out the chatter and noise. A blue that means I can perform and function, all the while wanting to stab a fork into my leg.

It's complicated. It rears it's head without warning. Even after all these years of living with the blues, I am often caught out. They are sneaky. The blues are covert, lying in the shadows waiting for the perfect moment to strike. They almost always hit their target. And I've been hit right between the eyes this time. A fuzzy head. Those horrible, irrational, crappy thoughts. The impulse to flee. And as an extra measure, you know just to really fuck me over, the overwhelming tiredness and ennui. These blues trap you into inaction and lethargy. And the guilt of it all. I think that's possibly the worse thing. The guilt that surrounds having the blues. I could win gold if guilt was an Olympic event.

Today the blues have changed colour a little. The blues are more like the skies in the pictures above. I can deal with these. I feel a little more energised. I feel as if I can tackle the list and the housework and the tea time madness without feeling physically bruised by it all. I can bat away the intrusive thoughts, and I feel my energy slowly returning. I know there is no pressure to do and be. My mind is a kinder place to be with today.

I shall walk out into the Autumn sunshine. I shall turn my face to the pale lemon sun, and I shall breathe. I will put my trust in good food, gentle exercise and those little white pills. I will smile at my children, and pull them close. I will promise Marc that he won't be coming home to such a bitch this weekend.

One step at a time. Always one step at a time.

Leanne xx


Saturday, 20 September 2014

Two Weeks In




So we have made it through the first two weeks of a new school year with barely a scrape. Samuel is currently writing, editing and having vetted his personal statement for his Uni application. He is attending several open days over the next couple of months. I think he quite fancies Liverpool, although the Oxbridge route is also a real possibility. It's a very exciting/daunting time for him, I think. And I'm excited for him too. And slightly alarmed by his intelligence, and where it may take him. Wherever he ends up, he's going to have a ball.

Alfie has had a good start too. I think not being the newbie has had some positive effects. Apparently the new children that have joined this year are 'so immature." Hmmm. To be honest his first year at secondary school was pretty grim in terms of his behaviour and attitude. Not so much at school, but definitely at home. So hoorah for school hierarchy! Especially if it gives this Mum some respite.

And Olly? Well, his first two weeks of school have been interesting. His school operates a gentle settling in period, so he has only attended for three hours for the past two weeks. Next week he will stay and have lunch, and then come home. And the week after that he starts full time. Given how tired he has been just attending for three hours, I do worry about how he will cope when he has to go full time. I'm hoping that it's just that everything is new and different, and therefore a little stressful for him. He has objected on a number of occasions at having to go every day.





As for me, can I admit to looking forward to when he does go full time? Not that I won't miss him, because I will. But school was always going to happen, wasn't it. I did toy with home schooling, but actually I don't think I'd be very good at it. I read Jennifer's post with great interest and admiration. I like the idea of a 50/50 approach, but that wouldn't be an option here. And I think that Olly wouldn't benefit long-term to being taught at home full time. And to be honest, it wouldn't be good for me either. Can I admit to a craving for my own company? I have a number of plans for those hours, and I feel rather excited about it. Nothing very glamorous or high achieving, to be sure. But then I never was one for reaching for the stars. But to have some time. Yes that sounds very appealing.




So for the past couple of weeks, my days have been a little dis-jointed. I drop Pops off, go for a swim or walk Honey, fly around the house with the vacuum and then pick him up again. He has needed quiet time, and so we have spent hours on the sofa, or quietly playing Lego. I don't mind. I have cherished it actually. Here I am with one just starting school, and one about to fly the nest. There's a lot going on!



We have been out and about. The weather has been glorious in West Cornwall. It always is in September. Our last hurrah, before the Autumn kicks in. We have spent time on the beach, and time up the country lanes. On Wednesday we went looking for hips, and found ourselves at St John's In The Field. The grounds of the church are a nature reserve, and there are always things to do and see. I found the hips (yay), and we also found conkers, feathers, leaves and seed pods. Back home I made rosehip syrup. Ostensibly for health. But actually for cocktails and an accompaniment to Prosecco. Honestly that and the sloe gin steeping in the broom cupboard, anyone would think I'm a foraging lush.




I got very over-excited about the butterflies gorging themselves in the sunshine. I haven't seen a Comma all summer, but there were several and they seemed quite docile and happy for me to get up close and personal. It never fails to bring such pleasure, this pursuit of the butterfly. I have a little app on my phone that I can use to help me identify them. I can also log the ones that I spotted. What more does a nature nerd need!

Two weeks in, and things are good. Thank goodness for that.

Have a great weekend!

Leanne xxx