Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Precious Things

When I sit on my velvet chair,
I dream of lands over there.
Faraway lands in days of old,
With knights in armour very bold.

(Leanne Ogborne, age 6)

I have a thing about chairs. I think it all started with my red velvet chair. I don't know where it came from, but it's always been around. Growing up it lived in the corner of my room, and was the repository for many things. My favourite soft toys would have pride of place there. I would curl up on it, and read my Enid Blyton books. And when I was a teenager, I'd throw discarded clothes over the back of it.

I left my chair behind when I moved out of home. I thought Mum and Dad must have got rid of it. But last summer my sister asked if I wanted my "crappy old fashioned chair" back, because it was taking up space in her shed. Of course I did! So I brought it back home with me.

My poor chair is in a sorry state. It has suffered from neglect and a lack of love and affection. Every time I look at it I feel pangs of guilt. It looks like it's really been in the wars. See for yourself:

Obviously my chair is in need of a revamp. I'm not that keen on the red velvet these days. I'm thinking blue polka dots would look cool. Or go all out chinzty floral.

What do you think?

Leanne xx

If you'd like to read more Precious Things, please visit these fabulous bloggers

Sarah at Mitenska

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Dark Matter

I think it's almost morning. I've been awake since 3.50am,when Olly awoke from a bad dream. He wouldn't settle until he came into my bed. I lay there with my arm around my precious boy, feeling terribly sad. It would appear that he isn't settling into school as well as he might. It would appear that he is having difficulty with the 'social and emotional aspects of school life.' I know this because I had an hour long conversation with his very lovely teacher this week. It was quite a body blow, and apart from my Dad, it's occupied most of my waking thoughts (apart from last nights documentary on the economic conspiracy to keep the super rich, well, super rich. I knee jerked on FB about it, and got told off by my sister in law).

I hope you don't mind, but I have some thoughts. I'm throwing them out in the hope that it may give me some clarity of vision. I can't guarantee that it will make any sense once I get going. I'm processing on the page here. It's what I do in times of stress. You may wonder why I don't just jot it down in a notebook. I have. And then some. But for some reason it isn't making me feel any better. So I turn to you. My blog. My scrapbook of stuff.

I'm often worried that I sit on the fence. I worry that my opinions aren't firmly rooted on one side of the divide or the other. I can't help that. It's who I am. I always see things from both sides. I can often flip sides during a conversation about most things, and then back again. It's not that I don't have strong personal opinions and convictions, but I sometimes wonder whether my counselling training honed in on that aspect of my character, refined it, and then sent me off with a desire to understand how it may be for someone else. Try going into your living room, and sitting somewhere other than the place you usually sit. Then look at your surroundings from that place. You may notice things differently. You may see different aspects of light and shade to the room that weren't apparent before. You may even like it better there. Now go and sit where you usually do. Does it still look the same, after having sat somewhere else?

When I look at my three children, I see the light and the shade. I see the good and the bad. I peel back their layers. There are many, and they are complex. If I peel back Olly's, I see a little boy who is bright and articulate. He is feisty and quick tempered. He can do and say unpleasant things at times, but is also caring and loving. He loves to create, and has a wonderful imagination. He displays top dog behaviour, and revels in being the centre of attention. He is funny and cheeky, but can also be rude and rather cruel. He is fizzing with energy and has an unbridled enthusiasm for adventure. He is demanding, and exhausting. I may not like some of these traits, but I love the whole that they make up. I love him completely.

So to be told that he is sometimes behaving in a way that only shows those dark layers upsets me. I want Olly to be a likeable member of the class, to get on well with his peers, to be respectful and behave appropriately. I don't want Olly to be excluded from activities, to be rude to his teachers and unpleasant to his friends. I'm wondering whether this attention seeking and rule breaking is a "notice me" call. I'm wondering just how much his little self is struggling to cope with school life. I'm wondering whether he is simply being unpleasant, and there's no real or adequate explanation for why.

You may have had or have 'breezy' children. Those children that seem to cruise through their school years with no trials and tribulations whatsoever. You may be the kind of person who wouldn't be able to see or confront the dark side of your own child. You may have had terrible difficulties with your children, who then grew into wonderful adults. None of my children have been 'breezy.' And I have been guilty of only seeing the not so pleasant traits of their characters at times. Sometimes it's because that's all they present for a while. But often it's because I lose my own sense of seeing them completely. I forget to go sit in another part of the room, and look at them from there.

I fear that this week I've started to do that with Pops. If his teacher feels that he needs a little extra support I should embrace it. I should wholeheartedly support it for his well being and happiness. If it helps him to cope with the complicated place that is school, then I should say 'go for it.' So what's holding me back? Why am I so stuck? Why am I replaying that conversation? Why am I so worried about talking to Marc when he returns from the States tomorrow? Why am I fearing the worse? Why do I worry that something low level may escalate into something all consuming? 

I think I'm worried about the labelling that goes on in schools. Maybe not by the teachers (although I have had plenty of experience of that too), but by his peers and their mothers. And my biggest fear is of negative consequences that can come from intervention. Again I'm speaking from personal experience. And let's be fair, he is only four for goodness sake. He is absolutely shattered after a day at school. A lot of the behaviour he seems to be displaying at school, he rarely displays at home. 

But I'm still stuck. And I'm still worried. And yes I did tell him off when we got home from school yesterday. And yes I rattled on for far longer than I should. And yes in the end he was upset and confused. And I was upset and felt guilty. But I was also cross. And tense and so, so fraught with the anxiety that surrounds it all. I stood and cried silently in the kitchen. I felt terribly sorry for myself, as I thought that I'd have to go through all those trials and tribulations of school again. At that moment I could have quite easily  got in the car and driven away from it all.

I made the tea instead. And after that Olly and me played Connect Four. And we cuddled. It was lovely. 

I still don't know how I feel about it all. 

But I feel a little better for writing some of it down.

And I shall stop now for fear of regurgitating the same stuff over and over again. I do that really well. 

Bloody hell, Today's Stuff is rather fraught at the moment.

Thank you for that. And although you may have regretted it, hello to new followers. You are most welcome here. And Chickpea, I can never seem to leave a reply on your blog. It just won't let me! I have really enjoyed your blog of late. Hope you read this ;)

Have a great weekend one and all, and please don't tell me if you have perfect kids. Save it for another time. Or maybe pay a visit to the other side of the room.

With much love,

Leanne xx

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Odds & Ends

Play before bedtime. Olly had some new games from Father Christmas. Unfortunately the Bus Stop game is his favourite. To get through it all, I make up names for the people that get on the bus. There's Mr Chutney, Fingers McGee and Sylvia Trent to name but a few.

And do you notice anything different about my boy? I'm still in recovery after having to get his hair cut last week. The Mums at the school gate have been very kind, and told me that he still looks like him. But all I can see is a rather grown up little boy. I can no longer live vicariously through his hair. I think the curls are still there.

In other news I have re-discovered the joy of scaring myself witless while watching a good pyscho/police drama. Silent Witness, Broadchurch and old episodes of Wire In The Blood. What is it about January and this kind of programme scheduling? Come summer it's all Great British Bake Off and frothy period dramas. I think I overdid it yesterday though. I couldn't sleep, and spent the night with one eye open.

Today is a day of errands and baking. I dislike errands. I love baking. The sun is shining weakly, although I think we may have more rain today. Apparently the big wind is coming, or so my neighbour told me. I do hope she was actually talking about a storm front....

I need new jeans. Mine are now too big for me, which is great, but it only means that I now have to go and try on new ones. The third circle of hell is trying jeans on in a hot changing cubicle. The misery is added to by those awful lights that are put in there. Who looks nice under that kind of wattage? Does anyone? I look like I've recently been dug up.

I really want to get out into the garden.

I'm planning a camping tour of Wales for us.

I start working at the Infant School on Thursday.

I'm seriously thinking about getting my hair cropped short.

'H Is For Hawk' is a wonderful book.

I'm considering signing up to a beekeeping course.

I hope to have lost a couple of pounds at fat club tomorrow.

I'm dusting off my running shoes for the umpteenth time.

I'm thinking that this is a more of a list than a blog post.

I think I may go and make a cup of tea.

I'm off......

Love and kisses,

Leanne xx

Thursday, 8 January 2015

A Year In Books 2015 - January

Hello to you. Fine of fettle are we? I'm not so bad, thanks for asking. Quite chirpy actually. Laughed my socks off yesterday at a very inappropriate joke whispered to me by a good friend. I was in a shoe shop. There were stares.

How do you read?

Do you read in bed? Or perhaps on the way to work? At lunch time? Or is it a snatched five minutes here and there? Do you read loads of books and then not bother for months? Do you have several books on the go at once, or do you concentrate on one at a time? Do you read in the bath? On the loo? Do you walk around with your nose in a book, bumping into furniture? Do you only read on holiday? Do you read anything and everything, or enjoy a specific genre? Fiction, biography, poetry? Hardback or paperback? Waterstones, Amazon, second hand, e-reader, borrowed, new, charity shop? Do you keep them once you've read them, or pass them on? Do you keep your favourites? Do you have a collection of loved authors?

I read a lot. I'd read all day if I could get away with it. I do find it hard to read on the beach, because I tend to nod off. Not good when you're in charge of little ones near water. But yes, I do love to read. I've been accused of being anti-social when I read. I have been shushed on the bus for laughing out loud (it was Bill Bryson's 'A Walk In The Woods' His friend Katz is flirting with a waitress. He leans over to Bryson and asks "Is she ugly?" To which Bill replies "Only compared to other women." Well it made me chuckle).

I may be a frustrated writer. I get ideas, and they get written down. But never seem to get any further than that. I think you must need a modicum of self discipline to write, and I'm the kind of person who starts a diet on Monday morning only to have thought "sod it" as I tuck into a piece of cake by the afternoon. I have read books and have almost hated the author, it's been so good. Margaret Atwood springs to mind. And Annie Proulx. I've shared them with other people, but there's a part of me that wants to keep it to myself. To not share, and let it be my own delicious secret. Do you ever get that feeling?

I've got a few books on the go this month. H Is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald, The Wire In The Blood by Val McDermid and MaddAdam by Margaret Atwood.

Oh and my Mum bought me a Kindle for Christmas. It was wholly unexpected. I've been quite vocal in my opposition to them. And I was going to make more of an effort to buy second hand and borrow from the library in 2015. But I have been giving it a try. I'm not sure I like it. I mean it's not particularly romantic reading Wuthering Heights from a black plastic rectangle is it?

Leanne xx

Joining in with Laura

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Running Up That Hill

Today has really felt like the start of the New Year for me.

Even though the kids and Marc have returned to their various places of work and learning, I have not yet had a chance to stop and smell the coffee. I returned from Bristol at the weekend, and have spent the time since furiously cleaning, tidying, list making, recycling and all those other bitty jobs that rear their heads after an extended holiday.

But this morning I went for a long walk with Honey. It is beautiful in St Ives today. The sun is shining low on the lanes, and the air has that sharp quality about it, which I love. It felt so good to amble up the hill towards Steeple Woods, listening to the birds and looking for signs of Spring. They are already here in the far South West. The start of the Foxglove in the hedgerow. The buds appearing on the trees.

I watched a Mistle Thrush nervously pecking away at a snail. He was being challenged by a very rambunctious Robin who cat-called and flew around him, as he tried to eat his breakfast. There was a Buzzard sat on some telephone lines surveying the fields. His feathers were plumped up against the chill of the morning, but he seemed contented enough to sit and look around him. There were Blackbirds, Sparrows, Blue Tits and many others darting in and out of the hedgerows. They seem very busy all of a sudden. Perhaps they sense Spring is coming too.

Back home I went outside to look at the garden. It has been so badly neglected. I haven't even planted my Spring bulbs yet. It's on the list. I hope I'm not too late. We have some major work to do this year. The decking has gone rotten, and we are building a cabin for some badly needed extra living space. I'm not sure how this will affect the garden, but it's a rather exciting prospect. My garden seems to be in a constant state of renewal. I'm forever moving plants around, rather like I do with the furniture in my house. I dead capricious like that.

Some good news. Dad may be coming home from hospital tomorrow. He has been so poorly over Christmas, with secondary infections delaying treatment. Although he has been terribly weakened by it all, I know that home will be just where he wants to be. And can I say God Bless the NHS, and all who sail in her? We are so lucky to be able to have such a wonderful institution at our disposal. I have been in awe of the care he has received by all the staff of Ward 7.

I can see a pile of ironing in my peripheral vision. It's daring me to ignore it, and sit down with my seed catalogue that's just plopped through the letter box. Maybe just one more cup of coffee from my new mug before I press the shirts?

Have a lovely week gorgeous ones.

Leanne xx

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Just Like Starting Over

On Christmas Eve we went to Godrevy and lay flowers for Granny. Me and my boys walked up to the the top of the headland that overlooks the lighthouse, and lay a small posy on the Bronze Age barrow that marks our private spot of remembrance. The boys ran and played. Even Sam, who forgot his cool seventeen years for a little while and enjoyed embracing the child that still lurks in his tall and gangly frame. There was laughter and gentle banter. A relief from the often incessant bickering that I have been used to from my three.

We spotted seals swimming offshore and lumbering out of the sea onto the beach far below. It was the first time we had seen such numbers all year, and it was rather lovely to watch them going about their business. The heather that sweeps over the headland was tucked away into the soil. And the carpet of wild flowers that adorn it were no more than sparse pared back dried forms of former glory. I stood and soaked up the raw beauty all the same.

It was late afternoon, and the weather had conspired to create the most beautiful backdrop. Grey cloud, broken at intervals by the low winter sun bounced and played over the bay. We made our way down to the beach to play. The wind had stirred the sea into a display of froth tipped waves, sending foam and sea spray into our faces. We ran in and out of the surf, and clambered over rocks. All the while gulls wheeled overhead, and two more seals popped up out of the water to watch us.

It was a rare and magical few hours, and a precursor to our festive holiday. I gave quiet thanks as we drove home for chippy tea, a glass of red and the last minute wrapping.


We have had a quiet Christmas, which has suited me very well. We have not ventured far, and I have not been subject to the usual stress that I feel at this time of year. I have eaten. far. too. much. of. everything. I have read and watched rubbish telly. I have built Lego, drawn pictures, taken long hearty walks, had many early nights and really tried not to vacuum every day.

Thank you for all of your words of love and support. I was afraid that if I returned here too soon, I would write terribly maudlin pieces of self indulgence. It's something I definitely didn't want to inflict on anyone, especially myself. Equally I didn't want the gallows humour that has helped this family cope with the difficulties of seeing a loved one so ill, seem trite and lacking in compassion. I guess I shall go with the flow. It's worked so far here.

Two resolutions.

1. To stop saying "That's fine" when it really isn't.

2. A biblical de-clutter. I am drowning in plastic and frou frou.

And before all of that, I'm throwing away the last of the After Eights. Unless you want them?

Love and joy for 2015, my friends

Leanne xx

Monday, 1 December 2014

pressing the pause button

Hello everyone,

This feels such a bizarre and unreal thing to write. I will not be around much in the next few weeks or months, and I felt I needed to let you all know that I have not disappeared into the ether. I am not following and enjoying and commenting on your lovely blogs because I am no longer interested. And I am not under the weather.

My Dad is poorly. And I will be shuttling back and forth between St Ives and Bristol for the foreseeable future. It's all a bit shitty, but if you knew my Dad you would be comforted by the fact that he is probably the most tenacious and bloody minded bugger on the planet. He will face this hideous illness, and it's grim treatment, with his usual pragmatism.

And he will get through it. He has to. He promised to teach me to jive....

And me, my sister, my brother, his family and friends will be with him every step of the way.

I just felt the need to tell you. Because you are my friends. And I will miss being part of this very special community. Even if it is for a short while.

Have a wonderful Christmas. May all your festive wishes come true!

With all my love,

Leanne xx