Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Stormy Happenings

I watched the effects of the storm from Olly's bedroom window yesterday. The waves were crashing up and over the top of the lighthouse at Godrevy. They were smashing into the coastline around the bay. The waves were wondrously huge. Magnificent and powerful. The winds battered our white house on the hill, and the rain fell in torrential downpours throughout the day. The back roads have been flooded. We have had terrific hail storms, and this afternoon a solitary - but almighty - clap of thunder, that made me jump out of my skin.
I wandered down to Porthmeor this morning. Poor Honey hasn't been out since my last post. A combination of the weather and being knocked bandy by the lurgy meant that she had to suffer in silence on the sofa. Olly was ill. Marc was ill. I was ill. I even took myself to bed on Saturday. Unheard of, although I suspect Marc was glad to see the back of me. I am not good with a cold. I can handle pain, but colds bring out the absolute worse in me. For example, I shuffled round and round the house moaning about how shabby everything looked. And although it does a bit, I normally don't really mind. I am usually pretty realistic with my household expectations. Three boys does curtail any desire for perfectly white walls. But I digress..
Even though the winds weren't as high as yesterday, it was still pretty wild out at sea. There were terrific surges up the beach, and the breakers were huge and capped by flamboyant white crests as they rolled into land. It wasn't menacing. It was joyful, as if the sea had broken free of its shackles and was having fun. That's how it seemed to me at any rate. The sea is so often described as moody and malevolent when it's in this kind of state, and for good reason. I wouldn't risk standing as close to the harbour walls as some people did yesterday. The sea is not concerned for your safety after all.
And I am always in awe of it's power. I am often struck by it's contrary nature. The way it can lure you into a false sense of security. How gentle it can seem on those long summer days, with barely a wisp of a breeze to coax it into action. How it giggles, as it ripples around your toes paddling in the shallows. And then how it's mood can change. The sea can send those rolling waves up and over us. Catching us out, and taking our feet out from beneath us. I've never let the boys get too comfortable with the sea. Call me cautious, but I think it's best not to pick a fight with someone you've not got a chance of beating.
But today the sea was energised. And it seemed to me that it was releasing it's energy for the sheer hell of it. And it gave a little of that energy to me. It allowed me to stand and stare and be part of it. It provided a backdrop to a landscape full of the most gorgeous tones and textures. It played a symphony of noise that was joyful to hear. The sea beckoned me in a little, and then chased me back up the beach laughing all the while.
I bumped into a old chap going for his daily constitutional. "Look at that!" he said "Those stripes of colour. Isn't it grand!" It was. It was grand. We stood there looking out towards the horizon. "Wonderful stuff," he said "Take a picture." And I did.
Leanne xx
I really do meet these lovely people, you know. I was always a very shy person, but I'm making up for it now. Rather late in life I've learnt that a smile and a hello goes a long way, and people are brilliant in the main. The old chap I mentioned today has been doing the same daily walk since his retirement twenty five years ago. In all weathers, he says. And he tells me that he never tires of it, because there is always something different to see, or someone new to talk to. And he gave Honey a fuss and a cuddle. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they talk to your dog. I liked him very much indeed.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Bluff and Bluster


In an ideal world, my hair would be able to tolerate a winter hat. Not just my hair, but me. I love winter hats. They just don't love me. They make me feel hot and bothered. My head itches. And I dare not remove the hat if, for example, I go from beach to cafĂ©, because my hair looks completely bonkers after being jostled inside a cap of wool. Winter hats are for people with thick, lustrous tresses. Or a chic and stylish cropped barnet. Strawberry blonde flyaway hair just doesn't cut the mustard. I have to make do with a hood, which let's face it is never a good look. People always stare at me in an alarmed way when I walk along the beach with my hood up and pulled in tight. It's the expanse of forehead, I'm afraid. Without a fringe I look like Mr Potato Head's less glamorous daughter. 
Olly and I walked along Porthkidney Sands this morning. He's been off school with one of those non specific virus things, but today he was much better. Not well enough for school, but well enough for some strawberry bon bons and a stomp. You may be able to tell from the pictures above  - and apologies for their poor quality. I think I've picked up the non specific virus, and I didn't have any fortifying bon bons of my own - that it was rather windy. The sand was blowing up into our faces, getting into our eyes and mouths. We walked backwards to try and alleviate the problem, but to be honest it was rather a laborious way to traverse the beach. So we climbed up into the dunes and found shelter there. Olly played with the trains that he'd bought along, and I sat back and turned my face to the sun.
It has been a difficult week, what with lurgy and teenage hideousness, and I was grateful for this time spent in gentle activity. I was happy to let my mind drift here and there. I really loved sitting in the sunshine. Honestly, there is nothing better. The sun was primrose yellow; pale and wistful. No hint of the warmth that is yet to come. Just a promise of brighter days ahead. And for the first time in a while I felt a stirring of positivity deep within.
Once home, we went into the garden and set to with loppers and secateurs. For a good couple of hours we laboured in the borders, and I compiled a mental to do list. I felt that undercurrent of excitement that the garden gives me. It's so bedraggled and unpromising at this time of year. But full of plans and possibilities too. There are bulbs popping up all over the shop. There are shrubs that need to be moved around. There are sweet peas to be sowed in the greenhouse. I want to buy more Alium bulbs, and I have plans for the neglected bit down the side of the house. I fancy painting the fences, and have hacked back a rather invasive clematis and put it in it's place once more. Now we are inside. Alfie has an after school club, and Olly is inventing in the conservatory. I have made myself a cup of tea, and am going to grab some gardening books, and snatch a half hour or so before tea indulging in plans and projects.
I'm sharing a bit of the good, to thank you for letting me share a bit of the bad the other day. There's something very cool about the solidarity and support I receive from you all. You are the Person Centred counsellor that I have always strived to be.
Leanne xx

Monday, 1 February 2016

There Is



There is sunshine. It is peeking through the blinds, and beckoning me outdoors.
There is housework. It is a wasteland of toys and mess and unmade beds.
There is tea. Big steaming mugs of tea.
There is toast with homemade marmalade, a current go to comfort food.
There is a northerly wind whooshing around the outside of the house.
There is a dog waiting patiently to be taken out for her morning constitutional.
There is another novel, the pages waiting to be turned.
There is a Mum who doesn't really know what to do with her teenage boy.
There is a teen so full of anger and self loathing, who lashes out in the worst kind of way.
There is a five year old trying his best to be all grown up.
There is a washing machine that never seems to stop.
There is a husband that has already left for another week away from home.
There is a house in need of some tlc.
There is life. Big, fat, lovely, shitty life.
There is a horrid feeling of wading through treacle.
There is some kind of gauntlet being thrown at me.
There is a need to gather in and love fiercely.
There is a need to step back, and let others take charge.
There are changes afoot.
There is quiet unease.
There is a desire to hide under the duvet.
There is anxiety.
There is a real need for peace, harmony and family unity.

Leanne xx

Monday, 25 January 2016

Monday Musing

How good does that first cup of tea taste in the morning? Or the one at about eleven am, after you've done the first lot of interminable chores of the day? Or how about the one you have to reward yourself for getting the boy to bed with minimum fuss or bother? And then there's the one with a chum. Or are you a coffee drinker? I much prefer tea myself, although I will have a coffee if I'm out and about. My friend Sarah treated me to one this morning. I had a cob on, and was probably a right moany old bag as we walked across a very windy Porthmeor beach. She is a good enough friend to let me bang on. All the usual I'm afraid, topped up with my utter disbelief at Alfie, who washed the dried mud from his school shoes with my dish cloth only to throw it back into the washing up bowl. That was full of soapy water and breakfast dishes. There was a lot of under breath swearing.
Olly did not want to go to school. He walked up the steps to his classroom like a dead man walking. The marvellous Mrs Pulley swept him up into a bear hug, and that was enough to make him giggle his way through the door. Oh how I love Olly's teacher, and her swathes of linen. I love that she pads around the classroom without her shoes on, and has this incredible attitude towards a child's learning. I was having a flap regarding Olly's reading book, and she was so reassuring. She validated what I was already doing, and calmed my frayed nerves about the whole learning process.
You'd think I'd have it all off pat with the third child, but there are areas in which I still question whether I am getting it right. I sometimes worry whether I am too laid back, but then again I really don't want to be as strung out as I was when Sam was this age. What a dragon mother I was then, poor boy. Who by the way has been ignoring my texts. Again. I ended up sending him a poem to see if that would garner a response. It did:
 'Your poem was a good effort, but didn't scan particularly well. Love Sam'
The swine.
The weather has been it's usual mixed bag, and we are due for rain and wind again. Just as well I have to wait in for the man to service the boiler tomorrow. He was supposed to come before Christmas, but claimed he couldn't find the house. That was before the new house sign was put up. Only three years after the old one fell off. I couldn't decide on a suitable font. Well, it's a difficult decision. In the end Marc threatened to get the most vile sign he could lay his hands on. I very nearly let him, out of sheer pig headedness. But it's funny how this kind of threat can spur me into action. I'm such a procrastinator. Until the thought that something ugly may greet visitors to the door. Anyway, if the boiler man doesn't find me tomorrow he'll miss out on a cup of tea in my second favourite mug. It has a badger on it.
I could go on in this fashion for forever and a day. It's not really rocket science, my blog. It's not really going places either. Bit like myself!
Have a lovely week, one and all. Hopefully I shall find structure and meaning and sense soon.
Leanne xx


Thursday, 21 January 2016

Something and Nothing


It's the witching hour. That time between home time and tea time. When little people can be tetchy. When not so little people are wondering when is the most acceptable time to open a bottle of wine. Is before 5pm okay? When teenagers come home from school absolutely sopping wet, because it's not cool to wear a coat, and then have a strop that the heating isn't on.
We swing from one type of weather to another here in the far west of Cornwall. Yesterday I stood on the North Cliffs in glorious sunshine, eating a banana and smiling. I had just seen a Jay in Tehidy woods, and had gone from there to staring out at the sea, while a fresh wind whipped my hair around my face. Honey lay on the coarse coastal grass, eating a dog treat made from seaweed. It was ideal.
The rain has not stopped today. Pelting rain. Soaking you to your knickers rain (you know the feeling too Christina?!). Even though Olly and I were appropriately dressed for the dash from class room to home, we still had to peel off the layers by the front door. I put on my pyjamas. Olly was content with pants and vest.
We are both currently lounging on the sofa in the conservatory. The faux fire is on, and Olly's army toys are scattered liberally around on the rug. He wants me to tickle his back. I've let him play Minion Rush on my phone. "This is a really special treat, isn't it Mummy?" I nod. My handing over of my mobile device has nothing to do with my not wanting to get down on all fours and throw pretend grenades at the enemy.
The low light of the day is turning towards evening. It will soon be time to think about tea. There are a couple of sweet potatoes on the counter in the kitchen, but I haven't got much further than that. I'll possibly roast them and serve them with a hastily thrown together chilli. Or I might put them away and cook some fish fingers. I'm a bit of a maverick like that.
Olly is tired and has come home from school with a cough. He had a night terror yesterday, and was also woken up by his brother having a meltdown over a computer game. The cat woke both of us up before 6am, so I think it will be early to bed. Sod the school work. I'll read an extra chapter of 'Grandpa's Great Escape' instead. He'll start off in his bed, but he'll be in mine by the time I wend my own way up to Bedfordshire. I don't mind. I always liked my Mum and Dad's bed better than my own when I was little too. The pillows were more plump, and it smelt safe.
I am coveting a pair of denim dungarees, but am worried that I may be too old for them. I used to have a pair from The Gap when I was in my early thirties, but perhaps they won't look as good in my mid forties. Or should I not care? They are ubiquitous like the Breton t shirt, and I wear one of those almost every day. I'm also thinking of getting some layers put into my hair. I'm a bit fed up of a shoulder length bob.
I've just felt the urge to kiss the top of Olly's head.
I'm thinking how much I like to hang out in this room.
I'm listening to the rain hitting the roof, and it is reminding me of hunkering down in Betty. Drinking tea, and heating up hot dogs.
There are home made flapjacks and chocolate cup cakes in spotty tins in the kitchen.
Life is sweet.
Leanne xx
Hello and welcome to all of you that have happened upon, and commented on my blog lately. I am genuinely chuffed that you did xxxx

Monday, 18 January 2016

Blue Monday


As in the colours of the beach, not my mood. I was ecstatic to be honest, as it was my first day out walking with Honey since the op. I paid for it with copious oozing (let's not go there shall we), but boy was it worth it. My camera really hasn't done justice to the silky quality of the sea. Or the gorgeous blue that seemed to push out from the sea itself. The mackerel sky wasn't bad either. Added to that a seal, Oystercatchers and goose barnacles, and I was in heaven.
The seal was having a lovely time basking in the shallows of Porthmeor. He spent a lot of time watching us knowingly, with his unblinking black eyes. When I stare into the eyes of an animal I'm often struck by who is studying who. He looked a wise and ancient soul to me, as he tread water in the shallows. We've been blessed with the seals this winter. It would seem that the fish in the bay that lured the whales, are also proving irresistible for our local seal population. The whales have moved on now, by the way. I never did see them, but have seen some lovely pictures of them. That will have to do until next time.
I was chuffed to see the Goose Barnacles. They don't wash up that often here. They were attached to a very heavy buoy of some sort, and must have been brought ashore by a combination of rough seas and high tides. They get their name from an olden belief that Barnacle Geese hatched from them. This was in the days before migration was a known aspect of bird behaviour, and they were often found on pieces of driftwood. Hence the belief that the geese laid their eggs on branches of trees before it fell into the water. I thought it was because the shells look a bit like a goose beak.
I have seen them before, attached to a glass bottle. They were writhing and gyrating about in a rather alien fashion, but these lot seemed much quieter. The shells are pearlescent, and I spent a long time inspecting them, taking photographs to show Olly later and just enjoying that they were there at all. Honey was intrigued by them too, but most other people on the beach didn't even seem to notice them. They were hardly difficult to spot, exposed on the tide line like that. I sometimes wonder whether people walk around with their eyes closed. Or even worse, whether people just don't care for this kind of thing. I'll never understand that indifference to the natural world. For me it made my morning walk along arguable one of the loveliest beaches in the UK, even more special.
In other news, I confess that I haven't been up to much. There has been a lot of lying on the sofa with my leg elevated to help ease the swelling and so forth. The operation was a painful but not excruciating, although I compare all pain to the pain of giving birth sans drugs. I just wasn't prepared for my lack of mobility. I could drive, but I couldn't walk. Hardly at all for the first couple of days. And not very well until today. I found it all very frustrating to be honest. It made me appreciate these old legs of mine very much. They may not be the most attractive pins in the world - my boys inherited their gazelle like limbs from someone other than me - but they work, and they get me where I want to go. And I like to go out and about a lot. I am a great walker. So to be curtailed was difficult. I can quite understand my Mum's fear of losing her own mobility, after having a wee glimpse into life without the power of one's own steam. 
So I read. A lot. And stared out of the conservatory doors at the garden beyond. I would recommend Patrick Gale's novel 'A Place Called Winter.' It's a poignantly sad yet uplifting novel. The authors' description of landscape was a highlight. I have enjoyed many of his novels. Some of them are set in Cornwall. Gale himself lives on a farm at Land's End. I missed the chance to see him give a talk at our local library last year, but I hope to see him at the Port Eliot festival this summer. Do give him a whirl if you ever come across him. 'A Sweet Serendipity' and 'Notes On An Artist' are other favourites by him.
I watched the garden birds. My garden is in a woeful state. I didn't clear away and tidy before the onset of Autumn. And then the days grew short and dark, and of course we have had incessant rain. I have stood looking out mournfully from my utility room window at the too long grass, and the bedraggled plants. I only pulled up some of the annuals, and I didn't cut back any perennials. I'm such a fair weathered gardener. But I have taken great pleasure from the fact that all manner of birds have been coming into the garden to forage and feed on what I left in the ground. I've decided if anyone asks, it was always the plan to leave the garden so.
For example, I counted twenty three Goldfinches eating the seeds from the Verbena Boriensis. I was desperate for a picture, but they are flighty fellows. In the end I contented myself with enjoying their company. They are such a joyous colour combination of yellow and red. They were joined by chaffinches, blue tits, great tits and a wee wren too. The sparrows seem to have taken up residence in the clematis that tumbles over the arch, and I'm hoping that they may nest there this year.
We already have a resident Blackbird and his companion. He's the first into the garden in the low light of the morning, and has staked his garden as his. His girl likes to busy herself down in the leaf litter, while he struts about on the fence. She flings it all up into the air looking for grubs, and he occasionally flies down and plucks a worm from the grass. He's been joined by a rather handsome Robin, who is also all bluff and bluster. He flits and flies around the garden, and has put on a rather wonderful aerobatic display by zooming around the shrubs, making curving shapes as he goes. I've never seen this kind of behaviour before. Most of the Robins I've met have just shouted at me while bobbing their head up and down. Or soothed my frayed edges with their wonderful bird song. Does anyone know what he may be up to? CT, do you have any ideas?
So I have been kept company by books, birds and unadorned Christmas cake. It was meant to be for my Mum, but she didn't take it home. It's gone now. I'm happy and sad about that; happy that it has finally gone, yet sad that there's none left. There's not a sweet thing in the house. Unless you count the fourteen jars of marmalade that are lined up on the kitchen window sill. It was a bit of a faff to make, but it was the good kind of faff. And not to blow my own trumpet, but it tastes lush
Onwards and upwards for the week ahead, I think.
Leanne xx
A big thank you to you all for your kind well wishes. It warmed my cockles. You are all so very lovely xx

Monday, 11 January 2016

Let's Dance


 You'd be forgiven for thinking that West Cornwall has been bathed in sunshine this past week. Far from it. That's why it's so much more important to get out there and enjoy while it does bestow itself upon us, don't you think? I've done it all; beach, hill, cliffs, woods, fields and lanes. I've squelched along in my wellies and rather attractive waterproof trousers, with Honey a constant companion. It's felt good people. There are signs of growth and life everywhere. The birds are definitely gearing up for Spring. I even saw a bumble bee, although I'm wondering whether that's a good thing.

In other news, Sam retuned to Uni today. He lugged his ridiculously heavy suitcase onto the train at St Erth station, and was gone. Just like that. I gave him a hug and held it together, but he was already looking away from me and up the line. Looking forward to getting back to his friends. Looking forward to the new semester, and the modules he has chosen. Hoping to audition for another play, and perhaps write for the student paper. I came home and stripped his bed, emptied his bin and tidied his shelves. I had a moment. Just a little one. When he came home for Christmas, it was if he'd never been away. Now he's returned, it's as if he was never here at all.

I am going into hospital tomorrow to have my hideous varicose veins (thank you Oliver) dealt with. They have become more and more painful this past year, and I have become very self conscious of them to boot. I've bought some new underwear for the occasion, because I'm sure Mr McDermott will have enough on his plate with the chunky thighs of this nervous client, who will probably babble incessantly throughout the procedure. Yes, I'll be awake. They do it with catheters and a probe. I've attended to everything lady wise, and am as groomed as a dog in show!

Wish me luck!

Leanne xx

A little tribute to David Bowie

I remember hearing the song 'Rebel Rebel' whilst sat outside my much older and rather fabulous cousin's bedroom. She epitomised cool, and always had very good musical taste. I loved the guitar intro, and the idea of this vampy woman who did as she pleased, seemed very daring to this young girl. I still played with Sindy Dolls and had a poster of Olivia Newton John on my wall. Poor Olivia never really cut the mustard after that, and I replaced her with Debbie Harry soon after.