Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Making lemonade

It was still too revolting to do anything outside yesterday evening, so I took myself off to the gym after wetly walking Moose.

Pounding away on the treadmill is not everyone's idea of fun (possibly not even my own), but it was dry and warm and I find I can zone out after a few minutes and let my thoughts wander. As I plodded on and turned redder and sweatier, I drew up a satisfyingly long mental list of projects for the winter months.

Displacement activity it surely is, but it works for me. Empty hours drag me down so I shall continue manically filling them for as long as I can or need to do it.

And at the end of it all I found that I had run my 5k in under 30 minutes for the first time ever. 29 minutes, 18 seconds to be precise. It is amazing what you can do with a bit of pent-up craziness inside your head!

That small triumph followed by an earlyish night with the first hot-water bottle of the season has gone some way towards restoring my equilibrium for now.

I still wish it would stop raining though.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Duvet days

Autumn has arrived.
It has been raining solidly for two days. 50 mm last night, apparently.
The rain hurls itself horizontally along the ridge from the West, battering the side of my house for days on end. The ground is already turning into quagmire and the pigs' run is starting to look like the Somme.

It is dark, cold and dank, and the thought of a whole Winter like this on my own is utterly depressing. I just want to go back to bed and sleep until Spring.

Monday, 13 September 2010


I had decided it was time.
Time to take my superhero knickers out of the underwear drawer and go battle some demons.

The local First Responders group held its AGM and social evening on Friday, and I resolved to go. In previous years there has been a bit of business, followed by some wine, nibbles and chatting and then a session introducing newbies to the CPR dummies.

I figured I could manage the first two and would simply go home when the last bit started.
The business part of the meeting was boring. But that is fine - boring is good.

Standing around chatting was fine too, apart from one conversation I had with a man who kept on going on and on about how he had read on the Internet that the use of a defibrillator can cause blood clots. I just wanted to slap him hard around the face and scream, "But at least you would be still ALIVE, you moron!" What I actually did was to excuse myself, run to the loo and do some deep breathing for a few minutes.

It was nowhere near as satisfying.

After a couple of glasses of wine I was starting to feel quite relaxed, and was wondering if I could handle the Little Annie showdown after all. At which point I saw the training coordinator taking the bags with the dummies back out to his car. Apparently there was no one new there to sign up so they weren't going to bother.

I wasn't sure whether to feel relieved that I didn't have to face up to it or annoyed that I would have to work myself up to this point again. So I am now trying to decide whether to ask to bring one of the dummies home with me or whether it would freak me out totally having one in the house.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Keeping on keeping on

I had to smile when I read about all the salsa-making and pickling going on over at Cicero Sings.

Here the crop of the moment is not tomatoes, but apples - several bagsworth scrumped from R's uncle's orchard last weekend - but the principle is the same.

Peel, chop, winnow out the bad ones, render down for freezing. Nothing goes to waste. I have a willing home for all the peels, cores and less than perfect fruit!

Every night I stand there for an hour or so and peel apples. The kitchen smells of them which is, generally speaking, a Good Thing.

And when this batch of apples are finished, it will be time to start on the courgettes. And then the tomatoes. Perhaps pickle some cucumbers. Then there will be the last of the plums. And yet more apples. Finally it will be time to bring in the beans for drying

Just as I did last year.

And the year before. And all the years before that.

It is just what I do at this time of year. I quite like the repetitive nature of the tasks, and it pleases me to see the shelves and freezer filling up. It is also the reward for all that frantic sowing and planting a few months ago.

But this year I have also spent a lot of time wondering exactly why I am doing it. In my current state of aimless bobbing (thank you Boo!) it sometimes seems rather pointless just for me.
R and I spent so much of our lives working towards the day when we could have our own place and raise our own food like this. And it was so much fun doing it together.
This year, on my own, it feels like much more of a chore, even though I know I will enjoy the end result.

There is also a feeling of, if I stop, what then?
I would then have to make a decision about my future. If I let the garden go, it will be a sign that I am not going to stay here. I would have to decide to make a new life in a different place. And that thought is just too scary to contemplate.

So I keep on doing it, because that is what I do.


Not so much loneliness.
That's not really what it is.

By most standards, I had a good weekend.
On Sunday morning I went to a local food fair, met some friends, had lunch and a lovely mooch around, bought some goodies and the sun shone.

I miss having a hand to hold.
I miss going round the stalls tasting and comparing. Discussing which of half a dozen cheeses to buy. Arguing over the relative merits of the goodies on offer. Thinking about what would be nice to have for lunch the next day.
I am tired of having to carry all my own bags.
I hate feeling like the spectre at the feast when my friends are talking to each other.

And then I dashed home, wrote a card and went out again to a birthday party, complete with hog roast. I didn't know many people, but that's OK. It is a familiar feeling these days, and I am getting pretty good at making cheerful small talk with people. I didn't even burst into tears when someone said something nice about R. It was fun sitting around the fire chatting and eating, and I was surprised to find myself quite so reluctant to leave when I did.

I miss having a hand to hold. A base to return to when the conversation runs out.
I miss physical contact full stop.
I hate that sore-jawed feeling that only comes from spending several hours nervously smiling.
I am so tired of being alone.

I am lucky. There are friends and family who love and care for me. I receive and accept invitations. I appear to be coping - I work, look after myself and pay bills. Most problems no longer seem insurmountable once I stop panicking about them. I am fit, healthy and solvent.

I so miss having a hand to hold.