My nephew moved in with us a few months ago, all the way from a Pyrenean idyll in the south of France. It’s really interesting seeing someone discover Edinburgh, it reminds me of all the compromises we’ve made along the way as well as the rewards of the move. It’s also interesting living with a ‘new’ person full-time. It holds a mirror up to everyone’s personalities and quirks and asks whether you’ll each change or grow the things about yourself that are suddenly more visible. Mostly, it feels like an excellent challenge.
I’ve been waking for weeks feeling badly misaligned. We had builders in, next door have builders in, two houses adjacent had builders in. With all the banging, shouting and stress there’s been little chance for creativity; each time I transported to inner space interruptions brought me clattering back. In parallel, feeling predated a notch too far when I moved around in workout clothes for running and yoga, I switched to just walking.
Muted, twice over, my connections to peace.
‘Sad’, as the predator in chief himself would say.
Fuck that. Comeback time.
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My daughter tells me she learned at school there hasn’t been a May as dry as this in Scotland since before I was born in 1976.
It seems we picked a lucky time for digging a new border in the garden and moving plants around to fill it up. It’s become habit, to go out between writing and running about and be amongst plants growing right before my eyes, echoing the kids growing and changing too. This time of the teenager seems the busiest of family life yet – and possibly the most rewarding.
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Our wee extension’s starting soon and early signs say the plants are keen on change this summer too.
We’ve imposed new garden structure by getting rid of the decrepit shed, clearing the Krugeresque brambles and waving cheerio to 9m of mixed hedge which only ever managed to look tortured, despite optimistic pruning.
A winter project which leaked into spring was a new boundary fence. With this came unexpected clarity about divvying up remaining space. Digging awaits.
Clarity’s good in these mad Brexit times (as are friends with doors which make me smile).
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We saw Collateral Beauty. The film whisked me back ten years to a hell of a week. Mum had been admitted to hospital in Aberdeen with a DVT. My son had his sixth birthday party. I hadn’t organised a thing for Halloween.
The morning after cobbled together trick or treating, Mum called from hospital and gently explained she had terminal cancer.
The world stopped as grief started.
Who I’d been until then died with her and (slowly, painfully) a new gratitude for life was born. Heather 2.0. An unwanted, bittersweet fresh start.
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I’m battling to feel Christmassy. The weather’s telling my senses it’s Autumn. The bagels in the cupboard and alarm clock scream that school’s still in. My diary’s saying it’s a few days before my annual crying at the song in The Polar Express which I love but will make the rest of the family roll their eyes in an agony of stretching tolerance.
YET STILL I REMAIN LARGELY SEASONALLY DEAD INSIDE.
Emergency measures are called for;
- Buble’ on Spotify
- Discussions with tiny nephew re Santa
- Deployment of horrific sweater
- Rising wine levels
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I’ve never seen a Scottish Autumn and Winter as beautiful, so far, as what 2016’s given.
The beauty in these seasons is going a long, gentle way to keeping breathing through the humanity shitstorm we’ve seen happen around the world this year. It’s easier to believe we’re not all doomed when nature’s on its best behaviour.
As my own shield and sword, I’ve added focus to health and work ethic. These things help my locus of control stay internal so fear doesn’t breed with downtime to create mischief.
Everything else is weather.
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