Sunlight sparkled intricacies through her arctic white hair
Auntie Margaret’s house is immaculate
Not a drop of macassar on her faded, pristine, sofa
Sunlight sparkled intricacies through her arctic white hair
Auntie Margaret’s house is immaculate
Not a drop of macassar on her faded, pristine, sofa
Darned English traffic, making a 35 mile journey as the crow flies take over 90mins as the car drives.
At least I’m not late, people are milling around two large coffee dispensing thermos flasks. This may be England, but the people in the room are from all over the world. Most ex colonies, most males. I see one excellent fellow that I haven’t seen for ages. He’s clearly pleased to see me, we hug and talk as I unpack.
Making my way to the coffee thermos involves several reunions and finally putting the body to the voices of some people I’ve only ever listened too. One loud boisterous voice announces my name. I recognise the loud volume and personality. He’s been a pain to work with. He says one thing, then I point out an alternative he says ‘that’s what I said’. He’s a bluffer, a showman, a pain to work with, a waffler. He knows some great stuff so you just have to tolerate his waffling to get to those gems. Hearing him call my name, my heart dropped. He pushed through the crowd then grabbed my upper arm and pulled me towards a space.
I was speechless. I’m not used to being dragged around like a piece of meat. I have no idea what made him think he could do that rather than ask me to move to the edge of the group for a chat about our joint work.
I yanked my arm from his grip. I over-emphasized the action to make a point of it. His facial reaction clearly demonstrated that he’d noticed my action and was surprised. Then I walked to the edge of the group and asked what he wanted. I listened to his trivia for a while then found myself an empty seat, on the other side of the room from him.
Later that day he did the same thing and I responded on the same way. Surely by now he’s recognised the pattern and can see I don’t appreciate being touched by him. I wonder if he remembers the company ‘code of conduct’ training which states that you shouldn’t touch other employees except with extreme caution. By this time I’d noticed that he didn’t touch the men in the room. This imbalance was all the more noticeable because I was one of only 3 women in a group of 28.
As I drove home in the evening I reprimanded myself for not saying anything to him directly. I trusted him to understand my body language which would have been clear to anyone watching that I did not want him to touch me. I remember what I’d read about how unreported serial rapists work. The first clue is that they push the boundaries, they test how you react to workout whether you’ll move your boundaries and keep quiet. If you do, then you’re the perfect victim because they can coerce you and you’ll not report it because you feel complicit. By not having realised what is happening, by not assuming he’s a man with a plan you take blame for the consequences. Legal processes and society tend to blame the victim in these cases.
I’m not calling this guy a rapist but he was EXTREMELY CREEPY and behaving in a manner consistent with the behaviours of serial rapists. I decided to forget about it all, except, if he touched me again, irrespective of the context, I would say calmly “stop touching me“.
After a small emergency with the car I arrived late the next day for a group work session. The only girl in a room of 10 people. The only seat available was next to creepy guy. I suspect the other fellows find him annoying too. At one point he had a mini tantrum because no-one was listening to him. Saying out loud “well I’ll shut up then if no-one’s interested“. I was interested in the point he was making so asked him to continue and I took notes – which we later used. Afterwards he leaned over to me, grabbed my upper arm and pulled me toward him. Calmly and clearly, as planned, I said “Stop touching me“.
The room went silent and everyone looked at us, then the conversation continued. Job done. I probably looked like I overreacted but now I have witnesses to my asserting my boundaries with him. I hope I don’t need to tell him again. I’d rather not have to work with him, but unfortunately that’s not really an option. This is a diary of the event and I hope it’s a single entry. But who knows, he looked about 50, his behaviours are probably very ‘fixed’ and treating women as more touchable than men in the work place is probably very ingrained. If so, there could be some follow-up entries and I’ll use them as a record of my perspective should this escalate.
Fewer, shorter and lower quality blog posts as pre-move activities churn the wendy house into piles of pre-move things. The meaning of the many emerging piles is not obvious to the innocent bystander, but I know they are for:
That innocent bystander is probably guilty of something and their dudes will involve having to deal with their befuddlement. My above mentioned piles have joined the normal collections of things that need to be
What makes you think you’re saying anything that I’d actually want to listen to?
I hadn’t thought. My conversation was indeed trivial. We sat in silence while I pondered something worthy of conversation and he revelled in having silenced me. During the silence I decided his lack of engagement in conversation as a team effort, and the mean spirit of his conversation stopper meant that I didn’t care for his company. I took my leave. An abrupt way to end a relationship. It had been short and definitely lacking in sweetness. When he’d told me that his ex-wife had attacked him with a meat cleaver I had wondered why, that wondering had wandered into potential victim blaming. His mean comment felt strategically placed to start a heated meta-level discussion about our relationship with a theme of my being inadequate. I’m prepared to engage in that type of conversation but only if handled in a manner that clearly, mutually, uncovers ways in which we can grow as individuals, or a couple. Clearly not the case here.
Putting on my coat, finding the money for my share of the bill and leaving the wine bar seemed to take forever. Maybe I’d overreacted, but the type of person I’d like to spend time with would not have created that situation and would have managed the end of the relationship with more grace and style. I cried while I walked home. Because, despite many clues, I’d not recognised his mean spirit.
I can’t bring myself to throw out the boxes of ‘paper’ photographs (albums) from under the bed.
I never look at them. I doubt I’ll ever show them to anyone. They’re just a security blanket for my memory. There’s no history of senility or amnesia in my parents family. Over the last year I’ve seen mum through out multiple photo albums of holiday ‘snaps’ and she’s definitely more of a hoarder than me. Though this weekend I came back from her house with more stuff (Paintings, heirlooms) than things I’d delivered to her. I’m trying very hard to keep the physical balance of things leaving the house, compared to things arriving on a ratio of 4:1. Generally managing.
I’ve thrown out over 4 large clip-arch files full of all my teaching materials for the BSc (Hons) Psychology Course sections that I taught. Remember pre-printed transparencies used with overhead projectors? They’ll never be used again. The degree was assessed as extremely high quality by the UK teaching standards body, a score of 23/24 where the point we dropped was that we didn’t have a quality process in place for measuring the quality or our quality processes. Honestly!
The Sunday newspaper is on the Settee, help yourself. Would you like a mug of tea?
It’s a beautifully brewed tea in a large bone china mug that’s decorated in the style of Charles Rene Macintosh. Mum knows I like his designs and has taken to always giving me this mug, it’s my favourite mug without my having told her. My mug in mum’s kitchen.
Opening the broadsheet in the centre of the sun filled living room floor I read about Oscar Pistoriois‘s trial results, Samantha Morton’s description of her experience in care homes in the UK, and statistics about Scottish voting tendencies. Radio 2, concert in Hyde park, Christy Hynde, plays in the background.
Mum brings over a handful of paint colour swatches. She wants my thoughts on what colours to paint the room. Was dad’s room.. We discuss feature coloured walls, wall paper, curtains, styles. She’s pleased that I’ve given her some ideas.
My mug of tea magically refills, a bottomless mug.
This is the fabulous home that I relocated back to Britain to share, the home I’ll be leaving this autumn. I’ve left many times. This time leaving is coupled with the knowledge that coming back will soon not be possible.
Do I care that the apple watch
Apple hasn’t successfully ‘sold’ their watch to me. But it could offer value. I’m disappointed they haven’t bothered to point out that value…. I’ll wait and see what the dedicated fan boys say after paying their premium to own it first
Apple’s business model relies on them selling more hardware… I wonder what they’ll do next….
Being over anxious about finding the right place, I turned up 90minutes before my appointment ladened with half a redwood tree of supporting evidence, credit card, and my passport.
I had to line up, in separate lines to:
Standing in line, sitting in line with a number, is an integral part of the USA visa getting process. There are many ways that new technology could be used to streamline the whole process. Streamlining the process would remove the Kafkaesque quality. Perhaps being Kafkaesque is fundamentally important to government procedures.
The young, blonde, Brit who interviewed me was being observed by a senior member of staff who smiled when I got excited and when I behaved like a normal person… forgetting things, being uncertain.
Interviewer: tell me about your Diplomatic Visa, your A2
Wendy: Gosh, I’d completely forgotten about that, way back in 1999 I worked for the UK MOD on secret things, I signed the official secrets act and they got me a diplomatic Visa. Well done you for finding that out!
The USA are going to give me another Visa, despite my having to declare that I’d repeatedly lost my passport several times while living in the USA. It seems they can tolerate my human scattiness in return for my fabulous expert knowledge…. mainly knowledge of human scattiness….
My bed is a wreck.
2 days of lemsip enabled battling with my bed sheets before I regained post-flu levels of physical and mental calm. Without Sampo’s sturdy and steadfast body to weigh down the bedding it’s much more likely to find the floor, the walls, the ceiling, the staircase…..
The 6 earrings that I never remove were neatly paired and placed on my bedside table. Apparently, in the middle of the storm I decided to remove and place them in an ordered sensible fashion. I don’t recall doing this, or have insight into why I would do this. Were the studs weighing me down during some essential battle with some imagined foe of my fever? They’re back in place now.
Full steam ahead…
The muffled loud sounds of the Reading festival fill the chill, damp, garden air. My stomach cramps, cramps, and cramps. I think I’m hungry but the slight nausea makes the thought of eating unappealing. The house devoid of cat fluff, balls, toy mice, freshly soiled cat litter, footsteps. It’s too near clinical. I’ll stop sulking when I’ve stopped bleeding.
As I’m looking to get rid of my excess stuff ready to move, my friend from Primary school who’s spent the last 14 years living abroad is moving back from Cairo to the UK. She’s looking for all the things I can’t take with me, electrical stuff, a car, some small furniture for a small house. How fortunate is that?!
Mumsie: Is there anything you want, before you go (to America)
Wendy: it’s difficult to ask because all the things I want are probably thongs that are special to you too
Mumsie: Oh, I’m going to have to get rid of lots of stuff.
Wendy: The black and white Rackham that I bought dad for his birthday?
Mumsie: Oh good! I’ve never liked that, I managed to get him to keep it in his office for a few years but then he moved it into the front room. I was going to ask you if you wanted it
Wendy: the Bullova watch, I remember him wearing it as an everyday watch
Mumsie: Oh yes, that’s probably quite valuable because it was the first of the new modern watches. It doesn’t work and might not be easy to get fixed without damaging it’s value
Some blog posts are easy to think of, difficult to write.
They’ll probably be the better posts, if they get written (and copy edited).
Meanwhile, you’ll have to wait
My parents genes
Drop in guests
Long cotton vests
Cats on the internets
Men wearing kilts
Children on stilts
A car that can go
Being able to sew
Spare case of merlot
Raindrops on roses
Whiskers on kittens
Warm woollen mittens
Something nice to study
phoning up a buddy
Being in my nuddy
I get sad just thinking about it. I’ll get to stay the first night with her. I’ll get to visit her before I leave.
Her new family will post pictures of her on Facebook. She’ll be happy, she’ll be much less stressed than travelling in the hold of a plane for 9 hours then moved from temporary home to temporary home. The flash makes her look a bit woozy in this picture, but there’ll be no drugs involved in her journey. She hates the car, and cries all the way. It must hurt her throat. I’m not looking forward to moving her. I am looking forward to her being moved and settled.
She’ll probably even forget me.
After moving there will be many more blog posts, Minneapolis is just so interesting and very beautiful. Today a lady was telling me about the cherry tree blossom in spring, how it’s magical like a fairy-tale world. She talked about going north to see the fall colours. She clearly loves it here (I’m in Minneapolis). The skies are often blue, even in the winter.
People open their windows & doors to catch any breeze that might wander by
Official warnings of a ‘heat wave’ and health concerns because Britons are not familiar with how to behave safely, healthily in hot weather
Tempers and temperatures are rising
From my open doors and windows I can hear the family frictions of neighbours in the surrounding streets, beyond my immediate neighbours. When they shout I can hear what they say. Shouts blown in the breeze to me.
Living alone, I have no-one to shout at.
Living alone, I have nothing I want to shout at anyone about. I don’t recall ever shouting at people that I lived with. But it must have happened and I’ve conveniently forgotten it in the peace of my own home. No-one wants to invite shouting into their home, it must just happen somehow.
In the heat Sampo and I lounge around in the shade. She tells me about it, but doesn’t shout.
Windows and doors are closed when the thunder and lightening hit. As if the world is objecting to all the shouting and demonstrating this by shouting right back with a stormy temper beyond that of any mortal. Unlike Sampo, I love the thunder and lightening storms. The sound of rain pounding on the roof and the way they whipe the slate, garden and street clean.
I love my mum
She’s 78. I’m banned from mentioning aging. She moans about her 93 year old sister being ‘needy’ wanting mum to come with her on weekend coach tour breaks. Apparently, even if they have separate rooms her elder sister is an insufferable talker who’s deaf. Hmmmmm….. it’s been remarked that I take after this maternal aunt. Must remember to listen, even when I’m deaf.
Mum and I chat a couple of times a week. This is a new thing. It started when I was made redundant in 2009 and I nominated mum as responsible for knowing that I was ok on a day to day basis. Having no regular schedule, there was no one to ‘miss’ me. I called mum at 7pm each day and she had instructions and neighbours numbers to follow up with if I didn’t call and didn’t return her ‘why haven’t you called’ calls. Obviously all this safety infrastructure was not put into emergency action. What it did do was it gave me an excuse to call mum every day, for no real reason. We’d chat if something occurred to us, or just share hello’s if not. A nice habit. One I’ve kept up on a weekly basis since then. A habit that’s been easy to increase since dad died.
Since dad died our calls have been more light hearted and chatty. I’ve enjoyed them much more. They make me love mum even more.
Over the last year the quality of her voice over the phone has changed. I can’t tell if this is my expectations and fears or an actual change. She is still a quick thinker but the ‘crackle’ that I associated with old people dominates what I hear. I hear what she says, but the voice is not the her voice of my youth, and later adulthood. It’s the voice of a delicate old lady.
I love my mum
An open house at the Wendy house was advertised in the window of the Estate Agent and on their mailing list. It’s first showing was on Saturday, 5 potential buyers. 3 turned up. 60% turn up felt poor. Their feedback? I littered down the street and watched the visitors turn-up then leave. It took them less than 10 minutes to look around. It’s a small place, but still, I wasn’t encouraged. Summary feedback
Too expensive: Small, neat Asian couple in a large family car
I’ll show pictures to my girlfriend: tall Caucasian man, about 35, on foot in t-shirt and jeans. Booked a 2nd viewing with girlfriend on Tuesday.
Offer 25K below asking price: French couple that I didn’t see who live in rented accommodation nearby made an offer on Monday.
I said the offer didn’t offend me but I’d like to wait for a few more people to view the Wendy house (on Tuesday) before making a decision on that offer. They increased their offer to £16K below asking price and added some unacceptable time constraints. My estate agent explained why the price was acceptable but I can’t accept their time constraints. They discussed it on Tuesday night.
Wednesday – house under offer subject to contract, off the market in less than a week at a good price. Nice result. Lets hope the buyer and I stay together to completion.
Sampo has found herself a new home near Birmingham. Upgrading her home to a quirky Georgian house with an adult family. I’ve known one family member since 1987 when we dated for a year. We visited mum and dad in that time. I tried to prompt mumsie to remember him
Me: “The tall skinny one with a curly quiff”
Mumsie: “They were all tall and skinny dear”
The Estate agent responsible for selling the Wendy House offered me the opportunity to give feedback on the details they’d produced, before they were published. I suggested a few changes that raised the profile of a few desirable features.
The agent didn’t confirm receiving my feedback or making any changes. After a couple of weeks I included the following (blue text) in an email to the Agent. The Agent replied in red..
With a good attitude the Agent would’ve recognised my point about size and suggested a phrase to conveys the double size parking space. On one occasion I’ve had 3 small cars parked there. I’ve suggested “Offload parking for 2 cars”, that saves the lazy estate agent the trouble of measuring my drive.
I’m annoyed by the Agent’s attitude. Based on this, and other examples of their sloppy attitude and service, I will have no qualms about changing providers at the end of our contract.
<rant probably not finished, just temporarily paused>
For some reason today my spirits have been unfeasible low.
I took dad’s Tissot into a watch makers to have the movement replaced. It stopped soon after I inherited it. For some reason I asked the watchmaker to give me the old movement.
“I’ve never seen the movement of a watch close up”
“I can show you now if you’d like”
“I want to play with it, poke it around, take it apart, can I have it with the repaired watch?”
He agreed. I didn’t really understand why I wanted it.
In the evening I watched a TV programme about Niel Sedaka. Mumsie had chosen “this is our lost song together” for dad’s funeral. I searched for the song on you tube and found a Swedish version by Agnetha. So many small reasons to cry. I guess this is melancholia, seeking-out the sadness. Feeling self-centred, lonely and guilty for letting myself wallow in these feelings.
Seattle, 2006, I’m 43. A weekend phone call home. Dad always triages the phone calls. One phone is next to his computer. He doesn’t chat, but I’m prepared with a question primed by my annual medical check-up
“Dad, how old was mum when she started the menopause?”
“56 and we’re still suffering!” She was 66 at the time
I was still giggling when mum picked up the extension line…
I heave the heavy fire door open and hold it for the escaping lunchtime throng. Many pass without eye contact, talking chirpily to each other or striding into the heart of the building. A few catch my eye, silently nodding their head or muttering a thank you. Toward the end of the crowd a fellow offers to take the door holding role. I accept.
People not acknowledging my small gesture had enhanced the power of my invisibility cloak and my urge to drop the door and walk into the canteen leaving them to battle the door one by one. This fellow’s xray vision confirmed he too was a superhero.
Would you like me to follow-up with Joseph, waiving my overhead costs, to supply you with a blog post tailored to you and your damp proofing needs? It’s tempting. Entertaining letter with absolutely no evidence that he has any idea about the contents of my blog. I am slacking in publishing despite lots of stories from both the Route 66 tour and the Turkey escapade
I am 100% responsible for authoring everything on this website, except a few identified quotes.
Marketers are able to find my email address and they often email offering to produce blog content for me. The letters they send are a standard format that shows no awareness of my blog style, content or theme. Normally I file their emails under “junk”, ignoring them and they move on. Occasionally one will be persistent, sending multiple related emails with well crafted text designed to engage me in the possibility of letting them use my blog to host their content. Lucy, email below, is an example of a persistent marketer. Unlike previous emails this one provides email addresses that appear to be hosted on the domain of an agency promoting it’s digital marketing services. This might actually be legitimate! http://www.click.co.uk/
I’ve written to Lucy and quoted my fees and conditions for hosting her content on the Wendy House. You’ll be reassured to know that I’ve informed Lucy that any blog post provided by her team will be overtly credited to them and will incur fees to cover my costs – legal review, copy editing, insurance, my time and other incidental expenses such as a bottle of champagne for me and a new luxury scratching-post-tower for Sampo. I wonder if Lucy will reply.
Tonight is my first wide awake night since the 1980’s
I don’t know why, though going to bed, sleep, at 9pm last night probably led to waking at 3am, feeling bouncy and full of energy. 6 hours continuous deep sleep seems like a good dose. I’m not bemoaning my current wakefulness. It seems I’m just slightly out of synch with the majority of people living in this time zone. In the 1980s I used my wakefulness to go clubbing, read prolifically, socialise with local nocturnal misfits and drink copious amounts of tea. Good times brought to an end by my first serious romance. A healthy sex life definitely aides deep and long sleeps.
Today, a gentle pre-sunrise has seen me sort a pile of paper mail into 4 neat piles including a huge one that’s gone straight into the recycling bin. Gosh, I’m way too organised this morning! Freshly laundered sheets don the bed, waiting for my tomorrow night’s flop into the world of sleep. Sampo doesn’t seem the slightest bit disturbed by my pottering around the house. I love how she adapts easily to my changing ways.
I don’t spend much tome looking at myself in the mirror. I catch a glimpse when brushing my teeth, or a fuzzy glimpse after I bathe as I throw my towel around trying to wrap myself in dryness.
But my hands are almost always there, tapping on the keyboard, gathering food, lifting a glass. I see my hands many times a day. They show my age. I still remember the smooth skin of their youth and notice the miniscule mosaic shapes of age emerging. They get enough attention, I don’t care to draw the attention of others to my hands. Until I saw a little light magic in a Turkish gemstone. Zultanite.
The stone changes colour depending on the light source. Captivated by the magic of perception reflected in this gem, on my Turkish holiday I purchased a ring. Green in fluorescent light, strawberry pink in sunlight and Topaz coloured in another light who’s source I’ve yet to identify. Mixed reflection when mixed light sources are nearby. It makes catching a glimpse of my hands more joyous.
I fancy there is a genie of the ring and maybe there’s more magic that will change the colours in my life. I’ll rub it and see…
The country feels ‘rich’. Rich with water, it’s very green with many fields full of healthy looking crops. The countryside is littered with Dams and windfarms. The roads are smooth surfaced and clearly being resurfaced regularly.
During my 2 weeks there I never saw a beggar, though they clearly have many very poor people. The poverty is evidenced by the many people doing jobs that rarely exist in places like the UK or USA. These people are selling food and flowers to drivers through the Istanbul traffic jams on a 3 lane motorway.