Tag Archives: summer

Hot Spell

The last few nights have been just too hot to bear. My fine figure is far more suited to Inuit nights, I absolutely blubberly-rock cold weather but am disadvantaged in balmier climes.

The children are both the same. I try to soothe them to sleep with tepid baths, open windows and a pj and bedclothes ban which usually gets broken due to the fact they NEED some kind of covering to clutch as they drift off.

 Checking on them in the early hours I peel sheets away and smooth sweaty curls off their faces.

Sometime in the  grey hours there’s a changing tide as night seeps away with the wash of the new-day coolness creeping welcome fingers through the mostly sleeping house. It barely registers in my restless fever-troubled dozing. About now my night-time painkiller is wearing off and I’m waiting for the mornings welcome fix. Stupid fluid on crumbling near non-existent hip-joint . Foul misbegotten infection. Unwelcome prickly hot fever.

Lying on threadbare sheets, every worn spring sticking into me, I hover just outside proper rest. Tiredness and misery stain my thoughts. I resent the heat and flinch if anyone tries to touch me. The idea of a shower makes me actually dry retch. I want to no-go zone every inch of my skin.

I lie listening to everyone else even breathing and the whirr of one solitary fan stirring the treacly hot air around. Mentally I run through the tenets of pain clinic. The need to own and control my pain. The fact that my own experience has taught me this is true doesn’t help in these spare stranded hours. Recently all our lives are tainted with my salty sweaty scent of self-pity  and general all over misery. We’re all waiting for the tide to turn.

Days narrow down to basic goals. Clothes on, food of some kind provided, one child got school and collected, other child nursemaided by Cbeebies, buckets of water and hulahoops. Coaxed into considering a pile of leaflets to be cut into ribbons with the fascinating usually out-of-bounds orange scissors a worthy afternoons occupation. What feels like never-ending hospital trips chasing the seemingly holy grail goal of pinpointing the correct antibiotic cure for my own filthy internal plague. Petri dishes seeded from the mysterious putrid fluid drawn from my very bones offer up grown auguries of success.

I have grown to mistrust them.

Everything seems worse in the night. While my toes dip in the sea of sleep the pain balloons and swells unreasonably. Irrationally I doubt my ability to last til morning, I dread the next day packed full of small failures, I weep about my loss of humour and ability to celebrate the small things. Bitterly I resent all the sleeping going on around me and the card dealing performance of fate.

I’m chasing something in my troubled half dreams. Vaguely I think it’s a cure or an AI disguised as a steer in some grotesque urban forest. The pain in my pelvis is because I’ve been pierced with a poisoned arrow. Defeated I lie down on some broken glass and wait.

Slowly I can feel some warmth seeping through from behind me. Somehow I’ve become cold and bask in the slow flush of heat as comforting and calming. There’s a goddess behind me casting a healing scorching spell. I stretch my toes and snuggle into the glow. Without noticing I drift deeper into sleep, taking a millisecond to register the spell as a possible threshold for change. We’re on the up I mentally murmur as I dive deeper.

When I wake up there’s a small naked person wrapped over my back. She’s all tangled hair and pouting lips. Smooth golden limbs speckled with summer bruises and scrapes are draped over me and she radiates heat like a small serene sunshine-gilded buddha.

Who knows? Maybe she is a spellcaster. I certainly noticed a very beautiful thing immediately without the aid of drugs. Goddess knows I yearn for a bit of everyday magic why not lean on a bit of placebo faith healing?

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Autumnal thinking

Ah – a successful afternoon, knitting while forcing the children to watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s on film4 along with me.

 Zeph was in and out, playing a complicated Pokemon game in the garden – sporadically appearing to ask if it was still on and whether I knew Batman was on the other side.

 Ida is trying to encourage the appearance of a new hat on my recently acquired circular needle by watching me very closely and shouting “knit faster!” at startling intervals.

In between this I weep along at all my favourite bits – oh Doc – she just isn’t Lula Mae any more. Zeph joined us in time for the end. At the bit about the cages and Holly taking her’s wherever she goes he gleefully pointed out that was like what I say (obviously tediously often if it’s sunk in with him) about taking yourself to the places you go.

I observe sourly Capote got there first. In fact I rant off while counting my knit two pearl two’s about there only being five stories… I look up to an empty room. Pearls before swine I’m telling you, pearls before swine.

Today was a good day. We ran into a friend at the supermarket and had a spontaneous hour in the park playground. Sitting here now I’m reflecting on how good it is to see her, always and why I’m so rubbish at fixing up playdates.

Its been a long summer. Not in terms of being bored with having Zeph home, which has flown by and not in the sense of long balmy hot days lying in the garden watching bats flutter over a gin in the stretched out twilight. No, long in the sense of wading through shoulder-high treacle depression everyday.

Routinely after a miserable stretch I scan the horizon for some symbolic sign of change to cling on to. This year it’s the end of summer and the arrival of abundant fragrant autumn. Though Keats uses this season of mellow fruitfulness to think about  drawing to ends I always see it as new beginnings and possibilities.

Maybe it’s the new term. Pristine books, unmarked pages, clean pencil cases. Untested teachers, new starts, fresh classrooms. Not that I have any of these – still I can always live vicariously through Zeph – surely this is an offspring perk?

Anyway I’m scoring a line under summer and inhaling the colder evenings, bonfires and rotting leaves with pleasure and fresh hope. Steve and I have disagreed and I’m finally ready to let go of the grudge and start afresh with the falling leaves. I’m taking the children away to the seaside for four days in a caravan over the first weekend in september. Due to a breakdown in communication, goodwill and holiday booking I’m doing it on my own but am finally ready to look forward to it instead of resenting it with a bitter stone in my chest. 

I plan to take hardly anything, make everyone wear three layers to travel, purchase all food instead of cooking and buy some books down there so I don’t have to carry them. I also resolve to try not butt heads with Zeph and play up the team angle and working together to contain Ida. Also to employ bribery whenever necessary to maintain my sanity and to make Steve pay for it all. Most importantly to take notice of the all the beauty that’ll be there in the turning wheel of the seasons. To embrace the autumnal beach and not yearn for the summer one.

Succinctly, to live in the moment. This lesson’s a long one I think and I have to keep recapping. That’s okay – I get stuff in the end. Recently I realised how to move the wool whilst knitting ribbing. It’s all so obvious now and although tiny I celebrate my learning curve.

Brisk autumn breeze, please lift up the veil and let me see all the beautiful things around me. I will bake apples for you with butter and cinnamon. I will pile gleaming mounds of conkers in the corners of my garden. Eat blackberries from the side of the path and stain my fingers purple with their juices. Wear new shoes and start a fresh sketchbook. Collect a plastic bag of golden and scarlet leaves to rot down quietly behind the shed. Cook jacket potatoes in the edge of a bonfire. Honour you quietly but honestly and wholeheartedly. Lovely autumn, please blow some changes through me.

Summer windfalls

These pictures are from last week, when the sun actually shone. Unlike this weekend although the rain didn’t spoil the barbecue to celebrate my cousins confirmation. My family aren’t put off by a little rain I tell you. Although Z did leave his trainers outside where they got completely soaked. Which through a serious of drying mishaps including a tumbledryer spin ended up with my resourceful uncle Tony re-attaching the soles with a hot glue gun. Great tip and I’ll be attempting to fix Z’s school shoes later in an attempt to get them to limp through to the end of term…

I love this inspired alternative use of the basket;

but what I love most is I can remember collecting up the fairy apples from my G’mas lawn in the summer and lining them up on the old brick wall or attempting to sell them to my family. As we sat on the bench watching her squatting and carefully examining each tiny windfall my heart felt very full.

I don’t know why I feel surprised though. Surely it’s one of the joys of parenting your child, reigniting memories? Of course it all depends on the memories. These are pretty good.

Today Zeph and I measured the bedroom exhaustively for the big bunk bed event. My child has expensive tastes and I’ve had to placate him with customisation promises instead. I foresee many flat pack hours ahead… New stuff is really exciting. I’ve planned in a LOT of new storage and he has made extravagant promises about keeping everything tidy. Again my heartstrings tug as I still make these internal promises every time I actually manage to clean the house or sort out a corner.

I think I’m still waiting to grow up and get organised.