Friday, 22 April 2016

Nothing compares to you.

Death has been very much on my mind of late. Partly due to the calls I get from Social Services in London about Dad (they are idiots who have been told time and time again that I live over 500 miles away and should, in the first instance, contact my brothers). Partly as I am getting close to the age my Mum was when she died. It's an odd sensation every time I look at her picture where she never ages, whereas my reflection in the mirror is lined and grayer.

Partly because a dear old colleague recently told us that he has pancreatic cancer and is unlikely to last the year. That was a shocker out of the blue.

And then there are the celebrities who are dying. This year has been relentless and we are only into April. Now I didn't know them personally. Their deaths have not hit me in the same way as that of a family member or friend. But the grief is still real because it is grief for what was and can never be again. Some of the ones that have passed this year formed the backdrop to my life growing up - they were the soundtrack to my lifelong love of music and comedy. I defy anyone to claim that The Ballad of Barry and Freda is not some of the finest songwriting there is. Or that hearing the latest Bowie release was not thrilling. We won't get that again.

And as they pass, I find myself increasingly in a world that is just memories. The artists of today cannot measure up to these.

In 1988 I was very lucky to go to Wembley stadium to see Michael Jackson perform. It was a great concert. But a month later I saw Prince at Wembley Arena and I was blown away. I've been wearing purple ever since.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Quick trip to London

First week of school hols so of course, we decided to go down to see the family in London.
Booked weeks ago and looked forward to bunking down in my little brother's flat.
Few weeks pass then shite....

1. Kiddo refused to go to some holiday club outings and wants me to give up work so that I can look after her all the time. I was tempted as the new job is a bit of a let down. But sorry kiddo, it ain't happening. I already work at a low wage but mamma needs to work or she will go mental.

2. My brother's flat was no longer available as he's has some issues with the pipes (not his, just the ones that flow under the flat). Two options were open to us - change the trip which would cost dosh, or stay with my dad which could cost my sanity. Against my better judgement we opted for the latter.

3. Tunisia, Bombs. People just going about their business being killed. So close to the 10 year anniversary of 7/7. So depressing thinking that in 10 years things have not changed.

4. PMT on a monumental scale (this peri menopause PMT sucks).

All I wanted to do was go down, meet some cousins and friends and just have a laugh. But I didn't want hubby or kiddo in tow. I wanted to be free of being mum and wife. I wanted him to get in touch with his London friends and actually go out for a change (bit of a sore point but we have close to no social life in Scotland).

4. Day of the trip down. Heatwave.Train.  However, East Coast service was frankly brilliant. Before boarding we were asked if we wanted to check our luggage in. Why yes, that's fantastic yes, we would, yes we did and virtually skipped onto the train past other travelers who were holding onto their huge bags. Then when the air con broke down in our carriage, the service cart went through the train giving out cool bottles of water and also advising which  carriages had air con still working. Luckily, the train wasn't full and so we were able to move.

5. Tonsillitis. I could feel it coming on before the trip and hoped the heat would keep it at bay for the few days we were down south.

So we arrived. Dad is an alcoholic. The last few years have been tough as his alcoholism is much more apparent since he stopped working. His health has deteriorated tremendously and he is no longer able/willing to look after himself let alone the flat. I find it all very difficult to deal with. He used to nag, NAG me relentlessly, if I left a cup unwashed by the sink or a spec of dust on the dining room table. And now he nags, NAGS me pitifully to stop cleaning. I am sure I'm the only one that cleans his loo and bathroom so that they are only done once a year.

His alcoholism seems to have abated a little since our last meeting in October as he has stopped drinking spirits and is now on red wine. He also seemed to restrain his smoking for the first few days, though by the 3rd day of the visit, was back to smoking in front of my hubby and kid.

I know a lot of my anger is guilt as I'm not around to help him out anymore. In previous visits he's kinda hammed it up and acted very poorly (in the sense of being rude, and in the sense of being ill too). In the past my dad has been an utter arse to me -  it's hard to forgive and help him. It's also hard when I live miles away. I see-saw frequently with contempt for my brothers for not helping him and utter empathy with their own frustration with him.

Funny innit, headlines pop up every now and again about the how the old are so lonely but they never go into the backstories so much. That they may be reasons why some of these old dears are actually on their own.

And what is it with flying ants and their flight once a year? They hit my dad's kitchen. They did that once when I lived there. The little buggers. I'm glad we were there to sort it this time round.

Hey though, it's  not all doom and gloom. There were occasions away from the flat when I managed to get have some fun time with family and friends.

I waited along the Thames by London City Pier. It was fun watching tourists trying to take selfies with the view above and happy to help those that asked for to take their photos. I was waiting for one of my best friends. We had a saunter through Borough Market (closed alas) before settling for a most delicious Turkish meal finishing off with a pint in a pub. He told me that Thursday is the day all the city boys go out to drink!   I felt a little of the old me return - the London me. Also guilt again as I was moaning to him rather than savouring our time together.

Friday we went for the most delicious home cooked meal courtesy of my young cousin. She has two of the cutest little boys. I haltingly spoke Gujarati for the first time in ages and had a good old gossip. Then on the bus to see another friend for what was meant to be a quick coffee but ended up quite a bit longer sitting in her gorgeous garden in Muswell Hill chatting whilst kiddo had another go at her piano. The kid has some natural talent that I would love her to work on.

On Saturday we went to my little brother's house for lunch and to see my nephew and nieces. Kiddo loves it too as she rarely has cousins to play with. We decided to go down to Hendon Park in North London - our local park when my bro and I were kids. What a trip down memory lane seeing the old playground which is bigger than it was, but missing the putting green that's been removed. There was a lovely lily covered pond with huge gold fish that was so well maintained when we were kids but is now sorely neglected. But the tennis courts were the same as I remember and I stood alone silently for a while remembering my friend who died on 7/7 as she used to play tennis there. Happier times and ones to hold onto.

And on the last day we all spent time with friends from Plumstead in Greenwich which was superb. Sun eventually started to shine, the Cutty Sark and Greenwich park looked beautiful and the friends were wonderful.


We are back in Livingston. I'm kicking myself for being in such a mood (yes, the PMT has abated bastard PMT) but fuck it there are times when I miss London and the old me. But as my friends/family advised me - I just gotta let it go (earworm time!) and get on with my life up here. It's up to me to make changes which I plan to do.  But I'm not the only one, hubby needs to change too and kiddo is going to have to learn to deal with those changes. It's called growing up and it's about time I did some.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

34 ways to say WTF

Hey if you are a man who's about marry a 40+ year old woman then read this post.

After the age of 40 things start to go downhill for us women. And now that I'm in the final years of my forties, things are really going downhill rapidly. In fact I feel like the Jamaican bobsled team. WTF is on the tip of my tongue most of the time now (and shouted out loud when I'm alone). Since getting married my old bod has been acting strange. For a few years, I've had unexplained illnesses that have been alarming but then disappeared as quickly as they arrived. I initially blamed it all on being married to a Scot,having regularly conjugals and not eating a proper guju diet every day, then later blamed it on having a sprog as that does nasty things to your body that are best not to dwell on especially if you want to conceive. 
I've had nights drenched in sweat, I've had tummy problems, and some weird aches and pains down and around there. I've had nights where I couldn't sleep or days and days where I couldn't stay awake. I started looking suspiciously at my sister in law who has ME and wondered if it was contagious. I started looking suspiciously at anyone who coughed, sniffled or anything near me. And then I lost interest in everything. It made it very hard to be motivated to work, to cook, to clean to do anything except fret.
Then one sleepless night I came across this list : 34 Menopause Symptoms and hallelujah the pin dropped and and I felt like realisation whacked my in the face with the force of Mj√∂lnir. I've had a fair few of those and when I stopped seeing the usual amount of  blood (i.e. missed a month, then another, wished&prayed that I was pregnant but lived in fear that I was,then stupid AF was back again) it all sort of made sense. 
So the poor hubby has spent the last few years dealing with all this and then I relayed to him the fact that our 7 year old has underarm hair and may be entering puberty early (apparently this is getting more and more common). WTF. I said WTF!!! I wanted to scream WTF.  Just as my system is shutting down, hers is getting reading for the change. She's too bloody young and so am I. We are neither of us ready for these changes. And neither is the hubby who just wants her to be his little girl for quite a few years more and his wife to stop being a raving lunatic. 
Alarmingly, a third of kids alive today will live to well past 100 so it seems perverse that they are hitting puberty earlier. Wouldn't it be wonderful if they could enjoy being children for a lot longer and further down the line, have menopause later. Bloody mother nature. Just WTF.