Friday, 5 December 2014

November: going, going, gone

Has someone speeded up time?  What have I been up to since I saw you last?  Loads and loads, here is a whistle stop tour.

Drove to Devon (car just does the three hundred mile journey by itself these says while I snooze on the back seat, I wish).

Spent a week volunteering with the National Trust helping to decorate Killerton House for Christmas.


Good things: great company, good food, fabulous instruction from the fabulous Sarah Pepper so that I now know how to make wreaths and swag mantelpieces.  I am not an experienced or talented flower arranger.  Every day after a few minutes of working away on my own I looked at what I was doing compared to everyone else and felt such a rush of shame and embarrassment that I contemplated just sneaking out and not coming back.  Yet every day when I persevered, following the guidance I had been given, not giving up, remembering that with Christmas decoration "more is more",  whatever I was working on turned a corner and suddenly came out right.  Thank you Sarah!

However, bad things: sleeping in a bunkhouse, especially on the top bunk.  There is nothing like knowing that you can't go to the bathroom in the middle of the night without waking the world to make you desperate to go and quite unable to sleep.  Actually that was the only bad thing, that and maybe a bit much hanging about from time to time.  On the whole, good week.

Drove to South Wales to see older daughter and family and to celebrate grandson's fifth birthday.  Spent the afternoon playing "What kind of dinosaur am I?" with Joseph and his four year old cousin,  then drove home taking four and a half hours for a three hour journey because the police had closed the A470.  Home, yoga, choir, Manchester, took my mother's oldest friend out to lunch because she's lovely, attempted to think about Christmas and failed utterly.

At the beginning of the week Ian drove us to Chepstow to pick up my brother and then on down to Devon again where we stayed with my sister and used  the fact that there were two of us for two wheelchairs to spend time with my brother and my father together.  Lovely and exhausting and full of the mixture of pleasure in their company and deep sadness as dad moves slowly on the hard road laid out for him by Motor Neurone Disease.  Came home, Ian doing all the driving again, dropping my brother back home on the way.  Fell into bed, slept fitfully, dreaming uncomfortable dreams.

And then a couple of days with daughter in law and three and a half month old grandson staying.


Such a smiley baby, beaming with delight when Ian blows raspberries for him.  Lovely to see my daughter in law so clearly knowing her baby, responding to his little noises, the expressions which chase across his face, with love and laughter and sensitivity.  He is growing so fast that I have had to change the length of the little cardigan I am knitting for him.

It all feels a blur, of ageing and illness and growing and new life and driving and hurtling towards Christmas.  Tonight I will stop, have a bath and lie quietly in the hot water, sit by the fire and breathe, listen to the flames as the logs burn in the stove and be still.  And then maybe I will sleep a deep dreamless sleep in my own bed with Ian beside me.

31 comments:

  1. Sleep well. This circle of life with all it's grief and joy is still a wonderful ride. Breathing is a very good thing! So are the smiles of one of the cutest babies ever.

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    1. I love the phrase "a wonderful ride"! You are so right.

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  2. What a November - definitely time for a restorative bath, preferably with some deliciously scented bubbles. There are many times when a shower just doesn't cut it. Sleep well!

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    1. I did sleep very well, best for weeks! I agree about baths and showers. Not the same thing at all!

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    2. my day is bookended by a bath before bed. How different life and the world look after a sleepless night, and after a long and peaceful night of deep sleep!

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  3. Wow, what a busy month. merry and exciting and doing, and going.. you have a very full life. You deserve some down time.. enjoy!

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    1. Down time seems a distant memory! Maybe next week....

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  4. You are busy! Not having family I think about all the joys and pains a family brings. And yes, time does fly, I feel I am paddling hard to keep my boat going in some of my directions on River Time. I hope time slows a bit for you.

    I love your view from the house. I must go back to Wales some day.

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    1. Well when you do come back to Wales do come and see us.

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  5. No wonder time seems to have rushed by - the pace of your life is exhausting at present. Do hope you get a little more time for yourself - a leisurely bath is good but it sounds like you need some serious r & r.

    If you are free and fancy joining us Jane, Jo, Debbie and I are meeting in Ludlow on the 18th. It would mean another long drive though....

    Take care, fx

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    1. Ludlow sounds great if I can. Will email you xx

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  6. Bit much, isn't it? And Christmas is so demanding too. I love car journeys with Charles - mostly (with no road closures, accidents or traffic jams) as it's good times together. Seems a sad thing to me among other sad things that such journeys have turned now into exhausting mega tours for you both. And to have you wizzing past so often with no chance or appetite to stop and say hello. Imagine a friendly wave from us next time... Xxxxx

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    1. ah I always imagine a friendly wave, from you to us and back again! Will find a time to stop and say hi soon xx

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  7. What a gorgeous child!
    You post makes me miss England.
    I'm so sorry about your father's awful illness. I'm sure he is cheered to see family.

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    1. Yes to both child and cheering! Clearly you need to come back to the UK soon for a visit.

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  8. Rich and full and joyous and sad and exhausting and rewarding, it's all here! How do we do it? How could we not?! (And I'm absolutely with you on the problems of the toilet in a communal sleeping arrangement.) So much on your plate but you make it sound worthwhile, every bit of it.

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    1. Ah your first sentence has it down pat! Yes and yes.

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  9. I do hope you got your well deserved evening by the fire and good nights sleep Elizabeth, after so much chasing around the country and an emotional roller-coaster of a November. And I do sympathise about the shared sleeping arrangements as I have exactly the same dilemma when we share a boat. Legs crossed or the walk of shame! What a very grown up and beautiful baby, and what a pleasure to watch him being so sympathetically parented too!

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    1. I agree about boats and camping and campervans too! Somehow it never used to be an issue at all...

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  10. Well, you've been having a busy time. Sounds like it was pretty good. And that's good.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

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    1. Thanks Rob, some good, some not so, but all vital!

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  11. November ran away from me too. However it is lovely to did so much catching up recently even though exhausting.

    XO
    WWW

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  12. How well you've described this intricate mix of demands, journeys, worries, joys, brief rests, and awareness of a growing awareness of what our lives might just be all about.

    Elizabeth, I very much hope to be able to actually meet up with you on my next UK trip.

    Amongst other things, I do agree with you about the relaxing benefits of a hot/warm bath.

    xo

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    1. I would be so pleased to meet you at last Frances. I do hope we can manage it!

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  13. This whole year's felt a bit of blur for me with some ups and downs, so I empathize with your busy-ness. I also, like you, feel the need for a some relaxing 'me' time and a chance to catch my breath. I hope you get some restful time to catch up with yourself.

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    1. Not quite happened yet Chris but I have tomorrow earmarked for a bit of solitary!

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  14. What a lot of rushing about. So sad to have to see your father suffer from such a dreadful disease. Time to stay at home and sit by the fire now. And what an absolutely gorgeous grandson you have. What a joy he must be.

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    1. Passing the baton, my dad calls it, when he talks about the new generations and yes, it's a comfort!

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  15. I am a few steps behind you on the same road - ageing parents, near and far; young adult children with joys and woes of their own; a first grandchild expected in the spring - sometimes I too struggle to keep up. But it's all part of the dance I guess and who'd really want to sit it all out.

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