Just Life – I suppose?

Kinver Edge (1)

Well, here I am…… apparently letting all the things I cared about slip further and further away. Disappointed in myself…. letting my writing slip, letting my photography slip, letting my interest and enthusiasm slip.

Life is different, very different but I don’t think I have the enthusiasm to pick up the things that are on offer. Perhaps it’s too hard – to step out of the door and build a new life…… the me I used to be doesn’t seem to be here anymore….. or perhaps this is me and the other me was just a façade that enabled me to do the job I had to do?

I knew leaving everyone behind would be tough, but I don’t think I was prepared for feeling so alien!  There’s a lot to be said for driving home along familiar routes that hold the memories you’ve grown up with, and very little to be said for driving home where nothing means anything, nothing connects to the person I am. And it’s not just the physical environment……. I’m constantly encountering attitudes and an outlook that I don’t share.

Enough of the self-indulgence though – it’s not all doom and gloom…….. there are so many positives to being here – Birmingham’s thriving cultural scene on my doorstep (once I shake off this lethargy and get out there to find it!), easy access to places via a well-connected transport network and , of course, family….. the point of this whole exercise!

They have to be the one huge plus out of this whole business……. whilst allowing for the irritations of any close family! I see them two or three times a week, whereas before it was once every month or maybe six weeks. Sunday lunch with Mum has become the norm (now the new kitchen is finally finished!)  – and Friday night fish ‘n’ chips too! Shopping trips with my daughter-in-law (who can shop for England believe me) where we have reached a mutual misunderstanding – K searches every aisle in every shop in case there’s something she might need, or a bargain to be had, while I go straight to the item on my list and only browse the stores that really grab my interest or serve my purpose for the day. My granddaughter calls in on her way home from school (providing Nanna keeps the cake tin replenished!); she sleeps over when Mum and Dad have an early start for work the next day; we bake together; we watch films together; we share music (hmm….. more hers than mine!!) and I am able to experience the glorious, unpredictability of an hormonal 12 year old girl at first hand instead of having it recounted to me by phone or text!

And I have made new friends….. three individuals so far who I get on well with, seem to have hit it off with and are turning into regular contacts for coffee, lunch, Tai Chi and craft sessions (interestingly all three having moved into the area recently), a lively group of ladies I meet for lunch in Birmingham each month, plus other faces becoming more familiar day by day.

Oh how I miss the familiar faces of friends though, and the places we used to go. Sitting for a coffee or a meal with someone who knows me through and through, who knows why I think the way I think, why I am the way I am, the people who have shared the highs and lows of my life with. Yes they’re all still there – just a call or a text or a PM or a FB photo away…… yes they’re just 200 miles along the motorway away, just a 3-4 hour drive away …….. but sometimes it might as well be the other side of the world!

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One Year On?

Where I am now – five minutes from my front door. Church Doors on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path

 

My notifications tab tells me that I have been here for a year.

A lot has happened in that year….. but, then again, maybe not so much.

I’ve moved 400 miles west and yet still waiting to move another 200 miles north.

I’ve travelled to places I’ve never visited before and yet I’ve spent most of the year in a place that has become so familiar.

I’ve spent a lot of time driving from family member to family member and to old friends, but in between I’ve passed many days in this one place, a long, long way from everyone I know.

I started this blog to keep my interest in writing and photography alive…. I’m not sure either has developed very much further but the hearts are still beating strongly! As a result I’ve been fascinated, amused, occasionally saddened, educated, heartened and encouraged. Many of you reading this have become familiar to me and some of you have kept me going over the past year.

Thank you!

My Welsh Garden

One thing I love about my Welsh house is my Welsh garden. I can grow things here that would never survive in the harsh, Siberian, east coast winds. Each Spring I’ve been able to plant something new, some brought from Norfolk, which go on to thrive, and others I’ve bought locally. The pleasure in returning after a break of nearly two years has been to see how much they have grown and flourished. The agapanthus, in particular, is my pride and joy!

More often than not, while the weather has been so fine, I’ve ended my day sitting in the garden, just gazing at the beauty of the plants. They are big and bold and this evening, as the seagulls wheeled against a blue sky, this was my little patch of heaven!

Settling in

Church Doors (4)

I’ve been rather preoccupied over the past few weeks, having moved from the east coast of the UK to the west. As a result I haven’t been posting and I’ve only dipped in to take the occasional look at what’s going on. But, things are settling down…. the boxes are unpacked and I’m establishing some kind of new routine, although there are still a few bits of remedial decorating work to be done. My garden is definitely a work in progress as I try to resurrect a somewhat neglected lawn and trim the hedges back to reveal the shrubs I planted when I first bought the house 6 few years ago.

This was my retirement plan, but things have changed in six years and now I’m needed elsewhere, so this is only a temporary residence until I can sell and move closer to my family. Meanwhile I’m going to try and make the most of the beautiful area I’m in. hopefully entertain some visitors and get out and about with my camera.

A completely unadulterated shot of one of my many local beaches to be going on with…..

Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Move (2)

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Lunchtime stop at Cambridge Services on the A14 today – halfway home on my way from the West Midlands to Norfolk.

I’ve been a frequent visitor to Cambridge Services on the A14 over the past 10 years or so, particularly in the months since Christmas when I’ve been there at least once a week. So much so that when I called in at lunchtime today as I made yet another journey across the country, the young woman in the coffee shop recognised me and offered me a loyalty card!

I have been ‘on the move’ yet again. The 420 mile round trip has become a regular part of my life as I travel from the flatlands of Norfolk to the hills of the West Midlands to provide childcare for my 10 year old granddaughter. Today was one of the better journeys: good weather, dry roads, light traffic – if you ignore the convoys of lorries that are an inevitable hazard of driving in the UK, A491 – M5 – M42 – M6 – A14 – A11 – and then through the city and home.

My life is ‘on the move’ at the moment and has been for the past six months. I’m between homes – renting in Norfolk, trying to sell a property in Pembrokeshire and waiting to buy in Stourbridge. The decision about where to settle in my retirement has been open to debate and discussion for 19 months now, since I retired in fact! Having been indecisive for so long events are now overtaking me and the options are slowly reducing – it may be that I have to stall the move to the Midlands and sit it out in Pembrokeshire for a while – not so bad during the summer but not where I want to be in the winter and, of course, those trips to the Midlands show no sign of abating, I’ll just be travelling from a different direction!

I am used to being in control, to making decisions quickly, pre-empting and reacting to ever changing circumstances so I am not at all comfortable in my current position where I have to wait for forces beyond my control to allow me to move forward.

Sitting at the services this lunchtime it struck me that the life of the world is constantly moving. The clouds scud or drift across the sky, leaves sway and shiver in the breezes, seeds burst and grow into plants, even while we sleep our hearts beat to keep us alive as our bodies rest. The world turns and we scurry across it, our daily movements marking the tracks of our lives.

When, I wonder, does a movement become a journey?

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold (3)

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Once again my rhododendron is about to burst into flower. Not unusual you might think – there are rhododendron buds bursting open in gardens everywhere. But my own specimen is proving to be extremely resilient. In the past 7 years it has moved home 4 times – that’s twice more than I have. It has travelled the breadth of the UK – twice. It has been uprooted and replanted 3 times and currently resides in a very large square tub.

It’s not the best looking example – it’s tall and straggly; it only manages to produce 3 or 4 blooms each year; it leans precariously one  way – yet still it flowers.

One day – like me – it will be able to put down roots once  more… somewhere where it will thrive and grow, somewhere it can finally call home…….. just as I will.