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Some days

Some days I fail to see the point. I fail to see the point of me anymore.

I busy myself with tasks that once would have felt important. I do things that I think will help normalise me day. I send and reply to messages with false smiles and bravado that is no longer mine.

I have recently been reading ‘How to stop time’ by Matt Haig. It’s a book I am enjoying and don’t want to give any spoliers but some of his words hit to the heart of my feelings.

At one point he writes for the lead character: “I have been in love only once… the idea that you have one true love, that no one else will compare after they have gone. It’s a sweet idea, but the reality is terror itself. To be faced with all those lonely years after. To exist when the point of you is gone.

The weather today has not helped my humour, I know. I no longer handle the wet or ‘cold’ well, but at least grey days allow me to be grey too.

I dont love the rain, but..

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Sunday lunch

How different are my Sunday lunches today compared to my childhood.

Every Sunday when I was a nipper we would always have had a roast lunch, and always at one o’clock. Goodness knows how many poor critters were sacrificed to end up on our Sunday dinner tables. I wasn’t veggie in those days. It was a case of this is your lunch eat it or go hungry, just like it was for many of my generation I’m sure.

Lunch was normally at home at the dining table, but not with the “for best” cutlery or crockery. That was reserved for very special occasions. On other occasions we went to our gran’s (Dad’s mum) for a full roast there. Her roast potatoes were second to none.

Like I said things are very different now. Today I’ve had spinach and broccoli soup with a seeded roll. I can’t imagine the uproar had my mum ever served that up on a Sunday, let alone had she served some of my even “lesser” Sunday lunches. My family meals back in the day were very much a meat and two veg affair. (Make your own homes up here!).

“For best” cutlery doesn’t exist here and I use whatever is to hand, and sin of sins, I often eat off my lap, unless the weather is good enough to sit outside.

None of this is said by way of complaint. I’m happy with what I cook and eat, and where. No dead critters here.

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Who’s looking…

I love finding it who is reading my blog posts. These are the stats by country for today so far… Thanks to each of you for following. Muchas gracias. Moltes gràcies.

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Smiles to tears.

It doesn’t take much to move me from smiles to a break down these days. The stupidest thing can jog a memory or hit a nerve and I lose it. Luckily its normally in the comfort and privacy of our home, where the dogs provide immediate support with worried looks and slobbery kisses to wipe away my tears.
Yesterday I had just such a moment.
Cleaning isn’t one of my favourite pastimes. I do the minimum necessary unless anyone is visiting.; then the house can be blitzed from top to bottom, inside and out in a just a few hours. Yesterday I decided the top of the tv cabinet really needed some attention. The marks in the dust were too obvious to be missed. With reluctant hands i grabbed some cleaning stuff and set to.
On top of the tv cabinet are an array of family photos, as well as Tony’s ashes and a couple of momentos from times gone by. It’s always been like that, the only difference these days is the addition of Tony’s Urn. Strangely its not the urn or its contents that upset me but the photos. I am the only one still living in any of them. Each has a poignant memory, now bittersweet.
I really thought that by now episodes of grief would have been easier and fewer but they still hit like a sucker punch or tsunami, stopping me in my tracks as I pull myself back together and some semblance of normalcy. Grief really is a bastard.

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Peace shattered

Chapter 2

For a split second I wondered why a stranger sitting on my garden bench in my garden was telling me to be quiet. Fortunately my brain rushed ahead of my mouth and I realised that perhaps this stranger was warning me that I might be in danger.

He nodded almost imperceptibly as if he had heard my rapid thought process. It was at that moment another realisation also landed in my mind. He wasn’t looking directly at me. He was looking over my shoulder. Now I wasn’t sure if he was warning me because he’d seen something or someone over my shoulder, or if he was warning someone behind me to be quiet.

My fight flight response kicked in again and I spun round ready to take on whoever might be there. I wondered if the stranger in the garden had created the noise moments ago to distract my attention whilst an accomplice cleaned the house out of anything of value.

I was sure my suspicions were confirmed when I thought I saw a shadow disappearing through the door which connected the kitchen to the living room.

I gave chase.

Nothing in the kitchen had been touched. ‘He could have done the washing up on his way through,’ I muttered jokingly to try to lighten my anxiety.

In the living room everything was exactly as I had left it. My mug of now cold tea was sitting on the coffee table beside the plate with a couple of hobnobs. ‘At least he didn’t steal those.’ Another attempt at lightening the stress.

Rushing into the hallway I noticed my mobile was still where I had left It and the mug of loose change on the desk was also untouched.

Sticking my head into the office, which doubled as an infrequent guest room, I could see the laptop was still there, and as far as I could tell nothing was amiss in this room either.

Rushing on to the bedroom I was thankful my home was just a small one and that this would be the last room I needed to check.

I rounded the door breathing heavily. The cats, who had now forgotten what had sent them fleeing for sanctuary in the first place, were all cosily sitting on the bed cleaning themselves and each other. They gave me a cursory glance and continued with their ablutions. It was nowhere near dinner time so why should they worry?

Turning to leave the bedroom I wondered what was going on. I hoped the stranger in the garden might be able to shed some light on the afternoon’s excitement and headed back down the hallway.

As I passed the bathroom I was suddenly aware of my stupidity; I hadn’t checked in there, and the door was closed. Unless I had guests I rarely closed the bathroom door. I felt my heart speed up as I threw the it open only to see my confused face looking back at me. It too was empty: the bathroom that is, not my face.

“Sod this!” I exclaimed marching back through the flat. “Someone’s got some explaining to do.”

Back in the garden I was once again alone. “Where the?… what the…?” I asked aloud, using a couple of my favourite phrases.

The stranger had gone leaving no trace of his ever being there. It was at this point, and not for the first or last time, that I wondered if I was losing my marbles.

I went up to the now empty bench intending to sit and think a moment to try and process the goings on of the last few minutes. As I sat I spotted something written in the dust on the side of the bench where the stranger had been sitting. It simply said, “I’ll be back.”

“Very bloody Schwarzenegger,” I grumped as I rubbed the words out.

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Peace shattered

Chapter One

The hours between three thirty and six thirty are perhaps my favourite ones of the day. I think of them as the quiet hours, and as my quiet time. I like nothing better than once having made myself a nice cup of Earl Grey to recline on the sofa with a chocolate hobnob and sip said tea.

Once I have settled, one of my family of cats usually joins me and on this day Pumpkin, one of the older statesmen of the family, was gently purring whilst curled in a fluffy ball on my lap.

At this time of day the interference of sound is minimal. Sitting, relaxing, imbibing, this afternoon all I could hear was the gentle tick of the clock above the television cabinet and the occasional sound of the distant traffic passing by our little town on its way to wherever.

Just as I closed my eyes to savour another sip of my recently brewed cup there was an almighty crash in the garden the likes of which I hadn’t heard before. It caused pumpkin to fly off my legs into the air leaving his claw imprints through my jeans, I could tell I had been bloodied again. Meanwhile the other cats all ran towards the guest room and sanctuary. Button, the youngest kitten, was the last to fly by as he speeded over the living room tiles like a thing possessed.

My immediate thought was that Button was indeed the cause of this almighty crash and that he had brought something down with his very usual antics.

“What have you done now, Button Mutton?” I asked as he disappeared from sight to join the others.

I set my cup on the coffee table and moved towards the garden.

On arrival in our little corner of paradise I was more than surprised and shocked to see a young man sitting on the bench in the arbour. From the perplexed look on his face He was just as surprised to see me, or perhaps had been startled by whatever had happened moments before.

My outrage at finding someone sitting in our garden had been tempered by the surprise of finding the young man and by the way he was dressed. His clothes looked more like the sort of things my dad would have worn at least 30 years earlier than what a young man would be wearing in this day and age.

I wanted to know what he was doing sitting there, how he had got there, and if he knew what had caused the almighty crash of previous mention. All I said was “Hi.”

In reply he waved noncomittally, while regarding me as if I were the interloper.

“What are…” I began to form one of my questions, only to be silenced by the look of horror he sent my way as he placed a finger to his lips in the international sign language meaning ‘be quiet’.

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Cha-Chi

Last week at the writing group we talked about a whole range of subjects from the weather to wineries, but our challenge for the day was to write a short story in just 10 minutes. I provided 19 possible prompts for us to use – I plumped for number 16 :

As a talking Chihuahua, what would you tell your humans about the new crying baby who now lives with you?

This is my tale….

*********

It’s been three days now since the new little human was delivered and quite frankly I’ve no idea why they bothered… I mean noisy just doesn’t cover it, and the smells… Well you can imagine.

When I was a nipper and barked for just a second or made that kind of smell in the house I was soon told off.

Anyway I just had to speak to mum about it this afternoon.

Running into the living room I saw she was sitting on the sofa and decided to let her know what I thought.

“Muuuuum,” I began as we sat in a moment of rare peace.

“Yes Cha-Chi?” She looked exhausted.

“It cries all the time and frankly I’m wondering…”

“What darling?” She interrupted. I really wasn’t sure if she was listening or taking notice.

“Well, it’s been so disruptive.” I grumbled.

“What’s that Cha-Chi?” She asked absently

“Well its been here three days now and it’s… is that ham? Mum is that ham? Ham?” I suddenly smelled her sandwich.

“Get off Cha-Chi, this is mine.” She pushed me off her knee.

“But ham mum, ham?” I almost begged. It smelled so good. Then I realised the sweet smell of cooked pig had distracted me from my important task again.

“The new human. Mum it’s so annoying; crying all night, crying all day… I’m getting hardly any sleep. Do we really need this one? And just look at you; you’re exhausted. ”

“Here Cha-Chi.”

She as good as ignored my comments as she fished a ball out from under the cushion and threw it across the room.

“Ball, ball, baaaaaalllll.” I ran after it excitedly, current crisis forgotten for a second as I grabbed the tempting sphere, ran back to mum, and dropped it in her lap.

“Waaaaaaaaaaa,” came the cry from the nursery.

“Later Cha-Chi.” Mum jumped up kicking the ball aside.

I climbed up onto the sofa into the warm spot she had made. At least she had left me half the ham sandwich. Nom-nom.

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