Daily Life, Poem, Writer's Blog

Heartbreak for a lost soul

Sadness and heartbreak, of hope there is none,

From the womb shared with siblings, you came,

Help offered gladly, unwanted, denied,

Choosing life’s pathway cannot be undone.

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Vocational choices, there have been a few,

Offered progressions aplenty,

Why, then, oh why, when great chances arose,

Were they shelved with you starting anew?

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Pennies and pounds with no meaning, were lost,

Bailed out more times than a few,

Intention to settle, time and again,

Beds came and went, opportunities tossed.

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False accusations, my way they have flown,

Cutting deep swathes through my heart,

My soul’s been destroyed, such hurt undeserved,

Turmoil is the life into which I’ve been thrown.

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A life, not so easy, its start often wrong,

Booze laced with violence, the norm,

Escaped it to save you, such threats were disarmed,

The life we were leading, we did not belong.

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Now, with your choices, your life keeps the pace,

Of the hunted and damaged and torn,

Desperately tried to keep you from such harm,

Even now, still you sling that life back in my face.

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Not sure I can help you, it’s you who must change,

Chances, they will become few,

Control of your life is what now you must take,

No more can I do this, your world to arrange.

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Daily Life, Poem, Writer's Blog

Our granddaughter, Harper, at almost four months

So many changes in such a short time,
Contentment, its so plain to see,
A home filled with love, adoration sublime,
With her daddy Kurt and with mummy Katie.
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A face which conveys to us, every need,
Be she happy or sad, it will show,
A smile and a gurgle, a full tummy indeed,
Can soon turn to frowns if she’s sleepy, you know.
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A lip with a quiver, the smile is replaced,
How else could her needs be displayed?
There’s no use in smiling, a happier face,
If the time’s right to ask for a bottle to be made.
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A suckle of soother will often suffice,
More so, if her Winnie is near,
A cuddle with family is always so nice,
So many choices, some far and some near.
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For Harper’s been blessed with her grandparents, three,
Pairs of Nannies and Grandads, such care,
She’ll never be short of much help and advice,
Whether around the corner, or a call, we’ll be there.
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Excitedly hands splay, when something she sees,
When today’s favoured playmate is near,
Sometimes it’s Dorothy, or a Teletubby,
When its in her hands, how it is favoured is clear.
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Its great she is doted on, by family and friends,
Gifts of clothes, and surrounded by toys,
Importantly, a love there which never will end,
A grateful smile, head down, her look is so coy.
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For those not so near, photos, videos if any,
Sometimes daily, to keep us in touch,
Gives us the chance to see changes, so many,
Let’s us respond, conveying we love her so much.
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Expressions, and smiles, and a face so sublime,
As a book she is read, her eyes follow,
Fascination of pages, the tales and the rhymes,
One day soon, in those stories, she’ll wallow.
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With so much to know and a lifetime ahead,
Now is the time to start learning,
With so many from whom those tales to her will spread,
Young Harper will not be left yearning.
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Daily Life, Writer's Blog

Husband in a Million

Nine years ago, my husband and I married in a local registry office, in the middle of a snowstorm. The snow was particularly poignant as my father had passed away the previous month, his funeral having taken place less than two weeks before the wedding. Our limousine had wound its way through a deepening blanket of snow, a dicey ride. As we made our vows, heavy snow began to fall again which we took as a sign. Confetti from heaven, and the photos were beautiful.

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I first met Clive as we stood on the sidelines, trying to warm freezing hands and feet by stamping and clapping. His oldest son had joined a football team that my twin boys played for. We had hit it off instantly, the spark an immeasurable jolt.

Over the weeks,  as the boys team played at various venues, I began to eagerly anticipate my freezing cold Sunday mornings. Sometimes, his wife and younger son joined him and I was often joined by my partner.

We saw more of each other over the coming weeks and we both knew we had found the one. We were concerned about our children’s education and vowed to keep quiet until they had left school and exams were done. Unfortunately, although fortunately, life has a way of messing with such plans and his wife had found out about our affair within just a few weeks.

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Just two months after our first kiss, we had found a place to move into, left our prospective homes and moved in with each other. We were extremely lucky that our children all got along well so becoming step-brothers and step-sister was a relatively easy path. We both felt guilty at the disruption caused during their formative years but, on the whole, everything went smoothly.

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Clive quickly took on the role of step-dad as my own children moved in with us. Over time, the arrangements were made and his boys visited us during the week (he was allowed one evening) and then on alternate Saturday nights. It never seemed enough but we were determined not to rock the boat and went along with it.

Years passed and we grew ever closer and became a tight unit and now, nine years since we married (almost twelve since we moved in together), we could not be happier. We have learned to dance together, a hobby which has become a large part of our lives, and love spending time with each other.

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I cannot imagine a single day without that man. He is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I couldn’t be happier. He is a calm, loving, attentive husband who would never raise a hand to me, in fact he treats me like a queen. I think I just might be the happiest wife in the whole world.

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Center Parcs, Ceroc, Daily Life, Dancing, Kite flying, Moving house, Writer's Blog

Finding the positives from 2018

I am no different to everybody else. My family have their fair share of ups and downs, sadness and tragedies but nobody wants to hear about all of that nonsense. The glum stuff is for keeping hidden behind closed doors and away from prying eyes. I don’t want to depress my readers, especially this close to Christmas.

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I wanted to share some of the awesome times from the past year. There have been some real highlights and some great times so read on for a bit of a positive vibe.

The end of the staffing struggle

After a period of ups and downs, advertising, searching and interviews, we finally secured two excellent IT Technicians, and not a moment too soon. I had spent the previous months trying hard to manage the IT department as well as do the job of one or two technicians so I was very grateful to secure an amazing team. Life is certainly much calmer at work nowadays.

Settling times

My son, Daniel, secured himself a job at a local private hospital, after a period of insecurity as the cafe he was managing was going through changes and, subsequently, closure. He loves his work and is now much more settled. His issues following his brain surgeries over the past years seem to have settled and the side effects are now bearable, even if they have not subsided. He has rid himself of a troublesome and unreliable flatmate, turning his spare room into a games room – what else?

More settling times

My daughter and her husband were able to finalise the purchase of their first home. A beautiful four-bedroomed detached house on a new development outside of Norwich. They had rented since they first got together and are so pleased to have overcome a far-higher-than-normal number of snagging issues. I don’t think they will buy from Charles Church/Persimmon anytime in the future but they now have a fabulous home. They also secured great new jobs this year so all is well in the Woods world.

New addition

At the start of September, we welcomed the newest addition to our family – a gorgeous granddaughter, called Harper. Her parents are my husband’s oldest son and his lovely fiancee. Harper is now just over three months old and she is an adorable delight. I have genuinely never encountered such a contented baby. This has given us a great excuse to travel a couple of hours down the road to visit them and their little family as often as we can. We have also made new friends, Harper’s maternal grandparents, Pauline and Guy. You can never have too many new friends and we look forward to getting to know them better each time we visit.

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Speaking of new friends

When I mention new friends, it seems wrong not to mention old friends. We have so many friends and acquaintances through our hobby, dancing. We have far too many friends to mention but it’s worth mentioning that we almost lost touch completely with a few of our friends, because we became wrapped up in a couple of quietly-controlling dancing friends who monopolised our weekends and, through the medium of sneaky comments and suggestions, we almost, but not quite, completely lost touch with some very good friends who we had known and become close to, through dancing for years. Luckily, we were given a lifeline when those friends suddenly and unexpectedly became jealous of our visiting alternative dance venues and enjoying any dancing time without them. It’s funny how the penny suddenly drops and you feel freer than you have done for months. We realised we had become too reliant on these two, quite frankly, dull friends. The upshot is that we now have more dancing friends than ever and have rekindled an almost-lost friendship. We are both eternally grateful for all of our dear friends.

Not losing Mum

This time last year, Mum was not looking like she would be able to crawl her way to Christmas but, with some lifestyle changes, plenty of drugs and intervention from doctors, she is still with us all. Mum may not be in the best of health – far from it – but we are lucky to have had her with us for another year.

Workmates 

Turnover of staff has meant a number of new additions to the school over the past months and I am lucky to be blessed with some lovely people in my working life.  I am not generally one for socialising with colleagues but with such a lovely bunch it is difficult not to keep in touch.

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Blogging and writing pages

I have almost completed my Comprehensive Creative Writing course which I am taking with the Writers Bureau and, as part of this course, it was suggested that I set up a blog and start sharing my unpublished works on my site and social media pages. This has been a successful starting year to my writing. I have had a handful of short stories published, a couple of poems and have started to build a portfolio which I am secretly quite impressed with. I have the starting chapters of four novels rattling around in my laptop but have not yet decided which one will take my full attention in 2019. Watch this space for more!

New gnashers

I am not going to go on and on about my new teeth but I am seriously pleased with them. From my baby teeth, I have always had a large gap in the front which I hated from High School when I was bullied about them. I was lucky enough to be introduced to a dentist who, over the past few months, has created me some new teeth with no gap at all. Everything feels nice and secure and they look better than they ever have done. That’s all I am going to say but its a huge positive!

A REAL summer

There was a lot of grumbling, and yes I do realise just how hot it was, but summer 2018 was awesomely warm. a few short weeks after heavy snowfall, we were beset with a glorious heatwave which lasted for most of the summer months. It was such a lovely season, I personally could not have asked for more beautiful summer weather. My husband and I were able to visit the beach and parks which gave him plenty of time to fly his kites (you can read all about this in some of my other posts) and me to do some writing.

Nieces and nephew

We are lucky enough to have three nieces and a nephew on my brother’s side. Somewhat ideally, they are aged 11, 9, 7 and 5 and they are a fabulous bunch. As with all of our family, we don’t see enough of them but have been  blessed to spend more time with them this year than ever before. We plan to do more next year so they will soon be bored with us!

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Winter Wonderland

We decided to pay for a holiday to Center Parcs, just a few miles down the road from us in Elveden, while the Winter Wonderland was in full swing. The whole resort is lit up for Christmas with sparkling white lights adorning the woodland pathways, and numerous seasonal events taking place around the site. Its truly beautiful and we made this a Christmas present for those who came with us. We hired a huge four-bedroomed lodge, each bedroom with its own en-suite. The lodge had a games room and a sauna as well as the usual kitchen, dining and living areas and was such a luxury to be there before Christmas. We loved it so much that we have booked again for next year with the addition of the new granddaughter and her mummy and daddy, too, who have never been there.

2018 has been such a positive year all round that the positives have far outweighed the negatives. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2019 for all of my readers.

 

 

 

Daily Life, Poem, Writer's Blog

The Man in Red

How dare you tell me he’s not real!

Why would you spread such lies?

We surely all have seen him,

Fly his sleigh across the skies.

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We’ve all heard of his reindeer,

Who pull him on his way,

We know he has an army,

Elves with no time for play!

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Tirelessly they spend their days,

Make toys and gifts for all,

From a quaint and pretty doll’s house,

To the simplest bouncy balls.

 

The workers under his command,

They have no time to snooze,

No need for rest ‘til work is done,

There’s just no time to lose.

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When all is good and ready,

The presents neatly stacked,

The magic portal opens wide,

The night will be jam-packed.

 

He starts in Australasia,

His journey takes him west,

Covering every inch of sky,

Head to toe in red he’s dressed.

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Calling out his ‘Ho! Ho! Ho!’

Silhouetted by the moon,

His reindeer keeping perfect time,

Must not arrive too soon.

 

For if he comes when we’re awake,

His schedule must be changed,

He’ll have to make some detours,

His plans he must then rearrange.

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He’s magical, but real for sure,

Be sure to leave a snack,

The poor man works for many hours,

He has no time to slack.

 

He’s partial to a cold mince pie,

And a swig or two of brandy,

The deer he’ll give a snack or two,

To keep them fine and dandy.

Santa

So many disbelievers,

Their Christmas spirit gone,

Those same are always quite content,

To open gifts he’s left, at dawn.

 

Although he doesn’t live nearby,

Resides far out of sight,

One thing is for certain,

Christmas Eve’s his busiest night!

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Daily Life, Poem, Writer's Blog

A Family Christmas

I turn to the sound of jingling bells,
Source, yet unknown, becomes near,
Eyes are alight with a million stars,
Abundantly draping, as every year.

Carols sung tunelessly, children are wrapped,
Snug from the chill ice and snow,
Vendors push wares, oft unwanted, stuffed bags,
Why do we fall for their patter? Don’t know.

Food hall is crowded, the cupboards to fill,
Snack foods and treats, endless meals,
Displayed festive boxes, the towers are high,
So much we’ll consume in short days, seems unreal.

Gift-wrap, a service to ease us of hours,
Spent on the floor by the fire,
Rather mulled wine, with feet up snug and warm,
Spend it with loved ones, there’s a tree to admire!

Gone are our days filling stockings, small hours,
Waiting for children to sleep,
Feasting on mince pies and carrots, hearth treats,
Leave only crumbs, with a secret to keep.

The seasonal magic we can only feel,
When loved ones are gathered close by,
Laughter and gaiety, food, drink and fun,
Changing roles over, as years pass us by.

No longer the hostess, much food to prepare,
Pans filled with food for the day,
Children are grown, now, with homes of their own,
We’re the guests this year, in their homes we’ll stay.

The years pass, same seasons are spent, many ways,
Loved ones, some lost and some new,
Days filled with family and friends, near and far,
The message is clear, merry Christmas, to you.

Center Parcs, Daily Life, Dancing, Writer's Blog

Help! Mid-life crisis alert!

Does anybody, like me, wake up some mornings wishing they could start all over again, having made such a pig’s ear of their life so far? I am having one of those days today and I don’t usually write on bad days so this is new territory for me.

I have just returned from a midweek break with my husband, three of our children and our son-in-law at Center Parcs. We have been there lots of times before and always enjoy it for different reasons. This time, we booked ourselves into a luxurious executive lodge with four bedrooms, each with an en-suite bathroom, and we also had a sauna and a games room boasting a pool table, a multitude of board games and an X-box.

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We often try something new and this time, along with spa sessions, badminton, table tennis, long walks and swimming, we booked ourselves onto a pottery painting session. We had so much fun all week but I have returned to normality feeling completely exhausted and extremely fed up.

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Before we left, I had been really good and managed to lose four pounds in weight as I was quickly becoming one of those frumpy, menopausal middle-aged ladies who I do not aspire to become. While we were away, I avoided the sweet shop, enjoyed just one dessert and made as many healthy choices as I could. I had half of a pizza one evening with some wedges but always had healthy breakfasts. I ensured I had plenty of exercise and my pedometer didn’t hit below 17,000 steps each day with one day reaching 28000 and another, 24,000. I kept track of everything using my weight loss app and assumed I would not lose anything while I was away and, at most, gain a pound or two. I was devastated to step onto the scales yesterday morning to find I had gained five pounds, in five days. It seems impossible to me that I could gain that much over such a short amount of time. So, on top of everything else, the diet/healthy eating has begun with a vengeance. It certainly has not helped my overall mood.

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The usual back-from-holiday washing was easy to plough through. Tracksuit bottoms, leggings, t-shirts and fleeces all being easy to dry and put away, no iron required. Job done.

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A small amount of cupboard re-stocking at Tesco, then we decided to use the free time to do some Christmas present shopping. We had been put in the mood for the forthcoming season as our break was Winter Wonderland themed, and numerous twinkling white lights,  Christmas trees, garlands and faux snow had set the scene, putting us in the mood for Christmas.  We even had a luxurious wreath on the front door of our accommodation.  The whole Parc was alight with Christmas, including an awesome midweek fireworks display culminating, for the benefit of the younger guests, with Santa arriving along one of the zip wires across the festively-lit water sports lake.

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Returning to the shopping, both of us were physically tired, but we ambled around the city centre shops and successfully purchased a number of gifts. Pleased with our achievements, we headed home to snuggle up with a healthy vegetable risotto and to watch Strictly and catch up on some previously recorded TV programmes.

I still couldn’t shake the feeling of doom and gloom which had settled over me. Nagging at the back of my mind was my mum, who has been ill for a few years but had plateaued lately. Before we left, we had batch-cooked a bunch of pies and delivered to her freezer and agreed we would pick her up and take her over to see my daughter and son-in-law’s beautiful new home, recently purchased and now ready for visitors. As suspected, when we called her to arrange times she told us she didn’t feel well enough to go over. It’s possible that she didn’t but there is always a reason not to do something and I knew she wouldn’t bother before I even called. Then I started to beat myself up for being so heartless.  I know she is poorly and it must be very hard but she is her own worst enemy. She doesn’t encourage visitors and refuses to go anywhere. This results in my brother and sister-in-law, and my husband and I being poked at if we don’t visit enough. Its harder than you would imagine, to visit a poorly mother who you have never felt close to. There has always been an acidic relationship between me and my mum and, even though she is ill and alone, I have to psych myself to even call her as she drives me mad. Call me heartless, call me a bitch but it is how I feel.

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The trouble is, and I don’t mean trouble in the usual sense because it isn’t, we have five children of our own, all grown up, and my husband also has a mother who is also on her own. We each have a brother and sister-in-law and don’t spend nearly enough time with them all. We also have a new granddaughter who lives a two hour drive away so we have to factor in visiting to see that part of our family, too. We both work full time and my husband is physically tired in the evenings while I can’t resist checking my emails out of hours and helping with problems where I am able. As Manager of the IT Services department of a busy private school, sometimes issues need to be dealt with there and then.

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We used to dance two or three times a week but, as life takes over and changes happen, we are lucky to dance once a week and maybe twice if we have the energy. We always dance on a Wednesday night as I have a regular commitment to demoing while my husband is a Taxi Dancer, helping beginner dancers, on alternate weeks. This cut down in dance nights surely isn’t helping my fight with weight either.

On a Sunday, we have started meeting friends and/or family and I go off on a three mile walk while my husband takes off on his mountain bike with a friend, or joins us walking on other occasions. We keep as active as our commitments allow.

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We have two more breaks planned for the near future. The first is a dance weekender at a luxurious local holiday centre and it encompasses my 50th birthday while we are there. I am not looking forward to being fifty one jot. I already feel tired and listless and the only burst of energy I get is when I step out onto the dance floor. Maybe I missed dancing while we were away last week. It’s only one week but I guess I didn’t get my fix. There are plans for a birthday celebration while we are at the weekender with dance friends so that will be nice.

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We have another long weekend booked with my brother- and sister-in-law at the start of May which we are looking forward to. We haven’t thought further ahead than that.

So, I have a few reasons for feeling so low right now. Post-holiday blues, weight gain, fast-approaching age of fifty and an aged, ailing mother.

However, I have so much to be thankful for. I have the most caring, supportive, fun-loving and amazing husband I could wish for. Between us we have our five grown-up children, one of them married to our lovely son-in-law, one settled with his fiancee and their baby daughter and three who have yet to settle down but have good jobs and plenty of years ahead of them. I worry endlessly about them all, but never quite feel I give them each enough of my time. While they are mostly more than capable, I have been around a lot more years and so I like to be able to offer guidance and support as needed.

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If anyone out there has the answer to what is clearly my very own mid-life crisis, I would be grateful for all suggestions. So far, I have spent the weekend exhausted and crying hard enough to give myself a headache.