Me

Hooray I have finally started my own blog!!!!

Welcome, my name is Anna. I live in the North East of England with my husband Neil and two children, Isabella and Oliver, along with our Weimaraner Odin, who has no idea he is a dog!!

Our home is often chaotic, disorganised and noisy, however it adds to the love and creativity that we all thrive on.

For reasons that I’m sure I will share, this last year has been a time of self reflection. I am encouraging myself to live in the now, seek new interests, be creative, study, say yes to opportunities, leave my comfort zone and be brave. Investing time in myself, working towards being the best version of ME I can BE.

This blog is for me to capture and appreciate the moments in my life that are shaping the person I am and want to be. A memoir for the future ME.

The Memory Keeper’s Shawl

This is one of my works in progress, the Memory Keeper’s Shawl by Linaknits.

The concept of this pattern is to use left over bits of yarn from completed objects, along with a constant colour, this helps blend them together.

The texture of the shawl is soooo squishy, love love love it. I haven’t finished many items to date, plus the left over yarn I have from those items I am using in a Granny Stripe Blanket (thats my excuse for buying yarn and I’m sticking to it!!!!).

The yarn I have used is by an independent dyer called Kate Selene. I have had my eye on her yarn for AGES!!! I treated myself during the kids summer holiday and purchased some of her minis. I choose the 100’s n 1000’s colourway, this recalls childhood memories so it will still be a “Memory Keeper’s Shawl” just in a difference sense.

As a child I can remember making mini Victoria sponge cakes with my Mum, covering them in icing and finishing them with 100’s n 1000’s, yummy!!!! If I had to choose between a fancy cupcake with buttercream topping and embellishment, a humble sponge with white icing and 100’s n 1000’s wins for me everytime!

Even today 100’s n 1000’s are a permanent fixture in my parents cupboards. Isabella loves having ice cream at Nanny and Grampy’s because it is finished off with a delightful sprinkle of 100’s n 1000’s.

I have only rekindled my love for knitting since February of this year. As well as creating beautiful objects, knitting is a therapy for me. I’m not going to get too deep too soon!!!! It just helps to focus my attention on something else and slow down my thoughts.

When this shawl is finished it will be for ME ME ME!!!! Can’t wait to have it wrapped over by shoulders, book in hand, cup of tea and candles lit. I’m ready for you Autumn, hurry up!

Pattern: The Memory Keeper’s Shawl pattern by Linaknits (I purchased this pattern on Ravelry)

Yarn: Kate Selene – 100’s n 1000’s – fingering weight yarn http://www.kateselene.co.uk

Drops Flora – light grey – fingering weight yarn

Life

In the infinite penultimate millisecond facing a catastrophic conclusion you gain a sobering glimpse of what life is. Of all the time in the world it all boils down to the decisions that are made or changed in that moment. The moment when the scales are most perfectly balanced, poised to tip in either direction. Life cannot be pinpointed or defined. It’s everything to everyone and everywhere we look. It cannot be packaged up with a bow and labelled. It’s like sand on a beach, all around, ever changing, at the mercy of the elements. Or like the wind, blowing on our cheeks, biting our ears, bending the trees and rustling the leaves. It’s difficult and ugly whilst at the same time beautiful and addictive. We strive to understand it, to live it to the fullest, to enjoy it to the happiest, to find the answers to the questions we do not know but we never will. It’s like anything lost, it will only be found in the last place we look.

[T]hat blessed mood,

In which the burthen of the mystery,

In which the heavy and the weary weight

Of all this unintelligible world,

Is lightened:—that serene and blessed mood,

In which the affections gently lead us on,—

Until, the breath of this corporeal frame

And even the motion of our human blood

Almost suspended, we are laid asleep

In body, and become a living soul:

While with an eye made quiet by the power

Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,

We see into the life of things.

~William Wordsworth, 1798

I am 8 years old. It is a normal school day. Every day is a normal day when you’re 8. Although my vision is blurred by the fog of time. It is lunch time and I am playing with a very small group of friends whose names now escape me. We are on a small paved quiet area at the back of the school, playing marbles on a rusty old manhole lid which has a kind of chequerboard pattern embossed on it, ideal for this kind of thing. (It’s the eighties don’t judge me). The game ends I assume but I have no clue why or how since I am now running back round the side of the school along the edge of a good sized hard paved yard. Running in the way every 8 year old fails to walk anywhere sensibly.

I am laying on my back now, feeling quite serene as I am, wrapped up all cosy and cocooned in my parka and balaclava. This is a time before balaclavas were uniform of terrorists or armed robbers. I am completely calm and content, like I’ve just awoken without a care or a worry. There is bright light high above me, quite some distance off. Everything is still and quiet. That kind of high pitched silence of noise which has been de-tuned. As my eyes start to focus I can see that the brightness is not quite so bright but rather the white autumn sky visible through a circle of darkness. The darkness quickly starts to dissolve to reveal faces encircling me, looking down on me. I’m puzzled by my situation but make no immediate attempt to change it. The silence now also starts to recede to a louder hubbub as one of the faces becomes recognisable as my older cussin who is lifting me to my feet. Along with a friend, they link arms with me and start to walk me to the school entrance. I am completely complicit as you would be in a lucid state with seemingly little control over your physical motions. Questions are being asked of me, but they are muffled, and I am unable to answer or string words together. The fog of time starts to roll in again.

I am in the headmasters room now. I’ve never been in here before. There’s nothing to recognise, though he is there, commanding, waving his arms and hastily shouting orders. I’m in trouble. Why am I here. What have I done. I want the world to swallow me up. Don’t look at me. Don’t ask me questions. I’m shy.

His tone is gentle with me. I’m wary. He gets help from somewhere and I become aware once more of my balaclava as they start to remove it but then stop. A shout rings out from somewhere – “call his parents, now!”

Within a blink of my eyes I’m on my feet again. That is, I closed my eyes and opened them again. How does time slow down and speed up like that. Even then I realise we wrongly think of time as a constant. I reach the entrance at the same time as my mother mirrors me the other side. Only now does salty liquid start to stick to my eye lids and sting my vision. Something is wrong. A familiar hug briskly guides me to the car where I’m bundled into the back. For the first time I feel safe enough to speak – “where are we going?” “The hospital son” comes the reply”. “Don’t worry, it’ll be ok”. But I don’t want to go to hospital. I’ve never been before. It’s unfamiliar, scary, serious. Please no.

I’m laying on my back again, looking up at another bright light. I can feel the precise, sharp, searing cold of metal against my skin at the exact same time as my left ear is aware of the sound like that of a taylor carefully dissecting material. I immediately know it as scissors. My balaclava, with help, comes free of my head and is discarded somewhere to the side. A blurred image of my mother winces.

An X-ray image is now being discussed. I must have blinked again. Then cold freeze spray is applied to my forehead. My mother is holding my hand, or am I holding hers. “What are they doing now?” I say in a calm voice as the taylor threads his needle. I’m surprised at myself. Where did my voice come from. I keep still as he goes to work with his seven fine stitches.

I want to write a book and have done for some time. I started this piece some time ago and forgot about it. I’m not really sure where this started or even where it’s going. But I’m interested in what you think and if it’s worth continuing. I see this book as being maybe semi-autobiographical kind of thing. A series of short stories which come together to form a whole. Anyway, thoughts please?

Reborn

After a 2 year (almost to the day I think) hiatus, I today reacquainted myself with WordPress, purchased a domain, overhauled this site, and managed to get some content up. This is my new project and I’m hoping to get a lot of useful, maybe interesting, stuff on here. I’m very pleased with myself. It is now very late and my batteries are all but dead. Haha yes mine too. So this is just a very quick post to say, well, hello again I guess. And now, goodnight. zzz

Thursday – day one

It had been a very restless nights sleep following a very busy last day at work. Don’t holidays always get in the way of work. Before and after you have so much to do that you wonder if it’s actually worthwhile. Well then I guess we just need to make sure it is worthwhile.

My anxiety was already surfacing. Between sleep I’d spent the night time hours thinking about everything that I had to not forget in regards to the holiday. What else did I need to put in the caravan? What time did we need to set off? What was the route again?  Are there roadworks on that route? What would traffic queue be like getting into the festival? I hope the kids will travel well. Is the house tidy enough for Tony staying? Oh I must remember to write his instructions – how to use the microwave and what commands to shout at the TV Xbox thing. Chicken food, dog food, phone chargers. Sleep again.

6.20am. Holy crap. We’re supposed to be setting off at 7am. “Quick Anna, its 6.30”. “Huh, yeh”.

After an hour and a bit we had monouvered the caravan back onto the road, hitched up, added the towing mirrors, tested the lights as we always do. No indicators or anything. Oh shit. Starting to panic a bit now. We should have left ages ago, now this. Argh. After stomping around a bit and stomping in the house to tell Anna, I tried again and again again. Car off, car on. Disconnect, reconnect. Reverse, forward, reverse. Eventually, weather by correct combination, fluke or just nudging a loose wire, they seemed to start working. Right everyone in let’s get going. Oliver- “I’m bored!”.

After driving for days and weeks (actually only hours) and a couple of stops we started to get close. We knew because of the event signs, the number of campervans on the road, and the ETA on the satnav. Which actually kept getting later. As the roads got smaller, narrower and all markings disappeared we seemed to join the back of a queue. We dug out our tickets etc. Yellow car park entrance. The queue ended up passing every other entrance as it wound its way slowly round the whole castle estate and every other entrance. We drove in on a pretty poor hardcore track and up a grassy slope into the caravan and camper van field. I held my breath and prayed not to get stuck as the car groaned and lost traction multiple times on the ascent.

The field looked full. Is this right? I thought we were a day early. We were directed to the edge of the field were the last remaining space was quickly being filled. Up to this point everyone was in very civilised and orderly double rows with plenty of space and nice avenues between. But as we were directed as to where to place our caravan by a very agitated young girl, clearly feeling the pressure, it became evident that they were running out of space and we were being squeezed in as much as was possible. Back a bit more back a bit more, bit more. But their ‘extra’ tent is where our awning is supposed to go. Oh well this cosy. Then as we set up and more arrive I find we are in the middle of a three or four row mush mash of coziness. How the hell am I going to get the caravan out this side of Christmas? Feeling a bit anxious again.

Tbc…

Introduction

“Did you remember I’m out with Sarah and Lauren tonight?” She said.

“Erm, of course I did” I fibbed. Fibs are ok occasionally, whereas lies are not. That’s what we taught the kids anyway to account for the times we have to ‘fib’ to them but they of course outsmart us.

It was a rare occasion for my wife to go out for a night on the town with her sisters and lovely that they have such a good relationship to do that together. Well that was that and out they went leaving the kids and I to the delights of Saturday night TV. Now, I’ll cut a short story even shorter and just say that there was a mishap during this night out that involved dancing, wedges (a type of shoe I’ve learned), and a possible fractured foot. My heightening worry was quickly allayed by my wife’s rattling of the key in the door at stupid am. Phew. Quick sleepy discussion about the night and something about falling and foot hurting.

5am, 6am (I forget, it’s not important now), we need to go to A&E. In summary, there’s a suspect fracture. Don’t walk, drive or do anything and here’s a moon-boot. Great, we’re trying to sell our house and going on holiday in 2 weeks (the holiday we’re on now while I write this). I know I might not sound sympathetic but I was, and still am. To be fair it’s a nasty injury and hurts a lot. I guess I was just a bit frustrated with the amount we had ongoing on. The holiday – a week or so in Cornwall, preceded by a weekend at Camp Bestival in Dorset.

For a couple of years now my wife has been wanting to have a UK holiday in Cornwall and not particularly being a fan of the English weather I’ve always managed to come up with excuses. But this year I relented. I actually quite liked the idea. But I wanted to make the most if it and hit on the idea of taking in a family friendly festival in Dorset first and then going along to Cornwall. That way we reduce the travelling and do something great and completely new to us in between.

Just over a week till holiday. We were in countdown mode. Then we got the phone call. My wife’s grandmother (nanny fish- another story) had passed away. It wasn’t unexpected but yet the final-ness of death is no less difficult to take. She had been in a residential home and had been succumbing to her dementia for quite some time. We were all very sad but I think mostly for my father-in-law having now lost both parents. I guess it’s the brutality of mortality that hits you on these occasions and acts as a stark reminder of what is to come. But then, we must concentrate all the more on what comes before – life.

It was a couple of days before funeral arrangements were confirmed and gave us a but of anguish regarding what to do about this holiday. But that will become clear.

Anyway, that’s the backdrop to this first act and although the true beginning is probably way back when, I’m sure much of that will be covered some other time. That is if I continue with this writing lark but so far so good (or bad- you decide).

Prologue

So, here we are then, my first sentence. I decided to write a blog. Or, I should say, I decided to try and write a blog. I’m not sure if blog is even the right definition. It was during a 6 and half hour drive from Cheshire somewhere to Padstow, doing the usual endurance test of putting off stopping as long as possible, that my mind was off wandering and I made the decision to write down some of the crap going through my head and document some of our adventures before I forget the details. I’m very forgetful, but more of that later. As you’ll see, this is more of a cathartic exercise so I’m not sure if anyone else will actually read this.

Anyway, how rude of me, I guess I should start at the start. So, I’m Neil, 41, husband, dad, uncle, son, grandson, friend, colleague, gardener, cook (chef was too strong a word), creative, thinker, geek.. I could go on, but like everyone, I’m many things to different people. I’m a northerner. I had to say that as I think it’s important. It is to me anyway.

I like reading good books. I have done for quite some time now. We’re a bit obsessive about buying and collecting books, my wife and I. And I like writing. At least writing in my head, since that’s were all my writing is done up till this point. But more on that later I’m sure. For quite some time I’ve wanted to write a book, but the subject and the starting out had always got the getter of me. Occasionally I’ve wrote a chapter in my head and then forgotten it before getting it on paper. So (I start sentences with that a lot it seems), so I decided to start with a blog instead. And it worked, I’ve written typed some words. Hurrah. I just need to make sure I get my thoughts in some sort of order now.

It’s not my intention for this blog to be like a dear diary or something, that would be an epic fail for me. But since I’ve started this in the middle of a family adventure then I do fear it may start out a bit like a series of diary entries. So predictable I know. Well, I’m not sure where I’m going with this prologue or how to finish it other than to say I better get on with the next bit before I forget it….