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Monday, January 29, 2007

Useless emotions - and winkers.

Regret. Pointless, useless, nagging emotion. What's it for? Knaws away at you, poisoning the past.

Well - I'd be lying if I said I hadn't any. And there's two kinds - regret for what you did, regret for what you didn't.
Time cures, and softens the first. And the second?

Wish I'd spent more time at home. Doing the mundane things I have to do now. I don't mind the cooking, cleaning, making house kinda stuff.
But I know I should have done more of it. Earlier.

No matter. I'm doing it now. It's not a penance as such - I'm enjoying it. Those that know me, both of you that pop by to read, know that I'm really happy helping, sorting little things out, smoothing other people's lives in some small way.

Can't make everyone happy. Can but try. Had a beautiful weekend, friends drifting in and out on Saturday, old friends 40th party in the evening.
Long night chatting, tears, emotional highs and lows, but feeling fine, drifting off to sleep as the sun rose. I'm not the only one emotionally damaged by the past, but I'm going to do whatever it takes to make the future, well just real good. Lovely. Gorgeous.

Emotions. Good, bad. Whatever. I'd rather have them both than none at all.

And winkers? Ken Bruce discussing semaphore indicators. Made me laugh till I cried. Those lights that popped out of the side on old cars to indicate you were turning. Whatever happened to those useless winkers someone mused? "Well" he replied - "I think they're all on Celebrity Big Brother".

Friday, January 26, 2007

Thin ice - going down slow.

Feeling low this morning. Real low, like I haven't been here for a while.

I've spent 14 years moving into this house. Let me explain. Kate lived here before, bought the house and converted it. Exposed the timbers, fitted a woodburner, moved in cosy and lovely. Happy and serene when I found her, amongst her neatness. Everything in it's place.

So. 14 years. I gradually moved things in. A bookshelf here, pile of magazines there. Making little inroads into Kate's life. Kate's house. Gradually it became my home. And then the kids home.

But somehow to me, always Kate's house.

Now. It's full. Full to bursting. Alice in a corridor of a bedroom, with Robert beyond. Landing a no-go zone of software boxes, reduntant Macs, half-sewn cushions, half repaired toys... And stuff.

Past few days I've been asking the kids to tidy a shelf of their books. Just the one. One. Solitary. Shelf. It swiftly degenerated into a fight, smouldered through the night, and flared up again this morning.

I gave up. Lit the fire, made a cup of tea and went back to bed. Left them to it for half an hour. Well. Think they've worked it out. Realised the pointless bickering wasn't helping, turned around and started helping each other. I know it won't last, but it's beautiful when it happens.

But it hasn't helped me yet. Not yet.

Cold today outside. Over the months, I've formed a bit of an icy shell myself. Found out today, it's quite thin. Beneath it? Well another layer of detached confusion.

Then the raw me.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Brass Monkey Run

Always loved it.
An early battle with a barb wire hedge, aged 6, on a Raleigh Runabout, kept me from confidence on two wheels. Still keep trying though...
But tractors on the farm, Ford Anglias around the fields and tracks. Loved it.
Once old enough to hit the road, I had another go at two wheels, fell of nearly every bike I owned. Not a natural then, but I still keep trying...

But. Whatever the weather - especially in the weather - I just like to get out for a drive. Sunshine, mud, rain, snow, hail - even the howling winds today. Love 'em all. Driving for no other reason than getting there. And back.

For the past few years, just after Christmas we've always had a car run up to the North Norfolk coast. Icy, icy sub-zero cold the first year, fast falling blizzards and horizontal ice storms the next, but this year? Balmy. Almost T-shirt weather. Well... stretching the truth there but none of that treacherous sliding around for a couple of hundred miles.

No matter. Lovely day out. Breezy by the sea. Bit of drag racing along the beach road. Chips. A trip to the "novelty rock emporium". A natter with all those friends we wouldn't normally see till the summer. Friend of mine, with a heater and a roof, took the kids along for the ride.

And Jenny was great company all day riding shotgun in the T. Bless her.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New Year resolution.

Woke up this morning - hey, it's happened before - and decided.
Didn't make a New Years resolution. Like to wait until the rush is over, and you want to get a good one? No?

Made one a few years ago. Do something different every day. Anything. Just a little something.
After a few months I felt a little out of control.
Woke up in a tent pitched between two cars on a garage forecourt with the police going through my bags....

Now I've been special before. Had a sign behind me at work said so. "I'm Special" it said.
And I've been lovely too.
And I've felt gorgeous in the past too.

But. This year? I've decided. I'm going to actually be gorgeous.

Oh, I know what you're thinking. Well..... Hah! You'll see.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

How I came to be all alone in a layby on the A12...

Some time ago, I decided the Odeon Shag Sedan would look really nice perched on some '40 Ford solid steels. Hubcaps, trim rings, blackwalls on black steels. Bit like this if you squint a bit and imagine this is a square-rigged Fordor sedan and not a nicely chopped Coupe...

Found a set in Scotland, paid for them, but being in no real hurry, kinda left the transport to fate.

Sure enough, a friend bought a rolling chassis, no more than 40 miles or so away. And needed to borrow a truck to go and pick it up. Plans forming. No problem, take my old Mazda, sitting idle in the drive says I. It'll manage it fine, never let me down. Arrives on a Friday night, week before Christmas, and off he goes.

First phone call came within 3 miles. Power cut in town, all the petrol stations out of action, so I direct him on his way to the next nearest.

Second phone call. Truck isn't pulling well, won't go over 50mph. Hmmm. Well - I suppose it has been gutless since the pump was backed off for the MOT.

Third call. Turning round and coming back. 50 miles away. Hang on a sec - has all this happened since the fill up? I suggest dropping the fuel filter and checking for water.

Fourth call. Yup, running better, threw the contents of the filter, water sure enough, running much better.

Don't hear a thing till Sunday morning. Stuck in Barnsley. Truck's dead. So. Left it at that. Figure as long as I get the wheels, they're worth more than the truck anyway!

Eventually it finds it's way back to Colchester, unloaded and disgraced on the roadside, delivered by the AA.
Until today. Kids with friends, and Mark gives me a lift with a bag of fuel filters to bring it on home.

Change the filter, bit reluctant to prime, jump start and we soon have it running. Seems OK, so we set off. Manage a whole mile. Battery still low, so a rope start, onto the A12 and the old shed seems to be running fine, so foot to the floor out of sight of Mark in the Transit and....

Slowing. Slower. Misses. Drags up like a seizure. Into a layby. Dead. Just in time to see Mark fly past, desperately looking out for me.

Hmm. So - there I am. Standing in a layby. Watching the traffic cutting past on the A12. Lifeless truck. No battery. No phone.

Kinda surreal. Stood there a while - pondering what to do. Silly thoughts drifting through my head. Nothing sticking. Then, quite calm, strangely calm, walked to the nearest house and phoned to let the kids know I'd be a little late...

By the time I walk back, there's Mark. He's done the countless mile turnaround to bring me home. I don't have enough lifetime left to pay him back for all the times he's helped me out. With a too short tow rope, a quick trust to luck; we set off for a heart beating hard, can't see nothing but the back of the van, lights fading fast, rope disappearing in the gloom, drop the clutch to feed the battery and brake servo, fairly uneventful 50 mile drag back to the sanctuary of home.

Which is about all that there is. From a solitary nobody in the darkness watching the world rush by, to back home safe with the kids. It's not that far. But it takes true friends to get you there sometimes.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Questions, questions...midlife questions.

With everything else that happened last year - well, I just never found the time to work out any answers to these questions. Well, Christmas is only 50 weeks away - perhaps I'll put them in a cracker. Tried to find the time to have a mid-life crisis. Uh-uh. Already had the motorcycle, didn't want to take off round the world. Well. I did; we did, - but Kate wasn't up to it. We were content with a wet Whitsun week in a caravan in Scratby.

So - here goes, and just don't expect any answers to any of these anytime soon.

What am I passionate about?
What do I most enjoy doing?
What have I always wanted to try but never gotten around to?
How do I want to spend my time?
In what sort of environment do I enjoy living?
What kind of people do I like having around me?
What kinds of hobbies do I enjoy?
How far do I want to take them?
Are there any that I would want to do constantly for a period of time?
What are the attributes that define me?

And - just what is it I'm good at?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Secret Ingredients of Christmas.

Orange marmalade in the mince pies.
Chilli powder in the cheese straws.

Hope the kids forgive me before I grow old and they do the same to me....

Short. Sharp. Thoughts.


Monday, January 01, 2007

Christmas over - made it to the New Year.

Whirlwind of a Christmas. All the darkness of thought, the trepidation, all washed away by the lightness of spending it with loved ones. Family and friends, all helped to warm the feelings. Jenny came round too and that made it all feel so right. Massive ups, some downs, the kind of roller coaster that makes your balls ache. And still you just want to stay on...

But. Early here in the morning, first morning of a young New Year, after a gentle, make-do, bring a plate of food, village hall party, and I'm sitting here on the sofa. Kids in bed. Sister-in-law camped out upstairs. My family all gone home. Jenny and her kids - the same.

All alone.

Except, I know I'm not. It's just the beer talking.

Missing Kate. Missing Jenny too. One head full of feelings, confusions - and Jack Daniels.