Dead Head

Captive in a comfy chair
in the resident’s lounge,
she serves me bitter coffee
with watery milk.
Not the way I like it.

The others stare absently
at their sippy cups,
remembering
the days of dancing
down the aisles,
deciding what’s for tea.
choosing favourites,
The ‘meals for two’ special offers
that came with a bottle of wine.
To share.

No alcohol here.
Dining room misery instead.
Tasteless food, mushy in my mouth,
school dinner puds
washed down with childhood squash,
all consumed to the tune
of coughing and cursing,
and the shout of instructions,
and endless questions from
lost minds.

Wheeled back to the room
for my ‘nap after lunch’
we pass the locked route to the garden.
The clematis needs pruning,
and the dead roses still droop on the bush
out there, in that life giving air
that once I breathed
in my own beloved space
of borders and pond,
and sandpits and slides.

I stare from the window
people pass below.
They hurry to work
clutching their coffees,
driving their cars,
catching buses,
pushing prams.
Their hectic lives an inconvenience
but what I wouldn’t give to
be busy once more.

 

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What does fun feel like?

Fun is carefree, laughing, singing, taking risks, dancing, letting your hair down.  As I get older, the opportunities for that sort of fun seem to diminish.  Not because of any lack of ability or motivation, just that, somehow, life gets in the way, and convention says those sort of fun things are for ‘the young folk’. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I spend most of my life doing things I enjoy; yoga, writing, photography, painting, gardening… but am I having ‘fun’ exactly?

I’m young.  Not everybody would agree of course, but despite my ageing 1950s edition container, Me, the Me inside, is still in her twenties.  And this twenty something still loves music, rollercoasters, climbing trees, zip-wiring, fast cars, boats, yep, I’m still an adrenaline junkie whenever I get the chance.  But these days, the best fun I have is when my family are all together, stitching each other up over a board game, or playing something daft on our old games console (cow racing being a favourite), or just basically, being silly. And that’s great, but it doesn’t happen often as my two daughters live at different ends of the country (well, one is in Wales, so not even technically in this country), and their shifts mean they are not often ‘off’ to visit their poor old parents at the same time.  We’ve even had to postpone Christmas some years.

However, this week, after months of waiting, Monday 3rd July finally arrived. Finally, finally, I was off to see one of my all time favourite bands.  I was like an excited kid and the evening couldn’t come quickly enough.

What can I say… GreenDay were magnificent, epic, awesome, incredible…

Every single person in the arena were on their feet, dancing, singing, and shouting for the whole two and half hour set.  They played new stuff and old favourites and it was just fabulous.

And me, yeah, oh did I let my hair down!  I danced and sang til I was hoarse. I chanted and cheered and waved my arms about.  The years dropped off and, transported by the music to a world of my own, I was exhilarated and felt young and free and alive and beautiful.  Never mind that I had a 30 year old daughter dancing next to me, we were the same. Me and the slightly scary young bloke on my left. The one with the piercings and tattoos, yeah, we were the same too. In fact, everyone in that arena, no matter what age, or inclination, or colour, or faith, or difference of any kind, were all the same.  Troubles forgotten in that hot, loud world, we were moving with an energy that could have powered the national grid for a year.  And we were all having the best fun… and yes BillieJoe, I ‘ad the time of my life! Thank you xxx

Getting out of the car park afterwards, now that was quite another matter altogether…!

 

 

As you see me

IMG_0312Posted in response to the Daily Post weekly discovery challenge – this week’s theme ‘Portrait’.

Ok, I’ll fess up… I didn’t take the portrait, but I did take the picture of the portrait, if you see what I mean!

When my daughter told me that she’d received an old polaroid camera for her birthday, I was quite jealous. Enchanted by the idea of ‘instant pictures’ I remember badly wanting one when I was younger. Of course, that was way, way, before the digital camera age and now photographs are ten a penny and disposable so  I was surprised at how excited she was.

The film thingy’s are very expensive, and she was still getting used to the camera, and she warned me that the results were not so much ‘sharp’ as ‘interesting’ but in fact I love this shot.

I love the fact that, although you get the gist that its me, my features are blurred, and that she’s captured my expression of thoughtful bemusement at the world exactly how I would like it to be captured.  To put it bluntly – how I want other’s to see me.

The thought has been growing in my mind ever since it was taken.

I’ve always had problems trying to find a ‘suitable’ profile picture which encapsulates my overall demeanor without showing me baring my wonky teeth in an insane grin, or wrinkling up my eyes, or losing my real chin amongst the others.  Problem is, in my head I am still youthful, slim, and lovely so it’s always a bit of a shock to see the reality captured in a snap.

I have the same problem at the yoga studio, the one where there is mirrors.

‘oh blimey, who is that baggy old biddy who looks like a squishy sack of potatoes?’

‘oh poop, it’s me.’

I guess a lot of people of my age feel the same, and really, I’m fit and healthy so I shouldn’t worry about what I look like, right?

It sounds like a cliché, but speaking to my friends I gather I’m not alone in still feeling young on the inside whilst my body tells the bitter truth in photographs. It’s depressing.

So from now on I’m steering clear of the lens and you’ll just have to take my word for it that I’m a happy soul who moves my sylph like body with the grace of an angel and whose face is as blemish, and wrinkle free as an Egyptian sheet in a five star hotel. 😉

 

 

 

The Fast Life

Writing 101, day 10. ‘Let the scene write itself’.

40 mph 2When I was forty we moved ‘up North’.  The year flashed by in a flurry of finding homes and schools, and settling in and seeking friends. A comfortable and smooth suburban road, my fortieth year was fleeting. But on reflection… Forty was slow.

In my fiftieth year I celebrated a half century of living.  Working full time, the decade hurtled along. Motherly fussing over A level angst, and woefully watching my girls turn to women overnight. And then they left.  My nest was empty. I studied and worried and filled that gaping gap with grief. My fiftieth decade passed so quickly on that bumpy B road.  But on reflection…. Fifty too was slow.

Now, it’s over sixty years since my birth. I grasp life, clinging to my youth with white knuckle fear of declining body and mind. Years roll by as fast as miles on a motorway.  Long stretches of similarity so often give way to curves and corners in my world. I expect the unexpected – a sudden ‘slow down’ or ‘obstruction in the road’. I’m flying along in the fast lane.

But what of seventy? Dare I look beyond? Do I inevitably set out, slow moving, on curling country lanes? A pedestrian? Or perhaps fork out for a Ferrari, put the pedal to the metal, and speed away?

Doll

Writing 101 day 4 – Using a picture for inspirationphoto-1430747562296-5556d17a15a5 (2)

We used to rock and roll
Her dyed black, tied back hair swinging
as we jived through young life
Swerving around corners
eating up the straights
on silver machines
that throbbed and roared
as we sat carelessly astride

Together we played at grown-ups
We nestled and snuggled
our restless souls settled
our bikes rusted in the backyard
where herbs and flowers grew
encouraged by her tender hands

Then her belly swelled
I watched her move to the
dance of motherhood
her face, lit by a thousand smiles
glowed in soft focus
while babies suckled
then grew strong beside her

Bereft she cried in my arms
as we watched them go
Reflections of our younger selves
Caught in the moment
I saw her face, it’s soft valleys
and newly formed crevasses
denoting worry and wisdom

Those last few months when
floury fingers baked biscuits
and dusted memories on the mantel
When her tied back hair was grey
and her frowns replaced the smiles
adventures curtailed
she waited

And the call came

As I sit in this echoey place
Where the candles flicker
And memories are shadows
Where I carried her like a doll
Boxed
With her silver hair loose and free
I remember
We used to rock and roll

Little irritations

I’ve been writing a list of things I hate, which indicates what kind of mood I’m in today!   Now hate is a strong ‘ol word.  I truly hate injustice and poverty.  I truly hate smoking too (just don’t get me started..) so this is really a list of things that just plain irritate me.  Things that should be banned immediately as far as I’m concerned.  I’m sure you all have lists too, though probably not the same.  I wonder if there are things that are universally cringe worthy.

In no particular order, these are ten things that I really, no really, don’t like at all…..

  1. Public consumption of pies – Look, just sit in a corner and stuff your face if you really have to, don’t walk along the street talking and spitting crumbs everywhere.
  2.  Impersonators – Sorry, I know I’m probably in the minority here, but it seems to me that making other people sound stupid is not clever nor funny.
  3.  Spiders – Fine when they’re in their own domain, but just stop coming into my house would you.
  4. Spray tans/false eyelashes/too much make up/drawn on caterpillar eyebrows – Usually young women and girls. You don’t need all that.  Be beautiful in your own skin you nincompoops.
  5. Dog walkers who assume your dog is ok just cos theirs is – My dog doesn’t like to be approached by other dogs. She can’t help it, she’s had a few dodgy encounters.  I keep her under control (well, fairly) on her lead when I see you coming.  Take that as a sign why don’t you?
  6. The black mould in the shower – Where does it come from? Why won’t it go? Need I say more?
  7. Water in the bottom of the fridge – Why?? How??
  8. Topless men in shops – And none of them are buff are they? All big fat bloaters.
  9. Swearing as part of a sentence – Totally, totally unnecessary. Learn to be eloquent. A well expressed turn of phrase is worth ten profanities!
  10. Teeth/body design faults – Who doesn’t have problems with their teeth from time to time? Where should we put our arms when we’re laying on our sides? Colds… what’s with the colds??

It’s not a comprehensive list, just a starter (to be honest, I had trouble keeping it to ten things – I am officially a grumpy old woman), please feel free to let me know your own gripes and grumbles!

To Gym or not to Gym

You may remember that for several months I followed the 5:2 diet. It worked for me.  Losing over a stone (over 6 kg) I felt better about myself, had more energy, clearer skin, smaller waist. It wasn’t only the diet of course, I was walking three or four miles at a time and swimming regularly. Without so many bulges to manoeuver, my yoga practice improved no end. I slept better, and apparently my snoring stopped (I still dispute this – I don’t snore, I just breath a bit heavily). I flounced about with more confidence. It was great.

Until we went on holiday.

Oh yes, the bikini came out.  I know bikini’s on a sixty odd year old woman is unseemly, but believe me, this sixty something rocked it. No bingo wings to worry about when wearing skimpy cotton summer frocks. Swanning about in sarongs. Eating.

Oh yeah, the eating. We were in India. I love Indian food. What can I say?

It wouldn’t have been so bad, if we hadn’t spent the time we weren’t eating lying about in the sun, relaxing, chillin’, exerting no energy whatsoever. At all.  Consequently the pounds piled on.

Of course, when we got home my tubbier tanned body wasn’t up to doing much exercise.  I found excuses.  I couldn’t do so much walking because I’ve been suffering with plantar faciitis (still am, but getting better with the help of steroid injections), I’d got fed up with the weekly battle for parking, and the grim facilities of the local leisure centre – not quite the same as the infinity pool in Kerala. Even yoga got to be a bit more of an effort.

Then it was the food fest of Christmas.

Things have been going downhill ever since. I’ve put the weight back on. Energy levels are low to non-existent.  I’m not sleeping so well. The baggy belly is back.

So…. I’m tentatively back on the 5:2, but I still can’t walk the long distances I could, and I still don’t care for swimming at the leisure centre. So I’ve been considering joining the local gym.

There are one or two problems with this option though.

  • It costs money – lots of money
  • Other people, fit people, will be there
  • It takes a biggish time commitment to be worth joining
  • You have to commit for a whole year, yes, a WHOLE YEAR, and pay up front

I used to belong to a gym, when the kids were at school. It didn’t have a pool, but I’d go and use the equipment a couple of times a week, doing less and less on the murderous machines that I didn’t like, and more and more on the things you can sit down on.  I actually quite enjoyed it, but at the time I didn’t need to lose weight, I was more focussed on toning up a bit (this was before my yoga days).

The gym I’m thinking of now, is swish, like, really swish. It has a beautiful pool, sauna, steam rooms, Jacuzzi, fitness suites, lots of classes…oh and a café so that you can have a nice hot chocolate with marshmallows after your workout. It is so very tempting…

But…

Whilst a big chunk of me wants to join, believing it is my key to becoming svelte and energetic again, there is a growing niggle that I shouldn’t need to join a gym to keep fit.  I should be able to run about in the fresh air, garden more, yoga more, dance more…eat less.  This little voice keeps telling me that I am very privileged to be able to afford to eat more than I need to keep me going each day. I should be thankful that I am healthy if chubby, rather than skinny and sickly, and that I can afford to even contemplate joining an exorbitantly overpriced gym full of narcissists.  It is whispering that I should be content with who I am, be less vain, embrace old age with it’s niggly aches and pains and penchant for daytime naps.  Enjoy the fact that a bit of padding fills out the wrinkles. After all, I’m not actually overweight for my build, by BMI standards, I am apparently at a healthy weight for my height and age.

So I am torn. I know I would feel better about myself if I was fitter, slimmer, but I’m not sure I can do it on my own, or even whether I should want to.

Oh, but how I would love to wallow in that fancy Jacuzzi a couple of times a week… oops, sorry, I mean swim, and run, and lift, and stretch, and…

ooh now I’ve thought about it, I need a hot chocolate and a lay down!