Tag Archives: family

Easter break


The running weekend for my youngest almost did not happen as the black dog lingered. Eventually she set off back to Manchester but remained in two minds about the whole thing. Then the ferry she was meant to catch crashed into something….and all travel plans went haywire. After lots of talking she decided to try and find an alternate route and if that was not going to be possible, just come home.

She made it – a ferry at 2:15 in the morning to arrive to do a 10 k run.

In the meantime oldest is back and full of stories about life up north. She plays Japanese pop all the time, which I really don’t get, but otherwise she is well and that makes me happy.

We took a big pile of items to the tip and charity shop including all the ex’s clothes that he left behind. There was a sense of finality with that.

I fell out of the shower and in the night bumped into the headboard on my bed and now have a big red bruise/scrape on both my ankle and forehead.

All my siblings are in touch a lot now about the pending move for my parents. They have left it so late to buy a house that they will be forced to rent in the short term. We think they are just overwhelmed by the whole process of closing this chapter of their lives.

I have not been in touch with dear ones of late but will do so soon…. you know who you are!

May you all have a peaceful, happy Easter break. x







Youngest has been home for a few days to recharge her batteries. She has had a tough time with the Black Dog of late. We talked a lot, ate really healthy food and she ran. I did too, only in the gym along with lifting weights!

She has gone back to get ready for a running festival over Easter…she loves to run and then will return for a few days where she will overlap with her sister, who arrives tonight. It will be lovely to have them both at home.

My father continues to battle bravely with his illnesses, but has been rushed to hospital more than once lately. Good news is that for now, no further invasive treatment, they are giving him a break.

I continue to procrastinate over essays and get very cross with myself. I did manage however, to clean the lawnmower and get it working again and cut the back lawn….

My priorities are a bit off kilter. It has been hard to blog.


Little things


My wonderful stepson is on a working holiday in Australia right now. To be able to extend the visa for another year he has to work on a farm for three months. The job he arranged fell through and he has had a tough time finding something to replace it.

The ex said he would speak to his friends about it. Having spent years of my life in rural Queensland and going to school with girls who left to become jillaroos on huge properties, and even owners, I suggested I put the word out too.

I did, on FB, and within an hour there were 3 offers/suggestions and phone numbers to exchange.

My stepson was thrilled and said he was now feeling much better about it all. It is up to him to make something of the connections, but it irked me when I told the ex and he was dismissive. The ex claims that the help was not needed but thanked me for trying. Silly man. I have messages that clearly say otherwise. There is one much more at ease young man sorting out the next stage of his life now.

The little things count. My stepson talking to me about his worries. Amazing people, some I have not seen since school, rallying to help. The power of friendship and connections even if it is electronic.



Very sad and worrying news from Australia. The treatment is not doing what was hoped for Dad’s bladder cancer and there is talk of more surgery. On top of that, they have finally put the house on the market and have an offer. They do not however have a place to go to, and to them the choice all hinges on the outcome of the next few consultations.

I want to be at home. I want to help them pack up that house. It is a huge wrench for them, but they have realised that they can no longer manage. I just want to SEE them.

But, we are talking regularly as are all siblings and the two in Oz are planning imminent visits.

As my parents aged, I knew the geographical distance would really be hard to cope with. Have decided to get home as soon as possible.


Plodding on


Still struggling a bit with the black dog, or its shadow at least, which has made routine tasks challenging this week. Things are being done in tiny increments, rather than in energetic blitzes.

He in Paradise has let me know that his company has now been dissolved and that the money will be available soon…but the flat is not selling and the agents are about as useful as a chocolate teapot! The tenant tells me that 7 flats have sold in the street in the last half year…..and they are all with other agents….but, we are almost half way to me getting out of here.

Oldest daughter went back, somewhat better than she arrived, and now youngest is here to run in the GRIM challenge in Aldershot tomorrow with some friends. (Can’t post a link for some reason, but it is a muddy race over army training grounds…). I am driver and photographer and am looking forward to it. They will be filthy, wet and cold at the end…..

Uni started this week with a gruelling month of lectures planned before the next placement starts in March. The exam results were fair to middling. Whether I resit will be determined on the results of the essay. Two low scores means a definite yes. I have a personal target for my grade average…

Today 7 DVDs went to the charity shop.  7 less things.

Little steps….the day will come when I can put up photos of an empty house.





Boots – as in for feet


I wear lace up ankle boots most of the time that I am not required to wear uniform flats, wellies, hiking boots and sneakers. Oh, and not with summer dresses, but most of the time boots are the footwear of choice.

Clarks have historically been the best source of these boots. One year, when living in Japan, some friends and I ordered Clarks boots from the USA, (getting shoes there for foreign feet that one actually WANTED to wear or could afford was problematic and for some reason it was easier to get British shoes from America…..). Not sure how to gauge the foot size difference we sent off paper tracings of our socked feet to help the supplier get the size right. And they did! We wore identical boots for ages and as you have to take your shoes off and leave them in the entrance of any home you enter, there were three pairs of the same footwear in different sizes in the porch!

Like most of my boots they were worn into the ground.

A few years later I got a great looking dark brown pair, and on a trip home to Australia, my younger sister admired them so much, I gave them to her, sure that I could replace them.

It was not to be. Same style, but only in black….so I wore them for another year and on another trip to Oz the same sister received the boots and again last year…..!

I buy my boots online through Quidco, where at times there is a 12% cashback offer. This time in Australia, my youngest sister gave me her boots, cool looking Country Road things with zips after I had parted with my pair. Alas, they are a fraction too big (but ok with thick socks) but the real issue is that they are loose around the ankle. So after sliding around in them for the last 5 months I have crumpled and have ordered, from the Clarks Outlet Sale, with cashback on top, one of the last remaining three pairs of my favourite boots, in black….

The Country Road boots will be donated and I will have footwear that fits when I head off to Italy to see younger sister who is there now…but she is not getting my boots!

Writing from a warm bed – and an update later in the day


Wind is tossing the birds about and rain is lashing against the window. Eldest Daughter and I were up till about 2:30 this morning. It was a celebration of sorts. The end of the semester (the essay was submitted 5 hours before the deadline) for me and acceptance for her about her recent breakup. We watched The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp. It was a hoot and just right for a bit of silliness after all the recent angst.

Just before submission and reading through the thing, again, I began to worry that the question had not been answered properly. It’s bit of a problem when one doesn’t even know if it HAS been answered or not too…….In fact that wee worm of worry lingers still. Time will tell. Academic writing is hard work, non of this blog-like rambling allowed!

There are now four days of no academic commitment. Four whole days for US, for getting stuck into the house, cleaning it (nasty!), ridding it of more THINGS and getting ready for the day I move.

It also means Eldest Daughter can have more of my attention, she has been very patient with me locked away day and night, writing. And she is brilliant at editing and referencing, really helpful….She needs loads of TLC right now and I am happy that we are going to get a bit of time for that.

We might not get the best weather over the next few days, so long seaside walks may be off the cards, but we can still hang out and have fun be good to ourselves and each other.


After a slow morning reading blogs, loving Zero Waste Home especially, Daughter and I headed to town, she had things to see to. We ate lunch out, something healthy for me and comforting for her. (I know I said I was going to be frugal, but we were both tired and somewhat delicate after last night….).

We had a poke around the charity shops, but spent nothing there. The weather continued to be horrible and town was very quiet.

Once home I tackled part of the garage. A sideboard and sofa are to go, as well as the dining table and chairs from inside the house, but the sideboard had to be emptied.

For shame! Boxes of new, unopened wine glasses in the original carrier bag….they never even made it into the house. They have probably been there 6 years, or more? Dozens more cut glass and crystal glasses that he has had for more than twenty five years, plates, a whopping big cafetiere, faded old placemats and a broken Tiffany lamp (not allowed to chuck it because he might fix it one day….). Decisions were made. Some items went into his keep pile – i.e. I cannot decide for him so they will go to him and he can take over. The new glasses will come with me to replace the odd collection I have. A big box of stuff went to the charity shop and the rest went to the tip.

I even got to empty motor oil into the giant ‘can’ for that purpose at the tip and was really chuffed.

When I dropped off the bits to the Red Cross, the lady told me the van has broken down and they won’t be collecting this week after all. Pity really as I was looking forward to seeing the space in the garage. Another time….

Finally, another one of the drawers in the kitchen has been streamlined down to ONE of everything THAT I ACTUALLY USE (except chopsticks, we have a few pairs of those). Things not used are all on the way out.










Now there’s a (troubling) thought


He says he might pack it in and come back. The job is not what he was told and expected. He would have to stay in the house with me (eeek), (good thing the charity folk haven’t collected the beds yet!).

Heart sinking moment or two, but it is still a MIGHT.

It is a troubling idea though. Under one roof again.

But, let’s cross that bridge when it rises up before us…

Daughter is THIN and pale and worn out. Lots of TLC, good food, some chocolate and REST. Tonight we are having TONJIRU the all time best ‘feel good’ food. My dear friend in Japan made it for me at the lowest point in my life, that and apple crumble….cures everything. Only we are having Tori (chicken) jiru (soup), cos the pork looked so awful and I prefer chicken anyway, still does the same trick…

Flights to Bologna booked and paid for but sadly not with Nectar points as I missed out by not booking them on Thursday. It seems that only one or two seats per flight can be purchased that way, and one has to be quick. However, I still managed a fab deal and feel proud and really, really excited. Just over a month to go.




Let the sun shine in


Having the sun peek through from behind the blind this morning was fortuitous. It got me out of bed, into the fields with the dog, struggling in the mud to keep the old wellies on, but invigorated.

The plan was to clear my mind, which has been a bit fuddled. A series of texts from the ex mid-walk did not help and by the time we got home, I was feeling anxious and defensive, although being as neutral as poss in my responses.  Then I thought bugger this, and phoned the old fart. We read so much into texts and emails, tone, mood, perceptions etc, but that comes from the READER as all we see is a bunch of words.

It was the right thing to do. A few short minutes of civilised discussion and both parties are feeling ok.

Then the girls and I had a brief chat about health, food intake, alcohol and self caring and agreed to work together a bit more. They don’t eat meals really, just graze all day. I think we would all benefit as would the budget from more of a routine.

The Christmas decorations are down as is the tree. We are moving onwards and upwards. Off to the tip now!!




Underwater paddling


Duck like, (more appropriate for my body shape) I bobbed through the last few weeks only dealing with the at hand things. Work, food, housekeeping, the dog, study etc.

Underneath it all, like frantically moving ducks feet, things have been mad. Mainly mad in Australia. My mother left one of her carefully worded messages on the landline for me which I picked up at about 10pm one night.

‘Lizzie, it’s Mum…(pause here), Dad’s been taken to hospital….You’ll be tired when you get in so don’t worry, he’ll be fine’…

Don’t think so mother….short version of the tale is that in agony with urinary retention he was rushed off in the night, catheterised and brought home the next day, only to have to go back twice more and on the final visit, it was revealed that the bladder cancer is back. He is currently having chemo for stomach cancer and is in remission from prostate cancer…..

A sister spent the last week with them. We go round in circles. For all his ailments, Dad is robust mentally and surprisingly physically. Mum is forgetful, repetitive and confused.  For years we have encouraged them to move to a community with useful facilities, but it goes nowhere.

It is brutally hard to say it although I did to my sister today, we cannot make them do anything. They are making their own choices and decisions for now. We can just listen and support that. Doesn’t make it easy and yeah, we do feel cross and frustrated, but that is the way it is.

Deeply worried about one sibling and some of their pain and struggles.

Miss them all.

Three weeks into single life and I am feeling stronger, happier, more at ease and occasionally get a sort of thrill that I am now free!

The tree is up. The girls will be home tomorrow. A lovely friend is bringing her little kids to visit and we are going to walk the dog, play with Sylvanian Families and make sloe vodka – well their mum is doing the latter, not the kids!