all of a sudden

You know what it’s like. Life trundles on, each of us doing our own thing. Seasons change, children grow, work/ volunteering is what it is, and it feels like nothing much happens.

And then. Everything happens at once, all the things in the same week, and you realise just how much has changed.

We rescued another wee westie, Harry. It’s been a year since the grumpy guy went and died on us, and we’ve been looking for a chap to love for a while. Harry came home with us a week ago, sleepy from the vets and a little bewildered by home comforts. The next morning he decided he was in his element and demonstrated his full speed down the street to celebrate. He has a waggy tail, loves cuddles and owns our hearts. He has made himself well at home sleeping on our beds, on sofas, chairs and occasionally, his own bed. Random piles of clothes that girls haven’t got round to putting away are his favourite, closesly followed by the box of winter hats and wooly scarves. All is well, but we need to keep working on the ‘not killing cushions’ thing. And the ‘investigate all the visitors’ handbags thing. We’ll get there.

Girl2 went on a school ski trip. Sixty 15 years olds let loose on snow- it’s a wonder everyone made it home without injury. She resorted to singing when scared. Never mind the hills being alive to the sound of music, the Italian alps resounded to the sounds of ‘I’ll tell me Ma’, which was probably not what they’re used to. In a few months she’ll be off to Milwaukee for a month, and I’ll be a nervous wreck.

Girl1 had a school formal to go to. In the dark ages, my school formal was held in the school, with teachers, dinner ladies and nuns. We had to be interviewed by the Chief Nun in advance, and the bona fides of our dates checked out. I brought the only guy I knew, who lived 2 doors away and happened to be a son of my geography teacher. I had the big hair (early 80s short curly frizz afro style) and the big glasses, and a red taffeta dress my mother made. I can’t imagine being able to make a dress, or ever having the urge to do so. I can clearly imagine that it was the only way she could get me to wear something that wasn’t a sack. My beleagured, stylish mother, doomed to having a dumpy daughter with no interest in fashion or make up or being sociable. She’d be so chuffed with her grandchildren who now have to cope with my lack of style or make up know how. (The unsociable issue has been largely overcome.)

Knowing she’d miss the event, Girl2 took her parents in hand, making sure we’d step up for her sister. We had to prepare for added taxi runs for the spray tan, glam nails, make up & hair because nobody does those things themselves. How could I imagine that she’d draw on her own face?? Do I know nothing??… The biggest concern was that we wouldn’t realise about the photographs, and we’d be lounging about in PJs or a football shirt. How could those pics be shared with the world? I panicked and got Spurs Fan to buy a big bunch of flowers, because all the formal type pics I saw had flowers in them. Naturally we all stood in front of the flowers, and they’re not in any shot. Next time, we’ll pose properly. There will be a next time, and then I’ll know about getting my nails done too, and making sure to bring an umbrella to the tanning place so the rain doesn’t wash the stuff off teenaged feet before it sets.

As if all that wasn’t enough for a week, the NI festival dancing championships were on. There’s a supportive group of dance buddies (and moms!) who called round to be part of the pre formal posing, and who were all dancing on Saturday and Sunday. For the first time ever Girl1 got a podium place, with her couples partner. Many celebrations.

Many changes, including to wordpress. I can’t access the pics on the pc to share them with you any more. If I figure out how to do it, I’ll edit some in. Just imagine a cute westie, a talented skiier, a beautiful girl and her slim, stylish parents and you’ll be there.


I’m tired

Tired of being mentally and physically exhausted.

Tired of seeing people I want to talk to, and not remembering what I want to talk to them about.

Tired of forgetting to order medication, and then not lifting the prescription because I couldn’t find a parking space I could confidently put a tiny car in.

Tired of having no confidence.

Tired of anxiety.

Tired of turning down opportunities to make a difference because I can’t do any more.

Tired of justifying what I do.

Tired of forgetting important things.

Tired of letting others down.

Tired of not being who I want to be.

Tired of being overwhelmed by simple stuff.

Tired of being demoralised.

Tired of being a sensitive little soul.

Sick & tired of being sick for 11 years.



the big list #read4saca

It’s been a summer of rain, gadding about, enjoying a new caravan at the seaside, & recruiting staff for the charity. (Big step, big excitement. Why yes, that does add to my anxiety.)

And reading. I’m usually reading. It keeps me sane and distracts me from the world. I’m less happy when the brain fog won’t let me read, This year I decided to put my habit to some use. My friends at SACA, a charity supporting people living with the rare conditions syringomyelia or Chiari syndrome, were asking people to participate in a marathon, no sweating required. Read 26 books in 12 weeks and either gather sponsorship or make a donation. In fairness, I couldn’t ask anyone to sponsor me for something I love to do, that sustains me, so I made a donation when I got to September.

Then, M, more organised than I, asked if I’d share my list. A list. Why hadn’t I made a list? Luckily, I’d done a lot of the reading on Kindle, and could count back. There were paperbacks left in holiday houses or airports that I can’t remember. Those I recall got added, and I made it to 26. I completed a marathon! The runners among you may stop laughing…

In no particular or predictable order

Skintown by Ciaran McMenamin

Eleanor Olyphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Last Rituals by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

The Other Us by Fiona Harper

Frozen Moment by Camilla Ceder

Heaven Field by LJ Ross

Rather be the devil by Ian Rankin

Miller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen

I See You by Clare MacIntosh

Falling & The Beach House by Jane Green

Paper hearts and Summer Kisses by Carole Matthews

Dead Men’s Bones & Written in Bones by James Oswald

The Janus Stone & The Crossing Places & The House at Sea’s End & The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths

Summer at Bluebell Bank by Jen Mouat

The Gingerbread House by Kate Beaufoy

The Girls by Emma Cline

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

Meet me at Beachcomber Bay by Jill Mansell

The Pact by Catriona King

Truly, Madly Guilty by  Liane Moriarty

The Other Mrs Walker by Mary Paulson Ellis

HellFire by Mia Gallagher

Some of these were happy finds as I browsed in bookshops, some were long awaited, some simply cheap. I discovered new-to-me writers and revisted the familiar. There’s gritty crime, fluffy fun romance, and heartbreaking drama. I actively disliked only 2, and one of those was a bookclub choice.

What have you been reading lately? Any recommendations?


If you’re motivated to read, sponsor or donate, the #read4saca challenge is accepting donations until the end of September. They’d love to hear from you.


Why bother?

Now, there’s a dangerous question, & one that’s been in my head a lot recently.

I want to be useful, doing things, making a difference. I need to rest, recover, not get involved. Sometimes I balance competing demands. Sometimes I run out of steam & interest. Sometimes I want it all to stop.

I’ve spent years trying to be heard and in the process have become a usual suspect. I’m on a list somewhere, invited along to things, my opinion apparently sought. Of course I’m flattered, but sceptical. I can’t keep track of all the agendas in the room. I’m not being paid to be there- is it a good use of my limited energy, or a fig leaf for someone who has a boss?

I can read books and walk on beaches and ignore the world. That feels good for a while. Then I have to get back to doing the things I’ve had to fight to be able to do.

And I wonder if that’s the right thing for me.


Thanks to David Gilbert for the post that prompted ‘why bother’