A mayday marriage

The end of this week marks the 11th anniversary of our wedding – Mayday. My mum joked it was ‘mayday’ as in the distress signal, there have been plenty of times when that has been true in our marriage and, I’m sure, plenty of times still to come. But there exists a magnetic pull between us that doesn’t seem to break no matter what the stress. Maybe it is because we have been together so long we wouldn’t know how to live any other life, or we have grown up from our late teens together and this shared ageing process is in itself a bond. I just think it’s love and that it really does ‘conquer all’ -the rough, the smooth, the upsets, disappointments, hopes, arguments, dreams, ambitions, compromises, career changes, despair, delight, depression and elation.

If we had to live rough tomorrow and start our lives over we would go through that together, we’d argue about it lots, but we’d still stick it out.

It’s something my parents had but lost sight of (alcohol not helping the situation) so I am just so thankful that I have been lucky enough to experience such a bond for however long it lasts.

Eleven years married, eighteen years together, but I’m not counting, just enjoying (and occasionally tolerating) the ride.

This blog is for UNICEF

Thanks for reading. 

Sunburnt with Mr Toad

Well the weather Gods read my blog post yesterday and laughed as I applied moisturiser to my sunburnt face this evening. 

I knew we were off on the boat today so I put my thermals on and my extra padded bra (partly for warmth, partly for show) and didn’t think, given how cold it was yesterday, that I would need to apply sun cream. But as anyone who has ever spent time on the sea will know, on a clear day you can get sunburnt in December at sea (something about zero shade and a reflective surface……just like skiing).

So now my complexion has gone from wallpaper paste to salmon in the space of a few hours. I will go brown (but have to experience the blushing look first) but not so good for keeping the wrinkles at bay. 

I loved the experience on the sun kissed sea today, but spent most of my time staying out of everyone’s way and trying to keep baby boy out of the way too. In the end, en route back, we were tacking so much it was easier to go down below than keep stopping baby boy up and swapping sides. It has been a good 6 months since we were last on the boat but am convinced the children have grown a lot since then because the boat seemed crowded. 

Think my ‘Mr a Toad’ of a husband is thinking of upgrading. We have already replaced the car and, possibly, about to replace the motorbike this week (hence the Mr Toad reference). That’s ok, he was my favourite character in Wind in the Willows, but my approach to constraining his enthusiasm for all modes of transport is more like Mole than Badger.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Contracts and playgrounds

Yep so I have skipped two nights of blogging – £2 in the pot to UNICEF. Last night I was giggling like a schoolgirl with my friends at our local community viewing of Fifty Shades of Grey. I was like a menopausal woman, getting suddenly hot and needing a fan like a character in a Jane Austen novel. The old chap that sells the sweets in the intervals had to sit through the film and I was disturbed to see a guy on his own sat in the middle of an empty aisle…

There were women of all ages in the audience, including some Mums from our village. In the interval one if them remarked that little boobs are back in (I had benn quietly pleased to see this too). But as my friend put it, ‘If Christian Grey was on benefits he would be locked up’. We all were unanimous that we would sign the contract though….

The night before I was putting together the document summarising local Mums views on the new playground equipment for the village – an absolute must to help steer a parish council working party who have not heard of the concept ‘consulting with the public’. It’s at this level when politics seems to be more influential and where you can have the most input. Unlike central government which is a popularity contest for who can eat a bacon sandwich tastefully and keep big business happy – what a load of twaddle.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Woman seeks cave

Earlier my Mum and I took my daughter and son shopping. I don’t know why my daughter behaved like a foul ungrateful teenager but the experience was hideous. Nothing was good enough. When she finally found some trainers she liked they weren’t in her size and no she didn’t want to wait for them to be ordered online. When we decided to leave her to browse down one aisle so we could keep baby boy entertained in another then went back to check on her she spat out her contempt that we were ‘checking on her’ and could we please ‘go away’ (although not sure if she said please). She moaned the entire time we looked at clothes for me,( back to work clothes ) and then moaned that she wanted to go home after my Mum had bought her dinner.

My Mum and I realise that we should have just given it up as a bad idea and left with nothing, giving daughter an important lesson in how not to behave. But we didn’t want to ruin her day, or ours for that matter.

Baby boy presented his own issues but only insofar as picking up random objects and putting them in the trolley – but that was his version of little boy entertainment in a supermarket so he did well. 

When my husband ‘had words’ with her later she said she was tired and that was why she was grumpy. Part of me accepts that but part of me doesn’t. It’s just those damned thing called hormones turning my daughter from Famous Five’s Anne to Roald Dahl’s Veruca Salt overnight.

My Mum then said on the way back that I had to make sure baby boy didn’t copy his sister when she was being rude. I replied by saying that parenting at times is too hard a job and that actually I would like to crawl into a cave.

But, in the absence of a cave nearby, I just settled with putting them both to bed, drinking tea and writing this blog post.  

This blog is for UNICEF, thanks for reading. 

Putting education in the Dragon’s Den……..with relatives

My daughter tried out an online tutor session called Maths Doctor. The main reason being my mother had suggested she would like to fund tutoring to help my daughter stand a chance of getting into a good secondary school. My daughter loved doing an online lesson but my Mum has now said that if I want to go ahead I have to ask other relatives to contribute 50%. I feel like I have been suddenly launched into an education version of The Dragons Den, but with all the emotional baggage to go with it. Plus my daughter’s expectations have been raised as she is already asking when the next session will take place…….I didn’t have the heart to say ‘once I have found a relative who is willing to pay £80 per month for them. Aaaahhh…don’t need this right now…

My husband is down in the dumps again about money, not helped by a £200 bill to make our toilet flush. My husband didn’t see the funny side when I pointed out the ‘flushing money away’ phrase. 

That hasn’t stopped me donating to the Comic Relief British Bake a Off – brilliant telly and a straightforward ask -£5 to protect a baby from pneumonia with a vaccination. 

Cakes and celebrities is strangely addictive watching. 

Tomorrow I am protesting against a biogas plant…..followed by coffee. I like each day to be a little different.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Dad the Basset hound

It is 9.30 in the morning in Sydney, which is where my Dad and stepmom have just arrived to commence their honeymoon of a lifetime.

In the space of a couple of years my Dad has made the woman he loves his wife, obtained broadband where he lives in the sticks, discovered the World Wide Web, got his email, registered a Skype profile and bought a tablet pc.

The biggest change is that he is now a big softie, looking at me, his grandchildren and my stepmom with a doughy eyed look similar to that of an old Basset hound. In fact, what with his slight hobble, if he was a dog he would be a basset.

My Dad proves that with age comes an appreciation of time and that it is not infinite, so he is doing what we should all be doing, appreciating what is right in front of him.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading.

Soul searching online

So, I am glad to report that this is what I sent to my Mum in Spain tonight…..
After 11 days of contemplating life without each other hubby and I have finally sorted things out. He and I both apologised but he was very apologetic about my birthday and he was so upset about me not being back to celebrate with him that his feelings came out in all the wrong way. He made it up to me by going for a lovely family meal together at a lovely Italian restaurant. He was also very honest about his feelings and said that life would be awful without me (which is nice to know). We also talked about careers and he is supportive of what I want to do with social work. However, I feel that the strain of a single income is what got us here in the first place, so I am now actively pursuing a full-time job in the meantime. When I get the information about applying for the SW course next year, we will assess it and see if we can afford to progress with it. The only downside is I think it is a full-time course so I wont be able to earn until 2017. No point worrying whether it will happen or not – just going to let fate take its course.
I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and that we are a team again. In a way, although it was a horrible experience, I am glad it happened because it made us both realise things about oneanother that may have got lost somewhere between looking after children and bringing in the money.
Also, when I start full-time work, it is going to put us in a very tricky situation with the dogs. As much as it is upsetting to have to think about it, I think re-homing both of them will be the only option.
It is very special to be able to communicate with your Mum, regardless of age, time etc, their views and advice still count. I have a friend who lost her Mum to cancer a few years ago – she still emails her about her day and any issues that arise – although there is never a response, just typing a message to her, wherever she is, is soothing for the soul.
This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.


An email to my Mum in Spain…..

It is still hideous at home, when he finally said he wanted a talk last night (I attempted on Sunday but he didnt want to talk as Top Gear was on!) he just started going on about finances, incomings and outgoings, like everything was to do with that. I said something had to change but he doesnt think me going back to work will be any better and he still doesnt realise why I was so upset about my birthday and moans at me for ‘keeping going on about it’. I just wont be happy until a line has been drawn under it and he has to draw that line. Earlier I started to panic that the panto was going to finish late and that Rich would be angry when we got home and sure enough he was. He called me a prat for being late, when I had busted a gut to ensure she had a nice day and he hadnt even bought the card. When he got home earlier I saw him scan the house with a face like thunder as toys were scattered everywhere and the children were prancing round the house and I found myself frantically tidying up. I realised that I have been going through this routine every day but it is only now I have stood back and seen what is actually happening. Which would explain why I physically tense up when he gets back home from work. I dont think he sees that he is doing this.
Earlier today I was riding a horse and he bucked me off – (dont panic he is a nice horse but was resisting to doing work as he is a bit nappy – so I applied a strong leg which pressed his buck button). I thought I would be able to sit to it, but once I was too far up his neck that was it I knew I was going to hit the deck. I walloped the back of my head and had to take a painkiller to ease off the ache (thank god my hat was on – though will probably need to get a new one now). I got straight back on and he was as good as gold but at least I know what button NOT to press! The reason why I mention it is I feel our marriage is going the same way and am I delaying the inevitable by clinging on to the neck. My husband has a similar button and I am growing tired of avoiding it. Not looking forward to the fall……
This blog is for Unicef.
Thanks for reading..

Nutty times

Life is like a box of chocolates……you finish the sentence for me.

Life goes more like this, you see a tin of quality street, you open it in eager anticipation of the sweet stuff and you get……nuts or worse….a random collection of marbles/ pennies/ screws.

This is how I feel right now. On my birthday I thought I was heading for a whole tin of Quality Street, when actually it turned out to be nuts.

This is actually the story of our marriage. Sometimes we have chocolates and sometimes we have something else either less exciting, disappointing or downright depressing.

In times of stress in our marriage I am all too quick to start doling out the d word ‘divorce’ as my parents did. Trouble is I’m like the boy who cried wolf and it will eventually lose its effect and be met with just a ‘yeah right’.

Its my children I dont want to get scarred from this process. It made me reflect on my growing up in a broken home and what I found worse was living with a man who was pretending to be my Dad and tolerating him and my Mum being lover 5 days a week ( I was with my dad at the weekends).

So, if divorce was to happen I have made a pact with myself – no more guys – just me, myself an the kids (and some girlfriends). I do really love my husband so if our relationship ultimately fails I cant see how any other guy could top it.

Now I just have to roll with life’s punches (or nuts) and waiting and see.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

Birthday highs and lows

It is nearly midnight on the day of my birthday and what an emotional day it has been. The highlights of the day include: my daughter and son bringing me porridge and tea in bed; enjoying a lovely frozen scene dog-walk out of a story book across fields I enjoyed playing in as a child; nearly having a full-on collision with a range-rover and taking a Top Gear style detour over a large bank to avoid a massive insurance claim and, potentially, injuries; spending an amazing day shopping in London with my best friends and enjoying afternoon tea; finishing the day wanting to divorce my husband with his birthday card smouldering on the fire and a massive dent in his shop-bought mini birthday cake.

There is a quote from one of the Bridget Jones movies that best sums up the day and it goes something like this: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that just when something good is happening in your life another part goes spectacularly wrong”.

So while I was enjoying ‘up’ times I had ‘crap’ times too, such is the rollercoaster of life. The down-side of having a good time in London is that it takes a while to get home relying on public transport if you live rurally. So I came home to a very grumpy husband expecting me to be home in time to share a pizza and cake with him, but I was late. He decided instead to give me the cold shoulder and have a go without a word of ‘Happy Birthday, I hope you had a nice day’ in sight. Seeing that my evening was a lost cause to his negative emotions, I did what any other sane woman would do who had been accused of not putting her family first before herself on her birthday…I chucked his cake across the room and in a fit of temper ripped his card in two. He then said how muuh effort he had had gone to to buy the cake in his lunch-break. I said ‘What’s the point of a cake and card if you cant be nice and civil to me?’. As I walked off I heard him scold the dog for attempting to eat the cake off the floor.

I said to him if the boot was on the other foot, I would have been pleased to see him regardless of what time he got back on his birthday as it was his day to do as he wished. I would certainly not have made him feel guilty for having a good time.

My girlfriends were shocked to hear the grumpy text message he sent to me on the train home and said that it wasnt right for him to make me feel guilty. It wasnt until they highlighted this to me that I realised he made me feel bad most of the time about things that I do on my own. My Mum is standing by my choice to study for a new career even though I konw I will not receive his support.

I am concerned about what will happen in the future as I want to stay as a close family but at the same time I am not willing to be brow beaten permanently in order to sustain harmony. In short, I am torn.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.