Yesterday we took my daughter back to University.....this is her second year and she was moving into rented accommodation with friends. She is thrilled to be in her first 'home away from home' that is not halls of residence. The mister was not thrilled when he saw the house. He does not have his student head on when he looks at these places...he just sees the grotty paintwork and awful furniture and worn carpets....but I could'nt let him rain on her parade...she was so excited (I think the thought of the party she was going to last night and the bottle of booze she was putting in her side cabinet had something to do with that...) and we spent time moving stuff around and then putting up some fairy lights and we came away and left her to it.........but not before going to IKEA and buying her a new mattress.....the thing on the bed in her room was the most disgusting article I have ever seen and there was no way she could have slept on it.....the mister can sort it out with the landlord/agent but at least my 'baby' can sleep...when she comes in at 5 in the morning! Last year I cried as we drove away...this year I was happy to see her excited and smiling and looking forward to this coming year....she is a hard worker who gets good results and also has the happy knack of being able to balance work and fun.....I didn't cry as we drove away......what a difference a year truly does make. If you are reading this and you had the 'my son/daughter is starting Uni., vapours' just recently...don't worry....everything works out well in the end!
We have just had a week in Portugal.
Wall to wall great weather.
Doing very very little each and every day.
In fact for quite a few hours each day I would sit under one of these sun shades just idling away time.
Thinking about things, listening to the sort of music that hotels play quietly by the pool (which, apart from the Phil Collins, was mostly latin or jazz or Peggy Lee and mostly rather wonderful), dozing or reading. There were only Portuguese people in the hotel, and each woman or girl wore a bikini, whatever her size or shape, and so exposed lots of skin, mostly of a lovely olive brown.......initially, when I took my place at the pool, wearing my sensible cossie (no high cut leg for me...oh no....they tend to bring the gusset up to 'split your personality' level...) and revealed my pasty white limbs, I felt a little embarrassed.....but that feeling left me after about 5 minutes....after all, who cares what I'm wearing or what I look like? and I regret that I didn't take a bikini with me......fancy getting to 57 and only just starting to feel truly comfortable with your body...how ridiculous is that? If I'm lucky enough to have another holiday next year then it will all be hanging out, white and pasty, lumpy and bumpy or not.
On our return I was surprised and delighted to see that Jody at http://aboutlastweekend.blogspot.com/ had randomly picked me as the winner in a Friday giveaway! how lovely is that to return to? Now Jody is the sort of woman who I just know looks great on a beach...either in a bikini or a blanket!
So, now the unpacking is done (and yes we did take too much stuff...everyone does don't they?) and I am listening to the rain, I am quite happy to be home...we had a great week, even had lunch one day with a cousin who was holidaying about an hour away. We revisited places that we used to take the children to, and watched young couples with buggies and all the other paraphanalia, and smiled to each other with a knowing 'that was us 20 years ago' look. We relaxed and 'stepped out of normal life' for a week.....it was fabulous.
Now back, the house is still standing (daughter had friends to stay for a few days before going off to Barcelona herself) and the cats have been fed, and we are back in the real world, but revitalised and relaxed. In fact the book I read on holiday was The Book Thief, which was really good, and certain bits of the story keep coming back into my head..........mostly reminding me that people count, not things, and that words are more powerful than weapons, and that if you have the chance to kiss someone you love? ... just do it.......as often as you can.
24/7? How often we worry about/think about our children....we are hard wired to have thoughts of them bubble away underneath our consciousness from cradle to grave I suspect. When they are small they make your arms ache and when big they make your heart ache. Even when we are not aware of it I think the 'where are they, how are they' is our default setting.
I have just tried to post a comment on a blog to be told that 'the admins' would read it before posting it, which seemed a strange 'after approval' message, and auntiegwen and trish have told me that they sometimes can't post comments here .... mmmmmm...what can be going on I wonder?
London was great.
A little day out.
Initially, we were treated to the obligatory 'strange person on the train' on the journey there - he was very care in the community, but a big, big lad with a big suitcase and another bag, who constantly talked out loud to himself and anyone passing by, in quite an aggressive way the whole time......he put his suitcase across the seats and wouldn't let anybody sit at the table with him....he had that invisible force field around him that people could sense....you know, the scary one, but as the train filled up and more and more people approached his table only to receive a mouthful of abuse from him and you saw them slow down and wonder what to do about finding somewhere to sit, I had to stop the mister from going over and 'having a word' with him.....my mister is a bit on the eager side with regard to getting involved if he sees 'situations' occuring, as he would always want someone to intervene if me or the kids were scared or in trouble or being badly treated......but I am one of the 'don't get involved brigade', fearful of repercussions, so I have spent a lot of our years together ( rarely succesfully) holding him back or pulling him away, saying 'this is nothing to do with you...'. Luckily, as the mister stood up, a big chap got into 'words' with the nutter and plonked himself down in the seat beside him.
I am sure that the 'nutter' is someone who has lots of struggles in life and is deserving of sympathy, but a whole carriage full of people were united in keeping a watchful eye on where he was and having to listen to his loud, rude, aggressive words. I think it was only that his new neighbour was bigger than he was that shut him up temporarily.
Once we stepped into the sunshine, we decided to walk instead of taking the tube and so had a few lovely hours just strolling around. We were going to the Barbican to see South Pacific.......I know...strange huh?
but you see, I love love love musicals, and the mister hates hates hates musicals, and yet the only musical he would go to see is this one.......so he booked a matinee and some cheap train tickets . Apparently it was his moms favourite musical, (his mom has been dead for years) so he knew some of the songs as she had taken him to see the film many many times......as a child he remembers sitting in the darkened cinema watching his mom gaze up adoringly at Romana Brazzi (sp?) as Emile, and we raised a glass to her later in the pub. The show itself was good, I liked the theatre, but was not sure that the two married together somehow....and we had forgotten about the vague homosexual/racist tones in the story.......certainly it is not in my top ten of musicals, but the girl from 'stenders was very good and I was forced to sit and eat a whole box of maltesers that the mister gave me.....cruel eh? what is a girl to do......
Afterwards, pootering about here and there, stopping in little back street pubs, and strolling around like retired old codgers, we reflected on what was a lovely way to spend a day that would ordinarily have been a work day..it felt like pinching a day off school and being naughty. We are going to repeat the day sometime soon, but with no theatre plans, just a day of exploring and walking and being touristy again.
Top photo is enjoying a cool drink in the interval outside the Barbican......and I was impressed with how many people were using bikes in London.
A mixture of hours and hours of walking, in feet that got hot and sweaty (sorry...tmi?) in sandals that have always been comfy, but obviously were'nt made for pavement pounding, resulted in blisters on my feet now....cest la vie.......will wear flats next time..........and the train home was full....but devoid of any nutters.