‘I’d like to pay off the full balance, please.’
When I was in a hospital. Again. This seemed so far away.
When I was working two part-time jobs, but the biggest time investment was sleeping off my antipsychotic meds. This didn’t even feel important.
When I was living in a flat share, exceeding my income every month. This was unthinkable.
When we blended our families, extended the house so that there was space for children of our own. This was impossible, distant.
When we financially supported two households and four children with different needs. This wasn’t even on the radar.
When I decided it would be a great idea to give up paid work, to be at home with the children? This was laughable!
But I did it. I rang the Student Loan company, and paid off the full balance.
The first few flakes were expected. She dusted them off and kept writing. Later, as drifts of rejection letters built up, she was told to be patient. There were no short cuts. No-one owed her anything. Of course, she had always known there would be snow, it was a given, it was part of the deal.
Later, her voice muffled by the expanding polar landscape, she struggled on, through piles of ‘no thank yous,’ and ‘please do submit agains.’ It became harder and harder to lift her feet above their pull and drag, like she was treading cold sand.
In the end, her voice petered out, and her words got lost in the wind. No one realised she could have changed something for one person. Someone else, looking out at the sleety dawn, today, and wondering whether she should try.
It had been a long time since I had persevered with a book and then, 300 pages in, fell right in, and kept falling.
I spent three days either waiting to get back to my book, or reading my book. I updated social media to let people know I wouldn’t be around. The real world was not as vivid as the one within those 700 pages. When I finished, I was bereft.
I have a lot of ambitions as a writer, but even if I do not fulfill any (more) of them, it will be enough to have been given this gift. How to read. Of course I have always read and loved it, but before I wrote, I wasn’t pushing myself in my book choices. I read to relax.
And I wasn’t aware of what it takes to write a novel.
‘What are you doing for your 40th?’
No one cares whether you celebrate your 34th birthday, or your 37th, or even your 39th, but the minute you say you’re 40 this year, this is always the first question.
And who am I to argue?
My sister is hosting a party during October, when my actual birthday is, for our immediate family.
I’ve decided not to do a big party in the village – it feels like a stress.
But this weekend, the one thing I wanted to do this year. Myself and my three pals from school. We’ve been friends for 25 years now. I can’t believe I have held onto friends for 25 years! They are awesome, inspiring, thoughtful, supportive people. We are going away to a spa together. Just us. I will be there when I post this. I can’t wait.
It always feels like the things I hold out against most vociferously are the ones I end up obsessed by.
I never wanted to live in Scotland. Didn’t feel I belonged, didn’t think there was ‘enough’ here for me. Now it’s home, and I wouldn’t live anywhere else. (See also, The Archers)
The same has come to pass with … Yoga. I couldn’t stand all that hippy, bendy, breathing stuff. What a piece of nonsense. And so expensive!
I was wrong though. Wrong about it all. Through my lovely school friends, I discovered Yoga with Adriene and can confirm that Adriene is not paying me to tell you that she is wonderful. She does not need my rave reviews, she has over 3 million followers. I am hooked. Folded.
AND I can touch my toes for the first time in twenty years!
The alarm went off at six, because it always does. My precious writing hour. It used to be my only writing hour, between six and seven in the morning.
But today I just – didn’t. I was going to. Then I was going to get up at seven, get the kids to school. Be a mum.
But today I just – didn’t. I didn’t even ask Mr HB if he could deal with them (he never asks me!). I just stayed in bed, and he got the message. I would normally wake when he got up, then stay awake.
But today I just – didn’t. I went back to sleep, and only woke up when the ‘have you got your coats?’ reached the top of its crescendo. Then my favourite, special feeling – how the house fills, settles, feels, once everyone leaves for school.
This week I have been thinking about … snow.
I haven’t had a choice about it either way!
Snow. Then sun, replaced by snow by sun by snow.
Snow drifted to knee height at the front door.
Snow keeping us in the house, keeping Mr HB away.
Snow stopping all travel – snow giving us the first red weather warning for years. Snow silencing the roads, burying my car a little more every day.
Snow pulling a sledge with kindling and children in it (no, hang on, that was me.)
Snow bringing a whole village out onto the streets – ‘there’s still milk in the Spar!’
Snow filling a village pub on an otherwise normal Thursday, for cake and tea.
Snow, and post after post on our village Facebook page offering help to those in need.
Snow: reminding us of our amazing community.