This made me smile in the new Liverpool Museum. On a grey, rainy end of December the happy life-size postcard figures looking out across the Mersey remind me of sunny days. The warmth on this day came from fun with friends, laughter and putting the world to rights over lunch and a cuppa.
Just before Christmas we went shopping for a coat . I’ve been having lustful thoughts about the fake fur jackets that are all the rage this year. It channels my inner slut most beautifully. Over the last year and only with the help of a 12 step programme, I have lost 117 lbs taking me from over 315 to a relatively slender 198. Although I still have some way to go to be at a healthy body weight, it appears actually within the realm of possibility. I am starting to like what I see in the mirror. Shopping for clothes is becoming a joy rather than a traumatic exercise. For a while I didn’t buy much. As the weight dropped off clothes got looser and I moved through the sizes in my wardrobe, in the loft and hidden in drawers. Now I am finally having to buy new. Sometimes I hit the charity shops where recently I have acquired some bargains along with a sense of excitement.
But today was special. The coat was going to be my Christmas present from my nearest and dearest. I tried a couple on. I landed on a gorgeous silky mink brown and was thrilled when I put it on. First I went straight for the Large. XXL was the biggest size. It was, well, roomy. I picked up the medium. I was a bit nervous. I didn’t want to try something that was too small, I’ve had too many experiences of feeling humiliated and hot and bothered in dressing rooms. It fitted. I had to try it on twice to be sure.
This feels like a miracle.
When you lose a lot of weight it’s hard to trust the process. It feels quite dangerous to believe that you will stay this slim.
Only one day at a time will see me through.
It feels almost like summer, a day for throwing open the windows and revelling in the sun on your skin. I wore pale blue cotton trousers and a summer top and sat drinking a skinny cappuccino and reading my book feeling like a pampered princess. Bare feet and arms and the sun on my skin is enough to raise my happiness levels from 0 to 10 in the space of opening my eyes. Hearing the birds singing outside the window and the light filtering through the blinds as I wake is good for my soul.
Throwing off the blanket of winter and feeling myself begin to emerge from a long phase of being cocooned has been happening over the last months. Healing from any injury or illness is a slow process. As I am shedding some layers of myself physically, emotionally and spiritually it seems they are all tied together. No big revelation there, but the process is something to be treasured as well as the outcome. For after all, we are all in the process of becoming. The thing is, how to learn to just stay in the process whatever and wherever it takes me? That being in the moment thing.
The curse of depression is a dreadful sense of isolation and disconnection which comes with it. Some days it seems like a deep dark place that you just want to hide in for ever. Add to that any addiction and the sense of isolation and despair increases. Being grateful is a simple skill in theory and one to practice for the sense of hope it can give.
Just for today I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle my whole life problem at once.
It is a grey old day today. Fog and mist all day and that autumnal dampness that gets under your skin. I took the dog for a walk wearing my winter coat, only its second outing this season. funny to think that this time last year the UK was in the middle of ‘The Big Freeze’ and we were slipping and sliding our way around whilst snow and hoar frosts made the landscape into Narnia under the Snow Queen.
As I get older I appreciate the seasons more. I don’t dread winter any more for its dark nights and mornings. I like the festivals that the seasons bring for the celebrations of light. I like putting on my winter coat and feeling ready for any weather. Watching the leaves dropping from the trees reminds me that December is almost here with family Christmas and celebrations. And then the year turns and we wait for the light to egin to return.
Today I was looking through photos from October when the Missus and I had an escape to Rhodes. Winter is a good time to get out those photos and finally do something with them. I have a project in mind with old family photos to make a scrapbbok for future generations. So many old photos. And then all the images stored on computer, ones I keep meaning to make into albums or frame and put on the walls. So many winter evenings and weekends that could occupy.
This afternoon I am cooking a shepherds pie for dinner with the family. Pottering in the kitchen and creating comfort food, looking forward to seeing everyone together at the table. looking at pohotos, reading my book, catching up on emails. I am very grateful.
Manchester, England on a wet Monday August Bank Holiday. We dropped son 4 at the airport for a trip to meet his dad and other family in France for a weeks holiday. After a brunch there ( gasp at prices) we waved him off through the departures gate. Looking cool, his main possessions a phone charger and iPod on his first solo flight. I was 40 when I made my first solo flight. Kids nowadays eh? Cue, grumpy old woman music.
The missus and I set off solo together for the bright lights of the city centre. Its Manchester Pride weekend. We had skipped the drama and show of the Parade on Saturday. Clubbing and partying is not our thing either. but its fun to be there and to celebrate everyone’s right to love and be loved. We had a great lunch in Velvet on Canal Street. We waved at the narrowboats ( bit of a theme that this weekend!). We wandered round the stalls, put umbrellas up and down and said ‘Hi” to some of the people on the charity stalls, mental health, Quakers, Metropolitan City Church, Lesbian Community Group to name a few. And then we went and rocked out with the Lesbian and Gay Chorus singing their hearts out in the rain. A great, big, bad sound it made me smile. Proms in the Park was good, it would have been a LOT better on a sunny summer day. I had fantasies of sitting on the grass, the sun on my face music to sing along to. By this time the missus was cold. Well I did ask her if she was taking a jacket, but oh no. Who’s the smarty pants now then? If it had stayed sunny an evening of Toyah Wilcox, 4 Poofs and a Piano and the Original Bucks Fizz beckoned. I think you probably have to be from the UK to understand any of these or even have heard of them at all!
On the way home we passed a pub that I had spotted on the way in. It sits like a little beacon of old town in the middle of sky-scraper buildings. Coming from Stoke-on-Trent the home of The Potteries I can’t pass a Minton tile without oohing and aaahhhing in admiration. This little gem has been beautifully preserved. It’s also For Sale. Brief moment of landlady bubble comes out of my head. Nah. But someone please keep this little treasure alive.
Of course I had to Google it when I got home. This place seems to have stood still in time. One of Manchester’s oldest and certainly most distinctive pubs, here is a little review I found which sort of sums it up
Look at it!
Not only is it distanced architecturally from its surroundings, but it also happens to sit quite proudly on its own little concrete island. Aw, bless it. And look at it! Appears to be made out of ceramic, with a lovely green little roof garden awash with foliage.
I bet it’s haunted. I just hope it’s haunted. Truly they are missing a trick in not offering candelit all-nighters round Hallowe’en time. I cannot think of anything better.
As it stands, though, it stands proud. It feels like the city – and the world – has grown up around it; ol’ Peveril standing resilient, defiant. You can imagine the place emerging from the fog after hours of hostile travelling on foot or horseback – a glowing, warming, welcoming beacon for the weariest of souls.
Well, it still glows. When the sun shines, Peveril reflects it right back. Now it offers respite from the pace of the modern world. It feels like the heart of Manchester and, at times – when you’re surrounded by friends and cold drinks – it feels as though it beats for you.
I think everyone knows who should do.
The funeral is arranged.
The notices are in the papers.
Cards and messages and flowers, hugs and kind words surround us.
Tomorrow is A level results day. Son 3 is waiting . It will be a happy day I am sure. We are proud of him. This will be the first family moment that Nana is not here for. But she knew already he will do well, whatever happens.
I catch myself thinking to tell her things or noticing little moments of loss. My colleagues gave me a beautiful orchid today.Mum always managed to keep them growing beautifully. She gave me several. I killed all of them. Maybe she’ll help me keep this one!
A good week this week. Isn’t it amazing how feeling in control, eating the right amount of food for your body and doing some exercise improves your mood? Well it does mine. Today I’m happy, happy, happy. First weigh-in of this next phase of my journey to Slim Land and I have lost 5 lbs. Yay!
Of course I am still at the stage of needing to weigh myself naked, first thing in the morning and after potty but I am doing it the same time every week and trying to step away from the demon scales the rest of the time. In some ways I’d be happy not to have any scales at all. After all it’s not the numbers on them that matter one bit. I can tell if I am losing or gaining weight by my clothes and how I feel, move, walk etc. My ambition would be to reach a weight I am happy and healthy with then stay around there by knowing how my jeans fit.
I wore my new black jeans with the sparkle round the hem yesterday, and that’s another thing that made me feel good. Today I had on a new eBay jacket I’d been saving for this wedding. I can feel myself standing a bit taller and walking a bit better. I know I had got to a weight where I had crossed a line with my mobility. I suspect a bit of arthritis but I can see already how I am moving more easily. I am looking forward to letting go of this fat suit and being myself again.
I know the Fat Suit has had a role in my life. Nothing comes from nothing after all and it has served its purpose. I suppose it can be a protection or a comfort blanket when we feel low or insecure, all the books tell us so. And that it can be a form of protection against attack or what we are feeling is a ‘ bad bad situation” ( isn’t that the cue for a song?!). I tend to feel its the comfort eating that acts as the blanket, it is a way to numb out feelings, a way to feel ‘treated’ or even a way to rebel against the rules or oppression. Well I’ve been there and done that. And I’m here to say to my Fat Suit,
” Thank you for doing your best to look after me. Hey, you did a great job, better than even I anticipated!. But here I am back in business and I can look after myself again now. Plus I have some pretty good family and friends who are going to be right here beside me cheering me on, counting my points and celebrating success. And I want to be around with them and for them for a long while to come. So Fat Suit, I am letting you go. Your job here is done. I am blessing you and sending you on your way.”
It is a gorgeous summer day and I spent the afternoon tidying up the garden, mowing the grass ( I daren’t use the term ‘lawn’ under the Trades Descriptions Act), clipping the hedge with some help from son 3 and harvesting veggies.
This is our first crop of carrots, all curly and feathery topped. I wish I could do a scratch and sniff post so you could inhale the carrotty scent as they came up from the ground. I squeal with excitement at every vegetable that materialises. I also picked some tiny baby beetroot.
Tonight we are going to eat tuna steaks with steamed new potatoes, curly carrots and the tiny bettroots just for fun.
And after we are having strawberries and bluebrries which are right now marinading in a couple of spoonfuls of balsamic vinegar. Apparently they taste amazing with balsamic and fresh pepper so we will see. I didnt add the brown sugar as I know the fruit will be sweet enough for us! And psssst Im not doing sugar ( grin).
Food straight from the garden feeds the soul not just the body. Good food shared in good company makes your heart sing. I am lucky, I have both.
In politics Lenin died and Ramsay MacDonald became the first Labour Prime Minister and Edgar Hoover became head of the FBI
Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin was first performed in New York
Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) is founded in LA
The summer Olympics take place in Paris and Johnny Weissmuller wins 3 gold medals
Other people born this year are Doris Day, Marlon Brando, Josephine Pullein-Thompson, Henry Mancini, Clement Freud, Tony Hancock, Charles Aznavour, Lauren Bacall, Rosamunde Pilcher, Truman Capote, Jimmy Carter, William Russell, and Margaret Ashcroft ( my Mum)
Deaths in this year : Lenin, Woodrow Wilson, E. Nesbit, Franz Kafka, Mallory and Irvine ( lost on Everest), Frances Hodgson Burnett, Giacomo Puccini,
Mum shares her birthday with Nelson Mandela ( 93), Richard Branson (61) Martha Reeves (70), John Glenn (90)
Today 18th July 2011 Margaret Richardson ( nee Ashcroft) is 87. We celebrated in style at her home with sandwiches and crisps and birthday cake. Sparkling water and some sparkling cava were enjoyed. Her friend George came and visitors popped in and out. And we all sang Happy Birthday whilst Geordie ( the dog) had another sausage. Here she is with her grandsons, girlfriend and the dog.