Autumn is here. Today is a typical, October’s day here in England; it is dark, dreary, wet and windy. Having opened the windows a crack to air the house this morning, I now have a whistling draft disturbing my peace as the gusts of wind push their way around the house. I love this time of year when the weather is dry and I can go for long, sunny walks with crackling leaves underfoot and glorious colours to admire in the trees that surround our village. On a day like today though, I am tempted to stay snug, warm and dry indoors.

The BBC failed to forecast this weather on line last night. Younger son had arranged with a friend to cycle to school if the weather was dry and I was informed that it would be. The ground was wet but it was not yet raining when they set off in the dark this morning. I was unaware of the unpleasant conditions to come; I wonder if this will put them off repeating the exercise. I would like my children to cycle to school more often, but not in weather like this.

Younger son has developed a minor cold that he has been sharing with the rest of us. Sitting around in damp clothes is not going to improve his ailment. Perhaps it is as well that the teachers have arranged to go on strike tomorrow, giving the children an extra day’s holiday. A day of rest may help him to recover.

I have been struggling to keep the main living area of our house warm this last week. Temperatures have dropped significantly so we switched on the heating only to discover that part of the system is no longer working. A plumber should be calling with us today; I hope that he can quickly rectify the problem and return us to comfort throughout the house.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon baking which helped to warm things up. I have been doing my reading and writing wrapped up in a duvet to protect against the cold. My elder son is impatient at such necessities; when things stop working he cannot understand why I do not act immediately to get them fixed. I can give him no logical answer.

Yesterday I was required to stay in to sign for a parcel. I was impressed with the communication I received from the courier, reminding me the night before and on the day that I needed to be here. In the event, the parcel was delivered but left on our doorstep. There was no knock to inform me that it was there; I could have gone out after all. Yesterday would have been a fabulous day for a walk; today is not.

Despite the weather, despite the cold, I have maintained a more positive attitude to my life recently. I am still jittery; walking in sunlight but always on the edge of a dark void. Long, bony fingers reach out to try to pluck me down into the abyss; I glimpse them out of the corner of my eye but will not acknowledge their presence. If I keep moving forwards, pay them no attention, they will not get me.

There is talk of Christmas amongst some of my on line acquaintances; I am trying to avoid this spectre. Christmas was a bad time for me last year and I need to build up my strength to cope with whatever it may bring this time around. I lose control at Christmas. I am not good at dealing with expectations and demands; going with this type of flow erodes my well-being.

For now though we are approaching Halloween; a festivity that offers family fun with no need to interact with the world. My daughter has many plans for the holiday, some of which clash with my husband’s wishes but none of which seem insurmountable. I am looking forward to the break from routine.

I am discovering new ways to live in my world that challenge and excite me; new paths to walk that are mine. I like this feeling, that I am finding my own way without coercion. The newly discovered independence of thought and action wraps around me like a warm blanket. I wonder where I will find the armour that I need to protect it.

the tired old wizard & his dragon


The river of life

Life does not flow smoothly through our time available on this earth. Our moods and experiences ebb and flow as we encounter rocky patches, sudden falls, changes of direction caused by encountering something particularly impenetrable. So often we rush through without thinking, pushing aside anything in our way without truly noticing what we do. At other times we slow down and enjoy the wide, open, sunny vistas where those around may enjoy what we have to offer should they choose to do so. And all the time we keep going for however long it takes, because ultimately that it all we can do.

I have had a few days of struggling to keep on top of what is going on around me. There have been no particular reasons, just a feeling of not quite coping with the life I am living. My days seem to be passing so quickly with little being achieved. I am working my way through my lists but not enjoying the sense of satisfaction that normally comes when tasks are successfully completed. I have been sleeping badly which is both a symptom and a cause of my malaise. Knowing all of this does not help me to get though; I am cross with myself for not just snapping out of such a negative phase.

Meanwhile, my little family have been living their lives alongside mine. What a blessing that I have them to help keep my issues in perspective. I know that these feelings will pass and that my family will help me along just by being there; I am fortunate indeed to have them around.

My daughter is having a hard time at present. She is working for important exams which start in just a few weeks, so spends much of her free time revising and working on past papers. Yesterday though, she took a few hours out to catch a bus to a local town with a friend. They went to see the newly opened ‘Iron Man 3’ movie and, by all accounts, had a fabulous time. It was so lovely to see her come home in such a light and bubbly mood; so much more like her normal self. Her happiness felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders, even though I know that the stresses of preparing for exams will kick in again too soon. It is a reminder that such things will pass; none of us can expect to live a life that is always full of fun. She has a summer of exciting travel planned, the anticipation of which must be helping to keep her going through the pressure of preparing for her future.

This week, my eldest son has been working on a construction project. He has built a fully functioning 1:12 scale model of a Mercedes Unimog off-roader.┬áIt has got a pneumatically operated crane with a working gripper arm, a front winch, full suspension, differentials, a four-wheel-drive chassis, gear block and a working engine complete with moving pistons. This weekend he completed the build and got it moving. He has now decided to change the gear ratios to allow for more control over the crane mechanism. He was in such a good mood yesterday that he allowed me to enter his cave room and do a big clear out and tidy up. We worked together for most of the day to the sounds of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and then a little opera. His musical tastes are so different to his sister’s heavy rock.

My youngest son bought a new computer game a few weeks ago but, after three days of frustrated effort, couldn’t get it to run successfully on his computer. Yesterday he sought permission from my husband to take a back up computer from office to study and install a graphics card, taken from an even older machine that the children use, in this newer model. With different operating systems to contend with he was unsure if the required drivers would be available; he also needed to find compatible speakers to add to the mix. Having sat for some time fiddling around with the various devices he was able to get his new game to run. Apparently it has a slight delay when played, so today he will work on adjusting the settings. He is pleased with progress so far.

After the big tidy up in my son’s room, I started to read a new book. This work of fiction helped to win it’s author the Nobel Prize for Literature many years ago. It is not a particularly long book and I have got about a quarter of the way through so far. The prose is impressive; sparse and to the point, but painting a vivid picture; conveying the characters actions and feelings without unnecessary elaboration. I find myself looking on it as a fine example of literary accomplishment but not as a good book; it has not drawn me in and has evoked no emotional response; it is easy enough to read, is undoubtedly well written, but has yet to bring alive my imagination. We shall see how the tale progresses when I read more today.

Last night I slept a little better albeit I had some strange dreams. I enjoy considering my dreams as it is an aspect of our lives over which we have no control. I dreamt that visitors to our house were being unkind to me verbally; trying, in an underhand way, to make me look bad in front of my family. It was hard to stay calm and cope, but my family noticed what was going on (this never happens in real life!). I was taken aside, hugged and told that I was loved. Despite the difficulty of dealing with the cruelty, I ultimately ended up feeling valued by those who mattered. It is strange that a dream can help to lift my mood.

And that was my day. A random collection of events that allowed me to experience so many positives for myself and through those I care about. However down I may have been feeling, for whatever incidental reasons, I can now move forward in a more constructive frame of mind. Just as we cannot control our dreams, so there are aspects of our lives that defy reason. I cannot explain why I felt so low; I cannot say exactly what it was about yesterday that helped sweep away the dark mood that had engulfed me. It is enough that I have come through; I am fortunate indeed in the life I may lead.