Sunday, 22 July 2018

Can’t stay away

in spite of feeling that I have nothing to say. I am feeling a little sheepish about having been away for so long.

It’s been up and down, mostly up, the past two months. In fact, most of the time it feels like I’ve turned the corner; you may not understand when I say that I am coming back into myself, that I am not on the outside looking at the strange ‘me’ I was for more than a year, but that that ‘me’  and the ‘I--myself’ I have always been are closing in on each other. Of course I am often sad but being solitary is not in itself a dreadful thing. Having decided to stay not only in Valley’s End but in my house until such time as I either must, or wish to move, has taken one major decision out of the equation. Sure, there are several other decisions to be made but they are not as life changing as a move. Which means that I can take my time over anything else. And if I don’t want to do anything, well, I won’t. In any case, perhaps the decision will be made for me when the idiots who call themselves ‘our government’ back themselves into such a corner that they take revenge on EU citizens living here without British passports and expel the lot of us.

I still follow the news obsessively and what sad reading it makes. Is humankind really turning into a nasty, mean, hateful, selfish, greedy, unkind mass? Sometimes I’m glad my years are numbered except that I feel guilty for leaving a huge mess behind for the next generation to clean up. Does every generation feel like that? Statistically things are getting better, poverty, disease and wars are decreasing, it just doesn’t feel like that. Perhaps the current older generation is the first without first hand experience of war, wide spread hunger and lack of basic necessities. We have food, clean water, shelter; we brought up our children to expect the same for themselves and their children, we live in peace and security. And still the world feels like a hostile place and far too many are viciously opposed to grant these blessings to those human beings who lack them.

What do I do? Stop reading and watching the media or get involved? My quiet little backwater allows me little personal involvement other than perhaps make donations to organisations that try to make a difference.

Organisations that deal with the continued existence of our planet are close to my heart and hand. When I look at my garden I could weep. This being  the first year that gardening has featured on my pleasure list for several years, when old gardener and I have worked hard on at least two days a week, it’s been all for nothing. Or nearly nothing. Clumps of herbaceous perennials have dried up, shrubs are drooping and even trees are shedding leaves from the stress of coping with temperatures way beyond our experience. From Algeria in the west, to the Arctic Circle in the north and the Baltic States in the east a huge swathe of land is sweltering in unnatural temperatures. Similar conditions are devastating Japan, Africa, Canada, North America, Australia. Sweden, country of snow and ice for months on end has asked for help with huge forest fires. The global forecast is for more rainstorms in winter and heatwaves in summer. Here in the UK the effects are relatively mild, although we have hardly any rain this summer and scorching temperatures, the heath fires have been put out and we have so far only reached the lower 30sC. Too hot for me, at any rate. I hardly move between midday and 5 o’clock. I have read an awful lot and also watched quite a bit of afternoon TV. Of course, I am lucky, there’s no need for me to move if I don’t want to. I go to the air conditioned gym to cool off.

For the first time in a thirty year marriage I am marrying our books. We always had his and her shelves before, now I am sorting through both, discarding some and reorganising the rest. Boxes and boxes go to charity shops, some antiquarian books I hope to sell, novels are shelved in alphabetical order, others arranged according to subject matter. Any of the novels I will never want to read again go into the give-away piles. I seem to have chosen to read  many more non-fiction books than fiction recently, have also started to buy new ones which is possibly rather stupid of me. Out with the old - in with the new.

For everything there is a season and not just a season but a whole new chapter of life. This is my fifth chapter: childhood and youth, a first very miserable marriage, a period of hard work and child rearing, and a second very happy marriage. I am settling into this latest, and probably last chapter of my life with renewed hope and the realisation that even now, and on my own, there are joys to be had.


  1. I am very glad to see you pop up in my reader, and even gladder that there are joys to be had.
    I have had to step away from the news. It hurts my heart and my head.

  2. It’s always nice to see you pop up in my feed. (Doesn’t that sound odd? So “virtual” rather than “real.”) the sorting of books is often a satisfying task. You remind me that I should do more of it. As for the news, the less said perhaps the better. May you have many good times ahead—you have more than earned the right.

  3. Very glad that you are finding hope and the possibility of joy. Thanks for your support.

  4. I like the idea of marrying your books from 'his and hers' to 'ours'.

    May this chapter, ultimately, be a contented one, if possible. x

  5. Always interesting to read your thoughts. Unfortunately, we all know that humankind has always had a streak that's nasty, mean, hateful, selfish, greedy, and unkind. So we continue to fight against the baser qualities and cultivate our finer aspirations. Guess we still have a ways to go ... but glad to see your renewed hope.

  6. About the news: please put yourself on a 'media diet'. The human brain can not cope with 24/7 exposure to the world's woes. keep in mind 'bad news' sells, the good things aren't broadcasted. The news wants you to tune in, to see their ads. We are led to believe if we don't constantly tune in we will miss something/be clods.

  7. Yes, there are joys still to be had and yes, the world news is horrible to hear, see, or read. I perfer to read it as then I can pick and choose. Unfortunately, the headlines are hard to avoid.

    You sound like you are doing OK, and maybe, at times, doing better than OK. It is good to read that. We just have to have hope that the younger generation to turn things around.

  8. Sounds like you’re evolving healthily into this new world in which you find yourself. I had a period of time after my husband died and before so many bookstores closed here in the U.S. when I accumulated more books than I could read at the time as I practically lived in one for a time. Gradually making some decisions about your future living arrangements is major — releases you to fucus on other matters. I enjoy staying abreast of world events as distressful as some are. Mostly I’m able to be informed without allowing the events to cause overly emotional unhealthy reactions. I do recognize your situation may be a bit different than mine as a clearly defined U.S, citizen. A friend with a Green Card, having raised her family here, after all these years for the first time wonders how secure her status is, but has made provision to return to her birth country north of our border if necessary.

    1. ....lived in one — a bookstore, not a book, though I sometimes got lost in a book’s story. Just thought I should clarify.

  9. Good to see you blogging again. When I am in times of turmoil as I am now, I avoid the news as much as I can. I can't fix what's going on, other than by voting, and I don't want to add more distress.

  10. Nice to read you again, friend Friko !!! .. and, may I ask: How is Millie ??? Love, cat.

  11. I love your last sentence most Friko, keep that spirit up, the joy thing mostly.
    And you know what I miss? Photos of your beautiful garden, the doggie, the castle, the fields... Nu? :-)

  12. There are definitely joys to be had, and I am glad you are having them (or at least seeing them, and will have them when you're ready).
    I don't think Brexit will mean that you and I don't know how many others will be sent packing. But if the atmosphere should become unbearable (which I doubt will be the case for you and where you live), you can always return to the old country.
    A friend of mine who is originally from Liverpool and has been running a successful business in my town for about 20 years has become German in April. He never thought he would take that step, but fear of how things might become difficult for him as a British business owner in a EU country post-Brexit has made him do it, and he says he has not yet had any reason to regret his decision.

  13. I was glad to see your post and I like that, unlike me, when you do not have much to say, you resist the urge to post. You seem to be on a very healthy path to this final act of life. We all must face it. I am pretty sure I will move if my husband passes first because this house and yard is too big to care for. I will move near children but also realize I must start a whole new social activity set as I cannot expect children to fill in for me.

  14. Oh dear Friko, there are definitely joys to be had, even in this journey of our life without our dear husbands. You are doing wonderfully well and I am proud of you as a sister on this journey.

    Thanks for this newsy, upbeat post.

    Love, hugs & prayers ~ FlowerLady

  15. I read the newspapers, both online and a real daily paper, but I neither watch nor listen to news any more. I can't bear to.

    I'm glad you've turned a corner, though I suppose you'll carry on having ups and downs, as I did (and still do, in fact, though I've happily remarried). I look for joy every day, even if it's just watching a butterfly or eating a freshly-picked tomato.

  16. Good to see you back in the saddle. Your posts always resonate. I detached from Facebook and my newsfeeds just so I could live without fear and uncertainty for a while as the planet feels poised on the point of no return and we are all traumatized.

    Books. Comfort. Reading. Knitting. Writing. Friends. That's my life.


  17. so happy to read this, that you are on the other side of the devastating grief and are enjoying life again. as for the world, it's going to hell in a hand basket. not just the way people are being or politically but climatically as well. we have screwed the planet and she is not happy. We're having temps in the 100s˚F and no rain to speak of. I don't see this as a temporary thing. the news here with Trump is so awful. every day he does something else horrible. like you, I'm glad to be at the end of my life rather than the beginning as unless we can get control of congress in November, the US as I have always known it will be gone.

  18. I am deeply pessimistic about the future of the world, and with that the future of my children. I'm thankful that they seem firmly against the idea of having kids of their own. I have tried staying away from the news but can't manage for long—it's like watching a slowly-unfolding train wreck. If the American situation weren't bad enough, the mind reels at what is going on with Brexit. I hope you aren't forced into anything, nor me, as I am in France thanks to my British passport. My favourite Belgian is of no help in that department!

    Very, very good to hear that you are mostly up. And lovely, as always, to read you. It's like the best conversation I could have with you, albeit rather one-sided. xo

  19. I'm always glad to see a post from you. The world is indeed a sad place, and has ever been so. I take comfort in the individuals I know who are making a small part of the world a better place, and there are many of them. It's when one steps back and looks at the world from a distance that things really get out of whack. So much political silliness. Our part of Canada is warm, but not excessively so, yet. The forest fires are not as bad as they were last year.

    I'd enjoy reading about what you're currently reading.

  20. I think books are a fine metaphor for your life right now, with turning pages, new chapters, arranging the library and such. I'm delighted to know that things have leveled off, that you have "come into yourself" as you say. Grieving takes a long while and I'm not sure we ever stop mourning a loss but we learn how to operate within those feelings, take them out when we wish, put them away when we must and live with them as we do. I'm sorry your garden is taking the toll this year like so many over here. We are finally getting some cool weather and actually a bit of rain. It is more than welcome. I hope you see the same. I'm quite sure it will all arrive in the UK right about when we do in October!

  21. I smiled with delight at your mention of your new way of arranging books. It certainly gives new meaning to that well-known phrase: "Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediment..."

    As for the world? It's been better, and it's been worse, and I suppose to one degree or another it's every generation's conceit that they are experiencing the worst ever. The business of the news media, the politicians, and the hucksters for every cause is to engender fear these days. Raise our anxiety, and we'll begin obsessing and clicking away, while they grow rich off our clicks. I'll have none of it. The apocalypse may be coming, but if it is, there's nothing I can do about it, save voting, writing my congressmen, and working on behalf of candidates I think will improve things. Beyond that, work, friendships, and a little creativity are all I need.

    Last weekend, I put up 20 pints of peaches, painted a bathroom wall, and made a very early morning trip to a wildlife refuge. Those are the things that sustain. One of these days the weather will straighten itself, your garden will begin to recover, and who knows what other delights will present themselves? It sounds to me as though you'll be ready.

  22. Caring about you, it is more than a pleasure to read this post. As often, I relate to your well chosen words as they express what I am discovering. Our retirement and moving to the continent after 30 years of island living - all as I approach 'Medicare Age' - "For everything there is a season and not just a season but a whole new chapter of life. This is my fifth chapter." Your ruminations on the world, good and scary, echo mine as well. Thank you for sharing and for showing me the path in such a companonable, soulful and intelligent way, Dear

  23. What a wonderful post. I enjoyed reading every word. Your second paragraph summed up much better than I could what my thoughts have been of late. The news is horrid. One is left to wonder just what we are leaving to the next generation and if we have prepared them at all for all they will face.

    Reading how you have adjusted so well to this new chapter in your life has given me courage to face such a chapter if ever I must. Your words always give such insight into not only what you have been processing as you life each day, but also give insight to your reader. I’m glad you can’t stay away. Nor can I. Thanks for writing.


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