Thursday, 28 June 2018

You Handsome Devil


That there is Alf, suited and booted and about to go to prom. He wasn't going to go. I think he wasn't sure whether it was his thing. But he also didn't want to not go, just in case he missed out on all the fun. I must say he scrubbed up pretty well in his sharp suit and hair just so. He's the spitting image of my Dad when he was a teen. And my Dad favoured the Barack Obamaesque suit too. Those long limbs of the men in my family really do a tapered leg justice!

The weather was perfect for a prom venue overlooking the sea. The intense heat of the sun had settled into a balmy early evening, as all the year eleven kids gathered on the lawn outside of the hotel. There was nervous laughter, and some cracking dresses. Some arrived on quad bikes, some in limos. A couple arrived in a flash Bentley. Alf had to settle for my rust bucket, with a tired and teasy eight year old in the back seat. He jumped out the car, and disappeared into the crowd. I parked up, and stayed on the outskirts, looking for him but keeping my distance too. There he stood with his mates, hands plunged deep into his pockets, looking a tad nervous. He talked to his old rugby coach, and I was struck at how not so long ago little Alf would crane his neck upwards to listen to tactics from him.

Most of the teachers were there, looking on at these kids that looked oh so grown up. Alf's English teacher wandered around shaking hands with all the boys. He gave Alf a squeeze on the shoulder, as if to acknowledge the five epic years of teaching a boy who has really struggled to get to grips with secondary school. He never gave up on Alf. None of them did. Not even Ms Magnin, the French teacher, who battled with my son on an almost daily basis with homework and vocab.

Alf has been free of the shackles of school for about a fortnight. The moment he has dreamt about for so long is finally a reality. And guess what? He misses it. He misses the routine and the security. The knowing what's expected of him, even if he doesn't comply. He misses the corridor banter and the lunch time pasty. He misses IT and Drama. I think he's a bit bored of the late nights and morning lie ins. I've left him to his own devices, and let him wander the halls. I think he thought I'd have him up and dressed every day. But why would I? He's got a job at the pizza take away. He doesn't start college until September. He has the whole summer in which to do as he pleases. It just turns out that he hadn't planned for there to be so much time to fill.

He is much more chilled, which is very much appreciated. Just the odd rumble of thunder, rather than constant stormy weather. It's done me the power of good I must say. I think I'd just about come to the end of my rope with the constant battling. It had taken its' toil on us all I think. Olly is happier too, without an older brother that loves and hates him fiercely. Often all at the same time. Alfie has become a much nicer person to be around. And he is smiling, which was a rare sight indeed.

I hope that he is having a brilliant time. I hope that the after prom party on the beach is all that it should be. I hope he comes home late. I hope he isn't drunk. I hope he gets the girl. He's a bloody handsome bugger, with the most gorgeous green eyes you ever did see. He has bone structure that you could hang your hat off of, and is tall and elegant. He is serious and thoughtful, and doesn't suffer fools gladly. He is loyal, and will fight to the death for the underdog. Don't try to arm wrestle him either, because he is freakishly strong. He walks his own path, and knows his own mind. He is stubborn and argumentative, and can follow you around the house trying to prove a point. He is articulate, wilful and headstrong. If he wants to, he may just rule the world one day.

Here's to Alfie. My middlest. My hardest. My firebrand. I love all that stuff locked inside you. I would fight tigers for you. And I love your quiffy hair.

Leanne xx

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Woman At The Helm

Hello dear ones,

Following on from my last post - and thank you all who commented with suggestions, solidarity and the wise shaking of head at my naivety - I am pleased to report that Samuel was seen putting out the recycling, Alfie made his own bed and emptied his own waste paper bin and Olly cleared away some of his toys. It may not seem like much, but these are huge strides here. I'm pleased as punch. Samuel even washed up after himself following a late night pasta cooking session. I was so overwhelmed with joy, that I forced myself to overlook the burnt on food over the oven top. I can't have it all. No-one can.

Alfie came home on Friday, with a smile form ear to ear. The reason? His very last GCSE exam in the bag. A physics paper to boot. Did anyone enjoy physics at school? Did anyone have a science teacher that bought this world alive for you as a teen? I wish I had. Mrs Ramsey and Mr Moggeridge never inspired me, I have to say. It's such a shame really. These fascinating subjects should come alive, and hold the children rapt. In the same way that science does for them as younger children. Anyway, Alfie is now free from the shackles of school; his uniform has already been donated to my friend's boy. Some of us just loathe school, and Alfie was one of them. His demeanour has already improved, and we aren't butting heads. At the moment at least. But I'll take this interlude of calm. It's just so nice to see him happy.

This week Olly spent a night away with the school, sleeping with sharks. He was most anxious about it all. The trip involved a visit to The Eden Project, tea at Pizza Hut, camping out for the night at Plymouth Aquarium and ice skating the following day. How fantastic is that?! They played games and looked at all the animals in the aquarium and slept beside the big tank full of leopard and nurse sharks. He was full of it when I picked him up the following day, recounting in great detail all the things he'd seen and done. His teacher high fived him as he left, saying he'd been a superstar. He's been having a few problems at school, so it was great that the trip was such a positive experience for him. It ticked all of his boxes, and although I know the teachers like my quirky little boy, it made me feel better that they got to see this amazing side of him too; his enthusiasm and embedded knowledge of the world around him, and how it animates and inspires him. He doesn't always socialise well with his peers. He finds it exhausting navigating the queues and signals another person displays, and very often can't read them properly. This sometimes leads to difficult behaviour, and lots of walks of shame for me. So hoorah for a school that gives their pupils these amazing experiences. And hoorah for my boy, who dealt with it so well.

I have to say that I sometimes feel like throwing the towel in with this parenting lark. For long periods it seems like a never ending round of frustrating appeals to get them to do stuff; homework, clearing up, being polite, going to bed, brushing their teeth, eating their tea and all the rest. And it's all so tedious and no fun at all. For them as much as for me. I'm often playing the role of bad cop, and it's a tiring part to play. It's no picnic, for one thing. And I'm caught in the crossfire of this back and forth negotiating that renders me tearful and exhausted. It's all very well being told that the trick is to be proactive. To always be one step ahead of your children. I'd like whoever wrote these books to spend a week with my three strong willed, intelligent, canny boys, and see how proactive they can be then.

But there are these magical moments that happen. Seeing your angst ridden teenage son smile for the first time in forever. Knowing that secondary school has been hideous for him, and  seeing the relief that he feels at it being all over. Being able to share a joke with him for the first time in an age. Having him sit downstairs with you, instead of retreating to his Kurt Cobain pit of a room. Getting a hug and a kiss. Watching your eldest sort out and organise his trip to the States, his application for his PGCE and his confident and handsome demeanour, where once stood a lad that lacked all confidence in himself and his abilities. Knowing that your youngest rose to the very real challenge of being away from his Mum and his home, and returned happy and full of wonderful memories that will be banked forever. The joy I feel inside when I witness these gemstone moments more than make up for any amount of dirty dishes, cross words and sky high food bills.

I'm a woman at the helm, guiding my ship in a hap hazard fashion and trying to get to the various ports along the way. Sometimes the anchor is required, especially when there is inclement weather on the horizon. Sometimes the waters are calm, and I can see for miles. Often I'm having to fill in the ship's log and attend to a multitude of tasks. There's never a dull moment aboard this ship of mine, and there are times that I feel like abandoning ship. But I have a duty to my crew, and I will see this journey to its' end. I'm told that there are huge rewards for staying the course, and unloading my cargo intact. And anyway I signed a contract, which I'm told is nigh on impossible to get out of. Something to do with motherly love. And all the wine gums I can eat.

Have a lovely week, fellow helmswomen.

Leanne xx

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

A mothers' manifesto

HMS Queen Elizabeth currently undergoing sea trials along the Cornish coast

Hello friends.

This morning as I wended my blurry eyed way downstairs, I tripped over several pairs of shoes that had been abandoned by the front door. It would appear that Sam has made himself at home once more. Of course, this is his home, but it's gotten used to him not being here. So when he is, it takes a while to re-absorb him and all his stuff. For example, there are three bags for life full of books in the living room. I'm waiting for them to be taken upstairs and popped back on his bookshelves, but I fear that Sam may have decided that that's where they live. I'm trying not to put them away myself, because I've started this whole mid life mother's rebellion.

Let me enlighten you:

As you know, I live in a house of men. Apart from Honey, and she doesn't really count as she expects me to wait on her hand, foot and finger too. For years I've  prowled around the house, keeping everything ship shape, muttering all the while. Dirty laundry? Discarded mugs and plates? Mournful cardboard loo roll tube waiting to be dispatched? Load dishwasher? Empty dishwasher? Vacuum? Dust? Cook? You get the gist.

Now while I don't mind my role as chief cook and bottle washer, I have lately come to resent the complete lack of awareness that anyone has in this house of what actually goes into keeping their home looking reasonable. My guess is that they all think it just sort of happens. Or worse still, that it's a piece of cake to achieve. Quite often these men of mine will berate and mock me for trying to achieve it all. And let's face it, most of what I'm doing, I'm doing for them. Or because of them (except actually it's mainly because of them). And it's for me too. I need to have order around me to be able to function properly, and having a clean and tidy house is a big part of that. It makes me happy. I can let it slide for a couple of days, but then I get twitchy and irritable. Our weekends are usually knee deep in crap, and come Monday I can be seen frantically restoring order from chaos.

I have come to loathe the response "Yeah, I'll do it in a minute," to my " Do you think you could.." plea. It makes me look like a total nag, when in reality what I'm asking is a perfectly reasonable request. And let's be honest, doing it 'in a minute' usually means doing it in an hour, a day or not at all. Unless I eventually decide to do it, and am then made to feel guilty or unreasonable for doing it, when if they had done it in the first place, I wouldn't have needed to do it at all.

Are you still with me?

So, I have a plan. It's not particularly cunning. Or indeed subtle. But I have decided to stop doing. I shall do what I consider a reasonable task to do, and no more. It's a risky enterprise, and as I haven't declared my intention to the house, it may take a while to filter from their peripheral to their central vision. But I'm feeling smug in the knowledge that I am about to declare a Mum war, and they don't even know it yet. The domestic worm has turned friends! She is declaring war on those that would happily discard their pants on the bathroom floor! Or leave cereal boxes open on the counter. She is standing up for her right to be free from the clutter of men. Clutter that isn't at all photogenic. Mess that resists all attempts to look artfully abandoned. Down with balled up socks by the side of the bed! Down with towels in a damp heap on the landing! No more car parts under the bed! I have become the doyenne of domestic direct action.

This evening, I'm sat here surrounded by dinosaur toys, glasses of water filled with hydrophobic sand (yes really), toy soldiers, those books, Lego, a half eaten apple and what looks like a smear of jam on the sofa. I'm fighting the urge to clear it all away. I've promised myself that I shall instruct Olly to attend to his plastic multitudes tomorrow. Ditto Sam's bags of books and multitudes of shoes. Ditto Alfie's hoodies (three) scattered about downstairs.

I will, I will, I will, I will, I will, I will, I will, I will, I will.

No, I really will.

Leanne xx

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Ten Random Things

Hey friends,

It's been a funny old day, and I'm sat here thinking about life, the universe and everything. And wondering whether I'll ever cut the mustard as a fully fledged parenting adult. It's a roller coaster of a ride that's for sure. From chugging slowly upwards, to the white knuckle free fall beyond. I sometimes think that maybe it's because I'm not proactive enough. Or I didn't attend those parenting classes when I was expecting. I cold shouldered the NCT, and didn't much enjoy the competitive parenting of the toddler groups. Or maybe I'm just too soft, and let the boundaries slide from time to time. Perhaps I'm just a knackered Mum juggling those parenting plates, and letting one fall to the floor with a smash every now and then. I may start a support group; The Mums Who Occasionally Drop A Clanger, But Carry On Regardless Because That's What You Do When It All Goes To Rat Shit.

Anyway, some random items from life here in the far South West for your perusal.

  • We are at what is euphemistically known as a 'Mexican Stand Off' with the purchase of The Wink. The current owner is unwilling to pay for a mining survey, and has threatened to take it off the market and sell at auction instead. I'll let you know when there are further developments. Suffice to say, it is all very frustrating.
  • While weeding the garden last week, I dug up David Tennant. Not the David Tennant - that would have been wholly bizarre - but a toy Dr Who David Tennant. I'm not entirely sure how he came to be buried in my borders, but he's had a wash and is now hanging out in the living room.
  • I was given my staff discount card on Monday, and there isn't anything that I can justify buying. I'm really cross with myself and my sensible attitude. I thought I'd have been frenzied with retail lust. I may buy a frock to wear to Sam's graduation. It's blue linen, and sits below the knee. I'm not keen on my knees so it would be perfect.
  • We have a baby seagull on the roof, and every time I get in or out of the car one of its' parents gets very agitated. They swoop and squawk in a circular fashion, letting me know that they aren't at all happy with my trespassing on their property. They also poop a lot on the car and the windows of the house, which I'm sure is a deliberate tactic to drive me out. The baby gull is flip flopping precariously over the roof at the front of the house. Olly has named it Colin, which suits it. He has the look of a Colin, if you know what I mean.
  • Sam is home on Saturday. He's asked for a curry for tea. And that there be lots of food in. To be honest there's usually lots of food in the cupboards on a Saturday, because I tend to go shopping on a Friday. And it's usually all gone by the Sunday. After that the boys open and shut the cupboards in a desultory fashion, muttering under their breath about there being nothing good to eat, while I mutter under mine that there would be if they hadn't eaten it all.
  • I'm still thinking of getting a little tattoo. Just a teeny one you understand. Perhaps a little bee popped somewhere inconspicuous might be quite nice. You may already be aware of my tendency to procrastinate, so expect to read about this potential tattoo in a ten random things post in about five years time.
  • In order to earn some cash, Olly has devised a chores list. I have to pay him 10p for cleaning out Zeus, 30p for tidying his room, 10p for tidying the cushions on the sofas, 20p for vacuuming the house and 20p for washing up. I admire his entrepreneurial spirit. He has yet to do any chores and thus earn any money, and so I continue to plump the cushions.
  • There was great excitement last week in the garden, as I spotted my very first crab spider. I was watching a bee doing its' things on one of the foxgloves, when it scuttled sideways across one of the bell shaped flowers. I shouted for Olly to come see, and we marvelled at it together. I did try and take some pictures, but they weren't very good quality. Olly asked that I tell you, CT. He was delighted!
  • The snails and slugs have eaten all my cosmos. Bastards.
  • Cherry has stopped working at top Co-Op. I am very sad about this. She always made me chuckle. She wore frosted pink lipstick and had the best permed hair this side of the eighties. She used to wear a Slendertone to work. It was permanently strapped around her mid-drift. She was very kind and considerate to the elderly customer. She wore her slippers behind the counter, and for that alone she will always be my style icon.
Here's to a random week of loveliness for you all,

Leanne xx

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Blue Sky Thinking

Hey friends,

How goes it? After what feels like the longest winter ever, and even though I wonder whatever happened to Spring, it's already mid May. The garden is looking plump and verdant. And even though there were several victims of the frost and snow, there is floral abundance in every corner. My garden is now full of self seeded loveliness; a dream of mine when it was a fledgling. There are lots of insects flitting to and fro. This morning a gorgeous orange tip flew in, landing here and there. There is a resident speckled wood that will make haste from the tree canopy if anything steals a march on his patch. Lots of fat careering bumbles, honey bees and other pollinators too. The garden is alive in so many different ways, and it's a pleasure and a privilege to potter amongst it.

We have spent time at the beach. Olly is becoming quite the proficient body boarder, and will happily play for hours in the sea. There's usually other boys from his year group there, and they make the job of the watchful Mum much easier. I can sit on my rug and relax while he whoops and splashes in the surf. Honestly, what could be better than some unadulterated play that isn't punctuated by my cautionary pleas to hold my hand, keep to the inside of the pavement, don't run too fast, slow down. I can hear myself sometimes, and it saddens me that all I can see is danger and calamity. It's been drip fed to me over the years - inside safe, outside unsafe - when of course it's all relative anyway. On the beach, Olly gets to experience a little of what it was like for me as a kid. That sense of freedom which allows you to experience new and familiar situations. He comes home tired and happy, with a new cluster of freckles and exciting tales to tell.

Sam turned twenty one last Friday, and also had his final Uni exam. I'm far too young for a son that old! He has interviews at Leeds and Manchester to train to become a teacher starting in September. I spoke to him briefly; what I really wanted to do was drive up to Liverpool and give him a great big bear hug. I have a real sense of him leaving the nest. He won't be home for much of the summer. He's off to America for half of it, and working at his job in Liverpool for the rest. I've got my eye on a frock for his graduation in July, and am determined to spend a few days there with him then. It's hard, this letting go business. I still send him abusive texts from the cat. And delicious gurning selfies too. They rarely garner a response. I think they may annoy him. However I shall keep doing it. I'm tenacious like that.

Alfie has landed himself a job at a takeaway pizza joint. He loves it, plus he gets to bring home a pizza after every shift and unlimited fizzy drinks while he's working. Alf is easily pleased. I am ecstatic. I thought I'd have terrible trouble trying to get him off his arse and into gainful holiday employment. If he's lucky it may be a job in the quieter months too. Alf likes money very much. He likes to count it. He likes taking it to the bank. He's not so keen on revising. The GCSE bandwagon is still rolling along. The school has been putting on holiday revision sessions, which he is attending, and so I'm contenting myself with that. Through gritted teeth. I'll be glad when it's all over to be honest. Roll on college in September.

The purchase of The Wink is dragging its' heels. This week is all about the mining survey. We are now required to obtain a full survey of past mining activity in the area - and in particular around the house - as a result of the mining searches. I'm not sure the original builders of the property would have built the house on or in a mine. At the time it was built, it would have been pretty obvious where they were. But fast forward some hundred and sixty or so years, and the requirement is that it needs to be investigated. It's been rather fascinating to look at the maps showing old mining works and excavations, and it's given us a real sense of history of the area we will be moving to. Seeing it has strengthened our resolve to move there. That and the bluebells.

And how are you all? I'm aware that I've been rather absent of late. Life seems to be getting in the way, and my motivation for many things has been rather poor. I have found it difficult to settle to the page, and the words don't seem to be coming my way. Perhaps that's way all I'm writing down are a jumbled round up of stuff. In truth, I've rather lost my writing mojo. It happens. It will return. I shall be inspired once more no doubt. It's all about rhythm and balance, and mine has been rather off kilter lately. I didn't realise how much being kicked in the guts could affect me. I don't seem to pick myself up as quickly as I used to. Having said that, I have plotted a new running route, and will be going out on Saturday. It's my toe being dipped back into the water. The rest should follow after.

Take care friends,

Leanne xx

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Hotch Potch

Hello there!

Firstly thank you so much for your messages of comfort and support - both public and private - following my last post. What can I say? You are all so very lovely. And as promised, I am steering clear of the maudlin, and opting only for the positive For this post at least. I can't promise that a touch of maudlin may creep back at some stage.

My computer smells of gin and rose tonic. I knocked a glass of it all over it last week, and up until now the keys have been sticking horribly. Thankfully, it seems to have sorted itself out. It's just as well because while eating tea, Alf informed me that he needed to borrow it to complete the Drama coursework that's due in tomorrow. "How much do you have left to do?" I asked. "Oh not much." he replied. "I'll probably pull an all-nighter." He won't be, but frankly I didn't have the strength to argue the toss with him straightaway. Instead I went to the Co-Op and bought a four pack of Crunchies, and a big bag of crisps. I may be feeling better, but my eating habits are still very much at rock bottom. Plus I reckon I'll use the calories up in the stressful stand off that we'll be having at some point this evening.

The top picture of my usual random collage, is part of the outfit that I wore to a recent job interview at my local Seasalt branch last week. They were advertising for a part time sales assistant, and although I may not be working at the moment, the loss of a monthly wage has made itself felt. When Marc read my personal statement, he thought I was too flippant. I panicked because I'd already handed it in. Anyway they obviously thought that my boast about excellent tea making abilities was enough to secure an interview. And the job! I'm so pleased. A permanent part time job in St Ives is pretty hard to come by. It's mostly seasonal work here, as you can imagine. And I've kind of been put off the whole cleaning for a living thing. I start next week. I will be clothed by them. I need to learn how to apply make up.

I have also had a site meeting with the planning officer at The Wink this week, and am delighted to say that it is now all systems go. We have had to tweak and make a few changes, but in hindsight they may be for the best. I am now researching shepherds huts in earnest. I've an image of a yellow one - who I shall call Doris - situated in her own private garden, along with an outside eating area and views to die for. I'm also thinking of painting the front door of The Wink pink, but haven't plucked up the courage to inform Marc.

My Dad has been in hospital with pneumonia and sepsis, but I was able to speak to him today, and if all goes well he should be discharged from hospital tomorrow. His white blood cell count was low, and as he has had cancer they were doing other tests just in case. I am very relieved and hope to get up to Bristol soon to visit him. My sister tells me that he was moaning about all and sundry, so I'm taking that to mean that he's well on the way to recovery. He will still have to rest and take it very easy, which won't come easy to him. But my sister and brother will be there to put him straight. As my brother said "He can sod off if he thinks he's going dancing and the supermarket. I'm hiding his car keys!"

Alf asked my advice on the best way to ask out a girl. I was rather put on the back foot. I think I was only ever asked out three times in my life. I wasn't the asking out kind apparently. I suggested that he ask her if she'd like to go to the cinema, and then go to the arcade on the harbour, a crepe from Pels and a wander around the Island. I told him that it was better to have a bit of a date plan to offset the nerves. I hope that she says yes. He's dead handsome, and I think he'd treat any girl he took a fancy to like a Queen. I think a girlfriend would really sort Alf out to be honest, in ways that I'm not at all ready to acknowledge anywhere but here.

I have sparrows, blackbirds and a wren nesting in the garden this year. It's all very busy. I've also put up more bird feeders, and there is lots of activity throughout the day. It's a lovely way in which to waste a little time. The goldfinches in particular delight me. They squabble amongst themselves so. We have been visited by holly blues, orange tips and a couple of white butterflies too. No photos; my eyesight has really deteriorated over the past year, and it takes me longer to spot them and point and press the camera. I have to settle for just enjoying them instead. Hopefully I worry about my eyes. They are very poor quality, and I wonder how bad they need to get before one is classed as legally blind.

Sam asked me whether we had at Swiss ancestry the other day. Apparently they give you citizenship if you do. Is this true? I told him we were pure mudblood. He seemed disappointed. There's a smidgen of Welsh on my Dad's side, and a little West Country on my Mum's. Marc's family all hail from here. I was going to lie and tell him that we came from somewhere really exotic. But in the end I settled for the truth. He needs to know his place in the world. Do any of you have exotic ancestry?

Leanne xx

Monday, 16 April 2018

Touching A Nerve

Hello there.

I hope that this finds you all well and groovy?

It's the last day of the Easter holidays here, and I'm having a third cup of tea, before I head off out for another day of doing and stuff. It's been busy and lovely and hard and difficult and all sorts in-between. Has been for a while actually. In truth, life has taken rather a battering of late. Perhaps that's why I'm hanging on to The Wink so much. We've had the results of the mundic tests, which was that there was none (phew). I have a site meeting with the planning officer next Monday, to discuss our outline application. Talking to her on the phone today, has given me hope that we should get a favourable response.

So, back to the battered.

I've always tried to be as transparent as possible here. That's partly because I feel that I can, and partly because this space is a record of my life as it trots along. And whether it be good, bad or indifferent I tend to write it down. Of course not everything gets included, but I think I pretty much have very little filter here. And that suits me. I hope that I have never been indiscreet, especially when it comes to writing about other people for instance.

That's a bit of a minefield isn't it? Some of you choose to not make the names of your children public, for example. And I can absolutely see the reason for that. Some of you filter what you record. Again, entirely appropriate. Some of you like to record very specific things; crafts, gardens, interiors and the like. And that's cool. I guess I think of this place as an almost secret diary. I share my stuff, in the knowledge that my secrets are safe with all of you. And not just the secrets, but the everyday adventures too. I've written about the challenges that I face from time to time, my mental health and its' ups and downs, the highs and the lows of family life. I have named and talked about my children, because they are the biggest part of who I am.

And I am comfortable and secure here. Which is a bit weird when it's a public forum that anybody could read. I'm actually a very private person in the real world, and share very little. I'm quite reserved, and not at all big and booming. I don't have that moth to a flame character that some have. In fact I'm entirely average and hum drum, which is just fine with me. I don't think I have a persona when I write. But maybe I do. It's certainly not deliberate if there is one. Sam once said after he'd read one of my posts, that I came across bigger on here than in real life, which says it all really.

It's also a space into which my family rarely venture. They know I write a blog, but aren't at all interested in reading it. I guess it's not their sort of thing. Marc may read it from time to time, and Sam has had a nose. I think that some of my friends may read it occasionally, but again, I'm not sure that they're really that arsed about it. And I actually like that they don't. I don't want them too. It's my thing. It's where I come to read all about you, and write all about me. I've made new friends here. Not conventional friendships, to be sure. But real as any other I've made, and as dear to me too.

And that's why I was so excited to share Ship Shape with you. It was this fabulous and scary departure for me, and I was really proud that I had done it. I was chuffed that I had stepped outside of my small little life, and committed to setting up a business with a trusted family member and friend. And it was going really well. Until the end of February, when it didn't. So I made the difficult decision to part ways with Ship Shape and walk away from not just it, but everything involved in it too. And that's the battered bit, because I feel heartbroken.

My metal health has taken a pasting. I stopped running. I started to comfort eat. I couldn't sleep. I fretted constantly. I started avoiding places. My thoughts became clouded and my judgement poor. I took it out on the boys. I felt anxious all the time. I wanted to talk about it, but I couldn't. I was afraid of what might come out of my mouth. Or onto the page. So all my processing was internal, and that was probably not a good thing.

Thank goodness for my Mum (she with the Charles and Di mug above), who listened to me ramble on and on. Who let me go over the same minute point time and again. Who sat beside me while I got upset. Who gave me quiet counsel and unconditional support that I had done the right thing. Who nudged me to start looking forward and not back. Who reminded me that there was such a lot of good stuff going on in my life, and that I needn't dwell on the bad. I'm telling you, I aspire to be that wise and kind. I'm going to have it printed on a t shirt.

So onwards and upwards, friends. Looking forward to better days. I'm using this space as a bridge between what has been and what is to come. And I thank you for taking the time to let me put it out there. I promise that anything that follows this will be dripping with sarcasm, knob gags and a much lighter attitude to life!

Love to you all,

Leanne xx