Attempting to make it as a writer

Posts tagged ‘memories’

To Become or Not To Become!

I was tired.

Not just from lack of sleep but from the learning overload and insightful knowledge that I had gained over the week.   There was also a sadness tugging at the emotions and the tangible fear of returning to normality that greets the final days of any holiday.  Mine ran deeper than that; the fear that when I close the door on this week would I ever be able to recreate the feeling of inclusion, of being one with the world, of belonging.

The final night brought the week to a close.   A rousing and heartfelt round of Auld Lang Syne touched a nerve unlike any New Year’s Eve version had.  These people, the same ones that only a week ago, I had once been so apprehensive about were now my friends. Should they be forgot, should they never be brought to mind; I think not.  I suspect that these wonderful, welcoming, creative people will be on my mind and in my heart for a long time to come yet.

It was a very late night, I had stayed the course and now was not going to miss a moment of the final farewells.  The early start next morning was habitual rather than with any of the previous week’s eagerness. I joined friends for breakfast before waving off the bus full of new acquaintances headed for the station and home to their various lives.

Slowly I returned to my room and packed.  No longer a white badger, no matter how many times I return I will never be that scared, timid, terrified person arriving so nervously again.    It had taken an age to unpack but a week ago, now everything was tossed carelessly, unloved into the case with little caution.   I checked and rechecked every drawer to make sure nothing was left.   I had yet another cup of instant hotel coffee using my last remaining miniscule pot of milk as I wandered backwards and forwards packing the car.  Finally it was time and with cries of “see you next year”, “keep writing” wringing in my ears I turned the engine on.

Warm in the cocooned chrysalis of my car I slowed as I said good-bye to the Swanwick lake, gardens, dreams and drove up, up over the hill to Carsington lake and back to reality.  The hill stretched up towards storm ridden skies of uncertainty until I reached the very precipice of the future.  One lake fading behind me as one emerged open and inviting before me.  Exorcising any lingering feelings of self-doubt, I drove over the abyss and back to my family, no longer a moth flittering towards the early morning light of the breaking dawn I emerged a beautiful multi-faceted ambitious writer.

DSCF1543

Back in the hub-bub of normal life my thoughts often flit back to my week away.    Was it all just a dream?  Possibly, it all seems to have faded quickly like any holiday memory, but inside has changed.  I am a writer maybe more so than before.   Since my return I have written a lot, I have done a huge amount of editing of Memories already with lots more to go still, the new character is emerging very much in the background so the emphasis does not change.  I have even sent some stuff to a magazine as a filler; although there is no reply as yet.   I have a short story which needs a little more editing and another in mind to be sent off.  I need to write the new blog for the magazine, not many words but time critical.

And, I have a dream; a personal, special achievable dream.

I will return to the wonderful Swanwick and see all my friends again.  I will find some way of funding that from my writing.   When I return, I want Memories to be finished and in the hands of someone else; agent, publisher, readers.  My fading memory of the week I emerged as a writer will become an investment in my future not just another pie in the sky wish.

Tiggy

Have a look at what I am up to with my cooking blog at Tea Time Treats

 

 

 

Commercial Potential

It had taken a long time to get to this point.  Many years wasted,  wishing on the ‘never going to happen’ star.   Followed by many years of gentle hints that I might possibly wish to forgo the annual cold wet camping/sailing holiday with the family and pop over the hill to Swanwick.   Now the family were older, Sexy Sporty Dad in a moment of madness suggested I book my holiday  and the family could fend for themselves for a week.

Booked.

Irrevocably in to my dream week before he had the chance to think about what he had said; let alone change his mind.

So here I was all alone in an alien world not knowing anyone.  I had to leave my room sometime. Bravely shutting the door on my haven I followed the noise of a few chatty people outside.   Delaying any moment of verbal contact I held the door for a lady a few steps behind.

“Oh you’re a white badger”

“Yes” I replied surprised at the childlike reticence in my voice; wondering what initiation I would trigger.

“How is your room?  Do you know anyone?”  my terrified shake of the head gave me away.  “Come with me and we will get some tea.”  Suddenly I had a friend.  With our tea we met other members of her lovely writing circle who had come as a group for years.  I was embraced like an old friend by others eager to meet past friends and develop new ones.  I was no longer the frightened imposter who had arrived but an hour ago.   I was part of the crowd, part of the magic, I was a writer.

That is Swanwick all over; always a friendly face to guide you, a supportive word to encourage you and interested contemporaries to inspire you.

The welcome reception for white badgers gave me the opportunity to mingle with committee members, fellow white badgers and a few regulars on hand to guide and include.   A glass of wine softened any remaining doubt that I was gate crashing a private party.   More relaxed I was able to answer questions about my lack of published work.   I explained I was editing a novel which I hoped to get published and found I was not the only person in that position. I summoned the courage to tell of my blogging and early tweeting experiences to people interested in my attempts,  not only my successes.

The program I had been sent would be my bible for the forthcoming week.   I would refer to it countless times a day.  I wanted to do everything, I wanted to experience everything, I didn’t want to miss a moment.    I can see why people come back time and time again, there is so much on offer all crammed into just one week. Many workshops clashed, I couldn’t possibly do everything. I wasn’t even sure I could cope with the pace to do all that didn’t clash.   Days would be filled with workshops; learning, interacting, discovering in my own special world.

 

Swanwick-programme

 

 

One special event took place when I met with my 1 to 1 specialist.  I had agonised and anguished for many hours before anxiously sending the first 3000 words of “Memories”.    Would she like it, would she be the first to realise I am not meant to be a writer, would she critique it so much there is none of my beloved story left?   Self-doubt and regret at signing up for such close scrutiny both clouded and dulled my passion for my story.  I went to meet her all the same.

The most positive 20 minutes of my life.

She encouraged me, she advised me and she loved the story.  As the moments passed I became bolder asking questions about publishing and e-books.  I wanted to know where to go next.   Two simple words will ring in my ears for the rest of my life. “Comercial Potential”!  Her suggestion was that I should finish writing in the extra character and then get it professionally looked at and in the meantime think about getting an agent.

An agent.   Never in a million years had I imagined being in a position to get an agent.  What does an agent do, why are they more effective than just sending it off to any publisher?  I was now on the threshold of that next scary, exciting, wonderful step of the journey.  I attended the course on “Editing your Manuscript” given by an Agent, who answered my questions before I even asked them.  She answered many I had not got round to thinking about and left me with even more to explore.

From that point on, nothing was going to detract from the pure magic of my stay in Derbyshire.  Although to be fair the culmination of so many heightened emotions the enchanted atmosphere was going to be hard for me to dent.

Inspiration,  I got not just from the workshops and fantastically diverse but talented speakers but also from the supportive and understanding Swanwick family.   We all write, in such distinct and different genres but we all use words.  We all have aspirations and goals within our writing world and with my new friends I will take away the courage to follow my dreams.

The end of the week draws close and I must remember the love, the joy and the passion these people gave me as I must return to the outside world.

Tiggy 

 

check out my cooking blog at  tea-time treats 

 

 

 

Déjà Vu

I would never class myself as well off in monetary terms, it is an aspiration yet to be reached.  However outside the world of filthy lucre I feel I have been richly rewarded; my ever enduring Sexy Sporty Dad, three brave and beautiful boys, five loquacious siblings and two enterprising parents not to mention a strong network of faithful friends and relatives.

Many years ago my royal marine father decided to escape the world of regimented rules to bring up his burgeoning brood; I was just four years of age.   Taking an enormous risk he mortgaged his life and bought a very run down village rectory. “Lawrence of Clyst st Lawrence” had resonance that money could not purchase. With no income coming in to speak of, he went to teacher training college and obtained a civvy qualification as numbers five and six of his children made their appearance on the world.

updated and modern but still housing the ghosts of the past

updated and modern but still housing the ghosts of the past

 

The cold, dark, haunted historic house became the most beloved childhood home anyone could wish for.  From the word go, the house had to pay its own way and so developed a long list of enterprising endeavours for my mother.  Initially taking in lodgers in one wing of the house kept us from poverty while my father trained. Later homing a small number of foreign students during the holidays led to a sustained period of the house become a locally renowned international school with pupils as young as 6 being left with us to avoid kidnap or worse at home.  It was not an unusual site to arrive home to a diplomatic limousine parked in our drive; the body guards with bulging lapels ready to shoot at any perceived threat.    My mother would receive a brown envelope with thousands of pounds in Stirling, American dollars or other untraceable cash to cover their board, lodgings and education for the year to come before a parent might spare the time to see these poor children again.

The school funded the construction of a small but well used swimming pool which led to years of fun filled frolics along with a hand painted tennis court.   Finally there was enough money in the pot to revolutionise part of the house with an antiquated central heating system.  With the numbers of growing children requiring food, sustainability became a necessity and we acquired the beautiful big eyed Susie; a jersey milking cow who provided us with milk, cream and often butter a plenty.  A series of runt piglets passed through our garden saved from an early death; brought up on rich jersey milk and copious peelings to develop a flavour uniquely ours when their time finally came.  Chickens too provided eggs and Sunday lunch and most of our summer vegetables together with the copious strawberries all came from the walled kitchen garden, bigger and better kept than most modern day allotments.

There were not many things that came into the house that did not pay their way in some form,and Tiggy was no exception.  A pedigree golden Labrador arrived; no more than a puppy saved from a dubious existence,  who became my father’s constant companion, not only did he sire two offspring which we kept he also sired 90% of the puppies born in a 10 mile radius of the house.   He also became known as a ferocious guard dog protecting the house and all children who played within, as the postman and other tradesmen found out on more than one occasion.   Now long since buried in the rose garden of the house he called home he gave me my pen name and will live on in my writing forever.

The school came to an end as less and less foreign children were requiring an education from such a young age so the house became a bed, breakfast and evening meal accommodation.   The clientele were executives wanting a particularly luxurious weekly accommodation with quality home cooked food and stimulating conversation as they were parted from their loved ones.   Regular clients became lifelong friends as they returned time and time again long after the house became a base for growing teenagers and a mother who ventured into the retail business creating one of the first co-operative craft centres with cream teas on tap in the market town of Exeter.

My parents were renowned hosts and the house was always filled with laughter and fun times. Parties were well attended and remembered long after the event.  Unfortunately times change and we grew up and my parents reluctantly sold our childhood home.  They moved several times in the intervening years prior to my father’s death.  So too has the home we all loved metamorphosed through yet another happy family home with the addition of a stable block before now becoming a luxury self-catering holiday home; Old Rectory

Birthdays come and go and every now and again we celebrate a significant one; some we look forward to but more and more now we dread.  My mother has just reached the grand age of 80.  It is difficult to find a suitable present to celebrate such a milestone.  She was never going to learn to paraglide or parachute over the Wiltshire countryside.   Sending her on a cruise or the Orient Express without my father would not have given her the pleasure we would have wanted to gift her. It turned out to be the other way round; she presented us all with an invitation some months back.

For a similar price to what my father had paid in 1967 she was able to hire our home for her birthday weekend.  Calling back her six children now with partners and children of their own the house once again rang with children laughing and playing.  The rooms housed clothes strewn about them while mattresses moved and children slept altogether in the snug that had overseen many a sleeping child in the past.   Saturday night the house rang with champagne and drinks as old friends and relatives again made the trip out for a party.   Memories flooded back as every guest savoured their own sweet reminiscence.  I suspect a few Sunday morning heads were also recalling past parties. The ghosts of the past hiding in every secret cupboard as the modern children re-created our own hiding places.

With a labour saving change to our original living conditions we used the opportunity to bring in caterers to feed us all; our contribution to the weekend’s celebration.  Kate and her lovely staff from Kennford Kitchen laid on the most wonderful meals all weekend.  She was there for a wonderful three course meal on Friday as we all arrived and she provided a fitting array of dishes for Saturday’s party.  She sent our partners and most offspring off on Sunday following a scrumptious roast dinner with sumptuous side dishes and perfect puddings to keep even the hungriest teenager full.    She arrived early each morning and breakfast was cooked and laid out before most people even woke.

It was sentimental stepping out into the driveway that I once had known so well. A turbulent turmoil of emotions collided as I walked to the door.   Slipping the latch and

unchanged over all those years

unchanged over all those years

holding the unchanged dated key in my now grown up hand catapulted a cacophony of conflicting feelings. The house now very luxurious with additional current touches had changed and modernised immensely but the presences of a previous period still pervaded each room.   Laughter lingered from a lost youth while a new generation created their own memories as happiness and hilarity radiated from the hot tub and the soft play room. Enough cousins to make a competition on the multi-games court I once began my non-existent Wimbledon career.  Watching my 17 year old son driving in and around my old haunting ground replicating my own initiation to the world of driving in the same make of car left me with a blow to the solar plexus of emotions.

We raised a large toast to missing friends and relations who had not been able to make the party; some through snow, some because of their own fragile health and some whose mortality had moved on.  Absent they may have been in physicality but omni-present among the ghosts of the past.

my father - in his rightful place

my father – in his rightful place 

Overseeing the whole affair was my father, still in pride of place in front of the fire where I remember him pontificating, presiding and saluting friends and relatives over the years as he hosted many a party.    His story of our childhood was immortalised when his book was published, copies of which are still available through Amazon or requestable at the library; Our Grass Was Greener by Peter G Lawrence.

Returning home to the present day and making my own memories for my children I continue to carry the past not only in my mind but through who I am and what I write.  One day my book Memories will be published and sit alongside my father’s on the bookshelf; maybe!  I of course wish my mother a very happy birthday and hope the memories of the past colliding headlong into the present give her the stamina and strength to embrace the future.  Who knows when we will make it back there again, her 100th?

Tiggy

Check out my cooking blog at Teatime Treats with Tiggy

 

 

 

Broken Sentiment

We had been invited to, probably the last BBQ this summer.   It was Saturday afternoon and the sun had been shinning all day.   Unusually I had no food to prepare and things were quiet in the house.   We were bringing the drinks including Pimms so I did need to chop and soak the fruit in the alcohol before we left.

I started early as the longer the fruit marinated the better the Pimms tastes. I own a beautiful glass punch bowl which comes with delicate little cups.  The sheer glass has vine leaves bulging with fruit etched delicately round it and the glass spoon sits comfortably poking through the opening in the lid.

This punch bowl has been part of my family for as long as I can remember.  My father a born host produced this bowl from the recesses of his cupboards for every memorable party he gave.    Perfectly chopped fruit, pimms, ice and bubbling lemonade taking centre stage on the drinks table at the summer party.    Warm, spicy cinnamon and red mulled wine pervading the room, hinting at the fruit mix and warmth waiting to  be enjoyed after the bonfire and fireworks display he had already pre-planned.

In fact I don’t remember an occasion he didn’t bring the bowl out and make good use of it, and yet the delicacy of the glass survived them all.   When my father passed away and my mother downsized she gave the bowl to me to follow his guardianship, with the understanding that I too, would put it to good use.   I hoped that I had emulated that custody.

I began chopping strawberries, oranges, lemons and apples.  I dug deep into the cupboard to bring out the bowl and even deeper to count that I still had all the cups to serve the drink in.   Carefully I brought it to the sink to wash it and took the lid off.  The water running, the lid shining I lifted the spoon out.

Crack!

Time stood still.

It was only a gentle tap as the spoon came out but in slow motion the side of the bowl shattered as each shard of splintered glass speared my disbelieving memory.   One side of the bowl remained intact but the one nearest me was in pieces as was I.   Sexy Sporty Dad responding instantly to my cry of pain, tried to find where it hurt.

Inside, where my heart is; where all the memories of my childhood had just converged on my core tearing it to pieces.   I had been given this to use, protect and pass on.  In a moment’s distraction I had destroyed something precious, at least to me; the memory of my father as he entertained his guests and never let anyone be without a drink or a companion at any of his parties.

Sexy Sporty Dad gathered the pieces and with sombre tone admitted that not even he could glue all the slivers back together for me.   He carefully wrapped the offending pieces in newspaper and will dispose of them as if they were a beloved pet that had passed on.  Quietly and secretly so my misery is not re-ignited.

My mind wrenched back to this evening’s activities.  What of the Pimms?  I still needed a receptacle to serve it from.  I knew the friends we were dinning with would have accepted a bottle of wine or other form of drink without damming me; but I had promised Pimms and so Pimms it must be.

Where do you find a punch bowl late on a Saturday afternoon these days?

A plethora of charity shops adorn our high street and there is one that sells all kinds of odd bits of household clearance items that rarely anyone wants.   I started there and trawled the aisles finding beautiful cut glass vases, jugs that would hold enough for two or three drinks even large brandy glasses that might be used instead.   I found a sugar bowl and milk jug that matched Granddad’s cups, I spotted a silver or possible stainless silver jam spoon that it had taken me weeks to find when I was looking for a present for my mother’s new house.   The one thing I could not find was anything resembling a punch bowl.

As I browsed a couple of outfits and smart tops on the way through to the exit I noticed the two ladies at the counter waiting I guess, for someone to say hello, buy something or just a bit of excitement.   I popped back in and asked “I don’t suppose you have anything like a punch bowl?”

The first lady looked at me sadly “no unless it is out on the shelves we don’t”

The other lady seemed a little more thoughtful.   “Could you wait a moment we did have one handed in a while back I am not sure what happened to it.”

Naturally I waited; picking up a top and admiring it; wishing I was 4 sizes smaller and could squeeze into it.  Why are all the best clothes always too small.  After 10 minutes of browsing I was becoming a little edgy, late on a Saturday afternoon and I didn’t know where I might find what I was looking for.

Finally she appeared staggering under the weight of a large punch bowl box.  Unsure even if the box held what it promised we gently removed the bowl with spoon.  It seemed to be resting on a layer  which we lifted exposing all twelve cups in perfect condition.  This was not delicate thin glass with beautiful etching on it, but thick chunky glass made to withstand even my clumsy washing.  I would take it.  After all the cost would not matter; how much does it cost to replace the priceless memories associated with my broken, shattered bowl.

“That will be £5 please”

“How much?  Are you sure?”  I added another top I had been toying with as I felt so guilty at the cheapness.

Ten minutes later all clean and shiny; the bowl adorned the shelf in the fridge with a small layer of pimms soaked fruit.  The lemonade would be added at the party.

As we drank late that evening in the glowing embers of the sunlight we raised a glassed to my father “Cheers Dad.”

Cheers!

Writing

I seem to have reached a goal; one I was not expecting.  Although my book “Memories” is supposedly going through a revamp and re-edit before being sent to publishers; I have found myself writing a short blog in the newly launched Gillingham Guide. I may only have a remit of 250 words a month to tell my tale, I have gone over on both occasions so far, this is to be a regular, time critical writing that I will have to produce as a filler providing space is available.

With all that is going on currently I am deciding whether I can find time to join NANOWRIMO this November.  How can I write 1600 words a day when currently finding time for 100 per day is  a challenge.  I have several themes going round in my head for the next book but maybe I should get Memories published then write the next one.

On another note my writing coach from our writing group has slated this blog for it’s over use of literary features and clichés. Having recovered slightly from the slating I thought long and hard about his comments.  I could of course drop all the fun features as he suggests and just text speak my thoughts in plain boring words but I think I would lose the essence of what I am saying and I am not sure I would stay focused for long.   I suspect my coach needs to understand blogging, twitter and social media before he can write-off my penned word completely.  After all I am publishing two blogs regularly and now another monthly blog, people are beginning to know my name.  Does he really want me to stop that just as things pick up for me?

I guess I need to get used to these beratings and rejections before I send Memories off.

Tiggy

Check out my cooking blog at Teatime Treats with Tiggy

Waste Not : Want Not

I am sorry to admit that my writing; which I would list as my number one passion has had to take a very definite back seat at the moment.   I promise this is not an on-going state of affairs but there are only so many productive hours in each day.

There is an old adage that if you want something done – give it to a busy person.  I find there is a lot of truth in that comment.  A busy person will just fit it in to their busy schedule and complete it with no fuss and no fanfare.

I believe I would come under that category of a busy person but sometimes I would like to concentrate on one thing.  I suppose that is what NANOWRIMO gives me; one month to write the bare bones of the next book.   I have to admit to; a certain selfishness during November when my only thoughts are the story, uploading and getting my succeed certificate.  In my mind I live the story, the characters, the plots and the development.  I am sure if Freud analysed my writing he could tell where I went on which day to produce the different chapters of the book.

Currently my overworked mind is taking up with my latest project.   For several years I have been heavily involved with No 1 Son’s rugby team who will finish youth rugby this weekend, those still committed to the game and with the talent will continue into Colts. A very different set up and not reliant on ley volunteers who organise rather than coach.  I will be giving up my role as Youth Chair and my role as Mini Administrator and letting others take the tasks forward.

Naturally this will leave a huge gap in my life or so I thought.   I could, now knuckle down and work on my books.   It would be a great time to take “Memories” onwards and try seriously to get it published.    I would like to do something with “Scrum Down”, after all it is a story about an U16s season with a group of rugby players.  By the time I get round to publishing it No 1 Son will be playing for the VETs.

Life never goes as planned.   I am about to launch a community magazine.  Not just about to; it is well on its way and I have spent weeks trying to find advertisers willing to give me a chance.  I am not a salesperson, I may be good at many things, not that I can think of any off hand, but selling and cold calling is not one of the attributes I list on my CV.   I am however passionate about the community need for the magazine, supported by the very favourable reception that I have had locally.

So the magazine I am launching has plenty of articles and editorials and a few confirmed advertisers.   I really believe in the power of local enterprise.   There are lots of small businesses in every community who struggle against the giants in their trade but need an avenue to tell people they exist.   I hope that I will provide the conduit they need to increase their business and in return they will support my business.

There is always a slightly selfish angle to all new ventures and I am no different to anyone else.  My altruistic motives may be intrinsically good but until I am a well-known multi best-selling author I have to be realistic.   Once I am established I hope to be able to publish a story or a diary each month in the magazine to get my name and my writing out into the public domain.  Maybe then with the publication of my books or even the next NANO book I may already have a local following keen to read some of my work.

I remain steadfast in my commitment to my writing but do not always enjoy the luxury of dedicating enough time to it.  As most of you know I am a member of a fantastic writing group.   This group is supportive, encouraging and critical, in a developmental way.   Each month, we meet, we write and we are set homework, although not always easy I do try to have a go.  We try different genres, different styles, and different tones. It stretches my writing in ways I would never otherwise have had the confidence to try.   I no longer have long periods of writers of block as there is always homework to start, finish or edit.   I tend never to go for the conventional story but try to have a twist in my tales.  These develop as the story turns rather than I go out and look for a surprise.  I wonder what Freud would make of some of my twists and turns.

I now have multitudinous fragments of writing that one day I hope to come back to.  A piece of writing is never wasted.   Memories developed from a short story.  The remit for a competition was a children’s short story about a little girl afraid of the dark.  It had to be inspiring to other children and help them overcome their fears.  I believed I could be a great children’s writer, after all I had children, I worked with children and I appear to be in tune with children.  I didn’t get anywhere with the competition but it was one of my very early attempts at writing short stories.  The story and theme played on my mind and I wondered; what if there was an underlying reason for this irrational fear?  What if they took her seriously and investigated the fear and find out some darkened past?

The story still rolled around my mind for barren months with no avenue to develop.

I sat down on 1 November 2010, yet another brainwave from the writing group, with no idea what to write a novel about. My mind turning somersaults with different words, phrases and scenarios. Fear of the dark, triggers, irrational reactions, and emerging past all vying to be written.  Suddenly Memories tumbled into a story.  All those what-ifs developed plausible answers and other new what-ifs found their way on to the pages.  That was the easy bit, now we are at a far more difficult stage waiting to be sent to a publisher.

It is a lesson to remember; whatever we do or learn it is never wasted.

Here’s to my next chapter that it will bring new readers into my world of writing.  Maybe this November will bring a fictional thriller about the secret life of a magazine owner.

Tiggy

 

Check out some ideas for tea with http://tiggy-tea.blogspot.co.uk/

Battered not Broken

It is so difficult as a mother watching your child hurt themselves.  I now also know that it doesn’t get any easier with time.

I find it so easy to step back and remember the moment when that perfect little bundle was placed in my arms for the first time; all labour pains and that effort just vanished.  They really don’t melt they disappear in such an instant that you don’t even believe they were ever there.

Of course with Middle Son it was never like that; so keen to get here; he arrived a scary shade of blue three weeks early.  I was given a fleeting glance as they rushed him up to the special care baby unit.  Hours later I was permitted to hold him, as Sexy Sporty Dad and I had a photo with him.  I still have the photo somewhere today.  What it doesn’t show in the photo is the oxygen pipe running up my back with Sexy Sporty Dad holding it just over my shoulder, or one side of this tiny bundle carefully tucked close into me with the leads and tubes hidden from view.

That was the day real life took over, splitting away from the safe black and white route of the parental handbook.  I learnt a hard lesson that day; the handbook was fiction.

I am not looking for sympathy; after all Middle Son grew up; albeit with many trials and tribulations along the way, to be a strapping young man.  No less than my first bundle; No 1 Son, who likewise has grown into a sturdy well-built rugby playing young adult. The same bundle that now expects me to stand proudly watching his self destruction and injury induced sport with neutrality and unfeeling.

Having seen No 1 Son through a year of frustration and immense bravery where he had both hips pinned and was away from sport; in particular his beloved rugby for a whole season, each game he plays is special.   Emotions for his parents are heightened to a volcanic pressure of watching, waiting and wishing.    Sexy Sporty Dad who has finally given up coaching the team to concentrate on his triathlon training cannot help but turn his trail past the club timing it to the start of the match.

I have never really been a good spectator of the sport, I watch in order to write a match report on a game where I do not even understand the laws.   Each week I try hard to learn a new expression, this week it was “charge down” and “overlap”.  Regardless of the actual game play these will appear prolifically in the match report.   Having written “Scrum Down” I now have a much better insight into positioning and roles that the team have.  I however am particularly protective of the whole team and get very vocal with annoyance when the other boys all land on top of a green shirt.

I was watching as the tackle happened on Sunday and immediately the hairs prickled in indignation at the audacity to floor my boy.  I held my breath as the maul moved away and he didn’t rise from the pitch.  That was the point the match report was assigned to the never written pile.  As the game moved across to the other side of the pitch I shouted at the coach to notice the man down, unnecessarily

Down but not Out

really as both coaches were thundering on to the pitch together with our fabulous first aider who reached him first.

Have you ever realised that just as you feel the heat of a blush rising through your body, you can actually feel the blood drain from your head down, from your arms back to just keep your heart fluttering.   The pain is physical as if you were the one hit.  The pit of your stomach tenses, releasing sharp daggers of emotion and nausea.    We of course have been here before throughout his rugby career.  He was knocked out during a festival and carted off in an ambulance about 5 years ago, that was the time we concentrated on his head and didn’t realise for weeks he had also broken a finger in the same tackle.  When the crack of ripping back muscles was heard in a training game, they all thought he had broken his neck.  Another four hour stint spent in A&E for his weary parents thankfully turned out to be a treatable tear.

This time he took too long to get up, we could see him moving his hands rubbing his hips.   I could feel the tension radiate from Sexy Sporty Dad as he stood beside me.  My hand crept in through the layers of warm clothing to rest lightly on my mobile.  How many times have I called, guided or liaised with ambulances for other children.

I broke the rules.  The same rules that with any other match I would be expected to enforce, but I went pitch side and waited as they helped No 1 Son to walk off the pitch.   Yes he did walk.  Well it was more a lob sided hobble but the fact he walked meant his hips may not yet be quite as broken as we all feared.  My breathing began to regulate and the blood seeped slowly back to all extremities as I walked beside his shuffling body to the changing rooms.   As I contemplated the quickest route to A&E by road, who should go with him and what to do with the other children, he put on his jumper shuffled back out to watch the match from the subs bench; commenting fiercely and understandably angrily on the outcome.

He joined his friends for the post match meal and Sexy Sporty Dad and I were allowed to finally stamp some authority on the day by refusing to allow him to ref the under 15 girls that afternoon.   He could hardly walk so chasing girls up and down a full size pitch was never going to be a realistic option.  His wonderfully supportive best friend stepped in and offered to ref for him.   Their builds may be poles apart but Stuart, wearing No 1 Son’s somewhat larger than required ref kit officiated a fast and furious match. No 1 Son fitting in and wearing Stuart’s slim line warm coat supported from the sidelines.

I was unimpressed at the ref co-ordinator who should know better than to come and start asking a somewhat still distressed No 1 Son why he was skiving from the match.  His passion for the game is such that he must have been in so much pain and inner turmoil to have allowed us to prevent him being ref that afternoon.

I am delighted to report that a combination (well lots) of  my homeopathic remedy Arnica, a hot bath and lots of rest No 1 son is walking well, his bruising is recovering rapidly though he will not be at training this week.  My boys have heard yet again my mantra “what is wrong with synchronised swimming it surely cannot be as dangerous as rugby.”

Writing :  having finally plucked up the courage to let my novel “memories” out to open critisicm I have now received my first review back

Once I had started reading, I read the whole thing in one day….. very compelling and a real page turner – very good!!  I liked the way that, although I figured out what was going on pretty early, you tossed in a few twists and turns to keep the reader hooked!  On the negative side – one or two slight inaccuracies of details (although only if you have direct experience of the matter and did not affect the overall story)….   overall, I thought it was an excellent story – well researched and well written!

Maybe the next step is to brave it out and send it to some editors, Stay posted.

Tiggy

check out family pizza time at ;  http://tiggy-tea.blogspot.com/

I am not known for my trailblazing fashion sense but I would never go out without my nails looking top notch, grateful thanks to Sarah and Lorraine at the Nail Workshop who not only keep them looking good but also put me in the spotlight  http://thenailworkshop.blogspot.com/   I of course went for Electric Metal Lover.

Broken Resolutions

Happy New Year.

I hope the festive season brought all you desired wrapped in love, health and happiness.  My biggest complaint; that it was not long enough, and I feel propelled into the New Year having not stopped for breath.

Before Christmas my boys had a wonderful week of pyjama days, not emerging till late morning and thanks to CBBC entertained almost all day long.  By evening, emotions, ennui and exhaustion were taking its toll on their weary bodies as bickering, banal banter and boorish behaviour broke out.

That week, I worked hard. I ran round cooking, shopping, wrapping and delivering presents.  The mountain of washing generated by three boys in their pyjamas was phenomenal.   I met my mother on route to stay with my brother, to swap presents.  Actually she had been organised enough to give me hers the last time we had met.  I on the other hand had not actually bought mine then.

Christmas Day we had a quiet intimate day.  Following midnight mass, the hope the boys would continue to sleep late was a mammoth misconception.  Having got them all to bed and waited till I could do my Christmas Eve creeping around I finally rolled into bed in the early hours of Christmas morning.   Amazingly it was barely a few hours later when little feet crept into the lounge and sorted out how many presents had their name on.

I was prepared; thanks to Nigella the turkey was bathed and cooked slowly overnight so was out of the way.  The veg had been lovingly peeled and chopped in readiness the day before and a very rigid list had been prepared; starting with breakfast.   Why then did I still spend the day in the kitchen slaving over the hot stove;   and what is wrong with beans on toast?  Next year I vow to go to the pub for Christmas Dinner.

What is wrong with Baked Beans on Toast?

We spent the next couple of days visiting family, which was where I was given Herman the friendship cake. I would put it in the league of how to lose friends and upset people.  Apparently on the continent you give them instead of Christmas cards; imagine if you have a lot of friends.  Herman is a cake mixture which you are supposed to stir each day, talking to it.  On day four you feed it then continue stirring till day eight.  You feed it again, divide into 5 portions, the first of which you cook and eat.  The other four portions you give to your friends who covertly curse your generosity.

I have to confess; I accepted it grudgingly but resolved to do my best by it.  The first days I could be found stirring and talking to a bowl!   Day four I did stir but forgot all about feeding.  Day six and seven I forgot to stir or talk and Herman stuck together.  The thought crossed my mind that I should feed him but Herman was not salvageable.  He was sent with other excess food past its edible date to the great compost heap in the brown bin.

This led to one of my more inspirational resolutions for this year:  the word is no!  I am resolved to try to learn the word no, to use it and to allow others the opportunity to say yes.  Saying no will probably be far harder than the usual getting fit, losing weight and writing; some of the other resolutions I have again signed up to.

Returning to work my resolution ringing in my ears; the word is no! The word is no.   I discovered my colleague is yet again signed off sick possibly only for one week but most likely for three.   Would I cover her workload; pay outstanding invoices, advertise for staff, all as quickly as possible.  The word is n-n-n n-n-n – well what was I supposed to say?    She has been off sick having had multiple operations over the last two and a half years and I get pulled in to cover each time.  She never even made it back full time between these last two operations.

So who has kept their resolution?

On my list I was going to walk 1 km a day, it wasn’t far I know but in preparation of my friend and neighbour Natty who is planning to get me jogging again.  Last time I jogged safely was pre-complications that originated from caesareans.   I had managed my walk until yesterday when I ended up staying late at work, meaning I was running late to do the shopping.

Oh well there was the 100 words; I wanted to write 100 words every day, to help get back into the discipline of writing.  I did very well earlier in the week, then yesterday knowing I only had to work the morning I left it till the afternoon.  Being the first day back the morning was stressful enough.  Guess what; I was late back from work, didn’t have enough time to do a proper shop and hence never got to do my 100 words.

There is always the healthy eating resolve.  Unfortunately yesterday I ended up working till late with no lunch and being the first day back no nibbles in the staff room.   I came back starving and late, so I grabbed a few chocolates from the tin, you know the ones that get left as nobody really likes them.   I finished the three half biscuits in the biscuit jar and grabbed a glass of weak squash all that was left in the bottle,  to keep me going.  Having done the shopping and spent far too much because I was hungry and everything looks so much better, I got home and collapsed on the sofa with a cup of tea and Christmas cake.   So much for saying no!

I have however, resolved to overcome my big fear about sending out my story; Memories.   I picked three very dear people who like the friendship cake may not appreciate my generosity.  They have supported the story from the beginning and all three had read and commented favourable on the first three chapters, so I sent them the story.   It took me two hours to send it. The body of the email got longer and longer till it was nearly a book in itself, I scrapped it and began again.  I procrastinated, prevaricated and paused several more times before plucking up the courage to finally press that send button.   I hope they will come back with some glimmer they think it is worth pursuing with.

So having broken only my first resolution it resulted in the domino effect on all the other resolutions. What about yours?  Have you made any and have you managed to keep them going longer than a few days. I have managed to write at least 1 word this morning – just popping off to do my 100 km walk or maybe it is the other way round!

Tiggy

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