Sunday, 30 April 2006
It was worth it though as dinner was fun. Even daughter got into the swing of it and we ended up talking politics. You see, daughter has decided she is going to uni to do a degree in politics even though she never talks politics at home. It was interesting then to hear her drawn out and become vocal on the subject. She has scary views which I hope come down to her youth and will be tempered in time.
After dinner we retired to the parlour where ex, the kids and I played rummy until midnight. Admidst laughter and bluff and double bluff it was a fun time.
After son went to bed, ex told us about his dream. It was set in our house and consisted of my brother hauling my ex up against the wall and threatening him with a knife for daring to turn up and just waft in and out of our lives and how terrible he was. It was the dream that shook up ex and made him come visit immediately. Sounds to me like someone's guilty conscience getting the better of him!
Today we took a drive en famille and found a nice country pub for lunch. Home for a cuppa and then goodbyes. Ex gives son a tenner to which son looks as if the riches of the world have been bestowed upon him. Ho hum. Daughter was called down to say goodbye and the same was pressed into her hand. I guess that might be it for another year.
If there was any chance that I felt my son was being mentally messed around with then I have no doubt I would put a stop to it. In fact, I always insisted on very high standards from ex when we were "together". Apart from a brief few months, we never lived together and so when he came to visit, it had to be by arrangement and promises (on the whole) were to be kept.
Yesterday I chatted with son specifically to get an update of how he was feeling. He really feels OK abut it all. A bit disappointed that his father didn't remember his 12th birthday earlier this year but that's about it. Anyway, he has his "Dad" - Mr Doris - who had a go at trying to fix the gears on his bike yesterday; who buys the shopping and gets treats and rewards for son; who makes dinners; who can be relied upon; who provides personal computers with whizzy lights; and (from my perspective) who welcomes son's father to stay.
I'll blog again later about last night - it was so much fun! After we've had our outing together today.
Friday, 28 April 2006
Sadly, ex does very little to keep in contact with gorgeous son and nothing at all to help with any maintenance costs. He has good intentions but in the end it is his loss. He has missed out on son growing up. Ex was once an informally adoptive father to my daughter but he lost that honour ages ago when he decided he no longer needed to honour her birthday or give her presents. That was most cruel since he loved her very much once upon a time and used to make her feel special.
He is not a cruel person by nature but has ended up being quite thoughtless at times. I wonder about the true nature of his visit as he spoke to me last night with a real gentleness in his voice with almost a touching memory about stuff I had told him in the past such as about my long lost family recently found. I've warned Mr Doris we need to be cautious as I am sure that ex has no qualms on making a move on me even in my new home with my husband about!
Ex and I had an almost Romeo and Juliet passion and love that went on for about 13 years. Even before I managed to have my daughter by someone else. Which is why I affectionately call myself a slapper. And I'm still not telling the whole story. What amazes me is how much ex has managed to overcome his stupid masculine proudness. It was me that called it quits finally and he used to declare that there is no way he would have any contact with me or the kids once a man was in my life. His pride wouldn't allow it. It was Mr Doris who helped trick him into meeting and somehow ex overcame his prejudices and actually found a lot in common with Mr Doris and visited reasonably often when we lived nearer.
It is bizarre having civilised dinners round the table with my beloved Mr Doris and ex at the same table with perfectly affable behaviour from all. Ex has stayed with us before - I think the current rate is seeing his son about once a year - and that was OK. He said he would phone today to confirm his train times but he hasn't done that yet. I expect it will be another late call. Or heaven forbid he has cancelled because I've now told son. It wiil be an interesting and curious weekend.
Monday, 24 April 2006
liven things up and now she she's gorn
and stolen the damned show"
LOL on my 80th I'm going to invite everyone else who is born the same day and have a good laff at them too!
Make way, make way ...
Sunday, 23 April 2006
Nothing else was a disappointment. Neither of us had been to Liverpool before. To me it was about The Liver Birds and the song Ferry cross the Mersey. It was all that and more. The architecture is stunning and amazing and thoughtful and over the top. A real confection. In places it felt like a small New York with its art deco buildings.
We took lunch in a nice Italian place on the Albert Dock. Perfect food and I braved a last glass of red wine with my cousin even though I was going to be driving later. It was a time warp and several hours felt like twenty minutes. Seems we have plenty still to talk about.
Then it was onto a Duck Tour which was another first experience. So bizarre to be one minute travelling round doing the guided bus tour thing on the city roads and then the next driving full pelt into the water and having a guided boat tour of the docks and then back up to land. The guide had a corny repartee which was fun. But a cushion under the botty would have been nice as it felt like solid metal wheels beneath us.
By now it was getting late so in the absence of a proper map we used a souvenir tea towel map to drive to the Beatle's sites such as Penny Lane. Not a good idea as the map was not correct nor in proportion. Penny Lane was easy enough with the sat nav, once you know that Penny Lane is not in Liverpool but Woolton, but thankfully, with the assistance of Mr Doris at home on the internet he guided us to both Strawberry Field and to the grave of Eleanor Rigby. The former is wonderful - just an iron gate but such a fabulous feeling to be there knowing that many Beatles fans before us had been there; but the latter was very sad. I think it is a grave that coincidentally has the name "Eleanor Rigby" on it. She is listed along with a number of other family members - I can't imagine that this is the grave of "Eleanor Rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name. Nobody came". The church and grave yard are pretty, and there was confetti out the front, but terrible subsidence in the grave yard. Eeek! And the grave stone in front seems to have been smashed and laid down and one can't help wondering if it was intentional to get a better photo of the grave stone with Eleanor Rigby on it.
It was nearly 10.30pm when we finally parted. I still had an hour drive to get home and had planned this moment. I knew I needed to keep it together to drive safely and yes, there was a moment when I started to go into a sort of an impromptu speech. Or rather things I wanted to say but hadn't planned to say them and then started to waver with tears possibly pricking. So I stopped. We hugged again and left each other smiling. I must have smiled all the way home.
Of course it really isn't a good bye at all because we'll meet up again sometime. And we have the email. And we have all these wonderful new memories. Saturday, and the past fortnight, was a magical mystery tour for both of us.
Friday, 21 April 2006
It will be emotional saying goodbye so it will have to be an Au revoir.
Monday, 17 April 2006
A friend of mine was baptised yesterday, on Easter Sunday. It was a full body immersion in a pool under the stage at our local Baptist Church and I am glad I did not miss it.
My friend and I have sons who play together and that is how we met but other than that haven't had much time together lately. We had spoken a year or two before about Christianity and at that stage she wasn't Christian so I was curious to be there on her special day. I don't take these things lightly even though I am not a Christian as such, but I do admire any adult who makes a conscious decision to take on board a religion.
The words of the Baptism ceremony were interesting and the whole struck me as a device for any great psychological therapy that frees you from past pains or misdeeds and gives a psychological re-birth. A process that clears the past and gives you permission to move forward. Naturally, I can't wait until suitable time elapses and my friend and I chat again and I can find out how she feels and what impact the Baptism has had on her.
The Easter service continued and I felt a pang of wanting to join the kids as they filed out for activities elsewhere. It has been so long since I have been to such a Church service that I was concerned what us adults were going to be subject to but it was OK. Any of us not baptised were invited to consider it for ourselves and there was much talk about the family of the church. I'm afraid I can't help thinking of it as a club and it just depends which religious club manages to sign you up first.
This Service was all about Jesus which is not surprising considering it is Easter but that is what bothers me about many forms of Christianity, it is all about Jesus and the characters and less about the underlying message. I wonder if Jesus et al would have wanted to be idolised in this way and whether that is actually contrary to what he originally preached?
I spent most of the rest of Easter Sunday and night sleeping and reckon that I have slept for England. Or at least caught up on some sleep from the past week's travelling and meeting family. We managed to avoid all Easter egg purchases this year with not too much hassle from the kids. The kids get chocolate year round and the meaning of Easter is well and truly lost on the eggs. My daughter assured me she had mates who not only got eggs but presents too. Well, lucky them!
Friday, 14 April 2006
This past week or so has been like we are together again in an enchanted garden. Reminding me of my cousin's enchanted garden which her father - my beloved uncle - created for his family. A real and beautiful garden with nooks and crannies; waves of colour and the greenest grass. He created a wonderful childhood for his children and it is one I was priveleged to share for a brief while. In the garden us cousins would play, round hidden paths, up the cubby house or down the end of the garden to the creek and the bridge he made to go over it. It was the only house with a bridge in the neighbourhood and it was much appreciated by the local kids. We'd play in the trickling water amongst the pebbles. Uncle would give us helicoptor spins in the garden. His strong hands and arms, which carved the finest art and created the most beautiful gardens and built the strongest foundations, would hold us tight and we'd feel so safe and happy. In the hot summers he would helicoptor spin us through the sprinkler to screams of laughter and delight. It was an enchantment.
Then through the painfulness of his own memories he couldn't stay in this world anymore and I can't comprehend how his own children coped with losing the most wonderful father ever. And I feel a bit guilty for only ever thinking of my own loss and not theirs. However, we were all young children and that is how it was and death grabs you like that.
My lovely cousin might be writing her own blog in due course. I don't know but I hope so though she is away travelling for another couple of weeks. Maybe she might write down her own stories. And if it wasn't for her having no hesitation and every confidence in me then we wouldn't have met up so soon. She and my Aunt have travelled across the world and the hemispheres to be here. We've done it now and can now move forward to even better things together.
Whilst I was away on my travels and completely unbeknown to me my darling Mr Doris was creating our own enchanted garden in our back yard. He doesn't even know the significance of it all! He planned it before my departure and had it in place within four days. Astro turf on the concrete with fancy brick edgings; a mandala of stones with a sunburst design; white gravel; yard art fixed to the wooden part of the fence and painting of various features. He transformed a dull grey concrete yard (admittedly overhung with glorious trees from the park next door) into a wonderland of colour. Like a mini-golf fest. My cousin and Aunty and I saw it mid way through our travels and were bowled over. Me: I just love my Mr Doris for coping with me and everything over the last few months and for the things he does.
I'm exhausted and so I reckon I am not quite back yet. So many emails to catch up on and I need to find my feet again after this incredible whirlwind. Goodness knows how my cousin will manage as her journeys continue to see relative on her mother's side.
Lucky us that we get to meet up one more time, next Saturday, before she leaves the UK. I'm sure that is when the tears will flow and we'll have to be very brave.
Monday, 3 April 2006
It's about my childhood. About the characters in my life. Who I am and how I operate. It's been exhilarating and mind blowing and yet I don't think I've changed that much but somewhere in me there is an essence that has been enriched.
Tomorrow begins a new chapter. Tomorrow I will be meeting family I have not known or seen since childhood. Somehow they seem to matter a lot to me and incredibly they have found the wherewithall to travel around the world to meet me and our family. I almost cry at the thought of how wonderful they are to have done this. For twenty five years my cousin has tried to find me and then gave it up as a lost cause about six years ago - just when I started looking for her family. This January one of her family found one of my messages on a genealogy board. That's when the door opened.
I may be gone a while!
Saturday, 1 April 2006
With family descending upon us from Monday I just had to get on and to my delight I've pulled it off. I've yet to grout it all but the mitres look amazing. Professional even. It is surprising what we can do when we put our minds to it.