Monday, 5 October 2015

A blank page

It's not a page, obviously.  But they make it look like one, so I think it counts.

I had a blog post in my head, some years ago, about a book. It's a beautiful leather covered book from Aspinal with my initials on it.  My mother-in-law bought it for me in about 2008 for Christmas.  Lucky me.  I'd asked for mixing bowls, but (to coin a phrase) you can't always get what you want, and I think she thought the book was nicer.

It was.  It is.  It's also significantly less use.  Because I don't know about you, but for me there are few things quite as terrifying as a blank page.  Especially a blank page in a really nice book.

What do you say?  What do you put down that merits the effort that goes into moving the pen, or tapping the key?

What do you write in your first blog post for over a year?

Yet here I am. Tap tap tapping.  This is stream of consciousness stuff because if I stop to think about it I'm not sure I'll start again and being here feels, yes, scary, but also comfortable.  I think I might have missed it.

It's Iota's fault.  And here's a thing.  Since last I wrote I've got to know her in real life (can't do the acronym stuff, never could) and it's a mark of how long I've not been blogging that in my head she's not even Iota any more, she's her real name....

Anyway it's her fault.   Because it turns out there's a groundswell of old bloggers, popping their heads up above the parapet (probably with fewer mixed metaphors) and saying "We're here.  We've been here for a while actually.  And we haven't really gone away".  And it turns out too that despite, sort of, still feeling like a newbie, I'm an old blogger.

This is, it turns out, my 399th post.  My first (also not quite co-incidentally) was on the 13th October 2009.   That's nearly (very nearly - for a moment I was tempted not to post this for another week) six years ago.  I never stayed in any one school that long...  So, I suppose I am.  Old.  And possibly a blogger too.

And in an old-school (see what I did there?) kind of way Iota's given me an award.  Of the here's a pretty picture, now write something and tag some people variety.

So here it is.  And I'm glad of it. Because I'm glad to be back. I think.

Apparently I now have to reveal seven hitherto unimaginable truths about myself.  So here's seven things that I've been up to since last I wrote:

We had a referendum on independence.  You might have noticed it.  With hindsight it may have been a bit of a factor in my ceasing to write.  It felt too important not to write about yet at the same time too scary and important to attempt to address.  Maybe that was a mistake.  I have just deleted the draft posts...

My children are now 8, 6, 6 and 4.  That seems ridiculously grown up given that 399 posts ago, the three eldest were all under 3 and the youngest was inconceivable (metaphorically, as it turns out).  At the same time though, writing those numbers makes me aware of how small they still are.  They're asleep at the moment. This may account for my feeling as though they are cute and lovely and not utterly exasperating and FAR TOO LOUD.

Workwise, I still don't know what I'm doing with my life.  Because in the last fifteen months, precisely nothing has changed  In fact I'm still doing exactly what I was doing when we moved here, 290 posts and five and a half years ago:  a bit of lawyering and a lot of parenting, both with varying degrees of success.  This wasn't the plan.   The problem is there never has actually been a plan.  Blogging was supposed to help, but I think that has moved on and not taken me with it.  (And if you haven't already clicked through to Iota's post which got me here, do so now, because I think what she thinks.  On this issue at least.)

I'm going to be 40 in 14 and a bit months time.  I sort of want to have a party but I won't.  The problem is that you can't invite everyone and I'm not brave enough to choose who gets left out.  I'm not even brave enough not to invite people I don't actually like.   I'm told that as you grow up you stop caring so much what people think of you.   This is therefore official proof that 38 and three quarters is not grown up.

We've got chickens.  Six of them. I love them but they're actually horrid. It turns out that "hen pecked" and "the pecking order" and "feeling broody" have the weight of nature behind the metaphor.

And I rather fancy bees next.

But definitely no more babies.  To bring this full circle, maybe that's also part of the blogging; or lack thereof.  I was so much a "Mummy" blogger.  I even won an award (of the actual award variety) for blethering on about being pregnant, for goodness' sake.  And if I can no longer put together 500 lovingly crafted words about my stretch marks and my earth shattering nappy changing technique, then what can I write about?

Yet here I am.  Will I be back?  I don't know.  But in the meantime here are some tags of people who've been around at least as long as me.  It was supposed to be fifteen but I've just gone with some old "friends" (most of whom I wouldn't recognise if I bumped into them on the bus) who didn't seem already to have been tagged in this.  Of course, along with not writing I haven't been reading so it's perfectly possible that some of them may not even be blogging any more.  I'm going to hit post and then I'm off to find out....

Muddling along Mummy 
Trish at Mum's gone to.
Kelly at A place of my own
Sandy Calico
The relentless launderer and
Saffia at Motherhood and anarchy

And if anyone is reading this (is anyone reading this?) and I should have tagged you, don't take it personally - just do it anyway. I'm off to rediscover those old friends....


  1. You have to post your 400th post on 13 Oct. That would be so tidy.

    So your m-in-law doesn't read your blog, then...

    You should def have a 40th party.

    Thanks for picking up this award and posting. Valiant of you.

    1. No, thank you for the award. Not in and of itself, as such (does that make sense) but because it's forced me to face the blog down. I never wanted to leave it in limbo. If I were going to stop I wanted to stop; an active choice, as it were. Yet I wasn't then, and still am not, quite ready to give up on it. Not sure I'm ready to go back to it properly either, but at least you've got me thinking about it. Which is a start at least....

  2. Isn't it strange how we've all found our way back around the same time? You're right, I've missed my 'old friends' and the community we had and yes, I might struggle to recognise you on the bus but I miss being able to catch up

    I'm dithering about my 40th - I'm not sure I can justify spending much money or whether friends will really want to come all the way out for dinner - dither dither

    1. It sounds like you've had a rather better excuse than the sheer laziness and insecurity about the point of it all than I have though....

      As for 40ths I don't know. Over a year to decide so ask me again this time next year though!

  3. I'm reading this! I read it this morning, but I wanted to leave a thoughtful reply... Now I've had a couple of beers so you will just have to take what I can muster. ;-)
    We are pretty much the same age. I'm 38 and more than a half. I've been wondering about the 40th thing already as well. I think I may do the same thing I did about 35: buy some beer and some wine, and just invite everyone I know informally to drop by for a drink one night. That weeds out the people you don't want anyway, and I got some lovely surprises with who made the effort. Plus, only a few bowls and some bottles to clear away.
    I recognise what you say about not really having a plan. I'm still brooding on that novel, still hoping publication is just around the corner (this time I really think it is :-) ) and doing soooo much parenting it sometimes hurts. Especially when I should be writing/need to sleep.
    I hope you are back. I like to read the good ones, the ones that write real stuff. I'm sorry not to be more thoughtful etc. Oh, and thank you so much for the award! It looks like a pretty one as well. I don't know if I will pass it on, as I'm feeling a bit awkward in blog land right now. Lack of inspiration, not sure how much has changed while I was away. But you certainly made my week!

    1. Hooray! Thank you for reading and wow and crossed fingers on the novel!

      The problem with my 40th (and isn't it interesting how that's the thing all three of the comments (so far ?!?) have picked up on...? Chickens and life crises clearly not as interesting...) is that it's in the week before Christmas so you can't just have a casual drop by for a drink if you're not doing anything else. Because everyone is doing something else. Or they've got their granny staying. And all the babysitters need booked up a month in advance and if you go out they make you eat turkey despite your making it very VERY clear it's not a Christmas meal....

      I feel a rant coming on...

      But thank you for putting me in among the good ones. Will have to think of something good to say now. x

  4. Ladies, you've inspired a blog post with your musings about 40th birthday parties (well - that, and made me feel old, but let's not dwell). Lovely to be back commenting on your blog, Harriet!

    1. Sorry, Harriet - I couldn't resist:

  5. I was really glad to see Iota had tagged you and thrilled that you wrote! I'm reading. I check in every now and again to see if you've written anything.

    You know, that transition from having babies to not having babies (even though they're still little) is strange. It felt strange to not have another baby after the last baby. It feels strange now that all the babies are in school. And it felt strange in all the places in between - when the high chair left the house, when we no longer needed a pram to get anywhere, or a nappy bag for that matter. I say this because you talked about being a "mummy blogger" - and transitioning from that is strange. I'm glad you've not closed off your blog. Whatever you decide to write about - I'll read :)

  6. So lovely to have you back writing and to see the comments above too. You ladies will have a fabulous time being forty - my forties were a brilliant decade. When you've passed fifty, like me, you will remember those heady days of fortydom and be pleased you made the most of them.

  7. I'm reading (and it's lovely to have something new from you to read) x

  8. lovely to see you back, you were much missed!

  9. Hi Harriet, how are you these days? I checked in to your blog again tonight after a long absence. I used to read it endlessly as I struggled with more and less lawyering, more and more parenting - and particularly as we deliberated over No.3. She is now almost 3 and I am at yet another lawyering crossroads so I came back for more. Did you ever have a 40th? Are you debating a 400th post? Maybe a comment would be a good compromise 😉 Many thanks xx

    1. Hello!

      It must be meant - I have a new phone and it doesn't even get these notifications any more, but the children were playing with my old one and I saw 105 messages I hadn't read - 104 of them spam. And yours! only a week or so late.

      So yes, I am here (in the sense of alive) but not really here (in the sense of on the blog). Still feeling a bit guilty about not doing it any more, but still not sure about when I would fit it in (not sure when i did fit it in before to be honest!) and what I'd write about when I did.

      No 40th yet. It's in 38 days time.... Having cake and champagne and attempting (over the course of a year) to see all the people I would have invited to the party I'm not brave enough to have.

      Maybe that's another resolution. A 400th post before I'm 40...

      Congratulations on the 3rd by the way. Off to go and see what else you've been up

    2. But you clearly don't blog yourself - which explains why I didn't recognise the name. Lovely to hear from you anyway and please do check back - you never know there might be more. Thank you for reading... x

  10. Obat Telinga Berdengung Alami Informasi yang bermanfaat dan tentunya sangat menarik di baca terima kasih.


I know. I'm sorry. I hate these word recognition, are you a robot, guff things too, but having just got rid of a large number of ungrammatical and poorly spelt adverts for all sorts of things I don't want, and especially don't want on my blog, I'm hoping that this will mean that only lovely people, of the actually a person variety, will comment.

So please do. Comments are great...