Thursday, 29 April 2010


The house is empty. It looks shabby and ashamed in its nakedness.

It is no longer our house.

We are driving away.

I am crying.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

The Gallery - Wrinkles

Despite being surrounded by boxes and packers, I didn't want to miss The Gallery.

So here it is.  A portrait - without mine or my children's faces in it... 

Do you think it makes her look a bit wrinkly?

The rest of The Gallery is here.  Take a look!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

M minus 2 days - A Love Letter

Dear London,

It's not you.  It's me. 

I am going.  But it's the right thing to do.

You have given me so much.  When I arrived here, I was 22, wet behind the ears, never lived in a city worth the name.  Two stone fatter, shorter of hair, less bespectacled of nose. Fresh from four years of what felt like independence but with meals cooked for me, sheets washed, and someone watching out if I wasn't home for a couple of days...

I grew up here.  I became who I am and what I am.  I met B.  I met hundreds of other friends and acquaintances, all of whom have had a part in making me the person I am today.  I made, and then met, L, and then A and S.

I got my first job, the same job I have only just left.  I bought my first flat, and sold it again a mere 15 months later to buy a house for the family we have now become.  I studied, and drank, and played, and sang, and danced badly, and gossiped, and did some unsuitable things to a number of unsuitable men.

I have loved your sights, your smells and your sounds:  the view from Waterloo Bridge, whatever the weather; the cherry trees in Normand Park;  your amazing cleanliness and silence under snow; the way wet tarmac smells after spring rain; the noisy shouts of delight and despair from the stadium not so far away... But I have hated your sights, your smells and your sounds too:  dog poo on the pavements; the 6 am wake up call of the first flight into Heathrow (and every two minutes thereafter); the stillness, and silence, despite the sirens, of the morning of 7 July 2005; the swearing, the shouting, the anger and stress of 7 million people crammed into living cheek by jowl, whether they like it or not.

I am proud to have known you. To have shared this part of my life with you.  That I have your tube map in my head: and that I know which stations have all the vowels, and which none of the letters of the word "mackerel".  I wonder how long it will take before I forget that it is quicker to walk from Covent Garden to Leicester Square, or before I stop being disappointed that the buses in Edinburgh aren't red.

I have known your prisons and your palaces, your concert halls and your cathedrals, and I will miss them all, as being part of you.  I will miss you.  Even though you won't miss me.

Because I know my relationship with you was only ever going to be transient.  I move and change, and am moved and changed by you.  But not you.  You change, but not because of me.  I am a blink to you.  Forgotten before it is even over. Someone else will take my place, and you will change them too, and then forget them too and move on to the next.

But I will never forget you.

Goodbye.  And thank you. x

Monday, 26 April 2010

The unsettling seas of the floating voter

I've got my ballot paper.  It's a postal vote, because we won't be here on 6th May, for obvious reasons.  So I've got it.  Ready for my cross... 

And I'd actually, if the truth be told, rather not have to use it.  In fact, I'm rather hoping it might get lost in the move. Last election I was disenfranchised (long story involving another house move and general incompetence) and I was actually entirely happy about it.  If nothing else, it was a great way of getting canvassers off the doorstep.

But this is awful. And bad. And irresponsible.  And just plainly, simply, wrong.  And I know it.  Women didn't chain themselves to lampposts or fling themselves in front of horses so that I could sit here with a ballot paper wishing it away.

But it's hard isn't it?  I can't help but notice that the blog posts I've read urging me to vote, and impressing on me the importance of exercising my democratic right have mostly been from those who are out of the country; or are here, but aren't from here, so can't vote.   British-born-and-based bloggers (of the non-overtly political variety clearly - and I can't say I read many of those) have been remarkably silent on the event that is taking up all the news space and I can't help but wonder if that's because it's not just me that is rather wishing that none of this was happening.  Which is interesting given that this is allegedly the "mumsnet election".

Is this apathy?  I had a post in my head when the election was called that was going to be entitled "Apathetic and ashamed".  But the thing is I don't think I am apathetic. I'm not indifferent to the result of the election.  I know how important this is.  And that's why it scares me.

Because there isn't a party that will do what I want it to do.  There isn't a party that can do what I want it to do.  Because I want everything to be fair, and equal, and innocently sweetness and light and skip through the daisies...

Let's accept, for the sake of argument, that this is the "mumsnet election" and that the only issue that matters is the work/stay at home question.  Now clearly, I think mothers should have the right to work.  I think it's important that women should have time off to have babies and should then be able to go back to work and have the support of their employers in doing so.  I think that employers should have to make allowances for the impossible juggling act that is being a working mum.  This is, to me, so obvious as almost to not need saying.  So clearly I'm going to vote for a party that makes this possible.

But then I also have friends who run small businesses.  I have friends who run charities.  Who employ working mothers and women on maternity leave.  And I therefore understand that the issue isn't utterly clear cut.  To be honest, I'm not sure I'd have been very happy employing me over the last three years - although clearly I'm glad they had to...

So how do you square that circle?  You can't.  Because you can't make everything fair for everyone.  Because, as my granny, and my mum, and doubtless me just as soon as my girls are old enough to complain about it, would say: life isn't fair.  And wishing won't make it so; and political parties, however well intentioned (and that assumes that you think they are) certainly can't.

Or what about education?  The three main parties have lots of interesting options on education.  But what none of them is saying is "We're going to make all the schools excellent.  We're not going to give you a choice, because you won't need it. Your local school will be excellent, with excellent facilities and spaces for all the local children, whether born here or recently arrived."   Because they can't.  There isn't the money.

And those are just two of the impossible things I want the party who wins the election to do.  And if I accept that the party who can do those things doesn't exist, who then do I vote for?  Because I have to vote, and not just because it is my civic, and female, duty.  If I, educated (once upon a time) and intelligent (ditto), don't vote, then I'm giving more weight to the vote of someone who might not be either of those things.  And who might vote for someone I really don't like.

Clearly what I should do is to download all the manifestos, read them and make an excel spreadsheet (or something) of what they're all going to do, and then weigh up my decision carefully, probably using a ratings system to rank the importance of each issue.  With graphs.   But I'm not going to.  I've got a house move to organise and three children to entertain throughout it. It's not going to happen. Let's be honest, I haven't even watched either of the debates yet (they're taped...what's the betting we won't actually get round to watching them until after the election?!).   Even if I could create a lovely spreadsheet, how do I decide whether education is more important to me than health, or the environment more important than flexible working rights? 

Anyway, isn't it all about the economy, stupid?   But when it comes to the economy, I am stupid.  And surely in order to analyse who I think is going to be best for the economy, I'd need to know what I think is going to be best for the economy.  And if I could do that, I'd be standing for election myself, and then the decision on who to vote for would be easy.
So my decision will inevitably end up being framed by my perceptions of the parties and what they stand for (almost certainly out of date), the paper that I pretend to read at the weekend (woolly liberal, and anyway, I'm not sure how much help the magazine and the family section are going to be on this one), and a quick skim through the leaflets that drop through my door (mostly local, and therefore pretty irrelevant for someone who is going to be living 400 miles away by the time the election comes round).

And on that basis I stand a pretty good chance of voting for a party who doesn't actually stand for anything I care about.  And is that not worse than not voting at all?

Addendum (in order to give credit where it's due) .... the bloggers in question were Heather at Notes from Lapland, Iota Manhattan, and Heather at Eggs, Cream and Honey. Fascinating posts, and awesome bloggers all.

Friday, 23 April 2010

M minus 6 days - Dear So and So

Dear House,

I love you. Sorry.



Dear Removal men,

You know that sorting out I said I was going to do? 


Harrassed mum of three.

ps and no, I wasn't wasting my time blogging. Blogging is important.


Dear Neighbours,

The new people are going to have a baby too.  Sorry.

The people formerly known as NextDoor.


Dear New People,

The particulars might not have mentioned a few things:

Yes, you do have to turn the grill on with a pair of pliers.
And yes, that stuff that looks like dried snot on the wall by L's bed?  Well, that's, erm, dried snot.
And no.  I don't know precisely what that stain is on the carpet.  But I can guess.


Your predecessors.


Dear Iggle Piggle,

Please come and see us.  You are her best friend.  She doesn't understand yet, but she's really going to miss you.

As am I.  Sorry.

Love Iggle Piggle's Mummy .


Dear London,

Too much to say in a postcard.

Thank you.



Dear some Scottish people (you know who you are)

I'm coming to live with you, and there's something you should know:

I'm English. 

It's not my fault, I was born with it. It doesn't make me a horrid person.

So deal with it.

Happy St George's Day,



Dear New House,

We are coming!

Hope you like us.



More Dear So and So's here

Thursday, 22 April 2010

M minus 7 days - nooks and crannies

This time next week we will be gone.

We won't have arrived, but we will have gone.

Five years of our shared lives, the beginning of our marriage, the births of our children all took place while we were living in this house.   I will never forget it. It has been the heart of my family since before we were a family.  And I hope that it will not forget us.

But I am concerned that I will forget its details. That like a long-lost friend I will forget the way its eyes crinkle when it smiles, or whether it parts its hair on the right or the left.

It has idiosyncracies, and quirks, some of which it was born with, and has lived with for over a hundred years, and some of which we have created and which may not survive much beyond the end of our lives here, but all of which I love, and all of which deserve to be recorded. And remembered.



Wednesday, 21 April 2010

L is three! A birthday gallery of maternal sins (but mostly pride)

It's Wednesday.  Which means it's time for the Gallery.  But it's also 21st April 2010.  Which means that L, my amazingly wonderful eldest daughter, is three today.

Tara's challenge this week was Seven Deadly Sins. She said she wanted it to be tricky, and she was right.  I had no idea what to do for this one.  B suggested I find a stock picture of George Clooney and call it Lust.  This would have had the advantage of accuracy, but the disadvantage of not actually (sadly) being a picture I had taken.

But then I realised what the date was.  And it all fell into place.

So I give you L's gallery.  Or the sins I have committed, do commit, and will continue to commit for love of my daughter:


These are L's cakes.  We are postponing the actual party until Sunday, when B can be there, but clearly a birthday isn't a birthday without cake, so we are taking these along to our Songs and Stories group later on today.  I'm not entirely convinced by the home made Iced Gem look, but it was the best I could do with the rubbish piping nozzle I had.

Which leads me on to


My friend K has a proper piping nozzle.  I want it.  In fact, if I'd been better prepared, I'm sure I could have borrowed it.  But I wasn't, because of


I have been woefully under-prepared for today.  I've known it was coming up (if had forgotten, L would certainly have reminded me), but I've sort of lost track of what date it is, and so it has slightly taken me by surprise and I ended up doing everything at the last minute. I'm not sure if that's laziness, but the state I let my kitchen get into, at about 9 pm last night, mid-way through 67 fairy cakes and one t-shirt certainly is.

The 67 fairy cakes may seem an oddly precise number, but was how many the mixture made. Probably would have been about 70, but I was eating it with a spoon.

Which probably should take me back to gluttony.  But that's not the sin I'm most guilty of today.  Today, I'm all about


I am so proud.

I am proud of my slightly odd cakes.

I am proud of the stripy t-shirt with her name and the three on it in flowery fabric which I also made yesterday evening.  Even if it's not the best one I've ever done, and I'm concerned that it may not hold together as the t-shirt is too stretchy and the fabric not at all...

I am proud that I actually managed to tidy up the kitchen before I went to bed.

I am proud of the things that matter too:

I am so proud that this time three years ago I was 10 days overdue and not even in labour.  And that by 11.52 pm I had brought a whole new person into the world and was holding my incredible daughter in my arms.  To be scrupulously  honest, I don't think I actually knew she was my daughter until the wee small hours of three years ago tomorrow.  They assumed we knew she was a girl, and we forgot to ask.

I am really proud that I did that all drug-free, stitch-free and mostly midwife free (she was out of the room until L was actually arriving. I panicked at that point - I think I'd forgotten I was having a baby - and thought I was having prolapsed uterus (apologies if you're reading this over breakfast).  The irony is I don't actually know what a prolapsed uterus is.  I'm not so proud of that bit.)

I am proud to have survived not just labour, but also exploding nappies, colic, sleepless nights, trips to South Africa, New York and France, tantrums, the arrival of two little sisters, potty training,  fights, strops and three weeks (and counting) of "why-eee?".

I am proud that B and I have produced this amazing person (does that count as lust?) and that she is a combination of all that is best in both of us.

I am proud of L.  The person that she is and will become. I am proud that she is 94cm tall and 25 kilos in weight.  That she has that intermediate British hair that can only be described as "mouse". That her best human friend is M, and her best inanimate friend is Mummy Sheep.  That she knows to say sorry, and please, and thank you.   That she likes painting, and reading, and dressing up.  That she has a wicked sense of humour.  That she loves singing.  That she's fascinated by pictures of herself.  That she loves her sisters (most of the time). That she wants (and is getting) a scooter for her birthday,  and that despite all my attempts to lure her with a bike she has stuck to her guns.   That she is determined to the point of bloody-mindedness.   That she knows all her letters and spelled her name, unasked, for the health visitor yesterday when we went to say goodbye.  That she makes friends everywhere we go.  That she is entirely happy with who she is.

Happy Birthday, my wonderful girl. xxxx

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Oh help! What's for lunch?

I've suddenly realised that my first proper week of unemployment starts tomorrow and that in just over ten days I'll be a full-time mum (we're leaving the girls in nursery on Thursday and Friday next week to allow time for packing ('cos I can pack up my house in two days, easy)).

I've got all sorts of worries about this:  will I lose my identity? Will B respect me if I'm not contributing to the family income? Will the girls respect me when they're grown up? Will I respect me when I can't remember who the prime minister is?  What on earth am I going to do with all that empty time???

But I've suddenly realised that I've given no thought at all to the biggie:  What on earth am I going to feed them?

I'm going to have to provide three delicious, nutritious meals a day, every day.  No respite: no "Oh well, they're going to nursery tomorrow, I won't have to think about it"; no "They eat a varied diet at nursery, so fishfingers for the third time this week won't kill them"

So this is a plea for advice.... what do you feed your children? And, more specifically what do you feed them for lunch?   Even I can make a piece of toast and put some cereal in a bowl at breakfast and I have a repertoire of things I feed them at suppertime* (it's remarkably the same as the stuff my mother used to feed me) but my brain goes blank on lunch.

I think the problem is that it's so long since I ate anything other than a sandwich or soup for lunch that I can't think beyond that.  But somehow I instinctively feel that a sandwich isn't sufficient if you're sixteen months old, and I'm not sure my kitchen floor would survive me giving them soup (even assuming L would eat it).  But I'm also not sure if I'm supposed to be giving them a proper hot meal at lunchtime too.  Am I?

So, please help!  Hints, tips, recipes...any and all gratefully received.


*Things I feed my children:  shepherds pie, fish pie, spag bol, Annabel Karmel's chicken sausages (actually I make them into chicken burgers), AK's salmon rosti, the ubiquitous fishfingers (used to be home-made pre-A and S, now I am Captain Birdseye's most loyal fan), sausages, risotto (they actually tend to get that one for lunch), roast dinner if we're all having it (so not very often then), beans on toast, jacket potatoes, eggy bread, erm... that's it.  It's not wildly exciting is it?

Secret Post Club - April

Check this out!

This is my Secret Post Club Parcel from the lovely Helen (I've been cyber stalking her - she didn't actually put her name on my parcel, but it's on her blog...) at Icklebabe.

Just look at it:  See the lovely stripey bag she's wrapped it in, and the little ribbon with its button that she's put on the corner, and the envelope which has a sparkly card inside, and then the beautiful hand made lavender bags, with more stunning ribbons and cute buttons.  Seems a shame both that you can't smell them (they're tantalising my nose as I type) and that they're going to end up in  my distinctly underwhelming underwear drawer.  Oh well, maybe I'll have underwear to match one day...

A million thanks to the very clever Helen, who has some even more amazing things on her website.  And even more thanks to Heather who has once again done an amazing job and who I hope is sent something utterly lovely this month.

Friday, 16 April 2010

A week of hats.

I have not been entirely wasting my time this week.

Here is a small gallery of my creations (some not entirely finished...):

And, for completeness' sake, here are the other two I made on the first course but didn't finish at the time:

The boater-y one:

and the tarantula-ry one (bit of an experiment. Not sure it works...better on the head than the table though)

Comments (and orders in due course!) welcome.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Does having children make you happier?

I get my girls back tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to it.  In fact, I'm really looking forward to it. 

But I've also really enjoyed this week.  And if I'm honest, I haven't really missed them.  I have loved my millinery course and I have loved doing the sort of things we used to do before we were parents.  We have done something every night this week: we have had dinner with our neighbours, who (like the song says) have become good friends in the five years we have lived here, we have been to the cinema, we have had friends round for dinner, we've even been to the opera... 

That's normally about six months' worth of activities and we've done it in a week.  And it's been fun.

But more than what we have done, what strikes me is what we, or in fact I, have not done.  I have not been provoked to murderous, blood-boiling, rage.  I have not raised my voice.  I have not been worried.  I have not had to repeat myself fifteen times.  I have had to deal with nobody's bodily functions other than my own. I have cooked no fishfingers.

I have been calm and rational and content.

And so I have been wondering whether I would actually have been happier had we never had children.

Now, I can't actually answer that question.  Because I do have children. And a week without them doesn't mean that I have really been without them. I am a mother.  It is part of who I am, and it tempers everything I do and think and say.  My girls came from me, and although I no longer physically carry them with me, they are, nonetheless, always present.  I can no more understand what it would be like to be without them than I can, really, understand what it would be like to to be an elephant.  I can empathise, or sympathise, or imagine, but I can't understand.

So I looked it up.  If you Google my question you get sixty-four and a half million hits (this may actually be the real sixty-four million dollar question) so I'm clearly not alone in wondering.  I clicked on a few of the first to come up....

"Parents experience lower levels of emotional well-being, less frequent positive emotions and more frequent negative emotions than their childless peers,"
says Newsweek.  The Times agrees:
"numerous scholars have found evidence that parents often report statistically significantly lower levels of happiness, life satisfaction, marital satisfaction and mental wellbeing compared with non-parents."
Which seems pretty straightforward really.

But then I think.

And I think that what I have been this week is content.  And then I think about spending time with my girls, worrying, frustrating, annoying as they can be.  And I think about all the millions of moments we have had and hopefully will have with them.  And about just one, unexciting, ordinary moment in the northbound services on the M6 toll road about four weeks ago.  7.30 am.  Been up since 5.  Sun streaming through the windows.  Mmm Bop on the cheesy service station speaker system.  All three of my girls crawling around, giggling.

And I knew, in that moment, sublime happiness.  Us, and our girls, and the sunshine and the cheesy pop.

And I think I wouldn't swap those moments for a lifetime of contentedness.

I think.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The Gallery - (blurry) Joy

I've had a rule, since I started blogging, not to put mine, or my children's faces up here.  But then Tara said "Joy".

And if I hadn't already posted it last week, I'd have used that one.

As it is, it just had to be this. Out of focus as it is (you try taking an in focus picture of two babies bouncing in their cots). Because this, for me, is joy. 

(And for them, joy is Daddy saying


You're smiling aren't you?

Enjoy, because no more full-face pictures for a while.  But there are more joyous pictures in the Gallery here.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

I vant to be alone. Or do I?

I am alone. 

Shall I say that again?

I am alone in my house.  There is no one else here.  Just me.    And an awful lot of tidying and sorting out.

I honestly can't remember the last time I was actually alone.  It was certainly pre-A and S, which means it's over sixteen months since I sat in my house, on my own, with no-one else in it.

I have been looking forward to this moment, to this week, for a while now.  I finished work on Friday (new-look blog, new-look description of me and what I do, possibly even new-look name if I can think of one coming up just as soon as I can cast off my luddite tendencies and make it work), and I am enrolled in Millinery 2 this week.  This means that this week my heroic mother is having my children ALL WEEK.

I have been so excited. In fact I've probably been downright unpleasant in my smugness at having a week all to myself and B.  And in fact, it'll feel more like all to myself, because not only has he heroically taken them to my mother's (leaving me to tidy up and start the pre-move de-cluttering, ahem) but he'll be at work, so at the beginning and end of the day, my time will really be my own.

So, as I say, I have really been looking forward to it.

And then, this morning, I realised something.  I've got to spend a whole week without my children.  And I don't want them to go. Even when L was being hideous this morning, there was a part of me thinking "but I don't want you to go".
But then the odd thing. Did I make the most of the day we had together? Did I spend lovely quality time with my beautiful, much-adored children? Did we reaffirm our familial bond and love for each other? 

We did not.

I was just the same as I always am.  Concentrating on the washing up, the tidying, the getting dressed, the packing.  Are they eating enough? Not enough? At the right time? Are they playing nicely? Who snatched what? Who needs to say sorry? Do this. Don't do that. 

Come and give me a cuddle.

Why do I do this? Why can I know, and feel, one thing, and yet do and say another? How can I simultaneously long for this week to come, and yearn for it to be over?

Forget the battle between working and non-working mums (in which number, lest I forget, I must now count myself).  I think my biggest battle will remain between my all-consuming love for my children, and my just as demanding selfish needs.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

The Gallery - Ugly?

This is ugly.

I have shown this picture to people who have recoiled in horror.   This is an act of extreme violence.  Grievous bodily harm.  A gross, and potentially fatal, assault on my body.

There is blood.  There is screaming.  One might assume there is pain.

There is my belly looking like a butcher's off-cut.

But there is also A.

Is this ugly?


See the rest of this week's hideous offerings in The Gallery here

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

M(oving) minus 22 days

So here's another little picture of what I'm leaving behind.

My back garden.  It's a sunny day, and this is mostly what it looks like on sunny days.

Please ignore the slightly greasy window.  I'm moving out, cleaning the windows is not a priority...

Monday, 5 April 2010

The twubble with spelling

L is, for the avoidance of doubt, the cleverest, most beautiful and most advanced nearly 3-year-old in the Western Hemisphere.  I'd say the planet, but you'd think I was biased...

Anyway, the point is, she knows all her letters.  The problem though is she can't say them all.  A, B and C are ok, as are L, M, N and the other 18.  The tricky ones are those pesky Ws and Rs.

Hence this conversation with B:

L:  Daddy, please may you draw a D for Daddy for me...
L:  and a L for Lucy...
L:  and a W

B:  a W for Water?

L: No, Daddy, you know,  a  W for wRiggle...

I think it may be a while before we manage to sort that one out.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Happy Birthday. Have a nice life.

It was my best friend's birthday this week. I didn't see her.  In fact, I didn't even send her a card.  This is not just because I'm utterly rubbish (although I am). She's moved recently to New York, and I don't (or thought I didn't) have her new address.

But it's got me thinking about our relationship, and the likelihood that it will be a very long time before I actually see her again for all that we are regularly in touch, and from that to how many friends I am going to lose over this move...

But back to my best friend.  To be honest, that description's a bit of artistic licence because she's not really my best friend any more, although she's still special to me, and I hope I am to her.  We were inseparable at university after we bonded over a pair of rubbish boys (one (hers) now married to another mutual friend, and the other (never actually mine, but I lived in hope) missing, presumed somewhere in the UK.)  But since university we've gone our separate ways. She's had to work exceptionally hard, and often anti-social hours, to get to the successful place she is now, and I was doing all the mundane mummy stuff that fills up your day and your mind without you knowing, and the result is that our lives have just drifted apart, as they do.  We both know this, and although it is sad, I realise that that is the way things go.

But now, it will be even less likely that we will see each other.   She will be in New York, I will be in Scotland. When she comes back to the UK it will be to London where her family and many of her friends are, and if that doesn't happen to coincide with when I'm here, we are unlikely to meet... 

In a way I'm not too worried.  We will stay in touch and when it matters we will make that effort and we will see each other.

But what of the others? What of the people I have worked with for the last ten years, or the women I have shared the first few years of our children's lives with, or the neighbours who I have got to know so well living in this house?

Because a lot of them I will say goodbye to in less than four weeks' time, and then I will, literally, never see them again.  Oh, we might send Christmas cards, or keep in touch on facebook, or if I'm very brave I'll give them this blog address and they can keep in touch with my witterings that way, but it's not the same. These are people I've seen four or five times a week.

Now there are lots of people that I know I will see, because they are lovely, and I love them, and they have already booked in their dates to visit us, or we have plans to see them when we are down, or we will be on the phone and sorting something out just as soon as the first boxes are unpacked. 

And there are other people where I realise that our friendships are superficial, and we would have slipped apart anyway.   Someone said to me the other day "Well, I guess we won't see each other again, good luck".  I stood there, mouth agape, unsure what to say. It seemed so final.  We're not that close, and I'm sure there are other people to whom I have been closer and with whom I have lost touch. But to say it, out loud, seemed almost violent. 

But at least it was honest. Is it better to do, and be, that than to make promises of keeping in touch, calling regularly, making efforts to see them when I'm down  here, when I know in my heart of hearts that there are a (largeish) handful of people who really fit into that category and the others, well, I am very fond of them, but there just isn't going to be time...?  And how do I choose?  How can I tell?  Because I suspect that there are some people who I will lose despite my hope and efforts.

Realistically, I know that this is just the same, though happening over a quicker time-frame, as what has happened between me and the best friend.  Friendships change, we change, we move on or away, we have different interests, and different friends for different stages of our lives.  But this feels different. These are people who I'm not drifting away from.  I am breaking these relationships and walking away from them deliberately.  And I'm not just doing it to my friends.  L and A and S, but particularly L, all have friends here, and some of them they too will never see again.  And how on earth do I begin to explain that to them?

On the upside - if you're reading this, and you know me, and you've secretly been wanting to get rid of me for is your opportunity.

This sculpture is actually entitled Welcome Home and it's at Fleetwood in Lancashire. I didn't take it. I found it at