The memory box

Folding the letter she gently smoothed the sheet of paper under her fingers feeling beneath them dryness of age that had affected it. Eyes too poor to read it now, nevertheless she knew every word by heart having devoured it so often over the years, now carefully stored with so many others and only now seeing light of day.

HARRY!

Closing her eyes his face flashed into her mind, hazy now as she struggled after so long to keep his features sharp and clear, she was losing him to time she knew that and the thought made her smile sadly. So long ago yet brief moments of clarity would invade her thoughts, his smile cutting through the fog and making it seem like only yesterday and then he was gone again leaving her with only these tangible memories. 

Sighing softly she replaced the pages into the large carved wooden box, fingers brushing a small packet as she did so drawing it slowly towards her before cupping it gently in her wrinkled palms and clasping it to her chest.  ‘Not long my love’ she thought to herself ‘Soon, it shall be soon’

Leaving the packet unopened she returned it quickly to the box, thrusting it inside as guilt burned and she slightly afraid of being discovered although she knew she would not be, nobody came any more. A splash of bright colour caught her eye and she reached towards a garish painted picture of a child’s hand with crude scrawl underneath depicting the artist’s name.

Ella.

Another smile, eyes warming briefly before the light quickly faded, no Ella was long gone and this just yet another memory of things come and gone in her many years of being. Sadness less sharp as each year went by panged momentarily before she dismissed it and returned the picture to lie back along its fellow inhabitants of the cluttered old box. 

Her worn gaze swept over the small grizzled teddy bear and the beribboned letters, oh she had been so popular in her day with her many suitors all begging for a smile, a glance, some sign of recognition from her but almost from the first she had only had eyes for him. Sweeping an errant lock of hair from her forehead she leaned further over the box disturbing the contents in her hunt for the one thing she sought. She needed to find it, to bring him close again before her failing mind refused to remember what she was looking for and left her in that absent place where nothing mattered any more. 

There! There it was.  Her heart leapt as she found the one thing she wanted and fingers rapidly cleared the dust from the front of the small framed picture. Lovingly she gazed at the sun bleached photograph, yellow with age, showing a young couple smiling shyly at each other.He resplendent in some bygone uniform showing duty to his country and she delicately pretty in florals and lace, bonnet trailing from fingers gently clasped between his.

Harry.

Even as she gazed the fog came and eyes clouded over, picture already forgotten falling into her lap and memories of him vanishing like mist in the sun. In the shadows of the room a figure waited, brass buttons shining on a uniform of old, boyish face echoing the love reflected earlier on hers. He could wait, he’d waited such a long time that a little longer would not hurt. 

‘Soon my love’ he smiled ‘ i shall see you soon’ 

The power of a word

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I wonder how often we ever stop and think about the things we say. Most of us very rarely do unless we are aware, due to conscience, that what we are about to say is offensive or hurtful. Sadly even then there are those with none, who just do not care and will say whatever they wish regardless of consequence or resulting feelings. Even knowing they are causing hurt to others is of no matter since they feel little empathy for the other person and pay no heed to the results of their actions. 

Ordinarily i am not a person to pay mind to the cutting words or tones of others and have over the years developed a disregard for the negative opinions of those around me. Having always been a strong personality with more than a little resilience, i wear a very thick skin with all the aplomb of an armoured knight of Medieval England. Lately however, perhaps due to a very stressful period in my life i find that where once i should smile and ignore, i find i now take more to heart than i did before. Strangers i more easily can forgive but not so those verbal wounds from those closer to me. Unless for good reason one does not expect to be on the receiving end of an unkind comment or harsh tone of voice from a friend or loved one. 

So often lately i find myself biting my tongue and apologising profusely where once a simple heartfelt ”i’m sorry” would have sufficed. It seems these days people are not so ready to accept an apology unless it comes so often as to be almost of begging and pleading proportions. Forgiveable yes when the apology is merely a platitude but is it so forgiveable when the apology is a genuine one?  I myself am not a lover of discord and conflict and often will remain secretly agitated by an unpleasant situation even if i pretend on the surface that i am not. Yes, i confess i am one of those who sleeps badly at the slightest upset in my life these days, perhaps as the result of a metaphoric straw upon an already overloaded camels’ back. Perhaps a lifetime of being the peacemaker and backing down for the sake of harmony is wearing thinner than it should.  Yes i confess i secretly nurse the odd hurt although i hide it well since to confess it often draws out the cause and in turn makes it all the worse.

Yes it seems we really have lost the ability to be nice to each other. It seems that verbal abuse, cutting tones and blatant name calling are the norm of the day with once derogatory names such as ‘bitch’ now being used in everyday language as an acceptable term to refer to ones female friends. Not a term i can say i wish to be referred to by. If it is the norm for you to open your mouth and something unkind or unpleasant come from it perhaps then it says more about you as a person than about me. However often i hear this and no matter how much i try and pretend otherwise i cannot lie and say it does not hurt and even knowing that sometimes the comments were made in jest do not detract from their meaning nor their destination.

Myself i think i prefer to remain silent. I was taught by a very good kind person that it is better to say nothing than to say something unpleasant and i hold firmly to those principles. Whilst i will defend if attacked i will never knowingly inflict on others anything hurtful that has the intent to cause bad feeling. I shall not lie for i believe honesty to be a must in all cases no matter the consequences but i shall not deliberately set out to hurt another with the force of my words.

Profanity and abuse may be the norm in todays society but only if we continue to subscribe to it. Somewhere along the line someone has to take a stand and lead by example by refraining from doing as others do. Words are a most powerful weapon and used in the wrong hands can wound with invisible scars. A most famous quote springs to mind ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ , i wonder had the author seen todays society he might have changed just a little and quoted ‘the spoken word is mightier than the sword’

Words…will yours hurt or heal today??

Happy Birthday to You

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So another birthday comes along. Another year has gone on its merry way, another ring has been added to the tree of my life.

I have to confess i do not much like birthdays, that is to say i love to celebrate other peoples but i am far from having any fond feelings for my own. Too many unpleasant memories are barely tempered by slightly more enjoyable ones of late. Alas the negative wins out by sheer number for want of any other reason.

As perhaps is typical i mourned the loss of another year and then began to ponder my place in life in relevance to my remaining years. At first, of course,  it was easily done to follow the thought paths leading to wondering how many years i may have left and whether i will achieve the many things i would like to within my lifetime. Where will i be ten years from now? What will i be? Who will i love?

Strangely unbidden a quote popped into my head that much disturbed my train of thought and i wondered perhaps if we are so guilty of forever wanting more that we forget to live and enjoy the life we actually have.

 “First give time to your love, family and friends. Who will remember your presentations, meetings, degrees and overtime after you died?”

I have no idea why that thought popped in my head and i sat and mused about it for a while. Whilst it is true that those very famous of us may be remembered for the things we did, the rest of us in general will not. Of all the people who are no longer in my life i confess i do not particularly remember what they did as a career, nor do i know their qualifications or if they were given awards or recommendations. Yet what i do remember long after they are gone is the kind of people they were and the roles they held in my life. For that i miss them greatly and yet for no other reason than that. They may have achieved great things, true enough, yet strangely it matters very little now that they are no longer here and those deeds have long since faded. Yet i shall remember those people and yes in many cases miss them greatly just for the kind of people that they were. 

I wondered then how i should like to be remembered when i am gone. Am i so guilty of wanting that which i do not have that i forget to be happy about what i have in the here and now. Perhaps it is all too easy to take for granted what you have, to assume you will always have it and to continually keep on reaching for the greener grass on the other side of the fence. Yet as i realised recently, assuming something is a constant in your life is easy until you see a glimpse of what your life would be without it. A thought we should all consider far more often than we do i think.

There is no doubt that we all need dreams. They give us purpose and give us something to make our lives worthwhile. Strangely though, we often do not realise that the happiest things we dream about most are often those things right under our very noses. It is not until we are in danger of losing them that we realise they are dreams at all. It may be something to consider that perhaps a dream does not cease to be a dream just because we attain it.

So another ring on my tree and if i take a rather maudlin moment to consider my mortality i shall adjust my perception and place a little greater importance on leaving a reason to be missed. No you will not remember my qualifications or my career. You will quickly forget any achievements that i made or even if i became famous. But what you will not forget, i know, is the small way in which i touched your life and hopefully made a difference. 

It only takes one person to keep a memory alive. Have you touched anyones life enough to be theirs?

Adventures with a Bionic Fatty

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Well you guessed it i’m still here. Like some homeless inebriate clinging to the last vestiges of warmth at the local AA meeting i’m still lingering on the fringes of diet land with nowhere else to go. Clocking in at the 150s (pounds not kilos!!) before christmas provided a small whoop of joy before my treat starved body latched itself firmly to a much anticipated tin of Quality Street. Welding with all the tenacity of a rock growing barnacle, i firmly ensconced myself upon twiglet boyfriends sofa and began a long denied trip to chocolate heaven. Whilst this definitely delighted me the squeals of dismay from my skinny self were  muffled into oblivion by the sounds of my determined chomping. No doubt a familiar scene as many of us indulged way beyond the sensible in true Christmas abandon and worried about the regrets as the chimes of New Year rang in. 

So 2013 blows in and i guiltily step onto the scales, peeking through my fingers to hide the inevitable weight gain. I confess with the amount i ate i was easily expecting 5 or 6 pounds but my gleeful shriek at 1.8lbs startled the cat and awoke my nemesis. I have an overdeveloped sense of hearing you see, much in the way that animals can hear sounds on a level that humans cannot, so can i. But it is not whistles and supersonic bat calls that reach my level of hearing, oh no! My bionic hearing is tuned to a pitch that perfectly picks up the tantalising cries of……the cookie!! Just when i think i am safe its sirens call will hypnotize me into the kitchen, force cookies into my resisting paws and lure me into eating them against my will. I am sure that were it not for my bionic hearing i should by now be the super slim size 8 i wish to be instead of languishing as a paltry size 10. 

I confess i should have been much more impressed had my super powers been more awe inspiring. I’m not sure they will ever write a book about the adventures of Panda and her talking cookie but you have to admit it would prove rather interesting. So as i hop up and down on the scales and will them to go lower i stick my fingers in my ears and loudly chant ”LA LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!” Fortunate for me that my neighbours are not passing by as i am not sure what they should make of a semi naked woman hopping up and down with her fingers in her ears talking to herself!!

Chewing doggedly on a plate of lettuce some time later i am mentally telling myself ”pretend its chocolate, pretend it’s chocolate” whilst dreaming of a lovely pair of new boots. Of course lettuce doesn’t taste anything like chocolate and in reality all it does is make you pee since it is mostly water after all. Good for you right?? 

One day they will start an addicts club and i shall stand up in all my shame and say ”Hi there, my name is Amanda, im a Bionic Fatty and a cookieaholic!!

Who ate all the pies?

diet-christmas

Yes girls its christmas, a dieters dread and guilty delight. Usually by now i’ve stocked up on so much food that the local barracks are considering me as a siege base should we ever get invaded. This year i’ve been a little more restrained although there are plenty of goodies still in store, i’ll just be shoving more of it in the direction of super slim boyfriend and mentally wiring my own jaws shut. 

But its christmas right? You cant not indulge to some extent and after 7 months of dieting and a 42lb weight loss im more than due something nicer to eat than lettuce! So as i’m happily dreaming of mince pies and chocolates eaten watching a movie, my bubble is firmly burst with the advent of todays email.

Oh look, a diet email from Jenny Craig telling me i can lose lots of weight *twinge of guilt*

Oh look another lose 7lbs by christmas email! *bigger prod of guilt*

Oh and another on how to survive the christmas holidays without gaining weight AARRGGHHH!! Okay okay i feel guilty i’ll have lettuce with my turkey and i’ll only sniff the chocolate tin once or twice!! PLEASE don’t send the ghost of January diet future after me i promise i’ll be good!!

amazing-difference

Actually theyre getting earlier this time. Usually they at least wait until the 2nd of January! I’ll be sitting with mince pie in hand, happily ensconced infront of the tv when the letter box will rattle. Heaving up my christmas tummy i’ll waddle off into the hallway to retrieve the Slimming world leaflet from the floor. This is shortly followed by Weight Watchers, Shapes and a leaflet from the gym. By now im hiding under the stairs trying to furtively eat my mince pie whilst sucking in my stomach and clenching my buttocks, mentally muttering ”i’ll go next week ,really i will”.

This year oh no! This year its different they’ve clearly decided i’m going to gain weight before i’ve even eaten anything!! So this week despite being pretty much at  goal weight and a much slimmer size 10/12 i’m munching faithfully on a lettuce mountain trying to take off a few pounds to use as a buffer. Okay take me away guv i confess i done it, it was me *holding hands out for handcuffs* 

So post christmas whilst twiglet of a boyfriend bewails his non existant stomach i shall be firmly holding mine in, giving him doleful looks and envying his super metabolism whilst malevolently cursing my own. Don’t worry Jenny i will be back on a diet in January i promise…now where are those mince pies??

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We wish you a merry christmas

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Christmas. The most famous widely known holiday of the year.With less that a week to go  most of us really are on the home stretch and getting rather into the holiday spirit. No doubt you have your presents wrapped and a gaily twinkling tree adorns one corner of a room in your home. Your turkey is ordered and invites have gone out to auntie doris and uncle bert, after all someone has to entertain grandma right?

Im sure you picture everyone seated around the table, passing food from hand to hand as you all squabble over who has more potatoes than whom. Wrapping paper colorfully strewn amongst the piles of presents despite a frazzled mothers best attempts to clear it up. Yes im sure this christmas scene is one we are all very familiar with, isnt it? Or is it?

My thoughts drift to christmases past when  they were so far removed from the merry scene i described. Memories of christmases alone, sometimes with a christmas dinner for one and sometimes with nothing more adventurous than a sandwich in a cold single room. Interminably long the day stretched and back when i was young i cried, i am not ashamed to admit that i did, never will you feel more lonely than on a christmas day alone. Older solo christmases i did not cry, for i had learned by then that i was still fortunate, much more so than some. 

Having experienced life on the streets and the harsh relentless life it affords my thoughts turn to those poor souls as soon as the weather turns cold. Suddenly presents and turkey do not seem so important and i remind myself that despite a hard year i actually have much to be grateful for. Had my life not changed the way it did and taken a more happy route, i could still have been one of those unfortunate people and not where i am now. While you are eating your turkey let your thoughts dwell a moment on those with no families, the elderly or the young. Those who will spend christmas alone forgotten and unloved. 

Yes christmas is a happy time and a time for giving yet so few of us see or care about those who need it most. Next time you pass a homeless person begging for change ask yourself can i REALLY not spare any? Would i really want someone to refuse to meet my eye and hurry past if that were me sitting there in their place? Oh we’ve all heard the stories, how the street dwellers spend any money given on drink and drugs, but who are we to decide how another spends their money. In truth in their place would you not want to drink and block out the reality of your existence? i’m sure many of you would. 

Next time you pass someone worse off than you, reach out a hand and help. Say a special thank you this christmas, not for the gifts and the food but for the fact that you are lucky enough to have a life that includes them. 

Merry christmas to one and all 

Great Expectations

                       

If you had asked me to describe myself i could think of many words to do so. Perhaps they may differ somewhat from those other people would use for me but still there are some that would not have automatically come to mind unless i thought about it for  a while. Optimistic has always been a word i would apply to myself and for the most part i am very much so yet much recent musing has led me to realise i am also very much of a cynic and a pessimist. Such a strange contradiction for surely one cannot be both, can you? 

For myself i believe they can and that both do apply in my own case. Steadfastly determined to see the bright side of every situation i refuse to let things drag me down. Unerringly strong and dependable and definitely very much of a go to gal. I was once told i’m the kind of girl you need around in a crisis which pleased me greatly for i have never been the fall apart kind. Yet under this optimism and positivity i have to admit lurks a slightly less Pollyanna view of the world that i do not often acknowledge nor admit to.

We are alI a product of our life experiences and through mine i learned long ago never to expect anything of anyone or of life in general. This may sound awfully negative but my experience has been that in setting expectations you are frequently let down by people and situations themselves.This in turn has yet another effect upon the person you are and often not for the better. If you go along your merry path with no prior preconceptions or wants then you will never be disappointed but will only gain the opportunity to be pleasantly surprised along the way.

Admittedly i confess that the surprises are few since the people i have encountered are invariably  not of the positively life changing kind. Still all the more significant then when every once in a while someone comes along to break the mould and make me revise my opinion somewhat. Still the further down the road you walk you cannot help but don a little armour to protect you from the definitely expected and if your steps become a little weary you would no doubt be forgiven for that. 

Perhaps modern life itself is to blame for people no longer have the care for others that once was such an inherent part of their nature. Selfishness more frequently lurks behind every thought and action and rarely do a lot of us put other people before ourselves. Those that do frequently are trampled upon and taken for granted instead of appreciated and thanked. One would be forgiven then as such a person for becoming much disillusioned and unappreciated and set to wondering why they should bother at all.

But optimism prevails and whilst i will never look very far forward and dream and plan as others do i will never fail to make the best of what does come my way. Those rare surprises will be valued and appreciated and whilst i may secretly smother a small hope in some direction and would never turn away the chance for it to become reality i will never take it for granted that it may one day be so. Many say we need dreams and things to aspire to and yes perhaps in this harsh modern society of ours this is so but what we need more is the wisdom to distinguish between that which can become a reality and that which cannot. 

Yes i am definitely and optimist, but a pessimistic one at that. 

mission impossible

Being pro green doesnt mean i suddenly develop an amazing memory infact i cant be terribly scatty at times for such an organized person. Take this morning, plodding my way down the stairs stifling a yawn, tripping over my giant sized pyjama legs as i go i heard an all too familiar clinking and crashing sound coming from the next street THE RECYCLERS!! Now i do recycle as you know and i’m rather good i separate things into correct boxes, well i call them boxes but after the asda van merrily rolled over mine some time ago i find i’ve had to improvise and now have a strange assortment of crates and bags in which to put everything. What i am terrible at is remembering to put the darned things out before i go to work and im usually gone by 7am when the big recycling orchestra comes tinkling and clanking down my street, but not today. Oh no not today!! I actually stopped at the bottom of the stairs and said RECYCLERS!!! to myself before tripping out of the back doors, pivoting in the garden and flying back though for the garage key, standing on a most indignant cat waiting for his breakfast as i went. Now Tom Cruise would’ve recruited me on the spot here as i scaled the contents of the garage before sliding over a mattress and landing in a heap next to a pile of empty kitekat tins. Anything guaranteed to put you off breakfast is the faint aroma of long used sardines and the nauseating waft of turkey and duck in tantalising jelly. Yes not so tantalising at 7am when your bum is on a cold stone floor and your nose is inches from the nearest tin can!! So rescuing my butt from the floor i carefully opened the garage door halfway hissing at it to HUSH as it screeched gleefully on its hinges,announcing to all in earshot that i was about to emerge.In my best mission impossible style i peered under the door making sure the recyclers werent standing at the end of my drive arms akimbo, tapping one foot in a ‘what do we have here’ manner, grabbed the nearest crate, limboed under the door and hurtled down the drive trying to reach the end  before some man in yellow caught me crate in hand displaying all my guilt. Of course it had to be wet so there am i, crate loudly going clinky clanky, socks going splishy splashy and praying madly that i didnt trip over my trouser legs before i reached my destination and avoid further embarrassment. I confess i must’ve looked a comical sight in giant pyjamas stumbling furtively up and down the drive before diving under the safety of the garage door, doing a quick reconnaissance before emerging with the next load to be hurriedly deposited with the rest. I think once the pile grew to the size of a small armchair i had to abandon the mission and plodge at speed back into the house, once again standing on a most disgruntled cat before hiding behind the curtains to watch and see if the recycling mountain was disposed of by the lovely men in yellow. My guilt forces me to confess they really didnt look impressed and i had to duck from several glances towards the house but eventually the wagon rolled away somewhat more weighty than before and i breathed a sigh of relief and vowed to put out the boxes more often and avoid another mission impossible

Austen-tatious

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I know myself to be far from alone this weekend being totally immersed in the screening of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, sighing wistfully as the knee weakening Mr Darcy bestows on the most beautiful Elizabeth Bennet ‘THE look’  A tale much loved by me in both literary form and the visual adaptations which duly followed, i find myself drawn once again into the romance and propriety of Austen’s world with all the ease of donning a favourite cosy cardigan. I am a most old fashioned girl in all things pertaining to matters of the heart but also find great appeal in such decorum and wealth of manners and believe i should have felt most at home in this earlier period of time. Oh how very wonderful to be wooed by some dashingly handsome man emanating respect and to be duly afforded such correct behaviour as was my right. So very far removed from most gentlemen of my acquaintance today, and i hesitate to call them gentlemen, who are more likely with great ribaldry to request that i display some area of my anatomy for the entertainment of all present. So appealing too, those so articulate and eloquent, an art which these days i find is very much on the decline and the talent of conversation and wit is severely lacking in all but a few. Perhaps i move in the wrong circles having neither connection nor fortune to move in a society above my own but this does not prevent me from longing for the stimulation of intelligence and decorum that seems doomed to be lost in a bygone age. Little wonder women the world around sigh disconsolately and  take solace in a world so very far removed from our own. And forgive me if, just for a short while, i  join the ranks and submit to the smoulderingly charismatic charms of the irrepressible Mr Darcy.

back when i was ten

Back when i was ten the world seemed like such a weird and wonderful place. I lived in a world of books where rabbits could talk and tales of boarding school and tuck boxes were my things to aspire to. Oh i so wanted to go to boarding school, to be like those merry little characters in my books,causing mayhem and having untold adventures with exciting new friends. I dreamt of smugglers and sleeping on islands just like those five so famous and so real to me when young. For i believed everyone did this and quite happily made plans as sleep eluded me on many a night in bed. I sailed with amazons and fished with huck finn, solved mysteries untold and inevitably always made it home for breakfast as every hero should. Yes the world was a wonderful place back when i was ten.

Flying!! So much i wanted to be Wendy and soar over the tops of houses following a star and the ageless charming Peter, to battle with pirates and crocodiles,nary a care in the world but to live like the heros and heroines i so admired. I danced at the ball and lost my slipper on the stairs, fell in love with a beautiful beast. Cried inconsolably for The little Match Girl and made as merry as any with the infamous Robin hood.

Yes show me a book and i would dream you a dream, back then when i was ten. Yet perhaps i shall always be such an age as with each tale i am transported away finding solace in a world so far removed from my own. So exciting a life i lead within the realms of my own head as stories unfold and imagination takes over, heroine again of a fable not of my creation yet where i feel so very at home. 

As i pick up a book i find things have not much changed from back then when i was ten.

Through a door just like Alice

Curiouser and curiouser.

As far as the eye can see the doors stretch in an endless colourful sea, all so very different neither uniform nor alike. Some catch the eye more than others being gaudy and opulent, designed to draw the eye and the beholder like a magpie to some shiny coveted bauble. Others less assuming, meek and drab, so easily dismissed and passed by unless one had reason to tarry and examine them more closely. I cannot tarry i am looking for something.

I am here and this is me. My doors are there for a reason and each one hides behind it some memory or some thought that i have filed away for perusal at my leisure. Some doors do not stay shut and the contents seep around its edges reaching for my feet bidding me come and dwell a while within but i know i do not want to go there. Some inner sense of me alerts a warning that i know not from where but i shall heed it for it has been my constant companion and i know it almost as well as it knows me.

Something is seeking me or perhaps i am seeking it, i do not know. All i feel is that i am looking for something but i know not what, only that i shall know when i have found it. Behind this door then? So pretty and bright, leading me to think some rare happy memory resides within and i am happy to approach it. Even as my hand reaches out some instinct tells me this is not a happy place, some indistinct growl resonates from within stirring a familiar alarm making me snatch my outstretched hand away from its reach. Familiar a feeling yet i do not know what lives behind this door only that i do not want to go there. A lesson i have learned so well and i trust my instincts when they tell me what i cannot know.

A smaller door then? Something less obvious and unobtrusive and my eyes scan the row after row hoping something will stand out and suggest that i choose it but all remains as it was before. Nothing remarkable at all and i wonder that i should be so ordered when i sense such unseen chaos within. The nearest then and i choose one so small and dull as to be barely noticed, hesitating briefly before looking inside. This one i know, so small a feeling yet also so happy, still now frowning i realise it occupies so small a room. Why?

Door after door, some i will open but the greater i will not and i speed my steps to hasten my search. I must find it? But what? How strange this need to find something of which i am afraid and it leads me to frown as i turn this way and that with still no idea of where i am headed. I am afraid of this place i do not like to come here and i wish that i could turn and run back the way i came, back where it is safe. Yet i do not, cannot and so i must keep searching hoping i find what i seek before i am lost behind a door not of my choosing.

Doors, so many doors. An endless colourful sea of unassuming facades that stretch as far as the eye can see. I am here and here is me. Through a door just like Alice i chased my white rabbit and now i am lost save only for the grin of a cheshire cat who smiles yet does not smile.

I am here and this is me, i wonder can you find me?

Through a door just like Alice

Curiouser and curiouser.

As far as the eye can see the doors stretch in an endless colourful sea, all so very different neither uniform nor alike. Some catch the eye more than others being gaudy and opulent, designed to draw the eye and the beholder like a magpie to some shiny coveted bauble. Others less assuming, meek and drab, so easily dismissed and passed by unless one had reason to tarry and examine them more closely. I cannot tarry i am looking for something.

I am here and this is me. My doors are there for a reason and each one hides behind it some memory or some thought that i have filed away for perusal at my leisure. Some doors do not stay shut and the contents seep around its edges reaching for my feet bidding me come and dwell a while within but i know i do not want to go there. Some inner sense of me alerts a warning that i know not from where but i shall heed it for it has been my constant companion and i know it almost as well as it knows me.

Something is seeking me or perhaps i am seeking it, i do not know. All i feel is that i am looking for something but i know not what, only that i shall know when i have found it. Behind this door then? So pretty and bright, leading me to think some rare happy memory resides within and i am happy to approach it. Even as my hand reaches out some instinct tells me this is not a happy place, some indistinct growl resonates from within stirring a familiar alarm making me snatch my outstretched hand away from its reach. Familiar a feeling yet i do not know what lives behind this door only that i do not want to go there. A lesson i have learned so well and i trust my instincts when they tell me what i cannot know.

A smaller door then? Something less obvious and unobtrusive and my eyes scan the row after row hoping something will stand out and suggest that i choose it but all remains as it was before. Nothing remarkable at all and i wonder that i should be so ordered when i sense such unseen chaos within. The nearest then and i choose one so small and dull as to be barely noticed, hesitating briefly before looking inside. This one i know, so small a feeling yet also so happy, still now frowning i realise it occupies so small a room. Why?

Door after door, some i will open but the greater i will not and i speed my steps to hasten my search. I must find it? But what? How strange this need to find something of which i am afraid and it leads me to frown as i turn this way and that with still no idea of where i am headed. I am afraid of this place i do not like to come here and i wish that i could turn and run back the way i came, back where it is safe. Yet i do not, cannot and so i must keep searching hoping i find what i seek before i am lost behind a door not of my choosing.

Doors, so many doors. An endless colourful sea of unassuming facades that stretch as far as the eye can see. I am here and here is me. Through a door just like Alice i chased my white rabbit and now i am lost save only for the grin of a cheshire cat who smiles yet does not smile.

I am here and this is me, i wonder can you find me?

How Brief an Encounter

She paused in the doorway self-consciously smoothing down the unaccustomed skirt as though to make it longer than it actually was. Her toes curled in the unusually high new shoes as she nervously toyed with the clasp of the small bag she clutched to her like a shield before squaring her shoulders and surveying the gloomy little room. Blue eyes narrowed slightly in defence against the thick smog of cigarette smoke which assailed her yet she resisted the urge to waver in her composure and cough furiously as she would have liked to have done. She had attracted attention now as more than one pair of eyes turned in her direction, one slightly more lecherous in amongst the appreciative glances and she again felt the slightly uncomfortable awareness of the lack of length to her skirt.

Again her gaze swept the room, this time a little more apprehensively for she had imagined she would be able to pick him out more easily than this but none of those within seemed to fit the description she had of him. Too old, too fat, too lecherous. No none of these fit the bill and she momentarily considered leaving before an almost imperceptible movement from the corner of the room drew her gaze to amused dark eyes surveying her with interest. A wry twist to the mouth told her he knew of her discomfort and was amused by it, was she so obvious that this was the first time she had done this? She sighed heavily, were it not for the money she should never be frequenting a place such as this but circumstances had left her with no other option and nowhere else to turn. 

‘Come on girl you can get through this’ she told herself and a long lost sense of courage raised itself to the fore and bolstered her with a bravado she really did not feel. Pasting on a smile she walked slowly across the room, aware of the eyes upon her, not only the dark ones facing her but also from those she briefly passed. Dismissively she chose to ignore the smiles aimed at her and focused her attention upon the man she approached, she just wished he would smile! Anything to ease her nerves and calm the heart hammering so loudly in her chest. She prayed silently that he could not hear it as she reached his side and swallowed uneasily before summoning a smile. The amused expression deepened and he motioned her to the chair before him inviting her to sit which she gladly did before her shaking legs became obvious to him. A voice that melted her insides offered her a drink and she gratefully accepted, her glance sweeping his glass already half empty. Whisky she surmised, or brandy. No definitely whisky, he seemed the type for it. 

Regarding him over the rim of her glass she swallowed a mouthful feeling the liquid fire hit her empty stomach making her draw her breath in unaccustomed surprise. 

”Did you bring the money?”

Again that wry smile as the dark eyes laughed at her discomfort but he reached slowly into the inside of his jacket producing the envelope which he proffered in her direction. A man of few words she mused thoughtfully as she reached for it but he held onto it for just a second too long making her composure falter once again. She flushed her shame that financial gain had brought her here wondering for not the first time if she were really doing the right thing. Need won out and she dropped the envelope decisively into her bag snapping the clasp firmly shut before sliding forward in her seat and placing her palm upon his thigh. 

His eyebrows raised at the blatant action but he said nothing, merely watched as she met his gaze from beneath lowered lashes. Her eyes lowered to his lips and she licked her own, the tell-tale gesture the only indication of the direction her thoughts were taking. He grinned triumphantly knowing his desire to kiss her was reciprocated before standing and holding out his hand to her indicating it was time to take this further.

”So darling” he chuckled softly ” How was your day? Shall we go and buy those carpets” 

Invasion of the bodysnatchers

Sooooooooo you’re all expecting a post about the movie right?? Some far out musings of a science fiction nature?? Alas i am afraid you are going to be very disappointed, no aliens (almost) , no sci fi, no mind blowing action. Just a panda who isn’t a panda today.

I have been body snatched. Seriously!!

Its not meant to be obvious, i  look the same and i sound the same but little things will start to give themselves away that i am not really me after all. 6.30am was the start of the clues when the real me would tumble out of bed, stagger in the direction of the scales which would be duly cursed at before heading for morning ablutions. Pretend me opened  one eye, semi registered the time of 8am (see a giveaway, late already) before pulling the covers over my head and burying my face in the pillow. I have no idea what pretend me has been up to for the battery tanks are totally empty and the fuel gauge flashing a warning red. Personally i think they had to replace me in a hurry and didn’t get time to do an overnight charge, everyone knows new electricals need a 16hour charge before use right??

At this point real me would be gaining inspiration from an episode of The Biggest Loser whilst downing breakfast and pre gym coffee but pretend me was still face down in the pillow daydreaming and refusing to move. At least they got one thing right for real me can’t ever go back to sleep once awake and nor it seems can replacement me. Score one on the design front then! Swiftly followed by yet another glaringly obvious mistake since by 10am real me would have transformed into gym ninja and be happily bouncing along the road to the blaring tunes courtesy of Lifehouse, already planning the two hour gym session and humming tunelessly. 

Poor imitation me (i think they shop at Poundland) is slithering from the bed into a heap on the floor and absently noticing a long lost shoe from my unusually floor prone position before crawling in the direction of the smallest room in the house. You’d think they’d have had a little more design etiquette and done away with this tiresome necessity but perhaps there just was no time. Two coffees later (another glaring error) and replacement me is nibbling half heartedly on a rich tea biscuit having skipped breakfast entirely and disinterestedly surveying the prairie outside my back doors and musing the possibility of pretending to be a pioneer for the day. Admittedly the neighbours might stare if i skip outside in a long calico dress and a bonnet and start hitching up a wagon but hey i’m bodysnatched right??

Too much of a giveaway?? Maybe.

So while the real me is killing up in some alien gym somewhere, my other self is floating around on the internet and wondering whether to volunteer to help out my alter ego with a spot of housework. She seems to be pretty tidy this other me so i decide to leave well alone until i am more familiar with the way she works after all if i am to be her i have to act like her right. Still she has quite a few photographs of some good looking guy on her computer which i would rather look at that do her housework if i am honest. Perhaps this bodysnatching thing might be fun after all!! 

I must be very careful and not do anything too out of the ordinary for her since this will be sure to be noticed. Common sense tells me that perhaps hiding out here for reconnaissance purposes will be most adviseable at this point in time so for now i am going to lay low and survey my position. Stay tuned for further installments on the invasion of the bodysnatchers and be alert for we are everywhere. You never know when we might come for YOU!!

The downside of weight loss

Yes its all been totally amazing, the pounds are melting off and i’m heading towards the body i always wanted. Whilst this is all so positive and the urge to hop up and down with delight there are however one or two downsides to getting slim…

1) You occupy less space in the bath therefore needing more water for a long soak. All well and good but in the end this costs more. I find i am somewhat of a mermaid, i love my bath and am not good at doing a quick paddle so i guess i shall have to live with the penalties.

2) You get to eat less and i mean a WHOLE lot less!! For someone with a raging sweet tooth like me this was pretty hard at first and the smaller you get the less you need to consume. Tragedy in itself when the purchase of a much loved Krispy Kreme Donut requires considerable deliberation and more often than not lands on the NO side of the argument. If ever you pass a Krispy Kreme and you see some woman with her nose pressed firmly against the glass then this will be me.

                      Image

3) You know the calorie content of almost everything in the supermarket and could quite happily win a series of Mastermind experting on the subject. Supermarket trips take twice as long as you scour the labels and manage a three minute mile past the bakery section. 

4)You suddenly find yourself looking like you are wearing someone elses clothes and feel a sudden need to run out and purchase vast amounts of belts while silently praying the sack look is in this season. You awkwardly become aware your trousers are too big right in the middle of a fast paced gym class as they begin merrily creeping down your hips. The rest of the class passes with you mentally praying ‘please dont fall down’ in time to the music.

5) You occupy less room on a bus seat and when that ‘oh no’ person boards he quite happily shoves himself on the seat next to you. Desperately praying please dont sit here does little to help and you suddenly wish you were not so slim after all. 

6) Cosy nights infornt of the tv and early morning lie ins are replaced with killer gym sessions and a mad desire to take off on very long walks whilst humming along tunelessly to your ipod. Missed gym sessions are accompanied by feelings of intense guilt and increased activity the next day. 

7) Chocolate becomes an alien concept

8) You suddenly find your vocabulary consists of far more utterances of the word NO than of the word YES.

9) You encounter strange lumps on your body and panic that you may be a member of an alien species.Only after much googling do you realise they are called ribs and hips and you spend considerable time prodding them in fascination. 

                           

10) You suddenly start feeling the cold and wonder if some arctic front has swept over the country without anyone telling you. Sitting down on hard surfaces becomes considerably less comfortable as your inbuilt seat cushion slowly dissipates. 

11) You find yourself looking at chicken fillets and push up bras and hold a remembrance service for your dearly departed bosom

12) You eat your vegetables without someone standing over you and telling you that you’ll grow big and strong if you do. Lettuce far from being something you feed to your pet bunny becomes a frequent visitor to your plate and you horror stuck hear your own voice uttering the word YUMMY as you eat it.

13) You find an odd desire to watch the adverts mostly because they are mostly calorie laden forbidden foods and then feel guilty for the mental ten pounds you put on whilst watching

14)  You stop biting your nails because you cant find anywhere on the internet that tells you how many calories are in them.

They say there is a flip side to everything and as the positive moments stack up so do the negatives. Perhaps it is only my own quirky take on life that leads me to see these things or perhaps i just need to peel my nose away from Krispy Kreme and go and eat one. Maybe a treat then when i reach my final destination but for now pass me the pineapple…..

inuit and pandas and loudly ticking clocks

Usually i dont mind being awake at 5am, often the early night prior results in waking far earlier than intended but it is usually so peaceful that i quite enjoy being the only one braving the wee small hours. Today not so, for some reason i was bone crackingly cold on retiring to bed and sleep eluded me for quite some time and an hour later curled in a ball trying to get warm i drifted off to dreams of inuit and ice fishing which were not particularly comforting to say the least. I cant quite imagine myself as nanook of the north and whilst i dont detest the cold i confess i feel it easily and do not embrace it well i think myself more of an autumn girl all cosy and colourful. So needless to say waking at 5am was not particularly welcomed, although i admit to being somewhat more temperate i awoke feeling much as i should imagine would a disgruntled bear with probably the same nature which will uncharacteristically linger with me throughout the day. Quite some time ago i obtained a clock for my wall, deliberately choosing one with a very loud tick which brought back some small pleasant memories of sleeping at my grandparents house, curious as i sleep so lightly and normally this would disturb me yet the familiarly comforting noise usually has the opposite effect. But not this morning, today i find it annoying forcing me out of bed when i really want to hide under the duvet and try and find solace in sleep. Alas i’ve never been able to fall back into slumber once awake and as my brain argues with my body for blame at an overwhelming tiredness i decided to admit defeat and contemplate the world in the bottom of a coffee cup. For if i ever did more resemble a panda then today would most definitely be the day,who said pandas were cute!Image   

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