Getting used to…

A life without you.

Only day three now but feels so much longer. Time is operating so very differently.

So many practical decisions to be negotiated and made, practical things laden with emotion, so none of them are easy things to tick off a list.

And all the while feeling like prolonged jet lag. So hard to process thoughts.

Sympathetic comments cause tears. Calls avoided. There don’t seem to be words to talk about how things are.

Feels easy to see slights where none were intended. Super sensitive. Heightened awareness.

Photos of your smile give both comfort and pain.

I just never knew that it would feel like this.

Weekly writing challenge – flash fiction

Day one

A mostly sleepless night. Dreading the day ahead. She knew the call would come. And then it did. “Sorry to tell you that….”.
Slowly and silently tears fell. Months of anticipation of this moment and yet it shocked her.

Day two

Waking after a pill induced deep sleep, groggy, stretching out in the warm bed enjoying the sensation and then she remembered the day before. The day she lost her mum. Slowly and silently tears fell. She thought she was ready but nothing had prepared her for the engulfing sense of loss. A life changed forever.

Weekend coming up

Love a train trip. Always have. Usually I like to get to the station early, check the departure boards and reassure myself I have ages yet, which gives me time to:
Muse on others at the station and wonder where they’re going and why
Buy a cappuccino
Peruse the magazines and books in Smiths and sometimes succumb
But mostly people watch.

I love stations and airports. All the drama, big and small in front of you. Endings and beginnings. Holidays, romances, family reunions, tired looking business people with a case full of whatever it is they do, tantrums, tears, laughter, sorrow. It’s all here.

This time I realised almost too late that my train was an hour earlier than I thought so a race across London, a quick check of the platform and a rush to my carriage. Delighted to make it with 3 minutes to go and also somehow cheated. All the usual pleasures of a meander about the station forgone.

As I got on though a sight that always reassures:


The craziness and noise of the station left behind, the reassuring quiet of this carriage. A window seat, socket for iPad, headphones and let the movie start. My train treat.

Later, movie over, we approach the border with Scotland and the view from the window absorbs me til we arrive in Edinburgh. My old home town. A life before the life I have now. And always feel like I am stepping back in time.



Love a train trip

Weekly writing challenge : expectations versus reality

Expectations, the theme of this week’s writing challenge. So many ways to come at this. So here are 3

1. Not quite good enough.
The parental expectation, real or imagined, of needing to do just that bit better. Exam marks really good, but surely a little better might have been possible. Even now on my iPad scrabble game I eschew the option with the teacher – harsh she is. Even with the really high scores you can pull out of the bag just sometimes, the online teacher says “excellent” and then with an unwritten but understood “but” explains what word I could have put and how many additional points that might have given me.

2. An expectation that it would be forever.
I never imagined he’d break my heart and cheat on me with a twenty something year old, after being together for 22 years. Just never dawned on me. Ups and downs of course over those years but I was the woman he talked publicly of being the love of his life. He certainly was mine.
I’ve changed with this experience. Happy in a newish relationship now but with no expectation of forever. It’s a different way of loving.

3. Expectations of behaving like an extrovert
I love people, find them endlessly interesting. They just tire me. A typical introvert. A whole day with people and I ‘m running on empty. I watch with wonder at people around me who visibly get more and more energised when round others.
I deliver training, I give conference talks to groups of 500 people at a time, I do lots of one on one coaching and can just about hold my own in a professional networking event ( as long as I’ve given myself a pep talk first!) . But put a conference chatting drinks or meal event on after the talk and I’m lost. Just don’t know how to do it. The confident trainer or speaker they experienced turns into a shy person hoping the time will soon come she can slide away for some quiet recharging time ready for the next people event.
There are so many interesting bloggers on this world of introversion and it’s easy in this world to feel one of many. But at the conference events it’s hard to spot the fellow introverts as we ‘re all just trying to fit in and not be seen as anything but the extravert majority. So expert at that camouflage we can’t even spot the other fakers like ourselves.

Ah expectations. So many , so often, so problematic!

Early morning


There are few things finer than the spacious feeling that comes with a long weekend holiday. Getting up early, quietly, trying not to disturb a sleeping partner and slipping out of the flat. Funny how noisy everyday actions are when you are trying to be quiet, like turning the key in the lock.

Out into the bright sun of early morning Plymouth and round the Barbican for a walk. So few people around. Some signs of last night’s merry making here and there, abandoned glasses, party balloons. I am imagining some waking up to hangovers today.

I love the sight, sounds and smells of the Barbican by the fishing boats in the morning. Large sea gulls swooping. Nets on decks ready for the next trip out. The reflection of boats in the still water. The way the light falls on the stone buildings. So peaceful.

So I walk, and watch and wonder and stock my mind up with images I can draw on later. The spaciousness of a holiday weekend when there is time just to be wholly in the moment, a welcome break from the cluttered buzzing brain and whirligig of thoughts that make up a working week.

Smelly cheese and a pair of scissors

Somehow this reminds me of exercises in short creative writing courses – write a short story weaving these two random items together.

Reality can be more bizarre than imagined stories. So here goes. Today’s real life story linking smelly cheese and a pair of scissors.

On the tube between one station and another. Sitting as usual watching those around me with interest, wondering who they are and what their lives are like. The tube pulls into a station and in comes through far away doors a man in his late sixties probably, white hair and beard, big thick glasses, odd collection of clothes. He catches my eye and makes a bee line for the seat next to me as somehow I knew he would, even though there were plenty of plenty closer ones.

A rustle in a plastic bag and soon there he sat with a pair of scissors in one hand and a packet of cheese in the other. With fascination I watched him cut snippets of the paper off, letting the bits of plastic fall to the floor. The stench of very overripe blue cheese escaped and filled the carriage. Noses crinkled, wondering at the smell, people turned to find the source. My neighbour, intent on his task, noticed none of them and still muttering under his breath then started cutting tiny bits of cheese off, manoeuvring them to his mouth carefully balanced on the scissors. A number of pieces of the stinky cheese didn’t make it and gathered around his feet.

“That’s powerful stuff that cheese” I heard myself say to him, wondering why I felt the need to do so. His muttering stopped, the cheese laden scissors stopped mid flight and he turned his head towards me. A mostly toothless grin and then he listed cheeses that in his view were much smellier. Almost no hesitation in the list. Names of cheeses toppled out in a rush and all the while he looked straight at me somehow keeping that tiny bit of cheese perfectly poised.

The tube started to slow down again. My neighbour finished that cheese crumb, pocketed the cheese and knife, got up, smiled and then left me surround by smelly cheese crumbs.

Horror upon horrors. New people started coming in, sniffing and with a face indicating displeasure moved over to the other end of the carriage. I wanted to call out after them just to explain, to disassociate myself from the odour, but couldn’t . They were quickly out of my cheese zone and my calling would have attracted way too much notice. A woman sat down two seats away and then I was aware of her sniffing and searching around her and looking disapprovingly at what she thought was the source, me. I am sure I blushed. This time I couldn’t hold back so explained how the man with cheese had been and gone. She looked at me as if I was only making matters worse. A gibbering woman who smelt bad! So much worse than a silent cheesy smelling one. I called on the woman opposite who with a smile thankfully confirmed my story. The frosty glare of my accuser softened. She almost smiled. My honour restored.

So there I sat for a few more stops. Still assaulted by the smelly cheese yet no longer accused of being the source of the unpleasant odours we were all forced into sharing. A strange relief.

I wonder where he is now… And who else he has left in his wake!

A journey to remember.