Sunday, 30 November 2008
Friday, 28 November 2008
Thought I might give you a little treat. Click on the arrow to play and hear the pianist at work. It is her own composition so slightly different to the original version! Enjoy, it isn't long.
I am so proud of Amy's musical progress. She doesn't let me teach her the piano but is quite happy to let me teach her the violin. And now she is keen to learn the guitar which I never played so perhaps she could teach me. In many ways it feels like history repeating itself as Amy has played the piano in a school concert and I believe is playing again at Christmas. I used to play at my primary school and won a music competition when I was ten for playing a hymn we used to sing in assembly. I even stood in for the music teacher a few times when she was absent.
My dad watches Amy play, his eyes permanently transfixed on his beloved granddaughter. It sometimes looks as if he sheds a tear, just from the pride that lives within his eyes. He would have been so emotional listening to Amy.
She did something wonderful yesterday. She cried. Emotion from within. Without me having to prompt her, she became upset when her taxi driver asked her about Chi-Chi. Having obviously not seen the pony all week, he wondered if she might be tucked up in her stable but Amy couldn't answer. Upon opening the taxi door and reaching for my distraught daughter I asked what was the matter. The driver explained, apologising for causing any upset which of course was unavoidable. I felt guilty for not telling him sooner and assured him he was not to blame for Amy's tears.
In the house I held her close to me, stroking her beautiful hair and allowing her to pour out her heart as her thoughts became too overwhelming. She cried for about ten minutes. We stood together in the kitchen, reminiscing about Chi-Chi's antics, about when she once scratched her bottom on the gate sending Amy into complete hysterics. One of those moments I wished I'd have had my video camera at hand. But we have so many memories of that beautiful creature, we will never be short of stories to remind each other of how blessed we truly were since the day she arrived on the farm.
Thursday, 27 November 2008
After another week of financial turmoil in what used to be "Great" Britain, one of our best (in my opinion) retailers is on the path of doom. Woolworths; a great shop for anything and everything. Been on our high-streets for years and now facing closure. What a complete farse. Obviously, our government were voted in for some reason - I haven't a clue what it was - but the country has gone from bad to worse during the last eleven years. Are we still facing the scenario where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer? Perhaps we should bring back Robin Hood.
I am in no way politically minded and I do not pretend to understand the decisions that have been made by our big top policitians. But they seem to continue making decisions that are just not benefitting our public and it makes one wonder if the government do actually think we are stupid. Do they not realise that we will question their choices? Do they think they can borrow billions of pounds and we will not ask how it is paid back? I wish I knew more about politics, I really do. I also wish I knew more about what goes on in Gordon Brown & Alistair Darling's heads because I'm sure they don't.
We need to have confidence in our government. We need to trust them when they make promises; when they spend OUR money; when they take over OUR banks. We need to know exactly what they are doing and why. But we don't, do we? I am not stupid. I might not understand politics but I am a British Citizen and I do pay tax and National Insurance. I run a business and I run it well. Give us a break, not another debt.
Wednesday, 26 November 2008
The fireplace has its first two coats of paint. It will be painted again in two shades of beige.
This window looks north towards Berwick
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
Sunday, 23 November 2008
But when the shadow closed in on me I felt it was time to remind the soul who stood behind that this was going to be our formal dining room. No longer would it allow an old man to sit watching Emmerdale, cigarette in hand, ash falling to the floor. The room will be respected, appreciated for the beautiful space it will become. As the shadow hovered to my right, I looked down at my soot encrusted gloves. I held several 'butts' in my hands, probably years old, once been tasted by the man who does not wish to leave. Upon throwing the filth into the awaiting bin bag, the shadow vanished. Our house remains non-smoking. Clean since January 2007.
I am so looking forward to the dining room being finished. For nearly two years the room has been wasted space but now will bring a whole new life to this grand old edifice. I ordered a table and six chairs on Saturday and shall order the carpet this coming week. There is a reason why I am renovating this room. When I know what it is, I shall let you know too.
Friday, 21 November 2008
However, my sister and her daughter are staying with mum for a while and this seems to have brought back the wonderful cheer that our parents always insisted should take place. At three years old, my niece, Precious, revels in Christmas; the sparkle; the magic; the peace that is family. So mum has changed her mind about having a tree in the house, perhaps just for this year. Fortunately, I have an artificial one stored away which mum bought me eleven years ago when I lived on my own. It is a gorgeous Spruce with pine cones attached to some of its branches and stands around 5ft tall. I have always loved having it adorned during Christmas but last year was the first time we had a real tree at the farm house, so the Spruce lay in its box, in need of a little TLC.
My mum has agreed to take it. I am so thrilled. Not only will Precious enjoy a traditional Christmas but Amy will be most excited when she sees it in the house, the first one she will ever remember at Grandma's. We know it will be beautiful to see but we also know that mum may reflect a little more than usual each time she turns on the dainty white fairy lights. I also know that my dad will be happy knowing that his beloved family have once more been brought together by his undying love.
Thursday, 20 November 2008
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
I knew the colour of the walls in my mind, a shade of red that might appear regal in a stately home, matched with pale cream woodwork. The windows have seats and I have asked a friend to make up some cushion covers. I am waiting for my favourite carpet fitter to show me samples of busy designs of which I hope to order some time next week. The fireplace is, after a huge amount of deliberation, staying put. It has been crafted using 60's tiles, several shades of grey; dirty, horrendous and don't ask. But I have bought paint in two similar creams and we plan to make a slight feature of what is currently one of the ugliest parts of the house. Teamed with a humongous dried flower display and a Victorian-looking fireguard, it should appear a more attractive focus to an eye I will beckon away. Unfortunately, the fireplace has been built into a beautiful panelled wall of which I have no intention of losing but would be completely ruined if we were to start chipping away the tiles. We could of course find an in-keeping surround, maybe from a reclamation yard but for now we will paint it and see what transpires.
Earlier this year we renovated the kitchen, a much needed improvement. For those of you who haven't seen the pictures of the then-almost-finished room, you can see them here. That was back in April and I still treat that room as if it was done yesterday. Having never enjoyed being in the kitchen, it has become one of my favourite rooms in the house.
Apart from being eager to see the new dining room, it will be, I feel, an interesting week. The decorator, Chewy, is rather sensitive to the world of spirit and already picked up on a mysterious atmosphere on the staircase last time he was here. We had a lengthy conversation about his abilities giving me more cause to wait in the wings for if and when he senses my late in-laws and other members of the household paying him a visit while he transforms their old haunt into another generation.
I shall of course publish before, during and completed shots if you wish to join me on my week of evolution. CJ xx
Monday, 17 November 2008
I could not see my farmer from the rented house. I was unable to stand on the front door step and wait for the tractor to draw up, a dirty green boiler suit stepping down. My answer therefore needed no thought. My dad knew what I was going to say before he asked, I guess he just wanted to see my face light up as I punched the sky with my heart and saw the twinkle in his eye.
Amy was six months old. The next ten months were to prove the most difficult time in my life as I lived a life of silence, having no idea how I would eventually find a happy ending. My relationship with Amy's father had all but ended. My dad disliked him, he annoyed my mum and almost everyone else could never understand why we stayed together. But I knew how much family values meant to my dad. I felt I had nowhere to go and devoted my life to looking after Amy. There were many occasions when I could have walked away but I felt it was wrong to take Amy away from family life. Yet I knew underneath, deep down beneath the lies, that this was not family life; and I grew to resent my partner more each day. We argued constantly, wherever we were. I began to hate him. But I hated myself more.
In June 2001, mum, dad, Amy and me made our way, for the last time together, to Northumberland. The next two weeks proved to be an unforgettable experience as the farmer and I got to know each other. We talked. We laughed. He came in the cottage for drinks and we shared stories, unimportant to the world yet meant the universe to us. I knew during that holiday that my destiny lay on the farm. But I also knew that even though Amy's father would care little about my absence, he might care about Amy's. And for the next two weeks I tried to get along with him, for her sake. A family wedding took place on the 15th July that year where my dad hired a mini-bus for his immediate family to use. He invited Amy's father to come along too but he declined.
It was that day that I finally realised how much my dad disliked the man who was supposed to care about me. He held me in his arms, waiting for me to cry. Tears were too precious to waste. But I knew one thing; that I would have somewhere to go. Despite his incredibly strong family values, my dad would rather have seen me as a single parent than living the life of misery that I was so desperate not to live. In my heart a decision had been made. Yet my head continued with its constant need for clarification, seeing less of Amy's father and more of my own.
Thursday, 13 November 2008
My life here is wonderful. I have never regretted my move to Northumberland to become a farmer's wife. My protective farmer is a beautiful person and, after a long time of searching for the missing piece, he placed it into my hands giving me the freedom to complete my life's jigsaw.
Had it not been for my dad introducing me to the farmer many years ago, I would never have found this incredible place and therefore never been given the opportunity to make a new life here, in my own piece of paradise. My dad passed before the farmer and I finally got together. Having felt his spirit beside me I do know that he visits me at the home in which I have become most content. He approves of the farmer and he watches Amy grow. Yet, as I sit here, sad at having no loving dad draw up outside my home I appeal to him to come forward, to visit me once more. After seven and a half years I still hurt. Terribly. Tears pierce my eyes whenever I think of him, whenever I look at his beautiful face, whenever I wish he could comment on Amy's amazing progress.
The emptiness that I feel often overwhelms the blissfulness I have been dealt. I cannot see past the day I touched my dad's coffin as I read out a poem in front of 400 people in church. I remember each moment of that day like it was this morning. Yet when I turn my head towards the window and gaze upon the splendour that is my countryside view, I remember how much has happened in the last 7 years. My unforgettable wedding day, Amy's diagnosis, making this house my home. So many days have gone by that I will never remember yet so many are etched in my memory.
I have cried myself to sleep many nights, some having felt my dad's hand in mine while others have been a usual embrace with my farmer, the man who saved me from a life I was desperately unhappy about. But while I accepted the last piece of the jigsaw from my farmer on our wedding day, I will always know how it came that he was able to offer me that devotion. When my dad introduced us in 1993, he was introducing me to my future; a life that I would one day live on a farm in Northumberland with the gentlest and most incredible man whom only my dad would have known to be the perfect man for me.
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Meme No. 1
(A) Four places I go over and over: The Loo. Supermarket. The Bank. My bed.
(B) Four people who e-mail me regularly: My sister. My good friend, Casdok. Viagra agents. Paranormal sites.
(C) Four of my favourite places to eat: Home. The Craster Arms. Local chippy. My mother's.
(D) Four places you'd rather be: No where. I love my home and would never want to be anywhere else.
Meme No. 2
3 Things I plan to do before I start my next journey: Have my novel published. Take the farmer abroad. Train Sparky to be a working collie.
3 Things I do now: Blog. Talk to myself. Stay calm when recognising astral presence.
3 Things I can't do: No such word as can't - that's what my dad told me.
3 Things that attract me to the opposite sex: (in no particular order) Hairy chests. Maturity. Effort.
3 Things I say most often (to Amy!): "Quietly" "What've you done now?" "Mummy loves you".
3 Celebrities that I admire: Judy Finnigan. David Tennant (is he classed as a celebrity?) Dawn French.
3 Favourite foods: Fillet Steak. Parsnips. Chocolate.
A bit boring I know but there you have it. I was supposed to tag a few bloggers but I thought I would leave that down to you. Do let me know if you decide to do the meme, so that I can come and visit you. CJ xx
p.s. Amy has written a short story on her blog if you fancy a read.
Monday, 10 November 2008
I have seen one or two bloggers on there, some of which I have made contact with. I even found a few old school buddies, having to look twice at their photographs to confirm that it really was them. My school days were never the highlight of my life and I couldn't wait to leave in the summer of 1986. I managed to land myself a course at a Business College where I continued my studies for a further two years but by 1988 I was desperate to find work. Have never been into studying.
It seems there is an endless path to tread when it comes to Internet possibilities. There are many people I would like to look up, a couple of ex-boyfriends perhaps, and a few ex-colleagues from my years working in Aylesbury. The problem is, with all this time spent on the Internet, the house work is suffering. I like to be in bed by 9pm, sitting up against my V-shaped pillow, watching whatever Sky can offer. I'm finding that there really are not enough hours in the day. How many hours would be your ideal day? Mine would be 30. I could do my usual daily routine for the standard 24, then spend the additional 6 hours writing my book. That way I might have a cat in hell's chance of finishing it!
Saturday, 8 November 2008
When I walked out of the shop the two women were stood outside the doors chatting. Not in the hurry they had been in at the tills, just enjoying an afternoon at the shops and having a good old moan in the bargain. But don't we all love a good moan? If we have nothing to moan about we are very good at finding something. And the best moaners are the "behind your back" ones. How many of us have been brave enough to make a complaint over the phone, perhaps knowing that we are making a mountain out of a mole hill; trying to justify our grumpiness to someone whom we know we shall never meet. It is easy to moan to someone when you know you cannot see their face and look into their eyes. I'll own up, I've done it.
Earlier this year, BT totally pissed me off with their ridiculous excuses for not wanting to fix my broadband connection. It was so unbelievable that my complaining did became justified when I almost screamed at a cool, calm and collected young man to get his arse into gear and send someone round to sort me out. He put the phone down. My problem got sorted out in the end but it took two weeks of blasting down the phone and fiddling about with my laptop on dial up. Another occasion was when I booked the hire car for our holiday to France in the summer. I was on the phone for an hour and a half. No kidding. The man just couldn't understand what I meant when I said I needed a toddler seat. He kept putting me on hold and I was getting more and more irate whilst listening to the music on the line. I complained about that. Moaned and groaned but still had to pay extra for the toddler seat.
It would be an ideal world if we lived in it without having to complain. It might be a little boring too. Perhaps moaning keeps us sane. Maybe even gives us that edge to the excitement so many of us crave. Do you think the older we get the worse we become? I'll be 39 in a few weeks. Not much hope for me then.
Thursday, 6 November 2008
Today I want to talk about sex. Having started the passionate scene in my book, taking the less is more approach (excellent advice received from fellow bloggers) I thought I would do a naughty post. But as I'm as pure as the driven snow I was finding it difficult to find the right words to put down. On a recent drive back from a local town I noticed a field of cattle bordering the main road. In the field was a bull. And the bull, for want of a better word, was well and truly getting his leg over. Narrowly avoiding a collision with the separating fence, I quickly averted my eyes back to the road and thought, "lucky cow."
But that got me thinking about humans. I find it quite revolting to see "neckers" in public, eating each other as though they are tucking into a cream donut. There was a time when I would have loved a romantic cuddle with my loved one at the bus shelter but these days I can't even hold hands. I remember the many visits to my local swimming pool during my teens where the most gorgeous pool attendant worked. He waited for me once, his idea being to ask me on a date. But we only got so far as the bus stop where my big brother scooped me into his car and gave me the lecture about picking up strange men. I only wanted a snog.
Perhaps the sheltered way of life has worked its way through my family, coming to an abrupt halt when it reached me. Because until I reached my mid twenties, the snow was rather off-colour. When the farmer and I got together (I was 31) I was nothing short of shocked when he lent over and gave me a kiss. In public. Well, I say in public; it was outside and my mum was nearby but it still felt adventurous. I wished I'd have had the courage to drag him into the nearest field. It would have given the sheep something to bleat about if nothing else. Anyone else a prude like me? Or do you walk past the "neckers" and just ignore them?
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
I know many farmers who constantly complain about the state of farming, its lack of profit for the continuous hard labour. And it's true; there is little reward in farming. For the amount of slog it would be nice to see a return, a handsome one. "It's what farmers do," they say, "that's what farming's all about." Remember that, Mr. Kellogs & Mrs. Crisp and Dry. A few weeks ago someone said that farmers make little effort to be sociable. My farmer is almost as unsociable as me, granted, but if he didn't have to work day and night because an elegantly dressed weather girl told him it would rain "in the north" then perhaps he would have a social life. And where is "in the north" anyway? Manchester? Yorkshire? We are in the north, the far north of England. I always think about the guy who, when I lived and worked in Aylesbury in the South East he went away "up north" for the weekend. Thinking his trip had taken him to the real up north he expressed how much he had enjoyed his dirty weekend in a hotel in Birmingham. That, to him, was "up north". Hecky Thump, I thought, there's nowt as queer as folk.