Birthday Celebrations – Over the Hill? – No way!

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I’m going to let you into a little secret. Some of my ‘older’ readers will know this already, especially given that I have young grandchildren. However, to some of my newer readers, this might come as a surprise. Having just had my birthday, I’m now officially ‘over the hill,’ according to the polls! I feel most indignant about that statement as I’m now 65, not 95 (nothing against the 95 years olds amongst us, nor people older than that). According to the polls, the age categories run like this …

18 to 24
25 to 34
35 to 44
45 to 54
55 to 64
65 and over

So … where are you supposed to go after you reach 65. Apparently, there is nowhere to go other than obviously being officially over the hill and, no doubt, going down the other side. Does this mean that the pollsters consider the only fitting thing for me, being ’65 and over’, is to shuffle off this mortal coil! I object!

Having got that little bugbear off my chest, I will continue on a happier note – my birthday, last Saturday, 3rd September. I had the most wonderful week. To begin with, last Thursday, I spent the day with nine family members, my daughter and son-in-law, my son, four young grandchildren, my sister and brother-in-law, who’d travelled up from Dorset, plus my friend, who’d been kind enough to take me to see them all. It was a perfect day, sunny and warm; not too hot like we’d had in the summer. September is nearly always a lovely month in the UK. We walked into the restaurant and big hugs were shared between us; some of my family I hadn’t seen for over two years, so I was thrilled to bits to see them all again. I felt so loved and very blessed to have such wonderful people around me.

The food arrived, which we’d pre-ordered. I’d asked for Pad Thai, one of my favourite meals. It was delicious, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. We then ordered pudding, although I don’t know where I found the room after the lunch, but I did, as did everyone else. More deliciousness. After eating, we took the children to the local park to run off their energy (and dinner). It was so lovely to see the four cousins all together. It was such a special way to celebrate my birthday.

Delicious Pad Thai

Last Saturday, my actual birthday, I met my best friend in town, and we went for another meal in an Italian restaurant. My friend, Debbie, presented me with a beautiful birthday card and an even more beautiful gift. I was so touched by the thought she had put into choosing something so special. We are both vegans, and having eaten our main course, a pasta dish, we plumped for pudding (again!). The dessert was amazing – a rich chocolate cake with honeycomb pieces called Zillionaire’s Slice with vegan sorbet with chocolate ripples. I could feel my waistline expanding after all the food I’d had. My diet was nowhere to be seen, but I wasn’t in the least bit bothered – there’s always another day for that.

Zillionaire’s Slice

So … all in all, perhaps, being 65 isn’t too bad. I’ve got absolutely no intention of shuffling off anywhere, least of all, off this mortal coil. I’m having too much fun.

Love Ellie x 🦢

Searching For Tomorrow

You may think me rather sombre as I write my feelings out
I concur they’re somewhat dark, as well you’ll know
Do you understand my pain, and why I try to hide my face?
My shame lives on from very long ago

I started this year well, without a tale to tell the world
But then I started digging, as you will all have read
Was that the wisest move, or should I put it all behind me?
But then I’d have to keep it in my head

My heart and soul are burdened; can I bury thoughts again?
Should I bid them on their way to pastures new?
Friends are standing by me and for that, I bless my soul
Do I really want to lose that loving view?

Oh, I’ve had my share of joys and bliss; an awful lot of fun
Along my endless travels, and on the brightest roads
So, why the saddest face and the hesitance to smile?
When I’m longing now to lose these heavy loads

I attempt to write my heart out; as it gives me real relief
Will you bear with me some more, while I search for peace?
Don’t give up or look away, as I’ll get there in the end
I’m so near the point of getting some release

I’m grateful, one and all, for your love and such kind words
They’re much appreciated, as I wend and find my way
The sun’s begun to shine and the sky’s a vivid blue
As I look forward to a better, brighter day.

Live today facing forward—with your back on yesterday, your eyes on tomorrow, and your head and heart in the moment.”

Richelle E Goodrich

Brave – Sara Bareilles

Nine years ago, I shared this video, ‘Brave’ by Sara Bareilles, because the words meant a lot to me. I also like the somewhat amusing performance that goes with the lyrics. Now, I find myself experiencing those same feelings. I have expressed these feelings in my recent poems.

I think this song might appeal to any of my readers who could be experiencing similar feelings, either now or in their past. If you can take the time to listen to it and really listen to the words (lyrics below), it will give you an understanding of how difficult it is to be brave and to write your heart out in your work and show your vulnerability, pain and courage. This is what I do. This is the only way I know how to be, how to express myself in my writing and work in my present counselling, which I wrote about in my last post, Dissociative Healing. I hope you enjoy this song – It means a lot to me.

Brave – Sara Bareilles

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up
Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
When they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you


Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly, I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly, I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave


I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

Everybody’s been there, everybody’s been stared down
By the enemy
Fallen for the fear and done some disappearing
Bow down to the mighty
But don’t run, stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly, I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly, I wanna see you be brave

Innocence, your history of silence
Won’t do you any good
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly, I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly, I wanna see you be brave


I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
See you be brave


I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you

Thank you for reading, listening and for your interest – Much love – Ellie x 💖

Out With Old, In With The New

Junk piled into Imogen’s room (granddaughter)
More junk!
Even more junk!
More junk still!
Junk and the washing in Tom’s room (I forgot to take more photos, but believe me, it was a lot worse than this!)

Just for a change, this post contains mostly photos. It may not be of interest to anyone else, but hey, it made me happy to write it as it’s about my forthcoming family situation.

I’m finally getting there … I shared a post back in May called Family Moving In. It will make a lot more sense if you read this briefly to get an idea of what’s happening for me in my life at present. I wrote in that post about my son, Tom, and two grandchildren, Imogen (9) and Charlie (7), needing to move in with me. There’s been a slight change of plan. Tom is now moving up North (UK) to be closer to his work, but the children live not far from me with their mother (Tom’s ex-wife) This means that instead of being with me full-time, my son and the children will be here several times a month rather than permanently. I have to say, apart from the fact that it’ll be so lovely to see them all more often, it’s quite a relief that they won’t be here full-time. I’ve lived alone, quite happily, for over twenty years, so it would have been a tough change of circumstances for me. It means I’ll still have to write and study.

Since that last post, the house has been in a state of chaos. I’ve had to get two spare rooms turned from junk rooms into bedrooms. The work has been hard even though I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of help from friends and professionals to decorate, lay new carpets etc. Imogen’s room looks beautiful and fit for a princess. I’m so happy with it. Tom and Charlie’s room is now a bright new bedroom, too. Below are the photos of the finished rooms.

These are the photos of Imogen’s room …

And these are the photos of Tom and Charlie’s room …

The trio bunk (double at the bottom for Tom and single at the top for Charlie)
New furniture and other bits
Thought Charlie would like the metal bike on the wall. Underneath (but not clear) is a photo of Charlie in his karate gear and a picture of Peanut
Modern art
Family – Love
The lightshade isn’t up yet. It’ll look like the night sky when it is

Contrary to the hesitancy I felt when I wrote the first post, Family Moving In, about this situation, I’m now so looking forward to them all coming to stay with me. I’ve done my best to make their spaces as homely and comfortable as possible. It’ll surprise them all as they haven’t seen the rooms yet. I hope they are as delighted as I am with the finished result. When they come to stay for the first time (in a couple of weeks), I’ll buy a big celebration cake and have candles on it to celebrate many happy years together in the future.

Fast Forward

Photo credit – Unsplash

Okay – you’ve guessed it! That’s not me in the above photo! Surprised? I didn’t think you would be. It’s just that it was difficult finding an image of a wheelchair in motion. You mean to say I had you fooled for a moment 😁? No? I’ll retract that then!

It’s now only three days since I got home from being in hospital. I’m still absolutely exhausted and rather sore (only to be expected). What I want to say is that I’m running as fast as I can to catch up with all (or at least some) of your posts that I’ve missed while I was away from home. I’m not succeeding very well so far. My concentration is shot to pieces, and I currently have the attention span of a gnat. Nevertheless, I remain optimistic and know this is only a temporary blip. I’ll soon be back on form and communicating with everyone a bit more efficiently. Don’t expect miracles too soon, though.

So, that’s where I’m at right now. Please, bear with me a little longer till I get my oomph back. I’m managing to read one of two of your posts but can’t get my brain enough in gear to comment. I feel like I’ve got a head full of rice pudding. Don’t ask me to expand on that thought further.

In the meantime, thank you all for your kind comments and for caring about me. I do love my WordPress family. Have a great rest of the day (unless it’s the middle of the night where you are). Love to you all. Ellie xx 💖🥰💞

Family Moving In!

(Image courtesy of Pexels)

Well, that was a blow! It’s Sunday afternoon. I’ve just had a very long phone call with my son, Tom. He was married about 16 years ago and had two children, but that didn’t work out, and he split up with Karen after ten miserable years together. Since then, he’s been in a relationship with a woman called Kim, but that’s not working out either (after six years). Tom and Kim had bought a big house between them as Tom has got my two youngest grandchildren, aged nine and seven. I call them my ‘little ones’ because my daughter and son-in-law have ‘my girls’ who are older. Kim has three much older girls still living at home. As a Mum, I sensed something was wrong quite some time ago. I hadn’t said anything, but Tom just called to say they’re definitely splitting up. The house will have to be sold.

Tom had a question to ask me. In fact, it was a huge ask. He said the big house would have to be sold so that he and Kim could afford to each find somewhere smaller for themselves. Until then, he can’t stay in the house with Kim as they’re not getting on well at all.

“Can the children and I come and stay with you for a few months, please?” I wasn’t expecting that! I’ve been living alone very happily for many years, and as much as I’d love to see more of them, I need and enjoy my space and privacy. I like that it gives me plenty of time to do some studying and writing. What on Earth do I say? We talked at length; “Can I think about this for a couple of days, please, Tom”? Tom was willing to do that, naturally. I love them all very dearly, but suddenly going from living alone to having the house occupied by family will be a bit of a shock, to say the least.

There’ll be a whole heap of things that will have to happen first if I agree. They’ll have to sleep in the spare room and the junk storage room. They’ll need clearing out, decorating, carpeting and new beds and furnishings to make it habitable. They haven’t been touched for decades. The garage will have to be cleared of ‘stuff’ so that Tom has some space to store furniture etc. It’s going to be chaos. I hate having decorators in because of all the mess too.

I’ve now got a couple of days to think about all this. I really don’t know what I’m going to do. It’s come like a bolt out of the blue. Tom is an adult, so I didn’t ever expect to be playing the role of Mum again. I’m not sure I can go ahead with it, but what else do I do?

The Missing Mum Years

My childhood home

This is my dear late Mum’s house as it stands now. It was my childhood home until I married at twenty years of age and moved out. I’ve been reminiscing about this house over the last couple of days. One of my sisters had been back to visit there recently. Although she advised me against it, I asked her to share her photo with me. Big mistake! Huge mistake, in fact. It’s no longer how I remember it. Gone is the beautiful orange door (not that it’s visible in this picture) – it’s been replaced by a dull grey. The window frames have all been painted stark white over the original orange. Orange was Mum’s favourite colour. The steps outside are also not visible in this photo. The neat box hedge has completely overgrown, as has the glorious pink azalea shrub. I feel so sad. I shouldn’t have asked to see this photo. I should have known it would be different now, six years after losing my Mum. I still miss her so much. I always will.

The steps at the front of the house were a barrier for me for the last four years before Mum passed away. Being a wheelchair user now, there was no way I could climb them to get into the house. To make matters worse, Mum was severely agoraphobic, which meant she couldn’t leave there. It meant that we didn’t see each other for all that time. It broke my heart (and hers). We spoke on the phone a lot, especially towards the end. I would call two or three times a day to check she was okay. She mainly was as fit as a fiddle … until she had her stroke. Before that happened, she would vigorously mow the grass, raking it up, digging and planting flowers and tomatoes.

Those last four years were so painful. I didn’t feel sorry myself; I never did, but I felt angry and frustrated about my disability stopping me from seeing her. It was hard to come to terms with, and we missed each other terribly. The only time I got to see her in those last years was when, towards the end, she was admitted to hospital after her stroke. Hospitals are nearly always accessible. She was never the same after that happened. I wrote a post about this at the time. You can read about it at https://elliethompson.uk/2016/11/26/grief-without-death/.

I’m glad I can’t see the inside of the house; it must be so different now, and it would only upset me further. The kitchen was always my favourite room. The kitchen units were orange, as was her one-person teapot, which sat permanently on the side waiting to be filled. She loved her cups of tea and her toast and marmalade, which she’d have for breakfast every morning. After we lost Mum, there were all the usual formalities to arrange; the funeral, the interment, the house to sort out etc. My sisters came from various parts of the country to deal with all this, but I had no choice, being unable to go up those damn steps. My sisters were very kindly involving me as much as possible by taking pictures of everything, so I could decide what I’d like to have. I chose Mum’s little orange teapot. It reminded me so much of her.

Mum’s orange teapot sitting comfortably on my kitchen windowsill

I have a tradition now. Every year, on Mum’s birthday and on Mother’s Day, I take myself off to a quaint tea shop in my city. I order myself a pot of tea (I usually drink coffee) and some toast and marmalade. Sometimes, I order a slice of cake – Mum always enjoyed her cake. Having recently bought the loveliest card I could find in John Lewis, I sit for a couple of hours and write to her. I write it as a conversation between us, just as if she were there with me, drinking tea and eating toast or cake. It makes me feel closer to her at those times. I wish she were still here to join me. But, however much I write, it’ll never make up for those four years when I couldn’t see her. I missed so much of her later life. I think I’ll always miss her – the pain doesn’t lessen. Perhaps, it will in time.

Coffee and Cake

(Photo credit: Simone’s Kitchen)

I wanted to share this poem in dedication to my dear friend, Jenna, who I’ve known for over thirty years. I worked as a home help (before I became disabled) for her and her husband with their three older children when I was a single divorced parent who brought up my two young children alone. I loved being at her house – it was a grand Georgian house with a sweeping staircase and mahogany panelled walls in the hallway, and I thoroughly enjoyed my work there. Lots to clean with all the nooks and crannies. We’d sit for an hour in the middle of my morning talking about all and sundry. I always made my coffee time up working later than my allotted time there. She was always there for me, and I for her.

About four years ago, having lost her husband and two older boys tragically, she moved down to the south coast to be near her daughter and granddaughter. She’s now living in a little cottage almost on the beach. She loves it there, and I’m so pleased for her. That’s not to say I don’t miss her very much because I do. She no longer drives, and I’m unable to visit her because of the distance and lack of accessibility of transport. She’s eighty-three now and becoming frailer in her old age. It worries me greatly as just recently, she’s started to deteriorate. I dread anything happening to her.

COFFEE AND CAKE

I miss the times we sat together
Over your heavy pine table
We drank coffee and ate dainty madeleines
As I poured out my troubled heart to you

That time spent together
Strengthened and deepened our friendship
We cannot sit there any longer
But, my friend, my memories are so fond

You saw me through my best and worst
Through a close-shave house move
Through damaging relationships
You soothed me as my mental health declined

You never once judged me, never criticized
Quietly there amid your own turmoil
And coffee and cake became a sigh of relief
Time to stop and share both joys and tears

Now, so far away with miles between us
You by the sea and me still in town
We still speak for hours, not every day
Perhaps, once or twice a week

We never tire of things to speak of
Often, putting the world to rights
We talk of our children, some lost, some grown
Partners and mothers long since passed

We talk and talk endlessly
I feel that I witness your life
In its goodness and its pain
As you too, witness mine

Our extended phone calls
Prove those miles between us
Hardly matter at all
But, my dear friend, I would give my all to see you again.

© Copyright Ellie Thompson 2022

GRIEF WITHOUT DEATH

I miss my Mum. I miss her so much.  A death you would think.  No, my Mum hasn’t passed away, but she’s had a severe stroke and has been in the hospital for nearly three months now. I miss her presence in my life – she was always there to talk to when I had problems with my children growing up and always in these later years when I’ve been battling with my mental heath.

She used to support me through everything and as the years ticked by, I was the one supporting her (and rightly so). We would talk on the phone for many hours, putting the world to rights and putting each other to rights. We rarely had a cross word.

I have to confess, there have been times when it’s felt a bit of a chore to have to phone my Mum every day, sometimes twice a day in more recent years.  I would, perhaps, think, “I want to spend more time with friends” on that particular night or “I’d like to spend the time writing my blog”.  Worse still, I’d be keen to text a good friend for a heart-to-heart or get that email written that I’ve been meaning to do for days.

Now, the evenings come, and I find myself thinking,  “I’ll just phone to see how ……….” – My sentence is cut short by the stark realisation that my Mum is not occupying the same space as she used to do. Something else is in her place – a horrible silence broken only by memories of how our relationship used to be.

Gone are our chats, our shared laughter and our mutual support. There are no long discussions about what she had planted in her garden that day with the full expectation of seeing her little seedlings and shoots develop into strong, tall plants. She’d tell me how she’d tied them up with green, garden twine against bamboo canes and watch them develop and bloom.

She won’t go back to that house again, nor her beloved garden that was her sanctuary, her escape from the world when life got difficult – not now. She could never manage the stairs, feed herself or live without 24-hour care and yet she’d managed independently since her separation from my father. She had lived in our family home for over sixty years. And to think the grass was being cut by her only two weeks before she had her stroke.

The damage to her brain is so extensive that she’s still unable to communicate verbally or in any other way,  and any hope of further improvements is met with serious doubt by the doctors and consultants.  The physios, the OTs and the speech and language therapists are not hopeful either.  I try to talk to her on the phone when I can’t get there – hoping to get a response but my questions always have the same replies – nothing – it’s heartbreaking.

I’m still travelling up to the City by train to see her at least once a week. The journey is always tough, fraught with difficulties and exhausting but I need to be there. I need to retain that little bit of hope. However, she isn’t even able to acknowledge that I’m there and I wonder where she has gone inside that broken shell of a body.

I feel I should not be grieving as she is still present with me. But I am – I’m grieving the loss of the person that my Mum once was; her presence in my life, her faded personality and her love, care and affection. She is no longer there.  But grieving when she is still alive; is that right? Is that acceptable? It is simply grief without death.

MAKE LOVE ~NOT WAR

Image result for Love and Destruction

A few parts of this post are taken from one of my previous post, last year, with some new additions, adjustments and amendments. It includes a poem (below) that I’d like to share with you. written by a friend, Katie. Some of you might have already read parts of it but for those of you who haven’t, I hope it touches you as it did me.

I don’t claim to be an expert or even a particularly knowledgeable person when it comes to the subject of Planet Earth. I failed geography and history, abysmally at school. However, I do care about what we are doing to our world and beyond. I care about all the people who have suffered and lost their lives, those who are still suffering and those who will suffer in the future whether it be by natural causes, illness, disasters, war, violence, poverty or by any other means.

I care that we are destroying our planet; destroying our population; destroying our people, wildlife, and nature. I care that we are ravaged by war and violence; that we are polluting our planet and the atmosphere. I care that a huge number of people are homeless, roaming the streets, roaming the deserts, the plains, the forests and the wilderness. I could continue further, but many of us know the facts already.

A very close friend of mine, Katie, wrote this very moving poem which I wanted to share with you here….

The winds of Mother Nature are blowing on the Earth
Accepting all we’ve done to her since our sweet sacred birth.
There are babies curled in cradles unaware of hate and crime
Dreaming of their Mummies in the loving hands of Time.
Forgive us sweetest Mother for the ways that we’ve grown old
For independent streaks in us that turned our hearts too cold.
We’ve sinned so much we’re hurting and the pain is plain to see
That first we were so innocent on a gentle, rocking knee.
How love could turn to awful hate and safety turn to terror
Is based it seems on single thoughts that have their root in error.
Behind us and in front of us is such an awesome Love
That would have us in its gentlest hold in time with God above.
If only we could fall down flat and beg to stop the violence
Our hearts might cry sincerely out, then rest in hallowed silence.                                    

©Katie Marsh 2015

The recent and past atrocities have really brought home to me just how fragile our lives are. If only the power of love could overcome the power of war then maybe, just maybe we could experience peace in our time. Perhaps it would be a start

I am scared for all our futures; I’m scared for our children’s futures, our grandchildren’s futures and all future generations after that, if by then there is still a habitable planet to live on. The list goes on and on … and on … and on … and on … until infinity …

MAKE LOVE ~ NOT WAR.

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