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Spare time is something I used to have lots of, but never made the most of, mostly because I was depressed to go out, or just couldn’t summon up the energy or enthusiasm. Now, it’s a very different situation, I’m pleased to say. In fact, I barely have a minute to spare … I fly from one task, activity, meeting or outing like a demented wasp! It’s a good thing George (my wheelchair) travels at 8mph (not sure what that is in km), or I’d never get to all these appointments and arrangements.

I’m very fortunate in that, although I live in a town, there is a lot of countryside around me, especially where I am near the river. There’s a footpath and cycle track that follow the river’s route into town. It’s a lovely drive, albeit I’m driving fast and concentrating so hard so that I don’t cross paths with an irate cyclist, or a wandering pedestrian come to that. This fast-paced drive allows me to get everywhere I need to be on time. One thing I hate is being late.

However, I’ve realised of late, that I keep myself so busy that I rarely make time to relax or to chill out with my friends. So, today, having made an arrangement yesterday, I spent the best part of the day with a new but close friend. We just sat in a lovely restaurant for hours and hours. We had a coffee earlier on in the morning, and then sat and had a delicious lunch, beautifully cooked and presented. My friend drank wine and I, being a non-drinker, had an amazing strawberry, elderflower and mint cocktail, all followed by more coffee. We talked and talked, we shared secrets, stories of our lives, current times and our early years, sometimes accompanied by a few tears, but always followed by peals of laughter and giggles. We told each other about past relationships, some great and some disastrous. We took photos and sent them to each other, and generally got very silly, but not embarrassingly so, thankfully.

Eventually, we parted company at 4.30pm, having paid rather a large bill, and a generous tip because the waitress was brilliant and the food first-class. We just had the most wonderful day. I came home feeling all happy, relaxed and loved. Today really made me realise the value of making time for the truly enjoyable occasions. It’s just as important to make time to relax, chill and enjoy myself as it is to rush around to all those appointments and events that tend to fill the calendar. We’ll definitely be doing it all again soon.

Strawberry, elderflower & mint cocktail at The Bootmaker

My delicious cocktail.


[Top image courtesy of]


seaside beach

Today was such a contrast to the days of the last two weeks … and thank goodness for that! I thought it was going to be a Tuesday just like any other Tuesday, but this week, my friend, Harri (short for Harriet), and I decided to take off to the beach or as us, British say, ‘the seaside.’ The weather was glorious and a perfect day for a drive down to the coast. We set off first thing in the morning and arrived at our destination by lunchtime.

As is the tradition amongst my family and friends, the first one to spot the water in the distance, declares excitedly, “I can see the s-e-a; I can see the s-e-a.” On this occasion, it happened to be me, and I was thrilled, you could easily have taken me for a five-year-old child!

We parked along the front, which isn’t easy during the school summer holidays but I am at an advantage in that I hold a Disabled Parking Badge. This enables Harri to get my manual wheelchair out of the boot of the car, and then me from the car into the chair which is an art in itself.

We’re not able to go down to the actual sand with my wheelchair as it clogs up the motor, so we decided to go to our favourite cafe which is positioned directly above the water when the tide is almost in. Surprisingly at that time of day, it wasn’t too crowded. So, we sat by the glass windows which were open with a warm breeze drifting in.

We ordered a coffee each, alongside scrambled eggs on delicious, doorstep toast finished off with a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper. We watched a group of very absorbed photographers snapping away at a tall, slim and young male model walking along water’s edge, nonchalantly tossing pebbles into the waves.

A little more time went by and we decided to have another coffee and a small piece of cake each. I had a homemade Bakewell tart and Harri had a chocolate brownie. Delicious! We sat and chatted about this and that and life in general and at times got engrossed deeply in some quite fascinating and absorbing conversation.

Eventually, after we had almost talked ourselves out, we thought about leaving, but then at the last minute, decided it was getting late, and somehow we were peckish again (must have been the sea air). We then finished our feast off by sharing a bucket of freshly-cooked fries which were very enjoyable (and when I say bucket, I don’t mean as in the size of a child’s bucket and spade, but one of about six or seven centimetres high.)

Finally, just to finish off a lovely day, we walked along the front, which was breezy but pleasantly warm, to a small, summer hut which sold seaside rock and  cinnamon doughnuts (which we couldn’t possibly indulge in after the treats we’d had at the cafe.) However, just to remember our very much enjoyed, carefree day, we splashed out on a typical, British seaside children’s windmill each; Harri bought a classic stick of rock for her friend’s son, and I invested in summer straw hat. It had a somewhat squashed but nevertheless, beautiful peach coloured flower on the brim.

Happy days!  🙂


I feel a real hypocrite writing this blog after my last post but I’ve been up all night with no sleep and just need to get this off my chest.

Today, my carer took me down to see my Mum (a rare happening because of distance). I worry about her as she’s not in the best of health and can’t get out much. I only get the opportunity to see her every six months or so. So we left early in the morning and drove the hour and a half it took to get there. Its the same house that i grew up in; the same house that my dad abused and raped me in all of my childhood. We drew up outside and I just couldn’t bring myself to go in so waited in the car while my carer, H went and got Mum as we were taking her out to eat. Mum’s never believed me about dad so she didn’t/wouldn’t understand why I wouldn’t go in.

My dad has died now and she’s lives there alone but the house hasn’t changed, or the road it’s in. It looked as foreboding as it was back then and I was being attacked by panic and flashbacks while I was on my own, sitting outside, waiting for H and Mum. That house…Mum’s house; Dad’s house; Mum and dad’s house which was Mummy and Daddy’s house. I felt vulnerable although logically knew I was perfectly safe now but that didn’t help. That house!


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Eventually, they appeared at the front door and came down the steps to reach the car. I took a deep breath and told myself to ‘pull myself together’, knowing full well that I couldn’t, not inside of me at least. My stomach doing somersaults and images, sounds, feelings attacking my heart and soul. Nevertheless, I got through it and greeted Mum cheerfully. She was pleased to see me and added that I looked too thin (as usual).

We drove off much to my relief and went to a little local bistro we’d been to before, to have lunch. I’d calmed down a bit by then. Nice place. We sat eating lunch, which was good, and drinking coffee and just talking for hours. It was a pleasant few hours apart from the fact that every now and then, the subject of my father came up and I was away; off; back in time; back at that time. I shuddered and tried to get myself back into the present. I used techniques my therapist had taught me and managed to maintain a calm exterior while my insides had gone to jelly.

We left to go and drop my Mum back at that house and on the way back from there, we went right past the top of road where my teacher lived who had abused me so appallingly when I went for private ‘lessons’ twice a week.Triggers were everywhere! Suddenly, I was being attacked just as I’d let my guard down a little and I finally broke down with just H and I in the car. She knew. I knew she knew but she was so tied up with her own relationship problems that she was of little help.

So, there was me, on my own inside my head, trying to deal with this ‘stuff’. I tried diversionary tactics, I counted the trees; I followed the sat. nav. even though I wasn’t driving the car; I counted backwards in twos etc. and eventually made it back home, much to my relief.

H helped me into my PJs and I should have gone to bed but my mind was still buzzing with the day’s activities, thoughts and emotions. I started to write this. I kept going off to ‘la-la land’ and eventually with much spacing out and nil on the sleep scale, I arrived here at daybreak. Shattered, exhausted, vulnerable still, mouth tasting stale from too much coffee and not enough toothpaste.

My morning carer will be here in about half an hour, breezing in as usual when all I want to do now I ‘breeze’ my way up to bed. Bit late (or early) for that! I have a busy day today and I’m all behind with emails so sorry friends but I will reply asap.

Anyway, here I am, having survived which is exactly what i keep intended to do and will do so despite the odds. So thanks for keeping me company in the small, dark hours. Another day.