Friday, 20 July 2018

Exchanges...Unknown Territory and a Natural Ending.

No exchange of contracts today after all. 
 A lot of other kinds of exchanges though.
With the roofers.... and the loft clearers....and the buyer.... and the buyer's father.... and the estate agent..... and the seller's solicitors.... and the electrician.... and a cleaner.... and a carpet cleaner....and the building insurers.... and the bank.

And lots of other loving .....  and friendly..... and supportive exchanges too.

Although it feels like pushing jelly up a hill, it all means we are inching closer and closer to 30th July and THE END.

This afternoon when my head couldn't entertain another exchange I went out into the front garden with my secateurs and cut back waving lavender stems and straggly hedge branches and the fuschia bush growing over the front railings....but not very far. 
The  council highways department stuck a letter through my post box the other day saying the overhanging vegetation was an obstruction and if I didn't put it right in 14 days they would rectify it and charge me.
 I won't be here in 14 days but it seems churlish to leave it for my buyers.

It's been raining tonight .....the smell of rain on hot earth and hot pavements filtering in though all the open windows.....the scents and memories of my African childhood seeping into my skin.

19 months since Robin passed.....doesn't sound very long to me but it's been the longest loss I've known.
 And as I'm approaching a very big unknown territory, this is my last blog from this house....another natural ending in the wings.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

D-Day ....Another Death ....and a Re-Birth

Only one large white and a few small blue agapanthus flowers have bloomed in the garden this year.  I love them. They are forever associated in my mind with my Grandfather in South Africa and my family in Canada.

7am. I start clearing out the small fridge in the utility room.
  Hospice Care - a very good charity who offer a free  house clearance service - are coming tomorrow morning. They are clearing out the loft and shed and taking away some furniture, like the dining room table and six chairs which are too big for my new house, and other things which they can sell in their shop or re-cycle. 
Fortunately I have a second fridge so I transfer most of the contents, except a lot of bottles of condiments which have been there for far too long  - sweet chilli sauce that for a while Robin used to smother on everything he ate....a jar of umiboshi plums...a tub of Dutch pear and apple spread....a bottle of carob syrup and out of date mayonnaise and mustard. I still find it hard to throw away food....even if I can't eat it.

Although it is still uncertain ...and it all depends on what the roofer finds when he puts up his ladder tomorrow.... after much negotiation on the phone all day..... tomorrow is now also D-Day. Exchange of contracts day when it is hard to back out of the sale and purchase and very expensive if you do.
Not that I or my sellers or my buyers want's just been getting more and more intense ..... a long and tricky haul to arrive at this point.

As my cranio-sacral therapist said this afternoon it's like another death and also a re-birth at the same time. I haven't yet truly felt the finality of Robins' death, but this ending ...this leaving of our 15 years home is a brutal severance.  I'm buffering it with the enormity of a zillion things to do to make it happen.
 The truth of it may only start to sink in when I've handed over the keys and stepped though a different front door and into the beginning of my just-me life. 
I'm expecting the re-birth to take a long long time.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Feasting....Forgetting... and in awe of parents and grandparents.

 I don't know what happened - I thought I published this yesterday...but just found it in drafts... 
While the bees feast on sweet marjoram and oregano in the herb garden,

I lunch with my sweet Italian family - green bean pesto on fusilli by my niece,

all home grown green garden salad by my sister,

jammy marshmallow dodgers by my 5 and 3 quarters year old great niece.

Later, after hilarious board games round the table......and scooting down slides and swishing through the air on swings in the park.......and hot chocolate and flapjacks and blueberry muffins in the Potting Shed Cafe........and a huge supper of stuffed courgette flowers, salmon and herb mash and green beans......we cut into my Bakewell Tart . It's is still a bit gooey in the middle -  no-one complains. But really we are all already too full up and tired and worn out to eat any more than a sliver.

Even though I'm totally knackered  - and totally in awe of all parents and grandparents of little people  - it was so lovely for me to be absorbed into their company and totally forget about the relentless detail of moving house and home  - put it on hold for one day at least. 

Wednesday 18th July

It was harder to forget it all today - even in the utterly absorbing whirlwind of little people and their needs - I'm getting worried about how close I am to moving  - having already booked the removal van - without having exchanged contracts. I need to chase. My worst thing - next to packing. So I'm chanting instead....

All is well and all manner of things shall be well.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Diminished and Bakewell Tart

The roasted tomato, aubergine and yellow patti-pan squash tart I made for the big extended family get- together in Weston Super Mare on Saturday. My father's side of the family. The older generation is diminishing now. I love all my cousins....can't keep up with the increasing number of their grandchildren though. But they know me.... remind me I belong in a clan...which helps when I feel so  diminished without Robin.

Today I wake up with a great fear hanging over me....can't shake the feeling of smallness...of needing to be grown up in the face of any adversity.....when I just want to play in the long grass of childhood freedom.....knowing someone else has my back....taking care of the hard stuff.  

I wade through some of the TO DO list....nothing returns my calls.....all arrangements on hold.

The best thing for me to do when I'm disconnected from myself and overwhelmed is to cook.
So I make a Bakewell Tart and mess about with the recipe....add lemon rind to cut the sweetness of the raspberry jam and the frangipane filling. The mixture curdles......I add more almonds and scatter fresh raspberries over the jam. Thanks to Paul Hollywood for that idea.

I'll only find out if it's cooked or still raw in the middle  - which it usually is -  when I cut into it tomorrow  - round the table with my sweet great -nieces -  visiting from Italy   - not even sure they  eat tart but I know they like ice cream - and I've made plenty of that.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Lost to the Tennis

Random photos round about this day - mid July - from the last ten years.

July 2009 Begonia - a Thousand Bells -  in the garden..

and at Tiverton Canal in the rain.

July 2010

along the coast above Budleigh Salterton.

July 2011 St Ives..

 agapanthus ....walking the coastal path with my cousin.

July 2012 Blue Anchor Bay, North Somerset

and our very thin pussy cat when he was very ill.

July 2013 Jam making  - strawberries from the allotment.

and sunset over the estuary at Topsham.

July 2014, A Course in Miracles picnic near Cheriton Bishop, Mid Devon

in the Sub Tropical Gardens 

near Abbotsbury in Dorset...

the name of which escapes me...

July 2015 my nieces's beautiful wedding..

and Blackcurrant Parfait ice cream.

July 2016 my great niece discovering snails..

Dartmoor ponies near Princetown...

on the beach in Sidmouth...

and sour dough bread in the Old Mill Bakery in Lyme Regis.

July 2107 Pelargonium in the garden after the rain...

BBQ at my sister's farm...

and framed at the Killerton Estate when my brother came to visit from Fiji.

Today Friday 13th July 2018.

I lose myself and the whole afternoon.... and evening.... and the night, swept up in the drama of the men's semi-finals at Wimbledon.
In between matches I grill aubergines and courgettes  - the filling for a tomato and parmesan tart that I'm making to take to a family lunch in Weston -Super- Mare tomorrow.

And when the tension gets unbearable I sort though and read and discard or keep and file all the hundreds of recipes that I've torn out of magazines over the last 10 years or more. I'm re-inspired - especially by the mouth watering photos, as I search for ideas to cook my niece and her little family and my big sister who are all coming to visit next week from Sardinia.

Now I'm trying to remember where I was and what I was doing in my life before I let the excitement of the game take over. But I'm glad I did  - it was some of the most fantastic tennis I can remember watching. And I've been hooked on Wimbledon...  and watching it ....since I was a school girl and came to this country in 1966.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Packing Up

Packing Up

Clearing out the kitchen cupboards,
 it's easy to throw away jars of chilli powder and nutmegs
past their sell-by dates.
Easy to donate five of the eight  pyrex mixing bowls 
to the charity shop.
It's harder to open Robin's filing cabinet
where I have been keeping all his things -
 hairbrush, wallet, bedside drawer bits and pieces
imbued with his presence.
Impossible to handle the shoe box stuffed full of the cards and letters
of condolence
of love
written to me after he died
without being 
sliced to the floor
with sorrow.

Packing up halted
till I can remember
why I'm doing this.....

To step out of our life that is 
forever over
mine that is
 just beginning.

Taking the cards and the letters
and the love
with me.