21 January 2018

This is what defeat looks like, thankfully. The river showed me my place and when I arrived back home after a mere half hour, my knees were buckling under me and my conscience kicked in.

On a good day, I can cycle on and on until that castle ruin on the other side is a long way behind me. (In my fitandhealthy life, I cycled all the way to almost Switzerland.)
But it has been a while.

So yes, I am miserably unwell but what else is new. Keeping fingers crossed that it's just a bug or a virus simmering below the surface. Even cancelled the all important meeting with the big boss on Friday. Exhaustion is my middle name. Consequently, this post is all over the place.

But otherwise life is good enough, seriously. We got the first (hopefully of many) bunch of daffs.

The dawn chorus is swelling, mostly blackbirds. The ladybirds that have been hibernating inside the house are getting restless. They make these tiny sliding noises when they crash against the window panes. Don't worry, they are tough.

I have been reading, as always, and this here stuck in my head:

I’d like to teach my daughter to protect herself. I’d like to teach her not to be thankful for the leering eyes of a man on the street, or the groping hands of a man at a bar. I’ll teach her that she is the ruler of her body, and I’d like to imagine a world where she can go to the grocery store at night and not walk fast to her car with her keys poised like a weapon.
Because I tried, I swear I tried. I wanted her world to be so much safer.  I wanted her to grow up feeling free and welcome and fearless almost everywhere. I want all women to feel free and fearless and I think every single person I know wants the same and yet, I have failed. For a while I thought if I encourage her sense of fearlessness that surely will do the trick. But before I knew it, she learned that "N O spells no" in kindergarten - and we pretended it's a funny game, enrolled her in self-defense training not once but thrice and arranged for safe passwords, secret codes and pretend phone calls while walking home from the night bus. Mothers should not have to buy pepper spray for their daughters or warn them about the safe way to dress because men cannot help it or whatever shitty backlash comes next.

Meanwhile, listen to the fabulous NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who is pregnant with her first child and will show the world that work and motherhood are not incompatible.

10 January 2018

it's terribly important not to be too gloomy

The fabulous Mary Beard speaking.

At around 6:30 am after a night when I exhausted myself on the battlegrounds of gastritis I realised that I really don't have to go to work at all today, I can just call in sick and if they hold it against me, so be it.  Which of course is paranoia on my part because labour protection etc. Also, as my clever daughter pointed out to me, complaints about my work in general solely based on my age is a rights violation (that's called ageism, mum, don't let them get away with it).
So, I am staying home because I am old and sick or maybe because I am sick and old. Take your pick.
Or rather, because I feel like shit and just want to potter about a bit, watch/listen to Mary Beard, not brush my greying hair, read my book with a hot water bottle placed on my bloated tummy.
And: no apologies.

The river is receding, the birds are very busy courting and getting things ready in the hedge for their spring marriages. Even the sun came out for a (very) short while.

07 January 2018

midwinter is in the past

2015, all innocent

The river  burst its banks three days ago and this lunchtime, the water level reached orange alert  with red alert forecast for tonight. Like all good citizens, we duly made our way to see it with our very own eyes. Let no disaster happen without crowds to witness.
It was as expected, ducks and swans showing off their best plumage, a couple of canoeists paddling along where some eight meters below, we would normally cycle. Only the NE wind was icy cold.

In the morning, I can hear a timid dawn chorus, the days are getting longer, so R reassures me.

At nights when exhaustion has me in its tight wrap, I lie in the deep silence and although I cannot see the moon directly, I watch the blue light, the way it shimmers and shivers along the walls and across the ceiling and this longing for life comes over me, like an urge from deep inside of me that I had almost forgotten existed. 

01 January 2018

new year's resolutions

According to reliable sources, Seamus Heaney’s  final words just before his death in 2013, texted to his wife, were noli timere –  do not fear.

If I should have to try and spell out a new year's resolution, Looking forward to next year, I could do worse than to bear these words in mind.

Because the more we fear, the more they win. Right? But then another new year's resolution of mine is to always ask, who are they?

My dream resolutions, the ones I haven't yet properly examined but which the spirits and fairies and pixies of winter have been whispering into my ear: retireretireretire and see someone about that paralyzed right foot (as in get to walk properly again).

And while we're at it, the big one, the resolution of resolutions, is to only buy stuff we need, absolutely need. This is actually not  very difficult now with R starting on his meagre pension next month. And seriously, we have everything we need. Stuff wise.

Other than that, I will let shit happen. I am 60 now, no need to get too excited.

New Year's eve was exceptionally mild, a weird spring day. We sat outside with our mugs of tea. We cycled without gloves. Today, it is cold again and that poor Meyer lemon is probably going to react badly to us moving it in and out and in and out. Right now, it's flowering and downstairs smells like Spain.
This was a week ago: