The morning sky is an intensely bright blue and the air crisp and cold after yesterday’s grey, extremely windy, offering. I went out into my little balcony garden to check for any damage and noticed that one of the two Oriental style statues I have in amongst the plants had been on the receiving end of an unwelcome delivery from a pigeon. When I picked it up my head suddenly filled with memories – how in my late teens I first saw the pair in a shop window on Carnoustie High St on a visit up to my Gran with my parents. I didn’t have the money to buy them for myself – so you can imagine the absolute delight some time later when I unwrapped my birthday present to find it was the two statues.As a family we barely had two pennies to rub together so my Mum must have really saved up (or gone without) to buy them for me, which makes them all the more precious. And since then they have always been with me, a reminder of my Mum.
Holding the statue also reminded me of the book my parents bought me when I was about 10, the New Larousse Encyclopaedia of Mythology. I used to browse through the pages wondering at the diversity of deities worshipped around the planet. I was always drawn to the Eastern art, in particular Japanese silk paintings with their beautiful, ethereal figures. It’s one of my most treasured books, together with ‘Stories from Ancient Greence’ illustrated by Doreen Roberts.
I never have been very good at remembering ‘facts’ but the pictures have stayed in my mind. I think that’s why the statues hold such memories, they are visual, physical objects, imbued with 40 years worth of memories and holding them is like pressing the play button on a recording.
It’s the morning after the clocks have ‘gone back’. So I find myself at 7.30am on a Sunday morning – which would have been 8.30 if this was yesterday. I have an extra hour of the day. I was thinking about how in my old job working shifts, you would occasionally be caught out and technically work and extra hour for free. So I don’t miss that. I’m going to use my extra hour to catch up on reading – simple things like magazines and articles I’ve been book marking.
Today is a beautiful, clear, cold morning. I went outside early to shoo away the pigeons persistently trying to nest next door – my neighbour has been away for months so the pesky feathered fiends have taken up residence. As I stepped out there was that smell, that feeling on the skin of autumn and a mild tickling excitement thinking about Christmas and cosy jumpers, scarves and big winter coats. But for now I just want to appreciate the beauty of the leaves turning from green to gold, red, brown, an autumnal palette that makes the heart sing.
Since my last update in March I decided to heed the messages and put my health first. I have managed to find a new job and include a bit of time off in between. I still find I try and cram too much in at times. My back has been pretty good, a bit achey at times but then this morning it was very painful and I realised I probably have been overdoing it, so I’m giving myself a day off to catch up on blogs, admin and tea drinking and time with a jolly good book (current read is Wolf Hall.)
Also since the last update, we (as in the husband and I) have decided we’d like to move home in the next 3 to 5 years – it’s great living in the city but the coast has been calling for a while now. We’ve had weekends away in Surrey and Suffolk and found the green spaces really inspiring. The English countryside and coast are glorious. And I could fulfil a long held dream of having my very own garden. Nothing too big, but enough for a decent amount of pottering about. And a shed of course….it’s a huge decision as we’ve always lived in the city. I’ve been in my current flat for 30 years so it’s definitely time to move on. We are looking for somewhere big enough to have cinemas and theatres as village life would be quite daunting.
Most of our trips have been documented on my Insta account. Weekends in Oxfordshire, a 10 day break in Italy which only came about because we were due to go to a yoga retreat in Sri Lanka for 10 days (http://www.jimsfarmvillas.com) but a week before we were due to travel the bombs went off so travel was completely out of the question. We are still in the process of recovering the money from the travel agent (it takes several weeks) and the hotel moved our booking to next year. Then yesterday the FCO lifted the travel ban which is great news, and means I can rebook flights as soon as we get our refund. Yoga has been a real sanity saver over the last few months. In April we also had a mini break in Bordeaux with some old Uni pals. I feel so lucky that after nearly 40 years we are all still in touch, still alive and mostly have our own hair and teeth!
We have also been trying out different crafting classes – one of my friends often teases me about my constant “self improvement”. But if I don’t try everything, how will I find out what I want to do when I grow up? During April the husband and I did a 1 day Ayurvedic workshop with the lovely Geeta Vara (https://www.geetavara.co.uk), and a 2 day stone carving course at London Stone Carving (londonstonecarving.com). In May I tried out Shibori, a Japanese dying technique (which I will use to rejuvenate a couple of old duvet covers) https://www.romordesigns.com/workshops. In Italy we booked on a pasta making cookery class (https://www.abbaccala.it/?lang=en) and last Saturday (1st June) we tried out stained glass panel making. It was an Airbnb experience (search ‘Wenhaston’ on the website – there are several classes, we went to the one taught by Chris). Inspired by all this crafting I have signed up to an 8 week evening class in ceramics. Healthy mind, healthy body will hopefully equal ripe and healthy old age.
I’m in a much better place than I was last March. My new job starts soon, we have plans underway for refurbishing the flat ready for sale in a couple of years, my daughter’s boyfriend has moved in with her and he’s very supportive, I’m so pleased she has someone who is there for her. All in all I feel a deep gratitude that I have so many positive things in my life at the moment. It doesn’t matter how old you are, there is no reason to stop adventuring and trying out new things.
January I had a wonderful holiday to Bali with my daughter. The first holiday we’ve had together since she was 12. It was great to spend time with her in a beautiful and relaxed environment. It did wonders for her fatigue. We stayed in a full board Ayurvedic retreat and she absolutely thrived. As did I.
February, friends came to stay for a few days. Their lives are in transition. Husband has worked overseas for decades. She has shuttled between continents, raising children, managing poor health. Finally the time has come to can the air miles, settle back home and enjoy time with children, grandchildren and ageing parents. I had some time away to deal with health issues related to my back. The weather was incredible. It was during that amazing heat wave when it felt like spring had gone on holiday and let summer cover her annual leave. I went for long walks in the countryside and felt so restored and rejuvenated. Being in a rural environment was a turning point. The idea took root – I realised it might be time to leave the city.
March is only mid way through but the feeling that I need to change my life has not gone away. My back has continued to give me problems to the point I had to take a week off work when it spasmed and I was unable to walk more than a few steps. The pain killers knock me sideways. I think my body is trying to send me a big loud message: what are you doing? Maybe this is my ‘mid life crisis’. “Crisis” is such an overused word. I shall call it my mid life review. I spend a lot of my time being ‘busy’ – constantly researching and arranging things, whether trips away or refurbing our home. It’s time to channel that energy into arranging the next chapter. Much to think about.
Hello and thank you for joining me! After a few months of trying out Instagram I found myself migrating away from Facebook and towards the short, sweet photo based content of Insta, finding some great sites and interesting people in the process. The aim of my ‘Postcards from my 50s’ Insta page is to share my journey through ‘middle’ age. There’s plenty of life left in the old girl yet! And since many of the people I follow also have blogs, I felt inspired to try out running a blog for the next 12 months. What better day to start than 1st January 2019?
A little bit about me. Obviously I’m in my 50s. Still trying to work out what I want to do when I grow up. I have always loved anything creative but have had to balance that with being practical – as I’m sure many of you have experienced, keeping a roof over your head, making a home and raising a family requires a regular, predictable income so some life choices have inevitably been down to necessity. For some of the time I was also a single Mum budgeting everything to the very last penny. But somehow I lurched through it all and here I am, my daughter all grown up and carving out her own career in spite of her health setbacks (she has her own blog https://fitandfatigue.wordpress.com ), I’ve paid off my debts, I still work full time but find myself doing a lot of thinking about when I can afford to retire and spend more time doing what I love: travel, making things, enjoying being a human being rather than just being a human ‘doing’. And the thing I love most of all? Pottering. I just love a good potter. The routine of going into an office every day and dealing with Stuff is really boring after 35+ years! I have worked in a number of different places in the hope of finding The Thing I Want To Do. Pottering has kept me sane through all that journey!
So in the interim, what can I do that’s creative but does not become another task master and works well for an inveterate potterer? How about a blog to share that journey? I can write when I want about what I want. Can I maintain a blog for 2019? We’ll have to see. What will it be about? The ramblings of a 50 something woman. Will anyone read it? We shall see!
So there. I’ve done it. My first blog post. And if you’ve read this far, thank you!
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton