Tuesday, 28 December 2010

a little bit of a head cold and a renaissance...

There's about a hundred things I want to write about, but I'm going to be strict with myself.

The past five days I've been forced to stop by a bugger of a head cold. I've been holed up in Lancashire with my family, and it's been a honey and hot lemon Christmas. It's been sneezes, tissues, falling asleep on a chair by the fire, bloody lovely puddings made by my mum, more coal on the fire, more films, laughing until my belly hurt, pyjamas, blankets, paracetamol, fortune cookies, charades, more sleep, sore throat, croaky voice, leaving the house once for a snowy walk, hats, scarves and gloves, some lovely presents, family stories.

I feel dead lucky.

Probably without the head cold, I might have rushed back to Manchester, or rushed around doing things. But, I've been rough as old dogs and floored for a few days, and it's made me appreciate what is right here for me whenever I need it, all-weathers, and whatever I'm like, warts and all. This is what love feels like. It's ace.

I want to be better at showing how much I care for the people who are always there for me because they're brilliant.

Mushy mush mush mush.

This year was a bit like a head cold.

For years and years, I've been dragging around a whole load of crap from the past, a lot of which doesn't even belong to me, is not my fault, and stems from events that are gone and can never be changed.

Probably, somewhere deep inside, there has always been this hope that I would be able to heal it all or find some understanding to make it all go away. Or that I would find someone else who could take it all away for me.

But this year my body sent me some strong messages in the disguise of migraines and other health niggles and it shut me down at times, forcing me to stop and take a closer look at what the heck I'm doing to myself.

Since May, I've been slogging away trying to make changes, not sure what it is exactly I need to change, but trying anyway.

And at last in December I feel as if something is shifting. Yes, yes. It feels different, positive, as if some of the crap is being left behind and I'm starting to like myself and appreciate what is bloody lovely about my life. I'm enjoying myself a whole lot, feeling loved, believing in myself more, having fun, loving my friends.

Again, mushy mush mush, but you know, it is an amazing relief to feel like this again, after being in such a self-hateful, scared, empty place. It's not perfect... It's still tough. I still get ill. I still feel down in moments. I've just decided I don't want to be that unhappy scared person any longer.

I choose to leave all the rubbish behind and be happy. For as long as I can be.

So there. That's a good attitude to start the new year with, innit.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

#56 Dear Promise of New Things

Dear Promise of New Things

You make me feel excited right down to my bones. I mean, it's impossible to say how new things will turn out. And not so long ago I probably would have been dead scared. But right now, you are just the ticket

A xx

Sunday, 19 December 2010

#55 Dear Amazing Weekend

Dear Amazing Weekend,

Thank you for so many unexpected things:

for putting me in a big Manchester snow-globe on Friday night. It was one of those evenings where even though it was freezing out, I felt warm cos of a bunch of lovely women friends, fairy lights on the tree, lots of chat, laughing until my belly hurt. Then when we looked out of the window everyone said WOW all at the same time because everything was white with snow.

for a very cool mate who sorted me two free tickets to see James at the MEN arena on Saturday. We danced like crazy for two hours, sang until we were nearly hoarse, and were transported back about 18 years. It was perfect.

for a very interesting after-gig drink, which even though was only planned as one ended up taking us into the early hours, new places, mad dancing, lots of laughing, new friends, a little bit of naughtiness. Ha!

and then for today, because we planned to see a film, but fate gave us an afternoon wandering around art galleries, singing carols along with some buskers, eating coconut macaroons, and browsing the Christmas markets.

Weekend, you've been surprising and full of spontaneity, and I'm exhausted, but have a massive smile on my face


Thursday, 16 December 2010

#54 Dear Poems I Haven't Written Yet

Dear Poems I Haven't Written Yet,

I love knowing you are out there somewhere, and when I'm watchful / open / curious it's very easy to find you, hiding behind an image, or a thought, or something someone says, or a memory, an object, a word, an idea, a sound, a song, or a person. And if I wait patiently, then all the words emerge, and you become something I never imagined writing. Almost like a stranger who starts talking to me in a bar. We might become friends, perhaps lovers, or maybe you'll be just another person I met once whose name I won't remember.

I like knowing there will always be more strangers and more poems. It's what life is about, and I think for a while I forgot you were out there, or stopped caring, or believing. But, here I am discovering you again, and it feels good.

Poems, I look forward to meeting you,

A x

Monday, 13 December 2010

#53 Dear Memory of Dancing in a Lake

Dear Memory of Dancing in a Lake

I love that you keep coming back to me, when I am working, when I'm in bed in the dark, when I am driving in traffic jams, when I am waiting in queues in the supermarket, when I am bored or alone or afraid. There is something beautiful about knowing you are there with me. Especially when I play one particular song and you fill me with that afternoon again. It is magic. How one minute I am here, and the next you have swooped down and taken me right back there. I love you for it. No matter what happens I can live that day over and over again from start to finish. Thank you,

A x

Sunday, 12 December 2010


So, a lovely brief visit to Italy last week.

Wonderful friends picked me up from Milan airport and whisked me away to a four course lunch home-cooked by Roberto's lovely mum for Mr Bertuol's birthday. She makes her own pickles and preserves, so we had artichokes, stuffed chilli peppers, mushrooms picked from the hills, and a ravioli with pasta sauce, beef rolled in mushrooms. It was a bit of a treat. His parents don't speak English and I don't speak Italian, so the conversation took place with some kindly interpretation.

I've been wanting to visit their allotment for some time now, having heard such a lot about it, so was dead pleased to get a tour later in the day, just as the sun was setting. Wow. All I can say is wow. Their allotment is more like a farm. Their hazelnut trees stretch down the hill for ages, and there is so much space, and a lovely collection of allotment structures built by Mr Bertuol.

I am dying for a summertime visit now, when everything is growing and Mrs Bertuol has her giant pan cooking tomato sauce on their outdoor fire. My god. Heaven.

Then to Turin for three lovely days with my friends, who really looked after me, took me touring round the city in the cold cold cold, down beautiful cobbled streets, into grand old coffee places, restaurants, christmas markets, museums, churches, down by the river, more coffee places, more streets. It is such a stunning place, filled with gorgeous historical buildings. And most important of all, I got the chance to spend some lovely time with my friend chatting about everything, proper time. And it was a giggle, a brush with the Italian fire brigade, some play in the film museum, and a little bit of jiggle to Aretha on our last night.

And I even had the drama of being caught up in an Italian student protest on the way back to Milan, when a mob of students decided to sit on the train line for an hour so that I nearly, very nearly, missed my flight back to Manchester.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

#52 Dear Part of Me That is Always so Hard on Myself

Dear Part of Me That is Always so Hard on Myself

Let's make a deal. I'll try not to mess up, if you be a bit kinder. There is enough hard stuff to deal with in life. There'll always be other people who will let us down because people are just people trying to live their lives in the best way they can. We're all imperfect and flawed. So, let's try to focus on the positive and not dwell on the mistakes and fuck-ups. What do you reckon?

A x

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

little see-saw of life part 4

Proper Winters. Central heating. Home-made mackerel pate. The Wire, Season 5. My new mobile. My new fringe. Laura Marling. Someone telling me I looked beautiful yesterday. Nexus Art Cafe. Hat scarf & gloves. The advent calendar my sister sent. Being less scared than I used to be. New friends.

Sore belly. Being let down. Being a bitch. Icy pavements. Wanting what you can't have.

#51 Dear Snow

Dear Snow,

I might get sick of you if you stay too long, but right now you are just what I need. I love the way you make everything look beautiful and the way you flurry down when I am walking and stick to my coat, my gloves, my specs. The way you sound under my feet is amazing, that scrunch scrunch noise as you press down under my boots. I've been wrapped up, huddled up in my coat, scarf, hat, layers and layers of clothes. You make it seem like proper winter. The best thing is you make me forget everything I want to forget about, and I just feel awe like I did when I was little. Thank you, thank you (but don't hang about too long cos I've got a plane to catch, and also when you go all slushy and icy you ain't so nice)

A xxx