Birth Health Life


Friday, 5 December 2014

There's still time to shop!

Making up my recent orders ready for posting out for Christmas!

There's been a flurry of activity in the beadshop following my recent shop update.  Lots of people supporting a small business selling unique hand-made jewellery, and enjoying stress-free Christmas shopping!

Amber is not only the most beautiful and unique bead, it has also been used in the Baltic regions for centuries as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic.  When you wear amber, your skin temperature warms the bead and this causes the release of succinic acid which is traditionally thought to be the reason that wearing amber reduces inflammation and pain.

I've got some stock still left for last minute shopping, but I'm taking the weekend off to enjoy a wedding, and a birthday party, and some chill time with my family.

You can shop at Mid Sussex Birthing Beads Shop and tick some presents off your list!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Shop Update!

When the going gets tough, the tough buy their amber and hazelwood beads here!

These are a few of the designs available in the Mid Sussex Birthing Beads Shop right now!  There's some amber for little teethers, amber and hazelwood separately and combined for children and adults, as well as amber with gemstones, in bracelets and necklaces.

New door opening :-)

Last week I closed a can read about it here.  I want to learn, I'd been waiting to start a course that my head thought was right but my heart knew was not my path.  I withdrew my application.  I'm not very good at ending things like that, at closing doors, because I fear that there will be nothing else to replace it.

Recently I heard the affirmation 'I am not being rejected from something good, I'm being redirected to something better'  I like that.  So Thursday I close the door, and the following Monday, yesterday, I was at drop-in clinic as usual, and one of the bosses came in and asked if I'd like to work at the hospital drop-in, run by a woman I know who is an IBCLC and the infant feeding lead for the hospital Trust.  I think my learning is going to start in earnest tomorrow afternoon!

These helplines are available if you need to speak to a breastfeeding counsellor in the UK:

ABM 0300 330 5453
NBFH 0300 100 0212 
NCT  0300 3300 771
LLL 0845 120 2918

Sunday, 23 November 2014


The Brow Gods were with me

I do like to periodically bore you with the saga of my brows, and I will do a more in-depth post one day about what I've been doing with them lately, but last night they just went so well that I simply had to share.

I have been using a brow-dyeing kit to make use of those little white hairs that grow around what is left of the remainders of my actual brows.  I plucked them to death decades ago, and they have to get drawn in every day.  Some days are good brow days, some are not.  Last night was an excellent brow evening!

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Real badass !00% Cacao Hot Chocolate kinda day

I usually drink almond milk, or at a push, semi-skimmed cow milk.  This little baby however, demands full fat cows (although in honesty its still lush with skimmed) and a dash of liquid vanilla extract.  You can sweeten with the hazelnut syrup used by Costa if you're feeling really flash, or use'll need something to take the edge off the slight bitterness of real goddam chocolate.  Experiment with a pinch of chili powder, or cinnamon...cardamom powder...nutmeg...let your imagination run wild.  Next time I'll be adding a slug of Cointreau for a chocolate orange hit. Gotta love a rainy Saturday!!

'Origin' design now in a stretchy

'Origin' Motherbeads design stretchy bracelets

I love a rainy Saturday.  Nothing like it for getting some beading work done whilst listening to Planet Rock...although I must say the featured year of 1984 is turning up some pretty abysmal tunes.

Anyhoo, I am so in love with the Origin design in my adult amber collection...I wear this every day with everything.  The amber is green with inclusions, very rare.  The stones are chrysocolla, amethyst and pearl.  The tiny pearls in the bracelet are actually mother of pearl.

I thought it would make some great Christmas presents to have a matching set of necklace and stretchy, and the stretchy has a sweet little gold coloured turtle charm too.

I'm going to take a little break now and make some real bad-ass hot chocolate with full fat milk and real chocolate.  Might even warrant it's own blog post!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

The closing of one door...and the opening of another...all in the same day!

Class of 2013 La Leche League peer supporters
Gosh but I've been busy with the doors today.  I'm not sure that I've shared with you the fact that two of the loveliest parts of my week are the breastfeeding drop-in clinics that I work in as a breastfeeding peer supporter.  Below is a picture of me and the other 'pink ladies' graduating from the La Leche League course nearly 2 years ago.  (I was blonde then!!) I see so many wonderful mums in the clinic, and get to support them in their breastfeeding journeys.  Some of the mums have babies as young as three or four days, others are toddlers and older.  Naturally, I come away from each clinic buzzing with the ladies and babies who I've met, and wishing that I knew more about the subject, I'm always hungry for more knowledge.  This lead me to take the next step, and apply to train to be a breastfeeding counsellor.  To cut a long story short, there are a number of avenues open to someone like me to train, and some are more expensive than others.

I began my application to my chosen training body in June, and the two year course is paid for by a further two year commitment to working on the National Helplines.  The application process has been long, and has allowed time for my feet to get cold.  Something hasn't felt right for some time.  I find myself looking every day for an email from them, but two and a half months on, I haven't heard a word.

Over the last couple of days I've been considering withdrawing my application, and today I did it.  It felt scary;  I'd got my doula mentor and one of the IBCLC's at work to be my referees, and gone through the application, and now I'd changed my mind.  It also felt good to take a positive step, rather than hanging on in the dark and wondering if this was what being on the course itself would feel like.  I decided to trust that my wish to be involved in supporting breastfeeding mothers would itself be supported by the universe, and the education and opportunities I need will be shown to me in other ways.

I went shopping after that.  When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping! When I got home, I got a text from a mum-to-be wanting a doula for next year. Several texts later, and we agreed to arrange to meet when my doula business partner is ready!  Feels fresh and exciting, like a new door opening!

Footnote.  A new door opened just days later for me to learn the same stuff, actually on the job!!  Amazing!!! I wrote about it here.
These helplines are available if you need to speak to a breastfeeding counsellor in the UK:

ABM 0300 330 5453
NBFH 0300 100 0212 
NCT  0300 3300 771
LLL 0845 120 2918


Saturday, 15 November 2014

Superfood lunch - deceptively easy to make

lush healthy lunch!
I love this super tasty lunch for so many reasons... especially that I can taste the health, and feel the benefits after eating it.  It is super tasty, very savoury and varied, and the teriyaki sauce in the mackerel gives it a sweet oriental kick.

Yes, the mackerel is tinned, and so are the beans, and there's enough beans and mackerel in one tin of each for two or three meals.

Add to these two main ingredients a chopped tomato, and some chopped kale flash-fried in a smidgen of coconut butter. As the kale is almost done, I turn the heat right down and throw into the pan a handful of flaked almonds, and some sunflower seeds.  You can let it cool off, or you can just combine the whole lot piping hot from the pan and get stuck in straight away.  

I need something quick and easy like this when I'm at home beading.  I get really hungry, and I don't want to eat unhealthy stodge or empty calories, but neither do I want to break away from working for more than 15 minutes to fix lunch!


Friday, 14 November 2014

In the bead factory today

Busy creating in the bead factory today!
This is the view today from the bead factory.  I'm working towards doing a craft fair in December, and if I do this craft fair, I'm going to need lots of stock.

On the left is my personal favourite design, and one that is very popular.  The amber is rare green polished amber, with inclusions.  I've combined it with gemstones that are associated with feminine energies (freshwater pearl) letting go of the past and destructive compulsions (amethyst) and harmony and self-expression (azurite chryscolla)

The Motherbeads necklaces are strung onto double-looped tiger tail and the beads are interspersed with seed beads.  As the design is so popular, I decided to replicate it in my stretchy bracelet range, like these:
stretchy bracelets (not the far right one...that's knotted!)

In order to reign in my imagination a bit, I tend to work contrasting designs together.  That's why there are two different bracelets on the go on the bead board.

I'm looking forward to adding the 'Origin' design to the stretchy bracelets in my shop!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Bonfire 14...done ✔

Bonfire in Lewes, 2014

Bonfire 2014 is done, for me.  There are another couple of bonfires in the villages of Sussex; Rotherfield this weekend, and Barcombe on the 22nd November.  I most probably won't be going, due in part to other things that I may choose to do, but also due to me feeling that its kind of over for me this year.  The costume has gone away, chats over the dinner table with family reveal that Dave feels pretty much the same.

We went to South Heighton's night on Saturday, and got absolutely drenched.  I am usually a fair weather bonfire girl, but this night was magical, I felt no pain.  The warm welcome from the small village society was enough to drive way the cold from my soaking skin.  On Sunday after tea we went out into the dark, when it felt like the whole of Sussex was cosied indoors for the evening.  We went to the pub which our HQ, for 'box night' to count the charity take.  This year, I had the honour of choosing the charity, and I chose the Trevor Mann baby Unit at Brighton, where my son was treated for severe respiratory distress syndrome after birth.  It felt like a closure, quietly counting with a few members, in the pub where we had gathered periodically during the 8 week season, and monthly since April, with mounting excitement for our night.  It was a bit of closure on another matter too, involving bonfire, and my son.  It was good.

It was a good one all round!  It was uneventful, and other people have remarked on the fact that it was lacking in edge and someone even called it 'pleasant'...not a word I would associate with November the 5th down in the Cliffe.  It is true though...the whole season, and 'the night' was pleasant.  I've done very unpleasant too, so I'm not going to be one of the ones complaining about it.

Next year the fifth will be on a Thursday, then I think we skip on to two consecutive Saturdays. (It's a bonfire thing, we don't march on a Sunday, so the forth will temporarily become the fifth.)  That will see a more lively crowd I'm sure, unless its lashing down, but that's way off into the future.  For now, Bonfire 2014 is a happy memory.

Monday, 3 November 2014

My weekend

A typical weekend towards the end of bonfire season. Note the really cool face in the smoke above the houses

This weekend was bonfire-filled from start to finish, and as the big day itself is only two sleeps away, today and tomorrow will have bonfirey elements to them too.  I wanted to share the photo on the left, as I took it whilst processing.  Usually I would be carrying a torch and therefore unable to actually take a photo, but for some reason I didn't get a torch, so I thought I would take the opportunity to snap away in the ranks.  The pinky tone in this photo is not a special effect, it's the colour the smoke turns when we carry marine flares to light up the parade.  As you can see the fireworks were spectacular and beautiful, and the smoke trails left afterwards highlighted some otherworldly participants of the night!  The location of this bonfire night was Battle in East Sussex, so for those of you that know your history you will appreciate the significance of ghostly faces appearing above the abbey and over Senlac hill.  (Even though it has recently been discovered to not be the actual battle site, but that's another story!)

The night was very exciting and great fun, but also a little spooky and there was definitely a feeling of the veil being thin that night.  All of us went home a little unsettled, and incidentally we all reported strange dreams the following day!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Saturday morning.. 4 sleeps till bonfire!

Saturday Morning breakfast!

I am usually one for healthy breakfasts...porridge, muesli, yoghurt and fruit, or any of a number of dishes that I keep in the fridge at all times made with couscous, vegetables, seeds and the like.  But sometimes, only a big fry up will do!  It's the first of November, so we are deep into Lewes bonfire preparations.  Last night we met friends in Lewes for an evening of live music and dancing, and tonight we will march in Battle bonfire's parade.  So you can see why we needed to start with a banging breakfast this morning!


Thursday, 30 October 2014

Chill day :-)

Chilling out with a nice cuppa and a biscuit!

This is what I mainly did today!  And I really needed it.  The bonfire season is upon us so weekends are really busy, with out-fires (what a lovely old term!) on Saturday nights, and torch making on Sundays.  I'm having packed days in the clinics that I work in, and between encapsulating placentas and running my Mid Sussex Birthing Beads business,  the days are flying by.
This is great, and I am in the enviable position in my life of loving every aspect of my work.  It hasn't always been thus, so I really, really appreciate it.  Sometimes though, I just need to have a day to myself, in my trackies, watching JK, drinking tea, listening to Planet Rock, or catching up on You Tube videos.  Inevitably I end up reading breastfeeding textbooks or making beads, but that's all part of loving what you do!  I just love being able to do it all in my favourite room, pottering about with Ernie and the radio for company.
I am so sorely tempted to do it all again tomorrow too!! I'm becoming a hermit :-)

Monday, 27 October 2014

Latest creations from the bead factory!

Bracelets with raw amber in light cognac and polished green amber, plus gemstones and glass beads
I've been rather busy since that delivery, making up some adult bracelets, using knotted silk and also a lovely strong elasticated beading thread, which eliminates the need for a clasp.  Amber is great for adults as well as children, so if you suffer with any kind of inflammatory condition or pain, it can be of help.  I've threaded these bracelets with seed beads, and a variety of glass beads and gemstones too.  The big clear bead in the centre of the picture is fluorite.  This gemstone comes in greeny purply tones as well, both clear and slightly opaque, and is thought to help with painful conditions, as well helping with anxiety and letting go.  Check out the shop here !

Sent from my Windows Phone

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Raw amber delivery

How lovely is this raw amber in light cognac!  The beads are really tiny too, at around 4mm, just right for making some sweet baby teething necklaces and anklets.  They look really great strung on an elastic thread and interspersed with seed beads to make an adult to follow!
Of course you get the healing properties of amber too, so if you're suffering carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive strain injury or a broken wrist, or any other wrist, hand or arm injury, the succinic acid released by the amber warming against your skin will act as an anti inflammatory and analgesic.
I could go on creating with this all night, but its bonfire season, so we will be heading out soon, so time to get my costume on and head out into the wilds of Sussex.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Roasted red pepper and tomato soup

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup with Toasted Almond Cream and Basil
I love making this its so easy, because you don't have to faff around peeling stuff, which is something that really puts me off some recipes.  I know, its just my personal little annoyance, made all the worse for the fact that someone (probably me) has lost my little peeling and paring knife that I love, forcing me to use others, which I don't love.  Anyhoooo, this is what you need:

  • 3 or 4 ripe red peppers
  • 6 large or 12 vine tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 3 sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
for the almond cream:

  • handful of flaked almonds
  • 1 dessert spoon of single cream
  • teaspoon butter
And this is how you do it:

  • put the oven on to 200 c
  • halve and deseed the peppers, then flatten them out and put them in a roasting tray
  • put the tomatoes straight in next to them, just as they are, no faffing!
  • skin and halve the onion, put it in the roasting tray with the other ingredients
  • free the garlic cloves from their bulb, and chuck em in - no need to take the paper off!
  • add the sun dried toms if you're using them
  • glug the oil in, over everything, and put in the oven for 40 minutes
  • when its all nicely roasted, take it out the oven and let it cool a bit.
  • at this stage, I squeeze the soft garlic out of its skin, and discard the skin.
  • pour the whole lot into a big saucepan, add the stock cube and enough hot water to cover it all
  • bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes
  • When its cooled off, whiz it up with a hand held blender
  • pass through a sieve
  • Enjoy!
If you want to add the toasted almond cream, you just need to heat a handful of flaked almonds in a frying pan with a little butter, until they're toasty brown.  Swirl in a little cream, and add to the soup.  Top it off with a couple of basil leaves.

Sent from my Windows Phone

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Stop the World, I have to get back on.

"Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled About the centre of the silent Word." ~ T.S Eliot
All too soon, my six week appointment comes around.  Oh, I'm not dreading the news, my lovely surgeon telephoned three weeks after the operation and gave me the fantastic news that it had been a success, there were no nasty tumours in my womb, (did she really have to be taken out?  Can I really afford to think about that?) and that the surgery was the conclusion to my treatment.
"Come and see me in three weeks time, we'll see that you've healed up, and we can sign you off and you can get on with your life"
He has a slight Aussie accent and a cheery disposition and dresses like any male consultant gynaecologist I ever scrubbed for or have been examined by.
I am no stranger to cancer.  I nursed many sufferers, my mum died in my arms of this's horrible, so cruel to so many, so why was I not quite ready for my journey to end?
I had not felt fear during any of this, it was debilitating and did not allow me to carry on my normal life.  Perhaps that's why I loved it so.  It was a big hand, held up just for me,
"Stop the world," it's voice said,
"this woman needs to get off."
I've been saying the same myself, for years, but no-one listened.  Mr M and I talked, argued, cried, all in the allotted time between waking and him driving to the office, but when he had to go, he had to go.  I would pick myself up from the floor, the callousness of his walking away, listening for him to return to comfort me, part of me praying that he would not.  He never, ever did.
We discussed the weight of his work some time back.  It comes first, it always has.  It pays the bills and feeds the kids, I can't argue with it.  When he admitted that it was his life, he was his work, I felt relieved, and excused of
some of my failings, realising that I had truly been alone much of the time.  I feel at my most lonely when I'm with him, and his BlackBerry.  However much 'making time for ourselves' I engineered, I never managed to get his attention.
Cancer got his attention.  It made time for ourselves.  Mr Mac looked at me and I could feel him seeing me.  The world no longer whirled, it slowed, and there we were in the moment, laughing at something silly.  I wasn't afraid of it ( I was genuinely more afraid of the dental treatment I had to have in preparation for possible chemotherapy)  and he admired my courage, my brave and positive approach.  He said as much, to me and to other people where usually, he ignores me, or goes into a jokey routine about how awful I am.
And now, all too soon, we're sitting in the waiting room, me knowing that I'm going to be signed off (consigned back) and him emailing, on his BlackBerry.

Postscript: I do not think of my lack of fear as courage.  I view it as a slightly worrying, if useful, detachment from reality.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Same Sky

I came out of it all right, the hysterectomy.  The same fields where I had wept goodbye to my reproductive system in the dark on a murky Sunday night dog walk were waiting for me when I managed the walk six weeks later, shyly showing off their very early spring green clothes.  The fields and I, we'd both had a long winter.
I feel like the land is there for me more than so called friends who are not.  Maybe because I live a few miles out (7) I am forgotten unless I make the effort to socialise.  Maybe I don't do well in groups, Mr. Mac doesn't, either
I question the amount of time I spend on bonfire during the season, if nobody cares during my rough season.  I don't come up with any answers.
As for the rest of it, I'm glad I made hay whilst the sun shone.
The surgical menopause into which I have been plunged, headlong, is not so bad either.  A  few night sweats, a headache and minor flushes occasionally, but that's all.  Hormonally I've always been on a storm-tossed sea, exciting adventures, glorious sunsets, thrilling beautiful and terrifying storms, but now its as though my vessel has landed in a calm safe cove.  The water is rich with the mystery of the deep, there are cliffs and rocks, sand and caves, mountains beyond, and I have all the time in the world to explore.
 Mr M has been there too, he would die for me,  I know that.  He's relieved that I don't need him to be around as much as we had both feared, because he is his work, it is his life, there's not room for too much else.

That's where I am this Mothering Sunday morning, as the yellow sun peeps over the neighbour's roof and I wait for my children to come, with their children, and cook.  Let's just hope they wash up.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

The Horror Stories

If you're reading this before your operation...know that you are facing going through something that you probably haven't got much choice over.  You want to be well.  You're trusting your surgeon and your caregivers.  Surround yourself with positive stories and people. You may well encounter folk like the one I'm describing below, because people are bloomin thoughtless.  They just are.  Shut your ears, and know that you'll be OK. I was, and still am, amazed at how far surgical technique has advanced since my days as a nurse, and how easy and honest to Goddess painless my post-op period was.

"Ooh dear...You are not going to be able to do anything after this op, for a long time. We looked after my mother's friend after and it was awful, she was in complete agony."

O well cheers for that.  Inexplicably (for I have been stoic before) I feel a sliding earthquake-like shifting of my centre, a sense of panic.  I'm standing in the clinic at work, where I have waited for the last mum and baby to leave before explaining that I'm going to be away for a while.

"Uh, well, I might be able to get keyhole, so that would be better..."

Too late I remember this person's keyhole surgery stories come in a selection which she flicks through like a Roladex at any given time and recites word perfectly every time keyhole surgery comes up.  I swear I heard that thing whirring and she stopped it on the card marked 'the worst things you can think of', none of which were a surprise to me as I am, after all, a trained nurse.  But then she hit on the jackpot.  The horror story that fit straight into my worst horror; one that I share with so many people, despite the rarity of it's actual occurrence... waking up mid-operation.
I simply got up and walked out of the room, into the other room with the coffee machine and all the health visitors.  They looked at me, puzzled, whilst I fiddled with the machine and ended up drinking water out of one of the coffee cups whilst reading a list on the wall.
It took me a while before I realised that I actually know the horror stories pertaining to this cancer and the operation I'm facing, because I lived them once. It was a long while ago and I was a young woman, pregnant with my fourth baby and full of hope and sadness.  My lovely sweet mum, my children's nana, had this cancer, and she died.  So I know.  I know in my heart and belly and head how wrong this could go and how that might look, in fact, at the moment I'm having a hard time seeing it from any other angle.
I crumpled the cup and walked back in to clinic, where the conversation had progressed to other matters.  What can you say to someone like that?  Really, I mean I actually think she wanted a reaction so I decided to not give it to her.  I just took her little gift home, and tried my best to un-hear it all.

I spoke to my surgeon during my consultation, and to the booking nurse, and the anaesthetist on the day of surgery, at length, about my fears of anaesthetic. This is such a common fear, and these folk were so lovely, amazingly reassuring and understanding of me.  The anaesthetist didn't just brush my fears away, he really listened and spoke at length to reassure me, and remembered our conversation when I met him in the anaesthetic room right before surgery.  So if you have these fears too, please, please don't do that 'I'm fine' stoical thing before hand, just be honest and speak to your caregivers about it.

Saturday, 18 January 2014


I saw the gynaecological oncologist and there were no surprises.  Hysterectomy.  Ovaries and tubes and cervix to go.  Heavy on the relish.  Sorry, its just that despite Mr M being incredibly wonderful and supportive, and the gynae chap being very approachable, its still just so surreal to be discussing my interior like this. There's lots to process, but I do feel unbelievably positive about it all, and I feel excited to see the person I will be after this operation.
 I am sorry to lose my womb, and awed that she is sacrificing herself for my well being, having contained the cancer and warned me loud and clear that something was wrong.  She has been the repository for all my feelings of self-loathing and fear, all my unworthiness, resentment and guilt.  She has protected me from myself by containing my worst and most self-destructive forces.
On the down side, I'm utterly shit-scared of the anaesthetic, and the after-effects of it.  I'm also apprehensive of the sudden removal of the organs secreting what hormones I had left...I will be thrust straight into a surgical menopause.  What will that look like?  (On the forums it looks like 23 separate threads all with the word 'meltdown' in the titles)
That's another thing, how will sex be afterwards?  I recall fondly Mr Mac and I, just a month or two ago.  I want to do it one last time with all my bits in place still, but there's pain and tenderness...I don't know.

I'm not too worried.  Things could be a whole load worse, and face it, I'm like a rat in a trap, there's nowhere else to go with this...there's no point in adding worry to the pot.  All will be well.  All is well.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014


It's quiet and cold at home, and I have plenty to be getting on with, but it feels like I'm waiting for something.  I'm up to date with the doctors, and on a new round of pills, and she has confirmed that she can't find a reason for my constant nagging back pain.  I must have just strained it, doing all this laying about.
My biopsy result was 'atypical hyperplasia'.   The GP said she didn't know what that meant, the consultant would explain, and that an appointment should be through soon.  I left it at that.
The dog and I went for a walk across the farmland in brilliant winter sunshine, the air as cold as a steel knife.  We made it a long walk, and as I put my key in the door and picked up the letter I thought of hot tea.  Kettle on, boots off, letter open.  Come and discuss your biopsy results with the gynaecological oncology team.  Oh.  Ok.  I guess I need to Google 'atypical hyperplasia', which must be cancerous or pre-cancerous cells.
I know this sounds mad, but after the initial shock came relief.  My body relaxed, knowing that finally, someone had heard and understood its cries for help.

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, 6 January 2014

The Invisible Woman

I am truly in a wilderness, an inhospitable wood, or a barren desert.  I'm lost.  Just outside in my peripheral vision, on line, I can see the folk I know getting on with their lives and activities.
Once I was part of all that stuff.  My work was crazy busy, I met hundreds of people every week.  Then the redundancy, followed by the shame of not being able to bounce back like a person is supposed to.
Everyone else has moved on.  Gradually, over the last year, I have faded from their vision, and from their minds.  Hell, I seem to have faded from my own vision, and my own mind.  In being scared to commit to anyone emotionally (Jesus I even manage to wriggle out of going next door for a cuppa when she asks me, and I really really like her) I seem to have rendered myself invisible, even when I'm right in the middle of the action.
After 15 years of school runs, school plays, school concerts, school friends, school gossip and school everything, suddenly no-one goes to school any more.  I couldn't wait to be free of the place, but in becoming so, I realise that it was an anchor to my life.  As was the presence of my offspring at home...working or at college, they needed feeding at the end of the day.  Now  there's only one left, and one occasional returnee.
I should feel so free.  The group I performed with split, and the new splinter implored me to join.  The group I belonged to before them said 'come back...come to a rehearsal...just come out for fun...any time...' And a fourth group offered, actually approached me and offered.  I was so flattered, but said I was taking a break.  Why?
I went to Church!  ME!  Mrs Irreverent Smoking Drinking Swearing Pagan Wife actually went to my local church and sang hymns and listened to a preacher.  I prayed with my community, and took tea and biscuits among the octogenarian population of my village most of whom were more vital, fit, engaged and involved than I.
I spent a Saturday sobbing in my car in the little car park which served the woodlands next to which was my childhood home.  Over Christmas my forester son came home and we had walked these woods, me telling him of my childhood camps and he identifying wild service trees, and Douglas firs, and Jew's ear fungus.  With my boy gone back to his home, I looked through steamy car windows into my forest and in the absence of my parents or childhood friends, it seemed to contain my essence.
Down the road was the big supermarket where mum and I shopped and drank coffee every Thursday of her final year.  I drove there and got a cup of water for my pills.  I sat there, like a bag lady, alone and invisible to myself whilst the rest of the world buzzed around me.  It would be nice to work here, and I had tried to get a job but failed.  I'll keep on trying.

I need a break,  I need a life, I need to give, and to receive, and probably not take the whole thing so seriously.
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