Love, Eat, Rest and Play – But Stay Safe!

road.jpgLife holds many unexpected twists and turns. Each one of us have had countless experiences which have made us the unique person we are today.

Many have compared life to a journey and sure enough, at times I have found I have taken a wrong turn along the way and have tried to reset my course to a safer course. But you never really know what is on the horizon.

I love the chance to see how other bloggers answer the questions set by Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind in her SHARE-YOUR-WORLD posts. Take a look at her questions for this week:

I am sure that Melanie would be delighted with new faces who would like to prepare a post of your own and SHARE-YOUR-WORLD with us!

This Week’s Questions

What are the most important lesson(s) you’ve learned in life?

Oh so many! Too many really.

First of all, I would say, do try not to become isolated emotionally. If you have a problem and you don’t seek help from wise folk, it could lead you to make foolish decisions. If you go through life feeling nobody really understands you – well, let’s just say, that is not wise, and it can be to your severe detriment.

Find people who are understanding. They are out there. I have some friends I respect enormously because they seem to have seen everything. They have a huge amount of experience with all sorts of people and they are very perceptive. Even though I might not hang out with them on a regular basis, they are my go-to friends for advice because they have excellent reasoning skills and they are so good at understanding human nature. They give me balanced, sound, realistic advice.

20180628_145757I guess I had the most horrid reminder of how important it is not to be careful about your personal safety. Being on my own, late at night, in a London park has to be the biggest regret of my life. But what led up to me being there, is feeling totally isolated and on my own with a problem I did not know how to deal with. I was crushed. I lost all care for my own personal safety. I have regretted my lack of caution ever since.

AmbulanceThis is not a safe world folks. You have to be wise, be cautious and be safe. Sadly, we cannot avoid crime now, but don’t be casual about your personal safety. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way.

Really, I had an escape, I might not have survived that night. I am so glad that a security guard found me and called an ambulance.

How did you meet your husband/wife or significant other? How did you know he/she was “the one”?

Although Goldfinch is leaving…he has been my significant other for the past year. I think I have shared the story of how we met in various formats before…but here it is again:

I had a bit of a disappointment while I was in the Midlands on the Friday evening a year ago. Some bad news about a male friend who was, well, he was bad news himself really. Sometimes, I wonder why I didn’t see how much of a negative impact he was having on me before that night. That night ended the connection I had with him. He has a lot to think about before he makes promises to anyone else. I tried so hard to make it work with him, but he was such a disappointment. I realized how terribly wrong we were for each other. Terribly terribly wrong for each other. It was like the Princess and the Peahead!…Anyway, moving on swiftly from that miserable page in the life of Caramel….

Not to be put off enjoying my break from work I was still determined to enjoy myself. On the Saturday I was shopping and site-seeing with friends and then we went out for dinner and drinks afterwards. As the night was still young, there was a big discussion over whether to explore the nightlife in that part of the Midlands or to opt for a more relaxing end to the evening at the cinema. I remember the only film that caught anyone’s eyes was called “Breathe”. I was tired. I had been working for over fifty hours a week all year and this was the first time I had been absent from work. I was not eager to explore Midlands nightlife. However, that was the night I met Goldfinch.

It took less than five minutes for me to feel comfortable with him. He was the brave one, approaching a stranger. He said hello and asked me some perfectly appropriate formal/friendly questions. He gave me plenty of space. I think he understood that I had my guard up. I answered his questions without imparting any information about myself and I was not particularly friendly, more matter-of-fact, nonchalant. I thought he was just some bloke who was out to enjoy himself (I was not interested in that) but I humoured him because he was not guilty of anything inappropriate or offensive. In fact he was effortlessly gentlemanlike. He naturally knew how to behave, how to conduct himself, how to make a woman feel at ease with him. I felt safe with him.

What made me warm to him was when two young men who were being boisterous and inconsiderate were nearby, Goldfinch was gracious and considerate with me and he kind of shielded me from them. He sat a little nearer to me, but still allowed enough space for probably two people to have sat down in between us. We were having this conversation with plenty of physical space between us, so I did not feel uncomfortable for one minute. Then he sat a little closer, but he asked me first if that was alright. By that point I would have been happy sitting on his lap. I was utterly smitten by him.

As we talked, I realized there was a lot to talk about, things we had in common, points that were of great interest to me. Because it became so noisy, he moved a little closer. I felt so glad that he did. I started to feel excited. I don’t know whether it was me or him, but suddenly we were holding hands while we were talking. Before I could tell what was happening, I was completely enchanted by a complete stranger. But I have never had a moment’s regret that I fell for him so quickly. Nothing he did made me feel scared. He was the first man in two and a half years that made me feel safe and comfortable and happy to be touched.

We spent hours together talking. It was so exciting to me. I was holding hands with a man I had only just met and I felt so incredibly comfortable with him. I loved how easy it was to talk to him. It was hours, but the time flew and it felt like minutes. It is amazing to me that we had an extra hour that night because the clocks had gone back one hour.  My extra hour was spent holding Goldfinch’s hand and getting to know him. That has to be the best and most memorable way I have ever spent my “extra hour”!

We carried on the conversation when we went for breakfast (a full English – vegetarian version for me) on the Sunday morning. I remember wearing a blue dress of mine I love. I wanted to look pretty for him. He then had to leave. He already had plans for the day with friends. He asked if he could come back and see me again later that evening. My heart leapt. He said he would call or send a message to say what time he was able to return to see me.

Throughout that day, I felt doubtful that he would come back again. I went shopping and out for coffee with friends. I didn’t think he would call, I didn’t think he would come. But he did. It was so wonderful. He asked if he could visit me in London the following weekend. I was thrilled.

How do you know it is going to be right? Great question! I don’t know. But it happens all the time. I think one of the factors that made a difference though, is that I was at my leisure to enjoy chatting with him. Normally, here in London, my life is all rush rush. I would never have had the time to chat. But being away and not worrying about time was a priceless opportunity. He just happened to be there at the perfect time. It was almost like a miracle – we just happened to be in the same building at the same time and everything went well. It was the first time I genuinely enjoyed having attention from a man since before I was attacked.

If you could take a year-long paid sabbatical, what would you do?

I think I did exactly that after I was injured in a London Park.

I spent almost a year staying with different family members. I was in and out of hospital all year. But when I was well, I loved walking through the countryside that I had grown up near. It was nice to visit Liverpool and Manchester and North Wales. I had been away from home for eight years at that point and I loved seeing old friends and places I loved.

What is your favourite thing to buy at a movie theater concession stand? (credit to The Haunted Wordsmith for this one)

I am going to confess, a cinema ticket costs so much that I normally would not then waste money on sweets and junk food within the cinema. I always have a bottle of water with me and I might sneak my own goodies into the cinema – peanut M&Ms, or Pringles or Butterkist popcorn.

I know from my own experience that food in the dark is not always a success. I once spilt a whole bucket of popcorn when trying to find our seats in the dark. It wasn’t even my popcorn. I was carrying it for a friend, who already had her hands full.

I have been on cinema dates, where the man I was with was keen on loading up with food for the experience. Don’t ask me why!

So one guy ordered nachos loaded with cheese and salsa and jalapeno peppers. That was hardly romantic.  But bless him, he was obviously very hungry. It was like being on a date with Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.

Another guy bought a tub of Haagan Daaz ice-cream and tried to spoon-feed me whilst watching the movie, which all got a bit messy.

Another young man threw half of his coke on me.

Personally, I find a cinema date much more enjoyable without food to wreak havoc on all possibilities of romance blossoming.

I make the exception for Goldfinch, who is the most wonderful person to sit next to in a cinema – you will have to take my word for it. He likes salty popcorn, I like sweet popcorn. I clearly love him more than he loves me. He wins! We share a bucket of salty popcorn and I think we have shared a coke too.

ardensOh I did sneak a box of my favourite snack into the cinema once with Goldfinch. He had never tasted anything like them and was not sure at first. But then he gobbled almost the whole box without me getting a look in!

Aaaaah – I will never have the chance to sit next to Goldfinch during a movie at the cinema again! Sigh!