I Suppose I Did For Five Minutes…But That Was Over Three Years Ago

Four years ago, I felt as if I could not go home, because I did not want to see Jack ever again. I was out with friends, and instead of going home, I went to a park, sat on a bench and cried. The next morning I woke up in an ambulance. I don’t think I want to think and write about it…any of it. I just want to enjoy my time with Goldfinch. Think of me…right now…in his arms…please be happy for me. 🙂

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Will you forgive me for not being to keep up with every writing prompt that has caught my attention recently?  I have so many that I have started and are sitting in my drafts folder waiting for me to finish them.  Some I am determined to complete at some stage.

I loved the writing prompts in the August Write Away Challenge hosted by Sarah Elizabeth Moore

This is one of the posts I didn’t want to give up on:

When I lived in our family home, which for most of my childhood was with my parents, my brother and my two younger sisters (my older sisters are so much older, they had left home to go to university by the time I had started school) I never ever wished to run away.  I felt truly at home.  There were occasional challenges, but I was blessed to be reared in a haven of dependable love and trust.  Here is a photo of happy me…with my hair in pretty much the same state as this morning!

However, I left home in order to be able to work as a volunteer in a part of the country where there were a stack of projects and not many volunteers (partly because the cost of living in that area is so high).  Although the first year was hard, because I missed my family and friends up north so much, it did not really take me too long before I started to feel at home down south.  I made many wonderful friends and fell in love with the countryside.  I ended up living on the grounds of a beautiful stately home and being allowed to roam their gorgeous estate, and because they trusted me, I paid peanuts for my accommodation, which was another fortuitous factor in my volunteer career in the south of England.

Moving to London to become a full-time international volunteer was like a dream.  I had a rare opportunity as a single women to be chosen from many thousands who submitted applications.  That year there were two single women and sixty single men who met the criteria. Because of the physical demands and difficulties in the various challenging assignments, the number of single men vastly outweighs the number of single women. The physical, emotional, mental tests they put you under are designed to reveal if you really can take on a self-sacrificing role and if you really can be sent anywhere in the world and adapt to any way of living.

It was like coming home…even though I had been happy before.  I was happy on a different level. Everything felt right. The routine, the dignity, the rewarding work, the huge numbers of people I saw and worked with. I found I didn’t miss receiving wages. My main assignment would be in London, but at any point I could be sent elsewhere. I loved the astonishing variety London life offered. I found that I was thriving in this life-style.

celebrity.jpgHowever, as you may be aware if you have read some of the posts that relate to what crushed Caramel, it was here in London, that I faced a challenge the likes of which I had not faced before. It was no joke, though I think a lot of people were laughing.  If I can blame anyone or anything…I would like to blame “celebrity culture” and the puerile use of social media.

Sometimes it all feels like a blur, but it was two and a half years at least and it wore me down. The point at which I reached my limit was when rumours started (I think I know who started them) that I was having an affair with a married man, the husband of one of my close friends and workmates.  I was devastated (because this is not me).

After my friend and workmate, who was as distressed as I was about the rumours involving her husband, screamed at me within a public building in front of crowds of people, I was called into an office with two directors who were concerned about the incident and wanted to understand what was happening. They mentioned Jack. They knew him well and thought that he and I had gone from a romance to estrangement to bitter jealousy. I refused to discredit Jack.  I stood my ground and insisted that he was not to blame (although in my heart, I was certain he was).  They made it clear though that they wanted us to sort this out because they could not have anyone screaming in rage in the middle of a reception area were scores of visitors had been appalled by what they had seen.

More than ever, I wanted to talk with Jack and ask why, why, why was he doing this?  But all I received for months was glares and grimaces.  He made it clear that he was nursing a grudge.  A grudge that I could not comprehend.  Then that summer, I received some very concerning news about a relative who had become involved in a criminal court case and was featured in the news.  That situation deepened my anxiety and stretched me to the limit as I did all I could to help practically.  The last thing I needed was abject hostility from a man who was still sleeping in a bed just metres away from my own bed.

elevatorSo after seeing him frequently and feeling intensely shunned and despised by him…it was that evening when I was going out to meet my friends and I pressed the button for the elevator. The door opened and there he was.  His eyes full of disdain.

There was no way I was going to be able to stand inside the elevator on my own with him. So I took a couple of steps back and let him carry on alone.  That’s the last time I saw him close up. That was the moment I decided I wanted to run away from my beloved home to escape the nightmare.

I enjoyed the evening with my friends, but there was a huge surge of pain and despair that I was hiding from everyone…one of the girls who lived near me wanted to drive me home, but I said I would like to walk as it was still light. And walk I did, but in the opposite direction of home. That was my moment of running away from home. I walked towards the local park. On the opposite side of the park a fairground had popped up that weekend and there was a carnival atmosphere amongst the people I passed on the way to the park.

It was a beautiful summer’s evening.  It had been one of the hottest days of the year. There were joggers and dog-walkers and teenagers sitting in the grass talking and laughing when I arrived and when I sat down on a bench.

I was so consumed with despair, I did not notice that daylight had fled completely and there was no longer anyone else in the park, until a stranger sat down on the bench besides me.

Here is a strange coincidence about that location.  When I went back to that spot some time later (not on my own) I found my front door keys still there. Which was the most strange feeling. I didn’t find my missing shoe…navy with a slight frill detail above the toe, but I found my front door keys. They had been lying there undisturbed all that time. Even the police must have missed them.  I almost felt as if they had been waiting for me. It was a profound encouragement to me!

Over three years later, I still have not made it back home yet.  But I am working towards it!

 

FOWC with Fandango — Number

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/09/22/your-daily-word-prompt-fortuitous-september-22nd-2018/

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/09/22/carnival/

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2018/09/22/three-things-challenge-22-sept-2018/

 

 

More Of A Purpose Than A Plan

I found a post in my drafts folder that I started last August and didn’t finish. I remember loving the question. In fact I love it so much that it has given me ideas for a series of posts to develop the subject of PURPOSE. Especially my purpose in life!

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Have you ever set off on a journey and then a few minutes after starting out found that the route you selected was closed?

It used to happen to us when we were children. Dad would be driving us on a family holiday. Half an hour onto the motorway, and all of the traffic would come to a standstill. Now my Dad could not bear to be stuck in traffic! So whenever he had the first opportunity he would turn off the motorway.

Did that mean that we were going to give up? Were we going to abandon our family holiday because our planned route had failed? Not on your nelly!

Instead Dad would ask us to shout directions, using the road atlas, with roads that would take us in the same general direction but avoiding the motorway. The destination had not changed, but our route certainly had! Nothing was going to stop us from reaching our destination! We would find a way to get there no matter what cropped up along the way!

I have often thought about those occasions when it comes to my life-course. I am not sure that I ever had a definite plan to begin with. But I did have a purpose. I had a destination in mind, a direction to head towards.

I realized that it is not really possible to be tied to a set plan when it comes to living your life. Rather, you have to be prepared for pretty much anything. All sorts of challenges, obstacles may appear. How determined are you to stick to your destination, your purpose?

All manner of obstacles and challenges can occur at any point along the way. Plans fail! However, if you still have your end destination in view then you will find another way to get there.

So I personally would not recommend having a rigid detailed plan that is likely to fail. But having a purpose is a very fine thing.

Even when things go wrong, you find a way round. Nothing can permanently shake you. Not being bullied, not being attacked, not having head injuries, not being parted from the man you love. Nothing will deter you from finding another route and making your way head held high towards a very wonderful destination.

A purpose, a sense of purpose can be a source of motivation, inspiration and strength. It can help you endure all manner of challenges and to grow in ways you may never have expected.

I can’t imagine living life without a purpose. Having a purpose has shaped me. It has helped me to make decisions in life – will this help me to get where I am going or will this slow me down? Have I taken a wrong turn somewhere? Do I need to find my bearings and adjust the direction I which I am heading?

My purpose has kept me living! Absolutely confident that no matter what challenges come along, no matter how many plans go wrong, there will be other ways to get there – we are going to reach that wonderful destination!

The Effect Of Her Being On Those Around Her Was Incalculably Diffusive

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I wonder if you know who is the fictional character I would like to meet?  Do you know which character had this said of her?  Which book she was from?

Her finely touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

The answer is of course Dorothea Brooke from “Middlemarch“.  There are many characters I adore in the novels I have read, but one of my personal favourites is Dorothea, as she made a deeper impression on me than most. Not just an entertaining or interesting character, she struck a chord with me and still does twenty years after I first became acquainted with her on the pages of “Middlemarch“.

I love the comparison of her nature and it’s effect on others to the multitude of channels the mighty Euphrates river was broken into. I can’t help but think too of the quiet yet immense effect of Cyrus diverting the course of water that surrounded mighty Babylon, before his army waded across and conquered the city, thus causing a world empire to crumble overnight.  I also love the statement that the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts…the noble and unselfish acts of good and mercy and kindness that are mostly unsung and are often forgotten by others.  Yet we have so much to thank those quiet and unselfish souls who have a delicate yet profound influence on others.

If you have never read “Middlemarch” and are planning to at some point, beware my post contains a few spoilers!

I was torn between Dorothea and Anne Elliot from “Persuasion“, but I have already published a post about Anne recently and have another one in my drafts folder. But I have admiration, empathy, and affection for both of these characters, so today I am going with Dorothea!

I read a few character studies on line about Dorothea while I was thinking about this post. More than anything I was surprised that not all have the same esteem for her as I. There were some who seemed to think that to be exalted to “superhero” status, she should have been more of an independent female and that her happiness should not have been tied up with the love of a man who would become her second husband.. Not all approve of her decisions especially later on in the book.

But in today’s age where feminism – and I don’t think I fully comprehend feminism in all honesty, it is all rather foggy to me.  I should be happy with Dutch treats, standing up on the bus or tube while young men lollop and rest their sneaker-clad feet on the spare seats, and being paid the same as a man I am working twice as hard as???

I don’t really understand the definition of feminism.  I do understand “no means no!” But as far as I have seen, equal is not always fair.  When I was at school, all I cared about was the boys letting me play football because I was a decent player and I loved running around – that was all that mattered to me!

I like being a woman.  I have always loved wearing beautiful dresses.  I have equally always loved climbing trees, playing football and working on construction sites.  Most of the work I have done has been for charity and I have not received a penny in return.

Perhaps Dorothea’s decisions don’t sit right with the modern world, but I can relate to her a lot!  I think especially her character.  I think there are descriptions in the novel where others ponder Dorothea’s features and manners – some are fascinated by her.  Is she a taciturn, demure character?  I love her mind.  She may make mistakes in her judgment, but she has a noble mind.  She cares, she wants to make a difference.  She becomes trapped in a loveless marriage to a man she believed in and was inspired by.  Her endurance and calm under even the worst provocation make me think her made of something stronger than diamonds.

I love her decisions later in the book. Well, of course I would never encourage a husband of mine to run for political office. But I mean her decisions regarding love and being a loyal support to the man she truly loves.  I love the sacrifices she makes to spend her life with the man she has come to love and admire after her awful first marriage.

Here is another description of Dorothea I adored:

Dorothea herself had no dreams of being praised above other women, feeling that there was always something better which she might have done, if she had only been better and known better.

I think that is one of the things I love about both Dorothea Brooke and Anne Elliot.  I can never imagine either of them wanting to be the centre of attention, being showy, gaudy, wearing the most opulent gowns or decorations. I can only imagine them being a delight, an absolute pleasure to have afternoon tea with.  Beautiful gentle manners, noble minds, interesting and lively conversationalists, none trying to take the spotlight, but earnest about how to contribute to the occasion and to the enjoyment of others.  These two women are both incredibly endearing to me.

I love those words in the passage I quoted at the start of this post, with regards to Dorothea, that…

“…the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive.”

She touched all around her, often in a quiet gentle way.  Others were influenced by Dorothea in the same way I was.  The qualities she displayed were so precious, they make her value tremendous. She was a tower of inner strength best expressed by remarkable endurance and stamina.  She was crushed, yet she persevered. She regained hope and joy, and allowed herself to love and be loved again.  She wanted to make a difference to those in need and she seized any opportunity she had to do so.

Dorothea Brooke, even though you are just a fictional character, it would be an absolute delight to have you round for afternoon tea!  I would invite Anne Elliot too, I think you would get along with her rather well.

 

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This was my response to one of the writing prompts in the August Write-Away Challenge hosted by Sarah Elizabeth Moore.  Even though I am very very late, I just did not want to abandon this post as I found the question so interesting.

 

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/09/24/taciturn/

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/09/24/your-daily-word-prompt-opulent-september-24th-2018/

FOWC with Fandango — Personal

 

When I Grow Up…

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No, it is not 12th August…I am just very behind with my writing.  My drafts folder has twenty posts which I have started but need to finish.  Last month turned out to be a bit crazy and so, here I am trying to catch up.

I was really taken with  the writing prompts from Sarah Elizabeth Moore in her August Write away Challenge, so although I did not have time to keep up with them during August, I am going to crack on with the prompts that caught my attention because they were brilliant writing prompts and she presented them so beautifully.

So my answer to:

Well, for a start I did not want to grow up at all.  It really distressed me when I hit the age of ten.  Everyone teased me, “now you are in double figures”, and I knew at that point there was no turning back!  I wanted to be a child forever.  I am sure many of you would have had similar sentiments at one stage that being an adult has always seemed an unavoidable outcome.  But if we could remain in a Peter Pan state, many of us would take that option.

Now, at a very early age, adults would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I hated that question.  I had a vague idea of what everyone on the planet should be doing when they grow up, caring for the animals, growing vegetation, building their own house and furniture, making their own clothes and curtains, and supporting their neighbours, enjoying happy times together, eating, dancing, singing.  I think I described my vague idea of how things would turn out for me in this post:

Later, I had a little friend at school who was very creative, I was always academically minded – maths, reading, comprehension, writing were my strengths.  I could not draw or  play an instrument or design something. (I did love sports though.)  I was fascinated my my little friend and she did influence me…in fact I think she is the reason I became vegetarian!

So…when my teacher recorded each one of us saying into a microphone, “When I grow up I want to be a…”, my idea came straight from my little friend.  So when it was my turn, I announced to the class and to my teacher: “When I grow up I want to be a…sculpture.”

I had not realized that a person who carves a sculpture is called a sculptor.  Oh well!  It gave my teacher a laugh.

I was probably seven or eight years old when I started to stand out with the ferocious pace at which I worked through every comprehension exercise, workbook and reading book the school possessed.  The teachers even at primary school started trying to fill my little head with ideas of being a doctor or lawyer or politician like some of my other relatives.  But I had already rejected that idea in my young heart.

Why?  Well, when I was six years old I was given a public speaking assignment in front of an audience of around two hundred.  The theme I was assigned was bizarre considering I was only six.  It was “What is the value of a university education?”  My first question for my mum was, “what is university?

Well, off I went and read all sorts about universities…and I came to the conclusion a university education does not guarantee the career of your choosing and many young people become involved in harmful habits while living on a university campus.  I presented the results of my research with conviction and won the public speaking contest.  But the information I had read had taken root in my heart.  I fought the idea of going to university the rest of my schooling life, which is pretty hard when you get A grades in every subject except art and 100% scores in maths tests.

I did understand the need to be able to work once I left school to earn money.  My parents had taught me a hard work ethic.  But at school they, kept on trying to get me to choose a goal, a form of work that I would enjoy and find satisfying.  It was very stressful to be asked this question when I truly had no idea what I wanted to do.  I told them:

  • A bunjee jumping instructor
  • A canoeing instructor
  • A spy
  • An actress
  • A writer
  • A journalist

That was good enough for my teachers…they helped me to develop a career plan in order to become a journalist.  Did I want to be a journalist?  Nah!!!!  But it did help to have something to suggest to the teachers, so they would leave me alone.

My parents wanted me to go to university because they were worried that without a university education I would struggle to make ends meet.  I eventually enrolled on a course to train to be a legal secretary and then after achieving my diploma within a year…I ended up working in finance for eight years.  But I have also earnt money by cleaning, gardening, decorating, walking dogs, cooking, driving and working in healthcare.  I like variety.

constructionHowever, this was just paid part time work, in order to earn my bread and butter.  I knew exactly what I wanted to be the moment I walked onto a construction site as a volunteer.  From then on, I knew what I wanted to be for the rest of my life – a volunteer, working on projects wherever there was a need, teaching people the skills I had been taught.

I was not wrong.  I have learnt an array of useful skills that can be a help on projects all over the world.  I have always had more than I need, and far far more friends than I can keep up with.  I have had incredible opportunities to travel.  My life has been rich and exciting.  I view paid work as a way to earn my bread and butter.  But my career, the purpose of my life is to get involved in as many projects I can as a volunteer.

I still think that the way the world works right now is upside down and back to front…I think the vague idea I had at the age of five, of what everyone on the planet should be doing when they grow up – caring for the animals, growing vegetation, building their own house and furniture, making their own clothes and curtains, and supporting their neighbours, enjoying happy times together, eating, dancing, singing – was very sensible actually.

One thing is for sure…if you do have a demanding career after years of studying at university…I hope you also have a good work/life balance – ways to relax and refresh yourself, a hobby, a loving family or group of friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I Want For You And Me

I am absolutely loving the writing prompts from Sarah   Sarah Elizabeth Moore

I am watching The Great British Bake Off Right Now (incase you are wondering why I am not reading your posts)…but I am working on this post at the same time because it is such a great prompt.  I am just really chuffed to be actually publishing a post in response to one of her prompts on the day that it is linked to!

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Whenever I hear the manifesto of a political party coming up to the time of an election, I realize I have a much more hopeful, cheerier idea of the kind of world I would like to live in than most politicians. I know I have a few photos already of what I envision for the whole earth to be like one day.  But I just typed into google search engine the word that I guess sums up what I want for you and me and everyone else on the planet:

PARADISE

…and I was thrilled with the gorgeous photos and pictures that appeared.

Now, before you cast your eyes over these pictures, please don’t think I envision us all lying in hammocks all day being served cocktails by men in skimpy clothing.  Oh no no no!

My idea of paradise is cultivating and landscaping this entire earth so that every part of it is as beautiful as the glimpses of paradise that we see in travel brochures.  Now that means work.

But what wonderful work,  can you imagine if we were one huge international workforce who had been assigned the task of making this whole earth the way it should be.  We work together to make sure everyone had a satisfactory home and we would be learning all sorts of skills, construction, making our own furniture and clothes and tools.  Learning to cultivate our own crops and veggies.  Learning how to care  for animals properly.  Just really truly living the way everything inside tells me we are supposed to be living.

No war, no crime, no disease, no grief, no violence, no rasicm, no suffering…just joy and peace.  I mentioned this before….I have Liverpool roots, but am no relation to John Lennon.  However…I will steal his lines:

“You may say that I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one!”

When I close my eyes, this is the world I would just love to see:

And I would love for you and yours to be able to enjoy this forever!

 

Day 28 – 2018 AWAC

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/10/09/manifesto/

FOWC with Fandango — Paradise

 

Just Some (Not All) Of The Things That Make Me Happy

Although I am obviously way out of sync with these, I found I could not resist another writing prompt from Sarah   Sarah Elizabeth Moore

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Right up there at the top are my family and friends who now feel like family.  Goldfinch makes me very happy.  I feel happy when I have worked and can rest up and relax.  I feel happy when I see my loved ones are happy.

I have a long list of other things that make me happy…

I mean how about all that for a start!!!!

Life should be full of happy moments, wonderful people and experiences who make your existence colourful and rich!  Then when hard times come, you have a treasure of memories to keep you going, focused on the joy to be had in the future.

Yup…I have absolutely no shortage of ideas to include in my response to the prompt:

What would make me even happier is if everybody on the planet was able to enjoy life like we were designed to.

Looking Forward To…

I have been a very busy bee this week…crazy busy in fact.

I have been feeling utterly exhausted and all weekend have been trying to catch up on my sleep debt.  But by the time you read this I will be having a bite to eat with some friends before I come home and collapse into bed before another early start tomorrow.

At the start of this week, I had some very special visitors.  My youngest sister Milly came to stay for a couple of nights with her lovely husband and the super adorable little munchkin – my niece, who is just over 15 months old.

When they arrived, my sister and her husband made a couple of trips back and to the car to fetch all the extra luggage they carry around now that they have a baby to think about.  Meanwhile, Little One did the most adorable thing.  She walked up to me smiling shyly and then as she was close she held out her arms and gave me a big kiss.  She can say “hiya” now.

It was, as always, wonderful to be with them.  I cooked lovely food and baked a yummy cake, which all went down like a treat.

This is little one on a travel pram they brought who decided she would wisely use the travel time to catch up on her reading list.

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We went out to the park with Little One and then took her to one of these indoor play centers with a little ball pool and all sorts of other features to keep Little One excited and entertained for hours!

How she loves the other children, even though they were notably older than she is.  Milly mentioned that all of her cousins and the children of their friends are all a few months or a couple of years older than my neice and she does her best to keep up with all of them.

Well, when I saw the writing prompt from  Sarah Elizabeth Moore

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….a hundred things went through my head, as usual – for there are many, many things I am looking forward to.  But after such a splendid visit from my nearest and dearest, I think one of the things I am looking forward to the most, is the next time I am with my gorgeous sister Milly and her very lovable family.