This Sunday is working well. Jack is laughing and laughing while watching Madagascar Escape 2 Africa…and I am fussing around him. Something I made is baking in the oven. and now I am about to do my ironing. It’s one of those soggy Sundays when we are very happy to be indoors in the warm. I love fussing over him. I love just hanging out with him. Happy happy happy feelings.
We want to go for a walk later for some fresh air, but most of the evening will be cosy, the two of us making dents in my sofa.
MotoMoto is making me laugh so much! King Julian is making Jack cry with laughter.
When I was out in Australia with Goldfinch, I remember some conversations we had about the scale of pollution that has become manifest in recent years. I could tell that Goldfinch feels angry about nature being “raped”.
I still hear shocking opinions. I was working with a man recently, who said that scientists don’t know what they are talking about. He reckons there is nothing wrong with the earth and that whatever we put into the air and waterways, the earth can deal with it. Interesting chappy…especially when he told us his life story. I realized he was not the kind of person I wanted to end up in a deep discussion with. I don’t know if you ever chat about these subjects with family, friends or colleagues but it can be easy to start going round in circles.
Whose responsibility is it to change? Is it governments? Is it us as individuals? Some have already made significant changes to their lifestyle hoping they will help to make a difference. They may feel frustrated at times, wishing that more would follow in their steps.
I said to Goldfinch that I believe the scale of changes needed is enormous. I expressed my view that not only do the “controls” need to be handed over to someone capable, powerful who cares about Creation and not about profit, but in addition the wants, the aspirations and the dreams of all of us need to change. I mentioned to him a story I have heard several versions of many times.
Recently I was talking to a friend who is passionate about climate change and living a environmentally friendly lifestyle. She was telling me about how strict they are with their teenager who is preparing for exams. She said that he needs to pass those exams to get into a certain school. He needs to get into that school to have the best chance of going to a top university. Because they want him to have opportunities to have a lucrative career and to be able to afford some of the things her and her husband haven’t been able to provide for their family.
I was looking at her wondering whether she realized what she was saying (by the way her teenager is stressed out by these exams and is argumentative because his parents won’t let him hang out with friends when he wants to, because they want him to stay home and study). It sounded to me as if they are planting dreams of wealth and luxury into his heart – but they are hoping he will also be passionate about veganism and recycling.
Anyway…while people are not content with how beautiful life can be with just a little…while people want more and more and more, and dream of possessing ludicrous fortunes…what chance do you think there is of pollution halting?
Well here is the story that you may have seen before. It made a huge impression on me when I heard it and it has shaped my life and my attitude to earning my bread and butter. I rejected the goals that my school teachers waved in front of me. I have loved living simply so that I could spend most of my time as a volunteer, rather than earning money I did not need.
This story has been told thousands of times with many variations. This is one version I heard. It is a story that makes me smile from ear to ear as it shows up something pretty stupid about this striving after the wind, striving after endless more that is promoted today.
The fisherman returned home in his pirogue and was met by an expert in economics who was working on expanding the economy in that developing country. The expert asked the fisherman why he was back so early. He replied that he could have stayed out longer but that he had caught enough to care for his family.
“So now, what will you do with your time for the rest of the day?”
The fisherman responded: “Well, I do a little fishing. I play with my children. We all have a rest when it gets hot. In the evening, we have a meal together. Later, I get together with my friends for some music, and talk with other villagers.”
The expert interrupted: “Look, I have a university degree and have studied these matters. I want to help you make your life better. I recommend that you stay out fishing longer. You would earn a lot more. Soon you will be able to purchase a bigger boat than this pirogue. With a bigger boat, you would earn still more. Before long you will be able to build up a fleet of trawlers.”
“That sounds interesting. What I would do then?” the fisherman inquired.
“Then, instead of selling fish through a middleman, you could negotiate directly with the factory or even start your own fish-processing plant. Do you realize you would be able to leave your village and move to London, or Paris, or New York and run the whole thing from there. You could even consider putting your business on the stock market and earn millions, perhaps more.”
Raising his eye-brows, the fisherman asked, “How long would that all take?”
“Perhaps 15 to 20 years,” the expert answered.
“And then what would I do?” the fisherman continued.
“That is when life gets interesting,” the expert explained. “You see, then you could retire. You could move away from the hustle and bustle of it all to some remote village.”
“And what then?” asked the fisherman.
“Then you have time to do a little fishing, play with your children, have a siesta when it gets hot, have supper with the family, and get together with friends for some music.”
WHO DO YOU THINK REALLY HAS THE RIGHT IDEA ABOUT HOW TO LIVE A SATISFYING LIFE ON THIS BEAUTIFUL PLANET WITHOUT GREEDILY TAKING MORE AND MORE AT GREAT COST – THE DAMAGE OF FAMILY LIFE, COMMUNITY LIFE AND THE NATURAL RESOURCES OF THIS BEAUTIFUL PLANET?
When I hear people complaining in the western world about not being able to afford a new phone, or a holiday…I wonder…well, I just wonder!
Have you ever become exhausted by worry over a situation and then at long last relief appeared? Is it normal that after years of wondering and worrying that has worn me down and made me weary, when the opportunity to talk things over finally arrives…I have found I don’t care anymore. I don’t care about the hurt, I don’t care about the pain. I am just so thoroughly utterly glad and relieved.
I feel I must be completely mad! I’ve been won over by what seemed like a heartfelt genuine apology and beautiful words and sentiments. This is either the biggest mistake of my life, or the grandest blessing of my existence!
So much has melted into unimportance. What used to matter no longer matters. There are a few little things that matter. I have said absolutely no to him posting any kind of photograph with me online for the moment. He is snap happy! I have made it clear I still do not trust him. It’s as if he cannot control his enthusiasm. Don’t worry, I said it in a nice way. I told him he is sometimes like a firework that shoots up into the sky and bursts out in all directions, because he is so excited by things. That is partly adorable. But in the past it has caused problems when he became excited too early. It’s too early now. We need to build trust. I think he is taking on board what I am saying.
I am scratching my head wondering what is going on. I am still in a dreamlike state. It’s so bizarre. Goldfinch has been fantastic. He is as I expected. He is a wonderful man. He always told me he wanted me to meet someone and fall in love. I don’t think he imagined this would happen. In fact I remember us having the only discussion close to an argument we ever did have, up in Coventry because of my ex-flatmate. It’s all melted into unimportance. When you love someone, misunderstandings do melt away into unimportance. You move on because of love and trust.
Anyway…just enjoying the being alone…before the craziness begins. It will come. He will want to take photos of us and post them on Instagram. But not yet. Not until the trust is stronger.
I agreed to a walk in the woods. That was all! I had to go all the way to the end of the Piccadilly line and he was there to pick me up. We drove a few minutes down the road to the woods. I used to go there with friends who had dogs.
The whole purpose of the walk was being able to talk. There was a lot of talking.
If one of you could please lean through my computer screen and grab my arm and give me a really sharp pinch then perhaps I would wake up from what is feeling a bit like a dream.
Have you ever had a twist develop in your life, your real life, that was so unexpected and dramatic, you couldn’t come to terms with it? It doesn’t feel real, more like a dream?
I don’t know how it happened. It just happened. And now I don’t know what will happen next. Maybe I will wake up and find it was all just a dream.
I find more and more the concept of celebrity culture is getting to me. The main reason is what happened to me because of Jack. In my opinion it is sheer madness. I guess some of these people might enjoy the warped amount of attention they receive. But I think it is indecent. I do not think people should be given attention to the point where it becomes worship or idolisation. There are people who live in my road who are in the media for various reasons. There are two neighbours who are in politics, one famous author, one journalist for a major newspaper here, a few who have been involved in acting or modelling, we have some who have made their money with very successful businesses, one in sports, and the biggest house here belongs to one of the biggest names in the music industry. But to me, they are just neighbours, fellow humans, and that is all they are ever going to be. I am going to treat them the same way as anyone else.
Another reason I am wary of celebrities is that I hate the abuse of alcohol and drugs. Often along with fame, comes wealth and parties. Alcohol and drugs and easy sex are touted before you like the conveyor belt on the BBC entertainment show “The Generation Game”. I hate that. I avoid anywhere and anybody who I am aware of as “dodgy”. But there have been other situations that I thought would be safe, only because what I saw was unacceptable to me, I made a quick escape. I hate the thought of some of our “celebrity” neighbours being involved in some of the disgusting habits I mentioned above.
I also despise the waste of absurd amounts on money on things like a flashy party, or a private jet. One thing I respect about Jack is he feels exactly the same way. He is very much against drugs. He has befriended and helped a lot of young men in some of the rougher communities in London. He takes his responsibility to them very seriously. And Jack foregoes many opportunities to make more money through entertainment, because he is devoted to volunteering for charities. He has made more than enough money to last a lifetime already. He has lived simply for a number of years, so that he can be on the same level with other volunteers. He has amazing energy and charisma, so he is very popular. And I guess the way he has featured in the entertainment industry adds to his popularity. But he handles it well.
There is a feeling that I find has developed within me in recent years. I have started to feel infuriated by the invasion of the press, and “fans” or just everyday people into the lives of those considered “celebrities”. I do not like the idea that someone might have to be so security conscious that they cannot enjoy a “normal” life. The invasion into not just Jack’s, but my own privacy was shocking. I know that some celebrities seem to like the attention. But I find it hard to swallow.
I see people around in London. I know I have seen them on television at some stage. I used to live surrounded by cast from EastEnders (a British soap opera). But I have never watched a single episode. So to me, they were just my neighbours. There were famous musicians and television personalities. There were footballers and popstars. I would never have known if it wasn’t for friends pointing them out. To me they were just neighbours. I have lived in various “posh” parts of London. I mentioned earlier that round the corner from me is one of the biggest names in the music industry. I saw him the other day, with his family. I liked seeing something assuredly normal. I said “Good morning”, as I passed and they returned the greeting. We often greet each other. We never have had a proper conversation. The house cost a ridiculous amount of money, which was all over the press at the time. More millions than the digits we have on our body.
To me, they are fellow humans, members of my human family. I wish them a happy life. I do not think they deserve anything nearing worship. But I really I don’t like the idea that people would show an unhealthy amount of interest, and threaten their ability to enjoy a happy family life. In fact, I strangely feel defensive over their privacy.
I have a relative on the other side of London. This particular family member is very well off. They are the closest of my family members geographically. But I am closer emotionally to the members of my family who are more down-to-earth, modest and devoted to volunteering, than my family members who are amassing great things for themselves. But as with all my family, I keep in touch, and I trek over to see my relative. Like a lot of uber-wealthy people she has “problems” and “issues”. Several times over the last two years I have seen someone I thought I recognised, but I could not place her. I thought she was a model. It is only fairly recently that I realized who she is.
I know next to nothing about her. I have liked a couple of her songs. But I am told she is massive (by which I mean her popularity and “net worth”, I don’t mean her height – she is fairly tall which is why I assumed she was a model). I don’t care. I just want her to have a normal life and to feel safe. My relative confirmed who she is and threw in some castaway tittle-tattle remarks. Those comments meant nothing to me. One of my friends revealed herself as a huge fan of this musician. I decided I wouldn’t say anything about her living (at least some of the time) in the same road as my relative. For some reason, I just feel defensive over her, the same way as I feel defensive about the guy who lives round the corner from me. She should be able to live a normal life without feeling her safety is threatened. And it’s all because of what happened with Jack. I do not like the idea of anyone threatening their safety or their ability to live a normal happy family life.
It is a wonderful gift to have family and friends who love you for you. Not because you are rich or famous or even particularly talented. It is wonderful to be able to walk in the woods with other Londoners and kick autumn leaves around. It is wonderful to go swimming down in the nearby lido on a blistering hot day. It is wonderful to nip into to a local artisan bakery, to sit chatting over a latte and a palmier, and then to leave with a paper bag containing a sourdough loaf, or pick up some beautiful flowers from the florists for your hallway. These are things that everyday “normal” Londoners are able to enjoy. I don’t see any point in spending millions of pounds on a property here, if you have to hideway, or wear disguises, and you can’t go out and enjoy these little highlights of living in the pretty pockets that London still holds.
I like my place, because it is so hidden away. People do not even know it is there. The double sets of gates and the hidden staircase hide it away from the word outside. I didn’t feel safe when I lived near Jack. My privacy was being invaded so much. But in my gorgeous little hideaway here, I have started to feel more secure and I have been able to enjoy London again. Now I roam these streets as one of the neighbours. I am that caramel blonde with the sunshine smile who always says hello when she passes. I am the neighbour who checks the neighbours’ wheelie bins when they are on holiday (because they are always away when it is refuse collection day!). I am the woman who, at the weekend, is always first into the bakery at the end of the road, because they only ever stock one large dark sourdough on a Saturday and one on a Sunday (no large loaves Monday – Friday) and I like to freeze it in portions and use it defrost and eat it during the week. I am living a normal life after I was drastically separated from Jack – and I have to admit, it feels great!
What does a successful relationship look like to you?
That is a good question Melanie!
I am no expert on relationships. I have many successful friendships. But I don’t have a huge amount of romantic relationship experience. There was my teenage sweetheart. We courted for years, but when I was around 24/25, I realized there were sound reasons I felt I should end the courtship before we married.
After that…the next few years were a bit odd. I went on dates. I developed some close friendships with male friends. Two men proposed to me during the next few years. Both I said no to for good reasons. We were heading in completely different directions. In addition, the dynamics would not have worked. I need to respect the man I marry, I need someone whose qualities I admire and I need to be able to trust they have their head screwed on. I need someone to make decisions, decisions which I will support and help to be successful. Both of those men were in awe of me and the pace I set as a volunteer. They also loved my accommodation, which was gorgeous.
Then there was Jack. I have to admit, I was exhausted by what happened with Jack. It drove me to despair. Even now I am not sure what exactly went wrong. But I am certain that it was partly because communication broke down between us. We were both too concerned with what others thought and said. After was attacked that night in the park by a stranger, it was hard to imagine ever being close to a man again. I did try, but it was not right.
Along came Goldfinch two and a half years after I was attacked. After a wonderful thirteen months with him, he went home to Australia. He wanted me to be open-minded about meeting someone else and falling in love. I went on two dates with a guy and was physically sick (of course now I realize there was a reason I was struggling with sickness quite a lot around that time).
I can’t contemplate right now the whole meeting someone new and falling in love scenario. I am not adamant that it will never happen. But I don’t want to put any effort into pursuing it. For the moment I am content with being in love with my gorgeous Australian penpal and visiting him whenever I can.
What is a successful relationship? Two people who have a positive effect on each other? Add to each other’s security and make each other thrive?
I guess love and trust and communication have to be major elements. Forgiveness. Appreciation for each other and realistic expectations. Two people who can have fun together and also show concern and care for each other. Loyalty.
But I do think…even the most successful couples will have to be prepared that there can be other heartaches that will cause great grief and pain.
If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for?
When Goldfinch allowed me to put his clothes through the washing machine after he travelled back from abroad…I believe he was kind of amused when I ironed not just his shirts, but everything that I could iron, even his underwear and handkerchiefs.
What do you wish you knew more about?
Oh wow – so much!
This planet has so many fascinating creatures and locations. I wish I could study them.
I would love to know more about gardening and cultivating crops. I wish I were more skilled and could make clothes, curtains, Roman blinds, and furniture.
I wish I knew more about Goldfinch. I would love to know him inside out.
What is better in your opinion – asking for forgiveness or permission?
Oh it depends!
When I worked in pharmacy, I remember having to reign in the enthusiasm of some of the new staff I was training. They couldn’t wait to get involved in the dispensing process of prescription only medication or controlled drugs. But we had to be strict that they should not go beyond what they have been trained and authorised to do. If you cause someone to become seriously ill or die because you do something without an awareness of the dangers – you may ask for forgiveness, but it might be hard to forgive yourself.
But in general life, you might not need to be so uptight about rules and regulations. If you are a hesitant person, always holding back, never being decisive etc – maybe some would encourage you to be more bold in life. Do things. “Better to ask for forgiveness than permission.”
But I would be a bit wary of someone who uses that as their mantra and is regularly manifesting a disregard for the rights of others, flouting authority.
People have such different attitudes towards rules today. I love rules. Rules make me feel secure. I am happy to obey them. So when I am genuinely not aware of a rule and I make a decision or take an action and later on find out I had done something wrong, then I would ask forgiveness. Did I ever tell you about my friend who ended up in trouble when she was in Ireland for face-painting at children’s parties etc? She did not know she was supposed to apply for some kind of face-painting permit.
If I feel there is any possibility of me encroaching on the rights of others, I would ask permission. I would not borrow something of someone else’s without asking first. I don’t just presume. Unless it is a family member or friend who I have known for years and who I know would probably find it ridiculous for me to be worrying about their permission.
Hope you’ll forgive me, but I feel it’s time for a song!
What’s the best thing about your life right now?
My family still hold the number one spot for the best thing in my life!
I have always had quite a busy life, especially so in London. But right now…it’s all chock-a-blocka!!
I think I am going to have to move down a gear with regards my blogging. Don’t worry, I am by no means losing any enthusiasm for the writing and the very lovely blogging community. It’s just that a lot is happening in the world of Caramel. I seem to have been doing more running round recently and life is feeling rather jam-packed.
I have mentioned a few things in posts recently, but here is basically what is going to be gobbling up more of my time:
I have a close family member who is very ill. So I will be travelling to see my family more frequently. Each time it is a round trip of over 450 miles via public transport. It takes me almost six hours to get there on the train.
I am saving extra pennies for my trip to Australia to see gorgeous Goldfinch. So I am saying yes to any overtime that is offered.
I am not slowing down with any of the volunteer projects I am involved in.
I have three weddings to attend before I go to Australia.
I have to make sure I have enough sleep – my head pain is bullying me and I find that the less sleep I have the worse it is. I need around ten hours of sleep each night to be able to function normally. I also have a couple of appointments coming up within the neurology hospital who are looking after me now – hmm.
A lot of my friends who do unpaid volunteer work overseas nine months of each year are coming back to England to work for three months (to earn the money to go and volunteer for another nine months). I have had several requests if they can stay over after arriving at Heathrow or Gatwick before they travel to their family. I have five weekends when I will be hosting friends throughout April and May.
There just seems to be more going on at the moment. More invites to spend time walking with friends or attending events. I am saying yes to everything that is free! And no to anything that would eat into my Australia fund.
In short, I think I am going to seem a bit quiet compared to normal and I will also be a bit slow with responding to prompts and nominations. I love being tagged for various blogging challenges. I really do. However, I already have nine posts in my drafts folder which are nominations or tags from other bloggers. I will do them and I will enjoy working on them. However, please do be patient with me because…I am finding I have less and less time spare.
In addition…I need to eat. I am on a strict budget at the moment due to my Australia fund, so as I cannot survive on a cup-a-soup diet, I am accepting every invite out to dinner I receive! I have some great foodie friends who love nothing better it would seem than hearing me drool over their culinary creation and tell them how delicious their cooking is.
I am still around and will try to keep up with posts in my WP Reader (but I know I have fallen behind). I will try to work on posts when I do have a little time.