Inbetween the Seasons…

As green turns to brown......

As green turns to brown…… (Kind of like Autumn and Winter hugging!)

I have just  been on a lovely Autumnal walk: green and already turned orange leaves; sunshine that has refused to bugger off from summer; a chill in the air to show that winter is about to turn up on our doorstep. Autumn is obviously a season in itself but I like to think of it as an in-between stage of the year – like the weather reflected today – a gradual blend from Summer to Winter.

As I strolled along the leave laden paths, I thought to myself as being a person who doesn’t like change. I have always thought this. Then I thought about it a little deeper and realised change is a part of life and can be a change for the better or a change for the worse. If I am having a hard time, of course I crave for a change to happen so that things can improve. Yet, if life is swimming along well, I don’t want anything to change – but of course it will; as that is life.

On a more general note though, I have never liked important changes in life – even if I know they are for the better and I have chose to make them. For example: moving house, starting new jobs, friends moving away etc. I get quite emotional and unsettled by this change and need a lot of time to adjust. Autumn is my favourite season for this reason: the gradual change from lazy summer days to cold, snuggly (or panic-stricken Christmas shopping) days. Autumn is the our settling in period. We get used to the days not being hot (not sure we actually got used to this anyway!) and as the leaves change from green; to yellow; to brown, our clothes change from bikinis; to t-shirts; to jumpers (or thermal underwear). Autumn helps us to mourn Summer and prepare for Winter  – kind of a rebound season 😉  – Well I truly embrace it.

‘The clocks slid back an hour

and stole light from my life.’

This is a Carol Ann Duffy quote from her poem Mean Time. (I wrote a blog about this idea last year: https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2012/10/27/time-to-write/)

I always think about this poem at this time of year; as the clocks slide back, to me, it is  officially Autumn. We have set the clocks in motion for Winter to approach – we have our extra hour as a treat and then have to endure the darker nights. I think in the UK, we have a way of dealing with all this. A way to mentally prepare for this looming Winter – and that behaviour starts now, in the glorious Autumn. We plan and buy. We start to make plans for Christmas: the parties; the actual day; Boxing day; presents and cards; maybe even as far as New Year’s Eve. In the depth of the dark, bitter cold Winter days, we want and need something to look forward to: so we plan. I think by buying things to embrace Winter, also helps to get used this idea of this changing season. People seem to get just as excited at buying knee boots as they do bikinis four months before. I know I do! Autumn is a time to buy things to help you enjoy Winter: a mug for your hot chocolate; a new hot water bottle; a party outfit; a fleece throw for your bed – just as all the sunglasses, beach towels and shorts go away to the back of the wardrobe until next year. We use this in-between season to prepare for the next one – and we need it.

I also love Autumn because it is my birthday – so I feel a personal change too. Ready for the next numerical year of my life! I love the fact I was born in Autumn; what’s a bigger change than a baby? And I’m sure my Mum felt that change (almost) 28 years ago! In fact, I like to call November ‘birthday season’ as lots of my friends and family also have their birthdays in that month, so it is a time of celebration. (https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/a-day-of-birth/) October has a been an odd month for me this year: I haven’t drank alcohol and have hardly been out – mainly stuck in a DIY hell at home! Haha…. so I am looking forward to fully enjoying the next part of this in-between season and doing lots of socialising and partying – all in preparation for Winter’s Christmas partying of course! 😉

Autumn2

The sun reminding us it’s still here….

 Autumn1

So embrace this in-between season. Enjoy the changing of colours and temperatures. Relish the smells of chestnuts, warm winter soups and the leather of your new, knee boots. Plan and buy and prepare…. we have a whole season to do it. Before Winter gets us!

Autumn7

XSXS

Advertisements

Image

Reunions to remember…

I am a sentimental kind of gal. Today, I have a few things to talk to you about in relation to reunions and anniversaries. I think it is important that we mentally mark these kinds of dates in our mind… and/or physically celebrate them. It is life and special things happen and we decide what to celebrate.

This weekend, I had a Uni Reunion. It had been 6 years since we had left Uni and 3 years since our last reunion! We always say we won’t leave it as long next time. But you know how it is – life gets in the way and before you know it, time has zoomed by and the 5 minutes since you were last swigging beer at the pub, turns into 3 long years!

It was great to see the gang. But these 3 years seemed to have been a vital 3 years of change, in the road that is life. I had the fridge stocked with wine and beer for the midday arrival of the gang and was greeted with responses to drink orders of, ‘Oooh can I have a cuppa tea?’ or ‘An orange juice would be nice.’ The wildest member of the gang, who spent 3 years drowning in alcohol at Uni, now doesn’t drink much,  has a fiancée and a baby on the way!  Funny how things change. But it was nice in a way that we all got on so well sober (this may be the first time we had tried this!) and we are still friends in our modern lives.

My Uni friends come from all over: one from France; one from Doncaster (now living in Leeds); one from London (now lives in Northampton); one from Milton Keynes; one from Reading  – so you can imagine the lovely recipe of accents that emerge when we are together!  Naturally, when English students get together (well most of us are – one did Construction and one did Media), we played Scrabble! Again, wild times! 😉 I, embarrassingly, came 4th – and with 2 non-English specialists and one with English as her second language, I think that is pretty appalling! Haha!

The night led to cheap and cheerful drinks and food; karaoke; dancing and more drinking! So just like the Uni days! It was great and music always helps to remember things I think. One song and you are transported back to that crazy, student night 7 years ago.

So yes, we all had a great time and even had a pub breakfast to cure the morning after feeling – the change was this time, that I actually had to do jobs and chores after, rather than lie in my lazy student bed, putting off that Shakespeare essay until tomorrow!

It is also, almost, the end of term, and I have seen many speeches today of people leaving and retiring. They were all reflecting on the last year, last ten years or last 30 years. It is emotional to move on to the next step, I think. Which is important, we revisit  when we can. This can be literally by returning to the place; meeting the people we were with; or just, simply talking about the memories we have from that place.

Lastly, a year ago today, I started writing this blog! A whole year! I started off writing a post a day, which was easy because I was off work. Now I like to write weekly where possible and I am still enjoying writing about the randomness of my life and life in general. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank anybody who has read this blog; whether one post; lots of posts; part of a post. In addition to people who have liked a post, commented, followed or recommended it to anyone. These things are great for a writer to see – but I also know there are a lot of secret readers out there, who take a gander and then go. It all counts and it is very exciting that I am writing words – stringing them together and someone is reading what spills out of my head!  So thank you. I will keep writing! And hopefully, you will keep reading 😉

Celebrate today – it may be a year since you quit smoking. A month since you went on a great evening out. A year since you saw a family member. Ten years since you left a job. Twenty years since you left school. Get in touch with people, relive a memory, get the photo albums out (we also did this at the weekend!) and enjoy a reunion – even if it is just you and a memory! 🙂

XSXS

Time Never Stops

Afternoon guys, thought I would share a poem that I wrote last weekend. It was when the clocks turned back and I wrote my post Time to Write https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2012/10/27/time-to-write/. I was inspired by Carol Ann Duffy’s poem Mean Time, which I discuss in the post. I thought I would write my own poem about how time doesn’t stop, it may change back and forth but it never stops – just like life. See what you think!

Time Never Stops

…the hands go into reverse,

for sixty whole ticks,

tick, tick, tick…

they stop.

 A whole hour gained

But light is lost.

Dark, dark nights

as dark as my heart

life is short and coming to an end

like the days

life ticks like minutes

every second is precious

and then the hands go up a gear,

we lose time,

but gain some light.

A fair deal; time for light,

we can see into the night,

clear and enlightening,

but time doesn’t stop.

It ticks like minutes,

Every second is valuable,

The clocks never slow down

and then….

Just a short one tonight, I have my hands full babysitting the Autistic Down’s lad and we are watching Postman Pat! Talk about time never stopping… we could watch the same episode over and over again and he would never notice!

XSXS

Time to Write

I actually felt really excited to write tonight. That is the reason for writing a blog, I realised. The want to write. That yearning to get your ideas out there. I mentioned a few days ago that I had been thinking about rejigging my blog or starting a new one. I am not going to do anything just yet as I am going to follow some advice that I read in a fellow blogger’s post. It is important to read blogs as much as write them. The advice that I read in Christian Mihai’s post ‘The 7 Golden Rules of Blogging,’ that said no matter what you write or how often, you should stick it out for a year. So that is what I plan to do and then decided on an extra blog or whatever. I will reblog his post actually after this as there are some great tips for bloggers in it.

The reason that I get excited about, well words really, at this time of year is because the clocks change. Time changes. It reminds me of one of my favourite lines from a poem. Carol Ann Duffy’s poem Mean Time:

‘The clocks slid back an hour

and stole light from my life’

I love this and it shows how that one hour can make such a difference. Every year when we put the clocks back I look at this poem. I go into my study and dig out my poetry collection also named Mean Time. I studied it at A level and it is a great collection of poetry. I sometimes get it out when the clocks go forward to and remember the reverse of how we gain light. I always remember which way round with the old saying ‘Spring forward, Fall back.’ Using the Americanised word for Autumn of ‘Fall’ helps me to remember that along with the leaves falling off the trees, the clocks fall back an hour. Yes, they slide back as Duffy so brilliantly puts it. They steal light from our life. The nights get darker. Funnily enough, the Britons always think of the positive in this case of ‘oooh we get an extra hour in bed!’ The bright side of a situation?! Mmmm very unlike us!

Duffy’s poem is quite depressing really but has some very interesting ideas about life and time. She says ‘these are the shortened days’ meaning that in general life is short and her references to death; ‘we will be as dead, as we know’ and ‘endless nights’ tell us that death is forever. It is life that has the time limit. Very depressing thought in one way but makes sure we make the most of life, I guess. She also talks about if the sky could lift one hour away from her life then that hour could have been full of angry words to her lover and that could have been the hour that was taken away; ‘If the darkening sky could lift/ more than one from this day/there are words I would never have said.’ It would be great if we could choose which hour of life got taken away… or which hour we gained. At A level we looked at the different meanings of ‘mean time’. Like it can mean ‘mean’ as in average. Average time. Life is just average. Or it can mean ‘mean’ as in cruel and that life is cruel to us. Very interesting poem and I recommend you take a look.

But in the mean time, what will you do with your extra hour?

XSXS

Remember that?

How’s your memory? Do you remember my name is Sam? That today is Wednesday? What you had for breakfast yesterday? What you did last night? Then your memory is probably about normal. Did you see that programme last night on Ch 4? About a boy, well man since he was twenty, who could remember everything! Everything!

I think you will agree with me that some things we actually want to forget. So imagine if you could remember everything. I talked a little about this a while ago in my post Photographic Memories. The fact that none of us have a photographic memory and need things like photos to help us remember those happy times. Surely we remember the things that are truly important like births of children, weddings, job promotions, first day at school etc. It seems some people can remember further back than others though. I remember my first day at school as clear as day. Not all of it but bits and it is all linked to feelings. I can remember how I felt. I can’t remember what lessons we did or the people I met (even though I know now who would have been in that class) but I remember chunks. I know people of a similar age to me though who claim to not remember their first day at school though. One man claims he can’t remember anything before he was aged ten. He didn’t have a tortured childhood, which he tried to block out. It was probably quite happy. He just can’t remember.

Then there is short-term memory. This guy on the programme last night could remember the day of any date from years ago. He could remember what he did, who he was with, how he felt. It didn’t say on the programme (yet I only wanted about twenty min) if he had good short-term memory. Was he able to remember his dentist appointment later that day? Or his friend’s birthday next week? Surely that would be more use than remembering you went to Cadbury’s World in 2005? Which was one of the examples on the programme. I was in awe though as he could retrieve so much information and his Mum checked it in her diary when they had disagreements about certain days and dates. Must be useful if you needed to remember for a murder case or some sort of enquiry haha.

My next thought after being utterly amazed was confusion. I mean how does all that information fit into his brain? Where does it all? We let go of the mundane, everyday kind of things that we don’t need to remember, yet he has it all. Maybe he has to sacrifice other things like knowledge? Surely only so much can fit!

So remember what you can and definitely don’t forget to drop by again 😉

Lost in Transit

I had a whole other post planned for today. I was going to share my favourite quote with you and talk about that. But that’s down the pan. Because, something so bizarre just happened that I just have to share with you……

Have you ever thought about the people who lived in the house before you? You may have met them if you bought the house off them. We bought our house off the previous owner’s daughter as she had died – after turning the lovely bathroom suite into a disable and she didn’t even have the time to make the most it, we all lose on that one. I also tend to think about owners before her. Our house was rented for a few years before we bought it so there has been quite a lot of occupant. Some things from the old woman and her husband remained though. Like the locks on the stair and pantry door. Odd. I thought she was trying to keep her husband from the food or alternatively lock him in there! I found out after because my Dad is mates with the woman we bought it off (see it’s always who you know 😉 ). Turns out the man had bad dementia and would go into a room and forget how to get back out. The locks were to stop him going either in the pantry or upstairs. We also found a trap door in our living room when we bought a new carpet. I was already gob smacked as the old carpet had a date of purchase on it and it was 50 years old!!!! I thought about the day it got put down and how the floor had not seen any light since. We then discovered the trap door and were muchly excited at the thought of money… or not so excited at the image of a dead body. Neither were down there and it was just a view of the pipes. Very odd. Viewing hole perhaps? The screws were so old when we got it open that we couldn’t put them back so we sealed it shut, preventing future occupants the joy of anticipation of what could be in there.

Anyway, the odd thing that happened to today! I got home and there was a letter, a small envelope in a plastic wallet with a note from the post office of apology. It said how Royal Mail were very sorry that the letter had taken so long to arrive. I couldn’t think of anything we had not received and then looked at the address ‘Mary Smith’. Mmmmm… we have lived there for nearly 3 years so it had taken a long time to arrive. I then looked at the date of postage and it was 2003!!!!! It had taken 12 years to arrive…. lost in their network it said. I was quite excited about what could be in so had a peep inside. You know what it was? Something really important since it had an apology letter? Something really worth waiting 12 years for? Nope. A Christmas card! I then felt unreasonably angry for some reason. I thought: ‘How much money and time has been wasted to get this to an address, with now different occupants, twelve years too late! And it was only a christmas card! Poor Mary must be thinking ‘God, I never did get a Christmas card off Doreen in 2003!’ Maybe she even stopped sending them in return because of this. I know my Gran does that. She will say, ‘Well she never sent a card last year so I’m not bothering again!’ So maybe the contact ended between Mary and Doreen because of that. Sad thought. I just still can’t get over the fact that it has been floating around the ‘network’ for 12 years. Crazy.

Something similar happened a while ago. We received a parcel addressed to someone else but with our address on. I opened it. I just had to. It was a lovely card, a little girl’s jumper and a handmade wooden teddy bear. I felt sad that the owner would never receive it. I kept it for some reason. I just had a feeling and figured that eventually I would give them away. I was convinced the woman would never know because how close could these people be if they didn’t even know each other’s correct address? Anyway, a few months later, guess what? She showed up at the door. I was so glad I had kept it. She was very happy and said the sender would too. We exchanged a bit of small talk and she commented on how the house had changed etc. Must be weird going back to your old house years later. Happy ending that time…. just wish I could tell Mary that Doreen did send Christmas wishes 12 years ago!

We also get junk mail for various people and get calls for ‘Mrs Curtis’ very regularly. I like the fact the house has a history though…. a bit of character. Maybe one day something more useful will arrive through the post or I will find another money laden trap door 😉

See you tomorrow,

XSXS

Time for Rainy Days and Looming Mondays

Well what a day…  raining all day!! Rubbish! I also can’t believe that it has nearly been a week since we got back off holiday. I can’t decide which went faster; long lazy days in the sun or rainy days of boredom here!

I don’t just have end of holiday blues but also end of six-week holiday blues. Back to work next Monday! I know all you mothers and fathers out there are thinking, ‘Yes just one more week to survive and then I get my house and freedom back!’ I just can’t believe how quickly these last 5 and a half weeks have gone! In some ways though I will be glad to get back to work. I think after a large amount of time off, you sort of lose your purpose in life. I’ve noticed that I am always happier after I have written my blog… it’s like my ‘work’ for the day haha. So thank you for all those out there who are keeping me sane and reading it everyday!

So yes I have started to become bored – and I could blame the weather. But it isn’t just that. Let’s take yesterday as an example. I had to stay in all day to wait for a delivery (which never bloody came, typical!) and I was bored out of my mind. It wasn’t evening raining, in fact it was kind of sunny for part of the day. I think that can make it worse. When it is sunny and you are stuck inside it is like you have no friends to go out and play with or anything fun to do. You feel like the sun is blazing through the windows punishing you into guilt; that you should be out making the most of its rays! Whereas today it has rained all day and at least I could make peace with the fact that it was okay to stay inside as most other people would be!

Maybe I am bored just because I have too much time to fill. Six weeks is a long time for anyone; plenty of time to meet up with people, do those jobs you’ve been wanting to do all year, plan a summer holiday (and go on it!) and you think you will be craving some time to just ‘be’ to watch Tv, go on the computer, read (and give reviews!) etc – but it soon gets boring. I have always been fascinated by the idea of ‘killing time’. That we have so much of it and are trying to murder it. I have this image of myself with a knife stabbing at my day. Odd. And in the next breath, people say ‘life is short’ and they wish they had more time. Seems poor time cannot win! Why would we want to destroy one of the things we cannot buy more of? Something that is so precious. What we really want, is not for time to go quicker, but for something more exciting to happen in that time. My trouble this week is that all of my friends and family are either at work or on holiday! I was asked to meet up with work colleagues on Friday but it was the one day I am busy – I’m taking my Gran to lunch for her birthday! Typical! Time plods on slowly for a week and then wants to get taken up by two things at once.

I decided in the end, that this week, I should just enjoy my free time. I should take pleasure in having nothing to do; as next week I’ll be back at work and my time will be consumed with arrogant teenagers! So I am going to watch the DVDs that I never watch, play on games, do some more writing (I have been writing a book  for over a year – maybe I’ll share sections with you on here one day) and generally embrace and hug my free time – not pull a knife out on it!

So don’t let the rainy days get you down… whether you have work today, tomorrow or Monday don’t let that get you down either. Think of each day you work as a day in lieu for yourself; when it rains, you can sit on your bum guilt free!

See you tomorrow – whatever the weather brings!

XSXS