Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Time out

I have dropped out since last week. Suddenly life seemed dull and not very full of joy.

To cheer myself up I went down to London to see the youngest daughter and Posetta Baddog. I took Maud and Billy with me, because there was noone to let them out for walkies whilst I was away. I NEVER leave my dogs for more then 2 or 3 hours at a time.

The Baddog was hysterially pleased to see me and weed all over the pavement, and then the dog posse leapt out of the car. Oh my God, if looks could kill! No welcome for the country cousins. A bit of a cheek, as the Baddog frequently holidays dans la campagne - very one sided! Maud just growled under her breathe, and poor Billy just quivered. I instantly felt better - nothing like a bit of bad dog sulking to amuse one.

Junior daughter dog sat for me whilst I whipped into Town, to hit Selfridges as they opened at midday. Some delicious Sisley unguents, a white linen wrap shirt half price in the Jaeger sale, and some customised Havaianas, brown bases with brown thongs - boring but just what the doctor ordered, and one and a half hours later I was back in the bosom of the dog sisterhood. Rather like a supermarket trolley sweep, I satisfied the soul.

Daughter and I then high-tailed it to Lemonia in Primrose Hill, for a quite scrummy Greek summer lunch. The restaurant was full to bursting, with a very jolly Sunday kunch time atmosphere. We wolfed down taramasalata with piles of hot pitta and then shared a plate of chargrilled mixed seafood, and a plate of chargrilled mixed kebabs, greek sausage, and little lamb chops - all washed down with chilled rose, followed by a little cup of medium sweet Greek coffee with Turkish Delight. Divine. It made me realise that I do miss City life, but conversely I could only ever live in the countryside. Perverse.

Life is never simple - but Monday was not the dire day I anticipated. I felt sad - but had a Damascene Conversion - I suddenly realised that life never remains the same and I must stop kidding myself that I had a good marriage. My marriage was a nightmare - and I deserve better. A result? As I have written before, I have two wonderful girls and that, in itself, is a great joy.

This week, I will master Twitter and Blog replies. Wish me luck! I am now going to take the dogs for a quick walk, and then I am going out to dinner . Tomorrow I am going to a concert, Friday a wedding, and on Saturday to an opera in the garden of New College, Oxford, followed by a picnic in the cloisters. You see, I have a social life after all. What am I complaining about?

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Greed is a family failing. I have just eaten the most delectable fruit salad - and feel akin to a Strasbourg goose. A melange of sliced strawberries, halved sweet little dark cherries given to me by a rriend from her groaning tree, blueberries, and globular, glistening redcurrants from my garden. There are so many redcurrants it is impossible to pick them all. This fruit salad was divine, and I splashed s slug of creme de cassis over it. And I ate it all, all on my own!

I am now going to retire to ny bed, to finish The Easter Parade.



I have just been asked if I was free on Monday evening, and realised to my horror that it will be my 41st wedding anniversay. Not a day to celebrate. Technically I am still married - in limbo, I am afraid.

Today I finished clearing out the philandering husband's office and den - packing up the last vestiges of his life here in this house. I found all sorts of things tucked away behind books, and at the back of drawers I thought had been emptied a year ago. I sat on the floor, looking at photogaphs of us as a family when the girls were small, and we looked so happy and as if we were having fun. How ephemeral life is - here today gone tomorrow. Why do so many middle-aged men deny their families and yearn for a new life - as if the previous one never existed? So many mixed messages in this case - but our family life is certainly dead and buried. No more Christmases, weddings, christenings, family gatherings, holidays - the four of us together. It is the three of us, the girls and I, against 1 plus one. We really were a close-knit little nucleur family - and now it counts for nothing. He has nothing to carry into old age - and the three of us have so much.

Melancholia is setting in - I must not let it get hold - Monday 13 July will be the test.

The senior daughter has just rung from NY - so I am instantly feeling more jolly. I should have told her that I found a box of her letters home from boarding school, a bag of teddies and lots of school exercise books! How can I stay sad when reading through them, made me shriek with amusement! And I remembered the name of every bear, doll and cuddly toy and its history. Memories came flooding back.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A rainy day

Literally - deluges of rainwater - at times it seemed as if bathwater was being poured out of the upstairs windows, running down the lower windows like Niagara Falls.

Rain is not good for low spirits. Today I have been struggling with mountains of paperwork - I have never been good at it, and now, in the throes of a very messy divorce, I am submerged in it. It is also time for the dreaded Tax Return. Oh, how I wish I was more focused on such things Thank heavens for my saintly accountant.

It is a very strange process - laying bare one's very soul for the divorce courts - I am at the stage of my life when I imagined I would be able to settle down to a gentler pace of life. Oh no, I have instead to, it seems to me, justify my very existence, the air I breathe, and every penny I spend. Funny that, I spent 40 odd years married to a man who thought his money was his, and he could spend it as he liked. He thought my money was his too, in that I was required to spend it in order that he could avoid giving me any of his! I had to suffer the indignity of his very unpleasant cocky young lawyer telling the Judge that I was a profligate wife, and it was a disgrace that her client had to maintain me, and justify his expenditure! Dear, oh dear, Women's Lib, what have you done to women?

So - dear husband - I so hope you feel proud of yourself - forty-three years flushed down the pan. What an indictment - and I bet you simply cannot remember the names of the myriad women you slept with, thus betraying your family countless times.

Me - I think I will survive all this - each day there are more moments when I realise I am actually free - a chum said to me yesterday that I should have called myself Phoenix, because I will rise from the ashes. A bit of a cliche, but possibly true.

Now is a good moment. It is 11 o'clock at night, Classic FM is playing, the house is otherwise very quiet, the dogs are sleeping and I almost feel at peace with the world and I remember how, this afternoon, I found a little rainless window to take the dogs out. As we came down the track above the ford outside the house, I saw what I thought was a very large ginger cat looking at us, for what seemed ages. It was nothing of the sort - it was a very cheeky young fox. Billy suddenly sprang into life and flew towards it. It only got away by a whisker, and I had one very proud Whippet, and one very disappointed Jack Russell who went the wrong way! I find moments like these pure pleasure. The fox gets away, and young Billy enjoys the chase.

It is time for bed - and time to start a book I have had for a while, and as yet, have not opened - The Easter Parade by Richard Yates, who wrote Revolutionary Road. I actually bought this book in Strand Books, in New York, whilst visiting the senior daughter. She always takes me there, what a feast, a wonderful store full of eclectic and interesting tomes. Some new, some secondhand, but always an amazing selection.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Rite of Passage

I did it - I went to the party on Saturday night.

What a performance beforehand - I flung armfuls of clothes all over my dressing room - what was I going to wear? How pathetic for a village drinks party, who was going to notice? Subliminally I expect that I hoped everyone would notice.

Eventually I trotted through the village, in my black linen top and tight white trousers, freshly washed hair, rictus grin on face. Into the garden I sidled - and with a deep breath launched myself at the first group I saw. That seemed to work - I was on my way. I threw back my head, laughed too loudly, smiled sweetly, observing my fellow guests clandestinely through my Oliver Peoples, and realised that I was at last cracking the code. Gradually people came up to me, and I was so pleased, as these were people whose company I had missed, and I began to actually enjoy myself. Another hurdle overcome. Well done, Aurora.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Breakfast time blues

It is Saturday morning and inspired by the senior daughter's gastronomic blog posting, I have just had a delicious breakfast in the early morning sunshine. A very self-undulgent breakfast, not good for the waistline. I shall describe it in detail, as I am a copy cat! A glass of clementine juice, two hunks of toasted sourdough bread, with goats cheese, dribbled with a little of the most wonderful runny organic honey,brought back from a recent trip to an Italian vineyard near Verona (likely to be my very last holiday) rounded off with a large mug of aromatic coffee, made from freshly ground beans. Heaven. This sybaritic breakast was a necessity as I am having a low point in my new journey, and it is a family habit to resort to tickling the taste buds in times of stress. As I said, not good for the waistline, but possibly good for the soul.

Strangely, as if to acknowledge my depressed state, there is no birdsong at all this morning, and the dogs are very subdued.

Its funny how, like a line of dominoes collapsing, lots of little things seem to turn into one big misery. School terms are ending, the holiday season is under way and all the newspapers and magazines are full of articles of the most idyllic places for a summer holiday, lists of recommended holiday reads, beauty tips and all the paraphanalia required for an imminent and much anticipated break in the sun. Except - for me - that is not going to happen. After over 40 years of wonderful holidays, business trips, and car rallies, it is as if my life has hit a brick wall, and I no longer exist. A pragmatist would say, hey, you have been to more places than most people can dream about. True - and one day I will appreciate that. Not now.

Tonight I have been invited to a drinks party in the village. Suddenly I do not want to go - after nearly a year of feeling like a freak in the show at the end of the pier, I cannot face it any more. When I do, rarely, go to parties, when I arrive I feel an almost imperceptible intake of breath, and a sense of embarrassment, and often people's eyes slide sideways, and there is mo point of contact. What is so embarrassing about a marriage exploding? I may be on my own, but I pulled the plug, I took the decision, why does everyone find it so uncomfortable. What has never happened is someone coming forward to welcome me and make me feel normal. I stand around with a drink in my hand before deciding who to approach. That is when the eyes slide sideways!

I ask myself hourly, is life better now than before? Of course it must be, at least I am a person in my own right now. I consider myself to be an intelligent person, but oh boy, was my life a nightmare, and why did I allow it to happen? I was married to a serial adulterer, a Walter Mitty, a man who could only feel good about himself if he controlled and then destroyed others. A man entirely without emotion, wno negated everything I held dear, felt deeply about, and achieved in my life. Even so, life is tough on my own, he has taken my life and destroyed it, and has no conscience or sense of responsinbility whatsoever. The only thing I hang on to, is that the woman he is with now, is a schemeing marriage wrecker who will truly be his nemesis. As he postulated when I chucked him out, he had not intended to leave me for her and how dare I chuck him out of the family home! My mistake in the past was to always take him back but this time, somehow I found the strength to give him his permanent marching orders. So, dear readers, life must move on - and I must teach myself to stop looking back, and when the memories flood in, to close the dam.

The sun is out, my dogs are looking lovingly at me because they knowe a walk is in the offing, and the first of my sweet peas need picking. My garden now is like the Curate's egg, good in parts. Too much sun, warmth, and the occasional shower, mean that the roses are dying, and the weeds are truly triffids. But - as with all gardens, there is always something new emerging from underneath the chaos. And - all you kind, concerned dog lovers out there, who supported my daughters and I when Violet had her terrible accident, I have contacted the lovely woman who bred Violet, and found me Violet's husband, and put in a request for her to find me a puppy, closely related to darling Violet. Billy still misses his mother, and a puppy will help the healing process.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Help, indeed. Having got so far, I am now on a plateau! I have mastered a laptop, been inveigled into posting my blog - all well and good, but I am struggling with the next two stages, replying to all the kind and generous people who have posted comments, and dealing with Twitter, to which I have been unwittingly signed up by the crafty senior daughter. So - all you kind people out there in cyberspace, I will eventually show my appreciation when the brain unfuzzes, and grinds into first gear. It is the most wonderful feeling to know that you are out there, and seemingly interested in the ramblings of a semi-geriatric sixty-something woman.

Today is another wonderful day - the English countryside is something to behold when the weather is as it is at the moment. I live in the depths of the Northamptonshire countryside, and even though only 20 minutes each way from both the M1 and the M40, we could be light years away. It is peaceful, and so restorative. When I pulled up the blind in my bedroom this morning, I heard the familiar sound of the green woodpecker. There he was on the lawn, stabbing away at the grass sorting out his breakfast. Behind him, the heron was balancing on the rails of the little bridge over the stream in the paddock, and my sheep were looking up at me, having heard movement, as if to say 'Good Morning' I am embarrassed by my sheep, 8 years they have lived with me, Vita, Violet, and Virginia, originally destined for the pot, they have lived happily here, reaching a great age for sheep. I bred them, and then could not bear to eat them.

I still miss dear, gentle Violet, her presence is everywhere. Billy has suddenly grown up and is now barking for the first time. He is so proud of himself - and it is such a lovely deep masculine bark, I am proud of him too.

I do have much to be grateful for and every day I am further down the road to my new life.