Friday, April 23, 2010

Billy spreads his wings

So - my lovely home is finally on the market. A very bittersweet experience - the house and garden have never looked lovelier. The weather is astounding, crisp frosty mornings, warm afternoons with the house bathed in sunlight both inside and out.

A whole gamut of emotions are running through me - this house defines me, throughout the battlefield and misery of my marriage, it was my refuge - the place where I licked my wounds over the years whilst the philanderer betrayed me with relatives, good friends, and Uncle Tom Cobbley and all. I poured my love, my own money, my ideas into the house and garden. It is an expression of me, my inner self, everything that defines me. And nothing about it has anything to do with him.

As usual, I am sitting at the kitchen table, it is a glorious morning, the weather at the moment is a delight. The birds are singing their morning chorus, the sun is playing on Billy and Maud as they snuggle down in their sheepskin bed on the terrace, and I can hear the woodpecker in the willow tree, at the far end of our paddock, drumming his beak against the trunk. Rar-atat-a-tat-tat. Something is now suddenly annoying Maud, and she starts giving little barks and yelps. She can be so annoying - she is now flying to the front door, and I am getting fed up with the noise. There is noone there. I have never felt unsafe living here on my own - both Maud and Billy would see off anyone who tried to gain unauthorised entry to the house.

These two dogs are my shadows - everybody knows how much I love them, and their complete devotion has been my saving grace. As they are now back lying in the bed outside, both of them are turned towards me, their eyes fixed on me, just oozing love and affection.

Billy has become rather full of himself lately. Frankly, for a male dog, I have found him to be so gentle and no trouble, so I should be thankful for small mercies. Two days ago, a pigeon swooped too low above his bed whilst he was sunning himself, and suddenly, I heard squawks, thumping, growling, and in a flurry of downy feathers was presented with the contents for a stew for my evening meal. A few hours later, a small bird, followed by a mouse, and later still part of a very dead rabbit. I think a little re-training is necessary.

I am expecting Possetta Baddog soon for a visit - I wait in fear and trepidation as during her last visit she taught Billy to dig holes in the lawn, 14 to be exact, and since her return to London, he has been carrying on the good work. It doesn't look too good right bang in the middle of the estate agent's expensive pictures in the sale brochure. Poor old Bill - he says he is just exercising his right of passage to full manhood. God help me.

I think he is jealous of the Baddog. Whilst the Senior Daughter was at home here in the country on her extended visit from the Big Apple, the Baddog was rewarded by Barbour with the offer of her very own tailor-made dog coat. Bill thinks that is favouritism. Especially as his owner was also treated by a lovely lady from Barbour to her very own Barbour. A Barbour International, no less, tight fitting, waisted, belts and whistles, the lot, divine, and Bill says, Bah! The truth is, Bill does not take very kindly to coats, because the one time I tried to put one on him, he said, I am not going to look like a big girl's blouse, thank you very much. Sigh.

I now have to have yet another house tidy-up. The downside of selling a house is that it has to look permanently like a show house. A little tricky for the dogs and I, but we will survive. All bones, dog beds, half-chewed toys, disembowelled
furry meerkats and beavers, and old slippers chucked in cupboards - oh dear. please, prospective viewers, keep your hands off cupboard handles.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Life is a) a beach or b) a bitch? What you will.

I have just read the responses to my last two posts. You lovely people, I draw such strength from you - isn't life fascinating? We do not know each, yet we make comments from which people can draw strength - and I do realise that many people have shit in their lives. One is not unique in one's misery.

Well, folks, a couple of glasses of Julienas have slipped down well - life is gaining a roseate glow, and hey, you bloggers are so right, my name is Aurora, and a new dawn is breaking.

I know that I really am lucky that I can begin to contemplate a new life. I have been so blessed with so many good things, wonderful experiences, good friends and daughters that I adore. So, old girl, just get on with it.

Today I got a phone call from a very old friend, whose husband, back in the mists of time, used to be a boyfriend of mine. I was so pleased to hear from her, because in the 21 months I have been on my own, I have spoken to her only once, and have not seen her husband at all. She came over to see me, and it was so good to see her. She made me feel so much better, old friends feel comfortable, and it made my day.

I suppose implicit in this ramble of mine is the point that there is much from which one can draw strength, that one's cup is always half full, not half empty, and life is either a beach or a bitch, and the choice is one's own.

A lament

The house is flooded with early morning sunshine, and as the kitchen french windows are open, I can hear the usual birdsong and the sheep murmuring for their breakfast.

I am exhausted. Last week I finally had to make the decision to put my beloved home in the hands of the estate agents. Once the decision had been made, their well-oiled machine swung into action. I had to get the house cleaned from top to bottom by the agency I have used for years. Five people for ten hours - the house was turned out, upside down and round about, and by the end of a very long day looked absolutely marvellous. Everything sparkled, smelt wonderful, and my heart was breaking. The garden was weeded, the lawns mown, all the various repairs to the roof, the plumbing, the electrics, and so on, had to be done. Everyone involved went the extra mile for me, and I realised how kind people have been to me since I have been on my own. Nothing has ever been too much trouble for them.

The day before all this activity, the senior daughter returned to New York after nearly five months at home. What a performance to get her packed and ready - a very bittersweet experience for both of us, because she will never return to our beloved family home. When I left her at Heathrow, I had a huge lump in my throat. These last months have been heartbreaking. We have written already, the two of us, of all the clearing out we have done together, the piles of letters read, the books sorted, the wonderful vintage clothes belonging to various members of my family, sll the childhood toys and memories of her and L'l Sis. The end of a family. Just all memories now.

I am finding the destruction of everything that has meant so much to me, everything that has been pivotal to my life, almost unbearable.

Yesterday, in church, I really thought that my heart was going to break. This church, where I hsve worshipped for 24 years would soon be lost to me. The Easter lilies filled the space with a rich opulent scent, and the sunlight came through the windows in great shafts. The news was out that the house was on the market, and everyone gathered round, offering their condolences, saying how sad, that I was a much valued member of the community, and would be much missed. We sang hymns that I absolutely love, and the tears welled up and fell down my cheeks.

When I returned home, I walked round my garden with the dogs. All the memories - the potager, with its brick paths and box edged beds, this was created in memory of my mother, my little gothic greenhouse built in memory of my aunt and grandmother. The huge white wisteria on the back of the house, planted in memory of my father, and which stubbornly refused to flower for 16 years, and which, last year, was suddenly covered in huge sweet-scented creamy racemes of flowers. The Wedding Day rambling rose given by a friend on our 30th Wedding Anniversary, the Ruby Wedding roses, a present 5 days before I had to ask my philandering husband to leave. So many memories in this garden which I created from scratch, and now must leave behind.

I have to face the stark realisation that I am now too old to create another garden, and it is a bitter pill to swallow.

My final sorrow is that Maudie Littlehampton, my treasured loyal little Jack Russell, at 14 years old, is going blind. I fear for her when we move, because an unfamiliar house will be difficult for her to find her way around. Here, when she nips out under the gate and wanders off, and gets disorientated, kind friends return her to me.

I ask myself - what is the point of all this misery? My husband has turned into a spiteful, vengeful, deeply unpleasant man - bitter and twisted. He has destroyed his family, lied, cheated, been consistently unfaithful for years, spent all his money on himself, his myriad mistresses, and racing cars - and to what end? His girls will not have anything to do with him, and what has he achieved? He has ruined me, he has not given me a penny for months, I have spent all my private money trying to divorce him, but he just will not give proper financial disclosure, or me a fair settlement. It is now nearly two years since I chucked him out, and still no resolution God rot him.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The comfort of strangers

I have not felt moved to put pen to paper for a while, but a phrase has been tumbling around my mind, the comfort of strangers.

Whilst the support of kind friends has been wonderful, the comfort of strangers is an amazing thing. Unconditional, unjudgemental, and so welcome and enhancing.

Maybe that is what one needs, the interest and support of people who are not at all involved in the maelstrom of the break-up of a long, long relationship turned sour and bitter.

So - I will slowly unfurl and return to writing - because once the words begin to flow again, it is so therapeutic.

The senior daughter has returned to the US, and suddenly, the house is quiet, and tidy, and somehow, lifeless.

The comfort of strangers