Friday, 16 November 2018

A Golden Dog Walk

We've been luckier with the weather this week, especially on the day I ended up on dog-walking duty.

A beautiful, blue sky day when all the trees on the park seemed turned golden.

I'm sure we'll be back to damp, misty days soon but for I'll make the most of this late sunshine

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Getting 'myself' back

Normal life (or what passes for it here) has slipped away over the last couple of months. I've managed to carry on with the day to day grind, though some might doubt if that includes any housework beyond the absolutely necessary, but grief has stopped me constructing sentences to form blog posts - either here or at OurBookReviewsOnline, and has definitely put an end to a desire to go out for fun. Folk have suggested going out as a way of  'cheering up' or 'getting over it' but my gut instinct was having none of that - it wouldn't have felt right. There's been plenty of dog-walking, sunset-chasing, grandson buggy-pushing trips to country parks and nature reserves but when it came to proper evening's out I've cancelled on gigs I said I'd attend, missing some touring artists I really wanted to see, but I just couldn't face going.
This last week without me really noticing something changed and I feel like I'm back to my normal self.

First I went out to a gig. Dave Giles is a guy I've known for a couple of years and he's come to feel like a friend. Since I last saw him perform, he's been up to exciting stuff - heading out to Nashville to record his new album, and bringing the musicians who played on it over here on tour, so when he came to Nottingham last week I decided to take the plunge and go see him, and I realised how much I'd missed been out in a happy crowd.

Over the weekend, our youngest daughter was home playing at a gig/birthday party on Saturday evening but earlier we spent the afternoon at Chatsworth catching the first day of the house being decorated for Christmas.

The next day we took her home with a lovely drive through the Peak District and a break for lunch at Lyme Park. It's how our weekends used to be - full of varied activities and experiences.

Tuesday saw me out again; this time to the theatre to see Alan Bennett's The Madness of George III. Mark Gatiss was amazing as 'Mr King', the rest of the cast fab, the set and costumes wonderful, and it was one of the best pieces of theatre I've seen in a while.

In part it feels like it's been yet another crazy full week, and certainly everything didn't run smoothly to plan, but it's been better and more stimulating than most of late. I feel more settled, and much more 'myself' for it. Now perhaps it is time to get back to 'normal'.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Rainy walk in the Wood

'It looks nice this morning,' I said.
'I'll come along dog-walking'

We were hardly out the door when the rain started.

It made the leaves in their autumnal reds and yellows brighter, but the pumpkins (I assume put out for wildlife to eat) sadder.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Step by step ...

Somehow nearly six weeks have gone since my mother died, and mostly the days have passed on auto-pilot, disappearing under funeral plans, paperwork, and the extraordinary amount of sleep I suddenly seem to need, while the world around me has held little of interest.

What I've felt has been nothing like I imagined grief would be, no floods of tears but an emotional, painful, yet numb, time. After the initial flurry of activity we were left with a long wait before the funeral. During it I occupied myself with gardening and lots of walking - activities which don't really require thought or concentration, but which occupied my mind just enough. Time spent outside is always a plus but having a purpose - pulling weeds or walking the dog - mixed with the mindfulness of seeing the colours change on the trees or watching the sunset has really soothed me. We've probably been out more in the last few weeks than we normally would! Meanwhile lots of things have been allowed to slide - I've ignored anything beyond the most urgent of housework, relied heavily on ready meals and take aways for dinner, and, although I've been reading, putting thoughts together for book reviews seems too difficult to contemplate.

Oddly that most maligned place - social media - has proved to be wonderfully supportive. From a few kind words to conversations about others' loss and how to cope, I've found so many caring people there ready to help me through this dreadful phase, and to distract me with political rants or cute puppies, whichever I needed.

Now I'm pulling out of that numbness and realising that somehow we seem to have moved from summer to winter while I wasn't paying attention. Warm days have suddenly been replaced by overnight frosts, and the shops are stocking up for Christmas. It's starts to feel like time to get back into the world. Step by step. No rush.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Swan Lake again

Since we 'discovered' Swan Lake back in summer, it's become a favourite spot to head out for a short walk, so we thought it was time to share it with our grandson.

Somehow we'd remembered the paths as flat and easy, but pushing a buggy up an old railway bank proved us wrong.

Other than that little blip, the paths were easy as many of them are cycle routes so require a good surface

As we started out, the sky was blue and the sun warm (considering the time of year)

but as we wandered further the sun disappeared behind clouds

and the crisp autumnal leaves were replaced by the murky water of the old canal - suitable spooky for Halloween!

Returning to the car park by the lake, we encountered a feeding frenzy. The birds here expect ALL visitors to have brought food and this time they were in luck.

Seagulls were being the noisiest and making most fuss, but the Canada geese look more determined! I hope something was left for the smaller birds - ducks and coots - but I suspect not.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Old Market Scare - Halloween in Nottingham

I haven't been out and about in the evening much (if at all) recently, but last weekend I had a bit of time to pass in Nottingham, and, heading to grab a coffee, found Old Market Square had been taken over for Halloween by giant pumpkins and ghoulish spectres.

There were the usual food stalls, and hook-a-duck style attractions all given a Halloween twist with skulls and skeletons, a Haunted House and a Ghost Train, and, scariest of all in my opinion, one of those fairground rides which takes you up in the air and twirls you around.

Even the Council House clock was getting into the mood, bathed in blood red light!

I knew Nottingham had a similar, bigger, event in Market Square in the run up to Christmas, but finding this was a delightful surprise. Next year I might go along deliberately.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Autumn Colours at Chatsworth

Last weekend saw us off to Chatsworth again.
I know, we seem to be there every other weekend
- well, I need to get the most out of my annual pass! 

Unfortunately we didn't pick the best day of the weekend for blue sky and sunshine, but it was still warm and the autumnal leaves stood out well against the slightly overcast sky

and the house seemed to float on the canal pond

The stars of the garden at this time of year are definitely the acers; as summer's flowers die back their brilliant colours shine.