See hear speak 


It is said there are two sides to every story. This of course is rubbish. There are three sides. There is side A, side B and The Truth. As humans we all tend to love a bit of gossip. I say humans, not women, because I would like to draw attention to the fact that even though most people perceive gossip as a stereotypically female trait, I know many men who are seasoned gossips who often don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story! The who said what to whom and when is the basis of daily life, but usually we only hear one side of the story. One person’s truth. We take that as gospel and rush to re-tell the story to eager ears. The story grows wings through more gossip and if the storyteller, be it the first or 31st person to regale the story, embellishes a little bit, the story takes on a life of its own, the truth left far far behind in a stream of Chinese whispers. I’m no angel. Of course I have done the “oh my god you’ll never guess what I heard” thing. After a good night out it’s great to have a post(party)mortem and, shamefully, the more salacious the gossip the better. I also know that I have been the subject of gossip. We all have. And honestly, if we can’t take it we shouldn’t dish it. But gossip is powerful, potentially hurtful and damaging, and we need to be careful what we share with whom. Maybe we should keep some stuff to ourselves. And if we can’t, we need to be careful who we share it with and make sure what we share is as close to the truth, as we know it, as possible.

The power of gossip is particularly poignant now I am in the process of meeting new people. Recently I have had to listen to stories that I’m pretty sure have been served with a large pinch of salt on the side. Some of these stories are about people I have known for years so I can make my own judgment and take as much of that salt as I need, but when I’m hearing things about new friends it’s of huge importance that I don’t allow the perceptions of others to tinge my own opinions. I try to push anything I’ve heard aside and welcome potential new friendships without prejudice. In an ideal world maybe it would be great to ask a new friend if what I’ve heard is true, but it’s not usually good form to dive in with such a blunt approach after the initial introduction.

“Hi, it’s good to meet you at last, I’ve heard so much about you”

“All good I hope?! Hahaha!”

“Actually, I heard you did this..and this…and this!”

“I’m sorry, but who exactly was it who has been gossiping about me??”

Cue awkwardness all around and possibly a spoiled evening of major fallout. Bang goes the new friendship – the messenger always gets shot!!

Truths, half truths and untruths circulate around us constantly. Most stories remain little pockets of inconsequential wind but some grow into typhoons with the damage palpable. Finding out things have been said about us or our loved ones, rumours spread about us or our loved ones that are not the truth, not our truths anyway, is horrible. And we have to find a way to deal with this. Depending on the magnitude or ‘minitude’ of the gossip we may decide shrug it off, we may quietly stamp our feet and shed tears of frustration and disappointment as we realise our truth has been twisted by careless hearsay or we may risk the fallout and challenge those around us who are circulating these untrue stories. Personally, although I have done some foot stamping and tear shedding, I have decided to trust that those who have shared my history and really mean anything to me, or I to them, will not feed off any gossip but will ask me to my face and get my truth.

It may be inconceivably hard to never see, hear or speak juicy tidbits, but let’s try to remember there are people with feelings behind every story and their truth may be very different to what you’ve heard.

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Knobs and knocking washing machines

 

We moved into our new flat two weeks ago. It’s lovely. It’s beautiful. It’s great. It’s perfect for us. But I’m being driven to complete distraction by my ability to break/misuse/malfunction every piece of electrical equipment in the flat. The white goods gods have really got it in for me. 

It started off with the washing machine. It’s a funny looking top loader so a bit alien to me but how hard could it be? I didn’t give it a second thought, chucked in a load, turned the knob to the most like looking setting and pushed the most likely looking button. It whooshed and whirred into action so I was a bit surprised when after an hour I opened it to find soaking wet clothes under a top layer of bone dry clothes. What a mystery! Anyway my washing woes could be boring so to cut a long story short I worked out it was something to do with having to close the drum manually. Three hours later and three more attempts I saw the fan belt poking out from under the machine. Snapped. Broken from my lack of top loader needing to close the drum knowledge etc! 

Soaking wet/bone dry clothes decorated with damp clumps of washing powder were chucked into the bath where I did a good old fashioned hand wash – well underfoot wash actually – ‘crushing grapes’ style to be precise! Then it was onto the www where a new fan belt was located in Poland. We would fix it ourselves and save a packet on not getting a €35 per hour technician. Easy peasy!

Next up the cooker. Evening number two and I decided to cook something. The hob is gas and has a clicker ignition when the knob is pushed and turned. The next 20 minutes had me clicking turning clicking turning swearing clicking turning more swearing. The fricking gas was filling the kitchen but not would not ignite around the rings on the hob. Matt then walked in and had a go. It worked immediately. Why??? What the hell was I doing wrong? Again a bit more mystery solving  and we worked out it was a hardcore childproofing security feature. You had to use all your strength to push down on the knob preventing small children and fairly strong middle aged women from ever using the hob! Now I’ve cracked it I use lighting the hob as a part of my exercise routine. I have to remember to switch arms though as I now have a pretty bulgy right bicep!

So that’s the washing machine and hob. Now onto the fridge. Day three and we realised the fridge was not up to the beer cooling coldness we required so I located the dial, turned it to a slightly colder temperature setting and the normally gentle hum of the motor grumbled loudly and abruptly stopped. Oops, I thought. Here we go again. How could I break the fridge by simply turning the dial? Anyway I decided not to panic, just leave it and see what would happen. An hour or so later I breathed a sigh of relief as I heard the gentle hum again. I have to say, though, I was beginning to fear I had inherited my mother’s touch-anything-and-it-breaks condition. 

Cut to two weeks later and after waiting in for a special delivery from Poland I am proud to say we fixed the washing machine. 

But I’ve just broken it again!!!

I forgot to close the drum. Stoopid design. And now I have to admit I really have inherited my mother’s condition. 

Our next order from Poland will be a bulk order. 

Sixty Years and Ten Thousand Miles

 ………………………..guest post guest post guest post………………….

I’ve not been blogging much over the last few weeks so I decided it was a good time to do a guest post. This was written by my mum, Caroline. It is about a very special reunion. Enjoy…..

                                                            

Way back in the 1950s, when I was a teenager, my mother had a mid-life motor car fantasy. OK, it’s usually the men who have mid-life car fantasies, but my father never drove, so my mother decided to live the dream for both of them. So she sold her existing car and in its place she bought her fantasy car, a vintage Rolls Royce, a beautiful, dark green and grey Rolls Royce. Well, it wasn’t vintage then – it was not much more than twenty years old. It was a 20/25hp Sports Saloon built by Freestone & Webb in 1933. (At that time RR themselves only produced the engine and the chassis.) We were then living in part of my grandfather’s house outside London. Here the Rolls had somewhere safe to live – a garage where my mother could keep it for the few years she owned it.

It was a beautiful car, all elegant paintwork, sweet-smelling, soft leather upholstery and gleaming mahogany fittings. Poised to take flight, the iconic RR ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ stood at the front of the bonnet. Rare even then, she was the full-sized, tall, standing Spirit, not the more familiar kneeling one. Directly in front of the windscreen was another mascot, a Lalique glass fish that could be lit up at night with a flick of one of the many switches on the dashboard. For their safety both these mascots had to be removed whenever we parked away from home (a bit like taking the satnav with you these days).

On the steering wheel, and on the mahogany dashboard, was a bewildering array of switches, levers, knobs and dials, several of which had to be engaged before the car would start. There was a switch for the ignition; others operated the enormous headlamps, the sidelights, and the interior lights. There was a switch for each of the windscreen wipers. There was a switch for each of the indicators, one for the left, one for the right: these would flick up on either side of the car, and after the turn had to be closed again. The gearstick and the handbrake were positioned on the right of the driver’s seat. Probably designed with a chauffeur in mind, this made getting in and out of the car interesting for the driver, particularly for a lady driver in a mid-calf, much-petticoated 1950s skirt. My mother solved this by getting in and out on the passenger side and sliding across from the driver’s seat.

The rear was luxuriously upholstered in dark green leather. Fitted to the inside of the right-hand rear door was a small holder for two little bottles, for brandy and/or whatever, with a silver matchbox holder between them for the lighting of cigarettes or cigars. The left hand rear passenger door had the disconcerting habit of flying open whenever we rounded a sharp bend, so my brother and I learned to hang on tight as we approached a curve in the road. No seatbelts back in the ’50s!

One day my mother announced she was going to give me my first driving lesson. My very first driving lesson. In the Rolls. I was sixteen, not old enough for L-plates. So I couldn’t go on the road, which was just as well as it happened: the Rolls was not the car for a learner. We headed for the very long drive of a nearby house – well a nearby stately home really. It was far too big and far too stately for its family – wealthy as they were – and they actually lived in a small (-ish) modern house they had built in the vast grounds. Think Downsize Abbey. I took my first driving lesson in its long, long drive. It was a disaster. With all those levers and switches to engage, I jerked and jolted a few yards and promptly stalled. Start. Stall. Restart. Double declutch (double dewhat?) Stall. Restart. Stop. Eventually the Rolls generously allowed me to take it a couple of hundred yards. I can’t really say I drove it. Then my mother turned the car around, so I could jerk and jolt us all the way back to the gates. End of lesson. I must have ‘driven’ all of 300 yards.

My mother happily drove her lovely Rolls around for a couple of years. Shopping, weekends with friends, and so forth. I don’t remember her ever taking it on any very long journeys. Family holidays were then thought unnecessary as there was plenty to occupy me and my brother during the summer holidays. We had my grandfather’s very large garden, complete with tennis court; there was countryside all around for us to cycle in and an open-air swimming pool not far away. About the furthest my mother would have driven would probably have been once a term to visit me and my brother at our boarding schools, maybe 100 miles each way – a long ride back then with no motorways to speed the journey. As a teenager whose aim was to be as unobtrusive as possible, I am now ashamed to remember my embarrassment at being picked up in such a splendid car! Then my grandfather died and we moved back to London, to a flat near Victoria Station. A vintage Rolls clearly could not live out in a London street. So it was sold and went out of our lives for ever.

Or so I thought. Over the years I might have thought about our Rolls maybe a dozen times, perhaps when I came across a photograph of it in an old album. I might have occasionally mentioned to someone that the first car I ever drove was a Rolls Royce, but I have never been much interested in cars – apart from an early yearning for an MG sports car (never fulfilled) – so I rarely spoke of it. So long as a car starts and stops when I want it to, that’s all I care about. Then late last year I was chatting with a friend during the tea-break in our line dancing class. He happened to mention his Rolls Royce. “You have a Rolls Royce?” I asked. “Yes,” he replied. “I’ve got a vintage Rolls. Had it for years.” “How wonderful!” I said. “The first car I ever drove was a Rolls!” “What model was it?” he asked. “Ah! You’ve got me there! I have no idea what it was.” All I could remember was that it was green and grey, that the gearstick was on the right, and that for some reason I remembered its number plate. It was FXF892. Then it was time to get back to the Cowboy Strut and I thought no more about it.

The following week I arrived at line dancing and my friend produced a sheet of paper full of information. Via its number plate and the Rolls Royce Enthusiasts’ Club he had tracked down FXF892’s entire history since my mother parted with it. It was alive and well, and living on the other side of the world. It had lived in the UK until 1975, when it had been bought by a man who took it to South Africa, and eventually on to Australia. And there I was, thinking, if I had ever thought about it at all, that it must have ended up in a scrap yard decades ago.

Via the Enthusiasts’ Club, my friend contacted NL, the present owner, and put us in touch with each other. He was as excited as I was and we exchanged emails and photographs of FXF892. He had bought the car about five years ago. He wrote: ‘I have fully restored the body (painted in its original colours) so it is in excellent order now. It won the Best Pre-War Rolls Royce at our last Rally and the Company Trophy for the best restoration.’ NL lives in Western Australia, about 80 miles outside Perth, where our eldest son, James, lives. He said that when we were next in Perth we must be sure to come and visit the car. At that time we had no thought of when we might next be in Australia. Then, around February, James phoned and said, ‘We’re thinking of going to explore Queensland in June. Do you want to join us?’ There was only one answer to that! So we arrived in Perth at the beginning of June, and the first weekend we were there, before setting off for Queensland, we drove the hour or so out of Perth to visit the Ls, who had kindly invited us all to lunch.

When we arrived, NL showed us into his garage, one in a row of three, where FXF lives in luxury, its stablemate being a vintage Bentley convertible, even older than the Rolls I believe. It was quite emotional seeing the Rolls again. I had entirely forgotten what a truly glorious car it was. I wanted to stroke it. I did stroke it! Very gently, with the tips of my fingers. How I wish I had appreciated it more when I knew it. The adjoining garage, the middle one of the three, is a workshop where NL cares for all his cars – he also has a vintage Armstrong Siddeley pickup, which is a great favourite at the local green waste collection point where he uses it to take his garden rubbish, and a modern Citroen for supermarket car parks; these two share the third garage.

The middle garage, NL’s workshop, is immaculate. James, whose own middle-aged car fantasy had, a few years ago, involved a 1970s Triumph Stag, was speechless with admiration and envy of this workshop. It is like no workshop you have ever seen. There is not a drop of oil to be seen on the floor. There were no oily tools or rags lying around. No pieces of unidentifiable rusty metal. No scattered nuts or bolts. You could eat off the floor. In pride of place in the middle of the workshop, was a shiny, bright blue and yellow hoist to enable access to the underside of the cars – NL does all the work on them himself. There were workbenches, filing cabinets, cupboards, a desk, and shelves, all immaculately tidy. The walls are a gallery of car memorabilia, including framed photographs of his own and other vintage cars.

FXF892 is a truly beautiful car. I had forgotten quite how beautiful. It is lovingly cared for, restored to all its original glory. The chrome fittings, the lights, the radiator, the number plates, all gleam, and the paintwork shines. The leather inside is soft and smooth. The only difference from the car that I remembered is that sometime over the years its mascots have been replaced: the Spirit of Ecstasy is now kneeling and instead of the Lalique fish, there is a falcon, but now that NL knows it originally had a fish he is on the lookout for one. The current asking price for a Lalique glass car mascot is enough to make your eyes water.

NL kindly took us all for a long drive through the country roads around his home. I rode in the front passenger seat, full of admiration for NL, who reached without hesitation to whichever lever or switch he needed. It was a fine Australian winter’s day with not a drop of rain, but he demonstrated the wipers for us anyway: they swept to and fro over a surprisingly small area of the windscreen. The car ran so smoothly and so quietly it is hard to believe that it is over 80 years old. I didn’t think of listening for the ticking of the clock! He told us that it would comfortably go well over the Australian speed limit of 110 kph, 68mph – FXF’s speedometer is of course in miles. And somehow NL has managed to retain its original British numberplate, the one I remembered – the one that made it possible for the car to be tracked down. We didn’t pass many pedestrians on the road, but those we did pass stopped and watched as we went by. Some of them waved and we all waved back. I don’t remember such a reaction on the British roads of the 1950s. Even then a beautiful RR must have been a rarity, but to Aussies walking along a country road it must have looked like something out of a movie. When we returned we took loads of photographs, and for only the second time in my life I sat in the driver’s seat of FXF892.

So that’s how it came about, that after sixty years, and more than ten thousand miles, I once again met what is undoubtedly the most beautiful car I have ever been in in my life. I’m sure my mother was looking down at us all and loving every moment of the experience too.​​

(Some names and details have been changed to protect privacy)

 

This happened today 

It was 5.49 am when the shouting woke me. An aggressive male voice spitting indecipherable words was interspersed with a teary desperate female voice. ‘What do I do now?’ I jumped out of bed  and pushed aside the curtain. Three young people, kids really, were outside my house. I saw a boy with his angry, twisted face inches from the face of a girl with blonde hair. Then he turned and marched off down the road with a dark haired girl trotting behind to catch up with him. They didn’t look back.

‘What do I do now?’ The wail was quieter. And then, as if in slow motion, the girl with blonde hair turned and ran out into the road….in front of a big black 4×4. I watched, horrified, waiting to see the inevitable accident. But amazingly the car stopped as the girl with blonde hair, in tv drama fashion, put her hands onto the bonnet as if her strength alone was stopping it. I turned and ran out of my bedroom and down the stairs. By the time I had unlocked the front door the car had gone and the girl was sitting on the curb opposite me. I could hear the sobbing from my front door. Giant gasps and gulps as she tried to catch her breath.

I walked over to her. ‘Are you ok?’ No answer. It really was a ridiculous question. ‘What’s your name?’ No answer. ‘Are you ok?’ Still a ridiculous question, no better the second time of asking.

‘I can’t breathe.’ The crying was like when a small child can’t stop and the sobs catch in their throat. She looked at me and I could see how young she was. ‘There’s a bump on my head.’ She touched a small but very obvious bump on her forehead. ‘How did you get that?’ No answer. ‘Did someone hit you?’ No answer. ‘Did you fall?’ No answer. ‘Ok , you are coming inside with me. Are you ok with that? Just come and get a drink of water.’ I noticed the rubbish in the middle of the road wasn’t rubbish but two bags. I picked them up and she looked confused. She hadn’t even noticed she had dropped them. She must have dropped them when she nearly got hit by the car. She took them from me and allowed me to lead her across the road and into my house.

She took a few sips of water. The crying stopped. She told me her name.  She told me it was her boyfriend who I saw leaving her in the street and that she was living with him. She told me she had fallen out with her family, she didn’t talk to them. She told me she had nowhere to go. ‘I got to go. I got to find him cos I got nowhere to go’. Then she told me the bump came from her boyfriend. He had done it twice before. She looked surprised when I told her that she should not go back to someone who hit her. ‘I shouldn’t go back?’ ‘No, you shouldn’t go back.’ I asked her how old she was. ’18.’ I told her I had an 18 year old daughter and it would break my heart if she was hit by anyone.

She said she wanted to go. I wrote my name and number on a piece of paper and she put it in her pocket.  She hugged me then left. I watched her walk down the road and around the corner. I will be waiting for a call all day today. I know it won’t come.

 

 

Yoga Gaga

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I’ve never been overly crazy about exercise but I’ve always tried to do something a couple of times a week to maintain a modicum of fitness. Over the last few years my exercise of choice has been walking with a bit of Zumba thrown in here and there, but recently I was persuaded to join a gym because it was ‘too good a deal to miss’ and a few of my walking buddies had been going for a while and were somehow making it sound quite good fun. And now that I’ve signed up I need to actually use it, so I’ve been looking at the various classes on offer. Some, like pump, combat and kettle ball sound like absolute torture and body bum beach booty whatever sounds like, well, bollox quite frankly. And I’ve been put off spin for eternity after passing out five minutes into a class (very true story!) The super-high impact, multi repetition, weight stuff just doesn’t do it for me (or my creaky back!) any more. Also, I’ve seen the bods that emerge from these classes and my bod doesn’t look like their bods. So, I decided to give yoga a go and I’ve gone gaga for it!

I first tried yoga about 15 years ago but I found it a bit boring. Back then I needed some oomph, some thumping tunes and some serious sweat to feel like I was really doing any good. Even the beach bum booty thing would have probably been right up my street. But now I can’t get enough of the zen zone and I am at one with my mind, my spirit and my body! I am finding out how out of place bits of my body have become and how to slowly, but surely, get them back to where they should be. I also love the tranquillity. One of the yogis tells us at the beginning of the session that if we want to lie on our mats for the whole hour or just to sit in one pose we should allow ourselves to do it.

‘….Ommmmm….’

One day maybe. But for now I’m downward-dogging and sunsalutationing to my heart’s content. I love the challenge of seeing if I can twist my body a little bit further or bend just a little bit more in attempt to touch my knees with my nose. There is little chance of that happening for a while, if ever, but I keep on trying. It’s doing wonders for my self diagnosed frozen shoulder and I can now put on a pair of socks without having to sit on the bed. Hurrah! But I still have a long, long way to go before I’m close to reaching yoga nirvana. I’m still too stiff to cross my legs into a lissome lotus pose and why can I balance really easily on my left leg but fall over the minute I swap to my right? I wonder what that says about my brain? (Hmm…right side muscles control left side brain and visa versa. Left side brain = maths and language learning ….ah, that explains a whole lot!!!) As for even attempting an eight angle pose??…..well all I can say is just Google it!!

I am going to continue doing some yoga when I get to Madrid. I’ve seen open air yoga classes in the park. It looks wonderfully hippy and new age and tree huggy and I’m ready to embrace it! I will have to learn a whole bunch of new words though, because right now I think the only thing I would understand is cerrar tus ojos y relaja* but at least I am very good at doing that!

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*close your eyes and relax…..ahhhhh

Mañana Mellie

 

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I am a great one for procrastinating. Why not put off what could be done today until tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow or the day after that. Or till next week? In fact I am very Spanish in all things mañana, mañana, mañana. So I have been happily putting off one of the most important things I have to do before I go to live in Madrid. I need to find a lodger.  Matt would have us pack everything up and rent the whole house out for mega bucks but that ain’t happening. I don’t win many battles but I’m holding my ground on this one. Because it is not just a house, it’s our home.  The girls are only going to be at university, they’ve not actually, properly, left home yet. We all still need to have a home to come back to at Christmas and other holidays and I will have to have somewhere to come back to when I need to see my friends, family and the sea (so that’s every other weekend then!)

Anyway, I have agreed on the lodger. The house should not be empty while I’m in Madrid. Not only is there the ethics behind leaving an empty house while so many are homeless (not that I’m advocating opening my doors and yelling “come on in” to all and sundry – I’m not that philanthropic!) but an empty house is inviting all sorts of problems from unwelcome burglar types to frozen pipes. So a lodger is the best solution. They can take the upstairs spare room while leaving all the other bedrooms just like they should be for when we all come home.

I need to get someone in sooner rather that later so we can get to know each other and more importantly, I can check them out so I know they can be trusted not to turn the house into a crack den the minute we all leave. They will need to get used to this, slightly unconventional, living situation too. Most lodgers live with/alongside the host family all the time but in our case sometimes they will be living in the craziness that is our whole family together and sometimes totally alone in a largish empty house.

I am really not keen on picking someone at random from Gumtree (other lodger finding websites are available I’m sure). I am hoping that someone will serendipitously drop into my lap. I say ‘hoping’ but I’m actually dreading it! Now I love having people to stay. For a night or three but any longer and I start to get twitchy! I need my space and my privacy and …. my space!  It will be strange for me to share my kitchen and sitting room.  What if they like to cook up foul smelling chicken stock (yuk) while listening to death metal? Or plinkity plonkity jazz?  In my kitchen! They may want to watch endless re-runs of Friends in my sitting room when I want to watch something quality like Big Brother! Will they be a neat freak? Or a total slob? Eeek. Actually, I like the sound of a neat freak! Will I be judged if I’m found curled up on the sofa at three in the afternoon having a siesta? What if I find them curled up on the sofa a three in the afternoon having a siesta? How very dare they be on my sofa, where I want to be!

Well no more mañana. I have put this off long enough. This week the room is going to be given a very quick lick of paint and I am going to be prepared for Serendipity to work her magic and introduce me to the perfect tenant who will come bearing a bottle of prosecco and a promise to love and care for my house the way I do and who I will like so much I won’t mind the death metal or chicken stock or even finding them curled up on my sofa at three in the afternoon having a siesta!

 

Mellie no mates?…No matter!

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When I was younger, much younger, I would never have dreamt of going out on my own. As a teenager I wouldn’t even go into town on a Saturday on my own, I had to have a mate. Then I grew up a bit and had children so being on my own was pure luxury. Teletubbies was the only way I could even go to the loo without a band of merry anklebiters to accompany me. Sometimes I would snatch a hour or two to have a solitary walk around the shops when I got the chance but that was pretty much it. Then I grew up a bit more and had a bit more time to myself and although I enjoyed my own company, there were things that I would never consider doing alone. I would never walk, go on a bike ride or go to an art gallery alone. I would never, ever go to the cinema alone. I would never, ever, ever, go into a pub, order a drink and sit down, on my own.

But now I am a changed woman! I know that I am not a ‘single woman’ as such, but I do live a large portion of my life without having to check in with or answer to a significant other and I am embracing all of the best bits of being single. Now, sometimes, I do all of these things and more, alone.

OK, I admit, the going into a pub bit is just while waiting for others to join me, I’ve not quite got to solitary drinking yet! But even a year ago I would always be just a little bit late so I wasn’t the first one in the pub. Now I don’t care. I’ve even been chatted up! It’s nice to know I’ve still got it…or is it that a woman on her own in a pub still gives off a certain message? Anyway, the point is I’m not scared any more.

And going to the cinema alone in the afternoon is a secret guilty pleasure. Yes, sometimes it’s nice to chat about the film afterwards with a pal, but having that someone sitting next to you is not a prerequisite to enjoying the film. Matt and I have never been good cinema buddies. I don’t do Bladerunner and he doesn’t do Dior & I. Consequently I have missed so many films over the years that I have wanted to see because I have not found anyone to go with. Now I just go, and who would have thought…there are others who are solo in the cinema too. It’s not just me, there are loads of us! We all sit with a decent number of seats between us – we are British after all and personal space needs to be respected, right? But at the end when the lights go up some of us exchange smiles or pleasantries or mutual embarrassment at tear stained cheeks after a weepy.

Tomorrow night I am going on a Hidden Mysteries Tour of Brighton. I am going with 9 other people. I have never met any of them. I may get murdered, after all isn’t that what we tell our children about meeting up with strangers from the interweb! But I probably won’t get murdered. I will probably have a really interesting evening doing something I would never have done if I had faffed around trying to find someone to go with.

Of course I still love to be sociable. I love going out to restaurants and bars with Matt or with groups of friends. I love a good party and I have a big disco-dancing filled evening with a bunch of friends to look forward to on Saturday night. But I am responsible for my own happiness, I can’t sit festering at home waiting for the weekends I go to Madrid or for the phone to ring with an offer of a quick drink. And this is good practice for when I get to Madrid and I have to build my own life there. I’m definitely not going to be the little lady waiting for her man to get home from work (sorry Matt!). I’m going to be off, out doing stuff….sometimes on my own.