Monday, 30 December 2013

Itchy feet

I'm getting itchy feet!!!!

For weeks now I have been feeling a little like a Spring bulb, waiting patiently for Spring to arrive when I can split my skin and quite literally burst out of my clothes and fly. For two years now I have been putting roots out, grabbing hold of the safety that is all around me, staying with the known and secure. But now my wings feel strong, I'm ready to take flight and engage in some serious adventure.

For the past year I have been thinking that such an adventure needs to be shared with a significant other and without looking I have attracted potential suitors but as yet none has truly shared my vision and rather then click in perfect harmony, I have found myself shying away from the true 'me' and compromising myself. Goodness no!!
I have never been a selfish person (to my knowledge) but at this moment in time I am being selfish with myself and not wishing to share my dreams at the expense of jeopardising them. That isn't to say that I don't wish to share my thoughts with you all. They say that if you want something enough then you are driven to make it happen - believe me guys this really is true. About three years ago I wrote a little list (actually it was quite a long one) of all the things I would like to do with my life. I have to admit to thinking that the idea was completely bonkers at the time, but nether the less I did as my friend suggested and wrote that list. When I found it at the beginning of the Summer, I had almost achieved all of those dreams, some of them were quite unlikely to happen (or so it seemed at the time). I've since written another list which I have lost, but I'm hoping that when I find it I will have a similar tale to tell. Try it and let me know what happens..........:-)

Anyway, back to those itchy feet........
My main topic of nuttiness is that I aspire to build a house. I know that is a pretty potty idea to say the least especially when I don't have the foggiest idea about house building, but here comes the really crazy bit.....I want to build it out of recycled building materials.
Yes I know what you are all thinking and in many ways I also wonder about my own sanity but when you have a dream you find yourself absorbing information, researching, asking questions and driving all your friends mad in the process until that dream becomes a reality and anyone who knows me well will know what I am like when I am passionate about something :-)

17 years ago (when I was only 24) I opened my own nursery school. The seed was planted when I was 21 and took three years to germinate and become a reality, three years of creating materials, researching, training and talking to the extent of boring everyone until my dream became a reality.
I frequently stopped in my track and did reality checks and had many serious moments of doubt as to whether I was literally barking up the wrong tree! But as I proved to myself on that occasion, if you want something enough, you will make it happen.

So many months into my house building dream I wonder how I am going to build a house on my own? How will I source the materials and buy the land? A recycled house won't fit in in an urban housing estate! What about building regs? I know nothing about these......but I'm researching and talking to people. This year (sorry next, see how desperate I am to burst into the new year!!), I'm planning to go on a Straw bale building course. Straw is a very viable building source and creates a rather rustic home, pretty cheap too. It's just a thought, my ideal house will be free or cost very little.
The question of where has not yet been decided, land is scarce around here and very expensive. Various other options keep creeping into my mind:- converting a double decker bus or a horse box, thus avoiding planning permission altogether. I've even thought of buying an old church or village hall and converting that. I enjoy camping and have lived in a derelict cottage (really derelict) before so am not phased by the idea of building an indoor camp in the corner of a hall or such like. I'm thinking aloud now!!

So examining what my issues are, I think I'm feeling a sense of adventure that is restricted by living in a house. I know I feel bothered by having to pay rent on a house having lived rent free for so many years prior to 2011. Don't get me wrong, I live in a lovely little cottage and I'm very happy here. It's the perfect community setting and very safe for the children, but we are home schooling so are not bound to a school and I'm not bound to a job, my work can travel with me so I feel I really should be getting out there and making the most of our freedom.

I've shared enough for now, off to do some more research............xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Twas the night before Christmas.........

So finally we have made it to Christmas eve. This year, I was determined (was sure) to be organised for the big day. Early on that was the case and then somehow I seemed to slip into a downhill spiral of complacency and before I know it I'm back to the usual mad (frantic) rush trying to get everything done.
Christmas eve is always a time for making and handing out last minute gifts to friends and neighbours and usually my annual Christmas eve picnic. This year my lack of organisation meant I had to buy last minute gifts on Christmas eve AND make those delicious truffles for the neighbours. I love doing these things but do sometimes question why I put myself through such chaos?

Christmas in never complete without attending a carol service of sorts. This year after much debating we went to our local crib service. We've been attending crib services for years with the children and they make for a lovely start to the festive period. This year however, the children made it quite clear that they were NOT going to participate in the nativity building which often requires them to dress up or carry a character on a journey to Bethlehem (or the front of the church to us).
This year, the vicar's wife began handing out knitted characters....they were beautifully handmade and colourful, I felt myself longing to have one to hold and admire. So as she neared the rear of the church where we were sitting I looked smiling to the children only to find that two out of three children were hiding quite literally UNDER the pew and the third had made herself almost invisible in the corner, hmmmmmm!!
Well the knitted king was handed to me in the hope that willing may be shown and almost immediately Small Boy emerged from his hiding place to admire the character. A secret smile swept over me knowing deep down that he would be part of this annual ritual. The vicar's wife read her story and little children from all over the church bravely walked to the front carrying their figures.....when it came to the kings, Small Boy took my hand and said 'Come on Mum'. Sitting ahead of him in the pew I had to lead the sooner had I got through the door of the old box pews he shut the door behind me and cheekily waved at me saying 'Bye bye Mummy'!! Oh dear, between them they had done to me what I have previously done to them, I walked up to the nativity scene (the only adult to do so) to place my figure.
Perhaps we've outgrown the crib service!!

So back home for dinner and the other 300+ jobs I had left to do (or so it seemed), all to be tackled at once, last minute gift wrapping, cooking food for tomorrow, games to find la la la

For what?

So what is Christmas to you? What is it that makes you happy?
A fancy gift?, A break from routine? Time spent with family?

In our house we don't 'do' Father Christmas. If you look through my posts from last year you'll discover my reasoning. However, one Small Boy still likes to imagine what it might be like if FC were to be real. Last night when I put him to bed he was wielding a piece of rope, I questioned him 'What are you doing'? 'Ha ha' he giggled 'I'm going to trap Santa!! Hmmmmm, that boy's mind works over time really it does. When I finally got to bed, I actually laughed out loud to see a cross made from rope on his radiator and a line up of six guns all facing the door.......good job the poor fellow is just fictional, might have had to resuscitate him if he were for real!!

So I realise we are all on a journey, a journey of discovery. During our travels we have to constantly examine our pathways, sometimes that means facing change. Look a change as a positive step even though it may sometimes seem sad or daunting. Change is healthy and is necessary in order for us to grow as individuals. Water becomes stagnant if it doesn't change and flow, we are similar.

Enjoy the festive period and be open to change.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Freed...... Nelson Mandela

Everyone has been talking about poor Mandela today who died last night at the age of 95.
What an amazing age for a truly amazing man. A man who changed the way we view black people forever.
A man who endured a torturous 26 years behind bars for his beliefs and his unstoppable fight for equality.

In a past life 19 years ago, I worked for a family whose grandfather was at the time Lord Mayor of London. I was a nanny to two lovely little boys at the time. As a result of the children's grandfather being Lord Mayor, the family had to attend many formal events in London at the Mansion house.
Until that point, I had only briefly associated Mansion House with a stop on the tube. The Mansion House is in fact the house where the Lord Mayor resides during his time in duty which is incidentally a whole year.
When I took the job, I was informed of the likelihood that the grandfather would be taking this role but had no idea what it entailed. Well, what a fabulous year lay ahead......

The year began with the Lord Mayor's show. That in itself was a fabulous day. I cannot until that point ever recalling having paid the slightest bit of interest in the event, I didn't even know it existed.
As nanny to the grandchildren, it was within my duty to accompany the family to such events.
I had to stay at the Mansion House (what a drudge!!), had my own room with huge drapes at the windows and a huge luxury bathroom, I even had staff looking after me and the children. Initially, I made full use of the service they provided....'room service....' but it didn't take long for me to step back and return to the ground. Fun for a while but really not me.
Anyway, the show was fabulous and myself and the children got treated like royalty. I recall taking the children to the zoo for the morning to keep them occupied and then having to get back to the Mansion House when the crowds had started forming. Everywhere was fenced off so I had to call on the service of a friendly policeman to escort me through the fencing and across the road which was inaccessible to everyone else, we felt very important!
I even got to stand on the balcony with the likes of the PM and Duchess of Gloucester (not that I knew who she was back then either).

Anyway, one totally amazing and unforgettable thing that did come out of that year was this..... 
One evening, whilst a state function was taking place within one of the very grand ballrooms, I was wandering around with the children when I heard through the grapevine that Nelson Mandela was in attendance and was staying at the house. Well, you can imagine the excitement to know that someone of his importance was within the same building, I just had to get a glance....just a glance. So, I crept up onto a balcony that surrounded the ballroom off which Mr Mandela's room was located and sat and waited. Sitting quietly with two children aged 2 and 4 at the time, was no easy feat. There he was, Mr Mandela with his wife walked across the ballroom. He must have heard us because he looked up and when he saw us he beckoned us down. We were so very lucky that evening, we actually got to go into his suit and meet him. We shook his hand and spoke to him for a while.
What a lovely man and what a privilege to have had the opportunity to have met him.

Nelson Mandela is now free.....God bless him.