In the dim and distant past (or ancient history as my ten year old would have it) otherwise known as my childhood, I grew up in the large village of Mullion on the very specially gorgeous Lizard Peninsula. The specially gorgeousness of this place is a state secret so I may now have to kill you all but I digress…
… The cold mornings we have been having with the wonderful sunny weather have brought to mind an early morning jaunt we took to the nearest town. I think I must have been about five and we must have got up very early for we went into to town on the bus while the morning was still cold and dewy. The nearest town was a place called Helston and at the beginning of May every year it holds a festival called Flora Day (see picture above and google to see more images and videos). The people of the town dance through streets and houses and businesses in a series of different dances all day. They all sport a sprig of Lily of the Valley on the lapels or shirts and I was entranced by the magic of this and it is tangled in my mind with fairy tales and images from the Pied Piper of Hamlyn. When I was my little it was one of my greatest wishes to dance at Flora Day but as I was neither born there, nor went to school there, or married to anyone from there it is never likely to happen.
Whether it is Flora Day or not, Helston is a beautiful little town and is having a hard time at the moment, so I urge you to go there and spend some money in their independent shops – we are off down again at the end of May for a few days.
In other news, I have been nominated for a Liebster Award by a lovely Canadian blogger Life on a Dirt Road and I will be responding to her challenge in my next post.
While I’m in the mood to urge, the Painter is just about to have a new studio delivered, so (more) normal service should shortly be resumed.
This one is called We Dream of Cornwall and can be found with lots of friends in his online gallery, here
Another quilt is finished, pictures next time!
Disappointment seems to follow swiftly on the heels of disappointment in my little life. Closely followed by a swift kicking . Are you detecting a particular tone to this post? Sorry about that. It seems that despite suggestions from our social landlord that due to our circumstances we may be eligible for an early move it now seems that we are not and that by the time we do move there will be none of the new houses that are suitable and adaptable left.
I know I shouldn’t have
trusted the woman in the office gotten my hopes up but I just wanted something nice to look forward to.
In an attempt to cheer myself up I was playing old TV themes – it’s a game we used to like to play, our own version of Name That Tune, but during the course of this little interlude it emerges that John can no longer remember that Jason King drove a Jensen Interceptor. The only reason I have ever heard of a Jensen Interceptor is because John used to bang on and on
and on and on and …. about Jason bloody King and his Jensen bloody Interceptor. I feel bereft.
I have a lovely report from the lovely psychologist to tell us that actually after all the brain mashing John is still average with some particular difficulties thrown in for good measure but was highly superior before. I had actually worked that one out for myself but ho hum. There are whole chunks of our life and of his own that he can no-longer remember and every time I am confronted with it I feel gutted again. It is almost seven years since this nightmare began.
Reposted from my old blog which is all down the side there somewhere but not all in very easily accessible format. Reposted for thescroobiouspip, who asked, and if I may say has some explaining to do in the name department!!! Anyway, this old blog has been going on and off for quite a long time now so if you have a spare decade feel free to peruse.
Originally posted February (perhaps 19th) 2005 shortly before John had his first stroke. I am a marginally less bossy blogger than I was then, it appears.
The origins of the She Weevil
SheWeevil, she-weevil, or sheweevil: all variations of She Weevil which in itself, in case you haven’t realised, is a direct reference to the She-devil. If you are unfamiliar with the fantastical works of Ms. Fay Weldon then blogger off to the library and get familiarised. Alternatively go to work on an egg.
The Life and Loves of a She-Devil was adapted for television by the BBC in 1986 and I missed it for reasons that will become apparent further on in (read! You blog exploders, read!). During this discourse I am completely discounting the American cinema adaptation with Meryl Streep and Roseanne Barr.
During the summer of 1986 at the age of 17-and-a-lot I had the ___ fortune (fill in the blank yourself) to join the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Don’t get me wrong, it was something I really wanted to do at the time but for various reasons they weren’t right for me and I certainly wasn’t right for them. I joined up on 9 June 1986 and spent the first five weeks of naval life banned from watching the television like all the other girls I joined up with. From HMS Raleigh I went up to HMS Dryad to do my Radar training. I bloggered about quite a bit and had to re-sit my final exam. Once I’d passed I was sent to work in the Cunningham Tactical Trainer. All of this time, through the summer and on into the autumn I watched virtually no TV.
After awhile I realised that I was being called She-devil by one of the hookies over in Cook Building. I didn’t know what or who he was referring me to but it didn’t sound good. When I found out I was even less impressed. I suppose with the benefit of hindsight I see where he was coming from but to me at 17 Julie T Wallace did not conform to the stereotype. At 6’2” with short red hair and flashing green eyes, neither did I but maybe I wanted to more than I knew.
Anyway. Now I’m thirty-six. When I started writing sheweevil I was thirty-five, I’ve had three children and am more Julie T Wallace than she is herself. I sometimes scare myself and often scare men. They don’t like the fact I look down on them – physically at least. I sometimes feel like a giantess and people’s children point and I get mistaken for men. Which is odd really as I certainly am more than ample in the boob department. They generally can’t believe a woman can be the size I am.
Okay now I sound like the incredible hulk. I’m not green, just a bit browned off. In my head, where I am self-deprecating in a dry and mostly humorous way, I’m a bit she-devilish but not quite, I am more me than that; more she-weevilish.
Are you getting it yet?
I now have Carly Simon’s dulcet tones ringing in my head but reflection on what’s gone and what’s yet to come seems to befit this time of year. This time last year I was in a very bleak place emotionally and my confidence was at a low ebb worn away by months of high anxiety. 2011 for all its slings and arrows has been quite healing in many ways. We have had help from a lovely psychologist specialising in brain injury who has helped us to have a better understanding of what’s going on. It doesn’t always help to know why something is happening but it never hurts.
A combination of this and my own craftiness (you can take this as cunning or my incessant need to make things) seems to have had
the desired effect an inspirational effect on John and his initial small decorative efforts have stretched his artistic muscles to the point where, as I write, he is in the shed painting again. Not only that but he has renewed his Minigallery subscription and has done most of the adminny bits he needed to do to get it to go live. These are huge, seven-league-boot steps forward and I don’t think any of them could have been achieved if I was still going out to work.
I am sharing my own personal favourite which I am linking to – not everyone is comfortable with the human form, so if you aren’t don’t click please. This was painted back in 2005 from a drawing done of me back in 2004 or 2003 and it sold very quickly, too quickly to a lady in London. I wanted to look at it for a bit longer; who doesn’t want to see themselves so beautifully depicted?
My photo doesn’t really do it justice because this little picture and the others like it are, to me, little miracles.
I went to meet a new friend on Saturday; a lady I’d never met before and only briefly spoken to on the phone. Somehow we had found each other – we are broadly the same age, broadly similar levels of education but the thing that binds us is both our husbands have had strokes and those “brainquakes” have devastated our lives; we both have small children.
I won’t begin to bore you with the minutiae but if you would like to see how strokes affect younger people and their lives have a look at the Different Strokes website: www.differentstrokes.co.uk.
John has now had four major strokes and there doesn’t really seem to be an end in sight, so it’s a bit like living with a time bomb.
The little miracles are currently being painted by him for my craft stalls – the miracle is that there is enough of him left to achieve this. These can be found (along with equally bad photos) in my etsy shop over here, and examples of his work especially before his strokes can be found over at www.artbyjohnmorris.co.uk.
I’m hoping that Wendy over at Handmade Monday won’t mind me including these. Go and check her things out and all over the other lovely Handmade Monday club items
It’s three months today since John’s last stroke. He’s not up yet so by the end of the day that milestone may have been superceded by another; the diagnosis of a possible vascular weakness that has not yet been located or identified is just a bit like a ticking timebomb.
When I started writing Sheweevil life was very different, not easier but less dominated by limitations. We still hoped to go and live somewhere far flung and be a bit self sufficient but those dreams included us both contributing “each according to our ability” with those abilities being fairly evenly matched and nicely complimentary.
Now, daily life: a trip to the shops, a day out at the beach, a meal, all have to be planned in meticulous detail. It seems difficult even to remember life before strokes. I could weep for the man I have lost who is, in so many ways, still here and in subtle and strange ways, absent. It is not what I expected.
When you promise to love someone in sickness and in health if you think about it at all you might, perhaps imagine a tragic ending, an early death or a horrible disease. What you do not expect, what I did not expect, was a series of incremental and kaleidoscopic changes that lead me from Picasso’s Femme aux Bras Croisés to his Portrait of Dora.
We can only minimise risk and mitigate damage. It feels a lot like holding your breath with your fingers, toes and legs crossed whilst trying not to fall over and all this while trying to conduct a normal family life – today it feels like a big ask.
So after my last little splurge I have been quite quiet and unsettled. Life, I suppose, is all about change and sometimes those changes are not comfortable even if they are inevitable. I have taken the last few weeks to think about the future in a way that I haven’t done for a long time and with a clarity that has been absent for even longer.
We can’t change what has happened but we can change with the way we deal with the future. Instead of accepting the world and what it does to me, I have decided to make my future happen. Some of you will think this very odd as you have been doing this all your lives but it’s new to me.
I have a new website over at Phoenix Trading; the thing that sparked our interest is that they are looking for artists so that would give us something we could do together from home. If you follow the link here and then click through to my “about me” page (at the top in the middle) there’s a link at the bottom to a youtube video about this – do you know anyone arty? There’s lots of info on my site but do check out the cards and gifts as they are beautiful. I’m just waiting for my start-up kit to arrive and I’m unbelievably excited – can you tell. If you know of any events – church fetes, playgroups, coffee mornings etc, etc who you think would like my cards and gifts please leave a comment. Any ideas welcome and I know you wonderful people are full of them.