Ageing – the secret no one talks about

There is a lot of information circling around about the effects of ageing – it isn’t a mystery. – the key is in accepting it with grace. Realising the truth in what  one elderly neighbour once said to me, that ‘getting old wasn’t for wimps.’ This  from an indomitable woman who was undergoing hip replacement, had already had knee replacement and was battling the effects of Parkinson’s disease – no, this woman was no wimp.

But I have come to realise that ageing isn’t just about bionic joints, tena lady products and false teeth – there is a psychological and emotional element to it, that no one seems to talk about nor as with myself (or my friends) appear to be prepared for.

Recently I have been having an ongoing conversation with a dear friend – she has been struggling to raise a new online business and despite the fact she had appointed herself a business coach to help motivate and organise her – she was struggling. But not in all the usual business orientated ways – and this wasn’t something her coach had addressed with previous clients, in fact she was hard pressed to understand the issues my friend was battling. I however, felt deeply connected with my friends’ woes – I understood her issues first hand.

My friend is complaining about finding it hard to feel motivated because she feels at 55 she has far more yesterdays behind her than she has tomorrows  to play with and whilst that might seem obvious numeric logic – the key is, it is that actual moment when your ever shortening future really becomes a reality to you, it’s like having  a blinding wake up call.

Suddenly you wistfully look back over all those opportunities that slipped away, those wasted projects and the disgraceful wasted time you have squandered because it seemed that there was  ‘always tomorrow’,

The fact is, that whilst women’s magazines can claim that 50 is the new 30 – once you get passed the big 5-0, you start to creep toward the bigger 6-0 and the door is wide open for reflection on what has been; regrets start to filter in and panic bubbles up that there is little room to manouvre in this shortened future line.

It isn’t that this becomes an enormous preoccupation, but it quietly nibbles at the edges of your consciousness – and it becomes something to dwell on. should have done that differently or I ought not to have done that or why did I waste time.

What has struck me and my good friend is that whilst we are well aware of the mid life crisis – we weren’t expecting this emotional crisis that seems to have started as a gentle swell of uncertainty and become a tsunami of regrets and anxiety.

I personally have come to the conclusion that reviewing my past and regretting decisions is pretty pointless and have suggested my pal take the same view- a bit like a history book, the story can’t be rewritten.

In terms of my future, well yes I can’t deny the clock is ticking fast, and having grandiose plans and schemes like I did when I was 20, may well be a dream to far – I don’t like it, I would dearly love to wind my clock back, give myself a few extra precious years to play with – but that is silly. Better still is coming to terms with my life, making the most of my time now, enjoying the here and now.

A bit new agey perhaps, but there is no point in panicking life is suddenly too short, no point in over planning a future I can’t possibly deliver on – the key, is having joy in my here and now and live it to the max.




Upcycling – a feel good activity :)

So despite the flu virus and a cough that won’t quit – I am back in the land of the living and have started to make good on my decision earlier this year to up cycle my house, room by room.

The starting point for this marathon upgrage, Room 1 is actually my daughter’s bedroom and was perhaps the easiest to accomplish – it is the only room that doesn’t require any painting. So it was simple  case of making the small changes that would make the room look like it belonged to her finally, instead of it looking like she was squatting in her elder  brother’s bedroom.

She inhabits her elder brother’s room who has now made the permanent move out of the nest. Her room was full of stuff he just couldn’t be bothered with – and there was nothing in there that stamped her personality anywhere.

So we sat and chatted – picked out new bedding and curtains, and we looked at colours she liked and checked out a few things she found interesting

and we changed stuff.


Lampshade kits – what a great idea? And so easy


Well this old drawer set was hidden away, and pretty much we thought we might just get rid of it – but it is a useful piece for odds and sods and there wasn’t anything physically wrong with it – and so I made up these  revamped panels to match up with the lampshades – and suddenly a dull and lifeless piece became a little feature, and suddenly felt integral to the room- really easy upcycle.

So the cushions here were the original driver to the choice of fabric for the lampshades – these took some effort to make – they are much larger than they look in this photo and make what was a pretty dull and limp corner of the room, something just a bit different. Big and soft – these are actually lovely cushions.073

Planning Room Changes

I want to give my house an injection of personality I said last year and this has become one of my goals for 2017. And I want to do it without spending a lot of money- for me this means some up-cycling, hand making, and somehow taking account of the function of each room and maintaining some simplicity at the same time – I don’t want to clutter back up, having worked so hard to de-clutter over the last few years.

Personality without clutter.

Apart from a small post Christmas purge of things on shelves and  hidey holes that we no longer need, pretty much I have pared the house down to it’s heart, it’s core.

I looked around with a critical eye this weekend and overall I like where I’ve got to – I realise that not everything that is lying around my house is clutter to be dumped – some of it is genuine stuff that doesn’t have a proper home  – and that means storage.

I don’t just want a corner full of plastic tubs  where I can bung stuff – I want things to reside stylishly. When I looked at the house, I saw it was ‘lived in’ and ‘messy’ in places and I can live with that – but I realised it would be a whole lot less messy if everyday items had an accessible home – storage that allows us to retrieve items easily.

I also can’t allow myself to run away with jobs ad hoc – I have to have a focused approach to what is going to be done, that means running contrary to my usual approach of just jumping in feet first – no, this time I need a plan.

So my plan entails doing one room at a time – starting with my daughters bedroom first, we started this weekend re arranging her furniture in a way that suited her best, rather than just living with it as it all went in to the room when we first arrived – she likes these new changes.

And we have started listing up what we intend to do in the room – hers is the only room in the house practically that doesn’t need decorating; she’s inherited it from her brother who has now left home and he had decorated it just before he left – so we have a blank canvas to work on.

But before we start her bedroom in earnest, the issue of storage for all the homeless items around the house has to be addressed.

  1. My craft projects. Honestly, every single room, bar the bathroom had a basket or bag of something that I was half way through. Promise number 1 then, I will not start any new projects until all the ones presently on the go are completed.  And the crafting materials need to be housed – I have already decided that I will organise my materials – balls of wool (dozens of them); raw fleeces (at least 3); paints, dyes, felting tools, sewing tools – and I have already made space in my utility room. This has made a huge difference to the house generally and I am very pleased with this
  2. Post/leaflets/paperwork – this is always dumped on the island worktop in the kitchen – it’s a large area that gets littered with everything that has no home and I want this addressed. The worse culprit for this is my hubby –  despite claiming to be tidy, he will be reluctant to use any storage if it isn’t an easy to use solution so this is going to have my attention first because I think this may require some capital expenditure.
  3. Electrical leads, charges, cables, defunct gadgets – I could do with this being looked at properly, to decide what can legitimately go and what can stay, this isn’t my area of expertise and largely not my stuff, so for now just to move it all away, I have made a draw available to for it all, so it isn’t left loitering around various rooms  – this is a akin to hiding the problem I know, but for now at least it is tidy. I will have to get the men in the family to find time to deal with it properly. It has amazed me how much of this kind of stuff we have, and the difference having a place to store it all makes.
  4. Not a storage issue, but a money issue –  I only have a set amount of disposable income available per month, and this month a good proportion of it is going to be eaten up paying a pest controller. I have tried to deter Mr Mole moving in to our garden myself – using an array of efforts gleaned from friends, neighbours and google – but to no avail, he has  run completely amok all over the lawn, which has practically been destroyed, it looks such a mess and worse the dogs keep trailing mud in to the kitchen, since the grass has been replaced with mounds of soil there is  precious little I can do to stop this happening and it’s started to get us all down. ~Sadly, because I don’t like the alternative really, the mole has got to go. I’m miffed too because I would prefer not to be spending money on this kind of thing, but we have really drawn a blank with him and the damage is now pretty substantial.

On the whole I feel I am bucking my usual trend of being a disorganised thinker when it comes to the house, and I am very pleased with where we are going.

Victorian Living

I have a bit of a weird house. It’s a T shape.

The upward stroke of the T as in ‘I’ pre dates the cross bar of the T by about 100 yrs.

We live in the centre of a village and if you stand back and look carefully, despite all the add-ons – like  conservatories, extensions, annexes, porches etc – you can see that the middle of the village was once made up of a number of  small cottages, stacked sideways along the road like dominoes – these original cottages would have been short roofed and tiny.

My house carries the name of a previous owner, a Victorian gentleman who must have made a tidy sum for himself because it was he who tacked on to the side of his  cottage a gothic frontage, with pillared porch, a balcony, and fireplaces you could stand in to get to ‘Diagon Alley’. It is an ostentatious folly. He did it, village folklore would have us believe, as a way of flipping the bird to the local landowner at the time who owned most of the village. This was a man who clearly had a gargantuan score to settle, and he crowned this gem by carving his initials with great artistry in to the gate posts at the roadside to remind the world just who it all belonged to.

So indelibly is this house associated with him and him alone, the rest of us who have owned it since all feel like we are maintaining it on his behalf.

The original old cottage has been refurbished time and again over the years to a point where it is quite featureless and whatever it’s 18th century beginnings, it looks pretty plastered and 20th century  now.

The Victorian frontage however remains in tact, completely unchanged since c.1900

Original fire places, tiling, architraving, doors,handles, stain glass leaded sash windows, stair casing, picture and dado rails…. hang on did someone just say stain glass leaded sash windows?

Well yes they did – beautiful, gorgeous colour, spectacular size – and draughty as the crypt.

We fell in love with this house – it’s sweeping majesty, it’s quirky set up, it’s authenticity, it’s freezing cold.

Every room with it’s towering ceilings is like heating Kings Cross Station with a fan heater. Tonight temperatures are set to drop to below freezing, this morning we were caught out well and truly as  we unexpectedly ran out of heating oil and the next delivery will be in 2 days time. Tomorrow morning there will be something akin to snow on the inside of those lovely old windows!

And we look like the Cratchit family.

We’re stooped over under layers wool,  with fingerless gloves, long johns and a hot water bottle each.

Since I have my arm in plaster, I can’t jump in and out a shower stall like ‘jack be nimble’ – I’m for the bath in the morning, if ever anyone wanted to walk in Victoriana shoes, surely nothing could be more evocative than an early morning bath, with no heating and a glorious sash window for comfort!!!