The Holiday – Part 12

I made a show of putting my hand over Ana’s mouth. Cue: laughter. Derek left smiling.

I turned to exclaim see our Ana! to my Mother. But Mother was gone. We heard the toilet flushing.

The unpacking began. Mamie managing the decant from car to house in a series of finger points; aggravated facial expressions and shouts.
But in the end there is nowt so invigorating as the start of a holiday – even after the journey from hell.
Nothing beats that fight over who sleeps where. The wonders of a bunk bed and a pile of second hand dvds. Or the investigation of nooks and crannies.
Mother immediately commandeered cleanliness and the adequacy of kitchen, appliances and bathrooms. Cooker (adequate). Fridge (too small). Number of pots and pans (begin worrying over dinner now).
With a few speculatory comments about the budding scrapyard, Dad settled into one of the deep and comfy living-room chairs and could be heard snoring shortly after.
Jamie and Ana went for an explore up the hill. Closely followed by Meg – who was in the early throes of panic attack as (horrors!) there was no mobile phone signal at the house.

Mother got out the bleach and J clothes and started worrying every visible surface.
I walked across the yard, away from the house and toward the wide, deeply sloping field we had skirted on the final stretch here. And stood breathing in the golden, sun-kissed air. The silence sung to me like a lullaby. And for just a precious moment I could swear I was touching eternity.
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In Scotland we…


make Halloween lanterns from turnips… nane o this imported American pumpkin nonsense!

















However…. my national pride in turnip heid lanterns took a bit of a bashing when my pal Shirls (Marzella) – sculptress, artist, good friend and Waybuloo set designer extraordinaire – produced the following…. I dare you not to be impressed!


A bit of a malaise…

I am scunnered.


Yes, it is fair to say that I have been suffering from scunnered-ness for some time now.

But there has been a qualitative shift in my general feelings of fed-up-and-pissed-off-ness. In fact I have taken a lurch closer to actually doing something about being scunnered – and that is a new – and slightly alarming – development.

Assessment of my life to date is a bit of a mixed exercise. But all good self-improvement books (a misnomer, but hey) would convince me that all is not lost. That I will – eventually – achieve.

Not entirely sure what I will achieve mind you.

Happiness? Contentment? Peace?

Most have little to say about those esoteric states of being. It is more wealth, power, status. Things I have little patience with. But surely – if the techniques work – I might manage to secure a greater sense of fulfillment than I have currently?

I digress. So, to continue… I have noticed that the self-help gurus tend to recommend a first stage of spiritual and metaphorical spring-cleaning.

  1. I must identify all those negative drains on my personal energy. All those areas which are disturbing the positive flow of energy around my unconscious and which are preventing me from realising my true potential.
Ah. The vexed question of true potential. Professionals, loved ones, me – from the prolonged IQ testing of the 2 yr old me, to my mothers alarming conviction (during my teenage years – though I am not always convinced that she has managed to ditch this particular belief) that there was a fine line between too clever and madness and that it was more difficult to raise an intellectually challenging child than an intellectually challenged child, to my own current half-hearted examination of where I have gotten up to so far – true potential has been a bit of a life motif for me.

But what is it? Where is it? Have I reached it? Should I even try? And what the fuc* is it all about when it means you can brand a 2 year old genius?

Perhaps, when all is said and done, it is my destiny – the articulation of my true potential – that I should be sitting typing this post whilst waiting for a doctor to call me about a malaise that I am still not certain I can really speak to her about. Quite probably the illness (timing is all) which will cost me any career I may have thought I had? (I am not daft enough to think that overt discrimination will occur – more that excuses will be more subtle).

Which leads me to another question. Is the career I thought I had, a career that fits me?

Have I accumulated all the academic evidence of my ability to think to a particular level for this?

What has happened to my value system that I can place career above family? Above children? (much as the little buggers grow up and leave!).

And then – like so many of us – I find myself wondering, at the age of 44, is this it?

Oh dear. The tortuous mental route we travel when seeking answers – answers that are easy to find on a quick trawl through the internet, a google search, ask jeeves... multiple janus-faced answers which simply lead to more questions.

All this and I haven’t even gotten onto Step 2 of self-improvement yet…