On the cusp of another year

Ah. Christmas. I am glad you are over.

Pathetic – how hard I took the ‘loss’ of one child from the Xmas dinner table. Irony is: it was me who got angry when labelled ‘mother’ or ‘mother of five’. Just proves how central that ‘label’ was to me – and to my sense of self.

Or maybe it’s just ‘family’ that has always mattered – after all, why go to the pain of having five, if you really hate the thought of ‘family’?

Anyway… Knowing that it was damaging and senseless and would lose us our daughter forever, I (oh thank fuck for some self-control – ’tis maybe a good thing, the maturity that comes with age) resisted the hellish, burning and raging temptation to have a tantrum, to spit the dummy and ‘insist’ that she be here for the 25th – without her partner. Instead I explained that the rift between her partner and the rest of us meant that it would be best we didn’t pretend his presence would be welcome or that he wanted to be there. And that we would fully understand her need to spend Xmas with him. We could all catch up on another day. We were sorry for any hurt caused to her – but that we loved her and hoped not to fall out over this.

We caught up on the 23rd.

Xmas was quieter.

I suppose they’re all growing up. The hysteria and excitement is over now. Louis was first up – at 6am – but that had bugger all to do with present-lust and everything to do with his December nightshifts which have turned him into a vampire. He had apparently been awake all night. 6am represented ‘the decency watershed’; the point at which it became ok to go make coffee and ‘inadvertently’ wake R and I.

It was a good awakening. My 21 year old son making coffee for us – and then sitting at the bottom of the bed and chatting about his Xmas Eve partying and Evan’s exploits (‘give the boy his due, Mum, the lad pulled’) and his own workplace travails.

Finally, about 8am, I asked him to go wake the rest. And he did.

Evan – three sheets to the wind – still drunk from carolling got up, moaning and swaying down the stairs. He lasted 45 minutes – just long enough to hand out his gifts and open the ones he’d received – and then staggered upstairs to bed again. He was there until 3pm. Louis had got a bit mad with him by that time – leaving him to suffer the oldies and young ones on his own like that…

Truthfully we were all subdued anyway.

Iain (Mum’s youngest brother – more brother to me than to her) has been critically ill and threatening death for the last 3 weeks or more. Mum and Dad had arrived in here at midnight on Xmas Eve – Mum frightened and sobbing. Endocarditis means new heart valves are required – but continuing infection and co-morbidities mean he’s currently too weak to endure surgery.

My cousin phoned Xmas midday to say he’d rallied a bit from the dreadful state he’d been in the day before but needed to rest – so the planned trip to the hospital was shelved.

Time was filled with the remaining food prep. Which just meant even more ‘too much’ – an excess that has kept us fed til today and which will feed the badgers for another night.

It’s tomorrow night that I look forward to. I’ve always preferred it.


No partying here for a change – but we’re heading to Braidwood and my pal’s house. And it’s from there that I will bring in the New Year and see out the old. It’s from there that I will raise a toast to you all…

I send you all my very best wishes for a happy, successful, peaceful, healthy 2015…


‘Shit happens’ or ‘life’s a bitch and then you die’.

Shit happens or life’s a bitch…

  • I know too much about gas boilers – more than I want to. So, not wishing to bore you – in summary, I know that gas boilers and this house don’t mix. I know that without them this house is a fridge – though if you’re in the basement walking about on tiles then it’s more freezer than fridge. I know that they are expensive. I know that after 8 months, sans heating and hot water we have both – but that the length of the chimney means the fitter thinks the flue he fitted is all wrong – in fact he’s a bit ‘afraid’ that the flue will need to be removed. And if that happens we’ll be back to having no heating or hot water. Did I say it was currently 2 degrees outside?
  • Evan’s life-line exploitative employer is pulling out of Lanark as from March. His age (17) and short service means he’ll get the equivalent of 10 Mars Bars in redundancy money. OK. I know. He needed to get his finger out. But he also needs the low pay to survive (whilst he waits for his latest UCAS application to make its way through the system). BM Bargains may take the (large) retail unit and may re-employ some staff – but if he thought his current employer paid poverty wages and offered poor working conditions then I think he’s in for another eye-opener. Ahhhh… life… experience… how rich he’s soon to be…
  • The cat died. His nightly gander round the village terrorising neighbouring cats ended in him being found, stiff as a board, on a bed of leaves by the wall at the end of this Row. He was 9 years old, had no voice box and was the ugliest cat I have ever seen. He was – as Evan’s always said – ‘a dog in a cat’s body’. I’ll miss him pushing me off his seat; scratching the furniture to get our attention; biting folk he didn’t like (I envied him that) and otherwise being the coolest, most sorted, squinty-eyed cowboy of a cat I have ever met.
  • Rebel’s bidie-in has come up trumps yet again. Piss poor, dysfunctional, fucked up behaviour – that in anybody else would definitely qualify for a good biting – seems, odds on, destined to continue to entrance my little Rebel. Or she is exaggerating the impact (as she now is at pains to backtrack in explanation) and he’s really a poorly angel doing his best. So. 4 night long benders (drugs and drink and rock-n-roll with a bunch of similarly minded losers); disappearing in the middle of the night; refusing to leave her a key to get into ‘their’ flat; entertaining a steady stream of losers and nutter visitors (particularly on the days she’s working very early or home very late); refusing to even countenance ‘purposeful activity’ (I’m aiming low here and mean anything that would earn cash or get him into some form of education) and asserting that he’s ‘retired now’ (he’s 35) – this is all him ‘doing his best’. Oh – and apparently things are ‘awkward’ between us because he thinks we look down our ‘too clever’ noses at him… (Nope. Not correct. Not right at all. We don’t give a f’ about him – we’re just concerned about Rebel. And in fact, he’s had a far more privileged start to his life than either of us ever had – so if we feel anything at all it’s anger – anger that he squandered it and that his self-destruct-mode never does just impact on him.). Anyway… Xmas is shaping up to be a real guid yin… what with all that awkwardness…
  • The MSc is over halfway done. But I’m getting bored. I’ve enquired about Phd funding and there’s lots of favourable noises being made – but the truth is, I’m in a slough. Upshot is: I’m angry with Me. And I know that nothing good ever came of me not digging myself out of whatever hole I’d dug myself into. So it’s a bit of a bitch that I need to start applying myself and working out solutions to the question that’s proved the bane of my life: what do I really want to be when I grow up…
  • Dad’s cancer seems like it’s under control. But he also sounds (intermittently) like he’s losing his marbles. That could be the sound of ‘I’ve not got enough to keep the old grey matter going’ OR it could be the distant echoing of dementia’s lost memories rattling about the ageing brain… Maw is quietly concerned. We all are.

I know it’s not been all bad these last few weeks and months.

Funny how it just feels as though it has been. I’ll try to think on the good – and maybe write it down. But I always hate how posts like that sound saccharine – totally unbelievable.

Right. Anyway. I’m away to spend all my money in the cyber-sales’ equivalent of Black Friday – wonder if a server that won’t load will cause me (or whoever’s closest to me) as much grief as the folk who got crushed in Friday’s consumer scrums…