The first month…


Today is 4 weeks since we arrived here in Morecambe. We arrived in sunshine under blue skies, and it is the same today. There has been a bit of cold and wet in between, but generally our lives are full of sunshine. My friend Linda said that reading my Facebook statuses is a bit like one long episode of Escape to the Country, and I have to admit, it feels a bit that way too!

We love the town, the surrounding countryside, our house and especially the Bay. Morecambe Bay is truly stunning. It never looks the same twice, and Nigel says he will never tire of looking at it. Some days you can barely see the other side, and other days it looks so close you could swim over – not advised because beautiful though it is, the bay can be treacherous whether the tide is in or out!

People in the town are so friendly. My butcher’s name is Chris and he assures me that he will take good care of me! Everybody is the same. Nigel is making friends of dog owners everywhere he walks with the boys, and the lady in Costa greets us like old friends!

Everyday I wake up and think how lucky I am. To have a dream and be able to realise it…well it’s amazing. All those years of hard work and stress have given us this opportunity and we are grateful every day.

Are you bored yet? I am trying hard not to be smug!

To be honest there are drawbacks. I miss Zoe so badly it hurts. I miss seeing my Mum and I miss my friends. It will take time for us to develop real friendships here. It is very strange going out shopping and knowing that we will not just “bump into” someone we know. But we will have a serviceable guest bedroom soon and I hope that many friends will come and visit over the coming months.

Of course we do have friends here in the North West and we had lovely visits last week. And thankfully, despite spending a great deal of time with each other, Nigel and I are not bored of each other’s company just yet.

This week I have started to ease myself back into the world of work. I am currently in the midst of my annual Children In Need fundraising with our Car Fest Buddies page badges, which as always has been a joy and a complete pain! This year I had many orders up front due to the move, and it took me two days of stuffing envelopes to get them out. New orders are coming in each day and I am just keeping on top of them. Just over a week to Car Fest North, looking forward to it and praying for good weather!

I have started learning about my new doTerra essential oils business, I have lots of studying to do for my coaching course in September and I have started emptying the boxes from my office in readiness for my new office being equipped and carpeted. It has the best view in the house – I can actually see the bay! And I will be kept company, for a little while, by the swifts nesting on the roof.

I have to admit that when I think about starting up my businesses again there is an edge of anxiety surrounding me. I have to put myself out there again and many old insecurities re-surface. To a certain point since we got here, I have been invisible. No-one knows or cares about the fat, frumpy woman with greying and thinning hair. To a point, that has been very liberating. I am wearing what is comfortable, not worrying about make-up, letting my hair do what it wants. But actually I have kind of lost a bit of Penny with that invisibility.

Physically I have been quite poorly too. As per usual for me, complete fatigue sets in after an infection, and my recent cold has left me exhausted and suffering with some joint pain. I also have an ankle injury which I am struggling with, so not walking as much as I had hoped just yet. Interestingly my blood sugar is much improved since moving here, particularly my morning readings. Still needs to come down a bit, but we are planning to get back to our low-carb meals over the next week.

We have taken the leap and joined an amazing gym with a fabulous swimming pool. But my blood pressure was too high at the induction for me to start properly exercising without a note from my doctor. Should say here that the minute someone wants to take my blood pressure my anxiety levels soar! White coat syndrome! We are registered with a local doctor but it takes 2-3 weeks to get transferred over. So glad we are in the digital age! We plan to go and swim a couple of times a week in the meantime.

I came up here quite determined to address my health issues. And there is no doubt that we are both feeling calmer, happier and sleeping so much better. Still feels like we are on holiday to be honest! I was so unhappy with my health care in Bishops Stortford, I am really hoping for better support up here. My plan is to go in and say “this is what I want to do, can you help me?”. I know that the medication I am currently prescribed is not right. I know that I need to do more than “give up jam”. It seems that they are quite switched on up here, from everything I have seen so far. Fingers crossed.

I find it completely mind-blowing that even when I know that I am doing things that actually harm my health,  I cannot get into the mindset of still doing them. That I struggle so hard to do what I know I need to do. My relationship with food is so complicated, I don’t really know where to begin to finally sort it out.

I think the answer might well be to write about it. So at some point in the next couple of months I will also be writing a weekly food blog called A Year in my Kitchen. Hopefully it will document not just what I am cooking and eating, but also the transformation of the kitchen in this house. I need to get back to my love of cooking and eating healthy and delicious food, every day! And I need to get rid of my ceramic hob. Seriously. I hate it!

Along with the eating I need to take a bit better care of me. I have found a great nail technician (although I miss my lovely Jo), so my trademark red nails are much in evidence. It’s time for me to get my hair coloured again and we are going to get a dressing table for our bedroom so I can get properly back into taking care of my skin before I really start to look every one of my almost 60 years! I feel as though I need to change how I dress too for some reason – think I need to be a bit more outrageous, more bohemian. But that’s a whole new blog.

Watch this space! I am a still a work in progress!

The dance…

Today we have been here in Morecambe for two weeks. Already it is so familiar, but also so strange. I am struggling to get a grip on the house, all we seem to be doing is shifting boxes from one room to another. The house is huge but there is NO storage. As I said in my last blog, we are waiting for the house to reveal itself before we invest in any major items of furniture. But we both seem to have finally shrugged off the nasty virus we have been enduring. So we have a bit more energy. And we now have internet! Such a relief.

Today Sky will be along to install Sky TV. A bit of a novelty for us as we have been with Virgin Cable for years. Although Virgin are in Morecambe, they have not reached our road yet!

We watch very little terrestrial television. What we do watch we tend to watch on catch up. So without access to satellite or cable since we moved in, we have been catching up with a box set that we bought a few years ago but never got around to watching. Grey’s Anatomy. I love this program. Each character is beautifully flawed, and they all stumble through their lives with varying degrees of angst and trauma, while saving other people’s lives with their amazing surgical skills.

The lovely cast of Grey’s Anatomy – we are only at Series 3! 10 more to go

Well I am certainly flawed, like many of us, whether how beautiful my flaws are is up to you to decide. And I have stumbled through my life with degrees of angst and trauma. My surgical skills are severely lacking though. I recommend that you do not let me near you with a scalpel!

For most of my life I have lurched from one dramatic moment to the next. My inner drama queen, combined with my astrological sign of Leo means that if you shove me in front of a spotlight I am more than happy to dance and sing. I can do diva with the best of them. That’s not to say that some of the trauma in my past life was not genuine, like most people I have been through some very tough times.

I think what I am trying to say is that there are times in your life when angst becomes the norm. You become so used to the highs and the lows that it almost becomes an addiction. I have known people in my life who are so addicted to it that when their lives even out they find ways to create more drama, often wrecking their lives and the lives of the people around them.

The final years of my first marriage, and three years between that ending and meeting Nigel were certainly trauma filled. Debt, ill health, worry and stress filled my days and nights. It was how I lived. It was familiar, the norm for me at that time. To a point, I thrived on it. But then I remember very clearly a Friday night, about six months after I met Nige, just before he moved in, when it dawned on me that everything had become a little easier. He brought a calmness and order into my life that had been missing for quite some time.

On this particular night, I was alone, cooking for a party the following day. I was making samosas. It’s the details that count, right? I was listening to music and pondering life and things in general and I was listening to a Garth Brooks song called The Dance. As so often happens the song cut through my ponderings and went right to my heart. And in that moment, I realised that it was time to move forward. To put a lot of the angst, and some people that were adding to the angst, behind me. I remember sobbing, and my heart aching for some things that might have been, but knowing it was time to move forward. I am pretty sure I wrote a Facebook status too. Facebook is a great medium for a drama queen!

Soon after, Nigel moved in and we began our lives together in a house that had seen more than its fair share of drama.

Now Nigel and I have had moments of drama and angst in our lives, but he is a rock, and he grounds me, so trauma rarely lasts very long. Nowadays when I feel traumatised I usually write a blog and share it with you dear readers!

Since arriving here in Morecambe, and moving into this lovely house I feel as though I have come home, and my life finally feels calm and ordered. Apart from the boxes of course. But I still have moments of serious anxiety. Its as though I am prodding a sore tooth with my tongue, looking for the pain. Craving some angst. I have had a couple of sleepless nights. Which seems ridiculous. But of course, it’s what I know, and am familiar with. The remnants of my addiction are lingering below the surface.

People here are very down to earth. They seem to take everyone at face value. Is that a trait of people who live in the north? We have been made to feel welcome by everyone we have met. There has been no real trauma or drama since we got here. It is time for me to relax, and if I am worried, then I just need to walk 700 yards to the sea.

But then what will I write about? Answers on a postcard…please!

The Garth Brooks lyric that brought that Friday night revelation all those years ago?

“Our lives are better left to chance

I could have missed the pain
But I’d have had to miss the dance”

And that’s the point. Pain, angst and drama are part of what makes us into the people we become. Part of the growing process. But when you grow and find peace and harmony it is so precious. Time to stop looking for drama and embrace everything life has to offer. Including memories good and bad. I wish you all a good dance.