Thank you, considerate man-shaped person!

I was walking the hound through the park this evening – wide path, but very dark (no lights here), and woods on both sides, nobody in sight. I wasn’t carrying a torch, because I like night, and there was enough ambient city-light for me to see where I was going. Suddenly a man-shape looms out of the darkness ahead of me, and a guy in running gear walks towards me, and as he passes me says “I’m going to be charging back up here in a minute. I just wanted to tell you so you didn’t think I was chasing you.”

My first response was ‘Oh, no worries’, but then it clicked just what he’d said so I turned and called ‘Thank you!’.  Seriously, thank you, man-shaped person, for considering my need to feel safe and unthreatened. For appreciating that what you are doing (sprinting along an unlit path through the woods), whysoever you are doing it, could, through no fault of your own, cause a lone female (admittedly with a large dog) to feel startled and unsafe. More of this consideration, please, men! And less of the ‘Well OBVIOUSLY I’m not a rapist/mugger so I should just be able to go running at night without explaining myself’ defensiveness.

About thirty seconds later I did hear pounding footsteps behind me, and he did charge past me at full sprint. And if he hadn’t warned me, it would certainly have alarmed me. But it was fine, and I shared a joke with him as he walked back past me to do it all over again. So again, thank you for making sure my evening walk was worry free.

You scared the shit out of the dog though ;)


Feeding the myth. Well, the tellers of the myths, anyway.

Once upon a time, I cooked a big old Homity Pie (a homity is a special beast, easily caught, and tasting of garlic, potatoes and parsley – if you put it in a pie with some cheese, it’s truly delicious). And as that pie was cooling on the stove top, a storyteller came to see me. And she saw the pie, and she smelled the pie (but she did not taste the pie, for she was on a no-pie diet), and she said “Hot damn girl, that’s good! Will you do the catering for my next course?” Or words to that effect.

Homity Pie

Homity Pie and salads for lunch

So I did, and have done most years since. I love cooking, and feeding people, and I made sure these storytellers under my care were well looked after. Vegetarian, vegan, dairy free, gluten free, sugar free, kosher – bring me your diets and I will feed you.  Since learning (on the fly) to cater for other people, I have learned a lot – about cooking (mashed kidney beans will thicken a stew without the need for flour), about food (most food labelled ‘Gluten free’ still has maize starch in, and this includes stock cubes), about myself (I either need to strengthen my arms or remember to take an electric whisk next year). I realised what I’ve always suspected, but never felt confident enough to say: I am a fucking good cook.

mushroom pie

I will even cook things I detest – like mushrooms. I was told this mushroom pie was pretty fine

I take hospitality very seriously. My motto, if I really ever have one, is ‘to heal with food and love’. I don’t subscribe to how ‘emotional eating’ is such an evil – the right food can heal most hearts. I make all my food with love, even a Tuesday night cheese-toasties dinner, and every meal is a gift to those it feeds. How do you show love with food? Presentation. Which would make you feel more special, a bowl of soup, or a bowl of soup with a swirl of cream and a pinch of fresh herbs on top? It takes seconds, but it shows you care.  Even if you can’t cook, just presenting your burnt offering nicely makes all the difference to the recipient.

Late night snacks

Late night snacks, come and get some. Yes, that includes a fresh chocolate cake. Because I like to spoil people.

Through popular demand, there will be a cookbook from all this. If you really want to know about that chocolate cake though, it’s already here :)


The Dark Mountaineers

I find I have been included in a most wondrous collective, and so felt it my duty to share it with you.  Take a peek at this collection of the fascinating. I hope you meet some new friends, or at least follow a new stranger down their winding path.


It is fun to have fun, but you have to know how

Things have been getting a little serious, so here’s something I made earlier. These trainers were abandoned in the park for about a week – they were moved onto a wall, and a bench, by somebody, presumably to aid their original owner in spotting and reclaiming them. No sneaker-thieves round here, no sir. But nobody did, so one morning I did this with them:

2014-04-15 06.52.52

They were gone the next day. 

 

 


Ringing the changes

See what I did there? That was a pune, or play on words, because this post has nothing to do with campanology at all! Très drole. But it does have to do with change, and it does have to do with rings. My partner and I got unmarried last weekend.

unwedding03

When my partner and I started admitting to and exploring our different sexualities a few months ago, so much of who we thought we had been fell away. Our lives changed, we changed.  I’ll spare you the details, but that change wasn’t, isn’t, always easy. I started a journal, and most of the pages are full of positive, excited things, but there are other pages smudged with tears that just have fuckfuckfuckIcan’tdothis written all over them. But I’ve sat with my feelings of hurt, of despair, of insecurity, and I’ve come out the other side a better, stronger person, and I know that I CAN do this. And that whatever “this” is, it’s totally worth the struggle. I had some good chats with my friend Allegra about this, who then wrote a great blog post about “The transformative nature of discomfort”. Well worth a gander.

Aside to this, I had been unhappy for a long while with my boring gold wedding band. I never wear gold, and I only wear pretty. It seemed to me to be less like jewellery and more like a badge, or a stripe of office – I’m married to someone, I’m taken, I’m a respectable traditionalist and allowed to have children. I’m not saying this is what I think when I see someone else wearing one – I love all you marrieds out there, I want to give you a squishy hug and bake you a cake full of rainbows and smiles; I’m just saying this is how I felt I had been labelled.

Anyway, I digress.
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The girl, the dog, and the moon

I can’t believe I haven’t written about this before. I have a daughter. A wonderful, clever, funny, beautiful daughter. When she was two she was bitten by a dog (our dog, and probably mostly our fault, but I still don’t want to talk about it, thanks.). She has been left with permanent scars on her face, but no worse, and thanks to some impromptu puppy therapy, no scars on her heart either. In fact, since she was about four she has been begging us to get her a dog. Begging! As parents, let me tell you that the scars left on our hearts, our conscience, our confidence, were huge. So we got her stuffed toy dogs, and hoped she’d grow out of it. Yeah right. When she was eight she was going to the library and getting out as many books about dogs, and how to look after your dog, as she could carry. When she was ten she decided she wanted to be a vet, and work for a dog rescue charity. When she was eleven, she started dragging me out to a local animal shelter so we could walk their dogs. And when she was twelve, we gave in. We got that girl a dog.
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For Better Or Wurst

Life has been a bit of a drama recently, and I’ve not really talked to many people about it, so I thought I would write a few things down for your delectation and delight.  I suspect you may read this post with the same horrified fascination with which the Romans used to watch the latest Lions vs. Christians Smackdown, but maybe you’ll enjoy it and get some good thought-food out of it.

I’ll give you some bullet points as a primer, then some more detail.  Are you ready? You don’t have to take notes, it’s OK.

  • Came out as queer
  • Partner retaliated by also coming out as queer (but not as queer as me, ha. I win)
  • Decide to open our marriage to waifs and strays
  • Spend so much time talking and loving and talking we end up with serious sleep deprivation
  • Invoices go unpaid so we have to raid savings to cover bills
  • Have to cancel planned festival holiday because we now have no money
  • Black depression and bitter disappointment in one party, and not just from the holiday cancellation
  • Other party cancels fun plans to look after aforementioned party
  • Shower breaks, but too soon after other major plumbing work to comfortably ask landlord to fix it
  • Shit just goes wrong, OK?
  • Shit goes right, depression banished, invoices start getting paid
  • One party has massive meltdown as relief sets in
  • Open relationship going even better than expected
Mellorware teapot

You can take a tea break now, if you like.

So, early in April, I came to the scary realisation that I am bisexual.  I’m not a teenager, just starting to explore my emotions, and worrying what my parents might think, I am a grown woman, emotionally mature (quiet, you), married for nearly 15 years, thinking Why Now? and WTF? and worrying what my children might think.

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