Please be kind to yourself …

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Do not regret

That which you’ve done

For things you’ve done

Can never be changed –

The days between birth and death

Are few

And all have been pre arranged.

I wrote this many years ago, when I was still in my twenties, and it was published at the time in a book of contemporary poetry, a copy of which I still have somewhere. I believed it to be true back then as life was pretty much perfect all round and, apart from the loss of my beloved great grandparents, I hadn’t really suffered any major losses of any kind.

Forty years on however, are my sentiments the same in this regard? No, I don’t think they are actually, and realistically neither could they be as I now have plenty of regrets, and naturally some are more painful than others.

Occasionally, once in a blue moon, I will take the time to revisit said occasions in my mind. I try to be as honest as possible, as it is tempting to edit some of these re-runs if they are particularly unpalatable to watch, but I have learned that the more times I visit them the less painful they become.

A kind of desensitising process takes place if you will but that is not the aim of the game … I keep revisiting to ensure that I have learned every possible lesson that can or could be learned so that a kind of inoculation process can take place – a self medicated vaccine to protect me emotionally should a similar eventuality ever arise.

It may all take place at a snails’ pace but it IS moving on nevertheless.

Please be kind to yourself,

Elizabeth x

Is it a poodle or a pony in that box?

Hi everyone, and firstly may I say a huge thankyou to you all for taking the time to read my ramblings and secondly a big welcome to my blog for my new followers. Thankyou!

Every time I discover I have a new follower it reminds me of Christmas Day and that sense of wondrous anticipation and excitement which lingers in the air prior to opening ones’ presents.

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Even as a child this was one of my favourite times, savouring the moments BEFORE opening any of my gifts. I’ve since seen children frantically ripping the festive paper from each one before immediately discarding the contents by practically throwing it over their shoulders in their haste to move on to the next – but for me the most exquisite time, a time to be relished, was in the seconds before I carefully removed the wrapping paper, neatly folded it and then gently set it to one side just in case I ever needed it (unlikely), or perhaps someone else would need it at some point (even more unlikely).

I confess that I was considered an eccentric child even as an infant. My Mother once told me that I used to go to sleep in my cot laying on my back with one arm pointing straight up to the sky and occasionally one leg too. My Mother explained that whenever close family or friends came to visit and asked to see the baby she had to first dash upstairs to make me presentable by lowering my arm and leg, as was often required apparently, so that her visitors didn’t think I was strange or even deformed.

And even now, (this is top secret, strictly entre nous and must go no further) I occasionally love to go to sleep with one arm in the air, stiff as a board – my arm just sort of locks into place and I find it very comforting somehow. I don’t do it with my leg though, that would just be odd!

As I grew I then developed an appetite for eating brown paper bags – don’t ask me why but I thought they were delicious. I really liked the old fashioned ones best, sprinkled with vinegar. And if we ever had a fish and chip supper I would always prefer the salty vinegary paper to the actual fish and chips – in fact that would be the only time I would eat white paper but brown … yummy, that would have been my diet 24/7 if I had been allowed.

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Now, couple all of that with the fact that I was obsessed by just two things as a nine year old child – ballet and Cilla Black. I attended as many ballet classes as I was allowed, wore my ballet shoes around the house at all times, walked on pointy toes pretty much everywhere (even though I wasn’t allowed) and wandered around singing ‘Anyone who had a heart’ and ‘You’re my world’ spontaneously creating the soundtrack to my childhood.

I can remember breaking into a song and dance routine once (Cilla + Ballet) in the middle of a large department store as my Mother stood chatting to a friend she had bumped into – my Mother was so accustomed to this, and so engrossed in her conversation, that she no longer paid attention … until my little sister started shouting “Booooo, rubbish, get off” and throwing broken biscuits at me. It was on this very day, once we got home, that my Mother put paid to my blossoming singing career by telling me that she had given me life and she could just as easily take it away if I didn’t stop. Probably just as well as I could feel myself veering towards Shirley Bassey at that point and she’s quite loud and needs a lot of arm room to practise and perform.

Anyway, back to Christmas Day … as a psychologist I have naturally analysed myself a zillion times hoping to one day fashion the most perfect possible version of me. Is this a vanity project or a lost cause or perhaps something in between the two? I haven’t established that yet. I prefer to think that by analysing myself, and by being scrupulously honest, I am honing my skill set further to sympathetically and successfully analyse my clients.

Which reminds me that many years ago, when I started training as a counsellor, the first homework I was given was thus:

Submit fifty phrases, each containing just three words or less, which are non-judgemental but which reassure your subject that you are listening and understanding what is being said.

I started off well, as I assume most people would, with phrases such as:

“Oh, I see”

“Yes, I understand”

Blah blah blah etc.

But by the time I got to phrase 48 I was at a complete loss for new material.

And so Phrase 48 was “You don’t say” …

Phrase 49 “Get outta here” …

and Phrase 50 was “F**k right off”.

Upon examining my paper, my tutor informed me that she felt my style was more suitable to Los Angeles rather than Lowestoft, and that was the end of that particular course.

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Honestly though, in mitigation, it’s not as easy as one might imagine – just try it and see. It becomes quite difficult before you even hit half way!

Anyway, back to Christmas day again … even at that young age I had already worked out that the presents sitting before me could, in fact, contain anything at all (subject to the parameters of my imagination) right up until the point I actually opened them. As my sister screamed like a banshee and threw mounds of crumpled and torn wrapping paper everywhere I was perfectly happy to just sit there staring at this beautiful magical pile of surprises yet to unfold.

For example, in my mind, that heavy looking pink and silver parcel tied tightly with silver ribbon might contain a real live poodle, or perhaps a pony even. Anything was possible, right up until I opened it. I can, to this day, remember opening it slowly in case a dog or a pony jumped out – I needn’t have worried. It was actually a Petite Junior De Luxe Typewriter (which gives an indication of the size of the box that I thought a pony may have been waiting in) but I was over the moon with it and my love of reading and writing accelerated from that day forward.

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Such a wonderfully thoughtful and inspirational gift for a young girl with a vivid imagination and I am eternally grateful!

Enjoy your day, and thankyou all so much for making mine by following me,

Elizabeth x

My ‘To Do This Decade’ list …

Hello everyone, and I hope this finds you all happy and well.

As I mentioned before, I have been doing these arm toning exercises for several weeks now – nothing too  energetic, and I’m only using 0.5kg weights as I’m just a beginner, but already I can see a definite improvement!

I really like this particular trainer too as she seems super nice and is very easy to understand and follow. And these exercises are really working for me.

Already I have gone from bingo wings to bing wings and pretty soon I expect to bin my wings altogether. Yay!

So, below are some of my main goals on my To Do This Decade list (I don’t like to rush lol):

Stop smoking – check.

After smoking for more than thirty years this was a biggy for me – I had stopped twice before actually (once for a year and once for eight years) but then stupidly started again. This time it’s almost three years since I last had a cigarette and yes, every now and then (particularly after dinner) I still want one but I came to the conclusion (several times over) that it’s ridiculously stupid of me personally to continue smoking into my old age as I have had pneumonia twice before (and smoked throughout it, even though it was a painful struggle – now surely THAT is the definition of an addict. Unbelievably stupid).

Become vegetarian – check.

This is because I truly believe that if abattoirs were made of glass then no empathetic human would or could eat meat. My decision is also based upon the fact that meat does not seem to suit my digestive system as I have grown older – I always feel so completely full, bloated and sluggish afterwards. Not good. But this is and fortunately I love it:

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Lose weight – working on it.

Yes, this is indeed a work in progress. And yes, I have definitely started to lose weight. I wanted to lose a stone and I have dropped a dress size so I think I am probably about half way. I never weigh myself, I just gauge it from the clothes that I wear ie. what size are they and are they too tight. Primitive, I know, but this works for me.

Get in shape – getting there.

So far I’m doing my jowl exercises, my arm exercises, cycling for my legs, planking for my core and now I have discovered a brand new challenge which apparently is supposed to be super effective in many ways. And you don’t need any equipment or lots of space to do it in. What could it be?

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Standing on one leg, that’s what! I think it’s called The One Leg Stance exercise if you want to Google it. And according to a really interesting article in the Daily Mail today …

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2956179/Can-standing-balance-one-leg-help-young-balance-offers-insight-general-health.html

… the ability to balance on one leg is an important test for brain health too, according to Dr Yasuharu Tabara, associate professor of genomic medicine at Kyoto University, Japan.

Continue to educate myself more regarding self help – check. I am currently reading as much as I can to explore many different avenues in my quest for overall self improvement – please check out my ‘Self help books’ section to discover lots of information which I have found helpful.

Anyway, bye for now as I must dash – it’s a beautiful day here in Norfolk and I’m off to play with my dogs in the sunshine.

Have a lovely day, Elizabeth x

 

 

 

Are you a creaser or a melter?

Hello everyone, how’s it hanging?

Now then, I’ve heard that there are basically just two types of faces as you age – creasers and melters.

A creaser apparently develops lines and has facial skin similar to that of Sid James (to varying degrees of course).

A melter, however, has very few lines but their facial skin is sagging. This makes me think that it is easier to improve the appearance of a melter (either by exercise or, more radically, by cosmetic procedures) rather than that of a creaser for obvious reasons.

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With this in mind, I was mooching around on YouTube again and came across this video for those of you who (like me) are melters:

 

 

Nothing ventured, nothing gained and so I will be adding this to my daily exercise regimen for the foreseeable future … and hope to see some positive results. I shall let you know …

Elizabeth x

Shut up you fool, just shut up.

 

“I’ve never felt this scared in my whole life”.

“It’s so brutal”.

“This is a battlefield”.

“We’re at war”.

“I am literally fighting for my life”.

The above are all quotes which you might think accompanied the truly harrowing battlefield scenes in a recent episode of the most excellent television dramatisation of ‘Vanity Fair’. Or from the brilliant new thought provoking film ‘Hostiles’, which I watched at the weekend. Or perhaps from the coverage of some terrible tragedy featured on the news. But no, none of these and nothing like that.

These are, in fact, the sentiments openly expressed by some of the latest batch of mainly completely deluded individuals who are contestants in the long past it’s sell by date (in my opinion) X Factor.

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I find their comments hugely insulting to those who carry out really difficult and unpalatable tasks every day in their chosen professions, for example the military, the police, health sector workers, carers etc.  And I personally think that the whole lot of them need a good dose of actual reality and should be assigned to serve compulsory military service, for at least a year … and then let’s ask those greedy self obsessed fools how brutal they really think singing on a TV show is!

Enjoy your day,

Elizabeth x

 

Happy days with my Mama x

Hello everyone, I’m back!

For the last few days my dearest Mama (my favourite ex mother in law) has been staying with me and we have been here, there and everywhere, cramming in as much quality time together as possible.

As I waited at Norwich Station for her train to arrive from Cambridge there was an announcement over the tannoy which caught both my attention, and my imagination. Word for word it said “This is British Transport Police. If you see something which doesn’t look right please inform a member of staff. See it, say it, sort it”.

Well, where does one begin. I immediate saw a woman clearly waiting for the same train as me and she didn’t look at all right! A hand knitted orange cardigan with grey tracky bottoms? I ask you, if that’s not a crime then it jolly well should be. As should being judgemental but because it’s me doing it then it doesn’t count.

And the chap to my left hasn’t combed his hair for more than a week, I’m pretty sure of that.

There, as requested by British Transport Police, I’ve seen it, and I’ve said it (to you) but I couldn’t sort it as at that precise moment (probably just as well) I spotted Mama heading straight for me.

We’ve since toured the glorious Norfolk countryside at length, visited Barton Broad, watched a wherry sailing, had lunch on the river at Wroxham, fed the ducks and swans, visited a craft fair, enjoyed afternoon tea at Whitlingham Lake, walked the dogs extensively and shopped until we dropped. And I’m still dropping – I absolutely loved every minute but I am exhausted, reminding me how unfit I still am. Please bear in mind too that, at almost eighty years old, Mama is super fit and attends her local gym several times a week and also swims often.

Here is a picture of my darling Mama in the loos at Wroxham Barns – obviously I wouldn’t normally choose such an insalubrious location for a posed photograph but I think you can see why I made an exception in this case as each cubicle door has a gorgeous, and most realistic, image printed on it:

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And as you can see my Mama still looks lovely and dresses beautifully, has a healthy appetite, eats sensibly but well, enjoys just one small sherry at Christmas, and has a zest for life which would put many to shame.

Bless her. And you x

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Welcome to the Karma cafe …

… where revenge is a dish best served cold. You may have to queue a while, in some cases years, but I promise it will be worth the wait.

There is a phenomenon which, as a psychologist, really fascinates me and I’ve heard it referred to in the trade as the Lightning Laugh.

It is when a person suddenly, without any warning or perhaps any kind of build up at all, just explodes with a laugh emitted at full volume, mouth wide open, and it’s completely unexpected rather like the sudden eruption of a volcano.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA ha ha ha.

The laugh itself is too loud and too long, ensuring that no-one can speak or contradict them until they stop.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA ha ha ha.

Indeed, the slightest thing can set them off and they often do this repeatedly. Prime examples can often be found on reality shows yet surprisingly little has been written about it. I personally believe it often manifests itself in someone who appears to be uber confident but in fact has very low self esteem and uses the Lightning Laugh as a control and/or defence mechanism, to cause a distraction if you like.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA ha ha ha.

Add to this the fact that they are open mouthed and baring their teeth like an agitated primate (which denotes hostility and readiness to fight) and their insecurity, hence their inappropriate behaviour, becomes more obvious.

And just today, I accidentally did a Lightning Laugh of my own but for a totally different reason …

Many moons ago, I lived with someone for about four years but he really wasn’t The One for me and I decided to leave. When I returned just a few days later to fetch my belongings they had all gone – he then led me into the garden and showed me the remains of a big bonfire where he had burnt the lot!

Everything was gone, including some of my treasured childhood toys, various gifts from my parents which included a large woodcarving and a beautiful Persian rug – and most heartbreaking of all some absolutely exquisite original watercolour paintings and a very large leather bound family bible which I had inherited from my grandmother. Inside the bible was our family tree, written by hand of course and ornately decorated with gold leaf, detailing generations of births and deaths. These were all enormously precious items to me, of great sentimental value, and they could never ever be replaced.

It was an act of pure wickedness on the part of my ex and no amount of pleading and grovelling by him in the aftermath could ever allow me to forgive him. Never. And I never found closure either, feeling an enormous amount of guilt for losing such family treasures which had been gifted and entrusted to me.

But today Karma rewarded my patience and finally I have closure.

Just by chance, on the Facebook page of a mutual friend who was attending a wedding, I saw a photograph of this very same bible burner marrying his much too young Thai bride, although if he hadn’t been tagged by name I would never have recognised him. Once tall, dark and handsome he is now just tall. And bloated. And a rather nasty shade of pink, verging on purple. Long gone are the smouldering good looks which attracted me to him all those years ago and he now looks like a big fat over ripe plum, especially next to his petite new bride.

There were lots of congratulatory comments, many of which were in Thai, including one from the bride herself, replying to a comment from her sister. Curiosity then got the better of me.

It read ” S̄ìng thī̀ reā thả pheụ̄̀x ngein – chatā krrm k̄hxng c̄hạn khụ̄x kār bæ̀ngpạn teīyng k̄hxng h̄mū thī̀ mī kār dūlæ xeācıs̄ı̀ nī̂ which roughly translated means:

“What we have to do for money – my fate is to share a bed with this over sexed pig”.

I read this with such glee that I spontaneously let out my very own Lightning Laugh!

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA ha ha ha.

Because I suspect she will probably take a great deal from him, just as he did from me.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA ha ha ha.

The big fat dumb plum.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA ha ha HA!

Now fingers crossed that Karma doesn’t come after me for laughing,

Elizabeth x

 

 

 

 

What age are you in your head?

Hello and welcome …

Which is better – back in the day, or now? Or are they just the same, but different? I wonder …

This week I celebrated my 64th birthday and I just can’t buggery bollocky believe that I am now 64, possibly because in my head I still think I am approximately 28. This partly came about some time ago after I was asked the question “God forbid, but if you were woken from a coma with absolutely no memory, and no mirror, and covered in a blanket from the neck down, how old would you think you are?”

It didn’t take me long to estimate that I was about twenty eight years old (even though I was actually in my fifties at that time).

I wonder if it was because I consider my twenty eighth year here on Earth as my absolute favourite. I still had my parents, I looked young (because I was), I was healthy, I loved my then husband (well, perhaps loved is a bit strong, but I quite liked him), I lived in a nice home in a lovely part of the country, holidayed in exotic locations, and my pride and joy at that time (apart from my dog and my cat, obviously) was a metallic baby powder blue super fast targa top sports car with a most luxurious suede interior (all of which I was hopelessly in love with).

Fast forward thirty six years to today (not so far in the greater universal scheme of things) and it’s a very different picture … my darling parents have both sadly departed, I no longer look in my twenties (no, honestly), I suffer from various aches and pains etc (but they are at a level that’s tolerable), I’m divorced (several times over but always my choice), I still have a nice home thankfully but I no longer go on holidays abroad (because I don’t want to leave my dogs), and I still drive a sporty little car (but a way more sensible version).

So, having pondered all of the above I would surmise that by far and away the one thing about being this age which has affected me the most is the loss of my beloved parents and my various much loved pets along the way.

Any other disappointments are far outweighed by the prevailing sense of calm which seems to envelop me these days. In fact, it’s slowly beginning to dawn on me that I may have finally become a grown up. Probably just as well, given that most members of my family have lived well into their nineties which means I could be here for another thirty years or more.

In fact, my best friend Lucy and I made a pact several years ago that we would spend our last days living together and caring for one another – although Lucy quickly pointed out that she expected the level of care I would receive to be far superior to the level of care she would receive.

And now I wonder what will life be like in yet another thirty six years … I hope I get to have a jet pack. And one of those scooters that hovers about three feet off the ground, I’d love to travel across the English Channel on one of those to have afternoon tea in France. And a really handsome sex robot (just as arm candy, rather like an ultra modern futuristic walking aid). Perhaps I haven’t grown up after all …

 

 

It’s hard work being a Mother!

Ahoy there! Now, me hearties, here is an interesting fact for you, which I discovered purely by chance this very morn. Yesterday was actually “International Talk Like a Pirate Day”! I Captain Kidd you not – how amazing is that? If only I had known – now I have to wait a whole year until the next one.

Which reminds me … I was attending a dinner party a few years ago, oddly enough dressed as Long John Silver (not really, just checking to make sure you are paying attention) when the topic of conversation turned to children – who had what, how many, ages etc.

I was just about to say actually I don’t have any children but, before I could, the lady seated opposite me piped up “Oh, I think there’s something very strange about a woman who doesn’t have children – there must be something wrong with her surely”.

She then immediately turned to me and asked “How many children do you have Elizabeth?” and I heard someone answer “Two” and then realised it was in fact me that had said that. Phew, that was close, I thought I had swerved what could have been an awkward moment rather nicely.

I really should have paid more attention to the potential ramifications of my reply though because then came a barrage of questions, thus:

“What are their names?”

“Hugo and Pandora” I replied, having quickly plucked from thin air the names of my two beloved cats from years ago. Lucky they weren’t called Puss and Ginger!

“How old are they?” Blah blah blah …

By the end of the evening I was the unintentional mother of two children, my aforementioned incredibly talented son Hugo and my beautiful daughter Pandora, affectionately known as Pandy. Perhaps a little over the top, I hear you say? No, that was just the beginning.

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Hugo is a very successful architect, living with his partner (Antonio) in the most scrumptious loft apartment in Manhattan. As a trendy gay man about town I don’t expect he will be giving me grandchildren anytime soon. Thank goodness! No way do I want some sticky toddlers anywhere near my dogs, my Afghan war rug or my cashmere throws thankyou.

Ooh, I started to get a bit anxious then at the thought of it, completely forgetting for a moment that that particular nightmare scenario exists only in my mind. Phew, what a relief!

Back to Pandora … Pandy is a very successful (naturellement) interior designer, living with her husband Sebastian in Primrose Hill on the northern side of Regent’s Park in London.  Pandy is very similar to me in many ways and she and her husband (whom I simply adore) have decided they are not particularly fussed about having children for they too have some beautiful soft furnishings. That, and they have a shared love of long haul travel destinations. They have the most gorgeous home, as one would expect, but unfortunately have very loud neighbours to the left of them – some kind of musician, apparently quite famous, playing an electric guitar and wailing at all hours. I can’t recall his name off hand but I imagine he sounds rather like this:

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So, with my maternal instinct on full alert, I advised darling Pandy to pop next door and ever so politely ask if they would be kind enough to keep the noise down after 10pm in the evening, which she did. But she then informed me a greasy wild haired beatnik type of fellow had greeted her with some hostility, shouting “I’m not going to be told what to do by a woman with a face like a pickled onion”!

Outrageous!! The child is beyond beautiful – she looks just like me for heavens sake!

Anyway, must dash for now dahlings as I’m expecting a long distance call from Hugo … I’ll send him your best wishes. And then I really must plank.

Elizabeth x