All was quiet

Well all the fuss is over, the stress, the fretting over what to buy, the slaving over the stove, the cleaning up – after my hoardes of children have opened their pressies and discarded all the packaging in their wake. Months of self inflicted worry added to the stress of scrimping and saving to ensure my kids got something they wanted for christmas. It is all over now and it is with mixed emotions that I say I am glad it is finished for another year. I am pleased that the stressful part is over but there is a wee part of me that will miss the expectation of all those wee faces looking forward to see what Santa had left for them. My grandkids being here added an unexpected flash of joy to my day. My three youngest kids all seemed to be very pleased with their presents and it is one of the first christmases when I felt like I had done a good job. My youngest daughter was also a huge help in preparation for the day so I have her to be thankful for.

I have spent the last few minutes sending private messages to one or two people who I have really missed over christmas. I need to try and make more of an effort to keep in touch with everyone as I dont want to lose contact with my family memebers again. The recent events in the news make it even more important that I continue to talk or write to my brothers, sisters and extended family and friends more. In the wee small hours like now I tend to reflect on those folk that are missing from my life at the moment. I am talking specifically about my mum and dad and also few close family members that died during the last year. It has been an emotional roller-coaster in a number of ways. Christmas more than any other time makes me nostalgic and what better time to reconnect and touch lives that have been gravitating away from me now that mum and dad are not here to keep us all together. I will get keep in touch with everyone if it kills me.

I am writing again and once again I am feeling like myself. I am living in a creative space in my head at the moment and I just need to harness all that energy and make it amount to something. My sister and I have been chatting about projects and plans and it has been fantastic having someone to discuss matters of imagination and inspiration. My kids all recieved gifts that have some form of creative output for them. It means a lot ot me that my kids get a chance to express themselves in whatever way they want to. My youngest daughter has taken up knitting and other crafts so i am extremely interested to see what path she takes. She also wanted to paint me a picture for my living room wall and I cannot wait for her to produce a masterpiece to brighten every time I walk into that room.

I have spent a few days going over old photos of my kids and looking back at how I have progressed over the years. Although sometimes I feel like in money terms we have went backwards and we do not seem to have progressed in the lifestyle we have – I also can see how we have all developed as people. My kids are a source of immense joy in my life and I can only hope that they make their way in life in a way that fulfills them. For myself, I can see that i am still chasing challenges and setting myself goals and reaching for the moon and I cannot berate myself for that. I am still hopeful. I do not know where that hope comes from but I seem to have it in spades. Maybe one day my endeavours will catch up with that hope and I will change all our lives for the better.

Good Tidings

It has been a slow start to the week. Had to say goodbye to one of my favourite aunties this week. It is always lovely to be in the company of my extended family but it was such sad circumstances that brought us together. I will miss my Auntie very much. I have enjoyed reconnecting with cousins and even sisters that I dont get to see very often.

I have been having a discussion with my sons school in an effort to get them to give him some academic support and to try and encourage him to stay on at school. They have managed to change his mind and have been helping to keep him interested. I have been struggling financially since my daughter and her kids have moved in with us even though things are calming down now – my bills doubled and it took me a while to get back into the swing of things. The school did a wonderful thing for my son. They sent him shopping with a couple of staff members and bought him a suit, shirt, tie and shoes and bought him a ticket to the school ball. I have never seen my son as excited as he was today. He danced his way out the front door and it was fantastic to see him getting such a boost. I had been beating myself up that I let him down but the school helped to put a smile on his face and for that I will be forever thankful.

I have been super-emotional this week for many reasons (mostly the funeral and my son) and I have just felt like my feelings were on my sleeve and I was in doubt as to whether I could hold it together. I had a couple of nights to myself, writing in my journal and sorting out my thoughts and it has helped immensely. I had another bit of good news in that our christmas might not be such a washout. I am looking forward to having time off with my kids and time off work. I have a challenge to find some games and activities to keep them all busy. I am looking forward to my home cooked turkey dinner and having a laugh with everyone. It has been a few years since I felt this positive going into a christmas period. I already have a few good things happening in the pipeline for next year so hopefully it will be a better year for me and mine. Starting to get renewed faith in a lot of things at the moment.

Tales from the couch – a new beginning

Well people things have certainly been challenging over the last few weeks. The couch tales lasted almost six weeks with me having to camp out in my living room. But hooray, the bed situation has been rectified for the moment. I am back in the world of the sleeping. I spent the first two nights back in my bed just rolling from one side to the other in a frenzy of reacquaintance. I revelled in the soft, plump pillows, the mattress shaped by my form that had not forgotten me. It was a beautiful thing to behold. I have been having small panics when I awaken that if I leave the comfort and safetly of my own bed that things will transpire against me and I will have to relinquish my haven again but as of yet that has not happened. I am making the most of this relationship between my bed and me. It is the new beginning of a wonderful love story.

In other ways my life is just plodding along as it usually does. The house is still overcrowded but everyone is coping with it the best way they can. I had been desperately worried about christmas but the truth is things had been so hectic that christmas was not even worth wasting any thoughts over. I have now started christmas shopping but I am resigned to living within my means and not getting carried away with myself. It is unfortunate or fortunate (pick your own appropriate word here) that I cannot outstep the boundaries of my budget, I have no credit to abuse, no hidden income that can be squandered over the festive period. It even crossed my mind that maybe I should make some gifts this year to spare myself the stress and presssure inflicted on the poor from every direction. I know I am not the most creative person artistically so this might not be the best idea I have ever had.

On the writing front – the stress of having my house so crowded had put a stop to all my writing plans but now that I am back in my room again I have been able to get the old cogs working again. I have nothing finished or ready to sendout into the world but at least I am writing again. I know that writing is the one thing in my life that gives me pure joy (apart from my kids) but it is also the one thing that falls by the wayside when things get hard. I need to prioritise my writing better because it keeps me sane. It is my window to make sense of the world. Back to work tomorrow and I am not really looking forward to it. Computers are not working too great so my day will be spent looking for things to pass the time.

With christmas only a couple of weeks away most people look forward to the social side of the festivities but being a single mother my plans are non-existent. I have no parties to go to, no nights out planned with workmates, no nativities, no carol concerts – not a single event. I dont even feel like this is a bad thing because if I were to be invited to anything then it would cause the stress involved with finding and buying an outfit, which in turn would cause me not to enjoy the night out as I dont do dressing up and I dont feel like me in party clothes.

I am the most unwomanly woman I know. I dont enjoy the pursuit of glamour, I do not want to put on a mask of make up and put on a fake persona to the world. I just like being me. I remember getting a spray tan (for a family wedding), my one and only spray tan ever and all the time I was being sprayed with the orange liquid I was thinking why on earth am I doing this? On the day itself my skin looked no different to the pale and interesting self that I usually am. I felt ridiculous getting it and even more silly when it made no difference to my skin colour. I felt awkward on the day since I was wearing a dress which just made me feel nothing like myself. It ruined the day for me as I could not relax. I have no understanding of the reasons why women and occasionally men go through this rigmarole to give themselves an unnatural orange hue.

I am going to stop writing now as I want to read a little before I retire to my bed. I am slowly getting back to the old me. I am starting to rebuild my life again so wish me luck. I am going to try planning some new years resolutions – have something to focus on for the new year. Watch this space.


Tales from the couch – rollercoaster

To be able to blog in the way I want to I like to have calm and a little peaceful head space which has been sadly lacking in my world over the last few days. To recap on whats been happening up until now – I have been relegated to the couch in my living room since my daughter and her kids came to stay with me. It was much easier for me to give up my room for the time being than to make my little kids have to move beds and share. I have become accustomed to sleeping on the couch over the last four or five weeks but I dont know how I will feel if it runs into months and months because I cant see our predicament getting better in the near future.

On saturday night I managed to have a rare night out to visit my sister where I probably drank far too much but I experienced laughter yoga for the first time which helped alleviate my stress levels and made me guffaw with laughter. My face hurt from laughing so much but it lightened my heart a little bit. I actually was asked by a few people how things were going with my daughter and how I was doing and it has been the first time in months that anyone has asked me how I was or that I thought anyone even cared. My mental state was a bit fragile so in between bouts of laughing I got upset, the laughter-crying-morelaughter-and dancing helped me to exorcise all sorts of demons that I have been carryiing around with me. Sunday morning found me feeling very rough but like a weight had been lifted. I tried to monoplise on this feeling and disappeared with my dog to the local hills and the bright sunny day added to the freezing cold wind mixed with the lovely view and smattering of mist to hide the ugliness of my home town made me feel euphoric, healthy and happy. The last few days had been miserable and dreary on the weather front and up in the hills it seemed a world removed from my normal daily routine. It was magical.

I have been settling back into my work routine and have been feeling tired but once back into the swing of things I hope to regain some semblance of my life for myself. I am very aware of the impending festive period and at the moment it looks like we will not be having much of a christmas just because money is really scarce. It is taking all my funds to clothe, feed and keep a roof over our heads. If I do manage to buy anything for my kids it will be because I did not pay my rent or my electricity bill for the next month. I think it is insanity for me to jeopardise our house in this way but the thought of my kids waking up to nothing on christmas day fills me with dread. This thought seems to be permanently in my head at the moment but I am definitely not the only single parent in this situation at this time of year. Christmas is NOT a happy time for me ever.

Today is a day where I turn things around. My head is in a much better place since my mini breakdown on Saturday. I have asked my boss two times to refer me to the work related counselling service but as usual she has failed to deliver anything to make me feel supported at work. I will hopefully find the number myself and arrange something because if I cant support myself then how am I going to be able to support anyone else. I have decided to expand my knowledge of the world so I am starting with a fact finding mission. I have decided that the first country I want to learn about is Russia so the research starts now. I want to keep my brain ticking over because when i get bored then the stress levels get magnified. I am trying to find more time for walking. I am talking to my daughter more so things seem less stressed between us.

Tomorrow is parents might at my kids school and then I have to work late so I am still trying to work out what i should do with my day to keep busy. I dont want to laze my day away. I want every day to be productive, creative, inspirational and educational. If I keep busy then I dont dwell on how stressful things can be. Working on moving forwards. I just need to keep my head in the game.

More tales from the couch.

Today has been a miserable drisly day from hell. The sun never came out at all and everything was grey, damp and uninteresting. I sent my kids off to school then snuggled back on the couch to try and hold onto the sleep that I have been craving for the last month. Even though I like to fill my day with something, I just couldnt muster up the energy to care. The curtains in the living room were wide open but for the duration of the day it seemed as if night was just seconds away.

One productive thing that happened is that charity appeared in the most unexpected way and I am seriously hoping that sleeping on the couch will only be necessary for another couple of days. I have grown to love this piece of furniture though. I have learned some respect for the comfort it has offered me lately and also a sense of renewal. My life is always going to be full of ups and downs but sleeping on the couch for a month showed me that I can handle anything. For about the first week I felt emotional about everything. I was pining for the comfort of my own bed, the peace that I had fostered in my own room, the inspiration for my writing that I had plastered all over my bedroom walls.

The second week brought a resignation that I was going to be stuck with the couch for a long time and should really learn to get used to it. I slept better, I had some vivid dreams and everything just felt better. With all the upheaval in the house though I was spending all my time cleaning up after my messy kids, trying to save my dog from all these kids who thought it was okay to chase him, prod him, pull his tail or poke him in the eye. I never had any time to just sit and think.

This week has been a little epiphany of sorts. I have started looking up again. I have been appreciating what I do have in my life. I have been ready to start working to get us out of this hole. I dont yet know how I am going to do it but I have the get up and go now. I have a house full of people who are all looking at me to be the person to solve all their problems and I feel the weight of that everyday. I am mostly looking forward to getting back into my room so that I can dig through all my research and get working again. I have been listening to music again and in my room is the centre of my universe, I have all my music, my books, my own writing. I am desperate to get back into it.

Lets see what tomorrow brings.

Tales from the couch – Part 2

Well this is post number two from the couch and today has been eventful. My Granddaughter woke up, ran down stairs, went to the loo and threw up the contents of her stomach. When her uncle (my youngest son) got up he pretended to be ill too because he wanted a day off school. Whenever I went out of the room I could hear him running around and shouting at the top of his voice so I took this to mean he was really okay so I managed to get him off to school. My day was fragmented in that I was out and about, walking the dog, having lunch with my second oldest daughter, got some food shopping then trundled off to my work where I got to chat with one of my best friends in the whole world. When I got home my eldest daughter had fed my kids and hers and cleaned up the dishes. What a treat.

Apart from a few negative thoughts (takes a long time to get rid of these altogether) I have felt the cold wind of positivity slowly returning to me. I spent time out in the sunlight letting the daylight wash over me. A gentle breeze of clear-headed thought returned to me like a welcome visitor of old. Fresh Autumnal air always breathes life back into me. There is just something so refreshing about crisp morning air that makes me happy. I was born in january and I think that is why I always love the winter. I remember traipsing home from school through thick snow and loving the warmth as I entered my house, full of kids, wet shoes and my dad dishing up plates of hot home-made soup or stovies. Now that my kids are getting older there is nothing I love more than picking them up from school, chatting as we walk home then everyone getting into warm pyjamas and watching tv together.

Tonight has been like that. We all curled up in the living room to watch Life Stories – a nature programme narrated by David Attenborough and it felt like I was back in my parents house all those years ago. Some traditions never go out of fashion. Now all my kids are sleeping and I have a few moments to contemplate my day. I have treated myself to a new album. I know its close to christmas and I still have all my shopping to do, I know it is a little bit selfish but I just thought with all the stress I have been under lately that one thing lacking in my life is the healing, calming power of music. I usually spend my days with music in my ears and use it as a tool to shut out the world. I really think this small amount of money spent on myself, that lifts my mood, gives me inspiration and restores a mental balance to my chaotic life is a necessity rather than a frivolity.

I should be sleeping – readying myself for another busy day but i’m writing this blog post as I watch The Searchers – one of my favourite John Wayne movies that reminds me of my dad and growing up. I just wanted to indulge the way I was feeling, open up about how my life is going and pander to my own senses for the first time this week. I have my writing pad next to me because I am feeling poetic and reflective and I have not written a poem in so long it seems. Maybe tonight will be the night.

Tales from the couch

I am writing this from what has been my bedroom for the last month. My couch in my living room has been where I lay my head because my house is so overcrowded at the moment. We are all trying to eke out a little space for ourselves in order to keep sane, calm and relaxed. In a house filled with four kids ranging in age from 1 up to 10 and three adults from 16 upwards it has been a bit of a logistical nightmare. As a direct result of this I gave up my bedroom to my daughter and her family in order not to cause too much upheaval for my younger kids. It has been okay up until now but bones are beginning to complain and grumble about the squashed up sleeping positions.

My bad knees wake me up at some point every night, my brain knows I am not in my bed so it takes longer for me to nod off. Every day I am woken up at the crack of dawn when all the kids descend the stairs and think its okay to run about and shriek. I am finding myself prone to locking myself in the toilet with a book in hand just to find a little reading space. I feel like my thoughts are not my own. I feel like my house has been taken over by a group of aliens. I am constantly having to run about cleaning up after everyone. The job of a mother and grandmother is a thankless task.

What it is doing for me is making me look at things in a different way. I have to try and see the positive in this situation to enable me to try and make the best of things. There is virtually no chance that my daughter will get her own house any time soon. There have also been many other apects of my life that have been put on hold while we adjusted to the pressures of two families living in the same house. My writing fell by the wayside and I need to start approaching the idea of getting my life back. I cannot let the situation dictate to and destroy the life I was starting to carve out for myself. I had been brave enough to start sending stories away to magazines and other fiction based outlets but when things changed I lost track a little bit.

More than ever I need to be writing – if only to keep my personal demons at bay. My sanity is demanding that I vent my creative juices because not doing so is a slippery slope into depression. I need to hold onto the things tha make me me. I need to schedule in time for me, creative time, time with my youngest kids, time away from the pressures of life. I need to breathe clean air on my walks with my dog and I need to look at the good things in life. I had forgotten that there was any good in the world for a little while. Time to get busy again.

What Scottish Government could do about fracking even without Independence.



The UK Government have recently opened up new areas of Scotland where companies can bid for licences for fracking and other unconventional gas extraction. Some of these licences have already been sold e.g to Ineos, owners of the Grangemouth plant. Because Energy Policy is not devolved at present the UK Government was able to do this without getting permission from the Scottish Government.

However, just because the licences have been issued doesn’t mean that there aren’t steps which Scottish Government could take to make unconventional gas extraction in Scotland very unattractive using the powers which it currently has on planning and environmental regulation. These could be used to put in place a really strong regulatory framework which could effectively stop this unconventional gas extraction. Scottish Government have used a similar approach to prevent the development of any new nuclear power stations in Scotland, and there is no reason why…

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Back to me

I have been away from my blog for such a long time. In the last two months things have not been very good in my world. I have been through a lot of upheaval, I have been dealing with a lot of changes one of which is that my eldest child and her two children have moved back into my house and at the moment we are still getting used to the lack of space, the stress of squeezing everyone back into my tiny house and the frayed emotions that everyone is dealing with. Today is the first day in a while that i have felt like myself again, asif I am allowed to steal a little bit of my day back for me.

As a result of this I am going to try and keep blogging because if nothing else it is me having an internal conversation with myself. It is a way for me to sort out all the stress in my head and get everything into perspective. I really miss writing my way through life. My mental health at the moment depends on me finding a vent for all the stress of living in a three bedroom home with six other people. In some moments it is chaotic, loud and crazy but we are managing to see some moments of calm. I am going to keep looking forward from now on. I cant change how things have turned out, all I can do is change the way I deal with things from here on in.