Saturday, 30 October 2010


I thought you might like to "meet" Rich. Above are a couple of pics of us out walking up Win Hill a week or so ago. We did have Shelagh with us too but she declined to stand still for a photograph and delegated this task to Minty! As you can see, I have some competition from Minty judging by the adoring stare..

Settling down and reflecting

Now that D is back on the rig and I have my dogs with me, life is settling down. I'm still uncertain about lots of things: money, job, friends and my family but one thing I am sure about is that I was right to decide to leave. I have looked at photos of me and D and felt some nostalgia and some sadness but no regret. I know that he is a good man, but he was not good for me. Like milk to someone who is lactose intolerant.

It seems that, while I am a strong woman in nearly every aspect of my life, work, friends, family etc, I was not strong enough in my relationship with D. So ultimately I ended up becoming a second class citizen. And then, instead of standing up for myself, I hid away in food, drink, activities and seeking validation from other people, including other men. None of these reactions were healthy or what I needed and they ultimately made me feel worse and perpetuated the whole cycle. Finding someone who loves me for me, warts and all and doesn't need me to pretend to be what I'm not has really freed me up from all that.

I worry that I'll start the cycle again with Rich - seeking approval and hiding etc but I don't think so. I seem to be able to stand up to him and he doesn't seem to want to dominate me anyway. When we have a disagreement, he doesn't need to conquer me - can leave it as that, a disagreement. Sometimes he comes round to my way of thinking or agrees to do it my way despite disagreeing with me. I know now that this is "normal" but it was a shock to the system the first time it happened!!

D used to make me feel guilty for even daring to disagree with him. I find it hard to believe that I capitulated so easily with D, that I became such a doormat. I self-censored and caved in and was so spineless. But I'm not going to feel bad about it. Maybe it was my "fault" but there are probably loads of reasons for it. Our respective personalities; his work patterns; the fact that we met so young; my weight and attitude towards it; my relationship with my father; my chimp! At the end of the day, it didn't work for me. D says it worked for him and that we had a good relationship but I have to hope that he will find someone better for him and be happier. I don't believe that making me unhappy was what he wanted and I don't believe that he was particularly happy himself anyway.

Looking back is difficult. I don't want to re-write history. I can see in so many photographs that we did have happy times. But I also remember the truth that, a lot of the time, all we had to talk about was the dogs. That we hid in social events to avoid being alone together. That I walked on eggshells a lot of the time and that we could have a row at the drop of a hat, even before or after some of our happiest times. Many's the photo which I look at and remember what preceded or followed that happy moment.

Our house and travels (especially that holiday in Botswana and the boating holidays) are particularly difficult to work through. They are genuinely good things about our marriage to remember. We had a wonderful time on the Broads and in Botswana and I can't imagine doing that with anyone else. I hope we can build on those real things to remake some sort of a friendship in the years to come. I would like to but I don't know if he will be able to.

But I know I'm more honest with myself now and I hope that will make me a stronger and better companion, whatever happens in the future.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Our visit to the Ryder Cup...or Getting Very Wet in Wales!

You've got to try things or you never do anything!! But sometimes, you wonder why you bothered.

I managed to get last minute cheap tickets to the Ryder Cup a couple of Fridays ago. I only got the tickets on the previous Wednesday afternoon so there was a fair bit of organising to do in order to be able to use them but Rich and I set to and we managed it. Booked a cheapo hotel within 30 minutes drive of the course, hired a car (reasons for that later!), time off work, someone to feed his cat, clothes and packing and we eventually managed to get out of the door before our target time of 5pm on Thursday in order to drive down to South Wales.

We were staying a really nice little family hotel in a beauty spot called Symonds Yat between Monmouth and Ross-on-Wye. It is probably gorgeous, all steep-sided river valley, rocky outcrops and tumbling river on which there are cruises and canoe treks. We didn't see any of this as we arrived at 9pm in the dark and rain and left again at 5am in the dark and rain and fog! I'd like to go back though as it really looked lovely in the headlights!

So, up mega early to get to the Park & Ride. Eat cornflakes in bowls filched from the hotel (well, they were meant to give us breakfast and wouldn't get up in time!!) Trek across a mile of car park. Queue for ages to get through security. Meet a jobsworth of a security man who objected to our rucksacks as being a couple of inches over standard and, even when we took stuff out and scrunched them down to standard size, wouldn't let both in as it "wasn't fair" for both of us to have a rucksack!!? (While arguing about this at least 12 much larger rucksacks sailed past us allowed in by less contentious guards.....sigh....) Queue again for the left luggage for an EMPTY rucksack. Explain the reason for this to the incredulous man at the left luggage. Queue again for security. Queue for the shuttle bus.

Arrive 15 minutes late at the course. Walk a mile in the mild, dry morning air. Walk onto the course and try to get bearings. Rain starts. Put up umbrella. Watch Lee Westwood hole a birdie put on the 2nd to go 2 up through a sea of umbrellas. Watch most of the third while standing on tippy toes on a muddy bank. Decide to get a good spot further up the course to watch all 4 fourballs go through.

Trudge through the mud to the 6th. Find a great vantage spot to watch the drives coming up the fairway and the 2nd shots on to the green as well as being able to see the putting and any bunker shots! Leave Rich guarding the spot and trudge through deepening mud to a concession stand where I pay 4 quid for 2 tiny coffees (I thought those cups were for the espressos!!). Trudge back getting splashed by red mud up to the hips by a group of yank WAGs on a buggy (honestly their make-up was an inch thick!!!).

Stand waiting in the rain watching ducks actually swimming in the puddles on the fairway. Watch with delight as our plan comes together and the first group plays their drives and we have a great view of their approach shots. Watch with dismay as the course umpire approaches them and, after some consultation, stops play.

And by 9.45am, that was it. We saw about a dozen golf shots. Got drenched and covered in mud. Bought a souvenir pitchmark repairer each for a fiver (!) in the Merchandise Stand. Ate our sandwiches sitting in the stands under an umbrella with the rain dripping off in floods all around us (I've always wondered who those people are when I see them on telly, now I know!!). Eventually, after another hour long deluge between 1 and 2pm, we gave up.

We knew there would probably be some play later but not until 5pm and by that time we would be really cold and still have an hour and a half to get back to the car and then a 4 hour drive home and just couldn't face it. So we listened to the radio and heard John Inverdale waxing lyrical all about the players wearing shirt sleeves and the beautiful lilac sunset and the lengthening shadows on the course etc etc ... while grinding our teeth remembering the morning of low cloud which hid the view and the waterlogged bunkers and greens.....

It was heart-breaking.

But, but but but, despite all that, we still had a good day. We walked the course so when we watched the rest of the match on Sky we knew what the holes look like and could appreciate the choices and the difficulty facing the golfers. We were together and didn't whinge or moan or blame each other for coming to see it even though we knew it would rain.

There was no sulking or moaning, just lots of kissing and cuddling under an umbrella, laughing and joking with each other and the other fans and making the best of a sorry situation. And we ate stuff but not a huge amount - no consolatory overpriced burgers or do-nuts, only one very expensive pint of bitter. Just the sandwiches and fruit and treats I'd packed for us and not all of that. And, when you think about all the walking/trudging in the cold and mud, I'm sure I walked the pint off......

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Ballroom Dancing

Just a quick post to let you know what fun we had at our first ballroom dancing class! It was great, really funny but entertaining and interesting too. I love learning new things and to be learning a new physical skill in a sociable setting with Rich was brilliant.

There were about 20-24 couples and the studio was big and plush so didn't feel seedy or embarrassing or anything. The studio is owned by Darren Bennett and Lilya Kopilova of Strictly Come Dancing fame and our class was taken by Darren's dad!! He was excellent - funny, patient and very thorough.

We tackled 2 dances - the cha cha cha and waltz - and learned the one basic step of each dance. So, that is 30 minutes to master each step!! Seemed rather slow to me but I pick up routines and steps quite quickly. There were plenty of people who clearly needed the slow approach... I'm not complaining anyway, the longer you take, the more it will sink in and presumably the easier it'll be to go on to learn more complicated steps.

Rich was doing really well on the cha cha cha (I keep hearing Craig Revell-Horwood saying "char char char darling....") but struggled a bit with the basic waltz step. He'd be going on fine and then get the wrong foot and lose it! We giggled so much though, it was hilarious. And there were moments when we felt as though we were really dancing, floating along doing a waltz, looking into each others' eyes rather than at our feet - then we'd crash into some other poor hapless couple and bump back to earth again!!

It was so nice to try something new and be willing to make fools of ourselves. Very liberating.
After class we had a quick drink with another couple from the class in the pub next door which happens to be the pub I drink in before Sheffield Wednesday games on Saturday afternoons! The landlord was really taking the mick out of me!! Threatening to "out" me to the football locals etc etc Which is nothing compared to the micky taking that will hit Rich in the golf club this evening after I accidentally on purpose told my friend about our dance classes knowing that her husband is a fellow committee member down there!!

So, we will definitely be going back. I don't know how good we'll get but we really enjoyed it. And hopefully it will eventually be good exercise. It was a bit slow this week but, as we get better, we'll fly round I'm sure. Can't be bad.

PS. It wasn't quite as comical as your Country Dancing class Beth/Peridot - I still giggle when I think about that.....

Well, as you might have guessed, the above was prepared after our first class a week last Monday but, due to cyber issues, I didn't post it. Now, having had a think about what I'm going to do about the blog, I've decided that I will carry on posting and talking about my life. I'm not intending to be airing dirty linen in public as details of someone else's divorce are pretty damn dull but think that there is plenty of food and exercise and life type stuff happening which I still want to chat about.

As an aside, I might start a Divorce Blog - are there such sad things out there?? Must be. It would be a place where I could weep and moan and gnash teeth and vent bitter spleen if required without infecting my usual prevailing mood of positivity and optimism.

We went back for ballroom/latin dancing class number 2 last Monday. It was even better than the first. We were much more competent at our 2 basic steps and actually learned a third - the tango. We managed much longer spells of dancing in hold to actual music so it felt more natural and fluent. I know we're going to love it. At one point, as we were tackling the tango (not to be confused with the Argentine Tango - flicking legs and jumps etc) I caught sight in the mirror of the 2 of us speeding round the floor and thought - "Wow! We're actually dancing!!"

The couple we met last week brought another couple along and so the 6 of us and another couple joined us in the pub afterwards. It was such a lighthearted atmosphere, everyone brimming full of enthusiasm for the class and for learning something new. I loved it. I'd say all 8 of us were in our 40's (maybe heading for 50 in some cases) but we were giggling like teenagers. Although maybe that is wrong - teenagers are far too concerned about being "cool" and not embarrassing themselves to be going ballroom dancing!!

So, there is plenty of stress, tension, anger, angst and downright criminal damage going on (Rich's car has been trashed on 3 separate occasions now - yikes!). But there is also fun, laughter, hope, love and, most important of all, potential.

God - time flies when you're having fun! We should have been to class number 3 on the Monday just passed but, after a difficult day emotionally, we decided to stay in and watch the highlights of the final day of the Ryder Cup instead. So, we'll have some serious catching up to do next week! Thank God that the Europeans pulled through - the mighty G-Mac justifying his pick as the guy bringing up the rear. It was nail-biting but the best contest I've seen for years!!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

What I'm thinking is....

That I'm going to carry on as I am and just moderate comments. Trouble is, I have 3 posts typed up and ready to go but very intermittent internet access at the moment so can't get them posted. So bear with me peeps, I'll be back soon. And your lovely comments and support have been great and have meant a lot to me.

In the meantime....keeeeeep dancing!