Menopausal Mother Meets Mother Nature

Tuesday 21st May, 2019

Menopause seems to be a hot topic at the moment and boy did I have a menopausal moment last night! A hugely frustrating (yet ultimately trivial) thing sent me into a stratospheric rage with expletives pouring out of my mouth like there was no tomorrow (apologies to my neighbours); my anger, my tiredness, my hormonal imbalance left me bulging-eyed and screaming and sobbing to the point that I actually thought I’d give myself a brain bleed - if not a sore throat. My family looked on at me slamming my fists on the floor and dribbling with utter disbelief; the terrified dog hid upstairs and refused to come down. This is not good. More amusingly, I had gone to a yoga class that evening and we'd done forward bends which induce a quiet mind. The teacher bade us farewell with the words 'have a peaceful evening'. Yep, well, that didn’t quite work out! If only she could have seen me two hours later she'd have given up teaching yoga forever...

So today, wri…

Say Hello Say Goodbye

It's a vile rainy, chill Wednesday afternoon in early May - so very different from this time last year where we were enjoying endless hot sunny days and thought we'd all died and gone to Heaven. What a difference 365 days make! I have nothing better to do than sort out piles of papers, move endless 'stuff' from one place to another around the house, trying to work out what to chuck and what to save, and doing the laundry and cleaning.

So instead I have decided to sit down and write this, sparked by 'Don't Get Me Wrong' by the Pretenders playing on the radio. It instantly took me back to the top of a mountain in Courchevel in the French Alps in 1987. I was in the middle of my season as a rep for a ski tour operator in Courchevel 1650. The sun was blazing out of a bright blue sky, the snow was glistening white and deep as far as the eye could see and Chrissie Hynde was pumping out 'Don't get me wrong' from a massive speaker at the top of this con…

Mothers and Daughters

Tuesday, 30th April, 2019

Today began and ended well. The bit in between wasn't so good.

We woke to clear blue skies and after dropping youngest daughter at the school bus I took my camera and my sheepdog for a stroll down the lane to capture some images of the ewes with their lambs in the soft misty morning light. The newborns nestled in the marsh grass, their mothers chewing the cud contentedly nearby. Such a simple, commonplace rural spring scene, but always so delightful. The bonds were tangible between mother and child as Lily's quiet presence on the lane still disturbed them all enough to get up and move further away, the little lambs trip-trotting to keep up with the safe harbour of their mothers.

Images captured, I wandered back up the lane, picking up a spray of broken blossom cast down carelessly by the recent storm together with a dislodged twig bursting with new green life. I would find a place for them in my kitchen. I heard the tinkling of a roadside stream, hidi…


A week or two ago found us visiting family and friends down south as it was L's February half term (just one more of those to go now after 16 years of education...). We reconnected with our roots: Sussex and London. Yet despite those 16 years that we have been building a family home here in the High Peak, it is always a pleasure to reconnect with the place where we grew up. Home will always be home. It's in your DNA, your blood, your heart, your soul, your senses. However you like to dress it up, it is simply the memory bank of all that makes you you.

We stayed in my old family home with my mother and pottered around lovely Lindfield with its village pond, its pubs and its alluring independent shops and we bought jam doughnuts for tea from the bakery. We drove to Brighton over Ditchling Beacon and my mind was filled with so many diverse memories: the London to Brighton cycle race we did many moons ago, panting up that tortuous hill on the chalk hills of the South Downs; the r…

Early Morning Conversations with my Daughter while Waiting for the School Bus

ME:The other day I was driving back from somewhere and I saw a flock of geese flying in formation. It was amazing.

[Louisa looks at me with mild interest]

ME:Did you know that they swap leaders at the front when they get tired?It drops back and another one takes over.

[Louisa continues to regard me with cogs slowly turning behind the eyes]

ME:They slipstream you see. The leader takes all the wind. Must be so tiring at the front.

LOUISA: Do they ever stop?

ME:Yes, sometimes you see them all in a field, don't you?

[A moment's contemplation]

LOUISA:Sounds like DofE!

[Gales of laughter from me before she mimics]:-
'Can we please stop now?'
Then just as we've sat down the Leader says 'Ok, come on! Let's go!'
[Rolls eyes and lolls head back]: 'Oh please, reeeaally...? Do we have to?'

[Hopeless giggles from us both]

ME: Had a weird dream this morning I was sitting round a table with Harry Styles and was all snuggled up and cosy with him.

LOUISA: [incredulous] Y…

Mental Health - Part 4

Given that we have recently had Mental Health awareness week, I feel that I should highlight one more very important thing: untreated depression can easily morph into something more serious. Psychosis and/or suicide are scary terms, the first one perhaps not always fully understood (click link to learn more). I have noted that several dramas and British soaps on TV have had psychosis as a theme in recent months (Silent Witness and Emmerdale among them). This suggests that perhaps either it is becoming more prevalent, or that it is becoming more recognised - or just that we are edging towards being better able to talk about such things. Perhaps the stigma really is beginning to lift on mental health? And if it is, then it is perhaps also because we are starting to publicly acknowledge it.

A few years back I knew someone locally whose brother had started to suffer from depression as a teenager. There were family traumas going on and he'd started a drug habit, unfortunately neither …

Mental Health - Part 3

Leading on from my previous two posts about depression, here are some signs to watch out for and some suggestions of how you deal with them:-

if you have a sleep problem, if you grind your teeth, if you feel permanently low, if you struggle to get out of bed in the morning, if you start to avoid human contact and become ever more reclusiveif you start to lose interest in all the things you used to love.... .....then you need to take a long hard look at where you are and what help you might need.

Often the first step is pharmacology. Speak to your GP, no holds barred, and they should be able to decide whether indeed you need to be put on medication to help your body do what it can no longer do in terms of regulation of serotonin levels in the bloodstream. If you would like to understand current medical thinking on the link between serotonin and depression/anxiety etc then click here. Essentially, low levels of serotonin recorded in the bloodstream seem to equate with depression - but i…