Monday, 30 September 2013

Losing it.

I'll come clean. It's official. I'm having a nervous breakdown. Or something. I'm cracking up. Falling apart at the seams. Turning into a lunatic. 

Okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating a little. I don't want to make light of proper mental illness, but really, I'm not feeling altogether my normal altogether.

It's the build. I am consumed with uncertainty. Is it really a good idea to put a bloody huge chimneybreast in the middle of your kitchen?

I've bored friends and family rigid banging on about it. Everyone is kind and patient and reassuring: it's a great idea, they say, it will look wonderful, they say, don't worry, they say, but still I fret and angst and hand-wring. Is this just one wacky plot too far?

Here are my reasons: we feel overlooked by the house behind, we wanted a wood-burning stove and there's really no where else to put it, we're having a pitch roof with glass in it, as well as velux windows all down the side, so, in theory,  there should still be plenty of light, with two views instead of one. It should look something like this...

Should. With two, metre wide, doors either side.

Nevertheless, sudden consciousness in the middle of the night is becoming very familiar. Why am I awake? I think, go back to sleep, I am exhausted, this is silly. And then it starts -

The brain whirring. 
The thoughts. 
The plans. 
The ideas. 
The things I remember I've forgotten. 
But most of all, the worry about the bloody damn stupid chimney. 


I never used to be like this. I used to sleep like a baby. (Why do we say that? In my experience babies don't sleep at all.) Even when I had loads of stressful things going on. Even with a nerve-wracking work day ahead. Even before an important interview or when I was about to direct a three-camera studio at the BBC with absolutely no idea what I was doing (and that was in my early twenties, how did I do that?).

So, what can I do about it? I'm working on a 6 point plan... 

Lists. I'm a big list writer. Can't live without lists. Then I tick things off. So now I've taken it a step further and I'm keeping a pad and pen by my bed so I can try and empty my mind before sleeping. Not really working though...

Exercise. That's a good one. I try to row on the rowing machine at least every other day, and I try to get out every day and walk, even if it's for only 15 minutes. I love a good walk, and it definitely helps. Maybe I'll try and take up swimming as well. Although I'm not quite sure when...

Talking. And writing. Both ways to offload. I do a lot of that and I find it helps. I talk to my friends, (my poor friends) and my mother and Husband, and well, just about anyone who will listen. And I write this, of course, and other things.

Alcohol. I know, I know, it's not a good stress-buster, certainly not in the long-term, but on a Friday night, a cold glass of white wine? With a bowl full of crisps? Come on.

Other physical activity. Without putting too finer point on it, I think it's fantastic for stress. Only problem is you have to be not too stressed in the first place to be up for it... I'll move quickly on.

Family. I know I have a tendency towards schmalz, but really, I can't think of a better stress-buster than curling up on the sofa with Youngest, my arm around his little shoulders, his head nuzzled under my chin so I can smell his not-properly-rinsed-out-shampoo, the fire on, (the gas fire!) my other two beautiful boys nearby, Husband asleep and dribbling on the sofa next to me, The Great British Bake Off on TV...

And especially if I have a glass of wine on the go, I've just written one of my lists, I had a nice walk that day, I've talked to my mates, and I'm on to a promise.

Let me know if I've missed anything. I think I need help. 

Maybe a shrink?

Love E x



Monday, 23 September 2013

One of those days.

It's Friday and it's one of those days. I have work to do. Middle One is still off school with a tummy bug. It's Day Five with an ill child off school. Already.

The phone rings. It's my colleague from a beach in Scotland where he is on a recce. He wants to know what my ideas are for the new pitch we're putting together to make a series of films for a regular client. It would be a great job. 

I don't know what my ideas are yet. I've just spent two hours talking to the builder about the wood-burning stove. Is putting a chimney breast in the middle of the back wall of windows really a good idea? My vision is something like this...

The reality might be something more like this...

The door bell rings. It's the building inspector. He calls up the stairs. He wants to talk to me about a possible damp issue with closing over the back cellar steps. I run down from the office to talk to him but find that the builders have screwed the temporary door shut at the bottom. They thought I was out.  I am trapped. 

I call out to be let free and in the meantime talk to the building inspector over the banisters. As I do so my mobile goes off in my pocket. It is Eldest. His text says: "I have no money on my finger for lunch! Please put some on NOW." 

I ask Middle One to do this for me, while I continue to talk to the building inspector outside in the garden/building site. (The builders have set me free by now.) I forget to tell Middle One that I've changed the password. 

I am still talking to the building inspector when Middle One shouts down: "I think I've locked you out of your online bank account! I got your password wrong too many times." 

We all have days like this one, don't we? I think I need some of this.

Or possibly more like this...

Love E x



Monday, 16 September 2013

Living on the cusp.

We're a family on the cusp of things, that's how it feels at the moment. I'm very aware of growing up... 

It feels ridiculous that Eldest is now in, what we oldies used to call, the Upper Sixth; that Middle One has started studying for his GCSEs, even sillier that Youngest is at secondary school. And while he is still adorable and loving and sweet and childlike, with his cuddly toys and his Bin Weevil figures and the little songs he sings to himself when he's absorbed with playing, starting secondary school signals the beginning of the end of all that.  And then there's the UCAS form...

The UCAS form denotes the beginning of another even more final end: the end of Eldest living with us. It's the form he must fill in to apply to university and it means that, if he is offered a place somewhere, this time next year, he'll be gone. 

Gone. Over. Finished. That's it. If anything represents an ending, the loss of the little boy we once had, that will be it. I know it's cliched and hackneyed all rolled into one to say it, but it really does go amazingly fast. 

And what of me? What am I on the cusp of? Well, there's life without primary school, of course, which is proving extremely busy, so much so that not the slightest backward glance has been required, but there are other things I feel I might be on the cusp of. Things that are harder to shrug off...

When I pick up a book or a newspaper my eyes no longer do what they used to. I can't see the print. I reach for the plus 1.5 glasses, I look up at my children to answer them, and realise I am peering over the top, just like my mother does to me.

Losing my sight, this is the very first irrefutable sign that things are dying off, for good. They will never come back, those eye cells, and no doubt the odd brain cell as well...

So that's me on the cusp something un-nameable, Youngest on the cusp of adolescence, Middle One on the cusp of manhood, Eldest on the cusp of leaving...

Oh, and on the plus side we're on the cusp of having a new kitchen...

I hope.

Love E x



Friday, 6 September 2013

Bonding. In more ways than one.

What should I blog about this week? The fact that the back of the house is currently on stilts? When I sit in my office, as now, I can feel the floor sloping away beneath me...

Or that Youngest went to secondary school for the first time on Wednesday morning? Since then he has actually got up and showered ON TIME. Okay, so that's only two days - early doors - but it's going remarkably well so far, and he came back smiling and keen to get on and cover his books... Actually, that's keen for me to get on and cover his books, but at least he was being conscientious. Sort of.

About going to Brixton to meet a rapper called Potent Whisper and setting up a shoot to make two videos?

About how, against all odds, I'm managing to cook stupendous meals on two electric Baby Belling rings for a family of five every night? (Though I say so myself.)

(Cod with bacon and herby butter.)

My observation that summer holidays are not long enough? You need more than two weeks. It takes two days to get over the journey and acclimatise. You start thinking about packing and going home again on Wednesday of week two. So really an average 14 day holiday is only 9 days, by my reckoning. And then you need another holiday to get over the journey back and all the unpacking and washing.

Or about how we all bonded over the summer in more ways than one because I bought the complete James Bond DVD box set and Eldest and I have so far watched: You Only Live Twice, Live and Let Die, Goldfinger, Octopussy, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and Golden Eye in very quick succession? 

Consequently I have come to the earth-shattering conclusions that Octopussy is utter garbage, On Her Majesty's Secret Service is really rather good, even if it is George Lazenby, Roger Moore is not sexy (no surprise there then) and neither is Pierce Brosnan because he's too groomed and girly. It's Sean and Daniel for me every time. Preferably together.

I can't decide which to blog about, so I won't bother with any of it. 

Till next time...


Love E x