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Six Weeks On...

‘You look fab, you’re really proactive about your health - you’re my kind of girl,’ says the nurse practitioner sympathetically. ‘But, you’re not going to bounce back the way you used to and you’ve had a serious injury.’ I’m not vain and I’m not looking for the Elixir of Youth, but since I left A&E without a follow up appointment, I would like to know why, after all these weeks, my ribs are still making an audible clicking noise.  It’s six weeks today since I found myself in the back of an ambulance feeling very scared and broken. The superficial damage to my face has healed. It took four weeks for the feeling in my upper teeth and the roof of my mouth to begin to return, although two of my front teeth still only have partial sensation. (The dental work starts this week.) There are patches of numbness in my face and top lip. My ribs are uncomfortable rather than painful (although sneezing is agony) and it seems that if I want an explanation for the clicking noise, I’ll have to ke…
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An Accident Happens

Monday 2 December
It’s an especially beautiful morning when I set out for my seven-mile run, frost twinkles under the low sun in the Secret Valley creating an enchanted landscape. Once I leave the shelter of the valley behind, I realise that many of the lanes are glazed with treacherous black ice so pick my path very carefully. I love a good downhill sprint, however, so with home in sight and a clear road ahead I take the brakes off and fly. Only, somehow, my left foot snags in gravel. In the split-second before I hit the ground, I know that when I land it’s going to be bad.

There’s a smack as my left cheekbone hits the ground and my teeth clash together as my head bounces. My mouth has gone numb, but when I touch my fingers to my face, I’m surprised to see blood on my hands. I fumble for my phone and try to call Tom, but there’s no answer. I know I’ll freeze if I sit still so I drag myself up wondering why it’s all such a struggle. When I try to walk, it feels as if the ribs on my le…

A Convenient Marriage. Blog Splash!

This week, I’m delighted to be involved in the blog splash for Jeevani Charika’s novel, A Convenient Marriage. Chaya and Gimhana’s very convenient marriage pleases their parents, but what happens when the promise of personal happiness threatens their perfect arrangement?

Jeev's question to me was, 'what's the strangest thing you've done because of your family?' which made me think of all the holiday, temporary and part-time jobs I’ve done to make ends meet. As soon as I was old enough, I took a Saturday job working in a restaurant doing a bit of food preparation and some waitressing. To discourage customers at the end of the day, I and another Saturday girl would stand at the window pulling faces at anyone who looked as if they might be about to enter. I can’t think why the manageress decided she didn’t need me after all.

I’ve worked at a swimming pool and in a make-up factory, I was nearly run over by the actor Patrick Macnee when I was working as a chambermaid (I …

Dystopia. And Margaret Atwood.

Shortly after leaving Aberystwyth, a disembodied voice announces that our train, which is already moving very slowly, will be held between stations for 20 minutes until we can proceed. Around the same time, I receive messages from Lily, who is travelling from Cardiff, and Rose, who’s coming up from Keynsham, that their trains have been cancelled. Time is already ticking on our long-awaited trip to hear Margaret Atwood in conversation at Birmingham Symphony Hall. As Lily struggles to board an overcrowded train, the middle-class family behind her yell at her to ‘just get on the f*cking train!’. Rose’s train is similarly packed. She is heavily pregnant but no one blinks, let alone offers her seat, so she is forced to stand for an hour and a half. When we eventually meet up at Birmingham New Street, we’re all frazzled and half the afternoon has gone.

A pre-theatre dinner at Côte provides us with a calm interlude and the chance for a proper catch-up before we make the short walk to Birming…

Cardiff Half Marathon 2019: The'Diff with a Difference

The night before the Cardiff Half Marathon, I toss and turn and have so many hot flushes I wonder if I’m going to self-combust. It’s not the best preparation for a race, but, hey, I’m fortunate to be here and I’m determined to enjoy the day. For the first time in the event’s 16-year history, female runners are in the majority and the starting pen definitely has a different feel. I talk to Stephanie and Clare, two mums who, like so many of the women taking part, juggle running with family responsibilities. Every runner has a story.
My dear friend and running buddy, Helen, has defied the odds and overcome her dreadful injury to take part today. I know she’s somewhere amongst the runners and suddenly the crowds part and I see her smiling face. Frustratingly, I lose her again, but then she’s there by my side just in time for the race to begin. We hug, (lots of ‘“awwws” from the women around us!) wish each other luck and then we’re off!

This year, I know my granddaughter, Bee, who wants to …

September Selection

Befriending the Black-eyed Dog
Ma sits alone at home night after night, she’s in constant pain and, occasionally, there are days when she doesn’t talk to anyone. She might - justifiably - grumble from time to time, but she resolutely deals with everything life chucks at her without going under. I have no reason to feel depressed yet September begins with the oppressive sense of the sky falling down on me which also makes me terribly ashamed. However, as I mention in ‘Running Kind’, experience has taught me that punishing myself for perceived failures only leaves me depleted and less able to look after anyone else, so, when Tom heads to the south-east to catch up with old friends, I stay at home to refill the well. I read a lot, I listen to hours of music, I go for a long run and soak up the sights and sounds of the changing season. Not so much an attack from the black-eyed dog, but a gentle reminder that a bit of self-care is not selfish.

Our poor boat has languished in the marin…

A Summer Full of Memories

The last of our summer visitors depart and the house falls still. I can wake up gradually, slowly sipping my tea in bed rather than being on call the split-second I open my eyes and I no longer have to grab a nightie and cover up before one of the little grandchildren bursts into the bedroom. When I go for a run, glistening veils of dew spangle the fields and the tall spikes of fireweed are cloaked with clouds of feathery seed. There’s a melancholic sense of autumn in the cool morning air, but my head and heart are too full of all the memories we’ve made this summer to feel sad.

We started early with a long-overdue visit to Canada to spend time with my elder stepson, his wife and their son, (our one and only - so far - grandson) who made their home in Alberta five years ago. We began with some sightseeing, flying out to Vancouver and driving through the Rockies before meeting up with Gill, Dan and Harry. It was precious time and we’re so grateful to them for their generous hospitality.