Triumph and Troubles

Thursday 26 July: Rose’s Graduation

‘Oh, look at you lot. You’ve clearly had much better weather up there than we have,’ says Lily from beneath her umbrella as we load her bags into the car. She grumbles a bit on hearing that Rose and I owe our golden limbs to a tin and complains that we are making her look like White Leg Winnie in comparison. Once on to the motorway there are more serious considerations; it’s pouring with rain and the visibility is appalling. Thank goodness we have allowed plenty of time to get to Southampton.

Heroic Tom gets us there with time to spare so that Rose can do the necessary before her ceremony. Rose collects her gown and I fill up with tears then we head over to the Nuffield Theatre where the conferment of degrees will take place. Rose’s Dad, Stepmum and little Stepbrother turn up and pretend they haven’t seen us until I go over and break the ice. Rose’s Dad and I are shuffle off to take our seats whilst the others find a hall with a live link to the ceremony. I can’t pretend it’s not awkward but it’s Rose’s day and no one is going to spoil it if I can help it!

And there she is, my girl, her name is called, the Pro-Chancellor clasps her hands, says a few words (which Rose only hazily recollects!) and my baby receives her degree. Well done to her and all the other young people who have made their families so proud.

Saturday 28 July: Neighbours In Distress
After our whistle stop visit to the south and a round of catching up with parents and siblings we have a horrendous seven-hour journey back on Friday. Lily has returned with us for a couple of days and one of them has been spent largely on the M4! Tom and I get up early to do the shopping so I’ll have some time with the girls.

Alas, no sooner have we returned when it becomes clear there is trouble next door. Our neighbours, Tracy and Jeremy, are on holiday so Tracy’s parents are up to look after the house, water the plants and feed the chickens. I look up from unloading the car to hear cries of distress from Tracy’s Mum. Tracy’s Dad has had ‘a funny turn’ and they need help. I literally drop the bags and run next door and don’t surface until mid-afternoon! Tracy’s Mum has asked for advice from the weekend health service provider but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears. One good thing about dealing with my Dad’s illness is that I am now a dab hand at ‘making a fuss’ and a GP comes out pronto. Inside I’m fuming that a frightened elderly woman has been ignored and it takes me, being bossy, to get results.

Sunday 29 July: Middle Aged Woman Mistakes Herself for Olympic Swimmer
We manage a walk on the beach before taking Lily to Carmarthen to catch her train but it’s typical that the sun doesn’t really come out until the afternoon when she’s gone. Tom proposes a late afternoon swim so we dig out the wetsuits and head for Mwnt.

I used to love swimming in the sea but then Lily and I narrowly escaped drowning off a boat in Greece and it’s taken me a long time to regain my confidence. Today it’s lovely; the wetsuit keeps off the chill, the waves are benign and the sun is shining. In no time at all I am swimming about like a mad eejit. Ha! Running, cycling and now swimming -at this rate I’ll be tackling triathlons! Goodness me, this is the life!

Later that evening there is a sharp pain in my ribs and I’m having trouble drawing breath, probably where I’ve pulled an intercostal muscle. At two o’clock in the morning I give in and down a couple of painkillers. My baby has just graduated and my ribs are protesting at an afternoon swim and I can’t help but wonder if nature is trying to tell me something… well, maybe, but I’m not ready to listen just yet!

Wednesday 1 August: And finally…
Rose has finished Harry Potter and kindly donated it to me but I’m itching to get my hands on the book she’s currently reading. Yes, Louise Rennison has produced a fab new confession of Georgia Nicolson, ‘Luuurve Is A Many Trousered Thing…’ What’s not to love?

August has arrived and, after a lot of limbering up, I’m about to start the rewrite of ‘Fighting the Tide’. I’ve installed a word count to show progress; it’ll probably go down before it goes up and I’m not absolutely sure I’ll end up with 120,000 words but, hey, it’s time to begin.

Hwyl fawr!

The photo of Rose is published with her permission.


Suffolkmum said…
Wow, isn't Rose like you!! So glad her graduation went well and wasn't too awkward - I got all misty-eyed, remembering the Nuffield theatre etc ... I do envy you your closeness to beach life. Even the Suffok coast is a good hour away for us. How great that you were on hand to help that poor family. And finally - good luck with the re-write! I would imagine that starting is the hardest bit.
FunkyMunky said…
Wow! What an eventful week you've had! I wish you the very best of luck with the rewrite and am glad Rose's graduation went well. Shame about the drive home!
Faith said…
SM - I was just going to say the same thing. She does indeed look like her mum!
I was going to say that...she really is like you! Glad it all went well! Even the fake bake!! Was the old man from next door OK after?
Crystal Jigsaw said…
And what a beautiful photo of Rosie it is. Swimming in the sea is my worst nightmare!! I hate seaweed and have visions of Jaws popping up to say hello.

You are a very thoughtful neighbour. I'm always so grateful that my mum has good people living in her midst.

Crystal xx
I know the Nuffield well acn picture it all. So glad it went well."once there was summer now it is gone.." doesn't time fly when you are not wathcing and suddenly we are getting old...
I'm back again ....some people are better at dealing with Parkinsons than others...I hope he is one of the better ones.
Chris can I ask something....those lovely pictures that appear on your blog by Tom Tomos ...I notice you mention your partner as he the painter? Hell I am cheeky... sorry...just wandered
Ok Ok I'll clear off now ...just forgot to say purple power to the re write ...fingers and everything crossed...I take it we watch that graphy thingy and not keep asking
Wellll I never!!! Clever old Tom Tomos ...I have been really enjoying those paintings and will do so with a smile from now on!!! Get back to that writing woman ...what are you doing wasting time reading've got a book launch to organise!!!!
annakarenin said…
Well good luck with the re-write.

Your daughter looks beautiful in her cap and gown, no wonder there were tears and I so envy you being able to nip down the beach for a swim. If we ever move back that way it will definitely be the Cardigan coast for me.
annakarenin said…
Just noticed SBS comments and she has got the answer to a question I have been wanting to ask. You definitely a talented family then everyone of you. Seems to me there are a fair few people on this site hogging all the talent.
Brilliant well done to Rosie - have all that to come in a few years - kids at Uni now.

That was pretty brave of you to go back into the water - facing very real fears.

Good luck with the re-write - I found it actually easier than the writing in the first place - be interested to know what your experience is.
Zinnia Cyclamen said…
Gorgeous photo. What an eventful week! Best of luck with the rewrite - I'm doing the same (third draft) this month.
countrymousie said…
Well I can see she belongs to you -and is simply gorgeous.
You do indeed need a wetsuit here most of the year on the Suffolk Coast!
I do look forward to reading about
your week. The days here at the moment are very samey and harvesty, and dusty, and cloudy! you get the picture. mousie
sally's chateau said…
Like Mother, like daughter, you must be so proud and so you should be. NHS, helpline, its a joke.
Pondside said…
Congratulations to Rose and to you too! Special occasions can be bitter sweet when one is faced with the awkward moments with ex's. It sounds as though you have an A+ attitude and that is a gift to your girls.
Your sea swim sounds wonderful - I love to get into the sea, but have never tried a wet suit. Lillypad has one, and I will ask to borrow it, just to see what it's like!
Good luck with the re-write. I'll follow the progress with interest.
muddyboots said…
well done Rosie & good luck with the word counter!
My goodness, Rose is so much like you, you are like two peas in a pod! Congratulations to Rose in receiving her degree. Brings back memories when my son graduated at Nottingham Uni, very proud moment, I was all wailey wailey in my hankie!

What a very kind thing you did for your neighbour's Father, do hope he is alright. Best of luck with the re-write Chris, and thank you so much for your kind comments.

Woozle1967 said…
Oh, yes, no doubt of Rose's parentage there! How proud you must feel - wonderful.

I don't enjoy swimming in the sea - definitely an in-land girl, me! Nice to look at on a blue sky day but stick me in a green field with some trees and birds and I'm in my element!

Good luck with the re-write, I'm sure once you get going, you'll crack it!xx
elizabethm said…
great photo. all ours have graduated now (aargh, how old does that make me?), two (the boys) did ceremonies, other two (the girls) didn't. Was not allowed to complain as i had not bothered either back in the day. good luck with the rewrite, sure it will sing. your welsh course sounds good, as was mine. sadly two weeks in newfoundland seems to have erased it all from my brain.

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