The Final Count Down


“I think I’ll have to do more painting” I sighed as I stared around the four walls of the dinning room, “great, I can’t wait”.

Admitting there was still more work to complete, when I’m already working to a tight schedule, wasn’t what I needed.

Painting and decorating can be soul destroying, especially because every time I return to the UK I am faced with a million and one D.I.Y chores to complete.

Luckily, I’m quite a dab hand with a paint brush. I’m not sure if that’s because I have inherited my Dad’s genetics or if it’s due to the fact I’m arty and crafty in general. Anyway, this skill has helped me enormously over the last eight years.

As my house is over a hundred years old, there is always something to do, so by now you’d have thought I’d be used to it! Usually, I can get the work completed without a fuss. I take pride in doing a good job and there is something satisfying about seeing the end results, usually. Yet, now I have to admit that I am beginning to run out if steam.

Possibly this is because I’m on a final count down. Soon, my home of eight years will become a rental property.

Turning what has been my home, into a rental property for someone else to live in, seems strange and I have mixed feelings about it. I know why, because I am really quite emotionally attached to my house! Some of you might think that is strange, but that’s how I feel.

I know that the house needs someone to live in it, as I’m living in Madrid. And hopefully the tenants will care for it and look after it, and of course receiving a rental income will be a relief and add extra money to the pot. Yet, knowing there will be strangers living here, makes me uneasy.

So, as I complete my D.I.Y chores, for the benefit of someone else to enjoy, I see the house becoming ever more ready to become a rental property. I can’t help thinking though, that what has been a significant chapter in my life is now coming to a close.

Next time I return to the UK I will be staying with family. Also, I won’t need to complete any D.I.Y chores in what was my home, because it won’t be my home anymore, it’ll be some strangers home and responsibility.

 

 

 

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Not My Cup Of Tea


It was a friend of a friends Birthday, and I got invited out for afternoon tea, odd you might think, afternoon tea in Madrid, it’s hardly a place renowned for such little quirks, and you’d be right.

Besides the slim slices of cake and tea offered in a mug, with not even a little teapot to keep it company, it wasn’t exactly The Savoy! Yet, it was a nice change, meeting people over tea and cake rather than beer and tapas.

I must admit, I love alcohol and food. Its practically in my blood; my family are thorough bred foodies and of course I have a strong Irish connection to boot (bad combination)! The only problem is both of these fine things, food and alcohol, don’t necessarily like me very much.

A few years ago I decided to scrap my old ways, in short, junk food was banned and so to was the vodka (et al). This, actually helped me. Physically, mentally and emotionally I felt relieved, it was like a breath of fresh air! I hadn’t realised how good it could be to be free of the shackles of, for want of a better expression, bad living.

Now, I’m no paragon of virtue, I still like to eat burgers and love a good cake and still enjoy a tipple, but since moving to Madrid I’ve noticed how easy it has been for me to slip back into my bad habits. Temptation is everywhere.

In the UK, I would choose not to go to bars, clubs and restaurants. I would meet friends in my home or theirs, we’d go walking, meet for coffee, go to the movies, shop, visit the beach, museums, National Trust properties and so on and so on. I seemed to have the opportunity to do more than merely meet people and friends in bars and restaurants to then eat and drink.

I had friends who were my party pals, they only wanted to get drunk and eat too much junk, consequently we soon parted ways as I didn’t want that lifestyle any more. I’d lived that lifestyle for too long, and frankly I was bored of wasting my money and time on a useless pursuit of what always was unhappiness the day after (hangover, arguments, tired, sick and so on).

Now, you may think, what a boring mare – no, actually I’m not. I enjoy diversity, I enjoy not having to do what other people expect I should do, because they are happy doing it. Yet, here in Madrid, everyone meets for beers and tapas, even a day of pottery making ends up in one of thousands of different bars open until the small hours.

WHY???!!!!!!

I am once again being forced to apply the breaks on this ‘lets have a drink and lets eat all the fat infused food we can find’ ethos, and I’m discovering just how difficult it is to keep up with friends.

Not all of my friends, as some of them get where I’m coming from, but there are those who don’t.

I have friends who just because they are happy to while away their weekends over bottles of booze and then the bathroom sink, they think I should want this too. If I don’t, then the invites to do things just suddenly don’t arrive any more. 

They think, I’m sure, that I’m miserable or purposefully avoiding their company. Well, I’m not, I just can’t physically or mentally do this drinking fest every weekend or weekday. 

If I accepted every offer to go out during the week:

A) I’d be flat broke

B) I’d have an inflated liver the size to envy any poor force fed goose

C) I’d be thoroughly miserable

D) I’d be the size of the Titanic before it sunk.        

What is it about these points that people find so hard to grasp and take seriously?!

Also, my life here isn’t necessarily like their lives.

I don’t work full time, I have a boyfriend I enjoy spending time with (which usually consists of mainly weekends as he works so much), and I also have a life which still exists in the UK too. In fact, I have one foot here in Madrid and one in the UK.  I suppose, in a way, I have more responsibilities than they do too.

No, I’m not taking about kids, but about bills, mortgages, a career I’m once again trying to revive, I’m learning Spanish (still) and they’re fluent already, plus I didn’t move to Madrid to extend my student years (as some of my friends seem to have done).

I suppose I’ve lost the thread here, or the initial thread in any case. I begun with afternoon tea. Well, the people I had afternoon tea with are these friends I’m taking about, and they are somewhat one dimensional in their offer of friendship.

The reason is I’m the outsider. They are 3 friends who know each other through teaching together, and I came to know them through one of the Madrid meet-ups.

Don’t get me wrong, they are lovely in many ways; they are very complimentary, kind and I have fun with them, but, I notice too that they only talk and don’t really listen. I don’t like that, it really is a sign that people aren’t really friends. I don’t enjoy being ignored, or cut short or spoken over as though I’m not important, and they were doing that quite a bit. Of course, they also were eager to depart as they had a drinking fest planned – which of course, I hadn’t been told about or invited to. So, I know, well now know, from our last meeting, that I am an outsider to them. I don’t fit into their type of friendship. I can dip in and out of it, but because I’m not a party animal, I’m not really their cup of tea (well, we all like coffee from time to time don’t we).

So, have I told them any of this – no, I didn’t see the point in really going over the ground with them. I know I can’t sacrifice my lifestyle choices to meet their own, and I know they wouldn’t stop going out or drinking the volume of beer that they do for me. So, it is what it is.

I suppose I feel a bit peeved. I mean I have lost one friend over this already. I couldn’t afford to do what she wanted to do every other weekend. Yet again though, our ideals of friendship clashed. She was looking for more friendship than I could give. I couldn’t be there for her and her alone – I have a life when I don’t see her and I have to maintain that! So, I don’t see her any more and that actually upsets me.         

I think too, I have sacrificed what I really wanted – not having to get drunk and eat junk and be out till the small hours, just to gain friends. How pathetic is that?! I’m too old for that crap! Either people like me for me, or they don’t. If they like the fact I can drink them under the table and stay up all night dancing, then what type of friendship is that? Hardly a firm foundation for me to rely upon.

For me, friends are people you can share everything with. I don’t want a one sided party fest, I’m not 20 any more, I want something connected, deeper and diverse. I won’t settle for superficial.

In saying all this on Saturday I return to the UK again, and this time it will be for two months (a very long time for me). I will then see which friends are left standing when I’m not in the picture for this length of time, and which forget I even existed.

I think the way I have been feeling of late the change of scene will do me well, as I am getting a little narky here (I think this post reflects that well enough), I seem to get ‘itchy feet’ after a few months in one place! God knows how I’ll cope when I don’t have another country to escape to, and am stuck in one on a permanent basis! I always thought I had some gypsy blood in me somewhere!

 

Anyway thanks for reading my rant!! I appreciate it as always.

Hasta luego!!!

Motivation At Its Best!


It is Monday, I am taking a flight back to the UK in only a few hours time, and I am nervous, and angst ridden as usual.

So, I felt I required some inspiration and motivation to coax my mind that all is well *sigh*. Well, what better than making myself FEEL good with MUSIC and a bit of DANCING!!!

The tune included in this post IS ONE OF MY FAVOURITE by ONE OF MY FAVOURITE bands called; ‘Rudimental’!

Fantastic song, wonderful lyrics that really capture my whole outlook at the moment. The words remind me to stay determined in everything I do; ‘I’m not giving in’!

By the way, if anyone is looking for a great song to exercise to, or even clean the house to – this is it!!!!!!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9-Lwpgfd1E

A Ray Of Light


Being back here in the UK again so soon, feels weird. I must admit I’m not feeling 100% my usual ‘on top of the world’, and am struggling to maintain a smile and the facade of happiness.

Everything lately has seemingly taken an effect on me, like a delayed reaction. I was angry, and now I have had time to think I just feel sad. I can’t fully explain everything , all the emotions, they feel like a weight attached to my heart. I feel I need to sigh a lot, which means I have unresolved malarkey milling about inside, waiting to be set free – usually with a good cry.

Crying, is easier said than done. I am now in my parents house; time alone to ruminate is not really the easiest thing to procure! Also, I feel quite foolish, no one has died, so why do I feel so emotional and down??

I know a few bad things have occurred, and between them and other things (which are no doubt unresolved), the tension inside has been mounting for a while. I have allowed the bad feelings to lingering within me for too long a time.

So, feeling weird, and with the unnecessary little altercation over a pear (yes, over a piece of fruit), I left my parent’s house to walk. I needed to walk the emotions off, to give myself some space in the fresh air. I myself needed time away from anyone or anything just to think, to free my mind.

Although it was raining heavily I didn’t care, I let my feet take me in the direction they wanted to go. I found myself heading towards the graveyard, where my Grandmother (my Dad’s Mum) and my Grandfather (my Mum’s Dad) is buried.

Sounds morbid maybe, but I needed to be there. I hardly ever visit their graves, why, well I don’t believe they are actually there. I feel their essence left when they passed away, but sometimes being where they lie can be a focal point, a place to be at peace and think.

To cut a long story short my Grandfather or Tid as I called him from a baby, was like a second Father to me. I was close to him and my Nanna (who is currently ill in hospital). I couldn’t and still can’t really visit his grave without feeling emotional. Today, with everything mounting was no exception. I cried, and couldn’t stop myself. Although I was chiding myself for being foolish, for visiting ‘him’ with my shit when he, wherever he is, doesn’t need it, made me feel like an idiot.

I mean, it could be worse; I could be lying there where he is, instead I am alive and nothing is as bad as being dead.

So, I sat and thought and cried.

Then I noticed, from no-where a funeral procession was approaching me. This has never happened before. The exact spot I was sitting the funeral was making its way towards – taking up both walkways. I was a little shocked, and being dressed in black anyway I thought; ‘oh my goodness, I’m crying and in black, they’ll think I’m one of the relatives’!

I got up and left, and in that moment I felt relieved, a weight had been lifted. I laughed to myself at the irony – the coincidence. Moments before I saw the procession arrive I had said ‘Could be worse I could be dead’, and then there was the proof, walking towards me!

As I laughed and walked away the sun came out, the rain stopped and I just knew someone, somewhere was saying; ‘see, don’t be foolish, things will get better’.  I felt it was some sort of ‘sign’, some sort of comfort.

A weird comfort, but it worked.

 

I felt as though someone had heard me, and was trying to comfort me as best they could.

I don’t know what any of you will think reading this, perhaps that I have gone crazy. Yet, for me, it was the ‘sign’ I needed.

Back At It


So, after leaving Madrid for the UK and worrying myself sick over the flight, and all the messing about that is associated with flying in this time of paranoia. I am once again returned to Madrid; my week away gone all too quickly.

Getting myself back into the routine of life here in Madrid is proving a little difficult, although I know I have only in theory really been back a few hours.

What is making the settling back down harder is the fact that this time I stayed at my parent’s house. I am a person who is used to and likes time alone, but I didn’t get much of this back in the UK. So, now I have become accustomed to having people that love me around me more frequently, and I am used to talking about things with them throughout the day.  Plus, I have become a little too reliant (and enjoyed) my families home cooking – so I feel I was spoilt whilst there.

Yet, it isn’t just that.

My Grandmother (Nanna) was taken into hospital the second day I was back. She had fallen and broken her hip and thigh bones. I was immediately struck with shock and worry. I knew that if she had to undergo an operation she might not survive it. My Nanna is 81 in April, and she has never before had an operation (nor general aesthetic).

Yet, regardless of this my Nanna came through a lengthy op to wake and discover she had titanium extras in place of her broken bones. Relief, well, yes, I felt over the moon all was well. My Nanna and I are very close, and I love her dearly.

However, I am left wondering how well the after-care will be now. I am not there to witness this. I told her before I left her on Sunday that if I hear of any problems I will not hesitate to return back to the UK, and ensure any wrong doing is rectified, and any mistreatment is punished. After writing previously about the shocking NHS standards, I am under no illusion that they are perfect. How these people are able to treat or mistreat older people in their care is grotesque.

I also wonder if now my Nanna will actually receive more ‘professional’ help about the house, or even be entitled to some welfare benefits. Currently she gets nothing at all, she survives on her pension, which after scrimping and saving towards for over 40 years, has become a meagre amount. My Nanna still pays her way and even is taxed on her pension, after working all her life, she still has nothing for free. It infuriates me, when there are others who receive more in benefits than she does in pension, and they do have plenty for nothing.

This idea that the elderly are rolling around in money they all stuff under their mattresses is ridiculous. Yet, even if they are ‘well off’ at least they have worked for it – a generation of people who had to work for it, otherwise they’d receive nothing.  They didn’t expect anything to be handed to them on a platter, and the world didn’t owe them a living like most of today’s generation believes. These people strived and struggled to have security in their later years (a good pension), and yet many of these people aren’t even receiving that little luxury.

The other thing I had been questioning was myself.

A friend of mine was happy enough to lay the guilt trip on me, during these initial few days of extreme worry. She believes herself to be ‘Mother Teresa’. Her Father was dying and she felt compelled to ‘care’ for him, though she has children and a husband. I say ‘care’, but in theory he passed away, which they knew he would, before any real care could transpire. The care that involves 24/7 support didn’t come to fruition; the washing, dressing, lifting the person, toileting the person, housework, shopping, preparation of meals, feeding them, dealing with he household bills and so on and so on.

My friends ‘care’ of her Father consisted of taking her Dad out for day trips, sitting and talking to him, reminiscing and offering comfort, having a drink with him, putting his affairs in order and that was that.

I wonder how she would have felt in an alternate situation whereby she had to suspended her life with her family to really care for her Dad?

I know I am no martyr to the cause; I am inherently selfish. I knew when it all came down I couldn’t say I would sacrifice myself and life to care for my Nanna. Am I brave or stupid to even acknowledge such limitations; who can tell.

I have always thought professional care would be the better option, as they are supposed to know what they are doing. I don’t mean I would abandon anyone to their fate in the hands of strangers, but I couldn’t be as proficient as trained carers would be. I wouldn’t know where to begin.

My life too is no longer in the UK, so that alone poses a major barrier. I couldn’t say goodbye to my ties here, and return to care for my Nanna. Not that she expects that of me; she wants me to live my life and is happy for me. Yet, see what doubts are implanted from a few unthoughtful words from a friend.

I doubted myself, and still do – what am I worth if I can’t give back to a person I love? I feel like a shitty human being, but this isn’t helping. I mean having these thoughts during a time when all I needed to think about was whether my Nanna would actually live through the operation and trauma, it just added distress.

Why did my friend think it was OK to upset the apple cart even more, with her few words of ‘wisdom’ on the matter of caring for a relative?

What was she thinking?

A friend who thought I shouldn’t return to my life in Madrid. A friend willing to add insult to injury, and stress to an already stressful situation. A friend who judged me when I needed her, who threw back in my face all my impartial support of her through her Father’s illness and ensuing death.

All because I wouldn’t bow to her ‘ideal’ of what a person, a relative should do.

So now I am back in Madrid with threads left in the UK, which aren’t tied up into neat pretty bows.

I suppose I shall have to find a way to square all this, or face feeling a juxtaposition with everything I have here.