annanotbob2's Diaryland Diary


Day 71

I did the long writing group today, the one I moaned about last week, then forgot so didn't write to the teacher, but today's was good - we didn't go back to the Mansfield story and at the end of the session I told her I enjoyed this much more, that I hadn't enjoyed the previous week - much better to be able to say it then, with a genuine positive response as well.  I'm going to copy out the things I wrote - she said she likes that my writing is very grounded and unapologetic - does that mean she thinks it needs an apology and she's surprised that I write such stuff? Here's what I wrote and read out anyway - your opinion would be appreciated.

Exercise 1 was to write about what was happening for us ten years ago.

Ten years ago was a different world. I had three adult children then - Sam had been diagnosed with MS but was still working, still driving up and down the motorways to visit, to drop off her son to hang out with me during the holidays. It's hard to imagine a time before - that whole ten years were all about Sam - her gradual decline and recent death. I lived in a little house that I loved in Brighton - now I look back and can't imagine that I wasn't carefree - what troubles could I have had when I had three healthy children? Nothing more than irritations. Daughter had just started at Goldsmiths doing Fine Art and Art History, Son was 18 months clean and sober, doing a law conversion degree, I'd completed a two year psychiatric recovery programme, things were looking uo - we'd come through our troubles and were ready to take on the world. We weren't ready for what the world had to throw at us, though. Sam did already walk with a stick but that didn't seem such a major affliction - yes we'd mourned her loss of full health, but a stick? No big deal.

I cried reading that out, which nobody else did on their first piece but several did with later ones, including the teacher. Second exercise was to write about a loved one, where they were ten years ago,
My grandson was ten then, full of beans, full of charm, innocent of the world and what it could (and would) do to him. When we walked through town he'd often go ahead, skipping and singing, happiness bursting out of him, indifferent to the street-wise kids looking on with scorn. He spent his life in different places. Home with his mum and stepdad was a mobile home park in a village, birdsong, horses, red kites flying overhead, no possession-envy - no room for possessions. Dad's for regular weekends, a plumber, loads of money, loads of love but inarticulate love expressed in new roller blades and trips to Alton Towers. Holidays with us, me and Daughter, chaotic, artistic, different rules, so many different places. He was a kind little boy. One night a male friend of mine stayed over and he came down from his bed to tell Marcus that he could play with Grandson's cars if he liked as he wouldn't need them before morning. I also remember a long debate about how boys and girls looked more the same down here than where he lived - he was clever and interested in stuff. He was tiny too - one year he was too big for the little children's rides on the pier, but not big enough to go on the roller-coaster alone - they both had measuring poles you had to stand next to - just an inch or two in it both ways. It never occurred to him to ask me to go on the roller-coaster with him - that was never going to happen. He called the back room where me pushed all the piles of paper and paint and god knows what else aside to make a space at the table for him to eat the dining hall. I used to watch him for signs, was this a good way to grow up - spread between three different realities?

Long term readers may like to know that in the same week as the pier business, Stepfordtart came for a visit, bringing her two lovely girls who took Grandson on the roller-coaster and the ghost train and all those awful things. I think about those girls often - I hope to fuck they're OK. I imagine (and hope) her sister stepped in as both dad and step-dad were fucking useless.

The last task was to find a selfie on our phones - to choose it first before instructions were given, then respond to the questions. Give the date as the title.


I'm in my bed, with pneumonia, coming out the other side a bit, enough to take a photo to send to the care home for them to show Sam. I've got my winter dressing gown on, still a bit feverish, alternating shivery and sweaty, keeping my neck and shoulders warm. I don't have my glasses on or my teeth in - I can tell from the way my mouth falls in, the smoker's wrinkles even deeper as they scrunch up. I feel numb, exhausted, a vague flicker of hope that the worst is past, but it has been a relief to give up and take to my bed. You can't see from the photo that it's a sick room - it's a close up of my face so no meds stacked up on the table, no jug of water gathering dust, no pile of books waiting for me to be regain enough concentration to read. The person physically closest to me is probably across the street or down the road. The neighbours on both sides are at work. I look peaceful - my forehead and jaw are both relaxed, apart from the lips closed over the empty mouth. A month in bed was really what I needed.

I'll give her unapologetic, bloody woman.

That was this morning. As well as this I


  • had my art therapy

  • meditated

  • made carrot and coriander soup for lunch, except we didn't have any coriander, so just spicy carrot soup

  • had a long video call with Son

  • Daughter came round to sit in the sun

  • did my Thursday yin yoga class

  • me and Daughter walked the dog on the rec

  • made a Jamie Oliver fish pie - the one where you grate loads of veg and mix it with chunks of uncooked fish, a bit of creme fraiche, cheese, parsley, lemon zest, then cover it with mashed potato, but I did the version with grated cooked potato as I don't really like the texture of mash. Delish

  • did the virtual pub quiz, beat Bloke by half a point so only second to last in our group. One question was what is the main ingredient in mayonnaise and his answer was egg yolk - I dispute this - oil, surely?

  • and I've blogged and now I'm going to bed

Good night. Keep safe. Thank you for reading xxx


12:06 a.m. - 22.05.20


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