Thursday, 26 May 2011

Fame at last for The Artist?

My ex-husband, The Artist, has recently signed to Ugly Models - a modelling agency for people with interesting (i.e., normal) faces and bodyshapes - and was successful in auditioning for a Heineken advert.  I'm really pleased for him and I hope he gets more work from it.

And here it is - he's 'The Magician' that appears about 40 seconds in.  And, yes, he is rocking the William Hartnell look:

Quick hello....

I've got the painters in.  Literally.  For both meanings of the word.  I won't bore you with the miniutiae of my pre-menopausal innards other than to say that, at my age - thirty-eighteen, since you were wondering - changes are seemingly occurring.  I can't wait for it all to stop altogether.  The ability to reproduce seemed to bypass me entirely and babies failed to appear despite bucket loads of money being thrown at my uterus so now I'd just rather it stopped entirely.

I have a weird relationship with children - no, not like that.  When I was little and growing up and, indeed, all through my first marriage, I never, never, ever wanted children.  Ever.  I was more than happy to be, what the Americans term, 'childfree', a term that implies there's a choice involved. My first husband ('the Artist') was of a similar mind.  We were busy creating art and making music, and there was no room for anyone else and it was good.

Then I met The Lovely Husband.  And all my friends started spawning, and I contracted 'baby-rabies'.  I wanted to join the club (literally).  I wanted to know what our children would look like. Unlike the Artist, I knew that TLH would make a fantastic father.  I wanted his babies desperately.  And they failed to arrive, month after month after month after month.  From 1996 to 2001, doctors were consulted, surgery was undertaken, money spent - a great deal of money.  I did manage to get pregnant twice but the first was ectopic which had to be removed in an emergency operation, and the second was miscarried at 6 weeks.  All I ended up with were scars on my belly, a smaller bank balance and a massive sense of loss.

We decided to stop treatment as the emotional toll was getting too great, and I'm sensible enough to realise there's no point throwing good money after bad.  I had, I think it was, 3 embryos still in the freezer after my last round of IVF and I just couldn't face trying one last time with them so I decided to donate them to research, then I knew it would be over.  I could have left them where they were for a few more years until I'd decided to have another go but I'd had enough by then.  The weird thing is that it was never entirely discovered why I couldn't keep a pregnancy, there was nothing particularly obvious.  We found out I do have fairly mild polycystic ovarian syndrome but that was the only thing.

I had friends who didn't understand.  One of my closest friends who, ironically, had much greater gynae problems than me but still had children easily, told me that she thought I'd given up too quickly.  Funny - I don't remember how much money it had cost her to get pregnant or how many painful injections she'd had to give herself or vaginal ultrasounds she'd had to undergo, or how many of her parents were dropping hints about how lovely it was to have a 'big' family (actually I do, it was NONE AT ALL).  And adoption was never going to be an option for us - we'd considered it and decided against it.

Yes, it still bothers me.  But the loss of your future family is not exactly something you just 'get over'.  Most of the time I'm absolutely fine and, frankly - seeing the problems my friends are now having with their teenage children - thanking my lucky stars that we didn't manage to have kids.  But I can't help wondering what it would have been like, to have a house bustling with activity, with your kids' friends coming and going, the potential for making new friends for myself at the school gates, all that sort of thing.  I've never had that.  So I've filled in my time with doing lots of other stuff, things I wouldn't have been able to do if there had been ankle-biters around.  I went to university and got a BSc and an MA.  I started teaching.  I took up horse-riding (for a while).  I taught myself to make jewellery and started a business.  I took on an allotment.  I spent time with my camera.  I paint (occasionally).  I taught myself to crochet.  And now I'm playing in a band again, at nearly 50 years old.

I have another friend who, I suspected, was envious of all the things I did until I explained to her a couple of weeks ago that I did these things to fill the void that my children should have filled.  She was surprised that I still felt like that, but, then, she's had her kids in her life for the last 16 years and can't imagine life without them.

So I think I probably now class myself (if I have to class myself as anything at all) as 'childless' rather than 'childfree'.  Because I've had no choice.

And now I'm approaching the 'crone' phase of my life and, if I'm not going to be a mother, then it can't come too soon, to be honest.

Blimey, that was unexpected.  I was going to mention the house being painted but I shot off at a tangent there, huh?  Still, this is my blog and I'll say what I want - it's still cheaper than therapy.

So, the house is being painted!  Yay!  We've been here for 16 years now and, apart from having new double glazing put in several years ago, and TLH redoing the bridge recently, we've not done a damn thing to the outside.  Yes, we're slackers.  But our neighbours had theirs done last summer so I got them to give me a quote to do ours, just like a proper grownup.  And they've been here all week and doing a fab job, and they're lovely boys too.  They're the politest painters/decorators I've ever met - and The Artist's 'proper' job was a painter/decorator so I've met (and worked with) a great deal of them - effusively grateful for a cup of tea, they don't swear (which is extraordinary), they don't have a radio on and because there's no radio, there's also no out-of-key singing at the top of their voice!  I know!  Amazing!

So I'll give them a plug - if you're anywhere near Godalming in Surrey and you need the outside of your house decorating or maintaining, then you will definitely do a lot worse than get a quote from Adam at

This has been a Public Service Announcement.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Friday the 13th - a good day for some...

*Blogger has a bit of a spasm at the end of last week so this post should have been put up on Friday 13 May.  Just pretend you've gone back in time to read it....*

Well, I’m having a good day today, even if it is Friday the 13th.  Not that other days recently haven’t been good (and some haven’t, with a vengeance, I’ll explain in a bit) but just right now, here, this morning, I’m having a good day.

The weather has been just lovely and that always, always helps.  It’s been pretty bloody magnificent since the beginning of April and there doesn’t seem to be much sign that it’s going to stop either.  At least until we get to late July and August when I expect it’ll start raining and not stop until October.  Ah well, ‘twas ever thus with British weather – enjoy it while it’s here.

I know the blog’s been pretty quiet since the last post (well, duh…) but you know what I mean.  A few things have happened – we bought a lovely new (to us) car, a little black Smart car.  It’s teeny, tiny on the outside but is genuinely like a Tardis, inside it easily fits The Lovely Husband, who stands 6’2” when he kicks his slingbacks off, AND there’s just enough boot space to take our weekly shopping, so it’s win-win!  It’s hugely fun to drive as well – because it’s so small and light it goes like poo off a shovel when you put your foot down.

We’ve managed with just having one car for the last 14 years because, up until now, TLH was commuting to work in London on the trains so didn’t need the car.  But lately he’s been working in a location that is very difficult to get to by train so has had to take our one car with him every day.  This has been fine as long as the contract was only going to be a few months – I can walk into the nearest town if I need anything and get the train if I want to get anywhere else – but the contract has been extended and I was beginning to feel the loss of the car.  Plus what would happen in an emergency?  If I needed to get somewhere really quickly? I’d be scuppered.

Also the only car we had is a shamefully gas-guzzling Range Rover.  I make no excuse about owning one since it’s AWESOME but it does appalling mileage to the gallon.  This was just about okay when TLH was in London as the car was only used, at most, a couple of times a week, so we could put our first world, privileged blinkers on and just about justify it to ourselves.  But doing proper commuting in it, 60-70 miles a day, was costing us an arm and a leg in petrol.  So we pondered about what kind of small car to get and ended up investigating the Smart cars. 

We needed to see if TLH would fit into one (no-one we know has one so couldn’t ask for a quick sit to try for size), so we found the nearest dealership to us, which just happens to be the Mercedes Benz World over at Brooklands in Weybridge.


This is a somewhat different place to your usual garage forecourt with a row of secondhand cars parked outside.  It’s an extraordinary place – it’s built in the middle of what used to be the Brooklands race track and there’s some sort of airfield there as well.  But there’s a race track there as well as an off-road track and a skid pan.  It’s the sort of place where you can do ‘experiences’ – usually bought as Christmas/birthday presents for blokes – and get to drive massively expensive cars at stupid speeds.  Fun if you like that kind of thing.

Anyway, we found that we both fit nicely into the Smart Cars so decided to take the plunge and buy a secondhand one.  We’ve had it for a couple of weeks now and we LURVE it.  It’s a bit like driving a go-kart for grownups, costs tuppence ha’penny to fill with petrol and uses very little of it to go long distances. 

It’s on the driveway right now, looking like the Range Rover’s baby – look, see here:

 We’ve rather unimaginately christened it ‘Little Car’ and the Range Rover is now the ‘Big Car’.  TLH wanted me to take a picture of them both with a cardboard box next to them, for a really rather tortuous joke relating to the Rave era**

Mind you, it’s not all been new cars and bad jokes at Jones Towers, I have just got over some kind of very nasty stomach bug.  It was very, very painful and felt like it could either be Norovirus or, more alarmingly, another bout of mild Pancreatitis but, weirdly, without the additional symptoms of either, i.e., vomiting and the squits.  It just hurt.  A lot.  Lasted about 5 days and has now gone.  No idea what it was but just be warned, it could well be something going around, and I don’t recommend it.

It caused me to basically just sit on the sofa and watch old movies for the last 5 days, which is not a bad thing in itself and, frankly, an ideal way for me to spend my day anyway, but it did mean that I couldn’t spend any time at the allotment and we’re getting perilously close to the annual Inspection Date.  This is where bigwigs with clipboards come along and inspect your plot to make sure (a) you’re cultivating it and (b) it’s not too overgrown.  I’d pass (a) but fail on (b) rather spectacularly at the moment, so I need to spend more time there just doing the bastard weeding.  Oh well.  I managed to spend 3 hours there yesterday afternoon and got some more beans and some courgettes in.  I just have to gird my loins and resign myself to spending more time there next week.  But I’m glad I managed to get some work done there this week, stomach bugs notwithstanding.

And this morning/afternoon finds me in my jewellery workshop, with an elderly, overweight, arthritic cat at my feet, making some new things to put on my stall for this coming Saturday.  I’m hoping to be able to sell at least one or two things but the credit crunch has hit craftspeople VERY hard – as my mum says ‘what we make isn’t sausages’, which (a) you can’t argue with, as my stuff most definitely isn’t a pork product and (b) means that people would rather use their hard earned cash to buy essentials, such as food, rather than splash out on frivolous jewellery.  I’m just very grateful (and lucky) that I don’t need to sell my jewellery to make ends meet, and all the money I make from it is going into my new saxophone fund.

And while I’m making new stuff, I’m listening to BBC Radio 6, which I love.  It’s like listening to my iPod on shuffle, and plays enough new music to keep me interested so that I’ll go off and download it.

As I said, it’s a good day today.  And it’s Eurovision at the weekend!  Yay!! What more could I ask for?!?!?

** 'Big Fish, Little Fish, Cardboard Box' was a sort of dance move at the time.  Hard to describe but you can read more about it here if you are that desperate to know.  Saddo.