This Weekend and The Search For Some Pals

Last night I woke up about 3am. I was too hot and I’d been having a strange unsettling dream. I struggled to get back to sleep and then I woke up again at 5.30am. The curtain pole fell out of the wall the other evening and I have not got round to fixing it yet as it involves filling in a hole in the wall. This means that for now I’m using a sheet, which is too thin and too small to combat the brilliant sunshine we are getting just now even at early-o-clock in the morning.

We started off our day with a swim which always leaves me feeling refreshed and awake, every time I tell myself I should do this more often and yet somehow I never quite manage to make it a habit.

I am crabbit today though. I’m in my office and the sun is shining so I really want to be outside doing something nice. We were supposed to be flying to Thailand today but as you may have gathered via Instagram and my last post we are spending a lot of time in Northern Ireland just now with my Boyos family. I can’t really say more without invading the privacy of everyone, so for once I’m learning to censor myself and say less. (On another note do any of you suffer from runaway talking? I quite often say way more than I mean to because I get all awkward and forget to stop talking). Anyway the family situation meant that a holiday just now was absolutely out of the question, it was the right decision and whilst I really wish circumstances could be different, not for the purposes of our holiday but for the health and happiness of everyone involved, they are not.

It does mean I now have a weekend on my home on my own as The Boyo travels back to N.I tomorrow. My best friend is working and my other friends live too far away to arrange something at the last minute like this. I’m also a bit tetchy anyway with everything that is going on so I probably would not be the best company. It has got me thinking though about friendships.

I met 3 of my closest friends at University. We all shared the same flat in the halls of residence and then on and off we lived with each other during our undergraduate years. One lives an hour away from me, the other two live further away. We communicate nearly everyday on Whatsapp. My other closest friend is from School and she lives in my hometown which is a 2.5 hour drive from Fife. I have lots of other friends from University (both times), from my various jobs (Scotland and Hong Kong) and from my hometown but we all live fairly far apart. What I don’t really have are local friends.

Just how do you go about making friends when you are in your 30s? For example, this weekend when I’m on my own, the ideal thing would be to call up a pal and go for coffee (and cake or ice cream). However I just don’t have those friends locally to do this with.

I do an exercise class but I’m too shy to just strike up conversations with quite a large group of ladies.

I don’t have children so going to groups to meet other Mums is out because I am not one.

I do work full-time and I get on well with my colleagues but I have not made the sort of friends where we go for coffee together here.

I volunteer – I am a Girl Guide Leader and that gets me out the house 1 evening a week, I have a small unit of 12 girls and I love doing this but at the moment I’m the sole leader.

I know a few of My Boyo’s work friends but without him around I probably would not feel comfortable arranging a meet up.

I have ways of occupying my time but it would be nice to just be able to call someone up and go for coffee, or the cinema or anything really. It doesn’t help that I’m a bit shy and I can be a bit awkward initially – even when you do get to know me I certainly have plenty of faults! There are plenty of people who I’m sure are in the same boat, moving to be in a relationship or for work or for other reasons.

Anyway I’m hoping this weekend to get a little sewing project done, I have lots of admin for my Guide Unit to do and I have some errands to run so I’m sure I will be kept occupied for the most part.

What are your weekend plans? And any advice on finding friends?

Merry

315805_10150902329715565_266667467_n

Weekend Wandering – Splashing Around on the Causeway Coast

At the moment I’m hopping between work in Fife and Northern Ireland, where my Boyo is from. He is staying over there just now with his family and I’m flying over to spend weekends with them. The family includes a very lovely dog called Maggie.

Maggie likes to get a good daily walk. The Boyo is lucky that he grew up right on the North Coast and has wonderful beaches, cliff top paths, ruined castles and of course the Giants Causeway right on his doorstep over there. Plenty of lovely places for walks, especially when the weather is fine. On Sunday it was even warm enough for both Maggie and I to enjoy splashing around at Portballintrae.

20150619_150249

20150628_112941

20150628_113148 20150628_111807 20150628_111748

20150622_114057

Follow//

Life and Love

I haven’t written anything in a while as we’ve been so busy. The end of the academic year is a busy time and we’ve been taking advantage of the slightly better weather to get out and about a bit more.

This week though is proving to be really hard. I’m ill with an ear infection which means I’m being even less help than I want to be. I’m aware that more people in my ‘real’ life are aware of this blog and as much as I want to write down my feelings (writing can be quite therapeutic) I’m aware that I would be talking about things on the big wide internet that actually deserve privacy.

Love is a funny thing and I’m very lucky I have some very wonderful people who I love and who love me in my life. Right now one of the people I love most in the world is hurting a lot and I wish I could make the situation better and that I could fix it all. I can’t and it makes me feel so sad. All I can do is to be there and let them know that I love them and I will always be there. Life can be so very cruel and sad sometimes.

Our almost-instinct almost true:
What will survive of us is love.

(from Philip Larkin ‘An Arundel Tomb’)

Learning to Let it Be

Many years ago I was a lonely, sad girl. I was bullied terribly and everything around me was falling apart. I made the decision to change schools and try to salvage a few of my school years and hopefully actually pass some exams. I didn’t really think I would make any friends, I just hoped that I would not be hounded and miserable every single day.

I can’t quite remember how I became friends with X, I just know that when I did my life changed dramatically. I had a friend, I gained other friends through my friendship with him, but for the first time in my life I had a friend who I felt comfortable with. We had so much fun, the last year at school made up for all the other horrid years I had endured. He was creative, he was funny, he was very clever. He was inspiring to me. I had a best friend and I loved him. As a teenager you are pretty self absorbed and whilst I revelled in feeling happy I was pretty unaware of deeper things that he perhaps was going through.

The week before I left to go to University I had a panic, I was suddenly very scared, I was leaving to go to a city where X would not be. The prospect of going away to a brand new place, with a lot of new people terrified me. I needed X to be my security, I mean if he found me fun then maybe other people would too, but maybe without him around I would just be the weird friendless girl I once was? X came round and had a good chat with me, boosted my confidence and his talk worked, I went off to university and loved it.

X and I had weekly phone calls where I would prattle on about all the joys of University life and city living which was pretty thrilling for a small town girl. For a while it was all good then things changed and he became more distant.

Eventually he moved away and started a new life and I wasn’t a part of it at all.

I still feel hurt. I still wish he was part of my life. However I can now see how clingy I was, how self absorbed and how suffocating our friendship must have been, especially when he had to make the changes in his life for him to be happy.

Last year I found him on Facebook, I sent a long message and I was immediately blocked. Last week I received an email ‘Your Contact X is on twitter’. Of course I immediately pinged off a follow request. I was blocked.

This weekend I pondered a while on this, I still care deeply for this person, I always will because his friendship was a very precious gift that definitely changed my life. Clearly though I have to let it be. Our friendship is not part of his life now, it is a memory. My need to ‘find’ him is selfish. Our paths diverged and we hopefully have both found ourselves in a happy place.

X if you ever read this I hope you are happy. I know you will have brought many people colour and joy like you once did for me. I hope you feel loved.

Thank you

20150506_074310 (1)

Recent Wanderings & Summer Planning

Today as I looked out my office window (this was written during a quick lunch break) I see grey skies and lots of rain. It was very stormy on Sunday and today again, it is very soggy indeed. We are hoping to sneak in a quick camping trip up to Aberdeenshire this month and my College also has a big fun day planned, and, at the very end of the month there is a big County Guide Camp. So I’m okay with it being damp and dreich just now if the sun decides to shine over the next few weekends. In particular the last weekend in May, the 8 Guides I have from my unit attending the county camp have never really camped before and I would like it to be a really good experience for them…. soggy sleeping bags might put them off!

We’ve managed to sneak in a couple of walks in recent weeks, Dunkeld in Perthshire, Balmerino in Fife and Boddin in Angus. As usual when in Dunkeld we called in at our favourite cake spot; Spill The Beans but we have no new fabulous cafe finds to report.

20114_10155582706600565_7330980528340537825_n

11209607_10155582705940565_6830142380024966349_n 11173340_10155582705230565_7608278056424688690_n 11055724_10155582704295565_7083582035592784189_n                         10419613_10155582703320565_9207557247909054821_n 10660338_10155582702900565_7563710078815920833_n

 We have however booked our Summer Holiday! The Boyo has a conference in Australia to attend at the end of June and whilst we did consider a holiday in Australia we decided it was not the right time of year and too expensive for all the things we would like to do. We’ll save for a holiday in Australia another time (it also gives me more chance to get over my fear of spiders). Instead I shall fly out and meet the Boyo at Bangkok airport. 1 night in Bangkok then 6 nights in Koh Samui. We are very excited indeed. I’m stocking up on books on my kindle. I’ve bought a new swimsuit and I have the factor 50+ suncream ready. Have any of you been to Thailand? I’m on the hunt for a beach dress, something to throw over my swimsuit, I may even consider making myself one. I have sandals ordered this Merrell Pair for all the walking about we always end up doing and I think I will buy these M&S sandals, I got them last year in a pinky colour and there were great. Footwear is really important as we are never still for very long and I have a knee condition, usually referred to as dodgy knees so my shoes have to be supportive. I had a Merrell pair of sandals for a few years that were not very pretty but they did an excellent job. I unfortunately lost them during a flat move when lived in Hong Kong. I’m hoping this pair will do just as good a job but look a bit nicer as well. I don’t think I really I need any more clothes, although an extra swimsuit would probably be handy. I am finding them to be pretty expensive though so I may just make-do with what I have. I’m trying to stop myself getting too carried away with excitement. Do any of you have summer plans? Our original plan before all of this was a week camping in Skye so this is a bit more exotic and warmer than originally anticipated for this summer.

Now I hope you have a merry day… I’m going home for a cosy evening in, maybe even a wee hot chocolate, in weather like this it is almost obligatory!

Merry in The Ferry..

Be nice – a little chat about being body positive

This week there has been a bit of an outcry in UK media over ‘plus size’  ‘healthy weight’ and ‘obesity’ in part because of a documentary about the emergence of retailers embracing plus size clothes.

I have been really annoyed by one prominent (well she was on a prominent tv program) persons comments. This tv person said that she didn’t think that clothing in ‘extreme’ sizes should be available because it may encourage people to adopt unhealthy eating habits.

How can she possibly know how healthy someone is by the size of clothes they wear? It is lunacy. I have a friend who is a UK size 4 or US size 0. This tv person said, on the very popular (but not my taste) program, that clothes for people like my friend should not be available on the high street. Now this friend of mine is extremely fit – she does crazy long endurance cycling stuff, as far as I know she is healthy (but I can’t see inside of her body and it isn’t any of my business unless she chooses to discuss that with me). She is also small in stature. To me she looks fit and healthy and happy but regardless it is NOT my place to judge regardless of her size. Even if she were ill she should be able to buy clothes to wear, to have a choice, to dress in a way she chooses that makes her feel happy and confident.

Then there is me. I’m just shy of 5ft10. My family genetics dictate in part the shape I am. A large percentage of women in my family are tall with slightly broad shoulders and we are busty (we also have, as my sister loves to point out, flat bums). A few years ago I was very fit and healthy, I did a lot of walking, I didn’t eat much rubbish (I was a poor student and could not afford as much cake) and I felt I looked quite good. Now my BMI and my doctor at the time both stated that I was a very healthy weight at that time… but guess what I was still ‘plus size’. These shoulders and bosom will always be ‘plus size’ but according to that person on tv I’m ‘extreme’ and being able to buy clothes in my size ‘encourages me to be unhealthy’.

Wedding Me in 2011 feeling slim and happy and pretty. 

That is RUBBISH.

I have put on weight now. A combination of medications and a chronic headache problem and working in a new job that leaves me sedentary most of the time has had a bad effect on my waistline.

You know what though – being able to buy clothes in my ‘extreme’ size now does not encourage me to put on weight. In fact when I wear something I feel pretty in I have a confidence boost and then I feel happier and more able to go and do fun things. So in a way it encourages me to become more active. It doesn’t help that I’m tall and struggle to find clothes as it is – are tall people to be banished from the high street as well?

It doesn’t really matter though because regardless of our size other people should not feel able to pass judgements. What happened in educating our young women that our looks do not matter? That our abilities, our achievements, our equality and above all being kind to one another is far more important?

I’ve suffered from depression in the past and when I got better I realised that the huge emphasis I had placed on my looks was wrong. I was grateful for my body for being able to get me through a horrible illness. I’m grateful for my sturdy legs that take me wandering every weekend despite dodgy knees (not looks an actual working issue!). I’m grateful for my ample bosom that my friends dog seems to think is a cushion for her (small dog). I’m happy I have peely wally skin and freckles because if were all the same then it would be very boring indeed.

I’d like to point out once more SIZE does not equal HEALTH.

And if we go down that road we’ll need to ban chocolate, cheese, ice cream, butter, cream, alcohol, biscuits, cakes, crisps…. the list could go on.. as these are foods that could encourage people to be an ‘extreme’ size. We are adults we can make our own decisions. Education from a young age about a healthy lifestyle that includes good food and activity would be far better, combined of course with a body positive image because genetics, health and other issues will always be around.

This post on the great Fuller Figure Fuller Bust blog reaffirms this message.

11102606_10155481401805565_2984678306312707303_n On our recent London trip, on Harley Street funnily enough but NOT planning on any work, because I’m quite okay as I am. 

11150902_10155481412625565_7960552479406207005_n

This issue reminds me that I started this blog was to help me be a more Merry person. I may lose weight, I may not, but weight is not the key to feeling happy and merry. Leading a happy and healthy life filled with good people, fun times and yummy food is the way and size has very little to do with that. 

#wearethethey

Merry in The Ferry..

A not so Merry evening.

The Boyo is currently away in Galway ‘working’. He takes a group of undergraduate students there every year. Lucky him. I’ve been to Galway once for a day and I quite liked it, I’d definitely like to go back again one day but maybe not with 30 undergraduate students in tow.

Anyway this means I am currently home alone and relying on public transport. Which generally is fine, I’m spring cleaning some of our cupboards and I’m hoping to do some sewing at the weekend whilst I have some peace and quiet. I’m also watching silly films and reading books.  It isn’t so fine when he messages telling me he is having a lovely wander around sunny Galway and I’m stuck in a stuffy office but hey ho.

Last night I finished work at 5.45pm it was supposed to be 6pm but there were no students and my library is a greenhouse when the sun shines. I was warm, my head was fuzzy from the stuffy atmosphere, I was tired and I was hungry. I popped into the co-op on the way home to pick up a yoghurt and some potatoes and reduced chocolate eclairs. I lifted my keys out of my shopping bag and into my handbag so they would not be buried under the potatoes and handy for me to get out when I got home.

I toddled off down to my bus stop. I may have eaten a chocolate eclair at the bus stop, or maybe not, maybe I am well behaved after all. I got on the bus to my village and arrived home. It was now 6.45pm.

My keys were not in my handbag. I checked my shopping bag. Nope no sign of keys. I really hoped I had not left them on the bus as it goes through all sorts of villages and with the Boyo in Galway I really needed my keys to get in the house.

By this point my fuzzy head was now a full blown headache. I phoned the co-op. The manager cheerfully confirmed my keys were in his pocket. Great.

Luckily a bus was due at 6.58pm. I left my bag of shopping on my doorstep – one of the charms of village life is that you don’t really have to worry about doing this. Although I think some of my Guides may have figured out where I live. Luckily no-one stole my remaining eclair!

I got back to the town where I work, I collected my keys and then I had to wait 45 minutes for the next bus.

My headache was now definitely becoming migraine-esque. I needed food and bed. I got chips and a magazine as I had left my book at home that morning. I ate my chips. I somewhat enjoyed them but my head was getting in the way. I got my bus. It wasn’t one that went to my village but the next one along so I had a 15 minute walk back to my house. I was in my bed by 9pm.

I was woken up after 11pm by the Boyo skyping me. He seemed surprised when I fell asleep after answering the call. I then woke up again at 3am needing more medicine for my head.

This morning I really wanted to stay in bed.

I went to work but due to the mishaps of the night before I didn’t have my planned leftovers for lunch so I had to pop out.

I may have had a mint choc chip ice cream cone for my lunch…

Some days ice cream is needed.

Ice cream today

My migraines are definitely triggered by lack of sleep and stress. The stuffy atmosphere and late dinner don’t help. I use peppermint essential oil, a blend of essential oils called deep relief, lots of water and a dark room to treat my head. Sometimes sumatriptan is needed and sometimes like last night it doesn’t even work.