Monday, 27 June 2011

Blah blah blah

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

You know how I am always banging on about the small things, and how I strive to notice them, and how they give me joy? Turns out it is also the small things that drive me mad. I think it is part of the New Fragility. I am still waiting for the layer of skin that was removed through bereavement to grow back. My rational mind knows it takes time. My irrational, critical, perfectionist mind says: oh come on, butch up. That part of me wants to be robust again. I’m bored of being fragile. I keep saying to myself: come on, you are a tough old bird. Come on.

I am tough in that I know I can bend and crack without breaking. Age has taught me that you can get bits chipped off you, and fix yourself up with binder twine and a bit of gaffer tape, and trundle on. I do not lean heavily on other people, which I like to think of as brave self-sufficiency, although I know other people see it as a weakness. (I can’t quite decide which one is right.) I can get on with things. I can search for the Beauty. I can do my work. There were nine hundred new words of book today. That is not nothing.

The fragility shows itself in sudden inability to sleep. I have bitten off all my fingernails. (Is this sharing too much with the group, now?) I succumb to sudden moments of searing regret: why did I not spend more time with my old dad? Why did I not ring him more often?

And then come the small things. I broke a favourite plate yesterday. It was a lovely Wedgewood thing, with a white centre and an elegant turquoise ring round the outside. My mother gave me a set of six. Now there are only five. This provoked a stupid storm of emotion.

My new computer has a few little glitches in it, as all technology will. The delete button is amazingly sensitive, so I am constantly getting rid of things I want to keep, photographs mostly, and have to trudge over to the recycle bin and click Restore, Restore. (This suddenly strikes me as deeply symbolic.) Normally, I would just factor this in. I am a great believer in Factoring In. Rather than getting crazy over something, or someone, you just factor in whatever the failing or irritant is, reset your expectations, and le voila, all manner of things will be well. I seem to have temporarily mislaid this ability. So the delete button glitch is sending me demented.

Minor things take on a huge, overwhelming aspect. The thought of getting the library books back on time seems almost impossible. I keep eating all the food in my fridge, and then thinking: oh God, do I really have to go to the bloody shop and buy stuff again?

Yesterday, I flew into a rage because I started listening to a reading on the iPlayer, and it turned out to be a book of such startling banality and platitude and piss-poor prose that I could not understand why the writer was allowed out of the house. It’s a very successful and generally admired writer too. Instead of just turning the thing off and listening to something else and thinking of each to each, I took the book as a personal affront. What is the point in trying to write decent sentences when this kind of buggery bollocks is lionised on Radio Four?

Everyone says all this goes in phases. I suppose this is the phase I am in at the moment: a bit worn out and overwhelmed and tired. It’s not the end of the world. It’s a bit like the weather. It’s another black old day, today; the trees looked drowned and pitiful, the sky is the colour of pewter, the rain falls and falls, and falls. But there is the chance that tomorrow there will be sun.


No pictures today on account of the weather; here are some old ones from last week:

27 June 1

27 June 2

27 June 3

27 June 4

27 June 5

27 June 5-1

27 June 6

27 June 8

27 June 10

27 June 11

And since I clearly need a bit of cheering up, there are three pictures of the Pigeon today, since it is almost impossible to feel melancholy when gazing on this amount of loveliness:

27 June 15

27 June 16

27 June 16-1

Forgive me for wailing. The sun will come out. It will it will it will.


  1. Name and shame that book please.

    Speaking of books, yours must be huge by now! You're really turning out the words at the moment aren't you?

  2. I lost my Mum on 11th June and understand so many of those feelings Tania. So cheered to see the pigeon tackling her giant stick the other day and you've reminded me I shall soon need to venture into my 'storage unit of doom'. As you've said, just need to go very slowly right now. x

  3. Poor you. They say grief is like a river, with shallows and rapids, and just when you think you've found calm water you get tossed out again into the waves. For what it's worth, not sleeping is awful but it is often no more than a sign that your unconscious needs to speak - and it often happens when you are keeping going - the way you are working on at your book - through a trauma that many people would stop for. (I don't think it's bad to keep going, not at all, it's just that your grief will still demand its pound of ... whatever. I've run out of metaphor.) Sorry, have waffled on terribly. Anyway, the most important thing is to be as kind as possible to yourself. The Pigeon looks adorable. x Rachel

  4. Alex - you are naughty. Can't name and shame as it would feel too mean. Also, might just be my own mood and not poor writer's fault at all. :)

    Elaine - oh, I'm so sorry about your mum. It's such a strange and sad business, and keeps surprising me. But the lovely thing about the blog is getting comments like yours that make me know I am not alone.

    Rachel - you never waffle. I think the pound of whatever is a proper analysis and I am going to bear it in mind. So thank you for that.

  5. It will it will.

    A techie thought: usually if you hit the delete button, there's an option in the software to 'undo' the action (quicker than visiting the recycle bin). That might save you an occasional explosion.


  6. Put on some music you absolutely love. And then, in the privacy of your home, dance your socks off. (The Pigeon may join you.)

    XX Pat

  7. The sun will come out and when it does I shall be there with you (north to south of course) marking it's significance. Lou x

  8. I think the fact you are still writing is a testament to the fact you are not going mad; you are simply getting through it. Keep on beating back the tide... x

  9. Ctrl + Z is the combination for Undo on the Microsoft platform. Invaluable. However, it only works for the most recent action, not one a couple of goes back.

    Continued best scruffles to the Glorious Pigeon. And even on the wort of days, it's the small things that can make you smile, and it's the small things that so often are really important.

  10. Not sleeping IS horrible. I find that reading A Child's Garden of Verses before bed and learning poems by heart helps. Also Cammomile tea (if you like it, that is - I do). And proper, dark, black-out curtains.

    The sun is out here, today.

  11. Not sleeping alone would be enough to make me short tempered and a bit of a grump. I think that's when little things you cna ignore becomes irritating or impossible. Take care. I am keeping you in my thoughts. Grieving is an odd thing that takes people by surprise in how it shows.


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