Monday, 22 September 2014

Storms are clearing

This amazing photo was taken by my youngest sister, who lives in Australia's Northern Territory near Darwin. A huge storm over the sea.
It is beautiful and powerful. It also reflects a little of what life has been like here over the last few weeks. 
We have had some really rocky times, as the last post indicates. Things got worse before there seemed (seems?) to be a little light on the horizon.
No one is unaffected, it is hard for Big J, he is a step dad for one, and has a son, and girls can be baffling at the best of times and step daughters a much more complex issue to deal with. 
I am pretty exhausted but have a lot of hope. We are taking things slowly, we are learning to communicate without shutting down. 

This week she is 18 and to celebrate will attend a life drawing class in London with some friends! I like that it is not run of the mill...

Artist Sister is in London too this week, YAY!! and we are trying to arrange a short meeting before the weekend when we are going to hang out and shop and talk. 

Lastly, a big fat thank you to Jay, the lovely blogger who not only writes such a funny blog, but who had loads of words of encouragement. x. I would love to meet you one day. 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Dropping balls

It has been a teary morning. I cannot reach my youngest. She told me before school that she hates her main A level subject but that she has no other options and then she just fell apart. There are always options I said, and suggested a call to the school, who are very supportive. Under no circumstances were the school to be contacted and she no longer wished to discuss it with me. She has taken the day off and is in her room. I feel helpless, worried, profoundly sad and even a little scared. Like most mums I want her to be ok, not deliriously happy, not have a perfect life, but to be content and feel safe and confident and to know that so many people want to help if she wants it. Or just to listen. She tells me I am crap at listening, fair point, but I have taken that on board. I do not tell my children what to do, I have always encouraged them to talk about and do what they want (we are talking academic choices, hobbies, faith etc here, I do tell them to do jobs around the house.) and that having a go at something, even if it does not work out or is not for them is better than not trying. They cannot FAIL they can only learn from the effort. 
I am not sure where we go from here, but all I want is a happy girl. 

Friday, 12 September 2014

Bondi Harvest

Rose introduced me to this site when she was here from Sydney and I love it: BONDI HARVEST 
Such a low key, fuss free approach to cooking great meals. At the moment the apple custard cake in the link above is in the oven....Really happy that I got to use up all the apples Celia B gave me from her garden before they went brown and mushy.

Tomorrow, we take Hannah north. We are both a bit odd and weepy. I will miss her so much as will her little sister, Big J and the pets....

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Anatomy and Physiology

Our first lecture in the above subject today and we were encouraged to start considering bodily secretions, yes ALL types, in a new light, as any changes may indicate signs of illness.....
In an odd way it was absolutley gripping. Jokes about the menopausal members of the group, (not me, way past that) and other jokes were used to teach important points and lots of hand actions had us in fits. Interactive lectures are great, no one falls asleep, people become less shy about asking questions and more of it STICKS. 
So loving this experience. Feel truly blessed. 

Sunday, 7 September 2014

July seems so long ago

As you know, I went home to Oz to see family. I love hanging out with Artist Sister and miss her so much. I made these for her to use while she is working in the studio on cold days:

My estranged sister phoned me. First conversation in years. It was nice, funny, sometimes a bit awkward, but I was so, so glad that there had been contact.
The hard part was talking to my parents about the concerns we all have about Mum and her memory.
They live in a lovely place, but it is isolated,
and she put it all down to lack of stimulus, but it seems more than that.
Things went so far that they even talked about moving and went to see a house in a town nearby. It was not until I was back in Sydney that they decided it was a lovely house but not right for them. They have decided not to move, yet. However, the exercise opened up the topic of the future, and again that was hard, but it has to be done. With none of us near at all, Dad does do a lot. Mum is far from incapable physically, but things have changed and they are moving into a new stage of life.

While there I caught up with a great friend and with her went to watch the KING OF THE 
MOUNTAIN race in Pomona. Very fit people of dubious sanity run up this....I have climbed it, scrabbling, sweating, gasping for breath, but this lot run up and literally jump down it.

The whole day is like a carnival and there is a great atmosphere. Some of the runners are a colourful lot too..

Back in NSW, we drove to Caves Beach to see our lovely sis in law and the beautiful Ava and Tom.
They liked their little crochet things. They (crochet beasts) even came to the beach with us and have been sleeping in Ava's bed since.
Caves Beach is quiet and peaceful and our long walk on the beach was beautiful:

Then it was time for last minute things and talking more and planning the next visit which we hope will be in August 2015 to celebrate Dad's 80th....

From Oz we went to the South of France.....will write about that soon. x

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Little bake off

Day four of uni life and loving it. There are some awesome people in my year and it is a blast getting to know them.

 The first three days were exhausting. I am in the car for more than two hours a day and there is so much to take in. We have our student cards, are all registered and have been fitted for uniforms. In my tutor group there are 25 people and more than 9 different nationalities, so exciting! 
Today however, I walked to the supermarket when I got home, it is close enough not to use the car and the stroll there and schlep back did me the world of good. 
I bought ingredients to make the Pasticceria Papa ricotta cheesecake , the recipe for which is a carefully guarded secret. But thanks to this very clever lady a version is available. Mine is cooling now as we speak. It was a challenge and there are many things that I would do differently, if it was to be made again. 
Tomorrow a friend from Australia is coming to stay the night. We ate the original version at her place last month...I am hoping she likes it, but hey, if not, we will eat it any way. 
I know that I planned to put up some photos of the lovely times had over the summer and it will happen, but right now it is all about adapting to new lives, me at uni, Em doing A levels, Hannah off next week to her uni and Big J with a new very exciting bit of work across the pond.