Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Quick Jaunt North

Now I couldn't travel half way round the world and not see my family. I had originally wondered if my parents could travel to London but in the end it seemed easiest if I travel to Glasgow then they could meet me there and I could see my brother, his wife and my own in-laws. Therefore the next day bride-to-be, other bridesmaid agent home and I went to the train station, though not before a quick stop and the Camden market. I was astounded by the sheer selection of plants on offer. I couldn’t help but think my in-laws would have a field day there though it was like being in a foreign country to me. Too soon it was time for my and the bride-to-be to part ways.

A quick(ish!) train journey later and I was back in my home country and collecting on some long promised hugs. I stayed with my in-laws round the corner from my brother and his wife, it’s so nice of them to live conveniently close to each other. I arrived late so it was a cup of tea and to bed. The next day started with a trip to the dentist where my worst fears were confirmed I needed not one, not two, but three fillings. Nothing could be done but I knew that on my return to Wellington I'd have to take the hit and visit the dentist there. After the dentist I'd arranged to see my parents and Josh's mum had arranged to see her sisters. Of course they wanted to hear my news so the 6 of us ended up having some tea and lunch together. My poor dad, I don’t think he quite knew what to do amongst wall those women but he made a good effort and survived it. Of course the poor bloke got rewarded by being taken to the shops as I mentioned to my mum I'd seen a few things and she kindly offered treat me to them. Considering my aforementioned money worries you can imagine how delighted I was, though the old guilt of accepting things at my 'advanced' age is still there I'm getting better at overcoming it in the face now shiny new things.

Post shopping we drove to a wee tea room my mum , likes which does tasty treats as well as a decent hot chocolate. My brother wife was off work and I suggested that we all go for a drink but my parents thought we might like to catch up without them. It's a shame that my brother and his wife were having their new kitchen put it at that point as I am sure a cup of tea would've tempted them however it was decided we would go our separate ways and meet for dinner instead. And so I found myself in a rare moment of solitude in my in-laws kitchen. I took the opportunity to make myself a cup of tea and went outside to discuss the recent events of my life with Josh. Well at his garden at any rate. I know it's just a garden but when I'm there I feel at peace. I feel at peace in other places too these days but it's different there. I can't explain it I just feel closer to him. I talk to him in a way I don't elsewhere these days. I touch the petals of the flowers and I know they grow from him, they are part of him and I feel comfort. Anyway it was nice to touch base and be grounded by 'him'.

Soon enough his mum returned and not long after that I went round to see the person I now think of as sister-in-law-the-elder even though she is younger than me, but she is older that Josh's sister who has the dubious position in my thoughts as sister-in-law-the-younger, sorry to you both if you're offended. Anyway sister-in-law-the-elder showed me the boxes that would soon be her new kitchen then we decamped to the pub and eventually the restaurant where we were soon joined by my parents and brother. I love my life but it was nice to have dinner with my family and to talk together about our lives and to actually be able to see them and to touch them, I only wished it could have lasted longer but once dinner was over it was time to go our separate ways. Though I had been on UK time since I arrived I must admit the jet lag did mean I was enjoying earlier than usual bedtimes. The next day Josh's mum and I went shopping for some wedding cake decorations as bride-to-be's mum had made a cake which was to be decorated on my return. MIL knew of a specialist shop which offered so many choices that we left with enough decorate three cakes. My reasoning was sound though, I had been told to pick something nice so I did and I had lots of fun doing it.

We found time for a quick hot chocolate break before heading home where we had a catch up with some relatives that dropped by before it was time to head to sister-in-law-the-younger’s new house. It was lovely to see her and her partner so settled. The first time I saw them together I thought they seemed like a natural couple and my first visit to their home only strengthened this as it seemed like they had always been there rather than only a few months. We enjoyed an informal dinner and catch up but again too soon it was time to leave. This time I was going back to the train station where my friend had booked me a berth on the sleeper train. Not such an early night but I was fortunate enough to get a cabin to myself and enjoyed a very peaceful sleep which started in Glasgow where I fell asleep before we left the station and ended when I woke up in London. And so ended my very quick visit to the North.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The Hen Party

The next day was the day of the Hen do. I was up early; jet lag was not even allowed a look in. I had a hen do to go to and I literally had nothing suitable to wear. Not even I was willing to go to my best friends hen do in clothes that I had been wearing for the best part of two days. Thank goodness I always carry clean underwear in my hand luggage or I would have really felt awful as I shopped. I was at the shops as the opened and bought the first dress that fitted. I made a quick stop to pick up some necessary toiletries and the Clarins lady was kind enough to supplement my purchases with samples of facial wash & moisturiser etc when she heard my story. As quick as I was I was greeted at the front door with an understandable frazzled bride-to-be with the question are you ready? Thankfully all I needed to do was grab my one and only bag and I was in deed good to go. We rushed to the train station and I thought just made our train on time however it soon transpired we had made the train I originally indented us to get but had missed the previous one which I had decided would be better timing. I found this out when I wondered out loud why it was taking so long as I thought we'd be in London by now....oops. Now my friend likes to be in control and had been very restrained and good in allowing us to organise her hen do so I think she deserves an honourable mention here for not killing me. My new laid back ‘it'll be fine’ approach isn't really suited organised events. So we were a little late and bride-to-be was flustered. On arrival nothing would do but we had to go shopping to buy her a new dress as what she was wearing just wouldn't do. I phoned other bridesmaid to update her and said, amuse yourselves we'll be a little late. Two dress shops later and the assurance that no, she didn't have to wear heels so her flats would go perfectly with her new dress and we were sorted. Thankfully my don’t do anything you don’t want to attitude was perfectly suited to being a bridesmaid.

An hour later that originally planned and we arrived at afternoon tea. Other bridesmaid had been left with the task of providing the decorations which consisted of one sash and one balloon, a perfect compromise between bride-to-be's no silly stuff rule and our duties to do something to show she was special at least when were in the private tea room. Once sat down with tea the bride-to-be seemed to finally relax. We were at her hen do, there was no gaudiness and everyone had dressed appropriately and there was no striper in sight – I would be allowed to live until the wedding. Post afternoon tea we moved to a nearby pub for a private swing dance lesson. Here we faced our next problem. The pub wouldn’t let us in as the instructor wasn't there. Eventually she turned up late but apologetic. Once inside the venue things were not as advertised, the only saving grace is that bride-to-be was unaware of this and got on with the job of enjoying the dance class at face value. It was fun, we all threw ourselves in to learning the moves and made a joke of it. My friend was uncaring that she had been done out of dressing up, an open bar and her free 'champagne' she had fun and that's the main thing. The only real sticking point for us was that we paid for a 1.5 hour class and got a rushed 1hr class as out instructor had to rush off to another booking as of course she couldn't be late, could she?! When I spoke to her of my concerns her defence was she was only the instructor and I had to take the matter up with the organiser. All I can say is I shall definitely not be recommending that company to any one and should anyone ask would say avoid them at all cost, they unapologetically did not deliver what their website promised.

By this point I was understandably pissed off and I will admit probably quite jetlagged. However the show must go on and bride-to-be was handling everything extremely well. At this point other bridesmaid and myself left bride-to-be so we could check in to our accommodation and I could make sure my luggage had finally arrived. Success, it had and we got checked in easily enough. Finding the restaurant we'd booked for dinner proved to be slightly more of a challenge. After a few wrong turns and taking into account the tube closures (do not get me started in the problems that caused me all weekend!) we made it to the restaurant, yay! Everyone was there.....except the bride-to-be.... She had finally snapped and was having her moment. As far as I can tell all bride-to-be's have these on their hen night. I did think she might have done a runner but no she was on the phone to bridegroom-to-be who was calming her down. We were soon joined by one of the hens and the three of us decamped to a pub round the corner for a timeout gin. The rest of the party we instructed to sit down and order and we'd join them soon. At this point I must admit I was at a bit of a loss but thankfully my fellow hen started talking gardening and soon they were deep in reminiscing about their uni garden and various other plant things that sounded like Greek to me. Seeing that bride-to-be was in excellent hands I returned to the restaurant to make sure everyone else was fine. They hadn't receive my message but had sat down and ordered not food but wine. These were my kind of people who had their priorities sorted. Obviously everyone was concerned but with my assurances that it had all gotten a bit too weddingy and that the other two would join us soon everyone soon returned to the question of food. Thankfully it was a tapas restaurant so we ordered a few of their party menu's. I must say that the restaurant was excellent and very understanding. At no point did we feel rushed and they took our extended meal in their stride. The food was excellent and the service not too shabby either. Soon enough the others joined us and I was most amused when bride-to-be's sister presented her with the bride-to-be balloon, not just popped but squashed and trashed as a sign that that part of the night was over. At this point I feel that I should mention that bride-to-be as well as organising her wedding in an extremely short amount of time had also moved house the previous week. The fact she was still going is therefore not just commendable but something of a miracle I think. Therefore at this point I gave her the option of ending the evening but upon hearing that our final destination as to be the London Gin club nothing else would do but we carry on. And so with a hasty speech we sent a forward party of four to secure our table whilst the rest of us settled the restaurant bill and followed at an only slight less hasty speed.

If you like Gin, which most of us did, then the London Gin club is the place for you. Our bill at the end of the night simply said gin which didn’t do justice to the amazing assortment of gins and gin cocktails they had on their menu. It was the highlight of the night and sadly other bridesmaids find so I had to pass all credit on to her. Having said that, despite the dramas and the incidents everyone had fun. I love hen nights, not for the silliness or the drinking but for the fabulous people I've met on the ones I've been to. I'll say this for my friends, they've got some fabulous friends.

Friday, 2 January 2015


Back in 2013 and blog Lyn has finally arrived back in the UK but something is missing.....


I had been in Wellington only two months and not seen anything else of New Zealand but already it was time to leave. I had my hen's outfit which included new shoes, bright red lippy and nail polish to make up my 50's look. I checked out of the hotel and I was all set. 36 hours later and I was at Heathrow but my luggage, including my hen's outfit, the new shoes and bright red lippy and nail polish were still in Sydney. Apparently four hours wasn't long enough for the airline to transfer it. Oh well, at least they knew where it was. I arranged for it to be delivered straight to our accommodation the next day as though I would be spending the night with my friend in her new home outside of the city we were heading back in to London the very next morning.

Finally I made it out of the airport and had a joyous reunion with my friend who was understandably astonished at how little luggage I had then appalled at the reason why. Still we were together, she was getting married and I was on holiday,yay! Our first stop was a supermarket so I could get a UK sim for my phone and some snack food. We then had an impromptu visit to her soon-to-be-in-laws where we had a much welcome cup of tea and then went to view a car. Since we were students it has been a dream of my friend to own a Figaro and there was one in her in-laws village which seemed to be just what she was looking for. I must admit I hoped it would be the one as I loved the idea that I would have seen the car that fulfilled her long held ambition. On inspection it seemed to come close but being a cautious person my friend had to think it through first. 

Once again we were on our way and finally at 11pm we were at her new home. Despite having completely refurbished a London flat they had once again purchased a house that needed 'some' work. I must admit I was expecting worse, in reality it needed very little done compared to their last project and I was delighted that I was to be the first to sleep in their newly pained spare room.

It had been a long few days and I had loved every minute spent with my friend but the jet lag finally caught up with me. There was just time for a quick catch up with my friends soon to be husband and a tour of the rest of the house before I gratefully fell into bed and immediately to sleep.
A Figaro - to save you googling it :)

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Thoughts Ending with I’m Ok, I’m Alright

The nice thing about my thoughts is that for the most part they don't really need to fit in to my blog timeline. So though blog Lyn is stuck back in August 2013 real Lyn is firmly in January 2015. As I start yet another year a wandering widow (there will be more wandering this year, honest!) I spent the first day watching P.S. I Love You. A film that reminds me how bad it (I!?!) was and how far I have come. Anyway, these are the thoughts inspired by watching said film.

Disclaimer: Whilst I strongly identify with the main character this does not mean that our journeys are the same. For instance I would like to reassure my friends and family that at no point in my widdowhood have I felt the need to terrorise unsuspecting innocent bystanders by indulging in karaoke.


I watch P.S. I love you every so often. It makes me cry every time though I’ve progressed from continuous noisy messy tears to crying quietly (but still messily, I am not one of life’s pretty criers) at the most poignant parts. It’s interesting to me how different widow’s react to this film and to me it highlights just how different our journeys all are. One widow once commented on how offensive she found it. Especially the scene when one of the widow’s friends accuses her of getting upset because everyone else was moving on and she was no longer the centre of attention. For me that scene resonated oh so well. Maybe it’s an age thing, both physical and mental.  I was 27 when I was widowed, the character in the film 29. We were childless and just starting to make our way in the world with no real need to be entirely properly grown-up just yet, as were the couple in the film. Well like the widow in the film I grew up pretty fast in a short space of time.

That’s why I watch it. Why, is the question people always ask when I tell them I like to watch to occasionally. I can understand the disbelief. Isn’ t it too close to home? Well yes, and that is why. It makes me cry as it reminds me of the daft things we did. I don’t see this as a bad thing as often I feel better after a good cry, especially during the harder days. It makes me smile when they show the couple as imperfect yet just right for one another, like we were. When we hear his last letter I like to think that Josh would want the same for me, to see myself as he did. Most of all it gives me hope.

Every time I watch the film I’m at a different place in my life. I always see something different but every time one thing is the same, at the end there is hope. She still loves her husband but she is learning how to live again. The film jumps forward in time so it doesn’t pretend to be an overnight occurrence. It takes time, tears, effort and love. The love of her husband helps her acknowledge his disappearance from her life. The love from her family supports her and her mother’s occasionally blunt honesty reminds me of my mum, I know and value that she will always tell me the truth no matter how much it hurts. The love from her friends, who hang on in there and forgive when the misery of her grief blinds her to their joy.

This film gave me hope when I was early on that I could build a new life. In the film the husband says his wife made his life yet he was but one chapter in hers. For me and Josh it was the same. It is and always will be a great sadness to me that his life and consequently our chapter was too short. My life however goes on and I hope that the chapters formed over the past five and three quarter years are nothing compared to those still to come. And so ends this post with the words from the films end song that always strike a chord with me.

“She says I'm okay; I'm alright,
Though you have gone from my life
You said that it would,
Now everything should be all right”

P.S. I love you xxx