Wednesday, September 10, 2008

After the rain

Have not felt like blogging much lately, frankly have not felt like doing much at all. I have been ticking the boxes, just enough to get by. I do go through these blue spells. I wish I was a dimpled, sunny-faced, cheery sort of gal - someone life-affirming who makes you feel better just to be with. Not the sort that thinks: "I could hang myself in the coal shed if only I could find the key." It is overdue but I have decided to get a grip. I need a plan. I do not function at all well without a plan. I shall invade Russia( - though that has been done before and never proves to be a good idea.) I shall lose weight (- though that would mean less cake.) I shall find the key to the coal cellar (- perhaps not.) I will sit down and see if I can do it all again - by which I mean write another book, and who knows?. Maybe I cannot write another book? Maybe "That's all folks!"? If so, I resolve not to complain. I have little excuse (other than my naturally maudlin disposition) for feeling lost. UK sales have gone well and the book is now out in the US. I got to write a few pieces for The Times and even more importantly for the Farmers Weekly. Who knew I would get to write a piece for the Farmers Weekly? The book also prompted an old friend to get in touch. I last saw him 20 years ago. It turns out he is trying to find a cure for stomach cancer and was over from Canada to speak at a conference. Over coffee in a London cake shop the conversation went: "So what have you been doing with yourself for the last 20 years?" "Trying to find a cure for cancer. And you?" Pause. "Umm, I set up a blog and winge a lot on it." And he was happy and married and had children, and there infront of me was the man when all I had known was the boy.

What else happened? Well, it rained. A farmer told me of 1,000 sheep and 250 cows drowned. Land too is waterlogged with crops sprouting again in the fields, and combine harvesters idle in their barns. For some, the rains have been a domestic and financial disaster. The other evening driving back from the city with the three kids in the car, we could not make it home. The country roads around here dip and rise and swerve. The sodden fields were bordered with lakes, spilling through the hawthorn hedges to fill neighbour roads. We drove round as dusk took the day, trying first one lane, then another; each time, the road plunged into bleak stretches of wrinkled water. At one point, I pulled on my boots and waxed jacket to push through the flood to judge how far the water came up, and whether we could make it across. Too high. Defeated, I turned back towards the car. I stood and in that moment, it seemed too far away, the headlights on, the wipers smashing the rain haze away, rising up and away again. Still a mile or so away from home, we knocked on a friend's door and her husband got us back in his 4X4. That night, I dreamed I drowned.

38 comments:

Iota said...

Not surprised you feel a bit directionless after such a massive project as the book. (I know "a bit directionless" isn't it - I don't mean to be patronising. Sorry.)

Could you rear orphan lambs? You look a natural at it, and it would be very rewarding.

Michael said...

Depressed, but still beautiful.

Heather Bestel said...

Just as your country roads dip and rise, so too does life.
After the rain, comes the sunshine - this is always the way.
In between the heavy showers last week I witnessed a rainbow and my heart leaped with hope.
I send you lots of love and healing wishes.

Shakespeare's Housekeeper said...

I think having no sunshine can bring down even the most cheeriest of people.
Having a plan is a fab idea- we women function so much better when we have a plan- just keep eating the cake...the world is there for the taking after a cake binge.

Last year i, too, got stuck in floods- six different lanes to try to get home, and all of them totally flooded.
Ended up walking- sorry swimming, the 5 miles home.
Darling Daughter was stuck at Drayton Manor and the coaches couldn't get through the floods to get the kids home till 10.00 at night.
Some school trip that was.
Please keep blogging, even if you think there isn't much to say- you are inspiring, and it helps others to know there are others out there in the same boat (no pun intended.)

xx

Frankofile said...

Do successful blogs depend on a bit of misery? Discuss.

I have been missing you and - not entirely selfishly - trust that you will blog your way through.

Jaywalker said...

You need an indian summer don't you. Or failing that, a large gin and a day in a spa.

Failing even that, I hope a cup of tea and lots of people on the internet telling you that we think you are brilliant helps. You are, you know.

The Grocer said...

You have a coal shed? Their rare these days. Do you have have coal in it too? We used to have one when I was a small child and I spent my formative years playing there, I think it has been turned into a summer house now.

LifeBehindTheCoach.com said...

Blog about your pain my love, we need to hear it! I was told the other day my blog was just a little too...well ordinary, I think a few depressed rants are called for!
Missed your blog too - no pressure!

Lxx

Rachel said...

Just started your book and enjoying it immensely even though it makes me feel a little like crying. I love the way you write. The only thing is, I would change the line on the back from 'how far would you go to be the perfect mother' to 'how far would you go to be the pefect wife'. I am getting married next summer and would like to think that I would sacrifice my London life for the needs/desires of my husband-to-be. If it came to it though, I'm not sure I could. He's already started talking about moving north to have a family...

andypandy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arcadian Advocate said...

Well I am sorry to hear you've been down but very glad to hear about your latest commission The Farmers Weekly is a most excellent read. Farmlife here you come, that will cheer your spirits somewhat.

The weather is getting to everyone, more like November than the end of summer, think of Thomas Hood's famous poem November

No sun - no moon!
No morn - no noon -
No dawn - no dusk - no proper time of day.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member -
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! -
November!

However the forecast is better for next week and you will be fine, your posts were missed.
www.arcadianadvocate.wordpress.com

Expatmum said...

I have come up with a foolproof plan for those blue days - I pretend I'm in an advert or even better, A Jilly Cooper type novel complete with crusty bread, good cheese and a rampant libido. (Well, never mind the last bit.) Who knows, you could start mapping the plot of your next block buster?

Stinking Billy said...

Judith, sounds like an early onset of that 'SAD' winter syndrome. But I know how you feel. Maybe we should coffee one morning?

andypandy said...

Its rather satisfying in a selfish kind of way, to hear that we all have these "directionless" times.

I have just moved to the village and like you, I'm experiencing a whole new way of life. For some reason, I thought that my previous work experience would land me a job in a day or two.
How wrong I was! I had my first job interview yesterday. Having spruced myself up, put on my best heels, I fell at the first hurdle - literally - getting out of the car. Those cobbles are dangerous bits of history. I picked myself up in a "I meant to do that actually" way, and carried on.

Not having been to an interview since 1995, I now realize that I am a work in progress. Although, the interviewers were great, I rambled on and on and on about totally irrelevant stuff (like my handbag), then left feeling "directionless".
My children have all had their "first days" at their new schools. This has been a traumatic week! Where do I go from here? Who knows? I will as usual keep my chin up and you must too.

Mom/Mum said...

Maybe this'll cheer you up: I just ordered your book (so glad it's now out in US huurah!) and I am excited to read it. And I'll even display it prominantely in my living room bookcase instead of the toilet if that makes you smile some more?
Would taking up a new hobby, maybe, kayaking help???

Sara said...

I think we are all feeling fed up with the relentless wet weather and grey skies.
Hopefully some sunshine next week will have us buzzing around more purposefully.
My first post here - and I just wanted to say your book was a fantastic read, I could relate to so much, and often laughed. Could do with something like that now!

Sarah said...

Its just a lull, a dip, a calming breath. Have a massage, a spa treatment, find a nice cafe, look out the window; just don't worry.
The urge to do stuff can send a body crazy.
Daytime TV is very underrated.
xx

Crystal Jigsaw said...

We used to have a coal shed until a gale blew it down. Now we have a coal bunker but I doubt you would fit in there, it's hardly big enough for a bag of coal.

Another book sounds just the ticket to get you out of the autumn blues.

CJ xx
p.s. you forgot your eggs!

Yvonne Young said...

Not surprising to feel low after being hit by an old pal`s news of cancer. This does tend to make everything else seem insignificant. But because your writing about your true feelings, other people who read your blog can identify with this and get comfort.

Nell said...

All the rain has been enough to turn even the most cheerful person a bit maudlin.

Sarah said...

Could be worse... you could be sitting in Stockwell wondering why. I dream of country roads that dip and rise and swerve and pulling on my boots and waxed jackets...

womagwriter said...

Write another book, missus. I'll buy it.

bohemian mummy said...

It sounds like you've got the post book blues. This dreadful weather we've been having won't be helping either. Rest assured that when the sun returns it will brighten your heart a little (think rainbows and walnut whips)!
As for writing another book i think that's an excellent idea and i would certainly look forward to adding it to my treasured copy of your first book. Please keep blogging as i, like everyone else, have missed you x

Swearing Mother said...

Hmmmm.... think it might be the weather? I'm going through a blue period too, tinged with bits of purple. Bloody rain.

In your case I think it's also the anti-climax after all the book excitement.

In my case, having been moaning about not going on holiday, we've finally booked one and now I don't want to go.

Got room for two in your coalshed?

Kitschen Pink said...

have you considered it might be the company you're keeping - I mean - who visits a blue person and tells them about stomach cancer, dead cows and financial disaster! Seems to me you're being sapped. A weekend at a spa is needed - preferably under one of those lethal sun lamps!
We have beautiful boy's birthday party this weekend - a BBQ - yet we're desperate for rain as the farmer has spread some nasty stuff (not like any manure I've ever smelled) on every field within 100 yds of our garden! Think of us tomorrow, as our townie friends arrive to eat, and have a laugh on me! t.x

sunshine said...

If you are weary of fictional daytime dramas, for a change why don't you follow the escapades of our new VP candidate here in the States! You won't be able to tell it's reality, not fiction. Might even be the basis of a novel for you!

rosiero said...

Take a break. Once the boredom has set in, inspiration will strike!

alfmcmalf said...

Try volunteering for a group of people less fortunate than yourself. I think wallowing in your SELF is your problem.

Lune said...

I feel exactly the same way, rain and more rain even here in France at the moment. Its a good excuse to sit by the fire and read fairy tales to the kids.

Alison said...

I feel the way you do sometimes too. My advice would be to treat yourself with as much kindness as you would a friend in the same situation. Magazines, lattes, good food, new clothes x

what happened ?how did i get HERE? said...

hi there, cake more cake and strong tea...nothing else can banish the blues along with ironing (I know!) and inhaling the smell of my kids newly washed hair...

mutleythedog said...

Maybe you are in the mood to order a few more 'adult products' to cheer you up? There is a new catalogue for September ....

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I'm happy to have found your blog! I do like it very much here. Edward and I shall return!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

oooofff. is it too trite to say 'anti-climax' after all your recent exploits? Dont' hang yourself, think of who will have to find you. It will either be the kids or a neighbour (i'm assuming your husband won't be around).

The thought of who will find me, often stops me doing it.

Perhaps you need some painful form of exercise? Always helps me, what about a half-marathon?
Pigx

Just like me ... said...

as someone once wise said ... "this too shall pass"

Just like me ... said...

And by the way we down under have so missed you .. you were my orgininal inspiration for blogging in the very first instance .. I now have connections across cyber space into New York, Utah, Dallas, Oklahoma City to but name a few ... I also have closer local connections that have been enhanced by bogging ... see what you have inspired. cling to the god - jetason the bad - hugs le

sensibilia said...

Good cake recipe on my blog if you're interested.

http://reluctantmemsahib.wordpress.com said...

sometimes life does feel a bit like drowning. i feel like that often. submerged by the deluges of ''what next? what now?''. your writing is your lifebelt. don't, for god's sake, stop. anticlimax can make you feel like you're drowning as well. maybe there's a bit of that there too. it'll pass. i did love your description of meeting an old friend, cure for cancer v whinging on a blog. blue laughter. imperative in a lifeboat.