29 June 2008

A breath of fresh air

This last week has seen me away from home a lot and having a de-Greg break. First, Kay was away on a week-long school trip, so I felt I could sneak off to help my mother, who lives alone some sixty miles away and is in ill-health. Normally I am reluctant to leave Kay alone with my husband, as it ends up with Kay having to look after him, and I don't like to expect that even of a 16-year-old. So, with Kay out of the equation, I went off to my mother for about 5 days to do such things as her gardening for her, battling with rampant weeds - there is one variety that seems to grow six foot high in as many weeks! We also did a big shop to fill up her cupboards and freezer until my next visit - usually in about 6-8 weeks' time. I changed bedding, painted garden benches, tidied cupboards. We had some nice quality time too sitting in her sunny garden, or drinking coffee at a nearby cafe. I even took her to a favourite pub with a lovely view and we drank shandies in the dying evening sun. Considering she never gets out of the house, as she is crippled with arthritis, she looks forward to my visits where I can take her out and about in the car. I took Snoopy with me this time too - my mother always loves to see Snoopy and I couldn't guarantee that Greg would remember to feed him, if I left him behind. The break away from home did me good. However when I got home, Greg had not eaten any of the food I had left in the freezer for him or taken his pills left in the pill organiser for the entire period of my absence. He survived on bread and jam. And whisky.

Yesterday, with Kay back from her school trip, she and I went up to Sheffield for the day. It was so good to get away from London for a second time in a week. We went for the Sheffield University Open Day for prospective undergraduates. These days all the universities have open days to show off their campus and facilities. You can reserve seats for talks on your interested subject as well as have campus tours and tours of the accommodation you might live in. All so different from when I applied to university and just put arbitrary names down on a form in an eeny-meeny-miney-mo-sort-of-fashion. Kay is particularly interested in short-listing Sheffield, because she likes the sound of the course, and, as neither of us has ever been there, we were keen to see it. I had the usual preconceived ideas of an industrial town suffering from depression, but from the moment we arrived at Sheffield station and got the tram into the town and on to the university, the town wrapped itself around us. True, it is home to the Full Monty film, where there was a lot of unemployment following closure of the steelworks, but now the city seems alive and full of the buzz of regeneration. New buildings are springing up with incredible state of the art architecture, even within the university. Even the fountains that greet you at the station alone are an incredible sight. A long wall of stainless steel with water running down it, then water cascading down steps to join a pool where it whooshes up into the air and then dribbles out of rills to got through the whole process again. We fell in love with the campus, the course it offers and the accommodation village for the students. Large areas of the town were very green and open. The older housing, particularly to the west, was old grey-stone villas, perhaps once the homes of the wealthy with servants. The final accolade came when my daughter saw the shops in the city centre and there were all the stores she normally frequents at home. To put the icing on the cake, the people are so friendly and so unlike the frostiness of Londoners. All we have to do now is hope that Sheffield likes her as much and offers her a place!!


blogthatmama said...

Glad you had a good break Rosiero, it's not as grim up north as lots of people believe. I take the friendliness for granted now after seven years here. Fingers crossed for Kay blogthatmama

aims said...

I read this post Roseiro - and watched the fountains....and then I went away and thought about it for about an hour. Now I am back.

We all have choices in life. Your husband chooses the bottle.

Your daughter is choosing a university.

What will you choose?

DulwichDivorcee said...

Hi Rosiero, so glad you've had time off, even if it was weeding etc - I'm sure your mother appreciated the visit. You do look after a lot of people! I have a friend from Sheffield and I hear it is a lovely warm place. I worry about you when Kay goes off, though. But things have a way of sorting themselves out.

Almost American said...

I am glad you got a break! I'm sadly not surprised that Greg didn't eat any of the food you prepared for him :-(

I remember interviewing at Sheffield. I liked it, but not as much as Hull - though even back then in the late 70's Hull did a really good job of selling themselves with a well-organized open house. I'm glad Kay got to visit Sheffield - after all, even though it's supposed to be about the course, it's also the place she's choosing to live for 3 years. I ended up at Hull and loved it.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Hello, I came here from Stinking Billy's blog. This has to be one of the saddest blogs I have read in a long time - well besides Aims'. How do you cope? Wonderfully written and you kept me hooked as I went back by ten posts or so. I will be back to read the start of your story.

Stinking Billy said...

mama, my 20 year-old granddaughter is in her second year at Sheffield University and she likes it there very much, for what that is worth.

rosiero said...

Thank you for all your comments.

blogthatmama - I know. My in-laws were from Northumbria. I loved them dearly.

aims - well put. I do have to make a choice don't I? I fear that choice will come soon.

DD - yes, everything seems to be coming to a head about a year from now. My daughter will be off to uni. My husband and mother are not in good shape. Even the dog is approaching his tenth year. All looking a bit wobbly, I agree.

AA - The more I hear about Sheffield, I like it. Hull is not an option as it does not do the sort of course Kay wants.

mob - thank you for your kind words. It is difficult to cope sometimes. I may even write a bit about that.

Billy - thanks - is she enjoying it still and glad she made that choice?

aims said...

In response to your question on when I met Cid...

That post is 1/25/08 entitled - I meet Alcide.

You've got a bit of reading to do to get it all in then! :0)

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you had a break, Rosiero. (I'm catching up with posts late due to the migraine.)

Sheffield sounds wonderful but I know you will miss Kay when she goes.

KTB said...


I just found your blog tonight from a link on Sharon's Goodbye to All Fat. I was feeling very sorry for myself for a variety of reasons, but you have just put all my worries into perspective.

I have some experience of living with an alcoholic. My ex was one, although I didn't realise for a long time. I always thought it was ok that he would pop into the pub on the way home from work for a pint or two. I thought he worked hard, he deserved it. That was until the day we got a letter saying we were about to be evicted for non payment of rent. He was drinking the rent money. Not good, especially when I had a 1yr old baby to consider.

I had to ask my mum to pay the arrears, then I left him. He kept in touch sporadically, but for the last two years I have heard nothing. I don't even know where he is - and I don't like to think about where he is. I'm just grateful that I got my daughter and myself out before things got much worse.

I sympathise with you, and I think you are a very brave person.

I don't know how you manage to cope with all the balls you are juggling.