A couple of crackers

I don’t often post book reviews although I am a voracious reader, but these two really got to me in different ways and I thought I would share them. I am rarely drawn to “light reads” and am more attracted to novels about relationships that are fraught and turbulent.

 

IMG_20180624_142045.jpg This is the quirky tale about a quiet young man called Charlie, who applies for and gets the job of Harbinger of Death.

He visits people around the globe bringing (often tatty) gifts of deep meaning to individuals. He describes his job as being a courtesy and it is Death who tells him who to visit.

The other characters include Pestilence, War and Famine and his intermittent love-interest, as well as the supporting cast of people who do not necessarily want him to visit (although, his visiting is not always a precursor to dying).

His travels often take him into dangerous territory and occasionally he has been close to dying himself, but his job means he no longer fears death and his calm approach helps a lot of the people he visits.

I described this book as quirky, it is certainly a fresh way of looking at the moving towards leaving this world, and making human the characters of Death, Famine and others is engaging (although War is frivolous and to me, very unlikeable) and slightly unnerving.

It was not an easy, it took me a week to get through this book as I couldn’t read much more than a chapter at a time, there was a lot to digest. It was an enjoyable, though at times, disconcerting read.

The next book is  IMG20180703041902.jpg.

Mette Jakobsen is Danish but now living in Sydney and this short novel is a real tug at the heart strings. The main character is a man whose son has died in unfortunate circumstances, he can’t believe the reality of his son being gone and instead starts a journey to look for him.

I won’t say any more because I don’t want to spoil it for you should you wish to read it, the pain of the main character and his wife is palpable, their estrangement as they deal with the reality of the death of their only child was enough to reduce me to tears at times.

It is a wonderful book, again, not easy reading but difficult to put down. If there is a downside to it, it is the amount of sex that is described in detail. I don’t think of myself as a prude, but the cynical soon-to-be divorcee in me wonders at the spontaneity of the couple sex life after so many years together. I will concede however, that the sex in the book is always loving (and not always successful).

Some heavy, but worthwhile reading for you to ponder and maybe delve into?

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Times Past

As I am now single, my mind occasionally wanders to times past, past lovers, past heartaches; this is a little snapshot of “the One”.

They fell in love with alarming speed and ferocity, she eighteen, he nineteen, birthdays separated by days. In fact, he had just been to his own birthday party, put on by friends when they met, he was slightly drunk and feeling very merry.

The attraction was mutual and blinding. When he got up to leave, he tapped her lightly on the head with a rolled-up poster (a present from a friend); he said, “Very nice to meet you” and her heart skipped a beat.

He was a gentleman, although at that stage she did not know he was taken already; an intense holiday romance in England at the end of high school had left him feeling a sense of obligation to another girl who had come from more humble origins.

Back in Australia, things progressed very quickly.

It was a volatile relationship, they loved each other with such intensity.

They never really broke up. The girl from England came out to Perth, they got engaged, he was unhappy but what could he do (?) he had an obligation. They married a few years later, had children, settled down.

She (that is, me) was lousy about it, really, really lousy. He had known and she felt deceived, he had encouraged her knowing there could not be a future. In reality he was a victim too, because he loved her and they couldn’t be together.

That love continues to this day, 37 years later. It is a fantasy, she knows, an indulgence that is foolish.

She occasionally wonders how their lives would have been together, in some “Sliding Doors” scenario. She has a sneaking suspicion they would have not been good together over the long term. He was very aware of the physical comfort in which she lived. Her Father was a hard worker and had provided well for his family. He felt acutely that she was somehow “better” than him, she spoke well and had gone to an elite girls high school, very different from his background.

She is now 55. She does indulge occasionally in checking him out on social media, he still has beautiful eyes and if he posts a new photo of himself, she will have little thoughts like, ‘New glasses, they’re nice” or “those eyebrows need a bit of attention mate”! They have seen each other in passing and they both know “it” is still there.

It was never meant to be.

A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum…

Not really, but a funny thing did happen on the weekend.

I went to a party, possibly the first in 10 years! A real party, you know, a band, people dressed in silly green clothes (it was St Patricks Day), substandard finger food and a lot of alcohol.

I have been laid low with a nasty virus and am still recovering, so I ate before I went and confined myself to soda water whilst at the “do”. I went to meet new people, to extend my circle of friends, to see if there are people who might like to get to know me better; I went because I am emerging from the doldrums and wanting to take life by the horns (so to speak).

The funny thing that happened, was that the women I spoke with at the party, melted away when they found out I was in the throes of divorce. Not only that, but they seemed to wander over to their partners and guard them! MjAxMi1mNjRmOGY3ZTdhMmRmNDdh

It didn’t occur to me that this was happening until after I got home and the shame was I thought a couple of them could have been potential friends.

I wanted to shout, “I am not after your husbands and partners Ladies!!!”

My ex is hanging around like a bad smell and I need more complication in my life like a hole in the head! I am not looking for anyone, let alone someone already in a relationship (that has always been a STOP sign for me). I know what it is like to have someone threaten the stability of a relationship, it’s not something I would ever aspire to, men are just not worth it!

When I arrived at work this morning, I discussed this with my work colleague and she said it is common and it definitely happened to her. I think this is quite frankly pretty weird and very sad, are we not better than that???

I would love some comment from people who have experienced this, as the divorced woman, the predatory woman or the wronged woman; I just can’t get my head around it.

The exhaustion of grief

I would love to say that since my last post, my life has gone ahead in leaps and bounds, that I am blossoming as a strong, single woman and that all is good and rosy in Jennland.

Unfortunately, none of this is true and I have come to the conclusion that saying goodbye to a relationship of 30 years is just too damn sad.

That is not to say that I don’t look forward to my single future with a degree of excitement, I am just saying that the grief I am feeling has sucked the life out of me for the moment.

I look for inspiration from people I know who have survived and thrived following separation and divorce, but I also know that they have been through the toughest of times and have emerged out the other end. I am still in the tunnel and really, nothing is getting any easier, except perhaps my husband’s acceptance of the situation. I have found little joy lately in anything much, except good chats with my son and long walks on the beach with the dog and my daughter.

I was missing the things that helped me through the bad stuff. My younger brother is busy building a new career and looking after a wife and baby and although he is always receptive to a chat, I don’t feel it is right to burden him with my misery. My dear Mum is a ‘phone call away and I do feel better after talking with her, but is it fair to impose my own turmoil on an 86 year old? I think not. My big brother has his own stuff to deal with at the moment and he doesn’t need me to offload my stuff onto him as well.

I do count myself fortunate though, my dear husband has no family within cooee and he is suffering. Luckily, he is receiving support from some very dear friends and I am very grateful that they are there for him.

I had packed my sewing stuff away, thinking that moving would be sooner rather than later, but I was premature as the list of things that need doing to the house grows… so I went and unpacked my Pfaff and did a bit of stress-relief sewing. It felt good, even though it isn’t much to crow about

The Easter sewing for the Uthando Project resulted in these (mine is the one with the nearly invisible nose- that needs work!), she also has a baby hidden behind her back.dsc_05882.jpg.jpegInspired by this foray into doll-making I made this little one, she came printed on a square yard of fabric from Spoonflower. An easy make, she is still unfinished, but I was taken by her cuteness and call her “Delphy” short for Delphinium… I think she may go to my little niece when she is older  20160426_174440.jpg

Finally, my Mum gave me a lovely soft wool jumper last year. It had a couple of moth holes in it when I brought it out recently and the high crew neck made me feel as if I was choking. Now black is one of my least favourite colours, but the quality of the jumper meant it wasn’t going anywhere yet…so I made it into a cardigan 🙂 I added a trim down the front edges and a pleated collar in the same fabric (left over from my son’s shorts made previously). As I am troubled by gaping in garments with button fronts, I chose instead to secure this one with a simple red grossgrain ribbon tie. I like it 🙂

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The happiness is always clouded by the other stuff that is happening in my life right now, but I know that the next few months will bring resolution and the opportunity for a start on the next phase of my life.

As I said in a previous post, watch this space 😉