I’m a contrary soul at heart. This will come as no surprise to pretty much anyone who knows me. I can be grumpy in the middle of celebrations, joyous in the middle of total chaos, and instinctively push back whenever someone tells me what I should be doing.
And yet, somehow I’ve managed to keep a marriage going with Lady M for six years – and have known her for the best part of ten years. I’m not sure if that requires celebration for us both, or a round of commiserations for her with everything that she has to put up with.
Our adventures together have ranged from rollercoaster highs and lows to contented fluffiness, and everything in between. The brutal honesty and mindfulness we do our best to practice can sometimes seem shocking to people on the outside, but it clears the air, tackles potential issues, and lets the storms pass so we can get on with life.
And yet, even so, I am surprised when I wake up and find Lady M curled up with me, often with innocent looking eyes and a demand for a cup of tea.
Thanks for sticking around.
You might think that someone who once wrote a response to the Brexit vote with a page full of the word ‘fuck’ might find very little difficulty in rattling out some nonsense to fill a page, let alone tell a short story. After all, its not a particularly high bar to beat, no matter how heartfelt it was. My creativity has taken a bit of a battering this year, and even sitting to scrabble out some stream of consciousness babbling is proving quite difficult.
But I shall persevere. I am a writer. That means I need to write. Therefore I need to stop worrying about the craft of my writing and just start flinging things up here to get back into the habit of writing. I have short stories to arrange, a novel to finish, more stories to finish, and a battle to complete with the Kindle publishing settings which don’t seem to want to verify my IBAN details.
I’m sure there’s an observational humour story in that, but perhaps when I have actually sorted it all out I’ll be able to look at it with more sanguine detachment.
So. Let’s get started.
I don’t know about anyone else, but trying to come up with a title to a blog entry and sticking to it is harder than it looks – my brain wants to fire off in all sorts of directions at any one moment. So this time I’m starting to write first, and we’ll see what I end up calling this piece. It was cold enough last weekend while we went out for our photoshoot, but the snow that has started to grip even the balmy climes of Sunbury really has got the shivers going. It’s been a long and complicated week.
My week has included a lot of travel – made more interesting by the snowfall – and the making of contingency plans with staff for keeping the libraries open. On top of that there’s been meetings and appraisals, all of which seems appropriate as the end of the financial year sweeps round.
Perhaps that’s what’s got me in a contemplative mood this evening – a week of customer training that focused on mindfulness and self awareness, followed by the introspection of an appraisal with my manager that ended up as a rambling discourse over nearly three hours across a range of topics around communication, frank discussions of team dynamics, and the intricacies and appeal of cosplay.
It’s not a bad contemplation – its reinforced that I’m in a pretty good place right now – work is going well, I’m loved, and the weather will get warmer. Hopefully I’ll soon get my writing mojo back too. I’m starting to get story ideas. Its all good.
Lady M was in Germany overnight last week and I got a text to remind me that her flight would get in about quarter to seven in the evening. It was closely followed by another text saying that I would also need to pick up my next present from Sunbury station at half past six.
A little context here: we’ve developed something of a tradition where we give whichever of us has a birthday a present on each day in the week leading up to it. They don’t have to be big or expensive, they’re just little things to cause a smile or excitement each day.
I had half an idea already from other comments during the day that something was being plotted, but when someone’s having fun with a surprise it’s rude to delve too deeply and ruin it all.
When I traipsed round after work to the station, there was Lady S – who had come for a long weekend visit as a birthday surprise. Time was tight so we hurried to get her bags back to the flat before racing to pick up Lady M.
Our extended weekend (aside from working Friday), included a Wessex Pistols gig, supporting Lady P at the Musical Chairs event in Camden, and a photoshoot in Bourne Wood despite plummeting temperatures.
I have been very spoiled by friends and family this weekend, and it has certainly been a birthday to remember. Thank you everyone
How can I tell? The air this weekend has been full of the sound of swearing and sewing machine noise, and I’ve been asked to go on my day off to buy zips.
Meanwhile my social media feeds are full of people panicking as their latest deadline nears, and photographers have been publishing Google Doc spreadsheets to help arrange bookings.
I’m exhausted thinking about it, and I’ve not even started assembling the major components of my own cosplays, but there’s a month before the first one – that’s plenty of time, right?
Being the soppy people we are, it’s never a case of there being a special day to express our love – as more than one person puts it, it should be a 365 day per year effort and appreciation – but it does no harm to focus hearts and minds on giving a little boost.
This year, the redoubtable Lady P offered to do a romantic photoshoot in the woods for me and Lady M (Lady S having a prior engagement that weekend), so on Saturday we tripped over to Virginia Water to dodge the rainclouds. Lady P has a Crown Estates Photography Permit, so has been on a number of expeditions with her partner to find good locations, so we put ourselves in her hands for the afternoon.
Yesterday, while we snuggled on the sofa, the group chat we share with Lady P went berserk as she uploaded the selection of photos she had processed for us – with the aim of showing us how she perceives us and our love for each other. They’re beautiful – and I’ve been slowly putting them on Instagram and Facebook in small batches.
We may not be traditional, but we are geeks, and our love of life and play and each other shines through – feel free to go take a look as the collection expands.
We may not have had Lady S around, but at least we had messenger – and we’ll see her again soon enough. Valentine’s continues.
As it’s a new month, I’ve rotated round to another library in the area, and brought the buzzing excitement from reopening the previous one with me.
That’s manifested today in directing and encouraging staff to take ownership and control of two displays – one for Valentine’s Day, and the other for LGBT History Month.
Until I’d produced the various printed media created by other teams, the enthusiasm for this latter project was muted in some corners. Then they started to recognise books on the reading list as things we had on the shelves and before long I had people coming up to me with items for consideration.
I’m quietly proud of how they all came round, got invested, and pulled together.