Monday, January 22, 2007

The Look of Love

“The greatest thing, you’ll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return”

I believe that the most precious gift a child can receive is the look of love and approval from its original care giver.

The look one should find in one’s Mother’s eyes was, unfortunately, not there for me.

Photograph by Leapy Lee

My mother, Margot, was the beautiful and remote youngest child of the union of a successful and beloved gynaecologist and head nurse at Leeds Infirmary. Grandpa Gough was adored by his patients. Even when he became Professor Gough, he would rush out in his pyjamas to deliver a baby. He also delivered me (which he would probably have been struck off for today!). I still bear the reddish remnants of his thumb between my eyebrows which I usually conceal with makeup, and there is a tiny mark at the back of my head under my hair. Due on Guy Fawkes night to enter this world with a bang, I was in fact, 5 weeks late and finally emerged on December 2nd after a 36 hour ordeal for my poor mother. Mum had tiny non-childbearing hips and I was a 9lb baby and a dry birth.

The doctor in charge of the birth wanted to use forceps to get me out as I was stuck well in, but when Grandpa heard about his, he took over and I was gently assisted into the world with his thumb on my forehead thus preventing a much more serious mark.

I felt very special to my Grandpa and remember his “look of love” and felt a sense of safety and warmth from him until I was three years old and he “went to heaven”.

“Mummy, Umpa forgot to take his umbrella to heaven with him” I said to my grieving mother who had been his favourite, due to the fact that Granny Gough had found out about Grandpa’s one night stand with a nurse when she was pregnant with my mother, and had never forgiven him for it. There was a remark at the dinner table every night after that. As a result of this my mother had been shunted aside from the family and had been brought up alongside the other children by Auntie Jeannie a spinster aunt. My mother too was denied the look of love from her mother from whom her insecurities probably developed, and I have long been able to forgive her for not being able to pass on something that she had not received herself.

Until his death, our home was a reasonably happy one although the first signs of neglect due to alcohol use were there. For some reason, one night when I was 2 and a half, I woke up to find the house empty and wandered out of the front door in my nighty into the dark street and knocked on the neighbour’s door. I was taken in by Bertie Gunn – cartoon editor of the Daily Mirror, and his wife till my parents returned. What would the social services make of that nowadays?

My mother would light up and exude a happy glow when ‘Umpa’ arrived for tea and I would climb up onto his grey trousered lap. “Have you been a good girl?” he would ask me. I nodded vigorously and my mother would say “We………ll?!!” teasingly.

The anticipated white paper bag of sweets was produced which he must have saved up his rations for, and then we would play “Umpa, Umpa, stick it up your jumper” and he would hide a lollypop from me under his sweater and I would wrestle him for it.

The light went out of my mother’s eyes when he died, and a series of nervous breakdowns and clinical depressions began that would lead to addictions to alcohol and prescribed medicine (sleeping pills, tranquilisers, purple hearts etc) which was exacerbated by a miscarriage when I was 7 years old.

When I went into 3 years of therapy in 1997, Cassandra asked me to imaging my mother looking at me lovingly and I had no memory of this – only of eyes turned away that could not meet mine and uncomfortability in my presence.

Until I was seven I was driven to school by Mum. According to one school report I was up to half an hour late 36 times in one term. From eight onwards, she gave up on this and I began to get myself to school as both parents slept late and never emerged before 11am.

Their drinking had taken off heavily at this time and my father’s success meant they were invited to glamorous parties and they would go off to them looking fabulous, and I felt so proud of them. My mother in a little black number with pearls and diamond brooch would kiss me goodbye in a cloud of Channel No. 5. She was as beautiful as Vivien Leigh and as remote and mysterious. These parties led me to lie awake often till 3am worrying about their safe return. I would hear their car engine changing gears half a mile away in dead of night in the country and my spirits rose momentarily because they were home safely, however, the homecoming would often be followed by vicious verbal fights and crashing noises which they would try to disguise by putting Beethoven on the gramophone (there’s an old fashioned word!) and my heart would thump with apprehension.

The next morning, my journey to school, sleep deprived, would be rushed whilst they recovered. No time for breakfast or sometimes, even a wash. I would often miss the hourly bus and have to run for three quarters of a mile and arrive hot and flustered and late. I remember being questioned by a harsh teacher in front of the class. “Have you washed your face this morning? brushed your teeth?” “Yes”, I lied “What did you have for breakfast” “Scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, orange juice” I lied again. I was sent to wash my face.

A note was sent home to Mum who summoned me to her ‘recovering from hangover mode’ in her four-poster Georgian bed, and she waved it at me to demonstrate what distress it was causing her and I said I would try to do better.

My failure to perform was doubly confusing as we were, to outwards appearances, the family who had everything

My father gave me what love he could when he was not busy being a successful writer, and I can still see the look of love and warmth in his blue eyes. He would always come upstairs to say goodnight and would spend time sitting on my bed and stroking my forehead gently. “Give me a razor kiss” I would say, and he would rub his evening stubble against my cheek. “Give me a butterfly kiss” he would reply and I would flutter my eyelashes on his cheek.

When he was working on a film screenplay, he would read me his latest ‘scribblings’ as a bedtime story. He was working at Ealing Studious in those days on a series of films about children. ‘Mandy’ is probably the most well known with child star Mandy Miller and which comes up regularly as a classic black and white film on afternoon TV; 'Hunted’ with Dirk Bogarde, and ‘The Divided Heart’ which won the Golden Laurel Peace prize were others.

On my eighth birthday, he took me for a walk round our big garden and held my hand. “You are growing up so fast” he said in a sad kind of way which I couldn’t understand. “Why is that a bad thing?” I thought but did not voice it as I didn’t want to spoil the moment with him.

At thirteen, I was packed off to boarding school. Dad would write to me regularly with his news, but never a word from Mum. I would write a dutiful letter home to both each Sunday not wanting to worry them, but I was experiencing the unhappiest and most isolated time of my life, as, after a severe bout of Asian flu, I suffered my first experience of clinical depression which lasted for over a year and I don’t really know how I survived it. I had out of body experiences where I was watching myself from the ceiling. This terrified me and I thought I was going mad. The feeling of isolation was profound and as I didn’t tell anyone about it, I didn’t get any help or support.

Daydreaming had been my first “escape” from reality. Dreaming about being important and admired by others. “There goes Sylvan. Isn’t she wonderful?” everyone would cry. In my fantasies I would imagine I was saving someone from drowning; drag them on shore and resuscitate them to cheers and applause from an appreciative crowd and be asked to go off in the ambulance with them. I also lived on a ranch as a cowgirl in my dreams and would tend to cowboys who had fallen off their horses or been shot and they would look at me lovingly from their beds.

Food was the next escape from painful feelings and I gained weight and became a spotty ugly duckling at 15. I also started to talk back to my father and the “look of love” disappeared for several years after that and put down remarks emerged “Pudding with a figure like yours” he would say.

It was not all bad. There were funny memories too. Dad had a collection of hats and, in a good mood, would have us rolling around in hysterics as he entered the room in each one pulling a funny face and pretending to be Sherlock Holmes or some other personality of the day.

I left school just before my 17th birthday with five ‘O’ levels in English Literature, English Language, French, History and Art and after a secretarial course which I did begrudgingly but which I am now grateful for, went to work for Peter Carter-Ruck the renowned libel lawyer.

At the same time, my father fell in love with a 17 year old friend of a friend of mine and I lost him for a while and my mother plunged once again into despair and nursing homes.

In an attempt to rescue their marriage, they emigrated to Malta in 1963 and – as my therapist said “So your parents left homewhen you were 19! ”.

I sought the “Look of Love and Approval” in the eyes of lovers for a long time and had one or two meaningful relationships and a marriage, but as soon as the magic dust settled and I was left alone or taken for granted, my anxiety overwhelmed me and I would abandon the relationship before I perceived they were about to abandon me.

The truth is, in this period of reflection, that anyone I ever cared about has never abandoned me. I have always been the one to leave when the relationship didn’t live up to my Hollywood ideal and make me feel secure.

After my divorce from my ex husband my own drinking and depressive episodes accelerated and I gradually grew weary of life and lost hope of finding any kind of happiness. “All the empty horses” as Bob Dylan sang, had returned. At 39 when another 7 year relationship had turned to tears, a series of coincidences and ‘chance’ meetings led me into recovery, and since then I have had a bumpy but upward ride.

The drink & tranquilisers had to go completely in order to uncover the fears and anxieties of the real me. Then my addiction to powerful men who would ‘take care of me’ had to go – this took longer with a couple of nervous breakdowns on the way.

My fear of financial insecurity was severely tested in 1994 when, during the recession, three of my bread and butter employers were made redundant and my self-employed income as a free-lance Photographer disappeared overnight. A period as receptionist at BBC Worldwide TV brought me a fast spurt of growth. I started my first proper job for 20 years as a knee-trembling, hyperventilating wreck and grew in confidence to become head receptionist who was nearly fired for being too officious four years later.

I felt at first that was being taken in a direction I did not want to go in at all and it had the scratch marks of my finger nails on it as I clung to the past, but, as with every major change and what appears as a calamity, it was for my ultimate benefit and the dark threads transmuted to gold. It was hard, having been my own boss with my own company in a glamorous world for nearly 20 years, to do a menial job for others. Everyone from my past, it seems, came through the worldwide reception. At first I used to hide behind the desk from the likes of Joe Grima from Malta TV; Len Hawkes of the Tremeloes, and Ann (weakest link) Robinson “I thought you were a photographer” she bellowed in a loud voice when she recognised me, and others. After a while, having seen a Fleet Street photographer twitching at the sight of me on his way to the post room, and realising that he was ‘delivering’ parcels I realised that we were all getting by as well as we could and that it was all alright. I learned that ‘ordinary’ life was OK and that I didn’t have to do something that elevated me in the eyes of others. I let go of Photography, never imagining it would ever continue again and settled for this new quieter life with both feet on the ground.

As soon as I had leaned this lesson, the photographic work “flowed” back to me. I had done nothing to encourage it, and I have enjoyed it and the adventures it brings me to this date and have no reason to believe it will not continue.

I still chase the look of love, and I find it now in my daughter’s eyes and, of course, my darling granddaughter Mia’s beautiful milk chocolate old soul eyes and in her drawings. I fell in love with her the instant I saw her little flashing heartbeat in the Ultra sound scan dept with Aimi in the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and from that precise moment, my life took on new meaning and dimension. I have felt needed and important and, alongside Aimi and Massimo, have been able to give that little bundle the confidence and love that I craved as a child and have been richly rewarded. Mia is a bright, confident, exuberant, thoughtful, loving considerate-of-others, doing well at school child with many talents. The best piece of art in my house is this one which Mia drew for me when she was four. It precisely depicts the bond between us. Me a loving benign presence with, according to her, “interesting things” on my skirt and “love feelings” in my heart looking out for and over at a happy confident little girl who feels secure with her hand in mine looking outwards.

I have also found the look of love in so many friends eyes in the past 3 and a half months and I realise that it is, and has been, always there – sometimes buried by human resentment or anger – but only I can block it completely with self centred fear, and when I get rid of that I join in oneness with others and can give to them 'the look of love'.

“The greatest thing, you’ll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return” This is one of the principal gifts I have received from this illness

I don’t know what to expect when I put pen to paper or how others will judge me for what I’ve said! But in the hope that it will help someone somewhere, I will end there for now.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Alternative therapies

Wednesday 17th January

Still feeling very tired. Probably more so than this time the last cycle. They did say that the side effects would be progressive, although the only one I’m aware of being progressive is the fatigue. I‘ve still got a fair amount of hair on my head. Not anywhere near a wig yet, and I didn’t need any extra nausea pills this time. I compared notes with about four others in the ward last Friday and they were all complaining about severe headaches and some sickness during the first few days. I seem to have had a lighter sentence in comparison. It seems that they were not aware of, nor had taken advantage of the Haven Breast Cancer Charity's free sessions that help with the side effects of chemo and radiotherapy, so I think it most likely that the Medicinal Herbs from Alex Haig; Acupuncture from Chris and Reflexology from Claire Nicholls at the Health Food shop in Fulham that I am having to help the body de-toxify and heal, are indeed working and I have given the other girls this information. As a matter of fact, the acupuncture session I had with Chris at the Haven last Tuesday has definitely given me some evidence of this, as, when I went to him I complained about the very sore vein on my left wrist which had been badly nuked on session two and had gone into spasm and had been very painful for several weeks. So painful that I had taken to wearing my watch on the other wrist because of it. There had been no sign of the condition improving and I was told by a nurse that it would take a very long time for my vein to soften. I’m not sure if Chris stuck a needle into the vein or whether it was nearby as I didn’t fancy watching them going in, but I certainly felt enormous heat from his hands which he held about 8 inches away from me over my wrist, my wound and my head. Two days later the vein had shrunk to half its previous size and there was no pain. “You are definitely a healer” I said to him, and he replied mysteriously “We all are”! I found Chris quite fascinating. He is greatly present in the moment and there was a stillness about him. We started to speak about spiritual matters and, although I like to think of myself as being fairly “deep”, he left me standing and I lost him along the way.

I did however introduce him to a fascinating book I have just read called “Mutant Messenger Down Under” which is about an American woman who accepts an invitation from an Aborigine Tribe to receive an award for the work she has been doing for underprivileged ethnic races. She is collected from her smart Australian Hotel in a peach suit with matching silk blouse, and driven off on a two hour drive into the Bush. When she arrives at the Settlement, she is told to take off all her clothes and put on a wrap-around rag dress of theirs, and leave all her worldly belongings folded and piled up on a chair. She is then told that they are going “Walkabout” and agrees, presuming she will be back in a couple of hours. As they set off, she sees her sees her pile of clothes, shoes, handbag containing camera, mobile phone, wallet and expensive jewellery, dropped into the fire! She decided that not offending the tribe would be a wise policy and that she could replace all these things and search the ashes for the jewellery on her return When she asks when they would be back she was told “In three moons!” and they set off walking. As she had no money, no phone, and hadn’t clue where she was, she had no alternative but to go along with them. Thus unfolded an amazing experience of survival in the bush with no worldly possessions and no money. This paragraph leaped out at me on page 111:

“These people say they have been here for all time. Scientists know they have inhabited Australia for at least fifty thousand years. It is truly amazing that after fifty thousand years they have destroyed no forests, polluted no water, endangered no species, caused no contamination, and all the while they have received abundant food and shelter. They have laughed a lot and cried very little. They live long, productive, healthy lives and leave spiritually confident”.

I also remember reading a lovely piece in one of the daily papers about an Aborigine chief who, to make a point, sailed a raft up the English Channel on Australia’s 200th Anniversary; landed; stuck a flag in the ground and “claimed England”.

My Christmas cacti which began as a tiny sprig of a cutting from my mother- in-law’s plant and took three years to produce two blooms on my first date with Roger in 1993 (I saw that as a good omen at the time, but with hindsight, I realise, it was sticking two fingers at us!) has burst into bloom again and presented me with over two hundred blooms. It is now too heavy to lift in for the winter months and I have had to leave it out in the patio with a bubble wrap blanket on cold nights. So far it has weathered well, but I am dreading a really deep frost in case I lose it. That would be really sad as it has become a good friend, but it’s grown so big that there just isn’t room for it inside the house any more even if I could stagger in with it.

Have been encouraged today by another reader who is enjoying my mutterings so will continue to share my strength, hope and experience in the hope that it will be helpful.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Four down – Two to Go!

Sunday 14th January

It’s day 4 and I’m feeling rough, but not as rough as yesterday!...The grey cloud descended as per usual on Saturday night and I spent a restless night with grey chemical dreams and woke up feeling ‘down and troubled’ with a hole in my heart; lead weights in my limbs; a fuzzy brain and a nasty taste in my mouth.

It was very hard to be positive and cheerful yesterday, but, as Naughtiness advised, I don’t have to be up all the time and it’s more helpful to say how I’m feeling.

Slept & dozed most of the day away interspersed by phone calls to see how I was doing. Barry Fitzgerald, lead singer of the Washington DC’s who recorded 32nd Floor and a couple of other songs written by Mike Bradley, Gary Illingworth and myself 1n 1966. His lovely wife Kate, went through the same chemo thing and he has been very helpful. We reminisced over funny stories about the old days of Beat Club, the German 60's pop tv show. This lifted my mood first thing, and then a very welcome call from HN made the day a LOT brighter, and I managed to stagger up and make a bit of lunch and do a bit of work on the Rogers family photo session that I undertook last Thursday. I was not sure if I was up to it but I have taken the children’s portrait for the past 6 years and Cythia had, very considerately, sent a driver with a car for me to help with my equipment and thankfully the session had gone well and adrenalin kicked in once I started work. I sorted and enhanced the photos on my laptop from the sofa with my feet up and nodded off in between spurts of awakeness.

Today is marginally better. I’m not depressed and managed to get out of bed at 7am to say goodbye to Mia who was on her way to a school outing.

She is going to spend four days at Wicks farm in Gloucestershire helping to feed the spotted pigs; muck out and groom the horses; help milk the cows (machines nowadays) and make Gloucestershire cheese. The Farms for City children organisation ( provides the country experience for city children, some of whom may never have seen a field or a starry sky at night.

She has been unbelievably excited about this very grown up venture away from home, and sat looking very “ready to go” in the back of Aimi’s car as I blew kisses through the window and waved her off with promises to write.

Christopher will be here soon and no doubt I will get a cuppa on his arrival and he will sit on my bed and tell me about his new house in Kenilworth and the lovely Lisa who’s bottom, he says, the sun shines from. In fact, when approaching Kenilworth, we were told, you can see a bright glow in the sky from it, and he has to wear sunglasses at night! We had a lovely 48 hours with them just after Christmas which culminated in a a pub lunch at the “Famous Virgins & Castle ”.

Wonders will never cease!!! Tonight I received news that I have been nominated for a Grammy Award (twice). Well, to be slightly more accurate, the Hat Box collection of Lost and Found 60’s Girl Sounds which contains my very small contribution of "We Don't Belong" recorded in 1965 and banned by the BBC, has been! It is for 'Best Historical Album and Best Boxed or Special Edition Package'. Wait till I tell Mia that Granny may have a Grammy!!!

According to my own diary, I will feel a lot better tomorrow! Just got to accept and endure and get through today as best as I can.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Time to Reflect

“My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue. An everlasting vision of an ever changing view”. (Carol King again!)

It’s 13th night and past time to take down the baubles from the tree and the other decorations and put them away in their boxes in the loft cupboard for another year.

London is eerily quiet tonight. The streets are empty; the shops were half open today. Phone calls and emails sparse. Overspent - financially and energy wise, there is time to reflect on past years and the one that lies ahead.

I’ve been thinking about LIFE and the fact that, having survived the sixties, I am still here, and the times that I have had a brush with the ‘Dark Angel’. There was the time I nearly lost a leg in Drayton Gardens in 1990 when parking on a quiet Sunday morning. I didn’t look first to see if anything was coming behind me and opened my car door putting a leg on the ground before consulting the mirrors. In a split second the car approaching too fast behind me swerved to avoid a fast car coming towards me and ploughed into my door, concertinaing it and carrying it out and away from me. It could so easily have smashed inwards – had it done so I might have become the next Mrs Paul McCartney! Then there were the times when Dad left me, an inexperienced 18 year old in sole charge of our Atlantic Ketch well out at sea in rough weather when he had had too much to drink and had passed out on his bunk.The times in my 20's when I drove my MGB GT sports car showing off at breakneck speed when well over the alcohol limit, to frighten or impress my passengers. And the time that Naughtiness snatched a flaming Sambucca from my hand as I was just about to do a fire eating act at 2am in the morning in a Mosta night club!

The most unusual brush of all was when I had my skirt torn off by a gorilla! Yes, a gorilla girls! His name was Ollie and he had only one eye having lost the other in a fight. He was owned by the late Gordon Mills, manager of Tom Jones and Englebert Humperdinck who had a private zoo round the swimming pool in his garden in Weybridge which contained Tigers, Orangatangs and Gorillas. We had been partying at the house when Gordon invited a few of us to go back to see the animals being fed. With drinks in hand we trooped into a shed at the back of the three cages and watched as Gordon went into the middle one which housed two friendly Orangatangs. He held the baby whilst its Mother clung affectionately to his legs. The cages on either side held Gorillas. Two females on the right hand side and Ollie the large male on the left. The two females had been specially imported as mates for Ollie but he had turned his nose up at both of them as, I gather, Gorillas, like humans, don’t like to have their partners chosen for them, they prefer to choose their own. In any case Ollie preferred blondes!!!

I was standing quite close to Ollie’s cage in order to view Gordon in the middle one. Presuming that he could only get a finger through the thick meshed wire, I judged my safe distance at about 6 inches from the cage. Suddenly there was a loud bang and a strong tug at knee level. I looked down and was horrified to see Ollie’s one-eyed huge head glaring up at me and his gigantic forearm protruding through an unseen feeding hole at knee level. His twice as big as a human fist, had firm hold of my long wild silk skirt and was pulling me towards him and about to get a better grip! I was told later that had he got hold of my leg he was strong enough to pull all the muscles out of it. My screams alerted the others and after an electric silence, Barry, my ex grabbed me under the armpits from behind and started to pull. My old friend Leapy Lee ‘leaped in’ to join us and started pulling from behind too. There was a sudden ripping noise and we all shot backwards through the open door and landed in a heap, me on top with legs in the air, my glass of champagne intact, and knickers on, thank God! My skirt had mercifully ripped, and Ollie was circling his cage waving his bit of stolen material aloft and banging the bars with his other arm.

The hold on Life from birth to exit is so tenuous and fragile and I have finally come to realise, such a privilege and such a great adventure. Since a year long deep depression in 1997 with its subsequent therapy, I have abandoned my belief in a judgemental and punishing Deity and come to believe that I am loved for, and in spite of, my transgressions. I am a spiritual being, having a human experience – part angel, part beast and the human experience can be very tough for a spiritual being, but if you hang in there, so worthwhile. My personal current view is that I am a droplet of Good Orderly Direction, the Great Creator, who is experiencing Its own creation through me in my own unique package and It knows that I am doing the best I can. Serenity is mean’t to be our natural state. Why some souls have a much harder time than others is a mystery. Perhaps Karma has something to do with it?

A lot of people get depressed at this time of year. I come from a line of creative escapees of emotional pain. (Drink problems and depression on both sides of the family). One uncle on each side exited this mortal coil prematurely and by their own hands and caused great suffering to their families left behind. With the help of a wonderful psychiatrist, Dr Massimo Riccio, I have come to understand that clinical depression, like addiction, has to be accepted as an illness & I had to surrender to help from others before I could get better. His mission to help me to manage my moods has so far been successful, and I have not had any of the ‘Black Dog’ for nearly 10 years. My main fear at the outset of this new illness was not of surgery or even death but of falling into depression and being unable to fight. Mercifully this has not happened and apart from a couple of weepy days, I have been positive and cheerful since the operation.

I am finally learning to “be still” and feel safe which has taken a very long time. To be part of the orchestra, instead of the principal artist, is coming! There is still the urge to fill the silence with chatter and time with activity, but I am slowing down and taking time to ‘smell the roses’. As Bob Dylan sings in his latest album ‘Modern Times’, “We all wear the same thorny crown” We are all headed for the same destiny, going up the elevator and one by one over the top into the mystery. What is the rush???

When suicide seems a good option.

For anyone considering this and many people do at this time of year, a few observations:

Unless there is an unselfish reason i.e. terminal illness, saving another’s honour or burdon, etc. the Great Creator won’t like it…. and:

  1. It may not bring the longed for peace and oblivion – you may feel worse – forever!!!!!!
  1. You may be sent back to start again!!!!!
  1. It may not work and the rest of your life as a paraplegic or a comatose vegetable would certainly be a worse option
  1. Depression ALWAYS lifts and you will eventually feel stronger than before when you come out of it. There IS light at the end of the tunnel but the tunnel is curved!
  1. There is help available
  1. There is always another chapter

When I think of what wonders life has brought me in the past 10 years since 1997 – the birth of my darling granddaughter Mia being just one of them, I shudder to think of what I had once contemplated when all seemed so hopeless and barren.

I’m not particularly “Religious” but I love a good hymn. This is a verse of one of my favourites.

“Be Still My Soul, the Lord is on your side
Bear patiently the cross of grief and pain
Leave to your God to order and provide
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be Still My Soul, your best, your heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways, leads to a joyful end”.

In the hope that I haven’t made anyone feel too gloomy, here are more wishes for a Happy and Healthy year ahead. Live every moment; put love where there is no love and you will find love, and don’t forget to thank The Universe for The Wonder of Your Being!

Monday, January 1, 2007

The New Year Beckons!

2006 ended as I hope 2007 will continue – surrounded by fun, festivities and loving friends and family. Hardly troubled by symptoms 9 days after the third blast, except for slight tiredness, cold feet and my eyes are a bit watery.

Today I met up with my old friend Rosalind and we went to a meeting. The speaker was brilliant and an excellent example of a recovered life. He said that when he first came to the meetings, he was in such a paranoid state that he sat in a back row with his motorcycle helmet on and the visor closed. Somebody had lifted the visor and said “I don’t think we can get a cup of tea in there but would you like me to pass a biscuit through?” I have been feeling a bit “down and troubled and in need of love and care” (Carole King) the past few days and this upbeat, cheerful meeting where we laugh at ourselves, has restored my happy mood and filled the hole in the soul feeling that had crept in on a negative thought.

A bowl of Minestrone with Rosalind at Picasso in the King’s Road and then off to deliver presents to Avril, Winston and goddaughter Natalie. A bracelet for Natalie, and candle lighter for Avril and a ‘Design a Beaver’ kit for Winston which caused no end of mirth and he produced some very interesting designs straight away! He was still designing when I left (!) and went on to Amica and Frenchie’s to take presents for the children. Another cup of tea there and home for a snooze before going to Aimi’s for Chilli Con Carne and to see the New Year in. Her cosy flat was full of happy young and slightly tipsy friends which made for a great atmosphere and I took my copy of ‘Dinner for One’ a very funny short DVD to play them and took photos of the fun. Mia and her friend Nicole put the Potts disguise kit on and we didn't know who they were (!!!!??)

At midnight we could see the fireworks and the rim of the London Eye from Aimi’s bedroom window.

So ended an amazing year which has been so packed with unusual events I feel I haven’t had time to absorb it all, but one of those years of great growth and richness that I will always remember with gratitude and marvelling!

Here’s wishing you a Happy, Healthy, Peaceful, Prosperous and Loving 2007

Expect good things and may your wildest dreams come true!

I intend to live every precious moment to the full!