It's been thirty years since I found out I was pregnant with Fox. My beautiful boy, my son. Those terrible years we were estranged now over and passed, I am the mother of an adult son who lives in a different country than I do, with my beautiful grandson and I miss them both so much that I hope for miracles-I would be SO happy if Fox and 'Bas came over to the UK and my family was physically together!
Day before yesterday my husband taught me how to change bicycle tires. He and Fox would spend hours in the garage working on bikes-both love pedal and motor bikes in the same way. I know they would enjoy spending time together, and I know that Paul, in-spite of his avowed "Never wanted children" is anxious to be a father to Fox and a grandfather to 'Bas. I know too, that he feels terribly that we weren't able to get Mozart and Gonzo over, and while he has stopped asking if I have heard back from their new Peoples, yesterday we saw a ginger cat the exact colour of Mozart and we both went quiet for a moment.
Because yesterday was the one year anniversary of my arrival in Scotland, and the day before the last time I held my ginger close.
What a year it has been! I came over to Scotland unsure of what I would find-I was only 99% sure that Paul and I were right for each other and because I am after all the five thousand year old woman I knew it was very possible that the missing one percent of surety would prove we weren't a couple after all, and I would end up back on the plane to the US for another round of 'single life'.
I read and post on an ex-pat forum and often make the joke that I came over last year to see if Paul and I could share one small Scottish bathroom-but kids, it ain't really a joke! It's symbolic of all the things that can wrong in a relationship, it's a metaphor for the little things that erode away at a relationship until you are waking up in the middle of the night wondering why in the name of all that's holy you climb in the bed with that person in the first place.
I woke up this morning (BST) at 0230 not because I am wondering why in the heck I am with Paul, but because I have a WHOPPING toothache-oh ouchie! I have a dentist appointment Monday that I am not looking forward to in the least as the dentist informed me in the consultation that I have a rather lot of dental work wanting done. I'll be seeing him weekly until the middle of September. Oh joy.
Yesterday we went to lunch with a dear friend of ours, a former work colleague of Paul's who has been gently prodding him to go back to work, and yesterday was finally able to get him to admit that he misses it. I love Sarah as though she were my own sister for getting that admission from him! I watched the two of them together yesterday going around inspecting buildings and the interest, the glow emanating from my adorable husband was fantastic to see.
He was offered a really splendid job in Wales last month and I know now that he is regretting declining the offer (I'm regretting it too, the money was incredible and it would have got him back on the game).
We've been working on the house. The contractors are coming this week to start the work we can't do ourselves, which means we'll be painting and 'trimming' on the inside while the contractors are working out. We're having a fence and gate installed across the forecourt and the side garden, and some work done on the roof and a couple of the shed windows. We were going to build a log store across the bottom of the terrace wall below the back garden but have decided we are going to use the garage instead to store the logs and need to get started building the log store in there. Based on what it took us last year to get through the admittedly brutal winter (which I expect will be repeated to a lesser degree this year), we're going to need most of the garage fitted out with log stores, lol, poor Paul!
We have a lovely life. Boring but lovely in the boringness. I've got him hooked on jigsaw puzzles-next up backgammon!
I'm making good use of the time this morning-a blog post (Hi Fox and Kev, thank-you for reading:) to catch my son up (why is it that I always forget the important stuff when writing or talking to him?) washing up in the kitchen, reading a few news pieces online and answering emails, then off at a reasonable hour to get the morning walk in-the doctor wants me to lose two stone (close to 30lbs) and I completely agree!
It was depressing enough to have gained 15 extra pounds after arriving in Scotland last year, but when I was with Fox this spring I added an unconscionable twenty more! The heat/humidity made exercise impossible for me as thanks to my stoopid little heart thing I can't go outside if it's over 85F and 60% humidity because then I swell up like a water balloon, especially if I have been less than conscientious about the low-sodium diet. Which I have been for the past year, which explains the extra pounds. I now own a bathroom scale (I think it owns me, although I am trying not to obsess.)
I love my son. I miss my son. But I cannot-CANNOT-take the heat and humidity in SouthEast Alabama, not without tons of money lying about to pay for air conditioning and a car to get around. One of the things I love most about Scotland, and that I think my son and grandson would love as well, is the joy of not needing a car. I can walk to the shops for just about everything I need; I can now ride my wonderful red bicycle to the shops as well, and to the 'beauty spots' (British for tourist attraction-photo ops) of which there are many in the very near vicinity.
We rode the bus yesterday to visit our friend who'd kindly arranged a tour of a restoration being done in the town she is assigned to as conservation officer-we had an incredible time climbing all over this amazing 16th century building in hard hats and hi-vis vests, poking around at 15th century timbers reused in the 16th to build a 'merchant house' being restored to a ground floor shop and what will be a rather posh home above on the next three stories.
The only disappointment was the bustle of the workmen (in whose way we strove not to be)-it was impossible in the commotion to enjoy a sense of history; no shadows out of the corner of the eye, I think the din has driven out whatever 'ghosties' may have been there.
Just as well!