Phoenix Fights

Fighting the FEAR, depression and BDP on a daily basis AND making my own bread. Bring it on 2016….




I bought something today.

Not food shopping but clothes.

And it wasn’t second hand, and it wasn’t discounted.  It was full price.  And whilst not a flash, ‘look at me’, attention getter, it was my style but brighter, made of beautiful fabric and not at all ‘background’.

I allowed myself because I worked my butt off for six gruelling 12-16 hour days on a job that left me changed as a person.

Because, even though it was something that is usually low key where I can stay anonymous, I was somehow miraculously made to feel important.  I was actually called ‘important’.  As in ‘No, sort Sista out first, she’s important.’

If this makes me sound pompous, then I’m not telling it right.  Because I’ve never really felt important to anyone, and I know for a fact that no one has ever told me that I am.  And I know it was a throw away comment from a young person who has no doubt forgotten of my existence as we speak.  But somehow, some way, I was dragged out from the shadows and put into a scenario where it was crucial that I attended day after day after day.

You can always tell when this is the case, because instead of receiving computer generated ‘if you can do additional days please tick this box’ emails from the agency, I was getting personal communications saying ‘it would be amazing if you can do Monday’ and ‘I know you must be tired, but you’re doing a fantastic job and we really need you to do just one day.’

I was bumped to the front of queues.  Interacted with the real important folk.  Heard my hero speak to me by name.

And I was totally one hundred percent comfortable with my environment and with what I was being asked to do.

Giddy stuff.  And whilst as a usual rule of thumb I get twitchy after being on a job more than 3 days (because that’s when relationships start to form) with it came a shot in the arm of pure confidence, and with that came a cumulative positive series of side effects.

I became more aware of my behaviour.  I was less spiky.  I made new friends.  I even attracted several members of the opposite sex.

However, on that note, there was one shaky moment when one very pushy guy (who was chatting up all the women) sensed my reticence and instead of backing off, laid siege to me. 

This was a disastrous move on his part because the more people pursue me or try to force me to approve and/or pay attention to them, the harder I try to avoid them, and in the end I was a hair trigger away from punching him in the face and screaming at him to get the fuck out of my aura.


Why do people do that?  If I get one inkling that someone isn’t into me, I leg it before they do.  But everywhere I turned he was there, feet, inches, centimetres away from me staring anxiously into my eyes, voice at full, deafening volume (for God’s sake someone, pass the remote) and breathing his stinking, full English breakfast miasma into my hair.  At one stage he even laid the full length of his hand creepily onto my hip to make me turn around and face him; I could feel the disgustingly intrusive heat of his palm through the silk of my dress, and how I didn’t break his face right there and then I’ll never know.

But I digress, as typically Sista style, I am giving more attention to that one negative in a veritable ocean of positives.

Because somehow I held my temper, and merely treated him to an icy excoriating glare before being rescued by a fellow female and carted off to play scrabble with less sleazy members of the crowd.

Don’t get me wrong.  I never forgot that this was an enclosed, faux fantasy world, and that the real world was waiting for me outside, with all it’s banal, draining, terrifying challenges, and that within a matter of hours I would be transformed, Cinderella style back to that anonymous, grey drone that everyone ignores, discounts and under estimates again.

And that, dear Reader is what came to pass.  I am back home in rags, grovelling around the ashy fireplace, surrounded by many chores.  No one is pandering to my needs, clawing for my attention, fluttering around me or calling me ‘important’ anymore.

But I feel a change has taken seed and I learned a few lessons which are as follows:

  • You don’t need to be pushy to be noticed.  Really you don’t. Whether it be pure fluke or that my sang froid was mistaken for confidence, and ‘don’t look at me’ attitude to be pure insouciance, I was chosen out of a flock of beautiful, talented, qualified young things to have a key role.
  • If someone really important likes you, others follow suit. Whether this be in a work environment, on social media or in a social situation, people are sheep and will come trotting after you trustingly if the popular folk approve of you and what you do.  This can either be extraordinarily, depressingly predictable news or something that can be used as a tool.  Sure, don’t kid yourself that all of these bleating masses are going to become your forever friends but you can potentially cherry pick along the way.
  • If you pretend to do something for long enough, you can almost make it feel real.  In other words, fake it till you make it. I had to flirt with some guy for six days, and whilst I was initially at an emotional distance, he was a fun person to work with and a real chemistry grew which almost certainly brought ‘the boys to the yard’.  Not only that but my libido woke up howling and demanding to be fed. Oh dear….but maybe it’s about time?  Not with him I hasten to add; he’s attached, hugely popular so categorised as ‘dangerous’ in my book, but maybe just maybe I’m not destined for the relationship/sexual scrap heap just yet?
  • Contact with the human race gets easier the more you do it.  The same principle applies to hiding away so we have a choice.  Don’t get me wrong.  I said ‘easier’ and not ‘easy’.  I did not find 6 consecutive days surrounded by my fellow homo sapiens easy.  There were other people as well as Mr Needy who grated sorely on my nerves, and I find that after about 3 days, people run out of small talk and start asking questions that are difficult for me to answer.  Like:
    • ‘What’s your main job?’ (I don’t have one.  It’s challenge enough for me to do this)
    • ‘Where did you go for your holidays?’ (Holiday?  From what?  I haven’t had one for years because I can barely afford to feed myself)
    • ‘What are you doing for Christmas?’ (No idea.  My relationship with my family is tenuous and fraught with danger.  Two friends have invited me and I’m going to end up pissing off one or both of ‘em if I accept either invitation.  Plus I may even end up on my own in a new house in a new town with 2 stressed out cats and an M&S turkey pizza for one.  Ask fucking Santa, as right now, anything might happen)

In other words, you get asked normal questions that apply to normal people.  The kind of questions that could potentially expose me for being the freak that I am.

What do I do in those circumstances?  Lie like I used to?  Make up some kind of creative adaption of the truth.  Avoid answering and turn the question back on them?  I’m not sure. But I can’t let that stop me moving forward.

And I wasn’t spotted!  As the most amusing thing of all was that several people chose to confide in me about others in the group that they suspected to have ‘mental health issues’.  Oh the irony….

So I am trying harder this time.

I’m trying to do all the stuff that I’ve aimed to maintain throughout the life of this blog.  Work out, get out, make myself look attractive, take chances, interact more with people.

Get a life.

I can’t promise you or myself that I won’t stumble and fall again, as the humiliation of failing to successfully climb out of my painful pit of doom during the years that I have been blogging is one of the factors that made me abandon it and stop writing.  The shame.  But I’m trying to scale that slippery scratchy wall once again, and one day I will make it.

As being kinder to myself and others is all part of the plan this time.

As perhaps I don’t have to be a witch to get what I want out of life.

And maybe just maybe I’ll get a snog from my very own Prince (OK, so, maybe some dastardly old uncle is more to my taste) before the year is out.  I can but hope.  I may even don that silk dress again 😉

Namaste x



EAR WORM No. 25 – The Pearls – GUILTY #BPD

Ah…just as well I love this innocent little song from back in the day, as it has been haunting me for what feels like forever…

If you, like me, were growing up in the ’70’s, chances are you remember this catchy British version of the original First Choice song.

Also, if you are BPD like me, you will have a long, complicated relationship with guilt and will have done so, probably most of your life.

Because, seemingly, like many kinds of abuse, one inadvertently ends up wielding the same stick that one was beaten so savagely with.

I was, suffice to say, made to feel guilty for most of my life, for, amongst other things, being selfish (for expecting to be treated like I mattered), for not helping in the home (when my sibling was not expect to do so), for asking for normal clothes instead of old ladies cast offs (so I wouldn’t get my head kicked in at school quite so often), for causing arguments (aka defending myself), fighting with my brother (who was older/bigger and ALWAYS struck the first blow), yada, yada…

This resulted in permanent paranoia, the inability to trust, the constant need to defend myself, prove my innocence and point out the real perpetrator.

Much good that did me, really.

It also made me afraid of ever admitting failure or fault, which isn’t great as everyone makes mistakes.  Even me 😉

But the most harmful side effect of this kind of abuse, is thinking that the reflex response of others is a good idea.

To be honest I didn’t even know I did it until recently.

Well, I knew I was very adept at defending myself, and felt more than entitled to do so, after all the shit I’ve had to endure to date, but the one thing I failed to realise is that no one likes to be proved wrong for all the world to see.

Even if they were wrong.

I’ve been let down many times by boyfriends, friends, family and work mates.  This is because I did that classic BDP thing of putting all my eggs in one basket when it came to making friends.

I would eschew building lots of different relationships with a cross section of different people, find the one who I thought was my soul mate per se, bonded with that person, told them everything, showed them everything, trusted them implicitly until that fateful day arrived that they dropped the ball and fucked me over, betrayed me, or even just let me down.

Most people are upset by betrayal. But most people have a whole back up team of other friends and family behind them, so they will usually shrug such behaviour off, forgive and probably keep that person in their life in some capacity.

Someone like me however would be absolutely devastated and incandescent with rage, and would then seek to expose this bitch/bastard for their rude/selfish/vicious behaviour so that the whole world would see how awful they were, and how hard done by I was, before dramatically kicking their friendship to the kerb.



I know.  Not very attractive behaviour, is it?

But the worst part is that when your anger dies down, and you put things in perspective, you realise that you’ve dumped all the good qualities of that person along with the bad.

Over the years, I evolved a little.  I didn’t always dump people forever, but I did still, very skilfully, very stealthily prove to them that they were pretty horrible people, that their behaviour sucked, that I would NEVER, have done it (whatever it may be) to them, that others in our circle/family now knew what they were really like, and that they should change ASAP if they wanted to keep good, loyal, innocent folk like my good self in their lives for the foreseeable future.

It didn’t always happen.

It didn’t always happen straight away.

But eventually a lot of these so called sinners extracted themselves from my life of their own volition, and I am no longer in touch with them.

Because no one likes to face harsh truths about themselves.


This was especially applicable when it came to my love life.

But they deserved it for making me feel shit about myself!

Didn’t they?

This kind of reaction, according to my shrink is ‘angry child’, a maladaptive coping mode that i reach for in order to avoid ‘vulnerable child’ the most painful state of being of all.

In other words, anger is my default, and unless I learn to feel what’s really going on for me, find away of comforting myself in that fug of unbearable, powerless pain, instead of reaching for my metaphorical uzi, I’m never going to be able to adapt to this world, and find my authentic self and my place in life.

And guess what coping mode we’re doing in group right now?!

Awful, awful, awful….but I must and will grit my teeth and work through it.

I hated and still hate people who play the guilt card; including myself.  But I’m trying to catch and make myself put down that weapon before doing irreparable damage to others, and inadvertantly, myself.

it’s not easy though, as I’m so very good at it.

Yes, like the song says I’m G-U-I-L-T – WHY, and housed in a prison of my own making.

But I’m working on my parole.  Honest.

Shit.  Why is life so fucking hard?

Namaste all x




As promised, I started this year in the spirit of fun, optimism and hope, which was only reinforced by this article by Shakti Sutriasa I read on the Huffington Post.


It almost seemed like an instruction from the universe.

A tall order though, as I am inherently mistrustful of most people, especially men.

Which brings me back to my Cockney admirer from my last post.  Because whilst all the underlying bullshit detectors twitched like a rabbit’s bum whilst he bombarded me with attention and compliments and offers of a lobster dinner at an upmarket restaurant, I did kind of blossom in light of his attention, regardless.

Even when he said the following:

‘Me last bird was a 54 year old ballet instructor.  We broke up because she was insecure abaat me goin’ orf wiv younger women, but I used to say “What would I want wiv ’em, when I got you?”‘

This, as I recall, hung in the air like a the greasy aroma of that morning’s breakfast, and I could not ignore it….

And?  You think I’m also an insecure 54 year old that’s just waiting to be taken advantage of?  Think again Del Boy, think again!

…but I chose to put it on the back burner.  So he likes older women? So he recognises that they can be insecure about dating younger men?  That doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s a chancer.

I did make a point though, of telling him that I’m not into relationships right now as I have trust issues and I need to be friends with someone first before I’d even consider going out with them.

And when I wouldn’t give him my mobile number, he seemed genuinely upset, so, soppy me, my heart went out to him, and I allowed him to give me his, then texted him as a friend to see if he was doing any more shifts as he was a lot of fun to work with.

What followed then over the next few days was a torrent of compliments, statements that he couldn’t believe I was single because I was ‘stunning’ and a ‘goddess’, what he would do for me if he were with me at that moment (romantic, not sexual), and repeated requests for me to tell him if I ‘missed’ him or not.

What?  How can I miss someone I don’t even know?

I would answer them with reservation but it seemed as it he wanted me to respond with the same kind of passion.  He also asked me why I was so cautious, which i obviously didn’t disclose.  Duh!!

He also mentioned that he had had a tough, painful life and my antenna jerked madly with alarm.

In an attempt to calm all this down (as it all smacked of bullshit to be honest) I suggested our meeting for a coffee the following afternoon (NYE), as we hadn’t even had a proper conversation and I wanted to get a glimpse of the real person.  This he could not do as he had commitments right into the evening (fair enough), but not long after midnight, I received a text saying more or less the following:

‘Happy new year, if I wuz with u, I’d have bought you champagne, roses and kissed u at midnight.  R U MISSING ME?’

Yup.  And if I had a dick, I’d be Mista not Sista.

All words, no action.  Who said I wanted such grandiose cliched gestures anyway?  I’ve dated men who brought all the smart dinners, expensive presents and plush hotels already and it doesn’t mean shit if they’re not right for you, so even if he was in a position to take me out, I’d be asking for the cheque and paying my own way, as skint as I am, thank you very much mate.

And what am I supposed to be missing exactly?  Cleaning out cupboards at a refuge with you?

I then wished him HNY in a more conservative fashion, hoped he was having fun and told him to carry on partying.

‘Nah, I ain’t partying, I’ve been in all day’

?  I thought you had arrangements?

Hold on Sista, I told myself, stop getting drawn in.  So he’s lying to you. What is he to you anyway?  Why do you give a fuck?

Because, I think, I got a sense of the real person, the wounded, battle scarred, frightened little boy beneath all the bluster and my heart went out to him.

That said, I gently withdrew and have not contacted him for a day or two.

That said, when I was cozied up on the sofa watching a late night movie with my cats last night, I did wonder where he was and what he was doing.  At home with his wife and kids?  Out on the town with his mates?

Or, as I’ve started to suspect of late, lying on a single bed in a hostel, penniless, lonely and desperate?

And would it be such a terrible thing for me to invite him round for supper and watch TV warm and content in a man’s arms for a change?

Well, for me, yes it would.

Because when a friendship starts on a tissue of lies, AND on the assumption that the other person is lesser because of their age and therefore vulnerable and malleable, that sends my self protection system into overdrive, and the inevitable game of relationship chess ensues.


And I am nobodies fool, because, like anyone else, i want to be liked and loved for being ME and not just a soft place for some desperado to fall.

So I NEVER lose those games.

Except I do.  Otherwise I wouldn’t have been on my own for so many years.


Whilst I like the idea of the ‘golden hammock of God’s love’ very much, I’m not sure whether it’s fully operational here on earth, and picture myself slipping through a large concealed rip in the side and falling flat on my back, bruising my arse and hurting my pride.

Besides, if the universe wanted me to do ‘trust’, why keep sending me shysters who think I’m stupid and want to take the piss out of me?

Or maybe it’s about seeing what I see without getting angry and trusting that my instincts will protect me, and then, only then, might I attract the good guys?

Ooohh….my brain hurts…..too much to think about….

I liked the idea of ‘Try’ for 2015, but that’s too weedy, even for someone as risk adverse as me.  I even brazenly considered the word ‘Dare’.

But both of these require ‘Trust’, which is my biggest bugbear, so i guess the decision has been made for me.

And I’ll stay in touch with Del Boy as a friend if he so wishes, without exposing myself to humiliation or danger, and for once keep the big baby and ditch the bathwater.


My God, what have I done?

Heres to the most challenging year ever.

Namaste x




For the last 48 hours or so, I’ve scraped by in a bit of a daze really, but one good thing has come from this ‘Total Recall’ from hell.

I have learned to take comfort from the company of others.

Not for the entire two days you understand, no that would be too much of an about turn, but my twisted mind’s impetus to keep reliving and replaying all of the details of what happened that night again, and again make me at loathe to be alone with my thoughts for too long, which is something very new for me.

So much makes sense now.

  • My mistrust of men.
  • My wondering what they really wanted from me (as they couldn’t actually like me, could they?)
  • My low self worth.
  • My horror of rejection.
  • My inability to let myself be out of control.
  • My inability to fully relax when a boyfriend (or any man for that matter) stayed over in my home.
  • My secrecy and need for privacy.
  • My needing to be able to physically protect myself.
  • My always expecting and being prepared for the worst.
  • My always having an exit plan.
  • My readiness to ‘fight to the death’ when threatened.
  • My fury when presented with male aggression.

And all of this because some selfish, sexist, cowardly, misogynistic wanker could have a quick squirt and about 30 seconds of ecstasy that was probably forgotten within 24 hours (or once he’d fucked/raped someone else), whilst this has marred all of my relationships for over half of my life.

Don’t they realise this?

These rapists, these child abusers, these kidnappers, these opportunistic abusers?

Can’t they just have a wank over some porn like everyone else?

The darkest part of me would love to see them all gang raped up the arse by way of punishment so that they could live in shame, fear, self loathing and pain for the rest of their life, but that’s just ‘eye for an eye’ and nothing good ever comes from that.


I haven’t been able to cry at all.  I just feel frozen.

So many thoughts, so many realisations.

Babies never came for me, and I subconsciously used to wonder whether I was being punished, or that some fundamental damage had been done to me.

It was probably just as well, I’m so fucked up that any child of mine would have probably being a bit screwed up too.

Suffice to say, whatever libido I have recently recovered has completely and utterly disappeared, so this is probably a damn good excuse to stop seeing GM and/or going on any more dates for now.

But I don’t want this to turn me into a man hater.

I think that as part of a healing process, I need to spent time with all of the kind, gentle, safe men that I have in my life to remind me that there good ones are out there too, and hopefully this will heal my wounds, make me feel safe and thaw out the block of ice that is currently holding my heart captive.

Thanks again for all of your kind words, they nourish my tired, battered little soul, they really do 🙂

And to any guys who are reading or who have read about any of this, I guess you probably don’t know what to say and think it’s best to keep out of it?

I totally understand.

P.S. What has shocked and saddened me the most has been the number of bloggers who have had similar experiences to mine, and I’m touched by them taking their courage in both hands and taking the trouble to comment so kindly and supportively about mine.  Love and support right back at you xx

Namaste to all xx





A friend of mine got married last week.

And I feel sad.

Because when I compare my life with his, he is everything I’m not, has everything I do not have which only serves to remind me of how much I have failed, and how little I have carved out for myself in this life.

D is handsome, charming, charismatic and hugely successful. But it is the D that no one else knew that I loved.  The lost, insecure, nervous little geek he once was, that he manage to overcome when his looks came into their own.  But like all of us with challenging pasts,  it never really went away for good, and that id would occasionally peek out shyly from behind those chocolate brown eyes and that confident, brash exterior, reminding me of why we really gelled.

I used to mock and tease D when we were close, for his affectations, ego and blatant ambition, and was adamant to others in our circle that I never found him attractive.  And I believed it.  Plus, typical me, I thought he was vain enough and didn’t want to make his head swell up any bigger than it already was by playing to his ego.  But we clicked on every level, challenged each other openly and had each other in stitches all the time.  Yes, he was funny too.  Not fair is it?

And God knows I tested him as a friend.  He saw the best and worst of me but, tempted as he must have been at times, he never wavered in his support.

When he left these shores for good, I didn’t go to his leaving party and didn’t really push to stay in touch.  He had just gotten serious about his current partner so I told myself that sometimes girlfriends can get a bit possessive about men having female friends, so I should hang back and let him to do all the running. Besides, again, I didn’t want him to get above himself.  Other women may flap and coo around him, but not this little black duck.

But unlike my select few, D’s friends are legion, and he makes them wherever he goes, and his relationship proved to have legs so he didn’t really stay in touch either, and we gradually lost touch.

As his world expanded and flourished, mine collapsed like a wet cardboard box.

Since my own personal armageddon, he has been in touch and tried to help a little, but out of sheer pride, I didn’t exactly encourage him so that petered out too.

And now?  He has bigger and better priorities.

And I wonder why I feel so low.

Did I find him attractive?  Did I want him all along?

The reason I don’t know is that I automatically push back when approached by classically good looking men.  When I was a geeky, specky little swot at school, many’s a handsome lad would tease, abuse, and hurt me, so the minute I sprouted legs and tits, dyed my hair and chucked my glasses in the bin, I was all out for revenge and have never really trusted them since.  Hot men are the enemy unless (a) are proven otherwise, or (b) platonic friends.

Oh I did date some Casanovas. But they were the ones who did the leg work, because they loved a ‘challenge’, and once I’d caved, it would all fall through for some reason or other because I never really let them see the real me.  It was just like a game of emotional chess really, and I was never willing to let my guard down in case I lost.

And whilst I never lost sleep over D’s romantic exploits, and we always kept a respectable distance, every now and then we find ourselves in close physical proximity of the other, in the back of a taxi or a crowded lift, and as soon as we touched, something electric and highly static would immediately kick in, causing both of us to lapse into an uncomfortable silence until we were once again, with palpable relief, able to put some distance between us.

Also, in the back of my mind, a little voice would say ‘Don’t go there!  You’ll just get hurt.  He’s out of your league!  He wants some young slip of a thing, you’ve seen all his other arm candy!  And he wants kids and you probably can’t have them now, so keep your pride and save the hurt.  It’s not going to happen.’

And now I look back at all the other good looking guys I found fault with and dismissed and wonder, could one of them been right for me?  Did I misjudge them?  Sell myself short?  Miss out on being happy and having a family and kids just for the sake of saving face?

This is a question that will never be answered now.  Decades have passed, I’ll never be a mum and probably never marry.

Therein lies my pain.

I quashed any real feelings of lust or desire for so many men, dismissed them as vain/arrogant/conceited/stupid/wankers when the truth of the matter is that I didn’t have the courage to acknowledge what was really going on, take a risk and open myself to the possibility of believing in a happy ending.

Cynicism is like varnish.  You layer and layer it on to protect you until you become entombed.  Impervious.  Unbreakable.  Unreachable.

And it’s too late to change now.

I was never classically pretty.  I have strong features, that said I had my charms, but I’m 50 years old now.  Will a good looking, desirable man ever look at me again?

Probably not. But if they do, this time I will not falter.

I hope.

Just writing this is painful to the extreme mentally, emotionally and physically.  I actually feel physically sick.  But I know that it is cleansing to go there, shatter that brittle casing, let the words, the hurt, the fear flow out, and trust that I will survive without my old hard shell.

I’ll never know whether I really wanted my friend because if I did it was in a drawer, in a safe, locked behind a six inch steel door where no one could find it, so I can have no regrets.

God bless you D for being a friend and helping bring this opportunity for change to my door.

Be happy.

And God help me be truly happy for you.

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I suspect the purpose of my blog might have been a ambiguous as my wording in the heading was, in hindsight, maybe a mite vague, so I’ve tweaked it and will give you a quick outline just so we’re all clear:

I started this year pretty much in the shitter with regard to nearly every facet of my life, was at the end of my tether, and had no motivation or energy to even attempt to get it back on track.

So what does our heroine do? Lay down and die? Enter a nunnery? Find a damp cardboard box under Charing Cross?  Get committed?

No!  She creates an anonymous online journal, makes to some tough, outlandish (and sometimes bizarre) New Years Resolutions with the aim of achieving them all by 31 December 2013 thus completely transforming her life as we know it.

Ta da!!

That’s where you lot come in.  Because I’ve said it now, in writing too so it’s all legal, and if I don’t do it you’ll think I’m an arse.  You might already think I’m an arse, but that’s by the by….

On good days, I also employ the things that I feel enhance my life such as cooking, music, knitting, poetry, yoga, etc) in the hope that doing things that fulfil me will help get me well.  I blog about them too in the hope that it helps others suffering from depression find solace in them too.

I also regularly host a Pity Party and play ‘boo hoo’ tracks when I feel sorry for myself or just in the mood to hear them.  This sounds pretty grim, but the plus side is that I only ever feature the very best music :-).  I even feature ‘Optimistic Mixes’ too when I need a kick in the arse!

So, you get the ups and downs, rants and raves, thrills and spills and, if you stick around long enough, you’ll get to know whether this tatty old Phoenix achieves all of her planned so-called ‘Flights’ into the real world!

To date I’ve made a teensy bit of progress, but I’ve still go the best part of 10 months to complete everything, Okay?!

So when the bongs chime on New Years Eve 2013, I hope to be….

An employed/working/solvent, outdoorsy, attached, dancing, bendy, serene, cat lovin’, successful Amazon of a woman, who gets up with the lark, so is always presentable post 9am (even at weekends – imagine!), who has loads of multi orgasmic sex (that she wears comfortable sexy underwear for), so doesn’t even have time of an evening to watch TV, has loads of friends because she  is very reliable as far as social arrangements are concerned not to mention forgiving, so is hardly ever in to drink at home,  looks after herself mind, body and spirit, and whenever she passes a mirror, she winks and whispers to her reflection ‘You FOX, you!’

I think that covers most things?

Glad that’s been cleared up, Better get on with it then……

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This morning, after a particularly disheartening hospital appointment that I couldn’t get out of, I found myself with an hour to kill in Chelsea, and it was then I remembered that there was a fabric shop a short walk away.

Bingo! Artist’s date No. 2, or Artist’s date No.1 Part 2 if you want to be pedantic.

‘No way,’ my Artist pouted, putting up a struggle, ‘after the last time?! Can’t we just go to Rococo and get some chocolates?  It is Valentines Day, after all….’

‘Come on!  It’s stopped raining and it isn’t far, we won’t be very long.’

Striding up Old Brompton Road ignoring my Artists passive aggressive muttering, I was inwardly hoping that wasn’t going to be a wasted journey.  I really need to find a way of rewarding and nurturing myself with beautiful things and experiences rather than with food and wine.

‘Happy Valentines Darlin’!’

A building site to my right; of course.  I smiled and nodded at my hulking, grey haired hard hatted ‘amore’, vaguely wondering when these cat calls would actually stop, given my age, general deterioration and whatnot, but at least they are a little more respectful and a little less dirty nowadays.  And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t grateful for a little unsolicited male attention, tragic as that is.

That said, being alone on Valentines Day doesn’t usually upset me.  Hell I’ve been single most of my adult life, and have always hated that hangdog look men look get they’re forced to be ‘romantic’ and get roped into contributing to what is a very lucrative industry indeed.  My last boyfriend and me used to take great pleasure in refusing to allow ourselves to get ripped off by buying astronomically expensive flowers and/or ‘special’ menus at restaurants. Instead, on D Day (or should that be ‘V’ Day?) we would go to nice deli, get some yummy things to nibble and a nice bottle of red and take ourselves to bed for the evening and make our own entertainment.  Then a day or so later, we would go to our favourite restaurant and dine well, without being forced to eat and pay for six courses of food we didn’t want, much to the pique of the maitre d.  ‘Why you no bring her here yesterday?’ he would wail at A, arms waving theatrically, ‘we had very special menu, guitarist playing, very romantic evening!’  But we would just grin at one another conspiratorially, him happy that he hadn’t been forced into being fleeced in the name of ‘romance’, me happy that he didn’t panic and buy me something naff or resort to a bunch of petrol station flowers.

Once there was a time, when men were kind….

I remember….a surprise winter weekend in Venice, so cold that we had to wear thermals and clung to each other as much to savour our closeness as to keep warm….. a real live baby lop eared bunny dropped on my bed one morning as a surprise gift…. being brought a squished, sweaty pastel-de-nata for my breakfast by a lover after his morning run…. a proposal of marriage whilst bathing in the Mediterranean with a hangover…. being held, shivering miserably from Noro Virus one Christmas Day by an ex who had never gotten over us…. looking into the eyes of an other and both being totally overwhelmed by the depth of my feelings…. lying on rumpled, crisp white sheets replete, backs damp with sweat cooling in the night air, watching a lightening storm…. a kiss…. a caress…. my hand encapsulated by that of another, and a bond that felt it could last forever……

Then it all went wrong……

How else could it have been? Whoever appeared to be at fault at the time, I was so damaged, it could only ever have failed.  I had numerous chances, and although I didn’t know it, and didn’t mean to, I fucked them all up as I was totally unable to trust anyone long term.  Too late, too late now…..

Hell-ooo?’ snapped my Artist, bringing me back to reality, ‘is this the place?’

I checked the name over the door; yup this is it.  Again, nothing flash from the outside, but surely it can’t be worse than the last place.   That said, it sounds like the people inside are arguing.  Great.

A bell sounds as I enter the shop, and the Middle Eastern family gathered around the till immediately stop yelling, stare at me for five seconds, then turn around and recommence their heated debate.

‘So much for customer service’ sniffs my Artist.

But I don’t care.  Because this place is a veritable fabric smorgasbord. Every wall is filled with bolts and bolts of cloth, all absolutely top quality.  Liberty, Rose & Hubble, Viyella in linen, cotton, organza, velvet…

There is so much that I’m a bit overwhelmed; how do I choose?


The matriarch is gesticulating to me, jabbing her finger towards the floor.

‘More!  More downstairs!’

Really?  I beam at her then wander down to the lower ground floor and carefully scan the shelves trying to limit myself to one project to buy for, and after browsing undisturbed for a while, I decide to make some cushion covers for my spare room and pick out some beautiful cream corduroy material with a green flower pattern.

‘I help?’

The matriarch is back, so I show her what I want and mention that I might want to buy some off cuts as I want to make some soft toys. She immediately shows me to a back room where there is a pile of cut price folded fabric at knock down prices.

‘Just look at this stuff!’ I exclaim, fingering some beautiful, iridescent velvety fabric.

‘It is lovely, ‘ my Artist concedes reluctantly.

I pick out a couple of pieces, and when I can’t find much in the way of zips or thread it dawns on me that this company mainly cater to internet/wholesale business hence their lack of sales pizzazz in store.

Happy with my finds, I queue up at the register and wait patiently (for a change) as the family bicker over a broken credit card machine and how to get it working again.

‘Turn it off Mama, then turn it on!  No Mama, that won’t work!  Turn it OFF then turn it ON!  NO!’

God, do they have to scream at one another all the time?  Imagine their house on Christmas day?  But hey they wouldn’t be celebrating Christmas would they, so I mean….


I start at the beaming bespectacled Papa who has suddenly materialised at my elbow.

‘You singing!  You sing nice!’

Was I?

‘Yes you were!’ smirked my Artist, ‘to Dolly and Kenny no less!’

I am suddenly aware of the background music that I’d been warbling away to, and for the life of me, I cannot remember the last time I sang along to anything, and then, yes, there is was, a fleeting moment of happiness.

I laugh, say thank you and wait another ten minutes for them to fix the damn machine (‘No Papa, not that way!  NO!  PAPA!’), pay for my treasures, and say goodbye to the suddenly attentive family (great timing) and exit with a ping onto Old Brompton Road.

‘Islands in the stream,’ sings my Artist, mockingly ‘that is what we are, no one inbetw…..’

‘Oh be quiet!  Anyway, there you go,’ I waggle our bag full of booty, ‘Happy Valentines Day!’

‘Pour moi?  Thank you!’ simpers my Artist, ‘So, where are you taking me tonight?’

‘Whoa Nelly, don’t get carried away with yourself.  It’s only our second date!’

I do however pay a little visit to Rococo and purchase some amazingly delicious salted caramels and some lavender and lime truffles.

Not for me of course, I’m on a health kick.

They’re for my Artist, not me…..

I wonder if my Artist is allowed to drink at all?!

No?  OK, calm down, it was worth a try…..