I melted into the seat of the train, as it slowly trundled its way into London. It lurched along in the sweltering heat, delayed behind another, broken-down, train further down the track.
I’d put my IPod on shuffle in the hope it would offer me something unexpected and fresh to listen to, and was transported by a slice of Quadrophenia, perfect for the moment.
My poetry writing is suffering a drought, pathetic fallacy, huh, what with the weather and all, so I am on a quest to water my dried-up poetic skills and turn them from pot pourri back to rosebuds… the small matter of the completion of my MFA dissertation is at hand.
I’ve started digging the garden again, after a few of half-hearted attempts in the last couple of years. This time I am going to try and re-reclaim the veg patch and clear another patch so that my son can have a trampoline.
Back in August 2009 I decided to tame the really wild patch at the end of the garden and turn it into a veg patch. You can see my efforts at the blog I devoted to this, Roar Earth. By August 2010 I was harvesting tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, kohl rabi, beetroot, beans and other delights. And later on that autumn I had a haul of courgettes, giant marrows, pumpkins and even one perfectly formed butternut squash!
It was hard work and I accomplished most of it by myself, with a bit of help from my niece and one weekend when a couple of old friends came down and did one solid day’s work which would have taken me another couple of weeks on my own!
But later on in the winter 2010, after being constantly ill with various bugs and viruses which I couldn’t shift, I was diagnosed with post-viral fatigue, and told to have complete rest. As a single parent in my final year of a degree this was bad news. The worst thing about it was being told there was no guarantee I would get better and that in fact I might get worse, oh and no treatment either…
I was pretty depressed about this, friends rallied and I wrote about it a bit. Then just after christmas I slipped while out walking with my son and friends and broke my wrist. At the time it felt like the last straw. It meant I couldn’t drive, couldn’t do lots of things I was still trying to do despite my doctor’s prescription of rest- how do you have complete rest when you are a single parent with an at-the-time three-year-old?
My father stepped in to help and I rested, put all my university assignments off, and did huge amounts less than I had- and started to feel better. Good days and bad. Then more good days but ever since I have not been able to do as much as I used to- so digging the garden had to drop off my agenda.
Last year I started running using the Couch to 5k podcasts available free from the NHS –SAVE THE NHS– and discovered I could run and that it helped my lower my stress levels and improved my energy. In September I ran 5k for Trees for Cities, and was hoping to run 10k for them at the end of May but have been too busy completing the postgraduate degrees I am currently studying, too tired and too flipping cold until recently. My aim is to start again this week.
I really want my son to have a trampoline in the garden, which is the main reason I have gone back out there. But I am also desperate to grow some food again, especially as prices are skyrocketing and I have no money, and I would rather grow my own anyway, if I can. I still get very tired sometimes but I think I am ok and pretty healthy, so I feel very lucky. However my plan is to tackle the garden an hour or two at a time, a few days a week, and see how it goes. I may have some help later on which will be fantastic – but I also quite like pottering away out there…it’s great to be doing it again.
The last two weeks has involved mainly cutting down massive brambles, pulling up nettles where they are not wanted, and turning over some of the ground. I have cleared one small raised bed and that now has beetroot and chard sprouting in it.
Let’s see if I can get a trampoline in there for the summer…
I have no time or energy to blog much at the moment. I am too busy doing the groundwork for the poetry collection I am working on and the PG teaching cert I am trying to keep up with. Things are changing, changing, changing… thank goodness. I wish I could get out more and get to a few of the amazing variety of poetry events in London but I can’t. And spending a quiet weekend at home with my son has been wonderful and we both needed some time to hang out together and not do very much.
Since I started the original LucyFurLeaps blogspot back in the depths of 2008 (?) I have been daring myself to leap further and have continuously challenged my boundaries. Sometimes I have leapt too far and needed time to recover; but I have also realised most of the objectives of my Five Year Plan, which is now coming to an end.
Now I have to work really hard over the next nine months to get the qualifications I have been focused on for so long.
Then things will get interesting…
Yesterday I finally picked up my new ID card from the library at university. It says ‘valid until 30 September 2013’. That is the deadline for the dissertation I am working on this year. On 1 October 2013 I will no longer be a student. I’ve been studying full time since 2008 so it will be a big change. Yesterday was the first time I really felt it creeping towards me. This final year of study is tough, I knew it would be. The combination of completing the MFA in creative writing and studying for a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching is proving to be rewarding and gruelling in equal measure.
It will be very strange not to be a full time student anymore but I am also looking forward to beginning a new adventure.
I am drafting poems for my MFA dissertation. The general theme is place, as with most of my writing in recent years. This week I have been transported to France, Italy, Germany, Ethiopa and am currently visiting the Cherokee Nation. It’s cheaper (and more fun) than flying. Some of this ‘mental travel’ is to revisit places I have already been to, some of it is vicarious, via maps and online resources…some of it is imaginary/visionary.
I’ve been reading William Blake’s The Mental Traveller this morning, seeing as I am on this strange journey with my poems- although the subject matter would seem to be more mental travail than travel…it is, like all his work, thought-provoking, beautiful, troubling and magickal:
And these are the gems of the human soul:
The rubies and pearls of a lovesick eye,
The countless gold of an aching heart,
The martyr’s groan, and the lover’s sigh.
After a rough couple of months, where I was poorly, very fatigued and trying to complete my MA dissertation, settle my son into Year One at school and start my final year of university, I finally seem to be better. Now there’s a sentence packed full of action! But I don’t really want to expand on it and drag it out. I did it, he settled into school and now I am running again. Yippee!
After a few exploratory runs to see if I was fit enough to keep going I am about to start training for my next challenge – I am going to run 10km.
I have been working on improving my speed and have been training listening to some marvellous music created by sports music specialists AudioFuel. I am now running at 160 bpm. This seems to be filling the gap left by the end of over 20 years of regular nightclubbing jaunts which fizzled out gradually and came to a full stop (with a few notable exceptions) after I became a mother.
I will be blogging about my training here as I work my way up to the 10k mark, and hope to raise some more money for Trees For Cities next year if I am succesful.