I am juggling a lot of writing projects at the moment, a very happy position to be in, but it is making my posts here infrequent. Amidst the attempts to do justice to all of these I am training for the British 10k as part of Team Gingerbread. I ran 5k to raise money for Gingerbread last October and they very kindly asked me to be part of their team for the British 10k, which takes place in London on Sunday 13th July.
I will be focusing more on my training in the next few weeks – I’ve never run 10k before so this is a new challenge, and I am really pleased to be doing it for Gingerbread, the charity which supports single parents.
J.K. Rowling said of Gingerbread last year: “… I remain President of Gingerbread, a superb campaigning organisation for single parents and their children. Unfortunately, their work is as necessary as ever today, in a recession much worse than the one I faced when I returned to the UK in the 90s.” You can read the rest of what she says, in a piece she wrote for Gingerbread, here.
I am very grateful for any contributions- you can donate here– any amount- large or small- will be very much appreciated by me and by Gingerbread.
Last Monday I plugged myself into Week Two of the NHS Couch Potato to 5k podcast. I had managed two out of three of the recommended runs while listening to the Week One podcast the week before. I also swam twice in that week so felt confident about stepping up the pace.
Going from running for one minute to one and a half at a time, with walks for two minutes in between was more difficult than I thought it would be. In the last three years, since passing my driving test, I have probably done less regular exercise than ever before in my life. Before motherhood I was cycling to and from work and also still going clubbing regularly, dancing for hours every week. When my son was a baby I would walk everywhere, for hours every day, pushing his buggy in the vain hope that he would eventually sleep, which occasionally he did. Now I am becoming a Mum’s Taxi driver, approaching 42 and feeling out of shape. It’s very motivating to have a challenge with a positive focus like the Treeathlon for Trees In Cities to get fit for.
Going running seems to be good for my writing- on my second run of the week I had a Eureka! moment about one of the major themes of the dissertation I am writing, and feel much happier about it as a result.
I completed all three runs in Week Two and went for a swim where I upped my number of lengths from 20 to 24. I can’t wait to start seeing and feeling the difference.
Slow and steady…
Week Three begins tomorrow!
Yesterday I planted lollo rosso lettuce, Rainbow Lights chard, beetroot and mixed salad leaves in a couple of pots on my patio. These are very late but I am holding out for a wet summer (OhLimp*ck washout) and a sunny and warm September and October.
Sadly I’ve had little time or energy for gardening and my veg patch is a mass of weeds so the patio pots will do until I’ve got it all clear again.
I need to get some spinach on the go too. I can’t afford to spend £1.69 on a bag of spinach…and the rest…my aim is to be self sufficient in greens from the garden by this time next year…ambitious but also will save a fortune, taste better, have more nutritional value, and be environmentally friendly and sustainable. My son will know how to grow some of his own food as well.
There are french beans and mange tout growing in a pot by my front door too. Slight inspiration from 18 Folgate Street, aka Dennis Severs’ House, which I visited a couple of years ago on my 40th birthday- see the pics.
For more on my previous gardening and growing exploits see my Roar! Earth blog spot.
All of a sudden I have my degree result, am buying books for my MA, trying to get childcare in place so I can attend the course induction, and most importantly, settling my son into school.
After a great start he changed his mind, and decided he didn’t fancy going any more: “Send the uniform back Mum, I don’t want to wear it. I want to stay here with you.”
So I have had to play a chess game of feigned nonchalance and checkmate moves to cajole, guide and persuade my poor boy to school each day. There have been improvements over the last week- he can now put his uniform on by himself, and is starting to settle into the new routine. The walk/scoot to school is still accompanied by the mantra of “I don’t want to go to school” but today there is noticeably less repetition. He has been bouncing out the other end at 3.15 telling me it was “brilliant”, so I am not worrying too much.
My plans of ebaying and decluttering went to the wall (of course) amidst dealing with the administration concerned with the MA I am about to begin in creative writing. The reading list for one of the modules I am taking is long on heavy-duty critical theory- I can’t wait.
Last friday when I was able to log on and find out my degree result I sat shaking in front of my lap top for at least a couple of hours. I always dreamed of getting a first but had let go of it after being so poorly and finding the juggling of everything so intense and tricky to get all the work done in my final year. But I did it! I got a first class degree. As a single parent. I floated around the rest of the day, supremely happy. I feel very lucky to have had the chance to do it. It’s been tough and fantastic in equal amounts.
Now it’s back to work…
My son started school yesterday and came out at 3.15 saying “It was brilliant Mum!”
Surely what every parent wants to hear. I was so relieved.
But all week I have been feeling desperately sad – I feel bereft. Paradoxically, of course, I am also enjoying some time to get things done without juggling the needs of my bossy and exuberant four year old. It has been a shock to find myself reacting so strongly to this expected change, which we have been looking forward to, and so excited about.
I have been on my own for much of this week, with my father away on holiday, and was delighted yesterday, when my sister called early in the morning to wish us luck, and then visited last night, to see how he got on at school.
Starting school is a rite of passage, and these are the times where I still miss my Mum keenly, and wish I had her to tell me to buck my ideas up and get on with it.
Instead I am giving myself a metaphorical hug and acknowledging that Sam’s babyhood, and my experience of that wonderful part of motherhood is over, and we have new adventures to look forward to now.