Oh, great excitement and trauma this morning! The baby swallows on Springwatch (http://www.bbc.co.uk/springwatch) have finally flown the nest. I was peacefully getting ready at around 8am when a great shout from the computer room brought me running to Lord H's aid, assuming he was having some kind of crisis. He wasn't - instead, the first of the swallows had fledged and the remaining four were looking bemused: What was that then? How did he do that? Can we do that? Ooh, I don't know, Cyril. (Lord only knows why one of the swallows was Cyril, but he just was ...). Anyway, Lord H and I stood gloopily holding hands in front of the computer screen (and occasionally attempting to give one of the little birdies a nudge with the mouse), watching the rest of them work it out and fly away. It's so nice to see it happen on what is, after all, the last day of the Springwatch webcams. Mind you, I shed a few tears, I have to say. I mean now the baby swallows are gone, what will we do with the rest of our lives? How will we find meaning again? Lord H rose to the occasion (as ever) by suggesting chocolate. It worked too.
I must also say how good yesterday's counselling was. We talked about family - and Kunu thinks that my appalling lack of confidence might stem from being disempowered in the family and never really having a voice. Well, I was the only girl in a complete generation of boys (including the dreadful cousins ...) and the youngest born, to boot. So I suppose I'm not entirely surprised - and actually when she said it, something inside me went yes. I don't think I ever really had any confidence (apart from in academic stuff) until I met Lord H. She also thinks that's why I've always had trouble with my religion - when I became a Christian at the age of 18, I was simply swopping one overpowering, rather unhelpful traditional structure (the family) for another (the church), and not really moving on with the whole growing up as a person thing. Bloody hell, but she might be right too. No wonder, now I'm in my kick-ass "what the bloody hell have I been doing all these years??" forties, I'm kicking over the traces. Family and church, both. Sharp operator, that Kunu, you know ...

Anyway, she's suggested that, given the unhelpful setting of family and church that I spent my childhood in, and given my rather active imagination, I would find it useful to make up my own ideal family - and see how that makes me feel - and also do the same experiment with what might have happened if I'd become a Christian later in life, when I was more settled. Actually, the family exercise is easy: I would have loved to have been born in the late 70s, rather than mid 60s (which was such a cusp period - we were the generation who never knew if we were metric or imperial, new money or old, this or that ...); I wanted to live in the town rather than the country; I would have definitely been the eldest child of the generation, and my immediate family would have consisted of one younger sister and no brothers; my father wouldn't have died when I was 13; and my mother ... well, I'll have to think about that one! She's a law unto herself. Anyway, Kunu was impressed by how quickly these initial ideas came to mind, but I shall have to think of it some more. And do the Christian exercise as well.

Actually, over the course of yesterday evening and today, it is funny how much more confident - empowered even, if I dare use such a "counselling" word - I feel, if I imagine myself with that sort of background. Weird indeed. In fact I felt so confident that after counselling I immediately popped into Marks & Spencer and bought myself two natty little cardigans - sorry, soft jackets (including a gorgeously assymetrical and dusky pink one) from Per Una. Lord H was impressed.

Talking of family though, Lord H reminded me that, as I'd briefly gained an extra grandmother during our marriage, a new sister isn't too unusual. A few years into wedded bliss, he came home from work to tell me that his grandmother had died. To which my response had been: you have - well, had - a grandmother? You never said ... And he swears blind he tells me everything ... Sigh!!

Anyway, today, Marian and I played golf, and I was just cooking on gas. My tee shots were fantastic, hurrah! I think it must be my new sister. She's making all the difference, you know. I think I'll call her Teresa ... Hmm, I feel there might be a novel in there somewhere. Worryingly ... Oh, and I popped into see Gladys on the way back home, but she was busy eating lunch, so I'll try again next week.

The rest of the afternoon, I have drafted my article - or rather my opinion piece - on straight women writing gay fiction. I've given it a light-hearted note with, I hope, some hard-hitting points. Now all I have to do is sell the bugger (as it were), ho ho. So, to treat myself for my hard slog, I'm now going to pop into Godalming and have a whizz round before Lord H gets home. Maybe I'll take Teresa with me. I mean she'll need some new clothes now she's arrived, won't she?... Oh lordy lordy, somebody pass me the smelling salts. I've flipped this time for sure ...!

Today's nice things:

1. Golf
2. The bittersweet departure of the swallows
3. Writing my article.

Anne Brooke
http://www.annebrooke.com
http://www.pinkchampagneandapplejuice.com
http://www.goldenford.co.uk

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