I used to be a socially adventurous creature. These days I prefer one on one dialogue to the multi layered chit chatter of a group. After being so focused on Little A, I crave my own company. I love solitude. It gives me chance to cloud bust the ever changing climate in my mind. A chance to see myself clearly again. Little A's nap times are often priceless moments I get to check in with hotel ME.
So it was with much trepidation on my part that last week we went on holiday to Snowdonia, Wales, with a group of Younger Dad's friends. The party included four couples with children, one without and two black Labradors. We stayed in a couple of converted rustic barns situated in a peaceful valley inhabited by grass hungry sheep, newborn lambs, weather worn horses and a slow swirling river that meandered lazily somewhere.
I've known Younger Dad's friends for some time now. But for the last two years I've not been much of a presence in this group; Younger Dad attended various socials whilst I decided to remain at home with Little A. My confidence just wasn't up to it. I was an anxious first time mum. So last week proved quite a challenge as I tried to reconnect with old faces. Becoming a mum seems to have stripped my outer shell of a social persona I could once rely upon. Now I feel nervous and sometimes conversationally clumsy in the company of those I don't know so well. I can feel timid and vulnerable. So on holiday I found myself self consciously retreating to a quieter space when I had nothing to contribute. It was really quite stress full at times.
It also didn't help that I had Delhi belly on the first day thanks to a rogue egg sandwich from a service station on the crawl of a motorway that is the M1. Nor that I was premenstrual; the flood of unfriendly hormones predisposing me to long, jolly bouts of social paranoia; "I'm not fitting in", "all I talk about is being a mum", "they don't like me anymore" ... blah, blah, blah.
But if I had sent you a postcard from Wales I would have told a sunnier, and snowier tale .....
I'm in a muddle in Snowdonia. Its not all bad though. As to be expected the weather in April is schizoid; it started out Spring like and balmy but by mid week snow had carpeted the valley. And its still snowing. Little A is enjoying Gruffalo hunts with Younger Dad and crunching her footprints into the white icing slowly melting on the lawn. She loves repeatedly running up and down a slope outside our barn, watching twitchy horses in nearby fields and picking frosted daffodils.
Even though I should be appreciating the snow dusted beauty of the Welsh hills, I found myself oddly fascinated today by a cigarette vending machine in an old train station. We'd taken a very excited Little A on her first steam train ride. Her face lit up a thousand nights as the train chuff chuffed and parp parped passed fields of bleating cotton wool balls that fled in a panicked huddle as it sidled by, and passed yachts floating statue still on the surface of a motionless lake.
So anyway, on our steam adventure we stopped at a little run down station where I chanced upon this relic of a machine.
It looked like it dated back to the 1920's or 30's; a time when puffing on a fag was considered a socially appropriate necessity. What I really appreciated about this antiquated box of cogs and wheels was an inscription on the top which ironically read ...
It made me realise how much we take for granted in our information age. Back in the day this vending machine might have been the equivalent of an ipad. Things were so much simpler and slower then. And alot smokier and smellier. But it made me think. Even in the midst of the rolling Welsh hills I still couldn't be without my PC and my writing. Not unlike a 1920's socialite without her cigarette holder. Blogging is my addiction .... its entirely automatic.
Older Mum XXX
Oh, you'll never guess what. I was miraculously voted for the MAD blog awards. I would just like to say thank you to all you kind people who gave me a nod and a wink. So please do keep the votes coming if this blog tickles your fancy ....