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The face in the mirror looking at me

 

Why is the immediate reaction to make faces, to grimace and inspect for spots or new wrinkles?

     Haircut yesterday so not supposed to be a bad hair day today. In the right light the roots don’t show too much and unless I look closely the grey is mostly hidden.

     Blue eyes, red-rimmed looking out through a large square glasses on a large square face. A lined face, fine lines everywhere unless I take my glasses off. Quite a red nose really but perhaps that’s the gin-and-tonic.

     What sagging jowls, wonderful word jowls. Thin top lip some say that indicates meannesscould be!

     Chickenneck0h to be 20 again.

     When I take my glasses off I look even more tired with that  slightly pathetic peering stare.

     Not pale, never pale. I was wanted to look pale and interesting at 18 fat chance. Still a slight tan, an English complexion, fair hair no longer flowing now cut to touch the collar.

     Heavens it’s a sensible middle-aged face. Not motherly, no the mouth turns down in a hard expression. Not smart, the hair’s too messy; no make up just a boring face these days.

Men’s faces look lived-in, women’s just look tired.

Facebook rant

And the purpose of Facebook is?…… to brag, big yourself up, make arrogant assumptions that everyone is of your own political persuasion, bombard with hundreds of photos, and/or divulge personal stuff that just shouldn’t be in the public domain.

Yes, I do use Facebook. It’s good to catch up with what friends are up to – the holidays they’ve enjoyed (sometimes far too many to be civilised), additional grandchildren and sadly deaths. Here Facebook has replaced the traditional death announcement in the local paper. I was sad to learn recently that an old colleague’s elderly father had recently died – thank heaven for the new sad face button as there was no way one could really click like. I’ve also heard that it’s quite hard to have a Facebook page removed should a loved one sadly die – that feels uncomfortable.

With Facebook’s new buttons as well as like and sad one can also express love, anger, amusement and amazement – all useful in their own way. However, when it comes to those shared political posts, sometimes I want to say that I disagree with the content of the post itself. If I click like it looks as though I agree with the friend posting, if I click angry or sad it implies I’m sad about the political statement which often I actually agree with at some level – it’s complicated. I could of course bypass the buttons and straightforwardly make a comment but politics is a funny old thing. I’m ok having a face to face discussion amongst friends with differing viewpoints but heavens I might get trolled if I put my political views online for all to see. So even though I may not actually be brave enough to comment or even to physically press a symbol, I do like to be in a position to do so mentally.

I do wonder if people who brag on Facebook do so because their lives are actually not that exciting or if they just don’t realise it comes across as boasting.

I’ve been to parties where a few hours later there are the photos of everyone having such a good time (I’m not usually in those) and comments such as ‘best night ever’ etc. Um! well I did enjoy the party but it wasn’t that good.

Talking of photos as I say I like reading about where friends have been on holiday etc. and seeing a few selected photos but my heart sinks when I see 201 new photos – 201!! Why not share those with just close family or use a photo sharing app and pick out a few favourites for the rest of us.

The same goes for shared funnies and videos – I love to chuckle over some of those but go easy guys – not five in a row.

For research purposes you understand, I noted post on my Facebook newsfeed for the last 24 hours. You will learn from this that I don’t have many Facebook friends. Due to rejection issues I have only ever responded when people have asked to be my friend (how playground it all sounds in writing). I have boldly ignored some friend requests from people I wasn’t interested in years ago – they are just being nosey but I know all about that.

  • Somebody shared a memory from 3 years ago – I don’t care I wasn’t part of it so why not just share it with those who were involved.
  • There were happy birthday messages for a close friend, how her husband is planning to celebrate and lamenting her swollen knee – all acceptable.
  • An ‘I love my job, awesome session’ brag post
  • A shared fitness video
  • Local music and gig guide posts x2
  • Photos of coypu swimming in a French canal – mercifully only 4 (photos not coypu that is)
  • A friend’s Top 11 photos of the year with 108 likes – brag post
  • A ‘Do You Remember in Portsmouth’ post
  • Information sharing for clients of a personal trainer friend – why not share with group – the rest of us don’t need to know the time of their session.
  • An RNLI charity appeal
  • A friend having an angry rant about his car breaking down
  • Photos of swans feeding from the hand of someone’s mother in Majorca
  • A video entitled ‘A stork love story’ – haven’t looked at that yet
  • An unexplained photo of people at an unnamed football match
  • A photo of a flower called ‘hanging naked men’ – mildly amusing
  • A photo of an unnamed street at night – and your point is?

 

Some people seem compelled to share how wonderful they, their spouse or their offspring are. I don’t really want to know how spoiled you feel when your adoring hubby presents you with an extravagant bouquet for Valentine’s Day or what your children did for Mother’s Day. Let’s face it most of us probably get a card and a bunch of flowers and for those who don’t it does rub it in a bit.

A friend of my daughter’s posts stuff like ‘my hot husband’ – well I’m 68 and believe me hot he is not! Then there’s the photos of new and old grandchildren. I’m fine for your friends to say how adorable they are but it doesn’t sit well if you say so.

What about the stuff in life that goes wrong? This is often far more interesting. My own warped mind is much more inclined to post when things go pear-shaped or those gritted teeth moments usually involving cyclists in my case.

I could tell my Facebook friends about our 12-hour journey back from France to Gosport recently. My husband is not a patient traveller and it was truly like travelling with a 6 yr. old including toilet issues, but as he is not on Facebook this would seem unfair and a tad disloyal. Likewise, I don’t share the amusing happenings such as when he first got his hearing aids or when he forgets to put his front teeth in – yes I realise that I am sharing them here – oh the irony!

So I’ll still trawl Facebook in my stalker-like and Schadenfreude way but am increasingly reluctant to actually post anything for fear of being thought boastful, arrogant or worse inappropriate and disloyal.

 

Dear Diary

‘Write,’ commanded Rob who runs my writing group and because I am inherently dutiful I wrote about my diary keeping.

I would like it to be witty and insightful – a clever play on words. But it doesn’t come easy – not like the angst and heartache stuff – oh that flows ad. tedium!

It was only a few years ago that I realised heartache is a physical thing. Like you, I’ve wept; been shocked to numbness when my cat died and my mum died and my dad died but it wasn’t until I had a major falling out with youngest daughter in her second year at uni that my heart truly ached – fingers reaching into my chest and squeezing the life blood from me while I sat in Clackett Services on the M25.

Then, as now, I wrote it down – my stupidity and my sorrow recorded for all to see. Why do we do that? The pseudo psychologists of the glossy magazine self-help variety advocate it. It’s cathartic apparently and I suppose it is. I tend to think it is a gender thing as I suspect that more women than men write a diary. I have every day since was 11. I wish I’d kept the early ones. What did my 11 year old self worry about? Of course I didn’t worry did I.  I do remember that family was a big thing – the extended family of aunts uncles and cousins and big picnics and playing charades. Not boys at that stage .They waited in the wings for a couple more years and thereafter filled my head.

I recall lots of comparing and marking – hair 6/10, eyes 9/10. In an ever so slightly more mature way I still do that. Internet dating has a lot to answer for.

During all those teenage years I kept my diaries – the keepers of the secrets lived on my bedroom shelf and it became a ritual each New Year’s Day to savour the pristine pages of the new version – my future life a blank canvas. Oh I had plans and schemes and clever tricks but the formative years have their own agenda free from the constraints of the dreaded responsibility.

To this day I treasure the sensory delights of beautiful notebooks and journals. I don’t have that with books themselves. I wish I did and envy those with stacked shelves of much loved tomes. Oh I read – don’t get me wrong but I suppose I treasure the impact that the words have on me rather than their physical presence.

I wish I had those diaries now. Aged 16 in 1964 and a wicked girl to boot – part of history now.  One year’s entries were so incriminating that best friend and I took our diaries to Southsea beach at dusk and ceremoniously burnt them, scattering the ashes of our sins to the wind – oh the melodrama!

But life moved on and I didn’t keep them – I think mum chucked them when I moved out of home.

When I moved from husband no. 1 to husband no. 2 I dumped another load of diaries. I stood in a friend’s garden in Bristol, where I was living, surrounded by another 7 years of my life recorded in what is often fortunately a virtually illegible left-handed scrawl. I knew I couldn’t take them with me as I was running away to a bedsit. But before tossing them into the bin liner I sat on the grass reading about deeply insightful matters such as ‘cooked a lamb stew for supper, Ned was late home.’ How are the mighty fallen?

And that’s how it’s been over the years – the angst punctuating the mundane.

40 years on and downsizing means I’m about to dump another lot. Yes I really do have 40 diaries and can’t resist once more dipping into them.

I am shocked by how busy I was and how much I packed in to life back then. I am shocked to discover people I’d clearly been close to at one time who have been completely erased from memory – how much of our lives we just forget and who on earth were Nigel and Liz?

There are a couple of 5 year diaries and I randomly pick a few dates to peruse. A clear pattern to the shape of my life emerges that I was hitherto unaware. For recorded in black and white is the spooky revelation that time and again I’d met up with the same people or done the same things on exactly the same day during that 5 year period without any realisation that this was happening – fascinated I read on marvelling at what might have triggered said meetings but there are no clues – the mind is cleverer than that.

The diaries form a motley collection – from the large to the small, to the page-a-day variety. Although these days I’m fussy in the annual selection

There are diaries with lock and key to prevent the prying eyes of mother or some husband/lover or other. No clue about potential tampering of said locks but would love to know.

So, I question do diary writers do it because they secretly want others to read their wisdomly pearls? I’ve long been impressed by the legendary Samuel Pepys – all that worrying about how to preserve his precious cheeses as the Great Fire approached. And Anne Frank – gosh now there’s a diary!

Do I secretly want my diaries to be read? I can’t decide but if any of you feel the urge to discover what I cooked for supper on 21st September 2008 or indeed who I fancied last week – then take a look in the recycling bin round the corner.

[H1]

‘It’s All About Me!’

‘Hilary Moon, that’s a good name – sounds like an author-in-waiting.’ I have heard that comment several times, over the years sometimes from people who had no idea that I aspire to write. Well, nothing ventured, as they say.

My twitter profile reads ‘unpublished writer, teacher trainer, weekend sailor, pilates enthusiast, proud mother of two beautiful daughters, weight struggler, red wine drinker, oh and happy wife’. That about sums me up. I have recently completed my second novel and have written a number of short stories. I am just starting to blog and I hope you will enjoy my site.