Tag Archives: Swansea

Difficult weekend

Apologies that this is quite an un-cheery blog. I don’t know that I know where to start. This weekend was not up there with the best.

On Friday we set off for Swansea from Reading, motoring happily down the M4. Somewhere just beyond Bath we had a tire blow out. In the outside lane of the motorway. At rush hour. We noticed something wrong with the car, rattling noises and then major swerving across the lane, at which point Chris braked, and before we knew what had happened we had spun round 180 degrees and smacked the passenger side into the central reservation. We ended up sitting in the middle of the motorway facing the wrong way, which was a tad unnerving! We’re both fine though, the only effect on us was a bump on my elbow where the bone met the car door quite forcefully. For a number of reasons, not least of which very very good luck, the accident wasn’t as bad as it could have been. The traffic was slower so we weren’t going as fast as we might have been, there was a temporary central reservation with a band of gravel next to it which slowed us down completely so we didn’t hit it at that much speed. And it all happened just between the Bath and Bristol junctions so we were near to Chris’ parents house, where we got towed once the recovery van turned up. The amusing moment was once the highways agency people had stopped the traffic and got us back to the hard shoulder, they announced they would just ‘clear the motorway’, produced what looked like large brooms, and proceeded to sweep the M4 in front of 3 lanes of traffic!! In the end, we made it relatively unscathed to Chris’ parents house where wine and food awaited us. What was still a very scary experience could have been a lot worse.

On Friday night we also found out that my Grandma was not doing well, and the doctors had said that there was nothing else they could do to help her, and the end was not far away. On Saturday morning she died. She had been taken back into hospital last weekend with pneumonia, and was retaining a lot of fluid which was getting into her lungs. She had stopped eating and wasn’t able to take most of her medication. From Friday night my dad and his siblings decided to stay with her 24 hours a day so that she would have someone with her at the end. Sometime just before 8am on Saturday her breathing slowed and she just slipped away. It was the most peaceful we could have hoped for. She wasn’t scared or in pain, and by then she wasn’t even really aware of what was happening to her, so she wasn’t terrified and knowing what was coming. She was sleeping lots that night, and each time she opened her eyes there was a face she knew. And now she is no longer in pain or fear. She was 3 months from her 99th birthday. She had 5 children, 14 grandchildren, countless great-grandchildren and a few great-great grandchildren. She knew all their names and birthdays, and enjoyed nothing more than being surrounded by her family. She lived a full and long life, and it doesn’t feel heartless to say that this was the right time. We will miss her, but I know that now she is at rest. Please keep the family in your prayers. The funeral will be next Monday.

The weekend, though extremely difficult, was made easier by some truly wonderful friends, who gave us lifts in the absence of our car, made us food and cheered us up. Wine was drunk, stories told and hugs given and received. The best place to be when life throws these things at you is surrounded by friends.

So long, farewell.

How do you leave a life? How do you pack it all up into boxes?

I’ve spent almost a month knowing this day would come. Knowing when I went looking round flats, when I signed my contract and sent it back, when I was excitedly telling everyone about my news. Knowing that the day would come when I would have to pack everything into a car and drive away from my home.

I’ve spent a week saying my goodbyes. Which I knew would be hard, but hadn’t anticipated quite how hard. Saying goodbye to people who have been my friends, my family, my support and my strength, for nearly 7 years. People who’ve shared all my ups and downs, achievements and sadnesses, who pick me up when I’m down, and laugh with me when things are tough. Wanting to see everyone again, just one last time, so that I don’t have to say goodbye just yet.

And now all that’s left here is a few bags and boxes. There’s no going back now, no changing my mind. No chance to stay. And yet, part of me hasn’t really taken it in yet. This place has a hold on me. People I’ve spoken to have said ‘I know its hard to leave, cos I haven’t managed it’. Oh how I wish I didn’t have to.

Whatever happens, I’m still going to keep going. I’m going to drive away from here tomorrow, knowing that I’m taking my memories with me. And that I’ll be back. Its not goodbye really, its ‘see you soon’.

But for now, I’m off. I know I’ve not been particularly regular at posting recently, but I’m likely to be offline for a couple of weeks, while I get my phone line and internet sorted in the new flat. I might pop by if I manage to swipe someone else’s in the meantime. Till then, take care. Thoughts and prayers in this direction appreciated.

I’ll be seeing you xx

A weekend in the sun :)

No, I’ve not been away anywhere exotic, just enjoying the stonking weather here in this corner of Wales this weekend. It might only be February (and the temperature early in the morning tells you that much) but the sun has been shining down on us, and lifted many spirits in doing so.

On Friday evening I heard the weather man say something like “very cold and clear this weekend, perfect for a day in the hills”. I sat an cursed my bad luck at not having the means to get to said hills, and then decided that, dammit, I was going to go out and enjoy this lovely weather anyway. So I looked up the bus times, and Saturday morning got myself on a bus out to
Parkmill
on South Gower. See the other thing planned for this weekend, which also made it fab, was an ex-Swansea friend visiting for the day on Saturday, which gave us an excuse to go to verdis for lunch. So I decided my walk would only be a short one, and I’d meet them there. So having got to my starting point by 9.40am, I had plenty of time for a nice walk along the south Gower coast in the sunshine, planning (and managing) to get to mumbles by 1pm.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day, cold and clear as the weather man said! After a short bus ride across the frosty Gower commons, I arrived in Parkmill and wandered down to the back of Pennard pill and up the sand dunes to Pennard Castle, bathed in early morning low winter sun. The sand was still frosty in places where the sun hadn’t reached, and I could see my breath forming clouds as I walked. As I headed east the sun strengthened, and was quite warm, and by the time I reached Caswell bay by about 12ish, it was fairly mild, for February, and there were families walking along the beach, children playing and building sandcastles, but only a handful of crazy surfers brave enough to test the water! The sea was bluer (is that a word?!) than I’ve ever seen it, reflecting the clear cloudless sky, and the tide was far out revealing what seemed like an endless stretch of sand. I could go on, but I’d never be able to put it into words. I have a photo or two which I’ll try and share here at some point.

Combining this with then meeting aforementioned friends, having a good old natter to catch up on the last few months, and then continuing to do so at home over dinner and a cup of tea or two, a lovely and thought-provoking church service this morning, and a nice wander along Swansea bay in the late afternoon sun, and I’m feeling more than a little bit cheerfull this evening 🙂

For various reasons my future in this part of the world is a little uncertain at present. Having been (properly) job hunting for the best part of a year with little success, I’m forced to re-assess my options, and consider some (sich as moving away) which I didn’t really want to have to. A day like yesterday just makes me realise again how much I have come to love this place. How much it means to me, and how much I would miss it if I should have to leave. There are other coastal towns I’m sure, and other stretches of coastline as impressive, if not more so. But this place is special, to me at least. And its on my doorstep! When people ask ‘but whats so great about Swansea?’ sometimes I think thats all I’d need to show them.