Category Archives: Gooseberries

God’s sense of humour


I took my son out to the forest today and got lost on the way there. This is not typical of me as I usually have no problem memorising a route or remembering it. Before finding our way, we did stop at the excellent Snape Maltings for a picnic my husband insisted we take, where we entertained and fed a brown blackbird (female? juvenile?) and tried the ‘going in shops’ thing again, which with the help of a 3 year old I can manage for about 4-5 minutes before needing to get back outside. (It is reassuring in an odd way to me, because it proves I am not right in my head and all the inconveniences, kind words and prayers are about something real). Thankfully we found a great play area there I hadn’t seen before where Joe insisted on writing the weather forecast.


As you can tell, it is going to rain. The irony of admitting depression with mad sunny weather about is not lost on me, and God knows me well enough to know that humour is likely to be part of the solution. I am enjoying the sun and the warmth despite myself and despite worrying all day about how Toddlers was going. It helped having a little hero around too, to be fair.


But it also helps when I notice what my Big Hero is doing too. Away from the families, the noise and the traffic, this leapt out at me in my four minutes inside a deli in Snape. Deeply gratifying, and I couldn’t have seen that coming.


(And yes, there are red, amber and green jams in the same jar).



Tinker, Tailor,

Soldier, Sailor,

Teacher who lunches,

Stay at home Mum

What Peanut likes best

Today I had to go to the shop and get:

Hot Cross Buns (6),

Yogurt (Rhubarb).

Previously, Peanut has shown a liking for:

Cheese (the pasteurised, hard kind I’m still allowed),

Yogurt (any, especially gooseberry or similar),

Milk (on cereal),

Salad (in abnormal quantities),

and I’m going crazy about vegetables.

I am rather queasy around coffee, tea and chocolate (despite giving in to habit and regretting it often). I am more queasy than usual around bananas.

On a different note, I just finished reading Jane Eyre, and decided she needs to get out more. And never trust a lunatic in your attic, while I think of it.

Nineteenth century literature brings home to me how odd it is for me to be able to publish a picture of a child that will not be born for 6 months to an audience comprising family, friends, a sister as far away as can reasonably be imagined and several googlers per week wondering what threescore means. All this was beyond any fantasy Jane Eyre dreamt up as a child. Madness!

What do you do with disappointments?

I read a few years ago that a major cause of stress and depression is unfulfilled expectations.

In some ways I am glad for dad’s enforced sabbatical, although I would never wish him the pain. It sounds like they are learning new recipes (mackerel and gooseberries?!), walking further each day and taking lots of good advice.

However the selfish daughter part of me wants to spend decent time with dad, and one thing I had looked forward to for months was our trip to London in two Saturdays’ time together to go to a conference for Christian teachers. He is the chairman of the association, and it will be my first conference with him. It had been an expectation that I was really looking forward to; going by train or car together and chatting about all those issues we talk about that no one else has the patience to listen to.

Weirdly, it is going to be held in the hotel where dad had to say goodbye to my sister before she flew out to NZ a few weeks back. They had met up there as she had to stay overnight in London, and he had been on an inspection. That may be hard for me, in my sentimental understanding of life.

So, with far too much on my plate right now, I’m having to go alone now. And dad, stuck at home, wanting to be there no doubt. I also want his advice on school things, but it just isn’t the time to ask. Some of my classes are very difficult to control, and I am out of ideas. (At least tomorrow I only have year 7s all day and we’re designing new schools in teams. Should be great fun!)

Normally with unfulfilled expectations I just grit my teeth and push through and pretend I didn’t expect them. But now I feel I ought to be honest about the fact I’m mad about this. That may help fight any depressive feelings.

Finished and unfinished business

Off work today. Needed to air my brain somewhat and come to terms emotionally with the previous few days.

Thankfully I was just able to close an open wound in this process, by speaking with my sister in Auckland, 13 hours ahead. It hasn’t been possible to ring her before, and it was very healing to talk through all the latest news from each end of the world, like it’s some giant gooseberry.

It was also helpful to speak to dad last night and hear him talking about the future. Maybe this explains why so many people have been in touch. The search for information, truth, good news. You need to make contact with certain people, get certain degrees of closure, to manage each day.

I also need to record how my mind and body have been coping with what’s happened. As a friend at work pointed out yesterday, I need to control less and trust more. Dad said exactly the same thing later.

My mind has been in high alert, soldiering on, preparing and delivering lessons and trying to cover all bases. My body hasn’t been able to keep up. The pains I sometimes get in my muscles, and the twitching I get when I am very stressed has returned. My insides feel bloated and like something is nibbling them. My neck is heavy and my speech is fast. I’m not coping in a normal everyday way, and need to have some time and space.

Mostly, I’m searching for quiet.

I think, under the surface, I am learning to let dad go. I don’t want him to go, but I have to consider it, which is more difficult than one would think. A lot of what I think about is calculated and theoretical. Happens all the time, in and around work and life. Dealing with feelings cannot so easily happen around daily life – especially when one makes no space for it.

Later, after I’ve put the washing on I’ll go out and take a walk and thing through all the things that want to be thought through.