Saturday, 18 September 2010

Fewer shadows, more reflections......

I returned from my business trip from Ireland on Wednesday night, a husk of my former self due to burning the candle at both ends and in the middle. Adare Manor was even more spectacular than the photos suggested.

Imagine all of the majestic country houses you have ever seen all wrapped up into one sprawling gothic package. 52 chimneys, 365 fireplaces and a shit load of American tourists wowing a lot. I felt privileged to have stayed there even though I spent little time in my room over the course of the two days. My two colleagues are keen golfists and they took their bats over with them and played a round in what I can only assume was fancy dress. They reported the course there to be one of the finest in the world which is no surprise given that Tiger Woods plays there each year.

Work is utterly relentless but fantastically rewarding but as a result Mel and I have seen very little of each other and when we have I must confess to having been a slavering wreck. Her botox business is building nicely and she starts her Masters degree in a few weeks. My work activity will continue at its current pace for a good few months yet so time will become an even more precious commodity.

My birthday is now just a week away, I have a speech to write at some point and tomorrow will be spent coordinating peoples menus for my bash next Saturday night. I am a little overwhelmed at the response to my invites, everyone has accepted and some people who are attending are very old friends that I haven't seen in a long time, so I am really looking forward to it.

Most of all, I am looking forward to our holiday in France which is probably my most deserved break ever. We intend to do little of consequence, the odd day trip here and there, catch up with some friends and planning the next phase of our work on the barn conversions. Pat and Fred (my in-laws) are over in France for a month in October and Fred is raring to go following his recovery from a recent knee operation.

We will then return to the onset of Autumn which will serve as a reminder to get our central heating fixed in Cheadle. It has been defective for months but my motivation to do anything about it has only arisen with the drop in temperature over the last week. Last night was just two degrees and I found myself wishing I had done something about it earlier. But that is how I priorities dictated by what is immediately in front of my face.

Somebody mentioned the Christmas word to me today which should be illegal before November. I'll be honest, I'm not the biggest fan of the Yuletide season, it's an enormous disruption, an expense I can do without and in truth  the only joy and goodwill I experience is when it's all over and my liver can recover. Humbug? Probably but the last few Christmas's with my mum before she died were heartbreaking affairs and no matter how hard I try that is the feeling that is stirred within me each year. She died fifteen years ago last week and I miss her as much today as I did in the immediate weeks and months after her death from cancer. She was my best friend, my inspiration and a really intelligent funny woman. The only person who has ever matched her in those characteristics and in my affections is Mel and I feel very lucky to have had two such people in my life.

* Having read that last paragraph back I realise how maudlin and self-indulgent that sounds but if you can't reflect at your 40th birthday then when can bugger it, it's staying......

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