Saturday, March 24, 2007

What a difference a year makes ...

A year ago today, I was in my loft apartment in central london, which I shared with my long-term partner, who I knew I would be with forever. I was waiting to turn 30, my first sober birthday.

Tonight I am in my crazy shack in the woods in Surrey, single (she upgraded me 4 weeks later for a younger, fitter model with bigger breasts and fewer hang-ups). I am waiting to turn 31, my second sober birthday.

In the 365 days in between, I have popped an astounding number of cherries.

I have a garden for the first time. I have chickens. I have killed one of my chickens with a spade after a stoat did a half-job on the poor bird. I have picked fruit from my garden and made jam and chutney. I have been camping on my own. I have climbed a mountain. I have told my father that one of his dearest friends has died, and cried my eyes out at her funeral. I have attended the wedding of my last boyfriend, and heard that he is to be a daddy soon. I have learned that I can take photographs.

And of course, I have started this blog.


Badger took this photo of Ruby over looking the Black Water Reservoir around 3/4 of the way through a 14 mile hike we did from Kinlochleven to the reservoir head, and on to the West Highland Way. Along the way we had to climb off the track up a very steep bank, for a long way, to find a route across a river that had become impassable. Badger wanted to turn back, which might well have been a prudent decision, but I simply felt that I had to keep going. Most of this year has been just like that day - a case of putting one foot in front of the other, not knowing what might be ahead, but knowing that I couldn't turn back. There hasn't always been a photo opportunity, but there have been a lot more high points than I would have imagined.


Blogger The Moon Topples said...

Congratulations on all you've accomplished in the last year. While some of the things that made your list aren't necessarily fun things to do, I'm sure they were worthwhile in some way (or you probably wouldn't be telling us about them).

Anyway, I've seen you in Caroline's comments section (and others) and thought I'd check out your blog as well. I've linked you, to remind me to return.

24 March, 2007 23:54  
Blogger Random Reflections said...

Sounds like a good and varied year.

I can't quite work it out from what you wrote - does that make today your birthday?? If so, happy birthday. If not then happy birthday for whenever it is because this is bound to be applicable at some point...

25 March, 2007 00:28  
Blogger Stray said...

Maht - thanks for the congratulations. Yes, it does feel like all those things are some how significant.

I like your profile description - keeper of cats indeed! I think my siamese would claim that she is a keeper of humans ...

RR - I don't think good is the word I would choose. But then bad doesn't fit either. It has certainly been intense. Probably the most painful year of my life, but still full of incredibly rewarding and hopeful moments. Hmmm.

Yes, it is now my birthday. I am not normally a birthday kind of person, but this year it feels like an achievement just to have made it through another 12 months!


25 March, 2007 00:33  
Blogger Random Reflections said...

Well making it through the last 12 months is good! I hope the next 12 months are better.

Nice photo. I've walked the West Highland Way and been to Kinlochleven. I seem to think I stayed in a weird B&B in Kinlochleven which was basically the spare room in some bloke's house.

What am I doing up at this time of night, particularly as the clocks go forward shortly?? Time for bed methinks.

Enjoy your birthday, I hope you have a really good day.

25 March, 2007 00:53  
Blogger Caroline said...

I loved this post. Reflection but with a positive twist. You're a wise wise woman.

Happy birthday sweetie.

Oh and Maht is lovely/crushworthy. I did ask him to marry me but he turned me down.



25 March, 2007 10:07  
Blogger Ms Melancholy said...

Happy Birthday, lovely. Beautiful picture, too. Sounds like you have had a big, big year. More fun to come this year, I hope. So not sure about those wheelie things, though! They look damn dangerous to me!

Much love xxx

25 March, 2007 20:24  
Blogger Stray said...

RR - thanks, yes, the WHW is amazing isn't it! I hope you got some sleep :)

Caroline - thank you. I don't feel wise at all. Did Maht give his reasons for turning you down? I might like to study those incase I make my own application for marriage ;) You do know you are quite crushworthy yourself?

Ms M - yes, a massive year. That stuff listed isn't even the half of it. Glad to be this side though. And I promise to be careful on my heelys!


25 March, 2007 23:07  
Blogger The Moon Topples said...

Um, I'm pretty sure that my chief reason for turning down Caroline's wonderful proposal was the 4,000 miles between us, and the fact that Caroline is already married.

In my experience, long-distance polygamy never works out.

Also, Happy Belated Birthday, Stray. Don't know how I missed all the clues in the post.

26 March, 2007 07:52  
Blogger Stray said...

Thank you Maht :)

I don't think the clues were very subtle, but then perhaps you don't watch enough columbo?

I think if you were going to engage in polygamy, the long distance kind would have less potential for socially awkward moments in the supermarket etc.


26 March, 2007 12:29  
Blogger Jean said...

Wow. Quite a year. I hope you had a wonderful birthday. All my best wishes for the year to come.

26 March, 2007 16:59  
Blogger Caroline said...

Yes Stray - you talk sense. Maht was silly for turning me down! You tell him honey.

26 March, 2007 18:08  
Blogger The Moon Topples said...

I was, perhaps, silly. I admit that. Although I had assumed that we were talking about polygamy in which everyone knows what's going on, and not that awkward "double life" thing that they do on television.

What do I know? Not much.

26 March, 2007 18:23  
Blogger Stray said...

Jean - thanks for being part of the list of Good Things that have changed this year :)

Caroline - I will marry you. Maht is daft. And I think there is enough distance between here and your other life to make it work without the unfortunate sit com opportunities.

Maht - it may not be too late. If Caroline turns me down then you could maybe write her a letter explaining that you hadn't thought it through?


26 March, 2007 21:17  
Blogger Random Reflections said...

I did get some sleep, but not enough. The morning turned up earlier than normal.

Don't even get me started about my lack of sleep when I stayed in hostels on the West Highland Way (which fortunately wasn't every night). The Bridge of Orchy being the worst one. I think I blogged about it a while ago. It was traumatic.

Despite that the WHW was very good and a beautiful walk.

26 March, 2007 21:46  
Blogger Janejill said...

Wonderful photo and even more wonderful dog. I long for aniimals - even just one - a Bengal cat (I've heard they like water and they might train me to like it) but cannot, until I "settle down".. Congratulations on the many things you have achieved, endured and survived -I have only just found your blog so that may be a bit presumptuous, but there, I wanted to say it. As tractors were in my mind, I'll finish by wishing you reap the benefits now.

26 March, 2007 23:06  
Blogger The Moon Topples said...

Never been called "daft" before. Feeling a little wounded.

As to rethinking the marriage, I guess at this point I'll wait and see how her book does.

I'm gonna be in so much trouble for saying that...

27 March, 2007 05:44  
Blogger Stray said...

RR, I have to admit I'm beyond hostels for exactly that reason. Cottages or a tent ... but not a hostel! I'd actually rather sleep in my car :)

JaneJill - thanks for the congratulations ... I'm naturally quite shy about such things but this year it does feel like they fit! Ruby and Ophelia took the compliment very well. What does "settling down ... " look like to you? With pet passports these days it's less of a tie than you'd think. And yes, it does commit me to having a certain amount of space, and ideally a garden, but that stuff is good for me too and yet I would never prioritise my own needs sufficiently about those things - so Ruby and Ophelia are a great way to ensure I am in a healthy environment too.

Maht, incase we're lost in translation, 'daft' is a term of endearment, most suited to a puppy. How that sits with you I'm not quite sure ... and yes, you are gonna be in trouble, but I think if you sang her a song it would be ok :)

27 March, 2007 14:14  

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