Rebel that I am, I decided to go late with the blog this week. I have a sneaky feeling that Sunday will have proceeded quite smoothly without it, but let me explain.
I finished the school term with an overly full head and knew that if my sis was still with us she would have told me to slow down and take better care of myself. As it is nearly a year since sis changed her postcode and forgot to give us all a forwarding address (always the joker, my sis), it felt fitting to follow her advice and spend a few days clearing my head and allowing her memory back in.
Sis will be amused that I am also changing postcode – the only difference is that I am happy to share my new address in the optimistic hope of a deluge of cards, presents and champagne if I do so. After nearly passing the initiation test known as the second half of lockdown (I personally feel I passed with flying colours but Favourite Man(FM) is still not totally won over by my ability to, ‘snore like a hippo’ sic.), I am off to join FM to see if two fifty- somethings can move forward together without too much surplus baggage. It is at times like this when my sis would have come into her own. Actually, I have never had a time like this, and thankfully neither did sis, but I am sure she would have come up trumps and simplified my over-thinking for this is what she did best. Sis loved change, she loved risk taking and she would have given Marie Kondo a run for her money as she helped me pack up the flat.
In this limbo period, when I find it difficult to sleep, I have a sneaky chat with sis and still marvel at her common sense. It is slightly irritating that even when she is not with us, she still seems to know what to do. Sis is the reason that I keep finding little lists around the flat – I know she would approve – if I can tick off some progress and keep inching forward, she will be suitably encouraging when we have our next early hours chat.
I attacked my wardrobe at the weekend and as I divided my belongings up into keep, recycle, bin I could hear her saying, ‘really sis?’ as she looked at the large pile of clothes I intended to keep. I feel this is slightly unfair because many of the things in this pile used to belong to her, were gifted by her or were purchased in her company and I find I just cannot let them go. The downside is that some of her best friends have been sending me photos that they have found from years ago – all of them evidence our crimes against fashion (I hold that the shoulder pad will return) and, as I know that some of these items are still in my ‘keep’ pile, I really do not have a strong argument to allow these clothes on to the removal van.
I wonder what sis would have made of lockdown fashion. She was never a fan of dressing down so I feel my work at home wardrobe would have been more couture than onsie under her influence. I don’t think she would have been phased by the lack of hairdressing appointments either, I think we would have had some fun with her vast array of wigs from the chemo years and she would have insisted that any Zoom chat would involve a scan downwards to check we are all rocking a kitten heel rather than a croc or a slipper.
As FM and I merge two lives together, we are learning how to flex, but some things remain non-negotiable. My boxes are starting to move up the motorway and I think FM is starting to realise that in my opinion – and my sis will back me up on this – there can never be too many cushions, candles or orchids. So far he is being very reasonable about this – I think in his blokey way he may even be warming to my Jo Malone infusers and patio lighters. I still haven’t discussed the many handbags that Sis gifted to me however, and there is the small matter of a table and chairs that will need to be shoe-horned in somewhere because sis and I chose them together when I started putting my new life together; she felt it was about time that I learnt how to wield an Allen key (although I never got to meet her friend Allen) and she then encouraged me to start writing from that table. Both the table and the writing have a tendency to wobble but I can feel her by my side if I park my lardy arse arse and write from this vantage point.
Packing up my dragonfly box – nothing grand, just a TK Max discovery (thanks sis), I take some time out from packing to sift through the memories inside; photos, cards and general soppy ‘stuff’. I find the photo above. I can’t remember how old we were in this photo, but I do remember the holiday house where it was taken (no memory of a postcode – did we even have those in the ’70’s?). We were entertaining ourselves while older family members had a cheeky after lunch snooze (I knew someone was to blame for my snoring gene) and sis decided that this would make them smile when they woke up. I think it did and I hope it still does.
My dragonfly box comes with me on this fresh start to a new address and I have been reminded that this container must be continually topped up with new memories if I am to do sis justice. Who knows if my new world is ready to see this post-lockdown ‘babe’ in a bikini – with a pair of American tan tights tied around my waist – but I will give it a go if it will make sis smile. She has trained me well for this postcode lottery, I must remember to tell her.