Hairy House

Hairy House

Monday, 5 October 2015

Why I have not been writing my blog lately...*

Well, partly, there has been this thing called LIFE.

I am now teaching violin again: in three schools and privately. I run a choir, have started morris dancing again, have just completed a major rewrite of one novel and started major rewrite of another. Am mother to three TEENAGERS, chauffeur to said teenagers, cook and cleaner for said teenagers, single mother (most of the time as Rupert seems to spend most of his working hours staying in hotels in Prague and Zurich at the moment) to said teenagers, sergeant major and counsellor to said teenagers. Added to that I have a very active dog who needs two hours walking a day and I have started on a personal mission to consume every last blackberry in Buckinghamshire. Oh, and there's the gym visits as well, to counteract the blackberries (and maybe the odd glass of red along the way).

But the other reason my blog writing has gone by the wayside is rather more complicated than that.

One of the reasons that I decided to start writing my blog again, in the middle of last year, was because I had heard that quite a few people were moving back to England from Australia. I thought that if there were other families out there considering the move, it might be interesting for them to read about how we were going about it.

I would write with complete honesty, I thought, chronicling our adventures, the ups and downs, the exciting parts, the boring parts, the parts where we made mistakes, where things didn't work quite as intended, the parts that went particularly well. Above all, I would recount it all with the utmost truth so that people would see what it was really LIKE.

And so I started to write, and almost immediately, I started to lie.

Because, of course, it's not that simple.

During those last few months in Australia, there were times when I looked ahead to moving to England and was filled with a wild excitement – but I knew that if I said anything like that, many of my Aussie friends who read my blog would be mortally offended. On the other hand, if I made too much of my real sadness about leaving Australia, my English friends and relatives started to email me and tell me not to come if I was dreading seeing them so much and besides, David Cameron was just as bad as Tony Abbott!

In those last few months there were things that happened in both my personal and professional life which made leaving the country at once more devastating and more of a relief. And I'm still not going to share them, partly because the same reasons stand as a year ago, partly because I just enjoy being mysterious....

And of course it wasn't JUST about me. The children had issues of their own which impacted the whole family and which, of course, I could not share either, but which made life rather more fraught than would have been nice.

Then we came to England and I felt even more conflicted. There were aspects of being in England that I loved – I fell in love with the countryside far more than I had ever expected, it was wonderful to be surrounded by family – even if they were all making plans to leave England asap (well, two of my sisters and Rupert's brother were, anyway). But I didn't want to write too joyfully about being away from Australia – and anyway I missed my friends there (still do!) desperately and still didn't want to offend anyone.

The whole process of packing up our lives and moving our family was physically exhausting – let alone emotionally. There were weeks when I cried so much I couldn't go out, or talk to anyone, weeks when I walked out into the countryside and felt my heart bursting with joy at the beauty around me.

At one point I made a deliberate attempt at being really honest – after it occurred to me that I was maybe painting a rather rosy picture of our experiences - I didn't want people to think that it was all going to be easy and then blame me if it wasn't! So I wrote a blog about the exasperations of dealing with uncommunicative councils and banks and school admissions etc, whilst living in a house we couldn't afford to heat and was promptly attacked on Facebook for being too self pitying.

So I would sit down at the computer, shivering in clothes made for an Australian winter, with tears running down my face because it was months since I'd had a proper coffee and chat with any friends and write a blog about the beauties of hawthorn blossom instead.

Of course, in the light of the refugee problems in Europe I can see that I do sound disgustingly, horrifically self pitying. We are incredibly lucky to be in a position where we can choose to live in another country just because we wanted to be closer to our family and think it is better for our children's prospects. (And doesn't include Tony Abbott, of course.) Incredibly lucky to step onto a plane and fly over and that's that.

However, knowing that you are lucky doesn't make you miss friends and dogs any the less, I'm afraid - and I'm not sure that it should, but that's maybe for another blog post altogether...

But what I have discovered is that writing, in a public forum, about your life is one way of becoming severely conflicted. Or at least, that's how it has been for me. I would read my own words about hawthorn blossom and wonder if that's how I really felt? It didn't help that I already felt as thought I didn't know who I was any more. Rupert still had his work, the kids had their schools, albeit different ones to what they were used to. But I didn't have any of my pupils, my string quartet, my orchestras, my friends. I couldn't try to get work for a while, because I felt my energies were needed at home. And I wasn't sure if I wanted to play the violin again, wasn't sure that I would get any work even if I wanted to.

I got to the point when I was afraid that I no longer knew how much my blog was reflecting my personality and how much my personality was reflecting my blog.....

….and now it is up to you to work out how honest this post is and how much of it is just me wanting to be mysterious again....

*assuming you have noticed - or care