‘I always feel that autumn officially begins on the first of October,’ opined the Older Child this morning, (and again at tea-time) and I agreed that she was probably right. She’s a nice wee thing, now almost eleven and facing the horrors of transfer test, but she’s coping well with the ordeal and just takes issue with the profanities I utter when I see the papers. This week’s clanger was when I exploded, ‘A Bird Came Down the BLOODY Walk?’ when I saw that some clampet had chosen an Emily Dickinson poem that’s used to be featured on the CCEA GCSE syllabus for a comprehension. For ten and eleven year olds.
Anyway, I won’t dwell on the matter, aside from to say that it’s very stressful and I’m not the sort of the individual who can thole stress easily. This, I demonstrated, when I had booked a massage for my banjaxed shoulder at 3pm on Friday, at which time I was standing in Wyse Byse on the Cregagh Road weighing sweets from the Pick n’Mix with the children as a treat. That’s right, I completely forgot about my OWN treat, and there I was, blithely discussing the merits of Gummy Bears over Midget Gems when I was supposed to be on the table having a go going-over so I was fit to run this weekend.
Appointment missed, I thought feck it, and instead fired a hot water bottle onto my shoulder when I came home. Happily, I was fit to do my parkrun on Saturday, and I have to admit, it was MARVELLOUS. I have not been feeling good about myself of late. I’m still carrying weight gained in lockdown, which is going nowhere fast given my penchant for a Nico’s Pizza (Spinachi, is my current favourite). This delight is further improved when one dips the crusts in mayonnaise. The size ten clothes in the wardrobe may well be consigned to an ‘aspirational box’ to be stored under the eaves until I catch myself on.
But the thing about parkrun, is that weight doesn’t matter. It’s just about getting yourself, (and your lardy ass) around the course, and chatting as you go. The girls do it too now and fly on ahead. Yesterday The Small Child said she’d had enough after two km, but on went the Older one, and sailed through to come in three minutes in front of her wheezing mother. I’ve tried never to be an annoyingly smug parent, but I couldn’t help pointing and announcing to fellow runners, ‘That’s my daughter!’ as she flew by.
The autumn term is long and can clean knock the stuffing out of you. The dark nights always catch me unawares and my endorphins don’t just dwindle, they seem to plummet. The Guardian featured a lovely article last week on ‘How to Feel Awesome’ and I was like, ‘Yeah right,’ but some of the advice was sound. It mentioned how joy can be found in unlikely places, and I felt a little bit of awe as I ran through copper leaves this morning, and equally thrilled when I picked up a red and pink scarf and knee length boots in Concern on the Ormeau too. The boots were displayed aloft and spotted by a fellow charity shop enthusiast who kindly passed them my way. ‘You must always look up!’ she told me. How very true, and one of the points Anne Lamott makes in her Ted Talk. So keep looking up and the world may look brighter when you look down again. I hope so anyway!
More on charity shops here.