Fusspot and Clart

Fandango asks an interesting Provocative Question this week – he asks:-

Do you feel that people are more attracted to one another by their differences or by their commonalities? And why do you feel that way?

Looking at my own relationship with my husband, which so far has lasted for 48 years as friends, 21 as a couple, and 9 years married (concurrent, of course!), my answer is – both, in equal measure.

Starting with our differences, ooh, there are so many! My husband is a gregarious American by birth and heritage, I’m self-consciously quiet with understated British reserve. My husband is an extroverted night-owl, I’m more introverted and usually up with the lark. My husband is tidily organised in all things; order and method are his watch-words. With him quality over quantity wins every time, he’s a real perfectionist always. He’s always excellent at finding the exact right size of dish in which to store leftovers but has absolutely no natural sense of direction.

And me? Well I’m not a total disaster in the tidiness stakes, just not a neat-freak in any sense; I’m far more comfortable living with a little creative chaos and in most things ‘good enough’ is good enough for me. I’m totally rubbish at judging small volumes or areas but nevertheless have an excellent perception of larger-scale distances and directions. We joke with each other that as a couple we’re complete complementary opposites and often call ourselves ‘Fusspot and Clart’ – my husband works hard always to keep things ‘just so’, whereas I’m definitely more slapdash and messy in my approach to anything and everything.

Our similarities, though, although far fewer when listed on paper are nevertheless just as important to point out. Looking from the outside in, physically we are of similar height and build (short and stocky), and both look young for our ages (as in other people are usually surprised to hear how old we are), so in all practical ways we fit together well as a couple. We’re both first-born children of young parents, and were both brought up with a strong work ethic. We’re of similar ages and are both educated to degree level, achieved under our own steam as mature students.

We both have had our struggles with ongoing mental health issues over a lifetime so are able to provide each other with much-appreciated mutual understanding and support at all times. Our political views and values match closely, as do our moral standpoints, and our attitudes to money and family and friendship and the importance of looking after the planet are really closely attuned. We are both natural home birds at heart rather than party animals, both enjoy preparing and eating good fresh-cooked food, and both love spending time in nature.

So although on the surface we may have many differences, deep down the fact that we share the values and attitudes in life that matter most to us means that overall we both keep each other on our toes like any other antagonistic pair in nature, yet at the same time feel wonderfully safe and secure in our lives together. For me it’s the perfect combination of give and take, of similarity and difference, and to be honest I wouldn’t change any of it for the world ❤

April A-Z: H is for Hugs

Say hello to my Mother’s Day Hug from my youngest daughter and her family!

Thankfully Mother’s day fell on the very first weekend we were allowed to meet outside in the garden (hooray!) but sadly we were still not allowed to touch or stand too close (boo…!) so they all arrived outdoors with this perfect heart shaped hug cushion as a Mother’s Day gift for me. Its arms are folded across here with its fingers entwined but it can open out to a full, love-you-this-much stretch.

My grandchildren each gave it a big open-armed hug then gave it to me and then I gave it a big open-armed hug too – it was the nearest we could get to sharing a real hug, and my lovely red hug cushion is a permanent reminder of this never-ending Covid pandemic and the loving sacrifices we’re all having to make. We’re usually a very huggy family, so for us this not-touching malarkey is a bloody nightmare.

Still, needs must… 🙂

For this year’s April Blogging from A-Z Challenge I’m aiming for an alphabetical exploration of my personal thoughts and feelings on the continuing Covid 19 pandemic one year on, using a mix of poetry, pics and ponderings…

How Do I Love Thee?

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

To be honest I’m not a great fan of crude capitalist consumerism at the best if times, whether it be centred around the mass celebration of Christmas, or Easter – or Valentine’s Day. I truly believe it’s possible to mark all of those special days on the annual calendar with an appropriately appreciative level of tradition and ceremony without either breaking the bank or filling the world’s landfill sites with cartloads of cheap commercial crap just for the sake of it.

Because surely if you love someone, you can show them every day, quietly, and very personally, just how much you care. Small impromptu gifts of flowers and chocolates and suchlike ‘just because’ are a regular enough feature in our house, both in the giving and receiving, throughout the year. And in a similar vein hugs are never far away, several times a day, as is holding hands when we go out together. And of course small, thoughtful, random acts of kindness never go astray in life and love.

So this year as usual I’ve bought my husband a perfectly lovely and loving standard-sized Valentine’s card, and I know he’s bought something similar for me, and we may well exchange small meaningful gifts of mutual appreciation, and enjoy a nice meal (usually home-cooked) with a nice glass of wine in honour of celebrating our love on Valentine’s Day, but nothing over-the-top ostentatious or showy or extravagant – that’s just not who we are as a couple, and never have been.

Overall on a continuum of overtly romantic to not romantic at all, my husband probably scores a bit more highly on the sliding scale than I do, but that just makes me try a bit harder because I know how much it matters to him. He’s more of an extrovert and I’m more of an introvert, so it just comes easier to him than to me to wear his heart on his sleeve. Although I must admit the longer we are together, the more comfortably open my heart becomes when it comes to displaying my innermost feelings more readily.

The most silly romantic thing I’ve probably ever done was to get up early one Valentine’s Day to cover the entirety of the kitchen cabinets and counter tops of our flat with a whole pad of pink heart-shaped sticky post-it-notes and also one of flower shapes, just for fun – it took me ages but the look on his face when he came through to be greeted by such a profusion of pink hearts and flowers everywhere he looked was absolutely priceless!

Hmmm… Maybe I’ll try that again this year… Bigger kitchen in the house than the flat though, so I’ll definitely need a lot more post-it-notes… ❤

Fandango’s Provocative Question: Valentine’s Day

What is Important

For this week’s Stream of Conscious Saturday prompt Linda wants us to open the nearest book or paper or whatever, close our eyes and point, and write about whatever word we land on. Hmmm… OK… so the nearest thing to me is a brown envelope sitting on the coffee table that arrived in the post this morning. It contains a public information leaflet from the Scottish Government and relates to the current Covid vaccination programme.

Close my eyes, open to a page and point… and the word I land on is ‘important’… OK, here goes nothing…

Covid seems to be everywhere just now. I mean, not just the virus itself of course but the dire consequences of it all, lockdowns and restrictions and facemasks and constant hand cleaning and the drastic effects on the economy and society and families and individuals and… well… just about everything. And with so many negative issues surrounding this pandemic it’s hard to look on the bright side but one thing that has become ultra-clear to me over the last year is my view on what is really important in life.

What was before a dream-like, fuzzy, amorphous idea that kept half-coming forward before being pushed to the back of my mind due to the ongoing business (and the sheer busyness) of ‘normal’ everyday life has suddenly come into sharp focus with dramatic effect. What is most important to me in life is the people I love. Knowing they are OK. Making time for them. Seeing them in person. Hugging them, holding them, touching them, and being hugged and held and touched in return.

That’s it, that’s all I have to say right now, that’s what is most important to me in life… the people I love most who love me too ❤

Pastel Roses

Who Won the Week for me this week is my lovely husband, who trudged home from work in the snow late last night (he finished his shift at 10.15pm) with a beautiful bunch of roses for me, just because he was thinking of me and he loves me.

Sometimes he chooses strong vibrant colours, but yesterday he decided on a delicate pastel pink with palest green-tinged outer petals, which really suited both the hushed snowy weather and the soft, subtle wintery feel of the world.

I love that he does little things like this every now and then,. Occasionally he’ll bring me something chocolatey, and sometimes something flowery, just because. What’s not to love in being brought such touching little tokens of love? ❤

Nanny and Pops

What a picture of love looks like to a seven year old! Our eldest granddaughter’s portrait of her doting grandparents 🙂 She says we each have half of the same heart over our heads because we love each other with one love, and the heart in the middle above us has wings because love flies all around us all the time… ❤

Photo a Week Challenge: Grandparents

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Sustain

This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday from Linda asks us to ask someone else for a prompt word – so I asked my husband and he said ‘sustain’… um… ok then…

So, what sustains me in life? Well, on a basic physical level, having a job to earn money to keep a roof over my head, clothes on my back and food in my belly certainly sustains me. And on an emotional level, spending time in nature, photography, reading, and music sustain me – and blogging, of course. But most of all, love sustains me – family and friends, the people around me who make my life complete ❤