119: fifty before fifty

Today it’s my birthday and I have reached the grand old age of 49. Most of me still works, after a fashion and in the case of my knees with a considerable amount of grumbling. The hair is probably a bit greyer under the various purple and red hues I apply to it, there’s a few more laugh lines and it takes longer for the sleep crease by my nose to disappear of a morning. I spoke to someone the other week on her 49th birthday and she’d made a list of 50 things to do before 50. One of them was to do a cold water swim minus the wetsuit, and I said I’d do that one with her, but 50 things in a year is an awful lot. That’s nearly one a week!

Rest assured, dear readers, I will not be making a list of things to do before I am 50 – well, I will inevitably be making innumerable lists before I am 50 but they will be things like:

  • make vet appointments for cats
  • order repeat prescriptions
  • find your glasses
  • don’t forget your lunch
  • tidy the shed

and other such prosaic things. I do not think those things would be on a bucket-list affair. Those probably have things like hot air balloons, sky dives, skipping up Mount Everest. Things that take a lot of organising.

I would like to:

  • swim in the sea
  • swim in a river!
  • make a dent in the shelf of shame
  • walk the Essex Way but not all at once – over a few weekends with friends would be my plan
  • hike up Yr Wyddfa
  • visit the rest of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries (four down, three to go)
  • tidy the shed (it has to be done.)

That’s seven, then – so lots of room for ideas.

I have celebrated so far with a relaxed barbecue in the back garden yesterday and I have been for a swim this morning with some friends. My gift from my beloved is a new second-hand shed that we collected the other day, which needed repainting, some patching with new planks, and general TLC. It’s now in its new home in the garden, waiting for me to hoover out the cobwebs and fill it with things, which means the original shed will have enough space to work in! What was lovely when we went to collect the shed was seeing the original owner’s daughter zipping round the garden on a bike that belonged to eldest stepdaughter originally, which we’d given away in lockdown – reduce, reuse, recycle in action! Literally, in this case.

London sister gave me an excellent Tilley hat for adventuring in (to go with the adventure pants) and broached the idea of doing an ultramarathon next year…apparently one isn’t actually expected to run the thing, and I love a good walk, so why not….

Other things making me happy this week:

  • finishing the stashbusting Summer Night shawl
  • starting the Satuko shawl in a gorgeous yellow colourway
  • evening swim on Thursday
  • the museum’s 150th birthday celebrations
  • the end of Thing 1’s GCSEs
  • new haircut
  • walking through sunny fields

Things making me really f*cking angry this week:

The Supreme Court of the United States. Welcome to the old world order: backstreet abortions, maternal mortality rates shooting up, desperate actions by desperate women who for whatever reason (and those reasons are f*ck all to do with a bunch of conservative men and one traitor to her sex) can’t carry a baby to term, don’t want to have a baby, aren’t ready for a baby, whose lives will be put at risk by pregnancy, who have been raped. Women who cannot afford a baby, let alone the hospital bills for having the baby in the first place.

This is not about babies or children and the right to life: if that was the case they’d do a lot more about gun ownership. Only weeks ago the same court struck down a New York state law requiring people to prove they have ‘proper cause’ to carry a concealed weapon. This, in a country where gun violence has overtaken motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death among children and adolescents.

This is not about babies. This is not about children.

This is about power, who holds it and who doesn’t.

It ain’t women, and it ain’t kids. Guess who’s left.

Rant over, at least on here.

Kirsty x

The Sacred Bridge – Anne Hillerman

The Broken Cage – Sarah Painter

Ingathering: The Complete People Stories – Zenna Henderson

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