Solitary Sundays

An unexpected side effect of my separation at the end of 2016 has been how much it has changed how I feel about different times of the year (Christmas has certainly lost some of it’s sparkle) and days of the week.

Sundays used to be one of the highlights of my week, second only to that wonderful Friday night feeling of freedom and promise.

Waking on a Sunday to a whole new day of possibility used to be bliss. The day was our oyster. Perhaps a lazy lie-in, or up and out early for breakfast by the beach. Sunny days held the possibility of adventure exploring our beautiful Island, happy hours passed at the beach or strolling around the zoo, always managing to find something new no matter how many times we’d visited before. Winter Sundays brought their own pleasures. Long pub lunches, visiting family, staying on the sofa and quarrelling over which film to watch next, or playing intense and often heated games of scrabble over one too many bottles of Rioja.

Perhaps I’m romanticising how it really was, in fact I’m almost sure I am. I’ve edited out those days we too hungover to function, or not speaking to each other, the tortuous afternoons we had to spend with his Mother, or when we spent so long procrastinating that we didn’t get anything done at all. But I do know that by and large, Sundays were good days.

Even before I settled down with my Ex, the day had historically been a day to catch up with friends here in Jersey, or with family before I arrived here. Generally involving a boozy afternoon and an exchange of the weekend’s gossip before we all took a couple of aspirin and got on with real life come Monday.

Something has changed in the intervening 8 years though. Those friends that I enjoyed so many Sunday sessions with have settled down themselves. Families, children, responsible jobs that don’t sit well with Monday hangovers. Those days have long gone.

Now, approaching a year on my own, most of my life has settled into new patterns. On weeknights I find it easy to keep myself busy. The gym, work events, getting together with friends for early dinners with the kids, I find myself relieved to have the occasional night with no plans. Weekend nights fill themselves; a whole new circle of wonderful friends have welcomed me into their arms and provided countless nights of  fun, dancing and laughter. Saturdays are also a breeze. When I’m not recovering from Friday night there are errands to run, chores to do and the almost inevitable round 2 night out to prepare for.

 

Sundays are where I fall down.

 

The earlier I wake, the harder it seems. The more hours stretch ahead before I can reasonably return to bed. Everything seems more difficult somehow. I don’t want to stay in the house all day, but I have to force myself to leave. Going out for a run or catching a movie is something I’d look forward to on any other day, but on a Sunday I have to talk myself into it, despite knowing full well that I’ll feel better for doing it. Of course there’s nothing to stop me heading to the beach, the zoo, a restaurant or any of the Island’s events, but on a day when I’m already feeling low, being surrounded by families and couples enjoying their day as I once would have is still too bitter a pill to swallow.

Sundays are the day of the week when the difference between my old life and my new one is most stark, and when it’s impossible to deny that I’m fundamentally alone here. That’s a fact that I can largely ignore at other times, at least until someone asks me to name an emergency contact.

My friends don’t dematerialize on Sundays of course, they’re still here and I know that they always make me welcome, but they are often tied up with their own families and for that I can’t possibly blame them. It’s exactly what I’d be doing in a parallel universe, and what I did do in fact for many years. On occasions that I do receive a Sunday invitation it’s not uncommon for me to turn it down, worried that I’d be imposing, or that I’d bring the atmosphere down with my mood.

After 13 years of living here I’ve become more than accustomed to my own family being a flight away and never gave it a second thought, but recently I’ve found myself feeling increasingly homesick on the Sabbath, wanting to be somewhere that I’m naturally a part of, where I’m not an outsider.

So the challenge I have now is to re-invent Sundays for myself. To shake off the self-fulfilling prophecy that the day will be  tough, because I think it will be tough. I’m going to be actively seeking a sports club or a special interest group to join, a charity that could make use of my spare time, or a new hobby that I can soak up some hours with. Perhaps all three.  I’ll try and document some of my experiences here on my blog. In the meantime I’m going to make plans to do something each Sunday, no matter how small, and make myself stick to them. Whether that’s planning the route and going for a long run, booking myself onto a tour or guided walk, or stocking up on trashy magazines and taking myself out for a picnic lunch.

I’m sorry that this post isn’t as chirpy as you might have come to expect, but I believe that in a time when we’re quick to edit our public lives to show only the enhanced and photo-shopped best bits, that it’s even more important to talk openly about those bits that aren’t so great. It’s ok to not be ok.

 

With stars at our feet….

Just before 11.30pm last Friday night, we found ourselves standing somewhat apprehensively in almost complete darkness at La Rocque Harbour. For people more accustomed to the bright lights of the Weighbridge at that time on a Friday, it was a little unusual to say the least.

Any initial nerves melted away however when we were approached and warmly greeted by Derek of Jersey Walk Adventures who was to be our guide for the evening, ably assisted by his colleague Trudie.

Furnished with hired wellington boots and with brief introductions made to our fellow late night adventurers, we made our way cautiously down on to the beach to begin the hunt for what must be the most fascinating and mystical of Jersey’s marine life, tiny bioluminescent worms that inhabit the sands around the south east coast RAMSAR site. Noted by local fishermen for time immemorial, these real Jersey wonders have only come to the attention of the scientific world in the last half a dozen years.

Blessed with a cloudless night, our orientation briefing included Derek pointing out planets and constellations in the star crowded sky above us, before we made off, away from the car headlights and warmly lit windows of land and into the inky dark moonscape ahead.

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We hadn’t ventured far, picking our way around rocks and clumps of seaweed as our eyes slowly started to adjust to the darkness, before we hit gold – or green, to be more precise. Gathering us into an expectant circle, Derek dragged one wellington-clad foot through the sand and shingle seabed, and the group let out a collective gasp as the channel he’d created lit up like a Christmas tree, with the light of a thousand minute luminescent worms, each hardly wider than a human hair and glowing for all they were worth. It was quite honestly the most breathtaking and unexpected example of the wonders of nature that I’ve ever seen, and less than a 10 minute drive from my own front door here in Jersey.

I don’t want to spoil all the surprises before you take part in this fantastic walk yourself (and I urge  you to do so) but the next hour or so passed in a haze of child like discovery and delight, splashing through underwater fireworks and writing our initials in twinkling sand, punctuated by just the right mix of facts, anecdotes and jokes from our knowledgeable guides.

Before we knew it we were back at La Rocque, stamping the sand off our boots and wondering if that really just happened. If you only do one new thing this year, I urge you to go out and discover these mysterious creatures who share our Island for yourself, but please do not forget that our beautiful coastline is treacherous and low tide walks MUST be undertaken with a qualified guide. You can book the bioluminesence walk, amongst a selection of others, with Jersey Walk Adventures.

(It is far beyond my modest capabilities to take photographs of this phenomenon, so for the purpose of this post I have borrowed an image from Jersey Walk Adventures/Phil Halper)

Here Goes Nothing…

Hi there & welcome to my very first blog post!

Although a voracious reader and keen writer since childhood, it has taken me until the grand old age of 33 to slowly realise (with the help of my friends at Gallery Magazine) that I might, just might, have it in me to write things that people want to read.

So here it is; a brand new shiny blog, ready for me to fill with words. No pressure!

After 8 months that have seen a seismic shift in the direction I thought my life was taking, I find myself standing by one closed door, with a multitude of others open in front of me, ready to be explored. This foray into writing for public consumption is one of them.

I plan to write mostly about my adventures on this little Island and travels beyond, some cathartic musings about this unexpected reboot of my adult life, and a sprinkling of thoughts and opinions on just about anything else that pops into my head.

I hope you enjoy reading, and would love to hear your thoughts or suggestions

Kisses

Bex

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