Thursday, 23 October 2008

Hurt Feelings

Well, as my swollen face returns to normal and the itching lessens I feel a little more kindly towards Kaylee. Maybe kindly is still a bit too strong a word. But I do feel a little less poisonous in attitude. The letter remains unprinted and unposted. I wouldn't want to deliberately hurt her feelings. She either suspects that she has upset me or is completely oblivious of how I felt. Either way it was good to express my feelings in a letter. One day I will print it off , tear it to shreds and bin it along with memory of the hurt I felt. I expect I will reply to her texts eventually. Maybe write a short bland letter in a few weeks time. I will just slowly withdraw and become busier and busier with my life here.

I'm counting my blessings; the number of good friends I have in east Devon. It has also reminded me that my best friend is MyMan. He has stirred himself to try and talk it through with me. Urged me to caution and thought before action. Reminded me of how difficult I can be too, at times. But he's sad for me in that the stress I've been under recently made it difficult for me to cope with the situation.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Death of a Friendship 2

The previous post of Death of a Friendship was written in the early hours during another sleep disturbed night at home. Unfortunately insomnia gives one too much time to dwell on worries, concerns and hurt feelings. I have been mentally composing a letter to my 'friend' to explain why I no longer wish to keep in contact. I've just written it this morning. I'm not sure whether it will get as far as the post box as I'm still thinking of her feelings. She has sent me a text a couple of times since we parted. But I've not replied.

I'd been looking forward to meeting up with Kay again for a reunion of old colleagues. She had joked about no one turning up and our sitting there together feeling like 'Billy No Mates ...' I thought it a joke. If no one turned up then they either [a] had no interest in seeing either of us again or [b] had more pressing things to do during the weekend. If I was alone for the reunion I would have taken along a good book and settled down in a corner to wait to see who arrived.

I'd arranged our accommodation. I'd gone for the cheap option; B&B via the English Tourist Board as Kay had said she wanted to keep costs down. She wasn't at all keen to "spend £75 on a single room at a hotel as she had so many treats" planned for 2008. I could see on the website that one room looked much larger than the other but I didn't request that room ahead of our arrival - it didn't seem 'fair' to just bag it. On our being shown the rooms she immediately chose the larger of the 2. I did ask her if she had a preference. She turned towards me as if to ask which I preferred and then changed tack swiftly declaring to the owner "I'll take this one". I had expected to have some polite chat about our preferences and if necessary to make the decision with a toss of a coin. I was taken aback; very disappointed and speechless. After the journey up the M5 I was feeling tired, wrung out and travel weary. I get giddy and dizzy after a drive. My brain/mouth co-ordination slows down and I couldn't articulate what I was thinking.

After an evening spent in a local pub over a disappointingly tasteless bar snack we strolled back to the B&B. I had to dose up on painkillers as my back and knees were particularly stiff and painful. I then found out the room was cold, damp and mouldy around the window frames. Kay was lolling on her bed watching TV. She prefers to loll rather than sit in chairs. She wasn't using either of the 2 comfortable chairs in her room. I had one small slipper chair wedged against the bed and the wall. No chance to sit and read in comfort or to fill in my daily diary. I then experienced 2 hours sleep but was awake from 1.15 in a cold damp bedroom with barely room to swing a little mouse. As the night wore on I started to feel resentful.

With only 2 hours sleep it meant the next day passed in a sleep deprived haze. I felt nauseous, increasingly stiff and struggled to keep up with conversation and exploring the area. Kay seemed impervious to how I was feeling. Eventually at 3 p.m we stopped in a hotel for afternoon tea. Kay blithely telling me I had to stay awake till late or I'd have trouble sleeping again.

The hotel was blissfully warm. It was cosy. It was clean. It was welcoming. It had rooms available. I'd talked to reception on a trip to the ladies powder room. There were single rooms from £75/ Or, for myself, a large superior spacious double bedroom at £115 a night. I was all for returning to the B&B Guest House - checking out and moving in to the hotel. But Kay was almost in tears ... she was annoyed that I'd think of moving on ... she was concerned about upsetting the feelings of the B&B owner ... when I explained that at this rate I wouldn't have the energy to get to the reunion she then started to worry about going to the event alone. She told me that I should have booked us into a hotel if I was incapable of accepting smaller more cramped accommodation. She suggested that I stay at the B&B another night when exhaustion should help me sleep better (a fair point, but ..) if I had another bad night I could go to the reunion and then drive home afterwards. Although she agreed with me she would find the journey after the event hard to do she would do the same as she "couldn't remain at that grotty B&B" without me.

It was therefore clear to me she could or would not remain in "that grotty B&B" without me. She would rather upset me than offend the owner of the B&B. I'd expected to do the dirty deed myself of extricating ourselves and if necessary pay a cancellation fee after I'd expressed my disappointment on the state of the room. It was also clear she felt incapable of meeting up with old colleagues without me.

She did kindly tell me that in her opinion, I'd placed "too much importance on this weekend away" as I not had any other holidays. And she thought I should on my return home book into The Woolacombe Bay Hotel for a relaxing break before Christmas. It was at that stage I broke down and shed tears over the tea tray. I realised then it was the Death of our Friendship. I cried for what I thought I'd had and had found out that I hadn't had at all. A good friend.

She has listened but she has not heard. Over the last 6 years I've talked over the difficulties we faced at home. Of how hard I find it to take time out for myself. To get away. She has obviously not understood one word I've said. I have tried to keep up my end with the fun and laughter. But I have so little energy I cannot squander it. This weekend with her felt as if my remaining energy was being sucked from me.

It seemed so very important to her that we did not decamp to the warmth of the hotel. I gave up the idea. I was by that time so distressed the hotel couldn't have cured what ailed me. Regardless of how warm and comforting it was. A drug induced sleep helped me to feel a little better and to get through the next day. But the 3rd night was once again sleepless. That along with an allergic reaction to something in that room saw me driving home as speedily as possible with a rapidly swelling face and an itchy rash.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Death of a Friendship

We meet people at different times in our lives. If they are friends for a long time they see the best and the worst in us. We make allowances when a friend upsets us. We give it time to assume less importance and the friendship continues. But sometimes the upset and hurt feelings are so big that one wonders whether the friendship will survive. Whether it is worth the effort.

A good friend remains thoughtful and considerate through thick and thin. Self centred friends are more 'fair weather' companions. I'm just sorting out one from the other.

What has shocked me is that the friend who now works in the caring industry is more 'me, me, me' than any of the others. I'm beginning to see her as a 'fairweather friend'. I think she may see me me as a 'travelling companion' for holidays and short breaks away. Someone who will cheer her when she finds life stressful. We enjoy a laugh and have a similar sense of humour. But it now appears to me she is completely unaware of my feelings and the stress I am under. That MyMan comes first in my life. Or that I have responsibilities. She expects me to 'do what you want to do'.

I am thinking of all she has said over our weekend away. Our 3 day weekend break away has been enlightening. And I think that she is right; in one way. I will think of myself first. I will do what I want to do. So I will not be seeing her again for a long, long while ... if ever again.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

In the pink ...

I have now been home 3+ weeks. It took me a good 7 days to re adjust. I set about being active and busy. Bridge classes re-started. I was wrong in that MyMan's new bed did not arrive while I was away. It was only delivered this last week.I was therefore able to continue with 'Plan A' - that we swap rooms. MyMan slowly became used to the idea of smaller bedroom with 'that awful pine furniture'

Over the last week we've managed to move everything between the 2 rooms. Each room's had a thorough spring clean. Well, an autumn clean really. I found many biscuit wrappers and chocolate crumbs in MyMans bedroom. No wonder he hasn't lost weight; regardless of my reducing meal portions. There were also signs of a visitation from a mouse. MyMan promised he would no longer say I am being 'over fussy' when I want to pull the bed away from the wall to vacuum under it.

I have now taken up residence in the 'pink room'. I feel rather like Barbara Cartland. The large king size bed looks far better for having space around it. I have been able to dig out all my favourite bed linens and am spoilt for choice as to how to dress my bed. It now looks warm, comfortable and inviting. It might look warm it is in fact the coldest room in the house but I'm happy enough with a pink furry hot bottle to take to bed at night. Now that we have room to turn the mattress it is in truth far more comfortable than it's been for many long months. So I'll be able to economise by not shopping for a new bed a while longer. Twice when I have woken early I have taken a cup of tea back to bed. Unlike recent years when if I've not been asleep I've left the room as speedily as possible.

MyMan now agrees the smaller room has plenty of space for him. He is finding the bed a great comfort and it helps with his quality of sleep. He still doesn't like the furniture so I am looking around for something more to his taste. I think it is the idea of change that upsets him so much. Along with the thought of the upheaval and work.

With the financial world going through so much turmoil the talk of a house move is on the slow back burner for now .. . .

Meanwhile I feel happier now that I have a pleasant retreat as a sanctuary when I feel the need. And next week I have another short break; a weekend away with an old [long standing] friend and colleague in Gloucestershire.