a weekend break

Another weekend away, but a first in other ways. This time we drove the girls to grandma Catherine’s who had tea ready for them and fish pie for us. It had been raining heavily in the last hour of the journey but we stopped off to get some wine and flowers. The little one came into the shop with me while Alexander stayed in the car with the other.  When we arrived the children had their tea before us so that we could have ours later.  We stayed up with Cathy having drunk about two and a half bottles of first a white, and then a fizzy rosé from the Test valley and finally a blended red of merlot and cab sauv.  It was another convivial evening with tales of happier times as well as those unfortunate dates who have been consigned to the past but occasionally crop up to remind us why they had been unsuitable.

In the morning Ella came into our bed and it felt sweet and cosy to be playing happy families once again with tiddlers.  Later when we were getting ready to leave for some grownup time, A’s older girl, Sasha gave me a hug and it felt warm and happy.  The young things have accepted me into their lives and I am so grateful for their unquestioning and unreserved welcome.  A’s mother has been lovely too in this and offering to have his children.

We drove on quiet country lanes passing beautiful rolling pasture.  The Wiltshire landscape is not spoken about much even though it holds its own next to its better-known sisters, with a fair few stunning moments when sun, sky and cloud played their parts.

We had gone to Bristol just to be on our own for a bit, watch Othello at the Factory Theatre, have meals at places with as few children as possible.  I asked him if he would consider getting a tattoo with me.  We giggled over getting ones with stoats.  On Sunday morning we did a few touristy things and had a pub lunch at Clifton.  It had been another successful outing.

I remember Max’s email enquiry as to our secret to happy coupling.  I want to tell him that it comes mainly from confidence in one’s ability to select the right partner and having found him/her to continue with the knowledge that we wanted the same happy outcomes.  Is it really as simple as that?  It has yet to sink in and so I leave the reply for another time.

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at a moss-decked burn

Last weekend we’d gone to an art fair in Chelsea followed by a film – the hard-hitting Ken Loach offering which had wrung its inevitable emotional response from us both so that when we emerged we felt as though we’d been pummelled.  The irony of where we’d come out onto was not lost on us either – we were in one of the richest boroughs of the country.  Alexander had been telling me that at some provincial cinemas the film wasn’t showing this week despite it being its opening week because of the school half-term break.  Not even in Ken Loach’s own town – what a cock up!

As we headed towards South Kensington station we walked past housing originally meant for those with modest means now very obviously housing a different stratum of society – the air of gentrification evident in the neat shrubbery, well-kept facades and expensive modes of transport ready to whisk the occupants to places of leisure and pleasure.  Two American tourists stop to ask for directions and after we’d sent them along the right direction walked hand in comfortable hand homewards.

So it was only yesterday at nearly midday we kissed each other goodbye.  And last night we texted goodnight.  And this morning hello as well as looking forward to seeing you later.  We can’t have enough of each other it seems.  There’s so much to discover and we boldly-ishly reveal some of our secrets – the ones that make us seem cool but not too off-puttingly shocking.  We have judged it about right so far.  During my most recent crisis when my youngest showed animosity at my inviting Alexander back home, he, ie Alexander took the opportunity to tell me the worst of his own domestic circs.  It doesn’t put me off in the slightest that he is still married or that he has children under the age of ten or that his wife still harbours an unhealthy amount of fury and vitriol against him which may be apt to erupt in the foreseeable future.  For my own self-preservation I begged him never to reveal my existence to said termagant.  Of course it is only his side I’m hearing of their breakup but I do recognise that degree of maleficence, lodged in my very own bosom nearly a decade and a half ago now.

All this, far from causing me pause or to flee, in fact offers the assurance that Alexander and I have nearly all the time in the world to conduct our love affair – all that time being the same lenthy time it takes for such complex relations as his to untangle.   My current accord and goodwill shared with the ex seems to offer some hope to Alexander that at some point in the future, he too will enjoy a similar degree of cooperation with his ex.

For a change from our outings I invited him round for dinner this evening.  A few others will also be at home but not the young rebel and I have high hopes for a peaceable meal.

How I feel, at what stage we’re at, it all feels like this:

 not rushing – stopping,
sink down on a verdant bank
sip the moss-decked burn.

kissah

The first weekend Alexander spends at mine

The rain pattered noisily on the velux windows above us this morning; above a replete pair recumbent in each others’ arms.  I marvelled at how I welcomed Alexander’s embrace and felt nothing but a deep fondness for him at that moment.  He had been attentive and enthusiastic in his efforts last night – so much so that a few slats under the bed had come apart and clattered to the floor when we were in mid-congress.  Being not in the least distracted we carried on until he eventually climaxed.  I couldn’t help thinking that it was a rather extended session and he apologised also for taking so long at it.  It was then that I asked him whether, in the past few dates that we had had, he had taken anything to enhance his sexual performance.  He said that he had but not last night.  I was gratified later that morning that sans artifice, he succeeded in clearing two more hurdles with a little rest in between, before we finally got up.

Earlier the previous afternoon we’d had a date involving a walk on Hampstead Heath, getting caught in the rain on the way back to the car via a coffee stop.  When we got back  to mine, we had some wine and began preparations for the meal Alexander had promised to cook for me, and as it turned out, for the rest of the people at home too.  Finishing a bottle of red between us, he at the stove and I as general kitchen helper, washing up and putting some music on in between chatting to him and anyone else who came into the kitchen, drawn by the lovely aroma of chorizo, chicken, paprika and mirepoix cooking, I was more than a little merry by the time we all, five of us sat down to dinner.  I liked how easily he slipped into my weekend routine on this, his first meeting with some members of my family.

Knowing how close he was to his mother – he had once said that she was now like a good mate to him with the mere two decades between them, and her retaining a fairly youthful outlook – I’d asked him if he had mentioned me to her and what she thought of his dating me.  He had previously told me that he thought we might get on as we seem to have similar ideas about relationships and independence.  I was, of course, flattered at being compared favourably to someone who was significant to him.  He hastened to add that she  respected his choices and never sought to influence them directly.  He said that she had admired the way I told him from the beginning about my non-monogamous lifestyle.  This led to a discussion of his still tentative view of it, and a confession on my part that far from being an ethical slut, he was the only man I was currently seeing since Jan is far too busy with his gf and Ewan was so far away in the Highlands.   I still retain my liberal belief that relationships should not be shackling whilst being quite content at the moment to date him exclusively.  He was uncertain whether he might feel intense jealousy at the thought of me with another man but respected my lifestyle choice.

We each confessed to the increasing warm feelings we felt for one another, whilst establishing that we were comfortable with the boundaries we set out – respecting the time apart between dates, how unnecessary to be too needful of physical contact, the necessity of maintaining our own privacy and independence and so on.

I’m determined not to repeat past mistakes – of rushing ahead or making dates into the future – and so when we said our goodbyes at 11 this morning, we only made one tentative date for the middle of next week.   He told me he had a footie event he was attending with his friend on Tuesday evening and I quite welcome the idea that I would regain more time for myself next week.  He had asked me about the big five oh, when my birthday was on and whether I’d anything arranged.  I was almost tempted to invite him to celebrate it with me but held back because it is still two months away and a lot could happen in that time.  He seemed to appreciate this without my having to articulate my feelings on it, moreover he must be quite aware by now that I pretty much do things on an adhoc basis.

unethically non-monogamous

I’m currently a non-monogamous fraud.  Apart from Ewan who lives too far away, Max and his pull/push dating modus, and Jan busy with life and his gf, I have only pretty much been seeing A quite exclusively.  The other new men have fallen off the edge and I spend the evenings eating jelly or drinking some red, and text flirting with A.  I know I have swept him off his feet.  I know he likes the fact that I am independent and shoot from the hip and the complete opposite of needy.  I know because he tells me that is what he likes about me.  I know because now I can just tell.  So I think nothing of initiating chats with him and suggesting stuff to do on our dates.  He knows that I have dated a few people concurrently in the past and I don’t let on the fact that some of these men have faded away into the background recently as I don’t want him to think that I am sort of dating him exclusively – in case it freaks him out.  I do admit that my dating plate is full and that I don’t feel the need to meet anymore new lovers.  He tells me that he too feels the same, although we both know that he has only just started this dating malarkey and I am the only one he is involved in any form of how’s your father – an interesting euphemism which we both found had its origins in Victorian times, humorously related in the urban dictionary

According to Michael Kelly, a writer and historian in New Zealand, “the origin of the expression ‘how’s your father’ can be traced back to Victorian times. In those days any man with a daughter was so protective of her virtue that he would take extraordinary measures to safeguard it. Unmarried girls would be kept within the bosom of their family as much as possible, chaperoned on excursions, and on those occasions when they were let out of bounds for social events, their fathers would often accompany them discreetly by hiding underneath their voluminous skirts ready to pounce on any man who transgressed the bounds of propriety. 

However, a father with more than one daughter couldn’t be everywhere at once. Thus, a suitor having a discreet vis-a-vis with his beloved would cautiously ascertain her father’s whereabouts by asking, ‘And how is your father?’ If her father was currently under her skirts, she would glance downwards and reply, ‘My father is very well, thank you, and as alert and vigorous as ever, and maintains his interest in rusty castrating implements.’ Her beau would then say, ‘I have always had the greatest respect for your father, and of course for you. Let us hold hands and think about the Queen for a while.’ If, on the other hand, her father was elsewhere, she would reply, ‘The mad old bastard is currently stationed between my sister Constance’s thighs. Let us go into the garden and rut like stoats.’ 

Hence, ‘How’s your father’ became a euphemism for you-know-what.”

by BethBracken October 25, 2007

It was inevitable then that any mention of gardens or stoats had us both in hysterics – our merriment might have been aided by some red wine and the newness of this relationship.  It’s too early to tell how long it will last and after the last debacle over J I am suspicious of these warm feelings – they can cool quite rapidly.  I am now also happily recording this blog without feeling the need to share it with A, and resisting the urge to invite him to be a part of my social media network.

In happy disarray

Confused

There was a time when I was not in love –
and thrilled quite carelessly with every man:
Delighting in all the pleasure they gave
between pauses, sighs, and whispers of passion
with anticipation in taxicabs
in corridors of underground stations
at street corners and pavements ere parting
in dark passages off the beaten track,
in the comfort of old film theatres,
along the Thames or in a forest glade.
Since you appeared I’ve been in disarray
from that night when we lingered and languored;
yours the kisses I now ache for, and count
the spans of time until we meet again.