Inside the Bottle: Miss Understood

Oh my, I’ve been quiet of late… again. I must admit it’s probably been nigh on nine months. Maybe it’s longer?

What a flipping time. A time I do not want to repeat.

Earlier in July I handed in my resignation. A lot of factors led me to this point. Seeing and knowing my self worth told me it was the right thing to do.

I felt an enormous amount of relief. I then took 2.5 days leave. On the first full day of leave I sat at the hairdressers, feeling like I had completely run myself into the ground… and after, I basically went home to bed and more or less stayed there for 5 days. Acute sinusitis and a chest infection knocking me for six.

It’s all been a bit of a pain. Talking of pain, I was asked last Tuesday (by a medical professional) what I wanted them to do for my shoulder… huh? Is it that crazy that a woman would like to be able to move her shoulder/arm in order to be able to wear a bra, let alone be free from pain? One of the many stupid questions recently. That and, didn’t you prepare yourself for losing your mother? Really?

I wasn’t prepared at 42 years of age to realise that she was suffering from vascular dementia, seeing her fade before my eyes. So, no.

Nothing “prepares” you for losing a loved one. Never mind eh? I’ll get over it (think that’s the attitude that’s expected.) !!

So I’ve forgotten how to chill out, but I’m trying to do that again. I’ve got a to do list in my head of things I’ve not had the energy to face. Simple things like washing my car, a bit of self TLC, responding to emails, and not fretting about EVERY DAMNED THING.

It has been exhausting.

I also need to pay some attention to whisky… I’m sorry, please forgive me for not having the time to spend enjoying you. I do keep remembering how you teased and toyed with my senses. The first sip of you coating my tongue as I held your liquid in my mouth before swallowing. Feeling you in my mouth, then the moment you slip down my throat and savouring that taste.

I miss that too.

I’ve missed an awful lot to be honest. Sunrises, sunsets, my thinking spot, allowing myself time to get lost in thought. All of it and so much more.

“You know sometimes, I’m so carefree
With a joy that’s hard to hide
Sometimes seems that all I have is worry
And then you’re bound to see my other side
But I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood

If I seem edgy, I want you to know
That I never mean to take it out on you

Life has its problems and I get more
Than my share
But that’s one thing I never mean to do
I don’t mean it

People, don’t you know I’m only human
Don’t you know I have faults like any one
But sometimes I find myself alone regretting
Some little thing; some foolish thing
That I have done
But I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood
Don’t let me be misunderstood
I’m just someone whose intentions are good
Don’t let me be misunderstood
Don’t let me be misunderstood”

Some words from Yusuf (Cat Stevens) that kind of fit the way I’m feeling at the moment.

Anyway, I’ve given myself a month to recuperate. I’ll get back into cooking healthier meals, going for walks and being me. Something I’ve not felt for a while…and that saddens me.

So I ended up cleaning my car last Sunday, (well actually two cars at the same time), finally getting to all those little nooks and crannies and making it lovely and shiny once again. So I can be blamed for the rain.

I’ve found myself wanting to get back to the places that give me fond memories… though some can be bittersweet, there’s always the knowledge that something good happened there. Then a smile plays across my lips and it triggers a thought or a moment. I need more times like that. Regret nothing. Live and love. Be daring. Be brave. Fuck people off occasionally…that can be quite invigorating. Be the worm that turned. That’s not saying that’s a bad thing either, putting yourself and your needs first can be just what you need in order to reset. Well, I think so anyway, goodness knows I’ve had people telling me this for years…

I ended up in Speyside, though the sky was grey, it was nice to be out and about and I had a little chat with the ladies in the VC at Glenfarclas too.

It was nice to recall previous trips and enjoyable moments I’ve had in Speyside over the past few years…that always helps.

Just saw some of the opening of the Commonwealth Games in Brum… have to say that made me smile as I’ve had some lovely times there. Smoggy has talent…

Now I’m on my first full week off, so I’m having some quiet days. Thinking days… then attempting some “normal” next week, and continue looking for a new job too.

That would be nice.

Binner de Fles: Kom op Meisje

There’s a translation as to what the title says. But as I often say “I’m not Google…” I also think this might also be the hardest goodbye. Gulp.

This post has been in my draft folder for months… oh Mum, I miss you….

The last year has been a bit of a blur. Work has kept me busy, maybe too busy on occasion, especially since the end of October, yet despite that, the thoughts are there.

Thoughts & feelings that left me numb. Missing life, missing what truly makes my heart happy. Grieving for Mum. Missing friends… travel. It all. And I want it all back now. Right now.

And so, August. I’m sat here, it’s 1:30am and sleep is escaping me once more. These things happen.. and the worst thing to do if you’re restless is to stay in bed. So I’m sat in the dark on my sofa. I really wish I had a dram in my hand, but I want to go grab a sunrise at 05:53 so a clear head is needed, what else is needed is one of the gorgeous Ibiza sunrises I saw 3 years ago… they were special. And I miss them.

Thankfully I have a day off tomorrow, so I don’t have to concern myself with being asleep for that. I guess I have been preoccupied with the heartbreaking task of clearing the remnants of Mum’s life from what was the family home.

Sadly a lot of things were taken without consent (how some people can live with themselves is beyond me – but Karma will look after that for me.) So Saturday was an early start. Two rooms have been dealt with so far, and another few weekends will see it complete I’m sure.

I know I won’t miss the house itself. Too many ghosts and exhausting memories that rattle round the rooms.

What I will miss is Mum. I guess I was always her little helper. And this is the last time I will clean her house for her. That really broke my flipping heart on Saturday… thankfully I was able to stop at the side of a road on my way home.

Missing the physical contact (hugs) and comfort of loved ones is unimaginably hard… this reminded me again how I crave that contact.

Well it’s Monday evening. It was a lousy start to the day weather wise, so no sunrise today, and after finally getting to sleep till after 3am, sleep was the friend that needed my attention today.

Saturday’s conversations were mixed, some childhood memories, some chat about the here and now… hopes & dreams and my passions (some of them.)

I found photos of Mum I’ve never seen, photos of family I’ve never met. Daft photos that will never see the light of day, and photos that remind me to keep going and never ever give up.

It’s Tuesday now, and despite the mist I decided to “grab me a sunrise”… it was more than worth it as I was rewarded with a view that blurred things out. The normal view a memory. A clean slate. That thought…

It’s Wednesday once again. A couple of weeks have passed It’s early. It’s 6:17 am or thereabouts. Another day of house clearing has passed (last Saturday)…heavy lifting (while those that could lift more easily did sweet FA.)

Memories falling from the pages of photo albums. A shell is starting to emerge from the remnants of 90 years of life. Compassion in every task, yet, a duty to get the job completed. Tick tock. This is the last part of the long goodbye. It started in 2015, early in the year. I tried Mum. I begged and pled, and well… I tried.

I’ve gotta say, that those that truly know me… I’m sure they’ll agree, I’m not one to give up the fight. I’m still waiting !!

I may go quiet. I might walk away, sometimes that’s for my benefit. Not yours. Self protection. Yep, it’s a thing.

Anyway that was Wednesday night’s thought. I eventually fell into a sweet dream that I was ripped from at 6:15am Thursday. Bloody hell, let a woman sleep.

So, it’s Saturday evening once again. I was sat writing this in my thoughts, so grabbed my phone to continue. I know which whisky I’m pouring to finish this off. That’s one thing solved. Just one more Saturday and I can say goodbye to the house one last time. The terrors (touched on in a previous blog) can be boxed up and dumped from my mind as I drive away. No looking back. The other’s can decorate the house and tend the garden…me doing it again would break me. I left the house immaculate time and time again. A place for everything, and everything in its place. Time to look after me, and my heart. Let the thoughts that soothe and thrill me be my guide… start again. Maybe.

Hit the pause button. Let life begin playing again… the songs, the scents, the tastes. ALL OF IT. The moments & memories I protect so fiercely will touch my soul. Draw me out… one thing I need to do is breathe again. Hopefully, and believe me I’ve asked people to keep EVERYTHING crossed, next week might just help with that. I’ve been so touched by thanks and gratitude recently. Words of praise have made me realise my worth once more. Smoggy camaraderie…never mind the bollocks, ha ha. A boost I needed and didn’t think I’d get.

Sunday. Dram still Inside the Bottle. One job that needs doing will be done this day. My garage is nearly back to as it should be…Might as well use the space efficiently eh?

Another weekend has passed, we should have been there doing what’s needed. My mind firmly elsewhere. The distraction would’ve soothed me. Alas… alas. So next Saturday will be the final push.

I went for a walk at the beach. Met a mate. I wish it had been a secluded beach, alone. Just me and the sand, the breeze encouraging the waves to froth and twist… nothing but sea between me and the horizon. The beautiful nothingness of it. No effort. No obstacles.

I’ve fought to escape the weight of the sadness that’s followed and pulled at me for so long…I don’t want it. I never have. Who would want it? Who would cause that sadness too? Add to it? …the way to escape is to walk away. Simple. Ah that everything in life was so simple…though, I do firmly believe life & it’s myriad decisions can be easy. It’s blocking out the bad stuff.

That’s the me that trying to be heard. To be seen. To be accepted.

It’s October 15th now… a cool morning disrupted by being awake from 2-4am. Sleep, please be my friend once more. All those years being on alert listening for Mum have ingrained themselves into my pattern. A pattern that needs breaking.

Another day helping carry out your wishes Mum, at least two of us realise that. A dreadful day. A day of disbelief… a day of silent sorrow.

The car pulled away…

Like a bottle of whisky you’ve opened, enjoyed, savoured and yes, loved. The contents depleting each time you pour a little more. You see the bottom of the bottle coming, then before your eyes, it’s gone. A one off. It’s irreplaceable…

30th November… I cried for you again today, my one time partner in crime. It’s coming up on a year since you slipped away, since Covid-19 stole you from us. I’ll remember the fun times with a smile, I’ll remember your strength. I’ll remember the good and all that you taught me.

I’ll make damn sure 2022 fills me with happiness and laughter, and most importantly more smiles.

So, come on girl. You got this… (note to self.)

The first ever selfie with Mum x

Inside the Bottle: Why I love you…

I’ve had a number of draft versions of Inside the Bottle posts half-written in my draft folder since January, all waiting for me to finish them, or should I say “waiting for me to give them some attention?” C’est la vie.

Probably a mix of both to be honest with you, the words dance in my mind as I fall asleep, I wake knowing I should write something…but then the moment is gone once more. Something crops up, barging in on the thought I was in, robbing me of that moment to just think!!

What is love, really? Is it a feeling, is it being loved, is it loving someone? Some thing?

I think that sometimes the word “love” can be bandied about as being the “in thing”… but to me, love is special. To say “I love you” is such a wonderful thing, yet, I seldom say it unless I feel it in my heart and soul.

Three little words I’m very careful of saying.

I grew up not really knowing what love was, I never had that feeling of being cherished, even wanted. In latter years I’d told someone “I love you…”, their response came back as “I still love you pet”. I’ve questioned that a lot these last few months. Weighing up the past that hangs so heavily around my shoulders…pulling me back, dragging me down.

The realisation that all I remember & imagined from then till now, well, it’s true. Every fear. It’s too late to close the door on the skeletons. They fell to the floor as the questions I asked recently opened the closet doors. They’re all broken now. No putting them back together.

Then as I was falling asleep the other night, it came to me. Why do I love YOU?

I feel this way because even though I’ve seen you sitting there watching me, I’ve passed you by… but you let that be.

You’ve never judged me.

You allow me to indulge in you even if that’s a little indulgence…that’s okay. You let me be me… you have been there for me, waiting.

You’re the one I have turned to in good times. You’ve consoled me in the sad times, if I’ve needed you. You make me feel at ease, you relax me. You soothe my heart & help pull me into happy memories, the ones that make me smile. You make me feel mmmm…

You’ve never once “poked fun at me” for your own pathetic reasons. Your patience with me is unfaltering.. I’ve not dared touch you on occasion, for fear of taking advantage of the way you make me feel… but that’s okay. Nowt wrong with a little restraint eh?

You excite me. You tease me. You remind me of the freshest of days, sunny days, cuddle me close cold days. You’re teasing me right now, softly, I sense you. A delicious scent of vanilla, caramel and hints of chewy fruit and some honey… Oh I could gaze at your legs for hours, the way they hug the sides of the glass, almost reluctant to slip so slowly down the sides.

What’s that? Taste you? Oh go on then… lovely stewed fruits, maybe a little nutty. That’s okay. That lovely sweetness as I swallow, it reminds me of rich caramel sweeties, accompanied with a delicious black coffee. Mmmm, you know I have a soft spot for you. The finish is rich fruit.

You’re not alone, I have a soft spot for a few of you, you all sit there waiting for me to pick you up, give your cork a good tug, and eventually savour what’s in my glass. Perfect!!

Inside the Bottle: Keep Your Face Towards the Sun…

I always (always) wake up early.

So, once I have done what I need to do, I drive to see if I can catch the sunrise. There’s something very serene about a sunrise, the sun just below the horizon teasing you, clouds reflecting the rays, drawing you in… saying that, sometimes I feel lonely, then I begin to wish that I had someone there with me, appreciating the beauty and sharing the moment.

As the sun rises, a new day of possibilities lies ahead.

That’s what life is about, shared moments, yes, even sunrises!! The simple things some don’t even acknowledge…

I was sat watching one the other morning, the horizon a palate of soft colours, from greys and beige to dusky pink, lilac and the softest yellow shades… so pretty.

That moment…

It’s a good time of day to just be… Allowing my thoughts to go to the things that do actually matter. To the things that I love.

A few weeks back I poured a little something that I have had for a while now…I thought it was high time that I gave it my attention.

The anticipation of what I was about to enjoy was such a tease, would it delight my senses? I was sure it would.

I let it sit a while, letting the delicious aromas that were coming from the glass reach my senses. When I nosed this I was taken in by the scent of rich fruit, think Christmas cake…begging me to nibble.

Gazing at the legs…

What followed was treacle, then dark sugar and berries. A sprinkling of nuts… the aroma is really drawing me in, pulling me close. Oh god that feeling… there’s a little dark sweet cherries in there too. A little ginger and orange and raisin. Just delicious…

That first sip, mmmm, as I swirl this round my palate it’s warming. The rich dark fruit is delicious, it is joined by dark caramel. Rich spices, and cherry. There’s a lovely chewiness… and that treacle again. Hints of ginger. It’s making my cheeks flush pink, there’s only a couple of things that make them do that. A good cask strength whisky is one of them…bliss!!

Honestly, there is nothing better than just switching off from life, pouring a whisky and allowing yourself time to just be. To allow yourself a moment to daydream, to wish, to escape…while a smile plays across your lips. I love that.

The finish was deliciously long, and lingering. The fruit and spices remain, with a feint hint of chocolate… it’s so wonderful to be left with such a pleasant taste on my palate.

If only everything else did the same eh?

Smiles in a glass
Smiles in a Bottle

I get woody notes in whisky, I love that too, and so I say it, write it, and talk about it. Most people do. Whether it’s on the nose, or the palate. It intrigues me… and yes I get a warmth as I swallow. I don’t drink ice cold whisky. I “speak” on social media the same as I do if life. My friends know this. There are plenty of people who do enjoy reading my thoughts…

So. Get over it!!

Yeah, I know…

Believe me there is no need for me to justify myself, none whatsoever. I’m just trying to figure out why I’m receiving comments suggesting descriptions I’ve written are “smut”…?

The other associated “comments” are not on, nor are they necessary.

Shouldn’t we show kindness?

All I’ll say is this, be kind. If I don’t answer a question, it’s because I don’t care to, or it’s something I’d rather keep to myself.

As I face the sun, the shadows do fall behind me…perfect!!

Inside the Bottle: Looking for the Blue Sky

That’s me…always looking for the blue sky, it’s always there, just sometimes it gets obscured. Saying that, when the sky is blue, it’s also lovely to have a chance to do a bit of cloud watching….

I (and I am sure many others do too) felt like I’ve been treading water, and for someone who worries when I can’t feel any solid ground beneath me, it’s hard, it can tire you out easily. You look for safety…

There is so much bloody uncertainty around, so, so many plans and hopes have been affected, and most importantly lives have been affected. The human cost…

I like most people have been separated from loved ones, friends, and normality. It’s easy to feel lost…

You see, I really do love interacting with people, laughing, talking, feeling at ease, feeling that I have a purpose (a use). I wrote a review recently and gave it the title “Good Things”…yet, what I had written originally, that was cut and I hastily re-wrote the first paragraph (original is below) as it had no bearing on the whisky, other than it coincided with me savouring that whisky.

A rather sad thought occurred to me a month or so ago, sometimes I don’t even know how to say hello… even though I want to.
On several occasions it has been hard to get a word in edgeways too…
Again… I hide. I go quiet. I want to reach out, but also yearn to be reached out for.
I need friendship. I need old times and good memories. I offer that too!! 
I need a hand on my back. I need connection.
You (I) hide from the brash and (overly) opinionated. It’s better that way…I don’t care to know what people earn (even more so now), (or what they’ve been offered (let’s face it, people are taking their own lives because of money and real life worries)) etc. 
I hope 2021 comes soon. I truly know (believe) life will come good. I just wish it was now. Being impatient is my thing…. Always hopeful, and grateful for the good that still exists, I’m thankful for the things that I have.
I just (blinking/bloody/fucking) miss life…and I make no apology for swearing.
Oh, and PS. Hello…
That’s it simply ‘hello’… how are you? I have had some contact with people….and oh my goodness, I hope they realise what that meant….!!
Please don’t read this with alarm, read it as if I am reaching out, that in some way I feel I need to apologise for my distance, which is silly, but true. Read it as someone who spotted some blue sky… You can’t change the weather, but you can shelter from the storms.

There’s a storm, and it had been raging around me on and off since mid March. It had been dark, it had been intense. It was trying to take my breath away as the wind tore round me, distorting my view. It was sapping my strength… tiring me out.

It created an energy (an emotion) that was begging for release.

I was on my knees… 

Maybe I should give into it, surrender to it?

No. Not my style.

I will harness the energy it has created. I’ll take it and let it come inside me..

The disruption and distractions which it brought in its wake will go. It will burn itself out… the storm will subside. It will pass.

It always does.

“Nana korobi yaoki jinsei wa kore kara da.”

“Fall seven times, rise eight times, life begins now.”

I WANT more (of the good things) I know that. I know it will happen.

As I was contemplating these feelings, I was sat with a cask strength whisky as my companion…it’s making me address the storm….

I guess this is the beauty of whisky… It draws me into it. It captivates me with its aroma, and as I sit and appreciate what’s in my glass, it takes me far away from the storm, and it allows me to appreciate the moments, and curl up in memories (of the good things…there have been wonderful moments during this same period…they keep me focused & smiling, I love that, and I need them…oh, how I need them, and I will fight for them.)

The Devil whispered in my ear, ‘You’re not strong enough to withstand the storm.’ Today I whispered in the Devil’s ear, “I am the storm’

Something I have learnt in life is: follow your heart.

I guess that again recently I have had a lot of “you were right(s)”…I think I do tend to agree, especially when I have recalled the situation in which I first spoke. This takes me to following my heart, you can bend, twist and turn to accommodate people, and though this is okay, you also have to protect the one thing that keeps you alive. I very much intend to make a massive effort to do this in all areas of my life. One day I will tell myself “you were right”!!

I promise!!

So, over the past few months… I’ve been getting up, and now travel restrictions have been eased, I can drive to my thinking spot, and wait for the sunrises, waiting for the sun, waiting for the day to say “I’m here”.

What else? I’ve spent some time travelling around distilleries, and as I have mentioned previously, the majority of them are still closed…some have visitor centres that you can pop in to. You can see them from the roadside however. Find a place to park up, get out of the car, stretch your legs and take a ruddy deep breath in….out, and relax. Just be there.

I think it is nice that the trip to and from Dufftown seems quite short these days, I think you get that when you travel somewhere quite regularly, it’s almost as if the familiarity of the journey shortens the distance. Brings it closer. I like that… (read on below.)

When I stop at the distilleries, I think about the times I’ve been there, what were my thoughts, why I enjoyed it…what was it that captured my heart, and why have I sought these out at this time? I think it is because I felt welcomed, or there was something that made me smile, a feeling, or the whisky I bought when I’ve been there, the ones I now enjoy. Sometimes I don’t need to explain it, or even reason it out, I just enjoy the moment and settle into my thoughts, and when I am home, do it with a little something good beside me….bliss x