Regular readers may have seen this story on various social media platforms but it is reproduced here in celebration of the new-look DIY Woman, becoming a grandmother and the light at the end of the lockdown tunnel.
Being a long distance grandmother has its compensations. Every morning since corona-lockdown, I’ve woken to images of my son and his young family managing their splendid self-isolation in northern NSW. There are five of them and they’re in this together: mother, father, toddler, newborn and Norman. (Norman is a greyhound but try convincing him.)
A recent invitation to join the Kindness Pandemic Facebook page brought to mind this story I wrote for The Age in 2009 shortly after the car crash that – in a strange way – was the catalyst for DIY Woman. I was determined to make the most of the life I had been spared to live. It was the inception of what started out as a guide to separation, divorce and living happily ever after, and grew into a blog for the Daring Intuitive Young@heart Woman I aspire to be. The type of woman (and occasional man) I write for. And that is you, dear reader. I hope you enjoy this story from The Age archives.
Love was a terrible thing […] Not perhaps my cup of tea.
So says Mildred Lathbury, self-proclaimed spinster and one of the ‘excellent women’ of Barbara Pym’s 1950s novel of the same name. The setting is post-war London – the start of the baby boom – when early marriage and motherhood are the norm. Little wonder that thirty-something Mildred thinks she’s missed the (love) boat.
A few Saturday nights ago – a lifetime away – I had an epiphany.
I was in a form of self-imposed isolation due to a cold I had picked up from some visiting relatives. It was early on in the unfolding of the coronavirus catastrophe to come. According to the Nurse-On-Call, I didn’t tick any of the boxes that would have entitled me to coronavirus testing. So I was erring on the side of caution. And there was something seductive about cancelling all social engagements and staying in on a Saturday night. Especially with Hugh Grant for company. A Very British Scandal was showing on iview, so my pyjamas and I settled in for episode one.
Conversations that start like this can go one of two ways: they can leave you feeling deflated or they can spur you on to greater things. My friend D doesn’t shy away from difficult conversations. She’s the one who tells it straight when you ask for her opinion. She’s also the one who gives you her undivided attention and support when you need it. And the best home-made scones.
Speeding down the Calder Highway on a scorching Friday in February 2009, I wondered briefly whether this long-awaited weekend away was such a good idea. The brown fields on either side shimmered and the road ahead looked molten. The words ‘bushfire weather’ hovered in front of my eyes like the steam rising from the bitumen.