Under the Weather

The weather in North Northumberland, like that of the rest of the UK, has been somewhat dreich for longer than I care to remember. Living within spitting distance of the Scottish Border, we Berwick residents are allowed to use any Scottish words we take a fancy to – I’m sure it’s enshrined in Berwick’s constitution. If “dreich” means nothing to you, I suggest you take a look outside – the odds are you’ll see a perfect definition.

Of course, if you’re reading this in the middle of July (and what kept you?) you may need me to explain that dreich is a term which may be applied to a combination of dull, overcast, drizzly, cold, misty and miserable weather. According to one Charles Gordon, contributing to www.urbandictionary.com in 2003, at least four of these adjectives must apply before the weather is truly dreich. All six apply to our current weather.

However, yesterday, the clouds briefly parted, the rain stopped and we saw a slither of blue sky. Not enough to make a sailor a pair of trousers but maybe enough to patch the ones he already has. Taking advantage of this brief period of spring-like weather, we took the dogs to the beach where we watched the waves crashing onto the shore like a 1950s Hollywood love scene. Although I can’t imagine Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster getting “romantic” on Spittal beach.

We walked along the prom watching the council workmen shovelling sand back onto the beach while the dogs ran into the sea, through yellow-grey foam which stuck to their legs. We all had a great time.

Then the clouds moved back together, the rain started again, and the weather went back to being dreich.

Nice enough?

I have decided I should try to be a nicer person. My friend and confidante Lois, who is also my partner’s cousin and one of my all-time favourite people posed the question “Is that possible?”.
I like to think she wasn’t being sarcastic.

Working on the assumption that this was, in fact, a genuine query, I offer the following list of things I do that are not nice.

1) I enjoy the occasional bitching session with Lois and Iain (my partner) about people we know. Probably not about people who are reading this blog.

2) I like to play games with telephone cold-callers. Things like saying, “You’ve got a sexy voice,”  or offering to tell them what I’m wearing (right now, three layers of indoor clothing, a duffel coat and gloves – it gets cold here in not-quite-Scotland).

3) I take too much pleasure in arguing with customer service staff who are probably on minimum wage. It’s not their fault that my internet connection is painfully slow (in my defence, I do tell them that) but why won’t they put me through to someone who can help?

4) I seem to be developing a regrettable tendency to tell it like it is. My mother, who is Italian, frequently says quite unkind things and justifies herself by remarking that “I only say what is true” (that sounds better in an Italian accent). After years of trying to explain to her that there is really no need to tell the truth if it could be hurtful, I have started to do the same thing.  As an example, I offer a recent piece of not entirely asked-for relationship advice “ You’re not a teenager – stop acting like one!”.

5) I’m impatient. I don’t like having to say things twice. I SAID I DON’T LIKE HAVING TO SAY THINGS TWICE. Sorry – old joke. But I really don’t.

So there is room for improvement but do I really want to change any of these things? The bitching sessions are too much fun, just hanging up on cold-callers is boring (and rude?) and I can’t really handle saying “Okay, thanks” when unhelpful customer service staff tell me they understand my frustration. Maybe in trying to be a nicer person I would lose sight of my what makes me who I am.
Maybe there really is such a thing as nice enough.

New Year – Same Old Me?

I don’t generally set much store by New Year resolutions.  Several of my friends showed sufficient lack of consideration as to be born in January, so the beginning of the year is still the party season in my diary.  Promises made at this time of year to drink less, eat healthily, exercise more etc are doomed to failure.
And besides, who hasn’t spent a large part of at least one New Year’s Day vowing never to drink again?
However, I do intend to do all of the above-mentioned things but will start later in the year – not the never-arriving “tomorrow” but maybe on the first day of Spring.  Instead of New Year resolutions, I intend to make New Season resolutions – little goals for self-improvement that I only have to keep for three months if the going gets tough.
I also have the longer-term goals of maintaining this blog and enrolling on and starting my hypnotherapy training course, more of which anon.

Why “The Would-Be Hypnotherapist”?

So I’ve finally started a blog. I’ve been planning this for several years, on a variety of subjects.
Four years ago my partner and I moved from Nottinghamshire to the North Northumberland coast with the aim of living an easier, more relaxed lifestyle and I planned to blog about it. However, the process of moving, settling into a new house, finding part-time work, making new friends and also trying to set up an online business left me with no time to waste on blogging.
Next there was my vegetable garden – wouldn’t that be a lovely thing to blog about? Surely people would love to read about my honest labours, picking up cultural tips along the way then sharing in the joys of my harvest and trying out my recipes utilising my produce. Then I harvested my few knobbly carrots, watched my tomatoes develop blossom end rot, lost the battle against cabbage white butterflies and decided that plan was another non-starter.
In Spring 2014 we brought home our two lovely rescue Labradors, Kip and Belle. I was going to blog about them but the joys of falling in love with them, walking them, generally having fun with them and learning all about their differing personalities took up all my blogging time.
In May 2015, I was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Trying to put a positive spin on this news I thought I might blog about my journey from diagnosis to (hopeful) cure. My cancer turned out to be quickly and easily treated by surgery. Not that I’m complaining but two operations punctuated by three months with an ileostomy do not offer much in the way of blogging potential.
However, my brush with cancer, which I laughingly refer to as “my near-death experience” caused me to rethink my priorities. For many years I’ve wanted to train to be a hypnotherapist; this year I’m really going to do it. Hence the title of my blog – “The Would-Be Hypnotherapist”.

Musings on life, labradors and hypnotherapy training from the North Northumberland coast