The Pretty, the Prickly and the Exotic.

248I know some of you already know but for those that don’t, I have recently returned from a glorious two weeks in Portugal. We stay on the Algarve, about 5 miles from the coast and just at the foot of the mountain range, Serra de Monchique. The house belongs to family friends, there is no way we would be in such salubrious surroundings without the right connections, and this is the third time  we’ve holidayed here in four years. In this time the garden has definitely matured and grown and it’s always a lovely surprise to see how it’s changed.

One peaceful afternoon I took myself and my camera around to record the vibrantly tantalizing, wonderfully diverse and the beautifully Mediterranean. Or the pretty, the prickly and the exotic.

So lets start with the pretty, as always my knowledge does not stretch to names…

271292270Next up the prickly and I found out the hard way just how prickly these plants are. Whilst leaning in to photograph a prickly pear my skirt became covered in minutest of spikes. I spent the next couple of hours trying to remove the little horrors from my thighs, difficult when you can feel them but hardly see them.How we suffer for our art.257363


And now we come to the exotic, those agricultural gems that struggle to survive in our less sunny clime.

205245And to finish the tour of our holiday garden…a palm tree of course.palm tree
I’ve linked this post up with Mammasaurus…..
IMammasaurus - How Does Your Garden Grow?

Fix You

fix you

Stretched out on a lounger, soaking up the sun and twiddling that circular bit on my IPod mini, I came across an album I’d not listened to in a while, Coldplay X&Y. Now I know not everyone is a fan but for me this album evokes many poignant and still very tangible emotions. It would be safe to say that back in the day I hammered this album. The car, the kitchen and drunken nights slouched on the sofa absorbing each and every melody and lyric.

The album release date was June 6th 2005, no I’m not that much in love with the band or in any way a geek, I Googled it. The exact date may not be etched on my mind but the events of my life at that time are. Following painful exploratory surgery for my husband, we had discovered that we were going to be unable to conceive our own children. My husband was broken, and into my heart a wrench had been placed and sadistically twisted. Although we had suspected it to be the case, the knowing for both of us was a deep and choking pain.

Some months later I was sat in the car, navy blue VW Polo if you must know, radio tuned to Jo Whiley on Radio 1, she was bosom buddies with the Coldplay boys. She had first play of their new track “Fix You”. It began, piano cords tinkling through my car stereo and I gasp audibly at the emotions it stimulated within. I could feel my teary existence of the past months lodged in my throat, pushing its way to the surface. My skin pimpled with goose bumps as I cupped my hands over my mouth and my breathing became laboured and obvious.

When you try your best but you don’t succeed,
When you get what you want but not what you need,
When you feel so tired but you can’t sleep,
Stuck in reverse,

And the tears come streaming down your face,
When you lose something you can’t replace,
When you love someone but it goes to waste,
Could it be worse?

Each word and phrase spoke to me, I felt the meaning of every lyric tunefully twisting and turning through my own existence. The tears did start streaming down my face. It was the message I wanted to convey to my husband, through the pain and loss that we had been suffering.

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will fix you….

Tink was on occasions a real nightmare on holiday. One morning, not long after rising he approached his brother about playing a game with him, one which they had discussed and agreed on the night before. Stig’s refusal to participate cut Tink with a sharp knife of rejection. I didn’t realise until we later talked and reflected, but this sent his self esteem spiraling into a pit of self loathing.

The rest of the day was filled with angst riddled behaviour, provocative interactions and a lot of damn awful rudeness. Nothing appeased him and at one point whilst trying to remove him from yet another confrontation he spat at me and attempted to bite me. My displeasure with him grew and his awareness of this fed his belief of being unloved.

Towards the end of the day, I saw some sense beyond my annoyance and realised that the confrontation between us was not getting us anywhere. Often Tink refuses to discuss how he feels or admit to an emotion but I threw caution to the wind and went with. I purposely opened my body to him and softened, messaging a truce with the language of my limbs. “I can see you look angry and I don’t think that feels very nice for you”.

His eyes welled ever so slightly; only my seven year study of those steely eyes would have spotted the subtle change, the minute lowering of defence. Slowly and cautiously we unravelled the events of the day, right back to the planted seed of doubt. My insides lurched at the sudden realisation of his fragility, how a message of self doubt is so easily delivered and then built on, creating the self hating monster we had spent the day with. I soothed as much as he would allow and small droplets of tears stained his sun kissed cheeks. Realising he needed down time, to exist in switch off mode for a while, I offered up some Sky TV (a major advantage on more than one occasion of the accommodation we had).

With relief in my bones I stretched out on my sun lounger and pressed play, X&Y pulsed forward from the portable speakers and I settled into my book, peace. Fourth song in and suddenly the hairs on my arms are standing to attention. All the strain of this day and every day before is wedged in my throat again, all the stress and anguish of seven years bubbles and simmers just below the surface once again. I can’t help it, I cry.

The tears stream down your face,
When you lose something you cannot replace,
The tears stream down your face
And I …,

The tears stream down your face,
I promise you I will learn from my mistakes,
The tears stream down your face,
And I….,

My tears are not for me, not for my husband but this time for Tink. The broken little boy, that’s “lost something he can’t replace”.

“Could it be worse?”

And as I taste the saltiness of my sobs, I think about the boy that often “feels so tired but he can’t sleep”, unable to sooth himself, give comfort to his mind and release himself from his day.

“I promise to learn from my mistakes”

I will try to see the hurt more and not the behaviour.

I want to provide the light that ignites his bones with a love for himself and a belief that he his loved and wanted. To fill him full of all the love I have for him, to “fix you”.