Helios did some laundry recently.  Now before I go into any silly mistakes made, I will reiterate that Helios is surprisingly well house-trained.  He always helps with the dishes, he irons, he’s not always tidy but I can rely on him to be clean.  So, when the odd mistake comes to light, I mention it because 1) mistakes are rare and 2) mistakes are funny.

I got back from getting the groceries and I kept hearing a loud “clunk” in the washing machine.  I asked Helios what ever could be making that noise and he just said that he scooped up the next load and plonked it in the machine.  Well, I should have known there was something other than socks and trousers in there…  Sure enough, when the load was finished I pulled out a very clean leather belt.  A good portion of the load went straight back into the washing machine for another wash with stain removers.

I finally finished the four books that Apollo recommended and have started something that just happened to be on our shelf.  It’s the beginning of the Dragon Lance series which, even though we grew up on different continents, both Helios and I read when we were younger.  Some books don’t seem as good as when you first read them (perhaps because they’re aimed at a much younger audience?) but this series is as good as I remembered.  I have ordered the rest and intend to ask Apollo would like to borrow them when we go down in August.  It would be good to see what he thinks of what Helios and I like to read!

Speaking of Apollo’s books, I really enjoyed them and I know Helios would too – when he finishes the series of books Helios reading.  Apollo says he identifies with one particular character and I’m really keen to know why.  Funny thing is that, of all the characters in those books, I’ll bet Helios will identify with the character Apollo seems to identify with too.  Like father like son I expect!  In the meantime I’m looking forward to talking to Apollo not just about the characters, but also about how the books are written and if he thinks there are any flaws.

Last week I didn’t do many gym walks.  My excuse was my incessant lack of sleep.  Sunday night I slept OK.  Monday night I drifted off OK but woke up at about 2:45 a.m. and went to the toilet and straight back to bed but I didn’t fall asleep again until about 4:00 a.m. or 4:30 a.m.  Luckily Helios let me sleep in a little – he woke me up at 7:15 – which didn’t leave enough time for a gym walk.  Little wonder that I was falling asleep on the couch at 9:30 last night.  I slept through to the alarm going off at 6:00 a.m. and just as I was thinking “I should get up and go” I drifted off again and slept until 7:00 a.m.  I’ll probably suffer a lack of sleep again tonight because I slept so well last night but I’m chalking that up to my hormones and hope that Helios doesn’t notice I’m falling apart at the seams!

Once again I had a bad night’s sleep last Wednesday night.  I seemed to take an age to drift off and then woke up with a dream in my head at 4:30 a.m.  I went to the toilet again and then back to bed where I laid and listened to the birds.  I awoke again when the alarm went off at 6:00 but drifted off quickly and slept until Helios woke me up just after 7:00 a.m.

It’s the dreams that are odd: I was on a bus and going through a village – partially over-ground and partially underground.  There was a moth flying around my legs.  I woke up when it landed on my thigh.  When I woke up, my plain white pillow seemed to have a nice small floral pattern.  My next dream involved me trying to cross a swamp and instead of walking through, I lifted my bottom and almost flew.  I say almost because my toes and ankles were getting a bit muddy but the rest of me was dry – as if I were some sort of Moor Hen or Coot!  I strongly suspect that I’m watching too many bird programmes!

Speaking of hormones and the like: I have another doctor’s appointment on 22nd June (for my smear test) and I need to speak to my GP again about the new Pill I’m on.  I’m trying to remember all my symptoms at certain times of month.

Helios and I have been married for almost two years now.  Although I’ve found him something appropriately funny, I haven’t gotten him anything nice yet.  I have a couple of ideas though…  You know, it really doesn’t seem like that long ago that he first asked me to marry him.   We were with some old friends of mine in France .  They took us to a cider house and when the Frenchman poured the last of the cider into my mug, his wife made a funny noise along the lines of “Don’t be cheeky!”  What we didn’t know was the French Tradition for receiving the last of a bottle of cider into your mug means that you will be proposed to by the end of the day.  We all laughed and I remembered why I thought that was significant: I made the Frenchman and his wife a big lasagne the night he proposed to her and I like to think that their romance had something to do with me – I took credit by saying there was extra love in the food that night.  Then, I promptly forgot about it.  Much later that night, and when we were tucked up in bed, Helios said “If I asked you to marry me, what would you say?”  So I said “I don’t know, are you asking?”  Helios said “Yes.”  So I thought a moment and said “Not yet.”  In the pause that followed I was expecting him to say something happy but when he said nothing I explained “Not yet is a future yes.”  It dawned on him that I’d accepted.  These days we’ve been married for so long that people don’t ask how or when it all happened – which is just the way it should be.

Helios had another IM chat with Maia on Sunday.  I nearly logged on to lend my support but I thought better of it in the end: they obviously have things they need to discuss/sort out and I didn’t think that I could add anything to the conversation.  I will admit that I’m happy I didn’t chat to her because she was so rude to Helios I would have been tempted to tell her off.  I’m under the distinct impression that she only chatted to him so that she could give him some abuse.  She kept demanding he say sorry but she couldn’t tell him what he should apologise for.  She did admit to being jealous of Apollo (or rather his relationship with Helios), which I thought was a good start.    She used “colourful” language and then accused Helios of being rude.  At one point she was being particularly melodramatic and saying that she didn’t know we were coming down back in March and that she still doesn’t know when we’re coming down again and that Helios probably won’t see her anyway.  It’s all a load of rubbish because she’s angry but she’s not coherent enough to discuss her feelings rationally.  Consequently neither Helios nor I know what to do to help her.  Teenagers.  Instead of being happy for her brother and taking a leaf out of his book by trying to be civil all she seems to do is fling verbal abuse at Helios.  How is that supposed to be good for a relationship between them?

Sadly her boyfriend came on line and told Helios that he was “twisted”!   As you can imagine, that comment went over like a lead balloon.  We haven’t even met the boy!  (Aside: Mom, do you remember that horrible boy I dated who sent you that nasty letter?  I am SO glad I didn’t wind up with him!  I wouldn’t let anyone be that nasty to my family!)  After almost two hours of the emotional beating, Helios got fed up with saying “Yes I want a relationship with you but I will not be your punching bag,” and he came to the kitchen to help me with the dishes.  I got his side of the conversation while my hands were in the suds.  Helios was under the distinct impression that Maia’s mother was witness to the IM conversation but couldn’t put his finger on what or which comments were made to lead him to that conclusion.  He was very unsettled by the event and told me all about his ex-wife.  After he let off a bit of steam, I reminded him that what Maia regards as good communication and what he regards as good communication are two different things.  Maybe part of the problem they had on Sunday is that IM chatting really isn’t best for communication – you can’t hear the inflection in a voice or see the face and hands.  Poor guy.  You’d think after all this time has passed that they would get on a bit better.  If only she could stop sounding so angry she’d probably have the start of the relationship she wants with her father.  Still, at least Maia knows Helios is here and both his kids get in touch with him every so often.  It’s a start and I’m positive about that.  I’m sure they’ll get their differences sorted out eventually.

Apart from the trauma with Maia, we had a very nice weekend.  On Saturday I saw a friend in Town and we went shopping and had lunch and were terribly civilised.  She bought a couple of things and I was content to watch but then I found a dress that she insisted I try on and I could wear in the office or at the weekend and – at less than £30 – I decided it was a bargain and I HAD to have it.  Since all my other recent purchases have been from eBay, I decided I’d been very frugal and could manage the extra expense.  Saturday evening Helios made another of his world-famous soups.  Over the weekend we watched an awful lot of World Cup games, which wasn’t the chore that some women think it would be.  Sunday evening we had a BBQ with salads, burgers, asparagus, and just a little bit of potato salad.  Before dinner on Sunday we made cookies which I’m asking Liz to sell for me at the HM Courts Service.  All monies raised will be donated to Cancer Research UK .    We had a mini-mountain of dishes to do that night but it was worth it!

Speaking of raising money, we’re doing another fun thing my office to raise money for Cancer Research UK – everyone is bringing in photos of themselves at about the age of 2 and we’ll have a quiz on who is who.  Photos are required by next month but I’ve already donated mine.  I’m hoping a lot of people participate – it should be a very fun exercise!  In fact, I really enjoyed just looking through the photos trying to decide which one to use!  I narrowed my choice to three and decided on one that I’m pretty sure will keep most people baffled.

After two weeks of being too lazy to do my morning walk I crawled out of bed this morning, rolled down the hill and was walking upright by the time I got to my old train station where I turned for home.  At work this week I’m still covering for my line manager – she’s off for a  fortnight’s holiday and I’m doing a few of the things she normally does.  I’m enjoying it but I’ll be glad when she’s back.  I don’t mind a bit of extra responsibility but prefer to have someone there to confirm things with when I’m unsure.

At work there’s a calendar sitting across from me between two windows.  This month’s picture is a beautiful Puffin with a lovely colourful beak and clown-like eyes sitting on a rock.  I am regularly reminded of my honeymoon with Helios when I look at it.  We married nearly two years ago at Lindisfarne Castle and spent our honeymoon local to Holy Island .  We spent one day on a trip to the Farne Islands where we met Arctic Turns and their chicks as well as Puffins.  I was particularly astounded at the Puffins.  I thought it would be a rare occurrence to see a Puffin with its beak full of fish but I saw loads of them!  As we were walking along they seemed to be there one moment and gone the next.  I finally realised that they would stop and look at the human visitors and then dart into their nests underground!  It was a wonderful trip and I’ll always remember it as being one of the highlights of my life – and that’s certainly partly due to the best company.  Thank you, Helios, for marrying me.  You’re still a great husband.