Project Awesome

Making my life more awesome

An unexpected gift

Today is my eleventh wedding anniversary. Last year I had a lovely day, but it was a consciously, determinedly and very planned lovely day.

This year I really don’t care. I would never have expected this. I saw Ex-Husband when he came to pick the girls up, and it felt like just another handover. No sadness, nothing. My Dr Who-inspired revelations have made a huge difference to how I feel.

Actually, I am having a lovely day. I’ve concocted a cunning plan to steal borrow my sister’s sewing machine as mine, although much-loved, has some serious tension issues. So I’m going to her house to pick hers up, and apparently there’s some kind of festival in the local park, and sunshine, and cider.

And then the post arrived. The signed Acknowledgement of Serve for my divorce, and an admission of adultery (and I’m sure he’ll say it’s just a technicality, the easiest way to get a divorce, rather than the actual-factual reason we are divorcing). So now I can apply for the Decree Nisi, the official judgement that our reasons for divorcing are legal and valid. And six weeks and a day after that, I can apply for my Decree Absolute, and be divorced.

I expected to feel sad but I can’t stop smiling. Ex-Husband should have been giving me steel this year, but instead I’m getting freedom.

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All the Shakespeariness, all the cake

So I arrived in Stratford in the early afternoon, getting my train with all of 30 seconds to spare.  I like to pretend I was making the best use of my time, but actually I wasted about 5 minutes walking back up my street and checking *again* that my front door was really locked.  Still, the train journey was easy-peasy without two small people to entertain, and I went via Birmingham Moor Street station, a serious contender for ‘Britain’s most unexpectedly pretty station’.

Being on holiday is quite hard work.  It is remarkably difficult to make my brain understand that I don’t *have* to do anything.  I don’t *need* a schedule.  I can just wander around and do what I feel like.  It’s an adjustment, I tell you.  So, here’s what I did…

I had afternoon tea at The Fourteas, a forties-style tea-shop, all light and airiness, with salmon sandwiches which made me want to cry with delight, and lots of cake, and lovely tea.  The staff were all in forties dress (flowers and aprons and their hair tied up in a scarf) and very politely friendly, and there were lots of WW2-style posters and books around.  It was delightful.  So nice, in fact, that I went back the next day.  (And I also fitted in coffee and a cake in Valerie’s Patisserie (because, to my mind, it’s not really a proper holiday if you don’t have cake at least once every 12 hours).

Because I was in Shakespeare-land, the local cinema was playing films of his plays almost constantly.  So I saw Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing.  This was possibly one of my favourite things about my whole holiday.  It was funny and clever and sad and oh, so stylish and so beautiful.  In black-and-white and set in America, I think possibly in the 40s or 50s but it’s hard to tell given that the language dates back a few hundred years.  (One of the FAQ on the IMDB page is “Is Much Ado About Nothing based on a book?”.  Seriously).

I went out for dinner.  Twice.  You might imagine that going out for dinner alone is one of the worst parts of going on holiday by yourself.  Really, I think if I go on holiday with someone else in the future I will make it part of the deal that I don’t have to go out for dinner with them.  And here’s why.  I get to sit, by myself, and read, while eating food which I have chosen, on a whim, have not had to make and will not have to tidy up after.  No-one is talking to me.  No-one is asking me for a drink and a yoghurt, at the same time, and then screaming at me because I haven’t got them both, immediately at the same time, and also berating me for having the temerity to get them a spoon when they wanted to GET IT THEMSELF.  No-one has tipped milk on the floor, twice, which then hides under the highchair and turns into cheese unless you clean every tiny last bit up.  No, I will take eating by myself every day, quite happily.  Hey, I get to eat hot food!

Of course, I went to a few Shakespeare houses while I was there.  It seemed a bit foolish not to, kind of missing the point of visiting Stratford. And actually I really liked them.  As long as you go to a few it’s not too extortionate and they’re very well done.  They have actors telling you things in costume, and some fancy tv screens showing videos which are genuinely interesting.  But my favourite bit of both properties I visited was the gardens.  You know you’re heading into middle-age when you start enjoying gardens.  They were pretty and full of scented roses and proper English country garden flowers.  Also, sadly, full of children on a school trip who were far from middle-aged and therefore thought the best thing to do in a beautiful garden was to run round screaming.  I also went to Shakespeare’s grave, which was rubbish.  It doesn’t even have his name on it.  When I die, at least please put my name on my grave.

Ooh, I also went to Sew Me Something, a fabric shop and sewing workshop place.  I wanted to do a workshop but they were all full.  So I bought myself some lovely fabric to make something with, and a sewing pattern (because I don’t have enough yet, obviously).

On Friday evening I went to see ‘As You Like It‘ at the Royal Shakespeare Company.  You know what? I *didn’t* like it. It was supposed to be the best part of my holiday, but I was tired, and I didn’t find it funny, and I had got a bit lonely, and I was missing Big Girl and Small Girl in a way which was consuming about 20% of my brain activity at all times.  However, I did have some delicious ice-cream in the interval.

So on Saturday morning I got up and went home.  Did you know that the train journey from Stratford to Birmingham Moor Street is the *perfect* length for watching an episode of Dr Who?  Did you know it’s a million times easier to get from New Street station to Moor Street station than back again (to go with my Weeping Angels t-shirt, I want one which says ‘I’ve been in the Bull Ring and found my way out again’)?

I like going on holiday.  But I *love* coming home again.

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