Of Fatigue and Foundation Building

And tonight I am tired. So tired.

Life maybe a roller coaster sometimes but with a roller coaster it stops at each end and there is an end – this is a roller coaster that just keeps going.

As I lie in bed and listen to the generator of the road works outside, I sometimes think – is this what we have signed up for? a life of constant change, of crises queuing for attention, of juggling too many responsibilities?

It is the 17th March when I write this. Three months to our first day in our new home, dream now fully launched and the snow began to fall. And we have survived the coldest winter for thirty years in a Victorian edifice without central heating, and double glazing.

We move into an area with four primary schools but with no school places at all for my reception and year 2 children and so end up with one at home and one being educated on the other side of Bradford for all that means in terms of time and fuel and his unsettlement. Meanwhile the bath leaks (not the plumbing – though that leaked as well but we could fix that – a hole in the bath on the other hand . . . .) so we have to remove it because we found the cable for the lights of the bathroom below run under it. Hmmm.

So now we have a house with no central heating, lacking double glazing at the majority of windows and a house without a bath and with a rather disgusting shower. And then Balfour Beaty, bless ‘em, are laying siege to two sides of our house so you can only gain access to the side entrance and we get phone calls from firms saying they tried to deliver the package but could not locate an entrance due to the roadworks . . . good for business then!

Meanwhile because they have dug a long stretch of road for electrical work the water pipes are on the surface on the ground and in the coldest winter for thirty years we find our water is frozen many mornings in the week. So not only are we cold we can’t warm ourselves either with a shower or a cup fo tea.

And then there was the generator situated outside out bedroom window which would rumble into action at 3am each morning waking us up as its vibration shake the house. I know I have done the 3 am feed as a breastfeeding Mum but I no longer have the hormones or the lifestyle to withstand chronic sleep deprivation. At the end of a week of this I am desparate and my sense of humour has ebbed. After two weeks of this . . . .I take to ringing Balfour Beaty at 3am in the morning to inform them of the noise. They finally move it away so we can hear the noise but are not disturbed by the vibrations. But some other poor sod must get it instead – hopefully they have double glazing.

And of course there is the saga of the electrical meter . . . . and so the list goes on, and these are the things I can remember – I can’t remember week by week the litany of disasters to be overcome. And this does not include the challenges posed by the business which have not been inconsiderable especially not having staff for six weeks over Christmas due to the big freeze. I would wake at 6am to get the children off to school ready to start work and by 8.30am all the schools would have closed and I had to re arrange my day to accommodate it. I could do this for a couple of days but it went on for 2-3 weeks. And to wake up to that and the water frozen in the taps – it gets wearing.

I know I am moaning but I am not really complaining. Writing it down gets it out of my system and I feel less tired and worn down. Yes it has been very tough and still is tough. We are coming up to Easter and the pressure is on to deliver umpteen baptisteries and get them back over the next three weeks whilst holding down the rest of our chaotic life.

But . . . . but . . . . , today the sun shone, the roadworks have moved down the road and people began to walk past us and they were curious at what or who is happening to this house. The daffodils in the pots have come out and cheer me with hope, and my sons went to play in the park. Yesterday I was told that the PCT are reconsidering their policy regarding funding the MSLC and its chair – until the fat lady sings – I won’t say it is sorted – but at least it is a positive move forward. And I am begining to get my joy for cooking and baking back – the mental siege is lifting – I feel able to invite people to lunch or dinner confident that we can give them ‘a good do’ as my grandparents would say. Choices met at 89 this month and it was not a disaster – though 20 people rather touched the capacity of the room! My to do list includes setting date for a meeting to take forward the birth resource centre theme as a steeringing group. We are getting there, we are moving forward, this dream can be earthed in reality.

Henry David Thoreau in Walden or Life in the Woods says in his concluding chapter:


“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them”

Yes, I am digging the foundations to earth the castle in the air. And to you my readers I hope you too have a castle in the air and a spade to dig the foundations under them. And I wish you well.

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