well it was finally time to start the clean up of the attic and the spare bedroom that I’ve been putting off for the last six months. The main reason that I’ve been putting it off was that the spare bedroom is where my ex-wife stored most of her excess things and I know that she hadn’t gone through in any great detail before she left. In fact I knew there were three or four boxes under the bed that she had forgotten about and I had found only a month or two ago. I phoned her and told her about them but she had simply said have a look through them and if there’s anything there you think I want then put them aside and she would come and get them. So it was with a lot of trepidation that I pulled them out yesterday, put them on the kitchen table and slowly unpacked them. Many of the items were wrapped in old newspaper so I knew they must have been valuable or at the very least fragile. The first few items were simply old ceramic sugar bowls or jewellery cases that were empty, as well as some old hairbrushes and objection or two from my exes youth. One of the last items was a small silver jewellery box which when I opened had a set of ornate pearl rosary beads which I knew had belonged to my wife’s mother as she was a devout Catholic. I immediately put them aside because I knew my wife would definitely want those back as she had very little to remember her mother, because her house had burned down which was the start of her going into a nursing home. The beads were very beautiful and quite aged and I could imagine her slowly sitting on her lounge chair doing the rosary after mass and praying for the world. After finishing the unpacking there were only two or three items that I thought my wife would like to keep so I took the rest down to the local goodwill and gave them to the person behind the counter. It was a sad cleanup, but I guess it’s one of many that will happen over the next few months as I claim my life back.

For those of you who have been reading my blog you are aware that I recently separated from my wife and have been struggling with living alone for the first time in my life since I was 15 years old. I must admit the first few months were difficult and I struggled with cooking my own meals, cleaning ,washing my own clothes and generally keeping the house in a timely order. Some of you have said that I should have been doing those things all along, but you must remember that I have a corporate job and my wife, or should I say ex-wife, loved being a homemaker and any time I attempted to do any of those things all she did was complain about how I did them. So over the years just became natural for me to become the breadwinner and let her take care of all the domestic things in our lives. Now however I find myself the sole proprietor of my home and I must admit some six months in I’m starting to actually feel a little houseproud. Last weekend I decided I needed something to brighten up the rumpus room, so I headed off to the local markets to buy something happy and bright. Originally I was thinking about some sort of poster or even some sort of wall hanging but surprisingly it was a set of bamboo wind chimes that actually caught my attention. They were hanging from a stall and swimming in the sea breeze making a sound that made me remember my time living in the Philippines when I was a young man. The hollow bamboo sound and wind blowing through them sounded just like the bamboo groves at night in the village where I lived for two years. I immediately bought them and brought them home, then hung them in the doorway where they would get the best  breeze. I’m starting to enjoy this whole house decor thing.

Like many other things cooking is new to me at the age of 53 after being divorced for the first time in my life. The end of my marriage came as a surprise and I really wasn’t ready for the day-to-day running of the house let alone cooking gourmet meals as my wife used to do. In fact for the first few months after she left  I ate at restaurants every night until it became embarrassing when the waiters knew my name. Not only that, I found that my waistline was expanding with all the good cooking and I knew I needed to bite the bullet and learn at least how to cook some basic meals for myself. Now I don’t want to sound like some sexist person who never learned to cook because I must admit in my early days before I was married I was able to cook a mean  lamb roast as well as a great spaghetti Bolognese. Unfortunately my wife was a wonderful cook and loved to be in the kitchen so I let all those skills go by seeing how much joy she got from cooking the family meal every night. Now that the kids are gone its only me in the house so cooking is more of a chore than a joy for me. I decided to go out to the local homeware shop and buy a nice pan and some implements  to start my gastronomic journey. The young lady that served me I think felt sorry for me and took lots of time to explain which pan was better and why I should buy it. At the counter when I was ringing up my purchases she gave me a deep blue apron which she said her dad had cooked in many years and she hoped that it would melt my cooking be as good as hi I was touched by this gesture and said I would be back to buy many more things in the shop.

All alone

I’d like to say that everything was going well, but truthfully life has been pretty bad in the last six months since I separated from my wife. It seems as if every moment lasts 10 minutes and the more I wander around the empty house the more I wonder how did I ever get myself into this position. I tried getting out more and more to meet people but usually that doesn’t work and I end up wandering alone in a crowd, finally understanding the meaning of that cliche. This past weekend I went to the local markets for breakfast, usually I went with my wife and we would have a long coffee and cake watching the stallholders trying to entice tourists into buying their souvenirs. This week instead of coffee I ended up walking amongst the stalls myself looking for any reason to strike up a conversation with basically anybody. I went to one stall which had been done up to look like an Aladdin’s cave, all hanging lanterns and carpets on the floor, it felt cosy and from the first time in many a week I felt a little secure. The woman running the store  came up to me and asked if she could help and it took all I had not to ask her if she had a cure for a broken heart. She must’ve noticed that I looked a little sad because she pointed me in the direction of the peace candles and meditation cushions. I’m not really into new-age stuff so after turning them over for a few minutes I gave them a miss. As I was exiting the store however I noticed this large ornate dream catcher hanging in the doorway so I asked to what it did. She explained the dream catchers came from the old Indian culture and that they were used to stop evil spirits from entering our dreams. Given that I’ve had trouble sleeping over the last few months not so much from bad dreams are just the inability to stop thinking, I decided to buy it just to make myself feel better. Tonight I will try it out and hopefully I will sleep.

My daughter has often announced that she is going OP shopping which I’ve never really understood because I’ve never done it myself. She would often come back with these great bargains that she had found hidden in the back of a warehouse somewhere stacked high with donated goods. I must admit when I looked at what she’s brought back I’ve usually been impressed with the quality and certainly the cost of the thing. Perhaps I’ve been missing out on something all these years and paying full price at the stores I usually go to. So last weekend my daughter decided to take me out opportunity shopping as she calls it and we set out to the Valley where I am reliably told there are seven or eight stores. When we first got there I was a little dismayed to see that all the stores were really old warehouses and none of them looked very enticing. Worse yet when I went to the first one it was not air-conditioned and it was a very hot summer’s day and I must admit the place smelt bad. My daughter immediately rushed to the clothes section and started rummaging around looking for some brand labels. I meanwhile had seen a couple of large tables laden down with objects and tools that looked more interesting to me. For the first hour or so all I did was move rusted old junk aside to try and find any treasures but I was out of luck. I was just about to complain to my daughter that this wasn’t all that good when I noticed something glinting underneath our old-fashioned hessian bag. I moved it aside  and reached down into the pile and pulled out an innate old iron candelabra which looked like it had been there for 50 years. I was very happy and called my daughter over telling her that I’ve always wanted something like this.  She simply smiled and told me that I was finally getting the bug.