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Safe Space

Merry Christmas. It’s been a weird one this year: definitely the least prepared, most disorganised I’ve been for a while. I’ve had other things on my mind like leaving my job and uprooting my life so I’m a tad preoccupied.

But it has also just been a strange day. I haven’t felt very ‘up’. Of course, having a melt down about the dogs just before I went to bed last night wasn’t helpful. I cried really hard. I blame it on the gin. Then there’s the videos I’ve been watching about Asperger’s in girls, hitting very close to home, making me wonder if that’s why I often feel so awkward and out of place.

I don’t know if they are the reasons I’ve been so quiet and distant today because I’ve been like this for a while. I had a great summer with my nephew: we had loads of fun doing loads of activities, and I haven’t done a whole lot since. I’ve spent almost every weekend alone and at home for 4 months. I’ve kicked myself for a lot of that because if I don’t make plans, I waste my time and then I get angry with myself for it. But I haven’t really wanted to spend that time with anyone: just not doing nothing.

How I’ve been today and in the last few months leads me to today’s post title. I feel so different from everyone I know that my safe space is alone (or alone with kitties or horses). I have so little in common with the people I know, not just different, but at odds with them: like I’m a vegan in the middle of farming country. I’ve lost touch with anyone with a similar taste in music. I have maybe two friends with similar taste in films, and they’re both married with babies. I’m trying to avoid social media in a world that seemingly lives there. I’m not even going to start on politics.

I feel like I have to bite my tongue all the time, because when I don’t, I piss people off, I hurt their feelings, and often I end up feeling even more isolated. Quite often I feel lonely just being me, and that can be made worse when I’m surrounded by people who are so different from me. At least if it’s just me and the kitties or me and the horses, I can freely be myself, in my safe space.

I’d like to have friends with similar values: that feels like the best starting point. That’s why it’s quite high on my list for when I move: find the places and join the groups based on values first, then worry about interests later. I think the rest would be easier to handle then.

I don’t feel like I should be that weird or unique that it’s hard to find more people like me. I just don’t think it’s that easy around here.

Depression Grief Other

5 years

I wish I could go back in time 5 years. There are so many things that I wish I could have a second chance with. So many things I could’ve done better or prevented.

Helping Dad more while he was ill. Spending more time with him. Making sure things were sorted properly before he died. Getting James to visit.

Potentially finding better jobs than the ones I ended up with. Jobs that energized me and developed me.

Making an effort to have a decent social life instead of wallowing and waiting for others.

Dealing with Pop’s alzheimer’s better. Starting reminiscence therapy sooner. Spending more time with them. Keeping him active for longer.

Looking after the horses better. Making sure I knew what to do, rather than just guessing based on the bits of knowledge I had. Asking for help when I needed it.

Protecting the dogs. Tying them up at the farm or not taking them at all. Getting GPS trackers for them. Hell, even just not being careless or looking harder for them that day.

Less than 12 months ago, 14 lives depended on me. Now only 7 lives do. I need to learn from my mistakes. I need to take things seriously and act, rather than just thinking and procrastinating.



I’ve been in my new job for just over 4 months and I feel like I’m not doing anything. I don’t think I even know what my job is. I’m trying to put together a work plan which will hopefully help, but in the meantime my self-esteem is in the toilet and my mood is quite dark.

I’m also quite pissed off about how the 2 organisations I work for have welcomed me. In one I’ve been waiting for a phone basically since I started and my induction wasn’t great. In the other I feel like no-one really knows I’m there. I also can’t access the printer and I don’t think anyone cares, mostly because no-one has even checked that I can do such mundane things.

Depression Horses Other

168 Hours

168 hours in a week.

  • 56 hours sleeping.
  • 10 hours commuting.
  • 43 hours in work.
  • 14 hours walking dogs.
  • 10 hours bathing, showering, doing hair, make up.
  • 12 hours eating.
  • 3 hours checking horses.

Leaving 20 hours. I’ll admit, I thought I had more time left. But still, what do I do with it? Mostly Facebook, Pinterest, TV. Occasionally see friends and family.

However, I think I need to make a real effort to put some of those 20 hours to good use, to be productive.


In the British Summertime

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “In the Summertime.”

If it’s autumn or winter where you live, what are you most looking forward to doing next summer? If it’s spring or summer where you are, what has been the highlight of the season so far for you?

Summer officially started 9 days ago, and for the UK, it hasn’t been too bad so far. I’m typing this while sat outside in warm but only partly sunny weather. That said, I have already been sunburnt at least twice this year.

A couple of weeks ago I went to Manchester on a gloriously sunny day, and I wish I’d been planning to stay there longer to enjoy the evening in the city and maybe have a cocktail or two while sitting outside. This last Sunday I spent the whole day outside, firstly at a horse competition, then walking the dogs on the beach with ex-colleagues, then back to the horse competition. It was a really lovely day apart from the sunburnt neck and scratches from impatient dogs wanting me to throw their balls!

But my highlight so far was going to Black Rock Sands (Morfa Bychan, nr Porthmadog) with my grandparents to meet my aunt and uncle. It was the best weather of the summer so far, and we had a lovely picnic and chatted all afternoon. I took the dogs so they had a run on the beach and a paddle in the sea. There are two campsites right nearby, so I plan to visit again (maybe a few times) over the summer.

I’ve still got a busy summer ahead: I have something on every weekend from now until half way through September. I have 10 horse shows, a birthday party, two hen parties and two weddings, and maybe some other stuff. It would be nice if the weeks were busy too, but hopefully a job isn’t too far off.

(I know it’s a bit like blasphemy in the UK, but I wouldn’t mind a bit of rain: the ground is as dry as a bone and I’m worried about my horses having enough to eat!)

Depression Other

How helpful is the past?

I moved house recently and, as part of the move, I brought the diaries/journals I have been writing for 20 years. They’re currently taking up a fair bit of space in a drawer in the spare room, and I started to wonder why I was hanging on to them.

They’re mostly about feelings and life events and boys. A part of me seems to think it’s important to hang on to them, like they’re a part of me. I’ve looked back over some entries over the years too, so I’ve worried that I didn’t want to lose the ability to do that.

But now I’ve had a change of heart.

A lot of it is pretty depressing, mostly because those were the times I chose to write. And why do I want to go over that stuff again? In some cases it’s stuff I’ve almost completely forgotten about, so it’s not just going over it again, but bringing it back to me.

There’s also a lot of cringeworthy stuff in there, and why do I want to be reminded of embarrassing stuff? I have a tendency to remember really inane information and trivial events, especially if it embarrassed me or made me self-conscious, and will be affected by it for years. I often wonder if I’m the only person with this affliction, but then I remember this meme and figure probably not.

Most of the boys – who where hugely important at the time – are now just blips on the horizon. In fact, I don’t even remember some of them! My mind is still good enough to remember the ones who actually turned out to be important, so do I need the feelings surrounding each date, kiss, etc., or is a general feeling about the person/relationship enough?

But my point is,

Is hanging on to my diaries helpful?

I’m beginning to think I’d be better off without them. But maybe I should go through them one last time and pick out anything really important, just in case.



I’m not a parent and have absolutely no intention to be, so I know I can’t really judge other people on their parenting skills. But I worry about my brother’s relationship with my nephew.

James provides everything Marcus needs: shelter, food, clothes, school, glasses; some things we wants: books, toys, lots of ice cream; and some things he comes round to, like his bike. He works hard to be able to pay for all these things, because his mother does sod all, except buy him something every now again for his affection (like a tablet).

But I worry that James gives Marcus a hard time: he gets so wrapped up in trying to raise a well-educated, well-behaved son that he forgets about the fun. Not just that Marcus needs to have fun, but that he does too: that it’s good for adults to behave like kids sometimes.

After I visited in January, James told Mum that I was great with Marcus. And it’s basically because I like the fact that I have an excuse to behave like a child: play, run, dance, skip… basically burn off loads of energy and laugh and smile while doing so.

And every now and again, James does join in (at least when I’m there). But he doesn’t instigate, and is generally quite stoic. And that makes me sad: it’s like he’s forgotten what it’s like to be a child. I hope that with time, some of my young-at-heartedness rubs off on him. He needs to loosen up.


Take your hatred out on me, Make your victim my head

I feel like I’ve become a sponge for negativity. Whatever I do, I upset someone, and they unload that onto me. I can only listen to what they say. I can’t defend my position because I’m not 100% sure about my decisions, whichever option I go with.

So I spend all my time fretting about it, and not wanting to answer the phone or check emails, because no doubt there is more negativity.

There are still positive comments and people saying thank you. But somehow these are always drowned out by the negative. I guess those with the issues are those who shout loudest.


Say Your Name

Write about your first name: are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?

Daily Prompt


I was in the hospital for 3 days with no name. Meanwhile my father was out and about telling everyone his wife had a baby girl, and she was called Angharad Nan (Nan being my paternal grandmother’s first name).

My mother kept receiving cards for Angharad Nan, and decided she quickly needed to come up with a name for me, because she absolutely did not want Angharad Nan!

Her best friend reminded her that she had said she liked the name Francesca, after the actress Francesca Annis. And so a compromise was reached and I became Francesca Nan.

I’ve had plenty of stick for my name over the years. Pretty simple really – as one example, shorten it to Franny then remove the ‘r’ – the joys of childhood! Back then I might’ve considered changing it.

But then I started getting lots of fun nicknames – like Frangipan – and it wasn’t so bad. A few years ago my friends turned many words into my name – ‘frank you’ and ‘frantrum’ are two of my favourites.

And there’s something nice about a relatively unusual name, except when you’re looking for personalised tourist tat!


Inspirational People

I used to think of myself as being quite a patient person, and able to work well under pressure, and keep my head. As I’ve grown older, this has definitely changed: work and travel has made me more confident and assertive, so I’m less inclined to put up with bullshit, and often think it’s faster for me to do a job myself than wait for others, only to be disappointed. I also have less patience for myself and my own bullshit, and there’s plenty of that.

I would definitely say this is worse since Dad died. Every little thing feels like another weight, crushing me down. As soon as I feel like I’m getting on top of things and the end is in sight, more things come to challenge me. I feel like my ability to cope under pressure and my patience have been tested to their limits.

One such example would be the week I locked myself out of my car. Twice.

Not as stupid as it sounds: my car has developed a fault that means the driver’s door locks itself as soon as you unlock it. While I was in a car park waiting for Mum one day, I decided to clean the inside of the car. After finishing around my seat, I decide to do the seat behind me. You have to press the ‘unlock’ button on the fob twice to unlock all the car doors, and I had not done this. I realised the back door was still locked as soon as I shut my door, but that was too late. My door had locked itself, with the key on the dashboard.

It was pretty stressful because everything was locked inside the car: phone, wallet, keys! I just had to wait. I had no breakdown cover, so I was worried how much it would cost me.

Thankfully Mum knows someone from the police who can break into cars. He couldn’t pull the lock up, but managed to hook the key onto a wire and drag it out through a gap in the door. Much relief for me, and even more so because he and Mum realised it really was not my fault. I immediately got another key cut in case it happened again.

A week later, I had been checking on my horses at my friend’s house when her Dad was on his way back in his truck. I decided to be helpful and offer to open the gate from him. I reversed my car out of the way of the gate and jumped out to ask if he wanted me to open the gate. He said no, because he normally reversed in so needed to pull forward to where I was. No problem, I’ll get out of the way.

Except, the car door shut behind me. Keys inside, and this time in the ignition with the engine running. And where is my helpful spare key? In my bag, in the passenger footwell. And once again, I hadn’t unlocked all the doors.

This time it was hugely stressful. I hated having a stupid car that kept doing this. I was so angry at myself for locking myself out a second time in a week! I was angry that I hadn’t done anything helpful with the spare key yet. I was annoyed that this all happened because I was trying to be helpful, and ended up being a hindrance. I still didn’t have any breakdown cover, and this time I was in the middle of the countryside and the engine was running. I was almost crying, swearing, kicking the car, and ready to just throw a rock through the window.

My friend’s Dad on the other hand was totally calm. To the point of being quite irritating. He wandered around his shed and house looking for wire and wire cutters and a torch, so we could try to pull the lock up; and in my mind, he was just taking too long, and chatting too much. I was losing my patience with him.

But he did it. He was totally calm, got what was needed, and managed to open the car door and I could get back in and drive away.

I was completely in awe: I achieved nothing while I was losing it, and he remained calm and solved the problem – my problem.

I decided it was something I should work towards, and a few days later, Pinterest came up with a definition of what that is.



Shape Up or Ship Out

Write a letter to the personality trait you like least, convincing it to shape up or ship out.

Daily Prompt

Hey, procrastination – beat it! I’m tired of you holding me back. It’s your fault that it takes me days to get round to jobs that need doing. That pile of ironing has been sitting there for a month! And what do you do when I think about doing it? Convince me that watching TV or playing games is a better use of my time.

If only you could be motivation instead. Maybe then I would clearly realise the benefits of doing the job when I see it needs doing, rather than putting it off until the last possible moment. And then I would get more done. Productive stuff I mean, rather than watching TV I’ve already seen or playing games that really aren’t important.

Source: Livin3

Imagine all the things I could achieve and all the free time I would have to do worthwhile stuff that I get some enjoyment out of, like riding my horses, or even just grooming them. I might even have Dad’s house cleared by now, and all my own stuff moved back in from my grandparents’ house.

So procrastination make way for motivation: no more excuses – it’s time for results!


Moment of Kindness

From the Daily Prompt:

Describe a moment of kindness, between you and someone else — loved one or complete stranger.

When my Round the World 2007 trip came to an end, I blogged about the two men who carried my suitcases for me down to the subway. This is one act of kindness that has always stayed with me, probably because of how totally unexpected it was. I had such a low opinion of Manhattan from the time I spent there, and the fact that no-one smiled or had any time to spare; and these two very small acts really cheered me up. To this day I continue to tell people that I don’t know what the fuss is about with Manhattan and what a rubbish time I had there, but almost always, I also mention these two men.

When I really think about it, this was a fairly unique moment of kindness for me. I’m not sure I can recall more than one other stranger helping me with luggage in all the travelling I have done.

I’m not sure I’ve helped many strangers with luggage either, but I do try to practice other moments of kindness to strangers as well as friends and family. Even if it’s something as simple as letting someone pull out in front of me in traffic. It doesn’t cost anything to be kind.

Source: Pinterest


Do parties and crowds fill you with energy, or send you scurrying for peace and quiet?

Daily Prompt

Depends how much alcohol is involved. I’m naturally quite shy and cope better in small groups, but ‘tipsy’ is directly correlated to ‘gregarious’; and unfortunately ‘really drunk’ is directly correlated to ‘making a fool of myself’. Don’t think I’m alone there though!

I find it difficult to get my voice heard in large groups, and tend to be just another face in the crowd rather than an active participant. I’m also one of those clingers: I find people I know and hang onto them as hard as I can. I really hate that!

I do find a couple of things bolster my confidence though. Being with my friends seems to bring out some sort of bravado and I do and say things I wouldn’t otherwise. And I always find it easier to have a job to do at work events. People have to talk to me if I’m on the welcome desk, or are likely to talk to me if I manage a stall.

Following a couple of work events I attended recently and my overwhelming feelings of awkwardness, I have made the decision to improve my networking skills.

I decided a couple of years ago to improve my approachability, and I think the two are inter-related. I also think working on networking and approachability would make life easier when looking for a new job.

The most important thing is to feel confident, and that comes from knowing what you’re talking about and being prepared. That is certainly what I’ve found with job interviews anyway. I think it definitely helps to know who is speaking and on what subject, and who else is attending an event so you can have potential questions to ask.

I had to look up the meaning of this post title: INTJ means nothing to me but apparently it’s an acronym for introversion, intuition, thinking, judgement; which is one of 16 personality types. Looking at the characteristics, I don’t think it applies to me totally. I reckon INFP might be closer to reality.


Silver Screen

Take a quote from your favourite movie — there’s the title of your post. Now, write!

Daily Prompt

My favourite quote used to be from Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight: “You make your own luck”. But personal circumstances that make me feel massively out of control of my own luck have made that quote feel less important. So I’ve moved onto this one:

I’m looking for someone to share in an adventure

Gandalf, The Hobbit

I really enjoyed The Hobbit, and I felt that the film really pulled out the theme about quiet, unsuspecting characters being capable of greatness and being important in the grand scheme of things (even if it’s not common knowledge). I have enjoyed my adventures, and I think I felt a little like Bilbo before my first couple: determined to go but scared at the same time.

My big adventures have mostly been on my own, although I often meet people along the way, and this has definitely helped me overcome my shyness. My mini-adventures with my friends are also fun, whether it’s surfing and kayaking in Rhosneigr, wakeboarding in Abersoch, possum-spotting in New Zealand, or activities in Amsterdam. And I loved the group of complete strangers I met on the West Coast of New Zealand.

I like the idea of sharing one of my big adventures at some point, whether that’s with a group of friends or with one other person. If it was with my friends it would be full of outdoor activities, and probably a fair bit of drinking and dancing. But if it was with one other ‘special’ person, would it be a showcase of my favourite places, or would it be completely new places and experiences?

My favourite places would have to include:

Completely new places might include most of South America or South East Asia. I planned a trip to South America in 2009 and never got there. Not sure if I ever will now. I did a bit of research on SE Asia for a university report on ecotourism, and that made me a bit yearnful.

I’m working in tourism at the moment and the big marketing push is about experiencing a destination; so marketers should be illustrating how people can experience a destination rather than just showing stunning scenery and vistas. I completely agree: many of my trips have involved hiking, kayaking or even sky-diving, and those experiences definitely shape how you experience and remember a destination.