Escape Route

After hitting rock bottom, it’s generally established that the only way is up. Song lyrics are cheerfully quoted at you (D:Ream and Yazz in particular) and you are beaten over the head with well-meaning cliches.

However, sometimes you bounce a little and hit the bottom again.

There were three things on the list after the sale of my house was meant to have gone through. Well, there were lots of things on a very long shopping list of things I needed/wanted, but really, there were only three important ones.

1) Changing the name on my passport back to my maiden name. Cost £80ish

2) A new tattoo, 15 years in the wanting, 3 years in the serious planning. Cost £200ish

3) A beautiful piece of jewellery, spotted on a shopping trip with my mum at Loch Lomond in April. Cost £200ish

New motorbike and hill kit could wait if necessary, but these 3 things couldn’t.

I’d waited to change my passport until it was up for renewal, thinking it would be cheaper if I did it when I renewed it. It wasn’t. I hate travelling as Mrs old name, and it is impractical having ID in two different names.

New tattoos don’t just happen, they take a lot of thinking about. Conversations with a dear friend had provided the inspiration a couple of years back, and a design was starting to form.

I am notoriously fussy on jewellery. I don’t wear it generally, it gets in the way of the harp or I lose it. I lost my wedding ring and treasured engagement ring shortly after moving into a new house with my ex husband. I was heartbroken, he hadn’t sorted the house insurance properly and they weren’t covered. It was a bad omen. A second engagement ring now sits in a drawer, too pretty to keep hidden but too full of broken promises to do anything with.

My relationship with my mum has been very difficult for both of us over the years. A lot of my struggles as a musician are related to this. We are just too similar. However, since the wedding that wasn’t, my parents have been just brilliant. They have moved heaven and earth to get me to Scotland and to keep me here.

Just before Easter, Mum came up for a visit. Somehow we ended up shopping. It’s one of the few ways we connect. She buys things, I don’t. I try to coax her into less sensible footwear. We have coffee and cake. Several times. This time, she admitted she missed me. We both laughed a lot.

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We found ourselves in Jenners at the Lomond Shores retail park. I hate these kind of places with a passion, but it was peaceful and we sat for a long time looking out over Loch Lomond. For my 18th birthday, my gran had bought me a beautiful necklace from a jewellery designer in Orkney.

It wasn’t the same designer, but we spent a while looking around the jewellery in Jenners. I saw some beautiful necklaces and promised myself something small when the house went through, to mark the occasion and to symbolise moving on at last and the healing of old battle wounds between me and my mum. There’s no ring for any of that. When she was up again in August, she picked me up a card as I couldn’t remember the name of the designer, and for a few months this had sat in my kitchen in the spot where I make my lunch every day.

Finances have shifted now, and the most important thing is now the passport. The others can wait for another day.

In their place, is a small Escape Fund. In all the re-organising, the princely sum of £115 was found in a spare savings account. It could have gone towards other things, but there are some tough times ahead and so I decided to keep it to one side. A little while ago, I made a list of things I wanted to do. They ranged from very small to very big. This little pot is for the little things.

So far it has paid for 2 race entries – my first half marathon a couple of weeks ago and another similar distance trail race coming up this weekend.

It won’t stretch to fabulous shoes, but I don’t need them and that’s not what it’s there for. It’s enough for a train ride over the Forth rail bridge, and maybe a couple of ferry tickets and train fares to some other places, and a compass. For now, it’s good to know that if a humongous slice of cake is suddenly required with a good friend, there is money aside for it.

It won’t last long, but I’m really looking forward to seeing just how far it will stretch and what I can do with it.

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