Hangovers and long shadows

Do you ever just feel the long fingers of your genetic heritage gripping at your viscera?

I never met my grandfather but I am so mad at him for the generational hangover of his actions.   And I am mad at people who think wars are a good idea.  They just stuff people up.  My parents were in UK during WW2 – in fact my dad was in the thick of the war in Europe.  He hated it.

My dad had a rough trot.  His mum died when he was 8 years old.  He left home and moved far away, looked after himself from the age of 14 years.  His dad (that bloke I am really mad at) then committed suicide, after drunkenly shooting and killing someone else, when my dad was 22 years old.  A few years later my dad gets drafted into a war that he doesn’t want to go to.  Imagine if you were someone who just wanted a peaceful life in the country and that is your lot.  Then after the war, he gets married and plans his dream life, only to have his wife die of a brain tumour 10 days before he sails for Oz!  Enough to make you mad, yeah?

The war kicked at my mum too.  Her first fiance (along with her girlhood dreams) died in Europe during the war, when my mum was in her early 20’s.

So, later, in Oz – my parents got together, both with loads of traumatic “baggage”.  In the 1950’s and 1960’s, pastoral care wasn’t a thing.  No matter how traumatic your history, you just carried on – and stoically kept it all “in house”.   My parents were so caught up in their own grievings, that although they tried really hard to do the best for us kids – we grew up traumatised too.  And being “in the colonies” by this stage, neither my parents nor us as kids had any family or friends for support.  We were this isolated outpost of complete dysfunction masquerading as a “normal” 1960’s nuclear family.

I can hear you thinking – what has this got to do with soap?  It’s this…

I realised today, that the Shed is my sanctuary.  When those genetic fingers grip some black part of my innards, getting into the Shed with the essential oils, the process, the things that line up in an ordered fashion and create something lovely – that is my sanctuary.

Today I made a face lotion – it feels light and is super moisturising.  I looked up oils that suit rosacea-prone skin such as mine, and adapted this recipe:


– with the ingredients I had in the Shed – I used green tea, camellia oil, and chamomile in jojoba, tea-tree and lavender essential oils.   Calming, in the end.


I found a box of roma tomatoes for sale a week or so ago – now I am hoping this year’s passata tastes as good as it looks.

And in other news…

My little supervisor has been really unwell again.  Mid-March he had about 24 hours of seizures, after which he couldn’t walk for a few weeks, and again it was a day by day scenario for him.  He is now on a swag of anti-epileptic drugs, has had his arthritic joints injected, on human anti-clotting drugs, and is home and plodding round again.  He is quite blind, especially in one eye, so he bumps into things, but getting better at navigating.  He has an incredible spirit – so determined to do what he can – quite inspirational really!

So – we keep on, doing the best we can on any given day – my leisurely days are over again for a while – back to full time study and half time work.

I have some temporary work at one of our Universities – which causes me again to contemplate that genetic heritage.  Only about 3 generations ago, my relatives couldn’t even write – signed their names with a cross.  Maybe there’s hope yet for coming out of those long shadows…


4 thoughts on “Hangovers and long shadows

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