Earlswood is located near Solihull, as it turns out, about 20 minutes away from Kings Heath. There are two large lakes there (apparently man-made so the Victorians would have somewhere to go walking) and a craft centre including lots of little shops and a maze made out of maize. It is in fact the self-same Maize Maze I visited with my mum about six years ago, though obviously they've re-grown it since then...
We parked at a nearby pub (The Reservoir) and then followed a footpath which led to an uncrossable brook, so then wandered down the road for a bit until we reached the two lakes, following which we stumbled upon the footpath again. I have no idea how far we walked but may well post a Googlemaps image later just so you can see the scale. We look lots of pretty pictures of greenery and such, and were accosted by a very friendly dog along the way.
The footpath led conveniently to the craft centre, where we wandered around the shops for a bit. Paul and I came away with a cats-eye ring (for "wealth and abundance", apparently - it's too big to wear as a ring so I've threaded it onto a brown suede lace that came with some present or another, to wear as a necklace - he's going to wear it at his Kelly's session later... well, you never know), a happiness stone (it's heart-shaped; I liked the pattern), a celtic-style ring (for Paul) and some lavendar and aloe-vera soap. There was a shop selling thousands and thousands of beads, loads of interesting little shops - if I could get there by bus I would take jackiesjottings there next time. ;)
After that we finished the circuit of the lakes and walked back to the pub for lunch. Very nice it was, too, though the drinks were horribly expensive. Then we drove back to the craft centre because Lisa wanted to buy some beads, and Paul and I attempted the Maize maze... You're supposed to exit it over the bridge, but by the time we'd found ourselves back at the entrance twice we gave up and went out that way. It's seven acres, apparently. I think we were in there a good hour or so.
Then we drove home and did nothing for the rest of the evening. A thoroughly pleasant day. There are photographs on Flickr, though for some reason it chose to upload them in the wrong order...
On Sunday we were fairly lazy, other than a trip to Aldi for tea stuff. We had half-planned to go to herringprincess's barbecue but after the knackering Saturday eventually decided against it. And I totally forgot to text her and apologise, for which I suck.
Of the evening I got around to re-watching Rent, having listened to the soundtrack most of the way to London the other week. I think I had more to say but it fell out of my brain.
As anticipated this morning, now that Noor is back off leave, there is not enough work to sustain both of us, whereas last week I was drowning on my own. Typical.
As to the Potential Family Drama... well, I was going to have a bit of an unrelated rant, but quite frankly I'm fed up of wasting energy on this particular subject, and anyway it's not relevant. As to the baptism issue, I'm now leaning very strongly in the direction of not going. As much as I know full well this situation needs to be sorted out, I'm firmly of the opinion that a public forum is not the place to do it. The issues I have with my father are exactly that: my issues.
Therefore, I don't want them airing at what is meant to be a happy occasion. I don't want to feel pressurised into attending or spend the entire ordeal wanting to crawl into a hole. Lisa offered me an escape route by offering to drive us there, and then us saying that she's visiting someone and will be picking us up at a set time... but then my dad'll probably want to meet Lisa as well, or my grandmother will engage her in conversation and we won't get away for another half an hour.
Also, as per the issues being mine, I don't want to have my grandmother watching me the entire time I'm there or trying to 'help' in her well-meaning way, or trying to make me engage with Dominic - I'm not good with small children. (I realise this doesn't bode well for wanting to have children, but I'm under the assumption that it's different when it's your own. :P) I just... I'll sort things on my own terms, right? I don't think she would understand my reasons for breaking off contact in the first place.
And, I don't particularly want him to engage me in discussion over what my mum's doing right now. I don't want to tell him she's getting married. I don't want him interfering in the best thing to happen to her since he fucked her life up, for him to act all high and mighty about it, or surprised, or use that slightly condescending tone of voice he always uses about David on the rare occasions he's been mentioned. Because he's hardly the person to be judging anyone on their choice of partner.
Plus there's all the other things I've already mentioned.
So yeah. Probably not going. I'm really... just not in the right mindset at the moment. I'll see how things feel at Christmas and maybe send a card, just as a token... I'm just not ready yet, especially in a big gathering of strangers which will already be making me anxious and claustrophobic. Anything which is stressing me out to this degree before it's even confirmed cannot be of the good; and it all comes back to my new Rule of Life: Anything which makes me question my own self-worth is not worth the energy.
So... yeah. I fully understand where winter_jasmine is coming from, and many thanks also to Eni for the advice, but it's one of those situations where there is no better option, and I just happen to be going for the easier one. Because I'm a coward, essentially, and self-preservation is top of my list right now.
That's that. I need to tackle this long piece of dictation before lunch, so I'll post this and get on with it...