Saturday, 30 May 2020

Three Letters To Grace


Funeral bouquet


21/5/2020 Dear Grace,
I have said how your legacy is the small kind things; I have been noticing them more and more. It’s almost ridiculous, in a wonderful way, to be so taken by the pattern on a plate or how clever elastic is. I can’t stop making beautiful meals. Yesterday I woke up with the bravado to debone a turkey leg. It took awhile; regret was made fleeting by success. I feel like you know. That your light and care are here in everything and that’s why I am continually tuning in. The energy to transform everything is part of this, to celebrate our ordinary splendour. This has manifested into some minor furniture renovations and uncovered a leaking pipe under the bath. (I think we can fix it, I’ve put a cloth down for now to soak it up, left it open to dry out the floor and the rotted skirting board. The bath panel is outside meanwhile… should I paint it? Probably not…)
This is the best of grief; the deep and peaceful loss, the fine example, your ninety year span.
How you paid attention to simple loveliness.
You said thank you for every tiny thing: when we helped you to eat, every single mouthful had its own appreciative exclamation. You were afraid of being a burden, ‘a stinky old lady.’
We wanted you to feel looked after, to see how you were the source of the care because you taught us how. And this is life, it has variables...
You worried, that was your sore point. Would everyone be okay?
Every soul that ever lived.
Every butterfly and spider: you knew that things were nuanced, interdependent. That nature was cruel and marvellous, that this included your own decline.
It didn’t stop you feeling but you knew; sometimes I could pull you back to ease, you were susceptible to good humour.
(‘How will I ever repay you?’ says you:
‘Well, I checked - this account is fully prepaid. You don’t even have to be polite!’
‘Hahaha,’ says us.)
I hear you saying:
‘Look after each other, my darlings.’
‘A good hug goes all the way to the fingertips.’
I hear you pep talking yourself:
‘Come on, Grace!’
Sometimes cross, sometimes laughing; as the physical you faded into dependence, which you did not want and added to the worry-list, which you could not reverse, and neither did we wish this for you. The silver in this cloud is love, and the proof of love.
We brought it to you bit by bit. All the small kind things.
We said: ‘Come on, Grace!’

Xxx With love, to the moon, as ever xxx

22/5/2020
Dear Grace,
We have been to visit your body today. Your coffin is just right, you would be pleased. The funeral directors told us you had picked out what you wanted a while back, and how much easier that makes arrangements (so we will be online later looking at how we arrange for ourselves to become trees, that would make you giggle.) Your face is rested, we could almost believe you were in deep sleep. Mr asked if your foot was twitching - that was the tell. You have on the purple stripe twin set that we all admired on you, and in your arms two bunches of roses, and your legs covered in birthday cards. You looked comfortable, out of pain: but the spark of you was gone. We were looking at a revered vessel.
It is not going to be easy to let you go: social distancing at a funeral is adding a weird edge too. We were a bit wobbly over it, till we thought of doing this for you and not for ourselves. Life deserves its rituals. Later on, when hugs are allowed, we will have a memorial picnic.
We put our gloved hands to your forehead, stroked your hair, said Goodbye, pressed the button to say the Chapel of Rest was being vacated.
The funeral directors checked we knew the time and the place, and the rules of distance. Also that we knew the toilets would be locked - we will all be dehydrated from not drinking, and from crying, and/or at least one of us will be peeing in a bush…
Sad with loss, happy with memories.
The spark of you is not gone, exactly, it’s just not in your body now.
We will miss you and keep you with us.

Xxx



29/5/2020
Dear Grace A socially distanced funeral is better than not being there. We must all have been muttering that somewhere in our minds. It was- dissociative. Our family who we have not physically seen since March, who we would normally hug- properly hug, fold them into our joy, as taught by you of course- if we saw them earlier the same day: standing two metres apart, holding tissues, squinting in the sunny car park of Exeter Crematorium.
[Joh and Bob were in their car, with the air con on - some alone time, some grieving space.
Kev had brown shoes on, which got him and Guy laughing over Nan Clark’s ‘what’s next - brown boots?’ statement of social decline.
Chris, Emma, Molly and George were crisp in black and white.
Kate in big sunnies; Tanya and Abbey in floral prints; Martina too, in heels but her back was paining her; Kirsty in black, all hair loose.
John sporting a fine beard, smart white shirt.
Craig in suit and tie: no beard, and the quarantine tache all gone, but a full head of hair which the other lads remark on.
Guy in his grey stripe suit, black straw fedora.
Me, flowy black dress, pink scarf.
It was a nice mix, Grace, in spite of imposed distance. Our colours went well with your flowers too: all the pinks and soft purples you were so fond of. I could see your eyes alight with love at all this.]
We chatted, buffer-chat, the preparation. A little catching up, a little reminiscing.
Martin the funeral director came to fetch us, we followed him around to the chapel.
The hearse parked ahead. Flowers spelled MUM, your favourite title.
‘Is that her in there?’ George asked.
‘Yes, she’s tiny, isn’t she?’
(Things to say to children at funerals: give them something cute to focus on, mix the happy with the sad, this is how we celebrate a life.)
Some went on in to the chapel: cousin Joyce, walking with a stick but sprightly. She remembers your wedding day.
All your sons stayed to follow your coffin in.
Mr and I at the back.
The services were handed out, each had a packet of forget-me-not seeds and that is what made me cry first.
(As if, Grace!)
Chairs spaced apart. I know that Joh and Bob were sat in front of us, that Chris and family were front row to the right; daren’t look at anyone else.
Here we were, Grace. Not the way we would wish, not the tumbling mass with children everywhere, not the scrum of hugs, shoulders damp with a blend of tears. But here as best we can be, and following the rules so other families can do this too.
(Angry flash at elitist selfishness - you had no hate in you, but I like my angry self, she takes a stand, and you so anti-selfish, we can reconcile this.)
We attempted to sing All Things Bright And Beautiful but mostly were crying, not much sound came out. Sorry for that. The song reminded me of when I was staying over and we had been shockers staying up till 10pm watching Blue Planet - some programme had popped up about wealth. I asked you what you would do if you won the lottery, what Grace would treat herself too.
‘I’d save all the animals,’ you said. ‘Save the planet and the people.’
‘But what about you, what would you like: swimming pool, manicures, holiday?’
‘But that is what I want. Save the planet and the people.’
Tears were rolling. Abbey sobbing - I could hear her, I dared not look. Mr looked and crumpled: we grabbed hands. We felt like monsters for not comforting our family.
We did this to preserve a privilege for other mourners.
The vicar reads well, he is adorable, so kind. (As a child I had a book, The Elves And The Shoemaker, he is the image of the old shoemaker, I kept imagining him tapping a hobnail into a boot sole.)
And so the service reached the blessing, and the curtain pulled around your coffin.
No one rushed to leave.
A slow procession back into the bright afternoon.
At first we were quiet, still weeping. Tender. Even more tender without touch.
But everyone was taking time to talk.
Martin brought the flowers out for us to admire.
There could be no wake so we lingered over our talking, over the flowers.
We should take them home, Joh said, or they’ll just be left. That didn’t seem right.
So we loaded our arms up with lilies and roses, sea holly, carnations.
Broke ourselves away gently.
Mr said he would like to walk around the grounds, the trees are striking here.
We said goodbye to the stragglers; we will meet when we can.

We strolled to the pond where glittering damselflies flew; sapphire, turquoise, emerald, gold, dotting the velvet evergreen. Willow curtains swooped from sky to water. Ancient trunks twisted. Acers flamed. Grass all clipped. We circumnavigated the chapel, found two doves strutting on the path.

Back at the car, Mr opened the bag that Abbey handed him. Brownies from our super baker - and a letter of condolence from Grandchildren 1 and 4 which reminds us that 'Granma Grace is the brightest star in the sky.' Those boys!
Tears, cake, coffee.

And this morning: we need coffee. We finished the sherry.
There is a bouquet swamping the table.
Mr is making a flower press so we can make keepsakes; picture frames, we think.
There are two packs of forget-me-not seeds to be started.
Some in pots to travel with us. Thank you, bright star xxx
Stood in the shade of a weeping willow


Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Grace





Granma has her hands pressed together, eyes shining with gratitude

Granma Grace at her 80th birthday, candid shot of her looking at her family,
one of our favourite portraits. 

Saturday 16 May 2020 This morning we managed to get through to the nursing home on a zoom call so we could see and speak with Grace. The home is short staffed and she has been ill with a chest infection so contact has been difficult, fleeting. Mercy the always-cheerful nurse took the ipad in and spent awhile angling so we could see, but Grace’s eyes were glazed with sleep. We called Hello, wanting to tell her about last night’s family online meet up (Mr and I, in full glitter make-up, won the alphabet scavenger hunt; Grandchildren 3 and 4 both are missing a front tooth; Grandchild 4’s tooth fairy trap didn’t work - Grandchild 1 is booked to play guitar for the next one; Grandchild 5 ran off being shy, 2 was eating late, 7 was a-bed, 6 all grin and tongue; all the grown ups so refreshed by connection, all the detail she would love) but that was too much. Hello was too much.

‘Do you want to talk to me today Mum?’ Mr says, making light of it. She mouths the word ‘No.’ A twitch of humour we see, but still she means no, she is too tired even for pretty lies. We are watching her when we should be sat by her bed, holding her hand, no words needed. I want to say to her, by touch, don’t wait, find your peace.

Monday 18th May 2020 The climbing rose is blooming - I picked the first flower yesterday. The rest would have been plucked in today. A whim to let them open in the sun interrupted; to have fullness before harvest. I pressed nose to petal, went to ready myself for work. Polytunnel open, flower pots watered, washing on line. Sunglasses on, windows down, drive over open moors, take view of the glittering sea. Content. At 3pm my mobile rang. I knew. With her daughter at her bedside, the breaths of our Grace ceased today. I am at work on a sunny day, the door is open, we have the radio playing, our care-charge has cast off one sock in a deliberate act of glee. I wish to be at home with Mr, but here is not a bad place to be. There’s a lightness. Grace does not call for our tears (they will come anyway) - this soft yes to the world, to the kind small details: this is her gift. If a cake is baked, a needle threaded; these are her bequeathments. Tonight I am opening the champagne (although Grace was more of a merry-on-sherry girl.) If you would care to join us, Grace would be delighted. We will toast - To Grace, to kindness. Right now I’m typing these words, I’m thinking she is here in the breeze, in the uplift of sun, looking over my shoulder, smiling. All welcome, my darlings, she says.



Dog sits at Granma's feet, eyes shining with love


Granma reaches to pat Dog, who basks in the love



Monday, 11 May 2020

Birthday Times



Sunlight makes a rainbow arc over a calm river, flanked by trees in full leaf



Two milestone birthdays today that I know of - of course there are more - one 70th, one 1st, to be celebrated from a distance.
(70 years no longer sounds old, whereas one year of existence is a dot.)
For Grandchild 7 we had sent a parcel by taxi: all the willow branch-and-twig cut down from pruning the arch (deliberately left to overgrow for this occasion) ribbon tied and rolled in an old tablecloth. A willow house kit!
(Although it looked a little like I was disposing of a tall skinny body…)
Which his family have assembled with pallet flooring, and I hope has survived last night’s high winds...
For the 70th (Caroline Osborne-Dowle) a handmade card which dropped into the post box before I remembered that the post had already gone that day so it will be late - but I will call and give the real present, which is a pledge to spend time - to go out, to stay in, details will sort themselves out.
Time is the priceless thing. We will march from dot to dusk, travelogue-ing tales, and even if all that is forgot, if dementia or injury sweeps through, what was created remains in love, in energy.
Think about what you are creating. Do you need help to steer happier?

Meanwhile I go to the river, cool in the wide flow, watch the birds swoop. My shoes are slung in a tree. I have steered, and been tide-shoved, and here I am, and I want to help.
Not to author anyone else’s story, just to even out access to the ink.
To the raw materials.
To the moment. 

Friday, 24 April 2020

We Make-Do, We Mend



Dusk sky, outline of house in background, foreground is a campfire




Friday 24th April 2020:
In the midst of a batch of glorious days in which Mr and me are outside dusk till past dawn, and fall asleep in reclining chairs as the stars gain sway and Venus looks as though she is disappearing down our chimney. Our hands are scrubbed, stained in mud and green.

One morning I had got up early, run to the river, had a swim, run back home, showered, breakfasted, all before work. Another morning Mr and I got up early and did all of our Tae Kwon-Do patterns out on the grass. Then yoga stretches, then breakfast, all before work. Tech troubles we deal with slowly, in small bursts, to mitigate frustration.
We are mostly making lockdown look good, but ache to be with family and friends. People are being bereaved. There is fear in the background. I worry for disadvantaged strangers as well as my own circle; dream of land to share.
A levelling should come of this.

Last night on a whim I picked some red sorrel and dyed an old vest in my soap pan. Not sure what I’m doing or how it will turn out - what does that remind you of?
These are experimental times.
Pictures of baking adorn every social media outlet - triumphal sourdough, epically flat meringues - it is the having a go that is holding on to sanity, that is waking us up.
Celebrity status dissolved in the acid of its own pointless privilege. (Can't help thinking this is healthier for everyone involved.)
The truth poking through: who is it who keeps you alive? Why have we not been grateful before now?
Why aren’t people who have enough money to sort out every problem in the world sorting out the problems?

How To Shun A Billionaire:
We celebrate our ordinary lives.
We live as small-scale and local as possible. The revolution is a farmers’ market. It’s a pot of herbs on your windowsill. We make-do, we mend. We learn baking, sewing, gardening. Pickles. Jams. We check on our neighbours, friends, family. Cultivate green spaces, accessible re-wilding. Ask each other for help because it turns out most of us care.


Graphic reads 'When in doubt, celebrate.'

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Separations


Cabbage white butterfly at rest in the sunshine


Wednesday, April 1st:

No. Monday April 6th: Hand gel and soap at the level where my hands look like I stole them from a museum. Psoriasis flaring. Mr's income plummeted without much warning, with albatross levels of foreboding: and yet really we are fine. My wages will almost keep us, we have just enough, no one should need more. It is merely that the world is changing, is in a mushy chrysalis that may or may not be in dire peril but is certainly vulnerable. The most personal bit of this is Grace, in her end of life phase. The gradual way she has submitted to being in bed since her legs have not regained the strength of her spirit; like ripples diminish, she is letting go. They are kind to her in the nursing home. The food is good. It is still not as we wish. We can’t visit, we can’t hold her hand, stroke her head, feed her those pretty puddings. She sends love: she is love. We are lucky for that. Mr sends me a message that food is cooking, the fire pit prepped. There’s a hammock, a glass of red.
Later: I am lying in the hammock, fire-spit spattered, watching our moon push through dense greenery, watching it slip like the eye of a cosmic fish into a deepening blue. Stripes on the wind-break agitating. Cold fingers. Beautiful heart breaking things.




Close up of fire pit, red embers, fire pit made of an old wheel rim.





Friday, 27 March 2020

Corona Creep Up


Man posing next to large chunk of tree trunk like he has hunted it, looks out to horizon
Mr looks to the future, it looks like hedges.


Saturday March 14th 2020

On the drive to work I got bored of changing the windscreen wiper settings, then a little off-white spider raced around on the steering wheel. I blew it onto the dashboard but it jumped back. Cheeky spider. At work we are bored of coronavirus restrictions and bored at the prospect of it continuing. We don’t know anyone who has it. Supermarket shelves are missing toilet roll, dried pasta, as previously, now also tins of beans and tomatoes. There are travel bans and cancelled events. Last night I had to teach a non contact TKD session - no pads, no sparring, no hand shaking. I began my class with ‘first of all, please don’t breathe because that’s dangerous now.’ All of us are ‘meh’ about these restrictions. We understand that infection control is serious for the immune-compromised, we adhere to protocol for that reason. But the paranoia and boredom: meh. Monday March 16 2020 Yesterday Mr and I did some babysitting for Grandchildren 2,6 & 7. (They have numbers on here, our numbered blessings, mostly to reduce the chance of future embarrassments: they won't be stuck in the roles cast by childhood.) G2 is a grand big sister. The littlest ones are lucky to have this love and encouragement in their lives. G7 is walking a few steps, and has finally rubbed two teeny edges of teeth through his lower gums. G6 climbs into mummy and daddy’s bed, calling for mummy, but is bribed out of bereftness with a biscuit. Then we take her outside where she can wedge her wellies in mud, chase the dogs, and nearly fall off the swing a few hundred times. Takes another biscuit to lure her back in even when her fingers are blue with chill. G2 puts music on, draws her dream house. It has indoor stables and a disco room. G7 and Grandad fell asleep on the sofa while Gs 2 & 6 ate sausage casserole, and their Aunt & Uncle turned up to take the late shift. We ate seaweed together, and sponge cake; caught up on news of Dartmoor walks and work hunting. Mr and me drove home, had a few shots of blackcurrant vodka. I slept well. Today’s adventures began with a lazy drive around Colliford where my car was stuck awhile in the midst of wandering cows and calves. It was sunny so I wore the flowery lace ups my stepdaughter bought me, and a beige trench, and sunglasses. At work we took our care client for a small adventure, along a lonely lane that was too muddy for my nice shoes so I just went barefoot, casually eating a magnolia flower. 22 March, Sunday, 2020 This morning Mr and I crowbarred a few chunks of tree trunk to make a rustic seating area, before I went to work. There is no travelling except for emergency supplies, stretching our legs around the block (to the river sometimes) and my care work. When we arrive we wash hands and check our temperatures. Everything gets anti-bac sprayed. Our client is enjoying not going anywhere, just being chilled on the rug playing her pink guitar. She has a cough, a phlegmy sort, we are taking her temperature fanatically. Had to buy a multipack of batteries for the thermometer. The weather is nice and people are risking going out, which means we definitely don’t. We are in the time where staying isolated or not can tip the balance. It doesn’t feel real, I have a sense of acting out a scenario, like this is a drill only. Had a play at making a video Tae Kwon-Do session, which was kind of fun. There is that odd bit to this, that these unusual times can yield fun. I have roughed out a week of lesson plan ideas, a way to organise and schedule. I have a story telling schedule. My brain is hyper, throwing up ideas but also not able to concentrate enough to plough into novel writing just yet, so I have started the next round of Tales From The Tenets - Tenets In Space. Friday 27th March 2020 I have papers from work saying I can travel so now I feel like an extra in a 1940s film. It’s trench coat weather too, I would look the part if I could master the victory roll hair. We are on a skeleton staff, as no one is allowed to work on multiple care packages and those who have outside jobs at the hospital are needed there and also must avoid cross contamination. Meanwhile in the mornings we have a garden of frost, all sparkles and bright bird song. In the afternoons the sun warms us. The polytunnel is tropical, the hosepipe in use. Seedlings slowly stretch out of their encased slumbers, lift their leaves like little eyes, look at us and ask: what is really important? Um… Soil, warmth, light, water, nutrition, space to grow... The people I am missing. I see them on screens, of course, but the lack of proximity is a chest pain, a visceral thing. How grief is: but the joy of reunion is the privilege of the living, so I am adhering. Meanwhile, we can only contact Granma Grace via the nursing home phone. She is enjoying her dinners and glad we are safe.
Writer in face mask and apron PPE, looking wry
Work wear, Spring 2020 collection.


Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Spring Variety



Tree roots reach like fingers at the edge of a river, the river is just over the bank




The sun appears, edging back from retirement. It has been days of rain. Is that wind that stirs the washing trusted on the line or is it sighs of relief?
Both, let’s say.
The air seems warmer, the mud all soft.
Hot enough to get seeding in the polytunnel: tomatoes, basil, chillies, peppers, radish, carrots, pumpkin, cucumber, aubergine. Seeds flake-like, spear-shape, spherical, familiar.
Journeys continued.
Meanwhile we are asking questions over a piece of land, to see if we can make a connection between where we are and where we should like to be.
I have repotted the lime tree, and the red palms, knowing they are getting harder to move, hoping this works like ironic magic bringing us closer to the place where they can be planted in our own ground.
Clouds roll thick in the sky.
For now the magic is knowing that possibility exists.
Later we may settle for another story, another possibility; preparations help propagation but there are variables we cannot influence.





Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Obstacles And Onwards



Gull silhouettes over churning ocean waves
Thursday 6th February 2020 I have found some new muscles to hurt, hurrah! Discovery due to the wheelbarrow being turned to rust lace, so I improvised with a rescued fish box, dragging it like a sled to spread compost around the garden. Have ordered a new barrow today; currently am sat in bed to write, and appease the aches. Washing blows on the line. Cold sunny day. The crows have chased a buzzard out of the alopecia pine. Monday 10th February 2020 Busy, Tae Kwon-Doing, social weekend. Stormy weather which inconvenienced others more than us. Sunday evening we came home to an electric outage: lit candles, lit woodburner, opened wine. Thankful for a quiet work day. Can’t even immerse myself in research as the weather seems to have stifled internet access. Several rounds of thunder and hail. Did some stretches, did some writing, including this. At home a new wheelbarrow is awaiting and somehow the washing has stayed pegged to the line. It will not be dry, but well rinsed. Dog has creaky hips. Granma Grace has moved to a nursing home in Exeter. There is funding for 12 weeks, and uncertainty after that. Meanwhile my little care-charge (I am at work) is taking a break from keyboard solos to blow a few spit bubbles, put a fluffy caterpillar in her armpit, and stare at a pink plastic beach spade, like a permanently stoned faerie child. Monday 17th February 2020 Grace’s 90th birthday. We travelled to visit yesterday, more like a log flume ride than a drive: the floods higher than we’ve ever seen.
Grace is sleeping more than ever, but waking to eat without pain - the anti-sickness meds in the syringe driver are working and are still the only meds she will take. It is good to see her settled. She is in a private room, her windowsill filled with family photos and cards. She takes my hand after I’ve fed her lunch (chocolate pudding went down especially well) - she stumbles words but she says ‘this is my daughter-in-law,’ squeezing my hand. My sister-in-law is present too; I say only special people can have daughters as special as us. Grace pats her hand on her heart. ‘Yes,’ Mr says, ‘that’s you, Mum.’ She smiles. Today at work we went to view the weather from Perranporth, where the sea was milky-green, a storm-stirred salt soup. Gulls flew more backwards than forwards. Crows tried, and failed in unabashed circles. Tomorrow we are going to view a derelict cottage we probably can’t afford. It may be an underwhelming wreck, it may be an overwhelming love at first sight flight into a headwind. (I should also note that the new wheelbarrow is a fine purchase: last year’s compost is shared out, in spite of storms.) Monday 24th February 2020 I had set off early to take my favourite long commute over Bodmin Moor but as I was more sailing than driving it seemed wise to reconsider. At work, having to choose an indoor activity, we went to Plymouth, to the National Marine Aquarium, where our frustrations could be soothed by the waftings of passing fish. 
Silvery big fish in blue water, at an aquarium
(The derelict cottage we viewed last week was ankle deep in water, had too little garden space and we didn’t love it. Search continues.)


Thursday, 30 January 2020

Doubt And Celebrate



Swirly purple graphic reads 'When in doubt, celebrate.'





Plan was this: to go to the woods then come home and write. I had asked my clever brother to make a graphic for me, of a phrase I use and wished to share, because it is so nearly my 50th birthday it was making me feel beneficently wise.

What happened was: I was watching the happy arse of my dog as she thundered towards the river when a bundle of words arrived with a ferocity equal to her velocity, as though she had tugged them into being. Writing was done awkwardly, immediately, balanced on a knee. 
These words:

'Imagine a sheet of paper, imagine you have a spoonful of ink. You fling the ink at the paper;
some of it will miss.
You are like this ink.
But you are not this ink.
You can refling yourself over and over and in doing this create something more fluid, dynamic, astounding, authentic, than anything any of us can fix to paper.
Please breathe and feel your breath. 
Please love yourself.
Whatever doubt you are in, allow it.
Celebrate.'





Friday, 17 January 2020

Sneaked-in Writing




11th January 2020 Merely a trace of chest plague left, so I’m back to training and now my legs and arms have the pleasant ache of effort.
At work today and doing more sneaked-in writing.
Another fiercely windy day: witnessed a heron in perilous flight this morning, snaking its neck like a pterodactyl. Took my favourite long commute around the back of Colliford Lake where the sky was all freckled with starlings, and white topped waves frisked, and shaggy calves skulked on verges.
I am saying please let things work out well now. I have enough practice finding flowers at the roadside of doom, I say, no more with that now! Time for a rose garden, Universe.

13th January 2020
Third in a hat trick of shifts, nothing too demanding, just the having to get up early and being organised. The weather is all storm warnings - we sat at Porthpean watching seagulls in the shallow froth declining to go further out. We sat in the warm car, bellies full, with a happy client for she loves the wild weather best of all.
We are back at the house now and she is cooing to the thrashing rain, she is studying a soft toy. Yesterday she allowed me to join in with her guitar playing; I copied her two string tune as best I could and she laughed so much she had to stop play and lie on a cushion. I asked her if she was a zen master and her shoulders rocked.
This life is beautiful, Universe, I apologise for my complaints.