Showing posts from 2020

River Spa Break

Words On Blips And Kindness On A Life Journey

The Sage Routine

Words on Self Care in a Shifting World
[Diary extract] Continuing to feel calm with undercurrents of dread. This is the new normal.
I have had plenty of after work dips at Carlyon Bay, easily picking spots away from the gathered youths and the lone figures a-fishing for sea bass. The bar there is open now, neither busy nor empty. I can’t hear the music from the sea, only the waves.
Last time I swam a school of sand eels swarmed me, leaping out of velvety turquoise water in little flexes of silver under a sky smudged from mauve to orange. Gaudy in a good way.
I floated back and berated myself for such luck, though I have put intention and action into curating this, because this is how I honour life. It is important sometimes to chastise oneself, to shake out the demons of laziness and complacency.
But when the dread seeps in it is necessary to change this tactic, to follow the sage routine: allow it, see it, know it as part of the flow of change.
Give yourself the love you need. Small t…

Bee Bum

Words On Facing A Leap Of Faith 
Saturday 27th June, 2020
Heat has rolled us flat for a day or so, we are glad of the wind that is whipping clouds around, glad of the sudden dense showers. When I left for work, Mr was sat picking stalks off currants, outside under the gazebo. In between showers he is constructing a tarpaulin roof that will make an outdoor dojang (Tae Kwon-Do training venue) in our garden. [UPDATE: this design is back on the drawing board.] We are making enquiries about how to get water and power to a field we saw - which is scaring both of us because it is jumping into the unknown. Not love at first sight, this bit of land, but a realisation that this could be the one. If we don’t have a reason to veto, we are going to make an offer… Have another lot of land to view, meanwhile, keeping options open. [UPDATE: that land was another faerie-world bit of impractical loveliness, to which we are currently immune.] We are afraid but we are also saying, what else is there to…

365 And Then What?

Words On Uncertainty, Social Change, and Weird Weather

On New Years Day we started a project we are calling The 365. Poured a large bottle of vodka into a glass barrel and everyday put something into it, mostly from our garden, some foraged stuff. The idea being to make a unique spirit, a spirit of the year. We are a little afraid of it. (We keep feeding it.) 20/20 vision now means anything you didn’t imagine could happen. Fear of the unknown is pandemically viral. There’s a swell- if you don’t know the ocean maybe this word has less meaning. Can you close your eyes? Feel your skin touch the air that touches the sky that merges to space? A universal heft, dear friend.
On a Friday (June 5th) Walked round the lanes, through a gate, through a field of cut grass which curved up and open to a playful breeze, over a stile, over a stream on a trip-trap bridge flanked by old trees, wading in thigh-high grass to the tipped over oak. Dog conquered the undergrowth while I climbed as high as I dared…


Words On Patience
Yesterday afternoon when the rain had paused; it had been the kind of precipitation with bucket sized drops; the air was warm, washed, smelling of earth (petrichor, that beautiful word) I pushed a window open. A bluebottle that had been sat on the windowsill flew up into the angled glass. I put my hand out to guide it but it dodged. I meant no harm. I wanted it to be able to fly out; it’s a rare fly that finds fulfilment in captivity. To this bluebottle, the glass was sky, over and over. The sound of it, a mini-thud, made me wonder what sort of velocity and whether flies get brain damage. I wanted it to be free of the barrier it refused to comprehend. The window was pushed wide open. Thud-thud.
Was there a natural rhythm that struck, that finally changed the plan that wasn’t working?
I hope for that.
What happened to the insect after that, whatever happened, it was living as it should.
I watched it go, let my frustration go. It is the right thing to do, to open the win…

Three Letters To Grace

Words On Love, Loss, And Grieving

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 …


Words On Loss And Grieving

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 w…

Birthday Times

Words On Being Happy
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…

We Make-Do, We Mend

Words On Changing The World

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 soa…


Words On Vulnerability

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 pr…