All posts tagged: musings

Embracing Autumn

Ten ways I’m embracing autumn, these strange in-between days. Cutting blooms from the hibiscus tree outside our house, stuffing them in glass bottles scattered around the house. Harvesting tomatoes, scoffing them – sweet, juicy, their seeds dribbling down my elbows – straight from the vine Roasting squash for tea (these, my friends – in a word: delicious.) Porridge dotted with juicy, unctuous raisins and almonds in the mornings. Cosy weekend afternoons, curled up with good words and chocolate buttons. Taking myself out for (hot) coffee on weekend mornings. Walking everywhere, now the weather has cooled. Walking through the rains. Deadheading the roses, weeding the borders, sowing bulbs: readying for the freeze. Knitting again, a sea-green scarf to begin the season. Tilting my face up to the sun, soaking in the golden light. We’re at the crux of summer; the days split between thick, oozing heat and days of damp, autumn rains. The air grows cold just before the downpours arrive, and at night a cool wind rattles through these suburban streets. You can smell it on the breeze. The …

Sixty Years

Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years.  Simone Signoret My grandparents, Frederick and Joy, were married in March 1956. The day, they say, was brisk; the blossoms just beginning to unfurl. They had met by chance one night in a London dance hall, my grandfather home on leave from his conscription to a ruined Lüneberg. When we ask of the courtship, the proposal and the long months that followed, torturously, languidly, while my grandfather completed national service, we are told: Oh, but it was all so long ago now! We can’t remember that far back, my grandmother flashing her wide, bright smile, lips painted always a pillar box red. I think there’s a wonderful story kept just for the two of them behind all that purported ‘forgetting’. Sixty years on, they still smile more than most anyone I know and tease each other with unceasing abandon. In twenty-five years I don’t think I’ve once seen them argue. One Friday in July, to celebrate these sixty years (720 months!) we filled a room …

Bad-Day Blessings

I woke to clean sheets and rain, my favourite – a gentle pitter-patter against the window frame. But sometimes, even rain can’t set a day off right. Sometimes you’re just grumpy. A day starts off on the wrong footing. And then, as if the law of averages has been turned on its head, the wrongs pile up and overshadow the good. Nothing life-threatening – but suddenly the morning rush seems an unassailable hurdle, you can’t shake the frown. You smudge your mascara, lose your patience, shed a tear at your own unkindness as you run to the station. Your hair is still damp, your eyes are creased. You miss the bus, spill your tea, lose an earring – all before the clock strikes ten. But when you get to work – late – there’s a cup of coffee sitting on your desk. Your colleague beams at you and you find a forgotten Granny Smith, green and lustrous, in your drawer, fit for elevenses. Maybe the day isn’t such a bad one after all, you think. …

A Sunset Bike Ride (Part I)

  Continuing on the ‘summer nostalgia’ theme today with these photographs from a splendid September sunset cycle (how’s that for alliteration?) The three of us hopped on our bicycles in the fading light and pedalled furiously towards the sea. Sometimes I think about whether I’d miss the city, were I to up sticks and head for the country – not look back. Usually, I come to the conclusion that I would. Once the novelty had worn off, I’d miss the urban conveniences, the galleries, the museums and the people too. But then standing atop Britten’s scallop on the shingle, legs tired from turning and wind whirling through my hair, my mind tells me otherwise. Nope, I think. This is all I’d ever need. *More about Benjamin Britten’s scallop, or – as we know it – the shell.

One year on.

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, …