A funny old time

Mama in a huge plaster cast
Big foot and our new little cousin.

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”

The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien

“Come home, Babes. All is forgiven.”

This is the WhatsApp message I received from Hubby about 10 days into my recent 2 week break in South Africa.

I didn’t go because South Africa won the Rugby World Cup, though they did. Nor because it’s dark and cold in the UK, which it is. I didn’t go to check on our house, although I did that. I went because Continue reading A funny old time

October 2019 in photographs

red and yellow autumn leaves“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

The colours speak for themselves.

Autumn.

Of travels to Canada and north west New York State. Of nippy mornings, a new coat and leaves. Of old friends and new, spicy apple drinks, apple picking, Quebecois, bad coffee and leaves. Continue reading October 2019 in photographs

The case of the Pumpkin Soup and the problem with British politeness

“It was time to take the pumpkin out of the pot and eat it. In the final analysis, that was what solved these big problems of life. You could think and think and get nowhere, but you still had to eat your pumpkin. That brought you down to earth. That gave you a reason for going on. Pumpkin.”

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

soup Guest: “What exactly is in this soup?”
Me: “It’s pumpkin soup.”
Hubby (encouraging): “It’s an early spicy pumpkin soup.”
Guest: “Unusual taste.”
Me: “Yes. I’m afraid something went wrong. You don’t have to eat it.”

It was almost a case of ‘Nyamazela-at-the-Church-do-with-the-pumpkin-soup’.

I pride myself on being a better than average soup maker. But as the old adage goes, and Hubby pointed out rightly when we were destroying the evidence later that night, pride comes before a fall. Continue reading The case of the Pumpkin Soup and the problem with British politeness

Billingsgate Market, City of London

“Fish,” he said, “I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead before this day ends.”

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

One of the enduring memories of my childhood is lying on the back seat of our family car, in the still cool dark hours of pre-dawn, still in my pyjamas, toe to head with my brother, and wrapped in a blanket, listening to my parents quietly chatting to one another, as I dosed and they drove.

It’s a peaceful memory, filled with potential and promise. Early morning. Pad kos. The open road.

Note: I don’t do early mornings. I love my sleep. To this day, I’m only really prepared to get up early for a road trip. .. and the promise of tea.

In the second to last week of August, Hubby woke us up at some ‘unGodly’ hour – me and Mama – to drive to Billingsgate fish market. Continue reading Billingsgate Market, City of London

Already not yet

“No public business of any kind could possibly be done at any time without the acquiescence of the Circumlocution Office. Its finger was in the largest public pie, and in the smallest public tart.”

Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens

I stood on a rock shelf at Black Rocks staring out at the breakers, Hubby beside me.  We could taste the salt on our faces. Every 6-wave set rolled eagerly towards us. The sound was terrific. But as each wave came within a few metres of the rock we were standing on, it met a retreating wave and lost some of its power.  Defeated, it poured out onto the rock at our feet, not quite reaching our toes. So much energy to start with. Such anticipation. So much promise.

That’s what life feels like at the moment.

Already. Not yet. Continue reading Already not yet

What didn’t happen

“If Red breaks that leg again,” Howard said soberly, “it will cripple him for life.” Alexander told him that maybe it was better to break a man’s leg than his heart.”

Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand

Winner #Fitbit Step Challenge.

I increase my pace. In my head the blood in my veins pumps audibly. My chest burns. I love the sense of freedom that running (or rather a good run) can offer. I watch The Adjustment Bureau on the small screen. Matt Damon and Emily Blunt dash across a busy New York street. On the treadmill to my right, a man in his 60’s slaps his stomach intermittently as he runs. Is he trying to spur himself on? Is he literally smacking away the tummy fat? Does he like the sound of it? I try not to pay too much attention to him. He’s also pushing his body.

I think how grateful I am for a healthy, relatively fit body.

I think of Hubby and the fateful fishing weekend.

“I’m not interested in what happened,” said my Husband “It’s what didn’t happen that’s infinitely more important.”

But you do want to know, right? Continue reading What didn’t happen

5 Weeks ‘Into Africa’

“I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills. The Equator runs across the these highlands, a hundred miles to the north, and the farm lay at an altitude of over six thousand feet. In the day-time you felt that you had got high up, near to the sun, but the early mornings and evenings were limpid and restful, and the nights were cold.”

Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (pen name of Karen Blixen)

Karen Blixen Out of Africa“We paid £3 for a haircut in South Africa,” we told our flamboyant, full-of-opinions, Irish hairdresser in London some years ago.

[This, when he quoted Hubby £45 for a men’s short back and sides.]

“WELL! … I don’t exactly live in a frickin mud hut, do I?” he pointed out.

[He had a point.]

“So, are we cutting today or not?” he asked us, waving the scissors around. Continue reading 5 Weeks ‘Into Africa’