“So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
“How was your holiday in SA?” I asked, excited to hear how much our friend had enjoyed his visit to my homeland in December.
“South Africa is really in a bit of a mess,” he replied. Note, that in British English, a ‘bit of a mess’ is basically a large scale disaster.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Nothing works. The Eskom situation is depressing. Most people I spoke to just want to get out of there.”
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
On Saturday evening I attended a piano concert in aid of charity with my Hubby and my dear parents-in-law.
It was a chilly evening.
Mid way through the second half of the concert my bottom was becoming numb and my mind began to wonder. I do love Chopin, but the plastic seat was getting the better of me. I was pleased to stand and clap after an encore of Chopin’s – Fantaisie Impromptu – you all know it, it’s beautiful.
“I keep turning over new leaves, and spoiling them, as I used to spoil my copybooks; and I make so many beginnings there never will be an end. (Jo March)”
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
My Dad was desperate to retire. He wouldn’t admit it, but work was challenging and he wasn’t coping. He had many plans for his retirement years. But he was also anxious. After all, he’d worked since he was 16.
On his last day at work I gave him a card. “How exciting,” I’d written. “To be on the cusp of a new season, a new chapter in your life!”
For months, even years later, in deep thought, he’d often say to me, quite out of the blue, “I’ve thought a lot about what you wrote in my card. A new chapter … I’ve got to make the most of it.”
“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.
“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
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.”
“To tell you the truth, I was considerably upset and worried. I am not going to pretend that at that moment I foresaw the events of the next few weeks. I emphatically did not do so. But my instinct told me that there were stirring times ahead.”
The Murder of Roger Achroyd by Agatha Christie
On Easter Sunday Hubby and I had lunch (Easter Lamb – delish!) at a friend’s house. I was sat next to our friend Floz (not her real name). Floz is a part time conspiracy theorist, a full time intellectual and in the evenings works as a companion to 3 old ladies.
“Do you know the key to happiness in old age?” she asked me as I prepared my roast potatoes with butter, salt and a good dose of gravy.
“John kept referencing something called the ‘Downflooding Angle’. I looked up the term in the ‘Code of Federal Regulations’ – a multi-volume compilation of all US rules covering every conceivable industry from education, to energy, to agriculture, to shipping. The ‘Downflooding Angle’ refers to how far you’d have to tip a boat in calm conditions for water to penetrate the boat’s first nonweathertight opening… With a list like that, you couldn’t stop water from getting in. The vessel would never be able to right itself.”
Into the Raging Sea by Rachel Slade Subtitled: Thirty-three mariners, one megastore and The Sinking of the El Faro
Let me introduce you to ‘Maria’, ‘Irma’, ‘Harvey’, ‘Matthew’, ‘Joaquin’ and ‘Igor’ – all category 4 and 5 tropical hurricanes of the last decade. ‘Florence’ is visiting the west coast of America as we speak.
I love extreme weather … that is, when I’m in my bed cosy and warm.
Last night an early Autumn gale came up and blew eerie groans among the trees outside our window. Reading the newly-published Into the Raging Sea about hurricane ‘Joaquin’ and the sinking of the US cargo ship SS El Faro on 1st October 2015, was about as much reality as I needed. Continue reading Keeping my head above water
“If I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, it stands to reason that I’m going to get there. I’ve begun to think we sit far more than we’re supposed to.” He smiled. “Why else would we have feet?”
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
Time travel – the stuff of fantasies.
If I could go back 300 years, I’d stroll onto a beach, lay out my towel and strip down to my orange bikini. Wide-eyed people would stare, aghast. “I’ve come from 2018,” I’d ‘reassure’ them. “This is modest beachwear in 2018. In fact, on the Costa del Sol they’re not wearing anything!” Continue reading Une étape à la fois
“There was no doubt about it. Sister Evangelina’s action had been brilliant. A masterstroke. To say that a fart cleared the air may seem a contradiction in terms, but life is full of contradictions.”
Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950’s by Jennifer Worth
Hubby: Father Zachariah, I’m taking over my father’s business next year and I wonder if you have any advice for me?
Father Zachariah: There were once three monks. One monk rose early every morning and left the cottage to work in the fields. It was back-breaking work. He only returned home as darkness fell, but he provided all the food and income for the household. The second monk was very ill and spent all day in bed, praying. The third monk remained at the cottage to care for his brother. Which one has done a full day’s work, I ask you? Continue reading Monastic musings