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

Smile Therapy

“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

Next to The Golden Girls, one of the best old ladies of film – Ms Ellen Albertini Dow (1913–2015) of The Wedding Singer (1998)

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.

I leaned in for the holy grail of advice. Continue reading Smile Therapy

Keeping my head above water

“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

SS El FaroLet 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

Norway: Nyama, the King, the big boulder … and the VOH

“Adieu to disappointment and spleen. What are men to rocks and mountains?”

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

10km return climb to Kjeragbolten Sitting on my bottom, edging my foot onto the boulder and trying hard not to look down at the 3200ft abyss below, I had one of those out of body experiences.

On the one hand, a more sensible Nyama looked on from a safe distance wondering almost out loud whether anyone had ever fallen to their death on this spot. She also seriously doubted whether in fact the Nyama on the rock really did have it in her to stand on the Kjeragbolten. Continue reading Norway: Nyama, the King, the big boulder … and the VOH

A high five to my brother and R.E.S.P.E.C.T. to teachers all over the world!

“You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potion-making. As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don’t expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses. . . I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death — if you aren’t as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach.”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

school trip to New York
Me on Brooklyn Bridge on a school trip to New York in  2007

This last week the talk has been all about schools.

My brother flew from Zambia to London last week for an interview for a chemistry position at an independent school in the north of England.

He got the job!

There are so many ‘God-incidences’ linked to this interview, making it one of those unmistakably surreal, faith-building answers to prayer that some of us occasionally get to experience in this lifetime. What a privilege and a joy to be part of the ‘team’ to get this family of 5 to the UK – though they are not here yet and there are still quite a few hurdles ahead for them. Continue reading A high five to my brother and R.E.S.P.E.C.T. to teachers all over the world!

‘Why’ is a crooked letter and you can’t make it straight

“It is my duty to help them solve the mysteries in their lives. That is what I am called to do.”

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

Asking questionsThis morning I walked out of my front door to find that winter has officially arrived. My cardigan might just as well be a bikini for all the warmth it offers me. The cold that I have up to now been able to fend off by finding a sunny spot, putting on another layer or having a hot cuppa has finally found its way into my bones. When I get home later I will set up the heating.

No more denial. Continue reading ‘Why’ is a crooked letter and you can’t make it straight

Hopes, dreams, prayers and the people you meet on the way

“How many of us begin a new record with each day of our lives? To me it seems only yesterday that my whole life ended with my new hope, and that truly I began a new record. So it shall be until the Great Recorder sums me up and closes my ledger account with a balance to profit and loss.”

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Hopes and dreamsI have had many hopes and dreams in my short life, some of which have weighed heavily on me and have haunted me – hopes I’ve shelved, hopes I’ve not dared to voice, hopes I’ve boldly proclaimed – hopes upon hopes.

Hopes are flighty things, like butterflies, they are beautiful and colourful and hard to pin down. Sometimes they flit into our lives in surprising ways and then flit right out again. Sometimes we keep getting a glance at them, that ‘butterfly’ feeling rises up inside, and then it passes out of reach so that we wonder if it was even there at all.

Continue reading Hopes, dreams, prayers and the people you meet on the way