“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.
“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
“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
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!
“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
This 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.
“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
I 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.
“Cords of saliva would collect on her lips; she would draw them in, then open her mouth again. Her mouth seemed to have a private existence of its own. It worked separate and apart from the rest of her, out and in, like a clam hole at low tide. Occasionally it would say, “Pt,” like some viscous substance coming to a boil.”
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Tuesday’s 1st September inspiration: a beautiful description from a novel which blew me away with its beauty at the time of reading it as a teenager, and still does. Some of my readers will know that part of the reason I write a weekly blog (occasionally more frequently) is because I want to live my life with purpose, on purpose, reflecting on life’s ups and downs and to be accountable. A little Birdie, my Hubby, my writer sister and my faith inspired me to start.
The other reason is because they say that if you want to call yourself a writer you need to write every day. Nyamazela.com accounts for 1 or 2 days a week. Continue reading 1st September
“A little note about grammar. I know it and I love it, but I haven’t always followed it in this book. I start sentences with ands and buts. I end sentences with prepositions. I use the plural they in contexts that require the singular he or she. I’ve done this for informality and immediacy, and I hope the sticklers will forgive me.”
Mindset: How you can fulfil your potential by Dr Carol S Dweck
Still wondering at and unpacking the massive, life-changing concept of Dweck’s Mindset, I’ve decided to tackle one of my serious weaknesses – procrastination and busyness.
The ‘growth mindset’ approach says that:
1. I don’t have to stay the way I am (which in fact echoes beautifully with my theology as well).
2. I can improve, through hard work and practise, in an area that I value.
3. I have no idea what my potential (ceiling) really is. Continue reading Working freelance from home
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
I started writing this post on Monday. It began with:
“Devastated. Test taken. Test failed.”
I walked away from that draft to do something too unimportant to mention and when I came back to it this morning, I find myself removed from the lines I’d written. It’s a strange anachronism to be confronted with my very own ‘ghost of Christmas past’ – ‘Nyamazela yesterday’ was ready to give up, ‘Nyamazela today’ has picked herself up again. There is no rhyme or reason to this. Continue reading Life’s little contradictions