All change the Fat Controller says.

‘But what if I don’t want to?’  she asked him humbly.

‘You have no choice.’ was his tort reply.

‘Don’t want to.  Don’t like change.’ she said defiantly.

‘We all have to change.  Change is the only constant in the world.’ he sighed as he said it.

‘Hurummph!’ she hurummphed.

‘Don’t you hurummph me!  Change is good for you.’ He clicked his tongue and pushed out his chest.

It ain’t good for me.  Let me off this change train Mr. Fat Controller.’ 

She is standing on the empty platform.  It’s the change train or the no train.  The platform is chilly.

We all love change when it’s of our own making, and we have control, but times that change gets thrust in your way and it’s ominous, it’s nasty and unwelcome.  But, it happens. If only someone had told us to get ready for it, handed out the handbook or something and given us fair warning.  So what to do when change comes in the mantle of ‘it’s good for you’ , or ‘you will be fine’ when you know it is the last thing you ever imagined.

You stop the bus.  Halt the train, get off the airplane.  Just for a little while until you can take it all in. Rage against the unfairness of what ever change you never anticipated, and then, when you realise it is still coming, and going to happen, you take control of it and buy a new ticket. Maybe the destination has changed, the passengers are not the ones you thought were on your journey till the end, your luggage went missing, but in life, just like the platform, you can either stand there, morbidly still and freezing, frozen in time, or find another schedule and get on the fast train you name after yourself.

The Fat Controller in life is change.

The Fat Controller could be anyone, or anything. He is a bully or a friend. You decide.

So she asked the Fat Controller.

‘Can I have a minute to think about it?’  feeling a little lost and caught in the aftermath of the train she just missed.  The life train she was on left her behind.

‘Take all the time you need.’ Grinning just a little.  ‘There are plenty of trains coming along soon. You decide which one you want to get on.’

‘I don’t know.  What if I don’t like the one I get on?’ she whispered.

‘Then change at the next station.  Just travel light this time, no need for baggage where you are going.’

We Silver somethings have plenty of baggage and change is baggage enough.  The trick is to fitter through it, keep the best and pack the rest. Unclutter your life, uncluttered your mind if change is here – make space for the new journey.

Just make sure you have some pretty lingerie, a comfy sweater, a fresh notebook and an open heart.

Your story continues …

Image: thomastankengineandfriends

 

 

 

 

The Guilt and ‘grrr’ of beggars on the street in Paris.

No woman, man or child should ever have to beg for their lives, dignity or daily bread.  In an ideal world, which we all know is nothing like the stories we read as children.  

Watching people beg upsets me. Coming from Africa, I thought myself quite immune to this, right down to the many street children with cupped hands at the lights.  But no, children no older than four doing the job for mother who is breastfeeding by the side of the road tears me up.  Or the blind man being led to my window for change.  I am a wreck when this happens and like PMS, on an emotional day, it’s me handing over all my money and sobbing all the way home.  Why is life so unfair?

However, I have also been on the other side of hostility emanating from those I thought I was helping.  Those very same children would, at times, reject my offer of nourishment – it’s the money for glue they want.  I have been spat on, cursed and told, with laden sarcasm, to ‘have a nice day because you can.’  This is the ‘grrr’ part coming to the fore.  I must say that in London, most homeless/jobless people are selling ‘The Issue’ and always polite.

The reason for writing now is my trip to Paris was riddled with beggars on the street.  Why do I always forget this part? Perhaps it’s my eternal romance with the city that causes selective memory but when it’s cold like this in December, at Christmas, the beggars are on practically every corner.  Some wearing Christmas hats.  All ages, men and women, sitting on cardboard or mattresses, many with animals beside them.  I believe they are given more government funding if they have and maintain good care of their dogs and cats (I actually met a man with a white rabbit on the sidewalk yesterday – quite entrepreneurial as the children could seldom resist.)

I know this is a controversial subject.  Been going on for years.  I thought I was immune.  I am not.

Reading up on where these individuals come from, Google has endless articles, all with varying opinions regarding the beggars in Paris.  Be it the older women, kneeling on the sidewalk, the mute but persistent young girls who thrust clipboards under your nose (and once tried to whip my Starbucks from the table – you should have seen me move and tell her to f … off, much to the delight of my children – goes to show what instinct brings out in all of us.)  Then there are the ‘did you lose this gold ring’ scam and the unwashed babies who should be safe and warm.  The signs and plastic cups are now so far placed in the middle of the sidewalk, one poor American kicked it over by accident – you would have thought he had killed Bambi. Kicking the man when he’s down’s cup is kicking the man when he’s down.

There is help.  Charities work tirelessly to feed, cloth and home the homeless and the hungry.  It is not a permanent solution.

I cannot give money to everyone. I work hard for mine and if I want to buy my children Christmas presents, it is my right to do so without guilt.

I would rather buy a broom from a person who has risen and found a solution to poverty by selling their wares rather than simply holding out their hands.

Every year for Christmas, each child receives a present of charity in their names:  a meal for a homeless person, a school uniform for a child, a lifeline for a donkey, these are some charities we support.

A few months ago, when I was in South Africa, I watched a documentary of a man who climbs down into the sewers everyday, wading through the muck in hope of finding objects he can sell and raise money for his family.  You would be surprised what treasure lies within the merde – diamonds and rings, cutlery and mobile phones – and though he may be killing himself with the toxic fumes and ecoli exposure, the man is doing something positive in his life.  He is not begging. 

To those I walk by, I do feel so guilty that I cannot make all your lives better and warmer this winter.

I feel powerless to help you when there are so many.

I should never develop a disregard for human need and those less fortunate than myself.

But there are times, and forgive me, when I just feel the ‘grrr’ of demands expected from me when I am doing my best not to make demands upon others.

And I hope … that there are Samaritans out there for you.  Or Angels, angels would be better …

 

Images Bread.org and Daily mail

A few days in December in Paris.

Moliére – French playwright of comedies, in particular ‘The Misanthrope.’

Bon Nuit from Paris. For the past few years I have always tried to visit this city, this lady of lights in early December.  A special time, when the tourists thin, the Christmas scene unfurls and she appears, a little more naked, and more beautiful. The city of lovers, the city of lights, the city that has had a harsh time of late crazy people wanting to hurt, but for me, she remains the city of love.  And contrasts.

If you are planning to visit, be aware of these contrasts.  Global problems are in her midst.  This does not mean she does not remain enchanting, beguiling, beautiful.  This will not change.  From the time I arrive at Gard du Nord, I am in Paris romantic mode.  And I walk.  And I walk.  Yesterday I walked from the station to my hotel near the Luxembourg gardens – a considerable distance, but for me, Paris is the city of walking for true discovery. Stumble into streets, this is how you find the true nature of the city. I know the city well, but as I always advise my clients, be street smart.

The Winter Garden at the Palais-Royale

At the heart of it all, the greyness of winter mingles in water, in architecture, in cobbled streets.  Luxembourg gardens were almost desolate, yet this too, is a passion for me, to sit in the weak winter sun and tuck into the only baguette I allow myself on my trips.  You will spot me, the lady with the jambon and fromage baguette on a bench in the midst of statues and landscape. Like my customary beer I always have in Paris, at the end of the day, outside at a brasserie when the night comes early. I like traditions and Paris has many for me. Baguette, beer and hot chocolate at the Café de la Paix. 

 Cafe de la Paix

If you think you have ever experienced a true, hot lava of chocolate in its purist form, you would have been at the Café de la Paix. My mother brought me here, as her mother did her, and I my own children, so stopping for a moment in my day in this Belle Epoque delight is a family tradition. I am in the spirit of the ghosts of Marlene Dietrich, war heroes, politicians and writers and it  is humbling.

Another mandatory stop is Lindt chocolates near the Opera.  Christmas presents added.  Sadly, the multitude of homeless lined on the sidewalks are a tangible reminder of those who suffer in the winter. Who suffer. There are many here, often with sadder looking animals clinging to their masters.  This is our world now and in Paris I see them more than in London.  

Was meant to focus on my research of the churches I most love in Paris, but somehow got sidelined by the Christmas story.  For this I must wander on the Champs-Èlysées, Rue St. Honoré, along the Seine and of course, the big Department Stores of Printemps and Galleries Lafayette. 

Childlike wonder.  Mesmerising to this easily wonderlike child. 

At Christmas time, Paris is like this.  In the spring and summer I prefer to wander along the river and take in the blossoms around the Notre Dame and on the Isle St. Louis.  Meeting Monet at the Orangerie, going to Giverney and losing myself at the Pére LaChaise cemetery. 

So, this woman is travelling alone and in Paris. So easy to do.  I don’t tend to go out at night but before I retire to my hotel or apartment, always a little stop for that quiet beer and taking in the scene of those who call Paris home.  Young exuberant people who chat away in French, single women stopping by before going home, tourists with maps spread out on tables and practising my terrible French on sweet waiters who indulge my whim.

You can travel to Paris on your own.  Find the peace, indulge in her history, live her books, art, culture and daily life with great satisfaction. Paris is for lovers, lovers of romance, of life and of beauty.  

When I sit on that bench in the Jardin du Luxembourg with all that life has dealt me, eating that one allowed baguette, I know that I am in the Paris that embraces, the Hemingway that entices, the lights that flicker, the river of dreams and history, the city that allows for the Renaissance of all.

More than anything she is the city of love – and I am in love.

And I shall be back soon x

 

 

 

The Winter Garden – beauty in strength.

Nature looks dead in winter because her life is gathered into her heart… She calls her family together within her inmost home to prepare them for being scattered abroad upon the face of the earth. ~Hugh Macmillan, “Rejuvenescence,” The Ministry of Nature, 1871

It always seems strange that I spend half my life in the other half of my world so to speak.  Less than a month ago I was going into a Spring garden in South Africa, and today I sit, late Autumn, beside a fire in the Orangerie writing this to you.  The garden is dormant.  No blossoms and the smell of that intoxicating star jasmine, but a stark beauty is visible through the lead windows.

The Winter Garden is like no other time of the year.  Autumn has passed and all is stripped bare.  For me, it is a time of masculine qualities, like Michaelangelo’s ‘David’, naked, self-asserting, with a dynamic energy and confidence in self.  The bones of design and form are revealed in the Winter Garden. The Gardener’s blueprint exposed and some of these designs are more beautiful at this time of year.  Symmetry is revealed.  Textures of paths and statuary seems heightened.  If one is fortunate for snow and ice, fountains freeze, the earth turns white … lonely cries of a murder of crows screech in the silent sky.

  Trentham Gardens Staffordshire

Apart from the landscape design, what else do I love about a Winter garden?”

  • Love the winter flowers, like the Helleborus, in shades of white, cream or dusky hues of pinks and aubergine.

  • Cyclamen    – those pretty bonnets that brighten up the gloomiest of dark days.
  • Dogwood     – like fire sticks – Kew Gardens is a favourite to find them.
  • Heather        –  feathery, heath loving warriors of the wintery weather.
  • Quince          –  Red blossoms that seem more fitting for Spring but they cheer up no end.
  • Witch Hazel  –  Just love the name, all spells and wiry witchy stuff.

The grasses are a favourite, like mops of wet hair under dew and snow.  Really shaggy and yet in the summer, with full blown roses, the combination in true Oudolf style, is inspirational. I am a great fan of Piet Oudolf, have been for years and the winter landscapes have been ideas for my own gardens in the past.

  Wisley gardens

oudolf.com

The dramatic seasons in the Northern Hemisphere each have qualities akin to their own.  We all look forward to Spring and the blossoms, Summer and the halcyon days, the drama of Autumn and then … winter.  Winter in an urban city is not easy.  Winter in the garden, in nature is humbling and beautiful, to be enjoyed for the hard work done during the year.  A time of response.  Planning your garden to be enjoyed at all times of the year is the making of an excellent gardener.

My favourite for last.

The lost gardens of Heligan, Cornwall

A sleeping beauty.  Winter rest, landscaped wonder.

Gardens in the images above are part of the National Trust.  

  • Stow
  • Trentham Gardens
  • The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Wisley Gardens is part of the Royal Horticultural Society.

Hope you are inspired to create the perfect garden to be enjoyed all year round.

Cliveden – a Woodland walk with Kimbo: a very special dog …

 

 

‘And there in the midst of the woodland walk, perchance, a painting … with a view of it’s subject.’

Cliveden, another jewel in the crown that is the National Trust, lies about a hour from my home in Wimbledon.  Love these frosty morning when the driving is easy and the backroads through the English countryside reveal new places to discover –  fuelled with hot coffee I was revelling in the sight of horses on frost, red berry hedges and those quaint English signposts pointing in three different directions with names like Taplow and Slough. 

   My friend Kerry and I go way back to early motherhood days in South Africa.

In fact Kerry was the Neo-natal Sister holding my hand at the birth of my firstborn – so she has seen me at my worst, and at my best.  Now, both living in England, with such very different lives to those back then, it is always a privilege to meet up again, each choosing the next venue – somewhere we can share our love of nature and gardening.  Cliveden was my choice. 

 

Today the pile that is Cliveden is a luxury hotel, but once the home of Nancy Astor and infamous rendezvous of the cast in the Profumo scandal – these walls do talk. Access to the house is limited, but the grounds are open to the public, in true National Trust style, offering walks, parterres and lakes, all under the opulent eyes of fountains and featured statuary. 

 This dude was brave: all the other statues were covered up for the winter – and if I were a few centuries old, I’d also opt for a winter blanket to keep them old bones of marble and granite from fracturing in the freezing temperatures.

Kerry brought Kimbo along.  Kimbo. Best described as a ‘Township special’, Kimbo was discovered on the side of a highway, emaciated, feeble and a broken, teenage dogboy. The bond was set – mongrel meets mother. When Kerry moved to England, Kimbo came along.

Today I met Kimbo for the first time.  White around the snout, legs trembling a little with age, but the excitement of space had him gleeful. I had forgotten what it was like to be around an animal – the simplicity of running, bringing back sticks and other gifts, the constant checking that the one he loved above everything was close. So enamoured were we with our chatting and watching Kimbo frolic, we did the unmentionable – we had walked outside the bounds of doggy trail which is why we later discovered the reason for the disapproving looks by those akin to following the rules.

Tempered by knowledge and back to law abiding follow the guide information, the November chill did not deter the healthy walking, sitting outside in seven degrees where Kimbo was allowed to warm the hands on coffee cups. We met other dog lovers, in particular a woman who had blind dog – yes, completely blind but loved enough to cherish.  See, I am finding goodness all around on this walk around the woodland paths. Beauty of landscape, comfort of animals, culture of circumstance, friendship of importance.  A beautiful walk indeed.

Walking on a magnificent property in England, so grand, so majestic, so epic in proportion with a dear friend and a mongrel dog from a township in Merrivale – three immigrants, far from home but enriching each others lives was a magical time. I bought the Christmas cards, Kerry bought the scones and coffee and Kimbo brought the magic to the day.

Images: Visit England, National Trust.

 

 

 

 

F&M popping up at Somerset House for Christmas: blades, fondue and mince pies.

 

If only the reality of moi avec ice-skates were not the stuff of jarring thoughts, I too would be gliding across the ice like an extra from ‘Frozen.’

You have seen the ilk of me before.  Pained (fibreglass boots that never fit), terrified (look down), sadistic (the edge for holding on is all mine, all mine) and rigid attempters who vow every year we shall never do it again – but as you all know, the allure of slooching over ice with pretty lights and the allowed hot chocolate often produces the cruelest of momentary lapses.

Somerset House is one of my very favourite places along the Strand.  It’s grand.  It’s filled with Art and lovely restaurants.  Now, in the Christmas season, it has an ice -rink, slap in the middle of 17th Century architecture.  Place of history, tales of executions, renamed Denmark House and once a palace – as I said it is a grand place.  But I am getting carried away with the rest – and here to talk about – Fortnum and Mason is at Somerset House for the winter!

Returning to reside in the West Wing, it’s like having your own personal tour of the home shop in Piccadilly Street.  Hope the hoards that frequent the Piccadilly store don’t discover it.  Let’s just say, in my dream home, I want this wing – just this wing – adorned by F&M for Christmas.  Where Tea smells of hearth and candle echoes tea scent.  Where picnic hampers and tartan are the seasonal must have.  Like Prestat, and Laduree, the colours of F&M and in particular her trademark hue, is lifted to a new level in luxury packaging (and seriously, I am mostly buying for the pretty boxes and ribbons.) 

 

If I were to attempt the ice skating thinny again, it would be for the package of ‘Blades of Glory’ meets ‘Swiss fondue.’  Mulled wine.  Totter off the ice into the warmth of wooden floors, crackling fire, dipping into cheese and smelling that Christmas Spice – I get hot just thinking about it. The mince pie thing has been going on for a few weeks now so for me it will be the entire diving into 70’s style Swiss Chalet Fondue. Enough to tempt even the most hesitant.

 

 

London transforms herself in this season time – compensation I think for the early darkness, the multitude of sparkly, sparkly, lights and Christmas decorations are a fairyland to delight all ages.

Images: Fortnum and Mason

 

 

 

To be at peace today

Today I found myself beside a pool, in the summertime, in another part of the world. 

With my best friend, all of fifty seven years ago.  We were spoiling ourselves with a little ‘extra’ pampering, post weddings, life, relationships and all that goes on in our beautiful, messy, glorious worlds.

Having longed for a pool for so very long, and ok, the body is not what it used to be, I wanted for three things:

  • To remember what it felt like as a young girl to swim.  Really swim, no holds barred. No worrying about the hair, open eyes under water kind of swim.
  • To lie in the sunshine, wet from swimming, heat on water. No stress about sun factors, technology, how I looked but just to lie and feel the beating African sun on my body.
  • To be utterly care free.

Being care free is something I have not felt for a very long time.  Life happens.  

Surrounded by Jasmine scent, white iceberg roses, deep water in a place of prettiness, I could submerge myself in it all for the lazy Saturday afternoon.  Thinking about afternoons of childhood when parents took their naps and we entertained ourselves with diving, mermaid moves and reliving the ideal of ‘chilling’ for the sake of it.

And it was glorious.  And it brought me back to the self sans FOMO, sans the next day, the next year, the next everything. 

A peaceful afternoon is a prolific experience.  A little burnt, cool, a little must get the body into shape, cool, the water experience, uber cool x

Bestie and moi got much planning achieved – like in the old days.

 

Embracing Autumn. Cosy up.

 

I wonder what Guy Fawkes would think of all this fuss about him today?  

Autumn time is a favourite of mine.  Could it be because I have an October birthday, or the intensity of the colour palette she presents to us?  Jewel colour time.  Auburns, russets, burgundy. Claret, mushroom and mink.  Nature is clear: orange, red and brown are grand at this time of year.  Poetry is grand with the Autumn mists and all that. 

In the midst of Autumn mist.

Nature may be falling asleep for awhile.  Tattered landscapes and musty earth conjures up thoughts of long walks and hot soup.  Bracing outdoor moments with slow indoor chilling.  If you don’t have a fireplace, not to worry, hot toast and lashing of butter have the same effect. Hot chocolate and dark red wine are called for too.

 

Think of Autumn decor in your home. Bring out the throws, the accent cushions, small accessories to warm your home.  Not much, but a change of season within your home will reflect the seasonal mood. Bring out the favourite casserole pot for hearty stews, baked apples – think thick and spicy.  Think comfort food. Mash and veggies.  Think of this.

 Nigel Slater’s Raspberry and Apple pastries.

Coat comfort.  Forget the standard black, go for a camel tone.  Be bold with red, claret and purple. Invest in statement boots, chunky scarves and textured hats and berets.  Be bold with colour at this time.

 Love this look. Strong Autumn colours, sweeping coat, funky boots.

  

Take care of yourself.  You may indulge in a little more comfort food, but this is also the time to engage in comfort pampering of the body.  Take long baths with scented oils, apply thick layers of moisturising cream whilst still wet for greater effect and nothing like a hydrating face mask when no-one is looking.  Your hair needs extra care so indulge in a hair mask.  The same applies to your hands and feet which tend to get very dry at this time.  Go natural or go bold with Autumn inspired nail polish to match that strong fashion statement you want. Sleep more, wake slowly and nestle a little longer.

  

One of Harper’s Bazaar choice colours for Autumn.

Halloween may be over, but the colour theme transcends through Autumn.

Autumn bless her, can be seen as nature taking care to prepare for a renaissance.  She will leave the dance in a blaze of colour – you should do the same.

Images: Country living. Pinterest. Harper’s Bazaar. The Guardian

 

 

 

 

Let’s talk about the ‘Invisibility Syndrome.’

 

 

Times we feel that is all we do.  Exist. But it’s not true.  No matter how ‘invisible’ you feel – you aren’t.  You are unique and you are present.

Why is it that so many women in this Silver Street part of our lives, feel that dejected feeling of being ‘invisible? Just the other day, chatting to a beautiful and vivacious women of a certain age, she said:

‘I just feel, well, invisible right now.’ She is not alone.

It is a tricky time, this time, and many find ourselves at odds with the world.  Children have flown, parents have passed, relationships have changed. A lack of purpose for nurturing and the role we played, pretty well I think, is vacant.  No more mummy, daughter, spouse or whatever required. So what next?

It is a common dilemma amongst us fifty something Silver Streeters.  For those who continue to have positive careers, the void is somewhat lessened, but what if you were a stay at home mom for example?  Or had a part time job whilst building up the other one’s career? What if you were the eternal care-giver and that is no longer needed? What happens now?  Are you too old to begin a business, a new career path, who will hire you, how to you prove your skills – make use of all this experience you have and want to share – where to you begin again to being for the first time? What to do when you feel so low, so invisible at this stage of your life?

  • Give yourself time to just sit and sit, and sit and think.  Times have changed and things have happened.  It is ok to grieve or miss the life you had. To feel vulnerable, even frightened.  Baby steps time. 
  • Take a deep breath and tell yourself you are ok.  You do matter.  You have a lifetime of experience which you can turn into something in an entirely different direction, even if you can’t see that right now.
  • You are valued.  Even if they don’t show it, those you nurtured do appreciate you and everything you mean to them. Recognise that.
  • Have you let yourself go in more ways than one?  Take stock of your appearance, your attitude, your surroundings. You will feel better if you look better, make your environment prettier, sort the world out of the unnecessary, the hanging on stuff and clear the decks so to speak.
  • Begin with your health.  You are the only one responsible for your well being. Exercise and the right diet will transform your inner being, your outer being and charge your mind.
  • Wine is ok.  It is our go to friend if need be, in moderation. Rather than anti-depressants and loads of sleeping pills. Eating too much is not ok.  It is going to bring you down.
  • Stop being an addict to anything.
  • Start a gratitude diary. List the things you are grateful for and act on the small stuff.  Be grateful for something you do everyday.
  • And then, body right, mind right, situation right …
  • Plan.  You can. Recognise that feeling ‘invisible’ to others does not mean being ‘invisible’ to yourself.  You have history, gifts, experience and you are now ready to fly …

 

Step one.  Learning to enjoy what you do and saying no to things you think you should do, but does not make you happy.

You have the strength to start a new business, a new venture and live the life you want to. It may not be the CEO or becoming a neurosurgeon but you have passions right, act on them and don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t possible.  It is. Look for inspiration from other women who have done it, against the odds, and surround yourself with friends and inspiring women who will support you.

Most important.  Realise you have decades still to live and only you can make it happen for the better.  Only you have the power to believe you can and act upon it.  Why sit and wait for the world to pity you? Change it. Be it charity work, painting, a small home business, going back to work.  Be it studying for something you love, open your garden to the public or write your life story … just do it!

The invisibility cloak is yours to use when you wish. Don’t make it your favourite fashion item.

And, you are not invisible.  I see you … and I love what I see.

Images Pintrest

 

 

Plan for Joy.

 

Luxury is not measured by material possessions, but by love and pure joy.  These two things elevate life from the mundane to the luxurious.’

The past weekend I found myself in one of the most beautiful settings in the world.  The haven that is Franschoek: the occasion, a wedding that will live in my memory forever.  There are three reasons of this:

  • South Africa offers some of the most beautiful wedding venues in the world.  Nature provides the backdrop, be it in the bush, in the vineyards, on the beach … each spectacular, unique. I was reminded of this.  This is why I love doing events and weddings here.
  • The wedding was one long awaited.  Two souls who have been together for a long time,  the bride converting to Judaism to prove her love, a gesture so great, the occasion was sweeter for it.
  • A reunion of lifelong friends.  Literally lifelong as I am part of a group of exceptional women who have stayed friends since birth. Fifty odd years of commitment and joy to each other.  And we celebrated this.  We have led extraordinary lives, times uneasy, times fraught with the living of it, but never without each other’s undying support. I count myself blessed to have a sisterhood unlike any other.

As the sun clipped the top of the Helderberg mountains, turning the landscape a romantic hue of pink, love and joy were tangible for all to succumb to and revel in. We cried in our love for the couple, Tamsin and Jarryd, tears of joy as we witnessed their devotion, depth of  religion, traditions, uninhibited joy. 

Which reminded me:  we have to plan for joy.  

In the daily grind, we plod, through the routines, the schedules, the diary filled with what to do.  We become blasé to that feeling of giddiness, of exultation, of romance in our lives.  Guilty on that score when things seems dull and ugly.  So we must make the effort, we must plan for joy.  In the smallest of occasions, in the grandest of celebration, we must plan to make that moment, as it was for me, a day to remember. The event planning, the months of work, will be worth it, no matter how small the celebration, make it unforgettable and purposeful. Fill your life with flowers, with small gifts for others, put thought into making others happy.  Plan for joy.

 

Then came the interesting comment. ‘You are very brave to attend this wedding on your own.’

I must admit, since I became ‘on my own’, I have avoided weddings and special occasions, for this very reason.  My new, single status seemed ‘without the plus one’ and we know how that feels.  I pondered for awhile and then I said:

I still find myself in that luxurious state of love and unending romance. I find myself exactly where I want to be.’

Let’s just say, I planned for joy, and I found it.

Note to self.  Sometimes you have to make a plan to find joy, it needs some commitment but the rewards are unending.

Are you planning for joy?

PS whilst I was indulging in romance, love and joy in South Africa, my children were celebrating Halloween in London – with planned joy. Divine! Nothing like an occasion to celebrate life xxx

 

Images: Chatz wedding, Tasha Seccombe, Fleur le Cordeur

#boschendal #fleur le corder #okasie #franschoek #southafrica #emilysiannecox