Borough Market – would I have made a suitable shrimp girl?

 

Interior of Borough Market by Mike Bernard

 

‘Do you know the Muffin Man, the muffin man, the muffin man …  This one lived on Drury Lane, but the song keeps popping into my head when I go to Borough Market.  I am transported back to the days of street sellers, fish mongers, swishing skirts and soot soaked caps – I am not of the present but tripping through the past when I to Borough Market.

Perhaps the cockles and whelks and jellied eels have something to do with it.  Since a fairy friend introduced me to Emma of Coutours, I am learning more about Borough Market.  More about London.  My first tour, ‘The History of Street Food’ had me spilling stories of pineapples, pies and all sorts of doings and goings on in this famous spot that is alive with food and fantasy. I am falling in love all over again.

For years, just admiring the mushrooms was good enough for me.  I love the way they look, cuties all.  Avoided the cheese up close experience: seriously, you have to love cheese to volunteer for the olfactory overture.  As for the seafood – let’s just say a non fish eater was, occasionally, very disturbed by the smell and ghastly, dead eyes staring up at me.  Dead rabbits, dead pheasants … I mean, I liked going there but being a little greenling foodling, happy to amble and hit Waitrose on the way home.

Oh my Word!

The transformation in a short few years.  This growing up, meat, rice and potatoes girl is on a fluffy cloud of food adoration. London does that to you, opens your mind and your soul to the markets of magic in food.  Seasonal Autumn now, risottos in pans, as big as my flat, lure me closer.  I am studying the detail of artichokes, tripping on artisanal caffeine and shhhh, those toasted cheese sarmies are my nemesis. 

Back to yore of shouting sellers, the noise, cacophony of baskets, bales, potatoes and venison.  Sweet cherries licked to dispel the soot. Brine and beer and playwrights and not spoken of.  I am a Londoner now – fully immersed in lore and stories and in these markets, in Borough Market, I think of the Oyster men and the shrimp girls and am grateful to them, and being here to discover more and more each day.

Would I have made a suitable shrimp girl? For the non sea sort, I sort of think I would.  I could sell them, if not eat them. But I think I understand the tale of making the most of what life gives us, how far produce goes from field to fork – the dedication of self to support. 

In Borough, every time, I am happy to be a tourist, a local, a learner. And eater of nearly all now.

In the learning, I am loving the smelliest cheese, the squishiest urchin, the bread, the cured meat, the plums and plaice.  And in love with the idea that I am treading where so many have done before – the ghosts are there, and they are friendly ones.

To the pub she says … to the story.

‘Do you know the muffin man … the muffin man, the muffin man …’ Sort of think I do.

Image: Mike Bernard.

 

You were not born to give up easy …

Do you ever think of yourself as a heroine?  Times maybe, often not.  Life just shatters the spell I guess … and we fall and fail and then the music comes again.

I know you dance in the kitchen when no-one is watching.  When the playlist pops up and the rhythm takes hold.  Guess what, that thing about dancing like no-one is watching works sometimes.  We have the moves, do the thing and all of sudden the mountain seems doable don’t it?

So it’s Saturday night and yes, I am with pj’s, face mask and music. Nothing like the days of heading for the night out, but the night in can be just as amazing!  Week done, hard work and who wants to go out to prove ourselves right?  We do our little jig on the quiet, with pleasure and take stock of where we are right now. Great place to be, empowering sometimes, on our own … taking stock of our worth.

Did something different today.  Ascended the heights of a building I don’t like too much, going up many floors I didn’t feel for – its not the height thing, but the thought of too many movies growing up that had Towering Inferno’s and such.  Not a good thought and the Sponge Bob building never on my scale of lovely places in the city. But I did it. I went sky high for a friend, and stood there, gazing at the skyline and thought, another coup. 

We spend so much time climbing don’t we?  We build lives, careers, family dreams and past ‘I wish I could have done this and that’ and we get there, or we don’t, and then we come crashing down at times. Those down times stick … we forget the highs and mud stick is what we become when it’s hard. It is a lonely place.  At times.  At our age, hard is not the word for it. Lost maybe?

Still, I climbed and saw and stood there and then it got me thinking. 

Heroines fly.  They soar and don the cape and bust the world.

Frigging make it happen, despite the odds.

Despite the curve balls, the twists and unforeseen villains who lurk in the shadows.  At the highest point today, rather nervous and timid in the scope of all that was all around me, my life seemed, well small.  Maybe even for a moment, insignificant.  And then it dawned on me – I was part of that history that lay below, my story did count and will if I make take the option to make it.  When you stand so high, so very high, and everything seems so small below you,  your problems do to.

Countless individuals never got to go high.  But you are different.  We have options some never did. Centuries of women just survived and now you may feel like them, but I stood there and I realised … in this time, at this moment, we do not give up easy … we adapt.

Look at the situation and if it’s not so good – go with it.  It will make you grow. There was a time I thought, I cannot go on, and I did, because I had the choice in this modern age to do so.  Everyone struggles, in the past, and now.  But unlike those in the past, we are more able to make the change.  And soar again … believe me, soar again.

On my little balcony, past office of ‘where the hell am I going to go’ and ‘life sucks’, it is now my office of ‘ you were not born to give up easy’. You can make a difference, don the cape and be a superwoman if you want to.

I conquered the fear of height today.  After that, the view was awesome and I realised, I belonged in that view.

Just saying.  To the wonderful woman who wrote saying it seems impossible, I am telling you, dancing in the kitchen, it is. You were never born to give up easy … you were born to make a difference, and most of all, to be the legend you are are.

Go dance in the kitchen. Make your own playlist and dance like EVERYONE is watching! You are worth every move …

Image: Living loving hobart

 

Its not always about us. We have a job to do …

‘Here I am, trying to find my feet and totally forgot those following in my footsteps.’

Struggling is an egocentric occupation.  We are immersed in our own, each grappling with issues at this age that may have been the broken winged dove and though futile at times, let’s just say we have the experience to make a difference from here on, forward.  And we do…

The past few days, oh Lord, help me but I have had this Wilson Phillips song beating a path through my brain – you know the one ‘Hold on’, the catchy, ‘Bridesmaids’ theme – hold on, boom, boom and things’ll go your way. And of course, let’s be honest, the line really pounding away is … You’ve got no one to blame for your unhappiness
You got yourself into your own mess … ‘  mmm … really … what gives … mmm.  And we keep going upsticks with some truth and hopefully some solutions.

But, and but is all important here … it is not always about us.  Never before has the younger generation been so stressed, so unable to deal with sadness and global scrutiny as before.  I live in a city with so many young, talented and gifted young people … unable to cope with life.  With the challenges of proving themselves, making their mark, earning well and being happy … and failing on all counts for the stakes now, are so much higher than I remember.

“This is a generation rapidly losing faith in their ability to achieve their goals in life, who are increasingly wary of and disillusioned with the jobs market and at risk of leaving a wealth of untapped potential in their wake’ Telegraph April 2018.

The pressure is immense.  Flashback here to moi, fifties born boomer and that final matric day.  Mother says … ‘darling would you like to go to University?  Get something useful behind you before you marry and have a family of your own?’ Oh yes, for sure.  Of course, what to do with the time in between, a nice job, money for rent, petrol and drinks with friends.  Seems good, think I will study Drama, or Humanities, or Law and then all will be sorted.

Did I do the same with my children?  No. It was, study child, be the best you can be, create your own business, be successful, get that pension in place and when you are a millionaire, maybe then you can buy the restaurant/guest house/ villa in France and so on.  It was the way it was and not apologising for it, but in the stopping and thinking, I believe our children, the Millennials did exactly that – they worked hard, hectic school hours, studying, extra curriculums and for some university … and now our super achievers are in crises. The world is levelling and the dream is crumbling.  The need to achieve and be … be perfect at everything is a burden cloak suffocating rather than letting them fly.

Let’s face it – no-one expected us to be perfect by thirty. A millionaire with a trust fund and five figure salary, with future children in the rights schools, a mortgage paid off at fifty and a seventeen hour work day. How did this happen?  Did we take our own failure and insecurities at this age to project it all on our children?  Did we find ourselves incomplete and expect them to be so before they turned forty?  Do we want our incomplete dreams to be their complete ones?  We lived in small enclosures of life, they live with global comparisons – and happiness comes second to success it seems, and in that we look behind to find sad young people, who strive, and fail and feel that in the failing, they are half of what they should be.

They were watching us.  They still are.  They thought us perfect and when the dream shattered and mothers, fathers and others stumbled in the path, they were there.  Mine, well, they were the catchers of mom, the consolers of hurt and carers, for which I will be forever grateful and so this is what I am saying …

Maybe it was good that we, at this age, get lost.  The picture perfect person has cracks too.  Maybe it is good that they know that we are human.  For maybe, in the human mess that is us at times, we also teach them that it’s ok to just be … well human.  That it is not all about achieving but living .. with good times and bad times and in the end, good times again.  That by falling, and standing up again, we are showing them that it is fine to be fallible, weak and lost at times.  Not all perfect all the time.  Maybe life is not about the success, but the road to saying, even we, with all our experience and knowledge, still have a lot to learn.

I don’t want to live in a world where young people are stressed and afraid.

Where the job is everything and success is a stamp that means nothing.

Thinking now… maybe the best lesson I can teach my children, and those young, beautiful young and stressed people, is that life gives us highs, and abject lows, and then the highs come again, not with success, with money or status, but with love as the thread that goes through it all.  Love your job, love your place, if you want more, let it be because you love it, go further because you love it and when you finally, pause, remember that all the little things you do, the people, the hobbies, the home, the garden and the small moments are those you can love.  Fail, yes, falter, yes, we did too … and if we can inspire you, let it be because we were human, young and still young at heart.  We need to inspire our followers at our feet that the ground will be sandy, rocky, steep at times … but always worth it.

If I can inspire these stressed, striving and beautiful young people through my example, it is to not be ashamed of my story, but proud that in my small way, love got me up from the floor, out of the shadows, stepping behind the wings and when it all comes to the light … I loved growing, more than being the best, but being the best one can be. Holding on is great when you realise it.

We have a job to do.  Knowing we are being watched, let’s inspire the younger ones to know that life may bring baskets of lemons, but lemons are the most beautiful fruit in the orchard.

Image: Pintrest.

The Autumn soul.

For someone who is never at home, lacing her life between jobs, commutes and contacts, today was a gift.  A nothing day, and an everything day.  A day, now darkening beneath the first of the true grey days, that I have not spoken a word to anyone.

The beginning of Autumn.  Light hides now, the sun weak and rain draws patterns on glass. On waking, with a day to myself, the urge to turn into the duvet was tempting, but for me, the first, true Autumn day, is the soul day.  For cleaning of life, of space and spirit.  Inward time.

Preparing for the winter, and myself to get through it.  Most know I take little responsibility for my misery dans the London Winter, Lord knows that I struggle with it still – but for the first time, I choose to stay this year.  Much has happened with little choice of my own, so I am sort of surprising myself on this one, and may I take the opportunity now, to yet be held unaccountable when the grey monotone smallness of post Christmas slithers beneath my heart. 

I do love Autumn though.  Always have, its my birthday season, as nature sheds her clothes and stands naked, without fear, as one does when the lover loves regardless and still finds the beauty.  Land becomes carpets of jewels, the fox blends and rosé turns to red. To bed and fire and books and stories of closeness – and family.  Of memories and the world can wait a little – the pace can slow a little – the questions are left unanswered and the messiness of life matters not – for in Autumn I refrain from questions and trying to prove.  Resolve to linger a little longer, love a little deeper and bring the threads home.

In Autumn I still have the faith that though things have changed, beauty remains.  In Winter I grieve for the things that have changed.  Autumn is soft, voluptuous, rounded with berries, scented with earth and passion.  Winter is a grave yard of buried hope. Unless it snows, unless it’s Christmas, unless love still lives there.  Autumn is falling, yet landing softly.  

The Autumn soul is a kind one.  And I hope above all, I can still be that.  So, in this quiet day of preparing for Autumn, the things of others are packed to take out another day, to reminisce about with care and affection.  The candles are lit, the wine is poured, the lack of hearth is not yet lamented but the soul is calm.

‘Seasons of mist and mellow fruitfulness …’  Keats

Mellow we shall be.  Mellow and still moved by the magic that lingers.

Autumn brings the heart to a quiet mindfulness.  And it remains the same.

Painting by Madison de Villiers

Image: Wow247

 

Working harder than I ever had before, and others are thinking of retirement at this stage … what gives?

If I must start somewhere, right here and now is the best place imaginable.   

Richelle. E. Goodrich

Tell you what gives.  I just added to the CV list. Right now I can claim to have at least four different jobs. That’s what gives.  And more so … I’m telling you it’s possible.

To the little bit of backtracking.  Life did not work out the way I planned. But perhaps … in hindsight … ah well, it didn’t and is that bad thing, a good thing or just a life happens thing?  I don’t regret it, am sorry it changed, wish it better and making it so.

Finding myself, at this Silver Street stage, on my own and beginning again, and in this transformation, getting out there again, working harder than I ever thought I would have to, hustling and loving it/hating it and just doing it. A year or so ago, I was almost homeless, aloneness, desperate and wallowing. Unable to see the future or even make the first move in dealing with it.  And then I thought, it really is up to me, which for someone who had, well, almost it all .. was a very scary situation to be in.  I had a sort of career which I still love but it was always a hobby and not a full time earning situation.  Worked from home, and those walls began to close, tight and claustrophobic at times. I needed to engage, outside of the walls.

Then something interesting happened.

I took a chance.

Seeing an ad in the window of a local coffee shop, I offered my services.  At first they thought I was enquiring for someone else … no … me, and of course the job was open so they had to take the chance on me, and me on becoming a, do they still call it a waitress, or waitron, not sure, but I had committed to a job in a cafe.  The first few months was me, at this age, trying to keep up.  Broken body, tired feet, forgetting orders, but what I did have was experience in engaging.  Being more than just behind the counter, but chatting, remembering tastes, names and conversations.  So what if I messed up the order, we at this age, well, we just say sorry and how is your new puppy? A year and half later, this job, though menial to some has given me a new community and I welcome each morning I enter to fresh croissants and fabulous coffee. Love it, despite the odd ‘what is this poor old woman doing working in a coffee shop? sort of staring. I have found another family, work hard and earn little but gain much.

The job gave me my self confidence back from a broken road.

The people I meet have seen more in me than just the apron.

I am a master of the latte.

I find customers have become friends.

It’s a very long way from my past life but my children are proud of me.

So, I was now travel consultant, event planner and latte thrower.

Last week, I added to my CV once again.  Contacted by a friend, who had a client who was seeking just the right person to join her company.  Thought of me, a lovely meeting and I am now a tour guide in London. Fits in perfectly with the cafe, the early morning and late evening at home travel business and best of all, gives me flexibility in my working life to enhance my personal life.  Having so many different jobs, is possible. I love the different schedules, the challenges they bring, the people I meet and the diary that is mine.  Working harder than ever before … at this age!  When others are thinking of retirement.  Interesting not so? Am willing to put in the hours, do the research, compartmentalise each job and give each true dedication.

How long will it last?  Who knows.  The body is not what it used to be, the future is still vague to say the least, but what I am trying to say is … if you are at that sticky point, that Oh my, I don’t know what is to become of me, I have no confidence or doubt my ability to grow … this random fifty year old something is getting up and out there.

And you can too.  The job may not be what you thought you would do, it may not be the life you had, or wished you still have, but if the lemons came at you big time, at any stage of your life, starting small, doing the small stuff and making your days busy, filled and purposeful, you will find a new kind of empowerment. Just enough to get you planning again, out there with people again, knowing you worked harder than you ever have before and you are doing it for yourself this time.

Pride.  Interesting thought. In the mistakes, the losses, the loving and the losing, it’s not about pride … it’s about working hard to get that back.  The you back. And it is possible. That’s when pride comes … when you take the fall and stand up again, in any way you can.

We all struggle, at any age. This one, just a little more taxing.

Gosh, starting again at this age is tough, but it is possible. Believe me.

Images Pintrest, Greenorc

 

Dance like everyone is watching you …

‘Tripped and fell, stood up again … and I am dancing still.’

Consider myself a dancer.  In the early years, nothing greater than the new pair of ballet shoes, and waiting in the wings for the day I could finally graduate to the beloved tutu. Oh, to be given a tutu, that stiff, gorgeous bit of Swan Lake. Most of the time, being the tallest in the class, I was rather the sailor, or the tree, or the mountain top, but the tutu escaped me until my mother had one made, just because she loved me, and I have the picture to prove it.  Years of ballet classes in the hope of point shoes … oh the hope, and when I finally got them, black satin I wanted, just to be different, the ankles said no – not a chance you were going to be on point, forever.  Ugh.

Shattered dreams.  Giselle was still out there, but rather than give up, I changed to contemporary dance.  The satin, black, beautiful point shoes are still in a box somewhere.  The changing led to an Honours degree in dance, and my love for Martha Graham, for Isadora Duncan – doyennes of the different dance. Danced until they dropped, the one getting old but still dancing, the other, killed by a gorgeous scarf trapped in the wheels of a car. Ah, the drama was my intoxication.  And their differentness became my life dance.

I learnt that the dance need not be the traditional.  It may not be the classical, the formal, the stylised acceptance – it was the free form of dancing, of moving to music, to rhythm and even now, at this age, when the music comes, the dancing comes. Not on a stage, but on the stage that is my life, in the any place where dance makes me happy.

But it is more than that.  Dancing is a metaphor.  The way you live your life.  Times we feel awkward and exposed, incapable, clumsy.  We fall and trip and crash to the ground. Life does that.  But as we lie there, there is always the beginnings of the tapping, the notes that begin to play and it ignites us to doing again, to get up again, and move again.  How we move, matters not, we move, and we shimmy, and we shake, and then we rise above and lose ourselves, find ourselves and rather than dance like no-one is watching, we dance like we were born to do it. On the open stage of life. Our own style.

The perfect dance, like a play, like true theatre, always has the scene of … well, all fall down. It’s a classic. The betrayal, the broken heart, the what do I do now moment.  The suspended pause. Will we fail? Will we rise? Will we get up again … of course we will! Life dance always builds to the great ending and we do the same, only we do not wait in the wings, or stay in the chorus of our own lives, we adapt, we find the scarf in the derelict box, the talisman and change our perspective. And we dance, in the open, unafraid, for everyone to see.

As we are this dancer of our lives, when we get dropped by the lead or fall back into the shadows for a while, we are also being watched – we baby boomers are exposed in our glory, or defeat, by others, younger than us.  Times it is not a pretty sight to see the principal loose her footing, but the important thing, when things go wrong, is to show those who follow us, that the dance is not yet over.  We do fall, we do succumb to doubt and awful disappointments and lie there for a while.  But we do get up again, and we can show that change may be required but the dance will go on.

And it does.  Without the perfect leg rise, the perfect pirouette or the handsome catcher who was absent as we crashed.  For still, there is the grand jeté, the leap of faith … the can can.

When we dance, as if everyone is watching, we dance in truth. We spin, we turn, we stumble at times and we get up to dance again. Technique in dance, and life, may have escaped us, but style, oh yes, style will be the climax of the dance.  We will fall, and we may just fly, trying and dancing is all.

Live with your own sense of style, and you are dancing in the light.

Images: google, motivationalreads,pintrest

Culling the killing kind.

It is a strange thing.  For those of you going through a tough time, particularly at this stage of our lives, kindness is sometimes all we ask.  Just for others to be kind.

Read the other day, that true grief does not want platitudes, or clichés of how time will heal, how sunny dispositions are all – we have mastered the art of sunny disposition, but what one truly wants is acknowledgment of the pain one is going through at this time, and yes, time will heal, but time related to your own situation, at your own pace.

So two interesting things happened of late.  The first was a woman who, how can I say it, assumed and conducted a hate campaign against myself, and friends with no knowledge of the situation, or care that she may have deeply hurt innocent people.  Even got her daughter involved, whom none of us had ever met, to throw the proverbial acid in faces of individuals who only loved, and they in turn, accepted no blame.  Until recently.  After four years, that is how long it was, a flood of emails arrived, asking for forgiveness.  Mmmm … may I add, without any true acknowledgement of what was done.

As you know, I hate those who ghost.  And insidious practice. To act as if  someone never existed and it happens so often nowadays.  What is wrong with these people, I ask.  If someone has hurt you, tell them, talk, get through it and move on, but to ghost them forever … just bad manners and small.

In this instance however, I decided not to reply. Oh, I had volumes to say, but with this person, nothing I would have said would have resonated and been a change for the good. Nothing would have helped and so I decided not to respond. It was time to cull the little I knew of her, and her daughter, though the words sting still, but to move on, knowing they know what they did to people I love. I have no words for hatred.

The same goes for those who are ‘friends’ on Facebook. Many from way back, who now, know little or care to assume things about us.  Friends for sure, over a distance, but in truth little knowledge of the truth. It’s funny, when I go on Facebook (will I ever learn but still do so for many of my friends live far away and it is the only medium of connection at times) some comments hurt,  it really hurts – and that hurt whips one back to difficult times.  Times, as I said earlier, takes a long time to heal from, to move on from, so why would I want to put myself in that position of seeing it on such a beautiful evening?

Bless them, for they know not what they do.  And I do bless them, and wish them well.  But for those of us who are beginning again, trying to make sense of being, well, older and sorting out our worlds, they cannot be part of it. If they mean well, or not.  They have not bothered to be kind. I only want kind people around me, don’t you?

It pains me, it really does, to have to go and ‘unfriend’ people I have known for years – we share a history, a bond, but they are not in the present of the struggle to regain life, to build a new home, new relationships, new jobs, new connections, new environments and new faith in ourselves.

Oh, hello Fox.  Yup, Fox is roaming in the garden below.  More of a friend sometimes I think.

So what am I saying?  Apart from the daily struggle, and joy for there is much of that, I am finding, against my everything, that I need to cull the killing kind who constantly remind me of the pain of the past few years. If we are to make a life, post divorce, struggling with illness, post parents passing, post losing community and self confidence, we need to sometimes say … just give me a break.  But that does not mean we will cut them forever – just for now when the stakes are high and the doing is important.  They will always be a tap away from friends again .. and I hope they know that for we never give up on others, do we?  We just sort of put them in the holding stack until they realise that sometimes, saying nothing is better than saying something that will hurt.

Culling time for the killing kind, but kindness will out.  For those of us who feel misunderstood, dealing with our own dilemmas and getting there … we hope you will come back to the journey of being our friends, on Facebook, but more importantly, in life.  We are there for you, when you realise it.

We are happy with our lives, but times the struggle is real, and we don’t need reminding of it.

And I did it.  Sorry, but I had to ghost (and hated doing it) but sometimes we need to sort our lives out, hoping some will understand … and when you do, we will be there for you.

Images: Jessica Rose Williams and Pintrest

Gone too soon: Michael Jackson on your 60th birthday.

I grew up with Micheal Jackson. I remember with such clarity the day he died.  Was in Paris in 2009, beginning a lovely trip through the continent and heard the news, and something in me died too that day.

Not sure what it was, but it haunted me. Despite the tabloids and drama that became his life, I suddenly felt bereft that some of the music that measured my life here on earth, was going to be silent.  Another case of a sad death in my time. From the Jackson Five, the ‘Puppy love’ to ‘Thriller’ it was the background to, well me. The loss seemed a wasted life of another icon at the time.

Tend to measure my life in music.  Songs that take me back, take me high, strutting to, songs to be sad to.  The personification of the 70″s, 80’s and so on.  From the LP days to the streaming that is now, I cannot imagine my life without music, the theme song to my own small existence. And he would have turned 60 today, a milestone birthday that looms before me.

Just wanted to say, miss him.  Heartfelt him and thank you, up there, wherever you are, safe I guess from it all – you were a teacher to me.

Gone too soon.

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me.

Gone too soon and Happy Birthday.

Image Evening Standard

 

To childhood friends. Bless them and keep them.

And Fox is saying hello this evening. ‘Hello’ I whisper.

I have written before about my true blessing of having childhood friends still with me at this time. For over fifty years of life, a pocket full of friends who shared the early times, the grazed knees and bicycle jaunts, still remain, and it is to them I return for validation when life gets just a little too much.

To find more are spilling into my life. Thank you Facebook for today, whilst planning my trip home, a message from a friend I grew up with, wanting to say ‘hi’ again. The swimming forever friend who, and I did not know, has been through much, and meeting up with her again when I go ‘home’.

What was interesting was her message.  She is happy, fulfilled, and yet longs too for the connections of those who knew, not only her, but her family.  Parents passed. I have not seen her for nearly thirty years and the connection is as strong as ever.  And I am keen to hear it all … the journey.  Like mine.  Those days of whispering about who we will marry (had to be dreamy) , how many children we will have, how successful we shall be – and now, bless us, how much we just want to return to the roots.

Believe me, it is not about missing.  Not about being disappointed in how things turned out, how life has handed us love and lemons.  About the halcyon days of wonder is what we reach for.  The clean slate days. We want to connect for we remember the parents, the childhood homes, schooldays and all that.  We want to be close to purity. Our purity in childhood. And talk about life in-between. Be proud of what we have become, the children we have raised, relationships we had, the paths followed, to in a sense, bring us together again to say ‘ we did ok’ and have someone else say ‘wow’ you did ALL that and good on you.

To talk of our parents.  Of Sunday afternoons in a small town. Of sports days and how terrible we were at hurdles. First crushes and surfboard necklaces that meant we were going steady. Of nuns on bicycles and those awful matric dance dresses. We want to remember stealing peaches from the neighbours, swimming in rivers and Gatsy themed birthday parties. Television crush idols. When just breathing was enough. Just being was enough.

I did not know she had lost a sister. One I remember and life let me forget.

Did the ballet lessons pay off?

Did the education pay off?

Did love happen?

Did we become the people we thought we would?

Doesn’t matter.  We lived.  We loved. We are still the same, deep down and we want to know.  We want to connect.  We are blessed if we can.

Growing up in a small town does this.  We had nothing else but each other and when life and times move us into different places, into other avenues, it is really good to go back and just say ‘you knew me’ and perhaps, just perhaps, those are the friends we have to be with at this stage. Friends who sang the songs, danced in the living room, wrote in the diaries and went to the drive in. To dream of better.

And perhaps we did get ‘the better’.  We did live the dream.  And old friends, childhood friends are the validation that we came from that to this, and make us proud.

Childhood friends have a bond that transcends to lifetime friends.  And I am so blessed to still be able to say .. you knew me well, and you are still here.

Images: smartgirlsgroup, relationsmatters

The fox in my life and planning for good.

How did Sunday come around so fast!  Here I am at the end of another week and on my little balcony having a good think about it all.  The week, the month, the year is seriously flying by too fast – and I think it may be because I am making plans.  Could this be?

In the past, when life was the perfect storm and me the one with the tiger in the boat, plans were something I was totally incapable of making.  Existing was hard enough, breathing something I had to remind myself to do and getting out of bed, my daily gym.  Especially when that black dog was sitting right beside it, looking at me early morn and late at night as an ever constant, incarnated witch.  But not now.  Now its, all about making plans, and in particular wedding plans with my daughter early next year. Nothing like a wedding, and in particular a family wedding to get the creative juices flowing.

Oh, ‘hi’ fox. I have to tell you about fox. Habitual specimen Fox is.  Seems as if every time I step out to my ‘office’ – at some point Fox makes his/her appearance. Till I came to London, foxes were mythical creatures that belonged in the English Countryside: to be hunted, or in children’s books. The fox of Beatrix Potter and Farthingwood friends. Remember ‘Fox and the Hound’?  Cute little critters. In London, foxes are common place and urban scavengers. Always looking a little mangey and thin. Furtive and wild eyed, but I have come to like Fox, my pet of sorts, and we greet one another every evening.

Back to the planning.  So much to do!  In the wine lands of wonderful South Africa, but it is the planning that is the motivator of spirit.  This is a BIG plan, but the little ones are just as important.  We have to make plans, always, to get the juices going, bring the future close or we are simply humdrumming the day away. And that gets tedious.  Planning a trip, a lunch date, they matter but I am talking BIG plans – we are just in making them. Even when all seems small, this is the lesson of the day – I feel amazing in the making of BIG plans, for me, for my family, for whatever, I cannot sit any longer with a what to do today, tomorrow, maybe next week?  I need to make HUGE plans from now on – it’s plan play time. Frigging tsunami plans to be made.

They always say, think big.  Easier said, but not so easy to put into action at times when the ego is wilted and the future seems as empty as the last glass of wine, so let me just say, Fox is motivation.  Simply lives to survive – I aim for higher things.

What about you?

Image: essencialife