Sometime serf visits The Sanctuary – faith, law and feudalism.

THOMAS PAINE: Founding father of the United States.

“Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but is always the strongly marked feature of all law-religion, or religions established by law.”

little date cocktail this morning, as I sit in The Celerium; off the Dean’s Yard, through the Sanctuary, in the depths of Westminster Abbey.  My journey –  to deliver, (and not happy about it)  the deeds to my little home in this place, armed with city mapper (without I will be lost), the irony did not escape me (it was not lost.)

Following the little headlight (which is me) on my app, I stand before the Abbey.   I am before the entrance to the Greatest Abbey on earth and yet I have a date with solicitors.  The Sanctuary.  Ever so politely, the security detail (who I am sure prays all day not to bite a tourist in anger) reveals that I am beside the law firm I seek  … right there… number 1 … next to the gift shop.  What is this?  Church and Law?  Law and Church … smacks of Medieval practice.  Circa 476 AD.

During the perpetual darkness of the Medieval period, death and taxes – what has changed? The Church was in control of the landowners and if you wanted ‘everlasting life’ you paid them taxes.  The landlords forced the minions, called Serfs, to live on the land, work the land, give the landlord your produce, which included blood and sweat and all sanity, in return for military protection.  The only thing you may be lucky to own, was your teeth and back then, not guaranteed.

Me, Third from the left.

So, the situation has me entering the hallows of the Law world. Could not be more of a cliché:  panelled, dark oak, royal red carpet with golden detail that is so deep and spongy, no sound will escape these walls for sure.  Traditional, stoic and serious happens here.  Feeling like a puppy going to the SPCA.  Sit and wait, for fate.  With apologies to all my wonderful friends in the legal world (you are awesome), I also remembered why I never finished my law studies:  

‘You should do law’. I was told.  Was it, now I think, a compliment or because I talk too much?  Anyway, my experience of the law (wee bairn back in the day I had the visions of justice and pretty solved relationships)  has always meant sorrow.  The world of the struggle and I am not for that world.  I struggle enough to decipher my own heart, let alone deal with the others breaking all around in those deeply carpeted chambers.

‘The Sanctuary’ is the incorrect address for my legal date.  But I am not sad or unhappy anymore, and as I leave through the ancient stone steps, one, two, to a different kind of chapter, I need only to look to the right and the Majesty that is the Abbey.  Our little love affair goes back a long, long way.  My virgin pilgrimage took me to St. Margarets next door, and then the looming edifice of the Abbey, young and ignorant of poets till later, my first sighting of the tomb of the unknown soldier left his mark forever.  A mother’s son lies there.  Overwhelming story.

Watched the weddings, and the funerals in this Abbey.  First foundations laid in the 13th Century, though King, Church and Law still closely connected. It still feels spiritual and I contemplate going in again, but the hoards of umbrella following selfie stickers deter me.  Sanctuary when tourists are around, it is not.

Remember buying the smallest of English soldiers for my son in the gift shop.   Little boxes of chain mail wearing fighters – and now he is in the British Military: okay … my eyes lift up to the heavens and I am having a little conversation …

In refuge of Tea and Lemon Drizzle cake, the realisation that my own path has been too much entwining of Church and Law.   Raised in the Dutch Reformed Church, schooled at The Convent of Notre Dame with Jewish friends – doctrine rather than faith to put the fear of God into me, rather than the Love of God into me.  Here, the Law and Church lies side by side – an idea, perhaps practical who knows, but I am fascinated by it this morning.

Felt like the serf for a little while.  At the mercy of … the law intervening and dictating, once again, my life.  Strangers making rulings.  All the loving, the messiness, the dreaming and stumbling of relationships cold in the archives.

Liberating actually.  Good to know history is once again jabbing the curiosity  for learning is fun.  Excellent to know that irony can be delicious.  Serf no more no more – would rather be a smurf.

And the most important thing.  FAITH. 

Faith is not a set of rules, limited to time and place, class or power.

Faith is not judgemental, critical or pompous.

Faith can be in yourself, in family, in nature or religion.

Faith is calming, accepting and spiritually rewarding.

Faith is hope and hope is love.

Images: FEE and Pintrest



It is time.


We are made holy
Through this burning,
Like a phoenix rising from it ashes
To become more powerful
Than it ever thought possible.

Shirley Maya

Can you feel my desolé, can you feel the falling, but oh, can you see the rising?

La, la, la … the pirouette of all, turning and turning again.  And at last, a long and breathless last, the fixing on the ever mark has found her place.  It has been a long time coming, a long time wanting and the holy is where she should be.

Few days back, the taking control of home.  It was to be where I will be.  Turns out not, there are other forces at play, not evil or malignant, but not me.  With sadness and regret my home was sold, me emanating a feint whisper of … please don’t, and it was done.  For a few days hence, the paralysis of fear, the not knowing where to, the under the water of life descended and all those ashes lay within my bed throughout the night.  I could not turn, rise, sleep with all those pixies running though my mind.  Was this it, the undoing and final bowing down to the wings on the stage when my soul still wanted centre stage?  Seemed impossible, undoable, unifixable and I succumbed to the ashes of the night.

Covent Garden, early Saturday morning.  The world was quiet,  rain laquering cobbled stones, pedestals, graves beside the church.  And the huddling.  Huddled within door frames, beneath pediments, below stairs – smallness of life in sodden, grime ridden capsules.  The homeless cowered there. Shapeless shaped vissitudes of once.  Escaping for coffee, me, followed by a homeless woman, with every shred of ownership and shredded dignity entered behind me to use the bathroom.  We turned our faces, lowered eyes and pretended otherwise.

I could not escape her fierceness.  Sucked in by her last attempt. And she turned me.

Not close.  Not forgotten, just yet.  So much within me, lingering, urging, rising to rage, no, not rage, not regret, not hopelessness, but the boat.  To the Rubicon.  What the fuck was I thinking?  How was I allowing this to be done, to be invaded, to be the victim in the story that was my life?  So very far from hitting the pavement all those buildings high.  Fire.

Fire in my belly. Fire in my soul.  Fire in my heart and the love that became the funeral pyre ignited the kindle of change.  The author of my own story for thank you, you beautiful woman,  you homeless gorgeous women, you are going to be my protagonist. So, raining became the blustering of a fire that had burned too long, a new kind of gathering of kindle and in those ashes in my bed, the Phoenix is born.

There is this gap you see.  Between giving up and, me.  Before acceptance with grace and raging with a driving need to do something, many things for the first time, for the best time, for building that skyscraper of me.  And if I can harness the hurt, I can also cherish those who did the same and tug at the threads of my battered wings. My parents, my sister, my children, my lovers and my friends.  I may fall, but as they say, I may just fly …

I shall be homeless for a while, but never without a home.  I may be disadvantaged, being in My Silver Street when I thought being a stay at home mum was enough, and it is still the best job in the world, when the icicles pierced and the indifference froze all movement, but this lady is not for turning: she is for burning and then the awesomeness of having the ability to adapt, to change and all I can say is, for you, homeless lady with the stare of a million arrows, you have called the Phoenix, and I am answering.

Do not mess with me again.  I am busy being beautiful and brilliant.

‘Do we fade out, or burn like the sun
Do we let it all go or hold on
Do we see this through together as one
Do we go it alone into the great unknown’

Various cruelties.

For you, an invitation.  I have named my Phoenix, Eos, goddess of the dawn, of new beginnings – and if you are willing, you will find your own.  We are not old,(oh dear Lord),  we are not done. Life changes, but oh, those changes could be the very making of us.

Leaping from the ashes and into the light. So let’s begin with Paris.

Oh, and dancing in the kitchen tonight. Maybe I will be a choreographer?

Images.  Booksale. 

A little Sunday night history lesson, with the gin.

‘Be grateful for being a baby boomer.’

Sunday night – for me the weekend simply means another working day, but it’s ok – building on the self strategy so all is good.

Many know I have been giving tours of London for a while now, but since joining Coutours a few months back, I find myself being a student again.  The brain is pickling around hundreds of facts, dates and anecdotes so you may just find me mumbling data and smacking my head when it escapes me!  Paying attention to a multitude of signs and symbols oft passed in daily life and now going … wow … I didn’t know this, and amazing to see how that makes sense etc.  This city is built on Roman foundations and her history is both fascinating and trés gory. Very, very dark layers to her frock.

Let’s just say there has been many a wee soul, a young lass and an old wench who knew only struggle and pain (if they made it past their fifth birthday).  Life was dirty, dangerous, and short.  If you didn’t die in childbirth or get lynched for being a witch, you were valued somewhere close to the local produce, or an ox.  Even if you were born to wealth and status, chances were, as a woman, you were a commodity to be bartered and sold.  No wonder so many turned to drink (so what’s new?) planned murder or went to jail to get the vote.

By the by, as we sip upon our lovely gins with flavoured tonic, back then gin was cheap as chips, and lethal.  Made of all sorts of dubious elements, including rat droppings, and highly addictive, hence the term ‘Mother’s ruin.’ One desperado killed her babe to sell it’s clothes for gin.  Drowning one’s sorrows takes on a whole new meaning.

The thing is – on a Sunday night – the thing is, history acts as a vital lesson to remind ourselves that, despite some hard times, life is actually pretty good for us baby boomers.  Next time life weighs me down, notes to self:

  • I never had to give childbirth in an alley.
  • Sleep beneath a rat infested roof.
  • Eat rotten food and have my teeth fall out.
  • Dodge drunken sailors.
  • Wear the same clothes every day and try and wash them in a barrel of water filled with river water, filled with sewage.
  • Be accused of a crime I never committed and be hanged for it.
  • Own nothing of my own.
  • Be seen as one without an opinion.
  • Slave each day for little or nothing.
  • Think death better than living.

Yet, there are still women who live these very lives today.  The lesson is also never to forget of fail to fight for them too.

History inspires me.  The world’s, my own, for times one needs only to look back to look ahead and realise, it’s going to be alright. Most of us have had a good life and times we need reminding of it.

So, when we do sip the gin, bespoke wise, let it be a  silent toast to those women who lived in dark times, still do, and making sure we create the best chapters of our own lives.

No longer ‘Mothers’ ruin’ but Mother having a G&T and secretly smiling ’cause she knows better.

Image: TNT magazine


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

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

The power of ‘pause’.

‘A woman who cuts her hair, is about to change her life.’

Coco Chanel

Thought about it. Many times.  The long tresses (wild as they are at times) must go. The new me, the different me … the going to look like a Daisy de Melker, me. For those who don’t know Daisy de Melker, she poisoned her husbands (no comment) and died for doing so, but the hairdo was way more scarier than the act. I don’t want to look like Daisy de Melker.

So I am staying with the ‘Donna’ from ‘Mama Mia/Meryl Streep look for a while. The look would be more fitting in a beach scene, but London will have to do.  Anyway, I digress.

The truth is, I have been trapezing my life since ‘La Divorce.’ Deer in the headlights syndrome. Where to, what to do, how to cope … blah, blah and all that.  Darling gone said … let’s divorce so we can get on with our lives.  Say what?  Come again ? Start again, carrying on with what, where and how, was my mantra following the leaving. You know about that, we poor souls who suffer from the famous ‘gray divorce’ syndrome.

Anyhow, in all the turmoil that ensued, I planned so much, and did so little.

Stange thing was, my home, was him … so how to find the home again?  Some do, some like me, just go awol on the world for awhile and imagine all sorts of things … and do so little in the PTSD bolthole.

Anyway, it so happens that the other night, after much coaxing to get out and meet other people, I met a bunch of incredible women who have had it far worse than me.  I mean, far, far worse.  Endling up homeless, mental breakdown and living on the smell of an oil rag, and I came home and thought … whoa, stop and just, well, stop.


Frigging pause.

The story does not end here.  And you are the writer of this.  It may be tough but before giving up and playing Camille, just decide not to decide for a moment.  Just breathe. Pause, and breathe.

Take pen to paper.  Work out your living expenses.  If you have a roof over your head and can stay there, tick.  A job, or a career that pays the bills, stick with it for a while, even if you hate it … just cover the basics and tick the box. If you are healthy and appreciate getting up in the morning, good. Friends, sure. Plans, totally, but to get there, this is the plan.  You pause first and do the domestics.  Then you plan, like the swan who glides on the top of the water and paddles like the devil underneath. Looking good, this pausing thing because you are catching up on the chaos that is your life, but not letting it define your life.  How your life is going to be.  You are pausing to plan.

I was going to sell the little I had, run away to who knows where and become the most successful something ever.  Just wanted to cut the ties and get away.  And I was the one who was going to suffer for it. Spring chicken, not so this has to be taken into account, hate to say it. The overwhelming urge to prove I could survive, make a new start, be fabulous, was exhausting.

Not cutting the hair.  Not changing the status quo for now, but pausing.  And planning on my own terms, at my own pace, in my own world with my own dreams.  Maybe for the first time.

If you feel manic driven by the trauma of being in Silver Street, in your job, a relationship, empty nest syndrome, widowed, single all of a sudden,  grief over parents and feeling, oh so ever abandoned and fearful of the future, pause. Quiet those fears and literally stop to smell the now, the everyday.  And then you begin the planning, from a stronger point of view, with your self intact and your heart in the right place.

Truth be told, still not ‘getting on with my life’ thank you very much.  But getting on and it is my life – so watch this space.  I am in pausing mode but this panther will be ready to spring before you can blink your eyes.

Without cutting the hair.  So you will have to look for other signs … but we wil reveal when we are ready. Not so?

Images Pintrest



Where do you go to my lovely, when your’e alone in your bed …

‘Where do you go to my lovely, when your’e alone in your bed. Tell me the thoughts that surround you, I want to look into your head.’

Peter Sarstedt

You have done well my friend.  Smiled all day, laughed at the right times, demure when it needed to be.  Active and organised. Planning and dates in the diary.  And when night falls, and sleep escapes … what thoughts run through your head?

Heath Ledger said: ‘ I think the most common cause of insomnia is simple.  It’s loneliness.’ If you are alone, or not. Your are alone with your thoughts in the middle of the night. When you cannot sleep.

It matters not what your age is – being alone in the middle of the night is not exclusive to age, it just is.  Single, widowed, divorced, or lying next to someone who does not understand or fulfil your needs, or does, makes those hours of the night the time the mind will not rest.

Some take sleeping pills to fall asleep.  Some, as the stereotype goes, drink wine to help them fall asleep.  Sleep will not come. You are entirely alone with your thoughts and those keep racing through your head.  Endlessly, unceasingly, flipping back and forth like a dingy on the open sea, tossing relentlessly.

Thoughts you had not even thought of for ages.  A party in your brain. Ghosts of past, gremlins of present, plans made, plans scuppered, people come and gone, places visited, memories that are the making of you – all jumbled up and as you turn, determined to let them go, they follow you.  Insomnia is a unhappy guest.

I hear the foxes outside.  The bus going by.  Drink tea. Tired, exhausted, yes, sleep coming, not a chance. So where do you go to my lovely, when you are alone in your bed?

I go home.  To backyard peach trees and swimming in dams. To party dresses, candles and Christmas.  The mind sweeps to lovers whose faces one wants to touch again, bicycles, running without thinking, stubbing toes.  To parents gone and the aching that follows – breakfasts and fires on the farm. To road trips and business plans, to bridal gowns and interviews.  From nowhere sweeps the fear of the future, the nostalgia of the past.  Puppies and Old Year’s Eve. Birth. The Tooth fairy and picking lemons in the garden. Of dinner parties, shopping trips, beaches and mountain trails. Of blowing candles, decorating and entertaining. Of flights, of fancies, or growing up.

Making love, and losing love.

Insomnia has no timeline.

It all comes together in one, fell swoop that is your life.

It is the window, the orchestra of you in the middle of the night.

The loneliest you will ever be, is with your thoughts in the middle of the night.

It is a good thing.  Despite the knowing you are going to feel like death the next day, it is the one time you get to be with you, in your goodness, your faults, your mistakes and your acceptance that is, is.  It is what it is.  And only you can take all these myriad of thoughts and feelings and put them in perspective.  The chance to not fear the lack of sleep, but delve into the world that is you, and accept.  And make it better.

I hardly sleep. It does not worry me for I go the places that I had forgotten and loved, it reminds me of all the little things that are the making of me, the undoing and doing of me and how I, in this Silver Street time, will embrace the thoughts and go forward, for I am not done.  I am not undone.  I am taking this lack of sleep, the dark hours between dusk and dawn, and saying, so … it’s ok, I will live.  And I will gather the threads.

It is a lonely time, insomnia. It may just be the best time, really.

I will not sleep, but I will dream for more.

So where do you go to my lovely, when your’e alone in your bed.  Tell me the thoughts that surround you … they will tell you a story of you that is amazing.

I will make it happen.  Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will go home.  And home, is me.

Image: Pintrest



Sister Golden Hair Surprise.

‘And I tried to fake it, I don’t mind saying, I just can’t make it…will you meet me in the middle, will you meet me in the end?’

Nostalgic Saturday night.  Got the face mask on, the music (so retro) and that ever glass of white with the ice cubes in.  Nostalgic indeed.

‘I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind, that I put down in words, how wonderful life is, that you’re in the world.’ Elton John.

1978.  First year fresher at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal.  Arrived with mom and a cake, with pink icing, to soften the goodbye.  First time away from home. Mom cried the entire time. First time in a ‘res’ – tiny room, single bed, knowing no-one. Tough and afraid. All this girl knew is that she had chosen her University based on a thought, a dream to go to Hollywood (all the drive in movies) and my own record player.  This turned out to be the charm. Attraction station, with some snazzy clothes which I learnt, was meant to be shared.

Difficult year, not so au fait with life, with relationships and sex (was still holding out for Robert Redford) and all the messy stuff in between. Way out of my depth with English literature and bohemian professors who had no time for the pretty shoes.  Politically inept. Mama never spoke of politics. Alcohol was new, and surprising.

The music got me through. What do I care for essays and stuff when I had Fleetwood Mac? Bob Seger belting it out in my car (yup, I was one of the few) – singing to the Bee Gees. It was the music that defines it all. And of course America. SGHS – Sister Golden Hair Surprise became my nickname and my friends still call me by it. Those first year, finding one another, still together forever friends that co-produced the ‘pretend you are an Autumn leaf’ in drama classes: the friends that held my held up over the toilet at The Ansonia Hotel when brandy and ginger ale did not agree. Put me on the train when term time ended and spoke of things I thought I would have to pray very hard to forget I ever heard.

Hopeless but happy first year at University. Hitch hiking to the beach. Cheap wine out of the box. Grease is the word. Those leather pants!

Wonder where some of those great characters are now?

Needless to say the first year was the party year, the discovering year, the year of fumbling and failing but ultimately characterised by the music of the time. Still on my playlist.

SGHS – Sister Golden Hair Surprise was my nickname.  Wonder how much I relate to it now? Good times thank you Joni Mitchell, Khoti, Maggie, Jenny and B.

One needs to play the old music to remember how we sort of measure today.  Do you have a favourite? Saturday night nostalgia, the making of it all. Would I have that year again, with all the naiveté and youth – and if so – what would I change?

Image You tube



The iffy, pissy, offy day. Best close the door and seek some country music.

These things, they do happen. Am literally, whilst scooping ketchup with a sausage roll and shovelling it into my mouth,  mopping up the gravel studded blood injury on my shin. Running down my shin. Blood in the café

Spectacular fall.  Mini ramp meant for wheelchairs like ski slope, legs vector ascending skywards, splayed and show stopping for rain soaked oldies on a National Trust outing for the day. Painful in oh, so many ways.

Thought I would be grateful for the rain.

Strong desire for Bourbon.

Wet dress, pulled muscles and bruised bum, physical injury pales in relation to the rage that bubbles deep within.  And we have these days.  ‘Them’ days when all and all will seriously piss you off.  You want to cry, all the time, and poison all the apples. Leaving the duvet for enemy territory it seemed.

Trip in a human steamed bus is not good, she thinks, sitting beside someone whose clothes smell like a wet dog. Long, long walk in pelting rain. The usual solace of the cafe is packed and my table seconded by others. Ugh, hate it when people have no sense of personal space. Blah, blah and then the fall.

I shall tell no-one on the garden tour, dodging dripping trees, of my aching tailbone and valiantly attempt to deliver.  Sweet people, at the end, for the very first time, a lady slips some coins into my hand, with thanks.  I got a tip!  At fifty-eight my life seems to have become a series of tips in some of the work I do and I am thinking, is this the tipping point too? Anyway, I took the tip, smiled at the entire situation that was this day, and bought myself a lavender plant to ward off the spiders when they come indoors in Autumn. Read this recently and believe me, I have enough spiders in my life.

Imagine if you will, end of the day, this still a little grumpy, very sore but not so much pissed off possum is back on the bus with backpack, groceries and a lavender plant to boot. Party to a couple having a full on fight, much to the amusement of all on board.  She lets him have it, he tries to deflect, she will have none of it – he gets off – he gets on again, she has not broken her accusations and finally he just gives up and gets off again.  She follows and as we leave, the unhappy couple are still yelling on the pavement.  Guess it’s their iffy, pissy, offy day too.

Home. For bath, book, country music and a glass of wine. We are allowed these days when things go wrong – they make us muse and plan for better ones.

Strip it down, she says.  Strip it down.  Tomorrow she shall build it up again.

Eish!  Hope you had a better day, but then, when I think about it again, it wasn’t so bad after all. Just called ‘living.’


Image Banksy




What little stories lie here in this quiet, calm place near the river?

One Christmas, my daughter gave me this book.  An olive branch as I think it was the first Christmas without our family intact. Quick glance then, only to find it now, and how apt for the soul is calm and the journey to find these ‘quiet and restful’ places, wanting. ‘Quiet London’ by Siobhan Wall.

As I work without an office, I am free to write  in the smallest niches, cafés and wine farms, city and landscape –  and paddle in the most interesting of venues.

Today I find myself working at ‘The Wren.’  A cool, open and quiet space a mere stone’s throw from St. Paul’s Cathedral.  Got the idea to come here from another lovely blogger, Charlotte, who places the crumbs on the path of ‘A Peace of London.’ for us to follow and I thank her for it. I wonder how many of us look for quiet places in our busy lives?  I am fortunate not to have to work in a soulless  office with drab interiors and artificial light, especially now that summer is here, so sitting here in a café/church: wood panelled walls and embellished lead windows, hit by a snazz of aluminium chairs and tables.  Chatter, just like the chirping of birds fall around me, a word here, a sentence there, and laughter – the couple next table discussing a musical they were writing – pretty much leaned over a little too much to catch the title …

Writing about quiet places and chatter in the background seems paradoxical I know, but in a city such as this, total silence is rare.  So quiet could be better described as calm. I like to work in calm spaces. The Wren is a calm space.

The Wren is housed in St. Nicholas, Cole Abbey.  Not sure if it ever was an abbey, but the history goes back to 1144.  Destroyed in the Great Fire, rebuilt by Wren and damaged in the war, I am sitting in a history lesson today, having coffee.  On a church pew, with dead people below the floor, looking up at a golden ceiling, thinking what it must have been like during the bombing and how this place has transpired into a calm, welcoming, coffee shop to work in, in London.

There are many.  Many visited and many to discover. Sort of partial to The Wren, it’s the space and my need for space is well documented.

Do you have a favourite coffee shop that gives you calm? Care to share?

Thank you for the book sweet darling, going to follow the green arrows to all the shady, green places …

Images:  Daunt books