Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Just Singing

Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ol' boys were drinkin' whiskey 'n' rye
Singin this will be the day that I die.
This will be the day that I die

This evening Dalesboy and I were driving through the Dale in the van. The music was turned up and we were singing loud and singing proud.

Just singing - Mother and Son
- just being.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I realised I never told you about the second week of my holiday in August - well this is where I went.......

It's not the first time we've been and it certainly wont be the last - maybe one day we'll live there.

Our week was called Family Living in Community and as well as working at Cluny Gardens each morning we had group activities in the afternoons that included going into the forest and making environmental art from found materials and a trip up the river to swim and then drinks around the campfire. The children went off and did their own things whilst the parents spent time in reflection. We laughed, we cried, we baked apple crumble and drank tea. It is the place in the world where I feel most able to be me, where all our ideals and values are the norm. It's also a challenging place to be but it's the place where I feel most alive.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thatchers Child

I am what sociologists have come to call a child of the Thatcher Generation. I grew up being told I could have it all - career, possessions, wealth, children. What's more I was told that I could have it on my terms. For a while I lived that life. I was suited and booted in designer labels, made up and coiffed accompanied by expensive accessories. I spent Christmas's in St Moritz and summers on Lake Como. I had access to a private plane for trips to Paris and Milan. I have eaten at some of the most renowned restaurants and stayed at the most spectacular of hotels. I attended glitzy charity events and more than the occaisional film premier.

For those of you who know me now - yes it's true for a while that really was my life.

There are reminders now - at the back of my wardrobe there lurks a Prada bag and a pair of Chanel killer heels.

I've been thinking about my previous life for the past couple of days.

This weekend Dalesboy was part of a recital for outstanding young muscians - he played for almost 30 minutes solo - it was amazing.

Afterwards as I stood talking with one of the organisers I suddenly realised that I was being treated like the poor relation. I had been listening to a lively conversation between her and some other parents earlier and was intrigued so was looking forward to a similar chat. I found she was not so patiently explaining some of the classical music to me as if to a child - amusing as my favourite radio station is Classic FM. There were references to a conservatoire in Paris which she apologised for and then explained just what one is and tried to 'dumb down' Paris.

For a moment I wanted to stop time and show her the sum of my experiences. Put on all my old airs and graces, speak with the posh voice and drop names until she was buried under them. I wanted to tell her (teacher at a private school) which boarding school I went to and where I was 'finished'.

Instead I thanked her for her skills in organising the event and walked to my beautiful old car, drove to my rented house in the middle of nowhere, toasted home made bread to have with home made jam and spent the evening knitting socks and listening to Sibelius.

This post started out as one on living a simple life and turned into something completley different. I don't for a moment wish for my old life and yet I am irritated by how I felt and the fact that my fingers have typed this when I wanted to be all mindful about simplicity - what's that about?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Seasonal Gifts

I love Autumn. It is absolutely my favourite season.

I love the way the weather changes and the way the light is different.

I love the colours of the trees and the way the leaves let go to allow the tree to store energy and prepare for new growth next spring.

I love sweeping my path with a hazel broom.

I love dark nights by the fire with my knitting. I love wearing my knitting and being all snuggly.

I love roast dinners and casseroles with hot sticky puddings.

I love pots of coffee with home made biscuits for elevenses.

I've been poorly. In the past 5 weeks I've had two colds (one I think may have been closer to the flu), a chest infection, a cough and my asthma has made it challenging to talk, move and of course breath. I've been off work and slept a lot. I've managed to knit and read books. I've not been out of the house much.

Last weekend as I walked into a petrol station I had a horrible coughing fit. The beautiful, serene and wise young woman behind the counter gave me a huge nurturing and understanding smile and said:

"I see you are blessed with a seasonal gift"

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


About this time of year many people who knit or embroider start to turn their crafty fingers toward Thingmas (you know the big Christian holiday that takes place in December).

On the internet most of the forums I chat on talk has already turned to what they are going to be knitting for whom or whether that stocking they are embroidering will get finished for this year or next.

There are ornament exchanges, swaps and advent exchanges. All over the world friends who have often never met in real life are making gifts for others.

This is on top of the usual gift preparation, house decorating, shopping, cooking, baking etc that they will be doing.

I think it’s a wonderful expression of friendship, of family, of community but it also makes me sad.

Sad that so many of us can’t pace ourselves, sad that so many of my friends run themselves ragged, sleep less, spend more than they can afford, argue with their family and have such high expectations. Sad that their gift to another comes with expectations. Expectations of what they are going to receive in return.

So whatever your choice please do it wisely, with no guilt or anxiety and no expectation. Enjoy every minute of every day for the right reasons – whatever they may be.