When my parents decided that we would move to the UK when I was but a blossoming ‘tween, one of the (many) propaganda stories they hinted at (along with the acquisition of a pony, our own stables and a chuckling brook round the back) was that many young Brits-by-the-sea enjoyed “beachcombing” as a very suitable pastime. (I expect that these badass individuals spent the rest of their time modelling cabled sweaters on knitting patterns … just saying). The allure of a metal detector may or may not have been mentioned at this time but even at the advanced age of 13 I realized that this was severely uncool and was just not going to happen on my watch. Continue reading
It’s always strange to me how certain moments in your life are especially memorable, and can be recalled again and again with complete clarity. I remember parking on a quiet, tree-lined side street, nearly nine years ago now, and since I was very early for an appointment decided to just wait in the car till it was closer to the time. It was early morning. Someone was already cutting their grass so the air was filled with that luscious green smell of fresh earth and chlorophyll sweetness. I was sleep deprived and close to tears (again) as it was not long after my husband had left. As I watched, I saw a pewter Subaru pull into the driveway of a well maintained older home with a tangled English garden in front and fat circular bumblebees drifting lazily in and out of hooded flowers. A woman with a blondish-grey pony tail (pulled sleekly through the back of a navy blue baseball hat) got out of the Subaru and balancing a Starbucks coffee cup, frisked up the steps in form-fitting running gear before absent-mindedly pointing the keys over her shoulder to chook-chook the lock. Then the house door whooshed open and she was gone from my view. Continue reading
A week has passed since Mother’s Day but I still wanted to blog about it because there are very few perfect days in life and this was one of them. It’s strange too because it was free of most of the things I have enjoyed in previous years, such as breakfast in bed and lacy, velvety cards with the sort of tender doggerel that can swiftly lead to a sad afternoon on the couch contemplating one’s own mortality if you’re not careful.
But there was none of that.
Since no one fancied trudging from one restaurant to the next only to encounter long, winding queues of angry, red-faced fathers who had forgotten to make brunch reservations (just like Frasier and Niles had, to be fair) The General suggested that everyone come to ours, and he would prepare his somewhat famous Eggs Benedict. I was briefly rattled (as I always am by spontaneous, sudden plans) but the boys seemed very excited to come and the house was soon filled with warm, delicious eggy smells, deeply savoury slices of ham frying gently on the stove and the booming notes of male voices as they laughed easily and regularly with one another and were generally having a great time. I studied each face in turn, knowing and loving each one so much and watched expressions from childhood pass fleetingly: a dimple in someone’s cheek as they were smiling, the mannerisms and cadence of speech I recognize as my own; the sheer symmetry of Niles’ girlfriend’s gentle face, flawless as a bone-china teacup and eyes that shine between violet and navy; And The General of course with his well placed one-liners and a touching effort to re-fill coffee cups and make sure additional heated, croissants kept appearing. With jam.
(Can I say that kindness and handsome-ness are, for me, an unbeatable combination). Continue reading
Today is the last day of a few days off – no particular reason for time off – just something to break up February and offer the chance of getting some things done around the house. To that end, I have failed miserably and I don’t know why but I just couldn’t face starting a project: perhaps, because there are so many things that need attention and I feel overwhelmed. I then play games with myself all day that I will start emptying a closet in a minute, then after a snack and before you know it, yes, I have been on the computer looking at items I will literally never buy or getting lured down a rabbit-hole of dire political forecasts.
I hate to be such a cliché but there it is. Continue reading