Sea Glass I Have Known


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

Club Django and More



Last week a friend (actually, two separate friends, who both know me well)  invited me to come along and hear Club Django. I do love hearing bands play live and I particularly like this kind of music but sometimes it seems like too much trouble after a  long day at work and the concept of coming home and going out again seems unbearable.

Still, as noted here before, I find Klezmer (or so-called ‘Gypsy Jazz’) especially cheering and these past few weeks, I have been feeling super down and questioning almost everything I usually find enjoyable. That sounds bad and it hasn’t been as bad as all that, but I’ve been embroiled in my past and I feel so stirred up, I have not been sleeping and I’m overwhelmed a lot of the time.

So, on impulse, and despite the fact that The General was just as happy not to attend, I decided to accept after all and headed out at the especially odd time of 2pm, out of the glinty sunshine and into a darker venue to catch Club Django in concert.

And from the opening notes, I was so, so happy that I did.

The high-octane, soaring guitars matched the swinging violin beat for beat ( I couldn’t take my eyes off the technicolour hatted Rodion Boshoer, who was playing like he had been recently set on fire) and I felt absolutely transported; I was also amused to note that there were several extra, extra large coffee cups by the band’s amps.  Abbey Sholzberg’s energetic skill with the double bass was both lively and impressive, his faux-leopard vest charming and suitably quirky; basically, it was impossible not to be happy in that room and the crowd was loving it. I was so glad that I was there and that I had forced myself to come out.

Django himself,  would be well pleased. Continue reading

Maine Deconstructed




The General and I are just back from Old Orchard Beach in Maine which is the sleepy, predictable kind of holiday that I often really enjoy. The lush, yet austere landscape of Maine and the cottage itself are hugely significant to The General since he has enjoyed many golden-hued summers there as a child and because it’s still a property that is “family owned” you can sense  the tradition and memory as the key turns in the lock.

The very first time I was here and the door creaked opened to the warm – but not unpleasant – smell of humidity and age, I was nearly overcome with a sense of Those-Who-have-Gone-Before-Us.

It was just like being invited to a crazy, crowded party where everyone has convened in the kitchen, chatting loudly and you have to enter sideways with your bottle of wine, introducing yourself.

Except that the kitchen was empty.

I am often very sensitive to this type of thing so I wasn’t unduly freaked out and besides, the vibe was friendly enough but it did serve to re-ignite a really unsettling feeling that I often experience now which is being super conscious that I am still, and possibly always will be, The New Girl.

And what can I do? There’s simply not enough time for me to be fully accepted and it makes me acutely aware that I no longer have the extended family that I was comfortable with when I myself was married. Strangely, for example, I knew my ex-husbands’ parents more than twice as long as my own.

I am not a fan of this feeling but don’t know what to do about it.

I often feel as though as I am driving a motor boat and pulling behind me three decades of memories that just won’t drop the line. Continue reading

Who has Time?



Every woman I know is always lamenting a lack of time. We all seem to be rising early to do tasks or exercise before work and staying up a bit later (folding clothes by the silvery light of the dryer) just to unlock a few moments for ourselves, perhaps at the end of the week.

But then, that moment never actually materializes.

It’s taken me an embarrassingly long time to realize that no matter what I do or how much I plan, that time for myself will never present itself because I make sure to sabotage it every time by doing one more thing, pushing myself to wipe baseboards when I could be relaxing, thinking how happy people would be to have some really quality prosciutto to wind around those fat, ripe pears or researching different, easier ways to clean the shower on youtube.

It’s as though the Bank of Things-I-Want-To-Do is constantly in overdraft and I just throw a few coins at it now and then (hey, look at me,  I’m reading a book outside at lunchtime and drinking chocolate milk!) just to keep it in the black.

Is it because I feel undeserving? Is it because I am still too worried about making sure everyone else has what they need/want?  (Probably).  Is it because I fear that I will not even know what to do because I have been spinning so long? (NO! I have a long list of interests yet to be tapped!) Is it because I really believe that this week I can actually pull it off … Continue reading