Friday, 29 July 2011


29th July 2011 Friday

Some thoughts about today.

It’s late and I’m tired. I’m feeling flat and disconnected tonight - and bloated from our supper of pasta, spinach and smoked salmon. Created by my husband while I sat at the dining room table and wrote emails - passing the cooking mantle to him.

I think I should stop blogging. I’m afraid I’m losing the knack - boring myself with the details of my little life. I can’t access even a sliver of poetry anymore. As if my vocabulary is fading in sympathy with my husband.

I’m worried about a dear friend in crisis - feeling helpless in the face of her despair.

I loved sitting at a table outside a pavement cafe this morning with another dear friend over a frothy coffee and sharing the deep currents of our lives - not wanting it to end, not wanting to drain my cup.

My leg hurts. This morning the nurse dug around in the black hole with tweezers but couldn’t find anything. She filled the hole with a seaweed dressing to draw the infection out from the source she said.

I think my body is talking to me. A dear friend looked up the emotional connections for me. I suspect this infection is unexpressed anger settled in. That it is in my leg is not a coincidence - emotionally legs mean going forward or in my case being afraid of the future Even though I think I’m getting better, groping for acceptance - maybe the poison is still festering. Like the seeping white rot in the roots of my husband's onions that he dug up today.

My fear has gone underground for now - into the black hole.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

New Recipe Old Recipe

28th July 2011 Thursday

I like this summer heat. Even though I'm avoiding the sun. It makes me feel alive. Sweet peas on the table. Roses mingling in the honeysuckle. Open windows letting in hot nights.

This afteroon I cooked a birthday supper for a dear friend - remembering all the food she likes . I included a new recipe with aubergines and my favourite green bean dish from The Cranks Fast Food book by Nadine Abensur which I make every summer. I watched Simon Hopkinson’s The Good Cook the other day and he said he wished he’d always had this Greek aubergine recipe as it was so delicious and he thought about all those years he’d missed not knowing about it, and not being able to eat it.

I feel like that about the green beans and garlic and tomatoes recipe.

Today I used the four small but firm and shiny purple aubergines my husband grew in the green house on the allotment. You grill them under a fierce heat till the skin blackens and the flesh softens inside. It is this charring which gives the aubergines their sweet smokey flavour.Peel off the burnt skin, cut them into quarters, smother with a green coat of chopped parsley, garlic and olive oil and then crumble milky white feta cheese over the top. And another dribbling of olive oil.

Simon is right - it’s a dish that I’ll rank up there with the green beans and garlic and tomatoes. And I will remember my summer birthday friend every time I make it.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Disability and Disease

27th July 2011 Wednesday

The clinical psychologist we saw yesterday - he’s not the sort of man you can hug - but I wanted to - said all the things we longed to hear. He saw us a year ago and remembered all our details - he referred us to his friend the consultant neurologist who gave us the news about semantic dementia.

He said things like imagine your brain is a giant filing cabinet and someone has torn out the indexing system - all the information is there but the executive controller has gone AWOL. So there is nothing to make the connections - my husband knows what rough cider is but if you say pass the scrumpy he won’t know what you mean.

The bearded psychologist says think of it like an invisible disability. Not like a disease. If you lose a leg it doesn’t mean you can’t walk - but you do have to adapt, find alternatives. There are things we can do. The air felt cleaner and lighter when we came out of his office.

Today was a blackcurrant day. Tonight there is a plastic tub of rich ice cream in the freezer - a dreamy creamy parfait rippled with rivulets of blackcurrant puree dark as claret wine. And six proud jars of glistening blackcurrant jam on the counter. The kitchen smells like a sweet factory.

It makes me happy to cook for the people I love. A dear friend emailed today and said what makes her really happy is getting good news about friends and family. The good news is that although nothing has changed we have a different word in our lives. Now disability sounds full of hope and purpose. Whereas disease is an eating you up word - a dying word.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Sweeter Than Cherries

25th July 2011 Monday

I ate my first cherry of the year today. It is the occasion of my sister’s forty first wedding anniversary. She and her husband arrive with a gorgeous gift for us - a deep punnet of purple red cherries - fat and glistening balls of sweetness. They are local - grown and picked on a farm in Somerset. She says they are meant for cooking as some of them are split down one side from the stalk. But I know they will all disappear long before they’ll ever see the inside of a saucepan. I have a weakness for cherries - they seem to have the ‘just-one-more’ gene injected in their flesh.

I’m going to find that farm. My husband says he’ll take me. He is still mourning the loss of all the cherries on our tree at the allotment - the small yellowy red variety. Stripped by the birds when we were in Wales.

All day I’ve been bathed in the shadow of yesterday when we were playing roles( I was always the mother) in a family constellation with dear friends - wading through all that ancient rage and fear and grief and loneliness - ours and our ancestors.

Cutting open the wounds then cauterising them with love. Leaving a taste of healing in my mouth - sweeter than cherries.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

The Shed and The Garlic

23rd July 2011 Saturday

The forecast is sunny and dry - the perfect day to clean out the shed. Except I don’t want to do it. We have breakfast in the garden but the wind blows the newspapers in our faces so we retreat into the kitchen and put off the clutter of the shed for a bit longer with another cup of tea. I wonder if I can use my sore leg as an excuse.

When I share my shed antipathy with my husband he says,

You don’t have to do it. I will. But you may have to tell me what some of the things are. And you can sort out The Garlic.’

He means the five trays of garlic bulbs he pulled up from the allotment last week, drying off in the shed, their crackly brown stems long as Rapunzel’s hair, clogging up the space, saturating the air with their pungent perfume.

So while he empties the shed - old pots of paint with rusty lids, soggy boxes of Phostrogen plant food, stacks of hanging baskets, cat litter, spades and rakes and various other awkward shaped things with no names, I take on The Garlic.

This involves cutting off the dry hair leaves, rubbing away the outer, soil encrusted skin of the bulbs with both thumbs, snipping off the noodle nest of roots at the other end and collecting the pure white knobbly globes - big and small - in a plastic bowl. I pull a recliner chair into the shade of the honeysuckle hedge and start cutting and rubbing. The pussy cat comes to join me and lounges under the rosemary bush. Next door’s music drowns out my husband’s clattering in the nearly empty shed.

Later I put two globe artichokes on to boil for lunch and wonder how much garlic I can crush into the tahini dressing - and how long garlic will keep in a hot clean shed.

Tonight I can’t stop thinking about those ninety two young people gunned down by one man in Oslo. Yesterday, on an ordinary summer day, lost now to their families and to their friends. While I was watering my garden.

Black Hole

22nd July 2011 Friday

By 9 am I’m at the surgery - it’s three minutes walk from our house. My leg - where I had the skin cancer removed - has become infected. It hurts more than after the op. The nurse who is lovely, and who isn’t the one who removed my stitches six weeks ago, finds the remains of a suture inside the perfectly round hole, the circumference of a knitting needle. It's in the centre of my scar which had begun to heal up. We both peer inside the hole which is not bleeding but is as black as the pupil of an eye. She says there maybe something else in there but it’s too deep to go digging. She prescribes antibiotic cream and says wash the hole with the shower head and dry it with a hair dryer before applying the cream.

I don’t like this black hole in my leg and the red angry swelling around it. I thought it was getting better but it seems to be getting worse. Not healed yet, then. More gunk to come out.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

A Less Travelled Day

21st July 2011 Thursday

A lovely day - unplanned - taking the road less travelled - which for me means doing some spur of the moment things. I notice how rare that is for me.

My husband comes to the market with me and carries the basket as we weave in and out of the stalls buying fragrant handfuls of basil and coriander, a huge beef tomato bursting out of it’s skin in pink slits, a dozen eggs, a bunch of finger carrots, a loaf of speckled rye bread and a slab of rough coral skinned bream from the fishmonger.

On the way back to the car we dip into the musty cavern of St Pancreas Church and sit for a while on hard chairs in a palpable stillness and a silence unpolluted by the chattering voices of shoppers swirling in the mall outside.

We leave our bags and walk to the cinema to book tickets for Harry Potter next week. It’s not open so we wander back through a graveyard and over the catacombs and stop to read the information notice about them. We moved to Exeter seven years ago and I realise I know very little about our city. An old priory down a narrow alleyway is a lovely surprise and we resolve to come back another day as tourists - I want to learn the story of where I live.

It’s steamy hot at our own market - the allotment - and while my husband carries the watering cans to and fro I pick the first long fat peas, swiss chard and lettuces, spring onions and drum head cabbages, sweet peas with short crinkled stems and bright orange marigolds. I shell the peas for lunch and toss them into a basil and tomato salad. Each one is a precious gem, sweet as sugar crystals in our mouths.

Later I potter in the garden dead heading the pansies and geraniums and watering the beds under the hedges where the rain hasn’t fallen. I take photos of a tangerine and red lipped rose we brought with us from our garden in St Albans called Tequila Sunrise.

And let my day unfold around me - a bolt of silk cloth, unravelling - showing me the less travelled way.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Not Buying the Wild Sea Trout

20th July 2011 Wednesday

This morning a dear friend comes to visit. We sit round the kitchen table with cups of liquorice and mint tea whilst the rain hammers down on the red geraniums and the batters the lillies in the garden. Our friend works with people who are recovering from brain injuries and he is offering his expertise, his suggestions his support - his friendship. He says women are good at supporting each other and men are mostly rubbish at it. Their way is to do stuff together. He arranges to go walking with my husband. For me his thoughtfulness is like an open hand reaching across the river.

I make a clean green and white soup for lunch - onions and fennel, neroli cabbage and broad beans in a garlicky vegetable broth. We talk about some of our friend’s suggestions using pictures/words/photos/video diaries to strengthen my husband’s leaking vocabulary. I feel his resistance although he says he’s willing to try it - if he can get over his little boy pattern of ‘It’s not my idea, it’s yours - so I’m not playing’. I think he will find a way. We could do it together.

Later I sit with my father in the treatment room at the surgery while a nurse uses a machine like a narrow hooked finger to force warm water into his ear and wriggle out the wax curled up in there. He says it hurts more than going to the dentist. But at least now he can have his hearing aid appointment. He walks very very slowly up the stairs back at his home. He looks exhausted and says I should go as he wants to sleep before supper. I feel sad when I leave him.

The fishmonger is closing when I arrive at the door, all the cabinets empty, but he rummages in the fridge and finds two huge red spotted plaice which he prepares and cleans for me. We talk about the wild sea trout he has for sale. I’ve had one before - speckled brown like the age spots on the backs of my hands, with a delicate perfumed flavour. I know their season is very short - he only has one left but at £30 it’s not in my budget any more.

The plaice is delicious though - plain grilled with butter and a lemony mustard mayonnaise. I’m not going to think about that wild sea trout - silly to hanker after something you haven’t got when what you have got is perfect.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Cooking Again

19th July 2011 Tuesday

I leave my father having lunch at the long dining table downstairs with all the other residents of his home. It smells like freshly cooked fish. I drive up the hill to my mother’s grave with two bunches of artificial sweet peas. They are pale mauves and pinks and they look fragile and papery so I stick them as far down as I can in the pinhole container in front of the oak cross. I hope they don’t blow away. They are already swivelling round in the breeze. I must remember to bring some scissors next time and trim the couch grass and determined buttercups straying over the edges of the concrete plinth.

At home I make myself a plate of raw veggies from the allotment - purple veined pak choi, carrots and broad beans which are a bit hard and some bitter lettuce leaves - a little gem which has gone to seed. I douse it with lemon oil - a sister gift and one which always reminds me of my nearly Italian niece - and add flakes of smoked tuna - a recent find which I’d eat every day if it didn’t cost £2 a tin. The pussy cat has taken a liking to it too.

As my husband is out all day I put the heating on - my father’s bed sheets, and ours too, draped all over the house would never get dry otherwise on this dark-cloud-threatening- rain afternoon. I begin the sorting of 400 photo prints taken over the last six months which I ordered yesterday and find quite a few of them are blurred.

Although I’m not hungry I start making supper - chop our first green stemmed onion, flat wide spinach leaves, smooth pebble potatoes, rock hard carrots, crush garlic and slice fresh ginger - making it up as I go along - not sure what it will turn into.

I realise why I’ve been feeling disconnected and unsettled the last few days - I haven’t been cooking. Being with vegetables brings me back to myself, roots me somehow and stops me thinking about things like my husband’s brain. And how all this trying to find solutions, trying to get better, is like when we were trying to get pregnant. All those years of trying and crying and no baby in the end. We wanted to make something then - now I want to prevent something.

Maybe it's better if I just keep chopping onions and trust that supper will emerge - a delicious surprise, bursting on our tongues.

Monday, 18 July 2011

No Time for Sorrow

18th July 2011 Monday

A wash out day. I don’t get much done. Except order four hundred photos at Sainsbury’s. Rain bursts on the windows. The damp cold gets under my skin. Writing in bed now - the best way to keep warm as drinking tea isn’t working My husband is singing in the choir. His stomach is upset and he doesn’t want to eat, so I have vegetable soup and oatcakes for supper.

All day I’ve been haunted by a one man performance we saw last night in a village hall in South Devon - a brave and remarkable friend honouring the harrowing stories of his ancestors - their impact on him and his own journey from a Kibbutz in 1972. He wove the themes of loss and displacement, war and hardship in a repeated phrase - ‘No time for sorrow. No time to say goodbye.’

I was thinking about my grandparents in Africa and in China - thinking that maybe too much time for sorrow can eat you up - hollow you out from the inside.

Without His Words

17th July 2011 Sunday

Sunday morning - we lie in bed and talk. It’s drizzling rain outside. Our two little holidays this week are over. Today is the day to make plans. To face the future. To start doing all those things we said we would -

Put dates in the diaries for visiting friends

Give up coffee and alcohol and sugar

Lose weight

Start exercising again - properly

Research ceramics courses

Read books about the brain - what can we do to halt this disease?

Start taking mineral and vitamin supplements for the brain - fish oil?

Listen to tapes to balance the left and right sides of the brain

I feel heavy and daunted. My husband looks miserable. I ask him,

Do you want to do any of this? Do you want to intervene in this disease? Do you think taking supplements and exercising and doing brain exercises will make any difference?’

He says he’s afraid that if he does he’ll lose his new found creativity and intuition. That he doesn’t want to take charge or be in control and it’s better to trust the process....that it’s better now - he’s more present, more himself without his financial advisor identity.

And without his words?

Maybe he is right. And I want him to be himself. But every fibre of my being is screaming out,

But what if there IS something you could do to be your wonderful creative and intuitive self AND keep your words too?’

It looks like it’s me who has to give up trying. To surrender. To accept that now he’ll never retain the name of a Crown Prince Squash - however much fish oil he takes.

But he says he will do his stretching exercises in the morning. And not eat flapjacks.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

I Carried You

14th July 2011 Thursday

Because I’m too tired to write tonight I will tell a story I have heard before but which reminds me to be grateful for all of it.

A man who had finished his life went before God who reviewed his life and and showed him the many lessons he had learned. Then he asked the man if he had any questions.

The man said ‘ When You were showing me my life I noticed that when the times were good there were two sets of footprints and I knew You walked beside me .Why then did You desert me during the difficult times?’

God replied ‘You misinterpret, my child. It is true when the times were good I walked beside you and pointed out the way. But when times were difficult I carried you’.

Tomorrow we are going to Cornwall for two days to walk some of the coastal path at St Ives with my cousin who has prostate cancer - who is walking into an uncertain future, doing what he loves while he can - one step at a time in the sand, leaving his footprints in our hearts.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Vegetable Grief and An Answered Prayer

13th July 2011 Wednesday

I shouldn’t have gone to the allotment this evening feeling as I did - tearful and cross. It’s usually the place where we can be happy together.

I cut little gem lettuces, strip off the the outer leaves and leave them on the ground. And forget to put them inside the compost bin. My husband says I’m always doing that and he has to clear up after me. I pick the last of the broad beans and leave the old and diseased ones on their stems. My husband wants to use them all. We argue about it. Our separate griefs disguised in opinions about vegetables. He’s feeling displaced, kicked out, his career in shards. I’m feeling inexplicably sad, inconsolable - tired of explaining everything - like who is David Beckham and what is mandarin when it’s not a fruit - and it's not his fault.

I leave him watering the tomatoes and call round to our neighbour with a bunch of sweet peas and lavender to say thank you for looking after the pussy cat while we have been away for two days. Maybe the production of Macbeth we saw in Stratford last night has unsettled me - the beauty of the poetry lost to me in so much blood and madness, power lust and graphic killing of children on stage.

Tonight, while my husband re-plants his squash seeds which didn’t germinate I make a salad from our allotment pickings - lettuce and pak choi, sugar snap peas, a young stripey courgette, blanched broad bean, parsley and the gift of a cucumber from my sister’s garden.

The sun pours into the kitchen while I chop and toss and I think about my great nephew who I saw today snuggled in the arms of one grandma while his other grandma played with his minature feet. And how his blue blue eyes locked on hers and how his little turned up smile, when it finally came, was like an answered prayer, lighting up the room.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Sweet Peas and Marigold Suns

11th July 2011 Monday

This morning I sit at my desk in my study and my husband sits at his in the room next to mine. We still call it the office but he’s not working. He’s filling out a long medical form to support his application for unemployment benefit. It used to be called disability allowance. Most of the questions are things like do you need help to go to the bathroom, can you use the stairs or do you get frightened in open spaces?

I ask if he wants help with the form and he says no. He says it’s not frightening - the thing about not knowing who people are - their names, their faces - but it upsets him. He has to put it down on the form - what it’s like for him - that's something I can't do for him.

I feel cold in the house even though the air is warm outside so we eat our lunch at the table - pecan rice salad from yesterday, perked up with lots of chopped basil. The kitchen is perfumed with vases of purple buddleia, and mauve, magenta, pink and white sweet peas from the allotment.

Sweet peas were one of my mother’s favourite flowers. This afternoon I sit with my father in his room and I tell him it was the third anniversary of her death yesterday.

Was it?’ he says, ‘I’ve forgotten. I don’t want to remember that time. You were there when she died weren’t you’.

Yes,’ I say, ‘and you were there before as well’.

We talk about getting some sweet peas to put on her grave.

‘What about the flower thieves?’ he says.

‘I don’t think they’ll want a bunch of plastic sweet peas,’ I say.

‘I’ve seen some in the flower shop down the road and they look quite real and not too artificial. I think she’d like them. Let’s get a couple of bunches when I come on Thursday.’

When I get home there is another vase of flowers on the counter so I know my husband is back from the allotment. They are bright orange calendular - marigolds glowing like small frayed suns holding the heart of summer in every petal.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Hammock of Hands

10th July 2011 Sunday

This morning I waved my husband goodbye at the front door - setting off for to his last Money Workshop in Totnes. At least he had a dear friend by his side who said she would be his guardian angel for the day. I felt so touched by her offer, her thoughtfulness, her kindness.

Now my ankles are swollen and my neck is stiff. I’ve been sitting at my desk most of the day at the computer, writing letters, editing my photos. Except for a little while when I cut the grass - mowing down the new rash of purple clover and tall daisies which have colonised the lawn in the last few weeks. And I did stop for a bowl of rice salad and half an avocado pear at lunchtime.

But I also feel expanded, buoyed up by an ever growing hammock of hands holding me up with such an exquisite tenderness that it makes me cry. Every day someone phones me, sends me an email, a card, a text, a letter, saying ‘thinking of you.’ And I feel a novice in this thing - receiving - instead of my familiar giving. Coming to the table empty handed and still being fed, still being loved.

When my husband comes home, weary from giving, we sit in late sunshine in the kitchen with a bottle of cold white wine and seven steaming globe artichokes in a bowl between us. We strip the spikey leaves, one by one, from the stem and dip their sweet nubs into garlic mayonnaise curdled with lemon oil. And swop the details of our different days.

Then I think how maybe giving and receiving are the same thing - at least they have the same source - a whole heart - and a little willingness.

Healing and Sleeping

9th July 2011 Saturday

My husband leaves the house early to catch the coach to Bristol. He will be singing with a choir of a thousand people - singing and raising money for famine in Africa. What a big sound that will make - a rich and deep sound to save lives.

I wash up last night’s supper dishes and go back to bed with a cup of tea and a book. The pussy cat curls on my lap. I’ve arranged some distant healing for him at 10 am from our lovely animal healer. For half an hour I sit up with my hands on his soft fur, feeling his spine, and imagine him - and me - getting better - full of pulsing bright light. Afterwards I fall asleep and I don’t wake up till nearly 2 o’clock.

I didn’t know I could be that tired. That letting in such love means letting go - one onion skin of guilt at a time.

Friday, 8 July 2011

In the Kitchen with the Fat Lady

8th July 2011 Friday

I have been in the kitchen most of today - my true home. Before breakfast I make rounds of egg mayonnaise and smoked mackerel sandwiches for my father’s lunch in his room with my sister and the editor of his second book. He doesn’t like going out to eat now like he used to.

After our scratch lunch - we dip the cut off crusts of the sandwiches and lettuce leaves into the left over fillings - I poach black currants and whip a hot sugar syrup into egg yolks to make a parfait for tomorrow’s supper at my sister’s. I’m falling in love with black currants this year - can’t get enough of them - my husband has stripped all the bushes at the allotment but there is still a box in the freezer for jam.

Later I take my scissors into the garden to cut wands of rosemary and suddenly I’m at a ‘Monkey’s Wedding. As a child growing up in Africa we used to call it that when it was raining and the sky was dark but the sun was shining at the same time. This evening in a small English garden the rain drops are a shimmering curtain of beads pattering onto the geranium pots. I snip my sprigs and dodge back into the kitchen. The pussy cat watches me from behind the patio doors. He seems his usual serene self and I’m relieved he hasn’t been sick for two days.

I chop the rosemary and toss it into the baking tray with lots of garlic and olive oil so the potato wedges and carrot sticks and onion quarters are all speckled green and sharply fragrant before I put them in the oven.

While the kitchen fills with the aroma of supper - and my father’s joint of beef is pot roasting above the potatoes - I start reading the book I ordered from Amazon recommended by a friend called ‘The Brain That Changes Itself’. I’m searching for something to confirm my intuition that a diagnosis is just that - information - and when the neurologist says ‘there is nothing you can do’ he may not be right.

They say, 'It’s never over till the fat lady sings'.......

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Luminous Moments

7th July 2011 Thursday

Some luminous moments in a day that I thought was packed too tightly to even catch my breath -

Opening a card from my father with a photo of an adorable rabbit on the front nibbling a clover leaf - he’s thanking me for the feel of his clean sheets and his fruit basket full of pears and my hugs - I think such small things to do for him - but they tell him he is loved, not forgotten - his kindness to me breaking open my heart.

Sitting with a dear friend in our living room with a pot of Earl Grey tea - we are both too busy in our lives. She tells me how, as women, we lose touch with our intuition, when we are exhausted, stretched, stressed. I feel the truth of it in my bones - the loss of it - that deep knowing, that inside listening - my wrung out rag doll flopped on the floor waiting to be kissed awake.

Thinking about the small helping of left over blackcurrant crumble in the fridge that I made for yesterday’s supper with two gorgeous women. I’m saving it for my husband. But I sneak a wine red spoonful anyway - the sharp tang of the fruit and the sweet almond topping are a match made in heaven on my tongue.

Loving the feel of my husband’s healing hands on my head, my eyes closed, sitting in a circle of friends, haunting and familiar Indian music entering and softening my racing heart.

Catching sight of my dear sweet sister coming through the barrier at the station from the London train - and later feeling her sadness, her loss of herself in her new retired life as we share a pot of tea at the table and the fat bar of hazelnut chocolate she brought with her.

Being kind to myself - trusting my intuition when it's time to stop writing - which is now.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The Moon and the Pussy Cat

6th July 2011 Wednesday

The moon guided me home tonight along the M5 - a shining marble slice, smudged behind smokey clouds. The pussy cat was on my mind - he has been all day. I took him to the vet again this morning - I found him weak and wobbly on his feet and he moaned when I picked him up. He left a claw in the vet’s arm, and a long bleeding scratch, when she tried to examine his abdomen. If he does have pancreatitis it’s difficult to treat without being invasive. She gave him an anti sickness injection. I cooked him coley but he didn’t eat much of it.

Tonight my friend said I should prepare for him to leave - that maybe this is his time to go. She has the ashes of her pets on the mantlepiece. But I don’t think I’ll ever be ready for that. I will ring our lovely animal healer tomorrow. The pussy cat likes her. So do I. Letting go feels like a long bumpy journey - I may need more than moonlight to guide me.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Sharpening The Pencils

5th July 2011 Tuesday

It’s still so light at 9 pm - the day lingers on and on.

I notice how much I have resisted writing again since we came back from North Wales with the turn-ups on my jeans full of sand and the memory of my three week old great nephew - the silky softness of his head imprinted, nuzzled, on my neck.

I notice too how I got lost in my family on holiday - old patterns re-surfacing - I was always the youngest - trying to catch up - ‘wait for me’. And this time torn between being with my husband and being with my siblings - where should I be? Wanting everyone to be happy - imagining I can mend it all....

Yesterday we drove up to Dartmoor - an invitation to lunch from some clients of my husband’s. I say,

Let’s go via Mortonhampstead.

I can tell my husband doesn’t know where that is although we have been there many times.

I say, It’s where we buy those cheese straws.

Then he remembers.

Now I can see that we need to learn a new language - words tagged with pictures, with memories. I have been resisting it. It feels like going back to writing in long hand with a pencil when typing is quicker. But if it keeps the channels open between us then I will keep sharpening those pencils - re-writing our scripts.