Friday, 30 June 2017

A Low Day

I cancel my appointments...stay in bed long into the afternoon nursing my sore and swollen face...reading ......dozing....feeling ill......feeling separate. 

A low day.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow....

A friend asks me if I know any good sayings about love and marriage to have at her daughter's wedding.
Of course my first thought is Kahil Gibran's The Prophet....

And what of marriage, master? one another but make not a bond of love
...........give your hearts but not into each other's keeping 
for only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.....

And he says lots more. Someone read it for us at our wedding.

This is what he says in answer to

Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow....

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises
was oftentimes filled with your tears.......


When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth
you are weeping for that which has been your delight.....

Not always in my case....but I want it to be true.

No words tonight.....the paracetamol has worn off and it's not just my mouth that hurts....can your whole life and soul ache like the torn cavity of a lost tooth?

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Hole in my Jaw

A bird commotion - squawking alarm  -  draws me outside to the bottom of the garden. I find this blackbird resting on the fence.....recovering.

His head looks like it may have been in the mouth of a cat....mauled  and scraggy.

Or maybe it was a territory fight with another bird....

I feel ragged and sore after my tooth extraction this morning. In spite of gentle dentist and massing the angels for help and deep breathing, I shook with fear all the way through the procedure. Which was short, only involving rocking and tugging and no cutting or stitches and painless because of all the novacaine. He said it was clean  - no amalgam chips left in my jaw.

 Still I feel a bit traumatised.  And cross that I can't eat or chew anything. The right side of my mouth is very sore. I'm treating myself with homeopathic remedies. And all day I've been treating myself to lovely smoothies and indulging in watching DVDs on the sofa with the heating turned on.

But like the blackbird recovering on the fence, I'll rest a while, before I muster  the courage to look at the  hole in my jaw - empty and aching and bloody.

 Lunch - A green smoothie - mostly spinach and celery and cucumber which I have an abundance of in the fridge.
Supper -  a fruit smoothie -  coconut milk, strawberries, raspberries and the mango from heaven.

And later a drink of  thick hot chocolate made with melted 70 percent dark and honey - almost a smoothie...

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

A Thousand Serious Moves

Too tired to write my own words tonight after lovely but long day with dear friend in Dorset.

A message from the Universe in my inbox today...

Never regret love, Trish. No matter how blind, it improved your vision. No matter how foolish, it made you wiser. And no matter how generous, it made you more.

But it's not love I'm regretting....

And this from Hafiz in I Heard God Laughing.


What is the difference
Between your experience of Existence 
And that of a saint?

The saint knows 
That the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game played with God.

And that the Beloved
Has just made such a Fantastic Move

That the saint is now continually 
Tripping over Joy
And bursting out in Laughter
And saying, "I Surrender!"

Whereas, my dear,
I'm afraid you still think

You have a thousand serious moves.

Sometimes when I slip into my regrets 
I tell myself over and over
It couldn't have been any other way.
None of it.
All of it,
all of me 
and all of him
and all that happened
and all that didn't happen
couldn't have been any other way.

To Surrender to that
would begin to
the number of serious moves I think I have,
zig-zagging me closer 
towards Kindness
to myself.
Even if still 
a long way from 

Monday, 26 June 2017


Delphinium blue.....


Hydrangea..... all in the gardens at Killerton House on Sunday.

I have been upright all weekend.
 Backbone firm, resolute. Al dente.
 Sunday evening though I'm wiping up the crumbs speckling the tea tray
 with a damp blue cloth.
It's the oval wooden tray I used to lay up for his supper every night.
I ate my green salad and slice of pizza from it tonight.
Not thinking about him.

But slotting it away along the side of the food mixer,
next to the small wooden tray I usually use
 the ghost of all those scrambled eggs on toast 
smothered with the sweet chilli sauce he loved,
knocks my breath out.
Pouffe! I am cooked spaghetti,
 and my backbone bends, 
drapes me forwards first over the counter
then loops me down to the hard floor 
a useless carapace for the 
aching hollow 
 where my heart 
used to live.

The ghost of his arms
holding my back
is not enough
to dam
the flood.

I use the damp blue cloth
to wipe that up,
that salty, snotty puddle.

What a wet and messy business
it is 
to mourn 
the heat of
another's heart. 
Solid, regular,
against your own.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Habit of a Lifetime

I overdid it in the garden today. 
My friend comes with his
hedge clippers
gives straggly bushes 
short haircuts.

After he leaves
I carry on 
pruning and 
sweeping and
a cavernous
 building bag of 
and dead wood
into the 
giant bins
at the re-cycling tip.

I like the idea of 
pacing myself.
Stopping to rest
for a cup of tea,
for lunch.
Stopping before
every muscle and bone
and creaks.

But it's like
trying on 
a shorter shirt
wearing a different

It feels unfamiliar
to be gentle
to listen 
to the voice of
when it 
to me.

To protect my 
arthritic fingers.

When there is still so much
to do.
While I still can.

And a habit of a lifetime
to change.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Mango Heaven and 1976

My first Honey Mango of the year. They are the best champagne of the mango world.  The flesh is the colour of Cling peaches and apricots.....the texture on your tongue is soft slippery satin.... the taste is rich gold nectar of the gods... the scent is honeysuckle and frangipani verging on the edge of overripe exotic.

When I worked at Sharwoods' many years ago I knew them as Alphonso mangoes. Their origin is in Mexico but these are from Pakistan. Their season is short lived hence their expense and rarity.

I attempt to bargain with the Indian shopkeeper in the Continental Stores ....if I buy two boxes of the biggest ones will he give me a discount?
He snorts in derision and says yesterday he ordered one hundred boxes - 6 mangoes in a box - and they only sent fifty. And they will all be gone by tonight. I believe him. And willingly pay full price for my golden treasure.

At home this afternoon while I'm peeling my mango, the sky darkens and threatens thunder and rain.  I rinse my juice dripping fingers and rush about the house, closing all the doors and windows which have been wide open for days to try and get some relief from the rare blistering heat which has been burning us up for the last week.

The newspaper says that yesterday was the hottest day in this country since June 1976. It was the summer I finished my teacher's training certificate in Oxford.......the summer all the grass died and turned tinder brown....the summer I lost my first true love.

This evening the rain doesn't arrive but the sultry, thundery tension lingers in the air, leaving me headachy and unsettled.....I'd got used to it so quickly, the new drenching heat..... suddenly it's gone again, another breaking wave ....another abandonment.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Food For Friends

 Feta, Sweet Potato, Pea and Asparagus Frittata.

Roast chunks of sweet potato, butternut squash and onion quarters in a shallow baking dish. 

When they are soft and catching colour, sprinkle over crumbled feta cheese, petit pois, chopped grilled asparagus spears and sliced fennel and red pepper. 

Pour over the egg mixture - beaten eggs, chopped dill and parsley and spring onion, S &P.

Finish with a fine grating of Parmesan cheese and return to the oven and bake till just cooked through and firm and golden on the top.

 On Sunday, I took this frittata for a lunch to share after a long trek

through the wilds of sweltering Somerset with a lovely walking group of friends. I managed not to expire after two and a half hours - sustained by kind conversation, beautiful views, shady pit stops and bottles of tepid water. And the thought of lunch ahead in a cool farmhouse garden.

Lunch to share today with 2 gorgeous women. My contribution - walnut and roasted pumpkin seed savoury rice with fried banana plantain slices - which I wanted to experiment with. There was a lovely African woman buying plantains in the International Stores where I was shopping so I asked her for a recipe. And she said fry them and serve with a spicy tomato and onion sauce.

I was going to make my standby green beans, garlic and tomatoes but as I didn't have enough green beans I cooked up a mish mash of all the vegetables I had left in the fridge with baby tomatoes and a whole bulb of wet green garlic to serve with the rice and plantains.

It all dovetailed beautifully with the green garden salad, boiled eggs and olives, butter bean hummus, rice, veggie and bean salad and fresh baked Life Changing Loaf of bread containing no wheat flour or yeast. A veritable feast for friends.

But it was the laughing and listening and crying and sharing that nourished me the most.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Balloon Garden Tour and Watermelon Tears

This morning from my kitchen armchair I'm watching this pigeon, one of a pair, quenching her thirst,

when  a birthday balloon, one of a pair, floats over the honeysuckle fence from next door and makes a little bouncing tour of the garden,

buffeting itself over the daisies like an enchanted ballerina.

I catch it before it snags on a rose bush and bat it gently back over the fence.  I'm rewarded with a little voice saying thank you floating back to me through the honeysuckle thicket.

This is Africa hot for me - this enervating sticky heat that I used to love but it just makes me cross and lethargic now. This afternoon I can only lie on top of the counterpane on my bed, the curtains blowing into the room, and read my book trying to ignore the black fly beating itself against the window pane - a tiny demented Dalek.

It's too hot to eat much so all I want is slice after slice of this crisp perfumed watermelon, not caring about the juice dripping down my chin like tears.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Rose Petal Ritual


I wake early after a hot restless night
with a longing for the ocean,

and drive to the place where the estuary flows into the sea at Budleigh Salterton.

The last time I threw wild  flowers into the sea for Robin was in Portugal on his birthday .

That time the waves swallowed them up so fast and I lost sight of them in seconds. 

This time my gold and amber rose petals falter in the shallow water on the river's edge,

and linger round smooth pebbles before a current catches some of them

and they drift towards the bigger rougher sea.

There was another time, in the winter time, when I did this same ritual in exactly this same place....standing with my father and my sister....throwing dried red rose petals into this estuary .....honouring and remembering my cousin who died when he was even younger than Robin.

Although you aren't supposed to take them away, I choose some lovely pebbles that I think Robin would like -  speckled, veined, polished ovals and hearts -  and I fill my small rucksack, 

bring them to his grave,

 scattering the rest of the rose petals over him,

light and soft as ashes.