Monday, 31 July 2017


Connecting in the sea at 

Budleigh Salterton on Saturday

on Connected Humanity Day, at the request of my nephew who was 40 years old on that day.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could always remember we are human beings first before our nationality or gender or age....the place where we are really connected - our hearts. And then acted accordingly. 
I notice how quickly I can get disconnected even from the people I love when I'm angry resentful and judgemental.

Help change the world on Connected Humanity Day
On Saturday 29th July, take someone’s hand, find some connected water (stream, river or the sea) and simply paddle in it to show and share your belief in Connected Humanity.
If you want to, think about the many others around the world connected by the same water and choose what you want to do to help connect humanity.
If you can, take a photo of your feet in the water and post it on the Connected Humanity Facebook page ( with a message about what you plan to do.
Get connected: to people and the planet
Live lightly: slow down a little and try giving more than you take Laugh more: share your joy with others 

Connecting with Robin.

Just as my brother and I were leaving,  this sweet Robin flew down into the memorial garden next to Robin's  grave, perched on a post and waited patiently for me to take a photo of him. 

"Oh, it's Uncle Robin " as my great nephew says now whenever he sees a Robin in the garden. I think it is too.

Today I've been laid low with a sore throat and a cold. So I stayed in bed, slept and read and dosed myself with hot lemon, ginger and honey. I let myself disconnect from all of the things I have to do and sink into the null and void of an unexpectedly cancelled day. 

 Maybe one day I'll find a way to take a day off from my whirling dervish to-do list without having to be ill first.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Today summer disappeared.

Tomatoes, elephant garlic and basil waiting to go in the oven to roast this evening.

You'd think it was summer with all the wonderful variety of vegetables on offer but today summer disappeared into cold wind, spitting rain and dense cloud....almost autumnal.

Salad supper.... raw sweetcorn kernels, fresh peas, courgette, asparagus and pumpkin seeds in Carluccio's lemon oil....

carrot and beetroot and sesame in a pomegranate molasses and lime dressing ....

 which we ate with cumin spiked hummus and roasted sweet potato chips.

Cooking for two again is absorbing and keeps me from thinking too much about Robin.

A magpie pecking holes in the apples. But I don't mind.... fewer to pick in the autumn....which may already be arriving.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Moment of Gold

Some random photos - these are from our trip to Antalya in Turkey in 2009 -  scrolling through my photo library....looking for ones to delete.  There are many of those....a job to be done. A non urgent job which may never get done.

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the more urgent things there are to do in the next few weeks before I go away.

So I make supper for me and my brother. Chop onions and garlic .... hot fruity olive oil in the pan...scoot in the first knobby purple red brandy wine tomatoes I bought in the market this morning...a handful of sliced green beans from my sister's garden...a big spoon of vegetable bouillon..... a scattering of  emerald green parsley..... and soon the kitchen is steaming with savoury fragrance.

 Which calms me and keeps me in the urgent task of stirring my tomatoey garlicky stew with  a wooden spoon making sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.

 Keeping me in the moment of gold.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

The Gold in the Moment

I bought a new computer today. A super duper slim line version of my MacBook Pro.
It took nearly four hours and a phone call to the nice Apple support people - somewhere in Greece -  to transfer all my data.  Ninety nine percent of my data is my photo library.  I find the whole technology  thing - understanding it and using it - stressful and exhausting. 

 Having a new computer feels like learning a new life.  I know I need to but I want to hang on to the old familiar one which doesn't work properly but at least it's familiar.

A friend sent me this from the Tibetan Buddhist nun and teacher, Pema Chodron  "When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times" which I find comforting and inspiring. 

It keeps bringing me back to the gold in the moment, staying in the distress and the pain....not thinking there is anywhere else to be anything else to do....except of course I forget to do it....till the moment has passed.  Which is the moment to forgive myself.

Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.

Life is a good teacher and a good friend. Things are always in transition, if we could only realize it. Nothing ever sums itself up in the way that we like to dream about. The off-center, in-between state is an ideal situation, a situation in which we don’t get caught and we can open our hearts and minds beyond limit. It’s a very tender, nonaggressive, open-ended state of affairs.

To stay with that shakiness — to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge — that is the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic — this is the spiritual path. Getting the knack of catching ourselves, of gently and compassionately catching ourselves, is the path of the warrior. We catch ourselves one zillion times as once again, whether we like it or not, we harden into resentment, bitterness, righteous indignation — harden in any way, even into a sense of relief, a sense of inspiration.

This very moment is the perfect teacher, and it’s always with us.
We can be with what’s happening and not dissociate. Awakeness is found in our pleasure and our pain, our confusion and our wisdom, available in each moment of our weird, unfathomable, ordinary everyday lives.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Busy Bird Life

I was going to write a particular blog tonight ....something I wanted to say.... but the time has run away with me...I got absorbed in something else... so I'm taking care of myself and going to bed instead.

So tonight it's just this sweet young bird cleaning herself on my hanging basket hook....a  bit blurred through the spitting rain and the glass of the patio door.

 Just getting on with her busy bird life. All instinct and feathers and a tiny beating heart.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Courgettes and Jam and Suitcases

My next door neighbour keeps giving me wonderful courgettes from their allotment. And as I'm not eating many vegetables at the moment because of my dodgy gut I made her a courgette cake to say thank you. Based on Nigella Lawson's recipe -  Flora's Famous Courgette Cake - I leave out the raisins and add lemon and lime zest instead and use a jar of lemon curd for the filling.

I also made jam for her out of the black currants she gave me. Supplemented by a box of them still in the freezer that Robin picked 2 years ago...or more probably. There wasn't quite enough to fill the last jar so I'll keep this one.

I sometimes get the Guardian free from Waitrose on a Saturday but I hardly ever get through it. I can't stomach the news at the moment.

First ripe apple on our tree.

The buddliea is nearly over. I've been picking it and filling a big brass jug of their curving stems for the kitchen table....depriving the butterflies but filling the air inside with its summer perfume.

I've been shopping today - buying things for my trip to Fiji with my sisters later next month. I keep buying mistakes though that I have to suitcases. A pink one, a turquoise one.

The sales are on which I find curiously magnetic -  encouraging me to think I need things I definitely don't.....but maybe I don't have to be sensible all the time.

Friday, 21 July 2017

After The Rain

After the rain this evening.

All day I stay inside, working at the kitchen table. The rain hammers on the conservatory plastic roof so loudly that I have to go into the sitting room and close the door so I can hear myself talk on the phone.

Later I fall asleep under a soft blanket on the sofa.

I feel a cold creeping into my head and my nose. 

Denial and its aftermath is exhausting.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

In Denial.

My head knows it's true.

Here are the words. On a brass plaque. 
The nails rusting.
The wood cracking.
So it's not a new cross.
But it is a recent fact.
9 months old.

The grass is growing in the red clay
where his body is
below the roses
I placed there 
So I can touch 
and see
and smell
the truth 
that he is gone.
I hear it with my knowing 

My heart on the other hand
is a skittering butterfly
dragging a ripped wing
 of torn silk
in a frenzy of searching 
for him
the truth.
in the 

But my gut
held in that deep bowl of
is telling me 
And it has been warning me for weeks now.
holding on
to the 
in each cell,
letting go,
in a rage of
the fact 

At least I know now
and it is a 
to admit it.
I'm in denial.
My head
 knows it's true
my heart
 is a suppurating lake
 my gut
doesn't believe it.

 And with good reason,
but not a rational one.

Why would I want to 
an unbearable

You can't fly 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

A Ritual

Late afternoon yesterday, walking in Mincing Lake Park with my brother,
stabs of lightening immediately followed by harsh whip lashes of thunder bring a stinging waterfall of rain....soaking through our thin shirts in seconds. A mile away my nearly dry washing on the spinner is also caught in the deluge.

Not as serious though as for the people of Coverack on the Lizard in Cornwall who could have drowned in their homes in minutes.

The storm in the night, the constant crack and roll of thunder, kept me orchestral symphony to  accompany my usual 3am worrying.

Ripe blackberries in the park in July. What's happening? Aren't they supposed to be ready in the we can make blackberry and apple crumbles....the apples on our tree in the garden are little green bullets still.
Robin wouldn't have cared about the month - he would have just picked them, sour or not, his favourite task on any walk in the countryside. And insisted I try them even though I like my blackberries super sweet.

This afternoon my sister and brother and I take perfumed roses, buddleia cones and lavender wands from our gardens to our parents' grave which we weeded and cleaned ....remembering my mother who died 9 years ago last week. Our big sister would have come if she could. Later at the Boston Tea Party cafe in Honiton,we clinked cups of hot chocolate and shared coconut flapjacks and a sticky brownie and thanked them for our existence...and their love.

I love this ritual we have created for them. More and more I can see the value of a ritual long as it is fresh each time. We don't need to go their grave to be reminded of them but it does bring us closer - the dead and the living - in this act of celebrating on a particular remember and honour the ones we love.