Monday, 14 August 2017

The Final Goodbye

On Sunday 
they came,
our families
our friends,
the ones who could.

To Robin's
on the hill.

And they brought 
a heavenly 
to share.

He wanted a 
"G&T Affair"
for his memorial
because he 
loved to see 

we raised glasses of
home made
Pink Elderflower Fizz
 to honour him 
and remember 

after we sang for him
 one last time,
it was 
the most

Wrapped up in 
 the final

And this is my last blog for a while as I'm off to Fiji  soon with my sisters to spend time with our brother on the other side of the world.

Back in mid- September.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Chaos in my Kitchen

The first fresh sweetcorn has arrived - so early - in the organic farmers' market.
When I'm queuing with my overflowing basket I overhear a man say -
Ah mealies!
So I lean across the carrots and spinach and say,

Ah, you must have an Africa connection..

 We chat  a bit awkwardly, briefly, and it turns out he has worked extensively in Zambia and South Africa....I only say I was born in Zambia but I don't have a chance to wonder if  he might have known my father and when I finish paying he has disappeared.... and I wish I'd been bolder. I'm not very good at taking to people at bus stops ...or in queues....not like my father who would have invited the man to tea in the space of 3 minutes.

The messy chaos of my kitchen today...creating lunch for Robin's family tomorrow....and finger food for the picnic on Sunday. The carrot and sweetcorn and walnut burgers were a good idea but they didn't stick together very we may end up with a lot of tasty crumbly bits.

I always have all my recipe books and files out at the same time....getting ideas....trying to remember where it was I read that particular recipe...searching on line.. Sometimes - like today - I plan a whole menu and then get inspired by picture or a dish in a magazine  and change my mind at the last minute....which can be risky and time consuming and can lead to mistakes...I made a whole upside down peach and polenta cake this afternoon and as soon as I put it in the oven I saw the measured jug of olive oil sitting on the counter which I'd neglected to add. Well, I'll find out tomorrow if it's a disaster or not.  There is always ice-cream in the freezer.

I haven't forgotten this weekend isn't about the food. It's is all about remembering Robin.....I just can't   quite imagine how to do it without him... 

Thursday, 10 August 2017



Busy productive.
Busy tired.
Busy cross.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Bear Footprint

My friend says whenever she drives past the places she used to take her father it makes her smile as she only has happy memories of him now. She says that one day it will be like that for me ....and just the  goodness will remain.
 It's not like that yet. I still go out of my way to avoid driving past the residential home Robin stayed in for a week so that I could have respite. He hated it stomach knots every time with guilt and shame....

Lying on the couch this afternoon in the peaceful room of my lovely crania-sacral healer she asks me to try letting go of my jaw - to let it drop just a open my mouth just a little ....and to take a breath. I had no idea....even at rest my muscles are coiled tight.
 Just unclenching a few millimetres, breathing a whole breath, brings the tears. She says she can feel the brokenness of my heart in my rib cavity ....the shock of the sudden impact .... the weight of a great wild bear leaving his footprint in my chest. 
She holds my head, my back...softly gently.... and I feel myself knit together a little....loose stitches in tight places.

Today I have been preparing for my visitors arriving at the weekend. And preparing for Robin's memorial picnic on Sunday. I'm busy baking and making food for family ....easier to do that than to breach the barrier.....let in the  true impact of the fact that I will be standing alone..... at the tower on the hill....  Robin's favourite place.....totally surrounded by the circle of our loved  ones....holding my bear footprint in my heart.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Shining Curves

My water butt is empty tonight. I'd be scraping the bottom of the barrel to write anything coherent.

So I'll let the shining curves of these smooth Budleigh pebbles filling up the bowl of our old 'water feature' that never worked for long, say it for me.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Cake, Coconut and Rain

More cake this weekend. Coconut Lime and Almond.

Chocolate Almond and Coconut. I'm  possibly overdoing it on the coconut front....and on the sprinkles front...

 This one is to celebrate the birthday of a visiting sweet niece.....eaten with  gorgeous cake forks - a gift from her sister when she lived in Beirut.

And a birthday supper ....Green Beans, Garlic and Tomato, roasted Mediterranean vegetables with  fresh dill and fennel, Beetroot, Carrot, Feta Cheese and Roasted Walnut Burgers -thank you Happy Pear for that recipe - slightly adapted by me of course with the addition of cumin and fresh coriander in place of the cheddar cheese.

We followed it with a Coconut Rice Pudding and a Spiced Plum Compote.

Coconut again but it's such a wonderful substitute if you are reducing dairy products in your diet. And it's also very guilt reducing for me with my addiction to rice pudding.

More rain today.

The garden loves it and it's what I wanted today - to stay quiet at home and come back to myself after  so much recent busyness.

It seems that it rained on this day 7th August 2012 - as my new iPhotos album tells me. 
This picture just popped up on my screen without me looking for it... we were visiting Wells Cathedral....I remember that day well.

Friday, 4 August 2017

How are you TODAY?

Yesterday's supper - hot rice penne pasta and a quorn mince tomato sauce -  is 

today's lunch - cold pasta in a garlicky tahini dressing, hummus and radish sprout salad.

Rather than asking me how I am, it's even better to ask how I am A wise friend whose husband died a few years ago taught me that. When she asked me like that it gave me permission to say,
I'm very wobbly today.....I might cry in a minute. But I was quite positive yesterday. 
And who knows how I'll be tomorrow.

I can't sum up how I am generally  - I can't remember anyway - but it helps me to ask myself
How am I now?And now? and now?
And then I know what to do. I know whatever it is it won't last .....happy or sad...I'm in constant flux. All of it .....couldn't be any other way.

 So I don't need to be cheerful when I'm not feeling cheerful. I don't need to put on my cheerful mask to protect you - and me - from my pain. Which I don't feel all the time. Just when I do.

Another old habit pattern to notice.

I noticed this busy female blackbird

pecking for grubs in the lawn, which has sprouted mushrooms,

while I was baking chocolate and orange cakes this morning.....

lovely therapy to distract me from all the much more difficult things I have to do.

And now I'm too tired to feel anything....or to write another word.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Also The Sun Rises

 The whole of me hurts tonight. Some kind of wild porcupine, rattling its quills, has taken up residence in my throat, my lungs, my heart, my ribs, my ears, my voice.

So no words of my own tonight  but this is a poem from

How to Survive the Loss of a Love by Bloomfield, Colgrove and Mc Williams in the chapter on As Healing Continues ....

A new morning 
of a
new life
without you.


There will be others
much finer
much mine-er.

And until then
there is me.

And because I treated 
I like me better.

Also, the sun rises.

I haven't got there yet.

 To fill this nothingness with me is just a leap of imagination too far.

So I make cakes instead.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Empty Arms

We are sitting on a mattress
on the polished wood floor
my therapist 
and I.

A pot of sage tea
a box of tissues
my back against 
the warm
The wind
 the window frames.

And now my cold has 
travelled to my chest.
 Breath shallow, 
a constant 

The twin wings of the 
lungs -

She hands me
a cushion
big and soft and creamy white 
big enough 
to envelop in my arms
the whole of my

She says,
Imagine this is Robin.
Hold him tight
As tight as you can.
I am going to 
try and take him from you.

She is strong
I am stronger.
A cushion vice.

The NO
 when it comes
from some  deep
inside me
a lioness
in the night
for her 
lost cub.

NO you can't go.
Don't leave me.
You can't go.

She pulls and yanks at the corner of the cushion
No you can't have him.

My whole body,
a weeping coracle, 
Holding on 
to my life.
 No, it's not true.
He isn't gone.

Look, I'm holding on
to this big warm soft
in my arms.
He must still be here.

I don't want to leave you,
he says.
 But let me go

And so
 in the
deadly deep
 of the cavern
the cord 

of my

Till I'm empty.

And the nothingness
in my arms

 So this is what it is
to have 
 had and to hold
 death us do part.

And to hold on to 
so tightly
is another kind 
of dying.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Ivy Jungle and Cake Therapy

Gossiping sparrows  on the fence. The fence that used to be covered with a thicket of dead and dying ivy. Now cleared away by a gardening friend and my brother. So lovely to have all this help. This afternoon we took a carload of the ivy jungle to the composting re-cycling dump. It has been squatting in a huge building bag on the patio for a few weeks now, obscuring my view of the  begonias and geraniums in the garden, always reminding me it's a job still to do. And now it's done.

It was also a day to make cakes. The best thing to do after a day in bed,  still feeling the effects of a bug. A Coconut and Lime latest version  of a Lemon Drizzle Cake - dairy and gluten free.  I have eight cakes to make for the day after the wedding of my friends' daughter and this is one of them.

 Baking is my best therapy.