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Saturday, 31 December 2011

Farewell 2011.....

Well, here we are on the last day of 2011, and time to reflect on the last year. Tomorrow is about looking forward, to-day about looking back.
So, for a start I thought I'd share with you a few images from 2011.

Boxes.....we moved house -I can't believe we have not been here a year yet!

Beautiful walks....I love going on walks and capturing the beauty of nature, this was a particularly beautiful bluebell wood. I love the way the light leads you through the trees.

Thailand..and the gorgeous D, who gives her life selflessly to work with the children at the Orphanage each day.

A wedding!!! Yes Kate and Wills got married....and bunting was needed.....

This shot was taken at a wedding I went to this week, I love the way the light captures the glass, simple, clear and beautiful.
This year we have done so many different things, and had many new experiences, things as I have said before I would never would have thought possible. It has been good to be stretched, challenged and have had all the many opportunities.
One conversation that has stayed with me all year is the one Em and I had on 'the landscape of life'. It has been very apt for this year, as both Em and I have written about different parts of the landscape we have faced. I have continual struggles with time, not having enough, wanting more space, not knowing what to do when I have space, and trying to know how God wants me to spend my time. I have learnt even more the importance of having time for people, of making yourself available, of the small connections with others that can mean so much. It has been a year where I have strived to live better, to find rest in God and to be different. I have learnt to step outside my comfort zone and that has felt good.
It has also been a real battle in places, but that is part of the landscape, and of learning to walk within in it. Days are for making the most of the time you have- and sometimes it is the small things that count the most.


Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas Eve

Christmas.... It's a real stir on the emotions. Last night we had a party for Christmas, and invited all the people we care about to come. The house buzzed with noise, music played, wine (and gin was drunk) and we danced. It was carefree, fun and one of those times when you forget all your concerns and have a good time. Christmas, a good reason to party. Tonight Ellie wrote her letter to Father Christmas. She knows he is not real, but the magic continues. She told Father Christmas the very important fact that we had moved house, so he knew to find her room. Tonight at 5 I realised that I should be doing things like stuffing a turkey. I've bought the sausage meat, but don't really know what to do with it. See that was my mums job, she did it every Christmas as she knew I hated touching raw meat. That's thing about Christmas- as well as the fun times it emphasises the gap were people were, the people we love and miss. My lot is not hard, and many people have a very hard Christmas to face, but I still feel the sadness. Christmas is about hope and joy of the baby born out of chaos, who as a man led the way to God for us, to help us live our daily lives of opposites. Serious stuff over, I need to go and find Delia to tell me how to stuff a turkey.....


Monday, 19 December 2011

Chance Meetings

I blogged earlier in the year about a chance meeting..well it happened again to-day. I was bag packing in Waitrose, and it was my turn to have a break. I sat down on the bench, and as I did so an old man came over. He was slightly bent over, and pushing one of those shopping carts old people have. He stopped by me, and told me that he always sorted his shopping after he had bought it into the right order in his bag.
He had a nice smile, and I asked if he needed help. He went on to tell me how 40 years ago he had been in Bethlehem to see the crib, how quiet it had been, and how he didn't realise at the time how lucky he was. Here was someone else, who on the outside looks just like an old man struggling with his shopping, but on talking has had an amazing life. He carried on telling me more, I listened. As he was about to go he turned round and said-' I shouldn't really says this- but I didn't think I'd be here for Christmas, I've got cancer and they told me I wouldn't make it.' He told me his wife had died 3 years ago, they'd been married 52 years, and the day after the funeral he had been told he had cancer. Wow....how hard must that be on your own after 52 years married. I wanted to talk to him more, visit him, but all I could say was 'God Bless'. Days are about having time for people, those chance meetings, that show you again not to judge by the outside, and to have time for people's stories.


Saturday, 17 December 2011

Messy Christmas

Well this week has been the normal whirl of work and life, so much so that at the end of the week I am exhausted. I started off quite organised for Christmas,Ive now got a week to go and no presents wrapped, run out of Christmas cards and a small matter of a party to organise. I was reading the paper yesterday and there was an article about a talk the Archbishop of Cantebury had given. He was saying that Christmas from Mary and Joseph's side was not perfectly planned, they had to make an unexpected journey, had no where booked to stay and lots of unexpected peope arrive. In yet within that Jesus came. I like that, it's a really good reminder that I don't have to be perfectly organised at Christmas, it can be chaotic and messy, but God is still there. So I'm going for the messy Christmas and it will be ok. One of the best bits is going to be spending time on my home territory with Em. Time for friends, perfect.


Saturday, 10 December 2011


Alot can change in a year. A year ago I was in the middle of clearing out my mums house, and still very raw with grief. The thought of going to Thailand during the next year was not even in my mind, and other things were my focus. Tonight I held a fundraiser to get some money for those beautiful children I met in Thailand. If you had told me a year ago that I would have organised a fundraising evening I never would have believed you, and never would have believed that I would go to Thailand. That's the amazing thing about God, he knows the plans he has for us even when we can't see it and have no idea it is even on the horizon. He can take us, and just turn us around. My job is still really hard, I miss my Mum and sometimes my head feels like it wants to explode, in yet God can still take me and turn my life around, taking me to unexpected places and situations. Amazing,it makes you wonder what will happen in the next year....


Friday, 25 November 2011

Skimming the water

Well, haven't posted in ages..... It is very hard when battling with stress to feel
creative enough to write, and find inspiration or head space... So thought I better break my period of silence. Yesterday I didn't have a car, so had to walk to work. I started off with my laptop in my rucksack, and feeling like it could be a trudge. But it was a beautiful morning, and suddenly walking seemed liberating . It gave me space to think, to breathe in the air, unwinde the brain, and more importantly notice everything round, somethings that in a car just passes you by. Walking through the University I passed over a bridge, and as I went over there was a flapping and a splash. Ducks were skimming across the water and landing, not just one but several. They seemed to be doing it just for fun, and someone else near me on the bridge stopped to look at nature enjoying itself. As I walked to face another crazy day I saw the freedom and beauty of nature, and wanted to be one of those birds flying and skimming....
The image stayed with me through the day, so often I can sink with all that is happening around me, I want to be able to fly above that, to skim.... The opportunity to walk due to a broken car gave me more than I could ever have thought. I'm hoping this is the start of creativity being allowed to come back in my head.....


Monday, 7 November 2011


this weekend i was in reading visiting jane.  it was great to catch up and actually talk and share a glass of wine face to face.  it was long overdue.  we have a shorthand of years that is comforting and i am grateful for our friendship.  this weekend involved more cooking together than we have done before, ever.  parkin. treacle toffee. butternut squash soup.  all to celebrate bonfire night.  we notched up two celebrations, jane reminded me to take my camera to the second.  it turns out that was the only thing i took pictures of. the rest of the time we were too busy chatting.



Thursday, 3 November 2011

... happiness is ...

... a good nights sleep ...
... watching the autumn leaves change colour ...
... ticking items off a "to do" list ...
... buying a new record and knowing on first listen it will be one you go back to again and again ...
... cooking dinner in a newly fitted oven, first time in over two months ...
... a very chilled glass of sparkling wine ...
... a stroll in the fresh air, with or without wind ...
... packing for a weekend with good friends and not even minding having to do the ironing ...
... finding yourself when you didn't realise you were lost ...


Friday, 28 October 2011

friendship at forty

last weekend i went home to the motherland.  i was born in edinburgh.  it's a long time since i've been to scotland.  i was surprised at how excited i was.  i went with nine other friends to celebrate our friend rachel's big birthday.  it was fab. lots of food, quite a bit of wine mixed with a dash of culture. with the help of all the girls i put together a photo book to show how we all knew her. she knew nothing about it. i was pleased with how it came out but i was even more pleased by how much she loved it. 


Monday, 17 October 2011

"one's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things"

this year i was certain i wanted change.  i have written about it here.  i have pondered it. it is easy to look at external circumstances and think; if only i had a better job, more money, a larger house, a better car everything would be fine.  yet if i had all those things; i would still be me, just with more stuff.  these past few weeks i have experienced circumstances that have challenged me like i have never been challenged before.  i have come to realise that the thing i need to change the most is me. at first it was the small things.  the taking for granted things.  the not noticing what is in front of you things.  the running away from things.  but gradually i realised that it was the larger things.  the attitudes.  the thought processes.  the held onto hurts. unintentionally i lost sight of myself.  last year i took part in a month long online flickr group for the website habit.  it is one of my favourite sites. it's a project for noticing everyday things.  the women who uploaded photographs were amazing and inspired me to look harder and take better pictures.  i was happy to upload alongside them. two days before the end of the month this picture of mine was selected and published on the website.  i was ecstatic.   

now the challenge to me is to notice myself.  to notice when i close down.  to notice when i am hard and harsh.  to notice when and where i need to take responsibility and when i need to lighten up. i need to notice that i try everyday. this photo was printed and framed and given to me by a man who was proud and knew what it meant to me to have had it published on-line.  it sits on a shelf in my lounge. a year ago i didn't realise what a grand gesture that was. 


Wednesday, 28 September 2011


i've been away.  not away, away.  but in my head away.  i'm still away.  i will be back.  soon, i'm sure.  last night i went outside just as the sun was setting, the sky was tinted pink.  it's the first time i have wanted to reach for my camera for weeks.


Wednesday, 14 September 2011


i had a great weekend at harvest at jimmy's.  tagging along with my brother and his family it was great to spend time, eat, drink and play together.  i got one on one niece action too.  it was fab.


Thursday, 8 September 2011

the greatest thing you'll ever learn

today is a race against time.  or at least it feels like it.  too much work to fit into too little time.  in an effort to speed up my work rate I listened again to guy garvey on 6musiche played this songi remember hearing this song in moulin rouge and feeling as if i knew it, in fact hummed along to it but couldn't place where i had heard it before.  i  think this may be the original.  please welcome, mr nat king cole.



Wednesday, 7 September 2011

last night

i went to a friends to pick up some camping gear.  i'm under canvas this weekend. at a food festival.  very exciting.  only i don't camp.  i don't have the gear.  luckily i have friends who do so i can borrow.  thanks to wendy i am all kitted out.  she also fed me.  very nice it was too.  whilst we were sat sharing a glass of wine the light changed.  i grabbed my camera this is what i saw

if you look very closely (you will need to click to see the big picture) you can see a second rainbow.


Silver or Gold?

Ok.... I know that it's what inside that counts... That appearances don't matter and I still look 35 (or at least in my head). However, got a huge event at work on Friday and need to look the part, and feel confident. So as every girl knows the answer is a new outfit, as nothing feels so good as putting on a brand new dress or skirt and feeling special.
So, equipped with credit card I go on my hunt for an outfit. I try on a red suit (thinking colour equals confidence) but according to my son look like a tomato. Head to safe old Next and find a dress and jacket I love, and standing outside the changing rooms admire myself in the mirror thinking this is it. At which point a lady standing in the changing room informs mean I need jewerelly, and it needs to be gold as you get to a certain age and silver apparently ages you, leaving you washed out. I am now two inches tall. I love silver, and hate gold (in my head gold is old fashined, not cool, and for old people). I love silver and all my jewerelly is silver. Then my head is reeling, as it also means to a stranger I look like someone who needs to be told how to dress to look younger, which means I definitely don't look 35, and am obvioulsy looking old! Even worse this is on a day when I'm not tired as just back from holiday!!!
So the question to muse yourself with today, is at what age do you need to pack away the silver and bring out the gold....-and what do I do on Friday?


Monday, 5 September 2011


i went with a friend to visit another friend in york.  beautiful city.  we ate.  we did some shopping.  we walked.   a lot.  we also went to the minster where i

lit a candle.

thought of jane.

stood tall.

marveled at the organ.

looked up.


Sunday, 4 September 2011

Chance meetings

Well, we've recently been away to Devon for the week, staying near a beautiful beach, managing to catch some last moments of summer sun and still enjoying building sandcastles even though we are all over 8:) All perfect except for the lack of internet.....so this is a delayed post.

We decided to go out for dinner. The place we wanted to go was fully booked, so we wandered up the hill and stopped at a place where a good cup of coffee had been drunk earlier in the day. They had a table if we didn't mind waiting for ten minutes. We waited eyeing the table of the family who were about to go so we could have their seats....then unexpectedly the table by the window with the sea view became empty first, and we were given the spot.
All happy and relaxed we chatted away...discussing whether to visit a nearby island the following day. Before we knew it a lady at the next table said 'I hope you don't mind me interrupting but...'.and started giving us friendly advice on where to go. Rather than turning back to our table we carried on talking, she had visited this part of Devon since she was a girl, her and her husband now in their sixties. As we talked the richness of their lives opened up...story after story of where they had lived round the world. Then Ellie piped up that it had been her birthday. When was it asked the lady? 6th August said Ellie. The lady looked taken a back- that's the same as mine'. A bond was formed, more conversations had and a hug on leaving.
We will never see them again- in yet in that hour we shared our lives, and they were more than strangers sitting on a table near us in the restaurant.
Don't you just love it when life brings people across your path,  people who you don't even know their name,  but you will still wonder about from time, people whose conversations made you reflect....true chance encounters.


i found them...

...at the bottom of the stairs...

...so cute.


Thursday, 1 September 2011

i got carried away

i opened the curtains and saw sunshine and blue sky.  i got dressed accordingly.  i opened the back door to take a picture of the sight.  it's the 1st of september.  i'm off to get my cardi.


Wednesday, 31 August 2011


i have written about wanting to embrace change over the past few weeks, this is somewhat of a work in progress for me.  last night while sat at the computer i looked up.  this is where i sit to write posts.

in recent times this area has acquired an invisible string from which to hang works of art i  receive from my nieces.  the only other piece of paper that is hung there is a page ripped out of a magazine with quotes related to travel.  i have looked at this many times, have even included it in my posts here.  i don't think i had ever really registered this henry miller quote previously "one's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things"  how true mr miller, how true.


Saturday, 27 August 2011

old friends

when jane and i were at school we each had another close friend.  there were four of us who hung out together.  of the four, i am the only one who stayed where we met as teenagers, studying at the university of life.  yesterday i caught up with one of the four, this time catching up with her little ones too.  i love that no matter how long it is since you have seen any child if you are willing to get down on the floor and play they are so inclusive.  fairy wands and crowns were made and coloured in.  brightly coloured toys provided imaginative play.  i could happily fit an hour like this into any day, if only we didn't live so far apart.


Friday, 26 August 2011

Bridget Jones Part 2

OK.....well I know this picture looks odd....but here goes. It's Friday, its been a long week and I'm tired. As an aside why when I have more free time do I fill it with more work? My mantra seems to be have space work harder....anyhow thats a blog for another day. So to-day have a meeting with an external client, need to be looking smart, I look down to discover that the jacket I grabbed in a rush this morning is not the matching suit jacket to my trousers.....Yes they both might be grey, but different stitching, different patterns..I don't match!!! Some days its hard to be professional:)
On a different note going to see One Day tonight.....it was from reading that book that Em and I got inspired with 'What are days for'... so thank-you One Day, and Philip Larkin.


Thursday, 25 August 2011

Bridget Jones

Well....left work later than I should....was going to leave at 5, before I knew it was 5.45pm....so got home at 6, and still had to go to Waitrose for ingredients....guests arriving for dinner at 7.30pm...Hmmm all that relaxed cooking with glass of wine in hand out the window.
So plan for curry still good, definitely no time to cook pudding. Ingredients chopped, curry cooking 7.25pm and everything is going well.

So curry done. Now for pudding. Close the kitchen door ...box out of fridge no one will know...

Fruit arranged carefully on top...plan complete.

Then realised I'd left the cardboard on the bottom.....sometimes you just have to smile and accept that you are not quite in control:)


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

dear friends

yesterday i started singing a song.  it came out of nowhere.  i love it when that happens.  especially if it happens while i'm in the shower.  you know you are onto a winner if you are singing a song in the shower that came out of nowhere.  it's going to be a good day.  yesterday i started singing around 3.30pm.  last night i tried to find a suitable online link to share it.  none availed.  it's an album track not a single.  today i was still singing it.  whilst swapping radio stations, 6music offered up a link to a series they are doing on the mercurys.  last night they broadcast a show that features elbow's guy garvey talking about the album build a rocket boys! it plays the record while guy explains what each song is about.  the song i have been singing for the last two days is dear friends, the last one on the record.  mr garvey explains that it is the song that elbow are most proud of, not just on this record but possibly ever.  now there is a recommendation if ever i heard one. go listen.  find out what it is all about, all i can say is i echo the sentiment.  i hope they win. again.  


Monday, 22 August 2011


Well, I could write today of how my brain has tortured itself with over analysis, of how the clear moments have been rare and of the feelings that feeds... However I'm not going to give in to more self absorption. Instead I am going to panic.... We have friends coming over for dinner on Wednesday, lovely people, but the kind of friends who you don't see that often even though they live close, and worse than that, they can cook!! I have spent the evening searching Jamie and Nigella for inspiration... Waiting for them to talk to me of a meal I can cook after a day at work which will be suitably impressive that I look in control of life. I'm gambling on a curry as that doesn't have to look good... But as for pudding? Well it could be a chocolate cake, but chances of me managing to do a cake and curry after work are slim... So then it's a berry flan thing, that looks perfect in the picture, but I can see it crumbling to pieces on the plate..... So figuring either Bridget Jones moment will be happening on Wednesday, or Waitrose out of the box on a plate who will know?
I'll let you know how it turns out:)


Sunday, 21 August 2011


the knock on the door was met with panic.  nightwear was still being worn.  it was after ten.  on a saturday morning.  the door was opened.  "flowers, you must have a secret admirer" he said.  "it will be jane" i said.  i was right.  days are for flowers and friendship.  thank you my friend.  


Thursday, 18 August 2011

Me again:)

This is Jane here, the one who is not as faithful in her blog posts, and after a flurry in Thailand has not got back into a pattern since being back to the UK. However, Em's posts are so beautiful....change and working out change are so hard.
I was talking to a friend to-day who reflecting on her personal life, said it was not as she imagined it to be- I'm beginning to think this is a theme of women in their 40's.... it gets to a certain point where we stop and reflect on where we are, and where we expected to be, and somewhere, something doesn't match.
I've been having a personal battle with stress this week- it turns me into a grumpy horrible person to live with, and leaves me fighting to control my emotions. It always makes you feel worse when people tell you how bad you look- how is that comment ever a positive one? I don't need to be told I look stress, even if its true! Thats another rubbish think about being female and 40- the wrinkles show in your face more (well they do in mine anyway, despite the use of Olay:)
Since being back from Thailand I have really struggled to settle back, to know where my place is, what I should be doing and to echo the themes of these blogs- to find out what days are for. This reflects Em's theme of change- and the journey on which we are on....no quick wins....just a path to follow....


Wednesday, 17 August 2011

pause for thought

these last few weeks have been ones that i have been trying to make changes in. change is something i usually run from.  i'm not one of these people who embrace it.  it scares me. not in a horror movie kind of a way but in an unknown and i don't like it kind of a way. whilst making these changes an unexpected uncertainly has washed over me.  i had spent so much time wanting to embrace the change that i had spent no time looking at why i wanted to change it. i have been at times emotional, at times angry but most of the time downright confused about what i was feeling and indeed what i was meant to be feeling. where is the blue print that i am so certain i fall short of?  the revelation i have stumbled across is i am saying that i want to embrace change but really i am running away. again.  it has taken me having to stay put to realise that i run.  both physically and emotionally.  i have done this all my life. so now that i know, what to do?  slowly i am going to try and raise my head and speak.  slowly i will ask questions and listen to the answers. slowly i will make the change; find out why my feet are made of lead but take flight.  slowly i will embrace the life i want, blueprint or not.