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Sunday, 28 July 2013

eight things i learnt in july

to quote sarah over at saipua "we are learning things, and learning is good (except I hate learning. I like knowing)". i read that and thought yes, i like knowing too. except this is the second month i've kept note of what i have learnt and i've realised; i quite like learning. i guess i didn't realise how much i learn each month. so here goes - what i learnt in july.

1. a british male won wimbledon for the first time in 77 years.  no news there - andy murray became front page news around the world for winning the championship at the all england club but what i didn't know about was his school history. dunblane in scotland, where the murray family are from, suffered the worst school shooting the uk has ever seen when in 1996 gunman thomas hamilton opened fire in a school gymnasium and killed sixteen children and one adult before turning the gun on himself. a bbc documentary showed andy break down in tears while talking about this incident when he was eight years old. his class were the next ones due in the gym.

2. no building can be built in london that obscures the view of saint paul's cathedral. my sister in law told me about this while walking over blackfriars bridge and marveling at london by night. the construction of the new "cheesegrater" building has had it's design adapted so that londoners can still see the cathedral dome from fleet street. see fantastic aerial photos here

and speaking of london:

3. wiltons is the oldest surviving grand music venue in london. i visited it this month when meeting up with an old friend, this place is her local cafe/bar. if you visit i can highly recommend the watermelon, feta, black olive and mint salad, in fact all the food is delicious. 

and speaking of friendship:

4. true friendship transcends time. the last time i met up with my beautiful ethiopian friend she was pregnant with her son, by the time i saw her this month she had given birth to her daughter whom i didn't know she was pregnant with. it makes no difference that there may be holes in our timelines, honest friendship picks up like you saw each other yesterday. 

and speaking of time:

5. observing sabbath has taught me how to rest. since january jane and i have been members of shelly's sabbath society. this month was the first time this year i had a good chunk of time off, i not only used my time differently - i deliberately left space to relax and just be - but i no longer had to wait until the end of the week before i felt as if i'd relaxed enough to benefit from my holiday. i was on holiday from five minutes after i drove away from my office.

6. teenagers have been setting their mobile phone ring tones to high pitch sounds in order to keep their phones on them in school - the teachers can't hear the high frequency but they can. imagine their annoyance when their outgoing youth group leader found an app for his phone which contained a high pitch whistle. cue complaints from teenagers about how their ears hurt. turns out my hearing is better than i thought, i could hear it too. 

and speaking of teenagers:

7. this month i stumbled across the word bershon. the urban dictionary describes it as: "pretty much how you feel when you're 13 and your parents make you wear a Christmas sweatshirt and then pose for a family picture, and you could not possibly summon one more ounce of disgust, but you're also way too cool to really even deal with it, so you just make this face like you smelled something bad and sort of roll your eyes and seethe in a put-out manner." this is bershon: 

google it. it's hilarious. and speaking of google: 

8. google plays tricks. don't believe me? open a new tab, go to google and type in askew. now tell me, what's wrong with that picture? got an ipad? be warned, not sure it works on all devices but it seems to on iphones, it definitely does on a mac. oh, you didn't know i was a apple girl? well, there's something else you can add to the list of things you learnt this month.


linking with emily over at chatting at the sky.

Thursday, 25 July 2013


i'm back in the work routine but still in holiday mode. the thing i'm loving about this weather? jumping in the shower after working all day in a hot sticky office, getting dressed in lose cool clothing and not putting my watch back on. i'm losing all sense of time in the evenings. just popping in. more soon.


Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Leavers Service

Well, to-day was the final church service at my daughters school before she leaves on Friday. The final dash from work to make sure I'm there on time, arriving in the work suit feeling slightly out of place compared to everyone else.
I've been doing the dash to the special church services for 10 years, it was strange sitting in the pews to think to-day was the last.

As I sat and gazed at the glass windows, sunlight streaming through it was hard not to get nostalgic. To-day though was a fitting end, as each child who was leaving stood up and read out their final memories. At the end candles were lit, and held by each child who is moving on, as they formed a circle round the rest of us.

It was moving, a symbol of hope, and light leading the way.

On a hot,balmy day I sat, watched and took in the moment.


Tuesday, 9 July 2013

family outtakes

posting outtakes. life is busy. too busy. the next couple of weeks i have down time. but  first i have to swim through the sea that is my to-do list. last night a jar of salsa fell out of my fridge. thankfully it didn't smash, it landed on my big toe, i have a beautiful bruise to prove it. it's been that kind of week for the last couple of weeks; a week where the worse could have happened but didn't, bruising sustained but ultimately all is well. i'll be taking a break from this space too. unplugging the virtual to embrace the actual and looking forward to extending my weekly rest to a daily one. and did i mention there is a heat wave here? for the first time in a long time sunscreen is top of my packing list for a uk break. i can't wait.


Monday, 8 July 2013

July madness

So it's here,  July has arrived. Well actually, it arrived eight days ago, but as its July I've only just managed to get round to posting this.
You see July in England is the end of the school term, which means everyone (me included) goes into hyper mode of things that have to be done before the end of term, and special events to mark the end of a year ( well it is a whole 6 weeks before we see everyone again). Except this year it's worse. 
My youngest leaves junior school in 9 days (not that I'm counting). This means Induction days and evenings for the new school, but also a leavers party, a leavers service, and a leavers play. Preparations are apace, they all collide to form a spinning whirl next week, at which I will be somewhere spinning in the middle.
See as a working Mum I nearly hold it all together, some of the time. Putting on an additional layer on top pushes me neatly over, and I sit looking at the forms, lists and washing feeling totally out of control. Yet this is just the surface of what's going on, as this is about an end of an era, and me letting my daughter move to the next stage of independence. No more walking to school with Mum (I miss those chats) no more standing in the school playground (even though I often felt out of place in my work clothes it suddenly seems good) its the end of a pattern I've been doing for 10 years.
Last week another request from school- old photos required for the leavers play. Inwardly I groaned, another thing to squeeze in, on the clock of no time. Tonight I went and looked, and couldn't quite believe how quickly time had gone, from the first pictures of school.

It went from chore to memory lane. You see July is actually about making these last 9 days special, of building memories that can't be got back. Be prepared for a few more posts over the next two weeks as a Mum tries not to get caught in the spinning whirl, takes her head out of the lists, and appreciates the moment.


Monday, 1 July 2013

what do you do when you think you look a bit like a boy?

i carry my tea cup out onto my deck. away from noise, demands, life. i sit alone. i listen to my neighbours talk of plants in the next garden. i hear the wind in the trees. my hand covers the left side of my face, my head is bowed. i realise that i have missed my strawberries ripening. i amuse myself at how some of the berries are red and their stalks green but some of the berries are green and their stalks red, i wonder how does that happen and marvel at the perfect symmetry of it. i am fighting with myself now. fighting tears. this is not the first time this has happened. it's not the first time i have come back from a hairdressers and not liked the result.

i think of all that overwhelms me. my thoughts whirl into a ball of confusion. the daily mundane wrapped up with a bow serving to strangle my bigger picture view.  and that ribbon is yellow. reminding me of all that i see myself as not being good at. of all i see myself failing at. or stuck with. or unable to change. and that bow is not a pretty one perched atop a present it's a restraining tie around my neck shortening my intake of breath.

and breathing is what i do now. i look again at the strawberries. the plants i planted last year; they grew sucker plants, they grew root systems, they hung out of their pots until weeks later i covered them in soil in another pot and cut the umbilical cord. they didn't die, they thrived and after months of looking like nothing was happening, they grew through the composted leaves atop them and flowered, producing fruit. their work done, they hand over their ripening to the warmth of the summer sun. i pick a glistening red berry and bite into its ripe juicy flesh, my tastebuds transporting me to summers past. i throw the husk back into the pot. it will decay down into the soil i think.  with that action i think about all that is unpalatable, all that i see as a waste or unwanted be it time or life or spoilt fruit. all of those experiences they compost down into your soul and become part of you. 

if you let them.

and i think of the words just spoken to me "your hair looks nice"and "you don't look like a boy" and my answers "does it?" and "don't i?" i think of how easily a view can become askewed, especially of myself. i wonder how much of myself i view through a mirror? how much value do i place on what i can see versus what i can't? 

i remember i am trying to learn to not always react to and make decisions by my first feeling. i remind myself that it is alright to be a work in progress, growing up and through lifes overgrowth. i recall space and time aforded to that growth and how the sunshine of words from those more experienced than i can assist me in visualsing who i am in my bigger picture. i breathe that in. because just like hair that i think has been cut too short we all continually grow and what is a short crop of a blip today can become a ponytail of a life lesson for tomorrow.


linking with emily at imperfect prose