A field of swans

For those of you who sailed through menopause without even noticing, I envy you. For those of you who have been through the horrors but never warned me what it might be like, I’m mad at you. For those of you currently mired in menopausal madness, I’m with you. Read more

2021 Grateful 49: My feathered friends

I have a Pavlovian thing going with my birds. Every time I go outside onto the terrace and down the steps, they watch me. Quietly. No chirping. No sound. And then, when I come back in and close the door, they wait. Read more

2021 Grateful 50: Restorative power of reedbeds

A couple of years ago, I considered myself a rational, intelligent woman. I had a handle on what was going on. I didn’t overact. I took things in my stride. But the heady combination of menopause and COVID lockdowns and travel bans and curfews has taken its toll. The speed at which I lose it these days would be impressive if it wasn’t so scary. And in comparison to myriad others, I have it easy. Ye gods! Read more

2021 Grateful 51: The gift that keeps on giving

I spent a sizeable chunk of last summer making chutney. I rarely, if ever, had all the ingredients the recipes called for so I improvised. This meant, of course, that each batch had its own particular flavour, never to be repeated. I’m not very systematic in my cooking. I lose track of what I’ve put in and forget if I’ve added a teaspoon or a tablespoon. This can be disastrous but chutney is very forgiving. Read more

The aftermath of Christmas

The dratted 2020 is behind us and with its departure, we see the end of the UK’s membership of the EU, the end of the Trump presidency, and the beginning of the end of the pandemic. With the advent of 2021, we see the beginning of a post-Brexit world, the beginning of a new US presidency, and the beginning of a post-COVID life. Stops and starts. Endings and beginnings. Swings and roundabouts. Read more

2021 Grateful 52: The day is today

Occasionally, I see a meme on Facebook that resonates. I say that tentatively because I’m not quite sure what a meme is. Wikipedia tells me that a meme is an idea, behaviour, or style that becomes a fad and spreads by means of imitation from person to person within a culture and often carries symbolic meaning representing a particular phenomenon or theme. Should a meme have a picture or can it be simply words? Read more

2020 Grateful 1: It’s the little things

Lots of rain lately has left us with lots of puddles. My walks are a series of reflections but unusually, as 2020 draws to a close, I’m not reflecting on what I’ve done this year as, let’s face it, I’ve done sod all – it was a been nowhere, done nothing year for me. Read more

2020 Grateful 2: Mary, did you know?

I had a bit of a music revelation back at Easter when I heard the hymn Were you there for the first time; it blew me away. In the advent to Christmas, I’ve been trying to choose the one hymn that says Christmas for me. Fairytale of New York is my song of the season, but I was looking for one that spoke to the soul rather than the heart. I’m homesick enough. Read more

What to give this Christmas?

2020 is a year that many of us can’t wait to see the back of. It’s a year in which we’ve had front row seats to a series of travesties as our elected representatives have done one silly thing after another. It doesn’t much matter where we live – few world leaders today seem up to the job. We want to look towards 2021 with some semblance of hope but fear and uncertainty are fuelling the fire on which the chestnuts of COVID, Brexit, the US Presidency, and the EU Rule of Law are merrily roasting. Read more

On structure, gaps, and COVID

Back in the early COVID days, I was chatting to a mate who was coming to terms with life without the structure of getting up and going to work and then coming home again. They noted that this had been my world for quite a few years and that until now they’d never quite appreciated how hard it was to function without structure when structure was what you were used to. Read more