Archive for the ‘Meanderings’ Category

Goosebumps. A spark.

I read this article:


I saw this quote:

I think there are too many people who try and present a smiling, sexy, happy, glamorous version of themselves online. Their lives appear perfect, without a glimpse into the shadows and the shit that keeps them up at night.

I feel draw to the phrase “The shadows and the shit”. It’s the dark side of all of us. “I’ve got fractures, cracks and damages”. We all have. It’s our humanity. It’s our beauty.

I feel a stirring in my soul. It looks like a poem, tastes like a song.

Inspiration hits. “Ding”.


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I wake up in the middle of the night, distracted by the thoughts rushing across my mind.

I catch each thought in turn, press it into a poem captured inside a flimsy bubble.

I sit in the centre of my mind, a dark cosy cave, back lit by glowing embers.

I watch the bubbles gently drift up and bounce against each other before popping into nothingness, leaving imprinted paintings on the cave wall…

Last night I woke and couldn’t sleep, it could have been the 5pm cup of coffee, or the biscuit-crunch buzz of the oil heater in our room. It could have been the wind whipping round our tarpaulin covered roof, or the silent scamper of imaginary rats on the floors below. It could have been my belly, swollen from dinner, or the reckless impressions left by the book under my pillow.

It was probably the book.

This is the book.

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Waiting on the platform, ice cold air snakes through my clothing.
Retreat to the corner of a snug coffee shop.
Balancing on a high wooden chair.
Fridge is humming. Something is humming.
Sweet and strong liquid and a trail of heat on the roof of my mouth.
Coffee breath.


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It’s been forever since I last wrote a blog post. At least that’s how it feels. Nearly two months, I hang my head in shame. It’s not for lack of wanting to. I’ve thought about it a hundred times. There’s something happening. It’s winter. It’s dark, it’s cold, I’m slowing down and eating more. Wanting to curl up in a ball and hibernate.

I read an article saying that for some bizarre reason humans often feel the need to do EVEN MORE in the Autumn/Winter months (Northern Hemisphere!), it’s almost like a resistance to the seasonal change, an “up yours winter, I can keep going”, as we push harder at work, take on an evening class, rush around getting stuff done on the weekends.

We should, in fact, be listening to the seasons, and our bodies, and our minds. And hibernating. Or at least adapting accordingly (as much as I want to channel a hedgehog and curl up in a ball and sit under leaves at the bottom of the garden, I don’t think I’d get away with it).

So, for me, I’ve been getting home from work and relaxing, wrapping up in my blanket, putting my slippers on, eating the cosy food that warms me through, and having lovely hot baths before snuggling in bed. And. most importantly.. NOT FEELING GUILTY FOR DOING IT. At least pushing that guilt away when it comes.

So I’m trying.

Other things have been throwing a slight spanner in the works. On return from my most recent trip overseas, to the beautiful shores of North Carolina, I alighted the airport bus at a different stop on entering Oxford – why? We have moved house!!! Successfully whilst I was away (maximum kudos to husband, who will be able to hold it against me forever). So, we are in our new place (hurray!). And it’s a, er…. shall we say “do-er upper”. It is the single biggest reason that I have been shrouded in blogging silence for the past 2 months (honest). Well, that and the hibernation thing.

It’s a project. No central heating. No internet for a month (thank god that’s sorted now!). And pretty much every single room needs ripping out and replacing. Oh, and the garden was a jungle, which we have since massacred and discovered all sorts of interesting things in!

So welcome to our long term project. One that we’ll need to scrimp and save for. It’s super scary and super exciting and I expect it will become a reason for me to blog far more often as I work my way through my hibernation period….

overgrown garden

Mum helping me tame the garden

messy garden

Once the trees came down

pet cemetary headstone

I’m not digging any deeper!

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I woke up and it was still dark. Jet lag making me an early bird. Had an early breakfast of bacon, grits and fruit whilst the light came up. Then I took a walk around the French Quarter.

The heat was starting to build already, the air thick and humid, that humidity I love, a warm cloak, scented with flora but good old New Orleans, a few more steps and the acrid tinge of beer kicks in, passing a 24 hour bar, that zoo smell filling my nostrils.

I love New Orleans, I really do. For me it’s one of the most interesting cities I’ve been to. Shut your eyes and you feel like you are in South East Asia, the feeling of that heavy air on your skin, the intense sun baking your arms, the sounds of birds, the smells; sweet nature mixed with sour human. I know I’m on a swamp. It’s swampy. And I love that. But when you open your eyes your senses are assaulted. Neon, chinz, gothic railings, beaten wooden shutters, pastel houses, lush green creepers spilling over those balconies… half filled beer cups on street corners, left over from last nights’ frivolities (and EVERY night here has frivolities).

Each shop window (closed this early in the morning) is a window onto another world, colourful, sparkling curiosities peeking out from behind the glass. Galleries stacked with beautiful paintings sit alongside voodoo lounges, shimp dinners and ladies’ boutiques. It’s a smorgasboard.

So on my walk today I started taking photos with my phone. There were a lot of tourists (mostly American) taking photos with huge cameras and tripods and all sorts. But I suddenly realised I was too busy clicking… I wasn’t seeing, really enjoying the moment, so I put my phone in my back pocket and took time on my amble.

Then it popped into my head how wonderful it would be if my mum was with me now. She would love this place, this morning walk around this crazy magical town as it was just walking up. We’d amble together along the narrow streets, gazing at the beautiful old decaying buildings, each with their own story. Admiring the way the swamp still remains here, vivid green plants crawling up the walls, over the balconies, heavy dew in the air.

We’d look in those ornate windows with their eccentric displays, at multi-coloured jewels glinting in the morning sun, at the oddities in the voodoo shops, dolls and alligator claws and pots of potions. We’d hear the “clip clip clop” of an approaching horse, a man rides his horse and carriage by, he tips his hat, we’re transported back in time… I point at the gas lights, still burning on many of the corners.

We’d walk past the bright white cathedral by Jackson’s Square, blinded by the glare from the blazing sun that is already so hot. Looking down the line of fortune tellers, palm readers and tarot card mystiques lined up in front of the cathedral, we’d contemplate a reading… but instead we’d then decide to duck inside the cool Beginet Café to get our morning coffee and sugar dusted beignet instead and take a break from the kookiness of it all.

I really enjoy travelling solo, it allows spontaneity and it’s easy to be present when you are just with yourself and your thoughts. I do it more these days as work takes me to different places and I’m thankful for the opportunity. But I am starting to see more and more the joy of sharing places and experiences with those you love. One day mum, I would love to bring you to the French Quarter of New Orleans. If only for a morning walk and a beignet.







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I’m spending the night in Miami. It wasn’t planned and the last 2 hours of my 9 hour flight from London were spent in a mental grapple with my negativity. The plane was an hour late taking off, “you have to get through immigration, you have to collect your case and recheck it, you’ll never make it”. Despite forcing myself to imagine getting to the gate with seconds to spare, I didn’t. But then I patiently stood listening to the staff try and book me on a flight for tomorrow and another man on the same flight was dissolving in a puddle of rage and I let go. So what? No drama. That’s not going to help.
So I’m here, Miami. Sexy, shiny, steamy Miami. I like to imagine I checked into my airport hotel and had a quick shower. Slipped into a gold sequin dress and red heels, dusted some glitter over my eyes and hopped into a mini cab which whisked me off to South Beach. Here I would eat oysters and drink champagne, hang with hipsters and cool cats, be invited aboard a yacht for a private party, but I’d leave after another glass of champane because the conversation is too stifling. Instead I’d meet some different people, more down to earth, and we’d dance the night away on the beach, listening to cuban rhythms and drinking rum until the sun comes up…
Well, not quite. The reality is a salmon and cream cheese bagel with a vouher in the airport hotel. But so what? With only one night in Miami, a girl can dream…




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One of my favourite things is getting home after dark, putting my bike in our garage, and walking back through our flat complex observing all the it up rooms in the different flats, like TV screens into the lives of others, living stacked up on top of each other like a giant jenga set with little people living in the cracks. A blue flickering box in the corner of one room, distant faces glowing in the dark, a girl standing facing out, arm deep in washing up, her silent meditative chore, someone sitting at a table, high up on the third floor, facing into the room, having an indepth discussion. A solitary figure on a sofa, after a hard day at work. I like to think about all those lives, so complex, so different, so full of promise, so mundane, so seeped in scandal. All the possibilities, all the potential…
When I first moved into our flat complex I was excited by the prospect of having these characters living all around me. When I was young I remember watching “Tales of the City” where people would have close relationships with their appartment neighbours; upstairs downstairs, across the hall, left and right. Neighbours would shimmy down the fire escape to catch up on the latest gossip, people would chat in the halls, cooking smells would waft up like creeping flowers up a drainpipe. The romance of being interconnected in a world of shared bricks and mortar was intoxicating to me.
Of course the reality is quite different, we keep ourselves to ourselves, and see new faces backlit at windows and stalking across our manicured lawn.
And I’m glad no one is shimmying up the drainpipe.
But as I walk through the grounds, on my short journey from the garage to my block, when it’s dark and only the moon is lighting up the path, I like to glance left, glance right, see those figures in the windows and imagine the worlds living so closely together before I turn the key in my lock, open my front door and step into my own…

flat at night

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