Never say goodbye

…because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.

From J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan.


(Oh, why does everyone seem to associate Peter Pan with the Disney cartoon representation, when there are these beautiful 1907 illustrations from Alice Woodward)

I have this edition:


Sorry – me getting side-tracked again.

So – tonight we’re taking Laurie, Irene and Baby Tilly up to Heathrow for their flight to Perth via Singapore.

I’ll miss them so much but am happy they’ll be spending time with Irene’s family in the sunshine.

I won’t be saying goodbye though.

They’re going away, yes, but they’re always in my heart – and they’ll be back soon on the homeward trip to Canada, even if for a very short time.

So NOT goodbye to my lovely little Whistler family.


See you soon!




New Year and one more step along the world I go

Happy New Year!

A lovely song came to me as Serena, Ripple, Poppy and I were having fun on the forest in the wind and the rain. (Did I feel like going when it was still dark? Did I feel like going even when it got light? Am I glad we went?)

No. No. And a resounding YES!

Seemed like just the right thing to be belting out at New Year…

One more step along the world I go,
one more step along the world I go;
from the old things to the new
keep me travelling along with you:
And it’s from the old I travel to the new;
keep me travelling along with you.

Round the corner of the world I turn,
more and more about the world I learn;
all the new things that I see
you’ll be looking at along with me: Refrain

As I travel through the bad and good,
keep me travelling the way I should;
where I see no way to go
you’ll be telling me the way, I know: Refrain

Give me courage when the world is rough,
keep me loving though the world is tough;
leap and sing in all I do,
keep me travelling along with you: Refrain

You are older than the world can be,
you are younger than the life in me;
ever old and ever new,
keep me travelling along with you: Refrain

By Sydney Carter

If the New Year carries on like this, 2014 is going to be WONDERFUL.


Preparing for New Year’s Resolutions

This always happens, when I make New Year’s Resolutions…I set myself up to fail, they have an air of  ‘should do’ about them, they go out of existence very quickly, the failure lowers my self-esteem…

I’m not alone. According to Very Scientific Research somewhere or other, 88% of New Year’s Resolutions crash and burn..

In effect…


So in 2014…

I’m bucking the trend. Taking a leap. I’ll make resolutions today, instead. Ha! Sort of. Well, I’ll prepare.

There’s loads of advice about how not to fail with New Year’s Resolutions…

  1. Don’t make any! (That’s from me)
  2. Stick to one resolution not several (Nah!)
  3. Be realistic (Moi?)
  4. Declare your resolutions so you can be held accountable (Oh, the possible ignominy of failure!)
  5. Take small steps every day as part of a larger goal (That DOES make sense)
  6. “Focus your thinking on new behaviours and thought patterns. You have to create new neural pathways in your brain to change habits.” From Psychology Today. (Now we’re getting there…)

I think that’s enough for the moment, isn’t it?

Today – thinking time. Tomorrow – declaring time.


That’s my resolution!

On silly arguments

“They dispute not in order to find or even to seek Truth, but for victory, and to appear the more learned and strenuous upholders of a contrary opinion. Such persons should be avoided by all who have not a good breastplate of patience.” Giordano Bruno, Sixteenth Century  Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, mathematician and astronomer.

Wise man too.

Silly arguments can be such good fun. Unless or until they turn sour and lead to protracted wars.


…like the Lilliputians in Gulliver’s Travels, arguing about which end to break an egg.


Me, I’m a Little Endian, every time. It’s the way the egg sits naturally in an egg cup, little end up. AND DON’T TRY TO TELL ME ANY DIFFERENT.

(If I were ever to have another child, by some anatomical miracle, I might name him Golbasto Momarem Evlame Gurdilo Shefin Mully Ully Gue, after the Emperor of Lilliput)

Laurie and Irene had a silly Lilliputian argument (not in the least serious, and very funny) the other day –  about Coco Pops.


Laurie is of the Crunchy Cereal school – a little milk into a bowl of Coco Pops and eat the cereal quickly while it’s still brown and crispy.

Irene is of the Chocolatey Milk school – lots of milk into a bowl of Coco Pops and leave the cereal to soak and swish it around until the milk is completely chocolatey and the cereal is pale and soggy.

Laurie gave Irene some manly advice…


Did battle commence?

Nope. Laughter.

But it could so easily have been battle.

Wars have been fought over less significant silly arguments.



Happy Christmas!


With love from a very lucky me.

Choose joy at Christmas

I’m not sure what Joy’s up to this Christmas. She has been invited.


To help her to decide whether or not to attend, here’s the most glorious carol from Libera.

My favourite of the moment – and, somewhat bizarrely, Geekie Tim’s too. (How A Mum Can Shatter Street Cred In One Easy Step)

Christmas is a busy time for mums. And my mince pies all stuck to the patty tins and have been renamed mince crumbles. And no-one likes marzipan. And the quilt, while finished, looks crooked and amateurish. And try keeping the house clean enough for a baby in howling wind and rain and wallowing mud, with two labradors wanting to go in and out like a fiddler’s elbow.

Easy to feel somewhat less than a perfect housewife. In my case, easy to feel CONSIDERABLY less than a perfect housewife.



So I choose Joy at Christmas.




Polishing silver ready for Christmas

Public Service Announcement for burglars everywhere.


Amazingly, I came across a poem by the wonderful Hatsy McGraw about polishing silver. Even the introduction was perfect.  “So many of us set out to do things differently from the ways our mothers did—only to end up realizing that so much of our behavior practically replicates what we remember. “

My mother always liked to have the silver sparkling ready for Christmas –  and so do I.  The fact that it’s dull and dirty for the rest of the year doesn’t seem to bother me.

Did I sneer at my mother’s habit in my youth? I expect so. I think I sneered at lots of things.

Carrying out this task always reminds me of her.

Polishing Silver


Cleaning the silver
I think of a gesture
mother made
at the party.

Both hands
gathered around her
mouth, the corners
of her lips,

fingers splayed,
squeezing her
almost as soft

as grandmother’s
cheeks, faces
the same, creases
in the same places,

and grandmother
calling to me
from mother’s face.


Ontogeny recapitulates
phylogeny, my English
teacher said,
not because Haeckel’s

theory is scientifically
true, but so we’d
see how
characters in books

provided a reflection,
so we weren’t
disappointed when,
in the story,

someone failed
to be different,
let us down by being
like us, not better.


Appearing out of order
are mother as
grandmother as herself,

now deceased, and me
as I grow daily
like mother.
I am no better

and no worse.
What’s necessary
except to polish,
remove residue,

immerse each
piece of silver
in a warm bath,
and towel it dry with
the same yellowed cloth.


Mummy on the right, looking spookily like me.

Polishing the silver together today.

Rain, rain, go away.

Come on weather! It’s nearly Christmas. Get your act together. We want blue skies,  sunshine,  sparkling frosts and a light smattering of snow.
We do NOT want howling, freezing wind, slashing rain and knee-deep mud.
Moorland Landscape with Rainstorm 1751 by George Lambert 1700-1765
Yep, like the lovely Shel Silverstein poem, I have rain in my head.

I opened my eyes
And looked up at the rain,
And it dripped in my head
And flowed into my brain,
And all that I hear as I lie in my bed
Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head.

I step very softly,
I walk very slow,
I can’t do a handstand–
I might overflow,
So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said–
I’m just not the same since there’s rain in my head.


Rain in my head by yeux errants

Kind of Sergeant Pepperish too…

There’s a hole in my head where the rain comes through.

Housework is a treadmill from futility to oblivion

…with stop-offs at tedium and counter-productivity

Bless you, Erma Bombeck.


She’s hot on housework, she is!

” My second favourite household chore is ironing. My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.”

I’m not a superstar when it comes to doing the housework, I have to admit. There are plenty of justifications available to make me feel better, if I need to feel better about it (which I don’t, really)

“A bright person can always think of something better to do than housework.” — Ruby Lou Barnhill

“At worst, a house unkept cannot be so distressing as a life unlived.” —Rose Macaulay


Funny, can’t seem to find that many quotes extolling the virtue of keeping the house clean, bright and shiny…


HOWEVER, the last few days I’ve been enjoying doing the housework.

Context is everything.

Tomorrow, Laurie, Irene and baby Tilly arrive to stay for a whole month. You should see the guest room!

Love is the thing that enables a woman to sing while she mops the kitchen floor and cleans the toilet and chases the cobwebs and polishes the dining room table and…



The Christmas cake that launched a thousand hips

With thanks to Steph Bennion. And possibly Helen of Troy.

Very well. I KNOW it’s the Seventh of December. (My Advent Calendar told me so.)

I KNOW it’s only eighteen days to Christmas.

I KNOW most real proper housewives make their Christmas cakes in the early Spring, or whenever it is they make them.


N.B. NOT a picture of me. You can tell, can you?

I don’t make Christmas cakes. Hardly at all. Nobody likes them anyway, apart from me.

Today, I did make a Christmas cake.

It is square.

It closely resembles a brick.


This means I could use it to repair the house if there’s a hurricane.

There’s very little time to feed it with Navy Rum (didn’t have any whisky) but I’m sure I’ll manage to pour a few tots in there. As in small glasses of alcohol, not tiny children, because that would be weird.

HOWEVER – this Christmas cake is a SPECIAL Christmas cake.

  1. I made it with love
  2. The eggs came from my chickens
  3. The raisins were those I made from our very own home-grown grapes

N.B. These are the most expensive raisins IN THE WORLD. They took 36 hours to dry in the oven.

Every family member present will be able to look at my Christmas cake with admiration.

That’s just before they politely decline to eat any.