To be confirmed

I sit still and listen to the rain fall. I had almost forgotten its sounds: The tap-tapping on skylights, the swoosh of passing cars, and birds’ muted chirping.

After a scorching and full-on visit, it feels as though Summer has suddenly departed – no time for good-byes.

My Summer actually felt both insanely short, and lavishly long, busy and quiet, intense and relaxing, joyful and tinged with melancholy.

I dipped my toes in the Neckar river in Heidelberg with a colleague (and a glass of chilled Condrieu wine, if you please),  in every fountain of Madrid with a dear friend, in the silky waters of the Mediterranean near Montpellier, and in the Orbieu river, near Lagrasse in France, where tiny fish pecked at my legs – a bit like in of those trendy mani-pedi places, only less spooky.

I built elaborate sand-castles, grilled marshmallows – and subsequently found sticky gunk in my daughter’s hair for about three days, made sauce with my very own garden’s tomatoes (yes, huhuhu, how remarkably domestic goddessey of me…), beat my son racing down water slides – he was gutted, I’m just heavier, don’t tell him, and tried to explain the concept of shadows to my daughter.

I also sat in the shade of a very old tree to read the very new book everyone’s talking about on a guy who is meant to be fifty shades of grey (to be honest, so is my old, shapeless, underwear, and no-one raves about it), but hello, all it really was, was a cross between a totally worn Mills and Boon intrigue and a very, very long Cosmo article. I read The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks, which was good, although uncovering all sorts of complicated questions about ethics and American history doesn’t make it your average beach-read – and it was quite a shock to my brain after fifty shades of old underwear.

Anyway, most precious of all, this Summer gave me time.

Time away from the frantic, and quite frankly absurd race that is the everyday life of every working single-mother (ok, granted, of every working mother full stop to an extent, but still, trust me, I’ve tried both sides of the coin and know which one I prefer), with the added bonus that I rarely ever get a break from being a mother at all.

This Summer gave me time to do nothing at all, and to do things for myself. It gave me the head-space I needed to truly enjoy my children, to be more than an empty, dark circle-eyed and shouty shell.

Finally, this Summer gave me some pretty serious clues that some pretty seriously good news is in the making: I think that T and the new Ms have become old news. To be confirmed…

Alabama shakes – Hold on

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Safe in sound

Tonight I listen to the rain tip-tapping on the skylights, and to this song on a loop.

Mister modo & ugly mac beer – Safe in sound (don’t be put off by the weird name, it is in fact a beautiful chill-out number)

I am curled on the sofa, staring into space at the amaryllis overhead, too tired to move. It has been another busy weekend. In fact, being perpetually brimming, demanding my attention, my energy, and keeping me on the edge of too much, seem to be chronic characteristics of my life.

I’m not complaining. To an extent, this is the way I like it, and this is the way I make it. Still, sometimes I wonder: How much of this frantic activity is to avoid surprises like noticing strands of grey in my hair (what is going here, obviously a mistake, I don’t remember ordering those), the empty other half of the bed, or the way so many friends are currently facing the illness or the loss of one of their parent? How much of it is a distraction from thinking, from facing the universal fears that set us apart from, say being zoo-plankton?

The fact is that I am not unhappy. I am not deliriously-woop-woop happy either, but I’m ok. I love my children and think they are so amazing, I cannot possibly have made them. Eighteen months on, I still actively dislike my ex T, but I’m hoping this too will eventually get better. I have a lot of work at work, meals to cook, laundry to fold and tomatoes to stake at home, a lot of friends, a good life and two very, very tight shoulders.

I guess I just wish someone would be there to rub them tonight.

She’ll probably hate this but anyway

She is practically the only person I know, whose Doctorate of Philosophy is an actual doctorate of philosophy.

She cooks the best lasagna in the world.

She is an understated chef.

She works, works, works.

She cares so much for all of us.

She is catholic guilt on legs.

She is the quiet sister.

She worries, worries, worries.

She loves nothing more than tragedy.

She strives on silence, art and coffee.

She is a brilliant mind.

She travels, travels, travels.

She doesn’t do frill.

She is too harsh.

She is a knight.

She runs, runs, runs.

She was the first person I knew.

She is the first I still turn to.

She thinks Mother’s Day is a despicable commercial celebration, smacking of 1940s fascist France.

She misses her mum.

She’ll probably hate this but anyway…

Happy mother’s day to my mum, whom I love so much (yet I am unable to speak the words).

And ok, next year, I’ll revert back to clay ashtrays and noodle jewellery.

Luz casal – Piensa en mi

Walking on clouds

I walked into a puddle this morning, cursed as my smart trousers got splashed, then remembered how as a little girl, I used to love walking in puddles…

I dreamt I was walking on the clouds they reflected. I dreamt of the wonderful future awaiting when I grew up…

Today, I  sleep-walk through the debris of shattered dreams, trying to accept that this is all there is to being grown-up and to life. A string of tiny moments of happiness, which keep us going, the fleeting present we try to capture, to keep us warm in the darker hours…

I am learning to enjoy these moments, without being scared of loosing happiness, because it will happen, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Tiny moments when the knot in my stomach loosens a bit, when my heart is still, when the past forgets to hurt, and the future doesn’t matter.

Because life is short, and is about sharing relief and hope with friends gathered to watch the election results last night, about my children’s smiles as they crept into their new beds, about the comfort it brought both of them to be doing this together, the flowers splashing beauty over my garden,  and the step bathed in sunshine where I sit for a minute or two… Before the daily grind sucks me back under.

Civil twilight – Letters from the sky:

The perfect soundtrack to how I feel…