After the solstice

Saturday morning, coffee in hand. Woken from a restless sleep, drifting in and out of muddled dreams while soft June rain watered the summer-dry world. It took a boisterous dog, a wide-awake husband and the smell of coffee to finally drag me out of bed. Even then, my foggy head went straight for my favourite sofa cushion, all plush and smooshy comfort. The coffee machine spluttered. Griffin strutted to and fro, wagging his tail. This is what Saturday mornings are for.

This week was bright hot sun and ice-water relief, post-workout headaches and late evening meetups, friends and blankets on grass in the calming sunset weather. But today is gentle and cool, and we open the door to let fresh post-rain winds blow in. A hint of green fields, somehow dry and damp all at once, and memories of camping; tents on wet grass, rain drops on canvas, cosy curled-up fleece mornings in fold-up chairs, hot tea to guard against the fickle British summer, make-your-own sandwich scrambled-egg breakfast-in-the-wild glory, then off to the woods or the beach or jumping into cool lakes and float on water, close my eyes and try to become part of nature, be so quiet and still and malleable that She might take me in and keep me.

Quarantine has turned a mirror on us all, but now it seems we have dealt with whatever we saw and we’re crawling out of our hideaways with some new-found focus, strength built from the rubble of our insecurities. We have faced ourselves and we survived. We have decided what’s important to us. We have had some time to think. We have slashed our machetes through the jungle of our pain and somehow found a way forward.

This month I’m doing another writing challenge with my group of storytellers. We set a word target and write together-apart, connecting online and sharing our successes and failures. It’s good to be back on track.

Through the living room window I admire the neighbours’ giant silver birch, rising over thirty feet and swaying in the damp dawn winds. That is summer to me – the whoosh of the breeze combing through its leaves, bringing it to life, blushing as it invites it to a slow dance. Beneath this proud birch is our modest little garden, which we have finally turned into our own little summer paradise.

To my right Griffin is snoozing obediently, knowing that Saturdays are slower than other days and walkies will wait a bit. In front of me sits the most beautiful boy in the world, and he’s always there to make my heart flutter and have me laugh so much that I have to lean on the furniture to steady myself.

Summer is here, and I feel alive, present, grateful. Fleur feels close; I can feel her wriggling under my skin, ready to hatch. She comes and goes, but for now, I’m holding on.

These Nights

These nights, that happen on a whim.

These nights that take us stumbling down Orange Street in search for more. More what, we’re not sure, but we want more.

These nights of shots and secrets; these nights when, for a brief moment, nothing matters and we can just let go.

These nights when we get kicked out of bar after bar as the bells ring their sad song of endings.

These nights when we shed layers of ourselves and bonds are formed between the shapes that hide underneath. These nights when the stars pulsate through our blood and we can feel young despite the years forever chasing us.

These nights, when the world blurs and edges soften and we find we are still alive.


June and new beginnings

May disappeared in a thick mist.  Sunny days came and went, and I preferred when it rained.  I love the sound of heavy droplets incessantly pattering on the tin roof of our building.  Lucky to be on the top floor.  I lit candles, different colours for different purposes, while I sat in my jammies and wrote profile after profile to bring in a little spending money for summer.

The city is still a mess.

bus stop

Now my work is finished, and yesterday I finally found my flow again when I spent the afternoon in Jackson, Mississippi; 4,000 words pouring out of me rekindling memories of guns and swamps and sleazy strip clubs.  Still, I feel weak and shy, a hermit recluse sensitive to the daylight.  But I must come out of my hiding place now.  A long holiday is coming up – a month with various family members – and it excites me as much as scares me.  Better start packing; we’re off tomorrow night.

Last weekend we went to visit our dear friends in Kidderminster.  We went on a steam train along the River Severn and life feels very different up there, among woods and wildflowers.  Perhaps we are beginning to plot our escape.


Read a blog post today.  It was nice, it had the usual message of ‘let things fall apart, that’s how they come together again’ sort of message.  But there was a particular passage that tickled me and I wanted to keep here for a later day.

“I know mountains grow because of their fault lines. I know lakes turn that gorgeous shade of turquoise because of their silt. I know jewels are formed under pressure. I know trees can grow through rocks, and rivers can break canyons …

I know the earth smells fabulous after a hard rain, and I know she breathes. I know out of the destruction of forest fires, new and stronger ecosystems can emerge. I know there is life in the deepest depths of the ocean and her tides can soften stone.” (Jacquelyn Taylor)

It will be good to get away for a while.  I’ll go breathe in the German mountains and swim in the Swedish lakes and completely refresh myself.  I will nurture my relationship with my book, offering it its due time and respect.  I will regain my strength and stop being such a sorry-ass wimp.  Once I accept that I’m a wimp and that’s okay, maybe then I will finally stop being one.  Ain’t that always the way?


Her Majesty Fleur

Yesterday I found Fleur among my tarot cards,  in the guise of the Queen of Wands.  The cards told me I have the potential of this venerable lady within me, and that she is not yet being fully channeled due to fear, anxiety and self-doubt getting in the way.  My eyes widened as I read the properties of the Wand Queen – creative, inspirational, authentic, independent:

queen-of-wandsThe Queen of Wands is the dominant feminine energy of the element of Fire … focused on her desires, intending to get what she wants … can sustain your own creative vision, even in the face of adversity … independent … highly energetic and leads a busy and active life … radiates health and vitality and has an inner vibrancy that fills her with ongoing energy and inspiration … actively inspires others … asks you to be bold and courageous in your undertakings and actions … highly optimistic, confident … have an ability to express your passions with great authenticity and courage … creates a powerful first impression and is a likeable individual who makes friends easily by being sweet, warm and charming.”

(Source: Biddy Tarot)

I had been planning to describe Fleur in a blog post one day, but no need – she is this Queen!  And I clearly have the seed of her within me.  Another card was drawn to clarify how exactly I am to overcome the fears that stand in my way, and the Moon popped up to tell me to shine a light on my shadow self, according to the Jung school of thought; to become aware of my tendencies to project fear and anxiety, and letting go of these – watching the thinker, as Eckhart Tolle has already advised me.  The Moon says old fears and blocks will surface to be released, and a purging process is underway.  I think she’s right.

In other news, the sun is shining over London and I am on my way out for a Sunday afternoon frolic with Karin and old Irish friends from another lifetime.  My book is still being squeezed and shaped, but to find my authentic voice is proving a bit of a challenge.  Again, it’s about letting go and getting out of the way, not controlling the process but rather allowing it.

Spring is nearly here and I am so excited for another warm season full of fun and adventure.  Fresh scents bring old summer memories to mind – sunsets in parks and midnight mischief, festival shenanigans and random meetings, spontaneous explorations, carefree days and intoxicating nights.  Reflections in still canal water, the cool shade of tall trees, the smell of lager and Jamaican street food, the feeling of a flowing skirt and warm air on my skin; the sense that summer has no end.

Karin and East London canals:

karin by canal rs

Festival nights:


View from enchanting Honor Oak Park:

honor oak park view

Greenwich sunshine with Sarah and Veronica:

in the park

Jamming in Finsbury Park:

finsbury  park

South London ambles with Mike:

mike and kitty rs

London summertime:

London summer

Ain’t life glorious.