Island Blog – Step Out of the Ordinary

Well, here we are……it all begins again…..or does it? To me this sounds like we are in Groundhog Year. But, but, but, no year is the same as the one past, not least because we move into it with more wrinkles, or less, more confidence, or less, more enthusiasm, or less. Whichever what way we approach a new year, a new chance for change, we are not the same people who left the old one. We have lost something, someone, or gained something and someone. We have moved house, changed jobs, learned something new, as I have. I have learned that this pair of spectacles work best in the kitchen for my mobile phone, whereas these ones with stronger lenses, resting in their red case in the sitting room, work best for my laptop and for lighting candles.

Over the years I have met what I saw as cynicism about things like birthdays, Christmas and the new year. We don’t acknowledge them, I heard say and I thought how very sad that is. For me, any chance of celebration is a chance to bring magic into a sad old world that might just say, as a new year approaches, Oh here we go again, in a maudlin sort of voice. I cannot, will not do this, not ever. If life is not about celebration then what the heck is it all about? We spend endless days inside the Januarys and Februarys of Ordinary. Surely we can rise and sparkle a few times a year? Or is it that we don’t have any sparkle left? Well, I have something to say about that. Sparkle, people, comes from inside us, from our child heart. Expecting it to come from outside of ourselves may well be the problem. If you want sparkle, then sparkle.

I wish you all the happiest and most marvellous 2021. I wish that you find your sparkle, even feeling foolish in doing so, regardless of being laughed at or mocked or rejected. Sparkle, people. This world needs the sparklers. We all have a part to play in this new year. What part will you play? Same old cynic or someone, however old, who can find the magic and bring it to the grey streets? We, who know what I am saying are precious. Be foolish, be fun, be spontaneous.

And very happy new year to you all.

Island Blog 41 – Yikes!

That’s what was in my mouth as I awoke this morning, for this is Book Launch Day for Island Wife and I am fizzing with excitement!

It’s not like a birthday fizz, something that comes anyway, whether I am good or bad, but more the fizz of accomplishment.  I have now, with considerable help and support, brought an idea to life and it is now packaged and ready to go out into the world.

At the beginning, when something is just an idea it can be caught and held, or lost in a single day.  I get ideas all the time and my head can feel like it’s full of bluebottles, buzzing and whizzing and banging against the windows in the way of all foolish things without direction.  At other times, it is just one or two ideas, that are not so hard to catch and pin down, until there is time to pay each one due attention.  This book was once an idea, but remaining an idea wasn’t going to do anyone any good, least of all me because it wouldn’t let me go.  Somehow I knew at the start, that writing my story was not just self-gratification – it was a body of work that other eyes needed to see.

In my life, I have found the strength at difficult times through the life of another.  Yes, for me, it has mostly been women writers, women’s stories, but not exclusively.  What I have sought, and found, in other’s tales, spun like fine webs across the pages, has been a voice to give me courage;  courage to do another day, to take another step.  I connect with that voice, that truth, that story in some way and at some level, and that changes me and brings me hope.  Many times have I risen from the pages and dried my own tears, refreshed my own war paint, chosen brighter clothes to wear and squared my own shoulders.  Many, many times.

I want Island Wife to do the same.  Perhaps for you.

Island Blog 3

Today is my husbands 70th birthday. Neither he nor I can believe he is that old, and yet looks and behaves like a kid.  Now, is this down to my splendid management I wonder……caring for him these past 40 years…..or should he take the credit himself?

Last night we went out for supper to the local pub – just a spur of the moment decision not in the least influenced by the liver casserole in front of the telly option.  We had a great meal, a bottle of sauncy Rioja and then, at midnight, fried egg sandwiches and a glass of 15 yr old malt whilst Sascha and John Digweed entertained us through the stereo speakers.  Now that’s pretty impressive for a septuagenerian don’t you think?

We talked about this blog over coffee and I have this idea to set myself a challenge for the year.  My book is out in March, I turn 60 in March and it seems like a plan to have a daily challenge that people can get excited about.

‘How is she doing today with whatever-it-is?’

That’s the sort of question I want you to ask yourself so that you just HAVE to check my blog each day.

Should I have a flow of recipes, such as the ones in Island Wife, where I had to think last minute often for hotel guests who were expecting gourmet food every Summer’s evening?  The delivery vans refused to venture up our pot holey two mile track and just dumped (literally) food supplies at the gate.  I never knew if the box of bananas would more resemble a box of brownish brackets ((((  and it kept me enterprising to an extreme degree.

Venison Jumble………that’s elderly tough stag with lots of root vegetables and a bottle of red wine cooked slowly for 2 days, then dropped on the floor, scooped back up again and topped with a savoury crumble.

Yum yum, they said, smacking their lips.

The roof on our ancient bird table took off this morning on the back of a very startled pheasant.  One minute he was enjoying the corn, with most of him squished and just his tail feathers showing, the next (after I appeared) he is flying over the stone wall with a roof on his back.  I retrieved it, minus pheasant, in a ditch.

Roofed Pheasant?

I am certain I could make that one up.

Hmmm…..food for thought.

Sounds like I need pastry and that pheasant.

Any comments?