Island Blog – The Last to Leave the Dance Floor

Around my home the fragrance of Spring is an olfactory delight. Every room sings me daffodils. My garden sways with them and bunches arrive for my birthday. As I arrange them in vases, I consider their spacing with a view to the final picture, correcting myself from time to time. I never was a ‘shove-em-in’ sort of woman. I like presentation and flow, design and a sort of roundness that tells me I am probably OCD around the flower arranging thing. I might be thus around other things but that doesn’t fuss me now, even as it does think me about a book and its cover. Let me explain.

As I walk in the still cold wind, but not so cold as to beg a jacketty coverance, what I think I see is randomness, in the woods, along the banks, beside the shore, where various shrubs, trees and plants are exploding through the ground in a shout for life. Maybe ‘exploding’ is a bit ott. It is, to be honest, a more cautious peek out and no surprise there for the slice and dice artic wind is not gone yet back to wherever he takes his raggedy old destructive self as we welcome Mother Spring. His bite is one of anger and rage, of sudden ice, of ha ha and you thought you were safe to show your colours. Mean. But he can come in this month, oh hell yes, he can come and we must stand vigil, sniffing the weather and just knowing, as we once did before diesel fumes and light pollution turned us into eejits.

But I am wrong to think that anything in nature is random. It is anything but. I get that we randomise merrily away inside the confines of our garden, forcing intelligent plants to grow in all the wrong places, sentencing them to gigantic effortness that will never produce good blooms, but out there in the wild places, new life will explode into beauty and a future in which we have had no hand at all. I like that. So as I wander beneath some ancient larches that are pushing out buds I recognise their intelligence. Here is sheltered, both from strong wind and from ice wind. There, not so. Therefore the buds are still holding, holding, because a blast would ping them off into the nothing.

I notice my thoughts, about 200 thousand a minute. I watch fat trunks pass by, ancient and strong, moss covered, they who have stood for a hundred years. They may be bent and leaning somewhat, but I bet they are not fussed about how they look. They don’t bother with a mirror to tell them how wonkychops they are now. They don’t care for such nonsense. Their sole purpose is to stay alive through whatever ice slice dice weather comes their way. They are grounded but not trapped. And that thinks me. As we grow older, things will go wonkychops. They will. And, in knowing this, we have a choice. We can fuss and fret and btw get mildly histericous about turning 50, a year I uninhabited almost 20 years ago, or we can decide to dance whatever. My thoughts are all about my kids now and their kids. This is my world and what a world. It doesn’t matter how I look. They don’t care. It’s all about me showing up. Like the push for life in Spring.

And on we go, until we stop and, just fyi, I will be the last one to leave the dance floor.

Island Blog – You have to want to dance

There is a scowl in the sky this evening. The grey pushdown clouds point fingers. The Blue Ben bothers not and why would he, standing there all granite push-up shoulders and for centuries? It doesn’t mean he doesn’t notice. What we eejit humans don’t understand is the natural communication between the elements. Earth, Wind, Fire, Water. They were here and talking long before our ancestors arrived, whether from the sea or from Adam. It matters not.

There are times I feel very small as an eejit human, as a sudden ‘insider’, in such a huge story that tells of life so long before me that it means nothing beyond its echoes. And, to be honest, they are easily ironed or washed or swept away along with the dust and the creases. However, I am very busy noticing myself. Not in the mirror, no. But in my responses to whatever comes in, including my thoughts and my ditherments and my hesitations. I have to say that once I step into those footprints of acceptance I feel engaged with the oldness in me and with all the ridiculous crap that goes with oldness. I won’t say it is a fear-thinking thing because it is so very not. It’s in the bones, the creaks, the inevitable inability to lob a fence as I used to be able to do. It also isn’t about striving for that agility. No. I get my limitations, but I will not accept without challenge. Again, No. I just step up. I acknowledge that I will not be young again. I say that I know where I am and who I am and I will (don’t do this) always accept a challenge. I will dance the rest of my life. I am under nobody’s control, only my own.

There are scowls. There are fabulous starlit nights. There are cold wet mornings and sunshine afternoons. There is that moment when the sunset blows poppy red, and suddenly in a dawn when a new daffodil takes the breath from me. I am watching myself. I say that because it is so easy to keep flopping onwards without noticing ourselves. I know because I have done just that until I clocked my flopping and turned around to question why. It whirled me around and back till I looked at the old thinking and saw it cobwebbed dark and without the spin of a live spider. It takes mindful thought. You have to notice and to question. You have to want to dance.

Island Blog – Dancer

This lovely day I am aswirl with thinks and memories and some very deep hurt. Bereavement, however much of a relief it might be, does not adhere to a timeline. Recently I have gone through the however many stages of grief backwards, flip side up, out of order or all before lunch. I make the mistake of berating myself for this chaos but only until I literally wash my hands of any control. This chaos is not birthed from me. This chaos just snuck in and is currently picking away at wounds and digging the black hole even deeper than seems possible. I had no idea there was so much space inside for black hole-ness, one I cannot navigate nor have a conversation with because any questions I send its way just echo back to my ears in triplicate minus an answer. All I can do it seems is to trudge through the hours of light and the longer hours of dark until this chaos gets tired of chaoting and moves on to bother someone else. If, I tell myself, this process actually looked like one I could understand, I might be then able to formulate an algorithm, one that would guide me step by step up and away from the turmoil. But I can grasp a hold of nothing. All is smoke, mist, cloud wisp and yet so heavy and solid around me. I cannot run from it, nor hide. I change my thoughts but my mind is colluding with the chaos so quickly does it shift back to the black. I get the Amy Winehouse song now because I feel it, just like she did. It takes huge and determined focus to remain in the positive when I am not having to pretend to the Out There, a role I can play with ease. A song, a phrase, a catch of light, a lift of birds, among my beloved trees, all can shunt me back to a memory that cuts like the sharpest of knives. I remember, I remember, I remember. I remember that song, that disco tune, Chain Reaction, the one you always played for me when the dance floor was empty and it was up to me to bring the kids off the walls. You grinned and watched me taking over the whole floor, spinning, moving, electric, fiery, wild. Many years ago, yes, but it comes back so clear, that smile from the stage and my smile back.

I suspect this dark time is a good thing and I don’t fight it. I sit with it, walk with it, let it flow through me, no fight, no fight. It is exhausting, upsetting, deeply painful and my mascara is invariably decorating my chin, but when I remember saying to my counsellor about 4 years ago whilst in the thick of caring for a man who still looked like my husband (sort of) but who was not that man, that all I wanted was to cry real tears, so taught and fraught and caught up was I in controlling my whole self, I realise I have achieved my goal. And there is a feral beauty in that for it has been a deep longing for many decades.

I smile as I realise how drawn I am these days to running water, a waterfall, a trickle, rain, a slow tidal dance as if my eyes are glued; it takes something loud to snatch my attention away. Walking this sunshine afternoon, I found my favourite tree. Looks about 100 foot tall, its topknot fingering the clouds, a softwood, strong and with the girth of half a country. I remember it holds water after rain until the water pools in a holdcup where two great limbs conjoin. Then, all of a sudden, the level raised to meniscus as it hits the air, it begins a spill and a walker by is soaked. I stood beneath the massive giant and looked up. Drops from way up there landed on my mouth, nose, eyes, head and shoulders. Ha!! I chuckled. You minx! I moved back a little only to be pelted once again from another branch. Game on! I said and for a few moments, a few playful moments, I and the giant made each other laugh out loud as he stood still and I danced, just me, alone on the floor moving to the song of the singer and the rhythm of the rain.

Island Blog – Dance Life

I have listened to Christmas songs, tunes, melodies for a few days now. I can catch the Christmas spirit effortlessly, ready always to dance, to tinsel up and to twinkle along with the lights. I have the celebration gene, thanks Mum and Dad. At times, this spirit kaboom can be an awkward thing as I look into blank faces when I rapture on about birthdays, first days, anniversaries. I read those faces. What is it, that look that tells me those people need a hug, not that I can give them one just now, because they have agreed to give up on living the Dance of Life? Honestly folks, if we cannot dance till we die, are we dying to dance? Yes, I believe so. Just look at the followers of Strictly Come Dancing. There is something magical about the fleet flight of dance, especially with a partner who can lead, who can follow. I remember ballroom dance classes when I was at school and although it was all about the boys for me, the feeling of being inside strong arms, guided, swirled and lifted, was indeed heady. I also recall being at my daughter-in-law’s 40th birthday and of dancing alone, a lot, as himself was no longer able to join me and then, out of nowhere, came this young man who really knew how to lead a woman. We spun into flight and I will never forget that dance. Never. I had no idea of the steps, but that is the thing about a good partner because he does.

So, in short, I am still a child, that little girl who grew into an adult body but brought the Alice with her. It isn’t luck, nor a gene because we all have them and many genes can be ignored, or denied, or changed. No, it is a decision, a stronghold on what I believe makes life a dance, a joy and joy is deep rooted. It starts as a seed, no matter the troubles, the noise pollution, the location. We are all able to overcome. all of us. I have witnessed an old woman, determined to go search for whales, with legs that might as well not have been attached to the rest of her. I have heard her voice. Just lift me, just get me on board. The tide was low, the pier high, the hesitation evident in the faltering of her companions. Come ON! she admonished. Think dance! I was a young woman at the time and she was compromised but she showed the spirit and in doing so she taught me. I remember walking away as the boat left the pier, watching her on the disappearing bows of the whale boat and thinking this. I want to be like her. I will be like her.

That decision has stuck with me throughout the years. Oh, hell yes, I have moaned and grumbled. I have miserabled my trudge through the tough times. I have wailed and thwacked walls. Once I took a broom and thwacked out 3 huge kitchen windows. I have felt low and lower but I did sow the seed and the seed remembered being sown and, in grace, pushed up green and that is the miracle of a decision to dance life. Life becomes my partner, the one who appears from nowhere when I am dancing alone, a lot, and takes me in his arms and off we go.

In the build of Christmas, the most magical mystery of all, remember dance. But there’s more. Grab the spirit, the dance of it and just refuse to let go. Live it, no matter what.

Island Blog – Drips, Droops and Defiance

I got drips. No, sorry dad. I have drips, less than of old but drips nonetheless. I quite like hearing the plash of each one falling into the enamel jug placed in place. I had to poke a hole in the plaster above the window recess last year. Actually, I have to do that poking thing every year until the plaster sags like an old woman with little to define her younger contours. I pull it all down, revealing the hen stone, the beginning of this sturdy place, the stones that protect me and many before me and then I reach out to a plasterer and the whole thing begins again. However, there used to be buckets here some 19 years ago, and everywhere, in doorways, mostly in doorways where an old 3 foot wall argued with the efficacy of whatever modern attachment attached itself. Poorly, it seems. Windows allow ingress, depending on the wind direction and puddles appear on floors. I look up. Seems logical but nothing is logical around drips. Water will in, no matter how clever you are and in homesteads built circa 1830 you are battling with just too much and it is so much better to catch the plash rhythm and to dance with it.

I empty the jug once, twice daily depending on the wind direction. It slightly bugs me that the wind has all the say in the matter, but then there is always someone who has all the say in the matter and I know that place. The rest of us work around the sayer, to a degree. We are canny, nonetheless, finding a dance that works for us, that makes the situation less rigid. I look around the rest of my room, of my home. No leaks. Just this jug-gler one, controlled until the plaster comes down. Accepting what is, even recognising and then acknowledging it, is what works for me. I have, with builder help, found the source of many leaks. This one is challenging me. She, must be a ‘she’, is telling me something. Check the outside. Check the mortar. In the olden days, there was lime in the mortar. This building could have housed King George 1V, had he travelled to the islands. Lime was a marvellous thing back then, as all new things are marvellous until they’re so not.

As we move from the old to a new we really don’t want, there will be leaks. I leaked today, here, in the wind and rain and alone. There is nowhere for these tears to go. I drooped, I confess. We face, and we do ‘face’ an uncertain future. Our fears, our lime mortar is crumbling. Our resolution is to dance but we also need to dig deep into the truth of what life is, this new life. We can decorate the inside, jug up the leaks, play positive and all that is really important, just as long as we get what is happening and grab it by the throttle. This is how it is. This is Defiance. The knowledge of what is and the fight for freedom in spite of it.

Island Blog – Flowing Free

I hear the drips plopping into my little jug below the hole in the plaster. It used to infuriate me. Ach, another leak, even though it was not ‘another’, but instead the only one after years of buckets catching loads of leaks. How odd it is, when I think on it, that my leaking past jumps into my now, irrelevantly. I pause and rejig myself. Always a good idea and certainly for me. It is so easy to wear the gloom clothing, after all when Gloom is busy elsewhere and quite fed up with the fact that yet another human is calling him back. I wonder about Gloom. Is he actually an okay sort of person, one who had no idea when the gods gave him the Gloom job that he would be so busy and for so long? I have one small leak in a place where the rain falls like it just has to barf and the only place that allows is it in is here on the very Westerly West of Scotland; the last place before said rain makes no impact whatsoever in the wild expanse of the great Atlantic Ocean, an expanse of so much water that any amount of rain spill goes unnoticed. And we all want to be noticed.

I see the mosaic of infracted plaster overhead and I see art. Soon, I will need to pull it down, again. But, for now, it is rather beautiful and it thinks me. This morning woke me different. Yes, I had been up within the night, padding down for a cup of herbal and to leave my worries behind. Why they all tangle in the bed sheets is a mystery to me, but they do. If I walk down the stairs, I leave them behind and when I return, they’ve bored themselves out in the waiting and I can lie down without the damn things. I secretly believe they have no substance, hence the frishing away so quickquick. I have learned this technique over many years of believing they were the truth and holding on to them, thus allowing them to define me, to trip me up, to collude and to coagulate so that breakfast is always, was always, a guilt trip. To hell with that nonsense now. Here I am, dancing alone to Mr Beaujangles, in my kitchen, remembering the days when I could actually dance, catching my face in a passing mirror and seeing an old white haired woman who bears no relation to the one I know myself to be, and I rest and I chuckle. A So What, rises in me. And I like So What.

I spend the day completing a tapestry. For me, there is a story in every one. I give them away. I don’t sell. If someone identifies with the mountains, the tidal flow, the moon, the little home tucked away behind rocks, a safe place, then their story connects with mine. It was all I ever wanted and I got my dream. I am lucky. Folk say that we make our own luck and I agree to a degree but they miss the point. It is gratitude I am feeling, communicating, and the rest is just semantics. Words change, meanings change over time, over generations, and all of that is just as it is. Flow is key. Moving on with whatever comes at us, no matter how much value we put on the past of our past, means we don’t die wishing things were as they were. And I am so not doing that. Was is, not is. Can never be.

I walk inside the sheets of rain this afternoon as the light dims with two friends. We laugh in the rain, the diversity of dogs and their boundary shouts. To be honest, the only shouter was Poppy, but, thankfully, my friends were kind about her issues with any dog walking on what she considers to be her patch and her patch alone. No matter how often I tell her we do not own these lands, she is strong in her confidence, but it slows and calms quite quickly and so we walk together through lashing rain and bright fallen beech leaves coppering our path, larch needles like exclamation marks, crushed rowan berries, blood drops beneath our feet. We talk of village matters, of a strong and wonderful man who died yesterday, and, at that, we pause. This man is gone. His wife is in shock. We are not in that place. She and her children are not in free flow, but we are. We cannot change their situation but we can change ours because of their situation. We do it as we come through the kissing gate. We hold the news, together. And, in a few seconds we rejig our own lives, our own petty angst and we flow again, we flow free.

Island Blog – Fickle Dance/ Wonderful Hearts

Some days pass, a few in quiet silence bar the rattle of my fridge. She is an old girl, second hand when she came to me oh so many years ago. At times I think she feels like she is part of the wallpaper and I recognise that feeling myself, so I don’t mind so much when she stops her mindless humming and thinks herself Eminem, even as it startles and then concerns me. I thump her fat belly as I pass and she halts for a second or two only to resume once I have moved on. I smile. Go girl, I tell her. I am so noticing you now. You are not just a ‘white good’. You are my ‘white good’ and I appreciate all you do for me. It seems to work for she has hummed now for quite some time and in a somewhat merrier way, a key or two above her usual drone.

While she maintains her position (thankfully) Life moves on. Someone important dies. Someone important is born and someone important is married to her lover and friend. Across the world this dance goes on, second by second, moment by moment and we who are bothering about who did or did not empty the dishwasher have the chance to get real. So which is fickle, you might ask, the fridge and dishwasher thing or the comings and goings of breath life, the strangles of it, the insecurity of it, the risk the fall the rise and the sudden full stop or full birth? I think all of it is both important and fickle but not either/or, never that. Within each moment of our living we can easily be upset by a grumpy fridge or the fact that the dishwasher was not emptied which then causes us to anger, to resentment and to rage. We will be late for work. According to the rota, this one clear upon the wall, it is your turn but you did not bother to complete, nor even begin the task. Inside a family life, a team life, this really matters and I remember it. If one person does not turn up for their part the whole play is pointless. It collapses. This much is obvious. Juliet without Romeo would look like a right ninny. Moving on.

We are so very quick to hook our grapples onto Either and Or. I should be doing this, I should be feeling this, I should not be thinking this way, I should not cry in public because my fridge died, not when thousands are being maltreated, trafficked, abused. Not when ethnic cleansing is alive and well across the world; not when there is poverty and war. But wait. Wait. We who can afford a fridge, or a wedding, or any such choices are bound to have invested our trust in that thing or that experience. It isn’t something about which to feel guilt, false guilt (in my opinion). As long as we keep our minds wide, think laterally and allow the whole world with all her joys and all her pain to flow to us and through us, we are still saying You Is Important.

I know, I know that there is an imbalance within our world, the divider between lack and wealth. It isn’t new, people, no way. This imbalance has lived and thrived for millennia and I cannot see an end to it. So, to those of us who do stop to notice, who refuse to get caught up in Either/Or, I say this:- Let it flow. Let Life and living grow to dying and Death. Let us open the eyes of our wise hearts and let us see beyond the pale. Forward, backward, up, down and around. Let us breathe it all in, notice everything and most important of all, not make it all about ourselves. We are small, we are finite and yet within our living years we can be powerful just as long was we leave our own little agendas behind and walk together into new observations, no judgement, just looking with the eyes of our wonderful hearts.

Island Blog – So Will I

This day, in a fallout of death, I am aware of Life. I decide thus, Let me feel every single minute of this day, every soigné one. It is dark when I wake but there is a slither of light around my blackout curtains. I know the colour and my heart smiles. T’is not the moon, no, for this light is golden and the moon is never thus. She is slice white, cold blue, lemon if indeed she ever gets anywhere near anything yellow, which, she rarely does. Maybe in her summer coat. Maybe. But now, in the days of incoming cold and threat, she is clear in her colour. So, I am delighted to see that warm glow framing my blackout curtains and I just know is it morning. Oh glorious morning. I love mornings and have little regard for their start point as I ever did of the mother of boys. Boys have no start point, in my experience and just lift and run just whenever they feel like doing so. I have found confusion, then allowance, then engagement with the lunacy of boys. And, in girls too, although I only had one, yet she was match for any of her brothers since first she clocked her situation. She never looked back.

Back to me. It is so strange to walk into a familiar world knowing that someone, younger than my eldest son, is dead. I cannot conceive it, nor allow it and yet here it is. It is not my grief, primarily, not at all. There is a big and grieving family right there in the thick of it all, those who will, for many years, try to make sense of a daughter who died too young. They might question, they might take a dose of pain to their own hearts, they may confuse and dissemble. I would. if my own daughter had died within her 40 years, I would. I cannot, nor can anyone who has not gone through this, say anything. I can say nothing at all and perhaps that is just as it should be.

This day the Rose Bay Willowherb dispelled her seeds. I watched those seeds flit by my window. As the sun pulled pliance the seeds tipped and flowed and moved on as if they knew where they were going. All my spider webs are revealed, beneath chair, above curtain rails, over stairwells. Highlighted in a mist, snowflakes encaptured. I move out for a walk with the doglet. Breathing, honestly, today was a tricky thing. Any breath swooped in seeds. I am not going to let that stop me, not in the face of young death and my olding life.

Coming back into land, into my own home space I think this. I know that Nikki lived her life with wild and colourful dance. And I know this too. So will I.

Island Blog – Turnaround

I remember dancing as a child. I found most of it easy but the turns were tough. I had to spin my head quicker than my body so as not to fall over. Whip, whip, whip, focus on the point I chose pre spin. It kept my spine straight, my neck erect, no dipping. Dipping meant slipping and slipping meant an ungainly sprawl in the chalk dust. In ordinary life, walking or running, not dancing, a turn can topple unless there is a focal point, one level with my eyes but far ahead, or far behind. A child falling, a call from inside a crowd, a sudden scary alert. Eyes matter in any turn thingy. I wonder about someone who is blind, who cannot eyeball anything but who can still remain steady on fickle pins. It is magic to me.

These days of learning how to live alone require some turning. This lady, unlike others, is for turning. Not back, no, but in that full whipswing of dance. A fleeting look at what lies behind in the past, a millisecond appraisal of what was and what is still there at my back, but with no plan to stay looking at it. Grandmother’s footsteps, her old eyes on any twitch of movement, any sign of life. She will get you, this grandmother, when you from behind her, wobble, and she will be merciless in her judgement. You moved. You are out.

I walk today with a lovely young friend. It is a chance meet, she thinks, but I see her coming and make myself visible, asking to join her, if she wants. She does. We wander through the bowed leaves of the Summer flushtrees, over the scatter rocks of basalt shoreline, both solid and wobbly beneath our feet. She moves like Artemis, I like, well, Grandmother. We talk of this and that, cabbages and kings, of life and…..oh, Covid. We both wonder what the world will talk about without such a highborn deity as a source of idle conversation, for it is just that, an invisible power, a controlling force with the ability to kill at random. Before Covid, it was Weather and, to be honest, at least Covid has something individualistic to offer whereas Weather is the same for all of us, no matter who experiences it.

I am aware, very much so, of something this day. Of being very alone. Funny, that even in a warm and friendly village of warm friendly folk, feeling alone can rise strong as whiplash. It thinks me. Alone, Mrs Sensible tells me, her in her ironed apron (who irons aprons??) and her wisdoms that line up for timed release like clay pigeons, is nothing to fear. Good, I say, because she takes no argument, even though I would love her to ask me a question on my feelings of aloneness. She doesn’t, so I will tell you. It is the prospect of days ahead; the point of those days ahead; the fears, doubts and stultifying freeze of my turnaround. I know I want it, but what does it look like and, btw, is it for me……is it too late……can I still spin….whip whip and focus on the point? What is the point?

I suspect these are understandable questions. I suspect that many in a similar situation to my own will be/are asking them. What would I say to you if we were to meet? I would reassure. I would, even in sublime ignorance of pretty much all of your life, just sit with you and absolutely NOT say that you have a point, when you just told me you don’t. I would absolutely NOT say there is a wonderful future ahead when you just told me you cannot see it. I would NOT say that you need to get out more, connect more, take up a hobby or work on your whipspin. I would NOT.

So what would I say? Maybe nothing much. Maybe I would offer to make tea, pour wine, tell you how pretty you look in that dress, or how I have always thought your eyes sparkle like the sea in sunshine when you laugh, or that I remember that delicious chickpea curry you made last century when we were young and believed that we would take over the world. Yes. That is what I would say. And in meeting you at the place in which you sit/stand/turn or wobble right now, perhaps you will feel less alone, just for now and maybe that ‘just for now’ will follow you back home and you will sense it there as you walk. Perhaps you will pause, eyes on the road ahead and yet intrigued. Perhaps the dancer in you will smile, pause, and whip around for a quick glimpse and maybe that quick glimpse will tell you there is a friend behind you all the way.

And that friend is your own turnaround self.

Island Blog – This Day

I just have to write about it because it is fire in my heart and, as we all know, fire dies to embers in the grate, and in our minds it takes a smokey back seat if it is not captured immediately. So I am being ”immediately’. I am beginning to realise, is the only way to really live. Parked stuff melts into grey; other peoples demands rise like new flames into that grey and it will dissolute, diminish, and ghost and unfortunately that ghost takes a stand in the doorway of revelation, blocking it.

My little sister arrived today with her partner. It has been easy 2 years since I saw her, hugged her, looked into her eyes. They are bright, for the record, she who has braved massive stuff over the years. She is as wild as I remember, tousled haired, dancer body, feisty, bright, and so so very giving. A complete inspiration around small children because she can catch them and entrance and connect from nowhere and anywhere and they love her and remember her for life. When I watched her come in to see two of her nieces today, one of whom, aged 5 was unsure she would remember her aunt, well, it was a concerto of perfect music. There is something about the flow between ages and distance and she, my sister, has it in the bag. Not that she contrives it. No manipulation, just a gift.

And. It is her birthday. Managing to catch an earlier ferry, she and her man arrived early. Now, we had a plan. A seafood smash and grab thing around 5, pre this knowledge. Quick as squirrels grabbing nuts as they smell a frost, we set to, as they say here. Food was hurried up, tables laid, wine chilled, balloons ballooned and I watched her arrive. She is a tad glorious to watch arriving. We feasted on fresh caught seafood. We laughed and joked and shared, sorted little ones on the wet slide and in the paddling pool. It was a glorious celebration of my sister and also of ourselves. We needed this. As I dippled and scanted my way back down the track I thought this.

In the nothing of the last scary months, this was a very big something. And I am thankful, so very very thankful.