Magic moments as Em and I get a whole day to spend together….

Em and 4

Emily has turned 22 and we have been planning a day together since Christmas and on Monday this week we pulled it off.

I headed down the motorway to Leicester and we spent the day doing all the things we love together. Leicester is a thriving city and two universities give it a very young feel. They have ‘lanes’ going off the city centre, just like Brighton, and the little shops up there were tailor made for us girls. We ‘oohhed and aahhed’ over paintings, glasswork, pottery and crafty gifts. We sat in a wonderful deli having lunch and caught up with our news. It felt like we were in Italy. A local wool shop gave us new knitting ideas and projects and the vintage and secondhand furniture shops are a treasure trove of fun.

Em took me to a place called ‘Ocean Commotion’ and some of her childhood memories floated up while we looked in all the tanks. The marvelous colours of the little fish and the gentle burble of the air in the tanks took us to another world for a while. Em remembered when she was little and we used to take her to a garden centre with a special place full of fish tanks. She loved those trips. I remembered two goldfish her Dad won at a fun fair years ago. ‘Gordon and Herbet’ lived with us for quite a while in the big glass bowl I found in a junk shop.

Magic moments float up as I think back to Monday. As the sun set (somewhere high up above, because it tipped down with rain all day) there were little twinkly lights that came on outside the shops. One place was covered in them right up the front from the display window to the roof three stories above. In another there was a studio above a gallery that had us both feeling a longing to get up there and paint. We found a cosy Irish pub and sat and nattered while I sewed a popper onto Em’s coat that kept flapping in the wind. The butterfly umbrella my Mum gifted Em was in use all day, but the weather did nothing to dull our shine.

We had a great time in a restaurant Em had discovered for our dinner. It offered a world buffet and I needed her guidance on several occasions as I looked at food I did not recognise. The staff were great and caught our fun mood and we left there with many good wishes and paper hats on our heads.

As we said ‘au revoir’ to each other Em put a huge bag of clothes, that she no longer wears, in my hand and I have already worn a spangly top that was nestling in there. She also discovered a lovely skirt and scarf in a charity shop for the new work I am doing on platform. She is one canny and thoughtful shopper.

Em is in her final year at Uni and has a 10,000 word dissertation before her in the next few months. We shared memories of the degree choices she had before her just a few short years ago, because she chose the unexpected. She made the best choice for her and I applaud her courage in following her heart, as she is flying with it. She has carved a lovely life out for herself in Leicester and has got out and about exploring and found all sorts of places. Her new friendships there have brought blessings forth and she has discovered much about herself.

Life flows and things rarely go to plan, as our children grow up, and in my case a marriage ends. Emily is a priceless gift from my marriage and life’s gifts continue to flow in the magic moments we have together.

Em and I 1

Good old Pooh, he had the right idea about love…..

feel love

I am going to feel my way with this piece of writing, as I am not even sure myself what I want to say. I just know that things are not feeling right.

My daily routine has changed and things have been very hectic, but I caught myself in the middle of a lie this afternoon. I was answering a batch (a big one) of emails, and as I typed (almost without thinking) the words ‘I am sorry I have not replied sooner, but things have been very busy’.

Oh dear, has it been that busy? Really?

The short answer is ‘no’, not really. I make choices every day on where my time goes, and losing sight of what is important in that time, is not loving for those I love and care about.

I have a natural aversion to social media, reality television and the falseness of our celebrity culture. Yet how much of our day do we allocate to it? How many ‘likes’ go on Facebook? How many times do we check others social media statuses and tweets? How much television erodes our time? How many emails do we fire off? How many do we read and not reply to? How many of the media stories do we read and believe?

It feels false to me.

Love underpins everything and in this lovely world of ours people are what matter. If we care for each other, then that care radiates out to keep all around us running with love.

I wish to see the people I love face to face to have a conversation. I don’t want to be checking my phone for texts, alerts or emails whilst I am with them either. I want to listen, really listen.

Each one of us is unique, and in that uniqueness, each one of us is special. My loved ones deserve thought and my full attention.

Love is not measured, logical nor scientific. It is a gift and it ‘is’.

Sunshine and giggly moments…


My Mum and I have always been able to stay in touch no matter where we are in the world. I have memories of my late teens when I worked for BP in Johannesburg and Mum worked for a well known hotel in Salcombe, Devon. We both had access to the old style telex machines and we would ring the bells and chat merrily away swopping news. I giggle even now to think about it. Our refrain to each other was ‘The sun will soon come out’ and this phrase has had a few creative additions over the years, such as one memorable one from me to Mum ‘Now where’s the beep blip beep sun!’

The sun did came out this weekend and it was so welcome. Yesterday a kind and thoughtful man took me out after I had finished working on the telephone service. He had put a delicious joint of meat in his oven before we set off and our first port of call was his boat. She is moored on a very fast flowing river after all the snow and rain of the previous weeks and we stood on her and watched a lovely sunset with ducks moving past us at turbo speed. He then took me to a local pub where they had live music playing. We settled down to listen and I think it’s fair to say that the chap playing had technical trouble with his mike and was also having an ‘off’ day. His song cover choices were a little obscure to say the least and the few we did recognise were quite simply murdered! We sat there wincing but doing our best to applaud and enter into the spirit of the early evening. Then things went downhill, again with speed, when our hapless songster chose to sing a little number entitled ‘Death’ and then followed this with another about a young chap dying in the First World War. I caught the eyes of my thoughtful companion and we started to giggle and he was heard to comment ‘This is not quite what I had planned Jane’…..more giggles and a swift decision to leave was taken. We giggled our way back to the car, because if anyone was feeling down when they went into the pub then there was no way up for them.

Today the sun is still shining and I have towels and jeans blowing in the warm breeze out there…yay.

Love and simple happiness…..


Saturday dawned and my lovely friend brought her brood over so we could all have lunch. We had a grand catch-up with news and the children settled happily to play in my new home. On the way over one of the girls asked their Mum if I still lived in England! With their Mum’s permission the picture shows the girls modelling their lovely pressie for me….I will smile every time I do the washing-up. We had such fun and the walls bounced back the sound of happy noise and laughter and whilst they were here the post lady delivered a parcel from my Mum and a very funny card from my sister.

It is two years since I helped to look after the girls and their patient brother and I am so grateful that the strands of love and friendship still hum with this special song.

I pottered around afterwards and looked at the flowers their lovely Mum had brought, the fabulous washing up gloves, ate one of their gifted chocolate reindeers, put on the waterfall cardi my Mum had sent and laughed at my sister’s card.

Love and thought threaded through a special day and all is well.