You Made My Day

You made my day, I said.

I laughed.

To show

how happy she had made me.

And my cheeks hurt, because they were being forced to do what they would normally have done spontaneously.

Only this time,

My brain had ordered them to stretch,

against their will.

You made my day, I said, honestly.

And she smiled, because she made someone’s day.

You

made

my

day,

I lied through my teeth,

through my smile

which began to feel

stale

On my face.

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Image credit: River Darling

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Comfort

There is honestly nothing like a hot, buttery crumpet, with a scrape of jam on the very top, washed down with a mug of sweet, well brewed tea on a sunny day in spring.

In Morocco they have a similar sort of food, a pancake called ‘Baghrir’, fluffy and filled with holes just like a regular crumpet. They refry these pancakes in olive oil sometimes, but my favourite way to eat them is fried in butter and honey, sweet and succulent, with a small glass of sweet mint tea, steaming and oxidised from pouring from a height. My dad was a baker back in his student days, and when I was particularly small, he used to make them for breakfast every so often. A massive family breakfast. Usually when we breakfast together on a weekend we have a fry-up. Eggs and beans and toast and mushrooms and hash browns and sausages and whatever else you can add to a fry-up. My dad hates baked beans. He doesn’t really like much English food because he is not English, you see, and growing up his palette included much more savoury, aromatic Middle Eastern foods. So on his breakfast days we had moroccan pancakes, Spanish omelettes, cream cheese, honey, olive oil, plenty of olives and round, flat arabic bread. And lots of fruit!

Both kinds were comfort food to me. A plate of buttered crumpets with a moroccan teapot (ibreeq) and lots of small, gleaming little tea glasses, bits of mint floating on top. A nice contrast of cultures, in a way!

Moroccan mint tea is made in a special way. You don’t just pour boiling water on the mint, because you then have tasteless peppermint tea. You put in half a tablespoon of gunpowder tea, or Chinese green tea leaves into the pot and simmer with some hot water for a while. Then you pour it out and add more hot water until the metal teapot is filled to its workable capacity. You boil it until it bubbles, and then add your carefully cut and washed fresh mint. You close the lid and boil for about a minute, then you can sweeten to taste. Moroccans love their tea sweet. Too sweet, sometimes. But oh the taste of that fresh liquid, hot down your throat. I can have five or six glasses in a row. When I was in Morocco they would joke about how many glasses I would have, one after the another, greedy in anticipation.

When I was very small my father used to cool the tea before he gave it to me by pouring it from one small glass into another a few times until the heat dissipated enough for me to drink. When I went to Morocco last summer, I noticed that the Moroccans did that a lot for their little ones. I hadn’t known it was a thing they do.

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This is how to pour Moroccan tea. From as high above as you can manage!

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Ah, the fluffy, buttery hot English crumpet.

 

Yeezys

When I went for a walk yesterday I wore my grey trainers. The ones I got for fifteen quid from TK Maxx. I remember the first day I wore them to school after that one of my year five students ran up to me calling, ‘Miss, Miss, is it true you’re wearing Yeezies?’

I stared at her. Her big bushy blonde hair waving in the winter breeze and her stark green eyes blinking cheekily at me. I saw her gaggle of friends giggling behind a wall.

What the heck is a yeezie?

‘What the heck is a yeezie?’ I said, ‘these were fifteen quid from TK Maxx’

Thank goodness no other teachers were nearby, saying ‘heck’ in front of a student is probably a no-no.

I googled a yeezie when I got home. First, I found out it was actually ‘Yeezy’ and not ‘yeezie’. Second, I was not impressed. Yeezy is pretty much some bone headed celebrity clothing line.

So I wore my fifteen quid NON-yeezies on my walk yesterday when I discovered some fields. The sun was shining brightly, igniting each blade of grass and turning them from sombre green into brilliant emerald. I sighed happily and walked on, letting the cool spring wind take me whichever direction it chose. I had plenty of fields to walk in, and some were filled with bright yellow rapeseed (what a nasty name) flowers taller than my five foot four frame. I was in my element. My shoes, which were severely permeable because they’re supposed to be running shoes, were doing their bouncy thing.

You know.

And I was just. So. Happy. Until I walked into what looked like a particularly fresh patch of grass, severely green, blooming and luscious, and my shoes, feet and all, sank right in, right through the deceiving little patch all the way up beyond my ankles with a wet squelch. The mud beneath bubbled up and burped satisfactorily when I tried to lift my foot out. I was well and truly stuck, and nobody around to hear me scream. I could feel the muddy deluged splotching around and soaking into my socks, it was a very cringe experience I can tell you that much.

There was a feeling of resignation, after the initial shock, when I realised that, well, now my feet and shoes were soaking and muddy and probably a bit shitty too, considering the huge cowpats everywhere, but that was that, and there was nothing I could do about it. I just stared down for a few moments, then went, ‘Oh well.’ and proceeded to squelch myself out of there, getting mud all up my leggings in the process.

I got out alright, else I wouldn’t be here to tell the tale, but my shoes, alas, did not survive. The end of the ‘yeezies’ as it were.

I enjoyed the rest of the hour and a half I spent walking after the incident, clearly mud is not a deterrent on a sunny day in England – we don’t get many of those, we tend to savour what we have!

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Why do you get up in the morning?

Or don’t you like getting up in the morning at all?

I get up in the morning every day at 5:40am because my husband has to get up that early for his commute to work. I sluggishly make breakfast on the go and lunches for both me and him for the day, while he rushes about grabbing last minute things and having a shower. When he leaves I clean up our mess and fold clothes away and put a wash on and pack my bags for the day before picking my brothers up and dropping them off to school.

After that I go to the gym for two hours, have a shower, and then lesson prep for my afternoon lessons. Once my lessons are over at 2:30 I pick my brothers up from school, drop them home, and then have one hour free in which to prepare for my afternoon lessons, which last from 4pm through till 7pm.

By 7pm, my husband is returning home from work, so I go back home and say hello. Sometimes he lets me kiss him and other times he is distracted and exhausted, his hazel eyes two alien orbs sunken into his pale face, the dark circles under his eyes stark against his colourless cheeks.

But wait, I am not done yet, because although I want to just sit next to my husband and watch his shows with him, switching off as he does, I cannot. I must prepare for the next day, and study, and write, because those books won’t get written by themselves, and my degree won’t obtain itself either.

When I finally get into bed, at around 12am, my husband is as still as a log, in the deep sleep only one who is exhausted can experience. I, too, will experience it.. just… as .. soon.. as my head .. hits… that … pillow.

I get up in the morning because I have a day to conquer, a living to make, and a career to create. I get up in the morning because it is the only time I will get to see my husband, albeit for a few minutes, and give him a hug in private. I get up in the morning because I am obligated to by duty, and no, I am not always happy about it. In fact I can be despicably moody about it and drive around town with a perpetual frown on my face drawn on by constant exhaustion.

I like getting up so early in the morning, though. You see? I like it. I might not always show that I like it, I might hit that snooze button and then be half an hour late for everything all day, but I like that I can have an entire day, nineteen hours, in which to do all I have to do and complete my goals.

I don’t always complete all my goals, of course, and some days I am so sluggish I can barely think, but the weekend always beckons me, with bright sunshine and promise.

It doesn’t always fulfil that promise, though, but it does let me have a lie in with my husband in the mornings. It’s sad, but I look forward to that the most all week. Just a few extra hours, to talk about what’s happened all week, or have a laugh about something, or plan for the days when we can be together properly, without family in the way, without other obligations, without being in a hurry or being too exhausted to speak.

I look forward to those days, and I guess, that is really why I like getting up in the morning.

Why do you get up in the morning?

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Oleg Riabchuck

 

A Summer’s Day

We wake up early, throw our covers back. The air is tantalisingly temperate. No cold toes.

A tentative tiptoe on the floorboards.

No rush of icy draft.

A sigh of relief.

Scarpering feet on the laminate outside, a rush for the bathroom.

“Wake up kids!”, shouts the father from downstairs.

They wake up, because it’s summer and there’s no school.

Visions of sunny beaches, bare legs, feet rustling through dry, cool grass. Daisies to pick, their white faces tinged with purple and sunny smiles upturned to the bright sky. Buttercups nodding in the breeze, shining yellow.

“Do you like butter?”

Do you like butter?”

Images shared over the breakfast table. Licks of ice cream. Wild dreams under a canopy of trees. Adventures in faraway lands, at the bottom of the garden. Cake in the park. Sprinkles of duck food over a pond. Swimming in the sunshine. Sunsets that are stretched out over a long evening. Curtains billowing in the breeze. Dust mites swirling.

Breakfast is had. Dishes are washed. Children are dressed. Never mind Billie has some jam on her cheek. Race for the front door. A little scuffle about who is going to sit in the middle seat. Mother straightening herself before the mirror. Father rattling keys. Fall out the door. Get in the car.

Quick, hurry.

A cloud appears.

Oh. It’s raining.

Hard droplets hit the windscreen, as miserable clouds roll up.

Pack yourselves indoors. It’s not going to clear soon. Warm wind rushes through the house. Socks are pulled on. Books are scattered off bookshelves.

A British Summer’s day.

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Sunshine

Good morning, and welcome to a better today.

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A today where the sun may not be bright, but our faces are.

A today where joy might be scarce, but we can still scrape some up.

A today that is better than yesterday and worse than tomorrow.

I hope each and every one of you finds your little pebble of happiness in this new day, be it a smile from a stranger or a kind word from your spouse, or even a freshly baked cookie!

Of course, it doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom, you might be feeling like the chirpiest bunny on earth today. And if you are, savour it and cherish it.

Here are some things that made me happy today:

My brothers were happy to see me when I walked in the front door this morning.

I had some chips. I haven’t had chips properly in so long! They were warm and crispy and greasy and salt and vinegary and how I savoured them.

The baby told me a great many stories today, and she came and cuddled me unexpectedly and asked me if I was “otay?”. That was sweet and made my heart melt completely.

I drove my car again today after a week away from the little beast. How I loved it, the confidence of the pedals under my feet, the purr she makes when struggling up a hill, her sleek, gorgeous, slightly rusted and hunched way of hugging the curb when parked up. She is like a massive beetle with giant eyelashes. Not a pretty picture, I’ll give you that, but to me she is the most beautiful thing I own.

There is something so satisfying about finally being able to buy your very own, very first car!

I think the novelty will linger in my cherished memories forever.

What made you happy today?

A Small Reflection

Today I came out of the shower in Damian’s house and said, “Y’all better get out of my room cause I want to change in there”.

“She said it!” my sister in law said, “She said ‘my room‘!”

I did. I called Damian’s room my room. How the tables have turned. It appears I am more comfortable now in the home of my in-laws. I can even poop here. And that is a remarkable feat, really, since I can’t usually anywhere but at my own home. Or my home (my mother’s house). Or my uncle’s.

I wanted to reflect upon how nice that is, and how I have, in acquiring a spouse, acquired myself a new home.

Sometimes in life one isn’t always happy, and today I put this small happy pebble in my pebble jar of happies, to remind myself to stop being so glum over things and to feel joy in small matters! Every penny counts, they say. That was my shiny copper penny for today.

Adieu, my dears. Much love,

Lenora