Anomalous

I am always looking for odd things within the normal. It is never good enough.

I am waiting for a plane to drop out of the sky. Is that too morbid? Hair made of cloud. Running so fast my feet lift off the ground, and I am leaping through the air. Not flying, no. Powerful through the kinetic force of my leaps and bounds. Why is a sunny day just a sunny day? It can’t be. There must be more to it than that.

What are brains whispering behind the closed doors of faces?

How many universes really exist, through the perspectives of billions of people.

Can the heavens and the earth sense our tread? And if so, are we hurting them?

A piece of heart. I pick up a ‘piece of heart’ with my toes when I am too lazy to bend down. It was a paper, but all the girls made fun of me. They said, ‘Eurgh you have real human hearts lying around your house!’ Cackling in that cruel way six year old girls have. Tears sprang to my eyes. I was only trying to be part of the conversation. I glanced at the boy who was my friend. He looked away.

A pair of knobbly, bright-red feet under a door.

A cluster of girls.

One brown face looking up at me.

‘What do you want?’

Hurt, walking away from the group I always associate with, because one newcomer decided she didn’t like this foreigner.

Or maybe it’s because I was weird.

But none of the other girls stuck up for me. None.

Why?

I feel like an outcast most of the time; but then I slurp some coffee and I am vibrant, energetic; ripples of laughter rippling outwards from my circumference.

Awkward silences. Lots of them. Lack of eye contact. Insecurity. Power. Speeding along country lanes; the sky is a different colour every single day.

If it wasn’t for the clouds, I think our sunsets would be monotonous.

 

But it is never any good. Not good enough.

I want an inspiration to seize my fingers, but I am learning that you have to create your own inspiration.

So this is mine, today. A mixture of memories and daily thoughts.

What inspires you? Do tell me. What makes your brain tick, your fingers itch?

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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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Tired

Fatigue was lying next to her in the morning. Her eyelids fluttered open, prodded gently by soft rays of golden sunshine, and when her eyes were open properly she saw Fatigue lying on the bed, his transparent fingers nestled behind her eyebrows and on the crown of her head. They caused a dull ache and no amount of wiping away would remove it.

Fatigue draped its heavy self over her bones as she struggled out of bed. It curled up in the pit of her stomach and painted all the colour out of her face.

When she moved, her feet were weighted down by gravity, which surged up excitedly to meet its old friend. Fatigue bent down to grasp Gravity’s hand in a solid handshake, and it pulled her down with it. She sighed and eventually gave up, dropping onto a chair as they completed their rendezvous.

‘I’m tired,’ she murmured, when she realised the day refused to wake her senses. She went for a walk in the sunshine and laughed with the neighbour, picking some fresh blossoms and breathing the spring air. The sun made her head pound and Fatigue became angry, prodding her eyelids until they drooped pitifully. She closed her eyes and lay back in her chair, her fingers loose about the pen which she tapped listlessly against her book.

Words swam before her eyes, and Fatigue crossly told her that she couldn’t possibly focus today. It wanted some toast and goaded her until she made some, washing it down with a mug of hot tea. Fatigue smiled wide and draped its arm over her eyes and she succumbed to its wiles.

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I am tired today, and there is no reason to be. The sun is out, the world is waking up, the buds are forming on trees and spring is in full swing.

The Yawning of Spring.

Spring stepped delicately into the world today, folks.

Wanna know how I know? The birds are chirping songs that sound mysteriously like summer songs, and the wind is breezy, not biting. The sun popped in a few times to say hello, she is now snuggled behind some grey clouds but the atmosphere she has left behind is promising.

I am wearing a light t-shirt and all the windows in my house are open! I was also taken by a sudden urge to air the house out and do some thorough cleaning – that is a sign of waking from hibernation if any. I truly understand the term ‘spring cleaning’ now. In winter, one wants to bundle up and only cleans after weeks of dust settling, groaning because the water is too cold and getting wet means icy extremities.

In spring, however, one WANTS to clean.

Also, the last sign that spring has fluffed her frills today, is the tinkly, glorious sound of the ice cream van. A jolly summery jingle, flooding the streets and bringing back memories of sunshine and leaves. Oh, LEAVES. I haven’t seen leaves since October!

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Isn’t spring so beautiful?

School Trip

The week has come to an end, and so has my thunder cloud mood.

We went on a school trip today with Year 1 and 2, and despite going through four seasons of weather in one afternoon, it was an enjoyable trip. Kids are sweet, and they do come out with the funniest things.

We hiked through a forest, and mounted a summit. Some children were being blown away by the wind at the top of the hill, and their terror combined with the way they were reaching out to the teacher, but being pushed further and further away, was a pile of hilarity for me and my sister in law.

Obviously we kept our laughter in check at the time, but my oh my what laughs we had later.

I have to say, though, that I think the trip should have been cancelled, and it wasn’t such a good idea to take a bunch of six year olds on a hike because they aren’t going to appreciate that. They just want to play.

I did try to engage them by pointing out different kinds of trees and how you can tell an oak apart from a birch. We also examined animal droppings (once we got over the toilet humour!) to see which animal might have passed by before us.

All my knowledge of nature has come from books. I grew up in the desert, and walks like these were few and far between (every ten months when we came back to the UK for summer holidays and to see our family and grandparents, obviously), so I relished things like oak leaves and pine cones and rabbit poops. The kids in books did all the things I could only dream of. These kids sure are lucky, I tell you that much.

I think they were interested, because they kept bringing me dead leaves saying ‘Miss, this is an oak leaf, see, look at all its ridges!’

They are a bunch of cuties.

I have to say, though, that I didn’t get to sit down all day and am only just sitting down to catch up on internet stuff. In fact, I have been so busy all week that I haven’t been able to wash my clothes and I am travelling to Shropshire tomorrow to have a look at the place where they filmed Narnia (Hail C.S. Lewis!), and then to Birmingham to see the places where Tolkien grew up! Who knew he grew up in Birmingham? I don’t particularly like Birmingham but after finding out about that little Tolkien tidbit I might have to change my mind. We’ll see.

I hope those clothes dry overnight outside. You know, it’s too cold for April! We have been hailed upon and snowed down on, and the sky looks mighty troubled tonight, and breath is coming out thick and fast and hanging in the air as though it was too cold to dissipate.

Which it is.

Have a great weekend and bank holiday!

A Saturday Thought

One thing I have learned about life is that you have to have a lot of faith, and have to be a lot content with your lot in this world. You have to have faith in yourself, to pull you up and keep you going when times are rough. To wake you up in the mornings, and feed you and clothe you and take care of all your emotions.

You also have to have faith in other people, even though faith in them is sometimes thrown back in your face. You have to throw things to chance. You have to work hard, even though your heart is broken and your morale is low, and you have nothing going for you because eczema riddles your arms, your chest is wheezy, your hair loss has become so bad you can’t hide it anymore, you have extra fat and it’s putting you off looking pretty. You have to brush your hair and wash your face and wear a nice bra because you’re twenty two and even though you don’t feel like you look like regular gorgeous twenty two year olds, you still have to look good and feel good.

You have to fight even though your husband is being a moody git and denies it when questioned why. Even though both he and I know he is being a git.

You have to fight even though you feel so lonely and all your family is far away and there is so much work to do and so many things to plan for and you have barely started and you feel too ill and demotivated to start.

You have to have faith. You have to look at those below you because you have money in your bank account, a roof over your head, heating to warm your cold toes and a bloody good mattress. Plus you just ate a roast chicken for dinner and how many people can say they’ve had that?

That’s a blessing, folks. It’s a mighty blessing and all these complaints are trivial, and you have to have faith and hope and keep fighting for your hair and your marriage and your family and your friendships and your sanity.

And your faith.

I have a faith, folks. I don’t talk about my faith often, but my faith is what keeps me going, keeps me wondering at the majestic beauty of the world and the meticulous science behind everything. I have a faith, and I need to keep it alive.

That was my Saturday thought. Adieu! Have a great weekend.

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Wed 30 March 2016

You know, I forgot I turn 22 today!

My mum texted me yesterday saying ‘How are you Mrs 22??”

I racked my brains for a bit thinking, why on earth would she write that? Then I realised of course that she was the one who birthed me, and it was almost my birthday.

My husband doesn’t remember, though! I sat back and thought about it for a bit, and realised it actually doesn’t faze me. I know he loves me, and not remembering the date I was pushed out into the world kicking and screaming doesn’t make any difference to that fact.

Or does it?

I guess a tiny part of me would like him to acknowledge the fact. I know he has a million and one things running through his mind, though, so it’s ok. It’s OK. Okay. There.

Also today I was craving chocolate and my little sister in law who is eleven knocked on my door just now and came in with a pretty teacup filled with  Cadbury mini eggs. Which I thought was darling of her, and she deserves a big hug and a kiss from yours truly.

Anyway. I don’t know why I wrote this post. March 30 has always been a special day for me, because it’s just so symmetrical and in my diaries over the years it signified many growth milestones. Each March 30 was more dignified than the last, and each March 30 entry had better spelling than the last. Is it vain to pore over my own history like that? I don’t know.

I just remember small Len who kept looking down at her feet to see if they were any further away from her, and little Len who swore vehemently she would never become a ‘teenager’, and small Len who scoffed at the thought of boys and told everybody she would live in the countryside one day with animals and plants and run in the fields and lie amongst the wildflowers and adopt children and always always always play. She would never stop playing and laughing.

She was naive, and sometimes disillusioned, but she always saw life as an adventure and a happy place, and every month she had a ‘best day ever, even better than the last best day ever’, and she discussed how one can measure a ‘best day’ with her friends who, in those days were kindred spirits, and I don’t know what happened to her. She has vamoosed. She vanished and in her place is a girl who mopes a lot now and complains and is often sad.

So all the March 30s are little glimpses into what she became, and perhaps little motivations as to how she could go back.

Sometimes I wish she never grew up. Horrendous things happened to her and it was all my fault and I am so sorry, but I think I ruined her forever.

 

Leaving the Green

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Photo credit: Yours truly.

This is a throwback to when it was warmer. I smelled the greenery and grass whenever I opened my windows. When I walked out the main door I was greeted with fields and the blossoming of spring into summer. It was food for the heart, mind and soul.

Now I still have that, and it’s still food; mighty mighty food. The trees may be bare, the fields muddy, but I love it. I can stand on top of my hill and see the meadows rolling away before me, the lake nestled in between cosy looking homes, orange lights twinkling out. It was my special place, and I am leaving so have to make the most of every single one of my last four days here. It’s day two, and I haven’t stepped out of my tiny little attic! Help! I am in a rut!

I don’t want to live in the city again. But I suppose it was inevitable, we aren’t farmers! Although the idea of farming doesn’t sound very distasteful you know.

But here are a few pictures of what it was like back in March.

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