Coming apart at the seams

Nearly June. Already! The wild patch is rowdy with weeds. Capped with gossipy blossoms, they are sprouting with abandon, boisterously green, drunk on photosynthesis. All is jaunty chaos. All is splendid. Except for the disconcerting gleam of their foliage, glazed with sap from the aphid-riddled tree above. A rash of greenfly appeared on my t-shirt when I pruned off a couple of branches, lest they spread to my beech hedge. Creepy how they materialised, like a sleight of hand. Still. They’re an all-you-can-eat buffet for the birds. On the patio, I have placed an angular rock behind my favourite, ailing weed, grown too tall and thin. Its stem is anaemic, its flower buds parched, wrinkled. Is this ridiculous, propping up a weed? Dad, for one, would look at me askance. As he did that time we were in a dinghy on a loch somewhere in Scotland and I saved a fly from drowning. My insect-rescuing reflex. Sopping wet, the fly was struggling to unpeel its wings. When you are that small, water must have the weight of treacle. I placed it [...]

By |2023-05-29T07:33:12+00:00May 28, 2023|Musings|2 Comments

Hello, little weed…

... You look like you're in a listening mood, though actually you're just wedged, stuck in a crack between the patio stones. Much as I love spring, in tandem with the sap rising I can feel an anxiety beginning to put out tendrils from my belly. It is now that the garden messily awakens from its slumber, and I feel dismayed by the extra labour involved in tending to it. How on earth will I keep on top of it? My garden is a rather unruly muddle of foliage. When the neighbours aren’t outside with the radio on, it is also a place of profound calm. Sitting here now, the only sounds I can hear are birdsong and the distant mumble of traffic. I think the birds are catching up with the day’s gossip before bed, because they're particularly chatty. I feel a bit silly, cross-legged on the ground, muttering into my phone. I'm talking quietly in case the neighbours are within earshot, but my dictation software can’t hear me properly. I said vociferous a moment ago and Dragon recorded that as syphilis. After [...]

By |2023-04-04T12:54:46+00:00April 3, 2023|Comfort Reads, Musings|6 Comments


I am very new to ‘proper’ photography with a DSLR rather than a mobile phone, and learning to use the camera has been a challenge to my impulsive, somewhat acquisitive nature. Like a toddler with a new toy, when my Canon camera arrived I ripped off the packaging and went straight out to the woods, pointing and shooting in Auto mode. I felt dismayed and affronted when the results were no better than my trusty Samsung Galaxy S20: I wanted off-the-shelf, saturated, silky, seductive images like the ones you see on Instagram! Impatience aside, underlying my frustration was the fear that I wouldn’t be able to master manual mode: I had looked at the dial settings and the manual menu and it made no sense to me. As if confronted with algebra or the Arabic alphabet, my brain slunk off to a corner and sulked. Because my reflex is to buy my way out of a problem, I then purchased an expensive, niche lens called a Lensbaby Velvet, which produces a beautiful blur effect. It’s a difficult lens for even [...]

By |2023-03-22T08:40:52+00:00March 20, 2023|Musings|4 Comments

The Ten of Swords

The Tarot definitely has a sense of humour, albeit sometimes a dark one. Take the Ten of Swords, for instance – the card I recently drew when I was feeling overwhelmed. When I began studying and working with the Tarot, I quickly learned that its potency does not lie so much in divination as revelation. More than anything, the images on the cards are a powerful tool for self-understanding. Whilst there are specific meanings associated with each card, when used therapeutically it is our response to the image that is key. The depictions on the cards act in much the same way as reflective inquiry – the coaching skill that involves summarising what the client has said in order to hold up a mirror to their thought patterns. Our reaction to what we see on the card is revelatory because it is like gazing into a pool, on the surface of which we see our behaviours, emotions and circumstances reflected back at us. When I shuffled my Tarot pack for an insight, out popped the Ten of Swords – and [...]

By |2023-03-18T15:57:28+00:00March 17, 2023|Musings|0 Comments

Website makeover: why the wren?

Hello :) I've been trying to work out how to send a one-off newsletter in Mailchimp, but I'm stumped. Or to be more honest: I gave up after five minutes of trying to fathom it because, when it comes to working out Technical Stuff, I have all the staying power of a chocolate teapot under a blowtorch. Instead, I am writing a micro-post to tell you about my blog site makeover, courtesy of the very talented and intuitive Richard at Dao Design (who built the original website for me). As well as the icons for each category, you may have noticed the new logo, with the beautiful bird? There are four versions, with colours changing to reflect each season. After discussing the design brief, Richard produced a mood board of possible images - one of which was this little wren. Now, I cry rather readily, and I *may* have shed a few tears of delight when he showed the image to me: because the wren has a deeper meaning. Among the several courses on which I am currently embarked, I [...]

By |2023-03-03T14:55:24+00:00March 3, 2023|Musings|8 Comments

To the edge of the forest

A few weeks ago, a nasty, shocking thing happened: my adored dog, Bella, set upon another dog outside our front door. A young lady had come to collect an item I had offered on the local Freecycle group and brought her dog with her. Having told her that I would leave the item outside behind the green bin, I wasn’t expecting her to knock. But knock she did, and my son innocently opened the door, accompanied by Bella… Normally, Bella is impeccably behaved when the front door is open. She may sidle to the doorway, wag her tail, shuffle forward for a head scratch if a hand is proffered. She may stand in the open doorway, observing me as I upend tins and cardboard into the recycling bin by the shed, her nose twitching as she sniffs the air. Always, she appears serene and mildly inquisitive. This lulled us into a false sense of security. We know she isn’t a ‘dogs dog’. I adopted her from a rescue centre; she had been picked up as a stray, so we can [...]

By |2023-02-28T21:01:04+00:00February 28, 2023|Musings|6 Comments


Oh January, I hate to sound clichéd, but I am relieved to see the back of you. You’re a much-maligned month and I have been your staunch defender. Your arrival is like plunging into a cold, clear pool. Your lengthening days are free of the chaos of purchasing and planning that lays siege to December. You are such a beautifully bare month. My son’s birthday is also approaching. He was born on February 2nd, and announced his impending arrival on the 1st, the pagan festival of Imbolc that welcomes the return of the light. What auspicious timing, along with tentative signs of spring – although I am indulging in a fat slab of poetic licence here. The day of his birth was savagely cold, and spring’s heartbeat was sluggish beneath a skin of ice. Snow fell as I lay with my labour pains, and the weeks that followed, if I had to draw them in crayon, would be scribbles of black, grey, and red. For me, new motherhood was the most astonishing and terrible of things all at once. The [...]

By |2022-12-02T15:33:07+00:00February 1, 2022|Musings|14 Comments

On Padstow Beach

The piece below is from a few years ago. Upon re-reading, it feels vaguely as if someone other than me wrote it. I became a single parent almost a decade ago. For several years after my divorce, I scratched and fretted at my defunct marriage. So aware was I of this phantom limb that, in moments of panic, I fancied I could hear the flesh tearing. As time went on, the pain faded to a dull ache, constant but anaesthetized by the routines of daily life. Yet whenever I found myself surrounded by families, my lone parenthood would make me wince. At such times, I was shamefully aware of the loneliness trailing along behind me, tugging at me, a slightly petulant and very embarrassing child. That understanding of the root of my unease – shame – has only just come to me. I felt shame. Illogical, unwarranted, yes: but that is what I felt. I was in the habit of feeling like a misfit. After the birth of my son, being part of the 'traditional' family unit banished that [...]

By |2022-12-02T15:33:52+00:00October 29, 2021|Musings|4 Comments
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