Five Minutes Peace

April 7, 2012 at 6:19 am | Posted in books, Childhood, Children, insomnia, Literature, London | 2 Comments
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Blog, I have neglected you. This ends now. I did do well by you in January, but now you lie abandoned in the great internet orphanage/Battersea Dogs’ Home/some other appalling metaphorical place of forsakenment. (Apologies for the antiquated word: but it is rather fitting considering yesterday’s date).

I woke suddenly this morning about five after having a recurring nightmare (I won’t share details, but it involves murder). Too restless to sleep again, I read some blog posts by this lady and this one too. Both made me realise how much I missed writing up my own adventures.

I’ve not had a laptop for ages since my brother ‘borrowed’ mine (hey, at least my diary is password protected), and although I’m hoping to get one, I rather like this funny little QWERTY IPhone keyboard. Sure, the screen is somewhat ambitiously tiny for my shortsightedness, but that’s part of the fun (or something).

The silence this morning is so delicious. I can hear nothing whatsoever apart from, well, that slight buzz of soundlessness you get when you are somewhere very still. Here comes The Desiderata bit (apologies for the link to THAT website, but it was that or…). So much of our lives are consumed by busyness that sometimes we forget how easy it can be to find quietness in the midst of madness. Get up an hour earlier (not easy when you’re knackered, I know), or take ten minutes out of your lunch break to find peace (not of the inner or world variety, just peace, pure and simple). Where I work in Tenterden, it’s amazing how quickly I can find silence just a few minutes after walking out of my shop, even on the high street. You seem to enter a whole new universe which runs in parallel to the craziness of the usual world. The same thing happened to me a few weeks ago in Richmond: a friend and I were en route to a lovely pub, and the further we walked up the hill, leaving the bustle and Bugaboos of the main town behind, the more the soft sounds of nature descended. You have to walk up this hill at least once in your life: the views are absolutely amazing. Plus perving on the abodes of the rich and famous is such an enriching activity.

There’s something so wonderfully expectant about a Saturday, particularly when it is very early and still (not, I should add, when you are rolling out of bed, dry-tongued and hungover). When I am up very early on my favourite day of the week, I always think back to walking over Kew Bridge as the sun comes up, or of sitting outside Waterstones Thanet as a probational bookseller, and reading the terrible eponymous book.

That’s all for now. Je Reviens, as Rebecca’s boat said. And remember: go placidly, folks…

To My Darling Mum, Tess

March 18, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Posted in Children, family, love, motherhood | Leave a comment
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Dear Mum,

We’ve not always seen eye to eye, have we? And I think that as well as having very different ideas about raising children sometimes, we clash in so many other ways: I can think of nothing lovelier than a holiday filled with history, bookshops and shopping; you would rather sun worship on a Florida beach for two weeks. I love to cook and have enough cookbooks to cook something different every day for the rest of my life. Yet I must have inherited this from your mum, Cicely Hannah, because dad does all the cooking in your house. In other food news, garlic to me is as essential as salt; to you, it means vampires, crucifixes and halitosis.

Then again, you keep all your receipts and diligently note all your transactions; I check my bank balance as often as I go to church, and might as well gamble my money away. I have an English degree, but you are much better at crosswords than I will ever be. You singlehandedly raised my sister and my brother when their dad lost interest; I, on the other hand, have a fantastic support network of you, dad and Asher to help me raise Jude.

So mum, on this day of all days, I take my metaphorical hat off to you and raise a G and T: your life has been so much harder than mine, and yet here you are, sacrificing a quiet childhood to watch Bob the Builder and play Cor Blimey with your youngest grandson. Mum, I love you so much and am eternally grateful to you for your love in return.


Amy Jessica

To be honest…I’d rather you weren’t honest

February 20, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Posted in Children, Jewellery, Names | 2 Comments
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In general, I’d rather people were honest with me. If I’m doing a bad job, or am being unfair in some way, yes, I’d rather you told me. Honesty is certainly the best policy in the workplace, particularly in retail, where bad decisions can mean bad sales.

But how should you react when a friend/customer/random tells you their new baby is called Limerick/Crocus/Whoopie Pie? Pull a shocked face? Vomit? Express concern for the child’s future? No, reader. The only sensible reaction is to smile and say, ‘Oh, ok’ in a friendly but non-committal manner. Because people who name their children unusually will be suspicious if you pretend to be excited at the prospect of a baby Poppy Honey Lana Del Ray.

Similarly, when I showed someone my new cameo ring today, I neither a) asked for an opinion; nor b) welcomed their honesty when she said she thought it was ‘horrible’. But then, it’s a mark of intelligence and class if you know when to be honest, and when to be polite, don’t you think?

What next? Orange Wednesday?

January 27, 2012 at 8:34 am | Posted in Children, Names, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I was reading my local paper yesterday (I always turn to the Family Announcement pages first to see if anyone I know has died/had a baby), and I noticed that a little girl had been christened Orange Blossom.  I respect the right of parents to name their children what they like, but come on – Orange Blossom? Wouldn’t Raspberry Leaf Tea have been more appropriate in the circumstances?  Sometimes I wish we had a law like das Vornamensrecht where German parents may not name their children anything ‘absurd or degrading’.

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