Weekly photo challenge: dialogue

This photo challenge invites us to find two photos that are some way in dialogue- both on the same theme. An echo of each other…
My take on this is two images of multicultural London taken in the same part of London the other day. I remember thinking as I took them both how I love the cultural mix that is my now home town.





Where did all the clutter in our home come from? As part of my sitting with my feelings this weekend I took on to start a declutter while J is away and here I am on Sunday evening feeling somewhat defeated. Tons sorted, bin bags filled, a shredding frenzy and still there is more. Perhaps 3 months off work and I could crack it. Decluttering leave. Must be a category along with compassionate leave or maternity leave.

So much unneeded stuff. What was I thinking accumulating it all? Like molehills mounds appear in rooms. Clothes when the wardrobes are full, piles of books in the absence of bookshelves, things and more things, things that might come in handy one day, maybe. Things I have no idea how they got here. Unwanted forgotten gifts?

Stuff. Like my thoughts and memories. All cluttering up the corners of my brain and then the occasional avalanche when they tumble pellmell into my consciousness. A weekend of acknowledging, sifting and sorting. And sadness. Lots of sadness. Loss. A chat with my ex mother in law to express my condolences on the recent deaths in her family. That chat left me with a wave of sadness about my marriage to her son and the way it ended. Feelings all raw and on the surface again. Hard to believe it’s nearly 8 years ago now.

And I just try to be with the feelings and work my way through the clutter inside and around me. Getting there…


Weekly photo challenge: fray….


Weekly photo challenge this week – fray! Was stumped so checked some other blogs out. ” Into the fray” was one option…

So here into the fray at the Edinburgh Festival we went to check out the sights and sounds…



My friend Heather didn’t go further into the crowd – otherwise may never have seen her again!

Sitting with sadness

For the first time since my mum’s death almost four months ago I’ve had two weeks on my own at home, my partner off in Ireland for work.

I realise how much I’ve needed this space to sit with my feelings- not only the loss of my mum, the thinking about things that will never happen again, rerunning my last visit to her where she held my hand tight and returned a kiss unexpectedly ….but also the sense of responsibility for my father and the still broken relationships with 2 in the family. It’s a lot and it needs time just to quietly be and to do the things I know work for me in times such as these – lots of sleep, very very simple healthy food, swimming, walking, writing, reading, time to just be and think and lots of quiet.

A photo on the mantelpiece of my mum from a few years before her descent into Alzheimer’s. She is looking directly at the camera and is surprisingly relaxed and happy, usually one to avoid being the subject of a photo. It’s good to remember times like those as well as the peaceful times she had towards the end of her life. I loved just to visit and sit with her, doing the little things she seemed to like – putting on hand cream, brushing her hair, helping her eat a Creme caramel with gusto and just holding her hand as she slept. All precious times and feel good about having been able to go down so often in her last months in particular.

So lots of memories of moments with my mum that feel good just to sit with.

The family difficulties resulting from their ways of dealing with loss continue. Incredibly painful for me but I have just tried to keep going. In pain they have lashed out and excluded. And I just keep going trying to do the best by my dad and youngest sister – and for us the shared grief has brought us closer. Still unresolved with the other two despite my best efforts I just need now to step back and let time continue to pass. The realisation is that not everything can be fixed and may not be ever. That’s not an easy thought.

I’ve read so much about loss and grief and get the why … But it still makes it tough to be at the sharp end of the consequences of how others can deal with theirs. At a time I’d have imagined a pulling in, a strengthening of bonds, it’s been the opposite with them. Just need to be with that.

So time to muse and meditate, time to snooze and peruse books and podcasts, drink great coffee and feel my limbs stretch as I swim. Time to recharge and fill my being with positive energies and nourishment.

Just what I needed.

Lonely and friendless

A Relate study recently showed that 1 in 10 people in the UK said they had no friends and 1 in 5 reported feeling unloved.

I read this again in the Sunday Observer today, the journalist talking about this in the context of an age where Facebook has made Friend into a verb, an age where people like and friend and tag and yet 1 in 10 report having no friends.

It saddens me to think of people feeling unloved and wanting friends but having none and not feeling able to change that.

I reflect on my life and feel blessed. So many long term friends, one seen last night I have been close to for 37 years though not always in the same country – which has less significance in these tweeting, email, FaceTime days than it was back then – the days of letters and calls from public phones. And I am staying for a few days up in Edinbugh, an old home town, with a friend of 25 years and going to meet up later with others. The shared memories of good and bad times over the years, the friendships that endure when marriages and other relationships sometimes haven’t. People that will always be there for each other. Priceless.

I talked the other night with another long term friend who stayed with us in London on her way from Australia. We revisited the vague plan we all have as a group of about 15 of us to pool our resources when the time comes and buy a big place together and buy in care. No need for any of us to be lonely, isolated or abandoned. The thought gives comfort.

So I read these statistics and feel grateful for the life that is mine and the friendships full of love that we have all nurtured over the years.