the storm

February 11th, 2014

It rained for forty days and forty nights. Power lines fell and rivers burst their banks. Never, since Noah, had the water levels risen day after day, for days in succession. Roads, once the main arteries into and between communities, were cut off, navigable only by canoe. And then the storm came. Gale force winds, felling trees, uprooting saplings and well established bushes. In the towns wheelie bins took on a life of their own and relocated. And still the rain came.

 

marbles

February 10th, 2014

In the game of marbles the idea is to win marbles from another person by strategic play.  You do this by dislodging your opponents marble(s). Prioritising is like that – dislodging one marble to make space for another.

You have only a limited number of marbles, which makes the idiom ‘losing your marbles’ so much more meaningful doesn’t it?

There are no end of things you could, should, ought to or would like to be doing, but still the same limited number of marbles (time and resources).  It’s a time-old conundrum. With finite time and limited energy what should be given the lion’s share?  One way to prioritise, she found, was to weigh up whether the task worth a marble or two or not.  It made sense (in her head anyway) :)

 

 

out of sync

February 5th, 2014

They’d been friends for years, more like sisters really. A shared journey in the past, present and into the future. Time alters things, goalposts are moved, perspectives changed but love wins.

There had been moments when they’d been out of sync, when tears and anger and frustration had been more evident than not,  and secrets held lightly for a moment, were unexpectedly, unthinkably, held on to for a moment too long, so that sharing them – breaking the silence – was so much harder. Those were the moments when love had to do its job.

Love had brought them to a place where, while there were still hurts and fears, sharing the journey was what mattered most. Trust and hope restored, because love wins.

 

the meeting

February 4th, 2014

As she walked through the busy terminus she noticed him striding in her direction. Their paths crossed, she heading for the tube, he for a train heading north.  At the same split moment – frozen in time -they each turned and caught the other’s eye. A spark of recognition -not that they had ever met before – but of kindred souls.

the bear

February 3rd, 2014

The bear, sitting quite ceremoniously on top of the sweater, on top of the padded envelope, on top of the post office scales, looked bemused. So did the assistant for that matter.  She watched as the women frowned, picked up the bear, and the sweater and the envelope, and then looked around for help.

“Excuse me” she asked “Can you help me?” She paused, reshuffling the items so the bear was held more tightly in her hand.”These items weigh 300g. It will cost £4.95 to post. I want to know how much more it could weigh at that price.” The assistant laughed, “You mean you want to know how to get your money’s worth! And I don’t blame you. Let’s see “… Together they peered  – bear too – at the leaflet, and calculated the parcel had to be under 0.5kg, 500g.

“Mmm” she thought,  “thanks”, stuffed bear (very carefully), sweater and padded envelope into her bag, and marched out of the post office doors.

The woman returned a few minutes later, walked back to the scale and weighed something small. Satisfied, she left.

Back home the fun began. Sitting the bear on the dining room table she began. First the sweater went into the zip lock plastic bag. So far so good. Then the surprise. That had to be double wrapped in case it leaked. Finally she picked up bear, smiled, and popped him or her, she wasn’t quite sure which, into a small zip lock bag, told him -or her she still wasn’t sure- to take a deep breath, and closed it tight. She placed all the items in the padded envelope, and stapled it closed.

Name and address on the trusty padded envelope, she headed back to the post office to post off the surprise.

The assistant smiled, . “You managed to sort it,I see. Good for you!”  This parcel will make someone very happy.  “Yes me” thought the woman and the bear simultaneously, and though hidden from view, the bear smiled from ear to ear. His – or her – next adventure had begun.

the return

February 2nd, 2014

She hadn’t visited them for some time, but she knew she would get a warm reception. This was her family away from home, a group of men and women, mostly elderly, who had loved her and nurtured her a few years ago when she was far from home.

She walked in just as the clock struck 10.30. It meant she was the last to arrive – and no sneaking in at the back. Faces turned and smiles formed as she scuttled to her seat. It was good to be home in the little Methodist chapel.

Fellowship was more than a warm cuppa and a biscuit here, it was a sharing of lives. After the service she spoke to as many as she could, recalling their names and asking after those who were not there.  This was an elderly congregation, but one that was young at heart. She’d found real love in that place, and learned from them how to extend love to others.  But it was good to be back, and be a recipient again, loved for who she was and not what she did.

the red envelope

February 1st, 2014

She’d arrived at the house bearing gifts, unsure of the custom. To the boy there was a book, to his mother bath salts, small gifts to show how much they were loved and appreciated. She hadn’t known anything about gift giving on this particular occasion, and later learned that bearing two mandarines would have been more in keeping with the culture and the tradition.

As they sat at the table, each of them received a red envelope; small and narrow. Traditionally it would have contained money – a good omen for the new year. In this house,however, two small chocolate eggs -to symbolise new life, new birth, new hope -had been carefully placed inside. There were no fortune cookies, instead a time of prayer – for blessing and favour, for health and the ability to follow Him to the ends of the earth, for family and friends, and then the feast begun.

Noodles and rice, chicken and salmon with two different sauces, sweet and sour stir fried vegetables -and giant prawn crackers made by hand and with love.  Around the table the conversation flowed. Love and laughter around the table, the Chinese New Year – this year of the Horse -had begun.

the peppercorn

January 31st, 2014

He stood out like a black peppercorn in a salt pot; a black man in a world of white people. He knew it, he felt it, but he was not threatened by it. He was where he belonged, alongside the woman he loved and so he could walk tall, proud of his heritage and not threatened by her culture.

The climate was a different matter.  He was chilled to the bone and beyond. It was so cold. And grey. He longed for the warmth of the sun to caress his body.He missed the vibrant colours too. It wasn’t only the weather that was grey, people wore such dark and boring clothes. Where where the oranges and the reds, the purples and the brilliant blues?  Their houses were painted in such neutral shades and hues, and like stepping into a fridge most of the time. Their home would be warmer, there was no question about that!

in praise of love

January 30th, 2014

She didn’t tell him she was terminally ill. He didn’t tell her that he knew she was terminally ill. Because of love. She found out that he knew, and kept that a secret too; because of love.

A web of deceit or a tangle of love?
Is love more important than truth?

She concealed the truth to be kind. He too was bound by a code of silence so that she would feel secure -her secret safe. She didn’t tell him -and he didn’t tell her, because neither of them wanted to admit – to themselves or to the other – how in love they really were. Their  ‘to death shall us part’ had taken on a new meaning, and found a new depth.

The plot thickened. Both confided in the same friend. Both withheld the knowledge from their son.

A tangle of love or a web of deceit?
Is truth more important than love?

wrong assumption

January 29th, 2014

She thought she knew where she stood. She thought she knew her place. She thought she knew the role expected of her –and attempted to step into it.

Bang!

She hit a wall, invisible but solid.

She walked away to rethink, refocus and rediscover where the lines had been drawn.