Categories
Loving

Fare Well

St Mylor Church c.1100 A.D.

I will be saying goodbye to the year at the end of this decade in Mylor Harbour, Cornwall. I’m here for a well-earned holiday in the fresh sea air, and to spend time with loved ones.

In such beautiful surroundings, looking over the English Channel and the sweeping moorland, marked with farms and villages which twinkle in the midwinter dark, I am reminded of the simple joys and freedom I felt holidaying here, in Cornwall, as a child.

Tonight, I am happy and grateful to be with my sister and her family to say fare well 2019 and welcome 2020 . Wherever you are, whoever you are with and however you pass your time this New Year’s Eve, I wish you joy and I wish you well.

Categories
Thinking

Sunset on a Good Day

Yesterday was a good day. To be clear, I do see most days that way; I can usually find occasion to smile and moments of gratitude. Unusually, yesterday was aware how good it was, too, and reminded me frequently.

Now, it’s almost daylight when I leave the house in the morning, telling me Spring is on the way. As usual, I traveled in to work on the top deck, front seat of the bus, with a good friend. Once on campus, we walked down together towards the lake, surrounded by many trees and few people. Then, he turned right to his office, and I turned left for coffee in the theatre cafe.

Served while I listened to the jazz playing in the background, I took the drink to my office. Since Christmas, I’ve been the only occupant. I like it that way and long may it continue. My day went from classroom to meeting to meeting to classroom with long enough breaks to walk from one venue to the next and no more. No time to waste or get up to any mischief.

For once, I consciously savoured that time, from my morning coffee, through my happy-hungover students, to my supportive colleagues and their great cups of tea. Starting the walk home, the sun was setting and I stopped to photograph those minutes when the sky is fiery and the trees are cutwork against a layered sky. Yesterday was a good day.

Categories
Thinking

Animals in War

‘This monument is dedicated to all the animals that served and died alongside British and allied forces in wars and campaigns throughout time’

So reads the first inscription on this tribute to animals in war. Recently, I crossed Park Lane in London on my way to Hyde Park and saw this memorial for the first time. It’s a calm oasis in the middle of a busy thoroughfare, providing a space for reflection and gratitude. Designed by the sculptor David Backhouse, it was unveiled by Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, on 24 November 2004.

The second inscription reads:

‘They had no choice’

Categories
Loving

A Thank You Letter

Dear You,

Thank you for standing and talking to me on the rocks whilst I was reading.

Thank you for taking a chance on me.

What I might easily have seen as an intrusion from another person, I had the good fortune and sense to recognize as honest friendship. My reward has been the true pleasure of your company. It’s never too much and always enough of a good thing. Your honesty, freshness and compassion have helped me immeasurably. You shook the dust from me and helped me see my world afresh.

Thank you.

Every heartfelt best wish for your next adventure.
Yours,
Me.

I often do this, write letters I don’t send or show to the addressee. But I do keep them. I was raised to be polite and, where appropriate, would always say thank you for doing. I would not, though, express gratitude for being. I had a fear of exposure, of appearing weak. I’m a little better at it now. Just a little, mind. This letter was written for a woman I lost touch with years ago. Mary Wesley started the conversation which led to this friendship, though I didn’t tell her either.

Categories
Loving

Unsettled: A Letter to You

Hello,
I’m writing you a letter. This is it, in fact. I’m writing it, but I won’t send it. You want to know why? Of course you do. Why is because I need to write it, but you don’t need to read it. Though I’d like you to, it wouldn’t be fair. I can cope with being unsettled but it’s not for you, this unease. It would affect your settled existence and that would never do. There’s the rub.

You unsettled me.

I wanted to see you again, but had practised my diffidence so well that I believed it didn’t matter – us meeting. I had rehearsed Plan B; disappointment was not an option. With so much else for me to do, really you’d have done me a favour if you hadn’t shown. But you didn’t do me that honour. You came. And when you said you would. And it was all like before. Yesterday was all those years ago, yet closer. I mean that’s when we’d last met wasn’t it?

In your company, there was no time, there was no yesterday, just today. We laughed warmly, we talked openly, we walked miles in companionable silence. All in the now. Then you left. When you did, I cried. I was bereft; happy-nostalgic and sad-empty. I had no idea you’d affect me that way, none at all. Yet, you did. By being you for a day I could be me. That was in your gift.

You unsettled me.
I appreciate it.
Thank you.
Sincerely.