People-watching at Paddington

Aunty and I sat in a café area at Paddington station, sipping deliciously-milky lattes, with our bags safely tucked under the table.

‘Do you love to watch people?’ she asked, peering over my shoulder. I knew I’d chosen the wrong side of the table.

It seems we have far more in common than a big nose. ‘Yes! It’s the best thing ever.’

‘Some extremely glam people here…’

I smoothed down my dress and flicked a stray lock of hair (well, one of them) behind my ear. ‘Love that about cities; such a mix.’

We were soon walking down Platform 10 and boarding the next train, with its almost deserted carriages and much bigger seats than the previous ones – they made me feel as if I’d shrunk in the wash!

As we passed Exeter, our eyes were drawn away from our books to the Continue reading

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A Sense of Belonging

30.9.17

Aunty and I are on the train to London Euston. First Class; a first for me! We have already raided our goody bags and I’ve managed to consume the heavy brioche muffin (or whatever it was).

I have a slightly nervous stomach, or perhaps that’s because I’ve already written my journal on the rocking train, and I’m excited. It’s as if I’m heading home.

I wonder how I feel this way when I’ve never lived in Cornwall and probably never will; I haven’t even visited for sixteen years. Yet here I am, on my way to St Ives, home of the Continue reading

Two Plates

25.9.17

I suggested to Mum that we buy and prepare our own meals this week – just for a change.

‘Hasn’t there been enough change?’ she said.

‘Yeah…But I think it might be fun. I’ll still make the stir fry on Monday, if you want?’ I bargained. ‘And I’m going away on Saturday anyway.’

We’ve just got back from Waitrose and I’m preparing the stir fry and chatting to her about different kinds of therapeutic writing, while she puts her food away. I’m glad to see that she chose to treat herself.

I’ve put two plates on the worksurface, two sets of knives and forks on the table, and we’re about to sit down together.

Jonathan has been in university for two days. I didn’t know how I would feel, aside from big-sister pride, because this is new territory. As I flip the chicken in the wok, my thoughts become reflective…

I had wondered why I’d wanted us to prepare our food separately this week. And now I know: Continue reading

A Time to Reflect…or Not

Since 2014 I have written a daily journal. It has become a tradition for me to read back through the whole of the year at the end of December (often accompanied by a favourite-music playlist). I usually spend a significant amount of time reflecting on things I’ve done, ideas I’ve had, and lessons I’ve learnt. I consider how I feel about it now and what it means for the next year. Those few days feel like a break, a stopping point, in which I get out of my routine and often have to remind myself what day it is. I can reflect peacefully without concerning myself with the pressures of ‘normal’ life.

The problem is that the time of reflection can make me even more reclusive than usual. I find myself staying at home as much as possible, not seeing many people, and perhaps reflecting a little too much. I always choose to stay at home on New Year’s Eve, quietly watching a film, and try to ‘dispose’ of the Christmas chocolate. Although the quiet time is valuable and helpful in many ways, I can also start to feel a little lonely. Continue reading

The Day We Nearly Killed Our Brother

Jonny was going through his ‘skater-boy’ phase. A hint of ‘emo’. He was about eleven years old. That day he was wearing his favourite red and black striped wrist bands, a peaked grey hat, black t-shirt, grey skinny jeans, and Converse. His clothes drew attention to his lanky body.

It was warm enough to be in the garden; a day when the sun dipped in and out of clouds, the breeze slightly chilling whenever the sun decided to hide. Jonny was the first to go outside, as was so often the case. Our older brother, David, had torn himself away from the computer and gone out to join him.

There had been a shed at the top of our garden, but it became so rotten that we’d torn it down and were preparing to lay the foundations for a new one. A tree was beginning to lean out over it.

I walked up the steps to see what my brothers were doing, tiptoeing in my sandled feet, carefully avoiding the patio cracks and the colony of ants that spilled out of them. I flicked one off my toe.

It looked like a construction sight up there, largely because of the planks of wood, breeze blocks, sticks and other items that Jonny had decided to collect. The boys were busy attaching a length of blue rope to one end of a small ladder which we had acquired from a rubbish tip.

‘Hi,’ said David, with a glint in his eye as he looked up at me. ‘Jonny’s going to stand on a rung, and we’ll chuck the end of the rope over the tree branch and hoist him up!’ Continue reading

Reading and Writing Ban

I had an unusual Saturday. I decided to spend the whole day without reading or writing, which included a complete social media, emailing and texting ban. A lot of my life revolves around reading and writing, so I wanted to see what would happen if I removed them completely. I also banned television and Youtube – though not technically breaking my rules it didn’t seem in the spirit of the thing to have my eyes glued to a screen.

I knew it was going to be hard because my eyes are always drawn to words and I read things without a second thought. It got me thinking: What do our eyes latch on to as we look around us? Mine get drawn to words. Does everyone have that in the same way? Maybe some people are more aware of shapes, colours, numbers, or people… Continue reading