In A Place Of Waiting

Something will come if you let it
The words will arrive if you wait…
I now sleep on the step of the doorway
with one eye keeping watch on the gate.
I get up and I go through the motions
One by one put the demons to bed
Even monsters, I found, have a place in the world
but don’t let them rest in your head
I’m happy to be back at boot camp
Where I’m leaning against my front door
From here I can see all the mountains to climb
and my feet are both flat on the floor
I will wait for the gate to open
I will wait for the clouds to clear
I know when they do
that the sky will be blue
and I’ll be a long way from here.

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To the English house

A year seems like a life time when it feels like you’ve slept through most of it
Certainly long enough to beat a few good grooves of doubt into your own back
You trace them now with your fingers and suddenly they are ugly and real
but a wise man your Father introduced you to told you that everything is cracked
and that through those cracks the light you have been looking for
but hiding from is able to slip through
You could fill them in. Smooth them down and paint over them
and nobody but you would ever know they were there
Or you could leave the wounds open to dry out in the sun,
let the little one that lives under your bed help you lick them clean
and then see if you can’t make something of them one day.
Share this work with someone though… you waited long enough to be able to
Colour in the big gaps together
Then underneath that perfect surface is a secret belonging to both of you
and you’re not quite so blinded by the day light steaming through the holes in your armor.
But leave a few. English houses need to breathe a little.
So let in the light and the air from outside
and if it all gets too much
you can throw on a blanket
or find a friend to build you a fire.

Life cake

When moving to a new city, I have found there are certain ingredients, a recipe of sorts, that combined together create… well, a life I suppose. I like the idea of life being like one big delicious cake, the recipe for which you spend your years on this earth perfecting. I think each person’s recipe is a little different depending on what makes them smile, laugh, relax, sleep well etc but, so far, my recipe includes:

opening night dry landFriends – I left behind some wonderful friends in England and for a while I felt a little alone in this big beautiful city. Happily, I now have some wonderful people who make me laugh, who make me think, who make me want to share and create and who make me feel loved and appreciated. I need them in my life and am grateful they walked into it when they did.

DIYA home – Now this might sound like an obvious one but I don’t just mean a roof over your head. I mean somewhere you feel proud of, somewhere you feel happy and safe and inspired. Our lovely little apartment is now, for me, just that. It took a few new things, some old things and one or two living things but now it is no longer just a house, it is a home. Our home.

elderflower someting or otherBolt holes – For me, these are places to hide, write, feed, talk and occasionally cry. (Back in Bath my best friend and I seemed to get into the habit of crying in coffee shops. I know it sounds sad but it’s wonderfully cathartic to do over a cup of Earl Grey and a slice of something delicious, and the owner of this particular establishment never seemed to mind!)  Anyway, bolt holes; I loved looking for these in London and I am having the same wonderful experience here. New York is vast in its many side streets and walkways, each leading somewhere new and exciting. I’m sure this list will grow enormously over the next few years but, for now, I have: a late night cookie place, a (dairy and gluten free!?) mac and cheese place, a few cosy cafe places and a cute little cocktail bar that does the most wonderful ‘seasonal’ specials. (When it comes to colder weather I am a fan of anything alcoholic with ‘spiced’ in the title.)

Fall foodA good grocery store – (or supermarket for my dear British readers) This was a big one for me. As many of you know, food has been a big part of my life in recent years. After cutting out dairy and wheat back in 2010 I really got into ‘good’ food. I worked at a farmers market in London for a while and that really only fuelled the fire. This week, I got fed up with our poky little local place and went in search of Brooklyn Whole Foods. When I stepped in the door I would have made a big ‘ahhhh’ sound (as in heavenly choir, not screaming in horror) if there hadn’t been a security guard standing right in front of me. I absolutely love it there. You can see everything, there’s space to move, if you’re careful it doesn’t have to cost the earth and a lot of their products are local too which I love. Hooray for fresh vegetables, fancy tea and slightly over-priced home made granola!

So, with all of the above checked off my list, my ‘life cake’ was looking like it was going to be pretty tasty, which was a relief after spending the last two years building up to starting a life here! Then this month… I found my secret ingredient:

This little cuddle monster came into our lives a few weeks ago now and I am just beyond happy that she did. I could post a thousand cute kitten pictures but aside from the undeniable adorability factor (new word, appropriate I feel), the biggest discovery that I have made is that having a small furry someone lingering in your doorways and destroying your sofa and sneaking onto your bed at night, suddenly makes everything feel a lot more permanent, more rooted. Not long after she arrived I had a whole ‘life, career, the universe and everything’ conversation with a new friend of mine, and one of my main points of realisation was ‘I’ve got a cat now… it’s all starting to feel real.’

For those who helped see me through some of the more difficult months before moving to America, when I was fighting for my right to be here, trying to make a life for myself in a city I was about to leave, and was all the while still aching for the other half of me that I had been apart from for almost four years, you will understand the depth of this new found feeling of home. I got there, finally, and am now blissfully bathing in the light at the end of the tunnel. For those new to my story and my writing, I can only hope my words will do this new situation justice.

If not… there’s always more cat pictures.

Sunshine, lambs and banana cake

For the last year I have been looking after the loveliest little two, well… now three year old, who lives in Bath with his Mother. I will be so very sad to leave them both as I have loved getting to know their wonderful little family and will truly miss the excitement of purple buses, the standard order of a babycino, Bunny, the magic of trains, the endless slides and of course I’ll also miss late night chats about boys, tea on the sofa, Tigerlilly and so many other lovely things.

My last week in Bath was spent packing and organising and tying up lose ends… but I am so glad that I got the chance for a last day out with my adopted Bath family and what better way to spend it than walking in the sunshine through grassy fields full of goats and lambs. Then, to top it all off, a slice of home-made banana cake… just beautiful. I will miss you both very much.

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Now with pictures… x

Lovely Things

In early February of this year, my boyfriend, Paul, flew out to Ghana to complete a twenty-seven month service with American Government Organisation, the Peace Corps. Seven months later, at the end of August, I flew out to see him and to spend a few weeks there. The following are a few tales from my travels.

Sunday 2nd September – An Adjumokuen Afternoon

Sitting on my boyfriend’s porch with dusty feet and dirty hair, sucking on a piece of freshly cut sugar cane, I sit and watch as three or four of the local people from the village walk past carrying baskets of corn on their heads. One woman also carries a baby strapped to her back with what I now know to be an ‘antoma’. Paul presented me with one of these on my first day in Ghana. “They use them for everything here” he said. “Washing, drying, sleeping…

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Teddy bears down the back of the bed

When was the last time you looked down the back of your bed? I have two teddy bears that sleep in mine with me; Mary bear, who I have had since I was born, and Steven, named after the little brother that my big brother was hoping for… sadly for him I turned out to be a girl but I think he eventually came round to the idea of having a sister. Mary has no ears, patchy paws, half a nose not a lot of fur left either. Steven is in somewhat better shape but to be honest, you can see why.

About once a month or so, I remember my second favourite bed fellow and have to go digging around down the back of my bed to find him. This is actually the second reincarnation of Steven, the first was also an adventurer and in fact got left behind in Italy when I took him travelling. I had to leave the hostel I was staying at in a bit of a hurry and he must have got tangled up in the bed sheets. I was very sad to see him go and actually moaned about it to the extent that now whenever my boyfriend and I travel together, on leaving every room we stay in he always looks at me somewhat pitifully and says “Have you checked for teddy bears?”

I’m not an obsessive lover of cuddly toys. My bed was never covered with them as a child and I wasn’t ever really a big doll fan either but I have accumulated a number of lost bears over the years. I just can’t bare (pun absolutely intended) to leave them lying there on the pavement or in the middle of an empty car park.  I’m not ashamed that I still sleep with my teddies. They’ve been with me through thick and thin and my boyfriend lives very far away at the moment so I’m more than happy to share my sheets with them. Perhaps when he’s back for good I’ll find a nice shelf for my bears to retire to but for now it’s nice to have some company. So I would encourage you to delve down behind your headboard, beneath your covers, or inbetween your pillows and see if you can’t dig out one or two of your faithful old friends, even if only to put them on the shelf… because no one likes to sleep down behind the bed.

I always love seeing people’s childhood toys. So if you, like me, have a favourite soft someone that you’ve loved almost to bits, why not post a picture below.