Monday 31 December 2018


It wasn’t her tail that broke.
The title was misleading. I’m sorry. It was a broken leg. As clearly stated in her medical record. 

Her name is Emerald. But she was christened Esmeralda in the doorway of her first home. She was born with green boots and bought with love, but sadly her adoptive co-parent turned out to be less than keen.
One day, I walked across the road with my twin nieces and there in the front porch on her way out (little did she know) was the matching duck to my own William (of the blue boots).

My neighbour was thrilled to pack Esmeralda off for a ‘holiday’ and here, in our home, she has stayed. 
Not without incident.
Back to duck surgery.

William lost a boot soon after the arrival of the twins so Emerald is in good company. This is all my fault of course - I ought to be a more responsible duck owner, but it’s Christmas and the New Year is almost upon us and I am just too tired, shattered, exhausted, knackered, whacko blotto, to quote my friend Colette... 
I am hanging on by silver threads and the golden web of imagination. Cob web... I feel old and in need of hibernation. But a new day, a new year, is on its way, and must be attended to. Some energy must be found from somewhere. How? Where?

In friendship. In kindness. In the generosity of spirit and attention.
Are you listening to me?
I am listening.
But do you really hear me?
I am trying.

Samuel Beckett wrote, ‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Fail again. Fail better.’ Beckett seems like he was a kind man, with the best of human interest at heart. There is something about growth, new growth, in the old broken parts of us. We break, and we make something... new? Better? Something, anyway,

Neil Gaiman, another kind man, put it like this ... ‘I hope that in the year to come, you make mistakes, because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing the world... So... make new mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life...’

Or ducks with broken legs... or bodies with broken immune systems... on we go, onwards, ever onwards, the old and the new... gathering extraordinary memories. The tale of William and Esmeralda really all began with my beloved friend Mary sending me Jemima Puddle Duck for my birthday in August - a gift of cheer. Mary thought I would appreciate the graceful lines of a duck in pink wellingtons. Well, I did. I do. And so the family grew...

HAPPY NEW YEAR my dearest readers, thank you for the love, concern and the memories. Happy new year to us all xxx

Thursday 20 December 2018


It’s Christmas time. A time for miracles. A time, I stubbornly insisted, for a real Christmas tree. ‘But the needles,’ my mother said. ‘The mess...’
And even so, she relented.
Just a small one...

Well, actually... in the end we got two. One a nice normal-ish size... she was very fluffy when she came out of her netting as though to say, ‘Here I am! Ta-dah!’ And also a very tiny little fir, you almost have to squint to see her. Except she is a bright green and also had a bit of an air about her, something delightful. Too small of course for the decorations I have laden her with - two serious mice (occasionally sad in a certain light), one smiley mouse and a deer... which arrived from my friend Meme in Australia. A friend who also has a host of 'co-morbidities', like so many of us do... from vasculitis to neuropathy, Crohns to hypothyroidism. Or just the usual... fever, swelling, pain.

We are supposed to thank pain, thank swelling, thank these harbingers, which are the reminders of our body’s needs. If you are in pain, then you are alive, said a friend of mine to me once. He has Parkinson’s and was a fount of hard-earned wisdom. I have always tried to follow his advice. Or at the very least, remember it.

For me, this past year has been very ‘triggering’ as they say. But I think we are all triggered almost continuously? Constant barrage of televised, radio-ised, internet-ised streams of all the desperate stories of our lives across the globe, stories of politicians not really seeming to care, and also stories of people doing wonderfully well with incredible achievements – seemingly superhuman achievements. And some of those extraordinary achievers are people with illness. Take Mary Frey, of The Frey Life channel on YouTube. She has cystic fibrosis and an incredibly inspired following... 

Or Molly Burke, who is a blind YouTuber and also has a hugely inspired following...

And then of course there is Selena Gomez who extended the miracle of her kidney transplant story (donated incredibly enough by her best friend Francia Raisa) by sharing it with the public. I am sure everyone with lupus had friends sending them the viral clips of Selena’s story...

What we rarely hear about are the ordinary folk, you and me, getting by on our own rations of kindness, compassion, courage and fortitude for ourselves and those around us. I believe we need the simple stories to nourish us, to withstand the daily onslaughts of global and internal suffering.

So here we are this Christmas time… and my wish is a simple one. That you feel nourished as this year draws to a close, and that somehow, in some small ways, the miracle finds you and those you love and so spreads on, and on, outwards.

With love,