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,



  1. Thank for your lovely blog and poetry this past year. I hope the Christmas season is happy for you and that next year brings you better health.
    Glenda in the USA

  2. I LOVE your darling little tree, your wonderful mousey, and, as always, your post, with its loving compassion and recognition of those ordinary folk who struggle valiantly and cheerfully along, as do you, my friend.Sending an email. Give my warmest wishes to your wonderful parents and any siblings and little ones who may be there for the holidays. I am dreaming of a visit from you in 2019. I will take you to a spot where you can see the wild breakers from above, truly awe-inspiring.