Grateful for a holiday life

Today is the 13th anniversary of moving to Ilfracombe in North Devon.

After locking the door of our house in Windsor, we posted the keys through the letterbox and set off in our two cars, with our cocker spaniel, Felix, wondering how our adventure would unfold.

Not much went to plan, as we forgot that life throws challenges at us from all angles, but what is most important is that we would not want to live anywhere else.

I have discovered the importance of solitude, which I need to recharge my energy after dealing with people. And there’s no better place in the world for a solitary walk.

We celebrated today, as we do each year, at Maddy’s Fish and Chip Restaurant followed by a walk along the beach from Woolacombe to Putsborough and back. The beach, sea, sand, sun with a dog, fortified by a cup of tea half-way.


How grateful we are to be so blessed. We never take it for granted.

Posted in a musing, Ilfracombe.

Three words for 2017: Face | Laugh | Breathe

I chose three words to focus on in 2016: irreverent, kind, treasure.

How did I do? I was still far too serious, have more work to do on being kind, but certainly do treasure everything in my life more than I ever have.

How and why have I chosen my three words for 2017?

Face ~ Laugh ~ Breathe


For many people 2016 has been a year for hiding: among groups and factions, behind symbols and flags, and covering insecurity by mercilessly mocking anyone with an opposing point of view.

Yes, it has been a traumatic year and there are many reasons for being unsure or afraid, as across the world faction confronts faction in battles that no one can win.

I feel that, more than ever, I must show my face.

On my personal social media profiles you will always see my face.

The more we show our faces, speak our own thoughts and shares our real feelings, the more we can truly connect with other people, irrespective of nationality, culture or religion.

I believe showing and seeing faces helps us face up to reality, which often presents countless shades of grey rather than the sharp division of yes, no; right, wrong; right, left; or other convenient but unrealistic choices.

As we feel more confidence in our own thoughts and feelings, we can start to put aside dogma and the deception of slogans accepted as truth after endless parroting, and take part in real discussion, where arguments from all sides are considered and debated seriously rather than rejected simply because of their origins.

It does not mean we will agree with everyone or like everyone or that everyone will agree with or like us: that is impossible. But if we want to improve our world, perhaps we can focus on progress rather than dissent.

We do not need to like everyone, but we do not need to fight them.

Nor will we like everything that we have to face, whether involving politics, lifestyle, diet, behaviour or anything else.

But we must face it.


Is now a time to laugh?

Some of the events we read about and see in the news say no, but what is a world without laughter?

Laughing lifts my spirits. It doesn’t make my problems go away, but it does make them more bearable.

Sometimes a laugh is necessary in the darkest moments to remind us that we are human and that there is always hope.

Laughing refreshes me, giving new energy to face difficulties ahead.

I need to laugh.


Over the past couple of years, I have become increasingly overwhelmed by things, ordinary things. It was almost a feeling of breathlessness, as things seemed to be filling every space, displacing the air.

I am grateful that in my house we no longer buy Christmas presents. We don’t need more things. In fact, over the Christmas holidays I have sorted out more things that I don’t need.

The less I have, the more space I have to breathe.

Being outside, in the wide open, with nothing but myself, is exhilarating.

I don’t need anything to stop and stand and appreciate the world around me . . . and breathe.

Ready, steady, go

Those are my three words and I’m working on them already.

Do you have any words for the year ahead? Good luck with your chosen focus.

Posted in a musing.

I need it all

I need it all

It’s probably because of the seasonal bombardment by adverts for things which I don’t need that I’ve been thinking a lot about what I do need.

While I post a series on ‘my life’s essentials’, many of these are tongue-in-cheek as I’ve come to realise that I need very little to be content.

Recently, I’ve narrowed my needs down to:

  • Good, simple nourishing food – we are so lucky to be able to buy high quality ingredients that are very affordable and to know how to use these to prepare healthy, tasty meals.
  • Shelter and safety – we are fortunate to have a home where we are safe and warm and to live in a community which is generally safe.
  • Freedom to think for myself – and not be told by individuals, groups or organisations what I should or should not, can or cannot think.
  • Awareness of responsibilities – my own to contribute to others and the community who support my existence and others’ responsibility to do the same as well as to treat everyone and everything with respect.
  • Natural, healthy environment – I am so grateful to live in an area of outstanding natural beauty, even though there are many challenges to maintaining this.
  • Time – to be me.

I feel I am truly blessed to have so much.

Anything more is a bonus.

At a time of year when there are so many attempts to seduce us into needing so much else that we don’t really need, it helps me to remind myself what really matters.

Posted in a musing, my life's essentials.

Letting go . . .

Recently, a pyrex half-pint jug that once belonged to my Grandmother broke. We had used it almost every day for decades and perhaps it was just worn out. I liked it because it had imperial measurements, which I work in for cooking and baking. Nothing lasts forever and I was fond of it because it was a connection back to my Nan.

Pyrex jug

Early the next morning, I woke up with these words in my head. I wrote them down and went back to sleep:

Glass breaks
Cause heartaches.
The chain
Of molecules
That rules
Our links
With people
From our past
Is broken.
And it’s so hard
To let go.

I’m learning to let go.

Posted in a musing.

My life’s essentials 10: breakfast

My life's essentials 10: breakfast

I’ve noticed that food figures a lot in my life’s essentials.

It is, after all, essential to life for us and I think it figures so highly because I’ve had to look at my diet closely because of my Crohn’s disease and also to prevent middle-age spread.

My aim is to achieve a balance of eating healthily while enjoying meals and having the occasional treat.

Take breakfast as an example: I couldn’t get through the day without it and as I eat it after my morning walk, I am usually very hungry.

In the week when I’m working, breakfast is a serving of natural yogurt followed by porridge. It took me a while to develop a taste for porridge, but now I eat it all year round in preference to manufactured cereals. I really enjoy it and know it gives me fuel to get through the day.

On a Sunday it’s time for a treat and that’s when we usually have a cooked breakfast. Our table is laid with cups and saucers, sugar bowl, milk jug and cafetiere. The toast rack makes an appearance along with the butter dish and knife, and the jars of marmalade and homemade jam line up as if on parade, jam spoons at the ready.

Whereas porridge is eaten on the go, our eggs and bacon, chipolata, black pudding, mushrooms, tomato and hash browns, or occasionally fried bread, are savoured leisurely with accompanying music. (Allegro’s Miserere performed by the Sixteen was a favourite of one our spaniels.) This creates the perfect balance to working days.


Posted in Crohn's disease, food & drink, my life's essentials.
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