Sunday, 28 February 2010

Who'd have thought...

That lunch at a Railway Station would be so good?

I knew that the Champagne Bar at St Pancras was beautiful - but i hadn't stumbled across the St Pancras Grand Restaurant... and all i want to know is why didn't anyone tell me?
I met some friends for lunch today - and in addition to beautiful food, fabulous company and delicious wine ... there's a jazz trio playing every sunday between 12-4pm ...

It's elegance is of a time gone by, heavy linen & silver (divine silver buckets that hold the bread) extravagant decor topped with heavenly food. I had melt in the mouth mackerel & kedgeree - on a blustery grey day.
If you are going along check out the offers on Top Table - £15 for 2 courses was a delicious bargain.

Should you go to St Pancras leave enough time to take a moment and enjoy the fabulous statue of John Betjeman - he's gazing in wonder at the vast arches of the station (slightly buffeted by the wind) and the sculpture absolutely captures that perfectly ...I hadn't realised how much he did to preserve British architecture - apparently in the 60's he battled to save St Pancras from being demolished.
You learn something wonderful every day -

A la prochain xx

Saturday, 27 February 2010


Can be the greatest of tormentors - And the most wonderful of friends.
A few years ago i lived in Africa for a while - the work i was doing was the most fulfilling i've ever done - on almost every level -  it drew together all of my skills perfectly and i loved it. I loved living in Malawi - i had fabulous friends - i was part of something great.
Before i returned to Europe (and indeed frequently since) i was offered my 'perfect job' on a permanent basis. To take partnership and embed myself in the organisation that i worked for.
It was a really difficult choice ...
... really really difficult....
... i didn't take it .... there was somewhere deep deep within me the desire to be around my parents as they got older. There was within me a responsibility that i should be nearby both to enjoy them, but also to support them.
Where this seed was sown from i have no idea - it hasn't come from them - but it is within me.
I often return to that decision - and have never regretted it ...
I'm so glad that i'm here right now.  I've had a lovely day ... Dad was singing to himself this afternoon - it made me smile about yesterdays post - i played football with the dog in the garden - and i've begun to plan my future in the new home that i viewed this morning. Most of all - i gave Mum a rest.
Be still this gentle house and let everyone sleep happily tonight. The wonderful work in Malawi will be there for another time ... or another person.

This is our song -

- and when i say 'our' - i mean Dad & I.  

There is no question that my love of jazz stems from being immersed in the music of Ella & Louis (amongst others) as i was growing up. I've inherited my love of music from Dad and this is the song that i can hear him singing as he wanders around any one of the houses that i grew up in. It's also the song that i can remember him singing as he dropped me off at school at the start of terms and the end of weekends at home (yes i was 'away at school') which, when you listen to the lyrics makes it an enchanting memory - but, dear reader, Dad's not that kind of sentimentalist, it's far more likely that he was singing it because he loves to sing certain songs rather than giving me a sweet & emotional send off back into a new term! 

I haven't heard Dad singing it for some time now - but i hope i will again. 

Last September we were stunned by the 'C' word - out of the blue it hit the heart of us (and close to the heart of him). Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. It's a vile disease & the treatment is brutal - truly brutal. 

So we are on that rocky road that is well known to so many - the battle against a vile and invasive disease - the one that batters physically, mentally and emotionally & from which there seems to be no respite. It dominates our conversations, our diaries and has changed the shape of us both individually and as a family.  But in the midst of this invasion - there is a precious and beautiful dimension - there are weekends together at home - Woody Allen films to giggle at - favourite foods to prepare, pouring love into them every step of the way. 

And soon i hope to hear dad singing as he wanders about the house again.

I have no intention of writing an account of living with cancer nearby - but equally i have no intention of writing my life as if it didn't exist. I can, and do, rage against the injustice of it -   I am crippled by the thought that when i meet the man i am destined to marry, Dad won't be there,  and i'll never hear him make 'that speech'. He's been the single biggest influence in my life and i can't imagine the shape of my world without him. 

But i am so thankful that i have a window of love to share with him - a window of weekends together at home - Woody Allen films to giggle at - Favourite foods to prepare - and i have the chance to reshape my hectic life to include more of home in it. 

I don't think that i was ever described as a 'Daddy's girl' - we've never shared that kind of enchanted relationship. Along with my love of music I get my strong character, independent streak and my determination from him ... there's a U2 lyric that resonates - from a track that Bono wrote about his Father -  "We fight all the time , You and I...that's alright, We're the same soul, I don't need...I don't need to hear you say, That if we weren't so alike, You'd like me a whole lot more" (Sometimes You can't make it on your own - U2).  So fair to say that i've never been a 'Daddy's girl' in that sweetest of senses - but i've never questioned his love or his support. 

But just now - I'm definitely a Daddy's girl and we're both loving it.
So this is our song -  the bit of jazz that is my precious precious gem & i'm so glad that i've found my very favourite rendition of it to share with you. This is the recording that i grew up on - i swear you can hear Louis Armstrong smiling as he sings. 

Listen to it dear ones and may it's gentle beauty warm your heart as much as it warms mine. 

A la prochaine x 

Friday, 26 February 2010

The saddest poem.... My favourite poet-

I adore Pablo Neruda - his writing is haunting, poignant and raw and for years i've turned to him when i'm swooping and dipping on the emotional rollercoaster of life. His phrases capture and totally echo my heart ...  he's a poet for a certain mood, and there are times when his words are the last that i want ... but sometimes...  

'To hear the immense night, more immense without her'

Sums up perfectly that 2am feeling of loneliness and solitude that can hit at the unlikeliest of times. That there is now a space where once there was someone ...

This was the feeling i had last night - out of the blue i was wide awake and feeling the immensity of London and my insignificance within it. To avoid thoughts of love, loss and what once was, i shifted my thoughts to thinking about what to post today - and then i returned to a space that is becoming familiar to me ... What is this blog about? How much of me do i release? Is this 'me' or another version of 'me'? 

I don't have answers to these questions but i do know that there is so much of significance going on in my life that if i don't share some of it then i will remain one dimensional on this screen.

For now i will leave you with these beautifully haunting words - but soon i shall share more of my story with you ... 

A la prochain dear ones... x

The Saddest Poem
I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.

Write, for instance: "The night is full of stars,
and the stars, blue, shiver in the distance."

The night wind whirls in the sky and sings.

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

On nights like this, I held her in my arms.
I kissed her so many times under the infinite sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her.
How could I not have loved her large, still eyes?

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
To think I don't have her. To feel that I've lost her.

To hear the immense night, more immense without her.
And the poem falls to the soul as dew to grass.

What does it matter that my love couldn't keep her.
The night is full of stars and she is not with me.

That's all. Far away, someone sings. Far away.
My soul is lost without her.

As if to bring her near, my eyes search for her.
My heart searches for her and she is not with me.

The same night that whitens the same trees.
We, we who were, we are the same no longer.

I no longer love her, true, but how much I loved her.
My voice searched the wind to touch her ear.

Someone else's. She will be someone else's. As she once
belonged to my kisses.
Her voice, her light body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, true, but perhaps I love her.
Love is so short and oblivion so long.

Because on nights like this I held her in my arms,
my soul is lost without her.

Although this may be the last pain she causes me,
and this may be the last poem I write for her.
Pablo Neruda 

Raindrops keep falling....

But i'm sure that i wouldn't feel so blue if i had this to keep me dry ... 
Every cloud would then have a silver lining! 
I wonder if i'd love it enough not to leave it on a bus..... 
if you'd like a silver lining you can find one here

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

I wish i'd been this smart at 5.....

Thanks to 'm.k.'  - From a great fun blog - I can read 

Close your eyes & Listen to this, it's how i feel today....


Is a word that's been dancing around my mind recently - it is such a beautiful word and a feeling so remote from these bitter cold and wet days. That elegant, fluid, relaxed feeling that comes with blue skies, searing heat and rose wine at lunchtime 

Oh to feel languid! 

I've been far from languid this evening - i was introduced to the fabulous Plenderleiths and had some unexpected fun. If you find yourself looking for some beautifully made and distinctive jewellery then you must visit Anne & John at their home / workshop in west London.

I love this ring - 

which looks perfect alongside this one - 

They nestle alongside one another perfectly - and are striking in their simple beauty. (Not designed for cold weather though - as you couldn't wear gloves over the perfect cube - possibly better for those languid days on the beach - Beach jewellery!) 

I however didn't buy either but took along a challenge for Anne - to which she rose wonderfully.

The challenge was to help me find/design the right ring(s) to sit alongside a beautiful sapphire & diamond ring that i was given for christmas. 

For reasons that will become clear as you learn more of me, this particular gift is of great sentimental value - and i knew when i received it that i would want to wear it every day. So why a challenge? Well - the ring is very traditional and i wanted to see if i could give it a modern twist.

I went along with a new friend on what i thought would be a pure fact finding mission - but was so excited by the ideas that Anne had - and so amazed at how reasonable the prices were that i have come home without my ring - and will be returning early next week for a fitting of it nestling as one of a trio.

And with that i shall float elegantly and languidly off to dream of modern twists - more to come.

A la prochain x

Monday, 22 February 2010

Eloquence ...

I dream of being eloquent - writing phrases that make people smile .... or just sit back and think - 'Exactly!'. If i had a beautiful voice i'd try and make people smile by singing ... one day i hope to play the piano well enough that i can do it by playing surprising flourishes...

But just now - the best i can do is write something that resonates - write something that may be eloquent enough to return to ... to read more of. 

I'm a recent blog reader - and i've been enjoying the space that they fill in my world - a new 'something' to look forward to reading ... a new anticipation in my day  ... So dear ones that stumble across me in this funny world - i'm here pouring some thoughts from my screen to yours - some that will resonate with you, some that i hope will make you smile ... sharing my adventure... 

Hopefully ... eloquently ...  

A la prochain x