Sunflowers in the front garden

Sometimes I feel like the sunflower on the right; its

golden head and halos turned beaming, peering over the hedge.

And sometimes I feel like the other one; its

tired head nodding, avoiding the eyes of passers-by.


A Rule to Live By

Have just finished re-reading Kate de Goldi’s The 10pm Question. It is an excellent novel about a boy trying to navigate the world when he has inherited the “freak-out gene” from his mother, who has not left the house in nine years. So many things to love: a (female) cat called The Fat Controller; lists and lists of birds, sweets, and cakes; a teacher who has “biodynamic and bean sprout seven-grain sandwich with homemade self-sown plum chutney” for lunch and a bag of Party Mix sweets in his desk drawer.  Such a compassionate and hilarious story of accepting and working through mental illness in the family. Totally recommend it!

“Frankie,” Alma had said, solemnly. They stood together in the hallway; her arm was around his shoulders, heavy as a slumped body. “You know I don’t dispense advice. It’s not my style. Everyone must work the world out for himself, I say. And, really, I don’t have any advice to give. I don’t have a store of maxims or shibboleths–” 

“What’s a shibboleth?” Frankie said.

“Never mind,” said Alma. “That is, I haven’t until this moment ever had a foolproof piece of advice to offer anyone. But it’s come to me tonight–a Rule to Live By, an Unshakeable Truth: Frankie –” Alma had leaned into Frankie; he smelt her cheroot and face powder and Knight’s Castile scent; he watched the soft froggy swelling of her triple chin — “Frankie, my darling boy: always remember what is trumps.

“There you are,” said Alma, straightening up, pulling the voluminous red cardigan over her swollen middle. “That is it. My Benedictine Rule. All you need for navigating life’s tortuous road. Remember what trumps is! Okay? Good boy.” She’d bent over and planted a kiss on his cheek and pushed him back through the door, to the card table.  

Three things: Dusk walk, food day, and eco-anxiety




There is nothing more magical than a walk at dusk. Wait, yes, there is. A walk at dusk on the beach with a tummy full of fish and chips. It’s the start of the Tattie Holidays–October holidays when kids would help harvest potatoes. I am stoked to have some more daylight hours with my 5-year-old over the next couple of weeks, but I know a lot of working parents find this particular holiday to pretty tough. Anyway, we celebrated the end of the first term with a walk on the beach. (Those white feet!!)

Did you know it’s World Food Day on Monday? It sounds like a day of eating cuisine from around the world (never a bad thing to do), but actually, it is a day of recognising the importance of food security and its impact on migration and conflict patterns.

I really appreciated this podcast this week. It has gentle tips for how we can tread more and more lightly on this planet without succumbing to eco-anxiety.

we hope it will get better

Have just finished reading a mysterious and sorrowful novel. A very short novel that I would like to pick up and read all over again.

Life is only worth living because we hope it will get better and we’ll all get home safely. But you tried and you did not get home safely. You did not get home at all. That’s why I’m here, Jozef. I have come to France to save you from your thoughts.

From Deborah Levy’s Swimming Home.

Three things: Veggies, anxiety, and RIP Tom Petty


Who doesn’t love a funny shaped vegetable? Most of the fingerling tatties from my garden look like this this year! Some veggies I plan to replant next year include runner beans (I only had a handful of beans to plant this year, and regret not planting more), peas (because everyone likes peas), onions (I just like having them on hand at a variety of stages of growth), broad/fava beans (easy as to grow!), Jerusalem artichokes (I didn’t think that they’d grow here but then I saw them characteristically taking over a friend’s garden and I missed my epic plantation I had in the US), kale (always and forever), and what else? I never intend to plant tatties, but then the thought of digging out these jewels from the earth just makes me so excited.

Are you an anxious person? I certainly have been at points in my life, although not so much recently. I attribute the shift to a whole bunch of things, but one anxiety-reducing practise that someone told me about a long time ago has become something I like to do regularly, especially when news headlines are a bit stressful. Here it is: I try to take notice of the lovely interactions happening around me. A man gently patting his dog, strangers bantering at the bus stop, a small child waving out the window of a passing car, someone stopping to sniff a rose. It doesn’t really take effort to do this, but somehow it makes the world seem like a kinder place, and it helps me to step out of my vulnerable place to be kind to others. Do you have strategies to combat anxiety?

We’ve been listening to a lot of Tom Petty this week, revisiting this music video for a bit of a chuckle and a sing-along. However, I wouldn’t recommend the video for Mary Jane’s Last Dance. Wait, does that make you want to watch it now? Don’t do it! Consider yourself warned…