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Midsummer Madness

A few years ago, my husband, my son and I started celebrating the summer solstice with a bonfire in the garden, over which we cooked sausages and toasted marshmallows.  The cocktails flowed, our son was allowed to stay up late and there was general hilarity.  A “selfie” from our first event shows us wearing garlands…

Tea for Victory

Over the last fifteen years or so, my husband and I have acquired more tea sets than we can reasonably use (or house).  We didn’t set out to collect them and if pressed, we would not call ourselves “collectors”.  “Rescuers” feels like a better description, especially in the face of the appalling “smash the crockery”…

My wig and other stories

This morning, I read Julia Harrison’s piece “Story telling” from her always-thoughtful Silver Locket blog.  It immediately brought to mind some stories my son and I shared when he was little. He was four years old when I lost my hair as a result of chemotherapy.  Someone had advised me early on to get a…

Painted eggs

Some time in the last forty years, my family started a new tradition.  Every Easter, we hard-boil and decorate eggs, then roll them down a steep hill, heading towards the sea.  We didn’t invent it; people have been decorating eggs and chasing them down hills at Easter for a very long time.  It was new,…

Grandma cake

This is the cake that sustains me in times of adversity.  It isn’t fancy and it doesn’t demand artistry.  It is easy to make.  You rub together butter and flour, stir in sugar and dried fruit, then bind together with eggs and a little milk.  Scoop it into a buttered tin, bake in a medium…

Last day of school

This picture was taken in May 1986, on my last day of school.  We were yet to sit our A levels but formal school was over and we were released, to revise and prepare for our biggest test so far.  It is a bit grainy and indistinct, snapped with a cheap camera in the days…

Bone marrow birthday

Yesterday, we celebrated my husband’s 18th birthday.  He (like most of his physical body) is actually 56, but his bone marrow is only 18 years old.  It was a gift from somebody we have never met and probably never will meet.  In September 2001, while the world reeled from the shock of the attack on…


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