Wednesday, 13 April 2016



Leaving makes you appreciate the place in all its rose-tinted glory. There is no rain in the memories, or mud, or Saturdays full of endless homework and tantrums. There is no tedious housework, managing builders and daily trips to the train station. There is only love, blossom and floral bunting - like an article in Country Living magazine. I brought my children up in the heart of the Sussex countryside, and now we are leaving.

As I drove into the car park of the village hall, I sat for a few moments and saw my younger self taking A to preschool, P on my collapsed hip as she sucked her dummy furiously. I smile briefly at times past, of both children learning to play, to have friends, to run in school races and to try standing on the stage for their first Christmas nativity.

I drive past Bodium, Bedgebury and Batemens. The three B's which saved my sanity. A mornings wander with my babies and a needed coffee afterwards - there was half a day gone, now to fill the other half before he gets home. Life with two preschoolers seems so very, very far away.

The garden has plants I planted when we first arrived in Sussex - faithfully flowering every year, watching the children grow too, hoping not to have their heads knocked off with an over zealous football.

Nine years has passed in happiness (mainly happiness) - the formative years of my children's lives, and as we get ready to leave, I see the significance of it all.

The twelve week countdown to Mallorca begins and among the packing, the organising and the planning I am starting to say goodbye - goodbye to the memories of Sussex, both little and huge.

Saying it slowly and with thanks.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016


I watched her wobble and try again. And again.

"Come here, let Mummy show you how it's done..."

I swaggered over to A and took the pogo stick from her, sure that I could do 49 bounces in a row, and more if I fancied.

I nearly damn-well broke my back! One bounce and I shot off into the daffodils and fell against the hard, concrete patio.

She wouldn't let me try again for fear of me seriously hurting myself. He wouldn't let me try either.

So that's it. I can no longer use a pogo stick. Or roller blades. I am losing my balance. I lost my nerve on a big ginger horse and I might as well take up knitting.

What happens when you get older? Do you really lose your balance and increase your fear? Do you become less naive and more aware of danger, and that holds you back?

When no one is looking, I am going to squirrel myself away in the garden and conquer that goddamn pogo stick to prove that I can still bounce. And then I will relearn the roller blades.

And jump horses over silly fences at great speed.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Goodbyes and Hello's

The countdown to Mallorca has started. Items are being recycled, sold or given away to loving homes. Skirting boards are being painted, tiles mended, bathrooms deep cleaned and toys debated over. We are renting our house out and taking minimal 'stuff' with us, a chance to welcome a new chapter without unnecessary mascots of the past.

The garden is being tidied for Spring. The bitter winter wind clings on and whips menacingly around my face as I dig and clear the detritus from the last few months. Goodbye Winter and Hello Spring. The bulbs are flourishing with the rare glimpses of sunshine, perennials awaken after their hibernation, peeping through the soil slowly and carefully as if to make sure the winter months have finally gone.

I said goodbye to my work colleagues, a group of strong and inspirational women whose kindness, knowledge and wisdom I will cherish. I have learnt so much working as a facilitator of antenatal classes, met some incredible people along the way and feel enormously privileged to have been a tiny part of couples journey to parenthood.

We are beginning to say goodbye to Sussex and goodbye to SussexMama. And it seems that only when you are preparing to leave something, a way of life, you realise how lovely it all was.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Dolly blue eye

Dolly stands listless in her stable, her head low and doesn't respond to my call. Her distended belly probably full of worms, and no food up until now.

Her teeth are ground down. Worn away from eating dirt and stones, trying to find food to survive. The vet said she was only two years old. She is lanky and hairy, black and white patchy, with her ribs showing through her furry coat.

She has no flight. Just a little bit of fight, for she eats and eats.

Keep eating little Dolly. There is love all around you now.