There's nothing quite like a holiday to get me inspired to do lots of stuff. So here I am after two weeks away from the office, sat in bed, drinking coffee and preparing myself for my first day back. I have following ideas:
If you know me, you've heard some of these before -- I'm on a loop. I should possibly learn from this and give up, but instead I'll return and try again as the alternative is less good.
Yesterday we had a Sunday Roast (chicken) and in the evening I made Cauliflower soup and Mushroom soup, and the recipes are below. They taste lush and lunches are sorted for a bit.
I have no idea if they would have been better had I done things differently because cooking ain't my thing. I did make the stock from boiling off the carcass from the Sunday lunch of roast chicken, maybe that's why they taste good this time...
Ultimately all these resolutions show is that I have had enough holiday this year for the first time in AGES. My mind is wanting to get moving, and that is all that matters.
Now to the office and the dreaded email inbox...
*returns under duvet*
I bumped into an old friend at the weekend who I hadn't seen (until recently) for perhaps a decade. In the intervening time we have both been divorced. Me so long ago that I sometimes don't believe it actually happened and wonder instead if it was a dream, and my friend fairly recently. We sat and admired a beautiful view and chatted. There is so much I have to say about divorce, never knowing the right format for that, but I'll start with one post here.
I am thankful for the change in my outlook which the divorce enabled, or instigated. I am thankful in the same way I am thankful for the brief glimpse into mental illness that panic attacks gave me. Whilst I wouldn't wish either on you, things can bring about a much-needed change in perspective and I see more colour, or maybe more grey, in the world than previously. I wouldn't change that for the world.
So here is the first tip for you if you have friends going through divorce:
1. Be nice
It is a really shitty time for both people, whatever your view on the specifics. This doesn't have to be with words so don't worry if you don't have positive things to say; I remember those who left a dinner party they were hosting to come straight over to give me a hug when I told them, the sisters who housed me, those who suffered endless conversations, those who listened to my real thoughts, and those who made it clear they were still very much there and walking with me through it. I'll be thankful for them till my final breath. Some thought I was doing the right thing, some didn't, some couldn't care less. And some changed their view later. Plus, imagine what taking sides will mean if they reconcile. Awks.
So, be kind to one another...
Maybe to be continued. Who knows...
I am brilliant at saying ‘yes’ to things – even when I know quite clearly the answer should be ‘no’. I can be quite certain that there is no way I can take on the commitment being asked of me but still hear ‘yes, sure’ tumble out of my mouth. I don’t know if it is fear of letting people down or what, but it has happened at various times in my life with various consequences, so from now on if an ask doesn’t meet one of the below, the answer is NO.
Does it bring me JOY?
This a great reason for doing almost anything. Almost.
Does it pay my bills?
A girl has got to live. Especially a single one.
Is it a personal priority of mine?
For me, examples of these would be exercise, family commitments, church and other things that I think are important to invest my time in, even when I don’t feel like it.
Is it part of a vision of mine that I want to see realised?
This is simply a reminder than other people will love to have you work on their projects and you may make other people’s art, businesses, dreams, music and plans see the light of day while yours remain half-sketched or forgotten.
If the answer is NO to all of the above, say NO. Only go forward if you have a yes -- ideally two or, better still, three.
Then ask if it leaves enough time for eating, sleeping and watering the plants. A further yes, and you are good to go.
This picture is 'Solent Sunrise' and is currently looking a little lonely on my office wall. I've got a new office and whilst I want to fill it with things quickly, I want to fill it with things which mean something to me. Martin is an old friend from the church where I grew up who moved to Norwich when I was still young, possibly before I was a teenager. Having a little bit of my history through something of his present, on the walls of my day-to-day life, seems really special. But not quite as special as the glimpses of the sun breaking through in this painting. Thanks Martin! For more about Martin's work visit: www.martincottam.co.uk
The Holst Singers went to Norway a couple of weeks ago, to perform John Tavener's The Veil of the Temple in Trondheim. It was a joy to join our conductor Stephen Layton as he conducted us (with a few Trinity Cambridgers), Det Norske Solistkor, the Nidaros Cathedral Choir and Cathedral Girls Choir, alongside Patricia Rozario (Soprano) and a host of amazing musicians, in the Scandinavian premiere. The piece started at about 22.30 and finished at about 6.00am. Music came from all different positions within the building, and the audience were submerged in a truly spiritual experience. I find it tiring to sing even short Tavener motets, so our 'slot' from 01.00 to the end was quite a demanding five hours, but we were journeying towards the light of a new day, and maybe the best journeys aren't always the easiest. Pictures can be seen by clicking the photo above and, if you want to know more about the piece, Stephen's website has a good page about it, so do read on!