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Milestones and Moments

  Snowflakes swirl around me as I battle up the hill towards home at the end of a six mile run. I look up as shapes appear in my snow globe world. A young woman is leading her small daughter, who is seated on a pony. I stand aside to let them pass. ‘And that lady is also breathing oxygen,’ says the woman, with a smile. The little girl regards me solemnly. ‘Like my horse,’ she says. ‘Yes,’ the woman agrees, ‘like your horse. Now what else can you think of that breathes oxygen?’ It’s lockdown in a moment; permitted exercise, home schooling, a certain wariness of other people and - in the back of my mind - the appalling loss of life, of last breaths taken. T here have been days when I’ve physically ached with missing my family. January includes several birthdays; littlest grandson was one and we’re all very sad not to have seen more of him. It’s overwhelming at times, but I’m keenly aware that there’s nothing to be gained from wishing things were different - we just have to be patient. L
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Preserving Memories

  ‘But Nana,’ five-year-old Bee says with some concern, ‘how did Father Christmas get to be so old?’. Never mind Father Christmas, I think, looking at the photo of my four-year-old self, where did all those years go?  Slowly - and very carefully - we’ve been catching up with our loved ones and as joyful as each of these reunions has been it’s incredibly painful to say goodbye again in these very uncertain times. Perhaps that’s what’s behind Bee’s request to ‘look at all your pictures, Nana?’ Perhaps Bee, like so many of us, is looking for patches of solid ground? Although seeing the change in me from the little girl I was to the great age I am now seems to have given her a bit of a wobble! ‘ Who’s this then, Mum?’ asks my daughter, Rose, a few weeks later, looking through my box of loose photographs, and it’s then that I realise I should probably do something with them. I’m not someone who often needs a rear view mirror, I’m much happier where I am now or looking ahead to what’s next.

What Must We Do To Be Saved?

My previous Home Thoughts happened in another world; a world where enjoying a meal in a restaurant, taking part in a real half marathon or casually hugging a dear friend were all possible. The shadow of coronavirus was there, of course, but we clung to some semblance of what was normal, hoping against hope that the unthinkable wouldn’t happen. Less than two weeks after I posted my blog, we were in lockdown. Like so many of us, my first response was to try to organise my way out of the pandemic, to try to maintain some sort of sense of control in a world of uncertainty. I emptied and sorted drawers, cupboards, wardrobes and cleaned the house to within an inch of its life. And then, when - oh, how cruel! - the loveliest weather we’ve had in this part of Wales for years arrived, Tom and I began clearing and tidying the garden. (Fortunately, I had an epiphany one evening and realised the garden will always be a work in progress and that’s absolutely fine!). Quite early on, I also

Slices of Life

Rhubarb! Who knew? There’s damp in the air as the taxi deposits us outside Slice , a thin wedge of a building perched on a hillside in Sketty, but there’s no dampening our spirits as this is an occasion we’ve been looking forward to for weeks! It’s our wedding anniversary (twenty-one years) and we’ve managed to book a table at this tiny (just 16 seats) and impressively reviewed restaurant. We get a friendly welcome from one of the two chefs who own and run the business before being shown to our table upstairs by the equally friendly and knowledgeable waitress. We opt for the six course tasting menu and the accompanying wine flight so all we have to do is sit there, enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and wait to be served a series of delicious treats. Every course is clever, innovative and perfectly cooked, but the roast turbot and langoustine with burnt leeks, radish and langoustine beurre blanc is one of the most sublime dishes I’ve ever eaten. And who knew rhubarb could be so ama

The Winds of Change

‘Good’, says my dear friend, Jill, when I tell her that Storm Ciara means the Llanelli Half Marathon has been postponed. ‘My guardian angel is working overtime!’. Jill’s guardian angel has indeed been very busy looking after her and her loved ones lately, so I’m impressed that she’s squeezed in a few extra hours to whip up a storm which will give me another four weeks to recover from my accident before I race. Bit tough on everyone else being battered by strong winds, of course, but yes, part of me is relieved. Llanelli’s one of my favourite races so I was reluctant to pull out, but a bit daunted by the prospect of running 13.1 miles just at the moment. My ribs have stopped clicking at last, but I’m afraid to sneeze without holding tight to the damaged area. So far as getting back to normal goes, my chipped front tooth has been repaired and most of my traumatised teeth have survived a ‘vitality test’ with electric pulp testing … which I have to say doesn’t half make you jump.

Six Weeks On...

New year, new x-ray. ‘You look fab, you’re really proactive about your health - you’re my kind of girl,’ says the nurse practitioner sympathetically. ‘But, you’re not going to bounce back the way you used to and you’ve had a serious injury.’ I’m not vain and I’m not looking for the Elixir of Youth, but since I left A&E without a follow up appointment, I would like to know why, after all these weeks, my ribs are still making an audible clicking noise.  It’s six weeks today since I found myself in the back of an ambulance feeling very scared and broken. The superficial damage to my face has healed. It took four weeks for the feeling in my upper teeth and the roof of my mouth to begin to return, although two of my front teeth still only have partial sensation. (The dental work starts this week.) There are patches of numbness in my face and top lip. My ribs are uncomfortable rather than painful (although sneezing is agony) and it seems that if I want an explanation for the clicki

An Accident Happens

Monday 2 December It’s an especially beautiful morning when I set out for my seven-mile run, frost twinkles under the low sun in the Secret Valley creating an enchanted landscape. Once I leave the shelter of the valley behind, I realise that many of the lanes are glazed with treacherous black ice so pick my path very carefully. I love a good downhill sprint, however, so with home in sight and a clear road ahead I take the brakes off and fly. Only, somehow, my left foot snags in gravel. In the split-second before I hit the ground, I know that when I land it’s going to be bad. There’s a smack as my left cheekbone hits the ground and my teeth clash together as my head bounces. My mouth has gone numb, but when I touch my fingers to my face, I’m surprised to see blood on my hands. I fumble for my phone and try to call Tom, but there’s no answer. I know I’ll freeze if I sit still so I drag myself up wondering why it’s all such a struggle. When I try to walk, it feels as if the ribs on my