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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.

There 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. Life happens in the moment and I’m profoundly grateful for the life I have. 

This time last year I was recovering from my accident, now I am back up to full strength; same pace, same mileage… although some lingering dental trauma means I’ll choose the treadmill over the road when the weather’s treacherous.

Covid restrictions are making it harder for house shoots to take place, but I’m still writing house features; there are two in this month’s (February) edition of The English Home. And, in my spare time, Sailing Kind, my non-fiction project is slowly coming along.

Reading is always a great comfort - although this year, I’m trying to pace myself rather than hoovering through books in huge quantities. I’m especially looking forward to The Night Hawks, the latest of Elly Griffiths’ Dr Ruth Galloway novels which I love for their wonderful sense of place, archeological background and characters so real, I still think about them when I’ve finished the book. Another book that’s stayed with me since I read it in December is Susan Cooper’s magical, The Dark is Rising, so when this wonderful and haunting print, by artist and illustrator, Sarah Coomer, appeared in my Twitter stream last week I couldn’t resist it - now I’m impatient to see it framed and on my wall.

I see that sales of candles have boomed during lockdown as we all try to keep the dark at bay. I didn’t realise I was tapping into this trend when we resumed use of a candelabra given to us as a wedding present (nearly 22 years ago!) by my dear friends, the Thursday Girls. There’s something about candlelight, music (a very long Spotify playlist) and simply talking together that has made evenings particularly special. It's been a long winter, but there are points of light along the way.


Liane Spicer said…
Glad to hear you're mostly recovered from those injuries, Chris. I thought of you yesterday when I was reminded of my old dental trauma (I was 13) that's literally exacting a stiff price of late: the dental bills are piling up.) But all in all life is precious and we do the best we can in the circumstances we're handed. I try to focus on my blessings everyday and limit my intake of pandemic news or I'd just drown in it.

You'll hug you grandbabies again and things will get better all around. We have to believe that.

Stay safe, and stay warm!

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