Skip to main content

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!

Chris Stovell said…
Thank you so much for stopping by, Liane, and for leaving such a lovely comment. Experiencing that kind of trauma at 13 must have been really horrible for you - I hope those dental bills level off! Yes, here's to those better times. Take care, Cxx
BH said…
Best Packers And Movers in Najafgarh
Packers Mart gives premium associations to giving collaborations, packers and movers in Najafgarh. Packers Mart provides You with the Best Packers and movers association which will give you the expense of your product you need to move from to Another City or Within the city.As you Know That Najafgarh is a town in the South West Delhi district at the National Capital Territory of Delhi, India. It's among the three subdivisions of the Southwest Delhi district. Najafgarh is located in the outskirts of the northwestern area of Delhi Close to the Haryana boundary, a distance of 29 kilometers (18 miles) in the New Delhi City Center. It's a combination of urban and rural inhabitants out of Delhi and Haryana.

Popular posts from this blog

Fly Me to the Zoom Book Club

I have to admit to feeling a teeny bit nervous when I’m invited to join She Runs: Cardiff for their Zoom book club to chat to them about my running memoir/guide, Running Kind. This brilliantly supportive women-only social running group based in Cardiff deservedly won the Run Wales Group of the Year in December 2020 for their fantastic efforts to encourage and engage their 1.1k followers. Their lockdown activities, with a strong emphasis on health and well-being, have included virtual couch to 5k, themed runs, monthly challenges and a book club which has attracted great runners, popular authors and now, gulp, me. Zoom’s new to me so my daughters break me in gently with a rousing game of family unicorn bingo. Tom and I wear our unicorn headbands and there are tantrums - bingo cards upturned, a sin-binning - laughter and tears, not least mine when it’s over because it’s both so lovely to see the family and so painful wondering when we’ll see them for real. So I’ve Zoomed, I’ve prepare

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.