Saturday, 23 April 2016

New York: first impressions

Some of the things that struck me in my first few days in NYC:

1. (Since basically the first thing I did was go to the 'restroom'): The toilet bowls are a lot more full of water which vaguely worried me, like I might fall in, like ohhh this is why bullies in films always flushed people's heads in the toilet. Then they flush automatically which surprises me even more! The cubicles in public toilets also seem to have a lot more space around them – like it would be a lot easier to climb under/over them – kind of like you're more exposed but less likely to get trapped without anyone knowing. Maybe that's a weird thing to think about while sat weeing?

2. Williamsburg, the first place I stayed in New York, is supposedly the trendy bit. I don't think the part I was staying in was trendy though. The main feature seemed to a whole lot of Hassidic Jews, curly sideburns and all. And a lot of yellow school buses.

3. It's a good idea to have an umbrella. The weather is changeable in the way it is in Cornwall – something about being surrounded by water?

4. Lots of people really do buy 'kwoffee' on their way to work (and pastries and do-nuts and pretzels...)

Sunday, 17 April 2016

New York Notes: Arriving

Standing on the subway platform J at Sutphin Boulevard Station, just below Jamaica Station. Smelling of piss. I feel happy in a way I haven't felt for ages.

Why? Just to be somewhere new? The small triumphs of figuring out which train to get, a MetroCard given by a departing visitor, the sun shining over a new city, the whole world gathering.

It's been a smooth journey, luxurious it feels. No hassles, no problems, barely any turbulence. Wine and beer on the flight, and a pleasant neighbour, whose son happened to be in the year above my husband at Pretoria Boys High. Of all things.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Lots of London Lenten Thanks (part 2)

Some more thanks, to fight back against the gloom that settles too quickly on my shoulders at the moment, the anxiety that tightens my chest. The "God God God, help" I chant under my breath every morning.

It feels wrong to feel sad in the springtime.

But anyway.

In between all this there's been some moments of London joy. I've been trying to finish this off for over a week, and now it's gotten long and each thing probably could have done with its own post. But hey ho, it's done, it's still Lent, just about!! :-)

Pavrov Stelar @ Alexandra Palace

Why have I not been to "Ally Pally" before?!! What a fab venue, and a great view over London (that I couldn't see this time as it was dark, but will definitely be back!). There are food stalls, so everyone was eating, sitting on the fake grass and listening to some live music before the actual show. Felt like a festival. Pavrov Stelar (Austrian electro swing DJ plus live band) were awesome, especially the saxophone, trumpet and trombone players as well as the stage lighting. Did boogie a little, with my beautiful friend Shona, although wasn't quite the full on dance I hoped, partly because there were SO many people there and very little room! But a fab night, followed by a lazy morning lying in the sunshine coming through the living room window. Lovely.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Secret places / Spring in the air

We spent Friday night and Saturday with some artist-y people in Harpenden. We roasted marshmallows around a big bonfire, drank lots of coffee, enjoyed some amazing paintings exhibited in a chapel, talked about how art and God and the world connect, about finding God in secret places, we shared stories, and had time to enjoy the peaceful surroundings in the creeping-in-spring-air.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

New mercies

Morning by morning new mercies I see:

First word on a new page
Last breath of a night sustained
Daily miracles – by the hour, minute, second
I'm still breathing

A soft pillow
Blankets cocoon
The wrinkles around your sleeping eyes
Hot rivers massage my shoulders
Oats bubbling
Coffee steam dancing in sun streams



Last Sunday's sermon

I wish I'd had my camera last Sunday morning. Like so many times. But if I'd had one I'd have wished to be able to take a photo invisibly, imperceptibly, so as not to jolt that holy moment.

I'll try and paint it with words then. Picture a bench on the side of a rough track, the kind of road only a few hardy farm vehicles will travel down. A bench dedicated to a loved one, maybe someone who liked to walk their dog along the quiet track, with only the birds for company. Who liked to stop a while and catch their breath and look out upon the English countryside. That typical kind of undramatic rolling hedge-lined country side, of muted greens and browns. Naked trees under white winter clouds.

Picture two friends sat upon the bench, in easy companionship forged over more than seven years, tracking from Brighton to North Wales to Cornwall to today and the counties north of London. We've wound our way back to each other.