Jelly for Grown Ups

You can still see them: the waxed paper dishes at parties when you were a kid, their fluted pink rims around a pool of glistening red jelly, sometimes, depending on the skill of whoever's mother was in charge, crowned with a nozzled star of cream. NestlĂ©. Tinned. You remember, still, the sound jelly makes scooped up on a plastic spoon, a rubbery squelch, and how easily the spoon's handle could shatter in your fingers. And now, the toy cat your friend, Maxine, bought you when you were 9 or 10: admired by all your friends for its extravagance, its own stiff card box with a lid, its jet black beaded eyes, the silkiness of its fur. 


The old and the new

On 20th October 2014 I posted the following on Facebook:

The ferns are the first to go, followed by a single Golden Delicious tree, autumn's first hostage in a row of Cox's Orange Pippins. Two wood-pigeons lift their barrelled-bodies into the air, such effort in the whir of their wings, as if the weight of summer is still with them. And it is, in the long grass, the scatter of daisies, the oak trees, the sun-busting blue sky, these stray apples I gather, missed by the pickers almost two months ago. 

Indian summer 
the impatient rustle 
of something in the woods

And here I am, precisely a year later, standing in the orchard on a day that seems like an exact replica of that one: the light, the burnished leaves, the same point of slip towards autumn. 

Hungry Writing Prompt
Write about what you were doing one year ago.

And if that wasn't enough the vet who stamped my cat's inoculation booster card this morning noticed that he'd given her last year's on 20th October too. 

There's no third repeated thing for 20th October, however tempted I am to find, or even invent, one! But there is a bright and beautiful new thing for October 2015: the hungry writer book which owes much of its beauty to Bob Carling, of Cultured Llama, whose publishing skills expended on the book design and production have everyone sighing over how lovely it is to touch and hold! Even this llama puppet, courtesy of Steve Allen, was impressed at the book's Kent launch last Sunday. 

And even more beautiful - more so even than the little welshcakes I made for the launch which also inspired a lot of sighing and crumbly delight - were all the lovely guests who came along to help me celebrate. 

They made the occasion so much more than just a book launch: it was about friendship and generosity. And I can't thank them enough. Except to say, please have another welshcake. And I hope you enjoy the stories in the book. They might be my memories and reflections but they're probably not that different from your own. Stories about parents, about children, about losing people we love and wondering about the world we live in. All the things that make us human, whoever we are, wherever we happen to be. 

Love from Lynne x


Full English Running

I started running a year ago. Last October I hit the treadmill for 30 mins each day, walking and jogging intermittently, until after 30 days I could run 3 miles without stopping even if I did look like a grimacing Halloween pumpkin at the end of it. Running is hard. 

A year later running is still hard, not as hard as it was because I am fitter and stronger, but it still requires effort. Effort to get up and go out and run first thing. Effort to ignore the voice whining inside my head: Why are you bothering? You've proved you can run 5k and 10k. What's the point in carrying on? Whinge, whinge whinge. But, as my running coach, Kerry Hayward from Meopham & Malling Ladies Joggers, says, If it was easy everyone would be doing it!

I try not to pay attention to the whining voice while I'm running. I open a cupboard in the corner of my skull, push her in and slam the door for the duration. But, why am I bothering? 

Because I want to get older as healthily as I can. 
Because I no longer get breathless running up and down stairs.
Because I can throw, barrow and stack a week's supply of logs for the wood burner and not ache at all. 
Because the space in my head feels like the cool green air you find in a tree tunnel.
Because when I am running the me-ness of me is as authentic as I ever feel.

And if I needed any further inspiration, because this morning there would be a full English breakfast and as much tea and toast as I could drink and eat at the end of it. Let's be more precise: at the end of 7 miles of it. But with the bonus of astonishing views along the route ... 

Ah well. If life gives you mist, keep running. And don't forget to stop and smell the sunflowers.

This is the route we took, from Camer Park, near Meopham, to Hodsoll Street, near Stansted ...

... where, in the charming Hodsoll Street and Ridley Village Hall, a happy clutch of men and woman cook a £5 Big Breakfast for dozens of local people and walkers, and now, runners, on the first Saturday of the month. 

And yes, it really is worth running 7 miles for. Again. And again. 

Hungry writing prompt 
Write about trees in the mist.