Memories in amber

I’m heading to Germany on the bleakest of saucepan-lid days, leaving Monkey-Face at home with daddy and nanny. She’s so happy, and having my mum around has the best of effects on both of us. The pressure is lifted and home feels lighter, cleaner and MF more content (although not last night when she squealed the place down and refused to go to bed.)
Nanny and MF have been reading together and her development and interaction with her books is discernible. They read Shark in the Park together and MF confidently reeled off all the things she could see in the park which is helpful because truthfully, I’ve been distracted by work and by home even when I am at home. As well as twenty plus hours of training to deliver in the next 8 business days, it’s the season of clipboards. It’s MF’s second birthday in 4 days and I hate the fact that this year there is not only no money but no time either. So there are no parties and I’ve had to buy a cake. Epic mummy-fail. Mainly because I love baking and messing about with cool stuff and this blog acts as a mirror to my focus. I’ll just have to pin up pics of last year’s offering as a reminder of my commitment and will. The will is strong, the body is weak…

That the blog keeps me honest about where my attention has been is another reason to continue. Even on days when there is little payoff for the reader – like today – there is a purpose for me, because it keeps me honest. It holds me to account. When I sit down to write and there is no strong sense of the good, bad or indifference of the day, or worse, MF’s place and reading with her in that day is peripheral, I can’t sweep that under the carpet and I can plan for a better subsequent day.

But given my existing commitments, there will be for the meantime days like this, when I can’t be there. On days like this I can still dream and plan our reading, or be inspired by my travels or memories. Travelling back from my mother’s home, husband took a wrong turn and we drove through Hyde Park, which always makes me think of Maria Grachvogel who first steered me, slack-jawed, through the stunning ornate gateway and over the Serpentine in her little white Golf, a lifetime ago. The journey steered us through Hyde Park with hoardings for Winter Wonderland, through South Ken, past Imperial College, the National History Museum and the ice rink and fizzy little lights, all steeped in my personal history and inspiration for future visits with Emilia. I love autumn and early winter and especially Christmas. That I am retreading a journey to Cologne that I last took at Christmastime, 20 years ago, further adds to the amber glow of warm memories of a happy time and has sparked a plan to gather some German reading books to share with MF.

My journey to Heathrow this morning is frankly an unwelcome one. I want to be with MF and I want to be the one reading to her and the one to put her to bed. However, it has been a journey of unexpected beauty and joy, whipping away the memory’s dust-sheets to reveal gleaming moments of time, still beeswax-soaked and preserved of all the things I love, that make me, me. . There are posters for carol concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, Degas at the Royal Academy sponsored by a previous employer and where I was a member for years, ice rinks and Christmas lights: legacies I want to share with my daughter. A film show of happiness, care, good fortune and good friends
Wherever you are today, whoever you are with, I hope it’s full of love and family and memories as warm as good brandy.

For Christopher and Anne-Marie, whose pulse beat with mine through Chelsea and South Kensington and through today’s memories

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