It’s been a while since I wrote a ‘newsy’ kind of post, but during October and November I’ve been mentally squirreling away bits and pieces to share.
It’s been an industrious Autumn, full of bone-tired workdays, both-feet-in celebrations, intense emotions, precious small moments and an abundance of laughter and silliness.
The biggest and best of these was, of course, my sister’s wedding, when friends and family descended on our little ‘Shire’ from all over the country, arriving at intervals throughout the week with wonderful warmth and festivity. It was a day of heartfelt celebration, with dancing in the aisles and silly photos, my brother pouring a dram in the kitchen, bridesmaids singing into bouquet microphones and ushers stealing my Auntie’s comedy hat. Of course, there were the loveliest of quiet moments too: the groom’s sisters reading a poem; bridesmaids welling up in the service; speeches brimming with gratitude and love; a glimpse of the newlyweds being photographed under Autumn leaves; the opening of gifts.
A couple of days before the wedding, Andrew and I went to Bristol to see our favourite band, Switchfoot. Their live performances, their lyrics, their guitars and their vocals all have that rare gift of expressing, exceptionally accurately, the human experience. All of it: the aching dreams, the weighty struggles, the emotions, the fight – all without falling back on cliches such as those that I have just used. Watching them is hopeful, empowering, incredibly spiritual and, simply, really good fun.
I would love to continue on and on, rambling my way through the moments: things like driving over Bristol suspension bridge on a sunny day; holding a new baby; sunsets and coke floats and all those arresting Autumn colours; sitting in my Grandma’s tranquil lounge; children packing Christmas boxes and dancing to Nativity songs; the first frosty morning; a heron by a stream; a robin on a tree branch. This Autumn has filled my soul: life is good.
Of course, this time of year also brings with it for me long workdays, bouts of illness, reminders of our infertility and a struggle to spin the various plates of adult life successfully. To cope, I’ve needed hearty meals, good books, blankets and prayers and friendship and fresh air. And what would a ‘newsy’ post be without a few book, film and food recommendations? We’ll do them whistle-stop:
The light read: The Forever Home by Veronica Henry is light, uplifting and engaging. It tells the story of an idyllic home and its glamorous but dysfunctional inhabitants. I loved the humanity of the characters and was drawn in from the first page.
The page-turner: Whispers Underground, the third book in Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series, follows the continued adventures of PC Peter Grant, who works for the secret magic division of the police. These books are somewhat weird, but gripping and readable with likable characters.
The reflective one: I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of Undivided Heart, by Lucy Mills, who I interviewed here. I will post a full review when I have finished it. The short, thought-provoking chapters have been just right for my morning ‘quiet time’, when I pray, read and reflect.
All warming, easy and relatively healthy, these recipes have been perfect for coming home in the dark after long, cold workdays:
Also, my mum introduced me to Basa, a very reasonably priced white fish, which is delicious cooked with butter, lemon and a little onion.
Finally, I’d like to recommend the film The Way. Seriousness and sadness are balanced with humour and warmth as a group of misfits make a pilgrimage through Spain, struggling to articulate their reasons for making the journey and bonding over their flaws and imperfections. It’s a great story of friendship and hope that makes you think about what it means to live well.
And here endeth the waffliest post of all time. What’s been making you ramble on this Autumn?