Tea and cake in the garden. Bringing out the old mismatched china (I have loads of it; too many trips to Lewes to stock up on cheap cute things) and a store bought victoria sponge because – hear me out – it’s kinda too hot to bake.
I used to love Pip Studio, but I hardly see it in shops anymore. These days I find the crockery a bit too busy, but their glassware is often beautiful. Unfortunately they’re not UK based and I’m afraid of ordering breakable goods that are going to travel far and unwilling to pay VAT. I’ll wait to see if anything nice pops up on Ebay.
Sometimes a whole day’s worth of photos is lost because the lighting wasn’t right and I try to save them with filters/editing only to make everything look even worse. Some of them are occasionally dumped on Instagram stories, but most just take up space on the hard drive until I finally press delete.
But sometimes I give these pictures a last glance before consigning them to the bin and I’m transported to the day they were taken. Coming home from a rare face-to-face work meeting (they always make me terribly anxious) and looking up to take in the contrasting architecture around Liverpool Street station. The beautiful vapor trails left in the sky by planes leaving London City airport. The inviting lights in the cafes, tempting offers of a couple moments holding a hot flat white on a late autumn afternoon.
Using new boots as a means of transport to walk around town, Scritti Politti on the mp3 player, going to check out a new tearoom (or rather, the tearoom cake). Admiring old painted signs, leftovers from businesses that no longer exist (here they are called “ghost signs” and I find it poetic). A Saturday afternoon in London Bridge tasting artisan pasta + Italian beer and then going for cookies at Borough Market. A Sunday afternoon in Shoreditch, December’s colorful lights twinkling in the east and doing Christmas shopping in Spitalfields: Uniqlo coats and Deciem skincare, after several helpings of potato chips @ Flat Iron.
I’ve been missing my boring little life. Simple yet precious days, my favorite places with my favorite people at my favorite city, registered in bad photos that I’ll keep anyway because someday they might be the only reminders of the mundane things that used to make me happy.
“I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that – I don’t mind people being happy – but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down 3 things that made you happy today before you go to sleep”, and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position – it’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness”. Ask yourself “is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.”
Daunted by the energy that might be unleashed were I to concentrate on the supposed task – of what it might subtract, exact and adulterate; and of the gagging staleness that could issue forth, if finally penetrated, from something so long suppressed. Succumbing instead to these afternoons of claustrophobic wandering and restless prostration. Committed, only to non-commitment. Driven, only to distraction.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer’s lease hath all too short a date. Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimmed; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed; But thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st, Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade, When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st. So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
May is almost halfway through. The saying goes “time flies when we’re having fun” and I never really agreed with that. It’s true that time drags when you’re suffering, in pain, or waiting for a call from your oncologist. But good days don’t rush past; they unfold slowly, like a cat stretching in a patch of sunlight. And fill diary pages with events or reflections, leaving memories, inside jokes and stories to tell later. Time flies when we are ambling aimlessly. When the days all look the same, with no expectations of change. I’m not hoping for anything because I know nothing will come. Nothing but next month, and the next. I took the calendar off the wall.
Mostly carbs. When your cake starts to burn on top while remaining liquid raw inside – that’s a worry. I just radically brought the temp down and hoped for the best. The outside was slightly charred but the innards were fully cooked, so I’ll declare this a win.
The world is slowly stretching and waking up again and it’s looking around seeing flowers everywhere. Keeping them in bloom is our duty, even if they’re weeds. My lawn has been taken over by tiny purple and pink things that resemble geraniums, but that are wild and careless and don’t mind me stepping over them or being mowed once a month; they’ll spring back from under my feet and from the stumps left behind by the blades. They’re tireless and will never give up.
“Any patch of sunlight in a wood will show you something about the sun which you could never get from reading books on astronomy. These pure and spontaneous pleasures are ‘patches of Godlight’ in the woods of our experience.”