Sunday, 6 November 2011


..waits for no man, the quote says. And so it seems to be true. It has been 7 whole months since I last posted on here. I have, admittedly, posted more on my work blog but this, my personal blog, has suffered. It may be because I had been finding it harder to write about the non-work, the internal, the real.
My amazing mother in law, Beatrice Dartnall Duffy (aka Granny Binky, to my smalls) passed away in March of this year. She had cancer, and spent the last 6 weeks of her life in a Nursing Home, refusing to budge from her home til she really deemed it necessary. Mum was a Blitz survivor. She drove ambulances and lorries across occupied Germany. A retired police sargeant. Cancer wasn't going to push her out of her 50-year home.
The picture at the title of my blog is of my (now 5 year old) daughter hunting for Easter eggs with Gran in 2007. This was the kind of Gran she was. Dedicated to her grandchildren and family, never tiring of watching their goings on, hearing about them, doing things for them. An example of this was when my husband and I went to the house 2 days after she died. We were supposed to be looking for things we wanted placed in the coffin with Mum, a hard enough task already.
As my husband chose two of her much-used knitting needles I spotted a half-knitted grey school cardigan on needles in a basket. It would've been the last item Mum attempted to knit. Amid her pain, suffering and emotional turmoil, she was working on something for our daughter. Both of us cried rivers in that week, and even in the weeks since, there are days when things occur to us and we smile, laugh..and sometimes cry, for there is no Mum, no Granny Binky to talk to about things with. No Mum to give us her non-judgmental opinions on things, to astound us with her humility, her patience, her resoluteness.
This is hard to write about, as there was-and is-so much more to Mum than I can compact into a few paragraphs. Let it be enough to say, she was Mum to me, not just my 'Mother In Law'. She took me in as her own when I was in a strange country with no family but my husband-to-be. My husband and I both realise it will be a difficult Christmas without her, eating lots (after saying she 'couldn't possibly manage that amount!'), watching the smalls with wonder and obvious delight, expressing her gratitude for even the most trivial gift..and drinking endless cups of tea :-) I hope she will still sit with us at the table on that day. Still doing what she used to do. Being our amazing Mum.

Friday, 8 April 2011

This moment..

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. (Inspired by Soulemama).

Monday, 31 January 2011

February 2nd-Candlemas/Imbolc

"When candlemas day is bright with sun
then the winter has just begun
When candlemas day is dark with rain
then winter's power is on the wane."

The wheel of the year turns once more and the end of winter is in sight. Imbolc, most commonly observed on February 2nd, marks the beginning of the end of winter's grasp. It is now that we start making our plans for this springs' garden, we tend to our animals' young, and we start to feel stirrings of new life just beneath the snow's surface.

Imbolc is one of the great fire festivals ~ to celebrate the birth of spring and warmth. It's tradition for pagans to light copious amounts of candles and incense around the home. It is the perfect time of year to recommit yourself to your faith, goals, and dreams.

Candlemas is a very old holiday with a Christian-Pagan history. Its Christian version is called the Purification of the Virgin and is the end/culmination of the forty day period after Mary had her baby on December 25.  (Women had to wait forty days after childbirth before entering a church or Temple again due to "uncleanliness"). This waiting period is still observed in Eastern Orthodox Christian churches today, and all Christian churches schedule the Christening for forty days after the birth in keeping with this ancient purification practice. Therefore today is Jesus's Christening or Naming Day when an exorcism is performed and the baby formally enters the Church.
Candlemas is the Christianized name for Imbolc, but the two are used almost interchangeably by many earth-based groups such as Wiccans today. Groundhog Day is a secularized term, but it draws from a Pagan tradition.
Imbolc is closely associated with the Celtic-Irish goddess Brigid. Imbolc is sacred to Brigid because she is a goddess of fire, of poetry, and of healing, all things that go along with the creative powers of the onset of spring. She is a powerful representation of the Maiden Goddess, and she has been almost perfectly preserved for us today by none other than the Roman Catholic Church. Rather than call her demon and risk the displeasure of all Ireland, they canonized Brigid and made her the patron saint of poetry and healing. This appeased the Irish, who at the time probably saw the Catholic saints as being very similar to gods.

*Information derived from here and here and well, here too :) 

Sunday, 23 January 2011

A 5, a 2 and a fairly new..

Savannah turned 5 on Friday. Funnily enough, this was the day, exactly a year ago that we discovered we were having Maia, now 4 months old. My sister's little son, Bentley, turned 2 just before so we decided on a
joint party at Savannah's favourite play place-Hoodles! So the Sister and family travelled up from the English Midlands to the Scottish Highlands make it a day of joint festivities!
It was a day of high voltage for the two cousins, and even Maia's awful cold seemed to settle for the duration. Whilst 20 children and their siblings ran rampant over the play area in a sweaty-headed frenzy ("Savannah's mummy!We need more juice!!"), adults chatted with lovely coffees and cakes (Hoodles cupcakes are amaaaaazing!).

They rounded up our children after an hour's play and we headed to the Party Room,which was set up for us beautifully. Cakes were on the table,

party bags assembled in a row with helium balloons tied to handles, tables set with balloon centerpieces and Savannah ushered to head of table in a 'big girl chair'.

Homemade pizza and soft rolls were eaten, followed by build-your-own-cupcake for dessert!

Dancing,games and general silliness followed, with lots of laughter and mild hysteria :))


At the end of the day, we had a heap of tired-out but delighted children and one very memorable day.

We couldn't have asked for a better time! :)
 Happy Birthday Savannah & Bentley!

Friday, 14 January 2011


These people-one large, 2 small-are the center of my world. Everything I do revolves around them. To be able to spend beautiful, quality time together over the Christmas period was amazing, and we all thoroughly enjoyed the time with each other. There was much snuggling (with Snugees for some of us!), eating yummy things, drinking lovely things, exchanging of gifts, visiting of family and friends, sparkles of trees, carpets of magical, deep snow outside, breathtaking icy walks and oh so much joy! It is for this reason that There are spring/summer catalogues appearing, lighter clothes appearing in the stores, people discussing summer holidays and flower planting....and I am blocking my ears to it all. I took my Christmas tree down on the 9th of January (it went up the 12th of December) amid much query from those visiting. Half my excuse was that Teeny Duffy loved the lights..but really, it was mostly me I think. I was left to do the packing up of tree/cards/decorations myself that Sunday the 9th, and I am not kidding-it took me all afternoon. Not because it was a huge tree, or fully decked out house, but because, well, it involves ritual. Things need to be wrapped up safely for next year, things get picked up and wondered over and re-read...and in some cases tears are shed for cards from a very seriously ill Gran who we love so much, and who will not be able to write messages like that again for her beloved grandchildren. I think the emotions Christmas evokes are hard to snuff out so suddenly. It needs to be a gradual process, like weaning..just enough to deal with at a time. I think I may be over it by Valentine's Day :)
Do you make a clean break of it, sweep up the needles and air out the house? Or are you also a lingerer?