Sunday, 12 May 2013

The Waves

This canvas sits on the wall in my front room and I often find myself entranced by it. I have written many things over the years inspired by this picture so I thought it was about time to share. I hope you like it...

The Waves

My perfect hideaway, my piece of heaven on Earth, a place to think, a place to make plans, a place to live and breath and be at peace with the natural world around you. Listening to the sound of the waves crashing against the shingle, like breathing in and out gives an overwhelming sense of being whole, that’s what I feel when I’m here. That’s why I return year after year and spend hours watching the water roll in and out, always moving across the shore, washing away the past so I can start afresh.

As the sun sets we sit on the rocks, blanket over our knees and hands wrapped around a mug of steaming hot tea watching swallows dive and somersault in a sky so full of colour, full of possibility. We set a fire using driftwood that has been dredged up during the day and a small amount from the pile behind the hut. As the dark descends the only sounds we hear are the crackle and spit of the fire on the dried out wood, casting shadows across the cliff face. There is no need for conversation, no need to fill the silence, as we lay in the darkness gazing up at the stars. We stay here under the blanket, the waves receding until we lose the feeling in our toes and surrender to the warmth of the cottage nearby.

In here can be found a warm change of clothes a roaring open fire and glass of wine to pass the evening. The smell of dinner fills the small room, stew and dumplings, a meal well deserved after a day of contemplation in the fresh air.  Dinner eaten by candlelight, memories shared, laughter encouraged and smiles so generous they could only be genuine. We fall into bed, exhausted by happiness, wrapped up in each other and fall asleep to the sound of waves... breathing in and breathing out.


The chimney was smoking, the kettle whistling as he took it off the aga. Cocoa was poured into three tin mugs, the kind you always used to use for camping and taken out to the lean-to. He sat there on the bench with his cocoa in hand, watching them play on the pebbles.  He’d just come out of the water, freezing though it was there was no way he could be stopped and his enjoyment was plastered over his face. A grin so large you couldn’t help but fall into it.

She was kneeling on the shingle, towel opened out ready to embrace him in all his damp glory. Watching on it reminded him of that day in hospital, the first time she could hold him, his face the only part of him not swaddled in towels, hair thick and stuck to his head. He sat there watching her cuddling him, warming him through, wiping the drips of his nose whilst simultaneously reliving that moment in the hospital. The first time he set eyes on his son, he didn’t realise how much love he could possess until he saw them both in the bed; him yawning, her smiling down at the little bundle which would change their whole world. He wasn’t sure how he would feel but this was too much for one human heart to hold, the joy was overflowing, the love overwhelming and yet he didn’t want to step away from the door, he just wanted this moment to live on.

She turned to the cottage and seeing him there her smile grew, they were still as in love as they were back then, the first time they came here and laid on the shingle. So much had happened, more than they thought they could ever be ready for but she knew she’d made the right decision. The little boy in her arms wrestled free, running for his father. She chased after him, laughing as she went and as the man stooped to grab him up her heart ached a little; ached with love, with admiration, with joy. They sat on the bench side by side sipping their cocoa whilst watching the waves... breathing in and breathing out.


She sat on the rocks, staring at the horizon, the waves crashing closer and closer to the hut. Years of water bashed against the rocks, changing the landscape entirely and yet nothing had really changed.  The memories filled her up, the warmth of the sun on her face as she stared into the vast expanse in front of her. Her hair was greying, her skin wrinkled and spotted but those memories were as fresh as yesterday.

Summers spent traipsing the coastal path, exploring the caves further down the beach and picking crabs from the rock pools. She remembered toasting marshmallows in the hut whilst it rained outside, finishing jigsaws by candlelight. She also remembered the year he’d decided he was too old to go on holiday with his parents, when the hut became their little hideaway again, their solace in a world turned upside down. The hut would always be full of memories, but it was time for someone else to add their memories, another family to have their summers here.

It was a hard decision to make; they had all done a lot of growing up in this place. She had shared it with the two men who were most special in her life and they in turn had loved her as best they knew how before leaving her all alone again. She spent most of her days now being nostalgic, longing for what had been, and waiting for the stars to come out night after night. But throughout this place had been her safe haven, her shelter, her hideaway. This was her place to think, her place to live, her place to be. Utter calm washed over her as it always did when she watched the waves... breathing in and breathing out.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

April Book Reviews

A very different kind of book for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Fans of The Thick of It will enjoy Nobbs' satire of the modern world and his take on those with all the power. Our "hero" like all brilliant protagonists is horribly flawed but I can't help liking him as he explores his newly found humanity. He realises that he seems to love his children and care for his wife... by this point we may as well say that all is lost! 

This has been sitting on my book shelf for at least 18 months and so I selfishly put it on my reading group programme and I'm so glad I did!

The Outcast is Lewis Aldridge - as a young boy he is witness to his mother's tragic demise, an event which affects the rest of his life. Part of a family that does not know how to be a family in a village where appearances can be deceiving Lewis will do anything to feel human, anything to not be alone, anything to find the love he cannot have at home... a stunning debut novel.

Zoe did a bad thing, a very bad thing. The only person she can tell is Mr Harris... a prisoner on death row.

The second YA novel from Annabel Pitcher is no less emotive or absorbing than My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

An easy throw-away read. Luisa Perez is one of ten Luisa's at Colonel Dunfield, counting down the days until she can leave "Dumpfield" and start her real life. When the school gets embraces the city wide literacy competition things start to heat up. Luisa's favourite teacher asks her to write a column for the school paper chronicling the schools efforts under the pseudonym Newshound, whilst an anonymous male counterpart, Scoop, does his best to undermine her at every turn. Humourous and realistic, Luisa has to deal with life, love, school and work whilst trying to figure out who Scoop is and how to beat him!   

A stunning debut from Hannah Richell exploring the family dynamic when it is shaken by tragedy. 

Helen and Richard married after only 3 months when Helen was pregnant with Cassie. After the death of Richard's parents they decide to move from London down to the family home - Clifftops in Dorset. As the family grows cracks start to appear in the dynamic which Richell explores with emotion and honesty.  Looking forward to the next offering!

Dermot is overweight, starting big school and in need of friends... roll on a humourous and witty diary novel complete with doughnut count! In much the same vein as diary of a wimpy kid, this is an easy read for ages 9+ with stock characters including the bully, the lovable misfits and crazy parent figure. Will Dermot survive his first term at big school? Will he have to spend half term at camp Fatso? Complete with fart and poo jokes to amaze children the nation over - The first in a series and one I'll be recommending over the Summer!   

A selection of short stories by the master himself which have made it to the big screen. I read the short story Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. I obviously already knew the plot from the amazing 1994 adaptation starring Tim Robbins as the unsuspecting Andy Dufresne to Morgan Freeman's lifer Red. I was happy to find out how faithfully the film had kept to the story, at just over 100 pages King is able to pull the reader into life at Shawshank and all the colourful characters therein. Happy to be able to finally tick this off my list.and may need to watch the film again soon!