Packing

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Packing, part 1: Friday afternoon

I pick DorkySon up from school, where he is hugged hard by kind friends who seem reluctant to let him leave. A classmate joins us for some of the walk home, and the two of them skip ahead of me, singing the baby shark song to each other and laughing.

But when she heads her way, and we head ours, it starts. DorkySon tells me that he will be packing as soon as he gets home, but please can he have a muffin and a drink first. He will need the energy boost for such a massive task. Continue reading

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September

golden wattle Hobart Tasmania

Oh, September.

A month of warmth and light and soft, still evenings. I’ve had to recalibrate so much of what I know since moving from north to south – the stars and moon are not what they used to be – but dependable September is still my very fave.

It used to mark the turning point from summer to autumn, a spell when Scotland is often at its beautiful best. It was a time of new beginnings – school years and uni semesters – and it was, of course, the month I got married.

It was also September when we moved to Tasmania, so these days it feels like a month of anniversaries. A time to celebrate our bravery and love. Continue reading

Nutella and Pinot Noir

Dark MOFO bonfire Hobart Tasmania

I posted something daft on Twitter a few weeks ago that seemed to resonate with a lot of my fellow Taswegians.

“We’ve reached that bit of the Tasmanian winter where I’ve given up any pretence of healthy eating or exercise. Basically, I’m just standing by the fire mainlining Nutella and Pinot Noir.”

It was true, at the time. One of the things I like most about living here is how connected I feel to the seasons.

In summer, the availability of beautiful fresh fruit and vegetables encourages me to eat well. The warm days mean that I drink a lot of water without making a conscious effort, and the lovely light evenings allow me to go out running.

In contrast, winter is the time for connecting with my inner bear – I want to load up with carbs, retreat to a warm cave, and sleep for several months. I don’t reckon there’s any point fighting that feeling – it makes sense to pay attention to the cycles of the year and adjust my behaviour accordingly.

But now it is August. We are more than halfway through the year and moving towards the end of winter. It is unseasonably mild – 17 degrees over the weekend – and there are buds and blossoms appearing everywhere we look. There have even been a few sleepy bees thudding around the garden, probably casting a judgmental eye on how little weeding we have done.

It’s almost time to come out of the cave. Continue reading

Nine

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And so, he is nine.

What a big year it has been. New teeth, new teacher, new school. New rules and expectations. Sad goodbyes, happy hellos, and a whole lot of laughter. If I had to choose a word to sum up eight-year-old DorkySon, I think it would be resilient.

The boy whose legs used to shake with nerves before assembly stood proudly on stage for the final concert at his small school by the sea: baseball cap on, shirt untucked, singing and dancing with his arms around his classmates.

The boy who used to be scared of water now loves it so much that if I forget to bring a towel and bathers to the beach he still insists on wading up to his shoulders fully clothed.

The boy who used to cross the street to avoid walking past a dog now follows me around the house, regaling me with ‘fascinating facts’ about Dalmatians.

This boy crashes his bike, brushes the dirt off his knees, and gets right back on again. Continue reading

2017: Finding my Voice

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2017, what a year.

A year when nuclear war suddenly became something imaginable; when it took video footage of a dying polar bear to get climate change back on the agenda; and when rickets returned to Tory-run Britain. It was the year when two days before Christmas I found DorkySon using his toy cars and Lego men to stage a reconstruction of a police SUV preventing a ‘terrorist vehicle’ from mowing down a crowd of pedestrians.

And, of course, it was the year of Trump. The year started with the self-confessed pussy grabber’s inauguration, and ended with his endorsement of Roy Moore. Between those two delightful bookends came an onslaught of revelations about public figures of every political stripe, along with a bundle of tone-deaf hot takes from Matt Damon that literally no-one needed to hear. Continue reading