I never could get my beef casserole to taste exactly like my mother-in-law Melanie’s version. My husband Todd declared her dish the tastiest, of course, and said he’d ask her for the recipe. My next two attempts still fell short of the mark.
“You tried your best,” he said with a kind smile. I seethed in silence.
When his sister Jane came to dinner and offered to help in the kitchen, I swallowed my pride. We’d always got on well so I asked her advice.
“I just can’t get it right,” I said.
Jane smiled. “You know what they say about your mum’s cooking.” …
That first winter in their new house, they pored over seed catalogues and vegetable garden blogs. She had long dreamed of growing her own food and he joined in with enthusiasm. Early the next spring, they donned boots and got their hands dirty. His stamina came in handy to double dig the new beds, and he built trellis and a small greenhouse where she nurtured her seedlings.
The days lengthened. She planted and dreamed of serried rows of preserve jars, like her grandma had in the old pantry. Each jar held jewelled treasures of garnet red beetroot, opalescent baby onions with satellites of red and black peppercorns, or jade green tomato chutney concealing an unexpected hit of spice. …
Inspired by your greatness, loyalty assured
I nailed my colours to your standard, marched
towards the promise of much better times.
Long days and many miles went by
foot sore and weary, always hopeful
for the new dawn.
You strode ahead, eyes fixed on far horizons
I followed willingly
but while I watched my step
mended my boots
tightened my belt
held the line
a sea change was afoot.
Now I raise my head and look around
so far from home, no map or compass
this unfamiliar place, soot-dark and grim
not where I should be
and though my feet still move
I seek a different path. …
It’s always been considered bad luck to make your own wedding dress. It implies a life of want if you can’t outsource such an important task, or maybe a life of never-ending work. That means a steady procession of happy brides-to-be in my bridal shop. These days I leave the actual stitching to my dedicated and skilful seamstresses. I prefer to interact with my customers and bask in their excited energy, spilled without any thought to the cost.
Being married isn’t essential in this business, but it definitely helps. My engagement ring is not just a symbol of love, it’s one and a half carats of trust. Brides love to buy their wedding dress from someone who understands their mindset after all. And the man who gave me his promise is six feet of wonderful who loves me dearly. …
She’s always there, staring out of her front window. When I herd my children into the car for the school run or come home late from work, her gaze follows me. I’ve learned not to look because her answering smile is borderline creepy.
Sometimes her constant scrutiny angers me. I want to scream obscenities, smash the window, drag her outside. I want to get right in her face and tell her to get a life that’s not mine. However, polite society frowns on that kind of behaviour, not to mention it’s a bad example for the kids. …
Off we go to the beach with our boy, enduring sighs and cries and stops for water and wee-wee shortly after and kicking the back of my seat and then we arrive, unload the car, careful with that and don’t forget the sunscreen, before trudging down the path down the steps round to the left, find a place among the rocks and did you remember his hat,
let’s set up here and wait, you need sunscreen and okay off you go but stay where I can see you, the sun nicely warm but it still can burn even through clouds, there’s a doggy but don’t touch he may not be friendly, glad you brought the chairs even though they’re a pain because I don’t fancy sitting on this sand, it gets…
Now that November’s half over, how is NaNoWriMo going for you? Are you basking in the glow of staying on track, are you falling behind, or are you sitting it out?
National Novel Writing Month, known as NaNoWriMo or NaNo for short, is an internet movement built on a simple premise: write a novel of at least 50,000 words during November. Writers of all kinds from all over the world attempt to write an average of 1667 words per day, every day. If you succeed, you get a winner’s badge, access to some cool prizes and discounts, and of course endless bragging rights. …
I’ve trained myself to illuminate the things in my personality that are likable and to hide and protect the things that are less likable.
Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, you’re a social creature.
You have to deal with other humans in groups or one-to-one whether you like it or not. You might be able to avoid parties and skip the small talk, but few of us live in total isolation from others.
When interacting with colleagues, employees, or new acquaintances in a group setting, you want to make a good impression and feel more comfortable with these relationships. …
Susannah loved autumn. Trees shifted from dull green to vibrant yellow and warm amber, before catching fire in a blaze of triumphant red. Traffic-stopping colours begged her to pause and marvel at the culmination of a season’s growth.
She’d done her part earlier by hanging codling moth traps, feeding, and carefully pruning. But the real work of growing belonged to the trees that produced a harvest with or without her help.
It seemed a pity to dissect this bounty. Still, slicing through the scarlet skin and crisp flesh revealed buried treasure. …