Sunday, June 15, 2014

THERE WILL ALWAYS BE AN ENGLAND



There is no singular event that can be as life changing as a holiday.  Blessed with the privilege of fulfilling a lifelong dream of my mother’s as well as catching up with two very dear friends we embarked on our journey.  It was all we had hoped for and more.  The gift of being able to take my 89 year old Mum’s picture in front of her mother’s ancestral home of well over a hundred years ago was priceless to my heart.  It stood proudly in the center of the village perfectly preserved and cared for all these years.  Even with her staunch English background, I could detect the emotion in her voice when our eyes finally rested on the name plate still set into the stone hedge after all these years. 

Yes it was a holiday I shall always remember.  We talked, we drove many a mile, had cream teas and fish and chips by the seaside.  I would spend the evenings catching up with my friends after Mum had gone to bed and we silly young things ate and drank and ate and drank.  Having such a penchant for good cheese and wine I took advantage of being able to acquire both easily through the grocery store.  It was quite a novelty for a Canadian who doesn’t have that ability.  Each day I managed to consume a good ration of cheeses I would never be able to afford in that quantity here in Canada washed down with a selection of wines. 

Upon arriving home and subsequently going through the un-packing etc. it occurred to me I had brought more of my holiday home than I realized.  I seemed to be sitting on a lot of cheese and wine! I was feeling tired and lazy and blaming it on the time change.  How long does it take to get over that anyway…two weeks…three weeks?  Where had this heartburn come from? Could it be the change of weather? Had I picked up a stomach ailment on the plane trip home? 

Of course I was only kidding myself.  My clothes were sending me messages I was choosing to ignore and my usual perky self was missing.  Finally as the “rubber hit the road” I dragged out my bathroom scale and gingerly stepped on.  Wowsa!!  My conscience could hear my lonely running shoes in the closet weeping from each little eyelet.  I knew the time had come.  I knew it was now or never.  I was on the slippery slope we all find ourselves standing on at one time or another.  Was it time to “rock and roll”, or time to sit down and ponder my next action over a glass of wine and a tasting of cheese?

I pulled open the closet door and there they sat… all pretty and purple.  They matched my iPod and my running jacket.  I had forgotten how snazzy they looked. Reluctantly I gave myself a push and after what seemed like hours I was ready to go out for my walk.  It looked like rain a little bit (well not really). 

I switched on my tunes and Highway to Hell was the first to pour itself into my waiting ears.  How appropriate!  Off I went, each song building on the last.  I could feel myself starting to get into the swing of things. Motivated by the rhythms my spirits lifted higher and higher pushing my feet to walk faster and faster. 

Ten kilometers later, my body felt invigorated, my sneakers were doing the happy dance and my cheese and wine addiction had faded being replaced the natural high of stepping away from that dangerous slope. 

The battle continues with each passing day.  The bathroom scales are no longer hidden in a cupboard.  I look forward to stepping on them and receiving the reward of watching the numbers go down each week.  There will always be an England and I love you dear England.  I shall return and no doubt indulge in all that you offer, however it’s also nice to know I can count on myself to “keep calm and carry on” when I return.



Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Butter Month

 February is a short month.  It plays host to holidays such as Family Day and Valentine’s Day but for me it is 28 days of sheer struggle.  It is cold and dreary and long.  I detest going outside.  Invitations to go on winter excursions only make me shiver and sneak yet another peek at summer pictures on my new calendar.  I am far happier being miserable in February.  How do you deal with the cold dull ache in your joints and the constant cravings for stodgy foods? The rumble of the snow plough thundering up and down the road was getting on my nerves.  The month of February saw me clearing the snow off my car every single morning.  My wipers were stuck up like alien antennae so as not to freeze to my windscreen.  The taps in the old farm house I call home dribbled annoyingly every night so the pipes wouldn't freeze.  The furnace had broken down and there were subzero nights I slept in my coat and boots hugging a hot water bottle awaiting a part.  How do you get through this short depressing month?  It’s simple...you eat butter! 

Butter month as I affectionately named it was something I stumbled upon unwittingly.  Struggling with maintaining a weight loss and endeavouring to lose the last of my poundage I was blindsided by an undeniable craving for BUTTER!! I was cold and tired and sick of salad.  I opened the cupboard and there it sat in its bowl all yellow and soft and salty and inviting.  No matter what I did for the rest of the evening my thoughts would come back to the sight of that dish full of butter.  I tried oh so hard to sway my thoughts in other directions but to no avail.  The next thing I knew there I was standing in front of the butter bowl at three in the morning.  Butter is such an available vice.  It just sits there calling softly to you from its bowl every time a winter chill shudders through your body.  I of course answered its call.  Night after night I would wake up and hear that butter calling...calling...like the Sirens who tried to lure Odysseus to the island of Anthemoessa.   At the end of the day I am thankful that February is the short month.  Unlike Odysseus I didn't have any wax to plug my ears nor magical music from the poet Orpheus to drown out the sound of that infernal butter. 

Today the sun is shining.  I have turned the calendar and the vibrant greens of a March scene grace my kitchen wall.  Thankfully those twenty eight days have gone for another year.  Farewell Butter Month.  Perhaps another year I will worship another beautiful yellow entity.  I think the warm glow of an island sunrise is in my cards