This too shall pass


I’ve had an unsettled week. After Doncaster on Wednesday, I went on to Manchester for the night and a tasty Chinese meal. Thursday began with an early walk with friend and her dog; then most of the day was spent with daughter and grandchildren. It was very odd to be back so soon when I don’t live there any more. I’ve been walking with dogs in that park for nearly twenty years and know the house where I stayed overnight almost as well as if it were my own. Everything felt overwhelmingly familiar; I felt like some sort of imposter and everyone was kind and lovely.

To London on Saturday for mum’s birthday party. It was good to catch up with family, my friends, my mum’s friends – much warmth and good conversation – but I come back feeling disconnected. A slight panic sets in that I will not recapture that sense of being home that I have had so strongly since we moved. Monday afternoon I manage, in my distraction, to give myself twice the insulin I needed, a massive dose; and the afternoon is lost in prolonged and disorientating hypoglycaemia.

Something warmer, more alive stirs in my chest when I walk through the churchyard and again, coming home with the dog, across a snowy field, with the church tower black against a sunset sky and a crescent moon hanging above.

I love these medieval buildings being part of the everyday landscape here, as they were in the landscape of my childhood. The presence of the distant past gives me a crazy sense of hope, wrests power from despair. I think that people have not changed that much; I think of how we are connected more than divided. There is peace too, a letting go, an expansiveness to be had from these reminders that life and other people were here before us and will be after, that we are neither the beginning nor the end.

Of trains, work and people


Over the past year I’ve been learning how to be a family mediator. Today is my first day back at my training placement since the move; so a new journey to work.

At 8 a.m. I was at Heckington station with the sun rising over the fens as I watched for the little train to arrive from Skegness, an hour away on the east coast. Now I’m writing this over a coffee at Grantham, waiting for a much posher train (East Coast Line, fast and pricey) to Doncaster.

I woke this morning feeling anxious. It’s an age since I did any mediating, or anything like work at all. But I opened my book on the train, looked down the index for something interesting to read (feelings, communication, questions, conflict…) and felt excited and pleased about sitting down to work with some real people again. It can be hard seeing how tough life and relationships are for so many of us, especially as times get harder; but still I get a buzz from encounters with people, seeing if, with a little help, they can work out something better for themselves and their children.

I love being on my own, out on my bike or walking, with empty fields stretching all around me and not a soul in sight. And since the move, this uplifting solitude is so near at hand, so everyday, so easy; not a struggle as it was in crowded Manchester. But other people are the stuff of life and I wouldn’t be without them all the time.

What’s the difference between solitude and isolation? Musing about this on the train; much more to explore another day.