Family Life Personal

This One’s For You, Michele

A check-in from a fellow blogger gets me thinking, and writing

Small world.

Well, my corner of it these days.

I was thinking about this as I took the photograph that you see below.

I took it from where the big cheerfully orange couch in our kitchen-dining room.

My kitchen world …

It actually captures so much of how my world is these days.

Lily was snuggled up against me for a while, but has slithered down and over to her water bowl and presently, skittered off.

In search of even greater comfort. Or to annoy Bella, who will most likely snarl half-heartedly at her and flounce off.

Upstairs, both my kids are school-Zooming, gaming, snap-chatting and generally living their closed in, closed off, yet hectic lives.

No radio on down here … tired of these heavy, grey discussions about Covid, hospitals, death and vaccine roll outs, and Brexit, and Trump, and all the stuff they’re giving out about in the media (and me along with them)  … talk as heavy and grey as the winter sky you can see in the photograph through the window on the left, and beyond the patio doors to the right.

Covid, death and dying in the big big world? There is no need to go into all that, as Derek Mahon put it in that gorgeous poem that captured Irish hearts early on during … which lockdown was it again, what level? …

It’s the small world I’m thinking about now.

My world …

From time to time I jot down lines in my head, big, big lines to capture the big, big picture …

But nothing worth committing to posterity: nothing to write home about, as we say.

My kids are too big, too complex, and too precious now to write comfortably about them … my wife is so lovely I don’t want to write anything about her here either.

So I’m looking around my kitchen dining-room and glazing out my window …

… I have to pause here now as my son is on a break and expects me to make lunch … he never says so directly, but lets me know in that that wonderful understated way of his … expectant, but also appreciative, and I resentfully love it. 

Besides, it won’t be forever …

And anyway, it gives me a chance to work a little on my spontaneity here …

So where was I … oh yes, just this morning, Michele Somerville, a blogger and benign spirit who follows my own blog, took the trouble to contact me. I hadn’t blogged in ages, and she wondered how I was. Said she missed my blog.

So sweet. So thoughtful. 

And it kind of sparked me up a bit, and these lines are the result, I guess.

It’s as tentative as that for me … writing or not writing.

Back to the photograph: in the left-hand corner, on the table you can see a finished mug of coffee — a pleasure and a necessity, and my sixty-zillionth since all this began, and beside it a wonderful book I have just finished, A Spool Of Blue Thread, by the great Anne Tyler. 

To talk about it at length would be too distracting here, so I’ll just say it’s the best of hers I have read. And that’s saying something.

And I’m also glowing in that lovely after-melancholy that hits me at the end of any great book, album, film or TV/Netflix series.

Hard to miss those splendid lilies right in the middle of the table in the photograph … put there by my lovely A, who adores flowers, especially lilies.

The fact they are there in the centre, is also so very A.

She loves nice things … clothes, jewellery, shoes, fresh sheets and duvet … and when she gets a new piece of jewellery, or a new outfit, or cool shoes, she does not save them for rainy days, or introduce them tentatively … she wears them up front, straight off, for all the world to see and admire. 

It’s not just about her, or for her, she just loves to share lovely things with me, with family, friends, the world. A proper extrovert.

The candle on the table is an A touch too … she is always buying them, and gifting them, and we’re all devotees now … even K puts on a lovely candle-show in her room.

She makes the world a brighter place, does my A … just look across at that cool mirror in the picture … with the coquettish green-jewelled eye, hanging in the corner. 

Deadly, isn’t it? It’s by one of A’s favourite dress-designers, Joanne Hynes. 

Through the big window, you can see our amazing bamboo copse …it’s like a mini-plantation now, it grows so voraciously and vigorously, and has to be hacked back regularly, but it sways so mesmerisingly in even the worst of weathers, and is an enduring joy.

The garden itself has been so much more than a refuge during all of this, and it was particularly gorgeous to look out on it during Christmas, with all the fantastic festive lights draping from the bamboo and the trees.

Our Christmas garden light-show

Already Christmas seems so long ago — isn’t that always the way?

A time to pause and to celebrate — if only our continued good health — but also a time to recall Christmases past, and the many good times in this same kitchen dining-room … people I have known, some who have sat at that table you see in the main photograph, and revelled and chatted here, who will not be returning …

The world outside this corner is vast, and volatile now.

But there’s no need to go into that …

Tomorrow we will be sitting at that same table for the 17th birthday of our daughter, lighting candles and celebrating again.

So, in ways, my world just this little corner, and the not so large bubble just beyond these walls where we walk and do our guarded business with masks on.

But in this private Tardis of my mind, there are no masks, no limits, and no pretences. For good or ill. But there is light, there is love, and there is a jewelled Joanne Hynes mirror in the corner.

Of my world. 

Small but immense.

Thanks for reading — try another one … sure, why not follow my blog!

Word of the Week linky

35 comments on “This One’s For You, Michele

  1. Enda, Your kitchen world and the festive lights look lovely. They’re really the bright spots day and night even though the outside world may not be so inviting atm. I want to let you know that I start hosting the Weekend Coffee Share blog link-up this year. It’s on every week, from Friday to Sunday. Everyone is welcome to join. Details on my blog. I hope you consider participating (this is my nudge to ask you to keep blogging :)) Michele told me she’ll be at my blog party this weekend. Why don’t you join us?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. michael morris

    Lovely, relaxing, soothing piece, Enda. Thank you for that. It brightened my day. C Michael

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve missed your posts too Enda, so happy to see a new one. I think your gentle look on family life, just as it is, is enough. Do keep blogging, tell us a story!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. i love anne tyler – yet never heard of this book of hers — i’m picking it up – thanks for the recommendation! and welcome back!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good to see you back again and to know that all is well in your world. I knew you were ok as you had hit ‘like’ on one of my recent posts, but I’ve missed your wonderful words. Don’t be a stranger, ok?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Enda, so touched and glad to see your post. I sat her saying, eloquent things, like ‘Oh my, oh wow and probably gosh.” Thank you for your kind words, thank you for writing. I love your descriptions and the careful way you respect the privacy of your family, especially at the tender ages of your kids now. I try to do the same blogging, although as a pastor, my family hasn’t fared as well. The kids are all grown, in their 40’s but spouses have a more difficult time not getting mentioned in sermons and my poor mom, who has not escaped sermons or blogging. See you this weekend Enda and I am glad others let you know you were missed. On Anne Tyler, I listened to it on audiobook a nd loved it. Michele

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi. Your corner is good. And when the pandemic is over, your world will expand and get even better.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Michelle, see what you started! I imagine writing sermons and blogging must have a lot in common, except one can choose to blog or not!

    Like

  9. Although I certainly cross over and freely share pastor type thoughts, my blog is intentionally memoir, with the understanding that I bring my whole self to the work and fun. Glad to have been a catalyst in a good work! Blessings, Michele

    Liked by 1 person

  10. ‘Already Christmas seems so long ago — isn’t that always the way?’ – I still seem to be on a high after Christmas. I’ve even refused to get rid of some of the Christmas cards. And I hear that some people still have their Christmas trees up until they get their jab. Not me, but Christmas 2020 is helping me through January.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for linking up to #wotw. I hope this has inspired you to continue writing a little more.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. So lovely to read your posts again. Long time, no see. What a wonderful insight into your home and your life. Happy birthday to your daughter. I hope she had a great day x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kim, it was a lovely, if strange birthday. She enjoyed it, and so did we. But it’s so tough on kids, especially, isn’t it?

      Like

  13. I love those flowers, very pretty. I really enjoyed reading about a corner of your world. Happy Birthday to your daughter.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Small world and big world all at once, thanks to all the extra detail we now note. Good to see you back. Happy birthday to your daughter. #wotw

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This is the first time I’ve visited your blog. It was your title that caused me to visit. I was intrigued. Michelle is a very kind soul.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Your ‘small but immense’ world sounds perfect. I am glad Michelle encouraged you to blog again. Otherwise, I might never have discovered your writing. She is indeed a kind soul. Thanks for dropping by Picture Retirement and for leaving a comment. We too live in a small but immense world.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hello Enda and thank goodness you’re here, meaning the weekend coffee share that you found your way to. We’ve been running a tad low on male voices and sometimes, we remaining soldiers just need the calm of a peer in the mix to feel balance and okay about our inner rowdy.

    I don’t think we’ve met. I’m an old timer with the coffee share (almost 3 years now) and long time want-to-be writer who frankly is afraid of the world of publishing. Blogging has been my release.

    But an editor, well, this could be intimating, but your insights and thoughts on writing these days must be interesting by fiat. With new options out there to “publish” your world must be fascinating but frustrating. News has lost so much respect. Literature must be hard to both find and market in the era of meme length attention spans, Right next to good stuff is dam of self-published Amazon manuscripts straining to not burst and flood us with sub-dollar/euro books leaving even fewer buyers willing to pony-up good money for good writing.
    Lord, how do you survive in such a market?

    Anyway, I’m anxious for you to begin sharing from your perspective (assuming you’re willing of course). Full disclosure: I’m something of a story teller, who likes the idea of publishing but really doesn’t see the economics making sense in my case. So I’m out there with my story blog making it even worse by producing things I hope someone will read for free.

    So, yes, I’ll leave you a sample link in case you’re up for what I think is a fun model for a story collection. They are all 2K words or less, first person-rowdy, humorous and autobiographical with no boring data dumps. At 2K words, I like to think this makes each a 10 minute read or less because I have a decent chance getting someone to invest 10 minutes in trying my work.

    Regardless of whether you visit my collection or not, I welcome you to our weekend get together and hope you’ll become a frequent attender. With hopes that you have a good and rowdy sense of humor, here’s a sample of what I do, hoping to find an audience. https://garyawilsonstories.wordpress.com/the-dark-cave-adventure/

    Good to meet you Enda.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Gary … don’t know how rowdy you think I might be … I’ll try not to sing out of tune, at least, and stay away from any fightin’ Irish antics! The world of publishing is far from my own thoughts, even if like all bloggers, I do it with a readership in mind. A lot less hassle, i would say, though! I promise I’ll check out your stuff. And thanks for the warm welcome

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Lovely and relatable writing. The beautiful flowers and Michele with one L grabbed my attention. 😄
    Enjoy your “small but immense world.”
    ~Michele

    Like

  19. Reading your post made me feel so relaxed but gave me so much to think about. Our worlds are so small at the moment and there is so much masty stuff going on out there #WotW

    Like

    • Hi Jane …. you are right, a lot of bad stuff right now, especially hard on kids, I guess. But good things there too. Thanks for reading and commenting, and stay safe

      Like

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