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Or spring cleaning. A synonym for…
I was baking Sally Frawley’s mandarin and raspberry cake for afternoon tea with Gavan and David and as I placed the cake in the oven, I noticed the oven was due for one of its twice-yearly cleanings.
It was spring – which meant the whole house needed the clean … the purge.
Thinking further, as it’s been such a difficult few weeks I wondered if I needed purging.
Not that kind of purge, but wardrobe, makeup, hair … attitude.
There’s a history to spring-cleaning, dating back some 3000 years. We welcome the new dawn, creating good fortune.
It seems perfect for our family currently, so I will dust every part of the house, those devilish corners of the skirting boards and windowsills. I will steamclean the carpets, use our aged polisher to put a satin gloss on the oak floorboards. I will empty the fridge, wash it out and throw out anything that is dated. I will do the same to the pantry and the big freezer. I will clean the blinds, open windows, let in fresh air and sunshine.
Metaphor for life – open my own windows, breathe in the fresh new air!
In the spirit of the springclean, I go to the hairdresser’s, have a deep clean and condition, decide to have a whiter stripe put through my already whiteish hair and then chicken out. I have a trim with a bit of a fringe cut – it’s the closest I get to a purging of my look.
I sort out my chest of drawers and wardrobe and put aside bags of clothing for the charities. I plan a new look for myself but know it won’t eventuate. At my age, continuity and lack of change are comforting and to be truthful, I hate shopping and refuse to follow fashion for fashion’s sake. It’s unimportant fairy floss! And it makes landfill anyway. Why would you? At least I know my charity bags will go where they are needed. Oh see? I’m off on a rant.
Therefore, most importantly, how to spring clean the mind?
That’s more difficult. I have a shadow of bitterness lurking. Anger. And then a surge of an attempt at pure heartedness. It’s a mess.
So I opt to meditate for longer.
There’s no purging in meditation – there’s quiet breath and acceptance; the same thoughts still float in, but in the spirit of spring clean, I allow them to float through unchallenged, not letting them settle to make ugly dust bunnies to clog up the vacuum cleaner.
It’s a process…
Kindle: as per. Benet Brandreth from last week.
Audio: I’m so devastated that I’m at the end of The Bookbinder of Jericho from Pip Williams. A wonderful book – wish I could write like Williams. Have no idea what I might listen to next.
Husband and self have been so tired after the last weeks, that we switched the TV off, switched Spotify on and listened to selections by Don Burrows and Cary Lewincamp whilst he reads and I stitch. So very Jane Austen.
But he has been getting up at daybreak to check the lambing ewes, in order to be home in time to begin his consultancy work in office hours. The lambs continue to drop as though someone has turned on a tap – a stream of bubbly white Lux flakes flowing across the paddocks. Today, I watch the lambs lying together in snowy groups, their little heads lifted to the warmth of the sun.
I spend time with Floating Studio, discussing the last little bits of the cover for The Red Thread. These days, many books from publishing houses look generic. There is a sameness – stock images with standard fonts. My book has a superb font that links it to the original fantasy quartet and which will be the linking feature to the next two books in this trilogy. The stark simplicity and texture of the cover hopefully hint at drama and danger.
I’m happy with the design.
I felt relaxed at ballet this week, a good sign that the stress of previous weeks is easing (or I’m getting used to it), and I was quietly content that I’m remembering almost our whole Spanish Dance. Really touching was when we did our routine Port de Bras exercise and our ballet teacher was so overcome at our connectivity and fluidity that she had a cry. Happy tears; besides, she’s a brilliant teacher.
I wander the garden. Everything is bursting with energy, fragrance and promise. I want my home to feel the same – to glisten, to sparkle, to shimmer. Golly gosh, I want me to shimmer as well!
It rained in the wee small hours and as the sun struggles to shine through the mist and seafog, the red branches of the Japanese Maples (Aka Kawa Hime) are strung with diamonds. So too the ancient and knotted silver birch tree. The jewels hang suspended. On the lawns, there is a carpet of Swarovski crystals. It’s glittering more than I ever could, even at my most shimmery.
I’m at the coast on my own. My husband will arrive back later today after business in the city. I worked late last night and woke late this morning. THAT’S the kind of purge I need. The dropping of the defences, the deep, rib-cracking sigh, the stretch that pulls the kinks from the body and the daydreaming as I stare down to the bay where at 9 AM, it’s millpond calm.
As ever, Rebecca Holden
It was Elizabeth who gave me inspiration for the purge as she spoke about her fascination with a vacuum cleaner.
because I’m very much a picnicky kind of gal, and how intimately she writes of picnics!
Lady Jo with her Glitter List
which prompted me to purge my old list and re-do, and I now have my very own Shimmer List which I shall print off and pin to the inside of my wardrobe door. There’s a lot pinned to my wardrobe door. Affirmations and validations because even at 72, there’s no reason to stop trying.
And so we reach the end. I can no longer delay the Great Spring Clean. With that in mind I need to choose a song, don’t I?