small glories, recollected:
+ Apples hand-picked from the troupe of trees in the garden, ferried to the office and bestowed upon favoured colleagues.
+ Rhubarb, too (whiskery, we joke, for it sprouts from the same patch where our sweet cats lie resting for eternity), baked into pies and cakes, stewed to top porridge, stirred into compote and chutney, and frozen for my parents to enjoy when they return for Christmas.
+ Lunch breaks, bittersweet in their brevity, spent scribbling in my mint-green journal on Temple Rooftop.
+ The amber light of early autumn dawns, runny like honey, precious as gold.
+ The comforting familiarity of the Met Line (and jumping on the semi-fast trains when running late, always a stroke of luck!)
+ Friday night visits with my paternal grandparents, knitting by the window, gazing out at the branches swaying in the wind.
+ Pumpkin, carted home the short trip from the greengrocer’s on the corner, and roasted in olive oil, salt, and cumin.
+ One pot suppers, and new friends to share them with.
+ Falling headfirst into good books (of the sort that compels one to stay up late to read): in particular, the new Maggie O’Farrell memoir, Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens.
+ That patch of clouded sky, Thursday morning, mine to savour from the tube window, sudden salvation among bodies smashed against mine, and then the sublime joy of a swift soaring overhead – the tube’s inadvertent pacesetter.
+ New life, new parenthood, glimpsed up close – oh, what a debt we owe our mothers, fathers, villages (and how grateful I was to be reminded of that).
+ Evening walks, just as twilight’s blue steals across the sky.
+ Trees gilding from the top down, the icing on the autumnal cake.
+ Blackberry crepes for breakfast, one Sunday, which he cooked and flipped just for me (despite his contempt for any and all things pancake-shaped).
+ Cantucci from Italy and cups of peppermint tea.
+ Als Hitler das rosa Kaninchen stahl, and reading novels auf Deutsch on the tube. It feels just like coming home.
+ A bunch of faded eucalyptus (what a word, eucalyptus, that ‘l’ curled against the ‘p’, say it and savour it) salvaged from Friday’s photoshoot, carted home on three tube lines, its menthol scent clinging to my hair, now adorning our kitchen table (Christmas come early).
+ Early bedtimes and Call The Midwife under the covers (!)
+ Bubble ‘n’ squeak for tea at Grandma’s (twenty years on, still just as delicious).
+ The generosity of spirit I’ve experienced firsthand since announcing my plans to leave my job and to shift the focus of my career, to take time out to travel, to answer my mind’s desire for variety and agility. I have been touched by the multitude of well wishers, and kind words, and thoughtful notes from close and far. I’ve felt buoyed, grateful, and beyond energised for the plans (and dreams!) that await me. For the first time in what feels like many years, I am looking forward with true, unbridled excitement.