Crazy, stretchy hearts
and aggressively positive leggings.
This week, as part of her #OneDayMay month long, Instagram party-of-sorts, author and podcaster Laura Tremaine posed the prompt “My favourite place to be”.
For me, it’s wherever my people are. This means that, as children get older, my heart is getting used to being in different places at once.
I never imagined how that could be, and yet there it is.
Also, a part of my heart will always be in a small town in northern Italy where the shutters are deep, glossy green, the bars come alive with the clatter of espresso cups and animated conversation, and the Vespas buzz around the cobbled streets like the wasps they’re named after.
Crazy, stretchy things, hearts.
Sometime in the late 70s or early 80s, we went on a family holiday to Austria.
The highlight of the trip was a visit to Saltzburg, and a tour of The Sound Of Music’s most famous locations (I LOVED that denim dress. Can you tell?).
Whilst I always wanted to be Liesl, leaping across the gazebo benches with Rolf in a thunderstorm, to be honest, I related most to Maria: always late and getting side-eye from the nuns (the ones who didn’t get her). Never quite fitting in.
Thinking about it, it’s such a powerful story of belonging, identity and what it means to be family. And hope.
I remember my dad doing his best rendition of Climb Ev’ry Mountain, singing with gusto about following your dream, finding your path and fording streams. Today, I can’t listen to more than the first few lines without being undone.
“A dream that will need, all the love you can give.
Every day of your life, for as long as you live.
As the Mother Abbess said, never stop dreaming and loving.
I passed these beauties in the supermarket this week.
I went back for them, because THAT PINK.
Also, they’re the first peonies I’ve seen this year.
They’re still going strong, the buds now fully unfurled and the fuchsia is starting to fade to a sun-washed rose.
Later on that day, I wandered into our little garden to tidy up a bit—rescue a teenager’s abandoned t-shirt here, an empty coffee mug gathering rainwater there—and ended up replanting some hot pink geraniums I’d impulse-bought in Lidl last weekend, into a hanging basket.
I’m not, even slightly, green-fingered. But it felt so good to press their soft stems into the soil— trying not to damage the tangle of delicate roots—and to get dirt under my “laptop nails” doing it.
By total contrast, this morning I came hone from our small, high street beauty salon with glossy nails the same colour as the geraniums.
Usually, I just get my toes gel-polished (because it looks like a five year old has got stuck in when I do it myself). But my nails had become paper-thin, split and kept catching on everything.
That’s my excuse, and it’s been SO spirit-lifting.
Much like the “fake-it-’til-you-make-it” leggings that got me back into a gym this week, which could be described as “aggressively positive”.
I’ll leave the last word to my friend Janis, who commented: “Well, you’ll never get lost in those leggings”.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Love, Jen XXX
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