Monday, 16 May 2016


We are being spoiled . We wake to the sun pouring through the windows. I put on a wash, knowing that it will dry outside. We eat outdoors - coffee in the morning, lunch in the garden, the smell of woodsmoke from the barbecue wafting in through open doors at supper time. Last night I washed a tired boy's dusty feet before folding him in under his duvet to sleep while the sun was still shining at half past eight in the evening. I often think about my children's childhood. Will they remember sunlit days, the swing under the branches of the sycamore tree, picnics and reading on the grass, camping and the musty smell of tents, homemade cakes and warm early morning sleepy hugs. Oh, I hope they do. Whatever they remember, I hope they feel that their childhood was full of love.

I've just finished My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout, which is essentially about the love between a mother and daughter. It's a story told about poverty, the grinding endlessness of having nothing, coming from nothing and all the pain that it brings. But it's the emotional poverty that really hurts. A mother who cannot bring herself to tell her daughter she loves her. A daughter so glad to spend time with her mother that it doesn't matter what her mother says, so long as she can hear her voice. It's written in a deceptively simple style and yet it cuts to the bone: human relationships can be tricky things, but no matter what your childhood or your upbringing was like you must sing your own song, write your own story.

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