Fluid and elastic time

Time is playing tricks with me.  Sometimes, most times if I am honest, my life is the classic plate spinning exercise, running from house and family to holiday cottage to job to garden to friends and wider family, tweaking a plate here, leaping up as one threatens to crash to the ground.  Sometimes I like it like that, sometimes it starts to overwhelm me but always it feels normal.  So why do I suddenly feel to have all the time in the world?

I think it began when I got back from Devon.  Somehow I had slowed down for the sake of a few days away looking at gardens.  You couldn’t say it was an obvious chill out.  I had driven over seven hundred miles for one thing.  But I arrived home feeling like someone with a bit of time on their hands and here at the end of the first week back I am still wafting about serenely.

This is totally irrational.  This week has been full of the chaos which results from the kitchen ceiling being on the kitchen floor and the contents of the kitchen being on the kitchen table.  See previous blogs for photographic evidence.  I have knocked tiles off walls and picked dust out of my hair.  I have worked on two days and spent most of today cleaning the cottage ready for this afternoon’s visitors.  There is just as much weeding as ever.  I went to yoga and to singing practice for the Eisteddfod and I had my hair cut.  Objectively it has been a busy week.  I have not been swinging gently in a hammock, a good book in my hand and a glass of Pimms on the grass.  I have not been idling along a shell strewn beach with flowers in my hair.  And yet I feel calm and relaxed and seem to have found time to cut sweetpeas for the house and make scones and water and feed my dahlias.  I have sown some seeds and potted on my penstemon cuttings and eaten ripe strawberries standing in the strawberry bed in the sun.

And now I think I will wander upstairs and paint my toenails.  Winter and cold will come soon enough and surely at some point the tide of stuff will overwhelm me again but for now let us make hay while the sun shines.  Let’s not ask why I am feeling the sun on my face.  Let’s just turn in the warmth, cat like, and purr.


  1. That sounds lovely - enjoy the sweetpeas and the peace.

  2. Great to hear that you are feeling like that. As you say, the sun always helps.

    Here, in a new Zealand winter it has been miserable. I have had to put my husband into care for ten days as my health was suffering. Although he accepted it quite willingly I still feel guilty about it.

    I am enjoying the break and looking forward to more as I know I must have them. I am also looking forward to summer.

    It is good that you are feeling calm especially with your kitchen in such chaos but it will be marvellous when it is finished.

    Perhaps I will return to my roots on the Shropshire border one day and visit you.

  3. Maybe you could lead some national movement, Elizabeth. Suppose at one moment we all burned our 'to-do' lists? Would we then all have time?
    But would we all have forgotten what it was we wanted to do with it. I am horribly obsessed with my to-do list, which I write out each day anew and sometimes it seems that my greatest pleasure in the day is crossing the items out with a heavy pencil. It's a wonder I don't put 'eat' on my list, though sometimes I do put 'walk' and 'garden.' Yet no list, no memory. I would revert to how I was in my teens and twenties and the mercy of every whim that sought to sabotage my time. Only one person can prise me away from my to-do list. And that is Theo, because he is all demanding. Everything fdes down into a great insignificance when he wants to play football or needs his nappy changing. A day's delay? Who cares? Today he wanted to take me to the Bouncy Castle - telling me to 'come too.' Ah, no. Maybe next week then. But I shall have another play to put on and because his Mum is away I shall be looking after him and he and I are going to be directing. Very grown up. Still he's good at sticking out his arm and giving orders. Bless.

  4. Beautifully written and I love it when time seems to work with, rather than against, the flow of life, without apparent constraints. I find sometimes, that eing focused on the little things in between the plate spinning helps to make everything feel more serene.

    I adore sweet peas too - I pick them daily in my Summer garden and they always make me smile and time stop momentarily.

  5. As so often happens, you've written something that mirrors my life so accurately that it's a bit scary.
    Just yesterday I was wishing for a day that had only one out-of-the-ordinary thing to do. Only one big meeting or one dinner out or one trip to the airport. Just for one day I'd like to be a person who gets up in the morning and gets dressed with only one sort of activity in mind.

  6. I just read this over and over, savoring every word. I am not working now, in a new city without too many demands on my time, and yet I still feel like there are not enough hours in the day. Looking forward to a time when my time is 'fluid and elastic' again...

  7. I love the way you write, Elizabeth. Your week sounds blissfully hectic: the stressful hair pulling moments intermingled with cleverly found times of cake baking and self nurturing.

    This is the kind of post which reassures me and makes me feel happy to be alive.

    I love the GlOrIoUs meddley of hollyhocks and such in your header. Stunning.

  8. Wow, we too recently left our city-life including "important" jobs to come to north wales and i can honestly say that time has puzzled and delighted me in the way you describe, pretty much every week!

  9. Attagirl.
    Make the most of it, the daily grind will soon make itself felt in your bones again. It's not as if serenity were available on one of those plates you're juggling; serenity is what comes when you let the plates drop and don't care.

    Anyway, that's my excuse.

  10. sweet peas + peace = sweetpeace

    Enjoy it!


  11. Like the idea of turning one's face to the sun and purring - that is just my sort of activity.

  12. I am so glad that you are feeling so Zen about life - it is the best way to be, and what I am always striving for, but so often not achieving!

    Pomona x

  13. It's lovely when this blissful serenity permeates everything in and around us and all that we do. Definitely, let's bask in the sun and purr. It's a gift, enjoy it!

    Visiting here is also enjoyable, and I really like your latest header and design, visual person that I am. I'm looking forward to seeing your new kitchen as it develops.

    I visit here more than I comment; just thought I'd stop lurking for once and acknowledge I've stopped by. Now I'm off to bask and purr for a while!

  14. a flask of wine, a book of verse and though beside me sitting in the wilderness...

  15. I love it when that happens in the busyness of life; that you are somehow able to be still and yet feel really alive in the middle of it all. Being mindful, whether life is calm, going where you would want it to go or when it is challenging. I came home after a weekend in the chaos that is A&E in a busy hospital to some lovely food cooked by family and eaten in the sunshine, a bit of weeding, a bit of digging, some harvesting of veg, and I read your piece and acknowledged that life was for savouring and living. Thank you

  16. Elephant's Eye - another lovely day today. Zen weeding!
    Susan Heather - so sorry things have been difficult for you. Summer will help I hope.

  17. Fennie - love the idea of my leading a national movement although at the moment I might be too laid back to lead anything. Might have to borrow Theo for his directing arm!
    Sarah - it is undoubtedly something to do with the oft repeated idea of living in the moment but it is surprising to find that it can happen of itself, after so many years of trying to do it.

  18. Oh Pondside I do know so exactly what you mean. Hoping you can get some sunshine and serenity of your own soon.
    Caroline - what a lovely thing to say. Thank you.

  19. Love the photo - colour and warmth.Its warm and misty here.Enjoy the languor.

  20. I'm sure, Elizabeth, it must be the result of the gardens you visited. I am at my most relaxed in those surroundings, immersed in the simple beauties of nature. Love you header photo, too. Beautiful, and full of sunshine and summer.

    Occasionally I am surrounded by choas yet feel calm and relaxed. However, that is not where I am at the moment. I don't think I have been so stressed out for a long time. The last few months have been just too intense, too demanding, too tyring with not time to relax and do anything for myself. I knew it was bad the other day when even going out in the garden didn't relax me and now I keep waking in the middle of the night, my mind buzzing.

    I would give anything for sunshine and time. I have left weeks of the usual cloud and rain in Buxton and come to France where, after months of hot sunshine, the weather is actually WORSE than Buxton. I really do give up.

    I am so pleased you are having your 'moment in time'. Much deserved and continue to relish it while you can :-).

  21. Sounds as if that holiday in Devon was the prefect pick me up - must have been all that rain and garden visiting. Long may your state of energetic suspended animation continue Elizabeth. Enjoy xxx

  22. I am purring imagining your warm sun and LOVING your new header photo. We have had a cool, wet spring and summer. Nothing edible will grow except the raspberries, and we had so many of them I ate until my insides hurt! I'm glad to hear you entered oneness with time, or whatever it was that happened to help you feel slow and expansive. How lovely.

  23. What colour DID you paint your toenails??

  24. Millefeuilles - thank you. It is odd how these times of "good to be alive" just hit sometimes. Seize the day.
    Anna - thanks for visiting. I went to look at your blog but for some reason couldn't comment. Will have another go!
    Friko - was a great weekend. I love your image of serenity not being a plate for juggling. Great.

  25. Marcheline - thank you and hope for some sweet peace for you too.
    Weaver - more sun here today but rather more working and sweating than purring!
    Pomona - I am just the same: striving for serenity may be a contradiction in terms though. That could be why I don't usually get there.

  26. Sara - so glad you commented. All readers and lurkers are very welcome but it good to have the chance for a conversation once in a while.
    Mary - I think I manage all those all not quite sure whether here counts as wilderness. It certainly counts as green!
    Liz - being mindful is the phrase for it. It's quite rare that it just seems to happen though!

  27. Linda - I think I worked too hard for langour today. Must try harder to do less!
    Carah - now that is simply not fair if you have rain in France while we have sun here. Hope that has changed now and you are getting some of your own purring time.
    Anna - not sure what it was, maybe the company!

  28. Frith - oneness with time, what a perfect phrase. I think that was it and it has gone now although what it leaves in its wake is good.
    Jan - purple, I painted my toenails purple.

  29. I think when we move with the rhythm of our life, calm flows. Tension and anxiety arises not from busyness, but from living against one's nature.
    I think you've found your mojo!


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