Tag Archives: age

Lists, old and new

I have been quiet, shedding layers of time and memory and feeling rather retrospective. Memory is on my mind. Perhaps it is because we are touching the cusp of a big 20 year anniversary: 20 years ago this week Handsome and I started our journey together in Egypt. It started in Dahab, took a long bus journey to Cairo followed by an 18 hour train trip to Aswan and then onto a Feluca ( sail boat ride on the Nile.) Many planes, trains, automobiles, donkeys, snow sleds, jeeps and rickshaws later and here we are in a funny circle: back to the Arabian Sands. I was 22 and had no idea where my life would take me but we shared a love of adventure and we both embraced the new. If we were to write a bucket list back then it would have included a lot of travel, children, exciting jobs ( his an intrepid journalist and mine a writer and a drama therapist) a sejour in Italy, a parachute or two and some rather romantic notions. Well things often work out differently once life throws you a hoop or two and 20 years later we have done many things not even dreamed up on a bucket list and made a few new lists too.

I once had the good fortune to teach a highly talented girl, hungry for life and on the brink of many a success. She writes a lovely blog and recently wrote her bucket list. These are the dreams of a 19 year old girl, a young lady of fortune, talent and opportunity. Reading this list I was transported back in time to my own eyes-wide-open -with-wonder moments and I remember when I was 19 I longed for a magic crystal ball to tell me what my future would be and if it would all be okay. In the end it all turns out…as it does, whether we tick off our list or make new ones.

Here then is her list. I am awed by her choices, her dreams and the charm of her wishes.  Can you remember yours? Is it very different now?


  1. Go to Venice- not only for Carnivale ( which is a must!) but to learn, to be inspired and to write.
  2. See the Northern Lights
  3. Go to Australia
  4. Decorate my very own apartment
  5. Celebrate each Carnival around the world
  6. Ride the Orient Express train through Europe
  7. Publish a best selling novel 😉
  8. Live in an apartment with my sister
  9. Get my British Citizenship
  10. Become fluent in a second language and then become fluent in a third language
  11. Learn how to play an instrument
  12. Meet my favourite author
  13. Create one work of art of which I am proud
  14. Do a night dive and a wreck dive
  15. Travel in Space
  16. Make a profit at a casino
  17. Sleep under the stars ( ignore the mosquitoes, the discomfort and all the monsters obviously hiding in the shadows.)
  18. Go on a road trip
  19. See my favourite musician perform live
  20. Found a charitable organization
  21. Travel to Antarctica and see the penguins
  22. Sponsor an endangered animal and travel to wherever it is in the world to meet it
  23. Sing Karaoke in front of a crowd and not be ashamed
  24. Make a positive difference; in one person’s life, in many people’s lives, in a town or a country or the world
  25. Be remembered for something great

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Epiphany on a beach

There are a lot of things I have trouble accepting. There are a lot of reasons that I sometimes get angry. It is called baggage everyone has it, some more some less; basically you can either carry it and complain or leave it behind.


I have gripes. I live in the sun and love my job but I have my own things I need to make peace with .


1.I will never have loads of money. My financial projections were all wrong. Now I am trying to make that okay in my head. I have a theory that richer people have more heart disease because they are stressed from all that hard work and worry about getting the latest bag and keeping track of all the cash. I, on the other hand just need a bit more money and I’ll have a healthy heart.

2.I will never have very long thin shapely legs,with gorgeous calves and delicate ankles. Not much to be happy about there. Not sure I can love my body but can probably learn to like it, a bit.

3. Elements of my childhood that I have to shrug off. Like a fluffy dandelian I just need to count and blow. Or turn it into fluff.

4.I have certain tendencies to be bossy and controlling towards the gentle and handsome man I live with. I need to accept him exactly the way he is. It is interesting that a lot of strong and bossy women try to change aspects of their husbands, some even to the point of divorce. Eventually, and for most women this is after the kids leave home, she has a choice. Stay or go. (Sometimes the husband shocks her by being the one to turn round and leave). Wouldn’t it be great to start accepting the husband earlier and just enjoy the ride?


So there it is. Money/Body/Man.


The point I am trying to make is really a question. Does acceptance come with age? (Not for everyone, mind you, some stay poor fat and bitchy), but there are those who make peace with it all and are much happier.


So this is my big epiphany: 


Happiness simply comes from not being mad anymore.

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A memory in the sun

October 11th was the birthday of a person who changed my life.  We are no longer in regular contact but we still know where we are, we are still aware of the outline of each other’s lives. I met her on her birthday, October 11th 1989. We were sitting at the Bloomsbury theatre café at University College London and it was the start of an amazing friendship. When we graduated we decided to travel together for 6 months and spent many long nights pouring over maps and books planning our adventures. We set off for Egypt together on the 16th of January 1992 and spent the next 6 months travelling through Egypt, Israel, India, Bangkok and the States. She was with me when I met my husband on a beach in Dahab. In fact it was her who spotted and liked him first. It is a testament to our friendship that she forgave me and even came to our wedding.

We endured India together through the glory and the filth. We read books and talked about them endlessly. We sheltered from the heat in book shops and fancy hotels, sipping iced coffees in a haven high above the streets.  We shared tiny rooms together and made the famous deal: Cockroaches we leave in the morning, Rats we leave tonight. We tried as much spicy food as possible, she won and I got sick, we explored Bangkok, met travelers, survived 19 hour bus journeys and walks through villages in the pitch dark.

Our friendship was forged long before the trip. We wrote countless essays together, studied for finals, explored all the museums of London. Once we saw a film, “The Comfort Of Strangers” that we loved so much that we immediately walked from the Cinema to a book shop, bought the book and sat in a pub all night reading the books ‘till they were finished.  We discovered Ingmar Bergman  and Truffault, Surrealist film and beautiful photography. Together we experienced London in a way I have never been able to since. We talked and drank red wine all night, tried on hundreds of pairs of jeans, and ate tons of pasta. We obsessed about men and our future.

Now she lives in Paris with her daughter, who is 6 months older than mine. When she called to tell me she was pregnant and we talked names, it turns out we had both picked the same name. Since her daughter was born first she kept the name and we found the perfect name for our little girl. She and I have not seen each other for nearly 8 years but we talk once a year and I know that we live in each other’s hearts.

She was 40 last Saturday and I can’t believe 19 years have passed since that day we met. I can’t believe I can even say that I met someone 19 years ago when I still feel like I am the young girl in that café a life time ago. Since that day I have got married, had two children, returned to school, become a photographer and teacher, and lived in France, Winnipeg, Montreal and Trinidad. Our lives that intersected at such a crucial moment have taken different tangents. When I think of her I see a glow of sunshine shining through a maze of blond hair, perfect legs walking up the steps ahead of me, the cigarette in her hand, the strawberries on the beach.

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39 things

Since I will be turning 40 in 6 months I think it is time to prepare for the despair, the bucket of tears, the leap off the cliff, with a list that I believe defines me.


1. I am 1/4 Czech 

2. I am obsessed with scrabble

3. I detest video games

4. When I was 12 I was obsessed with Napoleon

5. I went to boarding school for 5 years

6. My first album was Elton John’s Greatest Hits

7. I lost my virginity with a boy whom I had loved since I was 6

8.I always count on my fingers

9.I failed Math at school, miserably

10.My friends describe me as bossy but say that they don’t mind

11.I have cried watching TV ads

12.My daughters are named after characters in books

13.I had two cesareans so I feel like a virgin

14.I always have painted toenails

15.I have lived in South Africa, England, Hong Kong, Japan, New York, France, Canada and Trinidad 

16.I love sleeping with my dog

17.I worship jewelry and shoes

18.The first time I got drunk it was on Martini Cinzano. I was 14

19.I met my husband on a beach in Eygpt

20.Sushi and Toblerone anytime, anywhere

21.I love my friends as much as my family, sometimes more

22.I believe that birthdays are an excuse for absolute decadence

23.The only disadvantage to having children is that I can’t see as many movies

24.I hate exercise

25.I love the country but I’m not sure I can handle living there

26.I have never potted a plant

27.My worst phobia is worms

28.I am a sucker for a good hotel

29.Italy and India are my favorite countries

30.My soul is best when it is looking at water

31.I hate cats and birds

32.Art is my passion

33.I am a photographer and have been since I was 8

34.I have been in therapy. Many times

35.I don’t want to be 40 but I want to live ‘till 100

36.I want Goodbye Yellow Brick Road to be played at my funeral

37.I am terrified of death

38.I have no tolerance for pain

39.I have one sister and two fathers


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