White Noise

Weeks go by with a faintly static silence.

The ordinary crackles on and I am pushing a shopping trolley,
being a parent taxi,
supervising the Sprogs in the pool,
fixing them dinner,
and trying not to pass out on a Pilates mat
while a toned Thai instructor turns herself inside out with gentle ease.

There are Pooh bear puzzles on the floor,
trash that needs emptying
and a dog that needs walks, feeding and scolding.
The sprogs' hair is tacky, their hands and faces sticky.
Crayola Window markers adorn the french doors with underwater themes.
The sewing room is scattered with pins and tiny threads.
There is Parmesan cheese on the floor of the oven.

You know. Normal stuff.

Little mosaics of ordinary that consume and dictate the hours
and how my head and hands fill them.

And somewhere, I think bloggy thoughts that fall and rise like the stock market,
but are hushed under a blanket of interference.

I travel in the car to get the kids from school,
sometimes pressing the radio tuning buttons in quick succession
in the hopes of stumbling across a sound I might recognise.
But instead, Indonesian tumbles into Malay, Mandarin into Hindi.
The sitar bounces off the gong which rolls into Japanese technopop.

It is vibrant and completely foreign to me.

I lean towards a nest of predictability.

Missing pruning my daphne and white roses.
Cooking crockpot lamb while its cold outside or
picking a bunch of my own fresh mint
from a pot under the dripping garden tap.
I miss the smell of sunshine on my washing.

And then I whack the back of a pomegranate
with all the frustrations I carry of just being me.

The ruby seeds fly out and I stand paralyzed,
amazed and wide eyed at their audacious light
against the milky feta on my salad.

I pick up the girls from ballet,
and am mute when I see poetry in their bone structure
as they walk towards me,

When reaching for ingredients in the pantry,
I am utterly sidetracked by the pattern on the poppadom packet.

It is a strange and peculiar turning,
but I am trying to tune in
and tell the yearning for predictability
that it is just a layer of me,
not the whole.

I can hear uncertainty in the way my old habits
try to order the new, young ones into line.
The way to do things is not going unchallenged.
My dislikes are being dangled out for a re-think.

Are you sure, my questioning creative asks,
that you don't like blue and orange together?

Are You Sure?

For some reason this becomes crucial to answer.
I flash back uncomfortably to not having a security blanket
while away from home and having to borrow
a flannel baby wrap to sleep with when I was 9.
It was pilled and coarse and smelled of carbolic soap.
It was also blue and orange paisley.
A wave of homesickness bleakly rushed into the colours and ruined them.
After that those colours together made me feel ill.

I am now in my mid thirties and I am suffering a colour crush.
I dawdle helplessly,
dizzy with the love of a coral wall or a teal leather book,
the ruffles of a jungle leaf and
I poke at the chickpeas in my curry
peering at them changing from mustard to aubergine.

My grown up matronly voice is bewildered and falters.

The creative voice speaks clearer and is more demanding.

Says, remember those glass bangles in teal and gold
when you were 9, a gift from India?
They all broke didn't they?
But their chime and hue made a part of who you are.

Those glass turquoise tiles from Paradise Island
that you pressed into the mud to make tiny villages?
Childhood play made adult thoughts.

Remember reading the works of Amy Carmichael
all those years ago?
How you wished for a sari?

Those colours were there all along,
just hidden under the layers
of who you chose to be.

Ah, so perhaps this radio station is not so unfamiliar after all.

It was just tuned out
under a blanket of muffling white,
to ensure the dyes of the past
did not stain the safety of the future.


Mad dogs & Mondays

In the interest of being frank,
transparent and assure you that
I do not literally live in a snow-globe of
fairy dust in the tropics,
I thought I might just report a few of the
happenings of the last 24 hours.
We are a normal chaotic family.

As I type this, M3 is watching cartoons
while licking icing sugar from the lid of the shaker,
which she nicked from the kitchen.

The dog has eaten a new pair of shoes,
yet to be worn and awaiting the growth
of a little foot.
B-r-a-n-d new.

She also had a chat with her friend Lucy in NZ.


We have run out of milk
and the bread has sprouted green spots.

The construction work outside our living room
is piercing, a shrieking machine and hammers going.
Sawdust coats our floors.
Soon all will be revealed. :)

M3 stomped a dinnerplate size lump of
peacock blue playdough into an oatmeal toned rug.

M1 cut her finger while opening a can.

Ants have invaded the house,
every room.
They can keep the geckos company.

Someone has tipped nail polish down the loo.
Another loo has jelly beans resting in it, and dead ants.
I know. Don't ask.

The kitchen floor is an olive oil slick.
Again, best not to ask.


I am brewing a bit of a change,
so keep an eye on this space.

In the meantime,
fall laughing into your Monday Madness.

It will get better.
In the immortal words of Strawberry Shortcake,
It's never silly to believe.
I hope you find something to giggle at today.


Shaking the Globe

For me, the last few months have been like falling unexpectedly in love.

I knelt with a dear one,

caught sun flare over a barley field,
felt rounded cobblestones under my converse soles
that have been there 'since God was a lad'
as my MIL would say;

caught up on friendships that have stood still
- paused -
for over a decade, and some nearly double that.

I lurched forwards into feeling again after a long time of


But one sunny evening as I walked alone down a street in Chelsea
I knew something was about to unfold.
I stood outside a flower-shop,
bending to breathe the air above an ironstone jug
of sweet-peas and suddenly,
a snow-globe was shaking inside me,
filled with the peculiar and fascinating glitter
that dreams make when they stir.

There is a bizarre intersection
of faith and reality
that I am really mesmerized by this week.

It is the unexplained, traumatic and less than golden moments
that are being unwrapped in lives all around me

despite of and in the midst of
inspiration that abounds -
the contrast catches my breath away
as I contemplate the mis-match of gloom and joy.

I shake my dream-globe carefully,
lest I am tempted to fall out of love with life again.

'Keep feeling', I say to me.
'Be a witness to pain
but let not dreams be quenched by it.'

For unless you shake a snow globe
you will see no sparkle.

If your world is being shaken this week,
I pray you see the light lurking
behind the shadows.




Singapore is unrelenting in its equatorial heat.

This calls for a regular dose of an endless summer prescription:

a close ex-pat circle of friends (the mummy below blogs here)

a black and white house belonging to one of our group

children and babies in various states of undress

a cranking bbq

Cooled off kids

Successfully treated and rehydrated
with easy companionship and laughter over lime sodas.

PS. Please don't forget about Virginia.

I have been so touched by those of you who have given cash and donated online.
But we urgently need more.


Can you see Virginia?

Are you reading this curled up comfortably?

Hot cup of coffee or earl grey in hand?

Or are you busy checking emails and FB at a desk
between appointments?

Or are you a mum planning the week's menu?
Thinking hmmm, maybe spinach and feta lasagne this week,
or lamb chops and mashed sweet potatoes
mini pizzas with chicken and brie and plum sauce
or pumpkin soup and toasted cheese,
fun pasta shapes and cheese sauce.

Working out the kid's routines?
Jazz, ballet, drama, swimming, soccer,
school interviews, playdates, birthday presents, babysitters,
making a note to return overdue dvds, library books and fix a hemline,
buy a missing school hat, send money for a zoo trip.

You booking flights? Choosing accommodation?
Buying plants for the garden?
New car seat covers?
An etsy necklace?
A pretty new handbag?

None of that is wrong by the way.

Are you wondering where on earth I am going with this?

I'm taking you to Virginia.

She lives in the Northern Philippines and two little children aged 8 & 6.
They live below the poverty line in this house.

She does not live in the bracket of society that can check FB,
pinterest or plan weekly menus,
have playdates with cupcakes and popcorn,
complain about the pile of Monday morning washing,
and make purple glittery playdoh while singing along to The Wiggles,
wave over an air steward, or try out a new lens or pair of heels.

Oh, and one more thing.

She has very advanced and terminal cancer.

There is no funded health care.
Unless she has the money,
several thousand in fact,
she cannot be treated.

I want to do more than just zone out at how common this is.
I want to be more than just overwhelmed at how hard life is for so many millions like her and feel weirdly uncomfortable with my privileged life.

I could quietly just send her some money
and maybe that is just what will transpire.

But it is my prayer that you will join me
so that we can become Real Difference Makers.

If this kind of thing is up your street
and as you are reading, your heart skips a beat and you want to touch an unexpectant but desperately needy life,
please visit this page I have made for Virginia.

I won't lie to you or expose her personal details -
here is what I know to be true.
She spends every single moment in agony on a bed
watched by a helpless community
and two little ones who in a very short space of time
are going to find themselves separated from each other
and farmed out to extended family as they learn to live without their mother.

We can't really change all that, realistically.
But we can make a difference to how it unfolds
and get her the surgery she needs to live comfortably.

Please, do me a favour?

Donate to Support Virginia on EverRibbon

She needs someone on this planet to see her.
To place value on her life
and to let her end it with dignity.

Will you see her with me?


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