“It must be the same all over England. People buying milk, or filling their cars with petrol, or even posting letters. And what no one else knew was the appalling weight of the thing they were carrying inside. The superhuman effort it took sometimes to be normal, and a part of things that appeared both easy and everyday. The loneliness of that.” – Rachel Joyce, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

In growing accustomed to living alone, I am becoming fascinated with strangers and I stare and stare; in supermarkets, in traffic and in the corridors at work. I try to interpret their posture or their facial expressions and I wonder about there being so many stories out there; some wonderful and some dreadfully sad. I wonder if they, too, look into my shopping basket and wonder about the single curl of smoked sausage, the small piece of blue cheese and the three slabs of dark chocolate …

I’ve become rather a slave to Lindt’s new wasabi infused dark chocolate, discovered at the same time as I found Ms Joyce’s wonderful novel. I’m devouring both shamelessly, with the freedom to do both well into the small hours of the morning without disturbing anybody.

This morning I took the book and a toasted sandwich into my garden, on which the Garden Gods seem to have bestowed a curse. With Betsy rabbit gone and no longer eating all my plants, new shoots were pushing their way up everywhere. My pigeon had finally flown away; her damaged wing healed, and was no longer coating everything in guano. Things were looking up, my roses were budding and my agave florets were sprouting again. And then the most ferocious hailstorm hit and everything was battered.

Still today has dawned sunny, I’ve cleared most of the debris and am considering a trip to the nursery. Optimism is a funny thing, the way it refuses to be quashed. My tranquil corner is restored.

On the new job front, things are going well – I was terribly stressed at first, but I’ve got my head around the work. I resolved to keep to myself and not make friends, but my resolve was very short-lived and the good nature of my colleagues won the day. Friday was ‘Casual Day’ and we were presented with pirate hats and had a bit of a party, which was tremendous fun.

Another thing I vowed was that I would not entertain in my new life in the little cottage. This vow, too, flew out the window with time and I’ve had a few dinner parties, which went some way to placating the disapproving funk my kitchen had been greeting me with in the mornings.
I’ve even resumed my habit of a weekly cake bake. A friend and I are currently working on a long-term ‘spiritual journey’ and she gave me an assignment to write on my personal perception of a Higher Power. Writing it made me feel so uplifted that I presented her with a heart-shaped cake.

My Higher Power is not embodied in my mind in the form of man or woman. Rather, my own Higher Power is an abstract concept which contains at its core a concrete set of moral values and principles. This set of values in its simplest interpretation sits in my mind as the essence of difference between good and bad. In effect, this Higher Power is – as I conceive it – “the absolutely RIGHT way’, in other words; the counterpart to evil. For want of a better term, I use the words ‘SPIRITUALITY’ ‘PIETY’ HOLINESS’ or – that term with which I feel most comfortable – ‘MERCIFUL GRACE’. For purposes of meditation and prayer in my daily life, I will continue to address myself to this Higher Power as ‘God’.

Have a peaceful week, my friends. I feel the need for another cup of coffee. And something sweet …






  1. I cannot believe that hailstorm. I don’t think we’ve had one like that in Sydney for years. I’m so sorry to hear about your garden getting thrashed like that. I think the new job is just fabulous. Love the photo of you all dressed up – looks like such a fun and supportive place to work. And that’s great that you’re having dinner parties. We live in a small house that barely fits us and when we moved in in April I vowed I wouldn’t entertain as the place is just too humble looking but I got over it and decided to hell with it – if people don’t like me because my house is small they don’t have to come back! But it’s been a huge success and people are beating a track to our door. I love your cake. That’s just gorgeous Cin. We have a lot of Lindt chocolate here but we don’t have Wasabi. Are you sure that’s nice? I might just stick to the chilli blend we have here xx

  2. So relieved to hear that the bunny has gone.I was getting stressed and it wasn’t even my plants that it was eating! Your garden will do so well with the nutrients that it got from the hail and will be looking good in no time at all.My garden also got a bit of a hammering but already is looking fresher and better.Remember that what makes a dinner party is two things-good friends and good food.It doesn’t matter where it is.

  3. I really enjoyed this post, found many aspects to identify with, have written down the book title for future reading and thoroughly enjoyed these little snapshots into your life! So sorry about the hailstorm. Thanks for sharing, Cindy!

  4. I am both proud of you and happy for you. You are finding your way, Cindy. Sometimes the “lonely way” ends up being the most fulfilling…it is a time for spiritual growth and changes. You still shine, my friend.

  5. A lot of adapting – and re-adapting – indeed.
    Even in Durban we had a destructive hailstorm. Funny thing is that after the plants have taken the battering, the hail seems to put new life into them and they come back even better.

  6. Cindy this is your uncle here. I just wish to tell you that, notwithstanding the problems you have encountered in this for quite a long time, we call “life” you remain positive and as far as I can see have solved a lot of your stresses. I think I know a little more of your history than the good friends you have and I am extremely proud to claim you as my niece. God go with you sweetness.BTW DON”T WANT REALLY BRING THIS UP BUT IS YOUR DAUGHTER BETTER TOWARDS YOU NOW. Don,t want this on normal facebook.


  7. You must have been reading my mind…I was just wondering how you were doing in your new position and how life in general was treating you….sounds as if things are going well…have a great week my friend.

  8. What a fun post! You are such a good writer Cin and I love your photos. Could I have just one little bite of the toasted cheese? Please.
    That’s some hailstorm! Good lord!

  9. Ah my Cinders – I have often said that we live our lives very much with a facade as we don’t want others to see the pain and grief we carry with us and shut out to the world when we close our front doors at night.
    You my friend have a happy lilt back in your writing and I am so very chuffed for you! You deserve so much love and happiness!!

  10. Cindy – I am a huge fan of Lindt’s Pistaschio chocolate and their Chilli one too. I must try the Wasabi one, but horseradish has never really done anything for me. I’m so happy to see that you are slowly finding yourself again and I can promise you one thing – no matter what happens to you, the will of God will never take you where His grace can’t carry you. You are an inspiration, and even though we’ve never met in person, I love you dearly!

  11. Hi there Cin, read your post yesterday. Are you eating vetkoek there? Always good to read your posts, glad things are coming together.
    Much lov 🙂

  12. Yay, was excited when I saw you wrote a new post and as always a lovely read. Right, wasabi Lindt is on the list for when I next go into town! Sorry to hear that your little garden got so damaged!
    Here’s to an awesome week for us all.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  13. What a lovely post. You look well in that pirate hat.:) My little garden is still recovering from hail damage. The leaves bear the scars forever, until they eventually drop off. That chocolate cake looks delicious and very decadent, as does the toasted sandwich.

  14. Wasabi Lindt??? Oh god.. that reminds me of the first time I tasted wasabi paste. I thought it would be something on the “spicyish” side, so I had a spoonful. [yes] I was all “hmm.. how disappointing.. this isn’t THAT spicy…” When suddenly… You can guess what colours my face turned some seconds later… 😛

  15. I love reading your written word Cindy. I enjoy it always. Your white garden looks great and snowy by the way. I wish it had not destroyed lives. And the fruit spread/ jam looks delish.
    Lovely week,

  16. The quote from the book you chose has inspired me to go off and buy it, I’m on a real reading jag just presently! (Well, that’s been my whole life actually, I’m just waiting for it to subside :-). I had seen it advertised but you’ve really convinced me!

  17. Cindy, what a journey you are on. Finding small pools of happiness in a wide open plain of new life. I love this post, sorry, can’t find a witty cloaked way to say it. May your higher power give you firm steps as you stride into the future. And lots of chocolate.

  18. So happy to read your post, glad you are doing well. I loved the hat and cannot believe you had a hail storm. I am glad you are moving forward, each day is new, make the most of it.

  19. Cindy it sounds like you are doing much better. Happy for you! 😉

    Your little cottage looks lovely showing all the signs of your hand at decorating. I love the colors.

    Now I am drooling over the cake and trying to think what I should have for a midnight snack. Like you, I can eat and read to all hours, but I try to curb the eating!!!! ??? Plump doesn’t go well with my self-image.

    Be well …

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