Photo challenge day 31: End

It’s day thirty-one of the First Thirty-one Photo Challenge from Fourtuitous, celebrating the first thirty-one days of the year with a photo a day, and that means it’s the end.

Snowdrop flowers signal that winter is coming to an end and spring will soon arrive.


Snowdrops signal the end of winter

Snowdrops signal the end of winter

Weekly writing challenge: Saying Goodbye

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When I saw this week’s writing challenge from The Daily Post, I planned to write a fun story about the characters in the photo prompt. But then I thought about the wider theme I interpreted in the picture: saying farewell.

The people in the photo could be greeting each other, I suppose, but to me it looks like they are saying goodbye. So, instead of the fiction I intended to write, this real-life story about a difficult departure spilled out onto the page. I don’t often blog about my life and this is the most personal post I have written so far.

It was a rainy morning a few days before Christmas Day, the roads slick with water, when I drove to the hospital to say goodbye to my mother.

The phone call had come late at night. The life-saving surgery would most likely go ahead the next morning. I went to bed at midnight, wondering how on earth I was going to sleep but managing to get a few hours of rest before my alarm buzzed at 4 am.

Driving to the hospital was surreal. I put the radio on – I always drive with the radio on – but on that morning, I wasn’t listening. I fiddled with the dial, tuning it in to the news. The calm tones of the newsreader, the swish of my windscreen wipers and the lights of passing cars all melted into an unreal blur as I focused on getting to the hospital in time to say goodbye.

Hospital corridors are lonely places at night and in the early hours of the morning, when no one is around and the air is silent. I walked through the white hallways and when I arrived at the hospital department where my mother was a patient, there was a scurry of activity. It was 5.30 in the morning and the lights were dimmed, allowing the other patients to sleep. But it felt, in a strange way, like Christmas morning. The same sense of excitement and anticipation was there, only unlike Christmas, tainted with anxiety. The nurses who had become familiar faces over the past two months were busy prepping my mother for surgery, pulling on the stockings to prevent thrombosis and helping her into a hospital gown.

When the porter came to get her, I walked down to the operating theatre with them. I wanted the porter to walk more slowly, to delay the inevitable moment when I would have to say goodbye, drive back and wait for the clock to tick away the hours. But it was only a short walk to the theatre, in the elevator, then down the white corridors as I tried to control myself while my throat tightened and my heart rate increased with anxiety.

I was painfully aware of the risks of the surgery she was about to undergo. I knew it was one of the biggest operations that surgeons can do. I knew the medical terminology and the statistics the doctors used. I also knew I was inevitably going to get choked up when the time came to say goodbye. Absurdly, a line from a popular book I recently read floated through my head and I latched on to it, attempting to think about something else to stop myself from thinking about the outcome I didn’t want to think about.

The words I was going to say got tied up in knots in my head. Sometimes words are inadequate. What do you say to someone you love who is about to be taken into theatre for major surgery? What do you say? “Don’t worry”, “It will be fine”, “Everything works out for the best”? All those phrases we use to reassure ourselves sometimes even when we know it won’t be fine. In the end there is nothing you can say but “I love you”.

First Thirty-one Photo Challenge catch-up

I have missed a few days of the First Thirty-one Photo Challenge over at Fourtuitous. Here are the photos for days 27, 28, 29 and 30 of the challenge.

DAY 27 – Something beginning with ‘J’

A pretty journal cover:


DAY 28 – Windows

“A house without books is like a room without windows” (Horace Mann)

A pile of books; two of them I am reading for the first time, two of them I am re-reading.



DAY 29 – Kin

Challenging theme today! I chose to post this photo of a gnome garden I made for my niece one Christmas: the gnomes look like kin!

VLUU L110, M110  / Samsung L110, M110

DAY 30 – Sign

When I put these shoes on, it’s a sign I’m ready to go dancing. The chunky heels are perfect for salsa!

Dancing shoes!

Dancing shoes!

January 28 1813

200 years ago today, one of the greatest literary classics was published by Thomas Egerton in London, England. It is a novel which is loved by many and still has the power to appeal to readers across the world.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”


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Photo challenge day 25: Heat

I didn’t have time to post for days 23 and 24 of the First Thirty-one Photo Challenge. And I wasn’t feeling very motivated: I haven’t really liked many of the photos I have taken and posted so far. Some are embarrassingly bad but oh well, such is life!

Here’s day 25 on the theme of heat.

The spark that caught alight and started a rebellion....Catching Fire, the second book in The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins

The spark that caught alight and started a rebellion….Catching Fire, the second book in The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins

Photo challenge day 22: Laughter

Day 22 of the First Thirty-one Photo Challenge at Fourtuitous!

This is a (bad – sorry, didn’t have time to take a good pic!) photo of a photo from page 175 of Yann Arthus Bertrand’s beautiful book of horse photography. This Auxois stallion looks like he is laughing (or, more likely, champing at the bit!)

An Auxois stallion on page 175 of Yann Arthus Bertrand's book, Horses.

An Auxois stallion on page 175 of Yann Arthus Bertrand’s book, Horses.

Photo challenge day 19: Fur

It’s Day 19 of the First Thirty-one Photo Challenge (from Fourtuitous)! Today’s theme is “Fur”.

I have to admit: I forgot about taking a photo for today’s challenge. And now it’s dark, it’s the end of the day, I’m tired and the cat is not being photogenic.
I’m not gonna lie. This is an old photo, taken last January. I know that is probably cheating but I thought any photo was better than no photo. I’m determined to see this challenge through!

Day 19: Fur.
I love the way the sun is shining on Kitty’s fur.