Christmas presence

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Christmas presence

I just wanted to wish every single one of you a very happy Christmas.  As you know, this is a tough one for us, but we are doing our best to enjoy the season and bask in the warmth of family and friends.   Thank you so much for reading and commenting on Minimal Belle, and I look forward to hearing much more from you in the New Year! And remember, while we enjoy the gifts under the Christmas tree, the most precious gift you can give another person is your presence.  I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.  ♡

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Don’t stay on the park bench for too long

Don’t stay on the park bench for too long

Like many people, I have read and listened to Eckhart Tolle’s teachings for the past few years, finding them of great benefit to my own life. Yesterday, I listened to a recent radio interview with him on YouTube.  He talked a lot about his early life and experiences, and his responses seemed more personal than before.  I could hear that, while he says he is basically surrendered to the ‘isness’ of each moment, there are still difficulties for him–his sudden fame, busy schedule and lack of time and opportunity to hold one-to-one sessions with individuals.  He also said that he

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A quick catch-up

A quick catch-up

Happy Saturday, friends!  And to those of you in the States, I hope you’re enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving. I’ve been a bit quiet the past couple of days because there has been so much going on at work.  We had parents’ evening on Thursday from 2:30pm until 8pm so, as you can imagine, I fell into bed pretty much as soon as I arrived home!  The school term never really slows down–what with Christmas productions, assessments and all sorts of festive parties and afternoon fayres, there is always something to keep us teachers busy.  I do enjoy this season though,

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When forgetting is a blessing

When forgetting is a blessing

Last night was quite difficult, emotionally. As you know, my beloved grandma has Alzheimer’s and my mum is living with her as a full-time carer.  Over the past few weeks, she has deteriorated rapidly, the ravages of the disease taking its toll on her body as well as her mind.   In contrast to a couple of months ago when we were able to take her out to the seafront and she would walk for a few minutes, holding onto her wheelchair, enjoying the fresh air and, usually, an ice cream, she is now bedbound, barely able to lift her

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I have wanted to be with you for so long

I have wanted to be with you for so long

I have wanted to be with you for so long. The dream of you diluting my days into perfunctory conversations and people and chores I could do without. But these autumn weeks have been strange. Changing my focus onto more pressing things, less wishing I were far away. The boy stood up today and recited his first poem. Someone I barely know hand-delivered a card with the sweetest words scrawled in blue. The sick girl fell asleep on my arm. And the woman I love above all else squeezed me tight and said Thank God you’re here, Thank God you’re

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The progression

The progression

Things are progressing, I know. Despite my trying to breathe in every detail of the moment in some childlike hope of preserving it–the shop-bought fragrance that releases in occasional puffs from beneath the hostess trolley by the door, the warm rumblings of the cat’s belly against my thigh, the silenced tennis match on the TV, the way the pale light falls in uneven stripes through the old, broken blinds—things are progressing (regressing?) and there is nothing we can do about it. We are simultaneously slipping through the wide sinkhole of the future, and falling back through the broken pieces of

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The garage

The garage

I wrote this after my beloved grandfather passed away last year.  He had a high-grade glioma (brain tumour) and died peacefully at home after being nursed by my mum for several weeks.  After writing about him a little yesterday, I wanted to share.  I cleaned out my grandparents’ garage today, to make room for my mother’s things– two double beds, bluish-black sofas, antique dresser units, all of the cumbersome kitchen essentials. I tried to be ruthless, without throwing away anything of importance. But is an old red petrol can not important, given the circumstances? Seven months ago he left, never

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A strong man

A strong man

My grandfather, Ralph, on the right of this picture, was the kindest, most loving, most generous man I have ever known.  He was strong and confident and achieved so much in his life as a Royal Air Force physical training instructor and, later, as a coach to the British and Jamaican wheelchair basketball teams.  He coached them to success in the Olympics and Commonwealth Games and garnered respect from the sporting world.  He also received a British Empire Medal for service to sport. Whilst I am obviously tremendously proud of his professional success and love telling his stories, my pride

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A window into the past

A window into the past

I will no doubt write a longer post sometime about the charm, beauty and peculiar history of this place but, for now, I will leave you with this snap that I took one weekend in late September whilst on a camping trip with my good friend, Lisa. I took it through a window in Gardener’s cottage, Tyneham–a ghost village on the Isle of Purbeck, Dorset.  The villagers were required to leave suddenly in the 1940s, due to the government using the land for military training.  They believed that they would return one day, but they never did.  One villager even

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Simple Saturday

Simple Saturday

We all know, deep down, it’s the simple things that count.  But it’s been nice to put that knowledge into practice today–a relaxed Saturday wedged between two crazy busy weeks. My mum is staying with me, on a short break from caring for my grandmother, and more than anything she has needed to just unwind and take it easy.  She is going through the whole spectrum of emotions at the moment, given that my grandma seems to be declining rapidly, and I can hear it in her voice and see it in her face that she desperately needs a break.

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