Today was the kind of day you are glad you lived through, but hope you only have once in a while.
I had my first big party in London on Friday and I got immense pleasure from seeing all the many and varied friends I have acquired here chat and mix, promising that the winter will be warmed by good conversations and easy companionship.
Monica, Ely, Ozy and Lizzie at my party.
Last night I saw Kristen off at the airport after spending our first week together for a year. We had five days on my first ever trip to Paris and then five days in London culminating in the party so she could meet all the people I had talked to her about in her weekly phone calls.
Kristen and I in Paris.
I finally have a regular paycheck and was able to shop for the first time in almost six months. We had had friends to stay the whole weekend, cooked good food and had great running conversations that had filled the weekend with laughter.
To remind me just how much a heart can hold in both happiness and sadness, it was the second anniversary of my Grandfather’s sudden death on the road home from the family farm and today my adored little sister’s beloved horse broke his neck in a freak accident.
Louise on Red.
Louise's SMS sent me into shock and I stood in stall in Camden Markets sobbing into the phone to her because she was crying in pain on the other side of the world and I could not hug her. The moment she sent the message I had been talking about her to Jacinta. Jacinta had been home to Perth a month ago and had visited Mum and Louise and she was asking me if Louise had been to the B&S Ball she had mentioned. I am so glad Jacinta had got to hug Louise this year, even if I hadn’t.
At the party on Friday I had got the photos out of the family for Taryn, a third cousin of mine who I had only met because a long-running family feud had ended last year.
Taryn and I at my party.
She was over here when it ended and while we had finally met in London, she had not met Jerome, Tim and Louise. So we were standing in my room sharing photos of family members never met and I was able to talk lovingly of my fabulous siblings.
It is so hard not being able to look into their eyes, to see them walk the path of their lives – a privilege I never appreciated when Louise climbed through my windows on hot Sunday mornings after I moved out of home, when Tim stopped at my front door during his pizza delivery shift to say hi, when Jerome and his friends were the life of my parties. Hours spent on the beach, in each others rooms, around the dinner table, in the car, at the farm. Times I recall now with a heart that swears they are the still the greatest three people I know.
My siblings - Tim, Myself, Jerome and Louise.
Last Sunday I stood, bright-eyed with happiness at the foot of the Sacre Coeur looking out across Paris and when I had managed to get myself under control, I turned to walk inside. In one of the side aisles of the beautiful church I lit a candle for my Grandfather. Papa has had a candle lit for him in the ancient basilica in Aquiliea, in Westminster Cathedral, in Notre Dame and the Sacre Coeur. Papa will get candles lit for him around the world, a flickering trail of his granddaughter’s travels I hope he will be proud of.
The Sacre Coeur.
The basilica in Aquiliea.
When I travel I am at my happiest, yet the heart gets torn in half, one half yearning to stay and enjoy the new wonders, and one straining to be back with family and friends in the crisp air and sunlight of home.
As I write the tears are threatening to drain the life out of me, wash away the eyes usually crinkled in delight and drown my life.
I wish I was there.
Nan and Louise, you know my thoughts are with you.