British weather

Everything is gray. Rain is pouring. Thunder is rolling. Lightning is flashing. Felt like it happened in a blink. One moment the sun was out and people were walking around in shorts and short-sleeve tops. Others wore flip flops. Teenage boys zoomed past in their skateboards and toddlers were running around trying to catch pigeons…

Then gray clouds descended and covered the sun. It’s as if someone said “cut, change scene” and it was one stormy afternoon in a flash. Just like that. There was no drizzle, it was literally the sky opening up and dumping buckets of cold water. The streets are suddenly clear. Most of them probably hurried home and some, like me, went to the nearest store. I’m currently in Bargain Buys writing this. I am going to The Works later to buy some canvas and paint. I am looking at putting glaze on my paintings to preserve them. I’ll see if they have some. I think I’ll go for the satin finish because I don’t want a highly glossy finish. So, I’ll just wait it out here. Usually the rain would stop after a few minutes. As suddenly as it started, it would stop just as abruptly…another one of those “cut, change scene” moment of the british weather. It’s crazy but there is comfort in its predictable unpredictability. Hmmm that doesn’t make sense when I say it (or in this case write it) but in my head it does.

Rain stopped. Later!

Note: Written a few months back. Currently 26°C. Zero percent chance of rain. We drove almost two hours to an outlet store. We found some great deals.. stayed out a bit to bask in the sun. Here’s our view.

Chitchat

I was general cleaning the other day and I found unused colored pencils in one of the plastic bags stashed on a random corner in our flat. I don’t remember buying it so it was probably my dad’s. He loves doodling, painting, taking pictures and lots of other things but he is the best at gardening. He actually has a big rice field where he now plants with corn, peanuts and honeydew. He also planted giant sunflowers (they were taller than him). My mom took these pictures and sent them to us. 

My dad is happiest when he can grow things. He actually has this tradition of planting at least five trees during our birthdays. He has planted hundreds of trees. Some of them we were able to use in building furniture, most were left to grow and flourish but a few were stolen, like my dad would arrive at his mini forest, as he calls it, and find the stump of the tree. He’s sad about it but it does not happen as much now.

I was just video calling with him and my mom earlier and I showed them the painting I did the other day. I got it from a youtube tutorial since until now I still can’t paint on my own. I proudly hung it in the living room and my sister asked if I could put it in my room instead. We all laughed. I told her it will go well with the black and white theme we are planning to do when we redecorate the place. Bless her indulgent heart. She has to put up with my enthusiastic endeavors. Reading my novelas, buying materials for a new found hobby, trying on or tasting stuff I made (which she claims she needs a hazard pay). 

Today, I tried drawing. The prompt said to draw an object that reminds me of a happy memory. That sewing machine does, not because of anything sewing related. I sometimes marvel at how well I could stitch a laceration closed but could never put clothes together. No, this happy memory is of my youngest sister and I squeezing ourselves underneath, perched on the seesawing pedal and pretending we were in a car. Our mom would find us giggling from trying not to topple over when the pedal moves. She had to chase us away everytime and would sometimes rant when she had to use the machine and had to put a block underneath the broken pedal. My mom learned to sew from her mom and she loved making dresses for us. And they were not just dresses, they were beautiful dresses. Like my dad, she can do many remarkable things. I live in a household with very talented individuals. This is probably why I’m proud to be a nurse. My only talent is the life-saving skill set of an angel of the sickroom honed for more than a decade.

Book Review: The Beekeeper’s Promise

My Book Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I was horrified to be told that the last time I picked up a book was in 2018, which I have to emphasize is not true. It just so happened that I recently reactivated my Kindle account and the only record of my last reading streak was in 2018. Nevertheless, I was greatly unsettled by this so without even reading the book description, I opened the first recommendation in the store which was The Beekeeper’s Promise. Perhaps it was my lucky day because the book turned out really good. 

The book was written by a bestselling author, Fiona Valpy. It is a captivating book which entwined the stories of two enduring women from two different times- separated by decades. One lived in the chaos of war, a famous beekeeper who met the love of her life through it, fell in love and got separated but in its wake became a fighter on her own right for France’s liberty and the other in the 20th century, a heartbroken woman from London who came to France for a yoga retreat but ended up taking a summer job in the beautiful Château Bellevue, the place where both their stories connected.

It is considerably a light read despite being written against the backdrop of war. I prefer stories that do not involve the grotesque mistreatment and heartbreaking sufferings of people caught in the war but this book is an exception. The story was focused on the main character that the details about the war were just mentioned in passing. This way, I was spared from the usual gloom I feel when reading books on this subject. 

The book also depicted the soft tenacity of a woman’s fortitude amidst grief and hardship. Eliane in particular showed great dignity and confidence in the way she carried herself and when dealing with difficult situations. 

I also enjoyed the crash course on bees and their behavior, the different medicinal herbs and their uses and the grave cycle of abuse. I appreciate how much research has gone in this book because although it’s fictional, they offer factual information.

The Beekeeper’s Promise is a beautiful story of love, loyalty, courage, resilience and healing which will be found enjoyable by everybody. 

In the midst of winter, I found that there was within me an invincible summer.-Retour à Tipasa, Albert Camus (1952)