Love and the city

I haven’t known what to write, lately. Mainly because I’ve been finding life challenging on a personal level and haven’t felt justified in talking about any of that against the backdrop of what is going on in the world at large. However, I decided to share this experience of a pre-Christmas trip to Birmingham because, well, I’ve never experienced love in quite this way before, and love just demands to be shared.  At the end of a particularly difficult week during which, in a ‘final straw’ moment, I had discovered to my horror that my hair was noticeably thinning on the crown, I could barely summon the will to make the journey - but I’m so glad I did as, aside from the joy of spending time with dear friends, I came away filled with a knowing, a felt understanding of the love that saturates everything, in spite of everything, and defying everything. The outlines of people shimmer behind the fogged-up windows of the little coffee shop. Pushing open the door feels like pulling back a stage curtain, mingling with [...]

By |2024-01-08T20:46:59+00:00January 8, 2024|Comfort Reads, Musings|6 Comments

New name

Hello to you! This is a mini-post to tell you that This Oddinary Life is now Softly Falls The Light. I feel most at peace beneath the canopy of the forest, in glade and shade, in those places where the sunlight slants just so, filtered through leaves and branches. Those places where it feels safe to be wholly content, or deeply sad, or anything in-between. That, in essence, is the feeling I seek to capture in words, and I think Softly Falls The Light encapsulates that. My hope is that it will evolve into a comfortable, familiar space for readers. This blog will remain a kaleidoscopic collection of prose, prose-poetry and the occasional poem, reflecting my fascination with the mundane and the mystical. I am driven to write by a desire to nourish your soul; if I achieve that, then I am profoundly happy. Thank you so much for reading, and for welcoming me into your inbox and onto your screen. In these days of general overwhelm, with so much clamouring for our attention, I regard this as a real [...]

By |2023-09-07T10:16:09+00:00September 7, 2023|Musings|4 Comments

No-longer-in-love letter

Today, I went to see, after driving so near, so many times. A slight detour, a dent in the route home, via Weobley. Late afternoon. The village, with its timber-framed houses, was eerily quiet. I had the oddest feeling, as if dangling above everything, held in a giant’s pinch. That curious detachment of mine. Again. There it was, where the main road in bends everso slightly left – a private house now, thick net curtains eyelidding the window. The only relic of its days as The Old Forge Craft Shop & Tearoom was a sign, tucked away in the porch: Lipton’s Tea. Bobbing my head, peering to see it, hurriedly. Didn’t want anyone to spy me hovering outside their door. Keep walking, keep walking – there’s the old stone wall of the garden out back, into which – I think? – the teashop spilled. I only recall sitting inside with you, at the too-small, skirted tables, china cups clattering on their saucers each time one of us bashed a table leg with a knee. Our order was always the same: [...]

By |2023-08-10T07:09:45+00:00August 10, 2023|Musings|10 Comments

Five Days

On Monday, I follow an elderly man with dough-white arms, strolling down the middle of the road. Thankfully, no cars come. His left arm is bent behind his back, hand curled upwards, fretting at the air. Like a pecking beak - or as if he is making an imaginary crumble topping. Every few steps, he pats his head. I wonder if he has dementia. Why else would he eschew the safety of the pavement, hold his arm so awkwardly like that, his wrist looks snapped… To see how it feels, I stretch my left arm behind my back, rub the air between my fingers. A ghost of fear prickles the nape of my neck. Is the space behind us not safe? Perhaps he knows this. Does he remember why? Tuesday, I lift a coat off the rack at the hairdressers to retrieve mine beneath. Why am I everso-everso mildly affronted that someone should cover my coat with theirs? The hook loosens, rattles, I worry it might detach itself from the wall. Turning round, I become aware of a young woman, [...]

By |2023-07-08T10:37:15+00:00June 25, 2023|Musings|0 Comments


Three hours of shallow sleep, propped against the big cushion like a rowing boat, a tide of nausea lapping at my edges. 4:00 AM. Bolt-awake in the colourless half-light of a midsummer dawn, bed is surely tilting, body a bucket of slopping water. Queasiness enfolds me, octopus-like, tightens one slippery, muscular tentacle around my midriff, reaches another down my throat, twists, pulls, oh no, here we go… Clutching my belly, I feel my way down the stairs to the kitchen, fumble above my head, below my knees, drawers clattering, door hinges creaking, dog confused, jolted from her slumber. Plastic bowl, paracetamol, tap water. Pills land bitterly in sulphurous stomach. A provocation too far. Back up they come… Hangover. In my abdomen is a live thing, a livid thing that tenses, leaps, lurches, all muscle and fury… then is still. Has it exhausted itself? Surely…. take a sip of wa–NO! Out, out, out! Nothing! No water, not a bead, not a millilitre, I must be scoured dry! No respite, it seems, until my digestive tract has purged itself of every last [...]

By |2023-07-08T19:58:35+00:00June 13, 2023|Musings|2 Comments

Coming apart at the seams

Nearly June. Already! The wild patch is rowdy with weeds. Capped with gossipy blossoms, they are sprouting with abandon, boisterously green, drunk on photosynthesis. All is jaunty chaos. All is splendid. Except for the disconcerting gleam of their foliage, glazed with sap from the aphid-riddled tree above. A rash of greenfly appeared on my t-shirt when I pruned off a couple of branches, lest they spread to my beech hedge. Creepy how they materialised, like a sleight of hand. Still. They’re an all-you-can-eat buffet for the birds. On the patio, I have placed an angular rock behind my favourite, ailing weed, grown too tall and thin. Its stem is anaemic, its flower buds parched, wrinkled. Is this ridiculous, propping up a weed? Dad, for one, would look at me askance. As he did that time we were in a dinghy on a loch somewhere in Scotland and I saved a fly from drowning. My insect-rescuing reflex. Sopping wet, the fly was struggling to unpeel its wings. When you are that small, water must have the weight of treacle. I placed it [...]

By |2023-06-13T13:00:19+00:00May 28, 2023|Comfort Reads, Musings|2 Comments

Hello, little weed…

... You look like you're in a listening mood, though actually you're just wedged, stuck in a crack between the patio stones. Much as I love spring, in tandem with the sap rising I can feel an anxiety beginning to put out tendrils from my belly. It is now that the garden messily awakens from its slumber, and I feel dismayed by the extra labour involved in tending to it. How on earth will I keep on top of it? My garden is a rather unruly muddle of foliage. When the neighbours aren’t outside with the radio on, it is also a place of profound calm. Sitting here now, the only sounds I can hear are birdsong and the distant mumble of traffic. I think the birds are catching up with the day’s gossip before bed, because they're particularly chatty. I feel a bit silly, cross-legged on the ground, muttering into my phone. I'm talking quietly in case the neighbours are within earshot, but my dictation software can’t hear me properly. I said vociferous a moment ago and Dragon recorded that as syphilis. After [...]

By |2023-04-04T12:54:46+00:00April 3, 2023|Comfort Reads, Musings|6 Comments


I am very new to ‘proper’ photography with a DSLR rather than a mobile phone, and learning to use the camera has been a challenge to my impulsive, somewhat acquisitive nature. Like a toddler with a new toy, when my Canon camera arrived I ripped off the packaging and went straight out to the woods, pointing and shooting in Auto mode. I felt dismayed and affronted when the results were no better than my trusty Samsung Galaxy S20: I wanted off-the-shelf, saturated, silky, seductive images like the ones you see on Instagram! Impatience aside, underlying my frustration was the fear that I wouldn’t be able to master manual mode: I had looked at the dial settings and the menu and was baffled. As if confronted with algebra or the Arabic alphabet, my brain slunk off to a corner and sulked. Because my reflex is to buy my way out of a problem, I then purchased an expensive, niche lens called a Lensbaby Velvet, which produces a beautiful blur effect. It’s a difficult lens for even a professional to master, and [...]

By |2023-08-01T14:56:33+00:00March 20, 2023|Musings|4 Comments

The Ten of Swords

The Tarot definitely has a sense of humour, albeit sometimes a dark one. Take the Ten of Swords, for instance – the card I recently drew when I was feeling overwhelmed. When I began studying and working with the Tarot, I quickly learned that its potency does not lie so much in divination as revelation. More than anything, the images on the cards are a powerful tool for self-understanding. Whilst there are specific meanings associated with each card, when used therapeutically it is our response to the image that is key. The depictions on the cards act in much the same way as reflective inquiry – the coaching skill that involves summarising what the client has said in order to hold up a mirror to their thought patterns. Our reaction to what we see on the card is revelatory because it is like gazing into a pool, on the surface of which we see our behaviours, emotions and circumstances reflected back at us. When I shuffled my Tarot pack for an insight, out popped the Ten of Swords – and [...]

By |2023-03-18T15:57:28+00:00March 17, 2023|Musings|0 Comments

Website makeover: why the wren?

Hello :) I've been trying to work out how to send a one-off newsletter in Mailchimp, but I'm stumped. Or to be more honest: I gave up after five minutes of trying to fathom it because, when it comes to working out Technical Stuff, I have all the staying power of a chocolate teapot under a blowtorch. Instead, I am writing a micro-post to tell you about my blog site makeover, courtesy of the very talented and intuitive Richard at Dao Design (who built the original website for me). As well as the icons for each category, you may have noticed the new logo, with the beautiful bird? There are four versions, with colours changing to reflect each season. After discussing the design brief, Richard produced a mood board of possible images - one of which was this little wren. Now, I cry rather readily, and I *may* have shed a few tears of delight when he showed the image to me: because the wren has a deeper meaning. Among the several courses on which I am currently embarked, I [...]

By |2023-03-03T14:55:24+00:00March 3, 2023|Musings|8 Comments
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