Victorian beach holiday

Ladies shade themselves with parasols,

Lace and silk to filter sun

In starlight bursts upon their china skin,

The children queue for the thrilling drop

Of the helter skelter ride,

And fluffy clouds of candy floss,

Cling to sticky fingers that

Pull at whisps and coat their mouths

With sugar flares, before they swim,

The sparkles on the rhythmic waves

Lapping at their tiny toes.

These are days that live forever

In the silver sheen of film,

That captured such a perfect time.

the campsite shower block

line of tents on outdoor camping in forest
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We shuffle across the dewy grass,

Flip flops sinking, lost in depth

Our toes so cold they crackle and burn.

Our towels are tucked with gawdy washbags

Underneath our youthful wings, we laugh

And shush each other as we slalom through

The tents and ropes and rounders bats.

We reach the block, the smell of bleach

Heavy in the strip lit air, flourescence

Lights our naked bodies locked in cubicles,

She sings next door to me

As soapy water swishes past, like rapids

That we ride in rubber dinghies.

Scrubbing at our reddened skin

We balance on one foot to dress,

Flamingoes in our native land,

But with our sodden socks we cut

A saddened, greyer version in the camping world.

I have things I like about camping, and things that I really hate. Last time I camped I had to sleep in my jeans every night because I was so cold. I must have slept for about three hours a night as I tossed and turned on that inflatable mattress that slowly deflated throughout the night.

However, I may be in the minority here, but I really love going over to the shower block each morning. I know that a lot of people probably find it a bit scummy, but having slummed it for a whole night, I love popping on my flip flops and trekking across the campsite with my towel under my arm.

I remember when I was a kid, loving putting the 20p into the timer and then racing to get washed before the water cut off.

And then there’s something so refreshing about walking back to your tent with your hair freshly washed and the coutryside air on your face. It feels very wholesome.

I was just taking a shower today and my ankles were really muddy from going on a run on the trails, and I just had this little memory bubble up, of being all mucky when camping, and enjoying scrubbing myself clean. It inspired me to write a little something and I kind of felt it necessary to explain why.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the poets typing in central park

writer working on typewriter in office
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She sits with fingers at the ready,

To paint a world for passersby

In words that dot the postcard face,

The bullet holes each key stroke fires,

As powerful as weapons, deathly too,

But she shapes them into sunset hues

And mirrors back the love between

Her muses stopped to here her song.

I’ve recently discovered TikTok – I know I’m late to the game. I have obviously heard of it before, but I thought that it was only for doing dance routines.

I have found that I really like watching the spoken word TikToks and I’ve come across some really beautiful poems. I think that the marriage between poem and images works really well.

I then stumbled across these videos of the people who sit in Central Park with a typewriter. They ask passersby if they would like a poem written especially for them and then they just type something out on a postcard that the person can keep.

It’s possibly the most rmonatic thing I can think of, and my little INFP brain adores everything about it – especially the fact that it’s typed out on a typewriter.

I live on the side of a park and I want to go out and do my own poetry generation. Unfortunately I live on a pretty rough council estate so I have a feeling that most people would take a wide berth around me, thinking that I may be high on something.

Even if I can’t do it for other people, I may need to purchase my own typewriter and hammer my own little word gems.

Much Love

Rachel xx

hot days and graduation photographs

newly graduated people wearing black academy gowns throwing hats up in the air
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She sits quietly, underneath the baking sun

Her gown heavy on her shoulders, as she scans

The stands for a face she knows, anyone friendly

To gently cheer her on, to make the weight

Of cap and gown so worth this agony.

They’re calling names as sweat begins to trickle

Down the slender line of her aged and curving spine,

These clothes that have been worn by hundreds,

Smelling musty, their history palpable,

She just wishes that the heat would die,

Its sting taken out of this enfless day,

That the photographs would be taken

So that she can shed these layers like

A butterfly, spreading its wings and taking flight,

A new world there, in the sepia images,

A fleeting moment, before she begins the fight.

I try to stay off Facebook as much as I can because it just makes me angry, but when I have taken the time to sneak a peak recently, I have noticed that there have been loads of graduation photos (please note, these do not make me angry).

I do love a good graduation and I wish that we did it for more than just finishing university. I know that in other countries kids have a graduation ceremony at the end of almost every stage of their school career.

Here, we do have the big shirt signing event that is normally done out on the school field at the end of secondary school. We wear uniform in this country, so it’s fun to get our school shirts signed by all our friends and teachers on the last day. As a teacher, I’m looking forward to having a Year 11 class so that I can do the whole shirt signing thing as a grown up.

I do feel sorry for some of the people who have had their graduation ceremonies over the past few weeks as I can imagine that it was incredibly hot. Wearing those caps and gowns must have been unbearable.

I do hope that despite the weather, that they all had fun. For my first graduation the moment felt so overwhelming as I’d studied with a baby in tow, and it felt like such an achievement to get to the end. It was also held at The Barbican in London which has had so many amazing people and orchestras perform there.

Much Love

Rachel xx

cricket on the village green

people playing cricket on green grass field
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The thwack of willow on wood

Echoes dull, through the summer air

As children squeal and wives will clap

Over English tea and sandwich triangles,

Sat upon those tartan picnic rugs.

The women look so wealthy as they cheer

For men in whites, running stump to stump,

A gentlemen’s sport played in cableknit jumpers,

With grass stains on knees

That will be soaked away soon,

As cold beers are swallowed in cricket club houses.

I live on the edge of a lovely green park and during the summer it is used for all sorts of activities. There are tennis courts that are always busy and a Junior Parkrun takes place every Sunday morning.

But one of my favourite things about the park is the cricket that is played all Saturday afternoon. There is something so quintessentially English about that sound of the ball hitting the bat and the slightly restrained clapping of the spectators.

I used to go to the cricket with a friend of the family when I was about seven. I used to love the vibe of the club house, with the women in beautiful summer dresses serving tea and sandwiches as we played on the edge of the green.

These summer days are so special and I know that it will only be a matter of time before the hot weather is blown away and the greens turn to the golden browns and reds of autumn. Until then, I will enjoy those endless summer afternoons of tennis and cricket and running. Autumn will bring its own joys in the form of hot water bottles and crochet blankets to read under.

Much Love

Rachel xx

good morning TV

black audio amplifier
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Lights, camera, action!

It’s 10am and time for skin care

Followed by five ways to use avocados,

And we all can’t wait to see

The woman who claims to see the future

Through the medium of asparagus,

Or the TV doctor that will answer the phone in

And tell you what that rash is

In the embarrassing place – you know that one 😉

And then on comes someone from Love Island

To run through the best jumpsuits

To wear to all your summer barbecues.

Finally we end by crossing to the Loose Women

And learning what hard hitting stories

They’ll discuss in that ‘hard hitting’ way,

But my head is already a cloud of wet wool,

Soppy and gloopy with mid morning drool

That I’ll defintely watch tomorrow again.

book review: the reader on the 6.27

rail road under gray and orange cloudy sky during sunset
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I’m the kind of reader that needs a quirky main character to get on board with. I need someone who says inappropriate things and doesn’t understand why they have offended; I need a character who loves to just read the final chapter of a book; I need a hero who only eats yellow food.

The more unusual the quirks of a character, the more likely I am to fall in love with him or her. One of my all time favourites is Eleanor Oliphant and any book that likens itself to that masterpiece is going to draw me in.

The Reader on the 6.27 was compared to Amelie and that film warmed my heart until it was almost on fire. So I was very excited to dive in and see what Jean-Paul Didierlaurent could offer up.

The main character, Guylain, works in a recycling plant that basically just pulps books that have not sold so that there is space on the shelves for new books. But Guylain takes any pages that have escaped the pulping machine and reads the short extracts to the people on the train he takes to work each day.

There are a host of other characters that are so outlandish, I felt that they were almost Dickensian. I couldn’t help but smile at the little love story that ran throughout, with a toilet attendant, no less. And Guylain’s friend with no legs kind of reminded me of Leiutenant Dan in Forrest Gump.

I gave this book a big fat five stars because I just fell in love with every character we were introduced to. The book fell somewhere between a romance and a fable/ fairytale. It was beautifully written and left me contemplating what the message behind it was – and there were so many lessons to be learned.

At the centre of it all was love and friendship and what that means to us as humans. It shows that it’s messy and complicated but can also be boiled down to something really simple and delicious.

Much Love

Rachel xx

a day in sunny weymouth

We slowly walk towards the sea,

Complaining loudly about the pebbles underfoot,

Looking forward to reaching the waves

Where the beach turns to sand

And our feet squelch in the mud

And we count to ten, taking deep breaths

Before we launch through the surf,

The cold of the water crushing our chests,

Making us laugh with the rush of air

That escapes our lungs in time.

I went to the beach yesterday and it was beautiful. I haven’t been down to the coast in a while and I certainly haven’t got in for a swim in years.

It was quite exhilarating to get up to my waist and then just take that plunge so that your feet leave the ground. When I was training for the channel I used to do that every weekend and it became the most natural feeling in the world. But when you haven’t done it in ages, it really does take your breath away.

Once we were out, we lay on the beach, reading as we tried to warm up, and it reminded me of the days that I would get out early and sit chatting with volunteers on the beach when I was training.

We were lucky enough to be on the Jurassic Coast so we went for a walk along the cliff tops until we came to this beautiful little pub that was hidden between the hills, called The Smuggler’s Inn.

We have such a beautiful countryside and I remembered how beautiful it was yesterday. Picture postcard perfect.

Much Love

Rachel xx

cheap strawberry ice cream on a park bench

group of people enjoying music concert
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We used to buy those 1 litre tubs

Of cheap strawberry ice cream

And sit on that bench under the tree,

A plastic spoon each, taking turns

To scoop at the tub as it melts

Under hot Durban sun, sweltering

To everyone who went out last night,

But we laugh, despite our discomfort,

For this is love, in a tub of pink cream,

Laughing at kids falling off bikes

And dreaming of days when our turn will come;

Marriage and kids, and a lifetime together.

I got married when I was nineteen and I met the man who was my husband while I was backpacking around South Africa. The marriage didn’t last, but the memories did, and every time it is hot I am taken back to that time in my life.

I was eating ice cream straight from the tub after work today, in a desperate attempt to cool myself down, and it reminded me of Colin and the fun memories we had together when we were over there and living a very simple life.

I was reminded of the times that we used to go out all night and then after a really short sleep, we would head to the local Spar and buy a big tub of ice cream, that we would share in one sitting. We would sit under a tree and watch the world go by and it just felt so perfect.

I only wrote this because I love those memories that bubble up, uninvited, but still having the power to make you smile. It was nice to go back to that park for a few minutes and remember those sunkissed days.

Much Love

Rachel xx

how does anyone deal with that?

I went hunting on Twitter and was pretty shocked at what people can write on there. I’m a mad Love Island fan and I’m not going to pretend that I’m classier than I am (we all need a bit of down time).

But, this year we have another daughter of a famous person and so I went onto Twitter to see if Michael Owen had written any Tweets about his daughter.

And Oh My God.

The vile things that were being written on there. I don’t know if it’s because of the culture around football and the fact that people think it’s all just banter, but the things I read were disgusting.

I did wonder why he had been quite vocal about the fact that he was so against his daughter going on the show and I realise how naive I am. I guess that as a celebrity, he knows how awful people can be and was ready for the onslaught.

I wonder what it must be like to have that kind of stuff said about your family on a daily basis? I can’t even begin to imagine surviving it. I literally have a break down when I hear one person have a little bitch and a moan about me.

I just hope those people that say those things realise how crappy they must be making someone feel. We are all humans on this earth and some people really need to have that drummed into them on a daily basis.

Much Love

Rachel xx