Words of Wisdom

Good news: My mother-in-law and I have survived our sojourn on a small Channel island together. Our love is as strong as ever.Beach chair. Image by Moyan Brenn

The summer was great overall. Fabulous holidays, lots of wonderful Proms and my favourite Polish restaurant, Daquise, which dropped out of favour when it was bought by a chain two years ago, has returned to private ownership. Their potato pancakes and cherry vodka are as good as they used to be.

Moreover, the Nymph is again short-listed for the British Book Design and Production Awards, our son made the final round of the junior county cricket trials and our daughter passed her A levels in glory. She received the predicted marks. Except in German.

‘Yeh, Mum, it’s your fault, the German you taught me wasn’t good enough,’ my daughter said with a wicked twinkle in her eye, pleased to have someone to blame.

‘Yeh, Daughter,’ I replied with a smile. ‘This is a lesson for life: Don’t take a victory for granted until the battle is won.’

‘Look, who’s talking,’ the Nymph interjected with a roll of her eyes.

True, last week I shed bitter tears of disappointment over something I thought was a done deal.

At the beginning of the summer the Southbank Centre announced a Peirene event featuring our entire Turning Point series. Peirene HQ was over the moon. And the Nymph and I rushed out to buy two beautiful sparkly dresses for the occasion. Alas, last Monday the Southbank Centre cancelled the event due to circumstances beyond their control. And even the Nymph’s words with the gods didn’t change matters.

Needless to say, Peirene was distraught. She had already imagined herself acknowledging the applauding masses. ‘I don’t like my job,’ she whined. ‘It’s such hard work, and then it all comes to nothing. I prefer holidays.’

For a moment I am tempted to agree. Then I change my mind: ‘Disappointments are not ‘nothing’.  We need disappointments to know what success feels like. Holidays don’t offer either. They are important so we can relax. But they don’t’ make us feel alive. For that we have to work.’

And so: Peirene and I have returned to our desks after the summer break ready to face the up and downs ahead.

Image by Moyan Brenn

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