A Windswept Walk on the Beach

CroyRocks

I’ve written before about our favourite beach, Croy Shore, and over the years my husband and I have enjoyed relaxing walks watching the sunset in the weeks leading up to our wedding, summer days paddling in the sea and searching for starfish in the rockpools, and refreshing New Year’s Day walks here.

We didn’t make it to Croy Shore for a walk on New Year’s Day itself this year as we were visiting my family instead, but wanted to visit before January was out. Unsurprisingly, on an overcast, cold and blustery day, we had the beach almost to ourselves and spent some time exploring the cave and rock formations towards the North of the beach. No matter the weather, I always find a wander along this familiar shoreline so steadying and reinvigorating.

This stretch of the coast is a place we’ve come to contemplate some of our most life-defining decisions and changes, to gather our thoughts and stretch our legs but also to immerse ourselves in the moment and savour the the regular crash of the waves against the shore and the view of Culzean Castle and Ailsa Craig in one direction and the Isle of Arran in the other. Have a lovely week. X

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Set in an old-fashioned cafe off the beaten path in Tokyo, Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a quirky, Japanese novel about time travel. In the Funiculi Funicula Cafe, there is a particular chair that allows the person sitting in it the once in a lifetime chance to travel back or forward in time to speak to someone they know who has visited the cafe. There are several rules regarding time-travel, the most important of which is that the traveller must return to the present before their cup of coffee gets cold.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold is split into four parts, each following a different relationship from a broken-hearted woman whose lover moved to the U.S.A., a nurse whose husband has forgotten her due to Alzheimer’s Disease, a grieving sister who ran away from her family to escape her obligations and responsibilities, and a mother and daughter who never had the chance to know each other. There’s also a ghostly woman who haunts the cafe and failed to return to the present in time, but regrettably her story isn’t elaborated on. Visiting the past and future helps the time travelers to make sense of events and find a way forward in the present.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a short but thought-provoking and poignant story of regret and hope. Have a lovely week. X

Walking with Dinosaurs

LostWorlds

Of all the nocturnal light shows competing for visitors across the country, the Giant Lanterns of ChinaĀ at Edinburgh Zoo is definitely worth wrapping up and venturing out on a winter evening to see. This was our third time visiting the Giant Lanterns of China, and while previous years have focused on Chinese AstrologyĀ and Scottish and Chinese Myths and Legends, this year the theme was on the Lost Worlds of the Prehistoric Eras and was probably the best yet.

Wrapped up in boots and winter coats, with cold hands curled around cups of hot chocolate, we enjoyed wandering (or in my case waddling!) around the displays and learning about the different prehistoric eras from the infamous Jurassic era all the way up to the marsupial and ice ages. Iā€™m always impressed by the scale and details of the lanterns with their feathers, spines, teeth, eyes, expressions and shading.

I have mixed feelings about zoos, but this event always reminds me of the valuable conservation work that Edinburgh Zoo does, as well as raising awareness that we must all do whatever we can to prevent other endangered species from extinction in our lifetimes. Have a lovely week. X

EndangeredSpecies

Festive Tidings

Festive Tidings

The last fortnight has passed in a blur of good times with good people, and I can hardly believe that we’re already packing away the Christmas decorations for another year and preparing to return to work tomorrow.

Christmas morning began with a visit to the in-law’s home, chatting and exchanging gifts while nibbling mince pies and Christmas cake. Like us, they’ve have a tough year, losing two relatives and then their cat just shy of her 22nd birthday, but we’re all relieved to put 2019 behind us and hoping 2020 will be better.

Christmas morning tea

Our Christmas lunch was quieter than usual, as it was just me, my husband and parents. I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve spent Christmas without my nanna, but she wasn’t well enough to join us, so after lunch the four of us visited her at the care home to spend some time with her and help her to open presents.

Afterwards, we had a supper of cheese and biscuits, and settled down to play a board game with my parents. Our Christmas bore little resemblance to the rambunctious gatherings that are so ubiquitous on TV at this time of year, but it was calm, cosy and intimate.

Over the festive break we also managed to squeeze in catch-ups with extended family, friends from Dublin and London, and a trip to the cinema to watch the new Star Wars film.

Cosy evenings

This week we’ve had a few days to ourselves at home and we’ve enjoyed watching the BBC adaptation of His Dark Materials, tackling a 1000 piece jigsaw together, toasting marshmallows, reading and working our way through leftover Christmas cake, chocolates, cheese and crackers.

It’s been a busy break filled with family and friends, but now looking forward to the peaceful midwinter days of January and all the promise of a new year ahead of us. Have a lovely week. X