Monday, 24 August 2009

Until next time

They stood on the platform, side by side with fingers entwined in a knowing clasp. There had been no words for several minutes. They just stood facing the line together, breathing simultaneous heavy sighs.

He hated these times, his heart always the same - deep rhythmic beats as they waited for the train to take her away. Small beads of sweat gathered under his trilby, giving away his anxiousness as they rolled down his temples. She must have seen from the corner of her gaze, for her fingers tightened, warm with re-assurance.

Across the platform, on the northern line, stood a young couple locked in an embrace so tight, that it was difficult to see where one ended and the other began; kissing with such passion it was as though their lives depended on the taste of the other’s lips. They watched, remembering back to the first time they had stood on the platform, a fondness for the memory made both of them smile; gone were the days of such physical goodbyes but flame still burned.

She lifted her free hand; red dry skin gave a sign of how age had caught up with her, similar to the mid September chill that tickled the back of her neck. Years ago she would have been like the young girl in the embrace – her legs bare, long and toned in a short yellow skirt and heels. She pulled her silk scarf close around her neck to stop the cold whisper. Where had time run away to? She looked at the gold watch on her wrist (her most recent gift that she would have to justify with a story of extravagant expenditure); it indicated that she had two minutes left. She turned to her everlasting love, his eyes sparkling with the dew of goodbye, his deep brown eyes still managed to leave her breathless. His eyes always said the same, twice a year, for forty years, they had begged her not to go and to leave him again, not to return to the life he was not part of. She thought about the day she had chosen her destiny and how she wished, all those years ago that she had listened to her heart.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Childhood Summers

I dream of summers passed, of times captured under a orange haze; the smell of roses, perfumed sweet peas. Strawberry splits whilst legs dangle and toes dip in the cool racing river. A garden kingdom for cowboys and red Indians, a climbing frame castle to hide from the 'baddies'. Imaginations fly and set sail on rafts, lost at sea until the soda stream flows. The softness of grass, lush underfoot, the tickle of straw against running legs. A family picnic with bat and ball, bright melamine plates dressed with triangle sandwiches, cups full of cherryade pop. The old dog pants - searching for shade until paddling pool splashes provide a cooling game. Laughter and songs as games are played, cheerful tunes and a screwball surprise. A day on the beach, hours in the sea, car journeys home with fish and chips on knees. Tired to bed with sun-kissed skin and dreams of the adventure that the next day brings

Monday, 3 August 2009

Doing it for the kids - Support Zimele UK

A few years ago, one of my best friends left the UK for 9 months to work in an orphanage in South Africa. I remember her leaving party and how proud I felt of her for doing such an amazing thing – something I didn’t think I could ever be strong enough to do. My friend, who has a medical background worked with children who had been orphaned due to the HIV and AIDS pandemic that is strife across Africa. Many of the children carried the virus and had to be given drugs every day, Peta campaigned for their treatment and drove the children miles to see doctors in a area that was unsafe to be in. During her time there, it was heartbreaking to hear news of not all the children surviving. I admired Peta so much for what she was doing and wrote every month and sent packages for the children – little things like sweets and cartoon plasters, all of which were really appreciated and something new.

I have always wanted to do something like Peta; to do something where I feel I can make a difference, but even my mum tells me I don’t have a strong enough heart to do so. Maybe in a few years when I have a little more wisdom on life and confidence in myself I would like to think I could.

Peta wasn’t the only one who shared this experience and since returning, she has joined three other volunteers who worked in the Kwa Natal communities of South Africa, and set up the UK arm of a charity called Zimele which provides support through projects and skills to the adults and guardians allowing them to look after the children. It is an amazing charity that with little steps and efforts by some very committed people, provides help to those struggling with poverty and who have lost loved ones.Again, wanting to be involved and to help where I can I have become a trustee to provide the marketing support to get the charity off the ground. As with all these things, it takes time and time seems something that gets lost every day. We are all trying to do our bit – from selling the handmade crafts from South Africa at local markets and fair-trade events to writing press releases and arranging fundraising events. Which leads me onto number one of my Things to do before I am 30 list – I have set up my fundraising page and sent it out to all friends and family committing myself to jumping out of a plane at 14,000ft in September. Yikes. I am hoping that I can raise a good amount of sponsorship which will give the projects a great boost and set Zimele UK on the way to being a registered charity (which was another item on my list!)

So, if you are reading this and would like to sponsor me, please go to my fundraising page and donate what you can – even if it is a pound – it makes a difference, and gives me what I need – because believe me, I am going to be shaking like a leaf, with my heart in my mouth as that plan goes up and the doors open.

Thank you ; ) x