Tuesday, 13 January 2009


Not much happening here at the moment. The crisp, frosty weather has gone taking my inspiration with it and leaving grey drizzle in its wake. I'm not so good at this side of winter and will need to work hard at not letting it get to me. Perhaps I should use my camera as a way of seeking the beauty in even the dullest of days? I have cheated a little by bringing in sprays of camellia and snowy white viburnum tinus to cheer the rooms.

Things are set for change here in the next few weeks and it is a change I feel most strange contemplating. My son, Sam, leaves for New Zealand for four months on Thursday and while it is the trip of a lifetime, I have never had him away home for more than a week. Lauren, eldest daughter, leaves for Belgium at the end of the month for five months. By the time I see her again it will be closer to six. Though I am used to Lauren taking herself of all around the world - she toured Europe for almost six months and went to Thailand for a month on a Gap Year scheme - I still feel the loss of her. We drove her back to her University digs in Clifton on Saturday, a three hour drive from Cornwall, and as we left I realised I wouldn't hug this precious child again for such a long time. She will be undertaking part of her course through the Erasmus scheme and will not know anyone when she arrives, just like when she flew alone to Thailand. Like her mum she seems to have a need to challenge herself, but it is her mum who will worry despite knowing she will be fine, more than fine. It will all be fine, just most odd and our Walton-esque family will have shrunk for the moment.

In the meantime, I feel the need for cooking and homemade carrot, celery and thyme soups, breads and cakes seem to proliferate; seeking comfort in food? Maybe, though doesn't such food feed the soul whatever the mood? The herbs in the garden have survived the frosts and the chives continue as though Spring were already here, and in some ways the contrast does make that so. So much milder, hence the rain which the gardener in me says we need...hmmm.

Sunday brought a day where Sam was treated to one of his favourite meals: lamb pasanda slow cooked till the meat melts away in the sauce of cream and almonds and the mildest of spices. As it gently cooked in the oven and the kitchen filled with the promise of things to come we played Tarot, the last time for Sam for a long while. He is getting thoughtful about his trip and the loss of his family albeit only temporarily. A first trip, a long way, and yet only the other end of a phone line thank heavens.

I bake more cakes and think and ideas for new designs finally begin to form, hazy at first, ephemeral, but there nonetheless, and for the first time since Christmas I begin to feel my head can return fully to the business. It is a relief. So much going on, so many impending partings. It is time for us all to get on with what faces us and that will be fine too. I'll raise a glass of our cider made with such fun in the autumn, delicious and flowery having survived the barrel being left in the cold of the garden, and drink to what lies ahead remembering all the while that time passes and they will return to play more cards, make more cider. The circle will be whole once more.

The sun has come out and I feel ready for it all.

Bye for now xx


  1. Dear Pipany. A lovely poignant post. I feel for you as you consider your loved ones travelling for several months. As you say, all will be well and they'll be only a phone call away. And then, in months to come you can enjoy a wonderful, loving family homecoming and relish their stories of distant adventures. Denise.

  2. Parting is such sweet sorrow, I know. But give yourself a huge pat on the back for being the kind of mum who can love them and let them go, safe in the knowledge that you really love someone by letting them go, not clinging to them like some sad old limpet at the Last Chance Saloon. And then another pat on the back for having raised children of spirit and adventure, brave enough to take on challenges, not sitting at home feeling hard done by, or out on the streets causing mayhem. Children who go away with such fabulous memories of Mum's baking marathons and their home made cider, not to mention memories of Home Sweet Home. Of course you will worry, and of course they know you will worry, it's part of being a parent isn't it, and a child growing up accepting what it's like to be an adult and getting some comprehension of what it's like being a parent as well.

  3. Hi Pip,
    A real time of change for you all but the strength and closeness that you obviously have as a family will keep you all close in your hearts. We bring our children up in the hope they will be confident enough to spread their wings and rise to new challenges and yours seem to.Your home and your family life look so cosy and warm.
    sending you lots of love and athough too as a gardener i am thankful for the rain, i hope the sun keeps shining for you.
    Ginny xx

  4. I agree wholeheartedly with pinkfairygran. your children are who you make them, we wouldn't have it any other way. My 2 travel still and still I worry and fret but when they show me photos and tell me of their adventures I love it. Bethan has been round the world twice, worked in an orphanage in Roumania when she was 17, volunteered when the tsunami was was news. It's made her what she is.Gareth came back from South America some months ago with new ideas and projects. and look at me, got on a boat in Falmouth one day and landed up here!!!
    On the more practical side Skype is fantastic.........

  5. Ah, good luck to those who are going out in the world and strong nerves to you for coping with it. Gosh, you'll be rattling around there won't you? Well, maybe not quite!

  6. How hard it is to let them go, i do empathise with you Pip....but at least they are coming back, not, like mine, going to live in a far away country. I last saw my son in Oz 3 years ago!

  7. Well, there are a hundred things I could say in response to this post, including agreeing with all the other comments. I only know that there is change and it's how we approach and accept that change that makes us who we are.

    I like the sound of the new designs coming through for the business - sounds like the right response to such change.

    P x

  8. Another lovely post Pipany. Yes, it's both a proud moment and a sad moment when the birds fly away on a long trip. Younger daughter has been the traveller in our family. She goes off to South Africa and the next time we see her she is on CNN in the front line of a demonstration - all five foot nothing size 8 of her. Quite safe really I tell myself.
    Meanwhile your Babbit is making a big impression, everyone thinks she is just gorgeous.

  9. Pipany, your children are marvelous tributes to you, and the freedom and enthusiasm that you have encouraged.

    Their planned travels sound pretty wonderful to me. As others have written, what reunions you all will have when that house fills up again ... and it will be summer.

    May I also say that soup bowl is beautiful, and the soup is, too. The lamb dish with almonds sounds so intriguing. I can see why it would be a favorite.

    And, those card players surely do seem to be having a grand time.

    Just a beautiful post!

  10. Bon voyage to Lauren and Sam. Much harder for you than them if my own experience is anything to go by. You have obviously raised confident and happy children.

  11. We had the first experience of Wildchild being out of the country when she went to Trinidad last year - so I can empathise. Our kids are both away at Uni and we don't see them often but somehow it is easier when they are in the same country.

    I drew and draw comfort from the fact that we've given them wings with which to fly.

  12. Hi Pip, thinking of you as your babes fly the nest...and happy journeying to Sam and Lauren.

  13. I really think this is the true test of our mothering - will they be able to successfully leave and will we be able to let them?
    I truly felt for you when I read this Pipany. They'll do well, though - they have strong roots.

  14. Hi Pipany, I really love your blog. As a mother I can feel your emotion in every word. But your son and daughter will return with tales of new adventures. (If he gets to Auckland he MUST visit the Ice Bar near the Hilton although I think there may be one in London now). Wishing your loved ones safe and happy travels! xxx

  15. What another wonderful post and i too know how difficult it can be to watch your children leave the family home .They grow so quickly .

    Thank you so much for the Pendennis advice , we shall be visiting in the summer to have a good look .

    Sara x

  16. I love your blogs Pipany. Don't know how you manage to do so much. Great to hear your children are broadening their horizons.It's a wonderful experience for them. The real sting comes when they leave for good.
    The cider looks good. Brings me back to my days living in The West country. Have an urge to go back for a visit later this year.

  17. But a homecoming to look forward to. And many wonderful experiences to be had in the meantime.

    CJ xx

  18. Wonderful blog pipany. I feel with you and identify so strongly with the letting go. It is a wonderful thing to be able to do and they sound pretty special kids to be doing what they are doing.
    Roots and wings, you have given them both.

  19. Hang in there Pipany, it seems so much to have happen all at once, but you can cope. Keep busy (you always are) and let your creative side jump in and help you handle things.
    Karon x

  20. Oh Pip it can't be easy, you sound like you're doing a great job of holidng it together for them all. Be kind to yourself. You must be so terrificly proud of them, what adventurers. You've given them a wonderful gift. Hope time passes swiftly for you.

  21. Beautifully written...it's such a bittersweet time for a Mum when the fledglings fledge!

    However, I always think it's a wonderful testament, and a great compliment to the parents if the children are adventurous and curious about the world.

    I always tried to instill a bit of wunderlust in mine...funny they are still in Cornwall!!!

  22. Hi P, how exciting for your children, all those new adventures and wonderful places to see,It is weird when you dont see them for a while but makes you appreciate them all the more when they come back (until they hand you a mountain of washing!)
    I loathe this dull weather too..roll on Spring in all your flowery glory I say.
    Hope you have a sunny, Happy weekend. x

  23. what a busy time ahead for eveyone. My mu still cries when they go home from visiting here and we live 5 Hrs away!!! I was bad enough when K went to stay the night at a friends, what if this? what if that? Needless to say she came home in one piece, no sleep was had of course but she was fine, it was me who was stressed :D I have a busy couple of weeks ahead but half terms 3 weeks away the winds blowing a gale but I feel on top of things and even survived 4 kids for tea!!! Just like you baked far too many muffins, although everyone ate 3!!! Hungry people the welsh folk