Friday, 2 October 2009

Sometimes the phrase 'everything happens for a reason', feels especially pertinent.I recently wrote a piece on how we all need to slow down. It covered the whole business of frantically needing to cram more and more into our days -and feeling guilty if we dare to take a breather. Of course it's good - and healthy - to be busy. But it's also vital to take time out for ourselves and not feel guilty about it. As I wrote, I remembered a conversation I'd had with my daughter Flo, when she was last home for a couple of days. We'd planned to spend a girly evening together, drinking Lambrini (secret vice - oh dear, the secret's out), giggling, eating sushi, which both us adore, and watching Mamma Mia (again). When I proceeded to drag out the ironing board, thinking I could multitask during the evening, I was met with a look of acute disappointment.'Why do you always have to be DOING something?' asked my lovely and sensible daughter. 'Put the bloody ironing away, and just come and hang out with me.' Needless to say I saw her point. A lesson learned - and reinforced when, a couple of days later I did an interview on how 'Retreats for you' came into being, for Radio Devon. The presenter, Judi Spiers was a delightful host, and the interview went swimmingly, until she asked me 'And do you ever go away on retreat yourself? You know, to recharge your batteries.' I think I winged it pretty well, and came up with a reasonable answer, but in fact the thought had never occurred to me. Now however, the idea was well and truly planted. Practise what you preach, I told myself sternly.Yesterday was a glorious warm sunny day. It was Flo's day off, and I drove into Exeter to meet her. By 9.30 am we were drinking frothy coffee in a little cafe down by the quay. I blinked into the bright sunshine, and watched the ducks cavorting on the water. 'I feel like I'm on holiday', I said. After a morning of light shopping, we picknicked on the Cathedral green, along with lots of office workers and students, the girls dressed in brightly coloured tops and dresses. Everyone was smiling in the sunshine. We talked and ate and relaxed, and then we shopped a little more.Eventually we wandered home, to find somebody else making dinner. It had been utterly delightful. And there was no guilt.

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