Saturday, 6 December 2014

Day Fifty-Seven

1. Perfect Strangers

Yesterday, I mentioned a parcel I had received that got me thinking about what hope means to me and remembering Emily Dickinson’s wonderful poem that sums it up so well.

One of my favourite magazines is ‘Oh Comely’ It’s just so fun and quirky. You never know what to expect in it, other than it will be beautiful and something in there will inspire some creative activity or other. A few months ago, I discovered a wonderful project Oh Comely do every now and again called ‘Perfect Strangers.’ The idea is that you register online to commit to send a stranger a box of goodies. Some suggestions are given and it’s all very typical of Oh Comely - a mixture of comforting things like winter drinks, candles, chocolates, sweets, wooly socks etc and more quirky, arty and original things like a photo copy of the contents of your handbag or a disk or memory stick of your favourite songs, photos, quotes and audiobooks etc. I thought it was an awesome idea and just what I could do with to give me a bit of a boost at the moment so I signed up immediately and waited for the day to come when we would be assigned our stranger and given a little bit of information to go on to help us put together a box especially for them. 

I was matched with the beautiful singer and musician, Miriam Watson from Ireland. Miriam is heaps younger than me but I discovered she has loads of things in common with me, such as writing songs and music and some of our favourite bands and artists too. I really enjoyed putting a box together for her and choosing music to go onto a special disk. My box from Miriam arrived yesterday and it was amazing. I really did get a perfect stranger. I was so touched with how personal it was and how much love and thought she had put into matching her gifts and her words to our situation. It was like having another rescue box and some of the things are already in the rescue tin that I turn to to lift me out of the bad days. Among goodies like ginger biscuits - with salted butter too (yum!), sherbet lemons and some amazing sounding tea, Miriam put in a beautiful card which is on the notice board above my desk and will come with me to Birmingham when the time comes, a photo frame with the word ‘HOPE’ on the paper holding the place of the photos, some amazing fairy lights which are up and cheering me no end and a memory stick with some amazing photos, quotes and, best of all, Miriam’s beautiful music. 

I kept meaning to check her out on YouTube was I was putting her box together but never quite got around to it. I was really pleased I didn’t because it meant it was new to me when I heard the tracks on the memory stick. One of these is a beautiful song called ‘Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained,’ which Miriam said in her letter would help me when I’m having a bad day. It’s a song written for Enable Ireland and released to raise funds so do check it out and buy it. There are some lyrics that really touched me and are perfect for William and I.

“I know you’ll pull through the fight
With all of your courage…”


“You’re al the strength I need”

I’ve said all along that Wills is leading me on this journey. He wanted to go for this transplant right from the start and he has bought us along with him. We look to each other now for strength on the bad days.  The memory stick is also in my rescue box. 

Here is Miriam’s beautiful song and video but please don’t just listen on YouTube. Go and buy it and support her and Enable Ireland.

I think Miriam has a fantastic career ahead and am looking forward to seeing where my ‘perfect stranger’ goes from here.
If you're interested, the next perfect strangers project is in May. I'll be taking part again for sure. 

2. Go through the wardrobe into the woods...

Today, Wills was at the opera with this dad. His dad and his wife are professional opera singers and she was in an opera for children today, apparently about aliens. Wills went along, giving me a Saturday off stoma bags and TPN. I decided to get out with a friend and have a bit of a break. My first thought was to go to Southbank for their Winter Festival but this includes a train along the Thames which Wills will love. We also had a later start than planned because I ended up waking at 11! Unheard of but clearly needed. So we decided to stay a bit more local and have a late brunch and walk in the beautiful Coombe Gardens and Woods and then wander up to the top of Addington Hill.

People think of Croydon as a bit of a concrete monstrosity but we also have several extensive woods and hills. A five minute hop on the tram can take you into a completely different world. Today, I felt like I really was in a new world, almost as if I had walked through my wardrobe into Narnia. Everything was so frosty and beautiful and there weren’t many people around either. It was cold but if you stay in during the winter months you miss so much beauty. It was a perfect afternoon with the frosty woods and gardens and we got the most beautiful display of twinkling ‘fairy lights’ as we watched dusk fall over the whole of London from the view point at the top of the hill. Oh, and our late start served as well too as the lunchtime rush had cleared by the time we had our, er, brunch and we got the prime spot on the sofa in front of the open fire. I think today should become a Christmas tradition, as long as the weather can provide the frost, or even snow for us.

On the memory stick in my ‘perfect stranger’s box was a beautiful picture of sunset over the sea in Miriam’s gorgeous little town. I was thinking of you today Miriam when I took this picture of the sun setting over London. It’s a panorama of the city from the view point. 

3. Dusk brings dawn...

This beautiful quote from Amma came up on my Facebook wall today. It’s perfect for me today and something else that is going into my rescue box.

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