Simple Goals & Late Summer Days

The idea for this post came from Dawn and her beautiful blog May All Seasons Be Sweet to Thee
which introduced me to Elsie at A Beautiful Mess
One of my favourite things about the blogging world is the people you meet, and the creativity that is unfolded in front of your eyes by these new talents. So inspiring. Elsie's initial idea was that we post 4 Simple Goals and try and achieve them by 2011...personal, life enhancing things...and reward ourselves when they are accomplished. It's a wonderful plan - one that really made me think. I need some new, small things to work towards, while I'm trying to achieve the big things too like writing my books! Here goes:

1. I want to create a really welcoming space in my writing room. At the moment, it's crowded & cluttered, a little dusty - to be honest,I sometimes have to force myself to go upstairs and start work, leaving the comfortable brightness of the rest of the house behind. The view is so wonderful - the church clock, trees, birds - that I really should organise the rest of the room accordingly. I need a new comfortable chair - perhaps with a cushion to rest in the small of my back - somewhere for all needs a good overhaul.

2. Despite the fact (or maybe because of it?) that I've been a professional cook in some capacity for so many years, I find myself falling into the predictable trap of serving the same 5 or 6 meals most evenings - or variations on them, anyway. I need to break out of the rut, stop just reading all those cookbooks and start cooking from them. It's better at weekends for some reason, maybe because we often cook together and the days are more relaxed anyway.

3. I want to write more letters. Years ago, I was always communicating this way but the advent of e-mail and now Twitter has made everything so instant that the joy of receiving something wonderful in the post is getting lost. I'm very lucky that I've made some new friends - the Tweetettes as I call them - who seem to share my view on this (and so much else!) The delight when a card or handwritten note or small gift arrives makes me determined to return the favour more often....and treat some of my older friends & my family. Communication and thoughtfulness is so important to friendships. Another reason too. Yesterday I was looking through some old photographs when I found one of my grandfather, the last of my grandparents, who died almost 17 years was wrapped in a little letter he'd written me in shaky spider copperplate in 1992. The final words were: 'Keep smiling darling until I see you again, I love you, Grandad xxxx' Finding it again was like receiving a hug from him, all down those long years. Something that would never happen with an e-mail.

4.I want to try and find something new to do each week, something to break the little routines and habits that are so easy & seductive to human beings. Nothing spectacular: find a new place to walk with Alice, wear a different shade of lipstick, go & watch a movie that I don't expect to like, explore a new area of London. Live a life less ordinary. I have a horror of 'settling'...but I'm in danger of doing so. A happy life can be dangerous sometimes,if  it inhibits discovery and challenge.

So that's my four goals. Are you tempted to join me in finding your own?
The week has begun on a decidedly Autumnal note...warm, still, but the fading sepia mops of the hydrangea flowers are telling a story that can't be ignored. The season is changing, slowly but surely. My mother's little dog, Widget, died on Sunday.

a bossy little terrier with chocolate button eyes, saved from a nightmare life churning out litter after litter of puppies. In her 13 years at the farm, she changed from a scared,snappy little thing into a sweet natured companion with a personality much bigger than her small frame. She needed to go - a brain tumour was just too much, after a previous victorious battle against pancreatitis - but she's so missed by the whole family, especially my dad's dear Ivy, her devoted companion through most of her life. Run free, little girl. Every rabbit hole is now yours to explore until we see you again!

Have a happy week xox


  1. I really, really love your goals, and can relate to ALL of them!
    And you and I really must start writing more letters to one another!

    I am so sorry to hear about your mom's sweet doggy; though it is a great comfort that Widget lived a happy life on the farm.

    xoxo dawn

  2. Great goals... I'd love to see how your writing space looks!

    I'm so sorry for your loss :( She was a beautiful dog ♥

  3. Dearest Rachel,

    I really enjoyed reading today's post! Very inspiring and such wonderful goals. It is a pleasure & delight to be your friend. Your post has inspired me to set aside some new goals for myself for the upcoming fall season. Huggggs!

  4. Dearest Rachel, Just loved reading your blog post. I agree with you too. Touching tribute to Widget (she was beautiful). Have to believe we will all meet our pets again some day. Inspiring ♥

  5. So I am not the only one to think it look Autumnal outside. Although it does not feel like Autumn all the time: it is often very warm. But it is not quite summer anymore.

    Interesting goals, some very similar to mine (I also want to get myself a good writing place), but some not so much as I long for some stability. My life has been unsettled for long enough and I want a bit more security.

  6. Your post made me cry. Widget sounds amazing. So sorry. I understand completely what you mean, a book mark fell out of my new book today, and onto my chest. It was in a fish design, and made up of the sentence "if you don't change direction, you may end up where you're heading".... a sign for us all perhaps xxxxxxxxx

  7. Racheal..Great goals..I can see some of those that I should try to do also!

    So sorry to hear about your Moms dog..that can also be such a great loss


  8. rachel...first know me...that post about widget...i'm crying....what a precious, darling sweet baby....she was saved from a horrible life...and had a wonderful and loving home...she was just adorable..those sweet sweet eyes...what a treasure she was .. and what a heartbreak and a loss...a loss i know only all too well...just last night i put fresh flowers on Buddy's ashes...and it still makes me cry...losing one is life's greatest sorrow...

    my heartfelt sympathies to you and your family for this greatest of losses....

    your goals: enjoyed reading your sound like me...i have got to break out of my rut and try some new recipes !!!! i am really feeling a bread baking Fall coming up...

    rachel..teddy is doing so well...he has mended such a broken and sad heart...he saved me ...he is so loved by john and i....he is the love of our lives and the center of my world...he means everyting to me...i have to tell you..i was offered a job as a designer for Pottery Barn...and took a pass on it...i just want to be home baking and being with TEDDY!!!!

    sending love to you and sweet, sweet alice
    kary and teddy

  9. Sorry about your Mom's dog. It is so hard to lose a pet. Give your mom my sympathies.

    I hope your writing space turns out just as you envisioned it to be. Don't forget to post about it.

    Love that goal about trying new things, that's a great goal and one I might like to steal.

  10. hello Miss Rachel:).

    I love your goals- every single one of them:). I agree- there is nothing quite like a personal, hand-written letter. While the internet and modern technology is so wonderful in many ways, and oh so convenient, I worry that we're losing the personal touches of communicating the old fashioned way. We should all try to write more letters and make more phone calls, get together for more face-to-faces.

    I'm so very sorry to hear about your mom's dog. I'm sure she was very well loved. I hope your mom is doing alright.

    I look forward to sharing the signs of autumn with you in blogland:).



  11. Losing a family member after so many years of joy is beyond the ken. Please relay my sympathy to your Mother. This is why I haven't had the courage to take another dog into my life. Someday a lost dog will need help and I'll fall head over heels.

    Loved reading your goal list. I'll go back and read Dawn's posting. I've been bad about keeping up with things because of a new book proposal in the works (and you know about the other one in your area).

    I'll write more later, but until then,

    Love, love,

    Sharon (Cant' wait to talk, talk, and talk when I see you this month-Sue should be at the gab fest too) Keep on writing!

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