podcast of the week

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I became aware of Garance Dore some years ago as her stationary line at the time (cheery mottos scrawled in gold handwriting; mid century esque fashion sketches of a woman in a hat or sunglasses), was super popular. I thought it was just be a marketing fad and whilst I didn’t hate it, I wasn’t that interested.

Then a few months ago I found her Instagram page and was intrigued by the calm desert vibe, the talk of meditation and the strong female friendships on it. Now I’ve downloaded a bunch of episodes from Garance’s podcast “Pardon my French”.

Despite the savvy title and intro blurb, it’s a radical and authentic series of conversations with women about how they identified the path they wanted with regards to living their life. Mainly there’s a sense of Garance’s interviewees having calmly and consciously made their choices earlier and enjoying the consequences of that.

The series is an encouragement to re-examine your assumptions about fulfilment, happiness, the shock of refinding desire in your 60s, and what maternity and femininity might mean. In particular it feels almost shocking to hear women publicly say they never wanted children, or prefer their plants to their children. Shocking because surely this should be an open conversation now, and liberating because it’s not.

Wise words for halfway through the year

“May the bridges I burn light the way” – courage from Jordan Ferney, founder of Color Factory

When choosing between two courses of action, Gretchen Rubin’s decider is to “choose the bigger life”. Great for those moments when you’re self-limiting without realising it

The powerhouse who is Stacey Abrahams, aka the governor of Florida contestant last year who insisted that every vote in the race was counted, has gone back to grass roots to continue voter registration and who gave a blistering non-concession speech, also has a useful distinction between acknowledgement and acceptance: Acknowledgment means you know it’s there; acceptance it is saying there’s no way around this. Stacey Abrahams says “I don’t accept anything; I acknowledge everything”. There’s more gold in her interview on the “Call Your Girlfriend” podcast last year.

And another important reminder from Arundhati Roy: There is really no such thing as the “voiceless”. There are only those who are deliberately silenced or preferably unheard”

Cold pennies

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They drove from shop to shop. The air was white and when they alighted it tasted like cold pennies…

Christmas shopping with EM Forster in Howards End. Photo of Mrs Nash and her chauffeur in The Mall in 1953 from the National Portrait Gallery, Scotland.

All saints

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As is the tradition every year I like to thank the friends in my life who are like saints daily. I don’t feel like I’ve been a terribly present friend myself this year, being wrapped up in quite a few personal things, so the fact that others continued to reach out means a lot. I can’t wait to be back in my own home and be able to gather friends round again once more. Those long chats with tea on the sofa are definitely coming in 2019.

So, to the friends who share their career frustrations with you and make you realise that you’ve both got this,

to the friends who share cat pictures on demand whenever needed (always),

to the friends who make you laugh and always bring fun to your life with their parties, enjoyment of life and enthusiasm,

to the friends who are neighbours and those who live far away but are happy visitors / welcoming hosts to a visit,

to the friends starting the next phase in their lives and bravely, kindly sharing it with you so that you can also see the path ahead,

to the friends who offer tea, gin, laughter, fun tales, nights out and art trips and give you a whole new burst of spirit without even realising it,

and the friends whose texts, hugs, thoughtful presents, and most of all the fact that they exist mean so much more than they’ll know, even with this mash note post… THANK YOU.