There’s a phrase in german, immer hin, which means something along the lines of always going there, always getting there, always moving towards it. Immer hin. Yeah. Things might take a while but you’ll get there in the end. A little conversation about rhubarb cake reminded me of it recently.


I like immer hin you know. I like the idea of not giving up, unless something really is worth dumping by the wayside, but other things, other important things, to keep on doing them, working towards things, even if it’s just a bit every week; it all adds up over the years.

So this last week I’ve talked to the blog a lot. I’ve started thinking again. And I’m glad of that. Astrid and I have been out walking. Walking around the Heath. Over to Swain’s Lane, around past the ponds, up the hill, through the glade, traverse kite hill, down by the terrace houses, over the railway bridge and back home. I’ve given up on coffee for the time being. My nose has been blocked and my energy levels plummeted and I’ve been huffing and puffing barely really pushing the pram. Feeling as fed up as fed up can feel.

We watched a rainbow kite scoot across the cold blue sky. We watched it till the path curved around and we couldn’t crane our necks any further. We watched parched autumn leaves trip across the path, tumbling over and over, their journeys still underway as they pass us. We watched the wind blowing in the trees and we watched the leaves raining down. We saw green leaves, yellow leaves, brown leaves, grey path, happy dogs, barking dogs, playful dogs, blue sky, windy sky, grey clouds, white clouds, big fields, green grass, muddy paths, groves of trees. We ate exciting pan au raisin and we ate not as exciting carrot cake.

Astrid points while I narrate. Most sentences end in little pot, or little chop. Look! It’s a rainbow kite little pot. Shall we get you a kite for christmas little pot? Astrid will point. Yes, it’s brown leaves little pot. In the back of a kubota mini truck thing, little chop. Do you know mummy knows the 1970s theme song from the Kubota ads little pot? Mummy knows a lot of jingles from new zealand from the 70s and 80s. She must have watched an awful lot of television, little chop.

And so the blocked nose just got all too much and the tiredness and the puffedness and the running up and down the stairs and shouting every time the phone went and being bloody fed up and being in a really bad mood. A Really Bad Mood. Saturday morning I decided I was a complete failure so the heath walk narrative to Kevin as we walked past the running track, began this week, this morning as I lay on the sofa not wanting to get up and move I decided I was a complete and utter failure because I’ve never finished anything and I’m always just ok at everything, never really really good. Always quite good, but never really great, I can just never be bothered putting in enough effort to be really fabulous at anything. But Kevin got me up off the sofa and out of the house, and up the road where the narrative begins, and I said well, it’s these stupid damn new age books I was brought up on that tell you you can do anything if you put your mind to it. And you can be the greatest at everything in the world if you want to and Kevin said well, that’s true, which I suppose it is, but I was just so pissed off that there’s all this stuff that says you’re meant to be so great all the time. And you can do anything you can dream of (which I agree with). Anything – but so often these were suggested as being such lofty goals. So you’re meant to be a multi millionaire with your own empire and this and that.

So there’s this great big tug of war where I have set my ambitions a bit lower than best in the entire world firewalk with me Antony bloody Robbins and I’m wrestling with myself that maybe I’ve set my ambitions too low, or that I failed because I haven’t got my empire yet. And I’m not a multi-millionaire when i really should be, because if I am supposed to be able to have everything I can dream of then why am I not all this stuff? And this all boils down to Charlotte in her previous life taking the red pill and her ambitions changed although the mind hasn’t really caught up yet. Charlotte used to be a very good corporate cog, taking her sharebroking papers, wearing nice Charles Jourdan boots, with Lisa Ho black outfits, driving her shiny blue Fiat uno with a personalised plate, working late, feeling happy for giving her soul to a company so she can get given flowers for working late and being a Very Good Girl. And finding herself several years later at a company dinner at The Banqueting House in Whitehall standing up clapping for a Very Right Wing Politician, having no idea who he is, only to find out later and feeling horrified she didn’t actually walk out then and there.

So back to the running track, and the narrative. And this week pondering all these thoughts, the blocked nose, the draining of all the energy. And all this mad running around without stopping to think about anything. And realising I’ve not really thought about much of anything for many many years. And thinking that winging it on my intuition would be fine. When really it was just winging it. And being too lazy to think. (And also being saved as if by magic by my intuition on many an occasion. So thanks intuition. You do deserve credit.)

And I was so annoyed at myself for having given away all control of my life to other people, happily being told what to do, being told what’s important to me, where I should live, why I need to do this and that. And I was so mad with myself, because I had just gone along with it – and never really stopped to sit down and decide what I wanted. So it was high time I came up with my own life plan. To really decide what I want. Where I want to set my ambitions. What I want to do. Things I want for our family. And I must remember for next time the story of the humble japanese potter and gardener. And those kind of ‘ambitions’. That kind of philosophy. And not the grandiose new age you can do it book ambitions. Because that’s what I want to think about. That’s what I want to base the life plan on.

I remember when I was eighteen, my life plan was to be an interior designer. I would have a simple modern clean all white home, and a yellow porsche. A 911. Nothing fancy. A bit of rust would be fine. And I’d still like that (although I might change some of my colour preferences). So this week I decided to work out my life plan. But first I needed to recover. So I sat down yesterday evening and just breathed through my nose, and made myself do it. And eventually I could breathe through my nose again. This morning I had enough energy to go up the road twice in a row because Astrid needed her warm coat for the zoo. And today I’ve knitted on the sofa and drunk tea. And eaten oven fries with tomato sauce and mayonnaise.

Tonight I will roast organic beef from Pomona and cook using the new cast iron pans that arrived yesterday. I will practice my breathing. I will focus on slowing down. I will do my life plan over the next few weeks, but my immediate goal is to simply breathe and to slow down.

We’ll get there in the end. We are here now.