Retreat – There’s a kinda hush…..

I can’t deny that I use songs to reflect  – I do! They are the most wonderful art form ever and I know that Dundee Rep’s musical director Hilary would agree totally. As the world outside begins to melt and the Christmas lull comes to an abrupt end, this household has study on its mind – a serious and for somebody, a very boring phase to get through.

Music helps like nothing else. Focus is sharpened for longer and the hours slip by. It would be too easy to get cabin-fever, especially during the freeze, but that connection with the song reminds us that creativity is a salvage from the mundane.

This year feels different from the last few -no family death, no illness, no disaster. So despite the state of the world -we are at peace this year in our home. Some bits are difficult – christmas cards missing. Some celebrations aren’t the same anymore -St Nicholas.

But a sense of normality exists – teen parties, school dances, invites to dinner with old friends. Some things are difficult to let go of – songs will always burn the soul and make a person break down and cry. But that’s what songs are for at times….

I got  my desired books as presents this year and will take the journey into that place that burns my soul this coming year. What will happen thereafter I’m not sure. I would like to be able to bury it and move on – to read and study other places -like here -the place I live in. In the meantime, one huge ghost has to be exorcised in the coming months -and being Balkan by nature, I will thoroughly enjoy the exploration and all that I will discover.

My starting point will be in a newly-appointed position as community ambassador for the Scottish Book Trust, for my geographical area. The programme I’m working on is the Family Legends one and will entail gathering stories in my community, encouraging people to write about their family heroes (and sheroes) over the next few months. I have to start with my own family legend, and we have agreed, in our family that it is my mother, especially as a little girl growing up in Europe during the Second World War.

And there the journey begins – I go down my path and help others to go down theirs. As always, in all community work, the path has two forks, the journey is however a circular one and the song is always there to lead the way.

We will be quietly busy in our home this year for the first few months and will then step out and revisit the past before we take the giant leap into the future.

Here’s to ghosts….

St Nick’s 19 December

The Feast of St Nicholas

Cooking with Mama, and Baba

Pinny on, tails trail to the floor

Bowls filled with sumptious ingredients

I dip my finger, then lick, close my eyes,

Delighting in the heaven of vanilla with walnuts,

Juicy, bulbous pearls of barley; smells divine.

Slava bread, large, round

Kissed and blessed by the holy man

Drenched with wine, burned with candle wax

Remembering Serbian clans and tribes

Wanderers from Mongolia, Russia, Armenia;

We are Rom, blue-eyed Gypsy, roses in our hair, our hats.

In our eyes, souls of a travelling past,

Making bread at camps, killing boar for the feast,

Dancing with a spirited moon, laughing at our shadows

Mama and Baba, hands and hearts of the plains

Ceremony of St Nick with love for decades.

Random Thoughts – none of them scary

1. Good soup and great hats are the best

2. Enthusiastic children are great to have

3. People who don’t reply aren’t worth the effort either

4. You can burn fuel on a defunkt stove

5. There is the truth, there is the way -but you may not hear or see it until you die

6. Family is and always will be

7. I will always like his music, songs and poetry

8. People who say one thing when drunk and another when sober bore me

9. I am now officially a Fairy Godmother

10. Empires are pants, wagons are where it’s at