Okay yes – I pushed the boundaries a little too far. I haven’t posted in 23 days. This is the longest hiatus I have allowed myself since I started blogging. Maybe I needed a full-time break, or maybe laziness won me over. But whatever the reason, I have chosen not to be hard on myself. I didn’t have a summer break after all. (excuses, excuses…)
By the way – yes, this is me playing a loose, improvised version of Hallelujah. I promised many of you I would record myself playing and I have 2-3 video versions of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody but I’ll admit I am not 100% proud of them so I shall reflect on whether or not to share one with you. (there’s nothing like a little perfectionism…)
I was in Sofia for two weeks, 5 days of which were spent on a mother-daughter road trip along the northern coast of the Black Sea – a region I had not yet explored. It was no longer bathing season but I am proud to say a did go for a 15 second dip. And in fact, I think that 15 second memory is the one I want to share with you today.
My mum and I are gazing at the October sun slowly dropping towards the horizon. The air is crisp and salty. We have only brought one beach towel. We lay it down and sit, side by side. I close my eyes and feel a certain warmth on my skin. It is no summer blaze, the Autumn sun is more timid. I bury my feet in the cold sand and imagine the sun beating down on me, so hot the sand is burning. I yearn for the scorching summer days, the heavy August afternoons we used to spend hiding under a straw umbrella, the tanning sessions and hourly sprints to the sea.
A breeze sweeps in, gentle on the skin but strong enough to break the spell. I look down at my bare legs. Pale. A string of clouds has rolled in, as thin as a veil and yet, the difference is palpable. Mum whispers my name. A wasp has chosen her thigh to land on. We sit as still as two statues planted in the sand, sharing a knowing smile. The insect is so bored from the lack of panic and gesticulating its kind is used to that it flies away within seconds.
It’s gone 4 o’clock – time to try the water. It is cold. Not quite Brighton-cold where I have seen a few brave souls swim in December but cold enough to make our legs jerk backwards. There was a time when the Black Sea was as warm as a mineral water pool but those times are over for this year. Are we brave enough?
As we stand there, our feet slowly getting used to the water, a plump man and his young, blond kid run to the water as though it is made of candy. No surprise, they are Russian. The man is already far out when I put my foot down.
“I’m going in!” I take a superman pose.
Mum grins. She wants to follow, I can see her eyes twinkling, but she’s afraid for her back and so she stands there, water up to her knees.
“I can’t just dip my whole body!” I exclaim, “I have to swim for 10 seconds!”
She knows where I’m getting at. I have inherited her love of superstitious challenges.
“If I swim for 10 seconds, I’m going to find the perject job, soon, and it will be in my field!” A triple stake.
Mum cheers! She loves it, my determination and undoubted craziness. I’m exhilarated. All of a sudden, the water doesn’t seem so cold any more. With the added stakes, the temperature is more than bearable. And so I take a deep breath, squeal with excitement and dive in.
One, two, three… It is so easy to accomplish what you want. Four, five, six… All you need is a set goal. Seven, eight, nine… and a little trust in the universe. Ten, eleven, twelve… And of course, the more you fight, the bigger the reward. Thirteen, fourteen… so you keep swimming, because you need more bonus points.
I have spent the week since I have been back reworking my whole portfolio and designing a brand new CV. No more waiting.