Wednesday 27 April 2011

Remembering that Promise of Ease

It was nice to get away for a while to Cornwall, but plenty to deal with when we got back. Hubby got a call on the way back that his brother had been involved in a road accident. He was crossing the road and was hit by a bus. He is recovering from quite horrific injuries after a few days when it looked pretty bad. The whole family is devastated. He is the kindest, gentlest, most respectful young man you could meet and well loved by his family, extended family, community and neighbourhood. It will be a long, painful recovery and my mum- and dad-in-law are trying their best to be brave, but wearing themselves into the ground with worrying and crying. Please do make dua for my little brother for a full and speedy recovery and relief from the immense pain he is enduring with so much sabr.

A day after we found out, we were visiting friends when Gorgeous decided to take it upon himself to haul rocks in their garden and dropped a giant one on his foot. He cried a full hour with the pain and he is usually quite stoic for such a small child mash’Allah. Luckily, we had another friend there who is a doctor who dressed his foot and recommended an x-ray. He seemed a lot better today, however when my husband took him in for the x-ray, they advised he had fractured his toe, they also found he had missed his pre-nursery booster shot and gave him two injections. Mash’Allah he has been so brave and still tries to hobble around. Sometimes he calls one of us to carry him around, other times he will get into an argument with his brother and do a high-speed limp after him across the room.

I am trying to remind myself that troubles are a test from Allah and there is no truth in “troubles come in threes” and other such sayings and that we must be grateful to Allah (SWT) in all conditions. I keep telling my mum-in-law that we have to be so grateful that Allah (SWT) saved her son and that who knows which of her prayers for him came in handy. She is struggling though and kept saying that no mother should ever have to see her child in that state. Holding a four-year old while he cries in pain for an hour doesn’t compare, but it certainly gave me the tiniest grain of insight into the agony she must be enduring right now.
"Verily, with hardship there is relief" (Qur'an 94:6)

"...Bear with patience whatever befalls you...." (Quran 31:17) 

"Be not sad, surely Allah is with us." (Quran 9:40)

Our Prophet (pbuh) said: "Verily, if Allah loves a people, He makes them go through trials. Whoever is satisfied, for him is contentment, and whoever is angry upon him is wrath." (Tirmidhi)

"No calamity befalls on earth or in yourselves but is inscribed in the Book of Decrees – before We bring it into existence." (Quran 57:22)
The Prophet (pbuh) said, "Whoever Allah wishes good for, He inflicts him (with hardship)." (Bukhari)

So verily, with the hardship, there is relief, Verily, with the hardship, there is relief. So when you have finished, then stand up for Allâh’s worship. And to your Lord turn your invocations. (Quran 94:5-8)

Little Lady's Favourite New Poem - Granny by Grace Nichols

My husband recently bought my daughter a second hand copy of the Hutchinson Treasury of Children's Literature, an absolutely beuatiful book with some of my favourite children's books reproduced in it.  She read me one particular poem with quite some glee and rather put me to shame:


Granny Granny
please comb my hair
you always take your time
you always take such care.

You put me to sit on a cushion
between your knees
you rub a little coconut oil
parting gentle as a breeze.

Mummy Mummy
she's always in a hurry - hurry rush
she pulls my hair
sometimes she tugs.

But Granny
you have all the time in the world
and when you're finished
you always turn my head and say "Now who's a nice girl."

- by Grace Nichols

But then again her granny who is so gentle, used to be my mum, and I remember her being a lot less gentle with my hair - Little Lady didn't look quite so convinced about that when I tried to tell her.

Thoughts on Cornwall

I have always wanted to take a road trip to Cornwall, through Bath, Stonehenge, Exeter and Bodmin Moor, Redruth, the Eden Project at St Austell and finally to the beach at Torquay. We didn’t quite manage all of these places (although I have been to Stonehenge before), but we did make it to Cornwall last weekend and I absolutely loved it.

When travelling I have the usual trepidation about how people will react to my family, being both South Asian and also Muslim (I wear the abayah and my husband wears the imamah or sunnah turban, my mum usually wears salwar kameez). After visiting Scotland last year and being surprised by how nice everyone was (lots of staring, but no rudeness at all alhamdulillah), I felt a bit braver and wanted to travel a bit more this year.

I have heard so much about Cornwall and have always wanted to visit the Eden project, so convinced hubby and mum to go. My sisters ended up coming along which helped share the cost. My other objective in keeping the cost down was so that we could afford to go to a few places this year, rather than one expensive short holiday. So we booked a budget hotel, splitting the cost for rooms, hunted the internet for vouchers to attractions and took quite a bit of the food with us as my hubby is very conscientious about halal and not always keen to eat something we haven’t cooked at home.

The Eden project was just as wonderful as I had hoped with the Mediterranean Biome giving me lots of inspiration for my little garden. The Seal Sanctuary was a nice surprise for the kids and very laid back and close to nature. St Ive’s had a strong family feel and the most interesting places to shop and eat (although we managed to get there just after everything was closing). The beach was perfect for sandcastle building as the sand was damp and rather squelchy and for some reason there were crabs legs everywhere. The sea was gentle enough that day for my mum to stand at the edge of it and bath her feet without getting soaked through.

Fistral beach in Newquay was a dream, with fine sand that got into everything but was very hard to walk on. The water was ever so choppy, I could see why this is where the surfers go.

St Michael’s Mount in Maraizon was my favourite. Again we were late as we waited for it to stop raining. Accordingly we were late back across the walkway and had to rush back across wading through freezing water which numbed our legs. I can’t tell you how exhilarating this felt. I will never forget the image of hubby striding back through the choppy waves crashing across the stone path with a little son lodged under each arm (as always my hero!). Little Lady of course was way ahead of the rest of us like a cat who has abandoned her owners. The people right behind us lost heart and turned back to be brought over by boat.

I liked how environmentally conscious people and buinesses in Cornwall were, every place we went to there was some kind of project to raise awareness whether of an endangered species, the environment around us, recycling and re-using or just the basics like paper bags in shops and notices to save energy in hotels.  I found this heartening.  The people were also friendly, and we got lovely service from very friendly people everywhere we went.  A rarity in London and a nice change.

Another of my favourite moments was when we visited a boot sale.  An elderly gentleman started telling us sisters about some hat boxes.  I mentioned to Kooks it would be good for her top hats.  The guy looked shocked, then he mentioned that he had a bowler hat and wore it to the Elsham (I think that's right) dance.  He asked if we knew what that was.  I was about to say no, when Kooks gently raised her eye brows and said "It's a tea dance isn't it?"  He looked even more shocked and started to tell us all about them, I had to sneak away from him, but loved how Kooks gently surprised him.
I think I would love to go to Cornwall again - perhaps with a better camera and some flip flops next time.
image source

Cornwall Trip: Fistral Beach, Newquay

We visited a few beaches whilst we were in Cornwall, but by far my favourite was Fistral Beach in Newquay.  The sand was so fine and powdery we could hardly walk on it.  The sea was choppy and freezing cold but the day warm enough for it to be bearable.  We went late in the day, so the sunbathers had gone alhtough there were still lots of dogs running around.

It was the kids first experience of the beach, they initially loved it until they got soaked and cold and wanted to go home.  I enjoyed letting the sea wash over my feet, I cannot recall a time when I have let go and let my feet get dirty, my shoes full of sand and my clothes get wet like this.  There is something so soothing about the sea and I could feel so much slipping away - small niggles and tensions, things that sit at the back of your mind and never let you wind down completely.  I definitely need to do this more often.

For some gorgeous pictures which make mine look piddling in comparison, check out Long Suffering Sister's Flickr page which has her pictures of our Cornwall trip and Kooky Little Sisters blog which has pictures of Fistral Beach (including one of me trying to sunbathe in an abayah!) and St Michael's Mount where we nearly got stuck on the Island.

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Cornwall Trip: We Found a Boot Fair!

One thing I noticed in Cornwall, everywhere we went there seeemed to be a boot fair.  I am an addict of thrifting and bargain hunting and my husband must have seen the wistful looks on my face every time we drove past one, so we eventually stopped for one (have no idea where).  I managed to bag a few bargains.

This large dish was £1:

I liked the design of curly lines on it:

Just right for the seashells and stones I collected at Fistral and St Ives beaches...

...and just about anything else I could find:

Including this bit of rock crystal which cost 10p

This incense cost £1 and smelt lovely

Ocean, Lavender and Jasmine:

I found this box for £1, I loved this as soon as I saw it and it is quite big.  Inside the lid says Bloomingdales, so it has travelled quite some way.

I bought this smaller pink and purple box for Little Lady from the same lady.  The boxes cost 50p each.

Monday 25 April 2011

Cornwall Trip: National Seal Sanctuary, Gweek

A colleague at work reccommended I take my children to National Seal Sanctuary.  It was a bit of a trek from our hotel, but turned out worth it.  The tickets for nine of us added up, but the proceeds are used to help rescued seals and also a few penguins and otters.

The sanctuary was sprawled over quite some space including woodland and seashore.  There was a bus ride which helped cover some of the longer walks and lots of places to sit down for a miute, which helped because we spent a good chunk of the morning waiting for the kids to get stones out of their sandals.

The children were allowed to partiipate in feeding time, with Gorgeous being allowed to throw a fish to the South African seals.  The viewing bubbles/windows at the side of the pools also meant the kids could see the pemguins and seals from quite close by (greenish pictures below).  Generally a pleasant afternoon in a very beautiful setting.

 Beachcomber art by Jane Rose on display

Sunday 24 April 2011

Cornwall Trip: Eden Project - Mediterranean Biome

The second biome we visited was the Mediterannean Biome.  The children were relieved to be out of the heat of the Rainforest and into the fresher feeling climate of this biome.  This was a mix of Spanish, Middle Eastern, Mediterannean, North African and Californian plants and displays.  Many of the plants reminded my Mum of Pakistan and she left feeling very nostalgic.  Th fruit trees were particularly lovely: oranges, lemons, kiwi's, pomegranate, loquats (which I noticed a certain person helping themselves to!)

I was very surprised to find these beautiful-smelling Jasmine or motia flowers which brides are adorned with in Pakistan.  Reminded me of my wedding and left me feeling nostalgic too.