© 2009 Lynsey

045 – Lilac

Fear is a slinking cat I find beneath the lilacs of my mind. — Sophie Tunnell

Every year we would take bunches of lilac flowers to Bestamor for her birthday. My father loved them too. Given that she, he, and I share the same birthday it seems perfectly reasonable that I should love them too. We used to have a huge bush of them – I can remember lying on the grass and staring up at the leaf canopy with the pinpoints of sunlight spotting through. Lilacs are deciduous, and yet I don’t remember the bush being anything other than leaf green and flowering in time for our birthdays.

Mum used to make us a cake for our birthdays – how she found the time to do this I do not know – the things you do for love. The cake was always a legendary work of cake decorating art – driven by my obsession with detail and fidelity. So there was the seal cake. Yes, Mum somehow carved cakes into a seal and iced it, complete with a ball (see also: xmas decoration) on its nose, with licorice slivers for whiskers. There was a pineapple cake – it stood upright and incorporated an actual green leafy bit off a real pineapple. To make the the patterns in the ‘skin’ Mum dipped the spoon end of a teaspoon into some sort of food colouring and then pressed the shape into the yellow icing. Imagine!

We would load the cake carefully into the boot of the car, along with the bunches of lilacs, a couple of cowboy novels for my Bestafar, and whatever other treats and trophies were to hand, and head off to my grandparent’s farm. Their farm provided a fantastic opportunity for me to go off by myself (for hours) exploring. If I work at it I can recall the morning smells of the lilacs, Bestafar’s Havelock Dark tobacco, the lemon oil of the furniture polish, and Bestamor’s coffee, and transport myself back there. When I do, the slinking cat is gone.

18. Every day express love. Some people need to hear it. Most people need to see it. Don’t take it for granted.
30. Every day use all your senses. Touch. Smell. Taste. Hear. See.
44. Every day remember how far you have come.

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