Seville orange season is, for me, easily the best thing about January. Making marmalade is a January ritual in my kitchen, and there is nothing better to cheer up a cold, dull day than a bowl piled high with bright oranges. As a result of this, one of February’s rituals is a marmalade cake. Each year, after I have made a fresh batch of marmalade, I rediscover my love of marmalade cake.
Firstly, a look back at my January choice, Carlo Rovelli’s Seven Brief Lessons on Physics. Having taken physics no further than GCSE (and, if I’m honest, it was one of my least favourite subjects), I was impressed by the clarity with which Rovelli explains deeply complex theories and developments. More than that, though, I was blown away by the poetry of his words. This slim and lovely volume reveals the beauty and wonder of the world around us, both its truths and its mysteries. There were inumerable passages that I read over and over again. This, on the nature of particles, was just one of these:
“A handful of types of elementary particles, which vibrate and fluctuate constantly between existence and non-existence and swarm in space even when it seems that there is nothing there, combine together to infinity like the letters of a cosmic alphabet to tell the immense history of galaxies, of the innumerable stars, of sunlight, of mountains, woods and fields of grain, of the smiling faces of the young at parties, and of the night sky studded with stars.” – Carlo Rovelli
It’s the end of the fifth month of my #littlestoriesofmylife project over on Instagram, celebrating and/or sharing the tiniest elements of the stories of our lives. Small doesn’t equate to insignificant: these are the little moments that add up to the narratives that carry us all. In Instagram’s frames of beauty or of emotion, we are each the teller of our own story. I ask for people to share their stories by tagging with #littlestoriesofmylife any picture that captures a moment, or contains a narrative, however small it may be. Astoundingly, there have been over 13,000 posts to date! I am absolutely blown away by the stories that are shared via #littlestoriesofmylife every single day.
For the third year running, I am documenting the year with monthly photographs of my kitchen table. Capturing the jumble that accumulates here, at the heart of the kitchen, is also a way to record some of the domestic stories of our family life.
Just like last January and the January before that, the table is currently home to my one line a day memory book– a diary of the simplest sort, and now in its third year. Whilst I only ever managed to consistently keep a diary for one year of my life (when I was living in Thailand- I have a big box of them up in the loft, my nineteenth year, in all its teenage dramas, heartfelt secrets and whimsical purple prose). This book, requiring but a few lines each day, has proved to be entirely manageable, and a treasured record of quotidian moments and the children’s transient words. To write in it, a propelling pencil, a present from my love, from a favourite shop of mine.