It’s just getting light outside, I can see slithers of morning sun peeping through the gloomy clouds as I creep downstairs. I have a specific route, knowing precisely where to tread, which stairs to miss out, and when to lean all my weight on to the windowsill, lifting my feet of the floor entirely to minimise noise. I don’t want to wake mum, who sleeps poorly at the best of times, a trait I have inherited, though thankfully not quite as intensely.
I was awoken early by Luna the kitten making cat cradles in my hair again. She leans back on her haunches next to my face and stuffs as much of my hair in to her little fanged mouth as she can, using her front paws like a deranged squirrel with an acorn. It’s really quite weird, and a little bit disgusting, but I love her so it only makes me laugh.
I step in to the kitchen, silently latching the door with Luna at my heels, fill the kettle (Coffee.Is.Needed.) and set about dishing up cat food whilst the water boils. I love these mornings, the quietness feeds me more than I can explain. A moment to breathe deeply and expansively, allowing space to see where I’m at, like laying a sturdy foundation for the day ahead (all damp and mould proof here folks).
Coffee made, I take a gulp enjoying the warmth trickling down in to my belly, and start gathering ingredients on to the worktop; this day is going to start with cake. Sticky, spicy, delicious ginger sponge to warm the morning and my heart. Spooning the butter, sugar and molasses in to a small pan, and watching as it melts and bubbles together, I can’t quite believe how content I feel, how whole and safe. Life has changed a lot over the past few years and it’s taking me a while to catch up! Last year I stayed in over 14 different homes before landing, wiped out, here in my mothers
Devonshire kitchen. We are on the edge of the moors, where the air is so fresh you can taste it, and the scent of the bracken and gorse is blown down off the wild hills, greeting you when you step outside.
I begin to stir the warm butter and syrup in to the flour and spices, whilst considering the vast
changes wrought on my mental health over recent months as I mix. Exactly a year ago I was in London, preparing to leave for Lisbon (after an extremely un-sexy break up from a relationship I probably shouldn’t have been in in the first place- thanks hindsight! You’re a pal) to go on an adventure that was just for me, to a place that meant something just to me. And I am so glad that I did! Yes, I had to come back to the UK and find security here after a few months, but I was reminded of life’s magic and the beauty of small acts, such as baking. Lisbon showed me how rich the days are when you start listening to yourself again.
The room is starting to smell sweet now, and the sky is light, or at least as light as it’s likely to get on a grey autumn day like this. I look down at Luna battling with a toy mouse at my feet, and smile. I know there will be new challenges in the future, and more days filled with anxious thoughts, but for now there is ginger cake, and hot cups of coffee, and home.