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150: Once in a Lifetime

Lady B writes this post whilst sat on a night flight back to the UK from South Africa. I'd always dreamt about going to South Africa. I'd always dreamt about seeing a giraffe and an elephant in their natural habitat. This last week, I got to do just that, alongside lion, zebra, rhino, buffalo, warthog, impala, inyala, red doe, vulture and other bird of prey. It's quite literally - for me - unbelievable. And the scenery; breathtaking. On more than one occasion on the trip I had to stop to catch my breath; be it because I was so close to a wild animal I could reach out and feel their breath, or because the landscape was so encapsulating it made me stop and appreciate just how damn small I was. 

Landscape has always been a thing for Lady B, although not something I realised until I was traveling at nineteen with Lady Peanut Irish. I remember making her pull the camper van over as we descended down a mountain in New Zealand because my eyes had filled with tears. So much so, I felt I could no longer appreciate the beauty without wiping my eyes, jumping out of the van and running to take in the view. Some days I can still close my eyes and feel that mountain air and that there feeling on my face in that photo. I couldn't tell you where we were heading, what we said to one another after I got back in the van, but that moment; that moment I dig up to my forefront of memories when I need clarity; perspective. (It's also worth noting that I still have that tee which I bought at a street market in Bangkok with my mate. And I still wear it. I mean. Someone take me shopping.)

This trip had the same effect on me. I knew as soon as I closed my eyes on the first night and saw giraffe on my eyelids that this was going to stay etched in my memory and be something I call on when I need that perspective. 

Rare are the moments in life when such perspective on what is *really* precious can be found. This year has been a bit of a shitter for the general masses - I mean; 2016 can do one, right? - but also for those close to me. Not "the one", as we say. What springs to mind instantly and what I hadn't realised had etched so deep (I didn't think I'd given it much second thought) is Mini B; she has been in hospital twice this year, once in blues and twos style where I sat holding her in the back of the ambulance hoping I wouldn't be sick and praying she'd just breathe normally. Mother Mooncake has seen some hospitals too. And even Lady B has had her fair share of dealings with them too. Way too many hospitals this year; for me, for my friends and for anyone that has had someone they love there. 

LIFE has been tricky this year. Not in a falling-apart-catastrophic-avalanche way, but more in a little-bit-of-thread kinda way that keeps coming lose but you manage to put it back together. Because that's what life is, surely, just stitching in time to save nine, right? We all muddle through and we take the rain because without it, oh yes, without it there are no rainbows. Ain't that right, Mama Acorn? 

There were occasions on this trip I managed quiet, peace, horizontal lazying without a nearly-two-year-old insisting we watch Shrek again. In those moments, and even whilst we were out trying to find the animals, I thought of some of the moments this year. I thought a lot about my friends and what strength they have found this year; you don't know your power ladies and quite how inspiring you are, and I speak to although not excluding anyone specifically; Lady Peanut Irish, Lady Cupcake, Lady Literate, Lady Two Birds, Sister Sugared Almond, and my darling Mama Acorn.

I vowed on my return from South Africa to do these two things;

-hug everyone that little bit tighter for they know not what they truly mean to me until I've held them in my arms and squeezed them within an inch of my own life

-and to take time - real time - to stop. I get so swallowed up in the routine, in the biscuit life, in social media, in the bath bed shenanigans that when I stop, I feel guilty. No, no more. 

We are but small. We are but tiny. And our blip "here" is really nothing. I make some biscuits, I cuddle my Mini B, I run errands for my Papa Mooncake when Mother Mooncake holidays with her sister, 'cause it just means he doesn't have to set foot in a supermarket. And that's what it's all about really; just being nice - kind - to one another and doing the grocery shop to take a load off. 

Be good and bake well,

Lady Bakewell-Park 

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