09/04/2014 08:19 BST | Updated 08/06/2014 06:59 BST

My First Kiss, Bored Birds and Kismet!

My first kiss

I recalled this happy event recently. His name was Wayne and we kissed as How Deep is Your Love by the Bee Gees played in the background. I was 13 years old and he was 16. I remember being completely enthralled and in love. That was then.

This week I had supper with a dear friend who has known me for twenty years. She called me an 'old romantic'. I almost smiled and then I had to laugh. Despite all the roller coasters, swings and roundabouts I have been through in my life, I still believe in love. What a great testimony to what is good about this world. And to a heart that is willing to try again.

The human condition is an ever-continuing line towards hope, happiness and forgiveness. We get over most things in life. We persevere, we haul ourselves off the floor despite the crushing sadness in our souls. The rising sun reminds us to do so as does the little flutter in our hearts when we reminisce and recall better times. As I get older, I am happy with my memories. This must be a sign of age to be thrilled to think in the past tense and to be grateful to have experienced the events that still bring a smile to one's lips.

That immortal line in (one of the great books to read in one's life), The Red and Black (Le Rouge et le Noir) by Stendhal- "He was happy and didn't know it." What we do know we only discover too late. We believe what we want the rest of the time but hardly ever see the truth. This idea of not understanding our own reality and by the time we do it is too late, is the fate handed down by the Gods whilst they play with us. We all must suffer loss and regret because the ensuing nostalgia teaches us what we need to know about life. To be happy we must have lost and regained a type of solitude of contentment. The past teaches us how to strive forward into the vast nothingness of existence where no one knows what the future or even present will bring.

And so I remembered a past long gone. A lifetime ago and yet! Still an undimmed heart. Where am I now? I'm just me.


Photo copyright S. van Dalen

Bored birds

I watched a chaffinch destroy primrose flowers in the woods out of what appeared to be sheer boredom. The chaffinch tore the flowers off the stem, shredding the petals in the process. The bird didn't seem to be looking for grubs and bugs inside the flower at all. Instead he/she seemed to playing a type of 'he-loves-me, he-loves-me-not' game to pass the time.... How interesting that even birds can be destructive for the heck of it.


Photo copyright S. van Dalen


I had the pleasure of meeting a Romanian lady married to a Delhi native today, both of whom live in the UK. The lady spoke with an Indian accent (which she had picked up learning English from her husband!) plus within a few short years, she mastered Hindi. Throughout the lady's life in Romania she had been drawn to Indian culture and religion. She loved watching Bollywood movies. She never even liked eating meat, a staple of Romanian cooking. As fate would have it, she met her husband on a visit to London, learned Hindi immediately, and cooks and eats only Indian vegetarian food now. Their destiny was surely written in the stars. Kismet!


Photo copyright S. van Dalen

Peaches Geldof

My heart goes our to Sir Bob and his family and to Thomas Cohen and their children on the loss of Peaches. We cannot reconcile in our minds why if there is a God, does he take a young, vibrant soul who has already known too much suffering in an already short life. We will never be able to fully understand why. The mystery of the reason we are here and what we are meant to do is a continual work in progress. That is all we are able to know. Every second of our time here is a gift greater than all the pearls and rubies of this world. RIP Peaches.


Photo copyright S. van Dalen