When I'm relaxed, at home, alone, I like to spend that time before sleep comes, the last waking moments, stroking the day's memories till they purr. That's when I revisit all the little things that go to make up the pleasure of my days.

Discovering that my mother, gone for twenty years, liked to name trees and flowers in new places she visited.

Fencing myself in on my favourite lounge chair with all the assorted refugees from my study tidy-up.

Being the only person at the movies and having a National Theatre of London performance of Everyman to myself, after I'd booked a seat to beat the crowds.

Realising that I've forgotten how to make pastry because I haven't cooked a quiche for eight months.

Ruminating about the history of Fatima Island in the Cook's River.

Thinking about maps and what they include and what they leave out.

Revisualising images from the day's blogs: Jo's penguin balloons; Suzanne's whale; Sue's jaunty hat and bag on a chair; Jude's feast of roses; Paula's latest black and white masterpiece; the unexpectedness of creepy from Gilly; bees and the allotment from Tish; Pauline's archive that keeps turning up treasures.

Revising a haiku three or four times as my mind rolls over words and alternatives.

Stumbling across my daughter's wedding photos, and, on the same day, an account of her when she was about the age her twins are now.

Walking along the sandy track that took me not quite to the ocean, although I could occasionally glimpse its horizon line.

Spotting a bracken plant using an ant-lion mound for a vase.

As I lazily trawl through these delights a strange thing happens. Suddenly I'm outside myself, observing a woman walking along a bush track, or a beach, or a boardwalk, or sitting at the desk or on the lounge. I wonder idly how other people would see her, and realise that she is me.


Sometimes, the near sleep thoughts are less benign. Then I feel as if I'm stoking them till coals glow and ignite into flame. This is not nearly as comfortable: that's when I do a bit of accounting and worrying.

The deck and windows are grimy, and the lemon tree turning up its toes.

My son's face is swollen almost beyond recognition by a tick bite, and I stand by helpless: I don't even think of anti-histamines.

I'm contemplating hanging onto shares in a company investing billions in coal mining, because they give me a good return.

The house is chaotic: nothing is put away in its right place.

I spend far too much time blogging and navel-gazing, and far too little time walking or doing good works.

My grandchildren don't really remember me for anything in particular.

My country is mean-spirited and its politicians lack both intelligence and compassion.

By now, sleep has been shunted off down a side track, so I pick up my Kindle and read for a while to take myself into somebody else's world, away from the less pleasant aspects of my own.