Yesterday, I had a strange moment.  I felt like I’d gone to sleep and woken up impersonating the American cooking legend Martha Stewart.  Well, I’d been headed there the day before but just hadn’t woken up to what I was about to become.

It’s been a wintry, blustery, gloomy week.   As I walked past the fruit bowl, my eyes fell on two pink lady apples which, under an unkind gaze, might be considered as having seen better days.   Without really thinking about it, I cut them up, and leaving the skins on stewed them.    The next morning, I opened the lid of the pan and saw the most beautiful pink hued pieces of fruit.  They were nutritious, sweet and did not waste precious food that somebody else had gone to the trouble of growing.

Then, I noticed that I was feeling more than a little sheepish.  Why, I asked, myself am I turning into some sort of down-market Martha Stewart?”   In my old life, I rarely cooked, I ordered a food service – Lite N Easy, Hello Fresh, Youfoodz.  I’d tried them all.  I regarded cooking as a waste of time along with cleaning.  If I wasn’t at work, I wanted to be exercising or out with friends. For a long, long time I thought my executive job was fun.  I’d outsourced anything that got in the way of that, including the pleasure of making and eating good food.  Those apples reminded me that it was time for me to be own mash up.  The sum total of all I’d even ever been and all I will ever be.  As long it nourishes me, is fun and just plain beautiful.


Much to my surprise, at the tender age of 59, I’m in a happy relationship.  It’s the soul healing, best friend in an edgy outfit, rock solid, make me life till I cry thing I’ve waited for all my life.  I love hanging around with him.  Love it that we both love to dress up and hit the city, dress down and hit the beach.  That we can talk about world issues or do mash ups that somehow incorporate Mr Ed and America.   That we eat the same kind of food.  That we can solve our inevitable problems.

The only blip on my love radar is the uncomfortable feeling that, all of a sudden, other people are more comfortable with me.  Especially couples.   They know what to do with me now.  And I didn’t know that they didn’t know what to do with me until I did.  They say “I bet Linda and John think this…”  or “Linda and John do that…”.  They invite me to things much more readily and are much easier with me in our company than they ever were in mine. 

It’s as if singledom is the last frontier.  I never knew this because I’d been out on that prairie for the last 16 years.  I was happy there.  And, while I knew that I didn’t get invited to every rodeo and that it was probably because I was single, I really didn’t mind.  As I said, I was happy being single and I thought people who didn’t know what to do with single people where some strange creatures I didn’t understand.  I still think that.   But not all single people don’t mind being left out.  It can be painful and humiliating and compound the feelings they have about being single when they never expected to be.   

The next time you are planning something and are worried about the spare wheel, don’t be.  Spare wheels are at least useful.  They might just be the thing you need most at your party.  And if not, the universe (or whatever else you believe in) will see you do a good thing and maybe even smile on you. 


I’ve been binge watching Peaky Blinders on Netflix over the last couple of weeks. All the press about the death of Helen McCrory, who starred as the glamorous and tough female head of the Shelby family, made me look it up. I was immediately hooked. It has everything I love on screen – glamour, stylised violence, tribalism, politics, war and love gone mostly wrong but occasionally right.

Some of my continuing interest in the show is because of my Glasgow gangster grandfather. Last time I visited Glasgow – pre COVID – I was sitting in a relative’s courtyard drinking Prosecco under a rare Glasgow sun. I hadn’t seen her for eons and was startled when I thought I heard her say something about our grandfather having a long stint in jail. She went on to say that it had caused a split in the family when his wife, our grandmother, had expected people to take sides. Well, her side.

Obviously, I am no poker face because my crestfallen relative stopped mid-sentence saying “Oh, my God, you didn’t know?” I hadn’t known. In fact, I had been told that my poor grandfather had only become a violent alcoholic after coming back from the war. I never met him. Yet I had always known there was a secret in the middle of the family. I could feel it.

Watching Peaky Blinders, which is set in Birmingham, another Northern Industrial town in what used to be the United Kingdom, made me feel like my grandfather’s life was unfolding in front of my eyes. For the first time, I understood the impulse to lawlessness in the face of oppression of all kinds – classism, racism, religious bigotry. Given the impenetrable hierarchies of the time, taking to the wrong side of the law where at least he had a fighting chance of making a life that wasn’t crippled by grinding poverty seemed like a logical choice.

The industrial landscape that Tommy Shelby, the head of the Shelby clan, struts through is filled with fire breathing monsters called factories. We are now in the technological age and, please God, waving goodbye to our own fire breathing monsters – petrol cars, dirty power and plastics manufacturers.

This time, technology might just mean the end of hierarchies. When dissent happens out of sight, at lightning speed it’s so much harder to quash. People don’t need a place to gather and ideas and things – actual or virtual – like Bitcoin and Extinction Rebellion can be grown just by being hurled through cyber-space. It hurts my head and gladdens my heart even though I don’t know where it’s all going. What I do know is that change is coming, I can feel it.


I’ve been playing with Wim Hoff breathing this past couple of months. You may have heard of him – aka the Ice Man. He uses a combo of a breath practice (which you can pick up on youtube) and cold showers to hack the immune system. The effects of my daily meditation practice have already convinced that I can re-wire my brain. Now I’m trying this guy’s stuff as part of my quest to get rid of my allergy induced asthma.

I start the day energised, my allergies are already less severe. And, for all you peri-menopausal women out there the heat in my body has reduced significantly. Costs nothing but ten minutes a day and a little bit of discomfort in the shower each morning. I’m going to keep trying it for at least 6 weeks. Perfect health may be in reach!


Recently, my home state was in a COVID induced lockdown.  It’s the Delta variant out there so it was serious.   The lockdown started at 6 pm on a Tuesday night.  By 6.12 pm I had gone online and found a recipe (if that is what you call it) for sea salt spray.  I have pretty curly hair which I’ve worn straight for the longest time.  Home alone and left to my own devices, I wanted to see what I looked like with my real curly hair.  Boosted up with homemade sea salt spray.

My hair is thick.  Exactly the kind of hair you would expect from someone born in Scotland where a good, thick head of hair can be the difference between a happy and a not so happy winter.  So, it took a while to dry.   A couple of hours later I decided I liked it.  I’m gonna keep it.

The only drawback was that, in my haste to follow the instructions, I grabbed the only spray bottle I own and made up the sea salt spray.  The recipe suggested a couple of drops of lavender oil to make it all smell nice.  In they went.    After my hair dried, I noticed a weird smell.  Which was when I remembered that I’d last used that bottle to make a natural spray to keep caterpillars off my potted citrus trees.  That recipe had included a lot of garlic.   I smelt like a weird mix of lavender and garlic.  But my hair looked good, so I was happy.

Why I’m writing in the past tense I don’t know.  I’m still using the spray.  It works and I live alone.  All  good.  I’ve ordered a grown up and, I hope, pleasant smelling one. In the meantime, I’m happy to have invented my own special kind of cross fertilization. Hair? Fruit trees? Doesn’t matter. If you are looking for me, I’ll be out by the fruit trees chasing off the caterpillars. Styling up my hair.



I hear all the time about messages from the universe.  Over the last couple of years, I’ve been getting back to listening to them.  Call them what you like.  Gut feeling, instinct, ridiculous crazy woo.    Sometimes they are a gentle whisper.  So gentle, I need the same freaking thing to happen three times over before I even start to understand when I am off track.

Sometimes it’s a sledgehammer.  Tonight, I got a sledgehammer.  I opened my wardrobe door and the rail had collapsed.  My carefully curated clothes were slumped in a tangled heap on the floor.  The shelf above the rail bowed dangerously.

I picked my clothes up and headed to the empty(ish) wardrobe in the guest room and started to hang them.  Then I heard it.  The voice from the universe.  Leave the past behind, it said.  I frowned.  Partially because, after years of botoxing I’ve given it up and I can actually frown.  Partially because I’ve spent the better part of two years doing exactly that.  Left my job, sold my flat, moved states.   Decided how I want to look and culled and culled and culled.  I thought I was done with leaving things behind.  Maybe even the Botox.

But as I hung my clothes back up, I realised there were still a significant number of things – dresses and jackets in particular – that belonged to my old vanilla life.  It was time to let go.  They are already in a plastic bag in the carport on their way to the local op shop.  It’s important that the world that awaits me knows who I am.  So, I’d better look like me.  Hot pink leather boots (new but Australian made) and a silver rubber jacket (snaffled from an op shop) are more my style these days.

Thanks again for the message universe.  I’ll even forgive you for the theatrics.   But I’m still not sure about the Botox.


Welcome to Linda’s Life Garage

A rambunctious romp for midlife women. It’s about  reinventing life one day at a time. Riffing (or ranting!) about when it feels good and when it feels bad. It’s about yoga, fitness and health, hair, skin, travel (hah!) and clothes.  And anything else that, well, feels good or feels bad!