A Day in the Life


If I really try hard, half emerging from the warmth of my bed, I can see the clock on the TV. It is far away because I love to sleep in the pitch dark. It says 4am, as usual. I wake up every morning at this time, but only get up this early if I have a lot of work to do.

I am going to sleep til 5.

Cuddling up to Isadora, my three year old, I relax back to sleep knowing that my husband, sleeping the other side of me will wake me in an hour.

Now it is 5. It feels great to be up at this time. I really enjoy the stillness. The energy, the blackbirds and their euphoric morning dialogue with the world. Rollo the poodle likes to rush out of the kitchen door and hurl down the path in case the fox is lounging about waiting for him. I gulp down a glass of water and make my way through the toys and the other dog all over the sitting room floor and go to the office to check the overnight emails.

Sitting in the dawn light with the messages spilling into my computer from the far reaches of Jaipur, Peru, Los Angeles is a good way to start the day. I wish there were less widow wanting to deposit majestic amounts of money in my back accounts, or emless adverts for Viagra. The sense of connection, like octopus arms, stretching so far around the globe is marvellous. I can see Samir’s office in Rajasthan. He has the most beautiful view of the mountains, and Muffi, a friend in Lima with her apartment in Mira Flores, I feel connected to them all.

Now yoga. Rollo is back from checking all corners of the garden and likes to sit on my lap whilst I tune in and stretch out.
Finally he has settled down and lies asleep on his back next to me on my mat. I have to really push myself this morning because I feel lazy, but I have now breathed and lengthened my body for half an hour. Isadora joins me and snuggles under the blanket whilst I relax. She is too funny in the morning. Like me she wakes up all chatty and has decided that she is a baby peacock called Tilly. We decide that baby peacocks need to be still and quiet to digest all the spiders and worms in their tummies. This gives me time to meditate. It is never quite the same with a warm wriggler on my lap, yet I still feel the delightful connection that comes with the focus.

Breakfast. 3 different menu’s, mine, my husbands, and the children, green tea and fruit. Then the hair brushing and searching everywhere for shoes. Rollo has got bored of eating then, thank fully. The school run is long. Louis goes to the Steiner school about half an hour away. The real art lies in remembering to pick up all the other children on the way. We have a 12 seater landrover. Filled with children, it can seem like a real adventure in the morning. My music choice are quickly pushed aside by a rather rowdy rendition of Jingle bells, several times. Watching the kids all pouring out of the car and running in the school gates makes the trip worthwhile, and on the way home I can choose the songs.

Today, just for the morning, I have my assistant. I have started a company called Devotion, with my husband, sourcing and creating Devotional accessories. There is paperwork to organise, payments for the dvds to be processed, and a batch of stuff has arrived from India. Several things are missing and after many phone calls to Delhi it emerges that the customs have removed things. Lovely old brass thing. Cross. Very cross.

I am working on producing another two yoga dvds, so have to sort out the camera crew, what I will say and what on earth I am going to wear this time. I love clothes but have no affection for the tight stuff that most yoga teachers seem to feel is necessary. No decisions. I am also finishing off a series of prints from a photo shoot last week. The prints are very beautiful and take an age to go through the printer, so I can work on them in between phone calls. Sometimes it feels like a lot going on.

Isadora is back from a local nursery for lunch, so I leap onto the Nihola, a tricycle that has a big yellow basket on the front with a seat for two children. Isadora has had a day of French.

Lunch is summery and big. It is my favourite meal of the day. There are always guests, assistants, friends, pilgrims joining us. Today we are twelve. We sit in the garden and make the most of our time together.

This afternoon I have another shoot. This time a beautiful pregnant women with a tattoo all over her belly. Quite a sight, and rather marvellous to photograph.

Most of the time I photograph people I have never met, who find me through my cards, adverts and websites. It is always interesting. Photography is such an extraordinary way to connect with another. There is something about booking a portrait and then sitting in front of the camera that allows all sorts of aspects of the personality to emerge. I have learned that everyone is fascinating, everyone has something extraordinary about them, and in the short time that we are together, my work is to draw it out. I remember in Billy Elliot, when he thinks he has failed the entrance exam to the ballet school, an examiner asks him how he feels when he dances. His answer, which talked about the electricity and the thrill of it, was so close to my experiences when I photograph people, I was shocked.

Louis is back now and we have tea together. It is early supper, really. Splat eggs on toast. His school discourage TV so the week days are calm and peaceful. Lots of stories. Both the children love true tales of glory and adventure which Baptiste, my husband, is a master, so he is in charge of bedtime tonight.

I have a yoga class to teach. It is a private class up in Clerkenwell, in a glass penthouse. Such an elevating place. I am quite a tough teacher. I push them hard, but the energy at the end is always bright and sparkly. They all come back each week.

Driving back in the dark now, I can review my day and think about tomorrow.
The silence and the dark are comforting. Another day done, and now to relax……