Friday, 27 November 2009


(Friendship is: wearing mad slippers together...)

Brene Brown's lovely blog always includes a TGIF posting on a Friday, except that she calls it 'Trust - Gratitude - Inspiration Friday'.  So I thought, in emulation of her, I would post my own TGIF.

Today I am trusting that I will get used to my new Varifocal spectacles! My eyes are getting incredibly tired incredibly quickly from wearing them, and my typing accuracy has gone down from pretty poor to negligible!  I just hope that this big change is going to be a huge improvement in the long run, and I will stop cutting my fingers while making the dinner because I'll be able to see the knife! (To all you young whipper-snappers out there - HAH! you've got this to look forward to!)

I am grateful that Pat's auntie, who helped to bring him up, didn't have a stroke after all this week, but some kind of intense migraine episode instead.  Enormous relief and happiness.

I am inspired by kind words of praise about my last posting from my friend and acclaimed poet, Heidi Williamson, who always seems to know the right thing to say, and by Nina Robertson (left), who always makes me feels special.

Thanks ladies.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Perfect Autumn Moment

I just looked up from my desk here in the study in a grump. And what did I see? The wind has started to rise (gales forecast for tomorrow) and leaves are floating and dancing right in front of my window, over the shed rooves and out across the pond, lovely bronze leaves the shape of viking boats and babies' hands. The dying daylight has a rusty orange tone to it. The way the leaves are dancing makes me think of snowflakes, the fat kind, and the way they too whirl and swoop like prima ballerinas. Just when I am in the filthiest of moods, when I need it most, Gaia reminds how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

An Autumn Walk

I woke to a bright, mild day and decided to take a short walk after lunch, just down the track to the bridge and back, a matter of 20 minutes if you don’t linger. I chose to linger. The sky was a crisp blue with no trace of cloud, and the sun low. The beauty of the autumn trees is beginning to fade here now. The poplar plantation is now a forest of feathery silver trunks with only a hint of ginger left at the highest tips of the branches. The oaks are still clinging to their leaves jealously, always the last to go into green in spring, and the last to drop in autumn.

I stood for a while and looked out across the lake, over the parkland. They are grazing sheep periodically under the limes and oaks at this time of year, and we often drive past their ghostly shapes at night, little green eyes fluorescing uncannily in our headlights. No sheep there today; they must have been moved on to the next pasture in their rotation. I watched the water plunging over the weir for a while, letting the soft roar and the damp, mossy-smelling air soothe me. Then I leaned over the rail to look under the bridge, as I always do, to see what flotsam has been washed underneath.

There was a little whitened body, caught on some twigs in the stream, all fur denuded from its flanks. Some of the flesh was gone too, revealing skull, a hunched backbone, and delicate little back leg bones. It was curled up in that familiar foetal position. I could not make out what it was, a hare or rabbit perhaps, too stripped by the action of the water for a clear identification, unless one was an expert on animal skeletons, which I am not. Those empty eye sockets looked blankly up at me. It bothered me to see something dead in the water like that. The crone stalks the countryside at this time of year, I thought, reminded of the mummified rook hanging by its feet in a barn belonging to a friend, put there to scare away its living relatives from the grain stored inside.

I walked back along the track, skirting the field at the back of the farmhouse where a solitary heifer stalked me, keeping pace with me as I stomped along on the other side of the hedge, its ears akimbo. When I reached the gate at the furthest end, I stood and we stared at one another. It eyed me nervously. When I left it returned to a hoarse moaning, crying out for company. The cows in the shed on the other side of the field moaned back.

Saturday, 7 November 2009


I got wet last night. I mean, soaked.

We went to a friend's bonfire night party. There were fireworks, beautiful, whizz-pop fireworks. Trouble is, you have to light fireworks outside, and it was raining. So we just stood there in the garden and got wet. And squealed, and went 'oooo' and 'aaahhhhh' at all the right moments. Like you do. With rain dripping down the backs of our necks. And then we went back inside and steamed while we ate delicious party food. (Many thanks to Dan and Bridget, great party!)

When I got home, I realised I couldn't remember the last time I got wet like that, stood out in the rain like that. I am one of those very English people who is neurotic about the weather forecast and always comes prepared with a plastic mac and an umbrella. I hate getting my hair wet and I hate getting rain on my glasses so I can't see.

But actually, its just a bit of water.

And strangely, it was nice to do something different. It reminded me that I was alive. I was grateful for the rain.

The other day I was listening to a friend complaining. She is a relentlessly negative person. I sat there for about an hour and suddenly looked at her and thought, you haven't said a positive word for at least sixty whole minutes. Not one.

One of the things my ME has taught me is there is always something to be grateful for. No matter how dreadful things have been in my life (and they have been), there is always something to be glad about. It may only be how good toast smells in the morning, or sitting down and putting your feet up with a cup of tea, or the sound of a blackbird singing at twilight, but there is always, ALWAYS something. No matter how small.

My Great Auntie Kitty taught me that too. When I knew her, she was in her eighties, crippled with arthritis, and pretty much blind. She had spent her life looking after others, despite being disabled from childhood. A lifetime of pain and sacrifice. But she was the most positive person I have ever met. She told me that every night, before she switched the light out , she would think of three things to be thankful for. Just three. Some days it was hard to find three, but she always did it, no matter how much she was suffering. I was only about 7 years old, but i have never forgotten this, and always try to do the same. And it works.

It was getting wet last night, and my moaning friend, that made me think how much gratitude has become part of my life. Positive thinking is my life's pattern. That doesn't mean I don't have the usual grumps, moans, dramas, panics. But I have so much to be thankful for, and I am. I really am. Even if it is only the unusual sensation of cold rain running down the back of my neck!