Friday, 31 August 2007
Monday, 27 August 2007
World Bog Snorkelling Championship, Llanwrtyd Wells.
Bank Holiday Monday 2007
‘Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the secret of success.
It is morning. I write this laying (lying? which is it, I forget?) in bed next to my wide open window, the sun’s rays are warming me and M is downstairs playing his harmonica, the tune Beautiful Dreamer is wafting up the stairs of the cottage…..that’s an old one, well before my time. There is a spider’s web lit up by the sunlight and almost delicately arranged on the window frame, it is exquisitely beautiful and I haven’t the heart to destroy it.
I recently heard the following snippet on Radio 2, the source was a Major Charles King from the Salvation Army, he has a slot on the Wogan show sometimes, (King has a soothing, chocolatey voice and good vibes).
This is what he said he had heard.
Stephen Fry said that the secret of happiness is ‘never to feel sorry for yourself‘, how right he is. He added that we should be like ‘Abba’ and be ‘better than we needed to be’. And finally that we should ‘Love one another’.
Simple isn’t it?
It is such a splendid morning. It would be hard not to feel happy today, especially as it is also a Bank Holiday. I don’t work on a Monday so it doesn’t really affect me but I am naturally pleased for other folk who do. We don’t usually venture far on public holidays as there can be too many people around but having said that it never gets that busy here in the heart of Wales, the relatively undiscovered secret, the hidden place that it is.
It is a special day for Llanwrtyd Wells as they are holding the annual event that is the World Bog Snorkelling Championship, see the pics above! They must be well pleased with the weather.
A good part of my yesterday was devoted to working on M’s family tree; I’ve got the geneaology bug again and am making great inroads into his (and our children’s) ancestry. There is still the close French Connection to pursue though and an elusive Spanish and Irish influence that was mentioned to M by his granny. I am of course especially keen to find the Irish ingredient. My Irish blood on my father’s side apparently goes back to Spanish pirates! The first time I visited Spain I didn’t know this but I loved the country, its energies suited me.
Talking of energies, yesterday wasn’t all chasing the dead. M and I had a go at dowsing with a forked hazel stick. M had heard talk of the old extension on our cottage (the snug) being built over a well and that it could cause flooding if it overfilled. We did have a problem a few years back in that room, only the once though and since we ‘diverted’ the river we have had no trouble, even in the monsoon weather that we get now. (touch wood!).
I have always been able to dowse with a pendulum but had never tried the ‘hazel’ method. I didn’t feel at ease with it somehow and wasn’t quite sure how to hold it, so I did what I always do if I don’t know anything… and went online. I found a lot of interesting links that helped me. I can recommend the pages on Tom Lethbridge.
I tried again as instructed and walked all round the garden, my dog thought I had gone loopy, or more loopy than usual. (She’s got a nerve, she is not quite the full shilling herself!).
Nothing seemed to make the twig move so I gave up. I still couldn’t find my pendulum which I had put somewhere safe, you know how it is…..
Later in the evening M went off and made two metal dowsing rods out of soft iron wire with two little ‘handles’ from plastic tubing. I was quite tired and was enjoying watching ‘Favourite View’ on TV. As soon as Northumberland and Newcastle had been on (some more of my roots!) I thought I had better show willing after all the trouble M had gone to.
Well it was just amazing, in some places the rods moved left, some right, sometimes crossed over and even became completely ‘sideways on’ in one spot and if there is a well then I think I now know where it could be. Wells were usually in sacred, spiritual places and that makes sense because the snug is a very special room energy-wise, I have mentioned it before on the blog. Everyone comments on its cosy, relaxing atmosphere and I call it the ‘sleepy chair’ by the Rayburn, quite close to where the well may be. Everyone who sits there feels its effects! I am going to go round the rest of the cottage today and outside and then soon I will go round the ‘Big House’ next door and see what I pick up there with my new dowsing rods.
I was going to post a photo of Sammy Squirrel for you but M has already put it on his blog. So to save the time and effort....... if you want to see Sammy (being very naughty indeed!) go to M’s blog (link on the right). There is also a photo of our apples. If you visit, do leave a comment, it would make an old man very happy (don't tell him I said that!)
I have a bird question. I don’t know if anyone can help me, Irish Eyes maybe? We saw a bird in the garden the other day and we cannot identify it. It had a very long straight beak and a large fan shaped tail. It jumped around, might that be a clue? It was pecking on the grass and didn’t fly. I consulted our Readers Digest ‘Bird Bible’ and the only one I thought it might be was a young woodcock but M said their tails are short and pointed.
I have posted another video below. Kelly Clarkson’s Because of You, it’s the live version as I found the others too harrowing to watch.
To play my videos you have to ‘pause’ the other music player (below right on the page) or you will get two songs playing at once. Click the top left ‘button’ and it should stop. You can always do this anyway of you don’t like my background music or you can turn your volume down or off to block it.
I am soon going to change the audio collection, I think we need something different don’t you? But I will save the purplecoo requests to post back another time. I am an Arian and soon get bored, we love to embrace the new and the challenging, that’s what makes us tick. Any other Arians out there? You will understand.
So on to Blessings.
Dowsing. It’s great to rediscover a sort of a miracle. Scientists don’t know everything you know, that is why our world is so wondrous.
Spiders’ Webs and the beauty that is Nature.
Talking of things artistic…
Amazing and original artwork found on artists’ blog pages, such gems are hidden away online. Lixtroll's for example. (I must learn how to do links).
Ancestral genealogy resources on the net open doors that would otherwise be closed. They give glimpses into the lives of our forebears and teach us so much about social history, but in an enjoyable way.
Summer sunshine. Yes I know I am repeating myself but this year it too seems like a miracle, do you not agree?
Talking of which I think it is time I got up and got going so I can go outside to enjoy some of it. Porridge in the garden methinks!
Books to finish, more writing to do,
dreams to dream....
Before I go here is a poem by Li Po.
Alone and Drinking under the Moon
Amongst the flowers I
am alone with my pot of wine
drinking by myself; then lifting
my cup I asked the moon
to drink with me, its reflection
and mine in the wine cup, just
the three of us; then I sigh
for the moon cannot drink,
and my shadow goes emptily along
with me never saying a word;
with no other friends here, I can
but use these two for company;
in the time of happiness, I
too must be happy with all
around me; I sit and sing
and it is as if the moon
accompanies me; then if I
dance, it is my shadow that
dances along with me; while
still not drunk, I am glad
to make the moon and my shadow
into friends, but then when
I have drunk too much, we
all part; yet these are
friends I can always count on
these who have no emotion
whatsoever; I hope that one day
we three will meet again,
deep in the Milky Way.
Bye for now,
Friday, 24 August 2007
First of all, before I get going I ask you to listen/watch my YouTube videos. (below). I saw Gerry Marsden on the Richard and Judy show and got so nostalgic as I was in love with him when I was about eleven years old! I later moved my affections to the Beatles but that’s another story and another video one day maybe.…. Gerry looks like a little boy on the video, now that IS a sign of getting old! ‘You’ll never Walk Alone’ is an 'affecting' song and it is even more moving today as Liverpool is suffering so badly because of the terrible murder of a mere child. What is happening to our cities?
Labi Siffre’s song also moves me so I dug 'Something Inside' out too.
And Annie Lennox’s latest single is good and has great lyrics:
IT'S A DARK ROAD
AND A DARK WAY THAT LEADS TO MY HOUSE
AND THE WORD SAYS
THAT YOU'RE NEVER GONNA FIND ME THERE, OH NO
I'VE GOT AN OPEN DOOR
IT DIDN'T GET THERE BY ITSELF
IT DIDN'T GET THERE BY ITSELF...
THERE'S A FEELIN'
BUT YOU'RE NOT FEELIN' IT AT ALL
THERE'S A MEANING
BUT YOU'RE NOT LISTENING ANY MORE
I LOOK AT THAT OPEN ROAD
I'M GONNA WALK THERE BY MYSELF...
AND IF YOU CATCH ME I MIGHT TRY TO RUN AWAY
YOU KNOW I CAN'T BE THERE TOO LONG
AND IF YOU LET ME I MIGHT TRY TO MAKE YOU STAY
SEEMS YOU NEVER REALISE A GOOD THING TILL IT'S GONE...
MAYBE I'M STILL SEARCHIN' BUT I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT MEANS
ALL THE FIRES OF DESTRUCTION ARE STILL BURNIN' IN MY DREAMS
THERE'S NO WATER THAT CAN WASH AWAY THIS LONGIN' TO COME CLEAN...
HEY YEA YEA...
I CAN'T FIND THE JOY WITHIN IN MY SOUL
IT'S JUST SADNESS TAKIN' HOLD
I WANNA COME IN FROM THE COLD
AND MAKE MYSELF RENEWED AGAIN
IT TAKES STRENGTH TO LIVE THIS WAY
THE SAME OLD MADNESS EVERYDAY
I WANNA KICK THESE BLUES AWAY
I WANNA LEARN TO LIVE AGAIN
HEY HEY HEY
IT'S A DARK ROAD
AND A DARK WAY THAT LEADS TO MY HOUSE
AND THE WORD SAYS
THAT YOU'RE NEVER GONNA FIND ME THERE OH NO
I'VE GOT AN OPEN DOOR
IT DIDN'T GET THERE BY ITSELF ..OOH
IT DIDN'T GET THERE BY ITSELF
I am awakened by the so stimulating golden light that is sunshine (!) and at the same time M is bringing my honeyed tea. I almost jump out of bed in delight, but not quite, I don’t think I have ever jumped out of a bed of a morning in my life.
Instead I gather up books, a pen and a pad and prepare to make a list of things I need, nay want, to do today as it is a day off.
This was my first week back after two weeks off; it hasn’t been too hectic, probably because of the aforementioned golden light some of us are having in the UK. It actually feels like summer! One of the borrowers commented on the effect that sunshine has on mood and indeed it does; it lifts everyone’s spirits and more than that we agreed that It shapes the character of a nation: people from sunny climes seem happier, more upbeat and positive (but can be hot-blooded too!). However the heat slows them down and their lifestyle is perhaps made more leisurely and laid back. I often wonder if some of those people who suffer from depression do so because genetically they are ‘Mediterranean’ Individuals living in a cold and grey country.
Talking of genetic types I read at the weekend that blue- eyed folk are supposed to be more ‘academic’ than any other group. This was interesting, not least because I have blue eyes as does my daughter and her three daughters. My blue-eyed gene is a strong one as both my daughter and I married brown eyed men. I was taught at school that brown eyes were always predominant over blue in any reproduction process. Perhaps someone brighter than me can enlighten me?
The gremlins had taken up residence in the library though and I spent the best part of a morning grappling with the sick colour printer and the wobbly Internet connection on the computers. We librarians spend a lot of our time on such things, it is not all about stamping books these days as we are also busy helping the public with use of computers and also now with guidance in their genealogy research. (how I hate spelling that word!).
We were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates has arrived at last in the library and I have started reading it and must finish by the end of the month for the Purplecoo book group. I see it was an Oprah Winfrey book choice and the Los Angeles Times says ‘It is a book that will break your heart, heal it, then break it again’. Another source quotes her as the greatest American novelist. We shall see. I am a great fan of the late Carol Shields myself. If I like 'Mulvaneys’ I may recommend it to the library book group. We are discussing Mr Cassini on September 10th but luckily I read that long ago for the BBC radio slot. And you may remember I tipped it for Welsh (English language) Book of the Year and it won!
My own family tree searching is coming on well. I may have had some success on the paternal grandmother’s line which comes from Northumberland, a truly beautiful part of England. So I have more work on that on my list today, it is another addiction I am afraid but there are much worse, more life-threatening ones I guess.
At 4pm I will be weed-pulling, along, in spirit, with lots of Purplecoo cyber friends and we shall be thinking of two children who had reason to be very sad a few days ago, one is one of my granddaughters who lost some chicken to the fox.
And Blessings you may ask?
The first has to be Sunshine. So rare this summer, so all the more precious, like a jewel.
Breeze……. that is so so gently coming in the study window as I write………………
Not to forget the Night Sky and all the treats it has been bringing us this month, Shooting Stars and the like. And the dear Moon, She affects us more than we know. I must get a moon phase thingy up on the blog page so we shall know where we are in that respect.
Our little local railway line, the Heart of Wales. M is planning little trips on it now as he can go for FREE as he is a pensioner. We live two miles from the nearest station, well it’s just a ‘halt’ really and there are no buses so he will have to drive to the station but then he can (freely) travel as he pleases.
Finally it is Another New Day when it’s good to be alive. Every day I realise how lucky I am both to be alive and to live here especially on days like this. Earlier in the week I went out at about eight o clock in the evening and there was a feeling and a scent of being ‘on the edge of autumn’ or as ‘Irish Eyes’ put it so well ‘on the doorstep of autumn’. I know just what she means.
I will post a poem I wrote a while ago now.
Dead of night.
Beauteous wild garden,
in the shade of the mountain;
its looks, fading now,
whispers secrets to
the full-on moon,
The gentlest of breezes
turn to gales,
their tempers rising
with the Earth’s.
The constant river,
lulled as if by faith,
till, drop dead quiet.
I stand alone. I gaze.
I am a prayer.
My senses over-filled
by the longing and the keening of the wind.
As I stand beside its stream
As I try to read the mountain’s mind
I close my eyes and strain to hear.
How does the stillness speak
while through the starry silence
of the night
its grey rock sleeps so softly?
Bye for now,
As the saying goes……….
We are not here for very long, we may as well dance.
Thursday, 23 August 2007
Saturday, 18 August 2007
A rare treat today: we saw something we have never seen so close up before, let alone in the back garden. It was a young sparrow hawk perched on the fence. Just sitting there looking around occasionally. I did a bit of a quick look-up in our wonderful Readers Digest book and found out that they often perch on a post and make quick surprise ‘pounces’ on unsuspecting little birds. Finches, sparrows and the like. The funny thing is that all morning the bird table outside the kitchen window has been alive with birds, the usual tits, sparrows, robins, woodpeckers etc but also finches who aren’t regular visitors there. They have all seemed frantic too in their mode of feeding which is usually a sign of bad weather to come. I haven’t heard any weather forecasts so don’t know if they could be right or not. They all disappeared though while the hawk was nearby, clever aren’t they?
Sammy Squirrel also came to the table early this morning and M took some photos of him through the glass of the window so they haven’t come out very well. We spent ages photographing the young hawk as well but again they did not come out too well with the window in between and also the bird was some distance away. And it was bucketing down with rain.
(Pity that it’s still raining because I was hoping to tackle some overgrown flower beds).
So it will be a ‘stay-indoors’ day today I think; I can catch up with some blog-reading, I am so behind on that. Also I am enjoying Piers Morgan’s book (see above). (I got it from the library), it’s in diary form , well written and makes for light holiday reading. Full of political/celebrity/journalistic gossipy stuff. I don’t feel like anything too demanding. Piers M is one of those ' love him or hate him' kind of guys I guess but he doesn’t pretend to be something he’s not and he hates ‘celebrity’.
And for something completely different I’m also reading Little Women yet again. One of my childhood all-time favourites.
If you want a really funny light read I can highly recommend the Irish novel Diary of a Demented Housewife by Niamh Greene
Later on I also want to get my family history stuff in some kind of order and try and work out the direction of my next searches. I am ‘chasing dead people’ as a fellow blogger calls it. I love that..
Yesterday we visited one of our immediate neighbours who lives ‘upstream’ from us, on the site of a former mill actually, that was probably demolished in the early 1800’s. The driveway to their house is lined with harebells, one of my favourite flowers. I have a weakness for all blue flowers actually. These bells always seem to appear after harvest, in late summer, but are better late than never. I so love their shy delicacy. G and E open their garden for ‘retreats’ and I can see why, it is so beautiful and such peace is all around; I could sit in their garden all day. G, a retired GP, is an octogenarian but doesn’t look it and is something of an expert on moths. Apparently he has kept a record of the moths around his house and garden since 1973! He sets special ‘traps’ that lure the moths overnight and every morning he goes to see what’s there and records them before letting them go of course. He has killed them in the past and gave a collection to Cardiff museum as they were without a Breconshire collection.
He told me some interesting facts. The bats love moths and can ‘smell’ them and hover around the traps. If a moth ‘sees’ a bat it will drop rapidly to the ground. Also a robin waits every morning outside the kitchen door to follow G out to inspect the traps; he too has a taste for them! Other birds join them at the trap too. Knowing creatures, birds and far more intelligent than we give them credit for. I’m sure they watch us just as much as we watch them. (Perhaps they’d list ‘human watching’ as one of their hobbies?) More likely they see us as a food source. I know I only have to go out with some food to one of the two tables and almost before my back is turned they are there feeding. And I swear they come and ask for food at the kitchen window. They hang around looking in the window at me while wearing a really ‘pathetic bird’ expression.
I keep a record of the wildlife around our cottage but not moths or butterflies, perhaps I should do so. I was pleased to hear that G has plenty of bats as ours have all but disappeared.
V and two of the girls and I went to Llandovery yesterday for a spot of shopping. It’s a lovely little town, very Welsh and you can hear the native language spoken quite a lot. There were a couple of market stalls and one was a gardening one which specialised in, guess what, David Austen roses! So I could have bought mine there and not travelled quite so far to a garden centre to buy them. The stallholder had a great selection and very healthy they were too. Once a month they have a farmers’ market in the town but it is always on a Saturday when I have to be at work. By the time I can get there everything is closed up. The town does have a good greengrocer’s though (and delicatessen), a wonderful butcher’s and health shop and lots of other ‘little shops’. V and I are hoping to reduce our supermarket shopping as much as we can but when you live miles from anywhere it is hard as you have to go and buy a lot in one go.
I haven’t done any blessings for what seems like ages. Here goes.
Mine today is saying Reward Yourself. I haven’t consulted them for ages but I like this one! I asked it what should I do today? So self-indulgence is the order of the day, quite appropriate as I usually work at the weekend but am still on holiday.
Knowledge, Isn’t it a wonderful thing? I love learning something new every day.
Roses and their heavenly scent. Harebells too of course.
Purple Power. I say no more, some of you will understand.
Last but not least….
Laziness and self-indulgence, long may it last,
And before I go, a poem that mentions harebells only very briefly, but is a lovely read.
It‘s a long one by John Clare, save it and enjoy at your leisure…. I can only imagine a nightingale's song now as we have none in this part of the world.
The Nightingale's Nest
Up this green woodland-ride let's softly rove,
And list the nightingale— she dwells just here.
Hush ! let the wood-gate softly clap, for fear
The noise might drive her from her home of love ;
For here I've heard her many a merry year—
At morn, at eve, nay, all the live-long day,
As though she lived on song. This very spot,
Just where that old-man's-beard all wildly trails
Rude arbours o'er the road, and stops the way—
And where that child its blue-bell flowers hath got,
Laughing and creeping through the mossy rails—
There have I hunted like a very boy,
Creeping on hands and knees through matted thorn
To find her nest, and see her feed her young.
And vainly did I many hours employ :
All seemed as hidden as a thought unborn.
And where those crimping fern-leaves ramp among
The hazel's under boughs, I've nestled down,
And watched her while she sung ; and her renown
Hath made me marvel that so famed a bird
Should have no better dress than russet brown.
Her wings would tremble in her ecstasy,
And feathers stand on end, as 'twere with joy,
And mouth wide open to release her heart
Of its out-sobbing songs. The happiest part
Of summer's fame she shared, for so to me
Did happy fancies shapen her employ ;
But if I touched a bush, or scarcely stirred,
All in a moment stopt. I watched in vain :
The timid bird had left the hazel bush,
And at a distance hid to sing again.
Lost in a wilderness of listening leaves,
Rich Ecstasy would pour its luscious strain,
Till envy spurred the emulating thrush
To start less wild and scarce inferior songs ;
For while of half the year Care him bereaves,
To damp the ardour of his speckled breast ;
The nightingale to summer's life belongs,
And naked trees, and winter's nipping wrongs,
Are strangers to her music and her rest.
Her joys are evergreen, her world is wide—
Hark! there she is as usual— let's be hush—
For in this black-thorn clump, if rightly guest,
Her curious house is hidden. Part aside
These hazel branches in a gentle way,
And stoop right cautious 'neath the rustling boughs,
For we will have another search to day,
And hunt this fern-strewn thorn-clump round and round ;
And where this reeded wood-grass idly bows,
We'll wade right through, it is a likely nook :
In such like spots, and often on the ground,
They'll build, where rude boys never think to look—
Aye, as I live ! her secret nest is here,
Upon this white-thorn stump ! I've searched about
For hours in vain. There! put that bramble by—
Nay, trample on its branches and get near.
How subtle is the bird ! she started out,
And raised a plaintive note of danger nigh,
Ere we were past the brambles ; and now, near
Her nest, she sudden stops— as choking fear,
That might betray her home. So even now
We'll leave it as we found it : safety's guard
Of pathless solitudes shall keep it still.
See there! she's sitting on the old oak bough,
Mute in her fears ; our presence doth retard
Her joys, and doubt turns every rapture chill.
Sing on, sweet bird! may no worse hap befall
Thy visions, than the fear that now deceives.
We will not plunder music of its dower,
Nor turn this spot of happiness to thrall ;
For melody seems hid in every flower,
That blossoms near thy home. These harebells all
Seem bowing with the beautiful in song ;
And gaping cuckoo-flower, with spotted leaves,
Seems blushing of the singing it has heard.
How curious is the nest ; no other bird
Uses such loose materials, or weaves
Its dwelling in such spots : dead oaken leaves
Are placed without, and velvet moss within,
And little scraps of grass, and, scant and spare,
What scarcely seem materials, down and hair ;
For from men's haunts she nothing seems to win.
Yet Nature is the builder, and contrives
Homes for her children's comfort, even here ;
Where Solitude's disciples spend their lives
Unseen, save when a wanderer passes near
That loves such pleasant places. Deep adown,
The nest is made a hermit's mossy cell.
Snug lie her curious eggs in number five,
Of deadened green, or rather olive brown ;
And the old prickly thorn-bush guards them well.
So here we'll leave them, still unknown to wrong,
As the old woodland's legacy of song.
Bye for now,
Thursday, 16 August 2007
A hurried little entry for the blog today. That's all.
The most painful thing on earth is a pleasant memory. This nostalgia that sometimes comes over us isn't an accident. It's a message. It has something to tell us. We're programmed to indulge in life, but this haunting nostalgia is a subliminal message from another plane. It's the homing instinct of the mundane mind. At its best, it's what draws us back to the Father. Nostalgia is a window to the soul, and the soul is lost to man as he lives. Nostalgia is the soul's memory of prior experience. Touching it, you touch the Eternal.
I have to write a piece for the writing group on the subject of reunion.
How can I write of reunion? For to me the word means meeting up again with someone from whom you have been parted? Personally it’s far too emotive a subject, too close to the bone for comfort, unless I think laterally. I am advised to do so. But still I struggle. I struggle some more and in the end this is the best I can come up with.
Have you ever had the feeling that you have known someone in a past life?
This has happened to me on many occasions.
Do you believe in reincarnation?
There is a theory that ‘soul groups’ reincarnate together. (If I submit this it will probably be considered too ‘whacky’ for the other members of the group but hey ho, I care not).
I ponder on these themes and also on the meeting up of soul mates as I dig out an old draft of a poem written many, many moons ago. The poem jars on me as sometimes only stuff written long ago can do, but the words still make sense, though perhaps only to me? I decide to rewrite them, but this time as prose.
I write of how soul mates can meet as in a reverie of a pastimes’ love that was borne of another era, a distant place in time and space. So meeting again can be both a reunion and also something of a celebration.
As if kneeling and gazing deeply into each other, soul mates can see through the other person’s ‘unpeeled layers’ and in those synchronistic moments that always seem to occur, soon speak of things about which they are like-minded and in tune.
Two souls can be so affected that even though they are sober, they feel intoxicated and are transported, almost as if by wine’s inebriation or by the carriage of great music. They are moved to a place where every time their eyes meet, their souls meet and there is a dual recognition, with no need for charm or small talk, as a telepathic feeling gives a freedom to their hearts.
Sometimes there is 'love at first sight'. Do you agree that it truly does exist?
Can you think of a better explanation for this phenomenon?
Late in life I have met up with family members who I have never ever met before and there has been an instant recognition, a feeling of love and kinship, something I had never experienced before. What causes this to happen, is it a blood thing?
Why do we cry at times like this? When we are 'moved''
Sometimes moving to melodies of a much deeper tone is sad. How can their tunes be so deep, yet their reach so high? Like a touch that heals your pain with love yet brings forth tears. Sometimes.
Bye for now,
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
Awake. Be the witness of your thoughts. You are what observes, not what you observe.
It is a long time since my last blog. We have been away for a few days visiting family, old and new, in Surrey and Sussex and have had a very enjoyable time. We left the cottage and the animals in the care of a friend.
Dr Edward Bach's Cottage,
Travelling down I decided to go ‘the pretty way’ and avoid the motorways. I absolutely love driving and I don’t mind motorway driving at all, in fact I used to enjoy it, but since the invention of speed cameras I find it so hard to keep down to 70 mph and I do get bored with the landscape. So this time I planned for a leisurely journey and we stopped in Oxfordshire at Mount Vernon, Dr Edward Bach’s famous cottage in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell. I’ve had a book about the Bach remedies for years and have always longed to visit their birthplace.
The sun was shining full on and I had to dig out my pink straw hat bought from M & S last year. The village was off the main road, very picturesque, (well worth a visit) and we enjoyed a nice lunch at the Red Lion pub. Then we set off to try and find the Bach centre and eventually found it hidden away down one of the many twisty lanes. We rung the bell and the current owner appeared, welcomed us and showed us round the tiny cottage, There were two rooms downstairs and a kitchen on an extension at the back. (Offices only upstairs now). I loved all the rustic and very beautiful wooden furniture that had been handmade by Dr Bach as he was apparently poor when he first rented the cottage all those years ago. (He died in 1936).
Although it is obviously very much a commercial enterprise now, the place still retains its special aura of peace and tranquillity. They run practitioner courses which sound very interesting though one can teach oneself with the correct literature if prepared to study.
The remedies are still produced there from the wild flowers in the garden. A gardener is employed but her main job is weeding as everything is left to grow wild and free (just like mine at home!). Numerous cottage plants were to be seen and there was a little pond adorned with water lilies. Apparently visitors come from all over the world and many love to just sit in the garden and enjoy its peace. M and I sat on a bench by the pond and watched the bees buzzing from flower to flower. The energies were so good; I could have happily stayed there for the rest of the afternoon but we had to continue our journey. Before we left I stocked up with the old faithful, Rescue Remedy, I bought some for my sister who also uses it for those little ‘emergencies’.
There is a coincidental footnote to this little section - when I logged on to my previous blog that was written over a week ago I saw a comment from a fellow Welsh blogger, Preseli Mags, who was saying that she always uses the Bach remedy 'White Chestnut' for nightime insomnia and its accompanying black moods. So my last blog about sleeplessness and this one have sort of combined with her comment.
I am back home now and safely tucked up in our little valley by the river. Though I love to see my family in England I am always glad to return to the hills of Wales. I feel the real country bumpkin now when I go back to the Otherworld; I am out of place somehow. Also we are used to near-empty roads in Powys and can’t cope with the volume of traffic up there and also the number of people. We find it all quite stressful and I’m always reminded of the story of the Town Mouse and the Country Mouse.
But there is more joy now back at home. I have the week off work and can do just as I please. I am planning a trip to a local garden centre today as I am making a rose and lavender bed from an old herb bed that I had to clear as it had been completely taken over by mint. I’ve decided to confine all my herbs to pots from now on, except for the lavenders of course.
And even more joy! The telly digibox has died so we are without TV. The silence is deafening as they say. I love the radio anyway so we put that on occasionally and we can listen to music of course. But I am enjoying the lack of any noise at all, so relaxing after a busy weekend and not seeing the news is a real treat.
The paintings above are by an American artist called Jim Daly. Camilla asked me who painted the ‘Bedtime Story’ which can be seen on a previous blog. It is a picture I came across one night when I was unable to sleep and I was surfing around on the net. I loved its ‘cosiness’ and lots of people agreed with me so I have dug out some more of his work, just a few that hold particular appeal to me. I don’t like all his pics as I feel that some of them are a bit too ‘twee’ (there’s that damned 'T' word again!).
Well the day is beckoning and rainy or not I must get this show on the road. I hope you like the poem that I picked for you in the Small Hours.
The moon lies on the river
like a drop of oil.
The children come to the banks to be healed
of their wounds and bruises.
The fathers who gave them their wounds and bruises
come to be healed of their rage.
The mothers grow lovely; their faces soften,
the birds in their throats awake.
They all stand hand in hand
and the trees around them,
forever on the verge
of becoming one of them,
stop shuddering and speak their first word.
But that is not the beginning.
It is the end of the story,
and before we come to the end,
the mothers and fathers and children
must find their way to the river,
separately, with no one to guide them.
That is the long, pitiless part,
and it will scare you.
Bye for now,
Monday, 6 August 2007
Nil aon tintean, mar do tintean fein
An Irish saying.
(There’s no fireside like your own fireside).
Quite appropriate considering the summer we are having.
This is a little blog that was blogged in the early hours of Sunday morning. I am a little late in posting, please forgive me.
Last night I was overcome by sleepfullness. Yes I know there is no such word but sometimes I love making up words and if you can have sleeplessness why not the opposite? My eyes kept closing and I had to go to bed at an unearthly hour (what exactly is an unearthly hour? Is it another planet’s time?), eight o’clock to be precise!
Sleeplessness struck at 2 am. And They all came early. Those 4 am moments when doom n’ gloom, blackness and worry seep into one’s thoughts and dreams. Dread comes calling at these unholy hours along with crazy imaginings and needless worry over things that might happen. Also regret over things that have happened and can’t be changed. Some things that I may have had control over but didn’t exert it. Some things that should never have happened, my mind runs riot here in its meanderings. Foot and mouth is on my mind and I think of all those thousands of cattle and sheep culled in 2001. I then go on to think sad thoughts: missing children, the shooting of an innocent man (seven times), the invasion of Iraq. Serious worries. Then I go on to the ‘lighter’ ones things like journalists who upset folk with their easy-speak and their labelling. Some of you will know what I mean. God I hate the labelling of people, the all-too-neat compartmentalisation of folk into other folk’s previously selected ‘classes’ and ‘creeds‘.
I get up and pour myself a drink of the red stuff, no not wine just ultra health-giving cranberry juice, but even that causes worry to surface as I see on the label that it contains that cyanide stuff that is supposed to cause cancer. Talking of which, I read recently that to prevent breast cancer recurring I must get sunlight on my skin. Some hopes in this summer we are having. Even the sky was crying yesterday. It was a sunless day and for locals here in Wales, as well as Foot and Mouth to worry about there was a shocking defeat at rugby and to England…….. of all the teams they had to lose to….. I didn’t see the match, probably just as well.
Why is it that the wee small hours bring along with them the Great Big Worries? Something is telling me to Log On so I do what any self-respecting Purplecooer would do. I give in easily to temptation. I wrap myself in my warmest dressing gown, take my drink and go upstairs and sit by the computer. There is one joyous thing, a bright moon is illuminating my little study and it lightens the space through the window by the desk. It is so bright that I wonder if it did in fact awaken me in the first place.
Joy. I have two more comments to read on my latest blog. One from ‘Irish Eyes’ a fellow blogger from my spiritual home across the water. She has sent me an Irish quotation (see above). One comment also from dear Woozle. Both are lovely comments that cheer me and so my mood is already being transformed. How blessed I am to have comforting contact with two friends in the middle of the night, just when I need it.
That will have to be my first blessing. The second is the sunshine that does come after the rain as it always does. The third is enjoying time with the family again after what seems such a long time. The fourth is a funny book I am reading (see list). The fifth is the fact that I have two weeks off now.
Please let the sun shine.
So I’ll love you and leave you and will soon be making my way back to bed. First I’ll find you a poem to hopefully cheer you and me.
Sweet Dreams And Happy Memories
Sweet dreams and happy memories,
A love that's good and true;
A home to care for tenderly;
A song to sing that's new
Sweet dreams and happy memories
And friends to join in mirth
Some tears to give to those who die,
And smiles to greet each birth.
Sweet dreams and happy memories,
To win a game or two.
The faith to know that Spring will come,
The strength to wait it through.
Sweet dreams and happy memories,
To do what there's to do
For joy is living day to day,
To make sweet dreams come true.
Doris Reed Tietz
Bye for now,