Alexander Averin

Friday, 2 January 2009

New Year Ramblings

Dear Diary,

"I will seek elegance rather than luxury, refinement rather than fashion. I will seek to be worthy more than respectable, wealthy and not rich. I will study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly. I will listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with an open heart. I will bear all things cheerfully, do all things bravely, await occasions and hurry never. In a word I will let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious grow up through the common."
William Ellery Channing

I found that wonderful quotation on this wonderful blog. and had to share it with you.

Yesterday was New Year’s Day and was another gift of magic visually. We went to have a drink with some dear friends, it was only a short drive through the lanes but was such a treat as everything about us was still clothed in white. Flakes of frost floated about but were unlike snowflakes; they were more ethereal, and resembled the white feathers sent down for us by the angels in times of need. We were tempted to stop and take photos but we didn’t have time unfortunately. These days of frost are quite rare and we must make the most of them.

I have got used to the Arctic conditions now and rather love them, I never thought I would. It was - 6 over night and - 2.5 in the day. Donning layers is the answer - thick tights and socks and scarves (indoors) and gloves, hats and warmest coat and boots (outside). Hot drinks a-plenty throughout the day and I try and keep moving, it is fatal to be still unless one is curled up in a blanket by the fire! Our beloved woodburner and old Rayburn are vital of course, as we have no central heating but at the moment we are also relying on extremely expensive electric oil filled radiators to supplement these two stalwarts.

The poor birds are suffering though, the garden is ‘overflowing’ with our feathered friends seeking morsels of food. We have put out fat balls, mixed seeds, M’s home-made bread which they adore, peanuts, porridge oats and also my home made bird cake made with left-over beef dripping. We have a new ‘bird feeding station’, a grand name for a set of metal hooks. We thought it would be squirrel proof but Sammy has at last managed to climb up the pole and reach the nuts. Proof that where there is a will there is always a way. Freezing temperatures were probably the spur. Is this a symbol of how one can conquer what seems to be insurmountable if one persists? I think so.

I have really enjoyed this book…The Morville Hours by Katherine Swift and I would like to recommend it to you. A fellow blogger recommended it to me and I was not disappointed. Isn’t it wonderful the way word of mouth, or rather word of ’net’ works, especially with books - as a librarian I have seen how the love of a good book can spread like wildfire. Morville Hours is the story of the making of a Shropshire garden from scratch but is much more than that, the subjects covered are wide and all of interest, the author is knowledgeable in many areas and manages to tell part of her life story at the same time. It is an inspiring book and was a great read over Christmas.

Talking of inspiring writers, I am reading Barack Obama’s Dreams from my Father at the moment. I will blog about this later but I will just say now that this man can write as well as he can speak. Not long now until he becomes President Obama.

As I write this I am playing ‘Run’ by Leona Lewis, the wonderful Snow Patrol song of course. I am feeling rather proud of myself as it is the first song I have purchased from Itunes because I hope to make up compilations of songs sometimes rather than buy whole albums. Needless to say my daughter helped me set this up; it is easy though, like everything is, once you know how. God, I apologise, this posting is riddled with cliches, my old writing tutor would be making much use of the red pen if she was reading this!

Still on the musical theme I’ll end, not with a poem, but with the lyrics to a song by Cat Stevens, one of my all time favourite singer/songwriters - he is now called Yusuf Islam of course but still making music.

M was playing Cat’s classic CD Catch Bull at Four yesterday morning; I know every line and the order of the songs by heart. This one resonated with me as the date was New Year’s Day.

Changes IV

Don't you feel a change a coming from another side of time breaking down the walls of silence lifting shadows from your mind Placing back the missing mirrors that before you couldn't find filling mysteries of emptiness that yesterday left behind And we all know it's better Yesterday has past now let's all start the living for the one that's going to last Yes we all know it's better Yesterday has past now let's all start the living for the one that's going to last Don't you feel the day is coming that will stay and remain when your children see the answers that you saw the same when the clouds have all gone there will be no more rain and the beauty of all things is uncovered again Don't you feel the day is coming and it won't be too soon when the people of the world can all live in one room when we shake off the ancient shake off the ancient chains of our tomb we will all be born again of the eternal womb

Here you can watch him performing the song live on the BBC way back when.

The feelings contained therein are still needed today in 2009.

When will the day come?

Bye for now,



Frances said...

Another beauty, Cait. Do not worry about cliches!

I will see if my library has the Katherine Swift book. If not, I'll be back to you to find out the publisher, and when it was published, so that the library might just order it.

Please do keep on rambling. xo

Pondside said...

That's a Cat Stevens song that I'd never heard - thanks for the intro!
I love your blog header, Cait - gorgeous painting!

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Aw lovely thank you Cait - and I used to love Cat Stevens.

Lane said...

Lovely post Cait.

Sounds like you've got keeping warm down to a fine art.

And I agree about about word of mouth re. books. Isn't it wonderful that books can reach an audience this way. I'll make a note of Katherine Swift. Thank you:-)

Happy New Year to you and yours.

laurie said...

the header painting is paul henry, is it not?

thanks for the books and the music. happy new year.

CAMILLA said...

Dear Cait,

Such a wonderful post, I remember playing he music of Cat Stevens when I was younger, think I have his album here.

Thank you for the info on the book by Katherine Swift Cait, I am going to check out the publishers.

Happy New Year to you and yours Cait.


Elizabeth said...

I did not know William Ellery Channing - so googled him.
I really loved the quotation.
Thank you for discovering it and showing it.
In America we are very excited about Barack Obama.
Here's hoping for an excellent 09.
All best wishes.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I am happy you liked the quote, Cait. I found it a wonderful motto to live by.

Thanks so much for the book review...I will add that one to my list.

And, here's a funny tidbit... Cat Stevens is my hairdresser's cousin!! Having been a fan of his myself, I just find that amazing.

Happy weekend to you!