Alexander Averin

Sunday 29 July 2007

Burning Candles

Dear Diary,

You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand, for all that is life.

Jiddu Khrishnamurti

Sunday. A Sun Day, indeed it is.

A Lie-In!

I have opened the bedroom window wide. Pure Welsh air, warmth and sunshine stream in. Can this be true, or am I still dreaming?

I stayed up far too late last night as usual, this time I was catching up on reading others’ blogs. Now I feel tired, will I ever learn? I really must stop trying to burn the candle at both ends but the trouble is I have always been a night owl. Why are people owls or larks? Is it a genetic thing? Or something to do with our time of birth? Sleep is so necessary for a healthy immune system, it is number one on the list (see Matthew Manning book below).

As I enjoy my morning cuppa I dip into various books that are piled up beside my bed. Our book group has evenings where we discuss ‘Books on my Bedside Table’, they are always popular and I usually take in a huge pile to pass round. At the moment I have at hand the following:

1001 ways to Save the Planet
by Esme Floyd. This is a really good-easy-to-read book, crammed full of green ideas that everyone can and should think about taking up.

Writing in the Age of Silence
by Sara Paretsky, the crime writer. This is a non-fiction book about her life and how she got into writing. Very interesting so far.

Your Mind Can Heal Your Body
by Matthew Manning. Matthew is one of my favourite healers so I had to borrow this new one by him.

Stonelight by Sheena Pugh. This is an oldish volume of poetry by a great poet who was born in Birmingham but has made her home in Wales.

I am still waiting for ‘We were the Mulvaneys’ by Joyce Carol Oates. I thought the library service had a copy but I can’t find it on the catalogue. I have suggested they buy a copy but I have ordered one from Amazon as it is the Purple Coo book group’s current choice. I am in need of a good novel, something I can get lost in.

I am tempted by another idea I got from Matthew Manning’s book which is to paint the walls in my little parlour in a honeygoldy colour. The room is currently all-white because I wanted to make it appear more spacious. Our little snug is already a honeygold colour and it always feels sunny in there, whatever the weather. Warm and happy somehow. I am so fed up with the lack of sunshine this year that I think I will just have to bring it indoors in my own way. Matthew apparently has gold stars as well on the walls in his house in Suffolk! I may leave those out although I do have lots of dangly things hanging from the beams, mostly angels and fairy lights, but I do have a gold star and a gold moon amongst them.

I’m very interested in colour therapy and I am a great believer in its powers.

Last night, or rather in the early hours when I was on the computer the dogs became very excited, whelping and whining excited, not their ‘there’s a stranger about barking/growling excited‘. But I bravely went down and double checked that there was no burglar about! I guessed it was the otters in the river, they always bring this reaction out in the dogs. So I did NOT let them out to frighten them away. I dared not open the back door as it may have scared them off.

It’s a pity there was no moonlight to see the otters by (see one of my earliest blogs for my true story of otters in the moonlight). I really must get the hang of this linking business, so much to learn with computers isn’t there? One never stops learning, it’s a bit like life really.

Before I go my daughter has been updating me on the TB in cattle story. She and her husband farm both sheep and cattle so she is writing from experience. I thought it was all black and white but apparently, like most present day media/political scenarios, what we are fed is a murky shade of grey.

The easiest thing is to copy her comment on my blog.

The human strain of TB is a different one from that which affects cattle.

Our vet said that she had never actually seen an animal showing signs of TB, nor have any of the farmers I know. Animals are routinely tested now every time they move or go to market not just the two yearly tests which were the norm before. By 'before', I think I mean before the government became anti-farming and anti- sustainability.

Our present government is happy to rely upon cheap imports, taking advantage of the strong pound. Meanwhile many farmers believe in a compelling conspiracy theory which suggests that cattle are being culled simply to cut numbers or daunt British producers.

TB cannot even be passed to humans in the meat and more often than not is dormant in the beasts, often previously undetected perhaps but also unnoticed.

All the vets I have spoken to admit that the whole issue of TB testing is extremely dubious, way too stringent (costing farmers money every time they move cattle) and absolutely pointless to boot. These vets are working for the 'Ministry of Ag' and are on a whacking great wage.

I'm with the monks, not because they should have special treatment but because we should ALL stand up to this government and its sly propagandist tactics’

And now to completely change the subject from the controversial to the romantic, let’s get back into the past and to a poem - the old and well known classic Irish poem, that is a big favourite of mine.

When You Are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

I will sign off now, I have a date with the Archers - a lot more farming issues to catch up with on there - and then Desert Island Discs. Chores, indoors and out, a roast dinner maybe and then later we are meeting up with D and family who are arriving from Norfolk.

So much to do and so little time…

Wish I’d gone to bed earlier,

Bye for now,

Friday 27 July 2007

Better Late Than Never

A couple of Arthur Rackham pics, just because I love them.

Dear Diary,

(I am late posting this blog. Written yesterday morning).

I haven’t blogged for a while. Life gets in the way sometimes doesn’t it?

You move totally away from reality when you believe that there is a legitimate reason to suffer.
Katie Byron

Poor old Shambo.

I am with the monks on this one.

As long as the animal remains in isolation it would have seemed the best solution to me. And I do know about TB, I am old enough to have personal experience in my family of the effects the disease.

As I write this, my dear cat Molly is all over me, wanting my attention. She, like Shambo (was) is bursting with health and the thought of her being killed is horrific to say the least. She looks so comfy and contented as only a cat can, like the cat that got the cream. Don’t get me wrong, I do have sympathy for the farmers in the same situation, my daughter is married to a farmer. But to these monks all life is sacred.

One of my borrowers came up with an interesting angle. He said that if a human had TB would we kill him rather than let him mix with cattle? Don’t you sometimes think that we humans are both a domineering and arrogant species sometimes? Poor old Shambo, rest in Peace.

On a brighter note my Angel Card today is Joy, that’s a good one to have. I will seek out joy in my day. I have a friend called Joyful, what a lovely name to own. And another good thing. It is not raining! The river is quite low.

Outside the squirrels are busy, as are the birds. Does anyone know a cheap online source of peanuts and seed for the birds and the squirrels? They are eating us out of house and home.

I am hoping next week is more like summer as my stepson and family are coming from Norfolk to stay for a short holiday with us here in Wales . They are staying with my daughter, D’s half-sister, on the farm.

The poor farmers in these parts haven’t been able to cut any grass for weeks and if, as predicted, next week is dry they will be very busy. Luckily D likes getting stuck in and helping out on the farm so I guess/hope he might be busy. It will be silage this year, not much chance of hay. It’s a shame as our field usually has a good yield of hay. Usually it has been cut and cleared by now and the field free to walk in. It is such a shame that it is still out of bounds for me and the dogs. I can’t get near the long grass as I suffer from hay fever.

I am actually longing for sunshine, yes even me, a self-confessed lover of rain. You can definitely have too much of a good thing can’t you? Our vitamin D levels will be so low if we don’t get any sun on our skin. And I think we need a good summer to set us up for the winter, both physically and mentally. Let’s hope and pray that we get a lovely and long Indian summer.

Un Peu Loufouque has given us good advice about keeping our flower beds unkempt and the grass long in order to save the bumblebee. They like to shelter amongst the 'wildness'. I am queen of the unkempt border and as you know I call my garden a ‘wild garden’ in order to cover a multitude of sins. Now I can also say I am saving the bees…

I watched Miss Potter last night, it was quite a pleasant film but I felt it lacked something. Does anyone know what I mean?

M is off to see a man about a gun (an airgun I hasten to add!), well two men actually and he may be some time. I am going to get out of bed and get cracking. Even K my border collie is nagging me to get up. First I have to listen to Thomas Keneally on Desert Island Discs.


M has had a comment on his blog from Anna K and I must say it has made his day. Thank you Anna!

He has looked at Anna’s blog and said, like me, what a lovely person she is, not just her photo (!) and what lovely children.

As Faith said……It’s funny how reading people’s blogs gives one a feeling of the ‘spirit’ of a person. So if you ever meet face to face you must feel that you know them intimately yet have never spoken and have no idea of how they look, how they behave, their mannerisms etc.

Well before I leave you here are my blessings:

Some days it is hard to think of new ones and I am so tempted to repeat some of the old ones that keep resurfacing in my mind. At least that proves that blessings persist. Here are a few new and old ones.


I had a comment on my blog, on one of my music videos, from a stranger. That was a nice surprise. I wonder how he found me. He too is a Johnny Walker fan (not the whisky, though come to think of it….). I love Johnny’s taste in music. There’s something wonderful about a nice surprise - like a shock it hits you in the solar plexus but in such a pleasant way.

Visits from dear family members who live far away.

Forthcoming time off and visits to other family far away.

Enchanting images found on the Internet and shared on the blog.

Gifts from friends.

We had a convivial evening this week with some newish friends (I am related to one in a way but that is another (long) story). They gave us some of their frozen home-made chestnut mushroom soup to take home and try. We had it for supper last night after my ‘long day’ in the library. It was absolutely delicious. I’m a great soup maker myself but funnily enough I haven’t ever made mushroom soup. Mushrooms are often for sale quite cheaply so I think I will be making some soup with them myself soon. I’ve mentioned my home-grown artichoke soup in an earlier blog; that was out of this world and this mushroom soup was on a par with that. J also gave me some of her blackcurrant jam. I had some for breakfast and it was the best I have ever tasted. And to top it all M returned from their house just now with two warm home made rolls from them and they too were heavenly. So gifts and surprises together in this blessing.

Before I fly here is a poem by Simon Armitage. Nothing to do with the blog, I just love it.

You're Beautiful

Because you're classically trained
I’m ugly because I associate piano wire with strangulation

You’re beautiful because you stop to read cards in newsagent windows
About lost cats and missing dogs.
I’m ugly because of what I did to that jelly fish with a lolly-stick and a big stone

You’re beautiful because for you politeness is instinctive and not a marketing
I’m ugly because desperation is impossibly to hide

Ugly like he is
Beautiful like hers
Beautiful like Venus,
Ugly like his
Beautiful like she is
Ugly like Mars

You’re beautiful because you believe in coincidence and the power of thought
I’m ugly because I proved god to be a mathematical impossibility

You’re beautiful because you prefer homemade soup to the packet stuff
I’m ugly because once at a dinner party
I defended the aristocracy and I wasn’t even drunk

You’re beautiful because you can’t work the remote control
I’m ugly because of satellite television and 24 hr rolling news

Ugly like he is
Beautiful like hers
Beautiful like Venus,
Ugly like his
Beautiful like she is
Ugly like Mars

You’re beautiful because you cry at funerals as well as weddings
I’m ugly because I think of children as a species from a different world

You’re beautiful because you look great in any colour including red
I’m ugly because I think shopping is strictly for the acquisition of material goods

You’re beautiful because when you were born, undiscovered planets
Lined up to peep over your cradle and lay gifts of gravity and light
At your miniature feet

I’m ugly for saying ?love at first sight? is another form of mistaken identity,
And the most human of responses is to gloat

Ugly like he is
Beautiful like hers
Beautiful like Venus,
Ugly like his
Beautiful like she is
Ugly like Mars

You’re beautiful because you’ve never seen the inside of a car-wash
I’m ugly because I always ask for a receipt

You’re beautiful for sending a box of shoes to the third world
I’m ugly because i remember the phone numbers of ex-girlfriends
And the year Schubert was born

You’re beautiful because you sponsored a parrot in a zoo
I’m ugly because I when I sigh it’s like the slow collapse of a circus tent

Ugly like he is
Beautiful like hers
Beautiful like Venus,
Ugly like his
Beautiful like she is
Ugly like Mars

You’re beautiful because you can point to at a man in uniform and laugh
I’m ugly because I was a police informer in a pervious life

You’re beautiful because you drink three litres of water and eat three pieces
Of fruit a day.
I’m ugly for taking the line that a meal without meat is a beautiful woman
With one eye

You’re beautiful because you don’t see love as a competition and you know
how to lose
I’m beautiful because I kissed the FA cup and held it up to the crowd

You’re beautiful because of a single buttercup in the top button hole of your
I’m ugly because I said the world strongest woman was a muscle man in a

You’re beautiful because you couldn’t live in a lighthouse.
I’m ugly for making hand-shadows in front of the giant bulb, So when they
look up,
The captains of vessels in distress see the ears of a rabbit, or a eye of a fox,
Or the legs of a galloping horse.

Ugly like he is
Beautiful like hers
Beautiful like Venus,
Ugly like his
Beautiful like she is
Ugly like Mars

Ugly like he is
Beautiful like hers
Beautiful like Venus,
Ugly like his
Beautiful like she is
Ugly like Mars

Simon Armitage

Bye for now,

Friday 20 July 2007

Moving, onwards and upwards

Dear Diary,

A bit of a newsy ramble.

I am a late riser this morning but the weather is not exactly inviting. Dark skies and heavy rain, not like July at all, more like early Winter. But I feel better; I’ve had a shower a good yoga session and my bowl of porridge. All’s right with the world now.

It is my youngest granddaughter’s sixth birthday today. Funny how the youngest in a family always seems like ‘the baby’ and the eldest seems more mature and quick to grow up. I am going to give E a few little things and some money for her birthday so she can spend it as she likes. I’ve also bought her Mandy’s Fairies, a lovely hardback book of poems about fairies, all written by a woman who sadly lost a daughter at a young age. She died from leukaemia and the book is sold in age of research into the disease. So if like me you still believe in fairies and love poems this book will suit you; do buy it as it is supporting such a good cause. (Contact details at the end of the blog).

Emmie believes in fairies, she has to! I have signposts in my garden:

Ssshhhh Garden Fairies Are Sleeping

This is in one of the flower beds as you come in the cottage through the back garden and at the front gate I have one a little more hard to see (except to fairies of course). It stands at the base of a pink scented climbing rose and an evergreen honeysuckle and says:

Fairies Welcome.

Being Irish I have to believe in the Little People (and I do).

If you approach the cottage through the field and cross the river bridge that M constructed from tree trunks and planks, there is a little sign that says:

Welcome to My Garden.

It hangs on one of the two willow trees M planted, one on each side of the river.

Near the cottage I have a pot of wildflowers with a sign:

Wild Flowers Grown by A Wild Woman

I was planning to take photos of these little fairy ’locations’ and post for you but the weather is atrocious. If the day ever brightens I will have a go.

E is having a party at a local adventure place, one of those indoor play places where children run wild. going on all sorts of things and then have a birthday tea. On a day like today it actually seems like a great idea.

Our neighbours are having a party tomorrow night, an outdoor one (!). Their oldest daughter is sixteen today. We are all watching the weather forecast rather nervously and with everything crossed. They have a small marquee type tent, a covered awning and plenty of trees to shelter under. There will no doubt be fireworks and a fire balloon set off into the sky. J has fireworks for any celebration and is a master of the fire balloon, I adore these especially, as they are truly magical. So I hope it’s a dry night. There will be home made and live music as well a light show. Guitars, flutes, a bodhran, a new set of drums too. M will take his harmonica. It is a shame that S, my son, will not be here as he would have enjoyed playing . He is off to the Isle of Wight today to stay with a girl he met last weekend at Guilfest (the music festival in Guildford). He must be keen on her to travel all that way! He has moved into a flat in a nearby town this week, the cottage seems quiet without him, I miss him and his music. He has lived away before so it is not the first time he has ‘left home’ but we mums never stop feeling sad when they go do we?

I will be coming back late to the party as I have to go to a works dinner at a nearby town. One of the librarians, the Children’s Services and Schools Library Service manager for Powys, is retiring after a lifetime’s career here. She has been a really dedicated library manager with her heart in the job. Although she was married she never had children of her own but really cared about the close-to-my-heart cause of encouraging children to read and planting the seed of enthusiasm for books. I will miss her.

My eldest granddaughter K finished at their village primary school yesterday and is off to High School in the nearby town in September, an exciting time for her. I can’t believe it, an oft-said cliché, but it is true. I really cannot believe she has reached that age so quickly. I can remember being eleven, lots of my main memories kick in at around that time.

There are fourteen children going up to the same High School from the primary school attached to the community library where I work. Lovely children all of them and I will miss them greatly, although hopefully most of them will continue to borrow books. Young people get a lot of flack but all the children and teenagers that I come across in the library are so polite and well mannered. They are a credit to the school staff, the town and of course their parents. It is a wonderful community.


Shopping Online. The net is a boon to we country folk, especially here in mid-Wales. There is a dearth of shops in this part of the world, a blessing in disguise really as I am not exactly tempted to spend money. But the Internet has been a saviour when we do need something as it saves hours of driving, petrol costs and parking fees and I can browse to my heart’s content on whatever takes my fancy. They offer fast, efficient deliveries in most cases. Which takes me on to another blessing that is.

The Post Office

A big cheer of support for this service which is wonderful and cheap. I am behind them in their fight for more money, their fight for survival really. It affects those of us here in Wales especially as we are not wanted by the private companies because we are ’uneconomic’; there are not enough of us, we are too isolated and live in inaccessible locations. I think the Post Office should raise their charges (you won’t hear me write that phrase very often!). The service you get from a first class stamp is amazing. I can post a letter at about 4 pm just near my cottage and it arrives in Essex (for example) the next morning.

It has been a good year for the roses, for all blossoms really but such a shame that the rain now is ruining them. I always pick a little posy of flowers for the library counter and they definitely cheer people, the children too always comment on them which is nice. The blooms always last for ages in the library as they do at home, always a good sign spiritually.

I went with V, my daughter, to an antique showroom in Trecastle near Brecon at the weekend. I bought a framed sampler of a cockerel and the rhyme ‘Early to Bed and Early to Rise…… I am going to put it on the bedroom wall (to encourage me to follow its advice?). I have actually been going to bed early for a few days and I do feel better for it I must say.

I went looking for book shelves but they didn’t have any. My study shelves had collapsed due to the weight of books and the weakness of the stone and hair walls. I also bought an antique wooden log box. It will be useful to store the dry kindling wood (or morning wood as they call it here in Wales) that I collect from the river bank in the summer. Did I really write that? Quite by chance the log box, being made of the same wood, oak, matches the antique commode that my TV stands on.

V and I and two of the girls had tea and cakes across the road from the antique showroom. K, the eldest, had gone off to Carmarthen on farming business with Dad. We sat and sunned ourselves, yes we did, it felt like summer then…. I enjoyed my own big pot of Earl Grey and the nicest carrot cake I have ever tasted.

The talk of Sun and the Rain today brings me on to rainbows. A lovely photo of one was posted in the Common Room. It reminds us that there is always sunshine after the rain and somewhere over a rainbow…… who knows what awaits? A pot of gold maybe?

This blog contains a lot about growing up, moving out, moving upward and moving onwards. Perhaps it is a sign that I must move on myself? Not upwards, I am not quite ready for heaven just yet. Who was it said we must try and make a heaven on this earth?


Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children's faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.
Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit's still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.
Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.

~Sara Teasdale

Bye for now,
Cait. .
Mrs M Bell
10, The Furrows Luton Beds Lu3 2LF
The price of each book is £5.99 +P&P
£1.65=£7.64 in total
Cheques payable to M Bell.

Wednesday 18 July 2007

Reading, Writing and Unseen Helpers

Dear Diary,

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
Dalai Lama

This will be a shortish blog today.

It is a no-work day and just for a change the forecast is heavy showers. I’ve been wanting to do some outside painting, only touching up jobs really, but it’s just been impossible. That’s apart from the weeding needed in garden which looks more like a jungle every day.

But never mind; I’ve more than enough reading matter and lots of writing to get on with. I have just started reading How to see yourself as you really are (crap title, but serious book) by the Dalai Lama, translated by Jeffrey Hopkins. A friend reminded me of the Dalai Lama the other day, she had just read his autobiography and was completely taken over by him. She admits she is a cynical person and definitely not the sort to have heroes but he has become one for her. She wanted me to request lots of his other writings for her so I searched the library catalogue and found loads including the above mentioned (new) book. I can highly recommend it.

I’m a great believer that we never find books by chance rather that we are led to them. They find us in fact, do you not agree?

I’ve had my last OCA writing assignment back from my tutor and as usual her comments and suggestions are really inspiring. I’m back into it now (writing my life story as an adoption memoir) and have started working on it early in the mornings before I get up. This time of day seems the best time for me writing-wise; perhaps it is my age but it gets harder to write as the day wears on. I love writing in bed and as it is Summer (it is Summer isn’t it? Please remind/promise me it really is) I can lie in comfort, snug and warm and have one eye on the treetops, the river and the field beyond.

I wonder where you write? I love reading about writers and their lives, how they get their inspiration, where they write etc. How they spend their days. Every week the Guardian on Saturday has a photo of a different well known author’s writing room and a little piece written by the author about their ‘writing space’. I find it fascinating and it’s one of the first pages I turn to. I only read a paper on Saturdays and that usually lasts me the whole week.

How I write is by scribbling barely eligible notes on a pad and then I type them up on the computer later, in the little 'study' upstairs in the cottage. I have the wonderful view there too, I am so lucky. It is soothing to say the least.


Ideas and Attitude.

My head is buzzing today and I am feeling more positive about things, perhaps it is because the sun is shining, (at the moment!). Lately things have been getting me down and upsetting me somewhat but I am looking at them in a more positive light and I am being helped by my ‘unseen friends’.

Talking of which the next blessing...

Purplecoo folk.
(My Unseen Friends of an Earthbound Kind).

The online community is expanding and turning into something evermore wonderful. What we have far exceeds anything we would get from some glossy magazine. Special thanks to the site management angels.

Which brings me nicely on to my next blessing which is:


Remember dear Sarah Ban Breathnach and her Gratitude Journal? She was the one who got me going on my Blessings. Do read her books if you haven’t already, they are a joy.

Jokes and the sharing of same.

I have sent a lot of funnies round in an email today to my friends and relatives who I think need cheering up, but then again in this weather don’t we all?

Last but not least

A good night’s sleep.

I’ve had two in a row now. Probably thanks to Dr Stuarts Tranquillity Teabags; they certainly seem to be working.

Before I go, a poem:

As Once The Winged Energy

As once the winged energy of delight
carried you over childhood's dark abysses,
now beyond your own life build the great
arch of unimagined bridges.

Wonders happen if we can succeed
in passing through the harshest danger;
but only in a bright and purely granted
achievement can we realize the wonder.

To work with Things in the indescribable
relationship is not too hard for us;
the pattern grows more intricate and subtle,
and being swept along is not enough.

Take your practiced powers and stretch them out
until they span the chasm between two
contradictions...For the god
wants to know himself in you.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Bye for now,

PS The painting is of Mary Shelley, (Frankenstein and all that!) at her writing desk

Sunday 15 July 2007

Lounge Lizards

Be Prepared
Girl Guide Motto

Dear Diary,

Thursday was an unusual day in the library.

There is a display stand just inside the door where I put books that borrowers have recommended as being good reads. Early on Thursday I was doing some shelving and was just about to place a book on the top section of this stand when I nearly jumped out of my skin as I saw a lizard laying across the top of a Victor Pemberton paperback just to the right of my hand as I was placing my book down beside it. Well I wasn’t alone in the library, there was a man on a computer so I didn’t yell!

I wondered in fact if the lizard was real as it resembled one of those plastic dinosaurs that children collect. My first thought was that a child had placed it there as a prank to frighten people. I weighed up the pros and cons of asking my borrower to remove it for me or to see if it was real anyway. I wasn’t 100% sure it was plastic but I’d gone into helpless female role far too easily. Me of all people, I’m not scared of spiders or snakes. I was terrified of spiders when I was a child but will happily pick them up now. Though a snake in the library might be a different matter.

So as M, the borrower who had been on the computer, was leaving I showed him the little visitor. (Luckily he is a member of the book group and a trusted friend). However even he was as startled as me to be honest and also wasn’t sure if it was real as it was so very still. He got my ruler and very, very gently touched it. It moved! So did we. We both jumped! But the lizard only moved a little, luckily it didn’t run and hide but just stayed happily glued to the book, obviously a Victor Pemberton fan,

I decided to pop into the school and tell the Headmistress in case any of the children wanted to come and have a look at it. So group by group they all came into the library, the little ones and the older children, the Welsh unit children too (and they didn’t know the Welsh word for lizard) to have a peek. All were surprised and most of them had never seen one before. One boy said they had a lot in their garden. (Oh God I thought I hope there’s not a plague of the things in the gardens here). But none of the little children were frightened and many wanted to hold it but Mrs L the head had banned that.

‘Germs’ pronounced one of the girls, wisely.

We all wondered how it had got into the library. I do have the door open in hot days so we guessed it must have come in and got trapped one day.

The lizard stayed dead still for ages, not dead but very still. But eventually it must have tired of being stared at by so many huge young faces and it turned its face to the wall but still didn’t move away. One of the teachers thought I should put it in a container but I said that when the sun came out (ever the optimist that’s me) I would ask a brave soul to put the lizard out in the flowerbeds outside the library.

I hate creatures in the home, wild birds for example, or bats or mice. I just freak out, but if they are outside I am OK. I had seen lizards on one or two occasions basking in the sunshine in the garden and had seen plenty in the south of France on the walls of the houses but inside a building this one just made me squirm. Anyone else like me?

As the library got busy with borrowers the lizard was the centre of attention and still it didn’t move. The children had looked lizards up on the net and were now quite knowledgeable about them. They informed me it was a Common Lizard.

Meanwhile I had been looking up the symbolism of this reptile, convinced as I was it must be a sign, a representation of something just for me.

The lizard is a sacred symbol in both the Native American and Aborigine cultures. Interestingly, in both cultures the lizard is seen as an icon of the dream world. Some tribes believed that to have the vision of the lizard meant that you were about to receive a profound dream teaching. To others it represented the power to control dreams. Because of its ability to detach and regrow its tail it also represents detachment. Meditation on the lizard symbol can help us to achieve detachment from the ego and the fulfilment of our dreams.

Well not all bad then. I felt happier about its meaning.

Just on lunchtime some teenage boys offered to put him outside for me and as they put him down, on cue, the sun came out!

On Saturday morning when I arrived at work I went round the library rather apprehensively, wary in case any lizards jumped out at me, but I didn’t see any. At the end of the morning I was telling some friends about him and as I accompanied them out of the library one of my friends did spot the lizard on a low wall. It quickly ran and hid though. So he is still around and no doubt will be seen again, I just hope he gives up his love of books though and stays away from the library!

Moral of this wee tale?

Always be prepared for the unexpected…………wherever you look.

And Blessings?

Brave souls who act as knights in shining armour. Yes I could have done anything if I had to but sometimes it’s just nice to let others do for you.

Wonder. A quality we often overlook, always found in children and so soon discarded in adulthood. ‘May you never lose your sense of wonder‘………..

Hand in hand with wonder goes

Imagination. More important than knowledge according to Einstein, don’t forget. Everything on Earth started off as imagination, think about it. That is why physicists believe that matter is made up of (energy) particles, including our thoughts. Interesting stuff eh? I am told that in the scientific world it is only the physicists who believe in a ‘God’ but what ‘form’ it takes who can say?

On another subject altogether.

THINGS I would find it hard to live without.
I was meditating on this subject, as you do. Would love to hear your ideas. So far I have my washing machine and my shower/bath. I did think about hair dye and hair straighteners but realised that they are not ABSOLUTELY essential.

Well I’ll sign off now but not without a poem. It seems ages since I read, yet alone posted one. I found this one by chance on the net and the words are quite appropriate. It made me feel more fondly about our lizard visitor in the library.

The Old Lizard

Translated by Lysander Kemp

In the parched path

I have seen the good lizard

(one drop of crocodile)


With his green frock-coat

of an abbot of the devil,

his correct bearing

and his stiff collar,

he has the sad air

of an old professor.

Those faded eyes

of a broken artist,

how they watch the afternoon

in dismay!

Is this, my friend,

your twilight constitutional?

Please use your cane,

you are very old, Mr. Lizard,

and the children of the village

may startle you.

What are you seeking in the path,

my near-sighted philosopher,

if the wavering phantasm

of the parched afternoon

has broken the horizon?

Are you seeking the blue alms

of the moribund heaven?

A penny of a star?

Or perhaps

you've been reading a volume

of Lamartine, and you relish

the plateresque trills

of the birds?

(You watch the setting sun,

and your eyes shine,

oh, dragon of the frogs,

with a human radiance.

Ideas, gondolas without oars,

cross the shadowy

waters of your

burnt-out eyes.)

Have you come looking

for that lovely lady lizard,

green as the wheatfields

of May,

as the long locks

of sleeping pools,

who scorned you, and then

left you in your field?

Oh, sweet idyll, broken

among the sweet sedges!

But, live! What the devil!

I like you.

The motto "I oppose

the serpent" triumphs

in that grand double chin

of a Christian archbishop.

Now the sun has dissolved

in the cup of the mountains,

and the flocks

cloud the roadway.

It is the hour to depart:

leave the dry path

and your meditations.

You will have time

to look at the stars

when the worms are eating you

at their leisure.

Go home to your house

by the village, of the crickets!

Good night, my friend

Mr. Lizard!

Now the field is empty,

the mountains dim,

the roadway deserted.

Only, now and again,

a cuckoo sings in the darkness

of the poplar trees.

Copyright © 2005 by Federico García Lorca and Lysander Kemp

Federico García Lorca

Federico García Lorca is possibly the most important Spanish poet and dramatist of the twentieth century. García Lorca was born June 5, 1899, in Fuente Vaqueros.

Tuesday 10 July 2007

The Woodland Experience

Dear Diary,

Before I go on to all things ‘woodlike’ I must tell you that Mr Cassini by Lloyd Jones HAS won the Welsh Book of the Year award. You may remember that it was one of the books our reading group was asked to review and we were invited to speak about it on BBC Radio Wales, as well as on Growth Rings, the poetry book by Christine Evans. I am so thrilled at the result because it was my favourite to win. Surreal, original, intelligent, so well written, humorous, full of myth and magic and so very Welsh. What more could you ask for in a novel? The subject matter struck home with me too.

And now the Woodland Experience

I am killing two birds with one stone. Oh how could I write that? I could definitely not kill a bird! But I am blogging and doing my work for my writers’ group as one and the same piece. What‘s that? Lazy? Me?

At the last meeting of our writers’ group, H, our lovely new member, a talented young poet, chose the subject for us to write about for ‘homework’. She chose ‘forests’. So I really should be writing about forests but to be honest they scare me ever so slightly. They loom too large, with trees too tall and too thickly planted, they seem so dark and eerily silent. They feel ’wilder’ than woods, perhaps that is why they have the ’scary’ element and I also have vague memories of forests being the background of frightening parts of fairy stories. Woods can be wild too though, that I do know. In fact I had a friend who lived near me once in Sussex whose home was called Wildwood Cottage.

I asked H if I could write about ‘woodland’ instead. As if there were ever strict rules in our group. As if I would ever obey them? Ha Ha… Rules are made to be broken, that is one of my mottoes.

After all every forest probably started off life as a copse of trees.

I’d like to be buried in a wood.

When I am dead you understand.

I could even live quite happily in a little house in a wood.

Why do I love woods so?

Well let’s start with the Peace and the Quiet. The Trees of course, they are the stars of the show, the different types, broad-leafed and ancient, they are the best, the most magical. There is much wildlife too within their environs, right from the very small (what they annoyingly call ‘minibeasts’ nowadays in school National Curriculum-speak - don‘t get me started) up to the larger beats, Reynard and Brock. Rabbits, squirrels, owls, and all the birds I Iove them all. The faeries and their rings and the little red and spotted toadstools. I mustn’t forget the Little People, the leprechauns. I’ll be in trouble if I don’t mention them.

And extra special of course is the fact that the woods are home to my much-loved flowers, those heavenly bluebells. Also snowdrops, primroses (more on primroses to come later),celandines, violets, honeysuckle; I had better stop though I could go on and on.

The atmosphere in a wood is like no other. I once had a mystical experience in a wood when we lived in Sussex. It happened about twenty years ago. There were woods and fields all around us, living where we did in the Surrey/Sussex Weald. (The 1987 hurricane sadly destroyed a lot of trees). Our home was a small cottage on the borders of Surrey and West Sussex and opposite us was a small and ancient wood. One sunny, spring Saturday, M, the two children and I went over there for a walk. I remember sitting resting against an oak tree with primroses at my feet, enjoying a bit of time to myself while M and the children, who were aged about seven and four, took off for a little wander. When they were out of sight I remember becoming very dreamy and easily going into quite a meditative state while I was studying the primroses below me. I was just starting out in learning yoga at the time, was well into relaxation and have always found that meditation comes naturally. It is staying focussed in the here and now that I find difficult!

It is difficult to put the experience into words; all I can say is that I became ‘at one’ with the primroses and it was a really fantastic feeling. I was no longer ’me’, everything was just ‘One’. And no I wasn’t ’on’ anything, not even a drop of alcohol had passed my lips! I couldn’t tell you how long the experience lasted as time was suspended and timeless as it is on those very spiritual or significantl moments in life. The spell was only broken by ‘hearing’ the family approaching from the right, returning from their walk. S aged four, dressed in a track suit and a sailor’s hat and V with her flowing blonde locks and wearing a long white dress. Both in their wellies. Quaint and old fashioned they look as I look at them now. For I took a photo of the three of them and keep it by my desk now. Apart from it being a lovely happy family photo it held another (until now) secret memory for me of a very special day. For I didn’t tell anyone of my experience for fear that they would think me mad.

I don’t care a fig what anyone thinks of me now, that is one of the joys of getting older! People can believe me or not, it is entirely up to them.

I hope you fellow writers out there believe me and I hope you will share any similar experiences?

But I will sign off now and put this little piece in for homework. I hope I get decent marks, I’ve told the truth and I’ve done my best…..

Bye for now,


Sunday 8 July 2007


To hear the VIDEOS please PAUSE the AUDIO music player (below on the right).

Hey You - Madonna

Seems Like Summer

Dear Diary,

Be the change you want to see in the world

Mahatma Ghandi

After an early night I wake with a headache so I get up and make myself a cup of honeyed tea, gather up two of my super strong painkillers, feed Molly her breakfast and return to bed. Before I do I open the front and back doors of the cottage as it is seems like summer; warm, fresh and dry air blows in, how strange it seems, but pleasantly so.

Back in bed I practice some self-Reiki and open the bedroom window wide to let in some more of that pure, unpolluted, head-clearing Welsh air, it’s the first morning I’ve been able to do that for ages and is a real treat. The wildlife are busy too, many, many birds flitting about and the house martins’ second brood who live an arm lengths from the bed, under the eaves of the cottage, are chattering away merrily while their parents fly to and fro bringing tasty, juicy insects, caught on the wing. M and I marvel at these birds, and also our swallows who nest in the forge across the road, how they travel all the way from Africa every summer, return to the same place and make nests out of mud, then the females lay four or five eggs, hatch them out and then feed the young ones and teaches them to fly. And all the while they are forever in flight, only landing in the nest. They swoop down in the river to drink and we see the babies only sitting on the fence when they are learning to fly.

M tells me of his schooldays when they had a swift’s nest under the eaves of their school’s clock tower. Swifts never land either but sometimes the children would find one that had inadvertently landed on the ground and they always took it to the headmaster who would throw it up in the air and it flew away, of course. I wonder why the children never threw the birds up to the air themselves, perhaps there is a moral in there somewhere. I am reminded of that poem ‘Come to the Edge’ which I love.

Come to the Edge

Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It's too high!
Come to the edge.
And they came,
and we pushed,
And they flew.

Christopher Logue

Sammy Squirrel is on a fir tree branch and this is a first, he is sitting there gazing in at me as I am staring out at him. Our eyes are locked and I am loth to break the fix for I know when I do he will move. The owls do this sometimes from about the same spot which I have mentioned in earlier blogs. Very Harry Potteresque. I always wonder what animals and birds think as they look on at we human beings.

I have to finish ‘The Expected One’ by Kathleen McGowan (bet she is knows as Cathy McGowan, remember her? I had a fringe just like her). Our book group meets tomorrow night and I am looking forward to a deeply ‘theological’ and controversial discussion. If I read the books too far ahead I forget the main points I want to talk about.

I didn’t get to blog a second blog yesterday as after work I had to look after the two youngest granddaughters, S and E. Always a joy, we had a lovely time together. We got the deckchairs out, they were new this year but haven’t had much use so far. We enjoyed ice lollies, smoothies and Soleros. It actually felt like summer. The garden may be a jungle but I tried to avert my eyes from all the work that needs doing.

We spent some of the time in the garden in between watching our favourite artists who were playing at the Earth Concert (see previous blog for my thoughts about this). The concert was fantastic. My favourites? Genesis, (nice to see dear old Phil again), David Gray, Damien Rice, James Blunt, Keane, Snow Patrol and Madonna, (well she was just amazing). I loved the song she sang at the beginning of her set, not sure of the title - Hey You? I will post the video as soon as I can, she wrote it especially for yesterday’s concert and she sang it with a group of children

I hope the message gets across to those people who have not yet got started on being ‘green’. I remember when eating healthy foods and wholemeal bread was considered weird and cranky. And now the government, health services are pushing it like mad. Remember the chain of health food shops ‘Cranks? Trouble is time is short in this case and we have to act now if we want to save the planet for our grandchildren. Humans always believe want they want to believe. Some folk are like sheep and will follow a leader. The best way to lead is by example and I admire all those who have hopefully started the ball rolling; after all climate change is as much as a threat, if not more really, than terrorist acts of violence, legalised or otherwise.

Instead of Blessings.

I have been tagged and have to give five mood-lifters so here goes.

Well music of course, you won’t be surprised that I have put that first.

Distraction. Many things you can do here. Work is one and if you are lucky like me it is easy as I love my job and all the borrowers at the library. Other things you can do are housework, a good clean and tidy-up or a good de-clutter. Phone or email a friend or loved one.

Laughter/humour. Watch a funny DVD or TV programme. Try and see the funny side of life, don’t take yourself or anything else too seriously. Try and be around happy, positive people and try and cultivate optimism yourself. Laughter is ‘internal jogging’ for the soul.

Talking of jogging: daily exercise is essential as it releases those mood-enhancing endorphins.

Time alone is essential to me but I know not every one needs that.

Read uplifting, inspiring books and funny ones too.

Always have something, however ‘small’ to look forward to: in the next hour, day, week, month. I have mentioned this before.

There are Thoughts, Beliefs and Actions. Change any one of those and you will change another.

Remember ‘a hug a day keeps depression away‘.

And be like me and count those blessings every day.

Live in the Moment and Seize the Day.

Carpe Diem and all that.

Bye for now,

Saturday 7 July 2007


Dear Diary,

Just a quickie this morning.

Never underestimate the power of music, the only universal language.

I hate the negativity in the air about the LIve Earth Concerts going on around the world today. My son is working at the Wembley one. There are always people who will throw cold water on things, people who love to stand by and do nothing but will always criticise those who do something. I don’t include Bob Geldof of course, he did do something with Live Aid and I would have thought he would have been there with more support for those following in his wake. So what if people are travelling to concerts? People are travelling somewhere every day of the week using all manners of transportation. We don’t hear these voices criticising people using planes and helicopters on other days? (what about warfare?)

Hopefully the concerts will make people think about the Earth today even if they don’t give a **** any other day. If only a small percentage of the world’s population are moved to change then their actions it will be worth it. I have noticed that children seem quite switched on about the environmental problems probably because they are learning about it at school. We grandparents should especially care as it is our grandchildren who will inherit the Earth, well we indeed hope there will be an Earth fit to live on for them. As I have said before the planet will survive, it is we humans who have to look out.

Music should always be a source of joy. It is a force that gets energies moving, it can make you happy, it can move you to tears, its effects can be so strong. I hate it when the arts are knocked.

I have just listened to Thought for the Day on Radio 4’s Today prog. and it is quite strange as the speaker has echoed all I have just written. Something in the ether perhaps? Fifty-six percent of the population still believe there is no cause for concern regarding climate change. People do not care about long-term problems, a lot of politicians and business people don’t either, I feel that is the stumbling block. Others like to bury their heads in the sand.

Al Gore calls it ‘a challenge to the moral imagination’. He also said that ’We can all learn how we can become the solution to the problem in the context of our lives’. I feel any world event like this helps to bring people of many nations together and hopefully will make us become united against the ‘enemy’ which can only be a force for change.

I could go on but I have to get ready for work. I will try and blog again later with blessings, positives, pictures, poems and more, maybe even some MUSIC!

I wish you a sunny Saturday.

God Bless,

Bye for now,

Friday 6 July 2007

Jack Savoretti

More Jack Savoretti

I hope you dance, Ronan Keating

Jewel, 'Hands'

Only kindness matters

Dear Diary,

In the end only kindness matters.

I start off gently but be prepared there will be quite a bit of ranting to come.

I’ve posted a few pics by a favourite of artist of mine - Carl Larsson. I hope you like them as much as me. I also found the picture of a woman and child on a blog out in the ether as I was surfing round looking for Larsson pics. The blogger had got it from another blog but didn’t know the artist. As I think it is such a divine pic can anyone recognise it and tell me the artist? (UPL are you out there?).

As I enjoy my honeyed tea in bed this morning I hear the Chairman of British Beekeepers on Radio 4’s ‘Today’ Programme. They are asking for financial help towards the funding of research on the terrible bee disease(s) that are sweeping the USA. As I have written before, the human race would only survive for a very short time if there were no bees so I would consider it a priority for the government to contribute. M has just reminded me that there also other insects that pollinate, as well as breeze and the winds that carry pollen from one flower to another. And gardeners in greenhouses used to/still do use a feather for the purpose. He is a mine of information that man but then he was a country boy, unlike me; I was brought up in ‘The Smoke’.

I do hope the government cough up the money to save the bee. So much ‘rubbish research’ is churned out and fed to us daily as some survey or other that has revealed this, that or the other. Things like ‘it has been discovered that fat people are fat because they eat more than thin people’ and ‘children who learn phonics, a for apple, b for bat etc can actually learn to read’ (doh!).

Talking of waste of monies and senseless research I hear also on the ‘Today’ programme that £30 million pounds is to be spent by the government, given to schools to improve the manners of children! There will be a subject in the curriculum called ‘Social and Emotional Aspects’ that will cover such aspects as anger, conflict and anxiety. The ’subject’ will be delivered alongside football for example (teamwork!) and English Literature (learning about characters and how they cope!). Wasn’t it ever thus? How does £30 million provide this? Apart from the obvious I suppose that is the tier(s) of management, administration and paperwork involved. And don’t forget the extra workload on the poor teachers, even more forms to fill in, more tests maybe?? Grades for kindness? I am not joking Big Brother is everywhere it seems. Don’t get me started.

I have just looked up ‘manners’ in my dear old 1964 Concise Oxford Dictionary. Makes interesting reading; I love this book as it contains words that no-one uses or has even heard of these days. ‘Old fashioned dignity’ is one definition of manners. ‘Dignity’; now there’s a lovely word, I must add it to my list. ‘Habits indicating good breeding’ is another!! In fact a lot of it says manners come with birth…. Or not! Now there’s a good talking point!! That implies they cannot be taught!! God help us.

I would prefer to use the word kindness and consideration for others’ feelings. Being respectful. I have always found when working with children (which I have in past lives and still do in the library) that if you give them respect and treat them as equals, that is don’t talk down to them, they will give the same back to you. Not rocket science and shouldn’t cost £30 million pounds. And don’t tell me it necessarily comes from the home as I didn’t learn anything from my upbringing - but that’s another story.

The pupils in the primary school that is attached to the library/community hall are all well-mannered and polite and the school hasn’t been granted loadsamoney to bring this about/instill in them. Any teacher worth her/his salt will teach these qualities by example if nothing else.

As Fred Astaire said

The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any

I ordered two books this week that Exmoor Jane recommended, I got them second-hand-but-like-new on Amazon. A Year to Live by Stephen Levine and A Quaker Book of Wisdom by Robert Lawrence Smith. I’ve started reading both. (I always have several books on the go). I am not a member of any religion but am very interested in Quakerism, in fact I am sure I was one in a past life in New England. I have a reason to think that, which I may blog about one day.

Blessings today?

Common Sense.

Where is it hiding these days?


There must be one because the sun is shining and there is soft rain. There must be a rainbow somewhere…………….


I’m finding good links on the blogs that are so satisfying to discover. Good sites/businesses that come with a recommendation.


We have had so much rain but miraculously our river is not rising too high. Hope I am not tempting Providence writing that…

John Humphreys and Terry Wogan

Funny mixture I know but both help me to get my show on the road in the morning. One wakes up my mind and later on one lifts my mood with music and Terry has a good Irish sense of humour too.

Well I must get this day started. I have some painting to do, not the arty kind, just touch-ups around the cottage. Too wet to paint outside and that needs doing too. So I’m off to buy some paint and get a few supplies. Then home to create, more of my writing course work to do and some more work on the family tree. I am stuck in Ireland at the moment….anyone reading from Clonakilty?

Nearly forgot I haven’t posted a much-needed poem. Song lyrics today, will that do?


If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we're all OK
And not to worry 'cause worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I won't be made useless
I won't be idle with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear
My hands are small, I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
Poverty stole your golden shoes
It didn't steal your laughter
And heartache came to visit me
But I knew it wasn't ever after
We'll fight, not out of spite
For someone must stand up for what's right
'Cause where there's a man who has no voice
There ours shall go singing
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
I am never broken
In the end only kindness matters
In the end only kindness matters
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
We are never broken
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's mind
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's heart
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's eyes
We are God's hands
We are God's hands

Lyrics from the lovely song by Jewel. I think I have it on one of my play lists but I will check/move it over to the Purplecoo list for you today.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. The Dalai Llama 1935-

I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again
. Ettienne de Grellet

Have a good Friday,

Bye for now,

Wednesday 4 July 2007


Diary of an Ordinary Woman
Margaret Forster

Book Group Discussion

This book is, surprisingly, a novel and it fools people into thinking it is non-fiction. It does say ‘Novel’ on the front cover but it is not very prominent. I was about a sixth of the way through before the penny dropped. When the library book group met to discuss it the woman who chose it as her choice had still not realised that it was all made up. She was furious and felt she had been deceived. She is a lovely lady a very sprightly octogenarian though you would never know it. Highly intelligent, still physically and mentally active (and politically) and has memories much longer than the rest of us. She lives alone having been widowed quite a long while ago. I see her as a sort of role model ………but I digress, sorry, let me get back to the Diary.

All the book group members loved the book except the two men which probably will not surprise you. They felt they had been deceived as well. One woman thought it a bit contrived in that the heroine was always at the right place at the right time but then that is how books go I guess. I loved the historical content and the way she coped with whatever life threw at her. British stiff upper lip and all that, but is that a good thing though?

I would dearly love to meet Margaret Forster so I could question her about this book and how she came to write it, how much was made up and how much she elaborated from fact. Did she really find a diary, did she use the contents to write a novel?

Having said all that I really loved the book and didn’t want it to end - always a sign of a cracker with me. I felt it was an insight into a woman’s life in wartime. But was she an ordinary woman? I will try not to get philosophical here because I do not believe anyone can be described as ordinary. Our heroine was privileged I would say as she wasn’t born into poverty and had no money worries as most of the working class of that era would have had. She was intelligent, she became independent (I wonder if that is why she appeals to me?). She had no children though and was quite lonely really at the end. Many women of her generation became widowed or lost their sweethearts when they did not return from the war and a lot of them remained without a partner for the rest of their lives. I wouldn’t call her an ordinary woman but I would not call her an average woman either, her life was much ‘freer’ and easier than most.

I love books in a diary format, perhaps that is why I love blogs and blogging so. The very act of dipping into people’s real lives is so interesting and women’s lives especially. Our everyday life history has not been recorded enough in the past, if at all. History says it all really….HIS - STORY. It is ironic to think that our purplecoo blogs are becoming in themselves a piece of history.

I loved Adrian Mole; funny diaries are great. I have just read a good one called Plotting for Beginners which I know mature women writers would also enjoy. I forget the author but I mention it in an earlier blog.

I gave Diary of an Ordinary Woman 8/10. We do this in our group, a childish idea of mine where we mark the books and then we see which book comes out on top at the end of a year. We are in our second year now.

I felt that the heroine was maybe based on Margaret Forster herself or someone she knew. I did become attached to her and was quite sad when she died.

Everyone who borrows this book loves it; women of all ages, so it has something that appeals. It isn’t the quality of the writing, not that it is bad, but it was not my usual loved style of ’poetic’ writing. I think it is one of Margaret Forster’s best books. It is a long while since I read it but it remains in my mind, (quite an achievement at my age!)

How shall we choose our next book? Shall we use the voting method again? In the library we take it in turns to choose a title - this makes us read books we would never dream of reading which is not a bad thing. It has widened our experience and knowledge greatly. Whatever we decide in purplecooland I will go with the majority decision. AnnaK wants some ‘beef’, I am all for that but how we decide what has beef and what doesn’t - might this prove controversial? Not that I am afraid of controversy.

At every book group meeting we seem to end up discussing whether a book was ‘true’ or not, especially memoirs, even history books. Everyone’s version of the truth will be different so who can say what is true and what isn’t We have to believe the story we are spun or not or be selective and take all that we hear with a pinch of salt - in this political climate perhaps we are well used to such and should practice this selectivity even more so.

It was a good feeling reading the Diary again and knowing that it was being read by people all over the UK and in New York and France. (anywhere else?). Thank you lampworkbeader for dreaming the idea and organising it so well. I can’t wait to read the next choice.

I have just found this link to an interview by Margaret Forster on the book, wish I had found it months ago. I will have a look at it and you can do the same. If you can’t get it to come up go to and type Margaret Forster in the search box.

Just for your info our library group are reading ‘The Expected One’ by Kathleen McGowan at the moment. It’s another Mary Magdalene inspired novel and should make for a lively evening’s discussion.

Bye for now,

Sunday 1 July 2007

Photos to go with blog below

Rainy Days and Sundays

Love is an act of endless forgiveness. A tender look which becomes a habit.

Peter Ustinov.

Dear Diary,

A dark morning, a rainy Sunday. Last night was a Full Moon. We’ll have three dark days now before the New. I went to sleep listening to the rushing river and the torrential rain, it was magic. The sound of running water raises your vibrations. If you ever have trouble sleeping I can recommend ‘Tranquillity’ teabags by Dr. Someone I forget his name and am too lazy to go look. I bought them in Holland and Barretts in Brecon and they are very relaxing, they really makes you feel sleepy in fact.
Again I find it hard to ‘come to’ and it’s only my large mug of honeyed tea brought to me by M that forces me to sit up.

I've been trying to post pictures in amongst the text as I go along but to no avail so I have bunged them all above. I will have to seek instruction from Higher Computer Beings on how to do it.

A trio of doves are outside my window; one on the top of the telegraph pole, the usual roosting place of one of the owls and the other two are just behind on the branch of a pine tree. Mother, father and baby; they did have offspring after all as I had hoped they would. Only one has been seen, do they usually have larger broods I wonder?

I wish I had my camera and tripod set up by the window. I had it there for ages and nothing presented itself and the minute I take it away…..

There is a baby magpie around a lot too and lots of sparrows. The latter remind me of my childhood as they were one of the few birds I saw, growing up as I did in South London.

We had quite a lot of heavy rain last night but the river has still not reached the top of the bank - M can’t understand it - I think we are very lucky.

My son S is away this weekend and lucky fella he will be working backstage at the Diana concert. He is a self-employed builder but does security work at the weekends; he gets to concerts, festivals, sporting events, all sorts. He was going to a ’Guinness’ wedding in Oxfordshire but it was changed. He is a musician himself and I am very envious that he is at Wembley today. He has just phoned me to tell me he is there and that William and Harry put on a children’s party yesterday in their mother’s memory, that has brought a tear to my eye.

I hope the concert is a success; I can’t believe it is nearly ten years since Diana died. I will always remember that Sunday morning when I heard the news - M told me and strangely enough I just ‘knew’ straightaway that it was no accident. I am not a monarchist, I merely felt for Diana and saw her as one of life’s victims who was treated badly by the very people who should have given her the best care. She was a woman who touched a lot of hearts and did a lot of good in her life, probably because she had that certain quality that was needed. Empathy. We were just going off on a holiday to Ireland the day she died and the whole week we were over there we saw that so many of the population were just as ‘affected’ as Britain was, it wasn’t a ‘royal’ thing. Everywhere we went the people were mourning her loss.


M’s chest is still rattling, it’s a good job we didn’t go away this weekend and the weather, well you all know about the weather… It’s a shame I booked leave from work and I haven’t even been able to get out in the garden. Still it gives me a chance to rest and read and catch up with my writing.

I’ve started doing daily crosswords again (warding off Alzheimer’s don’t you know!). M has been doing them for years and is very good, he always helps me out when I am stuck.

Nearly forgot my blessings.

Antibiotics. Life savers that we sometimes take for granted.

Telephones - instant contact with loved ones lifts one’s spirits.

Emergency Services. Firemen and women - they put their lives on the line for us and attend all manner of accidents and emergencies as do the ambulance personnel (why are those people that do so much good paid so little?). . Nurses as well of course…..

My nurse training which has been a blessing since the day I qualified even though I don’t work as a nurse. The life skills I learned can be applied to the whole of my life now.
Not least the quality of

Patience. Thank God I was granted that (in some areas if not all!).

Imagination. Albert Einstein said it was more important than knowledge. I am inclined to agree, are you?

Well I will sign off now, go cook some egg and bacon. Play some music. Music is the best thing for ‘down days’ and this afternoon I will watch the concert and listen to some more.

Depression is blocked energy and as well as music, can be cured by exercise, humour moves it too.

Q. Why was the mushroom invited to the party?
A. Because he was a fungi.


Before I go, a couple of poems written by my daughter

Summer’s Reverie

And so we danced
A moonlit sphere
Illuminating grass and daisies
Feet wet with evenings
Dewy caress
Witnessed by hares
Black-eared, watchful

Caught up, Captured
Sweet summers scent
Intoxicating magic
Carried upon hilltop breeze

Slow swaying silhouette
Moving to sounds of
Dulcet birdsong
Singing our praises,

Verity Ellen Jones

Upon her passing

Kicking his toes
Steel encased, heavy
He contemplates dawn
Face weather beaten
Bitter morning floods his lungs

Too cold for planting,
Soil sweet and thick.
Hungry cattle wait
Wet noses steaming through
Gates laced, prickled, white

Head down-turned
His feet tread well known
Steps across frosted lea
And down dirt track
Boots sticking to cloying loam

On, down to the brook
Resting his frame on
Time smoothed stone
Instinct drives feet into water

Clods of earth lift
Out of deep soles
Remove themselves from his grief

Tears bring heat
Sweet release
Dropping into the rush of white.

Verity Ellen Jones

And I thought I’d share with you the email that M sent to his daughter V about one of the poems.

I thought it was a poem in itself.

I read your poem and thought it lovely. Why am I always
near to tears these days? Is the world really such a sad place? I look out of the window when my flying finger pauses and see the quaking aspens shaking their leaves like giggling girls at the fair, in their first pretty dress. The older Alders look at them in stoic understanding and sympathy and the river continues to flow as it always has and always will. The rain has started again but will stop sometime. So, love you and look forward to seeing you all again soon. Now, do I send this or not? Oh! blow it you'll understand. XXX

Remember a hug a day keeps depression away.
At eight o’clock tonight I will, as usual, along with others, be sending purple hugs to all those in need and lighting a candle for them. (Blue candles are the best for absent healing).

Bye for now,

PS The sun has come out