These are my musings and observations on my daily life, loves and the laughter that are all a part of my experience of living now in the shires of England.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Bags and springs

I don’t use handbags as a rule. And I didn’t use one on this occasion but when I was searching at the bottom of my shoulder bag it reminded me of the days when I used to conform to type and carried a handbag (to church, at least).

I couldn’t find anything in the bag. I was looking for something small and as I rooted around in the bottom of the bag my hand touched many familiar items but not one of them was the right one for that moment.

Although I remained pleased that I could identify things in the bag without looking at them I soon began to despair because I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for.

The multiple items I was carrying in the bag had somehow managed to undo a pen I had in there. I found the lid, the barrel and the ink refill but when I put them all together with the other pieces the pen did not work; something was still missing.

Almost immediately I realised that it was the spring and this time I emptied the bag out – to no avail.

The pen was now useless to me. I was not happy.

A few days later I had my hand in the bag again and felt something unexpected; when I pulled it out I realised that it was the lost spring. This discovered both baffled and pleased me.

I had ceased looking for it and yet it presented itself to me without great ceremony when I least expected it. I reunited the spring with the pen and was suddenly grateful that I had not yet thrown it away – as I had already deemed it useless.

When the right things are in the right place at the right time well, everything just seems to work as it is supposed to. Sometimes you just have to wait for the thing you were looking for to be discovered. It all falls into place when you least expect it to – at least it did for me and my pen!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011


Have you ever noticed that you sometimes notice people more when they are gone?
There is this woman (well, I should say there was this woman) who I see every morning on the way to the school bus stop. She is always there, at her door with a smile and a few pleasant words to share as we walk past.
It doesn’t matter what the weather she was planted there looking out for the bus that came to collect her daughter. Her clothes and makeup were immaculate. I’m sure she’d been up for hours just applying the deep ruby red lipstick with absolute precision and the matching red belt or scarf around her otherwise black attire.
We talked through the seasons; the sun, the rain, the wind and the snow. Always a smile and a friendly wave.
Then, she was gone. At first I thought she was on holiday but then a few days later I saw people doing alterations on her house (no longer hers I guess) and I knew that she was gone for good. The windows and doors were replaced and the workers moved in and out without ceremony; they had reclaimed the space as theirs.
I will no longer look for her in the mornings but I’ll always remember her. For nearly two years we have shared greetings and short chats. Now she is gone.
I know I’ll miss this mysterious woman her daily friendly smile. I wish I knew her name.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

The truth

You know those court scenes when the witness or the defendant takes the stand? You see them stand there with their hand on some holy book and they state, “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

Well, I was wondering, isn’t it because somebody hasn’t told the whole truth that the court is in session in the first place?

All court cases are built on the fact that there is some kind of disagreement as to what the truth of the matter is. The use of the opening statement means that there is an expectation of lies and deception. With the person saying these words it doesn’t automatically alter anyone’s desire or intent to lie.

In court, as with elsewhere in life, you live your own truth dependent on your social relationships and your plans for the future.

Lies are a personal social barometer.

What is your reading today?

Saturday, 25 June 2011


What animal are you most like? My favourite animal is a black panther which takes most people by surprise as it is a well known fact that I am not particularly fond of domestic cats – so far in my life I have only met one with whom I am comfortable sitting in the same room; I have even stroke it. But as usual I digress.

To me a black panther is a beast of immense beauty, skill and power. I am mesmerised by it each and every time I see one. I even look forward to being able to get up close and personal with one of these incredible large cats one day. I think I was first struck by the black panther when I was a child and my mother would encourage us to read the National Geographic magazines and the Encyclopaedia Britannica – there were no distracting electronic games or hours of television to distract us then.

I also love lions, cheetahs, jaguar, cougars and leopards; they all make my pulse race faster. In fact I am fascinated by all the big cats and devour nature programmes on the satellite channels whenever I can. Even though I adore the sleek lines and power of the black panther I would not say that my characteristics are most like it. As much as I would like to claim the speed, stealth and survival instinct of this beautiful beast I think I am much more like a chameleon in nature.

I have been known to hide inside myself (or my books) to avoid rejection and more heartache. My way of blending in to my surroundings used to be my main form of protection against my character being destructed. After all, it’s safer inside the world of books as the characters are fixed, they don’t go changing their opinions.

But like a chameleon I now only use my camouflaging abilities in moments of danger when I fear destruction or extreme harm. Apart from that I am become more like a black panther every day.

What animal are you most like?

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Case Closed

Legal issues have been occupying my mind of late and one matter made me start to think about the case of love. I have been wondering if love is ever like a court case or is it always like an unresolved court case.

Along the same lines I have had some questions:

Does a scar fade more quickly if you don’t look at it?

Does a pot boil faster if you don’t watch it?

Does love change when you are away from the source of it?

Love is such a vital emotion and feeling that years of analysis cannot define it, explain it or contain it. It is for these reasons that I ask can love ever be filed away and shelved in a dusty back room under ‘Case Closed’ or will the case always be open?

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Positive transference

I know that sometimes you get stuck in a situation and you just don’t know what to do to move out of that rut. What I have found is that often the best thing to do is ... nothing. Now wait before you jump on your bandwagon and curse me out. I really mean that you wait a while not just hide under a rock for ever.

I have discovered that by waiting and looking elsewhere you often see the answer. Somehow the solution that you are looking for becomes plain in a different situation. This happened to me this very week.

I was having a problem that I wanted to exit without causing too much pain to all involved. What someone considered normal contact behaviour was excessive and intrusive for me – which may seem strange because although I blog I am highly selective about what I share and I still have privacy issues. It didn’t feel right so I acted instantly – no waiting in this instance; I explained the circumstances to a mutual friend and they responded that they were glad that I had taken control of the situation. Taken control? In my mind I had reacted but while I was waiting to see what would happened next I also took the initiative and acted. In doing that I was taking the chance to express myself immediately and as I was doing so I realised that the same answer I had just discovered here could also be applied to another situation.

All I needed to apply was the skill of positive transference and I would be sorting out ‘two birds with one stone’.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

There’s something wrong ...

Have you ever noticed that sometimes things look or feel great when you’ve just done them but after a while some uncertainty begins to surface?
Well, I have been painting the house for a while and as time has passed I have found out that I’ve missed bits. Now something else has come to light. Literally.
This concerns a door. The inside of this particular door is not frequently seen as it is not often closed but when my eyes lit upon it on one of the rare bright afternoons I instantly developed a hint of a frown.
I decided to ignore what I had seen but as I am not the only one in the house it was soon brought to my attention by my son.
“There’s something wrong with the door,” she said casually.
“I know.” I sighed.
“Why’s it like that?” M asked.
“The paint I used wasn’t right,” I conceded.
“Oh. OK.”
“It doesn’t look nice,” he continued.
“I know. I’ll fix it soon,” I answered.
“Good. Then it’ll look nice like the rest of the painting!”
When I had picked up the can of paint it had brightly announced that it was a one-coat brilliant white paint for all wood and metal surfaces. So I had just used it in good faith ... just as I had many years before. And this is where the problem stemmed from.
The paint was white when I dipped the brush in the paint tin, it was white when it first went on the door but after a few weeks it started to fade and turned a strange shade of sickness, it was a streaky creamy colour and the previous white colour was peeping through this top layer of discolouration.
The paint I chose to use was old. It wasn’t right for this use. So I had to buy new paint for that door, other doors and radiators.
Now they are all white because I eventually used something that was fit for the right purpose and will not just be a temporary facade.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Do you understand it?

I was trying to explain some concept to M and he was, in my opinion, just refusing to accept the logic that I was putting forwards. To me it seemed simple and I was trying to get him to grasp what I was talking about.
The conversation went much like a tennis match.
He said “Blah, blah ...”
I said “Blah di blah ...”
He said “Blah, blah ...”
I said “Blah di blah ...” and so forth.
Then after his last volley when it appeared we had started to discuss another matter entirely I retorted “That doesn’t make sense!”
His response? “Neither does love.”
Match point.


Thursday, 16 June 2011

Beaches and gardens

I am sitting in the garden looking at the solitary rose bush that I have. It is an Anniversary Rose. It has been flourishing for the past four years. But for many years before that it stood almost as a single stalk, then something changed and it started to spread. At the moment the new buds are struggling to break through in every area of the bush and this view somehow reminds me of my mother who loved roses and tended them in our gardens every year with such gentle care.

When I used to work a plot at the allotment I was constantly reminded of my father. Both my parents were people of the earth. My father use to farm land in his homeland of Jamaica, he also kept animals and he transferred these skills to the English countryside where his crops and animals flourished for many years. He was always growing something; he even planted his own grapevine and bunches of grapes – albeit small for the first few years – were determined and quickly became established.

I now have several flowers in my garden that come from plants that my father had sown in his last garden. Each year I am reminded of him as they bloom and spread in their indescribable beauty.

When I spend time in nature, whether in the garden, on a forest walk or a beach, I am reminded that nature is almost timeless in its displays. You can be on an isolated beach anywhere and forget which country or century you are living in: the sand, the water and the rocks remain constants.

Whenever I am in the city I can see the trappings of civilisation and they are always dated. In nature there is an enduring sense of connecting to the eternity and people that were before me and touching the eternity that will come after me.

Just looking at this Anniversary Rose bush fills me with memories of different lands, sunsets, beaches and people.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

What are you saying to me?

Letter to some of my siblings

It must have been (and still seems to be) hard to accept me. I say this knowing our shared history. I feel I should thank you for still talking to me the best way you can. Others (like me) have no family at all anymore.

I have always been me, it’s just that you know more about me now.

Did you know that I know that the best body language readers are those who need to know how others feel about them when there is a verbal communication barrier? I learnt to see what you were thinking even when your mouths were silent. I had to become sensitive to the language of non-verbal communication; it never lied to me.

With the evident discomfort I see you in sometimes I often wonder if being totally separated from your family for good is better or is this facade easier to deal with?

I’m wondering from your point of view because I know it’s not easy to deal with from where I am. Most of the time I feel like an uninvited guest in my own family. It seems you want me to leave, but you know it’s not polite to say so.

My question is when did etiquette ever stop you before? I have heard so many tirades and rants I wonder what’s holding you back now. Not politeness I’m sure.

Then again, I could have all this wrong and you feel no different about me than you ever did. It’s just that the strained silences in the few conversations we now have and the increasing lack of contact seem to indicate otherwise. I only say this because I noticed that when I stopped travelling to see you I never actually got to see you at all. We used to talk so often. I miss those times but I grow tired of initiating contact all the time. Then again, maybe your life is just so busy that you don’t have time to get in touch.

Am I making excuses again?

All I know is that after a while the uninvited guest gets the message and leaves. Is it my time?

Wherever I am and wherever you are I want you to know that I’ll still love you and I do understand. Remember I was there, I shared that upbringing as well. The rest, since we’ve all grown up, is up to us. We can’t blame the past for every decision we make today.

I just wanted you to know that I’ve been thinking about you and I do miss you.


Monday, 13 June 2011

A personal Hollywood set

It has come to my attention through extensive research (of myself) that pretending is not a good thing. In fact I’ll go as far as concluding that pretending is a bad thing, a very bad thing.

Pretending is after all a lie.

And I for one cannot remember any time that a lie proved to be a good thing in my life.

In my life some webs of pretence were not initiated by me, but I used to buy into them because I didn’t want confrontation or the possibility of upsetting anybody; so I took the upset to bed with me at night. The silent tears moistened my pillows for years. And each day I would wake up and assume my role in the pretence again. At times I felt as if I were in a Hollywood movie. The only thing was it was real.

It may sound harsh to say that pretence is a lie but I can’t see that it is anything else. And as I said, I have done extensive research on this subject (see above for the statistics).

Actors get paid millions to pretend to be someone else on the set. No film is being made about my life, this is it: this is my real life. Realising that (at the right time) one day I decided to shed the heavy cloak of pretence and started to walk free – as me. Some of the people who had walk-on parts in my life left the stage. It’s different and it’s all good.

This leads me to ask ... why pretend it’s all right? What’s the point? It’s a waste of time and energy. It's the wrong way (for me) to be.

If you want some fictional action - go see a movie, don’t live it.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

I did it to myself

I am suffering and I did it to myself so this is not a pity party post.

I do not use a lot of sugar in my foods. I usually have sugar in herbal teas ... and that’s it. But the other day I decided that I wanted something sweet. Fine, you may say, and it would have been if I indulged in moderation, but I guess I am an excessive person in particular things – especially those I have avoided for a while.

Just to make it clear, I don’t crave sugar at all. I can do without it – in fact I don’t usually consider it as part of my eating habits. It’s useful in some cooking, but that’s about it as far as I’m concerned. Don’t I sound righteous? Well, before you envy me let me tell you that some decades ago before I was a vegan I was also a chocoholic! Belgian chocolates – especially Guylian (a whole 500g box would sit on my desk for ... well, long hours – until I’d eaten them all!),

Cadbury’s Whole Nut, Bounty bars, Flakes, Marathons (aka Snickers), Aero, Crunchies, Yorkies, Kit Kats and Maltesers. The list was varied and almost endless. I stopped only because although I enjoyed eating it the after effects were terrible. My migraines would last for weeks. Some things, no matter how wonderful they are, are really not worth the pain you get in your life.

Now I have a headache just thinking about the chocolate.

But I seemed to forget that last week when I went into the shop and stopped at the pic’n’mix section. I just wanted something sweet. I missed the taste ... and it was right there just waiting for me to get it. On the way home I had a few sweets. They raced around my body giving me a pleasantly strange sensation so I ate some more. My later meal seemed bland compared to the immediate highs of the sugar rush.

A few hours later I started to come down. The headache arrived and my body felt sluggish. I just wanted to sleep it off. I felt sick and you know what? Yes, that’s right I wanted to get rid of that feeling so I thought of eating some more sweets! Ridiculous I know but that’s where I was at that moment. I wanted to feel good (sugar did that) I wanted to do it immediately (it was accessible) so ... I went to the cupboard and opened it up, reached in and – closed the bag tightly.

Then I poured myself a glass of water and drank that instead.

No way did that give me the rush that I craved, but I knew it was better for me in the long run. I felt cheated. Normally water is refreshing, this time it felt like a very poor substitute for my desires.

So, that’s where I am now, still crashing from my sugar high. And I am asking myself was it really worth it?

Friday, 10 June 2011


Contentment means you are not distracted by the things outside of your arc of vision.

You do not see possibilities in your life until you want, need or desire them; until then you are blind.

Oblivion is always replaced by a spectrum of opportunities the moment your eyes are opened.

Thursday, 9 June 2011


Scene 1:

The small voice whispered in her ear, “Are you convinced now?” The evidence was laid bare in front of her, there was no doubt. But still, as she looked away and caught her image in the mirror, she could see that there in her eyes were threads of the dream she had held on to for too long.

“But...” she haltingly tried to put her thoughts together, “but, what if ...?” She knew that it was no use. She was convinced but still did not accept the truth.

Suddenly she felt as if her feet were leaving the ground. She began to float. Trying to grasp on to concrete reality she had a last thought before she soared into oblivion, “Is this madness or hope?”

Scene 2:

The pain is terrible. The patient wakes up as the anaesthetic wears off. The bandages are covering her body. She winces as she tries to turn but cannot move. So she settles back and grimaces through the pain. It does not go away. She drifts back into a disturbed sleep.

(Flash forwards) It is one summer’s day a few years later that she looks at that day of awakening with a different point of view. The scars have all but disappeared. She remembers it all but does not feel the pain any more. It is only when she remembers the sickness she inhabited that can she say, “I had to go through that to get to this.” She smiles with understanding and contentment.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Chick lit or Dick Lit?

I was at school before the half-term holiday and a particular boy came to me with his reading book.
“It’s a new one,” he said as I started to write in the records.
“Oh,” I remarked. I was waiting for him to give me more information; he is a bright and questioning child. However, what he said next did surprise me somewhat.
“I changed it,” he sneered ever so slightly before he continued. He now had my total attention. I put the pen down on the desk and looked at him.
“Did you finish it?”
“No!” His reply was firm, with an edge of indignation to it.
“Why not?” I asked gently.
“It was a girly book.” He said in a matter-of-a fact tone. “I didn’t like it, so I changed it.” This 9 year old boy sat on the side of his chair with one leg dangling while the other was tucked beneath him. “I prefer different books. Not girly ones.” Each time he referred to the type of book he was trying to avoid it seemed as if he had something bitter in his mouth that he was trying to, unsuccessfully, spit out.
“Ahhh.” I hesitated as to whether or not to take this any further, but – being me – I took the opportunity to look at this matter from all angles. “What makes it girly?” I asked.
“I dunno,” was the only response I got from this usually articulate child. “It just is. Everybody knows that.” As we discussed his book choices further we concluded that the rejected book was not just for girls (it did not have a pink cover, ribbons, fluffy dogs or diamonds on the cover) but something about it – not just the storyline or characters, made it an uncomfortable choice for him to read, especially in front of his friends.
Applying this theory of gendered literature further I realised that for the first few years of a child’s life books are ... just books. Then they start to separate into boys' books and girls' books. This division continues in a bell jar effect until adulthood when books are usually regarded as literature (non-gendered) or not.

It’s the really young and the more mature readers that seem not to care about gendered differences in books. In between everything seems to be either chick-lit or dick-lit.

This encounter of disgust and alienation from a specific book made me wonder if almost everything from the cradle to the grave is gendered?

Sunday, 5 June 2011

The future is ... unknown

Sometimes what you think is your perfect future is not quite a complete picture. As I have matured (like a good wine, I think) I have come to realise that my vision was great as a child but I have encountered more twists, turns and cul-de-sacs in my life than the best detective novel.
And I am pleased to say that the plot has not ended yet!
Where I am today, I would never have dreamed of, not even fifteen years ago. Thank God I can say that I have more happiness in my life today than I have ever dreamed of.
I had anticipated a different path, but this one is the one I am supposed to be on.
When I was 10 years old I became an Auntie for the first time. My first nephew turns 41 this month and the things that I thought about parenthood and family from those early days are so different now.
I have my own family. I have my birth family and I have my friend family but most important to me (sorry y’all!) is my immediate family of my son and I.
When all my siblings were openly exploring their sexuality and producing children in the same way that I was shelling peas in the back yard, I baulked at the idea of being a parent. I saw my parents (they seemed to have constant worries about us children) and I saw my siblings (they had different concerns – but just as valid); parenting seemed to have worries attached like an octopus stuck on the side of a house. The multiple arms and points of concern seemed never ending.
My immediate family is different. With myself and my son as a unit I now see the world in a totally different way. Having my child also makes me see myself in a totally different way. I have discovered parts to myself that other relationships could never have reached (nod to Heineken).
The future is bright, much brighter than I’d ever imagined!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Squirrels are out and about

Cleaning up is part of everyday life. However, when the spring arrives I notice that there is an ongoing tendency to do more cleaning than usual. Maybe we are a bit like squirrels that have slowed down our activity through the winter so we have to do a big clean up.

Consequently as I was going through cupboards the other day I discovered a baking tin that I had avoided using for a long time; I couldn’t decide whether to throw it away or use it. It held many memories and was one of those ‘seasoned’ tins. It had been put away clean, but I decided to do something different to it this time. You see, I had decided to keep it instead of throwing it away, after all it still had lots of use.

I stood at the kitchen sink and decided to use a different scourer than I had normally used on it. Within minutes I could see a different shine on the baking tin; the past ‘seasoning’ was scrubbed away and with it the old memories started to disappear.

When I placed it in the draining rack I looked at it and thought that all it took to make a difference was to do something in a different way and I got a totally different result.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

When you look ...

When you look at someone you may see all of yourself reflected in their eyes.

When you look at someone you may feel all your weaknesses perfectly matched by their strength.

When you look at someone you may start to understand your journeys.

When you look at someone you may see happiness and desire.

When you look at someone you may recognise your need.

When you look at someone you may see with your heart.

When you look at someone you may really hear their story.

When you look at someone you may see the beginning to the end of the mystery.

When you look at someone you may know what keeps you looking.

When you look at someone you may see more than love.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular Posts