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, 29 September 2011


Language defines those that use it. 

Language is a major component of identity and a cultural determinant. 

Our individual use of language is a combination of the legacy we inherit from our ancestors and the communities that we inhabit today.

Our group use of language marks our groups and territories in a war-like manner, saying 'this is who we are (as we see us), this is who you are (as we see you)'.

and stones
 may break my
bones but names will
never hurt me – a childhood lie
that does not die because language creates
small words and large systems that grow into huge
pervasive organisms of destruction and discrimination. The
 pyramid of falsehood will continue to grow and the foundation will
widen under the pressure of the lie that is not challenged or made to die.

Marjorie Morgan Ó June 07

Racism surfaced during the slave trade: the idea of white superiority and inequality was encouraged by slavery.  Negative stereotypes and offensive language were used to support the idea of African inferiority in the world. 

This legacy still exists today.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Can you help me?

Morgan has started to get smarter with her replies when explaining why she hasn’t done something or why she hasn’t remembered a task I had repeatedly told her about. Her latest offering of wit is, “It’s because I’m not as clever as you.” I’m still wondering if she is picking up the subtle use of sarcasm and using it on me or if this is a straight-forward and genuine answer. My gut tells me that it is the former option, especially as she now drapes her answers in a smile that looks practised to deceive. But then I could just be cynical.

This time it was the fish tank.

I’m sure the water is not supposed to be brown or green and so I keep telling her to clean it out.
It didn’t happen.

Then she says that she is going to do it and I could save my breath to live a longer life rather than repeat the same things over and over again – especially as I say I don’t like repeating them. (You follow her logic here, I’m sure.)

I did get tempted to raise my voice when I saw her go for her games rather than to the tank after another speech. Instead I moved things so that she had better access to the fish tank and that was a better reminder. 

Morgan jumped up and started about her task.

The reluctance was obvious – mainly because the tank was really dirty.

I started to remind her of the process with a list of steps to take.

“Can you help me?” She whimpered.

“It’s your job. I’ve got stuff to do already.”

I left her to get on with it.

After a while I offered to help with the difficult bits and she was delighted. Then I left her to get on with the rest. It was soon over and the tank looked ... as good as new. The fish were swimming in crystal clear water and when friends came to the house they said, in surprised tones, “Oh, you’ve got fish!”

I didn’t say we’d had them for years but the tank was too dirty to see them in, instead I smiled and looked at the pride on Morgan’s face as she showed them over to the tank.

It was the smile that she threw to me that let me know that some tasks we don’t like doing but we like it when they are done – especially when you have some help.

Monday, 26 September 2011


People see love in many different ways.

It can be, after all, manifest itself in diverse ways in people’s lives.

Some show love with flowers, others with chocolates, and still more people show it with a cup of coffee, or a back rub, or a walk in the park. These are all wonderful, and I see love throughout them all.

Love can touch our lives in so many ways.

Through the ring of a phone, a letter on the door mat, breakfast in bed, a fleeting touch or look – all these are expressions of love.

Love (Ai) River Kaohsiung, Taiwan

I sometimes think of love as a river that flows for ever rather that the beauty of a bouquet of flowers that will eventually fade away.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

The Message - poetry by Harold Rhenisch

From the city 
men lead camels
into the shifting sand.
They are watched for hours
from the highest towers
by men in red robes,
until they vanish, tiny,
into the mirroring wall of heat- 
then the watchers cry out
with a long, drawn-out wail of joy
sung deep in the throat.
The travellers have hawks on their wrists
and messages in their pockets.
They are on their way 
to the king.
The message they bring
is a tiny silver box
that when opened in daylight,
as the sand whips in 
off the streets,
contains the sun, and when shut
contains instantaneously
its absence,
which was there before it.
It is the simplest thing in the world,
but also the most inscrutable.
The men let the hawks go free;
the hawks return with empty claws;
while the king is unaware
that a message is on its way
from the world.

Harold Rhenisch (from his collection -The Blue Mouth of Morning)



There are some things in this world that make me forgetful and for that I am grateful.

I forget that some people are spiteful. I forget that some events are painful. I even forget that people hate me.

The things that give me memory loss? Well, they are other memories, different memories and wonderful living realities.

The memory of a smile; the beauty of a kiss; the joy of an unexpected flower; the knowledge that someone special has been thinking about you; caring words from someone who knows; the pleasure of a promise fulfilled.

I like being forgetful about the bad way things are and remembering the good way they are and will be.

It is exciting to see the world this brighter way.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Multi-layered joy

Some weeks ago I was thinking about someone and I sent them a message wishing them ‘multi-layered joy’ for that particular weekend. This was because I wanted them to be happy at all levels of their existence at that time.

Since then I have also received wished in multiples. I have been wished a “multi-layered, multi-tasking, multi-tremendous week ...” I have obtained this many times over.

It is my wish at this time to share this multi-layered joy with you. I hope that everything you do, think and experience from this day forward is enriched with a portion of multi-layered happiness.

Remain blessed.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

The Three Musketeers – part 2

In a previous blog I wrote about the unexpected forgetfulness of Morgan, this is what happened next.

As her friends surrounded her I realise I had two choices. The first one was to make her sit out while the other two carried on as planned – that would surely teach her to be more mindful of getting things ready in future. The second choice would be to forgo my relaxation time and return home (only 2 miles away, but in heavy traffic) to get the forgotten item.

What would you have done? I felt it was time for a lesson, being so soon after the last moment of forgetfulness. 

I wondered what other parents would do in this situation and then decided on my course of action.

The tears still flowed while we all stood there, they were waiting for me to say something, I was moved with compassion because I knew that they had all looked forward to this for a long time but I also knew that I had to use this as a learning opportunity for Morgan.

I decided to make the journey back home to retrieve the missing link to their fun.

Before I left I turned to the other two and said, “You two go ahead, Morgan can sit out and wait until I get back.”

“Thank you, Mummy. Thank you, Mummy.” The chorus from earlier had changed from regrets to thanks.

On my way back I received a phone call from one of the girls, “Why aren’t you doing the activities?” I asked. They passed the phone to Morgan, “They didn’t want to leave me on my own,” she explained, “they felt bad leaving me.”

I told them all that they should remember this day, when it was “All for one, and one for all.” I thanked them for their kindness and I applauded them as I dubbed them my wonderful three musketeers: I love each of them tremendously.

In the end of all that to-ing and fro-ing it was me who learnt a valuable lesson – the lesson of friendship.

The Three Musketeers

Before we left the house I asked the three girls if they had everything.

“Yes,” they chorused.

I drove away satisfied that all was good. They were chatting, laughing and singing as if they hadn’t seen each other in years when I thought of one item that Morgan may have forgotten, we were not too far away so I asked, “Do you have your card?”

The silence told me all I needed to know.

As I looked in the rearview mirror I saw Morgan with her hands clasped around her face. Then she started with the apologies, a constant repeated chant, “Sorry Mummy. Sorry Mummy. Sorry Mummy.” With a sigh I indicated to turn the car around and return to the house.

As we were nearing the end of the road I spoke again. “What do you want to give up?” I asked Morgan.

The other two looked confused.

“My DS,” she replied sadly.

“How long for?” I asked.

“Two days please. I need it back by Friday night, please ...”

“OK.” I looked at the clock on the dashboard and said, “Friday, at this time, you can have it back.”

“What was that about?” asked one of the girls.

Morgan explained why she had chosen her own consequence. I added that it was something to help her remember in the future. The girls were impressed that she got to choose her own punishment.

“If it was my mum, she’d take away all my stuff for ages!” they declared in wonder.

Morgan looked even more relieved at that. I thought she would learn from that valuable lesson, and I’m sure she will, but this particular day was not the day for the best memory activities from Morgan.

When we got to the venue, I was about to settle down while they enjoyed their activity, when I saw Morgan coming back towards me. I could see nothing was hurt or damaged on her so I was at a loss to figure out why she was so sad.

As I reached her, she burst into tears.

“What’s wrong, darling?” I questioned her gently.

“I’ve forgotten something else,” she wailed, “I can’t do it now.”

Her friends came up behind her, I looked up at them trying to decide what to do.

What happened next?

That’s all in the next blog.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Can I confirm ... ?

I was looking after household business and called British Gas to ensure that I was getting the best deal possible for my fuel supplies. The woman on the other end of the line, Sarah, sounded as pleasant as anyone can when they are reading from a script that does not allow for individual personalities to shine through.

But then I got all pedantic with her, this Sarah person, in her guise as a customer service representative. She started trying to gain information by stealth: she was misusing – as far as I was concerned – the word ‘confirm’.

Sarah: Can I confirm your date of birth?

Me: (automatically responding) It’s 25th ... hold on a minute, I don’t think you have it anyway, so how can you get me to confirm it.

Sarah: (Flustered sounds are heard – I’m suspect she was flipping the pages of her script for the next option.) OK. Can I conform your telephone number and email address?

Me: I haven’t shared either of those things with you before so how can I confirm them with you?

Sarah: We just need extra information to verify your identity.

Me: Why didn’t you just ask me for it then, instead of asking for confirmation of something that has never been stated? You can’t confirm something that is not known. You are misusing the word confirm in an attempt to get information without being clear about precisely what you are doing. I think that’s wrong.

Sarah: OK. Ms Morgan. I just need some additional information from you before I can help you with whatever you have called up about this morning. It’s a system requirement.

At this point I already know she’s not going to be very helpful to me in the rest of the call, but I decide to carry on regardless.

Me: I will give you my email address and phone number, however, I will not give you my date of birth. That’s something I don’t think you really need to know.

Sarah: (icily) Thank you, Ms Morgan.

Strangely, after this interaction, the deal I called up about had just finished because of ‘limited availability’ so Sarah was unable to guarantee me a lower fixed price deal for the next few years.

I am left with wondering if my pedantic response to her script conversation will cost me dearly this winter? 

Shall I call her back to confirm this is the case?

Monday, 19 September 2011

Coincidence or ... ?

There are times that certain things happen and it seems more than a coincidence. This was brought home to me last week when I was sitting with a friend. We were recalling various incidents that had occurred in our lives recently when she said, with a smile, “You know what? I’ve learnt to see them as God-incidences rather than coincidences.”

I like that.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Breaking News: Focus Brings Greater Results

I wanted you to be the first to know about this discovery. You too can have this groundbreaking event in your own life. All you need to do is to learn from this simple tale:

I was having problems with my cooking. The meals that I used to cook were delicious, well presented and enjoyable. Suddenly I noticed that the presentation was sloppy, the taste was not up to scratch and there were always leftovers. Something had gone wrong.

Resorting to the logical side of my brain power I analysed the process. You could say I applied the business techniques of my computing days to the kitchen. This is what I discovered when I took the process apart.

I saw that I was not just cooking. My attention was also taken up with social networking and playing games whilst I cooked. This is why some of the food tasted, well ... it tasted wrong. It wasn’t what I was used to serving up. Some was undercooked, some was overcooked, some was tasteless. It’s amazing how easily I forgot to put salt or different seasonings in when I was distracted. When I was looking at the screen I also didn’t remember how long one part of the cooking process had already taken until I was reminded by the smell of burning or the rattling of pot lids. Everything was taking longer that it normally did but not giving desirable results.

I resolved to return to a time of dedicated focus to the task in hand and ever since the resumption of proper attention the results have become outstanding again. The food prepared looks good, tastes good and is finger lickin’ good.  There are no leftovers but there is renewed anticipation for the next exciting meal – in a good way!

Now, where is that Masterchef application?

Questioning friendship

It is unusual that I baulk when someone refers to me as a friend. There have only been rare occasions that this has happen and they were mainly a long time ago when my partner used to introduce me as a ‘friend’ and I would – for social and political reasons, do the same. It always left a taste of bitterness.

So, imagine my surprise when earlier this week someone introduced me to other people as her ‘friend’ I immediately felt very uncomfortable with the term. This is not about denying intimacy; this is about making a presumption of closeness that does not exist. It made me uneasy.

I love people and look forward to making new friends, but I think this categorisation was a bit premature.

To me, friendship is about some commonality of view, interests, and is usually the result of spending some quality time together. As far as I was concerned none of these ‘requirements’ had been met.

This woman, who I had met in a business environment some time last year, had no right to refer to me as a friend, at least that’s what I felt and what I still think. Like I say, I found it an unexpected and unusual introduction that gave a false impression of our relationship.

It’s a bit like the Google + circles, some people are friends, some are acquaintances, some are in other categories that you really don’t want to announce publicly. I am always friendly, but to be referred to as a friend or to call someone a friend is a major step for me, one that I had not taken yet in this relationship. That’s why it threw me somewhat.

Maybe that statement will be the start of a real friendship, who knows. But right now all I feel is unsettled by the reference. How strange is that?

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Why I love atheists

I’ve been thinking about atheism for some time now.

This morning I had a walk, and a talk, with my man with a dog. I see Phil quite frequently on my morning jaunts and sometimes we get to stop and have a chat about ... well, this and that.

As we conversed this cold morning we happened upon the subject of God and belief in Him. Phil asserted that he was an atheist, although he didn’t condemn those who do believe in God. How different is that from the religious groups that you hear about?

I responded in the way some people do when they are confronted about their relationships with Black people, or gay people, or differently-abled  people.

I said, I believe I have more atheist friends than Christian friends. And that in itself is a major tell about me and what I hold dear. Then I went on to explain why. The frost of the morning was beginning to lift, but it was still bitter, so we shifted from foot to foot as we stood there talking.

I reasoned that most organised religions hold that if you don’t hold the same beliefs then you are heretics, evil, damned and condemned. That’s one reason why I love atheists. They also take full responsibility for their actions and do not blame them on God or Satan. That’s a good idea, don’t you think so?

They are amongst the most rational and reasonable people I’ve ever met and those are always a wonderful attributes to have around you. On the whole, most atheists I have met are very deep critical thinkers – and what’s not to like about that?  My friends, the atheists, also have a healthy perception of sexuality and are the least judgemental and repressive people that I know. Most of their beliefs (except the one about God) seem to coincide with mine. We are more alike than different.

So, there you have it. This particular Christian loves atheists. Do you?

I’ve just made a call to one of my atheist friends. I told her how much I’ve always loved her, since the very first day we met and had a heated discussion about Christianity and belief in God. It’s people like her that remind me what I really love people (many of who are atheists).

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Acting in church

On the radio there was a recent discussion about whether or not the Bible and the sermons produced from it could be viewed as literature. This led me to revisit some thoughts I had had many years ago. I wondered if the preachers were more like actors than newsreaders.

You see, in some places that I have worshipped the preacher has had more dramatic flair than some of the people I see on either stage or screen. The pastors build up the tension. They stalk the platform like tigers ready to pounce on some unsuspecting prey, and they do just that – they deliver a killer verse to a nodding congregant.

They are snapped into alertness and all the focus is drawn back to the centre of the stage.

The pastor then recaptures the attention of the entire audience, bringing them back into his web of rapt attention with a few select moves (cunningly disguised as amusing anecdotes) after which he builds to another crescendo before dangling them above the open jaws of the devouring beast he has cleverly pictured; the one that will destroy them if they don’t do exactly as he says.

To complete his act as hero he draws his sword of truth and despatches the monster. The congregants all breathe breaths of relief as they relax in the safe knowledge that they have nothing left to fear as long as they follow the lead of the hero in his slick suit and silk socks.

After witnessing one such entertaining sermon, I was discussing the drama of preaching with my son and he said, “It’s like going to the theatre every week ... but without paying!”

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Smile a while

Imagine the scene: I’m in Marks & Spencer standing in a queue minding my own business when I suddenly glance up and my heart leaps with joy. Before I know what I am doing I call out the name of a friend who is in a different queue some distance away from me.

I hadn’t seen her for ages and we’ve been planning to meet up for almost as long and there she is. Just doing the same as me: minding her own business in a M & S queue.

Upon hearing her name and, presumably my voice saying it, she turns around and her face is already wreathed in a huge smile as we start to move towards each other.  We have left our places oblivious to the stares of those around us. Our smiles bounce off every surface. We hug with familiarity and comfort in the middle of the shop. We are alone in our bubble of happiness.

Making arrangements to meet the following day we share yet more smiles and hugs before going our separate ways.

“My week just keeps getting better and better,” I told her as we said goodbye.

I was smiling all the way back to the car and for hours later. This was not just a crinkle of the lips but a broad smile that could also be described as a grin. Just meeting my wonderful friend L so unexpectedly made me bubble with joy.

I had a fantastic cause to smile for a while.

Monday, 12 September 2011

All work and no play?

In life you’ve really got to have some fun. The idiom says “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

Having some enjoyment in life is like having a spicy sauce with a meal – it makes a difference and a pleasant change.

There is an art to recreation. It’s all about doing something that stimulates, amuses and diverts us from the main daily activities. When you re-create you freely choose how to spend your time and you are duly relaxed, fulfilled and satisfied by the use of your discretionary moments.

I think it’s odd that so many people never have any recreational time at all in their lives. This is because I feel recreation is crucial for both a healthy mind and body. When we fail to recreate we damage our psychological and biological centres. Sound harsh? I guess it is, especially on the person who works, then works, then adds a bit more work to their lives.

Have you ever thought how you would cope if the option to have recreational time was permanently removed from your life? I think banners would be made and protests organised. Therefore it makes sense that now – when recreational time is a free personal choice – we all make the most of it.

I like walking, so I do that as often as I can. I feel renewed when I do. Reading is also a great activity that I like to indulge in, it’s a bit like being a chocoholic I get some in as often as possible and it always gives me a buzz!

But what happens when your work is fun and to you it’s like playing? Does that change things?

Does that make life ‘All play and no work?’ and, is that such a bad thing?

What is recreation to you? Do you refresh and re-create ... yourself?

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Friendships and relationships

Is there anything that can be described as an ‘ordinary relationship’? Maybe so, but I have begun to think that most relationships are extra-ordinary in nature.

This is because you start off with some kind of attraction, that phase is swiftly followed by an obsession that is often rooted in infatuation. After this comes the realisation that the person has weaknesses and may also have committed unpardonable deeds. Yet there is still an ultimate acknowledgement that this person has penetrated your soul. This is what makes relationships extraordinary to me.

People I meet and get to know become extremely important to me. They matter beyond normal comprehension. I am not obsessed by them, yet I remain eternally interested and concerned about them.

This is especially the case when something in me that is beyond thought or feeling finds a match within the person I have met. The connection is deeper than reason because it is automatic and mirrored. This is the everyday miracle of friendship that I am happy to never understand, yet I accept it with the utmost joy.

I love them just like I love me.

"When anybody says or does something that echoes in your heart, you should listen." MHM

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Nature lessons

Walking through the streets the other day I saw magpies, blackbirds, thrushes, and pigeons. They were flying in seemingly random style them they all alighted in the same tree. Have you ever noticed that different birds can share the same tree without quarrelling?  Why can’t people do that as well?

On nature walks we often see several species of ducks happily cohabiting together. They sleep, eat and feed together. Yet as humans can’t seem to get on at all and then we have the gall to say that we are the higher intelligence. It makes me wonder.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Afternoon delight?

I had resisted for a long time, but eventually I gave in to the inevitable. There I was with this woman I had recently met and within minutes she was touching my breasts.

She asked me if I had done this before. I said no. I would have remembered if I had.

The way she handled me was not what I’d expected. Was I looking for gentleness? If I was I was immediately disappointed. Instead of a gentle touch I was squeezed, pushed, pulled, kneaded and clamped. The last bit was out of my experience range and I cried out in pain – no pleasure at all was involved, I can tell you.

When she released me, I said that it hurt. She replied that she told me there might be a touch of pain.

When it was all over – none too soon in my opinion – I backed away from her as she continued to look at me and talk to me. I was silent. I just nodded at her and then I murmured something that couldn’t be described as words. I just wanted to leave.

As I put my clothes back on I knew that I wouldn’t be in a hurry to repeat that particular afternoon delight. I was as polite as I could be as I left, but I knew that she knew I hadn’t enjoyed the experience.

What was it I actually did?

Oh, didn’t I say?

I went for my first mammogram.

What were you thinking?!!!

500 blog posts

Well, there you have it. I have done over 500 posts on this particular blog. I also call them mind dumps, not sure what you call them.

I started this one in 2008. I had almost a year blog-free then I returned with tentative steps and ... I haven’t looked back since then.

Blogging has become an interesting part of my existence. I enjoy it because it is another means of self-expression.

This Living Now blog is like a selected catalogue of my life and thoughts. It has grown in frequency and detail over the past year. The other blogs that I also write have also experienced growth spurts: Happy Every Day, AskMorg and Personal Object Lessons are like my baby blogs that have grown out of this parent site. I love them all, although I do lavish different amounts of attention on them because they have – just like children – different times when they need to express themselves.  

I will continue to blog (share my personal therapy) with you all because ... well, I like it. I hope you do too.


Have you ever tried to un-believe something that you know is true? Is there any point in this attempt?

I don’t think so.

The only point in looking at a belief is if there is any doubt, if you don't really know if it is true. 

My thought process went along the following lines: do I really know that this is true? Are there any other things that might be better for me than this? How will I find out if this is the truth I’m supposed to believe if I don’t look at other options?

If something is true, especially if you know it to be true, then trying to make it otherwise is a perfect waste of time. Take, for example, a spiritual belief or the fact of love – to me they’re both the same type of belief.

You can look at it from any angle and pull it to bits by analysing it intensely and the result will still be the same, you just can’t get away from the fact that it is a fact for you. Well, that’s how it is for me anyway.

I’ve asked myself why I believe certain things, why I love certain people and the conclusion is the same: there is no other option for me. And, believe me, I have looked long and hard at various options.

It’s not like I’m trying to escape my spirituality or to get away from the love I know, it’s just that sometimes I do wonder if there is another way for me, another choice. So I had a look.

I have had long looks at different options and I’m pleased to say that I still believe ... in love (spiritual and emotional). And, it’s all good.

Have you ever tested the truth and the foundations of the things that you believe in?

Should you ever question love? I did. I had to, because I didn’t understand why I retained such deep affection for people and ideas when my logic was directing me to look at different options.

I believe in love and spirituality even more now than I did when I started questioning my beliefs. It really is ... all good. What I believe is all a part of who I am. That’s what I believe anyway ...

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Acting at happiness

I used to act at being happy for a long time.

I didn’t know how to handle my sadness, so I just mimicked the happiness I perceived or believed was around me.

I sold myself the lie that busyness was the same as happiness.

It may not surprise you that the packaging of this untruth (as my father used to say) was unable to hold the sadness at bay.

There is always a crack. The real feeling comes seeping through. And all at once the happiness facade is like a broken window.

Now, I do have sad moments, but I have more happiness than I ever dreamed possible.

I know this is the truth for several reasons.

One of them is a simple thing. It is the look of peace on my face when I go to bed each night. As I leave the bathroom and reach for the light switch I have recently seen such serenity that I send a smile to my reflection’s heart.

I am happy. It shows.

Saturday, 3 September 2011


“You look so strong and everyone else around here looks broken.

Your eyes show you feel forgotten about because you appear to be doing so well.

I know what it feels like to be forgotten ...

It gives you every reason to doubt people, but you should always hold on to the truth that you are loved ... by someone. I love you.”

Message to myself.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

What is real?

I am real.

How do I know this? Because I can feel it and ... because my child told me so!

That is all the confirmation that I need right now. Thank you very much.

This statement of individual perception came riding into my life on the back of some jagged doubts. There are times when nothing seems completely right and uncertainty is the only certainty.

It was one of those days and I had just managed to reassure myself that I was doing just about OK as a parent when my child pipes up un-expectantly, “You’re ... real Mummy, I know you love me!” I laugh now as I think about it because it is – to me – so funny, but at the time it was like the icing on a cake I had been (metaphorically) mixing up all day.

I was never sure that I would get it done, baked, cooled or decorated. The day was hard, really hard. But then in the final moments my doubts were whisked away like the steam disappearing from a boiling saucepan, and I knew that everything was back in balance.

After that, when I was settling back into the reality and surety of my life and love, Morgan came up to me and planted a kiss on my cheek then said, “I love you. You’re my heart Mummy.”

That just reminds me that being consistent and reliable can make something more real.

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