06 March 2010
Though today dawned bright and sunny, by the time I had eaten breakfast, mooched through the newspaper and groomed Phoebe (more about her later), it was cloudy and looking like rain.
I decided I’d try to sneak in a bit of tidying in the garden before the rain came, and donned my scruffy old gardening fleece, tied my hair in a pony-tail and pulled on pink gardening gloves. Crumbs, it was cold! Still, cold weather is a great incentive to get moving to warm up and I dug over the herb bed. This is the first time I have been able to raise my foot enough to park it on the shoulders of my garden fork for nearly two years. What joy! I dug till the bed looked loved and a shade more respectable than it had, pulled weeds and dead stems and felt very pleased with myself.
Not content with swinging my dodgy legs and hips on the herb bed, though they’re proving to be rather good these days, I decided to dig up two self-set cotoneasters and re-home them where they were wanted. We have a large cotoneaster along the scullery wall and the birds love the berries in cold weather, so a few free plants, courtesy of Mother Nature, seemed like a good thing to nurture.
The cotoneasters settled into their new spots, I noticed that my pot of snowdrops was a bit strangled with sphagnum moss, so that got a tidy up, as did a few more pots that were sprouting bulbs and a profusion of baby weeds. By this time I was limping badly, but had a cold nose and happy heart. I decided I’d worry about the four, yes four, self set hollies another day.
While I was doing this, Kim raked off the devastation from the ex-lawn and it looks a lot better – no grass – but at least it’s not all rubble-strewn and ugly. What a satisfying spell – I feel so happy when I have been in the garden, and to be able to dig is pure pleasure.
I have to have a hot shower now to loosen up my old limbs before heading off to exercise the grey cells in a Wine & Wisdom quiz, but I shall write all about the lovely Phoebe some time very soon.
28 February 2010
Goodness, it’s been wet lately – the ground everywhere is waterlogged and unable to soak up any more precipitation, so the roads turn into rivers whenever more rain falls.
Happily, yesterday morning cleared up from driving rain that make Kim look up ark building courses on the internet, to bright blue skies. What a delight. It has been so gloomy of late that clear skies and some watery sunshine were a real tonic and enough to persuade me to get out into the garden. Rubber clogs dusted off and my flowery Cath Kidston gardening gloves on, I ventured out into our soggy little patch.
Oh my, what neglect and devastation! Last summer I had paid for new turf to be laid on our little patch of lawn and had spent as much time as I could trying to make sure that there were perennials to come through this year. It had been a mixture of getting help and some pained attempts from me, but by the end of August, the garden was a riot of colour and looking loved.
Of course, having central heating installed was always going to make a mess, but careless workmen threw rubbish all over the lawn and left it there to kill off the grass, and all the other bits that had been tucked into corners were moved on to the grass or plonked on top of flower beds. I now had a sad patch of mud where there was once grass.
After some vigorous weeding and removal of dead foliage, some judicious pruning and a few yelps from me (my hip still hurts like hell when I bend over or kneel down) I had managed to make a difference. The grass is still a complete disaster zone and I shall probably have to get someone around to lay turf again, but at least the big flower bed looks like someone cares about it, rather than seeming like something from an abandoned building site.
It’s just wonderful to see new ice plants poking through, a couple of crocuses opening and my little pot of snowdrops blooming. Best of all, my beloved hellebores are blooming a deep satiny burgundy colour and I treated myself to a hellebore niger which is now tucked into the bed close by.
My small success inspired me to want to go out there again today, but after heavy rain all night, it really is a mud bath – I may have to wait a while and do something else… still, I have a pile of sewing, a book binding to finish and loads more craft things, it’s just a case of working out what to do next!
18 February 2010
Ah hubris! There was I thinking that I’d have a whole day to myself, well from about 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at least, and the chance to finally do some work and reconnect with my spirituality. I should have known better than to mention it or make plans.
I woke this morning before Kim to hear whimpering and man-flu noises emanating from under the duvet. Hmmm, so was the trip he had planned going ahead – no, it wasn’t. Bang goes my quiet time.
The weather has reflected my mood well today; leaden, rainy and cold. I feel weary and worn down.
16 February 2010
The beginnings of a thought have been trying to bubble up to the surface of my consciousness over the past few days, but I can’t quite get clarity. I figured that by writing down the snippets that have drifted up, it might help me to sharpen the focus.
I suppose part of it stems from the oft repeated phrase that you can’t prove religion, which is why it’s called faith. But there is more to it than just simple faith. Raised as a Catholic for a while, I was told to believe this and that, that the bible was ‘the last word’ and that I’d be damned to hell if I didn’t conform. That’s not an over-simplification; I spent three years in a Dominican convent and they weren’t what you’d call liberal.
A couple of years later, I gave up on Christianity and I’m still un-learning guilt – I don’t suppose I was ever cut out for orthodox religion, as I’ve never been very good at conformity or doing what I’m told. So, having embraced the Pagan way and become a Witch, is it all about faith? I’d say no. In running the Whitewicca.com forum, I often see people writing about faith in very much the same way that a Christian would write about it; many of us came from that background, so perhaps it’s no surprise. Paganism, to me, seems to be much more based on experience than taking a set of concepts and deciding to believe in them.
Another thing contributing to these bubbling thoughts is that I have been having what a Christian would call ‘a crisis of faith’ though it’s not as extreme as that. I’ve had little opportunity or privacy to do any ritual in the past couple of years and it’s caused a problem. While I lived on my own, it was easy and the experience of circle, the energy and the altered state reinforced the concepts I embraced making it an experiential belief system that worked for me. Of late, each time I have tried to arrange a short time on my own to do ritual, or even meditate, something seems to happen to prevent it. I’ve also been challenged by my previous inability to get out of the house and go elsewhere – once upon a time I had a place in the woods that served as my open air circle, but it’s been over three years since I could get there. The last year, getting up and down the three steps at the front of my house would reduce me to tears.
So, here I am, amid the hurly-burly of daily life, but feeling that there is no spiritual dimension to it. What I believed in, and did so because I felt it, whether through healing, ritual or any other experience, isn’t there any more – I feel detached and saddened that this has happened. I hope that, as I can now get about better, that I shall be able to once again get in touch with those feelings, but for now, they seem like a distant dream.
15 February 2010
Hmmm, there I was, fast asleep and sawing off logs like the very best of lumberjacks, when I was dragged into consciousness by the doorbell. Yes, it was before 8.30 a.m. and the bloody doorbell was ringing – what the hell…???
My beloved had arranged for a dozen red roses to be delivered for Valentine’s Day and the delivery man must have picked ours as the first delivery. As I opened the door, clad in my oh-so-sexy fluffy dressing gown and disheveled hair, I was greeted with a cheery “Sorry love, sort of spoils the treat, doesn’t it? Have some flowers… but get out of bed for them!” and off he went chuckling at my groggy attempt at a riposte.
Ah, a dozen red roses – they are utterly gorgeous. Kim was the first man ever to give me flowers way back in 1976 and it was a huge bunch of red roses for Valentine’s Day – and I still love him and the flowers. It was the start of a lovely day.
We went for a walk around the village – no great route-march, but enough to keep the new joints working and to give me pink cheeks. We then opted for a relaxing day away from our computers. We spend far too long in front of these machines (she says, sitting in front of one now) and it was so lovely to have a day when thy didn’t rule our schedule or take precedence. I think we need more days like today.
And now, it’s the end of a wonderful weekend, I’m sleepy and ready to face the new week refreshed and feeling incredibly positive. I bid you a happy week to come and as much love and contentment as I feel.
11 February 2010
Cor! It’s bloomin’ freezing this week. Boots, the chunky monkey of the two cats has been waking from his slumbers to snuggle up to me – just to get warmed up, I’m sure.
Amidst this chilling gloom and leaden skies, there has been some brightness… no, not some, I should say considerable. After my first teach for a year and a quarter, I came storming back and was reminded of how much I enjoy the whole thing. The challenge of breaking down barriers, both of attitude and communication, the thrill of seeing people smile when they learn something and know it will be useful to them, and the whole buzz of having to think on my feet and work so hard. Better still, when the scores came in (we get scored on the American GPA system) I got a straight 4, which is the best one can get. Result. So, I get paid to do something that feels like good fun (it is hard work, but the enjoyment is greater) and I get confirmation that my instincts about the student’s enjoyment were correct.
As if that weren’t reward enough, Kim, the silly old softie, treated me to a present. He told me it was for getting through the teach so well, but I have decided it’s my Valentine’s present is it is very RED. My old suitcase was a nightmare to close, with lots of silly clips to align and it often reduced me to a gibbering wreck. Not any more – I’m the proud owner of a very, very bright cherry red samsonite suitcase. Oooh, it’s just gorgeous! I don’t suppose anyone else gets so excited over luggage, but having something that works and is pretty is so delightful. I like red. I have a leather holdall that I brought back from Tunisia and that’s bright red too. Not much chance of missing my things on an airport carousel.
Lots of other things have gone well this week – somehow my life feels like it’s turning around and getting better and better each day. Moving normally again is such a blessing. Never will I take for granted the simple things like being able to walk, to bend over without pain, the possibility of dancing again, and so many other things. Cripes… What happened to the curmudgeonly old me…?!!
04 February 2010
And I never thought I would be…
I’m in London teaching this week; it’s the first time I have taught for a year and a quarter. The hiatus was caused by my hip replacement operations and I have to admit that coming back was a bit nerve-racking. Apart from anything else, I pander to my body clock with the hours that I work at home, often rising later than most but working much later too. Six in the morning is not an hour I’m familiar with these days, but it’s necessary when I’m teaching. After a full and gruelling day yesterday, I limped back to the hotel, feeling footsore but pleased I’d been on my feet all day without pain or mishap. Within minutes of eating, I was overcome with huge yawns and leaden eyes; it made revision hard work.
I woke this morning before the alarm- a first for as long as I can remember. Though my eyes were rather puffy, I felt sprightly and ached so much less than I normally do when I get up – so perhaps a hard day in the classroom was just what I needed. Best of all, I have a really delightful bunch of students, so the “work” doesn’t feel like work at all! Where else would I get a captive audience where I can prattle on about my favourite subject… and get paid for it?
This is such a milestone for me. Not only being able to stand and walk about all day, but that I’m back ‘in harness’ doing something I love. My life is so good and I’m grateful for it.
29 January 2010
It’s Friday, it’s 5 p.m. and I’m warm indoors with my beasties, what more could I want?
Bertie has been keeping me company on the desk all day…
While Boots has been sleeping in Kim’s study, until he was transported into mine, with no effort on his part!
Where he proceeded to have a pre-prandial wash.
I had noticed how glossy their fur had become since they moved in with us, but seeing the reflections and gloss in the pictures reassures me that we must be doing something right. They don’t seem to be making any effort to escape!
Wishing everyone as cheerful and peaceful a weekend as I’m having.
27 January 2010
During the last cold spell we had a number of fieldfares in our tiny garden. They are birds I have not encountered before and we were rather thrilled to have these Scandinavian visitors amongst the usual local birds. As soon as the cold abated and the temperatures rose above freezing during the day, the fieldfares disappeared.
We felt privileged to have seen these lovely birds, even though they duffed up the local blackbirds in the food queue! Today, I noticed a fieldfare sitting on the back wall, beak pointing upwards at 45 degrees, as usual and my first thought was, “Oh, more snow on the way!” I don’t know if it’s true, as I have managed to not see a weather report for days on end, but I’ll bet the birds are as accurate as the Meteorological Office! We shall see – I’m off to the BBC weather site now…
22 January 2010
We had our oil for the heating system delivered today – I had been getting quite concerned as the levels had been dropping lower and lower, while the delivery seemed to take forever. Phew! The new heating system isn’t up to much – we paid a hefty sum and I can’t say that I’ve felt particularly warm since it was turned on; I never thought I would miss my filthy old rayburn.
It’s so wet and gloomy. I rained all night and it’s still wet, soggy and misting as I type – the light is on and still the room feels drab and grey. I far prefer the very crisp cold days that we had during the very cold weather. The Blues Brothers are feeling the weather too, they are both curled up, one on the desk and another on the chair beside me, with their heads tucked into their tails, snoring quietly.
I’m supposed to be driving to Lincolnshire tomorrow to visit my son, but I can’t say that I’m feeling very keen to go; I’d love to see him, but a five hour drive in this weather is about as tempting as root canal dentistry – I may delay the trip to another weekend.
The worst bit is that I’m not feeling very lively and so haven’t managed to get a single job finished today – I must apply myself as I hate going to bed without feeling that I’ve achieved something during the day.