Archive for June, 2009

To our furry friends

It is with great sadness that I write today, at midnight last evening our old puss, Feival-Bob, named by my children when they were small, went to join his brother/ playmate Salem-Jim.  Feival was just over fourteen years old, a country cat because we always lived deep in the country in farm villages miles from anywhere. He came to live with us when my ex husband moved to Spain and was unable to take the cat with him. We’d got Feival from my sister when her daughter was born, no my niece wasn’t anything to do with the cats apart from she was born at the same time.  My children grew up with him. Today the hardest part was taking him on his last journey to the vets.Then coming home after the healing service we attended to a home where there was something missing. The last time I felt like this was the day after my father in law died. Bless his heart, he was always worried if he died in the night that we wouldn’t know what happened to him. I believe he hung on until we went in to do our night check on him before he slipped away, even though we were late to bed that night, and we had precious minutes with him to say what we needed to say before he just faded into the spirit world. Feival did much the same. I heard him coughing, which wasn’t unusual because he had been so poorly, but he made another sound which wasn’t usual and I went downstairs. I think as I got there he was passing, as I stroked his head he moved and his face quivered and I knew. I was able to tell him it was ok to leave us, that his time had come and I loved him, then he was still. Today there was a silent space where he used to be… how do you explain that ? He was a wonderful pet, tolerant, so friendly, always purring and a big part of all our lives. He took such a small space but that space is noticably empty now that he is gone. I miss him so much….

It is still hard even knowing what I know, that the spirit lives on. Despite my firm belief in life going on, the human part of me still grieves for the loss of someone that is important to me. Did I do enough? was I good enough, so many thoughts and questions. Then I got to being rational and thought that it doesn’t matter what we think at any point, those are our emotions, our insecurities, our fears; what is important is the way we make other people think, our influence on the world around us. It all goes back to my favourite story about the pebble in the pool. If we scowl at others we give off negative vibes that recreate in the next person who comes in contact with the person we scowled at… So the same happens with a smile… we might brighten someone’s day. Why cause a chain reaction of  anger, misreableness, judgement by offering a scowl when a smile would send warmth and love and maybe change a whole day in a positive way for everyone we smile at…

So when I question whether we were good enough for our puss, I look at his love, his trust and his loyalty. He never questioned what mood we were in, he would come up and purr such a loud purr and just love us, no matter what. Ok most of it had to do with food but well that’s cat nature! He  still never judged us, he just accepted that we were there for him. Isn’t it a shame that we as people cannot do the same, we have to give labels! Well Feival, lesson learned and I thank you for being my friend and companion, playmate to the children when they were small, the best listener in the world and the biggest purrer so that we knew you loved us too. We have a lot to learn from you my little furry friend, thank you so much for being a special part of our lives. Happy freedom and youth in the next world …

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Dreams do come true.

I had just come back from visiting a friend to return a book she had lent me and decided, as I had sadly finished the latest novel I was reading, to do some writing instead. I checked my emails as I always do and first of all I had confirmation of a suggestion I made to the lady who runs our writer’s group, to invite a wonderful writer friend of mine to come and give a talk at our monthly meeting. It will be a great evening I just know it. Olivia Fane is an accomplished writer and published author. Her latest book ‘God’s Apology’ sits proudly on my shelves and I wait for the next one which I have on good authority, is now complete and soon to be published.

Anyway in the same email I was asked if I would like to join with our group leader and establish and run a writer’s group for 8year olds in a local school library. I cannot think of anything else I would rather do in the whole wide world. I have been praying so hard for something that will give me some sort of fulfillment outside of home and this is just perfect and a chance to use the teacher training I did before I had to give it all up. Thank you to all my angels and spirit helpers who heard me, time for a bit of resource finding and research methinks.

It has made me feel so proud to be asked but more than that it has confirmed my philosophy about being positive. It has been so hard sometimes, especially on days when I have found great difficulty and pain in doing anything. I have worked on being positive and have been saying to myself that it is only a matter of time and something will come up. And then this happens… I try the same with the arthritis… one day it will be better, I refuse to believe this is it for the rest of my life.  I felt so low when I allowed negative thoughts to dominate me and drag me down so this is definitely the one thing that tells me I am right…. Just got to convince the soapbox complainers that surround me to think nice thoughts now, even though the world around them might be negative. Hey if this can happen to me then who knows what else I might achieve. I am the one who believes in fairy tale endings and dreams come true and nobody can possibly burst that bubble now, even if it doesn’t happen, someone thought enough of me and my work to ask me.

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Images for the paintbox

Maybe the title should be colouring books, I don’t know. Today I missed the wonderful opprtunity for a captured image to paint… We drove to Lee on the Solent to test a new sat nav for speeding cameras. Origianally we had one that beeped loudly as we got near one but then as updates came along the sound disappeared and we had only a minute picture on the screen that, as a driver, you would never see safely….Therefore we bought a different sat nav on offer for half price. Still no vocal warning, nothing, apart from a flash across the upper part of the screen… grrrr. nevermind. ABut, as we were on the journey we drove along the sea front and for me the image was amazing. I have rarely seen so lovely an image, so co ordinated the colours. The sky, heavy with rainclouds, was in layers of dark gray and the brightest white. Below the brightest clouds lay the Isle of Wight, a patchwork of dark and light with the misty effect of rain ghosting parts of the silhouetted towns. The beaches of the island across the Solent were a strip of dark green but the sea was a magnificent shade of green. On the sea were coloured yatchs with snow white sails, a jet ski trailing white horses behind it as it wove among the waves and a dog, a dark spot in the water,as it paddled near the shore. Why Oh why is it when you see something beautiful you have never remembered to bring the camera?

I watched the film ‘Potter’ yesterday and that too gave me such wonderful inspiration. It is time to get my paintbox out again. It has been so long since I painted having given my time over to writing. To me writing is painting in words but there is no substitute for paintbox and paper, apart from a camera that is, in order to capture what we see in our mind’s eye. Tomorrow unfortunately is housework day but Tuesday…. I will let you know what happens, as long as my stories get written too.

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My garden is like a haven to me, it is laid out neatly as low maintenance as possible. It has a pond and shed a little water feature… well its a drain tank for the concrete path actually so I put a water pump in it and got my talented number 3 son to stack a load of stones up for the water to trickle through… at the moment it is a little forceful to say the least, it blasts the top stone off in an orbit of the garden at warp factor eight at least,  and I’d lose all the water if it was left running but you get the idea. The paths are pea shingle with stepping stones, small raised beds either side and a patio area with a stone BBQ  and the washing line…. so neat. I have planted everything in tubs to avoid the snail massacre, that means me massacreing them. I have become a heartless murderess, especially as I inspect my precious Hostas day and night then to come down in the morning to find something has dined exceptionally well on their succulent leaves. They are pretty stupid creatures though, they think they can hide in their little shells by sticking to the fence or the wall nearby but I know their little secrets. Harry is all for the salt treatment but I think that is downright cruel and that it is far quicker and humane to meet a sudden end under a wellie. hehee see how hard a woman I have become, I have had many a man turn up their noses and shudder unable to even think of it …. It must mean I have an alkaline soil to have more snails than slugs….. and apart from the massacre ritual it is all growing so well.

When we first moved in here I had a very small spiky plant , well I had two but one met its end for some unknown reason, this one stayed in its pot but failed to thrive very well so I decided to plant it in the garden to see if it would grow better. To our joy it did, but then it never stopped. It grew and we thought ah lovely, it grew some more and we thought ok, we could cut it down if it gets too big then once it had grown nearly as tall as us it became Harry’s ‘baby’. It is now over 8 feet tall. Earlier back in May there appeared a strange alien type thing that sprouted from the top, that too grew and grew until this huge growth decided to droop over the path and sprout millions of tinywhite flowers. If I spread my arms wide I would not reach the sides of it. I spoke to a horticulture friend of ours and he did some research, it appears to be a Cordyline Australis and is set to grow to over 30 feet…. So much for a little pot plant, when we bought it the guy was so careful about telling us how to nurture it, maybe I should have it might have stayed a baby longer. This is definitely of triffid ancestry, here threatening to take over the whole of my garden. I swear it has secret lives too. As you walk by it there is a loud buzzing and gets louder if you touch it. Either it is communicating with outer space or there are things lurking in there totally invisible from view. Not sure which I prefer really.

Right next to it is some fennel which was also pretty paltry to look at from the time I planted it and earlier this year I nearly dug it up in disgust after it failed to grow more than one frond since last year. The triffid has spoken! the fennel is now only half the size of the tree and still growing… What is going on out there. I only hope that the seeds and plants I am growing take heed and produce something edible of a reasonable size…. I’d have a word with the triffid but I really don’t want to get on a wrong footing with it. Who knows what could happen out there.

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Moon Gardening

No, I’m not planting moons but what a lovely idea. Last night I opened my curtains before I went to bed and there looking in at me was the moon. Why is it I sleep better knowing the moon is shedding her light across me in the night? When I wake up because the moonlight is too bright I get an immediate glow and I feel comforted knowing she is there watching me. I could shut the curtains and many would ask why I keep them open, I hate to feel claustrophobic. When I lived in the farm village we never shut the curtains or the windows, winter and summer alike and the night entered my room like a fresh new life every day. Stars shone on a clear night so brightly and so  many there was barely room for the sky, clouds painted silhouetted images as they drifted across the crystal moon, at times there were haloes round her, red or blue, as she hung suspended a swinging orb in an ultramarine sea, owl calls echoed in the valley, creatures rustled and snuffled in the hedgerows, insects rasped and scuttled, cows chewed the cud, their bellies gurgling and belching above the quieter nightsongs and a whole new world existed outside my window. Why, oh why would I shut it out? Since moving to the town I still have my crtains and windows open. The difference is I have to switch the light off before I open the curtains and the night life in the town means an occasional urban fox barking in the street for her cubs, but mostly dogs barking, people singing or fighting on the way home from the pub, talking too loud with voices from drunken mouths that don’t communicate with their ears, cars and bikes screaming down the road in such a hurry. But sometimes, when the sky is clear and even though light pollution hides the stars, the moon smiles her light across my face as I lie in bed and I remember.

I wrote about time and space a little while ago and the town proves my theory. In the country any less than a hundred and eighty degrees of sky was crowded, the Downs extended my garden for miles and miles. Forests became my perimeter, air was breathable and fresh and time drifted slowly and easily. Here in the town, everything is so fast. Even the old folks no longer amble up the road for their pint in the local pub, pubs are too crowded and noisy and unfriendly here, they whiz about on electric scooters at far greater speed than they would walk and no one, but no one speaks even to say good evening. No -one slows down enough to notice anyone else let alone speak. Time does speed up when space is short, I am convinced of it.

So you see, it may not sound, smell or feel the same but when I sleep with my windows and curtains open, when the deep night has fallen silent and the moon shines in my window, sometimes I forget where I am and remember warm country nights and the cacophony of night sounds that sang me to sleep.

To me the moon is my comforter and companion, I share a special moment in my thoughts with a friend, a man who sees, and lives in the same moment as me when the moon touches our lives. Tomorrow the full moon tells me that I can plant onions and they will grow their best, in another week the moon phase will be best for growing carrots. Tomorrow, if the night is clear, I shall not need a light to see my way up the garden path and I shall stand bathed in her light and dream. It would be so wonderful to be able to plant moons, moons that gave me the same feeling I had on warm summer evenings in the country when shooting stars made wishes come true and dreams were real, like waking up on holiday every day. Instead I shall plant my onions and carrots in pots in my tiny garden and thank the moon for her advice and my friend Bobby for that connection with a wonderful world that now only exists in letters from a friend and in dreams beyond my reach, beyond the moon.

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The Good Old Days

Have you ever had one of those days that is absolutely brilliant? Today was one of those days for me.

I was born in Hastings, a seaside/fishing town in East Sussex. It became over the years a very touristy town but I remember as a child where now stand tall buildings and housing estates, once were fields of sheep and huge mansions. The history of Hastings is well known and as part of that history many museums, buildings and places of interest still remain, very much commercialised unfortunatley, but, never-the-less the historical connections remain strong and there for people to see and relive. I lived most of my life in the shadow of Hastings castle, on a cliff overlooking the seafront. Opposite our house was a special lift that was reported to have taken Queen Victoria down to the old town. It has been preserved and renovated. On the East Hill is the Old Town lift, beneath the cliffs lies the Old Town itself with its unique fishing huts and fish market… well it was there once. They still fish from there but the big market has long gone to commercialism, still a nice place to go though. Anyway on the East Hill is the castle and nearby, the caves. Full of stories of smuggling and its use as a bomb shelter during the war, the caves are now a museum, but the caves and tunnels used to travel underneath the town. In fact as children we knew of one house at the end of the row we lived in that had the end of one of those tunnels. But I digress…. the point I am eventually trying to make is that when you live somewhere with somewhere special, historically, curious, or what ever, you never tend to go there. I visited the places after I’d left there and we actually lived on the West Hill back then!

Today I live in Gosport, Hampshire. Home ,once upon a time, to the sailors of the Royal Navy. The Naval Dockyards are still there and the Navy ships but I have only visited the Historical Dockyard before I lived here, never since. Well apart from a works do on the Warrior. Today, the writer’s group I belong to were invited by another group to Titchfield to a talk by the curator of the 17th Century Village we have here in Gosport. And no, I have never been there. Always keep saying ‘we must go there, sounds interesting,’  but never do. That is all about to change. I have never enjoyed a lecture or a talk so much in all my life. It was interesting, factual/ historically correct and taught me so many things about where the customs and saying we use today come from to how to aneasthetise a sore throat for up to 8 hours using a plant you might grow in your garden. I knew a lot of the history but never in such detail before, this lady made it live! If ever anyone reading this comes to Gosport or lives there, I recommend going along and visiting living history at the village if you haven’t been before.

So often we miss so much in the hub hub of life. I have always tried to make my children aware of the world around them and to be able to notice the little things in life. Today showed me that I was right, the children of today have everything yet have so little. Material things are nice but what good are they of you don’t notice the beautiful things around you that are free. To run in the wind and play in the rain, make mud pies, get dirty, understand how wild animals live, watch the seasons change and know how the world around will change, to make toys from nature,  forage for food, grow your own food, cook your own food, understand the natural world and that it has all you need to survive, and, well,  just be one with the world. We might have so many material things but most of them keep us indoors and shut away. Get out there and find out how the real natural world exists, or existed in the 17th century. I am sure that we would all find life so much more interesting and healthier. That is my thoughts and lecture over for today but what a GREAT DAY. I recommend heartily, a trip into the past.

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Yesterday I was discussing the intricacies of computer skills but tonight, well , I am going to extoll the absolute wonders of the internet and being able to chat with someone across the world. I have an amazing son who lives in Switzerland. From a child so small, music was in his soul, he’d sing everything in the world around him that came to his attention. Born in the sixties, just, to a mother of only sixteen, he shared the love of what we oldies call ‘real music’. He went on as an adult to write  and record his own. Ok, I have thought that some of it was weird, you know sort of heavy electronic stuff that I didn’t always understand, that’s what it is, my lack of understanding. Then, tonight he sends me a link to piece of music from a group that he grew up with. The very first album I bought, we were poor, was an album by The Moody Blues, not long before he was born, and yes, a Moody Blues track was what he sent to me via MSN .

Oh, the nostalgia, seems like a million years ago. Then we had a discussion on time and its relevance in the world today. Now my son and I have very different belief system, yet in a strange way they are closely connected. I reckon I must have been a great scientist in a past life, I absolutely love quantum physics and it all makes sense to me. For some reason my brain just connects with the whole of everything about different dimensions and space and time that I am told about it. But he has different ideas. He says to me    ‘I dont think its reincarnation… i think its that our spirits are beyond time & space… and have access to all knowledge of human history.’  ‘ and the past people you feel connected with…. its because their stories have some meaning or importance to you…’  He could be right, there are so many questions. So why does science and physics mean so much to me? maybe I am just curious, nosy perhaps I don’t know. It doesn’t really fit in at all with my spiritual beliefs and yes I do believe in reincarnation. The thing is that he was born a little genius, not just musically, he is a deep thinker, has an understanding of the universe like no one I have ever known before. Of course, I like to take the credit for being his mother but I was sixteen and brought him up in hard times with no support from any parents, I could have done better…. but he does have that same curiosity that I had, still have. That thirst for knowledge. His life has been a quest to learn things and so much has been expressed through his music. I then think that maybe he had in his young life what he needed to be the amazing person he is today. … And I digressed… mother’s priviledge….. what I was going to say was that in the music he linked to me, good old Moody Blues, I slipped back through time listening to them, brilliant, was something I had missed as a teenager. He sent the link because he had just learned to play it. I listened again, and there in the back ground was computerised music, keyboard stuff! I never knew that.

My son and I have the most amazing conversations and I keep every one, all the emails, all his poetry, thoughts and writings… something else he got from his Mum maybe, or maybe the other way round, I can’t be sure…. He has been able to discuss the things he wasn’t happy with as a young man growing up easily over the internet then talk face to face because the barriers have been broken already.

So what an amazing tool the internet has been for my family. Not just for my eldest son but for the others that now live abroad too. Every day as I am writing, I get to speak to at least two of my children fantastic. I can also share in videos, photographs, webcam conversations and always keep up with what they are all doing. Communities like facebook also give an insight into things they are doing too. I am beginning to believe what he says about time and irrelevance though. Here I am listening to stuff from the sicties that I was so in love with and not realising how it was played until 2009. It is so very similar a musical style to what my son composes, yet I hadn’t noticed. Take a listen if you care to… Zoz ‘s website is , then go and find some Moody Blues…. I think my son’s are better because his meanings are much deeper, but I am biased and the technology today is much more amazing. Still thanks to the internet he managed to close the gap in time and  connect me with both past and present.

Needless to say I am very proud of him and his work, even if I don’t always appreciate what has gone into it, like heart and soul,  to be able to share and give my opinion when he asks for it is truly amazing. All I need is to know how to use the computer and technology to its full extent.

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Maybe I will get the hang of this one day!

I have often heard of people being referred to as having verbal diarrhoea, my trouble is that my typewriter goes into overdrive once I start to type. Then there are all the gadgets and buttons that totally confound me- being just an ornery kinda person that is just ok on word processing, I leave all the widgets and tags and link stuff to the teenagers. I mean,  shouldn’t all this fantastic technolgy be supplied with at least one child. I have to wait until the kids arrive to set up dvd recorders to record or tune in a tv set. So when computers, which are interactive, demand attention I panic in case I happen to wipe something off the whole internet with the simple press of a button.

See what I mean… I could have said I am no good with technology and get the kids, actually, any kid, to come and help but no, the fingers keep on going…. Actually I should be singing the praises of the quick minds of the young who manage to solve computer problems with the same ease that I would press a doorbell. How is that?

I listen to the youngsters that walk past my house enroute to a class swimming lesson; to begin with they sound quiet like a high pitched murmer until as they pass my window sounding like the laughter of a stream babbling over rocks. They appear to be just excited kids on a school trip, secretly they are technology engineers, conditioned at birth to understand all the computer technology their parents struggle with. I mean look at their toys! no more simple dolls or cars, all electronic wizardry designed to develop their minds to keep up with all the new technology as it surfaces.

What a wonderful world we live in… and even if it takes me a bit of time to work out what to do, I wouldn’t be without the opportunities the internet has given me to keep in touch with my children all over the world, contact people I thought I had lost touch with, work online, find resources, research…. there I go again, keyboard diarrhoea… but hey! I am a writer.

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