May 30, 2008
all nonsense and magic
I'm more excited than an excitable sparrow, frisking its little wings in a bird bath on a hot day. And so I just have to blog.
Sure, I've been loving other people's blogs of late. Angela's silence between the notes; Anna's coal tits (let the reader understand); Russell's searingly honest search for identity; and Martha's tarts past their prime. I've met a few of those.
But today it's me, because I just have to tell you that this morning, i started writing my new book. I'm an hour into it. It's about supermarkets - all the usual nonsense and magic. I may only have written two paragraphs, but you know what they say - the journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step. Or is it the single step which begins with a journey of a thousand miles? That sounds nearer the truth.
Whichever, you read it here first - the blog, not the book. The book you will have to pay for, or I'll starve. So excuse me while I go away and add a little to the word count. And frisk some more in the bath. Perhaps if I wait long enough, a coal tit will turn up...
May 26, 2008
May but grey.
I had a mind to take my basket and join the old village schoolmaster and his miracle dog for a stroll on the wild side collecting Elderflowers for cordial. However, they are best collected before noon on a bright day, and this one wasn't. Alas,it was so wet that even the frogs stayed indoors.
Aunt Betsy had promised to visit so I hurried to the store to find something a little special for the table. Mr Kipling was already there and we stood and chatted and peered at a couple of tarts suspecting they might be past their prime. Wearing spurs like flailing rods on a threshing machine, Sir Lee de Meener swept into the store grabbed a tart in each hand, tossed several coins to poor Mrs Oldbuck behind the counter and was gone. Mrs Oldbuck raised her large grizzled eyebrows.
"That Knight is unsupportable. I don't know how Mrs Minchin at the big house can bear to serve him with his flouncing and barging ways. Why, he never even bid us 'Good Day'." Her eyebrows returned to their accustomed postion resting on her similarly grizzled cheeks. She has a lot to cope with, living in a shoe, too many children etc etc
We helped her gather the coins, which, as it turned out, were generous pieces and turned away to select a pastry, me to serve to Aunt Betsy and Mr Kipling to take home for Mrs Kipling who is partial, I'm told, to an almond slice.
" Well I'm sure we're grateful to the Knights for bringing almonds back from their crusades," I said brightly, hoping to lift her glum spirits, and hastened home before any more bad manners could assault us. There's some talk of assault in her large and unruly family but it may be nursery gossip.
Aunt Betsy had more news of the railway. She had been attending a protest meeting in her hamlet which will be demolished if the monster is unleashed through the valley. She is delighted at the prospect of being rehoused in an affordable hovel scheme towards the Nine Elms. She has been tempted by the promise of an eco sustainable 'living roof' which supports two milking cows and a family of field mice. I was about to enquire as to the obvious problems of access for milking but she had already moved on to the delightful prospect of an en suite tin bath. I think she's too easily pleased.
Here comes drab Eileen, I don't suppose she's bringing good news.
May 25, 2008
Identity are you out there?
When I was younger, I was always very interested in little quirks that others had. Things that they consistantly did that were part of their identity. I myself felt I had none. For this reason I would 'adopt' a quirk for myself if I particularly liked it. I once saw a friend run the tap for a whole 1 minute before she filled her glass up. She said she always did this. I found it interesting so attempted to do that myself. Of course this lasted about two days as it became rather time consuming. It also wasn't me.
As the years went by, I realised that copying things that people do is ridiculous and so I avoid doing it now.
Growing older however, it has remained important to me how I am perceived by others. I always like to be described as something, either positive or negative, simply to gain some sense of self. So far, all most people say is friendly or stubborn. In 24 years I hope there is more to me than that.
Now I am at my oldest so far, I know that I need to find out for myself who I am and cannot be relying on anyone else. Nor should I be caring what anyone else thinks. This is very hard however and the day I stop caring is very far away.
So...I am on the search for my identity. I don't know where it is but I know it is out there waiting to be discovered. One day.
May 23, 2008
We have finally moved to a flat with a garden. Not only that but there is a swathe of trees and green at the back where we over look others' gardens. The beauty of this breathing space in central London is remarkable. No need to watch the TV when there is so much action out back. Robins taking out their young for the first foraging exercise. Teaching them to balance at our feeder. The thin chirp of the baby still wearing some of its fluffy feathers contrasts with the loud confident song of its parents. The coal tit family too are on an outing. Calling between them to make sure the young ones have not wandered too far. Warning each other of the presence of the magpies. And then there is the wren. What an amazing song. It soars above all other sounds and enters my spirit, lifting my soul. It is amazing that the smallest of creatures can be the source of the sweetest music.
May 19, 2008
The silence between
I went to a fantastic concert on Saturday night. Abdullah Ibrahim at the Barbican Hall in London. He's a South African jazz pianist and composer, and he never plays more notes than necessary: the silence between the notes is as important as the notes themselves. The spaciousness in his playing seems to come out of a deep well of silence and contemplation, which I guess comes from his deep commitment to spiritual journeying. You get the feeling that there's no big ego at work there. It's balm to the soul to listen to him play and speak.
May 16, 2008
I know deep inside I am ok
I can live whatever the world brings my way
The emotions I feel are the waves on the surface of the water
They change as I allow the different feelings to flow through me
When the feelings ebb away
I am left
Still, quiet, peaceful
All is well
May 15, 2008
a cracking good story
Here's to the wall flowers!
The flowers that grow through walls by bus stops and the like,
insisting colour and petal, soft and tough,
through masonry cracks.
Yes, here's to the wall flowers,
who smell the morning, while sleepy heads sleep,
and understand that in their way is only bricks and mortar.
You're having a laugh!
Green shoot and juice against mere cement -
supposedly solid, but who believes that?
So here's to the wall flowers!
Oh, and here's to the wall!
'I'm cracking up,' he says -
but seems to speak with a smile.
Because like us, he knows it's a cracking good story.
May 13, 2008
Burning From The Old
There are many eyes, many ways, many trees,
But there are few truths,
That lie beneath these
There are many stories, many tears, many hearts,
But there are few truths,
That lie at the heart
There is much so heard, much so lost, much so dreamt,
But there is simple,
Though the sick resent
There is much so strange, much so bleak, much so cold,
But there is fire,
Burning from the old
May 12, 2008
Pentecost and red flannel petticoats go to the wind...
It's been unseasonably warm in the village and since May Day the hedges have been strewn with red flannel petticoats, no clouts mind, the month is only approaching its Ides. However, folks are turning their faces to the caress of the sunshine and have settled back to the old ways. Miss Peep is still bending the ears of all and sundry, especially sundry, about her lost sheep. This is, I'm afraid, an annual problem. No amount of counselling after matins from drab Eileen is going to help. "They'll come home bringing their tails behind them" is what she always says.
The fact that the rat catcher's mother says he'll be out on day release next week is no comfort to those of us with an infestation of vine weevil. The blackbird is of some use as I pick out the succulent grubs feeling that if nothing else I am keeping a family of five robustly fed. I was out with the Lark rise this morning grubbing among the roots of the Hydrangea Petiolaris when I heard hoof beats. Peering between fronds I saw it was bold Sir Cuitous Roote heading back towards the big house. "Hmm" I pondered. There has been word that since May Day he has been helping Gwen the one eyed widow with her topiary.
Oh my Lord! I see Miss Peep hurrying up my path. I will extinguish the candle and pretend to be out.
May 08, 2008
Aha! Norwich cuts the mystic mustard!
I just wanted to remember Julian of Norwich today - the greatest English mystic, and apart from Alan 'Aha' Partridge and mustard, Norwich's finest export.
It's her day in the church calendar - remembered as the 14th century anchoress who gave the world that most famous of lines,'All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.'
She is famous for her '16 revelations of Divine love' - the first book written by a woman in the English language. It's a book of visions, which she had in bed, which is terribly British. We're not told if there was also a cup of tea to hand, and a digestive - but surely there was?
She's good company, being a happy and optimstic soul. And if you could be happy and optimistic amid the social nightmare that was 14th century England, then really, you could be so anywhere. And such a relief from the depression, whining, stress, psychobabble and negativity of today. Whatever she had found, we have lost.
I like her because she doesn't tell me how to do it; or that I should fit my spirituality into someone else's mould. There is a nice space around her writing - space in which i can happily move and explore.
She is one of those special people who helped me see that not only all shall be well - but that all is well.
Thank you, Norwich.
May 03, 2008
Our true presence, our glory
Shines as bright as the sun,
Like the sun
It can warm and caress those it touches,
But if we allow the thoughts
Our mind creates to stay and take over,
Our shining presence is lost
Behind a black cloud of nonsense
That we have allowed our thoughts to build up into,
We then suffocate ourselves and warm no one,
We can not stop this madness of the mind
For it is its way,
But we can learn to recognise our thoughts
As bubbles which appear,
Last a short while
And then 'POP'
Leaving behind beautiful clear space
In which our glory can shine.
May 01, 2008
Dancing round the Maypole.
I'm sat in my parlour, panting in my upright stickleback chair. What a day it has been! The maidens,I use the term loosely, as Mrs Minchin from the Knights' hall scarcely comes withing spitting distance of maiden category, were out with the dawn chorus washing their faces in the dew. I suspect Mrs Minchin had been there all night as the Butt and Stranglers Arms is a stones throw from the Village Green, and she certainly looked no better, but one suspects the wash was an event in itself. Then Master Wattle and Mister Daub the builder delighted us all with their colourful pole which they erected in the middle of the green. There was some argy bargy as old Copper Pennywise pointed out that they were on the wicket prepared for cricket at the weekend and there was much scurrying and we all collected mole hills to fill in the hole. I'm sure no one will notice.Once the ribbons floated down and the child catcher arrived with the Morris Dancers, and one eyed Alan produced his squeeze box, the merriment began.How we danced! Mid morning when we were gasping, Mine host from the Stranglers staggered out
with a tray of ale for the Morris Men. The child catcher insisted on his usual Bacardi Lite. You have to hand it to him, since child catching has become more trouble than you can shake a stick at, he has diversified and now keeps ferrets in his trousers and it seems to work, and today proved a popular attraction.
Mistress Grout from the general store did us proud with some Ptarmigan pasties which were not all bad in spite of murmurs from Sir Leery Mark. I don't know what he was doing there anyway. It was for the village people.
The witch who was lined up for the ducking stool didn't show but Master Wattle fell in the pond which was a good thing as a disappointed May Day Crowd can turn nasty and Mrs Minchin was slumped in the stool as she's a martyr to her lumbar regions and there's only so much dew a woman of her age can take.
The Villagers in Bracombe will sleep soundly tonight.