Counting Butterflies – A Day Off

A longer weekend. We have rain after what seems to have been weeks of heat. In fact, it’s only been three, or was it four. I wonder if the grass will grow again, will it be green and long. No hose pipe bans here as yet. I remember the summer of ’95 and syphoning off bath water to feed the greenhouse then.

We grew all kinds of fruits in that little space. Cucumbers, loved by us and the slugs that found their way in. Peppers and tomatoes, turning from green to yellow and red, like traffic lights. An aubergine plant, a melon plant which broke through to the outside, reaching for the sky – no fruit though.

I grow nothing right now. But hope to again. Instead I go in search of good fruit. The local grocer has a decent variety as do the market stalls. The difference between a large lemon with  thick skin and a puny think-skinned one is all about aroma, flavour, longevity.

Aldi offers decent avocados, in a relaxing, meditative green that you’d want to dive in to. Piccolo tomatoes which smell as if they are straight from the soil. Clusters of beets, radishes, carrots, all bundled.

Shopping around pays, but it doesn’t have to cost the earth either.

I have gotten through a fair amount of writing in recent weeks and achieved quite a bit. There is now a brief hiatus as I wait for autumn to bring fresh results. September tends to bring change for me year on year.

As I go walkabout, it is more and more apparent to me what my life *should* be hereon in.

In the meantime, I have reading. Ivo Andric’s Bosnian Chronicle, Collected Fictions – Jorge Luis Borge and to finish Pullman’s latest La Belle Sauvage, which is delightful. Three more shorter novels on the side thereafter with cuisine themes, and a reserve at the library waits for me – George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo.

Someone once said all you need is a library and a garden and life’s just fine. Okay. I may have finally come to accept that. Except one needs yarns too.

Starting today for the next three weeks, Butterfly Conservation are asking us to count butterflies. Visit their website, download the app or chart. Spend 15 mins at a time counting. This can be done as often as you like over the next three weeks. I’ve noticed many butterflies recently in this hot summer, and bees. Just lovely, absolutely lovely.

Be like no other

As I was growing up, there was one thing my mother said to me repeatedly: Don’t be a sheep. Don’t be like everyone else. I think this stemmed mostly from her fear of my getting in with the wrong crowd and being scared of a liberal British society where it seemed to her, anything goes.

Lucky for her, that I was a precocious little goody-two-shoes who rarely strayed in to unknown waters. I too feared that liberal world. Observation was more my thing. Reading was too. But I’ve talked about the library and post office previously and their influences on me. The two Tolstoy novels in the house in Serbian and so on.

We live in precarious times during which many things are thrown at us through imagery, film, words – the media in general. Again, my mother would announce: Phantasmagoria! Propaganda! What to believe in all this information available to us. What is kept from us.

As for books. Follow your intuition I say. Just because something is up for a prize, recommended by a national paper, reviewed on a radio programme, doesn’t mean it’s for you. Do your own research. Find what you like. Read what you want. Sometimes you have to go to the ends of the earth for it. I do, especially for international literature – whether it’s in English or its mother tongue. Sift through the rubbish heap of information and source the one thing that speaks to you, that is true to you.
murakami

Hold on tight to your dreams

It’s been a dark few days. Winter finally arrived. My heart gave in just over a week ago. They call it an event. I came home with stents and now a list of appointments are building up. The NHS is in full swing. I haven’t been in this kind of situation, personally, since pregnancy.

So, with at least a month off, there’s reading, knitting, noodling and doodling. It’s taken a few days for my mind to find some focus and I full accept that my body needs to rest. Although I reckon dancing is allowed. After all music cures everything. Films are great too. Anything easy. Nothing too hard.

I still have to get in my assignments to a new extended deadline. Conscientisation is still here, with me. I am also in the middle of revamping Gabriel’s Vision and working further on concepts and workshops PLUS a big deadline to meet end of May.

Meditation has become vital in enabling my mind to breathe in calm and take away worry. I guess if the flat I lived in was mine, I’d be contemplating decorating, so just as well it’s not.

I’d like a week of peace. I have flicked through various books and settled on reading for the heart, not the mind. I am imagining myself in Tuscany, outside in the sun, far from the madding crowd, letting the sunshine heal me.

It’s EO Easter and May Day today. Workers unite and crack them eggs!!

Hurdles not obstacles!

Colourfull eggs lie on a large plate at the 15th Sorbian Easter Egg Market in Schleife, Germany, 24 March 2012. The four techniques of designing Easter eggs - wax-batik, wax-embossment, scratching and etching - are presented to the public until 25 March 2012. Photo: Matthias Hiekel

Colourfull eggs lie on a large plate at the 15th Sorbian Easter Egg Market in Schleife, Germany, 24 March 2012. The four techniques of designing Easter eggs – wax-batik, wax-embossment, scratching and etching – are presented to the public until 25 March 2012. Photo: Matthias Hiekel