Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Mists, Magic, Mystery, Myth and Meditation

This was the view from my window this morning.
There is a town out there somewhere...honest. Although you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

The fog rolled in from the sea late last night and the fog horn was the soundtrack to my dreams. I rather like its mournful sound, it is eerily beautiful in its loneliness, like a lost soul singing from the deep.

When I wake on a day like today I am drawn to the blanket of white. It is strangely hypnotic and I know I will get very little done until it clears. It is deceptively still outside; not only because movement is hidden and sound smothered, but because the fog itself is anything but still. It may look it at first glance; an empty world, a shroud of featureless grey. But those who take the time to watch will see a multitude of softest hues swirling in a misty ballet of water droplets and air currents. There was magic in the air this morning; mystery and meditation were my companions. I walked in the world of the unknown, in that timeless place beyond the veil...

...and returned to the mundane and the everyday.

And now the skies have cleared and a hazy sun shines. But as I once more go about my daily tasks I carry myth and magic and mystery in my soul.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

The Colours of the Moors

I love the moors. I could spend hours just enjoying the space and the quiet that isn't quiet; not really, if you listen you will hear the cry of a distant buzzard on the wind, the rustle of long grass and the bleating movements of the sheep or the soft breath of inquisitive moorland ponies and the buzz of bees on heather. The moor isn't quiet, it isn't silent, it isn't bleak. The moor is full of life and I adore it.

By the time I remembered I had my camera the ponies had moved on but never mind, there will be other days. Instead I tried to capture the amazingly vibrant colour palate of the Dartmoor autumn. These don't really do it justice, but I hope you'll like them anyway.

The late afternoon sun, blindingly beautiful

The bluest of skies

 Gorse Flowers, as bright as the sun

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Death Awakens.....or sad news and happy memories

I logged on to facebook last night to quickly leave a birthday message for my step-daughter only to instead be stunned by news of the tragic and untimely death of an old friend.

I haven't seen him in many years, our lives went in different directions and we lost touch. I'm sure that is a story familiar to many of us. Yet every friend, no matter how brief our acquaintance, touches our life in profound ways. We may lose touch and forget about the friendship but these people are threads which link us to the past. The severing of one of those threads sends ripples across the still waters of time; it disturbs the store of memories, shaking things up and bringing long forgotten events to the fore.

We were just teenagers when our shared past was created. We frequented bars and nightclubs we weren't old enough to be in; we got drunk on Thunderbird in the park; we sat in a city centre cafe on a Saturday afternoon making one cup of coffee last for hours; we had fun as teenagers should.

Today I've spoken to long lost friends who shared that connection. We've shared our memories and we have cried and we have laughed. This afternoon we sit in our homes many miles apart and we will all raise a glass to the memory of someone we once knew and cared about. We remember how he always had a kind word and time for others, how he transcended friendship groups and seemed to fit in with everyone, and hopefully we'll take those things forward with us and make a little part of him live on.

Rest In Peace Mark. Thank you for the memories.

Thursday, 15 September 2011


I'm in hospital tomorrow. It's nothing serious, just some tests that are a bit on the unpleasant side. I 'm really not looking forward to it but I'm not as worried as I expected to be. This is partly because I'm having them done at the Nuffield (thanks NHS!) and they've been really great keeping me in the loop and having time to answer my questions. But I think the main reason I'm not worried is I'm distracted.

And I'm distracted because I am starving.

My stomach thinks my throat's been cut! Yesterday my diet was limited, today it's non-existent. I'm  allowed water and black coffee and fizzy drinks. I can have bovril and and oxo cubes dissolved in hot water (yum) and boiled sweets...mustn't forget the boiled sweets. Now I'm not obsessed with food. I like it, obviously. I enjoy eating it and I enjoy cooking it but if I'm doing something I'm interested in or just plain busy I can go all day and forget I haven't eaten until supper time. But not today.

Today, because I know I can't eat, all I can think about is food. And of course because food is forbidden I won't be satisfied tomorrow afternoon with a nice crunchy salad and a creamy yogurt, oh no! I want chips, and cream cakes, and steak (nice, juicy rare steak), and jaffa cakes. I need jaffa cakes, a whole box of them, all to myself. So I'm a jaffa cake fiend, I make no apologies for that. I'm going to nibble around the edge and then eat the jelly bit, just like I used to as a child and get chocolate all over my fingers.

Oh yes, tomorrow will be the day my mother's threat of old will come true. I will eat so many Jaffa Cakes I will finally turn into one.

Monday, 5 September 2011

September Stews

It is dark outside. Or at least almost dark; there is still a trace of the sun on the western horizon, a lighter tone to the inky sky. The wind blows and rain threatens.

This time last year it was still warm enough to keep the windows open long after it had grown dark. We spent long evenings with the T.V turned off as we listened to the grasshoppers outside in the garden with their endless song and moths flew in following the lamp light.

What a difference a year makes; the cloak of autumn is wrapping around me early this year.

Tonight I made stew. A thick, hot chicken stew, something I usually save for cold October or November nights. It isn't really cold, not yet. Not cold enough to put the heating on anyway. But as I listened to the wind howl through the oak and hazel outside, stew just felt right. The windows steamed up as it simmered away. The candle I always light on my kitchen altar when I cook guttered in the wind forcing through a crack of open window casting shadows in the darkening gloom.

For the first time this season it was dark enough to cook by candlelight and I felt winter in my bones.