A Golden Age

If you had to live forever, what age would you choose, childhood, adolescence or adulthood, and why? This is the question posed by the Daily Post today.

I’ll start by saying why I wouldn’t want to be an eternal child. I had plenty of fun as a child, simple fun, where I could play for hours sitting in a den under a table, covered in a chenille cloth or eating raw sausage meat when my grandmother made sausage rolls. A wooden box full of buttons was perfect to let my imagination run wild, as I conjured up the garments they had fallen from.

But I also had strange and difficult times as I struggled to know where I belonged. No, belonged is the wrong word, it was more that I was trying to work out how I fitted in, an answer that I didn’t get until I was middle aged.

My teenage years were worse, expected to and indeed wanting to go out and meet the world, I was often fearful and I most definitely did not fit.

But that’s the past. Now my skin fits. It won’t fit for many more years though, in stead it will become looser, as the subcutaneous fat redistributes itself, and I take on the guise of the crone.

So I want to stay where I am right now. I want to keep the strength I have, keep the ailments that come with age at bay. No arthritis, hypertension, high cholesterol, thyroid problems or dementia, because I need time.

I didn’t begin travelling until I was in my forties, I’d always wanted to but hardly dared to dream. I got my hit of exotic destinations watching Michael Palin, everywhere he went, I wanted to go. It wasn’t until I began to break free, that some of those places became reality.

But oh, there are so many places I need to see. Ethiopia, Mali, Uzbekistan, Namibia, Chile, Libya, Israel, Jordan, Greece. There are places that I couldn’t go to at the moment, even if I had the time and money. Pakistan, I’ve always wanted to visit, but I’ve just this evening watched a documentary, about it’s incredible history and culture.

I dream of being able to walk safely around the cities of Nigeria, to travel Ibgo country freely, meeting more of my family there and really understanding the culture. As things stand, it’s doubtful that this could happen in my lifetime. Who knows, give it fifty years and some miracles then, perhaps, it could be possible. So, I need to live forever as I am now, with the wisdom, confidence and experience that I have, and the brakes on the physical deterioration. This is my Golden Age!

I’m adding this comment I found on Facebook this morning. It’s from my lovely extra son, my daughter’s partner Steven, who has hidden talents that I hope he will use one day. Thanks Steve xx

This is a tough question. On first thought it seems easy, however who would truly want to live forever? The fact that we have such a brief sneeze of time to enjoy this crazy, heart aching, beautiful thing called life is what makes it so truly special. We live each day never truly knowing if it is our last, so we grab hold of it, squeeze it for every little drop and savour every morsel. If we live forever then surely part of that essence fades, knowing that we have forever to do the things we want. We lose the sense of urgency, the need, the desire to do today all the things we fear to delay until  tomorrow. The fear of tomorrow makes us live today.

But then I realise that I could spend forever with my beautiful family, watching my daughters play and grow. If only….

Kalash Tribal, Fat Chance and Congo

I wish I could re-blog directly from BlogSpot, but as this isn’t possible, I’m sharing this important link with you. I first came across American Tribal Style dance two years ago when Kalash Tribal were performing at the Mid Devon Show. I was mesmerised by them and sent them a couple of photos I’d taken on the day. Since then I’ve seen them again and followed their activities on Facebook.
Kelley Beeston teaches the troop, as well as performing. But there is so much more to this lady than her dance. I noticed that she travelled to Congo to do voluntary work with women, that’s CONGO, an article in the Guardian a few years ago described it as the worst place in the world to be a woman. So Kelley has fundraised for a fishing net, contraceptives and sewing machines, to help them to help themselves climb out of poverty.These are women who have survived torture and rape, they deserve all the help they can get to change their future. With her husband Kelley has started a Community Interest Company, luminosity.org
These are Kelley’s words from her Facebook page.

Tonight I cried. I cried because a woman who is so very important to me revealed her vulnerable side publicly. I cried because she recognises the need of so many other vulnerable women. I cried because she wrote an appeal – please help if you are able

She included a link to Fat Chance belly Dance blog page where Carolena Nericcio-Bohlman has appealed for help for this important cause.
http://fcbdblog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/sister-to-sister-project.html

If you can help in any little way please do. If you can't help financially – I know that times are hard, please spread the word, re-blog, post about it, create a post sharing Carolena's blog, tweet and share on Facebook.
Thank you for reading.

The Nereids Zodiac Sign

My brand new zodiac sign would be Nereids, sea goddesses ruled by the tides and moon, therefore a mix of air and water elements. There is to be a full moon around my birthday, and I share the sign with others born three days either side of June 2nd. Nereids like myself have been known to howl at the moon and gather like minded daughters and sisters, crones and virgins to join in the lunar celebrations at the seashore, and the liminal space of the estuary. Nereids are volatile spirits, benign, warm and generous with a bountiful love of human, animal and faerie folk. Harm an innocent though and we will fight tooth, feather and scales to defend the broken ones, often suffering ourselves as a result. Beware triggering our rage.

Physically we are fleet as shoals of little silver fish, swirling in the shallows , where the sunlight shimmers. Because of our love of water and air, we can be prone to weakness of our feet, and they need much attention to keep them healthy. Both our hands and eyes are very expressive and full of emotion.

At times we become too grounded for our nature and that is when we become greedy, often devouring great quantities of things that are unsuitable and over processed. This slows us down, makes us sluggish and confuses our airways, causing asthma like symptoms . We can be opinionated, overbearing, and frequently become grumpy old women, with a flip side that never grows up.

Could you possibly be a Nereid? If this sounds like you, there is a fair chance that someone got your birthdate wrong. Maybe you could describe your own custom zodiac sign?

 

I created this post in response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Custom Zodiac

The Dark Panny

I was walking through the panny in  the tunnel under the road, it was a rite of passage. Girls didn’t usually go there, except me and Linda Wright. It was okay until we reached the bend under Heavitree bridge, then the darkness wrapped itself around us, like a coffin  slamming shut.

There were rats of course, occasionally one would scuttle over our plimsoles. Even scarier were the eels, they slithered in noisy gangs with their ugly whiskers. We didn’t dare confess that the green stains on our clothes came from slipping on the algae covered pebbles. As I rose in the dark these memories came rushing back again.

100wcgu-7Julia’s prompt for week 151 is . . . as I rose in the dark,  and my piece isn’t fiction!

http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week151/

 

Writing 101, Serially Lost

Michelle W says,

Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more.

This doesn’t need to be a depressing exercise; you can write about that time you lost the three-legged race at a picnic. What’s important is reflecting on this experience and what it meant for you — how it felt, why it happened, and what changed because of it.

Today’s twist: Make today’s post the first in a three-post series

Violet Elizabeth was just sitting there when they crashed into her on the road. It was noon on one of those late winter days when you wake up and find the ground white with snow. We can’t drive on snow here in the UK, I confess it applies to me as well it happens so rarely in the south west of England. An inch of white stuff and I have this awful dilemma in my head. If I drive and the snow gets heavier I could be stranded somewhere. There could be an accident. If I walk I could fall on hidden ice and break a leg. I think perhaps I had a bad fall as a child that has affected me, or seen someone else fall. My grandmother had a fear of slipping on ice and hurting herself, it could be that causing my irrational fear.

On the March morning, there was an accident. The snow had fallen in the early hours, it must have thawed slightly before freezing again making the road treacherous, especially on the bend outside where violet was waiting.

My neighbour witnessed it from her window, and thinking it was a hit and run, she rushed out. Violet was ten years old.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing 101 Two, A Cafe With a View

Take me to Pushkar, drop me down in the sunset café. You already did? Ahh yes, here I am, the sky is still bright and very pink. Inside people, locals and travellers begin to gather, for the nightly spectacle that is sunset over the lake. Neat rows of Formica tables are placed so that as many diners as possible get a good view. The best seats are right on the patio, and I’ve got one, under the curved and ornately painted arches, slightly raised from the pavement. I sink into a rattan bucket seat with a cushion made from recycled saris, red, orange and pink to match the sky. Babu comes to take my order, a mint lassi while I’m waiting for a masala omelette, ‘but that is breakfast madam’ he says giving me that look he gives to crazy English women, a sort of half grin as if he feels sorry for me. I add an ice cold cobra beer, Pushkar is so dry and so is my throat.

The smell of spice is suddenly challenged when two young women arrive, laden with backpacks big enough for their tiny frames to climb into, and with grubby salwar kameez. I don’t like myself for saying it, but I’m glad there wasn’t space for them. In contrast the musicians rock up, clothes gleaming as white as the Persil ads, and making a racket like the dustbin men at 7am. Now I realise why these seats were empty. Two drummers, a sitar player and another with an instrument that looks like a sack, a hosepipe and some bits of rope, sit crossed legged beside me.

The drumming begins, starting slowly and with little tune. It’s only when I look around and see people swaying that I realise I’m doing the same thing. For too long the drums continue, my lassi and omelette are both consumed and I’m on my second bottle of Cobra. They’re twice the size of the bottles at home and a few nights ago Muggan, our driver was horrified and amazed that I could contain one, never mind two.

The drumming is hypnotic and I’ve lost some time, pulling myself together, I put the music to the back of my mind and focus instead on the sky. Taking a photo wasn’t working, heads kept bobbing up and down between me and the view. Stay in the now G, stay in the now and imprint it on your soul. It is every bit as magical as promised. Every warm, glowing colour, that nature can create, is up there in the heavens. There might be sound but all I can hear is the noise of the universe, not even a sound, but a vibration, a distant echo that began light years ago. I’m standing now, we all are. With fairy lights around our heads, we watch as the sun slowly falls on the horizon behind the temple.

I am changed by India.

 

Writing 101 One, Stream of Consciousness

I’m doing the WordPress Writing 101 as from today and the first project is stream of consciousness. I won’t be posting the 101 stuff every day, more likely I’ll write every day and post bits from time to time.

This is what sprang out earlier.

Twenty minutes, that’s how long they were standing there. Whispering. What about? Or maybe who about, could it be me? Is it my turn? How long have I had this paranoia? Perhaps since playground days. They were always at it, at the back of class when Miss wasn’t looking, hiding behind their hands, staring at me, sneaky, laughing eyes. When they saw me look back they would look away quickly and giggle in their throats, keeping their mouths shut tight.

Strange, I can’t remember who they were. I remember the nice girls, Linda White, Lesley Morton and Jane Shelton, even one lad, Andrew Philips. He was always competing with me, he was top boy in every test, and I was top girl. I wonder why they separated us into girl/boy, would that happen now? Anyway we were well matched, he would score one point higher one week, the next it would be me. Most often we’d get the exact same mark, with our matching IQ’s. I bet he isn’t poor now, probably heading up some massive organisation (should have married him) unlike me, I wasted my grammar school years. My friends and I were too damn rebellious for our own good. Not that we had much to rebel against, if only that energy had been put to good use, but we were girls, still are of course. Nothing much was expected of us, despite Grammar School. We could be secretaries or nurses, a few dedicated ones could be teachers if they had the right background. I didn’t. We could work in a shop, become machinists in the bra factory or be hairdressers. I worked in a shop on Saturdays when I was still at school and walked out of the first one, they wanted me to wrap meat in cling film! Thinking about it, no-one suggested the bra factory until much later, I could sew well so that might have worked. Churning out fifty ‘Super Bras’ a day . . . perhaps not.

Hairdressing, that was never going to happen. I liked make up and beauty products like every other teenage girl, but no hairdresser in my part of England, would have taken on an apprentice with hair like mine. Looking the part would have been compulsory, back then who would want their hair styled by someone with head of frizz? Nope, hardly a black or mixed race woman to be seen, never mind one who styled hair.

I didn’t work out the answer from the beginning of this twenty minute stream of consciousness write, but hey, that’s the point. Maybe tomorrows Writing 101 will bring me back here.

 

One of Those little dilemmas

This morning as I walked up the road towards work, I noticed a lady ahead of me who I know by sight, as someone who heads the same way each day. She walks slower than I, so I quickly caught up with her. She was wearing a mid calf length, floral summer dress, of rather limp fabric. It had a split up the centre back.

You’ve guessed haven’t you? The split was not the discreet vent to knee that allows for movement. Nope, it was a full on unravelled seam that went right up to her btm. Still behind her I thought quickly, was this how it was meant to be? no way, did she know and if so was she unconcerned, surely not? She is middle aged and how shall I put it? a substantial lady.

What to do, what to do? I’ve never spoken to her before, but if the tables were turned I’d hope someone would point it out to me, there was no-one else around.  I reached her side.

‘Excuse me, I hope you don’t mind me saying, but I think the seam of your dress has come apart at the back.’

‘Oh, how far up? ‘she asked, reaching around to feel for herself.

‘Sorry’, I said ‘If it was me I’d rather know!’

‘Yes, okay uh thanks uh It will just have to do for today’ she replied.

I wanted the pavement to swallow me up. I KNOW she lives somewhere around the corner from me, no more than five minutes walk, but she had no intention of turning back to deal with it. I scurried ahead. Five minutes later I looked back and she was indeed continuing on her way to work, wherever that is.

Now, the dress she was wearing was so flimsy, that the slightest waft of breeze would have lifted it, and there is no way on God’s earth that she could lean her body more than an inch, without showing everyone what she had for breakfast. I’m still cringing twelve hours later and I think I will every time I see her again.

Was I wrong to tell her? surely not, at least it gave her the option of popping back home to sort it. I’m mystified, what do you think, would you have said anything or left her to it?

Farewell Christine my Dear Friend

Each day this year I have been tearing off a page of my calendar and writing a few words to go in a gratitude jar. On June 9th I wrote that I was grateful for spending two wonderful days with Christine and Stuart. Today, through my tears, I wrote that I was grateful to have walked beside this beautiful lady.
I’ve known Christine for three years and in that time she has been the loveliest, most supportive blogging sister I could wish for. At the end of last year she emailed me to say that she was planning to be in Paris this summer and would I be available if she and Stuart made the trip across the channel. Would I? Too right I would, it was a dream come true and I wrote back happily saying so.
In the week leading up to their arrival I lost quite a bit of sleep as, like a child at Christmas, I was so excited. Where could I take them? Would Christine actually like me once we met? Even little things like would they be comfortable enough squeezed into my tiny car. And then the day arrived. We met at a pub car park just outside Exeter and she was amused by its name, the George and Dragon. I was amused by her accent, not as Aussie as I’d expected, instead her voice was like an English lady with a touch of Australian, apparently from her grandfather.
I whisked them off for lunch at a riverside café where Stuart drew the garden where we ate, laughed and shared stories. They both loved the food and the stroll along the quayside, it was wonderful to have such appreciative visitors! Next a promised trip to Dartmoor, with Christine taking photos through the car window. We stopped at Chagford and explored the ancient church with its rood screen before driving high up the narrow winding lanes to Scorhill.
I chose Scorhill because I knew she would love both the stone circle and the hole stone in the North Teign river with its links to the feminine spirit. She was so at home in the big sky landscape where sheep and lambs nibbled at the sparse moorland grass, and oh how the sun shone for us as we walked. I dropped them back to their car, tired and happy – they had after all climbed Glastonbury Tor before reaching me that morning, with a plan to collect them bright and early on Sunday.
Stuart had half planned to do his own thing, so I was touched that he had enjoyed our day so much that he decided not to, despite it being partly day of garden visits! Our first stop was especially for him, to satisfy his passion for sustainable agriculture, we went to Riverford Farm where he was able to chat to someone and learn how Devon does it. We stopped to buy some local chilli chocolate which she was still eating a week later! Next, a quick stop at Dartington hall to see one of my favourite gardens,

At Dartington Hall garden
At Dartington Hall garden

 

and then a nice lunch in Totnes, with local food and cider.
A drive through the South Hams led us to Coleton Fishacre and the rain, never mind there was the house to explore and then tea and cake. By the time we’d devoured it the showers had passed so we strolled through the garden where they both found plants and trees native to Australia as well as many surprises that were new to them.

Christine and Stuart at Coleton Fishacre
Christine and Stuart at Coleton Fishacre

Not wanting the day to end I drove the scenic way home along the coast. Stuart was hilarious when we reached Torquay, ‘I can’t believe I’m actually at Torquay, he said before launching into a Fawlty Towers sketch. These special places of mine are even more precious now, a wonderful layer of memories have been added. When I left them at their B&B that evening I cried. ‘Now you must come to Australia’ they said, ‘you’re welcome any time’.
This is from an email I received soon after,
‘We had such an amazing time with you, it was really special, and just meeting was so wonderful … I feel we are heart sisters dear one!’

I do indeed feel like I’ve lost a heart sister, I am overwhelmed with sadness. Who would have imagined that less than a month later I would be writing this? My thoughts and prayers are with Stuart and their children and grandchildren at this time, I know I’m not alone.
We have lost a very special lady, an intuitive healer, a wise and loving soul. Christine sweet planet walker, you will be missed by so many, travel well.