Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Small Things in Life

It’s the small things in life that can lift the spirits… or so they say. Last week was not an easy week. Large things kept tripping me up, so I thought I’d share with you some of the small things that helped me through:

On Monday I saw a tiny wren hopping around in the hawthorn bush, its feathers ruffling in the

On Tuesday I heard the chimes of a far-off ice-cream van and I was six years old again, wearing tartan shorts, white socks and scuffed sandals.

On Wednesday I baked biscuits.

On Thursday I walked past someone who was wearing Yardley’s Tweed Perfume and it reminded me of aunts and cousins and times gone by.

On Friday I painted my toe nails the colour of aubergine skins.

What small things have you done recently?

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Beautiful Poetry

Last night on BBC Radio 4’s Poetry Please they read a translation of Nazim Hikmet’s poem ‘Things I Didn’t Know I Loved’. He wrote it while travelling on the Prague-Berlin train. It was the year before he died and knowing that makes it all the more poignant. 

I won’t even try to paraphrase it here and I certainly wouldn’t presume to create a version of my own. You may know the poem but, if you'd like to read it again, I’ve put a link here to the translation, or you may prefer to listen to last week’s Poetry Please programme hereThere are seven days left to listen.

Is it just me or is this one of the most moving poem you’ve ever heard?

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

A Weekend Trip to Asia

Travelling tires me. Hotel beds poke at my tender bones and crick my neck. Food in foreign lands disagrees with my digestion and if ever I'm warned about drinking the water I generally head for home.

But last weekend I went to Laos and it was amazing. I wandered through colourful, spice-scented markets, lingered on bridges spanning fast flowing rivers, met countless locals. I even sat with a monk...

And all thanks to my very good blog friend, Jo.

I rarely write book reviews on this blog but I had to share with you the enjoyment I got last weekend from reading Bombs and Butterflies by Jo Carroll.

Jo is an amazing lady. She not only enjoys travelling alone to far flung places, she can convey that enjoyment to the rest of us. Not bad for a lady who I suspect is a similar age to myself, an age when our children expect us to be tucked up in front of the fire knitting bed jackets.

So, if you've never been to Laos, even if you've never had plans to ever go there, may I suggest you read Bombs and Butterflies. It's like being there without all the faff of getting there.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Secret of Sleep

I watch both my cats as they sleep.
Mabel is at the back
Charlie is in the front
Not for them endless counting of sheep.

They curl up, close their eyes and away
With no angst of how they spent their day.

In the night my mind's full of concern
Consequently I toss and I turn.

How to rid my head of things I said,
All those gaffes that could make cheeks turn red?

How to discard those worries each night
Of what's not yet occurred... but just might?

The solution, I'm sure, is the way
Cats can totally dismiss the day.

It's a natural skill for a cat
So please tell me, why can't I do that?

Friday, 7 June 2013

A Canal Boat Experience

We've just spent a few days with friends on their canal boat. Canal boating is quite unique because:

  • you're surrounded by water but the land is never more than a leap away
  • it's good to look at but you really wouldn't want to jump in and have a swim
  • you can chug for hours but only cover a distance that would take you five minutes in the car
  • You can't pass each other in the boat without flattening yourself against the wall 
  • the toilet facilities are... well, let's just say 'interesting'
  • there's no Internet access
  • BUT everybody you pass says 'hello' 
  • AND life slows downs to a speed that is probably the pace we were meant to move at before technology created so much for us to do.

Small on the inside

Large on the outside