Monday, February 28, 2011

365 Days, Day 265

A garden is like the self. It has so many layers and winding paths, real or imagined, that it can never be known, completely, even by the most intimate of friends (Anne Raver)

Accept that where we are, is exactly and only where we are. To begin the process of sorting out or lives, we must own and appreciate the circumstances we found ourselves in right now - continuously.

Realise that in this moment we are exactly where we once decided we wanted to be. There is no point in second guessing the wisdom behind our decision. It made sense at the time. When we assume responsibility for our lives, we will begin to appreciate the wisdom of all our creations, and we will find in them empowering lessons. As we learn, the solidity of our reality will begin to soften and dissolve, layer by layer, until we behold the core beliefs that created it (Harry Palmer)

I decided yesterday on the train into London that I was going to look at layers. The reasoning behind this was the layers of sound I could hear. I listened to the ‘music’ in all the layered sounds I could around me on the train. Underlying train-engine noise with an occasional clickety-click beat. Over this were various layers of conversation I could hear: “Hiya mate… you got a taxi wiv Claire then? ... So who did ya go home wiv then mate!? Alright see ya later innit.” A seat or two away an ‘Aussie’ girl catching up on her friends holiday etc etc. The ‘music’ was punctuated by a cough or a sneeze here and there. Quite fascinating. I imagined a contemporary musical piece called Travelling.

My thoughts are layered too. As is my clothing at the moment: another cold smack of weather outside. My activities today are varying in layers from housework, working on the poster, registering for some teaching council (can’t work again until I am re-registered), working on the programme, possibly doing Reiki on Ariél, folding and packing washing, looking for jobs (other than teaching!!), buying new headlight globe, choosing and buying food, making lunch for two of my little chickens, chatting to a third chicken on google chat, playing with Lily who needs attention.

We are where we are: our, our layers are dissolving…

Sunday, February 27, 2011

365 Days, Day 264

London, thou art the flower of cities all! (William Dunbar c. 1465 - c. 1530)

I do believe that everything we see, everything that is in front of us is just the visible part of reality. We have the invisible part of reality, like emotions for example, like feelings. This is our perception of the world, but God is--as William Blake said--in a grain of sand and in a flower. This energy is everywhere (Paulo Coelho)

A day out in London.

Had a relaxed day browsing in London. Even the rain did not deter form the enjoyment. From London Bridge to Greenwich to Spitalfields to Brick Lane and back to London Bridge.

The energy in London is positive and tolerant and creative. It is teeming with life, a menagerie of nationalities. I love the fact that we can climb on a train and within an hour (or less) be in the middle of London with all its history and character. So vast. So enticing.

Tom suggested that while Kyle is not yet employed, he (and possibly I) should go into London once a week (because we can) and see the museums and art galleries. A plan to seriously be considered.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

365 Days, Day 263

Life isn't about finding yourself. It's about creating yourself (George Bernard Shaw 1856 - 1950)

We may run, walk, stumble, drive, or fly, but let us never lose sight of the reason for the journey, or miss a chance to see a rainbow on the way (Gloria Gaither)

Dreaming is a journey through wonder, surprise, and freedom (Anthony Lawlor)

This is a piece of my pinboard with an eclectic array of the pieces of The Journey of Me. There is not much order in the things on the pinboard, just randomness. Or so it seems…

Today we went on a journey, to Wing Jap (Chinese supermarket in Croydon) and then a winding journey-visit. We introduced Kyle and Sarah to Ikea. Unless you have visited Ikea you will not quite understand the winding-visit concept. You do not just go and shop at Ikea. You have a journey through their convoluted delightful ‘homes’. Some little red shelves and four glass bottle later we were exhausted. And made the long car journey home.

I am creating the Story of My Life as the Journey of Me continues…

365 Days, Day 262

Only when your consciousness is totally focused on the moment you are in can you receive whatever gift, lesson, or delight that moment has to offer (Barbara De Angelis)

Whether success or failure: the truth of a life really has little to do with its quality. The quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention (May Sarton)

Day two with Chris was a visit to Hexton, a little village about 6 miles from Hitchin. We went to a delightful little village hall which house a permanent market, with a cornucopia of treasures. We went into the little tea shop leading off from the hall behind a heavy velvet curtain and ordered some soup for our lunch and went to browse the Aladdin’s cave. When our food was ready we were called to our table. After lunch we went back to share what we liked. I bought my dolls and Chris bought a ball of wool, a fleece jacket from the charity clothes section and a garden ornament. Back to the tea shop to share a slice of lemon sponge cake and a cuppa. All the tables were full so we were seated next to the roaring fireplace on two armchairs! Another little delight.

An added delight to a perfect day: was the sunshine!

365 Days, Day 261

I have seen

A curious child, who dwelt upon a tract

Of inland ground, applying to his ear

The convolutions of a smooth-lipped shell;

To which, in silence hushed, his very soul listened intensely;

For from within were heard

Murmurings whereby the monitor expressed

Mysterious union with its native sea.

Even such a shell the universe itself

Is to the ear of faith; and there are times, I doubt not,

When to you it doth impart

Authentic tidings of invisible things,

Of ebb and flow, and ever enduring power,

And central peace, subsisting at the heart

Of endless Agitation.

(William Wordsworth 1770 - 1850)

This convoluted Hazel comes from Chris’ garden. I loved the convolutions, the different journeys which are happening within the whole. Some are frantic and chaotic, others are calm and quiet.

My journey into London on Wednesday.

A missed the train led to missing the next train too. Convolutions. Late for lunch, but ended being invited to join Chris’ friend Diane and her friends. We rearranged the furniture in the garden centre restaurant to accommodate all 6 of us. And had a lovely afternoon chatting to the ladies. They were surprised I am South African because they said I don’t have an accent at all (hehe)! They said when I next visit Chris I must have lunch with them again.

The convolutions of life had become calm.

Next day Chris got a phone call from Diane saying that her friends loved meeting me and that Mary said meeting me had enriched her life. Ah bless! [I am not sure what I did to deserve such a magnificent compliment…]

After a quiet cup of tea (herb tea for me) with Margaret next door (who also commented that I had no trace of a South African accent!) and a good long visit, Chris and I returned to her house. We settled down to watch some TV. The convolutions are calm and quiet.

Friday, February 25, 2011

365 Days, Day 260

Hi, Miss Alice

What kind of dreams do you see

with your eyes of glass?

Do they fascinate you?

(Kanon Wakeshima)

And I don't want the world to see me,

Because I don't think that they'd understand.

When everything's made to be broken,

I just want you to know who I am.

(From Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls)

I am a few days behind in my blogs! So I will slowly catch up but not all tonight. I have spent a few lovely days in Hitchin with Chris. The next few blogs will be news of this.

I forgot to take my camera with me!!

This two little creatures with their “eyes of glass” (actually they are plastic) are a find in a little village called Hexton. More about this later.

When I told Chris I would be using them in an art work, but possibly not as they were – I might only use an arm or a leg or a head. She said she could NOT picture this at all. hehe she hasn’t seen any of my art work yet.

I need an early night, so I am going to end off for now.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

365 Days, Day 259

The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom (James Allen 1864 - 1912)

When we are able to make ourselves as still within as an untouched mountain lake, we have an exquisite reflection of all that is in and around us (Laura van Dernoot Lipsky)

I am angry right now. Bureaucracy, red-tape, and being reminded that I having to do teaching-training here because (even though I have a teaching degree as well as an art degree and years of teaching experience) I am “Overseas trained”. An incident occurred today relating to this and not being allowed to teach until I pay a certain fee blah blah. So this is why I am angry.

I am taking deep breaths and trying to be still. Rules are rules; accept them.

I am visualising a creative environment where I can be stimulated and use my gifts and wisdom. It is not in a school. The room is quiet and calm and beautiful. There are wooden floorboards; there is calm music and light. It is warm.

I am using my hands.

I am happy and calm.

I am… I am that I am, I am beauty, I am peace, I am joy, I am one with Mother Earth. I am one with everyone within the reach of my voice. In this togetherness, we ask the divine intelligence to eradicate all negatives from our hearts, from our minds and from our actions. And so be it....ashe.

Babatunde Olatunji

Monday, February 21, 2011

365 Days, Day 258

We shall walk in velvet shoes:

Wherever we go Silence will fall like dews

On white silence below

(Elinor Morton Hoyt Wylie 1885 - 1928)

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose (Dr. Seuss 1904 - 1991)

Who needs brains in your head when you have a pair of drop-dead-gorgeous shoes on your feet!

We girls like looking at shoes. Salivating. When I go into Maplins with Tom, I get an inkling of how he feels when he comes shopping with me and gets that faraway glazed look on his face and fixed smile on his lips. There is a slight feeling of panic (perhaps terror?) about him, betrayed only by the twitching of his fingers.

Goal: to own a pair of Irregular Choice shoes. Have been drooling since we arrived here two years ago…

Sunday, February 20, 2011

365 Days, Day 257

A drawing is simply a line going for a walk (Paul Klee)

I start drawing, and eventually the characters involve themselves in a situation. Then in the end, I go back and try to cut out most of the preachments (Dr. Seuss)

Busied myself with Barn theatre today: I have to create a poster for their July production. It is a comedy about a cricket club. I read the script and came up with the drawing above. I am rather proud of my drawing, but both Kyle and Ariél looked at it for ages without saying anything!

This afternoon was rehearsal (I am learning stage managing- something to add to my CV) and that basically was my day.

Felt sad that we were not with Roarke and Gina for their engagement party last night… feel like I am not being there for my Ro’s milestones.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

365 Days, Day 256

Don’t say the old lady screamed—bring her on and let her scream (Mark Twain)

A storyteller is more than a teller of tales. Storytellers are entertainers, teachers and healers with a long spiritual tradition. To be true to this tradition requires ongoing renewal and inspiration (

Narrative has always been a part of who I am. When I teach I try to make the content come across as a story. When I learn I take in things like a visual story. When I make art I have a story going on in the background. I like stories. I remember discovering the library at school when I was young and finding a whole cache of stories to read! I remember Millie, Molly, Mandy stories (for some reason), and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (I was absolutely delighted by this story and became a Roald Dahl fan at the age of 10 or so. I still adore his children’s stories).

I found the website above with some wonderful courses to do, but once again – horrendously expensive. So I will weave my own little stories in my head and in my art. Somewhere inside me is a story, that is still being woven. Inside me is a voice that is distinctively my own. One day when I finally know what to I have to do, I will begin…

Friday, February 18, 2011

365 Days, Day 255

The sky is waiting to be touched by a hand of fabulous childhood (Unknown)

There is a bridge to the sky within your soul and a doorway to healing and peace within your heart. If we look inside and embrace our true essence we bless the source of life. See beyond your vision and you will find a garden of harmony and joy where every breath is a source of inspiration. If we dream new realities we will open ourselves to abundant blessings (Micheal Teal)

It was cold down at the sea. The sun was trying hard to shine bravely; it only managed a little grin out at sea. We braved the wind and made our way back to the lanes.

Sarah found a vegan café where she and I had a little plate of the buffet food. Kyle said he would wait for something more substantial (he didn’t get to eat anything!). This place was a warm retreat from the weather. And we discovered four wonderful levels. An Aladdin’s cave of crystals in the basement (Sarah bought a mystical bell); ground level was the café and reception where we met Eve who showed us around; first floor was the yoga room: beautiful, white, light and calm; second floor was the therapy room with loads of bottles of coloured liquid for colour therapy treatments.

I am definitely going back to this little haven. They are having a “gong bath” on Sunday but it is fully booked. I would like to go to the next one though. And possibly to the chakra yoga workshop…

The sky seemed to be so vast and beckoning. God was playing around with Her palette of paints and tantalising us with the spring colours She has in store for us.

There are some mornings when the sky looks like a road (Joanna Newsom)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

365 Days, Day 254

All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness (Eckhart Tolle)

In order to create, we draw from our inner well. This inner well, an artistic reservoir, is ideally like a well stocked fish pond... If we don't give some attention to upkeep, our well is apt to become depleted, stagnant, or blocked... As artists, we must learn to be self nourishing. We must become alert enough to consciously replenish our creative resources as we draw on them - to restock the trout pond, so to speak (Julia Cameron)

Today’s artist’s ramblings

Yes, those are bees.

When I collected Ariél from afternoon work today, I asked her to phone Kyle at home and tell him to tuck the dining room chairs in so that Lily didn’t eat my bees. She looked at me strangely, but quoted my message to Kyle. She said there was a pause and then he said, “…what??!”

I have collected together my little box of collected things, my fabric, ribbons. I spread them all out then had to fetch Ariél, then buy supper things, then fetch Tom, came home and had to pack everything away again! Tomorrow, I will get a step further. I am attempting something different (will keep you posted). I have done my research – restocked my trout pond, nourished myself, with a lot of inspiration and help from Alicia in America. Now I will start playing.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

365 Days, Day 253

The day the child realises that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself, he becomes wise (Alden Nowlan)

Today’s imperfect ramblings

I am feeling rather imperfect at the moment. Energy is low. I think I have too many things going on and not enough focus. I feel like I am floating through my life at the moment. Days melt into one another.

We have accepted an offer on our house in Estelle Street, not as much money as we thought we would get, but this agent has negotiated a fairly good deal within two weeks of sole mandate. It is an emotional journey for me; nearing the end of the tome of my most of my adult life…

I feel the need to return to South Africa for a visit…

“I hope your day is magnificent and filled with heaps of creative time” My email friend in America sent a mail that ended with these words today! I have not made creative time yet this week – my goal for today was to finish the ironing and to pack away all the clean washing. Some exciting goal! But I did achieve it.

I read today: What we see and don't see may just be a matter of perspective, like the ladybug who sees the leaf on which she sits, but not the tree the leaf grows on, or the person sitting beneath it. And the person beneath the tree may or may not see the ladybug, depending on where he focuses his attention. Still, all of these things, whether seen or not seen by the person or the ladybug, exist in reality. I need to have quiet time again (my monkey-thoughts are making my head feel like it is going to explode) and open my mind to the invisible, and cultivate a relationship with that which I cannot see…

I cling to my imperfection, as the very essence of my being (Anatole France)

365 Days, Day 252

Tears are like rain. They loosen up our soil so we can grow in different directions (Virginia Casey)

Outside, the rain sometimes comes down so hard, we have to talk louder, and it feels like a miracle that the roof holds. It makes for a cosiness and a gratefulness, too, that you have the choice to not be out in it. You can sit at the table and look out the window and not have to feel what you see (Elizabeth Berg)

It has been raining steadily. I haven’t been for a Lily-walk in the forest for a few days. I have been feeling a bit grey like the weather (for various reasons). Today I was waiting in the car for Tom with the rain pouring down heavily on the windscreen. I peered through the streaming rain, feeling somewhat sad and pathetic. Then I looked further than the windscreen and noticed a few hundred birds swirling about in huge spirals in the sky. They swept in front of me (in the distance) and eventually moved out of my line of vision. They had purpose and direction in that driving rain. I sat up and looked and thought.

I was in my cosy car and had the choice to be there. Did the birds have a choice? What were they doing? What little messages are communicated to them in the pouring rain? How do they communicate in the rain? I was fascinated and lived in that Lily-moment…

If we looked further than the rain-filled windscreen in life, we will see the beautiful little miracle moments. Even if they only lead us to ponder.


Monday, February 14, 2011

365 Days, Day 251

If a dog was a teacher you would learn stuff like:

1. When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

2. Never pass the opportunity of going for a joyride.

3. Allow the experience of fresh air and wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

4. When it's in your best interest, practice obedience.

5. Let others know when they've invaded your territory.

6. Take naps.

7. Stretch before rising.

8. Run, romp and play daily.

9. Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

10. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

11. On warm days, stop to lie on your back in the grass.

12. On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

13. When you are happy, dance around and move your whole body.

14. No matter how often you are scolded, don't buy the guilt thing and pout! Run right back and make friends.

15. Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

16. Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.

17. If what you want lies buried, dig until you get it.

18. Be loyal, never pretend to be something you are not.

19. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

If people just would take these simple pleasures of life in their bad times... I guarantee that they would see the brighter side of "LIFE"

This is Lily looking as if butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. In reality she has probably climbed up and nicked the butter and swallowed it without it even touching her mouth.

Lily has charisma – she is a real little character. As a teacher, she practices all 19 of above ‘lessons’. As trying as she may be sometimes, she always has enthusiasm for life. Even though she spends much of her time running around on three instead of four legs – she seldom complains. She just gets on with life, no feeling sorry for herself (except when she is excluded from her humans, then she lets you know that she is very very unhappy. You have to hear the howling to understand this ‘unhappiness’!).

So thank you, Lily, for the lessons you have been sent to teach us. I endeavour to be more like you each day. I will definitely dance around and move my body more when I am happy.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

365 Days, Day 250

Be a Flexitarian – try to be flexible when it comes to eating.

Eat healthy, but enjoy the occasional indulgence and meals in the

company of friends without scrutinizing ingredients or feeling guilty (Darina Stoyanova)

Happy and successful cooking doesn't rely only on know-how; it comes from the heart, makes great demands on the palate and needs enthusiasm and a deep love of food to bring it to life (Georges Blanc)

When eating bamboo shoots, remember the man who planted them (Chinese Proverb)

Tom made a really delicious roast lunch for us today. He put a shoulder of pork in the oven last night at midnight which cooked slowly until lunch time. He made a butternut and potato bake from our Buddhist recipe book called Quiet Food. The butternut and potato bake has garam masala and honey amongst other ingredients: a very unusual flavour. The pork was fall-apart soft. It was all very good.

Sarah declared that there is comfort food and then there is soul food. She found today’s lunch to be soul food. For me, this meal along with Tom’s mushroom risotto was comfort food. For me soul food has to be exceptionally exquisite. Like the meal we had at Mosaic Restaurant at the Orient Hotel in Magaliesberg. That was a gastronomic delight for me. There was a fusion and process of delicate flavours that swept in waves over the tongue’s different senses of taste. It was an orgasmic food experience. I imagine that Heston Blumenthal’s gastronomic menu at the Fat Duck would be similar. This will have to be a saved-for outing as it costs £160. I include the menu below:


ONE HUNDRed and sixty pounds

Please allow 4 hours for this menu

    • Vodka and Lime Sour, Gin and Tonic, Campari Soda
    • Pommery Grain Mustard Ice Cream
    • Chicken Liver Parfait, Oak Moss and Truffle Toast
    • Iberico Bellota Ham, Shaved Fennel
    • Rhubarb, Braised Konbu and Crab Biscuit
  • MOCK TURTLE SOUP (c.1850)
    • "Mad Hatter Tea"

    • Artichoke, Vanilla Mayonnaise and Golden Trout Roe
    • Beetroot Soubise, Risotto of Spelt and Umbles, Black Truffle

    • Neroli scented Yogurt and Rhubarb Sorbet
  • THE "BFG"
    • Kirsch Ice Cream and the smell of the Black Forest

I think that as important as the ingredients, is the intention that goes into the making of the food. If it is made with love (not only for the people for whom the chef is preparing the food, but also love of the food) and care and patience then it will taste good. It also works backwards – the maker and provider of the food is often forgotten. So as we eat our next meal, let’s take time to think about who made it. Ideally I would like to join hands and just take a moment to have an awareness of the food which is placed in front of us and the company we are with. But my idea met with resistance from Ariel and Tom… So at the end of the day, I look back in silence with gratitude, for all the ‘food’ my soul received today…


Saturday, February 12, 2011

365 Days, Day 249

(Guess who took this picture – with Sarah well visible and moi somewhat hidden?)


I hung the moon on various

branches of the pine.


May you eat an unfamiliar dessert in a strange land at least once every three years.

May you wake up... and start dancing while you're still half-asleep.

May you spray-paint Rilke poems as graffiti on highway overpasses...

My you learn to identify by name 20 flowers, 15 trees, 10 clouds, and one extrasolar planet...

May you dream of taking a trip to the moon in a gondola powered by firecrackers and wild swans.

(Rob Brezsny)

This is a huge tree in our forest. As I stood below it, I wondered how many stories this ancient tree has to tell…

I feel inspired to tell stories right now; I think my art work that is swirling will have a narrative thread.

We had a quick squishy walk in forest this afternoon, with Lily’s undercarriage getting positively wet and muddy and in need of a bath in the kitchen sink as soon as we got in. Fortunately we humans are well protected from the squish by our wellies.

On the theme of stories and trees, I have done some quick research on the wisdom of trees. I liked this narrative history from the Celts

Because trees have their roots in the unseen world of spirit, they are doorways into that world. That most magical of Celtic trees, the oak, derives its Gaelic name, (Old Irish daur, Welsh derw) from the Sanskrit word duir, that gives us "door." Many scholars believe that the Druids, who worshipped within sacred groves, derived their name from this word, combined with the Indo-European root wid, to know, becoming the "Wise Ones of the Oakwood.

The tree of life theme has been used in mythology, science, theologies and philosophies across the ages

The Tree of Life symbol meaning represents different qualities/virtues like wisdom, strength, protection, beauty, bounty and redemption

I shall dream of entering the door of a tree, and descending into a magical otherworld…