I hope you are having a lovely Easter break.
It seems to me many of us have a problem with phrases beginning with self. I often guiltily think selfishness (before I correct myself!) and of course selfishness is bad!
What do these words bring up for you?
What about Healthy Hedonism, and Healthy Selfishness?
And of course there is the Selfie!
Out with the old and in with the new in the garden as well as the wardrobe.
I replaced the tired old lavender with pieris Green Gift
Today felt like the start of the gardening year.
What a nice feeling. The sun on my back and my hands in the soil. Am dreaming of masses of wild flowers - pink campion and foxgloves..
..to Debussy than I knew.
It's the centenary of his death and I'm enjoying both live concerts at the University of Glasgow and the many radio programmes about the composer.
His Wartime Music for Piano Duet, Solo and Duo at the concert was quite challenging, but interesting and wonderfully played by young husband and wife team Philippa Harrison and James Willshire.
They ended with this well known piece which the programme notes described as from 'more innocent times'.
Must remember to put the clocks forward!
..for the new season. Are you looking for something to refresh your wardrobe?
The work I did mostly in 2014 has stood me in good stead (check under Simply Stylish) but some items are looking a bit worn, though the navy coat in these photographs still looks good after more than two years frequent wear. The shoes are a replacement pair for ones I have been loving wearing since 2013....but sadly are not the same zingy lime green as the originals. They are green, though they look yellow in this photograph..
The new top from COS is navy and mid blue (I don't suit black - in fact I look terrible in black!) Blue jeans and the simplest earrings and ring are all that's needed and I think it's a top which will dress up (with silk trousers) or down for almost any occasion.
I know I am going to enjoy wearing it. Fashion is still my fun.
COS magazine have a nice interview with Piet Oudolf the brilliant garden designer from the Netherlands here.
I love this top from COS. Clever tucks and folds have created a lovely shape and the disjointed pattern on the fabric adds to the complexity, yet it is not fussy. Deconstructed is the word that comes to mind!
I plan to make it the foundation of a capsule wardrobe, something I've always liked the sound of but never really focussed on before.
..the new season (though it was snowing as I wrote this yesterday) with a new pillowcase for the bedroom from the lovely Bluebell Gray range. See also this post.
Today I had my first outside cuppa this year - cold air but the sun was HOT on my face.
Breaking News! I was very excited to hear this news tonight.
We (my daughters and I) were lucky to know a wonderful inter faith celebrant who helped us create a funeral service which was right for us. Neither Barry or I were religious, but we chose to have a well known hymn for two reasons. Firstly because I felt that singing together would make the people attending the funeral feel that they were taking part and not just observers, and secondly we have great regard for the beauty and traditional music of Christianity and knew that many people attending might be practicing Christians. We had some of Barry's favourite poetry and music and a eulogy, which provoked both laughter and tears, was beautifully read by my son-in-law. We had radiant sunflowers on the coffin.
At the buffet meal afterwards we arranged that there were tables for only about half of the people expected. This meant that people moved about freely and talked to each other and indeed they did and the noise level was wonderful!
Many people commented on how beautiful the service was. (The restaurant told us later it was one of the nicest funerals they had ever had there, and a friend who had met up there with many other friends said she felt guilty because she had enjoyed it.)
I want to thank everyone who helped make it not a happy memory, but a good one, and encourage everyone to have that conversation....it's not morbid, it's important!
We will all have one. A funeral that is.
On a more practical note a cremation and a simple funeral here in UK costs around £4000.
It's as well to know...
This crow sits in my tree every early evening.
I think of it as a sentinel and like it's presence.
The recent anniversary of my husband's funeral has prompted me to write this post. I wrote here about wills and thought I shouldn't shy away from this subject either. I put Margareta Magnusson's video under the heading Facing Mortality and this post could also come under that heading.
When I think back to Barry's funeral I feel sadness of course, but I also remember the comfort it gave me that so very many people who loved and respected him came. (If you are in doubt about whether or not you should attend a funeral I would urge you to go if you possibly can). I felt so supported.
I was also comforted by the knowledge that we had arranged a funeral that Barry would have liked. I only knew what he would like because as chance would have it we attended the funeral of a friend not many weeks before. It was unusual - a humanist service with readings, poetry and music and as we left Barry said That was beautiful. That's what I would want my funeral to be like. We had never discussed the subject and had no inkling that Barry's own funeral was a few short weeks away. (Barry died three weeks after a diagnosis of cancer.)
I now think It's good to talk about the subject and in my case even that brief remark brought comfort to me when I needed it most.
I will tell you a little more about it tomorrow.
Meanwhile it is snowing in the sunshine here...
..without my phone! Have you felt this too?
I forgot to take my phone to the city. Who knew I was so dependent on it? When the person I was meeting didn't show up, when I needed to check if the ferry was running (strong winds forecast and a thirty mile trip to find out), when I needed to fix a time for a lift home, when I wanted to photograph the baby llamas at the University of Glasgow....the list goes on!
How did we live without mobile phones??
..with lightness, humour, and a healthy dose of common sense.
I have borrowed a shredder...
Spring is such a tease, and I fall for it every time!
I can remember even as a small child the longing for it, almost a physical ache, and being allowed after much pleading to put on lighter clothes and sandshoes at the first hint of sun with warnings....'You'll be cold in five minutes!' I often was. Yesterday I went without my hat and gloves for the first time in months - such a lovely feeling, but being older and wiser I had hat and gloves in my bag and was glad of them later.
Gales forecast now and the possibility of more snow at the weekend, but it did smell of spring today.
How is the weather where you are?
for a few hours this morning with blue skies and rolling mist on the loch..
However it soon clouded over and it was still pretty cold, so I went to Edinburgh as I had planned to see the last day of the Elaine Pamphilon exhibition at the Open Eye Gallery.
I am still mulling over the interesting comments on yesterday's post - thank you so much.
What do you do with papers going back years?
I can handle the bank statements, bills etc (I mostly follow Marie Kondo's advice to get rid of them) but cannot decide about more personal papers - morning pages, diary pages, letters and cards, random notes and thoughts - I seem to have a lot of this kind of thing. Notes I made for my dissertation for example. I look at them and remember how much I enjoyed the many quiet hours of research in the libraries, the academic life. I listed the books I hoped to go back to for another read...
But what should I do with them?
I've just discovered The Sweetness Of Things Half Remembered.
..isn't just about clearing clutter!
I've always been interested in minimalist art and architecture and have just come across two good programmes about minimalism in music. Tones, Drones and Arpeggios: The Magic of Minimalism (on BBC iPlayer).
Featuring the very masculine and rather nerdy world - can I say that I wonder? It used to be an insult but my sense is that it no longer is! - of the likes of La Monte Young and Terry Riley in California in the 60's and then Steve Reich and Philip Glass. One of the very few women involved was described as a disciple (!).
Sally Beamish had said that Keith Jarret and Brian Eno influenced her and as is the way, looking them up, one thing led to another and I spent two days listening and watching and learning.
Learning new things makes me feel alive.
..to take me out of myself.
I loved yesterday's concert programme. Schumann, Huw Watkins (the pianist for the whole concert), Sally Beamish who was present for the premier, and Debussy.
That morning I had heard on Radio 3 a composer new to me - Emily Hall, sing a song called I Am Alone and couldn't wait to find out more....listen here. So today was spent listening and learning.
I had coffee after the concert in also new-to-me Cafe Francoise on Byers Road - thank you Ann!
Is music important to you?
What part does it play in your life?
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)