Cafe Cossachok Glasgow
..fruit with the leaves still on!
Spanish clementines in a natural basket for the princely sum of £1.50. I've had my eye on the cheerful mug from Dunoon ceramics (sadly no longer made in Dunoon) for a while. A fun shopping trip.
What have you treated yourself to lately?
If the answer is nothing, what will you treat yourself to the next time you are shopping?
The click point is a phrase from Marie Kondo, meaning the point at which, in your tidying and clearing. things are just right.
I can recognise my click point in different aspects of my life and know what it takes to get there and just how far I can stray from it without feeling that it has gone forever!
In the house it's when it is just clean enough, just orderly enough - not perfect (that way madness lies) but just right.
A bit Goldilocks - not too clean, not too dirty, not too messy, not too ordered, not too little stuff, not too much. With helpful routines (who would have thought I would love routines? Thank you Fly Lady!) I can be content with how things are in my home.
Everyone has their own click point.
Do you recognise yours?
In my body I know when I have good energy, when I am eating well - just enough, mostly good things, when I am moving enough, when I am getting enough rest. In my mind the click point is when I am not too stressed or anxious, but in the flow (another great phrase) and moving easily through my days.
All this takes attention and experimentation....and time. That's what me time is for me - there's another phrase! - taking time to figure out what's best for me and seeing that I do it. And knowing that what is best for me is in all probability best for those around me too.
It's a clear frosty morning and what will be best for me now is to take a walk down to the shore before breakfast and take some photographs to share with you later.
Have a great day!
..is one of the easiest ways to create enchantment (my word for the year)..
I love playing around with lamps and candles.
After a long day in the city I get home too late to light the fire, but an electric heater to quickly warm up the room, half a dozen tea lights, little battery ones and this small directional lamp spotlighting the flowers quickly creates a lovely and relaxing atmosphere for the hour or two before bed...
I think I'll sleep well.
..about feeling good?
I found myself feeing almost apologetic the other day for being cheerful!
Saying 'Really good thanks' when someone asks how you are feels like an act of bravado.
(Try it today - you may be a little taken aback by the reactions.)
Yes, there is politics and war and pestilence and tragedy and accidents. There always were and always will be but I ask myself will any of those things be changed one iota for the better by me being miserable?
There is only one guaranteed way I know of to make the world a happier place today and that is for me to be happy. I reckon that might also increase the likelihood of someone else being happy...
Being Happy Is A Rvolutionary Act.
Let's be revolutionaries today!
And laugh about it.
An exciting and flawless performance by Scottish Opera on Wednesday evening in Glasgow's Theatre Royal.
Scroll down on this page for a tiny video snippet...
On the theme of self indulgence (!) I think I am greedy in my garden to have all the styles of gardens I love in one - which can of course lead to a mish-mash and a glorious guddle! (Which admittedly has it's charms.)
After my visit to Tatton Park in August I thought how Japanese style fitted with my aim of lower maintenance yet is, to me, exciting and aesthetically very pleasing, so the new gravel drive gave an opportunity to explore that.
My daughter has a corten steel bowl like this beside some low chairs by her back door and I am always struck by how calming it is - how zen-like- just water, filled to the brim.
Minimalist, beautifully proportioned (mine is a metre wide). and almost zero maintenance :-)
I had an acer in an old pot tucked in the garden border because I didn't really know what to do with it and I was getting frustrated at the slow delivery f the firebowl because I thought all the leaves would have fallen from the acer and I wouldn't be able to judge whether it was right for this spot or not. The moss which I had thought I should remove was actually an added bonus!
Elemental. The metal will rust to the colour of the acer leaves and I may look for somthing evergreen to put beside it for the winter when the acer leaves have fallen - a small pinus mugo, or a Wallichiana pine which I love but which grows too big but could be treated as a bonsai in a beautiful pot..
Good for the soul.
Do you have a fun project which absorbs you? Challenges you, but not too much - not enough to be stressful, but enugh to keep your mind engaged and away from everyday worries and the world's bad news for a spell?
If not, can you think of one? And perhaps share it here? Tiny or huge - Heather is learning to follow a knitting pattern, Lynne is having a whole new kitchen fitted, I am thinking how to reconcile my wish for a Japanese garden with a wildlife garden, an English flower garden, a naturalistic Scandinavian garden....
Sitting on the porch with a snuggly soft blanket and a cup of hot chocolate yesterday.
I reached for the old threadbare travel rug as it was a bit chilly to sit out, but felt the thickness and softness of this one under my hand - it was on top of the other in the cupboard. It seemed ridiculous to use this lovely bedroom blanket outside but I took it anyway, and found myself making hot chocolate instead of coffee.
The experience of sitting there was such a delight that I began wondering about my attidutde to self indulgence. Pampering was not a word in my vocabulary growing up. We were brought up to be hardy! I can remember as a very young child my Dad rubbing me down with a hard towel after swimming (or I should say being in tthe chilly water - I couldn't swim) and telling me it was good for me.
I had loving parents and we were never treated harshly, but we were not indulged either!
Maybe this is why it feels special.
So all this gorgeous 'hygge and the candles and cushions and throws and taking photographs of it all don't come naturally. I make a conscious decision to do these things in the knowledge that the small 'indulgences' and lovely photographs help me through the hard times. They don't make me soft, they make me strong. They make me grateful.
Snuggled on the porch for half and hour with the sun on my face, some gardening done (I have to 'earn' it of course!), listening to the robin and the wren, watching the light and the shadows change...
I can;t think of a reason.
..with my new garden feature....
After a number of delays and several phonecalls it arrived really early this morning before I was even dressed. I flung trousers and a jacket over my PJ's and spent the next few hours positioning it and filling and levelling it and deciding whether or not to put the acer beside it, all the while drinking lots of coffee and having some outdoor breakfast.
I had a fun time and quite forgot I hadn't got dressed properly....
Look what I found! A recent comment from Cathy prompted me to go out and look closely at the garden which I had thought was over for the season....
A rose bud, a sweet pea still stronly scented, even honeysuckle; these tiny pickings spark joy! They will only last a day or two but bring a little smile to my face.
If you have a garden do you still have flowers to pick? I know some English gardens are still full of colour and can go on into November or beyond.
If you watch the television programme Gardeners' World here in UK you will have seen where I live. They featured Benmore Botanic Gardens which is over the hill from me (half an hour by road).
With a 2 - 3 metre annual rainfall it is quite a challenging gardening environment!
Cranberry green tea with a tiny sprinkle of nutmeg and a couple of raisins and an almond dropped in. We were served spiced drinks like this in Stockholm one December.
I bought the Alessi coffee spoons at The Hepworth gallery lovely shop. Simple, with a nice weight to them and perfect for scooping out the juicy raisins and almond.
Simple pleasures for the darker months.
..but not in a good way!
Travelling a lot on public transport and having quite a sensitive nose, I feel assailed and almost overcome sometimes with the smells of all the chemicals we put on our bodies -
soap, bodywash, shampoo, conditioner, hair food (!? have just spotted an ad for this), hair spray, body spray, foot spray, aftershave, deodorant, perfume, make up, moisturiser, toothpaste, breath freshener, mouth wash, washing powder, fabric conditioner, dry cleaning fluids.....
I want to shout 'People! You do know that all this goes into your bloodstream don't you?'
But I don't.
Some pollution is self inflicted!
This morning when I came down to the sitting room the combined smells of lilies and quince were enchanting...
I am still enjoying EatTo Beat Disease (see this post) but it is such a tome that
I went through the index and listed all the foods recommended to help my eye condition (macular degeneration) and put the list in my purse to refer to when I am shopping.
Instead of listening to the news I put on some Mozart.
I photographed these flowers at the University of Glasgow last week and wore my winter coat for the first time today.
I loved hearing about what you are up to and what you are mad (in a good way) about.
I think I stalled in my review of Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules For Life at Rule Six because it was the hardest to read (hardest in the sense of painful). It deals with suffering and malevolence.
Rule Six is Set Your House In Perfect Order Before You Criticize The World.
He quotes one of the Columbine High School killers who wrote;
The human race isn't worth fighting for, only worth killing. Give the Earth back to the animals. They deserve it infinitely more than we do. Nothing means anything anymore.
I thought when I read this of David Attenborough saying that human beings are A plague on the Earth. And of a man discussing how young men come to be radicalised - You are a young man seeking adventure. Do you want to stack shelves in Wolverhapton or be a Desert Warrior?
I admore people who are willing to bravely address the tragic aspects of life.
Around the time I was reading Rule Six I heard on Private Passions (my favourite programme on BBC Radio 3) barrister Sarah Langford. She is a defence lawyer representing criminals - from thieves to child abusers.
Articulate and honest, her insights into lives most of us can hardly imagine, were riveting, if painful to hear. She has written a book called In Your Defence.
I don't know if I could bear to read it.
In his very dense chapter, well worth reading, Peterson gives examples of people who emerge from terrible pasts and do good, not evil, and he ends with two pages of advice to those who think they may be heading to despair and nihilism.
I am full of gratitude to people who do difficult work with in Sarah Langford's words the mad, the bad, and the broken.
Rule Seven will be light relief!
If you can access it Private Passions with Sarah Langford can be heard here (and I loved her choice of music!)
..at how my body's defence systems actually work!
I am really enjoying this book. It's a big read, but not a difficult one.
The author describes how our body's five defence systems work to protect, heal and regenerate,
and explains how foods are now being tested in the same way as drugs to assess their effects on diseases.
It's specific and detailed (which accounts for the size of the book) and I am finding it fascinatng.
Along with Eat Right For Your sight by Jennifer Trainer Thompson I am using it to refine my diet bit by bit adding more and more beautiful (normal and readily available) foods!
Another source of inspiration is the Blue Zones newsletter.
There is lots of good news out there on the health front. YouTube is a good place to start I would say.. you can listen to Dr William Li on Ted Talks and at medical conferences - it's all on there.
(I've not forgotten the 12 Rules For Life reviews....just got a bit behind!)
..and enjoying Autumn.
Some repair work and cleaning up under a new-this-year swallow nest, getting ready
for the first delivery of wood.
and swapping summer textiles for the winter ones
None of them new - just brought out of the cupboard and greeted like old friends!
i'm thinking now about stocking up with food. Home cooked meals in the freezer or at least the ingredients to make a good meal for guests, tins of beans to bulk up a stew or to have on toast for an emergency meal (ie when I've run out of food or am too tired to make anything). Covent Garden lovely soups freeze well and are only £1 in the supermarket just now, and I will make more of this easy recipe from my friend Lynne while there are still courgettes available
Cook courgettes, frozen peas and a good handful of mint in some stock till soft. Blend till smooth and drizzle with single cream or a tiny amount of truffle oil to serve.
Any other storecupboard ideas most welcome.
As you know I live a long way from the shops and sometimes I get lazy about shopping and put it off till I have run out of food...
Must do better!
I hope you are enjoying whatever season you are in where you are.
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)