..but not as you knoow them.
Near the Cloch Lighthouse on the Firth of Clyde are some structures which have always intruiged me. On yesterday's walk I got the chance of a closer look.
They are below the level of the main road and even from the pavement you might easily miss them tucked into the bank on the rocky shore. They are like shacks. Basic but very strong to withstand winter storms. They face west and the prevailing winds. There is nothing pretty about them. They are mostly black (tarred perhaps) and one seems to be a shipping continer. How did they get it down there? If they do have windows they were boarded over. They don't have signs or names or easy access - thugh one has a flag, another a chimney and I did see two solar panels. The only thing beautiful is the view across the Firth.
I wonder if they began as fishermen's huts but I've not been able to find out much - yet....
..and so beautiful.
I put on quilted coat, another scarf, woolly hat and gloves and stood out in the garden till my eyes adjusted a bit to the dark. The moon had a bright halo, and to the left of it Orion stood out first. As I watched more and more stars seemed to switch on until the sky was brilliant with them. It's awe inspiring, isn't it - a frosty starry night!
Indoors again before my nose froze, to a glowing fire and a late supper of ripe pear, feta cheese and walnuts and a little glass of wine.
The water is heating for a deep hot bath.
Publlc promises are not often demanded of us today. To love honour and obey, to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth, on my honour I promise that I will do my best.....
Politicians make them publicly all the time, rather rashly it sems to me..
Promises kept engender trust but broken promises cause many a heartbreak and much shame, so it's important to think carefully about what promise I will make.
I have in mind a small private promise to myself. One that will improve my life, or someone else's, one that will make the world even a tiny bit better, one that will make me happier or more content, and importantly, one that I know I can actually keep.
Will you make a promise?
I've been thinking this over for a couple of days and have decided what my promise will be (of more later...)
Do you find that walking helps you think clearly? As it was a nice mild morning I walked to The Egg Shack up the glen....
They say be careful what you wish for. I wanted to live simply...
Well I get up, eat, garden, sleep.
In many ways my life is more simple than it's ever been!
Cauliflower, asparagus, carrot, ginger, pear, apple and banana. Delicious.
The clematis from inside looking out.
Starting mowing paths in the grass.
The complexities of the wider world are beyond me at the moment, so I will stick to the simpler things, the things I have some control over, and be grateful for them, as a way of coping.
What's your strategy?
..and listening. I have heard it maybe five times in the twenty years I have lived here: the great roar of the sixty-mile-an-hour west wind as it whooshes straight down the glen! A fear inducing sound. It's like some great dragon or lion.
In a great storm in the sixties many of the cedar shingle roofs of Swedish Houses, then owned by the Forestry Commission, were badly damaged. They were replaced with clay tiles which proved to be too heavy, pushing the walls outwards and tie beams were put into the loft space. Subsequently the roofs were replaced with corrugated metal which is how they are today,. So far so good!
This morning I was woken at 6am by incredibly loud hailstones on the bedroom window.
My sitting room window faces north and I can sit at the red desk there and watch the weather coming down the glen - the prevailing winds are westerly, though today they have veered right around to easterly bringing cold but some bright spells too.
I love watching it all pass by my window! It is said that we in Britain are obsessed with the weather but I find living in the country the weaher often dictates how I will spend my days, and it also affects my mood.
Something that affects my mood even more is exposure to The News. If I watch too much of it (and we do have it 24/7 now which just may be having some influence on the crisis in mental health) I find myself thinking I have no right to be happy - so much misery in the world. Not a healthy attitude - nor does it reduce the misery - so I have to remind myself that news is 'News' because it is not the norm! If it was the norm it wouldn't be 'News'......
For many years I've felt I had a good balanced approach to the news - I listened once a day max and never before bed. I felt informed but I wasn't getting frustrated, depressed or anxious about any of it. I was staying sane. Well, that's the way it seems to me :-)
Today I find I am having to wean myself off it! The crazier it gets (and it seems to get crazier by the hour) the more I want to hear!
So today I distracted myself with other things -
I did some more of the financial paperwork (that emotional baggage bag trick is working for me.)
I sowed more seeds and watered the New Zealand cosmos
I took note of a Mary Berry recipe for rum and raisin ice cream (will let you know....)
I arranged some daffodils and changed the batteries in the tiny lights in the birch branches.
I caught up with the ironing, did some cooking, listened to music instead of the news, phoned a friend, sent some emails, brought in some logs and exercised for a full hour.
And I am trying to ignore my need to hear the result of the 20th vote today in the House of Commons or whether Donald Trump has remembered yet where his father was born!
In the words of the song maybe I should Let the world turn without me tonight.
..for being so generous in sharing your ideas here and making this blog a conversation instead of a monologue!
With your help I have come up with an idea for my tiny book. Several of you mentioned how the photographs from my New Zealand adventure made you feel. (Happy mostly! Me too!).
As I look over and organise and edit my photographs of the trip I will pause and consider what feelings arise from each one and put the word(s) on a page in the tiny book.
A couple of photographs in particular interest me, and puzzle me a bit because I can't quite put my finger on the feeling that arose when I was there and that I remember as I look at the photographs..
On the way back from Abel Tasman we stopped at this vineyard for a drink. Something about this interior attracted me - I could have spent hours there. It was very simply furnished and decorated - nothing showy, but done to a nice standard and with care. I loved how cool it was and the way the sunlight came in. I loved the grand piano and the one large painting. I loved how very clean it was. It looked and felt totally right. I would not have changed a thing. it felt cherished. And I still find it hard to say how that made me feel. Content. Completely at ease, at home. It was as if I too was cherished just being in that space.
Have you ever been in a space that has made you feel like this? Sometimes an old fashioned library gave me this feeling, or the simple country church in Lincolnshire which we chanced upon once. I got it last night in the candlelight (see yesterday's post).
A feeling that all is well with the world.
What if we tuned out the outer (media) world more often and created this feeling for ourselves in our homes?
I'm referring to Amazon pricing.
I thought I'd buy a copy of Altars by Denise Linn (thank you Gail) and found one Used Good for the princely sum of £0.09p plus postage. I could have paid £233.09 for a Used Good copy, or a New copy was available for only £396.19!
No-one has yet been able to explain this to me.....
..as they say. The laptop is going into A&E and as you know that can take some time..
I am posting the most calming photo of the latest batch. I like the stillness, and the way the chalk mark on the wall echoes the bicycle wheel....little things to take my mind off my technology woes (the irony is not lost on me!).
I hope to be back soon - I am missing you. Perhaps you might like to browse the archives which by now are fairly extensive. I would never have imagined I had so much to say (or that so many people would want to read it!) Thank you for being here.
Don't you just hate it when you make a resolution and the very first day something stops you from doing it?
I was too unwell to have breakfast outside today. I was too unwell to have breakfast.
Nothing too serious - but flu-like symptoms and my body just saying Stop. And Sleep.
So I did.
Getting better, but taking a little blog break just the same and leaving you with a question...
Do you find it hard to stop even when you know you should? Even when it is what you'd tell anyone else who was unwell to do?
In A Year To Clear which i am still enjoying Stephanie Bennett Vogt asks the question How do you make things hard for yourself? It was interesting to contemplate that today and even more interesting to ask Why?
There's something about sitting for an hour and a half
on your favourite rock on a warm day
with a picnic and an eight year old
that makes you feel all is well, and life is worth living.
Stones to slide down the rock face. Listen to the sound as they hit the water - plop boom vloop schlop plip high pitched low pitched, big splash tiny splash heavy light hard soft sticks long thin wide narrow float sink tide in tide out which is it skimming building balancing wet dry creatures ducks arrowheads cavemen ammonites fossils food drink smell wind sun seeing the world in a grain of sand I've drunk all my water I'm thirsty can we go home now
The rain was gentle, it wasn't really cold, and I was getting almost too comfy indoors!
I had a short and rather one-sided conversation with this sheep
and sympathised with these ones which only seem to have reeds to eat. Everyones' lawns (already full of moss) are coming up with reeds because it's been such a wet year here.
I enjoyed the misty view
and the sound of the waves.
Storms are forecast.
Connecting with nature refreshes and restores me.
..bigger donations. This has been the trend in our family in recent years.
I like it.
Arianna Huffington talks here about taking some time to disconnect from the world in order to connect with yourself, so that you can explore your values and know what you want to do.
I think that can apply to Christmas. Who needs the frantic stressful excess and commerce-driven experience that the media would have us believe is what Christmas is about? We do have a choice and we can choose to switch off both literally and metaphorically to all of that, and create our own meaningful and spiritual experiences, around this wonderful midwinter festival
Connecting with distant friends as I start to write the cards this evening.
NB I apologise if my replies to your comments are sometimes out of sync with the comment. I blame the system (but it might be me)!
In the town of Port Glasgow is a piece of public sculpture I particularly like and which I have been meaning to photograph for years, so when my bus broke down there the other day I took the opportunity...
The striking scarlet at the base does not show in my photographs, and the waves at the bottom are lit at night. I think the modern extension to this civic building rather elegant.
More images here.
And I took the train to the city.
Thank you Julia for this link!
My first reaction was Oh it's so beautiful!
If you are interested in juicing a must-see is the documentary Super Juice Me. You have to subscribe to watch it but (so far) they don't then bombard you with emails!
My simple for today..
Aaaargh! No wonder people are stressed.
(Marie Kondo the world needs you.)
Supposing is my word for this year and is proving to be a most helpful one.
I use it if I find myself saying things like I will never manage this task/house/garden/journey/event on my own. I stop and say Supposing I could? Supposing I just took the first small step? Supposing I am actually just like the people I know who manage wonderfully well on their own.
When I lost Barry I also lost this establishment's joint decision maker, patient and hard working gardener, good cook, willing chauffeur, (I have an eye condition which means I can no longer drive) repairman and DIY man. We used to joke we didn't do DIY we did DEY (do-everything-yourself!).
Clearly things have to change.
Here are three things I have to change-
I have to ask for help (Why is this so hard?)
I have to pay for help (Juggle and prioritise! Get realistic about what DIY I can do.)
I have to keep simplifying and reducing stuff to the point where I can manage it myself.
Would you add anything to this list? Ah, I notice I am asking for help here :-)
Is your chosen word working for you?
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)