On the edge of moments…

I watched the tide come in yesterday and as the beach disappeared I was reminded of the flow of it all. Within twelve hours the beach will re-appear and the cycle will repeat.

Earlier, on this post, I wrote a story to illustrate a philosophy that I believe. I have sat knitting tonight and sharing what I did was not sitting well with me, as it wasn’t my tale to tell. So, let me put it another way. I struggle with seasonal goodwill and festivities and have done for many years now. If I could hibernate till it was all over, I would. A friend feeling the same way reached out for support and we agreed that there must be many others feeling as we do.

‘There is no such thing as a normal family or a normal Christmas. We are force fed these images of perfection and they are not real. Christmas has been hijacked by commercial enterprise and we don’t need to buy into it. Life is messy. We are messy. Goodness knows it’s a mess in our heads, so mess is bound to follow when we interact with each other. Yay to the mess! Joy comes in moments.’

‘I feel our purpose in life is to learn how to love. We try and fail and try again. Create and destroy and create again. Learn and forget and learn again. We just need to show up every day and stay open-hearted.’

When things tumble and fall…

After a tiring day, I pulled my wellies on and headed off to walk the beach in the last hour of daylight. There among the dog walkers, fishermen and birds, I returned to my calm centre. There was a chap pottering on the beach with intent and as I walked up the slipway, I waited for him to follow. ‘If he smiles at me’ I thought to myself, ‘I will ask him what he was doing.’ He did and walked towards me opening up his hands, which held broken fishing lines and weights.

‘I was fishing at high tide earlier and the currents kept breaking my lines.’

We stood looking at his hands full of his beachcombing rescues.

‘I found a huge fish attached to one, still alive, so I walked him back to the sea.’

We wished each other well and headed back home.

I have spent time lately creating a 50th birthday jumper for a friend’s husband. With love, I gathered measurements, found just the right yarn, followed the pattern faithfully and after finishing it stood back, frowned and got my tape measure out. It’s massive and I mean ‘tent-like’ massive. I know he’s a chap who works outside with chainsaws and the like, but with the best will in the world, he’s not that big! They were dealt a shattering life blow in the last few days and are struggling. All plans have tumbled to dust and as we spoke yesterday I heard her cry for me to talk about anything that gave them some respite. So, ‘tent’ like knitting it is! I may not have created a garment he can wear, but we have a heart story that will make us chuckle for quite some time.

My lovely buddy, Suzette B, runs a blog where she posted about ‘waters flow’ today and it made me think of all the times our plans and projects turn to dust and how life flows on. Of how we keep on creating new plans and projects regardless of labels, judgments, shattered hearts and expectations on how things are supposed to be.

It is how it is and love is the ever-flowing constant. ❤

The wind beneath our wings…

I saw an oldie but goodie this morning and it made me chuckle. Thank you, Debby and Sally. ❤

Women are angels and when someone breaks our wings, we simply continue to fly, on a broomstick. We’re flexible like that!

Yesterday I played hookey and went with lovely friends to visit a wonderful converted old mill in Flintshire, North Wales, where all the stone buildings are filled with yarn, fabrics and craft supplies. There is also a restaurant selling yummy homemade food on-site, which will not come as a surprise to any of you.

The day was filled with support for each other while we chose the things we needed for future projects, bounced ideas around and at times were bent double with laughter. Plus, there was a sale on, so the bargains we found were a bonus.

Welsh rarebit for lunch added to the wind beneath our wings.

We ended the day sharing coffee and lemon drizzle cake back home in the conservatory of a clever lady who creates animals from her imagination that make you go ‘Ohhh, will you look at that!’ Her lovely buddy sparkled as she talked about the things they used to make together and it was obvious how these two souls have been the wind under each other’s wings for many years.

Today I had a tricky situation that flowed through my morning. Before I would have gone quiet, internalised it, hashed it about, stewed on it and made myself feel thoroughly ‘Yuk’. The re-vamped me reached out to my buddies and they flowed their wind under my wings. I managed to maintain a calm exterior, stop anything inciteful from leaving my mouth, handled it and stayed in my space of grace. The soul with a tendency to dramatic wind then passed on through and all settled back down again, without upset.

My Granny used to say that the older you get the more important your girl friends are and those are wise words.

Thank you girls for being the wind beneath my wings. ❤

Light through water…

As I start to write this there’s a seagull perched on the edge of the roof terrace in the rain and he’s watching the world go by, as the tide goes out.

I have learnt a life gift recently that is a treasure. A loving friend sent me a text message one evening and I sensed that all was far from well with her. I telephoned and she burst into tears. In all the time we have known each other I have never seen or heard her cry and I was shocked. Thank goodness I managed to listen, but then I dropped a howler as I tried to make suggestions to fix what she was dealing with. I mentally have my head in my hands as I share that. What was I thinking!! She wasn’t asking for help, she just needed me to listen. My shock at her distress and love for her propelled me into ‘rescue’ mode and fortunately, I realised what I was doing, apologised and let her speak.

We met up for afternoon tea on Saturday and had a wonderful time, as we always do. Homemade scones, strawberry jam and clotted cream were involved which helped. Away from the heat of that moment on the phone, I quietly said sorry again and we talked about it. Oh, the gift of having someone listen, truly listen and not judge or try to tidy things up. Within a few days she had found her own answers and sorted things out. ❤

Other friends of mine are living through a dark situation that does not have a solution and we met on Saturday evening to spend some time together. We chose a wonderful Italian restaurant and sat there together all cosy and warm, under twinkling fairy lights, as it lashed it down with rain on the pavements and the sea outside.

One of our waiters was obviously Italian and bursting with youth. He looked after us beautifully and after one of his bursts of Italian as he brought yummy bread covered with mozzarella and caramelised onion to our table, I commented as he walked away.

‘Isn’t he lovely?’

Quick as a flash my buddy said;

‘He’s really Jim from Sheffield, Jane!’

I’m still chuckling as I share that.

We shared, cried and laughed through the evening and I was minded to just listen. ❤

Feet on the ground…

Blakemere at Delamere Forest

Staying grounded has been a challenge in the last few days and as I am about to bring a project forward into daylight, the pressure has certainly been intense. Loving connections have been welcome and I’m going to write about them, in no order of importance, because they are all held in my heart.

The loving soul who gently transported me to the forest on Sunday and listened as I found my feet.

The buddy I worked with for a long time, who still sails with me every working day as we message back and forth. With just one word or picture, the understanding, support and shared laughter are heart-warming.

My Mum as we sorted a fair few things out and were faced with a few ‘WTH’ moments! May I just mention, that these moments came from others’ bright suggestions, so Mum and I have made a pact going forward. Next time someone suggests something that they breezily say is a doddle to organise we respond with;

‘Ohh, that sounds wonderful. Thanks for sorting that out.’

I also suggested to Mum that we play a new game. Now, brace yourselves, because it is rude. You ask people to play a new version of ‘Hide and Seek’ and it’s called ‘**** off.’ Feel free to insert your own personal choice of word. You ask them if they would like to play and then invite them to go first……..

My soul sister in the Yorkshire Dales who took the time to talk on the phone, listen with awareness, make me laugh and then read some of my new project. Her feedback and support is a loving gift.

And my lifelong friend, from when we were both nineteen years old and working together in the telex room of a well-known petroleum company in Johannesburg. Our bond has never wavered (even though we are now on different continents) and she created a golden moment today that had us both helpless with laughter. I do have her permission to share it.

She messaged ‘I am crocheting a chicken. I have managed to make the legs, but I am stuck on the body. By the way, the pattern is in Russian. Can I email it over?’

How did you find a pattern in Russian???

Well, bless Google translate as we sorted it between us and she’s creating again. It was no surprise to either of us that the title of the pattern was ‘Cock’.

Sparks in the gloom…

Life has flowed with a few challenges lately and I've been left gasping for air at times.

I lay there in the middle of one sleepless night and simply did not know what to do to soothe myself. My wisdom said 'Stay still and do nothing.' Then I sensed a lovely dog in spirit on the bed beside me and felt my Gran and her Mum, my Great Gran, close by my side. A feeling of calm settled in and I could let the feelings I had be, just as they were. Breathing in the experiences, breathing out the feelings.

I needed unconditional love, so the next day I asked my heart family if I could borrow their lovely boy, Boris, the German Shepherd. 'Absolutely' was their swift reply and he's coming to stay with me for a week after Easter. ❤

That sparked another idea and I ordered insurance, new wellies and some marketing postcards. Say 'Hello' to Jane's Dog Walking Service. My old flowery wellies have done two years sterling work, so I took my new ones out at lunchtime today and christened them in the sea. I also found some more sea glass and treasure to add to my collection.

My heritage is rich with hand crafts, so it is no surprise that I turn to that for comfort again and again. My lovely buddy Pam and I set off on Friday to a local art gallery, as they were running a Creative Think Tank, with taster sessions on all sorts of crafts being showcased. I had it in my head that I would finally get to have a go at wood carving, which has been a long held dream, and willow basket weaving. You just know this didn’t go to plan don’t you? We had a great time and saw all sorts of wonderful things, while discovering that the basket weaving and wood carving courses were out of our financial reach right now. Then the unexpected happened. I had made a connection with one of the receptionists when we arrived and he was looking after everyone by keeping the whole event flowing. Pam was absorbed trying out a Viking weaving loom and having a great time. I glanced up and Mark came over and said ‘There’s more going on in other rooms Jane, can I show you?’ So off we went and I found myself at a table where a lovely lady was demonstrating rug making with re-cycled materials. I took a seat and Alison let me have a go weaving strips of old t-shirts into hessian and I was right there, in the moment. She showed me what materials to try and what to back the rugs with. The edging stitch that holds it all together is new to me, but my Granny said in my head ‘I can show you that Jane’. I’d discovered a new joy. As I sat at home later, knitting, my creative sparks started to fly. I have been a painter since I can remember when and for the last few years it has stopped ‘talking’ to me. With the rug making I can chalk and ink my design on the hessian and by hooking in re-cycled materials, there is more leeway. It doesn’t have to be precise and as the freedom of this sunk in, well I am sure my heart singing could be heard far and wide.

It’s been dark and raining like ‘billy-ho’ today and then just as I finished my new wellie walk, the sky brightened and the clouds looked as if they had been brushed on the blue.

Loving connections…

A lovely friend and I sat on a farmhouse balcony and shared afternoon tea today and this was our view.

I attended a routine hospital appointment this afternoon and she insisted on giving me a lift. The phone call with that offer was hilarious, as I initially resisted her kind suggestion. Why do we do that ‘No, it’s alright I can manage’ thing when anyone tries to be kind! It’s nuts. Anyway, mid conversation, as I was resisting, this was her deciding line:

‘Please do not deprive me of your company. I have missed you and it will be lovely to have a catch-up and I need to go there anyway to check on where things are when I have my appointment next month.’

I responded with ‘That is the most sophisticated emotional blackmail I have heard for some time.’

Much laughter followed, which set the theme for this afternoon.

We drove straight there, parked with ease, found the required hospital section and I was called in right away. Marvellous.

Then we walked out and turned left instead of right, talking nineteen to the dozen and completely oblivious to our error. As we walked out of the exit door we faced a car park we didn’t recognise.

‘This isn’t car park G’ my lovely friend said.

‘I am deeply impressed that you remember which ‘letter’ car park we are in’ I replied.

Several corridors, exits and different car park views later, we admitted we were lost. Various staff members were unable to help us either.

It was a comedy of errors and finally (and I do mean some time later) another nurse tried to help us. Suddenly I recalled that I had tucked the hospital letter and a map into my handbag. It is a testimony to my friend’s love, that she didn’t clock me one as I produced it.

We found our way and left two nurses shaking their heads at us, thinking goodness knows what, as we went to the farmhouse nearby and had afternoon tea to recover.

As we sat nattering on the balcony, looking out at the view, we both agreed that the love and understanding that our group share (there are a few of us) is a gift, liberally sprinkled with shared laughter. ❤