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. ❤

Tumbling ….

The weather has been all over the place lately and we’ve had four seasons in one day on several days. The other morning the sky was so dark we were all braced for a belting storm and then the sky suddenly cleared and it revealed a spectacular biblical display.

Life has been intense for many of us lately and it’s not the easiest thing to manage ourselves in the midst of so much uncertainty. When we tumble we naturally want to reach out for something solid to hold on to. To sit in silence and stillness with uncertainty is scary, yet there is much balance and honesty in that space. Our hearts can be heard as they gently guide us forward.

“If you can fill the unforgiving minute, with sixty seconds worth of distance run…..” Rudyard Kipling

In each moment it is what it is and there are gifts nestled within:

Sharing breakfast with loving friends, as we all laughed and nattered together starting our day.

My thoughtful friend sharing lunch with much laughter and gifting me a patchwork jacket that is so ‘me’ I may wear it every day.

The gift of having a day with my Mum and Dad and bathing in their unconditional love.

Living in this peaceful house and the creative energy of my happy bubble flat. We were all together downstairs in the main kitchen the other evening and my landlady Christine was cooking their evening meal, her partner Brendan was tidying up, Nancy her Mum was grating cheese at the table and I was gathering my laundry from the washing machine. Nancy weaves with deepening dementia and there is much loving gentleness as she is held in safety here. Christine ran into technical difficulties with the pasta and the whole flipping lot stuck together. Dripping on a spoon, she held it up in dismay and Brendan commented (from a safe distance) ‘I can’t believe you’ve done that, you’re sacked!’ There was silence for a few seconds and into the quiet I said ‘One, two, three women with one man. We can take him girls.’ Christine and Brendan started to laugh and I looked across at Nancy and she fixed her twinkling eyes on me and said ‘Easily.’ More laughter……

Ink in the clouds….

There are some folk in this life who can pick a fight with their own shadow. There are many reasons behind this behaviour and multiple layers to it, but it shows itself in ways that cause upset to others. If their driving need is for validation and attention, then it has been my experience to observe that it’s open season on how this is achieved. Dramas are created, unsettled situations are started, stories are told that are not aligned to truth and everyone’s inner balance in the immediate area is at risk. They are like a bucket with no bottom, because no amount of attention is ever enough, no matter how lovingly it flows. They hold little respect for themselves, so it naturally follows that they are unable to respect others.

A speck of ink in a cloud can colour the whole and all underneath see the sky go dark, feeling the chill as the light is blocked.

It is a sad fact that those who carry on in this way cannot see it, as their driving need for attention blocks out self awareness. They are the only ones who can effect change in how they operate, yet maybe their inner pain is such that they cannot turn and face it. Whatever the reason, others are affected by how they behave, and with no glimmer of change on the horizon, decisions have to be made. We are told at every turn in life to flow love, compassion and kindness, so it can catch us in the cross hair of uncomfortable choices when faced with someone who behaves like this.

My instinct and subsequent action has been to kindly and firmly move the cloud on. What do the rest of you think?

Comfort and kindness……

tom

This is the lovely Tom, who graces the spirit world now, and I was blessed to spend some time with him a few years ago. He would sit beside my laptop as I worked, telling me stories about his day. It was important to keep an eye on him as he loved to sit on the keyboard and had deleted a lot of his Mum’s work that way! He loved my snuggle blanket and found such comfort there, as I did in having his company. ❤

I walked into Remember When this morning for our Thursday knitting group and I felt my shoulders drop and my breathing ease. The tearoom is decorated for Christmas, carols were softly playing and loving souls called out 'Welcome'. Usually we are quite a large group and there is much nattering and knitting too of course. Today was different, as there were only two of us for a while and we were joined by another buddy a bit later. As our friend came in we could see that she was agitated. A pot of tea and toast was placed in front of her as she settled down and started to talk. Within a short space of time her shoulders dropped and she started to breath a lot easier. Loving kindness created space for something magic to happen. In our safe space vulnerable stories were shared and the three of us drew close. Another friend joined us later after her dental appointment and she said 'What is happening here? How did this start?' I smiled at her and replied 'Listening. We have been really listening to each other'. Each of us had tears in our eyes. ❤

Do you remember when?

Teapot Love

I have been soothing myself by creating all sorts of knitted things and a local shop has been stocking them. My Mum caught the bug and between us we have created quite a stock. I run on instinct and after a while all the words from the business owners up the hill were not translating into action. All sorts was going on and money was not flowing my way either. I called ‘time’ last week, had a graceful conversation and carried all the remaining stock back home.

No matter how adept we become at ‘letting go’ of others hurtful words and actions and leaving them at source, it can take it’s toll. Dr.Wayne Dyer, a special soul, used to say that we don’t die from a snake bite, it’s the poison that kills us.

I sat for a few days looking at my knitting basket and did nothing with it. I tucked the stock away and pondered on various options and not one resonated. Fiddlesticks, I thought, here we go again as another bright idea bites the dust. Fears were evident as old snake bites stung.

A few days later a loving friend sent a message asking if I had time to make a special surprise present for a happy event in her family. I replied immediately and we started discussing the details. I ❤ her.

My characterful and kind landlady calls my creativity 'titting about' and I gifted myself a 'titting about day' today. Mid morning I needed to pop out to the Post Office, so without thinking I put three of my teapot creations in a straw bag and I set off. Coming out from doing my postie bits and pieces there was a bright penny on the pavement. I bent and picked it up, held it in my hand and felt a bit of magic. Still not thinking I walked down to sea and there on the front is a shop, where I have never been, that sells antique treasures in an old tea room setting. I went in and ordered a bowl of soup and sat there soaking up the atmosphere and breathed……

I was in Miss Marple's world as the family who run the place looked after everybody and everywhere I looked there were reminders of times gone by. Old fashioned tablecloths, handmade lace doilies with mis-matched beautiful china, bunting on the ceiling, antique lamps and old pictures of New Brighton adorning the walls. The gentle music turned out to be a customer's granddaughter playing the piano and her granny's face as she sat there and told me all about her was a joy to see. Every table was full, yet the conversation was gentle as teapots were re-filled and coffee cups were topped up. My soup and homemade bread was delicious.

As I went to pay I realised they took cash and I only had my cards on me. The 'Mum' of the family reassured me and said I could bring the money in when I could. I left and went straight to a cash point machine, giving myself a massive pep talk (silently in case you were wondering) and returned to pay. I gathered courage and talked to them about my creations, showed them my teapots and also asked whether I could perhaps use their lovely place to start a creativity group.

Bless the magic universe, because not only are they going to stock my creations, but I have also been invited to join their knitting group on Thursday mornings.

I came home with their kindness wrapped around me and I can't wait to show my Mum and Dad this special place.

Nature, knitting and magic….

De Vere Park

There have been many magic moments in the past week or so and each time my heart has tucked them in a special place.

For the first time in it’s history, the Disney cruise ship docked at Liverpool harbour for a few days and I, and many others, sat on the beach in the evening sun watching her set off for the port of Dover. There was Beatles music playing, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck on the deck waving ‘Goodbye’ and the captain playing ‘When you wish upon a star’ on the ship’s horns. She did a 360 degree turn on The River Mersey before she set out for the Irish Sea and it was magic. The little ones and adults alike were all smiling and waving everyone on their way. The moment wove into my heart, because a kind lady handed me her newborn son and I held him as she and I chatted, his little brothers playing in the sand, as ‘Disney’ sailed out.

My friend from the promenade took me to hear some young musicians play at the Williamson Art Gallery and Museum in Birkenhead. What a wonderful place that is and full of interesting pieces. Mo and I had a lovely time and it was a pleasure to sit in that beautiful setting and hear live music. Bless her for her thoughtfulness.

Quiz night was eventful and there was much laughter. Bless Steve and his fellow ‘quizzers’ for welcoming me into their fold. Blessings and a brickbat for the ‘He Who Shall Remain Nameless’ who set the questions, because he was poorly at the time and they were tough, I mean really tough. All our brains ached, but we managed to have lots of laughs though. I would just like to say that football related questions (like naming all the team shirts for the Euro Cup…!!!!) are not kind. Bless the chap who was on the team behind me, because he said they were leaving early and would we like some help…big smiles for him. We came second by the way and won ‘Eight pints of beer’, which we promptly put behind the bar for next week.

I bobbed up to the gift shop recently with a bag full of my handmade things, to find their shop shuttered-up. The chap in the shop next door explained that they had moved away, which confirmed my feelings that all was not well as messages had not been returned for some time. ‘Oh well’ I thought, ‘I’m up here now, so I may as well look for a teapot for my latest teapot cosy pattern’. There are lots of interesting shops up on top of the hill and I had a lovely time pottering about. I popped into one shop and couldn’t find anyone to ask for help, so I stuck my head out again to see if anyone was about. It’s like a small community up there and they all pull together, so the lady in the shop next door yelled for help. A lady (covered in paint) came flying out of the antiques shop on the end of the parade and smiling at each other, we got chatting. The upshot is that Mandy runs the shabby chic and interesting pieces shop and her husband runs the antiques shop. We bonded and she asked what I had in my large bag. I showed her and we ended up making a deal. A wonderful, kind and trusting deal. She loves my things and I love making them and she will sell them for me.

Thanks to Mandy’s kindness I am now knitting like the clappers and busy doing my ‘Miss Marple’ bit out in public. Yes, Chris Moran, your idea has stuck! ❤ I can be found sitting outside on various benches, knitting. I sat in the park recently, surrounded by all the wonderful trees and flowers, where a brass band was playing all afternoon. I sit on the sea front, knitting, and get to chat to all sorts of people. Bless Steve the photographer for sharing his knowledge of the many vessels that pass our way. The old fashioned clipper 'Bessie Ellen' was a joy to behold early the other morning.

This morning my friend Dave from one of the writing groups and I met to talk about writing and how best to flow support to each other and others who are crafting books. We initially met in the Central Library where they had an exhibition of 'Contemporary Book Art'. Some clever souls have made life sized sculptures of figures from brown paper. I stopped to photograph these and some passing 'wag' commented 'Careful now, don't wake him up' as I snapped Julius Caesar with a knife in his back.
Julius Caesar
William Shakespeare
Romeo & Juliet
We took our coffees outside into St.John’s gardens and sat in the park surrounded by all the trees and flowers. The morning flew by and between us we have a ‘writing’ plan going forwards.

This evening the lovely Hannah, from our old house, is coming to live with Lynn and I for a few weeks. It will be such a treat to share a home again and have some time together. I sense that the magic that has found me here, will also touch Hannah.

Sparkles in a daily round…

Sparkles

It’s my turn to polish this week in our loved home. I’m sitting here writing to you all with the scents of polish and a cooling, freshly baked cake wrapping round the rooms.

Each day I go out to breathe in the fresh air and re-charge my batteries. I am often seen heading down to the seashore to take my wellies out for a splash in the sea and they love it! A few days ago, it was late afternoon before I managed to break away from work and head out. As I pottered down the promenade there was a Mum holding her toddler son’s hand as they ambled along, and as I came beside them, he turned and grinned at me. I reached out my hand and he took it. We all walked along together playing ‘One, two, three, wheeeeee’ as he flew between us. As they headed back to their car, I stood and watched a man walking his dog on the beach. The man had one of those ball throwing sticks and he would pause with the dog at his feet, then he’d throw the ball along the seashore. His dear dog stayed exactly where he was and looked up at his human friend, wagging his tail as if to say ‘Gosh, that was a good throw’. They both set off to get the ball, then the man stood poised to throw it again and off it went sailing through the air. The dog stayed at his buddy’s feet and carried on wagging his tail, looking up at him saying something like ‘You’re getting really good at this’. They set off and retrieved the ball again. The man repeated the whole exercise several times and the dog stayed resolutely by his side. It was priceless and I got the giggles.

I have radically changed my diet and will no doubt be talking about that in future posts, but right now I am getting the hang of it all. It means that I am a frequent visitor in our local shops. As I was being served yesterday, the lady at the till asked if I needed a bag. I held mine up and replied ‘No thanks, I am fine as I remembered to bring mine’. She commented that she always forgot hers in the car. I told her that I walk everywhere now, so mine was attached to me. Her reply pulled me up short. ‘Oh, I’m lazy and I drive everywhere’. I straightened up from filling my bag and looked at her and spoke straight from my heart. ‘I am sure that’s not the case. You are probably short on time, rushing to get a million things done and very tired. Please be kind to yourself’. Her eyes filled with tears and we stood for a minute as she talked and all sorts poured out. The lady, who was standing by her trolley behind us, joined in too.

My buddy, who works on the service that I have returned to work for, and I nattered this morning online as we always do when we’re working. We are all linked online in a private group and it makes a huge difference to our daily working rounds that we can share together. I commented that it was her loving care that had brought me back to work on the service and I was grateful to her. Her reply was ‘We felt that we could care for you properly Jane if you were back in the fold’.

So many sparkles in my daily round and it’s love, everything sparkly comes from love.