Loving balance…

Boris the Wonderdog has come to stay with me for a few days and I am loving it. We have flowed together a few times over the years and he is a joy.

We’ve fallen into our ‘together’ routine and there are many magic moments as he hurtles across the beach chasing seagulls at lunchtime, retrieves his ball once and then hangs onto it till we get back home, ambles down the cobbled lanes first and last thing each day (such exciting smells) and chats to me as I knit and create. He is also a wonderful companion as I curl up to read at night time and he lies right next to the bath keeping guard, as I disappear in the bubbles. Instinctively, he is utterly silent when I am working.

I could have taken my phone out as we go on our walks, but there is a freedom in leaving it at home. This means there are no action shots, but my heart holds the memories.

There have been a few work and ‘techie’ challenges to sort out this week and he is a supportive sounding board.

I love him ❤ and my heart family for sharing him ❤

Instinct and timing….

The Lakes are stunning and yesterday unfolded in many unexpected ways.

The coach was an hour and half late in picking us up at the start point and a regular driver left his warm bed to stand in for a colleague that had got confused with his rota. I feel this threw a lot of our group off kilter.

The scenery is breath-taking and with a light dusting of snow everywhere, it had a magical quality about it.

I chose a gentle walk and there were fourteen of us who set off on this one. The rest of our group split up into other groups ranging from those with the highest summits in view, to those who ambled about the shops and had a roast lunch in their sights. It stayed below freezing all day and we negotiated frozen puddles and went past frozen waterfalls, as it snowed on and off. The wind chill was a lot lower than freezing, but we were all togged up and stayed warm, as long as we kept moving.

About halfway up the first hill ascent a voice came into my head saying ‘Double back and find the shoppers and a hot lunch Jane’. I ignored the voice, telling myself that I had set out to walk and walk I would. I asked our walk leader how much further we were going to climb and he replied ‘Just five more minutes Jane’.

Half an hour later we crested the top of the peak and I took the photograph above. As Lake Windermere appeared as a large puddle in the distance I surmised that we had climbed more than the promised 600ft. My fellow walkers confirmed it was at least double that.

Our group started to ask our leader how many more ‘ascents’ there were on the walk. We were promised just one and it was about half what we had just accomplished. For those that know me well I do try and come at things in a light way. Within minutes we were facing another steep accent. I asked what this was called and he replied ‘It’s an undulation Jane’. ‘I would call this a hill.’ I assured him. Undulation my backside, that was as steep as anything we had previously faced and whilst climbing it I twisted a muscle in my groin. The pain was instant and increased with each further step.

I felt that our leader’s interpretation of time, height and terminology was different from mine and some of the other group members. I took a deep breath and caught up with him and let him talk. It turns out that he used to lead groups of teenagers on the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. All started to become clearer and I explained that I was injured and needed to know exactly what was ahead of us in time, ascent and scale of difficulty. He was unclear on details and explained that as a Yorkshireman, unless he had a limb hanging off, his Mum had always told him to get on with it. I replied that I rarely made a fuss and needed the facts, so that rather than being jollied along, at 58 years old I could make my own decisions. I know my limits and I was in trouble. Also, the last thing I wanted to do was hold the group up, because each time we paused we all got chilled instantly.

It is one of nature’s laws that water rests at the lowest point, so as we rounded the lee of the summit we were on, this view of Grasmere was before us.

It became apparent that we were headed to the water down below and then climbing the next hill to follow the track along. A few of us asked if the track we were headed for was on a level and we were assured it was. It wasn’t. Having managed to go down and back up again I stood at the bottom of yet another ascent on the track, which was rocky, icy and treacherous. My courage dipped. My left leg was screaming in pain and with tears in my eyes I looked up at our leader and asked if this was the last ascent, because I wanted to turn back to the main road down below. He assured me it was and crab-like I made my way up. At this point another one of our group lost the plot. She openly accused him of lying and started to verbally rant as she walked. I focussed on putting one foot in front of the other and thought ‘Think Jane’. No irony there at all.

He paused to wait for me and I had an idea. ‘Can I look at your map please?’ He happily showed me the map and I made a decision. ‘Please show me exactly where we are?’ He did. ‘That track ahead will take me back to the main road and that is where I am heading. I will find my way back to the town from there.’ I left no room for him to disagree. ‘What is the name of the car park that the coach is parked in?’ I asked. He didn’t know and started to bluff and bluster on directions. Our verbally venting group member then slipped in ‘loopy bananas’ mode at speed and opted to come with me. He offered me his mobile number, but I took the number of another long standing group member instead.

We walked down to the main road and I gently reassured her that she could trust me and I would get us back. As we got to the bottom there was a space carved out of the stone wall and several people were standing nearby. ‘I bet that’s a bus stop’ I said ‘and there must be a bus due’. We checked the route on the notice board and sure enough a few minutes later a bus turned up heading through Ambleside. It went slightly awry at this point, because the bus driver was not local and he thought he knew where our coach was, but it turned out that he didn’t. About half an hour later, there we were two women not at their best, deposited at an unknown bus stop and still not near our coach. Ambleside is layered up a hill with a one way system. My colleague was still venting verbally, as I am sure this was the only thing keeping her going through her frightened state. I gently reassured her and said ‘Walk with me, I promise I will get us back to the coach.’ I remembered the road number from the leader’s map and a sign had flashed by on the bus, so we headed for that. Turning left at the sign we walked down the road and as we reached the bottom nothing appeared familiar. I saw a couple walking with their dog and baby and I asked them. Fortunately, among all the tourists and walkers there that day, they were local. I described how the car park had looked to the ‘Dad’ and amidst all the noise of my colleague sounding off, his eyes locked onto mine and he gave me directions. We set off again and it was at this point that I lied. ‘I can see the coach.’ I told her and I kept saying it. As we finally went down a little lane, what I was saying became true. We changed out of our muddy boots and boarded the coach.

As the rest of the group started to come back on board and asked after us I said the same thing, again and again. ‘I have met some lovely people today and The Lakes are as beautiful as I had hoped. Unfortunately, I chose a walk that was beyond my capabilities.’ My colleague seated a good few rows behind me was still sounding off loudly with a different perspective.

I will return to The Lakes, just in a different way next time.

Boris the Wonderdog, my buddy…..

dav

Boris and I have been flowing through the holiday season in historical Chester.

We have shared treasured moments with our family as we all came together and made heart memories to hold forever. We have danced round the kitchen; Boris springs up and down, while I will keep quiet about my dance moves. We have produced meals from the huge range (I so love cooking on this now I have got the hang of it) and watched some stunning sunrises on our walks. Navigated our way to the river and the park, where Boris successfully manages to terrify the local squirrel population.

Grid locked in traffic the other day I discovered that my friend’s car has heated seats that also supply a roller massage that is simply bliss. I floated home and immediately sent a text to them, while they played on an exotic beach far away, saying that having made this discovery I would now be living in their car and could Boris stay with me always, please. ❤

Boris, being a Wonderdog with superpowers, comes everywhere with me and yesterday we successfully moved all my goods and chattels to a new home. I will unpack and settle when I return on the 5th, but for now the cobbled street outside and my new place have been checked out by Boris and passed as OK. I can have my furry friends to stay there too, which is an added joy.

As he lay his head next to mine and 'hurrumphed' in my ear at 5.20am this morning, I did suggest that it was a trifle early to start the day as I stroked his head. He went back to sleep, as all wise buddies do.

So as I thrive with Boris's wonderful company I wish you all much love and happiness for 2017. Here's to sparkly times as we all cross new bridges and share life together. ❤

The height of optimism…..

dav
Big Old Bob

Bella’s Mum kindly agreed to me borrowing her for a walk a few days ago and it was a joy to be together again on the beach throwing balls and walking along the sand. We met Big Old Bob and he was out with his Mum as she trained three guide dog puppies, Barney, Buster and Birdie. At thirteen weeks old it was Buster’s first time on the beach and he was beside himself with excitement. Bob was overseeing it all, as I am sure he has done for many other puppies over the years. Bob is as deaf as a post and talks in a loud yowl. ‘He can’t hear himself’ his Mum commented and I stroked his head as he leant against my legs and we chatted. I fell in love instantly and a serious discussion followed on Bob coming home with me. My landlady developing a fondness for dogs any time soon is unlikely, so this plan is on hold.

At the moment I am in a village in North Lancashire looking after Sebastian the cat and sitting writing at a table in the bay window. My view is a beautiful park, where the trees are managing to hold onto their colour despite the most outrageous wind and rain today.

I just glanced up at a box of cakes on the shelf and the sell by date is 29th December…it it highly likely that this box will be emptied within the next 24 hours.

I have some special buddies that I used to work with and we still sail together through our days on Skype. It’s our virtual office space and holds more blessings than I can count, as messages wing their way back and forth. The comment has just been made that today is going rather well and my reply……….’We’d better not broadcast this, because someone is bound to come along and * (insert your own favourite word) * it up!’

Holding optimistic hope as always at this end and flowing ❤ to you all. xXx

dav

Memories to treasure….

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My special friend Bobbie, ‘Tornadoday’, has this as a part of her life philosophy ‘You cannot travel in the wagon facing backwards’. You paint beautiful pictures with your words Bobbie, and as you and I have shared, there will be times when the wheels can kick up dust even if we are facing frontwards.

Mark organised and led a walk in Lancashire on Saturday following a disused railway line. Twenty two of us set out from Preston railway station following the old railway path through the northern suburbs of the city out into the countryside. We were able to drop down onto the old embankment as we cleared the houses and it was touching to see that people have cared enough to plant bulbs and keep it free of brambles.

I walked alongside some lovely and interesting people as we shared life details and listened to Mark outlining the history of the railway. Some intrepid souls had travelled from as far as Suffolk to be with us. Needless to say there were moments filled with comraderie and laughter as fences, gates and stiles were negotiated.

Derek saying with a twinkle in his eye, as his leg was raised over a particularily difficult fence ‘I knew the thong was a mistake this morning’.

I watched helping hands, encouragement and love flow amoung them all.

There was a chuckle inducing moment when we came across a field full of chickens and I, thrilled to see them, called out without thinking. They streamed up the bank assuming I had food and my fellow walkers (thank goodness we were at the back at that stage) laughed as I stood there saying ‘Oh bollocks, what have I done!’ and ‘Sorry girls’ to the chickens.

A ‘dusty’ feeling in my wagon was that Mark would be focussed on the task in hand and seeing that the group were all safe and enjoying themselves and I would somehow be in the way. Old emotions from the past were surfacing in me and determined to face forwards I battened down the hatches and tried not to bother him. As we all poured into the pub for lunch he immediately made his way over to me smiling and saying ‘Are you alright? I’ve put my rucksack on a chair for you and what would you like to drink?’. There were a number of reassuring moments like this and they made all the difference to how I was feeling, without me having to say a word to him. Very near the end of the walk (did I mention it was about 8 miles long?) he looked across to me and said ‘Only another five minutes to go, are you alright?’. As we worked our way through the little town of Longridge to the old station house (which is lovely), Mark’s friends who were with me at the back again, said ‘You know it’s more like 15 minutes don’t you Jane?’…they were laughing…I mean really!!

Our muddy boots are side by side in the boot of Mark’s car ready for our next walk in North Wales, nestling alongside new memories I already treasure.

Creativity sparked by subtle loving blessings…

Tree

I have been tucked up working and creating and in an effort to keep fit I walk into town whenever I need anything. It rains a fair bit here and we are only a few weeks away from Winter now, so my thoughts are turning to sturdy footwear. Anyway, I digress. Today I finished painting my latest canvas and propped it up to dry and togged up to walk into town. My sister and her lovely man are away working for their nursing charity in Uganda and they have sent through some wonderful waterfall photographs. The feeling from them inspired my painting today.

I set off and five minutes into my walk down the long and winding driveway the heavens opened.

Loving kindness weaved in. My lovely landlord and his brother, my lovely farmer, have a real family set-up going on here. Lots of ‘lovelies’. Their Mum lives in the main hall, and up until now, we had not met. This afternoon she picked me up on the driveway and we drove into town together. Jane and Jane (really…) nattered away, swopping family details and history as women do and parted company with broad smiles in the small square at the top of the town.

Just over five years ago my apartment was a milking parlour when the farm was a dairy enterprise.

Having finished all my errands I walked back down the country lane to the feel of rain falling softly, sounds of a rugby game in full cry at the local secondary school drifting across the fields, a toddler walking with his Grandad and marveling at a rainbow across the hills, cows calling to one another and a dog barking on a far away farm.

My lovely farmer picked me up on the drive and we drove up the rest of the way nattering away together. Then we stood and watched a Jay break out from the fishing lakes and my lovely farmer said ‘She’ll land in that far tree’ and he was right, she flew across the field and settled into the chestnut tree on the other side of the field.

Jay in flight

After the recent local firework display a cygnet, still with grey feathers, took refuge on the fishing lake and we both feel that she will not be on her own for long. She is slowly turning white.

I remember a quote from Miss Marple, in an Agatha Christie story, when she was asked how she could know so much from living in such a small country village. She replied ‘Oh my dear, but all of life is here.’

In our ‘here’ we all thrive in the midst of life, with loving kindness and a rainbow painting love across the sky.

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