B-DAY PLUS 61

IT’S THE LAST DAY OF APRIL!!

This means that it’s an auspicious day – TWO MONTHS  since I started doing this blog.  At the beginning, I wondered whether I had enough interesting stuff to last me 2 weeks … but one sixth of the year has gone, and I have to say that I have never struggled for something to say!  This  is supposed to be just a diary of an exiled Grannie, and as such, is not guaranteed to supply a glimpse into an exotic lifestyle: I just want my grandchildren to be able  to read it in  50 year’s time and know what their Grannie was like!   One thing I can’t tell them enough, and that is that I miss them all every single day, and wish I could  spend a lot more time with them .

We like Saturdays – I have said that before!  I may start repeating myself now that I am on my sixty first day, naturally, but  I shall just plead advanced age as an excuse.

Today, the weather started as per forecast – gloomy – but  soon the sun overcame all obstacles to shine quite nicely.  I immediately felt hugely better and quite ashamed that I gave way to the glooms yesterday.  I always suspected that I was a victim of SAD – seasonal affective disorder !  Rain always makes me sneeze and snuffle, and I thought I was the only one, but apparently a cause for this has been found.  Moisture makes the pollen grains burst and become more lethal to allergy sufferers, and loads of people suffer like me.  Sun makes me happy and gloom makes me miserable – I live with it. If lack of sun is my circumstance, I should be able to decide  to still be happy, and usually I can do this….but not always.

Luckily, the sun was out at lunchtime, so after we had been to Benissa to do the weekend shopping,  we were able to sit outside Apr 30thand enjoy the home-made bread I had made for our lunch.  Mmmm – spelt flour with just enough white flour to keep it all together.  With cheese and lots of lettuce – perfect lunch!

What a week it has been for news!  First we had the doctors’ strike –  the first all-out strike in the NHS.. Then we had everyone going bananas over the coming election for staying in or coming out of the EU..  I am old enough to remember going INTO the “Common Market” and being what seemed like a lone voice saying that it was wrong.  Countries like  standing on their own feet and establishing their own identity.  Look at Wales and Scotland, look at the Basque Country and  many more little countries fighting for years and years to regain their sovereignty.

Then we had Barack Obama telling us that we should stay in the EU – what a  sauce!

Then we had lots of arguments after the Labour party suspended MP Naz Shah and ex-London mayor Ken Livingstone amid anti-Semitism claims.  Jeremy Corbyn didn’t seem to know what to do.

Then there are people on the tele looking worried about some  local elections next week.  The Conservatives still are in the mire about the Panama Papers and now the Labour lot are in trouble,  so the name  of Nigel Farage is floating about again and frightening people.

But the most heartening news of the week came this morning !  This is what the Telegraph said ..

“It’s one of the physics world’s most powerful machines but it has taken just a small weasel to put the Large Hadron Collider out of action.
Researchers discovered the weasel had gnawed through a high-voltage cable which powers the world’s strongest scientific instrument on Thursday.”

 

F001J9_weasel-large_trans++eo_i_u9APj8RuoebjoAHt0k9u7HhRJvuo-ZLenGRumATHE BIGGEST MACHINE IN THE WORLD – PUT OUT OF ACTION FOR DAYS AND DAYS BY A LITTLE TEENY ANIMAL !!

What a great David-and-Goliath story!!

 

Two more heartening bits of news –

Kenya has burnt 105 tonnes of ivory this week to send a message to the those participating in this gory trade that ivory is worth nothing  compared to the lives of the glorious animals that die to  give it up.  And Tesco has threatened to ban John West tuna from their shelves if the company don’t get a whole lot eco-friendlier.

One reason I was on edge yesterday was due to my rising blood pressure.  Up to 171/78.  Serious stuff, but I just don’t want to put those devious and damaging statins into my body.  I shall work hard to master it in my own way.    It’s  MY body, and as the great Shirley says – ” this is MY life !”

YES – this is who I see when I look into the mirror!!

B-DAY PLUS 60

FRIDAY

….and it’s dismal and grey and wet. Clouds are clinging to the tops of the mountains ominously.

Apr 29th 3

It’s hard to be cheerful today. I can’t go out and do my normal hour or so gardening first thing in the morning.  Or my yoga to ease my stiff back – another thing I do outside.  Or visit my roundhouse to meditate.  It looks too slippery underfoot for walking. We don’t need to go shopping, as we shall have to do that tomorrow.  I ring Lex, but she is on the way out and can’t speak.  So I must find something else to take the place of all these things.  I try tidying, but that doesn’t inspire me.  It’s one of those days when I don’t FEEL like doing anything – but know that if I don’t shake off this feeling and DO something, I shall sink further into gloom.

Luckily I have a sewing room, where I am free to do all my crafty bits without interruption. As soon as I sit down at my table, I see bits of material strewn about, just because they please me and I so I have kept them.  Aha!!  I have been scratting about for weeks without finding hair scrunchies that are looking good1-Apr 29th.  Soon I am cutting and sewing, and within moments have four new scrunchies, in bright colours, to my name! This cheers me up no-end, and I can at last throw all the old dreary ones away.  I celebrate the sparkly new look by cleaning my silver ear-rings.  Ooh – the excitement!

Friday means it’s lunch out with the Friday Club.  This week, it’s Rod’s turn to take us out, and as soon as I see which way the car is heading, I remember that he had asked me earlier in the week  if I minded going to an Indian restaurant, as he just fancied doing this.  Pepe loves Indian food, but I can’t eat it at all: it hurts my mouth.  I am ashamed to say that I was plunged into gloom again.  It’s a long way to go – about 35 minutes in the car with me sitting in the back uncomfortably and Rod and Pepe invariably doing a Two Ronnies act in the front, not able to hear me if I add any comments.  Today was no exception.  They start talking about snooker champions, getting all the names mixed up and wasting at least  ten minutes talking about that well-known Scottish champion Alex Higgins.  Then Pepe went on to describe the Gorilla Bar in Jalón.  Gullible us, – we were all agog – until we realised he was talking about the Dracula  Bar !

Then we find the restaurant, and I think I was a little bit less than affable when I looked at the menu and decided that I wasn’t interested in anything. I just asked the man to bring me anything which was not spicy, and he decided that Butter Chicken was just the ticket,  The others chose a 3-course meal, but the man told me I wasn’t having a first course and just toddled off!  More gloom – especially as the other two were getting all voluble and excited over the prospect of a  spicy meal.  What a lovely surprise it was, when the waiter brought me a “special” starter, – a little salad with a sort  of potato croquet. This was nice.

Apr 29th 2

He had cut the cabbage leaf into a butterfly, clever man!  He was so pleased when he saw me taking a photo of it.   The main meal was OK, but I shall never understand why it is acceptable to have a meal consisting of JUST  meat in a sauce and rice. Where are the vegetables ???   You would only have this in an Indian restaurant, in any other sort of restaurant you wold complain bitterly.

So then it’s another boring journey home and those two just ignore me, get themselves a brandy and sit down in front of the tele to see snooker.

So now I am completely gloomy again. Something has to be done.  I eat chocolate and nobody notices.  Even more gloom.

I considered all the obvious things.  How lucky I was to have been able to go out  for a meal, and to have a family to go with, etc. etc..  Then I decided that my main problem was lack of outdoor exercise,  so I put my walking boots on and set off through the wet vegetation.  Apr 29th 4There was no rain, but everywhere was wet and washed. The other day, I was walking on white flowers, today I was walking on these red seed pods – they were beautiful on the ground!   Half way round,  I found  my normal thinking rock to sit on and ponder.  I remembered reading something earlier about porchways…..

Apr 29th 6the entrance to our house is terrible – all the dross blows in and the flower pots are crumbling away, so it’s always full of old  leaves and  bits of crumbly terracotta.  Surely this is very bad Feng Shui?  That’s it!    That’s the plan.  As soon as I got home, I cleared out the porchway, cleared out the fridge and juiced all the tired stuff,  quaffed the resulting big glass of carrot, mandarin and grapefruit juice, and felt a lot cheerier!

” In several cultures and religions, sweeping the front and back porch every morning is regarded as an important cleansing ritual that prepares the ground for new energy on every level—physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. This seemingly simple action has the power to clear away the old and make space for the new. It stirs up the energy in a place, clearing out the astral buildup that is the natural by-product of the presence of humans. 

As we clear the energy of our space, we clear our own energy systems. In addition, we create a space that feels clean, clear, and open to all who enter.

That’ll do for me.  No more gloom.

” Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”

– Dalai Lama –

B-DAY PLUS 59

1-Apr 28thTHURSDAY – TENNIS DAY !

BUT – it’s all cloudy  and threatening thunder, so we are not allowed on the courts  as they are made of blue concrete and are lethally slippy in the wet.  However, it’s the last Thursday of the month and the usual lunch day for the tennis group. Even though we can’t play then, 9 of us go to the normal café-bar and have a lovely lunch for all of 11 euros.  It was a very merry atmosphere – everybody pleased to see Martin and Veronica back from the UK and Barbara back from spells in and out of hospital.  What value!  Peanuts, bread and alioli, thick home-made soup, salmon with jacket potato and veg, chocolate cake, lots of wine and coffee !

The rest of the day was taken up with the garden.  I am loving getting it all sorted after a whole year of neglect, or perhaps even a couple of years while Rod was suffering with his hip and we were involved in the U3A.  I called into the garden centre for some plant food, and came out with more plants: some Lemon Balm and Stevia included for the herb garden.  I had to look these up to see what they were good form and was astounded to see that both of them we reputed to help with high blood pressure.  Mine is through the roof at the moment, so I was so pleased to see that some hand had guided mine to buy these!  I am determined not to have to resort to nasty drugs if I can help it at all.     I have not experienced Stevia before, but chewed on a leaf and couldn’t believe how sweet it was.  I had a taste in my mouth as if I had filled it  with sugar.  Healthful apply crumble coming up!

It’s been a long time since I had a look at the list of 30 things to do for yourself .. so here we go ..

  1. ” Start being more polite to yourself. – If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend? The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others. You must love who you are or no one else will.”

If this means buying  yourself little treats – I’m in there!!  I bought myself an indoor plant while I was at the garden centre.  I used to have loads when we lived in Clifton,  but as we spend most of the year,  when we are not outside, with all the doors and windows open, I haven’t had any in the 15 years we have been in Spain.  So I bought myself an ivy for my newly-cleared office shelf.  Ten minutes later I am wondering what all this milky liquid was in great globs all over the desk .  I even tasted it in case I had spilled my tea, but it just tasted of clay.  Then I saw where it had come from – the plantpot holder sitting on the shelf looking splendid but leaking all the water I had provided for the ivy!  Ugh!  Another treat will have to be forthcoming – a new plantpot holder to replace this one with a big crack in it!  I wonder if drinking clay is good for blood pressure ??

 

B-DAY PLUS 58

WEDNESDAY

The wanderers were doing a long walk today, far away and with a lunch included, so I opted out.  Pepe will be cooking away, doing his best to give Rod and me a good hearty meal, so how  can I disappoint him?  It’s things like  that which keep him going, and it gives us a great deal of pleasure too, to see HIM so satisfied with himself !  He was off at 9o’clock this morning to shop for his supplies … all excited !  Aaah!  I notice  that he still has the picture Clemmie Apr 21st 2painted for him on his mantelpiece .. he really treasures it and it will probably be there until the paper turns brown.  He has only just thrown away the birthday card which Lex sent  him three years ago!

I ran into Pepe loading his car while I was stepping out on my walk to Senija this morning.  I know this walk takes me 45 minutes , but I got to wondering why I push myself to do it in this time.  So I asked Rod to meet me after 50 minutes, and that 5 minutes made all the difference to my experience.  I was able to stop and do some deep yoga breathing when the sea came  into view, and also take notice of DSC02417what was underfoot.  I suddenly realised that the ground was white, and when I stooped to look closer, there were these little tiny flowers shining in the sun,  –  and I was treading on them!   Good heavens – they were beautiful!  Just shows – you don’t have to be big and showy to have the WOW factor!

We were off to Albir, a journey of 35 minutes.  Three or four years ago, I bought a marvellous pair of sandals from a shop there, and they really were not looking pretty last year.  This year, they are definitely not for public viewing, so need to be replaced.  In fact, I spent all last summer, wishing we could go to Albir and buy some new ones!  When we got there, the shop had morphed into a travel agent’s, so the trip was a bit of a waste of time, as was all that bemoaning the lack of Albir in our lives last year.   However, we turned DSC02420it into an enjoyable mooch around and had a coffee in a place on the front. We were entertained my the men trimming the palm trees by shinning up them like monkeys, supported only by this belt thing going around them and the tree.  NOW I know how they do it!  As for the sandals – I shall wear my old and scuffed ones with pride until  we go to the UK., where they cater more for my boat-sized plates of meat.

Whilst we were walking down to the front, I became  no longer able to deny the fact that I desperately needed the toilet.  In Spain, there are no public ones, and the accepted practice is to dodge into a café if you need  to use one.  In fact, a few  weeks ago I was wandering one Wednesday with a café-owner and this very subject came up.  I told her that I did not like to do take advantage like this, and her reaction was immediate – “Just DO it!  We have people all the time, just brushing past us  in their blatant rush for the conveniences!  It’s part of the what we do.”

So when my need became all overpowering, I found a crowded café and made for the loos.  My goodness, I chose badly!  When I came out, I was accosted by THREE scowling Germans (speaking English very brashly and loudly,  Accusingly).

“That’ll be fifty cents!”.       What ?

“Why?”
“Because you have used the toilet”

“Where is your sign that says that this is the charge?” (Looking pointedly at the blank walls.)

“You cannot just use it . You must pay fifty cents”

“So if I buy a coffee, you add 50cents to the bill if I use the toilet?”

“No.    Are you going to buy a coffee?”

“I might”

More scowls and tightening of the German lips.

With that, I sauntered out, to find Rod half way down the road.  I couldn’t believe that anyone couldbe so rude and belligerent. I was DSC02422so incensed, that I took a photo of the place, to remind me NEVER to go there  for anything at all.  It says “BRASSERIE MIRAMAR”.    The thing is, I was so desperate, I would  have stayed and bought a coffee if they had been nice and smiley.  As it was, it didn’t spoil my day, as I was so sorry to see what miserable and joy-less lives they must have, and was feeling quite smugly proud that I had kept my cool and become quite regal in my politeness.    But I was sort-of sorry that they didn’t accost me on the return journey past their café, as by that time I had concocted a wonderful script in my head, where I would be smiling sweetly at them whilst engaging in a witty and superior put-down.

What am I grateful for today?  No competition!  I am grateful that I have learned to filter out other people’s negativity and not let it affect my Pollyanna optimism!  Mrs Angry did not join us today on our nice walk in the sun by the sea.

 

B-DAY PLUS 57

TUESDAY

Rod just loves to watch the news on the tele..  I don’t mind this, as it means that I don’t have to make any effort to keep up to date with what’s going on, and can relax in the sure knowledge that he will tell me what I need to know.  But today !  I am thoroughly fed up with “News”.  It seems that the Junior Doctors, after a lot of humming and hawing are out on strike because they don’t like the way the Government are handling their new contracts.  These contract are needed in order for the Government to carry out their election pledges.  That’s about all I know, but it seems it is all far from simple and involves lots of talking heads, banner waving, and raised voices.  Doctors have never gone on all-out strike before, and it looks to me like it’s a great big, ballooning stalemate.  Incredible.  At least it’s knocked debates about Britain coming out of the EU off the screens.  Whilst I have every sympathy with the situation, and naturally with those people feeling poorly in the UK., it has all been brewing for months, if not years, and I personally cannot help either side.

Dr. Wayne Dyer used to say, “You cannot feel bad enough to make one person feel good on the planet.”  In other words, however bad I feel about what is going on in the hospitals of England, by feeling worse and worse, I won’t make things better and better.  All it does is create more negativity in my own body, and I have enough trouble controlling my very high blood pressure as it is!

In yoga, we know that it is important to control what we let into our inner world.  We have ahara, describing any stimulus we ingest, and pratyahara which is the mindful filtering of what is experienced from the outer world.  It’s a discipline towards a more fulfilling life.   Just today,  I came across this  (all to do with pratyahana)  ..

A Diet for Your Senses
  1. The sense of sight: Start by keeping the TV off whenever possible. Don’t read news stories with violent images or content. Reduce the number of ads you view in a day. Buy yourself flowers and place them in a space you are in often. Remove clutter and things that no longer serve you.
  2. The sense of hearing: Eliminate music with harsh, hateful, or violent lyrics. Turn off radio stories that are disturbing. If a family member or friends start to talk with negativity, tell him or her that you choose to talk about a more positive topic or quickly find a solution instead of ruminating on the problem. If you hear about a tragedy or someone in need, opt to say a prayer for the person or situation or send money to a cause that could remedy the problem.
  3. The sense of touch: Take time to pet your pet. Hug your family members and friends often. Allow the sun to penetrate your skin. Walk barefoot in the grass, sand, or a body of water.
  4. The sense of taste: Eliminate all unnatural or artificial foods from your diet. Opt for fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. Eat some meals in silence and close your eyes while you taste your food to get the full sensation.
  5. The sense of smell: Burn aromatherapy candles or incense that makes you feel relaxed. Find a smell from childhood that brings back good memories and include that into your environment.

All this is supposed to make your meditations more effective, and since meditating has been proven to lover blood pressure, this is what I have been trying to do every day.  When you are retired, there is supposed to be endless time in the day .. but that is certainly not my experience!

Today has just flown -me giving Rod a Spanish lesson,  shopping at Lidl, then to Calpe, to buy a pile of crockery with Apr 26thno chips in.  Wey hey!  I got my white plates which I have been haggling for for years.  Rod usually likes bright patterns, but is happy with these because they are an odd shape!

Then home – lunch – chess for Rod, gardening for me, yoga, dinner on the new plates, washing up,  then it’s 8.45 already!  I haven’t even read a single page of my book!

I noticed a response today from my blog of  a few days ago … it seems my brother approves my opinion of Prince Charles!  The link he sent to last Saturday’s celebration of 400 years after  Shakespeare’s  death, where he came up onto the stage amongst the actors and said a line!  As Nick says – what a sport !  Look at him!  He’s got such a sharp sense of humour!  Nastily, the link could not be opened in Spain – but good old Youtube had it for me.

 

Talking of responses and comments, I am so grateful to Nick and Anne for chipping in!  Anyone else there ?  It would be nice to hear any comments, otherwise I might feel that I am talking to myself and start getting a little bit silly. (Anne is also a Charles fan ..  we have taste!)

 

B-DAY PLUS 56

MONDAY APRIL 25TH.

It was a funny old start to the day today!  We had planned to go an stock up at Lidle  and go and  buy some everyday crockery to replace all those plates which the dishwasher has chipped (with an eye on the impending  arrival of visitors on Sunday evening – Sue and Mike will be staying for 10 days, so it’s a great excuse to get all those things replaced in the house that you tend to put off in the winter!   And do the spring cleaning too!)

But in comes Pepe, shuffling in with a look on his face which spelled DOOM.  Water was not escaping his kitchen – not via the sink nor via the washing machine.  In his words, “I have a very very serious problem downstairs.  Very serious.”   We have heard this before  so were probably not as impressed as we should  have been.  “I don’t see what a plumber can DO:”     Oh my goodness, the house  will have to be knocked down, was the implication.  In his head, the JCB’s were already doing their little dances all over his flower garden.

Settling his mind with the usual, “Leave it with us”, we scouted around for the phone  number of the plumber, a wiry little Spanish man called José.  Next thing we know, Pepe is off in his car!  “You’ll never get a plumber to come this morning!” Hmph.  José was here within half an hour, attached the water input directly with the waste pipe and flushed it through – problem solved!  20€.  Pepe is still not believing what happened.

So we were late getting out, – we couldn’t find any plates and Lidle’s was closed – as were the other supermarkets in Benissa.  It must be one of their many local bank holidays.

So it was a spot of gardening  for me – which put me in mind of an interview I had seen recently about how marvellous plants were.  I have always loved plants (and rocks – and the sea – and brooks – in fact anything natural to this fantastic planet!).  This lady Dr botanist had made a study of plants (mosses in particular … they are HALF A BILLION YEARS OLD !!  Unbelievable.), linking knowledge of them with the way they are treated by indigenous people.   She has this to say about mosses ..

“The rocks are beyond slow, beyond strong, and yet, yielding to a soft, green breath as powerful as a glacier, the mosses wearing away their surfaces grain by grain, bringing them slowly back to sand. There is an ancient conversation going on between mosses and rocks, poetry to be sure. About light and shadow and the drift of continents.”

She calls this a “conversation”, between rocks and moss….

” ……  it’s a conversation that takes place at a pace that we humans, especially we contemporary humans who are rushing about, we can’t even grasp the pace at which that conversation takes place. And so thinking about plants as persons, indeed, thinking about rocks as persons, forces us to shed our idea of the only pace that we live in is the human pace. And it’s, I think, very, very exciting to think about these ways of being which happen on completely different scales, and so exciting to think about what we might learn from them.”

 

I could on forever, quoting this clever lady .. look at this bit …about plants in general …

” What we’re revealing is the fact that they have extraordinary capacities, which are so unlike our own, but we dismiss them because, well, if they don’t do it like animals do it, then they must not be doing anything, when, in fact, they’re sensing their environment, responding to their environment in incredibly sophisticated ways.”

Respect for everything we have been provided with on the Earth … that’s what I say!

One more .. about today’s populations drifting away from the Earth that sustains life ..

“And it worries me greatly that today’s children can recognize 100 corporate logos and fewer than ten plants.”

(This is Dr Robin Kimmerer talking .. I probably will buy her books!)

But I digress.  What reminded me about this clever lady was our most pernicious weed – the fennel.  I have respect for many weeds, after all what IS a weed? Just a plant in the wrong place and probably a lot cleverer and stronger than the plant we have decided should be in that particular place.  When we first  came to this plot, I left the fennel, and occasionally used it to flavour a fish dish.  Then I realised that it didn’t really impart any flavour, it lost its smell and powers in the cooking, and had the habit of growing to about 5feet tall and throwing seeds all over the place with huge gusto.  So now I try to get rid of these plants – but they are so clever!  We tend to think that plant evolution is slow , but I can cut off a fennel plant at ground level (they are impossible to pull up), and it will regrow. I cut it off again , and THIS time, it grows craftily.  Not upwards as is usual …  Apr 25thbut creepily, hugging the ground, trying to stay out of sight and out of the way of my knife! Now that’s one crafty, thinking plant!

Here’s a frisky one … with our house up in the background.

So here we go again – more synchronicity (we don’t call it co-incidence any more do we ?)  As I was pondering the  wonders of the plant world, I received a delivery of my soap nuts from Amazon !  These are what Tryph was using for her washing when I was at her house.  Chemicals, bleaches and stuff in washing powder are very bad for Tryph and I, (as well as for our lovely planet of course!) , so we shall try these natural berries.

Apr 25th 2They grow in India and just gently release a natural soap as they soften in water. You can use them for hair and dishwashers too.  In my 1kilo bag are enough for 330 washes, they say, which works out at about 3p per wash. But they are a sustainable crop too, and when the soap has all gone, the shells can be thrown Apr 25th 3on the  compost heap.

I am looking forward to the trial.  I have been happy with my wash balls for 2 or 3 years.  They replace the use of detergent, but can’t get rid of grease marks,  and white things do get progressively more grey.

Dr Kimmerer has something to say about sustainability too…

“The language of sustainability is pretty limited. If something is going to be sustainable, its ability to provide for us will not be compromised into the future. And that’s all a good thing. But at its heart, sustainability, the way we think about it, is embedded in this worldview that we, as human beings, have some ownership over these, what we call, resources, and that we want the world to be able to continue to keep — that human beings can keep taking and keep consuming.
The notion of reciprocity is really different from that. It’s an expansion from that, because what it says is that our role as human people is not just to take from the earth, and the role of the earth is not just to provide for our single species. So reciprocity actually kind of broadens this notion to say that not only does the earth sustain us, but that we have the capacity and the responsibility to sustain her in return. So it broadens the notion of what it is to be a human person, not just a consumer. And there’s such joy in being able to do that, to have it be a mutual flourishing instead of the more narrow definition of sustainability so that we can just keep on taking.”

 

She has become my latest hero.  She has explained to me why I treat my plants like family members.  If they are ill, I cannot throw them out!  I have geraniums suffering outside from the attacks of the Geranium  Moth.  But I don’t give up on them, even though I could  get a glorious new plant for 2€.  That’s why I shall never make a proper gardener.  Who worries??

B-DAY PLUS 55

IT’S A SUNDAY !

LOVELY SUNDAY –  but today will not be the usual, –  we have been invited out for lunch with a marvellous group of friends based around Rod’s chess club (The Chess Mates.).   So, after a bit of gardening, a bit of half-hearted cleaning and a listen to The Archers, off we toddled to the other side of Llíber to the house of Barry and Chris.  This house is fortunate to lie on the flat and sheltered from Apr 24th 2the winds, and they have created a wonderful  space on their terrace to spend time around a table over a leisurely lunch.  It was SO relaxed!  Along with our hosts, we enjoyed the company of Sue and Maurice and Pru and Avner, so we knew everyone well and conversation flowed easily.

One of the topics was centred around arrangements for our funerals!!  So many celebrities have died this year, that the television has been asking whether this is a record year for it!  As far as I can see, the verdict was that, as we are entering the phase where all we Baby Boomers are getting more fragile, things like this will  happen, –  it will SEEM as if there is a glut of deaths.  But does that hold water?  Victoria Wood was only 62, Prince was only 57.  Terry Wogan and Paul Daniels were 77,  and Ronnie Corbett was 85, so all older than the Boomers.  Alan Rickman was 69.   Of course we know more celebrities these days with easier communications, more tele and the internet, and many of the older celebs. are beginning to suffer the effects of the frantic lifestyle of the “Swinging Sixties”!

Anyway – it reminded me that we made a New Year’s Resolution about three years ago,  to get our arrangements for our final performances sorted out.  We spent months sorting out the filing cabinet, so all our papers could be found  easily, then ran out of steam!  We were spending a lot of time on U3A topics at that time, so it just got sidelined.  Time to pick up this challenge once again!  I personally do not want any sad faces when it’s my turn to go, as I have been reading a lot of reports from hypnotherapists who have found a way to access memories from the times “between lives”, using a special form of deep hypnosis.  It’s fascinating, and the reports from many different sources are similar enough to be very convincing.  I have come to believe that we are, in essence , just energy.  Energy, we are taught in school, can be changed but never destroyed, so something must happen to it when we die!!  Dolores Canon and Michael Newton are just two of the pioneers in this field.  So when I  go,  I go back home, to where I have no physical body, but exist in my pure energy form – so I don’t want anyone feeling sad that I have simply gone to the next phase.

Rod and I must resume our sorting out so that it will be simple  for those left here when we toddle off.  The filing cabinet probably needs re-sorting for a start ….

Coming back to lunch … it was fantastic!  Chris has not  been too well recently, but managed to produce a wonderful spread through,  she said, “knowing where to shop!”  I must take a leaf out of this book.

We were social last night too – yet another wrench from our regular  routine!  We rarely arrange  to go out on a Saturday evening, but Anne and  Derek Martyr can be very persuasive… luckily for us!  Apr 23rd 8They had arranged an entertaining table of 8 of us in El Casino Bar in Parcent.  John Curtis, a local English Singer had been brought in to sing all evening, and the room was full of Brits having a great old  time. Apr 23rd 7 The bar is run by South Americans, but they are really on the ball and know just what will bring people in.  My husband even managed a dance!  It was a lovely evening with marvellous buffet food and a welcome chance to make the acquaintance of the Martyr’s friends Marion and Neil who help them when they hold their charity events and quizzes. What really nice people – I am so grateful to have such a pool of happy and balanced people to spend time with.

B-DAY PLUS 54

SATURDAY

A busy morning this morning!   Saturday is usually chain-sawing day, and indeed we did a lot of said chain-sawing, still clearing up the many logs lying about the  bancalis after a few years of neglect.  Ever since we had the old chain saw and strimmer stolen, the plot has just been left to go its own way, whilst Rod recovered from a hip replacement and we both recovered from a busy time with the U3A..

It took about 4 years, but eventually we got the money back from the courts for the stolen equipment and so went out and bought new  stuff.  We now have enough logs stored away to keep our log burner alight for several winters, so next week we start pruning big branches off the trees.  Oh what fun we have ….

While I was thinking about the whole robbery incident, I was looking to see what the list of 30 said about doing things for yourself….

7. ” Start valuing the lessons your mistakes teach you. – Mistakes are okay they’re the stepping stones of progress. If you’re not failing from time to time, you’re not trying hard enough and you’re not learning. Take risks, stumble, fall, and then get up and try again. Appreciate that you are pushing yourself, learning, growing and improving. Significant achievements are almost invariably realized at the end of a long road of failures. One of the ‘mistakes’ you fear might just be the link to your greatest achievement yet.  “

 

Right!   The mistake we made was leaving the garden equipment in the potting shed ( a lean-to at the back of the outside kitchen which has no walls !),  so that a passing marauder could just help himself.  Our significant achievement following  this, was building ourselves a shed!  This took us a hilarious weekend of trying to put together this meccano-type kit, to make a tin shed….DSC02387Imagine me , trying to control half a dozen big tin sheets in a gale, while Rod tried to screw them together. One sheet in one hand, one in another , another under the control of a leg, while the other foot was stuck behind me keeping hey another in place!  As we got it almost done, we suddenly realized there was no door!  But yes!  There it was – not hinged , but sliding!! Who knew that was going to happen?  So we had to undo several stages of our hard work in order to install the sliders.  Then …  surprise surprise!

DSC02389

It’s only a shed for the Little People !!  Moral for all of this … READ the specs when you buy something!!

The good thing to come  out of it though, is that every time we look at it, we can’t help chuckling to ourselves …. we can’t believe that we were so intent on battling the wind to construct it that we really didn’t know  until it was finished that it  was  just a mini-shed!  The joke’s on us … BUT we have somewhere to lock away the valuable garden stuff and the bikes.

Back to this morning …. while we were trawling about, looking for fallen branches, the sun shone on Pepe’s bottlebrush tree in front of us..

DSC02391

Wow!  It was just stunning.  DSC02393
These bottlebrushes are one of the few plants which happily thrive on our plot.  They don’t mind being parched in the summer, or blown about by the constant wind, or having very little by way of proper soil to send their roots into.  We have a few – two of which flank the Buddha facing the front door.  Though I am just not a DSC02394Buddhist ( and don’t subscribe to any mainstream organised religion) , I just felt that a Buddha was needed to sit here serenely.  It faces the house, and as I turn to look out of the office window, there it is!   As soon as we installed it, there was a definite difference in the air of the house. By the power of Fung Sgui …. peace!

I am so grateful that we came across the power of the Buddhas when we were travelling in Thailand.  We happened to be there at the New Year celebrations, when all the statues of the Buddhas came out for their parade,  –  miles of them!  To bless them and receive blessings, the crowd had all gone prepared with bottles and jars of water – some from the tap, some from the river, some from special sources and adorned with flowers.  As the statues came by, the onlookers threw this water over them.  Of course, in the process, everybody got soaked, but that too was deemed to be good luck! Some of the children didn’t quite get the hang of donating all the water to the Buddha, and found great glee in  creeping up on people and pouring water down their necks!  This was extra specially lucky,  they said!     (The good luck was that the sun was scorching, so a bit of soaking was welcome!).

So now,  whenever I am watering the plants, my Buddha enjoys a soak too!

 

 

B-DAY PLUS 53

FRIDAY 22 ND APRIL,  and another lovely day.

Although I have to admit to the world that I was a teensy weensy little tiny bit grumpy this morning!  It was one of those mornings which wasn’t right, and this notrightness began even before I went  to bed last night.  Then Rod did not get up at the right time,.(because yesterday was Thursday and he didn’t get to bed until 2´clock  after seeing his favourite programmes,  –  and also because his hip and leg were hurting him and keeping him awake.)

So I thought I would go outside and see something on Youtube that I had earmarked “for later”.  There was no internet signal, so I got waylaid by the game of Spider Patience which didn’t need a signal, and then hated myself for wasting my precious day.

So I thought I would go and pull up a few weeds.  The morning was beautiful – fresh and full of birdsong.  BUT – my back was stiff and painful after yesterday’s tennis, so that didn’t last long.

So what to do?

  1. Go and change the clothes into DOING clothes.  I am greatly influenced by the clothes I wear and always have  to have the right uniform on – sometimes I change 4 or 5 times a day!
  2. Put on trainers which make me nippy.
  3. Get stuck in and achieve something.  Ha!  Success!!

This is the picture of me at my computer a week ago; it shocked me to the core, and I have been working on it ever since.  Some  of the papers I tackled were TEN YEARS OLD !!  How can people live like that?Apr 14th writing

And  this is today!

Apr 22nd (2)

It took me a long time because I did not cheat – I dealt properly with everything, and filed things in the right places.  Often the bin!  By co-incidence I have been reading the bit of my latest book by Alberto Villoldo where he talks about clearing out the junk in your life.  He really hits the nail on the head, saying

  1. “Throw out all the “collectibles” and junk you know you don’t need (After you die, your children will throw it all away anyway.)

  2. Throw out the clutter that keeps you tied to the past. You will still remember those experience, but without the tangible symbols that are stuffing your cupboards.

  3. Throw out the things you never liked but thought you ought to.

  4. Throw out the books you feel you ought to read someday and the half-done craft projects you have lost interest in.”

Now we come to the interesting bit;

5.” Allow yourself to release the expectations you had of yourself and accept that you have made different choices.

6. Let go of the belief that you have to continue to possess any object that “might be of value”  “.

All this is designed to open you up to the new by getting rid of what’s not working for you.  The next stage is to get rid of all the clutter in your head too.  All those outdated thoughts, beliefs and ideas that just won’t go away without a seriously powerful bomb behind them!  There is no room in your head for new, happier ways of being, if your head is full of useless dogma.

When your home, car, cupboard and mind are minimalist spaces, you become free to re-invent yourself and your world into something more fulfilling.

Bearing all this in mind (which got under my skin more than all those Feng Shui theories of clutter had done), I threw away with increasingly gay abandon!  I just hope Rod takes the dustbins to the tip before I start delving into them to retrieve a “few bits and pieces!”

Apr 22nd

I think I WILL keep this photo close at hand though – just ion case I revert to my old dismal ways !  Mrs Hoarder doesn’t live here any more !

Point to ponder today was going to be the next in the list of 30 things to start doing for yourself.  I couldn’t believe what I saw…

  1. ”  Start noticing and living in the present. – Right now is a miracle. Right now is the only moment guaranteed to you. Right now is life. So stop thinking about how great things will be in the future. Stop dwelling on what did or didn’t happen in the past. Learn to be in the ‘here and now’ and experience life as it’s happening. Appreciate the world for the beauty that it holds, right now.”

Isn’t this just what I have been rambling about?  Stop thinking about the past – it holds you back!  Alberto says you have to think about the past, work out what lesson it has shown you, then remember the lesson and ditch the rest .

 

So all this achievement improved my mood no-end. I was very chatty and  entertainy when I drove Pepe to the dentist again this afternoon !

 

 

B-DAY PLUS 52

THURSDAY – AND THE QUEEN’S 90TH BIRTHDAY.

Well, it’s all over the news today – Her Madgeness is 90 today and has been up to all sorts of high jinx-  visiting a local Windsor primary school, lighting beacons, etc..  She is the longest reigning and longest living monarch we have had and is not ashamed to wear a headscarf on national television.  I admit to being a Monarchist, and am a special fan of Prince Charles, about whom I regularly argue with both Rod and Pepe.  I think that he has done marvels, despite the hugely restrictive brainwashing he suffered from babyhood to adolescence.  He grew up in a really odd and outdated atmosphere, never allowed to be a normal boy and  being bombarded constantly with rules of conduct required of a member of the Royal Family.  He tried to conform by marrying the person he was required to marry, and battled through traumas to produce 2 sons of a different ilk.  These sons show all the signs of being role models  for  young people everywhere.  Let’s hope they come up trumps!

The news needs to have something cheery today. Yesterday we heard that Victoria Wood had died, and they don’t exaggerate when they call her “a comic genius”.  Today, Prince has been found dead.  I never quite got into Prince, but from what I hear on the radio, loads of people did!  Then we have had the funeral of Ronnie Corbett, with his four candles on the  altar !

For me, it has been a tiring  day.  Tennis this morning, after instructing Pepe on how to use his new washing machine,  and with only 7 players turning up there was no chance of sitting out between sets for a rest and a natter!

This afternoon was Reiki afternoon. I always enjoy this , but with a very painful back still, and tinnitus deafening me during the silence, I come away quite worn out!

Searching the camera, I see that I have not taken a photo today, so I offer up this one,  –  dinner at  Pepe’s last evening.

1-Apr 21st

Despite the excitement of his new washing machine, he still managed to produce a marvellous Shepherd’s Pie for us all!  he does love Wednesdays, when Rod and I go down for our meal. He always does us a meaty dish and a couple of dishes of  vegetables on the table, followed by ice cream (the best!)

To make up the pic quota, I took a picture of our own evening meal – tuna with stir-fry, fried tomatoes with basil and sweet potato.   Mmm.  We do live well!

Apr 21st 3

My point to ponder today is very apt, considering all the deaths of prominent personalities we have had recently.

  1. ”  Start noticing and living in the present. – Right now is a miracle. Right now is the only moment guaranteed to you. Right now is life. So stop thinking about how great things will be in the future. Stop dwelling on what did or didn’t happen in the past. Learn to be in the ‘here and now’ and experience life as it’s happening. Appreciate the world for the beauty that it holds, right now.”

I was reading an interview with an eminent American Brain Surgeon only yesterday ……

”  DR. DOTY:   There was a study that was done that showed that the average person almost 80 percent of the time, they’re not focused on the present, they’re focused on regret about the past, or anxiety about the future. And when your attention is in those places, you can’t give your full attention to even what’s happening to you at that moment. And it limits what you can accomplish in that moment.”