Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Jiminy cricket

All my life I’ve walked in wellies. I was brought up with them, I liked the thought that no animal had died to make them, they were cheap, and I found them perfectly comfortable. I had tried occasionally to buy proper walking boots but had never managed to find any to fit, given that my feet are too long for women’s boots but too narrow for men’s.
    Recently however, perhaps as a result of age or maybe because of the amount I’m having to walk to keep Ellie at least halfway bearable, my feet have started to ache, and the outside edge of my right foot has started to swell. Oh dear.
    Today, I steeled myself and headed for Exeter.
    As I drove off I noticed a big bright green cricket on my windscreen so I stopped and tried to scoop him off. I didn’t want him to be damaged when I got up speed. He took matters into his own hands (feet) however and leapt for the hedgerow.
    Another omen I thought, like all unexpected occurrences, and another omen that I’m unable to interpret.

As I trudged to the third shop I felt rather discouraged and all set to go home again empty handed (footed). No one had seemed very keen to help me, only bringing me a couple of boots to try, and none of those had fitted. At Moorland Rambler however (in Fore Street) I found an assistant who spoke my language.
    ‘These are the boots that would suit your requirements,’ he said, pointing to the row halfway up the wall. He didn't bore me with long-winded or scientific explanations; he made the decision for me. ‘I’ll bring them all out to you.’
    I slipped them all on quickly and knew straight away that only one of the dozen felt OK, and then only sort-of OK.
    ‘I’ll bring them all in a different size,’ he said.
    I then spent three-quarters of an hour, lacing, unlacing, and traipsing up and down the trial ramp, with the assistant in attendance, helping me get the boots on and off and answering all my queries.
    Eureka. I found two comfortable pairs. I wanted them both.
    ‘Do you walk?’ I asked the assistant, feeling embarrassed at hogging the limelight for so long and wanting to give myself time to make a decision.
    His face sprang alive.
    ‘Only in winter,’ he said. ‘I get too hot in the summer.’
   ‘D’you walk fast then?’ I said.
    He laughed and nodded. ‘I like climbing too,’ he continued. ‘I’ve just been to the Alps.’
    I decided to take the more flexible pair as they felt less alien to my wellie-accustomed feet and to maybe come back for the more supportive pair in due course.

As I planned this post, I suddenly realised what the cricket portended. He was me, leaping from crag to crag in my new boots (probably in pursuit of errant Dog).

My feet in their new boots

Saturday, 27 August 2011


In ‘Where I was last week’ (April) I touched on the subject of yogic chakras. Yoga, which has been around for at least five thousand years, is the practical part of Hinduism and encompasses all sorts of mental, emotional and spiritual exercises as well as the physical ones we in the West call ‘yoga’. Chakras (pronounced ‘shark-rerz’) are points on the body where life energy is taken in, processed and given out, much as our lungs do with air. ‘Chakra’ means wheel, and the chakras, if you can see them, look like cone-shaped vortices.
    There are seven main chakras and each feeds a different area of our experience as well as being related to different parts of the body, elements, colours, musical notes and so on. They also reflect our development, in that we learn about each area of experience in turn as we go through life.
    Knowing about the chakras has been enormously helpful to me over the years, both in dealing with ups and downs and in choosing what directions to take. With that in mind, I thought I might tell you some more about them.
    (You will find differing interpretations of the subject. What follows is my own.)

The seven main chakras or energy points on the human body.
The base (red) and crown (violet) chakras extend up and down.
The other five are positioned front and back, passing right through the body

Root or base chakra
Colour: red
Food: protein
At this level we are concerned with survival and the physical world. Violence and insecurity are two of its negative aspects.

Sacral or navel chakra
Colour: orange
Food: liquids
This is the social phase, when we learn about family and connection to others. When we get it wrong, we can become jealous or clinging, or take too much or give too much.

Solar plexus chakra
Colour: yellow
Food: starches, grains
Self-control and ideas are the main functions here. Addictions and excess, two downsides.

Heart chakra
Colour: green
Food: vegetables
Here we are learning about emotions. As Cheryl used to say, emotions should flow like water. Lack of harmony in ourselves and in our dealings with others results when emotions are blocked or allowed to dominate.

Throat chakra
Colour: blue
Food: fruit
At this level we are concerned with responsibility and organisation. The past and tradition now loom large. Bigotry and repression are the dangers.

Brow or third eye chakra
Colour: indigo
Food: air (breathing)
This energy fuels our intuition and is connected with clairvoyance and other psychic skills. At this level we also learn to reconcile apparent contradictions (eg science’s ideas about evolution versus the creation story from the Bible). The future is the focus here, and excessive inaction the temptation.

Crown chakra
Colour: violet
Food: fasting, light
Creativity, spirituality and selfless service are our crowning glories. Here we are concerned only with the present moment. When this energy is blocked we feel disconnected and depressed; when there is more than we can handle, we become manic. Interestingly, senility is another sign of problems in this area.

Eventually of course, as I’ve said before, we are able to function on all levels – if not in this lifetime, then another. The ‘colour model’ (as I call it) can be related to societies as well as individuals and, as I see it, British society is making an uncomfortable transition from ‘blue’ to ‘indigo’. In other words, we don’t need to panic as institutions break down and we become more individualistic and spontaneous – that’s as it should be!
    I don’t meditate as often as I used to because I now try to carry out my whole life in a meditative way, but when I did meditate I used to like to concentrate on the chakras and their colours – with some unexpected results. I’ve gone on more than enough here but in another post I could perhaps pass on some chakra meditations/visualisations.
    This is just a brief look at the chakras – I haven’t touched on their connections to different organs in the body and to physical symptoms for example. Nor do I want to appear too hung up on the subject. I’m not saying it’s all true. It’s just a tool, a metaphor. Do with it what you like.

Coming alive again

Coming alive again,
finding beauty in the details.
A lorry slewing through a gateway:
graceful mammoth.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Another reason to be less un-cheerful

  • Frog is unfailingly kind and listens to all my blatherings.

Loose strife

Purple loosestrife beside the water in my neighbour's wild garden.
    (Sorry, Trish. I had to retrieve Dog - again. She loves your garden as much as I do. The ducks were safe on their island though, much to Dog's annoyance.)
    Why the lovely name? My book says it's because the plant's antibiotic and was used to stop itching and to repel flies, demons and troublesome spirits. Useful.

While in watery mode, here is a wonderful entry that I came across in one of the blogs I follow (

Dysfunction bubbles up, rot at the bottom of the pond.

The trick I suppose is to allow the dysfunction to bubble, to let the strife loose.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Reasons to be less un-cheerful (and sorry about the last posting)

  • We have our first hedgehog in the garden. Is it because I’ve abandoned the flower-beds to nature this year (through lack of time/energy/inclination)?

  • The blackberries are ripening and I can feast on them as I walk Dog.

  • Dog is much better behaved these days. Almost her only vice is jumping up at people.

  • We’ve booked a holiday for next year (and blow bank balance, carbon footprint etc etc).

But I’m still stuck on The Novel.

And here are some pictures of Pembrokeshire.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Reasons to be un-cheerful OR Why I feel sad today

  • I’m just back from a week’s holiday on the glorious Pembrokeshire coast where a fox sat unafraid for several minutes and watched my sister and me walk past and bats lived in the roof-space of the cottage we were renting and I just missed seeing a dolphin.
  • The Novel has died on me.
  • I’ve put on at least half a stone since this time last year and look awful in at least half my clothes.
  • We’re still degrading the environment and I’m still contributing to that degradation simply by virtue of existing.
  • My 83-year-old mother is not well and I live four hours’ drive away from her.
  • The summer is coming to an end.
  • I'm still me.
  • This programme puts in bullet marks where they're not needed and now won't let me put in an extra line spaces.
Sorry! I'll be all right tomorrow.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

A person of small brain

Apologies for my absence. I’ve been trying to work on The Novel and, as I’ve said before, I’m a person of small brain and can only do one thing at a time.

I hope to get back to you in a couple of weeks.