Saturday, 30 August 2014

Oops. I'm a day late...

... but I still want to Celebrate The Small Things.
It's been an odd week, with a Bank Holiday on Monday and then hubby going away on Thursday. I don't know where I am. But I'm celebrating:
  • Solitude - not that I don't love my family, but I'm rather enjoying having the house to myself - not to mention that lovely bar of white chocolate that mysteriously fell into my shopping basket (ahem)
  • Getting together with Jeanette, with whom I did my yoga training, and catching up on news of  the rest of the gang
  • New ventures - I'm taking some yoga sessions at a Mudderella event today - that's like Tough Mudder but for women
How about you?

'Celebrate the small things' is a bloghop instigated by VikLit on her blog Scribblings of an Aspiring Author and co-hosted by Diana Wilder, LG Keltner @ Writing Off the Edge, Cyborg Mom (Katie) and CaffeMaggieato @ mscoffeehouse. Details are here.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

A letter to my younger self

In the light of recent of exam results days, Shelley Wilson posted a lovely addition to her Resolution Challenge blog regarding what she would say to her younger self. I urge you to read it here. It reminded me that I'd written something similar for a competition (that I didn't win). It is reproduced below.

Who Knows Street

 Dear You,

The good news is that you make it to your 50s. I’m hoping as much as you are that this is only half the story.

The bad news is that there are no spoilers in this letter. What would be the point? If I tell you what is about to happen and you don’t like the sound of it, knowing you as I do I’m in no doubt that you’d fix things to go your way. It’s no spoiler to say that you are/I am still a control freak.

So why write at all? I think perhaps it is more for my benefit than yours, so that I can reassure myself that the road I took to get here turned out to be the right one, even though there were times when it looked distinctly rocky! I’m also seeking reassurance from within that having navigated myself to this point I shall be able to negotiate the rest of the journey safely.

It’s OK for you, sitting there as a confident, know-it-all ‘teen spirit’ (a reference to a song you won’t hear until 1991, by which time you will be – oops, nearly gave something away then). You think you’re right about everything and that the world is yours for the taking. Well, you are and it is, up to a point. When you’re ready for your mid-life crisis, though, I hope you’ll take comfort in looking back on a life well lived and relish what is to come.

I’m not prepared to give you the winning numbers for the Lottery (you’ll see later in life what this is – but don’t hold your breath) or to tell you who wins the Grand National in 2009. You don’t need to know these things. You don’t actually need my advice about anything. What will be will be. But you might like to know that following the instinct you have now for weighing things up quickly and efficiently, then making a decision and sticking to it without a backwards glance will stand you in good stead.

I will just say this. You are passionate, so live it, love it and celebrate it. You already know that this passion means plumbing the depths as well as hitting the highs.

You are and will continue to be outraged, indignant and opinionated, but also loyal, tenacious and strong. You are going to love with breathtaking intensity, which will bring you joy and despair. You will break hearts and have yours broken. You will make good choices and bad, meet wonderful people and quite a few bastards. You will work hard and not always happily, and will experience times of plenty interspersed with some hardships.

Your weight will fluctuate and with it your self-esteem. Your moods will swing. Some of your experiences will be exhilarating and glorious. Sometimes you will behave in ways that, on reflection, you shouldn’t have. Some of your actions will make you embarrassed, perhaps even ashamed. People will cross you and some you will forgive; many you won’t. Some people will love you; others not so much.

In other words, you are normal. Whether you find this comforting or disappointing is something you will find out along the way.

Listen to the music, sing and dance, laugh and cry. Most important of all, simply be.

With love
From your older self

Monday, 25 August 2014

Everybody needs good neighbours

We chose to trust the BBC weather forecast and spent Saturday and Sunday up at the allotment harvesting yet more courgettes and beans, and digging up what seems a ridiculously large quantity of potatoes. I really don't know where we are going to store them all.

I was given the job of editing the empty beds: that is to say, restoring order by removing the weeds, digging the whole thing over and covering with carpet until needed again. By the end of the yesterday, the plot was looking quite impressive, although I say so myself.

The same cannot be said for our neighbour's plot. I mean: just look at it!

Any day now, those yellow weeds and thistles will be heavy with seed heads, ready to contaminate our allotment and probably several others. We never see the woman who has this plot. Nothing ever seems to move. Certainly, there is little sign that any veg are growing. It makes me SO mad!

On the other hand, her laziness has resulted in lots of brambles, which are laden with blackberries that we are all enjoying. It's an ill wind...

Friday, 22 August 2014

Namaste, Mr Iyengar

My yoga students and I celebrated the life of BKS Iyengar this afternoon by practising some of our familiar postures in the style of his teaching. (In case you missed it, he died on Wednesday - he was one of the principal teachers behind the popularity of yoga in the West, held in high regard throughout the yoga family.)

It's amazing how different even old standards like the Tree balance can be when you try a different approach. This is why it's so important that you find out what sort of yoga is on offer when you go to a new class and why you should never say, 'I tried yoga once. Didn't like it.' Try another teacher, because there's a style for everyone.

Other than that, it's been another workaday week. How about you?

'Celebrate the small things' is a bloghop instigated by VikLit on her blog Scribblings of an Aspiring Author and co-hosted by Diana Wilder, LG Keltner @ Writing Off the Edge, Cyborg Mom (Katie) and CaffeMaggieato @ mscoffeehouse. Details are here

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Community spirit

Yesterday, there was an awful house fire not far from where I live. In fact, I have a friend who lives in the same close. Fortunately, the family got out unharmed, but the family dogs - who, I believe, raised the alarm - perished. Naturally, the family are  devastated. They have lost everything.

The community is rallying round, thanks to social media. The local gym has become a collection point for  donations of clothes and other goods, and a fundraising event is being organised at the pub down the road. Face Book is full of messages of support and offers of help. Isn't that wonderful?

Friday, 15 August 2014

Who's got that Friday feeling?

It's strange that even though I'm not tied to a Monday to Friday existence, what with being my own boss and having no one in the education system, I still get that Friday feeling.

I can't settle to anything today, because Joe is packing up around me ready for his house move tomorrow. Poor excuse, I know. Still, I've written my plan for this afternoon's yoga lesson (releasing the spine through rotations, since you ask), and I've done some proofreading.

Today, I'm celebrating:
  • Joe preparing to fly the nest - not because I want him to go, but because it's just so exciting for him
  • Fab exhibition at the local arts centre
More artistic talent: chain saw carving at Woodfest last weekend (apologies for the portaloo in the background!
Have a good weekend, folks.

'Celebrate the small things' is a bloghop instigated by VikLit on her blog Scribblings of an Aspiring Author and co-hosted by Diana Wilder, LG Keltner @ Writing Off the Edge, Cyborg Mom (Katie) and CaffeMaggieato @ mscoffeehouse. Details are here

Wednesday, 13 August 2014


There seem to be as many festivals as there are towns at the moment, which is wonderful. I was at a local music festival last Saturday where a couple of my friends were playing. The weather was glorious and it was lovely to be able to drift between the four stages (via the beer tent and food outlets, of course) and soak up the atmosphere. One of the 'stages' was simply a clearing in the woodland (pictured), where the amp was powered from a solar panel and the singers were accompanied by birds, butterflies and dragonflies. Sadly, the Sunday was cancelled because of the atrocious weather, but some of the bands that were due to play relocated to a couple of pubs and played there instead. It was all very organic.
James Herring at Woodfest 2014, Northamptonshire
Elsewhere in the Shire, Boughton House, which is the seat of the Duke of Buccleuch, should have been hosting Alt-Fest this weekend, an extravaganza of heavy metal, industrial, alternative and the like. Sadly, this was cancelled for reasons that aren't clear, but seem to be connected to ego, greed, mismanagement and confusion. The ticket-holders will (I assume) get a refund - but what about all those hotel rooms, campsites and train tickets that have been booked? The Kettering spirit has come to the rescue with the wittily titled 'Ctrl Altfest Delete' which has been organised at incredible speed to salvage something from the fiasco. Two pubs in town will be venues for a great line-up of acts.

Meanwhile, Boughton House is gearing up for Greenbelt next weekend. Let's just hope that the Goths and the God-botherers don't get their dates mixed up.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Life gets teejus, don't it*

National Allotments Week did not get off to a good start. Something has taken all but seven of our 50-odd leek seedlings from our plot. Each was planted in a toilet-roll tube collar and the bed is encased by wooden boards and netting, so I suppose if some critter was tenacious enough to overcome all that it kind of deserves to succeed. Small consolation, though. I love leeks.

On the other hand, the onions, garlic, plums, beans and courgettes are going strong, the tubs at home have started to yield carrots, and if we could just get all those green tomatoes to turn red we'd be in business. Whistlestop Cafe, anyone?

In other news, the storm on Saturday has dislodged more of the hideous cladding from the boundary wall at the front of the house. We are definitely letting the side down now, but if any of the neighbours are offended by our shabby aspect they are welcome to pay for the renovation. Inside the house, the shower has started to make the most peculiar noise and the washing machine has given up the ghost.

Still, mustn't grumble.

* Check out this song on YouTube.