Monday, 17 April 2017

Wild About Flowers

My brother and I  used to have Eye-spy books. He had airplanes, minerals, butterflies, trains and cars, I had wild flowers and birds. We would clutch these books in our rather grubby hands and try to spot as many as we could as we roamed around the common, the countryside or the town where we lived.
My favourite book was the wild flowers and the joy they give has accompanied me through the years.
To look at wild flowers, in a hedgerow, in a wind swept field is an everlasting pleasure. Butterflies and bees think so too, there they are hovering and buzzing, busy keeping up the wonderful, everlasting thrill of tasks that Nature has given them to do.
Then there is the variety of leaves, all the different shapes, all the different shades of green.
Go on a nature walk today and feel at one with the activity going on around you.
What a wonderful shape for a leaf

Wild honeysuckle



Red Admiral butterfly on hawthorn

Wild strawberries

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Thursday, 13 April 2017

On Top of the World

On my fortieth birthday, some time ago now, one of my cards said,
Not so much over the hill, more like on top of the world.

I really liked it, it cheered me up no end. We all like the feeling of being on top of the world. It means you feel really, really happy and free and your heart is full of positive, good emotions.
So how do you get that feeling in your everyday life? Not everybody likes jumping out of aeroplanes, bungee jumping, paragliding ,climbing to the top of Everest or  whatever that makes you literally on tope of the world. There are easier ways, like eating pizza on a terrace, going up the nearest hill, or listening to this cheesy song by The Carpenters and falling in love.

Take care of your pearly whites

A well known advert for chewing gum tells us to 'chew before it's too late'. Tooth paste adverts make us think we should have bright, white teeth.
Right from the start our mothers tell us that too many sweets will make our teeth rot and go black. It is rumoured that Queen Elizabeth 1 was very proud of her black teeth, it meant that she could afford to eat sugar which was considered a luxury treat. These days we are told that sugar is really bad for us, but we always knew it was bad for our teeth.
My brother and I were petrified of the dentist, even today his very name causes us to shiver. Poor man, he was only doing his job, drilling and filling our teeth. Modern equipment is less threatening, drills are light and bright.
My mother told us that our teeth, along with our eyesight were the most precious jewels we would ever own.
Today I had my teeth cleaned, and as usual for a short while I don't want to eat anything to spoil the effect, no coffee, tea or wine to stain their newly acquired freshness. As I sat there in the dentist's chair I remembered a poem from long ago which made me smile, by Spike Milligan (1918 - 2002)

English teeth, English teeth
Shining in the sun
A part of British heritage
Aye, each and every one.

English teeth. Happy teeth
Always having fun,
Clamping down on bits of fish
And sausages half done.
English teeth. Heroes teeth
Hear them click and clack
Let's sing a song of praise to them
Three cheers for the brown, grey and black.

So look after your teeth everybody and chew before it's too late.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Days that make your heart sing

On a spring morning when the sun comes up and you happen to wake up early and see the pink of the dawn sky, the misty haze that lies across the fields like a baby's blanket, the glad sounds of the birds as they wake up, then the light gets brighter, the sun's rays are warm and everything is fresh before the dust of summer has settled, you will feel your heart sing, you will feel a joy deep within you, you will feel happy just breathing in and out.
You might make a cup of coffee and sit drinking it, admiring the fat blossoms on the trees, full of the promise of the fruit they will bear. You might watch a bird take flight, you might see a hang-glider trying to experience the same joy as the birds, the thrill of flying. You might feel overcome with emotion, with joy, with the pleasure that nature is offering on a bright spring day. So that's when you might start saying things like it makes your heart sing, your soul soar, or other such expressions.

Here is a verse by William Wordsworth ( 1770 - 1850)

Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie to deep for tears.

and another one by Robert Browning (1812 - 1889)

The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hillside's dew-pearled;
the lark's on the wing;
the snail's on the thorn;
God's in his heaven -
All's right with the world.

Apple blossom

Fly like a bird

Wild crocuses


Monday, 3 April 2017

Nice places to sit and stare

It's spring, the weather is beautiful, the blossom is out and the days are longer. There's time to watch the sun go down, watch the petals from the blossom waft gracefully down to the ground when caressed by a passing breeze.
I've already used the poem by William Henry Davies (1871 - 1940)  in another post so here are the first few lines to get you in the mood.


What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass .....

Isn't it wonderful how you can often come across a bench, somewhere to sit awhile and admire the changing seasons? Benches are always made for at least two people, to sit close together. I've never seen a bench for one person. two people sitting on a bench enjoying the view. It must be something that everyone likes doing because there are a lot of benches all over the place.
Often benches bear an inscription, dedicated to someone who liked to sit there, showing appreciation of the bench. Often the bench will have been donated by the family members of the loved ones. it seems though that there can be bough benches, we wanted to put one in memory of my dad but were told there already was a bench dedicated to someone else, so we put a small tree in a pot instead.

So sit together on a bench, hold hands, admire the view, enjoy the spring air.
William Henry Davies knew the importance of doing this and expresses it simply yet beautifully in his poem so everyone that reads it can understand, just like the bench.
have a lovely Monday everyone and look out for a bench.

A bench by a stream for weary walkers

A bench for some relaxation after a hard morning in the vegetable patch

A bench in a shady spot

A bench near a lake, ideal for a picnic

Bring Out the best in yourself

Many times you hear people say that someone brings out the best in them, usually a partner. Sometimes people will complain that instead someone brings out the worst in them.
The fact is though that whether someone brings out the best or worst in us is entirely up to us. We are responsible for how we react to other people and situations.

Normally I prefer positive affirmations, but this morning I read this list of advice from
Najwa Zebian and thought there is some inspiration there for everyone today. we've all got grievances and hurts, we've all got something to complain about I'm sure. We've all been disappointed by other people.

Don't break a bird's wings and then tell it to fly.
Don't break a heart and then tell it to love.
Don't break a soul and then tell it to be happy.
Don't see the worst in a person and expect them to see the best in you.
Don't judge people and expect them to stay by your side.
Don't play with fire and expect to stay safe.
Life is about giving and taking.
You cannot expect to give bad and receive good.
You cannot expect to give hate and receive love.
So if you're willing to see positive change in your life, you must be willing to be that change yourself.

by Najwa Zebian

Everyone has the task of transforming their wounds into a place to insert their wings