Thursday, August 31, 2006

Politics and Selfishness

Yes, we'll take the skilled workers from a country where their skills may be desperately needed! Yes, we have taken the unskilled when it helps us to keep down wages of our lowest paid!

Guardian Unlimited Politics Special Reports Permit scheme to cut flow of east Europeans

We Are Such Stuff .. as irreconcilable differences are made of

Cuba, Iraq, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, the ‘Big Bang’, evolution, faith and, intra-religious squabbles. What could all these items have in common?

Each of these topics was touched on in my chats over coffee, at ‘Open Church’ this morning, alongside the usual formal niceties and small talk. Oh, how easy it is to find a simple solution to most of the world’s problems but, how lacking is any kind of political will to practise them!

On the one side we have self-centred, greed fuelled ideologies, which provide freedom for those who have the wherewithal and, a graduated scale of misery for numerous others; on the other hand we have those ideological positions upheld only by a degree of repression, partially the result of having to resist external malevolent forces, and yet, against the odds, manage to produce a better quality of universal health-care and education than that proffered by some more affluent neighbouring ‘free’ societies. To be honest, if you’re at the bottom of the heap, it doesn’t help to ‘know’ that one is free, if all that freedom entails is the right to be trampled on, and snubbed, by an uncaring greed-motivated minority (and their many sheep-like minions – the men who like to “rattle their chains to show that they are free”).


Yet again, a rambling posting spews forth from what was supposed to be a simple comment on my morning. The intended report would simply have said: “Once again, I managed to kill two birds with one stone. A visit to ‘Open Church’ entailed exercise (in terms of the walk to and from) and socializing (conversation over a cup of coffee). The walk back, after having been sat for fifty plus minutes, seemed to pace itself at about 60% of the speed assumed on my outward journey. Apart from my usual drowsiness after such exercise and, the return (since yesterday evening) of a discomforting numb tingle, from little finger to wrist on my left hand, my general decrepitude casts few shadows on my enjoyment of the day.”


A further posting today, 'A human voodoo doll once more', can be found on Hirsute Antiquity (Malcolm's blog on My Space). On Mal's Murmurings a new posting 'The Avian Feline Connection' can be found.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

It Is - therefore I type!

There have been times in my life when acquaintances have envied my laid-back approach to life; at other times, the pendulum has swung so far the other way that, I’ve been recognized as a sterling example of the stressed-out lifestyle. Alcohol and other substances have played their part in both extremes but, fortunately, *I haven’t become addicted to any of them. The major addiction in my life can be spelt out on the fingers of one hand: H – E – L – E – N!

Now, I don’t know where this little ramble is heading and, to be honest, I don’t really care. It seems like I’ve imposed upon myself a statutory requirement to write three blog posts on 30 August 2006#. I have no cause to be stressed-out, as it’s a self-inflicted statute but, nor can I be too laid-back, otherwise I wouldn’t come up with such stupid conditions.

Today, I contentedly drift in a state of semi-alertness, in the company of my beloved. I tap out words for the simple reason that the laptop exists.

[ * sad admission time – nicotine has its tentacles firmly embedded in mind and body! ]

# today’s other postings can be found here (on Hirsute Antiquity) and here (on Mal’s Murmurings)!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Anticipation Mounts

A relatively inactive day, surfing the web, grabbing the odd snack, spending a little while in the garden, passed remarkably quickly. It seems strange saying ‘relatively inactive’, I even ask myself “relative to what?” OK, I admit it; just a typically inactive day has passed smoothly enough, the only exercise being a little hand-in-handing walk with my beloved after her return from work. There’s always something special about these shared exercise periods!


A week today, a friend from my university days, who I’ve not seen for the best part of thirty years, will be coming to stay with us for a couple of nights and, judging by the occasional e-mail he doesn’t seem to have changed much. [“I should say my needs are very small requiring only a] A toilet b] a Cup of Tea c] A good pub or something similar. I could even bring a sleeping bag if required.”]. He’s the only person I’ve ever met who, after a drink or two, could recite copious passages from Jack London’s ‘Call Of The Wild’ verbatim.

I’ve always suspected that the character of Geoffrey in the series ‘Coupling’ could well have been based on our impending visitor, for reasons too uncanny to detail; a lot of people would consider that an insult but, I trust that those who knew NG would treat the comparison with the same spirit of affection as that in which it is proferred!

After all that build up, I just hope that my beloved won’t be disappointed with the resultant visitor.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Bank Holiday Monday

Although my sole occupation is “pacing myself”, no formal employment, I still enjoy a Bank Holiday. When I was in formal employment, I not infrequently worked on those days and, alternatively, would remain at home rather than follow the lemmings to overcrowded beauty spots. The real treat, these days, is that it provides me with an extra day in the company of my beloved; this is the most precious aspect of my life, I always feel more complete when I’m sharing my time and affection with ma belle Helene.

We’ve managed to do a little sorting out in the house, re-arranging the bedroom which we intend to move into when we finally get round to ordering a new bed. I also managed to cut back some of the briars at the wildlife end of the garden whilst Helen gathered a few more brambles. Blackberries and apples are both available in abundance this year; it gives ma belle amoureuse a chance to practise her baking skills, preparing fruit sponges and crumbles.

The day seems to have passed all too swiftly.

I rejoice in this day the Lord has made.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Art of Fusion

A pungent melee of aromas fills the air; coriander, cumin, garlic, turmeric, ginger, chilli, tikka & garam masala powders prepare to assault the senses. The master chef (well at least yours truly) is at it again with preparations for Sunday lunch. Once the heat has released this pungency, a dash of oil to the griddle-pan serves as a starting pistol and, let the good times roll! Simultaneously, my aural space is flooded with the Kansas City strains of Jay McShann, as I swiftly chop the peppers, mushrooms, onions, broccoli and other goodies before they taste the searing heat.

Once the onion’s sweated, and the other vegetables have searingly absorbed some of the spice, the lean minced beef hisses on the griddle, and swiftly integrates itself with the vegetarian accoutrements. As it sizzles, I add a further generous dollop of crushed garlic and then a tin of plum tomatoes, swiftly smothered in freshly ground black pepper before chopping and crushing with a spatula. There follows the lazy bit as I stir in a jar of Rogan Josh sauce, allowing it all to simmer to perfection.

Having transferred the magical concoction into two casserole dishes, to stand until tomorrow lunchtime before their long slow simmer, Helen and I race each other to finger out the residual sauce from the griddle pan, pass it to the mouth and, appreciate the tingle at the back of the tongue!

A later posting for today, 'A Spell on the Garden', can be found on Mal's Murmurings.

Friday, August 25, 2006

We also serve ...

This was posted earlier in the day on my Hirsute Antiquity blog but, thought I'd repeat the posting here for the benefit (?) of those who don't visit me elsewhere. I promise there are different postings there too.


Sometimes, we venture out for an, apparently, aimless meander through the local highways and byways. The timing and the direction are of no particular account; it’s simply that the necessary reserve of stamina was there so, why not?

This morning I ventured out for such a little stroll, armed only with my standard first aid kit, comprising three items. The three items in the kit are a smile, a hug and, an encouraging word. On this occasion, all three items were utilized.

Five minutes after leaving my cosy home base I met Elizabeth G., an octogenarian widow prone to chronic bouts of depression. We talked Poetry, the Brontes, and a little general chit-chat, before going our separate ways. A couple of minutes later, I met with the mother and sister of a friend currently serving his third year as a guest of her majesty. We shared a warm greeting, and a few words, before my gentle meander continued. The next meeting, just a few minutes further down the road was with another Elizabeth, a friend not in the best of health, who has taken it upon herself to be the carer of her more severely ill sister.

Perhaps the timing, and direction we take, are always of account! Having stood to chat, on these three occasions, I sensed it would be foolish to wander quite so far as I otherwise might; a shortcut was called for and, not too hard too find.

Sometimes, it seems as if the path we take is blessed; we also serve who simply meander and wait.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A Little Restoration

After a few days, when levels of physical and emotional stamina had returned to their lowest level for several months, (see 'Where Have All The Muscles Gone' on Mal's Murmurings), the last couple of days have witnessed a slight upturn. It’s not that I’m exactly bubbling with energy but, at least I’ve not been entering into the state of zombified drift.

Yesterday, I managed a walk down to Open Church where I enjoyed my coffee and conversation amongst a group of at least ten acquaintances. I stayed there for 50 minutes, before a slightly more staid return walk home. This is definitely progress!!

This evening, having prepared and consumed an original spiced trout, peppers, cherry tomatoes and mushroom pasta topping, served with Sicilian wholewheat penne pasta, my beloved and I ventured out, all hand-in-handing like a pair of young lovers, for a brief brisk walk. We do so totally feel like young lovers, despite my general state of decrepitude!

We’re currently relaxing, in front of a hot widescreen cathode ray tube, whilst imbibing a most refreshing Hungarian Pinot Grigio (‘Campanula’ 2005) and, all’s well with the world!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Inappropriate Response Syndrome

What is it about sudden sounds that I find so devastating? I enjoy listening to all types of music and, whilst listening, a sudden clash of cymbal, or reverberant tympani roll, are taken in their stride; it’s the sudden disruptive clash, a saucepan lid falling a few inches on to a concrete floor, a tablespoon falling from the work surface, that have the nerve shattering effect. A small sudden sound takes a gargantuan toll on my nervous system, my chest feels crushed, the spine feels as if each separate vertebrae grates on the next one and, a tremble runs up from ankle to neck.

Three years ago, this was never the case but, these days a non-sequential, infinitesimal, sound vibration can have an effective aftermath of multiple minutes, a kind of breathless anxiety. The effect seems to have intensified in recent fatigued days, my senseless tiredness has led to a slight extension of my allocated bed rest hours but, currently, every muscle aches in a debilitating but not at all excruciating manner and, it was as if the sudden (pan lid) crash had applied an electric current to muscles lacking the elasticity to offer an appropriate response.

Perhaps I should be grateful, as big unforced smile imposes itself on my face; I have no need to seek out the latest scarifying roller-coaster ride as, each day’s minor incidents can introduce the same kind of, sometimes discomforting, excitement and temporary trepidation into my wonderful life.

I rejoice and give thanks for this day the Lord has made!


a complementary posting 'Where Have All The Muscles Gone' can be found on Mal's Murmurings

Friday, August 18, 2006

Raindrop Overture

Morning arrived, bogged down in an intensity of rain; it’s rapping at the window awakened me from quite sound sleep. Each drop-fall, on the skylight window, resonated through the loft-space and tumbled down the steps.

A young blackbird rakes around in the undergrowth, sheltered by the buddleia, as the rain eases; it’s rather like watching a seasoned beachcomber at work. Watching this activity, I feel at ease with the world, milkily grizzled sky and all; it’s almost as if the bird is turning leaves and soil for pleasure, rather than as part of an endless quest for survival. At this time of the year, worms and grubs are in plentiful supply, so its living is easy.

I celebrate this abundant supply. Today I am grateful, for the food in my belly, a roof over my head and, the abundant supply of love which constantly nurtures me. The raindrops may be falling on my head but, it’s certainly not raining in my heart.

As I sit here typing, the rain has all but left us for the moment and, sparrows wallow in the birdbath, as if they haven’t a care in the world.


A new draft poem on the raindrop theme has been posted on Mal's Factory this morning.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

An Exceptional Day

Yesterday was quite an exceptional day for me, in terms of utilization of my somewhat maudlin reserves of physical and emotional stamina; I even managed to flex my concentration muscle a little in the earlier part of the day.

Firstly, I managed to spend a full twenty minutes reading a book, before releasing myself from the duvet cocoon and, although I slightly overstayed my allocated period of bed rest, I still managed to shake the haze out of my brain, and the fog from my field of vision, by the time I’d grabbed a bowl of cereal. To actually have shoes on my feet (shortly) before 11.00AM made quite a change too.

Next I chivvied myself to take a brief stroll to ‘Open Church’ to share coffee, biscuits, and a natter with some of the regulars and, renew acquaintance with others. After a short time there, I veered into one of my legendary hot-flushes, thankfully in a reasonably moderate key, but Isabel (an octogenarian veteran of these coffee supping occasions) was quick to say, “hot flushes Malcolm … is there a big secret you’ve been keeping from us?” As if to, perversely, emphasize my masculine pride, I told her that my hot flushes could outshine the best my beloved ever came up with!

Forty-five to fifty minutes later, I hit the road again, for a leisurely stroll back home. After a little rest, I entered the cyberspace surfing realm, checking e-mails, friends postings on ‘MySpace’ and, a cursory skim through the lead items in various online newspapers. A time of drift followed, to the accompanying strains of (BBC )Radio 4 & Radio 3 until my beloved returned from work. Having prepared a little transcontinental pasta, eagerly devoured by the two of us, more exercise was to follow as we wandered off, hand in hand, into the sunset for a 35 minute reasonably brisk walk.

Neither the degree of exercise, nor the socializing, was even on my agenda in the early part of the year. It truly was an exceptional day!

Today has remained lower key; my furthest venturing has been from bedroom to living room, living room to kitchen and, the odd ambling move to the garden pond. My earliest visit to the pond, this morning, resulted in the gentle eruption of a new poem; the poem ‘Morning Song’ can be read on Mal’s Factory or at Hirsute Antiquity.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Taking Stock

My previous postings today have represented both passive and active modes of contemplation, on Hirsute Antiquity (my blog on My Space) and Mal’s Murmurings respectively.

In some ways I’m pleasantly surprised by these contemplative endeavours, as the past 36 hours have found me restless and frustrated, in a way that could seem close to depression, except it wasn’t marred by any real degree of discontent. Discomfort would be more the key, the sheer heaviness of fatigue with weary limbs, joints and, a slightly out of kilter sense of balance. But, even in this state, I still could find the energy to indulge in important acts of sharing and giving with my beloved. To roll and rejoice in each others arms, to sing with our hearts the joy of being one, and at one, with the whole of creation.

The energy levels, both physically and emotionally, leave much to be desired yet I know, and know of, many others who would consider the resources of stamina I possess their Eldorado. I’ve even managed to rinse out the filters from, and add treatments to, the pond’s filtration unit this afternoon and, hopefully without tempting providence, anticipate an evening walk.

As I approached the pond, it seemed as if each piscine resident had heard the lunch bell sound as they rushed to greet me. It seemed a shame to disappoint them but, they’d already had two feeds today and, there seems to be a reasonably abundant native supply of bloodworms and midge larvae in there.

Suddenly, it seems as if I’m counting my blessings once again! I am and I do – it’s always good to take stock!


PS 9.50PM : This evening, I retraced the zig-zag route reported on in ‘A Little Diversion’ and, I’m quite extremely happy to report no ill effects on this occasion, apart from a very transitory spasm in the small of my back. This time I walked the route hand-in-hand with my beloved and, of course, that must have made all the difference!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Walking In The Light

And in this day the Lord has made, Malcolm contentedly rejoices. To enjoy a slow emergence into day, blissfully wrapped in my beloved’s embrace is always special and, being the weekend, there’s a bit more opportunity to share this precious time. Weekdays, Helen has frequently departed the duvet realm at an hour when my consciousness has not quite eluded the arms of Morpheus.

Later in the day, I shared the celebratory postings of a special person who has regained control of her own life.

Wherever there is light, apart from in a void, it casts a shadow; sometimes we need a helping hand to adjust the angle of the light, ensuring that the shadow is thrown well behind us!

Friday, August 11, 2006

From Tiredness to Exhilaration

Today has been one of tiredness and exhilaration. The tiredness, ironically, is partly a result of being so wonderfully, floatingly, zonked out last night (after my acupuncture session) that I was really super alert this morning. Being up and about before 10.00am should have sounded warning bells but, we had a visitor coming around, one of Helen's old schoolfriends who's visiting God's own county for a few days.

This initial state of alert rapidly dissipated, even before the morning was out, and I spent most of the afternoon wondering what day of the week it was! Now, that's not quite so bad as it sounds but, having a visitor in the morning made me think it must be Saturday and, I found myself wondering if I was sufficiently energized to start my preparations for Sunday lunch. I've got to admit though that some of my general wooziness was of the pleasant variety, it was only the little glitches when I found my balance going a bit wonky, as I moved around the house, that it posed any problem.

Of course there's no rest for the wicked and, after Helen returned from seeing her computer students at the Acorn Centre, and a subsequent trip out to have a drink with Beth, it was business as usual. I prepared a medium-hot/hot Trout biryani type dish for our evening meal, much appreciated by both of us. It's quite strange to think that when we met, Helen didn't like fish or spicy food and now, both are on her favourites list - it's maybe all a subtle ploy to ensure that I keep slaving over a hot stove.

After the meal, we drove around to see Anne Marie, one of Helen's students, who we were able to set up with a new computer (and not so new monitor) a few weeks ago, as she'd found her printer wasn't working. So, Malcolm was called in as troubleshooter and, to see the delight on her face when this was sorted and, I'd shown her how to use WMP to play music while she worked diligently on her CLAIT course work. Just to witness her delight and gratitude, in response to such minimal effort on my part, is where the exhilaration enters the picture. She calls the computer her baby, and this from a woman who has eight grown up children. The fact that we were listening to 'Rock n' Roll Legends', a reminder that once even I was a teenager, as I played around with the PC, meant that the visit lasted a little longer than we'd anticipated!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Kick started by the pricks

A welcome warm tingling glow waltzed caressingly around the calves and shins. It was as if velvet wrapped knuckles were applying the most perfect conceivable massage, in the best of all possible worlds! And that’s only for starters. You may quite rightfully wonder what Sinna Luvva’s getting at and, such is my cosily floating universe at present that my response requires a great deal of conscious effort.

My acupuncture session, this afternoon, was quite tangibly pouring much needed energy into my lower limbs yet, I was totally oblivious to the (actual) position of the needles and, I most certainly hadn’t realized the extra concentration around shins, ankles and top of the feet. I had, as usual, an awareness of those placed at the juncture of thumb and forefinger of each hand, especially as today they seemed to generate a concentration of heat. This was not at all a discomforting heat but, rather reassuring.

It’s always difficult to predict what sensation will accompany the treatment but, despite my initial scepticism when I started my treatments last fall, the results have proved quite positive, initially in terms of pain relief (when that was the focus) and subsequently in terms of re-energizing.

I will always be grateful for the healing efforts of Helen A. What a privilege to receive such treatment under the aegis of a much maligned NHS!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Not So Much A Setback (More A Way of Life)

I'm experiencing so many technical gliches on 'MySpace' that, once again, I'm duplicating a blog entry from 'Words of An Hirsute Antiquity' here ... just in case ...

"After a joyously calm start to the morning, things became a little tougher mid-afternoon. It’s quite odd how a quite gentle walk can suddenly turn into an arduous expedition, not so much a mood swing, more a body one. Sometimes one’s body is just so reluctant to do what it’s told. It’s been well drilled into me how much one has to listen to their body but, there are times when we just have to show it who’s the master. The minor discomforting setback, recorded by Sinna Luvva, although of today’s vintage, already seems like ancient history.

These little incidents, when I seem to have lost control, serve as a useful reminder of just how much I am able to do with my life! Sure, it’s an inconvenience not to be able to do too much forward planning but, I am loved and accepted for who I am, not what or how much I can do."

A Little Diversion

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have composition soles on your sandals, comprising 80% well chewed gum and 20% elasticised super-glue? I can assure you that it’s not to be recommended!

After a calmly joyous start to the day, I drifted into early afternoon. By mid-afternoon, I felt I should take myself for a little walk and, on the outward part of my little expedition, I dropped a prescription in to the local pharmacist. Having started off on one of my usual circuits, I decided to add a bit of a zig-zag to the route, perhaps adding little more than a couple of hundred yards to the overall journey. Whether it was an error of judgement, or simply an incident waiting to happen, I don’t know but, halfway through this diversionary route my thighs and knees started to resist my will to move onwards,

My style, if such it can be called, was in desperate need of amendment; perhaps I should start to swing my legs a different way. For a few brief yards I practised a stiff legged waddle, a new item for my repertoire; this only served to make hips and the small of the back ache in quite an ominous fashion. Thankfully this was only a passing fad.

As I approached the pharmacy, on my home run, to pick up the dispensed prescription, I found myself wondering why they didn’t offer a drive you home service rather than a prescription collection one. What a welcoming prospect that would have been! The knee joint felt like it was grating against the tibia and fibula, the hip joint in need of lubrication and, by this time I was in need of some serious thirst-quenching. Still, I struggled wimpishly on, collected my prescription and suddenly, I recognized the above composition of my sandal’s soles; it seemed to take a real effort of will to lift my foot from the pavement for each step, it was as if the force of gravity was concentrating all its attention on my feet.!

Still, I survived to tell the tale and, sat here with my glass of Adam’s Ale, I am once again at peace with the world. But what do I do next, take another walk to reassure myself that this was just a temporary blip, or rest assured that the rest will cure all?

I have overcome and I will overcome; even now the incident seems laughable.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Catching the drift

Having spent much of the day drifting in and out of cyberspace, messaging wonderful friends on ‘MySpace’, posting a NEW poem (inspired by a beautiful friend) on ‘Mal’s Factory’ and, visiting the Help with ME Forum, the only real exercise of the day was provided by sauntering up to the garden pond to feed the fish.

Once my beloved returned from work, we strolled down to the local Brewer’s Fayre for a little early evening meal. The salmon risotto, topped with an apple and sultana curry sauce, was the choice of both Helen and myself; it’s amazing the lengths some people will go to in order to avoid washing up duties. I suppose it could be viewed as a rightful extension of our No More Buts Day celebrations. The saunter back home provided the day’s extra bit of exercise.

And there’s a real bonus, another dish of my own unique Eurasian style chicken casserole remains for our indulgence tomorrow evening. The first dish was much appreciated on Sunday and, I have no doubts that a couple of standing days will have only served to enhance the flavour, if that’s at all possible!

Of course all the opinions expressed here are simply an expression of my own brand of humility!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

No More Buts Day

Today, 6 August, is a significant day in the life. Firstly, it’s the anniversary of the day when the horrific power of the atom was released on Hiroshima, it is also the Feast of the Transfiguration but, a more immediately important event in my life occurred just seven years ago today! On that day my beloved and I got engaged. To be totally honest, it wasn’t formally an engagement; it was a day on which I said “no more buts”. Perhaps this is an all too familiar saga, all those times when I expressed my love and, yes I do want to spend all of my time with you, but …. The thought of someone committing the rest of their life to me, that’s truly awesome!

Anyway, the 6th August 1999 will henceforth be remembered as NO MORE BUTS DAY! Helen’s eldest daughter kept pestering us to know whether we were engaged yet, she had it all planned out for us, so from that day forth the answer was, “yes”. For Beth, it was like a confirmation that we were indeed an item, for me more the awesome prospect of an impending marriage ceremony a mere seven months down the line. On reflection though, that tying of the knot is the best thing that ever happened to me; this middle aged chap, who’d been around a bit, had finally overcome the fear of sole / soul commitment. At times I dreamt of finding a wealthy widow, to secure me in my old age, but to chance to meet a widow who didn’t quite fulfil the ‘wealthy’ aspect, that really wasn’t on my agenda.

As soon as I met my beloved, she was quite puzzled that I should hug all the other ladies, young or old, but not her. I suppose I sensed something different here and a hug can be so wrongly misinterpreted. The real magical buzz occurred when I held her hand; funny old world, eh? This was going to entail the transition from a hug of love and friendship to the full “to have and to hold”.

Today is a significant day in my life!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

New Every Morning ... (afternoon and evening too!)

Today has been a real day of reckoning, nothing too catastrophic, just a stubborn body reacting to a change of routine. Having gone out for Supper / Dinner last evening, at Helen’s sisters (an event recorded under “Making A Meal of It” on Malcolm’s MySpace blog), my body clock seemed to get over-wound.

My old familiar pattern of restless nights made itself differently manifest; the usual routine is one of feeling really tired but, not being able to sleep at all readily. Last night I quite simply didn’t feel tired but, part of my ‘pacing’ involves keeping a more regular routine so, for a change I found myself laying in bed (accompanied by ma belle & radio 2) feeling alert rather than wrecked, but the same impatience was there as I waited for the Sandman to call.

I entered the new morning, none too belatedly, moderately alert and so, I felt pleased with the progress that I’ve been making. At lunchtime I prepared, from scratch, a couple of tandoori salmon fillets served with penne pasta topped with sautéed peppers, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and peppers and, my beloved and I enjoyed every morsel.

Post lunch, the decline set in with feverishly burning eyes and aching limbs; the only solution was to take a twenty minute nap which, quite mysteriously, transformed itself into a lost couple of hours.

When we ventured out for a walk, the air felt quite clammily oppressive, (even though the temperature is considerably lower than that experienced last week) and my lower limbs became, once more, lead lined tubes of kapok as the brief brisk exercise somersaulted into a weary plod.

Having relaxed in a comfortable high-backed chair for the subsequent hour, a hint of energy is coursing steadily through my veins. If this steady momentum can be maintained, I may even venture into the kitchen to start preparations for tomorrow’s lunch.

The next step is always the most important one I’ll ever have to take! I rejoice and am glad in this day, and so life goes forward to overcome each regressive stage.

AlterNet: Activists, Teachers: Don't Give Up

"The more hopeless the political situation, the more important are those who live and teach the principles of human decency"

AlterNet: Activists, Teachers: Don't Give Up

Friday, August 04, 2006

Unexpected Pleasures

Sometimes life offers up an unexpected pleasure and, sometimes these pleasures come in bundles. Today, I felt sufficiently resilient to get around to packing, and posting, five watercolour sketches to a reader of one of my weblogs who lives the other side of the big pond. What surprised me was the amount of stamina required, to sort out a simple task like packaging a few sheets of paper for transmission across the Atlantic. But, brushing negativity aside, it really has been good to get some positive feedback regarding paintings and poetry on my website and, after much e-mail correspondence, and submission of further jpeg images, it’s a real pleasure to supply the original sketches to someone who has shown such appreciation.

One of these days, I hope to have sufficient reserves of physical and emotional stamina to get down to some real painting once more; meantime, I am fortunate enough to have a few reasonable graphics and imaging programmes (on my PC) with which I can let the creative juices flow!

Another recurrent pleasure, experienced over the past couple of weeks, is the friendliness of people on ‘My Space’ and, the fact that some of one’s added “friends” really do get in touch! I feel quite privileged that they actually take the trouble, in their busy lives, to communicate both in public comments and personal messages. One gets the sense that this is a real community.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Slowly but Surely

For the first time in far too many a day, I decided to do a bit of reading before departing from the duvet realm. It’s the sort of book which I’d have read in a couple of days at one time, simultaneously scanning the pertinent contents / ideas to memory but, my concentration at the moment beats a retreat after about twenty minutes. On reflection, the fact that the writing held my attention and, I sustained concentration, for even that period of time, is a sign of progress!

After that ‘sustained’ bout of reading, I drifted back to dreamland and finally, rescued myself from the duvet lair a couple of hours later. Somehow, I found sufficient stamina in my energy bank to do a miniscule amount of work in the garden before rinsing out the filters from the pond’s filtration unit. It really feels good, being able to manage a few little tasks and, it provided an opportunity to restore a smidgen of glory to a rather tarnished halo.

Come early evening, my beloved having returned from work and a meal with Beth, we ventured out for one of our proverbial brief brisk walks. As we set off, we met Cathy’s friend Kate, who is currently recuperating from brain surgery and had a lovely chat. She’s just such a lovely radiant young lady, who seems to have lost little of her resilience despite the difficulties she has undergone over the past couple of years.

Unlike a few months ago, when any time spent stood in conversation meant that I lacked the stamina to continue the walk, we were able to finish our brisk stroll and, arrived home just in time to watch ‘The Inspector Lynley Mysteries’ (BBC1). Both the exercise and the TV gawping were gratefully received by yours truly!

Although progress may at times seem slow, I just have so much to be grateful for.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Replenishing the Soul

And the refreshing of the earth continues, in this small pocket of the globe at least. A brief venture to an out-of-town store necessitated a quick dash from the car through quite torrential rain but, I’m still revelling in this delightful downpour; the clammy cobwebs (from the hot and humid days) have been well and truly washed away from both mind and body.

Ma belle has been busy, finalizing her preparations for the service she’ll be leading on Sunday, whilst I’ve quite contentedly drifted through cyberspace, having failed to find that hint of inspiration (or imagination) which could inform me what else I could, or should, be doing with my time. I recognize that this “time of drift” is a luxury to be relished but, there are far too many moments when I long for the return of that emotional stamina which once enabled me to lead an (apparently) more purposeful socializing existence!

One of the great privileges of internet access is the ability to make new friends and acquaintances with some wonderful people, without whom the world would be a much poorer place. There are so many occasions when one is able to proffer, or receive, the appropriate words of encouragement and appreciation; my little life has been greatly enriched by the existence of this technology.

Just as the rain refreshes the earth, the friendship of others replenishes the soul.