The Book is finally written… The Sentimental Journey – Poetic Stories Vol 1 by India Blue

DSC_0021 -Coveredited3

So, I finally have it.  The collection of Poems, some of which are here on the blog and others which are yet to be seen which are all neatly assembled into my book.

It will be called The Sentimental Journey – Poetic Stories Vol 1 by India Blue

Poetic Stories since that seems to be the form that I have found my poems often take. I am hoping to self publish it very soon that is after a few choice people have read it for me and given me their harshest feedback of course. With a bit of Luck, it will be available on Amazon Kindle, pending any more subsequent edits and I have re-scheduled my launch until November 2016.

Who knows, if I make the date without having to delay it due to the other things which have been going on lately and people actually read it and like it, then there may even be a Poetic Stories Volume 2, after all I have so many more poetic stories to share with you.

It feels as though progress has been slow, I finished it some time ago, but Life has got in the way somewhat since then and everyone seems to suffer with self-doubt and wondering if they are actually doing the right thing.

Now it’s time for me to get back on track and to write some more, watch this space…

Oh, and Wish Me Luck! 

The promise that my partner gets to read it first has been achieved, finally! He has taken the time on our trip to read it cover to cover and given me his opinions. Now that’s out of the way, a last tweak on the edit and I feel as though I can go ahead and get it out there at last.


The Hawk

Beautifully dancing, swooping the fields,
Stopping to notice the presence it yields.
Fields of straw over the way,
Looking down upon farmers gathering hay.
Swept upon current a different direction,
Sitting here watching, a time for reflection.
Farmland and country, forest and loch,
Wind so fierce, you reel from the shock.
Rain coming sideways to wash your soul clean.
Such beauty is this, in the place where you dream.
A pair of birds, searching for prey,
On this cold, damp Autumn day.
Ignoring the others, they fly overhead.
I’m filled with awe and with bowed head.
Seagulls over fly in the mist,
Searching for something they pass and they drift.
But with purpose it arrives with no squawk,
The careful hunter, the silent hawk.

The Daily Post – Waiting

Days like These and Remaining Independent


11062706_10154122837704517_7428223558496551676_nThere’s something about days like these, being in a rural location that makes you feel cold to the bone. It’s damp in our house and in a stone cottage where on this trip we have brought with us an oil fired heater which was keeping the chill off, we were feeling rather pleased that it was working.  On a freezing cold night, we are now able to keep warm in two rooms.  I am also extremely grateful that I have the gas cooker in the caravan.  It’s a really old caravan and it leaks and is damp, but it has its’ cosy moments.

Today there is something wrong with the electric. It has been on less than half speed since we awoke there must be a problem up in the fields somewhere. The caravan fused last night, which meant that we had an impromptu candlelit dinner in there.  I was just pleased that there was power left in the house, but today nothing was running right. 20 minutes to boil a kettle and despite the heater being left on all day, the room was still cold and chilly. We wondered if any other homes were suffering but the neighbour is not around so we cannot ask him. So as I prepped dinner tonight, a Thai Chicken Curry to warm us up, suddenly the cavalry arrive here, lights ablaze on their team of vehicles, called by our neighbour who returned home to a cold house. We both have very dim lights.  At first we thought that the bulbs might be on their way out, but since they are the old incandescent ones, they either work or they don’t.

So Scottish Power arrived at about 9pm, to head over the hills to investigate a cabling problem, we were all at half speed so it seemed.

Grateful for the logs, gas bottles and candles I have in the house along with the bottled drinking water and our washing water.  Yes we are basic here, but pretty self sufficient for a night at least. The guys worked through the night, cutting all power to our homes from 11pm. Back on by 7am they let us know before heading back down the hill. We were very relieved that we could get the oil fire back on again to warm it up.


So today we are back to normal again and since I only brought the electric chainsaw with us on this trip, I am relieved as I will have to cut wood again in a couple of days, to actually fit on the fire. Our logs were hastily cut from trees which had fallen in storms in the past couple of years, all sections are about a foot high and anything up to 2 feet across and were not logged at the time.  They have dried in large pieces and now need to be split.  We tried a small hand splitter, a large axe, a small hand axe and we only have the small chainsaw left here to try.  My partner tried it the other day, but his old injuries along with the new ones have been playing him up and have left him sore. So it will finally be my turn to try, I have the kit for working outside, chainsaw helmet, muffs, gloves, trousers and rigger boots.  I am sure that with his guidance I’ll be able to do it.  When I get the hang of using the small one, then I can move onto the big one next time.  But for now this will have to do for us.

Something occurred to me yesterday morning though, if all the big strong men up here get their logs delivered and pose with their axes for their women, then there is probably a reason or two why.  I will leave you to come to your own conclusions there.

Our neighbour has a bandsaw and a huge pile of perfectly sawn logs.  They are outside ready for winter and he has moved them outside his back door for ease of use when needed.  When the power was down, my partner commented that it must be lovely and warm in there with his new log burner going. He was a little bit shocked when he was informed that despite having it fitted over a year ago, that the man still has not yet used it. That “it was a very messy business using this one, and all the instructions are in Italian.”  As my partner says, that was three reasons.  Remembering the other neighbour with his wood delivery my response was My God, is it all for show up here?

How difficult is it to light a fire for goodness sake?

I guess some people are not blessed with either common sense or practicality.

I don’t know why the mess of a log fire should bother him, he is a wealthy man who has people to clean and pick up after him.

So when there was not enough power to pump his oil fired heating around his house rather than put on a coat to come outside and speak to the men from the power company, he stood in the icy cold in his sweater. He did not figure out how to use his log burner and would rather sit indoors moaning that it was cold.

“He’d cut off his nose to spite his face” as my grandparents used to say…

We did have some light it was so dim that it was little more than candlelight and it wouldn’t even power the fan heater, or the electric blanket on the bed. We put on extra layers, extra logs on the fire and can boil a kettle on the gas in the caravan if need be. Although everything took twice the time to achieve it didn’t much matter to us, we were not on a schedule, however for the folk who are, it must have driven them crazy.

Going Native


The Back Garden…



From the Front Step.

This is our view as we arrived at the cottage. It’s overgrown, more so than last year when we arrived midsummer I think, but it will soon die back again and we won’t have time to clear it all on this short trip.

But we are home.  I wonder how long it will be before we have gone native.  It used to take Kato about 24 hours, before he got used to the sights and sounds around him.  A huge sleep in our house and out to his favourite spot to look at the view, followed by a walk around the perimeter.  Figuring out what had changed whilst he was away.

This time it was just us walking about. We opened the house up and got the luggage in made a cup of coffee and sat out on the step. Looking at his favourite spot.

Suddenly my partner jumped up, come on. It’s time.  He got the ashes we had saved for the purpose and we stood by his favourite spot and said Welcome Home our Darling Boy, you will always have a part of you in Scotland as we scattered them to the wind.  I prayed that he would be happy to be here, that he would now rest wherever he wished to be and that we would still feel his presence whenever we needed to.  We wiped away tears, as we have done every day since then as we spend time here, it hasn’t got any easier for us that he is no longer here.

He is in our thoughts constantly. I guess that we are still in grief for our boy, despite our attempts at carrying on.

So, about going native…

How long did it take? Well we still felt like holiday makers for a couple of days, we got supplies from the shops and funny looks because our accents are so different coming from the south.  But within about 24 hours, a few of the local phrases and the hint of an accent had begun to creep into the vocabulary.

The water up here is different in taste. The air is clearer and the light brighter, but it always feels like home at a slower pace and we settle right back in.

I realised yesterday that I have not looked in the mirror for five days, there is one on the wall, but it’s positioned a little too high for me to see into, so I haven’t bothered.  Normally this would bother me, on trips to the shops etc, but this time it hasn’t.  I only put on Mascara to go and visit one of my friends the other day, other than that, my face has been completely free of make up and it hasn’t bothered me at all. But I do remember to use moisturiser each day and cleanse the soot off at night.

I did look in the mirror yesterday after that thought occurred to me, but only since I had been collecting kisses from puppies at the supermarket and needed to wash it.

I have the wild hair to go with it, but am happier than I have been in months.  It’s so good to be away from the normality, back to basics and thinking about what we use and recycle up here.

I saw a field mouse run through the back of the house the other night in the old croft. It was only out the back but I will have to keep an eye and make sure that our food supplies are kept secure, last night as I sat in the caravan one ran over my foot out from under one of the seats, startled that I was there.  Usually by this time of the year, it would have the caravan to itself and all would be quiet, almost hibernation. I don’t see the point of setting traps when we do not live here all the time, it’s only one or two in different places and as long as I don’t keep food where they can get to it, I see that they have as much right to shelter here as I do.

Meanwhile we are enjoying the peace and serenity of the place with all the wildlife that surrounds us.  As my partner sat enjoying a cup of coffee, a whole family of deer, Stag, Doe and Fawn wandered up to take a look at him and meet him on the path outside our door.

Last night in the twilight, of a beautiful moon we heard the owls as they flew across the garden, over the trees which bend to the wind calling out to each other, life continuing and nature at its best.

This morning, he called me to “Quickly come and look,” there was a beautiful bird of prey swooping down into the field, it was there for a while.  We stood and watched it in the sunshine before the rain came. I always collect the beautiful speckled flyaway feathers that I find, as there are often hawks here, occasionally Eagles fly overhead, but usually the smaller birds. I take the feathers back South to remind me, but it’s good to be back here in the midst of it all.

It is raining again, for the umpteenth time today, we have mist across the fields and the wind blowing the clouds across, it will pass and we will be warm inside.

The Daily Post – Tree







The Grass IS Greener, Ask the Sheep!


The Grass is Greener on the other side, just ask the sheep.

So we awoke to find the fields next door full of sheep and thought that the neighbouring farmer must have branched out from cattle to sheep. Kato would have loved to walk or run around that field and I’m sure that he would have helped round them up in the evening by running around the field if required, after all he managed that with the cows.

After a leisurely breakfast, (well it is our holiday after all) we looked out from the window to see that one of the sheep had broken free from that field and was in our neighbours field in front of the house.
Normally this would not be a problem except that this neighbour does not close his gates, the field has hazards in it for animals and if the others followed, as sheep tend to do, then there could have been a whole herd of sheep across the lane causing mayhem or getting hurt. Unfortunately the man is not an animal lover and therefore shows no care that what is in his field could cause injury to others.

We made a call, but got voicemail so the farmer must have been out in the fields, so leaving a message, my partner went to move gates so that it couldn’t get any further. The sheep stood munching the lovely green grass and looking quite bemused, mouthfuls of grass filled his face and he was oblivious to the fact that his freedom was being curtailed.
He didn’t care, as you could clearly see, from the photograph the grass definitely was greener this side of the fence. He was happy to stay there. Sod’s law prevailed though and later he just skipped back across to the other field before the farmer could arrive and round him up. We later found out that a new farmer had rented the fields for his sheep and as a Thank you for securing them he offered us one of his lambs in the spring when we are next up. Now that’s a tempting thought.

Phoenix in the Fire


Phoenix Fire

There is something immediately calming to me about building a log fire in our house.

I always look into the fire to see what shapes it will produce, sometimes I have seen words upon logs as they burn and sometimes there are objects which are plain to see. others you may have to look more closely for.

Here is the second night’s fire after we arrived.  I have named it my Phoenix Fire. As I placed the funny shaped log upon the fire, it began to burn and as it burned the fire curled the fronds of bark around it as though wings in flight.  It was beautiful. I did not want to leave it’s warmth.  As the fire roared from it’s mouth and all around it warming the room and my face. It was as though it had something to teach me. That underneath it all, there is still room to grow and return.  Another promise of Hope perhaps.  It would appear to be a signal that I am not done here yet.  Rising again from the embers. Stronger one can hope.

The Daily Post – Promises

From South to North Part Two – Our Journey continues…


This is the second leg of our journey. Part 2 if you have time, please read Part One and I promise it will be a little clearer. From South to North – Part One Welcome to Scotland or Failte gu Alba

It was 3.30am when I awoke, I felt uneasy about something, I wanted to write this before I forgot it all, trying not to disturb I crept to the phone to type it up, but that lights up as soon as you touch it.

My stomach is growling, Hunger maybe or eating unsuitable food en-route.  I went into the bathroom, tried to turn on the light pull but instead pulled the emergency cord, sounding the alarm instead.  I have never done this before. It’s funny now and he is laughing about it, much to my annoyance, but at 4.45am when I woke him after 350 miles he wasn’t so happy and I got upset. I’d tried so hard not to disturb him and he is such a light sleeper. I was feeling rough, in the middle of a hot flush and needing the bathroom and I just wanted him to leave me alone and go back to sleep.

Make yourself Tea, he said and I had a biscuit. I wanted to write so badly. I gain peace from it but then the pen ran out.  I found another to continue with, why are the pages in the notebook so noisy to write on?

Is there something odd, about walking along a street with an axe slung over your shoulder?

Maybe, but not when you have just bought it and it’s still in the packaging, but I may have had some explaining to do. Apparently they’d rather that I didn’t walk back into McDonalds like that, it might be taken the wrong way said the man who was picking up the rubbish from the car park. My love buys me some odd gifts these days.  For Christmas it was a log splitter and a family holiday.  The log splitter remains in the South, neither he nor the caravan could have taken the weight of it, so he says that is what the axe is for.  I only hope that my shoulder is up to it.

So will our neighbour be wanting to “discuss the pruning” of my tree whilst I chop wood? Maybe not, so that’s a delicious thought and probably why he really bought it.

Finally as there was a full snore coming from next to me, he was in a deep sleep again. Undisturbed by my writing, with the light on he is not used to this, the early hours of writing.  He says he is looking forward to reading my book, we brought the printed version.  He is my Alpha reader, my biggest fan and second harshest critic. The one to whom it is dedicated and it is only right and fair that he is the first to read it. I warned him, I may write more whilst we are here.  “I hope you do” he said.

Be careful what you wish for darling!

Upon leaving the hotel we found that our caravan had been broken into overnight, miraculously nothing had been taken, but with a window out repairs had to be made.  It now looks in an even more sorry state, perhaps that was what had made me restless too.

Once we arrive at our home on the hill, we will scatter some of our Kato’s ashes. There will always be a little part of him in Scotland.  He couldn’t wait to get here I promised him that I would take him to see his Moo Cows and sit in his garden, watching the world go by. However difficult that turns out to be for us, his Mummy and his Dad we will do it. We will scatter them to the wind in his favourite spot in front of the house, surveying his view. The rest will stay with us.


Hopefully the sun will shine, the birds will be singing and the cattle will bow in his presence.  I know that they will look out for him when he arrives. His Deer will wander the garden and they will look for him. Everybody loved him, many will miss him, his cheekiness and his love his warmth but most of all his family.

If this is his last trip to Scotland then lets make it a good one.

I don’t know how we feel about the place it is our home, Kato’s home. My spiritual place and for our health we may be about to give it up.  If someone loves it as much as I do and can see the magic and potential in the place then we’ll be in with a chance.

Could anyone love it as much as I do?

This special place holds meaning and memories for us.  Our dream was so very different from the reality. It has grown old and very tired, careworn and derelict. Without the influx of cash to make it homely or comfortable, we may not get to keep it much longer. That was never the plan for me, I had two sets of plans for it.

So are we faced with trying to rekindle interest in a cottage that I love so that someone else may do with it as they wish.  Sometimes I really wish that time was on our side and that we do as Louis Armstrong said “Have all the time in the World”

For now, as short as this particular trip may seem. I am going to try and enjoy the time that we have here on our holiday, in “our hoose” doing whatever we do.  We may have missed the harvest, just but that is not a bad thing, our farming friends may have time to spend with us before they head off on holidays in warmer climates to prepare them for winter.

There will be apples on the tree and blackberries and elderberries still to be picked. I may even make Jam as presents for Christmas, or just Apple and Blackberry crumble.

We will walk in the hills, eat takeaway on the beach watching the waves as the slightly fiercer weather breaks upon the shore. We will walk hand in hand. Young Lovers once again, cherish the time that we have together, snuggle by the open fires, read, listen to music and chop wood. Enjoy the night sky filled with stars on a blue black backdrop and hear the calls of nature whistling through the garden.  For as long as we are here together then this will be home.

We did not get the whole summer. It did not go as planned, but we are here now. There is some work to do we will light our Autumn Bonfire at last.  I will learn to use the chainsaw I now have gloves to protect me along with the rest of my kit.

We are not now living off the land as I once wished that we would. There are no animals here to sustain us or protect us.  No furry assistant by my side this time and my plans may become shorter term, but they are plans nevertheless.

The telescope came with us, we will set it up and I will watch the stars with it. The sketchpad came too, I will draw, I may even paint. I will take cuttings from the trees or seedlings back home. A little of our home back to the South to continue on its own journey. Seeds to send across the world as I wonder do Scots Pines or Beech Trees grow happily in Australia, then my friend must take seeds or I will post them to her.

I will learn which trees occupy our garden, I have my suspicions but I am pretty sure that there are 13 species which correspond to the various moons throughout the year.  I will learn from what remains of Georges’s garden.

I will dream of good things to come our way, of finding peace once again. We have arrived at our sanctuary, we have waited so long and we are ready for our time here.

We are looking forward to that now with hot coffee in our hands, steam rising from the cup, mist lifting and the horizon appearing through the fog. Welcoming a new day and good experiences for us, a warm jumper if needed and good sunlight upon our faces.  I am also Thankful for the feeling of pure, Scottish rain as it falls upon me, washing and cleansing the hurt and pain of the past few months and the warm fire in the evening before the quiet of an empty hillside calms the soul to sleep once more until I awake once more to face another day head on.


The Daily Post – Clumsy