I’m Alive!

I am relieved to have some sleep on the second part of this journey.

We passed by Bengalaru and Goa and Colombo and have been crossing the sea. As we travel I am thinking of these places, wondering what some of them are like. I never studied geography at school, I foolishly thought that I would never get to see the world. Dreams and ambitions were not to be encouraged and neither were flights of fancy. Curious as to what I would see and experience at ground level. I make a mental note to look such places up later and find out more about the wonders of the world in which we live. We have Drawn level with places named Nikitin Seamount and Investigator Ridge which are on our right whereas to the left of us are Phuket and Singapore A short while ago we crossed the equator and suddenly the blue hue that has been with us for many hours changed.

I ventured along the plane to see what the outside looked like. A wonderful skyscape there before me, like icebergs silently moving by amidst the blue waters below. But here we are above the clouds. It plays tricks upon the mind, as though you have seen something entirely different. I take photographs not only to savour the memories and moments but to paint such things later on.

I knew that I would be making memories on this trip. I am visiting beloved friends who I dared not hope to see so soon, after all they emigrated to the other side of the world. Normal people don’t get to go and visit.

I wanted to show my Mum and my Dad these pictures. I took video as well. It reminds me of a very early memory I have as a child, when my father showed us slides on a projector of his flight to Italy in an aeroplane, there were a lot of photographs of clouds. At the time I did not understand the magic of being above the clouds. But as I have grown up, it is something that I have grown to love. I have no fear of flying just anticipation and joy at the new things I get to see along the way.

As I did on the other flight at what looked like sunrise to me. I am utterly confused and have just witnessed the most beautiful sunset and have been basking in its glory. As I glanced out the window It looked just like God’s feet are sticking out from the heavens reminding us that he is higher still than we can even imagine. It is about 7.30pm wherever we are currently travelling past. Touched by it’s beauty I am overcome with emotion as this part of the world our sky is plunged into darkness. I feel totally alive. I hope that I never forget the feeling of being up here travelling at 37000 feet and cruising at almost 600 miles per hour. The sun as it breaks through some hours from now and the clouds again look like a swirling seascape of surf underneath us. Looking as though we are barely moving but being transported on cloud nine, my new experience has definitely begun. What a wonderful way to experience a rebirth, to recognise that the future is going to be different and better and fun and I will embrace whatever energy I have to experience whatever I am able to.

This is such a gift for which I will be forever grateful and indebted to he who loves me and decided that I should go now whilst I am still young enough to enjoy it.

In the words of Nina Simone which ring around my head “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me and I’m feeling good.”

We have reached the halfway point on this leg of the journey as we head onward past Jakarta and towards Australia and all the treasure that it holds.

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Such Excitement

Such excitement I can hardly breathe.

If you wish hard enough and do believe.

Then all the bad luck we’ll rearrange.

And things at last are going to change.

That it really will come right in the end.

Thanks to my dearest on whom I depend.

He’ll embrace my heart to follow my dreams,

To make things happen and set the scenes.

Of adventures to happen in this life,

After all the trouble and strife.

The trip of a lifetime, a far off place.

He’s there in my heart and back I’ll race.

To tell him of the places I’ve been,

And all of the wonders I have seen.

To share with my love my stories and cheer

Of all the new things that I hold dear.

Things that he pushed me to achieve

At times my aching heart will heave.

To not have him there right my my side

My hand to hold my journey to guide.

But even though he’s there at the start.

We’ll never feel we’re really apart.

To head off alone can fill me with dread,

But I’ll always hear his voice in my head.

To leave him here I do feel mean,

But he’s sending me off to fulfil a dream.

So when time is done and this Earth I leave.

My life lived and travelled I do believe.

The Luxury of Dreaming.

Every once in a while we allow ourselves the luxury of dreaming. I am not speaking of the dreams that just happen at night over which we have no control. I am talking about if things were different for us…

For instance if we could purchase a property in France and eke out a living somehow and live out his dream of living in the warmth of the Mediterranean sun. It is where he wants to be, with every passing year he thinks that it is slipping away and it deeply saddens him and I to think that it may not happen for him. I want to see his dream and wish come true, I just don’t know how to make it happen in the life that we currently have. Another massive change that’s needed before it could. He is older than me by several years and he does not want to end his days in the little place in the South, or in Scotland where the weather is damp and unforgiving to a man with osteo-arthritis and who has been unwell for a long time.

So that is how it happens. An actual dream, which is then discussed with the other (in which we are living in some old house) or quite simply, one or the other of us begins to search online for French property once again in the search for the perfect place as shown in a dream.

A week ago, I dreamt about a house, it didn’t look particularly French in its design, but in the dream it was coastal France and we were travelling. Upon waking I remembered the name of two places. I felt that one of them was in Spain but I looked it up and it didn’t exist. But the other place along the coast that I was looking for, St Coulomb it turns out is off the coast of St Malo. This is not the Southern France that he craves but much nearer to the UK.

So the search began for a beach house in my dream, on a rocky bay where apparently we had gone for a holiday previously and I was suddenly in a position to purchase for us, except I was up and down the road and couldn’t find it again. I met him down the road and we began to look for it together. We knocked at the door to ask if we could go inside and shortly after that I woke up.

So I looked online at a favourite website or two, for property in that area. Then we talked about it since everything was way out of a budget that we often set for ourselves which is based on a figure we see as realistic for our Scotland home. One of us said that it was the wrong part of France and so I looked in The Midi-Pyrenees region. Non specific to town, just to see what was about.

It started out as harmless browsing and rapidly became a bit of a mission for the needy few days whilst I had felt unwell. It kind of lifted the spirits as it so often does when we allow ourselves this dream. I was met with 136 pages containing 3241 listings of houses. At the time I thought that I would look at a few of them, but every time the computer went on I found myself looking again at them. After the first day I had covered 60 pages of them. The second day I was up to 100 and the. I thought, I may as well look at all of them.

The houses are many and varied as you would expect. My criteria was that it has to have land, more than two bedrooms and I had to think of a figure.

So I only looked at those (unless it looked very special indeed)

Although many people might see this as a monotonous task I had set myself, In conclusion it has offered clarity on a couple of things, so that should the time come I will have a better idea of what would suit our ideal and what I would like to do in the future. It seems that our dreams often intertwine and have a crossover. I would have liked to run a B&B Chambre d’hotes business whereas he would be happier with our own private space and the responsibility of cooking for our guests. The ideal solution being to run self contained Gites instead which he seems happy for me to do.

When I was a little girl I dreamed of living on a farm or small holding and in the past few years since we got the cottage in Scotland it seemed as though we were getting nearer to that happening. A beautiful place surrounded by Farmland with enough land to make a start. If only I could get it finished and we could actually live there all year round we would know if we could. But then life dealt us some cruel blows and our health has suffered and I don’t even know if we could do that if we wanted to. The limitations that have reared their heads over the years often makes us rethink the possibilities. I would still love that farm, the practicality would be that we get people in to help us run it. Since I have no knowledge of animal husbandry or agriculture it is pure fantasy based on where I would like to live. Surrounded by land which no one can take away or build some monstrosity upon and a place where I can be immersed in nature.

So through this self imposed house search I looked at all the possibilities. I found some amazing properties which captured the imagination and was surprised at the effect it had upon my finding an architect designed single house built in the 1950’s with many inbuilt original features. It looked like a sprawling 4 bed bungalow but had a basement too like many French properties do. It was a bit of a marmite house. You’d either love it or hate it. For two days I couldn’t get it out of my head and he loved it too with it’s acre of flat land in a village it was not isolated and would have made a lovely garden with plenty of running space for the dog.

But then it wasn’t what we had talked about. It had no space to grow our options. No outbuildings for a Gite what would we do for an income I asked. Yes it would be a great retirement home all on one level for those with a pension and who are financially independent. But we are not. That’s when the reality kicks in and ruins the dream aspect. I need a job, either that or a lottery win. But certainly the means with which to support us all. He may be in his sixties now, but I am only in my forties. I cannot retire for about twenty five years if I am lucky. He has no private pension pot to keep him in luxury and so it is likely that it will be down to me to raise funds in whatever way I can as time goes on.

No if it’s going to happen then it must have land and outbuildings.

I found a place in the woods, near a river, on a mountain pass. It was a pretty place with a view of the mountains and river but the house held no allure for me at all. “You could make it special” he said. It had no inside toilet and I don’t fancy going outside in the freezing cold and the land around the house was steep and terraced. Since it was built into a slope, I couldn’t immediately see a way to connect the toilet facilities to the house. So I rather ruled it out.

There were houses in acres of Woodland with no one around. I must admit that holds its appeal still, but then I would need to be mobile and not cut off completely from the outside world.

There were Masters houses, grand looking country houses resembling small mansions on the edges of villages or towns.

There were houses with character and big gardens in villages with huge vegetable plots.

There were empty unloved farmhouses with crumbling barns filled with relics of machinery.

I found one such place which has 43 acres of land, barns and an old farmhouse on a hill surveying all of its land looking out across fields and woods. It has a magical quality about it that I like.

He asked but what would you do with your own village?

My response, I’ll think of something.

I even found a small vineyard.

After three days of looking I realised that I would not settle for a modern house. It would be big and sprawling with lots of rooms, loads of space and enough land around it so that I do not feel cramped I will one day be a little old lady walking around a big house. Hopefully with a beloved dog at my side and maybe with a companion to keep me from losing my marbles. It may keep me busy looking after it all. I don’t have children to leave it to but I hope that I will always have friends who will visit and come to stay. To enjoy the hospitality and company and that I will not be alone far away from any loved ones that I still have.

It’s funny that I mentioned earlier that our dreams intertwine and crossover. As I wrote this I meant that we sometimes wish for the same things. But there is another strange thing after I began writing this yesterday morning I had no conversation about the subject. Suddenly at around midnight last night my partner was telling me about a dream he was having in the early hours of the morning. As it turns out it was when I was awake writing this in fact, but I was not doing so even in the same house. He said that he remembered it so vividly and with intricate detail.

We were walking along the beach near St Malo and I was talking to him about a boat. He loves a boat and has craved owning another since letting his one go some years ago. In truth I think that he has regretted it and so it is often something he talks of again. Apparently I had chosen for him a 24ft cruiser which could be moored at St Malo so that he could go out fishing. He used to skipper fishing trips and would happily make that his vocation once again. We were just getting on the boat so that I could show him it and Roki our dog who doesn’t like water was the first to clamber on and found the best spot up at the helm with me. He asked him where he would sit and the dog just sat there laughing. So my partner had to sit at the back of the boat and told me that I would take them fishing then. We were also discussing going back up the road to show him a house on the beach which we had passed earlier. I said that I really hoped he would like it, he said what if I don’t and I told him I hoped that he would like it since I had already bought it.

He often dreams that I would do that. Purchase and present him with the house that we would live in. I think it’s strange, but he says that he trusts me to find the perfect home for us, if I am happy with it then he thinks he would be. It is great that he has that level of trust, but the reality is that I would not do that unless I had to such as in the event of him suffering dementia. Obviously then I would have to but in normal circumstances he would be a huge part of the process for fear of niggling doubt that it wasn’t what he wanted too and I might get it wrong.

It is not the first time that we have dreamt of the same place. We have dreamed that we are doing the same thing, in the same place often with the same people in them whilst we are sleeping in different buildings. It seems odd that we can begin to tell the other one about a dream we had only to see a familiar smile spread across the other ones face. It is usually followed by the phrase well in my dream we were here (or there) and we did this or that.

I also have the ability to return to a dream after waking, when it’s a good one I can go back to it and find out what happens. Unfortunately if it’s a bad one I can also return to it quite ruining my sleep for the night if I can’t shake it off.

I often have recurring dreams of places and/circumstances. It feels like an ongoing story sometimes frustrating as I’d like to move on. Other times the familiarity or Dejavu is oddly reassuring. I wonder what the experts would make of it all.

All that I am.

And as I drew the picture in my head as I have so many times before.

The image began to take form.

I saw before Me a large egg shape intricately decorated. Standing strident behind it a small blonde woman. An unlikely looking warrior with a look of determination upon her face as she swung the hammer high, bringing it down heavy upon the egg, into which were engraved the words, Hate. Fear. Loathing. Anger. Sickness. Poverty. So that they were gone, shattered fragments of a past, no place for them and as she stood there a smile spreading across her face.

Ready to rise from the things that bound her up to that point. A past which no longer served her.

There she stood reborn. Unknowing as to what would happen next. Her new beginnings ready to grow from the remains of an eggshell.

And finally these words sprang forth from the debris.

Fearless. Kind. Unafraid. Beautiful. Strong. Loved. Relentless. Healthy.

Prosperous.

All that I am and much more.

Daily Prompt Finally

Artists Unknown.

Letting Go

It is that time of year, the very last bit where we cannot help but to take stock of the year that has been and think about our hopes for the new one that’s coming.

What we wish to let go of, the old habits the things that no longer serve us.

And so it began on the early hours of this morning. The brain dump. You know those snippets of thought which do not give a clear picture, they are just random things flying around my head. A thought here and there which doesn’t make sense and then is gone forever.

Letting go.

So what am I letting go of?

Firstly, the thoughts that I am a sick person. This is a big one, I know it to be true but it is not who I am, therefore it should not shape me.

In the past few months I have got nowhere, it has held me back from living a life the way I want to and although I have rested the body and the mind I have felt defined by it and that should not be happening. I have relied upon Drs to find and treat the cause of illness and they have failed me, pushing me from pillar to post as they tell me that it’s not what they think it is, whilst not finding out what it actually is that has made me so suddenly and inexplicably ill. I do not fit in their box. So they have left me out in the cold to fend for myself and all that time has been wasted and I am left doubting my sanity and my longevity.

I am Me.

I am still the person I used to be, but I have grown. I have awakened parts of me which have been sleeping. Hidden from view for so long I had forgotten that they were there underneath all of the other stuff that has been going on.

I am still a loving, caring, partner and friend, daughter, mother. I am a great listener and confidante. Someone who offers careful advice when it is sought. Who will happily teach what I know to others if it helps them. In return I ask for consideration, for care and occasionally thanks for my efforts. It does not make me a bad person, I do require validation to know that I am not wasting my time and know that I am doing the right thing.

I am letting go of the victim inside, as I said to someone recently, that is in the past. Long gone and I have dealt with it and the fallout. Again it does not define me for that is not who I am. I have been victimised for the past few years and had some of the darkest thoughts of my life whilst I struggled to deal with the fallout from it. That is not who I am. I want to move on from that now is the time. I have battled it and the depression which comes in that package and I want to move on. Stronger from the experience not allowing it to hold me back any more.

I have done my grieving. For the Loved Ones we have lost, we cannot bring them back. Only the memories remain, sometimes a tear will fall and catch me out, but I will not wallow in the depths of grief or dwell on the circumstances which caused the loss.

Too much time has been spent dwelling on the past. The past is gone. It is time to move on, metaphorically and physically.

There is a whole world out there that I have yet to see.

But I don’t need to see all of it. Some of it the way that it is run, the damage that is being done to it and the people that are hurting each other in it, are not what I need in my life. I owe it to myself not to be drawn into this first hand. I have figured out that I annoy always strong enough to cope with the fallout.

As with so many things, I need to protect myself better. I need the connection with the earth that surrounds us so I am planning to spend even more time in nature and learn more about my foraging journey, it has taught me so much in the past year alone, given me medicine to heal my body and options with which to feed my family. I will grow more in whatever space I have, plants to nurture and care for us.

Friends and family. Over the past year, I have taken time out when I needed to. There have been times when the only people I have seen or spoken with for weeks have been my partner or my mother. I love the bond that I have with them both, but just sometimes I need other people in my life too. There have also been times when their company has been more than enough for me and I have sought, or even craved silence and solitude. They have often fought to understand that, but have given me space nevertheless. I want to see more of my friends this coming year, the ones who are still there or me and haven’t fallen by the wayside whilst I have been ill. The ones who care enough to make the time and effort that is needed to maintain a friendship. The ones who are not phased by my strangeness, the new things I want to try and still embrace me for it. My sisters and brothers, not bonded by blood but by shared interests, a love of life and all that it holds for us.

So as I attempt to let go of all the things that no longer serve me, a decluttering of the mind, body and spirit. I am starting to feel as though a weight is starting to lift.

The light that surrounds me, I need to let it in, it can only shine if it has a power supply. That has to be me, no one else. I have to make that happen.

I want to inspire again. Teach again, be a mentor to others. Share knowledge and help others grow and heal.

I think that in doing so, I will also be able to heal, for I am not yet complete in that process and do not have to do that alone. With the support of others so much more is possible. I do not have to fight things alone. I am not alone, there are people dealing with the same problems, probably also thinking that they are having to deal with it all themselves and that is not the case. Someone out there knows your pain, they also might know how to make it better.

Divide and conquer springs to mind. Divide the problem and we will conquer it. As they say a problem shared is a problem halved. Although that isn’t always the case, it can often help so talk to people, if not in person then at least online.

So what am I looking for at the end of this year?

Closure on so many subjects.

I do not want to take the things that have ruled me relentlessly over the past year into the next one. I’d like to say that they have no place in it but as many are still work in process, I think the key is not to let them dominate.

There are things which are yet to conclude, but the wheels are in motion, which means that I am not standing still, helplessly waiting on others to do as they should.

Next year I have to go out there and get it, whatever it may be. Grab the bull by the horns and steer my life in the direction it needs to go. To make progress, however small the steps at first. It is important for me to remain moving, not get set in the concrete caused by fear or trepidation.

I don’t yet know how, or what. But I do at least have my why…

If it is all left to chance, then there is a lack of direction and that easy come easy go doesn’t really suit me of my needs. I like the reassurance that there will be provision for what is needed. Food on the table, bills getting paid and flying along by the seat of my pants is not the way forward for me. It’s too stressful, it has caused more arguments and upset in the past 12 months than we have ever had. So I need to fix that and I need to do that soon.

I have been the breadwinner over the past few years and to take an enforced step back from that has caused such strain that I have often felt broken and helpless. Flailing around drowning when we should be treading water. So if I am well enough to find a job, if it pays the bills then I will give it a go. If it is an unqualified job, with no responsibilities then it will be less stressful and I may be ale to rebuild myself to management level again at a later date. Physical capability might not yet allow me to follow my business dreams but I will hold them in my heart and mind and if I can start as projects or hobbies then I can build on those skills for later.

They are my dreams and I will not just give up on them. So I intend to follow some of mine this year.

Merry Christmas

Home made Christmas Wreath

#Merry Christmas

To all the people who have made my life brighter this year with their writing, their images, their ideas and their inspiration.

Yes I mean you!

The readers, friends who cajole, inspire, support my ramblings and my thoughts however dark or bright they might be and who comment and share in the moments with me.

Recycled Slate MemoRecycled Slate Chalkboard

I have not written as much this year as I did last year. I am disappointed about that but my health has changed the way my life was going and I have had to learn to adapt to the way things have become. The new normal for me for the time being. I do not know what next year will bring. I only hope that it brings better health, less stress and more happiness for all of us. I hope that I will write more next year, both poems and happier posts, sharing good news with you all. This year has been a new kind of difficult, challenging in so many ways but I am hopeful for a brighter future.

Rosehip Syrup Herbal TeaPlum & Ginger Jam

As for Christmas in our home I figured out a few months ago that this Christmas was not going to be the usual what can we all buy each other that we don’t really need scenario. I have not had a proper job for two years so I informed family and friends that if I couldn’t make it, then I wouldn’t be doing it. Thankful that they accepted this I set about making their gifts and I have included here some of my snapshots of the things I’ve made.

Home made Decorations Truffles & GingerbreadSpiced Plum Sauce & Chocolate Truffles

So I embraced my creativity in other ways. Thanks to the people in a group or two that I joined on Facebook I have learned how to make things with foraged fruit and herbs, some of which will be given as gifts. I remembered that I enjoy cooking and making things so tried my hand at biscuits, truffles, gingerbread and cakes. I also made oils for cooking, jam, herbal massage oils and teas. I have made scented bath salts, Jewellery and Christmas decorations. I am also using recycled packaging wherever possible for these gifts. I also joined a group which showed me so many things that I had forgotten like ways to reuse and rethink and repair and recycle. I have so many wonderful ideas planned for next year that I want to try.

I have been cooking for weeks, trying things out and some have been gratefully received and others have driven my partner crazy. If I fancied making something new I set about finding a recipe to give it a try. He could not understand why I wanted to mess about with it all, but on limited means and I have made the most of the opportunity having learned new skills this year and revived older ones which I have forgotten. I spent a wonderful day recently with my sister where we made biscuits together, it’s something I don’t think we have ever done, we learned together and I loved the process.

Gingerbread Biscuits

When I have not been able to sleep, often In pain I have got up and made something. It hasn’t cost me much, only time and energy. Sometimes on my feet for hours, I have been exhausted but nevertheless for these simple things I have had a sense of accomplishment, which has been so important to me.

Plaited silks bracelet Vintage Crystal Beads BraceletShooting Star Biscuits

Homemade gifts are not everyone’s cup of tea. I have noticed a shift in the past few years where it has been more acceptable than it used to be, for that I am extremely grateful. I think it is lovely when someone has taken the time to make you something and it’s appreciated it is much more personal. I understand that not everyone has the opportunity or the skills to do that, but if you do then why not? It has brought back the real meaning of Christmas to me and I have made my gifts and are giving them to special people with love. So far they have been happily received and compliments abound. Especially with the foodstuffs.

This year we are at home in the South, much as we are missing our beloved Scotland I have dreams of a Christmas spent in our cottage of the future, especially when they play the reruns of the film The Holiday on television. I want to decorate our little place with things from the garden and the woods, home made decorations and lights on a tree a roaring fire in the house and the smell of woodsmoke and pines, while I cook the Christmas dinner, all snuggled up together with the family. I still have those dreams I’d like to fulfil.

So whatever you are doing for these holidays, however you choose to spend them. I hope that you are with people who mean a lot to you and you spread a little happiness.

As we look forward to a new and exciting year ahead, things can only get better.

With love and best wishes…

Merry Christmas everybody.

Vivid Dream

Vivid dreaming with fine detail,

Will set me off upon the trail.

Who knows what the search will uncover,

Embittered colleague or star crossed lover.

Now is not the time for revenge.

My guardian angel to avenge.

When dented armour leaves me broken,

Let’s not have it out in the open.

Put it away back in the dark,

These things already left their mark.

Scars and wounds all laid bare,

Now hidden again, I do not care.

For I am not who I used to be,

The frightened, bullied, victim, Me.

It’s part of the learning,or growing pain

Get through this there’s so much to gain.

One day, or even through one night,

To build reserve, enough to fight.

The body exhausted too much to speak,

Will I haul myself up to reach the peak.

It’s all part of the bigger picture,

Thrown together the strangest mixture.

Emotions raw from this train wreck,

In earth’s huge matter a minute speck.