Full Moon over Baghdad

There is something quite surreal to be looking out of the window of an aeroplane at 4.30am local time cruising at 41000 feet past Baghdad and seeing a beautiful full moon out of the window. Lights of an unknown landscape are scattered below me.

At times, it looks like we have somehow come to a halt in the sky, so it’s difficult to believe that we are actually travelling at almost 600 miles per hour.

I didn’t think for a minute when we booked the flight about the countries it would pass over on the way around the world. Bizarrely it didn’t even cross my mind, but as I look at the flight path and it takes me past so many areas that have appeared in the news over the past few years and months, it does get me thinking. But I am not worried, just thinking…

En route we have passed Germany, Belgrade, Budapest, Istanbul.

The awesomeness of this trip of a lifetime suddenly kicks in and I am feeling such gratitude for the opportunity that has been given to me.

I remembered that I thoroughly enjoy flying. The take off, being in the air, the views from the window. Where we I travel once I am on the plane all of the stress that I have felt in preparing for the trip, after the meltdown of finding the airline had cut the luggage allowance, once I had arrived at the airport is gone and but a memory.

As I continue to write we are flying on past Basrah. I don’t know what I expected to see through the clouds it looks just like any other area at night.

The world feels such a small place when you view things on the map and you remember people you have met and the places that they come from. I find myself thinking “ So I know someone from Tehran, as though they live just up the road and I could pop in to see them.

Many years ago I had a boyfriend whose family were from Kuwait. Although I have never visited these places before, there is something that links me to them as I travel on this journey.

The hostess has just handed me a hot tortilla wrap. It was unexpectedly delicious. It is 2am at home and I wouldn’t normally eat a chickpea curry wrap at that time of the morning, or even anything similar to it but extenuating circumstances apply. Like that occasional naughty kebab on the way home after night outs in my youth.

So although I might body is starting to tire, I didn’t sleep much last night either due to last minute packing and excitement. But I dozed earlier and have awoken with renewed energy and enthusiasm at what else I will see on the next leg of the journey.

Between the snatched sleep I have been listening to Jazz and relaxing chill out tunes. Since my eyes are tired and dry I didn’t want to try and keep track of a fast moving screen with a movie if I was to have any hope of sleep.

I took a little walk around this level of the airbus earlier, since nice my hips were threatening cramp and realised that there were lots of empty seats, people camped out with legs sticking out of blankets everywhere and the poor tired baby who cried for the first two hours has finally gone to sleep. Alas I spoke too soon and the little one has started up again. It always makes me want to give them a cuddle and see if I can help. Sometimes I miss that connection from a past life as a babysitter and honorary auntie.

We have Dammam and Bahrain left on our way to Abu Dhabi and will arrive in about an hour from now. So far it’s been a lovely flight as it is just getting light and the scenery changes again we are blessed with the sunrise from the tail camera on the plane and a new day in this time zone at least. Welcome to March.


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.

Preparing for Christmas…

So we are now less than a month away from Christmas and I am wondering if I should decorate the trees? I was thinking that I might make some tiny handmade decorations for these little ones, although they will have to be weatherproof as these two already live outside.

These babies were grown from seeds dropped from pine cones collected from our home in Scotland by some people who are very special to me and have now moved to the other side of the world in Australia. Before they emigrated they gave them back to me and one day when they’ve grown they might be taken back to their homeland. Meanwhile they are about 12 ins tall, keeping me company in the South and reminding me of home and them.

As we get nearer to Christmas I will miss my friends even more and cherish the memories we have of last year when I got to visit them for a few days before they went. I am lamenting the fact that this year I won’t be able to send the silly gifts and home made things to one of my dearest friends, but I will hold them close to my heart and as always send them love. The distance is just a number, until we meet again.


A burst of creativity 

25/6/17 After a week of feeling exhausted with high levels of pain and very little sleep I was met with an inspired moment. So this weekend’s sudden burst of creativity has come about by this….

A small pot of local flowers from my garden which either looked pretty or smelled nice. I thought I might be able to make some pot pourri to send to my friend in Australia as part of her birthday gift and to remind her of home. I miss her even more since she emigrated. Yes I have lots of wild flowers which have grown in the wrong place (otherwise known as weeds) but they are blooming and some of them smell rather lovely too so I’m not afraid to include them.

Unfortunately I then looked it up and found out that you cannot send plant matter to Australia since they have strict laws. So I thought about making her a wildflower bouquet mixed up with the ones from my garden and photographing it for her. Perhaps I would make it onto a notebook so she can write a journal, or get it printed for her and put in a frame. Who knows but on our evening walk we collected more and since it was a rainstorm by the time we arrived home I had to store them in the fridge overnight and so this was made today. 

It adorned my dining table for the day as I wasn’t sure exactly what to do with it next. Send it with blessings to the wind, or make the pot pourri out of it, it does smell rather nice. In the end I have opted for both. 

I was inspired by an artist named Day Schildkret who on his walks collects things and makes beautiful sculptural earth alters from his foraged finds which he photographs. Known as Impermanent Earth Art You can see his work at http://www.morningalters.com I love his work and am perfectly happy when doing my own foraging for beautiful things.

But it somehow set the ball rolling. Last night I wrote up my poems to the pc from the notebooks of my last trip it boosted my morale again finding out that I have almost reached my quota for my second book selection (a further 100 poems) and it seemed to trigger the writing again, suddenly whizzing around my head. This morning I wrote a poem about my friend who has invited me to her wedding next week. I plan to give it to her for a gift and thought that I need to do something else for them too. I am all for a bit of upcycled giftware and have made her a recycled roof slate chalkboard with the wedding couples initials in a logo and the date of their union. The slates were reclaimed from Scotland. I have a few of them I intended to make up for some friends and family or perhaps sell at a later date.

I hope that they like it. 

I also made one for our home which is personal to us. This has become our catchphrase of late since wherever we are as long as we are together it’s home.

It seems that I have been able to write more poetry this week. Not all of it suited to a book, or here but had to be written nevertheless.




Ahh the memories, of where we used to hide as Children.

At my Grandparents house, they had a dining table.  It had drop leaf sides and a cupboard in the centre with a shelf in the middle and a drawer at each end. When we played hide and seek with my cousins, this was usually where I chose, under the shelf inside.  Well, I was quite small!  I have the dining table in storage, the memories all came flooding back when I saw it.

In our first house, my favourite was in the larder, with my best friend sitting under the bottom shelf on the floor, making bread squares, by squashing the bread very hard into cubes.  It began when her father went fishing and we had a conversation about what fishing bait he used.

After that, when Dad emptied the big cupboard in my box room of all of his stuff and I was allowed to use the space to keep my toys and books. I used to sit in there and read stories to the Dollies and the Teddies.  The door would be open and I would take a pillow and sit on the floor of the cupboard with my back against the wall.

When we moved house aged 10, I had to find new hideouts.

A favourite was the bathroom roof, My bedroom window opened out above it and I would sit out on the ledge of the roof straddling it and be able to look down the street across all the other gardens, trees and flowers.  It was quiet there and no-one bothered me.  I always got into trouble for being out there since it was deemed dangerous, but I actually felt very safe up there.

Down the road from where we lived there was a brook with a bridge. I used to go there with my friend who lived over the road, we would fish for sticklebacks and read books and camp out under the bridge.

via Daily Prompt: Hideout Image: Morguefile


Levels of Weirdness and Unity.

It’s funny the things that bring us together. The familiar weirdness that two or more people share, which becomes a small group, then sometimes a bigger one.
What springs to mind is the myriad of things that bring us together in the first place. A hobby or a pastime. An illness or A favourite something or another, all over the world there are people joining together like never before. There are Groups for this or that bringing people together in some small way. Share your likes and you will find other like minded people who share them too, who can illuminate where something was missing, forcing you to look at something their way sometimes just for a moment, or maybe change your perspective forever. Yet, because you share that common interest you are susceptible to their outlook. I guess it is what helps us grow as people. Sometimes we get misguided or manipulated or just plain confused along the way. Sometimes it can bring us new friends or experiences which we had not thought to try before.

But in among it all for at least a while, there is unity a common bond and a weirdness which connects us and I celebrate that.



Young Men aren’t supposed to Die.


A couple of days ago we said our final Goodbyes’ to my partner’s best friend Tommy. They had been in each other’s lives for over 40 years. So now my man is grieving again, for another lovely man like so many taken before his time.  I wrote this poem when he died.  His family did him proud though and gave him a nice service with wonderful tributes for a life well lived. He was a good man and a great friend to my partner and boy do we miss him.  This photograph was taken the day he died, from the slipway where he regularly launched his boat with his son and his friends, it is a special place. May he rest in peace now, but the memories and stories will live on.

Sometimes the sickness will deny,
But young men aren’t supposed to die.
The chance for them to fulfil their lives,
Not leave behind children and wives.
But what is young and what is old?
Who’s the one who’ll break the mould.
One with love, who’s heaven sent
A long and healthy life that’s meant.
Over the years he’d come to show
A friendship that would grow and grow.
So Dear Lord, hear my plea
Although from pain, this one’s now free.
But all along, much life to live,
For friends and family, love to give.
One dear friend who’d help the poor
In cherished memory, here no more.
I think of the extra time we’d happily buy,
Time spent to wonder, or understand why?
Taken from this life way too soon,
The light went out, an empty room.
They fought so hard to be the boss,
Left startled by such sudden loss.
So as I stop and loudly cry,
Young men aren’t supposed to die.