Fantasy Island, The Tour.

Yesterday I had my tour around fantasy island as our friend refers to it.It is tongue in cheek, but also I think a place where many crave to live. They are drawn to this place of beauty, surrounded by nature, where flora and fauna abound. A sanctuary in the south. It is private gated and restricted access so I felt privileged to get a guided tour from one of the Islanders.

I have only visited once before. Last time I came away my imagination fired up and I decided that it would be the most wonderful place to be able to live. Idyllic and the new life I crave for us would fit in there beautifully. 

His home with its interesting garden making use of things he has found, recycled items all around utilised within his space and others for projects yet to be undertaken. I found it so inspiring there I designed furniture following my last visit it reminded me of some of my as yet unfulfilled ambitions which I would like to work towards once my health improves.

Arriving there again I am filled with peace, my heart was racing as I arrive anticipation growing for what I might see whilst there. 

We drive, or rather he does so that I may be able to enjoy the view. I am in a semi altered state. Lightheaded or as though I am in shock. It could be the antibiotics or the painkillers. Or it could be just what I see there. I look at the houses as we pass and the fields and hedgerows as we drive slowly by, observing the lowered speed limit. It is a nature foragers dream, the hedgerows brimming with wild fruit, plums, elderberries. Blackberries, sloes. He stops to pluck one from the hedge for me to try. They would make Lovely jam I said, he agreed that they do. Enveloped by countryside with no one around hares running up ahead of us along the road and birds walking across the roads in front of us. We stopped at the cockle beach where apparently you can fish for Bass. I love sea bass. There was none but the birds. Around the island three rivers meet. Further round where it meets another river, there is a slightly more recognisable seascape. I may have seen near there before but not from this side. There were some wonderful rocks in beautiful colours piled high as though dropped there by giants. I intended to take photos on this tour but my eyes are taking it all in instead. The camera on my phone does not take one shot for the duration. Which as I write this I am regretting somewhat. It is unusual for me. 

Some of the grand houses, the homes with character and the cottages tucked away are empty. My imagination kicking in again as I wonder what I could do with one of them as a space of my own.The two pubs have long closed down as has the church. No longer required here lack of use forced their closure. There is one shop and there are farms in the village, it is a sleepy place. I wonder how and when it comes alive or if it is always like this. The workers have left for the day, a mass exodus off as I was arriving. Much of it looks deserted.

Our friend shows me his sculpture garden. Have you seen it before he said? No I replied. It used to be his allotment but he changed it. He built this to enjoy. In a non public place it is a community garden. He has had parties there and there is a summer kitchen with a pizza oven he has made. A pergola which has grape vines growing up it they have grapes this year apparently for the first time. There are plinths of marble and stone around and many of them hold small statues. They are not your average garden statue. Many are of the muscular male form draped around females. Holding, cherishing. I could have stayed there for a while. It was a place I could happily sit, embrace the moment and meditate. A calm place.

In the centre of the garden there is a huge stone column, about ten feet high and as yet I carved. He told me that it would become a dancing couple. I did not know when he took me there what I would find, the significance only dawning on me now in the early hours as I write this.
I was struck by the beauty of the stone. I asked who made them, he replied “some old bloke from over the road, he likes carving stone” I admired them blown away by what I saw, as he explained he told me about some them. He started the garden when his wife was gone I did not ask if it was in tribute to her. But it is clear that this man loves female company and why shouldn’t he for he is witty and charming, flirtatious and engaging and can cook. He also has several female friends who gather at his house for a meal on a regular basis.

There are signs carved in slate and sandstone sculpture along with white almost alabaster, possibly marble. They are beautiful and written with his sense of humour. The sculptures were something else and just the sort I like and appreciate. I wanted to touch them, feeling drawn to them and photograph them but it felt strange to ask. I have not known him very long and I did not want to push my luck.

He said that the locals are not interested in the garden, I asked why not it’s a beautiful place. They should use it if it’s for them too. 

He said that some of the other visitors to the island had seen it. I loved it.

Upon waking in the early hours it occurred to me, I may be way off the mark here but I get the very strong feeling that the “old guy over the road” was at that moment standing by my side proudly showing me his own statues. That he not only created the garden, but the sculptures within it. That the dancing couple would be formed one day by his own hands.

Only time will tell. There are clues, he is creative and has a good eye. His mother is an artist. He is useful with his hands, builds things in wood and has a beautiful garden. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit today, I don’t know if I bored him to tears with the subject matter. I talk more when I am nervous and I am not used to having the floor. When my partner and I are out together the conversation is more evenly spaced. It can’t have been all bad. I was invited to go and visit again whenever I liked. 

I might just have to go and ask him about his garden.

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Natures Way


As you hear the wind through the trees,
Sounds on the ear to entice and tease.
Natures bounty there in the wood,
Planted here for the great and the good.
Will share its branches and bend its bough,
Save some for later, not all needed now.
Leave some behind, to heal and regroup,
Let nature keep you in the loop.
Berries and fruits, there to behold.
What was once a garden of old
And one day, will be so again,
If you take care and do not drain.
The resources it’s happy to share.
While you clamber among it there.

The Crossed Boundary…

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This picture represents a crossed boundary.  There are often things which you cannot understand however hard you might try.  About three years ago, I laid out the boundary to our garden, in accordance with our deeds, I was a little more generous than I should be, to allow our neighbour to create a slightly wider gateway or access to the side of his house.  I checked with the Laird, a man who has known both properties for many years, he came and inspected the area and confirmed that I had been more than generous with my neighbour, so there should be no issue.  It was a simple barrier.  Wire fencing supported by 4 inch wooden fence posts and galvanised wire.  It was a gentle boundary, showing where the line was.  I tacked it loosely around an apple tree in the orchard part of the garden.

About 18 months later, when I returned the apple tree was completely gone.  There was also a pile of logs which had been stacked at the bottom of my neighbours driveway, with rather alot from an apple tree, which he does not have anywhere on his land.  It was clear that they had come from my garden. He only has one tree remaining in his garden, he left it looking like a totem pole when he butchered it five years ago and it is still fighting back with greenery this year for the first time. He set a fire underneath it, climbed up the tree after a bottle of vodka when the branches caught light and cut the branch he was sitting on, falling to the ground unscathed.  He then decided the next day to take the other branches off it.


The Sycamore & The Totem

I was a bit fed up, but more so when I found that my boundary had been cut through as he built his fence.  It was needless to take it down and little more than vandalism.  My tree had been lopped and the evidence was there in his wood pile.  I removed the 8ft high log which had been left there and propped it up against the side door of the cottage in plain sight of his window.  Should he wish to discuss trees with me again, I would point out that he had no business in my garden felling my trees or taking my wood without discussion.

Needless to say, there was no discussion. Not that year or since he did not pass by, went away for a while and I did not see him until this year, in passing but he has not come by to speak with me, preferring to speak only with my partner.  He doesn’t have a very high opinion of women, especially the ones who make decisions.  The log stayed in our cottage since then, it made a good prop-barricade in case someone tried to push the door in.  But a friend who helped us chop logs this week cut it up for firewood when I wasn’t looking, this is the only piece I managed to salvage.

So this is all that remains of my boundary, the one he crossed. A crossed line, which I will not forget. It will stay in the cottage as a reminder to me that I should not trust him.  As a reminder to him that I know what he did and of my displeasure at his actions.

In the time we have had the cottage he has tried many times to fell my trees. Wild attempts to get other people to cut them down in my absence, with excuses as to why, some of which we have foiled only just in time. There is a large sycamore which is growing rather spectacularly and he attempted to get the telephone company only a week ago to fell it, saying that it was on his land.  It isn’t.  I ask myself when will he realise that  I have woods here because I love the trees, they are calming, protecting and offer sanctuary and they are mine.  There are none which can damage his property, they were already removed. There are none which concern him. The truth is that he doesn’t care. Some people don’t. My question is that if they resent the countryside so much, then why choose to live there? A rural location without trees and nature, well that just isn’t natural.

I think I need to spend more time here, in my absence things happen…

 

 

The Interesting People We Meet and the Things They Teach Us.

It’s interesting buying things from eBay. No this post is not actually about the delights of eBay itself, there is plenty of advertising for that. I have been buying things from this particular platform for about 13 years now and have in the past few been also selling on there. It is one of those things, sometimes your sale goes easily and other times, it is a complete pain, with awkward people who expect far too much from the object you are selling, or leave the dreaded rubbish feedback which blights your account until the end of time. Or until the eBay team read the messages between you and decide that it shouldn’t be there and remove it.

This post is about the people you meet as you purchase things and collect them, over the years we have met some lovely people and some downright horrible ones. If you are buying from them, you make it a very quick collection and try not to share anything personal with them.

Then there are others, who by meeting them, they get you thinking about them, you share a coffee and a little of your life history and you get on really well. You leave feeling as though you have gained from the experience. Sometimes they bring you a gift, like the man who brought me a tray of duck eggs and a bottle of wine from his smallholding when he collected a trailer. The little girl who brought me a loom band bracelet she had made when she collected her sister’s horsebox. The man who turned up with flowers and chocolates. The kindness of others is always to be appreciated and like me if you often go the extra mile to help, just because you can, sometimes nice people turn up. Don’t get me wrong, we have had our share of unkind ones too, who have ripped us off taken our money, or not described something properly, or it has been damaged when it arrived. But for the main, we take as we find people and they do likewise in return.

Over the years, we have bought cars, things, furniture, trailers, horse boxes, caravans, clothing, almost a house on occasion but pretty much anything and everything via eBay and it has served us very well. We haven’t always purchased well though, some of the vehicles have caught us out and needed expensive repairs, but generally if you check something over before you part with your money and you know what you are looking for, then it’s still a good place to buy from.

On Sunday we did a 140 mile round trip to meet a lovely couple. We went to collect a trailer and when we arrived, we were a little disappointed as it was smaller than they had advertised. We could have walked away from it at this point, since its smaller size made it less suited to our needs, but we had driven the distance so we might as well take it and it was not expensive. My partner had a lovely chat on the phone with the man before we set off, to make arrangements to pick it up, it has taken a couple of weeks due to conflicting schedules. But we arrived there and met the man and his wife. The men immediately got along and since I had turned up with some flowers for his wife, she made me coffee, real coffee, which was very much appreciated.

Clifford was in the music business before he retired, he mentioned this before we arrived. Having worked in the entertainment business myself, I wondered what he would be like. Whether he was a musician himself, or would turn out to be a promoter full of his own importance. I needn’t have worried, it turned out he was a charming man, in his mid 70’s, with the carefree attitude of someone who has done well for himself. He wrote and composed songs and has enjoyed a comfortable living from it over the years. He kept himself healthy with various sports and martial arts, which is something the men had in common and they shared interests in many things. The house with its enormous garden looked unpretentious, lived in and enjoyed not there for show, just people getting along with their lives. It was not fussy or overly decorated. It was homely and I rather liked it. It had a pool in the back garden and some outbuildings and some rather lovely fields and woods surrounding it. Lots of greenery and a pretty and maintained garden. The sort of place which I would hope to have when I was their age, which is still some way off for me. I didn’t want to put her out but Dominique made coffee for me anyway and as the men talked and they showed us around their sprawling garden discussing their schooling and growing up bizarrely, it was clear that they got along just fine and that Clifford had a story or two to tell.

We went inside to talk as it was late afternoon and getting cooler. She was a smart and interesting French lady, a few years older than me. In no time at all we realised that we also got along well. We stood in the kitchen, discussing what we did for work, whilst the men talked school, history and other things. I told her that currently I am writing a book, having just finished my first one of adult poetry, it was now ready for publication, I hoped. She was genuinely interested in hearing about it and asked me how the writing came about and I explained that it was part of my therapy, an outlet for my thoughts, following injury and trauma. That I had written over the years, but done nothing with it until recently and that now I write a blog. Although at some point I may have to get other work too, I was taking the time to do this for me. I told her that a couple of years ago I had become involved with a health products company but that due personal reasons felt and with a lack of self confidence that it was the wrong time to throw myself into a public forum, where you have to sell to people and speak to people you don’t know. Despite my good intentions when I began I just wasn’t ready for that and so had let it slip into the background having done very little with it, but it was there to pick up with again when I am ready, although I did not know when that would be and I secretly hope that I will be able to in time.

As we talked I found out that Dominique is a Corporate Coach. A person who big companies employ to get the best out of their staff and improve their self confidence to boost productivity. She told me a little about her work, that she enjoys it and gets to travel and does a lot of remote working also. She also told me about the benefits of “EFT or Tapping” I had heard of it before but not looked into it, she explained that she had found it reduces stress and she finds it really helpful. I asked her more and she told me briefly how it works, that it is something that you do for yourself involving the meridians of the body. The Acupressure points throughout the body can be quite literally tapped with the fingers to relieve stress and trauma influences and calm the body, a bit like acupuncture without needles. Now as you might know I prefer a holistic approach wherever possible and have been a bit stressed out lately, so I was very interested to hear about this and thought, I’d definitely give it a go. I have had acupuncture in the past and found it very useful for pain relief, but also suffered nerve pain from a misplaced needle too, so this method definitely appeals.

Early on in our conversation, I sensed that she was holding herself back, but still remaining polite. She was more than a little distracted but soon explained that her mother was very ill in France and had been taken to hospital that morning, she apologised but she had to keep checking for messages. I understood, but she kept coming back to speak to me whilst the men sorted out the trailer. For a moment, there was a visible glimmer of a girlish quality, laughter as she demonstrated the tapping technique to me, she reminded me so much of one of my friends who I have not seen for a while.

Dominique suggested that I look up a couple of websites and watch some YouTube videos on how to do it properly she wrote them down for me and suggested I give it a go, if I wanted to. No pressure but it might help oh and it also won’t cost anything.
This lady may have just given me a present in this conversation. She wrote the websites down for me and as it turned out I had heard of one of the people Nick & Jessica Ortner. I had signed up for an email to “The Tapping Solution” a while ago, but had not looked into it fully yet. As usual other things had taken a precedence recently and the doing things for me, time out from everything else has only been happening to write very occasionally.
I resolved to look it up and read those emails.

We were there for several hours, we had difficulties with the trailer, since the size of the tow hitch was different to our towing gear on the vehicle, Clifford had to adapt it to fit and it took a while. But what was lovely was that by time we left there, we felt that we had been treated more like visiting friends than someone who had just gone to collect a trailer and they asked us to stay in touch with them. We were hugged and invited to call again if ever we were down that way.

I recently saw a quote which resonates with me, it said that “Your Energy Introduces You Even Before You Speak” I believe this to be true. I have met many people over the years, some I have taken an instant like to and they have been good, kind people some have become firm friends. You can tell a lot from someone upon a first meeting, the first impressions do count. Some call it a hunch, or a gut instinct, or a vibe. Whatever you choose to call it, in deciding last year that I would follow my instincts when it came to meeting new people, I have been better protected. There are other people who on meeting them I instinctively up my guard and don’t like, I can’t always put my finger on why at the time, but usually my instinct has proved me right, they have turned out to be people with alterior motives or who are just downright nasty. In misplacing my trust in them, usually by giving them the benefit of the doubt I have got hurt and gone through all sorts of pain, or put myself in places I should not have been. I hope that in future, I will learn from that mistake.

But what I am thinking about today is that it makes such a difference when you meet nice people and restores your faith in humankind and I would much rather spread a little happiness.

Missed Chances of a Highland Summer

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Should I have applied for the job travelling Scotland in a Visit Scotland campervan?

Missed chances eh? It’s not as bad as it seems, I may have been able to pay the bills at home. Slept in the Scottish countryside and possibly, just possibly taken my furry assistant along for the ride.

It would have meant that my partner would have had to fend for himself until I could get back there and who knows what sort of bother he could have got himself into in the meantime.  We could have stayed up on the hill at weekends and worked myself on the house trying to get things done, but in reality I have not been in  a position to do that for the past few months, which I guess is what held me back in the first place.

Sure, I would have met tonnes of people at events all over the country, seen a lot more of my beloved Scottish countryside in the summer months, the best time of year, braved terrain and nights not quite on my own.

Ahh yes, those missed chances for a different life and summer to the one we have been experiencing.  Is the grass greener? Ask the Coos, (for the uninitiated, those are the highland ones)

Visit Scotland – Thanks I’d love to have done.  I hope that I will again so very soon, for I am missing it more than you know.

And so the Highland Summer was not to be, A Summer far different from everything that I had ever imagined. It began quite well with promise of a brighter future for all of us, with hope and anticipation. The sun was shining on our skin, the weather was good and the garden flourished. Then it was shattered, broken and will remain in our memories as probably the worst we have ever experienced in all our years together.  Our family is smaller, our bodies weary and our hearts heavy.

Our hope that with the onset of Autumn at our doorstep and as the leaves begin to go brown and drop across the gardens and countryside. That it brings Good with it on the winds that have begun to blow, that it sets us on the right path towards Happiness once again and that our luck turns for the better.

The Daily Post – Mistake

Butterflies & Dragonflies

Butterflies and Dragonflies

A butterfly just flew here
I blew it a small kiss,
As it danced around my face,
Since it’s you now that I miss.
Swept upon the air as off it began to race.
Careless for a moment, there for all to see
Up there in the sky and all, yearning to be free.
Resting on the flowers
Bees and butterfly
Drinking in the nectar,
I’m trying not to cry.
Sitting here with you, it’s easy to be cross,
At how it seems unfair as we struggle with our loss.
Am I being selfish, failing just to see,
That all I ever wanted was to have you here with me.
The one who watched over, snuggled nearby as I sleep,
Resting on his cover, is where I often weep.
But I am not the only one, wrapped up in my grief,
Wonder if it’s time to turn over a new leaf.
So as it prances over and around my head,
You are still here with me, never really dead.

It wasn’t a red admiral, it wasn’t black or white.
It danced around my shoulders, just like a bird in flight.
It skipped in and out the flowers, just as you used to do,
Then sat there smiling at the top, to watch and enjoy the view.
And there just minutes later, scented flowers all around,
I saw the dragonfly toward me, suddenly earthbound.
It flew across my shoulder and looked upon my knee
A message there at last, that I would finally see.
It sent me love and kisses, from you as if to say
But before I got to kiss it back, it skipped off again to play.
I know that you’re here with me, as I try to ease the pain
So if you love them, set them free to return to you again.
So stay here with your Mummy,
Even just for a wee while.
So that I can rub your tummy
And cherish again your smile.
Stroke your furry ears
And gaze into your face
Fighting back the tears,
In our special place.

The Daily Post – Ghostd3