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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Feast of St Nicolas

6th Dec 2017

Aren't the days moving swiftly through December ??? We'll be in January before we know it and Christmas will be just another one of the many that we've celebrated over the years.

I want to share two blogs with you. I hope you take the time to look at them as I think they are wonderful. They are by two of my daughters, one of whom says that I am biased. Well, of course I am, but that doesn't take away from the fact that there is some great  content there.

They write very differently ... well, you will see:


I hope you enjoy them. Please let me know what you think. Or, better still, leave a comment on their blogs.

Now, I'd like to tell you another story about a homeless man. The weather has been bitter these last couple of weeks, the nights being particularly icy. It was on one such night , last week, when the temperature was below 6 degrees c that a homeless man died on the streets in Birmingham . So, so sad...

But that is not my story. My story starts last Saturday morning in Oxford.

We turned up early for our grandaughter's confirmation at the Oratory, and,  passing a man sat at the gate, walked through to the big doors at the entrance where we got talking to a very jolly chap who was waiting to talk to the priest. It turned out he was going to be getting married later that day. I left my husband talking to him while I went into the church.
When I came out hubby was with the man at the gate chatting away.

I felt a bit awkward as I always do with homeless people . You know, not quite knowing what to do.
Anyway I was dragged into the  conversation which was about homeless shelters. This tall man, who was standing now, his long, tangled, matted hair falling over his shoulders ( a Billy Connolly look alike),  told us that they charged for them and he didn't usually have the money to stay in one . Well, I thought, what homeless person would, living hand to mouth on the road and all that.

Then he and my husband proceeded to tell me of the good fortune which befell him while I was in the church. How the chap getting married that day had asked him what size shoes he wore - unfortunately his feet were two sizes too big -and then what size waist he was. Ahh , better luck there.  And what about corduroy, did he like brown corduroy. Of course he did . Reaching in his holdall bag,  the  "soon to be married" took out a smart pair of trousers and feeling in the pocket found a ten pound note. "It's your lucky day," he said beaming and handing him both the trousers and the money.
As the man of the road told  me this tale , he also had a huge smile on his face.
At this point I took his hand in mine to see how cold he was. He was cold...

"Give him my gloves,"  said my husband . He had let me borrow his gloves earlier . I feel the cold more than he does.
And of course your man  was delighted to get the gloves too.

He wasn't there when we came out after the service and I just hope that he is still doing OK and that he will survive through the winter.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Walk By ?

27th Nov 2017

I'm joining the six sentence story challenge this week, for want of any inspiration.
 The word we've been given  is "mate":

Walk By ?

"Got any change mate?" he pushed his hand forward in front of you and you noticed that the creases in it were lined with black grime, a sign that he'd been sleeping rough for some time.
You went to move away, to avoid contact, your heart rate rising, your stomach turning cartwheels, but something kept you rooted to the spot, even though everything was telling you to just brush past him.
You were about to say "sorry" and walk on when you looked up and caught his gaze, pleading , sad , honest, so instead you said, "hang on a minute," while you rummaged in your pocket and pulled out a fiver.
"Thank you sir, thank you so much," he took the money and kept bowing,  "I'll use it wisely, promise."
As he walked away, bent over with the burden of his belongings in a sack on his back , you tried to compose yourself, to get back to what you were doing, to catch your train, but you were disturbed.
You wondered what had brought him to this point, so instead of catching your train that day you turned around and went in search of him, in search of the man who got under your skin, to hear his story and maybe do a little more to help.

I know it's another one about the homeless. It's just that it's winter and I hate the thought of anyone not having a home and some food to keep them well.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

No Going Back

26th Nov 2017

Just above freezing was the temperature recorded in the car this morning. I thought it was wrong, that it must be at least a little below freezing point.
Anyway, on this bright, winter morning, wrapped up in layers, drinking a warm coffee, I am taken by a story I find about a homeless man.
He finds a ladies handbag in the centre of Bolton and decides that he wants to find the owner and return it to her. He spends the next two days trying to find her, eventually making his way towards the address that he finds on her provisional licence.
On his long walk, he meets someone who knows her and who messages her on facebook.  A meeting is set up and the young twenty year old is over the moon to get her handbag back, which contains money, cards and sentimental, personal belongings. Our homeless friend didn't take anything, which really touched the young girl, who went on to create a crowd fund site to raise some money to help him get off the streets.

Such a heartwarming tale on this bitter morning

A poem:

No Going Back

Determined to save your sanity
You left
On that cold December morning
You left
With nothing but the clothes 
On your back
And the whole of your world in a
Very small sack.
You had no idea where
You might go
You just kept on walking
Hoping you'd know
Just what to do

That was over a year 
Ago now
You've got used to the road
Got some 
Know how
Wrapped in your blanket
You're there 
Outside the  Station
Sloane Square
Creases in your hands
Deep set in grime
Hair molded against brow
matted with time.

The cup at your feet waits
Waits for passers by
To see
But they all rush past
Without a glance though some will throw 
Ten pee
You left that day and 
Though it's hard this way
There's no going back 
No going back 
For you
Image result for picture of homeless person

 may time stand still in the moments of joy...

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Bastille Day

23rd Nov 2017

On these cold days coming towards the end of the year, in my mind I dream of the wonderful  summer we 

spent traveling through France and Spain. 

The fireworks in November in the dark, damp cold evenings with warm bonfires take  me back to Bastille

Day in France. Celebrated on 14th July, it is an important date in French History, marking the storming of the

Bastille in 1789, during the French revolution. They mark the memory with parades, festivities and huge

celebrations, which cause the whole country to come to a standstill . Much of the revelry is broadcast on 

major television stations.

When we came off the main road to look for an Aire in which to stop for the night, little did we know that 

we would end up being caught up in the Bastille Day celebrations of the town of St Germaine. 

People waiting for the fireworks 

Stalls like we'd have at a funfair.

The day was hot and during the afternoon we had a cool lemonade at a bar which looked over the square where we could see the action was going to be. We watched as equipment was brought in but after a while went for a walk and then back to the camper to have something to eat .
Coming back later we were delighted to be entertained by a group of drummers - absolutely mesmerizing. Also there was a communal tent where they were serving  local homemade  alcohol, made with apples ( no, not cider) . It was delicious, almost a liquor and the best of all they were giving it to us for free. Yes, I did have a few and it drew us into the atmosphere of the occasion.
More entertainment with a group of little girls dressed in pink tops and swinging pom poms. They danced their hearts out. It was so moving .
The buzz about the place was amazing. The restaurant where we had our lemonade was full to overflowing to the extent that they brought extra tables (from somewhere) and put them out all over the square . It was a beautiful evening to be eating outside.
And then, at last, the fireworks. And wow, what a show! I mean, we have lots of events here in our seaside town and there are numerous occasions when we have fireworks displays, but, I can honestly say that I've never seen the likes of what we experienced that night . The sky was lit up with the Bastille colours of gold , red , white and blue . The noise was just like a battlefield ( I imagine) . It was just another of the many brilliant days of our adventures in the camper. Can't wait for more...

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Paint has Dried all Blue

9th Nov 2017

Prompt from six sentence stories :


The Paint has Dried all Blue

Lily fell backwards and turned her face away to avoid the hot air as she opened the oven door.
"Be careful," called her father from the living room where he sat, surrounded by papers, old photos and  plates and cups with food congealed hard into them.
She carried the tray with a tea towel, stepping between all the debris and stood in front of him, her fair hair falling in wispy waves down her red face.
"Look dad, the paint has dried all blue," she frowned as put the figures that she'd baked on the floor in front of him and knelt beside them.
"They're lovely, hun and mum would be so proud of you carrying on her tradition," he stroked her head with one hand whilst wiping away a tear with the other.
Lily's mum had died of cancer eight months before at the age of thirty seven and Lily struggled to do everything she thought her mother would have liked , including making crib figures out of salt dough, which was an activity they normally did together.
Image result for free pictures of dough crib figures

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Work Ethic

5th Nov 2017

I have found a list of poetry prompts for November so I thought I'd give it a go.. It'll keep me going as I don't seem to have much inspiration of my own.
Today's prompt is "Work Ethic", which is very timely as I've just discovered a book I want to read entitled "Deep Work" by Carl Newport. ( Rules for focused success in a distracted world.)  Has anybody out there read it? It's a bit expensive to buy, only having been released last year . I think I might see if the library will get it for me.

Work Ethic

Having a real job would be easier
than sitting here trying to motivate myself
to do the work I must.
With no boss to answer to or oversee me
I procrastinate and use avoidance techniques
do anything but the thing
I should be doing.
Come on now, get to it, focus
you've got this
you can do this
OK a cup of coffee forst
then I'll start.

What do You Carry?

5th Nov 2017 

It's so cold today. I've got four layers on but my fingers and feet are still like polar ice.

What are we carrying ? Do we feel it's burdensome? Could we let go of some things,  rearrange others ? Are we weighed down and would we like to feel somewhat lighter? These are some of the questions that came to my mind with a particular poem we pondered at the Poetry for Wellbeing workshop that I attended last week.

It was interesting what came up . I remembered a time when I had all the children at home. I was always chasing my tail trying to keep up with everything and had an enormous pile of ironing which , no matter how hard I worked, I never seemed to get to the end of .
So this poem came out of that:

The Ironing

And the whole pile is slipping,
it'll end up on the floor
it'll get all dirty 
and I'll have to do more
My husbands shirts
ten or twelve
my four son's school uniform
trousers - cotton
the girls skirts - pleated.
It's the first thing I see
when I enter the room,
this mighty monster
prophet of doom
looking at me,
goading me
daring me
I'm not going anywhere
until you make
time to get round to me
It'll keep you awake
But today I've decided
I'll not do it anymore
for all I care,
It can fall on the floor
Ah no, that's no good
let's fold it neatly
and put it away
get rid of the bully 
yes, that's the way.
Right, clear the table
and away we go,
a pile for each person
they'll never know
And before I know it 
the jobs all done.
Now, time for a cuppa
and a currant bun