Smile generator

This little beauty came from my mums house. Many years ago. She had been given it as a present. Kept it for a few months, just long enough for it to be seen by the present giver, then it was packed up and ready to be shipped off. Mum had a habit of doing that. Presents would get aired just long enough then put away never to be seen again. When she left us and we ended up clearing the house it was like an Aladdins Cave. Me and my sisters playing a game of spotting which of our presents never got used.

Anyway this little plant was shipped off early to my garden. After all those years it is now not such a little plant anymore. But it’s still going strong. A wonderful reminder of different times. A smile generator. And we always need those.

Toe

Some things in life are naturally beautiful and guaranteed to make you smile.

One of those days. Not enough sleep. School at home was a pain in the buttocks. WordPress continued to act like an incompetent evil overlord. An upcoming concert I was really looking forward to (which had already been rescheduled from last year) was cancelled. Smashed some cups (unintentionally). THEN Hawklad decided to walk into wooden table and clearly has broken his little toe. At least I can see evidence that some of my genes have passed down the family line. Nothing we can do except get him to rest up for a few days.

So in need of distraction I decided to strike one item off the growing DIY list. Let’s put the external mail box back on the wall. Much drilling, much banging, much muttering, much screwing. The mail box was up. Not a bad job at all. Level and well secured. Shame it was upside down…… Not sure what the Postman would think of a letter slot at the bottom. Not the first time my DIY has taken a walk to the a Southern Hemisphere. Summed up the day…..

On days like this those things that make you smile are even more important. Even more treasured.

Come again

When we first moved into our little bungalow on the hill we had a beautiful Daffodil patch on the shared area in front of our house. At the time I would never have thought that 20 years later I would still be here. Certainly not still here as a widow and a single parent.

Over the next few years the daffodil patch seemed to flower less and less. The daffs would appear each year but more and more would just not bloom. The area was becoming such a shadow of its former self. Eventually I planted some new bulbs and now there is colour again.

This morning it dawned on that there is a message to all this. Life happens and sometimes things fade and leave us. But with patience and hard work life can happen again. That works for the daffodil patch and it works for me as well.

Daffodil

Look at this. The first daffodil. It’s always such a lift when they appear. The return of a bit of warm colour. Much needed. Can we now officially call it SPRING. For what it’s worth a quick and very unscientific check of the photos is telling me that they have arrived one day earlier than last year.

If only WP was that reliable. Scheduled posts not working. Finding it harder to post comments that actually appear. Random unfollows. Likes not working. Photos refusing to publish. Messed up editing. Yep I think the WP IOS app has beaten me. Need to get myself a better laptop and switch to the web based option. See if it works better with Windows.

But until then we will soldier on. Do what I can. Don’t get too worked up if it refuses to work properly. There a great quote from The Book of Joy. A quote which has Buddhist traditions but was also told to me bizarrely by a cricket coach who was talking about getting out of a bad run of batting form. Basically it says….. Pointless worrying about what you can’t control and why are you worrying about stuff you can control.

Ok let’s try to remember that. Forget WP and my troubles. Think about the things in my life that lift me up and that I love. That will help push the negative thoughts away for some precious moments.

We can do this.

Open my eyes

Too often I can’t see the wood for the trees. I’m looking but my eyes are shut.

Focusing on stuff that will probably never happen. Still hoping to walk down paths that are closed. Looking out into a landscape which is grey. Trying to find new adventures to find colour in life, but too often failing.

But then….

Two feet from the front door. Just a little bit of colour. Just a little bit of hope.

Just needed to open my eyes.

Missed goal

I admired this beautiful plant. Admired it as I was sat on the bench. I was actually sat on the bench to inspect my injuries. A rather too enthusiastic attempt to score a garden goal ended up with my head first in the hedge. A few cuts and scrapes but the flower took my mind off the pain. Can’t believe after all the damage, I didn’t score the goal. This was all done to the backdrop of Hawklad laughing his socks off.

Dad do you want help getting out of the hedge. Are you ok?”

Hawklad concern is better when your not wetting yourself with laughter.

It was like an albatross with too much in its belly trying to get into the air. Little legs struggling to pick up enough speed to take off. And failing spectacularly. That was too funny Dad”.

Hawklad that was a cracking goal

You missed Dad. It was all for nothing.”

Oh man. I thought I had hit the target.

You certainly hit the hedge, unfortunately the ball was less accurate. Actually it was very similar to your head. It ended up buried in the hedge. Shall I help you out Dad.

No I’m doing that by myself now.

Dad you’ve left a big hole in the hedge. Maybe it’s your new art. Body dents in the natural world.”

I could tour the world hurling myself head first into different world landmarks.

It’s a big hole you have left. Looks like a hippo has crashed through.”

Hawklad are you saying I’m as big as a hippo……

“Of course not Dad. That would be unfair on Hippos.”

Now you mention it, that is a big indent. Did I really make that.

Yep. Being a responsible parent weren’t you Dad. It’s a good job I moved out of the way as you would have hit me.”

Responsible parenting goes out of the window when your son is taller than his Dad. Look at the bruises on my shins from your kicks. All the world great footballers have to endure the dastardly attempts to stop their artistry.

“I’m only defending myself from a charging hippo. Funny I’m not seeing Messi or Neymar playing in my garden. It’s more like Gloria from Madagascar. ”

Absolutely no appreciation from my so called son.

That’s right Gloria. Now go and fetch the ball from the hedge….”

I will after Gloria sits down and inspects her injuries. Oh… Look at that flower.

Thank you Roses

Roses, roses, roses. Thank you for roses.

Beautiful, resilient and a bit of fight about them.

A flower than can melt the heart and then draw blood.

England has even had civil wars over a white and red rose.

**************

I’ve always felt a strong link to roses. That’s not surprising since I come from the White Rose County. Yet the link is stronger than that.

The last present I gave to my partner was a rose. Since then that delicate white rose has been intrinsically linked with my grief journey.

We have another rose which is decades old and has come from my partners childhood home. So it’s a link with Hawklads past. Family members now gone.

I also often look at a rose and see symbols of life. Today I was looking at a rose and it made me think of friendship. Some of the rose buds seem to go on forever. If you are lucky in life you may find one of those friendships that do that, always special, always beautiful, everlasting. Yet you also see rose buds that fail to bloom. How many times have I had thought that I had found a great friendship yet for whatever reason things never seemed to take off. Then you come across those roses which burst into life, producing the most stunning flowers, yet within days they have died back and faded. Just like those friendships which seem like they will be the best ever and yet suddenly they end – wonderful but not ever lasting, so short lived. You just never know with roses and you just never know with friends.

Today it was friends but on another day I will see roses symbolising another part of my life. I’ve done it with grief, parenting and hope. What will the Rose show me tomorrow?

Yoga, I want some words….

If only sitting with a nettle tea and looking at a beautiful flower was classed as exercise….

Who invented yoga? Really! Who invented that medieval form of torture. I want words with them. The glossy brochures are so enticing.

Wonderful for posture

Stress busting

A pick me up for the soul

Strengthens the mind

Improves confidence

Recover your flexibility

Builds strength and a strong heart

Anyone can do it

Fun

Feel your anxiety ebb away

So what actually is the reality. What happens when YOGA meets a Yorkshire Bloke who is trying to figure out if he is Man or MUPPET….

So the iPad was fired up. A random yoga app was selected. The advanced 50 minute session selected. Surely being an experienced runner, CrossFit, weights, climbing, cycling superhero must count for something. For a start having an instructor who speaks in English would help. Whispering terms like Chaturanga Dandasana and Shalabhasana is just going to get a blank look in Yorkshire. Secondly can we not have an instructor who has the flexibility of Elastigirl. I’m not getting in those positions EVER, not even with scaffolding and a construction team.

50 minutes of basically hearing my body crack and creak. What are the official yoga terms for ‘that pigging hurts’, ‘are you kidding me’, ‘oh no I’m falling over’, and ‘I’m stuck’. Elastigirl, you try relaxing in the plank position when a dog is washing your face and the cat is scratching your heel. And while I’m on with it, Elastigirl my heel has never been designed to touch the back of my head – strangely my backbone makes that a physical impossibility. Lying on my back with my feet in the air might be doing something for my posterior but it’s playing havoc with my acid reflux. Where’s the warning to not get too close to glass windows when you try to balance on one leg while trying to get into the Superman flying position. It’s so far been beyond me to get into one position without farting…. Yes I can hold that press-up position for as long as you want but do you know the agony I’m in trying to hold a position which is basically me tied up in a knot. In fact most of the positions I’ve been instructed to hold while relaxing have quickly deteriorated into violent twitching and shaking episodes.

So yes I want serious words with the person who invented yoga. Tomorrow I’m going back to CrossFit training and weights. Those will now feel like an absolute delight. All that’s to yoga.

Hope

A mass of pink.

Thankfully every year this happens.

This rose is clearly very old. It’s been here for nearly 20 years. Before that it was at Hawklads grannies house in Thornton le Dale for several years. And before that it was blooming in K’s childhood home. So it’s well travelled and clearly very old. It provides a symbol of hope to me. A beacon. We all need these in whatever form. I am so lucky to have a number of these sources of hope. Some are close by like this one which is next to my bedroom wall and some are much further away. Regardless of the distance and location, they are special to me. So I care for them and yes worry for them. In terms of the plants, we did have a few more of these symbolic plants but slowly the Yorkshire winters and living on an exposed hill have taken their toll. Now we are down just to three of these well travelled old plants. Yes the numbers are dropping each year but the hope they represent still shines so brightly. Each winter I hope and pray that they make it through the rough months. So yes, I am always thankful for another year of those treasured flowers.

Over time I have lost things which are special to me. Things change and that is life. But if I open my eyes and heart then new beauty will enter my life. Hope is renewed and flourishes again. That’s why it still can be a wonderful life.

Poppy

A beautiful gift. The name Poppy has always been special for us. My mum had a sister called Poppy who died as an infant. Always think of mum and her young sister when I hear the name.

That’s the first time a Poppy has grown there. Hopefully many more to come.

In a few weeks it will be 4 years since my partner left this world. A lot has happened in that time. The world has changed, I’ve changed and son has grown – rapidly. It definitely feels like I’m living in a new life cycle now. I’ve stopped trying to reinvent old memories. Started living today. If you don’t do that then life questions

Why,

What if I did that,

Why didn’t I do that.

Trying to fathom answers to those questions is really just playing guessing games. Won’t change what’s happened. It’s not going to help our son and it’s not going to help me.