Can, Also Cannot

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A young woman Nirmala, painted in Barbara James’ Kuala Lumpur art class in those glorious early Tropical mornings. (see Story  – International Art Class).

Nirmala’s paintings of the Tree Ferns remain in my mind’s eye …

As does her response to many an enquiry….”CAN, ALSO CANNOT”, whilst shaking her head.

Her response gave permission to consider choice.

Would you agree, that today, the phrase represents wobble, confusion, unclear values?

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Celebrating 25 years of creative imagination in The Quiet Garden

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We wrote in the February 19  Blog, about the Ascot Quiet Garden, illustrating the reflection with a glorious pink Tree Peony which has taken ten years to fully establish itself. Around 25 years before that, Oliver Simon, an Anglican priest in Bracknell ( where I was the Community Worker, in Social Services) whilst walking in our garden, said, “I’ve just heard about the Quiet Garden project. You’d really like it”. ( The Rt. Rev. Dr Oliver, some years later was ordained as the Bishop of the Diocese of Antsiranana, Northern Madagascar) 

I and thousands of others DID AND DO, LIKE IT. 

Dr Rowan Williams writes in launching QUIET 25: “The ancient tradition of silent contemplation is as important to the modern mind as it was to our forbears and The Quiet Garden Movement has been  facilitating the practice of mindful contemplation for the past 25 years in gardens around the world”


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Replant, Rebuild … Keep Going ?? with confidence ………

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 Some years ago now, a robust Buddleia bush flowered with purple plumes and Peacock butterflies. Then I pruned it. It died ! Here are the replants; three tones of purple. Bushes rooted well….NO BUTTERFLIES….and only a few years after an annual profusion. 2017 is a catastrophic year for butterflies. Mild winter, cold spring, late summer. 70 % drop in butterfly numbers.     See Butterfly Conservation.Org Greener UK. New consortium 13 Environmental groups; total membership 7.9 million members who see an opportunity in leaving the EU, as a pivotal  moment in which to enhance the UK’s environment.

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The Moment You Decide To Act

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This purple Clematis has budded and shrivelled year after year, until 2017.

We had planted it against a metal arch. This Spring it moved itself away from the metal and into the close-by Rose. You see the result.

Question: what impelled the plant- saving move ?

Looking back at times of decision in our own lives… WHAT made us move ?

Always encouraged by Goethe – ” Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it”

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

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See You At The Bus Stop

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To mark our 60th wedding day remembrance we’ve rebuilt the play house which my son and husband built for the first grandchildren. Such fun !!! Day by day seeing our skilled carpenter Ray, jiggle the sections together. Watching Bus Stop’s reincarnation has been particularly encouraging because, as a family, we’re amidst painful health difficulties.

What I note is how CREATING something from our imaginations, gives a vibrant counterbalance to whatever surrounds our challenges. And stories of three other peoples’ challenges have arrived here, by chance, together…all HEALTH RELATED.

A Story about his pain is shared  by Andrea Berardi. In the Gallery, Marion Macalpine gives glimpses of her photographic campaigning about privatisation of the NHS. In Tales, Trisha Longworth writes about the NHS in Homeopathic terms.

3 stops for the Green Line 72 to …….the DETERMINATION TERMINUS.


A Bird In My Hand

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Andrew is our gardener for the past 15 years.

He cares for the grass, assiduously..rain or shine.

He is also a BIRD MAN ; knows a lot. Identifies by song and by descriptions.

Last week one of his daughters brought to him a fledgling Collar Dove. Found in Sainsbury’s car park. Been attacked. 3″ gash at its throat. When Andrew fed the scruffy pathetic creature ..all the food slid out of its crop.

Determined to save the Dove’s life, Andrew first tried Superglue. No good !

Next he found some nylon thread and stitched the gash. Bird lay still, in his hands

Now the Dove eats. Food stays in throat. Is digested. After feeding, the baby Dove snuggles up ,cupped in Bird Man’s hands, lying on the favourite old green jumper. Its feathers are just coming through.

‘Poetry, after all, is the honey of language’

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So wrote Carol Ann Duffy, the Poet Laureate when she threw her weight behind the fledgling NATURAL BEE- KEEPING TRUST, in becoming NBKT’s PATRON.

“I am delighted to offer all the support I can to NBKT & to draw attention to the age-old connection between poetry and bees..We owe bees so much & should give everything in our power for their protection”

http://www.natural beekeeping






Constipation and Codeine : a childhood tale

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Last few days so beached, I’ve thought of my Aunty Gertie…who spent many an hour, many a day, on the loo: that’s the Legend.

Gertie and Rick lived in those long line, red brick houses in 1930s Liverpool. Privet hedge two feet from front door. Weekly polish; front step…Red Cardinal, letter box…Brasso. Enter the tunnel hall. Stairs straight up left. Parlour on the right. Aspidistra defending the netted window. Proud glass cabinet displayed BEST things… Never opened. Painfully untuned, unplayed piano. Musty still, in my nostrils. A funeral room, on hold….

Next door…. Light… Fire… Hub of the Home…The back kitchen… Black iron range…Clock and two China dogs above…Ancient maiden Aunty Lyle sat sitting in hard-backed chair close to ever- boiling kettle. Mum Lil & Gertie … catching up from their loneliness. Me, sitting there! 

Gertie ‘lost’ Rick years earlier. Took usual cuppa up to him one Sunday afternoon…Dead in bed…Hair still elegantly Brill-creamed. 

To my amazement one quiet afternoon, I spied two discreet tears moving down, down Aunty Gertie’s cheeks.

The Crone

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The Crone Goddess, together with the Mother and Maiden Goddesses, represents part of the circle of life.

In today’s society which worships youth and beauty, the Crone Goddess is frightening and misunderstood as she represents destruction, decay and death.

Positively, she’s depicted as a Grandmother, wise woman, or midwife.  Crone derives from ‘crown’, suggesting wisdom emanating like a halo. Her child bearing days over; she’s the wisdom keeper, seer and healer and midwife, whose knowledge is sought to guide others during life’s hardships and transitions. 

The Middle Ages Church feared these wise women and the esteem from their communities. Many were killed during the Inquisition and the wise woman of old was relegated to the Wicked Witch and Hag Archetype of fairy tales – the meanings of witch and hag deriving from ‘wit’ denoting wisdom and ‘hagio’ meaning holy. Today as women live longer and take more prominent roles within society the tide is starting to turn as they start to reclaim their power.

[ Pix – Rosa Davis]

First Coal-free day

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Friday 21 April 2017 was Britain’s first ever working day without coal power since the Industrial Revolution, according to the National Grid.

The control room tweeted the milestone – it is the first continuous 24-hour coal-free period for Britain since use of the fossil fuel began. West Burton 1 power station, the only coal-fired plant that had been up and running, went offline on Thursday.

Britain was the first country to use coal for electricity when Thomas Edison opened the Holborn Viaduct power station (London 1882).

Hannah Martin, head of energy, Greenpeace UK – “The first day without coal in Britain since the Industrial Revolution marks a watershed in the energy transition. A decade ago, a day without coal would have been unimaginable, and in 10 years’ time our energy system will have radically transformed again’’

Gareth Redmond-King, head of climate and energy, WWF – “Whoever forms the next government after the general election, must prioritise a plan for reducing emissions from all sectors.”

[Guardian – Georgia Brown 22/4/17]