Simply sunshine!

I’m not complaining about our many frosty mornings or our many many drizzly days. In fact I love the rain and the storms and the fierce winds. No wonder we talk about the weather so much… it can alter the way we feel in an instant. However for me…sunshine unleashes a whole new swarm of emotions. Everything just seems so different.  So positive.

Because of the sunshine in the last week I’ve been able to visit my favourite beach and walk miles along the gentle curve of the wave disappearing at my feet. We’ve had picnics of avocado salad sandwiches while watching the dogs chase sticks.  There’s been walks to parks where swans sunbathed and geese preened and paddle. Toddlers run around in their new shorts and squishy knees.  Everyone seems to be eating ice cream. I play football and throw myself on the field in an attempt to humour my young opponent. Families roll down grassy slopes and the parks have come alive with laughter, picnic blankets and chat. Clouds have disappeared leaving a blanket of blue and the sunshine warms our bodies that until now have been hidden under wooly hats and winter coats.

Maybe that’s why we appreciate the sunshine so much because it’s certainly not something we always have!

It’s amazing how the weather can change your mood if you take the time to appreciate the power of the outdoors and the natural elements that can turn a bad day into a fantastic one.

It’s another gorgeous one today.. hope you’re all able to make the most of it!

Lots of love
Dwys x x 

Sleeping with the trees

I love trees. Aren’t they amazing? They’ve been around for hundreds of years, they look so intelligent and worldly wide. Trusting. They’re particularly beautiful at the moment. Leaves of tangerine orange and tanned brown, some a sunshine yellow. I stood under this pictured tree on Saturday and watched the leaves occasionally fall delicately, dancing to their soft landing.

I take so much more notice of things than I used to. I couldn’t imagine saying I loved trees as a ‘cool’ silk cut smoking teenager!  It’s crazy how long it takes sometimes to appreciate those things that are out there. For free! 

I use my love of the outdoors in perhaps an unusual way when I feel anxious, particularly if it happens during the night. Since Tes I’ve struggled to sleep much more than five hours, usually no more than about 3 without waking fully. Fortunately I’ve never needed a lot of sleep (Tes was the same actually), so I’ve spent many a night annoyed that I can’t sleep. Many a night berating myself that I’ve eaten too late or drank too much wine. I’ve spent many an hour wondering did I send that email at work or have I got enough staff in? Sometimes I just notice my heart rate and that’s it. The more I notice the louder it gets. Once I’ve been through all that, it’s ages before my mind can become quiet enough to consider sleep.

So. This is where nature comes in. I’ve started my own little meditation mind map. It takes some of the principles of mindfulness but instead of concentrating on what’s going on now (that heart rate!) I picture myself going on my favourite walk with Lolly. I break it down to the tiniest of detail. To putting on her collar and noticing her coarse chocolate brown fur and her mismatched paws, her dark inquisitive eyes. Then I focus on my steps along the track taking notice of all the familiar spots like the heron normally standing proud down the side of the bank and the broken branches crushed into the moist grass under my feet. I hear the river swell and there’s always a breeze sweeping through my hair. I rarely get half way around my imaginary walk. Why? I fall asleep! 

I thought I’d share this because lots of people suffer from sleepless nights and it’s worked for me so who knows imagining your favourite place might work for you. Or it could be used as a simple self guided meditation. If you can’t get to the beach why not imagine it instead! It’s good for our overactive minds to have a break!

Thanks for reading, have a lovely Sunday and hopefully a peaceful night too 

Dwys X X 

Village life

I’ve written about this quite a bit lately. Community. Being local. Being part of something. I think it’s the answer to so much of the sadness and problems currently facing our world. Simplistic, I know.

I’m also aware how lucky I am to live in this beautiful green village where the church stands proudly bearing over us.
A quick preamble to the following narrative about an hour in my life this week, I feel it’s right to say I am not continually  living an idyllic life of pink roses, aprons and home made bread. My week is full of hurdles like everyone else. For the luxury of living where I do I get up at six am to walk my pooch because I travel 2 hrs to work and back. I’m tired most days and you’ll see me often scraping some film from a plastic tub because I haven’t had time to cook something ‘proper’.
But… The following is my morning routine most days and I think it perfectly captures this rural life that I fell in love with very slowly over the last 40ish years.
6am.

The socket by my bed isn’t working and I haven’t had time to get the electrician out.  Therefore when the alarm clock goes off I spy it through one tired heavy eye while quickly understanding that as it’s plugged in ‘over there’ I’m actually going to have to get up to press snooze.

Three snoozes later I’m up. I take a look at the weather and though I see it ever day I look at the hills and trees taking up most of my bleary look and inside I think wow. It’s beautiful.
Beautiful.
I brush my teeth in my small colourful bathroom and find some light blue walking socks. Pooch starts to get very excited recognising this familiar routine. I put on my boots and pink weatherproof jacket while deciding which route to take. I end up taking the wrong one. We wander up the empty lanes apart from the sounds of the birds and cross over a field using the public footpath. Unfortunately a large black cow also has decided to share this path with me. We make eye contact and I don’t fancy my chances so I take a slight detour to the nearby fence. I throw pooch over and the attempt the barbed wire fence myself. Barbed wire 1. My old jeans O.
We carry on over a small bridge and I stop to look at the river which is rather noisy as it’s just started to rain. Hood up we carry on past the farmhouse where the brown and white spaniel stares as usual prowling, tail up with a protective snarl and the woman in the house smiles from the open door while reassuring said pooch. A man closes a gate and waves as he goes off to work. I see him often but I don’t know him.

A farmer on his quad bike races past and shouts hello as we make the final bend towards home. It’s only 7 but the shop is open and I hear customers chatting inside and the local farmer is delivering bottles of milk. Yes, bottles! A man I know parks his car after picking up his morning paper. I tell him his right brake light isn’t working. He doubts me so gets in while I stand and look. Yes I say. He thanks me.
I’m wondering about breakfast and whether I fancy the usual muesli with added cranberries, cashews and raisins when I pass the tiny egg shed. It’s a recent addition to the village. A duck blue cupboard full of fresh eggs, quail eggs and teacups with pretty fuchsia plants. There’s  no shopkeeper. Just an honesty box. Despite having no money I take a box of eggs and pay the £1.30 later as I drive to work.
When I get home I feed the hungry pooch and also the noisy birds who have also quickly got used to my morning routine. They shout until I’ve filled their feeder with colourful food  Breakfast is delicious as two very yellow yolks adorn my plate. I sit in my tiny conservatory and…..well I’m writing this! As I eat and drink perfumed earl grey tea, I watch the birds dance around their new seeds and in the background I hear sheep, the faint rumble of a tractor and the breeze sweeping through the trees.

And that’s all.
Rural life. What’s not to love?
Happy Sunday everyone X X X

Dare to dream

What else is there to write about today other than WALES?!

For so many reasons. I’m always proud to be Welsh.  Yes I’m proud because the footie team beat the Belgium team to go through. Yes I’m proud of our fans.  Yes I cry as I hear the national anthem sweep through the stands.

I’m proud though mostly of our attitude.  Of the attitude of the team. Of the attitude of the manager.  It’s Welsh.  It’s so so Welsh.  Here for each other. Not one person trying to get the limelight.  Holding hands.  An ability to merge and mix with those on the ‘opposing sides’.  The confidence to say when you’re wrong.  The strength to stand and be proud when everything goes right.  The humility to admit you’ve made a mistake.  The passion to invoke pride in millions of people.  Not just Welsh people.

Where does this come from?

A dream.  The dream.  Belief in the dream.

When asked what he does to this team, Coleman replies simply…..  I dare to dream.  He implores youngsters to take this on.  To dream.  If you don’t dream, then what have you got?

This is what I am left with this weekend. The passion and the belief of dreams.  Because we can all have them.

After the legendary game on Friday night I woke up listening to the seagulls play.  With a bit of a heavy head I find myself on a beach scattered lightly with people and dogs.  It’s sparse and beautiful.

Windsurfers crash against the breeze.

Women and men jog bare foot in the sand against the horizon.

Dogs run excitedly into the froth and swell of the sea.

The sun has won its battle against the snow coloured clouds and with the breeze scatters patterns along the sand.

There’s a moment when I stop and I devour it.

I stop and dream.

Do you ever stop and dream?

I stopped and I decided to spin around on the sand, taking in the sound of the natural crashing waves and the heat of the sun shining heavily on my face.  It felt silly.  It felt amazing.

I couldn’t be happier to be born anywhere in the world than Wales.  We’re unique.  We’re a team.  And we dare to dream.

 

Happy Sunday (night) everyone x x x

 

abersoch

 

 

 

 

 

 

Constructing time

It’s hard to know where to start this week.

The week where we still struggled to know how to behave on the anniversary of Tes’s death. Do you do the washing? Should you go out? Is it OK to do anything normal? There’s no guide book for that.

Also we lost two famousness’s that I’d grown up with. Victoria Wood and Prince.  Like many, Victoria was one of the first ‘funny” women I’d seen on TV and she was Northern and ‘normal’.   I’m sure she gave many women confidence to be themselves. I saw Prince live, twice.  The tiny purple pop star was the best performer I’ve ever seen. His passion for what he did oozed.

So, in addition to far too much death it’s also been a week of health worries, changing my mind about something important, final moments, moving a million boxes,  and being grateful to the kindness of strangers. I’ve had wonderful compassion from friends and family and I’ve been (I hope) a firm shoulder to cry on for a friend.  I’ve also been a bit cross. At one point raising my voice to say.. I don’t want any flowers today.  What I meant was I didn’t want there to be an anniversary in the first place for the need of flowers.

In all of this I had a brief ‘why me” moment.  Why me? Why us? Why you?

To beat this moment of self pity in the chaotic week I sought fresh air and played ball with the dogs in the expansive empty field across the road. After a while I took my jacket off and although there was a slight chill from the breeze the sun pounded on my face as I lay on the ground.  Both dogs cuddled into me. One to the side and the little one crawled under my bent knees.  I closed my eyes turning my face towards the warmth and experienced the change of colours that seeped through my eyelids as I breathed in some peace, quiet, stillness.  A brief but much needed interlude of meditative time.

It’s important to take time out and re charge even if it’s for a few brief minutes.  I remember as I lay there the words of Prince. Time is a mind construct.  It’s not real.

We are often bound by time but maybe sometimes we need to get hold of it, step away and make that time ours now and again.

Happy Sunday everyone xxx

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Star jumps

I’ve just been on what is probably my favourite holiday. A load of family, children, a brother I haven’t seen for a year and dogs tucked in a forest with plenty of mod cons (no teepee or compost loo thanks!).  It’s exhausting just listing what we did.. walking, cycling,  swimming,  adventure golf, laser shooting,  aerial ropes (still can’t believe I did that one), bowling, badminton,  table tennis.  It was so much fun.

Having brought Lolly, my  dog,   I also managed to get out for an hour and a half every day exploring under the narrow wavering emerald trees.  Treading new paths, new smells, new views. As I walked and sometimes stopped to take a picture I realised how much I was focussing on the good stuff.  I ignored the very occasional piece of litter. I definitely tried to ignore a plastic dog bag that someone had tied to a hedge (why????). I ignored the perimeter fence and the sound of cars in the distance. 

Instead I took in the sight of the robin that came close enough for me to see the beauty of his chest.  I watched and smiled as the squirrels caught site of pooch and scrambled high up to safety.  I enjoyed the rabbits scuttling in their field.  I took in the flowers that looked like sunshine and the natural white forage while ducks waddled in pairs near the pond.   I stopped and said a few words near a tree that had been adorned with ribbons for someone gone and I took time to feel the pain I sometimes try to ignore wishing my beautiful girl who should be almost 18 was here linking arms with me. 

Mostly I enjoy. No not enjoy. I’m in awe of the silence and the time around me. The time to just do this. This. This kind of nothing but it’s also everything.

To celebrate I take a large big star jump to the amusement of pooch and I keep on walking.

We can’t always ignore the bad and focus on the good but I’m going to try a little harder to see and appreciate all the goodness right in front me.  Easier said than done I know particularly when real life makes an appearance however I can run and take a star jump anywhere!  When’s the last time you star jumped? ! Go on!  It’ll make you feel good!

Have a great week x Dwys x

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The stranger at the park

For this blog I just wanted to share with you 15 minutes from my week.

**

I left work hurriedly at lunch time on Tuesday at 12.30pm wanting to make the most of the Spring day, the sun was making an infrequent appearance and it wasn’t raining. High fives!

Keeping warm in a short black winter jacket and stripey woolen hat my skin glowed from the mix of heat from the sunhine and the chilly breeze. I walk along the familiar leafy river bank, me and my scruffy dog.  We took a different route and made a detour lifting ourselves over rough fallen branches making our way to the edge of the river.  Scruffy enjoyed sniffing around the new place and I watched the ducks being carried softly upstream.

I heard you talking and looked around.  I smiled and you smiled back, politely.  Sometimes there is something about someone that is so absolutely warm. It’s indescribable but it was there in that second. You say something again and I look again at you rather puzzled, wondering why you are talking to yourself.  Then I notice you too have a four-legged friend.

Of course as all dog owners do we immediately exchange stories about the breed of our pets and the age of our furry friends.  They both run off together bounding through the newly cut grass like old buddies and we are left with what could’ve been an awkward moment.  We seem to be heading towards the same circular route.  I slowed down a little so you had time to walk ahead in case you didn’t want to talk or walk with me. I was surprised as you waited.

Having both independently decided we’d walk together we chatted easily. The walk lasted about 15 minutes. For some unknown reason we discussed things that sometimes I find difficult to talk to anyone about.

I talked to you about getting my dog at a difficult time and that led me to talk briefly about Tes.  You took in a sharp breath as I told you what happened, however you didn’t falter at all.  You were fantastically honest and also remarkably supportive.  You then told me some very painful aspects of your own life that you were struggling with and your anxieties for the future.  I listened and tried to offer you some helpful words.  You smile and we both agree that although life throws fireworks we can try to dodge the sparks and enjoy the abundant flashes of brightness when they come.

We both walked on and discussed happier times.  You about your little girl, your partner and upcoming holiday, me about my impending time off work.

We kept walking and made our way back over the green heavy iron bridge and as we came to the crossroads in the path you made a right and I kept on going.  Bye, you said, hope to see you again.  Our dogs were not very happy to say goodbye and we giggled as they kissed and played, eventually with the persuasion of some treats they parted.  You waved.  I waved.

We both went back to work.

I walked back with a smile on my face and I felt that you did too.

**
I’m not suggesting that everyone should run up and start chatting to random strangers (be safe!). However in times where we’re ‘too busy’ and strangers become people to be wary of, this brief encounter was a reminder that kindness and openess can bring brightness and rewards in a world that increasingly promotes fear rather than friendliness. Smile, say hello. It could change your day too x

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