Meant to be

Up until 2pm on Saturday nothing had really grabbed my attention in terms of what I might write about this week for my blog.

I’m feeling a bit better than I did last week but it’s been a slow improvement this time away from ‘the fog’.

I did though pick up my new ‘toy’ which is my Orange Crush mountain bike last Sunday. I’m not one for fads but I had to admit to myself that buying a fancy new mountain bike after having only been mountain biking seriously once was a bit extreme but I know in my bones I’m going to get use out of it.

I was quite nervous getting on it! I know they say ‘it’s like riding a bike’ but if you haven’t ridden a bike for a while it’s well – like riding a bike when you haven’t ridden one for years!! Wobbly!

I bought some cycling trousers from Aldi and kept trying to move the padded bit to the side when I then discovered there were two padded bits, one for each cheek!!! I put my new pink and black helmet (matched my jacket!) on and off we we went towards the canal on what was luckily a beautiful autumnal warm gorgeous day.

I do love getting to know a different part of where I live. Having lived in this area all my life I had never taken the whole path down to the aqueduct via the canal. It was absolutely stunning. We had to stop at one point to take in the view and that says something living in Wales! A blue and cream canal boat bobbed at the side of a bench where someone had planted roses all around it, the bench looked over a vast panoramic skyline, slightly hazy but with strong emerald and rusty colours of trees swinging quietly in the wind. Below the trees, the river Dee was quite spectacular due to the recent rain and with beautiful force went on its journey as far as the eye could see.

We continued onwards, passing a few people and a few dogs, but not many. We were heading towards a cafe that we’d discovered, it was actually a cafe inside a boat and as I cycled I mulled over, what would it be? Almond slice or a scone with cream and jam!

We eventually got to the cafe, the October sun by now was pressing down on our skin and when we stopped I had to loosen my jacket to cool down. We queued and I finally decided on the scone, I wasn’t disappointed.

We’d stopped next to an elderly woman and her dog. I am addicted to dogs. I can’t pass a dog without comment or a pat on their head. We asked if the woman minded us sitting next to her on the long wooden bench. No, she said.

It wasn’t long before we made friends with the beautiful golden Labrador who reminded me of a lovely dog in my life years previously. He had the most handsome face and he looked hopefully at us for a crumb of the scone but his owner rightly wasn’t keen on him developing that habit. He sat with his head on my blue and white trainers, a trick that many dogs like to do, if you move – then they’ll know it!

We got talking to the fair haired, slight woman and I noticed she had a thick gold wedding ring on her tiny hand, for some reason I knew already that she had been widowed and that this dog had come into her life because of that. In the fifteen minutes or so we spoke it transpired that after saving all their life for their future her husband had died suddenly over 3 months, before he retired and 5 months after she had retired. They had been together for 50 years. This had happened 8 years ago. Her dog was 8 years old.

As we were leaving, the woman who was now in her 70s looked at us. Really looked at us. Don’t save for the future, she said. Don’t put your money in ISAs or banks. Live your life now, she said. You really need to live your life now, she said.

I left her, feeling a little sorry – not in a patronising way – just that she had made all these plans and in the matter of months they were taken away from her. I also left her feeling that sometimes, you bump into people for a reason. I felt like I was supposed to meet her this day. I was meant to hear what she said. It was meant to be.

I hope I get to meet her again some day.

Have a lovely Sunday x

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Perception

An event happened this week which reminded me of some advice I’d read many years ago. How you label the event depends on how you experience it.

It can be simple stuff like being stuck in traffic.. . You can decide to get impatient or you can sing along to your favourite tune. Or the person your meeting is late. You can be cross or you can enjoy a few rare moments alone with your thoughts. Or when things don’t turn out as you’d want. You can mull over what should have been or you can label it as a new unexpected opportunity.

So…

I got home from work and I was feeling so positive. I’d got a lot done and things seem to be turning a corner from fire fighting to an element of control. I got home and my gorgeous dogs as usual pounce on me and smile at me (yes!!) And LOVE me so much no matter what mood I’m in I’m utterly in love with them too and the first thing I do is get on my boots and we go for a walk.

I’m wearing my new tartan dress this day. I’ve decided winter is setting in so I’ve got my new “thermal’ tights on too!! You know you get those days where you just feel good. I was feeling good.

We went on our walk down past the river. It was a beautiful night and there were a few tourists around. I smiled as I passed them and the dogs barked as they were excited waiting for the ball. I played ball with them and youngest pooch ran back and forth for 20 minutes. A guy at the park with his son looked over and smiled a few times. I could see he must be impressed at my dog with her recall skills. Me too!

I then walked back around the green damp grounds and passed a woman who said hello and smiled. I took a left and sat by the river for a few minutes and enjoyed the sound of the swell. I decided on this occasion to walk back through town which I don’t do often. I pass the guys I’ve got to know at a restaurant. They all said hi and smile and I walked through town . I passed two couples in their 60s all in leather bike gear carrying helmets. I smiled. They smiled too. I stopped at some shop windows and peered in at jewellery that I’d had my eye on and waved at the woman at the till. I passed the deli that sells my favourite artisan bread and crossed over passing the ice cream parlour that hosts the most divine vegan ice cream. The dogs greeted two Dalmatians and I chatted pleasantries with their owners.

As I got back I saw my neighbour and shouted hello. She seemed to avert her eyes a little and wasn’t so enthusiastic but she said hello back.

We got back in. The dogs were tired and I was ready to make dinner. I bent down to open the fridge and somehow my hand caught up in my new tartan dress. But it didn’t just catch, it was stuck. In my dress. In my dress that was also firmly totally tucked in to my thermal rights. At the front. My dress was totally tucked in to my tights.

So as I’d walked happily around and felt warm at the smiles of strangers it dawned very quickly on me that these were less smiles of politeness but more likely smiles of embarrassment. Smiles of cringe. Smiles of poor thing.

For a few seconds I felt a bit sick. I’d made a total fool of myself. I’d walked around my home town with my skirt tucked in my pants!!! Then I looked and I thought. You know what. My legs aren’t bad. My legs are ok. So what

People saw my legs. In tights. When I hadn’t intended. So what. I’m proud of those legs. I laughed at myself and with that I untucked myself. Poured a glass of wine. And got on with dinner.

What’s the saying.. .. life is what you make it!

Happy Sunday xxx

Got the moves

This week I’ve realised you can live with only four pairs of shoes and ten items of clothing and you can survive without a fridge freezer and even without a bed (woes of old narrow curvy stairs and metal large double bed bases!).

I’m almost at my new home. Almost! Inbetween I have a temporary base in Llangollen.  So my move is 75% there and I can’t quite believe I’ve done it. This is the first time, bar some traveling, that I’ve ever lived in a town!!! I walk around and say to myself.. ooo there’s a florist and a hairdressers and a restaurant and a book shop and a cafe… like I’ve never been here before!!

It was a wrench leaving my lovely village but I’ve so many friends and family that I’ll be a happy frequent visitor. 

I’ve started my new morning’s walking along the beautiful singing  river Dee, spotting herons to the backdrop of the steam train or walks along the canal taking in the colourful boats that are homes calmly bobbing on the water.

Coincidentally it’s International Eisteddfod week and I was lucky to peek through on my early walk into the colouful field yet to be opened to the crowds.
Nearby I spotted this quote by Dylan Thomas and was quite blown away by it to be honest.

“Are you surprised that people can still dance and sing in a world on it’s head? The only surprising thing about miracles, however small, is that they sometimes happen”

Now more than ever it feels that we have to concentrate on what brings us together than what drives us apart. Singing and dancing might not heal the world entirely but it’s a good place to start. 

I find out through reading on my walk that the Eisteddod was brought about in 1947 for post ‘war weary’ people. To bring international communities together in one small town and show the ‘Welsh way’ .. that those communities can not only live side by side but they can also sing and dance and laugh and love.

Llangollen. We’re off to a good start.

Hope you’ve had a good week too.

Happy Sunday xx

Wandering mind

This sounds dramatic.  It is.  This week. It’s kind of been life changing.  Not in a huge ‘I’ve had an epiphany’ kind of way.  In lots of small ways. In ways that could only have happened because I had time for my mind.  To wander.

I’ve realised how very important that is.

I spent five days in a well worn and well loved motor home (not mine I hasten to add… unfortunately!). In a field. Next to the beach. In Wales.  Apart from the visit from the proud red and cheeky Robin and some chats with Tilly the three legged jack Russell  (and her owners!) there wasn’t a lot going on. Perfect.

With my mind free of work and clocks and what to cook and where do I fit in exercise and self criticism over what I’ve drank or how little sleep I’ve had or who I haven’t seen or why the house is a mess.  It was free of wondering whether I could shave 2 minutes off my drive to work or whether I felt guilty for leaving late.  Free of 6am alarms and snatched lunches.  Free of time holding me, instead I was holding time.

It wasn’t just about relaxing, it was about the fact that sometimes there wasn’t a lot ‘to do’.  It means I stared for many minutes at one cryptic crossword determined that I could get it (I got three in the I- a record!).  It meant that I watched a film I wanted to see for a while (The Hundred Foot Journey – Helen Mirren is in it, it’s about food and it’s set in France, what’s not to love!).   It means my walks could go on for hours.  It also meant at times I stared out of the top window in the motor home and looked out at the sparse but brilliantly green hills with an occasional sheep munching grass while admiring the top of the sea bouncing on the horizon.

I watched a sheep!!!!!

So, I didn’t just watch a sheep.  I kept having ‘ideas’.  I’m not the  most artistic person in the world or the most creative, I’m not the best cook or photographer or writer but I love doing it and shouldn’t we do more of what we love?  At long last that note book that I keep in my bag got some use (it’s there for ‘ideas’) and I found myself scribbling, I wrote two articles and my mind bounced from spending time in my VW van with my pooch and sausage dog (I don’t yet have sausage dog or the VW van but I will!)… to selling potatoes from my garden outside in brown bags to neighbours.  I don’t grow potatoes and my garden looks like monkeys have had a riot in it but……. it could happen!

I want to be daring  (I’m not) and (an occasional) risk taker (not there yet). I want to try something, take up a  new hobby (I know what that is – watch this space!). 

I want to say yes when I usually say no.

Putting this into practice as we sat on the beach hiding from the elements in a warm jumper, the sun stayed stubbornly and firmly behind the busy clouds, I was beckoned to get into the ice cold sea.  No thanks I said.  I sat and watched.

What am I doing watching I thought!  Feeling brave I rushed towards the white broth disappearing around my feet. It was freezing! My whole body was saying no, yet I felt excited, I was saying yes.  It took a few minutes to submerge myself totally  and lift my feet away from the sand allowing the salty water to carry me, for my arms to swim gently. There was only two people brave enough to brave the sea  and I was one of them!

I know this blog is a bit me me me this week but I’m excited about so many things.  One  thing I’ve decided is to share my creative juices on my blog and hopefully with you too!  .  Amateur pics, attempts at exercise, good and bad recipes, thrifty hints, lifestyle, recycle and upcycling, favourite books, magazines and bargains…. ….and of course my Sunday morning blog!

Hope you’ll enjoy the extra bits! Follow me on my DearMs website if you want email updates so you don’t miss any!  Or if you don’t want any extra emails you can unfollow me too! I hope you don’t!

It’s amazing what some time away does for us.   Make sure you get your 5 mins, 5 hours or maybe even 5 days to yourself too.  Not only will you feel better but you’ll feel better about everyone around you too!

Let your mind wander xx xx

Happy Sunday 🙂

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A day

This week has been a roller coaster. 

A level results day meant I found myself on a warm Thursday morning finishing my walk at 7am with Tes. Pooch runs through the gates of the church and bears left.   She knows her way to where I sometimes sit to hold the silver teddy bear inscribed with a T as I chat briefly to the open air.

Tears involuntarily appear but are kept at bay all day.  I couldn’t help but feel hard done by, deprived. Today I felt sorry for myself.  

With that I genuinely was excited for all her friends who were starting new journeys.  But I wanted her to be on that journey too. As I said. Today I felt sorry for me. 

A person can change all of that though.  It was an exchange of messages that day that also simply said …call over if you like. I declined saying I planned to spend the evening under a blanket.

However at about 9 I decided to wander over and found myself at a mini gathering of family and friends. We sat out, giggled a lot and of course consumed a few vinos. Children played. Adults laughed naughtily. Presents were opened. Dark chocolate brownies were consumed.   

Like that, one person changed my day. 

It made me think how we can change a persons day. We can even change a persons life. 

On the radio this week I heard about a guy who had been hospitalised for 5 years with huge mental health problems.  His life has completely recovered. What changed him? Understanding.  Listening. Believing.  Compassion. Love.

I reflected on my week and wondered had  I had made a positive change to someone’s day this week? 

I did catch a large spider for a receptionist that was about to faint!! I also made mum a filled burrito and we sat in the sunshine with a large pot of tea. Hopefully I made the new person at work feel comfortable and I’m trying to be a listening ear to a friend in need. 

The great thing about trying to make life a bit better for someone else, as cheesy as it sounds, is how much better we feel about ourselves. 

I can change someone’s day. You can change someone’s day. Imagine the world we could live in!!

Happy Sunday everyone 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