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

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 

Yes, I can!

It’s strange how life can be full of little coincidences.

 I was thinking this week about something mum used to say.  I believe it comes about for those of us that perhaps ‘achieved’ a bit  later in life.  Like my mum, I left school with barely any exams passed (I could sew a great skirt and jacket though!!) and later on went back to do A-levels, a degree etc.  There’s something about doing things that way around that can leave you feeling like…..a bit of a fraud.

 

Mum said to me when she was in one job that she thought one day she’d be ‘found out’.  What do you mean?  I said!  Well – that they might find out that I actually can’t do my job, she said.  I found this really bizarre.  Mum was amazing at her job. Brilliant in fact.  Yet she doubted herself.

 

Then weirdly this week I was listening to the radio and they played a theme tune, I tried hard to remember it, I knew it was something to do with animals! They confirmed it was Peter Davidson from All Creatures Great & Small!! Bizarrely as he was talking about his life (somehow I’d zoned into radio 2 this day!!) he was saying as an actor he always thought he’d be ‘found out’.  Despite being an actor for 40 years he was still waiting to be ‘found out’……That he wasn’t good enough.

 

I wondered whether perhaps a lot of us feel like that?  And why?

 

I always try to learn from those around me and I’ve tried hard not to feel like a fraud and have confidence in my work but there’s one or two areas that I do this.  Lately I’ve noticed that I’m always putting myself down about my running!  Even now I want to type… I’m not a good runner. 

I wouldn’t run with anyone for years because I thought I’d be too rubbish.  Consequently because I didn’t like running on my own I didn’t run for years.  Even now I’ll ask if anyone wants to come running with me but I’ll always say ‘I’m very slow so no need to wait for me’.  Or I’ll tell them I’m a bit old for running really or that I’m hopeless because I don’t run as much as I should or that I don’t run very far etc etc etc!!!  At the Llyn Alwen race a couple of weeks ago I was busily muttering to myself about all of this and I suddenly said – why do I keep putting myself down about this?!!  A woman shouted at me from behind and told me off – you’re here she said.  You’re doing it, you’re out of bed and you’re here.  That’s nothing to put yourself down about, she said.

 

And she’s right!

 

So from now on I’ll be making a conscious effort to stop telling myself and everyone else that I’m not that good at something.  It’s hard because being Welsh and being British we’re so used to being a little self damaging aren’t we! I’m a bit rubbish at that, I’m not good at this….. I’m not sure I’m going to start shouting how good I am at everything but I might just tell myself that I’m not doing a bad job… hang on let me try that again….. that I’m doing a good job in getting my trainers on in the first place, that my body isn’t too bad (argh done it again) – that my body is doing a great job as I’m here fit and healthy and basically….. I need  to be a lot less self critical!

 Do you put yourself down? 

Perhaps it’s about time you stopped!

Have confidence in the fabulous person you are!!

Happy happy Sunday everyone X 


Which way?

I was walking early (again) this week.
The sun was just rising and its burnt orange body partly hid behind lit up grey clouds.  We passed the spaniel without problem but a gang of rebellious younger sheep were in the corner of the field looking quite mischievous. Their heads poked through the fence as far as they could stretch. They clearly felt that the grass was certainly greener on the other side. For pooch this gathering was too tempting and in order to protect me from these hungry animals she quickly gathered pace and began barking at them from her side of the fence. 

 She’s about 12 inches tall. She thinks she’s 112 inches tall.

The sheep for some reason are scared of tiny dog and run away. However one is a bit naughtier than the rest and I hadn’t realised this leader of the pack had managed to squeeze it’s woolly oversized body under the fence. Panic set in and rebellious sheep made a run for it down the narrow leafy road towards the village, followed by tiny pooch. After a promise of a treat pooch strolls back towards me and I get her pink lead out while we sort out this sheep situation. Pooch is far from impressed.
I walk towards the corner bearing left and see the sheep about 25 yds away, it has stopped and is staring at us trying to make out whether the threat still exists. I squash us into the hedges as I try to create as much distance as I can trying to pass but sheep decides we’re too close and makes a further dart. We’re now at the periphery of the village. I don’t have time to walk all the way back so I have to keep going, playing the game with the sheep.
Finally the sheep takes a right and decides to run into the drive of a bungalow. I quicken my step in the hope that I can get by and the sheep will feel safe. Just as I get to the house the sheep has got its timing wrong and started to come back to the gate. The sheep literally has a look of surprise (somehow) on its face and takes a quick step back to safety. Pooch and I pass without further crisis and sheep then makes a run for it all the way back to where we first met this morning.
As I walk on it made me think about decisions we make. Decisions we have to make on the spot or decisions we linger about. The fact being that quite often there are only a limited number of choices and that we either have the choice to face up and make a decision, to hide and hope the decision goes away or to let that decision be made for us.

I had a conversation with someone this week about the age old saying glass half full or glass half empty. I was questioned about my positivity. Why be positive, I was asked. It felt clear that based on what’s happened in our family this positivity wasn’t really understood. What’s do you get from making a decision not to be positive, I asked. 
These days there’s so much stuff about mindfulness and positivity that it can sometimes feel we’re being dictated to being a perfect  all practicing yoga eating kale and drinking green tea with the gaze of *smug* oozing from our perfect natural eyes. Rubbish! 

Positivity to me is making that choice to *try* to be positive.
Decisions can be tough. 

This week I walked across a park and saw a toddler with golden brown shoulder length curled hair. She held her mums hand tightly. Trusting. She looked just like Tes at that age. I was in the middle of a field and for some reason in that instant my whole body was in pain from grief. I stood and looked. I didn’t move and my brain was tempting me to stay put. I imagined briefly not going back to work and just sitting in the field until someone asked why. And then I would tell them why. Instead I decided to take one last look. Then I decided to walk back to work. 

Just like the sheep we have big and small decisions all the time. Making it as positive a one for you as it can be has to be the best option. 

May Sunday be very good to you!
Lots of love x Dwysan 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