Jack Frost

White on the lawns, the roofs, the cars
show where Jack Frost has passed,
but how I miss those leaf-like scenes
he used to draw on window glass.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A hard frost last night reminded me how much, as a child I loved the frosty patterns that appeared on the windows overnight. Now we rarely see them due to the increase in double glazing in our homes. Those intricate patterns are now just a fading memory!

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And Yet…

Cold, overcast and dull
and yet
signs of Spring are everywhere,
bringing cheer.

Special Places

I have mentioned here before that we are selling our yacht, my husband has decided it is time he ‘swallowed the anchor’! These days we get more use from our Motorhome, which we bought to replace the yacht so that we can tour more easily on the continent and visit our daughter in Spain. When the yacht finally goes I know I shall miss visiting the special places that we have found on our voyages. These include two rather special marinas, one at Tichmarsh on the Walton Backwaters (behind Walton on the Naze) and the other at Woodbridge on the river Deben, where you will find the last working tide mill in the UK. Both these marinas are very hard to leave once you have arrived there; they seem to take hold of your soul and won’t let you go!

Interior, St Peter on the WallBut there are some even more special places. One being the wonderful little chapel of St Peter on the Wall at Bradwell on Sea (see photo). This is said to be the oldest church in England and is not far from Bradwell marina where we keep the boat. It was built on a lonely spit of land where St Cedd landed in 654 on a mission from Lindisfarne to bring Christianity  to Essex and was built using stone from the ruined Roman fort of Othona nearby. After about 600 years of continual use it was eventually abandoned and was used as a barn. This may well have saved it. In 1920 it was rediscovered and brought back into use as a chapel. Services and other activities are regularly held there now and, although on one occasion that I visited and sat on one of the benches I did feel an almost overwhelming sadness, it has a wonderful atmosphere of peace and calm.

Another very special place that we have visited many times when sailing is an old oak grove alongside the river Orwell between Pin Mill and Wolverstone. Sadly I do not have any photos but this is an amazing place to walk through. The power, wisdom and aura of peace that these old trees generate is palpable, making my palms itch and my whole body feel alive, I just have to walk among the trees, touching each one that I pass. I shall so miss this place.

Knowing that in future I will have so much less opportunity to visit these places I need to find alternative special places nearer to home. There are many that I hope to visit in the future and I have been meaning to visit for some time but somehow have failed to do so due to life getting in the way. Cannock Chase is not such a long drive from where I live and I have visited in the past, but not as often as I would like. If you are lucky you will see deer here, maybe even a stag in full antlers. There are also several places nearer home. Some I pass regularly by car or on my bike but have never stopped – either in too much of a hurry to get to where I am going or not happy about leaving my bike in the car park while I go walk-about.

This year I intend to re-visit some of these places that I have neglected or make a point of stopping at those that I have so far not visited at all. One such place is actually within walking distance (all-be-it a fairly long walk) and it is my intention to make it my first point of call once I have finally got rid of my recent flu and lung infection and the weather has improved. I shall be writing about these places here as and when I visit each one. I’ll try to remember to take my camera too.

Jenny Wren

Shy
little brown
bird, hopping, creeping
around the rockery, Jenny
Wren.

Quote For Today

“Whosoever would understand the book of nature
must walk its pages with his feet.”

Paracelsus

Nature Spirits

I am in the process of re-reading ‘The Secret Life of Nature’ by Peter Tomkins, which was published in 1997 and which I first read probably in the early 1980’s. This was a follow on book to his ‘The Secret Life of Plants’ published in the 1970’s.

‘The Secret Life of Nature’ is about living in harmony with the hidden world of Nature Spirits, from Fairies to Quarks and is an interesting mix of what many would consider fantasy (fairies, gnomes, elves etc.) and modern science – psychics versus physics. It relates evidence for the unseen world of Nature Spirits as seen by clairvoyants. These spirits function all around us to produce the beauty of nature as we know it. They can be seen flitting around plants and trees, helping them grow, but not just at ground level, many of these beings are also found in the wind and the waves. Sadly I have never seen them myself but have long accepted that such things exists. Whether you consider it spiritually or scientifically, to me it is undeniable that there is an ‘essence’, a ‘spark’ of life that ensures a tulip is just that and not a holly bush. That things are what they are is due to an obvious blue-print and that they thrive is due to that essence of life pulsing through them – the life-force.

The book demonstrates how closely the observations of these clairvoyants now concurs with the findings of modern science regarding nature and way the universe works, the building blocks of matter, although they were at first streets ahead and ridiculed by the scientific community. I was absolutely knocked out the first time I read the book but over the years normal life got in the way and much of what I read was lost into the subconscious. Now I have rediscovered this amazing work and am knocked out anew. It makes you look at the world in a whole different light and anyone who takes these findings on board cannot but be amazed by the beauty of nature and the need to conserve this marvellous planet on which we live.

This also gives me a dilemma; whether you visualize these Nature Spirits as fairy creatures or just think of them merely in scientific terms as bursts of energy, where do we stand when caring for our gardens and countryside? What are we destroying when we mow our lawns, dig up our weeds, prune our trees? Have we any right to destroy what the life energy is creating in this way? But what is the alternative – do we allow our gardens to become rampant? How exactly do we find the compromise and work with these spirits to the mutual benefit of all?

So much of our countryside is ‘tamed’, yet it seems these spirits are still more than happy to work with what is there, but is it perhaps time we began to cover less of our towns with concrete and allow more room for nature – even if it is ‘tamed’. Maybe the old idea of ‘Garden Cities’ is not such a bad idea after all. Meanwhile I am still looking for those elusive spirits, but even now the world of nature has become a much brighter and more vivid reality. Somewhere I have a book about the Findhorn Community – I have read it twice already but may it is time I read that again too.

One Day

Three seasons, one day;
snow, rain, bright sunshine,
but oh so cold!

Today

I just
can’t be bothered
today.

Cold or The Flu?

I have, had, am recovering from the flu.

I say this with some reservation as I am usually reluctant to claim the flu for what is probably just a cold. Many people these days seem to say they have flu when they just have a bad cold, after all it does sound so much more dramatic, especially if you are trying to wrangle a few days off work. Although the two conditions share some symptoms they are very different beasties. I have had flu before. The last time was many years ago when I was at college and I remember how ill I was. I have had bad colds since, but nothing as bad as genuine flu until now.

I’m not a doctor botherer, I don’t believe in going to the doctor with complaints that I feel I can deal with adequately at home. Doctors should be reserved for the serious problems, especially these days when the NHS is short-handed, under-funded and can’t afford the luxury of treating those who don’t really need it. When I was a child our family GP had a sign on his waiting room wall which read “Prescription is the art of keeping the patient amused while Nature effects a cure.” Well I’m not fussed about being amused, just let Nature get on with it – with a little sensible self-help.

My son started first, with what we, as usual, dismissed as a bad cold. Then a few days later my husband succumbed. A day after that I got it. This was last Tuesday; in the morning I was fine, went to my Spanish class as usual, came home then a short while later from having no symptoms I suddenly had a splitting headache, my eyes hurt, I ached and coughed. After that I was fit for nothing for several days, the lightest effort left me exhausted and I was alternately frozen or sweating hot! – all three of us were the same, at slightly different stages according to when we first went down with it. Pretty well all I could do was sleep and even that was often disrupted. Using my brain for anything was out of the question. I confess I am now slightly worried as you can incubate the flu for a couple of days before symptoms appear and I just hope I haven’t passed it on to the rest of the Spanish group, some of whom are not young!

My son insisted it was flu. I was still reluctant to name it as such but when I began to feel slightly better I decided to check out whether or not what we had was indeed the flu or just a bad cold. I came across a simple chart on the internet showing the differences between the symptoms of a cold and the flu which I was hoping to share here in case anyone else finds it of help but it won’t let me so here is the link: http://www.cdc.gov/flu. Our symptoms ticked all the Influenza boxes.

Now what I don’t understand is that both my son and I lost our appetites, I could hardly face food at all, though my husband could still eat to his normal capacity. In fact he never seems to lose his appetite when he is unwell, whereas I always do. The other slight problem is that he had, several weeks earlier, had the flu jab, after which he felt very unwell with tightness in his chest and pains in his arms – which coming after his recent angina diagnosis was a trifle worrying especially as his ‘puffer’, didn’t shift it. The jab obviously didn’t prevent him getting the flu. With the vaccine given a less than 50% effectiveness rating I don’t think he will bother again. I didn’t have the jab; perhaps the main difference has been that normally, at least with a cold, he would get it worse than me but this time I seem to have been worse than him, so maybe it did do him some good after all.

I am now on the mend, my head doesn’t ache, most other symptoms have reduced but I do have a rather nasty cough that keeps me awake and sometimes gets such a grip I don’t think I’m going to stop. But on the plus side, due to my loss of appetite I have now finally lost the few extra pounds I put on over Christmas and New Year – be thankful for small mercies.

Bird Song

The day after Imbolc
how joyously the birds
sing for Spring.

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