Saturday, 13 August 2011

Bulgarian rhapsody!

In a week that has told of riots I feel a long way from such things. I know there has been a special debate in parliament and I have no real appetite to see the detail given some of what I have read. Perhaps its because the greatest excitement we experience here is the visit from the neighbourhood cat and the goats. But maybe its also because of the predictability of the response. Undoubtedly there has been depressing engagement in criminal behaviour by those who should know better but is that all it is?
It has reached the headlines here in Bulgaria and as our friends here say there is always a reason for rioting. It hasn’t happened for many years in the UK and we need to learn from it. Can it be a coincidence that they have sat alongside the panic in the markets we saw last week. When it appears that the “experts” may not know everything and more livelihoods and homes seem at risk, how do people with the least hold onto hope? I know many lives have been damaged by these riots but lets not simply focus on the immediate and look more closely at the underlying issues.
There is no doubt that economic uncertainty affects the work that charities can do and I do have concerns about that. But more immediately with regard to my work it also impacts on those who have cancer. We know a diagnosis of breast cancer like other cancers and indeed other long term illnesses affects peoples economic well-being as well as physical. Whether that’s the ability to still stay in their job or career, work full-time, travel or whatever the impact I know from my own experience too it does change things. It reduces options and increases uncertainty.
Applying for new jobs or making a career change can be hard when you have had a recent diagnosis of cancer. My current role is the only one I have been up-front about having had cancer in the past. And it has never affected my ability to work hard and do a good job-but I have been lucky. Changes to benefits can leave unwell people poorly provided for and we need to collectively ensure that this doesn’t happen.
I find myself wondering as I sit looking at the mountains in this wonderfully healing environment whether I could make different choices to allow me to do more of this. And while that may not be a bad thing, the reality is I wasn’t thinking that before my recent diagnosis. Its not helped by me having a chest infection-more confirmation I have not as yet recovered. Still what better place to recover than here.
We have just had a visit from the lovely Jacko and his owner the shepherd. The goats have been eating the unripe grapes at the bottom of our garden this morning- a red letter day for them! And the cat is back. We call her Koshka too but forget she doesn’t know that. For several years we have worried about what happens in our absence but now she is no longer a stray. She has a collar on! My friend this is not just a badge of ownership-its one of love too. I am so happy for her.
I love to watch the birds from the balcony ( its an exciting life you can tell! I call it an antidote to a busy life….)and it strikes me there is an organisational management book in this maybe? What we can learn from bird behaviours. The swallows sit on the wire and chatter then play either catching flies in the thermals or dance close to the water. They disappear when the eagle appears. The eagle prefers the strategic perspective and lets them know of their presence by the piercing call. The jays are noisy and colourful but not to be trusted. And the red shrikes just got me out of my chair to explore what they are pursuing together-a fascination with the pear tree is part of it. Not sure about the behaviour here other than they are cute with their mask of zorro characteristics. Fortunately no seagulls. We don’t need any of their management techniques-fly over-s..t on you then fly off-do we?
Reasons to be cheerful are happy family times. Last week at a family wedding with my daughter to share it with. Re-engaging with family members was special. The sight of my English husband in his kilt at a Geordie wedding was good for the soul! Good times indeed.
Now with more family out here in our little bit of paradise. The snow has gone off the mountains but they shimmer with sun and the full moon of the last few days has lit the night sky up in a dramatic fashion. Warmth, wonderful healthy and cheap local produce and good company. Musical accompaniment has included the new album by Alison Krauss-beautiful. Her band were the “soggy bottom boys” in Oh Brother Where Art Though. Both I recommend highly.
I feel a need to plan my next trip asap!Ciao ciao!Oh and any takers on the book idea?

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