Showing posts from 2021

Through the eyes of a child.

                                                                                               York Minster  We should all see the world through the eyes of a three year old. It’s an exciting place full of opportunity and wonder. It’s a world where firing a nerf blaster at your birthday guests can fill the room with all our laughter. But it’s also a world where what you remember most from a trip to York, that took in the Railway Museum and a Viking Centre, are the bells of York Minster. Even at three years of age we know what a rare beauty that is. Our Grandson’s life and vocabulary expands daily and its joyful to watch. He got every kind of vehicle for his birthday, even emergency ones that made their own siren noise! If Eskimos have 50 words for snow, then he has a similar number that make car brrrroom noises. It’s even magical to see him play with toys that were once his father’s, especially super ted whose super powers live in the imagination of the children who have loved him. Wha

Walking each other home?

  I used to have a list of places I really wanted to visit.Like the Himalaya, Canada and the Rockies, and I would also dream of returning to Orkney, France, Italy, Switzerland, to our balcony looking at the Rila mountains and so on and so on. Perhaps the whole family could tour together and then take a villa to reflect and recover. I was rarely short of ideas, more commonly just short of cash! And I would of course be walking in the hills, through wildflowers and diving into cool wild waters to be refreshed until the sun dipped and we were also cool enough to eat. In those times I was unencumbered by pain, disability and fatigue. My body was symmetrical at lease, more rounded than I was ever happy with but didn’t let me down too often. Did I take these times for granted? Perhaps but I always felt gratitude that my life had allowed me to explore more of the world than my parents generation did. And I didn’t expect it to change as soon as it did. I’m from the baby boomer generation who t

Are you awake?

  It’s August already, the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Who would have predicted these recent times. These times of isolation, fear, uncertainty and our lives changed for ever. A time that will divide the past from the future. Much of our restrictions in Scotland are now lifted but it would hard to describe it as normal. And what does that mean, that word, normal? Is it simply that good or bad, it’s familiar, a predictable rhythm over the year? Or is it that it doesn’t trigger a stress reaction anymore and however grim, it’s the new reality and we recognise it. So much so that many of us reach quickly for a mask or resist busy places and avoid public transport. The trajectory of normal has shifted again and we look to the winter with suspicion. Having lived through four cancer diagnosis and one of a benign spinal growth leading to severe pain and disability, I absolutely recognise the resilience of human beings and how we can adjust to the previously unthinkable. It does have

When summer hurts.

  When Summer Hurts Summer hurts  Not sunburn No, it’s heart burn Heartsore, heart broken. A summer of loss A path untravelled A climb unreached A beach untrodden  A Loch unexplored. Images abound of this glorious time from Scotland shimmering in the sun  the beauty catches the breath, attracting wild swimmers and  free walkers taking in this marvellous land. Searchers for a different world. I long for these images each one invites me a vicarious traveller  yearning to share it. And still the loss digs into my soul. I rail against my body. I resent I can no longer trail sandals in hand along those empty beaches or walk the softly shaded woods, they can no longer soothe my spirit. Spontaneity of summer  sucked dry with endless planning and no access stumbles. How can a simple trip be so very arduous? I don’t want your sympathy! I want a world that invites me in, that includes me, clumsy, in pain. Not this one that makes it too easy to stay home,

Summer in Scotland

  In Shetland it’s the simmer dim a name that shimmers like the light that hovers between not yet dark and not yet light. Summer    edging forward, vibrant colours fill our skies sunsets of fire, never tire. Scottish summers, not about heat. But about abundance of stunning views of soft whispering breezes. It’s the machair  defining the boundary of    beach and sea. Birds call a welcome, gulls riding the currents. I miss walking our velvet paths nothing to mind but the passing of time and the indulgence of the season. I miss walking. 

Socially secure?

                                                                                              Charley Macksey If I had worry beads, they would be down to the string just now. It’s not been an easy first half of the year. And I’m going to say straight away, I also know I’m very fortunate. I have so much that others start each day worrying about keeping. I don’t have to worry about finding a home or a job or even social isolation. But what we have had in the close family is a series of ill health, a horribly broken wrist and most recently covid has affected my grandson and his Mum and Dad. Thankfully we are on recovery paths now but it’s shaken us and also because it’s not been me who has been unwell for a change! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve a whole lot going on as ever but nothing unexpected or acute.   We humans are amazingly flexible and resilient but we are also vulnerable. Not only can our bodies let us down but so can our society. During lockdown we have seen so many people lose thei

Are we languishing or is it more than that?

  I recently read an article by the New York Times, recommended by a friend. We had been having a conversation about so many people describing a lower mood. Not a clinical depression but a greyed out life experience. A lack of energy for living. Not the black dog, more I can’t be bothered to walk the dog. Perhaps you recognise this in yourself? I admit I did. The article was describing this and said the term ‘Languishing’ had been captured to describe the state.  Feeling Blah During the Pandemic? It's Called Languishing ... › Well › Mind ‘Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021.’ The article describes that languishing is somewhere between a clinical depression and flourishing and that it can be a precursor to depression if left to decline. I found myself react to the medicalisation of what seems to be such

Pale prisoners of a virus

                                                                         Spring 2021 Has there ever been  a spring so welcome? A blue sky - a cold underbelly. Lockdown easing-uneasy. Masked by vaccines ‘Have you had yours?’ Edging out now distanced and yet together our plans more tentative. Losses again awakened grief steals the anticipation, a sharp stab of memories of words unsaid. ‘Bring it back next time’ a casual assumption of friendships surviving, of us surviving. But we are here, Pale prisoners of a virus, the unseen assassin the stealer of life and living. But I need to be out to see the hills to paddle in streams, to breathe freedom in the air. I want to clasp my family close and together sit around the table to celebrate life and make plans for living again. A visit to the hebrides, to a gallery, an exhibition of colour filled stories, to see a play or a film and talk about it afterwards. To feel normal, there it is, that word, normal, an aspiration  so measly. But headlines

I’ve been struggling to write, to be honest

  I’ve tried to write a few blogs these last few weeks but a few things have stopped me. Mainly I guess we’ve had family illness and trauma so that’s personal to others and it’s not appropriate to write what’s essentially their stories. And worry is so disabling. I know, I do best when I stay in the moment, and I’ve tried but I’ve not done well really. And although I try not to communicate my worry I’m sure this leaks out in a thousand ways to become a burden for others. It’s a bit self indulgent. I feel so helpless and that troubles me.  My self image was of someone who could do things to help; it’s so ingrained; to make soup, do shopping,  washing, ironing (?). But instead I watch as others help the people I love and I’m part of the complexity not especially helpful at that time. It grieves me deeply and I also know it’s not about me so I stay quiet and bring what I can which is my listening ears and a bucket of love. Sometimes advice is welcomed and I know what might help. I’m guil


Image This is a video the ALLIANCE made of me reading this poem for a workshop. It brings this work to life, I hope you enjoy it.  Shielding.            Its beautiful today, blue skies and sun dazzling snow. Children sledging and shaping snow into fun creations. Their calls and screams a joyful burst in a long lockdwon winter.  They don’t notice me. That’s me there, across the road behind the window. My social calendar is empty, bar the NHS.  My “walks” with friends were highlights  Until the bitter east winds came. “Stay in” calls resound.  And snow is not the place for the vulnerable. I’ve done my share of sledging, skating on thin ice ( ahem) and building lifeless snowmen.  Instead I huddle in doorways. The offical photographer for photos I never appear in. Shielding they call it.  I’m at risk of the virus that haunts us each night on the news I try to avoid but cant. I’ve been in ICU before  it terrified me with drug induce


 At the turn of the year I pledged to myself to write a poem each month. A calendar poem to track the year. My process is I need to wait for something that I’m drawn to write about. Today it is a fall of snow. It’s not enough for a snow man, it just offers a fresh view. February is our birthday month. I was 65 last week. (And still no pension #just sayin) My family and friends were so generous and loving, that helped February have a warm glow. We have our vaccines dates this month too.  And I’m now a qualified coach supervisor, after completing a really stimulation course. I’m also part of a Coach supervision collective and I’m grateful to be part of such a creative approach to supporting quality coaching in service of their clients. Have a look and do share if you would like to.  And here is February’s poem, I hope you enjoy it.  February  Who knows which day it is? This lockdown drags its feet and drags us along behind powerless to change the pace. One day at a time makes it mor

A poem for hope this January. With a nod tae the Bard.

I wrote this at the turn of the year and much to my surprise it came out in Scots, Fife and English. There’s a bit of all of them in me. I thought I would share it on Burns birthday as it’s inspired by him and a love of his poetry since childhood. I hope you enjoy it and if you do, please share it. I plan to recite it tonight at our zoom Burns night. Wish me luck!  Hope fur 2021   The auld year ends . Nae   wi  a bang b ut  whimperin w e lick  oor  wounds .   Oor  empty  erms Long  tae   haud Ache to  coorie In  thegither   K in a vaccine Fill thon gap ? o  l ost connection o   sare   herts  and  heids .   Aye  longin f ur spring  f ur hope Fur  awthin   growin  new .   But fur  noo It’s a step Ain at a time Restin ,  gratefu ,  peacfu .   Fur whit’s Hope ? It’s   oors   tae   haud . We ken  guid  times  Are  aroond  the corner .   So  here’s a  haun Ma  trustit   fiere . We  cannae  touch Bit love is in thon smile .   Be  telt , 2021 ! Whitever  ye chuck Oor  way We’re  no   dun  yet

The Grannie I wanted to be and other stories

  I put the Charley Mackay quote on my email sign off this week. Several people commented how welcome it was. I know it started with Blue Monday and how we all speak about mental health most days at the moment, but it does seem especially blue of late. I realise that inspite of a commitment to honesty in my blog, I prefer not to share the flat times, the days that have blurred edges into each other. Anyway, what would I say? We’ve been in lockdown since New Year and there is very little light and shade to the days.   The bright days are when our daughter visits ( we’re in a bubble together.....Thank God! ) Also we are now able to look after our toddler Grandson, Davie. Between us we are able to have great fun with him. His weekly visits have also lifted us from the banality of lockdown and the grey mid-winter. He’s helped us share laughter, hugs, music and then the little tales we tell each other of what he said and did, that keep the week alive till he arrives again. He and his Aunty