Tuesday, 30 November 2010

A Thought Filled Run

My last post was some time ago now and I left it for a bit. I have read that post more than once and felt that maybe I need to take time to think again about what it is I am trying to do with this blog, if anything at all. It started out with a few random thoughts; it developed into a thought for the day. Then I started another parallel blog to give more thought to the art.

Life was then knocked off course with my accident and not painting nearly so often. It seemed important for me to get fit again so I began to concentrate on that. Somewhere something happened that made me draw within myself a bit more and become reflective. For no obvious reason I began adding verse to my art. I became aware very quickly that less and less people were reading and I was becoming even more inward looking.

The more inward looking I became the less I had to say. Then my unexpected operation, another set back, just when I had got the fitness thing sorted. Two weeks later when I was ready to get out again I find myself in a world of snow. How easy it would be to just stay in the warmth of indoors.

Yesterday determined to not be controlled by external factors I donned my running shoes and ran. Well you could almost call it running, it was certainly faster than it took me to walk the same 6 miles in the afternoon. As I ran I thought of the story of the young boy with the withered flower. It had seemed that life was determined to drag me down. So here is the story I thought of as I ran.

The park bench was deserted as the old man sat down to read beneath the long, straggly branches of an old willow tree. Disillusioned by life with good reason to frown, for the world was intent on dragging him down.

And if that weren't enough to ruin his day, A young boy out of breath approached him, all tired from play.

He stood right before him with his head tilted down and said with great excitement, "Look what I found!"

In his hand was a flower, and what a pitiful sight, with its petals all worn, not enough rain, or to little light. Wanting him to take his dead flower and go off to play, the old man faked a small smile and then shifted away. But instead of retreating the lad sat by his side and placed the flower to his nose and declared with overacted surprise, "It sure smells pretty and it's beautiful, too. That's why I picked it; here it's for you."

The weed before him was dying or dead. Not vibrant of colours, orange, yellow or red. But he knew he must take it, or he might never leave. So he reached for the flower, and replied, "Just what I need." But instead of the boy placing the flower in his hand, he held it mid-air without reason or plan. It was then that he noticed for the very first time that the weed-toting boy could not see: he was blind.

The old man heard his voice quiver, tears shone like the sun as he thanked him for picking the very best one. You're welcome, he smiled, and then ran off to play, and unaware of the impact he'd had on the life of the old man. He sat there and wondered how he managed to see a self-pitying old man beneath an old willow tree. How did he know of his self-indulged plight?

Perhaps from his heart, he'd been blessed with true sight. Through the eyes of a blind child, at last he could see the problem was not with the world; the problem was with him. And for all of those times he himself had been blind, he vowed to see the beauty in life, and appreciate every second he had. And then he held that wilted flower up to his nose and breathed in the fragrance of a beautiful rose. And smiled as he watched that young boy, another weed in his hand about to change the life of an unsuspecting old woman.

Have a good day if there is anybody still taking the time to read this.

This blog is linked to my other  A Feather on the Beach

Friday, 26 November 2010

A Year Apart.

I was wondering when it was that I became aware of my love of empty places. I suppose there never really was a moment or time or place when I became aware. The truth was I had always been a bit like that from the beginning of my memories. I always liked, and needed, to be alone. I was thinking the other day there that if I had been born now and been as I was then somebody would have labelled me as having aspergers.

As my life moved on I more and more realised that if life was to have any meaning I had to play my part within it. So I compensated, I became the one with the self confident air. The centre of every conversation, the instigator and mover. The more I acted this out the more it became reality. I found myself surrounded with people instead of alone as I would rather have been.

I spent almost a complete year living on the small Island of Iona. This island lies off the coast of Mull and from it can be seen the Dutchmans Cap Island and the famous Staffa with its Fingals Cave. During the winter months the population of the island was in total about 80. In the summer its youth camp and abbey would increase this into the hundreds.

As I look back I am aware that this year was an important turning point. From this point on I was to be in both of my future careers, a leader and motivator. The shy person became the preacher, the loner became the teacher and friend of students.

As I grow older I again find myself withdrawing to the places of still and emptiness. The need to be at one with myself becomes more and more important. My walks and runs have become my solitudes. But I will never forget that day on the beach on Iona when I became aware that each of us in our own way is a part of this wonderful universe. That we each have a part to play, a contribution yet to make.

We who are in the business of creating art are very fortunate people. We can be alone and yet we can convey to others the beauty that is around them.

The poem about that moment on Iona is on my other blog. Before you go there I apologise for the clumsy words I just hope they express the inner feelings and the need to paint that Island as often as I have.   Iona

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Let All Creation Shout.

 Yesterday I walked along my coastal path, how I had missed being there, seeing and hearing the waves. It was a cold day even though the sun was shining. I stopped to listen to the sound of the waves as they kissed the shore. It was good to be alive. There is indeed something worthy of being aware of our fragility.

I came home feeling that it was so silly of me to be complaining that I cannot at present run, I can at least still walk, and my trainers are cleaned and dry and ready for the day when I will once again slip them on. You would really think that after all I have lived through over the many years I would have by now learned patience.

The wonder of my day was only tarnished slightly by two things I learned later in the day.

I learned that we have now become so obsessed with celebrity that more and more young people are committing suicide, or attempting to, because they are not famous or a celebrity. The biggest selling magazines and books are those dealing with the lives of celebrities, even if their own claim to fame was that they appeared on a reality television show. I found that so sad that I wanted to scream, "You are of worth because you are You, not because you want to be somebody else."

Later I watched a programme about the selling of bottled water, and the effort that companies put into making their water a market leader. How they have convinced us that we need something that in reality we could well live without, especially here in Scotland where we have water in abundance. As I walk I frequently drink from springs and rivers and I have never tasted water from a plastic bottle that could taste so beautiful. Yet we are importing water in plastic bottles from USA and the continent.

Meanwhile, children are dying for the lack of water in two thirds of the world.

I will now get off my pulpit and remember again the joy of my walk, and the sound of the sea.

On my other blog I will share some thoughts on an artwork painted after such a walk and the words I wrote yesterday at the end of my walk.  At One With Creation

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

The Winds of Change

If the last week made me think of anything it made me aware of how much things can change in the flash of a moment. There I was a week ago running on a daily basis and this week hardly able to walk any great distance and longing to feel my feet hit the ground at pace.

Such is the way of life. I was walking one day in the hills, I stepped up on a small rise to see the view from a better angle. Having seen what I desired I stepped back onto the path. As my foot hit the track I felt it slip from under me, within no time at all I was hurtling to the bottom of the ravine some fifty feet below. The journey from the top to the bottom was the start of an even longer journey.

At the top I was a parish minister, a preacher, by the time I arrived at the bottom I had decided that if I lived I would no longer be doing this. Having been rescued and ambulanced to hospital the next day I awoke a different person in more ways than one. My hair had turned almost white overnight, but more importantly I had decided that I was no longer able to remain as a parish minister. That day I applied to become a teacher of philosophy and world religion and my new life had begun.

We live in an age when advertisers tempt us to make changes. Change to our product and you will never regret it. You should have this product, “Because you deserve it.” Or, “You should have this because you are worth it.”

Yesterday the government was planning to introduce legislation that will make all smoking products be sold in plain brown packaging. This I think was the strangest ever idea I had heard in ages. It has always been the case for me that more secretive and unknown something is the more attractive it becomes. When I played in a band I would never ever have desired to smoke pot, if like cigarettes I could purchase it over a counter.

I have said many times before and will no doubt say it again, life is full of change. Some we welcome with open arms, others are thrust upon us. But in all things we are masters of our own destiny. But do not tell the marketers and advertisers that because they are now busy wondering how to make brown boxes seem even more attractive.

On my other blog I discuss the above artwork and the thoughts that lie behind it and its inspiration.

West Wind Blows

Monday, 22 November 2010

Wild Waves and Wild Thoughts

Wild Waves

When I retired and moved to this part of the world I was in fact returning to my roots. That being so it would seem that I would find it easy. The opposite was in fact the truth. There is some truth in the fact that you can never go back, life is an onward journey.

I thought I knew this place so well, the place of my boyhood. The place where I built gang huts with my friends, now covered by a housing complex. The friends had moved on, married and geographically separated. I was both a retired minister and retired teacher. Yet when I had left here I was in fact a butcher. The reality hit me I was a retired person and I had to do something. The one thing that I still did was sit as a judge in the court. A time consuming task, but not one that was going to fill the time created by retirement.

So it was that I found myself one day walking the coastal path on a windy day with the waves crashing on the rocks. I rushed home that day and painted “Wild Waves”. I did so in a frenzy using not brushes but my fingers. It was almost a new beginning. I saw that it was possible to express inner feelings with paint.

This painting sold the day I took it to hang it. Somebody saw me begin to put it on the wall and offered to purchase it there and then.

This time of incapacity has meant me looking back again over the three years or so I have been painting. As many of you know I have gone through a tortured period of struggling to find where I am heading with paint.

Susan suggested adding words to some of my paintings. Reluctantly I decided to give it a try. I am not at all sure that I am any use at all at writing poems but I thank her for prompting me in that direction. It has made me sit and think and to see my paintings in a new way. To feel again the emotions created. I am enjoying the process and finding it interesting that some of you are putting ideas into words that lie behind some of my words and paintings that I have thought and felt yet never said.

How glad I am that I have kept going in this blogging world, right now it is so helping me on the therapeutic road of recovery.

Now I have one very serious request. For those who read me on a regular basis and know me well please tell me when it is time to move on from the poems and thoughts.

This blog is linked to my other where I look again at the artwork above. Alone With The Wild Waves

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Out of The Silence

This last week has been one I hope not to have to relive. From feeling in the peak of fitness, to feeling like a child unable to move, in the space of a few hours. It has been a week of pain but also one of reflection. I have been here before, forced to take stock because of circumstances. I have spoken before of having voice problems. I had a time when for almost six months I could not speak at all. For one who depended on the voice to fulfil your vocation in life a frightening time and prospect.

The other difficulty of not being able to speak effected all those around me. People were at a loss. What could they say when they were getting no verbal feedback. As the time passed the number of people who visited became less and less and I was left to get on living the quiet life.

It was at this time I began for the first time to dabble with paint. To my surprise I enjoyed it and seemed to be able to produce art that people liked. So a disability had opened a new door in my life.

I remember my old grandmother used to say that every cloud had a silver lining. There is some measure of truth in this statement. I wonder what the silver lining is going to be to this spell of semi confinement and restriction. I am sure there will be something.

In the midst of all my silence there was my dog. There with me every waking minute. Watching me and understanding. We communicated without words and he just seemed to know. We ran together, walked together and he sat beside me as I painted. A constant companion in my silence.

When I took up painting again recently I tried to paint him. The painting still hangs in my study. It was a first attempt at painting a dog and I should really do him again some day. Even if I do this one will stay with me. I am aware that so many of you have pets that hold a special place in your lives and that you have painted or drawn them and made a much better effort than this one of mine.

Art is indeed a marvellous outlet and means of saying things that words can never say.

I have added a poem about those days, and him, it is on my other blog. I hope it lets you see why I attempted this work and what it meant to me.  Pools of Love

Thursday, 18 November 2010


I am here and home after my short time in hospital. Such is the wonder of modern medicine and keyhole surgery. It will be some time before I can run and even be pain free. But time and nature are wonderful healers. Before this horrible episode happened I wrote a poem on here with one of my artworks. I was overwhelmed by the comments made, and yes I did agree that it was rough in places. I have never claimed to be a wordsmith or a poet, for that matter an artist either. This blog was never set up to make any of those claims just to share my thoughts and feelings with one or two people and have some feedback.

Just before the pain hit and became quickly unbearable two things occurred. Susan encouraged me to consider some of my other art and to share in poem the thinking behind it. I said to her I did not think I possessed the needed skills but she encouraged me to try. The next day or so Barbra showed a beautiful picture on her blog and I could not resist writing about it. We posted a joint venture, her picture my words and the comments have warmed my healing. It was not so long ago she drew one of my pictures. Is it not amazing how this world of blogging allows such ventures. Maybe we should be seeking more collaborative happenings?

I am not sure I will be able to post every day this one has taken a bit of time to put together. Sitting for any length gets very painful. I will post when I can and comment on other blogs as and when I can.

Can I once again thank you one and all for your support, words and concern. It has made the whole thing bearable, well more so.

I will post the picture here above and on my other blog will simply post the thoughts that lie behind it and why I painted it.

It is a painting I enjoyed doing and I hope the words tell you why. I still have it as it remains unsold.

This blog is linked to my other where I will share the thoughts and words of this artwork.


Thursday, 11 November 2010

Nothing Wrong With My Eyesight.

My wife has been complaining about her spectacles for ages now. Eventually she was persuaded to go to the optician and have her eyes tested but it had taken a good number of walks before she would eventually admit she needed to have her eyes seen to.

I wonder what it is about growing older that is the worst. The aches and pains that come with age? Or is it the loss of hearing? Or maybe it is the eyesight getting worse?

She had kept checking her eyesight against mine. As we walked towards a signpost she would ask me to tell her when I could read it without difficulty. I played the game for ages before the penny eventually dropped what she was in truth doing.

I heard four men chat yesterday each one proudly telling the others how good his hearing, eyesight or whatever was. As I listened to them I laughed at them and said to them that I had come to the conclusion that they were in such great condition they would have no problems as long as they all stuck together. Between them they had all the senses in good working order, separately they all had at least one that was failing. They all laughed.

I suggested we start a club and call it, “The helpful coffin dodgers.”

It reminded me of the story of the old lad who played golf most days of the week. One day he arrived home at lunchtime and said to his wife that he was playing no more. “I keep hitting the ball and it quickly gets out of my sight and I lose it.”

His wife thought for a bit and told him he should ask his brother Jack to go with him. She went on to explain the Jacks eyesight was perfect. He decided to do just that. The next day the two of them met at the golf course. Bill teed up his ball and hit a lovely drive. He turned to his brother and asked him if he saw where the ball went. “Of Course,” he said, “I have perfect eyesight.” “Ok”, said Bill, “Where did it go?” “Ah,” said Jack, “I saw where it went but I cannot remember.”

Do you know what the very worst thing about growing old is? Being afraid to admit that you are in fact doing just that.

This blog is linked to my other where I speak of my latest sale.Motion and Emotion.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Now Who Is That?

I am sure you did not expect to see this character this morning. I thought it was time for me to get into the swing of things and stop being my usual bah humbug. During the course of yesterday I was asked if I would do my usual annual visit as Santa to the Christmas dinner for the residents in a sheltered housing complex. This has become something of a ritual.

Last year I had no problems all I needed was the jacket trousers and false beard. I already had a substantial tummy and my hair hung down under the cap no problem. If I agree to do it again I will need help with the hair and I will certainly need to push something up under the jacket.

It made me laugh to be asked again, and when I asked why, I was told that the old folks loved how I did it with great enthusiasm. I suppose we should do everything we do with all that we have.

This reminded me of a true story of a student who played Santa in one of the large department stores. Yes they have now to go through all sorts of disclosures before they can do this job.

He was telling me of the young boy who during his stint at the store visited him on a number of occasions. He was well aware that he was not visiting just to get the gift; the gift was not of much value. He asked the young lad why he had visited so often. The lad looked at him in deadly earnest and said, “I love talking to you, and you always listen to everything I say.”

I thank you, those who have gone out of your way to encourage me to keep writing of my tales and stravaiging, but let me take this little incident to remind us that for there ever to be good story tellers there has equally to be good listeners. We are in danger of losing the art of listening because we are so wrapped up n our own little worlds.

Two men were out in a boat. One of them began to drill a hole in the boats keel. The other man said, “Stop, you can’t do that.” The man with the drill said it is alright I am only drilling on my side of the boat.

I will leave you to think about that. Sorry about the picture on this blog but please feel free to have a laugh.

For Jerry I have linked this blog back to my other. I will post now and again there and add a link here on the days I do.

This blog is linked to my other.  Autumn

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

So Being Good Is Not Enough.

I know, I know I should not just stop without saying anything and I apologise. I have been greatly moved by the concern of fellow bloggers that I had not posted. That they took the time to check out that I was okay had me sitting in my study chair in tears. I know Susan keeps telling me that more people read blogs than comment on blogs, but it does not always sink into my brain. I thought long and hard about closing down both blogs and in the end decided to close down one. Thanks to those one or two who followed over and joined this one. So back to my daily stories, thoughts and “Stravaiging.” Now there is a word for you I hope you like it. Stravaiging is a Scottish word meaning to roam, but not to roam without purpose or meaning. I like to think that my daily roaming and wandering is full with meaning and purpose and intent.

Yesterday was not a great day for stravaiging; it was a wet, windy foul day. Today started off in a very similar vein. My son refused to have his weekly run it was so windy and the rain was not just rain but hail. Last night I walked the coastal path as the darkness fell, I now feel I know the path so well I could almost walk it blindfold. The wind was wild forcing the tide high on the beach, at places so high it splashed up on the rocks and onto the path. Marvellous adventure and I enjoyed it.

Earlier in the day I had walked through the village. The taxi drivers were there in full force, they always love wet windy days, and they say it is good for business. It was sad to see them though blocking the disabled parking bays. I pointed this out to them and they made a comment that disabled people should not be driving in such weather. I left with a sad and heavy heart.

The incident reminded me of another friend I had years ago, he ended up driving a taxi but he was the opposite to those I encountered yesterday.

He had been a managing director of a firm and had worked long hours often seeing little of his family. He was successful, but unhappy. He felt there had to be more to life than this. He decided to resign and buy a taxi.

he very soon built up a successful taxi firm, but he never gave up driving his taxi, even though he employed others to work with him. He built up a reputation for care of customers. His cabs always had a newspaper folded neatly in the back seats. There was always a selection of music tapes the passenger could listen to if they wanted. He always got out the cab to open the door s to let passengers in and out, and he always helped with their luggage or groceries. He was a caring cab driver who went the extra mile.

I remember him once telling me it was easy to drive a cab. it was simple to be a cab driver. The thing was he wanted to be not just a cab driver but an excellent one.

He once said this to me, “One thing I know for sure, to be good in my business I could simply just meet the expectations of my passengers. But, to be GREAT in my business, I have to EXCEED the customer's expectations! I like both the sound and the return of being 'great' better than just getting by on 'average'"

This brings me back to my starting point. I thought I had reached average in writing blogs. Average has never been good enough for me. Thanks to those of you who yesterday made me feel a bit above average for you I will continue to collect my stories and share them.

I will do some more stravaiging and take you with me. I hope you can come along.

Have a great day.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Beware Mousetrap Ahead.

 It is amazing how we can allow life to become so comfortable that we begin to take things for granted. I have a certain number of routes that I can choose to run and because I run at the same time each day I expect on certain runs to meet certain people. I take it for granted. The same people walking their dogs, the same old guys out for their morning stroll. I turn certain bends and expect certain things. Then one day it all changes and you are facing a solid wall that was not there the last time, what do you do now? Out of your comfort zone and you immediately feel rattled.

There is a lovely story that makes a similar message. A little mouse lived on a farm. He lived behind the skirting board in the kitchen. It was a nice spot to live being warm and always there was plenty to eat around the place. One day he peeped out from his spot and saw the farmer’s wife opening a parcel. The parcel contained a number of mousetraps.

The little mouse panicked. He ran off to the shed and told the chicken, the pig and the cow. They all looked at him and asked what the problem was. The mouse said they were dangerous things mouse traps. The pig laughed and said that it might be for him but not for them. A mousetrap was never going to be a problem for them.

Later that day, all of the animals heard the farmer’s wife screaming. The mousetrap had gone off and caught a snake by the tail. The snake had then bitten the farmers’ wife. The farmer rushed her to hospital and they did their best to remove all the poison, but late in the night she still had a terrible fever.

The farmer knew that some nice chicken broth was known to help. He went out to the shed and killed the chicken to make the broth. Sadly the fever persisted. So many people visited and offered their help the farmer had to kill the pig to make enough sandwiches to feed them all.

Sadly the poison took its toll and the wife died. The farmer on hearing how many people were to be attending the funeral had to kill the cow to supply enough food for them all.

So you see the truth of the matter is that the mousetrap was responsible for the deaths of them all and the mouse was a witness to this. Some times life can get so comfortable for us that we fail to notice the needs of those around us. We are all part of the wonderful thread of life and whether we like it or not what effects those around us can so easily in the end effect us.

Sorry the pictures do not exactly fit the story but I took those yesterday and thought I would share them with you today. I saw this fellow and some beautiful deer yesterday they made my day.

Have a marvellous weekend.

Friday, 5 November 2010

A Challenge and a Half

 My apologies, this post was done much later than I would normally be posting. I arrived home from my morning run feeling exhausted even though I had only run just over the six miles. I think yesterday I must have over done things. IN the morning I tried to run a route faster than I had before and then in the evening I ventured forth in a howling ale and very heavy rain and walked further than I had intended.

There is a lesson that I need to remind myself. “The greatest doctor is your own body.” It tells you when you have consumed too much salt even although it has never been told what the maximum you should take in any one day. It just knows so it tells you it is thirsty and you need to drink, once you have drunk enough to quench the thirst it flushes out the salt from your system and presto back to normal. Why the government employs people to tell us this I will never know.

Another thing the body is good at telling you is when something is not right, it gives you a painful reminder. When you are tired it wants to sleep. Now is all that not amazing it just knows these things, and if we listen to it we will be ok. So when mine screamed at me this morning that it did not want me to run why did I not just listen? Anyway I arrived home and fell asleep in the bath.

Now maybe I should whisper this next bit. I have been set a lovely challenge for next year. I have been asked to run up and down Scotland’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis. A big beautiful giant of a mountain. The books will all tell you that the climb from sea level to the summit takes about 5 hours and the descent is slightly less but not a great deal. So a days outing.

My challenge is to be up and down it in less than three hours. I will be doing it for a charity. So I hope my body is not listening to intently because he and I are going to have to be the best of friends between now and then.

Today I am hoping to paint, so I will be kind and gentle to him for the rest of today.

I have added a picture and a painting of the Ben to give you some idea of why I have used this blog to tell you about him.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

We Can All Grow Old.

 Yesterday I was asked four times how old I was in the course of an afternoon. Each time it was because the person had seen me out running and thought that at my age maybe there was something special about being out doing such stupid things. It seems that when you get older you are no expected to look for challenges just to get on with growing older.

I of course do not uphold with this belief, and I know that most of you who will read this agree with me. Nevertheless I found myself thinking about it. Having done so I am sure I came up with no wonderful thoughts or insights, but I did think about this.

Growing old is mandatory whereas growing up is optional.

Yesterday I had a pretty full day, I ran with my son, I began a drawing, I prepared three paintings for hanging in a new inn and delivered them and I met with two dear friends. All in all not a bad day and her I am a day older.

Now if I had stayed in bed all day, I would still be here a day older. If the young man I met yesterday who has signed a pact with alcohol had stayed in his bed all day he would also be a day older, but he probably would not have spent as much as he did or have the sore head I am sure he has everyday. It is so easy to grow older, it happens. Now growing up is something else, it is as I said optional.

Growing up does not come naturally, sadly day in and day out I meet people and see people who at an age you would think they would know better they still act in a very childish manner. They have grown older but they have not grown up.

Jerry and I have spoken often about life and its choices. Well I guess this is another one of these choices.

Do I just grow older or do I grow older while still growing up.

The doctor told me to start the excercise very gradually so today I drove past the shop that sells running gear.

I was sent a couple of jokes about choices and they made me laugh I hope they get your day off with a laugh also.

What would you think fitted best into your very busy schedule. One hour a day of excercise or 24 hours a day of being dead?

I was going to start jogging today but my toes had a vote and out voted me 10 to 1

Have a great day remember tomorrow you will be a day older.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The First Hints of Romance

The First Hints of Romance

I am just home after running with my son, who is half my age, now that is what I call foolhardy. We knocked almost five minutes off my fastest time for that particular route. So no matter what happens today I have already had a measure of success and the day can only be good.

My son is more than a son to me he is and always has been a very good friend and pal. From a very early age we have done things together. I am indeed a very fortunate person having a son and a daughter who have always been more than just family to me.

Ross, my son has not had an easy life as some of you know. At a very early age in life he lost an eye and had to have a replacement glass eye fitted. This could so easily have been a turning point in his life, but it was not. He learned very quickly to make the most of what could have been something he carried with him through his whole life.

The stories I have in my memory jar of him and that glass eye would be enough to fill a book. Every year or so he had to have a new one made to accommodate his growing. These eyes were indeed a work of art. They were all hand painted to make a match of his other eye. Ross had a collection of the now too small ones. These were used to play all sorts of jokes on fellow pupils and teachers.

I will never forget the day we were having an ale together. A group of my ex students had joined us and, as is the way of young people, each one competing to show us how foolhardy they could be. I could see Ross listening carefully and could almost hear him thinking, “I wish these lads would just be themselves and stop trying to prove what they are.” He stood up saying he was just heading to the loo. He put his hand up to his eye and it looked as though he was removing his glass eye, he already had one of the extras in his hand . he leaned over and laid it beside his ale and said, “I will just keep an eye on my ale, you guys seem like you might try anything.” There was a sudden hush. It was amazing how the conversation became so much more adult from then in.

I was told a similar tale yesterday which Ross enjoyed during our run this morning.

A young man was in a restaurant on his own. Sitting at the next table was a beautiful lady, also, on her own. She was stunning, and he most certainly would have loved to have spoken to her. He kept finding himself looking in her direction. All of a sudden she sneezed. Her glass eye shot towards him. Like a cricket wicket keeper he caught it. They began to chat, and joined each others company. At the end of the meal she insisted on paying. Then an amazing thing happened, she invited him home for coffee and wine.

They had a lovely evening and it has to be said a beautiful breakfast. Before leaving they made arrangements to meet again. He told her how overwhelmed he was to have met her. He wondered how he had been so fortunate. She looked at him and smiled.

She said, ”You caught my eye!”

Life is not always a beautiful bed of roses, sometimes it is hard. It is however always best to make the most of adversity. It is indeed true that every cloud has a silver lining.

I hope you all have a marvellous day.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

They make Me Smile

They make Me Smile

Well yesterday was most certainly a very mixed day of surprises and thoughts. It began with me deciding that I was feeling a lot better than I had in a long time, well enough to maybe even consider getting ready to take part in a race. I thought the best way to test this out was to go forth on my morning run and do a measured distance of a 10k run, 6.2 miles. My thinking was if I could do this in a reasonable time with a bit of training maybe I could manage a not too bad race around my birthday time. I did just that and was happy to discover that I could in fact do it in a reasonable time for my age.

In the process though, I very nearly got killed. I was running along a country road with no pavements. I was tight into the edge and running towards oncoming traffic. I was wearing bright yellow gear so could be seen for miles. Yet a car sped towards me the driver in a dream as he passed I felt the car rubbing along my leg and side. The driver awoke with a shock and had the nerve to blow his horn at me and wave two fingers at me. Amazing how such an experience makes you want to take stock.

Later in the day I got a message to tell me the painting I have used here sold. Another reason to stop, and take stock of what I am doing. There are still one or two people who seem to like my artwork.

The title of this painting came to me from a lovely remembrance of a dear old lady who lived in my parish. Let me share this with you.

I had a large, and I do mean large lawn when I was a minister. Like most people I spent a bit of time cutting and cultivating it. I had a neighbour who did the same with his. One day he was passing and commented that I had a not too bad crop of daises on my lawn. This prompted me to work even harder to have the kind of lawn you could putt a golf ball on.

Around about this time my wife said to me that the old lady in question had a lot of daises growing in her lawn and that it was getting long. She wondered if maybe I could find time to go down and give it a cut for her. I liked the old lady and was more than willing to do just that. I went down to see her. When I arrived she was sitting in the back garden. She invited me to join her and to go pour myself a coffee. As we sat, she began to say, “My the daises are so beautiful, how they open out and almost smile at you. They fill me with a feeling of love and happiness. It is such a shame all you folks spend so much time trying so hard to just get a green lawn. Look at what you are all missing.”

I did not offer to cut the lawn instead I say and enjoyed the daises. I have never had the same need to have a pristine lawn ever again.

This painting I sold was not of daises but sunflowers, but they reminded me of my dear old friend and her daises. So I called it, They Make Me Smile.

My old friend when she died she was buried in the local graveyard. In the summer there is always a lovely crop of daises on her grave. They remind everybody of her love.

When is a daisy a weed? Only when it is in the wrong lawn.

Have a nice day.

I am no longer linking to my other blog because I intend to stop writing it hoping that those who read it might come and join me here.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Positive Thoughts, Well Not Always.

 Somebody said to me yesterday, “There you go again nothing but positive words of encouragement. Do you never feel like just telling somebody to get lost?”

It was a strange experience; I was walking along the shore front a large broad promenade that stretched for about two miles. I ended up caught in the midst of a large group of runners getting ready for the gun to set them off on a 10k race. Had I known it was taking place I might well have been one of them. As they sped off past me I was left walking beside an old couple. The wife was walking; the man was riding a shining new three wheeled bicycle. I joked, asking him if he could give me a lift on the back of it. The wife started to speak to me as he cycled ahead. She told me he had loved cycling but because of his hips no longer could. he just had to spend money on this bike. I said to her that I thought it was wonderful that she had gone along with the idea and did not mind. He really did seem to be enjoying being able to be with her. It turns out they had used to walk together along this way. As we left she thanked me for letting her see it all in a new light.

My friend repeated his words, asking me if I ever just told somebody what I really thought. I said yes and because of it I have learned to look for the good.

I saw a person once who I had to tell I really did not like the sight of. Everything about them was negative. He looked permanently unkempt. He did not look after his health. When he was sick I did not care. He did not eat a proper diet, he drank too much alcohol and he smoked far too much tobacco. When he did well at work I never praised him, I constantly told him he could do better. I told him he needed to get his act together and give himself a good shake.

“I cannot believe you were so nasty, that was a terrible way to treat a person.”

I agreed I was a horrible person. I was cruel towards him. And I could see the effect of my words on him. He was depressed most of the time, tried to drown his sorrows by drinking too much and calling in sick when ever he could.

Well he said he just could not believe me being like that.

I assured him I had been and told him that one day it had all changed. He asked me what had happened.

I stood there in front of the bathroom mirror one morning. I saw the dark circles under his eyes, I saw the excess weight. I saw the hair that needed cutting. And I saw the eyes that once had looked at the world eagerly. Now they were so sad and tired. And there and then I realized he deserved better. I knew the time had come to start finding good things about myself. So I told the man whom I had disliked so many years that he was a good person after all. I decided to like every likeable thing about myself and tell it to myself too.

Once I learned to like myself even though I was this bad it was simple to see the good in other people.

We all know the, “Golden Rule.” Every leader of a world religion has expressed it in one way or another.

You cannot learn to love others until you first truly learn to love yourself. The important word there is TRULLY. More of that another day.

This is the way of the Tao.

This blog is linked to my other.   Self Portrait