on strolling in the evening

Joyous June day four of things that make me smile.  Today has been warm and sunny, summer might actually have arrived, this in itself makes me happy.  I spent the late afternoon sitting out in the garden, chatting to neighbours and reading my book.  The trees across the road are in full leaf and the bees were buzzing around my pots of flowers.

Later, hubby is home and we have some food.  Normally we would then settle down to a bit of tv, perhaps read my book for a bit or a warm bubble bath would be in order

Our walk too us across the market place,  and onto the slopes, an oasis of greenery in the centre of town.  High up, from here there are amazing views of our town.  We stood still and took in the panorama.  To the west the sun was slowly beginning to sink below the tree line, the sky here was bright and orange, the branches and leaves dark in silhouette.  To the north we could see a large cross, high on the hill, standing proud as a testament to faith,  watching over the town.  to the west the town centre, roof tops and roads, commerce and transport set out below us.  We paused to stare and breathing in the evening air, felt lucky to be in such a place.

Down the hill a little while later we pop into a bar for a refreshing drink and a chance to chat about the day, catching up with the little things, enjoying being together.  Soon it is time to walk again and we make our way back up the hill towards home.  The market place is getting busy, the shoppers have been replaced by the party people, standing outside bars, walking in high heels, chatting and laughing, Saturday night is under way.

Home again we fill the watering can and give all the pots and plants a welcome drink, working side by side we tend the garden and eventually settle back into the house.

Seizing the moment, walking in the evening, taking time to stand and look around,  being in the now, these are all things that make the difference.


on love – it really is all you need

Joyous June on the second day of the month turned out to be full of happiness. Yesterday we went to a wedding.  The bride is a dear friend, we have travelled the ups and downs of life together for close on twenty years.  The groom has also become a friend, his cheeky charm and wonderful anarchist ways endeared me to him the second I met him. My friend loves him and he loves her back.  What a happy, happy day.  She looked amazing in cream lace, she walked to meet him holding the hand of a tiny girl, her granddaughter, who made a fabulous flower girl. Family and friends all around, everyone dressed in bright summery colours, hats a plenty, and lots of smiles.  The bride took her place next to her love sitting beside him.

There will be many, many June weddings, lots of couples, loved up, sharing their vows with family and friends.  There will be honeymoons and happy ever afters.  This wedding was slightly different.  For this couple the happy ever after is likely to be counted in weeks rather than years, their honeymoon will be spent at the hospice where the groom is cared for and loved by everyone around him. The hospice that held the wedding yesterday.  How sad, we all say, and we are right, it is sad.  Sad that they won’t grow old together, they won’t ever get to have ‘the remember when we were first married’ conversations. Yes is could be all sad.  Yet this wedding was something quite amazing. It was simply a reminder to live in the present.  To be today as we are, to be grateful for the love around us and to live in the moment.

The speeches came, everyone wished them well, and the bride and groom both spoke to the wedding party.  I was struck by their courage, by their humour and by their honesty. The groom especially, for whom talking was difficult, spoke of finding love, of holding on and of joy and smiles.  It was amazing.  They both talked about all the things they had shared since diagnosis, when the decision was made to live the life they wanted and not worry about what was to be.  They talked of the opera they have seen, the camping, the holidays, the walks in countryside, the fun with family and friends.  This couple have lived a lifetime in a couple of years.  So many memories to cherish, so much fun has been had. It became hard to be sad for them. It was as if they were showing us all what really is important in this thing we all call life.

When the groom spoke of dying, as indeed did the bride, it was almost matter of fact, in fact that is exactly what it is, a matter of fact. One day, soon the groom will no longer be here.  Again this was incredibly emotional but inspirational in the courage they showed. They are at peace with what is to be, and they did not for one second allow sadness to determine the mood on this, their wedding day.  A day full of love, hope, courage and kindness. A day when children played, photographs were taken and confetti thrown.  A wedding like any other, and yet unlike any I have ever known.

It has made me reflect on how it would be if we all knew what was to come.  How would we spend these precious days of ours, days in the sunshine with people we love.  This Bride and Groom have been able to talk about all the things most of us are scared of discussing, they are facing life, and ultimately death, together.  It reminded me that none of us know what is around our corner. How important it is to live now, today, for in truth it is all any of us has.

The end of the wedding everyone sang along to a favourite Beatles tune, the choice was perfect as indeed was the whole day.  A June wedding like no other, full of happiness, courage and love we all sang with great heart ‘All You Need is Love’

Yesterday. I learned that actually love is indeed all you need.





on art for arts sake

Joyous June and another fabulous thing to make me smile.  Today I went to see an art exhibition of work by students at an art college.  It was amazing.  Lots of variety, from ceramics to glass from sketches to oil paintings, all hard worked for and wonderful

So, a quick reminder to myself and to all, art is all around us and is often free to see.  Check out your local college, art gallery and open your eyes to art.  Some paintings will stay with me forever.  I will never forget the power of Renoir when I saw the real deal in Paris, it took my breath away.  The colour, the vibrancy and most of all the attention to detail was phenomenal.  I felt a similar feeling the first time I saw a Banksy stencil, clever use of images to make a fabulous statement.

It really doesn’t matter what you love about art but I truly believe that good art lifts the soul and as such brings us joy.

We came away inspired to get creative, to draw, to paint to make a mark.  It is a fine thing to do.




on the hills and the wind

Yesterday was the first of June, the start of summer and a chance to get out into the countryside.  Hubby and I drove about ten minutes from home and parked up in the most beautiful spot.  High hills all around the horizon and behind us, in front lay a valley of greenery and rivers.

I was struck, yet again, by the beauty of the landscape.  In the distance a small village, stone houses and a thin snake of a grey road wending its way across the land linking up people and places.  The sky is big here, at times it seems bigger than the land, the clouds touching the hill tops in a layer of mist, there are birds flying high and the soft sounds of the countryside all around.

The wind is whistling, bringing a chill to the hillside.  There is little sunshine today and the wind makes it hard to stand and stare for long.  We move along the ridge, taking in another perspective of the view. From here we can see more of the town, we look down beneath us at rocks in the grassland that seem to have slipped from above.  The grey stone contrasts with the green field and gives a look of power, albeit fallen power.  Ahead there is a family, helping each other over a stile, the youngest being lifted high over the fence, there are smiles on fresh wind blown faces.

So, Joyous June- reasons to be cheerful number one, has to be the glorious countryside.  To be able to stand and watch as the beauty unfolds all around is a pure pleasure.  This particular hillside is in reach of many people, being close to several cities, it is accessible to all.  It cost nothing to walk here and yet the gain is everything, even if the wind reminds us that summer is not quite arrived yet.