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Letter to Louisa

Earlier this month I was one of millions of people who watched Louisa Johnson win the X-Factor.

I found myself watching despite the antipathy I feel towards these TV shows, with their brash noisiness and their wholesale promotion of a culture that says one person can live the dream while millions of others across the world struggle for the basic necessities in life. Louisa seems like a genuinely lovely girl and has the gift of that amazing voice, so I found myself rooting for her in spite of the infectious pleasures of Reggie ‘N’ Bollie and their particular brand of joy. Joy is in short supply these days, and it was a big bonus of the show this year to see the bouncy spreading of happiness by this irrepressible duo.

After I had switched the television off and gone upstairs to bed, it all felt a bit surreal. It is easy to get caught up in the noise and hype of the production and the excitement of the results. I was lying in bed, re-centering – focusing on peace again. But somewhere out there was a seventeen-year-old girl, still under the spotlights, being shepherded and mentored already towards the glittering career that she will no doubt have. I couldn’t get Louisa out of my mind.

The whole scenario felt particularly poignant because of my recent concern about the Quaker testimony of Simplicity. About not owning or using more of the earth’s resources than we need. Shows like the X-Factor, and celebrity status in general, produce some of the most skewed and unjust distributions of wealth the world has ever seen. But that is a big burden to sit on the shoulders of a young girl who simply has a dream. Louisa’s life will never be what it would have been if she hadn’t entered the competition. Her course is set, and it will be who she is, as an individual human being, that shapes the type of future and impact that she has.

I thought: If I had to write a letter to Louisa, what would I say?

I look back after fifty five years of life and there are many things I wished I had known earlier; things I would like to tell my younger self. But wisdom and insight cannot be forced or imparted simply by writing things down and handing this to someone else. It is lived experience relevant to your own life and spiritual growth, and comes at its own pace and time. How can you say to a seventeen-year-old girl who is about to get the stardom she dreamt of, that possessions and wealth and fame are not the things that matter in life? Part of me wanted to freeze-frame and capture the gentle innocence of Louisa’s expression as she took in, with a degree of amazement, what was happening to her.

So there I was, lying in bed, upholding Louisa in my heart. I wished her peace and strength, the time and insight to remain herself amongst all the pressures and the highs and lows of her chosen profession, but mainly I just held her in God’s light – wanting her to feel the incredible nourishment that is there if only you open your mind to it.

Thinking about this now, I have to remind myself that Louisa is also someone who, through her own hard work and self-belief, has made and taken-up this opportunity – that it is good to see her take joy in it. New year is a time when we tend to look back at what has gone, and also think about our hopes and dreams for the year ahead. They may be dreams of making the world a more peaceful or equitable place – or, indeed, of winning the X-Factor – but unless we open our hearts to the possibilities and people around us; unless we act when we are given the opportunity to do so; then they will never come any nearer to being reality.

MAD MOMENT…

Singing with my choir at our Christmas concert for family and friends with purple hair to match our purple and black outfits.

MARVEL MOMENT…

Simple ivy and lights, and the joy of going out in the dark streets during the Christmas season. Looking forward into the mystery of the coming year…

annedegruchy.co.uk image: ivy and lights

© Anne de Gruchy

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People with Promise

I have a habit of connecting with people who have problems.

I often think that this is because I am a person with problems myself – a case of like attracting like, or of people finding others who have empathy with them. I really do believe that God – or the universe – brings people and situations to us when we need them, or when they need us, or simply when there is some synergy going on. So at any given time many of my friends and acquaintances, like me, will be experiencing mental health issues, or be snowed under with the stresses of caring for someone.

This is all well and good. It gives me a wonderful framework of friends who understand me, and a mutually beneficial and supportive network of people that is expanding all the time. And of course it’s not all doom and gloom – we have fun and laughter along the way, and share many interesting and exciting experiences together.

The difficulty comes when I try to have a one-on-one romantic relationship with people with problems. Or them with me.

I am a very up-and-down person – you have probably gathered that by now if you are following my blog. In my younger years the doctors slapped a ‘bipolar’ label on me, although this was later peeled off and replaced with ‘recurrent depressive disorder’ one. It’s nice to be disordered on occasion, but not to have a label. It makes you feel like you need to live up to some designer tag and produce at least three manic episodes a year.

Although I don’t do mania, I definitely feel like a Vivienne Westwood piece when it comes to my mental state: mostly full-on out there, somewhat flamboyant, and not at all symmetrical – and most certainly not containable within the social norms.

I love Vivienne Westwood’s clothes, but, like me, they can’t be easy to live with on a day-to-day basis. Those brave men who risk dating or even living with me, may be attracted to the bouncy outgoing bit, but the moment I hit a low they must wonder what’s happened to the happy, sociable person they thought they had hooked up with. Conversely, if they happen to meet me in a depressed phase and for some strange reason feel comfortable in a supportive role, then they often cannot cope with things once I turn into a flighty social butterfly with more energy than a bottle of Lucozade.

Add into this mix my Quakerly thing of seeing ‘that of God’ in everyone (human beings ARE endlessly fascinating and rewarding, whatever their background and life experience, and if you’re not open to this you miss out on some wonderful connections and people) and the result is a string of risky relationships with intense emotional connections, but a lot of gunpowder sitting in a big pile underneath us just waiting to be lit.

The other day I was bemoaning this state of affairs with a friend as we travelled together in the car. I said how I had now got used to my family and friends saying ‘Oh, Anne!’ and ‘Please be careful’ whenever I talked about the current state of my love life. This is partly my fault, of course, for being so open and honest with people I am close to, and I have learnt to be more careful and respectful about what I share now. But sometimes people’s reactions, and indeed my history (and there have been one or two mega-mistakes), make me question my judgement and instincts.

So we are travelling along, and I am saying to my friend how I have a habit of connecting with people who often turn out to have problems akin to my own, and he says, simply: ‘You pick people with promise.’

I love this.

I love that the people I pick have promise. And I love that the people I pick seem to somehow see some promise in me. It’s back to that positive language thing – looking at the good in a situation and not harping on about the risky bits. You can think yourself into the doldrums if you are not careful.

I just hope that any aspiring partner can cope with walking around with a woman whose hair is now the colour of purple pansies and whose mental state can resemble anything from a Sex Pistols T-shirt, to a carpet dress, to a tartan ball gown.

MAD MOMENT…

Ringing dad’s mental health team and the Care Quality Commission on a day when I woke up feeling depressed. Mental suicide.

MARVEL MOMENT…

Going to the optician to choose a new pair of glasses and instantly finding no less that three frames which I loved and were comfortable to wear! Now just have the difficult decision of which pair to pick!

© Anne de Gruchy

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The Challenge of Simplicity

As part of my Quaker Faith & Practice reading program, I have been looking at Chapter 23, which is about Social Responsibility. Amongst the many gems found here there are also many challenges – and there is nothing I find more challenging in my life that the Quaker Testimony about Simplicity.

I think Simplicity is a wonderful concept: Not owning more than you need; not using more than your fair share of the world’s resources; thinking about how your lifestyle impacts on others and on our lovely earth.

These things make total sense to me, yet this is perhaps the most demanding of the Quaker testimonies on a personal level – and for me this is especially true since I received some money after my uncle died and I have the cushion of some savings behind me.

Section 23.22 asks of us:

The main question for us who are comfortable is whether we use our positions of comparative power to arrogate to ourselves more than our reasonable share of the resources of the world. If so, we should try to redistribute what we can, to live in a more responsible way. For those who are poor, a different question arises: what is selfish materialism, and what is proper aspiration?

We cannot take more than our share of finite resources unless we have the power so to do. Poverty and powerlessness are bound up with each other. Poverty leads to powerlessness, and powerlessness leads to poverty.

Martin Wyatt, 1988

This is a huge challenge to me. All my life I have struggled to maintain work because of my mental health, and have had enough to get by and live well by the world’s standards, but not a lot to spare. Suddenly I am in a position where I have more than I need and it feels uncomfortable. But the piece above makes me realize that even when I had ‘little’, I had a lot. That, living in a wealthy western country, I have a power that is disproportionate, and I have a responsibility to act – both politically and on a personal level.

What does this mean to me? I have been asking myself. How should I act? Should I be selling up my three bedroom house, which is much bigger than I need, and buying a small bedsit somewhere and giving the money to some person or cause that needs it? How do I know where the money is needed or that it will be well used? But doing nothing is not an option. I feel paralyzed by uncertainty and doubt.

Then there is another layer to add. Take section 23.15:

Reduce and simplify your material needs to the point where you can easily satisfy them yourself, so that those who live for the Spirit and claim to live for it do not correspondingly increase the material burden weighing on other people, cutting them off from the possibility or even the desire to develop their spirit also…

Pierre Ceresole, 1937

Or section 23.16 iv)

We should seek for a way of living that will free us from the bondage of material things and mere conventions, that will raise no barrier between man and man, and will put no excessive burden of labour upon any by reason of our superfluous demands.

London Yearly Meeting (in response to the war of 1914-18)

It seems obvious to consider the inequalities in this world and the needs that people have materially, but these passages also address the way our lifestyles affect other people and our relationships with them, and also their ability to have a deep and fulfilling spiritual life. I find these concerns interesting, especially in the light of a recent survey that reported that the happiest and most fulfilled people appeared to be those living in very simple and materially poor conditions – yet rich in culture and love. Possessions do not always bring us happiness, but that does not abdicate us from our responsibilities to our fellow human beings and the earth.

There is no doubt that we are challenged to address the extreme inequalities in our world and also on our doorstep. I find that I am using the word ‘obscene’ increasingly frequently – that it is ‘obscene’ that we throw away food while others starve, or fund a £3.2million refurbishment of a local park while people sleep rough on the streets nearby. (Don’t write in! The park and community activities there are hugely beneficial – they would just be equally so with a quarter of the money…)

Looking closer to home I see that I also have a choice that balances money with time. I felt that my house was too big a place to shelter just one person, so decided to share my space with a house-sharer/lodger. This in turn has brought an extra income, and this in turn has allowed me to temporarily give up my paid employment to focus on caring for my dad and providing more input and support to the people around me. Not everybody has the luxury of time to give, but having money to invest in my home has given me this option. Is this a ‘cop out’ or an ‘opt in’? I can’t be sure.

So, the debate is ongoing for me. And, just like Quaker Faith & Practice, new insights will be forthcoming and there will be additions and updates along the way. I just hope that I am up to the challenge it presents.

MAD MOMENT…

Dying my hair the suitably named ‘Mystic Violet’ – violet shower, violet towels, violet fingers, too!

MARVEL MOMENT…

Playing scrabble with my lovely new man and actually winning!

© Anne de Gruchy

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Re-establishing a Connection with God

Over the last few months I’ve been in a very dry spiritual place, but until today I hadn’t realized how significant the void had become.

This morning I lay in a warm bath, scented with Weleda’s wonderfully invigorating Rosemary Bath Milk, and this, in itself, was a gift that I had given myself. It is a busy week for me, and I have been worrying about fitting in all my commitments. But today was a day when only a bath would do, so I got up early and made the time. While I was laying there, I read a few more pages of Quaker Faith & Practice – the wonderful book that comes in small bite size sections (so easy to dip into!) and does exactly what the title promises: outlines and develops, through the insights and discernments of Quakers and Quaker bodies over many hundreds of years, how we experience and practice our faith.

Quaker Faith & Practice is a living and growing testament to Quaker faith in the world. It provides advice and counsel and encourages us to question ourselves and to listen to each other in a spirit of humility and love. When I first encountered this wonderful resource I found the questions that it posed me were challenging and stimulating. ‘Take heed,’ it said, ‘…to the promptings of love and truth in your hearts. Trust them as the leadings of God whose Light shows us our darkness and brings us to new life.’ ‘Do you recognise the needs and gifts of each member of your family and household, not forgetting your own?’ it asked (I am very good at ignoring my own), and: ‘Do you respect that of God in everyone though it may be expressed in unfamiliar ways or be difficult to discern?’.

When the need arises, Quaker Faith & Practice is revised, and the content altered and added to. This is a major commitment within the Quaker community, and a revision is currently under consideration. As part of this process, Quakers in Britain have been encouraged to embark on a programme to re-visit our book – reading particularly chapters each month over the next 19 months, with the opportunity for discussion and feedback – hence my bed and bathtime reading forays.

Recently, in my life, I’ve been bogged down with the strategies of coping. I’ve had several changes of house-sharers and many difficult dad situations to deal with. I’ve had visits to Dorset and France. There seem to have been a multitude of medical appointments for myself. I’ve kept up my mood charts and searched for triggers and risk factors. I’ve monitored my stress levels – which have been sky-high – and tried out new drugs for the resulting monster migraines. I’ve tried to maintain friendships and relationships whilst planning in space for myself. I have been so busy planning, that somewhere in the equation I managed to miss out God.

So today, in the bath, I was reading from Chapter 21: Personal Journey. This chapter moves from experiences of youth, to middle age, to death. From living a full life, to creativity, to suffering and healing in our lives. I was engaged, and warm from the water, with the lovely fragrance in my nostrils, and suddenly I realised I was with God again. In a real, kind of incarnated, way.

This has been such a lovely experience, I had to come and capture it in writing while I still could. I am trying to hold on to it, but I know that the connection may ebb and flow. My Spiritual life is very important to me, and the aforementioned planning did include my Quaker meetings and meditation/prayer time – it’s just that I’ve been feeling one-step-removed from everything for a while now.

Someone once talked to me about the idea of spiritual ‘fitness’ – about the need and importance of getting to meeting even when we are not spiritually fit or in the mood. Perhaps this is my pay-off; that keeping in touch and maintaining a spiritual discipline keeps the connection alive in some way. We had a wonderfully gathered meeting at my local Quakers on Sunday, and now Quaker Faith & Practice is speaking to me in volumes.

I am certainly planning to read on.

2015-10-27 10.40.26

MAD MOMENT…

My nutty cat and his mad moment last night: lying on the windowsill trying to pull down the curtains, swiping all the ornaments off my shelves, then chasing every ping pong ball he owns under the sofa… Full moon rising, perhaps?!

MARVEL MOMENT…

See blog entry above!

© Anne de Gruchy

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A Sacred Place

I have just returned from a holiday with friends on the very beautiful Inner Hebridean Island of Islay. It was the first time I had been to Islay, but certainly won’t be the last. I have visited Scotland quite a few times, and the west coast and its islands is one of my favourite areas in the UK (or in the world, should Scotland choose to leave us at some point!).

Islay is amazing. It is so remote, and yet I felt immediately at home. It has a sense of peace and of being close to God.

To get to Islay is a bit of a traipse. First we headed towards Glasgow and stayed for a night with a wonderful Quaker Friend and their ginormous dog, Rueben, to break our long journey. It took us seven hours to get this far, not the five predicted by a certain brand of internet mapping. The next day entailed a further three hours of driving, followed by a two hour ferry journey. This was a special part of the holiday in its own right – bright sunshine accompanying us along Loch Fyne, then standing at the bow of the ferry watching for porpoises with the Saltire flying before us.

Once we were on the island there were provisions to find and a cottage to locate. It did not disappoint. The most amazing ‘surround-sound’ views, with sea in two directions, hills and moorland in the others, and sunsets to enjoy – when the sun deigned to appear – from a bank of sofas next to a very welcome log burner.

The first day, and several others, was wet. What do you do on a wet Scottish island that just so happens to have eight distilleries? Go on a whiskey tour and tasting, of course! But first we headed out along the coastline to a ruined chapel that had a beautiful Celtic cross in its grounds. What a special place, and what a strong sense of those who had gone before. Monks and pilgrims, the stone carvers from the Iona school, people taking sea journeys in search of peace and God.

The coastline and its atmosphere reminded me of the Isle of Whithorn in Dumfries and Galloway, with its ruined chapel on the headland and St Ninian’s Cave. A place of pilgrimage. The sense of the sacred was tangible. It fed into my bones and stayed with me for the whole duration of my time on the island. It felt like the air was thin there and we were somehow closer to spirit. My friend felt this too. Surveys often show that people feel closer to God in nature, and can have strong spiritual experiences when visiting beautiful places. For me the experience on Islay was deeper than this – I felt so drawn to it and did not want to leave.

On the ferry, heading home, I stayed on deck until I could no longer see the island. Back on bigger roads again, with traffic and people, Islay immediately felt like a memory and very far away. Somehow you can’t hold the experience fully once you’ve left. I found myself missing my Quaker meetings and craving the depth of worship. I wanted to find a way back to that feeling.

But these things do stay with us. The peace has fed into my soul and the Islay spirit is part of my fabric now. There will be other beautiful places, and even a wild flower making headway in a concrete car park can be a joy. So I am sitting with what I have taken away and cherishing it for as long as I can.

annedegruchy.co.uk image: Port Ellen at dusk

Port Ellen at dusk

annedegruchy.co.uk image: Celtic Cross

Celtic Cross at Kidalton

annedegruchy.co.uk image: Loch Finlaggan

Eilean Mor and Eilean na Comhairle, Loch Finlaggan, seat of Lord of the Isles

MAD MOMENT…

Actually trusting the weather forecast and ending up painting the outside of my back door in the rain.

MARVEL MOMENT…

Lunch in the garden with my new carer friend. The joys of mutual carer support.

© Anne de Gruchy

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Finding the God of Our Understanding

I was listening to a Sinéad O’Connor CD in the car on the way to dad’s this week. It was one of those times where I’d picked exactly the right thing and felt totally immersed in the music. The album I was listening to was ‘Faith and Courage’, a wonderfully deep and emotional collection of songs exploring relationships, family and religious faith. It ends with a hauntingly beautiful and very different Kyrié Eléison.

I love Sinéad O’Connor’s music. She is such an amazing songwriter and poet and is never afraid of complete honesty and exposure. The paths she has travelled, including with her faith, really resonate from her songs. In The Lamb’s Book of Life she describes her journey from Ireland to America and her wish that people ‘just believed enough in God to pray’ and she talks about learning from the ‘Rasta man’ how to live in peace and as one.

I, too, draw on many different spiritual and theological influences, listening for what feels ‘true’ and where God guides me. I read a lot, and meet with others in an ‘Exploring Spirituality’ group that challenges me and widens my perspectives. I have been on many retreats and quiet days. Over a decade ago now, I studied theology for a couple of years at a wonderful ecumenical college in Manchester. Oh, the joy of discovering the diversity of Christian interpretation and practice – liberation theology, pluralism, the amazing female voices of Asian feminist theology.

The difficulty in all of this is discerning (a very Quakerly word!) what is ‘of God’ and what is not. I said that I listen for what feels ‘true’. Truth is perhaps an underrated thing, and is one of the Quaker testimonies – alongside peace, equality, simplicity and stewardship of our environment. These are things we try to live by, to incorporate into our day-to-day lives.

Many people when they first discover Quakerism say they feel like they’ve always been a Quaker, or that they’ve ‘come home’. There is something about the way Quakerism embraces people’s differing and personal experiences of God and spirituality that draws us in, then holds us in this wonderful community.

When I first found the Quakers, having previously practiced my faith within the Baptist and Church of England traditions that I still dip into sometimes, I found it quite a culture shock. I went from being an extremely ‘liberal’ Christian to an ‘orthodox’ (so-to-speak) Quaker. I discovered that some people at Meeting didn’t feel comfortable, even, with the use of the word ‘God’. This was new to me! It has taken me time to have the confidence to be open to the Truth that God is giving me, and to express it in my own life and language, limited as it is. Writing this blog is both scary and exposing and can only ever be simply my viewpoint, not something I want to impose on someone else or to in anyway devalue the experience of others.

But what I’d like to share is a wonderful phrase used by a person who recently applied to become a Member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers): that for him the Quakers is a place where he is able to find ‘the God of his understanding’. Is that not something to treasure indeed?

annedegruchy.co.uk image: Charcoal butterfly

Creative Spiritual Exercise: Charcoal ‘butterfly’ that I drew at a Quaker Quiet Day

MAD MOMENT AND MARVEL MOMENT…

Being utterly lost in the music and power of the amazing The Madeline Rust at the local Oxjam ‘Rock Night’. I couldn’t decide between this being a ‘mad’ or a ‘marvel’ moment – it was wonderful, but I got into a bit of a trancelike state and must have looked nuts, so I’m allowing it to be both at once!

© Anne de Gruchy

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Creating Communion Connections

annedegruchy.co.uk image: maranatha meditation

Thoughts on my ‘maranatha’ meditation in Labyrinth form

Today, two simple events in my life linked themselves in a most surprising way.

This morning I was moving through my Twitter account and checked out someone who had started following me. I always do this simply from curiosity, and if I enjoy their tweets and the things they are sharing then I follow them back. One of the things I most love about social media is the weird and wonderful mix of people you come into contact with, and the way ideas and experiences can strike a chord and connect you to people the other side of the world who you are unlikely ever to meet. In this way I have found amazing links with fellow writers and with the fantastically supportive community of carers.

On this occasion the person I checked out was a photographer and artist from Ireland. His name is Robert Bohan and you can look at his work on his website: http://www.robertbohanphotography.com or find him on Twitter @robertbohan. I clicked on a link in his twitter feed and it took me to an interview he did with Readymag, and a series of his amazing and colourful drawings/paintings. I just loved them. I loved the simplicity, and vibrant colours, and the way the human form is woven into colourful, graphic, abstracted images.

I ‘followed’ Robert Bohan, but I also shared his tweet and something else that connected with me – the way that experiencing problems with eyesight can draw people into a joyful colourful world. Robert Bohan, in his interview, describes how losing the sight in his left eye brought him back to drawing and painting, and how it results in him being drawn to ‘bright pulsing emotional pigments’. I have a friend who also paints in amazing and vibrant colours. I once shared with him how much I loved this aspect of his work and he told me this was because he is colour-blind.

This afternoon I was at my Centering Prayer group – a small group of local people lead by a Ffriend of mine. (Ffriend is a Quakerly way of addressing someone both as a Friend (a Quaker) and a friend in the traditional sense. It is one of many unusual and quaint Quakerly words. One Quaker Meeting even has an online ‘Quaker Jargon Buster’ – a much needed resource for the uninitiated!). The Centering Prayer group is ecumenical, and we come from a broad mix of Christian traditions. We meet fortnightly to meditate and to learn more about different approaches to this, whilst encouraging each other to practice regularly at home. This is something I need – I love meditation and contemplative prayer, but the discipline of doing it regularly doesn’t come easily to a busy and buzzy person like me.

Today, the group tried out the approach to Christian Meditation as described by John Main. I used the recommended word of ‘maranatha’, meaning ‘come Lord’, during my meditation, and found a wonderful deep space of peace. Afterwards, as we discussed some ideas, I felt drawn to share my morning experience of being moved by Robert Bohan’s work, and the unexpected connections I am finding and appreciating through social media. The key in both experiences, we felt, is being open to things. We were given some quotes from John Main who perfectly encapsulated this: ‘Our experience of this silence is one of expansion as our spirit opens up into infinite realms of being.’ Regular meditation has, for me, also ‘opened’ me up to the joys of everyday connections – with nature, with my surroundings, and with complete strangers in the twittersphere.

John Main again: ‘The ultimate end of meditation is communion. Not only do we discover our own oneness but we discover our oneness with the All and with all.’

MAD MOMENT(S!)…

No less than three blog-writing sessions between 3 and 5am in the morning in the last week! Why does inspiration always strike in the middle of the night?

MARVEL MOMENT…

Discovering the free Archeology NOW lectures run at Lakeside Arts Centre by the University of Nottingham Museum. I learnt all about the little known Roman small town of Segelocum, which was located at what is now Littleborough between Lincoln and Doncaster, and was able to handle beautiful Roman pottery that had been found there.

annedegruchy.co.uk image: roman pottery

Roman pottery at Archaeology Now lecture

 

© Anne de Gruchy 2015

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On Being a Blog Virgin

This is my first ever blog post!

In general I dislike most things digital or powered by electricity – drills, computers, self-imploding phone apps – but love anything manual and messy. Give me a garden to dig or wall to build over social media networks and widgets anyday. Cooking, gardening, doing my art, walking, badminton and singing keep me happy. Writing alternately drives me bananas and keeps me awake at night with ideas that just HAVE to be written down at three in the morning (my memory is definitely not what it was…).

Putting my writing out into the public domain is something I desperately want to do, but getting ‘out there’ into social-media land freaks me out – so this blog is a not-so-minor miracle. It’s like hitting the digital age on one of my dad’s steam trains – full on hiss and heat but many years too late. I got there in the end, but now I need to let the firebox get up to speed.

So what do I want to blog about? How do I make it useful and interesting for me, and hopefully for you lot out there, too?

Here is a list of the things that engage me and that I hope to share with you:

  • The amazing place I’m at in giving up a job to focus on caring for my dad and my writing and artwork.
  • Mental health: the highs and lows and what I’ve learnt during years of tackling my own and working in this field.
  • Theology/spirituality: what I’m reading, what I’m experiencing, what inspires me, what I’ve learn from others.
  • Me, my dad and his dementia. Our journey together. The logistics of caring at a distance. (Including the funny bits….)
  • A ‘Mad’ and ‘Marvel’ moment in my life since my last blog post.

and

  •  I don’t promise that the odd garden or cookery reference won’t pop up sometimes!
Mad Moment…

Continuing to dig foundations and moving hardcore for my paving when my old shoulder injury was definitely telling me ‘no’!

Marvel Moment…

Finding three amazing and inspiring women to form a ‘Companions on the (Writing) Journey’ group.