Awards, poetry and Blogging Addiction

Yesterday I received a nomination for the Leibster Award, from my dear blogging sister Meg. It’s my first award for some time, and I remember in Lucid Gypsy’s early days, seeing awards flying back and forth and wondering if I’d ever receive one. One they began, they came thick and fast. Flattered, I accepted and shared the love, until I realised that I was spending way too much time on them and decided I wouldn’t take part anymore. Awards seemed to peter out a little anyway.

The Leibster was one of the first that I received, but when I saw Meg’s post I decided that I would take part, simply because it was Meg! Then, I remembered that I haven’t posted for three days, have lots of photos and things I want to share as it is, how on earth could I fit anything else in?

Time. My nemesis and many other peoples. Of the 168 hours in a week, I spend 43 walking to work, being there and walking home again. I spend 56 attempting to sleep (and usually achieving about 42). Probably 26 hours are taken up with cooking, housework, grocery shopping, and self-care. I might watch TV for 3 hours a week, 5 hours a week might be social times, 10 if I have a day out! That still seems to leave 4 hours a day to be too exhausted to move uh, have fun, be creative, walk the dogs.

Write. That’s the one. That’s the reason I began blogging, at the end of a three-year period of study, that was undertaken to improve my creative writing skills.  Twice a month I go to my writing group and sometimes share some work, but I actually write very little these days. I’m one of those people who is too interested in too many things. I want to learn everything, read everything, experience everything, from block printing to training ants, and talk to everyone I encounter.

My writing blog isn’t, it’s a photography blog.  Lured in by the Weekly Photo Challenge and similar, I get to indulge another of my passions. Sharing photos is far quicker and easier than writing and I’m kind of cataloguing some of my life, that’s how I justify it to myself. But the reality is, like Meg, I’m addicted to blogging, both posting and visiting my blogging friends around the world. Some of you are very special, you know who you are and you’re the other half of what fuels my addiction.

I’d like to be able to say I’m going to change, that this will become a writing blog, but I’d be kidding myself. So dear Meg, thank you for choosing me for the award, but I’m declining. Instead I’m going to schedule my weekly events and of course I’m going to write, perhaps, maybe, sometime. Meanwhile, I went hunting for my Leibster Award and instead I found this poem from 2011, and thought I’d share again.

By Train Through Somerset

Country gulls flushed by the 10.53

arrow  from fields with frosty periphery

like yuletide tinsel under threadbare trees

 

lamb filled ewes  felted and jacketed

join blanketed ponies to nibble on nothing

awaiting a ride or a jar of mint sauce

 

depart the Levels undulating uphill

where railway huts stand derelict lonesome

the sizzle of pylons shoot towards ozone

 

old man’s beard helplessly clings to dense hide

of hedge where Roe stags lurk in dank

acres furrowed and ready  for spring

 

spires crack the  mist near burst  banks

where Saturday shoals of angling young men

stand fishing

and wishing

 

Encounters with youth

Recently I was walking home from work and gang of young lads were coming towards me, rowdy and fooling around. They were daft, squawking and pushing each other, but I knew there was nothing bad happening because they were wearing the uniforms of the public school over the road. Interestingly, I made a spot judgement based on their appearance that there was no risk to either the puniest one of them, or to myself. Rather sad really, but if a gang of lads from the Academy half a mile away were heading towards me I’d feel rather different, possibly a tiny bit anxious if I had to pass them. They would probably be pushing at the uniform boundaries with hoodies and trainers, this bunch had polished black shoes and crisply pressed shirts.

All these thoughts passed through my mind as they got closer. They were giggling and jeering and I had the distinct feeling that some of it was at my expense, I sucked my cheeks in to stop myself laughing. Next, the tallest and probably sweet sixteen year old, detached himself from the rest and followed with his hands behind his back. The giggles of four pre-pubertal boys, with unbroken voices, got louder as they drew level with me, and then I was eye to eye with Mr Sixteenish.

‘Excuse me’, he said ‘would you like a flower?’ He held out his hand to offer me a freshly picked sprig of blossom. I took it with a smile and a thank you. Meanwhile, of course, he’d trotted to catch up with the younger boys, who were convulsed with laughter, at his accepting what was so obviously a dare. I called after them that they should ‘learn from their handsome friend, he will be a success with the ladies.’ More laughter.

A young boy was brought into my office for a work experience day. He spent some time with someone in the opposite team and then was given to me for the afternoon. I welcomed him and asked him why he had chosen this particular experience, in a busy finance department, he muttered something that sounded like ‘It’s what I want to do’, ‘really?’ I said ‘what school year are you in, have you chosen your GCSE subjects?’  Another mutter.

He didn’t listen, so he made small mistakes, the same one several times, so to help his learning, I got him to correct them. I found out later that he had been in another finance department for four days, somewhere a lot more sober and serious than mine, with rather more senior staff. I have no idea how he survived. I was gentle and kind to him the whole time, trying my best to bring him out, and I rarely fail, but oh he was hard work. It turns out he was just 14, imagine knowing that you want to be an accountant at that age, I didn’t know what I wanted to do until I was middle aged! I hope he succeeds in his chosen path, but I can’t help feeling that he was just too young for the situation, he was cocky, bright, but not as clever as he thought.

Driving home across the city, close to the University campus, dark apart from the street lights, I saw the silhouette of someone in the road twenty metres ahead. I instinctively slowed down and the car in front of me swerved sharply as the man reverse staggered back to the curb. I could tell it was a guy, late teens in jeans, tee-shirt and a beanie hat. Several vehicles came towards me but as I crept very slowly, they were leaving a 20 mph area and speeding up, unaware that he was about to dash and wobble on to the road again. Horns sounded, he nearly fell but just saved himself. My mind was flying through the options, stopping with hazard lights in the hope that he would cross safely and away from the traffic, shouting at him, I really thought he was going to be run over. Where are the police cars when you need one? This lad was desperately drunk, alone and vulnerable. Then there was a pause in the traffic and he reached the opposite path and sat down. With my eye on the rear view mirror I eased slowly away, and as I moved I saw him up and still swaying around. I still hoped to see a police car as I got closer to the city centre, and hoped even more that I wouldn’t hear anything nasty on the news in the morning.

Seven young boys, 36 hours.

A Golden Age

If you had to live forever, what age would you choose, childhood, adolescence or adulthood, and why? This is the question posed by the Daily Post today.

I’ll start by saying why I wouldn’t want to be an eternal child. I had plenty of fun as a child, simple fun, where I could play for hours sitting in a den under a table, covered in a chenille cloth or eating raw sausage meat when my grandmother made sausage rolls. A wooden box full of buttons was perfect to let my imagination run wild, as I conjured up the garments they had fallen from.

But I also had strange and difficult times as I struggled to know where I belonged. No, belonged is the wrong word, it was more that I was trying to work out how I fitted in, an answer that I didn’t get until I was middle aged.

My teenage years were worse, expected to and indeed wanting to go out and meet the world, I was often fearful and I most definitely did not fit.

But that’s the past. Now my skin fits. It won’t fit for many more years though, in stead it will become looser, as the subcutaneous fat redistributes itself, and I take on the guise of the crone.

So I want to stay where I am right now. I want to keep the strength I have, keep the ailments that come with age at bay. No arthritis, hypertension, high cholesterol, thyroid problems or dementia, because I need time.

I didn’t begin travelling until I was in my forties, I’d always wanted to but hardly dared to dream. I got my hit of exotic destinations watching Michael Palin, everywhere he went, I wanted to go. It wasn’t until I began to break free, that some of those places became reality.

But oh, there are so many places I need to see. Ethiopia, Mali, Uzbekistan, Namibia, Chile, Libya, Israel, Jordan, Greece. There are places that I couldn’t go to at the moment, even if I had the time and money. Pakistan, I’ve always wanted to visit, but I’ve just this evening watched a documentary, about it’s incredible history and culture.

I dream of being able to walk safely around the cities of Nigeria, to travel Ibgo country freely, meeting more of my family there and really understanding the culture. As things stand, it’s doubtful that this could happen in my lifetime. Who knows, give it fifty years and some miracles then, perhaps, it could be possible. So, I need to live forever as I am now, with the wisdom, confidence and experience that I have, and the brakes on the physical deterioration. This is my Golden Age!

I’m adding this comment I found on Facebook this morning. It’s from my lovely extra son, my daughter’s partner Steven, who has hidden talents that I hope he will use one day. Thanks Steve xx

This is a tough question. On first thought it seems easy, however who would truly want to live forever? The fact that we have such a brief sneeze of time to enjoy this crazy, heart aching, beautiful thing called life is what makes it so truly special. We live each day never truly knowing if it is our last, so we grab hold of it, squeeze it for every little drop and savour every morsel. If we live forever then surely part of that essence fades, knowing that we have forever to do the things we want. We lose the sense of urgency, the need, the desire to do today all the things we fear to delay until  tomorrow. The fear of tomorrow makes us live today.

But then I realise that I could spend forever with my beautiful family, watching my daughters play and grow. If only….

Packaging Insanity

This morning I received a parcel, small items that I will need in the next few weeks. Much as I love a certain international company that began by selling books, and now sells everything I could need and many things I didn’t know existed, sometimes the amount of packaging is crazy. I applaud them for using packing that can be recycled
but the sheer volume?

A 40 x 30 x 11 centimetre box
A 40 x 30 x 11 centimetre box

Let's open it shall we?
Let’s open it shall we?

About six metres of paper
About six metres of paper

My three small items!
My three small items!

Thank goodness my city is brilliant at recycling!

One of Those little dilemmas

This morning as I walked up the road towards work, I noticed a lady ahead of me who I know by sight, as someone who heads the same way each day. She walks slower than I, so I quickly caught up with her. She was wearing a mid calf length, floral summer dress, of rather limp fabric. It had a split up the centre back.

You’ve guessed haven’t you? The split was not the discreet vent to knee that allows for movement. Nope, it was a full on unravelled seam that went right up to her btm. Still behind her I thought quickly, was this how it was meant to be? no way, did she know and if so was she unconcerned, surely not? She is middle aged and how shall I put it? a substantial lady.

What to do, what to do? I’ve never spoken to her before, but if the tables were turned I’d hope someone would point it out to me, there was no-one else around.  I reached her side.

‘Excuse me, I hope you don’t mind me saying, but I think the seam of your dress has come apart at the back.’

‘Oh, how far up? ‘she asked, reaching around to feel for herself.

‘Sorry’, I said ‘If it was me I’d rather know!’

‘Yes, okay uh thanks uh It will just have to do for today’ she replied.

I wanted the pavement to swallow me up. I KNOW she lives somewhere around the corner from me, no more than five minutes walk, but she had no intention of turning back to deal with it. I scurried ahead. Five minutes later I looked back and she was indeed continuing on her way to work, wherever that is.

Now, the dress she was wearing was so flimsy, that the slightest waft of breeze would have lifted it, and there is no way on God’s earth that she could lean her body more than an inch, without showing everyone what she had for breakfast. I’m still cringing twelve hours later and I think I will every time I see her again.

Was I wrong to tell her? surely not, at least it gave her the option of popping back home to sort it. I’m mystified, what do you think, would you have said anything or left her to it?

Oui, c’est moi!

I’m sharing this photo of a sculpture at Broomhill, just because I like it. Why do I like it? She reminds me of me. The curl of her lips, pouting like I did as a child, still do when I’m playing mardy.  Her nose doesn’t have a round upturned blob like mine, she’s far more elegant. It’s more her personality, she looks feisty, stroppy, possibly because she’s just had a fight with her hair. Second thoughts maybe she isn’t stroppy, she could be sorrowful, frightened or in pain. She could have been reprimanded, punished for some real or imagined misdemeanour. So she isn’t me after all.

How strange that I have endowed her with a personality and lots of potential stories. It’s interesting how we each interpret art, perhaps you could tell me what you see? I wonder what the sculptor, from Zimbabwe I believe, was intending to show and if she is based on a real person. I guess I’ll never know. Is there a piece of art that you identify with? Let me know in a comment or with a link?

Oui, c'est moi

Google Image ‘Sky’

I kept seeing the same post appearing in my daily visited list as well as ‘sky’ in my top search list and had no idea why.  It’s this one, from December last year https://lucidgypsy.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/travel-theme-sky/ . Then I thought I would search for sky and see what came up.  A photo just a little way down the first page looked familiar, lo and behold it was mine.

Does that mean I have a famous photo?🙂🙂🙂

Thoughts that came to mind, oooh I should have put copywrite on it?Maybe I should take it down and make it smaller? Maybe I should put a water mark across the middle? Maybe I should just take it down? I wonder if anyone has pinched it?

Actually none of the above. It’s pretty but nothing special and if it makes someone smile then I’m happy too. I would like it if anyone who uses it credits me and perhaps it’s time I put that somewhere on my page. I rather like to think about someone thousands of miles away seeing that Dartmoor sky and wondering . . .

No Small Stones

For the last two Januarys I have chosen to write a small stone for each day of the month. This year it came upon me suddenly – who knew that January was on its way? Late on New Years Day I thought about joining in and decided against it. I also looked at the idea of joining the WordPress  ‘Zero to Hero’, month but again it didn’t quite fit with my goals.

Do I even have a goal for blogging? should I have one? Blogging is addictive, I absolutely love it, the never ending surprises when I open my reader, but most of all, the connections with you my dear followers.

So, rather than commit to posting every day for a month, I’ll commit to continuing, hopefully improving my posts to Lucid Gypsy this year. I love photography, but this blog didn’t set out to be about photos, I would like to write more instead. That may be my simple poetry, it will never be poetry that takes hours to write. It will never be fiction that is honed to perfection, but I hope there will sometimes be stories, perhaps flash fiction that will make you smile, or irritate you or just feel.

I will keep looking at the world around me with  writer’s eyes because these eyes see some crazy sights, and I’ll try my best to show you what I see with or without my camera.

Thank you for sharing your time with me, every comment, like or whatever is a note in my gratitude jar.

Love and light, from Gypsy.

Lucid Gypsy is having a frustrating time

I don’t often swear but tonight . . . the air was blue. This week at work has been horrid, the third in a row and I’m fed up with being treated badly.
Last night I was supposed to be going out with friends, my turn to drive. I set off in heavy rain, to pick up friend number one about three miles away, but pretty soon turned back because I was aquaplaning, and the fifteen mile drive to friend number two would have involved three miles of winding, potholed, single track lane with high hedges, ditches on the sides and pitch darkness. Result, beans on toast and an early night instead of a nice pub dinner and a good belly laugh.
So today I arrive home from work with the beginnings of a bug that’s going around the office – people bring their germs to work these days to share, because if you go sick you have to face a ‘return to work interview’. If you are sick too often you get monitored and then sent to occupational health. Luckily, in the three plus years I’ve been there I’ve only clocked up two sick days.
I thought I’d sit with a cup of tea; check my email and WordPress reader to shake off the stress.
Of course the broadband didn’t work! I checked the connections, nothing happened. I reset the router, nothing happened. I turned it all off and back on again, nothing happened. I thought perhaps the same bad weather that stopped play last night may be causing the problem so l left it, cooked dinner, watched some TV and then tried again. And again, then I started swearing.
Eventually I called the broadband provider, was in a queue for twenty five minutes, and then I got cut off. I dialled again and after eighteen minutes I finally spoke to a girly that had me jumping through hoops, giving her an endless stream of passwords, mother’s maiden name and the date of birth of the cocker spaniel that belonged to my second cousin when she was five.
Next I had to unplug, re-plug, unscrew parts of sockets and rummage through drawers to find spare white plastic thingy’s that came with the original package four years ago. None of it worked and she told me she would have to get an engineer to call back and asked what time on Saturday would be best. Saturday, that’s not tomorrow, I squealed, how on earth could I manage until then? I could tell that she felt sorry for me but there was nothing she could do so I said goodbye with the thought that perhaps the time had come to check out some other providers.
While watching TV I had the company of a certain Border Terrorist, Dido, curled up beside me demanding that I gave her a tummy rub and giving me a look of disgust every time I paused for a second. This same fur baby has a wicker toy box below the shelf with the router. She gets frustrated when she can’t find her favourite toy of the day and chews on whatever she can find instead.

It wasn't me!

Have you guessed yet?
It’s laugh or cry time!

Meeting Myself Coming Back

In my post earlier, photos in sepia tints for Cee’s Challenge, I mentioned being busy and that my grandmother used to say I would meet myself coming back. Seonaid from http://breathofgreenair.wordpress.com/ asked what I might say to myself if I did!
It’s an interesting thought isn’t it?
My snap reaction was ‘Oh no not you again’ but then I thought on.
‘Stop chasing your tail’
or maybe ‘Smell the roses’
‘We each have an alloted number of heartbeats, don’t waste them’
‘You spread yourself too thin’
‘But there’s so much world’
‘Neep Neep!’
‘Have we met?’
‘Sloooww dooown’,’Where’s the fire’,’Tell me a story’,’Is it ready yet?’
So how to stop the relentless chase of life in our high tech world? Are you the same? are you always overloaded? Maybe you don’t see it as a problem, maybe I don’t. It’s just the way it is, I’m a Gemini, quicksilver. I want to experience as many things as I can in this lifetime with all of my senses. To meet and listen to as many people as possible, to have them share their stories, to touch people in some small way.
So tell me, are you the same? If so what would you say to yourself? If you can, maybe you could share with our community.
Seonaid, I suspect you’re far too mindful to rush around as much as I do!8

Slowly, slowly!