Just a thought....
Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Whatever comes next

So many years ago, when I took my reading training wheels off and graduated to 'grown up' books, one of my first books was "Moonraker's Bride" by Madeleine Brent. I was so excited. I had spent a fair amount of time in the children's section of the library gazing longingly across at the adults' section.

he book was, in many ways, an eye-opener for me. I learnt of a strange new world, China, of Boxer rebellions, missionaries and how, in a day, a heroine's world can be turned upside down by a twist in fate. To this day, I love Madeleine Brent's books, though, sadly, there aren't many. Each one takes me to a different world and is relaxing pleasure that requires little thinking.

Going back to that one book, there is a part where the old lady who looks after our heroine and the mission is busy dying. They were struggling to feed themselves and the orphans in their care. The old lady's advice was, "When you don't know what to do, just do whatever comes next." With all the arrogance of youth, I thought that was rather a stupid thing to say. If you don't know what to do, how on earth would you know what to do next? How can you do something when you have no idea what to do?

Thankfully, though, the advice stuck with me. I've had many opportunities to remember it when the storms of life have seemed to pick me up like a piece of flotsam and toss me down onto the rocks. When my mind is buzzing with problems and 500 solutions, none of which seem to be the answer, it is this advice I turn to. Simply doing something... anything, however mundane... is often the catalyst that moves me into solutions. It is a peculiarly mind-clearing action.

On the subject of mind-clearing... What do you do when your mind is clear - too clear? As a writer, I have a very up-close and personal relationship with that status. Blank screen, blank page, blank mind. A frustration that reaches deep when I know I have so much to say!

"When you don't know what to do, just do whatever comes next."
When you don't know what to write, just write whatever comes next. This is when I delve into the mundane if I have to and mundane is something I have plenty of. The thing with mundane is that defies my attempts to keep it mundane. It is the most remarkable thing. I would start out simply describing my day, a remembered scene from long ago, an object, a character in my book and before I know it, I'm embellishing those thoughts with flights of fancy and sometimes not-so-fancy flights.

Isn't this a little like those word association games we used to play? Shall we call it thought association?

By Corrianne Lasevicius (aka Tint)

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Road hog!

Never a dull day! I started the day crushing eggshells for the chickens. Lord Meath cracked a joke about me possibly having to sleep in the kitchens, as the lock and door handle had been removed for repair. I love encounters with him. I grabbed a bowl and headed off to the walled garden to pick raspberries. Sounds fun, doesn't it?

The trouble is that I'd already picked all the easy ones! The central row of bushes remained. It was suggested that I use a walking stick or umbrella to pull the branches towards me for picking. Great idea... if I had either of those items. Never one to let a bush get me down, I decided to go into the bushes. Again... sounds easy, right? They're as tall as me and planted really close together. I now know were to hide if I want to disappear from society! Oh... and I got my first horsefly bite today... ungrateful little beast. I was gently trying to shoo it off too. I don't swat and kill like everyone else does. Hmph!

My next task was to fill the honesty box (basket, really). I was commended for the good job I did with it yesterday - throwing in a little idle boasting, though it's really not much to boast about.

It's basically a basket with pickings from the walled garden that people can take and pay what they feel it's worth. Have I mentioned before how wonderful it is to see your 'food' through from the planting to the harvesting and cooking?

Back to our road hog... While I was busy picking beetroot for the basket, Jurgis let me know that it was time to move the pigs. They love beetroot leaves (normally) and could I pick some to help lure them. They've been in the pig 'maternity ward' up to now - the sheds - and it was time to put them back into their paddock... a separate one from where the piglets are currently frolicking. Maeve first, as she was the one most likely to give us strife. And did she give us strife?! She saw her opening and trotted off. It was just Jurgis, Sayo and myself, feebly waving our beetroot around that Maeve decided to totally ignore. Out she went... on the road to the shop, which is where the public come in for their very dignified visit to Killruddery. I freaked! I had visions of mommies with babies in prams seeing this huge tonnage of road hog advancing on them. That Maeve is friendly and is only enjoying an outing would not occur to them, I'm sure. I called for help and was told, "Don't worry. Maeve knows her way around." Only later did I learn that it wasn't her first time out. We eventually headed her off. That was after she took a roadside mud bath (try ushering a mud-coated pig along) and managed to get me shoved into a nettle patch, at which point my thoughts towards her turned as muddy as she was. We finally got her to her paddock and went to let Lisa out - this time, making sure all escape routes were secure. We were busy letting Lisa out when Maeve strolled up to see what was happening. They discovered the pile of discarded feed off to one side and nothing we did would move them until they were good 'n ready. I personally think they were just putting us in our place. *Mentally adds pigs to the list of fairly uncontrollable animals along with goats, sheep and cattle* I think that's what makes them so interesting though :)

After spending a while watching Sophie and her piglets, we went off for some lunch, which turned out to be a serving of popcorn each washed down with Coke. Uh huh... yes... healthy, I know...

I was weeding under the mustard after lunch. Now let me get it down for the record. If it were up to me, I'd buy my mustard, decently packed in a little metal tin or bottled. Them seed pods are sticky and reaching in among them did nothing for my glorious hair do - which needs help on the best of days. I was fully sporting the highland beast look by the time I was done.

Dinner tonight was a delicious concoction of fresh garden peas, fresh garden courgettes, fresh garden garlic (getting tired of the freshness yet?), onion and not-so-fresh supermarket chicken over pasta. It was yummy. I washed it down with the last of my South African wine. Now that was good!

Sunday, 08 July 2012

Wreathed in mists

As I gaze out at the Little Sugarloaf over the quiet gardens, I see the 'ghosts' of yesterday's children laughing and frolicking on the lawn. Time (and weather) is a fleeting thing, is it not?

It was a glorious day yesterday. One father was rolling down the hills with his little ones. He looked bashful when he caught me watching. I commented that every garden needs a hill...and it does!

Walking through the veggie garden, the bees and bumble bees making the most of the sunny weather, I could almost See the peas growing fatter. I gave the chickens their treat and went on to the pigs. The piglets were out romping. We can't get enough of watching them. Rough-'n-tumble play in the mud. They're just kids really. It's remarkable to think they're only a little over two weeks old.

Ah.... we're in such a beautiful place and truly happy. I love my work, the people, the place. I go for walks in the forest and forage for the most fascinating mushrooms. We can walk the same path five times a day and see something new every time.

The mists of our lives, so far, have been fickle. Perhaps, just this time, the mists will clear to find us still here, happy in our new reality where the sun shines from within the soul even when the skies are grey.