Friday, 19 December 2008

Advent 2008

From autumn damp to winter flake
From carnival boom to bust
The Advent dawn comes hammering home
One star the faint can trust

The soldier and and the struggler
Dream of base and bless
White knuckle rides that end in glides
Beyond the wilderness

Poinsettia plunged in darkness
To mimic tropic night
Offers brachts of satin blood
To liven solstice light

The scribbling hiss of tinsel
That frames the plasma screen
Shows cholera, fast and famine
Regret and might have been

Survivors of  invisible scars
That dogged the dying year
Are pressed to jest and jolly
To disguise the hack of fear

The road of best intentions
The streets that silent lie
The downturn and the difference
Wear denial's butterfly

But underneath the frozen
Lies the crocus trigger of hope
To light the cracks with tenderness
To christen and to cope

The grain of a tomorrow
When today is locked in grief
Will blossom in the brokenness
Love's fragile dauntless leaf

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

You need to get out more

ME/CFS has a misguided conviction it can suck you dry from the inside, like other so-called "invisible" illnesses. It attempts to change your ability to think, move and function. 
People see a smiling face, they convince themselves you're well. I reckon that's better than always having a face like a fiddle!
So today, a little less crashed than often, I leapt at the chance to get out and about. Two dear friends rang and asked if I wanted to go to the National Trust park that's a half hour's drive away in the next county.

 "D' you fancy a trip to Columba?" 

My brain-fogged mental muscles had gradually reshaped this into the more realistic invitation to "Clumber (Park)".

 I got my walking stick, the dog's lead, my camera and waited by the door!

We arrived for packed lunch, sitting in the car overlooking the trees and fields which make the Yorkshire/Nottinghamshire borderlands so beautiful yet sometimes "overlooked" in quite a different way!  The sun was glowing bravely over a chilly smorgasbord of winter solstice sights and smells. Frost and fire lit webs and tendrils, the lake glistened with extra duck topping, dogs peed on scented tree trunks not seen for a while (the sign near the car park assured us "more "P" on the grass verges" or words to that effect - I  told the dog it wasn't an open invitation), and the corvines grizzled throatily from the Lime Tree Avenue.

For me, it was such a treat to get out into the healing countryside I used to walk and cycle in every spare moment I got. Today's outing was a refreshing  joy to share in Advent . OK, so now back home I feel like someone has taken a blow torch to my eyes and ears, put razor blades rather ungallantly inside my biceps and throat, my calf muscles are twitching and snickering like the nostrils of a well-bred horse, but my soul is soaring!

God bless, everyone;
hope you can treasure the quiet and quirky moments in your build-up to Christmas, and not get too trapped or drained by the frantic.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Safari or (Fire) fox-hunting

Today I've actually spent more than my daily quota of saved energy on trawling techie websites and dithering over whether to "tek no gorm" as we delight to say in Barnsley, of a monster threat. This morning's news reveals that Microsoft has issued an uncharacteristically altruistic warning to users of its browser "Internet Explorer" (it would have been news a few years ago to me that there WAS any browser but IE) that they should dump its cumbersome leaky flagship for any one of its rivals.

Security alert! Hackers have the potential to hijack and render bot my PC and laptop by cat-burgling through the unprotected back passages of IE. Thanks, Bill Gates, you make me feel all warm and snuggly. The surf is up.

So, after scratching my head for a frankly overlong time, wondering how the tattycorum I could get online to search out said alternative cyber-surfboard with the odd bell and whistle, without setting out in Internet Explorer, the light dawned. I recalled being badgered over past weeks to download the latest version of Apple's "Safari" every time I went on iTunes to download the latest episode of the Archers or podcast from TMBG. There it was, glistening reassuringly among my "All Programs" - Safari!

I spent another gut-plumbing few minutes weighing up the pros and cons, then took the plunge. What could I lose but my sanity and access to all my files, family history, photo memories and links to websites best left unrevisited?

So I clicked lugubriously on the  compass icon and said goodbye to a decade or more of the blue "e" with its drunken golden halo and swam out into the unknown. Gone phishing? I certainly hoped so.

Within a couple of hours of fiddling with settings, customising here and there and having to reintroduce myself to favourite websites in my fetching new "Safari" suit, I began to realise that a change is as good as a rest. I may well still test out Firefox in the future, which has such a glowing reputation. But for now, I'm loving the speed at which pages, even large photos load, with that intuitive blue progress bar that Safari has watermarked along the web address box. I was thrilled to see the new browser had happily taken on board my old IE bookmarks, and even whisks me instantly from anywhere to my blog with its unwieldy "seemed like a good idea at the time" title.

I began the day tired and I'm pretty wiped out now, but when I'm laid on that burning mat in the middle of the night, limbs feeling swollen and sore from not being able to pace myself through the day, picture me grinning like a fool at the joy of discovering what a rut I was in before Microsoft pointed to the open cage and clapped its hands to make me fly away.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Flying the Dog

I fly the dog like a kite
avoiding the power lines

I edit him back to the bone
that squeaky chop focus
the spring and skip
the senior pup

I steer him clear as satnav
up ginnel and ley line
Taut leash
Skirting the block

I score him the home run
Light of ligament
Rhythm simper and stop
plipping drool in crystal water
Fur on felt snoring

Intro-introvert - pinwheeling

That’s what we do, Enneagram 9w1s, Myers Briggs INFPs, known to the uninitiated as introverted beggars with added quirk! We “pinwheel” – a bit like kids who play with the wrapping paper instead of the toy. We think tangentially; one cog sets off another one that might not seem related. The clue is in the “seem”.

We don’t always say much aloud, but we write like our arm is attached where some prehensile tongue might have been. (What? Ugh!). We don’t always appear to get the plot (to you). We know more useless but compelling facts than a wiki. Annoyingly, we are genuinely tolerant, sunny and unshockable. We are the gentle types that keep the world semi-bearable and it’s likely you won’t have spotted this yet while fumbling for the fast food menu. We don’t usually put up landing lights round what we do, say or are, so you may have missed the runway in the past. But it might just be your loss and you wouldn’t want that if you’re half as fly as you think you are, by comparison. Well, don’t you? I think you do.

If you aren’t fired up about God's love, about ideas, words, family history, clocks, bicycles, dogs, compassion, the Ocean, Beech trees, Robinia pseudoacacia “Frisia”, The Pre-Raphaelites (the English Victorian Painter guys), John Linnell (not the English Victorian painter guy!), imagination, mango and pistachio ice-cream (not both together, but then…) and if some of your favourite cliches are: “We haven’t had a summer this year”, “You can’t be too careful…”, “Why don’t you get yourself a (“little”) car?” or “M.E.? You don’t LOOK ill…” then maybe I don’t believe in you either and you’d be better off reading a less left of centre blog. Your choice. But I'll respect you either way, so why not slot me in after the cryptic crossword?

Next time I will be mostly talking about…. something else. Something would be a start.