The eyes of a Wolf always see straight into your soul ...

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Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Progress with the garden ...

It's as if the garden was the latest thing to come to my aid.  Immersed in the care of situating the new beings that I share this space with, I subconciously process the issues wandering around in the corridors of my past.

Yesterday morning, the sparrowhawk that I've seen now and then alighted onto my garden fence and sat looking up into the recently trimmed fir trees - then just like a shot- it flew up and in after a bird ... but missed.  It then moved up to the top and sat there, surveying the area, on the hunt for breakfast.

I rang my neighbour, Edna, as I often do when something different comes into the garden, so that she can go upstairs and see it too but her phone was engaged.  I told her about it though.  Edna's 88 now and doesn't get out much and I felt like going to the garden centre again, so I took her wih me and we wandered around there for a bit before taking her for lunch at the carvery.

When I got home, I did a little bit of tidying in the garden and then sat out to be warmed by the rays of 'GrandFather Sun'.  The birds have started trusting me more and more seem to still come to the feeders as I sit and watch them.  It was good to see the many colourful flying insects too as they harvested the pollen from the various flowers.

I got up later and watered the garden before going indoors,  only to emerge at dusk to see the light's coming on and bathing the garden in an atmosphere reminiscent of an old world where there was more nature and less man.

The new plants and trees will be here today or tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to making them welcome and finding spaces that will suit their tempraments ...  then I'll start photographing them for you :o)


Monday, 30 August 2010

Stuart's Dream ...

Some things take time to become visible to the individual, especially personal hurdles.  They remain misted in the parts of our mind that don't go and examine those memories related to that time and we end up in a loop, creating the same patterns over and over again.

Stuart's dream reminds of that pattern now, the pattern of my life. 

All it took was an unhappy childhood to create a seed of low self worth in my psyche.  The seed grew and blossomed about the time that I was posted to Northern Ireland.  It manifested itself in one way.  It generated a belief:  my life wasn't as valuable as someone that was loved, that had family that cared about them or had a sweetheart.

The lonliness and awkwardness of my childhood and teenage years became the fertiliser, literally. A thought emerges as my fingers tap the keys of my keyboard ... I was 19 when I went to Northern Ireland ... still a boy.  This lack of self worth made me do things in a certain way.  I'd take risks.  If there was ever anything dodgy to do, I'd volunteer.  I didn't care what it was because I'd rather have lost my life than that of a brother that had family or a loved one ... or a family.  Simply because having grown up with non of those things, I knew how valuable they were ... and I couldn't bear the thought of one of my brothers or their families being hurt through that sort of loss.   When I look back over my childhood, I can clearly see that from the age of 6 onwards I had no family, they and what little love there may have been fell away slowly as rose petals leaving the bare head containing the seed ... and the seed was one of self sacrifice.

The guys that I served with and got on well with were everything to me ... they were my friends and they were my family.  Some of their names have drifted away, lost in the corridors of my mind ... but I still see their faces, hear the banter and see them laughing as we'd share jokes and take the piss out of eachother, some times in the most unlikely situations.

I still miss them ... especially one man in particular.  Dave.  I met him at RAF St Mawgan in Cornwall and we hit it off straight away.  We had a very similar sense of humour and often spent time together off duty.  Dave felt more like a brother than my sibling.  He followed me out to Northern Ireland and we became room mates out there.  He always had some thought provoking music.  We'd talk before bed time about what ever was on our minds, if we felt like it.  Sometimes we'd just take the piss and laugh out loud as we lay in our bunks.  Dave would always play one album before bed time, the last song of that album before we'd say goodnight to eachother was 'Brothers in Arms' ... and as I'd go to sleep I knew I was there with my brother.

Dave went on to become a teacher and has worked in Africa too.  The last I heard, he was in Liverpool.  The last time that I saw him was before he went to Africa.  He came down to meet me and my son and partner at the time.  I loved that day and treasure the memory of it.  Me, Dave and Joshua at the beach.  It was like watching my son with an uncle, providing a feeling of family for me as I watched them play in the oceanic waters of the Atlantic at Porthtowan Beach.

I miss you David Clark ... I miss my friend and my brother.

The pattern of self sacrifice carried on after the RAF Police.  It was ever present when I served in the Metropolitan Police, then in the Citizens Advice Bureax that I'd served at and lastly where I worked in the NHS as a union rep.  If you don't value your own existence, death has no hold over you with regard to fear.  If you have nothing in your life that someone can touch because everything that you loved has left or moved away, you become an island ... the bosses find it harder to intimidate you then ... particularly if you're a fighter.  So what started as a seed of fate turned into a weapon.

That's why I couldn't let myself fly the car Stuart, there were still battles to be fought for other people.  I'm free of those commitments now but I find myself fighting a different battle today.  I fight for myself ... and I'm not good at it.  It's early days yet though and I'm learning to love and value myself, trying to balance through the solitude and peaks and troughs around my life with PTSD ... but I'll fly your car one day my friend ... my brother.


Thursday, 26 August 2010

Salsa tonight ...

It was a good night tonight.  No awkward ladies on the floor and a good crowd.  I really needed it.  My body's complaining now with pain in different areas ... I'll address that in the morning with a nice hot bath.

I got to thinking about death related stuff after reading Mat's blog entry about his Uncle.  Seems when you get to your 40s you start hearing about a lot more of it.  It's different though ... different to the death we used to hear about as youngsters.  It reminded me of the last passing over of a soul that I'd witnessed.  It was my friend Stuart.  He'd survived a bomb blast in Northern Ireland but had then contracted MS.

He was a really kind and supportive friend and he did a lot for me ... much more than anyone that I've known in civvy street.  I remember our last conversation as the clock ticked away his last hours with us on this plane.  We discussed death and spirituality.  He told me of a vision that his grandfather had had while serving in WWII:  He was in a landrover heading towards a booby trap when a ghost got in the path and made them stop and go a different route ... thus avoiding the bomb.

Stuart said that he believed in the afterlife .. but not the heaven and hell way that a lot of organised religions paint it - but rather that we leave the shell behind and our spirits go back to the collective energy of the Universe.  When my friend said that, I stopped worrying about him, as our views were the same, and sat with him until he let out his last breath ... I kissed his forehead and walked out ... Stuart had already flown free, what was left behind wasn't my friend ... just a shell.

He came to me in a dream a few days later.  I figured he was checking up on me.  He took me for a drive in this dream.  We were in a red sports car and we were accelerating hard towards the back of another car.  I thought we were going to collide with it ... but at the last moment, wings shot out of the side and the car flew into the blue sky.  Stuart asked me if I wanted to have a go and I said 'yes!'  I couldn't make the car take off though and Stuart asked me one question, 'Why won't you let yourself take off?'  I still can't answer that.  BUT, I know my friend's okay.

Have a pleasant day...


Monday, 23 August 2010

The back garden's nearly complete ...

The back garden's undergone a transformation and has helped me tremendously over the last week or so.

When you live with PTSD,you get highs and lows and the last week or two have been a definite low.  I lost myself in doing my garden, having rich, black soil all over my hands and arms and under my finger nails.  I worked in whatever weather was present.  Cooled by the rain as I watched the black pearls of soil mingled with rain roll down my arms, towards the roots of the new plants that I was potting.  I felt connected and protected and sensed that necessary exchange of energy between myself and the rest of the natural world.

A song that I hadn't listened to in a good while had me thinking about the guys I served with and some of the mental grinder that we went through in Northern Ireland.  It brought life to a complete stand still for the rest of that day.  The next day I was out again ... potting, weeding, brushing.  The physical pain was great by the end of the potting, I could hardly rotate my waist and every movement caused more pain ... but it was worth it.  It was worth every drip of sweat and every pound of pain because when I sit out there in the darkness now I see the flickering solar lamps, the effigy of the Lord Buddha and the departing light of the day still glows with the vibrance and colours of the new tenants that I share my living space with ... the plants and their colourful presence.

There's also been a development in bird species frequenting this space:  I saw a peregrin falcon over my roof space that's made return journeys, no doubt looking for a pigeon or dove to hunt; and yesterday a sparrow hawk patrolled through, probably drawn by the bird feeding station's users.

Today's task is to tidy this work room up and then to do some business related work.

I hope yours is a good day too.


Sunday, 15 August 2010

Easy come, easy go...

I'd gotten some money back from the Inland Revenue this year from losses made on the business and had saved it for a photographic trip to somewhere but it seems to be dwindling away on the garden now and the house now.  Next week the fence gets completed behind the shed, the loft hatch gets extended, the outside wall tap gets fitted and the arch way for the climbing plants arrives.

I've been looking at various plants and visualising myself sat in a natural haven of various colours ... the images change from day to day, however, there is one constant: Ferns!  My neighbour has some that started growing from the see in birds droppings many years ago and they look amazing.  She's said I can have some out of her garden ... and they're our natural woodland variety.  I want them down the left hand side so that they have partial shade.

I'm pretty sure that the archway will have 2 Jasmine plants as well as some honey suckle, in the hope that some of the scents will whaft up to the room where I do my work.

I'm still pretty set on having one of the Virginia creepers around the front of the house too but will sort that out with the builder and maybe cement a pot to the hous wall so that no one bothers trying to steal it.  This seems to be a quiet close though and we don't get any trouble here, so it should be ok.  I've always wanted a house with creepers growing on the walls, changing colours with the seasons.

I used to have some lovely bushes in my house in cornwall that would flower twice a year - one had a lovely small violet coloured flower and the other a small white flower.  I don't remember their names though ... I'd love to have their presence in my garden again.  You never know what people are going to do when they buy your house ... I hope that they keep the trees and matured bushes going though.

One tree in my old place was 'special'.  I was visiting a business colleague one Saturday morning and I saw that nearly every tree on a cerain part of a road had been ripped down or just broken at the lower part of the trunk.  No doubt some drunken youths had though this was an amusing act to perform the previous night.  All of the trees were tender saplings with trunks of about 5 inches in circumference.  I was saddened and angered at the lack of regard for the natural world and ignorance of the necessity of trees. 

One of the trees had been ripped out completely but the root ball was more or less complete.  I rang the council and asked them to send someone out to 'rescue' the tree as it was the only one that could survive the situation.  The council official seemed uninterested and made some comments that were less useful than a cow's fart (at least you can use the methane from a cow).  I made the point that my taxes helped pay for the trees, which he didn't deny, so I said I'd take the tree home with me which he didn't object to.  So I went around asking people for help to transport the tree ASAP to minimise the shock on its exposed roots etc.

After an hour of asking around, the people that came to the rescue were the  'Cornwall Paper Company', based hust down the road from where the tree lay.  They got one of their biggest trucks out and their driver transported us home and helped me to plant the tree in my garden.  I gave them some prints as a thank you and then spent the next few months worrying over whether the tree would make it or not.  I was heartened every time I saw a garden bird use one of its branches ... it was as if there was an exchange of energy between the bird and the tree; a necessary exchange that allowed both to fulfill their journeys.

Imagine my joy when I saw the first new green shoots the following spring ...

I hope that tree is still safe.

Have a good Sunday.


Thursday, 12 August 2010

Hands in the earth ...

I got my fingers into some soil yesterday for what seems like the first time in years.  I'd done some planting earlier this year ... but this was different.  It reminded me of when I was planting some hedges in my front garden in Cornwall:  I could feel the energy of the Earth in the soil as my fingers gently made it fine enough to help introduce new plants to my garden and a visitor commented on how 'in-tune' with the Earth I seemed.

That feeling is coming back and it's much needed.

I planted some climbers, as well as 2 virginia creepers.  I'm going to put one of the creepers outside the secured backdoor as I'd like to see it climb around the front corner of the house.

I found a way to add an extra 4 arms to the bird-feeding station and have added a large feeder of niger seed as well as a water dispenser.  This years tally of bird specie in my garden has been amazing: sparrows, chaffinches, goldfinches, spotted woodpecker, thrushes, starlings,  wrens, blackbirds, long-tailed tits, great tits, blue tits, coal tits, robins, wood pigeons, collared doves and magpies.  It seems a fair exchange to me - I provide them with food and water for having displaced them and making it harder for them to survive as a species ... as a member of my species of animal.  The grey squirrels were a real pest with regards to the feeding station.  I got around the problem by placing the feeder in a central spot and then covering the central pole in industrial grease.  It's greased to below the area that the birds need but higher than the squirrels can leap to from the ground.

There's a very small pond that works as a watering hole too that I hope the local foxes use and maybe the hedgehogs too.  I cut a little hole in the back garden fence towards the front to ensure that they have a corridor through my home and can go about their business unobstructed.

The bottom garden was dug out years ago and so lies 3 or 4 feet below the foundation of the main house.  As you can imagine, there's very little decent soil there as it's mainly rock.  I've decided to use biiiiig pots for bushes to bring colour and scents into my garden.  That'll be done slowly now in preperation for next spring.

I also found some solar lights or the garden that dont look tacky - well - maybe the string of dragonflies do ... but the four lamps that look like flickering candles look neat.  The best one is the statue of the Lord Buddha with a lotus flower in his lap that is also a solar lamp.  So the tarmac garden that I inherited is slowly being transformed into a green haven ... for the wolf as well as other visitors.

The only thing that worries me now is the red algae appearing in the bird bath.  I hope it doesn't harm the wildlife.

I saw a lovely cultivated tree that was living in a huge pot.  It had obviously been taken care of and cultivated for pot life ... but a bit out of my budget!

Time for my morning soak and then to get more new images up onto the website that were taken earlier in the year.



Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Duty versus survival ...

I've been coming apart at the seams over the last week.  I've had my kids with me for just over a week now and it's the worst visit ever with them.  It's like they've forgotten how to think and act for themselves.  Forgotten how to clear up after themselves.  Forgotten their manners.  Forgotten values that we once shared.  Forgotten everything useful that I ever passed onto them.  It felt like I was spending time with 2 strangers.

One of the things about coping with life when you have a disability is that the 'day-to-day' stuff that most people can deal with without a second thought becomes full of hurdles to people like myself.  So when my kids came to visit this time, instead of the two kids that knew about my disability and what not to do ... I was visited by two teenagers that kept pissing me off with their behaviour and lack of self motivation.  The house was full of noise ... and not the good type:  doors being slammed etc - out of place noise that sets me on edge.

I planned to take them up to Scotland to show them some wilderness.  They arrived with no suitable outdoor clothing or footwear.  I only found out theat they didn't have their sleeping bags with them 2 days before they were due to be picked up.  They'd been continuously reminded to bring their sleeping bags and suitable outdoor clothing 2 months prior to this trip.  2 days before pickup I'm told that they don't have sleeping bags with them.  They were told to get some or they wouldn't be picked up.  Before heading for Scotland, I found they had no sufficient toiletries or towels with them.  They were told to go and buy the stuff from their allowance.

After 2 days of being rained in and their constant squabbling, I headed back to Nottingham.  They were told to behave for the trip back.  I got into the bath as soon as I got home and just relaxed and started to feel the stress levels go down a bit when the house door was slammed hard - twice - completely shattering any peace that I was starting to feel as the walls of the house shook with the force.  So I called their mother and arranged an earlier transfer.  I'll be heading off to drop them off in an hour.

One of the things that I have been working hard on with my kids is to ensure that their life isn't as difficult as mine ... but without spoiling them.  Part of me wonders what a parent has to do to strike that balance of discipline and empowerment.  Teaching them values but also making them aware of their power .. and their responsibilities.

Therein lies the problem.  My kids have a lot being put into them but there's no balance.  When kids get to their teenage years, there has to be an exchange of energy, duty and responsibility.  If the kids are just allowed to get away with having their own way ... then we have failed them as parents.  If both parents don't agree on values, duties etc, then the kids flounder in between the two.  It's like trying to build a house on sandy beach at low tide ... sooner or later it'll collapse.

When I lived near my children and we saw eachother on a weekly basis, it was easier to contribute towards their development.  There were still problems now and then ... but we coped.  They learnt the way things were and did a share of whatever was required in the house - washing up, chopping wood for the fire, cleaning out the fire, helping to cook, setting the table etc.  They had some motivation then ... now they seem to be need to told what to do over the most basic tasks.  The last time that I visited them in Cornwall, they asked me to go and see their rooms ... I was appalled at the mess in both their rooms, as their bedrooms in my house were always tidy.

I now feel that I have 2 strangers visiting me ... and my duty now is to my health;  to try to cope with this disability without feeling guilty or being made to feel guilty for putting myself before my kids. 

When I was a teenager I cut my path towards my chosen career and worked hard at it from the age of 13.  Kids nowadays have things way to easy.  Our society is too liberal in splashing out 'rights' in some areas of the young and as a result we're ending up with a bunch of youngsters that are lacking in motivation.

I remember hearing these words when I was 11 from an elder in Leicester, 'You youngsters have got it too easy nowadays.'   That was in 1975 I think, when we had an outside toilet 4 foot snowdrifts in winter and an outside shower.  Sometimes the meal was bread dipped in a cup of hot tea.  There was no pocket money. 

I guess one of the by-products of 'progress' is that things get easier for each generation that follows ... but do family values, standards, morals and work ethic have to become casualties as a result?   Why do we never seek 'balance'?  Why do we always go from one extreme to the other?


Osprey - Nature section

Osprey - Nature section
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