Found in London

On a bin outside the Tate Modern (which I now find does a very nice carrot cake).
I didn’t try the banana variety.
No giraffes.

banana

Mudlarking

I have a deep fascination with the Thames…

Doesn’t that sound pretentious? I have no such thing. Actually, I do. I am obsessed with it as a thoroughfare, a literary device, a witness of history. With the whale that swam up it, and the swimmers that swim down. With its floods and barriers, its sunken ships (at least one full of explosives), the Shivering Sands straight out of H.G Wells, and the boat that Magwitch and Pip rowed down it in the Victorian fog, at least as far as Chalkwell Beach and the Crowstone which marks the limits of the reach of the Port of London Authority.

Which leads me to mudlarking – basically scavenging on the foreshore. Inter-tidal archaeologist or no, the bottom line is you fossick for stuff when the tide is out. Except… if you don’t have a licence, issued by aforementioned Authority, then you cannot dig.

Guess what? I now want a licence. Turns out if I want to dig to a depth of 7.5 cm (basically a tourist’s visa) it’s going to cost me £70 for a standard licence for a year. Then if I want the full mudlarking shizzle – I have to serve two years probation at the 7.5 cm depth, and a build a record of submitting finds to the Museum of London. Then, if approved, I can excavate to the mighty depths of 120 cms. Watch this space.

In the meantime, I found this – too heavy to carry. I thought it quite beautiful and it reminded me of a friend. As well as all this, I sensed the ghosts of many a workman fulminating, ‘Bloody bucket!’ as they lobbed their wooden contraption with a busted galvanised handle into the deeps with a splosh. If you go, wear gloves and wash your hands.

mudlark2

#MyBeautifulEarth

This is today’s Earth Day 2014 hashtag over on Twitter. Well worth checking out. Here’s my contribution as I try to resume my version of ‘normal’ service round here…

heatherslate

Metta Bhavana ~ Loving Kindness Meditation

I am currently trying to build my mindfulness practice, and today, for a change I tried a loving kindess meditation. There are various stages to go through, that end with you trying to hold yourself in the same loving kindness you have previously, in the same meditation, held someone else in. I used a person, and found it hard. I tried a pet, the cat to be precise and found it…

Well, I can’t really say. Meditation is not about words, so much, as noticing feelings. I noticed a very unexpected feeling, in the heart area, that stayed with me for a while. Meditation is also about accepting what is, without judgement, without attaching a story… that wouldn’t make much of a blog post however… suffice to say that the feeling was also painful. The meditation felt like it moved me from a closed heart state to a more open, but pained one. I am interested in this process, that’s why I’ve written it down. I will go there again, but not today. Will I go with more trepidation next time, based on today’s experience? Hopefully not.

It really is amazing what goes on with our bodies that our busy mind does not often allow us to notice. Yesterday, I decided to notice the soles of my feet as I walked round the corner with the youngest to the orthodontist (another post lies behind those doors). I decided to notice them, and appreciate them for all the hard work they do on my behalf for which I simply NEVER thank them. After only a few minutes of this walking whilst noticing what the sensations were, I can only say that the soles of my feet really appreciated the attention. Try it some time.

No-one need know.

I found a ring in the sand

Only a quarter of the upper edge was showing. For a moment, as I thought to pull it out, I hesitated, wondering if all I would find was the rim of a glass bottle – the shoulders all shattered and deadly, ready to cut me.

It was a ring for a reason, from the inscription. Next to the ubiquitous eBay white metal stamp 925, an Uzbek woman’s name, with love…

I imagined the man. He stood one night, bankrupt, smoking furiously on the deck of the casino. The wooden platform is cantilevered out over the dark waves which slap beneath the soles of his feet. In the grip of some nameless betrayal, he yanked the ring from his finger.

As I pulled it from the sand, I was reminded of the cabin by the lake in Michigan, where I said, if I really was someone, then I too would throw my most treasured possession into its half-frozen waters and walk away without looking back as if none of it had every really happened. Turns out I wasn’t someone.

Don’t most rings turn out to be like broken bottles in the end?

Farewell Stan

Fine Irish Wolfhound, and one of Rudi the Lurcher’s tiny handful of friends. He will be much missed – pictured here on the water meadow with one of those doing most of the missing: his owner.

Buried on the good Suffolk land where the willow lies.

Stan

Leaf

fire leaf

Longer Days

lady sunset

Remembering Sherwin Nuland

Originally posted on TED Blog:

Surgeon, author and speaker Sherwin Nuland died on March 3, 2014, at age 83. The author of a dozen books — including the award-winning How We Die, a clear-eyed look at life’s last chapter — Nuland came to TED in 2001 to tell a story he’d never told before.

The world-renowned surgeon, clinical professor of surgery at Yale and best-selling author began his talk with a history of mental health and mental illness … and gradually began to weave in his own story, of a depression so crippling, so impossible to shift, that in his 40s he was in line for a lobotomy. But his young doctor made a bold suggestion, and then stuck to it in the face of widespread doubt: Nuland would try electric shock therapy.

It’s a stunning talk. TED’s own Tom Rielly, who saw the talk live, remembers:

“Sherwin’s talk took us on a journey into…

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What can it all mean?

Don’t ask me, it’s Sunday.

by Elodie

by Elodie

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