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Reflections 2018 w28

This week I found out the story of the man of whom I did not know existed until six months ago.

That man is called Philip Astley – Creator of the Modern Circus, who lived a couple of streets down from me, and has just had his 250th anniversary, of his creation, of the modern circus.

The fact that he has had no fanfare or real recognition prior to this year by Newcastle under Lyme council, shows more about the shift towards art and culture being put forefront, amidst the usual “pfft. It’s all a waist of money” brigade, than to anything else.

The story was told by  The New Vic Theatre done in a most fantastical way.

Theatre, Art, Circus acts, both real and reinvented to suit the stage, Comedy and some Panto-esq performances, off stage as well as on, seemed to flow seamlessly one scene to another. I sat in the upper floor seats, which I prefer to be honest, and was torn as to watching the action on the stage or the tremendous amount of work that is done , unnoticed by nearly all, in the framework above it or in the mission control booth off to one side, I presume all the effects are controlled from there.

The pace was fast, only to slow down as much for the actors to catch breath one would think, as to tell the story, even this was done cleverly. At this point one does not know whether one will be writing a blog on the plays seen, but if this is the case, I will leave the publishing of those blogs until after the performances have stopped – I could say too much and put out al lot of spoilers – unlikely, it would be for someone to read it before going, but it would be sods law if I did.

I left the theatre feeling a sense of wonderment, a wonderment I have not felt at a circus nor play for decades. It has been their most ambitious play so far, to be honest I cannot see how it could be beaten and still be a play. They defiantly cannot have more circus style acts than what they had, there is not the room. No, one thinks it could only be matched. This play has set the bar, and it has set it high!

The last play that left me with a sense of wonderment?

It was at The (Old) Victoria Theatre, back when I was in middle school. The play was…Treasure Island.

One can still see the actors swinging in the rigging ropes suspended from the ships mast even now.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2018

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Reflections 2018 w26

The problem with an allotment, especially where the soil is of the clay variety, is holidays.

And this holiday turned out to be perfectly timed with a heat wave.

One had the next plot over to water for me whilst we were away,  but my dads method of gardening is 1970’s style, a style I for one will not be doing when I get my own plot. The method is to dig in compost to “improve the soil”, this particular plot has had this done for 25 years+ by dad, and it is no better now than it was 15 years ago, and is a battle to stop it from baking hard and cracking. There are other ways, and it will be several on trial on mine to work out which works in the area one lives.

This baking of soil was what the neighbour had to deal with while I was away.

Because of the heat and dryness I was expecting a lot of items to have bolted, but only a few things have. The sweetcorn has decided, at 2ft tall to call it a day on ground clearance and grow tassels. The baby corn looks stronger thought much taller. My purple peas are ready to pick, they are that tasty even I can eat them raw, the plant however looks in poor health.

Strawberry plants are sending out runners, raspberry’s have ripened, gone past it, dried  up and yellowing. The rhubarb has stalled, so none to go down the food-bank in the morning. One did however pick my first yellow baby courgettes for lunch tomorrow.

Everything else seems ok, the greenhouses are in so much shade from the trees next door that they have been protected, luckily. But the weeds have gone berserk, there is more growth on them than anything else.

So this week will be spent trying to tidy up the plot whilst avoiding one individual and the sun/heat.

I will also be looking over a short story written for a Stoke on Trent last year, but was finished too late, adjusting it if need be, there is a 100 more words that could be used this time round, and sending it off.

If it reads the same as last year it’s a competition winner.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2018

Reflections 2018 w24

Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Am I insane?

I trust in the doctors and psychological teams, over and over – being told the same thing over and over…There is no magic pill, it’s the therapy that will be best treatment, and it will be hard.

I accepted that, and it made sense. After-all it took a lifetime to break my mind, logic dictates it will take the rest of it to become better. But how is one supposed to carry on trusting when therapies are blocked/denied/not accessible, even when it has been part of a diagnosis and treatment plan by a doctor? Because one is on medication it is classed as being treated – opposite of what one was told originally – that the therapies would be the treatment long term not the medication, and I quote the doctor “the medication is just a band aid”.

I wish that there was a treatment plan of an alternative direction, more natural than chemical manipulation, recognised as treatment. One would give it a try, because the medications one is on now are just coincidental to the symptoms of known side effects – which are making me less well.

And my trust is beginning to fade.

Today, as I once again caused a lot of pain to my body chasing my son around the play centre, a little girl stopped me and asked why I was wearing headphones – the big over ear ones – I like that in children, the curiosity to question and the courage to ask them, so I told her. I told her it was to block out a lot of the noises around me in busy places, because if I have a lot of noises to listen too, my head hurts. Kinda the truth, I did not want to tell her what my anxiety manifests and give her nightmares. She listened, digested the answer, and decided it would be fun if I chased her and her friend around the play area. I called my son over to see if he was interested in chasing them, and then being chased, but he was having non of it, today was daddy day only.

This in part I think was because his best friends Dad died this week, and he wanted to have the comfort of having his dad play with him. I think that this is the second father, defiantly the second parent, that has died in the last 18 months, of one of his school friends. This year his sleepover happens to be on fathers day eve, one thinks tomorrow will be an extra cuddly day. I have got the cuddle films at the ready.

I don’t think it unreasonable to ask for a treatment to get better, if only to ease any worries he may have – toward a dad he has never seen well.

 

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Reflections 2018 w11

What do you get if you put three introverts that are comfortable within each others presence in a room together? Occasional banter, a lot of silence and quality time together.

Extroverts may be trying to work out the joke, introverts know what it means.

To the outside it may look like we don’t get on with one another, unless they enter at a banter part, each doing their own thing in the quiet. But not having to fill the quiet with words whilst at the same time being part of a group is a wondrous state of being. No one jostling for attention, not having to make an effort to look interested, to be polite because it is expected, or even being the star attraction.

No, don’t look to us to be a riotous party planner – when we have to attend and take part, or to start a social group that is supposed to attract new members into it, because this quiet group  is a natural state we try to attain but is one that we don’t get to have for very long. All it takes to change the dynamic is one extrovert friend, innuendo, and the puzzlement of quiet time over five minutes for the group to be more appealing and move away from bliss.

We can mingle, we can be in a party mood, we can laugh and have a good time, we can even be shocking, but best of all we can be quiet, with friends, in a room – for a really, really long time.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2018

 

 

Reflections 2018 w10

I did a workshop earlier in the week and one thing has played on my mind since. It revolves around writing.

Writing was one of the words that came up for ways that we communicate, and when it was being labelled as how we would use writing it was given the title of – formal. I did not agree and my examples of forms of writing that would be anything but formal created a worrying reaction.

My three forms were poetry, which had little reaction, personal letters, and love letters. Now I am not in the position of being lovey dovey, and to be honest, I view the whole love thing rather sceptically at the present, so I am not on loves ‘side’, but the reaction that love letters got was – saddening.

It was riotous laughter, laughter at the very thought of having a love letter past the age of, what was called middle school, 8-12. I don’t know whether it is my age, or the fact I am a writer that still has the personal connection to ink and paper, also, for clarification, I love my ebooks – so it’s not a bias thing either.

Love letters have been found that were sent from grandmother to grandfather after they have passed away, stored for decades, and one hopes re-read from time to time. Some have had simple things like dried flowers with them, as a prop to stimulate the memory – this sentence should clarify one has never sent nor received such a letter in adulthood  – and stories have been told how the letters used to be sent with a spray of perfume, a photograph or lock of hair, again reinforcing the memory with sensory stimuli. You just cannot get this effect with an email, gif and an emoji. Look past the history of the events in the letters you can see the love between two people blossom, a side that no-one may have seen, not even their children. There is a power in the letters, which is why I believe they are saved, and sometimes cherished, right up to deaths door.

As a non romantic I hope that the love letter prevails past the instant technology, with it also the thought process that comes with the old fashioned way of writing; The implement – should it be the more expensive pen that writes smoothly with a uniform flow of ink? Or maybe the fountain pen, a pen that requires more time, patience in the pace and more control in the letters? The paper, coming from an artist, is just as important as the words used, some paper is ‘warmer’ than others, not only in colour but also in texture, making the choice of pad and envelope vastly important to how the letter is received before even opening. The whole process is tactile.

Wow a whole paragraph on just pen and ink, geek much?

One wonders if the group had a love letter sent to them, on and in quality paper, written with ink, emotion and style – would they laugh? Or would that letter touch a place in their heart; a place that they had forgot was there?

I do however find it sad that I , loves cynic, one who ponders what it wants, what its motives are, was also the only one in the group that believes that letters are also informal.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2018

Reflections 2018 w09

Finally it feels like Christmas; just in time for the Easter Bunny.

The whole year it feels…out of sync. Spring weather is later, Summer – we’re still waiting for 2015’s – is almost myth, Autumn (Fall) is confused and Winter seems to have been napping.

Seasonal flowers are no longer seasonal. Some in my Mum’s garden have had Two seasons for the last couple of years, if they even came out at the correct one to start with. These are joined by the wildlife, butterflies were seen in December and the ladybirds have been trying to get out of their household hibernation all last month.

The jobs up at the allotment are a “do I – don’t I?” affair, even tidying up becomes hard work as the clayish soil clings to ones boots like brick snowshoes. Planting is a do I risk it now or wait till I have a rush on at the end of March or even April? Hoping against all hope that the weather will be good for growth but not too hot so everything bolts as it tries to go to seed. One has a couple of ideas for when I get my own plot in order to extend the season, maybe even all year round.

Youtube has lots of people experimenting with different styles and ideas.

I saw a snowplough for the first time in decades last week, the last one I saw spayed snow over all on the footpath, but this had the job of gritting rather than ploughing, the snow seems to have gone around Stoke on Trent for the most part. Other parts of the country fared a lot worse. Rain is forecast for next week, so normal weather to be resumed.

Which brings me to a question…

Do other Nationalities bother with the weather? What one means by that is…How much do you talk about it? Does someone in Alaska stand outside waiting for a bus to arrive, turn to the next person and say “cold today isn’t it?”, “it’s a little warmer today don’t you think”, or even “snowing again eh!”. Or someone in Saudi entering a shop to be greeted with “can you believe how hot it is today?”.

Or is it a very British thing to do? As we don’t want to seem ignorant, and yet don’t really want to talk to each other, especially strangers at bus stops, who may have been catching the same bus as us for years – and having the same discussions about the weather for the same amount of time.

Even our Radio presenters want us to phone in and talk about it.

Think about that. We as a nation are happy to listen to a radio show where we can listen to other listeners complaining about the weather, interrupted by a couple of songs and the news and – the weather.

We even write blogs about it.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2018

Reflections 2018 w08

This looks to be the last year for my dad’s hobby –  his allotment. He has been in and out of hospital a lot over the last three years, this and the amount of time he has been on antibiotics, has meant he has not visited his plot for a long time, he however seems to think he has when we are not around.

One is trying to gather the money together to pay the rent on my own plot, just in case I can get straight on a site, there are a couple of plots within walking distance that look like they have seen very little activity for some time. so one may be lucky.

My dad’s plot and my own will be very different in styles, both what is grown and how it is grown. This has caused a clash many times the past and it will be nice to ‘just get on with it’ without the criticism. Mine also will be grown in part for the expensive veg, luxury greens, as well as trying to over produce on purpose, one enjoyed the feeling of taking the excess apples to the food bank and would like it to continue, so long as there is the need for them.

I also enjoy trying the unusual veg and the odd colours, much to my sisters dismay.  Part of the attraction is the limited availability of such veg due to the growing season, this seems to no longer exist for the main vegetables, so it makes one look forward to the start of next years season to have them again when they no longer turn up on the shelves.

This year I am going to have a play, an experiment or two, and grow as much as I possibly can.

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