The magic of Edward Lear

One of the sweetest things happened recently: our daughter confessed that  she always associated Edward Lear’s poem: The Owl and the Pussycat with us, her Mum and Dad. The connection had been made via two photos of us dancing: one at a school dance and the other at our wedding.

It is a wonderful poem with delightful images of traditional love rituals.

pea green boat

The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are, you are, you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are.”

Pussy said to the Owl “You elegant fowl, 
How charmingly sweet you sing.
O let us be married, too long we have tarried;
But what shall we do for a ring?”

 They sailed away, for a year and a day,                                 piggy ring
To the land where the Bong-tree grows,
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose, his nose, his nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling your ring?”
Said the Piggy, “I will”
turkey marriedSo they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon.
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand.
They danced by the light of the moon, the moon, the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

by light of moon

Serendipitously, I quoted from Edward Lear’s Jabberwocky in my wedding speech which I related as my father’s advice on getting married:

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son! 
      The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! 
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun 
      The frumious Bandersnatch!” 

 

We must never discard the magic interwoven in our memories nor disregard the fairies at the bottom of the garden.

 

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Murphy’s Law No 147(b)

If you have a puncture while cycling, it will be in the proximity of the furthest point from home.          

Being  a disciplined thinker, I didn’t invoke any special inference the last time I had a puncture just after I turned to go home and had to walk 2 miles to get there. However, it seemed more than coincidence when I had a puncture yesterday, just 100 metres from where I turned to go home. This time it was a 4 mile walk.

Maybe next time it will be 8 miles from home… except that I am going to carry one of those puncture fix kits from now on!

black schnauzerJust as well for that bit of reverse fortune, as the black dog had slunk in for a sombre lurk and the enforced march cleared the air; black dogs don’t like competition, so it slunk off!

I think it slipped in with my tax return. This is my 4th year of involuntary unemployment, so I have little to distract the taxman with. That doesn’t make completion of the form any easier! One would think that by now the Revenue dudes would have worked out an idiot proof format so that any dummy could complete a return…

But… wait… maybe they did … and my brain has atrophied to super-idiot size…!  See how easily the black dog slinks in? Its the government’s fault and I don’t have a vote even though I do pay tax…. rage can get the endorphins flowing nearly as well as exercise!

My consolation is that I have time to enjoy the birds making their nests and write mimosawonderful books about myself and sniff the subtle anisescent of the spring flowering mimosa on the wattle trees.

photoOf great joy right now is the bright colours of my nasturtiums, which are nearly my favourite flowers now, especially as they are entirely edible: flowers, leaves and seeds

Hmmm… maybe I should be finding a new project to distract me – this design by IKEA caught my eye:

ikea-flat-pack-garden.jpg

It’s a flat-pack garden farm of the future – I have the plans if anyone wants to build one: all you need is a saw, hammer and a screwdriver.

Or maybe this is more your style? ikea garden

Whatever – the point is that we all need to start growing our own vegetables…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early morning Spring song

I let Lulu out this morning

And walked on the dewy lawn

While she sniffed and wee’d.

morning star

The morning star still guarded the departing night

Bright and clear, defying its extinction.

Grey pink clouds foretold the arrival of big brother Sun.

 

Butcher birds are singing choruses to each other;

The honey eater is twitter-chattering,

mimosa

Yellow mimosa is breaking out;

Nasturtiums are overflowing –

the bright orange and yellow petals promising joy.

purple bauhiniaBauhinia, the purple herald is in flower.

 

The air is soft and the breeze gentle.

Time again to awake and welcome the new year.

Gliddy glub gloopy, nibby nabby noopy la, la, la, lo, lo
Sabba sibby sabba, nooby abba nabba, le, le, lo, lo
Tooby ooby walla, nooby abba naba,

Early morning singing song*

*Chorus from Good Morning Starshine by Oliver – sing it out aloud, it’s quite easy!

Old Friends

Last week I wrote of the passing of a kinsman and how my world seemed to shrink, but the warmth of our association remains.

This week I write about old friends with whom my wife and I spent time over the weekend.

Old as in ‘older than us’ from where we lived before, who are still good friends.best old ones

We were neighbours and shared a love of plants, summer lunches, sometimes heated discussions, poetry and word plays. We shared similar Southern African origins and discovered that we were almost related, with a sister and an uncle romantically linked for a  while.

alphabet friendsThe word “friend” comes from Old English “frēond”, which is actually the present participle of “frēogan”, which means “to love” and “to honor”.
a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.

Synonyms: 1. comrade, chum, crony, confidant. 2. backer, advocate. 4. ally, associate, confrere, compatriot.

Tick all boxes!

goodbye friend

 

 

 

The sugar snake

When I have a toothache, I discover that not having a toothache is a wonderful thing. That is peace. I had to have a toothache in order to be enlightened, to know that not having one is wonderful.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

But we forget about that and still drink Coke. coke sugar

The average person in industrialized countries consumes about 33.1 sugar snakekilograms of sugar each year.

Sugar has been implicated as chief culprit in the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, tooth decay, hyperactivity and Alzheimer’s disease

My Dad died from dementia, diabetes and depression which are by-products of sugar consumption. I am overweight and my brother has diabetes.

Sweetness and sugar pervaded human taste buds and became embedded in our tastes. An injection of sugar into the bloodstream stimulates the same pleasure centres of the brain that respond to heroin and cocaine – it is literally an addictive drug.

Most modern day people are aware of this and cut down on sugar in their tea and stop drinking Coke.

But sugar is everywhere:

If a slippery slab of barbecued ribs makes your heart skip a beat, there’s a good reason why. Blame the 13 grams of sugar for every two tablespoons of BBQ. And with all that grilled meat to coat, who stops at just two.  too much sugar

Fruit yogurt is one of the biggest sugar bombs on the shelves, with 19 grams of sugar, no wonder it tastes like dessert! Dried fruit might as well be candy. Just ⅓ of a cup can have 24 grams of sugar.

A granola bar can pack 12 grams of sugar, so be sure to read the label before demolishing one.

Some types of energy drink pack 83 grams of sugar – no wonder we get a buzz. killing me softly

Sooo … what’s the point?

My point is that we are not just talking toothache here – we are talking disease and death. Don’t be blasé about this – it’s a real threat to all of us!

Taxing sugar is probably a good way to go. Education and example are even better. Become knowledgeable and talk to your children about controlling their own destinies.

But it’s not easy, you have to be strong … not many succeed.

If you acknowledge your addiction, you can significantly better your own health.

But if you don’t, you won’t.

 

sugar diseases

Flit like a butterfly…

meer focus

You might wake up some mornin’
To the sound of something moving past your window in the wind
And if you’re quick enough to rise
You’ll catch a fleeting glimpse of someone’s fading shadow
Out on the new horizon
You may see the floating motion of a distant pair of wings
And if the sleep has left your ears
You might hear footsteps running through an open meadow

That was Bob Lind singing about the elusive butterfly of love.

The butterfly I am thinking of flits aimlessly, changing direction for no reason other than a splash of colour, is wafted up and sideways by the breeze….

That’s my mind, which generally has a struggle to focus and apply itself. Distraction is easy and frequent and false hares are irresistible once started, so I end up foxless.

Is that procrastination, a lack of discipline, poor focus, scant 1 thing at a timeconcern? Probably all; which is somewhat depressing. Tenacity and determination have always been my weak point: it took me 14 years to achieve my BA, for heaven’s sake!

 

in the momentPhew! This started out as flash realisation it was Friday and I had not written my weekly blog and a mild self castigation for following  bloody butterflies again!

 

I have been meaning to read up on meditation; maybe this is another message?

who cares

Enjoy your weekend, y’all!

Spreading Happiness by the body

camel feeling goodYeah! I am back on the happy horse again. In the past, I believe that happiness and fulfillment were neglected. It’s like what happened to butter – it was once a no-no, with potentially fatal consequences (it and a lot of other stuff too).

Now we find that butter is really good for you. Suddenly old fashioned cooking and remedies are the in-thing. We should have stuck with our grandmother’s advice – after all, it was based on centuries of experience. Who said: Too much learning is a dangerous thing?  Give him a banana!

And so with happiness, the traditional approach to mental conditions, attitudes and behaviour has been from the unhappy end of the spectrum: cause and cure research has been focussed on the unhappiness in anxieties, neuroses and psychoses.

med next aisleLately, the realisation has dawned that the other end of the spectrum is the cure to many of those ills and greater attention has switched to positive psychology.

So prevention and cure could be: Don’t worry be happy!

Positive Psychology is the scientific study of human flourishing and an applied approach to optimal functioning. It has also been defined as the study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals, communities and organisations to thrivepositive-psychology-mind-map

A  Daily Telegraph article by Philip Johnston highlighted the new focus on happiness and wellbeing:

  • More than 200 colleges either have research institutes or offer courses in positive psychology.
  • Politicians are saying things like:
    • “the best society is that where the people are happiest, and the best policy is the one that produces the greatest happiness”.
    • “The first thing we know is that in the past 50 years, average happiness has not increased at all  – despite massive increases in living standards.”
  • Economists have noticed one apparent paradox: that despite a substantial increase in GDP in the industrialised West, the levels of human contentment have remained static.

More and more countries are developing a happiness and well-being index and measuring progress.

be so happyIn 2011, the United Nations invited all countries to measure the happiness of their people and to use this to help guide their public policies. The first World Happiness Report was published in 2012. The 2017 Report is available online.

make someone happyMy point is that if it’s happening on national levels, then everyone should be measuring their own happiness and well-being and working at improving it and spreading happiness.

Always look on the bright side of life!

As you may detect, this is not all my own stuff: I am doing a free course on Happiness and Fulfillment offered through Coursera.

If you are interested, have a look; there are 100’s of free info-only courses. I am on my third one!