Friday, August 31, 2012

Don’t worry/ Be hoppy

Tears are the safety valve of the heart when too much pressure is laid on it (Albert Smith)

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear (Nelson Mandela)

 All changes even the most longed for have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves: we must die to one life before we can enter another! (Anatole France)

 I put red lipstick on as a final touch. Having washed and blow-dried my hair, I had put on my velvet dress and a waistcoat. And high-heeled boots. I was ready to face the ordeal…


Lily had not even attempted to sneak into my bed last night. I heard her and Izzi snuffling and frolicking at some stage during the night, but chose to ignore their antics. When I awoke and Lily was still in her basket, I said Good Morning! to her. She looked at me then nuzzled down into her basket again. Sulking still, I thought… She had been for her vaccination yesterday and been told that she was a bit chubby! She was so depressed about that. She moped about all afternoon and evening at the thought of her food ration being cut down. And no snacks...

When I went over to give her a cuddle. I recoiled in absolute horror! And had to go to the bathroom to be sick. Lily had spent part of the night embracing a mutilated rabbit carcass. 

I closed the bedroom door behind me. Texted Tom (who is in SUNNY South Africa). Tom phoned me, his chuckles quickly turning to concern when he realised I was crying. He suggested I get the neighbour in to remove the carcass. Oh yes, that would work – knock on the door in my skimpy nightie and say: “Brian (next door left) / Allan (next door right), would you mind coming up to my bedroom? Tom is away and I have a slight problem that needs dealing with…” 

This had to be dealt with on my own. I closed Lily in the sanctuary. She wasn’t too perturbed, she likes it in there. I puckered my red lips, took a deep breath and went in…


Needless to say after the deed had been done and Bunny returned to nature, I had to return post haste to the bathroom to be sick again. I sat down and cried for the poor little creature…and a little for myself…

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Demise of the Traveling Pillow

"Glorious, stirring sight!" murmured Toad. . . . "The poetry of motion! The real way to travel! The only way to travel! Here today - in next week tomorrow! Villages skipped, towns and cities jumped- always somebody else's horizons! O bliss! O poop-poop! O my! O my!" (Kenneth Grahame)

Most travel is best of all in the anticipation or the remembering; the reality has more to do with losing your luggage (Regina Nadelson)

NOT I-NOT ANYONE else, can travel that road for you, You must travel it for yourself (Walt Whitman)

Little by little, one travels far (J.R.R. Tolkien)

Have pillow, will travel…

I have a Special-Pillow which I have had since childhood(?). She is a feather pillow. She is a rather thin, scrawny elderly pillow. I can’t sleep without her. So she has travelled and flown all over the world with me. Whenever I travel, S-P has to be squashed into my luggage, sometimes causing rearrangement or discarding of items of ‘planned’ wardrobe…

S-P has been washed and tumble-dried many times over the years, leaving a surfeit of feathers in the machine which shower around the laundry or kitchen like fairy snow. Actually it is quite messy and difficult to clean.

Recently as I climbed into bed one evening and snuggled down, S-P felt a bit hard in the middle. I felt . It felt as though I had a tiny baby rabbit under my chin! I sleepily thought: I hope Lily has not been burying her ‘toys’ from Izzi in my pillow case. (Please note that Lily has been known to ‘bury’ things amongst my pillows). I turned S-P over and went to sleep. Some time in the night I woke with a start: I was definitely lying on a dead baby rabbit. It smelt exactly like dead baby rabbit and I gingerly felt about the pillow. It felt like a dead baby rabbit! Muttering loudly I ungraciously pushed S-P onto the ground and covered my head with the duvet. I am rather grumpy when I get woken in the night by dead animal antics courtesy of Izzi or Lily.

In the morning, with trepidation, I gingerly felt the insides of S-P. My fingers told me there were at least two animal carcasses! However, on closer inspection I realised that there were no dead bodies. Only the clumps of ageing mouldy(?) feathers (who knows what I smelled in the night! The power of the imagination)!

Into the washing machine and tumble dryer went poor S-P. At the end of this undignified process (it took the entire day in the tumble dryer for her to dry out) I came to a distressing realisation: S-P has come to the end of her lifespan! 

Thank you my dear Special-Pillow for being a source of comfort, for allowing me to snuggle my head against you each night with numerous turning-overs during the night so my face is always against your cold side. Thank you for cradling my head when I shed tears. Thank you for enveloping my face with your softness, molding to my curves. Thank you not minding being shoved into numerous travel bags; for supporting my back during journeys in cars and planes. Thank you for all the years we have spent together; for watching me change and grow and develop over the decades.  I salute you! 

Disclaimer: No pillows were abused or stuffed with dead animals in reality or in the re-enactment of the Travelling Pillow for the photo shoot. The pillow in the photos is a stand-in and not the actual S-P. And all the ‘Locations’ are actually in my house-in-the-country.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Walk in the Park

Navigate by the same star, unwilling to change, and you find yourself not only off-course but lost (Richard Bach)

My suggestion is that we should have a sense of direction and let life unfold naturally, rather than trying to force it down a particular path, which is what we typically try to do. This will allow you to have a much more experiential view of life, allowing life to come to you. You will meander and weave, and change direction as you find the things you're really passionate about (Stephen Shapiro)

When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there (Zig Ziglar)

On Sunday mornings, Tom usually drives down to the corner shop to get fresh croissants and danishes for our breakfast (a change from Green Juice). But as Kyle and Sarah had slept over and it was a sunny day, we decided to walk down to the Corner Shop with Lily in tow. Now, in my mind, a walk to the corner shop involves walking down the road (albeit the main through road through the village). Lily is not too keen on this as she is somewhat frightened by each car that passes, but she indulges her humans and walks quietly beside them. However, unbeknownst to me, Tom had other ideas. He had consulted his Trusty Walking Map and planned a route for us. So off we set. As we were going to be Walking Down The Road (or so I believed), I had on a summer ‘frock’ and little velvet pumps. I soon realised we were not walking down the road, but on a different route… I now enquired whether I was suitably attired….

When we walked along a little path, through a farm gate and onto a muddy path, I knew I was not. You have to understand that the Mud here is thick and squishy and slippery, like walking through very wet, sludgy Clay. I took one look at this and informed the gang that they needed to wait while I went home and got my Wellies. I surprised myself by Running all the way home! Socks, Jeans and Wellies on I Ran back to the others. Ankle deep in mud, Tom ploughed on nonchalantly as though it was a Walk in the Park! Until…

We came to cross road in the path. Decision time: do we go up and away from the direction we are aiming for, or do we climb over the sty and walk through the field with cows in it? No problem for Sarah. She hops over the sty into the field. When a cow moves towards her she thinks, Maybe not and comes back. Indecision in the ranks. Sarah decides to go over the sty into the field again: This way! An advancing baby bull causes her to promptly leap out again. Whilst falling about laughing, the decision was taken to go through the woods.  

The woods consisted of knee high nettles (Tom was wearing shorts. It is Summer after all… O-o) and a not well trodden path (?) and bracken and thorny branches. We spent half an hour being hopelessly lost before climbing under a barbed wire fence in to a farmer’s field. We were still lost. The Trusty Walking Map was at home and the iPhone’s reception was not too good (this is the country…). Eventually Sarah popped out and asked a rather taken-aback lady for directions. We were heading into town rather than the village shop. The lady didn’t express her surprise, but gave directions to get us back-on-course (really??). Much walking and crawling under another barbed wire fence later, we crossed paths with her and her hounds  again. It seems she was actually going in the same direction as us, but had directed us on a rather long and arduous ‘path’. 

An hour later we reached our destination. We girls decided we needed our coffee and danishes right there at the village shop. We sat outside at the little table and chairs quite happily until the skies opened and spat forth torrential rain!

A walk in the park indeed. Next time I will stay at home and set the table!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Idylls of Country Life

'Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
'I don't much care where - ' said Alice.
'Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.
' - so long as I get somewhere,' Alice added as an explanation.
'Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, 'if you only walk long enough.'
(Lewis Carroll)

Of all God's creatures there is only one that cannot be made the slave of the lash; that one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat (Mark Twain)

Life is too important to be taken seriously (Oscar Wilde)

Living in the Country is not as idyllic as one might imagine.
Being woken up by cows tapping is not the way I chose to re-enter the world of reality. Tapping? Yes, tapping: caused by the cow scratching its face against a metal pillar and something metal on the cow (I don’t even want to being to imagine what) tap-tapping against the post.

Then there is the Wild Life which ends up in my lounge in the early hours of the morning. And I don’t mean the drunk and disorderly lads from the local pub. I mean dismembered, deceased (or dying), dripping blood, or occasionally whole and live animals from the neighbouring field. An artfully draped bird the size of a chicken dripping blood from the shelf at the foot of the stairs, is quite a gruesome sight first thing in the morning. It causes me to shriek rather loudly and inelegantly. Perhaps that is why Izzi brings these ‘gifts’ to share with us… or perhaps she is presenting them as warnings to watch our step…   

Last week Lily was getting rather hysterical about something behind the armchair. In my wisdom, I pulled the chair back to see what was causing the consternation. Mistake! Lily dived in, grabbed the dismembered creature and made off to the garden where she starting munching on the lower torso of the freshly killed baby rabbit. I went out o take it away from her. A garden chase ensued, with me running, and shouting loudly, after Lily, who dodged round and round the garden and the shed. Now and again she would try frantically to bury the body. I finally managed to get her inside so I could dispose of the body. As I picked it up the innards slithered onto to the ground, with more flying out as I hurled the wretched half-body into the field. I had visions of the entrails flying and landing on my face and head as I threw it, making some awful noises (I did wonder what the neighbours thought). Luckily this did not happen!

Recently Lily greeted Tom and I on our arrival home most excitedly, she wanted to show us her new ‘toy’ and shook it in her mouth at us. As it was a ‘toy’ courtesy of Izzi, it caused me to shriek (again). I asked, “Is it a real, live rabbit??!” Tom calmly answered that it was no longer a live rabbit. Much to Lily's displeasure, he had to remove and dispose of the tiny dead body. She is never quite sure, I think, whether to take the strange vociferous utterings coming from her human as signs of encouragement or disapproval... 

Although we are in the Country, we do have a main road running in front of our house. The view right outside my study window recently, in the middle of the road, was a dead fox. A tiding of magpies swooped down and started snacking on the carcass, right in front of me! I had always thought magpies were herbivorous, but obviously not.

I find it all rather traumatic. Nothing charming, serene or tranquil about this rural life!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Deconstructing a Moleskin

Reconstruct  the world by reconstructing your mind (Unknown)
Some ideas occur to you only once in your whole lifetime.  Some ideas are truly the rarest of rare species, delicately balanced and inflated little soap-bubbles (Kenneth Smith)

We are swinging round the circle (Andrew Johnson)

It's easier to think outside the box if you don't draw one around yourself (Jason Kravitz)

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt (Sylvia Plath Hughes)

I deconstructed my Moleskin. I carefully unpicked the centre stitching and removed each double page. In a frenzied obsessive burst of creativity I have reconstructed each page, lovingly: with mindfulness, yet daring-to-let-go of perfection and control and just embrace the inner passion that needs to be expressed. I am aware that you might perhaps look and wonder and judge, but my little pages are my precious expressions of Self. Tread lightly with your judgement for you tread on the terrain of my soul. 

I do not have a box around me: I am standing on top of my Box. I am swinging around the edge of the circle in an ever-increasing arc.

Sometimes the smooth, neat, perfect pages of our Lives need to be deconstructed so that we can re-construct and move forward on a little, or Big, journey to new places, new spaces. I am ready to deconstruct the skeletal frame of my existence… 

I am still contemplating how to re-construct each of the individual little pages of my Moleskin. into a 'whole' again. Coptic stitching, loose pages in a box (as suggested by Tom)…? Decisions...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

In the Pink

Ok, so the photo has nothing what so ever to do with the blog other than the colour is right!

Everyone is the monkey in their own zoo, the clown of their own circus, the master of their own disaster! (Unknown)
What if the hokey pokey really is what it's all about?
(Bumper Sticker Wisdom)

So instead of putting colour in my dry hair and leaving it on for 15 minutes and then washing it, like normal people do… I decided that I would apply the colour with my conditioner (I am sure I remember my hairdresser, Alex telling me that this was a good time to apply colour because the hair shafts/follicles? were ‘open’ from washing the hair…?)

I climb into the shower and wash my hair. I then reach out for the little bowl of colour I have prepared: a splodge of ‘Magenta’, a squirt of ‘Rich Wine’ and a dollop of ‘Foxy Red’. I add the conditioner and apply to my hair with my hands, working the coloured conditioner through the hair. All the while my eyes are closed… I rinse the conditioner, open my eyes and eeeeeeeeeeeeeek! It looks like a particularly violent murder has been committed in the shower! The walls are splattered with pinky-red ‘blood’! So are my hands AND my body!

I look in the mirror, and my face is very much in-the-pink! Needless to say I spend the next half an hour, with nothing on, but a towel on my head, cleaning the aftermath of the blood-bath (rather blood-shower).

So today I have rosy pink flushed cheeks, looking very much in the pink... and very pink hands.

Note to self: 
wear gloves and hat when venturing out for next few days;
do NOT show any part of your anatomy to anyone; 
next time you colour your hair: follow instructions on packaging!! 
And always wear the plastic gloves provided – it saves having your hands as a ‘conversation-piece’ when you venture into public, and have to try and explain for the umpteenth time why your hands are bright luminous pink!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Irresistable urges

True art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist (Albert Einstein)

Without this playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to play of imagination is incalculable (Carl Jung)

The creative person is both more primitive and more cultivated, more destructive, a lot madder and a lot saner, than the average person (Frank Barron)

My creativity has been dormant for a while. Earlier this week though, I was like a creature obsessed. My art making paraphernalia were scrabbled out of the cupboards. I was on a mission to make art. I worked in my journals, using older art: ripping, tearing, cutting, collaging, I created in frenzy. But at the same time, on another level, it was a calm meditation time for me; I was oblivious to the world and felt a little harried when the world intruded on my fantasical haven.

I was quite caught up and fascinated by this irresistible urge to create. My desk although I attempted to tidy it, still bears remnants of this mad spree.

If I just let go, what other irresistible urges will emerge?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

On emptiness

Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them  (William Arthur Ward)
We put thirty spokes to make a wheel; but it is on the hole in the centre that the use of the cart hinges.
We make a vessel from a lump of clay; but it is the empty space within the vessel that makes it useful.
We make doors and windows for a room; but it is the empty spaces that make the room liveable.
Thus, while existence has advantages, it is the emptiness that makes it useful
(Lao Tzu c.604 - 531 B.C.)
My life is emptier than it was last week. My heart is broken. My little Precious has gone off to university. A new journey for Ariél; a new beginning. I wish her a journey full of EMPTY moments that she will fill to the brim with usefulness and FUN.

In the empty spaces left by Ariél not being here, I am going to sew more; make more art; study more; be wilder. 

Plan of action for tomorrow:
Start the day filling an EMPTY stomach with homemade Green Monster Juice + fruit salad = RAW
Do the washing so the washing basket is empty (but the washing machine, folding and putting away pile and ironing pile will be full…)
Start sewing the dress for work – all-dressed-up-and-nowhere-to-go!
Fill empty moments with useful ones.

I was delighted by this picture outside my window last week. Sunrise. SUN. Winter in the northern hemisphere is quite long and bleak with many grey days. When I do see sun, I am elated; I really appreciate the sunny days – they are the gorgeous golden honey replacing emptiness with beauty and hope.

So, little Ariél – make each day FABULOUS, take note of the emptiness-es and decide whether they need filling, or whether they need to be empty for you to replenish and re-fill your chi… Enjoy your university life both the full-to-the-brim moments, and the reflective empty ones. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Cirque du Soleil

Its time to trust my instincts, close my eyes and leap
(Stephen Schwartz)

I have grown to love the unexpected, for in it is the miraculous, here is where we are shown, events that create our lives to be more enjoyable, more loving, more adventurous than anything we ever could have planned. When we let go and trust, the mundane of life becomes the profound. Leave your concepts at the door of fate, open your arms. Today is [going to be] a good day.
(Marlise Karlin)

I have always wanted to watch a live Cirque de Soleil. Ariél decided that for our 30th Wedding Anniversary she would give us tickets to see a live Cirque de Soleil show at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

This show was called Totem. It traces the fascinating journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly. The characters evolve on a stage evoking a giant turtle, the symbol of origin for many ancient civilizations.
Inspired by many founding myths, TOTEM illustrates, through a visual and acrobatic language, the evolutionary progress of species.

Somewhere between science and legend TOTEM explores the ties that bind Man to other species, his dreams and his infinite potential”.

It was an experience that appealed to the senses. The location: the Royal Albert Hall is very majestic, but seemed quite happy to welcome and cradle this show in its bosom. The lights and set design blended effortlessly into the Victorian décor as there is an underlying Darwinian feel to the theme.

The costumes reflected the seasons, with bright colours on the summer beach, a sense of autumn harvest in the unicycle jugglers’ costumes and a wintery feel to the roller skaters’ white fur Apache-Indian costumes at the end.

There was a wonderful sense of continuity between acts as characters from one act blended into the next.

What struck me most about the acts was the sense of trust between each performer. In order to let go and know that your partner is going to catch you before you fall you must trust them absolutely. Absolute trust equals going to new and higher heights together. I really liked that. I also enjoyed the coloured thread of humour that ran through the show.

What a treat!

Thank you, Ariél!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Last day in Rome

The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 1749 - 1832)

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious - the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science (Albert Einstein 1879 - 1955)

Today was our last day: our last day in Rome; our last day to spend with Roarke and Gina.

We planned to see the Sistine Chapel today. With much excitement we set off with ideas of seeing Michelangelo’s famous ceiling paintings. It was not to be. The walk took almost an hour, and then, en route, an elderly gentleman called out to us that the chapel was closed (it being Boxing Day).

Disappointed we headed back to the apartment where Roarke and Gina were staying, passing through a street market on the way. This market became the setting for a special moment for me. At one of the stalls there were Tibetan singing bowls for sale. The man at the stall asked if he could make one sing for me. I selected one and he coaxed the most beautiful pure sound from it that sent shivers down my spine. I placed my hands together at my heart and bowed thank you. He acknowledged my thanks with thesame gesture back to me. This little interaction made my day.

Some of the group went and collapsed at the apartment. But for some of us, after this very long walk, a hot chocolate was called for.

After this sustenance, Ariél and I decided to visit the Castel Sant'Angelo. To do this we had to cross the beautiful bridge over the river Tiber, with its many ethereal angels guarding the way. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used by the popes as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum. It was incredible to walk down corridors that are almost 2000 years old and touch the stone work that is astoundingly neat and regular.

Had to share one last hot chocolate and a big hug with Roarke and Gina before we headed off to the airport back to London Gatwick…

Monday, January 2, 2012

Seven Deadly Sins

There is no sin except stupidity
(Oscar Wilde 1854 - 1900)

A conversation over pizzas at a little Italian restaurant was about the Seven Deadly Sins and their associated colours.
I browsed the internet and discovered the following about the Seven Deadly Sins, which have their origin in the Bible, and have been changed slightly over the centuries.
I thought of trying to find an image for each of the sins from my store of photos… see if you can match the picture with the sin…

What it is: Pride is excessive belief in one's own abilities, which interferes with the individual's recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. Pride is also known as Vanity.
Why you do it: Well-meaning elementary school teachers told you to "believe in yourself."
Your punishment in Hell will be: You'll be broken on the wheel.
Associated symbols & suchlike: Pride is linked with the horse and the colour violet.

What it is: Envy is the desire for others' traits, status, abilities, or situation.
Why you do it: Because other people are so much luckier, smarter, more attractive, and better than you.
Your punishment in Hell will be: You'll be put in freezing water.
Associated symbols & suchlike: Envy is linked with the dog and the colour green.

What it is: Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires.
Why you do it: Because you were weaned improperly as an infant.
Your punishment in Hell will be: You'll be force-fed rats, toads, and snakes.
Associated symbols & suchlike: Gluttony is linked with the pig and the colour orange.

What it is: Lust is an inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body.
Why you do it: Oh, please.
Your punishment in Hell will be: You'll be smothered in fire and brimstone. Not kisses.
Associated symbols & suchlike: Lust is linked with the cow and the colour blue.

What it is: Anger is manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury. It is also known as Wrath.
Why you do it: You're wired for it. Also, the people around you are pretty damn irritating.
Your punishment in Hell will be: You'll be dismembered alive.
Associated symbols & suchlike: Anger is linked with the bear and the colour red.

What it is: Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain, ignoring the realm of the spiritual. It is also called Avarice or Covetousness.
Why you do it: You live in possibly the most pampered, consumerist society since the Roman Empire.
Your punishment in Hell will be: You'll be boiled alive in oil. Bear in mind that it's the finest, most luxurious boiling oil that money can buy, but it's still boiling.
Associated symbols & suchlike: Greed is linked with the frog and the colour yellow.

What it is: Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work.
Why you do it: You're shiftless, lazy, and good fer nuthin'.
Your punishment in Hell will be: You'll be thrown into snake pits.
Associated symbols & suchlike: Sloth is linked with the goat and the colour light blue.

Rome day 4

Every day is my best day; this is my life; I am not going to have this moment again
(Bernie Siegel)

The enlightened give thanks for what most people take for granted....
As you begin to be grateful for what most people take for granted, the vibration of gratitude makes you more receptive to good in your life
(Michael Beckwith)

Christmas Day

The chiming church bells reminded us that Christmas is about a Universal message of love and hope and gratitude. Christmas in Rome is about the birth of the Virgin Mary’s baby, Jesus rather than presents and tinsel. Being out of my familiar surroundings, it was for me a time for reflection.

Out on the Piazza Navone, people were milling, and there was sense of goodwill. Well, maybe I wanted it to be like that…

We arrived at the apartment, where Roarke and Gina were staying with Gina’s parents and her sister (Sandra, Carlo and Maria), laden with our share of the Christmas luncheon. Tom had procured, the previous day with his proficient Italian chatter with the shopkeepers, antipasti consisting of prosciutto, salami, carciofi, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and provolone cheese; for dessert we had visited the gelatti shop for a tub of melon and lemon sorbet. 

We dropped off our food and then made our way down to Piazza San Pietro, for the Pope’s Christmas service. It was not as crowded as we expected; there was such a peaceful energy amongst the throng of people gathered there. We couldn’t understand the Italian mass but it was a privilege just being in that moment, it felt like a peaceful blessing.

Lunch was a late and prolonged affair, starting with our antipasti, then Roarke and Gina’s pasta with pesto sugo, then later Maria’s lamb stew and much later the sorbet. Coffee was followed by limoncello. In between all of the courses, I had snuck off to the kitchen to wash the dishes, aided by Carlo who had dried them off ready to use for the next course. I was reminded of a conversation we’d had at an earlier meal about the Seven Deadly Sins*…

This was a day of gratitude for me: being with my little family…in Rome…at Christmas. How splendid! How grateful I am for having this very special celebration.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Bees sip honey from flowers and hum their thanks when they leave.
The gaudy butterfly is sure that the flowers owe thanks to him

(Rabindranath Tagore 1861 - 1941)

On day 2 in Rome as we were about to enter the Basilica’s cupola, we came across a bee relief sculpture. On day 3 the bees in the church at the Victor Emmanuel Church were a ‘sign’ to me…

What do bees mean? I have done a bit of research as to their meaning. I have decided that for 2012 the bee is going to be my Totem. It is also going to be my ‘wild’ year… ??

Bees have an ancient reputation as the bringers of order

Bees serve as images of the miraculous interconnectedness of life

Honey bees are a shamanic sign of passion, progress, and sexuality. They are also tied to joy and creativity

The Royal Bee Totem possesses the following virtues:
Messages from higher planes and consciousness
prophetic dreams and visions
productive hard work
sexual attraction
the power of giving back when taking
the ability to turn something unassuming into a wonderful creation
ability to enjoy and savour the sweetness of life
connection with the Earth and living things
divine messages
and realizing the fruit of one’s labour

Rome day 3

There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you will still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to everything
Tsunetomo Yamamoto

The Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II) or Altare della Patria (Altar of the Motherland) is a monument built to honour Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy, located in Rome, Italy.

It was raining on day 3 as we perambulated around Rome with our brollies, we would not be put off by a little rain, we thought. By the time we arrived at the Victor Emmanuel monument it was raining heavily. After posing for a photo on the steps in front of the Eternal Flame (which burns in memory of the unknown soldiers who died during the Great War) some of needed to find a toilet. Kyle, Roarke, Ariél and I braved the pouring rain, while Sarah, Tom and Gina went into the church.

The church is as magnificent as all the catholic Churches in Rome. Kyle and I wandered up to the altar and each lit candle, saying a little prayer. Part of prayer involved being shown a ‘sign’.  As I looked up I saw a bright blue window with three yellow bees. The day before just as we were entering the cupola walk, we had come across a lone bee relief sculpture at the entrance*

Outside the church we walked down some really slippery stairs and then came across an “Assassins Creed Statue” so had to take a picture.

By the time we reached the forum we were rather soaked. The ruins inspire contemplation of bygone centuries…

The coliseum dwarfed the enormous Christmas which stood smugly proclaiming a Christian celebration dating back to pagan times, with an ancient, wise superiority. A ‘gladiator’ chatted to Sarah and when he heard she was from South Africa, he exclaimed “Bafana Bafana!”

We took the Metro up to the capuchin crypts. We realised how fortunate we are to have the beautifully clean underground that we do in England! As we alighted from the train at our stop, three youths (!) shouted “Ciao Rossa!” to our red-haired Sarah.

The capuchin crypts which contain the skeletal remains of 4000 bodies believed to be Capuchin friars buried by their order. The Catholic order insists that the display is not meant to be macabre, but a silent reminder of the swift passage of life on Earth. I was superficially interested in the bones, until we reached the second last crypt which had a coat-of-arms… Suddenly my stomach lurched and I felt an overwhelming nausea take hold of me, I was repulsed and needed to get out in a hurry. I am not sure why…

*See next blog post