Friday, 30 December 2011

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!
Hoping you had a tremendous Christmas too!
Sorry to be SOOO long in posting, I'll be back as soon as I'm feeling better, hopefully really soon.

Hugs to you all, and I really appreciate all your LOVELY comments and thoughts, I can honestly tell you they have made such a difference to me.
Love Jane x

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Thinking...thinking...what would this describe?  What memories, what event?
It feels like all energy is sapped, all but completely spent, as though a battery has wound down, as though each beat of the heart struggles, as if each pulse falters before it manages to pound.   The whole entity dithers and trembles and the brain jerks.   Coldness forms on body parts, ears, cheeks, the tip of the nose, lips, the shins but the knees burn.  The mind tells me crisis point.  You must lie down, be still, be quiet, breathe.  Calm - 

Thursday, 20 October 2011

'I wonder how much it would take to buy a soap bubble, if there were only only in the world.'

-Mark Twain-

'Inside the heart of each and every one of us, there is a longing to be understood by someone who really cares.
When a person is understood, he or she can put up with almost anything in the world.'      -Ed Hind-

Sometimes when I'm feeling really not well I imagine breaths of iridescent bubbles floating in the changing light.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011


Sorry everyone, not feeling great just now, hope you will bear with me?

Monday, 5 September 2011

Bryant Park

Bryant Park by flickrnipper
Bryant Park, a photo by flickrnipper on Flickr.

I love the way tree branches slowly wave in the moments before rain.   They are almost like very bendy people moving in slow motion.  Suddenly the rain arrives and mists my view of the golf links, enshrouding the green distance that only moments before was somehow detailed by the impending shower, made sharper- clearer and brought miraculously nearer.  We have a massive fir-tree outside, too near to the house's alas, so at some point soon it will have to be dispatched and I shall be so sad.  After a rainfall he droops with a thousand diamonds, his branches softly wave in the breeze, gently holding their reflective cargo, hypnotic and soothing when you lie a-bed unwell.

We have so much rain, always.  So that everywhere, green abounds, even here in the suburbs of the town.  I remember once arriving back here for a visit when we lived in Abu Dhabi, sitting on an airport transit-bus being driven from one Terminal to another and being dazzled by such overwhelming greenness.  Abu Dhabi... must be nearly 35 years since I lived there.  My thoughts move swiftly to other places and return always..always to my favourite, New York, and Bryant Park.  The NY Times predicted years ago it could become one of the city's most attractive breathing spots. Fulfilling that prediction it has become a haven, nestling amongst the skyscrapers of 42nd Street and 6th Avenue.   Bryant Park is an oasis of trees, green and pause, a place to breathe, rest and 'kick-back'.  There is charm and whimsy.   A children's carousel and an eatery named Witchery, a fountain to cool the dusty air and your fevered brow and all the whilst the tall surrounding buildings seem to enfold and enclose rather than encroach, as you sit beneath a bright sunny yellow umbrella sipping a large frothy cappucino, reading a book borrowed from the shelves loaned by the adjacent NY Public Library or simply people-watching.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Sunny fields

Photo: 'féileacán'  Flickr

There were burnished seas like this stretching as far as the eye could see in the flat plains of Poland as we drove to Warsaw many years ago.  No doubt they are still there now....this minute. Fields of sunflowers turning their heavy heads, golden and brown towards the sun. Swaying in vast undulating waves.  And there still sweeping across them a hot black ribbon of  road, sweeping through mile after beautiful mile of massive, open flatlands.  Polska meaning 'the people of the flatlands', always invaded by advancing armies in wars because it's mostly lowland with very little that is mountainous.  There were hills where we lived but they weren't very big, just small rises really, but there was the great river Vistula ploughing across the land in rippling majesty or in Winter thick and slick with huge ice-flows.  Farmers drove their farm-carts along these roads always standing not sitting, whilst the main vehicles were massive trundling lorries or tiny Polski Fiats often with great tall, fat men folded up inside them in order to drive.

The sun is shining this morning but there is a mist, a proper Autumn morning.  Soon leaves will begin to redden and  in a week or so the children are back to school and we move on - we move onwards, to Christmas. Carols and baubles, tinsel and glitter, and breathtakingly a whole new Year.

Friday, 19 August 2011


There's something about hearing the rumble of an aircraft when you're soaking in the bath in the summer.  Somehow the droning of the engines seems to hypnotise thoughts and gazing through the window towards a pearly sky I am suffused with feelings of languor and heart's ease.
Outside existing time seems stretched, swimmingly, smoothly.  I could be elsewhere.
In a garden of my childhood beneath shadowy trees, espying swallows swooping, swirling, drowsily hearing sheep bleating, and the rising falling 'peep-peep' of the swallows call as they fish the balmy air.
Or with unalloyed happiness sitting at a table in Bryant Park, New York, under a sunny lemon umbrella.  Blissfully transported by the garden of gravel paths and calm amidst the frenetic city of boundless energy and excitement.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Same old....

'Nothing is new.
Each gate squeaks to remind us of the other hands that have pushed it.
Each pair of eyes that encounter me for the first time have memories shifting behind them, like sand under tides.'
from: 'Eve Green' by Susan Fletcher.

Whose hands did the perfect pale lilac gloves enfold?
The gloves were lying flat in amongst the jewellery of times past in a shop called, Memories Antiques.  It felt strange to draw the thin, soft and cool
leather upon my own hands.  Gloves are so personal somehow.  Like watches they seem to embody something of the essence of a person.  Who was she?
The stamp inside says, 'Made especially for Kendal Milne, Manchester, Real Kid, Made in Luxembourg, Washable'.  They held no hint of perfume but only a slight musty aroma of age.
Kendal Milne the upmarket, exclusive and perhaps oldest department store in the world, once called the Harrods of Manchester until Harrods Group was taken over by House of Frazer in 1959.  They dropped the name Kendals back then, but everyone local who shops in town always still calls it, 'Kendals'.  I can remember being taken to lunch there by my Father and Grandmother, I must have been about six, but I clearly remember being so impressed by the extravagant tea-rooms, dressed with oriental rugs, palms and velvet-covered seats.  There were waitresses in little black dresses with white frilly aprons and caps, silver cutlery and linen serviettes and even musicians discretely playing. Whilst overhead I'm sure I remember that the ceiling was all glass, a dome shape and totally enthralling.
Did 'she' sit there once long ago?  Wearing her perfect hat and suit with her wonderful lilac kid gloves, escorted... by her Beau?

Saturday, 9 July 2011

I'm reading 'The Art of James Christenson - The Art of Imagination, as told to Renwick St James', and right at the beginning of the book he writes of meeting up with an old friend whom he discovers never takes his 30 minute drive home from work in the same way.

'That resonated in my own life. Like many people in this age of getting there faster, I sometimes lose sight of the journey in the light of the goal.  What my friend had done with a simple change in his routine was to leave space for the unexpected within the bounds of ordinary life.......My friend Ralph found a simple way to keep his evening drive from becoming routine.  I like that idea , that within an ordinary life you can leave space for noticing the world around you and keeping alive the inner universe of imagination.'
The Art of James Christenson - The Art of Imagination, as told to Renwick St James

I was suddenly taken back to a memory of walking to and from school aged about six or seven. Remembering how I used to pretend I was a foreign person, who had never been that way before, so everything I encountered I was meeting for the first time.  The small red-brick houses with their walled or hedged gardens contained plants I'd never seen before, the tall green trees, waved their leaves in patterns on the pavements in a sunlight I had never walked into before.  The small side-streets led away right and left to hidden pathways I'd never trodden before.

'In the universe of the mind lie treasures and surprises, fertile soils and elegant creations, new angels and old dragons, visions of other worlds and the quiet contemplation of death.'
The Art of James Christenson- The Art of Imagination, as told to Renwick St James.

Friday, 24 June 2011

The milkman used to arrive in a cart pulled by a you remember?  Probably my first encounter with a four-legged animal bigger than a dog.  As a small girl living beside a busy main road in the heart of a smoky northern town I can remember desperately wanting to be near the big russet-brown horse pulling along his cart filled with clanking tingling milk-bottles.  Back then it didn't seem in the least incongruous that a horse should be walking along tarmac roads, hemmed in on either side by buildings cheek-by-jowl with belching lorries and screeching machinery.  Horses were still a feature of the working day then.  There aren't many around any more. Not in the delivery business anyway, superseded by electric sparks, although I do get a thrill when a UPS vehicle drives up our avenue, only because it reminds me of New York,  that lovely brown colour with gold writing...mimicking the horse and the brass?
Photo: Courtesy/

Saturday, 11 June 2011

At last it's time for 'Peonies' again!
........Extract from: Peonies
by Mary Oliver.

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
 and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?

I'd just like to tell everyone who wrote to me with such encouragement in the last few weeks whilst I've been feeling particularly rough with M.E.  "You are ALL stars, it made such a difference reading your words!
Thank you. Thank you. x"

Monday, 6 June 2011

Hello everyone....I just wanted to thank you all for sending me LOVELY thoughts and well-wishes.  They made my heart sing! I keep hoping I've turned a corner only to discover, it was a mirage, that's the 'discombobulating' nature of M.E.

'...And it's (one step forward and two steps back)
This is all who are marching
(One step forward two steps back)
This is young and old
(One step forward two steps back)
Through the void of silence
You are not alone....'

Song,  'War at Home'  Lyrics by Josh Grobin and Dan Wilson 2010. 'Illuminations' cd.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Sorry to be away so long....

'Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot.
In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.'

-Oscar Wilde-

I've been feeling a bit rough the past couple of months.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

In the film 'Hope Floats', Birdie Pruitt says as the film is closing,

"...beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad,
     but it's the middle that counts the most.
    Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning.
    Just give hope a chance to float up.  And it will..."

I guess we all face new beginnings daily, but we forget.  Forget that each breath we take is in a way a new beginning, each sweep of an eyelash, each waking moment we have the chance to begin again.  A chance to put things right.  No.. no chance of putting the clock back, but a chance to learn from our mistakes, to learn to cherish each moment, for in seconds all can be changed and ultimate challenges thrown at us.  How hard that is.  How totally mind-blowingly devastating, so that we wonder just how much more we can take, and even then there may be more.

Our World will not be the same in the wake of Japan's sorrows.  We have a chance to change the world's energy plan, to come together.  If you had asked any of the worlds' mothers, did we think it a good idea to place Nuclear Plant's, even with so called fail-safe devices, on the earth's surface, moving at an average 3-4 cms a year, what do you think our answers would be?  All of us have a chance to think again, we find ourselves at that new beginning, has the earthquake and the tsunami in Japan awakened those in power to the dangers?  As a mother I am trying hard to remind myself to allow hope a chance to float up.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

If we heard seagulls outside when we were little, we were told it must be rough weather at sea.  I could hear them this morning, I had the window open and the sun was shining, picking out all the dust motes dancing like midges, whilst the plaintive cries of the seagulls reminded me of the seaside.  The gulls follow the canal or the rivers from the sea mouth inland searching for easy food, then they swoop and whirl on the air-currents until they  catch sight of a ploughed field or landfill site alighting in the rough earth to jump and squabble over insects or worms.  This morning there was a light aircraft buzzing around as well, we are not that far from an airfield called Barton Aerodrome, the first municipal airport in the U.K.
   It seems to me a sure sign that we have turned away from Winter when I hear the drone of the small aircraft engine weaving it's way on a lazy spiral just below the clouds. It comes from a memory of lying hidden in the long grass of fields near our house, shading my eyes to watch a biplane drawing lazy circles against the blue summer sky, with the song of a skylark in my nine year old ears and the delightful knowledge there was no school for the rest of the summer.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

More strangeness

Strangely the roof-fan in our conservatory suddenly burst into life today.  Not so strange you might think what does she mean? Ah...well, it's been broken, ostensibly unfix-able for nine years.

Then -

This morning I made peppermint tea then left it to steep whilst I drew the blinds and turned on the computer, walking back into the room after collecting my now steaming tea, the television came on on it's own!

Dah dah dah dah...dah dha dah dah!

'There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. 
It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity.  It is
the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition,
and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge.
This is the dimension of imagination.  It is an area which we call the 
Twilight Zone.'

Friday, 11 March 2011

Thinking of Japan...

My friend Sonia from lives in Tokyo, and I've been thinking and thinking of Sonia and her husband and their relatives this morning, after the dreadful disaster of the biggest earthquake Japan has ever suffered and the resulting Tsunami.

Watching the devastation on the television and knowing that there must have been devastating loss of life is just heartbreaking.  Because we now have the internet and worldwide television coverage , it brings the disaster right into our homes...right into our hearts, and our hearts go out to all the people affected and suffering.

And we are reminded that we are all made of the same stuff, that we are all members of this humankind and as such when our neighbours suffer we are each of us changed, a reminder too of how at times like these we are small against the might of Nature.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

My Grandmother on my Father's side looked as I remember her, almost exactly like Maggie Smith when she's playing the part of the Dowager Countess of Grantham, in the series, 'Downton Abbey'.
 Nannie had been a teacher and always wore a tweed suit, quite long in the skirt and jacket, worn with a fine lawn-cotton blouse, high buttoned, with a silver brooch or a cameo at the neck.  She was apparently one of the first ladies to graduate in Mathematics, in those days women were newly admitted to less than a handful of universities and even when they won the tripos they could not claim the degree,  but only to have passed the degree examination!  She must have been quite feisty to have managed to persuade her parents to allow her to go on to further education.  Especially as this was around 1890, way before women could vote and girls were expected to marry and be a dutiful wife.  Nannie was the youngest of four girls, her eldest sister Great Aunt Lily also became a teacher and remained a spinster all her life, Lily was allegedly more than a little barmy, serving up cakes she'd stored for months all covered with green-mold to my brother and sister when they were little.   The middle sisters I know very little about, and all three siblings were deceased by the time I was born.  Nannie met my Grandfather when she was in London at University, though quite how they met...I wish I knew. I only know that he was policeman, one of the Peelers, as they were known and as policemen were required to work seven days a week with only 5 days unpaid holiday a year, it's a wonder they managed to meet at all!

There's me in the middle aged about fifteen, my mother on the left and of course Nannie on the right.

And there she is in her hat and gown.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

The Times newspaper called it, 'a thing of heart-stopping beauty', it's been a long time since I watched a film that left me still thinking about it the next morning.  'A Single Man' is about love.  About grief and fear and growing older, yet also about being alive in the moment.

How lax we are, how we forget to cherish the little things encountered every day, small moments encapsulated. They seem gilded within and time-stopping just for a fraction, just for a thought, just for that fleeting flash. The hushed silence of falling snowflakes, Spring sunlight upon ivy, a solitary duck flying low calling out, a kaleidoscope of vibrant flowers, the look in another person's eyes. We need to remind ourselves to catch hold of those treasures, to awaken to them.  Living is so slippery, so ephemeral, things pass us by in the batting of an eyelash, the glimmer of a sunbeam, the fading of a rainbow. This morning I wrote in a notebook I keep, 'Our lives are so transitory, I need to write down those small moments just as they happen - even if I only write one word, or one line.  If I enclose those fleeting seconds here in ink they can't slip away from me.  They're here, held for a while longer, until the book is destroyed.  Yet, even then...should they by chance have made it to another mind they survive and move onwards maybe to help someone else who was in need of a reminder that we should live our lives as if this were our last day, like George the main character in 'A Single Man'.  We need to remember we are only here for this moment.....and this moment..........and this moment. 

In the words of Alan & Marilyn Bergman, written for James Newton Howard's song, 'Places that belong to you.'                              
 "Tomorrow may never come, for all we know."

Thursday, 24 February 2011

I Jest.

I can remember now, a visit from a lady who was a Psychic, smilingly she told me, 'You are the Jester.'  I was taken aback at first thinking she meant I was a fool, but she went on to explain that the Jester actually was far from foolish, indeed he held a privileged position.  It was he who made everyone laugh, licensed to play the fool and cleverly made them believe he was a buffoon but who was actually privy to secrets and was the only one who dared utter bad news to the Monarch. Back in Mediaeval times the Jester was chosen for his keen insight and it was believed he was inspired with poetic and prophetic powers.
 Fortunately my moustache and beard aren't as bushy as this - I've already got the red tights and I don't mind wearing bells should the Queen need me, for the wedding!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Even her shadow has grey

Morning sky - pearl-grey, an opal horizon against which bare, black branches lattice, lace-like, like fish-net stockings.

I used to think I was robust, a tomboy you can see it in the photograph.  I was Robin Hood never Maid Marion, Buffalo Bill not Annie Oakley, the Prince not Cinderella.  Now, I can look back and realise I was actually quite fragile, not made of stern-stuff but a broken reed, probably more like Beth than Joe in 'Little Women'. My hero was Katherine Hepburn when in reality it might have been better to have been Virginia Woolf. Unlike Ginny tho' at the last moment something snatched me back from the brink.  Funnily enough my Mum said that after I was born she took me to see her Grandmother by that time very old and wizened.  When she was told my name she apparently said, "Oh..don't call her that, they'll call her Ginny!".

To my knowledge throughout my sixty-one years not one person has ever called me Ginny!
Funny that.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

I grew up listening to Rachmaninov.  Late at night this was the wonderful music that would play over and over again in my brother's room. Being my big brother by over eight years I was 'Titch' to him, but he was artistic and handsome and sophisticated to me. His shoes were hand-made leather boots when everyone else wore winkle-pickers, his waistcoat was mustard-yellow and his hands made jewellery.  His trade was Artisan Jeweller he was an alchemist of silver and gold, he painted portraits and was a wizard at mending clocks.
Today... he has reached his seventieth birthday.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

We moved from the Big house when I was five, but up until that time I slept in the smallest bedroom, right next to the dark door behind which ran the stairs to the attic. My Mother told me I would regularly wake up during the night, crying that I couldn't breathe, that something was choking me, and funnily enough  I can clearly remember the sense of foreboding I felt when I had to descend the grand staircase when alone. There was a door to a bedroom directly at the top of the stairs, it was my elder sister's room, beyond which was the bathroom I think.  Each time I would reach the spot where I had my back to the rooms, my hand upon the handrail and I'd be overwhelmed by a presage of something black, dark, sinister even, yet I knew I had to descend to get away.  To this day I have a distinct recall of flight. Somehow, some way my childish stepping became fleet, flight even! Yes, in the sense of winged, it felt like a swoop, a glide and I was in the entrance hall at the bottom of the stairs. I can't explain it.

The door to the attic opened outwards on to the landing and then the narrow steps led upwards into the rooms. It's funny I don't remember feeling frightened up there.  There were trunks and old cases full of clothes belonging to my fathers long dead Aunts, the usual trumpery, hats with tattered feathers, broken fans, ancient musty handbags, old shoes.  All Dad's India photographs black and white, sliding about in a small suitcase and all his uniform from the army. It was dark, no window that I remember only a light bulb and the smell of old things and moth-balls and times gone by. There wasn't anything menacing up there,whatever it was, it was only on the staircase and landing.

Friday, 28 January 2011

A very strange thing happened the other evening.  We were just sitting down to dinner with candles lit and ruby red wine when we both heard a tinkling rill of bells.  Neither of us spoke until we heard a second rill.  It was just as though someone had picked up the bowl of silver bells I have standing in the hall and shaken it.... twice.
"Did you hear bells?" I asked.
"I did, I was just about to ask you if you heard them too."
One cat was sitting upon the window-sill behind my chair looking into the deep dark garden outside, the other was actually out there in the darkness.  So who or what rang the bells?
Do Angels Laugh (Nonet)

What is the sound of angel laughter?
Does it shiver like windblown leaves?
Does it ring out like church bells?
Tinkle like fine crystal?
Echo in the wind?
Float like a mist?
Like heart's

Mary Naylor

Friday, 21 January 2011 this!!

Alas....the first video of this song, the one filmed in Hebden Bridge, England was taken off presumably copyright restrictions. Also I don't know how to delete it, so I've put on the original song with a different film of the north of England instead.
When I was born we used to live in a big house.  Not as big as the one in my header, I don't want to give the idea that we were landed gentry, but in comparison to houses around, it was big.  It didn't stand in rolling hills or fields though, it was in the heart of a smoky industrial metropolis, where fogs descended regularly so thickly you literally couldn't see the person standing a foot away from you.  A mile and a half behind the house, beyond a wood-merchants yard where the ringing sound of a massive saw mingled with the fragrance of wood sap, was the Manchester Ship Canal.  When the fog came down you could hear the melancholy sound of fog-horns from  ocean-going ships as they sailed between  factories lining the canal banks.  I was born four years after World War two ended, there were still ration-books, and the National Health Service was just a year and a month old. Our house belonged to my Grandfather who owned a plumbing business and my Father was secretary administrator, sitting at a desk just like this one in 'the office', what wouldn't I give to know what happened to that desk.  Every morning he would wrestle with its roll-top that never ran smoothly and then sit in his swivel chair to smoke his first cigarette of many.

Photo: 'Homes and Antiques' January 2011

Sunday, 9 January 2011

'When they ask to see your gods
your book of prayers
show them lines
drawn delicately with veins
on the underside of a bird's wing
tell them you believe 
in giant sycamores mottled 
and stark against a winter sky
and in nights so frozen
stars crack open spilling
streams of molten ice to earth
and tell them how you drink
a holy wine of honeysuckle
on a warm spring day
and or the softness
of your mother who never taught you
death was life's reward
but who believed in the earth
and the sun
and a million, million light years
of being'

-J.L.Stanley.    (I have searched for information as to J.L.Stanley, writer, all I can find of her is:

Monday, 3 January 2011

Midnight New Year's Eve

Standing at my window to close the blinds at just past midnight I watched a million jewelled fireworks sparkle and jostle into the sky lighting the darkness. Crackling and snapping, banging and clapping they welcomed the New Year and sent the Old Year running into the past.  A lull - occasional bursts of crimson and golden sparkling showers lit up the skyline, then I stood transfixed as it seemed to me hundreds of Fire-Lanterns rose above the rooftops and the hills.  Silent as the wishes they bore they floated in glowing abundance, carrying the whispered hopes of their protagonists upwards to the heavens and a hopeful future of health, love, happiness and peace...please God.
"Ah...if wishes were horses,
Beggars would ride!"
'Lily Lily Rose'
by, John Singer Sargent,

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Long Ago -

Was it yesterday we learnt it?
In a dream,
In a dream where the whispering wind was ever warm,
And the seasons changed.
Were there snowdrops in the gardens?
We picked them,
 White, like angel's breath.
Whilst soft mosses drenched the beech boles
To a hue most brilliant green.
Were there melodies?
Like our lives, played in lilting themes,
Carrying both hearts dreaming
Beating to the same love as before,
The kisses were not tremulous,but knowing,
And the earth stood still beneath our ever dancing feet -

Wishing you all a wonderfully peaceful and healthy  2011!

The beginning of a new decade!