Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Beltane activities

Our week of Beltane activities has so far included gardening, baking, a trip to the allotment, and yesterday a trip out to a local beauty spot, which was fantastic. There was wild garlic everywhere which smelled gorgeous and looked lovely with its flowers out. The May was already out on the most of the Hawthorn we passed, so Beltane is well and truly here. We took out picnic and ate it on the top of the hill in the sunshine (though it was a bit breezy) and I just thought 'this is it, this is why we do things the way we do'. For a short time, me and my son and daughter were totally in tune with each other and our surroundings, enjoying the beauty and the green-ness of nature. Here's a couple of shots:

Monday, 27 April 2009


My husband has gone off to work this morning for the first day in a 2 week temp job. It's weird - this should have been good news, we certainly need the money, but we were both fairly miserable about it. It feels so right having him home - having the whole family in one place, in our home, all pulling together to grow things, cook things, educate the children, and have time for our own creative projects. It was working really well with us all here, and now we go back to that old 'one at work' and 'one at home' dichotomy with all the discontent, resentment and misunderstanding that it can bring. 

OK, so it's only for 2 weeks and we may yet find something which fits in better in the long-term, but for some reason I find myself utterly miserable this morning. As if, this is it, we tried and our  experiment failed and the only option now is to go back to wife at home full-time, husband at work full-time complete conventionality. Part of me wants to run off to live in a yurt just as reaction to the idea. Which isn't a very reasoned 
and logical response.

I guess maybe some small part of me was hoping that the universe would provide an opportunity - one of those lucky breaks that inspires you to believe you're on the right path and someone somewhere is smoothing the way for you (not that we've ever experienced much of that, now I come to think of it!). Or maybe we're not on the right path after all? 

I suppose we just have to keep on trying, try again harder. But I am weary this morning, watching the rain pouring down on a Monday morning, and after such a lovely week last week too.

Oh well, here's a lovely picture of the green opposite our house last week before the council mowed it all down. Make a good jigsaw puzzle, I thought!

Monday, 20 April 2009


Am I the only person to get really excited when the compost you've spent months making is actually ready and you can lift up the compost bin and dig out rich, dark, crumbly compost onto your veg beds? (OK, call me sad but this post is a hymn to compost, so please feel free to skip it if this seems unbearably dull.)
This is what we've been doing this afternoon and I was unfeasibly excited about it as it's the first time we've been able to do this. The bin is quite large and it's been rotting away in there for over a year since we first filled it after moving here (we've got 2 bins - one to add to and one to leave alone). And at our old house we didn't have any beds to spread it on, so we just had to keep adding to the one bin and never actually use the fruits of our labours.
The children were also qute excited and we spent some happy time digging it all out and spreading it. My son particularly enjoyed bashing up any intact pieces of egg shell very enthusiastically. And I just thought 'wow, all this would have gone into land-fill if we hadn't collected it and composted it, and now it's actually useful to add nutrients to the soil, to deter slugs due to all the sharp bits of egg shell (thanks, son!), and to mulch and help prevent weeds!' It seems particularly fitting since it is almost Beltaine, in fact it seemed like a sacred task. You can't get much more earthy and fertile than compost.
Hurrah for compost!

Sunday, 19 April 2009


My meditations and dreams seem to have been connected with water a lot recently which is unsual for me. I'm not really someone who feels that comfortable in water, although I was brought up near a river and do love to sit by the sea and find watching water soothing. But in the meditations, I have been working underwater, or protecting a spring buried deep inside a wood or even in the middle of a house. I'm presuming this image, for me, refers to the 'flow' of life, in a Taoist kind of way, and is pointing me towards trying to find and go with this flow in my current situation.

I'm finding it particularly odd as Beltaine is coming up and everything usually feels very earthy for me at this time of year. Has anyone else had any unusual or persistent water-related dreams? Any thoughts or insights?

Tuesday, 14 April 2009


I've just read Expecting Adam: A True Story of Birth, Transformation and Unconditional Love
by Martha Beck, the author of Finding Your Own North Star: How to Claim the Life You Were Meant to Live a life-coaching book which I actually found enjoyable and helpful to read.

Expecting Adam is her memoir of her pregnancy with her second child, a son who turned out to have Down's Syndrome and who completely changed her life. The book tells of a really mad and chaotic time and just reading it made me feel exhausted. Beck went from being a neurotic, repressed, super-high-achieving Harvard academic to starting to see life from a completely different perspective during the time she was expecting her son.

I have often heard people say they had their baby speak to them while pregnant, or that the baby told them its own name or other things like that. Despite knowing myself from my own pregnancies how much you can get to know about your baby before they are born, I never had such specific experiences and wondered if they could possibly be real. I think that after reading this book, I can understand that some children bring such experiences with them.

As Beck said, her mystical experiences with Adam are because of *him* - he brings them with him and they are incidental to him having Down's, which was a whole different part of the book. In fact, the parts that discussed his Down's horrified me. I know her experience was in 1987, but the language used horrified my 21st century sensibilities. The book often used the word 'retarded', and every single medical person she encountered advised her to have a late abortion when the condition was diagnosed. It is very much to her credit that she refused, despite the immense pressure she was subjected to, and despite the hugely misleading and downright wrong information she was given on the subject of Down's (referred to by the medical professionals she saw as 'Mongoloid Idiotism'!)

It is a sad indictment of the world when a world-respected research centre such as Harvard has such eugenic attitudes about the value of human beings. I can only hope that attitudes have changed there since.

This book was utterly bizarre. At points I was crying, at others I thought Martha had really lost her marbles. Some parts I found hard to believe and I cringed at others. But the bottom line is that, for anyone who has ever been pregnant and given birth, it is fasincating to read detailed accounts of other people's experiences of pregnancy and birth, and this is no exception.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Green fingers

Lots of work done at the allotment and in the garden today. The allotment now has loads of over-wintering onions, 6 Jersualem artichokes, plus 3kg of early potatoes, several rows of carrots and 3kg of maincrop potatoes. We'll need to remove the tarpaulin that's been covering part of the plot since the autumn, see what's underneath and then prepare it so we can plant the late maincrop potatoes, more carrots, leeks, parsnips and anything else I think of at the time!
In the back garden, we've extended the strawberry patch so the runners can spread further and make lots more plants, planted lots of peas, and weeded the herbs, raspberries and blueberry bush. The children have also planted lots of different old flower seeds into pots to see what comes up, and I'm tending to 2 courgette plants in pots and awaiting some cucumber, French bean and tomato plants to start in pots.
So, all in all, a very green-fingered day - well, hopefully! I have to say I'm not really a natural or a very technical gardener. If I had to describe my approach it would be: just bung it in and hope for the best. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. What the hell! At least the children enjoyed the planting today and it was lovely to be out in the sunshine. And hopefully some lovely, organic, home-grown food in a few months.

Saturday, 4 April 2009


Right, after a whole week of whingeing, I'm trying to think of some things which *are* going right and which I should focus on more than all the things that are difficult and complicated:

- all family and friends are healthy.
- the children are generally happy, healthy, and get on with each other (except when they don't, of course!).
- we finally got the last of the carpet dug out of our allotment plot this week.
- my husband and I love each other as much as ever and totally support each other always.
- my parents and my husband's mum are always there to help us; I can't imagine how we'd cope without them.
- we have a roof over our heads (at the moment!).
- we have some savings to fall back on.
- I have a flexible job I can do at home while being with the kids, even if it doesn't pay well.
- we are hopefully starting to make new friends in the local area.
- our old friends, although not close by, are always there for a chat.
- Summer's on its way.
- there are no doubt many ideas still out there to find.
- the novel I'm currently working on is almost finished, then we'll try to get it published - eek!
- I'm sure there's loads more good stuff but I can't think of it right now (due to my son deciding that 4.15am is a good time to get up in the morning. I don't agree).

Remembering the title of my blog - honour is something I'm used to thinking about a lot and I try to do everything with honour. Inspiration is something more tricky, sometimes I get bogged down in everyday life or complicated situations and I forget about inspiration. So for the next week I'm going to be actually seeking inspiration in every way I can. By counting blessings, by being out in nature, by planting things to grow, by nurturing my children, writing my book and generally dwelling on the creative, the powerful, the uplifting. Maybe then my subconscious will come up with the solutions I've been looking for. That's the plan anyway...