Monday, 31 August 2009

Country Life

The winners along with a peely wally bottle of Sloe Gin that didn't stand a chance. Now I know.

There are a few drawback to living in the country but not many. I was brought up in a small village in Fife so I embrace country life. When I moved into this area four years ago I was determined to try to join the community. This is hard if, like me, you are not a member of the church or have children at school. The Annual Village Show, is a great way to support your village and see the natives at play.

I have never shown vegetables before but I do know it is a deadly serious business. This was my first year at the show and I treated it as a vegetable reccy. I had however entered into Women's Rural Shows before, so I know the score with jam and scones. I entered seven exhibits into the Preserves and Wine categories. Imagine my surprise when I found I had won two firsts, a second and a third. The locals must have wondered who this incomer was.

I took my time doing the rounds of the vegetable exhibits, noting the style of presentation and the winners' good points. Next year I will enter my vegetables but judging from the monumental size of some of the onion and leek exhibits I doubt if my efforts will raise much excitement among the seasoned winners.

My new raised bed will help my chances at next year's show.
The jungle between the bed and the green house is a crop of sweet corn and butternut squash. They are both first timers in my garden. The sweetcorn is a great success, the butternut squash, I am still waiting to see.

A Lovely Thing

Today while walking home along the West Highland Way I met a young lad of about nineteen or twenty. He wore cheap, obviously new, waterproofs similar to the type I had when I first started walking. He was grinning from ear to ear.
'There's a calf just been born, just back there,' he said in a strong Glasgow accent.
'What a way to start my week's holiday,' he continued before marching off with pride.

His joy was infectious and I hope he sees many more wondrous sights on his way to Fort William.

I walked only a few feet further on and watched the mother finish licking her baby and the little one take its first shoogly steps on this fine earth.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

The Importance of Being Moira

I did two significant things today.

First I posted off my application for a writer's bursary. If I am lucky enough to be selected for this I will receive money to continue the research for my novel and further the development of my creative writing courses.

The second was to go to Glasgow's Western Infirmary for a chest Xray. My doctor suggested this because she is not happy with my persistent cough. While I was sitting in the waiting room I finished the excellent book, My Year Off by Robert McCrum, which is an honest account of the author's recovery from a stroke he had when he was only forty two years old. This may not have been the best book to read in a hospital waiting room but a loved one recently suffered a similar fate and I wanted to understand the condition.

As I walked out onto Church Street I thought about the fragility of our lives and how, in seconds, our futures can drastically change course. I thought about the possible outcomes of my application and my Xray. One I hope is positive, the other negative, no guesses as to which outcome goes with which event.

Such ponderings could have led to low spirits, but they didn't. They provided me with a startling clarity of what is important in my life. My spirits lifted, I treated myself to a delicious lunch at Peter's Restaurant, Hyndland Street, I tried on expensive dresses I couldn't afford in Hyndland Road and I found and bought the handbag I have been seeking for almost two years. This seems very indulgent and it was, but I also had fun haggling with the fruit seller in Bryes Road and selecting fish for the freezer from the fish monger.

Now I am at home, when I should be somewhere else.

I am sitting in a cosy kitchen, sipping a glass of my home made wine, listening to the radio and admiring the ruby red pots of plum jam and plum compote I have just made for Colin and my lovely family who I am going to visit tomorrow.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

A Reflective Post

Enough of gardening, persistent coughs and bad weather. I heard this song on the radio the other day and couldn't believe I had never come across it before. Where have I been?

It is like a musical version of Desiderata by Max Ehrmann which was written almost ninety years ago and runs like this:

"Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy."

But don't forget the sunscreen