Thursday, January 31, 2013

31/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

On the rain soaked, wind swept pavement, a dislodged piece of bark in the shape of a heart.

Today is the last official day of January's Mindful Writing challenge, but I will be continuing with mindful writing on my small stones blog

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

30/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

The wind is rattling the window frame.  Outside, the whole silver birch sways and the hanging branches throw constantly dancing shadows on the house opposite.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

29/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

In someone else's house

I stop in front of the black and white cat.  It is curled up on a mustard yellow cushion that is too small for it, and which tilts off the edge of a table and is being held up by the radiator nearby.  We haven't met before so I hold my hand above the cat's sleeping head.  It stirs, gives my fingers a sniff and then a barely perceptible nod.  I stroke his head, the fur slightly rough, and am rewarded with three slow deep purrs before he tells me he's had enough.
From my seat near the bay window, I see the curve of a red chilli pepper over the TV set.  The pepper is next to a spiky leafed plant on the windowsill outside.  For a moment I marvel that it is thriving in this cold weather before realising it is the top of a gnome's hat.

Monday, January 28, 2013

28/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

I pour hot water into the plastic turquoise mixing bowl and watch the steam rise.  I add two drops of eucalyptus and one drop of lavender oil.  "That smells nice!" Jake says, but I can't smell anything, not even with my head above the steam and a towel over my head.  I open my mouth to inhale the vapours and a light green taste lands on my tongue, but there is no smell and the taste makes no sense without the smell.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

27/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

Yoshi pads into the kitchen and catches the sun on his black fur.  For a moment he is sheathed in a suit of shimmering silver.
In the kitchen, I hear the sound of squawking coming from the direction of the sky.  I look up into the blue, expecting to see a flash of long-tailed greenness.  Although I know they are here, it still surprises me, to hear parakeets in Walthamstow.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

26/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

Jake in red and blue starry pyjamas constructs a makeshift "train station" with a fire engine, the lid of a plastic storage box and some dominoes.  "Mummy, do you want to do the people getting on and off?" 
Mid-morning ~ even after a night of rain, a large patch of ice remains on the pavement in the shadow of the bridge at Northcote road, an archipelago on a concrete sea.  I look up.  How wonderful to see streaks of airplane vapour trails against blue sky again. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

25/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

On the pavements, the snow and ice is gone.  A few small patches here and there, but otherwise, back to concrete.  All trace of the snow cat gone, except for one of its hazelnut eyes.
Jake in his red Power Rangers costume, with small panda bear tucked into the gold belt, eating cheerios and watching Abney & Teal.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

24/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

Jake puts his red plastic Power Rangers mask over my bum and says, "Oooh, has your boom boom grown, I think it has!!"  I burst into laughter.  His face beams in a smile of pure joy and mischief.
In the crowded cafe, a fancy cook book is open on a display stand some distance away from me.  It takes me a while to realise that the Scared Foie Gras recipe I'd been seeing was, in fact, Seared.
A sip of warm spiced apple cider - tangy sweetness, a hug in a mug, and a star floating on the surface.

It's my birthday.  As birthdays go, it's been alright.  I had a lovely lunch and I wasn't forgotten.  I also have a cold and would love to have seen some sunshine today, but at one point, I did look up and see the sky streaked in white and pale blue, so maybe it's coming.  I've also been humming "Young at Heart" to myself all day, have been for a few days as I'm trying to learn the song on the uke, but it is rather apt for today.  Jake asked me what I wished for this morning.  It is for everyone, and to be as good a uke player as this dude one day...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

23/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

Jake places his dominoes flat and in a line, they make a gentle click click noise as their ends meet.  Then he runs a train over it.  
Outside the Town Hall, a man stops in front of the frozen fountain, studies it for a few moments, takes a piss in it and then goes on his way.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

22/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

6:20pm ~ coming back into the living room from the bathroom, I find Jake slumped against the sofa, asleep, open-mouthed, still in his red Power Rangers costume.  As I get him changed into his pyjamas, he smiles but is like a heavy rag doll in my arms.
Walking up the stairs in my oversized fluffy pink slipper boots, my foot in said stupidly oversized fluffy slipper boot catches on a stair and I lose my footing.  My knee hits a step and I fall forward, spilling the bowl of just boiled water filled with essential oils.  The water mainly lands on my left hand and the carpet but also splashes on my front and chin.  I yelp and run to the kitchen and put my scalded hand under the cold tap but as the water turns icy cold, the burning sensation gets worse.  Then I hear Dr Ranj's* voice in my head, saying something about using cool or lukewarm water to cool a burn or scald down, never ice.  I google it and the NHS website confirms this, and recommends cooling the scald for 10 - 30 minutes.  So I go to the bathroom and fill the sink with a mix of cold and warm water and sink my hand under the surface for about 10 minutes.  The burning sensation fades immediately.  Half an hour later, my skin feels cool to the touch but still tingles and is slightly sore.  So I think I'll go for another dunk.  (*from cbeebies' Get Well Soon - you see, watching hours of children's tv really does do you good.)

So, today's small stone is also educational.  1) Never carry scaldy hot water up the stairs while wearing stupid oversized fluffy slipper boots.  2) Cool a burn or scald with cool or lukewarm water for at least 10 minutes, and never use ice or icy cold water.  The clash of extreme temperatures can damage your skin.  And while we're at it - don't apply anything greasy to the burn or scald.  You can also cover it in cling film to protect it if you have to go to A & E.  3) Just cos a Doc on a children's tv programme (who is actually a real doctor) seems to enjoy singing songs about constipation and asthma and head lice, doesn't mean he hasn't got a bloody good point to make. 

The good news is that my chin and other bits are fine, and the carpet smells of lavender, eucalyptus and lemon.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Light drawings...

I love doing these!  Courtesy of the fairy lights in my living room and a crappy phone camera.  Not bad!

21/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

Reggie the ginger tabby streaks across the snow and under the hedge in front of us.  "Was that a fox?" Jake asks.
A black and white cat treads carefully through belly high snow on the garden wall.  The snow is so white, the cat's white patches turn a pale yellow, the colour polar bears are against arctic snow.
At the base of a silver birch, and a few yards further along, outside someone's house, mounds of pristine white snow streaked with streams of bright yellow.
As I shape a couple of snow ears with my fingers, Reggie the cat comes over to take a look at my handiwork.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

20/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

Steadily falling snow.  The pale pink cherry blossoms are pink no more.
Out my window: Thick clumps of snow on the hedges, like over-the-top icing.  Snow on the roads and pavements, hardly any tracks or foot prints, still pure white.  And across the street: a black cat with a red collar sits in front of a blind-covered window, watching; a woman in a pink dressing gown, her right hand holding a cigarette hangs out of her open window.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

19/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

On the narrow low wall in front of number 72, a strip of snow, undisturbed except for 3 paw prints.

Friday, January 18, 2013

18/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

Snow! The red pillar box postbox wears a fluffy white beret.
Walking home with Jake after picking him up from school early.  The same path we'd walked earlier, now quiet and empty except for freshly fallen snow.  Our footsteps crunch on the still powdery surface.  I spot a trail of bird foot prints, clear and large.  He nods.  I know he isn't well when he doesn't want to stop to look, or even touch the snow.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

17/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

A folded note dropped on the pavement: "Shy Girl, Read This Note." 
After dark: the thin layer of frost on the grass sparkles, even under the dimness of street lamps.
Half-frozen, water still shoots out of the top of the fountain, piercing the thin layer of ice surrounding it as it falls.  The shape of the fountain itself is shrouded in bulbous growths of ice, obscuring the man made nature of it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

16/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

In the middle of rushing, I catch a glimpse of blue sky and wispy white cloud out the kitchen window.  It makes me stop, smile.  Light in the sky that isn't grey!  But then I am back to rushing again.
In the middle of a game of trains, Jake stops to watch the Mike The Knight and I fall asleep on the floor next to the yellow lego platform.  I only realise I have done so when I wake myself up snoring.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

15/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

Jake, silent, focussed, scooping out the soft flesh of a baguette with a fork and stuffing his little face.
The happy synchronicity of being sent a hug by text from a friend, exactly when I needed it.
In the gap between two houses on Edward Road, a glimpse of pale peach sky underneath a blanket of grey cloud.

Monday, January 14, 2013

14th January...later

Right now, my feet are cold, my throat is tickly.  The clock ticks.  It is dark.  The weather is described as severe even though the snow didn’t stay.  Inside, I feel numbed from filling in forms and seeing the word ‘No’ next to ‘Vacancies:’ on Childcare Provider lists.  I feel lost for not knowing how things are going to turn out, things that I need to sort by an unspecified but looming date.  I think I need to eat because I haven’t eaten since this morning - a hearty Full English, with sausage and bacon and eggs and beans and mushrooms and black pudding and hash browns and half a tomato and farting ketchup and a pot of Earl Grey tea that poured me 3 cups, and toast (shared with lovely 8 month old Eva), that’s kept me going all day.  But I’m still not sure if I’m hungry yet.

I want to just be in the moment, not worry, not think so much about things I can’t physically do anything about right now, but my feet are cold and my throat is tickly and the clock ticks audibly and it is dark and I don’t have the right clothing for severe weather.  The latter fact accentuates the feeling I’ve been having lately, of being unprepared.  So I want to escape, I look around for a distraction but I know I’m looking around for a distraction so it doesn’t work.

In the Vauxhall Teahouse Theatre this morning, where I had the hearty Full English, I heard the theme to Downton Abbey on the radio which was tuned to Classic FM.  I looked up from my plate and felt the oddness of hearing the music and being where I was, without seeing the images that usually accompany them.  But for a few minutes, I was there, occupied by memories of those images, except I couldn’t place where I was in the story.

I could choose anything to be occupied with now, put on a song, pick up a book, put on a movie, see if there are any episodes of The Big Bang Theory on E4 (my favourite distraction at the moment), make toast.  But I can’t place where I am in the story of my day.  It’s as if I’ve lost my page.

14/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

Leaving the tube station: snow!  The air is a shower of silent white softness that disintegrates as soon as it hits the ground.  But I bring some home on my knitted grey hat, the front of my coat, my hair.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

13/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

Yoshi emerges from under the sofa, with dust clinging to his black fur.  The flecks on his face make his jowls look fuller, and give him the look of an aged Patriarch.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

12/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

Jake in a Spiderman top and bright emerald green leggings hands me his Bob the Builder balloon and says, "Here's your balloon your majesty." 
Playing "We'll meet again" on the ukulele, I think of a friend who's lost a friend today, and hope she isn't alone tonight.
A lone magpie sways atop a leafless Sycamore, its tail moving up and down like a rudder, keeping balance in the wind.

Friday, January 11, 2013

11/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

On the overground train, two teenage boys get on at Hackney Downs, talking about exam results.  One is hoping to get two A*'s and an A.  "That would be sweet.  If you get that, it's Cambridge man.  Yup, Cambridge...imagine rocking up there on the first day in that neon tracksuit!"


In the still new waiting room of Children's Outpatients, a lift-the-flap book sits on top of a locked white cabinet, too high for small arms to reach.  On the front cover, a faded sticker that reads, "For Distraction Only."


Leaving the waiting room, someone else's tiny child with big dark eyes and a mini red duffel coat follows us.  Paul has to take her back to her mother.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

10/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

Sitting on the sofa with Jake, his feet (in Spiderman high top trainers) just dangle over the edge, a bowl of popcorn between us.  Between crunching Jake says, "Do you want me to fart on you?" ~ Pfffffft ~ "I just did!"

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

9/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

As I look out the window to search the sky for traces of blue, my eye finds instead the powder blue water butte, blue clothes pegs on a faded green line, the turquoise of the upturned paddling pool.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

8/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

Sunrise ~ for a few minutes only, the blue-ing sky streaked with pink and orange holds a sliver of still shining moon.

Monday, January 07, 2013

7/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

Two dogs on their leads as their owner stops to talk ~  the Golden Retriever lies down, the Jack Russell stands, his nose in the air, sniffing at everyone who walks by.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

6/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

On the shower curtain, the green medicine cabinet, miniaturised and suspended in a drop of water.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

5/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

After waking but before words, you slip your small hand into mine.  I cradle the curve of your fingers like the breast of a small bird. 

Friday, January 04, 2013

4/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

8am ~ a row of starlings on the fishbone antenna, chirping and calling, electrified whistling.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

3/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

Jake, aged 4, dressed as Batman, sports a turquoise coloured, bubble gum flavoured, ice cream beard.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

2/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

Two for Joy

A pair of magpies perch on
bare branches of a Plane tree.
As soon as I get my camera ready
they are gone.

1/31 ~ January Mindful Writing

The neighbour's barbeque, rusted round its oval edges, makes a basin of last year's rain water, reflecting a tilted sky.


Kaspa & Fiona (Satya) at Writing Our Way Home are hosting another month long mindful writing challenge.
They are inviting people to "Pay more attention and fall in love with the world."
I couldn't resist.
How about you?