Quiet

quietI love peace and quiet.

I love nothing more than to sit in solitude, reading a Kindle, a book or a magazine and just idling the hours away. I love to sit and think, in complete silence, and I like working in silence too, or with music on very quietly so that it doesn’t intrude on my thinking-space.

Am I weird?

My beloved likes noise. The first thing he does when he gets home is switch the telly on, and it will be on all night long after that. He’ll punctuate the noise with farts and loud sneezes which make me pull “Really?” faces.

He doesn’t get why I love quiet so much, and says he needs background noise. But have you ever been outside in a wood or park, when there’s hardly anyone about, and just listened? The trees rustle. You can hear birds singing, creatures snuffling about in the undergrowth and…that’s all. How can you not LOVE that?

Or when it’s snowed and the coating of snow has muted all the noise, the birds seem to be in shock at the deluge and it’s just so still.

It gives my brain time to rest. No noise means I can switch off. I love the sea too, because the relentless in and out of the tide is so calming and so predictable it just makes me feel relaxed and at home. But the sea? That’s another post.

Right now all I can hear is the hum of my laptop, my tapping on the keyboard and birds outside the front of the house. And that is EXACTLY how I like it….

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Wild Weather

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You know what made me happy today?

Sitting in my bed, listening to the wind whipping around the houses, and watching the rain lashing down against the window, and feeling all warm and snug while it went on around me. Of course it was easy for me to get all romantic about the storm, because I was sitting in bed with a freshly made cup of coffee and marveling at the power of Mother Nature, without having to go outside and experience her Monday morning tantrum for myself.

I think storms are fabulous.  My whole family are weather nerds. My mum has apps on her phone that track weather systems for weeks and she’s never happier than when she’s successfully predicted a snow storm in advance. My brother, who lives in Australia, misses PROPER weather, but does occasionally post updates on Facebook if it’s meltingly hot or there’s a tropical storm on the way.

I content myself with watching thunder storms. I’m never happier than when the skies darken and I can feel the pressure building up that means there’s a proper storm on the horizon. Dramatic weather makes me feel alive in a way that sitting indoors in a centrally heated box with the TV on never can. To have the telly on ruining a thunder storm is sacrilege.

Yes, I also love the snow too. I have to get out and stomp in it and I love a good blizzard.

I think all this must be the mark of  a woman who works from home and never drives anywhere.

 

Getting outside

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There’s nothing quite like getting out in nature to lift your spirits. The Mole and I were both just sitting around the house, me attempting to do some e-mail preening and him snoozing and playing boy games on the computer. The sun was shining in the window at me and it reminded me that the weather forecast for the next few days was a bit Armageddon-ish, so this might be my last opportunity to get some fresh air in my lungs before the skies go dark…

I abandoned the email preening session, grabbed my coat and a willing Moley and we went over to the park. We have a gorgeous park less than ten minutes walk away from us. How often do you think I go there? Well, yes, you can imagine.

It was fab! Kicking leaves, almost falling over in squelchy mud, talking about all sorts of nonsense with my beloved, and laughing when we stopped for a coffee, because while I was chuntering on about wedding arrangements, he was diligently making a ‘Mole weight’ out of a coffee stirrer and two empty milk tubs, and completely ignoring me. Men love talking about weddings, don’t they?

But we had a good trudge around in the sunshine, got some fresh air, had a laugh and even stopped for a little kiss and a cuddle…bonus!

I’m totally grateful for having the park so close, so I can go squirrel watching and leaf-kicking whenever I feel like it. I even did a Liberte Fitness boot camp out there once and came home covered in mud, freezing cold and pouting like a toddler who’d been sent to bed early. I only did that once. My memories of getting stuck underneath my friend, and being completely unable to move because I was (a) stuck in mud and (b) laughing too much were enough to put me off again. I had to put my trainers in the washing machine!

I’m also glad I have the kind of job where I can down tools and go out to play.

There’s a lot to be said for getting out in the fresh air…

Russell Brand

…He’s my thing to be happy about today.

I used to think he was a bit of an arse, but today I’ve been listening to him verbally flattening Jeremy Paxman, who set out to make him sound like an eejit.

He’s a very intelligent man who knows how to use the word ‘Lachrymose’ and that makes me smile.

He also has mad hair and is very funny. Did you see the video of him turning a couple of American TV presenters into simpering idiots when they got him on to talk about his latest tour?

It’s not just the way he ties people in knots verbally that I admire. With everything he’s been though, the drugs, the drink, the Daily Mail hate-fest, the embarrassing phone calls with Jonathon Ross, the failed celebrity marriage, he still believes that we can change the world for the better.

I’ll even forgive him that daft week-long wedding with Katy Perry if he carries on impressing me. Got to love a clever man, haven’t you?

Gratitude

I’ve been trying for as long as I can remember to do the ‘Positive Aspects’ bit of ‘Ask and it is Given’, but I never ever do it. Oh, I got the pretty notebook and I started writing in it, but I only did it once.

It’s no secret that I’ve been feeling a bit shitty recently. My last post here was about a week before my dad went into hospital and since then…well this is a positive, gratitude-related post so we won’t go there. But now it’s time that I started filling up my positivity tank again, and as I’m pretty certain that even my journal’s prettiness won’t get me to write anything in it (my eczema is so bloody sore that my fingertips are cracking, making typing marginally less uncomfortable than writing by hand) I’m going to use this blog, which at the last count had about ten followers, to talk about stuff that I really, really like.

Feel free to unfollow me now if this gets on your nerves, I admit right now that what I’m doing here is a completely and utterly self indulgent project, designed to make me feel happier, and I’m not thinking of my readers at all.

So, here goes. Seeing as I’m not at my best right now (I rated my self-care, joyfulness and energy levels at a 2 out of 10 earlier today) I’m going to cast my mind back to one of the places I always go to in my head when I do a meditation MP3 or just want to do that sigh-y thing I do when I think happy thoughts.

Cottesloe Beach, Western Australia,

Here’s a pic:

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I took this photo in February 2010, the day I left after three weeks in the sun and flew back home to Heathrow. Words can’t express how much I love this place and how much this image and the one I’m going to post in a bit (my laptop wallpaper for years) make me feel.

My brother Andy, his hubby Nigel and I all went to Cottesloe, so that I could get a last blast of sunshine before returning to a very, very cold England. I was going back to a cold flat, single life and work stress I’d managed to escape from for three long weeks. We walked down the seafront, bought some lunch and went to eat it in the shade, where we were besieged by huge seagulls that were in no mood to take no for an answer. Escaping the gulls with our toes intact, we wandered down onto the beach.

Cottesloe Beach s like no beach you’ll find in the UK. I took my sandals off to walk in the powdery sand, and didn’t anticipate just how hot it would be,. I hopped and danced along the sand, exclaiming “Ow! Ow!” every step, until I got to the water and just stood, gazing out over the ocean and waded in up to my calves in warm seawater. The water felt like lukewarm bath water. The sun was beating down relentlessly, and the sky was this amazing shade of blue that you only get to see occasionally over here. The sun was so intense and the sky so clear that there was a halo around it. I remember squinting up at it with the boys telling me off because I’d hurt my eyes if I looked at it. It was beautiful.

There was just enough breeze for it to be perfect. We’d had temperatures of 44 degrees in the time I’d been there, which I’d found a bit much, but we were in the early thirties that day, I think.

The three of us wandered slowly along the beach and back again, then I remember walking up the steps in my bare feet, brushing the sand off when I got to the top so that my shoes weren’t all scratchy. We stood at the top of the steps, looking out over the beach, looking for a bit of talent (well, I was single) and as I was there I decided I wanted to take that moment back home with me. I knew I was going home to ice and snow, dark nights and cold days. I took in every detail of that scene – the feeling of the breeze on my (slightly sunburned) skin, the heat of the sun on my face, the colour of the sky and that halo on the sun. I wanted to remember every bit of the relaxed feeling I had while we were standing there chilling out in the sunshine, before I went back, finished packing my suitcase and headed back to Perth airport, saying goodbye to the boys for I didn’t know how long.

I’m so glad I did – it’s still my ‘happy place’ and the place I go to in my head to get away from it all.

Here’s my old wallpaper…

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I’ll be back tomorrow with another positive post….