Thursday, 20 June 2019

Cape And Tiara


On Monday i donned my cape and tiara, became a superhero for a week and saved the world.   Noticing my stock pile of loo roll and kitchen roll was severely depleted i ordered a bulk batch from Traidcraft.  What's Traidcraft i hear you ask.  It's a UK charity that works overseas to fight poverty through trade and they are building a nice range of household items.  Recycled, fair trade, Tyneside based what's not to like.  I considered recycling the old toilet roll but until the politicians turn us all into serfs again it's definitely a step too far.
On Tuesday I saved the world.   Fair Trade, organic coffee, tea, sugar and cocoa.   guilt free beverages that nurture the soul as well as give a caffeine boost provide the best start to a day.   Saving the world is hard work you know, a girl needs all the invigoration she can imbibe to bear the burden of that cape on her shoulders and don't let anyone tell you a cosmic tiara is lightweight.  It's not martyrdom unless it hurts.
On Wednesday i saved the world.   Had a huge rag rug that was past it's sell by date, not good enough condition to sell pre-loved or put in charity shop but with a lot of wear still around the edges and nowhere near manky enough to add to our landfill mountain.  It's been sitting in my airing cupboard since being given a new one for Christmas two years ago.  Advertised it on a freebie selling page and a lovely girly who has moved into her first home and has nothing to soften the hard edges staggered off into the night with said rug rolled under her arm. Warm tootsies for her tonight.   I remember stepping out of bed onto bare boards, splinters in toes, not fun.
On Thursday i saved the world.   Been feeling guilty for some time about all the paper going into my recycle bin but not quite ready to give up the tactile joy of newsprint and move to internet news. There's something satisfying about starting the day with breakfast in bed and a copy of The Guardian.  I don't know if it's seven decades of book browsing but information on a screen doesn't seem to adhere to the brain cells permanently, it's as though the fingers are synaptically  attached to the mind so the act of holding a newspaper reinforces the memory. Do you think i have evolved eyes on the tips of the phalanges as part of my super hero outfit?   Whilst browsing the freebie page an advert caught the eye from a lady wanting newspaper for her wood burning stove so my weekly paper output will be heading her way.  OK its only half saving the world as her fire increases pollution but half is better than none.
On Friday i saved the world.   Planted tomatoes for salads and sarnies  then sowed wild flowers for the bee's and butterflies, organic bug spray and feed naturally.  Thank you Ruth for all your help, will post some toms when they grow.  As garnish a dear friend gave me a grow your own edible flower kit for Christmas, nasturtiums, cornflower and viola. A superhero needs a healthy diet, all that nobility is energy intensive.
On Saturday i saved the world.   Have started buying from the fresh counters in supermarket.   Bread and fish wrapped in paper,  veg and fruit in compostable bags, fabric carriers to lug it all home and everything lying loose in the trolley.    Plastic is kryptonite to  the sustainable, super hero shopper, impossible to avoid but possible to minimise. 

On Sunday....... i became unsustainability incarnate, destroyer of worlds, sweat shop enabler, air mile guzzler, habitat wrecker, biodiversity burner.   My tiara slipped over one eye and slid down the nose, that glorious cape of pomposity ceased billowing and dragged it's hem through the mire.     What was the catalyst for this plummet into ecological degradation ???  a gorgeous duvet cover in China, made with inorganic cotton which was most likely harvested by underage, underpaid pickers, printed with radioactively vibrant colours that are definitely not natural, shipped or flown from the orient to be handled by zero hour workers in an Amazon warehouse.  Why is saving the world  SO  HARD ???? !!!!




Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Above All Put On Love


Some years ago in a random moment of selfless nobility i offered to help with the washing up at a post funeral gathering, i don't usually do funerals but sponging dishes was a support my fragile psyche felt able to offer. The passed person wasn't a friend or family member, not even an acquaintance, so the emotional connection was tenuous therefore it felt safe.

As the day approached a chance comment about dress code sent me scuttling in a panic to the alternate universe in the corner of my bedroom that calls itself a wardrobe and, as i feared, it was stuffed with a multitude of colour, glitter, sparkle, emerald lace, purple velvet, gold satin, pink angora, a rainbow of fabric but...... NO BLACK.   Armed with a selection of the least flamboyant i paraded my glad rags in front of those involved and invited them to pass judgement.  Each item was deemed unfit by merit of style or shade.  in order to be a crockery wallah funereal fashion was more important than the ability to wield a tea towel.
A short while later a friend was wailing on my shoulder about an upcoming family wedding where she had been asked to be an usherette.  Said friend was in full on goth mode at the time, black clothes, boots, tights, make up, the only concession to colour being vampire red lipstick.   She too had suffered the indignity of being informed her services wouldn't be required unless she was prepared to invest in a more "suitable" outfit, her appearance being more important than her presence.   

I was informed that lack of black was a mark of disrespect, my friend was reliably advised that black on her back would also be a mark of disrespect.  But if it had been a Buddhist farewell white would have been acceptable, in South Africa red has been appropriated for grieving to symbolise the blood shed during apartheid, my purple would have been totally appropriate if the dear, dearly departed had been Brazilian.  Traditional Catholic brides in Spain wear black to symbolise their devotion to hubby until death and in Japan the colour to embrace is red for good luck.   Like my wardrobe cultures have a rainbow of hues for the same event, all classed as showing respect.   Imagine the conundrum if you attended the funeral of a Buddhist married to a Brazilian in South Africa? 
Then there's the question of to whom are we showing honour, is it the bereaved or the soul whose life we are remembering.   At the goodbye of a devout Newcastle supporter whose family are paid up, card carrying Sunderland fans is  Magpie black and white or Black Cat red and white the courtesy colour de jour?   If you think Brexit can split families you have never been in the presence of football fans of opposing loyalties.  Here's a thought.....  what if it's a family of naturists????   would you bare all as a sign of respect?  Answers in the comments below or on a plain postcard if not fit for family viewing.

When my turn comes to shed earthly garb please come and say goodbye in whatever clothes signify your personality and comfort zone. Daughter In Law has already promised to pass out glittery butterflies and flowers to anyone who shows up.   I'm pretty sure there will be a goth with DM's and vermilion lips, a businessman or two, i hope some much loved girlies will have their piercings and tattoos on display, there will be tight jeans, leather jackets, low cut tops, floaty dresses, smart trousers, track suits, maybe even a couple of hippie tribute acts.  It doesn't matter what you put on just come and be yourself, to me it's the person that matters not the persona.
"Above all put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony"  The Bible

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

The Pyrophytic Life

Fire Poppies.... noooo not a new narcotic on the block, nor the flowers that remind us each year of the awful events of the First World War.  Papava Californicum,  it's an amazing plant whose seeds lie dormant in the ground until fire ravages an area then they burst into bloom in the aftermath of conflagration. They are called Pyrophytes. They can be found in the form of flowers, trees, shrubs and their fruit, seeds, cones can wait decades until that random spark from discarded cigarette end, hastily abandoned barbecue, reflecting broken bottle crackles into existence to stimulate their awakening and every fire fighter's nightmare.

It's the smoke that does it for the poppies, it sends a message to the seed that it's time to wake up, a vapourous alarm clock.   No fire, no poppy.    No desolation, no regeneration.  No death, no rebirth.  Reminds me of the Tate and Lyle motto, "Out of the strong came forth sweetness". Dead lion, swarm of bees, golden syrup, rotten teeth.... oh, sorry that doesn't work.
Sometimes it takes disaster to push us into change and without change there can be no growth.   Humans aren't good at embracing new things, be they personal, social, generational.   Our puny minds find it easier, more comforting to gouge a rut for the synapses to fire along rather than take the off road challenging route.    I suspect a futuristic imaging system of how our thought processes work  would show a map like the London Underground within most of our skulls, all straight lines and right angles, no curveballs or switchbacks, a calcified cranium  trained from childhood to be resistant to anything that screams ADJUSTMENT !!

When my business had to close it felt like a little death, it meant accepting the bitter truth that my health and mobility were heading in a direction i didn't want to follow, that my dream of opening in The York Shambles was merely that... a dream.  Added to that was the feeling of letting my team down at the height of our hard earned success. The fire of failure could have burned bright and become a bitterness that would have devoured the following years.  instead Lindisfarne life grew from the ashes and rather than losing touch with the lovely people who worked with me i was able to offer an island getaway, a spare futon and nine years of coffee shops, sea and serenity.    
We all have times when the fires of disappointment singe our phalanges and sizzle our psyches, maybe you are fighting the inferno right now alone and unsupported, feeling as though there will be nothing left below your feet but charred ground and clinker.   No words of mine or those who love you will take the heat out of that searing pain or speed the healing,  but i can reassure you that an oasis can spring from your ashy desert, beauty can bloom from the cinders and in time you might find a field of poppies waiting to be harvested.




Saturday, 27 April 2019

What A Difference A Year Makes


When a hiatus to this blog arrived unannounced it didn't occur to me that many would miss it or even notice it had gone walkabout.   I always hoped it was read and enjoyed, a few of you would leave the occasional comment or bring a topic up in conversation which always warmed my heart.   That it would be actively missed has come as a humbling revelation.  So thank you to all those who have encouraged me to make a comeback, here i am, i've come back.  

Why did BBSS62 disappear?  I can't claim there was nothing to write about.   The universe continues to confound, humanity still wends it's merry way blindly to oblivion, politics are as perplexing and pointless as they have been for millennia, the wonders of the natural world still fill the soul with awe, friends and family are an endless, constant source of amusement and affection, more than enough material for a mere mortal to weave into entertainment until the stars fall from the sky and the sun burns nova.
I could claim distraction by beastie, researching fish lore in preparation for my Finned Lodger, or taking on a homing role for Cats Protection alongside fostering but i would only be dissembling.  So no excuses but many apologies, and i hope you still want to come along for the ride.

There have been a few changes.   The Indomitable Fred finally became domitable and now fertilises a salmon pink geranium on the spare room windowsill.   Three fellow, homeless furries have warmed my bed since his demise before moving on to their forever homes and a little ten year old hyperthyroid, deaf girly with failing kidneys looks to be a companion till she joins The Fred in that Happy Mouse Hunting Paradise in the sky.   
A five gallon aquarium has taken up residence on a coffee table with a Siamese Fighting Fish lurking in the undergrowth answering to the name Senshi.  Senshi (戦士) is Japanese for "soldier", "warrior", "guardian", or "fighter". 

Too many hours spent researching his needs led to a fully planted tank.  Water gardening is pretty much the same as terrestrial except wrinkly skin is substituted for dirt under the finger nails.   Greenery is planted, fed, nurtured, grows and dies.... the cycle of life whether terrestrial or aqua.   fishy and companion nerite snail seem to be happy though at over a year his main battle is with advancing age rather than fighting for a mate.  a year may be a short time for man but it equals half a lifetime for a betta fish. 

Welcome back to the jeni universe and all who sail with her.  i hope you decide to stick around for the next part of the adventure, it wont be a work of literary excellence but i can promise it will be fun.