Thursday, 30 January 2014

My latest article on the Huffington Post

The Pursuit of Happiness...

Photo copyright SvD.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Spring is springing

Spring is not far away- we've had a weird Winter, mostly mild in my neck of the woods. I've heard the magpies recently calling out to each other, the squirrels are doing that mating dance, the pigeons are looking amorous and the daffs are almost out. The snowdrops are even full blown as I write this. What more proof do you need? These seeds are the promise of a tomorrow.

Photo copyright SvD.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

In defence of lecherous men

In defence of lecherous men:
As a once single professional woman, I often found myself in compromising positions where men were concerned. One day my boss made it very clear than unless I slept with him I would be demoted. I quit that job pronto. Another very laughable incident occurred when a French diplomat acquaintance invited me 'round for drinks at his home. I arrived. He served me a whiskey sour and disappeared for a few moments only to reappear stark naked. I fell about laughing. He promptly put his clothes back on and I finished my drink.

How tragic the female perspective has become! We yearn for the perfect man who will behave in the perfect way. He must be like this or like that and he must whisper only these words to us. Heaven forbid if he should behave like a bloke who sees the world through an appendage rather than his brain!

Lord Rennard has found himself in somewhat of a pickle- he is being made to apologise and suffer the consequences of having his hopes dashed. I feel quite sorry for the man.  I find it difficult to comprehend the baying for blood and the subsequent character assassination as a result of a wandering hand and eye.

Does anyone remember A Passage to India by EM Forster and the famous 'rape' allegation? A man's life was utterly and completely destroyed by an hysterical female. I am not saying that the women who are shocked, shocked and very offended by Lord Rennard's behavior are hysterical but I would like to point out that in these scenarios, no one ever wins and one person will lose everything and more.

As the world has gone stark raving mad yet again, it would appear that even harmless flirtation will soon be off cards. Imagine this (very real) scenario:

Woman walks into a party.  Man approaches her. 

"Have we met before? I doubt it because had we met, I would not have forgotten."

Woman replies: "How dare you! You're imagining us in bed together, aren't you? That is disgusting! I feel violated that you are thinking such terrible thoughts!"

The man responds: "Hold on, dear. I was merely saying that you are rather lovely..."

Woman interrupts: "I feel sick! I can't believe that you are thinking what you are thinking. I'm horrified at your utterly shocking, disgraceful and revolting behaviour..."

A Wellington without the beef:

I was standing at the cashier at Sainsbury's today in Lewisham of all places- don't ask- when a very pretty young woman began emptying her trolley at the same till as me. Red onions, puff pastry, brown onions, mushrooms, cheese, milk, salad, red lentils, brown lentils - these were the giveaway.

"You're a vegetarian",  I smiled at her.

"No!' she laughed, "my boyfriend is."

She went on: "He's the love of my life and my first real boyfriend. I'm thirty."

"What are you making?" I asked.

"A Wellington without the beef," she replied. "My boyfriend bought me a vegetarian cookbook for Christmas...even though I'm not one," she laughed.

Our eyes met and we smiled.

Funny, but if a man I was hopeful about gave me a vegetarian cookbook for Christmas, knowing that I'm not one, I think I would run faster than you could say "Jack Rabbit".

And finally:

I’ve been doing a lot of driving recently around our green and pleasant land. When I think I’m lost I am often amazed to see a church spire emerge in the distance. Britain is a land full of churches and it struck me that the true British way of life is still intact. We speak about multiculturalism in this country but it doesn’t work if we have a landscape of Christianity that defines us yet still we are made to feel as if we are the usurpers. Perhaps anyone immigrating to Great Britain should hitch a ride around the country and see how we evolved. ‘Inspiring’ rather than ‘entertaining’ is the word that comes to mind.

The last word:

Remember the purpose of life is to love. End of.

 Photo copyright SvD.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Can you spot the fox?

Mr. Fox was sitting very still and watching intently as the hound and I walked past this morning. This spot in the woods is not far from where the stag was killed last year by a pack of foxes. I can only assume the culprits are related to this fellow.

Photo copyright SvD.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Things I saw in the woods today, part 65

The humble flint sparkles like a rare gem in the mud:

The moon perched in the sky peers down at us mere mortals:

And on the way back from the woods, this guy and I could never be lovers:

Photos copyright SvD.

Monday, 13 January 2014

The Long and Winding Road

A favourite song of mine and for me the best interpretation of this ultra romantic tune is by George Michael. I used to joke about George being a bit accident prone on my radio show and must say that his ordeals, trials and tribulations in life have added a large dash of pathos to his style of singing.

It's the bad stuff that makes us better people and its the bad stuff that teaches us courage. In my hopeless attempt to learn Latin I have been pouring over school books and memorising phrases such as this pearl: Vulnus non penetrat animum. A wound does not pierce the soul. - Macrobius. That single phrase got me thinking about two things. One is Milan Kundera's conclusion in The Unbearable Lightness of Being that life is a straight line towards something. The second is the poetic and beautiful thought that no matter what happens in this life, our soul remains intact.

We speak less of our soul life than we do of our materialistic yearnings, wishes and wants. I frequently read the online rags to see what absurdity passes for humanity. I don't consider myself superior or better than others neither do I believe that I've the right to make fun of anyone. Who am I anyway? But I do require a frequent dose of the latest celebrity gossip just to remind myself how pointless life actually is. Not hopeless, but rather, pointless.

I stopped arguing years ago simply because there is a moment in any relationship be it with friends or family or lovers, when words cannot fill the vacuum between two people. The incessant point-making and over-analysing and flogging and re-flogging a seriously dead horse, serve no purpose whatsoever except to engender hard feeling and the idea that the person who didn't get the last word in, is the loser. In fact, every time we confront someone to have that final say, we are in fact damaging that precious soul life that wishes to fly rather than be bogged down with the mechanics of daily life which is tedious in the extreme. Many a creative type has found solace in too much booze or drugs or inappropriate liaisons in order to get themselves into a more tolerable frame of mind to face life. The realisation that everyday life is a drag interspersed with moments of joy, happiness and silliness which we crave in vast doses but receive never enough of, is what drives us to find sense and add meaning to our lives. By knowing something is missing, we strive to find it. However beware: that old adage about searching for Mr. Right but never finding him is a good example. The more we look, the more Prince Charming eludes us. Pure contentment is not dissimilar. We cannot force ourselves to be happy. Some days we don't find puppies cute at all. Life is a game of chance. Time and chance. Bribes and debts.

I once met a Chinese doctor who was very wise and she imparted the following advice to me: if we consider that the people we meet in our lives probably have crossed paths with us in a previous life and the reason we're encountering them again is in order to fulfill a karmic debt and once that debt has been paid, we move on.

Human beings will spend their entire lives crossing paths and making amends. I do believe also that the mere fact that we are here is because we must endure and prove our mettle. Hence the road is  long and winding but it does lead somewhere.

Photo copyright SvD.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Things I saw in the woods today, part 64

I'm just speechless at the beauty of the world. This morning, the hound and I saw this perfect sky.

Photo copyright SvD.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Death mask

What is it about being dead that makes the dead LOOK dead? I have observed so many dead people, dead animals in my life and they all look lifeless. It's not a look one can conjure up or fake. Death is a breath that has left the body and on closer inspection, the body is a mere vessel. There is almost a comical aspect to the dead body- this pigeon seemingly has luscious feminine lips. My own father in death looked the happiest he had ever been in his life as if he were GLAD to be dead.

Death is not a subject that anyone wishes to discuss willingly and without a gallon or two of alcohol inside of them first. Like God, death eludes our understanding. We can't make sense of something that we don't have any knowledge of.

One of my dog-walking mates is an undertaker and he looked particularly knackered when I saw him after Christmas. The holidays were the busiest time ever for him- customers keeled over on Christmas day in record numbers as if the turkey was particularly awful that day. My own beloved uncle died on Christmas Day in 1977 of a massive heart attack brought on by too much festive food and drink.

This pigeon met an untimely end after I would think, being hit by a car. I found him nestled alongside the woods, . The hound wanted to eat him. I wanted to take a picture. Had I been a bit more bloody minded, I would have taken him home and made a pigeon pie. A sort of composting, if you like, of the dead.

Photos copyright SvD.

My latest article on the Huffington Post

January 02nd 2014

Photo copyright SvD.