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MARCH: “Pincushion moss growing in the crevices of a stone wall. A stretch of freshly turned earth, fingered over by frost.”

“Pincushion moss growing in the crevices of a stone wall. A stretch of freshly turned earth, fingered over by frost.”   From “Ten Delights of a Garden” - part of her book, “Through the Garden Gate” by Susan Hill. Flowering currant - almost there! In this March 2023 blog, I’m writing about a fortnight of very wintry weather! I take the journey from the first of the month to the sixteenth and I hope that the second half of March will see off Winter and welcome Spring! Maybe the weather is less wintry where you are? So where are the daffodils please? We have so much snow at present that ours have all disappeared. Socrates, my old pipe-smoking friend and Granddad-Bobby-lookalike, is slowly disappearing too. Even the topiary is up to its terrible knobbly knees in snow! I love snow but, frankly, I had hoped for that first mild day of March by now! Crystal ball photography To My Sister It is the first mild day of March: Each minute sweeter than before The redbreast sings from the tall

NOVEMBER - Turning a Wave of Negativity into an Aura of Light

The last day of November. I hadn't managed to write my blog for this month - and the reason? I have been too sad. Yes, me! Not like me at all. But, as I read the election news, read about the American fiasco, read about the cruelty of humankind - to other humans and to animals - I despaired. I can't put out there thoughts which will make people sad. That's not what I mean to do. I don't want to be a writer if I can't make the reader's heart glad. It isn't bad to provoke thought but it seems very negative to leave someone with a sense of despondency.

I have thought about it though - and decided to write a little bit about things which I have found troubling over the last month - because you may have found them troubling too - and perhaps a problem shared is a problem halved.

The election. How does one make sense of it? There seems to be duplicity, outright lies and character defamation the like of which we've never seen before. Call this politics? It isn't what our ancestors signed up for when they petitioned and fought to get the vote. The British Isles is at a vulnerable point in its history and you and I are able to read and listen to the arguments and comments spinning around everywhere - and then make an informed assessment of what seems to be the best way forward. Don't be conned. Listen hard and read carefully. After a while, blustering and twisted truths become as easy to detect as bare-faced lies. The result of this hugely important election is in my hands and in your hands. So there is hope. We are a part of the decision making process. Surprising how much better I feel sharing this with you. A problem shared.

America. How can the appalling comments and past behaviour of the president be acceptable to decent people? Why is he still there? It isn't easy to oust someone from a position of such power. But again there is hope. Ordinary Americans will soon have the opportunity to exercise their democratic right. There are compassionate and genuinely concerned individuals across the pond who are able to form intelligent arguments for a fair and kind society. They are already evident. Thankfully. I am hopeful that Americans are listening out for them. There you are again - always hopeful. A problem shared.

The absence of human kindness. My stomach has knotted at the appalling examples of cruelty and neglect I have seen or read about recently. I have wept. There have been times when I have felt so out of love with man and woman kind. But we're not all the same, are we? I have realised that there are really very few people who live like that - able to injure and cause mental and/or physical suffering. The problem is - we more rarely hear about those who DON'T injure or DON'T adversely affect their fellow human beings or any living beings. But those people are literally all around us. So, if they can perform acts of kindness and encouragement - because an opposite of unkindness is surely kindness - then we, as a society, are on course for a positive and hopeful future. There is always hope. A problem shared.

It is, at times like these, difficult to make fair comparisons between my childhood in the Isle of Axholme and my life today in Caithness because the ethos of this entire archipelago has changed too much. But I will say that there were times in post-war Britain when my parents must have been afraid for the future of their offspring. The Cold War from the late forties right up until the early nineties was, at times, a black cloud hanging over Britain. The Suez Crisis of 1956 was a reminder of the ongoing potential for conflict between nations - even allies. I grew up in post-war Europe - a Europe still bearing the scars of conflict but a Europe full of hope and living a dream of broken boundaries and healed divisions. There was hope. 

I hope that the result of the election on December 12th will truly reflect the will of the people of these islands and will facilitate a clear path towards a bright, fair and thoroughly decent future for my little granddaughter, all her tiny friends at nursery, every wee person in Scotland and the entire infant population of Britain. The Christmas lights were switched on in our small town today and many of us will be lighting candles over the coming season. Be uplifted by them. Light is a gift.